「花の一計」 (Hana no Ikkei)
“The Flower’s Plan”
It may have been quiet week for Altair once again, but as usual there was no lack of interesting material to eagerly mull over. Claims of legacy, forging of alliances, and firsthand lessons in the art of flirtation: I think we had it all. Hilarious to think Mahmut’s big weakness would be womanly charm, but hey, there’s a first time for everything. Literally.
Female charm aside, the two key developments this week were in the solidification of sides, with Balt-Rhein proclaiming empire and Fiore (i.e. Florence) going their own way. Both decisions may seem strange in the face of events (particularly Fiore’s), but both are quintessential elements in the growth of this conflict. Balt-Rhein’s claiming of Phoinike’s legacy for example is designed to legitimize its conquests and give it right to the land it now occupies. The empire may personally control the territory, but few (if anyone) actually recognizes their ownership of it as lawful—this is the crux of Balt-Rhein’s proclamation. By claiming to be neo-Phoinike, Balt-Rhein is morally asserting its right to its current and future conquests and calling out anyone who may disagree with them. To challenge Balt-Rhein now is to stand against the legacy of Phoinike, and for those whose history and culture was forged by the old Phoinikian empire, such a move is not easy to make. One need look no further than the Ottoman Empire claiming to be the inheritors of Rome or the importance of Napoleon being crowned emperor in Rome to see the effectiveness of the tactic. History, for better or worse, has power and those countries who can successfully wield it are on track to long lives.
What could potentially throw a wrench into Balt-Rhein’s ambitions, however, is Fiore and their proclamation of a third alliance. This bit really intrigued me because at its core it seems destined to fail. A motley collection city states with no military to speak of standing up to two great powers/alliances? Not the smartest thing to do at face value. What the lascivious Caterina is likely doing though is what Urado’s king initially did: play both sides against each other. By presenting a united front, Fiore forces both parties to deal with them together than individually, removing any potential for cities to be picked off one by one as with Scoglio. The alliance furthermore unites the cities around a singular objective (independence), ensuring any further Balt-Rhein incursions will be seen as an attack on all of them, and curtailing any Turkiye attempt to sidestep the more distrustful members. It’s a perfect balance of power scenario that will force both Balt-Rhein and Turkiye to cough up a hell of a lot more for alliance support, but it’s not foolproof. All Balt-Rhein has to do for example is steamroll through the area before it mobilizes, and poof goes those dreams of a third alliance. Much like the difficulties with Italy’s own unification (which this development is definitely based on), it will come down to where the majority of Balt-Rhein’s army is currently heading. You can bet Louis won’t let this alliance grow too strong if he can help it.
Before we get too the tasty battles though it’s back to negotiations as our little pasha must contend with rapidly changing geopolitical circumstances. It’s as good a bet as any who the new alliance with favour in the war to come, but I know for certain I’ll be mad if diplomacy through touchy feely doesn’t factor in again somehow. With so many pretty faces inhabiting Altair’s world, it would be a shame to keep them all working on the sidelines.
Pancakes Service Announcement: Apologies in advance boys and girls, but expect Altair’s post next week to be a couple day’s late as I’m away at a biomedical engineering conference next weekend for
partying research purposes. Regular coverage will resume after, barring any unforeseen happenings 😛