The sun had only just risen, bathing Nicosia’s almost exclusively limestone buildings in a warm light. A handful of buildings in the city of Zaros were whitewashed and a handful of modern office buildings rose with neither whitewash nor stone. Though not the capital, Zaros proved to be a de-facto secondary capital. It was here that the National Assembly met to discuss the issues. It was also in Zaros that most cabinet meetings took place. It was a mere 25 miles from the official capital- Salema. Once a year, the Grandmaster would sit down for the Deplanota- a dull and in-depth review of the Order’s finances. While he was regularly apprised of such a thing, the Grandmaster’s weekly briefings often lacked detail. The Knights of St. Basil had spent centuries in which it tended to the sick, the poor, and the faithful. However, over the centuries, the Order had inherited lands and funds from nobility- donated to the Order by the faithful. Shrewd investments in the 1950’s ensured that not only land was a source of revenue, but real estate as well. In major cities around the world, the Order had invested in properties from which they received the rent. The Grand Priories collected the rents, forwarding them to the Order’s coffers in Nicosia. This was kept almost entirely separate from Nicosia tax revenue. The Order used its money to invest in the nation but it was always a non-recurring investment such as the building of a park. The Order did not cover upkeep- the tax revenue would. The Deplanota was a tiring process of priories, Grand Priories, and noble incomes. The final amounts were satisfactory. Once the Order was hugely rich. Now, as the number of nobles declined and religious fervor began to subside, the Grandmaster was painfully aware that the Order’s future as sovereigns of an island nation had one, perhaps 2 generations left before the Order would be pushed from Nicosia. However, that time had not come yet. The Grandmaster was a crafty man. For nearly 30 years he had been in the senior leadership of the Order. He had met with nearly every world leader, every monarch, and every Pope. He had been a shrewd leader for almost 40 years. He had spent his life in service to the order. Now the time had come to shift the world. Dismissing the financial brothers, Grandmaster Philippe de Cassiere scowled as he shifted his gaze to a stack of papers he removed from a folder. The 15 hour work days were typical for the Grandmaster but had become less frequent. Yet, now he had to put them in. The Order would begin turning the wheels of Catholicism within the month.