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Philo32b

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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

Yes, I'm hopeful they will. Tesfaye seems to be a bit more resourceful than his grandfather in adapting to the harsh realities of this new world.

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

LOL. Yes, for one the strain he put on the infidels' ability to continually expand was a great hardship for them.

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

Yes, that would probably be the sane thing to do. Unfortunately this dynasty lacks that particular trait.

Hilarious. Consider me subscribed.

Thank you!

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?

Aha!

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

Yes, that is the silver lining to owning land nobody wants.

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!

Thanks! And yes, as Athalcor points out, truce is one sided. But as you correctly point out, there are plenty of others who wouldn't be so bound even if it was two-sided.

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

Yep. :)

Great AAR, I'm subscribed. But I feel I'm a liitle bit too late :) (but wishing you well!)

Thanks! Here's hoping Tesfaye can keep the dance going.
 

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Is the truce with Caliph still valid? He was signing it with your old ruler who recently died. So now there is nothing blocking him to invade you once more, right? Making lifespan of your demesne a bit short. Did I got it right?

By FaceDancer.
 
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Philo32b

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Chapter 9

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b42af992d210c69e6e3eaf4731f2a6db7178fe17039c4ea6065861895d5b1d9c6g.jpg



Count Tesfaye of Sennar

My grandfather, the last Christian king of the Abyssinia, has been dead for a year now. It is now time for me to do some soul searching for my people, hopeless as this surely will be. My wroth, shyness, cynical nature, and craven heart ensure that I have absolutely no tact or diplomacy skills whatsoever. As liege of this county, I should be seen as the lord and protector, but it is common knowledge that I am a clueless warrior. Plus my own marshal, Fethee Doqaqit, makes no effort to disguise his hatred of me and will often conduct war meetings as if I am not present. Not that this matters, of course, since we can barely make war on a large band of thieves. I try not to talk at council meetings, and I hide in my room at other times. I don’t think my grandfather would approve of me.

Fethee is the only one on the council who really hates me. All the rest just dislike me, except for the Chancellor Geteye Antsokia Sennar, whose silver tongue is somewhat undermined by his infamous reputation as a hedonistic, lustful, 63-year old with syphilis. Cynical as I am, even I hesitate to inflict him on foreign courts. My wife and six-year old boy hate me. My vassals—mayor and bishop—dislike me. My heart’s desire is to become exalted among men, but my name is spat out by nobles and goat herders alike with disgust. They all loved my grandfather, but now that he is gone, they are blaming me for all their ills, regardless of the true blame. As much as I try to avoid conflict, all this animosity is starting to get my blood boiling, and I won’t be responsible for what I may do soon.



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I can’t even remember anymore what triggered it. It could have been just a snide comment or a condescending smile from my marshal. But at once I snapped, and from a pedestal overlooking the council hall, I seized our relic of Monophysiticism and held it before me in front of all my astonished councilors and guards.

This relic is the defining object embodying our Abyssinian Monophysiticism. It is a knucklebone of Severus who was Patriarch of Antioch (512-518), who was a literary genius, and who lived his entire life after baptism refusing to take a bath. Many miracles were accorded to his remains after his death, although they seemed to have lost their potency by the time the knucklebone found its way to our troubled lands. Holding it up in a rage, I struck out at them in the way I intuitively knew would hurt the most: I renounced Monophysitism, denounced all who believed in it as heretics, and proclaimed that my realm would henceforth be a stalwart defender of the Orthodox faith.



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It is difficult to be wroth when you are also shy and have craven heart. No sooner had I vented my spleen than my blood went from boiling to ice cold in a matter of a moment. I was inclined to cast the relic into the dust in front of them to signify my disdain at this worthless bone. But craftiness saved me, and instead I ran with it into my quarters, locking the door behind me. This may well have saved my life. After I had carefully hidden the relic, from this point on I was holding it hostage. They could not remove me from power without risking that I never again reveal where the relic is hidden. I’m cynical by nature anyway, so what do I care if Jesus had one or two natures? Maybe he had 32 natures? What difference does it make? In front of all who already hated me, I had converted from Monophyscism to Christian Orthodox, a heretic creed in their view, and I had ensured that I would live to tell about it… But they were under no obligation to make it pleasant.



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Tough crowd.

My court is not pleased. Fortunately none of them can raise any levees against me. No matter, I instruct my chaplain, Gebereal Komel-Shokafa Senna, who is renown for his abilities, to begin conducting inquisitions to lead everyone to the (new) true path of the Orthodox faith. His look of disgust and hatred unnerve me. But then again, I'm craven--many things unnerve me. I've learned to live with it.

Perhaps my irrational outburst may have been a good thing. As Monophysites, everybody in the world either disliked or hated us. As Orthodox faithful, however, we fall into the fold of a religious tapestry that extends from the Holy Land all the way up to the Baltic Sea. The closest potential ally is, of course, Byzantium, and so I send Chancellor Geteye off to Byzantium to seek the good will of our new best hope, Basileus Michael VII. Geteye looks overjoyed at the chance to go to the capital of Byzantium. He is practically drooling to spend time in a place that can probably satisfy every degenerate desire he has and teach him some new ones besides. I give Geteye strict orders to avoid fornicating with the locals.



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With a Martial score of 1, you might want to delegate the leading of the troops.

ec77307bc234c47be4aab3e1b65f654e1d82d5176daf903e87fc94f23c4584736g.jpg

My hoped-for protector can barely protect himself. This will go well.

Upon Geteye’s arrival, however, I find that Basileus has problems of his own: Doux Michael of Nikaea is brazenly sieging counties right up to the capital of the Byzantium Empire. Geteye also reports, a little too happily, that the Basileus is commonly known in Byzantium as “The Drunkard.” And while he can muster up a good speech if needed, he knows less than a horse’s ass about military matters or state stewardship or any of the other traits considered useful to rule. He is also gluttonous, slothful, and cruel.

It occurs to me that an incompetent monarch whose distinctive trait is being a drunkard and who cannot prevent plundering of his lands at the doorstep of his capital may not be as useful as hoped to a small African county buried in the bowels of hateful infidels. But I converted to Orthodox. Who else can help us… the Russians? I have heard through my mother about their perpetual infighting, and they are too far away besides. No, it must be the Byzantines.



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It occurs to me that I should probably try to make a good first impression with the head of my new religion. Unfortunately, Ecumenical Patriarch Charitan despises me, mostly for my being a sink hole of piety. I had best push diplomatic relations with the Basileus quickly, before Patriarch Charitan thinks to excommunicate me. Can the Orthodox even do that?



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I write to my chancellor asking him to try to betroth my six-year old son with the Basileus’s 14-year old only daughter. In one way, I am encouraged by the Basileus’s response: “The Drunkard” actually likes me! But he thinks it is a horrible, terrible idea and asks me never to mention this of him again. So I ask if his son will marry my sister. Again, while he likes me, he would rather throw both her and her brother through the gates of hell than marry them into my dynasty. I think he will warm to the idea though.



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I am the savior of my people! Forget my grandfather, whom everyone loved and looked up to. He was a failure--he lost almost everything in his petty and stupid wars. (And did he even win any battles?) It is I who will save the Zague Dynasty and safeguard my people. I find that “the Drunkard” appears to be, on balance, willing to take me on as a vassal. His good opinion of me plus the fact that my land is good (evidently no geographer has sit him down with a map), outweighs his better judgment. (Or, rather, incompetent judgment. I guess it is to my advantage that he knows nothing about anything.) I do not transcribe my message back to him—I write and seal the petition myself to become his vassal, so that none of my people can catch wind of this. As all of them still view the Byzantine as evil heretics, they will be unhappy with me. And by “unhappy,” I mean they may murder me. I begin barricading the door.
 
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Philo32b

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Is the truce with Caliph still valid? He was signing it with your old ruler who recently died. So now there is nothing blocking him to invade you once more, right? Making lifespan of your demesne a bit short. Did I got it right?

I'll have to check this out. IIRC the truce is with whomever holds the title, not the particular person. But I could be wrong about that.
 

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Truces are always between the people who sign it, not their heirs.
 

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Truces are always between the people who sign it, not their heirs.

Thanks, Nodscouterr. Looks like vassalage was not a moment too soon, then!

Very useful to know for my regular games, too.
 

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Fealty with the Byzantine empire? That will make future wars against the Caliph interesting! Maybe the Basileus will even try to press your claims! (I wouldn't hold my breath over it, though.)
 

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Poor Agnes de Poitou :D.
 

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While that was literally the only way to get out of this alive, the end of monophysiticism saddens me deeply.

I'd love to see later generations revoke this foolish move. Your newfound allies are basically begging to be shown the truth
 

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While that was literally the only way to get out of this alive, the end of monophysiticism saddens me deeply.

I'd love to see later generations revoke this foolish move. Your newfound allies are basically begging to be shown the truth

It's entirely possible. In my current game, the Byzantines have all turned Bogomil, so a Monophysite Empire is an achievable goal. Just start undermining the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch as much as you can, and soon you'll have plenty of heresies... I mean, true beliefs to choose from. ;)
 

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Fealty with the Byzantine empire? That will make future wars against the Caliph interesting! Maybe the Basileus will even try to press your claims! (I wouldn't hold my breath over it, though.)

Wow, I hadn't even thought of that! While there are probably more useful things the Emperor could use his resources for, he doesn't seem like the sort that makes the best decisions. He took in the Zagwe Dynasty, after all. :)

Poor Agnes de Poitou :D.

LOL, I missed that. You never hear from her. I think she hides in her room all the time.

Cool aar bro

Thanks!

While that was literally the only way to get out of this alive, the end of monophysiticism saddens me deeply.

I'd love to see later generations revoke this foolish move. Your newfound allies are basically begging to be shown the truth

I feel your pain. I think that as long as Severus's Monophysite knucklebone resides with the Zagwe Dynasty (wherever Tesfaye hid it), there will be an unconscious undercurrent pulling them towards the true faith.

It's entirely possible. In my current game, the Byzantines have all turned Bogomil, so a Monophysite Empire is an achievable goal. Just start undermining the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch as much as you can, and soon you'll have plenty of heresies... I mean, true beliefs to choose from. ;)

Good idea, thanks!
 

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Chapter 10

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Success! There may be only one person in the world who still likes me, but he is the one with the Imperial armies. Maybe by the time of my children’s children, people will realize what I have done for them this day and speak my name with pride. If only my idiotic grandfather had done this 20 years ago, we would still own two-thirds of the de jure Abyssinian kingdom.



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32.7% plot power? I didn’t know I had that much clout.

In this new world of Byzantine politics, I must adapt or be left behind. I am already considered competent at intrigue. I will aim to climb to the next level of mastery as the path to help my people and my dynasty survive. I drop my goal of being exalted among men to adopt the rather less noble goal of plotting to murder Fethee Doqaquit, my incompetent marshal who hates me with all of his being and who has made my life miserable through constant insults. Unfortunately, I will need others to support me in my new plot, which will be difficult as everyone else hates me. In fact, given that my spymaster hates me as well, I attribute my continued existence to the fact that I still hold the saintly knucklebone hostage.



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As a reward to my chancellor for his successful efforts in convincing “The Drunkard” to accept my oath of fealty, I have given him permission to continue “diplomatic relations” as he wishes in Byzantium. I have heard of this Baron Meletiu; I heard he throws the most debaucherous and scandalous parties east of the Sea of Marmara. I’m sure they spent much time discussing what a benevolent ruler I am.

From further north my mother Unia writes from her home in Kiev to tell me of her desire to be spymaster there, which is a joke given her abilities at intrigue. I also learn that I have a 5-year old half-brother by her union with the now-deceased Baron. Young Baron Daniil of Vyshhorod is a dwarf. That’s unfortunate, but in my world that is not much of a problem. I also learn that even surrounded by Orthodox Christians viewing her as a hateful heretic, Unia still adheres to the faith she converted to in Abyssinia. I’m cynical, but—ouch! That stung a bit. Perhaps one day the Zagwe Dynasty will again be able to embrace the faith of its traditional past. Well, maybe my son will care more about these kinds of things. I move on.



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The Pope calls a crusade to take Jerusalem from the infidels. One can only hope this weakens the stranglehold of them on this area a bit.

Perhaps all these blood-crazy Catholics from the west makes “The Drunkard” nervous. The first Byzantine levees are raised from my county. The Basileus must be pretty desperate to pull from all the way down here.



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Of course you are a heretic! That is precisely why I have the chaplain, who is also a heretic, leading an inquisition. Let’s see what this confirmation does to your public image. This should be interesting.

The only thing that changes is that the mayor hates me even more. I tire of this fool. I suggest to my officials that we revoke his title as mayor, which I will hold myself. Bizarrely, nobody objects to this revocation on the grounds that the mayor is a filthy Monophysite! (I think the chaplain has confused the people with his heretic branding of the mayor as a "filthy Monophysite"; maybe they think he is the wrong kind of Monophysite? In any case, for a sect that venerates a saint who never bathed, "filthy" is not the ideal word for condemnation.) Unfortunately I am so lacking in public prestige that my officials flatly refuse to consider it. I could argue with them, but I never know what to say.

So I get at the mayor in another way: I raise his taxes. Actually, given my current infamy among virtually all my subjects, it amazes me that I can pull this off.



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Court Chaplain Gebereal Komel-Shokafa Sennar notifies me with pleasure that I have my first convert: Ioustinianos of Sinjah, who is in the court of my vassal Bishop Afework. Given that I have commanded Gebereal to convert subjects from his own faith to that of Orthodox, I find his evident pleasure disconcerting. I summon this new convert before me to express my deepest gratitude… only to find another Monophysite who glowers at me with naked hatred. My chaplain has tricked me, running his inquisition to only confirm people in the Monophysite faith. Ioustinianos apparently was having doubts, which Gebereal squashed on the authority of my orders. I am furious, but to avoid a scene I wait until Gebereal leaves and then command my marshal to imprison the chaplain. Unbeknowst to me, however, because of the tyranny of such an order and my own lack of public piety, someone loses or forgets the order to the guards, and the chaplain simply lays low for a few days before coming back to court.

As it happens, a missive from “The Drunkard” arrives at this moment asking if I have any room in my court for a Greek noble who would like to learn more about Ethiopians, the newest members of the Byzantium family. This is perfect timing—all Greeks are of course learned, so this noble will be perfect in my now vacant (I thought) post of Court Chaplain. I will be able to depend on him to convert people to the current religion. And I will finally have someone who truly appreciates me. I write back that I will gladly welcome him and even suggest that I will make him part of my council.

The messenger had been gone only a few days before Gebereal comes back to court as if nothing had ever happened. Astonished that the man is not languishing in prison, I let the moment pass without comment and then later feel it would be too embarrassing to say anything more about it. Maybe he learned his lesson.



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Nikodemus Branas, my new Byzantine courtier, arrives from Greece. He thanks me for my “invitation” and for promising to help press his claim on the County of Hellas. I try not to look astonished. He also asks which court position is his, speaking a little too presumptuously, I feel. As court chaplain has not been vacated by the prison door after all, I tell him that one will open in just a matter of days. He looks at me very oddly.



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Fethee Doqaqit does not look happy. Surely there are rebel bands with less than 20 men out there.

It is important for the future of my people that Nikodemus likes me, so I decide to find a way to open a position as soon as possible. I think of one that nicely dovetails with another of my projects. Summoning as much dictatorial power from within as I can, I announce that Fethee will command all of the mayor's and bishop's levees to Byzantium. There he will help do his part for the Empire by putting down peasant revolts that have sprung up. And he will leave immediately. I am not sure who is more astonished, Fethee and my counselors at this mission or me that I was able to articulate it in a somewhat intelligible form.

His face contorting with rage, Fethee demands to know why he would do such a lunatic's errand with what will amount to 20 men. I tell him that that’s all we can spare, and I can’t think of anything else to say that might actually make sense. Fortunately Nikodemus speaks up. He seems to be as painfully shy as I am most of the time, but when the occasion demands it, he speaks with amazing eloquence. He stands and tells us that even from as far away as Greece he had heard of the bravery and loyalty of the Ethiopians, which was precisely why he wanted to come to my court and see it with his own eyes. He speaks in glowing colors of Fethee’s evident martial abilities and how he would be able to do amazing things for the Empire even with just 20 men. But he points out that I would never send just 20 men into action alone--there is an vassal force to the Empire that Fethee will be connecting to in order to fight the rebels and demonstrate Ethiopian mastery of combat to the rest of the Byzantine Empire. By the end Fethee seems eager to go as soon as possible. It is too bad that it is not exactly a vassal force to which he will be “connecting.”
 
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Philo32b

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Tesfaye might be hated but he's saved his people and Severus' knuckle from the (more) infidel infidels. Now, what can possibly go wrong with a drunkard liege?

Yes his new liege is amazingly powerful and is incomparably incompetent. That is a beautiful union. I am sure it is all uphill from here for the unappreciated Tesfaye. :)
 

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I think we have a contender for the single most hopeless "realm"-screenshot on these forums :p

Still, at least that small part of depopulated desert you can pride yourself to rule over is painted in the same colour as great Constantinople. Surely, that's something
 

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Nikodemos. More skilled, more pious, more prestigious (maybe even richer?) than you. Not that there are a lot of people in the world who do not fulfill those criteria.

What are the odds of him realizing that if he gathered some weapons and hanged out in your capital for a while, he would build an army powerful enough to seize control?

(the answer is: zero. There are no more weapons in Sennar.)
 

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Loving your story!
 

Machiavellian

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I am loving this AAR. Great job. The desperate, doomed struggle has been captured beautifully.

Could you have vassalized yourself to the Caliph had you wanted to? Do you think the Byzantines will offer the protection needed to survive?
 

Philo32b

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I think we have a contender for the single most hopeless "realm"-screenshot on these forums :p

Still, at least that small part of depopulated desert you can pride yourself to rule over is painted in the same colour as great Constantinople. Surely, that's something

Yes, the last territory paint was the color of dirt. This does look a little more regal.

Nikodemos. More skilled, more pious, more prestigious (maybe even richer?) than you. Not that there are a lot of people in the world who do not fulfill those criteria.

What are the odds of him realizing that if he gathered some weapons and hanged out in your capital for a while, he would build an army powerful enough to seize control?

(the answer is: zero. There are no more weapons in Sennar.)

LOL Yes, I think we'll have to keep an eye on that Nikodemos.

Loving your story!

Thank you!

I am loving this AAR. Great job. The desperate, doomed struggle has been captured beautifully.

Could you have vassalized yourself to the Caliph had you wanted to? Do you think the Byzantines will offer the protection needed to survive?

Thanks! I appreciate it.

That's a good idea--I hadn't thought about becoming a vassal of the Caliph. The Caliph's impression of Tesfaye may have been too poor, though. Byzantium just barely accepted Tesfaye and he is the same religion as them. Plus, the Caliph is not incompetent like the Byzantine Emperor and knows the true value of a vassal like Tesfaye and his "good" land. :)
 
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