+ Reply to Thread
Page 243 of 354 FirstFirst ... 143 168 193 218 233 241 242 243 244 245 253 268 293 318 343 ... LastLast
Results 4,841 to 4,860 of 7072

Thread: Rome AARisen - a Byzantine AAR

  1. #4841
    First Lieutenant Kirsch27's Avatar
    Deus VultEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    239
    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis View Post
    Because it's a story, it's funny, and the general negativity to it is beyond me. It's not real life, so why get so worked up over it?
    Nobody's worked up about it, it's just a bad thing for a ruler's son to be raised as a woman. It's deliberate sabotage, the point is to be negative, and negatively impact his life and chances of becoming a worthwhile ruler.

  2. #4842
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEU3 Complete
    Divine WindFor The GloryFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the Throne
    Europa Universalis III: In NomineMagickaMarch of the EaglesEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: Revolutions
    Europa Universalis: RomeSemper FiSengokuSupreme Ruler: Cold WarVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessRome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: WarbandCK2: Holy Knight
    EU Rome Collectors EditionEU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Call to arms event

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
    Posts
    9,604
    Blog Entries
    1
    Who is negative?? I haven't read one post which was.
    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

  3. #4843
    Back from the dead FlyingDutchie's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEU3 Complete

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Holland
    Posts
    1,715
    A lot happening behind the screens. Looks like another civilwar is on its way. And with the Patriarch at the helm instead of Albrecht or the Emperorit might just succeed! Can't wait to find out the truth behindthe plot.

    On spoiled little Alexandros, I guess the plan to spoil him might backfire. It will probably just leave him cultured, headstrong and a good haggler. The Persians DO respect men of culture and money still makes the world go around...
    Some old works:
    The plot against Britain - a Kaiserreich mystery (on hold) - Character writer of the week (23-5-2010)
    Reconquista! - the exploits of the House Barcelona
    A Short History of the German Empire
    Assorted trophies: - Fan of the week (4-4-2010) - WritAAR of the week (18-10-2009) - Character writer of the week, (25-10-2009) - Joined first place AARland choice Favorite Comedy AAR 2009 (Q4) - Character writer of the week (11-4-2010) - Lord Strange Cookie of British Awesomenesss

  4. #4844
    First Lieutenant Kirsch27's Avatar
    Deus VultEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    239
    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingDutchie View Post
    On spoiled little Alexandros, I guess the plan to spoil him might backfire. It will probably just leave him cultured, headstrong and a good haggler. The Persians DO respect men of culture and money still makes the world go around...
    The Persians do, but would the Greeks, Italians, Syrians, Egyptians, Georgians, Armenians, Arabians, or the Spanish be as accepting of a more effeminate ruler? Perhaps, perhaps not, but it will certainly cause a lot of problems for him if he suddenly inherits a vast empire (If Gabriel and sons manage to carve one) but thinks more of what to wear than the running of the empire.
    If however, Gabriel and his brood only manage minimal gains or less, and Alexandros, having later inherited the remainder of the Persian Empire, builds a formidable army and manages to expand his empire eastwards, against the splintering mongols, he would be accepted much more easily, I would think, in Delhi or Peking, than in Byzantion.
    Last edited by Kirsch27; 10-08-2010 at 11:25.

  5. #4845
    Second Lieutenant Sudaxe's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineSengokuVictoria 2
    Mount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Valmiera, Latvia
    Posts
    129
    Are you going to V2, BT?

    Reading your AAR all these years has inspired me to start my own AAR (A Victoria II one, specifically) that is going to heavily influenced by Rome AARisen.

  6. #4846
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEast India CompanyEuropa Universalis 3
    Hearts of Iron IIIEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: RevolutionsEuropa Universalis: Rome
    Victoria 2Rome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: With Fire and Sword

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Between Kwikwetlem and Qayqayt
    Posts
    5,575
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirsch27 View Post
    ...he would be accepted much more easily, I would think, in Delhi or Peking, than in Byzantion.
    Haha, Peking. I hope that doesn't happen as my suspension of disbelief would expire on the spot. Not even the Mongols really managed Peking to Isfahan in one set of hands.

    Delhi, maybe, at the extreme lucky outcome for the Romano-Persians.

    I think Constantinople is simply logistically closer by at least an order of magnitude.
    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.

  7. #4847
    First Lieutenant Kirsch27's Avatar
    Deus VultEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    239
    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Haha, Peking. I hope that doesn't happen as my suspension of disbelief would expire on the spot. Not even the Mongols really managed Peking to Isfahan in one set of hands.

    Delhi, maybe, at the extreme lucky outcome for the Romano-Persians.

    I think Constantinople is simply logistically closer by at least an order of magnitude.
    I'd really really doubt the Romans could actually conquer China, yeah, but it'd certainly be interesting.

  8. #4848
    Blasted Conniving Roman General_BT's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: RomeVictoria 2CK2: Holy Knight
    500k clubEuropa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,669
    Blog Entries
    3
    Sudaxe – Probably not that far, if only because I’d be nearly dead by the time that narrative was done! Oh, and I’ll keep my eye out for the new AAR—eager to see how it develops! Post a link in here when you get it started if you like!

    FlyingDutchie – Well, the big reveal… at least part of it… is next update!

    Vesimir – Why does a ‘proper’ Prince of Persia have to bisexual, lustful and scholarly? Why can’t he be scholarly and lustful? Or any other combination of those? :-p And if his personality remains the same as an adult, he’s going to definitely be ‘over the top!’ And no, no lightsabers will be appearing in this story. Nor any drow… I got so tired of people wanting to play them I banned them from my D&D campaign…

    Saithis – And you posted again! *checks to see if moon is blue outside* Interestingly enough, I got the idea for how little Alexandros was being raised from reading about the Duc d’Orleans, the brother of Louis XIV. He was raised to be effeminate, homosexual liasions were encouraged, etc., precisely so he wouldn’t be a threat to his brother’s claim on the throne. Incidentally, he ended up becoming a decent enough commander that his brother recalled him to Paris after his first (wildly successful) campaign and refused to let him command again!

    Kirsch27 – Gender-switching child-rearing isn’t as uncommon as you might believe. There are some cultures where its prevalent. As above, its based off a real European incidence where the precise goal was to ensure someone else’s inheritance wasn’t threatened…

    Zzzzz… – Political motivations aside, it certainly would buy into likely Roman stereotypes of the East…

    Laur – Hepburn was more a nod to how Drake Rlugia is portraying Agnes in his story. He used her there as well. In our society, Little Alex would definitely be an oddity…

    humancalculator - *Adds preordering Vicky 2 to his to do list. Oh wait! I still don’t have internet!* *glowers at AT&T*

    armoristan – He’s not being raised as a hermaphrodite. Try as she can, Agnes can’t graft things onto little Alex that aren’t there. *rofl* He’s a boy, just being raised… differently. ;-) Things are definitely heating up though, and next update they’ll start to come to head…

    Nikolai – It’s sure convenient…

    asd21593 – I think it’s a sign you’re a dedicated reader.

    Tommy4ever – You have no idea how prophetic you are being. ;-)

    Panjer – Yup, there have been repeated hints that there’s an Alexandros II Megas, or at least, that’s the name he was given during the interim with Hellenikon: Total War. Is this that Alexandros? We’ll have to wait and see…

    cezar87 – Alex is at least savvy in the market. Don’t know how much his namesake would appreciate that. Angelos as the culprit? We’ll have to see—something fishy is going on, as Simon Angelos is the commander of the Anatolikon on paper… the latter clause could be key, or it could be a red herring…

    Enewald – Someone who may surprise you…

    Hawkeye1489 – Patriarchs have rallied the city before. I don’t have wiki access at the moment to confirm the exact date, but I know during at least one of the Caliphate attempts on the city, it was a Patriarch who paraded holy icons along the walls to motivate the defenders. And yes, the Dowager Queen of Mesopotamia has been quiet. Anastasia is definitely not done, even if her words have turned the Patriarch against von Franken…

    RGB – Well, for a royal child it wouldn’t be as traumatic possibly… no one is dare going to say anything to him to his face about it, especially if pappy and grandfather have officially sanctioned the move (even if they’re secretly undermining it). And yes, Patriarch Thomas has gone WAY past the line… a big question is, can Andi, or someone, rein him in before too much damage gets done? He’s already arrested the Megos Domestikos on the eve of a war… and don’t worry about the Komnenids going after Peking—at their heart its still a European dynasty at this point, which means China is a land of legend, not something within campaigning distance…


    Next update is fairly well along, 7 pages with probably two more or so to go! I’ll see if I can’t get it up this week sometime! Thank you all for your patience, hopefully this internet situation will be sorted out soon enough!
    Awards
    My AARs:
    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!)

  9. #4849
    Blasted Conniving Roman General_BT's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: RomeVictoria 2CK2: Holy Knight
    500k clubEuropa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,669
    Blog Entries
    3



    “Lord God, save us from our enemies within and without!” – Prayer attributed to Patriarch Thomas Komnenos



    August 5th, 1263


    Isaakios Bataczes felt like shivering, and pulled his hooded cloak tighter.

    It wasn’t because of any cold—in fact, tonight was one of the muggiest nights the strategos could remember ever feeling in the capital. The air felt thick, and dampness seemed to cling to the skin. The few people around the streets at this late of an hour, even the normally stoic guardsmen that patrolled the streets, seemed miserable in the humid swelter. Something else chilled the spine of the Hero of Azov.

    Gabriel had crossed the border.

    Three armies totaling 100,000 men.

    Bataczes knew better than many who twittered on about the news in the capital—he’d been at the front when the invasion took place. As special Archeoikos, Bataczes had been handed the co-command of both the Basilikon and Anatolikon Stratoi, a senior officer capable of running both armies while the Megos Domestikos was in Spain. Bataczes had hoped to hand his responsibilities to Romanos on the latter’s return, but alas, things had turned out differently than Bataczes had hoped. He, not the Megos Domestikos was in command when Gabriel invaded.

    And when everything else happened as well.

    Like any good commander, Bataczes realized when he was outmatched, and the 55,000 or so tagmata and thematakoi of the Anatolikon could not stand up to such numbers, not with Gabriel “Lightning” at their head. So like any sensible commander, he ordered his army back out of Gabriel’s deadly embrace and towards the potential reinforcements of the Basilikon Stratos.



    He grimaced as a gnat or some other bug flew in his face. It’d do no good swatting, he knew—Konstantinopolis on a midsummer’s night was full of the ghastly things. Buzzing, flitting about, they were a dangerous annoyance, a distraction from other dangers that lurked in the darkened streets…

    …just like Gabriel distracted everyone from the true danger within the ranks of the Anatolikon Stratos. Officers and generals who wanted to topple the boy emperor Andronikos. As Isaakios was Archeoikos, popular, and successful in the field, they’d come to him, seeking his support. They showed him the numbers—it’d made his spine shiver. The plotters had even explained that if the Anatolikon fell in with the Persians at the appointed time, that’d swell their numbers even more. Over 160,000 under arms, with only a half-hearted Basilikon and the small Levantikon the only forces in the way.

    They’d assured him their plan was foolproof—indeed, it was only a matter of waiting.

    The Patriarch would not tolerate Gabriel, and with his clout and recent display of power, it’d be easy to persuade the Patriarch to excommunicate Gabriel again, army or no. There’d be violence, yes. Gabriel’s loyal troops, however, would be deep in enemy territory, far removed from supplies, while the leaders of this new coup would seat themselves as the restorers of right and order. They would even have an emperor ready to serve as their figurehead—the self-proclaimed Thomas IV, far too incompetent to rule by himself, and inclined to luxury and idle pursuits—the perfect rubber stamp for a new dynasty of power brokers behind the throne.

    To make it all work, however, they needed Isaakios. They needed his prestige, his clout, and above all, his troops. The call had strained Isaakios’ loyalties to no end—he was friends with several of the plotters, he’d seen service with others. But he’d also served under Gabriel during the so-called Eternal War, and his closest friend and nominal lord during that time was none other than the father of Emperor Andronikos.

    Bataczes had agonized over the decision for days. The plotters had not pushed—they bided their time, confident that a role in a ruling general’s clique would be enough to gnaw away Bataczes’ conscience. So long as the Anatolikon only backpedalled, there was still time. As the general wiped more sweat from his brow, his eyes went up the grand statues that surrounded the darkened Augusteon—Konstantinos Megas, Demetrios Megas, Basil Megaloprepis. He looked around—there weren’t many people about. He turned left, then left again, down a small side street.

    He hated walking the city streets alone at night—his father had a blade pulled on him when he was a child, and one of his grand-uncles was stabbed to death during the purges of Regent Christina. Yet, he walked onwards, hand firmly in his cloak on the hilt of his own dagger. The plotters had expected, no, they’d almost demanded he meet their representative here, in the city, to confirm the plans.

    “Do us proud, Isaakios,” they’d said. “It’s what is best for the empire,” they’d said. “It’ll settle this dynastic fight among the Komnenoi once and for all.”



    The general turned a corner, pulling the hood of his cloak further forward despite the sweltering night. “It’s somewhere around here,” he muttered to himself, desperately reciting the name of the inn where the contact was. Ah! There it was! Three rearing horses. He quickly ducked inside.

    The common room of the inn was filled with patrons—merchants, businessmen in fine cloths or linen, clearly a middling establishment of some sort. Isaakios’ eyes flashed over the faces of Persians, Arabs, Nubians, Franks, Romans and Rus. Finally, they settled on one man in the corner, a hood over his head, a trimmed salt and pepper beard framing his face. Bataczes looked about one last time, swallowed, and hoped he was headed to the right man.

    “Hello sir, is this seat taken?” Bataczes asked, a lump in his throat. He’d never be used to this knife and dagger business, even if the question was appropriate in the crowded common room.

    The man took a sip from his cup of steaming qahwa and looked up. “No, of course you may sit,” he said, his fierce eyes narrowing for a moment.

    “How are you this evening?” Bataczes asked, palms and brow sweaty.

    “I feel quite chilly,” the man said, setting his qahwa down. Brown eyes flashed up. “Greetings, strategos. I am Eleutherios Skleros,” the man added quietly, “Lord Angelos could not be present, so I’ll hear your information on his behalf.” The man leaned very close, and Bataczes heard just above the noise of the evening dinner crowd, “What you tell me will reach the ears of the Emperor, be assured.”

    Bataczes swallowed hard, looking around nervously. He wasn’t sure how he felt to be in the presence of such a notorious assassin and murderer. For decades, he’d only heard the name Eleutherios Skleros mentioned in the context of a hatchet man, the strong, dark arm of the von Franken regime. Now that he was sitting only mere feet from the man, he didn’t look that threatening—and somehow that made it all the more frightening.

    “Master Skleros,” Bataczes began, voice shaking slightly, “we have much to talk about.”



    “We do,” Skleros nodded. “You may talk freely, if quietly. No one will be able to listen to our words in a crowded room as this. Please,” Skleros gestured, “start at the beginning…”

    ==========*==========



    August 9th, 1263

    Albrecht von Franken opened his eyes, and sighed.

    All day he’d been watching a spider in the uppermost reaches of his cell painstakingly create a web to replace one closer to the floor he’d accidentally destroyed the day before. For the better part of an hour, the little creature dutifully clambered around one corner then another, blindly recreating what was lost. Albrecht wondered if it felt loss, or regret, or anger for what’d been done.

    He’d had a great deal of time to ponder such things.

    In the almost two months since his arrest, Albrecht had been shown every measure of kindness by his jailers. Most of the guards owed their positions to someone who was employed by someone who was hired by von Franken, in an age that seemed eons ago when Albrecht had been at the pinnacle of the Roman state. There had been no torture chambers, no extracted confessions, and he was even allowed to keep several books and three changes of clothes. But a mind as active as Albrecht’s needed room, and the monotonous routine of life in a cell hurt just as keenly as any rack.

    So when Albrecht caught the faintest noise of a lute being tuned, all interest in the spider and her work disappeared.

    “None of the guards play,” von Franken muttered to himself as he rose and dusted off the worn linens he wore this day. That meant a visitor of some sort. But who? No one had come to visit him in his incarceration—not one soul. Who could it be?



    Keys jingled, and von Franken caught a few murmured words before the outer door to the room facing his cell creaked open. A hooded figure stepped into the room—and simply by the way he clutched the lute close to his chest, von Franken recognized his stepson.

    The Emperor.

    “Hello, Father,” the boy-barely-man spoke, lowering his hood. He looked fine—eyes clear, blue, face handsome. Von Franken had heard rumors that he’d suffered some physical ailment from the poisoning. He was glad to see that apparently wasn’t the case.

    “Andronikos!” Albrecht wanted to laugh. He’d sunk years of planning into the boy, every ounce of his power fort he last few years to secure his succession. All of that work, all of that time and energy… safe!

    “I see you’re looking well, considering,” Andronikos gestured around. Albrecht’s elation dimmed somewhat—Andronikos looked like he was smiling, but something about it made von Franken’s skin crawl, as if the young man was baring his teeth like fangs.

    “They’ve been most kind to me, considering,” Albrecht agreed, before waving him forward. “Come, sit, talk with me! It’s not like I’ve had many visitors other than my guards…”

    Andronikos nodded his head, then walked forward—and Albrecht frowned. Andronikos’ walk was almost normal—save his left foot dragged slightly, scraping over the hard stone of the floor.

    “An aftereffect of the poison,” Andronikos said, apparently noticing the frown, “It’ll always remain,” he added, as if commenting lightly on the weather outside.

    “Do you have any idea how lucky…” Albrecht chided. How could the boy treat something like that so casually?

    “I am aware. I say a prayer to God every day in thanks,” Andronikos cut him off, the grin on his lips becoming wry and dangerous. “What’s done is done. What’s left is the future, and that’s where I am focused. Starting with the Patriarch.”

    “A right fine mess indeed,” Albrecht stalked over towards the bars of his prison. “I hope you know what you’re about with that one! I never for the life of me thought…”

    “What do you think I’ve done wrong?” Andronikos crossed his arms, still smiling. The thing was pencil thin, exasperation, mockery, and pride all dancing just under its surface. Albrecht growled. How could he be so nonchalant?

    “What you’ve done wrong? What do you mean? The Patriarch…” Albrecht started to say, before his mouth snapped shut. So, Andronikos knew? Things made more sense—why Anastasia had been acting so hysterical the weeks before the poisoning. Why… Albrecht shook his head, anger rising in his throat—partly at the ungrateful wretch of a boy who’d rebelled and put him in his jail cell, partly at the child who’d unleashed things far beyond his control…

    “Listen, boy,” Albrecht leaned towards his contemptuous stepson, gripping the iron bars of his cell tightly, “you’ve let loose a demon you can’t return to its cage! No Patriarch has ever acted like Thomas! No Patriarch has ever pretended he was a Latin Pope and taken the reins of state! Do you think Thomas will peaceably lay down that power when you reveal yourself as alive and healthy? The man’ll at least want concessions, if not a share…”

    “That man,” Andronikos leaned close as well, his voice dropping to a whisper, “is as cooked as the pheasant I ate this morning. Only he doesn’t know it yet.” The smile stayed, fixed, mocking, even as Andronikos’ eyes flashed bright even in the dim torchlight.

    “But he’s gotten a taste of political power! You can’t just wrest that away from…”

    “Oh but I can,” Andronikos retorted. Albrecht frowned at his stepson, and Andronikos sighed. “You have slowed, haven’t you? The Megos Domestikos?

    “What about him?” Albrecht asked, puzzled.

    “Oh, I forgot,” Andronikos tapped the bars separating them. “Megos Domestikos Romanos landed in Konstantinopolis a few weeks ago, only to be arrested on the docks by the Hetaratoi on orders from Patriarch Thomas. Everyone in the city is sure the arrest is unjust—Romanos is a loyal war hero, after all. Ioannis has told me all that has reached his ears, as well as what his, um, servants have heard.” He chuckled slightly. “It’s become quite the scandal throughout the city, but no one has dared to call the Patriarch out on his base abuse of power. No one has the clout, or the authority to do so…”

    “…except you, you think.” von Franken whispered, hands sliding down the length of the iron bars before him. The boy’s head had indeed grown large.

    “Patriarch Thomas announced that he intends to try you and the Megos Domestikos publicly in three days,” Andronikos absently strummed on his lute, as if tuning it, “what he doesn’t know is that I’ll arrive at the trial in full imperial glory. As I am a Vice Gerent of Christ, I automatically take over the trial—the right to chair any religious council is the right of any Emperor since the days of Konstantinos Megas.” He stopped his strumming and leaned close, inches from von Franken’s face. “I’m tossing the charges out, first on the Megos Domestikos, then when everyone’s blood is up, on you. The Patriarch’s pompous ass will be lowered a peg, any claims he has on political power made as toothless as a crone,” the boy—no, man, Albrecht corrected himself—smirked.



    “That’ll stir the ire of the Church…” Albrecht said ominously. How did the boy plan on getting around a betrayed, angry clergy?

    “I picked my target carefully, Father,” the boy used the familial again. It unnerved Albrecht. “Patriarch Thomas made a convenient patsy—enough moral authority to fill the gap convincingly, but too stupid politically to use it to his advantage. Instead of uniting the lords and people behind him, as he could have done, he’s made them cautious, wary. When I stamp down the charges, there will be a great sigh of relief across the city…”

    “…and great cries of anger from the Hagia Sophia,” Albrecht countered.

    “Not when they see the evidence I can present that proves it was poison, not witchcraft,” Andronikos smiled. “I’ll even drag up the Patriarch’s pet Aquinas to give testimony about the effects of a massive dose of belladonna. The man has medical training,” Andronikos smiled. “He’ll be undone from within.”

    “And what evidence is that?” von Franken raised an eyebrow.

    “My sources are confidential,” Andronikos said simply. Albrecht gripped the bars a little tighter—there was a day not long before when he would’ve yelled at the young man for being so insolent.

    “You’ll make some everlasting enemies in the Church,” Albrecht warned instead. “Many an Emperor, even Komnenos, have been toppled by less.”

    “Between you and me,” Andronikos leaned close and whispered, “I could give five figs what the dung at the bottom of Patriarch Thomas’ shoes cares about me.” Andronikos shrugged his shoulders. “With Gabriel coming and me the only person of imperial blood available…”

    “What about Konstantinos?” Albrecht asked.

    “What about him?” Andronikos looked over his shoulder momentarily, before turning back to his stepfather. “He won’t be an issue. As I said, with Gabriel coming, they’ll choose me over the excommunicated Muslim lecher.”

    Albrecht wrinkled his nose—the boy stank of hubris, the pride and arrogance of youth. Was it backed with planning? Cunning? Guile? Konstantinos was no idle threat—Albrecht had planned in the long term to try to rid the state of that man. How would Andronikos do so? “And what do you propose to do about the hordes of Gabriel streaming across the border?” he raised an eyebrow. “Three armies? Over a hundred thousand men?” The guards had talked about it. He tried his best to remember what all they’d said. “The Anatolikon is…”

    “Compromised,” Andronikos said flatly. “There is a plot that seems to be as deep as several of the strategoi, but none of the junior commanders. Perhaps,” the boy started to chuckle, “it’s time for a leadership change in the Stratoi.”

    “On the eve of a campaign?” Albrecht hissed. “Are you mad?” He blinked. “And what plot?” The guards had only said the Anatolikon was retreating! If it was marching on Konstantinopolis instead…

    “Father,” the young man said, twisting the honorable word around yet again, “yes, there is a plot, and you taught me far better than to simply kill disloyal generals on the eve of a war,” his voice drifted off for a moment. “Gabriel came at us sideways,” Andronikos added, “something I don’t think anyone expected from a man notorious for being martially blunt. He shan’t surprise me again.”

    “I…” Albrecht growled. The boy was holding back so much! He wanted to know! Names, plans, people! Fifty years of being the man behind the throne screamed at him that he needed that information—even though he knew behind these bars he could do nothing with it. Andronikos was lunging ahead, keeping him, a wise mind, someone who wanted to help, blindly in the dark! “You don’t have much experience in command,” Albrecht added, trying his best to ferret out more of the details from his stepson. Maybe he could salvage something. But how, from behind these bars? “Gabriel is the Lion of the Desert! I beat him by not facing him on the field! How…”

    “I have already visited Romanos’ cell,” Andronikos smiled, “he already has some ideas.”

    “Again with not telling me…” Albrecht started to explode.

    “Father,” Andronikos once again twisted the familial into something grotesque, “you should know by now that one never divulges any more than necessary.” He smiled—that thin, mocking thing. “By all rights, I could have simply sent a servant to you saying you should be prepared to be free in four days. However, I decided to be a little more courteous.”

    “But…” Albrecht huffed, before giving out a sigh. “Fine. But the plot in the Anatolikon, you do have that under hand?” His hands gripped the cell bars, as if he could pull himself through. “There are some people you can bring into your fold, men of mine, that…”

    “I have someone on the way who will take care of that shortly,” the Emperor smiled thinly. “Gabriel thinks his fingers reach there. They, in fact, do not.”

    “Who? And how shortly?” Albrecht asked testily.

    “Tomorrow,” Andronikos’ smile didn’t change, but von Franken was sure he saw iron in his stepson’s eyes. “And the Oikoi will make things all right again, as they should be.”



    “The who?” Albrecht asked, perplexed. The Household? What could that slew of servants, sycophants and dandies solve? They should be changing the emperor’s sheets, dusting the halls of the Kosmodion, not solving political crises!

    To his frustration, his stepson merely waved his hand dismissively and smiled. “The past couple months have given me time to make some personnel changes to my staff. Nothing major, nor anything of your concern. However,” the emperor added, limping closer to the bars that separated stepfather and stepson, “your future is of your concern. I have a dilemma.”

    For a second, Albrecht’s looked at his stepson confused, but then his eyes suddenly narrowed. There was only one way his position after the Patriarch was neutralized could be compromised.

    Barcelona.

    “It was you…” he hissed. He hoped to hear denials, even half-hearted ones, hollow ones, lies even! Instead, his stepson only smiled slightly—and that incensed Albrecht! He’d killed, he’d order murders, but the massacre of tens of thousands! For what? Personal power, not even empire!?

    “All those people?!” Albrecht exploded, his voice hitting a ear-splitting pitch as it shook the walls of his jail cell. “Just to remove me from Megoskyriomachos?! You… you are a snake!” Albrecht hissed. “A beast!” He wanted to reach through the bars and strangle the boy! Barcelona?! All those people, simply for a play on power?

    “I am a Komnenos,” Andronikos said with quiet smile, “of course I am. I am afraid…” the monster looked at the ground almost demurely, “that in light of Barcelona, I cannot keep you in office as Megoskyriomachos, but…”

    “You...murderer! You’re an animal…”

    “Like you have room to speak, father!” Andronikos spat, venom suddenly in his voice and ice in those blue eyes. “Your pet Eleutherios is known around court as The Pruner for the way he cuts away the he heads of worrisome men! You’ve seen and overseen the murder of hundreds, thousands in your years, all in the name of power and empire! Who are you,” Andronikos snarled, “to question me and my bloody hands!”

    Albrecht snarled, angry, sharp words filling his mind, but as many of them piled onto his tongue, none of them would come out. Try as he might, he couldn’t squeeze those words of condemnation around the simple roadblock that Andronikos was right.

    “But that was all different…” was all he could muster. His stepson’s eyes narrowed.

    “How so?” Andronikos limped in front of the bars, hissing, “That I did it on a grander scale? It broke the back of Segeo, did it not? It made the cities of Spain tremble before their Emperor, did it not?” He turned, his left foot scraping on the hard stone floor. “It made the entire Empire quiver and fall to one knee for one brief…”

    “A moment, before someone got close enough to almost kill you!” Albrecht cut Andronikos off.

    His stepson stopped, and that smile returned. Albrecht couldn’t hold the shiver that coursed up and down his spine. That only seemed to make Andronikos smile more.

    “Indeed, but as I said, all will be made right. There is someone who will take the public blame…”

    “Safiya?” Albrecht asked. The poor woman had been locked in her chambers since watching her husband convulse on their wedding night in agony. At first she’d prayed, but just before his arrest Albrecht was sure she’d taken in Andronikos’ best friend Ioannis Angelos…

    The Emperor laughed. “No! Not believable!” The chuckles still had the rings of a child—like some demented bells chiming in the wind. “No one would think such a single-minded girl would murder me! No…” his laughter subsided, “someone far more suitable…”

    “Who?”

    “That is for me to know,” Andronikios said simply, “but do not fear. It is not you. As for Safiya,” Andronikos’ voice suddenly grew harder, “I think that harlot will get what she deserves…being called out in public for what she is.” The diabolically thin smile came back, a thin veneer over the sudden anger and rage underneath. “The marriage was never consummated, and Ioannis has graciously agreed...”



    Albrecht frowned at the vehemence, until it came together for him.

    “You hate her…” he said quietly.

    “…he’ll be pardoned, and her punishment…what?” Andronikos’ voice ground to a halt.

    “She made you lose control of yourself—and therefore you hate her,” Albrecht said simply, damningly. For a second, Andronikos stood blankly before his stepfather, eyes wide. Albrecht thought for a moment he saw in his stepson’s eyes the look of a scared child, just caught with a hand in the pastry cupboard. Just as suddenly, the briefest glance disappeared, that cold blankness returning along with that annoying grin.

    “…her punishment,” Andronikos went on, as if nothing had happened, “is that her marriage to me will be annulled, and she’ll be married to the man who… officially at least,” the smile grew momentarily larger, “took her maidenhead.”

    “Thank God,” Albrecht muttered to himself. There had been more than enough blood—and Andronikos’ planned sentence was less harsh than von Franken himself would have pronounced. After a moment, he added, “The Spanish girl?”

    For a moment, Andronikos’ smile became genuine. “Surely, you must agree that a show of political unity between Spain and the East, between Latin and Greek, and the Emperor and a lord who…‘defected…’” the smile became a smirk, “would be an excellent show of reconciliation? A public statement that the empire has mended the rift caused by Segeo’s rebellion?”

    “That and Segeo’s head,” Albrecht grumbled, looking down. He looked up just in time to see his stepson roll his eyes.

    “Well of course! The Megos Domestikos was bringing Segeo back as a prisoner when the Patriarch arrested him!” Andronikos looked off in the distance for a moment. “We’ll do it at Romanos’ triumph. Middle of the Hippodrome, crowning event….” His eyes flashed back down to von Franken.

    “Bloody spectacle, isn’t it?” the German mused quietly. Fitting in a macabre way—Barcelona, then Segeo’s head in public... Albrecht shuddered, hoping it wasn’t the start of a trend…

    “It’s a bloody event whether its done in private or it’s a public spectacle,” Andronikos replied, the smile momentarily disappearing again, “In a public spectacle, his death serves as an example to others of what happens when one rebels against the emperor.” The boy’s teeth showed again. “The performance, father? Surely, you have heard my mother speak of such things?”

    Albrecht shook his head.

    “An emperor must be feared, before he can be loved,” Andronikos said simply. “I have great plans for this empire,” the boy stepped closer, “new sites of learning, sponsoring culture, art, music. But before I can do all those things,” he was now inches from his stepfather’s face, “I have to be feared. Watching you,” he cocked his head to the side, “you have taught me this. I have heard all the tales of your rise to power, Albrecht von Franken, and how you’ve kept this state in your grasp for so long…”

    “So what did you learn exactly?” Albrecht asked. The teacher was sure what lessons he had tried to teach the young one, but he didn’t know what the pupil had actually walked away with…

    “For years, you’ve kept men who were beloved from power, from authority, without ever being beloved yourself,” Andronikos replied. “A man cannot be loved all the time. He can be always be feared.” Andronikos’ eyes twinkled and his teeth shone red in the torchlight. Slowly, the Emperor of the Romans bowed politely, and started to back away from the cell. His lute strings twanged harshly.

    “Which mischief are you off to start?” Albrecht said quietly.

    “All of it,” the young man said, before adding almost as if in afterthought, “Good day, father.”

    ==========*==========



    An honest general upsets the plan, and Andronikos is quite a bit darker than we ever thought! Will his plan to undercut the Patriarch at his moment of triumph work? What are his plans for dealing with the rebellious generals, and what have he and the Megos Domestikos cooked up? Will all this be enough to stop Gabriel’s avalanche of men? More to come, when Rome AARisen continues!
    Last edited by General_BT; 29-06-2011 at 13:49.
    Awards
    My AARs:
    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!)

  10. #4850
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
    Arsenal of DemocracyCities in MotionCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus Vult
    Europa Universalis 3Divine WindFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHOI3: Their Finest Hour
    Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineMagickaMajesty 2EU3 Napoleon's Ambition
    Rome GoldSemper FiSengokuSword of the StarsVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessMount & Blade: WarbandMount & Blade: With Fire and SwordCK2: Holy Knight
    500k clubEUIV: Call to arms event

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Oxfordshire, England
    Posts
    1,647
    Blog Entries
    21
    Good as this was, I couldn't help but stifle my giggles halfway through. I felt any moment someone was going to say "I'm onto you, Trebek."

    P.S. Three in a row. Booyah.
    Sai's Inkwell - Click here to see more of my writing!
    Ongoing AARs:
    Valour of the North Star - Chronicles of the Hvide Clan: CK2 Narrative AAR, Last Updated: 9th June 2013
    Last Man and Shilling - Semper Fi HPP AustraliAAR: HOI3 SF HPP History-Book AAR, Last Updated: 9th June 2013
    Blood and Gold - The Second Spanish Republic: HOI3 FTM HPP History-Book/Narrative AAR, Last Updated: 18th August 2012
    Kings of Qritani - A Tale of Picts and Celts: Rome Narrative AAR, Last Updated: 4th September, 2012
    Sai Plays Game of Thrones: Burning Down Westeros: CK2 AGOT Gameplay Video AAR, Last Updated: 6th September, 2012
    If I type in this elegant Red, I am speaking in an official capacity as an AARland Demi-Moderator.
    Forum Rules | AARland FAQ | AARland Rules 1 | Rules 2

  11. #4851
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
    200k clubArsenal of DemocracyHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCities in MotionCrusader Kings II
    Darkest HourDeus VultDungeonlandEU3 CompleteDivine Wind
    For The GloryFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    Europa Universalis III: In NomineIron CrossLeviathan: WarshipsThe Kings CrusadeMagicka
    EU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: RevolutionsEuropa Universalis: RomeThe Showdown EffectVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessRome: Vae VictisWarlock: Master of the ArcaneWar of the Roses
    EU Rome Collectors EditionEU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-order

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hellsinki,Finland
    Posts
    22,180
    Lovely, brilliant and addicting as always.

    My heart yearns for more.

  12. #4852
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEast India CompanyEuropa Universalis 3
    Hearts of Iron IIIEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: RevolutionsEuropa Universalis: Rome
    Victoria 2Rome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: With Fire and Sword

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Between Kwikwetlem and Qayqayt
    Posts
    5,575
    Blog Entries
    2
    POWERFUL update. Very powerful. I can't even describe how good it would look on screen.

    However, for the in-universe considerations:

    Gabriel can beat Batatzes, and Thomas IV's army was intentionally gutted to prevent him from leading any possible threat of a serious nature. Who cares if the Patriarch is discredited? Who cares if Segeo is no more?

    The Lightning can march into a city that does not love him and do a simple thing that will ensure his Empire; Konstantinople can go the way of Barcelona, or if he's feeling particularly merciful and feels secure enough, everyone within the walls can choose to lose everything and move into frontier provinces as new settlers.

    Is it shocking? Maybe to Gabriel. However, what if Alex gets there first? What would Ghenghis do? What would Andronikos do?

    Without Constantinople, Persia, albeit Romanized this time, takes its place at the centre of the civilised world. Without Constantinople, nothing can threaten the Achaemenid-sized Empire of the Gabrielids.

    To do less would be a great crime against all the people who are going to die anyway during his march through Anatolia. Wars are best when decisive.
    Last edited by RGB; 12-08-2010 at 21:43.
    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.

  13. #4853
    Back from the dead FlyingDutchie's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEU3 Complete

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Holland
    Posts
    1,715
    Wow, what an update. Andi just became Octavian incarnate, a smug snake willing to do anything to acchieve what he wants. I just hope the boys ego can be reigned in.
    Wondering what he will do to Albrecht. He hates the man, but knows a man of his ability can be very useful. I just wonder how long such an arrangement can last, with so much enmity between both.
    Some old works:
    The plot against Britain - a Kaiserreich mystery (on hold) - Character writer of the week (23-5-2010)
    Reconquista! - the exploits of the House Barcelona
    A Short History of the German Empire
    Assorted trophies: - Fan of the week (4-4-2010) - WritAAR of the week (18-10-2009) - Character writer of the week, (25-10-2009) - Joined first place AARland choice Favorite Comedy AAR 2009 (Q4) - Character writer of the week (11-4-2010) - Lord Strange Cookie of British Awesomenesss

  14. #4854
    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
    200k clubEuropa Universalis 3Divine WindVictoria: RevolutionsVictoria 2

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Back in Azeroth
    Posts
    3,108
    The boy is an idiot. He's trying to do too much and he will fail miserably. A child trying to act like an adult. Besides, the pure idiocy of telling Albrecht he exterminated Barcelona is just... Let's say von Franken doesn't like what Andronikos is doing? What if, during those few months he gathered enough evidence to confirm Andronikos destroyed Barcelona? What would Andies spanish wife say when she heard her pure and good husband is a butcher?

    I'm all the way with the Gabrielids now. The Lightning Lion all the way. Fingers crossed and all that.

    And in reply. He should be bisexual, because that way he will be liberal. Which will lead to the Hanging Gardens of Baghdad (Read biggest harems on earth.) and other controversial goodies. And I hope Nikephoros won't have children. I can imagine Alexandros the younger being the power behind the throne (Lord Protector or something like that) with his brother as an incompetent ruler.
    Brittania: A Saga of Albion - Hiatus
    AwAARds
    WritAAR of the Week 11/23/09
    Character WritAAR of the Week 03/08/10
    Showcased 24/04/2010
    Favourite CK History Book AAR 07/06/2010 and 01/02/2011

  15. #4855
    NOP-field present Moderator Qorten's Avatar
    57 games registered

    57

    200k clubArsenal of DemocracyCities in MotionCities in Motion 2Crusader Kings II
    DungeonlandElven Legacy CollectionEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: ChroniclesDivine Wind
    For The GloryGettysburgHearts of Iron IIIHearts of Iron III CollectionHeir to the Throne
    ImpireEuropa Universalis III: In NomineKing Arthur IILeviathan: WarshipsThe Kings Crusade
    Lost Empire - ImmortalsMagickaMajesty 2March of the EaglesEU3 Napoleon's Ambition
    Naval War: Arctic CirclePirates of Black CoveVictoria: RevolutionsSengokuShip Simulator Extremes
    Sword of the StarsSword of the Stars IISupreme Ruler: Cold WarSupreme Ruler 2020Victoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessRome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: WarbandWarlock: Master of the Arcane
    Mount & Blade: With Fire and SwordWar of the RosesPride of NationsRise of PrussiaCK2: Holy Knight
    EU Rome Collectors EditionKnights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderTeleglitch: Die More Edition

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    AARland mostly...
    Posts
    4,012
    Nah, I'm keeping it with Andronikos. Gabriel was great, and his sons have merit. Aleksandros the Younger certainly shows great promise for the future if he can continue the way he's developing. But for now, my eggs are with that cold-hearted kid with the limp. One of your most excellent updates, BT (with your other ones being 'merely' excellent )


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

  16. #4856
    Wow, Andronikos is quite the megalomanical psychopath, isn't he? Smart, though. Maybe a bit more egotistical than intelligent, but in any case, he'll probably get part of what he wants. He will be feared.

    Great writing in any case, General_BT! Again I wish I could write as well.

  17. #4857
    Slacker Extraordinaire Zzzzz...'s Avatar
    67 games registered

    67

    Achtung PanzerA Game of DwarvesHoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyHearts of Iron 2: Armageddon
    Cities in MotionCities in Motion 2Crusader Kings IICommander: Conquest of the AmericasDarkest Hour
    Deus VultDiplomacyEast India Company CollectionElven Legacy CollectionEuropa Universalis 3
    Europa Universalis: ChroniclesEU3 CompleteDivine WindFor The GloryFor the Motherland
    Hearts of Iron III CollectionHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineIron CrossKing Arthur II
    MagickaMajesty II CollectionMarch of the EaglesEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionPenumbra - Black Plague
    Victoria: RevolutionsEuropa Universalis: RomeRome GoldSemper FiSengoku
    Supreme Ruler 2020 GoldSupreme Ruler: Cold WarVictoria 2Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of Darkness
    Rome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: WarbandWarlock: Master of the ArcaneMount & Blade: With Fire and SwordPride of Nations
    CK2: Holy KnightEU Rome Collectors EditionEU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    If the place is comfy to sleep in, yes, you can find me there!
    Posts
    2,313
    I'm for Andronikos. I like Gabriel for his military lion reputation but genius manipulators are the best. I'm also curious on the Oikoi. If they are some kind of assassin army, I don't see why he created them since 'The Hand' exists.

    OT Question: How do the Latin west looks at Byzantine Empire in RL? Do they recognise it as the Roman empire or they see them as 'those Greeks'?

  18. #4858
    Corporal
    Crusader Kings IIEU3 Complete500k club

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Brisbane-ish QLD
    Posts
    28
    Brilliant update. I have a feeling that Andi could soon become more fun to read than even "the Gardener" was. As for the Oikoi, perhaps they are to be Andi's personal spies and assasins. After all, the emmperor's hand has been around long enough for Albrecht and I'm sure many others to compromise.

    Personal prediction: The Oikoi will be a lot more interesting to read than the emperor's hand, and Andi will be abit like Ivan the Terrible.

    Fun

  19. #4859
    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
    200k clubEuropa Universalis 3Divine WindVictoria: RevolutionsVictoria 2

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Back in Azeroth
    Posts
    3,108
    Quote Originally Posted by Frrf View Post
    Brilliant update. I have a feeling that Andi could soon become more fun to read than even "the Gardener" was.
    Heretic!!! Devil in disguise!!!
    Brittania: A Saga of Albion - Hiatus
    AwAARds
    WritAAR of the Week 11/23/09
    Character WritAAR of the Week 03/08/10
    Showcased 24/04/2010
    Favourite CK History Book AAR 07/06/2010 and 01/02/2011

  20. #4860

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts