Fivoin

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A Genealogy of Nazaryan Emperors
By KhanXLT, Georgia​
Basileus Andres I Nazaryan (1149-1168)

By all accounts the forgotten second son of Despot Artavazd, he was always in the shadows of his older brother Konstantinos, who had been groomed from birth to be the new Emperor. Andres was doomed to be sent off to be lord of a far distant castle in Syria. Fortunately for him, his brother died of an illness before he could claim his mother's throne. The responsibility to rule would now be thrust onto Andres.

The new Emperor had inherited an Empire at a crossroads. Under his mother, the Byzantine Empire maintained, but did not prosper. It faced heathens at all sides and no one expected much from him, some even openly spoke of rebellion, which hadn't been a concern since his Grandfather led the last revolt over 40 years ago. After taking stock of his assets, he made a decision that would cement his name in history, and ensure that the Nazaryans would continue to sit on the throne for generations to come.

He invited newly crowned Prince Mayor Ramonos of Tauracia and Doux Isidoros of Athens to Constantinople to obtain their help in a total reconstruction of the Byzantine Empire. This meeting would be the birth of a reinvigorated Theme System, which had been in decline since the reign of Nikephoras II Phokas almost 200 years ago. This new Theme system took cues strongly from the Feudal system which had been prevalent in the Catholic Kingdoms to the west. In effect it created three districts in the current Empire, a Western District, a Northern District, and a Eastern District. The North and the West would be under the suzerainty of the East, but were free to pursue their own affairs within their own themes.

The effects of the New Theme System was immediate, over the next 15 years Byzantine expanded explosively in three directions. North through the Tengri Hordes thanks to mercenary armies of Prince Mayor Ramonos and his Northern Theme. South through the Shia Muslims thanks to the now Despot Isidoros of the Western Theme, and East, with the Imperial Army backed by the manpower of Andres’s Eastern Theme. At the Death of Andres in the year 1168, the Byzantine Empire was the largest it would be in the middle ages, but his son would go on to lose the Northern Theme in its entirety.
 

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Suum Cuique - Brandenburg Rising
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
Fate or Chance?

Castle Brennenburg, December 19, 1241

King Karloman III von Brennenburg had shut himself inside his chambers for a full day and night grieving for the death of his beloved son Alexander. The handsome and supremely capable young heir to the throne had perished of a terrible infection that had festered within a trivial wound he had suffered while training a new batch of incompetent recruits for the castle walls. Now the king's second son, also named Karloman, was in line to ascend to his aged father's throne. Karloman had so very rarely seen his father weep - it was a number he could count on one hand. But even now he could see the his father's dark blue eyes inflamed red from the day of grieving. Now they stood side by side with almost a hundred servants, knights, lords, and men-at-arms, surrounding Alexander's funeral pyre. The von Brennenburgs burned their dead.

The King's somber expression wavered for a bare moment as he stared down at his dead son's serene, motionless face before he set the pyre alight with the torch he held. The mourners bowed their heads in silent prayer before the King turned to his eldest surviving son. "He...he was always the best of us," the King said, barely able to maintain his composure. "A man who I could see what greater than myself. He...he could have been the greatest of all the Kings of Prussia..."

Karloman grunted quietly to himself. Even in the light of his funeral pyre, Alexander's overwhelming shadow still loomed over and enveloped his younger brother. "It was the will of God, father," Karloman said, putting a hand on the King's shoulder in an attempt at comforting him.

The King merely shrugged it away. "Why would God punish me so? Have I not been a loyal and devout servant? Is the Catholic Church not the right path?" he despaired, spreading his arms and staring up at the dark, clouded sky.

Karloman's eyes narrowed. "Do not doubt the path of the righteous, father. Job suffered endless torments, and yet held faith in God. And in the end, his faith was rewarded."

The King sighed, and began walking back toward the gates of the keep. Karloman followed, as he was followed by the train of mourners. "I have grown our Kingdom to the furthest of our founder's original ambitions. Alexander was intended to make it even greater, an empire to rival that of the Greek Emperor himself, cursed though his name may be. I am so old now, my son. Now I wonder...what will become of Prussia when I am gone?"

Karloman's right eye twitched slightly. He rubbed his forehead to keep it under control before answering his father. "I am not my brother, but I am no imbecile, father. I will strive to live up to the expectations you once held for him. Am I not a worthy enough successor?"

The King paused in the middle of the dimly-lit foyer hall, shadowed silhouette outlined by the soft glow of the burning pyre behind and the moonlight seeping through the windows ahead. He tilted his head ever so slightly in order to glance at his son out of the corner of his eye. Karloman stared back, yet it was as if his father were glaring right through him. "If not Alexander, then it should be Albrecht. Such a cruel twist of fate that my brother died mere months before his birth. Truly a man in the same image as his father - sometimes even I believe that Albrecht should be the rightful king."

Karloman lost control of his twitch as his brows slanted and right fist began to shake in fury. For a moment, he considered breaking the facade of von Brennenburg stoicism and reminding his father who his son and now heir was, but after glancing back at the knights and nobles that still trailed behind them, he reconsidered. Karloman took a deep breath and exhaled, regaining control of his involuntary reflexes and cricking his neck. "I...will try my best. I will be as great as Alexander could have been," he lied. In truth, when his father looked down from the Kingdom of Heaven in the years future, Karloman would show him he was greater than Alexander or Albrecht could ever have been.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Death of a Crusader King

Near Krakow, Poland, June 1, 1246

Prince Karloman von Brennenburg sat in silent vigil by his father's side, head bowed and eyes closed in persistent prayer. They were sheltered from the pouring rain outside by the sizable royal tent; even over the tumult of the downpour, Karloman could still hear the shouts and songs of the rowdy knights and soldiers as they celebrated their victory even as their King lay dying. It had been barely a day since his father's final victory at Krakow, where Prussia's mighty armies had utterly crushed the pathetic Orthodox heretics that followed the weak Rurikovich King of Ruthenia. After the death of Alexander, the King had thrown himself back into the arms of his old friends, God and battle. He had fought three great campaigns in as many years to liberate regions in Poland and Kurland from the heretic yoke. Even in his advanced age, Karloman III had led his men from the front as he and his long-dead brother had in year past...save for the campaign against Krakow. Months ago the King's health had taken a turn for the worst, and ever since he had been bed-ridden and barely conscious of his surroundings due to his senility and disease-addled brain. Yet, in his fleeting moments of lucidity, the King had insisted on remaining with his loyal soldiers to the end. Karloman grunted in contempt at the thought - some of these men had likely been involved in the tragic accident that ultimately resulted in his brother's untimely death.

The King slept now, as he had through the chaos and clamor of the battle, through the booming thunder of the storm, and through the drunken celebrations of his bawdy soldiers. Karloman contemplated his fast-approaching future as King in between prayers for his father's soul. Prussia's recent campaigns against the Orthodox heretics in the east may have won them love from the Pope, but they had certainly made enemies out of the loyal lemmings who followed the Greek Emperor and his pet the Patriarch of Constantinople; his father's great and proud boasts of success against the heretics had surely deepened their grudges further. Suddenly, the King stirred, coughing violently and struggling to sit upright. "Careful, father," Karloman said as he gently helped his father lie still.

King Karloman III von Brennenburg coughed again, wheezing and grunting in pain as he struggled to speak. "Son...I am not long for this world. In mere moments, I will stand at the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven," the King rasped. Karloman beckoned - silently but fervently - for the priest who sat in the far corner to come quickly to his father's side. As the priest began to administer Last Rites, the King weakly waved for his son to bend low closer and listen.

"Yes, father?"

"Son...I-I know you will," the King began whispering, soon interrupted by another violent bout of hacking and coughing. "I know you will...lead this kingdom to further greatness. I...I know you will be the best of us..."

Karloman nodded, smiling slightly. "Thank you, father."

"Continue the crusade...against the heretics...Never doubt...righteous path," the King wheezed.

"Never, father," Karloman promised, gripping his father's hand tightly. Death mended all old wounds, it seemed.

"Go forth...with my blessing...my son," the King said. "Suum Cuique...Alexander..."

The old king's eyes closed, and he let loose one final, long death rattle. The priest continued the ritual even as Karloman stared at the old man's corpse in motionless silence. A quiet, tranquil fury boiled to the surface deep within him. Leaning back and releasing his father's cold hand, he clutched his right hand with the other to control its involuntary shaking and squeezed his eyes shut. He breathed in and exhaled deeply before opening his eyes and releasing his hand once more. "That will be all, Father," he said, in sinister monotone. The priest bowed his head and quickly left the tent for the pouring rain outside. The new King of Prussia, Poland, and Bohemia stood and walked over to the trunk at the foot of the bed, bending down to pick up the hand mirror resting on its top. He scowled into it for a few moments before violently flinging it across the tent, where it smashed against the suit of armor resting on its stand. "I'll show them all," he growled through clenched teeth, face contorted in fury. "To there heretics and heathens and damned old fools their own."
 

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Hungary under the Turóc Dynasty
By Rannos, Hungary​
Since this new King of Hungary, Gergely Janosfi Aba, refuses to follow the one true faith and acknowledge the Ecumenical Patriarch Neophytos as the true head of the Christian Chruch, I (Duke Orbán a Turóc of Transylvania,) declare him a pretender to the throne and myself King of Hungary. All true Christian, Magyar lords are to come to the new capital of Galaz to swear their fealty to their new king and to see to the assignment of lands and duchies. Those of the heretical Catholic faith in the north, best prepare their armies and their defenses, for they will receive little in the way of mercy. Their lands, gold and lives are all forfeit.
-Proclaimation of the Refounding of Hungary, February 13th, 1246

wcGpSWG.jpg


The ancient greek dug through the entrails of the freshly slaughtered goat looking for something only he, with all his long years studying the occult, could discern. The initial coloring when the beast was opened was a good sign but something seemed missing. Maybe it was just his old mind playing tricks but there was something off...

"Your holiness? Can we assist you with something?" Marshal Leontios asked, looking as confused and dimwitted as ever. The man might be one of the best generals in the land, but he understood very little outside of killing and marching.

"Heh, certainly nothing you could help with, child. Just trying to see if we'll have any good fortune in our mission to Ungvar."

"Bah! We should've burned all the Catholics out of that damn hellhole when we got the chance! I told the King... Well, he was a duke then... that if you make a horrific enough example, then the whole damn place will rush to re dedicate themselves to the True Faith." Complained the marshal as he went back to gathering the Patriarch's remaining luggage for the wagon just outside the Church of Aegyssus.
While the thought of thousands of poor innocents burning alive made Niphon shudder, the marshal did almost have a point: King Orbán seemed almost suspiciously lax on the heretics for someone that had seized the throne on the pretext of bringing the true faith to the Magyars. Then again he had only become king just recently, maybe he had more pressing issues than... Where the hell was the liver?

"Child you DID give me a WHOLE goat, right?"
"Of course, your holiness! I'm not an idiot! Then after I cut the thing open, I gave away the innards to that orphanage across the road like you said to do after you were done."

The Patriarch sighed loudly, it would worry him all trip to not have a properly read fortune, but to make a fuss about it would certainly not be proper either.

"Well, I suppose the good deed will give us some good luck. Is the wagon prepared at least?"
"Just got done with it! I'll assemble the retinue as soon as you are... erm, clean, I suppose?"
"Very well, I'll be ready in just one moment. If God is good, this mission won't take the rest of my life..."
"Bah! Cheer up, your holiness! With your oratory and my manly prowess, we'll have those heretics thinking rightwise before the year is out!" said the oaf unusually optimistic.
"Besides, I hear mountain air is good for your health!"

GFFUqkm.jpg


((Horribly out of practice, hopefully this will get better over time!))
 

Fivoin

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A Genealogy of Nazaryan Emperors
By KhanXLT, Georgia​
Basileus Stuarakous I Nazaryan (1168-1169)

Following the time honored tradition, it was the third son who would be next to rule, for he was the First to be “Born in the Purple.” Unfortunately he died within a year of receiving the crown, so not much can be said about his character, the peasants had barely received notice that they had a new liege before he died.

Officially the records say that he died from natural causes, but local folklore claim that his wife, who he met while traveling with his father in recently conquered territories and would later elope with, carried with her a curse. His wife’s name was Daisha bint Abdul-Haleem Sultan, and she claimed lineage to the Great Pharaohs of old to explain why she was allowed to marry the heir to the most powerful Empire in the world. Whether or not it was true is a matter of no concern, what it is important to note however is the idea of a ‘Pharaoh's Curse’ was prevalent around that time to explain the fall of the Fatimids. However the idea that the Nazaryan dynasty would have blood of an ancient line of failed kings did not sit well with the upper nobility of Byzantium. Thus it was no great surprise when she died mere months after Stuarakous took the throne while with child. People feared that the ‘Curse of the Pharaoh’ might strike their new Emperor next.

On September 23 1169 their worst fears were realized, when Basileus Stuarakous I was announced dead at the age of 17. The Court Physician (Conviently a distant Nazaryan Cousin) stated the official cause of death by Natural Causes, there was no Foul Play. The Burden of Leadership would go to his brother.
 

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Mupdate 1152
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
ck2_map_1_zps5f401b17.png

Europe c. 1152

-Yes, that is Byzantium going completely bonkers. This session saw Venice (Mark) and Sicily (Bears) swear fealty to Byz early on. Mark inherited Lombardy during an HRE civil war. Oddman suddenly went nucking futs expanding into Cumania. We have our first human Byzantine Emperor in KhanXLT, King of Georgia. He went crazy as well, taking about half the bloody empire, before peacefully inheriting the Empire via marriage. The situation with everyone swearing to the Byz (Ike aka Rus said he also plans on joining the Byz) is the hottest topic of debate right now. It is highly likely that some new balancing rules are going be put down to stop the shenanigans.

-Chaos reigned in the Holy Roman Empire. Falador (Frisia) did not show up to the session today, but his AI went crazy and started a civil war for the title of Emperor. He won thanks to AI cheating (AI gets special events when they rebel for tons of free troops) and now Falador's family is on the throne of the HRE. On my front, I had an interesting session. I rapidly conquered most of Bohemia, gaining the King title early in the session. Things were stable for most of the session until the second round of civil war that ripped apart the HRE. I went through two kings this session, and soon my brother Norbert (Duke of Meissen) started a succession crisis, taking half my vassals with him. I BARELY won that through a white peace, but during the war my OTHER brother was declared rightful claimant by the tiny Count of Rugen, who I crushed afterward. After the civil wars were over I imprisoned Norbert and revoked his Duchy.

-France is still in utter, utter chaos. There's a new king every hour, which screws over Frosty (Champagne) because that resets a lot of his war effort as he fights for elective monarchy. The civil war has been ongoing for a good 80 years, with the de Bourgognes, Capets, and Argonauts (Jason's dynasty in Poitou-Ireland) all fighting over the throne while Frosty's Carolingiens just try to hold on.

-BaronBowden (Murcia) now controls almost all of Spain. Due to a misunderstanding of the rules, he took about 70% of Dustz's (Barcelona) land, which in turn caused the AI Hammadids to completely destroy him. He'll have to be edited back in.

-Abyssinia (now played by Frax) got screwed over early on when the Fatimids invaded, taking about 75% of his land. He swore fealty to the Byz near the end of the session so the ludicrously-powerful Byz could win back his land and then release him. IMO this is very much gaming the lax nature of fealty rules.

-Fivoin (York) and KoM (Scotland) were extremely quiet all session. England's civil wars resolved themselves in a crazy way, with about 4-5 kings taking the throne for a few months before dying. First was a Godwin, then another Godwin who was assassinated, then ANOTHER Godwin child king, before finally a de Normandie with good stats stabilized everything.

-DamianGrim (Gotland) was absent this session and claims that it is possible he may have to quit the CK2 phase entirely. Ironically, his character became Doge of Gotland early this session.

-The Russian players, Ike (Rus) and Krijeager (Chernigov) were also quiet throughout the session. Ike resolved an early civil war handily (his bitch of a wife constantly plots against him) but other than that nothing much happened. The Byz are rapidly swallowing up the Cumans.

-As the session began I expressed my wish to dissolve the HRE with Kuipy (Tyrol) and Falador's (Frisia) help. With the Byz going so out of control, that plan went out the window. In fact, unless something is done about this fealty thing, the game might shape up to be a giant HRE blob of Germany-France-Poland facing off against a massive Byz blob of Greece-Turkey-Russia-Egypt.
 
Last edited:

Fivoin

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Mupdate 1173
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
GG4Map1172_zpsf1cceccd.png

-Yes Byz has become even more of a monster. Venice and Cherson (now Taurica-Volga Bulgaria) were supposed to become independent this session, but Byz Emperor was unable to release Cherson and Venice refused to leave Byz unless Cherson did so at the same time. They are being forcibly partitioned by edit in preparation for next session. I'm really glad we're taking measures to stop this stupidity from continuing, because we've been losing players at an alarming rate and Ike (Rus) was also planning on joining the Purple Blob to End All Blobs. Unknown as to what will happen once Byz fully conquers the Levant and Egypt, but Abyssinia was just released at the end as was agreed (didn't even notice that while playing). JakobGood (Greece) became a monster this session, gobbling up the titles for Greece, Egypt, and Bulgaria. He actually controls about 90% of the entire Balkan Penninsula now, plus more.

-HRE had some funny things happen, I guess. I went through three kings in rapid succession (1 died in battle, 1 assassinated by AI, 1 child king who is now adult) which in turn provoked some incredibly annoying succession crises that revolved around the Bitch of Saxony (a distant cousin -_- - out of my whole freaking family I have had a grand total of ONE loyal brother/uncle). Falador (Frisia) was Holy Roman Emperor for the majority of the session. During his stint he grabbed the Germany and Lotharingia King titles. In order to prevent his vassals from looking upon his many titles with greedy eyes, he also destroyed the Frisia title. This backfired hilariously later on, as his family did not get the Emperor title back after his character's death, resulting in ALL OF FRISIA become independent of his control. This included his capital of Gelre, which fell to the new Kaiser (hilariously named Adolf), which is one of the richest provinces in the game at the moment. Falador was reduced to a single county, Holstein, but had vassals in de jure Germany and Lotharingia. He's gradually rebuilding his power. Kuipy (Tyrol) had setbacks and gains alike. A nastily-timed vassal rebellion caused Upper Burgundy - about half of his megasuchy - to be released under a new ruler, but he did become King of Bavaria in recompense. Now that the Byz monster-blob is definitively being partitioned by edit, we (or at least I) are planning on dismantling the HRE entirely. I actually have to be forcibly edited to be independent otherwise because vanilla CK2 stupidly removed the entire de jure area of the Kingdom of Pomerania from the de jure part of the HRE, and there are now rules against empires having players vassals not within de jure borders.

-Frosty (Champagne) FINALLY became King of France after much hardship. France has fallen upon some seriously hard times, what with Poitou become an independent Ireland and relentless civil wars causing the entirety of the south (Toulouse/Dauphine/etc.) becoming independent. Thus begins the Carolingien Restoration, wherein the new King of France retakes the south and parts of Normandy.

-Poitou-Ireland (that green in Aquitaine is not from Muslim Spain) continues sitting quietly, counting his moneys.

-Spain is an annoying situation. Baronbowden (Andalusia) foolishly (if inadvertently) caused our Barcelona player to quit by conquering his entire realm while that player was absent. He was punished by being forced to release all of his conquests in formerly Christian Spain, but that did precisely fuck-all to hinder him because he just re-vassalized them within the hour. Frosty also gave up France's holdings in Spain to Baronbowden, so now Muslim Iberia is becoming a reality. Unless somethin changes, I will from now on refer to Baronbowden's nation as Iberia or (less frequently) Spain. He is uncontested there, but has threatened to quit over internal drama, though I personally find this unlikely now that issues have been largely resolved.

-In the British Isles, things have been quiet. Fivoin (York) is STILL a mega-duchy, and despite controlling literally half of England he has made no moves to seize the crown itself. KoM (Scotland) has been resting on his laurels. I think he has plans to move into Norway in the future, but that's just speculation.

-In Russia, things remain interesting. Cherson (which I will call Ukraine or Taurica from now on) controls almost all of Byzantine Russia and will become an independent power next session. Ike (Rus) was very quiet aside from mentioning his eugenics experiments regarding the breeding of a dynasty of dwarfs. However, he has expressed plans to conquer Finland in the future. Ruthenia is still AI, and Krijger (Chernigov) was absent this session. The King of Ruthenia is strangely an inbred Midas Touched who suffers from being inbred, thus causing frequent revolts. I hope Krijger shows back up because otherwise I fear Ukraine will eat Ruthenia.

-Italy has largely remained constant throughout the session. Anders (Genoa) was slightly late to the session and lost the Doge title early on; he has ambitions in Valencia and north Africa as you can see. Mark (Venice) will become independent next session as well. He controls Lombardy, Venice, and most of south Italy; he is the official King of Sicily, but I call him Venice to distinguish him from the Duke of Sicily. Bears (Sicily) controls the island of Sicily itself, the tip of Italy's boot, and parts of north Africa. He expanded to the point that he slightly violates the new rules of player vassals to Empires, but I'm not sure if he's being edited to independence yet or not.

-Regrettably, we have lost a LOT of players. DamianGrim (Gotland) has quit, which hurts us the most because he was not only our save editor but also the only player in Scandinavia. Geoferric (Muslim Jerusalem) rage-quit after the Second Crusade took about 80% of his land during session 2, preceded by the original Abyssinia player, cyrileom (Frax has since taken up the reigns). Chogquir (Khiva) did not show up this week, but is also very weak compared to the other players due to a Seljuk invasion in session 2. This leaves Danomite (Kuwait) as the only muslim player left in the Middle East, and has indirectly led to the massive blobbing of the Byz in the region due to KhanXLT's (Byzantine Emperor) ambitions. They are partitioning the Middle between themselves, but this leaves the problem where the Byz remain enormous but do not technically violate the rules because a player vassal does not control the Levant/Egypt, it's controlled by the Emperor himself and his AI vassals. Serious future dilemma here.
 

Fivoin

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Mupdate
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
ck2_map_3_zpsd15216d4.png

Overall Map.
ck2_map_4_zps9ccc0a51.png

Player Map

-In the HRE, Falador (Germany) is gradually recovering and Kuipy (Bavaria) has reclaimed his lost lands in Alcase-Lorraine. I grabbed a few more counties as well. Early in the session Kuipy and I (Falador was late) fought an independence war from the HRE, but we rejoined it after we found that this stifled our opportunities for expansion and Falador wasn't going to follow us. Currently I'm fighting Denmark over Lubeck and have just about won. Unfortunately, my King died of illness seconds before the session ended and now I'm stuck with a child king.

-Nothing much changed in the ERE aside from Khan (Byz Emperor) grabbing Jerusalem. He also threatened to constantly attack Mark (Venice) until Mark allowed his old primary title (King of Sicily) to be usurped for Bears (Sicily). So now we have Sicily being slowly snapped up by the ERE every ten years or so.

-Anders (Genoa) rage-quit close to the end of the session. He's been getting screwed over constantly throughout the game, and it culminated here in relentless embargo wars by the Pope and HRE, Holy Wars by Spain and Morocco, and wars of conquest by Venice. He said he'll be back next week in Scandinavia.

-BaronBowden (Spain) had an eventful session today. He conquered Valencia from Genoa early on, but about halfway through the session his decadence went out of control, resulting in half his realm rebelling against him and placing a brother on the throne. After attempting to play on but having his characters constantly imprisoned, he ultimately decided to switch characters to his brother, the new King of Andalusia.

-Ike (Rus) also had an eventful session. About halfway through the dwarf branch of his dynasty (no seriously, there's a branch of his family that's 90% dwarfs large enough to be a legit cadet branch) revolted and took the throne of Rus. He switched characters to them and near session end another revolt threw that king out, putting a woman whose heir is of a different dynasty as Queen. So now yet another one of his family members is revolting to retake the throne from her.

-Krijger (Morocco) switched to fasquardon's old slot this session, and staged a pretty spectacular recovery in conquering the Almoravids and northern Algeria. However, he is now being plagued by civil wars and is currently hard-pressed by all accounts.

-Mark (Venice) is now back to his original title. He took advantage of the numerous Dukes and Counts who gained independence during our early independence war against the HRE, and now owns a good portion of Italy. Now that Anders is moving, his dominance in the region is assured.

-Fivoin (England) finally grabbed the crown at the start of the session. He and Frosty (France) have been working quietly to transfer ownership of Anjou back to France, I believe. KoM (Scotland) is plotting evilly. He's shown his true colors by interfering in the spheres of influence of multiple nations, most notably in Rus and my own. His interference is a small war against the Rus indirectly resulted in Ike losing his throne, and he is currently fighting a phony war against me on the side of Denmark and thus forcing me to get 100% warscore.
 

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Mupdate (without a map)
By Wraith, Brandenburg​

Well, this WOULD be a mupdate, but for some reason Photobucket no longer accepts Bitmap files. Fuck Photobucket.

Also known as the LAG-TASTIC Civil War Session, because pretty much everyone except the Byz players suffered from constant civil wars throughout the session. This session was shorter than most because the Americans and Canadians (such as myself) have started Daylight Savings Time today, so for the next two weeks we'll be only running 3-hour sessions rather than 4. Also Baron and Krijger have internet problems *shakes fist*

-First of all, a peanut might be asking "What the fuck happened to the HRE?" Well, Kuipy (Bavaria), Falador (Germany), and myself FINALLY got around to executing our cunning plan to dismantle the HRE, and we succeeded admirably. You can't see here because of Falador being the same color as the HRE, but the Empire is now restricted to merely Frisia and a few counties scattered in Italy and Provence (Ferrara and Ancona also were in the Independence Faction). So, down to individuals. I had a child king throughout the session and still do, which caused me no end of grief. Right after taking Lubeck from Denmark, I made the mistake of disbanding my 8k worth of mercenaries, as my levies were down to about 2000 total troops. This made the claimant factions believe they had 100+% of my troops, so they started three different succession wars (a distant cousin of another dynasty descended from a younger son, a Salian who inherited the claim from last session's independence war vs the HRE, and my goddamn uncle). Naturally, while expending all my treasury on mercs I crushed them after some time. Annoyingly, the Duke of Franconia usurped the Duchy of Mecklenburg title early on, inheriting the region out of my kingdom YET AGAIN. In retaliation I conquered Franconia by session end but have yet to reclaim Mecklenburg.

-Falador (Germany) considerably improved his situation and now controls all western Germany proper, and next session will presumably retake Frisia from the HRE (thus making the HRE completely impotent). He was a child most of the session and has grown up to be a TERRIBLE king (possessed and level-1 education). He's allied to me via marriage. I'm allied to Kuipy via marriage (to someone he INSISTS is my cousin but is not related to me at all). I am breeding a master race, as my child-king is quick and attractive and my betrothed is strong. But, this being vanilla CK2, I'm bound to get imbecile, hunchbacked, stuttering children -_-

-France (Frosty) was very quiet throughout the session. Amusingly, his wife (Duchess of Burgundy) started a war against Ireland (Doge is AI but Anders is now patrician there) for control of Bordeaux. No news on the progress there yet. In England, Fivoin faced a massive civil war against a Godwin claimant, with practically all of his vassals arrayed against him. I still don't know how he won that one. KoM (Scotland) was absent this session due to computer problems. Unfortunately for him, his AI heir who inherited the throne from the old king died in battle against some rebellion, so now the AI Duke of Moray is King of Scotland. KoM had some carefully-laid plans regarding inheriting Norway - his heir was married to the Queen (and the Norwegian vassals were repeatedly assassinating their sons). Unfortunately for him, that heir was captured in battle by the Norwegian rebels and died in prison before ascending to the throne of Scotland; now his dynasty is split in half - the direct line as Kings of Norway and the line under the originally-ascended King of Scotland in Scotland.

-BaronBowden (Andalusia) made an extremely impressive display of strategy during the majority of this session. He was facing a Crusade for Aragon at the end of last session, but had had KhanXLT (Byz Emperor) helping him. Khan was absent this session due to computer problems and so Baron was left on his own (with Krijger helping him as much as possible, meaning absolutely none). Baron defeated multiple AI HRE doomstacks by the skin of his teeth, turning the tide from +67% warscore in favor of the Christians to -100% in favor of himself. It looks like he's become largely stable over there for now after decades of decadence and familial problems.

-Krijger (Morocco) is by a VERY WIDE margin the butt monkey of this campaign. He had about 7 different Kings in 10 years. By the end of last session his realm was being ripped apart by a family that had bred out of control under the AI, so in compensation his character was murdered by edit to put his realm back together. Unfortunately, his new character died anyway after merely a year due to illness, and he inherited as an IMBECILE child. Civil war ensued, and a new Yngling was placed on the throne (to Krijger's relief, I think). The lag certainly didn't help his cause. Even now, Krijger is STILL fighting the Almoravids in an attempt to get rid of them once and for all, as they have been a persistent thorn in his side.

-Mark (Venice) formed the Kingdom of Italy at the very end of the session. Hilarity ensued when I (Bohemia) inexplicably inherited control of about a dozen different minor holdings (cities and bishoprics) within Italian counties all over, many of which were in counties under primary control of Venice or Venetian vassals. He and I are making a capitalist arrangement to transfer control of those holdings to him.

-Ike (Rus) also had no end to his problems. His nation was already suffering from a three-way civil war, and he joined as the strongest faction this session. I don't think that civil war has ended yet, even though he defeated the original sitting Queen but had the crown usurped not long after. Ike is now Novgorod, and attempted to exploit a potential loophole in the rules by swearing fealty to Oddman (Taurica). Unfortunately, the rule was not worded as vaguely as he'd expected, and the GM immediately forced Oddman to release him. Unknown what Ike is planning to do next.
 

Fivoin

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Combined mupdate 1217
By KhanXLT and Wraith​

3QMgCaO.png

yPFiQxZ.png


KhanXLT said:
We ended June 1217 with the rumors of a horde flag firing almost two years ago. Your Dynasty is King of Norway and another still in Lothian.

Tauracia lost doge and subsequently lost half his realm, with 2 duchies swearing to Croatia for some reason

Spain and Morocco have a bunch of civil wars, no change there.

France, England, Bohemia, and Bavaria take chunks out of HRE, HRE still has bigish (27k) army.

Ike absent, Russia is static.

Italy expands in all directions probably.

Rare Mesopotamian Civil war is troubled by the fact that my family vassals dog pile on him

Absent Germany's AI vassals try to put Kaiser HRE on German throne. Repeatedly.
Wraith said:
So I didn't have mupdates last week and until now for this week because I'm lazy and spoiled and threw a little tantrum when photobucket and imgur wouldn't upload by .bmp files that the maps were. So now I switched to .jpg formats. So also the mupdate will be in noticeably shittier quality (in the future I'll probably use .png)

-Last week, as stated, the three German players (Wraith, Kuipy, and Falador) dismantled the HRE. Falador (Germany) was absent this week, and suffered for it. His already-terrible King suffered an injury and became incapable, leaving him with 0-3-1-0-0 stats. He lingered for a little longer before dying and now Germany once again has a child king. Germany suffered a lot regardless, with numerous revolts trying to overthrow Falador's dynasty in favor of the Holy Roman Emperor (which cannot be allowed). Denmark also took advantage of the chaos by attacking Germany for Holstein. Immediately after Denmark won the county I declared war for Holstein myself and won easily. Additionally, I took four counties from Poland (Poznan, both Silesias, and Opole) and so I am almost at the limit of my expansion ambitions. I also re-discovered that I can rename counties even in MP, so now Samland=Kongsberg, Poznan=Posen, and Praha=Prague. Proper German names all around! I'm beginning my reclamation of Mecklenburg, and now have claims to all the remaining counties there. Kuipy (Bavaria) also suffered greatly this session (ironically, I probably suffered the least, a welcome break from constant traitorous kinsmen) - he had a MASSIVE succession crisis that almost resulted in utter disaster as AI Germany took advantage of chaos and attacked for Schwaben, Kuipy's capital. I heroically saved the day by joining the war at a critical juncture, sacrificing my 13k army to delay and weaken the 18k German stack. I'm not one to brag, but I'd say my interference enabled Kuipy to recover (he ended the civil war soon after my battle against Germany) and beat back the Germans - when I joined his warscore had been at about -80% in favor of the Germans. Kuipy did pay me back somewhat by helping me put down some annoying rebels who attempted to take advantage of my temporary lack of levies to lower crown authority. Yeah, they failed.

-Frosty (France) and Fivoin (England) continue to keep quiet and no doubt formulate dastardly plots. I'm glad to see that Frosty is finally being proactive about Provence, having apparently split the region between himself and Kuipy. AFAIK both Frosty and Fivoin are slowly working out an agreement for France to purchase Normandy (as they did with Anjou).

-BaronBowden (Spain) had an...interesting session to say the least. Early on he suffered a succession crisis so massive that it caused him to crash out of the game (literally 75% of his realm rebelled at once). While I helped via a hasty marriage alliance and call to arms, I was so far away that the war was over before my stack arrived. Baron had also called Khan (Byz Emperor) in as an ally (Khan has been really keeping Baron alive throughout the game, defending him against numerous Catholic AI crusades), and he marched around with a 50k+ doomstack. He caught a lucky break when Khan captured the leader of the revolt in battle, resulting in instant 100% warscore. Unfortunately for me, this meant one of my sisters is married to a random Muslim for almost no benefit to me -_-. Later on, Baron suffered ANOTHER large succession crisis, and this time lost. While he finally absorbed the eyesore catholic OPM in the middle of his nation, he has yet to take Empurias from Genoa (the yellow OPM in the middle there is a revolting vassal).

-Mark (Italy) and I concluded a large land exchange before this session, where I transferred about 9 minor holdings in Italy to his control in exchange for a shit-ton of gold. Despicably, Mark also declared war on me for the County of Ferrara just after this deal, which had been randomly inherited by one of my vassals. Note that I'm being sarcastic about that last part. Bears (Sicily) is actually independent from the Byzantine Empire now. The only reason he's still part of it is because he had to leave the session early and re-swore fealty so his AI realm was protected by the mighty human Emperor.

-Oddman (Taurica) is in some serious trouble at the moment. He lost the throne of his Republic-Kingdom, resulting in large-scale revolts by some of Taurica's vassals - the tan, burgundy, and brown blobs in the middle of southern Russia there are all free and independent. This is seriously bad news for Oddman, because we got the preliminary Mongol event two years ago. Brace yourselves...horsemen are coming...

-Fasquardon subbed for KoM this session, who is out of town for a couple weeks. Bad stuff happened to KoM (Scotland) last session as stated, where his heir died in a Norwegian prison before inheriting the throne of Scotland. This screwed up his carefully-laid plans to inherit both Norway and Scotland, and now there are two separate branches of the Mac Raghnall dynasty - one in Norway and one in Scotland. To make a bad situation worse, the Scottish line lost control of the throne last week due to a civil war. So Fasq played Norway this session, suffering from constant civil wars. He lost the throne for some time during the session, but regained it by the end and is now sitting pretty on a relatively stable power base. This success was in no small part due to considerable financial aid from multiple players, myself included (I sure am one to toot my own horn )

-Abyssinia collapsed early this session and also lost its lingering protection as a former player slot. Dano (Mesopotamia) is of course taking advantage of this by gobbling up as much of Arabia as possible. He is the last human Muslim power in the Middle East, unfortunately.

-We have a new player in Rannos, who took up a long-idle player slot in Transylvania. This is an interesting change to the balance of power, as Hungary had until now been de facto Kuipy's (Bavaria) future territory. Looks like we'll have a proper Hungarian buffer state between the former HRE and Byzantines. Only time will tell.
 

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Another combined mupdate 1231~
By KhanXLT and Wraith​
aZFJSoB.png

KhanXLT said:
Wraith and the other Catholics are reeling from a deadly blow dealt to them, so we agreed that I will take over Mupdates until their realms stabilize

-Scotland again has a Mc Rhagnall on the throne, though she is married to the English crown. Ireland has come under serious realm duress, as both the host country (France) and the English have had enough of its shit and are stripping land from it. the player (Anders) is abandoning the ship and moving to Gotland next session. At the rate he has been running Republics into the ground, there wont be any left by EU3.

-Genoa lost its AI protection this session and immediately was attacked by Italy, France, and Spain, I do not expect it to last another session. France took Sardinia and the bit in Barcelona, Spain got a province in Italy proper, and Italy took Genoa itself.

-Morocco has officially converted to Orthodoxy near the end of the session, and is proud to tell all that he is now a medium power, with an army size of 45k. With the realm stability of Orthodoxy and Mali to the south, Morocco is one of the few players left who can safely expand.

-Tauracia got his doge back, just in time for the Golden Horde to arrive. Hes actually lucky in this case, as the minors that the AI doge released, have been Horde bait, and have been pushing the Horde towards Novogorodo. (Ike)

-HRE players have been decently static, with Bohemia (Wraith) finishing his goal of historical Prussian borders, and Germany (Falador) having some of his old Frisian lands taken by England. I haven't heard much from Kuipy beside him being pleasantly surprised that he could excommunicate whoever he wanted in his kingdom.

-Rome was sacked during a crusade for Spain by the Byzantines (KhanXLT) this session and with it, the Schism was mended. This led predictably, to utter chaos in the Catholic world. After about ten minutes of heated debate over TS, it was agreed that we will play it as it lies, but give any Catholic ruler the choice via edit to stay Catholic or go Orthodox. Catholicism will stay a Heresy unless it can re-capture an undetermined amount of Holy Sites back.

-I spent most of my time purifying my realm, taking out the Il-Khanate, the Hassassins, and the Knights Templar. Annoyingly enough, I did not get a single event to kill the celibate wife of the Despot of Jerusalem even though I had over 100% plot power the whole session. My vassals however, expanded outward. Me giving titles to dynasty members takes on a whole new light when half of my vassals join in a holy war vs Seljuks and are winning.

-Rannos (Transylvania) has successfully expanded and taken over Hungary. Unfortunately this means he no longer fits the 2/3 Rule for Empires and will be forcibly released from vassalage next session. The Byzantines wish all the best to our soon to be prodigal son.
Wraith said:
Not that I can't do it, but that I am not really in the mood after that session. Plus I don't really know what else happened around the world aside from Mongols, the Scottish War, my own borders, the Schism, and Anders rage-switching once again. EDIT: Since Khan didn't really touch on some of that stuff, I'll do it.

-Anders (Ireland) basically ran the largest trade empire in Europe into the ground through terrible diplomacy. He ignored attempts at negotiation from Baron (Spain) for an exchange of the numerous Spanish cities on the western coast he controlled, and combined with his less-than-amicable personality on TS Baron decided he was going to just take that shit by force. From that point on it was just downhill for Anders, as he lost the Doge, lost his duchies to rival patricians and his own rebellious vassals, and ultimately was attacked by Frosty (France) for Poitou to prevent that duchy from drifting to de jure Ireland. He switched to Gotland, and considering his not-so-subtle implications that he was in on Khan's plot to mend the Schism from the very start, I doubt he'll last there for very long with Catholic Bohemia (Wraith) and Norway (KoM) right next door.

-There was a fascinating melee a trois for Scotland early in the session. The old usurper king died, and his unpopular son faced mass rebellions by his vassals for a random duke claimant. Armed with a strong claim, KoM (Norway) sailed across the North Sea to reclaim his rightful throne - however, he did not anticipate Fivoin (England) marching north with his larger armies to place KoM's sister on the throne instead. So now unless something is done to remove her, Fivoin is going to inherit Scotland in a generation. Could lead to interesting developments in the future.

-Despite giving the Catholic bloc repeated assurances to the contrary, Khan went and mended the Schism by taking Rome not long after dealing with the Mongols. He did so under cover of a Crusade against Baron (Spain) - he had in the past helped Baron during crusades by sieging Rome and forcing the Pope to peace out due to high warscore. While the situation will likely change by the next session (which is in 2 weeks), the new order in Western Europe is the following - Orthodox Italy, France, and Bavaria; Catholic Germany, England, Norway, and Bohemia.

-I (Bohemia) reached the furthest extent of my planned borders for the CK2 phase, which were the historical eastern borders of the German Empire except including Bohemia. However, now that the Schism is mended, Catholicism is a heresy, and we can now Holy War Orthodox, I am tempted to embark on numerous righteous crusades to return the True Faith to glory and prominence.

-el_zilcho subbed for Ike (Novgorod) this session. Some weird stuff happened where his character died and his son lost both the title to Novgorod and his strong claim on the Kingdom of Rus. By session end zilcho had reclaimed Novgorod. In the south Oddman (Taurica) is getting his ass stomped by the Golden Horde. Khan defeated the Il-Khanate with ease but has yet to lift a finger to help his former vassal to the north. Bears (Sicily) was also absent this session and his AI did nothing while under the protection of Khan. Both he and Rannos (Transylvania) will be independent next session. A land partition of the Hungarian region has been negotiated between Kuipy (Bavaria) and Rannos with me as the mediator, so we won't have any undue border tensions there (at least for a while I hope).
 

Fivoin

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Combined mupdate 1247
By KhanXLT and Wraith​
ck2_map_6_zps2c09ce6b.png

Wraith said:
So this session can also be known as the "Beat Up On France Power Hours"

-I (Bohemia), in response to the schism being mended, decided to go on a small-scale rampage against my new Orthodox neighbors. I finished off Poland and took that title. I took Krakow from Ruthenia. I took Kurland from Denmark. My godly awesome heir Alexander died at age 24 to an infected wound gained by being my bloody marshal. I was furious. My second son Karloman isn't terrible, though (25 martial!), and he is now my King. Unfortunately I only have female heirs at the moment. I've been tempted to switch to elective just because my half-brother and younger brother are both excellent heirs, and my half-brother's son is a genius. Basically I've eschewed my original ideals of the balance of power in favor of just getting as powerful as possible.

-Kuipy (Bavaria) had a cunning plan to swear fealty back to the HRE in order to steal land from within (he's Orthodox and HRE is Catholic). Unfortunately for him this backfired spectacularly when his King died, leaving everything to a very young son. This resulted in a mass revolt by his vassals and he was forced to hand off his crown to a relative. Later on the new King of Bavaria successfully rebelled against the HRE, but this left about half of Bavaria still under the control of the HRE. So now Bavaria is a massive clusterfuck.

-Now on to France. Frosty stepped down as GM due to IRL issues, and he was subbed by el_zilcho this week. Unfortunately, Frosty made the ill-advised decision to stay Orthodox. This rapidly resulted in England (Fivoin) holy warring him for Flanders, Germany (Falador) for Champagne, and Spain (Baron) for Toulouse. He lost all of these wars. Later on France went to war again to reclaim Champagne from Germany, this time with the support of Spain for some reason. England took the opportunity to launch another holy war for Brittany, and the Byzantine Empire (Khan) came to the defense of France. England actually won the war due to a tactical mistake by Khan enabling him to hold 100% warscore long enough to force-peace France...but then Fivoin (who is host) crashed and we had to start from the autosave, when the war was still on. A misunderstanding of the rules meant that France won the holy war for Brittany this time. France also reclaimed Champagne successfully as you can see.

-Our Novgorod player (Ike) was forced to quit this week due to IRL issues. So that slot is now open if anyone wants it.

-Italy (Mark) was AI for the first hour of the session, and during that time holy-warred the HRE for Carinthia (which was owned by Kuipy at the time). Italy won and Kuipy was further screwed over. At the very end of the session there was serious drama as Mark accused Anders (a minor in Gotland) of griefing him by assassinating multiple members of his family members in rapid succession. This claim has yet to be validated (to observers such as myself it seems that Mark is overreacting to simple bad luck in his family's health) but due to these accusations and Mark's conduct Anders has quit the game until EU3 phase. Also, he traded his possessions in the Sinai to Arabia (Dano)

-Other than Rannos becoming the proper King of Hungary, Greece (JakobGood) suffering a succession crisis, and Taurica (Oddman) kicking some Mongol ass, I have no idea what's been going in the east.

KhanXLT said:
-I started off the session going straight to War with GH under an earlier understanding. Crushed the Doomstack handily, and left oddman to pick up the pieces of his former realm. Both of the Hordes periodically received Doomstack reinforcements of 20k, which allowed the Il-Khanate to reappear in Khiva and fail at conquering Persi, and the Golden Horde consistantly annoying oddman.

-I proceeded to hop on the initial French Gangbang and grab a part of Sardinia, and then, once it looked like France was gonna get partitioned, I joined in and 1v1'd England for a while and he did win, like Wraith said, due to a tactical error on my part. However the war after the crash is where it got really interesting. Me sitting on a province owned by England meant he could not get 100% unless he could take out my retinue. We had done the whole 'massive fight' and the British were unable to beat my Cataprhacts. So the English strategy switched to a guerilla strategy, while I had to siege enough English land to stop him forcing peace. I brought in 2 waves of reinforcements, 15k and 45k, The English caught my lesser reinforcements out and decimated them and left before I could wing my retinue around from a neighboring province.
The 45k reinforcement went straight to the English homeland, and started sieging there, by that point it was my retinues in boats, chasing the English army, also in boats, while my reinforcements seige provinces in Normandy and England, this continued until I got a Warscore from -85% to +3% and Germany "accidentally" surrendered. Realizing that he would now have to fight France and Spain, English went for a White Peace.

-Dano spent his time desperately hoping Mongols would get Persia so he could start Holy Warring them, to his dismay, Mongols failed.

-Jacob's succession troubles kept him from helping out in France, and kept my levies from him super low. Once I didn't have to focus on England 100% I realized that I had 1000% plot power for the claimant, so it ended quickly after that.
 

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Fivoin, the maximum amount of images allowed in an AAR update is 20, with any posts made within an hour counting as one update. Now that you're the one doing the posting here please make sure you're familiar with AARland (and forum) rules.

I realize that fixing it would be quite a task now, so just make sure you stay within the limit in the future.
 

Fivoin

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I'm very sorry about that, I'll take better care to stay within the limit in the future.


The Sons of Raghnall
By King of Men, Scotland​
The Norwegian Exile

We know little of the origins of the Norwegian Exile, the long period during which MacAeda kings sat the throne of Scotland while the MacRaghnalls, variously, married English kings, sat on their ancestral estates in Lothian and Albany, and - from which we derive the name - ruled Norway through a rather tenuous claim by marriage. Of its actual events, however, we are relatively well informed, largely because the name comes from the doings of one of the most active and well-known MacRaghnalls: Gilpatrick "King-over-Water", also called "the Paunch" by his Norwegian subjects. Gilpatrick was the son and youngest child of Alpin, who was called the Hopeful Prince. Alpin, though the son of Ranald, King of Scots, and married to Ingrid the Maid of Norway, never himself ruled in either kingdom; he died before his father, fighting one of the innumerable rebellions against his wife. His son, nevertheless, inherited the kingdom he had secured for Ingrid, mainly through the inability of the other claimants to agree on a single candidate and unite in resistance to the Scottish dynasty.

As might be expected in these circumstances, Gilpatrick's rule was somewhat tenuous, and indeed his adult life was mainly consumed in campaigning. His first campaign, which may be apocryphal - it does not appear in court records, but is preserved mainly in bawdy ballads - was against his own wife, Åsta, who was in her own right Jarl of the Orkneys. The marriage was, at least initially, one of convenience, and the ballad "Åsta's Quarrel" asserts that it was a lover that Åsta wished to place on the throne. This "Domestic Dispute" was, however, put down, somewhat more gently than was Gilpatrick's later habit. It is clear that Åsta was imprisoned for some time after her defeat; in spite of innumerable sniggering ballads asserting the contrary, it is not clear that Gilpatrick "tamed" her by tying her to his bed and using his belt on her nether regions. This is, nonetheless, the beginning of the MacRaghnall reputation for interesting bedroom practices. The amount of erotica written about Gilpatrick's court is quite astonishing considering the limited time he actually spent at his estate in southern Norway.

In 1120 we find Gilpatrick disputing the kingship of Scotland with his sister Agnes - and incidentally with Morgan, the MacAeda king, who, however, was never in a position to defend his throne since all his richest vassals - MacRaghnalls to a man - rose in support of their kin. In a technical sense this war ends the Norwegian Exile, in that it ends with a MacRaghnall again on the throne of Scotland. However, since Agnes's son Theobald was legally considered to be of the dynasty de Plage d'Or, most historians follow their medieval sources in rejecting this interpretation. In any case, the loss of prestige (and fighting men) attendant on his sister's victory caused Gilpatrick's vassals to rise in the Rogaland Rebellion, which he put down with ruthlessness, fervour, and the aid of his English brother-in-law, who apparently bore no grudge over the Scottish affair.

A few years later, with his jarls quiescent again, he decided to arbitrate - in his own inimitable style - between the King of Sweden and his rebellious jarl of Norrland; he ended their conflict by the simple expedient of invading Norrland and driving its ruling family into exile as sea-kings, and declaring himself the new jarl. In spite of the label "arbitration", this was no doubt somewhat provoking to Hardeknut, the Swedish king at the time; but Gilpatrick cleverly announced his willingness to do fealty and homage for his new lands. That is, he would acknowledge Hardeknut as the overlord of Gilpatrick, Jarl of Norrland, while of course retaining the full sovereign independence of Gilpatrick, King of Norway, who chanced to inhabit the same body as the Jarl. It is probable that Hardeknut was not too pleased with this face-saving solution, but as he was embroiled in two other conflicts at the same time - with the wealthy republic of Gotland and with still another of his overmighty subjects in Dal - he perforce took it.

Gilpatrick then occupied himself with putting down yet another of the interminable rebellions that are a recurring feature of Norwegian history in this period. It is worth noting that, although the borders appear reasonably modern and coincide with ethnic boundaries in the fashion of a nation-sate, the Scandinavian kingdoms at this time were not really unified states. Rather they were conglomerates of minor statelets, held together by the personality and force of a king who was genuinely no more than first among equals - in particular, in the number of his fighting tail! Like Charlemagne, if on a smaller scale, Gilpatrick had every so often to remind his jarls of why they acknowledged him as king. To call these expeditions "campaigns" and "rebellions" is in one sense misleading; there seems to have been little real fighting. Rather, Gilpatrick would show up with his personal guard at the estate of a vassal who had been showing signs of too much independence - generally in the form of shorting the scot, the tribute or tax (the distinction is a bit vague in this period) owed to the king. He would then receive the feasting due to a guest, even a guest with a retinue of several hundred, thus making up the arrears in taxes - feeding his fighting men being, in any case, the main use Gilpatrick had for his income. It is even possible that he preferred to receive his taxes in kind at the vassal's estate, saving on transport costs and allowing him to remind the vassal of why he was paying.

Sometimes, however, this comradely arrangement would break down and a vassal or a collection of them would not only short their scot, but have themselves elected kings by their local assembly. In such a case Gilpatrick could expect to have to fight. Although no single jarl could match Gilpatrick's full war-levy for numbers, several of them could raise formidable hosts of thousands of men - enough, at any rate, to have a fighting chance against Gilpatrick's readily-available forces. To call out the leidang against such a rising, of course, always introduced the risk that the fighting men called up would choose to side with the rebellion! Gilpatrick therefore preferred to rely on his hirdsmenn, on aid from his family, and in a pinch on mercenaries like the Victual Brothers. Even so, a rebellion was always a chancy thing; while Gilpatrick would have the advantage of numbers, he was expected, in this warlike age, to take the field himself, and fight in the front ranks at that. A stray arrow could end a kingship and make a rebellion stick. It was for this reason that war-luck was much prized in a king, and Gilpatrick seems to have had more than his share of it; if his chroniclers - admittedly, paid court officials and not neutral reporters - are to be believed, he fought in no less than twenty-three battles in the course of his career, escaping them all with nothing worse than scrapes and bruises. Few of his fighting men can have been so lucky.

To return to the tally of Gilpatrick's wars, in 1232 he again took the field in Sweden, this time at the invitation of the local nobles, who had tired of Hardeknut's interminable wars. In addition to Gotland, Hardeknut had managed to enter a dispute with Denmark, two of his nominal vassals were in open rebellion, and after two decades of war the forests were full of bandits and broken men. In these circumstances it is hardly surprising that Hardeknut's subjects wished for someone, anyone, else to bring peace and order to the land. The jarls elector were, however, unable to agree on one of their own number; instead they turned to someone who, at any rate, did not have personal feuds with any of the others. In his persona of Jarl of Norrland, Gilpatrick had a vote in the election of a new Swedish king, but it is unlikely that a foreigner could have won such an election. However, Scandinavian successions at the time were not much given to legal niceties; the casting vote was held by the larger army, which Gilpatrick indisputably had. The fig leaf of being a jarl elector, and of moving only at the invitation of the electoral college, was a mere bonus.

In two years Gilpatrick swept aside all resistance in Sweden, including the crushing of the two large-scale rebellions around Skåne, which had festered, on and off, almost throughout Hardeknut's reign. He then rounded off his conquest with some campaigning in Finland, on the doubtful marches of his new kingdom, subduing a few independent tribes in the grandly-named "Karelian Crusade" and bringing Norway's eastern border to the White Sea.

This brings us to 1237, after a decade and a half in which Gilpatrick rarely even wintered at his estate. There follows a relatively peaceful period of two years or so, which Gilpatrick used to set his affairs in order, for example by appointing his son Ragnvald as Jarl of Norrland. This maneuver seems to have been intended to guarantee the Swedish succession, which unlike the Norwegian was still elective. As King of Sweden Gilpatrick had a single vote in the election of his successor, which was insufficient even against the splintered opposition of the Swedish jarls, who could agree on very little except that they did not want Ragnvald. By making his son a jarl elector, he managed to create a voting bloc of two, which (with the King's vote being decisive in the case of a tie) was a barely-sufficient plurality of the six total votes. However, the maneuver backfired when Ragnvald's erstwhile vassals rose against him, forcing him to flee Norrland for his father's court. A jarl with the dread name of Yngling briefly held the title, until a seriously annoyed Gilpatrick took time off from his Danish campaign to reinstate his son at the point of several thousand spears. "And be grateful it wasn't two hundred," he is reputed to have snarled to the female ringleader, Cecilia of Medelpad, referring to the ransom of a hundred ducats she had to pay for her head, and accidentally cementing his reputation among writers of smut, who to this day insist that he was talking about blows of - according to taste - the whip, the birch, the belt, or even the bare hand.

Finally, Gilpatrick's Danish campaign is anomalous in that he seems to have waged it, quite genuinely, to assure the stability of another state. In particular, when Danish king Uffe's overmighty subject, the Duke of Sjælland, raised his banner in revolt, Gilpatrick took the field to keep Uffe on the throne, and then meekly went home upon achieving this uncharacteristically modest war aim - this in spite of having subdued wealthy Copenhagen, then the largest city on the Baltic. The reasons for this apparent helpfulness are unclear; while it is true that Gilpatrick's son Ragnvald was betrothed to a grand-daughter of Uffe, this is rather a tenuous alliance as feudal affairs go. To insist, as some writers do, that Gilpatrick was even then plotting to place his (as yet unborn!) grandson on the throne of Denmark, ahead of two living grandsons of Uffe and at least thirty years in the future, is surely too conspiratorial, not to mention that it gives Gilpatrick near-prophetic powers of foresight.

A prophet he was surely not; rather he was the very model of a Norse warlord-king, living toujours en vedette and more often in the field than on his throne, marching and sailing from Scotland to the White Sea. With his sister Agnes he shows what heights a lucky, ruthless, and skilled warlord could rise to, in this unsettled age of axe and sword, wolf and raven. His many victims - Morgan, Hardeknut, half a dozen unnamed Finnish chieftains, jarls from Bergen to Norrland, and (at least by reputation) his wife Åsta - show the pitfalls the less lucky could fall into. With great reward comes great risk; and Gilpatrick, and all his ilk, took risks that would make the most sociopathic hedge-fund trader blanch. Nor was there any way for him to socialise his losses; if he had flinched or fallen at any time in his twenty-three major battles and thirty years of war, he would have died face-down in the mud as did so many of his enemies. He was a Viking King, with all that entails; and though he would not, today, be welcome in the best circles - it is not as though he went to the right schools! - it may be that our politics would be the better for him. Or perhaps not. Perhaps our world of nuclear weaponry is too fragile for such a personality; perhaps it would unravel, glaringly, under the sheer weight of his character. If so, we are all the worse for the fact.
 

Fivoin

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Hell Wants Its Master
By Kuipy, Bavaria​
The loss of innocence
Bregenz Castle, 8 August 1252

Late summer nights are cold in Southern Germany, but the days are still uncomfortably hot, and the arsenal roof tiles remain warm long after twilight. The two children had met there for years, to bask and look at the stars, talking.

“Do you think others were here before us?” he asked.
“Maybe. The castle is old. Hundreds of years.” she answered.
“Not hundreds. A hundred and a half, something like that. My grand…”
“That’s what I said. Hundreds.”
“ Hundreds mean several hundreds.”
“One and half is several.”
“No. Several begins at two.”
“Several means more than one.”
“I am the king. I get to decide what several means.”
“But seriously, she went on, do you think others have come here before us? Can you imagine what they were like?”
“There must have been some. The castle has been around since my great-great-great-grandfather. He’s yours too.”
“No. He’s my great-great-grandfather. We are a generation apart.”

King Rupert (the third? He guessed?) went over the list of his ancestors (probably the third). That, and Mathilda’s question, made him wonder if they would come on roofs to gaze at the stars when they were children, and he did not see how he could come to an answer. He barely remembered his unfortunate father at all, and all the others might have well been foreigners. He imagined them with big armours and big moustaches, perpetually frowning under grey hair and golden crowns. They were kings, like him, but unlike him not just in name.

“I think I am very different from the rest of my family.” He said then.
“Me too?”
“No… I meant the Hentzaus before us.”

But in truth they had grown different, he thought. For several years they had come here, and played with other scallions in the countryside ; scrapped knees, clandestine fishing, stealing green apples from orchards, that had been the main benefit of being a boy-king with no actual kingdom, although Rupert scarcely understood it. But now they were thirteen; things were changing in and between them.

“Rupert,” she said sadly.
“Yes?”
“My father wants to kill you.”
“I know.” Mathilda’s father was the third king of Bavaria in less than a decade, none of them from the elder branch of Hentzaus. Because much of the hinterlands remained faithful to Rupert, he let it be said that they ruled together, sometimes. But as the young king he came to age the charade would be harder to maintain. “But I will not let him. I will escape abroad and come back with an army of thousands.”
“I mean, for real.”
“I know. But I will forgive him for your sake. And then I will reconquer all the lands Italians and Hungarians and Imperials have seized since my father’s death.”
“Don’t joke with that. It will happen in a few days.”
“It’s not a joke. I will escape and have adventures abroad. And then I’ll come back here in Bavaria, to claim my birthright.”

Yet a minute more of childhood, please, he thought, and against all hope she went with it.

“When it happens, can I be your queen?” she asked, closer.
“Would you like to?” They looked at each other in silent puzzlement. Had she changed as much as he? Or would she laugh? “I mean, when I come back.” Her face had not changed, much.
She looked away and then again at him.
“I do not know what I want.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. What do you expect me to mean?”
“You talked about being my queen.”
“Because you talked about being a king.”
“Fine, then.”

They watched the stars and the half-moon some more. Once, when he was still a little boy they still lived in the royal palace at Tübingen, her mother had shown him the black spots on the moon and told him they were great lakes and seas. He had been so young, his father must have been alive then, but he was not with them.

“I wished nothing would change,” he said.
She sat up. “I have to go.”
“I would rather you stay.”
“I really have to.”
“Good night, then.”
“Good night.”

They kissed awkwardly, and for a moment he felt weird. Then he wondered and revolted that he felt weird at all. He stayed for some times more, staring at the whole army of stars. As he aged he had a terrible feeling that he would never have adventures, or lead an army, or be king. Maybe he would die soon and, in fact, it seemed an easier fate to face. Maybe it was also what Mathilda would prefer?

He looked at the great dungeon in the darkness. Somewhere, behind one of the unlit window, she laid asleep now. Somewhere her father slept too. But maybe his mother was still awake; she scarcely slept at all, and would rather read and worry alone, a despised foreigner listened to only by her son, and then barely, when she explained when he should not do. Was it what he would be if he went abroad, despised like a Greek among German? Or would his prowess impress foreigners enough, along with the name Hentzau?
The titles had gone colder when he heard the arsenal door crack. One man went out without a lantern. He heard the click of two daggers, the ruffle of a cloak, but the narrow shoulders did not belong to a soldier. His murderer? Laying down on the roof, he watched the man climb the long, narrow staircase to the dungeon. He would never know.

Where he was there was little chance to be caught, and he allowed himself yet another minute of rest, of childhood, and dreams. Confusedly he knew what he had to do. With infinite regret he jumped down from the warm tiles of the roof, left the castle, and then Bavaria.

Gameplay stuff and stuff like that

After a half-baked plan to pledge to the HRE for protection, my king was killed in a rebellion, a 4-year old succeeded and the rebellions did not get any better. I ceded to one pretendant, hoping to switch, but it turned out that only gave him the king title and the boy kept most of the land. The king title changed hand again, every other vassal broke away, then the HRE/Italy/Hungary started to feed on the carcass. By the time I could do anything Bavaria was destroyed as a viable player spot.
 

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Greece rising,
By JacobGood, Greece​
With his realm secure, Narses decided to consolidate his realm. He did the unprecedented step of destroying the titles of Kingdom of Egypt and Kingdom of Bulgaria. While this angered the Egyptians and Bulgarians, they were not in power, and Narses calculated correctly that no one could oppose it. He then went about raising the taxes to unprecedented levels on Churches and Towns. Once the laws went through, Narses went even more extreme. He went to every catholic ruler, and revoked their titles. Anyone suspected of "Egyptianism" was imprisoned. Loyal Greeks were installed in positions of authority, and set about changing curriculum in schools. The court chaplain personally went to each noble and gave them tests to prove their loyalty.

The provinces in N Ethiopia/Southern Egypt wholeheartedly embraced these changes, but Northern Egypt had more resistance. Narses, as he grew older became more focused in his megalomaniacal goal of homogeneity in the realm. He forged claims in Axum (the former kingdom of Abyssinia) and installed loyal Greek counts. When he died peacefully in his sleep he had achieved his goal of religious homogeneity. Recent evidence has found he had forged claims on the majority of the Kingdom of Abyssinia, but died before being able to press the claims. Narses the man wasn't remarkable, but the path he plotted altered the course of history. He was the first Greek ruler that showed a distinct foreign policy not necessarily the same as Byzantium and reached out to the other great families of the time. His friendship with the Emperor may have allowed it, but once that precedent had been set, Greece was on a distinct path towards autonomy, and eventual independence. His son would be an interesting footnote in the history of Greece..
 

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Mupdate 1269
By Khan, Georgia​

MUPDATE WOOOOOOOOOO Tenth session Anniversary time! (may or may not be the tenth session, I lost count)

A3Coprs.png


So Wraith left partway through the session, leaving Mupdate duty up to me solely. That means all Information (propaganda) will be coming from Orthodox Sources this week.

-Dano has finally started to make aggressive actions vs the Persians, Currently the Nasrid Sultanate, but unfortunately has a Civil War at about the same time, giving him a good 2-3 hour combat session. He called me into the Persian fight, but I ended up caught up with my own civil strife and my help was negligible unfortunately. He ended up winning both wars either way, which goes to prove that he is growing into a regional power in his own right, if only he didn't have to spend half his time killing his family.

-Novogorod had a player this week in the form of ZmajXXX, I cant tell you what happened besides what I read in the chat, but Novogogogogo had Gavelkind Succession and got his realm split upon character death, apparently while trying to get it back, there was either claimant wars or holy wars and he lost another duchy, after another claimant war, he ended up as a OPM and had to leave early to do some chores. Novogordodo is now split between Tauracia and Gotland.

-Tauracia Spent his time "helping" Novogorodo, Fighting the Golden Horde, and Punishing revolters. His realm is now comparable again to what it was when I first released him.

-Italy(Mark) started this session not Doge, and could not do much until he ascended again about an hour in. He has been Pestering me about giving him Rome, I told him giving it to him was out of the question until he completely converts the other Patrician Families so that there is no chance that Italy slips back into Catholicism like it was this session.

-Hungary spent most of this session rife with internal issues stemming from the Hungary Title he usurped being Seniority. He is not amused.

-Our Gotland player accidentally 'game overed' when he successfully got independence from Gotland as a count level Republic.

-Bohemia tried to grab the Bavarian Crown for himself to stop Southern Germany from going to the encroaching Muslim Menace. I spearheaded the resistance to try and stop a resurgent HRE, and to protect Kuipy's Lands, since he was literally still in D_Bavaria(Family member had king Title) Soon after he had to leave, the AI had a civil war or two, but is almost completely unscathed from the experience.

-Germany as far as I can tell spent most of its time trying to figure out what the fuck (was subbed by Sid Meier of Great Game V fame)

-France Started out AI but was later subbed by el_Zilcho, and he managed to take back half of Irish France, and finish kicking them out of the Mainland. No longer the juggernaut it used to be, it is still quite formidable and could take any of the Germans 1v1 easily.

-England Spent most of this session helping out allies AFAIK. He played a major role in helping Morocco(Now known as Mali) reclaim land taken by Aztecs

-Aztecs!!!! they finally Arrive!!! First landing point? Why, Iceland (KoM/Norway owes me so hard for taking it) Of Course! in which they proceed to fully occupy the island aaaaand..... sit there for years. The second Invasion force is more successful, landing in Mauritania and quickly taking it. Unfortunately, since they were still invading Iceland, and they apparently did not know how to find Byzantium proper, they proceeded to sit there until I got around to dealing with them. Only after I destroyed their Iceland armies did the find Anatolia, they land 49k troops right above Trezibond (My Capital) and proceed to march south through the entirety of my realm, Killing all of my Vassals Retinues on the way, until they reached Italian North Africa. They then proceed to offer me White Peace.

-Mali got invaded, then got most of his land back, and is now being invaded again.

-Norway has troubles with inheritance since he did not destroy the K_Sweden title when he got it. (Understandable, for de jure cbs but still risky since Norway and Sweden had different succession laws) At session end had been fighting an apparently four hour long war to reclaim the Sweden Title.

-Spain spent most of his time helping out Kuipy/Bavaria, his brand new player vassal. He grabbed the Aquitaine Title early on and Finally formed the Hispanic Empire, unfortunately this means he is now an ugly Yellow color. He had major troubles with an Orthodox cadet branch of his dynasty generating large amounts of decadence in my Realm. It was agreed that its dumb for non Muslims to generate decadence, so it will be fixed via edits this week.

-Predictably I had an interesting session With the Byzantines, I started off fighting the war I began last session to put a claimant on the Bavarian throne. While this was going on I got a powerful Faction warning, I check and see that AI Sicily was in the Independence faction, giving it the boost it needed to be dangerous. Conveniently having Claims to K_Sicily, I try and revoke it to break the back of the rebellion. But since it was a King Title, he refused and sent him into a war with me. hilariously, this lowered my manpower enough to put the Independence faction back into the danger zone and it immediately Declared war as well. During both wars my retinues were slowly sieging down Bavarian lands so I wasn't able to use them to protect myself. I ignored Sicily for the time being and sent Greece's Levies to Fight the Independence war. Those Levies won the war, but I lost almost all of them fighting the rebel armies, so I no longer had a magical 60k levy stack to fight Sicily's 35k troops. I did something I hadn't done since I became Emperor, I raised Duke Level Levies. Actually using more then 1/3 of my army, I eventually got Sicily to 100% and took the title.

Throughout the whole war I was getting updates on the progress of the Bavarian War by Wraith/Bohemia. When I won it, I almost immediately got a request by the new King to protect him from Bohemia, who was gunning for the crown himself. I joined the war and had just started the first battle when...AZTECS DOW YOU popups appeared everywhere over my screen. there was so much information hitting me I had to request a pause to comprehend what was happening. I realized at that point, Iceland might not be so important to me, so I ignore them and continue fighting Wraith. Right when I win vs Wraith, I get another DOW, this time from the Il-Khanate, they had received another 40k reinforcements and instead of attacking actual Persians, they decide it would be a good idea to attack me. So I march my retinue to Persia and wreck their shit. In a fit of rage, I also take back Khiva, kicking them from the map. (again)

By this point people were getting visibly upset at the fact that Aztecs would refuse to do anything but roast S'Mores on Iceland, so I moved my retinues over to Iceland and attacked their 80k stack. I win and annihilate the stack, but it left me with 7k retinues, from a starting point of 35k. Just as I almost finish retaking Iceland, another 50k lands on my retinues and wipes them. I proceed to stare at the screen, dumbfounded for a minute, before pressing the Cataphract button a lot and completely draining the Imperial Treasury. I did the cold hard math, and I spent 14,592 ducats rebuilding my retinue from scratch. I'm still heartbroken over it. I spent the last 90 minutes just sitting and pressing the Cataphract button over and over again. Finally getting back to normal about 5 minutes before the end of the session.

Funny side Story about Sicily, Bears's Dynasty had 9 living members at the start of the War, it went through 4 (assassinated, not by me) of them by the end. There is currently 4 females and 1 male child left in the Sicilian dynasty.

-Greece got a bad heir and fought a bunch in Ethiopia.
 

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Suum Cuique - Brandenburg Rising
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
Inner Sanctum

Castle Brennenburg, June 12, 1264

Szilveszter of Brzeg groggily awoke surrounded by darkness. His flickering eyes only caught glimpses of a single dim torch illuminating the shadowy silhouettes of two men dragging him down a dank stone corridor. He had a feeling of numbness in both mind and body - the memories of countless scars could still be found all across his dying flesh, but the mental memories of how he had suffered them endlessly eluded him. Try as he did to remember, all he could recall was a murky grey blanket of clouds enveloping a black night.

"So what shall we do today, father?" asked the first man, clearly the younger of the two by the way his voice attempted to crack.

"The Wheel perhaps, or the weight and chains," said the other. "This fool is close to breaking."

"Not the Bull? A pity."

"No, that shall be the finale, Viktor," the older man sighed. "Please do not insult me by making such foolish suggestions."

"I'm sorry, father," the boy - Viktor - replied.

"You much remind me of your late uncle, though you are regrettably the older of three brothers," said the father. "Alexander in particular shows exceedingly sharp intellect."

"A reflection of you, perhaps, father?"

"Do not try to flatter me, boy, it so reminds me of the fawning, lying fools at court. Merely be silent, follow instructions, and learn."

"Yes, father."

The prisoner tried to say words, but all that emerged from his toothless, broken jaw was a slew of gibberish. The older man looked down at him and the prisoner was paralyzed by the harsh, cold blue eyes that glared at him with utter contempt. "You see again the effects of the Damascus Rose. The fool forgets that his jaw is broken."

"Father, I do not quite understand the logic of breaking his jaw when we are trying to force him to confess something," Viktor questioned.

"So long as we do not remove his tongue, he can still speak, though with great pain and effort. The human body can do the most astounding things in the most trying of circumstances. Here we are. The Wheel today."

The two men barged through a featureless wooden door, and the corridor was flooded with flickering blue light.The prisoner's head lolled backwards and he saw a giant wheel with many spokes standing upright upon a raised dais. Surrounding it were a trio of caged gibbets handing from the ceiling, each holding a skeleton or clearly deceased, decaying corpse slumping contorted in their base. The prisoner's eyes widened, and he made the strangest, most unintelligible moans of fears, struggling weakly against his bonds. "Does he remember?" Viktor asked his father.



The father grunted contemptuously. "No, merely a normal response to such a horrific sight, boy. Here, hold him while I bind the limbs." The pair did just that, and the older man bound Szilvezster prostrate across the wheel - the prisoner was so weak, there was scarcely anything he could do to stop him. "Now, boy, watch, listen, and learn," The father said, spinning the wheel so that the prisoner was entirely upside down. "A position of extreme discomfort, where his weight will painfully chafe his limbs against his bonds and the blood rushes to his head. And now, of course, the meat of the torture."

The father stepped out of view for a few moments, and the prisoner heard only his heavy grunts and the squeal of grinding stone. The man suddenly reappeared a few moments later, but now wielding a huge hammer larger than any feasible weapon of war. "Break the limbs, fold them between the spokes. Most efficient," the father said, absolutely monotone. Swaying back and forth as he swung the mighty maul, the father let fall the heavy blow with a sickening crunch of shattering bones and an intense, agonizing shriek screaming from the prisoner's lips. Panting, the father let the hammer fall to the floor with a terrible thunk that echoed off the stone walls, gesturing at several holes high in the walls near the ceiling. "The pipes - an ingenious innovation by the first of our dynasty - carry the prisoner's screams to the cells above. Thus the other traitors and criminals are tortured mentally while this one is tortured physically."

The boy smiled, expression one of grim fascination. "Indeed, brilliant."

The father knelt down, locking icy blue eyes with the sobbing ones of the whimpering prisoner. "Fool, it is pointless to continue to resist. We already 'know' who is responsible for the death of Karloman, and his son after that. We merely need you to say the name so that we may remove all semblance of doubt from the minds of our banner-men."

The former bishop attempted to mumble something for comfort, but only unintelligible nonsense was heard. The father stood, rolling his eyes. "The fool tries to pray to his God, believing he will save him. Traitorous imbecile, this is your 'Hell.' This is your God's punishment for treachery. I am His Scourge. Tell us your benefactor's name, and I promise you a quicker end, fool. Do not, and you will burn just as much as your traitorous compatriots did before you. The Bull is not a pleasant end, I assure you."

The prisoner sobbed and whimpered uncontrollably, the fire of his shattered leg burning more terribly than any Hell he could imagine. His lips fumbled to find a word. "N-n-n-..."

The father knelt down, cold eyes devoid of compassion, joy, or glee. "At last, boy. I believe he is broken. Tell us. The name," he growled through clenched teeth, seizing the prisoner's broken jaw with an iron grip and inflaming it with further pain.

"N-n-n-...Nazaryan."

The father's grip loosened, and his somber frown flickered into a slight smirk for a fraction of a second. "You see, boy? None can endure forever," he said. He stood upright, lifted the giant hammer with great effort, and smashed it down into the prisoner's chest with incredible force. The prisoner desperately gasped for air, eyes as wide and white as a full moon and mouth twitching uncontrollably like a drowning fish, before at last letting loose a final death rattle and shattered body going limp entirely.

"But...father...what of the Bull?"

Alexander von Brennenburg let fall the great maul and narrowed his eyes. "The Bull has had its due enough. I did promise him a quicker end. We of the House of Brennenburg are not devoid of honor, after all."

Viktor von Brennenburg grunted in grudged acknowledgement. "Nazaryan...the Greek Emperor?"

"Indeed. We already knew, but now our banner-men and courtiers will all know. A pity though that he is nigh untouchable in his court at Constantinople - I would like to see how a 'Roman' bleeds."

Viktor looked down as blood began to seep and drip from the dead man's gaping mouth. "Speaking of, are we going to let that go to waste?" he asked, pointing.

"No, I'll have the servants drain and collect what they can. The Old Gods must have their due. Come, we have a conspiracy to plot. Suum Cuique"
 

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A Genealogy of Nazaryan Emperors
By KhanXLT, Georgia​
Saroyan Nazaryan I (1169-1182)

The reign of Saroyan the First saw the most tumultuous times the Byzantine Empire had faced since the beginning of the Nazaryan Restoration. Saroyan might have been born of good stock, but he was responsible for losing the entirety of the Northern Theme.

Saroyan did accomplish some good. He was responsible for finishing what his Grandfather started. He oversaw the final pacifications of the Levantine coast. Including the Crusader State of Jerusalem. It did not make much sense in his eyes, that Germans should be the ones tasked with Guarding the Holy Lands, with their home so far away. The duty should belong to the True Rome. When word that Byzantine had taken direct control of Jerusalem had reached the Holy Roman Emperor, he saw this as a direct threat to his Authority as successor state to Rome. To remind the Christian World it was his God Given Title, He called the, now famous, First World Concert

The First World Concert in 1173, a monumental occasion of its own, was called with the express desire to stop the Nazaryan Restoration from reclaiming the de facto Roman Emperor Title. The Decision of the Concert was to pass a resolution demanding that the Northern Theme, more Russian by this point then Greek, would be given its official Independence from the Eastern Roman Empire, and be free to pursue its interests as a fully sovereign nation.

This Concert decision had no actual power behind it, for the nations ‘backing’ it had no actual way to harm the resurgent Empire. But then no one can claim that Saroyan I was a brave man. Fearing reprisal from the rest of the world, he gave the Northern Theme its freedom and its name, The Most Serene Republic of Tauracia.

This show of humbleness to the rest of the world brought severe unrest, all across the Empire, for it was a general consensus that only barbarian kings lived West of the Balkans. Although it never went as far as open rebellion in his lifetime, when he died, leaving a three year old on the throne. It began the largest open revolt of any Empire’s History.
 

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Statistical Plotting
By King of Men, Scotland​
Statistical Plotting

Statistically speaking, the probability that I will be plotting something at any given times approaches unity. Today, however, I'm only plotting statistics. In particular, I'd like to know how people prioritise their settlements: Castle, city, or temple? Since the county seat is always a castle, I ignore it for this purpose, and look instead at the baronies of each player:

holdings_1269_zpse9f591a2.png


Disappointingly, there are no major differences of strategy. Nobody likes castles, and there is a slight preponderance of temples over cities. If not for my two hours' coding to move the flags apart from each other (the true position being indicated by the circles), the player flags would all be on top of each other.

Such is life! Alas, not every statistic is interesting. How about development? I ask two questions: How many total baronies (built or unbuilt) does each player have, and what percentage of them have been built on?

development_1269_zps77208cd5.png


So it seems that most of Europe is now fairly well developed; also, we see that Norway, in spite of looking impressive on the map, is poverty-stricken because those large provinces have two or three baronies each, at most. And my fractious jarls have been spending their money on fighting each other and not developing their counties, at that. Also, death to Byzantium.

Finally, I ask how many buildings there are, and what their average level is, where the level of a building is considered equal to the number of prerequisite buildings it has. This is normalised so that the most-advanced nation is considered to have a level of 100%.

buildings_1269_zps7ae4b29d.png


Once again, the only possible conclusion: Death to Byzantium!

Unfortunately these statistics weren't as interesting as I'd hoped for when I started coding the histogram support. I hope to have some better plots next week.
 

Fivoin

Deutscher Kaiser
76 Badges
Feb 7, 2008
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Suum Cuique - Brandenburg Rising
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
Changing of the Guard

Castle Brandenburg, March 17, 1270

Young King Wilhelm III von Brennenburg enthusiastically set up his toy knights and footmen all about the room, occasionally glancing up at his uncle Alexander - the Lord Regent - as he paced back and forth impatiently and gazed out at the horizon beyond the balcony. He was scarcely a boy anymore, so while he did not entirely understand what exactly was going on he knew that his uncle was quite frustrated and equally anxious. As expected, a pair of men who wore differing tunics that bore heraldry unknown to him - no doubt part of his uncle's small council. He was learning more about the heraldry of his own family and vassals under his uncle's tutelage, and recalled the description of his own coat of arms - Sable and argent a pale azure, an eagle sable, displayed, armed and langued gules.

One of the men handed his uncle a letter and spoke to him in hushed tones, glancing over at the boy several times momentarily. Wilhelm began moving his toys closer in order to overhear.

"The battle for the city is won, Duke Magnus retreats his forces to Prague. But the Dukes of Holstein, Mecklenburg, and Meissen have joined in his little revolt. It is not so little anymore," said the older man, whom Wilhelm recognized as his kinsman, Duke Lothar of Thuringen.

"I am expecting a bird from the King of Germany momentarily. I suspect he will be joining our side to put them down once and for all," his uncle said. "Damned traitors, they would hand the kingdom our forefathers built over to a Salian, and a Salian in bed with the Greek Emperor at that."

"There is...another option, my lord," said the younger man, a slimy lower baron whose name Wilhelm could not recall. The three of them briefly glanced together at Wilhelm; the boy pretended not to notice by clashing two of his toy knights in mock battle.

"I will not hear of it at this time, as I have told you repeatedly, Lothar," said his uncle, dismissing the thought with a wave of his hand.

"Your claim is stronger! He is the son of a third son of a second son, for God's sake!" Lothar muttered, attempting to keep his outburst from being overheard. "You are the only grandson of Alexander III!"

"Be silent," Alexander hissed. "The time is not yet right."

As if one cue, a falcon called as it flew in from the distance. Alexander stepped out onto the balcony and presented his arm, with the bird elegantly fluttering its wings as it set down upon it. The Lord Regent took and unfurled the parchment from its legs and read the curt message it contained with no change in expression. A moment later, a servant entered and took the bird, no doubt returning it to the aviary tower. Alexander shoved the letter into the hands of Duke Lothar. "Now do you understand, you impatient fools? The German King's eldest daughter is betrothed to the boy, not to me. You wonder when the time is right? It is now. Fetch the edict."

"Of course, my lord," said the spymaster, bowing his head and exiting the room with a slight smile directed at Wilhelm.

Alexander sighed and rubbed his brow. "Let's go," he muttered, nodding his head to his kinsman. Wilhelm looked up from his toys as they approached him. "Nephew, come to the table for a moment. There is something important you need to seal and sign," his uncle said, offering his hand.

"What is it, uncle? I heard you talking about the King of Germany," Wilhelm responded, feigning ignorance as he took a seat at the table with both men flanking him.

"That is part of it, yes," Alexander said, sighing. "Wilhelm, I'm not sure you fully understand the magnitude of the current situation."

"I'm thirteen, Uncle, I'm not a little boy anymore. Tell me."

"I am. The realm is in civil war. The Duke of Poland seeks to usurp you and our family to make a rival claimant King of Prussia," Alexander explained.

"I know, Uncle," Wilhelm replied. Duke Lothar raised an eyebrow behind him.

"Drastic action must be taken to stabilize the realm, nephew," Alexander continued. The spymaster re-entered the room, flanked by some servants and bearing a long sheet of parchment. He laid it down on the table as the servant placed a quill, ink, and heated wax beside him. The edict was filled with a confusing mess of Latin, no doubt the legal technicalities of the orders; it was barely intelligible for the young boy. "This edict will grant me greater powers and responsibilities to protect and reunite the realm in the name of the House of Brennenburg. All it needs is your signature and royal seal," his uncle finished, removing the special signet ring from his finger and placing it in Wilhelm's hands.

"Of course, Uncle," Wilhelm replied, seizing the quill and enthusiastically dipping it in the ink. He made a signature with flourish as his tutors had instructed him, and with his uncle's help dripped a puddle of hot wax beside it and impressed the ring's distinctive seal into it. Behind him, Duke Lothar and the spymaster smirked in triumph. Looking up, Wilhelm saw his uncle nod at them, and the spymaster seized the edict, rolled it up, and left the room with the servants in tow.

"Thank you, lad. That will be all, you can go back to your games," Alexander said, smiling warmly and patting him on the shoulder before turning to Duke Lothar. "Is the army ready?"

"On the march, Your Majesty, but only an hour's ride away."

"Excellent. Fetch my squire, I have a war to win."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Castle Brandenburg, February 7, 1275

Wilhelm stepped into King Alexander IV von Brennenburg's parlor, muttering thanks to the guards and servants flanking him. His uncle and one-time Lord Regent leaned against the railing of the balcony, gazing out at the darkened, snowy landscape of a winter night in the heart of Germany. The older man turned around to face him properly, sighing and shaking his head. His uncle's hard face and stern expressions seemed more aged and weary than he remembered.




"Welf informed me that you had wished to speak with me concerning more...mature matters," Alexander said. "Leave us." His uncle nodded and gestured for the guards to step out into the hall, which they did, closing the door behind them.

"Indeed. A pity his father - your little crony - is dead," Wilhelm growled, scowling. "You stole my crown."

"You gave it away, you foolish boy," Alexander said simply, grunting in amusement. "Perhaps if you had spent as much time being less ignorant instead of pretending to be ignorant, you would not have been so naive."

"I was a boy then, no longer," Wilhelm replied, clenching his fist. "And I trusted you."

"If you are indeed a man grown, then perhaps take that lesson to heart," Alexander said. "God is great. Men are cruel. Trust in God, and not men."

"You stole my birthright!" Wilhelm shouted, taking a step forward an shaking his fist with teeth clenched.

The King's eyes narrowed. "No, let me tell you about 'stolen birthrights.' Your grandfather stole my father's birthright. My father was born mere weeks after his own passed away. Karloman III should have relinquished the crown to him, but he did not. It should never have gone to any of my half-brothers or their kin," he snarled, scowling furiously and emphasizing his words by slicing the air horizontally with his arm and outstretched hand. "Your father and mine were half-brothers, born of the same mother, but mine was fathered by the elder of two brothers. The crown of Prussia is mine by rights. So do not speak to me of stolen birthrights you stupid, foolish little boy."

For a fraction of a moment, Wilhelm's eyes wandered to glance at the railing of the balcony behind the King, which was barely half his uncle's great height. He squeezed his eyes shut, however, and banished such rash thoughts from his mind - the man may be much his senior in age, but the numerous scars carved into his face reflected a long history of bravery and battle prowess that dwarfed his own. Wilhelm shook his head. "I never signed away the family estates."

"A simple oversight on my part. It shall soon be rectified."

"You have no right-"

"I have every right!" Alexander roared. "I am the King who has held this realm together through one of its most trying periods. My scars are enough testament to my dedication. I will be shown respect!"

Wilhelm cringed. "What will you do?" he muttered at last, defeated.

"I will take official ownership of our estates in Brandenburg and Prussia. You will be compensated, of course, recognized as Duke of Bohemia and granted sovereignty over all the vassals de jure of that title. I expect Prague to become one of the great cities of this kingdom, so take pride in being given lordship over it," Alexander explained, gesturing unconsciously with his hand. "You will also be granted some small lands and title I have amassed from childless vassals, primarily in the recently-conquered regions of Poland and Mazovia. Am I not generous?" The King held his hand to his chin and raised n eyebrow expectantly.

"Yes...Your Majesty...you are," Wilhelm conceded begrudgingly. "I...apologize for disturbing you tonight."

Alexander rolled his eyes. "I expected you sooner or later. I am pleased you are not throwing further tantrums or taking rash action, as boys your age are so prone to do. You tutors appear to have taught you proper courtesy."

"Thank you...Your Majesty," Wilhelm muttered. "I will show myself out and return to Stendal in the morning. Good night, uncle."

"Good night, nephew."

Moments after Wilhelm left the room, the King's son Viktor stepped inside. "How did it go, father?"

Alexander groaned. "About as expected. The boy is still a naive fool at heart, and his attempts to appear defeated only mean he is plotting something. Send a bird to his wife, remind her to keep us posted on his activities in the future."

"Right away, Your Majesty."

OOC: "Wilhelm" in this is actually Ezzo von Brennenburg in-game, for anyone wondering. I changed his name in this week's edits so it's less stupid, so imagine I just ret-conned it into being Wilhelm the whole time, because that's what happened.