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TNES VII - Consider the Laurel

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Mid-Update 1 - Post-Phase 3 Flashpoints

-A vast barbarian horde under the Starchild Adennakar crosses the border somewhere near the Aeterni Mountains.

-Scaius Rota seizes control of the throne of Taglarika, and now fights a civil war against rebel clans.

-Theocritus, Governor of Evvia, declares his intent to punish Anaxion for their brutal slaughter of the Archon of Zoeon. The other prefects of Evvia announce support for his new policies.

-The naval legion under Varinius Stubo allies with the local legate Epidromus to depose the old governor Callixtus, who escapes into the Kypari forests. Simultaneously, Caelinus Mancinus approaches Chaledonia from the north.

-The island prefecture of Cassia defies the Legate Remus Rufinius and the Acting Governor of Magna Evvia, Gnaeus Rufinius.

-Across the West in Aetheria, Tarias, Vincetia, and Aetacia, leaders consolidate power.

-A conference is called by Legate Fabianus to address the Cintra-Kalessos dispute.

-Taria Esronesis is split by Optima and Esronapolia declaring support for Legate Fabianus and Governor Valerius.

-The Governor of Hateph, Tiberius Varus, imprisons the Prince-Judge of Aspea for corruption at the demand of Legate Sempronius, leading to a revolt of the Aspesim.

-The Solar Magus Bastian allies with Ahburanipal and crosses the border into Valian Polynomia. Legates Rufus and Tullius withdraw to Tisbarion as Limala and Barbarkos are razed by Ashraic and Khuneroi forces.

-The whereabouts of the Lunar Mystagos are a Mystery.
 
Second Letter of Titus Valerius Ahenobarbus to the Valian Forum and the Colleges of Saia.

Venerable brethren, senatorial fathers, in the days of the Hatephite rebellion were sent as envoys to Hateph the chief men of the community, firstly to warn that internal enemy upon the Iteros, Varus the Elder, to desist from rebellion, remember the ways of his ancestors in Saia and submit to his Emperor's judgement for the preservation of peace and the common good. Secondly, they went forth to rally to the common good those loyal and honest men, servants of the Empire all, who would oppose such folly should reason fail to stay Varus the Elders pretensions and ill-omened fate cause Hateph to take arms against its master. In those dark days when Hateph foreswore obedience to its god , the divine Emperor Carian, incarnation of Heru the universal sovereign, as indeed came to pass, it is known that the Prince-Judge of the Aspesim, a people whom the Empire and the college of pontiffs has long exempted from the obligatory sacrifices by virtue of antiquity of cult and whose immemorial custom I remind you has upheld the exclusive worship of their own national god, a people whose weakness and tendency to fanaticism and superstition is well known amongst you, spurned folly and cleaved fast to the Emperor. Yea this, the least of the civilised nations, by divine inspiration remained loyal to Valia even beyond the Empires victory over the rebels and was instrumental in quelling disorder amongst the Hatephites and restoring peace to the province and the Empire. Thus Carian, when he had raised an army by his own efforts, and had freed Hateph from the outbreak of danger, in order that no such crime should afterwards arise, renewed the aspesim in their ancient customs and rights, rights of self-government not uncommonly granted to local communities throughout the Empire that the Aspesim might know that the Empire beneficently rewards loyalty in abundance even as it punishes rebellion, and that the fruits of fealty are sweeter than the bitterness that is to be tasted in sedition. Indeed, Valia is no tyrannical mistress but rather the mother of all and the benevolent guarantor and protector of her subjects, and even as it maintained Aspea in immemorial customs, it bestowed upon her the blessings of her own goods, that the aspesim might be edified in the light of Saia and become indivisibly integrated into her commonwealth. For this same reason Carian in his clemency pardoned Tiberius Varus Lucius, the son of the great rebel, for he at that time had no part in his father's faults being away it is said in Evvas on a pleasure tour at the time, and it was hoped that Varus the Younger would remember this clemency and advance the goods of Valian civilisation in Hateph even as Hateph was affirmed in her own immemorial ways, thus putting an end to divisions and restoring peace to the Empire.

Now then consider, what is Tiberius Varus Lucius' object in holding levies, raising money, and hastening east? From what he has said it is earnestly to be hoped that he hastens thus to Tisbarion to contend with the great enemy, Bastian, and the priests of Ashrai as they trespass in Valian lands not merely to seize their own advantage, but even before bare necessities, compelled as they are by their rabid superstition and vile barbarian oracles. This object we, honourable senators, ought to hope is on the eve of fulfilment, or fulfilled already; but it is fitting that the fruition of our hope be reserved for the actual event, lest we seem, either by our haste to have anticipated the kindness of the immortal Gods, or by our folly to have despised the might of Fortune.

Yet what is certain is that Varus the Younger has deposed the Prince-Judge of the Aspesim, a man confirmed in his office by the divine Carian himself, a loyal and devoted servant of the Empire. For what cause? Corruption? My lords, what a decadent age we live in! The senate is not unaware of the goings on in the provinces, the delegates see them. It cannot be otherwise, for if it were otherwise the scurrility and corruption of the governor of Hateph's court would not be well known to us even in far off Lutetia. Who indeed has not heard how Varus is attended by hatephite catamites and concubines in his private quarters and even in public! How he dines on peeled grapes and rare herbs prepared with oriental spices from the furthest east as he makes his ablutions in the Hatephite fashion even as he neglects the rites of Caelus and Pallater? Such rumours have reached us, terrible and distressing rumours, that the governor of Hateph saunters amongst his legionnaires wearing the harlots veil, inviting all who would abandon Hatephite notions of purity and Valian virtue both into his unmanly embrace without discrimination, committing such debasements of his person that we would discount them as the fables of old women and slaves and cling to the assumption of his good valian name, if it was not for the certain travesties of his sire who foreswore his fathers and prostituted his soul to the Iteros that cause us to doubt the wisdom of such skepticism. It is a fool indeed who says that the intention that Varus the Younger would remember the kindness of Carian and advance the goods of the Empire in Hateph has been fulfilled. For what trace of Valian ways remains in such unmanliness? My lords, it is loyalty and stability that is the first priority of Empire, if every accusation of corruption were sufficient to depose officials from their estate, then surely the governor of Hateph of all the officials of the Empire would have long ago been deposed!

Now, If I may first say a few words which are pertinent to the actual matter. The Prince-Judge was affirmed in his appointment by Carian himself and the aspesim's customary rights affirmed and reaffirmed by imperial writ. Now then it is said that at the instigation of Legion Legate Sempronius who alleged the Prince-Judge had foregone his obligations to the state Varus had the man imprisoned. All to ensure the legions loyalty one must presume in good faith, as he marches forthwith to Tisbarion to assail the Empires enemies. Yet in acting thus in unseemly haste, senatorial fathers, granting favours to satisfy personal grudges and disregarding prudence and reason, Varus has committed worse than Theocritus, for not even the governor of Evvas was so bold as to depose a legitimate imperial governor by force. At best we must attribute this scandal to folly, or rather attest taht a foolish man by foolish action under foolish inspiration provoked rebellion by offending against customary liberties afforded Valia's subjects. However, it would seem to us rather that Varus' acts have been informed and inflamed by a ravenous desire to avenge the degradation of his father and avenge the shame of Hateph by subjugating that nation, the Aspesim, which in their loyalty to the Empire ensured his sires fall. Varus the Younger has inspired hatred and sowed the deceit that the Empire has forgotten the service of the Aspesim and seeks to cast aside their ancient customs. I say to you, venerable senators, the Empire forgets the loyalty of none of its servants but remembers with inerrant memory all the betrayals committed against it. Valia has forgiven the Varii once before and it is not unreasonable for Varus to avver from his course and serve the Empires good, but I tell you the Valian people will not forgive a second treason nor abide a shameful man who scorns past mercies and repays kindness with derision.

Titus Valerius Ahenobarbus.
 
A Letter from ‘Pax’, to the Valian Forum and the Colleges of Saia

Valian brothers, ever since the death of our beloved Emperor Carian, there has been a word that is on the lips of many.

Occasio

It is a word that is both beautiful and insidious, one that might inspire citizens to the mightiest heroics in order to serve Valia, or to encourage the most heinous of betrayals.

It is a word that has reached every corner of our empire, where leading men, governors, legates, and delegates have seen fit to secure themselves personal fiefdoms, impoverish the people, and even declare themselves Emperor!

It is a word that has penetrated deep into the darkened lands of the North whom no Valian has ever set eyes on, and across the desert to Ashrai. They have heard this word, occasio, that in our moment of chaos, they might cleave our provinces from Saia’s embrace as one might tear an infant from their mother’s bosom.

Now let us speak of Tiberius Varus Lucius, a man so hated for his noble effort to sow the Valian seed. He has kept the grain supply to the Imperial province secure, a triumph in these trying times. He might have tried to extort the Senate, but he has not accepted a single piece of gold, nor favor, for he sees it as his most noble duty to secure safety and security for the people of Saia, not just from the dangers of the Ashrai, but also from the terror of the empty belly. Perish the thought of starving children and desperate mothers, so long as Tiberius Varus Lucius has secured Hateph.

There are some who ascribe hatred to Varus, towards the people of Aspea. That he saw an occasio to avenge himself on those who contributed to his father’s defeat. Perish the thought! Indeed, Varus has great affection for the people of Aspea, even with their odd religious customs, for they were instrumental in bringing his father’s treasonous rebellion to an end. And let it be known that when the time came to strike the final blow, it was then when Tiberius Varus Lucius proved to his Emperor where his loyalties lie, once and for all.

When Varus came upon the province of Aspea, he expected them to embrace the occasio to once more assist the empire and show their devotion, instead he found a Prince-Judge in the throes of decadence. He saw a golden palace that would shine in the desert sun as a rival to even Saia’s light. He saw an army loyal to the governor stockpiling weapons and armor, and plans being worked on for fortifications of the city. He did not mean to aid Valia in their hour of need, he was taking the occasio to secure his own position, even his independence!

Tiberius Varus Lucius did what he could to prevent the inflimation of tensions any further. He did not depose the Prince-Judge, for he knows that only the Senate has that authority. He merely requested the Prince-Judge’s presence at Tabernae so that he might be better protected; however his countrymen, distraught that their plot would end before it began, rose so that his legions might be delayed, and that they could be aided by the Ashrai.

When Varus has dealt with the rebellions, he intends to march once more towards the Ashrai, where he means to crush them beneath his sandal. When the Ashrai have been humbled, he intends to march to the frontier to secure the north, and drive off all who dared to defy Valia.

And when the threat to fair Valia has been crushed, when traitors have been routed, those who called his honor into question, will have to answer only to their conscience of how they besmirched a noble servant of the empire.

-Pax
 
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FROM Septimius Agrippanus Theocritus
TO The Valian Forum ; Colleges of Saia

▪︎ PRAEFECTUS EVVIACUS ▪︎

It is with heavy heart that I must inform the esteemed members of the forum and by extension the empire at large, of a terrible injustice and reckless attempt at violence against a noble prefecture of Evvia at the hands of another.

Years of steady decline both in lands owned and self-importance must have sprouted madness most foul in the people of Anaxion for they launched in early spring a cowardly attack on their long standing rivals of Zoeon, butchering their Archon, his family and his guard detail in a manner that was beyond cruel and undeserving. Acting quickly and decisively, my administration led a legion onward to the anaxite home territories to make their leaders answer for their unprovoked barbarism.

Upon our arrival the citizen army refused to surrender and began attacking state legionari, forcing my hand to engage their numbers in self-defense. The ensuing battle to put down these aggressors unfortunately caused a great deal of destruction within the city, as well as loss of life on their part as their ancient martial principles caused them to fight unto pointless death. But it had to be done. Words can not describe the heartache I share with the people of Zoeon, and I offer them my thoughts and prayers.

Your colleague and ever loyal servant of the empire,
Theocritus
 
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FROM Septimius Agrippanus Theocritus
TO The Valian Forum ; Colleges of Saia

▪︎ PRAEFECTUS EVVIACUS ▪︎

It is with heavy heart that I must inform the esteemed members of the forum and by extension the empire at large, of a terrible injustice and reckless attempt at violence against a noble prefecture of Evvia at the hands of another.

Years of steady decline both in lands owned and self-importance must have sprouted madness most foul in the people of Anaxion for they launched in early spring a cowardly attack on their long standing rivals of Zoeon, butchering their Archon, his family and his guard detail in a manner that was beyond cruel and undeserving. Acting quickly and decisively, my administration led a legion onward to the anaxite home territories to make their leaders answer for their unprovoked barbarism.

Upon our arrival the citizen army refused to surrender and began attacking state legionari, forcing my hand to engage their numbers in self-defense. The ensuing battle to put down these aggressors unfortunately caused a great deal of destruction within the city, as well as loss of life on their part as their ancient martial principles caused them to fight unto pointless death. But it had to be done. Words can not describe the heartache I share with the people of Zoeon, and I offer them my thoughts and prayers.

Your colleague and ever loyal servant of the empire,
Theocritus

Third Letter of Titus Valerius Ahenobarbus to the Valian Forum and the Colleges of Saia

We mourn with Septimius Agrippanus Theocritus the savageries committed against Zoeon by Anaxion and lament the regrettable violence that subsequently ensued between this city and the forces of the Evvian Prefect. Pursuing satisfaction of private grudge against a fellow subject of the Empire ought to be condemned by all citizens of the same and we join Theocritus in condemning the Anaxites chosen course and the prefects of Evvia in proclaiming the suppression of their rebellion justified. We do this all the more given such perilous times as now, when our enemies gather abroad in all quarters of the world and mischievous and vainglorious men buoyed by the acclamations of their subordinates assail the Empire from within.

It is our fervent hope, conscript fathers, that this tragedy may serve the prefect and all those accounted the great and noble of Valia as an indelible lesson that actions have consequences and that the tranquility and order which Valia and her subjects have long enjoyed (oh how bitter still is the tragedy at Sataraphon and how lamentable the death of the divine Carian!) is served best by cleaving fast to the traditions of our fathers and by sedulous obedience to the wise and prudent law of the great and pacifying Emperors. The violation of imperial privileges and rights enacted by Theocritus' hand and the subsequent tumult of bitter sentiments, grievance and offended justice that erupted as a consequence can nowise be considered other than the first spark that let loose this upheaval. What cause would there have been for strife if all had been maintained in their rights and business and assured of the equanimity and impartiality of their governor?* This is clear to all.

But let all convulsions and divisions cease and let all past offences be pardoned. For now, as Tisbarion stands upon the precipice of battle against the hated foe and Adenacarius in his conceit reaches to assail Valia itself, it is time for the Empires servants to rally to her aid and succour and grant such aid as can be granted in her defence as dutiful and loyal sons. Now that the ructions in Evvia have ceased, let my colleague show himself to be an ever loyal servant of the Empire** and make haste to staunch the wounds of the east and contend with the accursed Bastian. Otherwise, let him make way with his legionnaires to the north against the barbarian Alteni, whatever avails the best end and most swift destruction of Valia's foes. Orations and sentiments have their place but as the philosopher Plethon the Wise attests, such things are vain unless they are manifest in action, for no prayer is efficacious without sacrifice and no thought meritorious without word and deed.

~ Titus Valerius Ahenobarbus.

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ooc notes:

* Saying the "Theocritan Reforms" sparked the events even if they were not the direct cause.
**using Theocritus' own words of self-attestation here.
 
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