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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

morningSIDEr

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Excellent stuff. Good to see that poor Dobroslav bowed out the way he wished; far from his wife.

I would like to suggest my own character too, if possible. Caesar Stuart; a horrendously obese drunkard, inept at near everything except quaffing and eating ludicrous amounts of food, he is Scottish of course (with such a description he could be no other nationality). Furthermore he is a shocking coward despite having somehow won a number of victories in battle. Former King of Scotland, Emperor of the World and Advisor to Oyo, he continues to offer his advisory services to any nation desperate enough to seek his aid.
 

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well, your Kettu is a wee bit less generally murderous than his original, but I rather like what you've done to him ... Can also see his effect with the sudden spike in dead marshalls and strangely beatified former rulers (I love it when CK throws that up especially for a ruler who has rather enjoyed his reign, but also hung in for long enough to ramp up a decent piety score)
Yeah. I once had a Kinslayer get beatified. That was weird.
 

Cornelius Rex

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[Draft title: 1086-1087: The more I try, the more it seems to break.]

[Cast:]
Prince Mutimir of Dioclea. Rather inoffensive youth with an outsize nose. A mix between a large puppy and an unwordly academic.
Brother Wamba. Looking relaxed and bourgeois.
Marshall Artemios. A bland face, and a great ability to transmit anxiety.
Zoltán Nemanjóvic. The lost prince of Serbia, as himself.
Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell. The lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania. The lost count of Suenik, as himself.
Sundry characters without lines. Say a dozen and a half.
Extra special effects. Just some canned laughter.

November 1086. Palace of the Prince of Dioclea, Zeta. Old working room of the Duke. Everything has been redecorated in clearer colours and golden Orthodox icons. There is a large desk in the middle of the room; the Prince and the new Marshall Artemios discuss the new military policy.

[Prince Mutimir, pacing around] … and I want this war conducted in a rational, scientific fashion. Dioclea will be a paragon of order and discipline.

[Marshall Artemios, standing to attention, looking fixedly at the wall] Yes Sir.

[Prince Mutimir] No haring off against whoever happens to cross our path. No independent missions. No looting, sacking, massacring, or general mishandling of the population.

[Marshall Artemios, looking paler] Er… no Sir.

[Prince Mutimir] We will abstain from stealing innocent nomad’s pastures. We just want to negotiate a fair peace and get back home to putting the Duchy’s, I mean the Principality’s finances in order.

[Marshall Artemios, sweating slightly] Yes Sir. Still…

[Prince Mutimir smiles smugly, turns away to dismiss Artemios] Well! Then I guess everything is clear. You can go, Marshall. Do your duty.

[Marshall Artemios, hesitanting] Yes Sir. Er… your highness?

[Prince Mutimir, impatiently] What?

[Marshall Artemios] … well, you see, it’s just that… those Hard Boiled Eggs and Knives…

[Prince Mutimir, lightly] Speak on, man! What have they done? Gone and invaded Byzantium?

[Marshall Artemios, missing the joke] Er, no, well, I wouldn’t put it past them, really… but the fact is, they’ve been following Glorious Marshall Dobroslav’s last orders and now we hold every major Cuman fortress, Sir. The Cuman chiefs are surrendering. The war is practically over. We won.

[Prince Mutimir, crestfallen] Oh.

[Marshall Artemios, mumbling and looking at his toes] … except for a little matter of confused borders with the Principality of Chernigov, that is…






*

March 1087. Old quarter of the city of Zeta. The ceiling terrace of a popular tavern. Late evening. Several courtiers grumble disloyally about their new ruler while eating olives and drinking local specialties. The first mask the taste of the second.

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, putting down a glass] Keeps saying he gets no respect. But what is he doing to earn it?

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Well, if you ask me…

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, flinging a small stone over the wall] Not that I’m doing it, mind you.

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania] First thing he does is trying to stop the Army from bringing in half the Caucasus. Then he signs a coward’s peace with Chernigov. There’s no way I’m going to recover Suenik with this government!

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, undeterred] Well, he doesn’t play crocket. That’s got to be worth something.

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania] And then that wife of his goes and names the boy “Berbat”? I ask you! And the Prince said it was a nice name!

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, lifting an eyebrow] Said the kettle to the pot. Still, you have to give the man some points. Not everyone would dare appear in public with that nose…

[General nods of agreement]

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, piqued] It’s Anatolian Turkish. Means something like “disgusting”, “appalling”, “miserable”, “horrid”, “sickening”…

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] What? The nose?






*
April 1087. Palace of the Prince of Dioclea, Zeta. Entrance hall. Opens on the North to the French windows, on the West to the main staircase, on the East and South to many large and small doors. The center is organised as a receiving piece with waiting furniture. A subdued noise of many voices runs in the background.

[Brother Wamba, passing by the main hall’s closed gates] What’s going on in there?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, loafing on a sofa with a back number of Soldier of Fortune] In the main hall? It’s the meeting of the Estates General. Last day, Prince’s big State of the Nation speech, general asking-for-money time.

[Brother Wamba, stopping by with interested face] Oh? First Estates General in the history of Dioclea, isn’t it? Well, I hope he manages to impress them. If he really wants to put the house in order, he needs the barons and their coin. Think he will try coaxing them, or selling them his vision?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, looking doubtful] Well… I heard him rehearsing last night...

[Brother Wamba] And?

[Small door in the gates of the hall opens, a minion walks out carrying papers. A background of conversation escapes with him.]

[Prince Mutimir, his voice reaching from inside the room] … pretty please? Pretty pretty please? Oh, come on!

[Laughter.]

[Door closes.]

[Brother Wamba] Ahem.

 
Last edited:

loki100

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great stuff ... especially the motivational begging speech. And that is one large chunk of the Ukraine you now own ... just in time for the Mongols to turn up next to.
 

Cornelius Rex

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Yeah. I liked the cameo.
SO, is Kettu a man? I'm hell of confused. But the cliche was good. What is it that movie is called?
Happy to hear it.

Re the film, it was "Some like it hot" :).

well, your Kettu is a wee bit less generally murderous than his original, but I rather like what you've done to him ... Can also see his effect with the sudden spike in dead marshalls and strangely beatified former rulers (I love it when CK throws that up especially for a ruler who has rather enjoyed his reign, but also hung in for long enough to ramp up a decent piety score)
Glad to hear it too.

Re Kettu, he's already killed almost a hundred Cumans... and he's just starting :). And re the kinslaying, this one killed a wife, a son, a nephew and a grandnephew :). Plus several less-closely related members of the Blood (schismatics, all of them).

Impressive release schedule you have. I have problems updating my AARs weekly (or in the caseof Reconquista, every two weeks).

Like your take on Ermengol. Still better-than-thou and smug like hell, but with more humor :D.
Ermengol is favourite bugbear from some of my games too, and I always picture him as you did :).

The release schedule is more a guideline :D. Today someone stepped on the lead monkey's tail and we almost missed it...

Excellent stuff. Good to see that poor Dobroslav bowed out the way he wished; far from his wife.

I would like to suggest my own character too, if possible. Caesar Stuart; a horrendously obese drunkard, inept at near everything except quaffing and eating ludicrous amounts of food, he is Scottish of course (with such a description he could be no other nationality). Furthermore he is a shocking coward despite having somehow won a number of victories in battle. Former King of Scotland, Emperor of the World and Advisor to Oyo, he continues to offer his advisory services to any nation desperate enough to seek his aid.
Hmmm... I think I see a role for Caesar in a near episode. His influence seems to be palpable in the Byzantine Empire :).

Yeah. I once had a Kinslayer get beatified. That was weird.
St Mihailo got most of his piety from chastising heretics in his court and quashing muslim populations. It probably goes a long way toward beatification.

Nice updates - keep those monkeys supplied with bananas!

I also like the length of the pieces you're churning out.
Thanks a lot :). The monkeys say they appreciate it, too.

Wife as potentially rebellious count is not good.
Indeed. She's not rebelling yet and she's already undermining him. And his son.

great stuff ... especially the motivational begging speech. And that is one large chunk of the Ukraine you now own ... just in time for the Mongols to turn up next to.
Looking forward to it :). I've never yet seen the Mongols in any of my games.


The producers wish to thank Space Oddity for his wholly unjustified nomination to Best Character Writer of the Week. The monkeys went really wild at the news.

Then they asked for a raise. Ungrateful animals.
 

Cornelius Rex

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[Draft title: 1087-1088: It's a million to one chance, but...]

[Cast:]
Prince Mutimir. Young. Large nose. Face getting harder but still looking like a hurt puppy.
Brother Wamba. Already characterised as an aged monk.
Steward Olga. Heavy rrrrussian accent. And a mole in the cheek. This is important.
Bishop Nikodim. Twitchy, insecure, very young for the post. Emphasized by oversize clothing, as usual.
Marshall Artemios Tzamplakon. Same as last time, but with an outrageous haircut and a tic in the eye.
Captain of the Knives. White and brown robe on a black turtleneck. White beard. Penetrating eyes.
Chancellor Matilde. Just as blonde and stressed as before.
Gheorghe the Bastard. For Mihailo's bastard, we should use a good secondary actor with a flair for deadpan comic. Needs to resemble the father. Either grow a beard or bring his own.
Kettu Rurikovich. Characterised as a man who wants to look like a girl who wants to look like a man. But fails at every stage. With a beard.
Glande of Galindia. Just as lanky and avuncular, but with a manic happiness. Remember about the glasses, this chapter is dangerous.
Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell. The lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Zoltán Nemanjóvic. The lost prince of Serbia, as himself.
Hovhannes Senek'rim Gardman-Aghbania. The lost count of Suenik, as himself.
Young soldier. Same actor who played Second Squire, or one with a very similar look.
Sundry actors without lines. We'll need several dozen, mostly specialists. And a martial-arts trainer. And insurance.
Digital effects. This episode will be intensive, both in- and outdoor. We're going to need a gore specialist, too.


June 1087. Siege of Ochrid. Mid-morning. A well-appointed command tent overlooks the small Dioclean camp. The smoke of cooking fires curls up from several points. Three people fire a catapult at the city without hurry. Things are so peaceful you wouldn't know it's actually a cruel occupation army bent on annexation and general nastiness. The Prince stretches on a cot while Wamba looks at the scenery.

[Prince Mutimir] ... You're sure that's what it means?

[Brother Wamba nods]

[Prince Mutimir, sinking in the cot dejectedly] Berbat! And it sounded so well...!

[Brother Wamba says nothing]

[Prince Mutimir, staring at the tent ceiling] It's useless, isn't it Wamba? I do my best for everyone and they just ignore me or laugh at me. Or worse!

[Brother Wamba shrugs]

[Prince Mutimir, suddenly turning toward the monk] I need help, Wamba. Will you help me like you helped the Duke?

[Brother Wamba, looking the Prince in the eye] I didn't help St Mihailo that much, your highness. He simply grabbed ruthlessly the opportunities put in front of him.

[Prince Mutimir] But I do grab the opportunities! I got the barons' money. I'm cleaning the domain of bands and robbers. I'm investing in renewables! I'm even leading the troops myself, just as the Duke did! I got this wound besieging Ochrid!

[Brother Wamba, doubtful] Yes. The wound. A splinter under the nail while besieging a dirt-poor place next door to home is not going to impress the barons, your highness...

[Prince Mutimir, sourly] An infected splinter, if you don't mind!

[Brother Wamba sighs] And you ran the siege from Zeta.

[Prince Mutimir, petulant] ... what's wrong with commuting now?

[Brother Wamba presses a hand to his brow]








September 1087. Palace of the Prince of Dioclea, Zeta. Secret war-room in the basement. The Cabinet meets with the military experts, while waiters and other minions move in the background. The months of treatment with Wamba are showing results; the Prince is fitter and moves with more confidence. The nose, however, is the same, and everyone pointedly avoids looking at it.

[Prince Mutimir] This is serious, gentlemen. We have finally discovered the place where the Seljuk Sultan is building his new capital city.

[Spy Master Lucia Sforza nods toward the Captain of the Knives] Many Turks died so we could bring you this information, your highness. It needs to be acted upon.

[Marshall Artemios] Indeed. They have been debilitated by the war with Byzantium, and their Anatolian and Eastern regiments are decimated. But they are rebuilding Byzantion. The City can field a regiment powerful enough to destroy any province. If they manage to put it back in commission, they will be able to defeat us without a thought. The whole civilised world is in danger.

[Marshall Artemios looks up, sees the looks he's getting]

[Marshall Artemios] Well? It is!

[Prince Mutimir stares at the Marshall, then turns to the cabinet] Yes. Well. Thanks, Artemios, you can sit down now. Ahem. You can't guess it looking at their enormous empire, but an analysis of the plans br1ough by the Knives shows a critical weakness in the Seljuk realm. It is currently only four provinces strong. One of them is Byzantion, the second is just across the Bosphorus, the third is Alexandretta, and the new secret capital has just been discovered in the northern steppes. They are all vulnerable. Now, Captain, if you please?

[Captain of the Knives, getting up and going to the map in the front of the room] Thanks, your highness. Gentlemen, we have a unique opportunity. The Turks' new, invincible weapon is not ready yet. A sudden all-out attack on those four provinces can succeed in capturing them and destroying the Seljuk empire forever.

[Bishop Nikodim] But our regiments are not in much better shape, Captain. We can field less than 35 thousand soldiers against more than 50 thousand. We can't fight the massed Turk armies head to head. It would be suicidal!

[Captain of the Knives] It won't be easy, but our lighter armies can do it. We will use speed and precision agains their superior firepower. We won't engage in battles if possible, but go directly for the critical sectors. Our small regiments will mass secretly in nearby provinces, then swarm on the targets before their armies can gather for counterattack, and at least one of them will get through. It has to. Or we will be utterly destroyed.

[A pregnant silence]

[Steward Olga] The cost of this operation will be huge, your highness. We have almost climbed out of the red. This will plunge us back in as badly as the worst of St Mihailo's campaigns. After all the work you've...

[Prince Mutimir, with a determined look] That is another risk we will have to run. This is a unique opportunity, and I mean to seize it, er, ruthlessly...

[Chancellor Matilde Cenci, bitterly] So it's back on, isn't it? We're again mighty Dioclea, the slayer of unprepared giants? War against the Turks, indeed! Well, not on my watch! Your highness, if my counsel isn't heeded, I will hand in my resignation!

[Prince Mutimir, looking directly at Matilde] Marshall... raise the regiments.

[Shocked gasps. The courtiers exchange looks]







May 1088. Unidentified Turkish castle. Guard room in the dungeons. Everything is splattered with mangled Turks, while more keep coming from every direction. Three warriors forge a way across them to the exit. Cries, wails, booms, clanging and general mayhem drown the ambient music.

[Gheorghe the Bastard, dodging a flying chair] So you say you were sent by the Duke?

[Kettu Rurikovich, using two swords and fighting several Turks with each, eyes tracking separately] Oh yes. It's sort of my general job around here.

[Glande of Galindia, smiling like crazy and wildly swinging a war hammer. It accidentally hits a rafter which falls on the Turks and kills seven, besides blocking one of the doors] Yes. The Prince didn't have ransom cash on hand, so he decided to send in the specialists.

[Gheorghe the Bastard, following warily in their wake] Something's something. You two people against a whole garrison seems a bit unfair, anyhow.

[Kettu Rurikovich, kicking a group of Turks down a wooden stairwell into oblivion] Don't blame me. Glande insisted in coming along.

[Glande of Galindia laughs, the hammer bounces casually on a large brazier that bowls over and immediately starts a blazing fire] We're a team, Ketty. We travel together, fight together.

[Gheorghe the Bastard, dodging the hammer on its return flight] It's nice to see a couple at work.

[Kettu Rurikovich, strangling a Turkish captain with his own hair] We are NOT-a-couple! Glande, go fetch the horses, we're leaving.

[Glande of Galindia] Yes dear.




June 1088. Palace of the Prince of Dioclea, Zeta. Throne room. The Prince stands in judgement with Wamba by his side. A pregnant woman stands as complainant, with many menacingly mustacchioed Zetian burghers backing her.

[Prince Mutimir, aside to Wamba] Well, she's certainly pregnant.

[Brother Wamba] Yes, but not enough. Your Marshall's been away for over a year now.

[Prince Mutimir] Hmm... so?

[Brother Wamba, raising an eyebrow] Your highness. I said he has been away for over a year.

[Prince Mutimir, shrugging] And...? Milka always says these things can hibernate and wake up at just any time. I remember I was away a long time before my daughter was born. That doesn't prove anything.

[Brother Wamba, sounding tired] ... I think it's time we had a little chat.






July 1088. Siege of Byzantion. The relief Turkish armies are already within sight. The Venetian Lions regiment joins the Hard Boiled Eggs, the Basque-ish Knives and the Black Eyed Peas in a final assault against the walls of the City of Cities. The Turks swarm atop the bastions, pouring arrows, boiling water and living room furniture on the desperate Diocleans. A Turk sortie is trying to destroy the scales. Warriors fall left and right. Among the mayhem, three valiant knights lead their troops into the fray.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, running for a scaling ladder that the defenders have just emptied of Diocleans] Johnny! Here! Lend me a hand. Zoltán! Watch your left!

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, parrying just in time] Thanks! Now boys, up the ladder!

[Hovhannes Senek'rim Gardman-Aghbania] Raise your shield, Ermengol! Stone coming! Go, go for Suenik!

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, climbing like crazy while arrows and stones sail close] Up, up, up, up!

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, arriving at the top of the battlements just after Ermengol and pushing into the defenders] I'll cover this side, now! Go for the flag!

[Hovhannes Senek'rim Gardman-Aghbania, scrambling on top too, ahead of a stream of Diocleans] We're in! We're in! Head to that guard tower, pull down the flag, fast!

[Young soldier, trotting beside Hovhannes] Why the flag?

[Hovhannes Senek'rim Gardman-Aghbania, running along the wall] So the rest of the army knows we hold this patch and can pour in to help us, boy! Now go find some cover!

[Young soldier, smiling] Ah! I see. So...

[An arrow makes "thunk"].

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, slashing at the last of the defenders in that section] They don't make these Turks like they used to! How many have you got, Johnny?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] Johnny, Zoltán, quit socializing and come here! Bring the axes! We have to break this door in!

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Damn! The axes! I knew I was forgetting something!





 
Last edited:

Cornelius Rex

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How many men possibly in arms?
34 thousand at the time you asked :). Most Eastern regiments were still squashed, but Venice alone fielded 15 thousand to the siege of Byzantion.


Next up: what is Dioclea to do now that it has a tiger by the tail? Will Wamba come up with a solution? Will Kettu marry Glande (you better not look up the translation in Spanish)? Why does the Captain keep saying "may the force be with you"? Will Johnny finally get Suenik back? Will the Duchess become rebellious? What is Caesar Stuart up to? All the answers in next week' episodes of "Dioclea: it's a million to one chance, but it might just work!".

In other news, the Chained Monkey (TM) Productions team is shifting gears to NavAARa in the coming hours. You will get a rest too :). Thanks for reading and the comments.

Ah. Yes. The lead female monkey says thanks for the flowers and the chocolates. You know who you are.
 
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Johan11

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avuncular? I couldn't make any sense of that in regards to the wikipedia article on that. What's it supposed to mean?
 

morningSIDEr

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Very good update, I especially enjoyed the rescue of Gheorghe. Unsurprisingly it looks as if the Sultanate is rather struggling.
 

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[Draft title: 1088-1099. Purple rain, purple rain.]

[Cast:]
Prince Mutimir: Same as last time, but a bit twitchier.
Princess Milka: Blonde, haughty, thoroughly unlikeable. And undefinably bovine.
Brother Wamba: Doing well.
Ermengol de Barcelona: the lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Dogukan Bey of Suenik: a heavily bearded, fat, bow-legged crook-nosed man. Not ugly.
Georghe the Bastard: the youngster grows into a man, and the characterisation should stress the likeness with St Mihailo.
Stripling: a veritable street urchin, shock of hair, load of freckles, impudent air.
Caesar Stuart: think of Nero after several decades of doing himself too well on the starchy foods.
Sundry characters without lines: a couple dozen, but make sure we have quite a handful of swarthy, round and generally mean-looking ones to do as Beys.


June 1088. Palace of the Prince of Dioclea. Training room. The Prince is doing a concentration exercise while the sparrings play darts and have a smoke.

[Prince Mutimir, pacing and wringing his hands] ... ruthless. I can be ruthless. I can be ruth... Wamba! Thank goodness!



[Brother Wamba] You called, your highness?



[Prince Mutimir] I did, I did! Oh Wamba, what are we to do now? We have seized the Sultan's fortresses, we have his family, his women and his treasury, but his generals and armies are all out there yet! They will fall on us and squash us! We won't last a week!



[Brother Wamba slaps the Prince twice, fast] Your highness... breathe deep...



[Prince Mutimir pants a bit, regains composure]



[Brother Wamba] Through months of hard work, you have mastered the art of the bold strike. You must now train yourself in the underhand blow.



[Prince Mumimir] The underhand blow?



[Brother Wamba] It is easy. Here, grab this sword...



[Prince Mutimir] Ehm. Wamba. This is a stick.



[Brother Wamba] It's a metaphorical sword, your highness. Now, you will stand in the middle of your sparrings, close your eyes, and try to hit them. Two points if you whack them in the head.



[Prince Mutimir] In the middle of...?



[Brother Wamba nods]



[Prince Mutimir] With my eyes closed?



[Brother Wamba nods]



[Prince Mutimir] And... what's to keep me from peeking?



[Brother Wamba pats him in the back] You're half way there already, little grasshopper. Keep at it, your highness. Soon we'll send those generals an offer they can't refuse.







July 1088. Palace of the Prince of Dioclea. Waiting room. Several garishly-dressed Turkish Beys gather, nervously talking in low voices and looking out of the window on the palace court, where some men are bringing strange cloth sacks and loading them onto a cart. The men come from a place just below the window but made invisible by a ceiling. The sacks are rather big, amorphous and all have one side profusely bloodied. Some seem to twitch. Every few seconds there is a chunky hacking sound, and occasionally a bleating or gurgly noise, and another sack is brought forth.

[A door opens. A Bey steps out of the room. The door closes and is locked.]

[Ermegol de Barcelona-Urgell, lounging by the door with a guard] Your turn is next, Dogukan Bey. Be kind enough to come over and ready yourself, sir.

[Dogukan Bey of Suenik, obeying with shaking knees] But… kind sir, can you tell me what is happening inside that room?

[Ermegol de Barcelona-Urgell, shrugging] Oh it’s simple. Inside there is only the infamous Brother Wamba, the Prince’s inquisitor and executioner. This cruel and sadistic monk will ask you some meaningless questions. The rub of the thing is this: you can either swear fealty to the Prince and empty your purse to buy off the monk, or you can leave the room and never worry about the matter again.

[Dogukan Bey of Suenik, surprised] I can leave?

[Ermegol de Barcelona-Urgell] Yes. There is a door in that room just for that.

[Dogukan Bey of Suenik, suspicious] Not this one?

[Ermegol de Barcelona-Urgell] No.

[Dogukan Bey of Suenik, looking at the bloody cart under the window] And… what happens if I leave?

[Ermegol de Barcelona-Urgell] Well, I can only guess, I haven’t met any that did… but I know you don’t get a second chance.

[Horrendous shriek from the patio. The door opens. The Bey steps in, face ashen].

[Ermegol de Barcelona-Urgell, turning to the wide-eyed assembly] Bulend Bey, your time is come, sir. Are you ready for it?

[Brother Wamba, his voice briefly heard through the door] …down, my dear Bey. Tell me, do you believe in angels?

[The door closes. The guard turns the lock].







August 1088. Grounds of the Palace of the Prince of Dioclea. Under a shady tree. Wamba is sitting and looking sad.

[Brother Wamba, talking to a stripling messenger] This is sad news indeed. May the Lord have him in his glory.

[Georghe the Bastard, coming around from the main building] Hello, old man! What’s the matter? I hear you and Ermengol are pulling them in by the cartload, ha, ha.

[Stripling, bristling] You should not address the Abbot that way, whoever you are!

[Georghe the Bastard, looking around] What Abbot?

[Brother Wamba, waving a hand for peace] He means me, Georghe. The sainted Costello has died in England, and I am now the only survivor of the order. Or, as this kind messenger says, the Abbot.

[Georghe the Bastard, unimpressed] Ah. Well. Congratulations, I think. But I suppose you didn’t call me for that?

[Father Wamba] No, I called you because I have news for you. Your training is finished, and you will now take your place in the world. Or to be more exact, you will be taking a wife. A relative of the Duke of Genoa, one Flora Giustiniano... who is to become the next Chancellor of Dioclea.

[Georghe the Bastard, flabbergasted] What? Me? Marry the Chancellor? Relative of a Duke? But… but I’m only a bastard!

[Father Wamba] Well, St Mihailo for one thought that being one was part of the job requirements, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

[Georghe the Bastard, thoroughly lost] The what?

[Father Wamba, looking at Georghe quizzically] If I told you too much, I’d have to kill you. Now, go forth, and make me proud. I’ve got work to do. We need more money, fast, and some Beys are not in the sack yet. Har har.

[Stripling] Hur hur.









September 1088. Palace of the Duke of Dioclea. Old study of St Mihailo in the tower, which has been slightly redecorated. The Prince and the Princess are having a subdued tiff. The Princess is dressed in blue and purple, with a vaguely bovine spot pattern.

[Princess Milka] … actually I looked it up in the children’s names book and…

[Prince Mutimir] … and you chose Berbat.

[Princess Milka, haughtily defensive] You said yourself that it sounded nice.

[Prince Mutimir, deprecatingly conciliatory] Yes, there is that, of course. Well, I think that settles the matter. No need to talk again about those counties you lost to most inconsiderate uprisings. Now, dear, if you will come over here to the window, I need an opinion on the design of the new gardens. Yes. Thanks. Have a close look.

[Princess Milka, doing cartwheels] Sonofabiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!

[Prince Mutimir, looks down to the stone-flagged court, picks a flowerpot from the window sill, aims, drops] Seven floors and she’s still twitching… This woman can’t get a subtle message. Let’s see… bingo! Spot on.






September 1088. Imperial Palace of Ephesos. The inner rooms of Emperor Alexios Comnenus. The Emperor is getting his vestments and regalia ready while he talks with his privy counsellor, Caesar Stuart.

[Caesar Stuart] Well, you know my opinion. It’s the best news that we’ve had for years.

[Emperor Alexios, sighing] I still don’t quite see it, Caesar. I mean, why does he come now? What does he want of me?

[Caesar Stuart, laughing and shaking in jelly-like ripples] Why, your throne of course! In the long run. As your most powerful Prince, he will become Kaesar of the Empire, your heir. His vassals will be less rebellious under the Roman administration. He will secure his position. Don’t forget that his great-grandfather was a vassal of yours, and most of his real is a bunch of savages. He’s coming to where we can civilize them.

[Emperor Alexios, adjusting his robes] Yes, I know those arguments. The question is, why now and not before? And why now and not after he’s finished digesting the Turks?

[Caesar Stuart] Before, you could have stopped his war or vassalized the Beys yourself. After, and he would have had to let the Emirs go free since he can’t vassalize them. Now you can declare war and take them under your wing yourself.

[Emperor Alexios, thoughtful] That makes sense.

[Caesar Stuart, petulantly, launching a stuffed olive into the air and catching it in his mouth] Of course. I’m always right. The boy is just looking for some civilized haven after all.

[Emperor Alexios, setting the diadem right on his head] Yes. But he’s not much more civilized than the rest of them.

[Caesar Stuart, emptying the rest of the bowl in one go] True. But… remember... under our laws, he has no heir. A knife at the right moment, and we get the empire without the barbarian.

[Emperor Alexios, smiling] Well! You think of everything, Caesar. OK then. They must be all waiting in the Throne Room by now for the proclamation. How am I looking?

[Caesar Stuart] Extremely imperial, my lord.








October 1088. Imperial Palace in Ephesos. The inner rooms of Emperor Mutimir. Wamba sits at a working table with lists and maps while Mutimir walks moodily about.

[Father Wamba, picking names in a list] Isa Emir of Esfahan, Abol Hassan Emir of Azerbajan, Humayun Emir of Korassan, Tekin Emir of Hormuz… only Mosul and Abbasid of Baghdad hold out. Your Lordship, not even Alexander the Great got much further East!

[Nasokrator Mutimir, moodily] Yeah. I know.

[Father Wamba] And not even St Mihailo could have performed that double-crossing backstabbing better than you.

[Nasokrator Mutimir, moodily] Guess so.

[Father Wamba] Alexandretta has fallen at last. You have practically dismantled the Sultanate. And you’ve kept the loyalty of all the Greeks, too. They admire you. They didn’t even budge with the change of laws.

[Nasokrator Mutimir, slightly whining] ... not surprising after what we did to the Emperor in his own throne room. But Wamba, I think we overdid it with the new title. “Autokrator” was a relic, OK, and so was “Imperator”. But “Nasocrator”…

[Father Wamba, didactically] Shows a proper disdain of any criticism of your imperial figure, and stresses that it is your difference that makes you fitter to rule than the rest.

[Nasokrator Mutimir, snorting] Yeah right. Shows you and I were filthy drunk when that damned flunkie came and asked what they should put on the new coins, that’s what it does.

[Father Wamba, blushing guiltily] Oh well... Talking about the Abbasids now... I think a visit by the Knives is in order.



 
Last edited:

loki100

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whow the update with everything ... a door with significance, a good assasination to extend your realm and then another to remove a rather tedious feudal lord and expansion ... you'll go for realm duress next (aka the choice of champions)
 

Johan11

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It's a man's life, in the Dioclean army.
 

Cornelius Rex

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Great update! I rather liked the briefing scene - I find that all the best AARs parody sci-fi epics *shameless plug*
:D. It was almost nearly purely coincidental...

avuncular? I couldn't make any sense of that in regards to the wikipedia article on that. What's it supposed to mean?
It's the monkey's vengeance for the extra work: they're going pedantic. "Avuncular" means friendly, kindly; the root is related to the relationship with an uncle; "avunculate" (which is the term in the Wikipedia) is a social institution with not much in common.

And now the jewel of the cities is yours?
Not yet. It is occupied, but the city is still in the Sultan's hands.

Very good update, I especially enjoyed the rescue of Gheorghe. Unsurprisingly it looks as if the Sultanate is rather struggling.
Couldn't leave Georghe there. The Abbot has plans for him... although not the same than the Nasokrator ;).


In the next chapter: if you thought 1088 was eventful, wait for this one. War! Treason! Home-made butter cookies! The return of Kettu, Zoltán, the Knives, and the Hard Boiled Eggs! Not to mention a popular petition to devolve Suenik to its rightful count. All for the extremely cheap price of one banana per reader. Don't miss it! Or the monkeys will be very disappointed!

In another news, Caesar Stuart has been drafted in as announced. But he's disappeared into the Underground (not an easy thing to do). The monkeys may know if he'll be back or not, but they ain't telling.

As always, comments and suggestions very appreciated.
 
Last edited:

morningSIDEr

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Fantastic stuff. I greatly liked the part CS played. The numerous assassinations, clearly Mutimir influced by Wamba in ordering them and prospering as a result with debts paid off and the title of Emperor secured. Wamba himself going postal, very good to see. Furthermore these lines are simply brilliant;

[Georghe the Bastard, flabbergasted] What? Me? Marry the Chancellor? Relative of a Duke? But… but I’m only a bastard!

[Father Wamba] Well, St Mihailo for one thought that being one was part of the job requirements, so I wouldn't worry about that.
Bravo.
 

Johan11

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I'm getting increasingly baffled every episode I read, but thanks for explaining avuncular for me.