This is a directly-connected sequel to the various storylines from my previous RPs on Pelasgia, including the most recent one, A House Divided. Tune in to see the great events and the everyday reality of the New Pelasgia. ~ Demos «Χαῖρε Ἅγιε Γεώργιε, ἱερομάρτυρ δρακοκτόνε!» "Hail thee Saint George, dragon-slaying martyr!" - Traditional motto of Pelasgia Propontis, Thracesia 01/10/2018 The streets of the Imperial capital found themselves lined with red, blue, and white banners bearing the likeness of Saint George, as the celebrations for the Coronation of the new Emperor extended over the whole week. Many banners were in the form of a square with many triagonal and sharp stripes extending therefrom, in blue and red, and often bearing inscriptions in golden letters. Chief amongst the multitude of these inscriptions was "Hail thee, Saint George!", the unofficial (though commonly used by officials) national motto of Pelasgia, in reference to Pelasgia's favourite national saint. A large horizontal banner bearing the full version of the motto, "Hail thee, Saint George, holy dragon-slaying martyr!" was suspended over the square next to the intersection of Odos Hagiou Georgiou (Saint George Street) and Leophoros Vasileon (Avenue of the Emperors). Behind the square and across from Leophoros Vasileon was the Nikoloudeion Megaron (Nikoloudes Palace), a large neoclassical structure six floors, housing hundreds of rooms. The Nikoloudeion was the seat of the Ministry of the Military, a fact to which the large honour guard in its main courtyard could attest. Behind the sharp ornate black bars of the fencing and the thick bushes which surrounded the complex, stood of company of soldiers of the Pelasgian Ground Forces in the summer uniform of the Army Honour Guard: a dark blue tunic with a golden flechette and red linings, light blue pants with a red stripe, a dark blue kepi, and black leather boots. Often, the uniform was replaced by an olive-green version with a shiny helmet from the 20th century, having been adopted for more practical reasons in the 1920s, but for such an occasion the 19th-century ceremonial uniform was preferred. Behind these men lay the entrance to the Megaron itself, a double staircase place under a large engraving of the Imperial Double-Headed Eagle. Inside the building frescos with historic and biblical scenes covered the ceiling, while the walls were decorated in ornate blue and silver, which interchanged with the ochre and white walls, dark red carpets, crystal chandeliers, and golden-coloured statues that filled the halls of the Megaron. Upon entering one would climb another staircase to the main hallway, after leaving their coat, hat and other items to servants in the hall. They would then continue straight to the Grand Hall, with its large windows and curtains, where hundreds of dignitaries from the military and various services had gathered, navigating the space between the countless tables of the room and the main stage were a military orchestra was playing classical music. Such great and known men as the Polemarch of the Empire, Lord Marshal Aristarchos Kavalaris, and the transitional Minister of Defence, Panagiotis Melissanides, conversed, danced and celebrated in evening dress of full-dress uniforms of the No. 1 variety, flanked by wives dressed in the most luxurious of Propontine garments, usually evolutions from the chiton and peplos; for in Pelasgia, men's formal dress seemed to have progressed much more than women's. In one of the tables further back, housing the most senior of the junior officers, Colonel Markos Drakopoulos and Colonel Gregorios Zephyropoulos sat down for a drink. The latter was flanked by his wife, Elpinike, and the other was by himself, having been widowed rather early in his marriage. "Your brother seems to be rather late, Markos" Elpinike Zephyropoulou (née Demertzi) remarked, teasing her husband's close friend. "In the time I have known Markos since the Academy, the otherwise prodigious and exemplary Captain Lambros Drakopoulos of the 1st Fleet has somehow always managed to be late for social events," her husband noted, winking at his friend. "Oh I should think his ship is late, for he was dispatched to Pharos," Markos Drakopoulos replied, half-jokingly. "That or his wife is taking her sweet time getting ready again; the joys of a large family!" "To their health!" Gregorios remarked leading them all to cheer. "Speaking of health, it seems our beloved Brigadier Iordanis shall have to retire after all. His replacement is rumoured to be Brigadier Demetriades over there" he said, pointing discreetly to tall, light-skinned man with fair features who was sitting a couple of tables across. "Another mainlander!" Elpinike remarked, letting her inner Archipelagian free for a second. "At least he is from Therme, not those mountainous holes in Melingia and the Opsikion you two call home." "Here comes the aristocratic fisherwoman again," Gregorios remarked. "Anyway, what do you make of him Markos? Have you heard anything about him yet?" "Nothing really. Our good friend Triphon would tell you-if he were to ever vacate the WC*-that he was transferred here from Therme on the direct recommendation of Lord Marshal Kavalaris. Not only that, he had a letter of recommendation from General Anaxander Palantis himself." *WC: The French reading of the English initials for "water closet" is sometimes used as an elevated euphemism for washroom among the urban classes of Pelasgia. Here it used ironically. "The Owl of Melingia and the Eagle of Lycaonia themselves? Sounds like we have quite the prodigy in our midst. I bet you the good Brigadier will have an internet encyclopedia page before the rest of us even get to the Supreme War School." At that point their small talk was interrupted by the simultaneous arrival of Lt. Colonel Triphon Platanias and a group of three white-clad naval officers, led by none other than Captain Lambros Drakopoulos of the Destroyer Atromitos. Following a short discussion and exchange of kisses, hugs, and handshakes, the conversation on the recent arrival from Therme resumed, with some notable input from the Captain. "I know nothing of your soon-to-be Brigadier, my friends. But I'll be damned if that isn't Commodore Dionysios Brouskokokkinos of the 3rd Fleet. He was an upper year student in my year at the Academy and the most beloved of them all among my class. I'll go pay him a visit and see if I can gleam some knowledge for you lads to gossip a bit more. And they say sailors are like women!" ------ As the sun grew closer to setting, the celebrating crowd of officers and assorted dignitaries and relatives found itself dispersing. That being said, the process of dispersion itself was not concluded without many more toasts, signings of patriotic hymns, and cries of "Hail thee Saint George!". As all others found themselves leaving with their spouses and families, or with very close friends, Colonel Drakopoulos found himself walking alongside his soon-to-be superior, Brigadier Anaxandros Demetriades. The two men both had their hands in their pockets and their kepis firmly on their heads, as the evenings of Pelasgia had started getting cooler. Three golden stars on the shoulders of the Colonel, and a silver star, a grenade, and a sword with its holster on those of the Brigadier glimmered through the lessening light. "I would like to ask you a personal question if you don't mind, Colonel" the Brigadier said, pulling his right hand out of his pocket and motioning towards his comrade. "By all means, Brigadier-sir." The reply came calmly and almost mechanically. "I take it you are a man of the old Pelasgian stock, from one of the most prominent military families of all of the Opsikion. And I am also aware, having read the exploits of your grandfather, that your family rose to prominence through the National Examination System, despite not being of noble status." "I am honoured, Brigadier-sir. Indeed, both of those facts are correct." "Very well. I take it then that you are a believer in the idea that people should serve the Empire as best as they can, regardless of their status?" "Of course, sir! It would be quite short-sighted, if not myopic, to refuse a skilled or gifted man an opportunity to labour for the common good simply because of which stratum he was born into." This reply came with clear excitement, though it was also accompanied with a tint of guarded restraint. "Quite right, Colonel; I think we are joined in that respect. But would you not say that some people are more predisposed to certain positions than others? We all have our places, but not everyone can be a footsoldiers, just like not everyone can be a general; if you get my meaning." "I should think that nobody thinks otherwise, sir. Though what that predisposition is based on is a point of frequent and great disagreement, at least in my experience." "Without wishing to be impertinent, Colonel, I think I have caught wind of your own specific interpretation of this axiom. Not that I disapprove of course." "What would that be, sir?" "Suffice it to say we have both given Plato's Republic more than one read, and outside the context of Lycaeum Ancient Pelasgian class," the Brigadier replied, putting a glove on his right hand with his left. Before the Colonel could respond, the Brigadier extended his hand for a handshake, which was quickly taken by his soon-to-be direct subordinate. "It was a great pleasure getting to know you in person before the whole ceremony, Colonel. I shall look forward to talking with you again in the future." "The honour was all mine, Brigadier-sir. And likewise." The two men saluted each-other and the Brigadier started walking towards his car, where his family had been waiting. After a few steps he stopped and turned. "Oh, Colonel." "Yes sir?" "Some officers who share our literary interests are having a small meeting later this week. I would be quite pleased if you could come. If you would like to, that is." "I would be most pleased to, sir. Thank you for the invitation." "Make nothing of it, my good man. Oh and please do invite Colonel Zephyropoulos and Lt. Colonel Platanias. I would like to get to know my subordinates a bit better in a setting where we don't have to salute after every sentence. I will have one of my aides send you the details." "Of course, sir, I will make sure to tell them. Thank you again." The two men exchanged salutes once more, and then went to their cars, ready to return home after a long day of plentiful festivities and little actual work. It had been an exhausting experience for hard-working and lazy folks alike.