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“Like the tiger, a big cat native to more southerly Europan climes than our own Arhomaneia, the leopard sometimes takes to man-eating. In my experience, a man-eating leopard is to be dreaded even more than a tiger that has gained the same taste, as it possesses greater agility and stealthiness, as well as its silence.” Excerpt from Man-Eaters: The Memoirs of a Professional Hunter by Khristoforos Iagoupes, first published in EK7400 (AD1892). Iagoupes was later awarded the courtly title of Protokynegos, or “First Hunter”, in recognition of his exploits. The Leopard Throne. One of the most important symbols of Arhomaneia. It stands on a dais of porphyry that is covered with a cloth of gold, under a canopy of the same material, at the end of the grand state throne room, the Asprotriklinos, of the Basilikon Synkrotima Palatión, the Imperial Palace Complex. The heart of the Megas Agios Basileia, the Greater Holy Empire. It is actually a dual throne – the left hand side is the vacant seat of Christ. The Holy Emperor, the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion kai Isapostolos, the Holy Emperor and Autocrat of Arome and Equal to the Apostles to give the more formal title, is the representative of God on Eurth, sitting at His right hand. The throne itself is gold and studded in precious stones, a shining example of Aroman craftsmanship and nothing that mere barbaroi could hope to imitate. Its seats are covered in leopard skin upholstery and the sides are in the likeness of snarling big cats, ready to pounce. The teeth of the leopards on the sides are ancient elephant ivory, the red tongues made from coral, their spots picked out in pieces of carved jet and the eyes are crafted from amber. This imagery gives the throne its name. To enter the throne room, two vast gold-plated doors have to be opened. These magnificent works of art are perfectly balanced and swung outwards smoothly and silently. They are kept oiled and were polished regularly by one of the myriad of servants within the Imperial Palace Complex. It is considered a high honour to be selected to carry out the task. Once inside the room, a visitor is greeted by one of the most striking sights in the wurld. The walls of the throne room are a shining white, representing the purity and holiness of Arhomaneia. The floors are a gilded mosaic, breathtaking in its magnificence. Glass, gold and ceramic tiles displaying proud moments in history, fearsome hunting scenes and the glory that is embodied by the Arhomaioi. Behind the throne is a multicoloured stained glass window of vast size which bathes the room in jewelled light when the sun shines through it. Unlike other, more heterodox Christian nations, there are no recreations of heavenly scenes or the Saviour Himself – depictions of holy figures are considered to be idolatrous by Arhomaneia's particular brand of Christianity, the Aroman Church. Great pillars hold up the high roof. These are alternatively shining white marble or porphyry. Beyond them, the walls are as richly decorated as the mosaic floor and more large windows of stained or clear glass, alternating in the opposite way to the pillars, allowing light to flood into the state throne room. It is designed to overawe any visitor to the throne room, as if being in the presence of the Holy Emperor wasn't enough in itself. The throne itself, on its raised dais, sits under a semi-dome at the apse end of the room with the words “Christ, King of Kings” inscribed across the conch of the apse. It is no mistake that the throne is under the eastern end. The ruler of Arhomaioi is appointed to this role by God Himself, manifesting His will on Eurth. As a sign of the Agios Basileos' lofty position as the Thirteenth Apostle, those that approach the Leopard Throne's occupant are expected to acknowledge their lowly position. This act, called the Proskynesis, signifies the subservience of the one doing it and the recognition that the Holy Emperor is their rightful overlord. The act involves throwing themselves to the floor and kissing the Holy Emperor's feet with their arms outstretched. It has, however, become impolitic to expect foreigners to perform it these days. The overly proud barbaroi find it very offensive, as they often do not recognise the primacy of the Arhomaiki ruler over their petty overlords. And as there was one Kingdom in Heaven, there is one Empire on Eurth. That Empire has stood for centuries as a bastion of civilisation in a wurld of barbarism, a beacon of faith and light shining out and inspiring the lands surrounding it. It is a centre of culture, ever changing and evolving, and yet maintaining a link to the glorious past of the Aroman Empire before it, even if that past had yet to find the enlightenment of Christianity. This cultural heritage meant that it is Tagmatium's duty to shepherd the rest of Eurth towards that enlightenment and the civilisation that it brought with it. The throne is flanked by a soldier from each of the six guard regiments of the Tagmata, the Palace Guard, the unit that had inadvertently gave the common name to the Megas Agios Basileia, the Greater Holy Empire. Their positions near the throne is kept in a strict rotation to avoid one being favoured over the others. The bodyguards are all brightly dressed, with horse hair plumes on their sallet helms the colour of their robes, clothes embroidered with golden thread and carrying shields decorated with symbols of Christ and Arhomaneia. A soldier from the Exkoubitores, their name meaning “Sentinels”, currently stood on the right of the throne, the closest to it. Perhaps the most famous of the units from the guard corps, their red robes and black lacquered armour, a mix of lamellar and plate mail, made them a distinctive sight throughout the capital of the Greater Holy Empire. They regularly accompanied members of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the Imperial Government, abroad on diplomatic missions. Behind the Exkoubitor was one from the Ikanatoi, the “the Able Ones”, wearing red armour, cream robes and carrying a spear. Next to the Ikanatos, dressed in red robes and cream armour, was a Optimatos, holding a shield and a sword. To the left of the throne stood a soldier of the Athanatoi, “Immortals”, in green robes and wearing a similar mix of lamellar and plate, although their armour was coloured blue. This soldier was armed with a short-shafted axe as well a sword. Behind the Athanatos was one of the Paramonai, the name coming from those who stood close to the Agios Basileos. They were armed with maces and shields, dressed in blue robes and steel armour buffed to a mirror shine. Like the Exkoubitoi, their role was to closely guard the members of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the palace complex and Tagmatika itself. Completing the row of three was one of the Arkhontogennhematai, “the sons of officers”, in shining steel armour contrasting with pitch black robes and holding a spear. The appearance of the guards might be deceptive - they were drawn from decorated combat veterans from the Tagmatine army or from candidates that had especially impressed their instructors during training. They would die to protect their charges and took their roles extremely seriously. As well as soldiers from the Tagmata, at all times dignitaries and attendants from the amongst the government, the civil service and the court aristocracy waited on the throne, even if it was vacant. They were dressed in jewelled robes of ancient, although not out of date, style. Whilst the positions within the court aristocracy were not hereditary, members of it were often granted great estates within Arhomaneia. This meant that they would have the time to wait on the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator without having to worry about money or inability to afford the splendour in which they would have to dress. They may not have been as powerful as the military or bureaucratic aristocracies in the reign of Kommodos III, but there was power in proximity to greater power. They were the cup bearers, the concierges and ushers, with their families having been in the service of the Greater Holy Empire for generations, even centuries. Being close to the Holy Emperor for many hours meant that they often had his or her ear and even become valued confidantes. They might be perceived as useless hangers-on by some but that often couldn't be much further than the truth. The Greater Holy Empire would last, and they would have their day again. With the guards around the throne and the attendants surrounding it, completing the groups within the throne room were a choir of monks, chanting praise to Christ. They were dressed in black clerical robes that were a sharp contrast to the sumptuous dress of the courtiers and the elaborate uniforms of the bodyguards. Bishops and other prelates were often in the state throne room too, as the Holy Emperor has such an important role within the affairs of the Church. The smell of incense permeated the cavernous room. If the Holy Emperor was present, then the chanting would cease and a respectful silence would dominate the room. Only if the Vice-Gerent of God willed it would that be broken. Court ceremony was entirely designed to emphasise the dignity and prestige of the monarch and to imply the superhuman nature of the one that sat upon the Leopard Throne. Recent years have seen a resurgence in activity from the Greater Holy Empire. At first, its attention had been focussed beyond Europa, then Arhomaneia turned somewhat quiet. Unlike @Adaptus, Tagmatium's closest neighbour, ally and fellow heir to ancient Arome, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has not become destabilised. Eurth had seen the influence of the Megas Agios Basileia spread. Several programmes to improve Tagmatium's environmental impact have taken precedence over the military actions that had seen the nation's international prestige increase over the years. Sustainable power generation has been stepped up across the country, from wind farms to hydro-electric power stations. There has been some rumblings within the nation's borders, primarily from pro-democracy campaigners, although these had been dealt with peacefully. They did not shatter the tranquillity and prosperity that had been earned after the hard shock of the Civil War in EK7513 (AD2005) and the struggle of the nation finding its feet again in the years that followed. Arhomaneia had once again become a main player on the wurld stage, with much of Eurth seeing its influence. But the same wurld was changing, and it was said by some that the Megas Agios Basileia needed to change with it, lest it become stagnant and lose its place as the country that all others looked up to. Arhomaneia could not afford to slip back into the background. It had come a long way since the Civil War and had reforged itself under Kommodos Iakoumos, who had been elected to his position in the aftermath. As yet, it remained to be seen how this most ancient and glorious nation would deal with the changes that had happened around it.
This is information that the Indostan Government do not want being seen. They deny this ever happened and there is very little evidence left to support that it did. Captain Arjun vanished from the forces a week after the events before re-appearing 8 years later as a crazed Aaryarlivatraguo terrorist who blew himself up in the Northern Provinces. Some information from his diary entry on this day has been erased or lost in the transference to our base which we know to have been caused by some double agents and also the weather. What we have saved is on this document, typed up by someone who is most definitely dead from the hands of the regime, all we can hope now is that reforms are made or the Emperor is assassinated. You'll probably never see my name or hear of me because by the time this goes public, I'll be dead as well and my name erased from existence by the order to protect my family. - [REDACTED] 23/05/97 [REDACTED] In my 25 years of serving on the Indostan Police Force Hasheiv Regiment, I never experienced what I had today. I woke up thinking it would be an average day. Stop some kids from littering, give directions to some people, help in the arrest of a drunken tourist who got their hands on some Libiza Absinthe and then go home. But the day was far from that. I was on patrol in sector 2 of the city keeping an eye on a group of six people who were wearing masks and bandannas, they weren't doing anything that broke the law but they looked extremely suspicious just standing on the corner of the street. Before I clocked it, there were more of them walking around. Some with complete body coverage, others completely naked and then it started. I couldn't see who but one of the group members started throwing rocks at us, the rest began chanting [DELETED]. We took cover behind our vehicles, and I used our megaphone to demand they cease their actions and go back to their day whilst my colleague radioed for riot control. Whilst we waited for riot control to arrive, we were forced to use our tasers and pepper spray on some of the hooligans who were throwing rocks and trying to get close enough to us to fight us in hand to hand combat. Then it went from bad to worse. One of the pr*cks threw a Molotov at one of the officer's cars creating a fireball, blasting some of the rioters and officers back. I'm cursed to say that one of my closet friends, Officer [LOST], [LOST] in the blast. Disgusting b*stards took my friend's life. Riot control arrived and things only escalated, buffoons went from throwing rocks to damaging, destroying and injuring. Riot control had no mercy. They opened fire with their airsoft guns and began beating some of the criminals down to the ground with their batons and staffs. Many were [DELETED] in the long hours that followed, mostly from [LOST]. Come the time of 22:37 the streets were engulfed in flames, covered in [DELETED], [DELETED] and rubble. I couldn't count how many officers were [DELETED] both in riot control and on our regular forces. The screams, explosions and chanting will haunt me forever. It was strange, even though they took my friend, I felt [DELETED] for them. I actually agreed that reforms were needed, but I didn't want the Emperor's death. That's what these criminals wanted. Revolution. 24/05/97 The events ended around 2:18 am when the riot control dragged the remaining hooligans hiding among the rubble and debris out into the streets and [DELETED]. After it all, the Sargent of the riot control turned to us and said we should return back to HQ and rest there until further notice, he congratulated us on helping put down heretics before rushing off to probably give a report to the Congress. By the time we returned to HQ the remaining officers broke down, none of us could even fathom what had happened to us. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The rest was lost in the transference to us. We may never know who Captain Arjun's friend was or what happened to Arjun during his 8 years of disappearance for him to become an insane terrorist, but we know his existence and this diary entry will help us in later progress.