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Chapter Text

July 2

Darius jerked his mind back to the present and focused again on Wilhelm's quiet words.

"Even when I was a small child, my father was always teaching me to be strong," the young Austrian
continued. "To never tolerate fear or weakness in myself. My ancestors had always been strong.
I came from a race of warriors and conquerors."


Vienna, 1931

Wilhelm looked up from his book as his father entered the study.

"It's getting late, Wilhelm," his father asked. "Have you finished your homework yet?"

"Yes, Papa, I'm just reading. Today Herr Schneider gave the class a new assignment; we're all to write
a report on a period of history. I wanted to start right away."

Wilhelm always started assignments early, but then from an early age, his father had let him know that
nothing less would be tolerated from him than excellence. He had needed very little urging in that regard;
he had a fierce inborn desire to not only succeed but to excel in everything he did, whether it be hobbies,
sports or schoolwork.

"And what are you going to write your report about?"

"The Holy Roman Empire," Wilhelm grinned. "I love to read about that. It's one of my favorite times
in history."

"Not surprising," his father said. "That was a glorious period. If your grandfather, Herr Von Hohenburg were
still alive, he would no doubt give you many lessons about the Habsburgs. But remember this, Wilhelm:
the Habsburgs may have ruled the Holy Roman Empire for centuries, but Germany ruled it first."

"I know," Wilhelm said eagerly. "Germany built it! Germany was part of Charlemagne's empire in 800 A.D!

"And what was Charlemagne?"

"He was a Frank, one of the many Germanic tribes. A hundred years later, in 936 A.D., Otto I wanted to bring back
the Roman Empire. He had the pope crown him Emperor Augustus and he built an empire like Charlemagne's.
That became the Holy Roman Empire! Germans are not only warriors, but conquerors and empire builders!"

"Very good."