Fantastic update BT!!! Fantastic enough to rouse me from my Lazy Lurker's Lair.
The moment when Ibn Tamiyyah said "NO!" to the Romans and chose to stand up for what he believed in, even when faced with certain death was epic. Even more so than many of the epic battles and plots that have come and gone over the course of this story. And then Alexandros granting him his freedom for having the backbone to do that was a moment powerful enough to almost make me cry. It truly shows what Alex is made of. With a wise man like him leading Persia I'm sure that the future state will flourish, despite outside attempts to destroy it. While I might have been a supporter of Andi in the past I'm now firmly behind the Gabrielids.
I also have a little observation. Andi is the most... um...productive emperor since the Megas. His brood of children is huge. And they're mostly legitimate males to boot. On top of that, only those by Cecilia can legally inherit, despite Doryotta's children being just as legitimate. If this isn't a disaster in the making, I don't know what is.
Manuel is turning out nicely so far. He's intelligent and well versed in palace politics already but isn't showing any of the bloodthirstiness that Ioannis has. But there's plenty of time for that. And he's also another factor to be taken into account in the succession. He might not know who his mother is yet, but he'll find out eventually. Of that I'm sure. And when that happens things will get really messy.
As a long term prediction on my part: Manuel will succeed Ioannis as head of the Oikoi. Combined with knowledge of his true parentage, it will lead to the problems foreshadowed in one of the first updates to feature the Oikoi. He will most likely hijack the Oikoi to his own ends. But I could be wrong.