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Jehzir

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Chapter One:

For Amastris she enjoyed the dawn of a new morning, before the world’s activities brought turmoil to her very doorstep. Already weary of the crown that was thrusted upon her after the death of her husband, the tyrant Dionysius. The crown was a mighty weight that her linage, as an Achaemenid should be able to bear, yet she is an outcast in her own nation, much like the rest of Heraclea Pontica is to the world at large.

Quickly Amastris set about immediate changes after the death of Dionysius that would alter the course of history, little did she know the part her linage would play in the future of this fledgling nation on the southern shores of the Pontus Euxinus, as it would come to be known by another fledgling nation it would meet in the future Rome.

Here is what the nation looked like according to her scribes and cartographers at the beginning of this new day

DawnofaNewDay.jpg


A courier rushed into the throne room very early in the day, an unusual event, since Amastris had strict orders not to disturb her early dawn routine. Normally, this event would have resulted in the death of the offender, but not this day. For the letter he carried was of very grave consequence.

The letter was from Thrace and war was a foot, so thus on the dawn of 1 Oct 304 Amastris had to make some very quick decisions or her people would be crushed under the threat of one of the “Diadochi”, who are these Diadochi she muttered to herself?

As she read the rest of the letter it became apparent that another war was about to start, a fourth one in fact, for the remnants of Alexander's kingdom. Amastris knew of Alexander only by name but as a royal of Achaemenid blood she knew she could play a part in the coming events.

Amastris shifted into an appeasing stance and used her feminine wiles to set about making political overtones to the evil “One-Eye”, whom she despised with every bone of her body, to leave them alone and focus on bigger prey than our little dissipate nation.

After the disgusting business was taken care of Amastris, the Basilissa used most of the rest of the day attempting to forge a military alliance with a set of nations in the Ox Passage, known as Bithynia, Byzantion. They quickly agreed, being of shared culture and religion. These nations banding together into a small three nation defense league. Amastris shifted to the East, entering discussions with Sinope and Amisos.

Sinope and Amisos are two fickle nations with scrabbling rulers that are not very trust worthy so she passed at an opportunity to form a full alliance, instead bring the two nations into the defense league bringing the coalition to being as strong as rest of the threatening nations around them.

Late in the evening of that fateful day a second courier from Thrace entered the throne room, and this eve he was greeted with open arms. For as he entering he was shouting out Thrace wants to form a full allegiance with Heraclea Pontica! Great news, there was much joyous celebrations within the palace with the Consort declaring “Glory to Heraclea Pontica”.

Resulting450Diplomacy.jpg


Now with some of the more trivial matters out the way Amastris used the rest of the eve to contemplate her next moves. Little did she know it was already decided for her!
 
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stnylan

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I think the Euxine is such an intersting area to play in.
 
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Nikolai

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Some cool foreshadowing there.
 
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Jehzir

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Thank you both for reading, I will publish a chapter as often as possible until the tale is complete. This will be covering all the game's time period. With a lot of interactions with outside influences, but attempting to keep to a historical revisionist theme.

I have built up a few chapters in queue and will post more often as I complete editing them. Over the course of this epic tale there maybe (C.Ed) markings meaning a continuity edit. There will be times where I write one part then come back review it and find that is not quite correct and adjust the story. I will use at least two in-game screenies to guide the plot along.
 
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Jehzir

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Chapter 2: Matters of State (2 Nov 303)

Most of the next year was dull compared to last 1 Oct, the time now is 2 Nov 303. Some of the events that took place was from her son Oxyathres Achaemenid the Archisomatoplhylax. He demanded that we use two of our valuable import storehouses for two different types of horses. As Basilissa I have to right to know why do we need these different types, is a horse just a horse?

With his low loyalty he blasted back at his mother, NO! of course they are not! For one we can put armor on one and the other one is faster and we can mount archers on them instead of using archers on the ground. You know nothing of war as he rages out of the throne room in a huff. A distraught Amastris was left weeping after the encounter. She could not let the native Hellenic Greeks see any weakness or she would be the next deposed ruler. She quickly composed herself and addressed the stability of the nation.

Stability is teetering just above the acceptable limits that give rulers the confidence their people are behind them. She went to Klearchos to seek the aid from the gods in boosting the stability, but he refused as we lack the political will to make such a sacrifice to the gods. So instead decided to do something to raise her popularity. She extolled her younger son Klearchos keep an eye on his older brother Oxyathres.

Over the course of the last year Oxyathres imperial ambitions became widely known amongst the military elite. Being the Primary Heir and his position in government being critical to the morale of the armies he was often looked at with suspicion and fear. Those that knew Oxyathres said he’s a cold and jealous man quick to fits of rage when things were not going his way. No one could really keep Oxyathres in check, only to keep his energies focused into a positive direction. That was a delicate matter.

PrimaryHeir.jpg


Another delicate matter, Amastris was rapidly approaching the time when women could no longer bear children. She kept that fact hidden over the course of the next few months as discussions of marriage were made between her and Lysimachos of Thrace. She knew that the blood of Achaemenid family was highly sought after, for she being a relative of the first King of Kings Darius I, held a great deal of prestige to the world at large. Her brother was Darius III whom Alexander the Great defeated crushing her kingdom under his heel. She had a great deal of resentment for the Greeks in general but that changed when she was given a divine vision.

The vision was complex set of dreams that woke Amastris from sound sleep over the course of three consecutive nights, the first one uttered to her was: Those who pursue you will be under your heel. Those who entice you would rather kneel. This odd message given to her by some unknown source would play out over the next several years. What does it really mean?

By the time 302 rolls around Lysimachos made three marriage arrangements, yet all failed to produce results. He then just selected Nikaia (one of his own blood) who could carry on his own NEW bloodline. What about the most royal of them all not even being recognized any longer? Dismissing this royal slight and letting Thrace appear to have the upper hand in the politics between the two nations would serve Amastris well in the future.

To help with the matters of Phrygia Amastris decided to use her remaining granary’s for trade with her hated enemy. By eliciting salt and fish she was able to increase income and reduce expenses for the army to support her nation. Food was critical in these early years with no additional food sources the nation would perish from starvation in under a year.

Her treasury was meager at twenty talents of gold. Per month, she was seeing a modest monthly increase with taxes and commerce providing five talents, with expenses being a little over four talents leaving a balance of one talent profit. That is not enough to survive on, but it’s a beginning.

economic451.jpg


Now that she has taken care of most of the matters of the State, she needed to seek aid in understanding the vision.
 
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The Number 9

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Interesting !
 
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HistoryDude

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Yes. This is interesting!

Always nice to see an active Imperator AAR...

Subbed!
 
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Jehzir

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Chapter 3: Undertaking the Divine Mission: (4 DEC 303 (C.Ed.))

Amastris was left with more questions than answers following her most recent meeting with administrative consul. One of the consuls in particular troubled Amastris, the Philosophos, Aryanes Achaemenid, her own nephew dared to challenge Amastris’s authority to rule. He did not have power to cause trouble. He was a righteous man in the eyes of the gods so his words carried weight, even if they seemed a bit arbitrary in nature.

AryanesPhilo.jpg


Amastris was careful when approaching Aryanes in private about the vision, but to her surprise he already knew what she wanted before she even uttered a phrase. He said to her “a divine vision needs a grand mission”. This is why I think you are unfit to rule. You have yet to do the things a ruler must. Aryanes drones on: We have a vast area of other Greek city-states that are begging to survive as we are. Some are hostile, others should be friends. We have to determine not just our course but theirs as well. The whole of Pontus Euxinus needs to be hospitable for us to thrive.

Thinking back Amastris recalled, while Aryanes was still talking we are on a grand quest. It has not borne much fruit since it was started on the first day of OCT 304. We sent a courier to barter with some coastal barbarians and we failed to hear any word. Amastris attempts to refocus on Aryanes, however, this political nonsense bores Amastris to death.

Funnydetails.jpg


Aryanes continues, we deal with the Sinope and Amisos but how well are we using our leverage with them? Further east there are more scrabbling nations trying to survive against larger aggressors from our former home, the Seleucids. Amastris had to consider Aryanes words carefully due him being a pretender for the very throne she sits upon. Treachery was always a foot even in peaceful times.

That peace did not last long, as our neighbor to the east Paphlagonia declared war on its neighbor Pontus dragging our two eastern defense league members into the war ON OPPOSITE SIDES! Gah! What a predicament. Sinope was in league with Paphlagonia with the objective of killing off its eastern brother Amisos as a prize. It was with little fanfare that Amisos joined in with Pontus to defend its own interests. This early war was undercutting the peaceful foundation we sought from the Hellenic brethren just one short year ago.

Heraclea Pontica has always maintained a difficult relationship with Paphlagonia, we initially declined an alliance overture on 1 Nov 303, which put our nations at odds with each other. Our religions and cultures do not mix and we wanted to limit the influence they could put on us by being a regional power. So, in response to our refusal, the ruler Hidarnes I Bagabignid of Paphlagonia set this plan in motion to destabilize our whole last year’s efforts, in one bold strike.

Paphlagonia451.jpg


Maybe Aryanes was right, am I fit to rule, pondered Amastris as the news of the war reached her ear with the gossipy courtiers were murmuring things in the dark. Only time will tell and actions speaks louder than words, but what action to take?

(C.Ed. To use the 1 Oct 450 for the Hospitable Sea mission, and fix a couple typos)
 
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HistoryDude

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Interesting update!

Looks like Amastris has rivals for the throne... and doubts about her own ability. But is that a good or bad thing?
 
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stnylan

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Conflict incoming it seems.
 
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Jehzir

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Chapter 4: Necessary Forceful Action (4 DEC 303)

The next dawn for Amastris was not a pleasant one, the sky was red with the clouds forming eerie figures of Ares while giving off blood streaks in the cool crisp air. Winter was rapidly strengthening its grip and things were not going well in the east. Amastris knew of Ares but paid little heed to prophetic messages written in the clouds.

The sky painting was a sign that bold action was needed. After reflecting briefly on the morning sunrise than dismissing it, she prepared herself for court and went about her morning routine filled with meetings and courtly gossip.

Typically, the consul meetings are a bunch of boring status reports and monotonous requests for more talents to fund their respective offices with more denials issued by Amastris, due to the lack of talents to give. Not this day however…

Amastris turned to the current Epiproxenos a fellow by the name of Lysistratos Stratoklid and sought his advice first. He is of the culture and religion of the native peoples; Bithynian and Hellenic. He was probably the foremost expert in the area of politics in the nation. Lysistratos is a cautious person being that he is a very zealous and devout man and is a follower of Ares. He would almost be a better Philosophos than her own nephew but there had to be some family members from all the great families involved in the political games.

Lysistratos’s comments were shocking to hear, with the Consort Pairisades Magid backing up Lysistratos words this was supposed to be an easy decision made by the consul. Lysistratos’s oratory went on about how we cannot look away when our Sinopian neighbors that are under influence by cunning Paphlagonian treachery. They may not be Bithynian, but they are Hellenic, we trade with them, our families know each other, our commerce is tied to them and we are to defend each other. When Paphlagonia bypassed our defense league in attacking Amisos through Pontus we have to act! Even if Bithynia and Byzantion do not.

Oxyathres enters the conversation with a general question perhaps Sinope would be better under our guidance? I have spent the last year training up two thousand of the finest horse archers in the land. I have every confidence in our new general Hermaios Xenarid to lead us to victory.

Being stunned by Oxyathres last statement, Amastris shouts at him, you gave the command of our armies over to someone outside of the consul of nine? The nine of us are the only ones who know what really is going on. We are all loyal to the cause, but WHAT is that cause? That is what we are trying to answer right now. Oxyathres retorts you have never lifted a sword to know, the cause is, survive till the next day, mother!

During this heated debate the Tropheus: Eudamidas Demostenid steps between them. This is a man that is fraught with problems; weak in personality, has mentagra, dysentery and is overtly corrupt, but he is the nation’s next best orator as a measly four. He separates the arguing mother and son, then everyone returns to their seats. When someone that weak stands up to restore peace, it was a powerful gesture that the rest of the consul took note of.

04-451Tropheus.jpg


After the dust up settled down the Consort Pairisades got back to the topic at hand quickly, by saying that finances are meager, and with over three talents going to Hermaios and the Grand Stratos each month, not to be used in times like these is a waste of talents. We may as well dismiss all of our military and be taken over by the savages.

After more debate the Archiatros Pantauchos Demostenid proposes that we do not intervene. His oratory goes something along a physician’s lines. Think of the lives we save by not participating in a bloody war. A long silence is finally broken when Pairisades votes against the Archiatros with Oxyathres quickly joining him. The two orators have to bear the burden of the results of war waited for the remaining military man to speak.

04-451Archiatros.jpg


The Epistrategos, Amyntas Stratoklid is a very unassuming man, he is miserly and shrewd. He is eyeing Pantauchos with suspicion as to the real nature of not going to war to defend our brethren in faith. Amyntas has another motive to suspect Pantauchos. Amyntas set about processing the paperwork to steal a family holding from Pantauchos the month before and is waiting for that scheme to play out. He strikingly supports Pantauchos in this matter so as to not to uncover his real motives.

Klearchos simply votes with the family making it three to two. Aryanes hates war, as it makes his job of keeping the ruling family legitimate more difficult. Since the efforts over the last year having paid off with the stability and legitimacy increasing in the nation, making his job easier. He decides to vote with the family at four for war and two for peace.

Both orators now knowing the score looked at each other, together voting for peace, shocking everyone in the room. After Lysistratos rousing speech, only to vote for peace, caused a rift between him and Pairisades.

Now with a tie vote falling to Amastris, she has to make the final decision. Her mind is dancing with the visions, the morning sky and the murmuring that will not go away. All she wants is peace, but at what cost, when is violence a means to gain peace. All eyes of the consul were upon her as she weighed the matter in her delicate, merciful hands.
 

stnylan

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No doubt a truly momentous decision
 
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HistoryDude

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It'll probably be war...

It seems as if some people have other interests than those of the nation in mind...
 
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Jehzir

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Chapter 5: The new dawn (27 APR 302)

Amastris awoke before dawn this day, stepping out onto the marble balcony, she wanted to see the sun from the first glimpse. She knew that in a few short hours her nation will plunge into a war that was not of her desire. Families will be torn apart by losing loved ones in a war not of their making. Rulers have to defend all of the various interests in the present and future The Greco-Pontic ports are too valuable to fall in the wrong hands.

Pairisades came out to comfort her, but she brushes him off, partly blaming him for the situation. Looking at Pairisades she states: ‘Here I am a ruler not even fit to find peace in my own royal chambers. I voted with you so that I can be in peace here, yet you disturb my only peaceful time of the day’. With that Pairisades nods and exits without saying a word to the dressing chamber to make ready for the day’s events.

Oxyathres and Hermaios already in the war room from the moment the decision was made. The burly men were making progress on the plan to move the army towards the nearby settlement of Dadybra. Hermaios is a superstitious man, he looked to Klearchos for divine guidance. The Hierophant starts to plot quietly about how to take advantage of the situation. Being the youngest son, he does carry some weight and is the one most often looked to when one is needed to determine the divine prophecy of gods.

05-452Klearchos.jpg


Pairisades joins in the conversation by stating he is hoping that Hermaios is able to capture the first settlement without resistance since they are our Bithynian and Hellinic brothers. Upon receiving this news, Hermaios then quickly adjusted his plan by turning to the coast marching to the City of Sisamos. Once there the general will survey the land before deciding on heading south into enemy territory at Ziporea early in the spring, on 27 APR 302, our first foray into enemy territory.

At this early stage the enemy had the advantage in overall troop numbers; nine cohorts consisting of two archer cohorts and seven light infantry cohorts. Their combined navies were eight ships with three in the light class and five of the trireme class. Our current forces were two royal archers cohorts, held over from the 1 Oct 304 start, as Amastrsis used them to claim the crown with support of Lysimachos of Thrace. There are four new cohorts; two heavy infantry which we used the iron from the settlement of Kieros to produce, then the two mounted archers. Oxyathres proudly proclaims they will be the savior of our nation. Our navy consisted of six ships: three of each light and trireme class, they were mostly confined to ports, due to the superior enemy and their closer proximity to the war.

To our advantage; the enemy had divided interests, one being he was the aggressor against Pontus, or would he be a defender in our separate war. King Hidarnes I of Paphlagonia was a man of bold actions.

Action was swift and fierce on the battlefield of Ziporea, three battles happened in the first month. Our six combined cohorts in the Grand Stratos quickly dispatched the single cohort on guard from Sinope that was defending Ziporea, killing each one to a man without a single loss on our side.

This opening skirmish resulted in the Paphlagonian main force to marching toward our position. Hermaios kept the men steady and in line as the army approached and engaged our position when our morale was at its peak. We had the terrain and martial advantage and we quickly defeated the five cohorts that approached on foot. Losses were 952 with 2010 to the main enemy army following this second battle.

Now both armies were bloody, the war began in earnest, with Ares looking on in amusement from above. After the second battle of Ziporea was finished a late arriving contingent from Sinope of three thousand walked into a trap set by our General. The horse archers finished driving off the Paphlagonian main army and hit the rear guard of the approaching Sinope army causing them to be slaughtered to the man. It was a shame to see four thousand Greek brethren slaughtered on this battlefield. They were on the wrong side of our god Ares thus they deserved their fate. After that first fateful action in Ziporea the body count was 1186 to 6010, would the enemy keep throwing more troops into this obvious trap? That answer was answered two days later on 29 APR, when a poorly lead fragment army from Paphlagonia wandered into the battlefield also being slaughtered to the man. Once the battles were concluded over the prior eight days Hermaios secured Ziporea for Heraclea Pontica.

05-452warprog.jpg


Amastris was in the palace stressing over the war situation. She wanted a quick end to war so she wrote the Cassis Belli based upon the area of Paphlagonia Inferior along the coast which included a series of four meager settlements on the fringes of both nations. Stephane, Koloussa, Karambis, and Aigialos were marked by our cartographers as the four territories after Ziporea that needed to be annexed under our rule to complete that objective. Amastris wanted a quick battle without the aid of our allies Thrace, to show them we could stand on our own. That hope quickly faded.

A courier from Thrace arrived on the morning of 1 JUN 302 with a letter demanding Amastris to fulfill her obligation to marriage with Lysimachos or he would declare war upon us. This greatly upset the Basilissa as a direct threat which she promptly told the courier. Go ready your nation for war WITH US, not against as we are already at war! I am not a piece of property I have been married before and I have a divine right of royal blood to rule on my own accord.

Meanwhile back on the battlefield things were going well for the nation. Morale was very high and our treasury increased to over 100 talents from the conquests and occupation levies. Over the course of the next year the enemy used several evasive tactics to avoid conflict until our Thracian allies arrived in JUN 301.

05-452warprogsummary.jpg


Herminos then pressed the advantage once the Thracian two divisions of Stratos arrived to aid us. He marched to Timonion where an even matched battle of even cohorts: seven on seven, would present an opportunity to end this war early.

This Battle of Timonion was essentially a draw with both armies losing a few hundred men before the Paphlagonia army retreated as they lacked the will to continue the fight. The while the main Paphlagonia army was regrouping the king of Paphlagonia dispatched two cohorts to slow down our army and they met Herminos in Koloussa. The king and the rest of the retreating enemy army left the city just prior to the conflict. Those poor two cohorts did not stand a chance as they were slaughtered to the man, in a repetitive theme for this war.

For more than a year, this war has carried on. Now it’s the summer of 301. We have achieved our war goals, yet the enemy will not accept any form of peace. So, Amastris orders the general to besiege Sinope to show we meant business. During the war to date we lost only 1565 total men from our alliance, compared to the 10117 for the enemy coalition. Perhaps Oxyathres was right that this new army would be legendary and she knew little about war. Time would eventually wear the enemy down, but time was the one commodity she could ill afford to waste. She was about to change in a way few expected.

(edit: to fix a duplicate image insertion)
 
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Jehzir

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No doubt a truly momentous decision
It'll probably be war...

It seems as if some people have other interests than those of the nation in mind...
You both were correct, now you will be able to read the progress, Thank you for reading. I have a queue of about 10 chapters and may post multiple updates in a day, as time allows. I will have admit I am a wide player, so if you are not into a lot of war and the political wrangling that go on behind the curtain, it may not be the best AAR.
 

Jehzir

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Chapter 6: When Accidents Happen (7 JUN 301)

It was just before sunrise, a Grecian man was walking up the muddy path toward the palace, he was attempting to keep his tunic from dropping into mud while carrying the update on the war towards the palace.

I am Agaios, the head of the Stratoklid family, of Biythian culture and follow the Hellenic religion. I was placed in charge of the royal cuneiform, an odd tradition of these foreign Pasargadae rulers. For the first few years after the death of Dionysius the history was written from our Basilissa’s perspective. Well this day it will be about me, for a change.

06-453_AgaiosStratoklid.jpg


I cannot stand their barbaric traditions of keeping a cuneiform. We Grecian peoples follow the great writings, like in the Anabasis of Alexander as composed by Arrian of Nicomedia. Arrian wrote his books in a series of timelines, roughly one to two years apart. As a youth I was able to touch these sacred writings with my own hands. The touch of the papyrus still feels fresh even this day. I will follow Arrian’s methods for this royal chronicle (OOC: the method for this AAR), for I know it will be a grand one to write about, I can just sense it. A chronicle, perhaps that is what we will name our composition.

Now I carry to the royal library, if you want to call it that, on something that resembles an animal skin, the most recent update on the war. As I was proceeding to make my way up the royal hallway into the antechambers there was a lot of shouting between voices I could not make out. The doors were closed and the royal guard blocked my way. Being a man of limited martial ability, I ducked quickly into the library sitting room and waited for the fireworks to cease in the throne room.

Unbeknownst to me as I hastily darted for the sitting room, I knocked over a set of lit candles on to a set of hides that documented some of the more recent writings from 302. I watched the royal hallway to see any sign of activity. I finally heard our “ruler” Amastris’s voice echoing off the stone walls saying something about earning the gods favor.

I could not stand the ruler Amastris, she could not understand the need to fund our literary and religious research in more than just one religion, HERS! What blasphemy! Even though our state religion is Hellenic, these heathens sought to integrate their believes into ours. So, I set about provoking her.

After a while the throne room doors opened, I peeked down the hall an observed the guards had returned to their standard positions outside of the doorway. I made my way into the throne room and addressed the Basilissa herself, next to her was one of the other pretenders to the throne a man by the name of Aryanes, the Philosophos it was an outrage that he was in charge of our state religion when the man does not even follow the Hellenic ways. This was another reason to provoke ‘my Basilissa’ bah. I had the least amount of succession support of the three pretenders to the throne, though I did have the highest power base by being the head of my great family.

I presented the animal skin to the Basilissa, she quickly brushed me aside and stated she wanted to talk about religious affairs, not about the war. What how dare she ask me of these things now. I spent hours putting together the skin only to be quickly dismissed. What contempt for my work!

Amastris asked me a few courtesy questions about the Greek gods, she knew of them but was not a believer in any of the Hellenic pantheon. I mention that Ares the god of war whom I worship is currently favoring us against the Cybelene heathens from Paphalognia but he sends mixed messages to confuse those who do not believe in him to use them as pawns.

As I began to monotonously drone on about how the heathen religions must be crushed there was shouting from the library. The three of us rushed out of the throne room as the guards were shouting for us to evacuate, it seems there was a fire raging in the library. Who would do such a thing as to destroy literary works? Little did I know, it was me.

After the fire was extinguished and order restored, I fell to my knees and began to weep at the destruction wrought by the fire. I fell further into despair as evidence was discovered that lit candles caused the blaze and the guards noted I was the last one in the room prior to the fire starting.

At this news the Basilissa stepped forward placing her hand on my shoulder. I resisted the temptation of pulling it off as she uttered what will become a divine prophecy. I know this fire was not your fault Agaios. For one day when we become grand enough, we will build a library that will be the envy of the world for generations to come. We may not be able to view it with our own eyes, but I know for certain our progeny will.

With that statement I immediately lost all rage for my Basilissa, I no longer sought to be her rival, as she touched me the anguish of hatred soon left me. She guaranteed my survival this day for the accident, during our dry summers fires like this could quickly rage out of control. Fortune was on our side this time, but for how long.

It was the high point in the summer, now preparations are being made for the coming winter so we are to survive. I must do my part.
 

HistoryDude

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Hmm, interesting perspective change. Will we get more perspective changes in the future?
 
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Jehzir

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Hmm, interesting perspective change. Will we get more perspective changes in the future?
They will be used when in small doses to push the narrative. This interaction was one of the first critical moments between ruling and native cultures. It is a large part of the theme.
 

stnylan

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I believe she has found a friend
 
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