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  • The morning was chilly. Not for everyone of course. A mere foreigner is unable to perceive to changes of Japanese seasons. For them it’s land of eternal frost. But for locals...
    The Empress was gently sipping her morning tea. Her simple brown clothes contrasted with rich throne she was sitting on. But she enjoyed it that way. For her people she was a goddess, yet loved one. she looked like the subordinates of her, yet the throne reminded them of her superiority.

    “Winter is coming” she murmured.
    She looked at the huge doors leading to her private balcony. They were always wide open, allowing the cold wind to rule within her chambers.
    “I am the ruler of these frozen lands. A snow and ice are my allies, not enemies. I do not fear them, as they do not harm me in any way.” She answered, once asked about it.
    Her maids and guards never shared her empathy toward freezing weather, especially wind. Since a massively sickness rate among her guards, she allowed them to wear some furs on duty. Since that time, they became well known as a reindeer guards.
    “Cat goddess and reindeer guards. It fits (and sits)” they kept on saying, becoming even more proud of that fact.
    Nekomimi Horo, also known as Horo the Wise put aside her cup, and went up on balcony. She was awaiting for the news. The Russian ship was spotted near Edo recently, and she has dispatched one of her longships to dispose of the threat.

    It was snowing. The Capitol of Japanese Empire was covered with white cloth. The city has woken up already, and became more and more lively with every passing minute. Except the docks, in the southern outskirts of the town. They have been working days and nights recently. Situation within the region was becoming more and more unstable. Open war between Egypt and Indians, as well as Russian invasion left only Japan without harm. Persians were at peace too right the moment, but after fall of the Persegarde they are busy licking their own wounds. Or waiting for second wave of Indian army.
    Horo knit her brows. The sea becomes more and more dangerous. They need a force capable of keeping her enemies away from shores of Japan. Something like Egyptian fiery ships.
    “We should shoot them with ice in that case” she said out loud.
    “My lady” she has heard the voice behind her back. “The messenger has arrived”
    “Let him in” she said without turning away to him. “I need to do something about my habit of thinking out loud” she added to herself.
    The grim expression he had while entering the room allowed her to figure out the message before he opened his mouth.
    “So we have lost.” Horo said. “Tell me how did it happen”
    Boy looked at her in awe. Not only her beauty was astonishing, but the rumors about her foresight ability were actually true!
    “I don’t have much time”
    “It was a close battle my Goddess. But the luck was on Russians side. They brought a weird tool with themselves. It allowed them put their arrows on fire, and few of them made it to our ship despite the strong wind! We have assaulted them, but didn’t make it”
    “You can walk away” She said. Her tone was high, as it was important for peasants to show their inferiority.
    The boy turned around to see her once more, just before quitting the room. Guard escorting him kicked him in the knee.
    “Don’t get to cocky, boy” he said.

    Chosokabe Hare looked at the map.
    “We can still intercept them. Based on the report their ship is badly damaged. Crow also is incomplete. We can use this ship – he pointed at small figurine on the map – to catch them before they set their foot on our lands.”
    “Then do so. I want them to sleep at the bottom of the sea.” Horo agreed with the plan. The loss was great, but at least they were not out of options. Unlike the eastern shores, where another Russian ship was spotted.
    “We can’t do anything, my empress”. These words were painful, as enemies emerged right next to the most important part of the caravan route. The loss is going to be extremely painful. And expensive.
    “Send a message to the merchant guilds. Tell them that we shall cover their loss, and we shall reestablish the routes as soon as possible. About the ship... Send the message to the eastern pentagon. Tell them I want heads of the interlopers. Put them on the pikes at the strait. At all costs.”
    Last edited by Eerion; May 14, 2013, 21:00.

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    • Finest green marble from Busiris and stacks upon stacks of parchments, from the floor to the roof. Unlike the rest of the massive building, which was usually bustling with scholars, this particular hall of the Great Library was empty, except for two people: Queen Cleopatra and her advisor. Perhaps the most important one. Instead of her normal robes or plate armor, the Queen was wearing a replica of her old outfit, from the times before proper clothes were invented; for the purpose of 'illustrating our history', as Leonardo put it. Since a mountain of reports required her attention, and she wasn't going to move from this spot for awhile, why not to pose for a painting?



      "So bothersome," she murmured.

      At least the paper from the top of the stack was encouraging. A letter from Princess Azuria, nonchalantly writing about yet another victory, more Indians burned alive, and how she managed to make improvements to the 'sloppy' design of her Morningstar, and how she improved the discipline by a few well-timed beheadings and floggings. Skipping the details, the Queen couldn't deny that she commanded the most powerful navy in the world, and the crews of her ships were gaining precious battle experience. More importantly, she found a perfect use of that demon of her younger sister. Keeping her in Nicosia, bored and thus desperate, was getting dangerous. Yes, the grandest fleet... The days of that fleet were of course already counted. The world was moving on, naval battles raged on everywhere, everyone wanted to make better and better ships, and sooner or later, it was going to make Morningstars obsolete, especially when other nations catch up to the secret technology that allowed Egyptians unmatched mobility in the seas.

      "Enjoy the moment, Azuria, while it lasts..."

      Then, reports from the Southern Kingdom... The Lord of Bubastis of course wanted reinforcements. Which was impossible. The north had no soldiers to spare. The Lord of Armant had even grander plans, perhaps because he was in much less danger. He demanded an army to take Jarmy and thus secure a powerful fortress that'd protect half of the Southern Kingdom from any invasion. A powerful fortress indeed, which was the root of the problem. Powerful and chock-full of Indian soldiers. Taking Jarmy would require a huge army, ten thousand strong at least, a dozen or more regiments of assault infantry, not even counting the longbowmen for support. Raising such an army would require a huge effort, and losses would be enormous.

      The demands of the Lord of Hawara were a mix of those two. He would like reinforcements, 'just to make sure my position is impregnable', as well as 'doing something about Moradabad', which was yet another Hindu border fortress, practically within an arrow shot from the frontline fortifications.

      What's next... the house of law in Luxor was finally established, and the Lord of Luxor had been granted the highest rank of Duke, along with greater responsibilities for the whole area. With the help of Theban-schooled staff, he was already reporting improvements in efficiency in every aspect of his fiefdom.

      A revenues report... re-establishment of wine supplies from Bubastis to Thebes and increased fur trade in Luxor are predicted to significantly boost the Kingdom's economy over the coming years... Perhaps as much as a 25% gain in the net income was possible... Still, Egyptian trade was merely a crawl compared to Japanese, not even mentioning the French, who had perhaps as many trade routes and trade centres as the rest of the world combined, annual incomes estimaded at 700 thousand shekels, to Egyptian 150...

      And those were just the most important reports... off the top of a huge stack of others. Cleopatra sighed.

      "Perhaps we could introduce the new French model to reduce your work load?" Asked Leonardo, stepping away from his canvas.

      "The French model? What did that buffoon came up with again?" she said, squinting her eyes and stretching.

      "The thing we started in Pergamon, then in Luxor? Local administration? They have taken it to the next level. Local administration collecting the data and processing it on site, then sending to the higher echelon, and in turn, the higher echelon sends it to the capitol. Only the important stuff goes up, the issues are sorted by their scale and urgency, and what can be done without contacting the higher-ups, is done on site. The Lords are dealing just with the really important stuff, leaving the minor things to trained scholars. Bureaucrats. It also seems like Russians have been using similar arrangements since... well, forever. In their own way. Ever heard of Konfucyev and his works?"

      "Seems like a plan. Is this what have you been working on all that time?"

      "Oh no, just another side project."

      "You have been granted enormous funding and resources, and manpower, and unlimited access to this place. The best this world has to offer. And all you can do is coming up with those endless side projects? Like opening the cathedral of arts at the University?" She looked at the canvas again. She didn't see her likeness from here, but she was pretty sure she wasn't going to like it. On all his paintings, she looked like a boy.

      "Didn't I provide you with means to mass-produce plate armor and high-quality arms, your Majesty?"

      "You did, and that's why I have granted you all these resources. But little it did gave us. Now everyone in the world is doing this. Well, at least everyone who really counts.... How do you even come up with those estimations?" She squinted her eyes at one of the papers.



      "Doesn't Empress Arturia count?"

      "I guess she does. Devil knows what she is planning. She might have raised an army greater than we predicted. She might be only pretending to want to invade India. She might be insane. I'm not talking to her... And Merlin is just whining all the time. But you've changed the subject. What about your main project... Whatever it might be?"

      "I believe I'm actually ready to start it. But I need something. A city."

      "What."

      "I wouldn't dare to ask for Thebes, your Majesty... how about Pergamon or Luxor then? I'll need a lot of workforce, mills, smithies, workshops, various goods only a big city can offer..."

      "Those are the two most important cities in Egypt."

      "Exactly. I was starting to feel too constrained here in Thebes. Some fresh air would be a nice change, if you allow, your Majesty."
      Last edited by Max_Smirnov; May 7, 2013, 14:22.

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      • The siege of Kootanad, Kingdom Year 1712
        A report of an Egyptian spy




        Impersonating a Celtic soldier, and having first-handedly experienced both their comraderie and iron discipline, I have arrived at the shores of India with the grand Celtic invasion fleet. We landed in the moring, at it was a sight to behold, dozens and dozens of triremes with their bows in the tropical sand, seemingly unending streams of soldiers pouring out of them...

        There were no trees to make any sort of siege engines, so the Celts have brought them with themselves, and once they've made it to the hills surrounding Kootanad, they get to work on assembling them.

        I made sure to be positioned close to the hill where Empress Arturia camped. For the most of the day, she wasn't leaving her black tent. All there was to do is to watch the Indian town, erected on the opposing hill. I could see some frantic activity on the top of their wall, looks like the attack caught them unprepared. Our sources estimated the defenders to number into a thousand of regular soldiers, plus about five hundred of heavy cavalry, the enforcers of the local Warlord.
        Only when the night had fully fallen, the Empress left the tent and made a slight gesture. To the ominous, slow beat of the war-drums, three regiments of Celtic infantry slowly marched towards the walls of Kootanad, carrying ladders and torches, pushing their war engines, eerily silent, and if I were one of the defenders, it would've surely stricken fear into my heart. I was uneasy none the less, in part due to the dark aura emanating from the motionless, unblinking figure of Arturia. She was watching the battlements, and it was like her mere gaze could turn the city to ashes.

        Only when the Celts arrived within fifty paces of the city wall, and the first arrows started to drop on their heads, they gave an enormous war cry and sprinted towards the enemy. The battle was joined, and I could see how fierce it was. The Celts assaulted the wall using their siege towers, rams and ladders, but it didn't seem like the Indians have panicked. They were throwing rocks and pouring boiling oil on the heads of the assaulters, pushing the ladders of the wall, crushing people under their own weight. Whereever the Celts managed to make a foothold on the top of the wall, heavily armored Indian elites appeared to fill the gap, and the brave attackers were cut down to the last man. The battle raged for hours, and the Celtic casualties were already mounting into hundreds.

        Then the worst possible thing happened. After succesfully eliminating or chasing off the Celtic detachment that was assaulting the main gate, Indians opened it and a few hundred of their elite, plate armored cavalry rode out. It was a massacre. The Celt warriors, crowding haphazardly at the base of the wall, were being cut down by the dozen, then by the hundred, unable to stand up to the charge. A major retreat started, leaving a field strewn with corpses behind. The Indians sounded the retreat as well, their cavalry quickly disappearing behind the gate.

        A frienzied messenger appeared before Arturia and her general, carrying all too obvious message. One-third of their army was slaughtered for a negligible gain. The Empress didn't even bat an eyelash. With that emotionless, thoughtful gaze of her, she said quietly:



        "Resume the assault. I want everyone."

        She raised her sword, the fabled Excalibur, and started to walk towards the Indian battlement all by herself. A great murmur came through the Celtic ranks, but such was the awe and fear of her, than the murmur quickly turned into a great battlecry. Seven thousands of well-disciplined celtic warriors flooded the plain again and the battle resumed with doubled tenacity. This time the Indian defenders, already bloodied, had more on their hands than they were able to handle. Still, they fought like cornered rats, killing four Celts for every one of their own fallen.

        Then Arturia with her personal guard approached the main gate. Rocks and arrows were raining at her, killing people to her both sides, but she seemed untouchable. She raised the Excalibur and cried once, and I will hear that inhuman battle-cry for the rest of my days, and charged the gate. And believe me or not, the battered doors splintered under a single strike of the Excalibur.

        The river of Celtic warriors flooded into the town. Yet again, the tyrants plate-armored cavalry counter-attacked. But the terrain was much less to their advantage, and with their Empress in black armor leading in person, the Celts fought like savage beasts, pulling the knights off their horses and finishing them off with their swords. That, and Arturia herself was like a maelstrom of destruction, no Indian knight was able to stand up to her, the dark arcs of Excalibur severing the arms, heads, bringing down horses.

        On the walls, the situation changed as well. Without the support of the knights, the Indian warriors began to falter, unable to push the Celts off their footholds, and the footholds getting more and more numerous by the minute. Still, the Celtic warriors were paying heavy price. In the savage fight on the walls, the loses started to equal, but inside the city, the warlord's guards still had superior swordsmanship and armor. But there were simply too many Celts now.

        I was following Arturia as she made it to the palace of the warlord. Cries and sounds of metal hitting metal, two forces clashed, Celts slowly making progress up the stairs. The Warlord himself challenged Arturia to a fight. He was a giant of a man, wielding a huge halberd. But he was allowed only a single swing at her, which she nimbly sidestepped and then took his head with one powerful strike. As the dawn rose over the burning Kootanad, that head was hanging over the main gate.

        Kootanad had fallen, for the first time in history, India lost a city, and the Celtic Empire won a major battle, despite their horrendous losses - out of the ten thousands that arrived, maybe two thousands were in any condition to fight, the rest dead or dying. And I could see Arturia on the southern wall, her cryptic gaze looking at something in the vast distance... perhaps at the invisible capitol of Delhi, where Gandhi himself resided, just a couple hundred of miles from here...
        Last edited by Max_Smirnov; May 9, 2013, 20:56.

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        • That sunny morning of July, Kingdom Year 1788, two young French knights arrived to Luxor, after hearing incredible tales of unmatched selection of goods that could be found in this Egyptian harbour town, situated high on tall cliffs just a few days of sea travel from Nice...

          "Welcome, esteemed young French Chevaliers! You have entered Baruch's Emporium, the finest furs in the whole Egypt, and possibly the world!"

          "Mon Dieu, you weren't lying, Francois... what's that? That one with spots?"

          "Leopard. Fresh from the Southern Kingdom! We have all kinds of hides here! Lion, Tiger, even the legendary Olifant!"

          "How is this possible? I was sure France has the best furs in the world..."

          "No longer, my friend! Luxor is the Big Deal now. We are receiving caravans from all over the civilized world! Good business! And have you heard about Leonardo's Wokshop?"

          "A bit..."

          "He comissioned an unfinished Arena building, and is starting some major operations there! I tell you, they're buying *everything*. Good business, my friends! Makes people rich!"

          "People like you, I guess?"

          "Oh, it's all only thank's to the foresight of Grandpa Baruch, who arrived here several hundreds of years ago and set up the first leather shop..." The shopkeeper pointed at a beautiful, detailed portrait of some old Jewish gentleman. Whoever painted it, was obviously a master at commanding the shadow and perspective.

          "Truly, the skills of your painters are unlike we've seen either..."

          "Ay Vay! But I don't want to bore you to death! Please, tell me, what kind of hide would be befitting of such fine French Chevaliers as yourselves...?"
          Last edited by Max_Smirnov; May 10, 2013, 11:48.

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          • The freezing wind danced in the Royal Quarters. The winter was slowly loosening its grip, and sun was bringing more warmth with each passing day. But this warmth never reached the throne. Covered in thin ice, like the larger parts of the floor or walls it was a meaningful display of force ruling these lands.
            Yet it never bothered Horo the Wise. She has grown older, a few wrinkles could be seen on her face, but her resistance of frost was the same as in her youth. Her reindeer guards were talking about assimilating the cold. With each passing year, she was becoming more beautiful, as if she was an ice sculpture. Her wrinkles gave her more mature look, which only increased her charm. What every aging women dreamed of, she was a perfect example. She also became more distant from her subordinates. Not strict or cruel, yet one could feel the cold, when talking to her. Was it the atmosphere of frozen halls, or the spells of the Goddess? It is unknown. There was, however, one exception.
            Her only daughter. Hanekawa, named after her grandmother and first empress, was about to leave her childhood period of life. Just by having her around, Horo was always happy.


            Admiral Tuzalomon has emerged from his cabin, shivering in fear. The frozen lands of Nippon were her worst nightmare. Cold, boring, cold, without anything to burn and cold. He missed scorching down these pathetic Indians in a warmer climate. But orders from Cleopatra were absolute. Japanese had something that threatened the peace of Egypt. And it had to be dealt with. Peacefully.
            He glanced at the metropoly of Kyoto. It was so different from his hometown. Made mostly out of wood, the prime building material gave completely different feeling then Thebes.
            “Barbarians”, he murmured. “At least they know how to defend.” added, looking at huge city walls – the one of few things actually made from stone.
            Tuzalomon marched with his royal guards straight to the palace. He made everyone march quickly in order to shorten the amount of time spent under the siege of the freezing wind. No one complained.


            “You’ve got to be fu.cking kidding me” he said, as he entered the Royal Palace. The building, made mostly out of stone, emitted immense cold. What had been absorbed during winter, was slowly being released now. “How the hell is this place even colder? It’s a building! People leave there, right? Give me a torch you fools! Quick, before I drop dead before meeting these ice monsters”, he complained in Egyptian. One of his guards picked a torch from the wall and brought it to him. The Japanese guards, standing at the both sides of a corridor didn’t move an inch. Their eyes, however, monitored every single movement and possible danger.


            “Why are they coming?” Hanekawa asked. She was standing next to her mother. Many informations can be learnt through books and teachers, yet great politics have to be witnessed.
            “During one of official meetings in Thebes, our ambassador mentioned about naval project. As it completely reforms the idea of sailing, the Cleopatra was afraid it is going to sabotage their sea superiority. And their colossus will turn into just a symbol, what may also destroy their trade influence. So they have sent a princess to make us reconsider our plans.” – Horo has answered. They were both awaiting the guests in a Royal Chamber. Both wearing the ceremonial clothes, to show the might of the Royalty. Also especially for this occasion the strategic maps were brought. The ones that could be revealed to foreigners of course. Small figurines represented ships. And there were way more Russian or Egyptian ones rather than Japanese.
            “Why should we? It’s better if we become superior, right? Who cares about some petty dark-skinners?”
            “You shouldn’t insult people you do not even know, Hanekawa. I’m going to talk to you later. And your manner teacher too.”
            “But...” the kid tried to explain herself.
            “Be quiet. Here they come. Behave yourself, at least in front of them.”


            Akil walked slightly behind the royal guards. A translator and diplomat dispatched by Cleopatra, he was supposed to teach admiral Tuzalomon about Japanese, and what should he focus on during the negotiations. What he has achieved was barely escaping the beheading two times. The problematic admiral never gave a damn about them or their stupid etiquette. “We are the most advanced nation in the world, they should behave as we do!” he kept on saying.
            So he tried to avoid her as much as possible. Until now. Only him and the Tuzalomon were allowed into the royal chamber. The hell was about to be unleashed. And his head detached soon after.


            Tuzalomon was pale. Was it because of the cold, or the plans of revolutionary ship wasn’t obvious. He had a grim look, imagining his fleet. And... these plans.
            “So you’re trying to say that these sails... these shape can actually exist?” The translation was being done on the spot.
            “It does. Some of our people have ships looking similar to this project. But they are but a fish boats. These plans, however, will lead to the creating of the fleet. Swift, strong and superior when it comes to assault or close combat.” Horo responded.
            “And your fire” added Hanekawa. Translator looked at her, yet he decided not to translate this sentence.
            “And... what is it for?”
            “To ensure the safety of Japanese sea, as well as our trade routes”
            Egyptian admiral took a deep breath. Cleopatra told him to succeed at all costs. He had to. He also had an idea. Absolutely shitty, problematic and annoying as hell. The problematic part was, it was the best he could come up with.
            “What if we will protect your shores and caravans?” Tuzalomon asked quietly. After a brief moment of hestitation Akil translated the sentence.
            Horo was silent, looking first at admiral, then at the diplomat.
            “Slaves? Good” Hanekawa murmured while looking at ship plans. The words might have reached her mother’s ears, but only hers.
            “If you can protect our shores, than we can think about changing our plans. But it means your fleet on our waters. It requires... discussing such matter through, before I could give you the final answer.


            The negotiations lasted until late night. Admiral Tuzalomon, cold, annoyed, angry and with running nose declined invitation to spending night in Royal Palace and returned to his ship. As impolite as it could only be, he knew that spending night in this frozen tomb would kill him. Three times at least.


            The morning was chilly. The head of the Hatakeyama Hideru, Hanekawa’s teacher of manners was being assaulted by crows at the city walls. Rest of the city, however, was as peacefull as ever. Even the admiral Tuzalomon didn’t shout or try to behead anyone. Most likely because he caught cold, and refused to leave his cabin. His crew could only hear a random insults toward Japan, Ice and Stone building from time to time.

            “So basically, they are going to defend our waters, so we burn down these plans?” Hanekawa asked.
            “Yes”
            “They are so stupid!” She stopped for a brief moment, checking her mother’s reactions “They are going to such extents only to protect this Colossal statue?”
            “It isn’t just a statue. It is a signal of their sea superiority. It guides the sailors from afar, bringing money, fame and latest ship technologies to Thebes. Except this one, of course. Still, it is a very important tool, and no wonder they got scared. The “idea from south” would be deadly for this... wonder.
            “And we are going to listen to them? They may be slightly more advanced. But for such reasons we should not let the opportunity to surpass them go away!” The kid has yelled.
            “At least your other teachers did not fail me. Your knowledge far exceeds your age” Horo looked proudly at her daughter. “But you still have much to learn. First they are our allies, so we should listen to each other’s requests. Also, this pact lessen our issue when it comes to defending our shores, at least for time being. We do not have to spend all our wealth on producing ships as much as we would have to without Egyptian fleet around. Actually we have benefited from this greatly already.”
            “How?” Hanekawa asked.
            “Our army should reach the shores of Persia any day. If not Egyptians, the ships would be bound to protecting the Japanese Sea. But now... they are free.”
            “I see...” princess made a serious face thinking about it. On such young face it, actually looked cute, but no one dared to laugh or smile. “So basically alliance is about 2 nations exploiting each other?”
            Horo looked at her completely surprised. She wasn’t sure if she should take it seriously or not.
            “I will explain it to you another time.”

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            • It was good to have some sleep in the coal-heated belly of the egyptian flagship, after spending that horrible day in the freezing hell of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Admiral Tuzalomon yawned and climbed the stairs to the deck.

              "Your majesty," he immediately bowed, spotting Princess Azuria. She was observing the distant city of Kyoto by the means of a spyglass, another invention that made Egyptians superior to those southern barbarians; they could see them, remaining invisible themselves. There was a slight smile on Azurias lips. He walked over to her. "I wanted to talk to you in the evening but nobody knew where you've been... Um," he straightened himself. "So I have come to an agreement with their Empress. I had an idea that..."

              "Yeah, yeah," cut in the princess. "They would stop the developement of their naval technologies in exchange for our protection... Exactly as I have foressen."

              "Uh...?" The Admiral was completely taken by surprise.

              "Or rather, exactly as that Japanese spy of your advisor was whispering into your ears all the time..."

              "U-uh, what spy?" The Admiral suddenly started to sweat, despite the icy breeze. If there was a spy in his staff, the responsibility...

              Azuria adjusted her spyglass, and her smile widened. "It seems it worked perfectly. Their invasion fleet had already set sail. Commander!"

              "Aye, Madam!" saluted the skipper.

              "Signal all the ships to follow my lead! Crews at full battle readiness! Ignite the fires! Full speed ahead!"

              Only now Tuzalomon realized that their Morningstars were set in a perfect inverse crescent formation...

              "Princess Azuria! What are you... What are you doing?"

              The black-haired woman nibly climbed up an observation tower and put the spyglass to her eye again.



              "Splendid work, Admiral! Splendid work indeed. Look at them... coming like lambs to the slaugther."

              "You.. you're planning to...? But the treaty!"

              "Fool! That was the plan all along. I want more speed!" she shouted. "Flamethrowers and ballistas at the ready! Let no one escape! A-ha. Ahahaha. AHAHAHAHA!"

              At the last moment, the Japanese captains seemed to understand something was wrong, but haven't the Goddess spoken that the Egyptians were their allies now? Only when the flamethrowers were engaged and rain of burning oil fell on the heads of crowding soldiers and sailors, everything became clear. But it was already too late. The hellish flames were quickly consuming wooden boats, and their hapless occupants. Some ships were simply crushed, ran over by the iron rams of massive Morningstars. Some tried to escape, but were too slow to maneuver under their heavy burden, and fell victim to Egyptian catapults and ballistas. The massacre was horrible in its beauty, and Tuzalomon was in equal part appaled and entralled. Hundreds of screams of people drowning or burning alive, and that horrific Azuria's laugh...



              Within two hours, the Japanese invasion fleet ceased to exist, and close to ten thousand soldiers and sailors found eternal peace at the bottom of the Sea of Japan, never to see the shores of Persia they were supposed to conquer. Who managed to escape the Egyptian ships, was quickly finished off by the icy water. Only a handful people made it back to their home shores.

              "We have suffered several dozens of casaulties from Japanese arrows and boarding attempts. No damage to the ships!" Reported the ship's captain.

              "No losses then," said Azuria with a bored tone. She sighed and hid her spyglass. "Nothing left to see here."

              "Aren't you going to bombard Kyoto?" asked Tuzalomon.

              "Meh. Just look at these walls. And too much snow for our flame catapults to start any serious fires."

              "I still can't believe we have..."

              "Set the course eastwards. Nagoya. We're going to assault the merchant routes. Tell our men that 50% of any loot will be divided between the crews. From now on, the Japanese shore is under our blockade. My orders are to engage anything that floats. I wonder what sound makes a fishing boat when you run a Morningstar over it. I've always hated these smelly boats, and I've seen way too many of them during my neverending vacation in Nicosia."



              In the course of the following week, Azuria's fleet proceeded eastwards, leaving a bloody trail of sunken merchant ships and fishing boats in its wake.

              "This is the fifth ship," said Tuzalomon. "I don't think Japanese merchants will dare to enter these waters anytime soon." His expression was grim, he was fully aware of what was going to happen next.

              "You know what to do," said Azuria with a smirk, motioning the Egyptian officers.

              Soon, her Morningstar slowly left the scene, leaving the large merchant ship burning, its crew facing choice between staying onboard and being burned to death, or jumping into the icy embraces of the sea and being drowned or killed by the cold instead. The old captain of the ship wouldn't accept such a choice. He threw the last scornful glare at the Egyptian warship and that devil woman who ordered the death of his innocent crew, before grabbing his Wakizashi and kneeling down on the already-smoldering deck.
              Last edited by Max_Smirnov; May 13, 2013, 05:15.

              Comment


              • This post had been commisioned by Daniel, the Celt player. It has his full authorization, and my input had been just to put his wishes into a proper written form.



                To anyone whom it might concern.
                I'm declaring the waters of Celtic and Èire Seas off limits to any shipping. Any foreign ship, friend or foe, spotted in these waters will be immediately engaged and destroyed on principle, unless granted my explicit permission to pass and keeping strictly to the agreed path and schedule. I have commenced a full scale assault against India, and while not harboring any enmity towards France, Egypt or Japan, I have no patience for any obstructions. The recent war between Egypt and Japan clearly shows the consequences of not setting straight and simple rules. So these are mine: keep out of the way of my armies or become collateral damage.

                Signed,
                Empress Arturia.

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                • Letters of War

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                  To: Duke Henri Rochefort, 2nd Corps General

                  My dear Rochefort,

                  We ar happy to hear you are in good health and high spirits. Indeed it would take a man of very high spirits and vision to bite Gandhi's tail like this; not to mention with no direct permission from Us either. We understand very well that such spirited people often act before they think, or in some cases despite their reason. Therefore, rest assured that your actions didn't come as a complete surprise to Us.

                  Despite all excitement, reason always has the last word. Perhaps you are now a little agitated, once the battle is over and the siege of Almora started; thinking of all the unpleasant consequences We might have prepared for you. That would also be understendable. It will be a pleasant discovery for you that no such thing was prepared. We have decided to give you our permission to continue this war. However, the Indians have never been our enemy before, so do not expect the royal forces to come to your aid; this is your war, your glory and your responsibility before God, Us, and France.

                  Regular reports will be expected. May God give you strength against the Almorans.




                  The King finished his letter with a flourished signature, then cleaned the pen contently. He always wrote important letters by himself, preferably in his private chambers, just like this time.

                  "So you're throwing our Duke to the Indian dogs?" asked Joséphine, who was massaging the royal back.

                  "And what do you think, dear?" Napoleon responded, not looking over his shoulder. It was still a bit stiff from the recoil; the gunpowder research was going better than expected.

                  "I don't know. Such a situation has never happened before, but it's a little strange for you to abandon a whole army."

                  "Well, you know me better than anyone." The King smirked. "Of course I would't. The fool really did us favour. I was looking for a casus belli with Gandhi for quite some time, as you know, but thanks to the Duke I can wash my hands and say I didn't authorise this."

                  "So... you plan to send him some help, but not openly?" Joséphine's eyes were reading the letter again.

                  "Yes. We can't go overboard of course, so we'll just borrow him some ships for transport. Rochefort has a big land force of his own and some powerful friends among other Dukes. With any luck, he'll take Almora by himself, for France."

                  "And if he won't?"

                  "Then we'll build him a memorial palace. Right now I have more important matters to attend to than this silly war, and I like his son better anyway."
                  Last edited by Solarius Scorch; May 14, 2013, 07:48.

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                  • Update on Arturia's campaign in India, Kingdom Year 1997



                    After consolidating and resupplying her forces in Kootanad, making good use of the local mines and smithies, and reinforcing her army with the elite Blackguards, Arturia marched towards the oasis town of Tiruppur and seized it like Kootanad, in an all-out night-time assault. Casaulties on both sides unknown, but Indian Warlords have trouble in coordinating their disparate forces. Tiruppur is less than a hundred miles of rocky desert away from Gandhi's throne in Delhi.
                    Last edited by Max_Smirnov; May 15, 2013, 06:39.

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                    • The fiery glow could be seen everywhere in the town. The snow turned orange. But the city wasn’t burning. It was celebrating. Tens of thousands inhabitants of Kyoto were singing, drinking and dancing outside. A winter wasn’t an issue, as alcohol and constant moving kept it away from bodies. Snow made everything look only more beautiful.
                      Everyone celebrated the enthronement of a new God Empress. Horo the Wise decided to hand over the Nippon to her daughter. Hanekawa became the Nekomimi III.

                      “Not much has changed, yet they celebrate as if we won a war.” The young empress said, looking at the citizens.
                      “People love the official announcements. You were pretty much ruling officially for some time now. But they needed a clear sign. Like this one.” Horo answered her calmly. She seemed to enjoying the view.
                      “Not very intelligent”
                      “Majority of them are a simple ones. They need clear signs of what is going on. This is your role to provide them. Be it at peace or war. They do not care about politics. You make them believe that their enemies are bad guys and they just punish them. And they are ready to do anything you want them to”
                      “I will remember this. Thank you”
                      “You are welcome, my dear... Empress, that’s how I should call you from now on, right?”
                      “Forget about it mother. Call me as you always did, and if someone dares to complain I shall behead him.”
                      “Haha. You are much more suited for tough times than I am.”
                      “You are a lady of peace. I shall become the demon of war.” Hanekawa said rising her fist.
                      “Be aggressive. Still, always try to keep your rage in check. You don’t win by brainlessly rushing forward.”
                      “I know, I know. You have told me that countless times already” She answered slightly annoyed.
                      “I did. But you always need a people to remind you of most important things. It is very easy to lose track of something if you get too much into something else.”
                      “Yes, yes. I appreciate it.”
                      “Now, It’s about the time to show you something. Let’s go.” Horo said, clapping her hands.
                      “Where to?”
                      “Strategy Room. This is where we are heading”
                      “What for?”
                      “You shall see.”
                      They walked in silence for few minutes. Hanekawa was puzzled. Combining it with a fact, she was naturally impatient person, her aura of consternation was almost visible.
                      They have entered the strategy room. Countless maps could be seen on tables and walls of this huge room. Originally big enough to fit a hundred guests, now it could only contain about a fifth of it. So much space took all reports, plans and projects.
                      “What about it?” Hanekawa looked around, trying to find something new in this room. She has spent here long days, and knows almost everything that could be found here.
                      “Follow me” Horo continued on walking, gently avoiding the fragile maps. She went to the wall with a huge map of the world. Big enough to cover several people, and gently lifted it.
                      “What are you doing?”
                      “After my mother became the ruler, she made the engineers create a hidden room. Very few people know about it, and it is the time to join this elite group. It is your right as an Empress” – Horo kept talking with get gentle and calm voice. She could control her emotions way better than her daughter, what was sometimes worrying her a little bit. Hot blood is useful, but not always.
                      The sound of a groaning rocks was quite disturbing for Hanekawa. It wasn’t something she was used to, and has heard it only once before. During an earthquake when she was small. Shiver runned down her spine.
                      The created hole was pretty small. They had to bend in order to get inside.

                      The warm was surprisingly warm. Horo mentioned it’s in order to keep the machinery working. For that reason, the water from underground onsen, the very same they use to bath in, is also delivered to the special container just under the mechanism. It also made the room quite warm.
                      There was a big table in the middle, few chairs and shelves. And a little space. Maybe for 3 people to keep it relatively comfortable for everyone.
                      “These, Hanekawa, are the most important documents in this country” Horo said, pointing first at table, then at the shelves. “They contain secret projects, plans and predictions regarding our country, as well as the world.”
                      “What about the strategy room then?” Young empress seemed concerned.
                      “They are important. But it is something generals should know about. These on the other hands, are ones which should be keep from as many people as possible. They are very valuable, and can be incredib;y dangerous. Only a very small group of people knows about these papers. And the two of us, as well as 2 other people know about all of them. Even our top agents have no idea about the other reports. It causes the informations to sometimes repeat itself few times, but it cannot be avoided if we want to keep it in secret.”
                      Hanekawa was impressed. A new, very delicate and powerful source of informations. Plans, everything. With these she may be able to achieve what she always wanted.
                      “They are yours now. Starting tomorrow, you should come here at late evenings, so no one could spot you. And deal with these.”
                      “Ohh! So this is why it is forbidden for everyone to use these chambers at this hour, unless it is a critical situation!?”
                      “Indeed” Horo smiled gently. This girl could connect the facts and possibilities very quickly. “Now let’s go. It is a time for a celebration. You have to show yourself to the partying people. from time to time”.
                      “I will... But can I just take a quick glance at these?” Hanekawa pointed at the table, smiling cheerfully.

                      “If you have to... the most impatient girl in the world.” Horo sighed.
                      “Sure sure. Just go back, I should join you soon”
                      “Soon. Sure...” Horo murmured to herself, while quitting the room.

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                      • Excerpts from memoirs of Galileis, written circa Kingdom Year 2060

                        The notion of Earth not being the centre of the universe is nothing new. Throughout centuries, as it is documented in the files of the Great Library, many Theban (and foreign) thinkers postulated what has become known as the Sun-centric model of the universe. Through the means of unknown force, planets orbit the Sun in unchanging, eternal trajectories, just like the moons Thoth and Apep orbit the Earth. The idea that they might be not gods, but spherical worlds like our own, is, however, still not fully appreciated. Being, as a young man, enthralled by the vision of five worlds, not just one, each settled by its own peoples and countries on the other side of the gulf of the sky, I was a vehement supporter of this idea. And it was my lifetime goal to prove it was true.



                        But I couldn't imagine the things I was going to see, when this observatory in the Horus Massiff, closer to the sky, was finally finished, housing the largest and the finest scope ever produced. On the first night, minding the name of the place my observatory was erected in, I have aimed my scope at Horus, the largest of the planets... My hands trembled, as I have not only seen its shape, clearly circular, with a blueish, cloudy sky, but some never seen before bodies near it; after several nights of observation, there was no doubt: Horus has four moons, just like Earth has two... Any shade of doubt in the theory I wanted to prove was blown away.



                        I couldn't have predicted either the storm my works were going to raise at the Theban University. Now, being an old man, I can see the ancient science of Astronomy being born anew, new observatories being erected, and imaginations of young scholars set on fire. I have a feeling that that first night, when I've seen those beautiful moons orbiting ancient Horus in perfect cadence, I have opened a wholly new era in the history of the world. Or maybe, of all the worlds. Up to this point, men were looking for knowledge only in the ancient parchments; now we have raised our heads towards the sky, and towards the future, our imagination widened enormously. I believe there will come a day, when we'll be able not only see those distant worlds, but also touch them, sail towards them, explore them like we're exploring distant lands.

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                        • Here comes my regular report. This one is for turn 140.
                          Enjoy ^^

                          Hanekawa enjoyed reading at late hour. Not disturbed by anyone or anything, she could enjoy the situation. Wearing whatever she wanted, and sitting well... not lady like. For sure not in a way suitable for a goddess. She had a gorgeous body, and she hated hiding it or behaving modestly. Her official dresses, showing more then what Japanese are used to, caused a great commotion every time she wore them. And if left alone, she just wandered in her halls wearing way less than that. Sometimes even having only the cold wind embracing her. Horo used to complain about that for some time, yet after seeing it is her very genuine behavior, she stopped doing so. No one could change Hanekawa, unless she wished for it herself.
                          Young empress put aside the casual reports. They turned out to be as boring as usual. “Others can take care of these” She said, moving the way smaller pile closer to her. These ones, unlike the rest, were way more important. She picked up first one.

                          Hanekawa Nekomimi in her typical late evening "clothing"
                          Mori Unsei. Captain the 3rd reconnaissance division
                          Our recent discoveries have shaken the world far greater than we anticipated. The theory that was crafted after the inspiration from the ancient ruins has already reached almost every ears in the entire world. It is a perfect creation, just like our empire. It resulted in Russians opening their borders and ending the long period of semi-isolation of their people. We are unsure if this unexpected freedom of peasants has caused any uprisings, but at least the officials have decided to make their move. Few ships invaded Egyptian waters, burning down their fishing boats, before being destroyed by Egyptian galleys.
                          “You reap what you sow” Hanekawa burst out in laughter. “Luckily, they didn’t reach your caravans. Or maybe it is just a matter of time? Now that you’re not so powerful...”
                          It is still unknown how serious are Russians when it comes to invading Egypt, however, just by that simple fact, it should get easier on our end.
                          Despite the changes in Russia, I think the greatest change has actually happened in France. Mind and reason have overthrown their foolish concept of Labirynth, and whatever it contained. Thousands of local and international traders, seeing the trade routes becomes less and less profitable, simply returned to their homes. As for now, the majority, if not all of trading routes of France have crumbled. Their leader, Napoleon will surely do something about it, yet this unexpected blow from our creating did enormous damage to their economy. There is also an interesting aspect. In the far north, a great scientist claimed he created the Philosopher Stone, capable to turning anything into gold. How surprised he had to be, seeing that people ignore his words, considering them another foolish story?
                          I hope our nation can use these incidents to rise in power even further.
                          All hail Nekomimi! All hail Nippon!

                          Hanekawa stretched. This course of events was unexpected even for her. It doesn’t mean, however, it was not welcome. France is a powerful country, which should never be underestimated. Indirectly slowing them down, without dirtying your hands? Perfect! She put the paper aside. Such messages are always welcome, but if generals could see them they might become too laidback. And easygoing leaders are worst thing that can happen to the country. Especially of such size and influence. With countless enemies waiting for their mistake, to feed upon their weakness.
                          She stretched again, yawning at the same time. Yes, this is how you should deal with important stuff. Without army of strict idiots around. Serious, but comfortable.

                          Shimazu Hissori.
                          Our latest invention has shaken Egyptians. Thanks to our superior shipbuilding technique, Egyptian naval supremacy is nothing but the thing of the past. The Colossus, symbol of their power is now nothing more, then a huge statue. World seeing as, instead of being far ahead, Egyptians were left behind, lost his interest in that aspect of Thebes. Lack of visitors made their markets crumble. For example, Theban honey, extremely popular and valuable in the past, now cost maybe around half of what it used to. Without customers, they cannot grind their prices.
                          Of course it doesn’t mean Thebes aren’t important anymore. It still is the biggest city in the world, even if just barely ahead of Paris and Kyoto. Also, with the Great Telescope, which was completed just recently, this city becomes more and more known as a world’s capitol of knowledge. If Cleopatra decide to support this strategy, their new specialisation may soon overwhelm the issue of losing the previous one. It is a very bad situation for us, as they are our enemies, and I suppose we should think about a way of confronting their idea. Luckily, it should never allow them to dominate the seas as they used to. Now, without visitors, maps and routes, their fleet, despite being extremely powerful, is just a shade of its former self. Slow, and clearly inferior to new generations of ships, I must say the age of Egyptian fiery ships is coming to an end.
                          All hail Nekomimi! All hail Nippon!

                          “Now without the maps, you may hit an iceberg and die, you dumb *****. May the gods of winter feast upon your body.” Hanekawa gritted her teeth, just thinking about Azuria. She hated the executor of her traders and simple fishmen. Executor and possible mastermind behind the whole betrayal plan. Well... right now Egyptian princess must be extremely angry, having her fleet swiftness decapitated, but as long as she is still alive, it was never enough. Hanekawa took a deep breath. “First Russia and France, now Egypt. All of them are bound to change rapidly in the following years. But will it be good for us, or for them? I wonder...”
                          She looked at the map. She looked at the maps of these countries. Then at Egyptian’s neighbours. Celts were completely ignorant to things that were happening around. Slowly invading India, could soon become a great threat to rest of the world. Not only Japan, but every other nation as well. Lands of India and Celts are both rich and valuable. If they would be controlled by one nation it would be only a matter of time, before they could conquer rest of the world. Yet by being on the other side of the world, Nippon could do nothing at all about that fact. And to think that they were allies of this traitorous Egyptians... As of now, this was the center of world’s power. Combined they had the greatest power, science and whatever they could only want. Of course their propaganda said it was Japan, who posed the greatest threat to the power balance, but... seeing successful conquest of Celts, and great science of Egypt, no sane person could take it seriously. Empress took a look at second part of the report. It described the movement of Arturia’s and Gandhi’s forces. She looked at these boring details, and was about to throw the report away, when she noted an additional message on the other side of paper. It was written quickly, without any care, what made it a little hard to decipher.

                          Important informations! Gandhi has made his move, and opened his treasury! First, he paid so much for Haga Sophia builders, that almost every person in India wanted to help building this wonder. In result, there were so many people to work, that it was completed in a brief moment, making it the fastest great building ever built in the world. Then, he moved his armies from Egyptian borders to defend Delphi and reclaim his cities. For that reason he has purchased mercenaries which are supposed to support the main army. A powerful warriors from different countries now gather under the flag of Indie, convinced by gold raining from the sky. Unless their Egyptian allies make their move, it may be the end of Celts invasion.
                          All hail Nekomimi! All hail Nippon!

                          One of groups of Mercenaries under the India banner.

                          “That’s interesting for sure. Gandhi isn’t holding back anymore. What will you do Cleopatra? Shall you help them, or... betray as you did it once before? After all you don’t like when your allies are strong. They all should bow before you, am I right?” Hanekawa laughed. “We, at least, have pride and courage to openly attack someone, and honor to respect a treaty. And it’s us who shall prevail, not you, with your shady actions, and cowardly betrayals.” She looked at the map again. Now, whole world was on the move. Definitely. The question is, which side is going to be victorious? Will it be skill? Or luck? Both maybe. Who knows? She put the report on the pile, and grabbed another one.

                          Iga Harima. Ambassador of Nippon in Italy.
                          We have successfully passed the technology to the Romans. This should help them greatly when it comes to defending against Russians. Their situation looks grim, however the recent changes in Russia, along with their war with Egypt give us a glimpse of hope. Yet, for now nothing certain can be said.
                          All hail Nekomimi! All hail Nippon!

                          “So basically nothing special. It must be rough for them to fight such power.” Nekomimi wondered. “Still for now, we cannot do anything more right now. With our initial plan intercepted, military support is out of options. They have to manage on their own. At least for now.” She put the letter aside.

                          Uesugi Souryo.
                          My lady. In a small village, south of Osaka, an unusual baby was born. A girl, called Haruhi. She is supposed to be a God, having countless Yokai appearing and kneeling or bowing before her. We had confirmed it, seeing a group of Kitsune Yokai appearing before her small bed. They bowed, and presented her a skin of a big mountain fox as a present.
                          We have no idea what shall be done, we await for your orders.
                          All hail Nekomimi! All hail Nippon!

                          A traditional painting showing Kitsune Yokai.

                          “Well... this one is unusual” Hanekawa scratched her head. “A birth of a God is not what you witness every day. What should I do?” She wondered. She stood up and started walking around the table. It could be the least important thing happening right now, or the most. Gods... who know what they are going to do?
                          “Well playing safe won’t do any harm to us, will it?” She came to a conclusion few minutes later. She took a blank piece of paper and wrote an order.

                          Give the kid, and their family all they could ever need. Haruhi, along with her parents are now officially protected by Nekomimi Hanekawa, and any harm done to them will count as attacking or offending me. When the Yokai messengers stop appearing, ask them to move to the Royal Palace, so we can provide them with everything they need, including education and protection for the newborn God.

                          “That should do it. Helping one family is nothing for the budget, yet the support of the God may be priceless... if she will feel like doing so.” Hanekawa signed the letter, and put it in a special box, along with the original report. In the morning, her servants should pick them up, and act accordingly to her order. This was last of the reports that had to be dealt with today. More than unusual, but you can’t expect less with so many things happening around.
                          “Ok, that’s enough slacking around”, she said while yawning. She stood up, stretched and walked toward the wall. She moved the big map aside and opened the secret passage.

                          “It’s going to be a long night”, Empress complained, looking at the pile of reports lying on the table.

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                          • Nice work out there...

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                            • A crowd of black-clothed people was slowly gathering in front of the freshly-finished, spacious building, erected in the very heart of the Jewish quarter of Pergamon, right across from the local synagogue. Despite the rather chilly day, the discussion amongst the crowd was so heated that many foreheads were covered by sweat, dripping from under the brims of the hats. Not just anyone could come here, and they were the members of the wealthiest Jewish families in the city, and the topics discussed were of corresponding gravity...

                              "...Her birth occured at the exact year predicted by the scriptures... Could it be that the child of the God was born amongst the Japanese?"

                              "Don't blaspheme! How could it be, that the God had a daughter before a son! This is some freakish occurence, or maybe Japanese propaganda..."

                              "Well, there was a man who was claiming to be the son of the God, birthed around the same time... Turned out to be just a hoax, and the Egyptians have crucified him, as it befits a blasphemer..."

                              "But have you heard? A small following of that man had recently cropped out in France..."

                              "Those French, just more and more blasphemy..."

                              "Well, even the rabbies are somewhat split on these matters... But why should we delve into such delicate topics? We should be celebrating now! The French attack on Almora failed, and we still have the monopoly on the goods coming from the South...!"

                              "War is not a cause for celebration! Such harsh times, so many young people dying. Sure, they're pagans, but still. Thousands died in Almora, and hundreds more in Persian Gulf, where the Egyptians are said to have sunk a whole Russian fleet... One couldn't help but..."

                              Suddenly, a charismatic voice pierced the racket.

                              "Gentlemen! Please! Come to the table."

                              It was Aaron Zuckerman, the man who had invited everyone to this new office. The crowd slowly calmed down, occupying seats around the big table.

                              "I have asked you to come here, because I need your help. Before you protest, listen through... As everyone knows, business isn't too well in Pergamon. Silverbergs of Luxor have slowly pushed us into their shade, creating an unsurpassed fur empire. The situation in Thebes isn't too great either; Rotschilds are taking advantage of the recent market crash, and are wrestling the mead trade out of Egyptian hands, their French connections being a great help to them..."

                              The crowds started to murmur; everyone knew that.

                              "But!" He raised a finger. "I have an idea how to return to the leading position, as befitting of our fine city. They need a lot of money to keep their huge operations going... And we have a lot of money that is laying around, as there are no profitable investments to be made... we shall lend them that money!"

                              How groundbreaking was this idea, became only apparent in the following years of the 23rd Egyptian Century, as trade profits began to sharply rise, in all three cities, but by the widest margin, in Pergamon.
                              Last edited by Max_Smirnov; May 23, 2013, 05:15.

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                              • Our glorious invention had enormous impact on northern continent. Our printing press, allowing average citizen to educate and have a book on their own, made Great Theban Library look archaic. Even though this technology hasn’t reached their lands yet, these modernity obsessed people refused to use it anymore, sticking to their academies, universities and Galileo’s Telescope. As their previous wonder was neglected and no more books and parchments were added to its collection it quickly became nothing more than a big and beautiful building, without actual purpose.
                                Also, for some reason, the similar fate met French Via Appa. We do not know how did it happen, still this nation was again hit by bad luck. Fortunately it’s not as bad as the obsoleting of Labirynth, so I wouldn’t consider it a major issue.

                                Hanekawa finished reading the letter.
                                “As you may see, my dear friend, your invention made quite a ruckus far north. You should be proud.”
                                “I am, my lady. You have trusted me with scientific researches, so north doesn’t leave us behind, and I will never betray your trust in me.” Gutenberg answered while bowing.
                                “It’s better for you if you don’t. Mistakes are unacceptable. And how is your grand project doing?”
                                “Printing of the Great Bible? It is almost done. Soon whole world shall learn how Goddesses are leading Japan. I last few months, our country has printed more books, than Great Theban Library collected in hundreds of years!”
                                “Good. This should show them, not to consider themselves too... intelligent.”
                                Hanekawa stood up and walked towards the balcony. Johannes Gutenberg walked few steps behind her.
                                She looked at the city beneath her. Embraced by snow, was beautiful as always.
                                “This is what we should aim for.” She said, more to herself than her guest. “Education and wisdom for everyone. Educated citizens are beneficial to the whole country. Everyone knows the reasoning behind their work, their actions. So opposed to the Cleopatra, which restricted the knowledge to the few, and made them lead the country of fools.”
                                Old Jew was listening silently. He knew his words aren’t needed here. Words are like gold, and you don’t waste gold unnecessarily.
                                “Maybe she is going to understand it one day. They cannot resist such great innovation endlessly. Still it is our duty to make sure, that when they catch up to us we are one step ahead. I know you are old. However, even if you won’t be able to lead the scientific research any further, you must make sure your successor is a man worth being invested in. Do you understand?”
                                “Yes, my lady.”

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