To the Most Honorable Protarchon of the City-State of Rhodos, Eirenaios apo Haraki, greetings.
Whereas the Province of Lykia is rightwise part of the Despotate of Isauria, and
Whereas the City-State of Rhodos has recently forcibly and unlawfully occupied and annexed the Province of Lykia,
We are sending you this missive to inform you that the forces of the City-State of Rhodos have one month to evacuate the Province of Lykia, or face Our wrath on the field of battle.
Zenon, called the Farmer, Ninth of his name, Despot of Isauria
Zenon read over the parchment one last time, then affixed his seal to it. Looking up from the council table where he was seated, he glanced to the corner where couriers and other aides waited and observed the council meeting.
"Bring this letter to the Rhodian ambassador."
Standing, he walked to the window and looked out over the city.
"There. It's done. The first step in achieving my father's dream."
The Domestikos, Antiochus, came up behind Zenon.
"But Sire, how does this advance your father's dream? Chattousa is in the exact opposite direction."
"It's simple, really. Lykia is land that all acknowledge is legally Isaurian, whereas Chattousa and the intervening lands have been Galatian for centuries. It is much easier , and more acceptable to our neighbors, to annex Lykia than lands that no Luwian has ruled since time immemorial. Besides, if we can not humble the merchants of Rhodos, what hope do we have against the warriors of Galatia?"
"Sire, you know that I have opposed this war from the beginning. It wastes resources that could be used to improve the realm, increasing tax revenue and strengthening the realm. You have heard all this before, and dismissed my concerns. But, is it wise to go to war, when you do not yet have an heir male of the body?"
This was the aging Komes Narses, the Sakellarios.
"My concubine Iustina is with child. If Arinniti is kind, she will bear me a healthy son. If not... well, I am still young."
Narses turned and left, shaking his head. "The young always think themselves immortal."
The Isaurian forces, numbering over 5000, marshalled on the border with Lykia. The Rhodian forces, numbering less than 3000, gathered in Lykia, then withdrew across the strait to Rhodos when the Isaurian host advanced.
The siege of Halikarnassos was proceeding apace when Narses approached Zenon in the siege camp.
"Sire, this war is costing too much. The treasury will be bare inside a month if something isn't done."
"Let me see your figures." Zenon studied the papers, then nodded. "I'll order the walls to be assaulted, then dismiss the Isaurian Guard when Halikarnassos is taken. Seek a war tax from the komital council."
Halikarnassos had fallen, and Telmissos put under siege when two messengers rode into camp and sought an audience with Zenon.
"The Rhodians have landed at Attaleia, and are investing the capital!"
"Hm... without the Isaurian Guard, we don't have the numbers to attack them without taking serious losses. And your news?"
"The peasants in Ikonion are revolting!"
"All peasants are revolting. What's so special about the ones in Ikonion?"
"They are revolting against your rule, Sire! A mob of over 1700 are attacking the castle, demanding land reform!"
"I will wager that we can take the remaining holdings here in Lykia before either group can accomplish much."
And so a race of sorts started, which in the event the Isaurians won, taking Telmissos and Myra before the peasant revolt could accomplish much, or the Rhodians could take more than the castle. Bypassing Attaleia, the Galatians advanced on Ikonion.
As the battle lines were drawn up, Zenon noticed that the Consorts of Arinniti were not joining the lines. He approached the Grandmaster, Theodoulos the Prudent, to inquire what the problem was.
"Those men are good Luwians. Unlike the Appolo-Helioseans of Rhodos, it would be against our vows to kill them. Would that I could turn you aside from your course, and bring peace between you and them."
"I take no pleasure in killing my subjects, but they are the ones who decided on open revolt rather than presenting petitions with their grievances. Doubtless they were egged on by agents of Rhodos or Galatia."
With the peasants dispersed and their ringleader in the dungeon, it was time to deal with the Rhodians. They had abandoned their siege of Side after the Isaurians had evacuated Lykia, and headed there to take back their lost holdings. With his forces somewhat depleted from dealing with the peasants, Zenon, in consultation with his Domestikos, decided to release the levies and raise new ones, though this would leave the levies from Attaleia vulnerable to being overrun if the Rhodians should decide to attack them.
His gamble paid off. The Rhodian army force marched into Attaleia and routed the Attaleian levies, but were in turn taken in the rear by the advancing Isaurian main body. With his army demoralized and routed, Protarchon Eirenaios soon sought surrender terms. Zenon returned to Dorylaion to meet his new daughter and celebrate the victory with his wife.