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This covers the third quarter of the eighteenth century.

The Eighteenth Century (1701-1800, Part III)Edit

The 18th Century (1750-1775)Edit

1750Edit

  • January 1-
    • On January 1, 1750, vigorous New Year's celebrations were held throughout the Laurasian Empire, marking the commencement of the year 1750 and of the third quarter of the eighteenth century (1750-1775). By the middle of the century, the Empire, which had already been the predominant power in the Caladarian Galaxy since the fifteenth century, was now very close to becoming the only power within the Caladarian Galaxy. Under the first two rulers of the Neuchrian Dynasty, Neuchrus I, the Reformer, and his son Antigonus III, the Extravagant, the Empire had extended its jurisdiction across the Wild Marshes and into the Galactic Borderlands. The Vectorian Empire, which had been one of Laurasia's most fearsome enemies during the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, had now been completely vanquished. The Celestial Kingdom of Scottria had lost control of its territories in the Galactic Borderlands; Rogeria, Homi, Sassia, Rhedita, Kalbacha, Rasdalla, Kania, and Western Hypasia all answered to the authority of the Imperial Laurasian Government. The Marasharite Empire had lost control of the Tof Borderlands, Donna, Billy, and Latrice. It now held only the Muggal Cluster (once home to the Torfian Kingdom of Imegina) and the Northern Reaches. The Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, on its part, was held to only Dejanican Lavella.
    • In addition to territorial expansions within the Caladarian Galaxy, directed against hostile powers, the Empire had also ventured, for the first time in its history, into the satellite galaxies of the Great Tesmanian Cloud (1708) and Angelina Spiral (1736). This had been in the course of the War of the Dejanican Expedition and the Third Laurasian-Marasharite War; moreover, the War of the Rough Wooing, which was still officially ongoing in January 1750, had carried imperial forces into the heart of the Scottrian Homeland Territories. Laurasian forces had also penetrated farther into the Great Amulak Spiral then before, and the capture of Dejanica Major (1734), had marked the first time that any foreign power from the Caladarian Galaxy had conquered the capital world of a power in the Amulak. Nevertheless, the Haynsian Despotate, which had now been an irritant to the Laurasians for more than two centuries, continued to pose a threat. In defiance of the Treaty of Nis, it was still launching expeditions against the outskirts of Laurasian territory in the Galactic Void. This would serve as a further motivation of expansion for the Empire to the Northern Reaches and beyond, as would be evidenced in the two further Marasharite-Laurasian Wars which still awaited the century.
    • Nevertheless, the century had also seen great economic, social, and other significant changes within the Empire. The Almitian Reformation, which had now been ongoing for more than thirty years, had greatly changed the theological beliefs of the Imperial Almitian Church, impacted its administration, and reduced its privileges. The government of Emperor Demetrius would continue to pursue changes, in an attempt to root out Traditionalist practices and impose Reformist ideas on all spiritual facets of Laurasian society. Emperor Antigonus's own personal cruelty, and his escapades with his six wives, had also done much to change things at the Imperial Laurasian Court. His administrative, military, and economic reforms had continued a process begun by his father, and had served to strengthen the Empire further. Laurasia Prime's population was 1.9 trillion in 1750, its highest level in history to that point; the Empire's population had now completely recovered from the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, and had increased by more then eightfold. More then forty million star systems answered to imperial authority by 1750. Laurasian commercial and diplomatic ties with the Great Amulak Spiral and the Crone Galaxy, in addition to the satellite galaxies, were now extensively developed. The Regency Council would point out in the New Year's proclamation that the galaxy "had never been more unified in its history." And indeed, the second half of the eighteenth century was to see the ultimate triumph of the Laurasian Empire, and a relentless upwards trajectory in economic growth.
  • January 4-
    • As 1750, the 50th year of the eighteenth century, commenced, matters proceeded with the aftermath of the Kettian Rebellion. The Earl of Sarah, who had instated measures to maintain martial law at Lomanis, and was confident that all of the roots of the Kettian Rebellion had been destroyed, returned to Laurasia Prime on January 4, 1750. There, the victorious Earl was greeted with much celebration and joy by the inhabitants of the capital world. The Mayor of Christiania and the Governor of Laurasia Prime had ensured that the welcoming ceremonies for the Earl and his forces were grand. Audiences of subjects gathered at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, the Second Station of Callista, at the two Calaxies, and in the major cities of Laurasia Prime, praising Sarah and his prowess in battle. The Regency Council, assembled at the Audience Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace, issued a proclamation to the Empire's subjects that Almitis had blessed his subjects, and that such personages as the Earl were responsible for their personal welfare. Sarah's influence, as he had anticipated, consequently continued to grow. Yet not everyone was enthused with Sarah's rise. The former Procurator-General, the 1st Earl of Southerton, had been reappointed to the Regency Council in December 1749, partly at Sarah's behest, following Seymouris's fall from power. In spite of this, however, Southerton was concerned that Sarah's ambitions would prove, in the long run, to be as damaging to the Imperial Laurasian Government as that of Seymouris had been, and that Sarah was more concerned about the accumulation of wealth and estates rather than providing for the true security and stability of the Emperor's dominions. These concerns were to soon be displayed in full force. But for the time being, Sarah and the Regency Council, as mentioned above, were still focused on dealing with those who had provoked the Ketian Rebellion: namely, Craterus Kettius and his younger brother Willanius, who had continued to be imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux.
    • On January 6, two days following Sarah's return to Laurasia Prime, the two Kettius brothers were formally convicted, after a four-hour trial, by the Special Court of the Laurasian Empire on charges of treason, heresy, conspiracy, and les-majestie. Because they were commoners, they were denied the right of petition to the Emperor (as represented by the Regency Council), which was usually offered to those of noble, gentle, or ecclesiastical status. Moreover, they were sentenced to the full penalties of a traitor's death: hanging, drawing, quartering, beheading, and solar incineration. The sentence was confirmed by the Council shortly thereafter. Two days later, on January 8, 1750, the executions were carried out at the Fortress of Baureux. The brothers were put to death before a crowd of more than 300,000 persons. To the end, they remained defiant. Craterus, in particular, asserted that the actions which he had undertaken during his rebellion had been meant for the security and welfare of the Empire's subjects, that Almitis knew who was in the right, and that he wished the Laurasian Dominions would not succumb to destruction at the hands of the anti-Almitis. The two men were excommunicated by the Holy Synod, and were consequently denied an Almitian burial. On the orders of Chief Procurator Cranmerius and the Council therefore, their remains were dumped into the Pit of Traitors on Jadia. An imperial manifesto, issued shortly after their executions, confiscated all properties and goods of the Kettius family, including Kettian Foodstuffs; condemned all members of the Kettius family for having "given birth" to such traitors; and announced a sentence of damnation upon all who had been connected with the Rebellion. On January 16, Mayor Cleos of Wydominia and Governor Cloddius of Daytonia, who had also been imprisoned at the Fortress and had been found guilty of treason and conspiracy by the Special Court, were both executed, in front of a crowd of 130,000 persons. They too, were excommunicated, and their remains were dumped into the Pit of Traitors.
  • January 12-
    • On January 12, 1750, the Earl of Southerton, in pursuance of his concerns about his colleague, the Earl of Sarah, and seeking to reclaim his position as Procurator-General, launched an abortive conspiracy against Sarah. Appearing before the Regency Council, the Earl attempted to accuse Sarah of treason, declaring that the Earl's true intent in suppressing the Kettian Rebellion was to obtain support for himself among the Emperor's subjects, so as to disperse the Council, arrest and depose Emperor Demetrius, and proclaim himself Emperor of a new dynasty. He also claimed that Sarah had conspired with Lord Protector Seymouris, particularly in regards to the military campaigns in the Scottrian Homeland Territories. He alleged that Seymouris was to become Commander-in-Chief of the Empire's forces in the Homeland Territories and that he had been promised the Scottrian throne, to hold that Kingdom as a dependency of the Laurasian Empire. These allegations were absurd and unfounded. Sarah, learning of Southerton's accusations, invited the Council to his quarters at the Diplomatic Palace. There, he effortlessly refuted all that Southerton had said, and subsequently baffled the Council by exclaiming, with his hand at his sabre and a warlike visage: "My Lords, you seek the Duke of Volta's blood and he that seeks his blood would have mine also." Southerton's plot collapsed, and he was dismissed from the Regency Council for the second and last time. Following his failure to remove Sarah from his position of influence, Southerton retired to his mansion in Christiania, Licantonian Place, and died there on July 30 at the age of 44.
    • Following this, Sarah moved to consolidate his power through institutional maneuvers. On February 2, 1750, he was appointed President of the Imperial Privy Council, Imperial High Steward, Minister of the Imperial Chancellory, and Governor of the Emperor's Person by the Regency Council. Through assuming these positions, he became, in effect, the successor to Lord Protector Seymouris. Sarah, in a wise and calculated gesture, decided not to assume the office and rank of Lord Protector, believing that this would give his rivals at the Imperial Court cause to demand his own removal. Nevertheless he had now established himself as primus inter pares and as the chief influence in the Imperial Laurasian Government. As High Steward, he exercised power over the Imperial Household, and consequently, over the Emperor's surroundings. He was now effectively "master" of the Laurasian Empire, and would retain this position of predominance for the next three years. On February 5, letters patent issued on behalf of the Emperor granted Sarah the same powers of appointment and dismissal of government officials as had been conferred upon Lord Protector Seymouris nearly three years earlier. The following day, Sarah, believing that the former Lord Protector could not pose a threat to his position of influence now, and as before, still sympathetic towards his former associate, arranged for his release from imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux. Seymouris, who was now restored to his liberty, was also appointed Minister of Internal Security and regained his seat on the Regency Council. Grateful to Sarah that he had been spared from a longer term of imprisonment, and having recovered some favor at the Imperial Court, he threw himself back into his duties in government and at the Court. For the time being, a reconciliation was effected between the Earl of Sarah and the Duke of Volta.
  • February 11-
    • The Earl of Sarah, who had now established himself as the chief influence in the Imperial Laurasian Government, wished to turn his attention to domestic affairs within the Empire. He firmly believed that the Laurasian Dominions needed rest from the exertions of war, and was convinced that further military campaigns in the Angelina Spiral were no longer necessary. On February 11, the Earl pointed out to the Regency Council that because Queen Mariana was already engaged to Dauphin Franjak of Franconia, and was in residence at the Franconian Court, it no longer made any sense to continue to press for her engagement with the Emperor. There were always other brides for His Majesty, and much time before he would be married in any case. The Earl of Americana, who had supported Sarah in his efforts against Southerton, seconded the Council President's motion, and during the late hours of that day, the Regency Council granted permission for negotiations to commence between the Empire and its adversaries. On February 22, 1750, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Rudomentus Sadielus, who had been retained at his post by both Lord Protector Seymouris and Council President Sarah, sent a formal offer for diplomatic negotiations to the Royal Franconian and Royal Scottrian Governments. King Hensios II of Franconia, who had secured his son's marriage with Queen Mariana, and was already making plans for a renewed war against Franconia's archenemy, the Holy Spamalkan Empire, decided to accept the offer.
    • Regent Arran, who also wished for an end to the long and costly war, and believed that Franconia would effectively protect Scottrian interests in the future, decided to accept the offer in conjunction with King Hensios. On February 26, the Truce of Madelaine was concluded, terminating all active hostilities between the forces of the warring states. Laurasian forces in the Scottrian Homeland Territories, still under the command of Lord Dacre of Gitlandia, were permitted to continue occupying the territories which they still held until peace was formally concluded. On March 4, the formal peace conference was opened at Boulougone, which was itself still under occupation by the Laurasian Empire's forces, in accordance with the Treaty of Ardres of 1746. Lords Dacre of Gitlandia, Greysius of Wiltonia, and Pagentia, along with Sir Galerius Caranius, acted as the plenipotentiaries of the Imperial Laurasian Government, with Lord Pagentia also serving as the official Laurasian host of the conference and as the chief plenipotentiary. Admiral d'Annebault, General Cleutin, Commodore Montalembert, and the Duke of Torre served as the plenipotentiaries for the Royal Franconian Government, with d'Annebault holding the role of chief plenipotentiary. Scottrian interests were represented by the Earls of Rothes and Angus, Sir Walter Scott, Sir William St. Hamilton, and Lord George Douglain of Pitterneich. Pagentia and d'Annebault, who had already been acquainted with each other during the negotiations for the Treaty of Ardres, got along exceptionally well, and negotiations proceeded along swiftly.
  • March 19-
    • While the peace conference between Laurasia, Scottria, and Franconia was underway, the Earl of Sarah continued in his efforts to further extend his power through the Imperial Laurasian Court and Government. As part of this quest, he now appointed his supporters and favorites to positions of influence and power, thereby creating a network of subordinates who were loyal to him, and were dependent upon him for their authority. As he bore no blood relationship to the Emperor, Sarah understood that creating such a network was also critical to asserting and defending his legitimacy as Council President. The Earl placed his "special friends", Sir Demetrius Gases (1704-53) and Sir Thomasius Darcius (1706-58), in influential positions in the Imperial Household. Gases, who had already been made a Gentleman of the Imperial Privy Chamber by Emperor Antigonus in July 1746, was now promoted to Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. On May 8, 1751, moreover, he would be named Vice-Chamberlain of the Laurasian Empire and Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners. At that time, Gases was also elevated to the Imperial Privy Council. Sir Darcius, on his part, was appointed to the Privy Council in February 1750 and made Captain of the Valedictorian Guards. In May 1751, he would be created 1st Baron Darcius of Chiche and appointed as Imperial High Chamberlain of the Empire. In the latter position, therefore, he succeeded Thomasius Wentwarthia, 1st Baron Wentwarthia (1701-51), who was initially appointed to the position by Dudley, and who died on March 3, 1751, after less than a year in the office. In addition to these appointments, Dudley also placed his son-in-law, Sir Antigonus Sidronius (1729-86) and his brother Sir Eusebius Dudley (1707-59), near the Emperor. Both were made Gentlemen of the Imperial Privy Chamber, and Sidronius was named Commander of the Quencilvanian Palace Control. He also promoted the rise in influence of Willanius Cecilis, Secretary of the Imperial Privy Council, who had been appointed to that position by Lord Protector Seymouris in October 1747, and had risen quickly in his service. Cecilis had been imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux from November 1749 to January 1750, but he ingratiated himself with Sarah, and was released, being restored to his offices. On September 5, 1750, Sarah would make an extraordinary gesture: he appointed Cecilis as Chancellor of the Laurasian Empire. Cecilis became the youngest individual, at just twenty-nine, ever to obtain that position. Moreover, he was, on Sarah's initiative, knighted by the Emperor and granted extensive estates within the Laurasia Prime Purse Region, including on Durglais, Katherine, Chancia, and Caladaria.
    • But the most important move taken by the Council President was his appointment, on March 24, 1750, of Lord St. Johansius as the new Imperial High Treasurer of the Laurasian Empire. Lord St. Johansius had wisely shifted his support from Lord Protector Seymouris to the Earl of Sarah in September 1749, and had fully endorsed the latter's moves towards consolidating power. It was for this that he was now rewarded by the Council President. St. Johansius deserved this elevation in any case, for he had a long and respected career within the Imperial Laurasian Government. Born at Delamere Manor on Aquilionia, on January 10, 1683, he was the son of Sir Demetrius Pauletius of Aquilionia (1651-1725), proprietor of Basing Castle on Chesham's Star, and his wife Aetolia (1653-1718), daughter of Sir Willanius Pauletius (1632-1714), a Laurasian gentleman and proprietor who was distantly related to his father. He was the fourth of six children: his elder siblings included Georgius (1675-1742), Caelius (1678-1749), and Eleanora (1679-1754). His younger siblings were Cassidia (1685-1737) and Menelaus (1689-1755). Pauletius's father, Sir Demetrius, fought in the Sixth Vectorian War (1689-90), the First Franconian War (1692), and the Sixth Scottrian War (1696-97), before participating in the suppression of the Heuthrian Uprising of 1697 and the Tyrallis Plot of 1701. He was knighted in 1704, became a Governing Senator and Yeoman Guard in 1708, and obtained the rank of Lieutenant-General in 1713. He subsequently retired from the Imperial Laurasian Army and from government service in 1717, and retired to Basing Castle, where he died on June 25, 1725, aged 74. He would be buried next to his wife, Willanius's mother Aetolia, who predeceased her husband at Hooper on November 23, 1718, aged 65.
    • Their son, in the meantime, advanced himself considerably. Willanius graduated from St. Chresphyrne's High School in Winchestrius in 1701; he then attended the University of Vetta, graduating magna cum laude with degrees in forensics, general administration, and pre-law in 1705. In 1703, two years before his graduation, he married his childhood sweetheart Lady Aurelia Capellia (1684-1758), daughter of Sir Willanius Capellia, Mayor of Christiania (1646-1715) during that year. They remained married for more than fifty-six years, until her death on December 23, 1758, early in Empress Aurelia's reign, and had eight children, four sons and four daughters. These were: Agrippina (1705-77); Messalina (1707-90); Demetrius, who eventually succeeded him as Marquess of Winchestrius (1710-76); Thomasius (1711-85); Constantia (1713-1800); Giletus (1716-94); Eleanora (1717-58); and Craterus (1721-74). The following year (1704), Pauletius enrolled at the Imperial Jurisprudence Academy of Christiania. He obtained his JD in 1708, but had already became a Assessor with the Imperial College of Justice in November 1706, whilst still attending classes. Thus started his long career within the Imperial Laurasian Government, which lasted for three-quarters of a century (66 years). He worked on the staff of the Imperial College of Justice, and in March 1708, two months before his graduation from the Jurisprudence Academy, became a clerk of the Governing Senate.
    • It was this service that brought him to Emperor Neuchrus's attention, who noted the young man's work ethic and was singularly impressed by it. Pauletius became a senior chancery registrar of the Imperial Chancellory in January 1709. Then in 1712, he was made Praetor of the Heuthrian Governorate, a position he was to hold until 1727. Pauletius returned to his legal studies in 1714, and obtained his PhD in General Administration and Jurisprudence in 1718, from the University of Laurasia Prime. In 1719, he became Director of the Imperial Legal Archives, and in 1722, Vice-Superintendent of the Imperial Jurisprudence Academy. Pauletius was named a Usher of the Imperial Household the following year; he then was knighted in 1725, and in November 1726, was named Minister of Justice, thereby joining the Imperial Privy Council. He was to serve on the body for the rest of his life. The same year, he also became one of the first Gentlemen Pensioners, and held an honorary rank in the regiments for the next four years. Pauletius's advance continued after this; he became a Governing Senator in 1729, member of the Assembly of Notables of Christiania in 1731, and Comptroller of the Imperial Household in 1732.
    • From 1729 to 1736, Pauletius also served on the City Council of Christiania. Pauletius was named to the Imperial Court of the Star Chamber in 1734, and was one of the judges at the trials of Bishop Fisherius, Sir Thomasius Morius, and the accomplices of Empress Consort Anna Boleyenia; in 1736, he was named Vice-Chamberlain of the Empire. In 1739, Pauletius became 1st Lord St. Johansius of Winchestrius. He was made Master of the Court of Wards and Liveries in 1740; a Knight of the Imperial Garter in 1743 and Imperial High Chamberlain later on; and Vice-Steward in 1745. In 1747, following Emperor Antigonus's death, St. Johansius briefly served as Procurator-General. He also became one of the chief executors of Emperor Antigonus's will. Thus, his elevation to become Lord Treasurer was the culmination of his career. Furthermore, on April 11, 1750, St. Johansius, who was now sixty-seven years old, was formally created as 1st Marquess of Winchestrius and 1st Earl of Wiltshira, receiving his coronet and deeds of nobility from the hands of the young Emperor. He was to become the second-longest serving Lord Treasurer of the eighteenth century, and was to remain as such for the next twenty-two years, under three Neuchrian monarchs (Demetrius II, Didymeia I, Aurelia I). It would be on his advice that, in April 1750, the Earl of Sarah and the Regency Council repealed the Imperial Edict on Vagabonds, which had been one of the chief causes of the Kettian Rebellion.
  • March 24-
    • After several weeks of negotiations, the Treaty of Boulougone was signed by the delegations of the Laurasian Empire, Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, and Serene Kingdom of Franconia (March 24, 1750), finally bringing an end to the War of the Rough Wooing. The War had, with the exception of the period September 1746-September 1747, continued for over seven years. It had been the longest conflict in the eighteenth century up to that point for Laurasia, later to be surpassed by the Spamalkan Wars of Aurelia the Great during the 1780s and 1790s. By the terms of this treaty, the Empire agreed to restore Boulougone to the authority of the Royal Franconian Government, four years ahead of the initial deadline as had been agreed under the Treaty of Ardres. All star systems, bases, and colonies occupied by Laurasian forces in the Scottrian Homeland Territories, including Broughton, Falaside, Raindburgh, Morvay, Cleugia, and the Scottrian Outskirt Outposts, were returned to the authority of the Celestial Kingdom, and were to be evacuated by the Empire by no later than January 1, 1751. The Imperial Laurasian Government also agreed to recognize Queen Mariana's betrothal with Dauphin Franjak of Franconia, to reconfirm the Earl of Arran's status as Regent of Scottria, and to refrain from any actions to incite dissent against the Royal Scottrian Government, on account of the Queen's absence. In exchange however, the Franconian Naval Expeditionary Corps were to be withdrawn from the Angelina Spiral immediately; Laurasian commercial privileges, as had been specified in the Treaty of Kingsley, within the Scottrian Dominions were reaffirmed; and King Hensios of Franconia agreed to compensate the Laurasian Empire for all military expenses which it had incurred since January 1, 1748 (more than €600 trillion dataries). All prisoners of war were to be freed, while the Imperial Laurasian Government's jurisdiction over the former Scottrian Galactic Borderlands in their entirety was recognized by both Scottria and Franconia.
    • To ensure compliance to the terms of the Treaty of Boulougone, twelve "hostages" were to be exchanged, six each from Laurasia and from Franconia, to reside at the respective courts until August 7, 1750. For Franconia, the following nobles were selected as its hostages to the Court of Christiania: Mariana of Guise's brother, Claude of Lorraine, Marquess de Mayentia (1726-73); Lujak Tremoille (1711-58); Jean de Bourbon, Comte de Enghien (1706-65); Fransios de Montmorency (1720-61); Jean d'Annebault, son of Admiral Annebault (1720-62); and Fransios de Vendrome, Viadame de Chartres (1722-60). For Laurasia, they were: Antigonus Brandeis, 2nd Duke of Sufforia (1735-51); Edwardis Seymouris (1739-96), son of former Lord Protector Seymouris; Georgius Talabrania, the future Earl of Aretha and Imperial Marshal of the Empire (1728-90); John Bourcherius, 5th Baron Fitzania (1725-57); the Earl of Americana; and Antigonus Stanleis, future Earl of Aretha and Lord Lieutenant of the Tyburnian Stockards under Aurelia the Great (1731-93). All expenses for the hostages were to be covered by the resident government during the duration of their stay, and they were to be treated like any other honored guest or dignitary. They were to be permitted freedom of movement on the respective capital worlds, so long as they remained under surveillance, and would be permitted to participate in all of the festivities at Court. This was the first time, in any Laurasian treaty with a foreign power, that such an arrangement would be made, and it would turn out to be a unique circumstance. The Treaty of Boulougone was ratified by King Hensios on April 1; by the Regency Council (in the name of Emperor Demetrius) on April 11; and by Regent Arran, along with the Scottrian Estates (in the name of Queen Mariana), on April 22.
    • On April 24, 1750, the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed, on Sarah's initiative and with the Regency Council's consent, Sir Nicholas Wortton, who had been a member of the Laurasian delegation which had negotiated the Treaty of Ardres of 1746, as the new Ambassador of the Laurasian Empire to the Court of Parri. Worrton departed from Laurasia Prime on May 5 and made his journey across the Galactic Void to Franconia. He finally arrived at Parri ten days later and was greeted in a lavish ceremony of welcome by King Hensios, Queen Consort Catharina d'Medici, and by the leading magnates of the Royal Franconian Court. At the same time, Sarah secured the appointment of another of his associates, Sir Demetrius Cereanus (1705-57), previously his private secretary, as the Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Ediania. Cereanus arrived at Ediania (June 1, 1750), receiving a reception similar to that of Worrton's from Regent Arran and Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise. The hostages, as had been designated under the terms of the Treaty of Boulougone, were exchanged between the two governments at Onasi on May 1, 1750. The hostages were, in adherence to that same Treaty, treated in a commendable fashion at both Courts; Ladies Didymeia and Aurelia proved particularly kind to the Franconians, and helped to familiarize them with the customs and rituals of the Imperial Laurasian Household. The re-exchange of the hostages occurred on August 7, and they returned to their respective dominions. The Laurasian Empire was now at peace with its neighbors, and would remain in such a condition for the next seven years.
  • June 3-Into the middle months of 1750, the Earl of Sarah pursued additional measures to tighten and expand his network of patronage. He sought to remain on good terms with former Lord Protector Seymouris, and found that a dynastic marriage would be the best means of doing so. On June 3, 1750, he married his son and heir, John, Viscount Lisle (1727-54), to Seymouris's eldest daughter, Anna Seymouris (1738-88). The marriage ceremony, which was conducted at St. Paul's Cathedral in Constantinople, Laurasia Prime, was attended by many of the most prominent personages at the Imperial Laurasian Court. Among those in attendance were Ladies Didymeia and Aurelia, Chief Procurator Cranmerius (who presided over the wedding service), former Empress Consort Annaliese of Denver, Lord Pagentia, Field-Marshals Munnich and Lacius, and Emperor Demetrius himself. The Regency Council issued an official imperial manifesto praising the union and expressing the Imperial Laurasian Government's hopes for its success. Seymouris and Sarah were outwardly cordial to each other at the wedding and the festivities which attended it.
  • June 27-On June 27, 1750, the future King of Franconia, Charman III (r. 1760-74), was born at Saint German-en Laye in the Serene Kingdom of Franconia. He was the third son of King Hensios II of Franconia and his wife, Queen Consort Catharina d'Medici. Created Duke of Orleans from his birth, Charman was considered unlikely to accede to the Franconian throne at the time of his birth, due to the betrothal of his brother Franjak with the Queen of Scottria, Mariana I.
  • July 22-
    • On July 22, 1750, Lady Didymeia was summoned by the Regency Council to appear before it, to answer questions regarding her continued use of Traditionalist rituals in her personal household. As a member of the Imperial Laurasian Family, and as heir presumptive to Emperor Demetius, Didymeia had de facto license to continue hearing the Traditionalist Mass in private. So soon as he had ascended to the predominant position of influence in the Imperial Government, the Earl of Sarah, who was by this point an ardent Reformist, put pressure on her to stop the "misuse" of her privilege, as she allowed her entire household and flocks of visitors to attend the Mass. Didymeia, who on her part did not tolerate the use of the Book of Common Prayer at any of her residences, was not prepared to make any concessions. She had contemplated fleeing from the Laurasian Empire, fearful of her well-being, and of seeking exile in Spamalka, but could not make up her mind at the last minute. Didymeia totally disregarded Demetrius's personal interest in the issue and had an almost hysterical fear and hatred of the Council President. She held her head high as she was questioned by the Council, led by Sarah himself, on these matters. She was told that the crux of the matter was not the nature of her faith but her disobedience to the law. In response, Didymeia sent Spamalkan Ambassador Jehan de Schefye (1702-88) to the Council after the end of their meeting; he threatened that his master would declare war against the Empire and that he would not stand for the violation of Didymeia's hereditary rights.
    • The Council could not swallow a war threat from a Ambassador who had overstepped his commission, but all the same could not risk the important trade ties with the Spamalkans. Thus it was that on July 24, on the orders of the Regency Council, five of Didymeia's household officers were arrested and imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux, accused of being in conspiracy against the Imperial Laurasian Government and of plotting to overthrow the religious policies implemented by the Council. Shortly after these arrest orders were issued, de Schefye was again summoned before the Council. Minister Sadelius had informed his Spamalkan counterpart of the Ambassador's threats, and the Holy Spamalkan Government had reprimanded de Schefye for his statements. De Schefye was informed of these doings by the Regency Council; realizing they had him in a corner, he capitulated, and admitted that his statements were rash and abrasive. A compromise was soon effected with Lady Didymeia, who agreed to hear mass in a more private manner, but in exchange, augmented her personal property by exchanges with the Imperial Estates.
  • December 25-Despite the compromise which had been reached between the Regency Council and Lady Didymeia several months earlier, regarding the Traditionalist rituals in her personal household, a embarrassing incident took place at the Imperial Court (December 25, 1750). The Court was at the Palace of Harmony on Clancia, and engaged in the traditional Ascentmas Day festivities and masques. Emperor Demetrius, who was now thirteen years old and was rapidly obtaining intellectual and physical maturity, presided over the celebrations, being accompanied by Council President Sarah, Chief Procurator Cranmerius, Chancellor Cecilis, and Lord Treasurer Winchestrius. The ceremonies, however, were conducted in accordance with the Reformed Almitian rite, which enraged his sister, Lady Didymeia. Didymeia begged to be excused from the festivities, but this request was rejected by the Emperor himself. Demetrius, who was a fervent Reformed Almitian, now demanded, in front of the Imperial Court, that Didymeia abandon Traditionalism and embrace the Reformist faith. Didymeia politely, but firmly, refused, begging her brother not to intrude upon her religion. The two half-siblings continued to argue, until they both burst into tears. Council President Sarah then took the Emperor away and ordered Didymeia to her personal bedchambers, ending the confrontation. Over the remainder of the reign, Demetrius would continue to demand that she reject Traditionalism, a demand she would persistently refuse.

1751Edit

  • January 14-
    • 1751, the 51st year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire's dominions at peace, both internally and externally. And it also opened with Emperor Demetrius, now thirteen years old, involving himself more directly in state affairs. He did so with the wholehearted approval and permission of his Governor and Council President, the Earl of Sarah. Sarah organized Demetrius's political education so that he could take an interest in government and at least appear to influence decisions. The Council President wanted the Emperor to grow into his authority as soon as possible. Disruptive conflicts when Demetrius took over the government could be minimized, and by nurturing the curiosity of his sovereign, Sarah hoped that he would earn his gratitude and maintain his trust. This would allow for him to remain the chief minister of the Imperial Laurasian Government even after Demetrius assumed direct power. It was true that the Emperor was demonstrating impressive intelligence, piety, and energy at this stage as well, coupled with an autocratic manner and iron will.
    • Many others within the Empire, both noble and commoner, official and subject, prayed that Demetrius would not be "prevented by Almitis", from living out his natural lifespan, and they hoped that by becoming involved now, he would maintain a genuine interest in the Empire's affairs, ushering in a prosperous and successful reign. To Chief Procurator Cranmerius and others within the Reformist movement, Demetrius was an agent of Lord Almitis, rooting out error within the structure of the Imperial Almitian Church, combating heresy, and ensuring the "godly" prosperity of the Empire's dominions. As a result of all these developments, the Emperor was pushed forward towards his destiny. Beginning on January 14, 1751, with an imperial memorandum concerning immigration in the Galactic Void, Demetrius's signature would begin to appear alone on state documents, no longer countermanded by the signatures of the Regency Council. He now developed a close working relationship with Chancellor Cecilis and Procurator-General Richius, receiving information about state affairs and learning the mechanics of government in the process. Demetrius's formal training for his duties as Autocrat had therefore commenced.
  • March 7-On March 7, 1751, the Decree of Judicial Resources was issued by the Imperial Ministry of Justice, on the orders of the Earl of Sarah and the Regency Council. This decree was in response to the numerous uprisings which had occurred in 1749, such as Dunsey's Rebellion, the Disturbance of Teth, and the Kettian Rebellion. By the terms of this decree, all assemblies and organizations "opposed to the interests of the Imperial Laurasian Government and the lawful sovereign of this Empire" were formally outlawed. It was declared treason for any to involve themselves with such organizations, and automatic penalties of condemnation, imprisonment, and fines were imposed upon those found guilty of involvement. The decree commanded for all local officials to provide annual reports to the Senate on the affairs of their courts; to impose strict surveillance upon the households of merchants and other prominent citizens; and to permit nobles to retain their bodyguard units, so as to defend their estates from the possible attacks of mobs. The authority of the Praetors was expanded, and they were now authorized to take immediate action against any rebel units or bands, being permitted the employment of governmental troops to that purpose. The Decree of Judicial Resources was to remain in effect until September 1753, when it was replaced by Empress Didymeia.
  • March 16-
    • In addition to the internal turmoil afflicting the Regency Council, the Imperial Laurasian Government was also faced with issues concerning the Empire's finances. These complications related to the currency and to peculation. Thanks to the luxuries of the Duke of Volta and the Earl of Sarah, as well as the expenses of the War of the Rough Wooing, which had continued until 1750, imperial expenditures had, for the first time since 1692, exceeded imperial income. The surplus of €200 trillion dataries, which had been left at the death of Antigonus III in January 1747, was by March 1751 converted into an imperial deficit of €50 trillion dataries. Interest rates had risen to 5.6%; inflation rates were at similar levels; and the imperial unemployment rate had reached 7.4%. There was less confidence by investors, stockholders, bankers, and traders in the value of the datary, and more concern about whether or nor the Imperial Treasury would be able to meet its future obligations. The Earl of Sarah and his associates therefore, were driven to seek a resolution to the situation. Already on February 4, the Council President had ordered Sub-Treasurer Walterius Mildmay (1723-89), future Minister of Finance under Empress Aurelia the Great, and Sir Willanius Herbertius (1691-1757), who then served in that position, to begun the systematic debasement of imperial currency. Instructions were now issued, through the Treasury, to all mints and currency production facilities in the Empire, to reduce the content of pure tiranium, gold, and rare earth metals in the crowanrius, chiafvrius, and the radiatus. The Treasury now sought to focus on a more widespread circulation of gold solidus coins, to order for the suspension of all pegging standards by imperial banking and financial institutions, and to release emergency injections of imperial funds into the money market.
    • The prohibition on use of foreign currency was reiterated, and all institutions were compelled, by the memorandum of March 1, 1751, to disregard any coins or bills of denomination found in contravention with the debasement standards. This systematic debasement of the currency turned out to be more harmful to the Empire than productive. Moreover, it was done in contravention to the recommendations of Mildmay, Herbertius, and of Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, all of whom believed that another decimalization of the Empire's currency, a reduction in interest rates, and the introduction of new pegging standards would serve to better alleviate the situation. During the course of the next three months, unemployment skyrocketed to 12%; inflation crept up to 9.5%; and activity in the agricultural, manufacturing, and mining markets slowed considerably. On April 7, 1751, the Laurasia Prime Stock Exchange suffered a catastrophic collapse, losing more then 235 million points of value in a single day, and causing a spiral of panic and confusion throughout the Empire's dominions. By July 6, it had become clear to Sarah and the Regency Council that the earlier recommendations needed to be followed, to avert a financial crisis. Consequently, on July 17, the Treasury was authorized to revoke all further issues of the debased coinage, and Sub-Treasurer Mildmay was ordered to conduct an extensive study of imperial currency. This ultimately culminated in the decree of August 19, 1751, which restored all earlier quality standards for imperial pieces, authorized the Treasury to issue a fresh circulation of new currency, and ordered a decimalization of the datary, making it equivalent to the Pruthian Mark and the Austarlian goldmark. This helped to reduce the financial instability within the Empire, and by September 1751, the crisis had receded.
    • On October 14, 1751, moreover, the Court of Common Pleas issued a verdict in the case Pro Rexae vs. Eclusae, which recommended that peculation be outlawed, and measures taken to secure all the currency holdings of imperial subjects. In November 1751, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius issued a series of orders to his subordinates in the Treasury, ordering for all imperial subjects to be given financial inducements to turn over their supplies of money to imperial authorities, and announcing a drive against peculation. Peculation, which involved embezzlement of public funds and over-inflation of public rates, would be subject to vigorous government action from the Treasury, the Ministry of Finance, and the Imperial Intelligence Agency. The decree of December 6, 1751, furthermore, revised bankruptcy procedures and ordered an overall reduction in interest rates. During the course of 1752 and 1753, thanks to these measures, unemployment and inflation fell substantially, and stability was restored to the economy. The whole affair ultimately inspired the establishment of a uniform Imperial Monetary Reserve in 1765, which became responsible for determining interest rates, controlling the money supply, and handling the credit lines of all imperial banking, speculative, and stockholding institutions.
  • April 30-On April 30, 1751, Field-Marshal Sir Peteveius Lacius, 1st Earl of Vilmanstrand, died in his personal bedchambers at Rigan Castle in Harvey City, Momma. He was 72 years old at the time of his death, and had been serving as Governor of Murphy since 1748. Lacius had gained renown and prestige throughout the Laurasian Empire for his command of Laurasian forces in several important military conflicts during Antigonus the Extravagant's reign. These included the War of the Dejanican Succession, the Third Laurasian-Marasharite War, and the Scottrian War of Rasdalla. The news of his death, consequently, was greeted with much mourning in the Purse Region and at the Imperial Court, where his level of respect transcended many boundaries. His colleague, Field-Marshal Munnich, still in harness as Minister of Defense, expressed his condolences for the death of his comrade-at-arms and friend; the Earl of Sarah, as Council President, issued a proclamation from the Quencilvanian Palace, proclaiming that Lacius's death was one of the "saddest events to take place in recent times" and that he had done much to buttress the Empire's position. On the President's orders, and acting in the Emperor's name, Lacius was buried with full military honors at St. Claudius's Cathedral in Harvey City, as he had requested, on May 21. His ceremony was attended by many of the prominent figures of the Imperial Laurasian Court, including Ladies Didymeia and Aurelia, as well as Baroness Annaliese of Denver.
  • June 10-Diplomatic matters also proceeded in due order as 1751 progressed. On the orders of the Regency Council, the Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Ediania, Sir Demetrius Cereanus, commenced negotiations, on April 17, with Regent Arran and the Scottrian Estates, concerning the precise delineation of Laurasian and Scottrian boundaries in the Galactic Void; compensations for damages inflicted by Laurasian troops in Scottrian territory; and revisions to the commercial provisions of the Treaties of Kingsley and Boulougone. These negotiations continued for nearly two months at Northam, a Scottrian colony in the Outskirt Districts of the Angelina Spiral, ultimately culminating in the Treaty of Northam (June 10, 1751). By the terms of this treaty, the arrangements of the Treaty of Boulougone of the previous year were reconfirmed, bar its commercial provisions. The Laurasian Empire again gained recognition of its rule over territories in the Galactic Borderlands. The territorial boundary between the Laurasian and Scottrian realms in the Galactic Void was defined to run for a distance of 45,000 light years, intersecting at the Outer Mists of the Angelina Spiral and the Galactic Barrier of the Caladarian Galaxy. A delineation commission was established to resolve all disputes relating to the boundary and to make adjustments to it as were necessary. No military or diplomatic vessels of either government were to be stationed in the regions of the Galactic Void, and any such act would be construed as an act of aggression. As regards commercial matters, Laurasian rights of transit and conduct at all Scottrian star systems were extended. Laurasian merchant houses and relays were now to be established on Dunbar, Haddington, Glasgow, Leith, Erith, Branxholm, and Hackington; in exchange, Laurasians residing in or traveling through Scottrian territory agreed to abide by Scottrian law, and could be banished from Scottria by the Royal Scottrian Government at any time. Finally, the Imperial Laurasian Government agreed to dispense the sum of €170 billion dataries to those whose properties had been damaged by Laurasian troops during the late war. The Treaty of Northam was ratified by Regent Arran (with the Scottrian Estates) on June 22 and by the Regency Council of the Laurasian Empire (on behalf of Emperor Demetrius) on July 1.
  • July 2-On July 2, 1751, former Haynsian Despot Nathaliet II Karany died at Yanbolu, in Marasharite Bulgania, in the Great Amulak Spiral. His death was received with little mourning by his former Haynsian subjects, and with little notice by galactic civilization at large. On the orders of Sassas III, the former Despot's remains were cremated and scattered in the outskirts of the Yanbolu star system.
  • September 4-On September 4, 1751, the Italianian War of 1751-59 commenced, as the Holy Spamalkan Empire formally issued a declaration of war against the Serene Kingdom of Franconia. Holy Spamalkan Emperor Char'va I was provoked by the continuing Franconian military and diplomatic ties with the Marasharite Empire and the Barbary States; by Franconian raids and military operations in Andorra, the Balearic Provinces, and Savoy; and by Franconian refusal to recognize his title as Duke of Milania. King Hensios II of Franconia, on his part, who had been planning for a renewed war since the beginning of his reign, hoped to complete the conquest of the Italianian Provinces. Moreover, he sought to secure the Metzian Lordships, which would strengthen the Franconian territorial and strategic position in Alsace, Lorraine, and Artois. Both monarchs now began an effort to persuade the Laurasian Empire to join the war on their side. Sarah, however, determined to maintain peaceful relations with Laurasia's neighbors, and to refrain from war at this juncture, adhered to a strict policy of neutrality. This policy would continue during the first four years of Empress Didymeia's reign. Franconia and the Marasharite Empire, which had concluded the Treaty of Djebra in September 1750, now aligned together with Siena against Spamalka, Florence, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany; they received financial aid from Portugallia, concerned about the Spamalkan threat against the Brazillian Territories.
  • September 19-On September 19, 1751, the future King of Franconia, Hensios III (r. 1774-1789) was born at the Chateau de Saint-Cloud near Parri. He was the fourth son of King Hensios II of Franconia and his wife, Queen Consort Catharina d'Medici. Like his older brother Charman, Hensios was not expected, at the time of his birth, to accede to the throne, due to his eldest brother Franjak's betrothal to Queen Mariana of Scottria. He would be raised in great luxury on the Royal Estates during the earliest years of his life.
  • October 3-
    • In conjunction with the conclusion of the Treaty of Northam, the Imperial Laurasian and Royal Scottrian Governments, urged on by King Hensios II and by Council President Sarah, decided that Queen-Dowager Mariana of Guise, who had journeyed to Parri to visit with her daughter, Queen Mariana, would make a detour to the Caladarian Galaxy. She would consequently conduct an official state visit to Laurasia Prime, to meet with the Emperor, Regency Council, and chief personages of the Imperial Laurasian Court. Mariana, who was eager to see the Empire's capital world, of which much was said throughout extra-galactic civilization, and to meet with another sovereign and government, of such relevance to her daughter's dominions and throne, enthusiastically approved of these plans (September 14, 1751). Sarah and the Regency Council proceeded to immediate preparations for the visit; orders were issued to the courtiers of the Imperial Household to conduct themselves in a "proper and befitting matter." Chancellor Cecilis made security arrangements, with the Valedictorian Guards, Ministry of Internal Security, and the authorities of Laurasia Prime, for the safety of the Queen Dowager and her entourage. No expense was spared to procure the best foods, the best entertainments, the best clothes, and the best vehicles possible for this visit. It was on October 3, 1751, that the Queen Dowager and her entourage arrived at Devily in the Galactic Borderlands, thereby making their entry into the Laurasian Empire.
    • She was greeted by the Laurasian Governor of Devily, Sir Anatolius Diacoles (1699-1773), and by Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, dispatched by the Regency Council as the Queen Dowager's official escort. Over the course of the next six days, she made a gradual route of process across the Galactic Borderlands and to Laurasia Prime. Among the worlds visited by the Queen Dowager and her entourage were Patricia I, Kania, Barching, Rasdalla Minor, Rasdalla Major, Kathy Major, Kathy Minor, the Riverite Asteroid Belt, Rhedita, Arachosia Prime, Vector Prime, Kalbacha Minor, Kalbacha Major, Zannah, Huerta Mongol, Valeris V, Bach Dang, Roger Major, Hypasia, Morgania, Kelvania, Angelica, Kanjur, Malaria Prime, Caladaria, Darcia, Charasia, Americana, Katherine, Rebecca, Nezbit, and Blackria. Then on October 9, 1751, Mariana of Guise, still escorted by Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, arrived in the Laurasia Prime star system. The garrison of the capital world permitted her entry, and she was greeted by crowds at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, the two Calaxies, the Second Station of Callista, and in Christiania, Constantinople, Osraninpolis, Uris, Colombia, and other cities of Laurasia Prime. Emperor Demetrius himself, along with the Earl of Sarah, former Lord Protector Seymouris, Lady Aurelia, Chief Procurator Cranmerius, and the members of the Regency Council, formally greeted the Queen Dowager at the Audience Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace. Mariana had polite conversation with the Emperor, and he presented her with a diamond ring, which had belonged to the late Empress Dowager Katharina Parsius. Mariana and her entourage were graciously entertained by the Emperor and his court during the course of the next month. Lady Didymeia, however, still engaged in bitter disputes over religion with her half-brother Demetrius, declined to attend, and instead remained at her estates on Murphy.
  • October 11-In a ceremony attended by all of the personages of the Imperial Court (including Seymouris), and by the visiting Scottrian Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise, John Dudley, 1st Earl of Sarah, was, on October 11, 1751, formally elevated to the higher rank and title of Duke of Northumberlais by Emperor Demetrius. Dudley had long desired equality with Seymouris, who as Duke of Volta had enjoyed higher precedence than he among the Empire's nobility. For months, the now Duke of Northumberlais had drafted plans for his elevation, and the formal warrants for the ceremony had been drawn up by the Regency Council on October 5. Although Seymouris participated in the ceremony, he had begun to plot once again, seeking the recovery of his position of authority in the Imperial Laurasian Government. Gathering his own cadre of followers, Seymouris sought to obstruct the policies of Northumberlais's regime, and contemplated the arrest and execution of the Lord President. Whilst these conspiracies were being formulated, Mariana of Guise departed from Laurasia Prime on November 13, 1751, thereby bringing an end to her official visit to the Laurasian Empire. She was sent off by Emperor Demetrius and the Imperial Laurasian Court with many gifts; Sir Rudomentus Sadelius now took up Winchestrius's responsibilities and escorted the Queen Dowager back to the Galactic Barrier. She arrived at Zerba on November 16, and thence progressed into the Galactic Void. The Queen Dowager returned to Ediania on November 23, escorted on the last stage of her journey through Scottrian realms by Regent Arran and by many of the most prominent figures among the Scottrian gentry. Turbocannon were fired at Ediania in order to celebrate the Queen-Dowager's return, and the clergy of the Scottrian State thanked their gods for allowing her a safe passage. From this point forward, her influence at the Scottrian Court increased substantially, for Arran began to lose the political support of many of his followers.
  • December 16-On December 16, 1751, on the orders of the Duke of Northumberlais, the former Lord Protector Edwardis Seymouris, Duke of Volta, was arrested. The Council President had caught wind of Seymouris's machinations at the Imperial Court through the Imperial Intelligence Agency, and had himself heard of rumors directed against him by Seymouris and his supporters. Seymouris was formally arraigned on charges of treason, felony, conspiracy, and les-majestie, accused of fomenting dissent against Emperor Demetrius's protectors; plotting to engineer a explosion to kill the members of the Regency Council; and conspiring with foreign ambassadors and others in order to depose Demetrius and restore Traditionalism to the Laurasian dominions. The Duke of Volta was imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux.

1752Edit

  • January 11-
    • 1752, the 52nd year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the spectacle of the Duke of Volta's downfall. On January 11, 1752, the trial of the former Lord Protector, Edwardis Seymouris, Duke of Volta, was conducted at the Public Senatorial Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace. Procurator-General Richius, who by this point longed for retirement from the duties of government, presented the case for the Imperial State and presided over the trial. Seymouris defended himself vigorously, declaring that it had been the will of the late Emperor Antigonus for him to become Lord Protector; that Northumberlais had violated the Emperor's instructions, and the Law of Almitis by seizing the predominant position of influence in the Imperial Government; and that his intrigues had only been meant to secure the position of Demetrius.
    • Richius, however, pointed out that the Emperor's will had given the Regency Council "the necessary reins of authority over the state" and that Seymouris had only been made Lord Protector on the generosity of the Council. At the conclusion of the proceedings of evidence, the Senate held its deliberations, which lasted for only two hours. It convicted Seymouris on all charges laid against him and condemned him to death by firing squad. Northumberlais confirmed the sentence and signed Seymouris's execution warrant during the late hours of the day. Seymouris's execution took place on January 22, 1752, and was witnessed by a crowd of just three hundred persons. The Regency Council and the Earl of Sarah had granted the former Lord Protector's petition for a private execution, and it was held at the Private Grounds. Seymouris, in his final speech to the crowds, declared that he meant only the best for "His Majesty and the Empire" and that his efforts were in the right. His body was interred at the Prison Crypt of the Fortress of Baureux. Then on January 25, three days following Seymouris's execution, Baron Sir Ricomedius Richius formally resigned as Procurator-General of the Governing Senate, after having served for nearly five years. The Council President replaced him almost immediately with Sir Thomasius Goodrichius (1694-1754), who had been Archbishop of Colombia since 1734. Goodrichius was to serve for just over a year.
  • February 4-
    • In the meantime, the Almitian Reformation continued to progress, as Chief Procurator Cranmerius, who was becoming more and more inclined to a program of reform, pushed through a series of innovations. The whole process received the personal approval and encouragement of Emperor Demetrius himself, whose religious views had been molded by Cranmerius and by other reformists. Cranmerius also took into account the opinions of several other figures, such as Tyraniz Hestiz (1695-1755), Bishop of the Cron Drift, Dr. Athanasius Lucerius (1691-1753), who had advanced reformist efforts among Almitian congregations and dioceses in the satellite galaxies and Great Amulak Spiral, and Dr. Seleucus Vergeria (1699-1762), Chancellor of the St. Peter and Paul Ecclesiastical Academy, and one of the most renowned theological scholars in the Empire. The progress of the Reformation was furthered along by the consecration of Reformists as Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, and Deans. From November 1751 to January 1752, Cranmerius engaged in a revision of the Book of Common Prayer, providing for a more thorough reorganization of church services and liturgy, and expressing Almitian precepts in less ambiguous reformist terms. He ordered an investigation of canon law, and then, on February 4, 1752, published the Forty-Six Articles of the Faith of the Imperial Almitian Church.
    • The Articles, which were intended to summarize Almitian doctrine, were claimed by the Chief Procurator to have received the sanction of the Almitian Conference of Prelates, though this was doubtful. Nevertheless, the Articles codified the principles of clerical marriage, abolition of the Traditionalist Mass (by divesting any notion of the real presence of Almitis in the service), and simplified the holiday calendar, reducing the number of saints, blessed ones, and icons to whom reverence was due. The Articles and the revised Book of Common Prayer would be accepted by the Synod in June 1752, and confirmed by imperial decree nearly a year later. Further action would be taken by the promulgation of the Second Statute of Uniformity (April 24, 1752), meant to consolidate the reforms already embarked upon. This Statute, which superseded that of 1749, provided harsh penalties for violation of its provisions; six months imprisonment for the first offense, one year for the second, and two years for the third, in addition to a fine, which increased as the penalty increased. The Statute also granted the Chief Procurator more authority over matters relating to church annuities, the deposition of salaries, and the conduct of daily services. It remained in effect for little over a year.
  • April 11-Emperor Demetrius, whose health had come under more strain during the early months of 1752, now experienced his first serious illness. On April 11, the Emperor fell violently ill with a double attack of Soplaies disease and Marsian fever, while he was visiting the Gilbertine Palace on Tudoria. Demetrius was quickly removed to the Imperial Hospital Quarters, and over the course of the next several days, his physicians despaired over his condition. There were fears, circulated both in the Imperial Household and throughout the Empire's dominions, that the Emperor would die. Chief Procurator Cranmerius led a solemn prayer service at St. Gilbertine's Chapel, offering up his fervent hopes for Demetrius's recovery and barring that, for the safe passage of his soul. As time went on, the Emperor gradually regained his strength, and the medical treatments which were administered to him had some effect. On April 29, he was finally able to emerge from his bed, and four days later, he resumed his official duties. The Emperor's immune system, however, was left permanently exhausted, and the way was laid for the more serious illness which was to ultimately kill him the following year.
  • September 1-
    • The Duke of Northumberlais, who had continued to exert his influence over the affairs of the Imperial Laurasian Government, now moved to the task of sorting out marriage possibilities for the Emperor. Demetrius was approaching the age at which such plans were considered, and Northumberlais hoped that any union which was undertaken would also benefit himself and his associates. On June 19, 1752, he introduced a motion into the Privy Council, calling for the dispatch of communiques and other formal requests to the courts of the Great Amulak, in order to seek out for the Emperor a foreign bride. This motion was approved; Northumberlais also held discussions with foreign ambassadors at the Imperial Court, seeking out information and assistance from them. In July 1752, King Hensios II, hearing of the Imperial Laurasian Government's efforts, and eager to wean Laurasia from any alliance with the Spamalkans, offered his eldest daughter, Elisabeth of Valois (1745-68), as a potential bride for his Laurasian colleague. Northumberlais, seeking the diplomatic advantages in this, now moved swiftly to negotiations. On August 8, delegations from the two governments convened at Montavere, a Laurasian garrison located at the northern limits of the Outer Borderlands. Laurasian interests were represented by Baron Pagentia and Lord Greysius of Wiltonia, while the Duke of Sully and the ailing Franconian Admiral d'Annebault (who would die on November 2 of that year), represented the interests of the Royal Franconian Government.
    • The two delegations ultimately reached an agreement in the form of the Treaty of Montavere (September 1, 1752). By the terms of this treaty, the Emperor of Laurasia was formally engaged to Princess Elisabeth of Valois. It was agreed that Elisabeth would depart from Franconia, to the Caladarian Galaxy, by no later than January 1, 1758, and that the marriage itself was to take place, by no later than January 1, 1761. The Laurasians agreed to acknowledge Elizabeth's rights as Empress Consort and to provide for the expenses of her household, once it was established in the Empire. The Franconians were obliged to pay a dowry of €550 billion dataries for the Princess. The Treaty of Montavere was ratified by King Hensios on September 14 and by Emperor Demetrius (with the Regency Council), on November 5. Northumberlais, delighted by the conclusion of this agreement, ordered for celebrations to be held at the Court, and throughout the Empire. He also, in December 1752, sent an offer for mediation to the Spamalkan and Franconian Governments. Char'va I and Hensios II both accepted Laurasian mediation, but negotiations floundered by March 1753 due to irreconcilable differences between the two states.
  • November 17-By November 1752, the relationship between the Duke of Northumberlais and Chief Procurator Cranmerius had become more strained. Northumberlais, although he had supported all of Cranmerius's reforms up to this point, had begun to develop the belief that the Almitian Church's reorganization, if carried too far, may eventually establish it as a base of opposition to his authority, and to that of the Imperial Government. Cranmerius, on his part, was pressing for even more radical reform within the Church structure, and believed that the Council President was obstructing this. They also had disagreements over economic and court policy, and Northumberlais's intrigues with his family and associates distressed Cranmerius. Tensions finally boiled over on November 17, 1752, when the two had a verbal argument in the Private Meeting Chambers of the Privy Council, at the Quencilvanian Palace. The argument was de-escalated by other members of the Council before it went too far, but the resentments remained. Northumberlais now decided on an act of petty vindictiveness in order to strike back against Cranmerius. On December 14, the properties belonging to the Archbishopric of Charasia, and to six of its ten lesser bishoprics, were confiscated by the Regency Council on Northumberlais's orders. This action alienated not only Cranmerius, but many other reformists, and it also served to aggravate dissent against Northumberlais himself, who many were now starting to believe was acting only for himself. Yet as 1752 came to an end, the Council President was still secure in his position. That, however, was to change, for the Emperor's health would take an alarming turn for the worse.

1753Edit

  • February 6-
    • 1753, the 53rd year of the eighteenth century, began with ominous prospects looming for the Laurasian Empire. January 1753 itself passed in relative tranquility, but the Duke of Northumberlais continued to alienate many at the Imperial Court with his brash policies. But on February 6, 1753, Emperor Demetrius, whose immune system had been wasted by the violent attack of Soplaies disease and Marsian fever in April 1752, fell violently ill for the second time. Now fifteen years old, it had been initially believed by many at the Imperial Court and throughout the Laurasian Empire that the young Emperor had inherited the athletic constitution of his father's earlier years, and that he would not succumb to illness at such a young stage. The Emperor's health, however, had suddenly entered a rapid decline over the course of the past two years, and the Imperial Hospital Quarters in the Quencilvanian Palace had become one of his most common residences. The Emperor's latest bout of illness now seriously alarmed Council President Northumberlais, Chief Procurator Cranmerius, and others within the reformist circles of the Imperial Laurasian Government. Many realized that it was the Emperor's life which had permitted them to continue their reforms in the Almitian Church, and Northumberlais in particular feared the consequences of what would happen if Didymeia acceded to the Laurasian throne. It was this fear that was to motivate the actions of the following months.
    • On February 17, Lady Didymeia, on the invitation of the Regency Council, visited Emperor Demetrius, who was now in delirium within the Imperial Quarters. Despite the earlier, and bitter religious arguments between the two siblings, Didymeia expressed true concern for her brother's condition, and pressured the staff of the Imperial Hospital to do all within their power in order to engineer his swift recovery and allow him to resume his normal duties of state. Her prodding produced results, as the Emperor began to slowly recover over the following five days. Northumberlais took note of Didymeia's actions, and effected a brief reconciliation with her at this stage. On February 28, 1753, Demetrius, following more than three weeks of sickness, finally emerged from his sickbed in the Imperial Hospital and returned to his personal bedchambers. This was to be the last recovery from illness experienced by the Emperor, although many at that point still believed that he would not die. Northumberlais issued a proclamation to this effect from the Quencilvanian Palace, declaring that the late "sickness of His Majesty" had, by the grace of Almitis, abated, and that surely the forces of the Universe would preserve the Emperor's health. Demetrius, himself, however, had gained a understanding of mortality, and he now began to fear for the future of the Neuchrian Dynasty and the Laurasian Empire.
  • March 2-
    • On March 2, 1753, Doge Francesco Donato of Haxonia, whose reign had lasted for nearly eight years, died at the Serglio Palace on Ipuza. He was seventy-eight years old at the time of his death, and had become one of the most respected Doges of the eighteenth century. Donato's reign had seen the latter stages of the War of the Austarlian Succession. It is now expedient to cover the events of that war here. The War had been concurrent with the Italianian War of 1740-46 and the Fourth Laurasian-Franconian War of 1744-46. The Holy Spamalkan Empire was supportive of the Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania; it's enemy, the Serene Kingdom of Franconia, was supportive of the Pruthian Emperor P'rua IX. Events of the war proceeded in quick order. The Battle of Molliwitz (April 10, 1741) had witnessed a decisive victory by Emperor Pr'ua over the Austarlian forces of General Willhelm Reinhard von Neippberg (1684-1774), who had relieved Neusse. Pr'ua had then signed the Treaty of Breslau with King Franjak I of Franconia on June 5, 1741. The Franconians, in accordance with this, crossed through the Rhine Barriers, bypassing Spamalkan Cologne and Franche-Comte, and joined the Bavarian Elector's forces; they then advanced into Bohemia and the Austarlian Archduchies, with Linz, Budweis, and Tabor falling into Franconian hands. Pr'ua was able to thereby conquer the remainder of Silesia and Neisse (October 1741).
    • On November 26, 1741, Prague was conquered by the Franconians and Bavarians, and the Elector of Bavaria, now claiming to be Archduke of Austarlia, was crowned as King of Bohemia. In December 1741, Austarlian forces under Field Marshal Ludwig Andreas Khuvenhuller (1683-1744), advanced into Bavaria, capturing its capital Munich. Bohemia, however, remained in Franconian hands. Olmutz and Glatz were conquered by Pruthian Field Marshal Kurt von Scherwin's forces in January 1742, thereby breaching into Moravia; the Pruthians advanced as far as Vienna before being halted by Prince Char'lac of Lorraine, (1712-80), younger brother of Austarlian co-sovereign Fransios II. The Battle of Choustiz (May 17, 1742), witnessed a decisive victory by Pru'a over Prince Char'lac, who had sought to cut him off from Silesia. Franconain Marshal Francois Broglie, in the meantime, found success in Salzburg, the Innvirtel Corridor, and Lower Bavaria against the Austarlians; in February 1742, Doge Lando of Haxonia had declared war, with Austarlian forces soon being driven into Slavonia and from Istria. The Treaty of Breslau (June 11, 1742), had seen the end of the First Silanian War, with Pr'ua obtaining possession of the province.
    • For the rest of the year, therefore, the Franconians, who were also fighting the Spamalkans in the Royal Dominions, Durthia, Italiania, and in the Germanian Principalities, kept up their support for the Bavarians in Bohemia and the Duchies. 1743, however, opened disastrously for the Elector of Bavaria; Broglie and the Elector's Field Marshal Count von Seckendorff could not cooperate effectively, and the Battle of Branau (May 9, 1743), was a major humiliation for the Bavarians. Vendragia, on its part, which had entered the war in December 1742 on the side of Austarlia, cooperated with the Spamalkans and Hesse, Austarlian Burgundy, and the Westphalian Circles against Franconia. On June 27, 1743, the Battle of Dettingen saw a victory by Vendragian King Georg II's forces over the Franconians; Vendragian and Franconian forces were also at odds in Celle, Mecklenburg, Jutland, and Heligoland. Emperor Pru'a now had to contend with Austarlia, Saxony, and Vendragia; Laurasia, under Antigonus III, continued to focus its attentions solely on the situation in Franconia, and the Emperor refrained from campaigns farther galactic-east. Worms, the Bresiagu, and the Spessart all fell into the hands of the Vendragians and Austarlians, and Franconian forces were gradually pulled out of the Lower Thrungian Circles. Broglie was replaced by Marshal Coligny. On September 13, 1743, Doge Lando, who had gained what he wished from the war, had concluded the Treaty of Worms with Austarlia, thereby acquiring the line of the Ticino Nebula, Maggiore, and the Perlet. By the end of the year, Austarlia, Vendragia, Spamalka, Saxony, and Tuscany found themselves standing together against Franconia, Sienna, the Marasharite Empire and Barbary States, and Bavaria.
    • 1744 witnessed the commencement of the Second Silesian War. Emperor Pru'a IX of Pruthia was frightened by Austarlian success against the Bavarians, and by the withdrawal of the Haxonian Confederacy from the hostilities. Therefore, he secretly concluded another alliance with King Franjak I of Franconia. Franconia officially declared war directly upon Austarlia and Haxonia in April 1744, just as its hostilities against Spamalka in Italiania and the Durthian Duchies were ramping up, and on the verge of Emperor Antigonus's entry into the Italianian War. Franconia was also supporting the Jacobite Stuarts against King Georg II of Vendragia, thereby forcing him to strengthen the garrisons of Hanover and the Homeland Territories. On February 22, 1744, the Battle of Toulon was waged between the forces of the Vendragian Confederacy and the Holy Spamalkan Empire on the one hand, and the Serene Kingdom of Franconia (with Marasharite and Barbary auxiliaries) on the other. It ended in a tactical victory for the allied forces, but Vendragian fears about the Franconian threat to the Knights of Malta and to Vendragian Cyrene, the Horns of Hormuz, and the Cape d'Abatta remained. In July 1744, Austarlian Brussalia was invaded by the Franconians; Menin fell into their hands. This was while Spamalkan units advanced in Luxembourg, Cologne, and the Ardennes. A hodgepodge of Vendragian, Durthian, Austarlian, Hanoverian, and Spamalkan units resisted this Franconian move. The Franconians themselves had six different military forces in operation.
    • One was concerned with Artois and the Durthian Duchies, fighting the Laurasians and Spamalkans; the next was in Italiania; the third in the Spamalkan Hereditary Dominions, Navarre, and Gascony; the fourth in the Circles of Thrungia and Westphalia; the fifth operated against Franche-Comte and the Metzian Lordships; and the sixth in Austarlian Brussalia. The advance of Prince Char'lac's forces, however, forced an Franconian retreat through Wessenburg and towards Strasbourg; Franconian units also had to contend with the Laurasian threat. In August 1744, Emperor Pru'a, taking advantage of the allied distractions in Brussalia and the Westphalia, and of the Laurasian campaigns in the Franconian Royal Dominions, moved his units into Bohemia; he was virtually unopposed, and on September 2, 1744, besieged Prague; it fell six days later. Pru'a then seized Tabor, Budweis, and Frauenburg. Prince Char'lac, however, returned, and in a series of maneuvers reconquered Prague for the Austarlians and forced Pru'a to retreat back into Silania. Freiburg and the strongholds of Austarlian Brussalia remained under relentless Franconian assault. In January 1745, Vendragia, Austarlia, Spamalka (in the form of the Durthian Duchies) and Saxony formed the quadruple alliance. The death of Elector Char'vak of Bavaria later that month changed matters further. By April 1745, with Franconian forces defeated at Pfaffenhofen, Elector Maximilian Joseph, Char'vak's son and successor, was forced once again to flee from Munich. On April 22, 1745, the Treaty of Fussen was concluded, by which Bavaria withdrew from the war.
    • Towards the end of March, Tournay, one of the chief strongholds of Austarlian Burgundy, was besieged by the Franconians; the Vendragians under the Duke of Cumbria attempted to relieve the stronghold. The Battle of Fontenoy (May 11, 1745), ended in victory for the Franconians, who then conquered Tournay. In July 1745, the Jacobite pretender Charles Edward Stuart began his campaigns in Northern Vendragia, sweeping through Prestpoans and the Shetland Provinces. His forces penetrated as far as Derby before the Battle of Murh (January 17, 1746), in which they won. On April 27, 1746, however, the Battle of Culloden led to the suppression of his uprising. On June 4, 1745, in the meanwhile, the Battle of Hohenfriedberg resulted in a decisive victory for Emperor Pru'a over Prince Char'lac; Mar'va Tarvania, who elevated her husband officially to the rank of co-Emperor in September 1745, refused to recognize Pru'a's rule of Silania. The Battle of Soor, fought that same month, ended in another victory for Pru'a. Saxony and Prince Char'lac now combined for an offensive into Brandenburg, but Pru'a moved towards Dresden, winning the Battles of Katholisch-Hennersdorf and Gorlitz in November 1745. The Battle of Kesselsdorf (December 14, 1745), ended in victory for Prince Lea'dus of Anhalt-Dessau, Emperor Pru'a's most senior general. Thus on December 25, 1745, the Treaty of Dresden resulted in Ma'rva Tarvania recognizing Pru'a's annexation of Silania, while Pru'a acknowledged her rights as Holy Empress of Austarlia. Pruthia was out of the conflict, but hostilities continued elsewhere.
    • The events in the Fourth Franconian War proceeded apace; 1746 saw the Durthians and Austarlians suffering reverses in Alsace and the Alpian Provinces, with Franconian forces penetrating into the Swiss Duchies, Heletia, and Styria. In February, Brussalia Major was captured by King Franjak. In the Ameridindian Territories, Vendragian units clashed with their Franconian counterparts in Louisiana, Ohio, and Inner Canada; Spamalkan forces fought the Franconians in Baja California and the Tahiti Colonies. The Battle of Roucourt in September 1746 saw the Franconians defeat Prince Char'lac of Lorraine in his attempt to recover Brussalia Major. The Austarlian Barrier Fortresses then fell to the Franconians; in July 1747, the Duke of Cumbria was defeated in the Battle of Lauffeld. By May 1748, all of Austarlian Burgundy was in Franconian hands. At that point, Empress Mar'va Tarvania sued for peace, and negotiations began at Aachen, which had been under Austarlian control since 1712. The Treaty of Aachen (October 18, 1748), signed two years following the end of the Fourth Franconian War, thereby terminated the War of the Austarlian Succession. By the terms of this treaty, Pruthian acquisition of Silania was recognized; Austarlian concessions to Haxonia in the Piombino Region were also affirmed. Franconia withdrew from Austarlian Burgundy and Brussalia, but regained Cape Bretonia and Ohio; Vendragia recovered Madras. Thus it was that Haxonia had gained advantages from this conflict, and the stage was set for the Seven Year's War and the Didymeian War in the 1750s and early 1760s. Donato, on his part, had reigned over the Confederacy in peace during the years following the end of the War of Austarlian Succession, although in 1751-52, he contended with rebellions in Masagat and the Afghani Territories against Haxonian garrisons and authorities. Donato was succeeded as Doge by Senator Marcantonio Trevisan, who was seventy years old at the time of his accession. Trevisan was to remain Doge for less than a year.
  • March 19-On March 19, 1753, Chief Procurator Cranmerius proposed to the Holy Synod and the Imperial Privy Council an official compilation and codification of all the procedures of canon law. Such a codification, which would be prepared by a commission of clerics and layman, would provide for the specific duties and obligations of those bound to the service of the Almitian Church; clarify the Almitian Church's exact position on matters of morality and personal faith; and lay out the penalties for any who acted in contravention to the mandates of the Third Statute of Imperial Uniformity and the Revised Book of Common Prayer. Northumberlais, who feared Cranmerius's further reforms, and believed that a codification of canon law would allow the Holy Synod to reclaim its prerogatives over religious affairs, blocked the Chief Procurator's motion. Cranmerius was furious, and his confidence in the Council President waned.
  • April 4-
    • Seeking to "reward" her for her efforts at her brother's sickbed, and to maintain a positive working relationship, the Council President Northumberlais ordered the Heraldmaster of the Governing Senate, the Lord Vernus (1709-84), on April 4, 1753, to issue an imperial manifesto restoring Didymeia to the title and honors of Grand Princess of the Laurasian Empire and conferring blessings upon her for her concern for the Emperor's welfare. Didymeia, who had never acknowledged her loss of the title of Grand Princess in the first place, and who had continued to believe that her father's marriage with her mother, Katharina of Shenandoah, was his only valid one, declared privately to members of her household that the proclamation of the Council President was "merely a official acknowledgement of what has always been mines." A similar manifesto, issued shortly afterwards, restored to the Lady Aurelia the title and dignities of Grand Princess, on the same grounds of "loyalty" to the person of the Emperor. Demetrius himself, however, was conceiving further thoughts about the succession and sought means by which he could maintain Reformed Almitism in the Empire.
    • Thus it was that the Emperor, who was believed to be fully recovered from his bout of illness, traveled to his place of birth, the Palace of Placenta on Darcia, on April 14, 1753. The Duke of Northumberlais and the Regency Council made the arrangements for the Emperor's journey, and he was attended by the majority of the Imperial Household. Upon arriving at the Palace of Placenta, Demetrius involved himself in various physical activities, trying to stay alert. He took the air in Placenta Park; appeared before his subjects on the Palatial Balcony; and even attended a series of court masques and festivities. By May 7, the Emperor appeared to be "much more lively than before", and his doctors believed that he had fully recovered from his earlier bout of illness. They were soon to be proven wrong.
  • May 14-
    • Emperor Demetrius, whose concern for the future of the Laurasian Empire had by now grown to excessive bounds, wrote a draft document headed My Devise for the Succession. Like many others on the Regency Council, including Northumberlais himself, the Emperor had cause to fear the accession of his Traditionalist half-sister Didymeia to the Laurasian throne. Didymeia had continued to assert her rights to Traditionalist rituals within her private household; she had constantly informed the Spamalkan and Austarlian Ambassadors, as well as members of her personal entourage, that she intended to restore the "true faith" to the Laurasian Empire, if Almitis permitted her to succeed Demetrius on the throne; and she believed that the policies pursued by the Emperor's "protectors" were heretical and in direct contravention of the will of Almitis. Those policies, however, had been supported by Demetrius himself, who believed that he had been called upon by the will of Almitis to correct "errors and falsehoods" in the teachings of the Almitian Church. The Emperor's religious viewpoint had been formulated by the influence of Cranmerius and of his tutor Sir John Chekius, both of whom were convinced Reformists.
    • Therefore, Demetrius believed that Didymeia could not, under any circumstances, be permitted to accede to the Laurasian throne. He was determined to maintain the religious reforms of his father and of his own reign, and believed that Almitis would damn the Laurasian dominions if Traditionalist Almitism was reestablished. The Emperor also had a more practical reason to oppose the succession of Didymeia: her bastardy. Although Northumberlais had restored her rank and title as Grand Princess, he had not ordered the Holy Synod to lift her bastardy, nor had he invalidated the terms of the proclamations acknowledging this whom Didymeia herself had been forced to sign. Therefore, because she was officially illegitimate, Demetrius reasoned, she was ineligible to ascend to the Laurasian throne. In the original draft of the Devise for the Succession, the Emperor Demetrius declared that, "in lack of issue by myself", his sister Aurelia and her heirs would ascend to the throne, followed by the heirs of his aunts Octavia Seslais and Constantia. For the time being, Demetrius kept his Devise for the Succession secret from Northumberlais, Cranmerius, and the rest of the Regency Council.
  • May 25-
    • After months of complex marriage negotiations, three weddings were conducted on the same day at Durhamian Mansion in Constantinople, the Duke of Northumberlais's private residence (May 25, 1753). In the first, and most important, of these weddings, the second-youngest son of the Duke of Northumberlais, Sir Constantine Dudley, was married to the Lady Minerva Greysius, granddaughter of Antigonus III's younger sister, the Grand Princess, Duchess of Sufforia, and Queen-Dowager of Franconia Octavia Seslais. Northumberlais himself had participated in the negotiations of this marriage with the Greysius and Brandeis families, determined to establish a direct link, within his bloodline, to the Neuchrian Dynasty. The Duke had developed ambitions of securing the Laurasian throne for his descendants, believing that he could override the rights now of both Didymeia and Aurelia, who, although restored each to the rank and title of Grand Princess, were nevertheless still considered bastards under the canon law of the Almitian Church. These ambitions were to show themselves shortly. Minerva was sixteen years old at the time of her marriage to Constantine (having been born on October 15, 1737); Constantine was eighteen (born on April 1, 1735).
    • Despite the fact that theirs was an arranged union, the young couple would fall madly in love with each other, developing more passion and concern for each other than was known among many other couples of the Laurasian nobility. Northumberlais was pleased at this and believed their strong bond boded well for the future. In the second marriage, Constantine's younger sister Katharina married Antigonus Harringtia (1730-95), the son and heir of Franconius Harringtia, 2nd Earl of Hannah (1714-61) and his wife Lady Katharina Polsius (1711-76), daughter of Sir Antigonius Polsius, 1st Baron Montacute (1694-1739). Harringtia was, on his father's side, descended from the Emperor Antoninus Pius. This would thereby provide the Dudley family a further link to the Imperial Laurasian Crown. In the third and final union of the day, Minerva's younger sister, also named Katharina, was married to Lord Herbetius (1738-97), the son and heir of the Earl of Aeoleon. These marriages would be soon be viewed as part of a vast conspiracy by the Dudley family to obtain power and influence in the Laurasian Empire.
  • May 28-
    • Emperor Demetrius, whose health was once again beginning to deteriorate, and who had returned to the Quencilvanian Palace on Laurasia Prime, revealed his Devise for the Succession on May 28, 1753, to Council President Northumberlais, Chief Procurator Cranmerius, and Chekius. Demetrius declared that he knew that Almitis destined him to die, and that he, although he was only a child, was concerned for the welfare of the realms bequeathed onto him by the will of his father and of Almitis. Northumberlais, when he saw the Devise for the Succession, was now finally able, in his view, to act on his ambitions. Believing this to be his opportunity, the Council President now brought his considerable influence to bear on the Emperor. He declared that the arguments concerning religious differences, as regards to the Grand Princess Didymeia, were valid, and that she would reverse all of their efforts. At the same time, however, he stated that the Emperor was "in error" as regards to his argument of legitimacy, for both Didymeia and his beloved, Reformist half-sister Aurelia were bastards.
    • Aurelia would therefore have to be excluded from the succession as well, on account of this, and this should override the Emperor's personal convictions. Cranmerius and Chekius both backed the Council President's arguments. Demetrius therefore decided to revise his Devise. In the second draft, the Emperor provided that, "in case of lack of issue of my body", the throne should be inherited by "legitimate male dynasts", and not by "women, bastards, or Traditionalists." He declared specifically that the male heirs of Lady Franconia Brandeis, her daughter Minerva Greysius, and those of Minerva's siblings Katharina and Didymeia, would be permitted to ascend to the throne upon his death. The ladies themselves were to be excluded. Didymeia and Aurelia were both declared "unfit" for possession of the Laurasian throne; Demetrius reconfirmed his father's declarations of bastardy against them and asserted that Almitis viewed them as illegitimate. Northumberlais now began making preparations for the preparation of an official decree based on the Emperor's document. On June 4, Demetrius suffered a violent coughing bout in his personal bedchambers at the Quencilvanian Palace. Dr. Thomasius Varrus (1712-92), royal physician of the Imperial Household, declared to the Regency Council and others at the Imperial Court that the Emperor's Soplaies infection had returned. Varrus now had the Emperor moved, for the last time, to the Imperial Hospital, and ordered for him to be placed on a vigorous regimen of antibiotics and fluid treatments. Demetrius's immune system, however, was exhausted, and could no longer fight the progress of disease. His health continued to decline, despite all of the efforts of his doctors and medical staff.
  • June 6-
    • Emperor Demetrius, who was beginning to realize that he was dying, and that the terms of his earlier Device were impractical, conducted another hasty revision of its terms. This time, the Emperor provided that, in the case of his "decease without issue from my body", the Lady Minerva Greysius herself, along with her male heirs, would be permitted to ascend to the Laurasian throne upon his death. This work of revision of the Device's terms occupied the ailing Emperor's energies for some four hours, and upon the completion of his work, he showed it to Council President Northumberlais. Northumberlais, in pursuit of his own ambitions, and eager to hasten the process along, declared the Emperor's document "perfect" and that none in the Laurasian dominions would dare to challenge his terms.
    • Demetrius, acting on Northumberlais's urging, now ordered the paralegals of the Ministry of Justice and the Administrative Department of the Governing Senate to prepare an official edict of succession, which embodied the terms he had laid out. They were reluctant about the Emperor's command, but nevertheless attended to their duties during the course of the next nine days. Emperor Demetrius would twice summon the paralegals to his bedside, on June 8 and June 11, to urge them on to the completion of their task. On the latter day, they noticed the Emperor's wasted physical condition, and Dr. Varrus reported in the Medical Logs that Demetrius coughed yellow mucus continually throughout the meeting. Finally, on June 15, 1753, the official Imperial Decree on the Revised Succession to the Laurasian Empire was finished. Northumberlais took possession of the decree, and hastened to the Emperor's bedside, reading out its contents to him and informing him that the paralegals had successfully concluded their work. Demetrius now ordered for the paralegals, Procurator-General Goodrichius, and the Minister of Justice to appear at his bedside. Commanding them, on their allegiance, "with sharp words and angry countenance", the Emperor bound them to officially announce the Decree to the Privy Council, Synod, and Senate, and to prepare for its official promulgation by the Imperial Court. They were all then compelled by the Emperor to sign a bond of association in his presence, in which they agreed to faithfully perform Demetrius's will after his death. Assistant Minister of Justice, Sir Edwardis Montagu (1685-1757), would later report that Northumberlais had coerced them into signing the bond of association and that his supporters had stated that if they refused to do so, they were traitors and deserved death.
  • June 21-
    • The Imperial Decree on the Revised Succession to the Laurasian Empire was officially promulgated by the Regency Council on June 21, 1753, on behalf of and in the wishes of the Emperor Demetrius II. The decree formally reaffirmed that Grand Princesses Didymeia and Aurelia were both bastards, and that, despite the restoration of their ranks and titles, they were still ineligible to ascend to the Laurasian throne. It affirmed that in the event of the Emperor's death without living heirs, the crown was to pass, "by right of heredity and of Almitis", to the Lady Minerva Greysius and her male heirs. Strict penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and execution for treasonable offenses, were provided for any who resisted the terms of the decree or refused to acknowledge Minerva Greysius as Empress. In order to ensure compliance to the decree, Demetrius himself commanded for all of the notables of the Imperial State to sign the Decree on the Revised Succession at the Public Senatorial Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace.
    • The Privy Council, Holy Synod, Governing Senate, military commanders, the Governor of Laurasia Prime, the Mayor of Christiania, the leading nobles and knights of the Imperial Court, the Ministers of State, the Great Officers of State, members of the Imperial Household, leading clergymen and members of the Intelligence Agency and other government commissions, and diplomatic officials all affixed their signatures to the Decree. Northumberlais himself was the most prominent personage to sign the Decree. Chief Procurator Cranmerius, Procurator-General Goodrichius, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, Chancellor Cecilis, and Field-Marshal Munnich were among the other officials to sign the Decree on the Revised Succession. The promulgation of the Decree confirmed the rumors which had been circulating about the succession, and it was now certain to all that Emperor Demetrius was destined to die. The dynastic hopes of his father, Antigonus III, centered around the birth of a son, were crashing in flames. Most Laurasians supported Didymeia, but foreign diplomats at the Imperial Court, including the Franconian and Pruthian Ambassadors, believed that Minerva Greysius would be successfully established as Empress.
  • July 1-On July 1, 1753, Emperor Demetrius made his final public appearance, showing himself to his subjects from the Imperial Balcony of the Quencilvanian Palace. Those who saw him were appalled by his "thin and wasted" condition, and believed that the Emperor's demise was resulting from the intrigues of the Anti-Almitis. Demetrius himself had fully accepted his impending fate. Dr. Varrus had finally admitted that the Emperor's life was beyond recovery, as he had lost the will to fight the disease. He was forced to lay on his back for most of the time. To his tutor Chekius, Demetrius had whispered: "I am glad to die." Despite this, large crowds arrived outside of the Quencilvanian Palace over the course of the next two days, hoping to see the Emperor again. On July 3, they would be told that the Emperor's condition would not permit any more public appearances.
  • July 6-After having reigned for only six years, Demetrius II the Boy Emperor, the only surviving legitimate son of Antigonus III the Extravagant, and the third monarch of the Neuchrian Dynasty, died on July 6, 1753 at the youthful age of fifteen. He was the third-youngest Laurasian sovereign in history to die (after Trajan the Child King, who had died at fourteen, and Maximinus II the Child Emperor, who had died at eleven. Demetrius's death in fact, came seventy years after Maximinus's deposition and the coronation of his uncle, Titus II the Cruel). At his deathbed, the Emperor remained trusting in his faith towards Almitis to the end. He received the Last Sacraments from Chief Procurator Cranmerius; engaged in fervent prayers to Almitis with all those present in his chambers; and, averting his eyes to Almitis, stated "I am faint; Lord have mercy upon me, and take my spirit." He fell dead afterwards, with Chief Procurator Cranmerius (who had now served in his position for twenty years), holding his hand. Besides Cranmerius, others in attendance at the Emperor's deathbed were Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, Chancellor Cecilis, and the Duke of Northumberlais himself, along with his tutor Sir John Chekius and the loyal attendants of the Imperial Household. Demetrius's death would mark the termination of the rule of the male sovereigns of the Neuchrian Dynasty; the reins of power were to be taken up by women, for the first time in Laurasian history, for the remainder of the century. Demetrius's death was formally announced to the subjects of the Laurasian Empire during the late hours of the day. Northumberlais, on his part, immediately put his plans into motion.
  • July 7-The Duke of Northumberlais, who believed himself to be in control of affairs in the Empire, and determined to ensure the swift and secure succession of his daughter-in-law Minerva to the Laurasian throne, dispatched his son, Lord Antiochus Dudley, along with an official escort, to Kelby, in order to secure the person of the Grand Princess Didymeia, who according to the terms of the Third Antigonid Statute of Succession, was the legitimate heiress apparent and successor of the now-deceased Emperor Demetrius. Didymeia, who had been kept informed of her brother's condition by Northumberlais himself and through her contacts at the Imperial Court (in particular the Spamalkan Ambassador), had prudently and secretly departed, days earlier, from Kelby to Metallasia, where she owned extensive properties and could count on the support of her household staff, retainers, and the garrison and authorities of Metallasia. The Duke of Northumberlais was unaware of the Grand Princess's move, until his son arrived at Kelby and learned from the world's authorities that Didymeia was not present there. Lord Dudley informed his father of this immediately, and Northumberlais now sent out orders to all garrisons in the Laurasian Purse Region, urging them to prevent any support from reaching the Grand Princess's Household and commanding for strict search procedures to be conducted of foreign subjects who visited at prominent worlds. Didymeia, on her part, began to assemble her support on Metallasia.
  • July 8-Lady Minerva Greysius was prevailed upon by the Duke of Northumberlais and her own parents, especially her ambitious mother, to accept the terms of the Decree on the Revised Succession to the Laurasian Empire. Minerva, who was reluctant and fearful for the consequences if Northumberlais's plans were to fail, declared that her father, the Duke of Sufforia, would remain on Laurasia Prime with her and the Privy Council, and that, once proclaimed Empress Regnant, she would not name her husband Constantine as Emperor-Consort. This was out of fear for his own life and safety. Northumberlais, however, who had secured Minerva's adherence to his plans, decided to himself depart for Caladaria in six day's time, in order to secure the defenses of Laurasia Prime. He realized that he had miscalculated in not securing Didymeia's person before Demetrius's death, and now sought to hastily "correct" his mistake.
  • July 10-Lady Minerva Greysius was, on July 10, 1753, four days after Emperor Demetrius's death, formally proclaimed Empress and Autocrat of All the Laurasians by the Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod. This marked only the second time in the history of the Laurasian Empire that a woman was proclaimed Empress; the first had been in 1341, more than four centuries earlier, when Grand Princess Constantia had declared herself to be such. Murmurings of dissent, however, stirred in Christiania and in the other cities and settlements of the Laurasia Prime star system, for many were convinced that Grand Princess Didymeia was the legitimate Empress and that the decree of Demetrius II had been contrived and issued on the initiative of Northumberlais, himself now widely unpopular with the Laurasian people. On the very same day that the assembled state bodies proclaimed Minerva Greysius to be their Empress, an official communique arrived from the Grand Princess Didymeia on Metallasia. In this communique, Didymeia declared her sadness for her half-brother's death, and that "he was one of the most saintly rulers to have governed in our history, despite his adherence to the Reformist creed." However, his decision to override their father's Statute of Succession, in favor of the Lady Minerva Greysius, was "utterly illogical" and violated all precedent. Therefore, she, as Grand Princess and heiress apparent to Demetrius II, demanded that the Imperial Court follow the "directives of her father and the letter of the law" and proclaim her Empress. The Council, led by Northumberlais and his long-time ally the Earl of Americana, replied that Minerva was Empress by the authority of the late Emperor Demetrius II and that he had revised the terms of his father's edict by virtue of his autocratic authority, as exercised through his protectors. Didymeia, they asserted, was supported by only a "few lewd and base" people. Didymeia, and most of the Empire's populace, were enraged by the Council's response, and she asserted that she would fight for her rights to the Laurasian throne. The prospect of civil war was now looming in the Laurasian Empire, a prospect which began to scare such patriotic officials as Lord Treasurer Winchestrius and Chancellor Cecilis, already regretting their adherence to the schemes of Northumberlais.
  • July 14-
    • The Duke of Northumberlais formally departed from Laurasia Prime with the Laurasia Prime Core Defense Fleet and sizable detachments from the garrisons of Darsis, Wallachia, Little Mexicana, and the Cron Drift (July 14, 1753). He soon established his operational headquarters at Caladaria, and declared his intentions to assert the rights of Minerva Greysius (who had been moved into official quarters at the Fortress of Baureux, the customary residence of a Laurasian sovereign before their coronation) and to defeat the "evil plotting" of Didymeia and her supporters. Didymeia, however, was supported by many of the most influential gentry and nobility in the Empire. Chancellor Cecilis himself, although at odds with the Grand Princess over religious matters, had secretly departed from Laurasia Prime to Metallasia, urging her to claim her rightful title as Empress. The Dukes of Melarnaria, Darcia, Constantine I, and Rebecca, as well as the Earl of Jadia, the Marchioness of Harmonia, the Count of Clancia, and the Duchess of Iego were among those who lent their support to the Grand Princess; as did Lord Dacre of Gitlandia, Antigonus Fitzlandia, the Magnus of the Laurasian Purse Region, the Magnus of Melarnaria, the Commander of the Caladarian Defensive Fleet, and Sir Galerius Caranus. Didymeia's force now consisted of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Imperial Laurasian Fleets, and the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Imperial Laurasian Armies. This was a force of more than 3,000 warships, 1.5 million navymen, and three million soldiers of the Imperial Laurasian Army.
    • The force of Northumberlais comprised of the 1st and 5th Imperial Laurasian Fleets, along with the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Imperial Laurasian Armies, a force only marginally smaller than that of the Grand Princess. On July 18, Northumberlais, receiving further intelligence about the growing strength of Didymeia's forces, and knowing a military confrontation was hopeless, decided to withdraw from Caladaria back to the Cron Drift. The Duke himself was beginning by now to realize that his plot was collapsing; dissent was increasing on Laurasia Prime, and many officials at the Imperial Court were feeding information to Grand Princess Didymeia, which only assisted her in the disposition of her forces. Lord Treasurer Winchestrius had also renounced his signature on the Bonds of Association and the Decree on the Revised Succession, and was in secret correspondence with the Grand Princess Didymeia. Northumberlais knew that the end was rapidly approaching.
  • July 19-
    • By this point, it had dawned upon the Privy Council, Senate, and Synod, that they had made a terrible mistake by acknowledging Minerva Greysius as Empress and carrying the provisions of the hastily-drafted Decree on the Revised Succession into effect. The three bodies of state did not want civil war in the Laurasian Empire, and they understood Didymeia's claims to the Laurasian throne were far stronger and more valid than those of Minerva Greysius, on the basis of the Third Antigonid Statute of Succession and the important fact that she was the daughter of Antigonus III. Therefore, on July 19, 1753, under the leadership of the Earls of Americana and Aeoleon, who had both turned against Northumberlais, the Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod formally proclaimed Grand Princess Didymeia, the eldest surviving child and daughter of Antigonus III the Extravagant, as the Empress and Autocrat of All the Laurasians.
    • The Accession Council (as it was known), declared in its proclamation that the "hand of the anti-Almitis" had deluded it into acknowledging Minerva Greysius as Empress, and that Didymeia was the valid heir. All those who had signed the Bond of Association and Decree on Revising the Succession revoked their signatures, while both documents were declared nullified, although Didymeia, as Empress, was the only one with the legal authority to officially repeal them. The proclamation triggered wild rejoicing in the cities and moons of Laurasia Prime, especially in the Palatial Districts of Christiania, and throughout the star systems of the Laurasian Empire. Minerva Greysius's brief, and disputed, nine-day reign as Empress had therefore come to an end. By the orders of the Earl of Americana, she and her husband, Sir Constantine Dudley, along with her father, the Duke of Sufforia, were placed under imprisonment at the Old Royal Palace. Didymeia, who was now formally acknowledged as Empress of Laurasia, issued her first official manifesto from Metallasia, praising the Council for "seeing the right" and rebuffing the intrigues of the anti-Almitis.
    • The day following the proclamation of Didymeia as Empress, Northumberlais was commanded by the Privy Council to disarm the military forces under his command and to acknowledge Didymeia as his sovereign and Empress. Northumberlais, who was now a mental wreck, and who knew that further resistance was futile, obeyed the Council's commands to the letter. He ordered all of the personnel of his force to swear an oath of allegiance to Didymeia as Empress; Northumberlais himself administered the oath to his officers before taking it himself. He then commanded them to retire back to their previous garrisons, and he dismissed all of his officers from his service. In a proclamation from the Cron Drift, Northumberlais declared that his mind had been "affected by the intrigues of the anti-Almitis", and he begged forgiveness for his vain and foolish actions.
  • July 24-
    • The Earls of Americana and Aeoleon, on behalf of the Councils of State, arrived at Metallasia (July 24, 1753). Presented before the now Empress Didymeia, they fell on their knees and begged her forgiveness for their "foolishness and rashness." Didymeia, acknowledging that these men possessed important administrative talents which could prove of use to her, decided to accept their submissions. The Empress then commanded the Earl of Americana to proceed immediately to the Cron Drift, and to place Northumberlais under arrest. Eager to demonstrate his loyalty to the new Empress, and to shake off his prior association with the Duke, he obliged immediately. Northumberlais posed no resistance; indeed, he fell on his knees before Americana when he arrived with Valedictorian Guards to place him into custody. On the orders of Americana, Northumberlais was imprisoned in the brig of his own flagship, HIMS Stratonice I, and placed in chains. It was on July 25, the day following his arrest, that Northumberlais arrived back in the Laurasia Prime star system, this time as a prisoner in the custody of the Earl of Americana. On the orders of the Privy Council, crowds of subjects had been assembled at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, the two Calaxies, and the Station of Jadia, as well as in Christiania, Constantinople, and the other major cities of Laurasia Prime, in order to await the arrival of Northumberlais.
    • A placard was placed around his neck by Americana's command, denouncing him as a traitor to the Laurasian State and a consort of the anti-Almitis. His guards struggled to protect Northumberlais from the crowds, however, as he was taken to the Fortress of Baureux for imprisonment. Orders now arrived from Empress Didymeia, who was now exercising her autocratic authority to her fullest extent. They commanded for Lady Minerva and her husband Sir Constantine Dudley, as well as Minerva's father the Duke of Sufforia, to be moved to the Fortress of Baureux as prisoners of state; for Northumberlais to be dismissed from his position as Privy Council President; and for his other sons, the Earl of Sarah, Antiochus Dudley, and Ambrosius Dudley, to be arrested and imprisoned at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia. All of these orders were followed to the letter, and the Fortress was now filled with the main participants in the Accession Crisis of 1753, the only major succession crisis of the eighteenth century.
  • August 3-On August 3, 1753, Empress Didymeia I and her official entourage made their formal procession of state into the Laurasia Prime star system. Empress Didymeia was accompanied by her half-sister, Grand Princess Aurelia (who was now, formally, heiress apparent to the Laurasian throne), and by former Empress Consort Annaliese of Denver (Didymeia would confer upon her the title and rank of Empress Dowager on August 19, despite considering her mother Katharina of Shenandoah to still be her father's only legitimate wife and consort). Massive crowds, assembled at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, the Second Station of Callista, the two Calaxies, and in all of the major cities of Laurasia Prime cheered the Empress's arrival, and expressed their blessings for her. Didymeia reveled in the showing of loyalty and support by her subjects for her. The Governor of Laurasia Prime, the Mayor of Christiania, and the members of the Councils of State, led by the Earls of Americana and Aeoleon, formally greeted the Empress at the Quencilvanian Palace. Upon arriving at the Palace, Didymeia immediately set to work. The Empress now ordered for the immediate release of all political prisoners and Traditionalist convicts at the Fortress of Baureux, the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, and other installations (with the specific exception of those condemned in the Accession Plot). Among those who now obtained their liberty were the elderly Duke of Norfolkius (who was now seventy-nine years old, in declining health, and had been a prisoner for over six years), Stephanius Gardinerius, former Archbishop of Winchestrius (now sixty-nine years old, who had been imprisoned for five years and had lost his Archbishopric in June 1751), and her kinsman, Sir Demetrius Courthanay (1727-56; then twenty-six), who had been imprisoned for almost fifteen years.
  • August 5-Empress Didymeia, on August 5, 1753, restored Stephanius Gardinerius to his old position as Archbishop of Winchestrius and appointed him as Chancellor and Procurator-General of the Laurasian Empire. Gardinerius, who had now become the Empress's chief minister, therefore replaced Sir Willanius Cecilis and Sir Thomasius Goodrichius, both of whom were too closely associated with the regime of Northumberlais, in those respective positions. Gardinerius would hold these, the highest positions of state, until his death in November 1755. Also on this day, the Empress formally pardoned the Duke of Norfolkius and his late son, the Earl of Soria, of all charges laid against them, including the condemnation sentences imposed by the Holy Synod; repealed the Writ of Attainder; and ordered him restored to all his properties, titles, and honors (with the exception of that of Lord Treasurer, which remained in the hands of Winchestrius, whose administrative talent was recognized by the Empress and who had been forgiven by her for his involvement in the Accession Crisis). Instead, Norfolkius was made both Imperial Marshal and Imperial Steward, to compensate him for his troubles. On the command of the Empress, the Earl of Soria's body was disinterred from the Prison Crypt of the Fortress of Baureux and given to his father for burial at the Howardis family estates on Soria. Soria's funeral was conducted at Soria on August 15. Then on August 6, Empress Didymeia appointed Sir Antigonus Gagius, who had served as Lord Lieutenant of the Fortress of Baureux from June 1740 to July 1753, as the Imperial High Chamberlain of the Laurasian Empire. He was also restored to his position as Lord Lieutenant. Gagius would serve in this position for nearly three years, succeeding Lord Darcius of Chiche (who would die on June 28, 1758, aged 51, at his estates on Leah).
  • August 8-On August 8, 1753, the funeral of Emperor Demetrius II was conducted at the Westphalian Cathedral. Although she considered Reformist values to be heresy, Empress Didymeia nevertheless ordered for her brother's funeral to be conducted in accordance to his final wishes, in the Reformist fashion. Chief Procurator Cranmerius, who was hated by the Empress and was earmarked by her for removal, had nevertheless retained his position at this stage, and presided over the funeral ceremonies. Grand Princess Aurelia, Empress Dowager Annaliese of Denver, and the chief personages of the Imperial Court were among those in attendance. Demetrius was interred next to his parents, Antigonus III and Empress Consort Theodora Seymouris.
  • August 18-
    • The trial of the Duke of Northumberlais was conducted at the Public Senatorial Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace in Christiania, Laurasia Prime (August 18, 1753). On the orders of the Empress Didymeia, the Special Court had been authorized, comprised of the Imperial Privy Council, Governing Senate, Holy Synod, and the chief notables of the Imperial Court. The Duke of Norfolkius, now lifted out of disgrace and imprisonment, presided over Northumberlais's trial in his capacity as Imperial Marshal. Chancellor and Procurator-General Gardinerius presented the case for the Imperial Government. Many of those who now tried the Duke of Northumberlais were his own former associates and colleagues, such as the Earls of Americana and Aeoleon. Northumberlais was accused of treason, heresy, conspiracy, dissent, les-majestie, corruption, and "violation of the laws of this Empire." Permitted no defense counsel, and with his eldest son, the Earl of Sarah, tried with him, Northumberlais defended himself vigorously, declaring that he had acted on the authority of the Emperor and the Regency Council, and by virtue of the Great Seal.
    • He claimed that his only interest was for the "maintenance" of the Almitian Church and preservation of the Empire's state institutions. Gardinerius, however, responded by declaring that the religious views espoused by Northumberlais was the "froth" of heretics and that Demetrius had been too young still to govern the Empire's affairs in his own stead. Accusing Northumberlais of seeking to set his own dynasty on the Laurasian throne, the Chancellor then declared that the State would not be secure as long as he lived. The verdict was inevitable, and after only two hours of deliberation, the Special Court condemned Northumberlais, Sarah, and the Marquess of Venusia (Katharina Parsius's younger brother who had been implicated in the Accession Plot) to death by solar incineration. When the sentence was announced, Northumberlais fell on his knees, begging for the Empress to have mercy upon his sons, the eldest of whom had been condemned with him, and the others awaiting their trials. He also asked to make a confession to Chancellor Gardinerius, who agreed to hear his plea that night.
    • Empress Didymeia signed the death warrant of the Duke of Northumberlais during the early hours of August 19, but, heeding his pleas, commanded for the death sentences passed on the Earl of Sarah and the Marquess of Venusia to be placed on permanent stay. Instead, she ordered, the latter two noblemen were to remain imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux. Didymeia also considered Lady Minerva Greysius and her husband, Sir Constantine Dudley, to also be pawns, and by her command, they were to remain under guard at the Fortress of Baureux as well. The Empress also commanded for the trials of Antiochus Dudley and the Duke's other sons to be delayed. She did not have any mercy for Northumberlais, however, and ordered for his execution to take place in two day's time. She did commute his sentence to one of death by firing squad. But on August 21, Northumberlais's execution was suddenly delayed by orders from Chancellor Gardinerius, as the Empress wished to secure one last admission of repentance and guilt from Northumberlais before his death. The condemned Duke was now moved to the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, where, in a dramatic gesture, he took the Traditionalist Communion and declared that the Laurasian subjects had erred in their departure from the "rightful customs and practices" of the Lord Almitis. This was a great propaganda coup for the new government, as the Duke of Northumberlais thereafter regretted his involvement in the Accession Plot, begged for mercy from the Lord Almitis, and urged the Empress to take immediate measures to reverse "heresy and error in the Almitian Church." Didymeia would later command the Holy Synod to publish accounts of Northumberlais's statements of repentance, as evidence that a "sinner and heretic" could turn back into the fold of the Lord Almitis.
  • August 22-On August 22, 1753, the Duke of Northumberlais's execution was conducted at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia. In his final speech to the crowds assembled to witness his execution (numbering well over 600,000), Northumberlais again admitted his guilt, maintained that the anti-Almitis had deluded him, and declared that the Almitian Church needed to be returned back to the form and practices of earlier times. Northumberlais bore his end bravely, and the execution was swift. Because of his statement of repentance, he was not excommunicated by the Holy Synod, and was therefore eligible for burial at the Post Cemetery of Hepudermia. His burial took place hours after his execution. On Empress Didymeia's orders, his sons remained imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux. Furthermore, the Empress, pursuing her early policies of relative tolerance and restraint, ordered for the release of Antigonus Greysius, Duke of Sufforia, and father of the Lady Minerva Greysius, from the Fortress of Baureux. The Duke of Sufforia had recanted his statements concerning the succession at the height of the Accession Crisis, and expressed his hopes for mercy by the Empress. Sufforia, upon receiving his liberty, was nevertheless warned that if he engaged in any conspiracy at the Imperial Court, or measure against the Empress, he was liable to condemnation and execution.
  • September 14-
    • Chief Procurator Thomasius Cranmerius was commanded to appear before the Governing Senate in order to answer for his actions (September 14, 1753). As mentioned above, Empress Didymeia despised Cranmerius and the other reformist clergymen in the Almitian Church, who had been installed in their positions during the reigns of Antigonus III and Demetrius II. She was determined to restore Traditionalist Almitism to the Laurasian Empire, to reverse the religious reforms of her father and half-brother, and punish those associated with the Reformist movement. Already, the Empress had ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Demetrius II's tutor Sir John Chekius, and of the Archbishop of Darsis, Rogerius Perles, one of the leading proponents of Reformed Almitism. They were both confined at the Fortress of Baureux with Lady Minerva and Sir Constantine Dudley. Conservatives such as Edmundis Bonneris had been restored to their positions of authority in the Almitian Church, and virtually all of the members of the Synod were dismissed and replaced with Traditionalist appointees.
    • No action had been taken against the Chief Procurator, however, up to this time. But now, it was indeed his time. Cranmerius had declared, in his last sermon at the Westphalian Cathedral, that "all the doctrine and religion, by our said sovereign lord, Emperor Demetrius II, is more pure and according to Almitis's word, than any that has been used in this Empire for the past three thousand years." Didymeia and Chancellor Gardinerius considered this tantamount to sedition. Cranmerius defended his statements before the Senate vigorously, asserting that the policies introduced by him in the Church were "right and just." Shortly after his interrogation ended, the Empress ordered for him to be imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux with Perles and the Archbishop of Katie, Perciles Latimerius (who was arrested on that same day). He would remain a prisoner at the Fortress of Baureux for the next two and a half years.
  • October 1-
    • On October 1, 1753, the coronation of Empress Didymeia I, the first ever coronation of a female sovereign in the history of the Laurasian Space Age, and the third coronation of the eighteenth century, was conducted at the Westphalian Cathedral in Christiania, Laurasia Prime. Gardinerius, in his capacity as Archbishop of Winchestrius, carried out the duties which would have been fulfilled by the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod (Cranmerius was, of course, imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux). The Duke of Norfolkius acted in his functions as Imperial Marshal and Imperial Steward, while the Earl of Americana, who had now ingratiated himself with the Empress, officiated as Imperial Chamberlain for the ceremony (Sir Gagius was ill at the time). Didymeia, adhering to Laurasian custom, crowned herself Empress with the Great Imperial Crown (the first woman ever to wear it in its than 400-year history of use), and swore her oath of preservation with the greatest solemnity and fervency. The coronation was conducted with much splendor and ceremonial. Largesse was distributed to crowds throughout the Empire; official proclamations enjoined all at the Imperial Court to celebrate; and a public holiday was proclaimed. The coronation banquet which followed was the most lavish up to that time (later to be surpassed by that at Aurelia's coronation five years later). The Audience Ceremonies, however, were disrupted when a courtier, Sir Thomasius Wyatta the Younger (1721-54, son of the elder Wyatta, who had died in 1742), chanted out "Long live Grand Princess Aurelia!" while the Grand Princess was paying her official respects to the Empress. Wyatta was banished from the Imperial Court by the Empress's command. Yet this incident was a foreboding sign.
    • Once the euphoria surrounding her accession died down, Didymeia's bitterness had welled up afresh for the daughter of the woman who had inflicted so much pain upon her mother and herself, and her antagonism towards her sister was only sharpened by the fact that Aurelia had "many characteristics in which she resembled her mother." The Empress even professed to believe that Aurelia was not her father's daughter, and that she had instead been fathered by Markis Smeatonius, that musician who had been among the five convicted for having adultery with the Empress Consort. This was unworthy of her, for many remarked that Aurelia resembled Antigonus III more closely than Didymeia did herself. Yet Didymeia's distrust of her sister was accentuated by outside forces. She leaned heavily upon Simon Renard (1713-73), who had become Ambassador of the Holy Spamalkan Empire to the Court of Christiania early in September 1753. From the beginning, Renard identified Grand Princess Aurelia as a serious threat. He realized that it would not do to underestimate her, for whereas the Empress was utterly without guile, Aurelia was both "clever and sly", and endowed with a "spirit full of enchantment." As yet he did not know how best to deal with her, but he wasted no time in pointing out to the Empress that the presence at the Court of her heiress presumptive was not necessarily conducive to her security, as Aurelia "might, out of ambition or being persuaded thereto, conceive some dangerous design and put it to execution by means it would be difficult to prevent."
    • He was pleased by Didymeia's reaction, for though at times she could be exasperatingly trusting and naive, as far as Aurelia was concerned it was not difficult to arouse her suspicions. Having listened to Renard's warnings, she told the Ambassador that "the same considerations had occurred to her." It was religion, above all else, that poisoned the relations between the two sisters and aroused Didymeia's ire against Aurelia. Since her teenage years, Didymeia had, as mentioned above, cherished a dream of reclaiming the Empire for Traditionalism. The Empress had, besides taking action against Cranmerius and other Reformist prelates, restored Traditionalist rites and masses at the Imperial Laurasian Court. Yet there were signs of resistance. Already, on August 24, 1753, a sermon preached by one of the Empress's chaplains at St. Colombia's Cathedral had provoked riots in Colombia and Quencania City, which had been suppressed by the civil authorities of those two cities. Moreover, the fact that Aurelia boycotted the services at the Imperial Chapel was embarrassing to Didymeia and her ministers. But Aurelia was not prepared to die for her beliefs, and began to adjust her behavior. Yet on September 19, the Privy Council had summoned her to them, and received "a rude response" when she was harangued about her failure to conform.
    • This lecture, however, had convinced the Grand Princess that she had no other option but to publicly submit. A few days later, she had requested a private audience with the Empress, and when admitted to her sister's presence, she fell on her knees. She tearfully inquired if Didymeia's attitude toward her was unfavorably colored by the difference in their religious outlook. She went on to explain that her spiritual waywardness was the result of her defective upbringing, begging Didymeia to arrange for her to receive instruction. The Empress complied, and was delighted to find that her efforts were promptly repaid. After the briefest of intervals Aurelia felt able to inform her sister that she had seen the errors of her ways. Yet by October 3, two days after the coronation, it seemed as if the Grand Princess was already lapsing. When brought to attend Traditionalist mass at the Court, Aurelia complained loudly of illness. Her religious observances were not the best. The Empress, who had rewarded her sister for her conversion by showering her with ornaments and jewels, began to wonder if she had been duped.
    • A woman of patent sincerity herself, it was beyond her comprehension how anyone's behavior in a matter relating to salvation could be so inconsistent and contrary. Aurelia's assurances to her left her unsatisfied, frustrated at the fact that she had a heiress whose principles were so shifting and uncertain. This also found expression as she continued with her religious policies. On October 5, 1753, Chancellor Gardinerius, acting on the Empress's orders, announced to a special, joint session of the Councils of State that it was the Empress's intention to restore "true faith" back to the dominions of the Laurasian Empire, and that in order to achieve this, the Imperial Almitian Church needed to be restored to its ancient, Traditionalist form. Therefore, she planned on repealing all of the religious measures of the reigns of her brother and father, returning confiscated ecclesiastical properties to the administration of the Almitian Church, and reconfirming the Synod's prerogatives in matters concerning heresy and other judicial questions of faith.
  • October 14-
    • On October 14, 1753, Empress Didymeia promulgated the First Imperial Statute of Repeal of Religious Measures, thereby fulfilling the terms of the official announcement which had been made by Chancellor Gardinerius on her orders nine days earlier. The Duke of Norfolkius, Chancellor Gardinerius himself, and Archbishop Bonneris of Darcia aided the Empress in drafting the provisions of this statute. All of the religious measures which had been passed during the reign of her half-brother Demetrius II: the Second and Third Statutes of Uniformity, the Revised Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal of the Almitian Church, and the Benefice Laws, were officially repealed. It was declared that these measures had been generated from the hand of the "anti-Almitis" and that the Church needed to be restored to proper morality. The terms of the Six Articles of 1739 were temporarily reintroduced, with clerical celibacy and the importance of Priestly Communion being emphasized.
    • Didymeia explicitly declared that she would consult with her ministers further and with the Almitian clergy before overturning the religious measures of her father's reign. On this same day, the Empress promulgated a imperial manifesto validating the marriage of her parents Antigonus III and Katharina of Shenandoah; revoking the sentences of bastardy imposed by her father and the Holy Synod; and proclaiming her status as the "sole legitimate Princess of the Imperial Line." Didymeia, however, made specific provision that her sister Aurelia would continue to enjoy the title and position of Grand Princess, and that she remained heir in accordance with the Third Antigonid Statute. On October 22, the Empress would give orders for her mother's posthumous rank as Empress-Dowager to be reinstated, and for her body to be translated to the Westphalian Cathedral for reburial. Aurelia, on her part, now became yet more irregular in her attendance at mass. Such a move only convinced the Empress that she was justified in seeking to assert her own rights.
  • October 29-Chancellor Gardinerius and the Duke of Norfolkius persuaded Empress Didymeia, on October 29, that Lady Minerva Greysius and her husband, Sir Constantine Dudley, as well as the Earl of Sarah and his brother Lord Antiochus Dudley, were "traitors in the eyes of the gracious Almitis" and that they needed to be charged for high treason in an official court of law, not merely kept imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux. Didymeia herself, who had been inclined to leniency at first, but now believed that her position of authority was secure, agreed to revise her earlier decision. An imperial manifesto, issued during the late hours of this day, announced that Lady Minerva and her husband would be tried, alongside the disgraced Chief Procurator Cranmerius and the two forenamed Dudley brothers, for high treason by the Special Court of the Laurasian Empire; that the trial would take place at the Old Royal Palace on November 13; and that their sentence would be carried out to the "fullest extent" of the imperial authorities.
  • November 6-On November 6, 1753, Empress Didymeia officially announced, in a proclamation to the Imperial Court, her intention to marry. The Empress, who was now thirty-seven years old, had been betrothed to both the Dauphin of Franconia and Holy Spamalkan Emperor Char'va I during her childhood years. Both engagements had come to ruins as a result of diplomatic entanglements, and the consequent Great Matter of the Emperor's marriage with Didymeia's mother subsequently overtook all further matters. Emperor Antigonus had not been particularly concerned about procuring a husband for the daughter he had come to consider as a bastard, and lavished all of his attentions upon the Grand Prince Demetrius. Didymeia was therefore still unmarried, and a virgin, at the time of her accesion to the Laurasian throne. Like Demetrius, and as mentioned above, she did not want her sibling (namely Aurelia) to succeed her, primarily on religious grounds and concerns over legitimacy. Didymeia had explicitly refused to revoke Aurelia's bastardy, and she considered the Grand Princess to be the living reminder of the woman who had displaced her mother. Therefore, although Aurelia was officially her heiress apparent according to the Third Antigonid Statute of Succession, the Empress sought to displace her with a child of her own blood. In her efforts, she was supported by Chancellor Gardinerius, who despised Aurelia and believed that the birth of a Traditionalist heir would save the Laurasian Dominions from ruin. Reginaldius Polsius and Sir Demetrius Courthanay would both be proposed as potential suitors for the Empress, but she had conceived ideas of a foreign marriage, not trusting any of her eligible male subjects enough to marry them.
  • November 13-
    • The trial of Lady Minerva Greysius, her husband Sir Constantine Dudley, Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod Thomasius Cranmerius, the Earl of Sarah, and Lord Antiochus Dudley was conducted at the Audience Chambers of the Old Royal Palace in Christiania, Laurasia Prime on November 13, 1753. The Duke of Norfolkius, whose health had declined further, presided over the trial as Imperial Marshal. Sir Thomasius Whitius (1692-1767), Mayor of Christiania for 1753, Demetrius Stanleis, 3rd Earl of Duana (1709-72), and John Boucherius, 2nd Earl of Courdina V (1699-1761), served as the other high commissioners of the trial. Chancellor Gardinerius represented the Imperial Crown, and presented the case in the trial for the government. The defendants had been arraigned on charges of treason, conspiracy, heresy, les-majestie, corruption, and dissent against the Imperial Laurasian Government. Lady Minerva and Chief Procurator Cranmerius, the two chief defendants, defended themselves vigorously, declaring that they had committed no crime and always remained committed to the service of Almitis.
    • Lord Antiochus Dudley asserted that he had followed his father's orders only on the belief that he was acting on the authority of the Emperor Demetrius. The Earl of Sarah asserted the same, while Constantine Dudley begged for mercy for his wife, on account of her "youthfulness and inexperience in matters of state." Despite their pleas, however, the verdict was inevitable. After only two hours of deliberation, the Special Court convicted the defendants on all of the charges laid against them and condemned them to death. Empress Didymeia, however, gave a command for their sentences to be placed on hold, and she refrained from signing the death warrants at this point. She was interested in forcing the Chief Procurator to recant and re-embrace Traditionalism; believed that Minerva and Constantine were young and foolish pawns; and that the Dudley brothers should be spared. Chancellor Gardinerius and the rest of the Privy Council were irritated at the Empress's procrastination.
  • November 16-
    • On November 16, 1753, a formal diplomatic communique to the Imperial Court arrived from Emperor Char'va I, who, despite his rejection of his engagement with Didymeia in her youth, had nevertheless retained a great deal of concern and respect for her. The Spamalkan Emperor, whose health was ailing and who was yearning to relieve himself of the burdens of state, proposed his only son and heir apparent, Prince Philicus of Spamalka, as a potential husband for the Empress of Laurasia. Philicus was handsome, athletic, and intelligent, speaking up to seven languages (including Laurasian). Didymeia, who believed that a marriage alliance with the Holy Spamalkan Empire would cement Laurasian influence at the expense of the Franconians, and sought for herself a virile and respected prince as a husband, announced that she was in serious consideration of the offer. Chancellor Gardinerius, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, Baron Pagentia, the Earl of Americana, and the rest of the Privy Council were shocked by the Empress's announcement. They, like most of the Empress's subjects, all wished that she would marry within the Empire, for a foreign husband could be expected to subordinate the interests of the Empire to those of his own realm. In his final will, Demetrius II had used his fear that either of his sisters might marry a foreigner as an additional reason for depriving them of their inheritance, for "the same stranger would rather adhere and practice to have the laws and customs of his own native realm to be practiced and put in use within this our realm, which would then tend to the utter subversion of the commonwealth of this our Empire, which Almitis forbid." In this clause, he had been speaking for his subjects. Didymeia, who herself was half-Spamalkan, underestimated her subjects' fierce insularity.
    • Thus it was, that on November 24, the Empress received a formal petition, in her Audience Chambers, from the Imperial Privy Council, delivered into her hands by Chancellor Gardinerius himself. In this petition, it was declared that her loyal subjects were "concerned about the succession to the Laurasian throne and the continuance of the Neuchrian Dynasty." They desired for their mistress to marry and to begat heirs as soon as possible, in order to secure the Empire's prosperity and internal stability. However, it was also declared that the only suitable husband for the Empress would be a Laurasian nobleman of stature, not a foreign prince. Therefore, the Privy Council, on behalf of all the subjects of the Laurasian Empire, begged "Her Majesty to reconsider her announcement and to kindly refute the offer posed by His Majesty of Spamalka." Didymeia, however, determined to have Philicus as her husband, and believing a foreign prince more reliable than a nobleman, officially rejected the petition. Gardinerius and his faction, who opposed the marriage on patriotic grounds, now believed that the Empress was committing an act of extreme folly.
    • As for the Grand Princess, the Empress had received advice that the best way to neutralize her would be to find her a Traditionalist husband. Sir Demetrius Courthanay, who many had favored as a potential suitor for the Empress, was looked upon as the choice. Lord Pagentia had advocated for this alternative option, believing it would do much to reconcile Didymeia's subjects to her own marriage to a foreigner. The proposal did not commend itself to Didymeia, for though she could hardly avoid recognizing Aurelia as her heiress presumptive if she promoted a union between her and Courthanay, she was becoming more and more determined to find a way of excluding her sister from the succession. The Empress confided to Pagentia and Renard (November 27, 1753), that "it would burden my conscience too heavily to allow the Grand Princess to succeed, for she only goes to mass out of hypocrisy, she has not a single servant or maid of honor who is not a heretic, she talks every day with heretics and hears them out, and it would disgrace the Empire to allow a bastard to succeed." Courthanay, on his part, was not too eager to offer himself to the Grand Princess. Anxious to ingratiate himself with the Empress, he told her that if she wished to find him a wife, "let it be some simple girl than the Grand Princess, who is a heretic, too proud, and of too doubtful lineage on her mother's terms." Her future still unresolved, Aurelia therefore found herself in an uncomfortable position at the Court. Didymeia was only too willing to listen to adverse reports concerning her.
    • When Renard told the Empress, on December 8, 1753, that Aurelia had secret consultations with the Franconian Ambassador, she sent the Earl of Americana and Lord Pagentia to tell her sister that "her present unwise conduct was known", and to warn her that if she persisted, "she might have reason to regret it." Aurelia did not have great difficulty convincing them that they had been misinformed, but the incident demonstrated that the Empress was eager to believe ill of her sister. Relations with Didymeia had now become so strained that the Grand Princess thought it wise to ask her sister's permission to retire from the Court, even though her adversaries would continue to incite the Empress against her. In a vain attempt to guard against this, she obtained an audience with Didymeia (December 11, 1753), affirming her devotion to the Traditionalist cause and imploring her sister to give her an opportunity to defend herself in person if she should hear anything to Aurelia's discredit. The Empress put on a show of friendliness, and gave her sister a rich coif of sable as a leaving present, but did so only because Renard had told her that it would be unwise to let Aurelia leave in a disaffected mood. In private, Didymeia remained adamant that Aurelia would "bring about some great evil unless she is dealt with." Moreover, Aurelia requested for Traditionalist ornaments, but the Empress could no longer be moved by such false displays of piety.
  • December 13-On December 13, 1753, the future King Hensios IV of Franconia (1789-1810), was born at Pau, in the Franconian Principality of Navarre. He was the eldest and only surviving son of his mother Joan d'Albret, Grand Princess of Navarre (1728-72), and her husband Antoine, Duke of Vendrome (1718-62). Joan, who had been born in St. German en-Laye on November 13, 1728, was the niece of King Franjak I of Franconia; King Franjak took much interest in his niece, and arranged for her an excellent education. In 1747, she succeeded her father Hensios as Grand Princess of Franconian Navarre; Navarre, of course, had been partitioned between Spamalka and Franconia two decades earlier, with Pamplona acceding to the former and Pau to the latter. In October 1748, Joan had married the Duke of Vendrome in order to consolidate her own hereditary possessions. These included Franconian Navarre (with Pau), Foix, Bigorre, Armagnac, Perigord, and Bearn. The future King Hensios, thus, was the heir to a wealthy and influential couple.
  • December 16-Empress Didymeia, on December 16, 1753, ordered Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Athanasius Versay (1697-1761; who had replaced the Reformist Sadielus in September 1753) to send an official response to the Holy Spamalkan Court, concerning the marriage offer posed by Emperor Char'va I. In this communique, it was declared that the Empress considered it "expedient" to obtain a husband and that therefore, she had decided to accept the "gracious" offer made by "His Most Honorable Majesty of Spamalka." Char'va, who was elated to learn that his offer of marriage had been accepted by Didymeia, ordered his Council of Ministers to begin drafting plans for marriage negotiations with the Laurasian Empire. At the Imperial Court, the continued efforts of Chancellor Gardinerius and Baron Pagentia to persuade the Empress to change her mind ended in failure. 1753 thus ended with the Empire now under the rule of its first legitimate female sovereign in history. Tensions, however, were building, and would explode in the following year.

1754Edit

  • January 15-1754, the 54th year of the eighteenth century, began with the Laurasian Empire now under the rule of its first legitimate female sovereign, Empress Didymeia I, eldest daughter of Antigonus III. The question, on the minds of many of the Empire's subjects, was on the Empress's impending marriage. On January 15, 1754, the Imperial Chancellory issued an official proclamation to the Imperial Court and the subjects of the Laurasian Empire, concerning the Empress Didymeia's marriage plans. In this announcement, it was formally declared that the Empress had accepted the marriage offer proposed by Holy Spamalkan Emperor Char'va I, and that negotiations were now underway between the Imperial Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Governments for the conclusion of a marriage alliance between the two realms. The Holy Spamalkan Emperor's son, Prince Philicus, was to be engaged to the Empress, and would become her husband in due course. The issuance of this official announcement alarmed many throughout the Empire, in particular individuals such as Sir Demetrius Courtanay, Sir Thomasius Wyatta, and the Duke of Sufforia (so lately pardoned for his role in the Accession Crisis).
  • January 17-
    • Sir Thomasius Wyatta, who had come to believe that the marriage of Empress Didymeia with Prince Philicus needed to be prevented at all costs, and that the rule of Didymeia would damn the Almitian Church and the Laurasian Empire alike, convened several of his friends and supporters in a secret meeting at his personal residence, Allington Castle, on Senna (January 17, 1754). Among those who now attended the gathering were Sir Demetrius Courthanay, Sir Lysimachus Craftia (1718-90), Sir Petevius Caranius (1714-75), the Duke of Sufforia, Sir Antigonus Isledia (1708-54), Lord John Greysius of Wiltonia (1701-54), Lord Thomasius Greysius (brother of the Duke of Sufforia, 1705-55), Sir Willanius Thomar (Clerk of the Imperial Privy Council, 1707-54), Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia (1715-71), Sir Antigonus Haringstonia, 1st Baron Haringstonia of Senna (1720-93), Sir Nicholas Arnoldia (1707-80), and Sir Willanius St. Loe (1718-65). All of these men were in the firm belief that the Traditionalist policies of Empress Didymeia would doom the Empire, and that a marriage with a foreign prince could not be permitted.
    • Over the next two days, Wyatta discussed his plans with his supporters. Ultimately, they devised a formal scheme of rebellion: Wyatta, Craftia, Caranius, and the Duke of Sufforia were to become the chief commandants of the rebellion. They would raise rebellions at Murphy, Mumbraine, Hammenor, Saray, Senna, Marshia, Bainsborough, Elainsborough, Arias, Manil, Chandlier, Katie, and Meaganian, and with the assistance of contacts at the Imperial Court, would converge on Laurasia Prime before the end of March 1754. Once arriving there, they would depose Didymeia from the Laurasian throne and proclaim Aurelia the new Empress and Autocrat of All the Laurasians; she was to marry Courthanay, therefore consolidating the influence of Reformist Almitism at the Laurasian Court, and eliminating the influence of the Didymeian Faction. Didymeia herself was to be banished to the Monastery of Windowia Photis, and Chancellor Gardinerius, Archbishop Edmundis Bonnerius of Laurasia Prime, and other prominent Traditionalists in the Imperial Government would be arraigned on charges of treason and executed. Wyatta and his supporters were confident that they could pull this scheme off. Their plans, however, were not as secret as they would have liked.
    • On January 21, 1754, Spamalkan Ambassador Renard caught wind of the conspiracies at Senna. Renard was aware that there was many within the Empire, and at the Imperial Court, who were opposed to the Empress's marriage plans. He had therefore made it his business to keep himself informed of the affairs of the Court, and it was through his contacts that he learned of Wyatta's plans. Alarmed at this, the Ambassador promptly informed Chancellor Gardinerius, warning him that there were those among the nobility and gentry of the Empire who were contriving to install Courthanay on the imperial throne. Gardinerius heeded the Ambassador's warnings and issued orders for the arrest of Courthanay, who had returned to Laurasia Prime as part of the preparations for the rebellion. Courthanay was imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux. Under intensive interrogation by the Chancellor and the other officials of the Privy Council, he admitted that there was indeed a rebellion planned. News of Courthanay's arrest and imprisonment circulated quickly, and Wyatta sought to now hasten his rebellion forward. Abandoning the earlier plans of action against the government authorities, he now sought for a direct march on Laurasia Prime.
  • January 22-On January 22, 1754, Sir Lysimachus Craftia, acting on the instructions of Wyatta, delivered a message to Grand Princess Aurelia at the Palace of Secrets on Paradine, which had been awarded to her by the Imperial Chancellory as one of her chief estates. The message contained formal greetings from Wyatta and the Duke of Sufforia, and expressions of hope for the Princess's "well-being and personal security." It would later be construed by Empress Didymeia and Chancellor Gardinerius as evidence of treason, evidence that Aurelia was engaged in active correspondence with the rebels. Shortly after delivering the message, however, Craftia decided that under the present circumstances involvement in rebellion would be unwise. He therefore turned himself in to the imperial authorities on Caladaria, and declared that he had been foolish enough to engage in conspiracy against his lawful sovereign. On the same day that Craftia delivered his message and then surrendered to the authorities, Wyatta, who had moved to his estates on Chesham's Star, began to assemble his supporters and mercenaries in anticipation of a general offensive in the Laurasia Prime Purse Region. The Duke of Sufforia and Lord John Greysius of Wiltonia were among those instrumental in securing military supplies, financial aid, and officers for the rebel force. The Privy Council received reports of stirrings at Chesham's Star, and the Ministry of Defense now ordered for the strengthening of Laurasia Prime's defenses.
  • January 25-
    • On January 25, 1754, what became known as Wyatta's Rebellion, one of the chief uprisings of the eighteenth century, formally erupted at Chesham's Star, as Sir Thomasius Wyatta, the Duke of Sufforia, Lord John Greysius of Wiltonia, and their other subordinates officially proclaimed their resistance to the government of Empress Didymeia and announced their determination to restore Reformed Almitism and "proper rule of government" back to the Laurasian Empire. Empress Didymeia was enraged when she heard of this announcement of rebellion, and in a imperial manifesto, issued from the Quencilvanian Palace, declared that her government would take all vital measures against rebel forces as were needed. On this first day of rebellion, Wyatta's forces, receiving recruits and mercenaries from throughout the Laurasian Purse Region, stormed the government garrisons of Wes and Chesrone.
    • Then on the following day, January 25, Mercedes was occupied by the rebel forces of Sir Thomasius Wyatta. This world, home to many Reformed Almitists, was generally opposed to the Empress's Didymeia's religious policies, and feared that a marriage between her and the Spamalkan Prince Philicus would spell doom for the Laurasian Empire. Wyatta therefore found the garrison willing to admit his units, and the people of Mercedes more than eager to lend him his support. He issued a proclamation from Mercedes, declaring that his rebellion was proceeding in accordance with his plans and urging the people of Laurasia Prime to rise up against their authorities. By the end of that day, Sapphire and Merandaz were occupied by the rebel units of Wyatta.
    • On the same day that Mercedes was occupied by the forces of Sir Thomasius Wyatta, Empress Didymeia formally summoned Grand Princess Aurelia back to the Imperial Court on Laurasia Prime. She had been convinced by Chancellor Gardinerius and Ambassador Renard that it would be folly to allow for the Grand Princess to remain on her estates, where she could become an additional focus of dissent and rebellion against her authority. Didymeia had no problem accepting these arguments. Throughout the early weeks of January 1754, however, Aurelia had suffered great pains, and had kept to her estates on Paradine, Palimisiano, and Pasquarillo, hoping for a gradual recovery. In her summons, the Empress assured her half-sister that she only did so because she thought her at risk whilst the rebellion was ongoing. Didymeia's assurances, however, seemed thin, and the Grand Princess decided not to put them to the test. Seizing on her genuine ill health as a welcome excuse, she sent word that she was in no condition to travel. On Laurasia Prime, Aurelia's reluctance to come to the Imperial Court was interpreted as a fresh sign of her guilt, and the case against her gained more notice when the Imperial Intelligence Agency discovered copies of some of Aurelia's communiques to the Empress at the Franconian Embassy in Christiania (January 28).
  • January 27-
    • Empress Didymeia dispatched a government force, on January 27, under the command of Lord Abergavenny (1727-87) and Sir Demosthenes Soverall (1706-59), to Rainnan in order to halt the advance of rebel units and reconquer strongholds which had been lost to the Imperial Laurasian Government. Abergavenny, a ardent Traditionalist and one who was contemptuous of Wyatta and his followers, immediately took the field of battle against the rebel forces. The Battle of Bobby was fought (January 28, 1754) and resulted in a victory for government forces. Then on January 30, the fortunes of Lord Abergavenny and Sir Demosthenes Soverall turned to the worse, as the garrisons of Kelby and Chloe revolted against the authority of the Imperial Laurasian Government. Wyatta was now able to storm government positions at Keach and to repel offensives against Sapphire and Merandaz. Soon, many officers and personnel of the government force were defecting to Wyatta, and Lord Abergavenny was forced to withdraw from his operational headquarters on Rainnan. This incident aroused the anger of Empress Didymeia, who formally dismissed Abergavenny from his command posts and had him placed under house arrest.
    • It was thus that, on January 31, 1754, the elderly Duke of Norfolkius, now eighty years old, was designated by Empress Didymeia as the commander of government forces assembled at Jenny, Scout, Ietas, Tyndaris, Mylae, Camarina, Guyah, and Paronius, which were poised to launch a series of counterattacks against the strongholds now held by the rebel units of Sir Thomasius Wyatta. Norfolkius, who had retreated to his estates on Jenny, and had resigned his seat on the Imperial Privy Council (January 7, 1754), therefore performed one last service for the Neuchrian Dynasty, to which he had now been dedicated for over four decades. He advanced against rebel troops at Buckingham, but was unable to dislodge them from their positions and was forced to retreat back to Jenny. During the late hours of that day, the Privy Council sent offers of pardon to the rebel forces, declaring that any man who returned to his oath of allegiance due to the Imperial Laurasian Government or betrayed Wyatta into the hands of government authorities would be absolved from punishment. Didymeia, however, knew that most of the rebels would not answer to this offer.
  • February 1-
    • Sir Thomasius Wyatta, believing that the Imperial Government was desperate, and that he had a chance to impose his own influence on Laurasia Prime, decided to respond to the offers dispatched. In a response communique to the Privy Council (February 1, 1754), Wyatta demanded that the Fortress of Baureux be surrendered to him; that Empress Didymeia place herself under his charge; and that all government forces disarm themselves immediately and permit him access to the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system. These demands were viewed as insolent and rash by the Privy Council, and the Empress promptly rejected them. Shortly afterwards, she gave a rousing speech at the Audience Chamber of the Quencilvanian Palace, denouncing the actions of Wyatta and his supporters, and declaring her confidence and trust in Almitis, who would bring her through this conflict. The inhabitants of Laurasia Prime demonstrated their patriotism, and government forces were reorganized for a decisive move against rebel units.
    • On February 3, Wyatta's forces, having occupied Amy and Tara, reached the outskirts of Heuthros. Heuthros, that world which had in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BH been such a formidable enemy of the Stellar Republic of Laurasia, was now one of the chief military strongholds of the Laurasia Prime Purse Region. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it had a population of more than thirteen billion, and was home to the Imperial Naval Academy of Heuthros and the Engineering Corps of the Purse Region. Sir Demosthenes Soverall, who had managed to retain the favor of the Empress, was in command of the Heuthros garrison, and he employed his superior resources to his advantage. He had at his disposal more than two million garrison troops and one hundred warships of the 3rd Imperial Fleet; furthermore, Heuthros was protected by a series of minefields, shield generators, and orbital defensive outposts. All of the efforts made by Wyatta and his men to breach the defenses of Heuthros resulted in failure. Sir John Brdigius, later to become Lord Chandos (1714-79), then led a frontal assault against rebel squadrons, bombarding their warships with turbocannon fire. Wyatta, wishing to avoid a direct military confrontation in the aftermath of this, was therefore compelled to retreat. Refusing to submit, however, rebel units now proceeded to Adys. The garrison of Adys, however, also successfully repelled rebel units, and Wyatta then advanced to Zeena.
    • It was on February 6, 1754, that Wyatta's forces breached the outskirts of Zeena and advanced into the star system. The garrison of Zenna was commanded by General Xenophon Thamesius (1710-91), who was under orders from the Duke of Norfolkius not to permit any rebel troops to land on the planetary surface. Wyatta's forces at first encountered little resistance, as General Thamesius had ordered for the orbital defensive outposts and relay stations in the star system to be abandoned. He was determined to draw the enemy into orbit above Zeena itself. Wyatta's units now reached orbit, and the rebel leader believed that the world would fall easily to him. However, government units, which had been hidden at Rydall's Moon, now launched a surprise offensive. The rebel forces were disoriented, outnumbered, and disjointed, and the Battle of Zeena resulted in a decisive victory for General Thamesius and his forces. Wyatta himself was forced to flee the star system on his personal starfighter. Government units, in the meantime, had reconquered Amy, Tara, and Buckingham, driving rebel units from the vicinity of Heuthros, and were conducting a blockade of Merandaz.
  • February 8-The Battle of Klobuchar occurred between the government forces of the Laurasian Empire, commanded by Sir Demosthenes Soverall and the Duke of Norfolkius, and the rebel units under the command of Sir Thomasius Wyatta and the Duke of Sufforia (February 8, 1754). Rebel units engaged in running skirmishes with the government squadrons, but the superior firepower, discipline, and numbers of the Imperial Laurasian Navy ultimately decided the result of the battle. Most of the rebel warships (more than eighty of them) were captured or destroyed, 150,000 rebel personnel lost their lives, and Wyatta suffered a serious defeat. The rebel commander now attempted to flee back to Sapphire, which was still under the control of his units. He was intercepted by government starfighters near Lalna (which had been colonized during the reign of Lysimachus I in 1536, and had a population of two hundred million by 1754), however, and was captured. On the orders of the Duke of Norfolkius, Wyatta was bound in chains and imprisoned in the brig of his flagship, the HIMS Kinsgrnata. The Duke of Sufforia did not long evade government authorities, and was captured at Depp the following day. The capture of Wyatta and the Duke of Sufforia resulted in the collapse of the unity of the rebel forces. Deprived of their leaders, many realized that it was futile to continue resistance against the government authorities. Chesham's Star, Merandaz, Sapphire, and Mercedes were reconquered by government forces by February 11, and the Wyatta Rebellion, which had lasted for less than a month, was completely suppressed.
  • February 9-Empress Didymeia issued a proclamation, on February 9, 1754, to her subjects from the Quencilvanian Palace, announcing the capture of Wyatta and the Duke of Sufforia. In this proclamation, the Empress declared that it was due to the "high acts of providence" that the rebellion had been suppressed and that her claims to authority over the Laurasian Empire were validated, by the agents of Almitis and by circumstances. Didymeia however, declared that she would consult further with the Privy Council before making her final decision on marriage, and that she wished to marry Philicus, in light of securing allies for the Laurasian Dominions and preventing the squabbling of domestic factions. Finally, the Empress announced that the involvement of the Duke of Sufforia in the Wyatta Rebellion was an unforgivable crime. This was her own conviction. Sufforia had been released from imprisonment and spared from charges, due to his involvement in the Accession Crisis. He had violated the conditions of release: namely that he refrain from involvement in any rebellion or conspiracy against the Imperial Government. Therefore, Sufforia was no longer deserving of mercy, and was now to be placed on trial for his crimes. His daughter and son-in-law, Lady Minerva Greysius and her husband Sir Constantine Dudley, who had been sentenced to death but in actuality remained imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux, were accused of complicity in the Wyatta Rebellion. Consequently, their death sentence was to be carried out. In this, Didymeia was influenced by Chancellor Gardinerius, who had managed to convince her to let justice be administered on these "fiends and traitors." The Empress signed their death warrants two hours after issuing her proclamation, and set the date of execution for February 12.
  • February 12-The execution of the ill-fated Nine Day's Empress, Minerva Greysius, and her husband Sir Constantine Dudley took place at the Public Execution Grounds of the Fortress of Baureux, on February 12, 1754. Sir Constantine was the first of the two to die. He was taken from his cell by the Lord Lieutenant of the Fortress of Baureux, on the direct orders of Chancellor Gardinerius and the Privy Council, and brought to the Execution Grounds. He was then executed by beheading, and his remains were brought back into the Fortress, past the cell of his wife. Minerva burst into tears and cried upon seeing the corpse of her beloved husband. She was then taken out to the Public Execution Grounds. In her final speech, to the crowds assembled to witness her death (numbering more than one million, the largest such crowd at any public execution during the eighteenth century), she declared that she was willing to meet her death, and that she had never intended any harm against the Laurasian people. She asserted her firm faith in Almitis and declared that everyone would face righteous judgment. Minerva was then blindfolded, and executed by firing squad. On the orders of the Empress Didymeia, she and her husband were buried at the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vicula in the Fortress of Baureux, instead of at the Prison Chapel.
  • February 16-
    • With the Wyatta Rebellion suppressed, the Imperial Laurasian Government immediately resumed its inquiries concerning Grand Princess Aurelia. On February 11, the Privy Council dispatched a delegation to Pasquarillo, with instructions to take custody of the Grand Princess, unless the physicians who accompanied them confirmed that it would be literally fatal for her to move. The delegation arrived by the end of that day, and reported to the Council that the Grand Princess was certainly ill, but that travel was certainly not out of the question. Despite Aurelia's objections that she could not make the journey "without peril of life", she was obliged to depart with them late on February 12. They made slow progress, for she remained frail, but finally arrived in the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system early on February 14. Two days later (February 16, 1754), on the orders of Empress Didymeia, the Grand Princess and her household were moved under guard from the Quencilvanian Palace to the Senatorial Palace. Upon arriving at the Palace, the Grand Princess was led to the chambers of Chancellor Gardinerius, who was firmly convinced of her complicity in the Wyatta Rebellion and was determined to obtain information about her dealings at the Imperial Court.
    • Aurelia was interrogated by the elderly Chancellor vigorously. Gardinerius demanded information about her contacts with Wyatta; her intentions as regards to the Empress; and her Reformed Almitian beliefs. Aurelia, acting as obstinate as before, defended herself with passion, asserting that she had no contacts with Wyatta; that she was absolutely loyal to Her Majesty; and that she would not obstruct the traditionalist policies of the government. Gardinerius did not believe her and now intensified his appeals to the Empress to take care of the Grand Princess. Ambassador Renard, on his part, told Didymeia that she would not be safe so long as the Grand Princess lived. For the next month, the Grand Princess remained in limbo at the Senatorial Palace, while the Chancellor and Ambassador Renard worked together to bring the Empress fully around to their views.
  • February 18-The trial of the Duke of Sufforia was conducted at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia on February 18, 1754. Sufforia, who had been imprisoned there since February 12, was arraigned on charges of treason, rebellion, conspiracy, and les-majestie. The Duke did not deny anything, and admitted his involvement in the Wyatta Rebellion freely. Declaring that the execution of his daughter and son-in-law had "destroyed my will to live in these realms", the Duke declared that he believed only in the true sanctity of the Almitian Church and that this could only be achieved by changes in the Imperial Laurasian Government. Chancellor Gardinerius, leading the case for the Imperial State, denounced Sufforia and labeled him an outright traitor. The Senate and Court of the Star Chamber agreed, convicting him after only a half-hour of deliberations. Sufforia expressed no remorse or fear when his sentence was announced: the full penalties of a traitor's death, with hanging, drawing, quartering, beheading, and solar incineration.
  • February 23-On February 23, 1754, the Duke of Sufforia, father of the ill-fated Nine Day's Empress Minerva Greysius, was executed, before a crowd of nearly 700,000 persons, at the Fortress of Baureux. Sufforia again admitted his guilt in his last speech to the crowds and declared his willingness to die. The Holy Synod, on the orders of Empress Didymeia, excommunicated the Duke, and he was denied an Almitian burial. Instead, his remains were dumped into the Pit of Traitors on Jadia. By this point, judicial proceedings had commenced at Chesham's Star, Merandaz, and other former centers of the Wyatta Rebellion, against those who had been involved. By the end of the year, nearly 400,000 individuals in twenty different star systems were convicted and either executed or imprisoned for their role in the rebellion.
  • March 15-The trial of Sir Thomasius Wyatta, instigator and chief leader of the Wyatta Rebellion, was conducted at the Quencilvanian Palace (March 15, 1754). Wyatta was tried by the Special Court of the Laurasian Empire, on the explicit command of Empress Didymeia. Lord Treasurer Winchestrius acted as chief commissioner at the trial, while Chancellor Gardinerius, assisted by the Vice-Procurator General, Sir Diogenes Debtrastis (1693-1776), conducted the case for the Imperial State. Wyatta, in his defense, asserted his concern for the affairs of the Laurasian Empire, and that he could not allow the welfare of the Laurasian people to be ruined. He asked the Court to look into their consciences, and asserted that he was dedicated to the service of Almitis. The verdict was not in doubt, and after one hour of deliberation, the Special Court convicted Wyatta on all charges and sentenced him to the full horrors of a traitor's death. The Holy Synod excommunicated Wyatta; when informed of this, the nobleman fell on his knees before the Court and begged for mercy, so that he may die in communion with Almitis. The Empress rejected his plea, however, and signed both the death warrant and the excommunication sentence in a firm hand shortly afterwards.
  • March 16-
    • Fully convinced of her sister's complicity in the Wyatta Rebellion, and wishing to display the consequences for treason, Empress Didymeia ordered, on March 16, 1754, for the official arrest and imprisonment of Grand Princess Aurelia at the Fortress of Baureux. Lord Treasurer Winchestrius and the Earl of Jadia were dispatched to the Senatorial Palace in order to arrest the Grand Princess and escort her to the Fortress of Baureux. This had been the outcome which Aurelia dreaded, and her situation appeared all the more perilous because it seemed that imprisonment at the Fortress would be the preliminary to a formal trial. Desperately, she clung to the hope that the Empress would relent if she was allowed to see her, and she begged the two peers that she might communicate with her sister to that effect. Jadia, who had the foresight to remember that his prisoner might one day be his Empress, granted her permission and provided her with the materials necessary. The Grand Princess then set to work. Her communique contained a sweeping affirmation of her innocence, for she swore to Her Majesty that she "had never practiced, counseled, nor consented to anything that might be prejudicial to your person in any way, or dangerous to the state by any means." She also rebutted the specific allegations against her. She declared that she had never received any communique from Wyatta. She then reminded Didymeia of her promise never to punish her "without answer and due proof", and begged that the Empress would not rely on her councilors to administer justice to her own flesh and blood.
    • She then used the example of Sir Thomasius Seymouris, suggesting his life could have been spared if he had been allowed access to his brother. She then moved on, stating that "I pray Almitis that evil persuasions do not incite one sister against the other, and all for that they have heard false report." The Grand Princess had sought desperately to kindle in the Empress some spark of sisterly feeling, but it was a futile exercise. It had been the Empress's ministers who had restrained her. Moreover, Didymeia refused to recognize the Grand Princess as her kindred. When shown the communique, the Empress was merely angry that her orders had not been promptly carried out. The Grand Princess now had to be temporarily detained at the Old Royal Palace. It was not until March 18, 1754, which was Palm Sunday, that the Grand Princess was finally conveyed by repulsorlift, along with her former governess Katharina Ashleius, and others of her household, to the Fortress. Aurelia exuded calm through the whole experience, refusing to show any signs of fear or sadness. She continued to assert her innocence, and at the gateway to the Fortress, acted out her defiance. She refused to leave the repulsorlift, and shouted out to all in ear-shot that she prayed that the Lord Almitis would "strike me down if ever I raised a hand against my dear sister and sovereign lady." Moreover, she hoped that Almitis would open her sister's eyes. Then she went into the Fortress. The Empress's eyes were closed, however, at this point, and Chancellor Gardinerius was already beginning to draft plans to arraign Aurelia on charges of treason and place her on trial before the Special Court.
  • April 11-On April 11, 1754, Sir Thomasius Wyatta was executed at the Fortress of Baureux, before a crowd of nearly 800,000 persons. The Grand Princess Aurelia was kept in close confinement on this day, as by the orders of the Empress, she was not to see or hear the execution of such a "evil criminal." Wyatta, hearing of the Grand Princess's plight, and feeling remorse, declared in his last speech to the crowds that the Grand Princess had not been involved in his conspiracy, and that she was "completely innocent of anything which man may hath contrive to raise against her." Wyatta admitted that he had acted on his own initiative, and he begged Empress Didymeia to have mercy on her younger sister. Wyatta, after delivering his speech, then suffered the full horrors of execution, and his remains were dumped into the Pit of Traitors on Jadia. Didymeia was informed of his last speech, but still held to the belief that Aurelia was complicit in rebellion against her.
  • April 12-On Ediania, Regent Arran, who was exhausted, and wished to relieve himself of the burdens of government service, formally resigned as Regent of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, after having held that post for nearly twelve years (April 12, 1754). The Scottrian Estates therefore designated Scottrian Queen Mariana's mother, Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise, as the new Regent of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria. Mariana was to govern as Regent for the next six years, until her death in June 1760.
  • April 17-On April 17, 1754, a conference convened between delegations of the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires at Arias, regarding the matter of marriage between the Empress Didymeia and the Holy Spamalkan Prince Philicus. The Imperial Laurasian Government's plenipotentiaries to the conference were Baron Pagentia (who also served as the head of the delegation); Sir Galerius Caranus; Lord Dacre of Gitlandia; and Sir Willanius Cecilis, who, although removed from his post as Chancellor, had nevertheless been retained in the Diplomatic Service. The Holy Spamalkan Government was represented by Ambassador Renard; the Duke of Seville (1709-80); and Lord Felipe Guzman of Cordoba (1721-75). Negotiations would continue between the two delegations during the next several weeks, until the final terms of the agreement were reached.
  • May 3-By the middle of April 1754, following the execution of Sir Thomasius Wyatta, Grand Princess Aurelia's terms of confinement at the Fortress of Baureux had become less rigorous. She was permitted to take exercise under strict supervision at the Fortress Grounds. The Empress remained suspicious of her sister, however. On May 1, 1754, the Grand Princess composed a further, solemn communique to Didymeia, declaring that she had never been involved in any conspiracy against her sister. She begged her to reconsider her decision, pledged to honor all Traditionalist rites in public, and to refrain from involvement in activities at the Imperial Laurasian Court unless if she had the explicit approval of her sister. Indeed, Empress Didymeia's attitude began to mellow. She realized that execution was completely out of the question; Chancellor Gardinerius and Ambassador Renard, both of whom had continued to press for a trial and formal arraignment, were also slowly coming to acknowledge this fact. Lord Pagentia and Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, on their part, both pointed out to the Empress that no evidence existed to suggest the Grand Princess's complicity in the Wyatta Rebellion, or indeed, any conspiracy against the Empress. Although Didymeia herself continued to believe that Aurelia was guilty, she nevertheless saw that continued imprisonment of her half-sister at the Fortress was impractical. She now revived the earlier suggestion that the Grand Princess be kept under house arrest instead. It was thus, on May 3, 1754, that the Council, acting on the Empress's instructions, formally appointed Sir Antigonus Bedetherfadius (1709-83), who had served as Constable of the Fortress of Baureux from 1749 to 1753 and was one of the most respected Gentleman Pensioners, as the guardian of the Grand Princess.
  • May 5-
    • It was on May 5, 1754, that Sir Bedetherfadius, having received his formal commission from the Imperial Privy Council, presented himself at the Fortress of Baureux, at the head of a corps of Valedictorian Guards and Imperial Marines. The Grand Princess, on her part, feared that her life was in danger, and believed that she was to be executed. She was informed, however, that the Empress had commanded for her to be removed to Wooledeterian Palace on Vargara, in the heart of the Rogerian Cluster. Nevertheless, Aurelia still believed that she could fall victim to stealth. Bedetherfadius, however, was a conscientious man with a sense of patriotism, and was not an assassin. Aurelia's fears for her life were replaced by frustration at being guarded by a man who prided himself on lack of initiative, and who was not only devoid of charm himself, but impervious to the quality in others. It was not until May 19, however, before the Grand Princess and her household were formally transferred to Bedetherfadius's care. They were placed on a specially prepared transport, the IMS Caludria, and under heavy guard by a convoy commanded by the Guardian himself, executed their journey into hyperspace from the Laurasia Prime star system. The progress from Laurasia Prime to Vargara included stops at Caladaria, Darsis, Little Mexicana, Goldaria, Yularen, Galich Major, Volodormia, Frogglesworth, Mohi, Pressburg, Cossack, and Roger Minor, among others. In each of these star systems, the Grand Princess was showered with accolades and praise by the local populaces, who wished for her good health and deliverance. The Guardian's efforts to calm public sentiment included his arrest of twelve youths on Masada (May 23, 1754), but these failed to quell the public sentiments.
    • The following day, the entourage finally arrived at Vargara. Bedetherfadius received a communique from the Empress, setting out the terms of his commission. He found from this that he was expected to perform a delicate balancing act, whereby he guarded the Grand Princess closely, and yet had to "regard to use her in such good and honorable sort as may be agreeable to our honor and her estate and degree." The Guardian found these instructions imprecise, and sent a communique to the Council, imploring them to ask Her Majesty if she could issue a more comprehensive explanation of the confinement guidelines. Who were those the Grand Princess should not remain in contact with? How would he monitor her personal attendants? The Empress, hearing of this, ordered the Council to respond to Bedetherfadius's inquiries. They informed him that he must ensure that no one suspect have contact with the Grand Princess, or permit anyone to her presence who was not vetted first. On May 28, Bedetherfadius seized a number of holobooks given to the Grand Princess by her servant, Thomasius Parrius, and sent them to the Council for inspection. Though they found nothing offensive in the works, they nevertheless commended the Guardian for his "diligence and circumspection". They agreed that unauthorized actions of this sort indicated that the Grand Princess's friends would go to any lengths to communicate with her.
    • Bedetherfadius, moreover, found the Grand Princess an awkward prisoner. She had complained about the quarters allocated to her use, and sought to gain permission to exercise at the Palatial Park. The Guardian found himself exasperated at this. Aurelia, however, could not outwit the Guardian, whose habit of automatically referring all points at issue to the Council gave him the upper hand in the contest between them. Aurelia's irritation at being in the grip of this man only grew more acute when she learned that he was doing all in his power to isolate her from the galaxy at large. Her vexation increased when on June 9, 1754, on the orders of the Empress, one of her favorite servants, Lady Aurelia Sandria (1724-91), was dismissed, deemed to be a "person of evil opinion." Moreover, Bedetherfadius refused to allow the Grand Princess access to Reformist texts or articles in private, which he considered blasphemous. He justified this refusal by expressing his opinion that Aurelia would prefer to read the Traditionalist Scriptures in Old Laurasian, since she was so educated. Exasperated beyond measure, the Grand Princess demanded that she be allowed to write to the Empress. Permission was obtained, but the communique (June 16, 1754), only worsened her situation. It bore the marks of her resentment. Empress Didymeia was offended not only that her sister had seized the opportunity to reaffirm her innocence, but also that the Grand Princess failed to use the proper terms of address. In her reply (June 19, 1754), the Empress sharply reiterated her grounds for suspecting the Grand Princess, and forbade Aurelia from communicating with her again. Bedetherfadius now interpreted the Empress's command to mean that she was also forbidden to communicate with the Council. When the Grand Princess complained about this trespass on her rights, the Guardian refused to listen. The Grand Princess now sank into depression, and she suffered from a renewal of her earlier health aliments. On July 7, the Council lifted Bedetherfadius's ban on further communication, but when the Grand Princess responded with a request that she might come to the Imperial Laurasian Court and see her sister, her plea went unanswered. She was now forced to wait, and to observe all Traditionalist observances. Aurelia's house arrest in the Guardian's custody was to drag on into 1755.
  • May 26-The Treaty of Arias was, on May 26, 1754, signed by the delegations of the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires, after over a month of negotiations. The terms of this treaty had to be hammered out by the two delegations, with extensive consultation being made with both the Imperial Privy Council of the Laurasian Empire and the Council of State of the Holy Spamalkan Empire. By the terms of this treaty, a diplomatic alliance was established between the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires. In times of war, Laurasia would not be obliged to assist Spamalka against its enemies with direct military force, but a schedule of financial aid was agreed to between the two governments. The commercial privileges of Laurasian and Spamalkan subjects in the territories of the other were confirmed, and they were to be tried for crimes only with the approval of their own government. Finally, as regards to the marriage itself, Philicus (who had been elevated to the rank of King of Naparia by his father Emperor Char'va), was to become the Emperor Consort of All the Laurasians, jure uxoris, in right of his wife, the Empress Didymeia. All official documents, including imperial statutes and manifestos, were to be dated with both of their names, and the Imperial Court would be governed under the joint authority of the couple. Philicus could not act without his wife's consent, and she retained all of the vestiges of autocratic authority, as were her right as Empress Regnant. The marriage could be dissolved at any time, and all of its provisions would therefore lapse, with "good faith", between the two contracting governments. The Treaty of Arias was ratified by Empress Didymeia on May 28 (who also enshrined its provisions in the Edict of the Empress's Marriage) and by Emperor Char'va I on June 2.
  • July 12-On July 12, 1754, Prince Philicus formally departed from Moorio Cabania, in the outskirts of the Spamalkan Hereditary Dominions, for his journey to the Caladarian Galaxy and to the Laurasian Empire. His journey lasted for nine days; on July 21, 1754, he reached Belkadan, being greeted there by Minister of Defense Munnich, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, and a delegation of Privy Councilors. They thence escorted him to Laurasia Prime, which he reached two days later. On the orders of Empress Didymeia, crowds had been assembled at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, Jadia, the Second Station of Callista, at the two Calaxies, and in the cities of Laurasia Prime, in order to celebrate the arrival of the Empress's fiancee. The crowds, however, were not enthusiastic, and there where many who stated that the marriage of Didymeia with Philicus would "doom the Laurasian Dominions." Imperial authorities arrested and imprisoned or fined those who expressed such sentiments, but the Governor of Laurasia Prime and the Mayor of Christiania made strenuous efforts to ensure that the ceremonies were not disrupted. Philicus and his entourage were received by Empress Didymeia, attended by Chancellor Gardinerius, the Duke of Norfolkius, and all of the other leading personages of the Imperial Laurasian Court, at the Audience Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace. The Prince, who had been given positive reports about Didymeia and had seen photographs of her, was startled when he saw her in person. Didymeia was, from his perspective, heavyset, "plain and austere." He kept this to himself, and treated his future wife with great civility and respect. Nevertheless, Philicus bore no love for her, and considered the marriage important only for political and strategic reasons.
  • July 25-Just two days after the arrival ceremonies, on July 25, 1754, Empress Didymeia I and Spamalkan Prince Philicus were married at the Westphalian Cathedral. Archbishop Bonneris presided over the marriage ceremony, in lieu of the absence of the still-imprisoned Chief Procurator Cranmerius. The Empress-Dowager Annaliese of Denver, the ailed Duke of Norfolkius, Baron Pagentia, Spamalkan Ambassador Renard, and Field-Marshal Munnich were among the personages present at the wedding ceremony. This marriage ceremony marked only the second time in the Empire's history that a Laurasian sovereign had been married to a foreign royal from the Great Amulak Spiral (the first had been the marriage of Didymeia's own parents, Antigonus III and Katharina of Shenandoah, in 1709, forty-five years earlier). Chancellor Gardinerius himself, always the most ardent opponent of the marriage project, was absent, having pleaded sickness. A three-day public holiday was proclaimed; an official imperial manifesto issued enjoining all subjects to celebrate the marriage; and festivities held at the Imperial Court. Philicus, however, told Ambassador Renard bluntly that he had no amorous feelings for the Laurasian Empress. On August 4, he was formally proclaimed Emperor Consort of All the Laurasians, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Arias.
  • August 25-On August 25, 1754, Thomasius Howardis, the 3rd Duke of Norfolkius, who had been Lord Treasurer of the Laurasian Empire (1722-1747) and one of the most prominent personages in the reigns of Neuchrus the Reformer and Antigonus the Extravagant, died at the age of 80 at Kenninghall Estate on Charasia. His death came thirty years after that of his father, the 2nd Duke of Norfolkius, and sixty-nine years following the death in battle of his grandfather, the 1st Duke. He was the same age as his father had been at the time of his death. The death of the Duke of Norfolkius was greeted with much sadness by those at the Imperial Court and among his peers of the Laurasian nobility. The Empress Didymeia, in a proclamation from the Imperial Court, declared that Norfolkius had "lent valuable services to this empire over the preceding six decades. His loss is a sad event." Norfolkius was succeeded in his title and position by his 18-year old grandson, also named Thomasius Howardis (who had been born at Kenninghall on March 10, 1736), who became 4th Duke of Norfolkius. He was the son of Norfolkius's deceased eldest son, the Earl of Soria. Norfolkius was buried at Howardis Family Estate on Soria, next to the bodies of his parents and his stepmother, on September 7.
  • September 4-In early September 1754, Empress Didymeia stopped menstruating. She gained weight, felt nauseous in the mornings, and developed an intense craving for food. Beginning on September 4, and continuing for the next several days, the news of the Empress's condition began to circulate among the Imperial Court. Chancellor Gardinerius was among the many who believed that the Empress was pregnant. Even though Gardinerius remained opposed to the Spamalkan marriage, and believed that the Laurasian Empire would ultimately be dragged into war in the Great Amulak Spiral, he nevertheless believed that any child, whether of Philicus or a Laurasian, would ensure the continuation of Didymeia's Traditionalist policies and prevent Grand Princess Aurelia from ascending to the Laurasian throne. Ultimately, on September 14, Dr. Lincarius, the Empress's personal physician, announced that she was pregnant. When Aurelia received word of the announcement from her guardian, Bedetherfadius, she was dealt a heavy blow. The Grand Princess developed a fear for her own life and a concern that her succession to the throne would not now occur. She was reassured, however, that Didymeia's health could possibly result in a miscarriage. In reality, Didymeia was now experiencing the first of her phantom pregnancies.
  • September 29-On September 29, 1754, Empress Didymeia enacted the Regency Statute of 1754. The statute was issued by the Empress as a result of her "pregnancy", and on the advice of Chancellor Gardinerius. By the terms of this statute, it was declared a treasonous offense "to compass or imagine to deprive the Emperor's Majesty from the having with the Empress the style, honor, and kingly name, or to destroy the Emperor, or to levy war within this realm against Their Imperial Majesties, or to say that the Emperor ought not to have his title." The penalty for a first offense was forfeiture of goods and "perpetual imprisonment." A second offense was high treason and punishable by death. However, to "compass or imagine the death of the Emperor" on the first offense was also considered high treason. The Statute, most importantly, declared that if the Empress died and her heir was not yet eighteen years old if male, or was under seventeen and unmarried if female, then Philicus would govern the realm as Lord Protector and Regent of the Laurasian Empire, until the heir to the throne came of age (or was married, if female). In that event, it would be treason "to compass, attempt, and go about to destroy the person of the Emperor, or to remove His Highness from the Imperial Laurasian Government."
  • November 8-
    • The Second Imperial Statute of Repeal of the Antigonid Religious Measures was promulgated by Empress Didymeia (November 8, 1754). For several months, the Empress had consulted with her Traditionalist Holy Synod, and Chancellor Gardinerius, in order to craft an arrangement to restore the Almitian Church to its prior, pre-Antigonid administrative and theological status. The Empress had always rejected her father's religious reforms, and considered his innovations to be heresy, in contravention to the practices of her ancestors. She was determined to maintain the Traditionalist prerogatives of the Church. Finally, the Second Imperial Statute of Repeal appeared. This statute formally repealed all of the religious measures which had been enacted after 1729. This included the Manifesto of Allegiance, the Heretical Ratification Decree, the Declaration of Submission, the First Statute of Supremacy, the Statute for the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the Six Articles.
    • The Almitian Church was returned to its Traditionalist religious thesis, practices, services, festivals, administration, privileges, and properties. Didymeia, however, explicitly retained the title of Pontifex Maximus, for the investigations conducted by the Holy Synod revealed its importance to the prior history of the Almitian Church, and that its abolition by Neuchrus the Reformer had been "an act of error". The Statute of Repeal also announced the restoration of the Heresy and Sodomy Laws. These included the Heresy Patent of 1382 of Emperor Antiochus I the Great; the Heresy Statutes of 1402 and 1414 of Emperor Demetrius I the Fat; the Sodomy Practices Act of 1441, of the Emperor Claudius II the Prudent; the Authorization Statute of 1475 of Emperor Vespasian the Restorer; the Sodomy Acts of 1504 and 1506, of Emperor Antigonus I the Conqueror; and the Heresy Law of 1535, of Emperor Lysimachus I the Cultivated. Empress Didymeia now commanded the Holy Synod and the Governing Senate to launch investigations of Reformed Almitist personages in the Empire, and on November 14, by decree, she established the High Court of Heresies of the Almitian Church. This tribunal, to be composed of the members of the Holy Synod, fifty of the most prominent prelates of the Conference of Almitian Prelates, and twelve members drawn from the Privy Council, Senate, and Imperial Courts, was to handle all cases relating to heresy, witchcraft, and apostasy within the Empire, and to issue judicial decisions and rulings in accordance with the Empire's restored Heresy and Sodomy Laws. The High Court of Heresies, which was now headed by Chancellor Gardinerius, was to become one of the most despised bodies in the Imperial Laurasian Government during the course of the next four years.
  • December 8-On December 8, 1754, Haxonian Doge Marcantonio Trivisan, who had ruled for just over a year and a half (since March 1753), died from natural causes at the Doges's Palace on Haxonia Prime. Doge Trivisan was seventy-eight years old at the time of his death. He was now succeeded as Doge by the eighty-two year old Senator Francesco Venier. Venier was a member of the ancient and powerful Haxonian House of Venier, and had served in the Senate for forty-four years at the time of his accession. He was formally crowned as Doge on December 17, 1754.
  • December 13-On December 13, 1754, Marasharite Emperor Sassas III, who had ruled since the abdication of his uncle Ahmad III in his favor in October 1730, died at the age of fifty-eight. The last several years of his reign had been dominated by the War of the Austarlian Succession and the Fourth Franconian War. These conflicts had included Marasharite, Barbary, and Haynsian raids and campaigns against the Holy Spamalkan Empire, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and the Haxonian Confederacy; Marasharite cooperation with Franconia in military offensives in Nice, Savoy, and the Heletian Provinces; and constant Marasharite skirmishes with Vendragian and Haxonian naval forces in the African and Arabian Territories. The years 1743-46 had also seen the Seventh Marasharite-Breffal War, in which the two powers disputed possession of Kazakhstan, Azerbajan, and the Lower Caucasian Reaches. Emperor Sassas himself had managed to keep control over affairs in his palace, and over his subjects. The most recent rebellion against him, the Armenian Uprising of 1750-52, had been crushed brutally by his forces. He was now succeeded to the throne by his younger brother, who became Abdulahamid I of Marasharita. His brother had, like preceding Marasharite Emperors, been kept a prisoner for most of his life, and was therefore possessed of numerous behavorial peculiarities. He was fifty-five years old at the time of his accession to the Marasharite throne.

1755Edit

  • January 1-1755, the 55th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire in a state of external peace and domestic tranquility, in the wake of the suppression of the Wyatta Rebellion. By this point, Chancellor Gardinerius and others within the Imperial Laurasian Court had grown to accept Empress Didymeia's marriage with the Holy Spamalkan Prince Philicus, although he was never to be popular with the subjects of the Laurasian Empire. Nevertheless, Empress Didymeia and her husband, Emperor-Consort Philicus, in their first joint New Year's proclamation to the subjects of the Laurasian Empire, expressed their hope that the Empress's pregnancy would yield results for the Neuchrian Dynasty and that the child she was carrying in her womb was a son. Didymeia also took advantage of the New Year's proclamation to announce that action would now be taken against Reformists in the Almitian Church, such as Chief Procurator Cranmerius, Archbishop Rogerius Perles of Darsis, the prominent theologian and Reformist scholar John Rogerius, Bishop Tyraniz Hestiz of the Cron Drift, and other such "heretics in the name of Almitis." And indeed, January 1755 was to see the High Court of Heresies now begin to fulfill the purpose for which it had been created: to suppress all Reformed Almitian movements, sects, and individuals within the Laurasian Empire.
  • January 22-
    • On January 22, 1755, John Rogerius (1705-55), Professor of Theology at the University of the Laurasian Empire, and ten other members of the University Faculty of Theology, were interrogated by the Court of High Heresies, on charges of treason, heresy, blasphemy, and "sedition against the name of Almitis." Archbishops Gardinerius and Bonneris took charge of the interrogation, and they ruthlessly questioned Rogerius on his moral and religious beliefs. Rogerius, who remained convinced that the Traditionalist beliefs were "errors in the way of Almitis", and that reform was needed, defended his beliefs with passion. Gardinerius and Bonneris denounced him as a "heretic and infidel." On January 27, 1755, they, under the authority vested to them by the Heresy Laws, condemned Rogerius and the other members of the Faculty of Theology to death by disintegration. Empress Didymeia confirmed the sentence passed by the High Court of Heresies. It was on February 4, 1755, that Rogerius and his fellow accomplices were executed by disintegration at the Tyburnian Stockards in the Cron Drift, in front of a crowd of more than 200,000 persons. To the last, Rogerius proclaimed his innocence, and defended his beliefs with much passion. Rogerius had been excommunicated, but there was no corpse to humiliate, and therefore his possessions and properties were ceremonially ransacked by the imperial authorities. Rogerius was the first martyr of the Didymeian Persecutions, which would ultimately claim nearly seven hundred million Reformist Almitians throughout the Laurasian Empire during the course of the next three years.
    • February 1755, on its part, saw two prominent executions. On January 29, Laurentius Saudravia (1719-55), Dean of the Priory of St. Josephus in Chancellor City, Katherine, was condemned to death for heresy by the Ecclesiastical Court of Katherine. It was on February 8, 1755, that his sentence was carried out. He was disintegrated at the stake, at the Teverian Fortress, in front of a crowd of more than 300,000 persons. Right before his execution, he kissed the stake and exclaimed: "Welcome the cross of Almitis! Welcome everlasting life!" Saudravia's offense had been preaching a sermon, on October 15, 1753, which had proclaimed that Empress Didymeia and her advisers were in consort with the Anti-Almitis, that they would bring the Empire's dominions to ruin, and that Traditionalism was not the true faith of the Almitian Church. The following day, he was followed in death by Tyraniz Hestiz, Bishop of the Cron Drift, who had been one of the most radical advocates of Almitian Reformation, and had influenced Cranmerius's formulation of the Thirty-nine Articles and Book of Common Prayer (as mentioned earlier), and Eustachius Tavaris (1710-55), Rector of Havarian Priory in Constantinople, Laurasia Prime. Hestiz had supported the abolition of all vestaments and rituals in the Almitian Church. He displayed great courage during his execution and stated his firm belief that the Empire's subjects were doomed to ruin and the torments of the Underworld of Almitis unless if they purged their religious spirit and beliefs. In the midst of these executions, the Empress also strove to strengthen the reassertion of Traditionalist dominance over the Imperial Almitian Church. On March 8, 1755, she formally chartered Holy Trinity College on Taurasia. This college, ironically, in the reign of Aurelia the Great, would become one of the chief Reformed Almitist institutes in the Laurasian Empire.
  • April 17-
    • By April 1755, matters had evolved further in regards to the situation of Grand Princess Aurelia. Emperor-Consort Philicus had many reasons to oppose any actions against the Grand Princess until his wife produced an heir. It was possible that neither Didymeia nor the child she was carrying would survive, and if the Grand Princess had already been declared ineligible for the throne, the King of Franconia would certainly press forth the claims of Queen Mariana of Scottria. If she inherited the throne, the Empire would be united in a firm diplomatic and military alliance with the Franconians against Spamalka, a situation which Philicus could not permit to develop. The Emperor-Consort now sought for the Grand Princess to be brought to the Court, wishing to know he could count on Aurelia's protection if Didymeia's sudden death left him an unpopular widower in a foreign dominion. It was thus on April 17, 1755, that Sir Bedetherfadius received instructions from the Privy Council to bring Grand Princess Aurelia to the Court. When the Grand Princess arrived there two days later, she discovered that her long ordeal was not over. Weeks passed before the Empress could bring herself to see the sister who in her heart she still believed to be guilty, delaying their meeting in the hope that Aurelia would break down under the suspense and admit that the Empress's suspicions were justified. The Empress even, on April 24, sent Chancellor Gardinerius and three other members of the Council to tell the Grand Princess that if she confessed, Her Majesty would be "good to her." Aurelia, however, would not easily succumb to this. She was unmoved by Gardinerius's warning that the Empress would not set her free until she admitted her faults.
    • But finally, on May 2, 1755, the Empress summoned her half-sister to her personal bedchambers. Aurelia was conducted by the Valedictorian Guards to there. The ensuing interview proved that the Empress had not acted in a true spirit of reconciliation. When Aurelia went down on her knees in humble obeisance, Empress Didymeia cut short her protestations of loyalty with the bitter observation: "You will not confess your offense but stand stoutly in your truth. I pray Almitis it may so transpire." Aurelia's insistence that, if it happened otherwise, she would not look for mercy only provoked Didymeia further. The Empress then said that the Grand Princess would begin complaining that she had been wrongfully punished. Aurelia replied that she would dare say no such thing. She asserted her loyalty to the Empress of Laurasia. To Didymeia, such assurances meant nothing, and she now dismissed her sister back to her apartments. During the next few weeks, the Grand Princess found herself compelled to remain in her quarters, and was forbidden to receive any official visitors, although on May 11, Bedetherfadius was finally dismissed from his post as Guardian and removed from her household.
    • At a time when it appeared that the regime would be consolidated by the birth of an heir, few risked incurring Her Majesty's displeasure by association with the Grand Princess. On May 4, false rumors circulated from the Imperial Court that Empress Didymeia had given birth to a healthy son. The rumors were spread by several ladies-in-waiting of the Imperial Household, whose gossip had reached the ears of prominent individuals at the University of Laurasia Prime and throughout the Empire. Four days later, however, the Imperial Chancellory announced that the Empress had not given birth, and that she was still in expectation of the onset of labor. On May 22, the Grand Princess learned that there was now serious doubt that her half-sister was pregnant. Aurelia herself had long since concluded that the Empress was not pregnant; that her "fantasies" had lead her to believe that she was carrying a child. The Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber, the Empress's close friend Susanna Clarincuexia (1710-64), herself admitted to Franconian Ambassador Antoine Noailles (1704-62), that she did not believe her imperial mistress was pregnant.
  • June 12-On June 12, 1755, a major incident occurred at the Quencilvanian Palace which finally revealed to all about the true situation concerning the Empress Didymeia's "pregnancy". Near midnight, the Empress, wearing only her nightgown, came running out of her bedchambers, screaming in Old Laurasian, "Domine mi, Domine mi, Quid hoc fecisti? Quid hoc fecisti?" (My Lord, My Lord, Why have you done so? Why have you done so?) and dropping to the floor, yelled "I carry death in my womb! I have not destroyed all the heretics in this realm. Quid hoc fecisti? My Lord, my savior...why have you treated me this way!" The ladies of the bedchamber were stirred from bed by the Empress's emotional outburst and retrieved her from the ground, dragging her, kicking and raving, back to her bedchambers. Grand Princess Aurelia, who shortly afterwards learned of her sister's outburst in her private chambers, confidently declared to her personal household that the Empress was experiencing a phantom pregnancy and that her position as heiress apparent under the Third Antigonid Statute was secure. It was not until July 5, 1755, however, that the Privy Council finally issued a manifesto to the subjects of the Laurasian Empire, admitting that Empress Didymeia had experienced a phantom pregnancy and that the physicians of the Imperial Household had diagnosed her condition falsely. By now, Didymeia's abdomen had receded, and the Empress had herself come to admit that she never carried any child. Philicus, whose loathing of his wife had intensified considerably, declared to his courtiers that he knew she was infertile. The Haxonian ambassador, Giovanni Miceli (1703-75), reported to his government that the pregnancy of Empress Didymeia had been a "falsehood" and that she had been led by her own fervent wish for a child into believing that this pregnancy was genuine.
  • August 15-On August 15, 1755, Emperor Consort Philicus, Hereditary Prince of Spamalka, announced to the Imperial Court and his wife, Empress Didymeia, his resolution to return to the Spamalkan dominions in the Great Amulak Spiral. His father, the Emperor Char'va I, was engaged in his last and most vigorous war with his perennial enemies, the Serene Kingdom of Franconia, and therefore required the services of his son for the military campaigns against his enemies. Char'va, whose health was in decline, and who yearned to retire from the burdens of state, was also instigating plans to eventually abdicate the Spamalkan throne, and to surrender his minor titles and offices. Already, the Spamalkan Emperor had drawn up a declaration of abdication for his duties as Duke of Miliania and Overlord of Brabant, planning to divest those territories to his son, Prince Philicus. Philicus's announcement left Didymeia emotionally devastated. The Empress, who believed that her phantom pregnancy was a punishment from the Lord Almitis for tolerating heretics and "fiends" within her dominions, now saw herself as doubly cursed, with her husband departing from the Laurasian Dominions. She pleaded to Philicus to delay his point of departure, but he, convinced that his duties in Spamalka were more important, refused. It was on August 29 that the Emperor-Consort departed with his official entourage from Laurasia Prime, with the Empress, Chancellor Gardinerius, members of the Councils of State, and the chief personages of the Imperial Court seeing him off. Philicus made a rapid journey from Laurasia Prime to the outskirts of the Caladarian Galaxy, and then into the Galactic Void. He would arrive at Moorio Cabana on September 9. Philicus would not return to the Laurasian Empire until March 1757.
  • September 12-On September 12, 1755, the second trial of Chief Procurator Thomasius Cranmerius was conducted at Bocardian Prison in Oxfadian City, Vetta. Cranmerius had been transferred from the Fortress of Baureux to Bocardian Prison on March 8, 1754, on the orders of the Imperial Privy Council. He had been interred there with Archbishops Perles and Latimerius. Throughout the year and a half of imprisonment, the Chief Procurator had been pressured to recant his Reformed Almitist beliefs and to rejoin the fold of the "Traditional, Holy Almitian Church." He had refused however, and even smuggled out a letter to his supporters, declaring his faith in the "true religion" of the Lord Almitis and that he would not submit to heresy. The high commissioners at the trial of Chief Procurator Cranmerius included Cardinal Reginaldus Polsius of the Laurasian Purse Region (who had been elevated to that rank by Empress Didymeia in April 1754), Archbishop and Chancellor Gardinerius, Archbishop Bonneris of Laurasia Prime, and Claudius Agathinius, Archbishop of Darcia (1701-68). Cranmerius defended himself with passion before the Court of High Heresies, declaring that throughout his tenure as Chief Procurator, he had only sought for the good condition of the Almitian Church and the spiritual unity of the Laurasian realms. Polsius and Gardinerius blasted Cranmerius for this, declaring that he was dedicated to only spreading heresy throughout the Empire. Gardinerius, in particular, who had been imprisoned for five years partly at the Chief Procurator's behest, spewed venom against him and declared that he would die a horrific death in the Underworld of the Anti-Almitis. After five hours of deliberation, the Holy Synod and Court of High Heresies decided that Cranmerius should be interrogated further as regards to his affairs, and that final judgment would be deferred until the "appropriate time." Cranmerius was sent back to his cell, in limbo and awaiting his sentence.
  • October 1-On October 1, 1755, the trial of former Archbishops Rogerius Perles of Darsis (1700-55) and Perciles Latimerius of Katie (1687-1755) was conducted at the High Tower of Justice in Oxfadian City, Vetta. Gardinerius, Polsius, Bonneris, and Agathinius again sat in judgment upon the two Reformist Almitian clergymen. Both men defended themselves with vigor and passion, Latimerius especially so. Latimerius declared that he saw only error in the Traditionalist rites, and that such practices as the real presence of the Lord Paul in the Mass, transubstantiation, and the proper merit of the Mass were unbiblical. He urged the Synod to "look into their consciences" and that all souls would be saved, if only men expressed true belief in the Word of Almitis. When Gardinerius and Polsius claimed that Latimerius was not of the same faith as the Church Fathers, he vehemently disagreed, declaring that they and he opposed unworldly wealth, and that the Almitian Church had veered far off that path. Perles, on his part, declared that the law of Almitis mandated for all men to remain "meek, humble, and honest in his presence" and that the Church should only perform duties of "brotherhood, kindness, and charity to all." These beliefs were denounced as heresy by the Court, and after two hours of deliberations, they convicted both Perles and Latimerius on all charges and sentenced them to death by disintegration. Both men accepted their fate willingly, and declared they would soon meet their savior, the Lord Almitis, in heaven.
  • October 16-On October 16, 1755, Archbishops Perles and Latimerius were disintegrated at the stake, at the Oxfadian Heights in Oxfadian City, Vetta, before a crowd of more than 800,000 persons. Their suffering, according to eyewitness accounts, was very intense, especially as one of the dis-integrator machine operators had charged the melting levels to their highest extent. This ensured that both Archbishops died in a rapid but excruciating manner. Chief Procurator Cranmerius, who had been interrogated further by the Holy Synod, was taken, on the orders of Chancellor Gardinerius, to a tower in order to watch the proceedings. To the last, Latimerius and Perles remained defiant. Latimerius declared to the crowds, who had come to witness his execution, that he was offering up his life for the "service of the Lord Almitis" and that he would see who was in the right. Perles, on his part, kissed the disintegration machine and called it the "instrument of Almitis, to send me into the righteous realm of heaven." At the last moment, before the machine was turned on, Latimerius called to Perles, saying "Play the man, Master Perles; we shall this day light a candle, by Almitis's grace, in this galaxy, as I trust shall never be put out." They were then executed. Empress Didymeia, learning of their executions, declared to those at the Imperial Court that "these men, heretics and infidels in the eyes of the gracious Lord Almitis, have finally been cast down into the Underworld, which is their proper residence." Many throughout the Laurasian Empire, however, were alarmed and saddened at the news. Cranmerius himself fainted as he watched the Archbishops die and had to be carried back to his cell. Grand Princess Aurelia burst into tears when she was told, and declared that the "Lord Almitis shall surely preserve those who died for righteousness."
  • October 18-Grand Princess Aurelia was, on October 18, 1755, finally permitted by Empress Didymeia, on the urging of Lord Pagentia, to retire back to her own personal estates. The Empress, however, warned her half-sister that any involvement in politics, or any public criticism of her religious policies, would result in her "position and life being effectively forfeit." Aurelia heeded the warnings, and with her loyal household, swiftly retired to the Palace of Secrets on Paradine. The Grand Princess, except when summoned to the Imperial Court, would remain on her private estates for the remainder of her half-sister's reign.
  • October 22-Chancellor Gardinerius, whose health had been in decline since the commencement of the year, collapsed at a session of the Imperial Privy Council, which had convened to discuss the terms of the restoration of monasteries and ecclesiastical estates in the Laurasian Empire to the jurisdiction of their previous owners. The Empress Didymeia, who had come to depend upon Gardinerius, who was now seventy-two years old, was distressed when she learned of the Chancellor's collapse, and ordered the Royal Hospital to provide him with the most effective and rigorous treatments. Gardinerius, however, declared his willingness to meet his fate, and stated that Almitis would welcome him openly into the realm of Almitis. He withdrew from most of his state duties after October 26 and would never attend another session of the Privy Council.
  • November 12-On November 12, 1755, Stephanius Gardinerius, Chancellor and Procurator-General of the Laurasian Empire, Archbishop of Winchestrius, and one of the most influential personages in the court of Empress Didymeia I, died at the age of 72 in the Imperial Hospital Quarters of the Quencilvanian Palace, Christiania, Laurasia Prime. Empress Didymeia, when she was informed by Cardinal Polsius of the Chancellor's death, was distraught. Declaring that he was a "true gentleman, a believer in the word of Almitis and an adherent to the proper rituals and forms of this Empire", Didymeia declared that his death left a wound in her heart, and that his loss was in turn, a loss for the Laurasian government and realm. Beyond the Empress and her circle of intimates, however, the death of Archbishop-Chancellor Gardinerius was met with little mourning. Grand Princess Aurelia, who viewed him as a fiend and a monster, and still carried bitter memories of his harsh interrogation of her, showed no emotion when told of the Chancellor's passing. Chief Procurator Cranmerius, informed by Bonneris that the Chancellor was dead, expressed his wish that the Lord Almitis would not consign him to the Underworld. Many others throughout the Empire considered Gardinerius to be responsible for the Empress's religious persecutions, and public bonfires were lit on Laurasia Prime and many other worlds, celebrating his death. Gardinerius was interred at Winchestrius Cathedral on Nicephoria, seat of his diocese, on November 24.
  • December 4-On December 4, 1755, two years and three months after his initial arrest, and in the aftermath of two trials, the Holy Synod finally passed judgment upon Chief Procurator Thomasius Cranmerius, the second-longest serving Chief Procurator of the eighteenth century and one of the main proponents of the Almitian Reformation. The Synod convicted Cranmerius, on two hundred charges of treason, heresy, conspiracy, felony, corruption, and dissent against "the lawful mandates of the Imperial Government and the Almitian Church." Cranmerius was therefore sentenced to death, the second time this sentence had been imposed on him, and he was to die by means of disintegration at the stake. Upon receiving word of the Synod's sentence, the Empress moved swiftly. She formally deprived Thomasius Cranmerius of his position as Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod and Primate of the Almitian Church (which he had held for twenty-two years); confirmed the sentence passed by the Synod; and ordered for his formal excommunication. All honors and grants made to the former Chief Procurator were revoked, and the Empress confiscated all of the properties and goods of the Cranmerius family. Didymeia mandated that Cranmerius's execution was to take place at a time which she directed, and that the Chief Procurator should be compelled to repent before he was to die. Then on December 11, on the orders of the Holy Synod, former Chief Procurator Thomasius Cranmerius was moved from his prison cell at Boccarian Prison and lodged instead at the residence of the Dean of Paul Church in Oxfadian City. Now placed in the midst of an academic community, Cranmerius was, on the orders of Archbishop Bonneris, treated as almost a guest. Didymeia, wishing to test Cranmerius further, and to wring recantations from him, ordered Friar Julius Villagraves of Durglais (1705-64) to debate the former Chief Procurator on the issues of conformity and adherence to the laws of Almitis. Cranmerius would first meet with Friar Villagraves on December 31.

1756Edit

  • January 1-
    • 1756, the 56th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with some gloom present in the Laurasian Empire, and with some foreboding for the future. At the Imperial Court, the atmosphere was strained. Empress Didymeia had been left in emotional despair by the revelation of her phantom pregnancy, the departure of her husband, Holy Spamalkan Prince Philicus, back to the Great Amulak Spiral (as he now awaited his assumption of the Spamalkan throne), and the death of her faithful Chancellor and Procurator-General, Gardinerius. It was now virtually certain that she would be succeeded by her younger half-sister, Grand Princess Aurelia, the reminder of the woman whom she absolutely hated (Anna Boleyenia). Nevertheless, Didymeia believed that her governance of the Empire was in fulfillment of the Lord Almitis's mandates, and that he had invested her with the mission of restoring the Almitian Church's purity. The Empress in her New Year's proclamation to her subjects (January 1, 1756), declared that "heretics and infidels in these realms have been destroyed, and that the Lord Almitis has cleansed the Almitian Church of those who would seek its destruction." She praised the efforts of the Holy Synod and the judicial system of the Empire to carry out her mandates and enforce the laws of Almitis. At the same time, however, Didymeia lamented over her phantom pregnancy, declaring that the Lord Almitis wished for there to be more "purification" of the faith before he would satisfy the Laurasian Dominions with an heir.
    • On the same day of the Empress Didymeia's somber New Year's proclamation to her subjects, former Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod Thomasius Cranmerius signed, in the presence of Archbishop Bonneris and Friar Julius Villegraves, two statements of recantation and regret. The first concerned his rejection of Traditionalist ritual; the second, his effort to limit the wealth and privileges of the Almitian clergy. In both, Cranmerius declared that his actions had been heretical; that he had condoned the excesses of his imperial masters, the Emperors Antigonus III and Demetrius II; and that he had sinned in the eyes of Almitis. He now acknowledged that the customs of the Almitian Church, "established in times immemorial, should not be changed by man." The statements of repentance were read by Empress Didymeia, who agreed with Bonneris that more was needed from the disgraced ex-Chief Procurator.
  • January 16-
    • On January 16, 1756, Char'va I, Holy Emperor of Spamalka, King of the Colonial Territories, King of Spamalkan Navarre, Grand Duke of Durthia, Burgundy, Brabant, Flanders, Luxembourg, and Lichtenstein, Duke of Milania and Lombardy, Prince of Savoy and Genoa, Lord of Franche-Comte, Elector of Cologne, Overlord of Fez and the Malian Potentates, formally abdicated from all of these titles in favor of his son, the Laurasian Emperor-Consort, King of Naparia, Overlord of Brabant, and Hereditary Prince of Spamalka, Philicus. In an official ceremony of state on Madrid, which was accompanied with much splendor and pomp, and was noted by the ambassadors of all the foreign states, the Emperor formally divested himself of his robes of state, his crowns, and insignia, and handed them over to his son. Philicus, who was now Philicus I of Spamalka, destined to become contemporary and adversary of the Laurasian Empress Aurelia the Great, was to rule for the next forty-two years (until 1798). Char'va himself was only fifty-six at the time of his abdications, but he had reigned over the Spamalkan Hereditary Dominions and its associated positions for thirty-seven years (since 1719). Nevertheless, the Emperor was exhausted by the onerous burdens and administrative duties related to his rule, and desired to retire from public life. This he did, retreating to the Spamalkan Conclave of Yutse. Empress Didymeia I of Laurasia therefore became Empress-Consort of the Holy Spamalkan Empire and Consort of Durthia, Milania, Navarre, Franche-Comte, and the Colonial Territories.
    • This was a significant event in the history of the Laurasian Empire, marking the first time that a Laurasian sovereign had become the consort of another state. It marked the penetration of Laurasian influence and prestige into the affairs of the Great Amulak Spiral. Empress Didymeia sent her congratulations to her husband by means of the Laurasian Ambassador at the Spamalkan Court, Sir Aius Locutus (1707-89). In the last years of Emperor Char'va's reign, the Holy Spamalkan Empire had found itself further absorbed by conflict with its Franconian rivals. Corisca, the Sicilian Wayward Colonies, Naparia, and Genoa had all become scenes of conflict; Spamalkan and Franconian units attacked and counter-attacked in Guyenne, Tuscany, Florence, the Heletian Provinces, Alsace, Cologne, the Westphalian Circles, and Franconian Burgundy; and Franconian expeditions, operating from the Ohio and Louisiana Territories, struck ceaselessly against the Azores, the Hereditary Dominions, Mali, Rio Muni, and the Spice Colonies. Franconian and Spamalkan-backed potentates in the Interior Peruvian Colonies and in Madagascar, Ceylon, and Burma clashed constantly with each other. Franconia and Vendragia (which favored Spamalka), were at conflict with each other in Ohio, Inner Canada, and the Hudson Bay Territories; the Vendragian conquest of Scanlania and Norwegia also inflamed tensions. It was thus that Georg II, King of Vendragia and Irvania, Duke of Hanover, and Lord of the Americas, thereby succeeded Emperor Char'va as the senior monarch of inter-galactic civilization. By this point, affairs in the Great Amulak Spiral were moving swiftly to the outbreak of the larger Seven Year's War, which would soon drag in the Laurasian Empire into action against Franconia.
  • February 5-On February 5, 1756, less than a month following Char'va I's abdication, the Treaty of Vacuelles was concluded between the Holy Spamalkan Empire and the Serene Kingdom of Franconia. The numerous confrontations between them have been alluded to, but from November 1755, both governments had initiated, with the encouragement of the Laurasian Empire, efforts to conclude a peace settlement between them. By the terms of this treaty, Milania was to remain in the possession of the Holy Spamalkan Empire; the Royal Franconian Government obligated itself to cover Spamalkan military expenses; and all prisoners of war were to be exchanged immediately. This particular treaty was to remain in place between Franconia and Spamalka for just over a year. King Hensios II of Franconia now turned his attention to the situation with the Vendragian Confederacy and between Pruthia and Austarlia. In September 1755, the Vendragian Confederacy had concluded the Treaty of Gratz with the Holy Austarlian Empire, geared towards the protection of the Electorate of Hanover from the Franconians. Just four months later (January 16, 1756), the day of Spamalkan Emperor Char'va's abdication, the Westminster Convention was signed with Pruthia, by which they pledged to mutually preserve peace and harmony in the Germanian Principalities against both Franconia and Austarlia. Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania, hearing of this convention through her spies, was outraged, and became determined to align herself with Franconia. What became known as the Diplomatic Revolution ensued; by March 1756, King Hensios II had agreed to negotiations with his realm's traditional Austarlian enemies, dedicated to a military and diplomatic alliance directed against Vendragia, Pruthia, and (by extension), Spamalka.
  • February 14-
    • Former Chief Procurator Thomasius Cranmerius was, on February 14, 1756, formally degraded from the Almitian Church, deprived of his ecclesiastical robes, and excommunicated by the Holy Synod, on the orders of Archbishop Bonneris and Cardinal Polsius. They in turn had received their instructions from the Empress, who was now finally moving towards giving orders for the final execution of Cranmerius's sentence. Cranmerius was therefore denied the right to reside at Paul Church, and was moved back to imprisonment at Boccarian Prison. There, over the next several days, he was interrogated by Friar Villegraves, Archbishop Bonneris, and other members of the Holy Synod vigorously. Cranmerius admitted to everything, and confirmed his declarations of repentance, but still declared that he had acted in the interests of the Lord Almitis. Bonneris continually pressed the Empress to allow the law to take its course. Finally, on February 24, 1756, Empress Didymeia issued an imperial manifesto from the Quencilvanian Palace, giving her official authorization for the death sentence of Chief Procurator Cranmerius, commanding for the officials of the Boccarian Prison to make all preparations for the Archbishop's death, and setting the date of his execution as March 7.
    • Then on February 26, two days after the date of Cranmerius's execution had been established by Empress Didymeia, a third statement, the first which could be called a true recantation, was issued. This statement was written in Old Laurasian and signed by the former Chief Procurator in the presence of Friar Villegraves, Archbishop Bonneris, and Cardinal Polsius. In this statement, Cranmerius repudiated all Reformist Almitian theology, fully accepted Traditionalist theology including transubstantiation and the Traditionalist Mass, and stated that there was no salvation outside of Traditionalism, as had been conferred by the ancestors of the Laurasian kind and the Holy Fathers of the Almitian Church. He announced his joy for returning to the Almitian faith, asked for and received absolution, and participated in the mass. In the aftermath of this recantation, Cranmerius's execution was postponed.
  • March 18-Because Cranmerius had recanted his sins and had received absolution, he should have, under the normal practice of the canon law of the Laurasian Empire, received a pardon and been spared from the sentence of death which had been passed upon him. Archbishop Bonneris and Cardinal Polsius had both communicated this to the Empress, and expressed their belief that the former Chief Procurator deserved mercy. Empress Didymeia, however, loathed Cranmerius, regarding him as one of the chief actors in her mother's disgrace, and regarding him with the utmost horror, in having condemned her as a bastard and condoned the marriage of her father with "that great whore, the Mistress Anna Boleyenia." Therefore, Didymeia declared, no further postponement was possible. The Empress also declared that his "heresies and his work in arousing dissent against the proper form of the Almitian Church" was a crime which could not be forgiven, and that therefore, he should be made an example of. Cranmerius, informed of the Empress's decision, issued a last recantation during the late hours of this day (March 18, 1756), again in the presence of Friar Villegraves and Archbishop Bonneris. It was a sign of a broken man, a sweeping confession of sin. Even this, however, did not move the Empress.
  • March 21-On March 21, 1756, former Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, Thomasius Cranmerius, was executed at the Oxfadian Heights in Oxfadian City, Volta. Cranmerius had been told, on the night before his execution, that he would be able to make a final recantation but this time in public during a service at the University Church. He had written and submitted the speech in advance; it was to be published after his death. At the pulpit on this day, the day of his execution, Cranmerius opened with a prayer and a exhortation to obey the Emperor and Empress, but he ended his sermon totally unexpectedly, deviating from the prepared script. He renounced the recantations that he had written or signed with his own hand since degradation and as such his hand should be punished by being disintegrated first. He then said "As for Traditionalist beliefs, I refuse them, casting them to the realm of the Anti-Almitis and deny them as the enemy in faith of the Lord Almitis." He was pulled from the pulpit and taken to where Latimerius and Perles had been executed six months before. As the machine began to operate and he cringed with the pains of death, he fulfilled his promise by placing his hand into the electrocution rays while saying "that unworthy hand". His dying words were, "Lord Paul, receive my spirit, I see the heavens open and Paul standing at the right hand of Almitis." Cranmerius's execution was witnessed by more than 750,000 persons.
  • April 5-
    • On April 5, 1756, Reginaldius Polsius, Cardinal of the Laurasia Prime Purse Region, was appointed by Empress Didymeia as the Chancellor of the Laurasian Empire and Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod. He thereby replaced Archbishops Stephanius Gardinerius of Winchestrius and Thomasius Cranmerius in those positions. It is now expedient to provide some background information on Polsius. He had been born at Stourton Castle on Lusculum on March 12, 1700, to Sir Richardius Polsius (1662-1705) and his wife Apollonia Polsius, Countess of Salaria (1673-1741), who was mentioned earlier in this timeline as the only surviving sibling of the doomed Earl of Sarah, and thus, a niece of the Emperor Probus. Polsius thereby had a claim to the Imperial Laurasian Crown from birth. Raised within a wealthy and prestigious family, Polsius received the best of educations, matriculating at the University of the Laurasian Empire. He graduated in 1718 with BAs in Theology and Administrative Science. He had gained a grasp of numerous languages, including Old Laurasian, Arachosian, Dasian, Huntite, Dejanican, Spamalkan, and Marasharite, thereby making him aware of both ancient and modern tongues. Shortly after his graduation, Emperor Antigonus granted him the deanery of Windborne Manor on Smithia; by 1727, he had become Prebendary of Salaria and Dean of Exteria City, Colsonia. He also served as a canon on Apathama Vixius, and had several other positions within the monasterial administration, although he was not yet ordained a priest.
    • In 1729, Polsius participated as a member of the diplomatic missions in Franconia, Spamalka, Vendragia, and Pruthia which sought to gain favorable opinions on the question of the Emperor Antigonus's marriage with the Spamalkan Princess Katharina of Shenandoah. In 1723, Polsius became a fellow of Corpus Christi College on Malaria, one of the most prominent Almitian missionary schools in the Empire, and he studied at the University of Almastead, obtaining his MA in Theology in 1730. In 1731, Polsius returned to the Great Amulak Spiral, and studied at the great Universities of Parri and Padua; he obtained his Phd in Theology and Comparative Science in 1734, and became increasingly alienated with the Emperor Antigonus's religious policies. In May 1736, pressed upon by Chancellor Crownapoulos, Archbishop Tunstallia, and Chief Procurator Cranmerius, Polsius sent to the Emperor a copy of his work Pro ecclesiasticae unitatis defensione, in which he denounced the Emperor's religious policies and asserted the traditionalist customs of the Almitian Church. This enraged Antigonus, and in June 1736, the Emperor formally banned Polsius from returning to the Empire and denounced him as a traitor. He now took revenge upon Polsius's family.
    • In August 1738, his younger brother, Sir Claudius Polsius, was arrested, and accused of treasonous correspondence with him. The Marquess of Constantinople, who had been one of the Lady Aurelia's godparents, was also accused, as was Lord Montagu of Deborah. Montagu, Constantinople, and Lady Salaria were all arrested in November 1738, together with Sir Antigonus Polsius, another brother of Reginaldus's, and a number of their other relatives; they were all confined at the Fortress of Baureux. Sir Claudius was pardoned in January 1739, but Montagu and the Marquess of Constantinople were both condemned to death by the Senate and executed on January 23, 1739; Reginaldius Polsius, who had obtained refuge in the Holy Spamalkan Empire, was attainted by the Court of the Star Chamber. Countess Salaria was attainted in May 1739, losing all of her titles, estates, and properties; she continued to be held at the Fortress. The former Lady Salaria was then kept a prisoner for more than two years. Finally (May 27, 1741), she was executed at the age of sixty-seven. Her execution at the Public Grounds, witnessed by more than 750,000 persons, was one of the most brutal of the eighteenth century. She was dragged to the execution platform and had to be forced into position.
    • It took more than ten rounds to bring her down, as she struggled throughout, and her body was "shredded to pieces". Polsius himself grieved at his mother's death, but remained determined. For the next twelve years, he sojourned throughout Spamalka, Franconia, Austarlia, and the Germanian Principalities, teaching at numerous institutes; publishing more works on the Almitian faith; and remaining harshly critical of Emperor Antigonus's policies. It was in 1754 that he returned to the Laurasian Empire, on the Empress Didymeia's invitation. She had reversed his attainder, named him to the Imperial Privy Council, and in May of that year, elevated him to the rank of Cardinal of the Purse Region. He also became Vice-Procurator of the Holy Synod, effectively presiding over the body in the wake of Cranmerius's continued imprisonment, and from January 1755, participated in the activities of the High Court of Heresies, which precipitated the Didymeian Persecutions. His elevation to Chief Procurator and Chancellor was therefore expected. Polsius became the Empress's chief minister, and remained as such until her death, just hours before his own. He was to be closely associated with all of her policies, and would consequently come to be loathed by the Empire's populace. Polsius, although he vigorously enforced the policies of his imperial mistress, nevertheless believed that Reformed Almitists should be treated with more leniency and tolerance. In August 1756, the Chancellor was to issue a series of instructions to the High Court of Heresies, commanding for a thorough inquiry to be made of every accused act of heresy or sodomy before action was taken. He also released those who could prove they were innocent of all charges, and reduced the sentences of more than ten thousand persons tried for minor violations of the Laws.
  • April 18-On April 18, 1756, Sir Antigonus Gagius, Imperial High Chamberlain of the Laurasian Empire and Lord Lieutenant of the Fortress of Baureux, died in Christiania, Laurasia Prime. He was seventy-six years old at the time of his death, and had been in the service of the first four Neuchrian sovereigns. Gagius's death was received with much regrets and lamentation at the Imperial Court; Empress Didymeia extended her condolences to his widow and children. The position of High Chamberlain remained vacant for the time being. Gagius was succeeded as the oldest-living official in the Imperial Laurasian Government by the Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, four years his junior and long a associate and contemporary of his.
  • May 21-
    • On May 21, 1756, Empress Didymeia officially chartered the Mascavanian Company of Commerce, which had been founded by the Laurasian merchants Sir Marcus Postumus of Ipsus V (1699-1786), Sir Richardius Chancelleris of Chancia (1721-58), Sir Sebastian Cabonia of Alicia (1674-1757), and Sir Hugalanius Willoughria (1709-54). The four gentleman, eager to expand their wealth and to foster greater Laurasian commercial ties with the territories of the Amulak Spiral, had originally founded Willoughria Merchant Firm in 1751, and, with loans from the Corporate Bank of Gardiner and the Harkian Family Consortium of Chandlier, had developed a commercial convoy of one hundred freighters, in order to travel directly into the Grand Duchy of Masacavania, located on the other side of the Amulak Spiral. Masacavania had, until this point in the eighteenth century, remained a mystery to the Laurasian Empire. Yet the Grand Duchy had expanded, both militarily and geographically, during that whole time, and at the expense of powers such as the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Marasharite Empire, and the Confederacy of the Great Breffals. Stardoub and Briansk had been taken from the Dejanicans in 1703, following the end of the Masacavanian-Dejanican War of 1700-03. The Grand Principality of Novogrod-Seversk had been annexed in 1707; the following year, following the three-year-long Volga War with the Great Breffals, the Duchies of Penza, Simbrisk, and Saratov became part of Masacavania.
    • The United Confederacy of Oskol and Pskov was occupied without resistance in 1710; the Confederacy had experienced decades of civil and economic conflict, and Grand Duke Vasily II took advantage of an "invitation" extended to him by the authorities of that realm. The Grand Principality of Smolensk was finally conquered in 1714, after having remained such a formidable adversary to the Masacavanians (since the middle of the sixteenth century). Wars with Scanlania and the Breffals brought the Alphenian Colonies under control by 1719; the Theocratic Republic of Ryazan was acquired by inheritance (1721), followed by the Duchy of Rzhev (1725). In 1726-29, Masacavania fought a coalition of the Haynsian Despotate, Haxonian Confederacy, and Great Breffal Federation over the Stroganov Barrier Region, ultimately prevailing with Vendragian and Austarlian financial aid. Bielograd followed in 1731, acquired through intimidation, and in 1734, the Kinzy Regions were acquired by treaty from the Marasharite Empire, which was distracted by its continuing conflicts with the Spamalkans. In 1738, King Yuri XII of Andrusov died; Grand Duke Dmitry II claimed the kingdom by birthright. In 1741, the Cossack Hetmanates of the Don acknowledged Masacavanian suzerainty; with their aid, the Masacavanians defeated the Nogai Horde in 1748 and acquired the Stravpol Colonies. Then in 1752, Grand Duke Ivan IV (Dmitry's son and successor) obtained another victory with the conquest of the Kamenates of Kazan and the Upper Yekertarina, which had been subjected to Masacavanian raids and tribute since 1687.
    • Thus it was that the Laurasian convoy, commanded by Sir Hugalanius himself, had been received by the victorious Grand Prince Ivan at Moscow with much honor in October 1753, and Ivan had promised to grant privileges of free trade to Laurasian merchants. He also composed a communique to Empress Didymeia, offering to open direct economic and diplomatic relations between their two realms. Didymeia herself, eager to widen Laurasian contacts, and perhaps find a potential ally against Franconia, had agreed to Ivan's offer. The chartering of the Company of Commerce was a first step in the establishment of Laurasian diplomatic and economic ties with Masacavania. Didymeia ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to begin drafting plans to dispatch a formal diplomatic embassy to Masacavania, by January 1757. Chancelleris himself proved instrumental in the Imperial Laurasian Government's preparations, providing them intelligence information about the Masacavanian realms and the customs, inhabitants, and military forces of that state. In June 1756, he led the second major Company expedition to Masacavania, reaching Murmansk and being received with honor by the boyars of that region.
  • June 13-
    • On June 13, 1756, Francesco Venier, who had served as Doge of the Haxonian Confederacy for just over two years, died at the Doges's Palace on Haxonia Prime. He was eighty-two years old at the time of his death. Venier's reign had seen Haxonian entanglement in the ongoing Diplomatic Revolution. On April 9, 1756, alarmed by the Austarlian rapprochement with Franconia, and provoked by Barbary raids in the Dalmatian Protectorates, the Doge had concluded the Treaty of Ivissia with Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I, pledging his support for Spamalkan campaigns in Nice, Chambrian Savoy, and the Republics of Siena and Corisca, both of whom were aligned to Franconia. Then in May 1756, he announced his neutrality in the affairs of the Germanian Principalities, though indicating his preferences for Pruthia and Vendragia against Austarlia. Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania, on her part, had reached the conclusion of an alliance with her Franconian counterparts.
    • The Treaty of Parri (May 1, 1756), committed both powers to the mutual defense of the other in the Germanian Principalities, and established their formal military obligations against Pruthia and its allies. Pru'a IX of Pruthia, on his part, who had strengthened the garrisons of Silesia, Cleves, Mark, Ravensberg, Holstein-Gottorp, and Stelitz, was now determined to take the initiative in the conflict. He now began planning for a military strike into the Electorate of Saxony, so as to catch his Austarlian rivals off guard. And indeed, war had already erupted between Vendragia and Franconia; they had formally entered hostilities on May 18, 1756, and campaigns in the Amerindian Territories had commenced in earnest. As for Haxonia, Venier was succeeded as Doge by the Haxonian Governor of Ragusa, Lorenzo Pruili, who was aged sixty-seven at his accession to the Haxonian throne. Pruili's coronation as Doge (June 21, 1756), was the most lavish for any Doge to this point in the eighteenth century.
  • July 19-On July 19, 1756, Haynsian Despot Arbai Karany was forced to abdicate from his throne by the Marasharite Emperor Abdulahamid I. This was as a result of intrigues directed against the Despot by his rivals in the Haynsian Court, particularly his cousin Halezuku, who had served as Nuradedim and Kalga of the Haynsian Despotate. This was in spite of the fact that Arbai had sponsored numerous construction projects at Perekop, Arabat, Chongar, and Sivash, seeking to strengthen the military defenses of the Despotate's core territories, and that he had actively encouraged colonization and economic development within his realms. Halezuku himself was proclaimed as Despot, while Arbai was imprisoned on Isis.
  • October 1-
    • Matters within the Great Amulak Spiral finally resulted in the outbreak of renewed military hostilities, though not, at this stage, between Franconia and Spamalka. On June 28, 1756, the Vendragian colony of Minorca had fallen to Franconian forces from Toulon. Then, on August 29, 1756, Emperor Pru'a IX of Pruthia, assured of his alliance with Vendragia, launched a sudden invasion of Saxony, without issuing a declaration of war. Pru'a sought to seize Saxony, eliminate it as a threat to Pruthia, and use its resources for the Pruthian war effort. Then he would advance into Bohemia, and entrench his forces there at Austarlian expense. Finally, he would advance into Moravia from Silesia, seize Olmutz, and penetrate to Vienna, thereby forcing Austarlian recognition of his acquisition of Saxony. Leaving Field Marshal Count Kurt von Scherwin (1684-1757) in Silania to defend against incursions from Bohemia or Moravia, and Field Marshal Hans von Lewenhardt (1690-1765) in East Pruthia to secure against any potential Franconian naval moves, Pru'a moved swiftly into Saxony.
    • Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick (1721-92), Augustus William, Duke of Brunswick Bevern (1715-81), and Field Marshal Jamsius Keith (1696-1758; a Scottrian emigre), commanded the Pruthian field units. Ferdinand of Brunswick was to seize Chemnitz; the Duke of Brunswick Bevern was to close in on Bauvern; and the Emperor himself, along with Field Marshal Keith, would move towards Dresden. The Saxons and Austarlians were completely unprepared; Pru'a occupied Dresden without resistance in September 1756. The Battle of Lobositz (October 1, 1756), ended in a decisive victory for the Pruthian Emperor, and the Siege of Pirna, concluding on October 14, ended with the complete occupation of Saxony and the forcible incorporation of Saxon forces into the Pruthian military, an act which caused consternation throughout the Great Amulak Spiral. Nevertheless, November and December 1756 saw Pruthian forces making forays into Bavaria, Moravia, and Bohemia, while the Vendragians hastily organized the defense of Hanover.
  • November 6-On November 6, 1756, Empress Didymeia, acting on the advice of Chancellor Polsius and Baron Pagentia, promulgated the Imperial Privy Council Statute, providing for a complete reorganization of the membership and procedures of the Imperial Privy Council. This had been necessitated by the bewildering size and complexity of the Privy Council, since its original establishment under Neuchrus the Reformer in 1692. When Didymeia had acceded to the Laurasian throne in July 1753, the Privy Council was comprised of one hundred Privy Councilors, fifty secretaries, and twenty assessors. In the view of Polsius and of the Empress herself, this was an unwieldy and unmanageable size. The Statute therefore sought to remedy the issue by decreeing that the Privy Council was to be comprised solely of the Sovereign; the Chancellor; the Vice-Chancellor; the Six Great Officers of State, in order of precedence; the Ministers of State; the Assistant Officers of State; the Assistant Ministers of State; and finally, six Privy Councilors, from the nobility, other government officials, or other significant Laurasian notables, chosen personally by the Sovereign. The Statute provided a detailed schedule of salaries and honors for Privy Councilors; mandated that Privy Councilors chosen by the Sovereign had fewer rights of debate than the Ministers and Officers of State; and that Officers should not participate in the drafting of Council Orders, unless if given special authorization. The original oaths of allegiance for members of the Privy Council were provided, and they were given precedence over all others serving in the Imperial Government. The Privy Council Statute helped to systematize the operations of the imperial bureaucracy and served as the foundation for the Empress Aurelia's more comprehensive reforms.
  • December 3-
    • Besides the execution of former Chief Procurator Thomasius Cranmerius, the outbreak of the Seven Year's War, and the abdication of Char'va I, 1756 had seen further events take place at the Imperial Laurasian Court. By December 1755, rumors had emerged that Empress Didymeia intended to have her husband, Emperor-Consort Philicus, formally crowned at the Westphalian Cathedral as soon as he returned to the Empire. This was something widely unpopular with the Empire's populace, and inspired the emergence of another conspiracy against the Empress. The chief instigator of this scheme was Sir Antigonus Dudley (1717-68). He was the second son of Antiochus Suttonia, 3rd Baron Dudley (1694-1753), and a distant cousin of the late Duke of Northumberlais. Dudley himself had a career of service towards the Empire. He had graduated from the Cadet Corps in 1738, and entered the Imperial Laurasian Army, fighting in the latter stages of the Third Laurasian-Marasharite War, and then, from 1740-43, in the Galactic Borderlands. He served under the command of Field Marshal Lacius, gaining renown for his exploits at the El Paso Colonies, Sasha VI, Barching, Frasier, McKellen, Janeway, and Crusher, among other strongholds. He had then been reassigned to the Great Amulak Spiral, participating gallantly in the Siege of Boulougone in 1744 and in other confrontations throughout Artois, Normandy, and Picardy; by 1745, he had risen to the rank of Colonel, and was awarded the Order of St. Antiochus the Conqueror for his efforts.
    • Then in 1747, when hostilities resumed with Scottria, he participated in Lord Protector Seymouris's renewed expeditions into the Homeland Territories, gaining notice for his exploits at Madelaine, Albright, Albemaine, Richardson, and Dourif. By 1753, he had risen to the rank of Brigadier-General, and was one of the Army's most respected operational officers. But on July 25, 1753, he was arrested at Sernapasia on the orders of Empress Didymeia, having lent his support to the cause of Northumberlais. He had been imprisoned for a time at the Fortress of Baureux, but was then pardoned and released by the Empress on October 15, on the promise to not engage in any further conspiracies or rebellion. Dudley had obliged for two years, but it had been a visit to King Hensios II of Franconia, in November 1755, which had finally swayed his opinions. These were intensified by the rumors that following month. Dudley now became determined to depose Didymeia and Philicus, and to elevate Grand Princess Aurelia to the throne. Dudley now gained the support of many among the Empire's gentry and nobility. These included Sir Antiochus Thorckmortonia (1733-94), and his kinsman, Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia (to become a prominent figure during the early years of Aurelia's reign), as well as Lord Greysius, Lord Thomasius Howardis (1734-60), Sir Nicholas Arnoldia, Sir Caranus Killgrania (1727-85), Sir Demetrius Perotius (1728-92), the Verney brothers, Sir Demetrius Brayius, 2nd Lord Brayius (1723-57), and Sir Antoninus Kingstonia (1700-56). They held numerous secret conferences on Osama, Tarravania, and Augis II, and by the early weeks of January 1756, had managed to conceal, in those star systems, military supplies, ammunition, and equipment for their own use. Dudley secured, from his deposits with the Nobles Bank of Laurasia Prime, the amount of €50 billion dataries. Moreover, the conspirators hired mercenaries from Saxony, Hesse, Hanover, and the Austarlian Swiss Duchies, hoping to use them in operations in the Burglais Arm, and to convince the Prefects of Hunt, Robert, and Homidinia to support their cause.
    • Yet by February 1756, the Franconian Royal Government had become aware of the plot, with the Constable of Franconia sending a communique to Franconian Ambassador Noailles, urging him to ensure that the Grand Princess's name would not become associated with the conspirators. On March 9, Sir Dudley departed again to Franconia, proceeding there by use of the Bug Trade Highways. Arriving at Rouen on March 18, he continued with his efforts to hire more mercenaries and starships. But on March 22, the conspiracy was betrayed. One of the lesser conspirators, Thomasius Whirita (1729-91), broke down and told Cardinal Polsius everything he knew about the conspiracy. Empress Didymeia had been alarmed by this, and she acted swiftly. By March 29, most of the chief conspirators, including the Thorckmortonias, Lords Greysius, Howardis, and Kingstonia, Arnoldia, the Verney brothers, and Brayius were in custody. Sir Perotius would be imprisoned at Ipsus V on April 6, and Sir Killgrania would be captured at Patty on April 9, and translated to imprisonment on Jenny. A series of interrogations had then followed, conducted by now-Chancellor Polsius, his subordinates, and Procurator-General Heathius. This continued throughout April 1756.
    • None of those questioned said anything to suggest that Grand Princess Aurelia was personally involved in the plot, although the authorities still searched all of her effects and correspondence on Paradine, and at her residence in Christiania. Suspicions mounted when Mistress Katharina Ashleius was discovered to have in her possession "several papers, portraits, paintings, and other defamatory libels, to the great dishonor and vituperation of the Empress and her husband, together with all of the ecclesiastics of the Empire." On May 8, 1756, Mistress Ashleius had been arrested on Goss Beacon and taken to the Fortress of Baureux on Laurasia Prime. She denied all knowledge of the rebels' proceedings under interrogation. She maintained that she had never been disloyal to the Empress, insisting that "Aurelia's love and truth is such to Her Majesty, that if she might prove me corrupt but in thought to Her Majesty, I am sure she would never see me again." Ashleius remained imprisoned until October 8, 1756, when she was released and allowed to return back to the Grand Princess's household. In June 1756, Sir Franconius Verney (1731-59) and Sir Antoninus Kingstonia were tried and sentenced to death by the Court of the Star Chamber, but both found their sentences commuted to imprisonment; the latter would die at Jenny on September 22. Nor did the Empress proceed against the other conspirators, ordering them to be held in perpetuity. Her unpopularity meant that she could not proceed against her sister. Instead, Didymeia sent a costly diamond ring (worth more than €200 million dataries) and a number of other gifts to the Grand Princess.
    • She also invited her to the Court, but the Grand Princess indicated her desire to remain on her estates, understanding the Empress's weakness. In July 1756, an abortive uprising on Smithia, Archleuta, and Colsonia against the Empress collapsed in quick order; the rebels, led by Octavian Klevaugh, 2nd Baron Klevaugh of Selena (1699-1756), had proclaimed that Aurelia was the "legitimate Empress of this galaxy." Klevaugh was executed for this show of insubordination. The Grand Princess had hastened to reassure her sister, in a communique, that she had no involvement in the rebellion, and Didymeia had been obliged to believe her. Emperor Philicus of Spamalka, on his part, monitoring events from afar, continued to work through his agents to ingratiate himself to the Grand Princess, and to preserve her rights. In accordance with this goal, he had sought to arrange her marriage to some favorable personage. A number of potential bridegrooms, from November 1755, had been put forward. It had even been suggested that the Grand Princess be betrothed to Philicus's eleven-year old son and heir apparent, Don Carlos (1745-68). Another candidate emerged in the form of Emmanuel Philibert, Spamalkan Duke of Savoy (1728-80), who had become Governor-General of the Durthian Duchies in 1755 and was a trusted servant of his cousin, Emperor Philicus. In September 1756, it was reported by the Haxonian Ambassador that Aurelia had little enthusiasm for the Duke, although she did not object to him in public. Yet on November 19, she was summoned to Laurasia Prime by her sister, Empress Didymeia. The Grand Princess arrived at the Court four days later, and was received by her sister "very graciously and familiarly."
    • Didymeia hoped that Aurelia would quickly agree to a marriage with the Spamalkan Duke. When the matter was broached, Aurelia finally broke her public silence, revealing her distaste for the union. She told the Empress that the afflictions she had suffered were such "they had rid me of any wish or desire for a husband." Furious, Empress Didymeia ordered the Grand Princess out of her sight and on December 3, commanded her to return to Paradine. Following this, Didymeia ceased to work for the Savoy match. She had initially supported the idea only out of obedience to her husband, for any plan that entailed recognizing Aurelia as her successor aroused her instinctive distaste. She was outraged at the Grand Princess's haughty rejection of the matter, and reverted to the hope that she could remove Aurelia from the succession. This was unrealistic; on December 9, Ambassador Noailles reported that "from one day to another the Grand Princess gains new supporters, even among the Lords of the Council, the majority of whom today belong to her." 1756 thus ended with the Empire still at peace, but this was not to last.

1757Edit

  • January 16-1757, the 57th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Seven Year's War in Germania underway, and with the Empress Didymeia's realms still at peace. In her New Year's proclamation (January 1, 1757), Empress Didymeia expressed her hopes that the Lord Almitis would find greater favor with her Empire in that year. The opening of this year witnessed the further intensification of the Empire's diplomatic ties to the Great Amulak Spiral. On January 16, 1757, the Imperial Laurasian Government formally dispatched its first official diplomatic embassy to the Grand Duchy of Masacavania. The embassy was directed by Sir Richardius Chancelleris, who already had experience in commercial envoys to that realm. In the manifesto authorizing the dispatch of the embassy, Empress Didymeia declared that the establishment of diplomatic relations with this power in the Amulak Spiral would widen trade ties and promote farther diplomatic contacts for the Laurasian Empire. Didymeia and her ministers, especially Chancellor Polsius, were confident that the relationship with Masacavania could usher in a formal alliance between the two realms. They would follow the progress of negotiations with the Masacavanian Government closely.
  • February 1-After a journey of some weeks, the Laurasian diplomatic embassy, led by Sir Richardius Chancelleris, arrived at Moscow, the capital world of the Grand Duchy of Masacavania (February 1, 1757). Moscow was located some 110,000 light years into the Great Amulak Spiral; this surpassed the record of penetration from Laurasia Prime, which had been set by the troops of General Suris Vamaus at Rzalah, nearly twenty-two years earlier. Chancelleris was greeted with much pomp and ceremony by Grand Prince Ivan, who was determined to impress the Laurasian embassy with his generosity and the splendor of his court. The Laurasian embassy was entertained to a series of festivals and masques over the course of the next several days. Chancelleris, in his reports about the Masacavanian Court and the reception of his embassy by Grand Prince Ivan, enthused over the merits of the Grand Prince and the wealth of his dominions. He described Ivan as being "intelligent, determined, energetic, and concerned for the interests of his subjects and peace among all the nations." Moscow itself, with its soaring architecture and its obedient, clean population of 100 billion souls, impressed the Laurasian Ambassador, who declared that the whole Masacavanian realm "is so filled with inhabitants that it is a wonder to see them." It was on February 27, 1757, that negotiations commenced between the two governments over the establishment of diplomatic and economic ties between the two realms. Chancelleris, who had been provided instructions as regards to his mission by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Pagentia) and Chancellor Polsius, and determined to obtain advantages for the Laurasian Empire in the Masacavanian dominions, negotiated vigorously with Osep Nepea (1715-88), who served as the Head of the Masacavanian Bureau of Foreign Affairs.
  • March 9-
    • On March 9, 1757, a joyous Empress Didymeia announced to the Imperial Court that her husband, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I, would be returning back to the dominions of the Laurasian Empire for another visit with her person and in his Laurasian realms. The Empress, who had not seen her husband for more than a year and a half, eagerly awaited his return. She believed that they could try again, and that with the grace of Almitis, she would become pregnant with their son. Many at the Imperial Court, however, were far from eager for Philicus's return. In January 1757, tensions had flared between Spamalka and Franconia after a series of border incidents at Avignon, Dunkirk, Graveline's Mist, and in Alsace, Franche-Comte, and Guyenne. Furthermore, matters in Germania had reached a head. In January 1757, Franconia formally condemned the invasion of Saxony by Pruthia; Spamalka, on its part, issued a declaration lamenting on Pru'a's moves, but declaring them necessary in the face of "wanton aggression by hostile powers."
    • King Hensios II of Franconia, whose forces were already heavily engaged with the Vendragians in Celle, Jutland, and in the Amerindian Territories, now found himself reorganizing his forces, preparing for conflict both in the Durthian Duchies and Germania. Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus, on his part, and the Council of State, had begun planning for a renewed state of war, and the Spamalkan Emperor's ministers, in particular Lord Felipe Guzman, had proposed to him that he should convince his wife, Empress Didymeia, to lend her support to him in the upcoming conflict. It was out of concern for this, and not out of desire to see Didymeia again, that Philicus had decided to return to the Empire. Chancellor Polsius understood this, and tried to inform the Empress of what Philicus would demand. Didymeia, however, joyous to see her "beloved" husband return to her, did not listen to Polsius's warnings.
  • March 24-
    • Holy Spamalkan Emperor and Laurasian Emperor-Consort Philicus I returned to Laurasia Prime (March 24, 1757). He had arrived at Belkadan on March 21 and had been escorted by Laurasian forces under the command of General Sir Suris Vamaus, who was now one of the highest-ranking officers in the Imperial Laurasian Army. Because Philicus was now a reigning sovereign in his own right, and therefore enjoyed equal status with Empress Didymeia, he had arrived with his own Spamalkan forces, and was greeted with much ceremony at Laurasia Prime. Didymeia expressed her joy and happiness at seeing her husband. Once they had gone into their private chambers, however, Philicus immediately proceeded forth with the real purpose of his mission. Addressing his wife in cold and utilitarian terms, the Emperor of Spamalka declared that she should consider a formal military alliance with Spamalka and should unite with that power against the ambitions of Franconia.
    • Didymeia, alarmed by her husband's change in attitude, declared that the Laurasian people would not wish to be dragged into a foreign war, and that the best she could do was continue her provision of financial aid to the Holy Spamalkan Government. Philicus however, now threatened to leave immediately for his dominions and to never visit again, unless if Didymeia promised to begin preparations for entering the war. The Empress was saddened when she heard of this, and fell to her knees, begging her husband to reconsider. Philicus however, took his influence further, demanding that Didymeia also promise to maintain the rights and position of the Grand Princess Aurelia. Didymeia, protesting her love for her husband, declared she would do anything. Brushing his wife aside, Philicus left the chambers and told her sternly to remember her promises.
  • April 11-On April 11, 1757, Empress Didymeia summoned a special session of the Imperial Privy Council and announced to them that she had begun to contemplate the possibility of a formal military alliance with her husband's realm, the Holy Spamalkan Empire. The Empress declared that such a move was necessary for the security of the Laurasian Dominions, and that unless if it were taken, Franconia would harm Laurasian efforts at extending its diplomatic ties in the Great Amulak Spiral (such as those with Masacavania). Chancellor Polsius and Lord Treasurer Winchestrius led the Council in urging the Empress to reconsider her decision. They pointed out that the Laurasian economy had prospered over the last seven years, and that the people of the Empire desired the continuation of peace, so as to conduct peaceful commerce with the Great Amulak Spiral and "remain free from harassment." Didymeia, however, burst into a rare fit of anger, and commanded the Council to obey her will. At this, Polsius and Winchestrius backed down, pledging to honor "whatever Her Majesty wishes on this matter."
  • April 26-After months of negotiations, the Treaty of Moscow was signed by the Laurasian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Masacavania on April 26, 1757. Grand Prince Ivan himself affixed his signature to the document, while Sir Richardis Chancelleris signed in the name of the Imperial Laurasian Government. By the terms of the Treaty of Moscow, full diplomatic and commercial ties were established between the Laurasian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Masacavania. The Laurasian embassy at Moscow, and the Masacavanian embassy at Laurasia Prime, were to be formally organized by no later than December 1, 1758, and were to enjoy all the privileges and immunities as were accorded by custom to diplomatic establishments. A diplomatic communications network was to be established between the two governments. As regards to commercial and transit matters, all Laurasians traveling or residing in Masacavanian territory were to enjoy the right to trade freely in all Masacavanian star systems, and to ship their goods without paying the customary duties. Laurasian subjects obtained freedom from arrest by Masacavanian authorities; they were to be tried only by Laurasian courts. In exchange, the Imperial Laurasian Government pledged itself to pay an annual stipend to the court of the Grand Prince, and to provide a corps of Laurasian mercenaries (numbering not more than 65,000 personnel) for the Grand Duchy's military forces. The Treaty of Moscow was ratified by Grand Prince Ivan immediately, and was ratified by Empress Didymeia on May 24.
  • May 9-
    • By May 1757, tensions had flared further in the Great Amulak Spiral, and were now dragging the Laurasian Empire in. In April 1757, Pruthian Emperor Pru'a had taken the initiative again, and launched his military campaigns into the Kingdom of Bohemia, constituent kingdom of the Holy Austarlian Empire. The Battle of Prague (May 6, 1757), resulted in victory for the Pruthian Emperor, who forced the Austarlian forces back into the Prague star system. He then proceeded to impose a blockade of Prague. Nevertheless, in that confrontation, the Pruthians had suffered extensive casualties. Austarlian Field Marshal Count von Daun, however, proved to be effective in feinting further Pruthian offensives, and he launched relentless counter-moves into Lusatia, Schwiebus, and Silania, thereby keeping the Pruthian Emperor on edge. Furthermore, Pru'a had to fan his forces out, in his attempt to secure Boleslaw, Kladso, and other Bohemian strongholds. Austarlian and Pruthian forces continued to clash in Bavaria, Hesse, Wurttemberg, Baden, Saxony, and the Thrungian Circles, with no end in sight. In the meantime, Franconian units constantly violated the neutrality of the Duchy of Milania, thereby provoking Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I's ire, and worsening relations between the two realms.
    • It was with all of this in mind that on May 9, 1757, Sir Manius Aquilius (1711-94), the Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Parri, held an audience with the King of Franconia. In this audience, Ambassador Aquilius declared that the Franconian aggression in the Duchy of Milania, in the Germanian Principalities, and in the Colonial Territories were deeply alarming to his mistress, Empress Didymeia, and that unless if he acknowledged Spamalkan rule of Milania, Vendragian rule of Ohio, and the "equilibrium of affairs" in the Germanian Principalities, then diplomatic relations between Laurasia and Franconia would be severed. King Hensios procrastinated in responding to this for several days. Ultimately, on May 19, 1757, he rejected all of the Laurasian demands. It was thus, on May 24, 1757, that Empress Didymeia ordered for diplomatic relations between the two realms to be formally terminated. Ambassador Aquilius was formally recalled from the Franconian Court, while Franconian Ambassador Antoine Noailles was banished from Laurasia Prime.
    • All Laurasian subjects residing in Franconian territory were recalled back to the Laurasian Empire, and all Franconian subjects in Laurasian territory were ordered to leave. Laurasian military units began to assemble at Natalie, Tiona, Keely, Abrianne, Kia, Ba'dai, Latrice, Donna, Billy, Belkadan, Calrissian, Varta, Roxuli, Abraham, Nandia, Vorta, Ra'dai, Zannah, and other strongholds in the Outer and Galactic Borderlands. Empress Didymeia, however, issued explicit instructions to her military forces that no action was to be taken against Scottria. And she was now determined to make overtures to Vendragia, so as to provide for a more comprehensive alliance against Franconia. On May 31, 1757, she sent a diplomatic communique to the Vendragian Court, offering to open negotiations for a formal military alliance between Laurasia and Vendragia. This was the first time, in the more than six-decade long saga of Laurasian conflict with Franconia, that the Imperial Laurasian Government sought to make common cause with Vendragia, which was Franconia's greatest naval adversary. King Georg II of Vendragia, however, who knew little of the Laurasian Empire, deferred in responding to the request. Negotiations between Laurasia and Vendragia were destined to drag on for months, and the two powers ultimately fell short of concluding a formal military alliance. However, with Spamalka, matters proceeded quickly.
  • June 6-On June 6, 1757, the Treaty of Majorica was signed between the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires, providing for the conclusion of a formal military alliance between the two realms. By the terms of the Treaty of Majorica, Laurasia and Spamalka agreed to make no separate peace treaties with their adversaries (alluding to Franconia) without consulting its ally. The Laurasian Empire was to declare war against Franconia by no later than September 1757, and was to provide military units in the Great Amulak Spiral for campaigns in Franconian territory. The Spamalkans agreed to acknowledge Laurasian rights of garrison and transit in Franconian territory, and for Boulougone to be occupied by the forces of the Laurasian Empire. In return, Empress Didymeia undertook herself to recognize the acquisition of the Duchy of Lorraine, Nice, and Guyenne by her husband, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus, and to secure recognition of Spamalkan rule over Genoa, Savoy, and Milania. The Treaty of Majorica was ratified by Emperor Philicus and Empress Didymeia on the same day: June 9, in a ceremony at the Imperial Court.
  • June 25-On June 25, 1757, Sir Thomasius Staffordius (1733-57), a cousin of Chancellor Reginaldius Polsius, and a band of followers seized control of Scomendian Tower on Blackria, and proclaimed themselves to be in "rebellion" against the government of Empress Didymeia. Staffordius, who had been provided financial aid by the court of King Hensios II of Franconia, declared, in a proclamation issued from Scomendian Tower, that he was opposed to the religious and other policies of Empress Didymeia; that she and her advisers, in particular his cousin Chancellor Polsius, were bent upon ruining the Laurasian Dominions; and that he wished to restore rule of the Laurasian Empire "to natural born Laurasians, untainted by foreign associations." Staffordius, however, unlike the rebels of Demetrius II's reign or Sir Thomasius Wyatta, never posed a serious threat to government authorities. Just three days later, on June 28, government troops under the leadership of Athanasius Navaria, 5th Earl of Blackria (1725-63) stormed the defenses of Scomendian Tower and reconquered the fortress. Staffordius and most of his followers were captured, brought to trial before the Court of Criminal Cassation of Blackria, and convicted on July 7. He was executed by solar incineration at the very same tower which he had seized on July 24, 1757. Nevertheless, the revelation that he had received assistance from the Royal Franconian Government changed the minds of many of Empress Didymeia's reluctant advisers, and they grew more supportive of her determination to declare war on Franconia.
  • July 9-
    • Empress Dowager Annaliese of Denver, whose health had been in decline for several months, made her final will and testament (July 9, 1757). The last surviving of the wives of Antigonus the Extravagant, Annaliese had earned much respect from those at the Imperial Court, and from many throughout the Laurasian Empire. Because of the allowances and properties she had been granted by Emperor Antigonus, Annaliese had been, for seventeen years, one of the wealthiest noblewomen in the Laurasian Empire. She was known for her generosity and kindness to her servants and associates, lavishing many of them with extravagant gifts and monetary rewards. Annaliese had remained on good terms with both Empress Didymeia (who had elevated her to the rank of Empress Dowager) and the Grand Princess Aurelia. She maintained a vigorous correspondence with them and with other courtiers, and visited the Imperial Court on Laurasia Prime, as was her right, regularly up until the months before her death. Now, with her close to dying, and having remained unmarried with no children, she decided to dispense with her properties. In her will, she bequeathed Heverian Castle and nearly €500 billion dataries worth of assets to the Grand Princess Aurelia.
    • She bequeathed the remainder of her residences to the Dowager Duchess of Sufforia, who had become a good friend, and all of her personal goods to Empress Didymeia. Finally, she bequeathed the remaining bulk of her funds, €450 billion dataries, to Katharina Parsius's daughter, Baroness Didymeia Seymouris of Kendalia. By the decree of March 27, 1750, Council President Northumberlais, on the urging of the then-Ladies Didymeia and Aurelia, had revoked the sentence of confiscation which had been imposed upon the estates of Sir Thomasius Seymouris, and restored them to his daughter, by then nearly two years old. Didymeia had continued to remain in the care of the Dowager Duchess of Sufforia, who raised her at Blackanian Palace on Sufforia. The Dowager Duchess had a great love for this child, daughter of her good friend Katharina Parsius, and became in effect, her stepmother. On November 6, 1756, Empress Didymeia had created the eight-year old girl as Baroness of Kendalia. Now, Annaliese of Denver's bequeath of funds to the Baroness of Kendalia increased the girl's already considerable wealth. The money, however, was to be held by the Dowager Duchess of Sufforia in a trust fund until Didymeia obtained age.
  • July 16-On July 16, 1757, Empress Dowager Annaliese of Denver, the fourth and last surviving of the six wives of Antigonus III the Extravagant, died at Chelsea Manor on Jean. She was only forty-one years old, and expired eight weeks before her forty-second birthday. At her deathbed, the Empress Dowager was attended by the Dowager Duchess of Sufforia, Lady Didymeia Seymouris, and Chancellor Polsius, who on her request had administered the Last Sacraments. Annaliese departed with no malice for anyone and continued to remain serene and calm to the very end. When news of her death was formally announced by the Empress at the Quencilvanian Court, an outpouring of grief and sadness ensued. Many throughout the Empire sincerely mourned the Empress-Dowager's death. Indeed, Annaliese was mourned more than any other of the Emperor Antigonus's wives, and tributes to her poured in from the Laurasian nobility and gentry. The death of Annaliese came nearly nine years after the death of the Emperor's sixth wife, Katharina Parsius. On the orders of Empress Didymeia, Annaliese was given a state funeral at the Westphalian Cathedral on August 3, 1757, and was interred alongside Emperor Antigonus, his most beloved wife Theodora Seymouris, and their son Demetrius II.
  • August 5-On August 5, 1757, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I announced his intention to return back to the Holy Spamalkan Empire, in order to direct the upcoming military campaigns against the Serene Kingdom of Franconia. Empress Didymeia, shaken by Philicus's earlier, harsh manner with her, was not as saddened this time to see him go, and understood that his departure was essential to the success of the anti-Franconian war. The Holy Spamalkan Emperor's actual departure from Laurasia Prime occurred four days later, on August 9. The Empress, Chancellor Polsius, and the chief personages of the Imperial Laurasian Court were among the individuals who gave a formal good-bye to the Spamalkan Emperor. The people of Laurasia Prime, however, were pleased about his departure, still retaining a loathing of him and his "foreign" ways. Philicus and his entourage, escorted once again by General Vamaus, left the Caladarian Galaxy on August 11, and returned to Moorio Cabana, in the Hereditary Dominions, three days later.
  • August 17-
    • By August 1757, events had proceeded further with the Seven Year's War. Austarlian Field Marshal Daun, as explained above, had kept Pru'a IX's forces around Prague, and in Bohemia, on edge. Gathering all of his military units together, the Field Marshal had moved to relieve Prague. Pruthian forces were too weak to simultaneously besiege Prague and to confront Daun, so Emperor Pru'a was forced to attack the prepared positions of the Austarlians at Kolin. The ensuing Battle of Kolin (June 16, 1757), ended in a disastrous defeat for the Emperor of Pruthia, who lost nearly a third of his total deployable forces, and virtually all of his shield generators. Pru'a was forced to abandon the siege of Prague, suspend his assaults against other Bohemian strongholds, and to retreat back to Litoměřice. Prince Augustus William of Pruthia then suffered a serious reverse at Zittau (July 1757), losing a third of his supply convoy to Austarlian assaults. Then on August 2, 1757, Austarlian and Franconian forces, utilizing the Lusatian Corridor and Royal Pruthia, assaulted Memel in East Pruthia; Svoboda and Norkitten were then devastated, and Marshal von Grappinghoff's forces were soon able to threaten Wehlau and the Pregau Bases. In Pruthian Westphalia, Franconian forces overran East Frisia, Dortmund, Erbach, and Altendorn, thereby posing a serious threat to Pru'a's Domains of Brandenburg and the Upper Rhine Duchies. Franconian and Spamalkan skirmishes in Milania, the Durthian Duchies, and Navarre had intensified further. Oswego and Ft. William Henry in the Amerindian Territories had been seized from the Vendragians by Franconian units; the Franconians, commanded by General Jacques Cartier (1702-69), aligned themselves with the Iroquois Confederacy and launched offensives into Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine, and the Hampshire Provinces. Lujakbourg was also defended by the Franconians from Vendragian and Spamalkan raids.
    • It was with all of this in context that, on August 17, 1757, Laurasian Empress Didymeia, obliging by the provisions of the Treaty of Majorica, and determined to obtain influence for her Empire in the Great Amulak Spiral, issued a formal declaration of war against the Serene Kingdom of Franconia from the Quencilvanian Palace. In her declaration of war, the Empress of Laurasia declared that her "affinity and concern for the affairs of my husband's realm" had led her into alliance with him, and that if her husband's territories were under threat, than those of the Laurasian Empire were surely threatened as well. Didymeia declared that with the "aid of the gracious Almitis we shall obtain victory in this conflict." Hensios II of Franconia, on his part, was not surprised about the Empress's declaration of war: he had been informed of war plans by Ambassador Noailles before diplomatic relations between the two courts had been severed. Hensios had taken measures to redeploy his military squadrons around Breuteuil, Boulougone, Abbeville, Caen, Dunkirk, and Rouen, determined that those strongholds should not fall into the hands of Laurasian military forces. Didymeia, on her part, designated the Earl of Aeoleon as the commander of the Laurasian forces arrayed for military campaigns in the Amulak Spiral. Aeoleon's subordinates were to be Lord Brayius (who had participated in the Dudley Conspiracy the year before and been pardoned), Sir Petevius Caranius (1711-64), and Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia (who had also been pardoned).
  • September 4-
    • Military operations commenced in earnest following the Laurasian declaration of war. On August 22, 1757, the King of Franconia dispatched the 7th Naval Expeditionary Force from Rennes, under the command of the Duke of Torre, in order to harry Belkadan, Syr-Daria, and Houston. The hope was to prevent Laurasian movement from these strongholds, thereby hampering the Empire's interventions in the Great Amulak Spiral. Franconian units managed to disrupt Laurasian commercial convoys in the Galactic Void, and penetrated to the northern outskirts of the Caladarian Galaxy. Operations in the vicinity of Esperanto Major, Burantis, and Karkol (September 1-3, 1757), did inflict some damage upon the Laurasian strategic positions in those star systems. On September 4, 1757, however, the Duke of Torre suffered a ruinous defeat at the hands of the Earl of Aeoleon in the Battle of Genghis's Mist. More than 85,000 Franconian troops lost their lives in that confrontation, as compared to just 12,000 for the Laurasian Empire. Jamukha was recovered by the Laurasians (September 8, 1757), and on September 11, a final desperate Franconian move against the Oirat Complex was blunted in the Battle of Tsoss Station. The Franconians were now compelled to retreat back into the Galactic Void. On September 13, Laurasian forces captured the Franconian outpost of St. Mari, on the edges of the Crone Galaxy, thereby disrupting communications lines to Reunion and Seychelles, and benefiting Vendragian campaigns against those star systems.
    • Then on September 16, influenced by Lord Pagentia and Chancellor Polsius, Empress Didymeia appointed the three surviving sons of the Duke of Northumberlais: Lords Ambrosius, Antiochus, and Antigonus Dudley, as officers in the Imperial Laurasian Army. In October 1754, they, as well as their elder brother, the Earl of Sarah, had been released from imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux, primarily on the initiative of Emperor Consort Philicus. Philicus, who had heard appeals from their mother Messalina Dudley, and from their brother-in-law, Sir Antigonus Sidronius, had grown sympathetic towards them, and was determined to elevate their position at the Imperial Court. The Earl of Sarah had died on October 21, 1754, just days after his release from imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux. The next brother, Ambrosius Dudley, had therefore become the head of the family and heir to the Earldom of Sarah, which had been officially forfeit due to the family's involvement in the Accession Crisis. Their mother, the Dowager Duchess of Northumberlais, so instrumental in securing their release from imprisonment, had died on January 22, 1755 at Chelessian Mansion in Christiania. Since then, the brothers had veered in and out of favor with the Imperial Court. But now, Didymeia finally recognized their skills and appointed them to positions of command. The Dudley brothers would soon prove themselves in battle and would redeem their honor.
  • September 24-
    • While Franconian moves into the Dasian Heartland failed, offensives by Laurasian and Spamalkan forces within the Franconian Royal Dominions picked up in earnest. On September 12, 1757, Guines and Hames were both stormed by the Earl of Aeoleon, who had arrived near the Channel Colonies two days earlier. From these strongholds, Aeoleon blockaded Stephani (September 14), and launched operations in the vicinity of Vannes and Rennes, impounding a number of Franconian commercial and diplomatic vessels. Treugier, Piccardia, and Vera (September 17-19, 1757), all fell into Laurasian hands. Then on September 24, 1757, Aeoleon and Juan Alfonso Perez de Guzman, 6th Duke of Medinia-Sidonia (1702-58), obtained a victory over the Franconian forces of the Duke of Montmorency in the Battle of Lilles. They thereby prevented Franconian moves against Antwerp, Roosevelt, Niewpoort, Bruges, Graveline's Mist, and Ostend. By October 2, Ypres and Passchendale had also been secured from Franconian moves. Brewster fell to the Laurasians on October 3, and on October 4, 1757, the Battle of Calais commenced between the Empire's forces under Aeoleon, and those of the Serene Kingdom of Franconia under the Duke of Torre.
    • Lord Ambrosius Dudley distinguished himself in the battle, holding off several successive attacks against his positions which were launched by Franconian squadrons, and ultimately seizing control of the Franconian relay at Beveria. The battle eventually ended in victory for the Laurasians; the Franconians lost nearly a third of their offensive forces. By October 11, Breuteuil, Torre, St. Omer, Dunkirk, and Stephani had all fallen into the hands of Laurasian and Spamalkan forces; Julianne was now seriously threatened, as were Evereux, Rouen, and Bayeux. Then on October 14, 1757, Nice fell to Louis Caravaggio, Duke of Piacenza (1702-70), thereby constituting a major humiliation for the Franconians. On October 18, Dijon and Grenoble were assaulted by Piacenza, with assistance from Laurasian Admiral Sir Vedemnathus Tersius (1698-1767); both strongholds experienced severe damage.
  • October 30-On October 30, 1757, Marasharite Emperor Abdulahamid I died on Topacia, at the age of fifty-eight. He had ruled since the death of his brother Sassas III in December 1754. Emperor Abdulahamid's reign had seen the continuation of Marasharite colonial conflicts with Vendragia, Spamalka, and Haxonia in the Arabian States, Africana, and the Indian Territories, as well as incessant raids and operations against Italiania and the Dalmatian Provinces in support of Franconia. He was now succeeded to the Marasharite throne by his cousin Mustapha, who became Mustapha III of Marasharita. Mustapha was the eldest son of Ahmad III. Known for his energy and perceptiveness (as far as these were possible for a Marasharite ruler of the eighteenth century), Mustapha would rule until January 1774. He would become the adversary of Laurasian Empress Aurelia the Great during the Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War of the eighteenth century (1768-74), which wouls result in a decisive Laurasian victory.
  • November 14-
    • Into November 1757, Laurasian and Spamalkan successes continued. On October 23, 1757, the Earl of Aeoleon obtained a smashing victory in the Battle of Abbeville; Beauvais, Compeigne, and Amiens fell into Laurasian hands by October 28, followed by Breuteuil-sur-Mer on November 1. Guerande and Nannes, in the meantime, were overrun by Sir Petevius Caranius and Vice-Admiral Lord Braye (November 2-5, 1757). Then on November 8, the Battle of Dreux resulted in a humiliating defeat for the Franconians; the Duke of Avignon lost more than two-thirds of his battleships and couriers. Thus, on November 14, 1757, the Battle of St. Quentin was fought between the forces of the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires on the one hand, and those of the Serene Kingdom of Franconia on the other. On November 11, the Duke of Medinia Sidonia and Lamoral, Count of Egmont (1722-68), acting on instructions from Emperor Philicus, had joined with the Laurasian forces of the Earl of Aeoleon at Morcy, and began to advance against St. Quentin, a Franconian colony-world which possessed a garrison of 500,000 Franconian Royal Army personnel, a number of shield generators, and a store of military armor. St. Quentin was also known for its industrial goods and materials, and this was considered important by Philicus, to secure as a market for the Spamalkan economy. The Duke of Montmorency, who had lost to Medina Sidonis at Lilles, commanded the garrison of St. Quentin.
    • The ensuing battle was hard fought, but the Coalition forces vastly outnumbered the Franconian garrison, and ultimately obtained a decisive victory. Nearly two hundred Franconian warships were destroyed, and more than 300,000 Franconian troops lost their lives; the allied forces lost just 75,000 troops and thirty of their own warships. The Duke of Montmorency himself barely evaded capture, and most of the Franconian stores on St. Quentin were captured intact. Lord Antigonus Dudley, however, who had commanded a detachment of Laurasian troops in action against the Franconian armory of St. Mere, was injured in a grenade explosion and died shortly after the conclusion of the battle. Empress Didymeia declared, in a proclamation to her subjects, that the Dudley brothers had "recovered their reputation through sacrifice and valiant service to this Empire." Following the Battle of St. Quentin, La Fere, Roye, Douliens, Barcy, and Montrmrail fell into allied hands. On December 5, 1757, the Battle of Metz ended in a decisive victory for the Duke of Medinia Sidonia, thereby securing that stronghold from the Franconians.
  • December 12-
    • Following the Franconian and Austarlian moves into East Pruthia (August 1757), the Pruthian situation in Pomerania suddenly deteriorated. Mecklenburg and Ansbach-Strelitz declared war on Pruthia (September 22, 1757). Grieffenberg and Belgard fell into the hands of Mecklenburgian forces, who received support from the Franconians, operating from Memel and the Baltic Straits. Schezin and Sweidenmunde soon found themselves threatened by Mecklenburgian and Franconian units. Emperor Pru'a, moreover, suffered reverses at Lepizig, Gorlitz, and Bautzen in Saxony (October 1757). His forces now suffered greater casualties then those of their adversaries, and it seemed as if no redress would be found. By the beginning of November 1757, Austarlian forces were mobilizing to assault Silania, Pruthian Lusatia, and Brandenburg, while the Franconians of Marshal Soubise, moving from the Westphalian Circles, were intending to assault Lubeck, Hesse-Darmstardt, Mulahaussen, and Dusseldorf. However, the situation for Pru'a now brightened. Franconian losses in Normandy, Brittany, and the Pale of Calais, as well as in Gascony and Franconian Burgundy, against the forces of the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires weakened their offensive position in the Germanian Principalities. Furthermore, their military and financial resources were being drained by the conflicts in Africana, the Indian Territories, and the Amerindian Colonies. It was impossible for King Hensios to focus all of his energies upon Pruthia.
    • Thus, on November 5, 1757, Pru'a encountered and destroyed Franconian Marshal Charles de Rohan (1715-87), Prince of Soubise's forces in the Battle of Rossbach, nearly capturing the Marshal himself and seizing all of his ion cannons, interdictor warships, and heavy transports. He recovered Lepizig and Gorlitz, thereby restoring the Pruthian position in Saxony; Dortmund and Schiewbus were also restored to Pruthian control. Then exactly a month later (December 5, 1757), the Battle of Leuthen ended in another victory for Emperor Pru'a's forces; Prince Char'lac of Lorraine was utterly humiliated, and the much larger Austarlian forces (which held a six-to-one advantage against the Pruthians) driven from the field. All of this was in spite of the withdrawal of Hanover in July 1757, due to the Battle of Hastenbeck, in which the Vendragian Duke of Cumbria had suffered a humiliating reverse. And October 1757 had seen Austarlian forces under Hungarian General Count Andreas Halik (1710-90) penetrate to the very outskirts of Berliania III, thereby ranging deep into Brandenburg. Yet, Pru'a was still able to maintain his overall position. On December 14, 1757, however, Bavaria acceded to the League of Cozens with Austarlia, thereby posing a threat to Pruthian control of Saxony. Pru'a, on his part, contemplated alliance overtures to Spamalka and to Laurasia, hoping to compress Franconia on two fronts. December 1757 did see further coalition victories against Franconia; Foix, Seule, Bearn, and Lower Navarre all fell into Spamalkan hands that month, while Laurasian units seized Bayeux, Quimpers, and St. Malo. As 1757 ended, it seemed as if the coalition had the definitive advantage.
  • December 25-On December 25, 1757, Empress Didymeia appointed Sir Demetrius Harringtia (1721-71) as the Imperial High Chamberlain of the Laurasian Empire. He therefore succeeded the deceased Sir Antigonus Gagius, more then a year after the latter's death. Harringtia, who had been born on June 21, 1721, at Caresolina, was the fourth son of Georgius Harringtia, 1st Earl of Hannah (1688-1744), and his wife Aurelia (nee Staffordia), who as mentioned earlier in this timeline, was briefly Antigonus III's mistress in 1710. Harringtia, consequently, was through his mother, a descendant of Emperor Vespasian. Nevertheless he, like the other members of his family, was a loyal servant to the Neuchrian Dynasty. He had graduated from the Imperial Military Academy of Laura in 1743, and had subsequently served in the Imperial Laurasian Army, during the Fourth Franconian War and the War of the Rough Wooing. In 1749, he had become a Valedictorian Guard and Gentleman of the Imperial Privy Chamber, and from 1753 to 1756, served as Governor of Fulcania. Harringtia had been among the first officials to defect to Didymeia's cause following her brother's death, and she had not forgotten this. The Chamberlain would be created 1st Baron Harringtia of Caroline on January 19, 1758, an additional sign of the imperial favor which he enjoyed.

1758Edit

  • January 1-
    • 1758, the 58th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Great Amulak Spiral embroiled in war. The Italianian War of 1751-59 and the Seven Year's War (1756-63) were now being waged concurrently. In the former conflict, Empress Didymeia of Laurasia was aligned to her husband, Philicus I, and his realm, the Holy Spamalkan Empire, against the Serene Kingdom of Franconia. In the latter, Franconia was aligned to the Holy Austarlian Empire, the Electorate of Bavaria, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany against the Autocratic Pruthian Empire, which then occupied Saxony. Pruthia's sole ally was the Vendragian Confederacy, which had parlayed with Laurasia and which had an implicit understanding with the Spamalkans as regards to campaigns in the Colonial Territories. Haxonia supported Spamalka, but maintained its neutrality in the overall conflict. Thus far, Pru'a and his forces had experienced reverses and counter-reverses in Silania, Saxony, Bohemia, Moravia, and in the Germanian Principalities; Vendragian and Franconian units struggled for supremacy in the Amerindian Territories; and the forces of Laurasia and Spamalka continued to advance in the Franconian Royal Dominions. Empress Didymeia, believing that the Lord Almitis had forgiven her and her realm for their earlier transgressions, issued a joyous New Year's proclamation (January 1, 1758) to her subjects. In this proclamation, she declared that the threat of Franconia would soon be eliminated and that the Empire would be guaranteed a sphere of influence in the Amulak Spiral.
    • However, events were already turning in the favor of the Franconians. Franjak, Duke of Guise (1719-63), who was Lieutenant-General in the Franconian Royal Army and had, in December 1757, assumed command of Franconian units in the Ardennian Worlds and Artois, now determined upon a surprise offensive against the Laurasian garrison of Calais. The Duke of Guise had secretly assembled his squadrons at Boulougone-sur-Mer, Neuve Chapelle, and Fausteubert, in anticipation of this offensive. The garrison of Calais, consisting of 560,000 troops of the Imperial Laurasian Army and sixty warships from the Imperial Laurasian Navy, was commanded by Major-General Sir Thomasius Verusa, 2nd Baron Wenthoria (1725-84), a veteran of the Fourth Laurasian-Franconian War and the War of the Rough Wooing. Lord Wenthoria, however, was completely unprepared for the Franconian moves. During the late hours of New Year's Day, Franconian units moved swiftly towards Calais. Sangate and Fruethen Nielles, which guarded the approaches to the star system, were quickly seized by Guise's forces; Risban fell the following day, January 2. On January 3, Guise captured Fort Nieulay, and from this vantage point, conducted a relentless bombardment of Calais's defenses. Finally, on January 7, 1758, Lord Wenthoria, who found his supply lines cut off by the Royal Franconian Navy, and realizing he was at both a numerical and strategic disadvantage, surrendered Calais to the Duke of Guise. Guise now proceeded victoriously into the star system with his squadrons, taking virtually the entire Laurasian garrison, including Lord Wenthoria, as prisoners of war. He seized 175,000 tons of Laurasian military supplies and five hundred turbocannons.
    • The fall of Calais embarrassed Empress Didymeia and the Imperial Laurasian Government, who had been so enthusiastic about the progress of their forces in Franconia. Franconian units now quickly took advantage of their victory. By January 12, Laurasian units had been driven from Abbeville, Montrmail, and Douliens; Breuteuil found itself under serious threat from Franconian forces. Then on January 19, 1758, Guise reconquered both Guines and Hames, defeating the Earl of Aeoleon in the pitched Battle of Paldria. Aeoleon was forced to reinforce the garrisons of Stephani and Julianne, and to divert units towards Rennes and Vannes. On January 22, the King of Franconia himself, who had been commanding operations against Jura and Haute-Saone in Franche-Comte, arrived at Calais, congratulating Guise for his victories over Laurasian forces there. By January 26, Dury, Cantiny, and Beauvais had all been reconquered by Guise's forces; then on February 2, 1758, Guise inflicted another defeat upon the Earl of Aeoleon in the Battle of Lorient, terminating the Laurasian threat to St. Bruiec. On February 9, the Battle of La Fere between Spamalkan and Franconian forces ended in a strategic stalemate.
  • February 27-On February 27, 1758, at the Quencilvanian Palace in Christiania, Laurasia Prime, Empress Didymeia formally received Osep Nepea, formerly head of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs in the Grand Duchy of Masacavania, as the first Masacavanian Ambassador to the Laurasian Empire. Sir Richardius Chancelleris had escorted Nepea back to the Caladarian Galaxy in December 1757, but on January 9, 1758, he had died when his starship experienced a catastrophic reactor failure near Andrea Doria. Nepea, traveling on his own starship, had managed to survive the accident. When the Empress received him, therefore, she expressed her joy to Almitis that Nepea had been allowed to survive. A series of festivities were held over the next seven days to honor the Ambassador and his entourage. Nepea was to remain at the Imperial Laurasian Court until his recall in 1762.
  • March 11-
    • Empress Didymeia, who had been experiencing nausea, weight gain, and a desire for food over the past seven months, believed herself, at the beginning of March 1758, to be pregnant with Philicus's child. This time, Didymeia was convinced that the Lord Almitis would bless her with a child, a son who would continue the Neuchrian Dynasty and prevent the accession of Grand Princess Aurelia to the throne. Her hopes, however, were to come crashing into the ground, when the Chief Physician of the Imperial Household, Dr. Athanasius Owenia (1678-1759), who had obtained his post in August 1756, informed her on March 11, 1758, that she was experiencing another phantom pregnancy. Furthermore, Dr. Owenia told his imperial mistress, she was incapable of bearing children. Didymeia was devastated at hearing this: as the customs of the Imperial Family, inherited from the Arachosians in the fifth century AH, prohibited genetic modifications or surgeries regarding such matters as reproduction, the Empress was now forced to acknowledge privately that her sister, Grand Princess Aurelia, would be her ultimate successor. She refrained, however, from issuing a manifesto at this stage making this acknowledgement. At this same time, Spamalkan Ambassador Renard, in a memorandum drawn up for Emperor Philicus, noted that the Grand Princess was now "widely honored and recognized" as heiress to the throne, and that the "leading men of the Empire" would never consent to any effort to alter her status.
    • He gloomily remarked that though it was probable that when Aurelia inherited, "the Empire will revert to the innovations of the preceding reigns," he saw no remedy unless the Grand Princess could be prevailed upon to marry a nominee of Philicus's choice. In view of Empress Didymeia's continued refusal to work for this, there was little chance of achieving it. Apart from her personal reasons for rejecting Aurelia as her successor, the Empress had always maintained that she could not force her sister to take the Duke of Savoy as a husband, and that her subjects would object to her sister having a foreigner husband. She further reinforced her views on March 21, when she was informed by the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs that King Georg II of Vendragia had been contemplating the dispatch of an embassy to propose the marriage of Grand Princess Aurelia with his grandson, Prince Georg of Walesia. Didymeia had sought out her sister's viewpoint on this proposal, and was relieved to learn that Aurelia was no fond of it. She relayed this to the Vendragian Ambassador, Charlag Hanaburis (1708-59), and the King of Vendragia formally withdrew his marriage proposal.
  • April 4-
    • By April 1758, events in the military conflicts of the Great Amulak Spiral had proceeded further. On February 13, 1758, the Duke of Medinia Sidonia attempted a counteroffensive against Franconian lines at Bernay; the ensuing Battle of Bernay resulted in a decisive victory for his Franconian rivals, under Hensios de Seviers, Count of Poitiers (1708-71). Following this, Franconian units blunted Laurasian and Spamalkan offensives against Fecamp, Louviers, and Mt. St. Aignan (February 16-22, 1758); on February 24, Guise itself, the chief stronghold of the House of Guise, successfully repelled a sortie by squadrons of the 57th Imperial Fleet of the Imperial Laurasian Navy under Admiral Sir Vicentius Prashis (1711-83), inflicting serious casualties upon his units. March 1758 witnessed the subjection of Quimper, Rennes, Vannes, and St. Malo by the Franconian units of the Dukes of Orleans and Toulons (1706-61; Rene de Causons); Laurasian moves in the Channel Colonies failed repeatedly. Ardres and Arras became the sites of sharp confrontations between Laurasian and Franconian troops (March 8-12, 1758), and on March 15, 1758, Lord Ambrosius Dudley distinguished himself in the Skirmish of Vimy, overrunning a number of Franconian positions. Nevertheless, the Franconians had the overall upper hand, and an attempt by the Earl of Aeoleon and Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia to reconquer Calais failed in the Battle of Dieppe (March 21, 1758). On March 28, Brewster was reconquered by a Franconian expeditionary force. And then, on April 4, 1758, the Duke of Orleans assaulted Aeoleon's positions at Compeigne. The ensuing Battle of Compeigne was hard fought, but ultimately resulted in a strategic victory for the Franconians. More than 250,000 Laurasian troops died or were captured, and Aeoleon was forced to abandon the star system. Laurasian raiding expeditions in the heart of Orleans and Picardy, against Chantily, Vitry Le Francois, and Fontoise were now terminated. On April 9, 1758, Thoinville, in the outskirts of Franche-Comte, surrendered to King Hensios's forces. Franconian units had also gained successes in Lower Navarre and Andorra, reconquering Foix, Pau, Dordogyne, and Bordeaux (February-March 1758) and threatening Urgell, as well as Fuenterrabia. Upper Mexicana and the Toltec Territories were now occupied by Franconian forces.
    • As regards to the Seven Year's War, early 1758 saw the invasion of Moravia by the Autocratic Pruthian Empire. Emperor Pru'a's forces, repelling Austarlian counteroffensives into Silania and Schiewbus, subdued Brno and Jilhava (February-March 1758). Sumperik, Znojomo, and Trebik were also occupied by the Pruthian Emperor's units. Pru'a's forces also enjoyed successes in the Austarlian Swiss Duchies; the cantons of Genoa, Zurich, Bern, and Basel had all been occupied by April 1758. On April 11, 1758, Pru'a and King Georg II of Vendragia agreed to the Vendragian-Pruthian Convention; the Confederacy now undertook to pay the Emperor of Pruthia a subsidy of more than £7.2 trillion pounds sterling per annum, in exchange for a Pruthian undertaking to participate in the defense of Hanover and to garrison the hyperspace terminal of Emden. Eleven days later, Olmutz was besieged by the Pruthian Emperor's forces; it was his hope that the Austarlians would attack him, and that he would defeat them in a battle, at a time and place of his choosing. From Olmutz, Pru'a intended to secure the remainder of Moravia and to apply renewed pressure on Prague, thereby forcing the Austarlians into peace. Austarlian Field Marshal von Daun, however, avoided direct confrontations with the Pruthian foe, and he instead utilized his reconnaissance forces to harry Pruthian supply lines and to engage in skirmishes with their rear.
    • While this was ongoing, King Georg II denounced the Convention of Klosterzeven (May 1758); Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick engaged in a series of campaigns to clear Franconian units from Cleves and the Westphalian Duchies, to secure Celle, and to penetrate into East Frisia, Mecklenburg, and Franconian Jutland. On June 23, 1758, the Prince won the Battle of Krefeld, liberating Dusseldorf from Franconian occupation, restoring it to the Pruthians. However, Franconian units successfully prevented his junction with Spamalkan units in Cologne and the Durthian Duchies. On June 30, 1758, the Battle of Domstadl (in which Austarlian General Ernest Gideon von Laudon (1717-90) distinguished himself) resulted in a decisive victory for the Holy Austarlian Empire, and the cessation of Pru'a's siege of Olmutz. The Pruthian Emperor's units were soon ejected from Brno, Jilhava, and Sumperik, and by the middle of July 1758, he had been compelled to abandon his plans for moves against Prague and into Inner Bohemia. The Battle of Guntramovice (July 7, 1758), imposed a further humiliation upon Pru'a and his forces. By July 1758, Basel, Genoa, and Zurich were back in Austarlian hands; the Pruthian Principality of Neuchatel was under invasion; and Pruthian units had again been ejected from Lepizig. Pruthian forces had also suffered reverses in Baden, Wurrtemberg, and Thrunigia; Bayreuth defected to the Austarlians on July 22, 1758, depriving Pru'a of one of his princely allies. In the Colonial Territories, the Vendragians gained the upper hand. Senegal and the Gambia fell to the Vendragians in May 1758, by July, Goree and the Ivory Provinces were also in Vendragian possession. Lujakbourg was besieged from June 8, 1758, and finally fell on July 26. The earlier Battle of Cartagena (February 28, 1758), a joint effort between Vendragian and Spamalkan forces, resulted in the humiliation of the Franconian Admiral Michael de Menneville (1700-78). Fort Dunesquene, Fort Frotenanc, and the Pierre Colonies also fell into Vendragian hands. By August 1758, Franconian forces, having suffered a humiliating defeat at Plessy in 1757, had been expelled from Bengal, Bangladesh, and Nepal, thereby consolidating the Vendragian position in the Northern Circars.
    • Whilst these events were going on, developments were also proceeding at the Royal Franconian Court. On April 4, 1758, Queen Mariana of Scottria signed the secret Concordat of Tuileria. The Concordat had been prepared by King Hensios II, in conjunction with the Franconian Estates-General. Mariana had, by this point, resided in Franconia for nearly ten years. She had a promising childhood, becoming a favorite with almost everyone, save Queen Consort Catharina d'Medici. She learned how to play various musical instruments, was competent in prose, poetry, and athletics, and was taught Franconian, Haxonian, Spamalkan, and Durthian, in addition to speaking her native Scottrian. Her future sister-in-law, Elisabeth of Valois, became a close friend of whom Mariana retained "nostalgic memories" later in life. Her maternal grandmother, Antionette de Bourbon, also had a powerful influence upon the young Queen, and became one of her closest advisers. Mariana gradually matured into a beautiful and vivacious woman. She had a small, oval-shaped head, a long, graceful neck, bright auburn hair, hazel-brown eyes, under heavy lowered eyelids and finely arched brows, smooth, pale skin, a high forehead, and regular, firm features. She attained an adult height of 5 ft 11 inhes, and was considered eloquent by many, in contrast to her short, stammering husband. Nevertheless, as had been noted by King Hensios himself, the two got along perfectly. Thus, Mariana, who was nearing sixteen, had no qualms in signing the Concordat. The Concordat specified that if Mariana and Franjak, when they married, died without issue, the Scottrian Crown and Mariana's hereditary claims to the Imperial Laurasian Crown would be bequeathed to the Franconian Crown.
    • Twenty days after signing the Concordat, Mariana was finally married to Franjak. The marriage, which was conducted at the Franconian Cathedral of Notre Dame on Parri, surpassed any other ceremony which had been held thus far in the Serene Kingdom of Franconia's history. The Dauphin's parents, King Hensios and Queen Catharina, gave their son away to his bride. The Earl of Arran, who had since relinquishing his position as Regent of Scottria, served as the Scottrian Ambassador to the Court of Parri, represented Mariana's mother, Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise, and the Royal Franconian Government, at the ceremony. Mariana's uncle, the Duke of Guise, was also present at the ceremony, and served as the Queen's man of honor. Vigorous celebrations ensued, and many throughout both Franconia and Scottria rejoiced at the wedding. The same feelings, however, were not evident within the Laurasian Empire. Empress Didymeia, who had been watching events closely, was alarmed by the wedding, and discussed it with the Imperial Privy Council. She and they were fully aware that if Mariana and Franjak had children, a personal union would be established between Franconia and Scottria. Such a personal union could potentially jeopardize the Empire's position in the Galactic Borderlands and prevent additional Laurasian advances into the Angelina Spiral. This was a prospect which the Empress of Laurasia found utterly distasteful.
  • May 2-Haynsian Despot Halezuku Karany, who had usurped the throne in only the previous year, was forced to retire due to his age (May 2, 1758). Halezuku, although he had proved himself to be a skilled intriguer, was unable to translate this ability into his new role, and proved incapable of restraining the competing factions at the Haynsian Court. Halezuku now retired to Saraj-Elli in the Great Amulak Spiral; he was succeeded as Despot by the former Serasker of the Buzadhania Corps, his cousin Jay XII Karany. Jay XII proved to be an ambitious and intriguing ruler in his own right, as he sought to extend the Haynsian Despotate's diplomatic ties and contemplated the buildup of a possible alliance against the Laurasian Empire.
  • May 11-May and June 1758 witnessed the continuation of the struggle among Laurasia, Spamalka, and Franconia. On April 18, 1758, Caen fell to the Earl of Aretha, constituting the first major success for the Laurasian Empire's forces in months. Aretha then proceeded to secure the Lower Normandian strongholds of Avranches and Argentan (April 19-25, 1758), inflicting a series of defeats upon the Count of Poitiers. At the same time, the Duke of Alvrades in Spamalka conquered Epernay and Soissons (April 21, 1758), reversing the string of Franconian successes in Picardy. Lagny-sur-Marne was in allied hands by the end of the month, and on May 4, La Fere once again fell into the Duke of Medinia-Sidonia's possession. At the same time, Franconian moves against Pamplona, Noain, and Villalar were repelled, securing the Spamalkan hold of Upper Navarre. Then on May 11, 1758, the Earl of Aeoleon repelled Franconian offensives against Breuteuil in the Battle of Cosigny. The successful Laurasian defense of Breuteuil went some ways towards redressing the Laurasian loss of Calais to the Duke of Guise. Empress Didymeia promoted the Earl of Aeoleon to the rank of Field Marshal for this success. By the end of May 1758, Rouen, Bayreux, and Evereux were once again securely in allied hands. The Franconians, however, stormed Deauville and Flers (May 24-28, 1758), managing to blunt Aretha's moves into those star systems.
  • May 26-From this point forwards, the health of Empress Didymeia entered a serious decline. The Laurasian humiliation at Calais in January 1758, followed two months later by the phantom pregnancy, had both taken their toll on the Empress's physical and mental condition. The incident of March 29, 1758 at the Old Royal Palace, occurred with the Empress Didymeia raving in her private bedchambers about "heretics, infidels, and fiends who are in the service of the anti-Almitis and who seek to ruin all the efforts of my reign." Five days later, Didymeia had declared to her personal household that she knew that the Lord Almitis was still punishing the Laurasian realms, and the Neuchrian Dynasty, for her failure to root out all heretics, and that only more vigorous religious policies could appease his wrath. This trend was noticed during the middle months of 1758, for some 100,000 individuals would be executed by disintegration at the stake, under the authorization of the Heresy Laws. By this point, in spite of the resumption of Laurasian momentum in the Didymeian War, Empress Didymeia had become very unpopular with the people of the Laurasian Empire, and many were yearning for Aurelia's accession to the Laurasian throne. Didymeia's health fueled their hopes. The Empress suffered occasional panic attacks and heat strokes; she complained of pains in her stomach and of constipation.
  • June 16-The prominent Scottrian theologian John Knox, who was in exile at Medgeburg in the Autocratic Pruthian Empire since 1749, and had studied extensively the reforms in the Almitian Church of the Laurasian Empire, published his chief political treatise, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regime of Women (June 16, 1758). In this work, he sought to combine traditionalist Scottrian thought, Laurasian misogynistic beliefs, and the religious teachings of both the Scottrian Catholic Order and the Laurasian Almitian Church, in order to present a argument against the rule of female monarchs. In his introduction, Knox claimed that "the Lords of this Universe have defined natural laws of operation for sentient civilization. These laws have traditionally included respect for elders, respect for property, orderly conduct, restraint in action, opposition to lechery and other evil values, and in particular, the proper domination of man over their female counterparts." He pointed out three major female monarchs in power at that time: Empress Mar'va Tarvania of Austarlia, Empress Didymeia of Laurasia, and Regent of Scottria, Queen-Dowager Mariana of Guise. In the case of the first, he declared that she "hath no experience in the affairs of state" and was "ignorant as to the needs of her realm." In the case of the second, Knox declared that Didymeia was a "persecutor of those who truly believe in the Laurasian Gods, brutalizing her subjects in such a manner that all should be appalled." In the third, Knox stated that "the Queen-Dowager has demonstrated her overreaching, overbearing nature. She seeks to control all, to lord in consort with her supporters." Therefore, Knox stated, it was essential that men rise up and reclaim "proper rule" over their societies. At this point in the eighteenth century, many, in the Laurasian Empire and elsewhere, were still deeply misogynistic, and believed that women should not rule over men. However, those in the Imperial Laurasian Government understood that a woman (i.e. Grand Princess Aurelia), was the heiress apparent to the Laurasian throne, by virtue of the directives of her father. Concern for the proper succession overshadowed their concerns over gender.
  • July 7-
    • The Battle of Cherbourg was fought between the forces of the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia and the Earl of Aeoleon, and the forces of the Serene Kingdom of Franconia under the command of the Duke of Montmorency (July 7, 1758). This battle came following the recent allied successes in Lower Normandy, Picardy, and Compeigne. Cherbourg, which was located two hundred light-years to the west of Calais, would have offered Coalition forces a route of access to Parri. Emperor Philicus, irritated by Franconian operations against Gravelines, Niewpoort, and Antwerp, hoped to storm Cherbourg and to threaten the supply lines of Loulon, Ardres, and Parri. This confrontation was particularly hard fought. The superior Laurasian corvettes inflicted severe damage upon the Franconian force (more than 150,000 casualties) but ultimately, the Duke of Montmorency managed to maintain the Franconian position at Cherbourg. Following the Battle of Cherbourg, the pace of Laurasian and Spamalkan momentum slowed. Although Andorra de la Valla, Canillo, and Encamp were secured by the Spamalkans (July 9-14, 1758), while Guines, Hames, and Brewster were reconquered by the Earl of Aretha (August 1758), allied moves into Provence and Burgundy largely failed. The war in the Royal Dominions now entered a stalemate, with allied and Franconian forces clashing indecisively in the Durthian Duchies, Lichenstein, Cologne, and Franche-Comte for the next four months. Events, however, continued to proceed elsewhere. The Battle of Carillon (July 8, 1758), was a success for the Franconians and Iroquois against the Vendragians; Vendragian moves into Alabama, the Orleans Parishes, and the Oklahoma Territories failed (August 1758); and Baja California remained beyond the range of the Vendragian and Spamalkan Navies. St. Servan, Harve le Grace, and Cancalles were plundered by the Vendragians on August 9, 1758, but did not constitute an effective provision of aid to Laurasian units in Brittany and Normandy; indeed, Vendragia and Laurasia still remained aloof from each other.
    • And on August 25, 1758, the Battle of Zorndorf, fought between the Pruthians, under Emperor Pru'a IX himself, on the one hand, and the Franconians and Austarlians of Count William de Fermor (1702-71), on the other, ended in a strategic stalemate. The coalition forces suffered greater casualties than their Pruthian counterparts, but Pru'a was forced to abandon Zorndorf, Marienburg, and Olaw, thereby weakening his position in East Pruthia and in Eastern Brandenburg. Landsberg fell into Austarlian hands, but this did little to redress the strategic balance. The Battles of Tornow (September 25) and Fehrbellin (September 28) ended in tactical victories for the Mecklenburgians and Franconians, though Pru'a was able to prevent their advance towards Berliania III and to retain Stralsund, Rugen, and the Aolt, which his forces had seized in January 1758. Austarlian Field Marshal von Daun subsequently attacked the Pruthians at Hochkirch (October 14, 1758), but was successfully repelled by Pru'a, albeit with heavy losses. Austarlian moves against Dresden failed, and Pru'a recaptured Lepizig, thereby retaining control of Saxony. A Austarlian-Franconian move against Kolberg in Pomerania failed (November 1758). Greffinberg and Neustin were captured by the Austarlians, however. Franconian moves in Cleves, Dortmund, and Hamburg, on their part, failed. By the latter months of 1758, affairs had settled into a stalemate in Germania.
  • August 9-Even in the midst of the Didymeian War, and the Didymeian Persecutions, the Imperial Laurasian Government was nevertheless able to accomplish other reforms of value, which would establish an additional foundation for the reign of Aurelia the Great. The promulgation of the Imperial Privy Council Statute, in November 1756, has already been noted. Another significant reform, which came on August 9, 1758, was the enactment of the Imperial Code of Rates. Though the situation in the imperial economy had recovered following the tribulations of 1750-1751, and the imperial currency had regained its bearings, the imperial finances system was nevertheless in need of further reform. This was particularly true with external trade. There had been a failure, under Lord Protector Northumberlais, to order for a revision and re-application of tariffs on new kinds of imports into the Empire, particularly of orlite, which had been discovered in 1749 and had quickly become a valuable rare earth metal on the imperial markets. Consequently, in January 1758, Empress Didymeia ordered Lord Treasurer Winchestrius to commission a study of all imperial tariffs, import taxes, dues, and rates, and to compile these into a common schedule, with a mandate for annual revision. Winchestrius did as ordered, and the product of his efforts, through the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance, was the Code of Rates. This code listed the duties, tariffs, and dues of every Laurasian import, provided a uniform schedule for rate collections, fees, and spacedock charges, confirmed the abolition of internal tariffs (which had occurred in August 1752), and provided that no more then every fifteen years, the schedule was to be revised and updated. The Code of Rates, which helped to simplify the Laurasian tariff collection system, was to be joined by the Code of Commercial Navigation, the Spice Trade Code, and the Colonial Trade Code of Aurelia I.
  • September 21-On September 21, 1758, at the Spamalkan Conclave of Yutse, the former Holy Spamalkan Emperor Char'va I, who had resided there since his abdication in January 1756, and had joined in communion with the Holy Catholic Order of the Spamalkan Empire, died at the age of 58. Char'va had been a respected sovereign during his reign, although for virtually every year of his rule he had been at war with the Marasharite Empire, Barbary States, Vendragian Confederacy, Haxonian Confederacy, Serene Kingdom of Franconia, and the Autocratic Pruthian Empire, alongside other adversaries. Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I, who was commanding operations against Franconian forces from his headquarters at Brussels, was devastated when he learned of his father's death. Philicus declared that his father was a "loyal servant of our gods" and expressed his hope that he would find a firm resting place in the Heavens. Laurasian Empress Didymeia, who had been Char'va's daughter-in-law, and who was herself in declining health, issued a manifesto from Gilbertine Palace on Tudoria, where she was currently convalescing. In this proclamation, the Empress of Laurasia declared that the death of Char'va was "a great blow to our societies, one which the Lord Almitis so often deals to us" and that Char'va had been one of the most saintly, vigorous sovereigns to have lived. King Hensios II of Franconia, who had inherited his father's animosity towards Spamalka, nevertheless expressed his condolences for the death of Emperor Char'va. All of the sovereigns then engaged in the Seven Year's War, including Emperor Pru'a IX of Pruthia; Empress Mar'va Tarvania of Austarlia; and King Georg II of Vendragia, also expressed their condolences. Char'va would be buried at the Priory of Telos on Yutse on October 9, in accordance with his final wishes in his will.
  • November 6-By November 1758, the health of the Empress was in a sorry state. Throughout the summer solstice of 1758, Didymeia had continued to rave in her personal bedchambers; had been bedridden in delirium; and had refused to appear on the Palatial Balcony before her subjects, as was the typical custom of a Laurasian sovereign. She knew that her subjects would not wish to see her in any case. By this point, many throughout the Laurasian Empire considered her to be a tyrant, and believed that her religious policies overshadowed the economic and administrative achievements of her reign. To them, the deaths of 700 million innocent Reformed Almitians overtook the quadrupling in Laurasian industrial and agricultural productivity levels, the successful exploration and colonization of 80,000 star systems, or the low levels of unemployment which the Empress and her ministers had successfully maintained throughout the reign. Didymeia was irrational and intolerant, in their view. The Empress herself continued to believe up until these last moments that her policies had been meant only to preserve the unity of the Imperial Almitian Church and the strength of the Laurasian Empire. And now, virtually abandoned by her husband, childless, and unloved, Didymeia was forced to acknowledge the true situation. On November 6, 1758, the Empress issued an imperial manifesto, composed with the assistance of Chancellor Polsius and Baron Pagentia, that now formally acknowledged Grand Princess Aurelia as her heiress apparent, under the terms of the Third Antigonid Statute and the final testament of their father, Antigonus III. Didymeia declared that "because the Lord Almitis has deemed it fit not to grant us any children, we are obliged to acknowledge that our sister, the Grand Princess Aurelia, shall ascend to this throne upon our death." While Didymeia believed that only the fact she had no children meant Aurelia was to succeed, others considered it to be the divine providence of Almitis. By this point, the Grand Princess, still in residence at the Palace of Secrets on Paradine, was beginning to make preparations for her ascension to the throne. Indeed, she had remained there throughout the majority of the year, not including a very brief visit to the Palace of Placenta on Darcia at the end of February 1758. It had been noted by Ambassador Renard, shortly before his recall from the Empire in April 1758, that "frequent communications reach and leave her secretly in regards to the succession."
  • November 10-Dejanican King Vorrus II, seeking to extend the influence of his family in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and taking advantage of the fact that Pruthia and Austarlia were distracted by the conflicts of the Seven Year's War, and Laurasia by the Didymeian War of Franconia, persuaded the Council of the Duchy of Northania to name his son, Carl of Saxonia, as the new Duke of Northania. Carl, who was the same age as Laurasian Grand Princess Aurelia, was formally designated Duke of Northania and Semigallia by the majority vote of the Council (November 10, 1758). He would formally be invested as duke by his father, King Vorrus, in a ceremony on Dejanica on January 8, 1759, and would arrive at his capital, Mitau in the Great Tesmanian Cloud, on March 29 of that year. Carl would remain Duke until his deposition in July 1763.
  • November 17-
    • On this day, November 17, 1758, the fourth and final change of monarch in the eighteenth century occurred. During the early hours of the day, the servants of the Imperial Household, including the Chief Gentlewoman of the Imperial Privy Chamber, Susanna Clarincuexia, stirred early in the morning and immediately set about their duties. Lady Clarincuexia, as was the custom, knocked on the door of Her Majesty's bedchamber, in order to begin her toilette. Normally, Didymeia answered promptly and was already awaiting her ladies. This time, however, there was no response. Lady Clarincuexia, believing Her Majesty was still asleep, decided to wait for some time before knocking again. Two hours passed, and it was now 9:00 am. The Empress still did not stir. Lady Clarincuexia was now genuinely concerned, and with other ladies-in-waiting, entered the Empress's bedchamber. They found Didymeia, still in bed, lifeless. Her hand with her signet ring was laying on top of the sheets, and her eyes were closed. Lady Clarincuexia and the others rushed to her bed, attempting to revive the Empress. She was not breathing, and there was no pulse. Finally, about 9:40 am, Dr. Owenia was called in. The Earl of Americana, Baron Pagentia, and the Earl of Jadia (1725-83; Thomasius Radycliffia) also rushed to the Empress's bedside.
    • Their hopes for a revival were to crash in ruins. At 9:50 am, three hours after Lady Clarincuexia had originally knocked on the Empress's bedchamber door, Dr. Owenia made his pronouncement: Didymeia I (who would become known as "the Terrible" to some of her subjects on account of her religious policies), Empress and Autocrat of All the Laurasians and eldest surviving child of Antigonus III, was dead at the age of forty-two, after a reign of just over five years. Lady Clarincuexia and the other attendants of the Imperial Household were in tears at this announcement. The Earl of Americana now hastily summoned the Governing Senate, Holy Synod, and Imperial Privy Council to the Quencilvanian Palace. He did so because Chancellor Polsius himself was deathly ill. At 11:00 a.m., the three Councils of State formally assembled in the Public Council Chambers, and there, Americana informed them that the Empress was dead. Immediately afterwards, the Councils of State united into the Accession Council, and within an hour, large crowds had gathered outside of the Quencilvanian Palace, Diplomatic Palace, Westphalian Cathedral, Senatorial Palace, and Old Royal Palace, among other government structures throughout Christiania and the other cities of Laurasia Prime. Heralds, on the order of the Council, appeared, announced to the crowds and the subjects of the Empire that "the blessed Empress Didymeia has died", and proclaimed, under the terms of the Third Antigonid Statute and the Didymeian Manifesto, that her half-sister, Grand Princess Aurelia, was now the Empress and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. The Accession Council soon issued the official proclamation, declaring that Aurelia was now "by the Grace of Almitis, absolute mistress of these dominions." The proclamation was repeated by heralds and Holochannels throughout the star systems of the Empire, while Procurator-General, Archbishop Nicolaus Heathius of Conservan, formally announced Aurelia's accession to the people of the Empire over the Holonet.
    • At 2:00 p.m., Sir Willanius Cecilis, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, and Baron Pagentia, having departed from Laurasia Prime immediately after Dr. Owenia had pronounced the Empress dead, arrived at the Palace of Secrets on Paradine. The now Empress Aurelia, still unaware at this point of her new status, was taking the air in the Palatial Park, as was her normal routine. She was not altogether surprised, however, when Cecilis, who had been of great assistance to her during the darkest days of Empress Didymeia's reign, and the other councilors disembarked from their barges and headed immediately towards her. She stopped walking, knowing what their mission was. Cecilis was the first of the delegation of Privy Councilors to reach her. Dropping to his knees, followed shortly afterwards by the elderly Lord Treasurer and by Baron Pagentia, he presented to her the Empress's regal ring. Aurelia took it, and holding it in the palm of her hand, said, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!" She then whipped her bonnet off her head and slipped the ring on her finger, breathing the air. Cecilis then said, "By the grace of Almitis, you have acceded to the Laurasian throne." The Empress nodded, informing Cecilius that he would become her chief minister, and then raising him up, went with the delegation to do business. Upon reaching the residence, everyone bowed and saluted her as their Empress. Within hours, more Privy Councilors, courtiers, and supporters had streamed into the Palace of Secrets. At 6:00 p.m. in the afternoon, the Empress summoned those members of the Privy Council who had arrived at the Palace of Secrets in order to discuss her immediate plans. Dressed in the black and white garments applauded by the Reformists, she presided over the meeting with "considerable insight, acumen, and self confidence" which startled many. At the meeting, sat alongside her the thirty-eight year old Cecilis, who already had been Chancellor of the Laurasian Empire and was soon to be so again. He was destined to become the Empress's chief minister for the next forty years.
    • The formal announcement of Aurelia's accession was issued to the foreign courts of the Laurasian Empire's neighbors and to all Laurasian embassies abroad. Condolences for the death of Empress Didymeia arrived from King Vorrus II of Dejanica, Mariana of Guise (in her capacity as Regent of Scottria), Marasharite Emperor Mustapha III, Emperor Pru'a IX of Pruthia, Empress Mar'va Tarvania of Austarlia, Doge Lorenzo Pruili of Haxonia, King Georg II of Vendragia, King Sebastian I of Portugallia, and from Philicus I of Spamalka, who was now free to marry again and who had lost his title as Emperor-Consort of Laurasia, as a result of his wife's death. The terms of the Treaty of Arias therefore lapsed. Then at 7:30 p.m, just as the meeting was coming to a close, the Empress was informed that Chancellor Polsius had died. Polsius, who had been informed of Empress Didymeia's death while he was himself in delirium at his bed, had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage. His doctors had despaired of him, and he had expired at 7:00 p.m. Galactic Standard Time at the Hospital of St. Mary's in Christiania. The death of Chancellor and Chief Procurator Polsius was considered a coincidence of Almitis, and a fortunate one indeed. He had been the hated Empress Didymeia's chief minister, and was the one responsible for overseeing the enforcement of the Heresy and Sodomy Laws following the death of Gardinerius in November 1755. His death spared Aurelia of the painful task of removing him. After learning of the Chancellor's death, Aurelia declared a two month period of mourning for her late sister, the standard period of mourning for a sovereign. She did not bother to order the Court into mourning for Polsius. The Empress retired to her bedchambers towards 9:00 p.m. at night, but she was too excited to sleep. Many were confident in the new Empress's abilities, and they had good cause to believe so. Forty-four years of military glory, economic prosperity, and cultural renaissance had just commenced for the Laurasian Empire.
  • November 18-The Empress held an informal meeting with those Privy Councilors who were at the Palace of Secrets; over this and the following day, November 19, the Empress would work with her advisers in order to form a new administration. On this day, she formally appointed Lord Antiochus Dudley, who had returned from the campaigns in the Amulak Spiral in January 1758, as the new Master of the Empress's Vehicles. Dudley had, upon hearing of Aurelia's ascension, mounted on his ceremonial barge and arrived at the Palace of Secrets, offering his new sovereign his loyalty and his services. The two were well-acquainted with each other: Aurelia had first met Antiochus in February 1741, for he was one of the members of the Aristocratic Pages, that group of children chosen to share lessons with the Emperor's children, the Grand Prince Demetrius and his half-sister. Dudley's marriage to the beautiful Lady Fausta Robsarius, in May 1750, had been attended by the Ladies Aurelia and Didymeia, and the Emperor Demetrius II. He was therefore one of the wealthiest gentlemen in the Laurasian Empire, owning estates throughout the Laurasian Purse Worlds. His involvement in the Accession Crisis, however, had resulted in his imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux during 1753-1754, at exactly the same time that Grand Princess Aurelia was imprisoned for her alleged involvement in the Wyatta Rebellion. The two had grown closer together during that time, having a common experience of life under threat of execution. He had been released in October 1754, on the initiative of Emperor-Consort Philicus, and his services at St. Quentin contributed to the rehabilitation in his family's fortunes and reputation. Now, as Master of the Empress's Vehicles, he would hold a major position of patronage in the Imperial Household.
  • November 20-
    • The entire Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod finally assembled at the Palace of Secrets, on November 20, 1758, as well as the most important personages and nobles of the Imperial Court. The elderly Field-Marshal Munnich, who had been forced to resign as Minister of Defense in January 1755 after twenty-three years at that post, but nevertheless remained on the Imperial General Staff, was among the military commanders who was present at the meeting. The three Councils of State were now gathered to hear the Empress officially designate the men she had chosen as the ministers of government and to make her first public speech as the Autocrat of All the Laurasians. The Empress deemed it expedient that the most important position in the Imperial Government be filled first, before any other. Therefore, she now appointed Sir Willanius Cecilis back to his old positions as Chancellor of the Laurasian Empire, Minister of the Imperial Chancellory, and President of the Imperial Privy Council, thereby officially making him her chief minister. Cecilis took the oath of office promptly. Although he had misgivings about the prospects of female rule over the Laurasian Empire, he did not doubt in Aurelia's abilities, and had the utmost confidence in her. She told him, once he had taken his oath of allegiance: "I give you this charge that you shall be of my Privy Council and content to take pains for me and my realm. This judgment I have of you, that you will not be corrupted with any manner of gifts, and that you will be faithful to the state; and that, without respect of my private will, you will give me that counsel which you think best." Cecilis himself would justify the Empress's expectations to the full. As Chancellor, he would involve himself in every aspect of the Imperial Laurasian Government. He was endowed with a prodigious memory, and an astonishing capacity for hard work.
    • When faced with a complex problem, it was his custom to set down in writing all considerations relating to it, ranging from the most simplistic statements of fact to very precise details, and he would make an opinion only after thoroughly examining everything. He produced memorandum on everything from commercial treaties made by the Empire with such powers as Haxonia, Vendragia, and Mecklenburg to security questions relating to the Empress, to civil disorder within the Empire, to customs of the Almitian Church. Together, the Empress and Cecilis would form a unique partnership. She did not always follow his advice, and there were times where their relationship was in serious jeopardy (the Lady Fausta Dudley affair and the execution of Queen Mariana of Scottria being the most notable), but on most questions of state and policy, their opinions coincided. Both believed that it was necessary to embark on a thorough and comprehensive program of reform, in economics, administration, religion, education, and judiciary, in order to strengthen the State's authority. The Empress relied upon Cecilis so much because of this similarity in opinions, and the Chancellor himself developed a considerable respect for her intellect. He would say of her, in 1790, that "There was no wise a woman born, for all respects, as Empress Aurelia of Laurasia, for she speaks and understands all languages, conceives fully of the affairs of state, and is the expert of all concerning this Empire and its interests." Empress Aurelia would also pay her respects to him, as in her tribute of 1795 (referred to in the section of 1798).
    • Following the elevation of Cecilis, Sir Nicholas Bagonius was appointed as Procurator-General of the Governing Senate, Minister of Justice, and Imperial Privy Seal, making him the highest ranking judicial officer in the Laurasian Empire. Bagonius was known for his work ethic, his dedication to the Empress and to the imperial realm, and his patriotism. On the advice of Cecilis, Aurelia decided to leave the Chief Procuratorate of the Holy Synod vacant for the time being, until she could sort out the situation in the Church. She moved to other matters swiftly. Katharina Parsius's brother Willanius, who had been deprived of the Marquessate of Venusia by the Empress Didymeia after his involvement in the Wyatta Rebellion, was restored to all of his honors and appointed Minister of Energy and Planetary Resources. Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, a leading Reformist and one of Aurelia's good friends, was appointed Master of the Imperial Ordnance and Minister of Imperial Works and Holdings, and authorized to carry out the duties of Chief Procurator until a formal appointment was made. Sir Tactius Knollysis, who was the husband of Katharina Caranius, daughter of the Empress's aunt Antonia Boleyenia and cousin to the Empress herself, as well as an ardent Reformist in his own right, was appointed Minister of Culture and Communications. Aurelia retained several of those who had served on the Privy Council. The Marquess of Winchestrius, who had switched his allegiance back from Traditionalism to Reformism, was by this time the most senior member of the Council (having served on it for thirty-two years), and who was held in high favor and respect by every one of the Neuchrian monarchs, continued as Lord Treasurer and was also appointed Minister of Finance, thereby giving him absolute control of the Empire's finances.
    • The Earls of Jadia, Darcia, Americana, and Aeoleon also retained their respective positions on the Privy Council (those of Sentient Services, Internal Security, Imperial Marshal, and Space and Transportation). They had considerable experience, with Jadia and Darcia in particular becoming trusted advisers of the Empress. She would never be on amiable terms with either Americana or Aeoleon, considering them traitors for having been involved in the Accession Crisis and for then having condoned the religious policies of her sister Didymeia. Nevertheless, she recognized their administrative abilities and employed them extensively. This good discernment of ability would serve Aurelia well throughout her reign. Baron Pagentia, on his part, who had been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in January 1757, begged leave to retire, although he declared his absolute loyalty to the Empress. She accepted, and appointed Sir Demetrius Lovarnia (1707-68) to take his place. Pagentia, granted a generous imperial pension and thanked for his service, would die at his estate on Melarnaria on June 9, 1763 at the age of 57. Moreover, the Empress appointed, as her Minister of Regional and Provincial Administration, Tacitus Pasarius, 9th Duke of Iego (1702-67), who had fled abroad from the Empire's dominions in 1756, and who was considered by many to be physically repulsive. Yet he was absolutely loyal to Her Majesty. Finally, Field Marshal Munnich, who had been in enforced retirement during the past three years at Archleuta, regained his post, and the elderly general's skill of command was brought back to the direction of the Laurasian military's affairs. In her speech to the newly assembled Privy Council, the Empress declared that "I am moved by the law of Nature to mourn for my sister; yet, considering that I am Almitis's creature, and vested by Him with the reins of autocratic authority over this Empire, I will yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me....I mean to direct all mine actions by good advice and counsel. My meaning is to require of you all nothing more but faithful hearts, and of my good will you shall not doubt, using yourselves as good and loving subjects."
  • November 21-
    • Empress Aurelia continued in her flurry of government activity, drawing up lists of appointments to major government commissions, the Imperial Intelligence Agency, the Valedictorian Guards, the Imperial Household, Imperial General Headquarters, the Governing Senate, the Holy Synod, the Imperial Chancellory, and a slew of other positions. She focused especially on appointments within her own household. Her former governess, Katharina Ashleius, was formally appointed Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber and Mistress of the Robes, replacing Didymeia's friend Susanna Clarinceuxia in those positions. Clarinceuxia was given an imperial pension and retired to Americana, where she died in 1764. Ashleius would be created Marchioness of Heliotrope by the Empress on November 27. Her husband, Sir John Ashleius (who would be elevated to the rank of Baron Ashleius of Heliotrope), became Master of Imperial Properties, while the Empress's former treasurer, Thomasius Parsius, was named Comptroller of the Imperial Household. He would be knighted by the Empress on December 2 and granted the right to bear a coat of arms. His daughter, Meguilla Parsius, who had served her since birth, was appointed Lady of the Bedchamber and Vice-Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. She would eventually be created Baroness Parsius of Welch in 1777. The Empress's great-uncle, Lord Howardis of Effinga, who had lent her valuable moral support during her sister's reign, was appointed as Imperial High Chamberlain, replacing Baron Harringtia of Caroline in that position. Harringtia who found himself in disfavor at the Imperial Court, retired from public service afterwards; he died on March 9, 1771, at his estate, Stoke Poges, on Jem. Sir Tacitus Knollysis became Vice-Chamberlain; his daughter Laetitia became a maid of honor. Another of Aurelia's cousins, Sir Antigonus Caranius, elder brother of Katharina Caranius, was created Baron Husadarania and named a Privy Councilor. The Empress dismissed most of Didymeia's Traditionalist ladies and replaced them with her own, but unlike what her father had done to her own mother's servants, she did not punish them in any way. Instead, she ordered for them to be provided pensions from the Imperial Treasury for life.
    • On the same day that the Empress designated her household appointees (November 21, 1758), she held an audience with the newly-appointed Holy Spamalkan Ambassador, Gomez Surarez de Figueroa y Cordoba, 1st Count of Feria (1720-71), who had been appointed by Philicus I in May 1758 and had arrived at Laurasia Prime on June 22, formally succeeding Renard. Feria was tasked by Philicus with presenting official congratulations from the Holy Spamalkan Government to the new Empress, and to ensure the continuation of the Laurasian-Spamalkan alliance. Philicus was determined to maintain the territorial integrity of his realms, but he had also come to realize by this point that the ongoing war was inconclusive and would yield few results. He therefore instructed Feria to gain a grasp of Aurelia's opinions, so that he could proceed forth with the matter of how to bring the war to an end. Feria made a major misstep at the beginning of the audience when he claimed that Philicus's influence had been the primary factor which had spared the new Empress from ruin at her sister's hands and had preserved her to ascend to the throne. Aurelia regarded this with contempt, and declared that her gratitude was due to her people and the Lord Almitis. Aurelia, however, understood that a friendly Philicus was better than a hostile one, and she told Feria that she bore no hostile intentions towards Spamalka. The Empress however, also bluntly informed Feria that the war with Franconia needed to be ended as soon as possible, and that she was determined, first of all, to maintain Laurasian interests. She was also determined to refrain from "any undue hostilities which are not in accord with the interests of my realm." Feria, intrigued by the Empress's relaxed manner and her forwardness with her views, promised that he and his master would support the Laurasian Empire regardless. The Empress then dismissed him graciously from the audience.
  • November 23-Empress Aurelia, having organized her new administration and made arrangements for the composition of her new government, departed from the Palace of Secrets on Paradine and with the vast Imperial Household, made her official progress, by juncture of Palimsiano, Pasquarillo, Azov, Courdina V, Gordasis, Aroest, Constantine I, Aeoleon, Janesia, and Dearton's Gateway, into the Laurasia Prime star system (November 23, 1758). Crowds assembled at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, the Second Station of Callista, on the two Calaxies, and in all of the cities of Laurasia Prime cheered the Empress fervently and extended their most gracious welcome to her. She was formally received at the Second Station of Callista by the Governor of Laurasia Prime, the Mayor of Christiania, the Commander of the Garrison of Laurasia Prime, and the assembled clergy, gentry, and officials of Laurasia Prime. The Mayor of Christiania delivered a polished welcoming speech to the Empress, to which Aurelia responded in a positive manner. She was disturbed however, by the presence of Archbishop Bonneris, who had been translated to the see of Laurasia Prime by the Empress Didymeia four months before her death, and when he knelt to receive the Empress's blessings, she ordered him out of her sight, to which he obliged quickly, running "as fast as the winds of Almitis would carry him." The Empress then formally proceeded to the Old Royal Palace, because the Imperial Apartments at the Fortress of Baureux (the residing place of the sovereign before their coronation), were not yet ready to receive her. She would stay here for the next five days, attending to state business. On November 24, the Empress issued a imperial manifesto suspending Bonneris from his duties as Archbishop of Laurasia Prime and formally dismissing him from the Holy Synod. The same manifesto also suspended most other Traditionalist clergymen then serving in the Almitian Church and commanded them to stay out of the Empress's sight. This was a temporary solution until she could begin her formal religious reforms and find Reformist clergymen to appoint in their places.
  • November 28-Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Household removed to the Imperial Apartments in the Fortress of Baureux (November 28, 1758), using a different route from the traditional one which would be followed on the day of her coronation. Sumptuously attired in purple velvet with a rich neck scarf, she traveled through the Religious and Judicial Precincts, reveling in the acclaim of her subjects, declarations of joy and loyalty by her subjects, the music of the Christiania City Orchestra, the pealing of the bells of all the cathedrals and churches of Laurasia Prime, and the fanfares of trumpets and bugles which announced her coming. The procession was led by the Mayor of Christiania and the Garter Master of Arms, with Aeoleon bearing the Sword of State and Lord Antiochus Dudley, performing his duties as Master of the Empress's Vehicles, riding in the barge behind that of the Empress. Aurelia treated her subjects very kindly, and they responded warmly to her, praising her merits and qualities. Ambassador Feria would leave an account which corroborates the Holonet records of the day. As she neared the Fortress of Baureux, the Empress ordered her barge to halt. She reflected that when she had last come here it had been as a prisoner in fear of execution. Looking at the prison erected by the Emperor Antoninus Pius over two centuries earlier, the Empress expressed her gratitude for her delivery before the crowds assembled. "O Lord, Almighty and Everlasting Almitis, I give my most hearty thanks that You have been so merciful unto me as to spare me to behold this day." She then turned to her subjects, and said, "Some have fallen from being princes of this galaxy to be prisoners in this place. I am raised from being a prisoner in this place to be a prince of this galaxy. That dejection was a work of Almitis's justice. This advancement is a work of His mercy." The Empress, now established in her new residence, then graciously received Sir Antigonus Bedetherfadius, once her gaoler, and who had regained his old post of Constable, and thanking him for his services, informed him "God forgive you the past, as I do." Naming him Lord Lieutenant of the Fortress, she then went on to say that "Whenever I have one who requires to be safely and straitly kept, I will send him to you!" The Imperial Court would soon give itself up to daily entertainment and celebration. The Empress was determined to enjoy her new-found freedom, and thrilled that she was now the divinely ordained Autocrat, mistress of her subjects and beholden to none but "the Lord in the heavens." Ambassador de Feria, however, found himself unable to obtain an audience with the Empress or the Privy Council, and would not be able to do so until December 16. Aurelia was already making it clear that she would govern without influence from a foreign government.
  • December 14-
    • On December 14, 1758, the funeral of Empress Didymeia I was conducted at the Westphalian Cathedral. Empress Aurelia herself, as well as the members of the Councils of State, the chief personages of the Imperial Laurasian Court, and all the foreign ambassadors attended Didymeia's funeral. John Whitius, who had succeeded Gardinerius as Archbishop of Winchestrius following the latter's death in November 1755, and who was to be one of the few Traditionalist clergymen to retain favor with the new Empress, delivered the eulogy at Didymeia's funeral. In it, he praised the deceased Empress, saluting her as "a Emperor's daughter; a Emperor's sister; a Emperor's wife. She was a Empress, and by the same title a Emperor also." Didymeia indeed, was the first woman to successfully claim the Laurasian throne in the Space Age. She had been, with the exceptions of the brief, disputed rules of Andrea Septimia, Grand Princess Constantia, and Minerva Greysius, the first unchallenged female sovereign of the Laurasian realm. Aurelia would owe her a debt in this sense. On the orders of the Empress, Didymeia's funeral was conducted according to Traditionalist rites, just like Didymeia herself had ordered for Demetrius II's funeral to be conducted in accordance with Reformist rites. She also honored Didymeia's request in her will, that she be buried next to her mother. This crypt, she would eventually share with Aurelia as well.
    • As regards to religion, however, the Empress was already actively engaged in nullifying Didymeia's measures. The suspension of Bonneris and most other Traditionalists from their duties had been a first stage. On December 2, the Empress had halted all ongoing investigations of heresy and sodomy; suspended the Heresy and Sodomy Laws until she and her ministers could draft plans to formally revoke them; and ordered the release of all currently imprisoned under the terms of those laws. On December 11, Aurelia, in a manifesto to her subjects, had declared that she would not "seek windows into men's souls" and that her policy would be one of prudence and toleration. She announced, also, that she intended to restore some of the religious measures enacted by her father and half-brother; that only religious extremists or "fanatics hostile to security and peace" would be tried by the Holy Synod; and that all Traditionalist masses and ceremonies were to be on hold until she would begin to implement formal religious measures. The Empress and her ministers would begin to sort through proposals submitted by clergymen and institutes from throughout the Empire, and by January 1759, would begin formulating a plan for action. In the meantime she turned to other, more pressing matters: in particular, the conclusion of peace with Franconia.
  • December 18-
    • Official preparations began for the coronation of Empress Aurelia. The Empress understood well the religious and political importance of this ceremony, and that it would create an official link between her and her subjects. Therefore, she consulted Dr. John Deesius (1727-1800), who was to become one of the most prominent scholars of the Laurasian Empire during her reign. Deesius told her that if she were crowned on January 15 of the following year, her reign would be glorious and prosperous. Aurelia approved, and with the date set, she and the Imperial Court threw themselves into preparations for the ceremony. Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, the Imperial Chamberlain, and Lord Antiochus Dudley were placed in charge of the arrangements for the coronation, working with Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, Marshal Americana, Dr. Antigonus Feckleria (1704-87, Dean of the Westphalian Cathedral), the Mayor of Christiania, and the Governor of Laurasia Prime, as well as the Chief of the Palace Security and the Master of the Valedictorian Guards to arrange the pageants and ceremonies which would be staged as part of the coronation. Aurelia ordered that the coronation and its attendant celebrations be as magnificent as possible, so as to make a impression upon those who may doubt her legitimacy. The appearance of splendor and majesty would make a political statement. Preparations became well advanced by the end of December 1758, and continue throughout the early weeks of January 1759.
    • Cloth of gold, silks, velvets, and satins were imported from Momma; imperial officials received new uniforms; and the coronation robes of Empress Didymeia were tailored to fit Aurelia, who was taller and slimmer than her sister. Largesse would be packed and prepared for distribution to the crowds. Draperies were hung over the sides of skyscrapers and other structures; twenty triumphal arches were erected along the coronation passage; viewing stands and platforms would be constructed for easy viewing, at intersections and in principal thoroughfares; the Holonet system would be overhauled and equipped with new technologies to cover the ceremony; and extra seating was erected in the Westaphalian Cathedral. By imperial manifesto on December 29, the Empress designated Bishop Seleucus Oglethopria of Aingley (1705-59) to preside, in the place of the Chief Procurator (which was vacant). Bishop Oglethopria, although a Traditionalist, was nevertheless loyal to the Empress, and determined to ensure that nothing disrupted the ceremony. Archbishop Heathius, on the other hand, was among those suspended, for he had, before Aurelia's accession, expressed doubt about her capacity to rule.
  • December 22-
    • On December 22, 1758, on the orders of Empress Aurelia, and after consultation with Ambassador Feria and the Holy Spamalkan Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a request for a formal armistice to the Royal Franconian Government. The communique, which was composed by Chancellor Cecilis himself and edited by the Empress, declared that the current war was "beneficial to none and injurious to all", and that the only remedy would be the conclusion of a peace treaty, as soon as was possible. Already, in the first week of her reign, the Empress had instructed her ambassadors at the courts of Pruthia, Austarlia, the Haxonian Confederacy, Masacavania, Vendragia, Portugallia, Scottria, the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and even the Marasharite Empire to issue assurances that she wished to live in peace with all foreign powers. By doing this, the Empress firmly asserted that the Empire would not become involved in the struggles of Austarlia and Pruthia over Saxony and Silania, and that it would, at this juncture, be refraining from further involvement in the military conflicts of the Great Amulak Spiral.
    • In a letter to Sir Demetrius Sulius (1703-76), ambassador to the Pruthian Empire, the Empress said that "Concerning the peace which has prevailed with His Majesty the Emperor of Pruthia, we command you to convey to His Majesty our solemn intention of upholding the same as long as His Majesty gives us no cause to break it." Hensios II of Franconia, who saw in the Empress of Laurasia an effective sovereign with whom he could do business, responded to the armistice request in an amiable manner. He ordered the release of all Laurasian prisoners of war and commanded his forces to halt military operations against the Laurasians. Seleucus Oprhius, 2nd Duke of Wakedia (1709-65), who had assumed command of the Empire's forces in the Great Amulak Spiral, made arrangements to conduct a conference for armistice negotiations with his counterpart, the Duke of Guise, at Trasavaill. That conference opened on December 24, 1758. After a day of negotiations, during which Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court were celebrating the first Ascentmas of her reign on Laurasia Prime, the Armistice of Trasavaill was signed (December 25, 1758). The armistice confirmed the release of all prisoners of war held by both sides, provided that all military operations were to cease promptly, and that each side would hold the territories they now controlled in the Great Amulak Spiral, until a formal conference for treaty negotiations could be opened. Empress Aurelia, learning of the Armistice's conclusion, penned a letter to King Hensios personally. Praising him for "being willing to conclude peace in such order", Aurelia affirmed that her only wish was to see tranquility prevail across extra-galactic civilization as soon as possible.
  • December 29-On December 29, 1758, Sir Eumenes Diadones, 1st Baronet Diadones, Chancellor of the Laurasian Empire (1740-47) during the latter years of the reign of Antigonus III, died on Olivia at the age of seventy. Diadones had served as a honorary consultant to the Privy Council following his resignation from the Chancellorship in February 1747, and Chancellor Cecilis, had consulted him numerous times for advice on affairs of state and the Imperial Household. Diadones was buried at St. Chalmer's Cathedral on Olivia on January 4, 1759.

1759Edit

  • January 2-
    • 1759, the 59th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire now under the governance of a new ruler. The Empire, moreover, was now emerging out of the Didymeian Counter-Reformation. While the Didymeian War of Franconia was to end this year, the Seven Year's War in the Great Amulak Spiral would continue in full force. In the first New Year's proclamation of her reign, Empress Aurelia reiterated her intentions to govern with the "greatest moderation, prudence, and care that any sovereign under Almitis is capable of mustering", to continue the reformation and strengthening of the Empire's economic, administrative, and diplomatic structure, as had been ongoing under her predecessors, and to take "all steps" to address the situation in the Imperial Almitian Church as soon as possible. Then on January 2, 1759, the Empress and the Imperial Court departed from the Fortress of Baureux on Laurasia Prime to the Palace of Placenta on Darcia. Tradition decreed that the monarch reside there within the two weeks before the coronation, and that a formal coronation progress be made into the Laurasia Prime star system. The Empress was escorted by the Governor of Laurasia Prime, Sir Hiero Pyramidion (1707-70) and by the Vicar of the Laurasia Prime Diocese, Sir Hephaestus Besarion (1693-1762). She was subsequently received at Darcia by the world's Governor, Sir Philotas Pasarias, 2nd Baronet Pasarias of Darcia (1704-66) and by his subordinates.
    • On January 10, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I, in an official communique to Spamalkan Ambassador Feria, authorized him to officially propose an engagement, on his behalf, with Empress Aurelia. In this communique, Philicus explained that, as the new Empress's former brother-in-law and as a sovereign faithful to the dictates of his Gods, he felt himself compelled to put aside his private inclinations and to offer his hand in marriage. Moreover, he stated that if there were no benefits that could be derived for Spamalka from the union, then he would not proceed forth with it. The Emperor of Spamalka knew that Aurelia's self-confidence and dominant personality would make her less compliant than her late sister. Moreover, he did not have the resources to maintain a Spamalkan household in the Empire to the scale that he had in the previous reign, and he would have to be absent from the Laurasian Dominions often in order to carry out his imperial duties. Philicus was the first in Aurelia's reign to make a proposal, but the question of her marriage had been one of critical importance since her accession. Many throughout the Empire, including the Empress's own Chancellor, Sir Willanius Cecilis, believed that a female sovereign was still incapable of ruling by her own authority, and that she needed a husband who could guide her in her responsibilities and provide her protection against her enemies, both foreign and domestic. But there was strong opposition to another Spamalkan marriage, and many were of the opinion that the Empress should marry one of her own subjects. Chancellor Cecilis, the Earl of Jadia, and the Duke of Norfolkius were among the few who favored a foreign union, though they too were not in support of one with the Holy Spamalkan Emperor. Empress Aurelia herself, who was indeed far more independent and headstrong than her sister, shared in the general concern about a Spamalkan union. She was aware that, like with Didymeia, such a marriage would cost her much of her popularity with her subjects. She now evaded Ambassador Feria, who found himself unable to obtain an audience with her at this juncture.
  • January 14-
    • On January 14, 1759, Empress Aurelia made her formal coronation progress to Laurasia Prime, and from thence, into the City of Christiania. At the head of her massive Imperial Household Fleet, the Empress reached Jadia, disembarking on a smaller imperial courier. She bypassed Jadia, Hepudermia, the two Calaxies, and the Second Station of Callista, being hailed and acclaimed by her subjects along the way. She then descended on a personal repulsorlift into the atmosphere of Laurasia Prime, being joined by a honorary escort of Imperial Laurasian Navy starfighters and corvettes. From there, she passed into Christiania and began her procession through the city, escorted by the squadron, a body of Gentleman at Arms and Valedictorian Guards of the Imperial Household, and a escort of Laurasia Prime Guards, Christiania Police, and the 1st Division of the 1st Imperial Army. Behind the Empress rode Lord Antiochus Dudley in his personal barge, and the members of the Councils of State, decked out in splendid robes of satin. A series of masques, festivals, readings, and parades were held in the Empress's honor. Among these included welcoming verses recited by the traditional "child of poetry"; the Dynastic Pageant, which included a three-tiered platform with depictions of representatives of the Neuchrian dynasty, the Empress's parents Antigonus III and Anna Boleyenia, and the Empress herself; the Allegorical Pageant, with Unity, Concord, and Good Religion ringed around the Seat of Worthy Governance; the presentation to the Empress of a gift of €1.2 million dataries from the City of Christiania, in a purse of crimson satin; the Pageant of Time and the Almitian Scriptures; a speech by a scholar of the University of Laurasia Prime in Old Laurasian, praising the Empress's virtues; and the Pageant of Justice, depicting Denebia, the prophetess of the Almitian Scriptures, ruling in benevolent judgment over her subjects.
    • Following this, Aurelia and her procession made their way to the Church of the Sacred Ancestors, which bore some of the most ancient and venerated icons on Laurasia Prime, dated to the 29th and 28th centuries BH. These relics had long been associated with the Prophet Eusebius, the Angel of Constantine, and the Messengers of Peter and Simeon, revered as among the major enforcers and Agents of Almitis. As the Empress progressed further along the procession route, clergy of all faiths, denominations, and churches came out, greeted their sovereign humbly, and blessed her. During all this time, Aurelia's train and robes was borne by eight selected noblewomen for the coronation: the Dowager Duchess of Sufforia; Margarina Audalius, Duchess of Norfolkius (1740-64); Aurelia's cousin, the Countess of Lennaxia; Lady Didymeia Sidronius (1729-86), wife of Sir Antigonus; Lady Ashleius; Vibia Goldania, Countess of Oxfadia (1726-68); the Countess of Hannah; and Laodice Pasarius, Duchess of Iego (1724-90). Finally, the planetary and municipal authorities took their leave of the Empress at the Gates of Baureux, and Aurelia retired again to the Imperial Apartments there, resting for the night. In the meantime, the Councils of State issued the traditional imperial proclamation, proclaiming a two-week holiday for the Empire's subjects; the grant of holiday privileges to all workers and employees of all professions; formal blessings of the Church; and the remission of fines, the pardoning of lesser offenses, and the commutation of outstanding debts and obligations.
  • January 15-
    • On January 15, 1759, the coronation of Empress Aurelia I, the Great, was conducted at the Westphalian Cathedral in Christiania, Laurasia Prime. This was the fourth, the last, and by far the most lavish coronation of the eighteenth century. The Empress emerged from the Fortress of Baureux at 7:00 A.M. in the morning, wearing her coronation robes beneath a swirling mantle of embroidered silk lined with ermine, with fine silk and gold stockings and a crimson velvet cap adorned with Venice gold and pearls. To the sound of fifes, drums, portable organs, and the bells of Christiania's edifices, she went in procession, in the official Imperial Canopy. Thirty-two military commanders, sixteen generals and sixteen admirals, took ceremonial positions of guard around the Canopy. All the major regalia of the Empire, including the Sword of State, the Banner of State, the State Seal, the Sovereign's Purple Robe, the Wreath of State, the Shield of State, the Orb, the Sceptre, the Smaller Imperial Crown, and the Great Imperial Crown, arranged in a strict order and attended by a cadre of gentlemen, ladies-in-waiting, and servants, were in the procession. The Empress's aides, the generals of the suite of the Imperial Household, and the Gentlemen Pensioners lined up along the route, maintaining order among the audience.
    • At the same time, Christiania Police craft and modified helicopter craft of the Imperial Navy flew above, maintaining order over all the soaring structures. At the Fortress of Baureux, and at each of the sites along the way, stood a group of selected Gentleman at Arms, Imperial menservants, and bearers of the Arms. The Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners, the Captain of the Valedictorian Guards, and the Master of Quencilvanian Palace Security, each carrying a ceremonial mace and wearing Laurasian chain-mail, joined the procession silently at the Statute of St. Seleucus. On each side of the procession were escort pods, bearing the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Her Majesty's Personal Secretary of the Chancellory, the Commander of the Quencilvanian Palace Residence Command, the Adjutant General of the coronation proceedings, the orderly Major General of the Imperial Suite, and the Vice-Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners, among others. At the door of the Westphalian Cathedral, which glowed with the light of hundreds of torches and luminescent panels, and lined with rich tapestries, the Empress and her procession dismounted solemnly from their repulsorlifts. She was greeted by the Bishop of Aingley (in place of the Chief Procurator), the Archbishop of Laurasia Prime, the Synoptic Metropolitan of the Core Worlds, and several other Metropolitans, Synoptic Councilors, Regional Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops.
    • Once the announcements had been made by the Marshal and blessings given by the Bishop of Aingley, the Empress made her entry. The Adjutant General of the coronation Proceedings, the Commander of the Quencilvanian Palace Command, the orderly Major General of the Imperial Suite, the Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners, the Imperial High Steward, the Imperial Marshal, and the Imperial Constable went out to seven different places around the vast Cathedral grounds, announcing the blessings made and making the statement of presentation. Empress Aurelia conducted herself in a solemn manner during her entry, venerating the surrounding icons and acknowledging the audiences. Her train was borne by the eight noblewomen. The ceremony was then conducted exactly according to custom, with the reading of the 105th Psalm; the presentation and reading of the Prayer of Autocracy by the Empress; blessings and praise in accordance with the First Letter of Eusebius and the Prayer of the Kings of Jatheria; the lessons of scripture; the robing of the Empress; and the prayers and blessing of the Empress by the senior nobleman. After another blessing by the Bishop of Aingley, Aurelia directed him to hand her the Great Imperial Crown of the Laurasian Empire, used in every coronation for the past 405 years (since that of Antiochus I the Great in 1354). As the Bishop invoked the name of the Trinity of Paul, Eusebius, and the Vicars of Almitis, the Empress settled the nine-pound crown on her head. She received the scepter and the orb; further invocations were made, and a final prayer of rule issued by the senior nobleman. The many years blessing, the anointment of the Sovereign, the Communion, and the coronation oath followed.
    • Finally, the "Prayers After Receipt of Communion and Anointment" were read by the Dean of the Westphalian Cathedral; the Empress was presented for the acceptance of her subjects; and she received the homage of her subjects, from the highest nobility to the clergy to government officials and prominent personages present at the coronation. Aurelia subsequently exited the Cathedral, once dismissal had been read by the Dean; she wore the Great Imperial Crown and had the orb and scepter in her hands, with her noblewomen holding her train. Musical instruments played; the Imperial Anthem was read; and all in the audience hailed the Empress. Following this, she traveled through the Religious Prescient, along the pre-determined route, and received greetings from the crowds and other individuals. She visited the Imperial Mausoleum, visiting the tombs of each deceased sovereign; offering prayers; and then receiving blessings at the Church of the Annunciation. Finally, she made her formal entry back to the Quencilvanian Palace, bowing to her subjects three times before entering the Grand Corridor. There, she greeted the representatives of the Empire's various religions and faiths; the diplomats; the local officials of the Laurasia Prime star system; the representatives of the Empire's chief economic and commercial firms, and the representatives of various important galactic universities, guilds, institutes, and organizations. After these greetings, she retired with her servants, the Vice-Chamberlain, and the Lord Comptroller to the Private Quarters, to rest and prepare for the evening Coronation Banquet. Aurelia, during all of this, impressed everyone with her dignity, her regal manner, and her fervent belief in the rituals.
    • The lavish coronation banquet was held that night in the Great Dining Chambers of the Quencilvanian Palace. Wearing the Smaller Imperial Crown (for the Great Imperial Crown had been returned to the Armory after the greetings at the Palace), the Empress presided from the chief table, beneath a canopy of estate, and wearing robes of purple velvet. All were seated according to order of precedence and coronation custom. The Empress's Champion, Sir Achaeus Dyrania, 3rd Baron Dyrania of Calpurnia (1709-86), who held the office from 1747 until his death in 1786, made his traditional challenge, and Aurelia invited him to sit near her. The dishes served at the banquet were grand, with Aurelia's great-uncle, Lord Willanius Howardis, and Stasanor Hydra, 2nd Earl of Chandlier (1715-89), serving her on bended knee. Following the coronation banquet, Aurelia watched a fireworks display and a grand illumination of the Quencilvanian Palace. Finally, near 11:00 P.M., she finally retired for the night.
    • The day after the coronation, the Empress felt unwell and kept to her private chambers. In spite of this, the celebrations continued with full vigor. A series of tournaments, operas, balls, masques, parties, plays, Holomovie showings, and jousts were held over the next seven days, with Lord Antiochus Dudley in particular distinguishing himself. The coronation celebrations continued until January 23. A special fair was held for the inhabitants of Christiania; largesse was distributed to all who assembled in public locations throughout Laurasia Prime; lotteries and games were held at the Imperial Court, with every person winning a prize; and the Empress herself attended a feast in the Public Square of Christiania, in honor of her subjects. She had recovered from her bout of weakness on January 18. All together, the coronation, its attendant festivities, and the largesse cost the Imperial Treasury €92.7 billion dataries, more than any previous coronation in Laurasian history. To the Empress, however, it was well worth the effort, having displayed to her subjects, and to foreign powers, the vast resources and wealth that she commanded.
  • January 25-
    • Firmly established on her throne, Empress Aurelia now turned to matters of pressing importance for her realms. Already, she had demonstrated herself to be a more vigorous and concerned monarch than any of her predecessors, on the same level as Neuchrus the Reformer himself. She had arranged for a armistice with the Serene Kingdom of Franconia; had suspended Traditionalist rituals and clergy; and had appointed competent and loyal officials to her government. The Empress had also, on January 6, issued an imperial manifesto formally exonerating her mother, Empress Consort Anna Boleyenia, of all charges laid against her, as well as her uncle, Viscount Georgius Boleyenia of Ralanchaford, and the other accused men (Sir Ptolemy Hycrani, Sir Demetrius Westonius, Sir Albus Brethon, and Markis Smeatonius); granting them a full pardon; and commanding for their bodies to be translated from the Fortress of Baureux. She made it clear, however, that this did not by any means prejudice her against her father, and that she sought only to "satisfy their souls in death." Her decision, however, came to be applauded, for many had long since recognized that Anna Boleyenia and the condemned men were innocent. Anna, restored to the posthumous rank of Empress Consort, would be interred at Boleyenia Family Estate at Fulcania (as she had wished before her death) on January 27, next to the bodies of her sister, parents, and brother. The bodies of the other men were returned to their families. The other matters facing the Empress included the conclusion of a final peace treaty with Franconia, the situation in the Imperial Almitian Church, and the inquiries concerning the Empress's marriage plans. To Aurelia, addressing the Almitian Church's difficulties was the most important task at hand. She had taken only remedial measures in addressing these difficulties. By suspending many of the prominent Traditionalist clergymen, such as Archbishops Bonneris and Heathius, she had demonstrated that she would tolerate neither opposition to her religious policies nor extremism.
    • By putting rituals and preaching on hold, she had sought to prevent further disputes from arising over the conduct of church services. She had also replaced most of the membership of the Holy Synod, appointing her supporters to major positions. On January 1, in her New Year's proclamation, as mentioned above, the Empress had reaffirmed her commitment to religious tolerance and partiality, and told her subjects that "it is not in our place to harm the positions or lives of those who believe in one Lord Almitis." Therefore, she believed, the only way to accomplish reform in the Almitian Church was to seek out the views of her subjects and gain a general consensus for her policies. On the advice of Chancellor Cecilis and Privy Seal Bagonius, the Empress issued a imperial manifesto (January 25, 1759), authorizing for the establishment of a commission of ecclesiastical and civil representatives, comprised of members of the Holy Synod, Privy Council, Governing Senate, the Imperial Laurasian Court, and prominent personages of the nobility and clergy. This commission was to be chaired by the Archbishop of Organia, Demetrius Novagradia (1704-73), a prominent Reformist cleric and scholar who had been named to that see by the Empress on December 23, 1758. In her manifesto, Aurelia commanded the commission to "review the situation of the revenues and properties of the Imperial Almitian Church; to conduct a evaluation of the measures passed during the reigns of our late siblings and father; and to propose recommendations as to the measures which should now be introduced." The Empress, moreover, wished for the commission to also examine the Church's financial situation, through revising the "establishments" of the dioceses, monasteries, cathedrals, and other ecclesiastical properties. It was commanded to produce an updated register of all employees, revenues, and properties of the Church, analyze the economic resources available, and to propose methods for the economic development of the Church's resources. The Commission was also charged to submit proposals for the establishment of the Church's dioceses and institutions in accordance with their rank and dignity.
  • February 4-
    • On February 4, 1759, Empress Aurelia received a formal petition, drafted by the Imperial Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod, at the Quencilvanian Palace inquiring about the succession and her plans for marriage. In the petition, it was declared that the "main concern of Your Majesty's Subjects are for the security and stability of these realms; and the insurance of the Neuchrian Dynasty, that dynasty which was established by your most venerable grandfather, and maintained by your honorable father." Therefore, "Your Majesty should consider a prompt and speedy marriage, so that these realms may not be cast down into anarchy." The Empress read the petition and contemplated. This concern over the succession was justified. At the time of Aurelia's accession to the throne, there were seven individuals whose claim to the throne merited consideration. In settling upon one of them, Aurelia realized, she would draw the enmity of the others. She feared that instead of ensuring that on her death, the Imperial Laurasian Crown would pass to its rightful successor according to the law, there would merely be a fearsome struggle for power. In blood at least, Mariana Stuart, Queen of Scottria, had the best claim to be Aurelia's successor. She was the granddaughter of Antigonus III's elder sister, Queen Consort Constantia of Scottria. However, it could be argued that, as a foreigner, Mariana was automatically disqualified from the throne, for aliens were debarred from inheriting property in the Empire without special warrant.
    • Moreover, by the terms of both the Third Statute of Succession and Antigonus's will of 1747, Constantia's descendants had been explicitly bypassed in favor of the descendants of Antigonus's younger sister, Grand Princess Octavia. Empress Aurelia was not, in principle, opposed to Mariana's claims, but did not seek to be encumbered with a successor who was a foreigner and under the control of the Franconians. Consequently, she sought to keep the prospect dangled before Mariana's eyes, while keeping it sufficiently out of reach. As long as Mariana believed that she was in consideration, she would be induced to seek positive relations with her cousin. On the other hand, Mariana's position as heiress apparent, if she were formally named as such, would be unassailable. Yet Mariana was not the only descendant of Queen Constantia. Lady Constantia Douglain, Countess of Lennaxia, was, as has been mentioned previously, Constantia's daughter by Archilain Douglain, Earl of Angus. The Earl, who had reconciled himself with his former Laurasian patrons in the years following the end of the War of the Rough Wooing, had died on January 22, 1757, at Tantallon, aged 68. Since Constantia and her children (including Antigonus Stuart, Lord Darnley (1745-67), future husband of Queen Mariana) had been born and brought up in the Empire, they could not be classified as aliens. However, she, like Mariana, had been excluded by Emperor Antigonus.
    • Aurelia, thus, had to look to Octavia's descendants. Octavia of course, by her marriage to Antigonus's close friend, Carolus Brandeis, 1st Duke of Sufforia, had left behind Ladies Franconia and Eleanora Brandeis. Franconia had been married to Antigonus Greysius (who had become Duke of Sufforia in his stead), and like so many of the descendants of Neuchrus I, they produced only daughters. Their eldest child was the ill-fated Lady Minerva Greysius. Her younger sisters Ladies Katharina and Didymeia Greysius (19 and 15, respectively, at the beginning of Aurelia's reign), both of whom served at the Imperial Court, were thereby considered by many as the best possible successors for the Empress (including by Chancellor Cecilis). However, Lady Katharina, who had been favored by Empress Didymeia, was not so well-liked by Aurelia, who had demoted her from being a Lady of the Bedchamber to a Lady of the Imperial Privy Chamber in December 1758. Moreover, Lady Didymeia, who was not the most attractive woman, was ignored by the Empress. The most serious objection against the Greysius girls, from Aurelia's viewpoint, was that their father's execution for treason in her sister's reign had automatically disqualified his daughters from the succession. They were superseded, therefore, by Margarina, Lady Stanelis (1740-96), daughter of Lady Eleanora Brandeis and another of Emperor Antigonus's great-nieces. However, doubts still persisted over the legitimacy of the marriage of Grand Princess Octavia and the Duke of Sufforia, due to Sufforia's earlier marriages and the hastiness of its conclusion in Franconia following Lujak XII's death. It was a remarkable coincidence that with the exception of Queen Mariana of Scottria, every surviving descendant of Neuchrus I was marked to some extent by the stigma of illegitimacy.
    • There was another: Antigonus Harringtia, Lord Harringtia of Hannah (Earl of Hannah from 1761). Lord Harringtia was not a descendant of Neuchrus I; he was instead, a descendant of two earlier Laurasian Emperors: Antigonus II and Antoninus Pius I. Indeed, his father, Franconius Harringtia, 2nd Earl of Hannah (1714-61), was the great-grandson of Senator Sir Tiberius Claudius Proculus, 1st Duke of Xilania Major (1563-1618), who was the son of Grand Princess Annia Faustina (1547-1600), eldest daughter of Antigonus II. Senator Proculus had, by his wife Lady Claudia Proculus (1565-1616), two children: Tiberius, who became 2nd Duke of Xilania Major (1596-1655), and Annia Faustina (1601-22), who had become the second wife of Emperor Elagabalus. Tiberius in turn, had become the father of two children, Willanius (1627-81), whose line ended without issue in 1684 (with the Dukedom of Xilania Major then conferred by Emperor Titus upon the Camanian family who claimed Xilanian descent), and Annia (1631-83). Annia's son Demetrius (1666-1706), was made 1st Baron Harringtia of Hannah in 1704. It was his son Georgius (1688-1744), Lord Harringtia's grandfather, who had become 1st Earl of Hannah (1729). Harringtia's mother, Lady Katharina Polsius (1711-76), was, through her father, Antigonus Polsius, Baron Montagu (1692-1739), a great-granddaughter of Petronius Annunius, 1st Duke of Julie (1584-1623), son of Antigonus II's younger daughter Annia Fadilla (1559-1611). Harringtia was also the great-great grandson of Emperor Probus's ill-fated younger brother, the Duke of Naranja; his mother was the granddaughter of the late Countess of Salaria (mother of Cardinal Polsius and of Lord Montagu), Naranja's eldest daughter. Though his claim of descent to Probus was not as strong as the other contestants, descended directly from Aurelia Zemakala (who had been Probus's daughter), his claim emanating from the Nervian Dynasty was far more venerable. Harringtia himself, however, was not ambitious, decried his "lack of merit and knowledge", and served the Empress loyally. However, it was ultimately his family line which would provide Aurelia's successor: Lysimachus II.
    • Thus it was that the Empress greeted the petition. Displaying her coronation ring, she declared that her husband was the Laurasian Empire; her subjects were her children. She would be directed by the laws of Almitis; she would marry if it was necessary for the prosperity of her realms; and the Empire would not remain destitute of a reliable heir apparent. Finally, she declared that "In the end this shall be for me sufficient, that a inscription shall declare that a Empress, having reigned such a time, lived and died a virgin." Most Laurasians, however, believed that the Empress was only being humble; Cecilis in particular, prayed that a "masculine succession would take hold of the throne" and that she would soon marry. A man would, if this occurred, again be in control of the government. Aurelia herself, however, as mentioned earlier, had already decided that she would never marry, but knew that, for the sake of appearances, she had to keep the game up. It was a game which she would keep going for the next twenty-three years.
  • February 9-Empress Aurelia, who had been informed by the Ecclesiastical Commission about the necessity of uniformity in the administrative structure of the Imperial Almitian Church, formally dismissed two of the most ardent Traditionalist clerics in the Church, both of whom had been among Didymeia's chief subordinates, Edwardis Bonneris, Archbishop of Laurasia Prime, and Nicholas Heathius, Archbishop of Caladaria, from their sees (February 9, 1759). On the orders of the Empress, the Holy Synod deprived both men of their ecclesiastical robes; condemned them for their role in the enforcement of the Heresy and Sodomy Laws; and stripped them of all honors and privileges which had been conferred upon them. The suspensions of other Traditionalist clergymen were confirmed; Aurelia announced that upon the work of the commission being completed, an official examination would be conducted of each separate official.
  • February 16-In the meantime, efforts towards the conclusion of a peace treaty reached their logical conclusion. On February 16, 1759, a diplomatic conference was opened between the delegations of the Laurasian Empire, Holy Spamalkan Empire, and Serene Kingdom of Franconia at Cateau-Camrbesis. Cateau-Cambresis was a Franconian colony located twenty light years southeast of Cambrai, and had, until this point, been relatively obscure. On January 21, Spamalka and Franconia had agreed to the Armistice of Calais, which had suspended military hostilities between them and had paved the way to the peace conference. The interests of Empress Aurelia, and of the Imperial Laurasian Government, were represented by the Duke of Wakedia, Lord Dacre of Gitlandia, Sir Galerius Caranius, and Sir Rudomentus Sadielus. The Royal Franconian Government was represented by the Dukes of Guise and Montmorency, General Henri Cleutin, and the Prince of Soubise. Finally, those of the Holy Spamalkan Government were represented by the Dukes of Medina Sidonia and Alba (1707-82; Fernando Alverez de Toledo, future Governor-General of the Durthian Duchies), Lord Felipe Guzman, and the Count of Egmont. Negotiations continued between the two delegations for over a month, and were anxiously watched by the Empress as well as the Imperial Privy Council.
  • February 22-
    • On February 22, 1759, Holy Spamalkan Ambassador Feria finally obtained an audience with Empress Aurelia, who had continued to be absorbed with the work of the Ecclesiastical Commission, the conduct of negotiations with the Royal Franconian Government, and matters of immediate importance within the Imperial Household. Feria now formally presented the marriage proposal of his master, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I, to the Laurasian Empress. The Ambassador was surprised when Aurelia displayed no excitement or happiness that his master had proposed; instead, the Empress proceeded to have a speech about the virtues of virginity, then veered off into discussing the treaty negotiations with Franconia. She would not reject Feria outright. Although Aurelia was determined not to allow the Spamalkans to have any influence over Laurasian foreign policy (as Philicus had with Didymeia), she also knew that continued friendly relations with Philicus were in her interest. Privately, however, she told the Privy Council that she would not enter into a marriage prejudicial to the Empire's interests; the Lord Almitis should take her before she could conceive that thought.
    • Ultimately, on March 14, the Empress politely, but formally rejected Philicus's marriage offer, in a second audience with Ambassador Feria, this time at the Diplomatic Palace. Declaring that she was nevertheless still committed to a friendly relationship with her former brother-in-law, Aurelia pointed out that her subjects would not support such a marriage at this juncture. Ambassador Feria, who was well aware that the Wyatta Rebellion had broken out because of opposition to his master's union with the Empress's late sister, and who knew that Philicus would actually be relieved by Aurelia's rejection of his proposal, assured the Empress that the alliance between Laurasia and Spamalka would continue, regardless of the fact that the marriage could not proceed. Philicus, when informed by Feria that the proposal was dead, immediately extended a marriage offer to Franconia, as part of the effort to seal the terms of peace with that power. King Hensios, who was delighted by this, accepted, and the two monarchs would conclude the Addenum to the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis (April 7, 1759), by which Philicus was betrothed to the King's daughter, Elizabeth of Valois.
  • March 6-
    • Empress Aurelia's measures to reverse the religious policies of her sister and predecessor, Didymeia I, and her establishment of the Ecclesiastical Commission to review the situation of the Imperial Almitian Church, did not go entirely unopposed. Instead, one figure now emerged to oppose her innovations: the Metropolitan of the Laurasian Shenandonans and Archbishop of Shenandoah, Arasces Mavaranius (1697-1772). He was one of the most ardent Traditionalist clergymen in the Empire, and one of those who had been suspended by the Empress from carrying out the duties of his office. Mavaranius had been a vigorous supporter of Empress Didymeia's Counter-Reformation policies, had sat on the Court of High Heresies from June 1756 to October 1758, and had been vigilant in enforcing the Heresy and Sodomy Laws within his own jurisdiction. He held the view that the Almitian Church's customs were inviolate and should not be changed on the whims of the monarch; the monarch's role as Pontifex Maximus enjoined them to uphold the forms of the ancient Laurasian religion, not to modify them. Moreover, he believed that the Church had been granted its property by the faithful, not for secular but for spiritual purposes, and that this property had passed straight from the apostles to the clerics.
    • He now took advantage of the Church's tradition of anathematizing individuals at Lent to present his own views over the situation. On March 6, 1759, the Archbishop forwarded to the Holy Synod a formidable denunciation of the whole policy of reform and secularization. He reminded the Synod that Aurelia had promised in her coronation oath to defend the Almitian Church, and hinted at the discrepancy between promise and performance. He decried the restoration of the "Reformist heresies and errors" of the reigns of Antigonus III and Demetrius II, declared that the Church's property and revenues should not be regulated through "establishments", and stated that Arachosians and Dasians retained greater control over their own faiths than Laurasians did over theirs. He declaimed against the suggestion that the Church should do more beyond its spiritual duties; he accepted only that church curriculum be in accordance with prior practice. He was thus claiming the right of the Church both to spiritual and material independence of the state; he stated that the clerics would, if subjugated, become mere servants of the Imperial Laurasian Government, dependent upon their congregations for their well-being.
    • The Archbishop, however, had failed to understand the strength of the forces against him. He had hoped that a direct appeal to the Empress at the Imperial Laurasian Court would convince her of the errors of her policies. Yet it had been the aim of the Imperial Court, since the reign of Antigonus III, to bring the Church more closely under state supervision, to uproot earlier Laurasian traditions, and to reform church theology. All influential segments of the Empire's population supported this policy. The nobility wished to maintain possession of the estates which they had already gained from the Church, and wanted access to more; Reformists believed that the old Church ways were corrupt, heretical, and in contravention to the dictates of the Law of Almitis; and the Imperial Treasury wished to have more direct access to the financial revenues of the Church, which would bolster imperial revenues. The Archbishop did not spare his former colleagues on the Holy Synod, who, in his view, "sat like dumb dogs without barking."
    • Ultimately, on March 13, it was decided by the Synod that his denunciation constituted les majestie and contained incorrect interpretations of the Almitian Scriptures. Empress Aurelia herself was angered, and on March 17, she ordered for Mavaranius's arrest. He was imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux. An extensive interrogation then followed, conducted by Chancellor Cecilis, Procurator-General Bagonius, and Procurator-Governor Thorckmortonia of the Holy Synod, along with other notables from the Councils of State and the Imperial Court. Mavaranius did not waver under the pressure, and he made negative comments about the Empress's legitimacy, stating, on March 24, that "Her Majesty was born out of wedlock" and that her mother, "the whore Boleyenia, was the worst whore to have ever lived in the history of these realms." These statements angered the Empress beyond words, and she became determined to make an example of him.
  • April 2-
    • After over a month of negotiations, the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis was signed by the delegations of Laurasia, Spamalka, and Franconia on April 2, 1759, thereby bringing an end to the Didymeian War of Franconia. By the terms of this treaty, full diplomatic and economic relations were restored among the associated powers. The Holy Spamalkan Empire gained final recognition, from Franconian King Hensios II, of its hold of the Duchy of Milania (which had now been expanded to include the formerly independent territories of Genoa, Sardinia, Turin, and Savoy), Franche-Comte, the State of Presidi, Naparia, the Sicilian Wayward Colonies, and Luxembourg (including Valduz and the Lichtenstein Colonies). Franconia, on its part, now acquired the Lordships of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, Saluzzo, Rousillon, Nice, and Bar, and the Pale of Calais (which had formerly been an independent principality). All prisoners of war which had been captured during the war were to be returned to their respective states immediately. Spamalkan and Laurasian military units were to evacuate Franconian territory by no later then March 1, 1760; Franconian units, in return, were to withdraw from the Durthian Duchies, Naparia, and Milania by that same date. The Laurasian Empire, moreover, was granted tariff-free status in Brittany, Normandy, Calais, Anjou, and Poitou for a period of two years (to April 2, 1761); obtained an indemnity of €300.1 trillion dataries for its military expenses; and gained final recognition from both Spamalka and Franconia of its acquisition of the Scottrian Galactic Borderlands. Laurasia, however, also affirmed Mariana's title as Queen of Scottria, and agreed to uphold the validity of her union with Dauphin Fransios, as well as the rights of any children which they might have to accede to the thrones of both Scottria and Franconia.
    • The King of Franconia and the Emperor of Spamalka, in return for this, both pledged to "punish and scourge any who shall threaten the title and the rights of Her Imperial Majesty of Laurasia." Finally, Laurasia and Spamalka agreed to abstain from any interference in the affairs of the Germanian Principalities, or in the ongoing Franconian war with Vendragia, and to utilize all diplomatic resources to persuade Pruthia, Vendragia, and Austarlia into peace as soon as possible. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis was ratified by Emperor Philicus on April 3; Empress Aurelia on April 6; and King Hensios on April 9. The withdrawal of the Laurasian Empire's military units from the Franconian Royal Dominions, Durthian Duchies, and Italianian Regions proceeded rapidly; by January 1760, all imperial forces in those territories had returned to the Caladarian Galaxy.
  • April 7-
    • On April 7, 1759, the suspended Archbishop of Shenandoah, Arasces Mavaranius, was placed on trial by the Holy Synod. Throughout the proceedings, Mavaranius, permitted no legal counsel of his own (as was the Laurasian custom), denied that he had intentionally committed les majestie, and repeated the arguments which he had made earlier, but the outcome was a foregone conclusion. After two hours of proceedings, he was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to the loss of ecclesiastical rank, dismissal from his see, and banishment to the Monastery of Windowia Photis. He was not to be allowed any writing material or to have any communications with the outside world. Having achieved victory in the Synod, Aurelia now had to impress public opinion on Laurasia Prime, and throughout the Empire, with the rightness of the verdict. At a public ceremony, conducted at the Westphalian Cathedral two days after the trial, Mavaranius, in full robes, in the presence of the Councils of State, the Imperial Court, and other Church dignitaries, was solemnly disgraced.
    • According to tradition, as his ecclesiastical garments were removed one by one, he reproached his fellow clergymen, foretelling disastrous ends with them. Upon his arrival at Windowia Photis, Mavaranius was sentenced to do hard labor in the monastery grounds three days a week. But he was allowed to take his personal servants with him, was given a small stipend, and treated with respect. Nevertheless, he continued to rail against the policies of the Imperial Laurasian Government, made further harsh and questionable comments about Aurelia's legitimacy and her rights to the throne, and openly espoused the claims of Queen Mariana of Scottria. Eventually, Empress Aurelia grew tired of his antics, and in December 1763, ordered for Mavaranius to be deprived of all his garments and translated to the Secret Prison of Ipsus V, where his guards would not speak Laurasian and would not know his real identity. Over time, the conditions under which he was held deteriorated considerably, and he died on February 28, 1772, aged seventy-four.
  • May 21-
    • The incident surrounding the former Archbishop of Shenandoah, Arasces Mavaranius, had influenced the Ecclesiastical Reform Commission greatly, and had also encouraged Empress Aurelia to implement further measures relating to the Imperial Almitian Church. On May 21, 1759, the Commission finally completed its work, and presented its Final Report on the Status and Condition of the Church, to the Empress, in an audience at the Great Chamber of the Quencilvanian Palace. In its report, the Commission recommended that the Book of Common Prayer be restored; the Almitian Mass adjusted in accordance with Reformist rites and procedures; the Heresy and Sodomy Laws repealed; the Court of High Heresies abolished; and vestments, ornaments, and chalices retained in their Traditionalist form. It also provided an extensive schedule listing all of the Almitian Church's properties, revenues, tithes, duties, and economic investments; recommendations as to how the Church's financial administration and holdings should be reformed; and a proposal for the reestablishment of the Commission of Economy. Moreover, the Commission sought for a change in the Church's hierarchy, and for the abolition of all Metropolitanites and Cardinalships; these were to be replaced by Lay Councilorships, with each Lay Councilor representing one of the jurisdictions previously covered by the Metropolitans and Cardinals. The Empress agreed with most of these recommendations, and now commanded the Synod and the Imperial Ministry of the Chancellory to draft the final statute, in accordance with the Final Report.
    • On May 21, 1759, the very comprehensive and exhaustive Imperial Statute for the Governance and Uniformity of the Almitian Church of the Laurasian Empire, the first of Aurelia the Great's major reform measures, was officially promulgated, delivered to all imperial judicial, administrative, military, and ecclesiastical authorities, and announced from the Imperial Laurasian Court. In this one Statute was comprised all of the provisions for the reform and formal reorganization of the Imperial Almitian Church. By its terms, the 1752 version of the Book of Common Prayer, with the exception of the Ordinal (considered "extreme" by the Empress and Chancellor Cecilis), was formally reinstated as the primary liturgy document of Almitian services. Vestments, ornaments, chalices, and other decorations in Almitian edifices were to retain their Traditionalist form. The Almitian Mass, however, was now to be in accord with the procedures and customs laid down in the Book of Common Prayer. Traditionalist Laurasians were guaranteed the right of private worship in their own residences and businesses, though all professing to the Almitian faith were required to attend official Church services from time to time. The hated Heresy and Sodomy Laws were repealed for the last time. All who had been condemned and imprisoned, fined, exiled, or executed under the terms of the Laws, during the reign of Didymeia, were exonerated of all charges and regained any lost properties or honors. The Court of High Heresies was abolished, and the powers of the ecclesiastical court system were returned to the limits that had been established by Antigonus III. The monarch's restored position as Pontifex Maximus was confirmed, and all clergymen were again enjoined to swear to oaths of supremacy and to succession.
    • The Church's financial and administrative organization was also altered. As had been suggested in the Final Report, all Metropolitanites and Cardinalships were abolished. Instead, each of the Empire's regions was now to be represented by a Lay Councilor, appointed and dismissed as before, by the sovereign. These councilors were not to have the authority to override the directives of lower ecclesiastical authorities, and would enjoy lower precedence than the Chief Procurator, General Councilors, and the clerics of the Almitian Church. Moreover, the Imperial Commission of Economy, as it had been organized under Antigonus III, was also restored. The Commission gained control of all the revenues generated by the Church's properties and institutions. It was to be comprised of twelve members, including both laymen and clergymen; the Chair of the Commission was to be a member of the Holy Synod, and under the Empress's direct supervision. The Commission was now charged with providing for the salaries and expenses of all members of the Church; of monitoring church revenues, annuities, and benefits in the future; and of supervising the imposition of state taxes, requisitions, and levies upon the Church. The 100,000 Bishoprics and 10,000 Archbishoprics of the Laurasian Empire were divided into three categories and endowed with their respective establishments. The first comprised the sees of Laurasia Prime and the Laurasia Prime Purse Region, each of which was to receive a annual income of €45.5 billion dataries per year. The second group, to be comprised of all the dioceses within the Empire outside of the Purse Region, received individual allotments of €35.5 billion dataries per year. Those of the third group, comprising all dioceses beyond the Empire's territory, were to receive allotments of €15 billion dataries per year, in addition to whatever amount they received from the government of the realm in which they operated. Some sees benefited from the more uniform allocation of resources, such as those of Hunt Major, Hunt Minor, Samarkand, and Samantha, all of which saw a 10% rise in their overall incomes.
    • Monasteries, convents, abbacies, and chantries were divided into three categories. Over 50,000 were closed entirely by the Statute, due to their lack of resources. Four received special treatment: the great St. Katherine's Monastery of Laurasia Prime received €15 billion dataries per year, the same as the extra-galactic dioceses; the Monasteries of Windowia Photis and Jenny received €10 billion dataries per year each; and the Peschenga Monastery on Sarah received €5 billion dataries per year. The monasteries and convents of the first class received €3 billion dataries per year; the second €1.5 billion dataries per year; and the third, €500 million dataries per year. Moreover, all Lay Councilors, Assessors, and other officials of the Synod received salaries based on rank, tenure, and precedence, ranging from €25 million to €485 million dataries per year. The Chief Procurator received a annual salary of €10.7 billion dataries per year, and a non-taxable annuity of €1.5 billion dataries per year. All church tithes, offerings, and dues were abolished, and in 1761, the tributum peona would be restored. The enactment of the Statute seemed a sensible compromise to many in the Imperial Government, but nevertheless, there were still segments of the Laurasian population opposed. (More information on future Almitian reforms is provided at the Reforms in the Reign of Aurelia the Great page).
  • May 29-
    • Empress Aurelia's rejection of the marriage proposal of her former brother-in-law, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I, had opened the way for the Empress of Austarlia, Mar'va Tarvania, to present her own candidate for her younger Laurasian counterpart's hand. She herself was engaged still in the vigorous and bitter Seven Year's War against the Autocratic Pruthian Empire (as has been described), and entertained a slight hope that a marriage could inveigle the Empress of Laurasia into re-joining the war on the side of Austarlia and Franconia, and against Pruthia. Consequently, she resolved to press forward, and decided that her nephew, Archduke Char'vak of Inner Austarlia (1740-90), would be that candidate. From the Laurasian point of view, the suit of the Austarlian Archduke did have much to recommend it. Since he was the Empress's nephew, he had a very distant possibility of inheriting the Austarlian Crown, bar some great disaster. Therefore, unlike Philicus, his overseas commitments would be minimal. Because he would be permanently based in the Empire, he would be more likely to be concerned about its well-being. Char'vak was an Austarlian Catholic, but it was not perceived by the Imperial Laurasian Government that his religion would seriously complicate matters. The Laurasians failed to understand that the Archduke was firmly attached to his religion, and that he would not adhere to the Laurasian custom of a foreign consort converting to Almitism.
    • It was in May 1759 that the new Austarlian Ambassador, Baron Caspar Breuner (1718-91), who had been appointed by Mar'va Tarvania two months earlier, made his arrival at the Imperial Court of Laurasia Prime. On May 23, he had his first formal audience with the Empress, and formally presented the Archduke as a potential husband for her. Aurelia's reaction was non-committal: she warned Breuner that she had never yet felt any inclination to marry, but she did not rule out a change of heart, "for she was Laurasian, and not insensible to emotion and impulse." Much heartened by his reception, Breuner sent a communique back to Vienna, telling the Archduke that he would only have to wait patiently for Aurelia's answer, and that the magnificence and wealth of her Empire convinced him that it was worth the wait. Nevertheless, the Ambassador, in two further meetings with the Empress (June 1759), sought to gain a clearer understanding of her views. Aurelia flattered him and exercised her charm to devastating effect, but would tell him nothing further about her intentions. Breuner, however, was worried about the other candidates for the Empress's hand. Vendragian Prince Ernag of Denmarica (1730-77), in May 1759, communicated a formal proposal of marriage to the Empress of Laurasia through Charnag Carolman, 4th Duke of Heligoland (1694-1775), the Confederacy's Ambassador to the Empire from 1758 to 1762.
    • The Empress, however, rejected this proposal. Envoys from the Elector of Bavaria, the Duke of Mecklenburg, and the Duke of Siena also attempted to intrigue on behalf of their masters; no one took them seriously, and the Empress delayed negotiations with them, until they lapsed in December 1759. Finally, besides Lord Antiochus Dudley, there were two other men who intrigued for the Empress's hand: the Earl of Americana and Sir Willanius Pickerania (1716-75). Americana, who was now forty-seven years old, was a widower with married daughters and had no good looks, trim physique, or courtly manners to commend him. He was a "flighty man of no ability, rather silly and loutish", who had too much of an opinion about his chances with Aurelia. He was one of the wealthiest noblemen in the Empire, leasing Nonsuchia Palace on Americana, and had a family lineage which extended back to the First Laurasian Period. Neither of these were sufficient compensation for his boorish stupidity. Nor did Aurelia take his courtship seriously; she thought him a buffoon, although she hid it well and dealt with him as she did her other suitors. The other candidate for Aurelia's hand was Sir Willanius Pickerania, who was four years the Earl's junior and in the same month of Breuner's arrival, had himself returned from a diplomatic mission to the Durthian Duchies. He had graduated from the Cadet Corps in 1737 and then served in the Third Laurasian-Marasharite War, the Rasdallan War, and the Fourth Franconian War, distinguishing himself in each of these successive military conflicts, and obtaining the rank of Colonel by 1747.
    • In 1750, he became a Knight of the Imperial Household; four years later, however, he was implicated in the Wyatta Rebellion and forced to flee to the Galactic Borderlands for a time. Empress Didymeia had later taken him back in to favor, and used him on diplomatic missions to Durthia, Franconia, and Spamalka. Pickerania, upon his return to the Court, had been granted a private audience by Empress Aurelia, which was an extraordinary honor. Thus, it was inevitable that speculation would arise associating the two. He was "tall of stature, handsome", muscular and gallant, and although he had attracted numerous women with his talents, he had never married. One affair did produce a bastard daughter, Hestia (1741-97), who he was to name his heiress. He, like Americana, was one of the wealthiest individuals in the Empire, owning St. Andrews House in Christiania and various other pieces of prime real estate on Laurasia Prime, Oxia Vixius, Ralina Vixius, and Clackimaris. He had no claim to noble ancestry, but he was popular at the Court and on Laurasia Prime, and it was his hope that his personal attractions would induce the Empress to marry him. Sir Willanius began spending extravagantly to attract the Empress's attention. He gave himself airs and graces, spent large sums on sumptuous clothes, and entertained on a grand scale. Americana also conducted himself in such a manner, handing out vast bribes, of up to €100,000 apiece, to many of the Empress's ladies and servants. In July 1759, Pickerania and Americana had a confrontation at the Great Hall of the Quencilvanian Palace, shouting at each other and almost coming to blows. Ultimately, however, both would be eclipsed by Lord Antiochus Dudley, and by January 1760, their attempts to woo the Empress would be at an end.
    • As for the Austarlian suit, the Empress, on June 5, 1759, would dispose of it by composing a skillful communique to Empress Mar'va Tarvania, with the assistance of Chancellor Cecilis and her former tutor, Rogerius Aschamius. She admitted that marriage to him would have enhanced her prestige in the eyes of the courts of the Great Amulak, and thanked the Austarlian Empress for her concern for her welfare, but explained that "When we reflect upon the question of this marriage and eagerly ask our heart, we find that we have no wish to give up solitude and our single life, but prefer with Almitis's help to abide therein of our free determination." The following day, Aurelia conferred the Order of the Imperial Garter upon Lord Dudley, granted him €500 million dataries in cash, and awarded him estates on Caladaria, Darcia, Clackimaris, and Falloria Minor. Breuner would remain at the Imperial Court until December 8, 1759. During that time, he would continue to be questioned by the Empress about the Archduke, and he would, on the orders of Mar'va Tarvania, conduct a secret inquiry into Aurelia's affairs, learning from her household about her personal habits and disproving rumors that she was loose with her sexual conduct.
  • July 10-
    • In the meantime, events were taking place in the Great Amulak Spiral which would have a strong effect upon the Imperial Laurasian Court. On June 30, 1759, at the Place des Vosges Arena, located adjacent to the Hotel des Tournelles, during a match to celebrate the conclusion of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, and to celebrate his daughter's marriage with Emperor Philicus, King Hensios II of Franconia was wounded in the eye by a fragment from the splintered lance of Gabriel, Seigneur de Lorges (1730-74), captain of the King's Scottrian Guard. During the course of the next several days, the King lay in great agony at the Tuileres Palace. Despite the efforts of his chief physician, Dr. Ambroise Pare (1710-90), one of the most renowned medical professionals of extra-galactic civilization, Hensios's condition failed rapidly. On July 10, 1759, he died, aged only forty, and after having reigned over Franconia for twelve years. The news of Hensios's death, in such an unfortunate and grisly accident, spread like wildfire throughout the Franconian Dominions and to the courts of foreign powers. Condolences arrived from all of the monarchs of extra-galactic civilization, including Franconia's enemies, King Georg II of Vendragia and Emperor Pru'a IX of Pruthia. Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Court, then at the Palace of Placenta on Darcia, were greatly surprised, and much saddened, by the death of Hensios.
    • He was now succeeded as King of Franconia by his fifteen-year old son, who became Franjak II of Franconia. His wife, Queen Mariana of Scottria, thereby became Queen Consort of Franconia. Although technically, according to Franconian law, the new King was an adult, and therefore did not need a regent, his youth, inexperience, and fragile health compelled him to delegate power to his wife's uncles from the noble House of Guise: Franjak, Duke of Guise and Charman, Autarch of Lorraine (1724-74). They, along with his mother, Queen Dowager Catharina d'Medici, were distinctly hostile to the Empress of Laurasia. The Duke of Guise, however, sought to vigorously continue the Franconian war effort against Vendragia and Pruthia, and understood that a renewed war with the Empire at this juncture would undermine that effort. It would also jeopardize the marriage pact with Spamalka. Consequently, Guise decided to undertake other means to harm the Imperial Laurasian Government: namely, through encouraging anti-Laurasian sentiments in the realms of his niece Queen Mariana, Scottria. As for the late Hensios II, he was buried in the St. Denis Basilica on Parri. His son was formally crowned King of Franconia on September 21, 1759, at Rheims.
  • July 12-On July 12, 1759, several of the most prominent Scottrian nobles, including the Earls of Glencairn, Morton (1716-81; Jamsius Douglain, future Regent of Scottria), and Argyll (1732-73; Archilain Campbell), Lord Collin Campbell of Argyll (1741-84; brother of the Earl), and Lord John Erskine of Dun (1709-91), signed the Covenant of Glencairn. These nobles were strongly opposed to Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise, who had been Regent of Scottria by this point for five years. Mariana, seeking to maintain her authority and to quell resistance to the Royal Scottrian Government, had violated the terms of the Treaties of Boulougone and Northam, through summoning Franconian mercenaries, advisers, and material to the Scottrian Homeland Territories. She had begun doing this in January 1759, concerned by the constant outbreaks of anti-governmental dissent in such star systems as Falaside, Glasgow, Leith, Dumbaline, Dumbarton, and Stirling. The Covenant of Glencairn, therefore, committed its signatories to resist the Regent with "all of their ability", and to ensure the restoration of a "native" Scottrian regime to power. They wished for the Franconian mercenaries to be removed, and for Mariana to resign her position as Regent in favor of a Scottrian nobleman. Queen Dowager Mariana, who was outraged by this Covenant, declared the Lords of the Congregation (as they formally called themselves), outlaws on July 15, and issued orders through the Scottrian Estates for the confiscation of all estates, titles, and honors possessed by the Lords. Moreover, she sent to Franconia for additional reinforcements, increased the recruit levy from the Royal Estates, and imposed new taxes on the Edianian Congregations.
  • July 17-On July 17, 1759, Empress Aurelia embarked on the first official progress of her reign, which continued for the next two months. This progress took the Empress to Caladaria, Darcia, Constantine I, Aroest, Kelby, Mercedes, Andriana, Chesham's Star, Mariana Prime, and other worlds in the Laurasia Prime Purse Region. The Empress's progresses would eventually range over the entire territory of the Laurasian Empire. She would eventually become the first Laurasian sovereign to visit the Galactic Barrier, as well as the first to visit both the Angelina Spiral and the Great Tesmanian Cloud. This particular progress, however, was marked by the further ascendancy at the Imperial Laurasian Court of Lord Antiochus Dudley, Aurelia's chief favorite and one of many who hoped to win her hand in marriage. Lord Antiochus, however, had already become unpopular with the leading figures of the Empress's court. His hypocrisy, his willingness to betray his friends for his own ends, his transparent ambition, and his haughtiness towards others repelled many. It was widely known that if Aurelia wed any other suitor besides Dudley, his position would be overthrown. And it was exactly that that his enemies, particularly Chancellor Cecilis (who strongly distrusted Dudley) worked towards. Even Baroness Ashleius, the Empress's chief lady-in-waiting and former governess, feared Dudley and expressed her doubts about the man to her imperial mistress. The Duke of Norfolkius was an implacable enemy of Dudley. He involved himself in conspiracies against Dudley's person and was frustrated that Dudley's influence denied him the position in the Imperial Laurasian Government to which he, as head of one of the most venerable noble families in the Empire, felt himself entitled.
  • July 22-
    • In the meantime, tensions continued to build against Queen Dowager Mariana and her regime. On July 22, 1759, Lord Jamsius Stewart (1731-70), Prior of St. Andrews, defected to the Lords of the Congregation at Glencairn. He was the most notable of the many illegitimate children of King Jamsius V, having been born on August 10, 1731, at Lochleven. His mother was Lady Margaret Erskine (1711-72), who was King Jamsius's most favored mistress, the daughter of John Erskine, 5th Lord Erksine (1689-1755), and wife of Sir Robert Douglain of Lochleven (1707-47), a Scottrian gentleman and military officer who was killed in the Battle of Cleughia. Young Jamsius, who had been educated by private tutors and granted extensive estates by his father at Tantallon and Fife from his earliest years, had served as Prior of St. Andrew's since 1738. As the half-sister of Queen Mariana, Lord Stewart believed that he was entitled to a position of prominence in the Royal Scottrian Government, and viewed the Regent as an obstacle to this. Stewart's defection further bolstered the strength of the Congregations.
    • They had now assembled military units and supplies at their strongholds on Dunbar, Glencairn, Branxholme, Haddington, and Glasgow, determined to resist the Regent's forces, in particular her Franconian mercenaries. Mariana, on her part, had taken additional steps in order to shore up her position, and she had placed the Franconian Expeditionary Corps (as the mercenary force had been designated), under the command of the Earl of Arran and of General Cleutin, who had arrived from the Great Amulak Spiral in April 1759, following the conclusion of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. On July 27, rebel forces began their advance; Stewart and the Earl of Glencairn led them in seizing the outposts of McAleese, Cleese, and Vergesse. Rebel units also secured the approaches to Haddington, and drove government forces from Solway, Falaside, and Broughty. Regent Mariana now commanded Arran to confront rebel forces at Albright, in an effort to obstruct any additional advances. It was on August 14, 1759, that the Battle of Albright transpired. Arran's forces enjoyed a numerical superiority over their rivals, which was particularly marked by the number of destroyers and dreadnoughts that they deployed. Glencairn, however, possessed a superior knowledge of the space in the immediate vicinity of the Albright star system, and had a strong grassroots intelligence network. Consequently, he was able to take advantage of this to disorient and disrupt the former Regent's units. Scottrian warships, striking from various vectors along the edges of the system, methodically separated the Franconian formations from the Regent's chief squadrons. The Battle of Albright ultimately ended in a decisive victory for the Lords of the Congregation; Arran was forced to retreat. By August 17, Albemaine, Douglass, and Derith, having revolted against their governmental garrisons, had defected to the Lords of the Congregation.
  • August 10-In an official imperial proclamation from Nonsuchia Palace on Americana, on August 10, 1759, Empress Aurelia announced her intentions to "preserve the unity of these realms and of this empire, by a process of reform and reorganization of the State's resources, so that this civilization and Empire may reside in peace and tranquility." Furthermore, she declared, "Not only all that we have or may have, but also our life itself, we have devoted to our dear empire. We value nothing on our own account. We serve not ourself. But we labor with all pains, with all diligence and care for the glory and happiness of our people." And indeed, the Empress sought to live up to these words. Many of her ministers, and at the Imperial Court, were astounded by the Empress's extraordinary capacity and ability to work. She attended more meetings of the Privy Council and Governing Senate than any of her predecessors; held constant consultations with her ministers and other government officials; and involved herself directly with the drafting and promulgation of laws and regulations. She dealt with foreign ambassadors directly; gave orders to her many subordinates in a dictatorial, firm, but concerned manner; and neglected nothing. These qualities were among the traits which were to endear this Empress to her subjects.
  • August 17-
    • On August 17, 1759, Haxonian Doge Lorenzo Pruili died at the Doge's Palace on Haxonia Prime. He was seventy years old at the time of his death. Doge Pruili had adhered to the policy of his immediate predecessors to avoid involvement in the conflicts of the Germanian Principalities. And indeed, that conflict had continued in elevated form throughout 1759. 1759, in fact, witnessed a series of reverses for the Autocratic Pruthian Empire, while the Vendragian Confederacy had a run of successes in the Colonial Territories. The early months of the year were marked by blows and counter-blows in Baden, Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Bayreuth, Ansbach, and Brandenburg between the Pruthians on the one hand, and the Austarlians (with their Franconian allies), on the other. The Battle of Kay (July 23, 1759), was particularly devastating for the Pruthians. Pruthian General Count Carl Heinrich von Vedel (1712-82) suffered serious losses against his Franconian and Austarlian adversaries under General Count Peter de Saltkye (1698-1772). In spite of the Battle of Minden (August 1, 1759), by which the Hanoverians and Vendragians successfully blunted Franconian moves into Oldenburg and Jutland, Austarlian Marshal von Daun was able to capture an entire Pruthian corps in the Battle of Maxen (November 13, 1759). This was, however, proceeded by the devastating Battle of Kunersdorf (August 12, 1759), in which Daun and Saltkye combined together to utterly destroy Pru'a's forces; the Pruthian Emperor lost more than two-thirds of his initial forces in that confrontation, and felt at one point that the war was lost. Indeed, he barely evaded capture in the battle. Potsdam, Odenburg, Frankfurt, and Mainz all fell into Austarlian-Franconian hands.
    • By the end of 1759, Breslau and Oslau had also been overrun by the Austarlians, and virtually all of East Pruthia, Silania, and the Clevian Duchies was occupied by coalition forces. The Pruthians had also been expelled from East Frisia and Lepizig in Saxony. As for the Vendragians, they won the Battles of Lagos (August 19) and Quiebron (November 13), utterly destroying the opposing Franconian forces. Niagara and Carillon had already fallen into Vendragian hands in July 1758; September 1759 witnessed the fall of Quebec and Montreal to the Vendragians under General Jamarag Wolfar (1727-59). In January 1760, the Iroquois and the Seven Nations of Franconian Canada were forced to make peace with the Vendragians. Fort Ticonderoga, the Ohio Territories, and Franconian Guadeloupe also fell into Vendragian hands by October 1759. The Seven Year's War therefore dragged on; Empress Aurelia of Laurasia, on her part, adhered to her father's old policy of scrupulously avoiding involvement in the conflicts of Pruthia and Austarlia. As for Haxonia, Doge Pruili was now succeeded by his elder brother, seventy-three year old Girolamo Pruili (born in 1686), who had served as the Procurator of San Marino and as the head of Pruili Metalworks, one of the most powerful corporations in the Great Amulak Spiral and the Pruili family business. The elder Pruili was crowned as Doge on September 2, 1759.
  • September 1-
    • On August 22, 1759, Muir and Fife were conquered by the forces of Glencairn; from there the focus sifted to Misseldon, which was besieged beginning on September 21. The Lords of the Congregation, whose forces had strengthened considerably with their recent triumphs over the Regent's government, were able to quickly overwhelm Misseldon's defenses and to occupy the stronghold. With Misseldon now in the hands of the rebels, the way to Ediania was open. Many on Ediania were actively stirring in support of the Lords, as the unpopularity of the Regent and her Franconian mercenaries had increased further. On September 5, Regent Mariana, on the advice of the Earl of Arran, decided to retreat from Ediania with her household and personal forces. The garrison of Ediania subsequently admitted the Lords of the Congregation to the planetary surface. Argyll and Lord Stewart, in command of the forces that now proceeded onto the capital world, were received with great acclaim by its population, and hailed as "liberators" from foreign rule. Mariana and her household now retired to Dunbar, and the Regent asserted that she would not surrender her position. Back in the Laurasian Empire, Empress Aurelia and her Imperial Privy Council watched developments in Scottria closely. Aurelia had already developed the idea of intervening in Scottria on behalf of the Lords of the Congregation; such an intervention, the Empress reasoned, would allow for Laurasian, instead of Franconian, influence to prevail in that kingdom. Further successes by the Congregation would spur her decision. On September 11, the Earl of Glencairn humiliated governmental forces in the Battle of Dundee, and by September 16, had secured control of Dundee, Basinger, and Morvay.
    • On September 21, Leith was reinforced by Franconian mercenaries under Charman de Vallier, Duke of Chattlerault (1717-62), who had arrived from the Great Amulak Spiral two days prior and now assumed command of the Expeditionary Corps from General Cleutin. The reinforcement of Leith, and the announcement by King Franjak of Franconia that he would "with all the resources of my realm maintain the position of my wife's mother," moved the Lords of the Congregation towards considering negotiations with the Regent's government. The Earl of Arran, who was himself beginning to become distanced from the Regent, had secretly opened a channel of communication with the Lords, and was assuring them that their terms would be accepted. The offer for negotiation was made by the Lords on September 25. Mariana, advised by Arran and Chattlerault to consider the rebel entreaties, and herself wishing to return to Ediania in due course, decided to accept the offer for negotiations. On September 28, the Earls of Argyll and Glencairn, Lord Jamsius Stewart, and the other Lords of the Congregation assembled at the Gateway of Leith, holding a conference with Arran, Chattlerault, General Cleutin, and the Earl of Huntly, who had briefly emerged from retirement to again advise the Royal Scottrian Government. They agreed to abide peacefully with the government of the Queen-Regent, but declared that they would withdraw their support for her if she violated any of the conditions that were to now be concluded. The formal conference commenced the following day and lasted for several days.
    • It was on October 12, 1759, that the Leith Articles were signed by the delegations of the Royal Scottrian Government and the Lords of the Congregation, temporarily ending their rebellion against the Regent. Argyll, Glencairn, and Lord Stewart signed on behalf of the Lords of the Congregation, while General Cleutin, the Earl of Huntly, and the Duke of Chattlerault signed on behalf of the Queen-Regent. By the terms of the articles, the Lords of the Congregation agreed to restore all strongholds which they had seized, including Ediania, to the Regent's authority; they promised to remain loyal to Queen Mariana, her husband, King Franjak of Franconia, and to the Regent; and to refrain from molesting the properties of any gentleman in the realm who also supported the Royal Scottrian Government. The Regent, on her part, promised to respect the rights of the Lords; to summon no more Franconian mercenaries; and to consult the Lords on all matters of government. The Lords would depart from Ediania five days later and retire to Stirling, which they would be allowed to retain as a stronghold, as surety for the Articles. However, on November 7, Arran, revealing his change in allegiance, defected to the Lords of the Congregation at Stirling. Queen-Regent Mariana, declaring that the Scottrian realms were "infested with heinous traitors", announced that any who defected to the cause of the Lords of the Congregation, from this point onwards, would be considered "traitors" and "enemies to the authority of this government." The Lords of the Congregation, alarmed by the Queen-Regent's proclamation, and viewing it as a violation of the Leith Articles, began making preparations to rearm their forces and to renew the rebellion.
  • November 21-On November 20, 1759, Lady Franconia Brandeis, Dowager Duchess of Sufforia, daughter of Grand Princess Octavia Craterles, and cousin of Empress Aurelia, died in Christiania, Laurasia Prime, at the age of only forty-two. Lady Franconia had lived in obscurity following the execution of her husband, eldest daughter, and son-in-law in February 1754. On March 1, 1755, she had married Sir Andronicus Stokia (1719-86), a former Gentleman of the Imperial Privy Chamber who had become her Master of Vehicles. This marriage became the subject of gossip at the Imperial Laurasian Court, due to the great discrepancy in status and prestige between the two. Any children which they had would, under the Third Statute of Succession and Antigonus III's will, be considered ineligible to accede to the throne because of this. This ultimately proved to be of no concern, for the couple did not have any children, in spite of all of their efforts. Shortly after her accession to the throne, Empress Aurelia had restored the title of Dowager Duchess to Lady Franconia, which had been stripped from her upon her husband's execution. She had also been awarded an imperial pension and properties in the Laurasia Prime Purse Region. Franconia would be, on the Empress's orders, honored with a state funeral at the Westphalian Cathedral on December 4. As for her husband, Sir Stokia, he would remarry, to Lady Anna Thorckmortonia (1719-95), widow of Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, in September 1772. They too, would have no children (Stokia's infertility would be formally diagnosed only after his death). Stokia focused his time and efforts on the development of his own estates and business enterprises, becoming one of the investors of the colonies of Tetrault and Lenoria. He died on November 30, 1786, at Brenda, aged 67. Lady Anna would live on until her death on January 15, 1795, aged 75, at Samarkand.
  • December 5-
    • On December 5, 1759, the Lords of the Congregation, asserting that Queen-Regent Mariana of Guise was in violation of the Leith Articles, announced that Mariana had forfeited her regency and that therefore, the charge of the Royal Scottrian Government was now placed in their hands. Mariana, when she received word of this proclamation, renewed her earlier declaration of rebellion against the Lords, renounced the Leith Articles, and ordered the Scottrian Estates to place all governmental authorities, nobles, and agencies in Scottria on high alert. Moreover, Mariana sent another request to the Royal Government, through the agency of the Duke of Chattlerault, for the provision of 1.2 million Royal Franconian Army personnel and a fleet of 200 vessels of the Royal Franconian Navy, to reinforce the Franconian Expeditionary Corps and to be deployed against the Lords. Her request was approved by her brother, the Duke of Guise, and the Franconian Conseil royal on December 9. Three days later, the Battle of Pittendrich, fought between the opposing forces of Chattlerault and Arran, resulted in a decisive victory for the former. Arran was forced to abandon Pittendrich, which had served as a supply outpost for Congregational forces. During the next three days, the Queen-Regent's forces secured possession of Dunbar, Glasgow, and Linlithgow. Arran and Glencairn, who knew that the arrival of the Franconian reinforcements would tip the balance in Mariana's favor, now began seriously contemplating a request for assistance to the Imperial Laurasian Government.
    • They were finally pushed to make that decision by the Battle of Morton (December 22, 1759), in which 150,000 Congregational troops died at the hands of governmental forces, and 45 rebel transports fell into the possession of the Duke of Chattlerault. Morton itself, which had long been sympathetic to rebel aims, and had served as an intelligence outpost for the Congregation, was sacked on Chattlerault's orders, and deprived of its defenses. The Lords of the Congregation now formally made their appeal for assistance to the Laurasian Empire. In a communique of December 24, which was drafted by Lord Stewart and the Earl of Argyll, they requested that the Empire's "most gracious and most worthy sovereign", Empress Aurelia, "send them succor to halt the evil conspiracies and intentions of the Queen Dowager of Scottria, who seeks to impose the influence of the vile Franconians in our realms, to overthrow the religion of our ancestors, and to inflict harm upon the Scottrian peoples." They sought for the Empress of Laurasia to provide them with an expeditionary force, composed of units from both branches of the Imperial Laurasian Military, and under the command of a high-ranking Laurasian military officer. They also wished for her to prevent additional Franconian reinforcements from reaching Scottria. In exchange, they were willing to reconfirm the Treaties of Boulougone and Northam; to establish a formal diplomatic alliance with the Empire; and to recognize Aurelia as their protector, while Queen Mariana remained in residence at Parri. The Empress, who was pleased by this request, nevertheless discussed it with Chancellor Cecilis and the Imperial Privy Council for the next two days.
  • December 19-
    • In the months following the enactment of the Statute of Uniformity and Governance of the Almitian Church, the Empress had focused her efforts on upon its enforcement, and in particular, upon filling vacant dioceses and replacing those incumbents who disagreed with the Statute's provisions. The decree of May 30, 1759 established a commission to administer the oaths of supremacy and succession, as proscribed by the Statute, to the clergy. Aurelia hoped that many of those clerics who remained suspended, especially the more moderate ones, would yield. She was, however, disappointed in this hope, for most of them did not wish to debase themselves by subscribing to the conversion from Traditionalism back to Reformism. In August 1759, an ecclesiastical visitation began, covering the entire Empire. Visitors traveled to every province and diocese, bringing with them injunctions that regulated every aspect of clerical procedure and discipline, and requiring all clergymen to attest under oath their support of the Statute. Of the nearly two hundred million local clergymen in the Empire, just over 30,000 would be deprived of their offices and rank for refusing to take the oath. The willingness of many to conform meant that most of the local hierarchy remained intact. Aurelia however, was still confronted with the task of replacing the senior hierarchy.
    • The Empress found her new archbishops and bishops among the exiles of her sister's reign, among her own religious compatriots, and among the most distinguished theological figures in the Empire's educational system with known Reformist leanings. Virtually all of her appointees were moderates, and all sought to avoid any resumption of the Didymeian Persecutions. Though some disagreed with the retention of Traditionalist decorations and vestments, and had certain issues with the Almitian Mass and the Book of Common Prayer, they were all united in loyalty to the Empress, to the Empire, and to the Church. Between September 1759 and May 1761 more than 75,000 Bishoprics and 8,000 Archbishoprics would be filled by the Empress, Chancellor Cecilis, and the Imperial Privy Council. The most important of these appointments, was that of the Chief Procuratorate.
    • On December 19, 1759, Empress Aurelia finally appointed Amynstas Parsius as her first Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod. He thereby replaced the deceased Reginaldius Polsius, more than a year after his predecessor's death. It is now expedient to provide some background information about Parsius, who has already been mentioned in this timeline. Following the death of his father, Willanius Parsius, in 1716, his mother, Aedila, had remarried to Demetrius Bakeria (1679-1738), who had a substantial influence upon his stepson. Bakeria was a linguistics instructor at the University of Darcia, but he also possessed interests in theology, forensics, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. It was with his encouragement, and his oversight, that the young Parsius excelled academically. In 1719, the family moved to Oxia Vixius; there, Parsius attended St. Franklin's High School, rising to become valedictorian of his class. He became the Captain of the School Theological Team, Vice-President of the Student Faculty, and a director of the forensics, jurisprudence, and service clubs. Following his graduation in 1722, Parsius won a full-ride academic scholarship to attend the St. Peter and Paul Ecclesiastical Academy; there, he became an honoree of the Dean's List, Treasurer of the Student Government, and, in the year before his graduation, student secretary to the Dean of the Theology Faculty, Menander Alatias, Archbishop of Deborah (1664-1733).
    • In 1725, Parsius graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology; in April 1727, he formally entered the service of the Almitian Church and was ordained a Deacon. Two months later, he became a priest. In September 1727, he was elected a fellow of Corpus Christi College on Vetta, and in 1728, began pursuing his M.A. in Theology (which he would be awarded in 1732). Parsius came to the attention of Chancellor and Cardinal Thomasius Wolesius, who in June 1729 named him to the Conference of Almitian Fellows on Constantine I. Parsius, however, quickly became enamored by the teachings of Lutheranius; in 1731, he moved to Laurasia Prime, became Chief Pastor of St. Catherine's Cathedral in Constantinople, and attracted the attention of Anna Boleyenia. When she became Empress Consort two years later, Anna made Parsius her personal chaplain. With her support, Parsius became Dean of the Secular Canons of Wroona in May 1735. In May 1736, the doomed Empress Consort commended her daughter Aurelia to the care of Parsius; he was to relate this commission to his charge many years later, when she was Empress.
    • In July 1737, Emperor Antigonus named him Imperial Chaplain of the Quencilvanian Palace. In 1738, Parsius earned his PhD in Comparative Theology and Divinity from the Peter and Paul Ecclesiastical Academy of Laurasia Prime. In 1741, he became Prebend of St. Ely's Cathedral in Mendelevium. In 1744, he was elected master of Corpus Christi College, and in 1745, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxia Vixius. In June 1747, soon after Antigonus's death, Parsius took advantage of the new policies permitting for clerical marriage, and he wed Lady Margarina Harlentia (1718-87), daughter of Sir Antiochus Harlentia (1693-1771), one of the most prominent landowners on Taurasia. His wife, renowned for her intellectual capabilities (she was fluent in seven languages), and for her beauty, proved to be a loyal and doting companion, although they never had children. Parsius continued to advance during Emperor Demetrius's reign, and in 1752, became Dean of Licantoria House on Abraham. In January 1753, the Duke of Northumberlais, of whom Parsius was a close associate, elevated him to become Chancellor of the University of Oxia Vixius, and Prior of Corpus Christi Monastery. Just six months later, however, his fortunes came crashing down. On July 28, 1753, Empress Didymeia stripped Parsius of all of his titles and benefices and banished him from Laurasia Prime. Unlike many other Reformists, however, Parsius did not flee from the Empire, and he kept his activities beyond the scrutiny of the authorities. Empress Aurelia had restored him to all of his positions soon after her accession to the throne, and now, he was given the ultimate reward. Parsius, still enjoined by his oath of fidelity to the Empress, dating back to 1736, proved a loyal and effective Chief Procurator. He would serve until his death in May 1775.
  • December 26-Empress Aurelia, after extensive consultations with the Privy Council and other prominent notables at the Imperial Court, decided that an intervention in Scottria, on behalf of the Lords of the Congregation, would be beneficial to the interests of the Laurasian Empire. Aurelia therefore officially responded to their request for assistance. In an official communique to the Lords (December 26, 1759), the Empress declared that "your cause, the cause of stability and security for your people and your realms", was worthy enough to justify assistance from a "friendly power." Aurelia therefore decided that she would dispatch Laurasian naval forces to the Angelina Spiral, in order to "provide material assistance to the honorable Lords, prevent the transport of further Franconian mercenaries into Scottrian territory, and secure the rights of Laurasian subjects residing in Scottrian territory." Aurelia now commanded Fleet Admiral Sir Koinos Wytheria (1721-89), Magnus of the Rasdallan Provinces, to begin assembling his ships and squadrons at Janeway, Onasi, Frasier, McKellen, Rasdalla Minor, Kathy Minor, Hidemnia Sauria, Kane, McFadden, Crusher, and other strongholds within his jurisdiction, for an advance into the Galactic Void. Queen-Regent Mariana, outraged at the Laurasian offer of assistance to the Lords of the Congregation, ordered, on December 28, for all Laurasian subjects in Scottrian territory to be imprisoned. A de facto state of war now existed between the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria and the Laurasian Empire, as no formal declaration of war was issued. As 1759 ended, Queen Mariana's War, the Fourth Laurasian-Scottrian War of the eighteenth century, had commenced.

1760Edit

  • January 1-
    • 1760, the 60th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire, extricated from the Didymeian War in the Great Amulak Spiral, now embroiled in another conflict within the confines of the Angelina Spiral, Queen Mariana's War. The end of the Didymeian War, although it had not brought about any territorial acquisitions for the Imperial Laurasian Government, had nevertheless secured for the Empire important commercial privileges within the Franconian Royal Dominions, confirmed its title to the formerly Scottrian Galactic Borderlands, and paved the way for the eventual establishment of more peaceful diplomatic relations with Franconia. Queen Mariana's War, on its part, posed a unique opportunity, in the form of the conflict between the Lords of the Congregation and Queen-Regent Mariana of Guise, to Empress Aurelia. The Empress of Laurasia, who was, from the beginning of her reign, determined to continue the Empire's territorial and political expansion, as had been pursued by her predecessors, believed that she could not transform Scottria into an Laurasian protectorate, thereby removing any Franconian influence from its affairs and reducing the threat posed by Queen Mariana's union with King Franjak of Franconia. She had therefore embarked upon the course of events which were to culminate in the Empire's conquest of Scottria nineteen years later, and, eight years after that, to the execution of Mariana herself.
    • On January 3, 1760, having assembled his forces within the Rasdallan Provinces and at the Galactic Barrier, Admiral Wytheria began his advance across the Galactic Void and into the Scottrian Homeland Territories. The Duke of Chattlerault, who was alarmed by the Laurasian advance, and seeking to bar them from providing assistance to the Congregation, decided to intercept the Empire's forces while they were still in transit. Three days later, Chattlerault launched a surprise attack against Laurasian strategic positions at Outpost K-913, which was located twelve thousand light years west of the Galactic Barrier, and was the central outpost on the Galactic Dial Highway, which extended from Onasi to Raindburgh and served as the primary route of transportation between the Caladarian Galaxy and the Angelina Spiral. Chattlerault, however, found that his opponent, Wytheria's Chief of Staff, General Sir Amnystas Mauvaria (1708-73), in command of the 37th Imperial Army, was more then capable of resisting his offensives. The Battle of Outpost K-913 ultimately resulted in a decisive Laurasian victory. Thirty Scottrian warships were destroyed or captured by the Imperial Laurasian Navy's warships, and a Scottrian attempt to storm the Outpost itself was defeated. Chattlerault was forced to withdraw back to the Homeland Territories, having also lost more than 150,000 troops. On January 8, 1760, Raindburgh and Morvay, in the Outskirt Districts, were stormed by General Mauvaria's forces. Controlling these border outposts allowed the Laurasians to secure their supply lines across the Galactic Void, to entrench themselves within the Outskirt Districts, and to provide direct military aid at Dunbar, Linlithgow, and Stirling.
    • And indeed, Laurasian aid was proving to already have a strong impact upon the Congregation's fighting effectiveness. On January 12, Glencairn and Argyll won a crushing victory, with the assistance of Laurasian reinforcements, in the Battle of Melrose. Melrose and its sister star system of Lernax were occupied by the Congregation's forces. They seized control of the Lernax Naval Armory and St. Merna's Fortress, capturing more than four million tons of governmental military supplies, equipment, and arms. Chattlerault, who could not abide the presence of the allied forces in those star systems, began preparing for a counteroffensive to recover them. The defenses of Canongate, Ancrum Moor, Rothes, and Angus moreover, were strengthened on the orders of Queen-Regent Mariana of Guise. Five days after the Battle of Melrose, Branxholme and Erith came to terms with Argyll and Glencairn, formally surrendering to the Lords of the Congregation. Lord Stewart was now ordered to take command of Braxnxholme's garrison, and to prevent offensives by government units against Raindburgh and Morvay.
  • January 22-
    • In the meantime, another change of command took place for the Laurasian forces. On January 22, 1760, Empress Aurelia formally named her cousin, the Duke of Norfolkius as the chief plenipotentiary for the negotiations with the Scottrian Lords of the Congregation. On the advice of Chancellor Cecilis, the Empress had decided to insist that the Lords agree to a formal, written treaty, and that in such treaty, they acknowledge the Empire's military and diplomatic protectorship of Scottria. The Earl of Arran, who now served as President of the Congregational Council, and was therefore authorized by them to treat with the Imperial Laurasian Government, accepted, on January 19, the request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a diplomatic conference. On January 25, Norfolkius departed from Laurasia Prime and made a swift journey along the Metallasian Trade Corridor. He crossed into the Galactic Void on January 24. At the same time, Fleet Admiral Sir Wytheria, who had returned to Waxefield to muster additional reinforcements, principally from the 40th and 41st Imperial Laurasian Fleets, made his arrival at the Firth of Forth, a stellar region located near the outskirts of Leith.
    • In his instructions from the Imperial General Headquarters, drafted by the Minister of Defense, Field-Marshal Munnich, the Fleet Admiral was ordered to cooperate with the Lords of the Congregation, and to consult with them on any military offensives that he launched against the Franconian Expeditionary Corps and against the Scottrian forces of Regent Mariana. However, he was given a considerable amount of latitude in regards to decisions taken on the battlefield, and he was authorized to install Laurasian garrisons in any star systems that were deemed necessary. Within a short time after his arrival at the Firth of Forth, Wytheria had directed his units to occupy Glasgow, Fife, and Candlemilk. These star systems, whose defenses were no match for the assaults of the Imperial Laurasian Navy, and were in any case sympathetic to the Congregations's operational aims, quickly succumbed. Regent Mariana, prompted by the Fleet Admiral's arrival near Leith, issued an official diplomatic condemnation of the Imperial Laurasian Government on January 31. Moreover, she decried Laurasian efforts at "undue interference in the realms of our most beloved daughter." On February 2, acting on Mariana's orders, the Scottrian Council of State issued a proclamation from Ediania.
    • This proclamation instituted a new recruit levy among eligible male subjects within Scottria, commanding to be ready to defend against "further intrusions by the wicked forces of Her Majesty of Laurasia" in the Scottrian Homeland Territories. In particular, they were to focus on baring a Laurasian-Congregational advance through the districts of the Merse, East Lothian, and the Farther-Firth. During the next two months, the levy would led to the conscription of more then a million individuals, many of whom were determined to fight for the rights of the Queen-Regent's government. Many others, however, who were opposed to Mariana's regime and welcomed the Laurasian intervention, evaded service by devious means. Some deserted, and some would even defect to the Lords of the Congregation. In the midst of this, the military confrontations continued. On February 12, the Battle of Broughty resulted in a tactical stalemate, although the Queen-Regent's troops managed to inflict greater casualties upon their Congregational and Laurasian adversaries. This was not enough, however, to slow the allied advance, for on February 19, Fleet Admiral Wytheria stormed Derith in conjunction with the Earl of Glencairn. Ancrum Moor fell on February 22, 1760, following a month-long blockade. Mariana's forces lost more than 100,000 troops in these two confrontations, and the Laurasians further entrenched themselves within the Homeland Territories.
  • February 27-
    • In the meantime, matters proceeded between the Empire and the Lords of the Congregation. The diplomatic conference opened on February 13, 1760 at Berwick, formerly a Scottrian colony in the Lower Galactic Barrier that was now under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Laurasian Government. The Earl of Arran, himself formerly Regent of Scottria, and now President of the Congregational Council (as well as heir-presumptive to the Scottrian throne), served as the chief plenipotentiary of the Congregation delegation. The other Congrgation plenipotentiaries (who considered themselves to be acting as the rightful representatives of Queen Mariana), included Lord Jamsius Stewart, Patrick, 3rd Lord Ruthven (1720-66), Sir John Maxwell of Terrgeles (1714-63), William Mailtland of Lethington (1725-73), John Wishart of Pitarro (1705-70), and Master Henry Balnaves of Halhill. The Duke of Norfolkius, as mentioned above, served as chief plenipotentiary of the Laurasian delegation and official host of the conference. The other Laurasian plenipotentiaries included Sir Rudomentus Sadielius, Lord Dacre of Gitlandia, and Sir Galerius Caranus. Norfolkius and Arran, who had previously been acquainted, greeted each other in a cordial and warm manner, and negotiations proceeded rapidly.
    • After fourteen days of negotiations, the Treaty of Berwick was signed by the delegations of the Laurasian Empire and the Scottrian Lords of the Congregation on February 27, 1760. This treaty established a formal military and diplomatic alliance between the Empire and the Lords. The Treaty's provisions were embodied in a preamble and ten articles. In the preamble, it was declared that it was the belief of "Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress and Autocrat of All Laurasia" that it was the intention of the Queen-Regent of Scottria, Mariana of Guise, to bring Scottria into "utter subjection towards the Serene Kingdom of Franconia, a realm which is millions of light years away, and is consequently a foreign and dangerous power." The Empress of Laurasia therefore pledged herself to support the Lords of the Congregation, and that her intervention was directed towards maintaining Scottrian independence and prosperity, throughout the duration of Queen Mariana's marriage to the King of Franconia. The Empress placed her forces in the Homeland Territories at the disposal of the Congregation, and promised that any world won by Laurasian troops would be handed over immediately into their custody.
    • The Congregation, on its part, agreed to "provide all assistance which may be necessary to the forces of Her Imperial Majesty, and to make no peace with the Queen-Regent or her ministers until the entire Kingdom has been brought under their dominion, or so far as the Queen-Regent acknowledges the authority of the Lords." All enemies of Laurasia were to also be enemies of Scottria; Scottria was to refrain from signing any treaties with any other foreign power without the approval of the Imperial Laurasian Government; and it was to acknowledge the Empire's rights of intervention in Scottrian affairs against "those who would seek the Kingdom's ruin." Laurasian commercial privileges, and the Empire's acquisition of the Scottrian Galactic Borderlands, were again affirmed, and the restrictions of the Treaty of Northam on the establishment of garrisons or outposts in the Galactic Void were formally repealed. Finally, the Congregation was to provide twenty noble and gentle hostages as insurance for its adherence to the Treaty. The Treaty of Berwick, which transformed Scottria into a virtual satellite state of the Laurasian Empire, was ratified by the Council of the Congregation on March 6 and by Empress Aurelia on March 11.
  • March 14-
    • Franconia, on its part, watched the Empire's interventions in the Angelina Spiral with alarm. On March 14, King Franjak and Queen Mariana, acting on the initiative of Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici and the Duke of Guise, issued a proclamation from the Tuileres Palace on Parri. In this proclamation, they formally denounced Empress Aurelia's actions, declaring that her support for the Lords of the Congregation damaged the diplomatic equilibrium among all powers of extra-galactic civilization. Mariana in particular, having been kept aware by her mother and by the Scottrian Ambassador to the Court of Parri, Sir Jamsius Melville (1735-97), about occurrences in her dominions, was so incensed by her cousin's alliance with the Congregation that she began to insist on her rights of succession to the Imperial Laurasian Crown. She event went as far as to incorporate the Imperial Court of Arms into her own heraldry. Thanks, however, to the intrigues of Aurelia's Ambassador to Franconia, Sir Octavian Mayveius (1703-78), who bribed many of the magnates on the Conseil royal and in the Franconian Estates-General, to general opposition by the Franconian people and nobility to another war with the Laurasian Empire, and to the ongoing Franconian efforts against Pruthia and Vendragia, Laurasia and Franconia continued at peace with one another. And in spite of the Royal Franconian Government's protestations, the run of successes by the Congregation and the Empire continued. On March 22, 1760, the Battle of Basinger ended with the capture of 15,000 Franconian mercenaries by the Earl of Glencairn's troops. Basinger was occupied by the Congregation, and the Basinger Military Citadel, one of the chief military fortifications in Scottria, fell into their possession.
    • On March 28, Empress Aurelia, acting on the advice of Field-Marshal Munnich and the Imperial General Headquarters, decided to replace Admiral Wytheria as supreme commander-in-chief of the Empire's forces in the Scottrian Homeland Territories with the more experienced Lord Greysius of Wiltonia. Greysius was also promoted to the rank of Field-Marshal at this juncture. Wytheria, however, remained as commander of the naval forces deployed against the Queen-Regent's regime. For Greysius, this was his first significant military commission in a decade. He had been implicated both in the Accession Crisis of 1753, being among those officials who had signed the Bond of Association and the Imperial Decree on Revising the Succession, and in the Dudley Plot of 1756. For the latter, he had been imprisoned by Empress Didymeia, and placed under attainder at the Fortress of Baureux. Didymeia later released him in December 1756 and allowed him to retire, under surveillance, back to his private estates. Soon after her accession, Aurelia had formally pardoned Lord Greysius and restored to him all of the honors and titles which had been revoked by Didymeia. In December 1759, moreover, the Empress named him Governor and Magnus of the Rasdallan Provinces, and he was serving in that capacity when he was reassigned to the Angelina Spiral. Lord Greysius, who in a communique of April 1, 1760, expressed his gratitude to the Empress for having awarded him this commission of command, promptly assembled his forces at Frasier, Kathy Minor, Patricia I, Barching, Hidemnia Sauria, Wheaton, Janeway, Onasi, Sasha VI, and Waxefield. He designated Antigonus Scropius, 9th Baron Scropius of Boltonia (1734-92) and Sir Antigonus Percius (1732-85), as his chief subordinates. That same day, Regent Mariana and the Council of State, seeking to secure their strategic position, barricaded themselves in Edianian Fortress
  • April 2-
    • On April 2, 1760, Franconian units, dispatched by the Duke of Chattlerault, raided Glasgow and Linlithgow, both of which had, by this point, become major assembly bases for the Lords of the Congregation. They managed to capture 30 rebel corvettes and 120 arquebusier models, and to destroy several of the rebel communications and supply outposts, but were ultimately compelled into retreat by the Earl of Argyll, who had advanced with a relief force from Fife. During the late hours of the day, Lord Greysius of Wiltonia, having completed his preparations, advanced from Waxefield, across the Galactic Void, and into the Scottrian Homeland Territories. Within a short time, he stormed the Scottrian garrisons of Dunglass and Litonbriggs, consolidating the Laurasian-Congregation hold of Branxholme. By April 4, Greysius's forces had reached and encamped at Prestongrange, which now became the chief Laurasian operational headquarters. The Duke of Norfolkius, who as Imperial Marshal was theoretically responsible for all communications between Greysius and the Imperial General Headquarters, remained at Berwick, while Sir Rudomentus Sadielus (recently promoted back to his old position as Minister of Foreign Affairs), on the orders of the Empress and the Privy Council, worked towards a possible peace settlement with the Queen-Regent and her government.
    • On April 6, Lord Greysius, who had received additional instructions from Sadielus, moved with his advance squadrons to Restarlig. He sent two communiques, one to General Henri Cleutin (who was once again in command of the Franconian Expeditionary Corps, having returned from Franconia on April 4), and one to Regent Mariana directly, offering to begin negotiations. He received a negative response to both communiques. Greysius then proceeded to clear the Franconians from the vicinity of Restarlig (April 7-8, 1760). The Battle of Restarlig now ensued. The Franconians, under General Cleutin, foolishly charged across the Restarlig Stellar Mist; the superior Laurasian turbocannon decimated the Franconian battleships, disoriented their starfighter squadrons, and disrupted their advance. The confrontation ultimately ended with a decisive victory for the Laurasian Empire; Cleutin was now forced into retreat. The Laurasians suffered the loss of only two couriers, out of a force of 250 warships, and less than 25,000 casualties. Following this confrontation, Haddington was, on April 9, abandoned by the Franconians, and was subsequently occupied by the Lords of the Congregation. Three days later, Lord Scropius seized Pelham's Moon, located two light-years to the northeast of Leith. Lord Greysius, who was determined to suppress all supply lines to the Franconian Garrison of Leith, ordered for the construction of outpost defenses and interdictor relays there. Scropius now urged Greysius to launch a direct offensive against Ediania, with the intention of capturing the Queen-Regent and the Council of State. Greysius, however, rejected this situation, declaring that Leith had to be secured before the Scottrian capital world could be taken.
  • April 14-
    • On April 14, 1760, Laurasian turbo-cannon, installed on rotating stockades placed at the east and west sides of the Leith star system, commenced their bombardment of Leith's outer defenses and minefields. Over the preceding two days, the Franconians had launched numerous assaults against the Laurasian positions, inflicting severe damage on the Laurasian garrisons of Stathclyde and Barhilde, and penetrating to as far as Ancrum Moor. These offensives, however, had ultimately been repelled by General Percius. Allied forces now proceeded to suppress all supply lines to Leith, and secured the outpost of Chath to this effect. Franconian counteroffensives, launched from Logan's Bulwark, inflicted additional damage upon the Laurasian ranks but failed to halt the bombardment. Then on April 16, a detachment of Franconian Marines, under the command of of Robert de Massie, Sieur de Massie (1718-81), overwhelmed the unfinished Laurasian defenses at Pelham's Moon and captured four Laurasian turbocannon. They killed 20,000 Imperial Laurasian Army personnel and captured fifty officers of the garrison, including Sir Arthurius Greysius (1736-93), Lord Greysius's eldest son and heir apparent. De Massie did not advance far, however, for Greysius sent orders for an immediate counteroffensive. Lord Scropius and his starfighter squadrons intercepted the retreating Franconian armada, slowed down as it was by the prisoners and supplies it had captured. A short confrontation ensued, and the Franconians suffered a decisive defeat. Massie himself was captured, while Sir Arthurius and his colleagues were freed and returned to duty. The Siege of Leith, however, was prolonged as a result of this Franconian maneuver. On April 22, however, the Lords of the Congregation occupied Richardson and Dourif, further weakening Leith's supply lines.
    • On April 19, Laurasian units seized the Scottrian outposts of Falcon and Somerset, which had been garrisoned by the Expeditionary Corps. They subsequently proceeded to fortify the defenses of these worlds, and to utilize them for their own purposes. Greysius was now commanded by Field-Marshal Munnich and the Imperial General Headquarters to suppress all access by the garrison of Leith to the Outskirts Supply Highway, and to prevent Franconian units from launching any additional attacks beyond Leith's defenses. Falcon and Someset were quickly fortified by May 6; Pelham's Moon, which had held off additional Franconian counterattacks, was in full readiness for the Imperial Laurasian Military by May 14. By this point, however, both the Empress and Chancellor Cecilis had become increasingly impatient, and they now commanded Munnich to exert pressure on Greysius. Greysius, in turn, assured Her Majesty and His Excellency that victory was around the corner. Throughout the early weeks of May 1760, he deployed more turboannon near Leith, intensifying the bombardment of its defenses.
  • May 1-
    • Lord Greysius of Wiltonia, Lord Scropius, Sir Percy, and Major-General Sir Lysimachus Craftia (recently reassigned to the Scottrian theater), held a strategic conference at Prestongrange in order to formulate the final plans for an offensive against the defenses of Leith (May 1, 1760). After much deliberation among the Laurasian military commanders, it was agreed that the assault was to be carried out in two waves, the first at 3:00 A.M. Galactic Standard Time by forty warships, the second by seventy warships, all from the 42nd and 43rd Imperial Fleets, with a further thirty warships holding back to prevent Franconian counter-strikes. Admiral Wytheria would wait for a holo-signal to bring twenty corvettes and a squadron of starfighters to the Barricade of Leith, while Lord Scropius's units were to launch a diversionary attack from Pelham's Moon, with ten Laurasian and twenty five Congregation warships. Finally, Craftia was to attack from the north-west with twenty-five warships. Shortly after the operational conference concluded, one of Leith's shield generators was destroyed in an reactor overload. Greysius, learning of this, acted swiftly. He ordered for the bombardment of Leith to be intensified further and launched reconnaissance assaults against Franconian lines.
    • On May 7, the First Battle of Leith was waged, as Greysius now poured his efforts into achieving a decisive breakthrough at the star system. Laurasian forces succeeded in making two breaches in the Franconian defenses, at Command Positions #2 and 5. Despite this, however, the Franconians, directed by the skilled General Cleutin, managed to rig explosive transports, which, when unleashed upon the Laurasian starfighter squadrons, inflicted severe damage. Franconian engineers also accomplished a miracle on Leith and managed to make the damaged shield generator operational. After a fierce battle which lasted for several hours, Lord Greysius was forced to call a retreat. Leith remained in the hands of the Franconian Expeditionary Corps. The failure of this first Laurasian assault on Leith was to be one of the few military reverses during the wars of Aurelia the Great. The Empress herself, hearing of the failure of the first Leith offensive, chastened Lord Greysius and commanded him to redouble his efforts. Greysius responded in an extensive communique, describing the situation of Leith and, as he had before, assuring the Empress that the world would not last another month.
    • It was on May 12 that Queen-Regent Mariana, who by this point was becoming more open to parley with the Lords of the Congregation, and who believed that the defeat of Laurasian forces at Leith had strengthened her position, sent a offer to the Earl of Arran, to meet with the Lords of the Congregation and hold a conference regarding the possibility of a truce. Arran, who believed that he could still compel the Queen-Regent into agreement with his terms, and wished to lay his grievances before her personally, decided to accept Mariana's offer. In doing so, he had the full support of both Norfolkius and Sadielius, who had, on the orders of Chancellor Cecilis, continued their own overtures towards the Royal Scottrian Government. Both sides now made immediate preparations for the truce conference. Military operations continued in earnest, for on May 14, the Imperial Laurasian Navy stormed the royalist outpost of Dunkeld, thereby securing Congregation lines around Branxholme, Basinger, and Dourif.
  • May 22-
    • On May 22, 1760, the truce conference was formally held at Edianian Fortress on Ediania. Regent Mariana had insisted on this secure site being selected as the site for negotiations, partly to ensure that neither side would launch an offensive against the other during the discussions. The Queen-Regent formally received, and greeted, the Earls of Arran and Glencairn, Lord Jamsius Stewart, and Master Balnaves of Halhill. Also present was Lord Scropius, who acted as the formal plenipotentiary of the Imperial Laurasian Government. The meeting was relatively cordial, and the Lords of the Congregation, as well as Lord Scropius, were entertained lavishly in a formal banquet held by the Regent. Mariana promised to sign a truce with the Lords in two day's time, and to formally pardon them for their rebellion against her authority.
    • On May 24, however, Mariana, shorlty before the signing ceremony for the truce was to be held, proposed to the Lords that the Franconian commanders be present at their truce negotiations, and that they have a part in arranging the settlement for an end to the war. The Earl of Glencairn, however, who distrusted the Franconians, and believed that their presence would detract from the negotiations, refused to give his support to the proposal. Mariana proved adamant, and despite the efforts of Lord Scropius, a fierce argument subsequently developed between her and Glencairn. The Queen-Regent then ordered the Lords out of her sight, and negotiations collapsed. Arran now urged Lord Greysius to launch a second, and more decisive, offensive against Leith, hoping that this would finally drive Mariana back to the peace table.
  • May 28-
    • On May 28, 1760, Lord Greysius ordered Craftia and his personal squadron, the 144th Imperial Squadron, comprised mainly of reconnaissance corvettes, cruisers, and carriers, to examine the defenses of Leith, and to determine the garrison's situation, so that he could make operational plans for a second and final offensive against Leith. Craftia did as ordered, and evading the projectiles launched by Franconian defenses, discovered that Leith was now in a severe predicament. Leith, isolated from its traditional trade routes, had been deprived of many of its economic necessities and profits, and its agricultural, industrial, and financial sectors had suffered immensely. The Franconians had exhausted their garrison supplies and were now pillaging Leith's farms, granaries, and production facilities for sustenance. Leith's inhabitants, who had never been fully supportive of the Regent's cause, increasingly simmered against the Franconians, who had declared martial law and prohibited all unauthorized movement. Craftia reported all this to Greysius. He, confident that a second push would prove to be the decisive one, proceeded forth with his plans. On June 2, Lithruvia, which was the last significant Scottrian outpost in Leith's vicinity, was stormed by his forces.
    • The conquest of Lithruvia now eliminated all remaining hope for the garrison of Leith, and they began to contemplate surrender. Another factor now entered into the equation, for the health of Regent Mariana had entered a severe decline. Only forty-five years old in June 1760, Mariana had nevertheless been taxed to her limits by the disturbances within the Scottrian Homeland Territories, by her attempts to maintain her daughter's position in her realms, and her continued defiance of those who sought her ruin and despised her Franconian origins. The Queen-Regent's mind began to wander, and it eventually go to the point that, by June 8, she lost all ability to speak. On that day, she made her final will and testament, bequeathing all of her estates to her daughter, Queen Mariana. The declining health of the Queen-Regent earned quick notice, in Scottria, in Franconia, and in Laurasia. Empress Aurelia, who was informed by Chancellor Cecilis of Mariana's predicament, expressed her sadness for her, but declared privately that it would make negotiations with the Royal Scottrian Government far easier, given Mariana's obstinacy. In Franconia, the Regent's brothers, the Duke of Guise and the Autarch of Lorraine, as well as her daughter, Queen Mariana, and her mother, Antionette de Bourbon, were utterly distressed and saddened to hear of her decline. Guise, who was especially close with his elder sister, found himself unable to attend to state business during this time. Arran and the other Lords of the Congregation, on their part, wished for Mariana to die, so as to eliminate "undue foreign influence" from Scottria. Moreover, like Aurelia, they realized that her death would make the negotiations process far easier.
  • June 11-
    • On June 11, 1760, after having served as Regent of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria for six years, and nearly eighteen years after the death of her husband King Jamsius V of Scottria, Scottrian Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise died from chronic edema in her personal quarters at Edianian Fortress, at the age of forty-five. The news of Mariana's death was greeted with mixed reactions, in Scottria, Franconia, and Laurasia. The Lords of the Congregation, when they learned that their most ardent enemy had died, declared that "the Gods of our Realms have indicated that foreign rule is reprehensible to their ears." General Cleutin, who was at the Regent's deathbed, ordered all his troops into mourning for the remainder of the month and himself bewailed Mariana. Lord Greysius was "shaken" when he learned of Mariana's death, which seemed to him an act of the anti-Almitis, but nevertheless declared to his officers that it would bring the war to an end. On Laurasia Prime, Empress Aurelia extended her condolences to the Royal Scottrian Government and called Mariana's death "the cruel blow of the anti-Almitis." And at Parri, her namesake daughter wailed and screamed in her private quarters, angered that she was not able to be at her mother's deathbed. King Franjak, pressed by his grieving uncle, the Duke of Guise, ordered the Royal Court into two weeks of mourning for his mother-in-law.
    • The spirit of royalist forces was broken as a result of the Queen-Regent's death. On June 17, the garrison of Leith, finally succumbing to their exhaustion and lack of supplies, formally surrendered to the besieging forces of the Laurasian Empire and the Lords of the Congregation. Greysius, acting on his own conscience and the orders of Field-Marshal Munnich (who in turn, was acting on the instructions of the Empress), treated the garrison and inhabitants of Leith with much leniency. Over the next several days, all blockade positions were removed; supplies distributed to the starving inhabitants; and permission given to the surrendered Franconian-Scottrian garrison for the retrieval of bodies and cleanup of starship remains. Greysius now established Leith as his new command headquarters, but he knew that the war was rapidly drawing to a close.
  • June 20-
    • The Scottrian Council of State, no longer under the direction of Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise, and desiring to bring an end to the Congregation War, sent a request for formal peace negotiations to the Imperial Laurasian Government and the Lords of the Congregation (June 20, 1760). Their request was seconded by a communique of the Conseil royal of Franconia, communicated through General Cleutin. The Duke of Guise, who knew that his sister's death effectively terminated any Franconian influence in Scottria, and believing that Franconia could not have war with the Empire at this early stage (considering its continued embroilment in the Seven Year's War, to be described below, to say nothing of the resistance of the Franconian populace themselves), had prevailed upon King Franjak and Queen Mariana to authorize for peace negotiations between the Royal Scottrian Government and the Lords. Empress Aurelia accepted the Scottrian-Franconian request promptly, halted all ongoing military offensives, and commanded Greysius to hold his position at Leith. On June 24, the Empress dispatched Chancellor Cecilis, along with the respected diplomat Sir Nicholas Wortton, who was now Archbishop of Darcia and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Ediania, to serve as the Laurasian plenipotentiaries at the peace conference. Aurelia, who was fully cognizant of Cecilis's dedication both to herself and to the Empire, trusted him to negotiate a treaty that would be favorable to her.
    • Cecilis, however, had displayed reluctance at this mission, fearing that Lord Antiochus Dudley, who had continued to earn grants and accolades from the Empress, would consolidate his influence while he was absent. And indeed, Dudley's standing with Aurelia was to growing the absence of her most trusted official. The actual conference formally commenced at Ediania on June 26, between the delegations of Laurasia, Scottria, Franconia, and the Lords of the Congregation. Cecilis and Worrton had arrived at Ediania late the previous day, being greeted with much honor and ceremony by the Council of State. The Franconian plenipotentiaries to the conference were Jean de Mouluc, Autarch of Valence (1711-79), Charman de la Rochefoucault, Sieur de Randan (1718-96), and General Henri Cleutin, while the representatives for the Lords of the Congregation were the Archclannairch of St. Andrews, John Hamilton (1712-71), William Maitland of Lethington, and the Earl of Glencairn. The Royal Scottrian Government was represented by the Earl of Morton and by the Lord Justice Clerk of Scottria, Sir John Bellenden of Auchnole and Broughton (1709-76). Negotiations continued for the next several days.
  • July 6-
    • The Treaty of Ediania was, on July 6, 1760, signed by the delegations of the Laurasian Empire, the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, the Serene Kingdom of Franconia, and the Scottrian Lords of the Congregation, thereby bringing a formal end to Queen Mariana's War. By the terms of the treaty, any and all military and financial provision arrangements between Scottria and Franconia were declared to be henceforth terminated. All Franconian military units in Scottrian territory were to be withdrawn back to the Great Amulak Spiral by no later than December 1, 1761; all Franconian members of the Scottrian Council of State, the Scottrian Estates, and of all Scottrian governmental ministries and agencies, were to be formally dismissed from their posts. It was now forbidden for any Franconian to be employed in Scottrian governmental service again. Franconia pledged not to interfere any further in the internal affairs of Scottria, and to abstain from sending military units to the Scottrian Homeland Territories in the future. The rights of Empress Aurelia of Laurasia, as protector of the Scottrian nobility and guardian of Scottrian interests during the duration of Queen Mariana's absence from her realms, as had been conferred under the Treaty of Berwick, were recognized. Laurasian commercial privileges and rights to garrison the Galactic Void were affirmed; in exchange, all Laurasian military units in Scottrian territory were to be withdrawn by December 21, 1761, and no Laurasian force could be in Scottrian territory unless the Royal Scottrian Government, in the form of a diplomatic resolution from the Scottrian Estates, accorded its consent. The provisions of the Treaties of Boulougone and Northam were also reaffirmed.
    • Scottria pledged not to sign any treaty with a foreign power without Laurasian consent; to remain on cordial terms with the Imperial Laurasian Government; and to permit Laurasian officials to preserve the immunities of Laurasian subjects in Scottrian territory. The Lords of the Congregation were to become members of the Council of State; they would be formally exonerated for all rebellious actions, and their right to honor and fortune was recognized. King Franjak and Queen Mariana were to agree to remove all Laurasian heraldry from their coat of arms, and to recognize Aurelia's right to choose any successor that she pleased. Finally, peace was restored, as well as diplomatic and economic relations, between Laurasia and Scottria; all prisoners of war were to be exchanged, but Laurasian troops would be permitted to retain spoils captured in battle. The Treaty of Ediania was ratified by Empress Aurelia on July 11; by the Lords of the Congregation on July 19; and by King Franjak on July 25. Queen Mariana of Scottria, however, still grieving for her mother, refused to ratify the Treaty. In fact, she was never to do so, and it would ultimately be used by Aurelia as a legal justification for her annexation of Scottria in 1778-79. Lord Greysius arrived back at Laurasia Prime on August 19 and was given a grand welcome by the Empress and her court.
  • July 27-On July 27, 1760, Chancellor Cecilis made his arrival at Clancia, where the Imperial Court was presently resident, returning therefore from his duties of negotiation at Ediania. Cecilis, who had just secured a major diplomatic success for the Laurasian Empire, expected that he would receive a warm welcome home. But whereas his peers and associates on the Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod were warm in their congratulations to him, his imperial mistress, Empress Aurelia, was cool and distant. Lord Antiochus Dudley, on his part, was now courting the influence of Spamalkan Ambassador Alvaro De Quadra (1690-1763), who had replaced Feria as Ambassador in May 1759, and others opposed to the position of the Chancellor. The Empress's progress, which took her among the Clancian Worlds this year, saw Dudley gaining further influence. As Master of the Empress's Vehicles, he held much patronage and commanded many supporters. In June 1760, rumors had been circulating among some residents of Clackimaris, Little Mexicana, and Osama that the Empress was pregnant with Dudley's child: those who circulated such rumors were sought out and punished harshly by the authorities for their words, under the terms of the Treason and Sedition Statutes. Cecilis, himself, however, was opposed to the marriage, and realized upon his return that the relationship between Aurelia and Antiochus Dudley had underwent a fundamental change. Over the next several days, rumors that Dudley would divorce his wife, and that the Empress had spoken, at Dwerst Palace on Condtella (which she had granted to Dudley), of his praiseworthy qualities and indicated that she wished to honor him further, alarmed Cecilis deeply. On August 30, the Imperial Court moved to the Palace of the Greats on Americana.
  • August 15-
    • While Queen Mariana's War in the Angelina Spiral was brought to a conclusion, and as Empress Aurelia's realms entered a state of both external and internal tranquility, the events of the Seven Year's War continued at earnest in the Great Amulak Spiral. 1760 witnessed numerous disasters for the Autocratic Pruthian Empire of Pru'a IX. The end of the Didymeian War entailed the diversion of Franconian military resources to the Germanian Principalities and the Colonial Territories; the struggle between the two sides became yet more ferocious. The early months of 1760 saw the Pruthians suffer a series of reverses in Pomerania, Ravensberg, Thrungia, and Holstein-Gottorp. Kiel, one of the Pruthian Empire's most important naval outposts, was captured (January 7, 1760); Ploin, Steinberg, and Segdeburg were in Franconian hands by the end of January 1760; and on February 9, the Pruthians suffered a further reverse in the Battle of Glandshut, thereby preventing any advance into Mecklenburg. Wolin and Tckusew were captured by the Mecklenburgians, with Franconian aid, in February 1760; that same month, Pruthian General Ernest Fouque (1698-1774), suffered a serious reverse in the Battle of Geldert. Strelitz fell into Franconian possession shortly afterwards; during the course of March and April 1760, Franconian and Austarlian units cooperated in seizing Schlaag, Pran, and Lubeck.
    • Fleda, which was inherited by Emperor Pru'a in January 1760, upon the death of Prince-Bishop Heinrich von Bibra (1711-60), fell on April 22, 1760; Pruthian moves into Vaud, Lausanne, and the Genoan Reaches also failed. Kashubia and Kurshenski were largely in Franconian and Mecklenburgian hands by that point; Stralsund and Rugen were both besieged. Neuchatel was in Austarlian possession by May 4, when the last Pruthian units there were destroyed. Marburg was captured by Franconian Prince Soubise ten days later, thereby dealing a major blow to the Pruthian strategic position in Hesse and Westphalia. Though the Hanoverians and Vendragians captured Munster and Paderborn (May 22, 1760), and in June 1760, repelled Franconian moves against Hildesheim, Magdeburg, and Stendal, the Pruthians continued to suffer. On June 23, 1760, the Battle of Landshut in Silania resulted in a decisive victory for Austarlian forces under General von Laudon; Fouque, in command of Pruthian forces there, was himself captured by the Austarlians. In spite of the Battle of Warburg (July 31, 1760), in which the Franconians suffered a serious reverse to the Vendragian Marquess of Granby, Joag Malarg (1721-70), Austarlian units swept over Wetzlar and Darmstadt, completing the conquest of the Pruthian Duchies of Mark and Ravensberg. Kassel, however, remained in the hands of the Landgrave of Hesse, who was Pru'a's only princely ally by that stage. On August 15, 1760, Pru'a did defeat Laudon in the Battle of Liegnitz, but was unable to prevent Breslau, Oslau, and Glatz from falling into Austarlian hands. That same month (August 1760), Franconian and Austarlian forces under Count de Saltkye, having secured Kurstin and Halle, breached the defenses of Berliania III, comprehensively sacking the Pruthian capital world's settlements, defenses, and governmental installations.
    • Although Pru'a's reconquest of Frankfurt soon compelled them into retreat, they had nevertheless achieved their purpose. Gorlitz and Chemnitiz were secured by the Austarlians in September 1760, and on October 4, 1760, the Battle of Lepizig ended in a decisive victory for Daun and Laudon. Dresden was recaptured on October 14, and Elector Augustus of Saxony restored to his palace. Pruthian moves into Bavaria, Weimar, Mulhausen, and Erfurt availed Pru'a nothing, and in November 1760, Neustrelitz was conquered by the Mecklenburgians. Cottbus fell that same month, leading to the expulsion of Pruthian forces from Lower Lusatia. The Battle of Torgau (November 3, 1760), however, ended in a victory for Pru'a, who nevertheless lost three-fourths of his deployable squadrons. December 1760 saw Franconian, Mecklenburgian, and Austarlian units assault Kolberg four times, to no avail; Stralsund, however, did fall on December 18, 1760. 1760, for the Vendragians, proved largely indecisive; their offensives against Baja California, Tahiti, and Vanatu ended in failure, though in January 1760, they did win the Battle of Wandwiwash. Tandi Nadu, Cuttalore, and the Northern Circars were secured by the end of the year, while the Franconian offensives against Madras were repelled. Vendragian units, in the meantime, consolidated their hold of Ohio, and drove Franconian units out of Missouri, Lower Illinois, and Indiana. Ceylon and Madasgascar were also in Vendragian hands by the end of 1760.
  • September 7-
    • On September 7, 1760, Empress Aurelia's twenty-seventh birthday was celebrated with much ceremonial at the Imperial Court and throughout the Laurasian Empire. Spamalkan Ambassador De Quadra and the newly appointed Franconian Ambassador, Hercules-Francois, Marquis de l'Hopital (1719-75), both presented their official respects to the Empress of Laurasia on the occasion of her birthday. In a private audience which the Empress had granted to Ambassador De Quadra in the Private Throne Room, she declared that "Lord Antiochus's wife is dying, and she will not survive the year." She then enjoined him to silence. De Quadra was not surprised by what the Empress told him, for ever since April of the previous year, rumors had circulated at the Imperial Court that Lady Fausta Dudley (1732-60) was sick with the terminal Sorones disorder. It is now important to describe Lady Dudley's predicament. Born on June 7, 1732 at Smithia, she was the daughter of a substantial gentleman-farmer and proprietor, Sir Demetrius Robsartia (1701-54), and of his wife Aurelia (1703-57). Sir Robsartia, who was one of the leading agriculturalists in the Empire, and had investments in a variety of enterprises both in the Caladarian Galaxy and in the Great Amulak Spiral, ensured that Fausta, who was his only child, received an excellent education. She became proficient in seven languages, and acquired a strong grasp of such fields as history, theology, and philosophy. She was primarily raised at Stalaharia Hall, her parents' primary residence on Colsonia.
    • On June 4, 1750, three days before her 18th birthday, she married Lord Dudley, with whom she had fallen in love, at the Palace of Placenta on Darcia; Emperor Demetrius himself, as well as Lady Aurelia, attended the wedding, for which Dudley's father, Council President Sarah, spared no expense. In 1753-54, Lord Antiochus was, along with his brothers, implicated in the Accession Crisis; Lady Fausta was permitted visits to him during his imprisonment. The couple subsequently experienced financial difficulties. Relief came only after the deaths of both of Fausta's parents: her father Sir Demetrius on August 29, 1754, and her mother Aurelia on June 26, 1757. With their deaths, Fausta inherited their estates. But in November 1758, following Aurelia's accession to the throne and Dudley's elevation to become Master of the Empress's Vehicles, the couple found themselves separated. As the Empress insisted on Dudley being at the Court, to attend to his duties, he could now only manage rare visits to her. Dwerst Palace on Condtella, which was now their chief residence, was frequently visited by Aurelia, who had by now made it clear to Lord Antiochus that his wife was not welcome. Fausta, therefore, never came to Dwerst Palace, and now spent her time on long visits to family and friends.
    • In the winter solstice of 1758-59, she stayed with friends at their homes on Katherine and Brock. In May 1759, she had traveled to Zambazian City, Aeoleon, visiting her mother's kinsfolk, the Sconias. Afterwards, she resided at the house of Sir Willanius Hydius (1712-77) on Maroni. Dudley made sure his wife's needs were well provided for. In June 1760, she moved to Cumnorian Palace on Colsonia, a residence which had been leased by Dudley's former steward, Antonius Forstius (1735-96), who was now treasurer of the Master's Household. Forstius had leased the house from Sir Willanius Owenia (1707-85), son of Dr. Owenia (who had died on June 22, 1759). Sir Owenia lived in his own apartments. Cumnorian Palace had a long history. It had originally been constructed by the Cumnorian Religious Priory of Julia, Colsonia, in 1375, during the reign of Antiochus the Great. For over three and a half centuries, it had served as a retreat for the Abbots of the Religious Priory and as an occasional sanitarium for the Almitian monks of Colsonia.
    • In 1737, as part of the ecclesiastical reforms of Antigonus III, Cumnorian Religious Priory was forced to divest itself of one-third of its properties. Cumnorian Palace was among those assets divested, and it was purchased by Sir Antigonus Deerius (1686-1769), who held the mansion until he sold it to Sir Willanius Owenia in 1753. It was a quadrangular building surrounding a courtyard. Forstius (who would be knighted in 1766), would later purchase the residence in 1763. Fausta, on her part, brought her personal servants, including her 54-year old maid Demetria Prigus (1706-89), and her companion, 59-year old Lady Eudocia Odinsallia (1701-70), the widowed sister of Sir Hydius. Cumnorian Palace was crowded, for both Forstius and his wife Pompeia (1737-82), as well as Lady Salonina Owenia (1682-1771), the widow of Dr. Owenia, all resided there. Antonius Forstius proved to be a congenial host. Fausta, however, was severely depressed. Hearing of the rumors concerning her husband at the court, she was emotionally devastated. She believed that her husband had abandoned her and that she was being tortured by the Lord Almitis for her sins. In particular, Fausta lamented the fact that she had no children. In an effort to quench her feelings, she took to the bottle and indulged in sexual affairs with several young servants at Cumnorian Palace. Her health, never that strong, was undermined by this debauchery.
    • On September 8, Chancellor Cecilis, dispensing with his usual caution, had a long conversation with Ambassador de Quadra. After enjoining the Spamalkan Ambassador to silence, Cecilis declared that the Empress was conducting herself in such a manner that he would request allowance to resign. He told de Quadra that he believed that the Empress's impending ruin was a result of her relationship with "that man" (Dudley) and that he would damn her, the Laurasian Empire, and the Neuchrian Dynasty. To the "extreme injury of this Empire," Lord Antiochus Dudley had, according to the Chancellor, made himself master of the state's affairs, and of the Empress's person. Cecilis asserted that Dudley had every intention of marrying her. He then went on to say he did not believe the subjects of the Empire would tolerate the marriage. He feared that Dudley would persuade Aurelia to have him imprisoned. Imploring Ambassador De Quadra to remonstrate with the Empress, he declared that she should be shown "the right path" and persuaded not to have any marriage with Dudley. She should remember what she owed to herself and to her subjects. Cecilis even told de Quadra of the rumors about Fausta's declining health, and that he had also heard of her sexual and alcoholic adventures on Colsonia, which had remained beyond her husband's notice. Astonished by what Cecilis told him, the Ambassador promised he would raise these issues with the Empress, although she never listened to his advice. Before he had a chance to request an audience, events overtook him.
  • September 9-
    • The Taggian Fair opened in Julie, Colsonia, during the early hours of September 9, 1760, and Lady Fausta Dudley gave permission to all her servants to attend the fair. She was unduly anxious that they do so, for when some of them protested that they needed to remain in attendance to her needs, she sharply insisted that they obey her order. Nevertheless, Lady Odinsallia remained stubborn, declaring that she should not be exposed to those who would attend the fair. Fausta grew angry at this, but Lady Odinsallia said that if she left, Fausta would have no one with which to dine. Fausta, however, said that Lady Owenia could give her company. At this, Lady Odinsallia retired to her room and Fausta's servants departed on their repulsorlifts for the fair. Breakfast was served at 11:00 A.M. to Fausta and Lady Owenia. Lady Forstius was also in the Palace, and she, along with Lady Owenia, had servants on duty. The place seemed quiet however, and after breakfast, Fausta returned to her quarters.
    • At around 6:00 P.M. in the afternoon, Galactic Standard Time, her servants returned to Cumnorian Palace. As they headed to her chambers, however, Prigus chanced upon Fausta's body. It was sprawled at the foot of the escalator, and her neck was broken. With Lady Fausta dead, Lady Odinsallia, who had been stirred from her chambers, ordered for an immediate notice to be made to the authorities, and for a communique to be sent at once to the Imperial Court. Near 8:00 P.M. Galactic Standard Time, Andriscus Boweria (1742-1800), Dudley's communications servant, having been informed of Fausta's death, came before the Empress and Lord Dudley, and informed them that she was dead. Aurelia was shocked, and was left speechless. Dudley, on his part, seemed genuinely bewildered when he learned of his wife's death, and set to work to make arrangements for a immediate and prompt investigation of his wife's death.
  • September 10-On the orders of the Empress, the death of Lady Fausta Dudley was formally announced to the public. In the obituary issued by the Christiania Times (September 10, 1760), it was declared that Fausta's death was attributed to possible accidental causes. Seeking to distance herself from the affair, Aurelia commanded Lord Antiochus to depart immediately from the Imperial Court on Americana, and to retire to Dwerst Palace on Condtella. The Empress gave orders to the authorities of Condtella that Dudley would be forbidden to leave the world until the autopsy and coroner's investigation into his wife's death had been completed and its report published. Dudley, on his part, remained in constant communication with his household, and his steward, Thomasius Blountia (1726-91), cooperated fully with the Coroner of Julia and other officials inspecting the scene of Fausta's death. Blountia informed them of his master's wish for a speedy and prompt "investigation without prejudice", and then, along with the official detectives, discussed what had occurred with those living there. The servants, Lady Owenia, and Lady Forstius all told Blountia that Fausta had been insistent on the servants going to the fair. He especially questioned Prigus, who told him that she had "heard her (Fausta) pray to Almitis to deliver her from desperation." Blountia concluded that suicide was a possibility. While the investigation was ongoing, the Empress confined herself to her apartments, rarely appearing in public. Dudley was anxious and agitated, wondering about the impending coroner's verdict. On September 12, he received a visit from Chancellor Cecilis, who had been restored to favor. Cecilis, concealing his triumph well, declared he had come to offer his condolences, and he murmured the pleasantries which convention demanded. Dudley was touched by Cecilis's apparent support; in reality, the Chancellor had little sympathy for the grieving Lord Dudley.
  • September 16-
    • On September 16, 1760, the Coroner of Julia, Colsonia, Dr. Seneca Tharia (1699-1771), finally announced his autopsy verdict concerning Lady Fausta Dudley. Lord Dudley had continued to worry up until the verdict was issued, learning from Blountia that the Coroner had declared murder was not the cause of Fausta's death. The Earl of Hannah had sent him a sympathetic communique, and this had raised his hopes. In the verdict, the Coroner declared that Lady Fausta had "committed suicide, having desired to bring an end to her own life" and that her husband, Lord Antiochus Dudley, "had absolutely no part in his wife's death, or the circumstances leading to her death." Empress Aurelia, when she learned of the verdict, declared to her Private Secretary, Sir Arcesilas Haydatia (1724-98), that the verdict left no room for doubt, an opinion with which Cecilis, Sir Antigonus Sidronius, and others concurred. For Dudley himself, however, the verdict was damning. He had thought that his wife had been murdered, and was ashamed to learn that she had killed herself. Aurelia, however, moved on, and on September 19, invited Dudley back to the Palace of the Greats. She made it clear that the matter was closed and issued a manifesto confirming the Coroner's verdict and commanding "for none to challenge it henceforth." Her manifesto also prevented an excommunication injunction from being laid against Lady Fausta, which was customary practice for one who had committed suicide. The Empress, moreover ordered the Imperial court into a two-day period of mourning for Lady Fausta Dudley. Many however, would continue to allege that Dudley had murdered his wife.
    • Lady Fausta Dudley was, on September 23, 1760, buried at the Church of St. Didymeia the Virgin in Calamary City, Nezbit, Laurasian Empire. For the past twelve days, her body had been lying in state at Gloucestrian Hall in Calamary City, and had been moved from there to the Church for burial. The Empress, who was still in residence at the Palace of the Greats on Americana, dispatched her friend, Lady Olympias Norria (1724-99), to represent her at the funeral. Dudley himself, obliging by traditional custom of the Laurasian nobility and his own wishes, did not attend the funeral. He did however, ensure that the funeral was lavish, hoping that this would expunge his guilt. Ultimately, he dispensed €305.6 million dataries from his own pocket to cover its expenses. Fausta's maid, Prigus, as well as Ladies Odinsallia, Owenia, and Forstius, were present at her funeral. Prigus herself would remain in Lord Antiochus's service until her retirement in 1776. She died in Stansila, Caladaria on February 5, 1789. Lady Odinsallia died at St. Didymeia's Medical Hospital on Colsonia on January 12, 1770. Lady Owenia survived until her death at Pollis Caladari, Caladaria on November 12, 1771, while Lady Forstius died on June 9, 1782.
  • October 25-
    • On October 25, 1760, Georg II, King of Vendragia and Irvania, Duke of Hanover, and Sovereign of the Amerindian Territories, died at Kensington Palace on Londarania, aged 77, and after a reign of 33 years. At the time of his death, King Georg was both the longest-reigning and the oldest monarch of extra-galactic civilization (indeed, he was the only sovereign who had acceded to his throne before the birth of Laurasian Empress Aurelia, fifty years his junior). Nevertheless, the King's health had entered a serious decline during the last years of his life. By October 1760, he was physically weak; had lost sight in one of his eyes; and was hard of hearing, in spite of the sophisticated medical treatments which were administered to him. The King was discovered lying in his personal bedchambers by some of his servants, following a large thud; it was determined that he had suffered from a stroke. His eldest and favorite daughter, Princess Amearavia (1711-86), was sent for, but by the time she arrived, her father was dead. The King of Vendragia's reign had seen the great expansion of the Vendragian Confederacy's military, economic, and political influence. By 1760, Vendragia possessed the second-largest colonial empire in the Great Amulak Spiral (surpassed only by the Holy Spamalkan Empire), the largest naval forces, and the most extensive commercial reach.
    • Among its possessions included the Amerindian Colonies, encompassing New Vendragia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky; the Hudson Bay and Northern Territories, including Nunavut, Yucatan, Alaska, and the Whitian Colonies; Vendragian Bermuda, Jamaica, the Cuyacs, the Canaries, and the Anguilles; Belize and the Nicaragua Bay Territories; Guyana and Suriname; the Falkland and Artican Provinces; Southern Africana, including Zambia, the Cape Colony, Bechaunaland, Rhodesia, Kenya, Uganda, Lower Egypt, the Sudan, and Aethiopia; Aden, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, and Bahrain; Pakistania, the Circars, Bengal, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and Hyderabad; Ceylon and the Diego Garcia Star Cluster; Thailand, Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai, and the Tibetan Potentates; and the Australasian Provinces, including Guinea, Borneo, and the Papuas. It occupied Franconian Inner Canada, Louisiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique, Gambia, Goree, and Franconian India, and was to gain these territories in due course. This was besides the Electorate of Hanover, which encompassed Hanover, Celle, Jutland, and Scherwin; Heligoland, the Metra Colonies, and Hormuz; and the Vendragian Home Territories themselves, with Vendragia, Scanlania, Norwegia, Iceland, the Faroes, Greenland, and Irvania. King Georg had been a respected, firm, and vigorous King, although he was notorious for his personal excesses and for his innumerable mistresses. He was now succeeded as King of Vendragia by his son, Prince Frederickus of Walesia (1707-73), who thereby became Frederickus I. Frederickus was fifty-three years old at the time of his accession, and had participated in military campaigns in the Colonial Territories. His own son, twenty-two year old Prince Georg (1738-94), became heir apparent. Georg II's death was received with condolences by most powers, with the exception of Franconia, with which Vendragia was still at war. He was succeeded as senior monarch of extra-galactic civilization by the impotent King of Dejanica, Vorrus II, who had now reigned for a quarter of a century.
  • November 4-Empress Aurelia announced that she intended to raise Lord Antiochus Dudley to the peerage. She claimed that this was of her own volition; in reality, Dudley had constantly badgered her for months until she reluctantly agreed to it. This was all in spite of the fact that Dudley was continually reviled by many at the Imperial Court and throughout the Laurasian Empire for his alleged role in his wife's death. On September 21, 1760, the court had officially emerged from the period of mourning for Lady Fausta Dudley, and had resumed its normal routine of life. Rumors spread that Aurelia was preparing to marry Lord Dudley, something which most were ardently opposed to. The Earl of Jadia, although he despised Dudley and his pretensions, was among the few who supported her marrying him, desperate for a heir to continue the Neuchrian Dynasty. He was not backed up in this by anyone else, however. Chancellor Cecilis, on his part, was not worried, knowing that the Empress had political sensibility and that Fausta Dudley's death would make it far less likely for her to marry Lord Antiochus. He had wisely refrained from overburdening her with advice in the aftermath, and had continued to work behind the scenes for the prevention of any marriage between her and Lord Antiochus. Aurelia indeed, decided to have her head rule her heart. Two days after the Empress's announcement, the relevant Letters Patent were drawn up, but at the ceremony of investiture (November 11, 1760), the Empress astonished everyone, and shocked Dudley, by cutting the papers "asunder" and stating that she would not raise another Dudley to the nobility, considering his family had been traitors for three generations. This was a calculated gesture, meant to demonstrate that she remained in authoritative control.
  • November 28-In the meantime, other events were taking place at the Imperial Laurasian Court, with bearing upon the succession. These events concerned Aurelia's cousin, Lady Katharina Greysius. Katharina's place as a potential heiress apparent to Empress Aurelia was already discussed. Katharina and her sister Didymeia had, as also has been mentioned, been downgraded by Empress Aurelia from being Ladies of the Bedchamber to Ladies of the Imperial Privy Chamber. They had also became subject to the plotting of foreign personages. Before his departure from the Imperial Laurasian Court in May 1759, Ambassador Feria had been contemplating the possibility of marrying Katharina off to some Spamalkan prince, possibly Don Carlos, Emperor Philicus's son. Several months earlier, however, in February 1759, while staying with her mother at Heverian Hall on Volta, as a guest of the Dowager Duchess of Volta (who had been restored to that title by Empress Aurelia), Katharina had first met and fallen in love with Edwardis Seymouris, Earl of Heuthros and the eldest son of the Dowager Duchess. Her mother, the Dowager Duchess of Sufforia, aware of her daughter's feelings and also thinking about how to advance the fortunes of the Greysius family, had suggested they marry. She had planned on petitioning the Empress (who was very fond of her), for permission to proceed with the marriage, for according to the Treason Statute of 1736, it was treason for persons of imperial blood to marry without the consent of the sovereign. The Duchess's sudden death in November 1759, however, had prevented this from occurring. Katharina, on her part, dared not to approach the Empress herself, who had a much lower regard for her then for her mother, and continued her relationship with Heuthros in private, with his sister, Lady Didymeia Seymouris (1741-61), arranging their meetings. Therefore, at an obscure house along the Metalyards of Christiania, they were married, on November 28, 1760, by Priest Hephaestus Breven (1702-66), with Lady Didymeia as the sole witness. They subsequently consummated their marriage, before Katharina returned with Didymeia back to the Quencilvanian Palace in the cover of night. This marriage would eventually have severe consequences for the young couple and the priest.
  • December 6-On December 6, 1760, King Franjak II of Franconia, who was only sixteen years old, and had reigned for only seventeen months, died from a lingering ear infection at the Loriet Palace on Orleans. Franjak's health, which had never been that strong, had entered a further, and steeper, decline in November 1760. On November 16, he had suffered a violent coughing bout in his personal bedchambers; the efforts of his doctors availed him nothing, and his weak body expired. The news of Franjak's death shocked and startled many throughout the Amulak Spiral and in the Laurasian Empire. Queen Mariana, who was now a widow at eighteen, was devastated by her husband's death; they had come to genuinely love each other during the two years that they were married, although they did not have any children. His Franconian subjects bewailed him also, considering him to be an innocent ruler whom the God of Salvation snatched away too soon. On Laurasia Prime, Empress Aurelia was struck with grief when she learned of the young King of Franconia's death. She declared that she pitied the Franconians, who had lost two monarchs "so soon. Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I was also saddened to hear of Franjak's death. The death of Franjak now left his ten-year old brother, Charman, as King of Franconia. He became Charman III, and because he was too young to rule in his own right, his mother, Queen Dowager Catharina d'Medici, was formally proclaimed Regent of Franconia. She was supported by the Conseil royal. Franjak was buried at Sr-Denis on Parri, on December 23, in a ceremony attended by the entire Franconian court, his widow, and all foreign ambassadors. Condolences on his death arrived from all foreign monarchs. Franjak's death therefore terminated the remaining ties between Scottria and Franconia, leaving the former realm completely at the mercy of the Laurasian Empire.
  • December 15-On December 15, 1760, Sir Thomasius Parrius, Comptroller of the Imperial Household and long-time servant of Empress Aurelia, died in Christiania, Laurasia Prime, aged seventy-four. Parrius had been in declining health for several months, and his death had come to be widely anticipated. The Empress Aurelia ordered the Imperial Court into two days of mourning for Parrius; extended her condolences to his widow, Lady Mania Parrius, as well as his daughter, her loyal lady-in-waiting Meguilla; and commanded for him to be given a ceremonial funeral at the Westphalian Cathedral, which was conducted on December 28.

1761Edit

  • January 7-
    • 1761, the 61st year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire once more in a state of both domestic and external tranquility. Queen Mariana's War, in which the Empire and the Scottrian Lords of the Congregation had successfully overthrown Franconian influence in the Scottrian Homeland Territories, and by which Scottria had become a virtual protectorate of the Laurasian Empire, was not at an end. The Empire's position in the Galactic Borderlands was now secure, and its influence was now being projected across the Galactic Void and into the Angelina Spiral. The Seven Year's War was still ongoing in the Great Amulak Spiral, though Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Government were assiduous in avoiding all involvement in that military conflict. At the Imperial Laurasian Court, the death of Aurelia's long-time servant, Sir Thomasius Parrius, Master of the Imperial Court of Wards and Lord Comptroller of the Imperial Household, had left both of those positions vacant. The Master of the Imperial Court of Wards served as the chief justice of that body. He was responsible for overseeing the collection of imperial taxes, duties, and levies from the estates of the Empire's nobility and gentry; managing, in trust, the estates and finances of nobles and gentlemen who had not yet obtained the age of majority (defined to be 18 by the Heraldmaster's Office); and for serving as the legal guardian of these under-aged noblemen.
    • Therefore, the Master was responsible for the management of trillions of imperial dataries. Lord Antiochus Dudley had coveted this position since long before Parrius's death, believing that it would provide him more influence at court. The Empress, however, with wise caution, bestowed the office upon Chancellor Cecilis. The ceremony of elevation was held on January 7, 1761, at the Quencilvanian Palace, in which the Chancellor received his deeds of office and the Master's Staff from the hands of the Empress herself. He was to hold the position for thirty-seven years, until his death in August 1798. As for the position of Lord Comptroller (who served as the Imperial High Steward's deputy and as head of the Board of the Imperial Household), the Empress selected Sir Demetrius Rogerius (1698-1768), who had been in the Household's service since 1734, since he had been appointed Esquire of the Body and a Valedictorian Guard by Emperor Antigonus. Rogerius was formally elevated to the position on January 22. Besides these events, January and February 1761 passed in relative tranquility, but in due course, the affair concerning Lady Katharina Greysius and her secret husband, the Earl of Heuthros, was now to boil over.
  • March 6-
    • On March 6, 1761, the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally appointed the Earl of Heuthros as an attache to the Imperial Laurasian Embassy at the Court of Parri. This position, which was in effect a sinecure, had been obtained for the young Earl by his mother, the Dowager Duchess of Volta. The Dowager Duchess, still displaying the same kind of ambition and arrogance that had driven her in trumping Katharina Parsius's rights as Empress Dowager 14 years earlier, was determined to advance her son's career, and saw this post as a perfect means for doing so. Heuthros, who was himself eager for service abroad, and who had heard of the luxuries offered at the Royal Franconian Government, departed from Laurasia Prime for the Great Amulak Spiral five days later. He was seen off by his mother and by his secret wife, Lady Katharina Greysius. Heuthros made his arrival at Parri on March 24, and was greeted in a formal audience, along with other Laurasian diplomats and noble visitors, by King Charman and his mother, Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici.
    • Soon after his departure, however, Lady Katharina went to Dr. Polyperchon Vemervius (1713-67), who had served as physician for her parents, and whom she trusted implicitly. For weeks by this point, she had been suffering from heat flashes and increased hunger; moreover, her menstrual cycle had ended. Dr. Vemervius tested her, and confirmed what she had suspected: that she was pregnant. Katharina was distraught by this news, knowing that she carried in her womb not only Heuthros's son, but a boy with a reasonable claim to the Imperial Laurasian Crown. Realizing now what she had done, the Lady regretted having married her love without obtaining the Empress's consent. As abortion was strictly forbidden for any member of the imperial nobility or gentry, and was considered dishonorable by the Imperial Almitian Church, she would be forced to carry the child to term. Katharina thus, became desperate.
  • March 9-
    • In the meantime, other events were occurring in regards to Scottria and Franconia. On March 9, 1761, after months of preparations by the members of the Royal Household, the coffin of Queen Dowager Mariana of Guise, in which her remains had been laid, was loaded onto a Franconian courier, the HMS Encarre, and transported from Ediania. Since Mariana's death in June 1760, her remains had been kept in a cell at Edianian Fortress. But now, in accordance with her wishes, as had been expressed both in her will and in her deathbed, she was to be transported back to Franconia for burial. The Encarre, escorted by a honorary fleet comprised of both Scottrian and Franconian ships, proceeded rapidly across the Galactic Void, to the Barbarossa Wormhole, and thence to Franconia. It finally arrived at Rheims on March 23. Four days later, she was interred at the Convent of Saint-Pierre at that star system, in a funeral which was attended by her daughter, Queen Mariana of Scottria, King Charman of Franconia, Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici, her brothers, the Duke of Guise and the High Autarch of Lorraine, her mother, Antionette de Bourbon, and the ambassadors of various foreign powers, including the Laurasian Empire.
    • A bronze tomb of Mariana was erected, in royal robes, holding a sceptre and a rod of justice in her hands. On May 15, 1761, nearly two months after the funeral, King Charman was crowned, also at Rheims; his mother, Queen Mariana, and the Guise brothers were also present for that ceremony. The Queen Mother now proved herself to be a vigorous and energetic protector of her son's interests. She presided over the sessions of the Royal Council, issued and signed all royal proclamations, directives, and manifestos in the name of her son, transacted state business, and dealt with foreign policy and diplomats. She vigorously pushed forward Franconian military efforts in the Seven Years' War. Already, however, the internal unity of the Franconian realms was disintegrating, something that would come fully to the service within the next two years.
  • March 23-On March 23, 1761, Lady Didymeia Seymouris, the sole witness to the secret wedding of Lady Katharina Greysius and the Earl of Heuthros, died at only the age of twenty at Wulfhall Estate on Volta. She had caught the dreaded Marsian fever, and despite the efforts of her household physician, Dr. Asander Lirvania (1712-88), had succumbed to the disease after only six days of illness. Didymeia's death aroused the sadness of many at the Imperial Laurasian Court, and particular with Empress Aurelia, who lamented the death of one "so young and innocent." On the Empress's command, she was interred at the Westphalian Cathedral in a great ceremonial funeral on March 27, in which her mother, the Dowager Duchess of Volta, served as the chief mourner. Her death, however, left Katharina alone to face the consequences of her rash marriage. And indeed, on April 11, in a private communique to her husband Heuthros, Lady Katharina finally revealed her pregnancy. In utter despair about her predicament, she implored her husband "to return as soon as possible, by the grace of Almitis, and to declare publicly our marriage to the Imperial Court." Her husband, however, told her that his hands were tied, for he would not be permitted to depart from Parri until the conclusion of his duties had been certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, for the time being, she had to continue with her duties in the Empress's service. Katharina now made every effort to conceal her pregnancy as best as she could. She wore more elaborate clothes, exercised vigorously, and took medications to reduce her heat flashes and her hunger urges. These efforts, however, were to be in vain.
  • July 5-On July 5, 1761, Empress Aurelia embarked on her annual progress through the dominions of the Laurasian Empire. This year's progress would take the Empress and the Imperial Court to the Murphian Provinces. Arias, Manil, Tommy, Chandlier, Meaganian, Capital, Bristalai, Mumbraine, Anusia, the Prelone Asteroid Belt, Duros, Saray, Senna, and Kulikovo would be among the star systems visited during the progress, which was to continue until the Court's return to Laurasia Prime, scheduled for August 9. By this time, the hopes of Lady Katharina Greysius, that her condition would not be obvious to others, having made effort to make this so, had, as mentioned above, been dashed on the shores of folly. Katharina had been chosen as one of the ladies-in-waiting to attend the Empress on the progress. Her condition, therefore, would be subject to considerable scrutiny. By the time the Imperial Court reached Tommy on July 11, she had come into great distress, as a result of the suspicious glances of the ladies, maids, and noblewomen at the Court.
  • July 14-
    • Lady Katharina Greysius, knowing that Lord Antiochus Dudley was the one person who could possibly mitigate the Empress's wrath, and who sought a way out of her desperate predicament, took the extraordinary liberty of seeking him out in his personal bedchambers at the Brespite Tower of Mumbraine, where the Imperial Court was lodged for that week (July 14, 1761). Around 9:00 p.m. at night, Lady Katharina entered Dudley's bedchambers. Dudley, who was preparing to retire to bed, was startled by her appearance. Kneeling by his bed and weeping pitifully, Katharina confessed everything: her marriage with the Earl of Heuthros, her love for him, and her pregnancy. "My Lord", she said, "I beg you to appeal to Her Majesty on my behalf and to represent my petition. I have committed a grievous sin in the eyes of the Lord Almitis and I pray for mercy." Dudley, who realized that what she was telling him could have disastrous consequences for the succession, told her to leave immediately, in the harshest tone that he could muster. Distraught, Katharina hastened to the room of Lady Aurelia Cavendia, Lady St. Loe (1727-1808), the wife of Sir Willanius St. Loe (1718-65). Lady Cavendia would during the course of the reign become renowned as one of the wealthiest and most powerful noblewomen in the Laurasian Empire. She had long been a family friend of the Greyiuses, and Katharina believed she could help her. Cavendia, however, launched into an angry tirade against her utter foolishness (a trait of hers which would become her trademark) and refused to incur the Empress's displeasure by getting involved.
    • Early in the morning of July 15, at about 6:00 a.m., Lord Dudley was able to gain admittance to the Empress's bedchambers, having told Lady Ashelius that what he needed to tell the Empress was very important. Ashelius, who had already learned about Katharina Greysius's predicament from Lady Cavendia, knew what he was coming for, and admitted him into the chambers without demur. Falling on his knees before the Empress, who had awakened when Ashelius told her of Dudley's entry, Dudley told her of what Lady Katharina had done, and the way she had informed him the previous night. Aurelia was angered and agitated upon hearing of this. Telling Dudley that Katharina had committed a grave error, she said that the Treason Statute specifically forbade a marriage without her approval. The Empress took the view that, apart from having jeopardized the succession, her cousin's weakness in having succumbed to an affair of the heart made her an unsuitable heir to her throne.
    • At 9:00 a.m., after having completed her morning toilette, Aurelia summoned Chancellor Cecilis to her presence and informed him of Katharina's crime. Cecilis, when hearing of this, concluded that Katharina's illicit pregnancy was a sign from the Lord Almitis that no member of the Greysius family should ever ascend to the Laurasian throne. Lady Katharina was now in disgrace at the Imperial Court, and her pregnancy consequently became public knowledge. Aurelia vowed that she and her husband, as well as the priest who officiated their marriage, would be punished for having violated the law. The moment of reckoning came on August 9, 1761, when the Court formally returned to the Quencilvanian Palace on Laurasia Prime, thereby marking the end of the progress. Immediately upon arriving back at her main residence, Empress Aurelia took action against Lady Greysius. On the Empress's orders, Katharina was arrested by a detachment of Valedictorian Guards and conveyed to a cell in the Fortress of Baureux. An imperial proclamation formally announced her arrest and her pregnancy, and that she would be liable to charges under the terms of the Treason Statute. Aurelia decided to wait before she proceeded against the Earl of Heuthros.
  • August 12-By August 1761, the position of Scottrian Queen Mariana at the Royal Franconian Court of Parri had become untenable. Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici, now the predominant influence in Franconia, was determined to see that her former daughter-in-law leave, and return to her own dominions. Further, Mariana found that she no longer had any influence, and her attempts to negotiate a marriage for herself among the Franconian nobility were frustrated by the Queen Mother. Thus it was on July 29, 1761, that the Queen of Scottria announced her intention to depart from the Royal Franconian Dominions and return back to Scottria. She was escorted once again by Admiral Villeganon, who had originally escorted her as a five-year old girl from Scottria to Franconia nearly thirteen years earlier. Villeganon was astounded by how mature the Queen of Scottria had become, and could hardly recognize this tall and beautiful eighteen-year old from the small and childish five-year old he had originally known. Empress Aurelia, still in a rage over the Katharina Greysius affair, was informed by Chancellor Cecilis of Mariana's impending return to Scottria. He suggested that the Empress extend an offer to Mariana to make a state visit to the Laurasian Empire. Aurelia, however, wary of her royal cousin, refused to do so.
  • August 19-
    • On August 19, 1761, Queen Mariana I of Scottria arrived at Leith, finally returning to her dominions, the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, after an absence of nearly thirteen years. Her return was received respectfully but not enthusiastically by her subjects. She was in all respects a Franconian, for her education had been geared by King Hensios II of Franconia towards her being primarily Queen Consort of Franconia; she had been educated by Franconian tutors, and exposed primarily to the Franconian language. Mariana dressed in Franconian fashion; virtually her entire personal household was comprised of Franconian servants; and she knew Franconian better than her native Scottrian. Within a short time, however, Mariana had managed to ingratiate herself with elements of the Scottrian nobility and aristocracy, and she treated them in a dignified, but captivating manner. John Knox, however, that ardent misogynist and nationalistic prophet, nevertheless looked upon her with askance. He would lecture his sovereign on religious and diplomatic matters, and asserted that she was incapable of understanding the affairs of state. Yet the response evoked by Mariana was of some meaning. Throughout her life, she was able to attract others, and to influence the emotions of others. In person, she was physically imposing, being nearly six feet tall. Her exceptional grace and poise, however, made it that she would never appear ungainly.
    • Her features were aquiline and slender. She had great dignity of bearing, but was nevertheless delightfully approachable, resulting in a unique blend of regality and warmth. She could appear confiding, while not being overly familiar, and after a short encounter, people came away with the feeling that she held them in high regard. Marina, however, was not possessed of robust health. Although capable of furious bursts of energy and bouts of high spirits, she was troubled by mysterious pains, and was susceptible to nervous stress, which could send her into bouts of tears and grief. Her heightened sensibility had never been moderated by a serious intellectual discipline. Unlike Aurelia, who believed her education helped to acquit her with the duties of governance, Mariana considered hers to be merely among her accomplishments. She had none of Aurelia's firmness, could be insensitive of public opinion, and had no sense of self-preservation.
    • Mariana did, however, decide to pursue a judicious and moderate policy of governance towards her subjects. This was seen on September 6, 1761, when the Queen formally announced the composition of her Council of State. Having little understanding of her Scottrian subjects, and knowing that she needed the assistance of every person of experience in her realms, Mariana decided to retain most of the ministers and advisers who had served since the end of Queen Mariana's War in July 1760. Her half-brother, Lord Jamsius Stewart, who had been as noted above been among the most prominent leaders of the Lords of the Congregation, was appointed as President of the Council of State. He would be made Earl of Moray on January 12, 1762. William Maitland of Lethington, who had now become one of the Queen's most loyal supporters, became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The Earls of Argyll and Glencairn, those other prominent Lords of the Congregation, retained their positions on the Council of State. Queen Mariana also appointed four of her supporters to the Council; the Earls of Atholl (1730-79; John Stewart), Eroll (1708-73; George Hay), Montrose (1692-1771; William Graham), and Huntly, who became Lord Chancellor of Scottria.
    • Empress Aurelia, on her part, though still suspicious of Mariana, had decided to cooperate with her, and to extend a hand in friendship. On August 23, in an proclamation issued from the Quencilvanian Palace, the Empress expressed her joy that Queen Mariana had been permitted, by the grace of Almitis, to return safely and promptly to her Scottrian realms. The Empress of Laurasia, moreover, declared that if Mariana promised to formally ratify the Treaty of Ediania, and refrained from any pretensions to the Laurasian throne, then she, Aurelia, would be her friend. Mariana was still reluctant to do so at this stage, believing that the Treaty would confirm the will of her grand-uncle, Antigonus III, and thereby exclude her from the throne; the Empress, however, sought to assure Mariana that nothing was yet decided about the succession. She had by now returned to the idea of personally meeting Mariana, having overcome her earlier reluctance for a state visit by the Scottrian Queen to the Laurasian Empire. Mariana herself had come to the same conclusion. The Queen of Scottria knew that friendly personal relations between herself and Aurelia could only be advantageous. She was supported in this by Lord Stewart, who was well aware of the need for Laurasian friendship.
  • August 30-
    • Empress Aurelia sent a command to Ambassador Mayveius on Parri (August 30, 1761), ordering him to dispatch the Earl of Heuthros back to the Laurasian Empire without delay. Heuthros, who had been informed by the Ambassador of events at the Imperial Court, and who had listened to the Empress's proclamation concerning the pregnancy and arrest of his wife, Lady Katharina Greysius, knew the reason for why she was summoning him back. He decided not to pose any resistance, and departed from Parri with a small escort entourage on September 4. He arrived at Belkadan on September 7, 1761, and was immediately escorted by a fleet under the command of the ailing Admiral Levashius, which had been dispatched by the Empress. On September 12, Heuthros, immediately upon his arrival back at Laurasia Prime, was imprisoned on Aurelia's orders at the Fortress of Baureux.
    • By her command, moreover, he was incarcerated in a separate cell, and was forbidden to meet or even see his wife. Admitting paternity of the child, Heuthros was denied the use of writing materials and commanded to pray for mercy from the Lord Almitis. It was on September 24, at the Maternity Quarters within the Fortress, that Lady Katharina Greysius gave birth to their child, a son, who was named Edwardis after his father. News of the birth of Edwardis Seymouris (1761-1812), who was a male claimant for the throne, only made the Empress more incensed against the young couple. Aurelia feared that Katharina's ability to produce a son might make her a more attractive prospect as Empress, in the eyes of her subjects.
  • September 16-On the advice of Lord Jamsius Stewart and the Scottrian Council of State, Queen Mariana decided to dispatch a special envoy to the court of her cousin, Empress Aurelia, on Laurasia Prime. She now designated (September 16, 1761), William Maitland of Lethington, who had been appointed as the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as her special envoy to the Imperial Laurasian Court. Maitland, who had demonstrated his efficiency in government service and his patriotic concern for the Scottrian realms, promised his mistress that he would not fail her. Maitland departed from Stirling on September 22, and arrived at Zerba two days later, being greeted by Lord Treasurer Winchestrius and a delegation of Privy Councilors and Governing Senators.
  • September 27-
    • On September 27, 1761, Scottrian Special Envoy William Maitland of Lethington made his formal arrival at Laurasia Prime, and was greeted at the Quencilvanian Palace with much honor and ceremony by Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court. The Empress expressed her thankfulness to the Lord Almitis that Maitland's journey had gone without any complications, and her hope for the continuance of peaceful relations with her "dear cousin." Maitland, however, seeking to follow his mission, wasted no time in asserting Mariana's claim to be acknowledged as heiress presumptive to the Laurasian throne. Aurelia did not hide her disappointment. She commented to Maitland: "I looked for another message from the Queen your sovereign. I have long enough been fed with fair words." Continuing, she said that she would not meddle with the succession, as it had been established in the Third Antigonid Statute and in her father's will (though of course, she as Autocrat, could easily do so, and Maitland was well aware of this). Aurelia then told him: "When I am dead, they shall succeed that have most right. If the Queen your sovereign be that person, I shall never hurt her; if another have better right, it were not reasonable to require me to do a manifest injury."
    • Conceding, however, that she knew of no better title than Mariana's, and stating that if she could avoid a public declaration of her intentions about the succession, then she had no objection to naming Mariana as her successor. On October 4, the Empress, in an official communique to the Queen of Scottria, demanded again that she formally ratify the Treaty of Ediania. Mariana's continued refusal to do so greatly angered her Laurasian contemporary. Mariana, upon receiving this communique, declared her intention to maintain "peaceful relations" with the Laurasian Empire, and issued a reconfirmation of the Treaties of Boulougone and Northam, but still remained noncommittal as regards to the Treaty of Ediania. Maitland, acting on his mistress's instructions, informed the Empress of Laurasia, in a private audience three days after the communique, that Mariana believed her claim to the Laurasian succession was valid. Cecilis, on his part, told Aurelia that he distrusted the Scottrian Queen, and that she should not name her as her heiress.
  • October 19-On October 19, 1761, Empress Aurelia commanded for the establishment of a commission of judicial and ecclesiastical representatives, chaired by Chief Procurator Amnystas Parsius, in order to investigate the validity of the marriage of Edwardis Seymouris, Earl of Heuthros and Lady Katharina Greysius. The Chief Procurator was commanded to "look for any evidence that this was a lawfully concluded union of Almitis" and to make his judgment on that basis. The commission's findings would be used by the Empress in her final decision as to how to punish the couple. On October 25, Chief Procurator Parsius and Procurator-General Bagonius, on the orders of the Empress, conducted the first of many extensive interrogations of the young couple at the Fortress of Baureux. There would be several interrogations over the next four months, as the commission ruthlessly questioned the two as regards to the circumstances of their marriage. On November 2, Almitian Priest Hephaestus Breven, who had presided over the secret wedding of Lady Katharina Greysius and the Earl of Heuthros, and whose identity had been discovered by the Imperial Inquiries Service of the IIA, was arrested on the orders of Chief Procurator Parsius (who had been given special authorization by Aurelia to arrest anyone connected to the marriage). Priest Breven, who declared that he had only been performing "his duty in the eyes of Almitis", was imprisoned at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia and arraigned on charges of treason, les-majestie, and "violation of the orders of the Imperial Almitian Church." He would be convicted on all charges by the Holy Synod on November 16, deprived of his ecclesiastical robes, excommunicated, and imprisoned at the Secret Prison of Ipsus V on December 4. He would die there on January 9, 1766.
  • December 7-
    • Empress Aurelia, who had discussed with the Privy Council and Ambassador Maitland about the possibility of Mariana making a state visit to the Laurasian Empire, now wrote, on December 7, 1761, a second communique to the Scottrian Queen herself. In this communique, the Empress declared that a potential state visit, by which the two sovereigns would be able to meet each other, would be "beneficial to the interests of both of our realms and will foster a positive and strong relationship between us." Mariana reacted warmly to this, and in her response to the Empress, which was given the following day, declared that she would be more than willing to meet her cousin, on cordial terms, and within the confines of the Empire. Mariana began to tax Sir Thomasius Randolphius (1723-90), Aurelia's Ambassador to the Court of Ediania, at the Scottrian Court, constantly about questions concerning the Empress's "habits, health, exercise, diet, and etc." The Queen scrutinized the photograph collection which her cousin had sent from the Empire with great curiosity. She even went as far as to wish that one of them were a man, so that their realms could be united by marriage.
    • Ambassador Randolphius reported to the Privy Council that whenever the subject of marriage was raised, Mariana asserted that she would have "none other than the Laurasian sovereign as her husband." Mariana's advisers, however, did not share her enthusiasm. Maitland feared that Mariana would prove no match for the Empress if they engaged in intellectual discussions, for "he finds no such maturity of judgment and ripeness of experience in high matters in his mistress, as in the Empress's Majesty, in whom both nature and time have wrought much more than in many of greater years." Mariana's determination to embark on the trip, however, could not be dimmed. Yet both the Scottrian and Laurasian nobilities were grumbling about the expenses which would be associated with a trip. There were also other objections, concerning the internal situation in Franconia. There, Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici was still struggling to avoid civil war.
    • She was opposed by the Guise brothers, uncles of Queen Mariana. It was clear to all at the Imperial Laurasian Court that the rise of the Guises to power would be a threat to the Empire, a threat which could not be tolerated. To avert this threat, it was argued by many of the Empress's advisers that assistance be provided to the Huguenots, who had emerged in opposition to the Royal Franconian Government as early as 1730, but were only now becoming mobilized; they considered this an inopportune time to meet with the Queen of Scottria. Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia was especially ardent on this, insisting to Chancellor Cecilis that Aurelia pay more attention to the Franconian situation than to "vain pleasures and trifling matters." Aurelia, however, disagreed. She refused to believe that a full-scale civil war would break out, and professed her understanding that Catharina had a handle on the situation. Moreover, the Empress of Laurasia thought that if she and Mariana were given a chance to communicate directly with each other, they would manage to obtain an understanding of the sort which could never be achieved if they were at a distance. Aurelia was also intrigued at the prospect of meeting another female ruler. Moreover, she thought that a personal meeting would make Mariana less anxious about the succession. Over the next several months, therefore, plans for a meeting developed further.
  • December 16-
    • As regards to affairs in the Great Amulak Spiral, 1761 had seen the continuation of the conflicts of the Seven Year's War. For Pruthia, 1761 marked the absolute nadir in its military efforts. Emperor Pru'a IX, who by 1761 was forty-eight years old, and had experienced numerous reverses against his Franconian, Austarlian, and Mecklenburgian adversaries, was at the brink of desperation. Most of Silania, East Pruthia, Westphalia, East Frisia, Pomerania, and Neuchatel was occupied by his enemies; Austarlian and Franconian units routinely penetrated into Magdeburg, Brandenburg, and Scherwin; and Pruthian military forces were overstretched, fighting in several different fronts. Although he continued to receive military aid from the Vendragians, and subsidies from them, Pru'a found that these did not redress the military balances. And indeed, this year saw the Pruthians suffer a string of further humiliating defeats. Stettin was conquered by the Mecklenburgians and Franconians in January 1761; coalition forces then seized Lauenberg, Butow, Oliva, and Drasheim, with Pruthian forces suffering humiliating losses at each of those star systems. The following month, Prua's last offensive into Bavaria, which had, towards the end of 1760, managed to conquer the Bavarian garrisons of Regensburg, Igolstadt, and Freiburg, ended in disastrous defeat in the Battle of Augsburg. Ansbach and Bayreuth, both of which were definitively in the Austarlian camp by February 1761, successfully repelled moves by Pruthian units still operating in Wurrttemberg, Eichestadt, and Memmingen; the Battle of Stuttgart, on March 1, 1761, resulted in the final destruction of Pruthian units under Frederick Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst (1734-93), and their expulsion from Wurttemberg. The Hohenzollern Patrimony was in Austarlian hands by April 1761; Franconian units, at the same time, reoccupied Halle and Potsdam.
    • Speyer, Nurnberg, and Rotthberg were seized by the Austarlians in May 1761; Schweidnitz in Silania fell to Marshal von Daun on May 22, 1761. Pru'a now launched desperate raiding offensives into Greater Dejanica, the Netze District, and Royal Pruthia; his units penetrated as far as Torun, Danzig, and Bromberg (June-July 1761), impounding military supplies and repositories. By July 1761, however, with the conquest of Beuthen and Kustrin, Pruthian raids into Dejanica had been terminated. Vendragian successes, however, had resumed; in February 1761, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick won the Battle of Langensalza, thereby ending the Franconian threat to Magdeburg, and in March, besieged Kassel. The Siege of Kassel, however, was terminated by the Battle of Grunberg (March 27, 1761), with Franconian Count de Saltkye retaining control of the stronghold. Nevertheless, the ensuing Battle of Villinghausen (July 16, 1761), saw the Prince of Brunswick defeat de Broglie and de Saltkye, preserving Lingen and Minden for Pruthia.
    • In September 1761, Pru'a recovered Potsdam, overran Anhalt-Dessau and Anhalt-Hossam, and penetrated to Lepizig, but was unable to relieve Rugen, which fell to the Mecklenburgians (October 8, 1761). The Battle of Neuensund, fought four days later, resulted in another humiliating defeat for the Pruthians, who lost more than thirty warships. In November 1761, Stendal fell into Franconian hands, and Franconian forces now threatened to link with their Austarlian allies. Lutterberg and Meissen in Saxony, which the Austarlians had taken in December 1759, served as Austarlian command posts for thrusts into Brandenburg. Then on December 2, 1761, Franconian, Mecklenburgian, and Austarlian forces, under the command of Prince Soubise, instigated the final siege of Kolberg; clashes at Spie, Kolsin, and Patenberg failed to redress the situation for the Pruthians. Emperor Prua's efforts to fortify and provision the garrison failed, and on December 16, 1761, it fell to the coalition forces, thereby depriving Pruthia of its last foothold in Pomerania. General Frederick Eugen of Wurttemberg (1732-97), who had commanded the garrison, became a Austarlian prisoner of war. The loss of Kolberg convinced many, in Vendragia and elsewhere, that Pruthia was on the verge of collapse. However, a miracle was now to occur for the Pruthians, which was to rescue them from their predicament and turn the tide in the war.
  • December 24-On December 24, 1761, the future Marasharite Emperor Selim III (1789-1807) was born at the Topkaki Palace on Topacia, in the Marasharite Empire. He was the eldest son of Marasharite Emperor Mustapha III and his chief wife and consort, Misirhiah (1745-95).
  • December 26-On December 26, 1761, Empress Aurelia, in an official ceremony of investiture at the Diplomatic Palace, formally conferred upon Lord Ambrosius Dudley, the elder brother of Lord Antiochus, the Earldom of Sarah, which had been forfeit by the Dudley family as a result of their involvement in the Accession Crisis of 1753. She had contemplated conferring upon Lord Ambrosius his father's Dukedom of Northumberlais, but had ultimately been persuaded by Chancellor Cecilis from taking that step. Nevertheless, the Empress, in her Letters Patent of elevation, declared that the Dudleys had "completely redeemed themselves from their earlier treason" and that they were now formally exonerated of all charges of attainder laid against them during the Empress Didymeia's reign. Lord Antiochus Dudley, on his part, still hopeful that he could marry the Empress, distinguished himself in the Ascentmas and New Eve's celebrations, and played a prominent role in his brother's investiture ceremony.

1762Edit

  • January 1-
    • 1762, the 62nd year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire residing in a general state of domestic tranquility and peaceful relations with its neighbors. Empress Aurelia had continued to pursue policies, in administration, economics, and religion, which were meant to maintain and strengthen the authority of the Imperial Laurasian Government and to preserve her dominion over the Empire. She believed that reform was necessary to ensure the continuation of the state, and that without it, Laurasia would be doomed to deterioration and eventual ruin. The reforms she had already implemented at this stage have been noted above, and more will continue to be noted below (and at the Reforms in the Reign of Aurelia the Great page). As regards to affairs at the Imperial Laurasian Court, Lord Antiochus Dudley was still engaged in attempts to persuade the Empress to marry him. In January 1761, Dudley had sent his brother-in-law, Sir Antigonus Sidronius, to Spamalkan Ambassador de Quadra, to offer him assurances that if he married the Empress, the alliance with Spamalka would be maintained and "there would be no further quarrel between our realms in the future."
    • Sidronius had also told the Ambassador that the Empress was "tired of the tyranny of Cecilis" and was inclined to the marriage; he said it would be helpful if Emperor Philicus could do his best to reconsider her decision not to marry Dudley. De Quadra knew that bitter factions would develop at the Imperial Court, if Dudley married the Empress, and that even civil war could erupt. He had reacted with skepticism; Sidronius responded by saying that, considering the Empress was satisfied with what had happened with Lady Dudley, there was no reason why the Ambassador should not have reported Philicus's assurances to his master. On February 13, 1761, Dudley had himself met with the Ambassador, and confirmed what his brother-in-law said. The following month, Chancellor Cecilis, not pleased about what was occurring, asked de Quadra to obtain from Emperor Philicus a communique supporting the marriage. Aurelia herself had kept everyone guessing, right through the remainder of 1761. On June 7, she had joked with Lord Antiochus about the wedding in the presence of the Ambassador; on October 16, she granted Dudley an annuity of €150 million dataries a year. Now, as the new year commenced, Dudley was embarking once again on his ambitions.
  • January 5-
    • On January 5, 1762, Lord Antiochus Dudley approached Ambassador de Quadra, for the second time, with a plea that Emperor Philicus endorse his suit for Aurelia's hand by a written recommendation. Dudley did not insult the Spamalkans by claiming that he would uphold, to the greatest vigor he could muster, the military alliance between Spamalka and Laurasia; he instead, said that the Franconians had offered him bribes to use his influence with the Empress on their behalf. The Ambassador did not believe Dudley's claims, and replied that Her Imperial Majesty was already aware of Philicus's anxiousness to see her married, and that she knew that he had high hopes of Lord Dudley. Therefore, a recommendation from his master would not be necessary. De Quadra explained that the real stumbling block to a marriage was the Empress herself, and asked if he should raise the matter with her. Dudley consented.
    • Five days later, Ambassador De Quadra had his monthly private audience with Empress Aurelia, in the Private Throne Room of the Quencilvanian Palace. In this audience, the Ambassador asked the Empress whether she had made up her mind to marry. Declaring that she was "free from any engagement", she stated that she had resolved never to accept any suitor she had not meant, meaning that she would marry one of her own Laurasian subjects. What she wished was for recommendations from friendly rulers, such as the Kings of Franconia and Vendragia, as well as Emperor Philicus himself, which would support her marrying Dudley. The Ambassador, suspicious of her motives, told her that she should marry Dudley without delay. In reality, both the Ambassador and his master, the Holy Spamalkan Emperor, knew that by marrying Dudley Aurelia would weaken her own hold on the throne, and that this could give way to another claimant, such as already sat upon the Scottrian throne. Aurelia, however, was too shrewd, and when she dismissed de Quadra, declared she would not commit herself to anyone.
  • February 12-An official financial report (February 12, 1762), issued by the Imperial Treasury under the direction of Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, announced that over the course of the past two years and three months, nearly three quarters of the public debt which had been accumulated during the reign of Empress Didymeia: that is, €510 trillion dataries, had been officially paid off by the revenues of the Imperial Laurasian Government. This announcement, presented to the subjects of the Empire in an official imperial manifesto, was appeasing to many. By 1762, unemployment rates were 3-5% across the regions of the Empire; inflation was at a very reasonable 3.5%; and manufacturing productivity levels were reaching the one quintillion mark. Empress Aurelia was proud of her accomplishments, and continually asserted that her ambition was to improve the situation of her subjects.
  • February 22-On February 22, 1762, Chief Procurator Parsius and the Investigative Commission completed their examination of the marriage of the Earl of Heuthros and Lady Katharina Greysius, and formally presented their report on the marriage to the Empress, who had moved to the Old Royal Palace. The Chief Procurator, falling on his knees before Aurelia, announced that the marriage was indeed "unlawful and in contravention to the dictates of Almitis; therefore, stern action should be taken against this couple, under the mandate of the law and of your autocratic will." Aurelia moved swiftly. The Empress commanded the Holy Synod to invalidate the marriage; the young Edwardis Seymouris was declared illegitimate; and both Katharina and the Earl of Heuthros were forbidden to ever appear at the Imperial Court again. Moreover, the Empress ordered that the offending couple remain indefinitely at the Fortress of Baureux as a punishment for their "undue and unlawful carnal copulation."
  • March 1-
    • By March 1762, the situation of the Autocratic Pruthian Empire was absolutely desperate, while that of the Vendragian Confederacy was greatly elevated. 1761 had seen the continued advance of Vendragian forces in the Colonial Territories. Pondicherry, the capital of Franconian India, had fallen into Vendragian hands on January 16, 1761; the Vendragians had then conquered Mahe, Karkial, Yanam, Masulipattam, and Chanannagar (February-March 1761), thereby completing the expulsion of the Franconians from India. The New Orleans Parishes, the Bayou Delta, and the San Antonio Colonies had subsequently fallen to the Vendragians, and by May 1761, all remaining Franconian units in Inner Canada, Ohio, and Minnesota had been definitively expelled. Moreover, by the end of 1761, Tahiti, Pitcarin, Vanatu, and Baja California were all in Vendragian hands; French Guiana, including its capital system of Cayenne, was largely in Vendragian possession as well. In January 1762, Peking and Kiaotung fell; Higgan, Tonglaio, and Hulanbarr followed shortly afterwards, seriously weakening the Franconian position in Manchuria. Yet for Pruthia, the early months of 1762 witnessed further moves by coalition forces. On January 5, 1762, the Battle of Kiachtow ended in a decisive victory for Austarlian Field-Marshal von Daun; Anhalt-Hossau, Anhalt-Bassachs, and the Silanian Corridor all fell under Austarlian control. By January 28, Austarlian units, in possession of Braunschweig, had cut off Pruthian units in Brandenburg from Hanover, Lingen, and Minden; Jever and Oldenburg had also fallen into coalition possession. By February 1762, by which time Austarlian units were penetrating into the heart of Brandenburg, Berliania III itself was under direct threat. Yet two events now combined to give the advantage to Emperor Pru'a.
    • On February 9, 1762, Duke Louis of Mecklenburg (r. 1747-62) died after a sudden illness, and was succeeded by his brother Fre'da (r. 1762-73). The new Duke Fre'da had to contend with a significant budget deficit and with rebellions in Rostock, Wismar, and Gostrow; he also generally favored the Pruthians, and wished to withdraw from this costly, lengthy conflict. Thus, on February 22, 1762, he extended an armistice offer to Emperor Pru'a. The Emperor of Pruthia accepted this, and the Armistice of Luneburg was signed (February 28, 1762). It was not until April 15, 1762, however, before the Treaty of Eutin was signed, thereby leading to the withdrawal of Mecklenburg from the war, on the basis of the status quo ante bellum. Nevertheless, Pru'a found his forces in Pomerania and Brandenburg greatly relieved by the Mecklenburgian withdrawal, which angered the Franconians and Austarlians. Then on March 1, 1762, a far more consequential event occurred: the Massacre of Vassy.
    • The Duke of Guise, angered by the insults hurled at him by that star system's Huguenot inhabitants, ordered for a general massacre; more than 75,000 Huguenot colonists died in an orgy of bloodshed. This incident now shattered the Queen Mother's efforts to maintain peace within Franconia. Lujak de Bourbon, Prince of Conde (1730-69), who now declared that the King and his mother were being held hostage by the House of Guise, went into open rebellion (March 8, 1762). By the beginning of April 1762, the Huguenot League had emerged, and full civil war had erupted in the heart of Franconia. Loire, Anjou, Poitou, and Normandy now became the scene of bitter confrontations between the Huguenots and the Royal Franconian Government; Rouen, Evereux, Dieppe, Cherbourg, Orleans, Poitiers, the Loire Colonies, and Versailles, were all scenes of contention. This, combined with the Vendragian conquest of Sakhalin in March 1762, finally compelled Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici and the Royal Franconian Government to open negotiations with the Vendragian Confederacy and the Autocratic Pruthian Empire. The Armistice of Celle (March 19, 1762), suspended all military hostilities. Negotiations soon commenced in earnest at Dusseldorf, and would drag on for some months.
    • In the short run, Pru'a, now relieved of pressure from the Franconians and Mecklenburgians, struck back against the Austarlians. Potsdam, Frankfurt, Halle, and Kustrin were all back in his hands by the end of March 1762; he then overran Anhalt-Hossau, Anhalt-Dessau, and Lubeck, thereby ending any Austarlian threat to Magdeburg. The conclusion of the Treaty of Eutin allowed for Pru'a to reclaim Lubeck, Stralsund, Rugen, Lautenberg, Drasheim, Butow, and Farther Pomerania; the Emperor of Pruthia now isolated the Austarlian garrison of Kolberg, and recovered Altona, Hamburg, and East Frisia (April-May 1762). On May 29, 1762, the Battle of Cleves ended in a decisive victory for Pru'a; then on June 4, 1762, the Treaty of Bristol was signed, ending the war among Vendragia, Pruthia, and Franconia. With Huguenot forces now in command in Lower Normandy, Orleans, and Picardy, the Queen Mother was willing to concede anything to the allies. As a result of this treaty, Vendragia acquired Inner Canada, Ohio, Louisiana, Acadia, Baja California, Goree, Gambia, the Manchurian Concessions, and Franconian India. Tahiti and Vanatu were to be occupied by Vendragian units for a period of three years (to end on July 1, 1765), while St. Pierre et Miquelon, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Reunion, Seychelles, and Martinique, were to be restored to Franconia immediately. Franconia was allowed to retain its trading privileges and military garrisons in both Ceylon and Madagascar, but was compelled to end all alliances with native potentates in those regions and to limit the size of its military forces which operated there.
    • As regards to Germania, the status quo ante bellum was imposed, with Pruthia recovering Cleves, Mark, Ravensberg, Mainz, East Frisia, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, and Minden. Franconian acquisition of Saluzzo, Nice, Bar, the Metzian Lordships, and the Pale of Calais was acknowledged by both Pruthia and Vendragia, while Franconian rights to the succession of the Duchy of Lorraine were again confirmed (to be enacted in 1766). The Franconian alliance with Austarlia was to cease immediately. With the conclusion of the Treaty of Bristol, Pru'a found that he could throw all of his military resources into the war effort against Austarlia. June and July 1762 witnessed the Hohenzollern Patrimony, Augsburg, Neuchatel, Marburg, Worms, Speyer, and Warburg fall into Pruthian hands; on August 7, 1762, Pru'a reconquered Lepizig, defeating Marshal von Daun in the Battle of Weimar. Coburg and Gotha were soon secured by Pruthian forces, and Wurzburg was threatened later that month. By October 1762, Pru'a's brother, Prince Henvar of Pruthia (1726-1802), had reconquered Gorlitz, Chemnitiz, Lutterberg, Meissen, and Hoyerswerda, thereby reasserting the Pruthian position in Saxony. Pru'a, on his part, reconquered Breslau, Oslau, and Beuthen in September 1762, recovering most of Silania.
    • On October 15, 1762, Prince Henvar utterly destroyed the Austarlians of Prince Hans von Stolberg of Salzburg (1716-82) and Hungarian General Hadik in the Battle of Freiberg, after which Regensburg, Naumburg, and Wurzburg were all taken by the Pruthians. By November 13, Genoa, Zurich, and Lausanne had also fallen to the Pruthians, while Bayreuth and Ansbach were both compelled to sign a truce with Pru'a. November and early December 1762 witnessed Pruthian forces blockading Dresden, recovering Cottebus and Lower Lusatia, and penetrating once more into Moravia, occupying Glatz, Reichenberg, and Kotlin. Empress Mar'va Tarvania of Austarlia, now without allies, and suffering such reverses, was prevailed upon by Chancellor Kaunitz to begin considering peace with Pruthia. On December 17, 1762, she sent an armistice request to her hated Pruthian counterpart; he accepted, and the Armistice of Juterbog (December 24, 1762), suspended military hostilities. By the end of 1762, negotiations between the two powers were well under way.
  • March 18-
    • Empress Aurelia ordered the release of Constantia Douglain, Countess of Lennaxia, and her eldest son, Antigonus Stewart, Lord Darnley, from house arrest at Lennaxian Mansion on Kigonia (March 18, 1762). They had both been arrested and confined there by the Empress's orders in February 1762. The Countess of Lennaxia, as mentioned above, had married Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennaxia, back in 1744. The following year, on December 7, 1745, at Reoyania, she had given birth to Lord Darnley. Ten years later, on April 15, 1755, she gave birth to their second son, Carolus, at Constantia. In January 1759, Empress Aurelia had conferred Lennaxian Mansion, which had been originally been constructed by her aunt, Ceciliana Zemakala, Countess of Apathama Vixius, from 1697-1703, upon the Lennaxia family. It had therefore become their primary residence. The Earl and Countess of Lennaxia had continued to remain in attendance at the Imperial Court, accompanying the Empress during her progresses of 1759 and 1760. The young Lord Darnley and his brother were brought to the Court as well, and they began receiving their education from tutors, in particular Sir Demetrius Eldornia (1731-68), who was a protege of Emperor Demetrius's tutor, the late Sir John Chekius. The Lennaxia family's affairs, nevertheless, were closely monitored by the Imperial Intelligence Agency, on Aurelia's command, for the young Lord Darnley, as great-grandson of Neuchrus I, also possessed a claim to the Imperial Laurasian Crown. The surveillance was also proven necessary because the Countess herself conspired to improve the position and prestige of her son, by obtaining for him a marriage with his cousin, Scottrian Queen Mariana.
    • The Empress had been enraged by the Countess's schemes, and had them interrogated extensively by the Privy Council. But now she, considering the threat from them to have subsided, had decided to release them from house arrest. The Countess of Lennaxia, however, remained ambitious, and it was not long before she got herself into trouble again. On April 11, 1762, Empress Aurelia was informed by Chancellor Cecilis and the Director of the Imperial Intelligence Agency, Sir Gorgias Perethion (1721-82), that the Countess of Lennaxia had resumed her plotting for the marriage. Aurelia was enraged when she heard of this, and two days later, commanded for the Countess to be incarcerated, this time at the Fortress of Baureux. The Countess protested her innocence, but her pleas were ignored, and in an imperial proclamation, it was announced that she would remain under imprisonment by the Empress's leisure. Aurelia also ordered Lord Darnley and Lord Stuart to remain on Laurasia Prime, and their movements were rigorously monitored by the Christiania Police and by the Intelligence Agency.
  • May 9-On May 9, 1762, Empress Aurelia held an audience with Maitland, who had returned to the Imperial Laurasian Court on March 5, after reporting back to Queen Mariana on Ediania. Over the past several months, negotiations had continued intermittently between the two governments over the question of a visit. The protests of the Laurasian and Scottrian nobilities, at the expenses of such a visit, had not been ignored; Aurelia did not wish to arouse ill-feeling against the Scottrian Queen. The Privy Council, moreover, believed that it was inadvisable for Mariana to come to the Empire. Aurelia, however, still disagreed. She told Maitland that caution needed to be employed in the preparations, and that things could not be rushed forward. Indeed, other obstacles, which had always been present, were once again rearing their head. The religious tensions in the Franconian realms had been aggravated by the Siege of Rouen, which began in May 1762, and there was now greater concern than ever before about the implications that this would have for the Empire's relations with Scottria, as well as on the anticipated meeting.
  • July 8-The Imperial Court embarked from Laurasia Prime on its annual progress (July 8, 1762). The particular progress this year would take the Court northwards into the Solidaritan Provinces. Dennis, Wendy, Coen, Deanna, Michael, Rastaborn, Shannon, Methuasalah, Sheryl, Laronn, the Belts of Mantin, Sair, Istantius, Massanay, Sassanay, Cibourney, Abraham, Roxuli, Leopoldia, Alexandria, and Big Twinny were among the star systems to be graced by the presence of the Empress and her household during these months. En route from Laurasia Prime to Nezbit, the first stop on the progress, the Empress summoned Ambassador Maitland to her personal shipboard chamber on the IMS Laurasiana Galactica, her flagship, and discussed with him again about the impending state visit. The visit would take place at Devily, after August 20, 1762, when the Empress and her court were scheduled to return from their progress. At Devily, which had only two decades before been part of the Scottrian Galactic Borderlands, authorities were now preparing for a visit by a "foreign sovereign", this being the Queen of Scottria. Plans, moreover, were already being made for a series of tournaments and other celebrations to mark the visit; security arrangements were instituted; and all of the world's chief monuments and structures were beautified. The planetary communications system was overhauled, and patrols were organized to monitor Devily's hyper-routes. Many misogynistic Laurasian nobles, observing these preparations, grumbled privately that "women lord over us now, and we now have to be subject to their wishes."
  • July 15-On July 15, 1762, Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, who had been appointed as Ambassador to the Court of Parri in December 1761, sent a urgent communique to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thorckmortonia informed them that Orleans was now being besieged by the royalist forces of Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici. Thorckmortonia's communique now changed everything, for Empress Aurelia was finally convinced that she could not proceed with a state visit with Queen Mariana. Knowing that Mariana was actively encouraging her uncle and her former mother-in-law to suppress the Huguenots, Aurelia decided that prudence was needed. Moreover, she realized, the internal troubles which Franconia was currently undergoing offered an opportunity for the Imperial Laurasian Government, to expand its influence further in the Great Amulak Spiral. Thus it was that on July 22, 1762, on the Empress's orders, Chancellor Cecilis dispatched a communique to the Scottrian Council of State, informing her that "because of the recent turmoil in Franconia, the visit which was to have been undertaken between Your Majesties at the system of Devily in the Galactic Borderlands shall have to be postponed for a year." Mariana, who had nurtured great hopes of the meeting, was distressed when she received this communique, and took to her bed, remaining there weeping for the whole day.
  • August 2-
    • Empress Aurelia informed Chancellor Cecilis, on August 2, 1762, of her intentions to intervene in the affairs of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth following the death of Vorrus II. Over the preceding twenty-seven years, ever since the Treaty of Idyll in October 1735, King Vorrus had "reigned" over Dejanica in a desultory, detached, uncaring fashion. He was known to prefer recreation to ruling, and focused mostly on his collection of artwork, the opera, and entertainments at his court on Dejanica. He had instead delegated most of his duties and responsibilities to the ambitious Archleutan emigre, Count Heinrich von Bruhl (1700-63). Bruhl, who had been born on August 13, 1700 at Gangsolffsmen, had entered the service of the Dejanican Civil Service in 1732, and arisen to ascendancy by his support of then Prince Vorrus during the War of the Dejanican Succession. In 1736, he had been appointed Minister of the Interior, Chief Minister of the Dejanican Court, and Marshal of the Affairs of the Commonwealth. Four years later, he had become President of the Dietary Senate. Bruhl was himself gluttonous; he maintained a massive household, second only in complexity and stature to that of the King of Dejanica himself; and he assembled a extensive collection of artwork.
    • He was a decent diplomat, negotiating commercial treaties with Laurasia (1744); Austarlia (1746); Pruthia (1750); Haxonia (1752); and Spamalka (1756). As regards to government affairs, however, he was completely incompetent. He was garrulous, and did not understand the finer complexities of governmental and noble politicking. Dejanica's territorial neutrality was routinely violated by the Mascavanians, Pruthians, Austarlians, and Saxonians during the wars of the 1740s and 1750s, with Prua's intrusions in 1755-56 and 1760-62 being only the most notable. Laurasia too, had violated Dejanican territorial rights on numerous occasions between 1735 and 1762; in 1754, the Imperial Laurasian Navy had even conducted naval exercises in the outskirts of Dejanican Lavella, and Bruhl's weak protests availed him nothing. Moreover, the Haynsian Despotate, as it had done for nearly three centuries, continually harried Dejanican Lavella, Belarania, and Ukraine, with the expeditions of 1746, 1751, and 1755 inflicting the most damage. Minsk, Bialystok, Brest, Mir, Kaminiecs, Lavella Minor, Dequan, Dejan, Antwone, Novella, Nelson, and Vilinus, among other star systems, had suffered from these expeditions.
    • The Empress of Laurasia knew of Bruhl's incompetence and his deadening influence on the Dejanican Court, and believed this would leave the Commonwealth exposed to the Laurasian Empire. When Aurelia informed Chancellor Cecilis of her intentions, she declared that "they will not be able to oppose our intrusions, not now or ever. It is inevitable that their state is doomed to collapse and to subjection at our hands." Cecilis advised her to move carefully, but also that she should begin to seek out potential candidates for the Dejanican throne, to succeed Vorrus upon his death. Furthermore, the Chancellor advised the Empress to take advantage of any avenue of projecting her influence into the Commonwealth. Aurelia followed this, and intensified the Laurasian practice of passing out bribes and favors to prominent Dejanican nobles. It had been the intrigues of Emperor Antigonus's agents which frustrated the reform efforts of the Potockias and Czartoyskias, as well as their supporters, at the diet of 1744; now Empress Aurelia encouraged further dissent against Bruhl's regime. During the course of 1761, 1762, and 1763, the Imperial Laurasian Government would dispense more than €4 billion dataries in bribes to various Dejanican nobles and magnates on the Diet and in the Senate.
  • August 20-
    • On August 20, 1762, Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court returned to Laurasia Prime, and a lavish ceremony of welcome was staged by the officials of the Laurasia Prime star system. Chancellor Cecilis, the Governor of Laurasia Prime, Sir Heredotus Mammia (1712-74), the Mayor of Christiania, Sir Thomasius Lodagarania (1709-84), and the Commander of the Garrison of Laurasia Prime, Major-General Sir Nicanor Stranus (1713-85), formally received the Empress at the Quencilvanian Palace, and as normal, she reveled in the acclaim of her subjects. Among those who were awaiting the Empress and the Imperial Court as to their return was the young Dejanican nobleman Stanis Poniastakaius. Stanis, who had been born on January 17, 1732 at Kolzyn, belonged to the influential and powerful Czartoyskia family, which had sponsored Laurasian efforts in the War of the Dejanican Succession. Receiving an education that only a nobleman could obtain, he had sojourned at the courts of Pruthia, Austarlia, Franconia, and Haxonia.
    • Then in 1756, his parents had secured him appointment to the Dejanican Embassy on Laurasia Prime; he had served as one of the diplomatic consuls for three years, until he returned to the Commonwealth in October 1759. In June 1762, however, Poniastakaius had returned to the Empire, and to Laurasia Prime, having gained another assignment with the Embassy. He was known for his dignified manner and his education, but also for his pliability and willingness to be influenced by others. Empress Aurelia noticed him almost immediately. He distinguished himself in jousts with Lord Antiochus Dudley, the Earls of Jadia and Aeoleon, and other notable figures at the Imperial Court, as also by his intellectual capabilities, his wit, and his knowledge of the courtly arts. The Empress now began to view this young Dejanican noble as the next King of Dejanica. Poniataskaius would remain at the Imperial Court until June 1763, and by the end of that time, Aurelia would be definitively resolved on her course of action as regards to Dejanica.
  • September 4-In an audience with Ambassador Maitland (September 4, 1762), Empress Aurelia suggested that his mistress, Queen Mariana, could marry a member of the Laurasian aristocracy. Aurelia declared that a Laurasian noble would foster "positive relations between our two realms" and that his mistress could be assured that there would be no conspiracy against her person. Maitland, however, declared that the Queen could never consider any match that might diminish her reputation, and that she intended only to marry a husband who had no "allegiance or ties which could distract him from what he owed to her." Mariana, unlike Aurelia, was determined to marry; she preferred a husband who would have the backing of a foreign power, and who could treat with the Empress on equal terms. The Queen of Scottria began considering Philicus's son Don Carlos, who had previously been considered for Lady Katharina Greysius by Ambassador Feria. Don Carlos, however, was a sadistic degenerate, who would not be a worthy husband to her. She considered her former brother-in-law, King Charman of Franconia, to be too young, and Austarlian Archduke Char'vak too undistinguished and not wealthy enough.
  • September 11-
    • By September 1762, the situation in Franconia had worsened. Angers, Tours, and Blois had all been garrisoned by the Huguenots during June and July 1762; Orleans defied the efforts of the Queen Mother's forces to reconquer it; and Valence was attacked by Francois de Beaumont, Baron des Audrets (1712-87), who managed to inflict a series of losses upon the Duke of Guise's garrisons in that star system. Furthermore, Lyon had been seized by Conde and his Huguenots (August 9, 1762), thereby further complicating the situation for the Royal Franconian Government. Watching all of these events with interest, Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Government had decided at last to support the Huguenots. It was thus that on September 11, 1762, a secret conference between the Imperial Laurasian Government and the Huguenot League was opened at Adrianne, in the Outer Borderlands. The Empress of Laurasia had become convinced that an alliance with the Huguenots would maintain Laurasian influence in the Great Amulak Spiral and prevent Franconia from posing a renewed threat to the Empire in the future. She was sympathetic towards the Huguenots in any case, and believed that they were being unduly oppressed by the Royal Franconian Government. The Imperial Laurasian Government was represented at the diplomatic conference by Sir Lysimachus Croftia, Sir Galerius Caranus, and Assistant Minister of Finance Walterius Mildmay, while Francois de Beauvais, Seigneur de Briquemault (1702-72) and Admiral de Coligny, on behalf of the Prince of Conde, represented the Huguenot League.
    • After ten days of negotiations, the Treaty of Adrianne was, on September 21, 1762, signed by the delegations of the Laurasian Empire and the Franconian Huguenot League, resulting in the conclusion of a formal military and diplomatic alliance between the Empire and the League. By the terms of this treaty, the Empress of Laurasia pledged to dispatch an expeditionary corps, of units from the Imperial Laurasian Navy and Army, and consisting of not more than sixty warships and 250,000 military personnel, under the command of a "reliable and distinguished" nobleman, to assist the Huguenots in retaining Le Havre, which they had captured from the Royalists in July 1762 and were using as a military arsenal and shipyard. The expeditionary corps was to have tactical autonomy, and was to operate in accordance with the directives of the Imperial General Headquarters. The Empress of Laurasia promised not to make any treaty with the Royalists until the Huguenots had succeeded in their objective of capturing Calais, Dunkirk, Abbeville, and Boulougone. In return, the Huguenots agreed to compensate the Imperial Laurasian Government for all military expenses; to confirm Laurasian transit and transportation privileges in Franconian territory; and to recognize the privileges of Laurasian subjects in Franconian dominions. It was agreed that the Laurasian Expeditionary Corps was to be dispatched by no later than the end of the present year. The Treaty of Adrianne was ratified by the Huguenot Council of Operations on September 24 and by Empress Aurelia on September 26.
  • October 10-Empress Aurelia, who was with the Imperial Court at the Hampsonian Palace on Jared (once the residence of Chancellor Wolesius), awoke in her personal bedchambers at 7:00 a.m., the morning of October 10, 1762, as had become her daily routine. As she woke up, however, the Empress was stricken by a feeling of uneasiness in her stomach and lightness in her head. Now twenty-nine years old, Aurelia had not fallen seriously ill before; in fact, she was to have the most robust health of any of the sovereigns of the Neuchrian Dynasty. This time, however, she fell prey to illness. Believing that her uneasiness was only the result of the extensive dinner which she had the previous night, the Empress took some stomach relief medication and then set about her daily walk in the gardens around her bedchambers. As she walked, however, her legs began to give way, and she was forced to summon her ladies to help her back to the bedchambers. Still believing that she was only suffering a bout of temporary illness, Aurelia immersed herself in a bath. By noon, however, she had taken to her bed and was running a high temperature. The Empress's personal physicians, including the Archleutan Dr. Hans Burcot (1705-74, who had served in the Imperial Hospital since 1734), were summoned to her bedside. Burcot, with his tricorders, immediately declared that the Empress had contracted the dreaded Marsian fever, and that she needed to be placed on a thorough regiment of antibiotics and liquified food. Aurelia, however, refused to believe him, and ordered him to leave her chambers, throwing objects at him and commanding him to never appear before her again.
  • October 16-
    • Empress Aurelia, who had refused to believe that she had contracted Marsian fever, found herself in serious condition following her rejection of Dr. Burcot's advice. This decline continued over the course of six days. The fever had grown worse since Dr. Burcot had been hustled from her bedchambers. During the early hours of October 16, 1762, the Empress coughed violently in her personal bedchambers, so much so that she became dehydrated. She continued to refuse treatment, and as a result, her life came ever closer to peril. Then, early in the afternoon, her throat clogged, and she became incapable of speech. Finally, near 5:00 p.m. that evening, she lapsed into unconsciousness. Chancellor Cecilis, overriding the Empress's instructions, had her moved to the Imperial Hospital, and ordered for all effort to be made to revive her. Into October 17, the Empress continued to drift in and out of consciousness at the Imperial Hospital, and she was in a pitiable state.
    • The Imperial Privy Council convened in a emergency session in the Private Council Chambers on the orders of the Chancellor. Great anxiety now prevailed among the members of the Council, concerning the Empress's predicament. Chancellor Cecilis, Procurator-General Bagonius, the Earls of Jadia and Aeoleon, and Lord Treasurer Winchestrius were the most anxious personages. If the Empress died, as most, by this point, believed that she would, who should succeed her? Over the next two days, the Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod conducted vigorous discussions, with the members of the three Councils of State divided in their opinions. Some, such as Sir Knollysis, favored Lady Katharina Greysius, despite the matter of her disgrace with the Earl of Heuthros; moderates supported the Earl of Hannah, who was not directly related to the Empress, but nevertheless was, as mentioned above, a descendant of Antoninius Pius and Antigonus II. The rest wanted for the Councils of State to themselves decide the matter. No one spoke in support of Scottrian Queen Mariana, who was the closest claimant. A consensus was lacking, and this boded ill for the future.
  • October 20-
    • On October 20, 1762, the Imperial Chancellory issued an imperial manifesto to the subjects of the Laurasian Empire, informing them of the Empress's diagnosis and her predicament; and that she may soon be "received into the fold of Almitis." The Imperial Court was already commencing preparations to go into mourning for the Empress's soul. Lord Husadarania, however, determined to prevent disputes over the succession from arising, and still having hope, prevailed upon Dr. Burcot to resume his treatment of the Empress. Burcot ordered that she be moved into the sanitary ward and administered the experimental Rigellus-II medicine, which had been developed at the Medical Faculty of the University of Clackimaris from February 1761, and was specifically designed to combat Marsian fever. He worked tirelessly, sending out orders to the servants and the nurses in a "rapid and vigorous manner", and ensuring that no one came into contact with the Empress unless if they wore proper gear. His treatments worked, and two hours later, Aurelia was conscious and able to speak.
    • The Councils of State gathered around the bedside of the Empress, who, although she had been administered the medicine, was still in danger of dying. Her chief concern was to make provision for the government and succession to the Laurasian Empire upon her death. Turning to the one man she felt she could trust, she commanded the Councils of State to appoint Lord Antiochus Dudley Lord Protector of the Laurasian Empire, with the salary of €112.4 billion dataries a year. The Empress also asked that his personal servant, Simmias Tabarthia (1740-92), be given a pension of €5 million dataries a year. Many individuals believed that this was to buy the silence of one who had stood guard while the Empress and Dudley were alone. Aurelia, however, anticipating that adverse conclusions would be drawn, declared that "although I have loved Lord Antiochus dearly, as Almitis is my witness, nothing unseemly has ever passed between us." Although the councilors, especially Chancellor Cecilis, were much dismayed by her commands, "everything she asked was promised", according to Ambassador de Quadra. Shortly afterwards, eruptions appeared on the Empress's hands. Dr. Burcot, not considerate of civility, yelled "Almitis's pestilence! Which is better? To have these marks on your body, or to die?" He soon looked at the readouts, and noticed Aurelia's blood pressure had returned to normal levels. He informed the Council that the Empress would soon recover, and that the worst was over.
  • October 24-Following Dr. Burcot's treatments, the Empress had improved rapidly, much to the profound relief of the Councils of State, the Imperial Court, and her subjects at large. For days, people had been in anxious anticipation of the Empress's condition, and whether or not she would survive. Her improvements, however, now lifted their hopes. Aurelia finally emerged from her bed on October 24, 1762, although she would remain in confinement in her personal bedchambers for the next several days and would not resume her normal schedule until the end of November. The Empress's recovery was greeted with much joy throughout the Empire. On November 17, 1762, the fourth anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Imperial Treasury would issue a coin to mark her recovery. The coin depicted the Empress kneeling before the Lord Paul of Almitis, and the inscription, in Old Laurasian, was this: "Gratia autem Dei vita datur; Quod vita conservatur; Vita, quod omnia et super omnia uphneld." (By the Grace of God, Life is given; Life is preserved; Life is upheld above everything else). On November 4, the Empress decided to reward Lord Antiochus Dudley for his continued loyalty and concern for her interests. Dudley was finally appointed to the Imperial Privy Council, obtaining the position of Minister of Internal Security. He was also given a pension of €50 million dataries a year. Attempting to preserve the peace, she bestowed the same honor upon the Duke of Norfolkius, appointed as the Minister of Planetary and Energy Resources. The rivalry between these two men, however, remained as intense as ever, although both remained dedicated to the interests of the Empress.
  • November 11-Empress Aurelia, on November 11, 1762, received a communique from her cousin, Scottrian Queen Mariana. In this communique, Mariana expressed her happiness that the Empress had recovered from her "debilitating illness", and expressed her hope that the Empress of Laurasia would never again have to contend with any illness in the future. Chancellor Cecilis and the others, at the Imperial Court and in the Imperial Laurasian Government, were now determined that the Empress should marry, and that she should marry as soon as possible. They believed that a male heir to the Laurasian throne was desperately needed, and that Aurelia should not procrastinate any longer. The Earl of Americana, on his part, confronted the Empress two days after Mariana's communique, declaring that the matter of the succession touched the affairs of the entire Empire. Aurelia, weeping with rage, was angered at his insolence, and threatened that she would have him executed. Americana refused to stand down, and the confrontation ultimately ended with the Empress banishing him from her sight for seven months and confiscating all grants, honors, and properties conferred on him since the beginning of the reign. On November 22, she issued a venomous manifesto from the Imperial Court, reminding all her subjects that she had the power to "destroy them utterly" if they attempted to force her down a path which she did not desire.
  • December 9-Having resumed her normal duties of state, and determined to follow through with her commitments to the Huguenots, the Empress formally designated Ambrosius Dudley, Earl of Sarah, as commander of the Laurasian Expeditionary Corps of Le Havre. Dudley, who had distinguished himself in the Didymeian War, and was determined to serve his mistress faithfully in the arena of battle, gracefully accepted the commission. The Corps began to assemble at Syr-Daria, Glassia, Houston, Tyson, Vandross, and the Oirat Complex. The Huguenot Council, having learned of the Empress's illness, and expressing their joy for her recovery, announced that the Expeditionary Corps would not have to be dispatched until after the commencement of the year. 1762 therefore ended with the Laurasian Empire, having narrowly averted crisis, and embarked upon its next intervention in the Great Amulak Spiral.

1763Edit

  • January 11-
    • 1763, the 63rd year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire of Aurelia I, still enjoying domestic tranquility, now involving itself once again in the affairs of the Great Amulak Spiral: specifically, in those of its long-time rival, Franconia. The conclusion of the Treaty of Adrianne the previous year had obliged Empress Aurelia to come to the aid of the Huguenots, who then were fighting the regime of Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici. Indeed, on January 6, 1763, the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs concluded an addendum with the Huguenot Council of Operations, which provided that Dieppe was to be placed at the disposition of the Empire's military forces, and allowing for an increase (to four hundred warships and one million personnel) in the numbers of units deployed for action in Normandy and Calais. As regards to the Huguenots, they had suffered further reverses against the Queen Mother's regime. On October 18, 1762, Rouen had been recaptured by Royalist forces, but Antoine, Duke of Vendome, who commanded the system's recapture, was seriously injured and died as a result (November 12, 1762). Orleans, Poitiers, and Meaux had been subsequently occupied by the Royalists, and on December 7, 1762, the Prince of Conde had been captured by the Guises, while the Duke of Montmorency fell into the hands of the Bourbon faction. Beauvais and Pontoise were also in governmental hands by the end of December 1762.
    • Thus, it was that the Empress and the Privy Council pushed the dispatch of the Expeditionary Corps, under the command of Ambrosius Dudley, 3rd Earl of Sarah, with all possible speed. The Corps departed from Belkadan on January 11, 1763, and proceeded with all haste across the Galactic Void. On January 16, the Corps arrived at Breuteuil, which had fallen under the control of the Huguenot Council in November 1762. Francois de Holland, Duke of Bordeaux (1718-72), who had assumed supreme command of all Huguenot forces in the wake of Conde's capture, greeted Sarah and his forces. The Huguenots then escorted the Expeditionary Corps to the strongholds of Dieppe and Le Havre; on January 22, 1763, the Earl of Sarah formally took possession of both strongholds. Yet the Laurasians and the Huguenots soon found themselves at conflict once again with the government of the Queen Mother. The Battle of Chatres (January 23, 1763), resulted in a decisive victory for Sarah and Bordeaux, who captured a number of royal corvettes and impounded several turbocannon models belonging to the Royal Franconian Navy. Following this confrontation, the Franconian outpost of Devairk was occupied by the Huguenots (January 24); Sarah then distinguished himself in confrontations with governmental units at Argentan, Mortcain, and Alencon (January 25-29, 1763). On February 1, 1763, Avranches and Countances were occupied by Huguenot forces, thereby depriving the Queen Mother's government of two of its primary military bases. By February 13, Laurasian and Huguenot units had also secured Stephani, Julianne, Guines, Hames, and Evereux, immeasurably strengthening the Huguenot position in Normandy. On February 18, the Battle of Gisors ended in another humiliating defeat for the Duke of Guise, who was forced to terminate his offensive moves in the vicinity of Bayeux, which was now secured by allied forces.
  • February 12-
    • On February 12, 1763, Empress Aurelia attended a banquet at Chalessian Mansion in Christiania, held in her honor by the Earl of Aeoleon and Lord Treasurer Winchestrius. Chalessian Mansion, which was one of the largest private residences in Christiania, dated back to the reign of King Leonidas and was marked by its distinctive Royal Laurasian architecture. The Empress enjoyed herself immensely there. Her day, however, was brought to a sudden and crashing halt when she was informed that Lady Katharina Greysius had given birth early that morning to a second son, Thomasius (1763-1800), in her personal chamber at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia. Lady Katharina and the Earl of Heuthros had been moved there from the Fortress of Baureux in May 1762. Sir Demetrius Warveius (1724-93), Lieutenant of the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, had permitted Katharina to hang rich curtains and tapestries in her apartments, delicacies were brought to her table, and she was allowed to keep her pet animals with her. The Empress had approved all of this, but Warveius, who had sympathy for the young couple, had secretly allowed them to meet and to even share a room at night. Katharina had become pregnant shortly thereafter, although this was kept a closely guarded secret. It was no longer a secret however, and news of the birth leaked out quickly from the Post Settlement.
    • Aurelia's wrath knew no bounds, and she commanded that under no circumstances were they to meet again. Thus it was that on February 16, 1763, on the Empress's orders, both the Earl of Heuthros and Sir Warveius were arrested and translated to imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux. They were both charged on counts of conspiracy, les-majestie, and "violation of the rights and customs of the imperial household." The Earl of Heuthros, in particular, was also accused of "sexual impropriety" and "extramarital relations." Three days later, on February 19, the Court of the Star Chamber convicted both Heuthros and Warveius on all charges. By the command of the Empress, Heuthros was fined €500 million dataries for his crime, deprived of all honors and grants conferred upon him by the Imperial Chancellory, and ordered to remain under close confinement at the Fortress of Baureux. Warveius, on his part, was dismissed from the post of Lord Lieutenant, fined €220 million dataries, deprived of all honors and grants, and forbidden to ever reside at the Imperial Court or set foot on Laurasia Prime itself again. He would eventually die in obscurity on Robbay on June 23, 1793.
  • February 15-
    • As 1763 opened, Austarlia and Pruthia, along with Saxony, Bavaria, and the minor Germanian Principalities, found themselves exhausted from the conflicts of the Seven Year's War. Both powers suffered from severe deficits; by 1763, Pruthia had accumulated a debt of more than $1 quadmillion krona, and had now surpassed the Marasharite Empire as the leading debtor state of extra-galactic civilization. The Pruthian military had contracted severely, and although the Emperor of Pruthia had raised fresh levies during the course of 1762 (producing a force of more than three hundred million personnel), it did not compare to the military strength which he had possessed in August 1756, at the onset of conflict. Moreover, due to the innumerable invasions by the Franconians, Austarlians, Mecklenburgians, and Saxonians, East Pruthia, Brandenburg, Silania, Pomerania, Westphalia, East Frisia, Holstein, Neuchatel, and the Southern Patrimonies were all devastated; many star systems lay desolate, and billions of sentients had been killed, wounded, captured, or forced to flee their homes. Holy Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania's own realms, faced with rebellions in Hungary, Transylvania, Slovenia, and Istria, fared little better; Bohemia (part of which was once again under Pruthian occupation) and the Austarlian Archduchies had also been damaged by the exertions of war, and Prague's trade connections had been seriously disrupted. Austarlia faced a debt of more than $900 trillion krona. Moreover, Pruthian forces held the majority of Saxony, Hesse, and Wurttemberg, which thereby gave Pru'a a major bargaining chip towards the Austarlians. Nevertheless, it was in the interests of both Pru'a and Mar'va Tarvania to reach peace. On January 9, 1763, negotiations between the two Empires commenced at Hubertusburg in the Electorate of Saxony.
    • These negotiations were mediated by the Vendragian Marquess of Granby, and with his aid, proceeded swiftly. Finally, on February 15, 1763, the Treaty of Hubertusburg was signed, thereby ending the Seven Year's War, one of the most extensive military conflicts of the eighteenth century for extra-galactic civilization (the First and Second Spamalkan Wars, which began a quarter of a century later, were to be even more extensive). By the terms of this treaty, the status quo ante bellum was imposed between Pruthia and Austarlia. Pruthian rule of the Silanian Duchies was finally acknowledged by Empress Mar'va Tarvania, while East Pruthia was also restored to Pruthian control; she also recognized the Pruthian acquisition of Fleda and Juterbog, both of which had been inherited during the war. Pruthian rights to the succession of Anhalt-Zerbst, Anhalt-Hossau, Anhalt-Dessau, and Anhalt-Schultz, which had been maintained since 1732, were also affirmed (enacted 1786). Pru'a, on his part, agreed to withdraw all of his military forces from the Southern Principalities, Saxony, and Bohemia; to recognize the territorial integrity of the Electorate of Saxony; to acknowledge Austarlian acquisition of Heuborrn, Stuttgart, Remithgen, and Ulm; to affirm Austarlian succession rights to the Archmandrite of Passau (enacted the following year, 1764); and to adhere to all commercial arrangements relating to Neuchatel as had been defined under the Treaty of Bern (1735). All prisoners of war were to be exchanged, though each side would be allowed to keep all supplies, goods, and equipment seized during the course of the war, and neither would be obliged to compensate the other for any expenses. The Treaty of Hubertusburg was ratified by Emperor Pru'a on February 18; by Empress Mar'va Tarvania and her husband, Fransios I, on February 22; by Elector Augustus III of Saxony on February 27; and by the League of Southern Princes on March 1. Peace was to prevail between Austarlia and Pruthia for the next fifteen years, until the outbreak of the War of the Bavarian Succession.
  • February 24-
    • By late February 1763, the position of the Huguenots had, with the assistance of the Laurasian Empire, become so advanced that the Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici and her supporters on Parri found themselves under considerable pressure. The Queen Mother, who hated the Huguenots, was nevertheless beginning to realize that a policy of reconciliation needed to be pursued with them. This message was amplified further when, on February 18, 1763, while defending Orleans from the offensives of Huguenot forces in the Ile-de-Franconia, the Duke of Guise was wounded by gunfire from the fanatical Huguenot Jean de Poltrot de Mere (1737-63), a minor Franconian noble from the star system of Angoumois. Despite the efforts of his physicians, Guise's health entered a rapid decline; he died on February 24, 1763, at the age of forty-four. Guise's assassination dealt a serious blow to the position of the Royalist forces. By February 28, Royalist units had been ejected from Chateau Thierry, Montmrail, Lagny-sur-Marne, Champagne, Epernay, and Barcy; Parri itself was threatened by Huguenot and Laurasian raiding expeditions. All attempts by the Queen Mother's units to dislodge Sarah from Le Havre and Dieppe failed; on March 1, 1763, the Earl won the Battle of Liseux, thereby maintaining the Empire's supply lines in that region. Laurasia and Franconia were technically still at peace, however, and on March 2, Empress Aurelia, in a manifesto from the Quencilvanian Palace, affirmed that her intervention was meant only to "restore tranquility in the Franconian realms."
    • Queen Mother Catharina herself, pushed by this recent series of defeats, now, on March 19, 1763, issued the Edict of Amboise, by which she guaranteed the religious rights and liberties of all Huguenots in Franconia; permitted Huguenot nobles to construct their own churches and to hold worship services on their estates; and forbade officials of the Franconian Cult from inquiring into the "consciences" of her subjects. These measures thereby went some ways to consolidating her hold over Parri. The Huguenot Council of Operations, however, continued its military campaigns through the end of March 1763, by which time Douliens, La Fere, Peronne, St. Quentin, Vervins, Rithel, and Hirson were all in their hands; Valmy and Verdun were both threatened by Huguenot troops. Empress Aurelia, however, believed that she had preserved Laurasian rights in Franconia, and that her intervention had compelled the Queen Mother into granting toleration. Therefore, when on April 4, 1763, the Queen-Dowager sent an offer for a military armistice to the Expeditionary Corps and the Huguenot Council, the Empress of Laurasia did not relent. The Armistice of Rheims was signed on April 15, 1763, thereby suspending military hostilities between the Huguenots and the Royalists.
  • March 20-
    • The Book of Martyrs was, on March 20, 1763, published by Dayian Press in Christiania, Laurasia Prime. This work was written by the Almitian theologian and historian Sir John Foxius (1716-87), cousin of the renowned court and imperial historian Sir Antiochus Foxius (1698-1787). Foxius, who had been born at Reese on June 22, 1716, had graduated from the University of Colsonia in 1737 with bachelor's degrees in political science and Laurasian history. Fluent in eight different languages besides Laurasian, and imbued with a passion in philosophy and psychology, he had become a fellow of St. Mary's College on Vetta the year following his graduation. From 1738 to 1745, he was the Associate Professor of Logic at the University of Ipsus V, and gained much recognition from his fellow peers due to his employment of the "Socratic Method" in his lectures. His professional education also advanced further; he earned his MA in Logic and General Science in 1743, and his PhD in Analytical Philosophy in 1745. That same year, however, he had resigned from his position at the University of Ipsus V, due to his adoption of Reformist beliefs which were at odds with Emperor Antigonus's government. After a period of unemployment, Foxius was eventually engaged as a private tutor to Sir Thomasius Lucarnia (1732-1800), who was the heir to one of the chief estates on Lomanis.
    • It was while he employed in this capacity that he met, fell in love with, and married Agnatia Randallia (1720-91) in 1747; they were to have six children. His prospects improved significantly following the accession of Demetrius II to the Laurasian throne in January of that year; at the end of 1747, he was employed by the Duchess of Reoyania and Conservan (daughter-in-law of Antigonus III), as tutor to the orphaned children of her brother, the executed Earl of Soria. Foxius lived at Mountjaria House, the Duchess's Christiania residence, and at Reigate Castle on Venasia Secondary; furthermore, with her patronage, Foxius became an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Monderon, eventually advancing to the rank of full Professor in 1752. He also earned the support and assistance of such influential figures as Chancellor Sir Willanius Cecilis, Archbishops Perles and Latimerius, and Sir Willanius Turania (1700-68), Director of Geologic Studies at the Imperial Academy of Sciences. In October 1750, Foxius was ordained as a Deacon of the Almitian Church, and he published numerous tracts extolling the virtues and the benefits of Reformed Almitism. In July 1753, however, with the accession of Empress Didymeia and the release of the Duke of Norfolkius, he lost all of his positions, and in July 1754, following Wyatta's Rebellion, was forced to flee to the Great Amulak Spiral. He settled at Strasbourg in the Serene Kingdom of Franconia, and remained in exile there for four years, ingratiating himself with the Reformist Almitian enclave in that star system.
    • He continued to publish works concerning Almitism, and in particular, tracts denouncing Empress Didymeia's policies. Foxius, however, did criticize John Knox's First Blast of the Trumpet when it was published in 1758, and believed that the Grand Princess Aurelia would become the "heroine of Almitism." And indeed, following her accession to the throne in November 1758, he had been permitted to return from his exile, and had regained his lost titles. In 1761, Foxius became Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Monderon, and in 1762, a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Laurasia Prime. His seminal work, the Book of Martyrs, compiled the trial records, names, and profiles of all 700 million victims of the Didymeian Persecutions. It also included an account of the religious reforms and movements of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and in conjunction with this, details on the court affairs of Emperor Antigonus's reign. His work came to be praised for its literary depth and quality; in November 1763, he would be knighted for his literary contributions.
  • March 22-
    • Empress Aurelia, in a private audience with Scottrian Ambassador Maitland in the Throne Room of the Arachosian Palace of Senna (March 22, 1763), first raised the idea of Lord Antiochus Dudley as a potential husband for Queen Mariana. Mariana, unaware of Don Carlos's mental incapability, had continued to pursue negotiations for a marriage to him during the early months of 1763. The Empress of Laurasia considered this a threat to her position, and she sought to see Mariana married to a loyal Laurasian. Therefore, she had conceived the idea of Dudley as a suitor. Dudley was, in her view, the one man who could be trusted to promote the welfare of the Empire in the Angelina Spiral; he was indebted to the Empress for his meteoric rise to power and almost princely status, and would not be likely to forget the woman for whom he felt a genuine affection, if not love. By marrying Dudley, Mariana would remove herself from the marriage market, and threats of foreign interference in Scottria would recede. The drawback would be that Aurelia would have to give him up, but because of how long royal marriage negotiations took, the parting would not take place for months, if not years.
    • Few would support her view of the situation, for only Cecilis, who wanted Dudley out of the way and saw the advantages, showed enthusiasm about the plan. In her audience, the Empress declared that Dudley had "manly graces" and would be a worthy husband for Maitland's mistress. Maitland, believing her proposal to be a cosmic joke, tried to laugh it off at first, but seeing that Aurelia meant what she said, offered his thanks for her offer. Shortly afterwards, Cecilis praised Dudley to Maitland, declaring that he was "a nobleman of birth, void of all evil conditions that sometimes are heritable to princes, and in goodness of nature and richness of good gifts comparable to any prince born..." Maitland however, believed privately that the Empress's plan to foist her discarded lover-a commoner by origin-upon his Queen was little short of insulting, especially in view of his reputation as a former traitor and suspected wife murderer. During the course of the next two months, the news of the Empress's offer of Dudley spread throughout the Empire and intergalactic civilization, being met everywhere with derision. Few believed Aurelia was serious. "Resolved" to move forward with the Dudley marriage, the Empress now believed that she could afford to be generous to Lady Lennaxia. Thus, on April 4, 1763, she ordered her release from imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux, but made it conditional upon a promise that the Countess would never again scheme to marry her son to the Queen of Scottria. The Countess of Lennaxia was also commanded to retire to her family estates on Pulaski. Lennaxia obliged, and was now determined, with her husband, to stay away from the Imperial Court as much as possible.
  • May 11-On May 11, 1763, a diplomatic conference was opened at Newhaven between the delegations of the Laurasian Empire and the Huguenot League on the one hand, and the Serene Kingdom of Franconia on the other. The Empress Aurelia designated the Earl of Sarah, commander of the Laurasian Expeditionary Corps, as the chief plenipotentiary of the Laurasian delegation. Sir Rudomentus Sadielius, Sir Lysimachus Croftia, and Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia were the other Laurasian plenipotentiaries. The Prince of Conde (released from imprisonment by the Queen Mother on April 28, 1763) and Admiral Coligny represented the Huguenot League, while the High Autarch of Lorraine and the Duke of Nannes served as the dignitaries for the Royal Franconian Government. Negotiations would continue for over two months before an agreement was reached.
  • June 5-On June 5, 1763, Empress Aurelia bestowed upon her chief favorite, Lord Antiochus Dudley, Kenillian Castle on Taurasia. Kenilian Castle had been originally constructed by Willanius Marshallia (1347-1419), Earl of Taurasia, in 1390. The Earl of Taurasia had been a prominent Laurasian military commander, statesman, and official of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries; he served every Laurasian monarch from Antiochus I to Tiberius II, and was one of the leading figures in the Kimanian and Jageronian Wars of the 1400s and 1410s. His Castle, which was renowned for its splendor, size, and furniture, remained in the possession of the Marshallia family for nearly two centuries, until it was confiscated by Emperor Commodus in 1583. Since then, it had belonged to the Imperial Estates; Emperors Probus, Titus II, and Aurelia's own grandfather, Neuchrus I, had all favored the residence. Antigonus III, however, had lavished his attentions upon Hampsonian Palace, the Palace of Placenta, and Nonsuchia Palace. But now, this castle had come into the possession of the Dudleys. Lord Dudley immediately threw himself into efforts to expand the residence, to make it a fit place to entertain the Empress and to display the extent of his wealth. This effort would continue for the next twelve years.
  • July 9-On July 9, 1763, the same day that Empress Aurelia embarked on her annual progress, this time to the Goldarian Worlds, the Treaty of Newhaven was signed by the delegations of the Laurasian Empire, Huguenot League, and Serene Kingdom of Franconia, thereby bringing an end to the First Huguenot War of 1762-63. By the terms of this treaty, the terms of the Edict of Amboise, granting religious toleration to the Huguenots, were acknowledged by all parties. Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici also agreed to respect the right of the Huguenots to sit on the Estates-General and in the parlements of Parri, Orleans, Calais, Rouen, Nannes, Bordeaux, Poitou, Anjou, and Dijon. In exchange, the Huguenot Council of Operations agreed to disband all of its military forces; to acknowledge the Queen Mother's rule over the Franconian realms, in the name of her son until his majority; and to restore Normandy, the Orleans Region, and Anjou back to the Royal Franconian Government. The Imperial Laurasian Government, on its part, agreed to evacuate Dieppe and Le Havre, but in exchange, received a indemnity of €5.5 trillion dataries as compensation for its military expenses. Furthermore, the terms of the Treaties of Boulougone (1750), Cateau-Cambresis (1759), and Ediania (1760) were confirmed by the Royal Franconian Government, thereby once again acknowledging the Laurasian Empire's jurisdiction over the formerly Scottrian Galactic Borderlands, as well as Laurasian privileges and rights of intervention in Scottria. Franconia also agreed to refrain from military exercises in the Galactic Void, and to respect the status quo in the Germanian Principalities, the Durthian Duchies, and Milania. The Treaty of Newhaven, which constituted a diplomatic triumph for Empress Aurelia, was ratified by her on July 10; by the Huguenot Council of Operations on July 12; and by Queen Mother Catharina (with the Estates-General and in the name of her son), on July 18. Though the Second Huguenot War was only five years away, this treaty did mark the final termination of military conflict between Laurasia and Franconia, which had dragged on for seventy-one years (since Neuchrus I's first campaigns against Charman II of Franconia in 1692). And indeed, in the late eighteenth century, the two powers were to become steadfast allies, against the Holy Spamalkan Empire.
  • July 17-
    • Acting under the provisions of Lowenwolde's Treaty and the Treaty of Riga, Empress Aurelia, on July 17, 1763, commanded the Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Warsaw, Sir Metronius Avronius (1724-67), to demand that the Dejanican Diet and King Vorrus II formally depose the King's son, Carl, as Duke of Northania and Semigallia. Aurelia had told Chancellor Cecilis that Laurasian rights to the succession of the Duchy of Northania and Semigallia had been violated by Carl's elevation four years earlier, and that control of Northania would be a conduit of Laurasian influence into the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Diet, influenced by Laurasian bribes and intimidation, responded to Avronius's demands promptly, and on July 22, ordered Vorrus to formally deprive his son of the Duchy. Vorrus was reluctant, but faced with the threat of Laurasian intervention, complied. Carl was forced to resign as Duke on July 26, 1763. The former Duke now retired to the Electorate of Saxony, with his father's permission, and took up residence on Dresden. There, he became one of the most prominent emigre nobles at the Saxonian Court; his marriage to Countess Francisca Krasinkia (1742-96), who belonged to one of the leading noble houses of Dejanica, allowed for him to maintain his ties to the Commonwealth. She would, in 1775, be granted the title of Princess of Lodomeria by Holy Austarlian Emperor Joseth II. Carl would reside on Dresden for the next thirty-three years, until his death on June 16, 1796, at the age of sixty-two. He died nearly two months after his wife, who expired on April 30. Following Carl's deposition, Empress Aurelia proceeded immediately to the installation of his successor.
    • Ambassador Avronius, employing the troops of his "diplomatic garrison" on Dejanica Major, now, on July 22, 1763, compelled the Northanian Diet to reelect former Duke Ernestia Bironia. Bironia had resided in the Laurasian Empire since 1745, following a stint of exile in the Germanian Principalities, and had in that time ingratiated himself with the Imperial Laurasian Government. On September 28, 1762, he had signed the Concordat of Solis, by which he agreed to protect the Imperial Almitian Church in Northania; to favor Laurasian merchants and navigators in his dominions through the grant of free-trade and free-transit privileges; to allow the Imperial Laurasian Navy to transport supplies and convoys across Northanian territory; and to be attentive to all petitions concerning commerce, navigation, and foreign affairs posed by the Empire. Thus it was that he effectively bond himself in fealty to the Empress of Laurasia. On August 11, 1763, Bironia arrived on Mitau, and was consecrated once more as Duke of Northania and Semigallia. His second reign was to last until his abdication in 1769. Northania was now to all intents and purposes a protectorate of the Laurasian Empire, though it officially remained a Dejanican fief. This was the situation which would persist for Northania for the next thirty-two years, until its final annexation by the Empress in November 1795.
  • August 6-On August 6, 1763, Ambrosius Dudley, Earl of Sarah, returned to Belkadan from the Great Amulak Spiral, having resigned his commission as commander of the Laurasian Expeditionary Corps four days earlier, and having made preparations for the transfer of Le Havre and Dieppe back to the authority of the Royal Franconian Government. Dudley, however, had been wounded in a grenade explosion, during a confrontation with Franconian troops at Barfleur (April 1, 1763), before the end of hostilities, and suffered a major leg injury. The Earl of Sarah was greeted at Belkadan by his brother, Lord Antiochus, who brought with him a message of condolences from the Empress concerning his injury. Because of it, he would never again hold an active military commission, and would retire to his estates for the remainder of his life.
  • August 24-On August 24, 1763, Spamalkan Ambassador Alvaro de Quadra, whose health had been in decline since March 1763, succumbed to his age and physical condition, and died of Soplaies disease at St. Paul's Hospital in Christiania. De Quadra, whose reports had contained the rumors and other stories circulating about affairs at the Imperial Laurasian Court, and who had continued to pester the Empress with questions about her marriage possibilities, was not particularly mourned at the Imperial Court. His body would be transported back to Alvara in the Holy Spamalkan Empire on September 4, and interred there at his family estate.
  • September 19-Empress Aurelia commanded her Ambassador to the Court of Ediania, Sir Thomasius Randolphius, on September 19, 1763, to hold a private audience with Queen Mariana regarding her own marriage possibilities. Randolphius was instructed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to persuade Mariana to allow Aurelia to choose her a husband. He was to say that if Mariana consented "to content us and this our empire in her marriage", Aurelia would be as a mother to her and would "proceed to the inquisition of her right and title to be our next heir, and to further that which shall be advantageous to her." Reference was to be made to the possibility of "some person of noble birth" being chosen as Mariana's husband. Mariana, however, did not understand what was implied, begging for clarification. Randolphius, who knew of Aurelia's intentions, was praying that he would not have to tell her. Aurelia, however, was still playing for time, and in the interests of retaining Mariana's interest and preventing her from pursuing other marriage plans, would keep her guessing for the next few months.
  • October 5-
    • On October 5, 1763, Vorrus II, King of Dejanica and Grand Duke of Lithuania, died, aged 66, at the Dresdanian Palace in Warsaw, Dejanica Major. The King had ruled for twenty-eight years (since July 1735), following the dispute of his title with Stanis I during the War of the Dejanican Succession. Known for his gluttony and his lavish lifestyle, the King had become bloated by the time of his death (weighing nearly a metric ton). His health had entered a serious decline during the last several months of his life; in August 1763, the King had collapsed at a performance of the Royal Opera in Warsaw, and had to be carried back to his personal bedchambers. His death, however, was not particularly mourned by his subjects, who had come to despise his ways and his style of governing. Nevertheless, condolences for the King arrived from all foreign courts, including from that of the Laurasian Empire. The Empress of Laurasia, however, was pleased about the death of King Vorrus; when news of it was broken to her by Chancellor Cecilis, she publicly thanked the Lord Almitis for this "joyous turn of fate." She later defended her conduct by stating that Emperor Pru'a IX of Pruthia had jumped from behind his desk when he learned of the Dejanican King's death.
    • Nevertheless, the death of King Vorrus would give Aurelia the opportunity to intervene in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and she had said so much to Chancellor Cecilis and her other ministers. The Empress, however, knew that she would have to gain the cooperation of a neighboring power for her intentions: specifically, Pruthia. Pru'a IX, who had now reigned for twenty-three years, had become the senior monarch of extra-galactic civilization as a result of Vorrus's death. The late King's death was followed in Dejanica by another. On October 28, 1763, Archleutan Count Heinrich von Bruhl, Chief Minister to the King and President of the Dietary Senate of Dejanica, died on Krakow. The death of Count von Bruhl, just twenty-three days after the death of his patron and sovereign, was met with rejoicing by many in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, who despised his foreign origin and his gluttonous ways.
  • November 14-In a session of the Imperial Privy Council at the Diplomatic Palace in Christiania, Laurasia Prime, on November 14, 1763, Empress Aurelia raised the subject of the succession in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Vorrus II had been buried at the Royal Vault of Krenshallia on November 2, and the period of mourning for his death had formally been proclaimed to be at an end by the Dejanican Diet. According to the laws of the Commonwealth, the Dejanican Government had been placed in the charge of the Interrex, High Priest Wav'ro Lubraskius of Tuvaria (1703-67), who was to govern the Commonwealth until the formal successor to Vorrus had been elected. Aurelia, in her discussion with the Privy Council, declared that, as her father had done three decades earlier, that the Laurasian Empire should intervene to maintain its interests in Dejanica. Chancellor Cecilis, who was as determined as the Empress to see the extension of Laurasian influence to those territories, suggested to her that negotiations should be conducted with a friendly monarch in order to handle Dejanican affairs. The Empress concurred, and authorized Cecilis to begin drafting the formal request.
  • December 7-
    • On the orders of Empress Aurelia, on December 7, 1763, Chancellor Cecilis dispatched a formal diplomatic communique to the court of the Autocratic Pruthian Empire and its monarch, Emperor Pru'a IX. In the communique, the Chancellor declared that "the recent death of His Majesty of Dejanica has exposed once again, to Her Imperial Majesty's Government, and to the subjects of this Empire, the importance of the maintenance of a friendly and proper regime within the Dejanican territories." Cecilis then went on to state that under the terms of Lowenwolde's Treaty and the Treaty of Riga, the powers of Laurasia, Pruthia, and Austarlia had the ability to intervene in Dejanican internal affairs, and that they should secure the "peaceful transition of the Dejanican throne." Therefore, it was proposed by the Chancellor that a Dejanican noble of "honorable lineage", should be elevated to the Dejanican throne. Cecilis pointed out that the courts of Austarlia and Franconia favored the Saxonian Prince Frederick Augustus of Dresden (1730-93), and that such a choice would not be amendable to the interests of maintaining "order" in the Commonwealth.
    • The Empress of Laurasia and Chancellor Cecilis both understood that Pru'a would oppose anyone supported by Empress Mar'va Tarvania, and that if Pruthia joined Laurasia, the floundering Commonwealth would find itself under a diplomatic and military vise under all directions. Pru'a, on his part, carefully considered the Laurasian proposal. He reflected upon his own diplomatic situation. The Seven Year's War, the end of which was discussed above, had been an tiring struggle for the Emperor of Pruthia. Pruthia had narrowly escaped defeat in that conflict, and was exhausted, impoverished, and diplomatically isolated. Pru'a needed an ally, and Laurasia seemed the best prospect. Empress Aurelia and the Privy Council now had to await a response from the Pruthian Emperor for weeks, as he consulted with his advisers over her proposal. Aurelia, however, knew that patience was of the essence, and she commanded the Imperial General Headquarters to begin drafting preparations for the dispatch of a military force into Dejanica, in order to force the election of her candidate.
  • December 16-Empress Aurelia, who continued in her devious marriage policies, decided, on December 16, 1763, to revive negotiations for her own marriage to the Austarlian Archduke Char'vak. In this, she was encouraged by the fact that Queen Mariana's efforts to obtain a marriage with Spamalkan Prince Don Carlos were finally coming to a close. The Queen of Scottria had finally been informed of the truth about the Spamalkan Prince's health and mental condition in October 1763; the following month, he had fallen violently ill at the Great Palace of Madrid, and many were in despair of his life. Mariana knew that she needed to find another, more capable husband, and she had begun to once again consider Austarlian and Franconian possibilities. Aurelia, therefore, sought to forestall Mariana's aims by herself marrying the Archduke of Austarlia. The Empress commanded Chancellor Cecilis, two days later, to draft a secret communique to the Austarlian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, requesting for the renewal of marriage relations. The Austarlian Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the powerful Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz (1711-94; who held his position for forty years, from May 1753 to August 1793), considered the communique carefully, for his mistress, Empress Mar'va Tarvania, was not pleased about the earlier lapse of negotiations. She was also upset that the negotiations had never induced her Laurasian counterpart to come to her aid during the latter stages of the Seven Year's War. Eventually however, on December 22, 1763, the Empress and her co-consort Fransios I approved the recommencement of marriage negotiations with the Laurasian Empire.

1764Edit

  • January 14-
    • 1764, the 64th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire, with the death of King Vorrus II of Dejanica, seeking to once again install its own candidate upon the throne of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. As regards to that, however, the diplomatic negotiations surrounding the Autocratic Pruthian Empire were in earnest. This year was to also see further events associated with Empress Aurelia's marriage prospects. The Empire itself continued to persist in a state of domestic and external tranquility. Pru'a IX of Pruthia, having taken his time with his Council of Ministers to respond to the communique which had been dispatched by Chancellor Cecilis the previous year, finally sent a formal response to the Imperial Laurasian Government, on January 14, 1764. In his response, the Pruthian Emperor declared that it was his "opinion that the affairs of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth are indeed the concern of all members of intergalactic civilization" and that he could not countenance the election of any King of Dejanica who would be hostile to the interests of "tranquility and peace."
    • Therefore, the Emperor of Pruthia considered it fitting for a native Dejanican of the noble line to be elevated to the Dejanican throne, and agreed with "Her Imperial Majesty of Laurasia" that all effort should be made towards securing the election of such a reliable prince to the Dejanican throne. Pru'a, however, also stated that his dominions had been "exhausted by the travails of conflict" and that he desired the assistance of a "reliable power", against those who would contrive to upset the present tranquility. He now requested for a formal military and diplomatic alliance between the Laurasian and Autocratic Pruthian Empires; such an alliance would only be conditional upon certain circumstances, and would in no way be prejudicial to the marriage efforts currently being conducted by the Empress of Laurasia. Empress Aurelia, when she read the Pruthian response, was shocked by the request for a military alliance.
    • She had continued the policy, established by her grandfather and maintained by her father and siblings, of refraining from involvement in the disputes of Pruthia and Austarlia. This had been most clearly demonstrated by her neutrality in the Seven Year's War, following the conclusion of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis in 1759. Furthermore, Laurasia had never before cooperated in any military campaigns or other ventures with the Pruthians. The Empress did not wish to antagonize the Holy Austarlian Government, and therefore, she decided to attempt to woo the Pruthian Emperor into changing his mind. Over the course of the next two months, the Empress of Laurasia sent her Pruthian counterpart numerous gifts, including Venasian melons; Dasian military armor; Aquilianian eels; Taurasian sauces; and Horacian garments, promising also to reward the members of his court. Pru'a accepted the gifts, but remained adamant in his ultimate goals as regards to Dejanica and the military alliance.
  • January 29-Holy Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania consulted, on January 29, 1764, with the Austarlian Council of State and Chancellor Kaunitz concerning marriage negotiations with the Laurasian Empire. The Empress of Austarlia had learned of her great enemy Pru'a's request for a formal military alliance with the Laurasian Empire, and in particular, their machinations in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. She was alarmed, and believed that Aurelia might be engaged in a conspiracy to harm the integrity and security of her own realms. Prince Kauntiz, however, managed to convince his imperial mistress that a potential Laurasian-Pruthian alliance would only be directed towards maintaining control over affairs in Dejanica, and that the Empress of Laurasia herself remained committed, as did most of her subjects, to the continuance of peace with the powers of the Great Amulak Spiral. Mar'va Tarvania, persuaded thus, therefore allowed negotiations to proceed. On February 4, she designated Baron Ahasverus Allinga of Moravia (1706-83) as her special envoy to the Imperial Laurasian Court; he was authorized to conduct discussions on a marriage with the Empress of Laurasia and the Imperial Privy Council.
  • February 14-On February 14, 1764, Lord Allinga of Moravia, who had departed from Dalmatia on February 7, and had proceeded rapidly across the Galactic Void, and into the Caladarian Galaxy, arrived at the Quencilvanian Palace in Christiania, Laurasia Prime. He was now received by Empress Aurelia and by all of the chief personages of the Imperial Laurasian Court. The Empress was attended by Chancellor Cecilis and Lord Treasurer Winchestrius; Lord Antiochus Dudley was no where to be seen. Both Allinga and Chancellor Cecilis praised the merits and advantages of the match in a private audience held afterwards. The Empress, however, replied that they might save their breath. She would only marry out of necessity, and her decision would be made as an Empress and Almitis-ordained sovereign, not as a woman desperate for personal love. She blamed the Austarlian Empress for the failure of the earlier negotiations: she had not "behaved properly" and had not permitted her nephew to visit the Laurasian Empire before a marriage. She insisted that she would never accept a suitor without meeting him first, reminding them of what had happened between her father and Annaliese of Denver, and that the Archduke must make the first move. She added that she would rather be a smuggler and single, rather than an Empress and married. Allinga was surprised by this, and on February 21, told the Chancellor that there was no point in pursuing the matter further. Cecilis, however, was reassuring, informing the envoy of how the Empress had told him of what she had enjoyed of the meeting. He believed that she was by no means disinclined towards the marriage.
  • March 9-
    • By this point, it was obvious to the Empress that she could not keep Scottrian Queen Mariana guessing as to the identity of her suitor no longer. She therefore now informed Ambassador Randolphius, on March 9, 1764, that he could speak to the Queen of Scottria plainly, and could reveal to her what the Laurasian Empress had in mind for her as a husband. The Scottrian Court was then at Dumbaline Priory on Dumbaline, and the Queen of Scottria was indulging herself in a round of festivities. Ambassador Randolphius secured an audience with Mariana shortly after receiving his mistress's authorization. He was surprised, however, when the Queen asked if her cousin wished for her to marry Lord Antiochus Dudley. Randolphius, cringing, and bewildered that Mariana already knew of her cousin's intentions, admitted that it was so. Queen Mariana was amazed and somewhat offended by Aurelia's plan, although she remained outwardly cordial. Mariana, like Aurelia, was determined to be her own mistress, and did not consider Dudley a fit mate for one whose previous husband had been the King of Franconia and who was herself a reigning sovereign.
    • Haughtily, she asked Randolphius if the plan conformed to the Empress's promise "to use me as her sister or daughter. Do you think it may stand with my honor to marry a subject?" Randolphius replied that no better man could be found, and that this marriage could bring good to her realm. Mariana replied that she would consider the matter in private. Over the next several days, she discussed with Moray and her trusted confidantes about the Empress's proposal. She said that she would be more amendable if Aurelia promised to declare her heiress presumptive to the Laurasian throne. Instead of this being done, the Queen of Scottria felt she was being made a fool of. She never believed that Aurelia would really part with him-a view which was shared by many other people. Dudley himself was not enthusiastic about the marriage, being panic-stricken at the prospect of leaving the Caladarian Galaxy for an "untamed, distant realm", and even more distraught at the thought of leaving Aurelia, whom he still cherished some hope of marrying. Aurelia herself remained adamant, and revived her plans for a meeting with Mariana. On March 24, however, Mariana declined the invitation, and a cool-down in Laurasian-Scottrian relations ensued during the next several months.
  • March 15-
    • As regards to the affairs of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, mutual interest finally prevailed. Aurelia had herself come around to the view that an alliance with the Autocratic Pruthian Empire may actually prove beneficial, in preventing a possible combination of Austarlian and Franconian power against her Empire in the future, and that Pru'a could prove to be a reliable ally in dealing with the Dejanicans as well. She and Pru'a had both made gestures which seemed to mark the commencement of negotiations. On March 1, the Empress had conferred the Imperial Order of St. Arasces the Patient upon Pru'a's brother, Prince Henvar; Pru'a had responded four days later by conferring the Pruthian Order of the Black Eagle upon both Stanis Poniastakaius (whom he knew was Aurelia's favored candidate for the Dejanican throne) and her chief favorite, Lord Antiochus Dudley. Now, Chancellor Cecilis, acting on his imperial mistress's orders, formally accepted the Pruthian proposal for an military and diplomatic alliance (March 15, 1764), and declared that his mistress was willing to convene a diplomatic conference on the matter. Pru'a reacted with joy when receiving the Laurasian response; in return, he undertook to assist the Laurasian Empire in all engagements in Dejanica, and in particular, with the election of a next King of Dejanica.
    • It was thus that on March 22, 1764, a diplomatic conference was formally convened on Berliania III between the diplomatic delegations of the Laurasian and Autocratic Pruthian Empires. The Pruthian plenipotentiaries to the conference were Prince Henvar (who also acted as chief host of the conference), Count Carlia Avaria of Brandenburg (1711-89); and Lord Otto Bevarthia of Amselot (1723-99). The Imperial Laurasian Government was represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Rudomentus Sadielius; Sir Aristonus Pellius (1720-91), Her Imperial Majesty's Ambassador to the Pruthian Court; and Lord Dacre of Gitlandia. Negotiations would continue between the two delegations for almost a month, as they wrangled over the terms of the alliance and the treaty settlement regarding Dejanican affairs.
  • April 11-
    • The Treaty of Berliania III was, on April 11, 1764, signed by the delegations of the Laurasian and Autocratic Pruthian Empires, leading to the conclusion of a formal military and diplomatic alliance between the two realms. By the terms of the treaty, the military alliance henceforth established was to be purely defensive in nature, with each party declaring that it would protect the territorial integrity of the other. Laurasia and Pruthia therefore pledged to assist each other in the event of an attack by a single power, with a financial subsidy of €11.2 trillion dataries to be paid towards the power which was then currently engaged in military conflict. Should two hostile powers attack one of the allies, its partner was pledged to send an expeditionary corps of not more than four hundred and fifty warships and 1.3 million personnel to render assistance. The Empress of Laurasia also agreed to provide an explicit guarantee of Pruthia's sovereignty over Lower Lusatia, the Anhalt Principalities, and Silania, while Pru'a IX, on his part, recognized all Laurasian rights to possession of the Scottrian Galactic Borderlands, and its intervention privileges in the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria. Most importantly, the Treaty of Berliania III provided for Pruthian and Laurasian cooperation in affairs concerning the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
    • It was declared that both governments desired for only the "maintenance of peace and general tranquility in the Dejanican realms" and that this could only be accomplished by cooperation in assuring that a reliable candidate was elevated as King of Dejanica. Therefore, the two governments would consult with each other before taking any action in regards to Dejanican political affairs. The Pruthians agreed to support the candidacy of Stanis Poniastaksius, who would soon be formally announced by Empress Aurelia as her nominee for the Dejanican throne. In exchange, the Laurasians agreed to acknowledge Pruthian rights to monitor Dejanican external commerce in the Great Amulak Spiral, and their right to collect one-third of all Dejanican tariffs and export profits from the systems of Danzig, Elbing, and Torun. In a secret corollary, the two monarchs (Aurelia and Pru'a) declared that both parties were resolved to guarantee "a free and uninfluenced election" and "to resort, if need be, to force of arms, should anyone attempt to prevent the free election of the king in Dejanica or to meddle with the existing constitution." If certain Dejanicans opposed their new "lawfully elected king" by proclaiming an opposing confederation, the allies agreed to employ "military severity against them and their estates without the slightest mercy." The Treaty of Berliania III was ratified by Aurelia on April 14, and by Pru'a IX on April 22.
  • May 7-On May 7, 1764, after months of preparations, the Convocation Diet of 1764 formally assembled at the Congressional Palace in Warsaw, Dejanica Major. The Convocation Diet was chaired by Marshal Adamis Czartoyskia (1734-99). Czartoyskia was the (younger) uncle of Prince Stanis Poniataksius, who was now formally the nominee for the Dejanican throne, supported by both Empress Aurelia of Laurasia and Emperor Pru'a of Pruthia. Czartoyskia himself had, in the weeks immediately following the death of Vorrus II, been considered by many within the Dejanican realms and among the Dejanican nobility to be a potential candidate for the throne. He possessed wealth, political patronage, and intelligence, traits which many Dejanicans desired to see in their monarch. He had not been supported by Aurelia, however, and by April 1764, his chances of being elected to the Dejanican throne had receded sharply. Czartoyskia had resigned himself to that fact, but was nevertheless determined to still have an influence upon the affairs of the Dejanican Government. The Czartoyskias had therefore cooperated with the newly-appointed Laurasian Ambassador, Archleutan Count Herman von Keyserling (1697-1764), who had assumed his post on January 6, 1764. Keyserling was authorized to employ funds from the Imperial Treasury to bribe members of the Dejanican Court, including Interrex Lubraskius, and to engage in intrigues to push forward Laurasian views. He was to be the chief figure responsible for insuring the election of Stanis Poniataksius to the Dejanican throne. And indeed, on May 12, Czartoyskia and seventy other Dejanican magnates signed the Declaration of Badancia, which expressed the most solemn thanks to the Empress of Laurasia for her efforts to maintain "security and tranquility" within the realms of the Commonwealth.
  • May 14-Lord Ahasverus Alinga of Moravia, whose mission at the Imperial Court of Laurasia Prime was in vain, and had reported about his discussions with the Empress to the Austarlian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was, on May 11, 1764, commanded by Prince Kaunitz to retire from his duties and to return back to the Holy Austarlian Empire. Alinga followed his superior's orders to the letter, and on this day, departed from Laurasia Prime with his diplomatic entourage. Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court gave him a formal good-bye. Alinga arrived back at Prague by May 19. Aurelia privately told Chancellor Cecilis that she knew no "Austarlian Prince" would become her husband, and that the range of negotiations for a marriage must be extended to other realms.
  • May 25-
    • The Dejanican Diet, persuaded by bribes offered by Laurasian Ambassador Keyserling, and the proposals of Diet Marshal Adamis Czartoyskia, sent, on May 25, 1764, a formal request to the Imperial Laurasian Government for the dispatch of a Laurasian "expeditionary corps", to ensure the security of the Diet and maintain the authority of the Dejanican Government while the election processes were underway. Empress Aurelia, hearing of the Dejanican "request", and having authorized Ambassador Keyserling to guide the Dejanicans along that path, readily accepted. Adding steel to gold, the Empress, on May 26, commanded the Hereditary Prince of the Kalbachan House of Seeben, Major-General Sir Nicholas Repanius (1734-99), to take command of the 50th and 51st Imperial Fleets and the 50th Imperial Army, and to lead these units into the voivoideships of Dejanican Lavella.
    • Repanius, who had graduated from the Cadet Corps in 1755, and was a veteran of the Didymeian War of Franconia, Queen Mariana's War, and the Expeditionary War, was a Laurasian of Kalbachan descent; his grandfather was Kalbachan Hereditary Prince Nushima of the House of Rapa (1674-1765), who was one of the most respected alien noblemen in the Empire, and one of the chief magnates of the Garaman Provinces. Repanius obliged by his instructions to the letter. By June 4, 1764, Laurasian units had occupied Ladelle, Lavelle, Nelson, Novella, Antowne, Dejan, Dequan, Sissy, Spacek, Carrie, Irving, Allen, Polotsk, and the Dvina Straits; furthermore, Repanius had reinforced the "diplomatic garrison" of Dejanica Major. Ambassador Keyserling thereby had additional troops (more than 150,000 attached to his embassy) with which to compel the Diet into doing his bidding.
  • June 8-Andrew Zamaskia (1716-92), later to become the first Crown Chancellor of Dejanica under King Stanis Vorrust I, and one of the most influential and prominent noblemen in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, proposed a program of constructive governmental reforms in a session of the Dejanican Diet (June 8, 1764). Zamaskia believed that if a Dejanican prince of the noble line was to be elevated to the Dejanican throne, he should be supported by a governmental structure capable of withstanding foreign influence and maintaining the integrity of the Dejanican realms. Among the reforms proposed included the principle of majority rule in the Dejanican Diet; the establishment of a permanent executive council, on the models of the Imperial Privy Council in Laurasia, the Conseil royal in Franconia, and the Council of State in Spamalka; and the transformation of the Commonwealth's highest offices into functioning collective organs of government. When this program of reforms was announced, it caused a stir. Although many within the Commonwealth supported these reforms, those outside it did not. Both Aurelia and Pru'a were alarmed by Zamaskia's proposals, believing they were dedicated to eliminating foreign influence over the Commonwealth. Marshal Czartoyskia himself, eager to maintain a position of patronage, believed they went too far. On June 14, 1764, Zamaskia's proposals were, on the persuasions and bribes of Ambassador Keyserling, rejected by the Diet. The Ambassador, however, acting on the Empress's instructions, announced that he would allow for smaller concessions to be made.
  • June 12-Haynsian Despot Jay XII Karany formally abdicated his throne in favor of his cousin Everan II, who was the son of Ferah II Karany (June 12, 1764). Everan had served as Kalga during the reign of Arbai Karany, and continued to have a prominent position on the Haynsian High Council thereafter. Everan proved himself to be a well-intentioned, but weak and indecisive Despot, during the next two years. He was unable to restrain renewed Haynsian raiding expeditions against the Galactic Frontier Route, the Tof Borderlands, the Satian Provinces, and the Lysimachid Barrier Defenses during the course of the next two years, however, thereby provoking renewed tensions with Haynsia's perennial adversaries, the Laurasian Empire.
  • June 19-Having secured the approval of Ambassador Keyserling and of the Pruthian Ambassador Leopold von Gostornost (1705-90), Marshal Czartoyskia, on June 19, 1764, proposed a more limited package of reforms to the Dejanican Diet. The Diet took two days to debate the measures; they passed on June 21. On June 23, the Marshal proclaimed that the Diet Resolutions of 1764 had been certified, and that it could now proceed to the election of a new King of Dejanica. The limited reforms which were approved by Laurasian Empress Aurelia and Pruthian Emperor Pru'a were believed by many Dejanicans to be the first step towards an eventual complete reformation of their government and its resources. Private tariffs on the estates of nobles and gentlemen within the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth were abolished, thereby granting the Dejanican Treasury more centralized control over the Commonwealth's finances. A general tariff for the public treasury was introduced, providing the Commonwealth Government with a new, and lucrative, source of income. The traditional liberum veto was abolished for discussion of financial and military matters; a uniform system of measurements was introduced, replacing the contradictory standards of metrics which had previously prevailed; the kwarta and the minorities head tax were both reformed and made more equitable; government commissions for the administration of the Treasury and Military were authorized; the powers of the local generalites were limited to matters of "immediate" importance; all properties of the Dejanican Crown were to come under periodic review by the Treasury for signs of corruption and mismanagement; and special privileges for certain guilds and economic clubs were abolished. The same Diet also agreed to recognize the terms of intervention of the Treaty of Berliania III, and to remain on friendly terms with all of the Commonwealth's neighbors.
  • June 27-
    • The newly-appointed Spamalkan Ambassador to the Laurasian Court, Don Diego de Guzman de Silva of Alvarro (1720-77), was, on June 27, 1764, formally received by Empress Aurelia in a state audience at the Habituary Quarters of the Post Settlement of Hepudermia. De Silva would work towards the fostering and maintenance of positive relations between the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires during his tenure. Two days after his arrival, the Imperial Court embarked from Laurasia Prime for the annual progress of 1764. This progress took the Empress and the Imperial Court to the Nexus Route regions and the Schauerian Provinces. She visited Jem, Dill, Boo, Atticus, Caroline, Ewell, Robinson, Jean, Finch, Scout, Harper, Lee, Schaueria Prime, Tyleria Perea, Jessica Perea, Colsonia, Archleuta, Greenia, Hordania, Dorothy, Compost V, Shiloh, Calpurnia, Rashid, Smithia, Lydia, Avaskar, Steneborg, Linopking, Alvsborg, Gullborg, Kolchad, and Farbissinia during the next two months.
    • In particular, Aurelia's visit to Archleuta on August 5, 1764, would become one of the famous occurrences of her progresses. There, she resided at the Regency Quarters of the University of Archleuta, one of the most prominent universities in the Empire. The University of Archleuta was renowned for its mathematical programs, particularly in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, and numeral analytics. When she arrived wearing a grown of black velvet, with a netted caul studded with pearls and gems and a feathered and bejeweled hat atop her head, she was attended by a magnificent retinue, and greeted by Chancellor Johnann Bach (1715-90) and the scholars of the University in their robes. Lord Antiochus Dudley acted as Master of Ceremonies during the next five days, as the Empress enjoyed a full program of entertainments. She attended lectures and Archleutan plays; listened to orations, addresses, and disputations; received gifts of curriculum books; and spoke in Archleutan to the scholars themselves. Her departure on August 10 was with as much ceremony as her arrival had been.
  • September 7-
    • On September 7, 1764, the Convocation Diet formally assembled for its election session at Wola, an outpost world located three light-years to the east of Dejanica. Wola had been the site of every royal election in Dejanica since that of Janius Sobieskius in 1674, and this was to be the last time that it was graced by the presence of an Election Diet. Ambassador Keyserling, whose health had entered a serious decline, but who was still determined to enforce the directives provided by the Empress and the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs, himself attended the Election Diet and deployed a detachment of Laurasian troops around Wola, in order to "provide security for the election process and prevent any rebels, vagabonds, or dissidents from disrupting the lawful proceedings." Pruthian Ambassador Gostornost also attended the Diet, and ensured that Pruthian interests were represented. Thanks to the intimidating presence of the Laurasian Corps, and the bribes which were passed out by the foreign ambassadors, the ultimate choice of the Diet was not in doubt.
    • After four hours of deliberations, followed by the formal ballot, the Dejanican nobleman Stanis Poniataskius (who had returned from his duties at the Dejanican Embassy on Laurasia Prime in August 1764), nominee of the Imperial Laurasian and Autocratic Pruthian Governments, was formally elected the last King of Dejanica and Grand Duke of Lithuania. He was the fiftieth of a line which stretched all the way back to the late tenth century. Stanis was elected King with 5,584 votes. When receiving word of his election, he declared that he had been blessed by the spirits of his ancestors to accede to the Dejanican throne. He signed his convention agreement on November 13, and the results of the election were at that time officially certified by the Diet. Aurelia, on her part, wrote to Chancellor Cecilis (September 15, 1764), who was then at his estates on Duglais, and offered her "congratulations on the King we have made." Ambassador Keyserling, however, retired to the Laurasian Embassy in Warsaw, his health having declined further; he died there on September 29, 1764, at the age of 67. His body would be brought back to the Empire and interred at his estates on Archleuta in December 1764. On October 4, Empress Aurelia designated Sir Nicholas Repanius, Hereditary Prince of Kalbacha, as Keyserling's successor; Repanius was destined to become one of the main figures responsible for provoking the Dejanican War of the Bar Confederation. Stanis, on his part, would now assume the regal name of Stanis Vorrust I, in honor of his last two predecessors.
  • September 13-On the command of Empress Aurelia, Chancellor Cecilis wrote, on September 13, 1764, a sixteen-page justification of the Empress's Scottrian marriage proposal to Ambassador Randolphius. Randolphius had continued to hold discussions with Queen Mariana over marriage possibilities, and had sought to sound her out about whether or not she had decided to accept her "dear cousin's" marriage proposal. In his justification, Cecilis declared that Mariana would have with Lord Dudley the promise of the Laurasian succession, and that the Empress of Laurasia would implement a new succession statute in order to provide for Mariana's rights as heiress presumptive. Queen Mariana, however, was still reluctant, and believed that she needed more concrete assurances. She thought that something which should be hers by right should not be offered with conditions, and that Aurelia should immediately acknowledge the succession. The following day, the Queen of Scottria, who sought to emphasize her goodwill towards her cousin, and hoped that her disinclination to marry Lord Dudley would not mar relations between the two realms, appointed Sir Jamsius Melville, known for his cultivated habits and his polished education, as her special envoy to the Laurasian Empire. Maitland had continued as Ambassador, but the Queen of Scottria believed that she needed one of more diplomatic experience and of ability to make representations to her cousin. Melville departed from Branxholme during the early hours of September 15.
  • September 19-On September 19, 1764, Sir Jamsius Melville, Special Envoy of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, arrived at Laurasia Prime, and was greeted by Empress Aurelia in a formal audience at the Quencilvanian Palace. The Empress, however, did not waste any time in complaining to the Envoy concerning the alleged "offensive tone" of one of Mariana's most recent communiques. She showed him a strong reply she had composed, informing him that she had not dispatched it over the Holonet because she felt it was too mild. Melville, however, managed to convince the Empress that the Queen meant no harm, and Aurelia then had both communiques deleted. Melville's wit and polish impressed the Empress during that first audience, and over the course of the next nine days, she would summon him to attend her as often as possible, flirting with him and seeking out compliments. Melville's long years of service at the courts of Franconia, Pruthia, and Austarlia made him proficient in languages, and the Empress was able to display her skills as a linguist. She also dressed to impress him, and even went as far to ask him whether she or Mariana was the more beautiful woman. Melville responded that both were equally beautiful, but admitted that the Empress was the better musician.
  • September 28-In a formal ceremony of investiture at the Public Throne Room of the Quencilvanian Palace, Empress Aurelia formally raised Lord Antiochus Dudley to the peerage (September 28, 1764). Scottrian Envoy Melville, Spamalkan Ambassador De Silva, Pruthian Ambassador Jagz de Costornez, Count de Pasterbult (1721-89), Haxonian Ambassador Federico Pena (1703-94), and all of the other personages of the Imperial Court and Councils of State, were present at the ceremony of investiture. Melville would state in his diplomatic report back to Queen Mariana that the Empress had raised Dudley to the peerage to "make him a more acceptable choice for husband to Your Majesty." He was created Baron Denbaghia and Earl of Leicesterius; Leicesterius was the capital and largest city of Jean, and one of the most populous cities in the Core Regions. Dudley conducted himself with much dignity and seriousness, and thanked the Empress in a fervent manner for honoring him such. Chancellor Cecilis was very cordial to Dudley, although privately, he feared that the new Earl of Leicesterius would seek to assert his influence even more at the Imperial Court. The Empress approached Melville when the ceremony was over, and asked him what he thought of her "new creation." Knowing how unpopular the Dudley marriage was in Scottria, Melville made a noncommittal response; the Empress then pointed at Lord Darnley, in attendance as sword-bearer, and told him that she knew of "one lad who would seek to become your King." Melville gazed distastefully at him, and told the Empress that Darnley would be far beneath his Queen as a husband, much less as a consort.
  • October 1-His mission at the Imperial Court completed, Sir Jamsius Melville formally departed from Laurasia Prime on October 1, 1764. Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court gave him a formal audience of departure, and he was rewarded by the Empress with gifts and a financial grant of €4.5 billion dataries, as a reward for his "honorable services." During his stay, Melville had questioned the Earl of Leicesterius himself, as well as the other foreign ambassadors, Chancellor Cecilis, Procurator-General Bagonius, the Earls of Jadia, Americana, and Aeoleon, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, Chief Procurator Parsius, and many other prominent personages. He also questioned Lady Ashleius and the ladies-in-waiting of the Imperial Household. The Envoy had sought to gain their opinions on a Dudley marriage. Although they all publicly declared that such a marriage would be beneficial for both realms, in private they told Melville that the new Earl of Leicesterius should not be allowed to gain too much influence or prestige for himself. Leicesterius himself had expressed his doubts about the marriage. Melville had also secured confirmation from the Spamalkan Embassy that Don Carlos was now so incapacitated that he could not marry anyone: this put an end to Mariana's pursuit of him as a potential husband, and she was in fact contemplating that Lord Darnley could become her next husband. Melville had also spoken with the Countess of Lennaxia on Pulaski, before his departure. Welcoming him warmly, she had showered him with presents for Queen Mariana, Moray, and Ambassador Maitland. She expressed her hopes the marriage could still proceed. Melville had also secured the Empress of Laurasia's consent to a conference being called at Berwick, for discussions to be held about the Dudley marriage. He arrived back at Ediania on October 7 and was warmly received by Queen Mariana.
  • November 6-As had been agreed between Empress Aurelia and Envoy Melville, diplomatic delegations from the Laurasian Empire and Celestial Kingdom of Scottria convened at Berwick, on November 6, 1764, in order to hold discussions concerning the possibility of a Dudley marriage. The Earls of Moray and Glencairn, as well as Sir Walter Scott and Archclainnarch Hamilton of St. Andrews, served as the Scottrian plenipotentiaries to the conference, while the Imperial Laurasian Government was represented by Sir Peithon Tyvramius (1719-95), Sir Rudomentus Sadielius, and Sir Suetonius Eure, 2nd Baron Eure of Frederickshamm (1712-93). As the conference opened, however, the Earl of Moray demanded to know precisely what the Empress of Laurasia meant to do for Mariana in the event of her accepting Leicesterius. He failed to extract anything definitive from the Laurasian delegation. Lord Eure informed him that there was no better way than this marriage to further Mariana's claim to the succession. Tensions soon flared over the course of the next three days, as Moray continued to make his demands and as the Laurasians remained non-committal. Ultimately, the conference was terminated on November 10 with no results having been achieved. Moray and the other Scottrian plenipotentiaries returned to Ediania feeling angered and insulted.
  • November 25-At the Palace of Dejanican Kings in Warsaw, Dejanica, Stanis Vorrust I was, on November 25, 1764, formally crowned King of Dejanica and Grand Duke of Lithuania. As was custom, the Chief Patriarch of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth presided over the coronation. The Dejanican Diet, having confirmed the terms of his convention agreement, formally hailed him as King of Dejanica and gave him a oath of allegiance. All of the foreign ambassadors, as well as the main personages of the Dejanican Court, Diet, and Government, attended the ceremony. The most prominent foreign diplomat in attendance at the coronation was the newly-appointed Laurasian Ambassador, Sir Nicholas Repanius of Kalbacha Major. Repanius was already obtaining influence at the Dejanican Court, and had earned the ear of the King's leading ministers.
  • December 9-On December 9, 1764, the Earl of Moray and Ambassador Maitland both sent communiques to Chancellor Cecilis, arising out of the failure of the Berwick Conference the previous month. In their communiques, the two Scottrian officials declared that Queen Mariana would not consider marrying the Earl of Leicesterius unless "her dearest cousin and imperial sister, Her Imperial Majesty of Laurasia, considers establishing her right to the succession, and formally acknowledging the same, both to her subjects and to the governments of the other realms." The Empress, when she read the communiques, told Cecilis that prudence was needed, and that therefore, she would not do anything. She told Cecilis that she knew that Mariana would never accept Leicesterius and that she would seek to marry Lord Darnley. Because Darnley was her subject, the Empress declared, Mariana could not marry her without obtaining official license from her. The following day, Cecilis, who was supported by a relieved Leicesterius, suggested to the Empress that Darnley be allowed to visit his father (who had returned to Scottria in July 1764, after being formally pardoned by Queen Mariana for his offenses in the War of the Rough Wooing), and to meet Queen Mariana. Aurelia, responding to this, said that such a marriage would be less of a threat to the Empire than one between Mariana and some foreign prince from "that nest of galaxies (i.e. the Great Amulak Spiral)." For certain reasons, however, Aurelia said that Darnley should not leave without her permission. Leicesterius, on his part, who had now became Chancellor of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (and would remain as such until 1785), renewed his courtship of the Empress following this audience, obtaining the aid of Spamalkan Ambassador De Silva. On December 17, the Empress fell ill with some intestinal issues, but recovered within four days. This, however, would arouse more concern over the succession.

1765Edit

  • January 14-
    • As 1765, the 65th year of the eighteenth century, commenced, the Laurasian Empire was completely at peace, domestically and externally. Excepting the First Huguenot War of 1762-63, in which the Empire had only been an auxiliary participant, Laurasia had now been at peace for nearly five years. Economic prosperity and cultural vibrancy both contributed to the sentiments present among the Empire's subjects. The Imperial Laurasian Court was caught up in a round of festivities and other celebrations throughout the early weeks of the new year. Nevertheless, matters of diplomatic substance also continued to proceed.. On January 14, 1765, Empress Aurelia held a private audience at the Quencilvanian Palace with the newly-appointed Franconian Ambassador, Paul de Foix (1728-84). Foix had been appointed by Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici as Ambassador to the Laurasian Empire in November 1764; he had arrived on Laurasia Prime on January 5, 1765, being greeted with much ceremony by the Empress and the Imperial Court. His mission was to air to the Empress and her ministers the possibility of a marriage between her and King Charman III of Franconia.
    • Catharina was determined to prevent any Laurasian alliance with Austarlia, with whom relations by the Franconians had broken down due to the Franconian withdrawal from the conflict against Pruthia in 1762, a year before Austarlia did so; and she was distrustful of the Laurasian defensive alliance with Pruthia, until recently one of Franconia's primary enemies. Empress Aurelia, however, was privately unenthusiastic, having told both Spamalkan Ambassador De Silva and Chancellor Cecilis that the age discrepancy between herself and the King of Franconia would preclude a marriage. She pointed out that he was only fourteen, and she thirty-one. In the audience, the Empress expressed this same sentiment, saying that she was too old to marry de Foix's master. De Foix, offended at this, said the matter should end there; the Empress, however, knew that the Franconians needed to remain on friendly terms with the Empire, and she did not want for them to restore their earlier alliance with Scottria. The day after the audience, she asked Sir Thomasius Smithia (1713-77), who had been named the Imperial Ambassador to the Court of Parri on December 11, 1764, to replace Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, for his honest opinion of Charman.
    • He reported that he thought the King would be a good husband. Following this, the Empress had another audience with de Foix, on January 18, and informed him she would have to consult with her court and Council. Many of them, however, were openly hostile to the match. Only Leicesterius appeared to favor it, as it diverted the Empress from thoughts of a Austarlian marriage. Cecilis did not regard Aurelia's interest in Charman as being serious, but did not say anything. The Earl of Jadia advised against the marriage, declaring that Charman would not prove faithful to her. De Foix, ignorant of what these men were saying, thought that the Empress would marry his master. And indeed, for the next five months, Aurelia acted as if she was going ahead with the marriage. She agreed to exchange portraits and photographs and even discussed the prospect of the King paying her a secret visit. Prevailed upon by his mother, the King of Franconia, at intervals during January 1765, announced that he was in love with the Empress of Laurasia, and played the part of an ardent suitor. Throughout all this time, however, Aurelia would resist all pressure from de Foix to give a definite answer, and began reconsidering marriage to the Austarlian Archduke Char'vak.
  • February 4-
    • Sir Thomasius Randolphius was informed by Chancellor Cecilis, in a diplomatic communique (February 4, 1765), that the Empress had decided to change her mind concerning the marriage of Leicesterius to Queen Mariana. She had, at the request of the Countess of Lennaxia, decided to allow Lord Darnley to go to Scottria. Secretly, she had been advised on this course of action by Chancellor Cecilis, who had told her that Darnley's marriage to Mariana would prove very advantageous to the Empire, that Darnley's character would weaken the position of his potential wife and the Royal Scottrian Government, and that if Mariana was given enough rope, she would hang herself. Aurelia was even now contemplating ideas of annexing the Scottrian Homeland Territories to the Laurasian Empire; this ambition was, after further conflict and further diplomatic maneuvers, to be achieved at the end of the 1770s.
    • It was on February 14, 1765, that Lord Darnley, escorted by a magnificent entourage which had been assembled by his parents, arrived at the Holyroodian Palace of Ediania, after a journey of six days from Laurasia Prime and across the Galactic Void. The Queen of Scottria extended to him a warm welcome, and had an immediate and strong attraction to him. Melville, who had been appointed Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, would report that the Queen tried to control her feelings about Darnley while in public. Before long, however, she could not bear to be apart from him. Darnley, at nineteen, was physically attractive and well-mannered with various accomplishments; he was an elegant writer and excelled at music and athletics. What was not apparent to the Queen of Scottria, however, was that beneath the courtly veneer, Darnley was spoiled, self-indulgent, aggressive, and at times grossly uncouth. Blind to everything but her own personal feelings, Mariana was ready to set aside all consideration of state and the common good, and unwilling to listen to those of her nobles who spoke out against the marriage or advised caution.
  • March 15-Queen Mariana, who did not provide any hint of her intentions concerning Lord Darnley, had written twice to the Empress in February 1765, urging that her claim to the Laurasian succession be recognized. Aurelia had read over the communiques, and on March 15, 1765, Sir Thomasius Randolphius communicated to the Queen of Scottria the Empress's formal response. In her response, Aurelia said that if Mariana consented to marry Leicesterius, then she, Aurelia, would advance him with many honors and would promote Mariana's claim privately. She could not, however, allow her claim to be formally examined, nor could she publish it until such time as she herself was married or had made known her resolve to remain single-one or the other of which she meant shortly to do. Mariana reacted in an adverse manner to this communique, and had an emotional outburst. By the middle of March 1765, the Queen of Scottria was much involved with Darnley. Rumors circulated at both the Scottrian and Laurasian Courts. In the meantime, Leicesterius was becoming bolder in his advances towards the Empress. On March 24, he had entered the Empress's bedchambers when she was still not clothed, and she had greeted him warmly. Two days later, he had paid for an entertainment to be conducted, with the Myth of the Brethalian Goddesses, in an effort to persuade the Empress towards marriage. Chancellor Cecilis once again feared for his imperial mistress, and when he heard of the March 24 incident, declared that the "Lord Almitis should strike these dominions thus forth."
  • April 18-
    • Scottrian Ambassador Maitland informed Empress Aurelia, in a diplomatic audience at the Gilbertine Palace on Tudoria on April 18, 1765, to which the Imperial Court had moved a month earlier, that his mistress intended to marry Lord Darnley. Mariana's infatuation had grown to such great bounds that she begun to openly declare her plans for arranging a marriage with the Lord. The Earl of Moray and his supporters on the Scottrian Council of State, however, were opposed to the marriage, and Moray remonstrated with his half-sister, urging her to choose a "worthy Scottrian noble" as her husband. Mariana had refused to listen, however, and a dangerous rift soon emerged between them, which was to have serious consequences. Aurelia, when learning from Maitland of Mariana's intentions, declared it "strange and unlikely" and said that Darnley should obtain her permission to marry. In reality, Aurelia was very much pleased at the news, knowing what results it could have for the Royal Scottrian Government.
    • She kept up appearances, however, and on May 1, 1765, issued a formal warning to Queen Mariana, that if she went ahead with this marriage, it would be "unprofitable and perilous to the animity between us and our two realms." If Mariana desisted, she could choose from any other of the nobles in the Empire. The Privy Council, with the exception of Leicesterius, subscribed to the Empress's warnings. Many, however, knew that the Empress of Laurasia was engineering the whole affair to bog Mariana down, and some applauded the Empress's shrewdness. The official Laurasian view was that Mariana had chosen Darnley to strengthen her claim to the Imperial Crown, and therefore now posed an even greater threat to Aurelia's security than ever before. On May 11, Aurelia dispatched Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia as her special envoy to Ediania, to bring Darnley back and communicate her disapproval to Queen Mariana.
  • May 21-Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, having arrived at Ediania six days earlier, held a formal audience with Scottrian Queen Mariana (May 21, 1765). In this audience, he communicated to her Aurelia's disapproval. Mariana, enraged at the Empress's "meddling in her personal affairs", commanded him to tell Aurelia that "she should not dictate to her what marriage she should have." Thorckmortonia was alarmed by her reaction, and he reminded the Queen of the engagements under the Treaty of Ediania. Mariana, however, responded that treaty had been made "in a time of national peril", that she had still not ratified it, and that Scottria remained an independent realm. After the audience ended, Thorckmortonia sent a warning to Chancellor Cecilis. He in turn informed the Empress, who now knew that Mariana would not accept Leicesterius as a husband. She told de Silva, in a audience on May 27, that Leicesterius had himself not consented to the marriage. On that day, Aurelia formally withdrew her offer; Leicesterius presented himself as a suitor for the Empress's hand. De Silva, who remained in touch with Leicestrius, informed the Earl of Jadia of his doings; Jadia, who hated Leicesterius, began forming a faction, comprised of himself, the Duke of Norfolkius, and others at the Imperial Court, opposed to the Earl and his intrigues.
  • June 11-Ambassador Thorckmortonia demanded to Queen Mariana, on June 11, 1765, that both Lord Darnley and his father, the Earl of Lennaxia, return to the Empire promptly and that Darnley not proceed with the marriage without consent from the Empress. Some of the Scottrian Lords, however, including the Earls of Argyll and Arran, were now in favor of the marriage. This, along with the fact that Aurelia had herself ordered for Randolphius to distribute bribes at the Scottrian Court, meant that it was now impossible for a marriage not to proceed. Darnley himself declared he wished to marry the Queen of Scottria, and refused to return to the Empire. He said that the Empress could execute him if she wished, but being that he was now in Scottria, this could only be done after a legal process of extradition. Thorckmortonia, however, managed to extract a promise from Mariana that she would wait three months before making a decision.
  • June 24-The Holy Austarlian Ambassador to the Court of Christiania, Lord Adam Zwetkovich of Dansa (1717-90), who had been formally appointed to his post on May 19, 1765, and had arrived at Laurasia Prime four days later, held the first of two audiences with Empress Aurelia (June 24, 1765). The Earl of Jadia, Chancellor Cecilis, and the Duke of Norfolkius had worked together to persuade the Empress to resume the negotiations for an Austarlian marriage, and continued to work at the Imperial Court to blunt Leicesterius's marital ambitions. Norfolkius had demanded that Leicesterius declare his support for the Austarlian marriage; Leicesterius had no choice but to agree, and had been appointed a commissioner for negotiations with Ambassador Zwetkovich. Franconian Ambassador de Foix, on his part, sought to prevent a Austarlian marriage, and attempted to persuade the Empress in that direction. In his audience with Aurelia, however, Zwetkovich claimed that Leicesterius was the chief proponent of a marriage between herself and Archduke Char'vak. In response, Aurelia brought up the rumors circulating about her relationship with the Earl. Following this first audience, Zwetkovich conducted an inquiry of the Empress's personal affairs, and found no evidence that she was engaged in a sexual relationship with Leicesterius.
  • July 7-In his second audience, on July 7, 1765, Ambassador Zwetkovich informed the Empress of Laurasia that he believed the rumors were false, and proposed that she send an envoy to Vienna, to gather observations of the Archduke. The Ambassador had urged Prince Kauntiz to make sure the Archduke appeared his best, so as to impress the Laurasians. Empress Aurelia, however, rejected the idea, insisting that she meet her suitor personally before deciding to accept him, and declared she could not trust either photographs or the observations of another person. She then asked if Char'vak could visit her in her own realms, saying she did not wish to give him cause of offense, as had happened with Philicus when he had met Empress Didymeia the first time. Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania, however, believed that a visit would not be proper; Zwetkovich informed Aurelia of this. There was also dispute over who should finance the Archduke's household, with each government insisting it was the responsibility of the other. The Empress also made trouble over religion, asserting that she could not marry someone of another faith, and that Char'vak needed, by the hereditary laws of the Empire, to adopt Almitism. Mar'va Tarvania, however, a fervent Austarlian Ritualist, refused to make any concessions, demanding her nephew's rights be upheld. Negotiations therefore reached a deadlock.
  • July 29-At 7:00 a.m., the morning of July 29, 1765, in defiance of her promises to Envoy Thorckmortonia, Queen Mariana of Scottria married Lord Darnley at Holyroodian Palace on Ediania. The ceremony was very lavish, and conducted with all of the ceremonial and pomp which could be mustered by the Scottrian Queen and her court. The Empress received word of their marriage while she was eating breakfast in her personal bedchambers. She was startled, and rising from her table, summoned Cecilis to attend her. In public, she decried Mariana's rashness and declared she had violated the terms of the Treaty of Ediania; once retreating with Cecilis to private quarters however, she expressed her happiness, declaring that the vain and foolish couple would be the downfall of Scottrian independence. And indeed, the Empress's hopes were to be fulfilled. Within weeks of the marriage, Darnley revealed himself to be a bully and a prideful, boastful man. He soon offended his allies, the Earls of Argyll and Arran, with his arrogance. Ambassador Randolphius, on August 14, reported with glee to the Privy Council that the new Scottrian consort was very unpopular with the people. Two days later, the Scottrian Estates, influenced by Moray, refused to allow for Darnley to be crowned King Consort of Scottria. Darnley was instead given the lesser title of "Prince Consort" and the diplomatic recognition of all foreign courts.
  • August 5-On August 5, 1765, as public "retaliation" for the marriage of Scottrian Queen Mariana and Lord Darnley, Empress Aurelia commanded for the Countess of Lennaxia to again be imprisoned at the Fortress of Baureux. Aurelia also sent a communique to Mariana, with public condemnation of the marriage and also a request that Mariana be generous to her half-brother, the Earl of Moray. Moray had indeed, with the Earls of Argyll and Glencairn, begun to contemplate rebellion against Queen Mariana's government, and on August 2, had issued a manifesto from his estates on Morvay, declaring that he could not consent to his sister's marriage with Lord Darnley. Queen Mariana, however, refused to listen, and the following day, she formally deprived Moray, Argyll, and Glencairn of their seats on the Council of State and banned them from Ediania. Mariana then ordered for Envoy Thorckmortonia, who had remained on Ediania and was scheduled to succeed Randolphius as Ambassador, to be interned in his quarters. This enraged Aurelia, who ordered in turn for Scottrian Ambassador Maitland to remain in his quarters, strengthened the garrisons of the Galactic Void, and raised tariffs on Scottrian imports. It seemed as if war would loom. Aurelia's friendship towards Mariana began to dissipate at this time, and her antipathy and hostility towards her became more evident. Aurelia now began drafting secret plans for more direct intervention in Scottria. The first stage, in the final subjection of that kingdom to the authority of the Laurasian Empire, would be to encourage Moray and his supporters in rebellion against Queen Mariana.
  • August 9-Another dynastic crisis, which again related to the Greysius family, had now emerged at the Imperial Court. Lady Didymeia Greysius, the younger sister of the ill-fated Nine Day's Empress Minerva Greysius and Lady Katharina Greysius (who remained under imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux, and would indeed remain under custody by the orders of the Empress until her death three years later), had retained her place as a lady-in-waiting in the Imperial Household, as the Empress wanted to keep an eye on her. With no beauty or intellect to her credit, Didymeia remained unmarried, and Aurelia had already made it clear that she would never let her marry. Denied of a match suitable to her status, Didymeia had fallen in love with the Sergeant-Porter of the Imperial Household, Thomasius Keysius (1713-71), who was fifty-two years old. He had been widowed twice and had three daughters by those marriages. Therefore, during the late hours of August 9, 1765, they were secretly married at the Priory of St. Eva in Osraninpolis. For the time being, the wedding remained a secret.
  • August 14-
    • Austarlian Ambassador Zwetkovich formally departed from Laurasia Prime on August 14, 1765, as he had been recalled by the Austarlian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his own request. Prince Kauntiz had begun preparing another ambassador for permanent duty at the Imperial Court. In the ceremony of departure, Zwetkovich was given gifts and a communique by the Empress, addressed directly to Mar'va Tarvania herself. In this communique, Aurelia expressed her hope that the marriage would proceed with the minimum of friction. Just four days later, however, on August 18, 1765, Holy Austarlian Emperor Fransios I, who had for a quarter of a century been co-ruler alongside his wife, Mar'va Tarvania, of the Austarlian, Bohemian, and Hungarian dominions, suddenly died at Innsbruck in the Austarlian Archduchies, following a stint at the Austarlian Paranomic Opera. He was fifty-six years old at the time of his death, and had, in his own right, ruled over the Grand Duchy of Tuscany for twenty-eight years (since 1737). Fransios was now succeeded as Grand Duke of Tuscany by his second surviving son, Lea'dus, who had only just been married.
    • His widow, the Empress of Austarlia, was plunged into a torrent of grief. She now cut her hair short, abandoned all ormentation, adorned her chambers in black, and dressed in mourning, a custom which she was to adhere to for the remaining fifteen years of her life. Her profound grief over the death of her husband, who had been loyal and faithful to his wife, was noted by all contemporaries; Empress Aurelia of Laurasia praised this marital fidelity in her own condolences to her elder Austarlian counterpart, issued the day after Fransios's death. On August 22, 1765, Mar'va Tarvania elevated her son Joseth as Holy Austarlian Emperor, and named him co-ruler of her realms. He was given responsibility for the affairs of the treasury, the imperial household, and the government's cultural interests. His mother, however, resolved not let him have any share in the exercise of true executive or legislative power, and he remained relegated to subordinate status. As a result of Fransios's death, the tempo of negotiations for the Austarlian marriage project temporarily slowed. Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I now worked to obstruct the conclusion of any marriage. Fransios was buried at the Imperial Crypt on Vienna, on August 27, 1765.
  • August 19-
    • Lady Didymeia Greysius, praying that the Empress would be merciful, and believing her marriage to the Sergeant-Porter would pose no threat to the succession, decided, on August 19, 1765, to reveal to the Empress what she had done. She should have acted in a wiser manner, however, for Aurelia's rage, when hearing of the marriage, was terrible. Hitting the girl upside her head, the Empress commanded her to leave her presence immediately. She summoned Chancellor Cecilis, the Duke of Norfolkius, and Leicesterius to her side, informing them of what Didymeia had done. Yelling that she knew her dominions were infested with heinous traitors, the Empress consigned Keysius to the Post Settlement Prison, and ordered that under no circumstances was he to see Lady Didymeia again. Keysius was formally convicted by the Court of the Imperial Chancery on charges of adultery and conspiracy on August 24, and sentenced to three years of imprisonment at the Settlement Prison.
    • His marriage with Didymeia was annulled by the Holy Synod. He would remain there until August 25, 1768, when he was released by the Empress on the conditions that he never contact Didymeia, or make any public reference to her. Didymeia herself was dispatched to Chequerian House on Tommy and placed under house arrest in the care of Sir Willanius Hawterius (1731-95). Here she was to remain until March 1766, when she was then transferred to the household of Katharina Willoughby, Dowager Duchess of Sufforia, the same lady who had raised (and still was raising), Lady Didymeia Seymouris of Kendalia, who was now approaching her majority. The Duchess of Sufforia treated her kindly, as she did everyone else, and eventually, on January 15, 1769, Aurelia permitted her release from house arrest. Keysius died on June 14, 1771 on Hunt Minor; the Empress refused to allow Lady Didymeia to wear mourning for him. Eventually, Aurelia's attitude toward Didymeia mellowed, and in January 1772, she permitted her to make routine visits to the Imperial Court. Lady Didymeia, broken by her sad experiences, came to court only twice following this, and died on April 20, 1778 on Calaxis II.
  • August 26-On August 26, 1765, Empress Aurelia's former governess, Lady Katharina Ashleius of Heliotrope, died at the age of sixty-three at the Hospital of St. Paul in Christiania, Laurasia Prime. At her deathbed, she was attended by her three children, her husband Lord Ashleius (who was to live until 1795), and by many of the ladies and courtiers of the Imperial Household. Empress Aurelia, still enraged over the Didymeia Greysius affair, and frustrated about the disputes with Scottrian Queen Mariana, was sent into a flurry of weeping when she was informed that Lady Ashleius had died. This was the woman who had raised her since she was an infant, the woman who had been her loyal companion during the Thomasius Seymouris affair and her imprisonment at the Fortress of Baureux during Empress Didymeia's reign, and the woman who had implored her not to marry Lord Antiochus Dudley without considering all of the consequences. Aurelia ordered the Household into a day of mourning for her former governess. sent her condolences to Lord Ashleius and his family, and authorized for an official obituary in the Christiania Times. Lady Ashleius was buried at St. Eugene's Cathedral in Constantinople on September 4, with much honors. On September 17, Lady Meguilla Parsius, daughter of the late Sir Thomasius, and the Empress's longest-serving lady-in-waiting, was appointed Mistress of the Robes and Chief Gentlewoman of the Imperial Privy Chamber, to replace Ashleius. She would serve in those positions until her death in February 1790. Aurelia on her part, grew more irritated with Leicesterius for some weeks. This was partly due to his flirtations with Lady Laetita Knollysis (1743-1834), daughter of Sir Knollysis and now Viscountess Herefadia, who was said to be even more beautiful than the Empress herself.
  • August 28-
    • The Earl of Moray, declaring that he could no longer give his allegiance to Queen Mariana, officially announced, on August 28, 1765, that he was in rebellion against her government, and that he would take all measures to ensure the restoration of "proper rule" to the Scottrian realms. Moray and his supporters had assembled supplies on Albright, Albemaine, Jexburgh, Roxburgh, and Dunbar, determined to seize control of Ediania and to force Mariana to agree to their terms. Queen Mariana, however, who now relied upon the advice primarily of John Lesley, Clairnnarch of Ross (1727-96), and Grande Gordon, 9th Earl of Huntly (1733-76), had assembled her military forces at Ediania. The following day, she departed from her capital world, first to Linlithgow and Stirling, which remained under her control, and then to Glasgow. She now prepared an offensive against Jexburgh. Moray received secret encouragement and limited funds from the Imperial Laurasian Government, although Empress Aurelia refrained from any outright intervention at this point.
    • On September 2, a detachment of warships under Moray's command managed to gain admission to Ediania, from which Queen Mariana had moved out. Ambassador Randolphius, who had remained at Ediania, and was responsible for Laurasian communications with the rebel forces, nevertheless refused to publicly endorse or to greet Moray, declaring that he did not believe they could retain their position in Ediania for too long. And indeed, Edianian Fortress remained in the hands of the Queen's forces; Moray did not have enough ships to control all of the Ediania star system, and his position there was very vulnerable. Four days later, on September 6, he retreated from Ediania. Queen Mariana returned there on September 9, 1765, to bolster the system's garrison, but just two days later, she went back to Stirling. Moray's forces, on their part, retreated to Dumfries, and he requested Laurasian mercenaries, starships, and financial assistance. Aurelia, however, rejected his request, and on September 14, penned a communique to Queen Mariana, denying all association with the rebels. Mariana, to her folly, chose to believe the Empress of Laurasia.
  • October 6-The Battle of Selkirk, the sole confrontation between the forces of Scottrian Queen Mariana, and those of the rebel Lords under the command of the Earl of Moray, resulted in a decisive victory for the government forces of the Queen of Scottria (October 6, 1765). As a result of this battle, Moray and the other rebel leaders realized that all was lost. The Earl was persuaded by his ally and associate, the Earl of Glencairn, that departure for the Laurasian Empire would be the wisest course of action. Therefore, shortly after the battle had been waged, Moray and his supporters abandoned Dumfries and made a hasty journey to the Galactic Void. Queen Mariana sent her warships to capture the rebel leaders and to chase their forces out of the Homeland Territories; by October 11, Dumfries, Albright, Albemaine, Jexburgh, Roxburgh, and Dunbar had all acknowledged the renewed authority of her government. Moray, however, managed to evade Mariana's pursuit fleets, and he reached the Caladarian Galactic Barrier on October 12.
  • October 23-
    • On October 23, 1765, the Earl of Moray, who had been halted by Laurasian authorities at Janeway five days earlier, was brought before Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Court at the Quencilvanian Palace on Laurasia Prime. This was not a formal ceremony of greetings, or an audience, for the Empress had declared, in a manifesto to her subjects on October 19, that she did not condone the "Chaseabout Rebellion", as it became known, and remained committed to a cordial relationship with Scottrian Queen Mariana. She considered Moray and his supporters to be rebels. Therefore, when Moray came before the Empress, she and her court were wearing black. Keeping him on his knees, Aurelia publicly castigated him for rebelling against his anointed sovereign. She stated that "We will not maintain any subject in disobedience against the prince, for we know that the High Almitis might justly recompense us with the like trouble in our own realm." There would be no aid, although Moray could remain in residence on Onasi in the Galactic Borderlands and hope for a pardon from Queen Mariana. Now, although Mariana had managed to end the Chaseabout Rebellion, it turned out in the end to be a hollow victory. The unruly Scottrian lords were proving difficult to control; Darnley was frequently drunk, disgracing himself in brawls throughout Caselian City on Ediania.
    • Mariana's infatuation had died, and the couple now engaged in bitter arguments with each other. Maitland had managed to secure release from confinement in September 1765, and on October 21, after the suppression of the Chaseabout Rebellion, he had returned to Scottria. But Queen Mariana did not rely upon him for advice; instead she turned to her Haxonian secretary, David Rizzio (1733-66), who had arrived at the Scottrian Court in the Haxonian Embassy in November 1761, and had become one of the Queen's favorites. He had been persuaded by the Queen to remain at the Scottrian Court and was appointed Personal Secretary in October 1763. He became unpopular however, becoming the object of general hatred, derision, and resentment. Darnley had grown resentful of Rizzio's influence, as the Queen showed more and more favor to one he regarded as an upstart Haxonian. Those who craved favors or patronage from the Queen had to bribe Rizzio to obtain an audience. Had he been a great nobleman, this would have been acceptable, but he was not. Queen Mariana failed to perceive her folly, and her standing with her subjects began to decline. Even the announcement that the Queen was pregnant with her first child, on December 14, did not change the opinions of any man; Darnley had now come to resent his wife.
  • December 9-The Duke of Norfolkius was, on December 9, 1765, able to obtain a personal audience with Empress Aurelia. The Imperial Court had established itself once again at the Gilbertine Palace on Tudoria; for the first time in Aurelia's reign, Ascentmas was to celebrated on a world besides Laurasia Prime. By November 1765, the rivalry between Norfolkius and Leicesterius had grown to "considerable proportions", and each faction had now adopted a livery. Purple was worn by the followers of Leicesterius, while those of Norfolkius and Jadia wore yellow. The Empress herself had long since known that the favor she showed towards Leicesterius was at the root of these troubles. She had tried to defuse the tension by publicly warning him, on December 4, not to provoke jealousy by displaying too much familiarity towards her. She also acted as mediator between the factions, insisting all quarrels be put aside. Norfolkius, in his audience with the Empress, promoted the benefits of marriage and the desirability of settling the marriage question. He told her that most of her influential subjects wanted her to marry the Archduke Char'vak. If they had appeared to endorse a marriage to Leicesterius, they had only done so because they believed that was where her heart lay, "not because they really thought such a match would be beneficial to the Empire or good for your own dignity." Aurelia listened politely to the Duke, but refused to commit herself to a definite answer. The audience ended after she approved his request to retire to his estates on Soria. Norfolkius sought out Leicesterius afterwards, and warned him not to forget that he had promised the previous season to abandon his pursuit of the Empress. Leicesterius did not take issue, and Norfolkius retired to Soria on December 14, believing he had done his sovereign and empire a service.
  • December 25-The Earl of Leicesterius, confident of success, asked the Empress, at the Ascentmas Day festivals of December 25, 1765, to marry him. As had become custom, she proved reluctant, telling him he would have to wait until Candlemas in February 1766 for an answer, although over the course of the next few days, she was to appear to others to be seriously considering the Earl's proposal. The Imperial Court was lively with speculation, with Leicesterius acting as if he were consort already, making more enemies in the process. A heated exchange took place between Sir Thomasius Heneagius (1732-95), another of the suitors for the Empress's hand, and Leicesterius on Twelfth Night (December 30, 1765). Heneagius, head of the festivities, forced Leicesterius to ask the Empress whether jealousy or evil opinion was more difficult to eliminate. Aurelia courteously replied both were difficult to get rid of, but that it was more difficult to remove jealousy. Leicesterius took this personally as implying he had been deliberately unfaithful to her, and sent a message warning Heneagius not to proceed further with his impertinence. Heneagius declared that was not "punishment for equals." Leicesterius replied that Heneagius was not his equal, and should not insult him. Heneagius complained to the Empress, who was vexed with Leicesterius.

1766Edit

  • January 1-
    • 1766, the 66th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the prevalence of general domestic tranquility and economic prosperity in the Laurasian Empire, and with tensions building within the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria. By the beginning of 1766, the Laurasian Empire extended its jurisdiction over more than fifty million star systems throughout the Caladarian Galaxy; Empress Aurelia of Laurasia wielded absolute power over nearly seventy quadrillion sentients throughout known space. The Empire's situation was far more secure than that which had existed a century earlier, when the Samanthan and Xilanian Provinces had been breaking away to form their own incipient Empires, and when Laurasia was embroiled by incessant conflict in the Galactic Borderlands, as well as elsewhere. The Muggal Cluster, Northern Reaches, and Dejanican Lavella remained outside of the Empire's jurisdiction, but all of these territories were to be subdued during the next decade. While Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Court basked in the comforts of luxury on Laurasia Prime, tensions increased at the court of her cousin, Queen Mariana I of Scottria.
    • Her secretary, the Haxonian David Rizzio, continued to remain unpopular, and there were those now beginning to strongly oppose the Queen of Scottria herself. These tensions would more openly reveal themselves during the year. Furthermore, 1766 was to see maneuvers by the Imperial Laurasian Government within the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as Empress Aurelia sought to further consolidate Laurasian influence over that state. These efforts, however, would bring the Empire's agents and emissaries into conflict with the Dejanican Diet and the Dejanican nobility, and would result in the fomenting of anti-Laurasian dissent in Dejanica. These were to have consequences for the Empress of Laurasia in due course. January 1766, however, would pass in relative tranquility, before the explosion of these underlying tensions occurred.
  • January 23-In a ceremony of investiture at the Public Throne Room in the Quencilvanian Palace, on January 23, 1766, the Earl of Leicesterius and the Duke of Norfolkius were both formally awarded the Order of St. Michael, the second-highest ranking order of chivalry in the Serene Kingdom of Franconia. Empress Aurelia had, in a amicable gesture of friendliness, conferred the Order of St. Antiochus the Great upon King Charman III in November 1765. Charman, grateful for the honor thus bestowed on him, had decided in turn to bestow the Order of St. Michael upon two of the Empress's subjects, and gave her the option to choose the recipients: she had nominated both Leicesterius and Norfolkius. Norfolkius, however, angered that his rival was being honored, had at first refused to attend; only a sharp, and direct, command from the Empress had compelled him otherwise. Therefore, on the day of investiture, both men, wearing robes of white and velvet garnished with lace, gold, and silver, received the Order from the hands of Ambassador de Foix. Shortly after the ceremony, Norfolkius sought out Leicesterius, insisting he abandon all thoughts of marrying the Empress. He demanded that the Earl support the Austarlian marriage project. Leicesterius agreed to do whatever he could as long as it did not appear to the Empress he was doing so out of distaste; he now urged her to marry as soon as possible. On January 25, while walking with Spamalkan Ambassador de Silva, Aurelia commended Leicesterius to him and declared that he was a true patriot. Empress Mar'va Tarvania, however, continued to refuse to agree to Aurelia's conditions. Leicesterius was also enraged when the Empress flirted with the Duke of Orion III (1735-93; Teleacmhus Uranius, 2nd Duke of Orion III). On February 2, he departed from the Imperial Court, and retired to Dwerst Palace on Condtella. Norfolkius left the Imperial Court from January 29 (after having returned there on January 1), remaining at Soria until September 1766.
  • February 12-
    • By February 1766, Lord Darnley, who had heard rumors that Secretary Rizzio enjoyed confidential sessions with Queen Mariana in her private bedchambers and that he may even be the father of her unborn child, could not live any longer with the conviction that she had betrayed him; nor could he continue to exist as "Prince Consort", without any power or influence of his own. He had made it clear to others within the Royal Household that he would be a crowned King Regnant and nothing less, and if he were helped in achieving this, he was prepared to recognize the rights of the Scottrian Lords and the continuance of alliance arrangements with the Laurasian Empire. The unscrupulous Scottrian Lords, who resented Rizzio's influence, and wanted both him and Darnley out of the way, therefore saw him as fair game. Patrick, Lord Ruthven (a former member of the Lords of the Congregation, as noted above), and the Earl of Morton, who were in secret correspondence with the Earl of Moray and his supporters, met on February 12 at Ruthven's estate on Linlithgow, and formulated their conspiracy against Rizzio. They resolved to kill him in the Queen's presence: knowing that Mariana was six months pregnant, they anticipated that the shock would harm her and the unborn child, in which case she would be incapacitated.
    • With the apparent support of the Lords, Darnley envisioned himself invested with the Crown Matrimonial, or if Mariana died in childbirth, set up as Regent, or even King in her place. Whatever happened to her, he believed that he would still rule Scottria, for even if she survived the coup with her sanity and pregnancy unscathed, it was agreed that she was to be imprisoned on Striling at his pleasure. Darnley's fellow conspirators, on their part, meant to represent to Mariana when the time came that he alone was responsible for Rizzio's murder, and that he had also intended to kill her, which would have provoked her into charging him for treason-the penalty for which was death. They would then rid themselves of two unwelcome nuisances. The following day, Ambassador Randolphius, who had his agents implanted among the Scottrian Court, reported that the Queen "repented her marriage and wished only for Lord Darnley to be gone of her." Chancellor Cecilis and the Imperial Privy Council, as well as Empress Aurelia, knew full well that murder was being planned, but waited for events. The conspirators, on their part, designated March 9 as the day they would strike.
  • February 23-
    • On February 23, 1766, the former Dejanican General and claimant King of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Stanis Morgar I, Duke of Lorraine, died at the Ducal Palace on Luneville. He was eighty-eight years old at the time of his death, and had lived longer than any prior Dejanican sovereign in history. Ever since the end of the War of the Dejanican Succession in 1735, he had, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Idyll, ruled over the Duchy of Lorraine. He had become known for his patronage of the arts, being responsible for the establishment of the Stanis Academy and the State Library of Nancy, which became among the most renowned academic and educational institutions in the Great Amulak Spiral. He had also engaged in intellectual arguments and exchanges with many of the scholars of the Universities of Parri, Cologne, Padua, and Antwerp, and had himself tried his hand in creating or publishing various works of art, political treatises, and historical biographies. The Duke had come to be beloved by his subjects, and he had scrupulously refrained from involvement in both the War of the Austarlian Succession and the Seven Year's War.
    • His death was received with some regrets within the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth; King Stanis Vorrust I issued a proclamation to his subjects from Dejanica Major, expressing his condolences and enjoining his subjects to offer their respects for his soul. Empress Aurelia of Laurasia and other foreign monarchs also offered their respects. As a result of his death, the Duchy of Lorraine, with the Vosges, Moselle, Meurthe, and Allemagne, now acceded to the Franconian Crown; on March 1, 1766, Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici and the Franconian Estates-General issued the formal instruments of annexation. Within a short time, Lorraine was reorganized into a province of the Franconian Crown. Its acquisition completed the Franconian conquest of the Alatian Regions, which had been underway since 1649. Stanis Morgar was buried at St. Nancy's Priory on Nancy, on March 7, 1766.
  • March 9-During the early hours of March 9, 1766, the conspirators carried out their plan of action against Haxonian Secretary David Rizzio. Lord Ruthven, who was in ailing health, but nevertheless was determined to himself commit the deed of murder, led a group of armed men into the Holyroodian Palace, just as Queen Mariana, who was now six months pregnant, was dining in private with Lady Argyll (1733-88; Jean Stewart) and Secretary Rizzio. Rizzio had not removed his cap, as was expected of one in the presence of a sovereign. Suddenly, Darnley and the other intruders, including a fully-armored Ruthven, burst into the room, jostled the Queen of Scottria aside, and "laid their ruddy hands" on the Haxonian. He screamed "Justice! Justice! Save me my lady!" and tried to cling to the Queen's skirts. Armed men pulled him away and he was dragged into an adjoining chamber, where Ruthven and the Earl of Morton savagely murdered him, his body being pierced with fifty-six dagger wounds. Mariana was forcibly restrained from trying to help him, and later would claim one of the conspirators had aimed his blaster at her stomach. The conspirators then hastened away. Rizzio's body was carried away by the Queen's orders. She soon argued with Darnley, asking him why he had participated in the murder of the Secretary; he responded that Rizzio had more company with her over the past two months than he. In a state of shock, the Queen confined herself to her rooms, but during the next two days, she managed to convince her husband that the conspirators were planning to murder him next. Darnley, who was frightened, betrayed the names of all who had taken part in the murder, and the Queen immediately concluded the plot had been aimed at her.
  • March 11-
    • Queen Mariana and her husband, Prince Consort Darnley, slipped down a back escalator, escaped from the Holyroodian Palace through the servants' quarters, and obtaining access to one of the Household starfighters, fled from Ediania as fast as they could to Dunbar (March 11, 1766). From there, Queen Mariana, determined to avenge Rizzio's murder, assembled her supporters and personal military squadrons. Six days later, the Queen of Scottria returned to Ediania and reasserted control over her capital star system. The conspirators, however, had already fled from Ediania, and seethed with vengeful hatred at Darnley's betrayal. Before long, however, Queen Mariana discovered the extent of Darnley's involvement in the plot against Rizzio. This brought to an end the brief reconciliation between herself and her husband. Mariana became estranged from Darnley and excluded him from all state affairs.
    • He remained a presence at court, however, but was placed under constant scrutiny. Empress Aurelia, informed first by Ambassador Randolphius, and then by Queen Mariana herself, about what had occurred, expressed genuine horror at how the Queen of Scottria had been treated, and communicated her anger to Ambassador de Silva. The Empress had also authorized the Earl of Moray to depart back to the Scottrian dominions; arriving at Branxholme on March 14, he had reached Ediania before Mariana returned there. When the Queen returned, Moray was there, along with the Earls of Glencairn and Argyll, ready to offer their support. Declaring himself "impressed" by Mariana's bravery, Moray managed to convince her that he was on her side. On March 20, the Queen formally pardoned the Chaseabout Rebels and reinstated Moray, Glencairn, and Argyll to the Council of State. Moray once again established himself as the predominant influence in the Royal Scottrian Government, especially as Mariana's pregnancy advanced. Relations between Mariana and Aurelia improved for the time being. Queen Mariana asked the Empress to become her child's godmother, an offer which Aurelia accepted. In private, however, the Empress continued to work with Chancellor Cecilis on plans for intervention in Scottria.
  • April 1-On April 1, 1766, the Earl of Leicesterius, who had remained at Dwerst Palace on Condtella, returned to the Imperial Court on Laurasia Prime, which was then located at the Old Royal Palace. Empress Aurelia could not do without him, nor could he without her, and as normal, they had mended their differences. The Empress and the Imperial Court received the Earl with ceremony and honor, and she declared to all in attendance that she would never again let him out of her sight. Chancellor Cecilis, who had hoped that the Empress's affection for the Earl had run its course, tried to reconcile himself to the lingering idea that the Empress might marry Leicesterius; he was not happy about this possibility however, believing it brought no benefits to the security of the Laurasian Empire. Five days after the Earl returned to the Imperial Court, the Chancellor drew up a chart comparing him with the Archleutan Archduke Char'vak: in almost every way he was the less desirable, for he was of common birth and would not bring any influence or prestige to the monarchy. He could also prove sterile, considering his marriage with the late Lady Fausta Dudley had been childless. On April 22, Leicesterius again left Laurasia Prime, for he had another argument with the Empress, and retired to his estates on Fulcania. Again, he was summoned back by the Empress, just four days later, and this time the reconciliation between them proved lasting.
  • May 6-The Laurasian Ambassador to the court of the Holy Austarlian Empire, Sir Sextius Calpurnius (1725-92), who was the brother-in-law of Chancellor Cecilis, held an personal audience with Holy Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania and with her son and now co-ruler, Emperor Joseth II. Mar'va Tarvania, as mentioned earlier, still held the predominant lever of influence and power in the Austarlian realms, and she made it clear that her son derived his authority from her. Joseth, however, was already proving to be a vigorous and energetic ruler: in January 1766, his mother had given him additional responsibilities relating to commercial matters and foreign affairs. Ambassador Calpurnius again attempted to persuade them into permitting for Archduke Char'vak to adopt Laurasian Almitism; they refused however, with Joseth pointing out that it would be far beneath him to make a similar demand that the Empress of Laurasia drop her religion. Calpurnius continued to work until August, in an vain effort to persuade the Austarlian co-rulers to change their minds.
  • June 19-
    • On June 19, 1766, after a long and painful labor which lasted for almost twelve hours, the Queen of Scottria, Mariana I, gave birth to her only child at the Maternity Quarters of Edianian Fortress. There was "utter joy" throughout the Scottrian realms, for the child she gave birth to was a son. Moreover, despite the fact that his mother had to endure a considerable amount of pain in "bringing him into life", he was a healthy child. A proclamation of joy was issued from Edianian Fortress, all subjects throughout the Scottrian realms were enjoined to celebrate his birth, and the Scottrian Clergy offered their collective thanks. The boy, who was Duke of Rothesay and Great Steward of Scottria from the moment of his birth (in accordance with Scottrian law), was named Jamsius, the name every Scottrian monarch since 1606 (with the exception of Queen Mariana herself), had borne. Whereas all those in Scottria celebrated with all of the joy and fervency which they could muster, the news of the birth struck Empress Aurelia of Laurasia hard. The Empress had been dancing in her private quarters when Chancellor Cecilis came up to her hastily and whispered her the news in her ear.
    • Immediately upon hearing of this, Aurelia sank down to the ground, and burst out to some of her ladies who were then in attendance on her that "the Queen of Scottria was mother of a healthy son, and I am of barren stock." Publicly, however, the Empress expressed her joy, issuing a proclamation from the Vakannian Palace on Briannia (where the Imperial Court was then situated), that she had "only her greatest blessings for Her Majesty of Scottria and her son, and that they have been truly protected by the embrace of the Lord Almitis." Two days after this announcement, the Empress informed the newly appointed Scottrian Ambassador, Sir Jamsius Altholl (1722-77), that the birth of the Scottrian Prince meant she would be less reluctant to acknowledge Mariana's claim to the succession. The Earls of Aeoleon and Leicesterius and the Duke of Norfolkius all expressed their support for the Empress taking steps to formalize Mariana's claim by statute.
    • In private, however, Aurelia lamented to the Privy Council that the birth of Jamsius posed "not only a threat to my throne, but also hampers our efforts at obtaining influence in Scottria." Mariana on her part, confidently expecting to be named Aurelia's heiress apparent, began sounding out segments of the Laurasian nobility and clergy in July 1766, seeking their support for her accession to the throne in the event of Aurelia's death. On July 21, Aurelia would warn Mariana, in a secret diplomatic communique, not to solicit the support of her subjects for her rights of succession. Mariana, however, was more focused on the affairs of government in Scottria; by this point, she and her husband were barely on speaking terms, no longer slept in the same quarters, and avoided each other as much as possible. By October 1766, the Empress was being informed by Ambassador Randolphius that Queen Mariana was desperate at the prospect of being tied to Lord Darnley for life.
  • August 11-On August 11, 1766, two days after Sir Sextius Calpurnius, who had been recalled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs back to the Laurasian Empire on July 22, arrived on Laurasia Prime, Empress Aurelia embarked on her formal progress. This year's progress would take her through the Eastern Laurasian Purse Worlds. Oxia Vixius, Ralina Vixius, Apathama Vixius, Aeoleon, Janesia, Maroni, Dearton's Gateway, Osama, Tarravania, Alicia, Volta, Lusculum, Tusculum, Katie, the Station of Dosch, Sarah, Clackimaris, Charasia, Americana, Lomanis I, the Isoter's Shaft, Alsora, Tifenlium, and Alanium would be among the worlds visited by the Empress and the Imperial Court during this time. She stayed at Greysius Friary on Volta, avoiding a visit to Cecilis's estate, the future Burghley House, there. Her visit to the University of Ralina Vixius (August 24-26, 1766) was received with much ceremonial and pomp by the residents of that system and the faculty of the university. She delivered addresses to the University Fathers in Old Laurasian and Archleutan and attended a service at Paul Church; then there followed a series of public orations and disputations, a tour of the university campus, sermons, lectures, debates, and plays. On her last public appearance before departing from Ralina Vixius, the Empress delivered a final speech in Millian, which she had composed herself. By September 6, 1766, the Court was anxious to return to Laurasia Prime, but the Empress decided to make a detour to Kenillian Castle on Taurasia, and was entertained by the Earl of Leicesterius, even in the midst of the ongoing construction efforts. She expressed her satisfaction with the improvements which he had made. The Imperial Court finally returned to Laurasia Prime on September 11, 1766. Upon arrival, Aurelia declared that her progress of 1767 would be to the Malarian and Melarnarian Provinces, which she had not yet visited.
  • October 4-
    • On October 4, 1766, the Dejanican Diet of 1766 assembled in Warsaw, Dejanica Major, for its opening session. King Stanis Vorrust I, who had begun to demonstrate that he was in favor of reforming and updating the administrative and financial machinery of the Dejanican Commonwealth, had ordered for the Diet to convene, pursuant to its elective processes, by the decree of July 29, 1766. He had also been persuaded in that course of action by Diet Marshal Czartoyskia and by the members of the Familia faction, a sect of Dejanican nobles, gentleman, clergy, and government officials, among other prominent personages. The Familia faction believed that the constitution of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth was in need of major reform; they believed that their cooperation with the Laurasian Empire, as represented by Ambassador Repanius, would ensure the success of their efforts, and that they could secure the support of the Diet easily. Already, however, events had taken place which was to prove the ultimate lie to their hopes.
    • In May 1765, Ambassador Repanius, acting on the instructions of Chancellor Cecilis and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had permitted King Stanis to establish the Dejanican Corps of Cadets on Praga, a military academy for nobleman and "respectable gentlemen" of the Dejanican realms, and to create the Order of the Knights of Saint Stanis. King Stanis had also expanded the authority of the Commissions of the Treasury and the Military, and he worked to continue limiting the powers of the generalities, a process begun in 1764. In September 1765, however, Pruthian Ambassador Gostornost had compelled the Dejanican Treasury to abandon general customs on Dejanican imports to Pruthian territory; two months later, the Empress of Laurasia, in an official imperial manifesto, declared that she was dedicated to upholding the "traditional liberties and laws of the Commonwealth."
    • And finally, the dissenter argument had begun to arise as a major bone of contention in Commonwealth politics. The rights of Almitians, Pruthian Militarists, Austarlian Cultists, and Non-Orthodox Dejanicans, among others, had been curtailed by the Commonwealth Government, particularly at the diets of 1717 and 1736. This was in violation of Dejanican treaty undertakings with its neighbors: specifically, the Treaty of Oliva (1667) with Pruthia and Austarlia; the Treaty of General Intercourse (1675) with the Haxonian Confederacy and Franconia; the Eternal Peace Treaty (1686) with Laurasia; and the Treaty of Szembliskia (1708), also with Laurasia. In all of these treaties, the rights of non-Dejanican religions in the Commonwealth had been recognized. Instead, they were forbidden to obtain an occupation, to marry, to change residences, or to transport goods without the approval of Dejanican authorities; they could not construct new churches and other religious facilities without obtaining special government consent; and they were forced to oblige by Dejanican religious customs. In April 1764, Empress Aurelia had first raised the question of the rights of the "dissidents", as these religions were known to the Dejanicans, and on July 14, 1764, the Autocratic Pruthian and Imperial Laurasian Governments had issued a joint declaration demanding that the unspecified rights, liberties, and privileges of the dissidents should be restored to them. The Convocation Diet, however, showed little inclination to improve the situation of the dissidents, and ignored the declaration. Empress Aurelia had been agitated by this, but she and Chancellor Cecilis resolved to push the issue further.
    • King Stanis Vorrust, in December 1765, had indicated that in exchange for reforms in the sejimiks and the abolition of the liberum veto, he would be willing to support the grant of limited religious toleration to the dissidents. Aurelia, however, as well as Pru'a, had considered this insufficient. The Familia faction, on its part, did not wish to alienate the conservative Dejanican nobility and to arouse dissent against their program of reforms, and therefore refused to support religious toleration at this stage. Ambassador Repanius, consequently, was issued instructions by the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obstruct all proposals for reform; to use the funds at his disposal to influence the King and the Familia faction; to bribe deputies at the Diet; and to press for full concessions for the dissidents. Furthermore, on October 9, 1766, the Ambassador issued a declaration, composed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Rudomentus Sadielius. This declaration stressed the benefits which Laurasia had already conferred on Dejanica in assisting in the free election of a native king, and went on to demand full religious freedom for the dissidents. It stated that they should only be under the jurisdiction of secular courts, and should have the protection of the King. With the publication of this declaration, the various currents of thought in Dejanica were fully exposed. The King and his supporters were willing to support both constitutional reforms and limited religious toleration; the Familia faction, constitutional reforms but no religious toleration; and the reactionaries, opposed both reforms and toleration.
  • October 11-On October 11, 1766, with Laurasian Ambassador Sir Repanius having distributed as many bribes as he could, the Dejanican Diet rejected, through use of the liberum veto, the Reform Resolutions of 1766 which had been proposed by Marshal Czartoyskia, Chancellor Zamaskia, and the Commissions of the Treasury and Military. Chief among the resolutions had been the abolition of the liberum veto itself; the relaxation of some minor restrictions on religious minorities in Dejanican territory; the maintenance of free commerce with all of the Commonwealth's neighbors; and the establishment of a permanent executive council, to coordinate all Diet commissions and agencies. In his efforts to forestall constitutional reform in Dejanica, Ambassador Repanius was assisted by the newly appointed Pruthian Ambassador to the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Gededeon Bendoit (1729-96). Pruthian Emperor Pru'a IX was also determined not to permit for reform unless if toleration were granted to the dissidents. That, however, would continue to be a vain hope. Repanius, on October 14, occupied the systems and estates belonging to the Dejanican Patriarchs of Krakow and Vilinus. On November 8, 1766, however, the Diet passed by unanimous vote a resolution reaffirming all the previous laws dealing with the dissidents and spelling out their disabilities. Laurasian policy had killed reforms, but had defeated its own aims in the process. Empress Aurelia was angered by this, and she now ordered Ambassador Repanius to organize confederations of dissidents; to redouble his bribery efforts; and to reorganize the diplomatic garrison. On November 12, the Diet formally adjourned; the Laurasian Empire's agents were now actively engaged in fomenting dissent within the Commonwealth.
  • November 24-
    • At Cragmillar Citadel on Cragmillar, on November 24, 1766, which was located five light-years to the east of Ediania, Scottrian Queen Mariana held a conference with the Council of State and many of the leading nobles and magnates of the Scottrian Court, to "discuss the problem of Lord Darnley." Sir Jamsius Melville, who had become Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs two months earlier, and Chief Secretary Maitland were among the Queen's principal advisers who were present at the ceremony. The Earls of Argyll, Glencairn, Morton, Angus, and Arran, moreover, were also in attendance. Lord Darnley, on his part, had retired to visit with his father, the Earl of Lennaxia, at Glasgow. Over the course of the past several months, the relationship between Queen Mariana and her husband had continued to deteriorate. She had become more associated with Jamsius Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell (1734-78), who had accompanied the Queen when she returned to Ediania, following Rizzio's murder, and had offered her the use of his personal retrievers and his fortifications at Dunbar.
    • In mid-October 1766, the Queen, who was then staying at Jexburgh, made numerous trips to visit Bothwell at Hermitage Fortress; the Earl had fallen ill, and she wished to be in attendance on him. Rumors would later circulate that the Queen was already involved in an affair with Bothwell and that she was "duping" her husband, but Mariana was accompanied on these visits by government officials and her retinue of guards. Shortly afterwards, the Queen herself had fell ill; she had recovered on October 25, and credited this to her Franconian physicians. Now, at Cragmillar Citadel, she discussed the possibility of freeing herself from him. The marriage could not be annulled, however, for that would call into question the legitimacy of her son. Some lords, specifically Glencairn and Argyll, wished for the Queen to have Darnley arrested on charges of treason, but she was reluctant to do so at this stage.
  • December 17-The official christening of Prince Jamsius, Duke of Rothesay, Great Steward of Scottria, and heir apparent to the Scottrian throne, was, on December 17, 1766, formally conducted at the Temple of Clurs on Stirling. The magnificent ceremony, which was conducted with all of the pomp and circumstance of the traditional Scottrian faith, was attended by the ambassadors of all the foreign courts. The Laurasian, Spamalkan, and Franconian Ambassadors were the most prominent foreign personages at the ceremony. The boy's godparents were King Charman III of Franconia (represented by the Franconian Ambassador John, Count of Brienne, 1723-91); Empress Aurelia I of Laurasia (represented by the Laurasian Ambassador, Lysimachus Russalia, 2nd Earl of Bedfadia, 1727-85); and the High Regent of the Haxonian High Council, Emmanuel Philebert (represented by Haxonian Ambassador Philebert de Croac, 1700-85). The Earl of Bedfadia presented Queen Mariana with a gift for her son; a golden font, intricately carved and vividly enameled. Queen Mariana thanked the Empress of Laurasia vigorously for her gift. Lord Darnley, on his part, who simmered with resentment against his wife, and especially at the fact that she had denied him any role in the affairs of the government, refused to attend his son's own christening. In addition, Darnley declared that he believed his son was actually "the son of some court paramour" and that Mariana had not been faithful to him. Darnley remained with his father at Glasgow; at this time, Bothwell and other Scottrian Lords began to conceive a plot to murder him. Queen Mariana was completely unaware of their intentions, but she had hinted to many of her nobles that she could not tolerate her marriage with Darnley any longer. Darnley fell ill on December 21, but recovered within a few days. By the end of 1766, relations between Aurelia and Mariana had improved momentarily. That fragile friendship, however, was soon to be shattered irrevocably.

1767Edit

  • January 1-1767, the 67th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, having been provided with a heir apparent to the Scottrian throne, nevertheless being at the cusp of swift and dramatic events. The birth of Prince Jamsius had been cause for much rejoicing and hope throughout the Scottrian Homeland Territories, but at the same time, tensions were developing against the Royal Scottrian Government. By 1767, Queen Mariana's popularity had begun to weaken; the rumors circulating about her relationships, first with Secretary Rizzio (who had been murdered) and then with the Earl of Bothwell, had their impact on public opinion. Although the Queen's relations with Empress Aurelia of Laurasia had temporarily improved, those with her husband, Lord Darnley, had worsened. His refusal to be present at their son's christening had revealed to all the underlying tensions between the royal spouses. The Laurasian Empire, on its part, was involved in further interventions in the affairs of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Diet had adjourned in November 1766, having refused to recognize the rights of dissidents within the Dejanican dominions. Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Government, determined to assert the rights of dissidents and to extend Laurasian influence further over the Commonwealth, were now engaged in schemes to undermine Dejanica's stability; to bribe, and cajole, prominent Dejanican nobles, magnates, and officials to support Laurasian aims; and to hamper the reform efforts of King Stanis Vorrust I and his supporters. This year would thereby see the Empire's policies in the Commonwealth bear further fruit. The Marasharite Empire of Mustapha III, however, would also find itself alarmed by Laurasian ambitions, which would cause a rise of tensions between the two Empires and lead to the outbreak of war the following year.
  • January 20-
    • On January 20, 1767, Scottrian Queen Mariana, fearful of her husband's ambitions, and feeling some pity for him, visited him at Lennaxian House on Glasgow, where he had continued to reside with his father, the Earl of Lennaxia. Lord Darnley's health had remained in a weakened state, following his bout with illness in December 1766, and he was not as energetic or vigorous as before. Mariana had heard of her husband's predicament and had decided to extend an offer of leniency with him. On December 24, she had pardoned the murderers of Secretary Rizzio. Lord Ruthven had died on June 13, 1766, and he was therefore posthumously exonerated, having previously been denied the rights to a noble burial. Mariana hoped that by pardoning her secretary's murderers, she would be able to better present herself to Lord Darnley. The Queen of Scottria succeeded in her goals, for Darnley proved more susceptible than ever and was persuaded by his wife to return with her to Ediania. The Queen promised that when he had fully recovered from his illness, all "past injuries shall be totally forgiven" and that she would live with him as his wife, "as was her proper duty and position." The Queen's household, now including Lord Darnley and his attendants, departed from Glasgow during the late hours of January 20, arriving at Ediania the following day. Bothwell and the members of the Council of State, including the Earls of Moray and Glencairn, were waiting to greet the royal couple.
    • Upon arrival, they were conducted to Kirk o'Field, which was one of the most ancient residential structures in the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria. It had been inhabited as far back as the 22nd century BH, and had served as a priory for the Archclannairch of Ediania from the ninth to the sixteenth centuries. In 1595, Kirk o'Field had been acquired by the Douglains of Angus, who had held it until it was purchased by Patrick Hepburn, 1st Earl of Bothwell, in 1696. Since then, it had been one of the chief estates of the Hepburn family. Darnley had, in an action which seemed strange and out of character to many, requested to be lodged here, instead of at Craigmillar Castle, which had been suggested by his wife. Darnley was given quarters in the Prebendaries Chamber. Mariana on her part, returned to the Holyroodian Palace, but over the next several days, visited him often. Particularly on the night of January 21, the Queen gave every appearance of being a loving wife, playing cards and talking with her husband. Bothwell, on his part, met with Morton several times during January 1767, with Darnley's assassination being planned.
    • Soon afterwards, Queen Mariana announced (February 8, 1767), in a proclamation to her subjects, that she was finally willing to ratify the Treaty of Ediania, concerning her recognition of the present Laurasian rules of succession and her abandonment of the use of Laurasian heraldry in her personal coat of arms. This proclamation pleased Empress Aurelia greatly, and she told Chancellor Cecilis that this would make Laurasian efforts at intervention and influence in Scottria easier. The following day, Sir George Maraglain (1696-1769), departed from Ediania as the special envoy of the Scottrian Queen to the Imperial Court of Laurasia Prime. Mariana had intended to spend that night at Kirk o'Field with Darnley, but then remembered she had promised to attend a wedding masque at Holyroodian Palace in honor of her Franconian musician, Bastian Pagez (1725-97). She bid farewell to her husband, gave him a ring as a token of her love and goodwill, and departed in a torch-lit procession back to the Holyroodian Palace, where the masque then took place.
  • February 10-
    • At 2:00 a.m. Galactic Standard Time, during the early morning hours of February 10, 1767, a violent combustive explosion ripped through Kirk o'Field. This explosion was so powerful that it shook the ground, as if, according to eyewitness accounts, "an earthquake had struck", and all in the Royal City of Ediania were roused. Many of the City's inhabitants, in the immediate vicinity of Kirk o'Field, who had been resting or remaining in convalescence within the personal chambers of their residences, were now roused up by the great noise. Soon, thousands from all directions came running to Kirk o'Field. Upon arriving there, they found the ancient mansion, which was 4,042 years old, a smoldering heap of rubble, virtually incinerated by the explosion. Near the house lay the dead bodies of Darnley, who was naked beneath his nightgown, and that of his valet, William Taylor of Shetley (1740-67). They were surrounded by a cloak, a dagger, a chair, and a coat. The fact Darnley had only his night clothes on suggested he had fled in haste from his bedchambers. Both men had marks on their throats: people immediately determined that both had been strangled.
    • They were not killed by the explosion, which many concluded had been intended to destroy the evidence of murder. Some thought that Darnley, who had sensed something was wrong, had left the mansion with his servant and been attacked outside. An elderly neighbor claimed that he had heard him plead, "Pity me, kinsmen, for the sake of Him who has pitied all of us!" The first person who hastened into the alleys following the explosion was Captain William Blackadder (1731-68), one of Bothwell's servants. He was promptly arrested but swore he had merely been sharing a drink with a friend in a neighboring house. When Queen Mariana, who had been awoken by the blast, was informed that her husband was dead, she expressed shock and horror, vowing that her husband's murderers would be speedily "discovered" and punished. She expressed her belief that the murderers' intention had been to assassinate her as well. She said that if she had not attended Pagez's masque at Holyroodian Palace, she would have also been murdered. The Queen wasted no time in sending communiques to all foreign courts, announcing her "miraculous" escape. No one doubted that Darnley had been murdered: many had a motive for doing away with him, or stood to gain from his death.
    • Chief among these was the Queen herself, who no longer loved him and had discussed ways of ridding herself of him. She had also regarded him as a dangerous liability, and confessed to Archclainnarch Jamsius Beatonius of Glasgow (1717-93) that her husband was plotting to kidnap their son and rule in his name. Bothwell wanted Darnley dead so that he himself could marry Queen Mariana and rule Scottria. The other Scottrian lords, including Moray, Glencairn, and Argyll, hated Darnley with a passion and was still enraged on how had had betrayed them following Rizzio's murder. Philicus I of Spamalka, Charman III of Franconia, and Aurelia I of Laurasia all disliked Darnley, and each had their own motivations for doing away with him. Philicus and Charman believed Darnley hampered their efforts at maintaining positive relations with Scottria; Aurelia, conversely, believed that if Darnley were murdered, it would aid Laurasian efforts at dominating Scottria. For most, however, the evidence pointed overwhelmingly to Bothwell, and soon, to Queen Mariana.
  • February 24-Empress Aurelia, who had when receiving the news of Darnley's murder publicly expressed her "sadness" for her dear sister, officially penned, on February 24, 1767, an official response to Queen Mariana's earlier communique. The Empress of Laurasia had already been informed by the Imperial Intelligence Agency of the circumstances behind Darnley's death; the reports prepared by the Agency Director, Sir Balacrus Hevarnius (1715-74), indicated that Bothwell had hired Blackadder to rig the explosion at Kirk o'Field, and that Bothwell had been discussing for months, ways of disposing Darnley. In the official report, sent by Ambassador Bedfadia, none of this was mentioned, although the Ambassador himself supplied his sources to the Intelligence Agency. In her communique, Aurelia declared: "Madam, my ears have been so astounded and my heart so frightened to hear of the horrible and abominable murder of your former husband, our mutual cousin, that I have scarcely spirit to write; yet I cannot conceal that I grieve more for you than him. I should not do the office of a faithful cousin and friend if I did not urge you to preserve your honor, rather than look through your fingers at revenge on those who have done you that pleasure, as most have said. I exhort you, I counsel you, I beg you, to take this event so to heart that you will not fear to proceed against your nearest. I write thus vehemently, not that I doubt, but for affection." When writing this communique, Aurelia told Chancellor Cecilis that Mariana was being "held at the ears", and that if she failed to move against her husband's murderers, it would only confirm the rumors circulating against her. No one would mourn Darnley himself, but would nevertheless despise his wife's "complicity" in a murder plot. Catharina d'Medici, Queen Mother of Franconia (who would soon relinquish her regency duties to her son, now reaching his majority), had privately commented that Mariana was lucky to be free of Darnley, but that if she did not immediately pursue and punish the murderers, than Franconia would deem her dishonored and consider her an enemy.
  • March 12-Queen Mariana, who was determined to disassociate herself from the circumstances surrounding her husband's death, ordered, on March 12, 1767, an official inquiry by the Scottrian Bureau of Justice into her husband's murder. This investigation however, would turn out to be a travesty of justice, for the depositions of witnesses were extracted in often suspicious circumstances, even under torture. The Earl of Moray, who now stood to gain power in Scottria if his half-sister were to be overthrown, was to retain control of the documents gathered by the inquiry. This, however, now made them unreliable as evidence, for Moray immediately set about modifying the papers to his advantage, so as to make his half-sister more complicit in the murder. He and his supporters in the Scottrian Estates kept this a closely guarded secret from the Queen. Mariana, whose health at the time was poor, was paralyzed by indecision and reluctant to act against Bothwell. A week after Darnley's murder, he had been named in anonymous and obscene public placards on Ediania as the chief suspect.
  • March 20-Pavoro Garbania (1719-77), the Patriarch of Gnienzo and one of the most influential Dissenter prelates in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and thirty other Dissenter nobles, government officials, and gentry, announced, on March 20, 1767, the establishment of the Sluck Confederation. They did as was their right under the procedures of the Dejanican Constitution, which permitted for the establishment of noble "confederations" to present noble and ecclesiastical viewpoints to the Dejanican Diet and to the people of the Commonwealth. Sluck, where the Confederation was formed, was one of the chief strongholds in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, renowned for its engineering and shipbuilding sectors. The Confederation was formed partly on the persuasion and bribes of Laurasian Ambassador Repanius, who had continued to receive instructions from Chancellor Cecilis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Rudomentus Sadielius, to "provoke tensions and unrest in the Dejanican realms." The Sluck Confederation served to destabilize the Commonwealth's political affairs in the coming months. On April 5, the Thorn Confederation would be organized by another sect of nobles, led by Prince Ran'a Brazkius (1721-87), who were also opposed to the reform policies proposed by King Stanis Vorrust I. The Sluck and Thorn Confederations were comprised overwhelmingly of non-orthodox Dejanicans, Almitians, and Austarlian Ritualists, thereby representing the opposition of the dissenters to the Dejanican Government. On April 19, 1767, the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a manifesto confirming the Imperial Laurasian Government's "diplomatic and moral support" for these confederations.
  • April 12-
    • On April 12, 1767, the Earl of Bothwell's trial was conducted at the Parliamentary Palace of Ediania. Lord Darnley's parents had suffered much anguish, not only as a result of their son's murder, but also because the Queen of Scottria had seemed to be doing so little to bring the culprits to justice. On February 17, Empress Aurelia had, out of an act of kindness and compassion, released a distraught Lady Lennaxia from the Fortress of Baureux and entrusted her to the care of Sir Antiochus Saclallanius (1714-80), who resided on Dramis. Ambassador De Silva reported to his master, Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus, that the Countess of Lennaxia believed that Queen Mariana herself had been "involved in the business, as an act of revenge for the murder of her Haxonian secretary." The Earl of Lennaxia, who was an ardent enemy of Bothwell's, had managed, on April 2, 1767, to persuade Queen Mariana into allowing for Bothwell to be indicted on charges of murder, treason, and conspiracy, and brought to trial before the Scottrian Estates. Lennaxia's request for a delay to gather evidence, however, had been denied.
    • The witnesses who had been interrogated by the Bureau of Justice were too frightened to attend the trial, and according to Scottrian law, no one, not even the Queen, could compel them to testify. With Lennaxia absent and no concrete evidence presented, Bothwell was acquitted by the Estates after only seven hours. It was declared that he could not be tried for his crimes again. Empress Aurelia watched the proceedings in interest from Charasia, where she and the Imperial Court currently resided. The Empress boasted that if Bothwell had been in her realms, he would have been "speedily convicted and shot." She reveled in her status as the only truly absolute sovereign in the inter-galactic community (with the exception of the Grand Dukes of Masacavania) and believed that the constitutional situation in Scottria would prove beneficial to Laurasian aims.
  • April 20-The Earl of Bothwell, having been acquitted of the murder of Lord Darnley, invited many of the most prominent peers and clergymen in the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria to a formal dinner, conducted at his own expense, at Ainslie Tavern in Havarian City, Ediania. There, Bothwell managed to convince all of those in attendance to sign the Ainslie Tavern Bond (April 20, 1767). This bond confirmed his acquittal for the murder of Lord Darnley; declared that he was "completely innocent of all rumors and accusations brought against him"; recommended him as a potential husband for Queen Mariana; and enjoined its signatories to assist the Earl in defending such a marriage with the Queen. Both allies and enemies of Bothwell subscribed to the Bond. According to an intelligence report later prepared by Chancellor Cecilis for the Empress, the signatories were: the Earls of Moray, Argyll, Huntly, Cassilis, Morton, Sutherland, Rothes, Glencairn, Eroll, and Caithness; Lords Boyd, Seton, Sinclair, Sempill, Oliphant, Oglivie of Airlie, Herres, Howe, Elphinstone, Glamis, Fleming, Carleil of Torthonwald, and Innermath; the Archlainnarch of St. Andrews; and the Clainnarchs of Aberdeen, Galloway, Dunblane, Brechin, Ross, and Orkney. The day following the signing of the Ainslie Tavern Bond, Queen Mariana departed from Holyrodian Palace on Ediania to visit her son, Prince Jamsius, at Stirling. This visit lasted for two days, and the Queen made sure all of the arrangements for her son's household were set in order. This was to be the last time Mariana was to see her son.
  • April 24-
    • Queen Mariana, whose visit to her son Prince Jamsius at Stirling had concluded, was on her way back to Ediania when her escort halted near Brevies Garrison, a refueling and navigation beacon located eight light-years to the north of Ediania. There, however (April 24, 1767), the Earl of Bothwell and his personal starfighter squadrons suddenly appeared. Bothwell's fleet was unauthorized to appear at Brevies Garrison, and the command staff, without waiting for instructions from the Queen, immediately fired at him, so that he would leave. In the ensuing confrontation, however, Bothwell and his men managed to land on the Queen's personal flagship, HMS Clavarcie. The Earl, who was reckless with regard to his reputation or hers, abducted the Queen from her flagship and immediately had her stowed away on his personal starfighter. Mariana was unwilling to go with him, and ordered him to abstain from his "present course of action." Bothwell however, declaring his love for the Queen, and that no man could halt him as to his intentions, ignored her and ordered for his starfighter to hasten to Dunbar. The rest of his fleet followed, and Brevies Garrison immediately notified the government of Ediania that the Queen had been seized by Bothwell.
    • At Dunbar, which was under the control of his supporters, the Earl took the Queen to his personal bedchambers and had sexual intercourse with her. Melville would allege that this was against the Queen's will, but Mariana herself would later admit that she had succumbed to the Earl's charms and allowed him to lie with her. Their intercourse, however, now made it impossible for the Queen to refuse to marry him. At the same time that this was going on, Sir Arthurius Greysius, 14th Lord Greysius of Wiltonia (son of the elder Lord Greysius, who had died at Chesham's Star on December 14, 1762), arrived at Ediania as special envoy, with orders from the Empress to tell Mariana that she was "greatly perplexed" because the Queen of Scottria had failed to bring to justice her husband's murderers but had showered favor "upon such who have been connected with the crime." Mariana, however, was incommunicado, and the message could not be delivered. Empress Aurelia was then informed of Bothwell's abduction of Mariana: hearing of this, she was publicly shocked, but privately enthused. Mariana and Bothwell ultimately returned to Ediania on May 6; he had been officially pardoned of any crime, and the Queen was now actually besotted with him. Three days earlier, the High Clerical Court of Ediania had denounced Bothwell as an adulterer; this left him free to marry Queen Mariana.
  • May 15-
    • Scottrian Queen Mariana and the Earl of Bothwell were married, according to Scottrian rites, at the Holyroodian Palace in Ediania (May 15, 1767). Bothwell became Prince Consort and Duke of Orkney, making him the most powerful and influential nobleman in the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria. Queen Mariana had continued to assert that she had no choice in the matter. She also naively believed that the Scottrian nobility and people would accept her marriage. This, however, was soon to be dashed on the rocks of despair, revealed for the nonsense that it was. All were shocked that Mariana had married the man who was accused of murdering her husband. Empress Aurelia, on her part, continued to display a two-faced opinion on the whole matter. In private, she authorized for further reports and intelligence missions by the Agency to incite dissent against her cousin; Cecilis was already conducting a secret correspondence with the Earl of Moray and his supporters. Publicly, Aurelia deplored her cousin's behavior, which contrasted with her own following Lady Fausta Dudley's death under mysterious circumstances.
    • In a communique to Mariana, sent on May 17, two days after the wedding, the Empress wrote that "Madam, it has been always held in friendship that prosperity provides acquaintances but adversity provides friends. It is my duty to tell you what I think. To be frank with you, why would you allow yourself to be tied, in marriage, to a subject who, lacking any traits of prudence, loyalty, and patriotism, has been charged with the murder of your late husband? And especially one who abducted you from your entourage in such a brash manner? You see my opinion on the matter, and I'm sorry I can't provide you any better. I am willing to do everything in my power to procure the punishment of that murderer against any subject you have, however dear you hold him, and I hope that you ensure that your son may be preserved to the comfort of you and your realm."
  • June 7-Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court departed from Laurasia Prime, on June 7, 1767, to commence the formal progress of 1767. As she had promised the previous year,Aurelia conducted her progress in the Malarian and Melarnarian Provinces. Pasquarillo, Palmisiano, Azov, Paradine, Courdina V, Gordasis, Melarnaria, Kamachina, Welch, Johnald, Terell, the Jar Asteroids, the Maluyta Nebula, Evans, Ettleman, Goodman, Meehan, Manzo, Aingley, Almastead, Acabania, Takrania, Malaria Prime, Odika, White, and the worlds of the Narvut Corridor would all be graced by the presence of the Empress and the Imperial Court during the course of the next three months. During all this time, the Empress and her ministers would keep a close watch on events in Scottria and in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • June 11-
    • At Musselburgh, thirty prominent nobles, gentlemen, and personages of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria formally assembled, in what became known as the Conference of Musselburgh (June 11, 1767). Queen Mariana's foolish and rash marriage with the Earl of Bothwell had finally driven many of the Scottrian nobles to despair; they could not tolerate her marriage under those circumstances. Having rid themselves of Rizzio and Darnley, they were in no mood to endure the ambitious and ruthless Bothwell as King of Scottria. Therefore, William Kirclady of Grange, one of the chief military commanders of the realm, took his place as leader of the Confederate Lords, as they now called themselves. Many of those who had signed the Ainslie Tavern Band were now among those opposed to Queen Mariana and her government.
    • The Earls of Morton, Mar, Gowrie, and Glencairn were Kirclady's most prominent supporters, and brought him considerable numbers of retainers, revers, and supplies for use in a military confrontation. Lords Lindsay, Home, Semphill, and Sanquhar, as well as the Lairds Murray of Tullibardine, Douglain of Drumlanrig, and their supporters also subscribed to the Musselburgh Confederation. In their proclamation, which was announced on the Holonet and circulated throughout the Scottrian Homeland Territories, the Confederate Lords declared that their goals were to "deliver the Queen from destruction, revenge the Prince Consort's murder, and preserve the security of Prince Jamsius." Mariana, however, hearing of their proclamation, issued a manifesto from Ediania, denouncing them as traitors and commanding for her loyal subjects to refuse to heed their appeals. The following day, it was announced that the Queen and the Earl of Bothwell would be taking command of government forces personally, to suppress the Musselburgh Confederation and "restore order to these realms." The Earls of Moray and Rothes remained on Ediania; both however, encouraged the Confederates, and were in secret correspondence with Lord Kirclady of Grange.
  • June 12-On June 12, 1767, Sir Ricomedius Richius, 1st Baron Richius, former Procurator-General of the Laurasian Empire (1747-52) and one of the most infamous figures of the reign of Antigonus III, died at Rochardian Estate in Estatius, Kigonia, aged 71. He was known for his role in the convictions of Bishop John Fisherius and former Chancellor Sir Thomasius Morius. Richius, however, was very much respected in his own lifetime, and in 1766, the year before his death, had been consulted by the Privy Council on the question of Empress Aurelia's marriage. He was buried on Kigonia with much honor on June 21.
  • June 15-
    • During the early morning hours of June 15, 1767, Queen Mariana and the Earl of Bothwell departed from Fa'side Garrison, located three-light years southeast of Musselburgh, and assumed their operational positions at Carberry, which was located at the outskirts of the Musselburgh star system. The Lords Seton, Hay of Yester, Borthwick, Cockburn of Ormiston, Home of Wedderburn, Blackadder of Tulliallan, Cockburn of Langtoun, and Hamilton, acted as the commanders of the government squadrons and were among the chief supporters of the Earl of Bothwell. Mariana's army made use of fortified positions which had been constructed by the Laurasian forces of Lord Protector Seymouris, on the eve of the Battle of Cleughia, twenty years earlier. They were armed with turbocannon and arequbuises which had been brought from Dunbar. The Queen also had a corps of shocktroopers, commanded by Captains Alexander Stewart and Hew Lauder, of the Royal Guards. All total, Mariana's force (also including pike-fighters) numbered 200 warships and 1,000 support craft. The Confederate Lords, whose force had a similar number of starships and personnel, approached from Musselburgh. They approached Carberry from the far side, having fooled Mariana's commanders into believing that they were pressing towards Dalkeith.
    • The Battle of Carberry lasted from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Galactic Standard Time. Bothwell, as was Scottrian tradition, offered single combat to any of the Confederate Lords. Kirclady of Grange accepted the challenge, but Bothwell insulted him by declaring he would not fight with him, as he was only a baron. He also refused Lords Murray of Tullibardine and Lindsay, who also took up the challenge. A few hours later, Blackadder of Tulliallan and Home of Wedderburn abandoned the Queen's forces, claiming they were under the impression that Bothwell was about to order a retreat. Bothwell knew that he could not fight with the Confederate Lords on equal terms, and with his starfighter squadrons, fled "like a coward" to Dunbar. Queen Mariana, on her part, received from the Lords an oath of allegiance. They promised to do her no harm, and that they would preserve the Crown, if she surrendered to them and allowed them to escort her back to Ediania. Mariana, believing their promises, accepted, and Kirclady of Grange himself escorted the Queen's flagship into the ranks of the rebel forces. When Empress Aurelia learned of Mariana's submission to her lords, she declared that her cousin's folly and ignorance would be her downfall.
  • June 18-
    • Queen Mariana arrived at Ediania, under escort from the Confederate Lords (June 18, 1767). The Earls of Morton and Mar (1709-72; John Erksine), had prevailed upon Lord Kirclady of Grange to deal with the Queen in a "stricter and harsher manner" and not to treat her as his sovereign. Kirclady of Grange had, therefore, had her placed under guard, as if she was a common felon; denied her the use of writing materials; and refused to submit himself in the Queen's presence. Mariana demanded why she was being treated in such a manner, but was told by Lords Home and Semphill that she did not deserve any longer, on account of her actions with Bothwell, to be treated fairly. At Ediania, it became starkly apparent how her subjects now felt about her. As the Queen was escorted through the packed ways, crowds reviled her as an adulteress and murderess, and screamed "Burn the whore! Kill her! Drown her!" Mariana, who was enraged by this, cried "I will hang and crucify them all!" Her humiliation, however, was complete. Placards which depicted her as a prostitute confronted her at every turn. Two days after the degradation on Ediania, Queen Mariana was, on the orders of the Confederate Lords, imprisoned in Lochleven Fortress, which was located nearly a thousand light years away from Ediania in the District of Kinross. She was placed in the custody of Sir William Douglain of Lochleven (1740-96). Lochleven had originally been colonized by the Pictian Scottrians in 829, during the reign of King Drest (r. 812-52).
    • It had remained in the possession of the Pictian Government until 1185, when King Conall (r. 1185-89) granted it to Laird Ewan McGrange of Gregor (1150-1205). The McGrange family held Lochleven for over two centuries, until in 1386 King Kenneth II (r. 1377-95) confiscated it when Laird Dustar McGrange (1332-86) was convicted of treason. Lochleven was again in the possession of the central government until 1590, when King Robert III (r. 1590-1606) granted it to the Douglain family. The Douglains would continue to hold Lochleven until 1779, when, following Laurasia's conquest of Scottria, it would be redistributed to the Earl of Jadia. The Queen of Scottria had nothing with her but the clothes she wore, and she was pregnant with twins, Bothwell's children. In the meantime, the Earl of Moray revealed himself for what he was, and now declared that he could no longer pay allegiance to his half-sister. He and the Confederate Lords were now in a formal alliance, and they assumed the duties of governance. Aurelia, on her part, although publicly deploring Mariana's imprisonment and calling it "a crime against monarchy", was pleased, for the removal of Mariana would mean the removal of the chief obstacle to Laurasian influence in Scottria.
    • Shortly afterwards, Sian McCullough (1736-75), who had been personal steward to the Earl of Bothwell himself, was, on June 20, 1767, arrested and forced to deliver to the Earl of Morton what was to become known as the Casket Letters-a collection of correspondence which was said to be between Queen Mariana and Bothwell, which, if authentic, appeared to incriminate the Queen of being an accessory to murder. The Confederate Lords, who now had this correspondence in their possession, told Queen Mariana that she must choose between being put on trial, with the Casket Letters being offered as evidence; abdicating; or divorcing Bothwell. She refused to consider any of these opinions, and even said she would be willing to leave with Bothwell. Bothwell, on his part, had evaded patrol vessels sent by Kirclady of Grange and Morton, and was able to escape to the Vendragian Confederacy.
  • June 23-The Radom Confederation was established on June 23, 1767 at Radom, in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, constituting another pro-Laurasian cell within the confines of Dejanica. This confederation was established with the financial and moral assistance of the Laurasian Ambassador, Hereditary Prince Sir Nicholas Repanius of Kalbacha. Repanius, who had already organized the Sluck and Thorn Confederations, was now instrumental in the creation of this group, which was opposed to any reforms and was determined to maintain the Golden Liberties of the Dejanican nobility. Lithuanian Prince Karol Dagonius (1734-90), who was probably the most ardent opponent of reform in the Commonwealth, and had worked to obstruct such policies at past diets, served as Marshal of the Confederation. Empress Aurelia authorized the continued distribution of bribes and favors to nobles throughout Dejanica, in light of the Confederation's mortion.
  • July 2-Empress Aurelia dispatched Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia, on July 2, 1767, to Ediania, officially to bring about a reconciliation between Queen Mariana and her peers, and insist on her restoration. When that had been accomplished, he was to demand that Darnley's murderers be pursued and brought to trial. He was to ensure that Prince Jamsius was kept safe. If possible, the child should be brought to the Laurasian Empire to be reared under the Empress's protection. Secretly, Thorckmortonia was commanded to ensure that all effort was made for Mariana's deposition and that Moray and his supporters were encouraged towards this end. When he arrived at Ediania, Thorckmortonia made his public pleas; as had been predicted, the Lords rejected them and even "threatened" to ally with Franconia. In private, however, he held conferences with Moray and others, assuring them that the Empress supported them in "all they undertook." Mariana, on her part, received a communique from Thorckmortonia, urging her to divorce Bothwell, but she refused.
  • July 24-
    • The Confederate Lords, after having consulted with Sir Nicholas Thorckmortonia and Ambassador Bedfadia, now decided that Queen Mariana must be forced to abdicate in favor of her son. Lord Lindsay (1712-89; Patrick Lindsay, 6th Lord Lindsay of the Byres) volunteered to demand this of Queen Mariana. He intruded into her bedchambers, without any indication being given to her of his arrival, and demanded that she sign a declaration of abdication. Mariana refused to do so, and requested that her case be heard by the Scottrian Estates. Lindsay threatened that if she did not cooperate, he would kill her. At this, she capitulated, and signed a abject declaration of abdication (July 24, 1767). The reign of Mariana I of Scottria, the only Queen Regnant in Scottrian history, which had lasted for nearly twenty-five years, had therefore come to an end. The news of Mariana's deposition from the Scottrian throne was met with mixed reactions throughout inter-galactic civilization. In Franconia, both King Charman III and his mother, Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici, who had been critical of Mariana's dealings with the Earl of Bothwell and her failure to punish the murderers of her husband, nevertheless declared that her deposition from the Scottrian throne was unlawful and beyond the range of her subjects.
    • Emperor Philicus I expressed similar sentiments, declaring that the Scottrian realms would be cursed for having condoned the deposition of a lawful monarch. Laurasian Empress Aurelia, on her part, announced in a manifesto from the Imperial Court that she could not "countenance the deposition of a lawful Queen from her hereditary throne." In private, however, the Empress of Laurasia continued to express to her advisers her belief that the recent turmoil in Scottria would permit for a further extension of Laurasian influence and power at the expense of that kingdom. Five days after Mariana formally abdicated as Queen, her son Jamsius was crowned King of Scottria at Stirling, in accordance with Scottrian rites. Mariana's captors went out of their way to insult her, and John Knox, who had now become Chief Regent of the Scottrian Congregations, delivered a sermon at the coronation praising the accession of Jamsius to the throne and denouncing Mariana as an "adulteress and a repulsive slut."
  • July 27-
    • Empress Aurelia, expressing further her public outrage at the deposition of Mariana from the Scottrian throne, commanded Thorckmortonia, on July 27, 1767, to demand of the Scottrian Estates why they had deposed their "rightful sovereign" from her hereditary throne, and "under what law is it that subjects may arrest the person of their Prince, detain them captive and proceed to judge them? No such law is to be found in any realm." With Mariana deprived of her throne, the Empress of Laurasia threatened that she would intervene to "restore proper order and punish those who had contrived, in a vain and evil fashion, to uproot and destroy rightful monarchy." Thockmortonia, fully aware of the Empress's duplicity and double-dealing in regards to Scottrian affairs, told Leicesterius in a private communique that any effort to retrieve Mariana would result in her death. The Scottrian Lords refrained from executing Mariana, partly because of the Empress's denunciations of their treatment of her.
    • War however, now seemed to be a possibility, and relations between the Empress and her Scottrian "allies" were now frigid. The Empress continued to act as if she were outraged by their actions. She recalled Thockmortonia back to the Laurasian Empire on August 5; denounced the Musselburgh Confederation and their rebellion against Mariana; and continued to press for Mariana's release. In private, however, Aurelia assured Moray that she was fully aware of his position of power in the Scottrian realms, and he himself told Cecilis that he knew that the Empress was actually in favor of Mariana having been deposed. On August 11, however, Aurelia, keeping up public appearances, berated Cecilis in public and declared that he had been responsible for the troubles in the Scottrian realms, a truly absurd claim.
  • August 22-The Earl of Moray, whose position of power in the Scottrian realms was secure, and who was fully confident that he would resist all pressures by his potential enemies, was, on August 22, 1767, formally appointed Regent of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria by the Scottrian Estates and the Council of State. In his oath of office, Moray pledged to preserve the interests of "His Most Honorable Highness, King Jamsius VI" and to maintain the integrity, stability, and prosperity of the Scottrian realms. Empress Aurelia reacted harshly to Moray's assumption of the Regency, and continued to denounce his government. Withholding recognition for Jamsius as King of Scottria, the Empress, then at Kamachina, issued manifestos denouncing Mariana's deposition from the throne and demanding for "proper rule to be restored in Scottria." The Empress and the Imperial Court returned to Laurasia Prime from the progress on September 4, and she held additional discussions with the Privy Council over what had transpired in Scottria.
  • September 21-On September 21, 1767, Haynsian Despot Everan II Karany was forced to abdicate by Marasharite Emperor Mustapha III, due to his perceived inability to control the intrigues of his nobles and military commanders in the Haynsian Court. The Emperor now recalled the ex-Despot Arbai Karany back to the Haynsian throne. Arbai, who had moved to Chios two years earlier, had regained favor with the Marasharite Court and had been instrumental in the suppression of the Haynsian Renegade Pirates at Lesbos in January 1767. As a result for this service, Mustapha decided to restore him to the throne. Arbai, however, did not have long to live; he died on December 22, 1767 at Kaushany in the Great Tesmanian Cloud, before he was able to make his formal return progress to Haynes. Following Arbai's sudden death, his son Jay XIII was elevated to the Haynsian throne by Emperor Mustapha. Jay was formally installed as Despot on January 15, 1768.
  • October 5-
    • On October 5, 1767, the Convocation Diet of 1767 assembled in Warsaw, Dejanica Major. The Diet had been convened by King Stanis Vorrust I in August 1767, responding to pressures exerted by the Laurasian Ambassador, Sir Nicholas Repanius, and to the petitions of the Thorn and Radom Confederations. Lithuanian Prince Karol Dagonius, Marshal of the Radom Confederation, was one of those who had urged the convening of the Diet. Ardently opposed to reform, as mentioned above, Dagonius had made petitions to the Imperial Laurasian Government on Laurasia Prime, urging for the Empire to acknowledge the continuation of Dejanican immunities and privileges in the Commonwealth, and to prevent "young and inexperienced fools" from ruining the welfare of the Dejanican realms. Empress Aurelia, responding to these "pleas" from the Radom Confederation, ordered Ambassador Repanius to now act to the contrary of what Dagonius had requested.
    • Once the Diet had convened, Ambassador Repanius ordered for the Diplomatic Garrison to occupy all the approaches to the city of Warsaw. He then proceeded to surround the Diet Chambers with Laurasian troops, placing some of them inside the halls to ensure that the members voted as he instructed them. At first, the Diet refused to be imitated. Four Patriarchs of the Dejanican Order now arose in order to resist Laurasian dictates: Was'la Hieronmim Sireavakia, Patriarch of Liv (1699-1784); Felix Turki, Patriarch of Chocim (1729-1800); Kajetan Soltyk, Patriarch of Krakow (1715-88); and Joseph Zaluski, Dejanican Patriarch of Lavella (1702-74). Soltyk and Zaluskiu in particular protested Laurasian interference, and both Patriarchs passionately defended Dejanican religious policy. On October 12, Repanius, acting with authorization from the Empress, and seeking to break anti-Laurasian opposition in the Diet, ordered for the arrest of Patriarchs Soltyk and Zaluski, as well as Prince-Hetman Warclaw Rzewskia (1706-79) and his son Sewereyn (1743-1811). These Dejanican notables were imprisoned, on the orders of the Laurasian Empress, at the Ice Prison of Iego, where they were to be held in confinement for the next five years.
  • October 16-On October 16, 1767, Archleutan Field-Marshal Burkhard von Munnich, 1st Duke of Archleuta, Minister of Defense and Head of the Imperial General Headquarters of the Laurasian Empire, and one of the most prominent and successful military commanders in the Empire during the eighteenth century, died at the age of 84 at the Governor's Palace in Dorpat, Zennethia. Munnich, whose health had entered a severe decline from December 1760, had requested leave from his duties on Laurasia Prime. This had been granted without demur by Empress Aurelia, who had appointed him as Director-General of Imperial Spaceport Facilities in January 1762 and assigned him to headquarters on Zennethia. Although he was a alien, his death was greeted with much mourning at the Imperial Court. Munnich was buried with full honors at his family plot in Dorpat on October 29.
  • November 4-
    • On November 4, 1767, Haxonian Doge Girolamo Pruili died at the Doges' Palace on Haxonia Prime. He was eighty-one years old at the time of his death. Doge Pruli had pursued a policy of moderation and restraint as regards to the Haxonian Confederacy's foreign affairs. He had been conciliatory towards Laurasia, Pruthia, Austarlia, and Spamalka, but also maintained the Confederacy's own interests. His reign had witnessed the further extension of Haxonian colonial territories, with the Fourth Hanoi War in Vietnam (1759-61), the conquest of Kampuchea (1762), and the Dzungarian Campaigns (1763-76), ongoing at the time of his death. By 1767, the Haxonian Confederacy controlled the fourth-largest colonial empire of any state in extra-galactic civilization, after Spamalka, Vendragia, and Portugallia. Besides the Haxonian Homeland Territories, consisting of Haxonia proper, Venetia, Inner and Lower Dalmatia, Istria, Haxonian Lombardy, Ravenna, San Marino, and the Papal Marches, Haxonia extended its jurisdiction over Morea, the Peloponnese, Aetolia, Corinth, Sparta, Lower Epirus, Grecian Macedonica, the Ionias, Crete, Cyprus, Galatia, Cilicia, Tana, Negroponte, the Cyrene Colonies, and Mebeda.
    • Among the possessions it held in the Crone Galaxy and in the Colonial Amulak included the Congo, Cameroon, the Cote d'Ivorie, Niger, Nigeria, the Lower Saharan Colonies, the Lower Congo, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Djibouti, Eritrea, Chad, and Ganbul; as well as the Haxonian Spice Colonies, Hawaii, the Aleutians, and the Cook Systems; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Persia, Socotra, and Muscat; Dzungaria, Xinjang, and Mongolia; Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos; Korea, Japan, and Hokkiado; and Palau. Thus, it was a very formidable power, and a match for Spamalka, Vendragia, Franconia, and Laurasia. Pruili's death was received with much mourning throughout the Haxonian dominions; he was the most respected Doge since the reign of Andrea Gritti. Following a contentious two-week election, Pietro Loredan (1682-1770), the grandnephew of Doge Leonardo Loredan, was elected Doge himself. He was aged eighty-five at his accession to the Dogeship, and was in declining health. Loredan was crowned as Doge on December 11.
  • November 7-Nearly a month after ordering the arrest and deportation of his most ardent opponents in the Dejanican Diet, Sir Nicholas Repanius was finally able to bring the Diet to a vote on Laurasian demands. On October 29, the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a communique which had been penned by Chancellor Cecilis, and edited by Empress Aurelia herself. In this communique, it was declared that Repanius had the full support of the Imperial Laurasian Government; that Dejanican religious policy was "illogical and utterly oppressive"; and that it would be prudent for the Diet to seek to alleviate the distress suffered by minorities in Dejanica. Ambassador Repanius had also continued to bribe nobles among the Diet to support his aims. Among those who received Laurasian bribes was Gabriel Podoskia (1719-77), Primate of the Dejanican Commonwealth and Supreme Patriarch of the Dejanican Orthodoxic Order. Some members of the Diet had continued to defy Laurasian demands, and looked to their King to resist them also. Stanis Vorrust, however, was unable to be a leader in such a crisis, and many accused him of betraying the Commonwealth to the Laurasians. Therefore, on November 7, 1767, with numerous absentees in the chambers, and with Laurasian blasters gleaming everywhere, the Diet finally agreed to reverse the earlier policies of religious discrimination. Following this, they were formally prorogued by King Stanis Vorrust for three months, so that a governmental commission of Dejanican officials could hammer out the terms of the agreements with the Ambassador.
  • December 10-
    • In June 1767, Empress Aurelia had dispatched the Earl of Jadia to the Austarlian Court on Vienna to invest Empress Mar'va Tarvania, and her son and co-ruler, Emperor Joseth II, with the Order of St. Antiochus the Great and to inspect Archduke Char'vak. She had relented on her earlier reluctance to rely on "observations" of her potential future husband, and was now willing to allow for a report to be made of the Archduke's characteristics and physical looks. Jadia performed his mission diligently, and his reports were encouraging: according to him, Char'vak was tall with reddish-brown hair and a beard, with a "well-proportioned face, amiable, and of a good complexion; his countenance and speech are cheerful, very courteous, and not without some state; his body is well-shaped, without any deformity or blemish; his legs are clean, well-proportioned, and of sufficient stature for a man of his height." A fluent speaker in four languages, Char'vak was respected for his courage and his intelligence. He excelled at hunting, riding, physical games, and other exercises. The remaining obstacle to the conclusion of the marriage negotiations was the religious issue, since Char'vak would not, even to please Aurelia, renounce his faith. The Austarlian co-monarchs were by this point willing to compromise; if the Empress would relent and allow Char'vak to attend Austarlian services in private while publicly accompanying her to Almitian services, the Archduke would undertake never to undermine the Imperial Almitian Church and would be ready to marry the Empress at once.
    • In October, Jadia had sent a communique to the Empress, urging her to accept this offer. Knowing this issue to be highly contentious, Aurelia had asked her ministers for their advice. Chancellor Cecilis and the Duke of Norfolkius were in favor of accepting this compromise, but Leicesterius, as well as Venusia, Aeoleon, Winchestrius, and Knollysis, were opposed. Even though she realized that she could not delay in giving the Archduke an answer for much longer, the Empress could not make up her mind, and for several weeks opposing factions of Councilors clashed to bring her over to their point of view. Jadia was enraged to hear that Leicesterius was using every means within his power to prevent negotiations from proceeding forth. Leicesterius, however, emerged victorious, as on December 10, 1767, the Empress brought eight years of intermittent negotiations to an end by informing Jadia, in an official communique, that it was against her conscience to allow Char'vak to practice his religion in private. Even if she personally permitted it, it could arouse the dissent of her subjects and the Almitian Church. Austarlian Empress Mar'va Tarvania was appalled, refusing to allow Char'vak to meet with Aurelia to discuss the religious issue. Jadia, who was despondent, handed over the Order and began his journey back to the Empire; he would arrive at Katherine on December 25, where the Imperial Court was residing at the end of 1767. In reaching this decision, the Empress had acted wisely, averting the threats of religious controversy and possible rebellion or even civil war. She had not forgotten the anti-foreign views of her Laurasian subjects, and knew they would not tolerate having an Emperor Consort who did not profess the Almitian faith. As the year 1767 came to a close, however, other concerns were brewing for the Empress.

1768Edit

  • January 1-1768, the 68th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire confronted by diplomatic crises concerning two of its neighbors, the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria and the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Dejanica, the efforts of Ambassador Sir Nicholas Repanius to assert Laurasian influence there, and to fulfill the aims of Empress Aurelia and her ministers, had resulted in the Dejanican Diet finally being compelled to agree to the rights of dissidents. In accordance with this, a governmental commission had been established, and had, since November 1767, been hard at work on formulating the terms of the general religious and diplomatic settlement with Laurasia. Anti-Laurasian tensions, however, were boiling up throughout the Dejanican Dominions. Many considered King Stanis Vorrust I's inability to defend against Laurasian aggression and interference in Dejanican internal affairs to be a sign of weakness, and that firm action needed to be taken to preserve the Commonwealth's territorial integrity and prestige. These tensions were to explode against the Laurasian Empire in the ensuing months. In the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, the overthrow of Mariana I, the coronation of her son Jamsius VI, and the installation of Mariana's half-brother, the Earl of Moray, as Regent had all served to bred civil disunion and unrest within the Scottrian Homeland Territories, to the benefit of the Laurasian Empire. Civil war was now to erupt among the Scottrian nobility, and the former Queen of Scottria herself was to make a dramatic escape from imprisonment, and into the hands of her cousin, the Empress of Laurasia. The Haynsian Despotate, on its part, continued to provoke the Empire with raiding expeditions into the Outer Borderlands and into the Borderland Territories. Marasharite Emperor Mustapha III found himself seriously alarmed by Laurasian activities in both Dejanica and Scottria, and believed that only war would restrain his Laurasian counterpart's ambitions. This year was to see the outbreak of the next military conflict for the Laurasian Empire in the eighteenth century, which would culminate in the completion of Laurasia's centuries-long conquest of the Caladarian Galaxy.
  • February 12-On February 12, 1768, the future Holy Austarlian Emperor Fransios II, known later as the Inexperienced (r. 1792-1835), was born at Florencia, capital world of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. He was to be the only son of another future Emperor, Lea'dus II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and of his wife, Maria Luisa of Spamalka (1745-92), cousin of Holy Spamalkan Emperor Philicus I. Fransios's childhood would be spent at both the Tuscanian and the Holy Austarlian Courts.
  • February 27-
    • The Dejanican Diet of 1767, which had been prorogued since November of the previous year, was, on February 27, 1768, formally summoned by King Stanis Vorrust I back to the Dejanican Halls in Warsaw, to accord approval to the arrangements of the Negotiations Commission. In January 1768, the Commission had fixed the final terms of a Dejanican-Laurasian treaty of alliance; Empress Aurelia had, through Chancellor Cecilis, expressed her approval for the Commission's proposals and ordered Ambassador Repanius to ensure their acceptance by the Diet. Repanius, obliging by the Empress's commands, and employing his earlier strategies of intimidation and force, again surrounded the Diet Chambers with troops. The Diet, which had been compelled to obey the will of the Imperial Laurasian Government, and which was no longer willing to provide its opposition, now passed a series of resolutions, under the guidance of Marshal Czartoyskia, to formally ratify the Treaty of Warsaw. This treaty, which was signed by Repanius as the plenipotentiary for the Laurasian Empire, and by the members of the Negotiations Commission in the name of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Government and of King Stanis Vorrust, confirmed the religious and alliance arrangements which had been reached the previous year. By the terms of the treaty, "Her Imperial Majesty, the venerable and most Autocratic Empress Aurelia of Laurasia" was formally acknowledged as the protectoress of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Empress of Laurasia pledged herself to "preserve inviolate" the ancient liberties and customs of the Commonwealth and her subjects.
    • All of the most ancient elements of the Dejanican governmental system were confirmed by the Treaty of Warsaw as "Cardinal Laws", which no King or Diet could ever alter. Among these "Cardinal Laws" were to be the "free election" of all future Dejanican monarchs; the liberum veto in the Dejanican Diet; the right of resistance to the King and his ministers; the exclusive right of the Dejanican nobility to hold offices and possess landed estates; the immunity of all Dejanican magnates and nobles from punishment by the King or the Commission of Justice unless if they were tried by legal procedures and by peers of their ranking; the arrangements of union between the Kingdom of Dejanica and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, including the provisions for separate legal, educational, military, and police systems; and the right to form confederations. The rights of minorities, in accordance with the treaties of the past two centuries with foreign powers (such as the Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686, the Treaty of Szembslikia of 1708, and the Treaty of Idyll of 1735) were to be upheld by the Commonwealth Government.
    • No longer were Almitians or other religious nonconformists to be denied the right to construct and worship in their own religious edifices; they were permitted to abstain from observing Dejanican rites, and were to have rights of petition to the King of Dejanica directly. Dejanican clergymen were forbidden to denounce "nonbelievers" in their sermons or to pass restrictions on the daily lives of those not belonging to the Dejanican Order. In addition, the rights of commoners were upgraded, so that the killing of a common man was now considered murder, instead of manslaughter; a formal government mint was to be organized; and the liberum veto could no longer be employed by the local generalities. All of these reforms were guaranteed by the Laurasian Empress, Aurelia I. And finally, the Diplomatic Garrison on Dejanica was to be maintained to defend Laurasian interests, while the Commonwealth pledged not to make any changes to its constitutional system or to enter into foreign alliances without the approval of its protectoress, the Empress of Laurasia. The Treaty of Warsaw aroused the anger of many in Dejanica, many of whom were becoming increasingly anti-Laurasian. Empress Aurelia, who would formally ratify the Treaty of Warsaw during the early hours of February 28, hailed it as a victory, and sent Ambassador Repanius a gift of €1.7 billion dataries as a reward for his efforts.
  • February 29-
    • Just two days after the Treaty of Warsaw was formally accepted by the "Repanian Diet" (as the Diet of 1767-68 became known), a group of Dejanican nobles formally assembled at the Dejanican military stronghold of Bar, which was located in Dejanican Podolia (February 29, 1768). Among the Dejanican magnates who assembled at Bar were Adamis Kranskia, Patriarch of Kamnieniec (1714-1800), Michal Kranskia (1712-84), Michal Jan-Pac (1730-87), Marek Jandoclowizkia (1713-99), Michal Wielhorskia (1730-94), and Casimirius Pulaskia (1745-79). All of these magnates, who considered themselves to be patriots and believed all of their actions were to the benefit of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth and her subjects, were opposed to King Stanis Vorrust and to the Laurasian Empire. Pulaskia, in particular, a young and ambitious Dejanican military officer, believed that it was his mission to bring liberty and prosperity to the Dejanican realms. In accordance with Dejanican constitutional traditions, they signed Articles of Confederation, announcing their opposition to the decisions of the Repanian Diet. Denouncing the Treaty of Warsaw as "the production of evil ideologues", they declared that they would overthrow Laurasian political influence in Dejanica. The confederates now received financial aid from the Holy Austarlian Empire under Mar'va Tarvania (who was still angered by the failure of marriage negotiations with Empress Aurelia) and from King Charman III of Franconia, who was wary of Laurasian interventions and actions in Dejanican territory.
    • On March 6, the Confederation of Bar formally issued a declaration of war against the Laurasian Empire, triggering the War of the Bar Confederation. This conflict, which dragged on for the next four years, would ultimately result in the First Partition of Dejanica, an outcome which the Confederates, through their acts of rebellion, had sought to avoid. The Confederation's forces were irregular and heterogeneous, comprised of volunteers, magnate militias, and deserters from the Royal Dejanican Army. Within days of the declaration of war, these forces found themselves at odds with the Imperial Laurasian Garrison on Dejanica Major and with the Royal Dejanican Military. Confederate forces were, by agreement of the Confederate Council, placed under the command of Magnate Michal Jan-Pac and Prince Karol Dagonius (who, infuriated by the Treaty of Warsaw, had defected to the Confederation's cause on March 2 and added his signature to the Articles of Confederation), who now ranged extensively from the Confederation's headquarters on Bar and conducted a series of campaigns against governmental bases, star systems, and outposts. During March 1768, the Confederates held the upper hand, as Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Privy Council scrambled to send reinforcements to bolster the Diplomatic Garrison and the Royal Dejanican Government, alarmed as they were by the outbreak of this anti-Laurasian rebellion. Jan-Pac besieged and conquered Chochim (March 8-14), Krakow (March 22), and Chocim (March 24), driving through governmental positions in those star systems, capturing a large number of Dejanican troops, and securing the support of their local populations. Little Masovia, which was sympathetic to the Confederate cause, surrendered to Prince Dagonius without a fight on March 28; two days later, Patriarch Kranskia of Kamnieniec won the allegiance of Kamenets to the Confederate cause.
  • April 2-
    • Pressured by Ambassador Repanius, King Stanis Vorrust, on April 2, 1768, dispatched the 1st Dejanican Royal Fleet and 2nd Dejanican Royal Army, under the command of the Grand Marshal of the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Hetman-General Fransia Branickia (1730-99), commanding him to force a direct confrontation with rebel forces on the battlefield. The King of Dejanica, believing that he still possessed the loyalty of his subjects, had prior to the dispatch of this force sought to conduct negotiations with the Confederation. He urged the rebels to lay down their arms and to submit to the terms of the Treaty of Warsaw. They had rejected his appeals, however, and even asserted that Stanis Vorrust, because he had been installed with the assistance of the "Laurasian infidels", was not their lawful sovereign. Therefore, Stanis Vorrust ordered Marshal Branickia to employ all means of force against the Bar Confederation that were at his disposal and to show them no mercy. On April 14, the Grand Marshal defeated General Jan-Pac in the Battle of Polchiki, reconquering that important star system for the Royal Dejanican Government. Branickia, however, was unable to suppress Austarlian supply lines to rebel units at the Prim Asteroids, and for this he was castigated by the Commission of the Military, some of whom accused him of incompetence and an inability to beast the Commonwealth's enemies. Six days later, the Battle of Poherele resulted in a decisive victory for General Pulaskia against General Stanis Czartoyskia (1737-76), a subordinate of the Grand Marshal. Pulaskia captured 35,000 Royal Dejanican Army troops and forced Czartoyskia to withdraw his units from Poherele's outskirts.
    • General Pulaskia, whose strategic brilliance was on full display in this battle, proved vigilant in his efforts to rally support for the Bar Confederation. He sought to maintain operational and strategic unity among the forces under his command; to secure the importance of important Dejanican nobles and gentlemen; and to pursue a steady stream of offensives against government supply lines. On April 23, Pulaskia obtained another victory at Starokost, capturing a number of Imperial Laurasian Navy frigates, which were on loan to the Royal Dejanican Government. But five days later (April 28, 1768), he suffered a defeat at the Battle of Kacenwoskia. In the long run, however, this did not halt his advance. By the end of April 1768, Empress Aurelia had become truly alarmed by the Confederation's battlefield successes. She now ordered the Imperial General Headquarters to draft new offensive plans in Dejanica, and she placed the Dejanican Borderlands, which had in the preceding two centuries been the scene of bitter conflict between Laurasia and Dejanica, under a state of emergency.
  • May 2-
    • On May 2, 1768, Empress Aurelia attended a session of the Imperial Privy Council, then convened in the Private Council Chambers at the Quencilvanian Palace, to discuss the operational successes of the Bar Confederation. Chancellor Cecilis advised the Empress of Laurasia that she should issue a public manifesto on her intentions as regards to Dejanica, and that she should assign a experienced Laurasian military commander to oversee the operations against the Confederate forces. The Empress was about to confer her approval to these proposals when a courier burst into the Council Chambers with an urgent message. He dropped to his knees and handed the message directly to Her Majesty. Aurelia was alarmed when she read it: the imprisoned former Queen of Scottria, Mariana I, had escaped from Lochleven Prison. Mariana had obtained the assistance of George Douglain (1743-69), brother of the Prison Keeper, Sir William. George, who had fallen in love with the beautiful ex-Queen, had arranged for a servant to steal the security codes and helped the disguised prisoner escape onto a waiting starfighter. Douglain then escorted Mariana to Hamilton. Lord Claude Hamilton (1746-90), declared his allegiance to her once again as Queen and refused Moray's demands to hand her over.
    • Soon, a substantial cross-section of the Scottrian nobility, who had come to despise Moray and his pretensions, arrived at Hamilton, bringing substantial numbers of troops and starships to the Queen's cause. Among those magnates who now declared their support for Mariana were the Earls of Argyll, Cassilis, Rothes, and Eglinton; Lords ommerville, Yester, Livingston, Herries, Fleming, and Ross; and the gentlemen of Jexburgh, Selkirk, Ancrum Moor, Albright, Branxholme, Dunbar, and Erith. Within three days, Mariana's forces had grown to nearly a million armed soldiers and some 500 capital warships, with a complement of 5,000 starfighters and corvettes. It was declared that her abdication had been extracted by force, and therefore, the means by which Moray had become Regent were treasonable. The Bond of Hamilton was subsequently drawn up on May 4, signed by all of the magnates supporting the Queen, in which they pledged to restore her to her throne by force. Empress Aurelia, alarmed by Mariana's sudden escape, sent an emergency communique to Thorckmortonia, who still remained on Ediania as Envoy. She commanded him to ensure that the property rights of Laurasian subjects were protected and that all effort was made to reassure Moray's regime that the Empire did not support Mariana and her faction.
    • Queen Mariana's intention had been to avoid battle if possible, so she instead sought to withdraw to Dumbarton (May 11, 1768), which was held for her by Lord Fleming (1729-72; John Fleming, 5th Lord Fleming), who had defected from supporting Moray and now declared his renewed allegiance to her. Here, the Queen confidently anticipated, she would be in a fortified position; could await for reinforcements from the Farther Scottrian Provinces; and reassert her rule over the Scottrian realms by degrees. She first moved to Ruthergen, meeting the Earls of Rothes and Eglinton, and then went on a wide circuit past Glasgow, intending to move by way of Langside, Crookston, and Paisley towards the Clyde Drift, and then on to Dumbarton. Moray, who had issued proclamations from Ediania denouncing Mariana's actions and calling on loyal subjects of King Jamsius to oppose her, had advanced swiftly from Ediania with his forces. He established his battlefield camp on the outskirts of Langside; Kirclady of Grange, who had already proved his ability in battle against the Queen and her supporters, was chief operational commander of the government troops. Kirclady placed his rapid-response couriers behind his destroyers, in the defiles approaching Langside. Moray, on his part, continued to deploy the rest of his force, with the vanguard under the Earl of Morton leading the march towards Langside Spaceport. The main government forces then deployed around the Langside system.
  • May 13-
    • Soon after government forces had finalized their deployments at Langside, the Queen's vanguard under the command of Lord Hamilton began its advance into the Langside star system. The Battle of Langside, between the forces of the Earl of Moray and those of Queen Mariana, commenced during the early hours of May 13, 1768. Mariana's chief operational commander was the Earl of Argyll, who in the course of the battle displayed gross military ignorance. He hoped to push aside Moray's forces simply by mere weight of numbers: the units available to the Queen, indeed, outnumbered those of Moray's. With her forces now engaged, the Queen remained on her flagship, the HMS Delight of Gods, in the rear, in the Carthart Asteroid Belt. As Hamilton attempted to force his passage through Langside, he was met with close fire from Grange's couriers. Many of the starships in the front ranks were destroyed or severely damaged, throwing back the remainder of the force and adding to the general confusion.
    • Hamilton pushed on, and finally reached orbit of Langside, only to find that the government forces had been drawn up in good order. Morton with his starfighters and corvettes subsequently advanced to intercept Queen Mariana's vanguard. Both sides soon clashed, and a vigorous military confrontation ensued. Grange, who had been granted tactical autonomy by Moray, displayed much courage and bravery in the thick of battle. The battle was now at its height and the outcome still in doubt when Grange saw that the right wing of the Regent's forces-comprised of the troops of Renfrewian Shire-were beginning to give space. He immediately headed into the main battalion and brought reinforcements. This was done so effectively, and the counter-attack pressed with such force, that it broke the enemy ranks. Moray, who had been on the defensive, repulsing Mariana's dreadnoughts, now assaulted the main enemy battalion, with fighting occurring all along the front-lines. The Queen's units crumbled, and many now fled from the battle; most did not make it far and were captured by government squadrons near Paisley. The Battle of Langside was over in only four hours.
  • May 16-
    • Queen Mariana and her remaining forces, who had managed to evade capture by Regent Moray, now, on the advice of Lord George Douglain, took a direct juncture out of the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria at Workington, which was located in the Outskirt Districts (May 16, 1768). The Queen's ships (which now numbered two starfighters and a frigate) managed to enter hyperspace, and made a rapid journey across the Galactic Void. During the late hours of May 16, Mariana's small armada reached the outskirts of the Laurasian Empire, making their appearance at Waxefield in the Galactic Barrier. The following day, the Queen of Scottria moved to Onasi and was now formally received by Sir Antiochus Lowtherius (1713-92), who was Governor of Onasi. The Laurasian frontier authorities were alarmed and surprised by the Scottrian Queen's arrival. Her arrival now created a dilemma which would exercise the Empress of Laurasia and her government for the next two decades, until Mariana's execution in February 1787. Upon hearing that Mariana had arrived in the Galactic Borderlands, the Empress ordered for the Privy Council to be convened immediately. Expressing her "shock and alarm" at Mariana's sudden presence, Aurelia nevertheless declared that her cousin was the only rightful sovereign of Scottria, and that her rights needed to be preserved. Chancellor Cecilis told the Empress otherwise, saying Mariana should be sent back to Scottria immediately.
    • Aurelia, however, knew that this would be condemning her to her death. For the time being, she ordered Lowtherius to keep Mariana in "state confinement" at Carlisle Fortress on Barching, which had been constructed in 1575-79 by King Robert II of Scottria (r. 1571-90), and had once been one of the chief Scottrian military repositories in the Galactic Borderlands. It was however, a difficult question for the Empress as to what should be done with Mariana. Aurelia, in pursuit of her ultimate goal of destroying Scottrian independence, believed that she could effect a reconciliation between Mariana and her enemies. With Mariana again on her throne, the Scottrian realms would wallow in dissent, and would be exposed to a final and decisive Laurasian military offensive. She would not send Mariana to exile in Franconia or Spamalka; at the same time, she would not allow her to live freely within the Empire, as she had permitted Moray during his exile. Aurelia was also aware that some considered Mariana the rightful ruler of the Laurasian Empire, and that many could be beguiled by the Queen's charms. Therefore, the Empress decided to allow Mariana to remain in "honorable custody" for the time being.
    • On May 22, 1768, Aurelia dispatched Sir Tacitus Knollysis to Barching, to extend formal greetings to Queen Mariana and her household, and to take charge of her. He was instructed to say that it would be impossible for Mariana to be admitted into Her Majesty's presence "by reason of the charges of murder against her late husband which have not been disproven": until Mariana had been formally cleared of Lord Darnley's murder, Aurelia, as an unmarried Empress, could not see her or welcome her to court. Knollysis, who arrived at Barching during the late hours of the day, followed his instructions to the letter. Queen Mariana was sent into a weeping fit when she heard of this. The Empress herself had on this matter followed the advice of her Council, and refrained from recognizing Mariana as her equal at this stage. She penned a communique to Mariana explaining her decision.
  • May 24-In the meantime, events continued to proceed with the Bar Confederation in Dejanica. On May 24, 1768, the Dejanican outpost of Chlemink was fortified by General Pulaskia. Pulaskia sought to establish the system as a centralized base of operations against the Laurasian and Royalist Dejanican forces. Indeed, by that point, substantial numbers of reinforcements had arrived in the Commonwealth from the Empire: the 29th and 30th Imperial Fleets, along with the 29th and 30th Imperial Armies, had been dispatched from the Dejanican Borderlands into Dejanican Lavella, and from thence, to the Great Amulak Spiral. On May 6, a Laurasian-Dejanican force under Grand Marshal Branickia had defeated General Jan-Pac in the Battle of Brest-Litvotsk, driving Confederate units from that star system. Four days later, the Empress of Laurasia had issued an official imperial manifesto on the rebellion, denouncing the actions of the Bar Confederation and expressing her solemn commitment to abide by the provisions of the Treaty of Warsaw. Laurasian forces now aided the Dejanicans in recovering Chochim and Kamenets, both of which were in the hands of the Royal Dejanican Government by May 14. Rebel units, however, continued to repel governmental offensives against Krakow. On May 22, Major-General Sir Honorius Elmt (1725-97), a veteran of the Huguenot Expeditionary War, the Didymeian War of Franconia, and the War of the Rough Wooing, was formally named as commander-in-chief of the Empire's forces in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonealth. He was assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Surovius, himself a veteran of the Empire's military conflicts over the preceding two decades, who was already renowned as one of the best operational officers in the Imperial Laurasian Army. Because of their efforts, Pulaskia was forced to abandon Chlemink on June 2. Five days later, he moved to Berdycrow, which was soon afterwards besieged by General Elmt's forces. Pulaskia now inspired the personnel of the garrison and the civilian inhabitants of Berdycrow by his efforts to install military discipline, by his own courage and bravery in the heat of battle, and his refusal to submit to the Laurasians. As a result of Pulaskia's efforts, Laurasian forces incurred substantial casualties during the Siege of Berdycrow.
  • June 13-
    • Queen Mariana, who had expected to receive assistance from her "dear cousin", and enraged by the Empress's communique concerning her refusal to meet her, sent to the Imperial Court a vigorous response (June 13, 1768). Empress Aurelia and the Court had departed for the progress of 1768 twelve days earlier, on June 1. This particular progress was to the Horacian and Zennethian Provinces. Horacia, Momma, Theresa, Bartello, Zennethia, Zesia, Zutagia, Donald, Levinston, Cinnamon, Pandy, Lithan, Cageo, Nosauria, Ergeme, Alton, Kingpin, and Louza were among the worlds to be visited by the Empress and the Imperial Court during this progress, which was to continue until August 14. In her communique, Mariana declared that the Empress should not be concerned about her personal well-being. "Remove, Madam, from your mind that I am come hither for the preservation of my life, but to clear my honor and obtain assistance to chastise my false accusers; not to answer them as their equal, but to accuse them before you." Mariana continued by stating that none of this could be accomplished unless if she could meet the Empress herself. In her frustration, the Queen of Scottria veered from outbursts of anger to spells of passionate weeping. The Privy Council was not impressed, and on June 20, backed Aurelia in her refusal to receive Mariana, announcing that the Empress could not receive Mariana unless if she were placed on trial. Aurelia now ordered for a personal inquiry to be conducted into Mariana's actions. Its purposes were to determine whether Mariana had been in any way guilty of Darnley's murder and whether she should be restored to her throne.
    • The Duke of Norfolkius was appointed by the Empress as the chief commissioner of the inquiry, which was to be comprised of six notables of the Empire, drawn from the Imperial Privy Council, Governing Senate, and Holy Synod. In a response communique to Mariana, the Empress asked her cousin to proclaim her innocence and declared that "There is no creature living who wishes to hear such a declaration more than I, or will more readily lend her ears to any answer that will acquit your honor." Once Mariana had been acquitted of any crime, she would-she promised-be received at the Imperial Court. By now, it began to dawn upon Mariana that she was effectively a prisoner of her cousin. When she was told of the impending inquiry on June 16, she protested that because she was a absolute prince, she would have no other judge but the Gods. Mariana, however, clung to the notion that the inquiry was Aurelia’s way of helping her to regain her throne, especially when the Empress assured Mariana that the inquiry’s real purpose was to examine Moray’s conduct towards his "rightful" sovereign.
  • June 20-On June 20, 1768, Berdycrow, which had been under considerable pressure by Laurasian-Royalist Dejanican forces, finally capitulated to General Elmt. More than 175,000 Bar Confederates had died during the siege, which had disrupted the system's economy and cut off its communications, as well as its transportation, routes. General Pulaskia, who had continued to inspire all of the personnel of the garrison with his courage and dedication, was among the officers who were captured by the Laurasians. Presented before Elmt, Pulaskia declared that his sole intention had been to preserve the independence of his species, and to prevent their subjection to the authority of a despotic and "cruel" foreign state. Elmt was impressed by Pulaskia’s courage and ordered for his chains of imprisonment to be struck off. He was treated more as a guest than as a prisoner, and was given privileges of movement by the Laurasian General. On the same day that Berdycrow capitulated to the Laurasian-Royalist forces, the Confederation stronghold of Baron was captured by the forces of Lieutenant Colonel Surovius. Surovius was now promoted to the rank of Colonel and received a letter of commendations from the Imperial General Headquarters.
  • June 22-
    • The Earl of Moray, who had obtained a decisive victory over the forces of Queen Mariana in the Battle of Langside, and determined to consolidate his position of authority over the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, launched a military expedition against her leading noble supporters in the southeastern regions of the kingdom, in what became known as the Expedition of Dumfries. The expedition began on June 22 and lasted until July 9, 1768. The Regent’s forces, along with a substantial number of turbocannon and ion projectiles, moved to Biggar, where his allies had assembled since June 10, and then onwards to Dumfries. Biggar was a possession of Lord Fleming. The Regent’s armada was proceeded by a scouting force led by Alexander Hume of Manderston (1723-78), with the Earl of Morton and Alexander Hume, 5th Lord Hume (1721-75), commanding the vanguard. Behind them was the transport fleet, followed by Moray himself. The Laird of Cessford, John MacDonnell (1714-71), followed, and his units were flanked by the scouting parties of the Lairds of the Merse and Bucceleuch. Along his route of progress, Moray captured star systems, estates, and bases belonging to Mariana’s supporters, including Lord Fleming’s mansion on Boghall, as well as Skirling, Crawford, Sanquhar, Kenmuir, and Hoddum.
    • At Annan, he met with a delegation dispatched by the Laurasian Governor and Magnus of the Garrisons of the Galactic Void, Lord Scropius, who offered Her Imperial Majesty’s reassurances of support for the Royal Scottrian Government. Moray then seized Lochmaben Fortress, which was placed in the custody of his loyal subordinate, the Laird of Drumlanrig, and then captured Lochwood and Lochouse before returning to Ediania via Peeblia. At Dumfries, a number of the supporters of Lord Maxwell (1753-93; John Maxwell, 8th Lord Maxwell) surrendered to the Regent. As a result of this military expedition, Moray was able to consolidate his control over Dumfries and the Langsidan Districts, increasing his power base and weakening the influence of his opponents. The Scottrian Homeland Territories managed to settle into a temporary state of peace, for on July 12, the Armistice of Haddington was signed by the Regent's government and the Marianian Confederacy, as the Queen's supporters had become known. Mariana did not approve of this armistice, and continued to assert that Moray was a usurper and a traitor.
  • July 20-Bar, the chief stronghold of the Bar Confederation, and the origin of their rebellion against Laurasian influence in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was besieged and conquered by the forces of General Elmt (July 20, 1768). Elmt had progressively driven Bar Confederation units from their strongholds in Podolia, Lesser Dejanica, and Ukraine. He had overrun Confederate bases on Chouvaria, Hamenets, and Chirky (June 29-July 17, 1768), inflicting severe damage upon Confederate supply lines. The subjection of Bar was accomplished by a Laurasian-Dejanican force (primarily the 29th Imperial Fleet and the 30th Imperial Army, along with the 2nd Dejanican Crown Fleet) which had more than twice the manpower of its opponents and possessed superior discipline, supply organization, and tactical command. Generals Jan-Pac and Kranskia barely evaded capture, and decided to continue their resistance from Little Dejanica. They still controlled Krakow and Neszvish. Laurasian units began to advance towards those strongholds, and by the early weeks of August 1768, had become engaged in a series of fierce confrontations with Confederate troops and mercenaries at Vietbsk, Polotsk, and Kalino (in Dejanican Lavella and in the Belaranian Provinces).
  • August 22-
    • After over a month of offensive operations, the Laurasian-Dejanican Royalist forces, under the command of General Sir Honorius Elmt, had advanced enough to impose a blockade of Krakow, one of the most important star systems in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth and long a groundswell of opposition to the Imperial Laurasian Government. Patriarch Soltyk of Krakow, who had been deported and imprisoned by Ambassador Repanius in November 1767 due to his opposition towards Laurasian demands at the Diet of 1767, was a revered figure in this star system, and many did not take the Empire's efforts at domination over Dejanica lightly. General Kranskia had now established his chief headquarters on Krakow, following his defeat in the Battle of Bar, and his units had managed to repel a series of front-line assaults by Laurasian starfighter squadrons. On August 19, however, Empress Aurelia authorized the Imperial Laurasian Navy to deploy a corps of the newly commissioned Reginaldus-class battleships at Krakow, which was to serve as their first battlefield test.
    • These behemoths, which stretched for almost ten miles in length, dwarfed anything in the possession of the Bar Confederation, and quickly decided the outcome of the Siege. By the late hours of August 22, Krakow was in Laurasian-Dejanican hands; General Kranskia was compelled to flee once more. More than 275,000 Confederate troops and personnel lost their lives during the Siege of Krakow, and 120 rebel warships were destroyed, damaged, or captured. Laurasian units subsequently advanced into Lodomeria, and were approaching the outskirts of Dejanican territory, adjoining Moravia, in the Holy Austarlian Empire. Whilst these advances were being made, the Empire's forces had completed the subjection of Dejanican Lavella. They were now in occupation of all its chief strongholds, including Ladelle, Lavelle, Dequan, Antwone, Novella, Nelson, Irving, Cassie, Sissy, and Spacek. A series of Confederate offensives, directed by Prince Dagonius and Magnate Wielhorskia, against Black-Chandlier, Monique, Shashanaya, and Orion, ended in failure (August 1-9, 1768), and on August 22, Wielhorskia suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Lord Scropius (who had taken charge of Laurasian defenses in the Dejanican Borderlands), in the Battle of Kemmy. Laurasian forces, having so thoroughly humiliated the Confederates within both Dejanican Lavella and in the Commonwealth's territories, were now pressing closer to the Marasharite Galactic Borderlands. And this series of Laurasian advances greatly alarmed Marasharite Emperor Mustapha III and the Grand Council even more. Mustapha, whose reign thus far had been dominated primarily by intrigues at the Court of Topacia and by the disturbances connected to domestic unrest (particularly social and economic), was now being persuaded by his advisers and by Franconian and Austarlian diplomats to consider launching a new military conflict with the Laurasian Empire.
  • August 28-
    • Dejanican General Casimirius Pulaskia, who had remained as a honored "guest of state" with General Elmt's forces, was, on August 28, 1768, formally released from his captivity by the Laurasian Empire. General Elmt, who believed that Pulaskia was reliable and that he was a man of his word, had managed to extract from the Dejanican General a promise that he would, after his release from captivity, refrain from further involvement with the Bar Confederation; acknowledge the Treaty of Warsaw and its provisions as regards to Dejanican affairs; recognize Stanis Vorrust I as his sovereign; and renounce his earlier involvement with the Confederation. Pulaskia, pursuing a policy of deception towards the Laurasians, and still holding Dejanican interests close to his heart, agreed to abide by these promises.
    • Immediately after the Laurasians released him from captivity, however, Pulaskia made his way to the Confederate operational headquarters at Bravamania, and on September 2, formally renounced the terms of his release. General Elmt, upon hearing of this, was both enraged and embarrassed. Empress Aurelia was also angered, and in instructions to the Imperial General Headquarters, commanded that under no circumstances was any Dejanican prisoner of the Bar Confederation to be released from captivity in the future. Instead, all Dejanican prisoners were to be "closely confined and strictly monitored." The Empress sternly rebuked General Elmt for having permitted Pulaski to regain his freedom in the first place, and her proclamation was backed up by a statement of the Dejanican High Command on Dejanica Major, which threatened to charge any Dejanican officer who freed a "traitor" from his captivity without explicit authorization from his superiors with treason and conspiracy. Pulaskia, however, was not in high favor with his Confederates; many of them deplored his behavior during his time as a prisoner of war, and believed he should have actively opposed his Laurasian captors. Not until the end of September would he be allowed to resume operational duties in the field.
  • September 21-
    • By the middle of September 1768, Laurasian forces in Podolia and Tesmanian Dejanica were fully pressing forward with their offensives against the Bar Confederation. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Surovius, who had continued to win acclaim and praise at the Imperial Court, and throughout the Laurasian Empire, for his tactical brilliance and firm grasp of command, had won a series of further victories over the outmatched Dejanican units. Laurasian troops had besieged and conquered the Confederate supply bases in the Kiev Drifts and on Yezhov, Krhemsnkia, and Donestia (August 27-September 13, 1768). Generals Jan-Pac and Kranskia continued to narrowly evade capture by the Laurasian forces, and lost all confrontations in which they engaged with the Empire's troops. On September 11, Lieutenant Colonel Surovius inflicted a humiliating defeat upon the two Dejanican Generals in the Battle of Demenskia, forcing them to abandon 100 valuable turbocannon and three million tons of military supplies in the star system. For this feat, he would be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General by Empress Aurelia in January 1769. In the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Demenskia, Laurasian squadrons pressed their advance forth, and swept all of their enemies before them. Besieging and conquering the Dejanican outposts of Boh, Human, and Targowica, located near the Dejanican-Marasharite boundary, they compelled Generals Jan-Pac and Kranskia, on September 14, to flee across that boundary into the Marasharite Empire.
    • On September 18, 1768, a detachment of Laurasian warships from the 30th Imperial Fleet, under the command of Captain Neuchrus Verus (1731-93), decided to follow the Confederates into Marasharite territory. This constituted a violation of Marasharite neutrality, and in particular, of the provisions of the Treaty of Nis, which had guaranteed the territorial integrity of both Laurasian and Marasharite territories. More Laurasian units soon followed, and a substantial detachment of some two hundred Laurasian warships engaged in combat with the Confederates within the confines of Marasharite territory. During the early hours of September 21, a squadron of Laurasian corvettes, with a battalion of 115,000 Imperial Marines and Specialized Shock Troopers, launched a deliberate assault against Balta, which had been colonized by the Haynsian Despotate in 1496 and had been transferred to the Marasharite Empire in 1581, following the Despotate's subjection to Marasharite overlordship. Balta had a garrison of just over 85,000 troops and thirty defensive warships, but this garrison proved ineffective when placed against the more numerous and well-organized Laurasian forces. Its defenses were now ransacked by the Laurasian Empire, and nearly a third of Balta's inhabitants (some 500,000 sentient individuals) were slaughtered or captured by the Laurasian troops. Over the course of the next several days, Laurasian units sacked the Marasharite bases of Donner, Varston, Colchis, and Trebizond on the Upper Danube Highway, inflicting a series of humiliating defeats upon Marasharite garrisons. More than €500 billion dataries worth of goods were seized as a result of this Laurasian incursion. Emperor Mustapha, upon receiving word of this blatant Laurasian violation of Marasharite neutrality, was outraged.
  • September 25-
    • On September 25, 1768, Marasharite Emperor Mustapha III, who as mentioned above was outraged over the Laurasian incursions into the Ochanian Provinces, and whose alarm about Laurasian victories in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth had increased, issued a ultimatum to the Imperial Laurasian Government. In this ultimatum, the Marasharite Emperor declared that the "constant aggression and wars of the Laurasian Empire threaten the tranquility of all galactic civilizations, and are in pursuance to achieve what the Anti-Gods of the Universe would have in store for us." Mustapha denounced the flagrant Laurasian violation of Marasharite territorial rights, Laurasian interventions in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Laurasian dealings with the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria. He claimed that the history of the past seven centuries was a history of "Laurasian deceptions, follies, lies, and deceit." Therefore, the Emperor of the Marasharites demanded that "Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress of Laurasia" withdraw all Laurasian units from Marasharite and Dejanican territory; terminate the Treaty of Warsaw; and acknowledge the liberties of the Bar Confederation in Dejanica. If not, Mustapha declared, "serious consequences would result." The Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Topacia, Sir Flavius Aedravanius (1719-84), when he received the ultimatum, declared that "never have I seen terms more insulting to the honor of our civilization." Pronouncing the ultimatum to be the work of the "Anti-Almitis", Aedravanius refused to even communicate it to the Imperial Court on Laurasia Prime. Hearing of this, Emperor Mustapha ordered for Aedravanius to be imprisoned, four hours after the ultimatum had been formally announced by the Grand Council.
    • The Ambassador and his personnel were cast into the Seven Towers of Topacia; the Grand Council, acting on the Emperor's command, then formally issued a declaration of war against the Laurasian Empire. The Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War of the eighteenth century had commenced, and was to last for the next six years. It was however, to see a series of decisive Laurasian victories over the Marasharites, and the final establishment of Laurasia as the sole power in the Caladarian Galaxy. Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Privy Council were caught somewhat off-guard by the Marasharite declaration of war. The Empress, however, believed that this war would help her achieve some important goals: namely, to finally terminate the threat of the Haynsian Despotate, to assure Laurasian commercial and navigation rights through the Galactic Void and into the Angelina Spiral, and to expel the Marasharites from the Galactic Borderlands. This was what Field-Marshal Munnich had attempted to achieve in the 1730s, and they had been the goals of Laurasian foreign policy as far back as the reign of Valerian. Twenty-nine years had passed since the end of the Third Laurasian-Marasharite War, the longest stretch of peace between the two Empires during the eighteenth century. The Laurasian Empire's military forces, which had, through the War of the Rough Wooing, Fourth Franconian War, Didymeian War of Franconia, the Huguenot Expeditionary War, and the ongoing interventions in Dejanica, in addition to colonization, law enforcement, and surveying expeditions within the Empire itself, been sharpened and kept battle-tested, was far more prepared for this war, and was confident of victory.
  • September 30-
    • The outbreak of the Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War resulted in a substantial shift in the Imperial Laurasian Government's military priorities, and in the strategic dispositions of the Empire's military forces, in the Galactic Borderlands, in the satellite galaxies, and in the Great Amulak Spiral. On September 30, 1768, Empress Aurelia convened an emergency session of the Imperial Privy Council. A series of vigorous discussions were now held, concerning the Empire's military campaigns against the Marasharites, and the continuation of the efforts directed towards suppressing the Bar Confederation. On the advice of Chancellor Cecilis, Aurelia issued instructions to the Imperial General Headquarters, ordering for General Elmt to recall all Laurasian expeditionary and task fleets which had been conducting operations in the Ochanian Provinces. He was now commanded to strengthen the garrisons of the Galactic Barrier, particularly those of Dehner, Onasi, and Waxefield, and to focus upon the defense of Laurasian strategic positions within Dejanican Lavella from potential Marasharite offensives. Dejanican Generals Jan-Pac and Kranskia, consequently, were able to remain in exile in Marasharita. They now proceeded through the Peldavian Gateways, and thence into the Marasharite Homeland Territories. On October 8, 1768, they were officially granted sanctuary by Emperor Mustapha.
    • The Imperial Laurasian Government also began the diversion of reinforcements from other regions of the Empire to the Borderlands Provinces. The chief strongholds of the Galactic Frontier Route, such as Chappelear, Amelia, Chromy, Natalie, Tiona, Adrianne, Abrianne, Belaprasian, and Guthmiller, were subject to the reorganization of their defenses, the importation of some forty million tons of military equipment, supplies, and shield generators, and the arrival of the 2nd and 5th Imperial Armies, along with the corresponding Fleets, during the last months of 1768. The Lysimachid Barrier Defenses were ordered to a state of elevated alert, and the Limes Saticus in the Satian Provinces were also strengthened. The question also now turned to who would become the commander-in-chief of the Empire's forces operating against Marasharita. There were at this stage, two major candidates: General Sir Demetrius Rumanstevius, son of the famed General Sir Antiochus Rumanstevius, and General Sir Antigonus Vamaus (1734-83), son of the famed commander of the War of the Dejanican Succession, Field-Marshal Sir Suris Vamaus, who had died on January 22 of that year at Apathama Vixius. Both Rumanstevius and Vamaus were veterans of the Didymeian War of Franconia, Queen Mariana's War, and the Huguenot Expeditionary War. Ultimately, the decision settled on Vamaus, and on October 1, he was assigned as the commander of the 2nd and 7th Imperial Armies, along with their associated fleets, and ordered to take command of the garrisons of the Galactic Frontier Route.
    • The Council also decided upon a more definitive set of war aims: to secure the overthrow of the commercial and navigation terms of the Treaty of Nis, to acquire the Marasharite Galactic Borderlands, and to impose Laurasian influence over the Haynsian Despotate. These aims were formally enshrined in a proclamation of October 5, 1768, and accorded with the Empress's own personal ambitions. Yet the Empress and her advisers understood that their Marasharite adversaries, as they had in previous conflicts, did possess some advantages. Their control of the Haynsia and the Northern Galactic Borderlands gave them a projection point from which they could fan out into the northern territories of the Empire (as indeed, they had during the wars of the seventeenth century). Secondly, their control of the Haynsian Slave Highway gave them a reliable means to transport troops and supplies from the satellite galaxies, through the Galactic Void, and into the Caladarian Galaxy. Thirdly, the Haynsian presence would give the Marasharites greater ease of access to their supply bases; Laurasian forces did not have a similar assurance. Moreover, it was important for the Laurasians to prevent any junction between the Marasharites and the Bar Confederation. On October 19, the Imperial Ministry of Defense ordered, in accordance with the Military Conscription Code of 1738, a new recruit levy of 1 for every 80,000 subjects in the Empire. Another levy would be ordered on November 25, of 1 out of every 30,000 subjects. Thanks to these levies, more than three hundred million new troops were conscripted into the Imperial Forces by January 1769, thereby bolstering the available manpower. The Marasharites, on their part, sought to strengthen their strategic position through a change of rulership in the Haynsian Despotate. On October 2, Emperor Mustapha deposed Despot Jay XIII Karany from the Haynsian throne. He now restored Jay XII Karany, who, he claimed, had been deposed through the "envious" intrigues of his rivals, to the Haynsian throne. The restored Despot's health was in decline, but he had no choice but to accept his overlord's elevation, and returned to his duties on Haynes, arriving there on October 16.
  • October 4-
    • After several months of preparation by the Imperial Privy Council and the Holy Synod, the official inquiry into the affairs of the former Scottrian Queen Mariana I officially opened on Rasdalla Major (October 4, 1768). In July 1768, Mariana had been, on the orders of the Empress, moved to Bolton Tower on Vilmanstrand, which was considered to be more secure than Carlisle Fortress. This was to be her lodging for the foreseeable future. Vilmanstrand was located some forty thousand light years away from Laurasia Prime, and therefore could not pose a threat to the Empress’s safety. Nevertheless, Mariana was permitted to keep state like a Queen and was allowed to indulge in her personal interests. Sir Tacitus Knollysis remained her personal guardian. On September 9, Lord Herries (1743-94; Thomasius Herries, 5th Lord Herries of Terregles) and the Clainnarch of Ross, both of whom were sympathetic to the Queen of Scottria, had arrived at the Cynthian Palace on Murphy, to which the Empress and the Imperial Court had retired after the conclusion of her progress in the Horacian Provinces. These Scottrian notables now sought to plead the Queen’s case. The Empress told Lord Herries that she would make a demand "of the rebels" as to why they had deposed their sovereign, and if they were unable to defend their actions, then she would restore Queen Mariana to her throne, on the conditions that she renounce her claims to the Laurasian throne, ratify the Treaty of Ediania, and place herself under the permanent protection of the Laurasian Empire. On July 28, Mariana, who was desperate, had agreed to accept the inquiry. Two months later, however, the Empress secretly assured Regent Moray that she would not restore Mariana to her throne. Moray had then decided to attend the inquiry, confident that his rule over Scottria was secure.
    • The inquiry soon came to a dramatic moment, as Moray now revealed the existence of the "Casket Letters", which his agents had secured in July of the previous year, shortly after Mariana’s abdication. These documents contained eight letters said to be of Mariana to Bothwell, twelve transcriptions of Franconian sonnets, a written but undated promise to marry Bothwell, signed by the Queen, and two copies of their marriage contract. Moray, when producing these documents, insisted that Mariana had composed them in her own handwriting. The Queen denied this, but she was never allowed to see them. The Duke of Norfolkius, who served as the Laurasian chair for the inquiry, had doubts as to the authorship, but professed himself to be "appalled" by their contents. William Maitland, now Chief Secretary of State for the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria, made a suggestion that Norfolkius himself marry Mariana; Knollysis believed this would keep the former Scottrian Queen under control, but the Empress was enraged at this proposal and vetoed it. Norfolkius then claimed that he would not ever marry Mariana, and that others had brought up that suggestion. The Empress then appeared somewhat mollified, and the matter was, for the time being, laid aside.
  • October 11-
    • On October 11, 1768, Empress Aurelia received official copies of the Casket Letters. Upon reviewing these documents, she claimed to be convinced that they were genuine, stating that they contained "material which may be used as legitimate evidence against the Queen of Scottria." The following day she, irritated by the doddering pace of the commissioners, and suspicious of Norfolkius’s intentions, adjourned the inquiry to Rasdalla Minor and appointed Leicesterius, Chancellor Cecilis, Lord Treasurer Winchestrius, and Procurator-General Bagonius as additional commissioners. Cecilis, on his part, began to urge that Queen Mariana to be moved to Tutsburian Fortress on Melarnaria. The Empress rejected this proposal, intending to keep up the fiction that Mariana was an imperial guest and should not be treated as a prisoner. Queen Mariana, however, did not remain quiet. Although she continued to publicly declare that she bore no ill-intention against her cousin, Empress Aurelia, and that she was dedicated to maintaining positive relations with the Imperial Court, she was, in reality, already beginning to secretly plot and to rail against the Empress of Laurasia.
    • In July 1768, Don Gerau de Spes (1724-72), had been appointed as the new Spamalkan Ambassador to the Laurasian Empire; he had assumed his duties of office the following month, and demonstrated a distinct hostility to Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Government. Emperor Philicus himself was "concerned" about Mariana's welfare, and the Spamalkan Ambassador now sought to use the exiled Scottrian Queen as his lever. Already, De Spes had begun to sound out the Queen's supporters at the Imperial Court and within the Empire. Overestimating their numbers, a mistake which was to be made repeatedly by foreign ambassadors and other conspirators during the next two decades, de Spes believed that it would not be too difficult to arrange Mariana's escape, or even to provoke a rebellion against Aurelia with the intent of deposing her and setting up Mariana as Empress in her place. The Imperial Privy Council and the Earl of Moray, on their part, heavily distrusted Queen Mariana, and did not believe her claims that she would not cause any trouble. The realization that Mariana would not scruple to intrigue against her prompted the Empress to assure Moray that the tribunal would pronounce on the Queen's guilt or innocence, based on the evidence contained in the Casket Letters.
  • October 26-
    • Neszvish, one of the chief military strongholds of the Bar Confederation, capitulated to the forces of the Laurasian Empire and the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Surovius (October 26, 1768). Nezvish had been under siege since October 7, and its defenses had ultimately proven unable to withstand the Laurasian-Royalist Dejanican assaults. The Bar Confederation, however, still remained alive in the Ukraine and in Belarania, and refused to acknowledge the renewed authority of King Stanis Vorrust over the Commonwealth's dominions. The War of the Bar Confederation, consequently, continued to drag on. And it was compounded by the earliest confrontations of the Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War. The last months of 1768 were marked primarily by desultory skirmishes and operations between Laurasian and Marasharite forces along the Galactic Frontier Route, in the Tof Borderlands, and in the Billian Provinces. On October 9, a Marasharite expeditionary force under the command of General Herem-Pasha (1710-70) assaulted Chappelear; the ensuing Battle of Chappelear, the first direct confrontation of the war, ended in a strategic stalemate, as Herem-Pasha was unable to penetrate the world's defenses. Marasharite fleets then attacked Guthmiller (October 12-14), Chromy (October 16), and Amelia (October 18); all of these offensives failed, with Laurasian garrisons maintaining their strategic positions, capturing a number of Marasharite military vessels, and breaking the enemy's operational lines.
    • On October 22, Herem-Pasha launched another, more vigorous offensive against Abrianne, but an approach by General Vamaus's units compelled him into retreat. A Marasharite assault against Adrianne (October 27, 1768), was equally unsuccessful, though on November 1, Marasharite forces did manage to sack the outskirts of Meneia, Ra'dai, and Ba'dai. On November 5, a retaliatory counteroffensive by Laurasian units into the Billian Provinces came to an end in the Battle of Sly James, in which the Marasharites of General Nester-Bey (1716-73) managed to capture thirty Curactor-class turbocannon of the Imperial Laurasian Navy. The Imperial Laurasian Navy then launched punishing assaults upon Crimea, Sackrandis, Kilojong, and Diljong (November 8-17, 1768), inflicting some €10 trillion dataries of damage, capturing more than four million prisoners, and disrupting Marasharite transportation lines. The Empire's operations further into the heart of the Muggal Cluster failed.
    • Marasharite forces subsequently attacked Carrhae, Immae, Edessa, O'Donnell, Gayle, Charlie, King, McIver, and Ferguson (December 1768), with Emperor Mustapha hoping that the conquest of these strongholds would give his forces a vantage point from which to assault the Solidaritan Provinces. The Laurasian garrisons of these star systems once again proved effective however, and the Marasharites suffered extensive casualties, in both manpower and military equipment. Moreover, the Battle of Xilania Secondary (December 8-17, 1768), saw a Marasharite transport convoy under Admiral Hureem-Bey (1719-76) being surrounded and captured by the forces of Fleet Captain Sir Titus Andremias (1726-74). For this feat, Andremias would later be awarded the Order of St. Antiochus the Great and promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral in January 1771. Marasharite expeditions against Jin Minor, Ursula, and Calrissian also failed, and they proved completely incapable of penetrating the boundaries of Dejanican Lavella, or those of Tesmanian Dejanica, Belarania, Ukraine, and Northania. These first months of the war demonstrated, above all else, that the Marasharites, despite their claims to the contrary, were not prepared for war. In spite of the colonial wars in which they had been engaged against Haxonia and Vendragia; their struggles against the rebellious sentiments in the Barbary States; and their involvement in the Italianian Wars of 1742-46 and 1751-59, the Marasharite Empire's military forces were dolefully under-equipped, ill-organized, and ill-led. The Haynsian Despotate, on its part, which during the first months of the war played a surprisingly inconsequential role, was now, on the orders of Mustapha, making strategic plans for what would turn out to be its last major raiding expedition into the Laurasian Empire. Furthermore, by the end of December 1768, Empress Aurelia, Chancellor Cecilis, and the rest of the Privy Council were, in conjunction with the General Headquarters, formulating additional plans for military offensives into the Muggal Cluster and the Northern Reaches. They were also continuing to divert military resources from the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth and from elsewhere in the Empire to the Marasharite front.
  • November 26-
    • The day after the Investigation Inquiry reconvened on Rasdalla Minor (November 26, 1768), the Earl of Moray, the most prominent Scottrian on the investigative commission, accused the Earl of Bothwell of murdering Darnley and Queen Mariana of having guilty foreknowledge of it. The Queen’s commissioners, outraged by this besmirching of her reputation, demanded that she be allowed to reply to this charge herself. On December 4, the Empress agreed that this would be reasonable, but declared that Moray must first present his evidence. She then refused to allow Mariana to provide evidence for her own defense, even though the former Queen of Scottria was insisting that the Casket Letters were forgeries and claiming that her communications codes had been hacked. She had still been forbidden to see them. Empress Aurelia claimed that it would be degrading for Mariana to have to give evidence, but in reality, she did not want her beautiful, appealing cousin winning the sympathy of her subjects by publicly protesting her innocence, for then it would become virtually impossible to present the Casket Letters as evidence against her. On December 6, Mariana’s commissioners withdrew from the inquiry. They were not fully convinced of their own mistress’s innocence, being lured to this point of view by the Earl of Moray. The following day, Moray again accused Mariana of murder and produced the Casket Letters, to sensational effect.
    • During the next few days, commissioners compared the message codes of the communiques to those from authenticated correspondence of Mariana’s. Mariana herself continually begged to see copies of the Casket Letters, but her pleas were refused. The Empress demanded that Mariana reply formally in writing to the accusations made against her, but Mariana refused to do so unless Aurelia promised that the inquiry would pronounce her innocent. This, however, was out of the question. The Laurasian commissioners and the institutions of the Imperial Laurasian Government, on their part, accepted the Casket Letters as authentic, on the grounds that "they contained information which could not be devised or invented by any other person than the Queen of Scottria herself, because they discourse on matters of which only Queen Mariana would have knowledge of." They were divided, however, as to how to proceed against Mariana. Aurelia had commanded the inquiry to abstain from proclaiming the Queen guilty of murder, but did want Mariana to accept her deposition and sought to persuade her to live quietly in the Empire as a noblewoman for the rest of her life.
    • Knollysis was instructed to attempt to lead Mariana along this path. Another option was for Mariana to rule Scottria as joint sovereign with her son; Moray would remain regent, and Scottria would become a protectorate of the Laurasian Empire. Alternatively, Mariana could remain titular Queen but remain in residence at the Imperial Court, while Moray ruled in her name. Thus, it was that on December 14, 1768, that the Empress summoned her councilors and nobility to Hampsonian Palace on Jared, where the Imperial Court was lodged for the Ascentmas festivities of 1768. She did this so that the commission’s proceedings could be read out to them, and for them to inspect the Casket Letters. The notables expressed their gratitude to the Empress for allowing them to know about the particulars of the inquiry. Mariana’s "crimes" were now apparent to the subjects of the Empire, and she would never be received at the Imperial Court. However, Mariana had refused to put forward a defense, and demanded that she be allowed to appeal to the Empress directly.
  • December 23-On December 23, 1768, Sir Rogerius Aschamius, who had been the chief tutor of Empress Aurelia during her teenage years, and one of the most renowned scholars in the Laurasian Empire, died suddenly at the age of 53 in the Hospital of St. Joseph’s in Christiania. Aurelia, when she was informed that her old tutor had died, went into a fit of bewailment and commanded the Imperial Court to mourn his death for the next day. The death of Aschamius upset the Empress, and darkened her mood as regards to the Dejanican, Marasharite, and Scottrian predicaments, all of which were now impacting the Laurasian Empire at the same time. Two days later, the Empress dispatched the commissioners back to Rasdalla Minor, ordering them to give Mariana a detailed report of the inquiry and a communique in which the Empress informed her that, "As one Prince and near cousin regarding another, we are heartily sorry and dismayed to find such matter of your charge", and giving the ex-Queen one last chance of stating her defense. Mariana did not respond. As the year 1768 came to its conclusion, the Laurasian Empire was enmeshed in war within the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth and with its implacable Marasharite and Haynsian foes. The New Year would witness the commencement of active military campaigns in the Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War; further operations against the Bar Confederation; and the outbreak of the first of the two great (domestic) uprisings of Aurelia the Great’s reign.

1769Edit

  • January 1-
    • 1769, the 69th year of the eighteenth century, commenced with the Laurasian Empire on the verge of launching major military campaigns in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth and against the Marasharite Empire (as well as its vassal, the Haynsian Despotate). Empress Aurelia, in her New Year's proclamation, assured her imperial subjects that the "professionalism and superior organization of the military forces of our Empire" would subdue all enemies and that they no longer had to fear the "fierce Marasharite and Haynsian savages." The Empress was confident that her military forces would best anything which the Marasharites could hurl against them, and that the Bar Confederation would be destroyed. She also continued to grapple with the problem of the former Queen of Scottria, Mariana I. Other concerns, however, arose for the Empire, on the verge of more active military campaigns in the Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War. By January 1769, the Duke of Norfolkius was becoming increasingly disaffected. On December 29, his chief rival, the Earl of Jadia, had been appointed as Governor of Rasdalla Major by the Empress, who trusted his ability to maintain order in the Southern Galactic Borderlands, in the face of the Marasharite, Dejanican, and Scottrian crises. Norfolkius now came under the influence of one of the Empress's former suitors, the wealthy and boorish Earl of Americana. Along with several other nobles, including the Earls of Malaria Prime and Almastead, both men wanted to see Chancellor Cecilis and his allies (mainly of the Reformist persuasion) ousted from the Privy Council and Governing Senate.
    • This included Leicesterius, who was despised both for his strong advocacy of Reforism and for his closeness to the Empress. Moreover, foreign concerns were also motivating them in their aims. Over the preceding months, relations between the Laurasian and Holy Spamalkan Empires had steadily declined. This was due not only to the internment of Queen Mariana and to Laurasian actions in Dejanica, but also because of the theft, on November 16, 1768, of €1.2 trillion dataries worth of Spamalkan currency, en route from Potosi in the Spamalkan Colombiana, across the Galactic Void, and to the Spamalkan Hereditary Dominions, by a Imperial Laurasian Navy taskforce under the command of Captain Verus, the same personage who had led the Laurasian incursions into the Marasharite Ochanian Provinces. Instead of returning the money to the Holy Spamalkan Government, Empress Aurelia had, following the advice of Chancellor Cecilis, confiscated the funds and deployed them into the reserves of the Imperial Treasury. For a time, it was feared that Philicus would terminate diplomatic relations with the Imperial Laurasian Government, while Norfolkius and Americana, encouraged by Spamalkan Ambassador de Spes, tried to ensure that the blame for this incident was laid on the Chancellor, hoping to prompt his speedy overthrow and committal to the Fortress of Baureux.
    • Leicesterius soon entered into the conspiracy, fired by the knowledge that Cecilis was still trying to prevent him from marrying the Empress-an increasingly unrealistic prospect, since Aurelia was now ten years on the throne. Although hostile to him, Norfolkius and Americana did not reject his support, and outwardly relations among them remained peaceful for some time. Philicus, however, did not declare war, instead ordering for the detainment of Laurasian merchants and starhoppers at Niewpoort, Ostend, Roosevelt, Antwerp, and Leuven in the Durthian Duchies (which in itself was a violation of the Treaty of Antwerp, still in force after 73 years). His chief priority was to suppress the Durthian Rebellion, which had broken out the previous year (and will be described in greater detail later in this timeline), and he did not wish to go to war with the Laurasians at this point. Aurelia too, did not wish to escalate matters farther then they already had gone, and in February 1769, she issued instructions to the Imperial General Headquarters, commanding for Laurasian forces to abstain from any future raids or operations against Spamalkan commercial convoys in the near future.
  • January 3-On January 3, 1769, Haynsian Despot Jay XII Karany, who had been restored to the throne of the Haynsian Despotate by Mustapha III the previous year, died suddenly, aged 61. His death occurred at the Martial Palace of Bakhcisiray, which was one of the chief residences of the Haynsian Despots. He was now succeeded as Despot by his grandnephew Neal V Karany, who was determined to continue with his predecessor's plans for a major raiding expedition against the Laurasian Empire.
  • January 7-
    • On January 7, 1769, Mariana Stuart, ex-Queen of Scottria, was on the orders of her cousin, Empress Aurelia, moved to Tutsarian Palace on Merilash, a grim, forbidding residence which came to be despised by the Scottrian Queen. Georgius Talabrania, 6th Earl of Aretha (1728-90), who had succeeded his father to the Earldom of Aretha upon his death on September 25, 1760, had served on the Imperial Privy Council since 1762 as a Privy Councilor without Portfolio, and was one of the leading noble personages at the Imperial Court, was designated as her official guardian. He was to retain this position for the next fifteen years-underpaid and overburdened with this responsibility. His wife was Lady Aurelia Cavendia, now Countess of Aretha. This was the very same lady whom Lady Katharina Greysius had appealed to in vain back in 1761. Her third husband, Sir Willanius St. Loe, had died on Taurasia on December 18, 1765, from undisclosed circumstances. On February 17, 1768, Lady Cavendia, already one of the wealthiest and most influential noblewoman in the Empire, married the Earl of Aretha, so as to establish herself with a higher rank among the imperial nobility. Their marriage was merely for business and political purposes, not out of love. Lady Cavendia's upstart, domineering personality brought her into conflict with Empress Aurelia many times. Despite this, Aurelia trusted Aretha implicitly.
    • Queen Mariana, however, got on fairly well with both of them, making gifts to Countess Aurelia and even charming the Earl, known for his moralistic personality, with her intelligence, beauty, and wit. The Privy Council warned him to not "allow his personal feelings to cloud him in the pursuit of his duties." Cecilis particularly feared Mariana's wiles, and believed that she would try to trick Aretha into allowing her to escape. Aurelia herself had no time for Mariana as a person, only as a Queen. She had a low opinion of Mariana's character, observing to the Franconian Ambassador that the Queen possessed certain traits which blinded enemies to her true nature. Mariana would not remain solely at Tutsarian Palace, although this was her chief residence; she also resided at the Earl's other estates on Redia, Nicole, Trebek, Courtney, Ashlgothia Major, Galicia Major, and in the Polonian Provinces. Mariana, moreover, continued to involve herself in intrigue. She sent a message to de Spes, declaring she would rather die than resign the throne of Scottria, and promising that if Philicus helped her, she would be "Empress of Laurasia in three months, and I shall seek to act as a good sister to your master and his realms."
  • January 12-Sir Nicholas Thockmortonia, who had returned to Laurasia Prime from his duties at the Scottrian Court in September 1768, and resumed his positions as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director of the Imperial Internal Revenue Service on the Privy Council, revived the plan for a marriage between the confined Scottrian Queen Mariana and the Duke of Norfolkius (January 12, 1769). In this he was supported by Leicesterius, determined to maintain his influence in state affairs. This marriage was to be followed by her restoration to the Scottrian throne, conditional upon Mariana agreeing to maintain the administrative arrangements of the Lords of the Congregation; respecting the prerogatives of the Scottrian Estates; and placing herself under the military and diplomatic protection of the Laurasian Empire. Once Mariana was married to Norfolkius, Aurelia might be persuaded to recognize her as her successor, and with the succession settled, and Mariana, hopefully, no longer a focus for Traditionalist rebels, friendly relations with Spamalka could be restored. The chief obstacle to this plan was Chancellor Cecilis, which was one more reason why Norfolkius, Americana, and their supporters wanted him displaced. They had now been joined in their conspiracy by several Malarian lords and by Spamalkan Ambassador de Spes, eager to make trouble for the Empress. The Empress, however, thanks to Chancellor Cecilis and the Imperial Intelligence Agency, was well aware of the conspiracies, and she decided to wait before proceeding any further. In the meantime, other, more immediate concerns took her attention.
  • January 14-
    • On January 14, 1769, the offensive forces of the Haynsian Despotate, under the command of Haynsian General Devat-Shotokan (1729-71), launched the long-awaited raiding expedition into the Laurasian Empire. This expedition, the first major offensive move in the Fourth Laurasian-Marasharite War (in the wake of the desultory skirmishes and assaults of late 1768), would turn out to be the last of its kind, of a series extending all the way back to 1531. Haynsian forces, whose tactics had changed very little during those two and a half centuries, launched a series of strikes against more than three hundred star systems in the Galactic Borderlands and Wild Marshes. During the next ten days, Haynsian forces, ranging as far as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, Spencer, Seeben, and Sabinia, inflicted damage on a number of Laurasian observation posts, colonies, space-stations, and garrisons, seizing military, industrial, and agricultural supplies, equipment, and goods. They sacked the defenses of Gwynne, Gadweria, and Goriance; penetrated into the Palaris III star system; harried the supply lines of Bane, Cognus, Zannah, the Iswill, and Kalbacha Major; and stormed Ra'dai, Sherwood, and Tyra. The Haynsians captured more than a million captives and inflicted €4.6 trillion dataries worth of damage. Ultimately, however, this last, futile Haynsian thrust lost steam. General Sir Antigonus Vamaus had bid his time in preparing counteroffensives against the Haynsian units, and he was now determined to inflict a decisive blow on them, so that they would not pose a threat to Laurasian territory again.
    • On January 24, Haynsian offensive squadrons launched a raiding offensive against Billy Gasis, seeking to dislodge the Laurasian garrison from that star system and to capture the substantial store of Laurasian military equipment, weapons, and armor that was stored there. As the Haynsian units proceeded to the outskirts of the star system, the forces of General Vamaus launched a surprise offensive against them. Haynsian units were surrounded and assaulted by a superior Laurasian armada at Alexvar Garrison, which was located six light-years to the southeast of Billy Gasis. The ensuing Battle of Alexvar Garrison resulted in a decisive victory for the forces of the Laurasian Empire. General Devat-Shotokan barely evaded capture, and most of his assault carriers (numbering more than one hundred) were destroyed or captured by the warships of the Imperial Laurasian Navy. Over the next four days, Laurasian detachments stormed Haynsian operational outposts and relays on Andravar, Cuvvaria II, Alemeda, and Aurora, resulting in the final withdrawal of Haynsian raiding forces back to the Galactic Void and the termination of this expedition. On January 31, 1769, Empress Aurelia would confer the Order of St. Antiochus the Conqueror upon Vamaus and raise him to peerage as 1st Lord Vamaus of Nystadia.
  • February 2-Spamalkan Ambassador de Spes was, on February 2, 1769, approached by a Haxonian banker, Roberto Ridolfi (1731-92), who had been dispatched by Norfolkius and Americana to enlist Spamalkan support for their scheme. Ridolfi had resided on Laurasia Prime since 1755, having initially arrived as an aide to the Haxonian Embassy in Christiania, and had served for the past four years as Chief Operations Officer for the Christiania Office of the Florencian Bank, a major Haxonian banking consortium which had begun to establish banking operations throughout the Laurasian Empire in the late seventeenth century. He was in contact with notables at the Haxonian and Spamalkan Courts, and was therefore appraised of conspiracies against Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Laurasian Government. Ridolfi passed along the message of the noble conspirators that they intended to establish a Traditionalist, pro-Spamalkan government on Laurasia Prime as soon as possible. They soon realized, however, that they may not obtain the level of assistance from the Spamalkan Court as had been hoped, for the Durthian Rebellion diverted Philicus's military forces.
  • February 8-On Ash Wednesday, February 8, 1769, Leicesterius dared to tell the Empress that most of her subjects were in despair because state affairs were being "utterly mishandled" by Chancellor Cecilis and that either the Empire would be endangered further by the Marasharite and Dejanican threats, or the Chancellor must be dismissed from office. Aurelia erupted in fury at this, forbidding the Earl to say anything further against Cecilis. She then publicly proclaimed to the Imperial Court that nothing would shake her loyalty to him. Norfolkius, who was also present, then entered the argument, telling the Empress that many notables shared Leicesterius's opinion of Cecilis. Aurelia, however, was in a foul temper, and ordered for him to stop talking about the matter. Norfolkius, however, commented to the Marquess of Venusia that Leicesterius did not have freedom of opinion; on this, the Empress threatened to have him arrested. He finally bowed to her will, and the matter ended. Leicesterius, on his part, was alarmed by this episode, and threatened Norfolkius with full exposure of his plot against Cecilis to the Empress. Cecilis, however, already knew (as given above), and now acted friendly towards the Duke, refraining from actions to provoke him and his faction. He also sought to win Leicesterius's support as well. All of these intrigues at the Imperial Court, however, continued to be overshadowed by the continuing military campaigns against the Marasharite Empire and in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • February 14-
    • The Imperial General Headquarters and the Imperial Privy Council, having finalized and communicated their military strategic plans to the field commanders and officers of the Imperial Military, ordered, on February 14, 1769, for the commencement of general offensives into the Marasharite Galactic Borderlands. Laurasian forces in the Galactic Borderlands and along the Galactic Frontier Route had been further reorganized, and commands shifted, in preparation for the commencement of the planned military offensives. General Sir Antigonus Vamaus remained commander-in-chief of the Marasharite front; his chief command now became that of the 2nd and 4th Imperial Armies, and the associated 2nd and 4th Imperial Fleets, among the largest military detachments of the Laurasian Empire. His forces comprised of over 1,500 capital warships; 5,000 smaller vessels; and a detachment of 35.9 million troopers and ground-soldiers of the Imperial Laurasian Army, Imperial Marines, and Imperial Engineering Corps. General Sir Demetrius Rumanstevius, whose name had been floated earlier for the supreme command, and who, having served in all of the Empire's conflicts over the preceding two decades, had gained fame for his victory at Belbraggia over Franconian units in 1757, was now appointed chief subordinate commander of the Laurasian military forces, and held control of the 5th and 6th Imperial Armies. To him were attached the 50th and 51st Imperial Fleets. He had 1,300 capital warships; 3,400 smaller vesels; and 30.2 million troops. The naval forces assigned to Vamaus were commanded by Admiral Sir Thomasius Genneria (1705-83); those of Rumanstevius, by Admiral Sir Gregory Seniavin (1710-71). Generals Vamaus and Rumanstevius were now ordered to deploy their forces. Vamaus was charged with the conquest of Khotyn and Bucharina, the two chief Marasharite strongholds in the Northern Reaches. Rumanstevius, on his part, was ordered to defend Laurasian positions from possible Haynsian raids in the Galactic Void and to proceed against Kerch, Marson, and the Haynsian Slave Highway. Laurasian forces now penetrated from the Galactic Frontier Route, and invaded Marasharite territory.
    • The first major confrontation which then ensued was that of the Battle of Sapho (February 19, 1769). This battle was a confrontation between General Rumanstevius's forces and those of the Marasharite General Keplan-Verry (1711-79). Laurasian forces were attempting to obtain access to the junctures to the Muggal Cluster, so that they could prevent Marasharite units from penetrating from that region. They also wished to secure their supply lines to the Northern Reaches. Superior Laurasian discipline, tactics, and military organization resulted in a decisive victory for General Rumanstevius. Nearly a hundred Haynsian assault carriers were destroyed or captured, and some 50,000 captives were freed. As a result of this confrontation, Sappho, Tessy, and the Dniester Asteroid Bases capitulated to Rumanstevius's forces. By the end of February 1769, his units were pressing to Voronezh and Kuban, the last major Marasharite outposts before Kerch. In conjunction with this, Vamaus's forces also kept up their advance. On February 24, the Battle of the Dniper Asteroid Belt was waged; the Marasharite commander was Haynsian General Devat-Shotokan, who sought the resumption of Haynsian raiding expeditions into Laurasian territory. This confrontation was waged over a period of four hours and resulted in severe losses for the military forces of both combatants. Ultimately, however, General Vamaus secured a victory in the confrontation, and the military outposts of the Dnieper Asteroid Belt capitulated to the Laurasian Empire. General Devat-Shotokan, who had failed in all of his offensive operations against the Laurasians, and who had become disgraced in the eyes of the Haynsian people, was arrested, court-martialed, and dismissed from his position of command by the orders of Marasharite Emperor Mustapha on March 4. He was subsequently exiled to Konya, and died there on December 14, 1771, aged only 42.
  • February 27-On February 27, 1769, Ernestia Bironia, Duke of Northania and Semigallia, officially abdicated his throne in a formal ceremony of state on Mitau. Bironia was 78 years old, and he had long yearned to be able to retire to the quarters of the Ducal Palace. His son, Peter von Bironia, was now proclaimed Duke of Northania and Semigallia by the Northanian Diet. The Diet, obliging by the provisions of the Treaties of Riga and Warsaw, sought the ratification of the Imperial Laurasian Government. On March 9, Bironia was confirmed as Duke by Ambassador Repanius. He had gained authorization to do so from the Privy Council; Empress Aurelia approved of the younger Bironia's elevation to the Northanian throne in his father's place. The new Duke solemnly swore, at Mitau, to uphold all arrangements previously made with the Imperial Laurasian Government. Repanius however, had lost some of his favor at the Imperial Court, due to his failure to prevent the formation of the Bar Confederation the previous year, and he would be shortly recalled by the Empress from his duties in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • March 12-
    • By March 1769, the Bar Confederation had managed to recover some of its territorial losses from the forces of the Imperial Laurasian and Royal Dejanican Governments. This was because the main focus of Laurasian efforts had shifted to the Marasharite front; therefore, the Empire was not able to give as much attention to affairs in the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Berdycrow, Krakow Minor, and Kamenets had been recovered by Confederation forces, all in February 1769. General Casimirius Pulaskia continued to distinguish himself in these military campaigns against the Laurasians. Pulaskia had managed to recover some of his prestige from the humiliations of his imprisonment, and was considered to be a true patriot by many of his colleagues and subordinates once more. In early March 1769, General Elmt vigorously reorganized his units and following instructions from the Imperial General Headquarters, advanced against Okopy Swietjei Trojcy, which had served as Pulaskia's command headquarters since December of the previous year. March 12 witnessed the formal commencement of the Laurasian siege of this stronghold, which dragged on for much of the month. By March 29, Okopy Swijetjei Trojcy was at the verge of falling to General Elmt's forces. Laurasian squadrons had stormed the Dejanican defensive outposts on Osrony Trojy, Okopy Minor, and Ivarria, threatening the very survival of the Dejanican garrison.
    • Dejanican General Pukaskia, who was desperate, and sought to repel the Laurasian forces, sent a secret communique to the forces of General Michal Walewskia (1724-73), who was stationed at Nowy Targ, and urged for him to launch a counteroffensive against Laurasian positions in the outskirts of the besieged star system. Walewskia obliged by Pulaskia's pleas, and he subsequently organized his starfighters for a lightning offensive against Laurasian-Royalist Dejanican positions. At 2:00 p.m. Galactic Standard Time, Dejanican units launched a sudden offensive against the Laurasian operational headquarters on Kobal's Moon; this offensive caught the Laurasian armada off balance. General Elmt, seeking to maintain the blockade and to punish those who had attacked his headquarters, dispatched a detachment of couriers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arasces Eravia (1738-80) to assault Walewski's main offensive camp. This weakened the strength of the front-line Laurasian forces, and General Pulaskia was able to launch a counteroffensive from Trojcy's Moon, driving Laurasian advance units out of the star system and opening a direct line of communications to the forces of General Walewskia. Eventually, on April 2, 1769, General Elmt was ordered by the Imperial General Headquarters to withdraw from the siege of Okopy Swijetjei Trojcy. Osrony Trojy, Okopy Minor, and Ivvaria were reoccupied by the forces of the Bar Confederation in the aftermath of this humiliating Laurasian defeat.
  • April 6-
    • The forces of General Sir Antigonus Vamaus approached the outskirts of Khotyn, which was the chief target of their military offensive (April 6, 1769). Khotyn, which had been originally colonized by the Timurid Empire in 1003, was a major military and industrial stronghold which had found itself in the possession of several different powers over the preceding 766 years. Among these included the Neo-Torfian Kingdom of Imegina (1019-55); the Amelianian Kingdom of Kthexox (1055-1178); the Amelianian Kingdom of Marcia (1178-1239); the Amelianian Kingdom of Cordania (1239-75); the Kingdom of Donathia (1275-1434); and the Neo-Iffian Empire (1434-1555). In 1555, it was acquired by the Marasharite Empire under Suleiman the Magnificent, and despite being disputed by the Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Celestial Kingdom of Scottriam and then the Laurasian Empire, had remained under Marasharite rule until this point. It was therefore considered essential to the Imperial Laurasian Government that this star system submit to Laurasian authority. General Vamaus had subdued Marasharite garrisons on Cherinvisti, Odolia, and Waldan during March 1769, capturing large amounts of Marasharite equipment and military armor. The garrison of Khotyn was commanded by Marasharite General Mevet-Pasha (1718-69), who was under direct orders by the Marasharite High Council to prevent any further Laurasian advance.
    • In the meantime, Confederate General Pulaskia, who had further demonstrated his military prowess by successfully lifting the Siege of Okopy Swijetjei Trojcy, and had fully recovered his position of prestige and trust among the forces of the Bar Confederation, was, on April 7, 1769, designated as the regimentarz (Chief Commander) of the Krakow Voivodeship by the Confederate Council. The Krakow Voivodeship was by this point largely under the domination of rebel forces. In this position, Pulaskia was charged with commanding all military operations within his jurisdiction; protecting Krakow and Silerwin, the two leading worlds of the voivodeship, from Laurasian offensives; and organizing the deployment of military supplies and garrisons throughout the Voivodeship. Over the remainder of April 1769, Pulaskia obtained victories over Laurasian units in confrontations at Zator, Zywiec, Jaslo, Klobuck, and Michelow, preventing the Empire from establishing a foothold near Krakow. Confederation forces, in general, continued to regain lost territories in Greater Dejanica, Dejanican Lavella, and Ukraine, gaining control of Volhnia, Polotsk, Vitesbk, and the Environs of Wilno. In the process, they inflicted additional humiliations upon the governmental and Laurasian forces.
  • April 14-Having besieged and conquered the Marasharite intelligence outpost of Bavarra, General Sir Antigonus Vamaus launched the first general offensive against the Khotyn star system (April 14, 1769). The First Battle of Khotyn commenced, lasting for the next six days. During the course of this military confrontation, Laurasian starfighter squadrons attempted to penetrate the outpost defenses of Khotyn and to secure control of the Khotyn Asteroid Belt, which would have offered them access to the Inner Asteroid Belt. General Mevet-Parma, however, proved to be a cunning and determined adversary, who was willing to employ all means and tactics necessary to maintain his control of the star system. He instructed his soldiers to fight to the death and to yield no ground to the Laurasian "mongrels", as he called them. He carefully coordinated assaults by his corvettes and starfighters upon Laurasian command positions, and he held back his reserves in the Asteroid Belt, making it impossible for Laurasian forces to directly advance through that region. Ultimately, General Vamaus was forced to call a halt to Laurasian operations against Khotyn on April 20. His favor at the Imperial Court, enhanced by his victory at Alexvar Garrison earlier in the year, began to erode, and some on the Privy Council demanded that he be replaced with some new, "more competent" commander.
  • May 5-
    • By May 1769, tensions in the Celestial Kingdom of Scottria were boiling over again, as Regent Moray was determined not to make any compromise with the Marianian Confederation and to assert his grip over Ediania by continuing the reduction of rebel strongholds. The Earls of Rothes and Casilis, who remained loyal to the cause of former Queen Mariana, had nevertheless attempted negotiation with the Regent, urging him to terminate his "treasonous activity" and return to the oath of allegiance which he owed to Mariana. Moray had rebuffed their attempts, and in a proclamation to the subjects of the Scottrian realms (April 12, 1769), he reminded them of their "true, divinely-ordained allegiance to His Majesty, King Jamsius VI" and that he would not have any mercy for any man who wavered from that oath of allegiance. John Knox, whose health was in decline by this point, but who nevertheless remained the most prominent religious personage in Scottrian affairs, delivered sermons urging the rebels to "rescue themselves from damnation by humbly submitting before the lawful authorities and abandoning the cause of that she-wolf Mariana." Queen Mariana, who was then at the Earl of Aretha's estate on Tahon, wept when she heard about Knox's sermon, and declared that the gods of her ancestors were punishing her for her sins.
    • Empress Aurelia, on her part, was still contemplating the idea of sending Mariana back to Scottria, to stir up more trouble there. Moray, however, was now refusing to cooperate, and this hampered the Empress's efforts. Mariana herself, eager to recover her former position of influence, had now "discovered" a potential route of escape from her imprisonment. Norfolkius had until this point dismissed the idea of marrying her as treason. As 1769 proceeded along, however, he had given the matter deeper consideration; it appeared to him that, if her marriage to Bothwell (who had been held at Cragmillar Dungeon by the King of Vendragia for nearly two years, as will be noted below), was formally annulled, it would then make sense for her to marry a loyal Laurasian noble who could safeguard Empress Aurelia's interests when Mariana had been restored to her throne. He would become King Consort of Scottria, and envisioned himself wielding effective authority in Mariana's name. It was on May 5 that he sent, through the Scottrian Clanniarch of Ross (who remained on Laurasia Prime as the Queen's representative), a secret but formal proposal of marriage to the Queen. Mariana responded warmly, and within weeks, she had begun a vigorous correspondence with the Duke. Neither Mariana nor Norfolkius had any romantic notions; this was to be a union of driving ambition.
  • May 16-The First Battle of Przemyśl was fought between the forces of the Bar Confederation, under the command of General Casimirius Pulaskia, and those of the Laurasian Empire and Dejanican-Lithuanian Commonwealth under General Sir Honorius Elmt (May 16, 1769). Przemyśl was the last major star system of note held by the Royal Government of Dejanica in the Krakow Voivodeship, and its capture was considered essential to the further progress of Confederate forces. General Elmt, however, had organized Przemyśl's defenses accordingly, and it was equipped with advanced Sonic-II turbocannons, which outmatched any weaponry possessed by the rebel warships. As a result of this weaponry advantage, the battle resulted in victory for the Laurasian-Royalist Dejanican forces, with more than 150,000 Confederate personnel losing their lives, and 30 of the 45 Confederate warships either destroyed, captured, or severely damaged. Pulaskia, however, did not give up, and over the next several weeks, launched three further offensives against the star system and its outposts, each of which ended in failure.
  • May 22-
    • The Battle of Voronezh resulted (May 22, 1769) in a decisive victory for the 5th and 6th Imperial Armies of the Laurasian Empire under the command of General Sir Demetrius Rumanstevius. The further advance of his units into the Northern Reaches and against Kerch had been delayed by Marasharite fleets under the command of Admiral Ado-Bashan (1720-69). Ado-Bashan, a ambitious and intriguing military commander who believed that he was a descendant of Osman I (r. 1299-1326), founder of the Marasharite Empire, had launched a series of daring counteroffensives against Laurasian strongholds since February 1769. Natalie, Tiona, Margery, Multan, Lynne, Morg, and Xilania Secondary had found themselves menaced by Marasharite expeditions. A Marasharite squadron even penetrated as far as the Satellites of Ursula and Jin Major. Ultimately, General Rumanstevius had stabilized the front lines, obtaining a victory over Marasharite units in the Battle of Vakrakh, which was fought on April 29. The Battle of Voronezh constituted an additional success for the Empire's forces, and the capture of that stronghold put a further dent into the Marasharite strategic lines within the Northern Reaches. Ado-Bashan himself managed to evade capture in this confrontation, but he was eventually intercepted and killed by Laurasian units near Nokorussia on June 4.
    • On the same day of the Battle of Voronezh, Regent Moray, who had advanced with government squadrons from Ediania, launched a sudden offensive against Rutherglen, the chief stronghold of the House of Hamilton, who had continued to remain loyal to the cause of ex-Queen Mariana. Moray had published a manifesto two days earlier, offering the Hamiltons a chance to renounce their "undue insubordination towards the authority of His Majesty's government" and to withdraw their support for the Marianian Confederation. Lord Claude Hamilton, however, who had commanded the Queen's forces in the Battle of Langside the previous year, rejected the manifesto issued by the Regent, and declared his intention to remain loyal to Mariana. His personal units and retainers, however, proved no match for disciplined government forces. Rutherglen was conquered and plundered by the Regent's forces, who ransacked its settlements and its main spaceport; carried off the world's currency reserves; and destroyed all Hamilton estates and properties. Following the fall of Rutherglen, Moray confiscated Hamilton estates on Loveria, Claudington, and Marglen.
  • June 4-On June 4, 1769, the Earl of Moray, who had continued his advance through the Lowland Districts, confiscating and blockading the estates of many of the gentry supporters of Queen Mariana, held a conference with the Earl of Huntly at Aberdeen. In February 1769, Huntly, from his estates on Brechin, had sent a communique to the Scottrian Estates, renouncing his earlier "evil defiance" against the government of "His Most Dread Majesty, King Jamsius VI" and asking for forgiveness for his transgressions. Moray had decided to accept Huntly's submission, believing that this would help him to secure control of the Northern Districts and to begin the task of reducing his other enemies in a more effective manner. On May 19, Huntly, to signify his submission, sent a number of hostages to Moray on Iverness. Then on June 2, Moray had commanded for Huntly to appear at a conference with him. This conference, held two days later, lasted for three hours and resulted in the conclusion of the Conditions of Aberdeen. By the terms of this agreement, Huntly was to resolve his familial quarrel with the Earl of Morton, who had remained a loyal friend and associate of the Regent; provide intelligence on his former allies to the Royal Scottrian Government; and surrender Huntly Castle to government forces. In return, Moray agreed to extend a pardon to Huntly and all of his supporters. Following the conclusion of this agreement, Moray proceeded to Iverness, where he received oaths of allegiance from the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness, as well as Lord Lovat. Moray ultimately returned to Ediania on June 24, confident that he had secured control of the Northern Districts.
  • June 12-On June 12, 1769, Kuban, which had resisted Laurasian reconnaissance expeditions for more than a month, finally capitulated to the forces of General Rumanstevius. The fall of Kuban proved a significant achievement for the Laurasians, and a decisive victory over those of the overstretched and weakened Marasharites. Kuban's garrison alone consisted of 700,000 Marasharite troops; fifty capital warships; and a store of nearly 200,000 small arms, operational shield generators, droid tactical machines, and technical armor. General Rumanstevius incorporated these as spoils of war into his forces and set the Marasharite POWs to work on producing weapons and equipment for the Laurasian troops. In this, he had the approval of Empress Aurelia, who had given explicit orders for Marasharite prisoners to be humiliated in the same fashion that they had humiliated Laurasian POWS for two centuries. The way to Kerch was now clear, and General Rumanstevius's forces continued their advance along the Don Trunk Highway.
  • June 17-The Duke of Norfolkius, who knew that the Empress would be opposed to his marriage plans with Scottrian Queen Mariana, because she would anticipate that a man ambitious to be King of Scottria would also covet the Laurasian throne, attempted to obtain the assistance of his old friend, Chancellor Cecilis (June 17, 1769). Cecilis, however, who was deeply suspicious of the confined Queen of Scottria, and who remained utterly loyal to the Empress, warned Norfolkius that the only way to extricate himself from this mess was to confess everything to Aurelia. Leicesterius, who was fearful of the consequences of his involvement, also confided in Cecilis. None of the conspirators wished to divulge their marriage plans to Aurelia until they were certain that they could convince her of its benefits. Cecilis, on his part, decided not to inform anyone of what Leicesterius and Norfolkius told him, and waited to see how events would proceed.
  • June 25-
    • On June 25, 1769, the Fourth Battle of Przemyśl, the last of General Pulaskia's offensives against that particular stronghold, resulted in final victory for the forces of the Laurasian Empire under the command of Brigadier-General Alexander Surovius, who had taken charge of Przemyśl's forces. Surovius, already notable to many by the fact that he never lost any of his military confrontations, inflicted a crushing defeat upon Pulaskia's units, capturing more than 76,000 Confederate troops and naval personnel. As a result of this confrontation, Pulaskia and the remnants of his force decided to withdraw to Samogitia. He was once again under criticism by some of his fellow Confederates, and some on the War Council were again demanding for him to be court-martialed. Pulaskia, however, remained patient, and he shifted his attention to organizing a general revolt in Greater Dejanica against the Laurasian and Royalist Dejanican garrisons stationed in that region. This effort, however, was foiled by the Royalist authorities and by the new Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Dejanica Major, Sir Leonidas Volynskhius (1715-73).
    • Volynskhius had been appointed as Ambassador by Empress Aurelia on May 22, 1769, to replace Sir Repanius. Repanius had, as mentioned above, come into disfavor with the Imperial Court for his failure to prevent the formation of the Bar Confederation, and had been recalled in disgrace. Volynshikus worked vigorously to continue Laurasian offensives against the Confederates and to maintain the influence of the Diplomatic Garrison on Dejanica. On July 7, King Stanis Vorrust, acting on the persuasion of the Ambassador, issued a manifesto pronouncing official damnation on all who continued to support the Bar Confederation. Six days later, General Walewskia's forces launched an offensive against Berdycrow, whose garrison was now commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Amnystas Narros (1733-85). This offensive, however, resulted in a strategic stalemate, as Colonel Narros maintained his positions and repelled all Dejanican moves into the star system. Pulaskia remained in Samogitia and continued his efforts to incite rebellion against the enemy garrisons, and to prepare for additional counteroffensives within the Krakow Voivodeship.
  • August 1-Although Chancellor Cecilis remained true to his pledge not to reveal anything of his discussions with Norfolkius and Leicesterius, word of the Duke's conspiracy nevertheless leaked out at the Imperial Court. In a forum of constant gossip and conversation, it was impossible for any conspiracy or scheme of note to remain a secret, and one of Norfolkius's staff members spread the word about his intentions to the other personages of the court. The Duke was too fearful to take Cecilis's advice, and refrained from approaching the Empress himself. Aurelia, however, learned of the conspiracy as she listened to her ladies gossiping, and decided that this marriage scheme was a direct threat to her position. This was in contrast to the position of most on the Privy Council, who were actually in favor of the marriage. On August 1, 1769, she met Norfolkius in the Antigonid Gardens, and gave him the chance to inform her of his plans: she did this by asking him if he had heard of any occurrences in Christiania. Norfolkius, cringing, said there was nothing. The Empress then feigned astonishment and said "You come to me in the gardens to say there is no news of a marriage?" Norfolkius, however, was saved from having to answer by the arrival of one of Aurelia's ladies-in-waiting and good friends, Lady Didymeia Clitonia (1728-91), with a bouquet of Briannian flowers for the Empress. The Duke seized his opportunity to flee to Leicesterius's apartments. When Leicesterius returned from a performance at the Galactic Opera, Norfolkius asked him for his opinion on what he should do. Leicesterius responded by offering to make a appeal to the Empress on Norfolkius's behalf as soon as possible.
  • August 5-
    • On August 5, 1769, the Imperial Court departed from Laurasia Prime, to commence the official progress of 1769. This year, Empress Aurelia and the Imperial Court joureyed throughout the Polonian and Galician Provinces. Frogglesworth, Doris, Anthony, Rupert, Watson, Sherlock, Galicia Major, Volodormia, Polonia Major, Kaidan, Wronzaz, Polonia Minor, Legnica, Lublin, Wolbroz, Tursk, Krasow, and Chemrei were visited by the Empress during this progress. On August 11, the Imperial Court made its arrival at Rupert. The Empress stayed at Dumbledore Estate, the residence of Sir Willanius Morius (1720-1800), Governor of Rupert and an honorary Valedictorian Guard. Dumbledore Estate had once been one of the estates of Donguarian General Jan Choldekiwiz, the famed Polonian commander of the early thirteenth century during the Polonian-Briannian War and the Laurasian Time of Troubles. It had come into the possession of the Morius family in 1706, and remained so until Morius sold it in 1797. The following morning, as the Empress sat on a step by the front door, listening to Morius's daughter Agrippina (1752-1800), who in 1770 became one of Aurelia's ladies-in-waiting, singing, Leicesterius, kneeling beside her, raised the subject of Norfolkius. Aurelia promised to speak to Norfolkius within the next few days.
    • On August 13, at Emmaline Fortress on Watson, the Empress invited the Duke of Norfolkius to dine in private with her-a rare honor granted to only the most prestigious officials and nobles of the Empire, as well as to foreign ambassadors. During the meal, although the Empress gave him every opportunity to do so, Norfolkius could not summon up the courage to inform her about his proposed marriage to Mariana Stuart. When they were finished with their food, the Empress suddenly rebuked Norfolkius for his "stubbornness", and said that he should not interfere in matters above his station. After this meeting, Aurelia gave him several more chances to state his intentions, but Norfolkius failed to do so. He was determined to pursue this marriage project, believing that his life and position were at stake.
  • August 15-
    • On August 21, 1769, General Rumanstevius launched an offensive against Kerch, which as mentioned above, was one of the chief objectives of his military assignment. Kerch, which had a population of more then one billion by 1769, was defended by a Marasharite-Haynsian garrison of 220 warships and 800,000 troops, along with a series of elaborate outposts, projectile turrets, and minefields. This garrison was under the command of Fleet Admiral Gedlet-Mamenet (1709-69). Gedlet-Mamenet, who had enlisted in the Elite Guards in 1727, and had during the next four decades, risen to a high command in the Marasharite General Headquarters, distinguishing himself by his exploits during the Colonial and Barbary Wars, was a dedicated military commander, utterly loyal to the Emperor and to the Marasharite State. He believed that it was his duty to fight and die for his Emperor, as well as for the Gods of his race. He considered surrender to be disgraceful, believing that everlasting glory could be obtained by death in battle. As a result of this, Kerch's garrison resisted fiercely. Two front-line assaults launched by Rumanstevius's forces against the star system's defenses were repelled with heavy losses. Ultimately however, superior Laurasian numbers, weaponry, and organization proved decisive, and on August 24, Kerch was finally stormed by the Laurasians. Gedlet-Mamenet, true to his word, refused to surrender, and died while leading his troops in a final assault against the High Castle of Kerch. The fall of Kerch gave the Empire's forces control of the approaches leading to Marson and Bucharina, the last major Marasharite strongholds in the Galactic Borderlands.
    • Three days before the fall of Kerch, on August 21, Lieutenant-General Lord Vamaus (who had been raised to the nobility as 1st Baron Vamaus of Nystadia on March 8, 1769, in the euphoria following the Battle of Alexvar Garrison), renewed his offensives against Khotyn. Vamaus had, since the failure of the first Siege of Khotyn, reorganized his units, drafted new tactical strategies, and focused on the reduction of the Marasharite outposts of Henvy, Senvy, and Mahotyn, which had served as major communications and transport hubs for the Khotyn garrison. General Mevet-Pasha, who had recently been designated as commander-in-chief of all Marasharite forces in the Galactic Borderlands by the Grand Council, had received substantial reinforcements, in the form of elite Marasharite, Haynsian, and Barbary troops, as well as warships. The renewed assaults against Khotyn, therefore, came up against vastly expanded and reorganized defensive lines. After a three-day assault, which had resulted in more than 200,000 Laurasian casualties, General Vamaus decided on a different strategy, similar to that which he had earlier pursued with success against the Haynsians. He now withdrew his troops from Khotyn's outskirts, seeking to draw the enemy garrison out into open battle across space favorable to him.
  • August 29-
    • Lieutenant-General Vamaus withdrew to the Fairxatia Straits on August 25 and awaited a general offensive upon his positions by the Marasharite garrison of Khotyn. The General's ploy, to draw the Marasharites out into open battle,turned out to be a successful one. Mevet-Parma, who believed that Vamaus was weak and ineffective, and that the Laurasian troops were demoralized because of their failed attempts to seize Khotyn, decided to dispatch a substantial detachment of his troops and starships against the Fairxatia Straits, to overrun Laurasian positions and secure the region for the Marasharites. The offensive units were placed under the command of Subordinate Vizier Moldovanchi-Pasha (1724-69), who had been attached as a subordinate to Mevet-Parma by the Grand Council two weeks earlier. Moldovanchi-Pasha, however, was not as effective or confident a commander, however, and he demanded that the General provide him with several of the major frigates and battleships of the garrison of Khotyn. Mevet-Parma, blind to the Vizier's faults, and believing this would secure a even greater victory over the Laurasian troops, granted his request. On August 26, Moldovanchi-Pasha and his units began their advance from Khotyn to the Fairxatia Straits; they were shadowed by Laurasian scouts along their entire route.
    • During the early hours of August 29, 1769, the Subordinate Vizier ordered for a general assault by his frigates and battleships against the Laurasian formations. He had been deceived, however, for the ships that his forces attacked were computer-operated transports and couriers. The frigates quickly destroyed most of this detachment, but their firepower supplies were drained and their generators were put on overdrive. General Vamaus subsequently unleashed his waiting corps upon the enemy, and the Laurasian star destroyers quickly shredded through the subordinate Marasharite ranks. The Battle of the Fairxatia Straits, as it became known, lasted for five hours and resulted in a decisive victory for the Laurasian Empire. Subordinate Vizier Moldovanchi-Pasha himself, along with 70,000 of his fleet personnel, died in the confrontation. Out of twenty attacking Marasharite capital warships, twelve were destroyed and five captured by the Laurasians. The Marasharites also lost all of their turbocannons and twelve shield generator models. The garrison of Khotyn had now been seriously weakened by this defeat, and General Vamaus renewed his advance against Khotyn with a vengeance.
  • September 3-
    • In spite of the Battles of Kerch and Fairxatia Straits, the mood of the Imperial Court was tense. In June 1769, the Duke of Alva, who had been appointed as Governor-General of the Grand Duchy of Durthia and Burgundy by Emperor Philicus, informed Ambassador de Spes, by secret communique, that Spamalka would not be going to war against the Laurasian Empire, considering that the Empress of Laurasia had not engaged in any conspiracy against the Holy Spamalkan Government or consorted with Spamalka's enemies. Philicus also believed that Laurasia's war with the Marasharite Empire, Spamalka's most dreaded enemy, as well as its entanglements in Dejanica, were preferable to the Laurasians involving themselves in the Durthian Rebellion, in which they had thus far evinced no interest. Therefore, de Spes was under no circumstances to enter into any conspiracy against the Empress or her government, and was to remain strictly neutral. De Spes, however, defied the Duke's instructions, and continued to conspire with several Malarian lords against Aurelia.
    • He also continued to encourage Norfolkius to marry Mariana. Empress Aurelia was therefore aggravated, in spite of the successes which her forces were obtaining against the Marasharites and the Haynsians. Angered by thoughts of her cousin's involvement in the conspiracy, she complained to the Franconian Ambassador, Bertrand de Salignac Fénelon (1723-89), who had served since his appointment by King Charman in June 1768, that although she had treated Mariana fairly, she had repaid her by involving herself in conspiracy. Ambassador Fénelon attempted to defend Mariana, claiming she could not be involved. Aurelia, however, dismissed this and said she was well aware of who was conspiring against her. During this time, the Imperial Court was at the Commonwealth Palace on Polonia Major, once the chief residence of the King-Emperors of the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. The Empress engaged in verbal outbursts, accusing both Cecilis and Leicesterius of plotting on Mariana's behalf. Leicesterius, terrified, fled to his chambers and feigned illness.
  • September 5-
    • On September 5, 1769, Edmundis Bonneris, formerly Archbishop of Laurasia Prime and one of the most vigorous persecutors of Reformist Almitians during the reign of Empress Didymeia I, died at the Monastery of Windowia Photis. Following his dismissal from the See of Laurasia Prime by Empress Aurelia in February 1759, Bonneris had been pressured by the Holy Synod to take the oath of supremacy, as mandated by the Statute of Ecclesiastical Administration which was enacted in May of that year. Bonneris had refused, however, and he was on the orders of Chief Procurator Amnystas Parrius imprisoned at the Monastery of Windowia Photis in April 1760. During the next three years, many in the Imperial Almitian Church and on the Privy Council, including Knollysis and Procurator-General Bagonius, petitioned the Empress to authorize for Bonneris's conviction and execution. Aurelia, however, considering imprisonment a due enough punishment for him, resisted this pressure. By 1763, however, she had been persuaded to change her mind on ecclesiastical penalties, and in that year, the Holy Synod promulgated the Supremacy Regulations. By the terms of the Regulations, the first refusal of the oath of imperial supremacy became an offense of pramenuire; the second, high treason. The Regulations were enacted on April 10, 1763; a next refusal by Bonneris, or the other Traditionalist ex-clergymen, was an offense which could lead to their deaths.
    • Thanks to the intervention of first Spamalkan Ambassador de Quadra, and then his successor de Silva, action against Bonneris and his fellow Traditionalist associates was delayed. However, on April 29, 1764, Bonneris was indicted by the Holy Synod on a charge of pramenuire when refusing to adhere to an oath tendered to him at the Monastery of Windowia Photis by Robertius Homerius, Bishop of Windowia Photis (1710-79). At his trial, Bonneris challenged the legality of Homerius's consecration. In spite of this, the charges against the former Archbishop were subsequently dropped. During the next three years, Bonneris was forced to appear at the Senatorial Palace four times within each year, only to be remanded each time. The last time this took place was during the legal term of 1768. Through his long imprisonment, Bonneris remained cheerful and devoted to his Traditionalist beliefs. He even attempted to convert his fellow convicts to Traditionalism, an action which was rebuffed by those aware of his evil reputation during the Didymeian Persecutions. Bonneris's death, therefore, was met with little notice throughout the Empire's dominions, although some did celebrate the demise of "one who had brought so much harm to so many in his time." He was interred at St. George's Priory at the Monastery on October 6.
  • September 7-
    • After four days of staying in his bedchambers, the Earl of Leicesterius begged Empress Aurelia to visit him. The Empress agreed and came to his bed on September 7, 1769. There, Leicesterius told her that the Duke of Norfolkius still cherished notions of marrying Queen Mariana. Aurelia commented that, if their marriage were allowed to proceed, she herself would be quickly deposed from her throne and would be a prisoner at the Fortress of Baureux "within the span of only four months" after the ceremony. Leicesterius, sensing the Empress's mood, begged forgiveness for his involvement in the earlier scheme, explaining that he had been convinced that he was acting in her best interests. Worried about the state of his health, and still "believing" that he was ill, the Empress pardoned him almost immediately. Several hours later, Empress Aurelia summoned Norfolkius to attend her in the Great Gallery. In an outburst of anger, she berated him for his disloyalty and made him swear on his allegiance that he would not "meddle in the affairs of the Scottrian Question any further." Quaking in fear, the Duke attempted to make light of his earlier schemes, claiming that he did not love Mariana and that he would not consider it a misfortune if he could not marry. Aurelia, however, did not believe him, and commanded him to leave her presence. The Duke now found himself shunned and ignored by many in the Imperial Court, including Leicesterius, who made clear that he had no further interest in assisting Norfolkius.
    • Whilst these events at the Imperial Court were ongoing, Laurasian and Royalist Dejanican forces continued to press upon those of the Bar Confederation. On the same day as Aurelia's visit with Leicesterius, Brigadier-General Surovius and Grand Marshal Branickia obtained a crushing victory over General Jan-Pac (who had returned from the Marasharite Empire, by means of the Barbarossa Wormhole, in August 1769, and had resumed command of Confederate units), in the Battle of Orzechowo. The Confederates lost more then 70,000 troops and were forced to abandon Orzechowo, which had served them as a command outpost. The Laurasians now secured their hold over the Approaches of Wilno, repelled Confederate offensives against Brest-Litvotsk and Bialystok, and harried Confederate supply lines. General Pulaskia, however, had successfully reorganized his forces, executing a successful withdrawal to Zolwiec on September 15. For this action, in which he defied the Laurasian and Royalist fleets sent after him, he earned additional acclaim from segments of the Dejanican population. The episode also inspired a further outburst of frustration from the Imperial Privy Council. The Empress herself, as well as her advisers, believed that his constant evasions of the superior Laurasian forces was a humiliation. Pulaskia now focused his attention on maintaining his own strategic positions, confining himself to running skirmishes with Laurasian and Dejanican patrol squadrons throughout the remainder of September and into October 1769.
  • September 9-
    • On September 9, 1769, the Third Battle of Khotyn was waged, as Lieutenant-General Vamaus's forces launched a final, and decisive, offensive against the star system. The smashing Laurasian victory in the Battle of Fairxatia Straits had seriously weakened Marasharite morale and defensive strength, and the arrival of further reinforcements from Natalie, Tiona, Ba'dai, Carly, and Kia gave General Vamaus the decisive advantage over his enemies. Marasharite General Mevet-Pasha, who had received the news of the defeat in the Straits with much shock and concern, had died from a sudden heart attack on September 4. Therefore, the highest ranking officer of the garrison was now Guards Colonel Deban (1734-70), who did not have the tactical insight or skills of command that his predecessor had. This proved to be key to the victorious Laurasian offensive. Laurasian warships quickly overran the Khotyn Asteroid Belt and penetrated the world's shield generators. The cities of Burdan, Marsani, and Gabani were overrun by the armored units of the Imperial Laurasian Army, with General Vamaus directing the assaults on the plaentary surface. Many of Khotyn's residents, as well as the garrison troops and officers of the Khotyn Government Compound, fled before the Laurasian troops, their properties and goods seized by the invaders. Colonel Deban himself attempted to flee from the star system on a commercial freighter, but was captured and placed in chains on Vamaus's orders. He woudl subsequently be dispatched to the Monastery of Windowia Photis as a prisoner of war. By the end of the day, Khotyn was completely in the grasp of the Laurasian Empire.
    • Empress Aurelia, however, who believed that the history of the prior campaigns demonstrated Vamaus's "shifting" nature and will, and that she needed a proven commander who would prosecute a vigorous and continual military campaign, decided to replace Vamaus, as commander-in-chief of the Empire's forces in the Marasharite Galactic Borderlands, with Major-General Sir Demetrius Rumanstevius. Following the fall of Kerch, Rumanstevius's units had successively reduced the Marasharite military arsenals on the Upper Don Route and at Cooperia, Evalets, and Circassia (August 26-September 10, 1769). Marson and Bucharina were now both being harried by the General's units, and he had proposed to the General Headquarters that a swift offensive be launched to subdue these two strongholds, thus dealing a major blow to the Marasharite strategic position. On September 14, the Empress officially informed General Vamaus that his services were no longer required, and she formally designated Rumanstevius, now promoted to Lieutenant-General, as his replacement.
  • September 15-Laurasian Brigadier-General Surovius, who had continued to clear out Bar Confederation holdouts from Little Dejanica, and had stormed Krakow Minor three days earlier, finally managed to draw Dejanican General Pulaskia into a open and pitched confrontation. The Battle of Wlodawa (September 15, 1769), which was fought at Wlodawa, a minor Dejanican outpost thirteen light-years south of Krakow, resulted in a decisive victory for General Surovius's forces. Surovius again demonstrated his military brilliance in this confrontation, as he managed to capture thirty rebel transports, along with more then 200,000 Confederate personnel and officers. Pulaskia was forced to abandon the outposts of Klobuck and Jaslo, both of which now fell into Laurasian possession, and to retreat to his operational headquarters on Krakow. Here he remained for the rest of the year, while Surovius continued his operations to clear Confederate units from the outskirts of Berdycrow, Kamenets, and Little Silesia.
  • September 17-
    • On September 17, 1769, recently promoted Lieutenant-General Sir Demetrius Rumanstevius, who had gained fame at the Imperial Court and throughout the Laurasian Empire for his victories in the Northern Reaches, officially arrived at Khotyn and assumed the supreme command of all Laurasian forces in the Galactic Borderlands. General Vamaus had at first attempted to retain his position of command. He had sent several petitions to the General Headquarters and to the Empress directly, pleading them to reconsider their decision and affirming his loyalty to the Empire. Vamaus claimed that he was the only man capable of subduing the Marasharites and that his strategy of subduing their strongholds by "tried methods" would result in their utter ruin. The Empress, however, had not accepted this argument, and had noted the fact that Rumanstevius achieved his victories with fewer casualties than he, and that he routinely thrashed military forces larger than his own.
    • Vamaus had finally capitulated to the inevitable, and he turned over the seals of command to General Rumanstevius without demur. Following this, Vamaus proceeded, with an official imperial escort, back to Laurasia Prime. He arrived there on September 21, and by command of the Empress (who had begun her return progress from Polonia Major), would be promoted to the rank of Field-Marshal for his efforts in the war. This was meant to provide some consolation to him for having been deprived of his command. Vamaus subsequently retired from the Imperial Laurasian Army and retreated to his estates in the Briannian Provinces. He died at Nystadia on January 29, 1783, aged 49. Rumanstevius, on his part, immediately announced the commencement of new military offensives against the Marasharite Empire. Laurasian forces subsequently moved forth into the Northern Reaches. The goal of this campaign was to subdue Iasi, Marson, and Bucharina, the last remaining worlds of note held by the Marasharites, and to gain control over the outlet of the Haynsian Trade Highway.
  • September 25-On September 25, 1769, Empress Aurelia returned to the Quencilvanian Palace on Laurasia Prime, thereby concluding the official imperial progress of 1769. The Empress was not in the best mood, and continued to be distressed by the "Scottrian Question" and by the defiance of the Bar Confederation in Dejanica. On September 16, the Duke of Norfolkius, who had lost the friendship of even such erstwhile allies as Leicesterius, had returned to Laurasia Prime without leave. There, however, he defiantly continued his pursuit of Queen Mariana, believing that he had become too deeply involved and that any withdrawal would result in loss of his honor. Deeply suspicious of the Duke's intentions, the Empress had sent a summons from The Vyne, the estate of Sir Willanius Sandys, 3rd Lord Sandys of the Cron Drift (1720-99), on Redderson. In this, she commanded the Duke to return to the Imperial Court promptly. Chancellor Cecilis, who had remained on Laurasia Prime to oversee government affairs whilst the Empress was on progress, had given instructions to the Imperial Intelligence Agency that Ambassador de Spes be placed under surveillance and for his correspondence to be examined; as a precaution, all the governmental and military authorities of the Empire's provinces and regions had been secretly instructed to be on alert for any conspiracy or stirs of rebellion. Upon returning to the Quencilvanian Palace, the Empress had learned that Norfolkius, pleading that he was unable to venture from his quarters and was ill, had ignored her summons and instead retired to Kenninghall Estate on Charasia, where his grandfather, the 3rd Duke, had died fifteen years earlier. Alarmed by this act of defiance, the Empress came to believe that Norfolkius would secure the support of his servants and retainers for a revolt against her. Two days after her return to Laurasia Prime, she sent him a categorical command to present himself at the Quencilvanian Palace without delay. He was too terrified to do so, in spite of pleas from Queen Mariana herself.
  • October 3-
    • By October 1769, the stirrings of the first major revolt within the Laurasian Empire in fifteen years, since the Wyatta Rebellion of 1754, had become noticeable to all within the Imperial Laurasian Government and at the Imperial Court. These tensions arose in the Malarian Provinces, that same region which had seen Dunsey's Rebellion two decades earlier. Like Dunsey's Rebellion, tensions for what was to become the Malarian Rebellion emerged from a variety of factors. Chief among these was resentment of the interference and control of the Empire's authorities in the Malarian Provinces; localized tensions and grievances; a desire to restore the Imperial Almitian Church to its Traditionalist form and administration; hatred of Chancellor Cecilis and the Empress's other leading ministers; and, more than anything else, anger at the Empress's failure to settle the succession upon the Queen of Scottria. Norfolkius was not initially involved, but the Spamalkan Ambassador, de Spes, had for months been provoking tensions on Malaria Prime, White, Odika, Johnald, Welch, Terell, and in the Maluyta Nebula against the Imperial Laurasian Government. Elsewhere in the Empire, particularly in the Laurasian Purse Region, most Laurasian Traditionalists were loyal to Empress Aurelia.
    • The Malarian Provinces, however, had never been entirely reconciled to the religious reformations of the past five decades, and the two greatest of the Malarian magnates, the Traditionalist Earls of Malaria Prime (1728-72; Thomasius Percius) and Almastead (1742-1800; Carolus Neverania), had begun to organize large gatherings of prominent business-people, government officials, and gentry. Claiming that they were fostering "loyalty" to the Empress through these gatherings, they were in reality plotting rebellion. Their plan was to murder all of the Imperial Government's chief representatives and military commanders on Malaria Prime and other strongholds, and to liberate Queen Mariana, with whom they had contact since April. Some wished only to remove Aurelia's ministers, such as Chancellor Cecilis, but more ambitious ones hoped to depose Aurelia in favor of Mariana. King Charman III of Franconia, who had already provided financial and military assistance to the Bar Confederation, was involved in these conspiracies. The Haxonian banker Roberto Ridolfi, already mentioned in connection to earlier conspiracies against the Empress, provided funds from the Florencian Bank's treasury reserves for a potential revolt. This rebellion constituted the most dangerous threat to Aurelia's position since she had become Empress nearly eleven years earlier. It also came in the midst of the Laurasian wars with the Marasharite Empire and in Dejanica.
    • Cecilis and Empress Aurelia were aware almost from the beginning that the Traditionalist nobles and magnates of the Malarian Provinces were preparing to revolt against her. What they could not risk was the Duke of Norfolkius stirring the strongholds of the Constantine Cluster and Metallasian Trade Route into rebellion as well, and joining forces with the rebels. Norfolkius himself had begun contemplating such an idea. By October 1, however, it became clear that the Duke would obtain little support in the Constantine Cluster, and he was lacking in the energy and the motivation to even make a attempt. His chief concern was to try to limit his role in the conspiracy and he sent a communique to the Empress during the late hours of that day, begging her pardon for being unable to attend her at the Imperial Court and asking her to refrain from imposing any punishment on him. He knew that he was "under suspicion" and feared being sent to the Fortress of Baureux, which would be an insult to his honor and his position.
    • Aurelia replied swiftly, declaring that she would not punish the Duke without cause, and then dispatched two further summonses, insisting that the Duke come to the Quencilvanian Palace. Cecilis sent a further communique to the Duke, and gave instructions to the authorities of Charasia to compel his obedience if he did not stir. Norfolkius, however, at last capitulated to the Empress's demands. Aware of the plans of rebellion in the Malarian Provinces, he sent a messenger to the Earl of Malaria Prime, begging him to call off the uprising. During the early hours of October 3, 1769, Norfolkius was arrested on his way to Laurasia Prime. Cecilis had assured him that if he submitted to the Empress, she would treat him leniently. For the time being, Aurelia ordered for Norfolkius to be detained at the Tyburnian Stockards in the Cron Drift, while she continued to contemplate over his involvement in the conspiracies.
  • October 7-The Battle of Iasi was fought (October 7, 1769), between the 2nd Imperial Army under the command of General Sir Demetrius Rumanstevius and Marasharite units under the command of Subordinate Vizier Al-Barim (1722-88). Vizier Al-Barim was an incompetent and experienced commander, having been promoted to the rank of Subordinate Vizier only the previous month and never having waged a military offensive. Marasharite defensive positions were also disoriented, as a result of the Laurasian victories at Kerch, the Fairxatia Straits, and Khotyn, and they were not able to resist this Laurasian offensive move. The confrontation lasted for only two hours and resulted in a decisive victory for Rumanstevius's forces, with the Marasharites suffering the loss of 600 starfighters, 250,000 military personnel, and virtually all of their destroyers. Subordinate Vizier Al-Barim himself was captured by Laurasian starfighter squadrons, and on the orders of General Rumanstevius, was placed in chains. He would be dispatched to the Secret Prison of Ipsus V in November 1769. Iasi was occupied by the Laurasian Empire; its two major arms production factories, spice mines, and a stock of military armor fell into the possession of the Laurasian forces. Over the next four days, Laurasian units stormed Cantella, Crimea, and the Marasharite observation outpost of Sherri, further isolating Marson and Bucharina.
  • October 13-Empress Aurelia, who had continued to discuss the affairs of the Duke of Norfolkius with Chancellor Cecilis, and reviewed the Duke's communiques and personal correspondence (provided to her by the Imperial Intelligence Agency), decided that the Duke's actions were treasonous enough to merit further action against him. The Empress therefore commanded, on October 13, 1769, for Norfolkius to be translated from the Tyburnian Stockards to the Fortress of Baureux in Christiania, on Laurasia Prime, although she gave instructions for all of his comforts to be provided for and for only the most courteous treatment to be extended to him by his guards. This was so as to encourage the Duke to willingly reveal his contacts and his intentions to her and her ministers. Norfolkius was nevertheless terrified when he was imprisoned in the dreaded Fortress, the same place where his father had been executed and his grandfather imprisoned for nearly seven years. Aurelia, however, was not as merciful to Norfolkius's other alleged conspirators. Sir Nicholas Thockmortonia, who had been in contact with the Duke, and who had experienced some dissatisfaction with the influence of Cecilis and his associates, was questioned at the Senatorial Palace by the Chancellor and Procurator-General Bagonius as to his role in the conspiracy. His answers were deemed unsatisfactory, and he was, on the orders of the Empress, confined to his family estate on Apathama Vixius. The Earls of Americana and Aeoleon were also questioned and placed under house arrest, Americana at Nonsuchia Palace on Americana and Aeoleon at Sinclair Castle on Janesia. Aeoleon, however, would be released on November 6, 1769, but his health would decline rapidly and he would die at Hampsonian Palace on Jared at the age of 69 (March 17, 1770). Americana, on his part, would be imprisoned until March 1770, when he would be released at Leicesterius's instigation.
  • October 16-In a personal audience on October 16, 1769, Chancellor Cecilis warned Empress Aurelia that the most dangerous threat to her throne was Queen Mariana, using this information to "remind" his imperial mistress as to where her duty lay. The following day, the Empress announced to the Privy Council that she would have Norfolkius arraigned on charges of treason and conspiracy. Cecilis, however, exercising the privilege of free speech granted him, expressed his opinion that the Duke's actions did not amount to treason, and that "Your Majesty should only inquire into his actions and not denounce him as traitor without solid basis." There was little evidence to suggest that Norfolkius's actions amounted to treason, although in an autocratic system, anyone could be convicted on the most outrageous of charges. Aurelia, however, asserted her firm determination to punish the Duke, and declared that she would proceed against Norfolkius promptly. She then went into a rage and soon fainted. As usually happened, when her rage cooled, the Empress realized that Chancellor Cecilis was right: she should not proceed against Norfolkius without considering all of the facts, and she herself had made it clear, in her Instructions to the Legal Commission (1765), that "proceedings without firm evidence are against the will of the Lord Almitis." She then conceded that the Duke might not have treasonable intentions, and ordered for him to remain under imprisonment at the Fortress. Cecilis then suggested to the Empress that she find another bride for Norfolkius.
  • October 21-On October 21, 1769, the Battle of Jimmie was waged, between General Rumanstevius's forces and those of the opposing Marasharites, under the command of General Gasim (1713-74). The result of this confrontation was a decisive Laurasian victory. Rumanstevius captured thirty Marasharite warships and nearly 30,000 Marasharite military personnel and Elite Guards, as well as most of the Marasharite shield generators, starfighters, and military corvettes. Gasim himself barely evaded capture, but most of his officers were killed or captured by Laurasian troops. This victory at Jimmie paved the way to the final Laurasian advance to Marson. Marson's garrison, depleted by futile Marasharite efforts to launch counteroffensives against the Laurasian positions, and demoralized by the continuing losses suffered by their own forces, capitulated to General Rumanstevius without a fight two days later. For this feat, the General was congratulated by the Empress in an official imperial manifesto. She began to contemplate rewarding him with the Order of St. Arasces the Founder, but decided to wait for further victories before doing so.
  • October 26-On October 26, 1769, Empress Aurelia dispatched to Sir Antigonus Norria (1725-1801), now the Laurasian Ambassador to the Court of Parri, an eight-page communique in which was contained the official Laurasian version of recent events. Norria was commanded to share this draft with King Charman and Queen Mother Catharina d'Medici, who had formally resigned her duties as Regent in December of the previous year. In this, Aurelia insisted that Mariana's life and position had been "saved by her being in honorable captivity; and since she has come into our care, she has been honorably used and entertained and attended upon by noble personages..." The Empress then claimed that circumstances proved that Mariana may have been guilty in the murder of her husband, but then she said that she wished she had not authorized any inquiry. She was "fully determined" to see Mariana restored to her throne, but had also discovered, and was concerned by, the tensions stirring against her government in the Malarian Provinces and elsewhere in the Empire. Aurelia, moreover, claimed that Mariana had made numerous petitions to her, and that she had promised she would not be involved in any conspiracy against her government. Instead, however, Mariana had intrigued against the Empress to marry Norfolkius. Contrary to what Mariana's supporters believed, Aurelia never had "any thought" of designating Mariana as her successor.
  • November 2-
    • Having learned of the Duke of Norfolkius's predicament, and received another assurance of assistance from Ambassador de Spes, the Earls of Malaria Prime and Almastead decided that now was the time to move against the Imperial Laurasian Government. Over the past month, they had continued to assemble military supplies, troops, and gentry at their private estates on Acabania, Takrania, Meehan, Manzo, Terell, Welch, Aingley, Evans, Ettleman, Goodman, and at various strongholds of the Narvet Corridor. Malaria Prime had decided to deliberately ignore Norfolkius's plea, believing that if he took action now, Aurelia's regime would collapse. Most offensive Laurasian military forces were engaged in the Marasharite War and the War of the Bar Confederation, and the Earl confidently believed that the local government and judiciary garrisons would not be able to halt his advance. And indeed, he made substantial advances over the next week. During the late hours of November 2, 1769, the Earl and his units stormed Timsies and Odika, securing control of those vital strongholds for the Malarian Rebellion, as it had already become called.
    • On November 5, Timaslan, which had long been a bastion of dissent against the imperial authorities in the Malarian Provinces, and whose inhabitants mostly adhered to the Traditionalist faith, defected to the rebel forces. By this point, the Earls had secured control of the government garrisons in the Jar Asteroid Belt and in the Trans-Maluyta Nebula, obtaining access to vast stocks of government supplies and reserve warships. Empress Aurelia, on her part, who was in a rage about the final outbreak of the Malarian Rebellion, and bitterly denouncing those who participated, commanded Major-General Sir Bereus Mascouris (1716-87), who was the Magnus of the Melarnarian Provinces, to advance against rebel positions at White and Odika. General Mascouris moved slowly, however, and on November 8, he was defeated by the Earl of Almastead in the pitched Battle of Durmia. As a result of this confrontation, Kamachina and Johnald fell into the possession of the rebel forces.
    • Another confrontation between rebel and governmental forces ensued on November 13. Mascorius, following his earlier defeat at Durmia, managed to reorganize his military forces, and he had fortified the garrisons of Malaria Outer, Kanley, and Naranja, hoping to deter any rebel moves against those star systems. He also sought to launch a counteroffensive against Almastead, which was one of the Malarian Rebellion's chief centers,and to sever rebel supply lines in the Trans-Maluyta regions. The General however, was intercepted by the Earls, who benefited from their superior knowledge of Malarian space and their grass-roots support among the populations of the star systems in the Maluyta Nebula. The confrontation lasted for over five ho