Part 27: Paz Português
"To the President of the Portuguese Republic, Maria Bragança.
Though we have met many times before, in some God-given dream, I felt that this time the words of the Shoshone people needed to be committed to paper, lest they be buried forever in the ruinous wake of history.
In the fading days of conflict between our empires, I had fully embraced death. I was expecting to perish in a storm of fire and shrapnel from the skies, a final indignity for a warrior trained lifelong in the art of dueling and cavalry tactics.
Instead, I was left to live and wallow in an unfinished war with Byzantium, with nary a soldier to my name, from a desolate shell of a bunker in the scarred city of Agaidika.
I was told that it would not be this way. I was told that you and yours were prepared to unleash Armageddon if it meant ridding the world of my influence and power. God told this to me, and God made a mistake.
The people of Portugal, noble and just as they are, decided that their heroic restraint and laudable mercy earned them yet another excuse to declare days of celebration as an empire. Those left to rebuild Agaidika can only wonder if their brothers and sisters in Moson Kahni are celebrating too, and wonder enviously if the Portuguese even have to work anymore, given the sheer number of national holidays they seem to enjoy.
I am told that the Portuguese sword ever lends itself to a superior plowshare.
I am told that no relationship is beyond repair.
I am told that everyone in Portugal, most of all I, should be grateful for the opportunities to thrive and find joy under the sheltering wings of the Republic.
However, I am also reminded that at one time, God led me to become the leader of a similar nation, and entrusted me with the strength to afford those same opportunities to my people. Yet, that strength was no match for the ever-grinding and crushing gears of the Portuguese steam engine and the almighty escudo.
Where I would once find solace in the word of the Lord, I have found that His texts have been stolen from my people in the night.
Where I would once struggle to provide my people with food, I have found that it has been given to them by a once-hated enemy.
Where I expected to find open hostility, I instead see indifference.
I believe that indifference is a much crueler response.
It is in these thoughts, witnessed from the bottom of a great chasm from which I know my empire and its people will never emerge, that I share with you one final piece of knowledge, as a fellow ruler:
We do not live in a just world.
No matter how you love or care for the planet or its people. That love will not be returned.
You may build your monuments to God, but even He will eventually prove powerless before the weight of sin and decadence.
You may struggle for your people and their happiness, but even they will fail you when you need them most.
Perhaps worst of all, is the knowledge that even where you succeed and bring happiness to yourself and your own, it comes at the expense of someone else.
I think about the past quite often, when I once could visit a wondrous seaside city with its grandiose statuary that was once called Te-Moak.
I remember when we communicated through a shared dream offered to us by God, where we roamed a pleasant field and watched the sunrise as we awoke.
I remembered that we could once trade as equals, and saw in each other a kindred desire for prosperity and power, before it became apparent that only one of us could truly have it.
I remember the glorious cities of Japan and Venice, untouched as they were by history's wake, before they became war trophies and stands upon which one placed pagoda.
I remember my delight at seeing the ivory craft of the Portuguese, untainted by the bitter reminder that they are symbolic of an enemy nation.
In this, I understand nostalgia and loss, these ideals behind saudade, better than you or your people ever could.
I will no longer wish you or your people ill, as I am truly grateful that you have spared my life and allowed me to learn these things.
I hope that you find similar fortunes in resolving other conflicts that are surely escalating under your watchful eyes.
I only ask that you remember what I have learned for the sake of protecting it from history's merciless advance...
...and that above all else, we were once the same, equals under the sky and the Lord who dwells within it.
Chief Pocatello Tondzhaosha of the Shoshone Nation"
In the midst of another Melgueiro anarchist hostage crisis, the President took the time to read the letter to her subordinates.
"Self-serving rubbish as always." Salazar snorted dismissively. "He lays the faults of his political machinations and warmongering at the feet of his God, when it is clear that the fault lies only with his own failures as a statesman."
"Again, senhora, you are right to treat him mercifully and offer him the chance to reply." Almeida offers with a sidelong glance out the window, away from his contemporary. "However, I must agree that had he made some different decisions in the formation of his country, we could have easily prospered together."
"I've been thinking about it for some time." The President states after a brief pause, "I want this letter broadcast across the nation."
"If we are truly an enlightened people, it is our responsibility to better understand the motivations of those who once called us foes, that we might improve ourselves."
Some years after the Shoshone capitulation, Portugal once again found itself in the throes of a silent revolution.
The Portuguese network of diplomats and negotiators never found themselves idle, maintaining ever-more complex relations and trade agreements with major partners abroad.
Portuguese communications helped the nation's cultural touchstones reach a global audience on an unprecedented scale. None could say they did not know the history of Sebastianism, nor the soulful strains of the foremost fado classics.
Still, this did not prevent the Armada from keeping a tight lid on some of their own projects and discoveries.
Negotiations could now be completed almost instantly, and the President found herself in the regular company of her friends abroad almost as frequently as she did when she once dreamt of their presence.
She thought back to a time when the world was confined to the home continent, and how small the world seemed despite knowing, somehow, that it was much larger than she could imagine.
Knowing this brought with it new possibilities, and perhaps the best avenue by which she could finally see an end to wars.
It would not be done at the expense of others, as Pocatello claimed.
It would be the result of everyone involved acting upon their own free will.
Military projects and hostage rescue operations were delegated to subordinates while the President spent her time and efforts at the United Nations in Lisboa.
These efforts did little to dissuade the barbs of former rivals, but given time she hoped that the enormity of the plan would see even the worst opposition improve for it.
At the very least, she was hopeful that her allies would see it that way.
She received a puzzling and worrisome report of claims being made against Roman territories, but the Pontifex had been off the radar for so long she wondered if it was some sort of mistake.
All the while, the Portuguese people continued their pursuit of art.
They have become rather famous for this in the face of international strife.
Science and technology continued their inexorable advances as well, supported as they were by a similar creative infrastructure.
Everything old is new again, even where the Armada is concerned.
The President secretly hoped that the Armada would someday not be necessary, but until then...
There was always the dream of peace in the short term.
Though it was apparent that this was more out of a desire to maintain a complex web of allegiances, and motivated by fearful self-interest rather than a more genuine camaraderie.
In this, there was a clear sense that political games had clear winners and losers, though hopefully that would come to an end very soon.
A strange report from the city of Cumae captures the President's interest, as a large group of Assyrians armed with old-world muskets and crossbows marches through the countryside towards Rome. The President had not heard of any plans of any sort of historical reenactment.
Still, there are more important things to worry about.
Though her worries seem smaller and further away than ever before, as she looks down at the world from the heavens' perch in Luanda.
At this point, no one can say for sure how much closer to the stars humanity can truly reach.
It is in this time that the President begins to think of the people of the world, divided though they may be by politics and ideals, as citizens of a shared nation, divided only by their thinking of an old, unjust world of which Pocatello spoke.
She peruses through some old records and finds an old leaflet bearing a large declaration:
"Somos todos Portugueses."
Though other texts of unusual origin made themselves known to Portuguese explorers as time went on, interest in the past gave way to excitement over the future.
Still, disagreements need to be considered and tallied carefully if the plan is to go ahead as envisioned.
Border disputes are serious issues, after all, and Portugal offers an apology on behalf of the mavericks of the Universidade de Lisboa.
As the Portuguese reach ever-closer to the stars...
The stars seem to smile back at them.
Assyria is among the earliest and most trusted of Portugal's friends, and so is offered an opportunity to participate in the plan. Their agreement is met with cheers of joy that resonate through the halls of the UN.
Though Byzantium seems hesitant to join in.
The President is shown pictures taken with the Portuguese satellites, now showing the world in a truer clarity than anyone thought possible. The sight of white clouds and blue seas of a tiny marble was said to have moved the President to tears.
However, when Byzantium is offered a part in the plan, the response from Theodora is less than encouraging.
"I'm sorry, Maria, I truly am." Theodora simply offers with a sad smile.
"What you are proposing is nothing less than the elimination of the legitimacy of Byzantine rule. I cannot support something that would end the history of my people."
"It is nothing like that, senhora." The President offers pleadingly. "The treaties are clear, the nations may administer their affairs as they see fit, but our military branches will adhere to a strict new set of treaties, and the judiciary will have to respect..."
Pedro holds up a hand to stop the outpouring of words.
"These institutions are just as much the lifeblood of our nations as they are yours." He says quietly. "While we can respect the great dream you hope to accomplish, we could not face our people, our constituents, and tell them that we would subordinate ourselves to the Portuguese. I cannot offer up their hopes and dreams as a sacrifice."
"There are limits to what we can agree. I'm sorry but I won't support your new treaties."
The President is quiet for a moment before answering.
"Peace between us is the greatest dream I can imagine, and I'm sure you imagine it too. What is it about what we suffer through now that makes it worth giving up that dream?"
"I think it's about where we come from, and what our history has made us." Theodora adds. "We won't turn our backs on our history and our pride just for the sake of an unproven ideal."
"I'm sure you can see that after all this time, you still value some old ideas."
Theodora and Pedro filter out of the cavernous UN assembly, and representatives from the various smaller nations of the world take their seats, and a quick headcount shows that quorum has been established.
Byzantium and Brazil were never really needed for this, but the President hoped, in her heart of hearts, that perhaps they would see fit to turn away from suffering in the end. Instead, she watches them leave, using what is left of their free will and power as world leaders to abstain from history's greatest vote.
The President stopped to stare at the photos of the world one more time. She looked at the home continent, at Lisboa, the envy of the world, and her rival and sister Luanda, determined as ever to be the centre of the globe's wealth, alongside Faro and her desire to show strength through stoic industry. Vancouver and Riga, ever faithful neighbours, also proudly brandished their colours in the northwest.
To the north, the kingdoms of Assyria, resplendent in rolling hillsides along with Ponta Delgada, the mountainous jewel of the Portuguese crown. Zanzibar, a pearl to match the gemstone, all of which form the cultural cornucopia of the Portuguese peoples' earliest excursions into the world.
To the east, the famous home of artists and poets, Kabul, alongside the former cities of the despotic Roman empire, whose ruins were restored to their pristinely decadent glory by years of Portuguese labour. Ceuta keeps the coast safe, while Sydney and its breadbasket of fertile summers provides food to the world.
To the south, the Samarkand trading city and Buenos Aires, blessed as they are with a seeming eternal sunshine, pair wonderfully with the Portuguese home away from home in Cabo Rachado. Once a fishing village and now the foremost vacation spot for the citizens of the world.
To the east, Bissau, a gem plucked from the hands of an empire, now reunited with Moson Kahni and Te-Moak. For the first time in centuries, families separated by strife and politics now once again lie on the same side of a border, though Agaidika remains closed-off, and the President can still identify Portuguese troops on the border. Still, the nations of Genoa, Belgrade, and Byblos remained fairly peaceful even in times of conflict, and the Byzantine borders seemed to line up fairly neatly.
Further east, the home of Carnival buried deep in the jungle, Rio de Janeiro, the home of the closest cousins of the Portuguese separated by an entire hemisphere. Though the relationship between them may never be the same after today, the President was always glad to have an opportunity to work with someone like Pedro. The Byzantine diaspora could also be seen clearly, and the President found herself thinking of the beautiful architecture of Constantinople and the wonderful people she met there.
Still further east, Portuguese Nihon, in all its mystique and glory. A land of gold and warfare, the relative peace that it enjoyed in times of global strife brought joy to the hearts of the world, and though Oda Nobunaga, the infamous warlord, still retained control over part of his former nation, the world recognized that though yamato damashii had given way to saudade, the people of Japan could live in freedom and prosperity alongside their once-conquerors.
To the south, the conquered cities of the Serene Republic of Venice, as well as Sidon and the Melgueiro Expedition. A motley assortment of nations and cultures united through coin by a brilliant, but sadly now insane policymaker, Enrico Dandolo's legacy lives on through the art and wealth of the East's greatest city. Though the ideals of Confucianism and their strange crustacean origins are largely forgotten to many people today, the history of the place parallels that of the Portuguese closely, though if only the Doge could have seen reason, perhaps things could have turned out differently for them.
Finally, the mysterious land of Wellington, buried far in the north but kept afloat by a commercial empire based in hunting, fishing, and industry. Their ill-fated neighbours in Washakie now belong to Assyria, but the northernmost land in the world thrives nevertheless, bringing an air of mystique and adventure to a world now united by cable and wave.
The President puts the photo down and slowly walks to the podium, footsteps echoing through the hall as the assembly sits in silence.
She stands before the eyes of the world, and takes a breath...
Over the next several hours, as though possessed by the spirit of Sebastião himself, lays out her plan, a comprehensive set of treaties to be adopted by all member nations outlining specific rules and directives for resolving any conflict henceforth, bringing an end to more traditional forms of diplomacy.
In essence, war would be an impossibility for any signatory, and the terms of agreement would forever bind member nations to mutual aid and benefit where necessary.
After a long silence, the members of the delegation begin to clap.
President Maria Bragança of the Republica Portuguesa returns down the hall, blinded by the lights of flashbulbs as she peers at the faces of her peers, her fellow rulers, her lifelong aides Almeida and Salazar, looking down upon her with smiles on their faces.
She returns the smile, and her heart is full of joy and emptiness, as her lifetime of work comes to an end.
Though she smiles brilliantly, a tear of sorrow rolls down her face as she thinks about the past...
First and foremost, please accept my apologies for taking so long with this last(?) chapter of the narrative. I got caught up with numerous other things, and hope you guys still enjoyed reading the story after all this time.
To close out, I'll quickly show off the final screens seen upon ending a game of Civilization V, as they give an approximate and interesting look at various game statistics.
These are our demographics, the Population is a multiple of the number of Population points across all cities. Given that in real life there are approximately 10 million actual Portuguese citizens, this isn't a bad result, though it also assumes they are living on a very small planet.
Crop Yield, Manufactured Goods and GNP are the Food, Production, and Gold totals generated by your entire empire, while Land is the number of hexes you have within your borders * 10,000, and Soldiers is determined by your overall troop strength, not necessarily the actual number of military units you have.
Approval is just based on your surplus Happiness at game end, and Literacy is how far you got through the whole technology tree.
This is the final Score, where we are assigned a point value and ranking that compares us to a historical ruler. Given what happened to Augustus Caesar in this game, though, I think that Rome is likely still mostly a city of bricks.
We can also see the various demographic metrics here as a graph, though it is a little hard to see the blue line of Portugal on this one. This is the score table, and as you can see we maintained a decent lead before taking off mid-Renaissance, as is typical for a Portugal game on Prince.
Finally, we can also see a simplified game map and how the world overall looked on a turn-by turn basis, from start...
Thanks again to everyone who read and commented on this first LP of mine, offering great technical and gameplay advice, and voting on creating a Portugal the likes of which the world has never seen before. I will say that I am not quite done with this LP as I will be adding a bit more to the narrative based on a couple of suggestions here, as well as going back to fix some text and see how I can correct the images so as to not break LP Archive. I'll also be updating the second post with a bit more information on the real Portugal and where some terms and ideas in this LP come from, so hope you guys keep reading if you find that interesting.
If you have any suggestions or requests for anything regarding this LP, feel free to let me know here or via PM. I'm always glad to know what I can improve on and contribute here!
Boa noite, everyone!