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Philo32b

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Chapter 7

Ten years respite from the predations of the infidel Caliph will be helpful. As soon as the tournament is over, we can explore all our options and begin laying down strategy for our mighty return to power. So to escape from my larger problems I turn to decisions about what color tablecloth to use for the tournament refreshments, and who I should sit the incomparably dull Bishop Afework next to, perhaps next to… Oh, by the One-Natured God. Yet again?! How is this possible?



49c892d6f2fe98fac26ad4c97f016879edb924b4791d957a331bb74a701481c76g.jpg
068a9bcf44e9d17154fddc15c911cb87e9196ec294b539f7b6ebd4eab766e85e6g.jpg


From across the waters of the Red Sea, in the southern part of the Arabian landmass, independent ruler Emir Fadl “The Ill-Ruler” of Sanaa heard reports of my weakened state and thought he would not do ill to benefit from it. With his just one puny county and a total levee of 1,018 he could never had beaten me before the Sack of Gondar Duchy. Now it will be easy for him. His casus belli is a Holy War for the duchy of Harer, the duchy which my son, Prince Kedus Harbe, cannot defend--the sullen Muslim population still resent their Monophysite overlords and wish for someone like Emir Fadl to liberate them. As soon as we receive Emir Fadl's declaration of war, we receive another, this time no less than the Emir Abu Mansur al-Nizar of Sinai, the same individual who started the blood bath against Azum. If easy spoils are to be had, Emir Abu Mansur doesn't want to leave them to riffraff like Fadl. The fact that Abu Mansur's liege has a truce with me means nothing to him in his private war. I doubt the Caliph will be sympathetic. We Abyssinians have a saying: “Lions leave, hyenas come, and gazelles laugh until morning.” Actually I have no idea what it means, but it seemed to be relevant.



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Suddenly my son springs into action to defend Harer, making the surprising--yet wholly unhelpful--move of creating the title of Duke of Harer.



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At least I get my tournament money back.




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This is humiliating. This guy is attacking me with 500 troops and I cannot defend myself? Anyway, soon Emir Abu Mansur al-Nizar shows up with 1,300 troops to show his brethren how it’s properly done. I can do nothing but sit and watch.



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Prince Abu Mansur offers peace for the duchy of Herar. To spite him, I offer the lowly Emir Fadl the same deal and he accepts, getting most of it. The extent of my power to influence the region appears now to be limited to who specifically will enjoy the spoils from my remains. More noble refugees pile into my last county, including my son, his cynical wife Unia du Comborn (who still dislikes me partly because—inexplicably--she is envious of me), and his five children. Honestly, I didn’t know I had five grandchildren. In my defense, I had a lot on my plate. One silver lining of the entire realm being torn apart is that people who normally would get all bent out of shape over your not knowing you had five grandchildren don’t seem to care in the slightest.

I’m also surprised to see that the youngest of my son’s children is a bastard from an affair he had with a Muslim woman in Sicily. How the hell did he manage that? But after waiting many years for his subjects to accept him, and now having lost his duchy and all prospects for a kingdom, Kedus is now much worse for wear: he has become slow and stressed. At 73, I have become known unimaginatively as “the Old.” Indeed, I have lived past the age of my father, his father, and his father. On an unrelated note, I find out that my old generals Hagos of Gish Abay and Gebre Sawakin are now both dead, the former in the attack on Herar, the latter after languishing in a Cairo prison.



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There seems nothing left to lose. I guess I should feel honored, as the Caliph himself has chosen my old capital in the County of Gondar to make his new home. With a long stretch to get to it and nestled in fairly fertile mountains, it is a pretty good place to call home. Probably what sold him on the area, though, was his trying the tej. Many others have tried in vain to copy our regional beverage. By December of 1083 he has stripped the duke title of Gondar from me.



19c474fd5c81e9a2813695a8990f0cdb6acd67927bea52716af5d6afdcd8ea336g.jpg
6afed391cb16cd3769e5aeadc6242106258af4e3a7ba2ba0531e70fee72db70d6g.jpg

Love in the time of holy wars.

So that someone can be happy, I marry off a courtier to wherever in the world I can put her. Scotland’s appetite for Abyssinian mates is still unabated for some reason.

I spend extra to please my wife, the one that is the mother of the unhelpful Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire. I spend almost a year’s worth of income for what’s left of my kingdom. She’s been through a lot, plus what the hell else can I do with the money?



5d79be48cd0fdece032516b1ef720e0612d935e0abfb747c90ed1853e45c42016g.jpg
430edf550b40cf6ff188646b4936440d89b034408c5dd691e35c94d776a262b66g.jpg


Prince Kedus Harbe dies. The heir to what is left of my Kingdom is now my eldest grandson, Tesfaye, a shy, fearful boy with a cynical attitude and European looks. Who knows, maybe that’s exactly what we need.

I marry Kedus’s widow Unia to a 16 year-old Russian to finally get her off my back. It’s only when she has been sent off that I remember that they will hate her as a heretic because I had convinced her to convert to Monphysiticism. Oops! Remember the good times, Unia!



7d6f543fef7ddfb52a613f744bdbf0511787e96a52a250a7b9e0e0437fadf20b6g.jpg


What? I find out that my son had been assassinated. By the Single Beautific Nature of God, if that isn’t kicking someone when they’re down I don’t know what is. In any case, I can’t think of any benefit anyone will have by my son’s being dead… except, well, perhaps the husband of the Sicilian Muslim. Kedus didn't see that one coming?

Then my Chancellor tells me that the general of the Caliph’s army that sacked Gondar, Prince al-Mustali, was indeed awarded the Sheikdom of Azum as a reward for his decisive victory over me. He will forgive me if I don’t send him a letter of congratulations.

Kadus's death and the news about Prince al-Mustali both burn in my mind, along with the embers of my still-glowing ambition. Even at 78 years of age (and those are Medieval years, mind you), I tire of patiently waiting for the Fates to bring what they have in store for me--I want to wrest from their hands whatever further delights or tortures remain in my lot... OK, I'm not too hopeful about the possibility of delights, but I'm sick of waiting. I summon my marshal, Ogbai Ambassel, a man who barely knows which end of a sword to hold, and explain to him my plan, as he stares back in shock and confusion.
 

Athalcor

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Is the description of the Tournament Delay event wrong? It seems to be.

And now you are king of this:
images


But I still believe in your glorious Final Victory!
 

Held der Arbeit

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Here's hoping that fate will smile on you again one day.

Without the shining beacon of Monophysicism, the world would be a dark place indeed
 

Saithis

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Oh dear. How are you recover from this, I wonder.
 

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Ahh Where are those hordes of Angry Monophysite Peasants when you need them. They may have those old lands of you defect back to you right.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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By cunningly advancing in retrograde and sacrificing blood and treasure for time, you have lured the Caliph into a trap! It is almost worth pitying the poor unsuspecting muslims, who are about to face the TRUE might of monophycism!
 

Arilou

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It's times like this that makes you want to set up shop in some god forsaken place out of reach of muslims.
I suggest Ireland.
 

Philo32b

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Is the description of the Tournament Delay event wrong? It seems to be.

And now you are king of this:
images


But I still believe in your glorious Final Victory!

Keep the Faith, brother! And your image now is fair game...

I'm not sure what you mean about the tournament event being wrong. Other than the small war part. As a war that denudes almost everything our poor king has remaining, I found it intentionally insulting by the CK2 game engine to call it a "small war." :)

Here's hoping that fate will smile on you again one day.

Without the shining beacon of Monophysicism, the world would be a dark place indeed

Yes, but the silver lining is that a light shines all the more brilliant in the darkest of places... lol, we can't stop, can we?

Oh dear. How are you recover from this, I wonder.

Don't worry, Saithis, the last bastion of Monophysiticism has some life it in yet, I think!

Ahh Where are those hordes of Angry Monophysite Peasants when you need them. They may have those old lands of you defect back to you right.

Yes, that is a very good point. Why aren't the Monophysite Ethiopian faithful rising up on their own against the harsh infidel yoke place on their backs? I'm sure the king intends to have very harsh words with them when he blazes back to power.

Time to marry Tesfaye to some wealthy Byzantine family?

That's a good idea, but those Byzantines are all heretics! I think the king would sooner give up his after-dinner tej rather than do such a thing. :)

By cunningly advancing in retrograde and sacrificing blood and treasure for time, you have lured the Caliph into a trap! It is almost worth pitying the poor unsuspecting muslims, who are about to face the TRUE might of monophycism!

Aha, you're thinking right along with our poor king.

It's times like this that makes you want to set up shop in some god forsaken place out of reach of muslims.
I suggest Ireland.

I don't think the Irish would take him. With the luck of our king, there would probably be an unprecendented jihad against Ireland.
 

Athalcor

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I meant that the description part of the tournament event said: 'Let the tournament begin' and the option said: 'A small war will delay this'.

And yes, the game is sometimes pretty ironic.
 

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Oh boy, this isn't going too well. Will the whole world bow to either Mecca or Chalcedon? Let's hope Abyssinia makes a comeback
 

Philo32b

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Chapter 8

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My grandson has a new son, which given the average life span in the Middle Ages is such an atypical thing to say that the report refers to the newborn simply as a “kinsman.”

It comes to my attention that the Emir Ali ibn Da’ud that I displaced originally from the Duchy of Harer died at the age of 56 in the court he had fled to in Northern Africa. He had replaced his ambitions as a ruler with wanting to become Chief Qadi (court chaplain). He raised three sons there. He never did have a daughter as he had wished.



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My martial score looks very hot next to these guys.

My marshal thinks I am insane, but if true I am only half mad. After explaining my plan to him, I order him to raise the levees ostensibly to go west, into the arid wasteland. My 300 men will think a couple of bandits are nearby or someone has lost a goat. My men would gladly march behind me straight into the mouth of hell or even into an Orthodox Church at High Mass. Yet why burden them with choices? Only after they march out of town will we then swing eastward… towards Gondar Castle.

I am only half mad in this because Caliph al-Mustansir may well be slightly vulnerable. He is fighting several vassals who have split away and declared their independence in lands far away from here. Also, he is living in my old land among my people who still hate him and will not fight for him, so he cannot raise levees anywhere close by. It is time he is attacked from the one quarter he does not expect. I gather up my 300+ fighting men and set off for our old homeland.



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This is my current marshal, Ogbai Ambassel. He must have dropped it on his own foot. One thing you learn as king is that anytime anyone blames something on the peasants, it’s really them that did it.

Is it with such that I will reclaim my kingdom? Well, he’s loyal anyway, to take part in what must seem a suicide mission.



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We arrive at Gondar Castle at night and the guard mistakes my small group as the ethnic entertainment for the Caliph’s feast. Only after correcting him it occurs to me that I should have gone along with it. We could have used the deception as a brilliant stratagem to take the walls from inside. Or at the very least, if we had a change of heart we could have made a bit of spare cash doing the entertainment.

In any case, we take up our siege. The guards are very amused by this, but their humor fades as they realize we outnumber them and they have no troops south of Cairo. They begin to get distinctly nervous. I order double the needed camp fires at night to make a bigger impression. My siege progresses well as the castle morale falls.



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Note the morale of the infidel reinforcements. News of my triumphant return must have demoralized them severely.

Yes, here come the Caliph’s men from across the Red Sea, having been detached from pummeling some other infidel in some heathen land. It becomes a race against time to see if I can complete the siege before they arrive. At the last, the castle does yield and we search in a frenzy for al-Mustansir. What a prize that would be; my mind reels at the possibilities. Alas, we discover that the Caliph and his retinue dressed up as Monophysite nuns to evade detection and escaped through a secret tunnel. At least I think the dressing-up bit was for the escape. I guess when I had that tunnel made I didn’t make it nearly secret enough.

It is very strange to plunder a place that you still feel is your own home, but we do it quite effectively because I know where all the really good stuff is. That collection of tej glasses? Miraculously still intact and a sight for sore eyes. There is another secret tunnel that appears undiscovered. I leave a side of goat in there and seal it up nicely. The smell will drive them crazy until they find it. Pathetic, I know, but how you choose to take revenge depends on one’s resources. Unable to do any more we leave and I send an envoy to treat with the approaching mass of infidels. I surrender and pay 92 gold in reparations to cover the cost of cleaning the rug and grounds. I lost only 21 men in my brief campaign against the infidels, and they didn’t even die from fighting. On my marshal’s report it says their cause of death was due to “complications from excessive looting.” I didn’t ask for details.



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Our new royal abode in Sennar is a bit shabbier than at Gondar.

We begin to march back to our new home on the brink of nowhere. I begin to feel strongly as we go that I should not have surrendered—I should have fought to the end. I am the last Monophysite king, after all. Almost home I learn that this is actually no longer true. In a rage at being made a fool of, the Caliph has usurped my King title of Abyssinia, making me nothing but a lowly count. I even lose the very cool Abyssinian herald of the crowned lion carrying a cross. Fittingly, my new herald as Count of Sennar looks like road kill. The "Emirate" of Gondar replaces my beautiful Abyssinian herald with the fairly bland infidel equivalent.





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Well, at least there are no lost titles or Pretenders.

I enter the gates of my new home with my small army, and in an amazingly appropriate chance event, my heart gives out and I fall from my saddle dying. As my concerned guards crowd around me, my thoughts are to my grandson, with his European looks, and his inheriting the realm and all my remaining troubles. At the last, I have a moment of clarity in which I imagine that Tesfaye will be driven to do something so incredible, and so wrong, that the entire line of Abyssinian monarchs, even in the afterlife of sheer bliss reserved for the pious Monophysites, will at once gnash their teeth, groan, and tear out their hair. Except for great-great grandfather Mara Takla Haymanot, who was bald. And then the light goes out.
 
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Peter Ebbesen

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There goes a great king. With luck we shall not see his like again.
 

Thandros

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well That went better than can be expected didn't it. It is now time to run for some hills in say Sweden.
 

Andrzej I

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aldriq

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Daring try. The Caliph was certainly magnanimous to let you go for a bit of money instead of crushing you like the roadkill in the new coat of arms...

With his European looks maybe Tesfaye will convert to some other Christian denomination, a more popular one perhaps?
 

Athalcor

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Who would actually want to BE a pretender in your kingd...county :D?
 

unmerged(31101)

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Daring try. The Caliph was certainly magnanimous to let you go for a bit of money instead of crushing you like the roadkill in the new coat of arms...

I agree. That was quite daring. I dont think the Caliph could do anything else but take some money from him. Its the only option for winning a defensive war.

Does this war refresh the truce? I wonder if it would be possible to constantly declare war on the Caliph and lose in order to maintain the truce and prevent an invasion. Even if that does work, Im sure there are a dozen vassals or other independent Muslims that wouldn't mind your county.

Some great updates. I hope you have something up your sleeve. I would hate for this AAR to come to an end!
 

Athalcor

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I agree. That was quite daring. I dont think the Caliph could do anything else but take some money from him. Its the only option for winning a defensive war.

Does this war refresh the truce? I wonder if it would be possible to constantly declare war on the Caliph and lose in order to maintain the truce and prevent an invasion. Even if that does work, Im sure there are a dozen vassals or other independent Muslims that wouldn't mind your county.

Some great updates. I hope you have something up your sleeve. I would hate for this AAR to come to an end!

IIRC, the truce is only one-sided in CK2.
 
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