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Second Lieutenant
Jan 14, 2008
My father was a fool.

This is a harsh thing to say, I know. And when one's father was known as "Yaroslav the Wise", it is a difficult thing to defend. But I believe it is true.

Allow myself to introduce myself. I am Svyatoslav Rurikovich, Prince of Pronsk and Ryazan.

I drew that myself.

My father fought a vicious fratricidal war with his half-brother, Svyatopolk, for control of Kiev, Novgorod, and other lands of the Rus. This war also led to my uncles, Gleb and Boris, "attaining sainthood" (also known as "getting hacked up by a kitchen knife to the throat"), the death of my uncle and namesake, Svyatoslav, the imprisonment of my uncle Sudislav and so on. Some say my father ordered these murders, others say Svyatopolk did, but whichever is true, those years left their mark on my father. Having unified the realm, my father spent his later years doing (among other things) work on the first full code of laws Russia has ever seen, the Russkaya Pravda.

And so, as he lay dying, my father wanted his legacy to be that of a lawgiver, not that of a conqueror. Terrified that history would repeat itself and the Russian lands would be torn apart by brother fighting against brother, he…tore the realm apart himself, granting portions to each of his surviving sons, under the Gavelkind law of inheritance.

That's the "fool" part, in case you didn't know.

Here is a map of how the lands are currently divided:

My lands are in the brown, as I control the headwaters of the river Don, and the Strait of Kerch. The lands in the light green are the Principality of Pereyaslavl, ruled by my younger brother, Vsevolod.

Vsevolod has more lands, more vassals, and a far greater talent for making money. On the other hand, I can kick his ass in battle and I have much better hair. Naturally, he hates me.

The yellow lands are Kiev, ruled by my older brother, Izyaslav, and the red is Novgorod, ruled by his son, Mstislav.

Izyaslav has many good qualities, however "competence" is not among them. (Nor is his nose.) Mstislav has all his father's weaknesses, and none of his strengths. I hate them.

And so you see the problem. Although our father begged us to work together, to rule Rus in several portions as he had ruled it in one, and to complete his work on the Russkaya Pravda, and although this truce has lasted for the past dozen years, the situation can not long endure. Each of us remembers a Russia far greater than our own splintered realms, each of us distrusts the others, and each of us already has an army standing at the ready. My father and his Gavelkind inheritance have not created a lasting peace so much as a framework for a fair and equitable civil war. Gee, thanks. Fool!

Well, I will not compound my father's folly. I will not be my brothers' assassin. But neither shall I be their victim. I may have the smallest realm of any Rurikovich. I may have the fewest vassals. I may have not one, not two, but three pagan hordes lurking to my south and east (and a boatload of Bolgar Muslims across the Volga), but I…

But I…

Oh, shit, I'm screwed, aren't I?

No, no, I will not panic. I will survive. I will prosper. I will fend off my brothers and re-unify our father's lands and even expand them. I will, dare I say it, RUUUUUUUULE THE WORLD!

(No, I dare not say it. That's just ridiculous, I'm not going to live that long. Scratch that last bit.)
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Author's Note. (Not Funny.)

Thanks, Tskb18!

A few introductory remarks before I go back into narrative voice. In Q&A form:

Pronsk? Why Pronsk?
The Kinks song referenced in the title ("The Prince of the Punks") popped into my head, and it seemed as good an idea as any. Besides, all those nearby pagans spell "Opportunity" without spelling "Too Easy", or, worse, "CERTAIN DEATH" (spelled "S-E-L-J-U-K T-U-R-K-S", in case you didn't know).

What version/settings are you using?
1.05, with SMACK. (BOPACK wouldn't unzip for me. Maybe next game.) Normal/Normal, although maybe I should kick it up to Hard; I'll think about it.

What sort of format and style will this AAR be?
I'll be writing it as a yearly chronicle; each post (once I get underway) will be about the year that has just gone by, "written" by the ruler, unless there's a good reason for someone else to do it.

You do know that CK covers 387 years, don't you? Won't this take forever?
That's part of the challenge; I want to see if I can stick to it and keep it fresh.

Who have you stolen the look of this AAR from? (As if we couldn't tell.)
Pretty obviously, phargle, via anonymous4401. But it's not trying to be as funny as the Knytling saga (because I can't be), and it's not pure gameplay, as the adventures of the Real Men were. Also, I'm more long-winded than either of them. So, really, it's nothing like them, at all.

Gee, could you vague that up for us some more?
It's basically a World Conquest game with a forced first-person perspective. This means I can't do history-book stuff or epic sagas (which I would suck at anyway). I'm aiming to show you how I (hopefully) conquer the world, and occasionally be funny. We'll see if I can succeed, at either one.

Will you be role-playing the characters, then?
No, I'll basically be playing my own game, and then trying to shape the events to fit the characters' voices. I'll be trying to shape the *writing* to fit the characters; thus Svyatoslav, who has the "wise" trait, takes my gameplay decision to eliminate gavelkind and couches it as an attack on Yaroslav's folly. The challenge here will be to give the various rulers distinctive voices, basing them solely on the character traits (instead of "various-adjectives-that-begin-with-'m'", for example).

So, lots of gamey exploits, then?
Not so much, really. I do some gamey things about inheritances and court management and stuff, but I usually play it fairly straight. I don't like to use assassins, although I've been tempted, so I won't be hitting pause and wiping out entire successions to get my vassal/son on a throne. I won't save and reload; if I get beat, I get beat, end of story, end of AAR. And I almost always prefer to attack infidels rather than fellow Christian realms, which is a general role-playing decision that has become a standard part of my gameplay.

How far ahead have you played?
January 1st, 1067. I want to write this as I go; I want the ruler to be as surprised by upcoming events as the readers will be. Yes, this wipes out the possibility of doing much foreshadowing, although I'll still try to do build-up on things that might be important, even fi some of them turn out to be dead ends.

Won't not having played ahead slow down the updates?
Hopefully not too much. We'll see, though.

So when's the next update, then?
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These lands are my lands. They are not your lands.

So, I am resolved. The humble land of Pronsk will one day be known throughout the world! (Although, since right now there are dozens of realms with greater armies than we have, a little anonymity won't hurt.) And I shall chronicle our successes (or failures) at the end of each year. (Unless the failures are of the "defeated in battle, head chopped off and stuck on a pike" kind, that is. That seems likely to impede the chronicling, I would say.)

These, then, are my lands. My capital province of Novgorod Seversky is actually fairly nice, with the Don River both providing a means of prosperous trade and an effective border.

Chernigov is even better, nourished by both the Don and the Dneiper.

And both are capable of supporting decent-sized regiments. Over 1100 men are available in the capital, and over 1500 in Chernigov.

This is good news. The bad news is, this is all the good news. My other two provinces are, to put it kindly, inferior.

Kolomna and Bryansk provide neither soldiers nor income in any great amount, and knights not all, due to the hilly terrain. I would gladly trade them both for a roast boar and a frisky whore. (Note to self: I must look into that.)

As for my few vassals, Tmutarakan and Korchev are ruled by my eldest son, Gleb, who has just come of age. The rest are ruled by minor nobles of no particular distinction:

It could be worse, I suppose. All of them are young, but not callow, and Oleg is a fairly capable warrior, Igor is adequate, and despite his clubfoot, you can even get a decent effort out of Simeon, or, as we call him around the camp, "Sir Scrape-Along". (What can I say? It's a rough camp.) But my armies are not likely to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies. This must change.

Because right now, our weaknesses are in danger of striking nausea into the stomach of, well, me
Get a Oda my wife.

Now that I have described my realm, I should tell you about my family. I have been blessed and am the father of five sons. (Which is another reason to abolish Gavelkind; I only have four provinces, after all, so that would make the division inherently unfair. And what would they leave their sons? Five trees apiece? Best to stop this madness now.) For this I have to thank my healthy and fertile wife, Oda von Kärnten:

What's that you say? If Oda is only 28, how can she be the mother of Gleb, who is 16? What of those rumors that my first four sons are the sons of Kilikia, a princess from the Caucasus, now deceased, and that I only married Oda a few years ago?

Rot! Nonsense! Utter tomfoolery! Or…perhaps not. But I will firmly insist that Oda is the mother of all my sons, and with good reason. Observe, if you will, her heritage. Not her father, for he was a no-account minor noble with no actual claim on the Karinthian lands. (As far as I can tell, he adopted the "von Kärnten" name as an affectation, nothing more.) Her mother, however, is a different matter.

Not only is Ida von Braunschweig a niece of both the late "Pope" Leo III and Heinrich III of Germany, but she is, more importantly, the only sibling of this man:

As Ekbert has but one son, also called Ekbert (no one said my wife's family was imaginative), this means that, as Oda's son, my boy Gleb is second in line for the Frisian lands. Far better for Gleb to be the possible heir (should some tragedy befall the Ekberts) than for it to be my newborn fifth son, Yaroslav. It would be difficult enough to get the Dutch to accept a Russian prince inheriting their lands; a swaddling babe would never be allowed to rule without constant rioting. And that's just a bore.

Now, some rulers would arrange for the Ekberts to suddenly be trampled by a stampeding ox or something (in fact, some would have the ox stampede two or three times, just to be sure), but I will not employ assassins. Assassinations are wrong!

(Also it's completely impractical, since I can't afford to hire assassins. And, I don't have a spymaster, anyway. And the only person less likely to be accepted as the new ruler of Dutch counties than a Russian Orthodox prince with a shaky genealogy and not much of an army is a Russian Orthodox prince with a shaky genealogy and not much of an army and a blatantly obvious motive for the recent "accidents". And if anyone tried to seize the counties from Gleb because of this, there would be no way for me to get aid there to defend them. And also, as I understand it, the counties are mostly useless marshland, primarily of interest just as a foothold into the West.)

As I said, assassinations are wrong. Sort of. (Which is not to say I haven't spent a few idle hours composing notes of condolence, just in case things turn poorly for either Ekbert. A little foresight never hurts…)

By the way, you may be wondering why I haven't yet included a full-size picture of Gleb. The reason is rather embarrassing. You see…Gleb has…has…a mouth like a prostitute.

I know, that's a terrible thing to say about one's son, but it's true. Between the jutting jaw and the pursed lips, he just looks like he's been doing something…odd, shall we say? I'm sure he sucks on nothing but the bones of his dinner, but still…I'll leave the portraiture for later, I think.

In any event, it was now time to change the laws of my realm.

I felt that, since I was ensuring a centralization of power would continue, it wuld be best to give my vassals a stake in the stability of the realm. Hence, the feudal contract law.

Gleb, naturally, was thrilled to learn that he would become my sole heir. (I heard him exclaim to his mother, "Oh, mama! That's change we can believe in!") But, unsurprisingly, my other sons were less than thrilled.

"But why the eldest son only?" my middle child, Davyd, asked. "You were a third son! It's not fair!"

"Be quiet, Dav!" his brother Oleg said. But then Oleg turned to me and added, "I am confused as well, noble Father. Age doesn't necessarily mean anything—I can fight as well as Gleb and I'm still learning. Why not simply give the realm to the strongest son? If a man is brave and fights well, why shouldn't he keep his spoils all for himself?"

"And if fighting is what determines who will inherit, what would stop my sons, or any man's, from constantly fighting and undermining each other to gain the inheritance?" I replied. "Consanguinity is a longer word for 'back-stabbing'. With Primogeniture, things are simpler. The eldest son will inherit, this certainty being both a comfort and a responsibility. And the younger sons—" (Here I fixed them with a firm look) "—have a choice. They can either loyally serve their brother and reap the rewards of a strong realm…or they can be traitors and be cursed forever. There will be no middle ground. Understood?"

Two decidedly sulky "Yes, Father"s followed. Then Oleg gathered himself to ask "But why allow inheritance through the female lines? Who wants to wake up one day and find some his country run by some smelly German named 'von Nüdelnocker' or something?"

"First off, you are half-German—"

"Not really…"

"Yes, you are! And since most of Europe uses this same law, we will conform to it. How can we hope to take advantage of a useful marriage that might help us inherit through someone else's daughter, if we don't employ the same rules? Besides, half the nobles east of Krakowskie are named 'Rurikovich' anyway. Now go back to your lessons."

And they did. They're really not bad boys, after all. Perhaps they'll make good marshals or vassal counts when they're grown.

I am less sanguine about my fourth son, Roman, though:

He's definitely the weakling of the bunch, can barely lift his sword. I half imagine that little Yaro could out-wrestle him!

Still, it's good to have sons. My line will continue. Now all I need are able courtiers to assist me. A good court can run a nation practically by itself. Look at Byzantium: is old Constantine an outstanding Emperor? Does his heir (Michael, I think he's called) have a reputation as a dynamo? No and no. And yet the Empire endures, and probably always will.

Unfortunately, I have exactly no courtiers to assist me at the moment. This is entirely my fault, I am afraid. Last week, I was rebuking one of them for a foolish notion with what I thought was a clever insult, saying "I fart in your general direction!" Inconveniently, though, it was that exact moment when the previous night's stew decided to disagree with my digestion, and I unleashed some truly fierce flatulence, which apparently cleared the court before I could explain that I had only intended it to be a metaphorical reproach. And apparently they've all fled for the hills or something. Well, it's of little consequence, as they were are useless anyway, but I need some assistance.

By a stroke of luck, though, a visiting Scotsman named Craig informed me that he was assembling a List of courts in need of staffing and suggested I advertise on it. So I wrote up a notice ("Wanted: courtiers! Positions available with clean, well-ventilated court in prosperous principality. Fame, Wealth, and Glory can be yours! Sense of humor a plus.") and handed it to him. Hopefully this List of Craig's may produce some qualified applicants.

So, for the moment, all I have to help me is Oda. And so I approached my wife to request her aid. She greeted me as she usually does:

"You see Oda." (These Germans do seem to have an odd sense of syntax.)

"Ah, yes, dear. I was wondering if you could help me…I seem to have driven all the courtiers away. Would you like to help me try to rule these lands?"

"Rule. Or rule not. There is no 'try'."

"Um…is that a 'yes'?"
1066: Dark(ish) and (Not Particularly) Devious Plans.

So Oda became my steward:

She may be more talented in other areas, but I need her for the tax collection right now. As the saying goes, money makes the world hold firmly still while the heavens rotate around it!

For next year, I want to expand my realm so that I can be ready to repel my brothers, should they attack. Gaining a few provinces from the pagans would make sense, but the Cumans are too strong for me. I am stronger than either the Mordvins or the Bolgars, though, but not as strong as both of them combined.

Which is why *this*…

…is very good news indeed.:D

Excellent! Now I just have to wait a while for the two of them to weaken each other, and then swoop in and grab some lands. It's like what happened in England this year; the Saxons and the Danes were fighting and whammo! Some bastard Norman conquers the lot of them. (Of course, that's not likely to last, but wouldn't it be funny if it did? Imagine England suddenly speaking French!)

So patience will be my watchword and savagery my motto! (Does that make sense? I'm not really sure.) And so I take my leave of this chronicle, until another year shall pass.

31st December 1066
Svyatoslav Rurikovich
Prince of Pronsk and Ryazan
Count of Novgorod Seversky and Chernigov
(And, yes, Bryansk and Kolomna, too. Don't rub it in.)​
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Wonderfully written! :D

Especially this line: "She may be more talented in other areas, but I need her for the tax collection right now. As the saying goes, money makes the world hold firmly still while the heavens rotate around it!" :D
Feedback! Yay!

ZwolscheStudent, thanks for the praise. So the pop-culture jokes fall flat, but the geocentricism joke is the one that lands? Hmm, never underestimate the comedic potential of Ptolemaic Astronomy.

(Incidentally, it turns out that Alhacen had posited the idea that Earth might have an axial rotation, while still being the center of the universe, in 1038, but he was living in Cairo at that time, and I think it's fair to assume that such heathen notions hadn't yet reached Russia. When we discover Optics [Alhacen being known as "the Father of Optics"] will probably be the best benchmark for when his ideas reach Pronsk, and that probably won't happen for at least another century.)

Tskb18, thanks again. Yes, if the oxen don't pan out, Svyatoslav has a particularly vicious otter as a back-up plan…

demokratickid, yep, it's one down, 386 years to go! But I remain unfazed, unconcerned…and possibly deranged. We'll see how I hold up.

1067 (part 1): You can't hide your mobilize…

This has been an eventful year. It began simply enough, as I authorized the construction of a forestry in Chernigov.

"Excellent, father!" my son, Oleg, said. "Soon we won't be able to see the forest for the trys!"

I smacked him.

The new year also saw the arrival of four applicants for my court. Of these, Radoslav Yurievich was the best candidate for Marshal:

Unfortunately, this was because he was the only candidate for Marshal. He couldn't fight even as well as Scrape-along Simeon and his clubfoot. I'm not sure my little Yaroslav couldn't outwrestle him. Sigh.

Well, at least he can hold a sword. Granted, I had to show him which end to hold, but still…

I also found a new steward:

Efrosinia's financial skills enabled my Oda to take over as Chancellor, which she was more suited for. I also hired a spymistress, Zvenislava Bryachislavich, but she missed the portraiture session. I hoped it was because Zvenislava was already getting a quick start on her duties, but feared it was actually because she'd gotten lost in one of the hall closets.

As for the fourth applicant, Efimia Yurievich? Well, I had a very special post in mind for her…

"You mean, I'm here for less than a day and I'm already a countess?" Efimia exclaimed. "Wow, the best jobs really are on Craig's list!!" I smiled and nodded, trying desperately to keep from laughing. Poor girl. It's obvious she's never actually been to Kolomna…

I must say, that list of Craig's really does work wonders. Not only did I get the courtiers coming in, but several offers of alliance were sent to me.

I was also offered an alliance by the King of Croatia, but declined that one to accept these. Both are close enough to possibly be of help in a war, and might help to check aggression by my neighbors.

I also decided to send Roman to be raised by some monks. Yes, he seems to have become modest, but he wasn't really going to have a lot to brag about, anyway.

Upon Davyd's 12th birthday, I had him have a session with the court counselor, Freudikovich. He was pleased to tell me that Davyd seemed to bear no permanent resentments from having been passed over by the change in inheritance laws, and had in fact become a very caring young man.

It doesn't seem like this would do him much good in battle, though.

In February, an intelligent and attractive teenager named Evdokia Igorevich appeared at the court. I made her my new Chancellor and moved Oda to handle the Spy Mistress post, as Zvenislava had still not been seen. Then, I received an interesting offer:

Count Domaslav had been visiting my court and had been taken with young Evdokia. This presented me with quite a dilemma: keep a young and skilled courtier who might make a good wife for my Oleg when he comes of age, or make a prestigious marriage? I agonized for days.

Fortunately, my problem was solved when Zvenislava suddenly appeared bearing two critical pieces of information. First, the Mordvin regiments in Mordva, Burtasy, and Chuvash had been mobilized and were heading east to meet the Bolgars, thus leaving those valuable provinces vulnerable to our incursions. And secondly, she had found my lawn-bowling shoes! (They were in the back of the hall closet, behind the spare oars for the boat.)

That settled it; I gave my blessing to Evdokia's marriage, restored Oda to chancellery and made Zvenislava Spy Mistress again. (I also asked her if she had seen the mates for the three mis-matched stockings I seem to have accumulated.)

So now, it was to be war. I waited until after March 1st (so that our armies might have another month of recruiting and our coffers might be a little better prepared for the costs) and sent out the call to my vassals: Mobilize your regiments!

(And not a moment too soon, given that the Bolgars were signing peace agreements with various Mordvin vassals for small bribes.)

All was in readiness. Nothing could go wrong. Except for …this.

Igor of Pronsk also declined to mobilize, and I had yet to hear from Oleg in Murom. Apparently there was some damn fine print in that Feudal Compact about vassals not always mobilizing for war if you're not actually at war. Of course, a declaration of war right now would give the Mordvins plenty of time to recall their wandering regiments before I could get my troops to the border. So I can either have no vassal troops or no element of surprise. Great.

Just great. Nnnng!
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What will Svyatoslav do? :eek: Biting wit can bring you only so far in actual war! :D

Strike with your own men and then use those of your vassals to back you up, perhaps?

(Oh, and I got the pop-culture jokes, but it's just that I had to write a comparative essay about the Ptolemaic and the Copernican systems, so I got the joke straight away. ;) )
I like this. :D

And your longwindedness is forgiven...;)
Real Men Get Feedback From Murmurandus.

ZwolscheStudent: Yes, in war, biting wit comes a poor second to actual biting. And even that's gone out of style since the Neanderthals went and discovered clubs.

(And I had little doubt that you [and my other readers] had understood the pop-culture references. It was the "found them funny" part I wasn't terribly sanguine about. The fact that you had actually done a paper on geocentric versus heliocentric astronomy is one more reason why I do love the internets, though.)

Murmurandus: Welcome aboard! I'm glad the long-windedness is forgivable, since it does seem to be unshakable. It will be a challenge when I have a ruler who isn't Wise, like Svyatoslav, to try and summarize the action in a less-thorough character "voice".

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1067 (part 2): Falling into my Trapani.

Well, I decided, if my vassals want a Declaration of War, I'll GIVE them a Declaration of War, dammit! Take…that!

Now we were at war…with the Sheikdom of Trapani, a one-province independent sheikdom whose sole ally is the similarly-challenged Sheikdom of Siracusa. Since I had fulfilled the requirements of protocol (while not alerting the Mordvins), my vassals now had no cause to refuse my request.

Perhaps my actions were not strictly in the spirit of the Feudal Compact, but I have always found it best to fight against nitpicking. Live by the fine print, die by the sneaky exploit, that's my motto. (Wait, wasn't savagery my motto? Am I allowed to have more than one motto?)

With the regiments raised, we prepared for the invasion. And a wise part of preparation is knowing one's enemies. Here is the leader of the Mordvins, Malyy of Burtasy.

Wow, he's pretty hot! Um, not that I'm into Mordvins. Or men, generally.

And here is one of his vassals, the Chief of Merya.

He is not as important to the battle plans, as Merya is one the Mordvins' more distant provinces. (Indeed, I left them out of the initial Declarations of War, in case the regiment was under provincial control; no need to fight the regiment before we want their land, after all.) I just wanted to show you how much his name sounds like a sneeze. tyuey-KEZHUT!! Gesundheit. :)

Now it was May. The army was assembled at the borders and we sent the Declarations of War to Malyy and the vassal-chiefs of Mordva and Chuvash. War had begun.

The plan was s…somewhat complex, actually.

It was to be a three-pronged offensive. I would lead the Novgorod Seversky and Bryansk regiments, with Simeon and the Ryazan regiment under me, into the capital province of Burtasy, while the other vassal regiments would head to Mordva, and Marshal Radoslav would take the Chernigov troops (our largest regiment) and atempt to take Chuvash.

The reasons for this were simple. Burtasy was a valuable province, producing 3.6 ducats' worth of income each month, and I wanted it in my personal demesne. The other two provinces were only half as rich (still better than Bryansk or Kolomna, though), so I would let the vassals capture one, and let the other fall to Radoslav. This would rob me of my marshal, but I preferred to think of it less as losing an incompetent marshal, and more as gaining a loyal Count of Chuvash as a vassal. (And, I hoped, seeing Radoslav prosper might lure actual skilled warriors to my court, to take his place as marshal.) I kept the Ryazan regiment with me, rather than let Simeon have a chance to take Mordva because he was the only vassal whose lands actually bordered the province, and I couldn't see any point in letting him build a contiguous powerbase. Not that I thought there was a danger of his rebelling, but best to be prepared, anyway.

So my armies were on the march! And, thanks to my clever feint towards Trapani, we had the element of surprise, and were attacking undefended lands…

…but not for long, alas.

The good news was that this was less a case of Malyy the Hot returning to defend his lands, than of him being chased back to them:

By the Sultan of Bolgar himself, it turned out. Which put me in the somewhat bizarre position of being reduced from Orthodox conqueror, to (essentially) the Sultan's flanking column.

Now outnumbered severely, Malyy and his Burtasy regiment fled the battle.

Haha! Face of a Greek god, heart of a little girl! Take that!

And victory was ours.

Yes, now that Malyy had fled, the wealthy province of Burtasy looked like it would swiftly fall to…Akhad Moskha Dulo, Sultan of Bolgar. Who got here first, has a more prestigious title than I do and has a larger army present.

Great. Just…great.
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Such a bummer. :(
Now we can only hope that Trapani and Siracusa will not launch expeditions to destroy your empire.

But I'm sure that our dastardly dastard, the Prince of Pronsk, will find a way to overcome this setback. :)
Hmm. The Mordvinian Gambit yields... uh... sorta-foreseeable results. On the other hand, i have to warn you to watch out for those Trapanids. And/or Pelovtsy... not sure how that works out with Pronsk as Tver is my more usual starting point. i wish you better luck than 90% of my games as i suspect you'll need it.

(Tips for writing? i have none. Though truth be told you don't seem to need those.)
C'est vous, C'est Moi!

ZwolscheStudent: Yeah, I wasn't expecting that. That must have been a very brief battle in Bulgar, or wherever, given how quickly both the Mordvins and the Bulgars raced back to Burtasy.

And if I'm dastardly, it's only because the game demands it. :)

demokratickid: Well, it's always good to win. But warscore only really helps if you're trying to negotiate a peace, and since there's no way to get pagans to cede provinces to you, I'll need to find a way to win the siege.

C'est Moi: Oh, I didn't mind that. At all. :D

Tskb18: Yeah, my complex plan didn't quite work out right. I suppose there's a reason the saying isn't "Keep It Insanely Intricate, Stupid". Sigh. :(

Originally, I was feeling pretty confident that I'd never have to worry about the Trapanids, and that if they did show up I could use them for target practice. But Trapani/Siracusa can muster a combined 1700 or so men, which means they can probably get about 1000-1200 to my lands. Which, if my armies don't stop getting tied up and ground down in Mordvia, could actually become a consideration. Frankly, I'm hoping some nearby helpful Christian realm (the Duchy of Apulia, say?) takes care of them for me.

As for the Pelovtsy…well, see next update.