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Thread: Andronikos Petraliphas of Crete and his descendants (hopefully).

  1. #1

    Andronikos Petraliphas of Crete and his descendants (hopefully).

    I've got back into Crusader Kings and have decided to start a new AAR with the last beta patch. I'm returning to Byzantium, but to a far worse starting position than before, I've made another AAR, Romanas Diogenes and his descendants (hopefully).. I managed 1066 to 1082 but then abandoned the AAR for reasons I can't remember so it never was his descendants. Deus Vult with the latest patch and the improvement pack should make for an interesting game. I'm playing weakling aggressiveness and hard difficulty.

    The cultural setup though is to be honest is rather rubbish. Paradox (or the improvement team) really hates Albanians and Kurds as it wastes tags on people like the Welfs who just appear to be pagan germans and Nubia is apparantly white as well. Anyway hope they don't mess up so badly in Crusader Kings.

    I'm playing the principality of Crete in 1066, playing a low-ranking principality which basically is a rather bad thing as we shall soon find out. As before I will be using real Byzantine titles translated as well as possible into CK terms rather than the CK titles.

    I'm listing the titles I intend to use in the game below and their equivilant CK meaning.

    Imperial family
    Basileos: Emporer of Byzantium
    Basilissa: Wife of the Emporer of Byzantium or a female emporer (very unlikely).
    Porphyrogennetos- Emporer's children aka princes and princesses.
    Autokrator- Self-referential reference to the Byzantine Emporor ie what the emporer calls himself.
    Despot- Imperial Princes, might also be a term to use in the unlikely event of a female emporer for her husband.

    Central Imperial Beurocracy
    Megas Domestikos: Imperial Marshall
    Grand Logothetes: Imperial Steward
    Protasekretis: Imperial Chanceller
    Grand Postal Logothetes(made-up title): Imperial spy master
    Patriarch: Imperial Bishop

    Provincial Beurocracy
    General Logothetes: Steward
    Mysticos: Chancellor
    Postal Logothetes: Spy Master
    Strategos: Marshall
    Archbishop: Bishop of Principality-level
    Bishop: Bishop of County-level

    Political Units
    Theme- County
    Katepan- Principality under Byzantine ruler
    The Roman Empire- The Byzantine's do not refer to themselves as 'Byzantines' but as Romans.

    Local Rulers
    Katepano- Prince/Duke under Byzantine rule.
    Praetor- Count under Byzantine rule.
    Exarch- Holder of multiple prince titles.
    Kephale- Minor noble, represents nobility class in game.

    Other people to look out for
    Prefect- The power behind the throne at provincial level, in charge of appointing provincial governers so the 'elector' of elective principalities and counties.
    Dux- A redundant title designating anyone in command of the troops of one or more themes. So pretty much any ruler in the game.
    Hetaeriarch- The commander of the garrison of Constantinople and thus the 'elector' of the emperors.

  2. #2
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    Haven't seen you around for a while (I don't know if we ever crossed paths in any AARs, but your nick kinda stands out )! Good luck with the new AAR, I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds. Better a short, dramatic story than a long, dull one, and with Byzantium in 1066 you're usually guaranteed some serious drama, so the omens are good.
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  3. #3
    Katapan of Crete 1066-67

    Andronikos Petraliphas was the Katapano of the island of Crete. Ever hungry, modest and loyal it is a wonder that this somewhat plump young man ever ended up in charge of such a large island. To explain this mystery we must turn to his far more ambitious team.

    The somewhat elderly Strategos Aniketos, whose sole hobby consisted of engaging (or hectoring) monks and priests in endless theological wranglings and whose work consists of the thankless task of trying to keep the local garrison on the path of virtue.

    Postal Logothetes Athenagoras, once a officer in the army but long since disgraced due to his dangerously unpredictable battle-tactics.

    Logothetes Leon, a reasonably competent bureaucrat whose exploits in the bedchambers of Crete's women was matched only by his....... piety.

    Andronikos's cunning and word mincing Mysticos. The key power behind the throne and puller of the necessary strings to bring Andronikos Petraliphas to power in the first place.

    Once a scion of the Monokarites clan, sent to Chandakas by her parents in order to foil Konstantios Phokas bid for influence by seducing Andronikos and limiting his influence as much as possible. Having failed in this task and successfully marginalised by the Konstantios Phokas she was soon forgotten by her family who never cared for her much anyway. And she hasn't forgiven them either.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    December 27th 1066: Governer's Palace is Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros was growing tired of counting solidus and pushing bits of paper around. This was not what he had envisioned, this was not what he had dreamed of when he was younger. In addition to dreaming of constant rampant sex with every woman he knew who wasn't about 90 or his mother he'd dreamt of devoting himself fully to the service of God and becoming a bishop.

    In his life he'd enjoyed many exploits. At the heights of his prowess he once had enjoyed sexual relations with the daughter, wife and mother of the Kephale of someplace he couldn't remember. He did it all within the same day, two of them in the same bed, couldn't remember which pair though. But back then he had been young and good looking apparently. But now he was growing old.

    It was not as if he was lacking in gold, he could always hire prostitutes. Indeed in his youth he had probably enjoyed at least half of the prostitutes in Chandax, but that was old and they were boring. He wanted real lust not fakery. And then it struck him, the answer was NUNS! For all the sins he had committed he had not committed this one, he had never violated the chastity of a nun. And then everything began to thread together; both of his desires ultimately required the fulfilment of the other.

    Woman lusted after power, while he might be able to corrupt a young novice nun to do so he would have gain access to a convent and that would require corrupting an abbess. To wield power such as an abbess would lust after would require serious power she would desire AND access to her person. Being not just a bishop but the Archbishop of Crete would be perfect.

    And when he had truly completed his sinful carnal nature upon the bodies of these nuns, he would be so truly repentant; such that God would free him from his nature that he may truly devote himself to God; for God so truly loved him he would allow him to succeed in his endeavours.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    "Lord Andronikos, the post of archbishop of Crete lies vacant, it has long been my wish that I be appointed Archbishop of Crete," Leon suggests to Katapan Andronikos.
    "My Logothetes, I just need you too much, you cannot be distracted from your duties to Crete, the Patriarch can deal with the problem of whose Archbishop" Andronikos replies.
    "Yes lord," Leon replies.

    For all Andronikos Petraliphas's lack of ambition and general small-mindedness, he was not weak-willed and could not be pushed around that easily. Generally he was content to let others run things in his absence but Leon had got into a situation where his direct involvement was required and he had refused to co-operate.

    Could it be that God was punishing him for his sins? Leo thought

    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos had departed in order to stuff his face: it was dinner time again (apparently) and this left General Logothetes Leon Kataphlorus and Mysticos Konstantinos Phokas alone together.

    "It's no good, I've already want to be Archbishop and Andronikos refuses to grant me the position now it is available!" Leon moans.
    "There's always a way for those who are 'flexible' and who understand exactly how others are 'inflexible'," Konstantios responds calmly.
    "What do you mean?" Leon responds confused.
    Konstantios moves closer to Leon.
    "Well let's start with the problem, the inflexibility as it were, why won't Andronikos grant your request?" Konstantios asks.
    "Because he doesn't trust me to be holy!" Leon replies bitterly.
    "You're just reflecting your own sense of guilt at your many misdeeds with women, what did he actually say" Konstantinos responds matter-of-factly.
    "Of course he doesn't trust me! Why would anyone trust me given what I've done?" Leon argues.
    "Understand the kind of Dux Andronikos is, government is just something that fills up that boring time between meals, what he doesn't see as far as misdeeds go doesn't exist; now why did he not make you Arch-bishop?" Konstantios responds forcefully.
    "He says he needs me around as General Logothetes for Crete," Leon answers.
    "Remember how others are inflexible, why would he be lying?" Konstantinos asks.
    "Because he doesn't want to hurt my feelings," Leo answered uncertainly.
    "And why does he care about your feelings?" Konstantinos asks
    "Because otherwise I might leave his service?" Leon answers.
    "And the reason he cares about that is?" Konstantinos responds.
    "He needs me as General Logothetes?" Leon replies.
    "So does it matter if he's lying or telling the truth?" Konstantinos answers smiling.
    "No it doesn't actually," Leon replies uncomfortable at being outmanoeuvred.
    There is a pause.
    "Then at least part of the solution is to find another General Logothetes for Crete," Konstantinos points out.
    "Do you have any candidate; and even if you had a candidate why would Andronikos choose him over me?" Leon asks.
    "Because she's a brilliant Logothetes that has already made great progress in bringing that desolate theme of Kaneia in the west to something resembling productivity, in a mere 2 years," Konstantinos answers.
    "But why would Praetor Issakios Paraspondylos ever agree to give such a woman up?" Leon asks.
    "Because we're going to marry her to Andronikos," Konstantios answered.
    "Is this out choice?" Leon responds.
    "Not exactly, but leave the talking to me and we should do fine.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    Eudokia Glykys, proposed bride for Andronikos and her present lord Issakos Paraspodylus

    Andronikos Petralithas was busy scoffing second helpings of food at the table; Maria Monokarites was busy arguing about something with Postal Logothetes Athenagoras Kyriotes. Strategos Aniketos Alousinos remained near to his side however and he could easily complicate things.

    Konstantinos Phokas was not helping Leon out of the goodness of his heart; he didn't really care about his stupid bishopric ambitions. He had been considering the prospects of arranging a marriage for Andronikos for a while now but neither for his advantage or for Leon's. The Monokarites had grown powerful and were beginning to usurp the primacy that rightfully belonged to the Phokas family whose Emperor had once liberated Crete from beneath the Muslim boot-heel. But they were careless spenders, for all their ambition their finances were weak compared to those of his family.

    The marriage of a Dux like Andronikus would send the local noble houses into a spending frenzy as all attempted to offer gifts worthy of their presumed station to the bride and groom. Such was a win-win situation, either the Monokarites offered up gifts sufficient to compete with the Phokas, destroying them financially or they declined to offer such gifts thus affirming that they are of lesser status to Phokas.

    The idea looked good on paper but there was still the small matter of execution- he had to still convince Andronikos to consent to this plan. And there were presently two people present that could distrurb the plan, Leon himself and Strategos Aniketos Alousinos. Perhaps it would be best to suggest the marraige plan to Andronikos later when they were alone........

    "What were you doing?" Andronikos asked them.
    "We were talking about your marriage prospects," Leon replied.

    Damn Leon and his honesty; he just had to go and spoil everything.

    "I'm not getting married am I? Why would I want to get married?" Andronikos replied.
    "Because......... getting married has its advantages," Leon answers.
    "Such as?" Andronikos.
    "You can do what you want with a woman in complete privacy without having to confess it afterwards," Leon replies.
    "Not exactly, lots of stuff is still forbidden," Aniketos interrupts.
    Damn the plan, Konstantinos had to act now or everything would fall apart.
    "We want you to marry for the greater good of Crete and the Roman Empire!" he butted in loudly.
    "What do you mean? It's not like this is some kingdom of Latin barbarians that needs an heir or else it will fall apart, my 'inheritance' if you can call it that is purely in the hands of the Prefect," Andronikos responds.
    "Marriage means weddings, weddings mean presents, presents mean money," Andronikos explains.
    "And marraige also means wives and children which cost money," Andronikos replies.
    "We aren't talking about a small amount of money here, I have encountered such wedding before, we talking about a potential doubling of how many solidus we have in our coffers. Besides I haven't told you about the talents of the bride," Konstantios responds.
    "Just how well do you know this woman, she's not having any of your children is she?" Andronikos responds sarcastically.
    "She's Eudokia Glykys, the General Logothetes of the theme of Kaneia that managed to turn that place into something approaching a source of revenue for the Roman Empire in a mere two years,"
    "Just how old is this woman?" Andronikos asks.
    "She's 18 and for all the competance of our present Logothetes Leon Kataphlorus he's not getting any younger," Konstantios answers.
    "And neither are you or Aniketos, our children might also be useful to Crete eventually; I'll consider the idea," Andronikos concludes.

    Konstantios smiled at Leon. They both knew that Andronikos never considered any idea that he hadn't already agreed to.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The happy couple and the total amount added to the Cretan treasury.
    January 5th 1067: Chandax

    Praetor Issakios Paraspodylus had reluctantly agreed to marry off his brilliant Logothetes when he sent him a letter promising to find a replacement General Logothetes for Kaneia. Of course he Konstantios wouldn't bother, he regularly broke annoying promises and what could that fool Paraspodylus do about it. The Basileus wouldn't notice if the whole of Kaneia sank into the sea so why should he care that he had lied to its Praetor?

    Leon Kataphlorus was busy gathering up the various wedding presents so an assesment of their worth could later be made. It was satisfying to behold the sheer cheap shoddiness of the Monokarite presents compared with the brilliance of his family's presents. Their humiliation was delicious but it such a shame that they would not now be driven into penuary also.
    Leon would get want he desired, this woman didn't get where she was by being anything like her new husband. She wasn't a pawn; she was the chess-player. She would doubtlessly demand to manage things like she did before and she would use her considerable charm to get her hands on his job sooner or later.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    January 15th 1067: Governers Palace in Chandax

    For several days after her wedding Eudokia had been neglected by her ever-present husband and then she had made the mistake of stripping naked and practically throwing herself at him which had worked far too well. Now she couldn't seem to get rid of him; that ginormous hulk of bone, muscle and fat, lots of fat seemed to be all over her all the time. Perhaps she might actually enjoy it if she put her mind to it but she missed proper work that involved actual thought since leaving Kaneia. It was time to bring the matter to the attention of her husband.

    "Andronikos, why do you love me so much?" she asked him.
    "Did I ever say I loved you?" Andronikos answers.
    "So why are we inseparable?" Eudokia replies.
    "Because this is the focus of the fantasies of all of Crete, now I am married I must live up to my expectations as a husband or those fantasies will take a certain turn, such as my being interested in goats or you being interested in women and I being either too weak or too good to take what is mine by force," Andronikus tells him.
    "You see Eudokia as I dux I have two options, I can either be the force of iron chastity and mortification of the flesh which I can never be or I can be the virile father of many children and I cannot be the latter without your help," Andronikos explains.

    So this was it then Eudokia thought, to be confined to a breeding pen by an obese man that didn't even love her for the sake of nothing more than his reputation. What a cruel end for her ambition.

    "So why did you marry me in the first place? It doesn't even sound like you are desperately keen on becoming a father," Eudokia asks.
    "My servants, Leon Kataphloros and Konstantinos Phokas seemed hugely keen on the idea for some reason, so they persuaded me to marry you," Andronikos responds.
    "But why were you persuaded?" Eudokia asks.
    "By the prospect of additional money for the Cretan treasury," Andronikos answers.
    "Were you bribed?" Eudokia asks.
    "In a matter of speaking, the gifts they gave me Leon sold them off to a coterie of merchants and they were worth 25,720 solidus!" Andronikos tells them.
    "Ah yes that great trick, don't try to take their money from them by force but instead play on their pride and rivalry, just rename your taxes gifts and then everyone is dying to hand over whatever they can afford to the benefit of the treasury!" Eudokia laughs.
    There is a pause and Andronikos sits down on the bed.
    "I do feel as if I've sold my life away for 30 pieces of silver, a bit like how Judas sold Christ," Andronikos complains.
    "It doesn't have to be 30 pieces of silver, I could make you are lifetime of wealth; all I ask in return the position of General Logothetes for Crete; wait doesn't Leon Kataphlorus have that title already," Eudokia says opportunistically.
    "Leon doesn't want it though, he desires the position of Archbishop of Crete," Andonikos responds.
    "Really!" Eudokia responds with as widest a smile as her mouth could muster (which isn't very wide).
    "Yes I will consider your idea, you want to be General Logothetes and he wishes to be Archbishop, so why not arrange the 'swap'?"' Andronikos concludes.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    January 16th 1067: Harbour of Chandax

    Maria Monokarites was departing the Chandax, leaving behind her horrible relatives and the stultifying boredom of the old men of the court for the adventure of travelling across the ocean to a place called Kaliopolis. The day she had been worried would never come had came, she was getting married. Where Kaliopolis was and what this Praetor of Kaliopolis was really like she had no idea. But anywhere must be better than Chandax and any husband would surely be better than Leon Kataphlorus.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    February 30th 1067:Governers Palace in Chandax

    "On February 19th a few weeks ago Konstantinos Doukas our Basileus passed away from his recurring illness and his soul now lies in the bosom of our Lord,"
    Mysticos Konstantinos Phokas read the report out with seemingly sincere solemnity.
    "This does not surprise me, Konstantinus was old and sick, but who is the new emperor,"
    "His son Mikhail Doukas is now Basileus," Konstantios replies matter-of-factly.
    "What's he like?" Andronikos asks.
    "Can't be bothered to get out of bed until past noon I've heard, quite content to let other people run his life for him, basically just quite content to be a mere figurehead," Konstantios replies.
    "So it's the people around him we have to care about," Andronikus suggests.
    "Precisely so, as long as these people are competent then we may not have to worry but the moment an incompetent minister takes over we may be in trouble," Konstantios responds.
    "Although it is the Protosekratis who will be reading I must write a letter of fawning subservience praising the new Basileus many non-existent virtues," Konstantios tells Andronikos.
    "I take it that it that the non-existence of said virtues is crucial, it does not do well to refer to the actual virtues of the Basileus, for instance his laid-back attitude and avoidance of haste," Andronikos jokes.
    "It is indeed vitally important that they be the very same non-existent virtues possessed by the last Basileus; in a long line going all the back to Julius Caeser himself whose might have had such virtues had he not been a pagan," Konstantios responds.
    "I think you should take that up with Aniketos, he loves to discuss such things!" Andronikos responds.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    March 3rd 1067:Cathedral in Chandax
    Leon Kataphlorus was content. He now bore in his hand the staff of a bishop along wit the hat and the robe. This was what he was meant to be, he understood now that God had brought him to realise his calling *by* his sinful carnal nature. He was thrilled in his certainty, certainty that God had favoured him. The events had combined together in exactly the right way for him to be archbishop, a sign surely of divine providence.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    March 8th 1067:Somewhere in the theme of Chandax

    Panagiotakis Matthias had recently learned of the latest miracle of agriculture, by leaving some of his fields fallow he had learned that instead of declining and leaving him in debt to the moneylender he could restore their fertility and maintain his crop yield year-on-year. Such was the wonders of modern technology.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The new bishop (with an unfortunate surname)

    April 15th 1067:Governers Palace in Chandax
    Postal Logothete Athenagoras Kyriotes had decided to intrude on Andronikos and his Mysticos.

    "The Patriarch has appointed a new bishop, someone by the name Ionnikos Erotikos" Athenagoras reports.
    "But I thought we had arranged it already, Leon is our bishop not this stranger from Constantinople or wherever!" Andronikos responds angrily.
    "He obviously hasn't been made Arch-Bishop of Crete, he's merely been made Bishop of Chandax, is that not so Athenagoras?" Mysticos Konstantios replies.
    "Yes it is," Athenagoras reports.
    "That's okay then I suppose," Andronikos says.
    "Shall we send him away?" Athenagoras asks.
    "Why would I wish to do that, he's still bishop of Chandax?" Andronikos asks.
    "Well when bishops and the ilk are entertained too much by worldly rulers like themselves they can sometimes 'get ideas' and start to act like they are actually the rulers themselves. Some rulers that believe in- I can't remember the name, I think it was called Secularism; believe that clergy, monks, bishops should be strictly rationed in their involvement in politics and be relegated to their monastries, churches, cathedrals and the ilk," Konstantios explains.
    "Sounds like nonsense to me, why would I listen to bishops when I wouldn't listen to you?" Andronikos tells them.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    August 19th 1067:Harbour in Chandax
    Angelos Spyridon watched his new fleet of ships leave the harbour. Such was the pinnacle of many years effort. The idea was simple, rather than merely depending upon individual merchant ships to transport goods, goods could be moved en-masse once a year so that a surplus would always be available at a particular pre-arranged time of the year so that the buyers would be guaranteed an affordable supply of particular time of the year. At the same time the merchants would also be guaranteed buyers. Such was the wonders of modern economics.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    On July 22nd Eudokia gets pregnant with a child

    August 30th 1067:Governer's Palace in Chandax
    Eudokia was pregnant. She was not surprised but there was the question of what future awaited her child, assuming that it was a boy.

    The prospects were grim. The position of Katapan of Crete was not hereditery, those in the strongest position to influence the relevant parties would be appointed upon his death. And the strongest was indeed her former lord Issakios Paraspodylos, who controlled Kaneia, which poor as Kaneia is was certainly the strongest nobleman in Crete. Without more land her son would be end up being ruled over by whoever controlled Kaneia, whether he is of the Paraspodylos or not. Yet how to avoid this fate?

    There were indeed a few petty Muslim kingdoms in Sicily and one of the weakest; the Sheikdom of Syracuse ruled over Greek people. But were they not too weak to conquer even them. They needed land to fix the succession as the late Emporer had done with his useless son, but without land how could they get strong enough to conquer it? And even if they were that strong did Andronikos care enough to try?

    The Sheikdom of Syracuse
    Last edited by Cliffracer RIP; 14-10-2011 at 11:58.

  4. #4
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    I like your former chancellor-turned-Archbishop. There's a certain Rasputinesque quality to him, bar the actual intriguing Rasputin himself was capable of.

    And poor Eudokia. I guess she better squeeze out a few kids, pronto, if she wants to have a life of her own.

    Good luck finding some minor sheikdom to beat up on. Wouldn't be much of a story if Andronikos' successor was from a different family, now.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    I like your former chancellor-turned-Archbishop. There's a certain Rasputinesque quality to him, bar the actual intriguing Rasputin himself was capable of.

    And poor Eudokia. I guess she better squeeze out a few kids, pronto, if she wants to have a life of her own.

    Good luck finding some minor sheikdom to beat up on. Wouldn't be much of a story if Andronikos' successor was from a different family, now.
    He's was my steward actually not my chancellor. And we definitely haven't seen the last of him.

    Katapan of Crete 1068
    February 2nd 1066: Paliani monastery in Crete

    Leon Kataphloros stood inside Paliani monastery; a place that was full of nuns, the greatest desire of his unclean heart. In order to ever gain access to its younger novice members he would first have to seduce the abbess of the place. The time and trouble would after-all be well worth it, here were women whose chastity was enforced, kept in strict isolation from nearly all contact with men their lusts must burn within them forever unsatiated. But caged for so long what wild fury would be unleashed by the man that set the flesh free from all the rigours of chastity?

    Selene Marianna was her name. She was definitely beautiful but also definitely not young; but then again neither was he. There remained one problem though, how he was to seduce a woman so guarded? But then again greek women were usually guarded so he was somewhat an expert already.

    Other questions remained, should he attempt to squirrel her away somehow or take her within earshot of the lesser nuns; the former course would make it easier to actually get to the point of sexual relations but the latter course might help undermine the discipline of the lesser nuns and make conquering them easier. If he failed he would try again in another convent on Crete or if necessary then beyond. Being a bishop had its advantages.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    February 3rd 1068: Paliani monastery in Crete

    Abbess Selene had given herself to him indeed and in surprisingly short a time. His only regret (aside from his being a reprobate sinner) was that she had chosen to squirrel him away into a cold dark storage cellar lit by only a single small candle thrown hastily on a barrel. But he'd been in worse places before and well the passion she showed was beyond this world. It rekindled the feelings of his youth, back when even the fake passion of prostitutes was exciting. But now she was crying.

    "I am.... I was a virgin dedicated to the Holy Virgin and to Christ and now what have I become?" she wailed.
    "My love you are Selene Marianna and that is also who you are," Leon Kataphloros.
    "I have sinned!" she cried out.
    "So have I? If you feel so guilty you can confess to me; another sinner and none save God will ever know," Leon responds.
    "But what about you?" Selene answers.
    "I will confess to my childhood friend whose exploits probably exceed my own and I promise you that I will mention neither your rank, nor your name nor the monastery you belong too," Leon explains quite honestly.
    "But I am a virgin consecrated to God Leon; a virgin consecrated to god!" Selena sobs.
    Leon gulps and leaves her to sob for a while.

    "And why can you not still be a virgin consecrated to God, have you not ever indulged yourself..... with any of the women in this monastery for instance," Leon suggests.
    "Of course not! We threw Zoe and Eudokia into the dungeons a week ago to live on a diet of water for such misdeeds! They are still there!" Selene answers angrily.
    "How about indulging yourself in an incomplete manner with any priests or male pilgrims that visited here?" Leon asks.
    "No! You are the first!" Selene shouts.
    "Very well. How about with yourself," Leon finishes.
    Selene blushes.

    "So if you are a virgin only because God has forgiven you then why can you not still be a virgin?" Leon asks.
    "But that's different!" Selene protests.
    "Is it? Do you think that God cares so much for a small piece of skin? It's not even like I even spent that much time inside you; you're too old to conceive but old habits do die hard," Leon argues.
    "I," Selene stammers.
    "You see Selene, all sins must reach completion; man is by nature a sinner and that nature must reach its completion before he can ever be absolved," Leon explains.
    "Absolve me Leon!" Selene begs.
    "If you allow me to stay and perform mass for a week then I will absolve you of all your sins," Leon responds.
    "You are a demon! Begone forever from this place! I don't care that you bear the robes of an arch-bishop, this is my monastery," Selene screams.
    "Did you not listen, all sins must be completed and you were to be only the first," Leon replies calmly.
    "All sins must be completed! According to whom, the Devil? I will not let you touch my sisters!" Selene shouts.
    "But I am the Archbishop of Crete," Leon responds.
    "And I am the Abbess of this monastery; so begone from this place!" Selene finishes.

    Leon Kataphlorus left feeling guiltier that ever had been in life. But this was what he had intended. His guilt mixed with his sense of triumph in a heady and intoxicating brew for he had achieved the thing that he had dreamt of for many months.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The prospect of rendering Crete hereditery raises it's head

    February 12th 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Eudokia Glykys felt the kicking of her baby within her once again and began to wonder. What if the baby were a boy, what kind of future would he have? He would look up to his father in wonder but yet he could never become like his father. In time Andronikos would die and Isaakios Paraspodylus his wife Aglaya and their children would take their place. She wouldn't let that happen, wouldn't let those Paraspodylus wretches from Kaneia with their shabby clothes and unkempt appearance rise at the expense of her son.

    She had to something and for that she had called a private meeting with Mysticos Konstantios Phokas and Postal Logothete Athenagoras in one of the back rooms.

    "Athenagoras, are all the Katepans in Romania disposed of purely at the leisure of the Imperial Prefect or are some hereditery in any sense?" Eudokia Glykys asks.
    "Yes while most are common property of the Roman Empire as a whole, quite a few are the common property of a particular family to be passed down to an heir of the Prefect's choice and it is also possible I think it was done recently but I'm not quite sure for a Katepan to be made a private property of an individual to be passed down like any ordinery piece of property," Athenagoras explains.
    "So that would mean that it would pass down to sons and if there are no sons to the grandsons including those of daughters," Eudokia responds.
    "Yes," Athenagoras responds.
    "So how do I go about making Crete, no sorry the position of Crete's Katapano Andronikos's private property?" Eudokia asks.
    There is a pause as nobody has the answer.

    "Well strictly speaking only the Basileus has that power, which means we are in luck; the Prefect has just died and a Phokas has been appointed to the position," Nikephorus Phokas eventually says.
    "If the Prefect does not have the power how does it help that he is a Phokas?" Eudokia asks.
    "Because Basileus Mikhail Doukas is so lazy and weak-willed he's practically a figurehead, all the Prefect must do is put the motion before him and it's as good as signed," Nikephorus explains.
    "Good point Nikephorus," Eudokia laughs.
    "It would require me to travel to Constantinople and pursuade my cousin the Prefect that this the best course of action," Nikephorus responds.
    "And as you are Mysticos that would require Andronikos's permission; but why not just send him a letter?" Eudokia asks.
    "It's not likely to work if some random letter turns up apparantly signed by some random cousin he's never met and besides I think I actually like Andronikos and don't want to go behind his back," Nikephorus explains.
    "I see the problem," Eudokia concludes.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    "Andronikos; Nikephorus, Athenagoras and I have found a way to see to it that our son will inherit Crete after me," Eudokia tells Andronikos.
    "It doesn't something to do with corrupting some random official in the Imperial Court to pursuade Mikhail to make Crete a hereditary Katapan does it?" Andronikos responds sarcastically.
    "Yes it does, although no money involved apparantly in the corrupting part," Eudokia replies.
    "I take it that one of you, that would be Nikephorus Phokas because I'm not having you giving birth to my child on some ship and Athenagoras couldn't even pursuade the Basileus himself wishes to travel to Constantinople and wants my permission," Andronikos replies.
    "Yes," Eudokia answers.

    "So why should I make Crete hereditary at all?" Andronikos asks.
    "Because of our son!" Eudokia insists.
    "But will my son, if indeed I have any sons come to any harm? Thousands of children are born every year and most of them go on to live quite happy lives without ever having become Katapano of Crete," Andronikos replies.
    "But Andronikos, if we do not change the rules then Issakios Paraspondylus will become Katapano," Eudokia insists.
    "I'm well aware of this Eudokia but I do not understand the problem at all, how is Issakios Paraspondylus not suitable to govern Crete?" Andronikos answers.
    "Because he's not our son," Eudokia answers.
    "Hah! You are so selfish Eudokia, all you care about is *your* son; you'd rather trust in the skills of a child yet to born over a proven ruler!" Andronikos snaps.
    "*Our* son, my husband!" Eudokia concludes angrily.

    It was time to wait until Andronikos had finished dinner and then adopt a different approach.

    "I can vouch from the time that I was employed there that Issakios Paraspondylus, well he's the exception to the rule, aside from myself of course the Kaneian Court is made up of incompetent imbeciles," Eudokia responds.
    "But it's Issakios that will inherit me!" Andronikos replies.
    "Issakios is no younger than you are, when he dies one of his imbecilic servants will inherit him and then inherit Crete, we don't want that do we? Kaneians are lazy and stupid hence why Kaneia is so much poorer than Chandax is," Eudokia explains cleverly.
    "But aren't you Kaneian?" Andronikos responds as if confused.
    "Only by a very small margin, I was born near the border," she replies cunningly.
    "But that's not true is it? They can't all be lazy imbeciles since that's not possible," Andronikos responds.
    "But it is true, ask your other servants Andronikos,"

    "Yes Eudokia is right, the Kaneians are lazy imbeciles," the rest of the court responds in unison with the exception of Bishop Ioannikos Erotikos who disagreed.
    "You see, with the Empire being like it is and with the likes of Mikhail Dukas as Basileus not only will they manage to get into power but even they will be able to do what what we have not so that there's generation after generation of Kaneian imbeciles governing Crete," Eudokia tells Andronikos.
    "I'll consider sending Nikephorus to arrange a change to the succession rules," Andronikos concludes wearily.

    Sweet was the scent of victory thought Eudokia.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Seemingly everyone gets a claim on the title of Crete!

    March 5th 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Ioannikos Paraspondylus was furious when he heard the news; his superior had just slammed the door in the face of all his hopes of advancement up the ladder of the Imperial Bureaucracy. He clenched his fist and frowned but what could he do? He couldn't rebel against the whole Roman Empire over such a matter? At least not at the moment he reminded himself.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos becomes just on the same day Helene is born!

    April 21st 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Eudokia gazed upon her new baby and her heart sank when she noticed the abscence of a certain tiny strip of flesh between the legs. The baby was a girl, all that plotting and scheming on its behalf had been for nothing. She wondered whether her mother had felt the same way and her mother before her. And why did having babies have to hurt so much?

    "Andronikos, why can't giving birth to babies be more like conceiving them?" she asked her husband.
    "Because when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit; so cursing the whole world together with all future generations she was punished by having to bear her children in great pain and with being forced to obey the very husband she yearns for; did you ever listen in Church Eudokia?" Andronikos replies.
    "Wasn't Adam punished too?" Eudokia asks.
    "Indeed Adam was punished by having to work hard as well as by his dying and becoming dust," Andronikos answers.
    "But women die too even while in the process of giving birth and have to work hard as well," Eudokia points out.
    "True," Andronikos replies.
    "And wasn't the snake punished by having to crawl around on its belly as a well snake, but given it is still able to move around, climb and jump about like all the other animals; it isn't much of a punishment," Eudokia complained.
    "Snakes die and become dust also Eudokia; but additionally they also have to eat the dust when they are alive, another punishment," Andronikos points out.
    "But that means that while Adam and the Snake got two punishments each, Eve gets four punishments; but how is that just?" Eudokia asks Eudokia.
    "Eudokia remember to tell no-one about what I am going to tell you," Andronikos replies.

    "If we are being punished then this is a place of punishment and confinement, the jailer or the punishments may be just or unjust but the complaints of the prisoners are worthless; for to rebel is impossible as long as we remain trapped and prisons are so built that none may escape from within them. If there is any hope of rebellion at all it will be after we are dead, once the jailer has set us free of his prison he may perhaps be rebelled against but until then we must do whatever he demands of us," Andronikos tells Eudokia quietly.
    "Can the living do anything?" Eudokia asks.
    "We can thwart the jailer in only one way, he has not himself commanded us to be unjust for he believes that his own injustice *is* justice, thus we can only thwart him by being as just as possible in our treatment of our fellow prisoners," Andronikos continues.
    "Surely there must be another way?" Eudokia asks.
    "Is there any other way for us at the moment than to pay 2000 soldari a month to the Basileus of Constantinople who has never given us a soldari back?" Andronikos asks.
    "No there isn't," Eudokia concludes.
    "Then sleep Eudokia, sleep baby Helene; sleep and forget everything I have told you," Andronikos finishes.

    But those bitter words whispered in the darkness before he slept were to have a far larger effect than he knew then.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    A risky opportunity presents itself

    June 28th 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    A door opens, it was Strategos Aniketos Alousinos. Andronikos sat up on the couch and addressed him.

    "Why do you disturb me Aniketos?" he asks.
    "We have an opportunity, a risky opportunity but one regardless," Aniketos replies.
    "Does it has to do with war?" Andronikos asks..
    "No suprisingly it doesn't, the rotten frame of a ship from long ago has appeared near the shore of Crete," Aniketos explains.
    "Why does this matter?" Andronikos responds.
    "From the trinkets washed up on the shore we know that the ship is most likely full of treasure," Aniketos responds excitedly.
    "Excellent! Send out servants to retrieve the treasure?" Andronikos says rubbing his hands together.

    "There is a problem, we cannot know we have retrieved all the treasure for the State unless someone goes down there and obviously everyone has a financial incentive to lie pretending that there is no treasure down there when there is," Aniketos explains.
    "Except me," Andronikos responds.

    Andronikos Petraphilas had a decision to make. The ship was rotten, rotten things as ever doctor knew caused disease and diseases cause death. So the decision was not a small one, they would not let him drown but they couldn't save him from sickness. But what if the treasure in the ship was worth thousands of solidari, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands? He could be replaced, one was one's man life to the great things that could be done on Crete with such wealth?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    His servants had already hauled great wealth from the hold of the ancient ship. It lay in a small mountain near the edge of the beach where unkempt looking men stood guard warily. Evening was approaching, there was not much time left before it got too dark. So he stripped off the clothes from his pudgy form, took a deep breath and dived into the water to confirm his servants reports that all the treasure had been gathered up. His decision had been made.

    The salty water stung his eyes but yet he persevered, the ship was beautiful in it's ruined state, the rotting wooden beams parted to reveal holes- gaps through which he could see into the ship. His servants had already made the holes bigger by their attempts to force passage within. But the holes were too small for him to swim through, so he peered through them and scanned the cargo hold of the ship. It was empty.

    His lungs were beginning to burn from lack of air and he kicked himself upwards towards the surface. He emerged gasping for air and climbed back onto the boat.

    "It is empty!" he declares.
    The men cheer.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos had never believes he would ever do that. But then again a few years ago he would never have believed that he would be married and have a baby daughter. He was changing, for the better or for the worse he did not know. His wife lay before him with a smile on her face.

    "A consortium of merchants have bought the treasure we have hauled from that ship for 200,000 soldari," Eudokia announces.
    "What! That's a lot of money," he replies.
    "Yes it is!" she says hopping up and down.
    "But we're not just going to hoard it, just how can we can best spend it in order to benefit Crete?" he asks Eudokia.

    "We are going to spend it on mines!" Eudokia announces.
    "Is there anything worth mining in Crete? And why mines?" Andronikos asks.
    "There's always something; mines add a fixed quantity of soldari to the treasury while other developments only add a proportional % increase to total revenue," Eudokia explains.
    "Do further improvements add a % increase including the value added by the mine?" Andronikos.
    "I actually don't know the answer; if this is so then mines are an even better improvement," Eudokia answers.
    "Mines it is then,"
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    July 11th 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Andronikos is wrong! Eudokia thought furiously. You do not resist the unjust world by being just in response, you take whatever you want from those who are privileged above you!

    All her life she had been denied real power, forced to live through others, to tirelessly and thanklessly serve them when she could easily have ruled in their place! First her brothers, then Issakios Paraspondylus and now her 'dear' husband Andronikos.

    No there was only one way she knew to right the wrongs of the world, she would take whatever she wanted for the rest of her life, right and justice be damned! She owed the world nothing for it had given *her* nothing but servitude to a slave who did not even desire freedom!

    It was then that Eudokia devoted herself fully to the service of herself and cast off the shackles of justice that had before restrained her.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Leon Kataphloros does a moral U-Turn

    August 20th 1068: Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros slept and as he slept he dreamt. He was back home, back at the mansion he had lived in as a boy, back on the balcony of his old room. Behind him he hears a voice. He does not dare turn around and face the voice.

    "Wicked man, know that if it were not for the prayers of your wife you would be down there," the voice tells him.

    In an instant the familiar scenery of his childhood was transformed into an endless sea of lava extending as far as the eye could see; hell had been shown to him.

    "No that is not hell, if I actually showed you hell you be would be dead in an instant; this is merely the clothing that hell wears," the voice tells him.
    "You said my wife prayed for me, but I have no wife," he asks confused.
    "That is not so," the voice answers.
    "Selene Marianna; but I never married her and we both took vows of celibacy!" he protests.
    "I am free to marry whomsoever I wish and your oaths are made to me,"
    "But if you married me to Selene then does that not mean?" Leon asks fearfully.
    "That when you united with her that day you did not sin against me at all," the voice finishes.
    "No! That cannot be!" Leon cried out.

    He was cheated, cheated of the ultimate forgiveness which he was due for the very ultimate sin he had sought to commit. He was foolish indeed he realised, not only could God forgive sins but he was also the judge of sins.

    "No Leon, only men can forgive sins against men," the voice answers.
    "But did you not become man in Jesus Christ?" Leon protests.
    "Go now sinner, awaken, devote your life to me sell your luxuries, give to the poor and reveal not this vision lest it fall into the hands of my more 'jealous' servants," the voice commands not answering his question.
    "What about Selena, my wife?" he asks.
    "She is no longer you wife, she passed away many days ago," the voice answers.

    He wakes up.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Leon Kataphloros officially ceases to be himself

    September 4th 1068: Chandax

    Since his vision he had devoted himself to perform as the voice had commanded, he sold the many vanities that cluttered the Bishop's palace and sent his servants to roam the streets looking for beggars, thieves, vagrants and robbers to give the proceeds to. He had sold his collection of wines and done likewise with them.

    But he had failed. Shortly after his vision his old lustful habits had resurfaced and he had soon returned to his familiar haunt, the brothel drawn by its irresistible supply of young fresh female flesh.

    And now he was to return. Bitterly and shorn of his clerical garb he walked the familiar routes that he had travelled so many times before. He was almost at the doors of the brothel, a few minutes of sinful indulgence and he could return to his holy duties he told himself.

    He reached for the money with which he was to pay for these women's services. He then saw a beggar in the street on the opposite side of the street and walked towards him, trembling he handed over the money to the beggar whose eyes lit up at the fortune given to him.

    He had deprived himself of the money to fund his sins, he had given even that away; he finally had his victory for there was nowhere left for his sins to hide. God's Grace had prevailed within him.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos finds out about how Leon's new holiness has a price tag

    October 26th 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Andronikos had heard of Leon Kataphloros's new sanctity, about how he had taken to preaching daily in one of the churches in Chandax or even sometimes in the market squares. He was suspicious, why had he suddenly discovered such energy for his religious duties?

    And now Leon Kataphloros had arrived in the palace and Andronikos wondered what it could be about, as his energy for his faith had diminished he spent less and less time in the Governer's Palace.

    "My lord Andronikos, I ask that you contribute some of the wealth that God has delivered unto us, that I may travel throughout Crete spreading the word of God," Leon demands.
    "Just how much wealth are we talking about here?" Andronikos asks.
    "One quarter of the wealth that God has delivered unto us," Leon answers.
    "That's 50,000 soldari, one could maintain the whole army of Crete for at least a year on that amount!"
    "Well expenses add up do they not?" Leon protests.
    "So tell me man of God when Christ travelled through Palestine did he do so with 50,000 soldari?" Andronikos responds angrily.
    "But the wealth was given to us by God!" Leon protests.
    "It was given to Crete by God that she may prosper, it was not given that it may flatter your vanity nor for you to hand it out to whatever vagrants happen to be lucky enough to pass your way!" Andronikos argues.
    "How dare you!" Leon shouts out.
    "Recite my name and my title bishop!" Andronikos responds angrily.
    "You are Andronikos Petraliphas, Katepano of Crete," Leon replies fearfully.
    "And who do I represent?" Andronikos continues.
    "The Basileos my lord," Leon replies.
    "And who does the Basileos represent?"
    "God my lord," Leon answers.
    "The answer is no, I'm not giving you a single coin," Andronikos responds viciously.

    Leon storms out and slams the door loudly behind him.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    November 23rd 1068: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Bishop of Chandax Ioannikos Erotikos was frustrated. Once he had actually mattered somewhat, with the swift rise of his superior Archbishop Leon Kataphloros to something resembling a living saint he was becoming sidelined and increasingly bored. He didn't hate Leon but he had a strong nagging feeling that he was needed someplace else.

    Croatia perhaps. Andronikos had told him that the Croatians were Latins (he knew that much) and also that they were barbarians who unlike Bulgarians didn't even make a pretence of being civilized. But that was okay perhaps, he was getting increasingly sick of the stench of civilization, particularly greek civilization anyway.
    Last edited by Cliffracer RIP; 25-10-2011 at 00:26.

  6. #6
    Second Lieutenant JackTheRipper21's Avatar
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    I got a good laugh especially out of the parts involving your lusty archbishop Leon Kataphloros, he is a true man of god. I dont think I have had a single Diocese Bishop who wasn't lustful or indulgent in a game, I wonder if that was intentional by Paradox. Anyway keep up the good work I want to see the next chapter

  7. #7
    Major Alfredian's Avatar
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    An interesting and very detailed start.

    Andronikos seems rather short of ambition. Eudokia is going to have to drive him hard to get any increase in the inheritance for their children.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JackTheRipper21 View Post
    I got a good laugh especially out of the parts involving your lusty archbishop Leon Kataphloros, he is a true man of god. I don’t think I have had a single Diocese Bishop who wasn't lustful or indulgent in a game, I wonder if that was intentional by Paradox. Anyway keep up the good work I want to see the next chapter
    Leon Kataphloros is just a random courtier, the actual bishop I got sent by event, Ioanikkos Erotikos was chaste and zealous, so a man of god in a far less angst ridden and interesting way.

    One has to remember that the computers you are using act as an extension of your consciousness, it's been proven by experiments in sub-atomic particles. When the computer weren't being observed they gave results that made no sense to human logic, the particles were in two places at the same time, but when they were they were observed the computer said the particles were doing one thing 50% of the time and another thing 50% of the time. So the old theme of the lustful misbehaving bishop may well reflect itself in our games even though it certainly no deliberate design of Paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfredian View Post
    An interesting and very detailed start.

    Andronikos seems rather short of ambition. Eudokia is going to have to drive him hard to get any increase in the inheritance for their children.
    I am basically roll-playing. Andronikos is a modest character so he does not have a great deal of ambition. To get him to do things that extend the families power requires other people to lean on him, but I also have to remember he doesn't have the weak-willed trait.

    Katapan of Crete 1069

    May 1st 1069:Governer's Palace in Chandax

    She was 1, it was time for Helene Petrapraphilas to be forcibly separated from her mother and sent to the care of the Kephale of Chersonisos to the east. A member of the Phokas clan, Konstantios Phokas had used his charm on Eudokia and seen to it that his family got the honour of raising the child, perhaps when she grew older she might be able to visit her parents or her parents might some day visit her but it was hoped that she would grow up a loyal servant of the Phokas clan and extend through her influence over her new husband their domains.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 27th 1069: Theme of Chandax

    One in ancient times there had been a limestone quarry in this place. Upon the mysterious decline of that world the quarry had fallen into disuse, become merely a part of the Cretan landscape. But now they had been re-opened, helped by the vast treasure that had been recovered from that very world.

    Hundreds of workers now laboured to remove slabs of limestone from the earth. That limestone could then be sold to build churches and public buildings throughout the Roman Empire and even beyond.

    General Logothetes of Crete Eudokia Glykys, wife of Andronikos Petraliphas looked on with satisfaction imagining the wealth that would fall into her hands and ultimately into her children's hands.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 28th 1069: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Now the quarries were complete the question of what to do with the remaining fortune had to be decided.

    "The criminals in Constantinople and Thessalonika have grown bold, the vast revenues that the Imperial Cities should rightly be earning for the Basileus do not appear and great damage to the authority of the State has been done there; it would indeed terrible if these scum were to decide to open up a branch of their illicit empire here," Athenagoras Kyriotes tells them.
    "So what do you suggest?" Andronikos asks Athenagoras.
    "I say that we use the limestone from our quarries in order to build a system courthouses throughout Chandax that justice be done and all the thieving scum that exist in Chandax be crushed before things can reach the level of disorder that exists in the capital!" Athenagoras responds.
    "I'll consider it," Andronikos concludes.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    An opportunity presents for expansion presents itself

    July 6th 1069: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    "An opportunity has presented itself," Postal Logothetes Anthenagoras Kyriotes reports.
    "What kind of an opportunity?" Andronikos asks.
    "An opportunity to take Syracuse," Athenagoras replies.
    "Not that stupid idea again, I thought *I* told everyone that Syracuse was too strong and we were too weak," Anronikos responds.
    "But this time is different, the Apulians are engaged in a project to conquer Sicily and they have depleted Syracuse's armies severely," Athenagoras explains.
    "But aren't the Apulians Norman usurpers from the north? I have no interest in expanding their domain," Andronikos explains.
    "Yes it's those Apulians, but they were repelled, Muslim armies have overrun much of their lands and they have backed off aggression against Syracuse," Athenagoras replies.
    "I don't know, what if the reports are wrong?" Andronikos complains.

    "Andronikos, this is an opportunity which we will bitterly regret if we do not take it; the people of Syracuse will regret it," Konstantios Phokas intervenes.
    "Aren't the people of Syracuse Muslims?" Andronikos responds.
    "No they are not, they are Orthodox like we are and groan under the Muslim bootheel!" Konstantios Phokas responds
    "Really?" Andronikos replies skeptically.
    "And if we do not act, the Normans will act and the Latins will put them under the yoke of the ever more greedy Pope of Rome," Konstanios replies.
    "I suppose," Andronikos mumbles.

    While he had no love of stupid zealots who advocated otherwise Andronikos strongly believed that all peoples should be ruled by those of their religion. Muslims should be ruled over by Muslim rulers, Catholics by Catholic rules, Orthodox by Orthodox rulers, Pagans by Pagan rulers. A few years ago he might have shrinked at the risk involved in this venture, but he had grown bold since the incident with the ship he thought, here was an opportunity to act on his principles.

    "Summon Strategos Aniketos, we go to Syracuse!" he declared finally.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The Earlier Seljuk invasion of Georgia

    July 19th 1069: Guria in Georgia

    Alp Arslan Seljuk had examined his new domain and noted the absence of any women save the very young and the very old within its settlements. His brave armies had pillaged the place, taking from it all those women they desired as was their right as victorious conquerors. And now it was theirs, its impoverished people would have no choice but to rebuild their lives in his servitude.

    Georgia that quaint petty kingdom had dared to defy the glorious will of him, Alp Arslan Sultan of Asia. Now their wives and daughters were duly paying the price that their King's defiance had earned them. The days of such worthless petty kingdoms would indeed soon be over, all of Asia would soon bow before him; or lose their wealth, lives or women to his great armies.

    It was with great regret then had he had been forced to concede peace with the wretched Georgians leaving him with control of their capital and it's palaces but leaving their king to rule over the rest of Georgia.

    His spymaster Hassani-Sabbah had been giving him worrying reports about the situation among the Romans. Not only was the Empress herself a Georgian relative of the royal family but the Emporer, a weak-willed, lazy and stupid man was surrounded by Georgians. It was time to retreat and prepare for a great conflict, once the Romans had been smashed he would be able to return to Georgia and then nobody would dispute that he was truly Alp Arslan the Great, King of Asia.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    August 4th 1069:Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros was reflecting upon the recent departure of his lord for Syracuse.

    If the war was won for Crete but only by dint of the 50,000 ducats that Andronikos in his wretched impiety and refused to give him to support his great vision for Crete then would not many souls be saved from beneath the Muslim yoke there?

    It was terrible the way that Andronikos had spat in his face, refused to hand over a soldari to support the church. It was as if the faith of Crete's people meant nothing? But what if that very apparent impiety delivered many souls from the pagan darkness?

    It was after-all a key theme of his preaching that God was the ultimate decider of what act was sin and not man nor man's reason. That was disturbing, what if Andronikos had not sinned against God at all in his decision? What if he wasn't impious at all but had simply understood the will of God better than he and it was human pride that had led him to demand such money to fund his preaching?

    Or what if he was and God was merely using his impiety to bring about his ends? Was that possible, certainly God had used his sins to bring him to God so why not use Andronikos's scorn for holy things, temperance and piety to liberate the Christian people Syracuse from the Muslim yoke?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    September 23rd 1069:Imperial Palace in Constantinople

    Basilissa Mariam-Martha Bagrutani was concerned for the fate of her brother, Giorgi Bagrutani King of Georgia. The Turks had wrecked great devastation upon Georgia and had ripped from it Guria, it's very capital.

    She despised her husband. He was lazy, weak-willed and stupid. He was like a pig, but male pigs at least showed some energy when it came to the buisness of siring baby piglets. Mikhail just lay there slobbering all over her; expecting *her* to do all the work just like he expected everyone else to do all the work in everything else. They had become estranged and rarely ever spoke but that still didn't seem to stop him visiting her chambers expecting her to perform her wifely duties and sating the lusts he was too lazy to chase down some servant girl to perform.

    But regardless, Georgia came first, she had conspired with her aunt Gorandukht Bagrutani to pursuade him to back the righteous war that she had planned against Alp Arslan Sultan of the Seljuks. They would have revenge for their homeland through the agency of the Romans.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos lands in Syracuse.

    November 7th 1069:Near Syracuse

    The Cretans had landed on the shores near Syracuse. He was confident that he had overwhelming superiority in numbers and thankful. Andronikos was however fully aware of his postion, he had no real experiance as to warfare. He hoped that this would not matter nor lead too many of his men to needless deaths. He would have to remember the advice that his Strategos Aniketos Alousinos had given him as to tactics.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos suffers horrible injuries in the field of battle

    November 11th 1069:Near Syracuse

    Andronikos reminded himself that he was lucky to live as the terrible pain in his mouth revisited him again. The Muslims weak as they were were clever and well-led. Ibn Ibn ibn Abbad was a wily opponant, cleverly placing his handful of archers on the high ground and ambushing them. They had injured his horse with one of their arrows, his horse (how he hated horses!) had chosen that moment to throw him off with terrible violence and then he had hit a low-hanging branch of a tree with his mouth with the full weight of his armour behind him. And then after that all he was doing was spitting up blood and teeth in terrible pain.

    Even if he prevailed in Syracuse, the price would be borne forever for teeth would never grow back. No longer would he be able to stuff down chickens and wildfowl with his teeth; for he no longer had front teeth. Oh how he hated horses.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________


    November 18th 1069:Near Syracuse

    He had paid a heavy price for it Andronikos thought but the Muslim army had been all but destroyed by his overwhelming forces. They now approached Syracuse itself, where the Muslims had gathered for a last stand which could last many months. But his army had been depleted also, perhaps a 5th of his men had been slain. But he was confident that Syracuse itself would fall soon enough.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    December 20th 1069:Imperial Palace in Constantinople

    The young Basileos Mikhail Doukas had been found dead, slain by unknown agents and in a manner that remained unclear. Mysticos Konstantios Phokas had been appointed to represent Crete while Andronikos was away in Syracuse so he had travelled from Crete to attend the coronation of the new Basileos in his place.

    There was naturally plenty of rumours and gossip about his death. People suspected all manner of people but it was doubtful that anyone would ever know who was responsible. Naturally he had done his best to follow the gossip and rumour as much as possible.

    Konstantios had dismissed the possibility of the Postal Logothetes Mikhael Psellos being responsible for it because as far as we aware he was one of the few people who really enjoyed a really close relationship with the man. Eliminating him then, this left 2 parties with the resources or the access to successfully kill him.

    Basilissa Mariam-Martha had apparantly enjoyed a strained relationship with the Basileos for some time, it was generally agreed that this was the case and the reasons for this were varied, one prevailing rumour blamed his unmanly character and consequent inability to perform to a satisfactory standard in the imperial bedchamber. He was unsure about the exact truth of this but it reminded of a joke that Eudokia Glykys had once told and his expense.

    "When Mikhail Doukas was concieved God only made him a man because he was far too lazy to be a woman," but why wouldn't a wife resent being married to such a man and seek to free herself by killing him? She would have access.

    The other explanation also likely is that some grumbling rebellious dux him had killed him, angered by his war against Seljuks at the behalf of the Georgian faction at court and/or his luck-luster leadership. Such a person would have resources.

    The new Basileos was Roman Diogenos, he was quite naturally prime suspect of most but Konstantios suspected otherwise. Roman Diogenos was a great Strategos but was generally known as a simple-minded honest fool. He wasn't the kind of man to murder his way to power. It didn't rule out others murdering the Emporer in order to bring him to power though because he was a great general than might defeat Alp Arslan.

    In any case the Basilissa had left, some might say fled to Georgia with Mikhail Doukas's three children, only two of them already born. The Emporer was either killed by a woman for petty personal reasons or by a man for grand political reasons, but either way the perpetrator would definately escape retribution. And why should he care?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Niketos Paxenos doesn't like Andronikos for some obscure reason

    The new Basileos was busy handing out dux titles to members of the Imperial Court as if they weren't actually a scarce resource. His choice of recipiants were interesting, he gave doux titles to clergy and woman. He surmised that he was rewarded those that had manuevered him into power. The woman was Maria of Adrianopolis, former Grand Logothetes, as a key power behind Mikhail's incompetant throne she would likely have been a key influence in his becoming Basileos in the first place. But female doux's were unheard of, even merely as Praetor of Ikonion she would make a mockery of the whole office of Praetor and of the theme of Ikonion also!

    It was the bishop of Adrianopolis, newly invested with worldly power and looking utterly smug. He was glancing at Konstantios Phokas with contempt while inching towards Basileos Romanos Diogenes.

    "You see that man Basileos, he's not one of your dux at all, he's a mere Mysticos because his master Katapano Andronikos Petraliphas is away fighting a stupid private war in Syracuse which serves on to deprive our Empire of much-needed troops in our time of greatest need, he doesn't belong here," he tells Romanos Diogenes.
    "I'm reporting that insult to Andronikos Petraliphas himself!" Konstantios Phokas responds before Romanos can answer.
    "Go on little Mysticos, reckon the pirates kidnap your ship en-route to Syracuse though so it might not be....... safe," Niketos Paxenos.
    "Enough!" Romanos Diogenes commands.

    He would write up his exact insulting words and send them to Andronikos he swore.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    A messanger arrives in the camp outside Syracuse and hands Andronikos a letter.

    Niketos Paxenos has insulted you before the new Basileos Roman Diogenos.

    "You see that man Basileos, he's not one of your dux at all, he's a mere Mysticos because his master Katapano Andronikos Petraliphas is away fighting a stupid private war in Syracuse which serves on to deprive our Empire of much-needed troops in our time of greatest need, he doesn't belong here,"

    "Who is this Niketos Paxenos and why does he insult me?" he asks Strategos Aniketos Alousinos.
    "I've heard of Niketos Paxenos indeed, he's a blasphemous, lecherous lout that calls himself a bishop," Aniketos responds.
    "A bit like Leon Kataphloros used to be minus the blasphemy," Andronikos replies.
    "And that's the crucial bit, minus the blasphemy to be, he talks of blasphemous obscenities constantly and enjoys the irony of his wearing bishop's robes while doing so greatly," Aniketos explains.
    "Why would he insult me?" Andronikos asks.
    "Work it out for yourself" Aniketos responds.
    "He's jealous?" Andronikos suggests.
    "Exactly, he wants to be where you are now and it's a very good thing he isn't," Aniketos answers.
    "Why's that?" Andronikos asks.
    "Back home he enjoys using his episcopal authority to organise orgies involving as wide a collection of people as possible, if he were here he would probably organise an orgy in every village in this region and I doubt that participation would be exactly voluntery!" Aniketos explains.

    Andronikos could write a complain against this stupid bishop to the Basileos and demand that he be punished but he had better things to do he decided.
    Last edited by Cliffracer RIP; 25-10-2011 at 00:27.

  9. #9
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    Hm. War against the Mighty Alp Arslan. Maybe it's time for Crete to chart an independent course for a while, before returning to the (much-reduced) Empire's bosom? I fear things will not go well in this war.

    On the other hand, it looks like the recovery of Sicily is well underway. Hurrah! More power for Andronikos (or, more precisely, Eudokia).
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  10. #10
    Katapan of Crete 1070-71

    1st January 1070: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    General Logothetes and Katapano's wife Eudokia Glykys had recieved the letter from her husband who was in Syracuse.

    We need more troops, cancel the construction of courthouses and contact Praetor Issakios Paraspondylus to summon to forces of the Theme of Kaneia to join us.

    She would arrange a meeting with Mystikos Konstantios Phokas immediately and arrange to the details of the latter half of her husband’s instruction.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    4th January 1070: Governer's Palace in Kaneia

    Prefect Issakios Paraspondylus recieved the letter from Andronikos's Mystikos in a sullen manner. Just when he thought he might enjoy a calm peaceful new year he had to assemble an army and march off the Sicily of all places for his superior who he had once taken to be just an idle, un-ambitious glutton. What had become him in the last few years?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Longbows are discovered

    9th January 1070: Outside Syracuse

    Andronikos observed his archers training with the new weapon that his bowyers had invented. It had recently been discovered that adding another foot to the 5 foot bows previously used considerably increased range and power and did not significantly reduce rate of release.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    18th January 1070: Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Yes Leon Kataphloros thought, God had indeed the money that Andronikos has refused to give him for his preaching for the greater good of the faith in Crete. His doubts were wrong; he had been greedy and selfish.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    25th January 1070: Outside Syracuse

    Andronikos looked at his men retreating from around Syracuse and clenched his fist in anger. The Basileos, well now he hated him. He had arranged peace with Syracuse over his head and ordered his forces to break Andronikos's siege.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    8th February 1070: Outside Syracuse

    The Basileos’s men had left, Andronikos had lost his teeth for this and he wasn't going to leave without Syracuse liberated. And so he had determined to order his men to restore their siege to Syracuse. He hoped the Basileos wouldn't notice his subtle defiance.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    18th February 1070: Goat's Tail hideout Chandax

    Filippos Spyro the leader of the Goat's Tail band had gained control over the majority of the criminal underworld in Chandax, both over the city and the theme. He was now styling himself the Anti-Lord of Crete and had hundreds of criminals of all professions to back up his claim. The soldiers were all off fighting in Syracuse, the nascent legal system had been scrapped to pay for them and by the time they returned he was confident that his power would be too great for even them to overturn. Then nobles could *play* at being rulers of Crete; he would be its ruler in truth.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Helene Petraliphas dies.

    23rd April 1070: Phokas Mansion Chersinosos

    Eudokia wept. She had arrived here a couple of days ago in order to visit her daughter on her 3rd birthday. But when she arrived she had found her daughter in a terrible state, coughing up blood and suffering greatly. And now she was dead, having finally suffocated and been put out of her misery.

    It wasn't fair Eudokia told herself, that her daughter had been taken from her just when she was growing so well into a young girl. But then she reminded herself bitterly, life just wasn't fair. And there was nothing she could do about it as Andronikos had often told her.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________
    5th May 1070: Outside Syracuse

    Katapano Andronikos Petraliphas embraced his servant Praetor Issakios Paraspondylos of Kaneia. He had finally arrived in response of the commands given to him.

    With the aid of his 200 men it was hoped that Syracuse would fall quicker.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Meanwhile the situation in Asia Minor (yellow is Seljuks, purple Byzantines)

    July 1st 1070: Near Syracuse

    Andronikos boarded the ship that would take him back to Crete. He hated the Basileos for he had brokered another peace with Syracuse. There was no point in continuing, he couldn't go on like this. Bitter and sullan he would return to Crete a broken leader who had lost his teeth for nothing. And the man he had led had died for nothing. Such was the fate of noble ideas in a cruel world.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________
    July 28th 1070: Bishops Palace Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros heard of the news of the second peace deal brokered by Basileos Romanos Diogenes. He had been right after-all, Andronikos Petraliphas's war funded with money funded by money that should have been given to the church had proven futile, and such was the nature of defying God's will. He only prayed that Andronikos would repent of his errors and save his soul.

    But he didn't think that would be the case.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    September 17th 1070: Guria, Seljuk Sultanate

    Alexandros Dalassenos Katepano of of Cherson had won a great victory against the Turks. The field was littered with the bodies of the heathens and their own casualties had been comparatively minimal. It was a great day for Christ, his Church and his Empire, Alexandros thought smiling.

    Soon he hoped they would mop up the remaining Turks and see this land liberated from their grip.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    October 28th 1070: Main church in Seleukeia, Roman Empire

    The Turks had fled without putting up barely a fight. The beleaguered city of Selukeia, now devestated by continued Turkish catapult bombardment and half in ruins was now free as much thanks more to the internal issues among the Turk's themselves causing mass desertion than it was to his efforts.

    Now he stood in prime place as the bishop of Seleukeia said mass to an assorted congragation of notables from all over the Theme of Selukeia. They were celebrating their great victory over the Turks and liberation from the Muslim yoke. If only God had spared Kaisereia to the north-east. There the vile Turkish barbarians doubtlessly celebrated their victory upon the bodies of greek maidens day and night. But it was the weakness of the Empire that was most threatening.

    The main Turkish blow he was sure would arrive some point in the future had not yet fallen but already the scum that constituted the majority of his noble families had made their move and the Empire was beginning to shatter like pottery. Much of Armenia had already declared independance, he was inclined to ignore them as they would provide a buffer against the Seljuks and buy time.

    But the rebellion had spread further west; local nobles had taken the opportunity to defy his rule as far west as Galatia yet this was to be expected sadly. He swore he would see them pay dearly for their insane actions at a time of national crisis. They were after all just vile scum not worthy of the titles that they had been entrusted with!
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    December 1st 1070: Shores of the Theme of Kaneia

    Andronikos was relieved that his futile and dishonourable journey back to Crete was over and he could stand on the dry ground of his homeland once more. He embraced Issakios Paraspondylus and kissed him on the cheek before they departed. They would soon be back in their respective capitals.

    Andronikos and his entourage mounted their horses and prepared themselves to travel eastwards along the length of the island as their armies prepared themselves to return to their homes.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    December 15th 1070: Chandax

    "We have received summons from the Megas Domestikos my lord," Konstantios Phokas reports.
    "It's not about the war is it?" Andronikos responds bitterly.
    "It's obviously about the war," Konstantios replies.
    "Well then, I spend several months getting back from a war that the Basileos lost for me and then I get dragged into a new war!" Andronikos says in exasperation.
    "My lord, I would advise you not to defy the Basileos over this, not only do we not wish to incur his wrath but the Seljuk's are powerful enough to potentially destroy the Empire," Strategos Aniketos advises.
    "I'll consider it, but how long do I have to make the decision?" Andronikos asks.
    "Until about February," Konstantios replies.
    "I'll wait until then, I need to rest plus aren't the chariot races coming up so that way I don't miss them?" Andronikos replies.
    "Yes the chariot races are coming up," Aniketos replies smiling.

    Insulted by Issakios Paraspondylus

    January 15th 1071: Chandax Hippodrome

    The race was over. Given that there was only one hippodrome in Crete many notables from all over Crete had arrived. Among them was the Praetor of Kaneia Issakios Paraspondylus.

    Issakios was moving towards him. And he was dressed in the colours of the red team; Andronikos supported the blue team and did so every year. Issakios decision to support the red team then was clearly a sign of dissention, this meeting would mean trouble.

    "'my lord', I've had enough of you! You dragged from my theme and sent me to fight in your vain little project in Syracuse and then you sent me back again with nothing but an empty treasury!" he shouted.
    "The Emperor ordered us to return, I can't ignore his commands twice!" Andronikos replies.
    "Well you could have ignored him until after Syracuse had fallen!" Issakios bellowed.
    "The army is not mine, it belongs to the Basileos, I don't have any choice!" Andronikos protests.
    "Oh really, it somehow doesn't stop so many of the themes in the empire from sending those armies to rise up in open treason against the Basileos," Issakios replies with a sneer.
    "I just can't rebel against Constantinople!" Andronikos protests.
    "If you cared you would, but you don't really care do you? On your own you are would be nothing but a useless glutton but you've that Eudokia woman haven't you? Don't try to deny it 'my lord’; she is far too clever and far too ambitious for the likes of you, only god knows why he made her a woman and only the devil why she ever married!" Issakios replies venomously.
    "How dare you! I lost my teeth fighting on the battlefield in Syracuse!" Andronikos bellows before storming out.
    "Ah the fat glutton cares so much for his teeth, perhaps if you had properly dominated your wife then you would still be stuffing your face as before and she would have been squashed flat," Issakios replies obscenely to his retreating back.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    "Issakios has declared himself my enemy, insulted me and insulted Eudokia! I can no longer trust him!" Andronikos tells Konstantios Phokas.
    "His forces are weak, you need not fear him," Konstantios responds.
    "But I cannot now leave to serve the Basileos lest he take the opportunity to depose me in my absence," Andronikos explains.
    "The Emporer is weak also and faces open rebellion in many themes, you need not fear his wrath should you ignore his instructions," Konstantios responds.
    "Then I shall remain here," Andronikos declares.
    "A little bit of advice though, remember to raise your duties on Kaneia, this will leave them weak enough that they may be more easy crushed when they rebel," Konstantios advises.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Chandax is doing well despite the criminal activity

    March 30th 1071: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    General Logothetes Eudokia lounged with satisfaction as she read of report after report of the great economic success that had come upon the Theme of Chandax. She read of thriving agriculture, thriving cities and the thriving limestone quarries she had built earlier. Crime was rather problem though, they would have to be dealt with before true prosperity could be established.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 27thth 1071: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Andronikos had finally been persuaded by his wife and Konstantios Phokas that he would have to deal with Kaneia. Two days ago he had sent a request demanding the Praetor resign and hand over the Theme of Kaneia to his direct control. His response was rather short consisting of only one word.


    Thus it had become necessary to enforce the Basileos's will (which means Andronikos's) against the rebels in Kaneia by means of force. It would even be for the best perhaps, freed of the mis-management of Issakios and his idiot russian wife Aglaya the theme of Kaneia would be far more productive and might even half-approach the prosperity of Kaneia.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________

    Civil War in Crete

    July 27thth 1071: Theme of Kaneia

    Andronikos observed the handful of men that had answered Issakios form up on the road leading to Kaneia. The Kaneians response was pathetic yet so many of these men had fought alongside him a year ago and the bitter irony of the situation he was now in twisted at his heart.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________

    August 13th 1071: Theme of Kaneia

    Andronikos looked with pity upon the men his men had just overcome. They had built a barricade along the narrow road leading through the steep hills towards Kaneia. And then they had fought to the death, none had escaped. It was like the Spartans at Thermopylae of old. But he was the Persians.

    It a better world perhaps they would still be alive but he could not continually look over his shoulder for Kaneian rebellion while defying the Basileos in Constantinople in order to maintain the forces needed to keep them at bay. It was necessary for the good of Crete that Paraspondylus be removed from office and this was the only way this could be achieved.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    August 15th 1071: Outside Kaneia

    Andronikos watched them construct their new weapons, the battering rams in preperation for the eventual capture of Kaneia. He had hoped that they would bring the siege to a swifter resolution than would otherwise be the case.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    October 7th 1070: Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros wept for his country, for the civil war that had fallen upon it. Andronikos had evidently angered God more than he had anticipated and Crete had been torn apart. Was this not the ordained fate of impious nations that put wealth and power ahead of piety?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The earlier alliance with Abydos

    October 23rd 1070: Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros was becoming ever more troubled by events. Crete was becoming a rebellious nation; the evident wickedness that he had once shamefully partaken in to so great an extent was bearing its dark and sinful fruit. Yet the rot spread much further than Crete, the Empire was being destroyed from within by rebellion and dissention against the lawful Basileos even as the Turks attacked it from without.

    Abydos had since quietly removed itself from the Empire and Crete was doing likewise. It had forged an alliance with this city of renegades, haven to all manner of rebels fleeing Imperial justice and Imperial representatives found the doors of the palace shut in their face even as they were not expelled from the island already. All this as they waged war against the western half of their own island.

    How long could this sinful world endure? Was not the madness that had fallen upon the Empire a definite sign of the coming end? So many had expected the end and yet the passing time had laughed in their faces, yet had the devil's work ever spun such madness upon any nation before in the history of the world?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    A meeting with the Emporers son

    October 23rd 1070: Outside Kaneia

    Andronikos Petraliphas had an important visitor. A very important visitor, one of the Porphyrogennetos. Konstantinos Diogenes first-born son of Basileos Romanos Diogenos by his now dead Bulgarian first wife had arrived.

    "What brings you to Crete?" Andronikos asks respectfully.
    "I was sent here to investigate the situation here in Crete; the reason for your refusal to raise troops for the Basileos's service and the nature of the civil war in Crete that is being waged," Konstantinos Diogenes explains.
    "Does he not trust anyone lesser?" Andronikos asks.
    "He does not and in that one might have called him wise but he is still a fool," Konstantinos Diogenes responds.
    "How so?" Andronikos asks.
    "He is destroying the Empire, he tears it up into tiny pieces and hands it away to everyone even to churchmen and women! As much as I may enjoy being Praetor of Thessaloniki the fact remains that this is the last part of the Imperial patrimony to be parcelled out, no themes remain save Constantinople itself! And he does not even crown me co-ruler, I ask this not for myself but so that Thessaloniki which after all has long been ruled by the Basileos will at least regains its rightful prominence upon my father's death," Konstantinos replies. (An Emperor could render the Imperial title in securely hereditary by the tradition, long since discontinued of making his son co-ruler beside him.)
    "I understand," Andronikos responds.

    "But that doesn't complete my mission, why do *you* defy the Basileos as you do?" Konstantinos Diogenes asks.
    "Because of them," Andronikos replies pointing towards Kaneia.
    "So you need to avoid leaving Crete lest Issakios Paraspondylus usurp Crete in your abscence, but that does not explain why it is that such enmity has arisen between you in the first place," Konstantinos asks.
    "He insulted me and Eudokia; even daring to defile the honour of our marraige because of my campaign in Sicily against Syracuse which was terminated by the command of the Basileos himself before Syracuse could be conquered," Andronikos explains.
    "I can see why could not allow such a vile and hostile man to continue his rule and the Sicily buisness reveals the foolishness of my father yet further," Konstantinos Diogenes responds.
    "I wish you were Basileos!" Andronikos declares emotionally.
    "No I don't deserve that, maybe you should be Basileos instead!" Konstantinos responds.

    Andronikos siezes Konstantinos and they embrace.
    Last edited by Cliffracer RIP; 26-10-2011 at 22:43. Reason: Spelling/grammer/improvements

  11. #11
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Shame about the situation in Sicily, but that is the lot of a lowly vassal. At least you might rule Crete in its entirety - did you already win the siege?

    Andronikos and Konstantinos... This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. As long as Leon Kataphloros doesn't do anything rash. It's all fine as long as he's only fretting about God's plan and Andronikos' 'vile acts', but if he ever decides he needs to act... That would not be good. Going against the Church in Byzantium is never a good idea.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Shame about the situation in Sicily, but that is the lot of a lowly vassal. At least you might rule Crete in its entirety - did you already win the siege?

    Andronikos and Konstantinos... This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. As long as Leon Kataphloros doesn't do anything rash. It's all fine as long as he's only fretting about God's plan and Andronikos' 'vile acts', but if he ever decides he needs to act... That would not be good. Going against the Church in Byzantium is never a good idea.
    You'll find out what happened in Crete soon don't worry.

    Leon Kataphloros, I don't really know what to do with him. Ever since he was 'born again' he's been so utterly boring a character really. All he does is have 'I'm being holy' events giving him extra piety from time to time. For too holy to actually do anything interesting.

    Anyway thanks’ for replying, I tend to really get de-moralised if no-one replies. Bad habit I know as its views I should really care about.

    Katapan of Crete 1070-71

    Rebellion in the Empire spreads

    May 20th 1072: A military camp somewhere in the Empire

    Basileos Romanos Diogenes sat in the darkness of his tent and brooded over events.

    Why had so many betrayed him? He had called up an army to fight against the Turks but the army had turned against him and the Turks had never even showed upon in the strength that he had predicted. He had deigned to confront them and they had fled without even putting up barely a fight. But who needed Turks when you had servants like these. These local dux, they were scum, all of them!

    No not all of them, some were good and loyal. Many had pledged their undying loyalty and had proven it by their deeds, there glorious service in defiance of these vile rebels and the glorious carnage they had meted out upon the traitors ranks!

    Such would be the fate of the evildoers, their citadels would be destroyed, their armies slaughtered and justice would be done. The ancient empire would survive and *he* Autokrator Romanos Diogenes would remain its ruler. He swore by God that he would crush this foul and pestilent rebellion!

    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    War creates poverty

    June 15th 1072: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    The workload was increasing General Logothetes Eudokia Glykys complained to herself. Her husband was still away fighting against the Paraspondylus family in Kaneia and the war was taking its toll on Chandax. The streets were infested with unemployed vagrants and criminals robbed those who did manage to claw together some kind of wealth with impunity. There were rumours of a shadow ruler, a king of the Cretan underworld but Eudokia was inclined to dismiss those ideas as mere paranoia.

    What was infuriating about the situation was that the Chandax fund for the care of the poor had recently ran dry, she had been forced begrudgingly to make up their shortfall with a total of 1210 soldari, weren't the poor so expensive! Yet apparently she had no choice but the feed this 'surplus population' because otherwise they would fall into the hands of the thieves doing damage to the prosperity she had carefully cultivated. It was not a good day.

    She was also pregnant, her baby had now grown into was a massive lump protruding from her belly. She did not remember why she had approached Andronikos; no she could remember some particularly troublesome nobles had became lippy and demanded an audience with Andronikos himself about some dealings she couldn't exactly remember the details of.

    But why had taken the opportunity to offer herself to Andronikos and conceive her child. Was it lust? Had she simply got tired of her own company to the point of actually desiring the clumsy and asphyxiating embrace of her husband. No of course not, she didn't desire the fat lump. So that would mean that: she was mourning for Helene and wanted to replace her. Was that the reason? Could it be?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 27th 1072: Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros was troubled. He could no longer clearly see the path of God's will. If it was the impiety of the Romans that had brought ruin onto the Empire and upon Crete then why was it that God had granted this Andronikos Petraliphas, who scoffed the faith such an opportunity to become the sole ruler of Crete? What if Kaniea fell and he also took the opportunity to break away from the Empire. That would make him the sole ruler of Crete and this would be a reward not a punishment. How could that come to be?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    August 8th 1072: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    This baby hurt less than the last one, relatively anyway. Maybe she was getting 'used to this' she thought darkly. The midwife presented the baby to her and there it was, between its legs lay a certain small strip of flesh. The baby was a boy and the worst thing was she didn't know how to feel about it.

    Is that what you have done to me God? You have taken from me a daughter and given me a son? What kind of a game is this, what kind of a game? Is this a game or a punishment or even a reward? No how could this be a reward?

    But then again she thought as she cast her mind back. She had fought with Andronikos to get Crete made hereditery for the sake of her son because the girl within her could have been a boy and now that girl was dead and a boy had taken her place. This was not fair; no of course it wasn't fair but it made sense.

    She had been ambitious, she had plotted to override the will of husband and had succeeded but in so doing she had in a subtle way undermined the foundations of one of the unjust punishments and so she had perhaps been duly punished by receiving *exactly* what she had asked for, a child that could inherit *rather* than a child that could not.

    Was this really so, had she really indirectly killed her daughter or had she just been spending too much time with Leon Kataphloros?

    "I'm going to call him Meletios," Eudokia announces. The name just seemed to form in her head. Where did the name come from? She could not recall.

    Only later she realised she had just named her son after her old grandfather.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Crete rebels

    August 28th 1072: Outside Kaneia

    Konstantinos Diogenos had come to visit his friend in Crete once again. He embraces Andronikos Petraliphas and kisses him on the cheek.

    "My friend Andronikos, I know you resent my father's foolish rule but now is the time to act for he has made me his co-ruler," Konstantinos tells Andronikos.
    "You want me to help you eliminate the Basileos so you can take over as Autokrator?" Andronikos responds.
    "No I love my father and do not wish him to come to any harm, while the Empire sadly requires a new Basileos it is not for the sake of my own ambitions that I seek this to happen," Konstantinos Diogenes responds.
    "So why then does it matter that you are co-ruler?" Andronikos asks.
    "It matters because it angers the most powerful dux in Romania, men who previously had remained loyal because they saw the opportunity to replace Romanos upon his death; unlike the lesser dux that previously rebelled against the Empire they are sufficiently credible candidates that they could not only rebel against Constantinople but also *become* Constantinople," Konstantinos explains.
    "I yearn to be free of the Imperial Court's meddling, if things are as bad as you say for Constantinople then I'll definitely consider my prospects for defying it,”
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos had returned to Chandax persuaded by Konstantinos Diogenes that the moment had indeed come to rebel against the Empire. He held a closed meeting with his most trusted advisors as to the course to take.

    "I'm going to declare our independence from Constantinople and follow the example of Abydos," Andronikos decides.
    "If we're going to become independent then we're going to need to give you a proper title aren't we? Theophylaktos of Abydos may style himself Archon but Crete deserves a grander title does it not?" Mysticos Konstantios Phokas points out.
    "How about King of Crete?" General Logothetes Eudokia suggests.
    "That's far too grand!" Andronikos protests.
    "Indeed it is, we need a title that is grand enough to command respect but not so grand as to mean that we cannot later..... undo our independence without having to give the title away," Mysticos Konstantinos Phokas answers.
    "Any suggestions," Andronikos asks.
    "I suggest we enthrone you as Prince of Crete," Postal Logothetes Athenagoras Kyriotes suggests.
    "Yes that would do nicely, strong enough to be taken seriously but not so strong that it competes with Basileos," Andronikos concludes.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    October 5th 1072: Governer's Palace in Chandax

    Archbishop Leon Kataphloros had seen this day coming. Andronikos had declared himself the Prince of Crete defying the Empire and it had fallen to him to preside over his coronation. The ceremony was simple but its significance ripped through the fabric of the social and political order.

    Was the Empire being punished with dissolution? Was this the beginning of the end? Was Rome in its hubris finally to be erased from history, dissolved into petty states? Was God's judgement falling on the Empire at last?

    But what of God's judgement upon Crete for the impiety of its leader?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Complaints of dirty peasants selling goods in Chandax

    July 13th 1073: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Angelos Spyridon a merchant of great wealth and talent had requested an audience with Andronikos Prince of Crete. A few years ago he might have been left waiting but since his fortune had grown in recent years he had become the kind of person who could not be ignored.

    Andronikos was in Kaneia presiding over the conquest of that region which left the new Princess to preside over the matter.

    "With the recent war and our assertion of our freedom trade and industry is severely threatened, in these troubled times we can ill afford to tolerate that persistant nuisance that has troubled our beautiful city of Chandax for some time," Angelos explains to Eudokia.
    "What kind of nuisance are we talking about, I'll inform you that we are already doing everything in our power to deal with thievery," Eudokia replies.
    "We're talking about peasants. They come into our city where they have no business being and they peddle their cheap shoddy and probably stolen goods to people who should know better, this is I will assure you very hurtful to the economy of Chandax and they do not after-all pay taxes to the city government or to the State," Angelos responds.
    "So what you suggest?" Eudokia asks.
    "I suggest that we send men to clear these rabble from the streets by whatever means are necessary," Angelos replies.
    "Don't you think that's a bit extreme, they do after-all have the same rights to sell what is theirs as you do," Eudokia replies sheepishly.
    "But!" Angelos protests
    "I confess though that you have a point but my mind is still uncertain, by demonstrating your worth you may indeed get the measures you wish," Eudokia responds.
    "How do I demonstrate my worth?" Angelos asks.
    "You see I am a Princess now but my dress is just not suitable, so I would very much desire a new dress suitable for my role, full of fine silks and jewels. Present me with this dress and if it is suitably fine then I will grant your request," Eudokia explains.
    "I will do as you request Princess," Angelos responds.
    "I eagerly await your return," Eudokia responds smiling.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    A look at Euphemia Promountenos

    September 27th 1073: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Euphemia Promountenos and Athenagoras Kyriotos are lounging around on the coaches in the reading room with wine glasses in their hands. Euphemia asks Athenagoras.

    "What do you do then Athenagoras?" Euphemia asks.
    "I am Postal Logothetes of Crete," Athenagoras replies.
    "What does that involve," Euphemia asks.
    "It involves presiding over the delivery of confidential letters to well spies and the reception of letters from said persons," Athenagoras explains.
    "Sounds interesting," Euphemia replies.
    "Not really, it's deadly boring. I'd much rather be Strategos," Athenagoras grumbles.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    October 18th 1073: An inn in Ikonian

    Niketos Paxenos, the former bishop of Thrake held his young son in his arms and sat on his couch. It was funny really, for all his misdeeds he only really had 1 small boy to show for it. And how he loved Andronikos Paxenos; his son.

    Romanos Diogenes had crushed his army and took back Thrake, the very place that Romanos Diogenes had made him bishop and governor of in the first place. I guess he did rebel against the Basileos but so were so many other people, he just wanted to hasten the end of the war and had no wish to see Romanos prevail. He had paid the price but so many other rebels had not. He was now cast aside by the rebellion he had sacrificed for, yes they sheltered him but was he ever going to taste real power again in his life? He paid the price but they would gain the glory that *his* sacrifice had earned them.

    Maria of Adrianopolis had risen far due to the Basileos's's grace; she was not merely the Praetor of Ikonion now but had also risen to become Katepano of the whole of Anatolia. And even she had rebelled. How ironic the turn of events was. He began to daydream, as scandalised as so many were when Maria of Adrianopolis had been granted that title despite being a woman, he had always found the concept of a female dux rather titillating. Would it not be delightful if he could somehow seduce that woman? He fantasised about all the things he would do with her, oh what passions he would unleash. She wasn't that old, merely 37 as well.

    The Basileos's days were numbered. He would deeply enjoy seeing that man dragged down and trampled into the dirt. The Cypriots had reached Constantinople he had heard; the capital was under siege. Nikomedia had fallen to the Komnenus and they would soon add their strength to the siege and once Constantinople fell it would all be over for Romanos. He would have his revenge, of that he was certain. Beyond that he didn't even care, he wouldn't get his title back in any case.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Eudokia vs Andronikos

    Andronikos had recieved a letter from Eudokia.

    Dear husband. You have spent the last 2 years on your evidently futile attempt to gain control of Kaneia. In that time our son has been born and yet you have barely ever even visited him. You have never been there for me; you have always left me with the entire business of government and have not lifted a finger, while you never give me any credit or appreciation for the work I do. And before that you were in Sicily on another futile war and much the same was the case.

    Andronikos scrunched up the letter and clenched his fist in anger. Who did she think she was? It was she that always pushed him to be ambitious, always pushed him to assert Crete's military might. And now this was how she repaid him! By whining about how he was never home, about how he left her with all the work, how he never had any time for his children!
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    December 1st 1073: Outside Kaneia

    His wife was indeed right, the situation was hopeless Andronikos thought. His army had dwindled to a handful and the ordinary people of Kaneia had risen up against him. They had dug tunnels into the city which now enjoyed the effective ability to remain under siege forever and they carried up continual raids of his supply lines and even on his forces directly on a few daring occasions. His wife was right, the war was futile and it was going nowhere. It was time to negotiate peace terms with Issakios Paraspondylus.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Crime becomes more organised
    December 10th 1073: Chandax

    Filippos Spyro would be pleased Lefteris Marios thought. Christmas was coming and his smugglers were hard at work providing cheap goods that people would be able to give each-other as presents. His smugglers met a definite demand; ever since the city council had been allowed to hire thugs to attack poor peasants in order to secure the profits of the greedy merchants against competition from less greedy souls everyone was looking for cheaper goods.

    Lefteris Marios wished everyone in Chandax a Merry Christmas; a merry tax-free Christmas.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Defeated in Kaneia

    December 15th 1073: Outside Kaneia

    The Kaneians had accepted the peace offer he had sent them. They had handed over a paltry 14000 soldari in return for his army leaving the theme of Kaneia and lifting his siege on the city.

    He had failed. To be defeated by such a paltry power as Kaneia was beyond humiliating. It was torture. Crete had been sliced in two; he might now be the Prince of Crete, he was the Prince of *half* of Crete. He had thought to separate Crete from the Roman Empire and now Kaneia had separated from Crete.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Konstantios Phokas gets wiser

    December 24th 1073: Phokas mansion in Chersinosos

    It was Christmas Eve. Konstantios Phokas was back at home. He had learned something as a result of the recent fiasco in Kaneia. He had learned about the value of patience.

    He had been rash, pushing Andronikos to act too quickly. But had he had waited a bit longer then the war would have ended differently. Their forces were still depleted as a result of the previously fiasco in Syracuse. Although they swiftly defeated the Kaneian army and wiped them out to a man, their fortifications stood until the whole theme could be rallied against the invaders. With more men this could have ended differently and if they had waited they would have had more men.

  13. #13
    Sergeant ComradeNapoleon's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis: ChroniclesVictoria 2500k club

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Good AAR, keep up the good work
    Shame about Kaneia, but I'm sure they'll be back soon :P Never underestimate Stewardship, it's by far the most important stat for a small realm, as it enables you to match the armies of greater (but stupider) enemies. It's always the first stat I marry for.
    BTW, what event pack are you using, the one with the teeth event from Syracuse?


  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ComradeNapoleon View Post
    Good AAR, keep up the good work
    Shame about Kaneia, but I'm sure they'll be back soon :P Never underestimate Stewardship, it's by far the most important stat for a small realm, as it enables you to match the armies of greater (but stupider) enemies. It's always the first stat I marry for.
    BTW, what event pack are you using, the one with the teeth event from Syracuse?

    I'm using Bopack and DVIP.

    Principality of Crete 1074-1075

    January 15th 1074:Prince's Palace in Chandax

    It was the most miserable homecoming Prince Andronikos had ever had. On his shoulders lay the weight of failure; and the weight of the dead on his shoulders. Even the weather was miserable it seemed.

    Before him lay the familiar servants he had know before. There was Strategos Aniketos Alousianos, his Mysticos Konstantios Phokas, Postal Logothetes Athenagoras Kyriotes and his excruciatingly pious Archbishop Leon Kataphloros. Then there was his wretched wife, General Logothetes Eudokia Glykys, whose talent with money was matched only her selfishness and ever-increasing ingratitude.

    He reminded himself not to bear such feelings against Eudokia, that it was he that had squandered the money she had earned him and the money which God had given to him by his repeated failures. But it was so *hard* not to hate her!

    One day he would prevail! This he swore to himself.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    May 24th 1074:Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Athengoras Kyriotes had something to report to Andronikos.

    "The Syracusans have set off to conquer the County of Trapani in Sicily, a componant of the Duchy of Apulia; this war however is I suspect an act of suicidal desperation made on the basis that unless they act now the Duke of Apulia will come of age and then their position will be even weaker," Athegoras explains.
    "That would mean that if we do not strike then Syracuse will be conquered by the Normans?"
    "Yes indeed," Athenagoras responds.
    "This is a dilemma, if we strike too early Syracuse will defeat us, but if we strike too late then Apulia will conquer Syracuse and it will be beyond our grasp," Andronikos replies.
    "There is one thing in favour, the Duke of Apulia is a mere boy so should we arrive in Syracuse the Normans will defer to us, no-one can dispute our claim to leadership," Athenagoras explains.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 15th 1074:Bishops's Palace in Chandax

    Archbishop Leon Kataphloros was once again busy brooding over the nature of God's will for Crete. He understood now that God had punished Crete with division, cut it in half as a punishment just as he had cut in half the ancient Isrealites.

    But he had also punished the Roman Empire and as a result the Principality of Crete had come into being. He marvelled at the complex details; to punish one God rewarded another and then the other would be punished in the exact same manner.

    God would tear down the ancient Empire down into its component nations and then he would tear apart the nations until utter chaos reigned as it did now in Kaneia. But then what? But this could not go on forever; every division of the greater benefitted the lesser. Eventually the chain of punishment would end, it could not go on forever; eventually there must arise the one who would sweep all others aside; the ultimate beneficiary of all the others punishments.

    God's terrible champion would bind all others to himself, in ruin, worship or slavery. Only they that followed God's true elect; the conqueror would survive; a terrible fate would befall all others. It was like in his dreams;

    A man on a black horse amidst a great city devastated by war holding aloft a sword and surrounded by worshipping disciples.

    Then it the question came to him; was this man was the horseman of war that St. John had once seen on Patmos? But he was a mortal man, but he had never seen his face, only his back and that of his horse.

    He so desperately wanted to see that face, would he live to see the conquerors face?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 30th 1074:Prince's Palace in Chandax

    "We're going to Syracuse!" Andronikos announces.
    "Again?" Strategos Aniketos responds.
    "Yes we must strike now or the Normans will have it," Andronikos responds.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    July 15th 1074: Sea near Chandax

    A small boat approaches the

    "Andronikos you *must* cancel your planned invasion of Syracuse and return home!" Postal Logothetes Athenagoras reports.
    "Why should I!" Andronikos replies in horror.
    "Because Syracuse has made peace with Apulia, forcing us to seek peace with Syracuse" Anthenagoras replies.
    "Not again!" Andronikos responds in anguish.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    August 13th 1074: Syracuse

    Ibn ibn Abbad laughed when he read the Christians peace offering.

    These Cretan rats, they had despoiled his home before. And now they begged him to make peace with them! There would be no peace for them except the sort of peace which Islam would bring at the point of a sword just at had done to Syracuse! They deserved no less.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Leon Kataphloros learns wisdom (and someone please tell me what's this event and what's wrong with it)

    September 25th 1074: Bishops’s Palace in Chandax

    He had been foolish Leon Kataphloros realised. Mortal men could never understand the plans of God as they unveiled. Such things were beyond their capacities. One could not hope to predict what was to come, one could only marvel upon the beauty and the horror of what had already come to pass.

    Only that way could true wisdom be obtained.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    October 13th 1074:Harbour of Chandax

    Princess Eudokia Glykys looked on bitterly as she watched the ship leave the harbour filled with what little remained of the treasury, a mere 10,000 soldari bound for the sardinian nation of Cagliari, allies of Syracuse in order to buy their neutrality.

    Her hate for her husband burned deep within her. He was a failure and a worthless drain on the treasury; fought many wars but never won them.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Syracusian ships near Chandax

    December 1074:Outside Chandax

    Andronikos looked upon his assembled forces gloomily. For the first time in his life his rule Crete was under actual threat of destruction. A Muslim fleet had been reported en-route to Crete, presumably from Syracuse. There were no second chances, he simply must win or Crete would join Syracuse under the Muslim boot-heel.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The Muslims land in Chandax

    January 1075:Theme of Chandax

    The day is now Andronikos thought observing the Muslim army from afar. The Muslims had assembled in force, but so had he. They would have to win, there was no other way.

    If they lost then a dark age would descend upon Crete, perhaps forever.

    "We must win!" he shouted at his assembled troops.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Crete is defeated

    February 7th: Border of the Theme of Kaneia

    His men's longbows had taken their toll on the Muslim host and his men had fought valiantly but in the end they were no match for the ferocity of the Muslim cavalry that had routed his forces. Andronikos hated cavalry; they were so quick and so unpredictable. War would be much easier without wretched horses running about all over the place. Especially enemy horses.

    There was nothing to do now but retreat and only one place to retreat too, the west. He was returning to Chandax where he would regroup along the border and hopefully be able to whittle down the Muslim host over successive battles until they could not seize Chandax just as he had been unable to seize Kaneia. It sounded like a plan that might work.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    February 14th 1075: Outside Chandax

    They had lost the battle, the Muslims had closed in on Chandax and so it was time for Konstantios Phokas to approach Sheik Ibn ibn Abbad clothed in humility and repentance (all of it fake of course). It was best to do so before that fool Andronikos managed to lose even more battles.

    He pleaded his way to audience with the Sheik and took every precaution that it would be taken in the right way. Although it was painful he had rubbed lemon juice into his eyes so that he appeared to be crying. Nothing could be left up to chance.

    "Great Sheik! Please spare us your terrible wrath, we know that we have so grievously wronged against your majesty but we are so very sorry that we have done so! We grieve that we have so little in our treasury to make amends for the many crimes we have committed against you!" Konstantios wailed, his wails made complete by his fake tears.
    "If I spare you then what guarantee do I have that you will not invade again?" Ibn asks suspiciously.
    "We promise! What else can we do? Please take heed of our words!" Konstantinos protests in fake anger and real desperation.
    "Well I guess I could indeed spare you, I grow tire of this war I asked not to fight and yearn to return to my palaces and my children back in Syracuse," Ibn reacts.

    Konstantios Phokas smiled. This Ibn was no less gullible than Andronikos; but then again he was not surprised, rulers were clearly the same whatever religion they belonged too.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    March 4th 1075:Cathedral in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros knelt before the alter and thanked God fervently that he had delivered them from the Muslims one more time. He may have delivered them two months ago, but still he prayed. He prayed until his knees began to torture him and beyond.

    God did not hate Crete. No God loved Crete, God loved Andronikos. Had he not been a vain and foolish man, who had reflected his petty anger at Andronikos for not giving the money that he had *thought* was his and treated it as God's will. It wasn't.

    But some things were true; the conqueror on the black horse that he had seen in his dream would soon come. But who was he? What was his face? He must see his face.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Leon dies and is beatified!

    March 25th 1075:Bishop's Palace in Chandax

    Leon Kataphloros drops to the floor like a stone. His attendants scream but there is nothing that he can do, for deep within him his heart has failed. He is dead. The crowds that once rallied so heartily for his sermons petition furiously for his beatification and the Patriarch reluctantly agrees. And so it is that Leon Kataphloros passes to the world beyond.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    There is a door in front of him, a door that seems familiar but he cannot remember where he has seen it before. A familiar voice he has heard before booms in his ears.

    "Holy man who sees much that is veiled, know that you were removed from the mortal realm that you may not reveal things before the time is right; so gaze loyal servant upon things which men of your age are permitted to see only but shadows of," the voice tells him.
    "I wish to see the identity of the conqueror who rides a black horse," Leon responds calmly.
    "Then you must only open the door ahead of you," the voice explains.

    Leon opens the door and emerges into the scene he had dreamt of before. The man on the black horse lies before him, bearing his sword and surrounded by his adoring disciples as before. Leon Kataphloros walks forward cautiously past them and gazes at the face of the mounted man. His face is bearded and his features rather sharp. Leon swears he's seen the man's face before. But he can't quite remember where. And then it comes to him.

    He's seen this face before as a portrait, it's one of duxes of the Empire.

    Leon is confused. How could the man on the black horse be merely a dux of the Empire that lived in his life-time? It had to be something more to it than that.

    "This is not what I came here to see! Is this the 'great mystery' I died to conceal, the identity of the rebel who conquers Constantinople in the Civil War! I demand to see Christ, I demand to face the day of judgement not face THIS!" Leon shouts.
    "Christ is here, you must only look away," the voice replies calmly.

    Leon looks away and immediately again the wall of a Cathedral is a cross and a man lies upon it. He looks closer and suddenly realised that the face is not that of Christ but that of Basileos Romanos Diogenes.

    "Do not mock me! I demand to see Christ not the Basileos; or are you Satan and am I already damned to hell!" Leon shouts.
    The man's face shifts; his skin gets darker, his hair gets curlier and darker also. Leon is now looking at a completely different man.
    "This is the 'anointed one' Joshua of Nazereth which you seek," the voice replies.
    "Then show me the true face of the man on the horse!" Leon demands.
    "The man has many faces, do you seek then the first or the last?" the voice asks.
    "The last," Leon Kataphloros responds in desperation.
    "Then gaze upon the last conqueror!" the voice responds with finality.

    The city is now changed; the ruins have become so vast he cannot see the tops of them and the man on the horse is gone, replaced by yet another man; a terrible giant wearing armour painted the rusty-red colour of drying blood. He sits now not atop a horse but stands atop a giant metal wagon adorned with spikes and severed heads. In his hands lies some kind of sword with teeth and a strange looking block of metal he surmised must be a weapon also. Around him are similar giants adorned and armed in the same manner but on foot. He seeks out their insignia and notices that on their shoulders is the depiction of a round sphere presumably representing the earth and a toothed maw. He looks back at the cross and finds that it is made of metal and upon it lays a normal sized man like himself with armour that he surmised could perhaps be made of leather or bone.

    "This is the last battle, these giants are your God's servants; but they worship in clarity of understanding since as them the veil is all but gone; this last conqueror has just expelled Satan from the Earth and purified it with fire," the voice explains.
    "But they look like monsters, demons!" Leon shouts.
    "In was on that basis that the Earth resisted them in futility; yet the veil is about to be lifted and they are to ascend to the heavens and live forever in glory," the voice tells him.
    "Lies! These men killed Christ, there he lies on a metal cross; how can they be servants of God?" Leon rages.
    "Your Christ was killed in the name of God by his own avowed servants," the voice responds calmly.
    "No! Christ is God's Son," Leon shrieks.
    "Indeed, when the Isrealites created the religion to which you adhere they embraced Yahweh the 'Lord of Hosts'; they embraced in a veiled form the very same power that these armoured giants worship," the voice answers.
    "Christ was no warrior! He did not kill, he did not fight!" Leon responds.
    "But yet he sacrificed his life, war contains within itself a contradiction; it embraces not only the victorious warrior that kills but also the vanquished slave that fails to kill; if there is to be a victor that kills there must also be a vanquished that did not kill; Warrior and Slave, Victor and Vanquished, Killer and Killed, Martyr and Tyrant, they all embrace one God that determines the fate of both,"

    Lies, blasphemy Leon thinks as he runs away in search of the door as fast as possible. He finds the door and rushes through.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Leon is back in the room in which he 'arrived'. He understood that what he had survived was a test, the black horseman was a vision sent to him by the devil to gain his soul for hell, everything the voice had told him in that room was simply a lie designed to test him. Yes that was it.

    "You have passed my test, your abilities and faith are impressive indeed; so you must just pass through the door opposite and claim your heavenly reward," the voice congratulates him.

    Leon passes through the door opposite the first door.

    Selene Marianna lies within a luxurious room filled with wonderful smelling incense. She lies across a coach displaying her naked body, which appears to be far more perfect than it ever was in life.

    "Come upon me my Leon, enter me like before; I so desire it," Selene replies positioning her body into a more revealing pose.
    "But you despised me for taking your virginity! And you swiftly exiled me from your monastery in great anger lest I seduce any of your nuns!" Leon protests.
    "Relax Leon, my nuns are over there," Selene responds pointing towards the right.

    There sitting on similar couches or splashing around in the pool and also naked are many of the nuns that shared the same monastery and whom Leon recognises. As he draws his eyes back towards Selene he also notices a second group of women to his left, recognising among them all the women that he had once had affairs with before Selene.

    "But you can't be Selene; Selene would never offer herself to me in such a way, in front of her...... sisters!" Leon tells her.
    "This is Heaven Leon, there is no marriage in heaven," Selena says giggling.
    "But this is just not you!" Leon protests.
    "Perhaps dying and going to heaven changed me; besides despite all the protests I do notice a certain 'bulge' so let's just remove your clothes and get on with the..... sex," Selene replies crudely before reaching for his clothes.
    "This isn't heaven, you aren't Selena and this is all a lie!" Leon responds.
    "Do I not look real? Do I not feel real?" Selena challenges him.
    "It's all a fantasy, it can't be real, real women can't behave like that even in Heaven!" Leon declares.
    "So what is heaven then? Is it the eternal and strictly celibate brotherhood of the slayers and the slain rising from the endless carnage of history according to the remorseless logics of an insane and false god or is it a place of eternal pleasure, passion, intimacy and joy?" Selena asks.
    "How do you know about that?" Leon asks.
    "We've all been here before, not just you," Selena responds.
    "If that is so then this place *must* be a lie for I am the only man in this place; but so many of the women in this place have known other men in the past; were this place real they would be here and I would not be alone," Leon finishes.

    Ignoring the protests of the women insisting at their reality he storms towards the door opened it and slams it shut behind him.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    The hallway has but two exits, Leon is trapped. He appears to have no other option but the choose between the sensual lie and the apocalyptic battlefield. He buries his head in his hands.

    Why do I have to choose? Why can't I just die?
    Leon thinks.

    It is then he notices that on the floor lies a dagger. Leon seizes the dagger thinking, If I die in this place then I would die for real

    "I'm sorry my God, I cannot choose my fate? I choose to die!" Leon says to the empty air. He takes the dagger and stabs himself in the chest. The pain is excruciating and then he loses consciousness.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    When he awakes he finds himself in a dimly lit room and the pain in gone. He soon realises that the room is a crypt and that before him lies a stone sarcophagus. Unlike the others in the crypt the lid is open and it is empty. The sarcophagus is meant for him, Leon thinks. But he looks around.

    Ghosts appear before him. His mother, his father, his sister, his uncle, his grandfather, even his baby brother who died so long ago.

    "Come Leon, join us and be with me forever in death, be with us in the forever beyond life; you know what to do," his mother tells him.
    "Mother I do not wish to die, I wish only to live far from this place," he replies.
    "Then you would forget me? I cannot bear to be separated from you, I have waited so long for you to visit me!" his mother protests tears streaking down her ghostly cheeks.
    "You are not Helene Phokas, you are merely a shadow of her," Leon replies.
    "No Leon! I am your true mother; the woman you once knew is but a shadow of me; leave behind the prison that is the flesh and be free in the spirit,"
    "No I will live again just as I once did!" Leon declares.
    "No!" the ghost wails before fading away.

    Leon notices that the crypt has a door and the door is half-open. He opens the door and suddenly finds himself back in his old room, the very same room that he had dreamt of before. Once again he travels to the balcony and looks out at the familiar scenery of his childhood. A crow lands on the banisters of the balcony in front of him.

    "You have no more choices to make," the crow tells him.
    "So you are the voice," Leon replies.
    "I am indeed," the crow replies.
    "Who are you?" Leon asks.
    "I am this crow, I was also Selena Marianna and your mother Helene Phokas also," the crow explains.
    "But who are you ultimately?" Leon asks.
    "I am the Changer of Ways, I hold in my hands the keys of change, I turn sinners into saints and saints into sinners; the living into the dead and the dead into the living," the crow replies.
    "Are you God?" Leon asks.
    The crow doesn't answer.
    "This is the end of Leon Kataphloros, there are no more choices to make, you have returned to the place of your birth; as the beginning *is* the end," the crow finishes.

    It flies away from Leon and far away in the real world, deep within the womb of an unknown woman a baby that was once Leon Kataphloros stirs; oblivious to everything he once was and will one day be.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Raising Meletios

    June 21st 1075:Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Andronikos held his young son Meletios. He was getting older, once it was possible to move him around as easily as a feather but no more. Andronikos had to make a decision and it was hard.

    On one hand he could let the child remain with his nannies. This wouldn't cost anything, the nannies were already on the payroll and food or other expenses were already paid out those wages. But he had been led to believe that letting a child be raised by the same person that had raised them in infancy would lead them to become soft and effeminate- not a good thing especially for a boy and particularly for a future Prince of Crete.

    Or he could give the child to one of the noble houses of Crete to raise. That had not exactly worked out for his daughter and was in no great eagerness to do so again. He didn't want his son catching any horrible diseases from his child associating with the evidently diseased households of lesser nobles.

    The Church was always willing to accept children to substitute for the children they weren't allowed to have. As much as he would have enjoyed claiming back some of the money that they gave them in 'donations' every month, monks were monks for a reason. He had heard rumours that were known to consider torture as a viable method of child-rearing and even were that only a rumour he wanted his son to grow up a balanced, sane and reasonable person; he doubted that an environment stale piety and superstition would contribute well to such an outcome.

    The unattractiveness of all the other options left him with no other choice. He would have to raise the child himself. It would cost him a small amount of money which he would put aside now just be certain but what could he do? He was pretty sure he wouldn't regret it.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Konstantios Diogenes in trouble!

    June 27st 1075:Thessaloniki

    The loyalists celebrated their victory on the streets of Thessaloniki. The rebels had been crushed the city was theirs. The rebellious regime of the Basileos's traitorous son had been excised from the city and the Basileos just and legitimate rule. And now the rebels families were being punished, the loyalist soldiers had predictably split up into unruly bands looting, killing and raping the citizens of the city at will.

    Such was the nature of war.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Everyone gets old

    July 15th 1075:Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Konstantinos felt the creaking of his aching bones. He sometimes wished he was young again but he had served Crete and Andronikos for most of his life and had no intention of retiring any time soon.

    He had saved Crete by pleading with the Sultan after-all.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Konstantinos Diogenes in a bad state

    August 27th 1075:Katepan of Armeniacon

    Konstantios Diogenes forced his feverish self to sit up in the bed. His servants had been loyal to the end and had carried him what must have been hundreds of miles through rebel and loyalist territory on the back on a wagon and then by ship to Armeniacon, the eastern territory ruled by his brother-in-law Manuel Komnenus Katapano of Armenicon. No doubt his wife Theodora Komnenus who had fled here several weeks before him by more dignified manner. No doubt she would be busy pretending that she had never married him and would go on that way but the important element was that the rebels in this region would shelter him.

    The wound on his leg had become infected and then he had come down with some feverish sickness. And there was this constant buzzing in his head that just wouldn't ever go away. It must be that everything had simply gone wrong for him; he couldn't cope with the shock of all the events.

    He did not regret anything. He had served his father loyally for many years despite his many misgivings but he was the source of his own downfall. He had given away great titles to all sorts of nobody's and this was not only tearing apart the Imperial patrimony but also creating a dangerous sense of entitlement among his servants.

    When he had expressed his misgivings to his father he had responded by attempting to bribe him by making him co-ruler and securing the succession for him. But in the process he had antagonised the most powerful dux in the Empire fatally weakening his position.

    He may have been deposed from rule over Thessaloniki but the saddest thing was it was that it would just end up in the hands of some opportunist that would probably rebel against his benefactor anyway as so many had done already.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Euphemia Promountenos gets married

    October 15th 1075:Harbour of Chandax

    Euphemia Promountenos boarded the ship that would take her to Cyprus and her new husband Mikhail, Katepano of Cyprus. She wondered what her new husband would be like; she hoped he wasn't violent, cruel and perverse. But she was in God's hand and God would hear her prayers as he always did.

    She was eager to leave, Crete was boring and nobody ever gave her anything to do. Perhaps her new husband in Crete would make better use of her talents? She certainly hoped so.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    By the sword a new emperor rises while another falls

    October 18th 1075: Hagia Sophia Constantinople

    The assault on Byzantium had been as glorious as it was bloody Alexios Komnenus thought. He had personally led the assembled hosts of the various rebel duxes through a breach in Constantinople's walls that months of bombardment had created and stormed the city riding on his black horse. The loyalists had been swept aside by the terrible fury that he had inspired in his men and they had seized the city with lightning swiftness. They had of course created great devastation in the city but that didn't really matter for as long as Hagia Sophia still stood he could be crowned Basileos and the war could be brought to an end with himself as the victor.

    His many servants were prostrated before him. Among them was the Basilissa to be, Metradora Mauros. A good woman he had thought; so it had come as a great surprise when it turned out that her eldest son Marianos wasn't even his. But then he guessed there were worse things she could have done and besides there were plenty of children in the world that weren't his.

    The Patriarch had been a difficult matter. Niketos Blachernites the old Patriarch had been a devoted follower of Romanos Diogenes and had actually died of the injuries he had suffered fighting for him. He had grown powerful indeed, originally invested with the title of Bishop of Adrianopolis, a position now invested with secular rule and in that manner he had risen to become Archbishop of Macedonia during the Civil War. His successor Patriarch Konstantinos Doukas was the cousin of the murdered Basileos Mikhail Doukas, he had made a secret agreement to crown him Basileos if Constantinople fell for two concessions. One he had promised to inflict no physical harm to Romanos and secondly that he allow him to rule over the loyalists in Nikomedia.

    The last concession was strange especially given that his own father had been Praetor of Nikomedia and been deposed by Romanos Diogenes during the Civil War. There were a few reasons he could think of. The first was his motives were innocent; he was simply trying to create a refuge for the loyalists in his former home while the second was that Romanos had made concessions to his friends there when he conquered the place and only by keeping Romanos in place could those concessions be maintained.

    The prayers were complete. Alexios Komnenus took the Imperial crown from Patriarch Konstantinos Doukas and placed it on his head. He thus became Alexios I Komnenos Basileos of the Roman Empire.
    Last edited by Cliffracer RIP; 31-10-2011 at 22:49.

  15. #15
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Those were a couple of really long updates. Not much in the way of good news. Perhaps the best is that Alexios Komnenos now rules the Empire - perhaps some shell of the old Empire can be restored now.

    As far as Crete goes, it seems to be mostly a tale of unrelenting misery and failure. Andronikos really has no success to boast of: not political, not economical, not on the battlefield and last but not least certainly not in his family. I would almost say that his main talent is to find failure in everything, and to have the ability to alienate all of his court.

    I hope we've reached the lowest low of Crete's history, because there isn't much further down to go: it'll be oblivion (and Crete occupied by a vengeful Empire or some kind of Muslim statelet).

    Interesting tale for Leon Kataphloros's end. Theology isn't my strong suit (), but I believe I understand that, in the end, Leon overcame all sorts of temptation and was safely reincarnated. I wonder how that new reincarnation will turn out.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Those were a couple of really long updates. Not much in the way of good news. Perhaps the best is that Alexios Komnenos now rules the Empire - perhaps some shell of the old Empire can be restored now.

    As far as Crete goes, it seems to be mostly a tale of unrelenting misery and failure. Andronikos really has no success to boast of: not political, not economical, not on the battlefield and last but not least certainly not in his family. I would almost say that his main talent is to find failure in everything, and to have the ability to alienate all of his court.

    I hope we've reached the lowest low of Crete's history, because there isn't much further down to go: it'll be oblivion (and Crete occupied by a vengeful Empire or some kind of Muslim statelet).

    Interesting tale for Leon Kataphloros's end. Theology isn't my strong suit (), but I believe I understand that, in the end, Leon overcame all sorts of temptation and was safely reincarnated. I wonder how that new reincarnation will turn out.
    Thanks for your gloomy assessment of my AAR.

    And I see you've missed the references to a certain board-game too.

    Principality of Crete 1076

    Andronikos becomes honest and last year’s suppression of smugglers

    March 6th 1076: Central Square Chandax

    During last years crackdown on smugglers many rogues had been hanged and a great blow had been struck to the mysterious criminal organisation known as the Goats Tail. But the rot had spread deeper than he had anticipated, many nobles from prestigious families had been involved in the smuggler ring. Most shockingly; it had been revealed that Manuel and Michael Petraliphas, two of his cousins had been heavily implicated in the smuggling. He had been left with two options; either he could either ignore their offenses as they were family members or he could denounce them as criminals.

    The just thing to do would be to have them punished in some manner for their crimes, but his family would never forgive him for doing so. He had decided that they would be denounced and punished; although he would not see them hanged. He would do what was right, the evidence was incontrovertible that they were guilty; let his family disown him and he didn't need them anymore.

    "Let it be known that Manuel and Michael Petraliphas are under arrest on suspicion of smuggling!" he announced from the podium.

    The assembled crowd looks up in great shock.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    April 28th 1076: Central Square Chandax

    Andronikos's heart sank upon reading the short and rather polite rejection letter from Roman, ruler of Karvuna. They were the allies of Chandax and after many failed attempts with Armenia Minor, Cyprus, Athens and Aegean Isles they were last power left to turn too.

    Andronikos wandered what value the alliance would have been had been agreed. Would Roman have decided to side with him or with Issakios Paraspondylus if a war had broken out? Certainly the alliance would be of greater value than the others would have been, other than the Armenians. While Roman had finally joined the revolt against Romanos IV he had been a Katapeno but his present title was unclear.

    The Karvunans were bulgarian, he expected that they would cling to the independence they had gained from Imperial rule rather than recognising the new Emperor. Such an alliance would be more reliable, it would not be ended by the prospect of their return to the Roman Empire. This would mean that if he wouldn't be offered the opportunity to safely establish control of Kaneia just because they had returned to the Empire.

    Of course there was a worse prospect: Kaneia itself returning to the Empire.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Back to war with Kaneia

    May 1st 1076: Prince's Palace Chandax

    The time for waiting was over. Strategos Aniketos Alousinos reported that they had reached 550 men, he would have preferred to have 600 men but they could not afford to wait any longer. The longer they waited, the greater the chance that Kaneia would officially recognise the new Basileos Alexios I and the opportunity to unite Crete would be in far greater peril.

    He would take his young son Meletios with him, he had charged himself with his upbringing and he certainly wasn't going to leave him with Eudokia; he might grow up to be a spoilt greedy brat like his wife.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    May 10th 1076: Theme of Chandax

    Andronikos Petraliphas smiled in amusement. After all his failures at diplomacy Thracesia had now offered him an alliance, just after he'd gone back to war with Kaneia! He had no intention of turning down the alliance.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 1st 1076: Border of Theme of Kaneia

    The Kaneian forces were indeed pathetic. Strategos Aniketos had taught him never to underestimate the enemy but in this case this was not an underestimation.

    The Theme of Kaneia was a hollow shell of a duchy. Unable to deal with the unrest that had developed from the Kaneian people's resistance to his previous invasion, Kaneia had been unable to develop more than a truly token force. This victory would be easy.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 14th 1076: Theme of Kaneia

    The Kaneians were dead as before, slaughtered to a man. Issakios Paraspondylus was holed up in Kaneia. All like it was before.

    But this time not only did he have more men, he had siege ladders. They would make quick work of overcoming the ancient walls left over from the ancient world.

    Crete *would* be re-united and nobody would stop it. Issakios Paraspondylus; that ruler of drivelling incompetants that had mismanaged Kaneia would be relieved of their power. Crete would be strong and it would be united whatever the cost might be.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 14th 1076: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    General Logothetes Princess Eudokia had been disturbed from the serenity of the paperwork by a visitor. She looked up in faint irritation at the familiar face of a certain monk.

    "The Chandax fund for the relief of the poor has run dry of funds," the monk reports.
    "Then make some cutbacks, I haven't the money or the time to waste," Eudokia responds.
    "But we've already made cutbacks! There are children dying in the street," the monk protests.
    "Then throw some of the idle layabouts out and force them to find work! Why should I waste money on these people?" Eudokia replies.
    "It's our Christian duty!" the monk insists.
    "Enough! Get out of my sight!" Eudokia shouts.

    "I challenge you to show mercy, have pity on the poor my lady," the monk pleads.
    "Begone," Eudokia says emphasing her point with a dismissive hand gesture.
    The monk does not budge.
    "It is your duty," he says quietly after a long pause.
    "If I were a less merciful woman I would have you thrown in jail for your insolence where you would rot until Andronikos came back from Kaneia," Eudokia replies viciously.
    "You cold-hearted,<<censored>>," the monk reacts.
    Eudokia gestures to her guards and the monk is dragged from the room cursing Eudokia loudly.

    After the monk had been removed Eudokia smiles. People asking for charity were ever so annoying; why was it she had never invested in a cane to whack beggars on the street with? Was it that she was too nice? It must be.

    Why for instance didn't she simply have the 'Chandax fund for the relief of the Poor' closed down and its wealth confiscated for the sake of Cretan treasury? Because Andronikos would get angry and beat her to a pulp? No Andronikos was far too soft, far too kind, far too forgiving. But he might still sack her from the post of General Logothetes and confine her to act as a mere baby workshop for the rest of her days. But would he really do that, who would replace her?

    Why did she still remain so loyal to Andronikos? What did he ever do for her? He squandered money on vain military campaigns that always seemed to fail and as for performing his 'marital duties' well as far as she was concerned a sack of flour could have done a lot better than that fat lump. He had even taken the very son that his pathetic efforts had conceived away. The only thing he had ever done for her was make her General Logothetes of Crete and that was that.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    October 7th 1076: Theme of Kaneia

    She had come to Kaneia to visit her 4 year old son. It had been a long dull journey in a wagon under heavy guard but upon arrival she had come to regret it. Andronikos had developed an appetite and that meant that he had taken her at least 2 times a day. And that wasn't the worst of it, why did the asphyxiating lump have to take so long caressing her beforehand? She was a wife which unfortunately had to produce children for her husband; but she not some piece of clay!

    She had asked herself before as to why she didn't immediately straddle Andronikos and bring him to climax as quickly as she could. It would save her from having to endure his caresses and the slow heaving of his obese form. But that might bring him to believe she actually desired him; it might encourage him.

    Hopefully the war would be over before she would wish to visit her son again in Kaneia, she was going back to Chandax.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Georgia bites the dust

    October 15th 1076: Georgia

    Fariburz al-Kesran Emir of Derbent bowed his head towards Mecca and thanked God with extreme passion for his victory. The war had been long and it had devastated much of Derbent as well as Georgia itself. But his Jihad had been successful, the Christians had been eventually crushed- utterly. Their kingdom extinguished, the greater nobles fled to the four corners of the world while many of the lesser nobles rushed to embrace Islam in order to save their wealth and their power.

    Derbent would now be safe; but more importantly than that Islam would come to Georgia. In time all the Georgians would bow their heads to Mecca as he did, they would repay the victory that God had granted them with the faith of new Muslims.

    But the ways of God were ever mysterious. He had handed unto the Turks the region of Guria and to Arabs from Medina the region of Kakheti. Yet both groups were Sunni heretics not true Muslims.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    December 21st 1076: Kaneia

    His army, equipped with the new siege towers that had recently been devised had made surprisingly short work of the city that once had defied them for years. Now the city was in their hands; a city inhabited by impoverished wretches with torn clothes and a weary expression.

    Looking scarcely better than the rest of the city was its Praetor Issakios Paraspondylus. He stood before his enemy Andronikos Prince of Crete; in chains.

    "Are you going to kill me?" Issakios asks.
    "No I am not," Andronikos responds.
    "I was looking forward to seeing you burn in hell for what you have done and now I must wait a lifetime!" Issakios spits.
    "You brought this on yourself," Andronikos responds.
    "Did I? Enjoy your spoils Andronikos; enjoy your land of rocks and dust inhabited by vipers" Issakios reacts.
    "What will you do now?" Andronikos asks.
    "I will go into exile, my wife will doubtless wish to go back to the lands of the russians where she was raised and I have only one reason not to follow her there,"
    "What's that?" Andronikos asks.
    "That I would miss your funeral!" Issakios replies.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

  17. #17
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    Ah, the love and affection between Andronikos and Eudokia... Such a warm, caring couple.

    Crete is reunited - under a banner of poverty. But at least it's whole again.

    The fall of Georgia should remind Andronikos that his little realm is small and defenseless, while the Muslims are seemingly aggressive and many. Maybe he needs to rethink this independence thing. Not that the Empire can really do much for him, but perhaps another state can be his protector, even if it's only temporary?
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  18. #18


    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Ah, the love and affection between Andronikos and Eudokia... Such a warm, caring couple.

    Crete is reunited - under a banner of poverty. But at least it's whole again.

    The fall of Georgia should remind Andronikos that his little realm is small and defenseless, while the Muslims are seemingly aggressive and many. Maybe he needs to rethink this independence thing. Not that the Empire can really do much for him, but perhaps another state can be his protector, even if it's only temporary?
    True I am vulnrable to attack but Crete is a while away from the Seljuks and so it kind of comes down to whether jumping on a sinking ship is a good idea because otherwise you might be eaten by sharks.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Principality of Crete 1077

    January 24th 1077: Theme of Chandax

    Petros Nikolas looked upon his growing herd of goats with great satisfaction. Goats were all the rage in Chandax at the moment and they were getting cheaper and cheaper. His family would eat and live well for a while at least.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    February 1st 1077: Theme of Nikopolis

    Theodora Komnenus wife of Konstantinos Diogenes looked upon the grave of her husband coldly. The festering wounds gained during the late war; the devastating war that had seen Romanos IV overthrown, Constantinople itself taken by force and pillaged had developed into a recurring disease that had finally claimed his life.

    Dauid Diogenes, their eldest son had been declared Praetor of Nikomedia but he was but a small boy and could not rule. Instead a coterie of bitter loyalists from the last war would rule this ruined and devastated Theme. In public they put up a show of defiance, they were the legitimate Imperial Court but in reality they were nothing but broken men trying to cling on to whatever power they could salvage from the ruins of her father-in-law's rule.

    She had two other children, the youngest Theodoros was actually Konstantinos's but Andreas was by another father. That was why she did not miss her husband much; he had to humiliate both her and her son forever by revealing Andreas's illegitimacy.

    The Diogenes family was far from extinct however. There was another branch of the family that held on to power. Far away in Vidin, the third son of Romanos Diogenes, born to his second wife Elena Lackovic Issakios Diogenes, also a boy held another Praetorship although his stewards there had accepted the outcome of the war. So the Diogenes dynasty was not gone, it had split into two branches.

    Fittingly somewhat there was a greek branch in Nikomedia and the bulgarian branch in Vidin. Fittingly because both of Romanos Diogenes wives had been bulgarians and the bulgarians had been the main supporters of Romanos during the civil war.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    February 5th 1077: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Meletios jumped back in fear at the empty hallway. It was dark and Andronikos had discovered that Meletios was deathly afraid of the dark.

    "Daddy! It's so dark!" he cried out.
    "Shhhh Meletios, the dark can't hurt you," Andronikos responds.
    Andronikos walks into the hallway to demonstrate the harmlessness of the dark and holds out his hand through the doorway.
    "Come to me, go on!" Andronikos insists.
    "I can't daddy I can't! The dark's just too scary!" his child replies tears streaming down his cheeks.

    It was no good Andronikos thought to himself. If this continued then Meletios would grow up to be a quivering wreck afraid of his own shadow.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    February 5th 1077: Governer's Palace in Serdica

    Ivan Shishman Katapan of Turnovo fought to suppress the fear that was in his gut but the time to strike was indeed now. He had loyally served Romanos Diogenes throughout the war only to find that that rat from Asia, Alexios Komnenus had defeated him and seized control of Constantinople itself by force of arms! He had looted and despoiled the city before making himself Basileos of the heap of ruins; not that he cared *that* much for the city.

    But the new Basileos was having difficulty asserting his power; it was his calculation that his rebellion could shatter the fragile unity of the Empire. This would allow him to establish independence *or* perhaps even seize the Imperial purple himself. It was risky but it had to be done, he could not bear to see the man who had killed so many of his countrymen consolidate his rule any further. His only regret was that he had waited so long.

    "Bulgaria will be free! Let us strike before the Komnenus tyrant grows stronger!" he declared to his assembled servants.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    April 27th 1077: Smyrna

    Abdul-Rahman Sheik of Tiberias looked smugly upon his new conquest. His 'alliance' with Alexios I Emperor of the Romans had done him well; he had taken lands from his 'ally'. He was a small ruler, but what he made up for in power he made up for cunning, cleverness and ambition.

    The ancient Roman Empire was weak, Georgia had fallen he had heard, the Seljuk's poised to swallow Trebizond. In these times only utter fools did not take their piece of the booty. The sun would set on the Romans and there would be no dawn; for them that is.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 13th 1077: Chandax harbour

    Konstantios Phokas was leaving Crete. He could no longer stomach 'Prince' Andronikos and his stupid incompetence. He did not understand why this man took his independence as a Principality so seriously; the whole thing was a front he reminded him. They were only making noises of independence to avoid getting involved in the late war, now it was over it made no sense whatsoever to actually take it so seriously, it was meant as a bluff to secure a better status within the Empire when they returned, nothing more.

    While he stubbornly held on to his independence, the Muslims were gathering like vultures around a kill. Yet the others blind to their impending doom sided with Andronikos, Crete deserved independence some of them even argued. Only Eudokia agreed with him; but probably only because it spited her husband and he would never listen to her. There was no point in remaining in Crete, nothing he could achieve.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Andronikos had been hearing more reports of the great unrest that raged in Kaneia, of feral mobs with no respect for law and order; looting mansions, ambushing officials and even as some of the reports went destroying churches.

    But Kaneia was desperately poor and devastated by war; how much of the place's ungovernableness was due to this? Instead of sending soldiers to carry out harsh reprisals upon the nests of these outlaws as Eudokia had suggested perhaps a softer approach would work better?

    Then the solution struck him. The fund for the relief of the poor had done such good work at relieving suffering in Chandax so how about creating a parallel organisation for Kaneia?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    June 28th 1077: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Princess Eudokia held her new baby before her. This time she was overjoyed, her new baby was a girl. Helene would now be replaced; she would have a daughter after-all. Sure it wasn't an heir for Andronikos's dynasty, but she didn't care for him.

    Let Andronikos take Meletios and raise him into a fat little piggy just like his father. She didn't care, this daughter would be hers; and only hers.

    "Kyra!" she named her daughter loudly hugging her new bundle of love protectively against the cruel world.

    She's mine Eudokia Glykys thought to herself.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Re-arranging the court

    July 1st 1077: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    With Konstantios Phokas's his Mysticos's surprise flight from Crete a crisis had fallen upon Crete's administration. Andronikos had been forced to reshuffle the positions in his cabinet.

    Stategos Aniketos Alousinos had been retired and appointed as Andronikos's new mysticos. This forced Athenagoras to return to soldiering, which he was more than willing to do. He did make a suggestion for Postal Logothetes, Helene Tzanzes a woman he had never heard of.

    "She stays in the woman's quarter usually; very useful keeps an eye on everything that goes on there because I'm obviously not allowed to enter." Athenagoras had explained.
    "Does that include Eudokia?" he had asked.
    "I assigned her to that task just after your little argument a while back pretty much for that reason," Athenagoras replied.

    And now he had to greet his new Postal Logothetes.

    "I heard from Athenagoras that you were employed by Athenagoras to keep an eye on goings on in the woman's quarter for him," Andronikos tells her politely.
    "That and other things," Helene replies.
    "What other things? Guarding the virtue of the woman?" Andronikos suggests.
    "Well their virtue is guarded too well, sadly; which brings us to the other things," Helene responds.
    "Which are?" Andronikos responds curtly.
    "Several years ago I was the lover of the Kephale of Agios Nikolaos's wife," Helene Tzanzes answers.
    "So you're a; whatever we call female sodomites," Andronikos replies shocked.
    "Indeed, she would sneak out or I would sneak in and we would then kiss, touch and well sometimes we would indeed have sex," Helene explains.
    "But you're a woman, how's that even possible!" Andronikos reacts.
    "It is very much possible," Helene replies smiling.
    "But you're a woman, so you don't have a penis!" Andronikos responds.
    "And neither I'll assure you did Eugenia Alousinos," Helene answers.
    "So how could you have sex?" Andronikos responds confused.
    "Well I guess it rather depends upon the definition; perhaps your definition excludes anything that doesn't make babies," Helene responds.

    "But if she can't have children with another woman then why?" Andronikos asks.
    "The same reason women worldwide commit adultery, for the sinful pleasure of it," Helene explains.
    "But that makes no sense, women enjoy having children, although not the pain involved but since men can't have children, they enjoy releasing the seed that makes children instead; that's why society is so much more angered when women commit adultery, men commit adultery because their wives don't want any more children but they still want to release seed but women do so to get cruel secret revenge on their husbands by bearing children that aren't theirs, which is why we talk about their virtue being lost," Andronikos replies clueless.
    "You see Andronikos; all those years of marriage behind you and three children but you still don't know that women might have sex for reasons other than to conceive children!" Helene laughs.
    "So back when Eudokia sometimes closed her eyes and threw her head back; she wasn't just doing that because she was imagining what the children she might conceive might be like?" Andronikos replies surprised.

    "You see how easy it is to reveal compromising information Andronikos; based upon the ignorance you have shown about women I know that your wife carnal needs are completely unfulfilled and that is dangerous knowledge to have in the wrong hands," Helene points.
    "Because somewhat might offer her the..... release that she wants and so gain access through her to my secrets and plans," Andronikos suggests.
    "That was why Athenagoras recruited me, I was the lover of Eugenia Alousinos the wife of Dauid Monomachos Kephale of Agios Nikolaos; rumours spread no doubt by the Phokas family I suspect existed that this Kephale was heading a conspiracy to overthrow you and so a spy was sent to infiltrate their mansion," Helene explains.
    "So Athenegoras sent you to seduce Dauid's wife?" Andronikos asks.
    "No, I was eloping with Eugenia behind the bushes and the spy crept up on us and I was recruited to spy on Dauid Monomachos through my contact with his wife," Helene explains.
    "What happened?" Andronikos asks.
    "No evidence of any conspiracy emerged and eventually Eugenia died terminating my access and so I was recalled to Chandax to serve Athenagoras as I did before you appointed me Postal Logothetes," Helene explains.
    "So quite a dull story then," Andronikos concludes.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    August 4th 1077: Prince's Palace in Chandax

    Angelos Spyridon was the star of all the merchants in Crete. He was holding a fair in Chandax where he would sell goods from all over the Mediterranean to the ever eager buyers. His wealth and status would be even greater; perhaps they would even elect him to some office of importance in the city?
    Perhaps indeed?
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    August 19th 1077: Trapezous

    Alp Arslan Seljuk gazed upon the immense and surprisingly orderly lines of women chosen from among the conquered greek city of Trapezous. They belonged by rights to the conquerors, but the conquest had been easy.

    The Roman Empire had burst apart at the seams. Its provinces, separated from the protection of Constantinople were free to be taken one by one; much as his soldiers would divide the women of the enemy among themselves he would be able to conquer the Roman Empire, piece by piece. In the end nobody would ever dispute that *he* was Sultan of all of Asia.

    There was no need to rush, he could take them all at his leisure.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    October 1st 1077:

    Andronikos had arranged to begin Meletios's education. He was growing older and his questions about the world were becoming ever more insistent. Hopefully his tutors would give him an education worthy of the Prince of Crete he would one day be.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________

    December 2nd 1077: Serdica

    Ivan Shishman realised he had been a fool as he crawled through the secret tunnels he had constructed in the event of defeat. Defeat had come, his realm had been destroyed and his lands would belong to Alexios I who would assign new rulers over them as he wished.

    How could he have been so blinded by his desire to avenge the humiliation of defeat in the last war? The war had been lost; if Alexios Komnenus had crushed Romanos IV, how would he ever have had any hope of victory against them?

    Or was it was it not purely vengeance; has he envied the independence that the bulgarians in Karvuna had managed to acquire for themselves?
    Last edited by Cliffracer RIP; 05-12-2011 at 21:41.

  19. #19
    I am presently working on a MOD for Crusader Kings, described here. http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...Rebellions-MOD

    I will likely not be available to update for some time.

  20. #20
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    The Empire is tearing itself apart, the Muslim states are ready to pounce, Crete continues to be poor and lawless... And Andronikos is clearly clueless to the facts of life. At least he shows some redeeming qualities in the scenes with his young son.

    Good luck with the mod. I'll pop over some time and have a look.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

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