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Thread: The Morea, a Palaeologid AAR

  1. #421
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    The Court better take the business into their own hands, and soon.
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  2. #422
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    Quote Originally Posted by stnylan
    The Court better take the business into their own hands, and soon.
    More than just the Court will take matters into their own hands...
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  3. #423
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    It was a dark day (both figuratively and meteorologically) in the Morea, and the storm clouds were pouring buckets of rain. The thunderclaps were heard nearly every other second. The date was September 23rd, 1168. The occasion was the funeral of Crown Prince Theotokios, who had been only six years old. Everyone was present except for the King.

    You see, the day before, Konstantinos had been told by Bartholomaios that the mysterious hero, the only one who could stop the King, was infact the King's only son. At first Konstantinos had been unwilling to even entertain the idea, but Bartholomaios was insistant. After three hours of arguing, the King had been convinced. Minutes later, the young prince was dead.

    Queen Alexeia was enraged with her husband. Her first instinct was to try and kill him, but Captain-General Gregorios stopped her, saying, "What good will it do if you die, too?"

    Not a soul could pardon what the King had done. Even those who remained loyal (such as Gregorios and Cheilous), were disgusted by the King's murder of his own son on the counsel of an imaginary man.

    _______________

    Petros Palaeologus, Master of the Aegean, shivered as he descended down a flight of stairs in his castle at Euboia. The stairs were behind a hidden passageway, and led to a secret chamber, which very few know of.

    As he continued down the seemingly endless flight of stairs, he reflected upon how far the Morea had gone downhill in only a few years. He hoped it was not the end of his beloved country. Three men, Georgios I, Athanasios I, and Georgios II, had taken nearly a century to build it into the Mediterranean power it had become. Now, in less than two years, Konstantinos II was about to bring it to ruin.

    Finally the Master of the Aegean reached the bottom of the stairs. After walking through a short hall, he entered the chamber.

    There was only one other occupant, he was in a hooded cloak.

    "Are you alone?" the man asked.

    "I am," said Petros, "Who are you? How did you know of this chamber? And why did you summon me here?"

    "Who am I? I am Count Theophylaktos Blangas of Samos."

    "Theophylaktos! How did you get here?"

    "Think about it, my lord, I am the most insignificant noble in the entire Kingdom. No one would notice my absence for a few days, nor my arrival here on Euboia."

    "That still does not answer my other two questions," said Petros.

    "My father was the vassal to the Prince of the Aegean, the man your father, King Athanasios, deposed so long ago. It was infact that Prince who built this chamber. My father once met with him in this very place, to discuss a matter of treason: secession from the Empire. It was this secession which made your father's land grab possible. My father taught me of this chamber, in case I was ever needed to be here."

    "And the final question?" asked Petros.

    "The answer to that is quite simple. We are here to discuss the same thing which was last discussed here over fifty years ago: treason."

    "Treason?" Petros raised a curious eyebrow.

    "The King must die."

    "My own nephew?"

    Theophylaktos nodded, "It has been agreed. Secret meetings such as this one have occured already throughout the realm. The only nobles opposed to this plan are the Dekani: apparently Blessed Alexios, God rest him, managed to instill his belief of blind loyalty into his progeny. But the rest of the realm is agreed, Konstantinos II must die."

    "Why should I betray my own flesh and blood?"

    "Think about it, man! He has already murdered Count Sergio di Salerno! And as if that weren't bad enough, the man has butchered his own son!"

    "Yes, I know. But he is my nephew."

    "Which is exactly why I came to you," said Theophylaktos, "You are the next in line, now that Theotokios is dead. If you will side with us, the crown will be yours."

    "And if I don't?"

    "Then you and your family will die along with your insane nephew, to secure the inheritance for the Butrintan Palaeologi. They are ready to kill the King and take the throne."

    "But what of the Imeretians? The Palaeologi descended from Ermenegildo?"

    The Count nodded, "I thought you might ask about them. Prince Mikhael is the last male of that line, unless by some miracle he fathers a son soon. He has agreed to give up his right in favour of the Butrintans."

    "Then it sounds like you already have your new King. Let Prince Konstantinos of Butrinto become your next King."

    "He has agreed to step aside, if you will lead us."

    "I'm not convinced."

    "Petros, not everyone will follow the Butrintans. They are not so noble a branch of the Palaeologi as those descended from Georgios the Pious. If Konstantinos of Butrinto kills the King and takes the throne, there will be civil war! The Kingdom will fragment! But all the nobles have agreed to follow you. You are the only hope of saving the Kingdom, Petros!"

    "Go!" said Petros, "You will have my answer soon enough..."
    Last edited by crusaderknight; 29-06-2008 at 23:17.
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  4. #424
    Killing your own infant son is definitely not the thing to do. Everyone is convinced the King is insane. Somehow, oath or not, I cannot see the Guard doing anything to stop this coup.

  5. #425
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Petros really has no alternative than to accept that offer.
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  6. #426
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    Yes. When you know, Destiny Calls, it'd be rude to pretend you're not home.

    Go Petros!
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  7. #427
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Ragusa
    Killing your own infant son is definitely not the thing to do. Everyone is convinced the King is insane. Somehow, oath or not, I cannot see the Guard doing anything to stop this coup.
    It will definitely be hard to convince them to die for him.

    Quote Originally Posted by stnylan
    Petros really has no alternative than to accept that offer.
    And he knows it. He's just a tad reluctant to kill his own nephew.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB
    Yes. When you know, Destiny Calls, it'd be rude to pretend you're not home.

    Go Petros!
    Go Petros, indeed!
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  8. #428
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    In October, Count Theophylaktos recieved this message from Petros:
    Theophylaktos, I accept your offer. But I do not want to put this sin upon anyone's head but my own. You and the other nobles are hereby commanded to do nothing. Sit and wait for me to finish this wicked deed.
    _______________

    It was a cold day in January of 1169. Isaias was shivering. What made it worse what that he was part of the Coast Guard, and had to patrol along the coastlines. The winter winds blew off the Mediterranean and froze him to the bone.

    He looked to his companions, Romanos and Sergeant Lysandros. Neither one showed any sign of the cold, but the fact that all their hairs stood on end was enough indication to Isaias that they were every bit as frozen as he was.

    He groaned. What was the point of the Coast Guard in peace time? It wasn't as if there were any enemies about to invade. Why couldn't they go back to Korinthos? While he could not see the city, the castle which protected the city was just on the horizon. What he wouldn't give to be back in the castle, by a warm fire.

    Suddenly, Romanos shouted, "What's that?"

    Isaias and Lysandros turned to look where Romanos had pointed. A sail! No... many sails! Heading straight for the land! An invasion? But who?

    As the ships neared, they could see the banner of Prince Petros, Master of the Aegean. His war standard was raised. This could mean only one thing.

    Lysandros turned to Isaias, "Isaias, you're the fastest, run back to the castle, inform Captain-General Gregorios! Tell him to get the King and the Supreme Commander! Prince Petros is invading!"
    _______________

    Captain-General Gregorios slammed his fist into the wall and shouted, "DAMNATION!"

    The enemy had moved faster than anticipated. Korinthos Castle was besieged. No word had yet been sent to the city for reinforcements. There had not been time. The only defenders of the castle were 142 members of the Knight-Guard. Outside, the Master of the Aegean had nearly 3,000 men at his command. Things did not look good.

    Suddenly, one of his men entered, and said, "Sire, we have recieved a messenger from Prince Petros."

    "What does he want?"

    "The Master of the Aegean says that if we surrender he will spare our lives. It is only the King he wants."

    "I will not surrender my King."

    The man gulped, "But sir, there are 3,000 men out there! We cannot hope to hold them off! Many of the men are considering surrendering with or without your consent!"

    "WHAT!?"

    The man began to stammer, he didn't know what to say.

    "Summon them all here."

    "But sir, if we take them from the walls, there will be no one to stop Prince Petros from attacking!"

    "He has sent us an offer of surrender. He will wait for a reply. I have enough time to give them a speech before we make our decision. He won't attack just yet."

    And so they were summoned.

    "Men," the Captain-General began, "We stand here against impossible odds. Logic would dictate our surrender."

    The 142 men mumbled agreement. Smiles began to appear on their faces, they were going to live afterall!

    Gregorios continued, "But honour... honour demands we fight to the death for our King!"

    One of the men spoke up, "But he is a man without honour, indeed without sanity! He is not worth our lives!"

    "Do I need to tell you of the Blessed Alexios?"

    The man shook his head, everyone knew the story of Blessed Alexios Dekanos by heart.

    Gregorios then said, "We are the heirs to the Blessed Alexios. In his day, the Supreme Commander was also the Captain-General of the Knight-Guard. Now the positions are held by different men, but nonetheless, I am his successor, and you are successors to his men. Blessed Alexios risked his life many times for Athanasios the Cruel and for Georgios the Great! While Georgios may have been worthy of such devotion, Athanasios most certainly was not. So why then, did Alexios fight so hard for him? It was his duty as head of the King's bodyguard. It is our sworn duty to die before letting harm come to the King. Now I will not order any of you to stand with me, but I for one will die before I fail my duty. And to any of you who choose to surrender, never again lift your heads high. You must always hang them in shame, for you have chosen your life over your King's."

    There was silence for a moment. Some of the men hung their heads, already ashamed. At last, one spoke up, "I will not shame myself and abandon my duty! I stand with the Captain-General." And he moved over to Gregorios' side. One by one, the others did, too, until all 142 men were with Gregorios.
    _______________

    When Petros was told that the Knight-Guard would not surrender, he ordered an immediate attack.

    The 142 guards had all stayed within the keep, so there was nothing to stop Petros' men from entering the castle.

    The Knight-Guard fought valiantly to defend their King, and by the time they had been slaughtered to the last man, they had taken some 500 of Petros' men with them.

    Once the Knight-Guard had all been slain, Petros burst into the King's chambers. There he saw Konstantinos and Cheilous in one last embrace.

    When the King saw Petros, he gently pushed his cousin aside, and said, "Stay back, dear Cheilous."

    Petros drew his sword, "You know what I must do."

    Konstantinos shook his head, "You don't want to do this."

    Petros sighed, "You're right, I don't. But nevertheless, I must, for the good of the Kingdom. Goodbye my nephew."

    Cheilous shouted and began to run back to Konstantinos, desperate to save him.

    "RESTRAIN HER!" Petros shouted, and two of his men grabbed her and slammed her against the wall. She grunted in pain.

    "DON'T HURT HER!" Konstantinos cried.

    Petros nodded to his men, and they relaxed their grip just enough to end the pain, but they still kept a frim hold on her.

    "Now, to business," the Master of the Aegean said.

    Konstantinos looked to his left, there stood Bartholomaios. "Bart!" the King cried, "Help me!"

    Bartholomaios shook his head.

    "You have betrayed me too?"

    Petros looked and saw no one. The King really was insane.

    Konstantinos then said one last thing to his imaginary friend, "So be it, Bartholomaios. May you burn in hell with the rest of them! I hate you! I HATE YOU ALL!" With that he lunged at Petros with all his fury.

    The King had never been a great swordsman, and his rage only further unbalanced him. His swing missed Petros, and he suddenly found his uncle's blade sticking into his gut, ironically, in the same place where he had stabbed Count Sergio.

    He dropped his sword, and with pain and sorrow in his eyes, looked at his uncle. Petros bowed his head, "I'm sorry, Konstantinos." As the Master of the Aegean pulled his sword from his nephew, the King sank to the ground, lifeless.

    "TINOS!" shouted Cheilous in pain.

    Petros looked to his men, "Release her." As soon as they let go, she ran to her cousin's dead body and wept.

    "Give her one hour to mourn," Petros said, "Then return her to her cell, for her own safety."

    He then called his third son, Niketas, to him and said, "Niketas, go to the city, and tell the Knight-Guard there that I offer them two choices: retire from duty and swear faith to me, or die."

    Niketas left to do his task. Petros then summoned his second son, Philippos, and said, "Fetch Patriarch Pantoleon. I am to be crowned today."

    "Today!? But father, we can't get to Nafplion in one day! How can you be crowned at St. Sophia's?"

    "I will be crowned in the Church of Blessed Alexios."

    "But that will destroy tradition!"

    "You have your orders, Philippos! CARRY THEM OUT!"

    And so all was done as Petros commanded.
    _______________

    The Italian Chronicler, Adone Tittoni, had this to say of the events of January 7th, 1169:
    I am horribly shocked at the turn of events within the Morea. Only three years ago we saw the end of the Achaians and the rise of the Korinthian Palaeologi. Now, in a sad twist of treachery, Petros, Master of the Aegean, has murdered his nephew and made himself King. I had high hopes for the Korinthians, but they could not even last three years! God's judgement will surely rest with these Palaeologi from Euboia. Cursed are the Euboians, now and forever more!
    Last edited by crusaderknight; 29-06-2008 at 23:17.
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  9. #429
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    All those zeroes. Surely that was God's will.
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  10. #430
    It wasn't hard to convince the guard to die. That Italian Chronicler conviently missed out the fact that Konstantinos had murdered his newborn son and heir. Unlike him, I wish King Petros a long and successful reign and the hiring of objective Chroniclers..

  11. #431
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    Heavens no, why would Petros would objective chroniclers. May they be forever biased and prejudiced in his favour, so that in centuries to come a revisionist history will take place in which Konstantinos is a sympathetic figure, and all the deaths were the work of Petros and his wicked allies
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  12. #432
    This Italian is biased against him. There was his habit of talking to nobody and he killed his own son. No-one is goingto be sympathetic to Kon II except he equally mad Cheilous and she not going to get a good press.

  13. #433
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    I've just started reading this from the beginning, and even though it means I am ages from up-to-date, I want to point out that this is very good reading indeed I'm a role-player myself, find great fun in it.

    Keep up the good work.
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  14. #434
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB
    All those zeroes. Surely that was God's will.
    No doubt. But will the Church see it that way?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Ragusa
    It wasn't hard to convince the guard to die. That Italian Chronicler conviently missed out the fact that Konstantinos had murdered his newborn son and heir. Unlike him, I wish King Petros a long and successful reign and the hiring of objective Chroniclers..
    Yeah, I was kind of disappointed with how the convincing of the guard turned out. But I had a mild case of writer's block, and I couldn't think of anything else to do.

    Adone Tittoni's words will be important later on. Sadly, not as important as I had hoped, but important nonetheless.

    Quote Originally Posted by stnylan
    Heavens no, why would Petros would objective chroniclers. May they be forever biased and prejudiced in his favour, so that in centuries to come a revisionist history will take place in which Konstantinos is a sympathetic figure, and all the deaths were the work of Petros and his wicked allies
    No doubt that is already how Adone Tittoni sees things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snugglie
    I've just started reading this from the beginning, and even though it means I am ages from up-to-date, I want to point out that this is very good reading indeed I'm a role-player myself, find great fun in it.

    Keep up the good work.
    I'm glad you're enjoying it, Snugglie. I look forward to your added input once you catch up.
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  15. #435
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    King Petros I "the Deliverer"
    Euboian Dynasty


    Patriarch Pantoleon initially refused to crown Petros on that day. He said that Petros had no right to be crowned before the funeral of Konstantinos II. When Philippos had told his father what Pantoleon said, Petros became enraged. He stormed into the Patriarch's quarters, and demanded the coronation. He mentioned that Pantoleon had had no problem crowning Stephanos I and Konstantinos II before their father's bodies were cold.

    That was enough convincing for Pantoleon. If the only cause he had for not crowning Petros was one he had sidestepped twice already, it would make him a hypocrite, and unfit to hold the position of Patriarch. The last thing Pantoleon wanted was the remembered not only as the first Patriarch of Korinthos, but also as the first Patriarch of Korinthos to be removed from office before his death.
    _______________

    The coronation ceremony began in the Church of the Blessed Alexios Dekanos one hour before sundown.

    The Church was full, with the crowd filling the entire court area outside as well. Almost everyone in the Morea was pleased with Petros, and some had already started calling him "Petros the Deliverer" for delivering them from the evil of Konstantinos II.

    At the altar stood Patriarch Pantoleon, with five crowns: one large crown, one small crown, and three golden circlets. Also on the altar was the Sword of Georgios the Pious, the symbol of the authority and legitimacy of the Palaeologid Kings.

    The crowd parted as the Master of the Aegean began to walk down the long aisle to the altar. His four sons, Draganos, Philippos, Niketas, and Alexandros followed him to the altar.

    When they had arrived, Pantoleon commanded them to kneel. He then said a prayer for the Kingdom, ending it with the LORD's Prayer.

    The Patriarch then turned to Petros, and said, "Petros Palaeologus, Master of the Aegean, and third son of Athanasios I, you are to be crowned King of the Morea. Do you understand your responsibilities?"

    "I am to uphold justice, protect the freedom of my people, defend the Holy Church, and destroy all who stand against my peoples' Rights, Liberties, and Faith."

    "Do you here and now, in the presence of the clergy, army, and people of the Morea, give your oath of honour to fulfill your responsibility?"

    "I do here and now, in the presence of the clergy, army, and people of the Morea, give my oath of honour to fulfill my responsibility even if it cost me my life."

    Pantoleon turned back to the altar, took the large crown from it and placed it upon Petros' head, "Then by the power given to me by God and by the Holy Christian Church, I crown you Petros I, King of the Morea. Arise, King Petros, and receive the sword of your ancestor, Georgios the Pious, and accept the authority given to you."

    Petros rose, took the sword from Pantoleon, turned to face the crowd, and raised his sword on high. A great cheer rose up from the soldiers and the people, "Pet-ros! Pet-ros! Pet-ros!"

    Petros then sheathed the sword, turned back to the altar, and knelt again.

    Pantoleon then turned to the eldest of Petros' sons, Draganos, "Draganos Palaeologus, son of Petros I, you are to become Crown Prince of the Morea. Do you understand your responsibility?"

    "I am to be my father's sword as long as he lives, and I am to take on his responsibilities when he dies."

    "Do you here and now, in the presence of the clergy, army, and people of the Morea, give your oath of honour to fulfill your responsibility?"

    "I do."

    Pantoleon then took the small crown and placed it on Draganos' head, "Then by the power given to me by God and the Holy Christian Church, I name you Draganos, Crown Prince of the Morea. Arise, Crown Prince Draganos!"

    Draganos rose, turned to the crowd, and received their cheers. He then turned back to the altar and knelt again.

    The Patriarch then turned to the other three sons, "Philippos, Niketas, and Alexandros, sons of Petros I, you are to become Princes of the Morea. Do you understand your responsibilities?"

    Philippos spoke first, "To serve our father."

    Niketas spoke second, "To protect our eldest brother."

    And Alexandros spoke last, "And to be eternally loyal to our brother and his progeny, and to always defend their right to the throne."

    Pantoleon then said, "Do you here and now, in the presence of the clergy, army, and people of the Morea, give your oath of honour to fulfill your responsibilities?"

    In unison, the three Princes said, "I do."

    Pantoleon then placed the three circlets on their heads, "Then by the power given to me by God and the Holy Christian Church, I name you Princes of the Morea. Arise!"

    The Princes rose, and received their cheers. They then turned back to the altar and knelt again.

    The ceremony ended with the five royals receiving the Eucharist. After the ceremony, a night-long celebration was held. The next day, Konstantinos II would be buried.
    Last edited by crusaderknight; 18-09-2008 at 00:41.
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  16. #436
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    Well, that was settled rather quickly. Before the body was even cold, as it were.

    It's a great wisdom to know when to be hasty.
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  17. #437
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB
    Well, that was settled rather quickly. Before the body was even cold, as it were.

    It's a great wisdom to know when to be hasty.
    Aye, it is.
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  18. #438
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    With the Knight-Guard ended, Petros had made a statement: the old ways were dying. His new body-guards, the Aspidai or "The Shields" would enforce the authority of the new Euboian House of the Palaeologid dynasty.

    Unlike the Knight-Guard, who were almost copies of the Kataphraktoi, the Aspidai were heavy infantry. They wore a coat of heavy chainmail which reached down to their knees. Their shields were rectangular in shape, 4.5 feet from top to bottom and 2 feet from side to side. Their helmets covered everything above the brow and ears, with a small chain covering for the back of the neck and a nose-guard in the front. Each member of the Aspidai had a spear of the strongest wood and metals available, 6 feet in length. In addition, each was equipped with a short-sword, with the blade measuring a mere 1.5 feet in length. On their shins they wore greaves which reached from their feet up to the knees. Their arms were protected by hardened leather, so as to allow for greater mobility than chainmail would give their arms.

    The Aspidai were fiercely loyal the Euboian Palaeologi, and none others. They were the symbol of Euboian Palaeologid power.
    _______________

    Soon after Petros' coronation, word came that the clergy in Guria (one of the Georgian provinces liberated by Georgios II) had successfully converted the people back to Orthodoxy (they had previously been converted to Islam under their former masters). Also, the Gurians had thrown away all traces of their Georgian (and more recent Arabic) history. They had declared themselves Morean Greek.
    _______________

    The winter and spring of 1169 passed without incident, and peace began to return to the Morea. Indeed, there was to be peace, almost without exception, throughout Petros' reign as King. His reign would restore the stability and prosperity known under Stephanos I. However, the contrast was that under Stephanos, it was infact his wife, the Queen, who brought about the prosperity, with Stephanos being too lazy to rule his own Kingdom. Whereas the renewed prosperity was the work of Petros himself.

    Petros also showed his mercy when he welcomed Stephanos' wife, Maria, into his court. He even apologized to Alexeia Kabaka, the wife of the late Konstantinos II. She told him no apology was necessary, that she had wanted her husband dead after he murdered their only son. She thanked Petros for his actions, and swore undying loyalty to her new King.
    _______________

    In August, Petros signed an Alliance with King Samuil of Croatia. The Palaeologi had never forgiven the Trpimirovic dynasty for their treachery in the Inheritance Wars. But, Samuil had overthrown the Trpimirovics, and had exiled them. This new dynasty had done the Palaeologi no wrong, and so Petros was ready and eager to renew the alliance with Croatia.

    In October, the renovations to Nafplion castle, which Konstantinos I had begun, were finally finished. The new Nafplion castle was the most powerful fortress in the Morea, and symbol of the power of the Palaeologid dynasty: a power which was beginning to rival the Dukid dynasty of Constantinople.

    With Nafplion, the legacy of Konstantinos I, completed, Petros began work on his own new legacy. Though he had not been crowned in St. Sophia's, and though no more Kings of the Morea ever would be, it still held a special historical significance, and Petros payed out of his own pockets for the small chapel to be renovated so that over 300 souls could worship in it at once.

    1170 passed quietly, and in January of 1171, St. Sophia's was completed.

    Soon after, word came to the Morea that Emperor Andronikos II was dead, and that his son, Andronikos III had ascended to the Purple. Petros wasted no time in renewing the alliance with the Dukas, in an attempt to keep them from viewing the Morea as a rising threat.
    _______________

    1172 was also a quiet year. However, it did see a reduction in the size of the Royal demesne. Petros, though not incapable, was not willing to work his life away doing nothing more than run an immense demesne as his older brother had.

    To his youngest son, Alexandros, he gave the County of Lesbos. This county included the islands of Imbros and Lemnos. Alexandros chose to give all of these islands an honour: Lesbos, being the largest of the islands, would remain the centre of the county, and the main fortress would be on the island. Imbros, however, would be the location of his court. And Lemnos would be the residence of Alexandros and his progeny.

    To Prince Theotokios Kenchres of the Krimea, Petros gave the province of the Lower Dneipr.

    And to Prince Tobromeros Angelos of Apulia, Petros gave the province of Lecce, the last Italian province in the personal demesne of the Royal Family.
    _______________

    In 1173, Petros began to build a new and mighty castle on Euboia. It was to be modeled after Nafplion. Whereas the gates on Nafplion were named after the first two Kings and the two greatest Supreme Commanders, the gates of Petros' new castle, Petra, would be named after his sons: The north gate was Draganos, the south gate was Philippos, the west gate was Niketas, and the east gate was Alexandros.

    Work on the new castle of Petra lasted all through 1174, and all through 1175. It wasn't until early December of 1175 that Petra was at last finished. Petra, Nafplion, and the Aspidai were all signs of Petros' supreme power.

    But the peace which had reigned for six years in the Morea could not last forever...
    Last edited by crusaderknight; 29-06-2008 at 23:18. Reason: Twice I had mis-spelled "demesne" as "demense"
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  19. #439
    I should hope not. There are unfinished crusades to ... well... advance to more less unfinished state.

    Alliances with Croatia and the Empire, what could be better for the Kingdom. Oh yes, a recreated Knight-Guard. The Aspidai just don't have the same ring.

  20. #440
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    Six years of peace though sounds like it has done its job and allowed Morea to recover somewhat from the depredations it had suffered.
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