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Thread: In the Shadow of Certain, Painful Doom: Abyssinia

  1. #121

    Chapter 18



    While waiting for the wedding, we hold a hunt. In his excitement, Spymaster Anastasios keeps calling our prey “deer,” but we don’t have deer here. We are hunting greater kudo. Turning while riding fast, I get distracted correcting him yet again and accidentally break my horse’s leg. Later a change has come over me. Perhaps this one more setback involving my horse, the latest of fortune’s many darts against me, has done something to my soul. After the hunt, I am seized by a slothful melancholy that I just cannot shake. Why bother going the extra mile? It will probably come to naught anyway.




    I’m starting to get bad dreams.

    What happened to that knuckle bone? I don’t think my people would murder me anymore, since they have gotten used to my foreign culture and heretic religion, even though they still despise me. And Nikodemos’ speech to the rebels about my protection from Basileus Michael must have leaked out to others as well. It can’t be lost on folks either that without my vassalage to Byzantium, the Shia Caliphate’s mamluks would soon storm in from the East. But it is still deeply unnerving to think that some of the more fanatical Monophysites out there might discover that my holy hostage is free. Some of them might not care what happens to their earthly self in order to get right with God.

    I start to look at the people around me differently. Did one of them steal it? My sleep goes from bad to worse.





    My son is now married to the beautiful Doux of Armenia Minor—I mean, married to the beautiful Sibylla, sister to the Doux of Armenia Minor. And we have our first (real) alliance, permissible to Basileus Michael as the Doux is also a vassal of the Basileus.





    Our ally, Doux Iosephos II of Armenia Minor. His duchy and nearby county amount to six counties worth of levees in total.





    Tyrus will be our first conquest. While the Catholic Crusaders raise hell a little to the south, distracting the Muslims, this tiny one-county infidel count will be helpless to resist us. My spies bring back reports of wonderful sophistication in their culture and economy. With this county behind us, we will be able to raise much more money and levees. Plus, if I move my court there, we will be able to negotiate and hire local bands of mercenaries to expand our fighting force even further. And finally, if the Caliphate does decide to attack Sennar, and “The Drunkard” is unable to stop him, I will be able to continue my reign unabated.




    Finally someone with a good reason to hate me.

    The impious and infamous ruler of Tyrus. With any luck all of his county’s holdings will soon be mine.





    I call together my council and tell them that we need to declare a Holy War on Tyrus right away. I don’t explain my urgency to them, but I know that my new ally the Doux is now in grave danger. Given my unspeakably running bad luck, by allying himself to me, the Doux has made himself an enormous target to the cruelty of Fortune and her instruments of torture and destruction. Something horrible will happen to him soon, no doubt, and if we want to use his troops we need to do so at once.

    The councilors all agree that this is the best course of action. Nikephorus does add the warning that other Sunnis will very likely rally to the defense of Sheikh Hakam of Tyrus. He wants more time to get intelligence on which Sunni rulers might help him, how many troops they might bring, how many Doux Iosephos could be expected to share with us, and several other considerations. Given his high martial ability, I yield to him, asking him to do all he can to conclude these considerations within a week’s time, which he assures me will be very easy.





    Weeks stretch into months as Nikephorus argues that we should wait for this or that reason. He talks of military matters with such a high degree of sophistication that at first I am glad someone so knowledgeable is saving us from a rash attack that we would regret latter. But as time goes on, I begin to despair that we will ever be able to begin. There is always this dispatch we need to wait for, or that spy who needs to report in. If all rulers were this careful, there should be no wars in all Europe or Africa.

    Finally caution suddenly gives way to desperation. Nikodemos tells me that he has learned that Basileus Michael himself has turned his eyes (momentarily away from his bottle) towards Tyrus. If we want it for ourselves, we must strike now. I immediately call the council together and issue a declaration of Holy War on Tyrus, hoping that we are able to get there first and that my ally will answer my call.
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  2. #122
    Quote Originally Posted by Philo32b
    Thanks for your comments. I like your idea of going after Christian Holy Orders, since Ethiopians get no mercenaries. If you are an Orthodox heretic, you can convert to Orthodoxy through the Intrigue menu. How do you convert to Christianity instead?
    When I converted to Orthodox religion I've got many propositions from my various courtiers (those with high scholarship skill) to convert to their ideology, ranging from Monophysitism to Bogomilism. Some of them I even didn't knew about before. I turned into Monophysitism on my own because of the random event, without any choice. I think that people with high scholarship in your court will try to convert you, you also have some percentage of self-conversion because of region's religion, so if you give Catholic chaplain a mission to convert your capital then the change of your becoming Catholic should increase. I'll have to test it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philo32b
    I wasn't following you exactly when you were talking about plotting. You are talking about acquiring claims through marriage, right? That is a good route to go, but in Tesfaye's case, he doesn't have the manpower to win any war for any claims he might have. That's why he used marriage to get an ally.
    I am used to tricky dynasty policy of "an eight son of an eighth son". With the current patch, however, it looks like you should marry unimportant male courtiers with possible inheritance claims, let them have a baby (with inheritable claims) and marry them to into your dynasty. Then you'll have to kill all standing in the way of your daughter's husband (as it's the males who will inherit) thus spreading your family's fame. In your situation it's worth, I think. Exporting gifted Sennar's females into your target's court is just another way to help in your plotting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philo32b
    I didn't know a liege would gift you more land if they like you. I knew that you can ask for a duchy from your liege if you own a county in the de jure duchy. But you're saying that one's liege will just give you a county out of the blue?
    When your liege is above his demesne limit he'll try to get rid of surplus holdings. However, I am not sure how AI decides to do so.

    Not that it'll help you much. Probably the Zagwe dynasty is already doomed. They have God against them after all.

  3. #123
    Quote Originally Posted by Philo32b View Post
    So the idea here is that the horse needed to be put down and the character gains Slothful for calling someone to do it rather than doing it himself?

    Why don't you get a choice here?

  4. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by Fronzel View Post
    So the idea here is that the horse needed to be put down and the character gains Slothful for calling someone to do it rather than doing it himself?

    Why don't you get a choice here?
    In many events, your other stats determine what options you get. And seeing as our good Tesfaye is craven, shy and lost his wroth, calling for someone else to do the job is probably the only thing that would come to his mind
    Maybe a brave ruler would get more options

  5. #125
    Major azedalis's Avatar
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    Hello Philo32b, I read you AAR today and liked what I read. I hope you continue your AAR, I know that playing a non-catholic causes less events and such so I am glad to see one here. BTW, since I am going to be busy tomorrow I wanted to tell you that I decided that your writing of your AAR should be rewarded and you will be WritAAR of the week. Congradulations.

    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...1#post13789810
    Last edited by azedalis; 05-05-2012 at 13:41.
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  6. #126
    Captain Marco Oliverio's Avatar
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    Awesome! Totally deserved - this is really an excellent AAR!
    Marco Oliverio

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  7. #127
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    Well done sir. Will the unfortunate dynasty be able to... win a war? Has fortunes cruel game come to an end?
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  8. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by Holy.Death View Post
    Not that it'll help you much. Probably the Zagwe dynasty is already doomed. They have God against them after all.
    LOL, yes you are probably right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fronzel View Post
    So the idea here is that the horse needed to be put down and the character gains Slothful for calling someone to do it rather than doing it himself?

    Why don't you get a choice here?
    Quote Originally Posted by Held der Arbeit View Post
    In many events, your other stats determine what options you get. And seeing as our good Tesfaye is craven, shy and lost his wroth, calling for someone else to do the job is probably the only thing that would come to his mind
    Maybe a brave ruler would get more options
    @ Fronzel and Held der Arbeit. I've never seen a choice with this event, but perhaps someone with the diligent trait would get one. I find it a bit of a stretch as well. Why does your horse breaking its leg occasion a slothful turn of mind? Seems to suggest just squeamishness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by azedalis View Post
    Hello Philo32b, I read you AAR today and liked what I read. I hope you continue your AAR, I know that playing a non-catholic causes less events and such so I am glad to see one here. BTW, since I am going to be busy tomorrow I wanted to tell you that I decided that your writing of your AAR should be rewarded and you will be WritAAR of the week. Congradulations.

    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...1#post13789810
    Thank you, azedalis! I appreciate the recognition, and it is a pleasure to receive this award!

    You mention playing a non-Catholic realm--one of the things I noticed is what little interaction you have with your head of religion. No excommunications that I've seen, no bickering about investiture, nothing. Since the head of the Orthodox church isn't out making life more difficult for his faithful, what does he do all day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Oliverio View Post
    Awesome! Totally deserved - this is really an excellent AAR!
    Thanks! I'm glad you like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machiavellian View Post
    Well done sir. Will the unfortunate dynasty be able to... win a war? Has fortunes cruel game come to an end?
    Thanks, Machiavellian. And as you'll see with this latest chapter, Fortune has not yet tired of tormenting the Zagwe Dynasty. I don't force these horrible things on poor Tesfaye; the game really does have it out for him and probably his children and his childrens' children... if the dynasty makes it that long.
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  9. #129

    Chapter 19


    Is another rebellion really worth the extra 3 gold a year?

    Treating the local people with Byzantine condescension and disdain while collecting taxes, Anatolios has managed to anger the peasants, who begin to grumble about revolt again. It is almost reassuring now to get bad news. It shows that the universe is consistent and predictable. Consistently hateful, of course, but consistent.

    I begin to bury my valuables in the courtyard.





    Why bother lying anymore? People will hate me regardless and it’s too much trouble to keep track of one’s lies. And since I can't even be bothered to put down a horse myself, I certainly won't exert myself to keep track of my lies.




    Gebereal is wondering what the hell happened to the council.

    My very Greek council actually has very capable people in it. Like moths to a flame, they came from all over the Byzantine Empire to Sennar, where they toil in the vain hope that I will one day press their claim to land, so they too can be a count or baron and constantly worry about being invaded or poisoned or hated by your entire council.





    My son begs to be put in command of our small army heading to war and he in fact is the best suited, but I will not hear of it. I’m hoping our men don’t actually have to do any fighting themselves, but if they do, risking my son’s life would be very imprudent. I put Selassie in charge, despite the debacle defending against the rebels. He showed himself to be eager and dedicated to command the army, and that counts for something. Plus everybody is even worse than he is. Let's just hope they don't see any action.





    I send my spymaster ahead to see what is happening in the area. There are enormous battles back and forth between the Crusaders and the Muslims just south of Tyrus, with untold numbers of soldiers fighting, holdings sieged, and towns sacked. Otherwise the area is quiet.





    Relief! My son’s brother-in-law has answered my call to arms and not died some premature, horrible death. With some luck and hard marches, my ally… and my army, too, of course… can reach Tyrus and conquer it before the Basileus has time to wake from yet another wine-induced slumber. Then we’ll…





    We have run out of time. While my ally and myself are still only just leaving our home counties, the Byzantine Empire has declared their own Holy War on the infidels. Specifically, on the infidel realm of Tyrus. This is their own Holy War and would mean, if they are successful, that I get nothing. The innumerable Byzantine hills and valleys are even now covered with the gleaming of klivanion cuirasses and the shining of kontarion spear tips as massing soldiers gather from across the land and begin marching south.
    Last edited by Philo32b; 07-05-2012 at 00:49.
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  10. #130
    Love this AAR. Great setting, and your writing is terrific. Kudos.

  11. #131
    Quote Originally Posted by Philo32b
    You mention playing a non-Catholic realm--one of the things I noticed is what little interaction you have with your head of religion. No excommunications that I've seen, no bickering about investiture, nothing. Since the head of the Orthodox church isn't out making life more difficult for his faithful, what does he do all day?
    Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople do excommunicate rulers from the Greek Orthodox Church. He is also a pawn in the hands of the basileus. There are very few Orthodox factions in game, almost none of them close (at least not until the moment when the Eastern Roman Empire starts to break down), their rulers almost always are beyond Emperor's interest. However, if you have very low relationship with him and are part of the Orthodox Church then you can expect to be excommunicated. I was, as Bulgarian Emperor(/King) who start as an Orthodox. It's simply incredible rare to occur. It's much easier to see Catholic rules be excommunicated and invaded. In truth Orthodox faith is pretty weak and is rarely useful (there are no semi-independent, smaller Orthodox countries in the Middle East and Bulgaria, for the lack of the better example, doesn't really need protection from Constantinople as it isn't threathened by the Saracens, the Roman Empire usually takes the brunt of the fighting in Anatolia nad Catholics are trying to carve out The Kingdom of Heaven with Crusades).

  12. #132
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  13. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by Snap Wilson View Post
    Love this AAR. Great setting, and your writing is terrific. Kudos.
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Holy.Death View Post
    However, if you have very low relationship with him and are part of the Orthodox Church then you can expect to be excommunicated. I was, as Bulgarian Emperor(/King) who start as an Orthodox. It's simply incredible rare to occur. It's much easier to see Catholic rules be excommunicated and invaded.
    It's interesting to know that Orthodox excommunication can happen. I wouldn't be surprised, then, if Tesfaye experiences it sooner or later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athalcor View Post
    The tense is killing me !
    Yes, I'm surprised Tesfaye himself doesn't get the "stressed" trait.
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  14. #134

    Chapter 20


    The Byzantine soldiers do not lack for spears.

    Reports from my councilors and the army are filling in a picture for me of these Byzantine warriors. Whereas the Franks and the Lombards are usually keen to run to a fight, full of bravery and a lack of strategy, Byzantine soldiers prize intelligence and careful strategy to provide the winning edge in battle. By all reports their orchestration of tactics in battle is a marvel to behold. While I am happy that they will be able to crush another infidel, I am not nearly as happy that they will in all likelihood do so to my infidel.





    Fortunately the Byzantine armies seem to be preoccupied with attacking and pursuing Tyrus’ small army rather than beginning a siege. This gives my forces a chance to reach the prize first and establish siege rights. I hope so large a host will honor these rights from so small a friendly force.





    The closer my small army gets, the more real and tantalizing is the prospect of taking the prize. Doux Iosephos has Tyrus within his grasp if he would just seek to take it. Why does he not start the siege for me instead of also chasing the Tyrus army?





    Finally the Doux does begin a siege, but as bad luck would have it, another infidel ruler takes up the cause for Tyrus and joins in its defense, defeating Doux Iosephos' army. This has probably crushed any chance I have of taking Tyrus for myself, as massive Byzantine armies have regrouped a little north, in Tortosa, and they now begin to march south.





    The Byzantines arrive mere days before my army does and annihilate the infidels in the field, laying bare the holdings for siege, which they immediately begin. By the time my army shows up, it is a very small part of a very big siege. I don’t think they will be any sharing of the scraps. The Byzantines put my men to work guarding the latrines.





    I am a clueless warrior, but even I see the imprudence of delaying an assault. In just a few days, the Byzantines have lost 5,000 due to starvation while they siege the castle of Tyrus. This is a far larger loss than would be possible from pitched battle with the infidels. Why do they not storm the city with our vast superiority in numbers?





    Finally the war is over. Tyrus is crushed and I am left nothing. 35% of my men died or deserted due to lack of food and shelter in the overcrowded county. The survivors begin the long and lonely trek home.

    I cannot help notice that we would have had a chance of taking Tyrus without competition if Nikephorus had not caused so many needless delays in making “the perfect” strategy. I should probably confront him about this, but that would be awkward. Plus, he probably realizes his mistake. Sometimes it is better to let people figure out their mistakes for themselves.





    I buy a falcon for my wife in the vain hope that it will win her love. While it does take the edge off, she still hates me.

    The more important consequence of my buying the falcon involves the Shia Caliph. The seller of the falcon, Aman Bale, a Monophysite Egyptian, is an merchant nominally from Aksum in Axum. In reality, though, he is basically an itinerate fluent in several languages of the region and able to perfectly assume the local customs wherever he goes. Aman tells me that I am lucky to have such a good selection of falcons from him, as practically all the roads south of Egypt are overrun with bandits and rebels, making trade difficult. When I ask him why lawlessness is reigning in the Caliph’s lands, he tells me that the Caliph’s men are haggard fighting off the Catholics in Jaffe and Acre. In Gondar, after almost 30 years under the Muslim ruler, the many Ethiopians are close to finally accepting the Caliph as their rightful ruler, and so fighting for him, but they are not quite there yet. So barely any fighting men are available south of Egypt to keep the roads clean.

    I am not the bravest man in Sennar, but sometimes opportunities become available that you just cannot pass up. And besides, I do still have the protection (at least in name) of “The Drunkard”. I seek out my marshal, resolved to not let him delay at all on a new plan as he did so lethally in the war against Tyrus.
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  15. #135
    Baron Von Uber's Avatar
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    Very good stuff.
    curtis: I'm not even going to bother with this thread. The skids to hell have already been greased on this baby.

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  16. #136
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    Ah, Weird. I thought when you declared war on a county but your liege captures it first you get the county, Anyways, I'm looking forward for more of this AAR.

  17. #137
    I've just spent a few hours reading this AAR. I have to say when I was reading page 2 I couldn't work out how on earth you had managed to stretch the thread out to get as far as page 7(!)...but I'm glad you did as it is an entertaining read and there is no shortage of stuff happening.

  18. #138
    Maybe the falcon won't hate Tesfaye? One can hope.

  19. #139
    Quote Originally Posted by Von Uber View Post
    Very good stuff.
    Thanks, Von Uber!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kohrmeh View Post
    Ah, Weird. I thought when you declared war on a county but your liege captures it first you get the county, Anyways, I'm looking forward for more of this AAR.
    After reading your comment I went back to tried to rephrase it to show better that Tesfaye's liege started his own Holy War as well. So it was as if a completely different realm was also warring on the same small country Tesfaye was attacking. Thanks for your comment!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldarad View Post
    I've just spent a few hours reading this AAR. I have to say when I was reading page 2 I couldn't work out how on earth you had managed to stretch the thread out to get as far as page 7(!)...but I'm glad you did as it is an entertaining read and there is no shortage of stuff happening.
    I thought similarly when it became apparent that infidels would soon overrun Gondar. Fortunately the game provides no end of torments to make Tesfaye's life miserable, even in a nowhere county with extremely few soldiers.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintEsteban View Post
    Maybe the falcon won't hate Tesfaye? One can hope.
    I don't think the falcon minds Tesfaye... but of course, falcons wear hoods that block their sight most of the time.
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  20. #140

    Chapter 21



    My son’s wife has a child. I have a grandson! My son and his wife name their child Tesfaye… after my son, not me. My son hates me, after all.





    The dynasty tree of “House Zegwe.” My sisters Alaworld and Genat are married off in regular marriages, so they will not pass on the dynasty to their children. Yemrehana Krestos Zagwe, my half-brother from a Sicilian Muslim woman, was never legitimized, so he cannot continue the dynasty as well. That leaves my son’s line, with its hopeful new arrival, and Jima. I do not have a lot of hopes for Jima.





    Jima is my garrulous younger brother by eight years and a hunchback. He never knew life but in Sennar, and I think that has affected him for the worse. He is patient and humble, true, and with regard to food and drink he is as temperate as I am. But with regard to sex the man is anything but temperate—he is a raging lustful hedonist approaching the likes of old Chancellor Geteye. He is only average at persuading or deluding men in his normal capacity as a courtier. But when he talks to women he becomes irresistible to many of them; he has an amazing talent to be very persuasive with many women to do what he wants, which is usually sex.

    I suppose he developed this ability to compensate for his hunchback, which would normally greatly reduce his chances of securing the affections of the opposite sex. In any case, despite my arguments about the need to continue our dynasty, the man has repeatedly refused to marry, saying that it would slow him down. I don’t know how he has avoided any illegitimate children with his activities; I guess his special powers keep him from getting slowed down by them, too.





    After talking to the falcon merchant, I talk to Nikephorus about a plan to invade Caliph Abu Mansur al-Nizar’s land while he is too vulnerable to even protect his people from rebels. (I can’t do that either, of course, but I never claimed to be a powerful figure in the region). Since the Ethiopian Monophysites that have lived under his yoke for so long are very close to yielding to him and fighting for him, this may well be the last chance to do something crazy like this that has even a very remote chance of success.

    Nikephorus looks glum, and starts to wring his hands while talking about some quick initial preparations he would need to do. I startle both of us (we’re both craven, after all) by loudly and emphatically refusing. I tell him that the army must leave the next day. Oddly, he seems to almost relax suddenly at this, and he becomes a dynamo of activity to make sure that the army is in fact ready to leave the very next day. Granted, it is a much easier task when you command a small band of basically rabble, but even so some preparations need to be made, and he made them with efficient confidence.





    I have Girma lead our men into battle, taking care to avoid the rebel-infested counties. Our army would only barely be able to beat the rebels, leaving none to evict the infidels from our previous lands.






    Back home in Sennar, Nikodemos’ wife dies, the one I tried to have an affair with. It is reported to me as death from illness. I do think it odd that she died so young, at 31, when she had seemed to be improving greatly from her illness. But I am so focused on the war to the East that I give it little thought. What I would not find out until later was that her death was not due to natural causes after all. Her's was the first in a string of murders that would shock Sennar.
    Last edited by Philo32b; 07-05-2012 at 20:24.
    In the Shadow of Certain, Painful Doom: Abyssinia -- A Crusader Kings 2 AAR (Completed)

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