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    Emperor Alexander II
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  1. "Ug Blug!" cries the sentimental Toruug. He weeps in his igloo.
  2. Thank you
  3. “The future of the nation lies in its children.” says Amleth.
  4. “Any Canonist of firm faith is expected to know and understand the text and teachings of the Holy Scrolls. As a bishop serving within the Church, this is doubly true for myself: much of my time is spent on diligent study and meditation of the sacrosanct collection. While I wear the robes of a holy man, I also wear the garbs of a student of history; most of my public writings deal in some regard to historical trends and political musings. Out of the four scrolls, therefore, none are more important to me than the Scroll of Gospel, the lifeblood of any contemporary study into the ancient histories of Mankind. Despite its antiquity, much of the archival chronicles detailing the times of Horen and Owyn remain desperately understudied in modern historical study. What I wish to bring to your attention, dear reader, is some of the fruits and struggles therefore of my own attempts at scholarly inquiry within the Scroll of Gospel. During one of my recent sessions of study, I came across this line: “Thus, the Word of GOD was kept for a thousand years of His Silence, and man’s purity of faith and blood was so sworn.” -Gsp. 4:62 For context, the latter verses of Chapter 4 in the Scroll of Gospel detail the waning end of Owyn’s war against his uncle Harren, the former’s familicide of the latter, and the consequences that burgeoned after. At initial glance, this line brings no controversy; in fact, it is a justification for why no prophets emerged between Owyn and his latter-day descendant Godfrey, one which is taken by nearly all Human scholars as historical fact. But the issue in this line does not lie with the ‘Age of Silence’ in of itself, rather a glaring conundrum which emerges when one attempts to discern the length of this age as without error. This short essay will be my elucidation of this issue and what I believe may rectify it according to contemporary historical methods and theological harmony. Although I am a bishop, I do not speak for the Church as a whole, and I leave any official views to the Curia and the High Pontiff to judge as they see fit, under the guidance of God and the Prophets. Instead, what shall be contained within this work shall solely be my own opinion. The Scroll of Gospel states that the “Word of GOD was kept for a thousand years”, which was only lifted upon the anointing of Godfrey as prophet. Also according to the scrolls, Godfrey received the laurels of prophethood shortly before being crowned King of Renatus by Reynard Lycian in 1361. Roughly, then, Godfrey’s ministry began sometime around 1360. However, if we take this literally, then Harren (a pureblooded human) would have been atleast 360 at the time of his death, with Owyn at the bare minimum over 200. This seemingly contradicts the Church’s teachings and scientific research which finds the average age of humans to be around 80-100, with at maximum reaching upwards to 150 with the aid of magick and medical advancements. This is also not to mention that, at the time of Horen’s death, Harren was an adult male who lived for an unspecified amount of time, meaning he already was of advanced age even before the count of time began. How can we rectify this? The first answer is that the Godfreyan Chronology is correct, and that the advanced ages of both Harren and Owyn can be due to the fact they lived during the time before Iblees’ curse. It can be reasoned that perhaps a lagging effect took place in which the first humans, while still having shortened life spans, were not as severely impacted by the Ibleean curse compared to contemporary humans born after such curse. However, there is no justification found for this in the Scrolls nor historical documentation. Further research would need to be elucidated within this field of study. The second answer is that the 1000 years ended sometime before Godfrey’s ministry began. While this may be contradictory to the reading of the Scrolls, it is not entirely far-fetched. We know in history that the Aengul Avalier wandered the earth atleast a century before Godfrey was called to the office of prophet (notably as well, the Aengul gave the people a text now considered a deuterocanonical work within the Church’s greater Canon). Godfrey’s grandfather, Daniel of Al Khazar, also experienced a miraculous event in his life which pushed him to abdicate and take the cloisters, spending the remainder of his life preaching the teachings of the Church. There is potential for argument to be made that either of these incidents show that the Age of Silence has ended, although the Scrolls do mention that saints and miracles still appeared to some degree during time between Owyn and Godfrey. Both the Danielian and Avalierian Chronology does not ultimately fix the issue at hand, but it does bring the years down to more manageable levels (300 and 200 respectively). Year 0 = (Death of Horen) Year 1360 = (Start of Godfrey’s Ministry) Godfreyan Chronology X (Death of Harren) + 1000 = 1360 (Start of Godfrey’s Ministry) X (Death of Harren) = ~360 Danielian Chronology X (Death of Harren) + 1000 = 1300 (Abdication of Daniel) X (Death of Harren) = ~300 Avalierian Chronology X (Death of Harren) + 1000 = 1200 (First Appearance of the Aengul Avalier) X (Death of Harren) = ~200 The third answer is that the 1000 years as written in the Scrolls should not be taken literally. Perhaps it is a translation of a Flexio term simply meaning ‘a very long time’. One would expect, however, the diligent work of St. High Pontiff James II to either give a better phrase to explicate this meaning or give a footnote in explanation of it. Though I do not intend to throw the charge of ignorance upon the late pontiff and his scribes, it could also be that the phrase was not understood to be figurative rather than literal. This would require some study of the original Flexio by those talented within the nuances of this ancient language. Either of these three answers, I believe, could be valid answers to this glaring contradiction within the Scroll of Gospel. Personally, I lean towards first answer: that the humans living before the curse and closely thereafter had longer lifespans (although not immortal like the other Descendants) and it somehow shortened over time to what it is today. As mentioned previously, this requires more studious efforts to justify. I leave this question to the fair scholars of this land, and I appreciate all thoughts, criticisms, and opinions. Prophets’ Blessing, Amleth, Bishop of Andrikev”
  5. Bishop Amleth sends a letter to Rigoberto stating his interest in conversing with him in the near future.
  6. “The human realms have been inflamed with passion in recent months. Even the lowly beggar of the streets has heard the recent allegations brought forth against King Aleksandr II, my current patron, about consorting with dark deities and bargaining for sinister relics. In fact, no matter where I turn, I hear the gossip in every walk of life. Within my archdiocese, a recent tribunal has been formed: the White Comet, tasked by the current patriarch and Lord Palatine Josef of Jorenus to investigate these rumors. I have opted to not partake in these investigations, the only Haeseni bishop to do so. The reasonings for such I shall detail below. First and foremost, with my conversations with undisclosed witnesses of the event in question, I believe without reasonable doubt that King Aleksandr II did entreat with members of an Ibleeic cult within his court. I am more skeptical however as to whether the monarch knew these individuals were associated with the dark arts. While negligence is no defense (in this case, ignorance), my lengthy service under King Aleksandr lends me credence to believe he knew not of their dark associations. Aleksandr is a rash and foolhardy man, filled with dreams of grandeur to be gained by the tip of the sword. I do not deny this. But is he a follower of dark teachings? Most likely not. Aleksandr has never been a keen student of theology; I do not suspect he has recently changed this disposition, even if promises of power were made. A question then emerges: if an individual does not know another individual is a dark magician, and gives him aid, is he at fault? Charges of heresy and heathenry usually require intent either purposely or knowingly. But what if the individual is simply negligent, either due to ignorance or arrogance? Legally, for me, this is a difficult subject. Within Canon Law, those not raised in the teachings of the Church due to the ignorance of their upbringing are still allowed within the First Sky. So, in theory, there seems to be a form of leeway or forgiveness for those who unknowingly sin. But salvation for an ignorant tribal is a vastly different question to unwitting support of a known nefarious group. In an ideal world, a jurisdictional court would investigate with unbiased intent, and with diligent study of past precedent and the magisterial teachings, an answer could emerge which will bring this difficult question to a close. This is not an ideal world, however. The irony can be spotted in the very name of the tribunal established by Josef to investigate in-house the allegations: the White Comet. The name stems from the legend of St. Tobias, where pilgrims prayed for the salvation of the corrupted and decayed city of Aldersberg, only for a white comet to destroy it in a miraculous event. Yet when the pilgrims came to investigate the cosmic meteorite, it turned black, as dark as obsidian. This is, I believe, a fitting allegory to the current predicament. Ideally, the Church without partisan interference would investigate and give a just judgment. Yet we do not live in the world of the ideal; no, we operate in a world of the real, of physical passions, desires, and ambitions. When the comet came from the Skies, it was white and pure. But when it reached the physical plane, crashed onto the corrupted earth, its allure changed to reflect the petty sin of this world. Any investigation into the acts of King Aleksandr will be and have been so far divided by partisan politics, spurred on by political realities and personal vendettas. In one camp, many within Haense and its outside supporters shut out any outside interference and even deny the allegations outright; they are simply attacks against their sovereign, who has treated them right and fair. Any twisted comment against Aleksandr is simply stemming from political rivals serving on the short-end of Aleksandr’s reasonably successful foreign policies in the last decades. In the other camp, many cry for Aleksandr to be deposed; he has been judged guilty without trial. I have even heard of people clamoring that a crusade should be called to bring down the king, a ridiculous proposition to be sure. These partisans use the recent crisis to rally support for their own oppositional causes, especially regarding the recent rebellion by the neo-Burgundians. No matter the theology, the teachings of the Church, or the jurisprudence of legalism, this debacle is highly political, polarized to the extremes. Doubt and cynicism fill my bones. Any group, whether in Haense or staffed by an outside committee, will most likely find in favor of whatever political color they identify with. So I am stuck. No direction seems to direct their way out. And in this, I have chosen to not participate in any official manner. Ultimately, only God knows true justice, and if Aleksandr did commit grievous and knowing sin, he shall lament for all days in the abyss of the void. If he did not, he shall be forgiven and join his forebearers in the Skies above. Instead, I sit and pray. No matter the outcome, I only hold the slimmer of hope that any true justice will be achieved on the earth. The comet will turn black in the world, and only in the Skies Above can we truly see its purity in all its glory. In the words that are inscribed on the Palatine's bulava: 'Only death is fair.' Prophets’ Blessings, Amleth, Bishop of Andrikev”
  7. Lord Otto ( @Dogged) clarified to Toruug that the baby was not food but in fact a friend. It took him some time to register, and he was locked in the stables for some months as a precaution.
  8. "What a ******* idiot." says Toruug, an old Haense veteran since the days of Saint Karl.
  9. I haven't been too active, so I can't really state whether the diffusion of roleplay is readily apparent to the degree in this post. I just know that, the couple times I've been on, I just start doing goofy ass roleplay and I can typically get a group of 10+ people around me. Maybe it's a boomer habit of making your own roleplay, idk.
  10. “Some years back, I wrote a brief essay regarding my opinions on the “A.D.D.F.A.”, detailing the perceived hypocrisy of the declaration and its dealings with the political theory of anti-Imperialism. I mentioned only briefly arguments made both for and against the establishment of a singular human state, commonly called and henceforth referred to as “Oren.” It is prudent to enter into more detail regarding this debate. In the text herein, I shall expound what I have found to be the most prevalent cases made on the side of the pro-Imperialists. A later work shall engage with the ideas of post-Orenism, or the ideology that rejects the concept of Oren in whole or in part. In summary, Orenism is the belief that the human races should be united into a singular polity. The form of government that this state takes can range from an autonomous confederation with significant freedoms to imperial subdivisions, to a federative monarchy of balanced powers between crown and province, and lastly to a unitary state with a highly centralized bureaucracy. Traditionally, it is led by a singular monarch who passes the throne to their eldest child through primogeniture succession, although a brief era of elective monarchy occurred during the reigns of Emperor Tobias and Emperor Alexander I. The monarch of Oren was historically styled as “King of Oren'' since the first reunification by Daniel of Al Khazar, but since the reign of Emperor Godfrey I the honor of “Holy Orenian Emperor” (and to a lesser extent, “Emperor of Man”) has been vastly preferred by titleholders in early modern history. Throughout the historiography of Oren, numerous appeals have been made towards the legitimacy of a united human polity. Many of these are interrelated and commonly the regime at the time will use a mixture of most if not all to justify their reign. I have boiled these down to five primary theories. Other perspectives and reasonings exist, both historically and contemporaneously. This therefore is not an exhaustive list, but those I consider the most commonly used both past and present. Mandation Theory (Rule by Divine Right) “[T]he Emperor is bestowed a dignity beyond all honors, for it is a dignity bestowed by God [. . .] By the nature of his body, the Emperor is alike to other men--but by his authority, he is above all others, and no man can claim greater jurisdiction. The Imperial Office is that of the Lord’s viceregent in this world [. . .]” -Prince-Father Charles Polycarp, archbishop and father of Emperor John I[1] The claim of receiving divine right to rule is an primordial concept. Origins of rulers receiving the guarantee of rulership from God can be found in the Canon Scrolls, specifically in the anointing of the four prophets. All of these sanctioned hierophants held temporal powers by virtue of holding domain over kingdoms and empires, from which their legitimacy to rule against would-be rivals stemmed from a divinely-ordained mandate. Nearly all contemporary monarchs today claim celestial legitimacy to rule in one way or another. While modern nations may include rites such as swearing oaths to defend the rights of the people or other legalist pomp, the coronation of the monarch and the baptism of their head in holy water remains the most crucial part of their enthronement. Oren is no exception to this phenomenon. Important to note that still within Canon Law, the Holy Orenian Emperor can only be crowned and enthroned by the sole discretion of the High Pontiff. No other royal pedigree in humanity bears this rigorous stipulation. A question therefore arises: while all kingdoms and fiefs maintain their dignities through a perceived divine right, what separates them from the higher role of ruler of Oren? Humanity has maintained an ideology that, due to their descent from the only faithful brother of the Four Descendants, that there is a divine blessing upon the race as a whole. Since atleast the time of Emperor Godfrey I and perhaps even earlier to the reign of Daniel of Al Khazar, this transcendent mission came unified with an idea that this objective is best achieved through a unified Oren. As written by Albanus Cuptor, “Horen’s kind, also known as Humanity is by divine right instructed to spread the word of the Canon to the other descendant races, because they have found other idols of worship, this is true even today. It was because of Horen’s steadfast faith that this is so. This is why and how Humankind is believed to be the chosen race. It wasn’t until Exalted Godfrey Horen, that Human unification became a major Human ideal. He united Seventis, Salvus, Hanseti and Renatus, offering all Human states a choice, vassalize under him peacefully or be conquered.” -Albanus Cuptor, Canonist priest and member of the Cult of Owyn[2] Oren therefore became a religious ideal. The Emperor is vested in an office of sacred grandeur, tasked with keeping the ethnicities and tribes of mankind together. Unity of the human tribes best fulfilled the mission of proselytization, promulgation, and defense of the Canonist faith. Pictures of this belief can be found in scripture. Throughout the Canon Scrolls, jubilation is given when humanity is united; likewise, pain and suffering is seen when this state is divided apart. A powerful delineation of this can be found in High Pontiff James II’s missive regarding the secession of the Kingdom of Haense under Emperor Joseph II, “Nevertheless, here is still a division of the Sons of Horen, and so we should also weep with our celebrations. Each of the Exalted fought to ensure humanity was united--in the scripture, when the kingdoms of man are divided from their brothers, it is treated as an exceedingly tragic thing. ‘So the Kingdom of Oren, the patrimony of Horen’s people, was shattered across the world.’ (Godfrey 6:4) And each time they are united under God, that is a cause for celebration. ‘Thus mankind was united in virtue, in the highlands and the heartlands, and in the farthest homes of the sons of Horen.’ (Godfrey 6:33)” -High Pontiff James II[3] A common archetype in justifying Oren as divinely ordained rests in the mystical saying, “As above, so below; as below, so above.” The Seven Skies are ruled by a singular God, yet divided into multiple sections of the valiant dead and faithful aenguls, each with their own traits, quirks, and virtues. Much like the one God rules the heavenly multitude, so too does an Emperor rule the vast diverse masses of man, regardless of cultural ties and separations. As Polycarp wrote, “[t]he Imperial Office is the Lord’s viceregent in this world” and it is a logical conclusion from this that the Emperor, in a way, acts as God does in maintaining distinct branches into an exclusive whole. Yet there is a difference between Oren being a divinely ordained state to unify humanity and a singular Emperor being divinely ordained to lead this unified humanity. Although we can argue that Oren is spiritually mandated from above, how does one know the leader of such a polity is the chosen “viceregent” as expounded by Polycarp? A quite extreme answer can be found in the highly criticized writings of High Pontiff Daniel III, scribed shortly before his death, “The blood of the Prophets ran thick with GOD's heavenly mandate. Many Emperors and Kings have reigned over the realms of men, but only the divine blood of the Prophets wields the right to rule over mankind. The blood of Owyn, Horen, Godfrey and Sigismund runs through the veins of the Imperial Household, and the Emperor. While the High Pontiff is selected by right of the previous Pontiff's divine right, the Emperor of Mankind is selected by the divine right of exalted blood. The Holy Orenian Emperor always must be the blood of the Prophets, and of all the men in the world, only the House of Horen wields all of the Prophet's blood.” -High Pontiff Daniel III[4] For High Pontiff Daniel III, it is blood descent from the prophets which guarantees that the ruler in question is divinely ordained as the rightful princeps hujus mundi. However, despite this argument being popular during the early days of Emperors Godfrey I and Sigismund, this answer was rejected both during Daniel III’s time and after. A serious blow in this idea came in the civil wars between Horen princes stretching from the fall of the Johannian dynasty by death of John VI and the War of Two Emperors which pitted branches of the Hominids against each other. In a world where now countless noble clans claim direct patrilineal descent from prophets, which then are the lawful designees of God’s mandate? An important critique of bloodright as the sole indication of divine right came in the stories of Harren and his conflict with his nephew Owyn. Despite Harren being the eldest son of Prophet Horen, God seemingly turns away from him due to the former’s excesses and rejection of the laurels of prophethood. Divine right, despite any claim of lineal inheritance, can be taken away. This nuanced position can be best elucidated in the writings of Brandt Barclay, “In my view, the idea of divine right can be traced back to a binding contract between the ruler and the people they govern. This contract involves a sacred pact between the two parties [. . .] The idea of divine right thus originates from such a pact. Instead of being tied solely to inheritance or election, divine right is a conferred mandate of God that is assumed through just governance. This means that a ruler must govern with justice and fairness, protecting the rights of the citizens, and ensuring their safety and well-being. In return, the citizens give their consent to be governed, and the ruler is entrusted with the responsibility of upholding the pact, thus earning their title of 'Dei Gratia'.” -Brandt Barclay, courtier and vassal prince of King James of Aaun[5] A ruler who maintains mandate to exert power and authority, for Barclay, comes from an innate pact between the governor and the governed (this is quite similar to Populist Theory, see below). However, whether just governance leads to the being protected by divine right or if divine right emanates justice in rulership is a question of debate. Despite this, the righteous monarch being seen as Polycarp’s “viceregent” remains perhaps the most popular stance of this philosophy. A ruler perceived as unjust is dismissed as lacking any higher mandate, and throughout the numerous civil wars that have raged in the lands of Oren, sinful indulgence becomes a common critique to lay at enemies and rivals for the throne. A note on the history of the relationship between Emperor, Oren, and the religious establishment should be detailed. Historically speaking, the institution of the Emperor maintained a status of spiritual authority which supersedes kings and, at times, the High Pontiff. For example, the Hansetian king Mark referred to Emperor Godfrey I as a “God-Emperor” during his lifetime, and indeed Godfrey held vast authoritative control over the nascent church during his reign. The head of the Canonist Church during the time of Emperor Sigismund, Radomar (himself a son of Sigismund and later King of Oren in his own right as Francis), declared the Carrion monarch divine as well in papal bull. A more modern movement occurred through the controversial visions of High Pontiff Daniel III (another imperial prince as son of Emperor John I), although these were later rescinded by successor pontiffs and Daniel was deposed from the holy see. Clamoring became apparent during the time of Emperor Aurelian that laity and lower clergy intended to declare him divine, so much so that High Pontiff Sigismund was forced to make public condemnation of the movement. The institution of the Church has commonly played a role as agents of the Orenian state. The religious establishment was effectively under implicit state control under Emperor Godfrey I and his immediate successors, an inheritance from the previous Kingdom of Oren established by Godfrey’s grandfather Daniel of Alkhazar. The controversial High Pontiff Owyn I gave his inheritance to the future Emperor Sigismund, laying the foundation for the rise of the Carrion dynasty to imperial dignity. The Chivay regime of Emperors Peter I and Robert I, much like their predecessors Emperors Godfrey I and Orian, placed the Church as effective vassals to the Imperial Crown. The faith-condoned Canonist League laid the groundwork for Andrik Vydra to declare himself king of a reestablished Oren. Members of the high clergy orchestrated the assassination of Guy de Bar which directly led to the ascension of Emperor John I. It was by direct intervention of High Pontiff Daniel VI that raised both Emperors Alexander II and Peter III to their station after the destructive War of Two Emperors ended. Additionally, Imperial state actors supported the Church’s condemnation of the Lendian rite in Haense, indirectly using the hysteria to stamp out dissent against the Empire under Emperors Peter III and Joseph II. In some cases, the exchange between Oren and faith have been downright hostile. Most famously, High Pontiff Regulus and soldiers of the Order of Saint Lucien orchestrated a coup d’etat against Francis of Oren (referred to today as the Franciscan Massacre), eventually leading to the installation of Emperor Peter I on the throne. The erstwhile High Pontiff Sixtus III has been suspected to have been murdered under orders of Guy de Bar for his tacit support of rebels in the Dukes’ War. Emperor John III deposed High Pontiff Theodosius for agitation against the state. When claims of Emperor Aurelian’s divinity emerged, High Pontiff Sigismund spoke in heavy criticism, also leading to his dismissal from office. A united conspiracy between Oren and Haense overthrew the unpopular High Pontiff Owyn III. In recent memory, High Pontiff Everard VI excommunicated Emperor Philip III, leading to a decade-long war and the eventual downfall of the Novellen dynasty. Despite this, Emperors have vied for religious legitimacy. The validity of the reigns of Emperors Godfrey I and Sigismund came from their reestablishment of the Church of the Canon after periods of turmoil. When High Pontiff Regulus rejected the petition from Francis to coronate him, Francis raised up his own pontiff in order to validate his rule. The ascension of Emperor Peter I and the Chivay dynasty came about with promises to clean the corruption of the current church. Likewise, Andrew Vydra only received immense support for his declaration of himself as king after leadership of the Canonist League in the Schism War. When Guy de Bar was assassinated, one of the first actions Emperor John I did was seek a coronation from High Pontiff Daniel II. It was the initial refusal of High Pontiffs Clement III and Everard IV which delayed Emperor Aurelian’s attempts to enthrone himself in the Imperial office. Lastly, at the onset of the War of Two Emperors, the first actions done by claimants Joseph I and Godfrey II was to be crowned by their respective partisan pontiffs. As seen, the relationship between secular and religious institutions within Oren waxes and wanes, typically spurred by political trends at the time. However, the status of the monarch of Oren retained an extraordinary clerical power unheard of now in modern temporal leadership. The numinous nature of the Imperial office was something heralded to frequently and used both in creating legitimacy and exercising real, authoritative power. Even today, an ethereal virtue of imperium remains prolific in the modern imagination. Naturalist Theory (Tapestry of Man) “The tapestry of man is a unity. It is one whole, made of composite parts. This aged piece of cloth, centuries old, shows itself in whole against its pessimistic critics. It teaches us of the falsehood of those vipers who would declaim the profound unity at the core of mankind, and the Empire which it has forged through time.” -Emperor Joseph II[6] The view that Oren is the natural, most pure form of humanity is not a new concept. In fact, one may see a naturalist view on Oren as a secular outgrowth of the previously detailed Mandation Theory. However, instead of the religious mandate of the former, many statesmen have harkened instead to a national patriotism, one in which sees Oren as the purest form of nationalist tendencies made manifest. Instead of relying on faith alone, common culture and heritage is made paramount to the validity of a human polity. The vitality of national pride can be found in the works of Edward Winter, who saw it as crucial towards the stability and health of any state, “The success of righteous human nations can be traced back to a single unifying principle: national pride. This can usually be identified in an environment in which it arises in response to a common enemy, and in which culture is encouraged.” -Edward Winter, Imperial statesman and vassal prince to five Emperors[7] Common in appealing to the nationalist pride of Oren is the importance placed among the disparate cultures and individual men of the state. Numerous estates ranging from soldiers, merchants, and farmers are presented as citizens par excellence. Duty to one’s occupation is loyalty to the state. Oren in this regard is frequently equated to a physical body: each organ or part plays an intrinsic role in maintaining the whole. A quote from Augustus Montfort sums this up clearly, “When the tides of heathens crash against the gray-stone bulwarks and red-clay, it is the merchant, the farmer, the noble’s son, and the priest’s brother, not the mercenary’s vicious blade, who bloody their arms in the gore of the enemy. It is the Adrian citizen-soldier, the Savoyard orderman, the Akovian veteran who stand on the battlements, not a stout paragon forgotten by time. The citizens of Oren are pious, noble, and loyal, and it is from their ceaseless spirit and bravery that I source my patriotism. It is from their courageous heart and faithful soul that our nation takes its exceptional character. It is because of the people of Oren that our kingdom, our country, will always remain great.” -Augustus Montfort, a follower of Andrik Vydra and later supporter of Hughes de Sarkozy[8] Engaging in these arguments attempts to not only show unity amongst ethnic differences, but also tries to show that these differences are simply parts of a greater identity. This binding identity which all humans share is a natural urge which can be found in all of mankind. Evoking this instinct is crucial to all projects which aim to establish and maintain an Orenian government. Generally, this is done in the presence of a foreign enemy or rebellious agitation against the current regime. An example of this can be found during the latter days of the Savoyard dynasty when dealing with the pother of the Dukes’ War and Hughes de Sarkozy’s fail claim to the throne, “[Patriotism] is the foundation of the Common Man’s disposition. A fire burns bright within his heart and so he fulfills his role for Oren, and needs no further inspiration from coin. [. . .] This fundamental patriotism, however, describes not only the warrior that risks his life on the field of battle, but also the man that toils in the field or in the mill for his liege lord. Where would our noble nation be without the men that make up our backbone?- providing food, armor, weapons, and materials in the name of progress and Orenic industry.” -Matthias de Lyon, courtier and agent of Guy de Bar and the Savoyard dynasty[9] As seen above, fervor for bellicose loyalty to Oren has been since the very early days of the national institution. Yet this philosophy did not reach maturity until the rise of the Novellen dynasty, which was perhaps the first real Imperial regime to face ethnic agitation on a large scale. The most potent snippet of this idea is found deriving from the aforementioned Armas: “To be human is to be an Orenian.” He further writes, “No student of history can finish his letters without becoming such, because when humanity is united and working towards a shared goal, anything is possible. The only circumstance in which this can be done is through a central, governing authority that both charters the rights of its subjects while also requiring them to, in part, defer their own interests to that of the collective and the whole. This is the purpose of Oren - a collaboration to achieve greatness.” -Frederick Armas, Imperial statesman and tutor to Emperor Joseph II[10] In the advent of ethnic nationalism, carried throughout the provincial reaches of the Empire (it’s most famous exemplar being the Kingdom of Haense), Imperial philosophers and political theorists turned to fully fleshing out an argument that Oren, very much from being an artificial concept, was in fact the most natural and pure state of mankind. For them, to be faithfully human was to be a supporter of Oren. The ancient status of this inheritance was highlighted in many of the writings of the day. For example, in Simon Basrid’s resignation speech he gave upon leaving the office of Archchancellor, he specifically mentioned, “Our Oren is unique among all realms as the living legacy of the Exalted Horen, a land of prophets, the keeper of all man’s apostolic traditions. Each of us are custodians to the great Tapestry of Man, gifted to us by our ancestors, passed onto our children, that serves as the chronicle of being. So long as every fellow is committed to protecting this state, so will our histories, culture, and way of life endure.” -Simon Basrid, Imperial statesman who served as Archchancellor to Emperor Peter III[11] Like when a father passes the mantle of his estate to his son, so too is Oren a gift passed down from generation to generation. It is natural for a son to maintain and perhaps even garner further gains in what he inherits; does this tract of thinking not then also follow with Oren? This Tapestry of Man has been woven since the days of creation, and it is the responsibility of every thread within it to keep its vibrancy and allure.. Those who come loose from the bindings are, as Emperor Joseph II put, simply “vipers.” If the argument is accepted that humanity by nature of its common blood is to be united, how does this unity maintain itself in effective praxis? More specifically, what structure of governance should Oren retain? Oren as a monarchy has always been the dominant answer, yet opinions vary on the power of the Imperial office and its varying vassals, princes, and institutions. In the days of Emperor Godfrey I, Oren existed as a de facto confederation of numerous sub-states and autonomous regions. Each province retained its own militaries, knightly orders, and structures of internal governance. Fast forward to the time of the last Imperial dynasty, the Novellens, and Oren has become a highly centralized bureaucratic state, where military and public policy is solely exercised by a unitary power. This is not to mention the existence of democratic institutions such as the Imperial Diet, which operated in varying capacities from Emperor Aurelian to the final days of Emperor Philip III. An Emperor absolute in power has led to numerous rebellions, such as the provincial uprisings coordinated by claimant Emperor Joseph I against Emperor Anthony after the latter razed the city of Ves or the Dukes’ War of Hughes de Sarkozy who raised the banner of dissent when Olivier de Savioe refused to punish his courtiers. Unitary currents in Imperial governance is also what drove the Kingdom of Haense to secession during the reign of Emperor Joseph II. Yet an Imperial office which does not project real power also has fallen prey to hardship. Emperor William could not wrangle his own princes to remain loyal, and much of the Anarchy under Emperor John II were discontented landowners that carried the ability to amass powerful levies and hire mercenary armies. Ultimately, however, the question of the structure of Oren’s government is outside the purview of this essay. Another question presented is what separates Emperor Joseph II’s “vipers” from those justified in disobedience against the current ruling government. The Novellen regime under Joseph II rested on many of the arguments and supporters of Emperor Joseph I’s failed bid to the Imperial office, done through a bloody and destructive civil war. The arbitrary tyranny of Emperor Anthony was taken for granted, and it was seemingly apparent that this despotism must be overthrown. Years later, a similar rebellion broke out in Sedan, with many middling landowners citing remarkably parallel critiques that were given by the Marnantine faction in the War of Two Emperors. This uprising, however, was crushed and dismantled by Emperor Joseph II through military means. Is this simply a pragmatic approach: that judgment of the ruling caste is only legitimate when one is not in power or stakes their claim from said criticism? Or is there a deeper philosophical definition which can limn a statutory category for just and unjust rebellion? One could say the tyrannical reaches of the Novellens were far surpassed by Emperor Anthony and his predecessor Pertinaxi, but this would be a broad stroke of history. The Burning of Ves was a tragedy for the ages, but did it truly supersede moments in history such as Emperor Godfrey I’s pillaging of Malinor, the forceful expulsion and destruction of the nobility under Emperor Sigismund, or the chain of assassinations by agents of Emperor John I to cement his control of the nascent Empire? Lastly, I also wish to end on the note of whether Oren is truly legitimate if it controls all of the lands of humanity or if a state of Oren can validly exist when independent realms of mankind exist outside its explicit and implicit control. Much of the drama during the reign of Emperor Tobias consisted of his attempts to bring the Hansetian princes, led by the Rovin family, back into the fold of his Empire, to which he succeeded albeit only for a short time. Later in history, heavy critique and blame was placed on the shoulders of Emperor John V who failed to subdue rebellions in the south, which exacerbated plots against him by powerful landowners and vassals. Perhaps the most famous example in the contemporary mind is the secession of Haense from the Novellen-ruled Empire, which again placed heavy burden on the legitimacy of their rule as Emperors. This is also not to mention, of course, the constant existence of non-Canonist human polities which continuously exist outside the purview of Imperial control, such as the distant northern clans of Orvar and Rurikid or the Rashidun followers of the Qali (although these groups have at times been under Imperial vassalage, such as the case under Emperors John I, Aurelian, and Alexander II). If human nations exist outside of Oren, is Oren as a “nation of humanity” henceforth illegitimate? And if Oren can co-exist with these independent polities, is then Oren truly a “nation of humanity”? If it is simply a title used by rulers that does not perform any extraordinary purposes, such as the arguments found in the Tapestry of Man tradition, then the aforementioned idea begins to fall apart. Realistic and pragmatic expectations do have to be taken into account, however. Fortunes rise and fall through time, and perhaps a handful of rebellious polities does not negate the intention for a state which calls itself Oren to one day bring them back into the safety of their bosom: whether through diplomacy or by force. Even with these considerations taken into account, this is a question that has bore little answer from the writings of philosophers and thinkers. Regardless, the Tapestry of Man remains a common hallmark of political writing into the present day. States such as Haense, Aaun, and Balian continuously reference it in their edicts, decrees, and other works made by citizens of their nations. The greatest feat of the Novellen dynasty may indeed be their contribution towards the natural nationalism that Oren presents. Whether or not it is truly feasible, it remains a powerful motivation and ideal that continues to influence thinkers and politicians alike. Legitimist Theory (Oren as Bloodright) “But Eshtael said ‘Lo, wickedness cannot undo what wickedness has done. Your home shall never return in your life. But know that God is great, and the waters of Gamesh are His creation. He names the pure and the impure, the good and the evil. He names you His prophet, Godfrey of the line of Horen.’” -Gospel 6:17-21[12] As previously mentioned, Oren as a state has only ever existed as a monarchy, led by a singular ruler who at times has had varying influence and power on the state which he rules. Due to the feudal framework which has existed in humanity since time immemorial, this trend is logical. Traditionally, nearly all human-dominated polities have been controlled by an assortment of nobility which pass their titles through blood inheritance, typically via primogeniture succession. Some instances of republican systems have existed in the past, such as Galmore and Ves, but even they are heavily influenced by patrician clans who tend to monopolize power within the government. For all intents and purposes, humanity has been and most likely will remain a society centered on strong hierarchical families. As government structures are hyper-focused on inheritance thanks to its aristocratic substratum, a question emerges as to who rightfully bears claim to a title. And a lofty position such as Holy Orenian Emperor only aggravates this ponderance. Any student of history will know the countless civil wars which have sprung from this bloody query. From the invasion of the Tarus family to overthrow Emperor Sigismund, the Franciscan Massacre, the Vibian Coup, the rebellion which ousted Emperor Alexander I and the Schism War which sprung from it, the Massacre of Wetts and the fruits of the Dukes’ War, the assassination of Guy de Bar and the subsequent Horen Restoration, the Anarchy of Emperor John II, the chaos of the Mardonic era and the child-slaughter of Emperor John VI, the brutal conquests of Emperor Aurelian, the War of Two Emperors and the Time of Troubles, and finally the turmoil of the Rubern War and the attempted invasion of Godric Rurikid. All of these and even more examples show the critical importance people throughout the ages have placed on “rightful inheritance.” Not only this is that defining what constitutes this “rightful inheritance” is rife with conflicting perspectives. As summarized by the historian Ebs Telrunya, “The most striking finding of the study is the paucity of ‘ideal’ successions. Instead, the succession of the Holy Orenian Emperor is more often characterized by discord, political crisis. While there has been a recent run of mostly peaceful transfers of power, this has been the exception, not the rule. The succession of the Imperial Throne appears to be incredibly unstable, and there is a ~15% chance of a succession resulting in the dissolution of the Empire, and that increases to just under 20% when excluding those successions classified as ascensions to the Imperial throne due to the constitution or reconstitution of the Empire. However, excluding those same cases would produce a rate of 27% for the passage of the crown from father to son or grandson, better though still not spectacular.” -Ebs Telrunya, Elven scholar and antiquarian of human history[13] Many families who have ruled Oren have come and gone, and commonly claims derive from blood descent from one of these ancient clans. The most important of these applications towards Imperial dignity are educed from familial kinship with the Canonist prophets. As previously noted, all prophets recognized by the Church of the Canon have served in one way or another as rulers of a united humanity. That direct blood from a previous prophet gives superior claim is a legal concept of timeless antiquity. Found in the Canon Scrolls, Harren Horenson, the eldest son of Prophet Horen, was first seen as the natural inheritor of his realm. When Harren denied the laurels of prophethood, the claim then passed to the senior claimant of Horen’s family at the time, his grandson Owyn Godwinson through his second son Godwin Horenson. Later in history, when Godfrey reunited Oren and declared himself Emperor, much of his legitimacy rested on being the senior member of Owyn’s family through the male line. Prophetic lineage remains a common appeal, and some even considered it the exclusive right which permits an individual to take the Imperial office. As seen below, “Imbued with the prophetic tongue, Godfrey I Horen carved out what would be known as the First Orenian Empire; the magnum opus of all civilizations to come. Only the heir of Horen and those it blessed could inherit EMPIRE, the culmination of all Mankind in their greatest form. Soon thereafter, Black Dragon smote the enemies of Humanity. With the blood of Horen seated upon the throne, all who stood against failed. The safety and hegemony of Horen was cemented as status quo, from days past to present breathing.” -Anonymous, a brief snippet from a pamphlet encouraging the worship of the divine nature of the House of Horen[14] We can see that Oren, separate from an idealistic vision, is a right given through blood claim, specifically rooted in prophetic lineage. While this concept is criticized by some, it is undeniable that it brings about a natural sense of legitimacy to the eyes of the masses. Even families which did not claim prophetic lineage from Owyn still made their links known. The Carrion family for example used the prophethood of their founder Emperor Sigismund to cement their own fatidic claim to the throne on numerous occasions. Another unrelated family, the Chivays, used their close ties as companions of Emperor Godfrey I to also shore up their licitness in taking the throne. Most curiously as well, a miracle is recorded that Godrey had appeared in a miraculous vision to on-viewers in the Imperial capital, a story that was well recorded as proof of Emperor Peter I’s righteous ascension. Exceptions do exist to this general trend. When Daniel of Alkhazar abdicated to take the cloth, the heir was not his son, but rather a powerful landowner from the House of Perea. Similarly, after the death of Pompey Perea, another influential noble from the House of Sheffield was chosen instead of his offspring. This trend was briefly broken by Edmund Sheffield when he designated his eldest son Enor as heir, although this was itself foregone when the warlords Gaius Marius and Ezekial Tarus divided Oren amongst themselves. Later on, upon the conclusion of the Schism War, Andrew Vydra declared himself King of Oren, resting his claim upon his successful leadership of the Canonist League. When Vydra was assassinated, he chose the aristocrat Olivier de Savioe to inherit him. Olivier also chose his heir not from his own children, but instead appointed his distant cousin Guy de Bar to succeed him. Since Daniel of Al Khazar, over 13 families have claimed the monarchy of Oren (whether as Kings or Emperors). Since Emperor Godfrey I, houses which have sat on the Imperial throne include Horen, Carrion, Chivay, Horen of Alstion (Johannians), Horen of Helane (Pertinaxi), Horen of Marna, Horen of Sedan, and Novellen. The most prevalent among this list are the Horens descending from Godfrey, now split into a multitude of disparate branches and clans. Novellen, although of Sarkozic blood from the agnatic line, also staked their claim through enatic descent from Empress Anne (daughter of Emperor Peter III and member of the House of Helane). Only the families of Carrion and Chivay can be considered as separate dynastical entities in their entirety. The question of rightful legitimacy for a particular dynasty is a tricky one, made difficult due to the rampant fragmentation of classical dynasties into numerous cadet branches. For instance, much of the turmoil that occurred since the Sixth Empire and leading to the rise of the Novellen dynasty can be chalked to a feud between numerous cousins of the Horen family. Today, the House of Horen can be divided into multiple subfamilies. The Johannian branch is led by seniority through the royal House of Alstion, while their junior branch of the House of Sedan continues to survive as vassals to the former. Multiple clans from the Pertinaxi persist as well, although the chiefest of whom that maintains any viable political power is the House of Aert, the undisputed leaders of the heartland realm of Veletz and Adria. The Marnantine branch is considered extinct after the War of Two Emperors, although legitimized baseborn lines exist (such as the House of Arkent). Novellen as well has fallen to division. A branch of the family that supported the short-lived Emperor Peter IV escaped southward to establish their own kingdom, continued on by the House of Balian (who notably still style themselves “Princes of the Holy Orenian Empire”). Another descends from the rebellious younger brother of Peter IV who claimed the throne as King Frederick of Oren, now called the House of Stassion and operates in an independent heartland principality. A third branch, the House of the Petra, also remains in the heartlands and rules as monarchs in their own right. Other lines from Novellen do exist, although they do not retain the same power or political legitimacy as the previous three. Carrion is represented by the chiefest of the crowlords, the House of Bihar, descendants of Emperor Alexander I who have ruled Haense for numerous centuries. Other branches are either sworn banners of Bihar or of unremarkable authority and influence. The Chivay dynasty today is all but extinct. Modern cadets may persist in one way or another, but they are of little contemporary relevance. Whether any of these aforementioned families hold senior claims amongst the rest is beyond the purpose of this essay. It is (rightfully) a hotly debated topic. However, that may be, it is important to note that numerous blood claimants to a potential Oren restoration exist. Populist Theory (Pax Orenia) “Humanity, created by God in the image of His Prophets, is bestowed upon through His Divine Power the guaranteed, inalienable rights of Man, held above all law and rule. Through the power of the Imperial Crown, they are enforced and protected immaculate and indefinite, only transgressed by committing a mortal sin.” -Emperor Joseph I[15] The tumultuous reign of Emperor Anthony sparked a new movement of thought in Oren which broke from original appeals towards faith, blood, and nationalism. This theory rooted itself in the burgeoning beliefs of liberal ideals, where the safeguard and protection of individuals became paramount. The would-be claimant Emperor Joseph I first began this approach through his declaration of the “Rights of Man”, which enshrined within law that Oren was not simply an authority to be obeyed, but a government with sacred duty to the protection of those it claims to rule. Unlike the previous separatist movements which plagued Oren in the past, the new Josephism did not deny the need of an Empire, and in fact defended its existence vehemently. Rather, it saw Oren as a requirement towards true peace: an establishment of a benign Pax Orenia. The term “Pax Orenia” can be found as early as the 16th century, although a strain of jingoism continued to proliferate in Oren which left the name altogether a simple term for imperialism. Use of “Pax Orenia” as meaning the protection of the lives and rights of people within Oren burgeoned forth in response to the destruction wrought in the aftermath of the War of Two Emperors, which soured many to continued revanchism against historical enemies and potential conquests. Divided humanity, to those subscribing to this philosophy, simply wrought further wars, conflicts, and bloodshed. In responding to the rebellion in eastern Oren, the poet Dietrich van Jungingen wrote, “The continued existence of Oren speaks to its almost transcendent longevity and incredible immortality – whenever it ceases to exist, there will always be those who succeed in ensuring it returns. The Empire is therefore worth fighting for; it is the ultimate symbol of humanity’s desire to create and maintain a strong union of peoples. Oren brings peace. Oren brings order. Oren brings prosperity.” -Dietrich van Jungingen, Haeseni poet and philosopher during the reign of Emperor Peter III[16] For Jungingen, “Oren brings peace”, and it is only with Oren that this peace can be achieved. But what does this peace mean? Is peace simply the control of humanity by a powerful lord, who subjugates any opposition through militaristic means? Or is there something else which must underline this Pax Orenia to be legitimate? For the school of Orenian liberalism which blossomed under the Novellen dynasty, peace means more than only militaristic domination. Rather, any sanctity of armistice can only be achieved if the divisions within humanity itself can be diluted, if not altogether abolished outright. From an anonymous pamphlet written during the reign of Emperor Joseph II, “These blueborns rode off to war atop great stallions; they wined and dined on the finest of imports; they enjoyed the greatest decadence but also the greatest pressure. For while they enjoyed the benefits of their station in life, so too did they struggle with the duties that it entailed. Meanwhile, the redbloods toiled in the fields; they marched and died without ceremony or pomp; they ate piss poor bread and slept on beds of hay [. . .] Joseph of Marna realized that one’s birth ought not decide the trajectory of their lifetime. He believed that opportunity was every man’s birthright, that each and every one of us should be able to rise to the occasion and serve our Empire if our merit and ability warranted it.” -Anonymous, quoted from a pamphlet promulgated by the liberals of the Imperial Diet under Emperor Joseph II[17] Stratification of the ruler and the ruled created the conflicts of the past, such that even if a singular Orenian government can be achieved, it will ultimately fail if unable to overcome the separation of governor and provincial. The “blueborns” and “redbloods” must both be allowed within the halls of governance, and no matter the ethnic, nationalist, or physical demarcation they may bear, the ideal state should allow a diverse set of peoples to share power. If a crucial step towards establishing a peaceful Orenian state requires the participation and protection of the masses, it further leads to the thought that a legitimate Oren can only exist with the consent of those it rules. This consent rests upon a reciprocal agreement between citizens for the protection of themselves, which in turn, they can cherish certain liberties through the diffusion of authority. As written by the statesman Arthur Callahan in a letter to Terrence May, “Let us first imagine a world without any laws, a state of anarchy if you will. In it, we are given the freedom to ‘all things’ (return to my previous letter regarding Free Will), ranging from everything like baking bread and caring for others to typically horrendous deeds such as theft and murder. We, as individuals, are inherently self-preserving creatures- whether a Canonist or otherwise, you will acknowledge that most sane men will desire life over death, their belongings secure rather than stolen, and so on and so forth. In order to create a state where we can self-preserve our bodies and minds from the treachery of others, people have come together and agreed to surrender certain freedoms in order to create rights for others. This is a concept of reciprocal benefit [. . .] only by the consent of men which brings any [peace and legitimacy]. It is only through establishment of political and legal communities that any authority can take root, which in itself can only come from the consent of the governed.” -Arthur Callahan, Imperial statesman, self-proclaimed radical liberal, and courtier of Emperor Peter III[18] The value of governance, no matter its form, only comes from its power to preserve the basic rights of men in the country. When these rights are protected, according to Callahan, there emerges a mutual consent of the population to the current regime. In the wake of tyranny, this consent can be taken away, which revokes any dignity for the government to govern. By this, Oren as a political reality can only burgeon to the world when the people have consented to it: the Emperor receives his crown not from a higher power or blood right, but rather a vis-a-vis contract between himself and his subjects. Without the willingness of the people to fall under the Imperial banner, Oren becomes defunct. Yet how does this consent manifest? For the Josephite, it exteriorizes when the needs and desires of the masses are met, such as civil rights in voicing their opinions in government to having crucial life standards fulfilled, such as sanctity of their lives and physical requirements of shelter, food, and property ownership. But this brings heavy critique. Does every man simply want a filled belly or jovial neighbor? Humans, as seen throughout history, can and have desired that which is considered ambiguous or obscene. When a group of individuals simply want power for the sake of it, how can they be satisfied? Furthermore, there are desires which cannot be fulfilled, due to the sake of surrendering certain freedoms for the sake of political expediency. For example, the Kingdom of Haense enjoyed a long existence of the right to grant noble titles, which was taken away by the Novellen dynasty in consolidating their power. While citing the need for political unity, this drama became one the leading dividing factors that led to the secession of Haense from the Holy Orenian Empire. The rights of landlords versus the rights of the common individual are not so easily rectified. A question also glares on the revocation of consent towards a government. If a people decide that they no longer consent to rule under a unified Oren and instead opt for independence, are they allowed to do such? If the pro-Orenist liberal is to be believed, then consent in this matter cannot be taken away; yet if we take this as truth, then this disqualifies their entire argument in its entirety. There is no qualifiable separation between what can be consented to and what cannot be. One could argue that a unified state is the only way to truly guarantee the protections and rights of humanity, and that therefore this is a preexisting requisite for any just state. However, this is troublesome to truly rectify in proper, coherent philosophy. Some may point to the peaceful secession of Haense by grant of Emperor Joseph II may give legitimacy to a people desiring their consent to be granted towards independence. But if all peoples desire then their own nation-state, can Oren ever then be truly legitimate? Even if the people do not desire full separation but rather a change of regime, what gives credence to them rising with arms to do such? Is there a quantifiable breaking point where the tyrannies of the state become so heinous that revolution is the only way? The massacre at Ves by Emperor Anthony is commonly pointed to as an event so diabolical that consent would be rightfully taken away. Yet history is not typically so black-and-white. When Sigismund Carrion crowned himself emperor, were the rebels of Charles Tarus and Sophia Horen right in raising the banner of rebellion after they and their supporters were cut from the organs of power? What about the Ducal Coalition, led by Hughes Sarkozic, who sought to overthrow Olivier de Savioe after the disastrous Massacre of Wett? When Emperor John II refused to intervene in the land conflict between Petyr Barbanov and Tobias Staunton, was the latter right in raising the fist of rebellion against the crown? These questions are difficult to determine solid answers for, and they become hazy in the veil of popular consent. Lastly, it should be noted that in pragmatic terms, a truly just state may never be achieved, atleast in the vein expounded by the radical liberals. Certain political realities deign the need for uneven distribution of power. For example, if the rights of landowners and influential persons are allowed to fester without course correction, then a situation such as the Sixth Empire may emerge: a defanged crown which allows petty disputes and jockeying for power to become tantamount. Yet too much centralized control of a singular polity may lead to the disenchantment of the provincial masses, and separatist movements could emerge, such as during the rule of the Johannians and Novellens. Yet despite all this, the image of peace and prosperity through the defense of the people which are governed is commonplace even in modern political parlance. Monarchs and lords commonly make oaths to defend their people, and indeed many modern nations contain legal rights which are enshrined for their peoples, such as in Haense, Petra, and Aaun. Justice is a common appeal, and without it, it becomes difficult to establish any legitimate regime, especially in the case of Oren. Realist Theory (Right of Conquest) “Our race is glorious, or perhaps was glorious not because of our capacity for lofty ideals, for words, for debate. Our legacy, our foundation was built by conquerors. Forging the steel bonds of [the] Empire with the blood and the soil of humanity, and the bones of its foes. Those who would not yield to our ancient forebears, be they man or subhuman were swiftly subdued.” -Godric Rurikid, a highlander warlord and sworn enemy of Emperor Peter III[19] Philosophical appeals and arguments alone do not constitute an empire; indeed, for any state, its primary mode of existence comes from the exertion of influence and power. Without such, a state in effect ceases to exist as a constituted reality. This power stems from control, done through means of arms and coercion, and is used to both retain control of one’s domains and defend it from would-be foreign predators. For the realist, power is everything; and on a physical level, they are verily correct. Any Orenian state can only exist if the regime in charge can manifest its authority. This includes the use of armed forces to protect the lands and conquer new ones, as well as holding certain authoritative controls over the people they govern. Indeed, the very foundations, as Rurikid pointed out, rests upon this domination: men such as Daniel of Alkhazar, Emperor Godfrey I, and Emperor John I validated their rule through the conquest and defeat of their enemies, and incorporation of separatists into the greater wholes of their domains. Oren was “built by conquerors”, and it cannot be understated that the formation of any Orenian state commonly comes with bloodshed and war. But this war is not only from the outward subjugation of peoples, but also a domestic defense from those who would attempt to despoil the state. As stated by Emperor Godfrey I, “You are a people who have faith such as no one else on the face of this land. And [to] you who have chosen open warfare against [these] people that pride themselves on their history, civilization and culture and possess the material resources and the capacity, the expertise, the knowledge, the coolness, the initiative, the determination, the steadfastness and the bravery. You shall never succeed, our people have become one that can not be disregarded, one that can not be ever defeated, one that shall never kneel to foreign race or creed.” -Emperor Godfrey I[20] While Emperor Godfrey I may use appeals such as faith, nationalism, and peacekeeping, ultimately his authority rested on the fact he could protect his domains from potential enemies. Punishing one’s foes and the evildoers against one’s lands is the best way to protect their sphere of influence over those they rule. Even Publius Bracchus, a renown legalist during the time of the Savoyard dynasty and Emperor John I, makes this appeal, “They remain in our grasp, awaiting the day we finally chose to throw them to the floor and crush them under our boots. Though it may not be safe to hold snakes in your hand, our legal system has been blessed with an iron fist, impervious to damage, that smashes those who are so quick to abandon both their faith and the state. One that sweeps aside the leeches that would drain the life from good men and women of Oren and, most of all, finds purpose in guiding our people.” -Publius Bracchus, at first a loyalist of the Savoyard dynasty and later supporter of Emperor John I[21] If the exercise of power is the sole legitimating factor to one’s rule, then it comes to show that if one is simply powerful enough to enforce their influence upon the rest of humanity, then they are the rightful ruler of the lands. This power, of course, does not necessarily need to be through sword and buckler, but also through control of institutions and pragmatic diplomacy. Yet commonly this manifests in the need for strong martial forces capable of both internal policing and external warfare. While it is true that any Emperor requires authority backed by the weight of physical power, it does leave a certain instability to the very institution if such power is the only legitimizing factor involved. Any conqueror with enough funds and men could rise and declare themselves the rightful lord of the lands, and as seen in many historical examples, the use of conquest alone does lead to unstable realms. For example, the violent subjugation of realms such as Haense and Curon under the Pertinaxi led to rebellions, most famous of which being the War of Two Emperors. Another case, the Anarchy of Emperor John II, was precipitated by powerful landowners who sought their own control and authority by force of arms. Even if emperors have conquered their way to the throne, their rule thereafter always rests on appeals made beyond the strength of arms. While people are physical realities, their minds live in the ideal, and ideas are required in order to cement one’s legitimacy to the governed masses. Furthermore, if the realist approach is granted as the sole reason for any Oren, then it becomes difficult to justify any appeals towards human unification beyond simply defeating one’s neighbors. Why should the neighboring kingdom acknowledge your claim, if your claim only rests on the capacity to kill their people and destroy their institutions? The downfall of Emperor Philip I can be pointed to as the realist approach taken to its extreme: he held the power to punish the plotting Savoyards and Courlanders, yet it inevitably led him to a rebellion which he could not recover from. Verily, there requires certain concessions beyond simple subjugation for an Orenian state to last beyond the initial conquests; many Empires in history have fallen due to a conqueror’s heir unable to handle the backlash of the conquered provinces. One could say they lost their legitimacy when they could not defend themselves, but this leads to a constant bloody struggle within humanity: one in which wars against the state are common, especially among the very humans the nation is supposed to unify. However, it is readily apparent that any state requires power in order to be legitimate. One cannot rule simply by words alone, but there is a crucial ingredient of real power in order to exert authority over the realm. There has never existed a successful realm without the use of atleast some domination. And, in the future, if any state was to vie for the dignity of the Imperial throne, it would require a projection of power; without such, there can be no empire. Thus concludes this lengthy dissertation on Orenism, in which its research has been a project of mine for sometime. I have attempted to be as unbiased as possible in detailing the arguments and reasonings found within this work. Thoughts, opinions, and criticisms are thoroughly encouraged and supported. Regarding my own views, I have thought deeply on the resurrection of Oren as an institution. I confess I am torn on the matter. We live today as fragmented units, torn from each other through political realities and oppositional ambition. Coming together might finally break the miasma and petty conflict which proliferated in the realm of Horen for nigh over two hundred years. Despite this, the realist within drags me back down. Is an Orenian project even feasible in the current age? If any Empire was to be reestablished, there would surely be ungracious winners and desperately sour losers. Such is the name of the game after all. Maybe human unity will not be found in an Empire but another unimagined institution? Thoughts for another time, I’m afraid. Prophets’ Blessings, Amleth, Bishop of Andrikev” Footnotes [1] - [Link] | This quote comes from the “Exordium on Imperial Authority”, written by the father of Emperor John I as justification for the rule of his newly-installed son. Since its authorship, it had remained the opening piece of all Orenian legal codexes until the fall of the Novellen dynasty. [2] - [Link] | The essay “On Human Unity” was written by a Canonist priest and Owynist follower Albanus Cuptor during the time of the Novellen dynasty. At the time, serious agitation by provincial forces for increased autonomy and independence struck throughout the Novellen regime, and the ideal of human unity came into serious question with the rise of ethnic violence. [3] - [Link] | After the peaceful secession of the Kingdom of Haense from the Holy Orenian Empire, High Pontiff James II delivered an address regarding the situation. A cleric closely aligned with the political elite at the time, he generally lamented the separation of the two nations. [4] - [Link] | The “Revelations of the Immaculate Throne” were written by High Pontiff Daniel III, a son of Emperor John I and younger brother of Emperor John II. Many of the reforms found within led to his removal from the pontifical office by a band of disenfranchised cardinals. Most importantly, this document is the last real attempt by clerical leadership to declare any emperor divine or divinely-descended, although more contemporary examples of movements do exist as a populist movement (such as the divinity movement under Emperor Aurelian). [5] - [Link] | The thesis “On Rulership” was written by Brandt Barclay, a highlander scion who served as vassal to the Kingdom of Aaun under the Johannian House of Alstion. Much of it includes his own views and experiences as an autonomous prince and ruler. [6] - [Link] | Before his ascension as emperor, Joseph II wrote the letter “On Pessimism” as a critique of the highlander warlord Godric Rurikid and his attempted invasion of the Holy Orenian Empire during the reign of Emperor Peter III. While still relying on religious reasoning, this writing in particular began to move towards a view that humanity, being one race, was naturally destined to be unified in a “tapestry of man.” [7] - [Link] | The compilation work “On the Nature of Nobility and Success of Nations” is perhaps the magnum opus of Edward Winter, a politician and prince who operated throughout the tumultuous periods of Emperors William, Sigismund, Peter I, Robert I, and Tobias. Although at times opposed to the Orenian state for pragmatic reasons (such as his opposition to King Francis), he remained a stalwart loyalist of Oren for most of his life. [8] - [Link] | Augustus Montfort’s writings came at a time when Oren first burgeoned again under the leadership of Andrik Vydra. The toils of the Schism War placed a strong emphasis on the unity of the divided princely estates which made up the Canonist League. His work “The Glory of Oren” is one of these exaltations of togetherness despite political realities of separation. [9] - [Link] | Matthias de Lyon’s text “Patriotism, Piety, Humanity” was written during a time of destructive conflict. After the murder of Andrik Vydra, the royal crown of Oren passed to Olivier de Savioe and the Savoyard dynasty, which precipitated great dissent among the loyal followers of Hughes de Sarkozy. [10] - [Link] | “Letters From a Farmer in Kaedrin” is a set of dissertations written by Frederick Armas during the early regime of Emperor Peter III, created in response to polemics created by anti-Imperial agents and those disfavorable to the current governmental hegemony. [11] - [Link] | A snippet from the farewell address of Simon Basrid when he resigned as Archchancellor under Emperor Peter III. He acted in this official capacity for the majority of the reign of Peter III, and is considered one of the founding fathers of the lengthy Novellen regime. [12] - [Link] | A quote from the Scroll of Gospel, the third of four scrolls considered sacred within the Canonist Faith. The passage in question regards the presentation of the laurels of prophethood to Emperor Godfrey, specifically highlighting that he was of “the Line of Horen.” [13] - [Link] | This is a study done by the famed Elven historian Ebs Telrunya, who has specialized in human history over the last few centuries. Most of his tomes include information now lost to modern chroniclers, and they remain a golden standard in majority of modern human libraries. [14] - [Link] | A pamphlet found during the days of the Johannian dynasty, seemingly calling for the worship of the divine nature of the House of Horen. While it seemingly enjoyed little popularity during its day, the mere existence of such ideas being spread shows a constant belief in that a certain family of blood carries an intrinsic claim to the Imperial office. [15] - [Link] | From the most recent publication of the “Rights of Man” by Emperor Joseph I during the reign of Emperor Peter III, this declaration was promulgated by Joseph in response to the excesses of Emperor Anthony’s tyranny. While Joseph ultimately failed to consolidate his claim, the “Rights of Man” became enshrined in succeeding regimes as well as numerous states which succeeded Oren. [16] - [Link] | “On Curonia, Suffonia, and the Empire'' was written by the renowned Haeseni author Dietrich van Jungingen, addressing the issues of the collapse of the eastern province of Curon and the rise of the separatist Suffonia region during the regime of Emperor Peter III. The turmoil in Oren’s east, sparked by rebellion and attempted invasion, sparked a curious wave of loyalty to the Empire, specifically in defending it as a peacekeeper and rebuilder in the wake of the debilitating War of Two Emperors. [17] - [Link] | “Joseph’s Dream” is an anonymous essay written by a liberal member of the Novellen government, specifically heralding the progressive ideals which Emperor Joseph I promulgated. [18] - [Link] | The “Pragmatic Origins of Imperial Authority” first originated as a letter in a string of correspondences between the radical Arthur Callahan and the moderate Terrence May regarding the debate between moralism and liberalism at the time of Emperor Peter III. While Callahan was heavily ostracized for his views, his work remains the most clear delineation of the concept of popular consent. [19] - [Link] | A snippet from Godric Rurikid's "Reflections on the Everwar and on Humanity", written originally as a critique against Emperor Peter and a justification for Rurikid's war against him. Despite being written by an enemy of a contemporary Oren, it is perhaps one of the greater reflections of the realist approach to the establishment of an imperial Orenian state. [20] - [Link] | This is the recorded final speech of Emperor Godfrey I before his death. Both diplomat and conqueror in life, Godfrey depended upon a strong, efficient military to exert domination over his enemies and control over his own patrimony. [21] - [Link] | Publius Bracchus had supported the Savoyard dynasty during the Dukes’ War and his speech “Means To Prosperity” remains the pinnacle of his support to the family. However, after breaking with Guy de Bar in the latter days of the Savoyard regime, he threw his support behind Emperor John I and supported the Horen claimant till his death.
  11. It took months for Robert, the prince-turned-pirate, to hear of his mother's demise. From the free port of Hangzou, teeming with activity of merchants, mercenaries, and vagabonds, he resided in his lofty manor, surrounded by his fellow cutthroats and thieves as they discussed news of recent shipments to plunder. One of his faithful retainers, a black-skinned Mellean from the far-off lands of Shona, came to him with a letter, stained of salt and water from a long voyage. "Lord, looks be for you." Even after all these years, Robert recognized the seal which bound the dispatch: his mother's personal coat of arms. He ordered the men to leave his presence, taking his lonesome to the grand patio which overlooked the Eastern port. Carefully opening the envelope with his silken-gloved hands, he pulled free the letter and read the message therein. Robert did not spend long in thought from the news. In truth, he never held deep affections for the bosom from which he sprang, nor did he hold particular animosity against the woman. What bothered him most was his seemingly callousness of the affair: he recalled weeping when his father passed, but that was years ago, when he was a younger, green man. Perhaps the constant banditry and illicit activities he has taken to, foregoing responsibilities expected of him by his elders, has hardened his heart. His thin mouth turned to a frown. Or, mayhaps, he was melancholic after all. Robert had never been good with his emotions. A woman stood in the doorway, and Robert immediately sensed her presence. He did not gaze back, but for the years they had been together, he suspected that she knew something troubled him. Taking one long look at the bustling city below, he spoke hoarsely under the grey-gold beard which clad his chin, "Tell the children their grandmother has died."
  12. What a big start to a new year

    1. DrakeHaze.
    2. GMRO


      big up

    3. creamynoteblock


      Now that was awesome

  13. "This is true." says Bishop Amleth, "From my recollection, St Humbert lived during the years of the Dukes' War, some two hundred years before they alleged in this document. However, despite this mistake (which I hope they shall rectify), I give my prayers to the noble mission of this humble and most righteous order."
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