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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Amric

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July 15, 1173

Prince Theodore Lascaris stretched his aching muscles as he stumbled out of the tent into the bright sunshine. Looking up at the sky he saw a few large white clouds slowly and majestically moving above him. He nodded to the guard, who nodded back while keeping his eyes on the surrounding area of the camp. With a tiny smile the Prince stepped over to the small lake and bent down to wash his face.

The water was cold, and he decided to just thrust his entire head into the water. He arose with a gasp, his hair and beard streaming silvery liquid beads. Theodore was fully awake now and heard the footsteps of Matteo coming up behind him.

“I cannot see why anyone would wish to do that,” he observed with a shudder,” It’s beastly cold.”

“Might as well get some kind of experience,” the Prince slicked his hair back,” This whole expedition has been a complete failure.”

“Indeed,” Matteo splashed a small amount of water onto his face,” Brr, that is cold! No sign whatsoever of a Christian nation within hundreds of miles.”

Theodore combed his fingers through his beard,” His imperial majesty will be most disappointed.”

“At least we will return while the pass to travel through Rum territory is still good,” Matteo peered out onto the lake,” What is that?”

Theodore looked out there,” Looks like some kind of primitive boat.”

The boat held two figures. One was an adult male while the other looked to be a child. Neither seemed to be aware of those on shore. With a start of surprise and an oath the two men saw the man grab the child and throw him into the water. The child cried out in some barbaric tongue as the man paddled away clumsily. The child frantically cried out, but the man ignored the plaintive cries.

“I don’t think he can swim,” Matteo observed quietly.

“Apparently,” Theodore snapped,” Go out and fetch him out of there.”

“Me? It’s cold out there!” Matteo exclaimed.

“It was not a request.”

Matteo shrugged and tossed off his clothes. With a grimace he waded out into the water and began to swim toward the child who continued to scream and try to stay about water. Matteo reached the child and managed to overpower him enough to drag him to shore. With a grunt the man dragged the child onto the sand.

“Happy now?” Matteo shook himself before putting on his clothes.

“Yes,” Theodore observed the child.

Obviously a boy, of some kind of barbaric oriental tribe. He was choking and gasping, water dribbling out of his mouth as he struggled for air. The dark brown hair was past his shoulders and the black eyes were slit nearly closed by the force of his coughing.

“Boy?” Theodore spoke to him gently.

The lad looked at him askance. By this time the whole camp had arrived to look at the spectacle. Twenty men at arms stood away, looking at the hills nearby.

“Could be a spy,” one man offered.

“A boy?” Matteo scoffed,” I doubt that very much.”

The boy spoke up with a string of words the men couldn’t understand, save for the local translator.

“He asks if you plan to kill him,” the man spoke to Theodore.

“No. Ask him his name,” Theodore instructed.

The boy listened as the wizened man spoke to him again. The boy answered.

“His name is Temejin, son of Yesugei.”

“Ask him why that man threw him out of the boat,” Theodore nodded at the boy.

The oldster spoke to Temujin, who answered vehemently with arms gesturing wildly.

“That was the brother of his father’s bride to be,” the man shrugged,” Apparently Temujin won a horse race against him. It made him look bad in front of his own prospective bride.”

“I see,” Theodore rubbed at his eyes,” Ask him if he needs help getting back to his village.”

The two barbarians spoke again at some length. The boy gesturing to the east and the old man shaking his head negatively.

“What is it, man?” Matteo growled.

“He says he is from a place far to the east of here,” he responded tersely,” His father sent him to the village of his bride to be. It would not be safe for him to return there. Nor can he go home, either.”

“Why ever not?”

“Because the ‘uncle’ would kill him. If he returned prior to the marriage his father would also kill him.”

“Barbarians,” Matteo spat.

“We can’t leave him here,” Theodore sighed,” Tell him he will come with us.”

The man spoke to Temujin again, who shrugged. The boy had no weapons with him at all, save for a small knife. Theodore looked at his guide for a moment.

“You will be in charge of him for now,” he ordered,” Teach him my language.”

“As you say,” the man bowed low before speaking to the boy.

The two of them walked away as Theodore turned to face Matteo and the others.

“You aren’t really thinking of bringing him home?” Matteo asked.

“Why not?” Theodore’s eyebrows rose,” You object to that?”

“He’s a barbarian!” Matteo exclaimed,” He’s dirty. He has lice, for God’s sake!”

“He can be cleaned up,” Theodore retorted.

“He’ll still be a barbarian,” Matteo argued.

“We’ll civilize him,” Theodore smiled,” Teach him our language, culture, and religion.”

“So he’ll be a ‘civilized’ barbarian,” Matteo snorted,” What good will he be?”

“One never knows,” Theodore turned to the others,” Strike the camp! We’ll eat while we get under way. I want to put some distance between us and this place!”

The whole area became a beehive of activity as tents were struck and packed away in wagons which were being hitched to horses. Men harnessed and saddled the riding horses while the armsmen donned their armor.

Theodore wore his armor with some discomfort. He had lost some weight during this journey and it made his armor a bit loose on him. Which caused some chafing, which he suffered in stoic silence. Within the hour the entire group was heading west, back toward Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire.
 
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Amric

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For those who are concerned that I would abandon my other AAR, do not worry, I am not abandoning the great detectives. However this idea popped into my head and I HAD to start writing about it. It was disturbing my sleep. So...

Here is the concept. What if Genghis Khan were saved by a passing Byzantine group as a young boy? Well here it is....This will be in the Mongol Empire Scenario timeframe and there will be a bit of background before we get to the time where I'll actually be playing the game.
 

Amric

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Nobegow - Thanks. It ought to be interesting...

Jwolf - Goals? I have to have goals? I can't tell you. It would spoil it all.


Another update...
 

Amric

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The weeks passed uneventfully as the young boy Temujin learned Greek from the guide, Herd during the travel as well as during the evening around the campfires. Theodore was impressed with the seemingly natural ability of the lad to ride. He rode better than anyone else in the group, by far. Theodore had managed to buy a bow that was similar in style to the ones the boy said his people used. His skill in hunting was impressive for one so tender in years.

As summer passed into early fall the men continued to regale the lad with tales of the ‘City’ and the mighty Roman Empire. The stories were so gripping that Herd, who had planned to leave the company, soon begged to be allowed to see the great capitol. Their journey had taken them to the port across from the City itself. They had booked passage on a galley that would take them across the strait to the great capitol.

Theodore had taken Temujin aside at the inn they were staying at to question him personally now that he knew his language to an extent. They boy was wearing a new tunic of white and had been thoroughly bathed and his hair shaven to rid him of the lice that infested him. He rubbed his own bald head before quaffing a drink of wine.

“So, boy,” Theodore looked at him askance,” What shall I do with you?”

“I do not know,” Temujin shrugged,” You will do with me what you will. I am your prisoner.”

“Prisoner?” Theodore threw back his head and laughed,” Not exactly that. How old are you?”

“I am eleven summers,” Temujin replied,” Nearly a man.”

Theodore choked on his wine,” Really? Perhaps in your culture, but not in mine.”

Temujin shrugged again,” Does it matter?”

“Yes,” Theodore nodded slightly,” It does. I have a dilemma with you. I could sell you as a slave on the market.”

Temujin’s eyes narrowed,” You could.”

“But I won’t,” Theodore assured him,” But that leaves me with other issues. I could foster you to some family that is beholden to me.”

“To become a tradesman? Or a common laborer?” Temujin’s lip curled in contempt,” I am a warrior!”

“I said I could,” Theodore reminded him,” Not that I would do so. You are certainly a great horseman, and quite skilled with that bow.”

“Skills of a warrior,” Temujin retorted,” I had been learning of the sword before I was sent to my mother to be family.”

“But the Empire doesn’t need warriors,” Theodore sighed.

“How do you protect your people?” Temujin asked in surprise.

“With soldiers,” Theodore explained,” Warriors are loose collections of fighting men who are not organized. Barbarians who use numbers and surprise to be effective. Soldiers are groups of men disciplined to work together as one unit. A cohesive unit that can cut through any group of warrior barbarians.”

“Bah!” Temujin snorted,” Against the Chin my peoples have taken much and lost little to them. They have soldiers and we cut them down like so much wheat.”

“I know nothing of the skills of the Chin soldiers,” Theodore shrugged,” But Roman soldiers have conquered vast areas of lands and peoples over the centuries.”

“Centuries?”

“Well over a thousand years there has been Romans holding large areas of territory,” Theodore smiled,” Lands so vast that it takes many months to cross it by horseback.”

Temujin’s eyes widen,” This is what Roman Empire is today?”

Theodore sighed, putting down his wine,” Not like it used to be. The Empire is hard pressed by many barbarians. The western half collapsed about 700 years ago.”

“So your soldiers are not as good as you claim,” Temujin crowed.

“It is not the soldiers, but the leaders that have caused us our difficulties,” Theodore replied stiffly,” Poor tactics and strategy, weak Emperors and ossified officer classes who care more about their privileges than the people and the empire.”

“Sounds like a good place to raid,” Temujin noted.

“As have thought many others,” Theodore admitted,” Yet the city has stood and will continue to stand for Christ is on our side.”

“Who is this Christ?” Temujin inquired,” A mighty Emperor? A general?”

“He is the son of God,” Theodore stopped himself from squirming.

A theological discussion was not his intention. He wasn’t equipped for such and wished he had kept his mouth shut on the subject.

“God?” Temujin scowled,” Just one?”

“Yes, just one.”

“He can’t be all that strong,” Temujin observed.

“Even though Rome no longer controls Western Europe the religion of Christ is strong there,” Theodore decided not to mention that there was a difference between the western and eastern church.

“Yet the empire is half the size it once was,” Temujin noted,” So how strong can your god be?”

“He is the alpha and the omega,” Theodore dredged the saying from his memory,” The beginning and the end.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“He was here before us and created the world, the animals, plants, and the people,” Theodore explained,” He will be here long after we are gone.”

“But what does he do?” Temujin shook his head,” I don’t understand. Is he a god of waterways, a god of weather, what?”

“He is God over everything,” Theodore smiled wanly,” It is up to us to live a good and Christian life. When we die we go to heaven and live with God.”

“I will go to heaven regardless,” Temujin smirked,” My gods love me.”

“Really?” Theodore frowned,” Then why did they allow you to nearly drown and become a part of our Christian fellowship?”

“It’s a test,” Temujin shrugged,” I am not part of your fellowship.”

“We’ll see,” Theodore smiled,” Wait until you see the City.”

“The Chin have cities,” Temujin snorted,” Great big smelly places. Many people, bad smells, and they cheat.”

Theodore sighed. The boy, in his own way, was correct. Cities are smelly. People do cheat. But the City was different. A great cosmopolitan place with peoples from all over the empire and beyond. A architectural beauty unmatched by even Rome at it’s height. A fortress of learning, trade, and a bastion for true Christianity.

“You’ll see, boy,” Theodore smiled,” Just wait and see.”

“My name is Temujin,” he replied hotly,” Not boy.”

“That name is barbaric,” Theodore grimaced,” We’ll need to think of a good Christian name. You’ll need to study with a priest as well.”

“More studying!” Temujin scoffed,” I wish to be a warrior. Not a priest!”

“It wasn’t a request,” Theodore stared at the young man with a steely gaze.

Temujin stared back with his own hot gaze. Minutes later the boy dropped his eyes to the ground. He wasn’t surrendering so much as giving his keeper the impression of servility.

“If you wish to be a soldier,” Theodore mused,” That could be arranged.”

“Warrior!”

“Soldier,” Theodore said sternly,” Trust me, young man. You’ll learn more and be a far more effective fighting man doing things our way.”

“We’ll see,” Temujin muttered to himself.

“What did you say?”

“So you say,” Temujin replied hastily.

This Prince had him in his power. It would not do to anger him too much. His life depended on the good will of the older man. He would study and he would learn all he could. This empire would be his new home apparently. He had no intention of becoming a slave. He wanted to be a warrior. If he had to be a soldier, then so be it. As long as he got the opportunity to fight.
 

Director

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Now that is an interesting twist.

I predict that young Temujin will be given his desire to fight, and soon. :)


For those of us not familliar with the Mongol scenario, could you post a pic of the map at start?
 

Saulta

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Director said:
Now that is an interesting twist.

I predict that young Temujin will be given his desire to fight, and soon. :)


For those of us not familliar with the Mongol scenario, could you post a pic of the map at start?
Yeah, that would be great! Can´t wait for this aar to start!!!
 

Snake IV

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Me want pick too. :D
 

Rirre

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Well what can I say the hurrican is allmoost back it seems, two updates in roughly two houres.

As allways a great start Amric, I'll be following this one aswell.

By the way have this senario changed mutch since spring 2005 (tha last time I played it)?
 

Amric

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Director - Glad you like it. As for pics...sorry. I'm doing a build up to the actual game, but until I get around to getting my computer fixed no screenies at all. I generally don't do them anyway, I usually have someone else post them for me...

Saulta - Again, sorry, no screenies for the moment..

GregoryTheBruce - Cool it will be, I hope. I've been thinking about this for some time now and I had to get it out....

Snake IV - Nope, no pics yet. Maybe later if I can convince some kind soul to post them for me...

Rirre - It's the same one I used for my Baltic Tribes story. Glad you like it so far...

J. Passepartout - Nope. Not going anywhere near China or Mongolia.
 

EvilSanta

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Interesting idea,I await update eagerly.
 

Amric

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Almoravid asked me this in a PM, but it was such a good question that I felt it would be a good idea to post it in the thread for all to see. He brought up something I felt we all should recognize. I hope he doesn’t mind.

Interesting idea, I can't wait to read more of it. Yet one paragraph stylistically made me wonder:
Quote:
The water was cold, and he decided to just thrust his entire head into the water. He arose with a gasp, his hair and beard streaming water. Theodore was fully awake now and heard the footsteps of Matteo coming up behind him.“I cannot see why anyone would wish to do that,” he observed with a shudder,” It’s beastly cold water.”

... you use water quite frequently, which is considered to be bad style. Probably you're a much more experienced writer then me, so do you have a reason for this?

Waiting for more updates,
A.
You should have put this in the thread! That way others could know the answer as well. You are quite correct I did do it that way, and the answer to why is sheer sloppiness. I know better and usually manage not to do that, but I didn't catch it this time. Nicely done, and thank you for keeping me on my toes! Therefore I have changed it. Hopefully I will be paying more attention in the future. But I do hope I can count on you and the others to keep me there?

EvilSanta - Glad you like it. As for when the next update is coming...well when I write it...:)

hurricanehunter - As far as I know, yes.

J. Passepartout - Patience, my friend. All will be revealed in good time....
 

almoravid

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Don't mind at all, I just didn't feel right about nitpicking over an otherwise very good text. :)
 

Amric

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Some of us writers don't mind nitpicks. One cannot improve if nobody is willing to let us know where we have made mistakes! I've never minded people pointing out things like that. I try to pride myself on accuracy, spelling, etc. Sometimes I make errors. We all do, and it's useful to know when I make errors. I like my stories to read like books, as it were....
 

Machiavellian

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An interesting new tale you have here. Very intriguing idea. I am curious whether the would-be-Genghis Khan will become an Emperor General or will instead flee and eventually return to his people telling them of a great jewel in the West to sack and pillage?