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Chapter XX

Just a Bunch of Chores

“Guards, tell that rotten Basileus of yours that this cell you call a prison is totally beneath me. I demand better accommodation, something that suits my status!”


After hearing of the complaints from one of the prisoners of war from my guard captain, I told him to comply and give him a "suitable" accommodation.

A week later, I went over to the barrel which the Guard Captain had cleverly managed to fit the rude prisoner in.

“I hope you were comfortable in there.”

“You accursed infidels think you can get away with all this, just wait until Allah brings judgement upon you!”

“You sure do not know your position here, do you?”

“What are you going to do? Kill me? Or better yet, like what all you Romans like to do, cut my balls off or gouge my eyes out? Bah! Go ahead and do your worse!”

“I could, but I have a better idea. How much gold coins do you have?”

“About a dozen or two, why?”

“I'll release you for a ransom for what you have.”


Just like that, I released a foolish prisoner who would only serve to be a baggage, but whom I did not want to waste energy into disposing of. This way at least I'll get something out of it.

As the year went by, the Army chased down enemy stragglers who posed little to no threat at all as well as setting siege to various castles.


We were on our way to set siege to a castle when a messenger arrived.

“What brings you here?”

“Your Majesty! I bring dire news from His Highness, Constantine. The local populace of Sicily has risen up in an open rebellion!”


It would seem that my son had failed to completely re-educate the populace of the island of Sicily to the correct religion and as such was now facing a rebellion led by a foolish Imam.

“Tell him to deal with it. He is a Co-Emperor after all. I shall come to his aid when I can.”

With that I dismissed the messenger, only for another messenger to arrive, but this time from Constantinople. According to the messenger, there had been some dispute between the Bishop of Perre and the Ecumenical Patriarch where the former decided to appeal his case to me in regards to the latters accusation of the former for heresy. After quickly reviewing the case, I decided to side with the Bishop, but also attached a warning not to bother me for trivial matters while I was out in the middle of a campaign.

Now, if only that damn Bishop would stop acting like the Pope of Rome, picking fights with bishops left and right.


Once the trivial matters were dealt with somewhat, I ordered an assault on the castle of Azaz, which was taken without difficulty.


It was at that point an army of three thousand engaged us near Hama.


As the two armies were within visual range, I had the Commanders prepare for a quick assault as we outnumbered them three to one. Just as I was about to give the orders, I saw a white flag in the distance. Taking a few of my retinues with me, I rode out to meet the enemy commander half way.

“What do you wish to talk about?”

“You go straight for the point as rumours put it, Your Majesty.”

“Well, we are in the middle of a war so there is no sense in beating around the bush when you can just stab them with the point of the sword. Regardless, you know who I am, but I do not know who you are. I saw a banner of the Samanid Shahdom, but I have not seen the Sultan himself.”

“The good Shah is a good friend of mine and leant his army for this war. Where are my manners, Your Majesty, I am Mu'izz Bursaqid, the Emir of Aleppo with whom you have declared war against.”

“Ah, I see. Then I think I can guess what you want to discuss.”

“As I thought, regardless here are the terms of our surrender.”


With that, an important piece of lost territory was once again reclaimed. Though, as usual, I guaranteed the safe passage for him personally as well as the armies of the Shah of Khiva currently under his command.


As the war continued with the other Emirs, we cam across the castle of Turbessel where we began to lay siege. I received a letter from the Imperial Spymaster, regarding the former Count of Neapolis, Sergios, whom I offered annexation in return for his appointment as Provincial Governor in which he would govern the province with my authorisation.


Apparently, he began to regret his decision thus started a faction with the Thematic Governors to declare independence. I considered arresting him for conspiracy, but decided against it since that may cloud the opinions of my subjects as being tyrannical. Instead, I opted to place him under the authority of my Co-Emperor, my son Constantine.

Once all the preparations of the siege had been completed, I ordered an assault on the castle where this time I decided to lead it myself.


After clearing out the are of infidel soldiers, I decided to tour the castle when another messenger intercepted me, this time from Amisos. Apparently, Emperor Louis II of Italy and Middle Francia and his personal retinues were gathering supplies from the area while awaiting for the main army to arrive.


It would look like my Frankish son-in-law was not just paying lip service, but was rather serious on this endeavour to liberate and reclaim what was lost to these infidels.

Meanwhile, the news on the West regarding the Sunni uprising was not looking good as the rebels managed to seize a castle, despite their lack of military training.

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Chapter XXI

Blood for the Prince of Peace!

We were resupplying in the newly conquered territory when a messenger arrived to deliver some messages from the capital. The first message was from the Imperial Steward, Doux Antonios who came up with idea of investing in local businesses to increase the sum of the taxes collected which would help in the war effort in the long run, but with the need of an initial cost to initiate the whole thing. I decided to approve it since the Imperial Treasury was not lacking at the time.


The second message was from the Imperial Chancellor. Apparently the Provincial Governor of Cherson, Theodosios, had died without a suitable replacement thus leaving the administration of the area under Imperial authority.


The third message was from one of my son, Constantine's Lieutenant in Sicily.


The fourth and final message was from the Imperial Spymaster, who found someone of note amongst the eunuchs at court.


Upon reading the achievements and descriptions of this man, I decided to retain him as a potential future candidate for the Imperial Council.


Before dismissing the messenger, I decided to have him send a letter to a young Emir in Anatolia in regards to releasing a prisoner for some gold.


Once the armies were fully re-supplied, we marched towards Aintab where we laid siege until the defenders saw the futility of their resistance, thus surrendering.


Realising that defeat was inevitable, the Emir Marwan of the Marwanid Emirate conceded defeat, surrendering his territory in Edessa, the provinces of Aintab and Tell Bashir.


With another piece of Imperial territory reclaimed, I decided to go for a walk. As I was strolling within the camp, I came across the makeshift prison we had for all the prisoners of war we had captured. Just looking at these infidels brought back the memories of the curved blade sticking out Leo's chest, making my blood boil where I wanted to bring the pain I felt to these infidels. However, after cooling my head a bit, I realised that whatever pain I inflicted on them will not bring my dead son back nor would it help my goal of bringing the Kingdom of God to this world, but rather inhibit it.


As we marched towards the heart of Edessa itself, words came that the uprising in Sicily was getting worse with the defenders of Agrigenton being slaughtered by the infidel traitors while the Bishop barely managed to escape with his life.


Upon arrival, we laid siege to the castle of Edessa.


Once the preparations were complete, I gave the order to assault the castle, quickly capturing it.


After the successful siege of Edessa, we marched towards Melitene to cut down any stragglers when a scout rode towards me.

“What is it?”

“Your Majesty, we have sighted four thousand soldiers attempting to siege Aintab.”

“Excellent, we shall engage them at once!”

“Another things, sire...”

“There's more?”

“The Caliphate has sent in the remnants of his army and is now besieging Tell Bashir.”

“What! How many?”

“Around four and a half thousand, sire.”

This was not good. With our troop number just under ten thousand, not only would we suffer heavy casualties should they combine forces, but we may even suffer defeat against these desert soldiers.

“We must destroy the enemy forces before they combine their forces. Onwards!”


After attempting to engage the enemy, we missed the opportunity when the enemy forces quickly retreated and combined their forces with those of the Caliphate. After months of manoeuvring back and forth, we decided to try and bring a strategic advantage forwards by going back to Edessa and set camp.


Unfortunately, the enemy outwitted us in this regard and decided to encamp in Tell Bashir with their combined forces. With no other choice, I decided to bring the fight to them, despite the serious risk of taking heavy casualties or even suffering a defeat.


“The enemies are now within visual range, Your Majesty.”

“Prepare for battle. Remember men, Christ is with us right now and as Romans we shall overcome any odds the enemies throws at us. We shall bring the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth and the peace that comes with it, even if it means forcing it upon the infidels. For God, the Senate, and the People of Rome! God defend Rome!!!”

“God defend Rome!”

With that the battle commenced.


A fierce battle it was. Already at the start, things were not looking well, with the right flank taking casualties from the flank commanded by the Caliph himself. Fortunately, the Captain of the Varangian Guard who was commanding the left flank was able to rout the enemy's right flank, assisting me in the centre vanguard. Unfortunately, our right flank fell as it was too much to handle against the strategic brilliance of the Abbasid Caliph. Fortunately, for us, they were unable to take advantage of the situation as the combined might of our left flank and the centre vanguard crushed their centre before the Caliph could act thus resulting in the outnumbering of the enemy.

Despite taking heavy casualties, in the end we were victorious.


“Do not let a single infidel escape! Cut them down!!!”

We chased what was the remnants of the Muslim army all the way to Edessa.


As we were chasing them down, I lead the party, personally cutting down several enemies myself and capturing an enemy Commander.



It went without saying that it was a complete bloodbath.


Infidels in Armenia attempted to send in reinforcements from Khliat, but at this what on what could have been a game-changer, was now of no use.


As what would have been a group of reinforcements for the Armies of the Caliphate became nothing more than cattle in a slaughter house.

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Is it just me, or do none of the pictures work?

None of the pictures work due to the bandwidth cap on Photobucket. Might need to change the image hosting site...
Chapter XXII

Difficulties of Faith

The situation in Sicily wasn't going well as I've received multiple reports of the Sunni rebel laying successful siege against the various cities on the island.


Though I had the troops to relieve the sieges, I could not afford to split the army as we had suffered heavy casualties against the Caliphate.


Regardless, it was sufficient to lay siege against the enemy castles.


With the armies of the local Emirs as well as the Caliph split and spread across Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, it was just a matter of seeking them out and destroying them before they had the chance to regroup.


As we marched across the Armenian mountains, a messenger on horseback reported to me that the populations of conquered provinces were embracing the true faith.


We arrived in Khilat when we encountered the enemy force of two and a half thousand. Although we outnumbered them more than two to one, they had the strategic advantage having been in a defensive position before we met them.


“Your Majesty, our troops are unable to advance due to the enemy skirmishers and the upward hill.”

“Is there another vantage point we can use to deploy our cavalry?”

“Unfortunately, no Your Majesty. The enemy currently occupies all the strategic points. There are no openings.”

“Let us re-”

“Their heavy units are charging at us! Your Majesty, your life is in danger, we must get you out of here!!!”

“Nonsense! I shall stand my ground!!!”

Just as we were about to engage in a brutal close combat with the strategic position and the momentum of the battle on the enemy's side, I heard a rumbling sound. Coming from the flanks of our enemies, we could see dusts stirring from the ground and mounted men.

At first I thought it was an enemy reinforcements in which case we would have been doomed, but upon closer inspection I could see the yellow banner with a thin red cross. It was the Frankish knights of Louis II.


“Well, it looks like we arrived in the nick of time.”

I looked over to see Emperor Louis II, take off his helm as he inspected the aftermath of the battlefield.

“We would have been fine, but thanks regardless.”

“Grateful as always, 'father'.”

“Oh, just call me Basil... Right, we have more work to do. Will you be joining us, 'son'?”

After a sarcastic laugh, Louis II simply nodded and we began to march towards Melitene.


Despite the geographical disadvantage, the combined might of the Greek Cataphracts and the Frankish Knights, was simply overwhelming against the numerical inferior enemy.


Once again, the treacherous Bulgarian mercenaries sided with the infidels despite professing the same religion as us. For their trespasses, we made sure they suffered the same fate as their employers.


News came from home that my youngest daughter, Helena, came of age. According to the letter, she inherited all the traits that made her mother beautiful, save for that one lame foot she had.


Not sure on what to do, since I have been away from home for so long that I have become rather detached, I decided to reply by recommending that Helena go to a convent for now and see if she would be suitable there. After all, being lame was quite disadvantageous in court, especially the foreign ones should she get married, where as a nunnery would be able to take better care for her.


Despite the ongoing Sunni uprising in Sicily, I received reports from the local bishops that the majority of the population was more inclined to the true faith, and that it was just the radicals who were taking arms against their rightful ruler.


Autumn was nearly here when I heard that the young daughter of Louis II, Princess Engeltrand came of age. Having been betrothed to my son, Stephen, the wedding date was set to further cement our relationship between the East and the West, though Louis II and I were unable to attend as we were both engaging the Muhammadan heretics.


Siege after siege, battles after battles.


The war was starting to come to an end. As I reflected on this Reconquista, I couldn't help, but feel disappointed and somewhat abandoned. It was true that a lot of territorial gains were made in reclaiming lost land, but I had personally lost something very important which could not be replaced: my sons. First it was Alexander, second was Leo. Whether it was a punishment for my past trespasses, the passion I had gained in Antioch when the late Patriarch of Antioch, Photios, was still alive was no longer burning through my veins as if the fires were put out by the countless blood that was shed and will continue to be shed for all eternity.


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Chapter XXIII

Two Emperors

Though second phase of the Reconquista was coming to an end, if there is an opportunity, it was something I could not let go.


However, the troops were tired and exhausted, and though Tripoli was not a big area, I was not confident that I could take that piece of land in a quick skirmish without dragging in the Caliph once again. In order to make it certain, I needed help.


“Louis! Going back home, are we?”

“Well, it's not like there's anything else to do, 'father'. Is there?”

“Well... I was thinking that maybe I could borrow a regiment or two from your troops to take over that territory over there. It's not that big so we can expect a week or two worth of skirmishes, a month top.”

“Let's just back up a bit here, Your Majesty. We travelled all the way from Francia, we even had to pay for ships just to get here and that was so that we could help you on your war effort which we get nothing out of. Now, this much we understand since we are supposed to be allies. However, now that the war is over and we are ready to go home, you want us to fight for you for nothing, again!?”

I knew things would become difficult.

“It's just for that piece of territory, I don't ask for your help all that often.”

“How do I know that after this you won't say that you want to take that piece of land, or take on the Caliphate itself!? When I was having trouble with that pretender who stole the Burgundian crown, I asked for a little bit of assistance, but I have only just now seen Greek Cataphracts, almost a decade after that war!!!”

It was just like him to bring up the past, thankfully I had something prepared in an event he became quite temperamental.

“Okay, I know you are angry and that it wasn't just obligation, but also upholding your honour for helping me out. So I promise that after this, it will be over. Also, you won't be doing this for free. Captain, bring me that thing.”

“What thing?”

My Captain, brought me an antiquated flag.

“This, my dear 'son', is what Flavius Odoacer sent to the Emperor Zeno, after he deposed the usurper, Romulus Augustulus, re-uniting the two halves of Rome. The Imperial Insiginia of the Western Throne.”

“I see...”

“As thanks for you assistance, I am prepared to bestow this upon you, where upon you shall be elevated to that of Emperor and recognised as such.”

“What are you talking about? I already am an Emperor. Our line has been recognised since our grandfather Charlemagne was crowned by the Pope! Constantinople chose to recognise this as well!!!”

I could see that he was just about to lose his temper.

“You are not wrong there, however you should know that it was not as equals. Every now and then, we will hand out titles of Co-Emperor to outstanding princes. We even named a Bulgarian King as a Caesar, but you and I both know that the title was bestowed understanding that it was a junior title. This insignia symbolises equal Co-Emperorship, one that has not been seen since Julius Nepos fled to Dalmatia. Although, your grandfather was eventually recognised as a Co-Emperor in the West, it was always understood in the context of a junior Emperor. With this, we are more than happy to recognise you as an equal senior Emperor. So, what say you?”

He started to get into a deep thought after hearing my ramble. After a moment he took a deep breath and then sighed.

“Fine. I am greatly humbled to receive such great honour. As a Co-Emperor, I shall happily assist with your rightful reconquest of Tripoli.”


Just like that, the office of the Western Roman Emperor was once again formerly and legally re-instituted with Louis being the first to hold it since its absorption into the Eastern crown.


As the legion once again rallied, I sent a message to Constantinople to send me a list of candidates for the Governorship of Edessa. The list was pretty average in that there was no one spectacular, though there was one who probably could have been a priest. A man who was incredibly poor despite his fair looks, I was about to pass over him until I noticed his full name.


Upon further inspection, I learnt that this man, Nikolaos Polites, was actually very distant cousin of the late Patriarch of Antioch, Photios, one whom could say was essentially a spiritual father of mine. Out of respect for Photios, I decided to appoint him to be the Provincial Governor of Edessa.


As my army tried to regroup, the enemy took full advantage of the scattered soldiers. Despite losing some companies, I had managed to gather just over five thousand soldiers when the enemy numbering at just over two thousand engaged us at Archa.


Despite the strategic disadvantage, the numerical superiority as well as the overall quality of my Commanders granted us a victory against the infidels where we even managed to capture one of their Commanders.



We chased the remnants to Sarmin in Aleppo, where the routed enemy managed to regroup with just over three thousand soldiers. No longer outnumbered and being at a strategic advantage, it would seem we ran into a trap.


“Your Majesty, we are taking heavy casualties. What should we do?”

“Have faith Captain, just hold the line until reinforcements arrive.”

As we were being pushed back, two thousand fresh troops arrived at the battle, once again giving us an edge.

“We're saved!”

“I told you to have faith, Captain, it's a disservice to your fellow Romans to give up so easily.”

“Your Majesty, the enemy is retreating and we managed to catch a straggler while we were on pursuit.



Having regrouped most of the Imperial Legion, we once again severely outnumbered the enemy, thus resulting in victory after victory.


With the enemy morale at an all time low, we took the opportunity to further degrade it by laying siege upon their castles and then pursuing and annihilating any remnants of their military forces.


As we were marching towards our Frankish allies, who seemed to unable to even manage against a very crippled army, I received a letter from my son Stephen, who informed me that I was a grandfather of their daughter born from the Frankish Princess, Engeltraud.


After some poor performance by the Frankish knights, I received a report that Louis II was engaged in a battle against the Egyptian Sultan in Ba'albek. Seeing a chance to finally completely crush the infidels and prevent their recovery, I rushed our forces to join the Emperor of the West.


“So you finally decided to join your own war?”

“I've been cleaning up your mess in Tripoli, can you blame me for being late?”

“You should be thankful that I'm making a mess in the first place.”

“Of course, well if we have time for small talk, I think we have time to righteously cover this field in red.”

"Well if that's the way it's going to be, after you, Your Imperial Majesty."

"No, you were here first, so after you, Your Imperial Majesty."

Outnumbering the enemy nearly three to one, the Muhammadens did not have the chance, since not only did we have quantity on our side, but also quality in the forms of our Greek Cataphracts and the Frankish Knights.

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Chapter XXIV

A Wedding and Three Funerals

“Governor, not only do I hear of your failure to bring back the local populace to the true faith, but also that you have embraced the most vile of heresies. Do you realise what you have done?”

“Yes, Your Majesty...”

“If you do, then why on earth would you abandon the true faith!? Was an appointment to that of the office of a Provincial Governor so disappointing to you?”

“No, Your Majesty, I was honour-”

“Then what was your rationale for this betrayal!? As the Emperor of the Romans, I am tasked to defend the one and only true faith as vicegerent until the return of Christ. By betraying Christ our Lord, you have also personally betrayed me by spitting and cursing on my office.”

“Your Majesty, I beg your forgiveness!”

“Under normal circumstances, I would have you stripped of your office and throw you into the dungeons, for not only breaking your oath of loyalty, but also misleading the people you were supposed to govern. However, recognising your abilities and potentials, as well as following the examples of Christ, I shall give another chance, so long as you recant the heresy you hold to and embrace the one true faith where you shall sign a contract as well as doing penance.”

“Bless you, Your Majesty, thank you so much for giving me a second chance!”


A new Governor I had appointed at Ba'albek, was apparently a Monothelite heretic. After having him recant, I embarked upon the Imperial Fleet with the Imperial Legion, where we would set sail to Sicily.

As we reached the island, we could see smoke from the vanquished flames as a result of sieges by the infidel rebels. As the ports of Syracuse were closed due to rebel occupation, we landed at Messene.


After marching for a few weeks, we finally arrived at Syracuse where we engaged the rebel army.


Outnumbering them nearly ten to one, it was just a matter of days until the rebel army was completely vanquished.


After crushing the rebel, I visited the dungeon.

“Hashim, tell me something, did this Allah abandon you?”

“How dare you speak ill of Allah, you son of swine!”

“Did I? Because I do believe in Allah, though of course we call him God.”

“You're trying to say it's all semantics?”

“Of course not since our understanding of this God is different. What I am asking is, why did you lose?”

“What are you getting at?”

“My point is, if you think about it, the reason my head is still attached to my neck while you are in this dark dungeon, has nothing to do with military number, but fate. Fate to show that your beliefs were wrong and Allah himself was showing this to you.”

Though claiming himself to be an Imam, it was clear he was just a lowborn peasant with no real theological education.

“Abandon this nonsensical heresy, and embrace the true faith and I shall show you what the true faith is about; forgiveness.”


After cleaning himself up, Hashim was summoned to my court, now having been completely humbled.

“My dear Hashim, you are an African convert of unknown background. Though you claimed yourself to be an Imam, it would seem that you have not had a proper education. As such, I am going to send you to Mount Athos where you will take a vow of chastity and poverty to spend the rest of your life learning about the true faith. This way, not only will you be able to become truly enlightened, it will prevent you becoming a destitute as I fear that you may not be able to find good employment considering your background.”


With peace here once again, I was back at my office in the palace of Constantinople where I had to go through a range of paperworks, most from the Senate. Amongst the pile was a report on the technological advancement made by the various researchers of the Empire.


Later, I was requested an audience with a lowborn noble by the name of Eusebios. He claimed that he had a better skill set than Governor Nikolaos, to serve as the Imperial Chancelor at the Imperial Council. I told him to wait until I had a chance to talk with the incumbent first.


After dismissing Eusebios, the Mayor of Paphos came on behalf of all the cities claiming that the taxes were too high. Just as I was about to dismiss outright, I complimented his outfit diverting the attention away from the topic where after an hour of discussion, he completely forgot about the so-called over-taxation issue.


Suddenly, my chamberlain rushed into court.

“Your Majesty, you must come quickly! It's your daughter Helena!!!”

We rushed towards the nunnery my youngest daughter was staying at where upon arrival the physician at hand gave me a sad look.

“My deepest condolences, Your Majesty.”


Having one child die was painful, outliving three was just numbing. Not know what to do, I went back to court where a messenger from Antioch reported that Patriarch Belisarios had just died.


Not long after his death, the local Synod quickly elected the Patriarchal Treasurer as a replacement for reasons beyond me.


After two funerals, a messenger arrived. Expecting more morbid news, I anticipated the worse.

“Your Majesty, His Highness, Prince Stephen, your son, reports that his wife gave birth to another daughter whom he has named “Theoktiste”.


Finally feeling happy for once, my daughter Anna suddenly rushed in.


“What? You're not feeling ill as well, are you?”


“Are you pregnant?”

“What? No!”

I let out a sigh of relief.

“Okay then, what is it?”

“Well, it's just that I'm twenty four already and before you know it, I'm going to be thirty or even forty. Once that happens, the only thing I could do is retire to a convent and become a nun. I don't want to do that.”

“I see...”

“Also, I don't want to marry some lowborn or a bureaucrat. Though I understand that there's no other Emperors like the one Anastasia married, but I want to marry someone of high standing.”

“Hmm... Let me look into it.”


I summoned the Imperial Chancellor and told him to find a suitable suitor for my daughter. After going through the lists of candidate he suggested King Tobias of Great Moravia. Upon giving it some thought, I decided to approve thus a date for a royal wedding was arranged.


A few months after the wedding between the King of Great Moravia and my daughter Anna, I was going through some documents when I noticed a disparity with the taxes. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the Amalfian merchants have not been paying tariffs despite operating their business within Imperial territory in Rhegion.


Despite asking them politely to rectify this mistake, my request was ignored. Annoyed, I decided to go over there myself where after speaking with the local people, they too were displeased with the foreigners who were taking advantage of the generosities the locals have given them. With this, I decided to ignite their displeasure and have them start a riot against the merchants.


Realising what had happened, the Amalfian Patrician, Pandolfo, quickly sent an envoy where he was quick to apologise and begged to have the crowds dispersed in return for significant amount of gold, which I decided to accept.

Once the matter in Rhegion was settled, I returned to Constantinople where there were still disparities with the taxes. After inquiring to the Imperial Council on this matter, they reported that there was a Bishopric which refused to pay fealty to the Empire, an area under the jurisdiction of the Theme of Cilicia. Finding this unacceptable, I demanded the Council to draft a declaration of war and have it sent immediately to this foolish lord.


As I was making the necessary preparation, my son Stephen asked me if he could possibly given responsibilities in terms of Imperial Governorship, to which I replied he was more suited for an ecclesiasitcal career.


Since it was just a Bishopric which refused to pay fealty, I had the local garrison to lay siege which did not last very long.


Upon reclaiming the Bishopric and expelling the previous holder, I transferred the authority to the Thematic Governoress of Cilicia, Douxissa Kale, who was all to pleased to have.


With the tranquility of peace, I was enjoying a quiet day when I was informed that a Frankish emissary requested my audience.

“Your Majesty, I come bearing sad news regarding your son-in-law, His Majesty Louis the Noble of Western Rome, has died.”


With Louis dead, he passed the office of the Western Throne to his infant son and my grandson, Lothar, who was only a year old. There would be much turbulence in terms of stability in the West, once again.

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Chapter XXV

The Fate of Third Rome

It was not too long after the funeral of Louis the Noble and then the ascension and coronation of his infant son, Lothar I. Despite working so hard to re-unite the fragmented realms of Charlemagne and even receiving an Imperial recognition from me, all it took was a last draw of his breath for all of it to become null. With that I realised that whatever we achieved and received on earth, we will not be taking it with us, thus status meant nothing.


As time went by, I received reports that the re-education of the populace of the reclaimed territories was going well with two provinces openly embracing the one true faith.


After signing all the bills sent to me by the Senate, I looked out the window to ponder what would be left of my life.

“Long day at work?”

I turned around to see my wife, Eudokia, leaning against the door of my office.

“Yes, but it is all finished now. What brings you here?”

“Oh, nothing much, just thought you would like some company.”

“That will be nice.”

Eudokia came behind me and started to rub my back.

“Your back is so tense, my dear husband.”

“Well, that's probably because of all the fighting I had to do while I was on the Reconquista Campaign. Which reminds me, I need to do another budget report.”

“Relax, you need to have some time to rest if you wish to work more. Otherwise you will tire yourself out.”

Just as she said, I decided to relax as she began to rub my aching back some more.

“Wow, I haven't felt this kind of sensation in a while.”

“Oh really? I thought that wench Anastasia was giving you all sorts of attention.”

“Well, you see, she's not really my type. Besides, with my duties I have no time for mistresses.”

“But surely, you have time for your wife?”

“Of course, my dear.”

She gave me a gentle kiss on the lips. Despite her age, Eudokia had yet to lose her Varangian sassyness and like good wine, the more years she gained the more beautiful she became. No wonder why, my predecessor took her as his mistress while he was still a young teenager.

“Do you have more paper work to do for the Senate, or perhaps you would like to fulfill your marital duties in the bedchamber?”

“I think the Senate can wait.”


It was around middle of June when I received reports that a clash between the supporters of the Blue chariot team and the Green chariot team went out of control, resulting in a riot. Though the Varangian Guards were on stand by, thus contain any potential spill out, I decided to let the City Guards handle it, since I wanted to avoid any collateral damage the Varangians may unleash.


Though there were not many casualties, there were a lot of property damages, thus repairs had to be done with the costs coming out of the Imperial treasury.


Just a week shy of Christmas that year, my son, Stephen came with him a baby girl and informed me that she was my granddaughter. We decided to name her, Simonis.


As gifts of congratulations, the monks of the nearest monasteries, sent some wine. Upon tasting, I could not believe the wonderful taste. However, remembering the fate of my predecessor, I decided to stop after a single taste since I did not wish to develop of habitual drinking which may tarnish my reputation.


It was the beginning of April, eight hundred and ninety sixth year of our Lord, when I received dire news from the West. Due to circumstances unknown to me, the Lords and Regent of the Western Empire had abdicated my grandson Lothar on his behalf from the Imperial Throne, replacing him with his bastard brother, Leonard.


As I was thinking of what to do with this news, the governor of Tripoli requested an appeal to the accusation of heresy which he had received from the Ecumenical Patriarch, to which I swiftly demanded His All Holiness to issue an apology for such nonsense.


Since there was little I could do with the internal politics of the West despite having invested and thus re-instituted the Western Throne, I decided to have a break and went to the Hippodrome to watch the chariot games. After careful observation, I put a bet for the Blue team to win the event.


As the final lap came along, the Blue team was well ahead where I my confidence in them started to grow when suddenly, one of the wheels of the Blue team chariot started to come loose forcing the driver to slow down, giving the Green team an opportunity to take the lead.


The game had put me in a foul mood and as I walked back to the palace, a messenger rushed towards me.

“Your Majesty, it is the Western Empire. A civil war has just erupted!”



“Send orders to all the Garrison Commanders and the Governors of the Empire. Raise all available men and stand by until further orders.”

“Yes, Your Majesty!”

I hastily returned to the palace to put my armour on. As I was getting changed, my daughter-in-law, Princess Engeltraud came into my chambers.

“I see you are getting changed.”

“Yes, I am. I'm quite busy, what can I do for you?”

“Well, 'father', I'm feeling lost and was wondering if you could show me around a bit.”

“Engeltraud my dear, you have a husband for that. I'm busy.”


After brushing her aside, I ran out where my granddaughter Adriane bumped into me.

“Grandpa! Where are you going?”

“To war my dear.”

“Ooh, that sounds fun! Can I come too?”

“Sure, why not.”


Arriving at the nearest garrison, I met up with the Imperial Marshal, Doux Ioannes of Epirus.

“How does things look.”

“Things are going well, Your Majesty.”

“Are they ready for war?”

“As if they were born for it.”


As the liaison between the West and the East went by, I learned that the war was not going well for the Western Emperor, with the rebels having the numerical advantage having destroyed the Imperial levies while reinforcements had yet to arrive from his Occitan relatives.


By the time March came around the year after, I had managed to rally the Imperial Legion and have them rendezvous at Diadora with a force of over fourteen thousand. This war will show whether the Imperial Throne can survive in the West, unlike the first time.

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Chapter XXVI


“Son, will you be joining me on my campaign to stabilise the Western Throne in Germany?”

“Sorry father, I have a campaign of my own I need to deal with.”

“Oh? This is the first time I'm hearing of it. What will you be doing?”

“Just a claim for the city of Amalfi. I thought it would be a nice addition for the Empire.”

“It will be, though it is a shame you couldn't join me. Your nephew in East Francia would probably appreciate your presence, but there's little you can do about it I guess.”

“Well, be safe father, and say hello to my nephew for me.”

“Sure will, and have fun in Amalfi!”

That would be the last time I will see him as he marched with the Imperial Legion towards Steiermark.


With an army of fourteen thousand, it was just a matter of time before any resistance was crushed.


“Your Majesty!”

I quickly turned around to see an army messenger.

“What is the matter and from where do you come from?”

“I have just arrived from Steiermark. It is about your father. After a precise victory, his old heart could finally gave out! The Emperor is dead!!!”


Just like that, Basil the Great of Eastern Rome had reposed to the Lord and I had become the ruling Emperor.


Being in the middle of a war and uncertain about loyalties of Thematic and Provincial Governors, it was not the best time for me to succeed as Basileus. I gave orders to have the body of my father transported back to Constantinople while diverting the Imperial Legion from Germany to the boots of Italy.

As I awaited reinforcements from the North, I was informed of a potential diplomat amongst the Imperial Eunuchs. Seeing how I could do with more men of great skills, I had him serve in my court to see if he would be of great use.


December came as I waited for the reinforcements arrived while army of Amalfi laid siege on my cities when news came that the peasants in Abydos had revolted.


Just as things were getting bad, reinforcements finally arrived where ten thousand soldiers engaged four thousand Amalfian soldiers.


Though the Amalfians had good quality soldiers, they were no match for the discipline and sheer manpower of the Imperial Legion, resulting in their defeats.


Realising that there was no hope left, the Doge of Amalfi decided to surrender the city, choosing to flee rather than fight to the death.


With the conquest of Amalfi over, I appointed a capable Steward as the Mayor of the city whom I would trust will make the city even more prosperous.


As I had the army march back towards Greece, I received word that the peasants were displeased with taxation which not only caused a risk of a revolt, but also tarnished my reputation.


With my father dead, his widow, the former Empress Eudokia, who was my step-mother was no longer an influential figure in internal politics. Since she could pose a threat in regards to succession, I had her go to a local convent and take vows so she could live in retirement until her death.


As I was preparing the legion, my niece Adriane tugged on my armour.

“What is it dear?”

“Uncle, why are you dressed like a turtle?”

“I am getting prepared for battle.”

“A battle against whom?”

“The rebels.”

“Why do you have to fight them? Can't you just tell them to be nice?”


I could have taught her what the world was like, but decided to let her keep her innocence while she was still a child.


I later learnt that her sister, Theokiste needed a tutor also. That Stephen sure knew how to pop out children, though he had yet to have a son. To test what my new courtier was truly capable of, I had Hippolytos the Eunuch as her guardian and tutor.


“Have our troops arrived from Sicily yet?”

“No, Your Majesty. It will take some time for them to arrive.”

“We don't have time to wait, have everyone prepared to march at the break of dawn.”

With that we marched from Kaliopolis to Abydos, where we had to cross a strait to reach our destination.

“Rebels have been sighted Sire!”

“Alright then, this should be easy. All units, charge!!!”


Though I had my guards, without my personal retinue the Imperial Army felt rather light. Regardless, I charged into a frenzy hacking and slashing as I threw myself at the enemy where before I knew it, I was well ahead of my bodyguards.

“Your Majesty, you are rushing in too fast!”

“What are you talking about, you are all too slow. Hurry up men!”

Just then, I felt a slight pain on my lower abdomen and noticed that my armour had become loose from my niece tugging at it where through that gap someone had managed to slide a tip of a spear in. Slowly, but surely the world started to darken.

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Chapter XXVII

When Levi became Judah

“Your brother, the Emperor has been killed in battle.”


Not even a year into his reign, Constantine VII of Eastern Rome died, leaving me the sole Emperor of the East. What he was thinking, I do not know. Perhaps it was the rumours of his cowardice that was going around which he desperately wanted to quash? Regardless, my half-brother was dead and I who was supposed to have an ecclesiastical career succeeded him. This is going to be one tough journey ahead...


Though I have three wonderful daughters, my wife has yet to produce a son which the Makedon line now desperately needed. Also, I have recently suspected her of infidelity. All in all, our marriage was not a happy one. To rectify this, I summoned the Ecumenical Patriarch to my court.

“Your Majesty, how may I be of your service?”

“If Your All Holiness think it is appropriate, my marital life with the Empress is not a happy one, especially as of late.”

“I see, do you seek guidance counsel?”

“No, since I have also been suspecting her of being unfaithful, I am going to request a divorce. I believe I have grounds?”

“Why of course, Your Majesty. Though it saddens me, if you believe that this is the best course of action, I shall write up a writ declaring your marriage dissolved.”


With that, he left to have the paperworks ready to dissolve my marriage. Later that evening, I noticed my late brother's widow, mourning at the palace garden. Though I understood her pain, the palace intrigue was about to get quite turbulent. As such I decided to ask her if she wanted to move to a place of solitude.


Next morning, I noticed my daughter, Theoktiste playing by herself in the garden. Upon further inquiry, she told me her guardian, Hippolytos did not respond to her calls when she went to him for her daily lessons.


Since I could not have her lazing around, I decided to have her tutored by Doux Zenobios.


As I was bringing the whole place back to order, I received words that despite losing their Emperor, the Imperial Legion managed to defeat the rebel army at Abydos.


Just as I finished reading the battle report, a messenger delivered me a sealed letter from the Ecumenical Patriarch.


Being a potential threat in palace intrigue, I decided to send my now ex-wife to Amalfi where she would wed the Lord Mayor Gregoras.


It was near the end of November when I heard that the rebels made their last stand in Smyrna against the might of the Imperial Legion.


As the rebels were finally routed and put down, the leader was sent to Constantinople in chains.



Under normal circumstances, I would have been merciful and either banished him or ordered him to take a religious vow. However, this was no ordinary circumstance. Not only did he betray his oath to the Emperor who served in his office in the best interest of the citizens of the Empire, but he drew blood and slew him. Such action was a capital offence thus deserving of a capital punishment.


With justice served and prepare myself to find a closure as well as the realisation of what is going on, I decided to shave my beard, which I had grown in preparation for a Church career.


After giving things a long thought, it was clear I needed to go somewhere in order to get clear guidance on what I ought to do. Thus, I decided to make preparations to go on a pilgrimage.


As the preparations were under way, there was one thing I needed to do before I left; get re-married. My niece, Princess Marie who was the daughter of the late Emperor Louis, was of marriageable age. So decided to ask her for her hand to which the Frankish regent for her brother, happily agreed.


Despite being my half-sister's daughter, she inherited none of the traits which was common amongst the descendants of our father, Basil the Great. Known to be just and strong in her faith in God, she was also lazy though she was known to be more than capable in palace intrigues making her a potential threat to those who cross her.


Not too long after receiving agreeing to be married, we had our wedding. Though the Church did not allow a big celebration since it was my second marriage, I still managed to collect Imperial Aid Duty for the costs of the ceremony.

Chapter XXVIII

Father's Dream

“Please, do take care of yourself, Your Majesty.”

“No need to worry about me, Your All Holiness. I will be back before you know it.”


I probably should have delayed my departure, because as soon as I left the weather became dreary, brewing up a storm. A fortnight later, rain started to pour onto the earth as if the end of times was nigh, and the area began to flood. I was too far from the capital to turn back, but not far enough to be able to find cover in a different city. Having no choice, I decided to gather some wood to make a makeshift raft which I had learnt from the late Patriarch Photios.

“You making a raft?”

I turned around to see some peasants and some animals he owned trying to escape the flood.

“Yes, I need to get to the other side otherwise I am going to get completely drenched.”

“Mind if we come along? Not wanting to get drenched either you see.”

I would have told them to make there own, but from introspection, I realised that not everyone was fortunate enough to have an education like myself and as such these peasants may not know how to make a raft. As Emperor, I had a duty to see through the safety of my subjects, even if it was unpleasant.

“Sure thing, bring your animals as well. We'll make some extra if we have to, just follow my instructions.”

“Oh how kind of you, stranger! May the Lord bless you!”


About a fortnight later as I was walking, the sky began to clear and the sun shone brightly piercing through the clouds like a sword. There, in front of me was the gate of Jerusalem. It was the thirteenth of January, nine hundredth year of our Lord, six days after Christmas, when I arrived at the Holy City.


As I began exploring the city, I decided to visit a local monastery which still had permission to operate under the Muslim overlords. Upon entering, I was mesmerised by the collections of the writings of the Church Fathers amongst others, where I decided to stay a little while longer.


After receiving blessings from the local priest who was still allowed to practice there, I returned to Constantinople having had a great experience in the Holy City.


Only a moment I arrived, my Chancellor informed me that a Frankish diplomat wished to seek audience with me.

“Your Excellency, welcome to Constantinople.”

“Your Majesty, I thank you for your hospitality. I come here with a message from His Majesty, Leonard.”


Although Leonard was a half-brother to my nephew, Lothar, the now deposed Emperor of the West, the only real connection he and I had was the fact that I had married his elder sister. Because of that, I formally agreed to assist him in both his civil war and the war against his kin in the West, though by the way things were going, there was no way he could win the civil war that was going on.


Losing the civil war, the Western Empire became fragmented into five successor states with; Saxony, Italy, Burgundy, and Bavaria becoming independent kingdoms. Once again, the realm of the Western Throne had become a rump state like its predecessor before it.


Seeing it as a lost cause, I decided to look towards East, and as my father before me, decided to finish what he started.

I noticed you had a kingdom of Saxony. Does that mean CM is save-compatible?
I noticed you had a kingdom of Saxony. Does that mean CM is save-compatible?

CM was always save-game compatible (according to the developers), but this isn't CM. What you see is the Duchy of Saxony, not the Kingdom of Saxony.
Chapter XXIX

An After Action Report

“Your Majesty!”

I turned around to see the maid beckon my attention at the hallway.

“What is it?”

“It is regarding His Highness, Prince Basil, your nephew.”

“What about him?”

“He hasn't been eating lately and I worry that he may become malnourished.”

“Is he ill?”

“No, Sire. He says he does wish to become fat or as he like to put it, 'become an Abbasid blob.'”

“Ah, nothing to be concerned about then.”


I had been raising the son of my late brother, Constantine while I managed the Empire. There was actually a discussion between the three of us when father was still alive that the first son we bare should be offered up to the Lord. This was after his pilgrimage to Antioch when he met the then Patriarch Photios despite being famished. Despite being an impulsive decision, I decided to honour his decision by raising Basil to be a priest, though I would not know what my brother would have said in this. However, due to the recent events of the Macedonian family losing all of its male members to war and pestilence, I have thinking whether this might be a wise idea.

“Your Majesty, the Governor of Cyprus wishes see you in your office.”

“I'll be there in a minute.”

After putting my pallium on, I went out to see the good Governor who currently served in the Imperial Council as my Spymaster.

“Your Majesty, I have news regarding a Provincial Governor in the former frontier of Armeniacon. Despite your generosity, this man seems to know nothing, but greed.”


“You came all the way to Constantinople from Famagusta to report me about something as minor as this? Just have him arrested!”

“Actually, I've been in Constantinople the whole time, but as you wish, Your Majesty.”


“If you have nothing better to do other than to hassle me about minor affairs about every Magistrates in the Empire, then go summon the rest of the Councillors. I want an update on the Reconquista with everyone present.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

After an hour or so, the members of the Imperial Council and high ranking officers from both the Army and the Navy were present in the palace war room.

“Your Grace, Thematic Governor of Galatia, you have been present during most of the deployment phase, why don't you fill us in on the current progress of the Reconquista of Asia?”

“Of course, Your Majesty. The Imperial Legion rendezvoused at the capital of my jurisdiction of the Empire where I oversaw the organisation for the upcoming battles.”


“Once the majority of the Legion had arrived, we mobilised and marched across the border into Melitene.”


“Upon arrival, scouts reported a regiment size army across North where upon we marched North to engage the enemy.”



“What was the battle report? How many losses? Do we need to send in more reinforcements?”

The Imperial Marshal started sending in a barrage of questions.

“Of course, we won. We suffered little loss compared to the enemy whom did not have a single survivor. In terms of casualties, I think we lost seven hundred.”

“That's still seven hundred families who won't see their father, husband, brother, or son again.”

“I agree, but receiving loss is inevitable in a war. After the first battle we began to lay siege on the nearest castle which happened to be Coloneia.”


“Must've been a lot to plunder.”

It was the Imperial Steward this time who made the remark.

“Unfortunately, I wouldn't know since I was recalled back to Constantinople thus relieving me of my combat duties so that I could make this report.”

“That was plenty, Your Grace. You may return to Galatia and see to it that we have enough reserves for the Reconquista. Gentlemen, that is all for today we have another messenger coming tomorrow to update us on the progress of the Reconquista. Until then, good day to you all.”
'become an Abbasid blob' - nice one.