“Absurd Suggestion,” Says Minister Augustin
Mystras, Morea: Bishop Akakios IV Doukas is known both at home and abroad for being the herald of Divine Judgment, either against secular tendencies within the Sultanate or oppressive and anti-Christian practices still all too common in a largely-pagan world. Today, however, the Bishop of Mystras delivered a worldlier concern to his flock in Kallimarmaro Cathedral, meant for the ears of every Achaian and for Sultan Ioannis in particular: Remove the Makarians or face the wrath of the heathen menace.
“His Anointed Majesty has piously called on these people to accept the love of Christ, as every one of us has done for the sum total of our years,” Bishop Akakios said. “By his example and all of our own, these pagans have had every opportunity to learn and embrace the Truth. But instead of thanking God for this gift He has given, these heathens instead have called on a Christian Prince—an anointed representative of the Lord of the World!—to reject his divinely-appointed mission, throw a blanket over the flickering light we have laboriously introduced into Norda, and recall the priests who struggle every day to save their ungrateful souls.
“They will surely burn in Hell,” the bishop said, “but in the meantime we ourselves may burn in Esamir from their fury.”
Bishop Akakios was quick to remind his congregation that the Makarians whose petition Sultan Ioannis rejected less than a week ago were brought to Morea as soldiers to guard it, and that the defense of the nation is now in the hands of those who are not inclined to preserve it. “You know, and the Lord is well aware, how many times I brought my concerns to the Achaian people, and to His Majesty,” the bishop said. “I will say that I was not ignored. However, in his wisdom, our Sultan feared our worldly foes too much to trust in the Light, and sought a more devilish defender. And now we must fear the enemy in our midst, no less than the stranger lurking in the distant shadows! If we do not act, Achaians of Morea, we will wake one day to find our nation burnt to the ground!”
Officials in the Duchy of Montferrat, in whose military the Makarians in question are serving, have responded to Bishop Akakios’s warnings with contempt. “It is utter nonsense,” Duke’s Minister David Augustin said from the Ministerial Palace when questioned about the bishop’s words. “These soldiers are loyal to His Excellency the Duke, and His Excellency is a firm friend and ally to Morea—for reasons that your own publication again laid bare to the public not twenty-four hours ago,” the minister added with special attention toward the Monitor. “A Makarian uprising in Morea would signal a war between the Duchy and the Sultanate. Not only would that be entirely contrary to His Excellency’s interests, but it would furthermore be impossible to win when Morea is now admirably defended not only by its own soldiers and ours, but also the forces and arms of Antanares and New Tarajan. Our soldiers stationed in close quarters with these foreign forces will know the risks better than we politicians in Riesa, I can assure you. Yet even I am well aware that taking on all of these risks for ourselves would be an absurd suggestion.”
Baumbach House remained silent on the matter. Neither Duke Nico II nor any member of his personal retinue, including Duchess Aikaterini, has been seen or heard from since yesterday’s meeting with Makarian community leaders. Likewise in Mystras, Sultan Ioannis has said nothing in relation to Bishop Akakios’s warning. A spokesman for the Blue Palace said merely, “His Anointed Majesty is preparing for his journey to New Tarajan and is not available for comment.” It is clear that both parts of this important, but still young, alliance will require further thought as their partnership becomes ever more complicated.
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