A Storm from the West part IV: The Baktun of the Holy War. (a Sunset Invasion Megacampaign)

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kazanov

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Chapter 4.4 The Masquerade 888 CE New

Kazanov

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Chapter 4.4 The Masquerade 888 CE​



The Funeral of the Kuhul Ahau

Islands of the Blessed, March 871 CE



Since his ascension to Duke of the Atlantean Islands and his discovery of the remaining heretics on his domains, Ixbalanqué was very busy learning about the old traditions of his people aided by the only surviving priest of the old Church known by the rest of the islanders as “Old Kuk” (Kuk meaning Quetzal in Mayan) and by the Duke as K’awil, former Bishop of New Tikal and now Bishop of the Atlantean Islands.

K’awil had been educated as a priest and from a young age dedicated all his efforts to the destruction of the old church, because of it Pope Honorius II sent him in 829 CE to the Islands of the Blessed to try to convince the heathens to convert to the true faith before it became too late for them. Once on the epicenter of the Pagan world of the Mayans the young priest had an epiphany and secretly converted to the old faith convinced that God had sent him there to return to his roots and honor his ancestors by following their traditions, the Heathens worshipped Jesus and the Bible after all…but when the Kingdom of New Tikal announced their punitive campaign against the island he was convinced by the High Priest himself to return to his home and save all the old knowledge he could from the destructive zealotry of his former colleagues.

Once he returned to his position In the continent and publicly condemned Mayan Traditionalism to save his own life the Pope ordered the young man to be sent to New Tikal were he acted as an Inquisitor of the faith because of his experience with heathens, he saved a lot of lives from the claws of his Church and convinced many of the continental heathens to falsely convert to the Fraticelli Church in order to save themselves and their communities of certain extermination, over time the ascended the ranks of the Church and became the Bishop of New Tikal and then he used all his power to protect the family of the High Priest and ended educating his grandchild who then ascended to the Duke of the Atlantean Islands and after some months asked his liege for K’awil so the old man could help him strengthen the church in his domain.

The education of Ixbalanqué in the old ways was interrupted with an important but sad event, the death of his father. He had not seen his old man for most of his life but he had vague memories of him as a loving but sad man who was too busy doing whatever the exiled son of a pagan High Priest did in his spare time under the surveillance of the Church but had the right as a son to ask his liege to retrieve the body of his father from the continent. The Duke was reluctant at first about hosting a pagan ceremony on his lands, but K’awil convinced him to host a great ceremony to say goodbye to a misunderstood father who could had been the most important man of the old religion but the events that happened in the start of the Baktun kept him for occupying his rightful place in life.

Some days later

The ceremony had lasted two days and after many secret rituals to prepare the body of the deceased for the other world and a ritual that involved the community drinking an alcoholic beverage that was used to wash the body of the father of the Duke to share his sins and burdens in life they were saying the final farewells to the man that could have been the High Priest of the Traditionalist but instead lived a sad life as a prisoner in enemy territory. K’awil was behind the altar in the woods leading the ceremony while Ixbalanqué was standing next to his father's body, both were surrounded by the islanders who were repeating the prayers led by the former Bishop of New Tikal.

Ixbalanqué looked at the mortal body of Chaac Q’uk’umatz, his father, he was inside a boat with beautifully carved images depicting the great feats of his house and the old man looked calm but sad even in death but he had a slight smile on his face as if he had left the mortal world happy knowing that his son assumed the role that his family line had proudly carried for generations, his body had been washed with perfume and adorned with green stones that simulated the jade used by his ancestors and he was wearing a golden crown made adorned with colorful quetzal’s feathers, a bird that was brought to the Islands of the Blessed more than 500 years earlier by the Mayan expedition that ended the Turdetani dominance over the lands that were once part of the Ishfania Kingdom and a fine and colorful tunic that had the symbol of the Q’uk’umatz house sewn on it.

K’awil finished with the prayers and then gave the final speech after walking towards his Duke:

- “By the glory of the God that created our world and gave us the gift of life and the wisdom of Kukulkan, who enlightened the path of our ancestors and blessed our royal house to conquer our enemies I take your crown, Chaac Q’uk’umatz son of Pacal Q’uk’umatz, High Priest of the Mayan Church and true Kuhul Ahau of the vacant throne of the Mayan Empire" -he knelt and with great care took the crown from the head of the man lying on the wooden boat- "to crown your son as the new Kuhul Ahau of our people, may he lead us to great things in the name of God and our ancestors”

Duke Ixbalanqué was surprised by the sudden coronation but he understood the importance of the situation, the title of the Mayan Empire was destroyed when the betrayers in New Tikal adopted the Etruscan faith as their own, but he knew that his ancestors had been claiming -in secret because they never had to power to take it by any means- the title for generations, and now was his turn, he knelt before K’awil, accepted the crown and then spoke to his people:

- "By God and Kukulkan I promise to protect our traditions and way of life from the traitors that embraced the Etruscan Faith, betrayed and murdered our people and persecuted the true faith after dismissing our sacred traditions, I promise to carry our my sacred duty as spiritual leader of my people and do whatever if necessary to restore the Empire as was foretold by the ancient Prophets...".

After the Duke said that the crowd started to chant an old song about the first Q’uk’umatz and how he united the Mayan city-states in the Ma’ya’b to create the First Mayan Empire and after that they proceeded to carry the boat were the body of Chaac Q’uk’umatz was laying to the western coast of the island, all the inhabitants of the Atlantean Islands that could travel to witness the ceremony were there and Ixbalanqué was at the front of the procession accompanied by his mentor, K’awil. The boat was then towed by another ship in direction to the forgotten lands of the Mayab so Chaac Q’uk’umatz could rejoin his ancestors and Kukulkan himself could guide his journey to a place where no mortal could travel, the crew on the ship set ablaze the boat when they reached certain point…from the beach a small light was seen.

The islanders were preparing for at least two weeks of festivities to commemorate the death of the nominal Mayan Emperor, Ixbalanqué and K’awil were left alone in the beach and the young man, still looking at the distant light, the Duke took the opportunity to talk with the man who crowned him:

-“We have never talked about my grandfather, we are free now to do whatever we want was we are free from the Fraticelli spies of the continent, but we have never used this opportunity to talk about Pacal…I need to know more about him”- said the Duke talking without stopping looking fire consuming the boat of his father.

-“My Duke, we are never truly free of the gaze of the Etruscan zealots, maybe now we don’t have infiltrators from the Church, but I am old… I will die soon and they will send a replacement, an Inquisitor, we have to prepare for that… but we can talk about Pacal, that crazy Old man…” - said the old man with sadness

-“Tell me then, why he chose to die in the temple instead of fleeing or die fighting against his enemies?, from what I have learned from your lessons and you have taught me more than anybody else in this world, suicide is not a correct option for a Mayan and my Grandfather was a true follower of the old ways. I know that the Mayab is a holy paradise beyond the reach of mortals like us…but what if he knew something more? After all, he was one of the last men that had access and the knowledge to read the old scrolls…what if there is an opportunity to travel to the west and not in the spiritual way my father did?"- said the Duke looking at the distance, the boat that had the body of his father had been already consumed by the fire.

The Priest looked at the young man with serenity, he also wondered about the existence of the Mayab on his younger years and ended accepting the official belief: The Mayab was a lost paradise just like the one in the Christian Bible and the Mayans originated in the Atlantean Islands like everyone else in the world knew…he had seen Pacal and his priest building a ship to travel to the west and learned from the villagers that the High Priest never died in the temple…but the whole idea of traveling across the sea to a distant and unknown land was beyond belief, many had tried to do exactly that over the centuries and had died in the attempt… Pacal was a genius for his era after all, it was absurd for him to die trapped in the temple but he could not believe in him traveling to the Mayab because it was not a real place…it was ridiculous.

- "Your Grandfather was a brilliant man, but even the greatest men can commit mistakes, never forget that my Duke…."

K’awil died during the winter of 871 and a week after his funeral a strange ship came from the west with messengers from a land contiguous to the Mayab. Pacal Q'uk'umatz had successfully traveled to the western continent and had apparently taught them about the existence of rich lands in the east.




An unpleasant surprise

Kasa, Duchy of the Atlantean Islands, 888.



Ixbalanqué was returning from one of the small islands in his domains from another reunion with the ambassador of his true masters, since he received the letter of his now deceased grandfather back in 871 he had entered in contact with people sent from the western empire beyond the sea. While his small ship made the trip back to his base of operations in Kasa he started to doubt, maybe betraying all the people he knew to the ones who were using him as a puppet from the shadows was not a correct thing to do and the plan made by an old relative he never truly knew was a great mistake… but he had achieved so much over the years thanks to the motivation given to him by the westerners…

The envoy from the west petitioned for an increase on the amount of tribute sent to their outpost on the Green Islands (OTL Cape Verde), after all, if they wanted the invasion to be successful they should be able to sustain a large army from a prolonged amount of time and a military outpost should be built there…he in exchange was promised to get revenge against the descendants of the criminals who massacred his people during the Great Purge and the possibility of obtaining certain privileges under the rule of his overlords. That guarantee alone was the motive behind his expansion to the tropical southern lands on Africa; his masters needed him to secure the resources present in the western coast of Africa and also was a good way to gain the trust of the Church and keep them distracted with the conversion of the newly conquered people to the Fraticelli faith. Thanks to the double game he was playing he was a rich man that lived in relative poverty, paying tribute to two masters while having to do a great effort to not get discovered by the Inquisitor sent by Church or the agents protecting the interest of his King in his court.

On top of that, his greatest problems were not created by the intentions of his “masters” pulling strings from the shadows, the fanatical Church or the King of Galicia, his distant relative, but by the same people he had to displace or conquer to fulfill his long-term objectives created a completely unexpected scenario, his initial strategy of arranging political marriages between his people and the local nobility had been successful at creating internal stability in his new domains, but the initially divided tribes of the western coast of Sub-Saharan Africa that gave him relatively easy conquests started to unite under the banners of powerful warlords who promised to defeat the Christian Kingdoms of Ghana at the east and Ixbalanqué in the west, the most powerful of these new entities was the Kingdom of Kaabu.



WNvIh0i.jpg

I cannot conquer them, i cannot convert them, this will be a long conflict.

The Warrior-King of Kaabu was the most fierce and fanatical enemy Ixbalanqué has ever faced and he converted the mountains that bordered his domains at the east into an almost inexpugnable stronghold from where his enemy conducted continuous raids against his subjects to steal cattle, grains and other goods and was little the Duke of the Atlantean Islands could do to defeat them in the battlefield as they were too well organized and powerful for his armies, the only thing he could do to try to appease these warlike people was send missionaries and try to convert these heathens to the Fraticelli faith and try to prevent them from raiding his lands by putting many outposts and having his levies raised at all times…at a great cost.

With the future of his people endangered he had taken great precautions in the education of his children because he knew that they were his successors and the hope of the true Atlantean-Mayans in the complicated times to come. His greatest pride was is eldest daughter whom he named Itzia who was a brilliant young woman that had become a competent administrator, she never disappointed him and he believed her to be the perfect daughter and the best choice to succeed him as Duchess of the Atlantean Mayans but even if he wanted he could not name her as his heir because of the traditions of his people who demanded to have male leaders, meanwhile his second son and heir, Balam-Quitzé, was not a talented administrator like Itzia or a Scholar like himself but as he was raised in a climate of constant warfare had became a good fighter and was always trying to impress his father with his feats of strength from a young age, but Ixbalanqué was always disappointed of him because the heir of the Mayan High Priesthood wanted to be a soldier instead of a priest as generations of his ancestors were. The Duke was considering the possibility of marry him to a distant noble and liberate himself from the shame of having such a disappointing child… that way he could name Itzia as his successor and guarantee a good future for his people.



fzYXkjL.jpg

She was my heir, but then a male son was born...


Ixbalanqué had made the trip to the meeting with the ambassador in complete secrecy and obviously nobody was awaiting him in the small harbor he used for his nocturnal trips, he was secretly a traitor to his King and his Church and had to move very carefully in the web of his enemies to not get discovered in his multiple treacheries, being a known coward helped him at being overly paranoid about being discovered so with the help of his most loyal subjects they had built a series of secret passages from his residence in Kasa to many important locations like the harbor so could walk completely unseen amongst his subjects, as always he chose a night without moonlight and the darkness protected him from the prying eyes of the many agents his enemies had in the settlement…he entered his residence in complete silence from a small door in the floor of one of the stables where he had his beloved horses..

That’s how he discovered that Karel, his Bishop and the spider sent by the Pope to spy on him was not completely busy converting the natives as he believed…and that his beloved daughter was not the perfect daughter and candidate to succeed him as he wanted.



KcFnmSY.jpg

Crusader Kings moment, the 44 years old Priest seducing the 17 years old girl.


Ixbalanqué had underestimated his enemy and now the spider sent by the Pope was infiltrating his own family, could his daughter betray him to the Fraticelli Church?
 
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NarcomancerPL

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Who could resist this moustache? ^^

P.S.: I don't know if you can, but can you include more pictures. It was pretty empty today :( In the past you used to include more pictures not only screenshots from CK.
The second thing this part of AAR had multiple grammar mistakes and misspellings. Please try to fix them next time before publishing. If you need some help with this I'm available :)
 
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Kazanov

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Who could resist this moustache? ^^

P.S.: I don't know if you can, but can you include more pictures. It was pretty empty today :( In the past you used to include more pictures not only screenshots from CK.
The second thing this part of AAR had multiple grammar mistakes and misspellings. Please try to fix them next time before publishing. If you need some help with this I'm available :)
See, it needed more time :p , ill PM you
 
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Midnite Duke

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Oh, Happy Day! Two separate @Kazanov vignettes disguised as one episode. Do not worry about pictures and screenshots! They are only crutches for less gifted webweavers. The tales that you spun today: 1) Viking funeral disguised as Mayan. 2) Life on the wild frontier where you are outnumbered. 3) Favorite child seduced by cunning rival. Anyone needing pictures, can purchase a Little Golden Book (my favorite was The Poky Little Puppy). Thank you for awakening my imagination.
 
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