Fivoin

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The Sons of Raghnall
By King of Men, Scotland​
Like his father Gilpatrick, Trond was a warrior king, living toujours en vedette and rarely even wintering in his ostensible home estates. Gilpatrick, however, had been a successful conqueror, ranging far from his own borders and adding to them. Trond was not so lucky. His father had held down most of Scandinavia and Finland by sheer force of a brutal personality; upon his death, all the sullen resentment at foreign rule that had smoldered under his firm thumb burst into open flame. Even so, his elder son Ragnvald might have kept the realm together with only a mild bloodletting, had he not died two months after his father.

The second death was never proved to be the work of Swedish assassins; but the rapid election of Queen Astrid to the throne of Sweden lends weight to the suspicion. Faced with rebellion all along Norway's coast, with both Trondhjem and Bergen attempting to reassert the ancient rights of the Lade jarls, Trond was initially in no position to take revenge. Astrid died peacefully in her sleep, still Queen of a Sweden at peace.

WolfAndRaven_zpsf7a7aa2b.png

Bit of a civil war...​

Trond, nonetheless, was his father's son. In two years he drove the northern jarls back to their mountain fastnesses; in five he reduced them again to a sullen obedience - temporarily, as later events would show - and turned east. The resulting war is known by the poetic name of the "Years of Wolf and Raven", for the two species that are said to have been its only victors. That is, perhaps, exaggeration; but it is true that two decades of constant war left the reunited Scandinavian kingdoms poverty-stricken and exhausted. All the dread litany of medieval-style attritional warfare appears in the chronicles, as though Death were ticking off items in a list: Fields untended by levies called up for years on end; plagues rampaging unchecked through hungry populations; productive farms burned; wealthy cities sacked and put to the torch.

Although Trond remains a byword for cruelty even at this distance in time, in fairness he is not entirely to blame. He began, as his father had, with fairly lenient punishments: A large gift of gold, acknowledgement of his overlordship, and a jarl was reconciled. But Gilpatrick had had the knack of making his fractious vassals realise that steel lay under the velvet glove. Trond, though sufficiently gifted as a war leader to reconquer both Norway and Sweden - twice and three times - was no politician; he could not make the jarls take him seriously. His task was undeniably difficult; jarldoms in Gilpatrick's Norway were not acquired by one's skill at crocheting. Still, the fact remains that even when he turned from ransoms to the headsman's axe, and later to more lingering executions, his vassals refused to take his threats seriously. Perhaps a more charitable explanation is that they believed the threats, but simply were not all that afraid of dying, and thought the risk worth taking; the outcome is in any case the same - twenty years of war, and wolf and raven the victors.

In this dark time, Trond's enemies naturally turned to every weapon they could muster, including propaganda and libel. The rumours about the uses to which Gilpatrick put his dungeons had been sniggers, whispers, a deliciously salacious tale about Queen Åsta's tastes. Trond's reign saw the whispers - which had been subsiding in Gilpatrick's old age - revived, redoubled, and screamed from the rooftops. Nor, in truth, was this entirely unfounded; in the later stages of the endless civil war, Trond did turn to the rack, the screw, and the whip to punish the repeated rebellion. After more than a decade of fruitless fighting, any man might become rather exasperated at the refusal of his vassal to accept the verdict of the battlefield; Trond's famous outburst, "Sweden shall be cleansed with fire and the sword" - upon hearing of the Jæmtings rising against him for the third time in five years - is only too believable.

temptation_zps931185e6.png


King Trond's temptations.

Infamous_Dungeons_zps6c3825e3.png


The infamous dungeons are getting rather full up...​

To be sure, arbitrary cruelty and brutal executions were nothing unusual in these hard-bitten times; but noblemen were usually exempt, meeting at worst with the headsman's axe. It was his victims' position and privilege, not their fates, that made "Trond the Terrible" a byword wherever Norwegian and Swedish exiles might fetch up. An even worse legacy was the grinding poverty of the northern nations after the long, draining decades of fighting. As late as 1450 there were untilled fields in Sweden that had lain under the plow two hundred years earlier.
 

Fivoin

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Hell Wants Its Master
By Kuipy, Bavaria​
Changing times and falling behind
An exensive house in Toulouse, 22 june 1275

The small, rotund man bowed before Rupert and started to babble.

“Your Highness, I offer my most sincere condolences, please know that he barely suffered, please, I…”

Just seeing one of Spanish physicians made the pain flare in the king’s bad hand. How many chances had he already given them to prove they were good for something? One Jew from Zaragoza had even wanted to break the hand some more, as if he was not in enough, constant pain. To their heathen hells with them.

“Just bring me to him.”

From the pain in his bad hand his thoughts trailed off on how he hated everything in his new kingdom, people, food, customs. Not that Bavaria was much better. On reflection the one person he ever had any affection for was his son (his only son!), and he was dead, his blonde head bashed like a cantaloupe, his arm broken at a ghastly angle. He rested on a kitchen table, naked, with a sponge and a basin at his side. The physician had barely begun washing him, but he had fallen on his back and his face was immediately recognizable, in every detail, with the well-kept moustache he would always try and twirl, the

“He fell from the terrace, the physician offered. The railing broke.”

“Just bring me some wine.”

“Wine?” The little man looked perplexedly at a servant, who offered: “There is no wine in the house, your Highness. Your lord son obeyed The religion. As does your lord grandson.”

He felt his heart swell with pain, anger and love. Had his son gone even more native to hurt him, or because he did not care about his opinion at all? He could not say which answer he would have preferred, and

“Well, no longer, not with me in charge. Go to the Christian market and buy enough pork for the whole house. All servants are to eat that tonight, and I’ll have all who refuse out, and I’ll have all who eat and complain flogged. Is that clear? And have the boy brought to me in the study."

The servant bowed.

Rupert’s grandson was called Rupert, as his father had been, and he did not remember the old ugly man before him at all.

The boy looked with fear at Rupert’s old battle scars, with disgust at his bad hand which could not fully close on his shoulder.

He kicked the remaining portions, shoved them prudently with his good hand. They were firm and solid; even with all his weigh and all his strength, whatever remained, he would get them to move, let alone break. Foul play. They killed his son! He kneeled to look at the breaks, but they were not obviously clean. It must have just a nick – a nick well placed. Or they had spurred the rust the rust with something like vinegar and salt, he remembered a robed Muhammedan talking about something like that at the Cordoba court. Was it the Caliph himself, as a warning or a first step in wiping them out ? Maybe he had second thoughts about the Hentzaus prospering under him. Or was it some disgruntled kraut ? The French, the Prussians, his Byzantine cousins ?
Threats were everywhere, so disturbing and manifolds his grief was somewhat overshadowed by the old soldierly instinct to kill lest he be killed. He had to get to the bottom of this if he wanted himself and the boy to live. By looking more closely he could see something among the disturbed titles, some piece of metal for which he reached and bent forward.

And then he toppled.

He had glided over the eaves before he could even react, and only barely caught the gutter on time, and then with his bad hand.

“No,” he pleaded for no one in particular, trying to force his broken fingers to close, to grasp. He failed and fell.

“Have I been pushed ?” He only had the time to wonder. Then he died.



Gameplay stuff and stuff like that

My son was assassinated and it turned out he and my grandson had become Muslims ! And then I died too ! Even though I prospered under Baronbowden this sucks.
 

Fivoin

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Suum Cuique - Brandenburg Rising
By Wraith, Brandenburg​
Prominent Families of Prussia

House of Brennenburg: The reigning dynasty of the Kingdom of Prussia, the House of Brennenburg has a mysterious and trouble history. The family is plagued by constant infighting between branches, most prominent in the "Kin-Strife" between King Alexander IV - who was descended directly from King Alexander II - and his nephew Wilhelm, a direct descendant of King Karloman III (Alexander II's younger brother).


Simplified variation of the Coat of Arms of the House of Brennenburg


The direct line of Duke Alexander I's descendants up to Alexander II and Karloman III. The "Brothers' Branches" that now feud with each other were both sired by the same mother, Adelheid von Hentzau. Albrecht von Brennenburg - King Alexander II's only son - was born a mere seven months after his father's untimely death from illness. By then, however, the crown of Prussia had passed to his father's brother, King Karloman III. The Alexandrian branch only reclaimed the crown after a series of assassinations, civil wars, and intrigues left most of the males of the Karloman branch dead and a child king on the throne.


The Brothers' Branches. Official Prussian records dictate that King Karloman IV and his son, King Alexander III, were both assassinated by conspiracies orchestrated by Saroyan II Nazaryan, then Emperor of Byzantium. Karloman II's third son, King Wilhelm II, died suddenly and unexpectedly at a young age, leaving the crown to his own son, Wilhelm III. Wilhelm III's crown was usurped by his uncle and regent, King Alexander IV, in 1270; he unsuccessfully attempted to reclaim his crown in the Kin-Strife from 1302-1304. Wilhelm's son of the same name died very young of illness, leaving no remaining direct male descendants of King Karloman II. The Karloman Branch persisted through the female line of his daughter, Catelyn von Brennenburg, who married into the House of Sigmar, a cadet branch of the House of Brennenburg.


The immediate royal family as of 1304. King Alexander IV lived to see three generations of his family. The direct line continues through his eldest son Viktor, Viktor's eldest son Karloman, and Karloman's eldest son Alexander.

House of Sigmar: The House of Sigmar is the most significant cadet branch of the House of Brennenburg. While the House of Reginar-Brennenburg - the long-reigning Counts of Brescia - is the senior cadet branch, the House of Sigmar amassed far more power and survived far longer than the descendants of Duke Alexander I's second son. The House of Sigmar traces its descent from Sigmund von Brennenburg, Duke Alexander I's fourth and youngest son. Sigmund married Richenza Ludowinger, Countess of Thuringen, a title that remained in the hands of their descendants until the Kin-Strife. Friedrich von Sigmar became Duke of Franconia through various intrigues, and Wurzburg remained the seat of the family's power for several decades. In the mid-13th century, Duke Lothar von Sigmar married Duchess Ilsa di Capanonri of Saxony, and his son Welf inherited and consolidated the combined Duchies of Saxony, Thuringia, and Franconia. This inheritance propelled the House of Sigmar to become the most powerful noble family in Prussia.



The House of Sigmar as of 1304. The family's rise to power as the descendants of a fourth son through a complex web of strategic marriages is an astonishing narrative.

House of Ortenburg: The House of Ortenburg is a young noble family that suddenly ascended to power under the rule of King Wilhelm II. Originating from the small market town of the same name in southeastern Bavaria, the family served as minor courtiers in the royal court for some time until the chaos that followed the Nazaryan Intrigues. After several years of civil war, King Wilhelm II installed the loyal Ortenburg courtiers as Dukes of Mecklenburg. From there, they consolidated their power in the northern reaches of the kingdom to hold numerous minor counties and baronies all around the lands of Bohemia, cementing them as one of the more powerful and loyal dynasties in the realm.

House Premyslid: House Premyslid is the oldest surviving dynasty in Prussia, descending from the original rulers of Bohemia dating back to the 9th century. Greatly weakened by the internal politics of the Holy Roman Empire between the 11th and 12th centuries, the Premyslids could do little more than stand by and watch as the Brennenburgs took their lands in Bohemia and usurped the royal title they had worked so long and so hard to attain for themselves. The Premyslid have since developed a reputation for being notoriously ruthless and disloyal to the Prussian crown, constantly being behind revolts and succession crises, most notable among these being the Kin-Strife, which was directly sponsored by the sitting Premyslid Duke of Moravia. Despite this, they somehow managed to retain control of the Duchy of Moravia by the dawn of the 14th century.

House of Trier: The House of Trier is another prominent example of a rags-to-riches story, in the same vein as the Ortenburgs. The House of Trier was a family of minor courtiers and landless knights, serving primarily as soldiers in the royal army. After the wars with Denmark in the mid-12th century, the von Triers were granted the county of Holstein, which had been seized from the Danes. For half a century, the family was embroiled in a vicious feud with the von Dithmarschens, reigning Dukes of Holstein - in 1223, they managed to wrest the title from them, ruling over the region from then on. Since then, the House of Trier managed to greatly cement their power in the northeast regions of the kingdom, soon rivaled only by the Ortenburgs.

House of Mannerheim: The House of Mannerheim is a very young noble house, another one of the many rising stars to appear out of the chaos that followed the Nazaryan Intrigues. The persistently-rebellious House of Eylau had long been bitter opponents of the Brennenburg kings, the feud arising primarily from their devout adherence to the belief that the Greek Orthodox Church was the true Christian faith. The von Eylaus led the rebellion against the Karloman-branch kings, but ultimately failed against King Wilhelm II, losing their rights to the lands and titles of the Duchy of Pomeralia. In their place, Wilhelm II installed the House of Mannerheim, another family of loyal but landless knights in his service. Ever since then, the von Mannerheims have remained loyal and dependable subjects, but by 1304 had yet to thrust themselves into the dangerous web of Baltic Coast politics.

House Horn: The Horns are a very old and prestigious noble house, one that has astoundingly managed to survive and retain their holdings in Samogitia despite their Swedish origins. Having been granted their lands after the Swedish conquest of the pagan Prussians in the late 11th century, the Horns endured the constant conflicts between the Brennenburgs and the kingdoms of Scandinavia, eventually becoming subjects of the King of Prussia, though not particularly loyal subjects. By the dawn of the 14th century, the Horns had nearly died out entirely - nevertheless, the Horn name continues to survive against all odds, and the family remains a steadfast holdout of Swedish customs in a sea of Germans.

House of Helmholt: The House of Helmholt shares a near-identical origin story with the House of Mannerheim, rising to power in the Baltic Coast Duchies after the dramatic fall of the House of Eylau. Yet another family of loyal but landless knights in the service of King Wilhelm II, the von Helmholts usurped the von Eylaus' position as Dukes of Pommerania after the end of the Nazaryan Intrigues. By the dawn of the 14th century, they also have yet to challenge the Ortenburgs or von Triers for hegemony in the north.

House of Dithmarschen: The House of Dithmarschen was once a very prominent and powerful noble house in the northwestern regions of the kingdom. They are also a far older family than is first suspected, having ruled as Barons of Dithmarschen Castle since at least the 11th century. The von Dithmarschens remained an obscure, minor family until the end of the 12th century, when the Brennenburgs triumphed over the Billungs of Brunswick-Saxony. Seizing the eastern regions of the Duchy of Brunswick as well as the city of Hamburg, King Karloman I ultimately appointed Poppo von Dithmarschen as his warden and duke of the region. The family maintained hegemony in the Duchies of Brunswick and Holstein for many years, remaining the dominant dynasty in the north until their holdings in Holstein were usurped by the House of Trier. Since then, the von Dithmarschens fell back into obscurity, maintaining their hold on the county of Luneburg and the title Duke of Brunswick until the latter was usurped by the King of Germany. By the 13th century, the family held only a single county, having fallen far from their lofty heights of barely a century prior.

House Billung: The name Billung can still invoke a great deal of hatred even centuries after their power and influence has waned. The Billungs are another very old family that became extremely powerful within the Holy Roman Empire during the 11th and 12th centuries. Marrying Duchess Matilda di Canossa, who held considerable lands in northern and central Italy, the Billungs came into control of what is now known as the Grand Duchy of Brunswick-Saxony-Tuscany, a realm so large that it was only rivaled by that of Frisia and the Brennenburgs. The two families engaged in a violent, hate-filled feud during the 12th century, primarily over hegemony in north Germany - the Brennenburgs ultimately emerged victorious, breaking up the Billung realm into a patchwork of splintered counties and smaller duchies. Though their status as one of the senior dynasties in Germany was ended, the Billungs nevertheless managed to maintain control of various smaller holdings around the former Holy Roman Empire, most notably in Holland. Another branch of the family also managed to marry the Brennenburg Duchess of Meissen, remaining Dukes of Meissen by the dawn of the 14th century.

House Wittenborg: The Wittenborgs are yet another young dynasty that arose from the ashes of the Nazaryan Intrigues. The Duchy of Silesia had been controlled by the Brennenburgs for several decades until it was stolen away by the King of Hungary in the midst of the rebellions of the 1260s. It was reclaimed by King Wilhelm II two years later. King Wilhelm had very few direct kinsmen, and so decided to grant the duchy to one of his landless hedge knights, Burchard Wittenborg. The Wittenborgs continued to rule Silesia by the turn of the century, steadfastly loyal to their Brennenburg benefactors.

House of Cappanori: The rise of the House of Cappanori is an extremely fascinating one, as dynasties with Italian names are quite few and far between in the middle of Germany. Originally counts of Ferrara in the late 11th century, the di Cappanoris were swept up in the Brennenburg-Billung feud that was so pervasive in Imperial politics during the 12th century. After the numerous succession crises within Prussia during the late 12th century, King Karloman I decided to separate his kingdom's holdings from potentially ambitious relatives, granting the county of Anhalt to Adone di Cappanori. From there, the family rose to become one of the most powerful and influential noble houses in Prussia for some time. At their height, the dynasty controlled both the Duchies of Saxony and Greater Poland; however, Saxony passed from their control through the plotting and warring of the House of Sigmar in the late 13th century. Nevertheless, the House of Cappanori remained a powerful one within the kingdom, controlling many regions in Poland by the turn of the century.

House of Eylau: The House of Eylau is one of the more controversial names in the history of Prussia. The power of the dynasty managed to wax and wane over the course of a single century, rising to become the most powerful noble family in Prussia before dramatically falling from grace due to unchecked ambition and religious zealotry. The von Eylaus were an obscure family of courtiers until they were suddenly elevated as counts of Stolp after the Prussian conquest of the Baltic Coast duchies from Denmark and Sweden. With Pomerlia as their seat of power, the von Eylaus built their strength and influence, ultimately becoming Dukes of Pomeralia, Pommerania, and Kuyavia at their height. After the Great Schism was mended in the mid-13th century, the von Eylaus converted to Greek Orthodoxy and became zealous believers in that faith - this clashed harshly with the equally-zealous faith of the Catholic Brennenburgs, and a feud between the two families developed. Duke Hesso the Old - long-time patriarch of the dynasty in early 13th century - led and sponsored innumerable plots and rebellions against the Brennenburg kings. This disloyalty eventually led to his family's downfall when the von Eylaus attempted to seize control of the kingdom during the chaos following the Nazaryan intrigues in the 1250s and 1260s. Utterly defeated by King Wilhelm II, the von Eylaus were stripped of the majority of their lands and titles, which were granted to a variety of landless noble houses in the service of the king.

OOC: Was bored earlier this week so I wrote this up. I believe myself and England are the only two Christian kingdoms (at least in Western Europe) that have a variety of interesting vassal dynasties - the rest (especially France) have just installed a bunch of their own dynasty into every single title. Pity I likely can't get two AAR rewards in one week, I've been hitting a "first-world problem" in that I want to write more but if I do I very likely won't be getting any reward for doing so :(. Around the very end of the CK2 phase I'll probably do another post like this just to wrap up everyone before we go into EU3. Also, believe it or not that COA took fucking forever to perfect, as I had to draw black lines to divide the background into three and then trace back over them all in specific colors to get them almost uniformly straight. It was so frustrating that I didn't even bother filling in the pixel-size white dots that outlined the eagle.
 

Fivoin

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L'histoire de France
By el_zilcho321, France​
French history in the 13th century, according to contemporary French historians

2ad77d987d251e7b97bd13d249700f10_zps7d22ef6d.jpg


They came too quick. The curséd infidels of Spain had jumped of their boats and burnt the land of the innocent French people. The armies of the king soon arrived to restore order but by that time the wicked Spaniards had returned to their ships and sailed away.

It had all began when one count, under Spain, despite being on the Frankish side of the Pyrenees, decided that he would no longer accept being oppressed by the tyranny of the Muslim king. France had opened its arms to this count and sent troops to secure peace and order in that realm. The nefarious king of Spain, however, fought it was his right by Allah to rule north of the Pyrenees and deemed the French interference as an act of war. He had immediately set to work the machines of war and within some weeks his dreadful troops had entered French territory.

French forces had quickly mobilised to counter this threat, but by time they had collected together, the Muslims had ravaged many French provinces.

It took time to clear the heathens out of the southern French lands but when they had finally been made rid of, back to their little wooden boats, news reached the generals that the English were embarking across the Channel with the intent of annexing land of the defenceless duke of Flanders, whose men were defending the south. The generals acted quickly and half of their forces road with haste, to the north of France.

Before these troops had even arrived the treacherous Germans declared war in hope of taking the lands around Champagne. This greatly angered the king, as most of his private land and castles were situated there.

France was being attacked by 3 major powers. The king had to act fast, lest he doom the country to destruction. He knew that even with its magnificent wealth and glories, France could not face up to all these threats and survive each one. He decided to to allow England to seize Flanders, inclining to take it back in the future. He prioritised the defence of his personal domain in Champagne first. Though, it was in vain. The German forces were fresh and whole, whereas the French ones had been fighting for weeks, and were only half of the current standing army. The king had to concede his defeat, and the lands of Champagne were handed over to Germany with the lowest of wills.

The king then ordered his now tired soldiers to return to the south to defend against the villainous heathens. The frequency and scale of their attacks had increased during the time France was dealing with the other 2 wars. The half of the army that had remained in the south had began to lose ground to the advancing Muslims. Once the Northern army rejoined they quickly retook the land which had been dominated by the aggressive Spaniards.

All of the French land was back in French control, but one day a fleet was spotted on the horizon of the Mediterranean. As it drew closer, it became apparent that it was an almighty fleet. The French soldiers were ordered to stand their ground and defend the beachhead, with the generals hoping the enemy forces were smaller than they seemed. The enemy landed and disaster was inevitable when the leaders estimated the Muslim mass to be twice the size of the French defending force.

The king immediately called for a ceasefire, but the two armies had already begun to battle. After several days the armies disengaged, and the king met with the Sultan to discuss the terms of peace. The king handed over some southern lands to the criminal, and the Muslims returned to their peninsula.

This was France's greatest fall in recent history, and it had a long way to climb back up.
 

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A Genealogy of Nazaryan Emperors
by KhanXLT, Georgia​
Isidoros Nazaryan (1182-1235)

Easily the most famous of the Nazaryan Emperors, Isidoros ‘The Saint’ Nazaryan set the stage for some of the Largest wars Europe had ever faced. He is largely known as the man who united Christianity, but to understand why he sought such an outcome, you must understand what drove him as a person.

Isidoros spent most of his childhood in a book, either religious texts or old maps, decades old. He never went outside to play swords with the other children, preferring to talk to monks instead. His studious nature was encouraged by his father, who thought that education was what separated a good emperor from a great one.

Easily the most important event to young Isidoros was The First World Concert. The way Europe had reacted to encroaching Byzantine hegemony left a lasting effect on the boy. In his writings, he would reveal that it was the fact that the splintered lands of Rome rose up and demanded the humiliation of Rome’s legacy was because they were afraid, afraid of the embrace of Roman Rule that they have been searching for nearly 700 years, even if they would not admit it to themselves. But, if they would not accept direct Roman Rule, how else could he unite Europe?

The Answer came to him in a dream, the night of his 16th Birthday. The Archangel Michael descended to him an a fiery chariot. In all his majesty he cried, “The Lord weeps for his children, for they are lost. They try to find him, but they look in all the wrong places. It falls to you Isidoros, to bring the lost lambs back to the flock, so they might know God’s Embrace.”

With fresh purpose in life, and the power of Nazaryan Byzantine behind him, he started a plan to try and unite the faiths under the Orthodoxy banner. Firstly he moved the capital of his Empire to his Ancestral Homelands of Trapezous, as a statement to the world that Byzantine is willing to change. He then invited The First-born Princes of the Tripartite Muslim Nations to the New Capital City of Trapezous for discussions of State and Faith. After an amicable month of debate, the Princes of Morocco and Hispania had both agreed to be baptised Orthodox and be married into the Nazaryan Family, increasing the relations between the nations. Eventually Crown Prince Hashim had to return to Morocco to rule after his fathers death. But the Prince of Hispania, Ayyub decided to stay in Byzantium with his new wife, Basiliea.

Having guaranteed the allowance of Missionaries in the Realms of Muslim Nations, Isidoros was satisfied that he had planted the seeds of conversion for the major Muslim powers. He now began to focus wholly on mending the schism that had split the church hundreds of years ago. However, the Head of the Catholic Religion, Pope Marinus I, was less than forthcoming in coming to any kind of compromise. The final straw was when the Pope declared the 5th Crusade for Hispania and demanded troops from Byzantium as Recompense for ending the 3rd Crusade Prematurely.

Isidoros would not let the groundwork he had lain in the Muslim World be torn asunder by a craven who would demand others to do the fighting for him. He sent a missive to the Pope, telling him he would have his troops, and then led an army of 80,000 troops to the City of Rome. Isidoros led the troops in to the City, in the Guise of a Military Parade to receive absolution from the pope himself. After the Pope had given his speech, Isidoros stepped up and said, “Rome belongs to the Roman Empire!” On that signal the troops assaulted the city, quickly gaining control of the surrounding countryside. Marinus I was forced to end another Crusade prematurely again and was stripped of his Papal title by the other Pentarchs. Thus Pentarch of Rome was re-established. With Orthodox Supremacy in place, Isidoros ordered Pentarch Hektorios of Rome to officially end the Schism, making Orthodoxy the true Christianity.


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

The effects were immediate, thousands of Catholics converting practically overnight, and Isidoros knew he had made the right choice. it turned out to be not a moment too soon for rumors were spreading, rumors of a unwashed horde descending upon lands to the east, raping and pillaging the lands of Hindustan. Fearing for his new unified Europe, he took it upon himself to act as vanguard to europe and be the first to face the threat known as the Il-Khanate. To this end he ordered a fortress built, larger and more fortified than the likes had ever been seen. He named the fortress Hadamakert, after a favorite pet of his in his youth.

The Horde came, innumerable, and quickly overran the Beyberlik of Khiva, before Marching into Persia itself. Seeing his chance he declared war on the Mongols, and sent a missive to the Persians and the Mesopotamians, offering to join them in the face of a common enemy. Seeing sense, they accepted, and a unified Abrahamic army faced down the Pagans of the east. Records indicate a pitched battle of over 1 million men, but it was likely closer to 300,000 soldiers on both sides. God truly favored the faithful on that day and delivered upon Isidoros a clear victory, driving the Mongols back to uncivilized lands, and liberating the lands of Khiva in the process.

But that would not be the last Isidoros would see of the Mongols, for at the same time, a separate Horde had come through the North, sacking the soon to be Merchant Republic of Russia. The Golden Horde had almost reached Novogorod before Isidoros was able to move his armies into Russia. But Russian Winters were famous for their harshness, so he would not be able to move his entire army up to meet the Horde. He ended up taking the largest amount of force his advisors would allow, a mere 32 thousand. He marched the army himself into battle. He and his men fought the entirety of the Golden Horde by themselves, outnumbered 5 to 1, and crushed the Horde. He chased down the remnants of their army and demanded Tribute from the Horde. Reeling from the blow that had been struck, he accepted.

Isidoros came back to Trapezous a hero for the ages. He was the man who defeated the Pagan Hordes and united Europe in faith. He had surely done God’s work. Alas, it was not to be. In a private meeting with his Diplomats, he learned that Most of Europe had refused to join in communion with the Orthodox Church. The dream he had of a unified Europe was shattered, there would be no peace in his time. In fact, by mending the schism, he created conflict where there was none. Isidoros died that night, he died of a broken heart.
 

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Al Andalus -Azulejo Tiles for all
by BaronBowden, Andalusia
Iberian Military and Foreign Relations Policy
Dedicated to Wraith​

Military Strategy for the Unification of Iberia

From the onset of time, Andulusia has been in a precarious position. Essentially resting as a gateway between the old world and the northern Christian lands, a balancing act has had to be persued. From the start of recorded history (1066) there have been many wars, some of conquest but most of defense. This will attempt to outline winning strategies as well as tactical overview.

On the selection of leaders

As a culture that relies on lightly armed cavalary it becomes very important to maintain a regime of well trained officers. As such from the onset of the Alfundisd dynasty, there has been a very specific breeding program put in place with a military cast system. The selection of leaders becomes incredibly important as well as terrain.

Crucial things to find IF you plan on fighting outnumbered which have worked numerous times for the Iberian troops. The following leader traits are ideal
Flat Terrain (FT)
Flanker (F)
Holy Warrior (HW)
Heavy Infantry Leader (HL)
Cruel
Calvary Leader (CL)
Inspring Leader (IL)

The ideal set up with retinues is to have retinues that are primarily 1 troop type OR 70% HI or PI and then 30% archers. As such a proper military deployment will look like this

5000 LC ! 4000 HI 1000 A ! 5000 LC.

F/CL HL/IL F/CL

Now in addition to attempting to breed these combinations (with varying success) it is important to note that as the Suni faith has been completely isolated to Iberia, substituting any of these combinations with HW is a very valid choice.

Due to the nature of levies and unpredictable setups, Leadership choices become much more generic. The best options become

F/HW IL/HW F/HW

In the event any of these combinations are not available attempt to get 1, and baring that unyielding will do. Martial ability of 17 is paramount after that the bonuses feel less important.

Terrain as Natural Advantages

Terrain is a tricky thing when attacking or defending and as such it becomes paramount to understand where to attempt to create military bottlenecks. Iberia is a perfect example of a defensible terrain (except from sea, more on this later). If you gaze carefully at the cartographers map all known rulers have (hover the mouse over a province) you can clearly tell what type of terrain you are entering/leaving. This is important for several reasons. Primarily as a defender the order of business for defensible terrain will go Mountains/Hills. This in itself will provide a very sizeable bonus to a defending army however there are situations where you can find that perfect terrain where a river also runs through that terrain. Scholars estimate that such a defensible position can result in troops becoming close to 50% more effective than poorly positioned troops. In the event you can also find a leader with a trait for Mountain Expert, this advantage can be amplified even further. It is incredibly important to note however that traits like Trickster or Aggressive leader can completely nullify the advantage of carefully chosen terrain. Avoid these men at all costs, infact remove them from your realm so they can go and ruin the education of someone else's children.

The Iberian Army, during the second despicable crusade actually used such a tactic with the invading armies of the HRE and France. A brave group of 30000 men were selected for a probable suicide mission and marched into Navarra, all told by the time their bloody work was done using the proper officer corps and the ideal terrain to their advantage they sent over 70000 French and German souls to meet their God. 18000 men marched home to their families after these engagements. After such a decisive victory, cleaning up the rest of the pope's holy orders and Italian sycophants became quick work.

Next week we will discuss the diplomatic stance of Iberia over the previous 200 years.
 

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The sons of Raghnall
by King of Men, Scotland​
North Sea Empire

By the early fourteenth century, the MacRaghnalls were, never mind the form of their patronymic, very clearly a Norwegian dynasty. Except for the brief reign of Queen Agnes, a reign which in any case rested on her husband's English spears, they had been out of royal power in Scotland for more than a century. Moreover, with the two largest crowns of the British Isles united on the head of Agnes's son Theobald, there was clearly very little prospect of regaining an independent Scotland; while on the other hand, between Gilpatrick and Trond, half a century had been spent in almost constant bloodshed to establish MacRaghnall rule in Scandinavia. Trond is not even known to have spoken any Scots dialect, although the early Norwegian of the time retained, for simple matters, a rough mutual comprehensibility with the Lallans.

In spite of these undoubted facts, however, the MacRaghnall kings considered themselves kings in exile, "Kings over the Water". Gilpatrick had even managed to actually set foot in Scotland and raise the MacRaghnall lairds - a different branch of the family, but still important landowners and nobles - in his support, although his sister Agnes turned out to have the better army. Trond, on the other hand, never got any closer to Edinburgh than Bergen, on the west coast of Norway. Nonetheless, it was Trond who achieved his father's ambition and was crowned King of Scots.

Although Trond was a warrior king, he did not achieve his dream by calling out the leidang and crossing the North Sea in dragon-headed ships. Rather, he waged a diplomatic and political campaign, firstly within Scotland itself, and secondly within the Catholic periphery of Europe.

While few medieval kings ruled with anything approaching absolute power, the centrifugal tendencies of feudal kingdoms were particularly strong in Scotland. Even the title, King of Scots, implied a ruler who was first among equals, as against, for example, the King of England, who technically speaking owned every acre of English ground and merely rented it out to his feudal subjects. Even after Red Harlaw established that the larids were subject to the King's peace and could not make private war at their pleasure, the writ of Edinburgh did not run very far into the mountains. If the clans no longer raised regular armies and fought set-piece battles, raid, razzia, cattle-rustling, and sheep-stealing remained national sports. These lawless tendencies were only aggravated when the King was in York rather than Edinburgh; although the Kings of England - and later the Emperors of Britannia, no less! - certainly had at their disposal far more armed men than any King of Scots had ever mustered, that did not much impress the unruly Highlanders. "Sassenachs," they might have sneered, "ony guid Hielant crofter can beat ten Sassenach sodjers. Wi' his left hand, mind." More to the point, Scotland was never a real priority for the kings in York, busy with conquests in France and wars in Germany. The Highlanders, trusting in their mountain strongholds, might have been surprised at how unpleasant a punitive expedition could make their lives, if he had ever gotten around to launching one; but - canny buggers, as even their enemies were wont to admit - they carefully kept their depredations just short of what would provoke real retaliation.

Still, as the thirteenth century ended, the lawless conditions of, not jsut Scotland, but the Border, was becoming a real worry. A constant rondo of sheep-stealing within the Highlands did not much worry anyone; the sheep were valuable and therefore rarely killed, so the net effect was merely to redistribute the wealth to whoever had got lucky last, and to keep the Highlanders busy. When, however, the MacRaghnall lairds - tired of playing zero-sum games with their neighbours and not averse to tweaking the tail of their Sassenach overlords - began to raid south of the Border, that was a different matter. York is not so far distant from Northumberland; when sheep and cattle began disappearing, men of actual influence, with friends at court - some of them, indeed, were at the court - had their oxen gored.

Theobald had, however, larger worries; his army had to be held in readiness to defend the Alps and the Pyrenees against, respectively, the heretic and the infidel. A resurgent Rome, fresh from its theological victory in recapturing the See of St Peter, was on the march, overawing the Lombard kingdom and pushing north into Germany; while in Spain, the Muslims muttered about jihad. Thus, while he certainly had the raw power to overcome any number of unruly half-bandit chieftains in his hinterlands, Theobald desired nothing so much as peace and quiet on his northern flank; a punitive expedition in his own domains was the lsat thing he needed. He was, therefore, ready to listen when his ally (and kinsmen - Trond was the son of Theobald's mother Agnes's brother Gilpatrick, making them first cousins), the King of Norway, suggested a solution.

If the Scots wanted a king at Edinburgh, the suggestion ran, why not give them one? Theobald, after all, was Emperor of Britannia. The direct rule of a bunch of hairy Hielant savages was beneath his dignity. Trond, on the other hand, would be happy to have, if worst came to worst with his own savage vassals, a bolthole separated by several hundred miles of water from any possibility of revenge from former inmates of his infamous dungeons. Theobald, then, had only to graciously grant his good and leal kinsman-ally the least important of his crowns, for which Trond would gladly do homage (while diplomatically making it clear that Norway remained free, indivisible, and inalienable), and Trond would answer for the Highlanders.

As face-saving compromises go, it was an excellent one: Theobald got, in effect, a lightning rod on his northern flank, to absorb any grievances the Scots might have with their government. Trond, on the other hand, fulfilled his father's dream. For a man who had spent most of his life fighting endless wars merely to hold together what his father had conquered, actually surpassing Gilpatrick was clearly a welcome triumph. The MacRaghnall lairds got one of their own, at least nominally, on the throne, and ceased troubling the Border; the degree to which Trond had quietly been encouraging their raids is now impossible to reconstruct, but seems likely to be nonzero. Finally, the Norwegians got both their old dream of a North Sea empire - even if its Scottish lands were rather minuscule in practice - and a welcome distance from their king; like a bickering couple who know each other's sore points too well, the jarls and the king both benefited from physical separation.

The new state was, by modern standards, an odd sort of construction, jury-rigged and fragile-looking. Trond was King of Scots, a title for which he did homage to Theobald as Emperor of Britannia; but while he reigned in Edinburgh, the actual taxes and fighting men passed straight through his hands to York. Trond was also King of Norway and Sweden, titles for which he did homage to nobody but the Pope (and that had been a tenuous legal theory even when the the successor of St Peter ruled in Rome), and his writ ran in most of Denmark and Finland. As far as actual power went, his Scots title did not come into it. Edinburgh was the capital of the realm only in the purely formal sense of containing the King's residence; the economic, political, and military center was very clearly in the Scandinavian peninsula. Indeed, if you ignored the royal residence, you would see a Baltic realm with Edinburgh as an anomalous outlier, more important than the similarly-situated Orkneys, but integrated into the British, not Baltic, economy.

By feudal standards, however, there was nothing odd about it; it was a dynastic, not a national, state, and medieval dynasts thought nothing of adding land on the other side of Europe to their possessions. After all, the Icelandic republic acknowledged, of all people, the Byzantine Emperor as their overlord; having a King who was merely across the North Sea was nothing by comparison, especially for a seafaring people like the Norse. It wasn't as though anyone in Norway had been likely to travel overland to court even before it had been moved to Edinburgh.

Apart from its oddness, however, the salient feature of what would become the Northern Empire, or formally the Empire of the North Sea, was that it worked. Trond had, at last, beaten down the resistance to his rule within Scandinavia. The Scottish title was the outward recognition, by the other Catholic powers, of this fact. A formality, perhaps; but formalities are important in matters of state. In this case, the crowning at Scone was formal recognition that, where Gilpatrick had held together a collection of squabbling principalities by force of personality, Trond ruled a unified state by a monopoly of violence. And not before time; for the Catholic kingdoms had larger problems than the squabbles of savage mountain peoples. The Legions were again on the march.
 

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Suum Cuique - Brandenburg Rising
by Wraith, Brandenburg​
The Great Rebellion

From A History of Medieval Germany, by Wilhelm von Ortenburg

The Great Rebellion lasted from 1306-1319, and was so named due to its great length and great scale as the largest civil war in the Kingdom of Prussia during the Middle Ages. The war was the direct result of tensions within the kingdom between the House of Brennenburg and its cadet branch, the House of Sigmar. In 1306, a very large group of Prussian nobles under the influence of Duchess Dorothea von Sigmar of Kurland confronted the new king - Viktor I von Brennenburg - and demanded that he abdicate the throne in favor of his son, Karloman. Duchess Dorothea had considerable influence over King Viktor's children, and despite her ownership of the title to the Duchy of Kurland did not actually control its lands - Kurland remained under the direct control of King Viktor himself. Dorothea's primary motivations for installing Karloman as King of Prussia was to be granted the Duchy of Kurland proper "in gratitude for her loyalty."


King Viktor I von Brennenburg and Duchess Dorothea von Sigmar, mortal enemies and instigators of the Great Rbellion

King Viktor I, of course, refused to abdicate his throne, citing his father's and cousin's actions during the Kin-Strife barely four years ago. The Kingdom of Prussia erupted into civil war, with the vast majority of the Pommeranian and Polish dukes siding with Duchess Dorothea in her struggle - ironically, her own relatives in the Duchy of Saxony-Franconia sided with the king.


The Great Rebellion at its height. Despite the majority of the Kingdom's nobility siding with the rebels, King Viktor remained dominant in the field, and by 1319 was on the verge of victory.

Despite crushing the majority of the rebel armies by 1319 and occupying the seat of Duchess Dorothea's power in Bamberg, King Viktor had lost control of east Prussia and Kurland proper, and the war dragged on. Unfortunately for the King but an incredible stroke of luck for the rebels, the 67-year-old King Viktor suffered a massive heart attack on February 7, 1319 - his son was immediately crowned King Karloman V of Prussia, and the Great Rebellion officially ended. Dorothea von Sigmar - as per her hopes - was indeed rewarded with the Duchy of Kurland.


The exceedingly brilliant King Karloman V. While his father was competent, Karloman was considered a true successor to his grandfather, King Alexander IV.
 

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The sons of Raghnall
by KoM, Scotland​
The Blood of Brothers

They whisper about me. Johan was sure of it, although he had never been able to catch anyone at it; but then, of course they would be careful about it, for was he not King? King of Norway and Sweden, King of Scots, King in all but name of Finland, the Wends' and the Goths' King... They had damn well better be careful.

Sometimes, when the whispers that he could not quite catch got too much for him, or he caught a meaningful glance out of the corner of his eye, or someone's laughter cut off a little too abruptly - sometimes, he would go down, down, down, deep into the bowels of Edinburgh Castle. Away from the fine tapestried royal quarters, lifted up to catch what sun Scotland could offer; down through the kitchens, the armories, the servants' quarters, down to where the chambers were hewn into the living stone of Castle Rock itself, where the rough walls breathed cold dampness and only his lantern gave light - for who was going to waste expensive lamp oil or good torches on prisoners? Not this guid Scot, at any rate; and besides, the dark beyond the flickering circle from his lantern was soothing.

These weren't the Infamous Dungeons built by Gilpatrick and given their fearsome reputation by Trond; those were in Norway, empty now that the seat of government had moved across the North Sea. But some of the machinery was the same, moved by Johan's order. The rack was the one that Trond had used to extract Tormod Jarl's confession of treason, and then to execute the man. The ancient, stiff leather belt hanging in a place of honour in the corner was said to be the one Gilpatrick had used to tame Queen Åsta, although after a hundred years that seemed unlikely to Johan. More likely his prison warder was lying to him, or had himself been lied to; at any rate there was probably a lie involved somewhere, for why would Gilpatrick have attached any importance to any particular belt? But it comforted Johan to think that it might be true; so he left the belt where it was.

There were no whispers down here, for who would willingly visit? Most preferred to forget that the dungeons existed, and that only the King's whim stood between them and the unending dark. Here, at least, there was silence, and Johan savoured it. Here he could be sure that any whispers he heard were only in his mind; the rats and the spiders cast no accusing glances. Down here he could reassure himself that the soldiers didn't really mutter "brother-killer" when he passed by; and knowing that the voice he heard saying so could only be in his head, he could believe it, at least for a while.

Damn Gregoras, anyway! Johan would have been perfectly content as Jarl of wealthy Sjælland, if only his brother had shown the least understanding of how to lead Norsemen. But no; he was besotted with his Greek literature and "advisors" - men who had been broken in their home country, and had had good and sufficient reasons for fleeing to the cold North that they so despised. But Gregoras - bah! Greger would suffice, damn him; a good Norse name before he had Hellenised it - thought them the equals of Alexander's generals, and had given them honours and land. He had slicked back his hair with perfumed oils, as they'd taught him, and listened to endless recitations of the Odyssey and the Iliad in Greek, while his hirdsmenn sighed in open boredom and the skalds who might have had them thumping fists on tables in time to the Deeds of Ragnvald fumed in corners.

Greek boy-lovers, and perfumed oil, and foreign rot in place of the sagas! Johan had told the man, but would he listen? Not unless it was in Greek, and laid out in a syllogism, and preferably a thousand years old at that! And the jarls had risen, just as Johan had said they would, and all the bloody dreadful work of the Years of Wolf and Raven to be done over again, for the sake of Greek poetry! It was not to be borne.

Not to be borne... but Johan had not meant him to die! Not his older brother whom he'd admired from the time he was old enough to make out one blond head from another! Only he could not be King, that much was clear; he'd break the realm apart; but let him live, let him have the estates and the income and the broad acres, and yes, let him spend it all foolishly on Greek books and perfume and bad advisors if he chose. Only the kingdom, the realm, only that Johan could not bear to see shattered; and they'd made peace, and Johan had even thought there was some relief in Greger's - bah, Gregoras's then, let him have whatever silly name he chose for himself - Gregoras's face when he knelt to acknowledge Johan as King of Scots, King of Norway and Sweden, the Wends' and the Goths' king, all the highest titles. But not the jarldoms, not the cities and estates and farms; Gregoras could keep those, and manage them however he liked, and the realm would not break apart from it. And then had come the messenger with the word, of the "accident" with the ship, and what could Johan say? It really had been an overenthusiastic subordinate, and no order of his, but who would believe such a tale in the mouth of the man who'd just made himself king? (*)

But dead was dead and eaten was eaten; there was nothing for it but to put the best face on things. He'd confirmed his young nephew in the estates; if the lad grew up his enemy, and took revenge for his father... well, perhaps that would be no more than Johan deserved. And he'd learned to bear the whispers without flinching, and the glances, and the way conversations paused when he came within earshot... and after all, perhaps he was merely imagining things. His hirdsmenn had all proven their loyalty, and the servants were not given to opinions on the quarrels of the great lords. Perhaps it was only his guilt that made him see accusers everywhere.

Sometimes he thought of firing up the braziers, heating the irons, and oiling up the rack, and seeing what truth he could wring from his servants' tongues with that encouragement. Let them scream what they'd been whispering - let them scream loud enough for all the castle to hear, and still the ceaseless gnawing rats at the back of his mind. He felt sure he could be easy in his mind, whatever they were saying of him, if only he could be certain of it. Once he'd gone so far as to light the brazier; but when the iron glowed it was his own skin he'd brought it near, watching with a sick fascination as the red tip came closer, closer, as though wielded by someone else... until he could stand the heat no more and thrust it away, yelling; but the pain of his blistered flesh had soothed him, had silenced the ghosts riding his shoulder for a week and more.

Sometimes he thinks of penance, of the old leather belt, perhaps - can it really be Gilpatrick's? - playing on his skin until he cries out with the pain of it; but who would treat a king so, and not gossip of it, later? Perhaps his wife, if only he dared to ask her... but it has been long since he even visited her bedchamber, and she has grown cold towards him. To whom can the King speak, when he is troubled in his soul?

Such are the burdens of kings.

(*) I switched characters after surrendering, and forgot to check whether the AI had been plotting against me. So, yes, it wasn't by any intent of mine that Gregoras died.
 

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Greece Rising
by JacobGood, Greece​
Recent documents have shown that the would be assassins were from his mother, Anthe. She of course wouldn't let him find out, and being his spymaster certainly helped things. Instead she continued to use her power to forge documents showing that it was Ethiopians funding Egyptian separatists. It has been hypothesized recently that Anthe was too intelligent to have had 3 assassination attempts fail, but we likely will never know for sure. WHat we do know, of course, is that Despot Narses took everything from that Duke, stripped him of titles, handed them out to his young son Isidoros. As Tajaddin grew older he took to mentoring his children, and teaching them the proper ways of the Greeks. When the Italian territory in modern day Cyrenaica revolted during the madness of Doge Christoforo de Canal, Tajaddin used it as an excuse to invade the revolting provinces. His brother Andreas died in the final battle of the war, but the Greeks won the day. Tajaddin continued the practice of revoking privileges and titles and converting them from the heresy of Catholicism to the True Faith.

Once Anthe died, Tajaddin started laying the framework of the independent Greek state. He forged agreements with the influential leaders of the time, independent of Byzantium due to the Emperors descent into madness and the holy wars in Central Europe. His last act was to swap land as equals with Byzantium, freeing him of outlying vassals of dubious loyalty, and reclaiming old lands that had passed from his realm.

When Tajaddin died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 84, Greece was stronger than it had ever been. The heir, Isidoros II took the throne at the old age of 45. He is best known for his later years, but he came to power as a humble, gregarious person. He was a brilliant defensive strategist. Oddly enough in his diaries it seems that he had no love for Orthodoxy or the reverent worship of Greek history that his father did, but continued the policy very effectively due to pragmatism.

He was content with his life, having 7 children, and studying the massive battles between the true Emperor and the "Emperor of the Island" (as he was called in his diaries). The war would end in a stalemate, but it was good for Byzantium because it ended the "time of troubles" where the Greeks would be forced to war various Central European countries for land when there was no need, out of respect for the overlord. And while he was loyal, he continued the practicing of reaching out to the other great nations, and ensuring them he was not as mad as the blood thirsty Emperor. His pragmatism was apparent with this as well.

As was the case with Greek successions of the time, Isidoros was not the most popular. He was savvy though, and with a mixture of bribes and revocation of titles, he ensured stability. His strategy, one that would have an impact later on, was to just take titles that were his 'by right' regardless of who owned them. Even his supporters were wary, and that allowed time to pass and him to solidify his base. As we would find out later, he would need that brutal strategic mind in the coming years.
 

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Hungary under the Turóc Dynasty
by Rannos, Hungary​
This new orthodox kingdom of Hungary is a hard, brutal country. Not because of the land, which is fertile and beautiful, but because of its people. Ever since King Orbán the Founder seized the throne, the law of the kingdom has reverted to little more than "might makes right." One's station in this land depends little on one's quick tongue or noble blood (although it seems being a Turóc certainly does help,) but on how many troops one commands and how well they can command. Although faraway Scandinavia is know the world over for its instability, Hungary is little better, though the dukes in this land spend more of their time fighting each other than their beloved king. The borders between duchies here shift like the sands in the distant deserts of Arabia and rulers can change just as quickly if they do not have enough support.

This brutal meritocracy carries over to the succession as well in a way. Following the troubled times of the Three Greek Kings, the Turóc dynasty that ruled nearly all aspects of Hungary grew unsatisfied with the succession laws they had stolen from the Arpads and Abas. Fearing the idiot kings they saw arise from the primogeniture laws, they decided to harken back to the days of Ódön the Great who had ruled through his duchy via a crude democracy. Thus an elective succession in the style of the recently destroyed Holy Roman Empire was adopted with the Dukes of Hungary become electors. Of course, this being Turóc Hungary, this is not a democracy like that of Ancient Greece or even Rome. No, the one generally elected King is more often the candidate with the greatest reputation as a warrior rather than the one with a silver tongue. It is the one who promises land, riches and glory that the Turócs make their King those, like King Ódön the Peacemaker, that lose land and make peace with all their neighbors often find their reign cut short or at best their branch of the family removed from power after the King's death.

After the decades of war it took to secure Hungary, peace has become its antithesis. When peace reigns for too long the dukes have a tendency to grow impatient and strike out at each other or Hungary's weaker neighbors. The young men, in their boredom, leave the land to join the many mercenary bands that find employment in the more unstable lands of the north or east. The anointed knights of the land (that they call "Hussars" ) have a tendency to go brigand and harass the peasantry in times of prolonged peace. The Kingdom of the Turócs is truly the land of Ares.

Excerpt from "The Magyar Basin" by Nikephorus Gregoras (d. 1309) who was executed for defaming the royal family of Hungary
 

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L'histoire de France
by el_zilcho321, France​
The 14th century war against Germany.

The French knights waited on the hill, overlooking the German forces. The horses were reading and a everyone was ready for battle after the several hours of short skirmishes. Suddenly a jubilant applause rose as the king rode to the front of the French army.

"Men of France, as your equal I beg you, fight today. Fight with all your strength, might and courage. We are men of Charlemagne and Rome, we will not be defeated by those barbarian hordes! Those Germans came to France and slew our ancestors, taking their lands, women and babes as prizes of their victory. Our ancestors were not cowards and the lands soon fell back to us. Bt today we must seek revenge! We must retake the riches that were stolen from us! We must crush these heretics with the blade! Bring glory to France and to the Patriach! Victory will be ours and God will reward our triumph!"

The knights erupted into an enormously loud applause, cheering and shouting. The people loved king Henri. He was a proud king and very brave, while also being diligent and just.

Before there was any sign of the cheering ending, king Henri shouted, "Charge!" and kicked his horse into action. As sons as they saw this the other knights followed him into the German lines.

584bd3345fa407cda8035a34f5a034c8_zps05e7663f.jpg


By time the French were nearing the German lines, The German knights mounted and began a charge of their own. It was too late though and they were hit with full force of the Frecnh calavry. At the same time, the Scandanavian mercenary band sweeped round from the left flank, cutting off one means of retreat for their wavering Germans. After this attack the Germans soon began to flee and victory had been won by the French. The calvary cut down the fleeing heretics, but eventually gave up their pursuit.

After this victory the annexation of upper Lorraine took place.

War came again several years later, this time started by the German king. He wanted to reclaim his lands, but king Henri was determined not to lose his fruits of war. He raised his levies, severely weakened by the Spanish invasion of the south, but his numbers were bolstered by rich Russian investors who funded mercenaries to help their fellow Orthodox nation.

Henri was leading another one of his famous charges, seen quite often in the previous German war. However, in the midst of battle, his horse was struck down, and he was left to fight on foot. He was not used to fighting on level ground, but he managed to fight off some German infantry while slowly retreating back into his own lines. However, he was struck in the back during a sudden volley of arrows and was drawn to his knees. He was defenceless, and was soon slain by a German soldier, thinking of him as just another nobleman, as he had no crown to distinguish himself.

Within a few minutes rumours began to spread concerning Henri's death, but no one believed him. But soon after that, an uproar of "the king is dead" began in the French ranks. This inspired a new wave of courage, fuelled by anger, to overwhelm the French forces. They fought harder and soon the Germans broke rank and began to flee. Another victory had been won against the Germans.

The new king soon sought peace for his realm, which was slowly dissolving under the pressure of Spain to the south. He seemed great reparations from Germany for the lives and wealth that had been lost in the war. This left the German king deep in debt, while France enjoyed a new wave of upgrades in its major castles and cities.
 

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Al Andalus - Azulejo Tiles for all
by BaronBowden, Andalusia​
Iberian Foreign Policy and the French Isolation​

Long has Iberia been surrounded by foes. Dating back to the very begining of the game, the only reliable ally to *always* come to aid when called was the Great Lord of Byzantium. Surrounded by Zealous Catholics intent upon erradicating the only muslim nation left in the civilized world (those zikiri dont count) life has been balanced on a sword edge.

As a result basic tenants of foreign policy have emerged.

1) Maintain diplomatic ties with anyone previously willing to give aid. Always be generous with offers of assistance and gold.
2) Maintain good relations with 1 republic through the years for increased income.
3) Attempt to spread either the Orthodox or Sunni faith, as this will neutralize Crusades.
4) Isolate France.

On the isolation of France, initially this looked to be a doomed enterprise. France had holdings within Iberia proper, had good relations with an Irish Merchant Republic, and seemed to be heading towards a peaceful settlement with Britain for Normandy. Fortunately for Iberia, the intelligent balance France had struck with its neighbours was shattered when they quickly stole Sardinia out from underneath the Sicilieans nose. This immedietely put France in a situation where forces were clamouring to regain land. Further helping the tactical situation for the Iberians, was the mending of the Schism. An orthodox France was much weaker than a Catholic France due to lack of holy orders and thus finally levling the playing field.

Knowing that in the event that war came, there would be more enemies than friends groundwork began to be prepared. First Ireland was neutralized from French interferance, and their income stripped with the removal of their trade posts, and from there it became a matter of timming. Justification came for the war when the French employed one of their most common strategies, and attempted to take a rebelling Iberian vassal. Retaliation was swift and furious, however the Sultanate could never have expected just how quickly all other nations within the region would jump upon the bleeding wound.

Peace terms were generous like in all of the Iberian Sultanate dealings, and only the Duchy of Toulouse was annexed, however this alone was enough to tip the scales whereby France would never again be able to singlehandedly dictate politics in Western Europe, and saw the rise of Iberia as to be the dominant continental power alongside Bohemia.
 

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Hungary under the Turóc Dynasty
by Rannos, Hungary​
THE FOUNDING (1246 - 1263)

King Orbán the Re-founder
February 13th 1246 - March 16th 1263
Died of Illness

The first king of the a Turóc dynasty and of a Orthodox Hungary. Son of the great Transylvanian Duke Ódön who had seized most of Hungary and all of Wallachia during his reign. Orbán spent much of his years as Duke continuing his Father's work in Hungary. By 1246 he had conquered enough of the land that all but the most stubborn Catholic Magyars considered him King and he crowned himself such on February 13th. He then spent the next 13 years uniting the rest of Hungary by force and trying, in vain, to amend the archaic seniority succession laws of his kingdom. In the spring of 1263 he died of a fever before the new laws could be passed. The first Turóc king is fondly remembered for reuniting Hungary under one crown, although his failure to solve the internal matters of the state would cause a great deal of trouble for his successors.

THE INSTABILITY OF THE GREEK KINGS (1263 - 1268)

Little is remembered of the three, old Greek Kings that succeeded King Orbán in the following half decade. The only major detail recalled by history of these years were that they were tiring ones for the Magyar nobility and the last of the three Kings was overthrown by the nobles to place the son of King Orbán, Ódön, upon the throne.

King Zsolt

March 1263 - August 1264
Killed in a suspicious accident

King Csák

August 1264 - May 1266
Killed by assassins employed by persons unknown

King Ioannes
May 1266 - June 3rd, 1268
Overthrown by a coup by a league of Hungarian Dukes.
Died as Duke of Wallachia on December 23rd, 1268 of old age.

THE GREAT PROSPERITY (1268 - 13XX)

The final conquest of Hungary left the warlike Turócs with no further lands to easily conquer. Surrounded by Italy, Bohemia, Russia and the mighty Byzantine Empire, the Hungarians were forced to endure a long, prosperous peace. The Kings during this time would be some of Hungary's greatest statesmen, though they would all be hated by the Magyar nobility for not being great conquerors like their predecessors.

King Ódön the Peacemaker
June 3rd, 1268 - May 26th, 1309
Died of Natural Causes

Grandson of the Great Conqueror of the same name and son of The Re-Founder, Ódön came to power when his fellow kinsmen-dukes grew tired of the rule of cautious, old Greeks and rose up in rebellion to put the boy upon the throne. The old king Ioannes, finding himself suddenly without any support or troops, quickly surrendered and was allowed to retain the duchy of Wallachia. To appease his warlike relatives that had gained him his throne, Ódön went to war in the chaotic mess in the west where the last remnants of the Holy Roman Empire were embroiled in petty civil war. The quick war gained the new king a great deal of prestige and some land in Austria. The self-proclaimed protector of the Germans, the King of Bohemia, demanded the Austrian provinces for himself. The Hungarian King, born of stubborn stock, refused out of hand, no Magyar had ever simply surrendered land without a fight. The war that followed was swift and deadly for the Hungarians and the Bohemians (with English, Italian and Wallachian assistance) won it with relative ease. However, rather than gather Orthodox support and throw back the Catholic heretics, Ódön accepted a large bribe from the Bohemians for peace. The furious Hungarian nobles branded him "Peacemaker" in return for this treachery but, being surrounded by powerful foes, refused to do more than insult their monarch.
Although hated in his time by his subjects, Ódön did manage to put his bribe to good use rebuilding war torn Hungary. He also amended the succession, changing the laws to elective allowing his disgruntled vassals to vote for his successor. In 'appreciation' for this new found power, they voted one of their own King rather than Ódön's dimwitted son Maté.
 

Fivoin

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Suum Cuique - Brandenburg Rising
by Wraith, Brandenburg​
The Good King

Castle Brandenburg, December 11, 1336



Many had said that King Alexander V von Brennenburg was the very image of his father, only with a sharper jaw and sterner face - and, of course, lacking a prominent scar across his nose. He may lack his father's brilliance - he would be the first to admit it - but he did not doubt that he was a capable successor to the throne after King Karloman V's somewhat unexpected death. Nevertheless, though they had all loved his father, the new king did not doubt that the lords of the realm had plots set into motion even now, mere hours after the old king's death. They would plunge the realm into civil war before his corpse had cooled - unless the new king acted swiftly. And that he had - already, his brothers and uncles were under guard and powerful cousins bought, as were his distant kinsman of the House of Sigmar. All that remained, it seemed, was to secure his own children - both their safety and their claims.

King Alexander V studied a map of the realm, mentally pinpointing the most dangerous potential rebels and traitors under the light of flickering torches in the castle's great hall. As his spymaster - Hesso of Juterborg - entered with several guards in tow, he looked up and narrowed his eyes. "Is the castle secure?" he asked.

The spymaster nodded. "As secure as it can be, Your Majesty. Your young children are safe."

"Good. Fetch my son and my chancellor, we have much to discuss. Most importantly, why my son is yet unmarried at age eighteen."

Hesso nervously glanced at the guards at his flanks, but remained silent. The King scowled and gestured for his councillor to speak with his hand. "Y-your Majesty," Hesso stuttered, hands obviously shaking within his robe. "Y-your eldest son is...is..."

"Is WHAT?" the King roared.

"G-gone, Your Majesty. It appears he has...fled the castle, and the city as well," Hesso answered, cringing.

The King slammed his fist down upon the table and bellowed in fury before turning back to his men, fuming and shaking with rage. "Where is he, then?" he asked, barely containing himself.

"My people have brought reports that he has been spotted riding northeast with some haste, some fifty retainers in tow."

King Alexander looked down at the map still sprawled across the table. "Kurland," he muttered. "He rides for that bastard Gerlach von Trier."

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

Near Russ, Prussia, July 18, 1337



Surrounded by his retainers and bodyguards, King Alexander V counted each rebel face he recognized as his son's party approached for the parley - Erich and Konrad di Cappanori, Burchard Wittenborg, Guntram "Ironside" of Samogitia, and of course Gerlach von Trier and Prince Alexander himself. There were more, but the King's mind was overtaken by his anger. He took a moment to recompose himself as the distance closed. "Father," his son said, smirking. "I would say it is good to see you, but then I would be lying. You always did teach me to tell the truth."

"Son," the King grunted. "I urge you to end this folly, for the good of the realm that you are so eager to rule."

"Ah, so is this why you called a parley today? I had figured we would be receiving your surrender," the Prince joked, earning the laughter of the sycophants surrounding him. The King merely stared in response, silent, stern, and unmoving.

"The King of Germany marches, taking advantage of us while we are in disarray," the King continued. "Do you remember the last time-"

"The King of Germany marches to aid me," Prince Alexander interrupted. "He, of course, bears you no love for not keeping your dog Luitpold on a tighter leash."

The King rolled his eyes. "And what did you promise him for aid, hmmm? The return of Brunswick, I would imagine."

"You imagine correctly. We had no right to that land."

"We have every right to that land! We are the rightful Kings of ALL Germans! Germany collapses upon itself, and the damned French would feast upon the corpse. Are you so eager to abandon your Catholic brothers to those heretics?" the King roared.

Prince Alexander narrowed his eyes. "You call them heretics, yet you have thrown your lot in with the Greeks, it seems. King Guntram has sent me word that twenty thousand cataphracts have suddenly appeared from a vast fleet in the Baltic Sea. Unlike you, I remember the slights the Greek Emperor has made against our house!"

"You know nothing, boy," the King replied. "You remind me so much of poor, foolish Wilhelm, he who began the Kin-Strife those short decades ago."

"I know enough. I know that I will be a good king. A great king. A better king than you!"

"And that is why you are not ready. You are still a damned boy!" the King shouted, scowling. "You young fools, thinking you know everything there is to know. You don't. You've never experienced the hard truths of reality, the hardships of battle, the hard choices a king must face every single day. But you can still learn. You only need just put down your arms and come back home with me."

The young Prince shook his head. "Sometimes I wonder how I am your son. They say you are your father's very image, but we look nothing alike," he said. The boy turned his horse a gestured to his comrades. "I suppose this will be decided in the field. For both our souls, father, I pray we do not meet in battle." The party of rebels rode away, and the King returned to army, and won the day.
 

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L'histoire de France
by el_zilcho321, France​
The 14th century war against Norway.

The king finished off his last piece of fromage before heading up to his bedroom for the night. He tucked himself into bed and shit his tired and weary eyes.

After some time, his anxious mind finally succumbed to the dark embrace of sleep. Soon he was in the world of dreams, though soon he was dragged down into the underworld of nightmares. His vision was filled with sights of horror and disgust. He was greeted with visions of the 10th century. Viking boats were landing on the shores of France. Norse warriors burnt the towns and ravaged the lands. Paris itself was being enclosed by the Scandanavian devils. Women were screaming, children were squealing.

He woke with a scream, panting, red and sweaty. Guards rushed in immediately. "Your highness, what troubles you?" the senior guard asked. "Summon my advisors. Now!" the king demanded.

"Our ancestors let these rotten, bastards take our sovereign French lands with no future punishment. These barbarians must finally pay for the malice they caused our homeland all those years ago. We have the capabilities to punish those filthy Scandanavians, which our ancestors did not have back then. We must take this opportunity and strike at the Vikings. They have had their time and it is now that they shall finally taste the steel of a French blade!" declared the king. The lords cheered, trusting the decisions of the king, no matter how far fetched, as he had served them well during his reign.

The ports of northern France were scoured and all ships capable of carrying troops were seized in the name of the king. Eventually a great navy was raised; however, it was still then incapable of carrying the vast levies the French lords had raised. Half of the immense Frank army was sent to the Norwegian shores. The other half marched through the troubled lands of Northern Germany.

The Norwegians were not ready for this attack and the first landing force sent a lot of the Scandinavian warriors fleeing. By time Norway's army had gathered the second French army arrived and the joint armies easily defeated the battered Norwegians. After that defeat the French armies began to besiege the Norse castles and securing their riches for themselves. The routed Norwegian armies tried to initiate several counter attacks but none so much as grazed French strength.

However, soon after the French victories a grand navy was seen off the coasts of Denmark. Reports came to the king that Bohemia had mobilised its forces and was sailing to French lands. The king was suddenly overcome by great panic. His idea to secure easy victories against the Norway to secure his position as an Andalusian ruler of Franks had failed. Soon the Bohemian armies would be landing on French shores and killing French men. There was no way he could win.

"We have taught those Norwegians a lesson. We have payed back the damages they caused to our lands all those days ago and I believe it would not be in our best interests to continue the invasion of Norway. While France's future will depend mainly on the courage and strength of our men, it will also depend on the relationships we build with other nations and kings." the king said to his people. However, it was clear to the other kings that he had been humiliated by his failed ambition.
 

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A Genealogy of Nazaryan Emperors
by KhanXLT, Georgia​
Saroyan II Nazaryan 1235-1278

As was tradition of the time, Saroyan was taught in his youth by his Father the Saint. because of such, during all of the major events in Isidoros life, Saroyan was there in the shadows. Watching his father do more than any single man has done in history to protect Europe and try to reunite it under a single banner. He saw his Father Fight the Mongols, He saw his Father Unite Christendom, and he saw his father die of a broken heart at Europe's response to his life. Saroyan was used to watching from the shadows.

The new Basileus had learned one lesson above all from his father’s life, the nations to the west would not bend the knee to a man who refused to raise a hand against them. With that in mind, he invited the heavily weakened Holy Roman Emperor to Constantinople. It is not known what was discussed over a week of meetings, but when the Holy Roman Emperor left, a son and a daughter stayed behind, married to the first born daughter, and the second born son of the Basileus. over the next couple years, members of all the royal families found themselves married to the children of Saroyan, lured by whispers of power and for the throne they felt should be theirs.

Saroyan also created a new order called ‘δολοφόνος’ or Assassins. He sent dozens of Greeks to every royal court and put them in positions to kill heads of authority at the most opportune moments. This was most successful in Bohemia and Scotlandavia. Greek Assassins in Bohemia spread whispers to Bohemian vassals that the Son of the HRE Ruprecht, would be a much better ruler than the duplicitous Brennenburgs with a history of mysterious objects in their dungeons and occult “orbs” of satanic power. Those rumors, along with a knife in the darkness, created a series of wars known as ‘Kin-Strife’

In Scotlandavia, seeing how internally rife with strife it was a different tactic was used. Kings and their kin were being killed plenty by their own hands, so instead the δολοφόνος went through the lands, disguised as teachers, and taught noblemen and ladies to act properly Greek. They passed this off as the new fashion, a Proper way for nobles to act. It worked better then Saroyan could have ever expected
 

Fivoin

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L'histoire de France
by el_zilcho321, France​
Consolidation of 1338 - 1355

France had been in turmoil in the years previous to this. Failed wars combined with large rebellions had left the king weak and vulnerable. During this period he had no ambitions other than to secure his rule and strengthen his personal holdings.

He began by overseeing the construction of new barracks and courts in his demesne to increase their economical and military value. When war came again, and it did look to be on the horizon, he would need many more soldiers than he could muster at present and any soldiers he was lacking could be hired with gold from his new improvements.

However, after some time, a large rebellion broke out. It was long and bloody and gave opportunities to Andalusian dukes to annex some rebelling counts. Fortunately the leaders of the rebellion were imprisoned as soon as their forces had been overwhelmed by the king's superior armies and when their lands had been besieged and pushed to starvation.

The king took some time to decided what to do with his new prisoners. After a while, though, he decided to release all of the lower ranking prisoners. However, he would transfer the responsibility of their vassalage to other loyal dukes, whom he could trust with more power. A few of the dukes who had been very loyal before the rebellion were let ff the hook with nothing but a small fee for their insult. The main culprits and most disloyal members of this evil group, however, received no such pardon. The king sent troops and seized their personal holdings for himself. He took all of their wealth and gold for the state. Then, the former dukes were released from the prison and banished from the land.

With this new found wealth, the king built new towns and castles across the land and built even more new buildings in his own land. He also promptly delegated the seized land to loyal friends, whom he knew would never rebel against him.

In further order to stabilise the realm he sent gifts to the Catholic leaders of France, and managed to convince most of them to leave their dastardly heresy. He also sent his court priest to all corners of France to spread the word of the true way, as some areas of France still retained their century old traditional Catholicism.

After a long period of peace another rebellion broke out, but this time was easily defeated. The king did the same with his prisoners as he had done before. However, his subjects were beginning to grow concern over the king's harsh treatment of his prisoners and soon the word "tyrant" was often whispered in village taverns where no prying ears could hear them. The loyalties between king and men were becoming strained.

Eventually, towards the end of this period an Almaty rebellion erupted. The king saw no way he could win. Fortunately, these rebels did not want to replace the king, but merely return some his power to his vassals, and so it was done. This drastically reduced the king's war capabilities, so he looked for other ways to increase them.

He opened talks with English and Spanish diplomats, hoping to acquire Flanders and some southern holdings which had been promised to France for many years. Unfourtunately the talks continue still now, and the king must endure the torturing presence of these heretics and heathens for a little longer.
 

Fivoin

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Al Andalus - Azulejo Tiles for all
by BaronBowden, Andalusia​
7 Effective Strategies for Managing Decadence and Influencing Vassals​

Following the word of the prophet Mohamed, was never meant to be easy. Sure on the surface 4 wives sounds great, but trust me in practice it just means you need 4 couches instead of 1. However if a man is lucky enough to provide for more than one wife it is his duty. If only the kids just didn't hate eachother SOO much. You can hear the taunts, "My Grandfather is a descendant of Mohamed" "Yea well Dad likes me better and because I am a Genius Midas Touch I am definitely going to inherit before you do" "Oh yea, well you better lock me up cause my moms gonna Mess you up!"

Ahh the joys of the sandbox.

Along the lines of the great Machiavelli who through strange turn of events was born earlier than expected, consider this treaty a factual and informative guide for ensuring stable successions as a Sultan of Renown.

1) Kids are a nightmare, 5 sons is great, but anymore is a significant problem. As such never marry more than 2 women, and if you do make sure the other 2 are in their 80s.
2) Daughters are only worth what they can bring to the table in courtiers. Educate them well and then marry them to courtiers who are attractive outside your court. Then invite that ever so faithful daughter back to your loving embrace. Don't ever Marry them to a Greek, they spend more time with boys and seem to end up blinding your daughter when she catches them doing things they shouldn't...
3) Grant only 1 Barony and a couple Temples to the son you want to inherit, anymore and in the event you decide he is dump and should not inherit, he WILL be your worst nightmare.
4) Grant councillor positions to each of your sons to reduce decadence, put the dumbest as spymaster and send him somewhere hostile, pray the bungling fool gets caught and executed.
5) Be prepared for succession crisis. As a muslim you will always have 2 pretenders to the crown, if there are family available. As such make sure as you get older you put every last son who wont inherit in jail. Yes this will cause you to probably die sooner than later, but allah be praised you lived longer than you probably wanted.
6) When you die, your blessed son who inherits needs to do 3 things
1) Gifts to troubled vassals, sometimes this means revoking Ducal titles and granting to someone else for the huge relations bonus.
2) Remember those temples we granted, that means you should have enough piety to EXECUTE every single one of your brothers. Spare none
3) Banish/kill every last previous wife of the father from your court. Your mom can stay if you really want.
7) Some SOB will try an independence plot. It will be a duke. Before he gets carried away, revoke the ducal title, grant it to one of his counts, and watch the plot vanish into thin air.

These simple and effective 7 steps will mean you spend very little time running around the desert chasing down threats to your crown. For the more advanced Sultan however there is a 2nd option.

Instead of killing all your brothers, keep them in prison. Two factions WILL be formed immediately for 2 brothers to be put on the crown instead of you. Wait till they gather enough strength and give you their demands. At that point tell them to go to hell, as they begin revolting kill their chosen heir. The rebellion will be over, but now independently you can imprison anyone involved 1 by 1. Use that marshall effectively and reorganize your realm with some better vassals, who have the martial abilities needed to maintain the Scimitar of Allah in sharp fashion.

Rinse repeat every 40-50 years.
 

Fivoin

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A Genealogy of Nazaryan Emperors
by KhanXLT, Georgia​
Himerios I Nazaryan (1278-1302)

“I wish to see the world burn, if no other reason than to rule the ashes.” These words above all else describe the reign of Himeros, a ruthless, bloodthirsty man. He did not care about such things as word order, and balance of power. The world was his by divine right, and if anyone told him otherwise, he had an army of 250,000 men who would disagree.

Himeros, like all Basileus of this time period, was a product of watching their father rule. He saw his father order the death of dozens of nobles, and sow dissent across all of the Catholic Empires. Because of this, he no longer saw human life as something to be cherished, or other nations as anything other than a means to an end. He became a truly arbitrary man.

The first act he ordered was to march 50,000 troops into Tyrol and declare it property of Byzantium. Bavaria at the time was a morass of little fiefdoms, there was no central Authority to stop him, a few years later, he did the same with Swabia, 50,000 troops marched in and declared the land Byzantium by divine right. A show of force that completely caught the world off guard. Germany did not even contest the claim. Byzantium now held a commanding presence in former HRE territory.

Word spread of this incursion rather quickly for its time, and condemnations came from all sides, demanding that they vacate German lands immediately. Himeros spat on a paper and sent it back to them as a reply. Words were empty gestures for Himeros, he wanted a challenge, someone he could fight. He found that challenge, in Britannia.

His chancellor “found” an old document that gave his family ancestral rights to Holland and he immediately moved the majority of his attack force on to the Byzantium navy and sailed to the North Sea. After the formal declaration of war troops marched into Holland and secured the lands quickly. Then, leaving behind a token garrison to guard the county, sailed to British Isles. Landing on the capital, they were quickly overwhelmed by 100k angry longbowmen and were forced to retreat. This signaled a turning of the war in the North.