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Elegy


Sarah Tintagyl
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Maria Magdalena, one of the former empresses of Austria, was dying.

Since Theresia's adventure to Rome to see her sister, the Hapsburg sisters had seemingly come together just as they had done in years past. Their days of adventures, minus a small bump in dealing with a spirit of Genghis Khan's kidnap of Theresia, were coming to a close. However, neither the dashing Angelika, the matriarchal Magdalena, or the jovial Theresia, had any problems with this change. They spent their days in the gardens of Ehestadt laughing and joking with each other about their childhood and doing what they could to make the 'Vienna of the East', a shimmering beacon that all of Asia would follow.

It was after Magdalena and Angelika went on a vacation to the Pacific Islands, however, that those days came crashing to an end. When they returned, and Princess Cecilia would attest to this later to her father, "Aunt Maria was trying to get into bed, but she couldn't. She had to have me help her get up onto the mattress and dress her. The entire time her breathing was heavy and quick. I wanted to call for an ambulance, but she said..."

"Nothing's wrong Cecilia, I just need to take a rest, I've had an extremely long day..."

The next day the Former Empress had a massive embolism that only by the fortune of Christ, passed through her heart and into her leg. By the time Jia and Theresia heard about what had happened, Magdalena was in the care of Ehestadt's hospitals, being pumped with handfuls of pills. Pills for blood thinning, pills for her heart, and once again those dreadful pills to keep her from going into shock and returning her mind to that frightful place that it was back in Rome. Nothing, it seemed, could prevent sickness from taking over her entire body and as the weeks began to pass, Magdalena showed every sign that she would return to her previous state of mind. Her ever present smile became a great weight just to make a grin, her hands became terribly soft with decay, though to feel them was the same feel of Leopold or Cecilia at the moment of their births. Her bright blonde hair faded, hanging in withered ringlets down her back and this battle between her body and her mind was fought consistently over the next few months.

There were weeks where the Former Empress could summon enough strength to return to the palace in Ehestadt, but her days were spent laying in bed, listening to the chirping of songbirds outside of her gilded windows. The sounds of water burbling out of fountains or of people laughing about to go to a ball always brought tears to her eyes, but when asked if she wanted to be kept in silence, Magdalena shook her head.

"No, it makes me happy."

Finally, she sent the doctors out of the room and smacked the pill bottles onto the floor that shattered with a soft crash. In the presence of all who loved her, Magdalena made the strongest declaration of her life. "No more, it's over."

Black skies seemed to immediately descend upon the Vienna of the East and even though the Former Empress was not dead, all of the city began to prepare for her demise. Theresia with her history of depression could barely return to her duties of Empress and Angelika felt herself humbled again in her life by her older sister. There was a strength that Magdalena possessed that could not be duplicated by any of the Hapsburg sisters, the Imperial Family, or any other leader on the earth. Magdalena said over and over to them as they huddled around her hospital bed and her bed in the palace that, "I'm not afraid to go, but I will miss all of you dearly and that makes me sad."

By the end, however, she was moved from her hospital bed and placed in the Grand Ballroom of Ehestadt Palace where a massive candle light vigil was held in the hours that chimed before her departure from the world. Though even at the brink of death, Magdalena kept her sense of humor with her husband, her sisters, and those close to her, scaring them not once, but twice at her death approaching and then simply grinning and telling them to go have fun and let her die in peace.

Finally however, during the night as the candles burned dimly in the hallways of the ballroom a sudden gust blew in from the windows and took Magdalena's life spirit into the stars...the Former Empress of Austria had finally passed.

The next day, amidst the tears of the Imperial Family, close relatives, and the city itself, the gates of Ehestadt Palace were open for a public visitation.

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When the news arrived at Fontainebleau, Josephine sighed deeply. Some death occurring on the other side of the world was not all too touching, when in ones own country things had to be fixed, even more so given the political connections and associations of the dead. But still it was a Habsburg. Immediatly, Josephine ordered for the phone.

After having phoned her sisters and most of the government, it was a bit sad, but it seemed Josephine had little choice. Even though noone really wanted to accompany her, partly because they had better things to do than to express their conolences to some "Athenian" (which was the reason for Leopoldine), or because one couldn't trust Tianxia to not just suddenly arrest them in the middle of the funeral for whatever crimes they thought they could blame on one (which was the reason for Dalian, who also didn't want to see Theresia or Angelika, given the way they had parted ways in the past), she had to go, as the Head of her dynasty, to express her condolences. It was a moral duty, so to speak, which could not be completely neglected. At least, Général Bernadette de la Riviére accompanied her, as guard and to make it seem less lonely.

[quote][i]Ehrenwerte Theresia und Angelika von Habsburg,

Wir sind zutiefst bestürzt zu vernehmen, dass unsere Cousine, eure Schwester, von uns schied. Im Namen unseres Hauses und meines Volkes, würde Ich euch persönlich mein Beileid wünschen, wenn, dies möglich wäre.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,[/i]

[font="Monotype Corsiva"][size="4"]Josephine d'Orléans[/size][/font] [/quote]


[spoiler][quote][i]To the esteemed Theresia and Angelika von Habsburg,

We are deeply hit, to hear of our cousin's, your sister's, passing [away]. In the name of our house and of our people, I'd express to you personally our condolences, if this would be possible.

Greetings,

Josephine d'Orléans[/i][/quote][/spoiler]

The card, written in German, to honour the culture of the Habsburg family, would be attached to a bouquet of narcisses, which the Reine would send a day before her journey to Ehestadt.

[center][img]http://brushfirephotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/narcissus-bouquet.jpg[/img][/center]

At Fontainebleau, the flag would be set to half-staff for the time Josephine was abroad.

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[quote]

[i]To Her Excellency, Josephine d'Orleans:

Our house is honored to have your sympathies and you may, without any fear of the diplomatic problems of our nations pasts, come to personally give your condolences to my sister's passing. I also must thank you for the gift that you enclosed with your letter of sympathy.

Maria Thersia von Yuan-Hapsburg[/i]
[/quote]

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Despite continuing to be the Chief Executive Officer of Dawkins International Logistics, one of the world's largest air-land-sea shipping lines, Sham Timur had recused himself from much of the day-to-day running of the international transportation corporation. He settled between sharing a home in Melbourne, Australia and a vacation house on Isla Margarita, which he had bought as the new Republic of Greater Colombia had come to independence, when property values were still in fluctuation, spending his time reading, overseeing the company through video conferences and electronic mail, and reflecting. Being rather the reclusive type nowadays, it hadn't been until almost twenty-four hours after the death of Maria that he would learn of her fall, and the news shocked him, having only shared light correspondence with the former Austrian leader after they had become friends and allies when he was the Amir of the Greater Timuridian Empire.

Almost immediately, upon reading it in the morning edition of the Colombian Daily, his phone had been open, and arranging for a seat on the next available flight to Ehestadt on one of his company's planes. Dawkins International Logistics usually had cabins or seats available in the crew compartments of their logistics aircraft, and a mail flight out of Caracas would be his best bet to reach Ehestadt. After gathering a few things from his Colombian "hideaway", he would fly to Caracas before stunning the flight crew, who had been unaware that their passenger was actually their boss. He would haul his bags aboard the airliner himself and settle into one of the free crew cabins for the long flight across the Pacific, reflecting on the last time he had actually seen her, even if it was the only time; the night of his ascendancy to the throne.

Their soiree through the gardens of the palace had been one that he could not forget, they had found a deep ideological similarity, talking at length about a number of things, sharing a dance in the garden's gazebo. It was a quiet end to a day that had been full of energy, it seemed to punctuate a perfect ending to his crowning, Sham wasn't a very outgoing or loud person, and the celebration and energy had been quite enough for one day for him, when he had been able to sneak away with her. Having concluded to secure an alliance with Austria, Sham would offer a hand of international friendship to her the next day, but after the discovery of his son, and a promise he made to his college lover and son's mother, he had recused himself from the throne. He had lost contact with Maria after that, having turned his efforts to raising his son out of the public limelight, then letting the boy go out into the world on his own, now he had fallen into seclusion, but it would have been wrong for him not to pay his respects.

He still had his youthful appearance, even if his hair had slowly been turning into a mix of dull dark brown and grey, he still had the twinkling exuberance in his blue eyes, and energy in his step. It was this figure that would arrive at the gates of the palace of Ehestadt around midnight, about thirty six hours after the passing, and passed through to pay his respects, hoping to do so in relative privacy. Upon entering the viewing area, he would heave a ragged sigh, stepping up to the open casket of his counterpart, his eyes taking in the peaceful sleep and the graceful appearance she had in death. His thoughts quickly reverted to the scene in the hospital in Kabul, when Aden's mother, and his college sweetheart, Robyn Barker, had passed away, and his lip quivered lightly, before he slowly cleared his throat and sighed, clearing away the potential for emotional anguish.

He stood by the casket quietly, the candlelight flickering around him, as he took a bundle from underneath his arm, the black and red banner of the Greater Timuridian Empire, this one in the old pattern of style, without the white outlines of a horse and rider, crossed scimitars, and the scales of justice. It was a banner that had been in his family for years and years, he laid out the small purple blanket that was used to cradle the banner in its ornate sepulcher, and set the folded flag upon it carefully next to the casket, amongst the sweet-smelling bouquets of flowers.

He whispered lightly, as he sat on one knee next to the open casket, his voice barely audible as his lips moved slightly, remembering the old eulogy that his grandfather used for sending off his own relatives.

[center][i]The Riderless Horse is now Upon the Steppe, free and wild,
Mimicking the passing of his rider, he gallops gallantly, without fear or abandon into the unknown,
The riderless steed seeks to find his rider, like the rider seeks out those who have come before us,
The path of life leads to another, and the horse shall find his rider some day,
They will be reunited once again, some sooner than others,
We all will fall some day, by battle's bloody, or by age withering us away,
But do not fear, for the wild spirits of the past live amongst us, gallop the steppes with us, will us through the howling darkness of the storm,
When we fall, we shall find ourselves free of sin, free of body, free of desire, when we raise ourselves up again,
Do not fear the clutches of death, my friend, for it is but a new adventure, a neverending vast steppe to explore, to be free upon,
And the riderless horse lay down on the steppe, looking to the west, as the red sun falls, and wonders when his beloved rider, will urge him on anew.[/i][/center]

As he finished the small, almost silent eulogy, he would bow his head, unable to contain his shimmering eyes as he continued to kneel next to the open casket, unable to move, unable to say anything, unable to put aside the memories he had, no matter how brief or miniscule they may have seemed to the world at large.

Edited by TheShammySocialist
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When the news of Magdalena's illness had reached Rome the first thing Valerio did was coming over to Ehestadt leaving Rome in the capable hands of his deputy. The time from that moment until her passing were a hell. The woman that had been so strong and so brave, the woman that fought a civil war and had stood so many mental and physical tests. This one would be the final one. Once it happened a feeling of relieve filled him, she was in a better place now. A place where she never had to feel pain again.

Back at home the situation wasn't that much different, throughout the Roman regions of the Federation millions had come to pray for their Empress, the Holy See was the first to state their condolences, regional governments quickly followed. While in other regions of the Federation there was less of a response when news of the illness came out there was still sadness. Maria Magdalena had become universally loved. Only half an hour after the death the Imperial Palace came forward.

[quote][center][img]http://data.treksimming.com/athenian-federation/iannouncement.png[/img][/center]

It is with great sadness that I have received the news of the passing of Maria Magdalena of Hapsburg, the Empress of Rome. In this time of grief I can only offer my sympathies to the family. The world has lost a great woman.[/quote]

A state of mourning was called in the Athenian Federation and throughout the country flags were all lowered half-mast, a state of mourning that would last for a year.

The full Imperial Court and Council of Magistrates were to attend the funeral.

Edited by Centurius
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Though the Chancellery of Cyrantia had long ago lost contact with Ehestadt and the remnants of their old Austrian allies after the collapse of their sovereign nation, the news of a Habsburg death was more than a reason to resume it. It wasn't every day that a former Austrian Empress passed, and the Cyrantian leadership desired to express that they had not forgotten the past. The High Chancellor of Foreign Affairs, Dmitry Garin, was especially hard-hit. His trip to Ehestadt and signing a treaty with the Austrians seemed like a life time ago, but it was still a shining moment in the youth of his career. He immediately suspended his affairs and arranged to fly to Ehestadt, and the Grand Chancellor of the State, Sergei Aleksandrov, sent a kind correspondence with him.

Just as he had done in the old days, Garin arrived in Ehestadt alone, without guards nor companions to accompany him. Much was the same as it had been, and he found himself wondering whether or not Zhu Tao was still there. He remembered the woman fondly from his first trip. It was fairly early in the morning and the after-dawn light brought him to the palace. Entering the viewing room and seeing the dignified and proud body, he nearly smiled, were it not for his profuse sadness. Even in death the Habsburgs kept their usual flair and attitude. With watery eyes he thanked what was left of Magdalena for her service to Austria, her citizens, and the world at large. Leaving the room, he found a guard to hand Sergei's letter to. After ensuring its delivery, he made his way out to the tranquility gardens to sit and gather his thoughts.

[quote]Theresia and Company,

It has been far too long since the Chancellery of Cyrantia addressed you, our historical allies, and that shames me. I am awfully troubled by the fact that my first correspondence with you since the fall of sovereign Austria is brought on by the death of Magdalena, but I suppose there is no helping that. I offer my strongest and most sincere condolences for the passing of our great friend, ally, and Empress. It is my hope that if you should find yourself in need of something, you will simply look north towards my nation. We will continue to be your allies and companions now and forever.

With deepest sympathy,

[i]Sergei Aleksandrov[/i]
Grand Chancellor of the State[/quote]

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The Emperor had spent most of his nights trying to console his wife. He did not know what to say or do, he could not imagine the pain that she had to be feeling. He'd buried his foster father, but it was something he'd expected to do, it wasn't before his time. Maria had raised both her younger sisters, but she was not old herself. It was not her time. There were millions who deserved death more than she, when asked why by Theresia, he had no answer.

The morning of the wake he entered his wife's private study, she had left their bed before he had awoken, as she had many days before. Walking in he saw her staring out the window at the morning sun barely risen, "I couldn't sleep last night thinking of what to say, but I don't know what to say." Jia began, "I can't imagine what its been like. I just wanted to say before the day began and everyone else says their condolensces, how glad I am she sent you here all those years ago."

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Theresia's study was a mess. With half of her wardrobe down in the Imperial Capital and a desk covered in both funeral condolences and bureaucratic work, she looked ragged and everything around her seemed to be in complete disarray. She hadn't slept well in days, tossing and turning on uncomfortable mattresses, with dreams filled with the times when Maria was not only happy, but when she was close. There were a lot of memories; she was there for Theresia's wedding, she was around for her ascension to the Imperial throne, she was there for so many things in her childhood and that was enough to bring two tears that streaked down her eyes and onto the ground. Her body felt like it would heave forward and out the window, but Theresia held onto the windowsill, if for the only reason that Maria would be terribly disappointed in her giving up so early in her life.

It was when Jia walked in that she tried to dry her eyes as she turned to him. "It's funny," she said walking over to her husband and tightly embracing him in her arms. "She was so worried, we'd have dinners back in Vienna and Angelika would call me a traitor and Maria even thought that I should be called back, but I remember she took me aside and said that if I had something important in China then I should stay in China." Theresia took a deep breath then the dam broke and she grabbed Jia's shoulders and cried into his chest. "I don't want her to go, I want her to be with me. I should have to bury my sister."

But there was nothing that they could do, Maria had passed and it was time to do their best to honor what she had been. With a heavy heart the Empress collected herself and in a few hours, wearing a long black gown of lace with her face hidden under a veil, she walked into the ballroom where Maria was being laid out.

The hardest part was in front of her now, to look upon the chalky face of her sister, knowing her eyes would never open and her smile would never brighten the room. But walking across the marble floor, she did her best to remember the memories they created, the memories she cherished and not a few tears cascaded onto the floor from underneath the veil.

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[quote][center][img]http://s17.postimage.org/mdw8alpb3/aaa.png[/img][/center]
I would like to send my condolences behalf people of the Democratic People's Republic of Chilu for the lose of Maria Magdalena, she will be remembered for the work she have done for her nation.
We offer our sympathies to the family and the nation.

Supreme President
Kim Yun San
Democratic People's Republic of Chilu[/quote]

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As Valerio approached the casket he thought back to the first time they met. La Duchessa Bella, the beautiful duchess. He had just recovered from losing someone close to him in the civil war, it was Maria that had pulled him back from that and now she too was gone. Slowing his pace the closer he got the memories kept showing in rapid succession; the balls, the casual nights whenever both had some time and the distraction when political life was simply too much. How would he go on? As he looked into the open casket he could not hold some tears back. She was as beautiful as ever. "My duchess, you are free. You are in a better world, but this world be less for it. I will be less without you" Holding her hand for this final time, seeing her in person for this final time he felt like he would go mad.

He looked up at the ceiling "You're a son of a !@#$%*, you know that? She recovered after years of being trapped in her own mind and you kill her through another illness? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,". This guy was certainly kissing some ass because honestly you're just vindictive. What did we ever do besides honoring your name? Yes I have sinned, I have authorized acts of evil but you punish me this way? Heartless thug, you take the one woman that did everything in respect of you. You take the one woman that brought back your church. You take the one woman that is clean of sin. I am done with you, for a God that takes the innocent to punish the sinners is not a loving God." Valerio let go of the hand and walked out.

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[quote name='Sarah Tintagyl' timestamp='1347550510' post='3029730']
Theresia's study was a mess. With half of her wardrobe down in the Imperial Capital and a desk covered in both funeral condolences and bureaucratic work, she looked ragged and everything around her seemed to be in complete disarray. She hadn't slept well in days, tossing and turning on uncomfortable mattresses, with dreams filled with the times when Maria was not only happy, but when she was close. There were a lot of memories; she was there for Theresia's wedding, she was around for her ascension to the Imperial throne, she was there for so many things in her childhood and that was enough to bring two tears that streaked down her eyes and onto the ground. Her body felt like it would heave forward and out the window, but Theresia held onto the windowsill, if for the only reason that Maria would be terribly disappointed in her giving up so early in her life.

It was when Jia walked in that she tried to dry her eyes as she turned to him. "It's funny," she said walking over to her husband and tightly embracing him in her arms. "She was so worried, we'd have dinners back in Vienna and Angelika would call me a traitor and Maria even thought that I should be called back, but I remember she took me aside and said that if I had something important in China then I should stay in China." Theresia took a deep breath then the dam broke and she grabbed Jia's shoulders and cried into his chest. "I don't want her to go, I want her to be with me. I should have to bury my sister."

But there was nothing that they could do, Maria had passed and it was time to do their best to honor what she had been. With a heavy heart the Empress collected herself and in a few hours, wearing a long black gown of lace with her face hidden under a veil, she walked into the ballroom where Maria was being laid out.

The hardest part was in front of her now, to look upon the chalky face of her sister, knowing her eyes would never open and her smile would never brighten the room. But walking across the marble floor, she did her best to remember the memories they created, the memories she cherished and not a few tears cascaded onto the floor from underneath the veil.
[/quote]

Jia returned Theresia's embrace, remaining somber faced, "Its not fair, it never is." he said, unsure of what to say, "But, I'm going to be here for you no matter what. She wants you to carry forward, not go back. And when things get too hard, I'll help you up. I can't say she and I always saw eye to eye, but I'm incredibly glad she brought you too me, and I'm incredibly thankful for her helping me save you."

Later, the Emperor himself wore the full regalia of the Imperial Throne, the dark green formal uniform of the PLA Army, with a golden sash denoting Imperial rank. Standing next to his wife, they were flanked by an honor guard wearing red and white sashes with the Austrial eagle on them, standing guard over the coffin. Arrangements were made in the harbor, for two Tianxia battleships to fire their batteries out into the Pacific in a 21 gun salute in honor of the fallen in a traditional send off for heros of the Empire.

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