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About Nectorist

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    the culmination
  • Birthday 08/26/2001

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  • Character Name
    Franz Sarkozy | Aldred Tundrak | Philip III
  • Character Race
    Human | Snelf | Human

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  1. Johannian Oren > Empire of Man/Renatus > Petrine Oren >>> Mardon Oren it’s the hot thing now to hate on Petrine Oren, and I don’t disagree with all the criticisms, but it should be noted that there’s a reason why pretty much every other human nation rn has adopted a lot of the Novellen model (weak vassals, strong crown authority, OOC oversight of what other people do, RP focus on government bureaucratic institutions, passive foreign diplomacy, etc), but on the reverse don’t seem to totally understand what made the Petrine Empire so popular and a really good hub of RP, especially in its early days. It’s effective and right now I think only maybe Aaun is changing it up significantly
  2. Because I'm in Spain I unfortunately can't really have a proper Thanksgiving dinner. A few friends of mine and I did make a big dinner, though it was mostly Spanish cuisine (still good). Also been watching some of the World Cup games
  3. For my favorite character that I’ve ever played it’s probably Andren Tosali. Objectively speaking he wasn’t that well-RP’d, and I was just a noob back then running around with my noob friends, but I ended up doing a lot and really making some good core memories that I still think of fondly today. However, if we’re talking about my best-RP’d/written character I think it’s Philip III. As for my favorite character not played by me, it’s a tough one. @JoanOfArc’s Father Dima comes to mind, but I would say that seeing @Arkon Sigmar I (I think that was his name) was really important to me during some of my early days. Also a big shoutout to @Publiuson Timeo de las Baltas, who I remember RPing around with and really inspiring me as a younger player. real. I think my favorite emperor (not necessarily the best) is Gallienus. It’s always fascinated me that he was able to stay in power for 15 years during the second most tumultuous period in Roman history. He made some key military reforms, defeated a number of usurpers and invading Gauls, and overall provided some stability in the leadership as a million wars were waged around him. He definitely wasn’t as competent as Aurelian, and doesn’t have the same great accomplishments, but he did lay the foundation that would make Aurelian’s reunification of the empire possible. Just a very interesting figure who seems to embody “good, but not great” If it was an emperor I would want to live under though it’d 100% be Antoninus Pius. Absolutely love pumpkin pie. It’s my favorite kind and is why I get so excited for Thanksgiving every year. I’m sad that I’m going to have to wait another year though because I’m not back in the States yet
  4. i always thought the name for it was kind of silly. The wig meme was a very 2020-early 2021 thing and by the time the war had started literally no one wore a wig. I personally prefer Eastfleet War or Sinners War because they describe the conflict a lot better as for how the war itself went it was definitely unique and interesting to look back on. i can only think of a handful of wars where there was a genuine back and forth, with both sides winning their share of warclaims. usually the first warclaim decides the entire war, but this time around it didnt happen and i think it was pretty iconic for it. i thought it made for a cool narrative and developed an interesting atmosphere after over 2 years of general stagnation, but i didnt like how things shaked out with the war rules. I felt like the wait times in between warclaims was pretty long, with the 6-week wait in between the Haverlock and Eastfleet warclaims totally stunting the momentum and impact of the war. I don't necessarily disagree with a cooldown, but maybe 2 weeks would be preferable on a personal level it was a very stressful war that i wanted to see over and done with at basically every turn (im sure a lot of people felt the same) but for one reason or another that can was kicked down the road plenty of times. im overall pretty satisfied with how things turned out. sure, Oren lost, but at the end of the war we were a lot stronger than we had starte, hadn't really given up anything too substantial in the peace, and we'd given a pretty good fight. it was a war of attrition and both sides had their bright moments, so I can't complain too much about the outcome
  5. that’s good to hear. Would like to get in touch again you were fun to meme with. but yeah, KP trying to marry his granddaughter is still something I almost don’t believe even though I’ve seen the logs at this point. as for Conor, he’s someone that I do respect a lot, both as a creative mind on here and as a former NL. For the former, he has been someone I’ve taken note of since I first returned at about 2018-ish(?) as a really good writer, storyteller, event-creator, etc. it’s no secret he’s one of the best in the game here, and as someone who myself has stuck my hand in all of those things, Conor is definitely a person that I’ve looked up to as a source of inspiration and a model of an ideal creator on here. I won’t go on about it, but as I said somewhere earlier, I think that the most respectable attribute of anyone on here is the ability to make a narrative that captures the imagination and attention of other players, and for him to do that both as an ET and a normal player is seriously commendable and something you don’t see often on here as for his time as an NL, I do think he was one of the best kings of Haense. Although I (obviously) didn’t play there during his reign, from my talks with people who did play it was a generally active time with good RP to be found. Haense also became very strong under his reign and he did bring it back from the slump it’d been in during Rudi’s time. For a lot of the time we were both ruling I saw him as a mirror of myself in a few ways- very respected members of the community who had turned around the stagnant RP and general weakness of an unpopular previous NL- but obviously the big difference was him succeeding normally. I think this still holds up, and while we were enemies during the war I respected the tenacity that he showed, even in times when it looked like I could win and just keep the ball rolling at any moment. Haense has a reputation of being the first nation in, first nation out when it comes to big wars, and he definitely reversed that general opinion. It takes a lot to come back from losing a warclaim to win the next one, and Conor was the main force behind that for the Tripartite. kudos to him for his work in Haense and definitely one of the best NLs this map perhaps most importantly, although he and I don’t know each other extremely well, I’ve heard he’s a good guy and it’s clear he’s well-liked by almost everyone. my own interactions with him, even during the backdrop of minecraft war (spooky) were pretty respectful and positive
  6. Helena is probably the most iconic from the last 3 maps, but in terms of overall quality I really enjoyed Aegrothond in Arcas. Had some good memories there too JNC is my all-time favorite chat but one of my favorite moments is when we gave kosher advice abt his hinge date a few months ago. was true brotherly unity My reign as a whole would've been far different if either the schism or the war (especially both) hadnt happened. I definitely think the schism can be a bit overblown, especially as the effects were sorta mitigated after the second excommunication, but without the first the situation still would've been far difficult. i think there would've been a war at some point- i was and still am of the belief that the server NEEDED a war- but i probably wouldve stabilized Oren more than I had at that point (i instead had to do it mid-war) and a post-war scenario probably wouldve seen a clearer line of succession. in truth, my original plan was to have an elected empire because i think it makes for based rp, but we never really got to that given the extenuating circumstances Ulrich had no bounty afaik but a few minae wouldve been floated towards his would-be captor. Adolphus is also pretty fat. not obese but definitely a jolly sort of fat. like santa claus the Sutican War was an interesting period. I actually fought alongside Sutica for it because that's where my friends happened to be, but I had no major bad feelings towards Oren. I do think it would've ended in a coalition victory had the servers worked, but I also think that scenario would've devolved into civil war because there were competing visions as to who would theoretically get the throne if alty was deposed (you, me, mickael, seannie, beamon, bubby, etc). As for Carolustadt, it wasn't a bad city per se and a lot happened, but I think it's dwarfed by Jburg and Helena coming before and after it, both of which are just very iconic cities and RP hubs. Cstadt wasn't bad- I had plenty of fun there- but it was far from amazing because i wouldve fought for pancho villa I kind of think that once you become emperor your noob dreams have pretty much been fulfilled. I would like to do some church RP within the humans, and get more into the magic scene elsewhere, but neither of those would come at the expense of just having fun with my friends. I definitely lean towards the latter, but there are some small things I just havent had the time to do that I'd like to try out strawberry ice cream, but with the actual strawberries in it and everything cant believe it just popped into your head... I do think there are a thousand moments of that during my reign. what if I hadn't attempted my schism? what if I hadn't continued the war with the dwarves? what if I hadn't pressed on after Eastfleet? the list goes on however, I think there are a couple of moments that really changed my time on LoTC as a whole: 1. picking Haense as my first nation to join. I remember that of all the places I went, I chose Haense and found myself serving as a peasant under FloopTroop's Vyronov, and later under the Vanirs with my friends. I was still a diehard Imperial, but it was in the context of being in Haense, which I continued to play in pretty much up until 2019-ish. I loved old Haense, and still have a soft spot for it today. I do wonder what would've been different if I started in, say, Lorraine, or the heartlands, or the elves, or the dwarves, etc 2. accepting being the heir to Fenn. I was actually the NL for Fenn for a time, which was a fever dream, but it came at the cost of me departing from Oren/humanity for a short bit. It's no secret that I was a close friend of Icarnus around this time (fall of 2019) and he had actually offered me to play his second son (the brother of Joseph II, who bungo would eventually play). i think had I accepted it then my "snelf/reiver" reputation that haunted me during my early days in Alty's Oren wouldnt have been as prominent 3. this one is the most obvious, but couping KP is probably the biggest moment of mine on the server. It's still something that, almost a year later, I can't really believe I did during the rush of finals week. I grapple with it even to this day- whether it was worth it, whether it was the right decision, what I could've done differently, etc. I've talked about it to death with people, and I'm still willing to talk about it with people who have questions, but the reputation and my on-server persona I have today wouldn't be nearly the same had I just stayed away, or returned on a different character, or never have left to begin with. I won't say I regret the decision, but I did hurt and screw over various people who I had a positive relationship with, such as @MunaZaldrizoti, @ErikAzog, @UnBaed, and @VIROS, among others. it's tough to reconcile being seen as some weird hero, both oocly and irply, to some while also being a total enemy and snake to others, especially because I personally liked both groups. it's something that I think will stay with me for a while and is probably my biggest "what if"
  7. Houston Texans (my love, as much as they hurt me) but actual performance-wise it has to be the Chiefs, as much as i hate to say it i think we'll be grabbing bbq at terry black's when im back in the states they're staying locked in my basement until i say so. i got tricked into it by a friend and now my hand feels like it's melting im not doing this shit again my favorite part was definitely after we won the haverlock warclaim. those few weeks were like being on cloud 9, and the culmination of a tough comeback was so rewarding. there were so many factions unified under us that had formerly been enemies of each other that it really went to show how powerful even a partially-united empire could be. there was also some great rp to go along with it my least favorite part was definitely that first week. it was stressful and i made a ton of mistakes along the way. thankfully we were able to come back from most of them, but plenty kinda haunted over us for the remainder of our reign. had i been smarter, i think we'd have been a lot more successful and i wouldnt have been as stressed yes, jelly on scrambled eggs is goaded i took white boy summer a little too seriously and ended up waltzing into a ban. i admittedly fucked up but i was in a pretty stressful situation back then so i probably wouldve gotten banned for pugsy like 2 days later anyway like i said above, my favorite moment ever was winning at haverlock. so much effort went into our campaign back then, and it really was a collective effort of a bunch of people that made it possible. it felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders and i had finally corrected a lot of my early mistakes after you, it'd have to be @The60th for all that he provides to the server tech-wise my favorite server member of all time is definitely @Esterlen. Even though he and i now have a rocky relationship and we dont always see eye-to-eye, his overall contributions to the server are undeniable and he was a big influence on me over the past couple of years. i really admire people who have the ability to understand the wider server of the story, and i think he's exemplified that both during his time as emperor and while he was advising the past rendition of oren my favorite server moment is probably the fall of johannesburg. dont get me wrong, i think the server hasnt necessarily been as great since that, but it was absolutely a BIG moment in the server's history that's defined the following 6 or so years since it's happened. im a sucker for big moments, change in political dynamics, and stories being made, and i think that was the big one on what was one of the top 3 memorable maps it was good. im still not fully out of it because im still in Spain rn, which has been an absolute joy, but i do think it's good to be away from the server for long periods of time as to not get too sucked in to the ooc apparatus, which is definitely what happened to me
  8. probably not a specific species, but i love redfish off the Gulf of Mexico. i try to go fishing down there with my uncles and cousins during the summer, but you can go all year and they make for some good catches canonically (redacted) was pushed into the river, on his wheelchair, by olivier de savoie, prince of savoy. hope this answers it only counting their time as emperor, also including a thousand other factors, they are: 1. Godfrey I 2. John I 3. John III 4. Tobias 5. Aurelius 6. Sigismund 7. Peter III 8. Philip III 9. Augustus 10. Joseph II 11. Anne 12. Horen 13. John VIII 14. Anastasia 15. John II 16. John V 17. Peter I 18. Philip I 19. Robert I 20. Boris 21. Godfrey II 22. William 23. Joseph I 24. Robert II 25. Alexander I 26. Peter IV 27. Philip II 28. Alexander II 29. John VII 30. John IV 31. John VI 32. Peter II 33. Antonius This list was made by a few friends and I a while back. I'm down to discuss our rationale behind each choice in DMs. I also don't think these rankings are a reflection of the competency of these individual people, just moreso how their reigns would likely be perceived no but when i was around 10 i knew a kid named "Ham" so i think that's about as weird for all of the side hoes he had, philip iii had one true love- bakir. for him to risen again and reunited would be a happy ending for everyone without a doubt it's fuet. my roommate, bart, and i eat tf out of that stuff it's good as hell. the clubs here are also way better than back in the US i would love it if we (mexico) won this year, but we didnt play too great against a top-heavy poland today, so realistically i think it'll be France someone after @excitedand i release the eli-david podcast, coming to streaming platforms near you starting 2023
  9. only because i gaslit you so hard the other day same reason you're 4'2. god decided to curse both of us for actions in a past life (terrorism committed in north ireland from 1960-1995) when i return home to my computer, bullying my younger brother relentlessly in the process it's just retribution for the time i issued your indefinite ban for butchering poor vesian noobs in the middle of afternoon tea idk as som1e who isnt goff u prbly donut understand but hary poter loves me mor thena u and there is no way u can understend it it used to be silver when i was a kid but now it's definitely green. leafy green
  10. sorry xarkly but it's also my 1000th post so i need to do an ama rn so i can comment on other threads. it's also around my 7th anniversary of being on here so that's epic too @JoanOfArc0.7%
  11. wtf I was also planning an AMA for my 1000th post now I gotta think of something different Were there ever any big "inflection points" during your time on here? Moments that you can look back to and say "if I had does this differently, then things would be way different from how they are now"
  12. THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE HOLY ORENIAN EMPIRE: Volume X; The Song of the Furnestocks Written by Justinian Nafis, heir to the County of Susa and Adolphus Gloriana, Earl of Suffolk, Prince of Sutica The Song of the Furnestocks "I spend my days shooting down the vultures that circle the palace. It would be enjoyable- if I did not have to do the same at night.” - Empress Anastasia We now reach the second half of Philip and Anastasia’s reign, which includes both the height of their power, and the tragic end that reduced it. This period is defined by the same cycle of success and failure that is quite characteristic of them. For every battle Philip won, there was a petty noble conspiring with the Crown’s enemies. For every petty lot Anastasia ended, there was a new controversy at court. Such is the way of the Furnestocks as a whole, it seems, for they are quite curious characters in history, prone to bouts of brilliance and madness. Here it is no different, for it was in this second part of their reign that history was so definitively changed. That campaign of 1859 began swiftly, with things continuing as they had before. In the north, Manfred von Arichsdorf raided throughout Norland and Haense, taking advantage of the fact that most of their remaining manpower had been sent to garrison Haverlock. Some small towers, mills, and towns were taken, but the raids he conducted were not ones of conquest, but of intimidation. Down south, Emperor Philip and Prince Gaspard faced a sizable Sedanite detachment, numbering around four-thousand. With a force similar in size, the two triumvirs agreed to do battle, and on the 9th of the Sun’s Smile, at the Battle of Haverlock Fields, the Imperials utterly routed the Sedanite army and began to draw up the siege lines. For the better part of the year, the two worked tirelessly to surround the city. The Baron of Arichsdorf was recalled from the north, and the three triumvirs agreed that the next fall they would attempt to storm the seat of Sedan. The siege dragged on, but by the 6th of the Grand Harvest, 1860, everything was in place to assault Haverlock. For over a year and a half, the city had been subject to cannon fire, raids, and dwindling supplies. The entire leadership of the Tripartite Accord was now surrounded with no way to escape. The forces inside Haverlock numbered around thirteen thousand, while the besieging Imperial army had just under fifteen thousand soldiers. The Imperial war tent, containing the Emperor, General Ruthern, Count Anastasios of Susa, Hugo van Aert, Prince Gaspard, and Baron Manfred, drew up the final plans for the coming assault. The city would be subject to three great barrages of trebuchet and cannon fire, upon which the fire wave, led by the Emperor himself, would scale the walls. The second wave, led by Hugo van Aert and the Count of Susa, would follow shortly after. The third and final wave, to be led by the aging General Ruthern, would mop up the last of the resistance. On the morning of the 7th of the Grand Harvest, 1860, the Imperial army awoke to disarray coming from the Blackvale section of the camp. That morning, cannon fire had been heard from the walls of Haverlock, though none of the shots had reached anywhere near the camp, save one. This lucky, or well-placed, cannonball had crashed through Gaspard van Aert’s tent, killing him instantly and seriously wounding Arn van Aert, Dima Ivanovich, and Hannes de Vilain, among others. Emperor Philip was shocked upon hearing the news, but confirmed that the plan to assault Haverlock would continue. At around seven o’clock, the Imperial artillery, commanded by Willam van Aert, the son and heir of Prince Gaspard, began its bombardment. For two hours, trebuchet and cannon fired from the Imperial camp, reducing the walls of Haverlock greatly and providing several points by which the Imperial army could scale the walls. Eventually, at around ten o’clock, the horn was sounded, and the Imperial host advanced upon the city. It is subject to great debate as to who was the first soldier to scale the walls of Haverlock. Many claim it was Emperor Philip himself, others say Ivar var Ruthern, Baron Manfred, Warboss Fishbreath, Archchancellor d’Azor, or a number of other people. In truth, as witnessed by these authors, it was the seventeen year-old Princess Victoria Augusta who was the first over the walls, wielding an ax. Regardless, all those named were among the first atop the walls, and it was here that the fighting was the hardest. The Tripartite army desperately tired to push back the Imperials from their walls, but were slowly driven back as successive waves added more bodies to the Orenian fray. It is said that here, Emperor Philip and King Sigismund fought a duel, which ended inconclusively after Warboss Fishbreath slew two of the Haeseni king’s bodyguards, prompting his men to pull him back and away from the fighting. As more and more Imperials made their way up the walls, it became increasingly clear to the Tripartite leadership that Haverlock would be lost. Fortunately for them, Prince Gaspard’s untimely death had resulted in some confusion among the Blackvale ranks, and they accidentally joined an assault on a section of the walls that had already been assigned, leaving their own part free of any men. Taking this narrow window of advantage, Underking Ulfric, King Sigismund, and the young Prince Frederick of Sedan were loaded onto the fastest carriage and escorted from the city. In the confusion of the fighting, they were able to slip away unnoticed. The rest of their men did not fare so well. As the day dragged on, the Tripartite soldiers were slowly pushed back towards the city center as their numbers continued to dwindle. Eventually, their senior commanders began to surrender, not wishing to make a futile last stand, and the final pockets of resistance throughout the city were systematically captured or cut down. By the day’s end, nearly twelve-thousand of the thirteen-thousand Tripartie soldiers lay dead, wounded, or captured, with the final thousand either having escaped or hidden within the city. The Imperials suffered only nine-hundred dead and two-thousand injured, but had lost Prince Gaspard, one of the more critical blows in the war. Still, the Empire’s victory had been thorough. With Haverlock now taken, the entirety of the Lower Petra had been restored to Oren. The families that had lost land in the aftermath of the Siege of Southbridge were finally allowed to return to their own homes, and, by Archchancellor d’Azor’s orders, were given payment to be able to do so. The city of Haverlock, capital of the Sedanites for six years, was torn down brick by brick and set alight. Empress Anastasia ordered that the ruins be left untouched, and forbade any to settle there or use the rubble in their own construction. With no further campaigning needing to be done, the Emperor ordered his army to disband, regarrisoned some of the remaining fortifications in the Lower Petra, and ordered General Ruthern to see new ones constructed. The Empire’s victory at Haverlock was perhaps the most complete of the war, even if their triumph at the Lower Petra appears more spectacular. At Haverlock, the power of Sedan and Urguan was broken- neither would enjoy the same dominance that they possessed at the war’s start. Manfred’s raids to the north had reduced Norland’s already-paltry contributions to little more than infrequent wheat shipments along with the occasional few clansmen. Only Haense did not break, though they were left reeling in the aftermath of the siege and would need a few years to recover. The Empire, on the other hand, now had fully regained its primacy, triumphed over the coalition, and was set to enjoy the spoils of war. To a cheering crowd of soldiers, General Ruthern announced his retirement from the ISA after decades of service. To similar applause, the Viscount of Susa was named the replacement General. Archchancellor Joseph d’Azor overlooking the Siege of Haverlock, 1860 The six years between the Siege of Haverlock and the Battle of Eastfleet, from 1860 to 1866, are said to be among the greatest in the history of the Petrine Empire, and was the high point of Philip and Anastasia’s reign. Having been at war since 1849, the Empire now enjoyed a period of peace, in which the Emperor, Empress, and Council of State set to work improving the internal conditions of the Empire. What few small skirmishes and raids took place were generally in Norland, Haense, and Urguan, and were mostly conducted by local free companies. It was during this time that trade flourished, New Providence’s population soared, the Lower Petra was slowly resettled, the Aster Court was as lively and dazzling as ever, and Arichsdorf became the center of Grenzi culture. Joseph d’Azor’s Ministry was said to be stable and moderate, many potential issues that arose were dealt with swiftly and competently, and the Empire flourished. However, it was also during this time that many of the seeds of Emperor Philip’s defeat at the Battle of Eastfleet, and even the future Brothers’ War, were sown. The first problems to arise came with the heir, Prince Peter Augustus, or more specifically, his betrothed. Since 1856, the heir to the Empire had been promised to Ioanna Basrid, a promising young noblewoman with a sizable following at court. She possessed a fiery tongue and an unbreakable resolve, two traits that Empress Anastasia was also famous for. Seeing something of herself in the young girl, she wasted little time arranging the betrothal between the two. However, it is believed that she had made earlier promises to another noble family (it is unknown whom) to have the heir betrothed to one of their daughters. When news of the arrangement between Prince Peter and Ioanna Basrid was announced, many celebrated, believing the two to be a good match, but it also drove a rift in court, as the Basrid girl was of relatively low standing and did not enjoy unanimous adoration. In the months following the betrothal arrangement, it appeared to many that Ioanna Basrid’s demeanor changed. While regarded as a diligent worker and fervent supporter of the Imperial Crown, many began to accuse her of being negligent in her duties now that her future was secured. More well-attested reports say that her temper worsened, and she frequently clashed with the many courtiers of the Aster Palace, frequently making enemies out of them. Her enemies, numerous and powerful, began to spread rumors of her slothfulness and wrath, which soon reached the ears of the Empress and Prince Peter. They began to believe that a mistake had been made, and started a secretive search for a suitable candidate to replace the lady Basrid. The girl that they settled on was Lucia d’Azor, the daughter of Archchancellor d’Azor (who had been granted the title Duke of Azor in the aftermath of the Siege of Southbridge). This choice is one that puzzled both contemporaries and later scholars. Although little ill can be said of Lucia herself, her standing was no greater than Ioanna Basrid’s, until then she had virtually no presence or following at court, and was woefully undereducated as a result. In fact, many at the considered it to be an embarrassment, as the d’Azor lineage had only recently been ennobled, and her father, Joseph, had grown up a commoner. Thus, everyone was shocked when, during a ball hosted in the Aster Palace on the 16th of the Grand Harvest, 1864, the d’Azor girl stood before the attending nobility of the Empire and announced her intention to wed Prince Peter Augustus and oust Ioanna Basrid. Her father stood beside her, supporting her bid to become the future Empress, and resigned from his position as Archchancellor to prevent a conflict of interest. Almost immediately, assassins stepped forth from the crowd and charged at Prince Peter. Famously, while Lucia d’Azor froze, Ioanna Basrid stepped forth in front of her betrothed to protect him. The assassins, hesitating for a moment, were quickly swarmed by guardsmen and killed. Ioanna’s popularity, which had been sinking for some time, rose sharply in the aftermath of this. However, in the following months, she received little in the way of appreciation from her betrothed, who took to visiting the Azor estate far more frequently. Once again, tumult grew through the court: where courtiers and nobles had once begged the Empress to break Prince Peter’s betrothal with the lady Basrid, they now demanded to know why she was being pushed aside for a d’Azor girl who was known by none. Rumors circulated that this had been a planned action by the Imperial Crown, but they could not be confirmed for the moment. However, they did much to damage the reputation of the heir and Lucia d’Azor, which would soon come back to bite them. During this time of controversy and intrigue in the Aster Palace, the Emperor was doing his best to avoid it all (much to everyone’s detriment). It was said that he was dismayed upon hearing about the Duke of Azor’s retirement, and, when unable to convince him to return, appointed Henry Penton in his stead with Princess Imperial Catherine serving as Vice Chancellor. That said, some of Emperor Philip’s actions during this period were beneficial to the realm. At least once a month, he rode out west to visit the Lectors of Du’Loc, an independent Owynist religious order that resided in the borderlands between Urguan and the Empire. The Emperor’s beloved cousin, Ioannes Alexios, was one of the Lectors, and through this connection a fast and healthy friendship between Oren and Du’Loc was made. The Lectors, renowned for their automatons, would frequently gift Emperor Philip with various weapons, machinery, and other useful devices. His favorite of these was an orange juice dispenser named “O.J,” which would pour chilled orange juice on vocal command. These gadgets spread like wildfire throughout the capital, and many wealthy households began to incorporate them into daily life. New reforms were also implemented to the Imperial Judiciary and the city government of New Providence once again. The Imperial Courts of Justice, which had once been vaunted for their advanced legal procedure and adherence to the right to trial enumerated in the Rights of Man, had grown lethargic and hated over the course of successive Emperors. The courts were slow, cumbersome, and complicated. To be a justice was considered a career dead-end, and there was a constant shortage of suitable members even dating back to Joseph II’s reign. The system of trial was circumvented as much as possible, by both law enforcement and private actors alike, as few wished to even bother with it. Recognizing that the courts served little purpose at this point, and were simply a hindrance to the quick application of justice, the Emperor did away with them. He merged the Ministry of Justice and the Imperial Judiciary into the Imperial Inquisition, which would be tasked with roaming the realm to ensure that Imperial Law was upheld. They would have the power of judge and jury, and would be authorized to issue whatever sentence they deemed fit, so long as it was not excessive for the crime committed. The ORC was also updated (although this project had begun during Philip II’s reign), and much of the bloat and contradictory laws were scrapped, thus streamlining the legal code. The city government of New Providence was also facing a similar problem. Although the elected city government of Helena was one of the most energetic and lively scenes during the reign of Peter III, and even rivaled Ves as a center of democracy and political participation, it had set into a heavy decline after his death. Providence’s city government had fared little better, as mayoral elections saw low voter participation, the city legislature did little with their elected powers, and the administrative functions of the municipal body began to corrode. Emperor Philip had attempted to rejuvenate the system with a new city charter at the start of his reign, modeled on Ves, but this had fared little better. Now, he was resolved to completely do away with it and implement a stronger municipal government that would not be hindered by an unenthusiastic electorate. To accomplish this, he established the city prefecture, which would serve as a more centralized alternative to municipal governance. Led by the city prefect, which would be appointed by the Imperial Crown, and guided by an elected advisory cabinet, the prefecture would have full executive authority to govern the city as they saw fit. In this role, Emperor Philip appointed his daughter, Princess Victoria Augusta, who quickly set to work clearing away the bureaucratic bloat in the city government and set New Providence back on track. With the help of Princess Imperial Catherine, who began a successful initiative to subsidize the city’s taverns, the streets of the capital became lively again. Another introduction brought about by Philip and Anastasia was the reestablishment of the Imperial Knights of the Lion. The pair hoped to instill chivalric values in the Orenian populace and return knighthood to a place of prominence, which had been lost in the Empire for some time, where skill at arms and adherence to a code of honor would be put front-and-center. The knights would also serve as the principle guard force of the Imperial monarchs and train young, promising noblemen and women in the hopes of instilling martial values. The overall aim was to reorient the culture of the Heartlands, which had, for a great time, been inclined towards peace, bureaucracy, and decadence, to one of war, romantic glory, and hardship. General Anastasios was named Knight Commander, with Princess Victoria Augusta as his second, and the two began training a new generation of knights. Another potential issue, that Philip and Anastasia wished to avoid, was the possibility that the Imperial heir would be overshadowed due to a lack of public participation in the functions of the Empire, as had happened with Philip Aurelian. Prince Peter Augustus had served bravely at the Battle of Lower Petra and the Siege of Haverlock, but otherwise had played little direct role in either the war effort or subsequent reforming of the Empire. He had no desire to join the ISA, did not participate in government functions, and, while present at court, was by no means the most prominent man there. To fix this, the Emperor and Empress bestowed upon him the title Duke of Petra in 1864, and bequeathed to him all of the lands of the Lower Petra to rule as his own. They tasked him with resettling and governing the region so that he could gain some practical experience in ruling. Much to their dismay, they found that this new appointment did not fix things as they had hoped. Whether it was due to Prince Peter perceiving this move as a slight (perhaps feeling that they desired to get him out of the capital), or whether he desired a greater voice in the day-to-day operations of running the Empire as a whole, the new Duke of Petra did not establish an independent base of power his position, and instead spent more and more time at the Azor estate. Further north, the exact opposite was taking place with his younger brother, Prince Frederick Charles, who had been granted the title Count of Mardon and an accompanying tract of land just above New Providence so that he may establish his own small domain (much to the chagrin of most of the Council of State, who realized that Prince Frederick had ambitions for the throne). Taking advantage of the rifts in court and the controversy surrounding his elder brother, the ambitious Count of Mardon accumulated his own sizable following. He had been well-liked by many of the nobles, soldiers, and commonfolk of the Empire, as he was often present throughout the streets of New Providence, drinking and chatting with the locals, and had served with distinction in a number of raids and battles throughout the war. Within a few years, he managed to establish Mardon as the third-largest settlement in the Empire, behind New Providence and Arichsdorf. While he would never dare say so in front of his parents, he began to whisper to his allies and subjects that the Duke of Petra was exhibiting the same traits as his grandfather had, and perhaps needed to be pushed aside in the same way. Unbeknownst to the Emperor and Empress, a growing factionalism began to seep into the Aster Court. While the various plots against them were many, they were often small and woefully unsupported, suggesting that they mostly had the faith of the peers. However, by the mid-1860s, they were no longer the young, energetic Philip and Anastasia that had ascended to the throne a decade and a half ago. The Emperor’s old wounds were clearly still affecting him, and it was evident that gout was setting in. The Empress’ mental state had declined as well. Alongside Count Adrian of Temesch, she had spent many of these peaceful years brutally putting down any plots or intrigues against the throne, which caused her to grow paranoid. Her frequent bouts of illness did not help, and her and her husband’s violent, bittering arguing could be heard throughout the halls of the Aster Palace nearly every night. Their respective deaths would come soon, and with it a succession crisis that all but they were aware of. Factions grew around the Duke of Petra and the Count of Mardon, which would remain relatively unchanged by the time of the Brothers’ War. Prince Peter, the rightful heir, enjoyed the support of much of the older nobility. A firm believer in the Petrine system, he appears to have desired to roll back some of his parent’s reforms and rule in a manner similar to the Emperors Joseph II and John VIII. His principal support came from Prince John Casimir (the Emperor’s brother and the future King of Bailan), House Ruthern, House d’Arkent, House Othaman, House Novellen-Huntshill, and House Vuiller, among others. Prince Frederick, the more popular brother, enjoyed the support of much of the younger nobility. Desiring to push his parent’s reforms, and planned reforms, even further, his vision of Oren was one far closer to what Savoy was, and many assumed (either with glee or with fear) that he would reintroduce feudalism and rule in the manner of the pre-Novellen Emperors. His principal support came from his sister, Princess Victoria, House O’Rourke, House Novellen-Aldersberg, House Tuvyic, House Novellen-Temesch, and House Pruvia, among others. The tensions between Prince Peter and Prince Frederick were not the only ones present throughout the realm. The nobility in the Empire, without a staunch enemy to fight, began to bicker and quarrel with each other. Baron Manfred, proud, traditional, and a staunch believer in the old vassal-liege relationship, despised much of the nobility of the heartlands, believing them to have gone soft and lazy. He would frequently taunt them, occasionally fight them, and always allege to Emperor Philip that they would sooner stab him in the back than put forth an ounce of effort to better the realm. The core of the nobility, on the other hand, said that Baron Manfred violated Imperial law whenever he felt like it, had no respect for existing authority, and was utterly out of control. It was here that Emperor Philip dithered, for his values aligned with Manfred, but he desired to keep the loyalties of the peers intact. Thus, he picked the worst option before him and did nothing, only stoking the ire on both sides. Another dangerous incident occurred on the 12th of Harren’s Folly, 1864. When a group of Haeseni soldiers and noblemen visited Arichsdorf in order to discuss the return of a mill that Baron Manfred had captured, they were suddenly beset by men of the Blackvale Company. A short fight broke out, which saw Baron Manfred and his soldiers side with the Haeseni in an effort to protect them, as guest right demanded. The men of Blackvale triumphed, killing many of the Haeseni and nearly slaying the Baron of Arichsdorf, but Count Willem van Aert intervened at the last moment and prevented his death. The Arichsdorf-Blackvale partnership nearly shattered with this act, and Haense began to decry House van Aert and its soldiers as rapacious, bloodthirsty killers, but Empress Anastasia was able to sooth the two sides and prevent the fighting from escalating. Further blows were dealt to the Empire during this time. In 1864, Warboss Fishbreath was killed by a stray bolt of lightning. In the aftermath of his death, the Sons of Nagg broke apart. Only a few hundred remained in the service of the Empire, as without a strong central leader, there could be no unity in the uruk ranks. A few months later, Varon Draskovic, one of the more competent Imperial commanders, also perished from a stroke while returning home from a successful raid into Urguani lands. In 1865, Hugo van Aert, the famed field commander, was accidentally killed by his own men while leading an expedition to conquer a small stretch of land in the sparsely-inhabited West Waters region for the Empire. The political situation was not faring well either. In 1863, Ulfric Frostbeard had nearly accepted a peace deal which would cede the Waystone Territory to the Empire along with large sums of minae. However, just before the deal was signed, he chose to abdicate the Urguani throne. His successor, Bakir Ireheart, promised to continue the war, and immediately sent out pleas to Savoy, the Vale of Nevaehlen, Orcish Horde of Krugmar, and the Ferrymen to join him. All four accepted, and the decimated dwarven ranks were soon supplemented by fresh new allies. Up north in Haense, King Sigismund had replenished most of his manpower, and prepared to lead a new expedition to defend Urguan if the time came. In the years leading up to the fateful Battle of Eastfleet in 1866, the Emperor jostled with the idea of settling for a lesser peace. However, his contract with the Blackvale Company stipulated that they were owed the Waystone Territory with which to establish a vassal state. Not wishing to go back on his word, or lose his best soldiers, in 1865 the Emperor resolved to renew the campaign against Urguan, and began calling forth the free companies of the Empire and mobilizing the ISA. However, in the years since the Siege of Haverlock, much of the nobility and people of the Empire had lost the appetite for war. Only reluctantly did the peers rally, and upon inspection the ranks of the ISA were found to be thinner than in years before. 1865 would prove to be the last peaceful year of Philip and Anastasia’s reign and the high point of their Empire. It is recorded that the Emperor and Princess Imperial Catherine spent much of the time in the forests north of Providence, fighting monsters and bandits. The Emperor’s sister, Amelia, was married to Hannes de Vilain. Princess Vivienne of Savoy, who had resided in the Empire for well over a decade, was betrothed to Prince Frederick, though an official wedding was postponed. Empress Anastasia officially announced the betrothal of Prince Peter and Lucia d’Azor, and hosted a brilliant series of games afterwards to distract everyone from the rather unpopular decision. Three months before the campaign for the Waystone Territory was set to begin, the Emperor, Baron Manfred, Ivar var Rutherm (now the Duke of Reutov), and General Anastasios Basrid spent two weeks hunting in the Grenz, where they feasted, drank, visited the local farmers and hunters, and discussed strategy. All appeared to be well, and spirits were high as the final campaign of the war was set to begin. The march towards the Waystone Territory began on the 6th of Owyn’s Flame, 1865. To make it Urguan, the Imperial army would have to make it through a narrow stretch of coastline, bordered by mountains to the west and the sea to the east, known as Eastfleet. The army, numbering twelve-thousand, formed up into a long column, was divided into three parts. At the vanguard was three-thousand ISA soldiers, led by General Anastasios and Emperor Philip. The main part of the army, comprised of the Blackvale Company, the men of Arichsdorf, and a few other Grenzi free companies, was led by Count Willem van Aert and Baron Manfred von Arichsdorf. To the dismay of the front two ranks, the rearguard arrived thinly-manned. Led by the quarreling brothers, the Count of Mardon and the Duke of Petra, the final rank contained the assembled free companies of the Empire, which only numbered another three-thousand. The Count of Blackvale and Baron of Arichsdorf questioned this, but the march towards Eastfleet began regardless. A stylized depiction of Eastfleet, drawn by Leopold de Roth, c. 1829 To face the Imperial army at Eastfleet was the largest host yet seen upon Almaris: numbering around eighteen thousand, with the Haeseni contingent making up the majority of it. This army was divided into two ranks. At the front was Underking Bakir Ireheart and three-thousand dwarves, with five-thousand other soldiers from The Horde of Krugmar, Nevaehalen, Norland, the Ferrymen, and Savoy bolstering the vanguard. The second rank was comprised entirely of Haeseni, led by King Sigismund, which numbered ten thousand. Knowing that the coming battlefield would be narrow, they hoped to simply overwhelm the Imperial army with their superior numbers and drive them back into the Lower Petra. The two armies met along the narrow coastline on the morning of the 6th of the Sun’s Smile, 1866, beginning the Battle of Eastfleet. Relying on the aggressive strategy that had won them the day at the Lower Petra, Emperor Philip and the vanguard charged forth into the mixed ranks of the Tripartite front line. Initially, the charge went well, and despite their numerical disadvantage, they were able to scatter the dwarven ranks, ride down the Norlanders and Savoyards, and send the wood elves and orcs fleeing. By the time they crashed into the Haeseni rear line, reinforcements from the Blackvale Company and Arichsdorf had arrived to support them, and they continued to make a concerted push. For two hours the sides fought bitterly, and it appeared that the Imperials would once again emerge triumphant. However, in that time, one of the Haeseni captains, Grigori Vyronov, was able to reform some of the scattered elements of the vanguard and direct them back towards the battle. Wood elven archers scaled the cliffs and began to rain arrows down on the Imperials, while a small contingent of Ferrymen followed them and flanked around towards the rear of the Imperial line. Slowly, the mass of ISA soldiers, Blackvale heavy infantry, and Arichsdorf levymen began to give way and be pushed back. In this critical moment, the third line, composed of the free companies of the nobility, was commanded to join the fight and turn the tide of battle so that it could be won. They would never come. The reason behind this is unclear, and three primary theories have emerged as to why the final line of the Imperial army never joined the battle, which could have likely turned the battle decisively. The first, alleged by Blackvale and Arichsdorf, asserts that both Prince Frederick and Prince Peter had taken to conspiring against their parents alongside their various supporting factions within the nobility. While the two brothers obviously did not work together, they had similar aims in ensuring that their father’s campaign failed. They deliberately arrived with a subpar rally, and they refused to join the battle at its height, thus deciding the outcome. The second, claimed by Prince Peter and his supporters, states that they, along with most of the nobility, were preparing to join the battle to relieve his father, but were prevented from doing so by Prince Frederick and his followers, who wanted the Emperor to perish so that the realm may be destabilized, allowing him to make his bid for the throne. A quarrel is said to have broken out between the two sides, which only ended by the time the battle was lost, forcing them to turn and retreat with the rest of the army. The third, claimed by Prince Frederick and his supporters, states that they, along with most of the nobility, were preparing to join the battle to relieve his father, but were prevented from doing so by Prince Peter and his followers, who wanted the Emperor to perish, or at least sustain a grave defeat, so that his succession could come sooner. A quarrel is said to have broken out between the two sides, which only ended by the time the battle was lost, forcing them to turn and retreat with the rest of the army. The truth behind what occurred with the rearguard of the Imperial army may never be known; it was certainly a question that those committed to the battle had little time to ask. As the day turned into dusk, the writing was on the wall, for the overwhelming numbers of the Tripartite had decisively swung the battle in their favor. In a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide, Emperor Philip mustered a small force of men, among them General Anastasios, Baron Manfred, and Count Willem, to make a desperate charge into the Haeseni ranks in an attempt to capture King Sigismund. This charge initially fared well, despite the overwhelming numbers, but soon became bogged down as more soldiers of the Tripartite swarmed them. Eventually the Emperor, while cutting down one of the Haeseni King’s personal guards, was pelted with several arrows from the wood elves above. It was then that the Urguani Marshal, Kronk Stormheart, who had taken command of the dwarven remnants, rushed forth and struck Philip with his spiked war hammer, piercing through his armor and jabbing into his chest. The Emperor collapsed to the ground, one of his lungs punctured, but a final surge from the last remainder of the Imperial army was able to recover him. As the last of the Imperial army was surrounded and cut down, the unconscious Emperor, Baron Manfred, General Anastasios, and Count Willem, along with a few other soldiers, were given spare horses and fled the battlefield. It was here that the rearguard of the Imperial army, which had not fought that day, withdrew. The Tripartite army, exhausted from the day’s fighting, did not pursue. The Tripartite’s victory at the Battle of Eastfleet was the most decisive of the war. Of the twelve-thousand Imperials that had marched south, only four-thousand five-hundred remained, most of them from the free companies. The Tripartite losses had also been serious, with around eight-thousand five-hundred dead or seriously wounded. The invasion of the Waystone Territory had been crushed, the Emperor had been seriously wounded, and the assembled manpower of the Empire had been reduced greatly. As the coalition returned to Urguan, they feasted, jousted, and celebrated for a week, knowing that no counter-attack would come again. In the coming years, they would be proven right. In the aftermath of his crushing defeat, Emperor Philip did not return to New Providence. Fearing a potential invasion, he made camp at Southbridge along with Count Willem van Aert, where they awaited an incoming attack. It would not come, but they still remained for the better part of a year. It was there that the Emperor famously disbanded the Imperial State Army, which had been around relatively untouched since the reign of Peter III, and castigated its men and officers for their failures to both recruit and find victory, and reformed it into the Imperial Legion. New uniforms were issued and made, a new command structure was formed, and it was completely reorganized. The reservists were called up in preparation for an invasion of the Lower Petra, and a draft was instituted to conscript new soldiers. He ordered that new defenses be built in the Lower Petra, and that Southbridge be fully garrisoned and refortified. He sacked the Count of Susa and took direct control of the Legion, donning the armor of the General and living in the camps with his men. Back in New Providence, the Empress was able to contain the political situation. All available resources were directed to the Lower Petra, and she brutally imprisoned or executed any who dared to speak against the Crown. She also enforced the draft strictly and had Princess Victoria and Princess Imperial Catherine join the Imperial Legion, while Prince Frederick was ordered to send his men south to join his father’s army or be imprisoned (he complied). By the end of 1866, the Lower Petra had been fully militarized and was swarming with soldiers in preparation for the defense of the Empire. The turnaround had been remarkable, just as it was after the defeat at Southbridge, but it lacked the same success and vibrancy of before. It was clear that the last reserves of manpower and material were being committed, and to lose once more would mean total defeat. The new Imperial Legion was tested on the 12th of the Sun’s Smile, 1867, when a force of Ferrymen freeriders were spotted riding north from Urguan to attempt to raid the Lower Petra. Emperor Philip personally led the Imperial Legion, which was supplemented by the remnants of the Blackvale Company led by Count Willem, and in the ensuing Battle of Ferry’s Folly they utterly crushed the mercenaries. They had no time to rest nor celebrate this victory, as mere weeks later they received word from Baron Manfred that large bands of Haeseni soldiers were raiding around Arichsdorf and the Grenz. Leaving Count Willem to defend the southern border, the Emperor rode north with his cavalry (in what would be the only time in his life that he fought on horseback, rather than on foot), and defeated the roving bands at the First Battle of Arichsdorf on the 21st of Horen’s Calling, 1867. A second Haseseni force was defeated a month later at the Second Battle of Arichsdorf, which finally expelled the last of the raiders from the north. After the Second Battle of Arichsdorf, the Emperor, having not set foot in the capital since he had departed for the Waystone Campaign in 1865, finally returned to New Providence in order to recuperate and have his wounds properly tended to. He was met by cheering bands of citizens as he arrived, for his victories in the past year had been propagandized heavily in order to cover up for the much more decisive and shattering defeat at Eastfleet as well as the imminent danger the Empire was in. To celebrate his return, a ball in the Aster Palace was thrown on the 2nd of Godfrey’s Triumph. All seemed to be going well, and the Emperor watched cheerfully from his chair, which he hardly rose from due to the pain of his wounds. Despite his pain, it is reported that many believed he was regaining his old spiritedness, and as he jested with the courtiers and indulged in the five-course meal that had been prepared, he became relaxed. He dismissed his knights and the palace guardsmen, allowing them to retire for the evening or change and join the festivities. Little did he know, as they left, bands of Ferrymen hide atop the roofs of the Aster Palace. With few guardsmen, and few armed, the Ferrymen struck. Rappelling from atop the roofs, they began to swarm the party and slaughter the courtiers indiscriminately. The Emperor rose to his feet, grabbed a nearby knife, and quickly led what few poorly-armed men and palace guards remained to muster a defense and allow the partygoers to escape. They did so successfully, and many were able to escape into the streets and alert the city garrison, but it came at a high price. Most of the defenders of the Aster Palace were slain, and the Emperor was captured by the Ferrymen. As the city garrison arrived at the palace, both the mercenaries, and their liege, were gone, spirited off towards Urguan. While little is known about the Emperor’s captivity, what is known is that it was a brutal one. Few details of the captivity were relayed by the Emperor himself, but, as he died less than a year later, he had little time to tell the tale in full. For days on end he was tortured and maimed, but deliberately kept alive. After six days of this, he was finally allowed to walk the ramparts, where he met with Basil Mareno, the captain of the Ferrymen (the details of this conversation are unknown). When he finally was freed, he was missing a hand and an eye, his hair had greyed, and he could barely walk. His release, no doubt ordered by Underking Bakir Ireheart, was just repayment for the mercy he had extended towards Ulfric Frostbeard at the start of the war; his maiming for the shaving of the latter’s beard. For weeks, he staggered throughout the lands of Urguan, eating fruits and drinking from streams. Eventually, on the 8th of Tobais’s Bounty, 1867, he arrived on the outskirts of Du’Loc, where he collapsed to the ground. His cousin Ioannes found him, and the local Lectors quickly brought him in and cared for him. Utilizing their skill with automatons and the medical arts, they fashioned the Emperor a new, mechanical eye, a new, automatonic arm, and made him undergo recuperation, which was cut short by his insistence to return to New Providence. On the 25th of Tobias’s Bounty, he finally returned to the capital, where, as was noted by all, he was a changed man. No longer, he said, would the war effort be pursued. Peace would come at a reasonable price, and, hopefully, he would be allowed to rest so he and Anastasia could spend the remainder of their reign completing their reforms. Tragically, within months both would be dead and their dream of a new, reformed Empire would die with them. The ensuing Peace of Eastfleet on the 11th of Horen’s Calling, 1868 marked an end to the nineteen year-long war, officially the second-longest in history after the Rubern War (though the Eighteen Years’ War saw more sustained, prolonged fighting and major battles than either of the two). After months of negotiating, a final set of terms were agreed to and ratified. The Empire would admit defeat, cede the sparsely-inhabited West Waters region of the Oltremont to Urguan, cede a small stretch of land in the Upper Grenz, similarly uninhabited, to Haense, fund the Urguani expansion into the Deep Plains, recognize the titles of Haense, Savoy, and Norland, pay the Ferrymen a sum of minae, deliver some leather shipments to Krugmar, and provide Savoy with architects (led by Prince Fredrick) to renovate San Luciano. All in all, the peace deal pleased everyone. The Tripartite Accord had their victory, while the Empire had obtained peace at a relatively low price. The future looked bright to all, and many looked forward to the continuation of Philip and Anastasia’s reforms that could now commence unabated by the war. Within a month, both would be dead. The death of Emperor Philip III and Empress Anastasia is shrouded in mystery, as the only witness to it was their son, Prince Frederick. Officially, they both died just outside of New Providence on the 5th of Owyn’s Flame, 1868. In the weeks leading to his death, Emperor Philip’s wounds refused to heal properly, and it was evident to all that he would soon succumb to them. When news of Baron Manfred von Arichsdorf’s death (an unverified event that supposedly occurred weeks earlier) was delivered, the Emperor’s condition worsened. According to Prince Frederick, his father, knowing his death would soon be upon him, wished to take a final walk along the shores of New Providence with his wife and son. The future King Frederick of Oren claimed that, as they walked, the Emperor and Empress confided in him that they had no faith in his brother, Prince Peter, and urged Frederick to take the throne himself and formally dissolve the Empire. As the moon rose above them, they all sat upon rocks atop the cliffs overlooking the ocean, where, after muttering some advice, he uttered his final words: “Then I am at peace.” A few moments later, he died, closing the final chapter on one of the more colorful individuals in Almarian history. Empress Anastasia, wrought with grief, passed an hour later, not wishing to live without her husband who, despite their quarrels, had been her constant companion since they were children. A view of the Aster Palace, drawn by Princess Imperial Catherine, 1861 Of course, Frederick’s retelling is laced with the romanticism and evocative imagery that would come to characterize the man. No evidence has been found that suggests Philip and Anastasia desired to pass the throne to him. On the contrary, recently-uncovered correspondence hints that they actually desired for Princess Imperial Catherine to ascend to the throne, but no conclusive evidence exists either way, which gave Frederick an ample opportunity to stake his claim. Enemies of Prince Frederick doubted, and continue to doubt, this narrative. Supporters of the future Emperor Peter IV accused the roguish Frederick of having poisoned his parents and fabricated the story of their death to grant him legitimacy (though this is heavily-charged as well- all existing evidence points to Emperor Philip’s wounds taking his life, though Empress Anastasia’s cause of death is unknown). Another tale, curiously relayed by many of the denizens of Arichsdorf and the men of the Blackvale Company, paint a wildly different picture than what is traditionally known. Although there is little evidence to suggest this, it did gain traction in both the Grenz and later in Acre. This tale asserts that Baron Manfred did not, in fact, die before Emperor Philip did, nor was it his wounds that killed the Emperor, nor was it her grief that killed the Empress. Instead, this legend claims, the Emperor, Empress, and Baron Manfred, along with a few other friends and retainers, were sailing across the Bay of Providence that evening. Unfortunately, the captain of the boat had recently retired, and the new captain was not informed that some of the bottom boards of the vessel had begun to rot. As they sailed, these bottom boards gave way, and the craft soon began to take water. Lifeboats were assembled, and the panicked passengers soon boarded them, with the Emperor, Empress, and Baron Manfred all hopping on the same lifeboat. However, the new captain had also not been informed that one of the lifeboats was simply a prototype, and it was this one that the two monarchs and Baron of Arichsdorf boarded. As they all paddled to shore, their lifeboat sank, pulling them into the water, where they all drowned. The news of Philip and Anastasia’s deaths were met with widespread mourning among the people of the Empire, but those in the government and among the nobility had little time to join them. With the two popular monarchs dead, the stability of the realm was now threatened once again. Prince Peter, the rightful heir to the throne, and Prince Frederick, the desired heir to the throne, both eyed it, while those in their respective camps hurried to gather support and prepare for the war. Within days of the announcement of the Emperor’s passing, both brothers issued their respective claims on the throne. Prince Frederick, with his forces nearby in Mardon, immediately marched into New Providence, quickly taking the capital and driving out his brother’s supporters. The Brothers’ War had begun, and the future of Oren would hang in the balance once again. Tenacity is one of the best words to use when defining Philip and Anastasia’s time on the throne. They (especially Philip) displayed rashness and overconfidence to a great degree, as shown by the failures at the Siege of Southbridge, the Michaelite Schism, and the Battle of Eastfleet. In large part because of this, much of their reign was haunted by the specter of total defeat or another internal coup ousting them. However, despite their repeated failures, they managed to come back from each and score significant successes in the aftermath due to a combination of luck and their own capability. The Church’s power over Oren, which had reached its zenith with the first excommunication, was completely broken when the second excommunication was issued, completely reversing public opinion of the monarchs. After Southbridge and the Lower Petra were taken, Emperor Philip worked tirelessly to rebuild his army and government, eventually netting him great victories in the Battle of the Lower Petra and the Siege of Haverlock, which broke the power of Urguan and Sedan. Although the Eastfleet Campaign proved disastrous, the newly-formed Imperial Legion showed promise, and the peace that concluded the war was relatively mild. All in all, Philip and Anastasia prolonged the survival of the Empire, and Oren as a whole, through sheer will and careful politicking, though they also ignored the seeds of its eventual downfall, which, had they been addressed properly, would have ensured its survival for far longer. Perhaps the greatest failure they faced was not on the battlefield or in the church, but in their household. Oblivious to the mounting tensions between their sons, Peter and Frederick, the Emperor and Empress utterly failed in either affirming Peter’s succession to the throne or altering the system of succession entirely to avoid it. The result was the Brothers’ War, which technically brought about the end of the Empire (though mostly in name) and created an irreconcilable rift between the supporters of King Frederick and the supporters of Emperor Peter, which today still has yet to be mended. Had they more openly supported either son, or, preferably, had Princess Imperial Catherine named heir, as she displayed greater competence than either of her brothers, the disastrous civil war may have been averted. Of course, much of this can be laid at their general inability to properly coordinate with one another. As they tried to model Anne and Joseph, they forgot the fundamental principle that made their reign such a success: they were able to effectively divide their duties according to their respective talents. Had Philip and Anastasia applied that to their own attempt at co-ruling, perhaps a more coherent answer to the question of their heir could have been had, thus saving and continuing the progress and reform the two made during their reign. It appears that the greatest triumph of Philip and Anastasia resides in the realm of speculation and what ifs. Their reforms, when fully implemented, worked with great success. The Adriatic Court was a well-functioning institution, the city prefecture managed the capital more effectively than most previous city governments, the Imperial Inquisition was more popularly-received than the Imperial Court System, the relaxation of laws restricting the privileges of the nobility resulted in additional manpower and the creation of bustling new towns and cultural hubs, and the Empire prospered. New Providence was the cultural and economic center of Almaris, the subjects of the Crown were strong and decently-utilized, and it can be reasonably said that at the height of their power, Philip and Anastasia’s Empire rivaled even Peter III’s. It has left many wondering what could have been had they survived longer, or had they not resumed the war against Urguan, or had they been able to succeed peacefully without needing to overthrow their grandfather. Perhaps we would be living in a Golden Age, or perhaps some other mishap would have caused the end of the Empire. While the character of men such as Gaspard van Aert, Anastasios Basrid, and Manfred von Arichsdorf, can be commended, the vices and laziness that had been encouraged by the Petrine system had seeped into much of cultural apparatus and population of the Empire, perhaps making the eventual failure of Philip and Anastasia’s “Aster Reforms'' an inevitability. What can surely be said is that Philip and Anastasia are among the most impactful monarchs in the history of Almaris, if not the Empire as a whole, and have captured popular imagination in a way former Petrine Emperors (save Peter III and perhaps Anne) could not. Loved, despised, admired, feared, we live in a world shaped by their triumphs and defeats, and for it they remain among the most-studied and well-documented monarchs in history. Had they never lived at all, the world would be vastly different from how we know it today. Had they lived longer, the world would be vastly different from how we know it today. They did neither, though, for individuals such as Philip and Anastasia, as if driven by God and fate, shall always have their time in the sun, even if their own nature prevents them from staying there for long. Vale, Philip III ‘the Bold’ 15th of Horen's Calling, 1815-5th of Owyn’s Flame, 1868 (r. 16th of Tobias' Bounty, 1849-5th of Owyn’s Flame, 1868) Vale, Anastasia ‘the Ruthless’ 1st of Sun’s Smile, 1818-5th of Owyn’s Flame, 1868 (r. 11th of Harren’s Folly, 1853-5th of Owyn’s Flame, 1868) O Ágioi Kristoff, Jude kai Pius. Dóste mas gnósi ópos sas ékane o Theós. Poté min afísoume na doúme to skotádi, allá as doúme móno to fos tis sofías kai tis alítheias. O Theós na se evlogeí. The Brothers’ War, reign of King Frederick I of Oren, and Acre Rebellion, shall be covered in our next volume of The Decline and Fall of the Holy Orenian Empire.
  13. agree with this. i think the AH can be a good resource for bulk materials- iron, wood, food, stuff that realistically aren't going to be rp'd out. However, RP items (especially magical/special ones) should always be bought irp. having a magic trader in each town with these rare wares cheapens what could be neat rp.
  14. Oh I'm sorry. I just looked at your profile I didn't realize you where a lady. (And a beautiful one at that) I try my best to respect women. Especially women in gaming. As a matter of fact now I actually do agree with you. I'm sorry. Maybe you could even add me on PSN and we can play some games together. We could play GTA, overwatch, Minecraft, maybe even a little COD. Add me xXMinecraftGroomerXx. Sorry about my name. My cousin made it a while back. He is not a good person like me and does not carry my values.

    1. Mannamannaa
    2. Nectorist


      A girl.... AND a gamer? Whoa mama! Hummina hummina hummina bazooooooooing! *eyes pop out* AROOOOOOOOGA! *jaw drops tongue rolls out* WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF *tongue bursts out of the outh uncontrollably leaking face and everything in reach* WURBLWUBRLBWURblrwurblwurlbrwubrlwburlwbruwrlblwublr *tiny cupid shoots an arrow through heart* Ahhhhhhhhhhh me lady... *heart in the shape of a heart starts beating so hard you can see it through shirt* ba-bum ba-bum ba-bum ba-bum ba-bum *milk truck crashes into a bakery store in the background spiling white liquid and dough on the streets*

  15. Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
       Down from the regions of glory descend!
       Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger,
       Lo, for his guard the bright angels attend.
    1. Nectorist


      Will they come back to the the place of their absence? If even one came, he might witness the marvel that has taken place in my time, see what I am seeing, as the only descendent of our lords. For I am not just dreaming, not just sleepwalking, not seeing you in my dreams. I am not just dreaming that I have seen you and have looked at you face to face. I have been worried for a long time, looking toward the unknown from which you have come, the mysterious place. For our rulers departed, saying that you would come to your city and sit upon your throne. And now it has been fulfilled, you have returned. Go enjoy your palace, rest your body. Welcome our lords to this land.

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