Part 22: As Lamentações
Despite the capture of their capital, the Venetian mercenary forces had not yet relented and were beginning an assault on the city of Adrianople with great quickness.
Dandolo, en route back to Lisboa aboard one of the jellyfish, was reportedly ranting and raving the whole trip back, though he was curiously demanding to know why he was being taken back to Lisboa, as though he was utterly oblivious to what transpired around him
The Brazilian relief corps began a move to defend Adrianople, and Sidonian muskets ravaged the Venetian condottieri.
The Justo Takayama, meanwhile, made an effort to rescue their Japanese expatriate fellows from La Venta hands by blocking their access to the sea.
In Lisboa and Ceuta, meanwhile, plans were being hatched for a different war.
"Your objective, senhores e senhoras, is nothing less than the wholesale elimination of the Venetian and Roman centres of faith." Salazar informed the assembly of scholars. "Locate any artifacts, family records, holy texts, art or craft relating to the heresies of the Roman or Venetian. Put them all to the fire, eliminate any challenge to the legitimacy of our faith. The people of the world have languished under the whims of false gods and prophets for too long."
Their mission clear, the priests and scholars, and more than a few archaeologists bought into silence by the Casa, began their dark work.
Pedro, hoping to reclaim Portuguese ivory as a gift to his people, was instead convinced to provide a similar measure of gold in exchange.
However, in the cities, an increased fear of Roman attacks against civilians caused the President to begin implementing stronger internal security measures.
These changes brought some peace of mind to local populations, though at the same time there was some concern that this security would be levied disproportionately against foreign immigrants.
On the front against La Venta, an interesting opportunity presented itself for the Caravela to assault a former Portuguese vessel, now crewed by Venetian loyalists. The capture was successful given the damage incurred by the ship was mostly to its crew.
Venetian worker corps, now paid for by Casa funds, were sought to bring advanced Portuguese infrastructure to Venice.
Loyalists suffering losses at sea managed to put up a stronger front on land, but at the same time the modern Portuguese cavalry corps made up for any deficiencies in tactics with technology and discipline.
Though the inquisitors would take some time to strike at the heart of Confucianism, the sword was decreed to fall by the people of Portugal, so it must.
The Casa also made overtures of strengthening relations with Riga, whose status as one of Portugal's oldest allies was deserving of some continued considerations.
Though the Sidon volunteer forces managed to inflict damage against the Venetians, their supply lines remained strong and reinforcements made advancing difficult. Adrianople suffered withering assault all the while.
The Daimyo-led Japanese (not to be confused with the Republican Japanese who were protected by Portugal) at this time made overtures against Assyria, though recognizing that their independence was also guaranteed by Portugal meant that they had little opportunity to act on their threats.
Pedro also saw fit to renew the terms of the mutual defence treaty. As it was with Byzantium, there would be consequences for this action.
At around this time, the condottieri managed to capture and occupy Adrianople, and the President made it clear that the Portuguese would do what is necessary to return it to Byzantine hands.
In so doing, she sought assistance from the Casa and its trading partners, to see if it would be feasible to increase tariffs in order to support military operations. The move saw surprising support from City-State benefactors of Portuguese governance.
Furthermore, it seems that the Nau that was re-captured from La Venta had been stocked with a number of local trade goods in wine and minerals. They were sold to the Japanese for a tidy profit.
The land engagement with the La Venta defence forces was equally profitable, as the Japanese civilian workers were successfully rescued and moved to return to Kyoto.
The anarchist cell in northern Assyria was similarly dealt with, and the assault force from Ponta Delgada found nothing amidst their camp save some belongings of the Portuguese archaeological expedition.
In these uncertain times, overtures were made to Sidon to provide continued support for the Portuguese armed forces.
Venetians began to undergo startling modernizations.
...and the Restoration proved daunting, but ultimately manageable. However, the work of the Inquisitors was somewhat more destructive, even if it did come from a place of good intent.
The result of their purge included the re-consecration of local temples as Sebastianist places of worship, and in cases where Hindu locals continued to profess the faith, they were charged with inciting anarchist sentiments and jailed. The Sebastianist majority took power in the halls of the government, and by all accounts Hinduism would thereafter be relegated to fringe cult status, unable to regain legitimacy for a lack of historical doctrine or centres of worship. Antium maintained a majority to be sure, but their marginal status meant that Roman efforts to spread the faith would be lacking to say the least.
Oda, for reasons unknown, took this opportunity to resume his verbal assault, claiming that the Republican Japanese were being mistreated by their Portuguese overlords.
He curiously used a Japanese translation of the phrase "tyranny of the majority" in his speech to that year's conference.
Though Adrianople was in dire straits, the Sidon volunteer force positioned itself for a counter-siege.
Meanwhile, a new cavalry group in Venetian territory began investigating Milan's borders to identify potential targets, following intelligence pointing to a person of interest in the northwest.
Amid hurried construction of newly modernized police stations, the President received a report from the front on the new development.
A head of a Venetian trading firm was being dispatched to potentially perform a buyout of some major foreign companies, potentially shackling another City-State to the unique Venetian plutocracy.
The target was marked for capture, dead or alive.
Assyrians once more found themselves the opportunity to develop unique diplomatic ties.
A distracting maneuver from one of the Armada was initiated against Milan to cover the operations of the Lancer force.
While Adrianople's defences fell for a second time.
Though the defenders left little but a husk of the former city, it was returned to Byzantium forthwith.
All that remained was for the Portuguese defenders to drive the condottieri from Byzantine borders.
Throughout this, the scientific and cultural discoveries of the Universidades continued to flourish.
Luanda continued to grow its arsenal of democracy.
Local Byblos artifacts were brought to Portugal for further study.
These new artifacts gave the Louvre the unique distinction of being the "World's Most Visited Museum," or so the tourism board called it.
This new and local focus on art and history resulted in a sudden increase of spending for the artist community of Luanda.
In the deserts near Milan, support fire from the coast rained down on the merchant's bodyguards.
The following assault from the Lancer force was an apparently disorganized melee, as the merchant lord refused to go quietly with the Sidon volunteers, resulting in his death.
One of the lancers reportedly told his commander "Apparently they do bleed."
These compounding misfortunes convinced the Doge in captivity to inform his subordinates that the assault on Byzantium was to cease immediately.
Thereafter, he seemed surprisingly amenable to peace with Portugal as well.
His strangely friendly demeanour led to a bizarre discovery on the part of his Portuguese captors.
Noting his erratic and inconsistent behaviour, it was discovered that over the course of observing his Confucian traditions, he had eaten some variety of fish that was poisoned with mercury, resulting in his supposed madness.
The President reportedly found a strange sympathy for her fellow elected lord thereafter.
The La Venta Nau was returned to it, much in the same condition it had been originally provided.
The Nova Lusitania returned to Tokyo for repairs and accolades.
The Roman Restoration also began to draw to a close, as the globetrotting worker corps of the Portuguese empire began to plan their next moves.
More discoveries about Assyrian cultural tradition (conveniently outside their own borders) resulted in more fame and fortune for academia back home.
Undergoing experimental treatments for his condition seems to have made Dandolo suddenly aware of his circumstance, and his Portuguese doctor was the recipient of much of his vitriol.
A sudden flurry of announcements that Byzantium had abandoned its aspirations on the remaining Japanese territory, and for the first time in a long time, the world was at peace.
This announcement coincided with another unusual discovery from the Universidades, which was used to send a message from the President's office to cities around the world.
"When Lisboa was first founded, the island that I call home was thought to be the whole world. The entire population of the world was Vancouverites, Rigans, and ourselves."
"Given time, we learned that this was wrong, and that we were only one part of a much larger and greater world than our home."
"My hope, above all else, is that this new invention makes the world even smaller still, and allows us not only to communicate faster than ever, but use that communication to better understand one another."
"Like our forebears, we have much to learn about the world we call home, and it will only seem smaller the more we know of it."
"I hope that as the world becomes smaller, that we learn to coexist upon it, and come together in the hopes of discovering more."
"Though we may argue and find reasons to divide ourselves, we can become greater through unity and a desire to reconcile our differences."
"None of us are truly fools, if we are willing to learn."
"We grow stronger through our learning, not only as a government, but as individuals."
"Our learning also brings with it the unique joy of our shared experiences."
"We have learned to look at the past with new love and admiration, so too must we look forward with the same joy."
"It will require a generous spirit, and one that is quick to forgive and mend boundaries between enemies."
"However, as we grow wiser, more powerful, more joyful, I know that it is possible. Thank you all for listening, from the bottom of my--"
With a burst of static, the broadcast changed.
"This is an emergency bulletin..."
With mounting frustration, the President threw the copy of the original treaty of Rio de Janeiro across the hall.
"What do you mean, 'we cannot act'? This is exactly what this treaty was meant to cover!"
"A consequence of a more recent decision, senhora." Almeida explained with careful tact. "The terms of our prior treaty with Venice established that we were obligated to respect a cease-fire for the next several years, and now that Pocatello and Dandolo have announced their invasion as a joint effort, they are both protected by the terms of the Venetian treaty, notwithstanding the fact that we have announced a formal friendship with Pocatello, who now hosts a number of Lisboan exchange students while we host his."
"I am not going to let a...technicality cost Pedro and his people their lives!"
"I do not like it any more than you, senhora, I assure you. Even I must admit fault in knowing that my suggestion of passive aggression has only briefly stymied this bloodshed rather than stopped it. However, I believe that if we do wish to achieve this reconciliation you hope for, we may have to respect the fact that we cannot intervene this time, and perhaps await an opportunity to rescue the people of Brazil at least until after the terms of our current exchanges with the Shoshone and Venice end. Alternatively, if you wish to strike now, or perhaps not strike at all, that decision is yours."
"The decision is never mine alone, Almeida." the President's voice low and tense. "We must know what the people desire, and offer it to them."
Vote on what course of action we should take in this latest conflict. Voting will close on Tuesday evening.