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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Achim Detjen

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Merchants of Venice

- being the most excellent history of the Merchants of Venice

forums DOT ederon DOT net/default.aspx?g=posts&t=3925​
 

King of Men

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The Matter of Spain:

  • Introduction: The Song of Roland, in which we hear of the de Errolan family's legendary origin.
  • First session, 769-782: Castle Peace, in which Oliver de Errolan discusses justice, mercy, and the need for internal unity against the threat of the infidel.
  • Second session, 782-795: Loyal Submission, in which the selfsame Oliver learns about the difference between political unity, and unity of command.
  • Third session, 795-815: The Errolaniad, in which, all hope being lost for victory in Iberia, a desperate plan of exile and revenge is formed.
  • Fourth session, 815-838: The Bitter Years, telling of the beginning of Ogier's exile.
  • Fifth session, 838-846: Long Ships and Long Years, in which we learn how Ogier came to go east to the Volga.

The sixth session was a bit of a tech disaster; three years, constant crashes, no AAR.

The Dominion of the Dreki:

  • Seventh session, 849-862: Gameplay 849-862 - just what it says on the box.
  • Eighth session, 862-874: Gameplay 862-874, in which the AI is more successful at expanding my realm than I am.
  • Ninth session, 874-889: Gameplay 874-889, in which we learn that something is rotten with the state of Denmark's elections.
  • Tenth session, 889-898: Gameplay, in which that dynasty makes a surprise cameo, and also the Moslems invade England.
  • Eleventh session, 898-910: The Dutch in the Medway, in which I yet again find myself contemplating the cool refuge of Scandinavia as a shelter from the storms of war.
  • Twelfth session, 910-923: Great Holy War, in which I call on Odin for aid against the Christmen, the Crossmen, the Kingsmen.
  • Thirteenth session, 923-934: Emergency Powers Activated, in which I develop a great sympathy for those historical leaders, slandered by their enemies as dictators, who damn well stepped up and led their nations in times of crisis. What were the whining emocrats (not a typo) doing about it, eh?
  • Fourteenth and fifteenth sessions, 934-960: Groaningen Under the Yoke, in which the von Groningens conquer Italy.
  • Sixteenth session, 960-975: Peace and Profit, in which they conquer the North Sea.
  • Seventeenth session, 975-993: Colourful Characters, a look at some of the people who populate this campaign.
  • Eighteenth session, 993-1006: The Heathen Menace, detailing the geopolitical and civilisational threat across the Baltic.
  • Nineteenth session, 1006-1018: Fires of Faith, in which the long-pent-up tension is finally released in an orgasmic clash of war!
 
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dragoon9105

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vaniver

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The Saga of the Bristolians

Index for The Saga of the Bristolians

The Tale Begins Here, the story of Bjarð, father of Stakarðr and founder of the Norse colony in Bristol, which came to be known as the Republic of Oxford.
The Conversion to Catholicism, the story of how Bjarð's republic converts to Catholicism to stave off an attack by Mercia, and Bjarð leaves his property to his son Starkaðr, unwilling to betray his ancestor Njörðr and the other old gods.
That Which a Man Must Own, the story of Starkaðr's time as Patrician of House Dreki, in which nothing much happens and then he dies of illness (as well as under the short reign of his son, Rikulfr, when basically the same thing happened).
Filip's Folly, the story of how Filip was forced to abdicate in favor of his younger brother due to his incompetence and lack of self-control.
The Fullness of Time, the story of how Valdemar, wisest and best of men, leapt from a count to an emperor in a single session.
Divine Inspiration, the story of how Valdemar reformed the Germanic religion, and took on the title of Fylkir.

Sadly, this is all of Bristol's story that I will tell. I'll add a link to whoever takes it up next.
 
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Ragatokk

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Index for Soon to be, Fylkir, Rex of the known world

Chapter one, meager beginnings.
Chapter two, the making of an empire.


Chapter one, meager beginnings.

Starring: Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam

- Intro -
It all started in the year of 769, three years before the first dragon was seen in the land.
We found ourself to be in india, but one day we will reclaim our heretige and become norse once more!
Starting off we build echonomic buildings and upgrade our holdings so that we one day can be able to fight our way out of india trough the muslims and re-conquer Norway, the land of the free!

- Prolouge -
We find ourselves trapped under the raja of pallava, but we can use that to our advantage for now as we hold the barony of nadagiri wich is dejure to Gangavadi in Karanata,
wich the Raj of Ganga has a dejure claim on. But guess who is the lige lord of this Raj, It is Indias gratest king. The Maharaja of Rashtrakuta!
You will get to know tih Maaraja and his bloodthirst a bit better later in this chapter.

- 770 -
We start our grand campaign by finding ourselvs a wife and three fuck-toys as we need kids, many kids. Our dynasty is small and we want to populate the world. There is no option to set the girls in the woods to die so we might as well use them to get some allianes, just kidding we use matrimonail marrage to get even more males in our dynasty

Sadly we are cut off from the true religion, (wich some clever bastard tought to rename) so we must do the best with what we got. So we chose a patron, Kali it is since it gives the best stats.

My lige gets attacked by a neigbouring duke too weak to mention by name, so I attach my troops to his and we destroy the invaders. GG easy.

- 771 -
Ariñcikaippirâttiyâr, the firstborn daughter, was born to Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam.

- 772 -

The year of the dragon

- 774 -
Irâcacimman, the firstborn son, was born to Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam.

- 778 -
This is where our plans start to meet the first kinks;
Cholamandalam was attacked by the Kannada realm of Rashtrakuta Kingdom, ruled by Maharaja Krishna for the county of Nandagiri, my county!
I could not stand for this so since my lige lord could not protect it, not even with me helping him I had to decleare independence so that
Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam made peace with Raja Tantivarman of Pallava Raj due to the cb being invalid.
Now with plans of being indipendent and taking over the world bit by bit we crushed our former lige in combat, but the Maharaja was determined to press the dejure claim.
Maharaja Krishna of Rashtrakuta Kingdom won the war against Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam, once again for my county, the greedy little bastard. One day I will kill all his dynasty members for this insolence.
I forfited my war against my lige offering white peace so that his cb would become invalid once more.

- 780 -
While I had been revolting my lige had been attacked by the duke once more, and my lige had no army since I had crushed it so I had to take up the fight myself, I won some battles
Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam was victorious in the battle of Potapi against the army of Potapi Peasant Revolt, commanded by Mangiyuvaraja of Potapi Peasant Revolt.
Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam was victorious in the battle of Nandagiri against the army of Potapi Peasant Revolt, commanded by Mangiyuvaraja of Potapi Peasant Revolt.
Thakur Ravivarman of Cholamandalam was victorious in the battle of Amaravati against the army of Vengi Chalukya Raj, commanded by Raja Vishnuvardhana of Vengi Chalukya Raj.

We convinced our lige lord to trade the county that had been attacked twice by the Maharaja twice with his holding of Kanchipuram, what a fool he thinking that since he is a duke he could hold it, not going to happen.

Chapter two, the making of an empire.

We attacked our lige for our claim on his duchy.
 
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Andre Massena

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The Kingdom of Prester John

Index for The Kingdom of Prester John

250px-Prester_John.jpg


Chapter 1: The Covenant

Chapter 2: Times of Danger

Chapter 3: Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

Chapter 4: Greek Fire

Chapter 5: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous
 
Last edited:

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The Covenant

There once was a beautiful and prosperous kingdom called Abyssinia that lay deep in the heart of Africa. Hidden from the tumult and corruption that had engulfed the world since the fall of Rome, Abyssinia prospered. The people were well-cared for and led by the wise King Oda Gosh “the Holy” of the Solomonid dynasty which descended from the great king Solomon himself. The people were united under the great Miaphysite branch of Christianity which correctly preached that Christ had but a single nature, but of both human and divine character.

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But man was not the only being to occupy these wondrous lands. The most fantastic and strange creatures lived in Abyssinia, creatures never seen anywhere on earth before nor ever since. These children of the earth shared the land evenly with the children of Adam and Eve thanks to the Eternal Covenant Jesus brokered between the two groups before his ascension into heaven (source: Book of Solomon 4:21-26). The lands hosted many queer creatures, but we shall relate only the major groups here.

The Monopods possessed one giant foot which they used to shield themselves from the scorching African sun. The Monopods shared much of the same blood as man and probably separated from mankind at some point before the existence of the Roman Empire.

Monopod.jpg


The Panotti were creatures with gigantic ears. They used the ears as blankets against the nighttime cold. The Panotti originally appeared on islands in the middle of the Caspian Sea but were forced to travel around the world due to the avarice of mankind. They later traveled to the Orkney Islands, Spain, and Italy before settling down in Abyssinia, where they finally received a warm welcome.

Panotti.jpg


The Blemmyae were headless humanoids whose faces lay on their chests. Though not very intelligent, the Blemmyae were renowned for their honesty, virtue, and strength in battle.

Blemmyae.jpg


Last but not least were the Cynocephali who were dog-headed creatures who communicated by barking but reasoned like a human being. For many centuries, the Cynocephali were the most feared enemies of the pre-Christian peoples of Africa. But the Eternal Covenant brokered by Jesus Christ began a long period of peace between the two groups.

pictures-cynocephali.jpg


Each of the groups of four creatures elected leaders who met with the leaders of mankind. Since the wise king was usually very busy, they often met with the generous Count Prester of the House John.
Though Prester was a young man, he was very capable and honest. Though he was very young, the wise king entrusted him to oversee many of the lands of Abyssinia while the king was occupied and appointed him Chancellor due to his honest and diligent nature. He brought peace to the provinces of Abysinnia and very few crimes were committed.

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Count Prester was married to the beautiful and charming Kelile, who bore him four sons in time (though their eldest child sadly died when he was still an infant).

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However, trouble soon engulfed the land. The avaricious Jews to the west in Semien began to harass the Blemmyae and demand harsh tributes from the Monopods. Meanwhile, the evil Duke Wededem of Wag to the south, who was the heir to the Abyssinian throne, attempted to expel the Cynocephali from his lands in violation of the Covenant and exterminate all those who refused. He also began to hunt the gentle Panotti for their valuable ears. The leaders of each clan of the children of the earth gathered in the abode of Prester John in Akordat to voice their complaints.

D8eWb5o.jpg
“Count Prester, we cannot continue to live like this,” Mufasa, Chief of the Cynocephali barked to the count. “The despicable Duke will drive us to extinction if he continues his wanton ways.”

E3euMmd.jpg
“The Jews of Semien are making our lives unbearable,” Bonto, High Priest of the Blaemmyae complained. “They ridicule and taunt us constantly and try to steal our water and gold.”

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“Friends, I grieve for you,” Prester replied. “But what am I to do? Take your troubles to the wise king.”

t1tF3EK.jpg
“We have tried to see the king,” Moloki, Vizier of the Monopods said as he hopped on his back toward Prester. “But he was deep in prayer.”

D8eWb5o.jpg
“He does not want to take action against his nephew!” Mufasa barked. “He would rather let us die.”

7lZFM2r.png
“Please do not speak ill of our wise and holy king,” Prester pleaded. “I am sure he truly is too deep in prayer to aid you right now.”

mndPx3a.jpg
“Perhaps so, but then what are we to do?” Gentle Georgos, the Grand Duke of the Panotti whimpered.

E3euMmd.jpg
“You must help us Prester!” Bonto yelled. “Drive out our oppressors. Join your strength with ours and together we shall succeed.”

7lZFM2r.png
“I fear the many sins I shall commit in the name of war,” Prester replied. “But I shall not let you suffer. The Covenant must be upheld.”

D8eWb5o.jpg
"Then let us cut down our enemies!" Mufasa cried.


((Part 2 continued in next post because I exceeded image limit))
 

Andre Massena

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The Covenant Part II

And so, Count Prester joined his armies with the children of the earth. They dealt crushing blows to both the Jews and the Duke of Wag. The enemy armies were no match for the combined forces of Prester and the children, and the Cynocephali gained eternal renown for their fierce fighting in those days. Prester generously allowed the Jewish duke to keep a county as long as he promised to live peacefully with the children of the earth. The Jew of Semien upheld his promise and proved to be a loyal servant to Prester, serving as his steward for many years. Prester was able to seize the county of Wag from the evil duke, but he was unable to capture his foe and so the heir to the Abyssinian throne held onto a county and remained out of Prester’s reach. Prester named himself Duke of Semien with His Majesty’s blessing so he could protect the children of the earth and continue to maintain the prosperity of those glorious lands.

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For many years, the lands of Abyssinia remained at peace. Mankind lived side-by-side with the children in harmony and many a happy feast was thrown by His Majesty to celebrate their prosperity. But the happy times did not last for long. From the north and the south came a mysterious threat. Groups of tribesmen that claimed to worship the prophet Mohammed began to encroach upon the lands of Abyssinia, preaching their strange gospel and converting good Miaphysite Christians at sword point. The the wise king Oda Gosh died from stress after a forty day fast where he contemplated how to respond to the growing Mohammaden threat. And so, the evil Duke Wededem rose to the throne of Abyssinia and became king.

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Battle of the Blemmyae, unknown artist in 1060s
 

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The Song of Roland

His only historical attestation is in Einhard's Vita Karoli Magni, which notes he was part of the Frankish rearguard killed by rebellious Basques in Iberia at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

Thus the English historian, child of the cold North, writing only what he can defend by reference to such-and-such a source, only what may be read in this dusty tome or that scrap of ancient parchment. In this way does he avoid error, writing only what is true, and can be proven true. But not everything true can be proven. The sun-drenched south knows other truths: Truths never set to paper or parchment to be learned by a later age's skeptical scholars, but true nonetheless, passed mouth to mouth and heart to heart down the years.

The south knows, though it was never written, that Roland was born in the highlands near Santander, which never fell to the infidel. That from his earliest days he wielded sword and lance for Christendom, and that when Weyland Smith forged Durendal to his hand, it was not so that the sharpest blade in all the world should make up the deficiency of an untried boy. That long before Charles the Frank, him that men called "the Great", made Roland his chief paladin; before his intervention spared the sons of Aymon; before he was set to watch the Breton March - before all this, his name was already strong south of the Pyrenees, where he rode always to the front in unceasing war against the Saracen. That among his deeds was the wooing of Liuva, a romance that for another man would itself be worthy of a song-cycle. And that when he died a martyr's death at Roncesvaux, his legacy was not only a warrior's fame to outlast nations and empires, not only a breach cut in the stony Pyrenees, not only the sharpest blade in all the world: For Liuva bore a son, and named him Oliver after his father's friend, and raised him to honour God, hate the infidel, and speak no lies.

He that is faithful over a few things, is made ruler over many. Where Roland led, men followed; and he that has men will soon acquire land, though the reverse is not always true. So when he came of age Oliver was master of seven mountains and three strong castles; no broad acres or rich earths, but spear-won land retaken from the infidel and held hard against them, on the doubtful border where civilisation and savagery meet. Little grows, in that stony soil, except fighting men and honour; and the de Errolan, the sons of Roland, are rich in both. And, as Oliver is his father's son, Durendal does not rest over the fireplace, but flashes always to the forefront of the battle; the sharpest sword in all the world is not made for idleness, nor the son of its greatest paladin for taking his ease in a feather bed. There will be no rest for de Errolan until all Spain is cleansed of the infidel.

Mort_de_Roland.jpg


The Death of Roland

Deus Vult.
 

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Castle Peace

January 7th, 774
A hill near Coruna, in the Kingdom of Asturias
Vespers

It was, of course, raining; a hard drizzle blown in from the Western Sea by a chill wind, unobstructed from here to the world's edge. Even in his heavy woolens, lined with down, Oliver felt the chill. The prisoners had been stripped of their clothes - damaged goods and cheap, most of it, but why waste anything on condemned men? - and were shivering, which gave their efforts to stand defiant and look death in the eye a slightly pathetic air. Just leaving them out for the night would perhaps suffice, saving the need for executions - but no; best have it over with. Oliver looked at them without favour; after he'd shattered their ragtag army at Santiago there had been no purpose in their keeping together, and every sheep they'd lifted in their fighting retreat had been pure waste. If they'd had the good sense to scatter, as most of their comrades had done, or even to take the Crescent and go across the border to serve out their lives as soldiers of the infidel, he could have celebrated Christmas at home, rather than spend the winter months chasing across these western hills.

"They'll be useless if they freeze to death," Johan complained, and Oliver glanced at him in surprise.

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The King's marshal, and representative in the field. Not a bright man, but very well suited to charging straight through a shield wall.

"Do you think so? I suppose it's more merciful than impaling them, but I hardly think the `mercy' of freezing to death will inspire anyone else to rebellion."

Now it was Johan who looked confused, not that it was very difficult to confuse the King's marshal; give him a charge to lead and he was a splendid fellow to have at your side, but for anything more complex than getting swords into enemy guts, you might be better off with his horse. Fleetingly Oliver wished that the King himself had come; but men of over sixty did not fare well in winter campaigns. That was why marshals, and vassals-in-chief, existed.

"Slaves, man! They can't work our fields if they're all dead, can they?"

"Rebels, man!" Oliver returned the marshal's tone exactly. "You can't enslave rebels; the Code calls for death. And they've already risen in revolt once; are you going to keep an eye on them every hour of the day?"

"They won't run with their hamstrings cut. Are your lands so well peopled that you can afford to turn down a hundred strong men?"

Oliver winced; the man had a point. He was one of the wealthiest men in Asturias, but a hundred healthy young slaves would be a significant addition to his capital; with such a labour force he could clear half the out-march for the plow, repair the aqueduct, add a stylish tower to the church and make God remember his name favourably on Judgement Day... but the law was clear. And besides:

"If men can revolt and not die for it, what'll prevent others from doing the same? It takes a fearsome threat to keep freeborn Visigoth men to their station." He paused, seeing the point enter Johan's thick skull and rattle around in search of the brain; to drive it home he gestured to the nearest rebel, a tall man with a mop of blonde hair that Oliver rather envied. If he had hair like that he would wear it to his shoulders, as the men who'd conquered Iberia were said to have done to proclaim their freeborn status. "You man! Why did you revolt?"

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Some random peasant.

"Why should I tell you?" the rebel returned. Something in his eyes made Oliver's hand go to his sword; it was a famous blade, "the sharpest in all the world" if you believed the bards - but some men were dangerous naked and with their bare hands for weapon.

"If you don't," he began, but paused; the rebel was already condemned, and didn't seem like the sort of man to be intimidated by losing a few hours of life. "If you do," he started over, "I'll take you over to our campfires and give you a last meal."

The rebel shrugged. "Eh, why not? I may as well die with a full belly. I rebelled because there's no justice in the courts. A neighbour brought suit against me, saying my sheep were his because they'd broken a fence and grazed on his lands; it wasn't true, but he bought six witnesses and the judge. Count Luitfredo wouldn't hear my appeal. What should I have done, sold myself into slavery?"

Oliver winced, wishing he hadn't asked; but at least it was clear ammunition for his argument with Johan.

"There, you see? Men enrich themselves against the law, and what do you get but revolts? I won't say I've no use for a hundred slaves; but I value peace in my lands even more. The infidel isn't so far from here, you know, and would like nothing better than for Christians to quarrel ourselves into weakness. If we don't have castle-peace among ourselves, the Saracens will make peace; the peace of submission. It's injustice begets rebellion, nothing else; and what's injustice, but men becoming rich by breaking the law?"

"We should all be fools to pray for justice," Johan quoted sullenly; Oliver rolled his eyes.

"Yes, yes, God may certainly grant these men mercy, by all means let it be so! But I don't intend to pray for justice, I intend to deal justice; and justice is death, for these men."

Johan looked as though he's still like to protest, but the rebel, quicker witted, got there first: "Well said! And do you also propose to do justice in Santiago, and enforce the law on the corrupt magistrates there?"

Oliver gritted his teeth, wishing again that he hadn't asked for the man's reasons; he'd been much happier not knowing. "Santiago's not my fief," he muttered, knowing it for a feeble excuse even before the rebel's eyes flashed contempt. "And I've only your word for the matter, anyway!"

"My word," the rebel agreed, "and the word of a thousand men who were willing to risk death for my cause. Do you think men take arms against the king because they've had too much beer?"

Oliver looked down. "No," he said, conscious that a baseborn rebel had somehow gotten the moral high ground on him, a Visigoth lord and the son of a paladin. He raised his gaze, meeting the man's eyes with an effort. "It might take me a while."

The rebel sneered. "Longer than my life, anyway. Promises to dead men are cheap, eh?"

Oliver shrugged. "Not if the right man gives them." Something in his tone must have gotten through, for the rebel nodded, no longer sneering.

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Oliver at eighteen. Young men are sometimes impetuous; he may not entirely have thought this through.

"That's true," he said. "I'll hold you to it, then. And if you should chance to come across Hespanisco's widow, you'll give her the twenty sheep I'm owed?"

Oliver's mouth twisted. "I think you've had that back, twice over, with your banditry; on men no richer than yourself. Be satisfied if a corrupt magistrate hangs."

"It was worth a try." Hespanisco shrugged. "What about that last meal, then?"

Oliver gestured towards the campfires, and the rebel stepped across the invisible line that separated free men from condemned. Oliver looked at Johan, still struggling to come up with some new argument, and realised he would never convince the man; but then, why was he even trying? He had, after all, the power of high and low justice... and also two-thirds of the fighting men who had broken and harried the rebel host. What was Johan going to do about it? He turned instead to Piarres, his chief liutenant.

"Kill them all," he said. "And may God have mercy on their souls."
 

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Prologue:



Friends, Romans, Countrymen Lend me your ears.

In the Year CDLXXVI (476) The Western Empire, and the true home of Romans everywhere had fallen. The Greatest Empire, turned Decadent and Corrupted, and Purged by Unholy Pagan Iron. Should this Be our fate?
No.
Should we cower behind our mercenarys and gold while the pagans gather like wolves?
No!
Would the true heirs of Romulus cower?
No!
Would the sons of Jupiter grow fat and decadent?
No!
Would the Chosen People of God be content to allow Barbarians from the North steal his favor?
No!

Then why have we?. Why have we failed Rome? and while we may sleep safe in our beds tonight, What of our children? and the Children of our Children? Would we see them become slaves?

If not for the empire today, then the empire tomorrow, our Rome, Our false Rome must be reformed. Too long have we abandoned the principles that made us truly the center of the world. What was once our unshakable belief lies shattered as we argue over burning petty trinkets. Our conquests made over years we cannot hold against the petty barbarians we retrieved them from, Our great houses squabble and fight over trifles when they should be looking outward like the Caesars of Old!

Today is a new dawn, a roman dawn. The empire is rife with corrupt and festering wounds. corruption, infighting, and betrayal plague great Rome, they must be purged, purged by fire and blood. From the flames of the rotted husk, a Phoenix shall rise, like the Hellenic tales of old. A Phoenix that shall spread its wings, not just over Europa but the entire world. One Rome, One People, One cause, The Glory of Rome, That must be my future my fellows, Or we shall all die in a hail of knives like great Caesar before us.

-Speech Given to the Imperial Court by Tyruss Teranus shortly before his 'mysterious' death.

caesar-death.jpg

Aedolus,
the surviving heir of the Teranus bloodline sat within his Study. The candles were burning away in the night, but sleep was the last thing upon his mind.
In cold blood, They killed him in cold blood
His father had never been mentally stable but he was always of value to the court. That made it hurt more, he knew them, all of them. Aedolus knew them too, he had always stayed in Constantinople, it was more home to him then here. He always hated this small excuse for a castle, a mere mud fort in comparison to the great walls of the capital. Now it was keeping him safe, and he hated every minute of it. He didn't often speak to himself but it couldn't help it at this point There was nobody to speak too.

They had always said his family had mad blood. He could understand what they meant now, but it was no matter and as the hours dragged on and he grew louder finally he was interrupted.
"My Lord, A messenger has just arrived, With this"
Alexander, his only servant had brought him a message. Onto the pile it would have went but Aedolus spied the seal of the Emperor upon it. Suddenly, this was important. He told his servant to leave him in peace and sat with it, rolling the message in his hands, dreading over what it was going to say.

"May God damn your Immortal soul, Your mad father has proven your bloodline is unfit to carry the title of strategos, You are hereby ordered to return to the capital to await sentencing, attempting to flee will mean admission of plotting against the Empire and I will have no choice but to call for your immediate execution"

That's what he thought it would say anyway, What did it truly matter, He would not go, he would die with honor as his father said the old Romans did, A blade a bath and a sleep, never to wake up again. He had to see it though, He had to know just how lost they were With a quick stroke of the dagger I'll use this one i think, it's sharp, quick the letter opened. The contents within, were not exactly what he expected.

"Lord Aedolus, for over twenty years of your father's service to the empire I have seen fit to award you dominion over the territories of Dyrrachion, Thessalia and Ragusa. I have also seen fit to legitimize your house and uplift you and your Heirs into Byzantine Nobility."

Of course this was a Joke, it was so obvious he screamed it, So loud the peasants could hear him over the river. Then he began to think, these territories were more or less disconnected, Ragusa was a recent conquest, Thessalia recently had a peasant revolt, Dyrrachion, the only one that seemed to make sense to him as it was near to his home. It didn't take long to figure it out Clearly he wants to keep me occupied but why?. His father clearly must have had supporters, even after his betrayal and attempted coup. Emperor must be more concerned with hunting them down. That means I'm not a threat the thought both relief and anger to him at the same time but for once, better judgement prevailed.

Ever like his father, he schemed, then suddenly he had a plan. The Emperor had in the past rewarded a permanent title to those who brought large areas of the old land back into the fold. He would use this but there was a problem. The Title of Basileus was stained his with father's blood, the mere thought of taking it himself filled him with disgust. I will form my own Kingdom, The thought bounced in his head and he agreed with himself aloud. Why take the Empire, Why put his ancestors through a constant struggle of power only to eventually lose and all be exterminated? There were priorities however, A noble house needed a sigil, and a banner so that all the lords could recognize him. If he was to become truly respected, then that would be his first task. Back to work he went scribbling in his study, until the candles blew themselves out from the morning winds.


A later recreation of the Original Teranus Banner.​

Note: Please forgive my grammar it has been a while.
 

Fimconte

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I for one welcome our new Estonian Overlords.
#kodalemstronk
 

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Me and Yami are having a friendly competition for who can make our border worse, Personally I think i'm winning.
 

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I – The loopy beginnings of Rajah Tivala

The hilltops near Delhi, 769 modulo one mahayuga

So deep in the forest the short summer night seemed darker and stormier. The men, a dozen warriors in never-used plate mail, did not like the place and did not like the time. Above them the summer monsoon rustled the leaves; rainwater poured, unpredictably, though the leaky roof and sometimes fell on one of them, who swore in a low voice; the flickering light of their torches drew ever-shifting, unsettling shadows on the frescoed walls. Only their lord did not seem to mind. A ruined man in a ruined temple, he knelt in front of a towering, broken statue, praying.

Eventually the torch will burn out and darkness will replace light.
Eventually the night will end and light will replace darkness.
Eventually the monsoon will end.
Eventually all these men will die.

Everyone knows that.

And eventually their bones will wither into dust, their names will be forgotten, their tongue changed beyond recognition.
And eventually the temple itself will be ground to dust by roots and wind and rain, until not even one brick remains of its foundation.
And eventually mankind will die off and be dust too.
And eventually even the mountains beneath the woods will be dust.
And the world itself will disappear in a blaze, scattered dust across the void of space.

And then the world will be created anew, and everything will recommence. Over inconceivable amount the same dust will gather and be world again, mountain again, temple again, man again. Everything will happen anew, exactly as it does at this exact moment, exactly has it has happened an infinity of times before. A dozen identical men will be in the exact same place, doing the exact same thing. Every single drop of rain will fall through the same dilapidated roof in the exact same place. Every single crevice will run through the strained walls in the exact same path. One rajah called TivalaThomar will be kneeling in front of the eternal Goddess, and even she will not remember it.

One mahayuga will have passed.

And a few centuries before, the temple will be new and intact and resplendent, the forest around it a tame garden.
And a few millennium before, the noble race of the Chandravansha, the children of the Moon, will rule again over mankind. But Tivala Thomar, the last scion of the Chandravansha, cannot wait so long. He wishes for the immediate and futile glory of triumph beneath epochs.

“I bow my head to the Goddess Kali” he chants again and again.
“Kali, dark mistress of destruction, merciless lady of death, I beseech thee!”
“Kali, drinker of blood, slayer of multitudes, the darkness that thirsts!”
“Will you heed my prayer, where other gods have not? Will you bring us back from obscurity? Will you grant back power to the children of the Moon?”

In the unending circle of time every memory is a prophecy. And suddenly Tivala Chandravansha sees the future and past of the temple. He sees man and beast slain upon the never-dry altar, blood overflowing through the gutters, the pools, dripping from the dark idol, flowing down the walls in gushing torrents, filling the rooms. Blood rises around him like a foretold tide, and he drinks, and he drowns. Kali speaks to him: “Yes.”

Rajah Tivala falls on the ground, reeling.
“For a price.”

--*0*--
Gold please.
 

Kuipy

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II - Payday
780, under the walls of Delhi


Dinesh the Hyena, Thakur Tivala’s master of raiders, knelt before his master for the first time. In that posture he seemed rather ordinary, a small, barefoot man in peasant garb. But when he rose effortlessly, all could see his dark, cruel eyes and tell-tale scar. Dinesh belonged to both Kali’s chosen and her rejects. A Kosalan saber, some six years ago, had cut most of his nose and split his face with a deep horizontal gash, like a second smile not much more sinister than the first. Somehow the goddess had not called him to her that day, and he had survived the blood loss and the fever, only a little madder and more vicious for it. His dark legend had spread to the highlands. It was him who had sacked three sanctuaries of weaker gods in a year, cut a damapati’s ear when his ransom was slow to come, and climbed the red walls of Asigarh on a moonless night, a garrote between his teeth.

His band of ruffians had sown fear and reaped wealth around the Ganges headwaters for the better part of a decade now, bringing back welcome plunder to Delhi ; gold for the thakur, writhing, shrieking captives for the goddess. But now the Thakur was fighting a much more dangerous foe than Kosalan border patrols. The rajah himself had called his other vassals, and now sieged Delhi.

“You certainly know that place.” his master was saying.
“Yes… Certainly. Every brigand knows it! It’s a very good hiding place.”
“Take fifty of your horsemen, not more. And hide in the gully before dawn. When the charge begins, when you hear war cries, not before, then you will leap out and fall on their backs. That should win us the battle.”

Dinesh bowed with a kind of throaty chuckle, and ambled away. He knew better than to leave the camp by the gate, but he knew the word and so the sentry let him climb down and up the trench. In a blink he vanished under the trees, ran through the shadows, to the Gully of Knives. It was a perfect hiding place indeed, deep and dark, with a bent entry masked by bushy undergrowth. One could hide elephants there, and a man would pass two steps from the place without noticing anything. He could have danced for joy.

On his way back he climbed an enormous mango tree, and ate one–almost ripe- while watching the valley in the sunset. Rajah Gangeya’s camp huddled around Delhi, Tivala’s capital, slightly less than a thousand man. Clever, clever rajah, taking Tivala’s capital once his nominal vassal grew too strong and too greedy. But a bit late, maybe?

A little further down the valley, Thakur Tivala’s camp looked somewhat bigger, his herd of war elephants more imposing. Dinesh though he saw their gilded tusks gleam in the sunset. Gold from Dinesh the Hyena, Dinesh the Cutter of Ears, yes! Ransom of noble ladies, those who did not die screaming before the goddess. Dinesh would play a big part in the battle tomorrow, for sure. Without him, the battle would be too close a call.

He slid silently down the trunk and went back the thakur’s camp, to his tent, and to sleep. He dreamt of blood! Sometime for dawn he woke and kicked his men awake. Raiding business is not layabouts; they knew what to do. Silently they led their horses out of the camp by the bridle, one hand over their beasts’ muzzle to keep them calm.

Once in the gully they knew they had some time to wait. Some took a little more sleep, some prayed, some played chess silently or chew betel. Dinesh stood by the entrance of the gully, with another sentry, listening carefully. Rumble. Horns. Marching men. Elephants. When the war cries thundered they all leapt on their horses, but Dinesh raised his hand to make them wait. They would have to surge at just the right time, for the proper effect. Finally he lowered it and spurred his mount.

They could only manage a slow trot at best under the trees, but once they left the shade of the trees he whipped his horse into a sweaty gallop. So very close, under him, the two armies had just engaged, both centers hurled against each other, with archers on the flank and the elephants waiting with the reserve.
On his left, the rajah’s army. On his right, thakur Tivala, grandchild of the Moon.
Dinesh laughed and steered his horse to the right.

They crashed into the archers, yelling and striking. It was always marvelous how much mayhem and devastation a small force could inflict on a larger one, just by catching it wholly unprepared. Archers panicked, ran, died, shouted orders and counter-orders, did everything, really, except fight back. His men knew the drill, they slashed at a few who tried to make a stand but mostly kept moving and close to him, driving the bulk of the fleeing men right into the reserve as it tried to shift its rank.

On the other side, the raja’s men attacked with renewed energy and hearty cheers. By the time Tivala’s elephants panicked and charged way from the screaming riders into their own lines, the battle was already decided.
Tivala himself fought as fiercely as he could, but eventually tried to flee on his white stallion, lashing at it with his golden reins. But an arrow caught the horse just as was leaping over a brook. Stallion and riders fell amidst the rank soldiers scraping to flee their blue-clad victors. When Tivala tried to scramble to his feet he stumble in the mud and fell, just at the feet of Dinesh, Dinesh who laughed.

“Dinesh the Hyena found himself another master, little Thakur. You are no longer the master of Dinesh.”
“Please… Why?”
Dinesh flashed his long knife and licked the blood of it.
“You pay the price. Price for the Goddess! But you are not done paying yet, little Thakur.”
Tivala looked at the two ghastly smiles mocking him.
“Now flee, my old master, my new master. And remember there is more yet to pay.”

--*o*--


So that’s embarrassing. I had already nabbed a fourth county, and upgraded mine by beating Ayudha/Kosala like a nice cash piñata, when my liege (one province, one poor vassal) tried to revoke my title. He raised some 800 men to my 1200, which was favorable odds, but I badly miscalculated and tried to rush things by attacking him in a forest province, and it ended in defeat for me and new odds of 300 vs 500. Eventually I had to concede and he took Delhi from me.

Gold please.
 

King of Men

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Loyal Submission

Session recap: Asturias, and separately my County of Leon, were both at war with the Umayyad Sultanate; the former war was the Sultan aggressing on m'liege for Galicia, the latter was me retaliating by declaring Holy War for the Duchy of Leon. With much-appreciated financial aid from outside Spain, and a Jewish loan, I hired two bands of mercenaries, which turned out to be not quite enough to crush the Sultan's doomstack. However, the Sultan then turned east to fight the invading Franks for Barcelona, and together we were able to destroy his army. The AI then white-peaced Asturias. Unfortunately I dismissed my mercenaries a little too early, thinking that between the loss of his army and the vast Catholic uprising the Sultan would be helpless to prevent me occupying Leon and force-peacing for the Duchy. And so he was; but Fimconte, sneakily holding back for just that moment, raised a new stack, defeated my levies, and forced a white peace between me and the Sultan.

UmayyadsInTrouble.png


Catholic Revolt, coinciding with the Frankish invasion; unfortunately the rebels were somehow defeated, I think through losing enough battles to reach 100% warscore.


CorrinoIntervention.png


Fimconte's intervention in my holy war for Leon.​

Later, having married my son Ogier to King Guttier's sister, I pressed her claim to the throne, intending my grandsons to inherit. Unfortunately, I had no truce with the Sultan, and he immediately declared war on me. I was faced with the unpleasant necessity of making peace with the King, and losing my chance of putting a relative on the throne - but keeping my lands, since the King's truce with the Sultan would then protect me; or "making peace" with the Sultan and being knocked out of the game. I chose the former.

Finally, adding injury to injury, Fimconte declared a separate holy war for Galicia, and I was unable to stop him taking it; the kingship of Asturias, these days, does not look like such a prize as all that.

-----------------------------------​

May 27th, 792
Asturias de Santiago, north coast of Iberia
Noon

"The man Oliver de Errolan comes to make leal submission to Guttier, Dux of the Visigoths, Princeps of Asturias!"

Oliver ground his teeth; "the man", indeed. He might be a rebel and a dead man walking, but by God he was still a Count, and if it weren't for the damned Saracens he'd make Guttier remember it... but then, if it weren't for the damned Saracens, Guttier would no longer be King. It would have to be endured; there was, no doubt, worse to come than the mere eliding of his titles. He kept himself under tight control as he approached the high seat. To either side the long benches were full of Guttier's men, soldiers who might have faced his own following across a stricken field had matters been other than they were - and died for their salt. Between them, the marcher lords who had followed Oliver's banner could field twice the army that Guttier could raise from his protected coastal valleys.

Much good it does us, Oliver thought darkly; the Moors had twice the fighting men of the whole northern kingdom, king and rebels together. He ignored the hostile glares, focusing on the man who had actual power to decide his fate - the boy, rather; Guttier had yet to see his fifteenth birthday. The boy-king sat in a high chair, carved with winged lions and filigreed eagles; a man grown might have made its grandeur imposing, but the slight fourteen-year-old boy who reigned over the northern coast of Iberia disappeared into the ornaments. With him stood his advisors, the men who actually ruled; greybeards all, inherited along with the kingship from Guttier's father. The bald dome of Roderico, the Regent, rose prominently among them; a nothing of a man, raised from the lesser ranks of the nobility to his high position precisely because he had no following of his own, and could not hope to make his power permanent.

RegentRodericoRuscino.png


Roderico, the Regent.​

Reaching the dais that raised the high table above the common ruck, Oliver stopped; he had to look slightly up to see his victorious enemies. The room was silent, except for the sound of a hundred men trying to breathe quietly, and the slight rustling of their clothes; the moment drew out and out, until Oliver almost wished for someone to shout "Off with his head!" if only to have it over with. At last his nerve broke, and he bowed his head, acknowledging overlordship. Freeborn Visigoth males did not kneel to any man.

KingGuttier.png


Guttier, slightly later in life.​

"Princeps," he said in greeting - the old form; perhaps, if his revolt had succeeded, he would have been able to make "rex" the style of the kingship, as the leaders of Asturias had tried to do since Pelagius, but he was damned if he was going to grovel. It wasn't as though Guttier was likely to be appeased by a word.

"Count Oliver," the boy returned, then flushed; Oliver concealed an unexpected smile. Carefully coached, no doubt, to address him as "freeman"; and he'd blown it in his very first word. Vindication, in a way; one of the causes of the revolt had been that it was no time to have a child commanding the front line of Christendie. Guttier's slip had just proven the rebels right; best leave the business of government to adults.

"You will give me your sword," Guttier rallied, and Oliver's fleeting amusement died. Slaves went unarmed; so did the subject Romani, the gutless Latins who had lived in the peninsula when Oliver's people arrived as conquerors. To take a freeman's sword was the same as declaring him no longer a freeman, to strip him of the privileges of the Gothi rulers. His hand tightened on the hilt of the sword. It wasn't the sharpest blade in all the world, that he had borne since before he needed to shave; that was safely in Ogier's keeping. It was just an ordinary sword, well-made enough in its way, but nothing special. But it was the badge of his freedom. And, what was more, an adult male with a sword could, if he didn't care about his own survival, kill a boy of fourteen quite easily - the work of seconds - and go on to carve a swathe through the old men who advised the king, before the warriors behind him could react to bring him down. An unarmed boy, and several greybeards who might have been formidable once but were old and frail now, against a man in the fullness of his strength, a warrior who had personally wielded Durendal against the infidel on stricken fields... yes, it could be done. Oliver would die, but Ogier would declare himself king, and the marcher lords would follow him; the coastal valleys would splinter into factions, easily crushed one by one... and then the Moslem armies, unbound by truce, would flood across the border, and the splintered kingdom would fall. No; the choices were the same as they had been a week ago, when he had first received word that the Sultan had taken the field. Fight, and die, and see all that he had worked for ground to dust by the victorious infidel - or make leal submission, return to the shelter that the sworn truce between Sultan and boy-king gave to a loyal vassal, and accept his personal fate. Ogier, at least, would live, and retain the family estates and titles; that much could be saved.

"Yes," he said at last. Moving slowly, deliberately, he brought the sword out of the scabbard and gave it, hilt first, to the King.

"You will stay here," Guttier continued, and Oliver nodded.

"Of course," he agreed. In Asturias de Santiago he was hostage against Ogier's good behaviour, as well as assurance that Oliver himself could get up to no further rebellion; next year the Sultan might be campaigning in Africa. He felt an emptiness in his stomach, nonetheless; it was quite likely he would never see his own estates again, or sleep in his own bed.

There was an odd look in Guttier's eyes, not the flaring triumph of a man who has overcome a threat to his life, something almost - hurt? When he spoke again, his tone was much quieter.

"Why did you do it, Oliver? You served my father loyally; and the Moors are at the gates! You killed a hundred men once, to preserve the castle-peace of this besieged kingdom. And you were right, too. The moment we were disunited, the Sultan jumped right in. If we don't have unity, we'll have nothing. Why did you, of all people, rebel?"

Oliver blinked, lips parting slightly in surprise; Guttier didn't sound angry, as you would expect from a boy coming into manhood when an adult disparaged his competence. Rather, he sounded bitterly disappointed. Between one breath and the next he understood, and almost laughed out loud. The boy had admired him! Oliver was surely the foremost warrior in his besieged kingdom - the wielder of Durendal, no less, who had led Christian armies on many bloody fields. Just the sort of man that a young king might admire, seek to emulate, even hero-worship - right up until he turned around and raised his banners in rebellion, and broke that fragile peace that he had spent his life upholding and defending. Oliver laughed, bitterly. What harm in speaking truth, now, when all was lost?

BattleOfTarragona.png


One of the stricken fields on which Oliver has led Christian soldiers - in this case, defeating the Sultan in conjunction with our esteemed Frankish allies.​

"Why did I rebel? After Tuy, which the royal army sat out in safety at Coruna, thirty miles from the fighting? After the retreat to Burgos, with the Sultan's zenatas swarming around us like bees, and the king's promised aid to his vassals always a day late and ten miles short? After the Galician Campaign? I needed those troops, dammit! We were so close; just a hundred men on the right flank..." Oliver realised that his voice had grown loud, and blew out his breath gustily, trying to let the old anger go with it. "Unity in war is a fine thing," he said in a calmer tone. "But it needs the substance as much as the form. If the royal forces had been under my command at Tuy, the Sultan would be fortifying Evora."

BattleOfTuy.png


The disastrous battle of Tuy; note the royal Asturian army sitting in Coruna, not lifting a finger to defend the King's lands, while Leon pours out blood and treasure like water.​

Guttier swallowed. "I was too young then," he whispered. "If I'd been older - or better advised..." he trailed off, glancing aside at the row of advisers, standing quite literally behind his throne. The old King's marshal was among them, Oliver saw; his old antagonist, Johan, greyer now than when they'd last met outside Coruna, but just as dim. His cheeks were red, whether with drink or with anger Oliver couldn't tell.

"It is done," Oliver said tiredly. "All things are accomplished in accordance with the will of God." He sat down on the low dais, at Guttier's feet, and rested his head in his hands.