Rome AsundAAR? I think we've got ourselves a perfect name for the sequel, lads!
Also, I do believe a certain special someone would get much praise for another Scottish Komnenos update...
Rome AsundAAR? I think we've got ourselves a perfect name for the sequel, lads!
Also, I do believe a certain special someone would get much praise for another Scottish Komnenos update...
For EU3 perhaps whatever scraps of their former Empire the Komnenids manage to hang onto?
THIS IS A SIG
Why Mali? Why not play an interesting country...like the Mongol Shogunate?
In all seriousness, I'd say it should be a Mediterranean country or Persia. While the Queen of Cities need not be the main character, it should be a major player. Obviously, the final choice is up to you, but I'm sure it'll be quite entertaining whatever you pick.
One of the best safeguards that a ruler has against plots is not being hated by the people.-Machiavelli, The Prince
Holy wow, there’s a lot of discussion here! Since I know everyone’s eager to see the update, I’ll give a series of generalized replies to topics and questions everyone’s raised so far…
Reasons for history book – The simple breadth of the world that needs to be covered. Narrative lets you focus on a few storylines, before the story becomes too broad and expansive to tell. And there are many stories to tell—the fate of France, Romanion’s successor states in Spain and the religious issues that arise, the Mahgreb seeking its own identity, the Aionites, Egypt, Persia, Constantinople itself, Sortmark, the rest of Europe, the Mongol successors, the Turks, Mali… I simply can’t tell a narrative that wide and expansive. It would have to be history book to give these stories at least part of the justice they deserve.
EDIT - So to be clear, I'll be writing an AAR that covers all the successors and changed states, from Mali, to France, to Spain, to Constantinople, even though I myself a playing Mali.
Reasons for Mali – Mostly personal, as I had ancestors in what by the 18th century was the Kingdom of Dahomey—in this alternate history, the southern marches of the Malian Empire. Several people brought up a good point—whatever country I play will do abnormally well. My plans were to turn off fog of war (so I could keep track of all the goings on) and see what the AI could do with the fallout of Empire. Possibly I could switch countries if something too strange seemed to be going on, but otherwise I’d like the story of the ‘broken Roman world’ to unfold with all the successors on equal footing—a.k.a. no human running it for an unfair advantage. Whatever I do, I will not be playing one of the heavyweights in the post-Roman world… too boring. I might be persuaded to take something like the City-State of Venice, Shirvan, or Tarraconensis, but not Egypt, Nordmark or Persia…
If you really want to see someone play them, I am going to try to make the mod workable on at least HttT, so you all can download and play yourselves too!
On the Name of the EU3 Portion – It’s been Rome AsundAAR for about a year and a half now. AlexanderPrimus just had insider information about the subject.
On the Subject of Persia and Religions – Leviathan brings up some good points, but RGB brings one up that trumps—regions, even Persia, do convert. Now, thanks to Roman intervention in this timeline, there’ll be much larger minority religious populations in Persia at the start of EU3 than there were in the real world. There’ll be no overnight Orthodox conversions either—EU3 Persia is going to have several tough religious thorns in its side—go Christian, go Orthodox, or go possibly another way…
On the Banners – I’m glad people like them! The Komnenid Empire, like most behemoth states, doesn’t collapse overnight. The destruction of the realm built by Demetrios, Manuel and Basil will take place in fits and starts, just like real imperial collapses. Some people might stem the tide, maybe reverse it for a few years, but there will not be a string of brilliant emperors (a la Nikolaios, Manuel and Basil) to reforge an Empire that is fundamentally broken. I will say this… at least one of the coming Emperors will be beyond an abject failure on the throne. He will likely be one of the worst rulers in CKland… XD
And on to the update itself!
“Money and war bound to a man make him powerful.” – Gottfried von Franken, Prinz von Istria
October 19th, 1288
Andronikos had never liked the Thracian winters—they were too cold, too wet. Now, in his 41st year, the rapidly growing Emperor hated them even more. They made his lame leg ache in its bones, and they made the gout in his feet hurt even more. He more than often thanked God sarcastically that his husbandly duty took place on a bed—he doubted he’d have the stamina otherwise, ravishing young wife or no. Part of him was thankful the woman was pregnant again—it gave him a respite. He sincerely hoped it would be a boy this time. He wanted a son named after himself. Cecilia had quietly said she would not accept such vanity. He’d only seen Doryotta angry twice—and once was when he suggested such ‘sinful vanity,’ to quote her words.
Sybslava, good wife that she was, had [i]promised[i/] to name their firstborn son after him.
“His Majesty, the Megas Komnenos!” the chamberlain announced as the ornate doors to Andronikos’ private study swung open. Servants hurriedly scurried out ahead of the Emperor’s entrance, leaving behind trays of food and drink for their Lord and Master, as well as the other three people inside. The room and hall were silent as the most powerful man in the world limped his way inside. Andronikos had long stopped wincing when his lame foot dragged against the floor—something about the rhythmic thump of his cane, a noise of authority, made up for the weak swish of his gout-ridden foot.
“Syrenios, Manuel,” the Emperor nodded to his Archekronokrateros, head of the Oikoi since Ioannis Angelos came down with an illness visiting Ikonion, as well as his third son. Slowly, the Emperor of the World turned, and nodded to the third man in the room.
Phillipos Makrinokomnenos might have had a head of silver hair prematurely gone grey, but he looked stately—a bearing he inherited from his father, the famed Bartholomaios. He’d also inherited his father’s titles and positions—Exarch of Mauretania, and Vestarches Domestikos of the small Mauretanikon Stratos. He’d led the easternmost of the taxarchia that invaded France, and by far had performed the best—Andronikos originally had misgivings when Godwinson had originally suggested the then unproven Exarch. However, chasing Moorish tribesmen in the deserts of North Africa proved far better training than decades of service on the Spanish frontier did for one Miguel Jimenez.
Jimenez. The name itself roiled Andronikos’ temper, and the Megas Komnenos gritted his teeth slightly. For the Emperor to say he wasn’t pleased with the conduct of the French campaign would have been an understatement—he was furious! Under Godwinson progress was at least being made. After the Pandomestikos’ injury and with no clear successor, Andronikos had entrusted command to Taxarches Miguel Jimenez, Godwinson’s second in command. The results, to say the least, had been disastrous. As the army laid siege to Fontainbleau, royal castle and marshalling point for the Capets, the armies of King Hugues made a final stand…
…and completely broke the westernmost of the two taxarchia operating in France. What made the man’s position doubly damned was that he ignored warnings from all his officers, including the Emperor’s own son, right up until Hugues’ men came tumbling out of that fog, the French King’ warhammer cutting huge swathes through the Roman ranks. They said Nikephoros had suffered his fourth wound forming the rearguard, and that he never flinched when they sutured up his side. Despite the rumors, Andronikos raised him to bandarches—he now had what was left of the taxarchia.
Andronikos was forced to order Demetrios’ taxarchia of the Italikon Stratos to commit to Eastern France for the campaigns of 1289, while the easternmost of the Hispanikon remnants transferred further west. The whole operation also clearly needed a new commander—letters had already flown back to Spain, informing Lord Jimenez that he was recalled to Konstantinopolis for ‘discussions.’
While Nikephoros had an excellent record in the war, one to be proud of, he’d never commanded anything more than a tagma of 2,000 men. To jump to an army command would be daunting, and risk not just the campaign, but also the reputation Andronikos hoped his son would build with the army. Demetrios had not seen any combat in this war at all—and Andronikos was loathe to raise him, as it would raise his standing in the eyes of the army as well. Already one person who should have failed in high command had succeeded beyond the wildest of Andronikos’ dreams—the Emperor wouldn’t make that mistake again.
Alexandros’ success was a failure for the Emperor—there was no way to deny that, no way to hide the damage done. Publicly Andronikos could do little but give speeches honoring his devilishly successful cousin, but privately, he quaked. The destruction of the German army—no, Andronikos corrected himself, the German nobility—at Sisak left the entirety of the region open to invasion. All the dynatoi first in the Balkans, then Italy, were piling their private ‘armies’ north as well, looking for easy plunder and glory.
Peace was needed. Now. Both for Andronikos’ sake, and he feared, the sake of the Empire.
But who to make peace with? The elite of the German nobility were scattered, or Alexandros’ prisoner. So was Emperor Hesso. There was no one to surrender Germany, and after such a victory, only surrender would satisfy the masses and the dynatoi! All of which brought Andronikos back to this room, this moment, and the man standing before him in his study.
“I trust,” the emperor slowly limped towards his favorite chair, “you had a pleasant journey and a comfortable stay in the capital?”
“Yes, Majesty,” Makrinokomnenos said with a pleasant enough smile. “I beg Your Majesty’s forgiveness for my tardiness—weather held by ship a month longer in Palermo than Your Majesty or I would have liked!” the Exarch added with a laugh that bordered on slightly nervous.
“I may rule men, but I cannot rule the waves,” Andronikos cracked a grin. “Do you know why I summoned you here?”
Makrinokomnenos shook his head—Andronikos swore there was something behind the Exarch’s gaze. Fear?
“Jimenez must being replaced,” Andronikios hissed. His foot was throbbing again. Slowly, the Emperor eased himself into a chair, while Manuel hurriedly brought over his father’s foot rest. Andronikos sighed, the pain easing away after he set the foot up. “Thank you, son,” Andronikos nodded with a smile. So helpful, that boy. “The problem is,” Andronikos set his cane down next to the chair, “is who?”
The Emperor then looked up expectantly towards Makrinokomnenos.
“Me, Your Majesty?” the Exarch said. Phillipos’ look of shock was blatantly an act. Good—the man was not an idiot, at least, and knew what was coming. Andronikos still felt his smile stiffen—no matter the reason, he did not like to be trifled with.
“Exarch,” Syrenios said, handing Makrinokomnenos a sealed copy of his new patents of office, “His Majesty has elected to raise you to Pandomestikos ton Dytikon, with all the powers and responsibilities of that office. You are charged firstly with securing the person of the false monk Celestine, calling himself Pope...”
Andronikos carefully watched the man’s eyes. On the surface, Phillipos’ feigned surprise still showed as he took the parchment of orders from Syrenios, but the Megas Komnenos saw more—there was a glint in the Exarch’s eyes. Calculation, maybe elation as well. So he would start scheming soon. Very well, the Emperor told himself.
Phillipos Makrinokomnenos, I see you. And I’ll be watching you.
“T…thank you, Majesty, for this… great honor!” the Exarch bowed quickly. “But… the Pope, Majesty?” There was a slight, ever so slight tinge of confusion in the question. Andronikos let his smile thin—he decided to let the jackal know that a lion was watching him.
“Exarch, you are no fool,” Andronikos sighed, “you know that the ‘victory’ in Germany could do far more harm than good to Us, yes?” Phillipos nodded. “Good,” the Emperor smiled thinly, “So, tell me, who created this ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ the abomination that covers the Germanies?”
“The Papacy,” Makrinokomnenos said quietly.
“Yes, so who can raise a new German King that we can then negotiate with to end the war?” Andronikos asked, before answering his own question. “Once again, the Pope. You will tell His Holiness that We will permit him and his Curia to retain all their lands, titles and prerogatives if they name Dietmar of Burgundy as King of Germany. Capturing him means breaking through Hugues armies—I don’t think Dietmar would mind if someone roughly shook the Holy Father to his senses,” Andronikos’ smile grew once more. “It will be a difficult task, but one not without rewards. Should you succeed, we promise we shall bind your family to ours—your daughter, Fatima, is the same age as my son Alexios…”
The Exarch’s eyes lit up.
Yes, I have you, the Emperor smiled as Phillipos filled in the idea. Makrinokomnenos was ambitious, and becoming father-in-law to a Prince of the Empire was a promotion indeed, far beyond being merely named Commander of the Western Armies. What better way to channel that ambition than to achieve the most pressing security goal of the empire? The Emperor had already talked to Angelos and Syrenios—the Oikoi would be shadowing the Exarch for the rest of his days, waiting for the moment he slipped…
Provided that much motivation, the Emperor was sure Makrinokomnenos would bend heaven and earth to snatch the Holy Pontiff and bring him to those terms. Andronikos would have at once made an ally of Dietmar, and ensured the industrious Burgundian and his deadly army were preoccupied with subduing a now wild and lawless Germany for years to come. The Papacy would also almost have to leave Trier—instead of having loyal kings a few days from the border, Trier would be left exposed, deep in hostile lands. Hamburg or Bremen would make a safer place for the Curia—removing them even further from Romanion and her interests.
“Your second charge,” the Emperor went on, “is to force King Hugues to come to Us begging for peace. You will fight until he surrenders to Us the Title ‘King of the Franks.’ You will then charge the nobles of France with agreeing to the follower charter,” Syrenios handed another document to the newly minted Pandomestikos, “granting them certain freedoms in return for acknowledging imperial suzerainty.”
Andronikos smiled politely as Makrinokomnenos bowed, and took the new documents as well. The army has hell-bent on ending the Capetian problem once and for all—the Megas Domestikos had counseled Andronikos from the beginning that the bandarchoi, and strategoi would not stomach anything less than the complete, utter annihilation of France as a threat. But Andronikos knew the Empire couldn’t sustain the slew of new princes that would have to be appointed to rule the new areas, or garrisoning them strong enough to ensure the old nobility was run out.
There were signs that the war was wearing on the nobility of France—at Fontainbleau, Hugues army was almost entirely made of his personal gendarmerie, probably paid for with his as of yet untouched estates in England. The battles, sieges and butchery had ground the feudal mass of France into dust. Andronikos hoped that perhaps, the nobles could be pried from their master’s hand with some honey to match the fearsome stick of Roman arms.
So he borrowed from his great-grandfather’s hybrid realm in Spain long ago. He wouldn’t force the Frankish lords out or turn their lands into themes—he would be their feudal lord, and a lax feudal lord at that. The beauty of the plan was that the French dukes would follow once they saw the guarantees they’d receive—scutage only a tenth of what they currently owed Hugues, rights to administer justice in their lands as they saw fit, as well as other promises of autonomy. Their armies for their immediate protection would be their cost, not the Empires.
Of course, a few dollops of reward would be handed to the Dukes of Aquitaine, Toulouse and Bourgogne for their support—Andronikos planned to formalize them as Sebastokratoroi, with the same powers as the Prince of a theme, but far more leeway in guarding their own realms. The price for his gift, however, would be their men—they would, in joint with an appointed Hypatos ton Gallikon, be charged with solving all disputes between the nobility of France, as well as general defense of the realm. The Hypatosproper would be handed a few professional tagma from the Hispanikon and Italikon, based out of Marseilles, to act as a final arbiter and the core of any defending army.
The army would get its destruction of the Capets.
The Empire would gain more buffer states between it and the Papacy.
Andronikos would have a slew of nobles loyal to him, as well as a little more money in the treasury.
But who to name Hypatos? It had to be someone who had no dynastic claim to the throne, someone outside the traditional dynatoi yet close enough to the imperial family the Frankish nobility would respect him. Who could do that—ah, it was a problem for later, once the war was won.
The Emperor’s smile turned towards his bastard son. Manuel still stood unobtrusively in the corner—listening, watching, just as Andronikos had asked. In light of Ioannis Angelos’ illness, Syrenios had taken over the boy’s education. Like his regular sons, Andronikos let the boy watch Councils of State and other important meetings—the Emperor swore only Nikephoros and Leo showed more attentiveness. Part of Andronikos in fact wasn’t surprised when Syrenios said the entire plan was the boy’s idea. It was simple, and would keep the Capets from coming back, as well as effectively turning every duke from Maine to Brittany into another Aquitaine, Toulouse, or Bourgogne.
“Majesty, Hugues has considerable lands across the Britannic Ocean in England proper,” Makrinokomnenos said. “What shall I do if he retreats there?”
“You are not authorized to cross the Britannic,” Andronikos shook his head immediately. “Our galleys will do little good in the Atlantic. Should Hugues retreat there, you are authorized to build a fleet to harry his coast and keep him from returning, but no more.” The Emperor had misjudged the German situation—the Hispanikon being lost crossing the seal—or worse, cut off and surrounded in England—would be beyond disastrous. “Understood?”
“Yes, Majesty,” Makrionkomnenos bowed.
“Finally, you are to take our son Alexios with you,” Andronikos said, “to be your page and assistant. He needs some seasoning in the ways of the world outside Konstantinopolis.”
That was an understatement. The young prince was rapidly growing irascible. He publicly insulted his elder brothers, as well as openly demanded titles despite his tender 13 years. Andronikos smiled thinly—the boy needed some iron, a chance to face the real world. Some time in the mud of France as a page would do nicely.
“It will also give you a reminder each day of what there is to gain if you accomplish your mission. We trust you will take good care of our son?” Andronikos raised an eyebrow.
“Of course, Majesty!” Phillipos quickly replied.
June 15th, 1289
Outside Krakow, Poland
Gottfried von Franken dismounted, hitting the ground with an unceremonious thump. All around was the noise and bluster of an army breaking camp. As men ran to and fro, von Franken cast one last look ahead at the walls and turrets of Krakow, seat of the Polish throne. The city’s walls were bright red in the morning sun, towers and spires eagerly reaching for the sky. The only thing that rivaled its unspoiled beauty was the wagons intermittently glittering in the first rays of the day, filled with the treasures of a city surrendered.
Krakow, unlike Pest, unlike Praha, had thrown open its doors when von Franken and his taxarchia made their approach through Galicia. The Prince of Istria had actually been fearing approaching the city—he’d been charged by Basilieus Alexandros to raid deep and hard into Poland, both to punish her for siding with the Germans in a fight that wasn’t hers, and to gain as much loot as his wagons could haul. Krakow’s defenses were formidable, and von Franken feared a long siege might decrease the lands he could raid before he had to return to the Hungarian plains in time for winter.
“Prinz von Franken?”
Gottfried turned to face the familiar voice—its man was clad in furs far too fine for his worn face and dark smile. His helm was of Rus make, while his burnished new lamellar shirt ridiculously bore the white eagle of the Piasts. He smelled of sweat and greed—the lone silver tooth in his smile only completed the picture.
“Ah, Klaus,” Gottfried smiled slowly, “Your men behaving themselves splendidly, I hear!”
“Splendid, ja!” Klaus der Fleischer put his lone tooth on display. “Meine men, they say the last church ist leeren, it’s empty. Nicht grosse gold, silver.”
“Mmhm,” Gottfried nodded slowly, eyeing the wagon’s coming out of the city for the second straight day. For a plundering, the ‘Sack of Krakow’ was a surprisingly orderly affair. On news of the city father’s surrendering at his army’s arrival, Gottfried had created several ad-hoc battalions to collect all the gold and silver within the walls—the price for the taxarchia not laying siege and burning the town to the ground. Gottfried’s orders had been explicit, his explanation blunt and to the point for the mercenaries in his command.
The more organized and orderly the collection of gold, the faster it will be, the more we’ll get, and the quicker we can move on to plunder other towns. The Prince didn’t both explaining it to the thematakoi from elsewhere—instead he made up intelligence of a relief army coming from Mazovia, and kept the men busy scouting and foraging with the promise once ‘negotiations’ were finished, they would receive their fair share. It kept the louts busy, and out of his hair.
“Ja, they are bringing out all das geld and other treasures,” the mercenary grunted. “Nein problems with das folk, ja? They’re behaving well, ja? All geld und silver we bring out, schnell.”
“They are,” Gottfried patted the mercenary captain on the shoulder. He had no doubt that Klaus’ men had something to do with the good behavior—the Black Company, along with those Almogavars, had led the forces that stormed the citadel of Praha. Krakow had yielded her treasures without a fight after hearing the tales of how the capital of Bohemia burned for six days. A reputation, von Franken decided, was worth as much as ten tagmata…
“Ah, her arrives der Herzog,” Klaus nodded towards a new arrival approaching the pair, and Gottfried flashed a smile towards his own eldest son Matthias. The heir to Istria was in his 24th year, with the brilliant blonde hair of his mother above his youthful face. Gottfried frowned, however—in his hands was a strange sword—it was beautiful enough, with at least a layer of gold wrapping its hilt.
“Father, Master Klaus,” Matthias nodded quickly, “Sviatoslav’s men have been granted access to the royal treasury after some persuasion with their axes—the poor official was quite reluctant, they said he protested the entire time!”
“What is this?” von Franken looked at the blade. He lifted it gently when his son offered it up—the floral and strange designs on the hilt bit into his hand, and the balance felt off. Yes, it was a purely ceremonial thing. The gold off the hilt would fetch many a solidus, though…
“The Poles call it Szczerbiec,” Matthias said, eyes drifting up and towards the towering ramparts that now flew the Roman double eagle. “Jagged Sword in their tongue.”
“Doesn’t look jagged to me,” Gottfried grunted, looking down the perfectly formed steel to the tip. “Coronation sword of some kind?”
“I think so?” Matthias shrugged. Gottfried grunted again, and handed the blade back to his son. “Maybe a Sword of Justice. What shall I do with it, father?”
“Load it with the other items to be broken down when we return to Pola,” von Franken said simply. He had his own ceremonial sword—nothing nearly as ostentatious as that thing. The gold would be useful—if it was solid, that could easily pay for a small company of mercenaries for a year. If not, there was many a Venetian that would offer a bagful of solidii for the chance to swindle someone into thinking it was solid gold. Either way, money in Gottfried’s pocket meant options later, for bribes, for himself, or for swords.
That, from Gottfried’s view, was the most important result of the entire enterprise. Von Franken was on a first name basis with Almogavar mountainmen, German sellswords, Burgundian mercenaries and landless Hungarians. He’d handed plundered gold to axe-wielding Swedes, Sortmark riders, and Scottish highlanders. He had spoken to, knew, or now employed half of all the sellsword captains of note between the Pillars of Hercules and the Black Sea—connections that any lord would find handy, but especially Gottfried von Franken.
A storm was coming, Gottfried was sure of that. The Balkan dynatoi was overflowing in plundered riches, monies that were slowly spreading to the city-states of Italy and the themes of Greece. Rumors abounded that the Kaisar was ill in France. The Emperor’s eldest son openly pined for the throne, and a slew of younger ones were waiting in the wings—old enough to be the centers of plots by rich nobles, but too young to take the throne themselves.
The Empire was a house of cards. All it needed was for the subtle touch of fate to bring the whole tower crashing to the ground…
August 18th, 1289
Nizam ibn-Malik Husseini slowly raised his arms, his fingers reaching skyward in the rays of the setting Alexandrian sun. From outside the walls of the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi mosque, the noise of merchants closing their wares for the day wafted through the air. Instead of the latest gossip from the far corners of the Mediterranean, or haggling over the final wares of the day, the crowd inside was focused on Nizam as he slowly lowered his arms. Every eye stared at him—Companion of the Prophet, the Guide of Guides.
“The al-Hadi was the fulfillment of God’s plan!” Nizam continued towards the end of his thunderous sermon. Years before they had become famous amongst the ulema of Alexandria. The followers of Adhid al-Hinnawi, now known as the al-Hadi or Abadi, called Nizam “the Wise.” His detractors called him “the Arguer.” The followers of the Abadi found his arguments with the imams and other scholars of the ulema uplifting. The Old Believers found them distasteful, and banned Nizam from speaking during Friday morning prayers.
By the growing size of Nizam’s congregation each Friday evening, it seemed the ulema was siding with him.
“He comes from a long line of men who spoke the Will of God, across many times, across many places!” Nizam continued the ritualistic ending to the prayers, listing the names of the ‘Forebearers of Light,’ the men who spoke God’s word before al-Hadi’s final revelation. “Zoroaster showed men the duality of the world, Moses established the law in the first three ages! Jesus showed the world Love in the epic Age, and Mohammed showed us justice! Ali fought in the name of Justice, and the Imam al-Hadi preached in its name in the third cycle, and in the last three ages will be the returning of the Awaited one!” Nizam intoned above the silent crowd. “He was the Nur-al-Muhammadi, he parted the waters of darkness to lead us to the light! The light of God’s Final Revelation to all of mankind!”
“Blessed is he who walks in the light,” the mass prayed, hands raised to heaven, “and follows the path of righteousness!”
“Blessed be the Abadi, who has shown us the light!” Nizam called, raising his own hands and looking up. He felt like he could reach up, and warmth, light, and God, were a small step away.
“And blessed be God’s people, who have seen the light!” the congregation echoed.
“Blessed is he who loves his neighbors!” Nizam called.
“Blessed is he who loves God!” the crowd replied.
“Blessed is he who loves Justice!”
“Blessed be God from where all justice comes!”
“Peace be unto you all,” Nizam said over the crowd, “Care for your brothers and sisters of the faith, and spread the light of Truth where you walk in this world. Should you be called unto the next before we meet again,” Nizam called, “blessed be your journey into the eternal light!”
As the crowd—Nizam’s assistant was already triumphantly whispering his guess that there were almost a thousand present tonight—filed out of the open air center of the mosque, Nizam could only smile at what God had wrought. It had been a long that had started with such triumph—the freeing of Baghdad, the declaration of a new Ummah that would be led by the teachings of the Timeless Prophet. Those dreams had been dashed rudely to the ground, but God works in his own way. Nizam and tens of thousands of those who followed the more peaceful intentions of the Abadi fled once the writing was on the wall—to the promise of hope and peace in Egypt, and away from vengeful heretics and their Persian overlords.
So they fled to Egypt.
Egypt had long been a mystical land—there was food aplenty for first the trickle, then the flood, of refugees. The Egyptian overlords at the time welcomed the new arrivals—many were artisans and craftsmen. Nizam himself had been a blacksmith before the Light called him to spread the faith in the darkness. The ground here was especially fertile—the land was filled with Ismailis and Nizaris, both groups islands of their own in the Muslim sea. The words of The Timeless One echoed through them, and already large parts of the Alexandria ulema were conceding points of the Prophet’s teachings. Many refused to believe, but many had even decided to leave the Old Ways, and embrace the words of the Abadi. Truth, Nizam knew, was like a seed—sometimes once planted it did not grow. Other times, it grew into an exquisite tree, laying more seeds…
As the crowd dispersed from the Friday prayers, Nizam said a quiet one of his own. God used even unbelievers to do His Will, and the Romans of Egypt had made as perfect an environment as any. The Aiguptokomnenoi took a great interest in the beliefs of their subjects—for generations they retained full Muslims in their court, and took care to not interfere with the rituals of the Faithful where possible. It made spreading the word of al-Hadi easy—but it meant that Old Believers who did not want the Abadi’s words spoken could appeal to the Roman state. So far, the Lords of Egypt had done nothing, but Nizam was not a fool. Something was going to happen, and he prayed that God would grant him the strength to see those who followed the Lawh al-Mafhuz through the times ahead.
Briefly he looked over the crowd, recognizing familiar faces and cataloging the new. Ishaq Al-Aziz, head of one of the largest merchant families in the city, was slowly making his way up to the front. Nizam’s smile grew—Ishaq’s sons had been among the first to follow the words of the al-Hadi, and they had complained about their father’s intransigence to listening to the Truth. Beside them walked hooded man—Nizam assumed he was a servant, or perhaps a bodyguard. Money was pouring in from the Balkan lords into ships, as well as cotton and other goods. Competition amongst the Alexandrian merchant families was frequently vicious—all the more so when a great deal of money was to be had…
“Siddiq” Nizam bowed to Al-Aziz, then his sons, “it is a pleasure to see you here! How did you find my words? Are there any questions I may answer?” He looked expectantly at Al-Aziz, whose frown remained constant—Nizam’s smile started to fade.
“Salih,” the eldest bowed, “my father wishes to speak with you in private, if possible. The matter is most urgent.”
“Urgent?” Nizam raised an eyebrow, before looking at the milling room filled with people. Undoubtedly many had questions or needed spiritual guidance. Nizam nodded to his assistant—the young man had been with the Abadi as well. He could answer most questions, at least until this urgent matter was dealt with. “Please follow me,” Nizam gestured to the halls outside the central courtyard.
No sooner had they passed around a corner, beyond sight and sound of the crowd, than Nizam felt a tug on his sleeve. He turned to see Al-Aziz and his sons standing behind and around the hooded man—almost as if they wished to block him from the view of anyone not party to their group. Instinctively, Nizam too stepped closer, thoroughly confused. He tried to catch a glimpse under that dark cowl, but all he could see was a jawline—sharp, clean-cut, clearly Roman, not Arab.
“I do not recognize you, brother,” Nizam said carefully. Was the man a spy? An informant? A potential convert? Nizam frowned—he swore he’d seen the jawline before. “May I have the honor of knowing your name?”
Al-Aziz looked at his sons, eyes wide, as the man slowly reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver solidus. In the growing gloom, it shone brightly as he placed it in Nizam’s palm. For a moment, the imam was confused, then angry—was he being paid? What for? Why did this man think he could…
Apparently his emotions showed through—gently the man moved Nizam’s hands until the coin was directly before his eyes, its every feature brilliantly lit in the torchlight. Around its rim in relief were the words “Minted by the order of Despotes Isaakios Aiguptokomnenos, Prince of Egypt, Lord of Cairo and Alexandria.” He stared at it, then the man, who lowered his hood slightly. A face stood out in the shadows. He stared back at the coin, and blinked.
The same eyes, the same nose, the same mouth…
“M…my lord?” Nizam felt his hand shaking slightly. The man gently took the coin from Nizam’s hand, then put both of his around the confused imam’s.
“Do not fear, siddiq,” the Roman said. His use of the Arabic honorific made Nizam’s eyebrows rise. Why was the Lord of Egypt here? Why was he talking to Nizam? The Roman lord grinned briefly in the darkness—yes, he sensed that confusion in the imam’s mind too.
“I have come in secret, siddiq,” Isaakios whispered his answer to Nizam’s unspoken question, “because I wish to hear more of the man you call the Abadi. If I sent a messenger, I do not think you would have believed me, so I came in person. After Friday prayers next week, please come to the servant’s entrance of the Despot’s Palace.” The man’s smile returned, torchlight flickering off his teeth as he pulled his hood back up. “My servant Farouk will show you the secret way to my quarters. We will have much to discuss, siddiq.”
So… Andronikos has a plan to end the war quickly, and is sending the highest ranking dynatos in the West to see it done. Meanwhile, Alexandros’ armies have spread out across central Europe, and the plundering expeditions continue. Von Franken is making contact with every mercenary captain he can find to some purpose. Meanwhile, the highest of offices in Egypt has taken an interest in Aionism. Will Andronikos’ plan succeed? What is Gottfried planning? Is Isaakios converting? Kings and Popes, armies and Empresses, all in next Rome AARisen!
EDIT - Note: The graphic has Phillipos as son of Bartholomaios... he's actually his grandson by his son Heraklios. Oops.
Last edited by General_BT; 28-01-2011 at 06:34.
The Good One - Rome AARisen, a Byzantine AAR (Third map epilogue, 5-02-2012!)
Table of Contents
The Funny One (In Theory): Vikan Vojislavljevic is a Fool (Dead)
The HOI2 One (Dead): Two Alexanders: Greece in the Age of Conflict (HOI2-Doomsday)
The Teenage Girl One: Dear Diary, by Helene Palialogos (NEW UPDATE 06-10-10!)
It seems that there will be enough Komnenoi to ensure that a Roman successor state will survive till the 20th century at the very least.
I wonder how will this affect the intellectual development in the 18th century, and how those successor states will portray themselves as Romans. Will we see more states trying to construct buildings based Roman architecture?
Maybe modify Aionism to serve the king of Egypt?
That is what a true Roman would do.
Finally caught up...
...I now live in the purgatory of waiting for updates, as my predecessors have said MOAR!!!
"My good man, this is not the time for making enemies." - Voltaire, on his deathbed, when asked to renounce Satan.
"We give you no fixed place to live, no form that is peculiar to you, nor any function that is yours alone. According to your desires and judgement, you will have and possess whatever place to live, whatever form, and whatever functions you yourself choose." - God to Adam, Oration on the Dignity of Man by Pico della Mirandola.
"When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly." - Marcus Aurelius, on Werewolf games via Cliges
So, once again:
1. They stole the Notched Sword. Those Istrian barbarians!
2. Nikephoros took 4 wounds? He really ought to pick a safer place to be or someone should do it for him.
3. Aionism, it seems, potentially found its Constantine
4. I like it that Egypt that does not ignore Africa and that the Red Sea trade routes will be prominent despite a Roman middle east.
5. That mercenary on the picture is such a dandy.
6. Poor France. This is because I said it had more promise than Spain, isn't it? And now it's feudalised for all eternity.
7. Is it wise to let Alexios get to know Philippos if he's going to you know, marry his daughter?
The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell
A YeAAR's Education - Rurikovich in Crusader Kings 1066-1393
From Rus to Russia - Kiev in EU3 1393-1836 - Get the Loading Screen Pack - Weekly Showcased AAR, 6/6/09 and 7/7/10 - WritAAr of the Week, 27/7/10 - Ambitions are denied and tasks appointed - Check out the first installment of the Medieval Atlas!
Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.
I find Gottfried to be a very interesting character. In terms of his ambitions he seems to be the polar opposite of his father. Where Albrecht did all he could to strengthen the Empire, Gottfried is intentionally doing all he can to waken and destroy it.
On another note: so will the von Frankens become kings of Croatia or will it be something closer to Iugoslavia in terms of geography? (of course, this is rethorical)
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
My machine specs: i7 2600 @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon HD6870 with 1 GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit
My new AAR: Norgesveldet - A history of the Norwegian kings
BTW the educated Romans probably all know the circumference of the earth (~40,000 kilometers / 24,000 miles) and the estimated longitudes of Spain, and Japan... they would know that there is no chance in hell a ship could reach China by sailing west from Spain, it's a journey of over 12,000 miles. So the discovery of America will have to be made by people who don't know their geography so well. That leaves only half-educated Malinese Maghrebians or uneducated Latin Europeans.
Hmm, with all this talk of which country to play as, why not have a multiplayer extravaganza to determine who shall rule the world?
Nice update all the same. Interesting that Andronikos seems to be losing his hold on things so easily. His vaunted Oikoi might not be so vaunted after all.
The Chronological Influences Series
Time travel, war, communism all rolled into one in Chronological Influences: A Soviet AAR -complete
The Second Chapter in My Time Travelling Series; Chronological Influences II: An American AAR -abandoned
Stukov's back, and he's ready to fight; Chronological Influences III: The Wrath of Stukov -complete
Chronological Influences IV: Legacy of Time (that's right, it's back! And I'm going to see it through this time! Promise!) - in progress
The United States: 'Prophets of a New Order' - completed
In the Age of Superpowers - in progress
It's sad to see the French lose (probably) after they put up such a good fight. After all they were the only ones that could threaten the Romans from the west, one of the biggest threats to the Roman empire, apart from the Roman empire itself and the Mongols.
What I'm wondering btw is, how is Flanders doing? It's my home region so it would be nice to know. How are they faring in all this and is there a possibility that they might be more then just a part of an empire used to extort money and riches from and nothing else?
My AAR overview in The Ink Well (updated again 3/12/2009)
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As numerous people before have said BT, whatever state you ultimately choose will surely be interesting to read about, so I guess it doesn't matter. Guess I should read up on that Mali interim now...
As for the update: I'm kinda disappointed with Andie's decision regarding France; I never expected him to go this far. It's quite clear he's aware of the problems the Persian successes will be causing, and yet still he decides to include the entirety of France into the Empire at such a delicate time? While this will solve some of his external problems, it will only add to the rapidly increasing list of enemies he has amassed inside Romanion. We've seen what a mistake re-conquering the Persians and calling them to arms turned out to be; had he resolved the German issue with his own armies, much of this disastrous turnout of events could've been avoided. The Balkan lords surely won't forget who led them to victory and vast riches for a while after this. Who's to say that after his little vacation in North Europe ends, Alex won't make a quick stop at Konstantinopolis? All of the Balkan lords would support him, and he could hire every mercenary company in Europe with the cash he's looted by now. Just how loyal are the commanders of the Imperial armies in Anatolia and Konstantinopolis? I'm sure that, at this point, Alex could offer them more than Andronikos can, even with the entire Imperial treasury behind him.
I feel like the Empire's really overextending itself now, and things are about to crash unexpectedly.
So the Empire now controls the entire territory once held by Rome except Britannia? The reconquista is finaly over.
Last edited by Carlstadt Boy; 28-01-2011 at 00:57.
Of course Nizam is "the Wise"- he is SPOCK!
Should be interesting to have Egypt (and possibly Ifriqiya) convert eventually to institutional Aionism, along with Eskandershah in Persia and Gottfried in the Balkans. I hope Germany expands eventually against the French or Polish- it is their natural right
Can we see the next generation of Persians- I want to see if Eskander's sons are naturally Persian, or "Roman".