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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

blklizard

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This is my first time with the Imperial Rivalries mod. This mod lets me play in the ancient era so the starting date I chose is during the Peloponnesian War (431 BC).

Difficulty: Normal
No Lucky nations, all other settings default
Start year: 1 March, 3569 [equivalent of 431 BC] (I believe this is due to the inability to get EU3 years to go backwards.)
Mod: Imperial Rivalries
Style: Narrative/History
Nation: Carthage

My goals:
-See what this mod offers (including how to avoid bugs)
-Expand steadily through missions, casus belli and colonization.
-Establish a large empire and hopefully take over Italy.

Rules:
-no cheating (include no reloading)
-will only cancel missions if they are impossible
-play an active part in wars where I'm a junior partner (no slacking off)
-no declaration of war if I have no casus belli
-have fun
-updated weekly (more updates if time allows)

Below is a map of the known world:
 
Last edited:

blklizard

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Prologue

King Hanno Didonian of Carthage studied the map before him. Carthage wasn't a small city state that was struggling to survive. If anything, the nation had what it took to dominate the Mediterranean Sea. Despite having the tools at her disposal, Carthage was far from achieving that goal without overcoming a number of obstacles. Since she broke free from Phoenicia, Carthage had been slowly growing in strength as she prepared to become the next dominant power in Europe.

Breaking from Phoenicia was a necessary step forward if Carthage was to expand and grow. The Phoenician policies involved coastal settlements merely for safe harbors. The Phoenician officials had no foresight to expand their influence so they could one day have a firm hold on the monopoly with no one daring to challenge them. That was why Carthage broke free. Carthage mustn't be ruled by those incompetent officials when her own people could guide her to a brighter future.

Phoenicia still existed with a few cities under her control. She was merely a shadow of her former self but the Carthaginians knew better to underestimate her people. The Phoenicians weren't happy when Carthage broke free and would vow to retake what they saw as theirs. The Carthaginians wouldn't allow such a thing and would fight tooth and nail to prevent that fate. Carthage would remain strong and free as long as her men continued the struggle against all foreign threats.

The Phoenicians weren't the only threat. On the island of Sicily, the Greeks of Syracuse vowed to remove the presence of Carthage. It was clear that Greeks were jealous of Carthage's success so they wished to bring her downfall. They would learn that the Carthaginians weren't so easy to defeat. Carthage would hold onto her provinces with a firm grip so the Greeks had to take them forcibly. They must prepare to meet fierce resistance if they dared to challenge Carthage.

According to intelligence, the Greeks of Syracuse were also calling for reinforcements from Greece. There numerous city states there had shown indication they were preparing for war. Carthage could be their potential target which could greatly complicate the situation. It was imperative that Carthage held onto her provinces in Sicily because the strategic location of those provinces would make them very valuable in future expansions further into Europe.

However, the Carthaginians couldn't ignore the rumors of a great war in Greece. Such a war could benefit the Carthaginians since the Greeks of Syracuse would either be alone or they would be assisting their brethren in Greece. Whatever the outcome, these Greeks couldn't possibly hope to rally enough soldiers for their campaign of ousting the Carthaginians from Sicily. If anything, they might open themselves up to an invasion from Carthage.

While those threats were relatively far from the Carthaginian capital, there was a threat much closer to home in the form of Mauritania. The savages of North Africa had to be tamed but they seemed to have endless supply of men. If Carthage hoped to expand into other parts of the Mediterranean, then she should remove Mauritania which could easily mount a serious invasion on the Carthaginian capital. The savages were divided once but they were united under a single leader.

There were a few rumors floating around regarding the rise of Rome. When Hanno studied the Italian peninsula, he laughed that such a minor power could be a threat to anyone. Surrounded by powerful enemies, Rome could very easily be wiped out in a few years. As much as the Carthaginian king wanted to invade the Italian peninsula, there were far too many other threats that must be dealt with first to secure his nation's borders.
 

Stingrex

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Interesting...I'll follow this :D
 

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I'm here. The party can start now. :D

I expect you to obtain Mare Nostrum by the time this is done. Show those Romans/Greeks/Phoenicans/etc who's boss.
 

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blklizard

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Interesting...I'll follow this :D
Welcome! I'll try to get an update out tomorrow. I hope you will tag along for awhile. :)

I'm here. The party can start now. :D

I expect you to obtain Mare Nostrum by the time this is done. Show those Romans/Greeks/Phoenicans/etc who's boss.
What party? :p Obtaining Mare Nostrum won't be possible, unfortunately. :(

Woohoo! Now we can drink our fancy champagne and party until our livers explode! :D
If your livers explode, I won't have anymore readers. :p

Just gonna leave this comment right here. Don't mind me. :p
At least you're here. :p

I will try to get an update up tomorrow. I discovered there's a serious bug in the game that I cannot solve so Carthage won't be able to dominate everything. The year 3620 will be as far as we can go but there's still plenty of materials to write about.
 

Stingrex

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Awwwww....the party's gonna be over soon enough :(
 

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Awwwww....the party's gonna be over soon enough :(
I could see at least 100 chapters in this so the party won't end that quickly. :p

Chapter 1

Hanno looked up from the map when he heard a grunt followed by silence. The hallway leading to his room was eerily quiet and his instinct told him something was terribly wrong. Hanno walked over to the wall where he hanged the sword that was given to him by his father. If there was an intruder, he would be ready to fend them off long enough for his guards to arrive. As soon as Hanno grabbed his sword, he heard footsteps just outside his doorway.

When he turned around, the Carthage king saw his bastard half-brother, Gisco, standing there with a smirk on his face and a bloodied sword in his hand. Gisco looked very calm as if he had already slain Hanno. The Carthage king looked at the man with distaste because he absolutely hated Gisco who was like his exact opposite. Hanno wished nothing less than slain this man and stop whatever twisted ambitions the man might have.

"My brother," said Gisco, "I am afraid that I have to do this for the sake of our empire. You have grown soft over the years which had hurt our nation tremendously. I would have preferred to spare your life but the other officials wanted you dead. I know not what you did to them but your life ends tonight. I can, however, reassure you that your death will be a swift one. I am, after all, not a cruel man so I will be merciful with your death.

Hanno laughed at the comment and unsheathed his weapon. "My bastard half-brother isn't a cruel man? Ha, I have never heard of a bigger lie. You have finally revealed your ambitions of taking my throne, haven't you? Are you tired of ruling over a small province so you decided to see if you can be a better king? Don't make me laugh! Carthage will be in ruins if you take over. I vow to stop you or die trying!"

"I fear your death is the only outcome then," said Gisco who approached the Carthage king with his weapon. "I will show you today that I am the superior man. This throne belonged to the Bomilcar family but your mother used underhanded tactics to take it from us. I am merely retaking what is rightfully mine. Given the state you left Carthage in, I am more than happy to give her a strong king who would guide her to greatness."

Hanno didn't even bother responding as he brought his sword up for the duel. The king knew that, by dealing with domestic affairs daily in his office, he was no longer the warrior he used to be. However, Gisco would be a fool to underestimate him because it would be his last mistake. Hanno decided upon a more defensive stance to simply buy more time for his guards to arrive and eliminate this traitor standing before him.

Gisco stopped his approach and he laughed this time. "What's this? The Carthage king is remaining on the defensive instead of fighting to his death? You sadden me, brother! You were once a great man who got the respect of many, including myself. Yet, you have grown soft after remaining in office for so long. You have forgotten what makes a Carthaginian strong. I only feel pity for your current state. Our father would feel ashamed!"

With no response from Hanno, Gisco shook his head. "Brother, you cannot speak anymore? Have fear caught your tongue? I will assume you are waiting for your guards to rescue you. I fear your loyal men cannot save you tonight. Only a miracle can and I made sure such a miracle doesn't exist." Gisco watched as Hanno's face turned a deathly pale before the man dropped his weapon and fell unconscious onto the ground.
 

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I will try to get an update up tomorrow. I discovered there's a serious bug in the game that I cannot solve so Carthage won't be able to dominate everything. The year 3620 will be as far as we can go but there's still plenty of materials to write about.
Well you did say one of your goals was to see what this mod has to offer, including bugs, so here it is. :D

Did Hanno just faint? :p
 

blklizard

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Well you did say one of your goals was to see what this mod has to offer, including bugs, so here it is. :D

Did Hanno just faint? :p
This bug is annoying because it's a triggered event that occurs with me powerless. It doesn't help that it repeatedly happens so I just got tired of dealing with it.

Chapter 2

Gisco, as the new king of Carthage, stood in the courtyard looking into a small pond. He stared at the pond for nearly an hour before he had an unexpected visitor. The visitor was at the doorway when Gisco looked up. The new king's eyes were red as though he had been crying the entire time. The visitor hesitated to walk onto the courtyard but Gisco gestured that he accepted the visit.

"What brings you here, Agbal?" asked Gisco. "You are certainly a long way from home so it is not like you to leave your family. Is it what I have done that brought you here? Are you here to condemn me for my actions?" Gisco studied his friend's face searching for answers to his questions. He did not particularly like it when others saw his weaker side, especially when he had just cried and he could not deny it.

Agbal did not answer Gisco and, instead, walked over to Gisco's side. "What do you see on the pond's surface?" he asked a man who was definitely in pain. Agbal knew his friend since they were children and, having grown up together, they knew each other exceptionally well. Thus, Agbal knew exactly how to approach the issue without angering his friend. In these trying times, Gisco was possibly more vulnerable than most people believed.

"I see his face," replied Gisco. When Agbal said nothing, Gisco realized his friend wanted him to continue. "I see my brother's face on the surface. He seems to be talking to me but I cannot hear what he is saying. Yet, his expression says it all. Hanno is furious that I took his life in such a cowardly way. He probably would have liked to fight it out and die like a warrior. I wished I can turn back time so I could at least give him a proper ending."

The two men were silent for a few minutes while Agbal absorbed what Gisco just said. "You have done him no wrong," answered Agbal simply. "Hanno had committed a serious crime to his nation and people. You had to carry out his execution with a method fitting to his crime. Hanno was no longer the warrior and king he once was. He had deteriorated and, if he remained in power, I fear Carthage would be in further decline."

"I poisoned him!" Gisco cried out in frustration before he started to wail for his brother. Several minutes later, Gisco finally calmed down enough to keep talking. "I had a trusted soldier slip poison into his drink. The poison acted slowly but it was almost immediate if the person lost their temper. After getting past the only guard who was determined to protect him, I arrived outside his study and played the decisive role in killing him."

"You do know the council was unwilling to risk your life," said Agbal who gestured Gisco to sit down. Once the two men were seated, Agbal continued offering words of comfort. "The council wanted Hanno removed but they didn't want an outright rebellion. They wanted you to kill him personally which was exactly what you did. The method might not be popular amongst the Carthaginians but no one would oppose you given the support you have."

"I think that you are too kind at times," said Agbal with a sigh. "We must remember that you are the king of Carthage so you carry on your shoulders a lot of burden. Remember that you are no longer just carrying the honor of your family. Our nation had been in steady decline under Hanno so the council picked you as the candidate to turn her fortunes around." Agbal stood up and placed a hand on Gisco's shoulder. "Don't let any of us down," he stated before he walked out leaving Gisco alone in the courtyard.
 

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Chapter 3

As the new king of Carthage, Gisco had several key decisions awaiting him. While the king hasn't fully recovered from his grief over Hanno's death, Gisco understood the responsibilities on his shoulders and wasn't about to let Carthage collapse during his reign. He certainly had a big mess to deal with but he was also confident in his abilities. Carthage would soon rise above all other nations bordering the Mediterranean.

What required his immediate attention was a diplomat who only recently arrived at his court. Gisco had a different view regarding Phoenicia compared to Hanno. While Hanno viewed Phoenicia with hostilities, Gisco firmly believed that a strong alliance was definitely possible. Neither nation was truly safe with their dangerous neighbors so it made sense they worked with one another for a brighter future.

There was certainly history between the two nations but the king of Phoenicia wasn't exactly an incompetent ruler. Gisco believed the Phoenician king would see sense and agree that the alliance was more than necessary. Even a brief alliance could deter some less favorable conflicts but Gisco was determined to create an everlasting alliance that would see the two nations eventually divide the territories around the Mediterranean between them.

A diplomat was sent to the Phoenician capital a month ago and the Phoenician diplomat arrived as expected with the answer of the Phoenician king. Before Gisco arrived at the court, he overheard a few officials who were completely against the idea of allying with the Phoenicians. They became silent when they saw Gisco but their expression remained on their faces. Gisco wanted to prove them wrong.

Gisco soon arrived in the court where his other officials discussed quietly amongst themselves. The few officials who were openly opposing the idea earlier remained silent as they stared suspiciously at the Phoenician diplomat as though the man might be a spy. As soon as Gisco sat down on his throne, the Carthaginian officials became silent with them waiting for their great leader to talk with the foreign diplomat.

"King of Carthage," said the diplomat once Gisco gave him a gesture signalling his chance to speak, "I arrive with the news from the king of Phoenicia. My king heard about your request for an alliance between our two great nations." The diplomat paused when he heard a few curses thrown by Carthaginian officials before continuing. "The offer of an alliance wasn't quite expected but we understood that you share a different view as the late king, Hanno."

"My king put much thought into this offer and our officials were arguing over it for many days," said the diplomat as he carefully scanned the crowd before him. "I would assume the same here since it is apparent that some Carthaginians are opposed to the idea as well. However, my king made the final decision just as you have the final say here in Carthage. My king is happy to accept your alliance and hope the two nations can prosper from it."

Gisco smiled slightly upon hearing the alliance was agreed upon by both sides. He also saw truth in the diplomat's words regarding the opposition to the alliance as a whole. The Carthaginian king would eventually convince them this alliance was a necessary step forward for Carthage. There was much work for him to do to rebuild Carthage but too little time to do so. He couldn't believe the damage his brother inflicted on the great naval empire during Hanno's reign.
 

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So Carthage has allied with its old overlord? Well at least they share a common background and culture then.
They're the only willing ones to ally the mighty Carthage nation. :p

Chapter 4

Artaxerxes walked down the large corridor when he heard guards shouting about an intruder. Being informed by his spies that a group was plotting to take his life, Artaxerxes was armed and had a number of guards stationed throughout his palace so no intruder could get in without being detected. Once this intruder was discovered, Artaxerxes unsheathed his weapon welcoming a fight against this foe. He had longed for more bloodshed since his campaigns in Egypt.

There were discontent people who were foolishly enough to rise up against the mighty Achaemenid Empire so, as the king, Artaxerxes had the duties of crushing those who defied his rule. The king never saw his rule as unjust but he did see the rule of his predecessor being the root of the problem. Artaxerxes always believed his father was too soft and gave his subjects too much freedom which gave the Egyptians their idea to revolt.

He didn't blame the Egyptians since, if he sensed his king was too weak, he would revolt as well. However, the king knew the consequences of rebelling so the rebels should know as well. He led his imperial army to deal with the Egyptian rebels and utterly crushed them with sheer numbers and a bit of strategy. The Egyptians weren't ready for the onslaught seeing them killed in the tens of thousands. The rebel leaders were eventually rounded up and executed in public.

As the stability was restored in Egypt, Artaxerxes could proceed to tending to domestic affairs when he learned that a group was plotting against him. He could still remember the death of his father at the hands of a man called Artabanus. Artabanus was the leader of the royal bodyguard and Artaxerxes' father was too trusting costing him his life when the man decided to finally reveal his fangs. This man attempted to take the throne but Artaxerxes put a stop to that plan.

With a few loyal men at his side, Artaxerxes led them to storm the barracks within the palace where they got past the guards standing guard before cutting down Artabanus. The death of him saw his followers flee from the capital to save their own lives. The new king of Achaemenid sent his best trackers to find and eliminate those followers to prevent them from plotting against him in the future. He personally saw to the death of Artabanus' sons.

After a short wait, Artaxerxes finally saw the would-be assassin running towards him. The assassin had covered his head as though hiding his identity mattered. Artaxerxes wasn't going to talk with the assassin either since he was about to prove why he became the new king as opposed to his other siblings. Artaxerxes was well trained in weapons so he had the tools at his disposal to take on anyone foolish enough to underestimate him.

The assassin didn't stop to talk either as he lunged at Artaxerxes with his dagger in hand. Artaxerxes easily sidestepped that attack and brought down his sword which met no resistance. The king realized his assassin was also light on his toes making their duel slightly more challenge, not that the Achaemenid king minded one bit. He liked a challenge once in a while to keep his senses and skills sharpened.

Artaxerxes had a longer reach with his sword so he used that to his advantage by preventing the assassin from getting too close. The assassin was well trained but, after a brief observation, Artaxerxes could conclude the man lacked experience which would have made him a lot more diangerous. He analyzed how the assassin attacked and waited for a small opening where he sliced off the assassin's hand.

The assassin's dagger fell to the floor when his hand was cut off but, before he could recover from the shock, Artaxerxes closed the distance and delivered the mortal blow through the man's heart. The king watched with satisfaction as the assassin tried hopelessly to stem the bleeding from his chest wound. The assassin fell back and, tried as he may, he was breathing his last breath. The man soon died with his eyes still staring at the king with rage.

There was much accomplishment for the Achaemenid king who hadn't have this much thrill since his time on the battlefield in Egypt. The feeling of wielding a weapon while fighting armed opponents was what he felt necessary for a warrior like him. He liked to train with his guards now and then but his duties as king often kept him too busy. The fight with the assassin was challenging but he was never in mortal danger.

When the guards arrived, they apologized for arriving too late. Artaxerxes didn't blame them knowing how big the palace was and how easily an assassin could sneak into the shadows to outmaneuver the guards. This assassin clearly knew the palace well which told the king that there might be traitors amongst his subjects. He had the guards remove the clothing covering the assassin's head so they could identify the assassin.

As soon as the clothing was removed, Artaxerxes was taken aback by the true identity of the assassin. He didn't know who to expect but this was the last person he suspected of plotting against him. The king of the mighty Achaemenid Empire would never believe his eldest son would attempt to take his life, especially when this son would eventually succeed him and happened to be his favorite child as well.

Given that he personally killed his own son, Artaxerxes didn't know what to do anymore as the shock was too much. His own hands were covered with the blood of his favorite son who would have succeeded him on the throne. The Achaemenid king fell into depression and stopped caring about the empire he ruled over. His subjects would take over for him and rule every aspect of the empire in his stead.

The mastermind behind the assassination couldn't be any happier. He anticipated this as the most likely outcome and never believed for a moment that Artaxerxes would die to his son. The man was a warrior who had been hardened by a very difficult campaign. While numbers were on his side, the king participated in every battle at the front lines and his presence alone made the suppression far less bloodier than otherwise.

With Artaxerxes effectively out of commission, this mastermind could move onto the next stage of his plan. The Achaemenid Empire would fall with him orchestrating her collapse. The death of his uncle had been a serious blow and the mastermind wasn't about to let the king get away with his mindless killing. He would deliver the justice by destroying what Artaxerxes cared the most, his son and the empire he inherited.
 

sebas379

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Subbed. I will have tot make time this weekend tot actually read it though ;)
 

blklizard

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Subbed. I will have tot make time this weekend tot actually read it though ;)
Welcome! Good thing I don't update that often so catching up should be no problem. :p

Chapter 5

The Phoenician king couldn't believe his luck when he and his crew were shipwrecked somewhere off the coast of Northern Africa. They were returning from an important mission regarding a sacred relic to their people which required the king himself to be present. Their mission was difficult but, with the aid of some reliable guides, they found what they were searching for so they could head back home to put the relic where it belonged.

The relic was a small golden statue believed to be brought to Earth by one of their goddesses. According to legend, a demon stole the statue and hid it in foreign lands. Without the statue, the people of Phoenicia was believed to suffer from catastrophes resulting in the decline of their nation. That did become the case when numerous provinces broke off leaving Phoenicia much weaker than she once was and the lost statue was believed to be the cause.

Many generations of Phoenician kings attempted to search for this valuable statue but they were very much unsuccessful in their search making them rather helpless as the mighty Phoenician empire declined before their very eyes. A vivid dream informed the latest Phoenician king of the statue's whereabouts and, like his predecessors, he headed out in search of the sacred relic in hopes of bringing his nation to greatness once again.

The dream told the king that the sacred relic could be found north of North Africa in a largely sparsely populated region that would be known later as the Iberian Peninsula. The local inhabitants followed very different religions and customs with the Phoenicians unable to communicate due to severe language barrier. Guides were necessary for the king and his men to locate the sacred relic and bring it back to the Phoenician capital.

There were a few small trading ports in southern Iberian Peninsula with some Phoenician traders who interacted with the locals. They had enough grasp of the local language to communicate with the locals the basics which was exactly what the Phoenician king needed to locate the statue. After spending nearly an entire year in southern Iberia, the king and his men discovered a hidden cave which resembled the one in the king's vivid dream.

Once they got past the various traps, the Phoenician king and his men found themselves standing before the golden statue spoken only in legends. No one knew what it looked like because the description in the legends were very vague and, as a result, not helpful. Yet, they could all be certain the statue before them was only possible with the hands of the gods so they were convinced they finally located the sacred relic necessary to right their nation.

Returning to the trading port wasn't the difficult part but getting a ship to return them home was. The ship they used to arrive off the coast of Iberia was too damaged to repair so they sold what they could to acquire the supplies needed for their trek deeper into Iberia. No one in the party had faith they could locate the sacred relic so no one thought ahead as to how they would return home to return the statue to where it belonged.

Ships normally didn't head this far out west due to the relatively few trading opportunities in those parts of Iberia. As though the gods were watching over them, the Phoenician king and his men encountered a passing ship that was heading right for the capital. Aboard the ship were Phoenicians who completed a very long journey to a distant port some only heard in legends. The Phoenicians were only too happy to have their king aboard their ship in their final stage of their journey.

The long journey and an illness made the ship rather shorthanded so the extra hands on the ship was very much welcomed. The Phoenician king and his men were just content they were getting a ride back home so a little work under familiar surroundings was a small price to pay. They would work hard together to speed their journey home. Once they reached the capital, Phoenicia's future would change for the better.

The ship had taken some damage that wasn't spotted until much later which forced the crew aboard to land on the beach off North Africa where they didn't even know their exact location. The terrain didn't provide the resources they needed to fix the ship so they were stranded until they could find help or, at the very least, find civilization where they could find the people necessary to get them back home. At this time, they were pretty desperate for help.

Food and water shortages was a major worry for the group so they couldn't stay with their indefinitely. Traveling along the coast might be their best bet at survival since they might find the help they needed. The Phoenician king took his men in the eastwards direction while holding onto a shred of hope they could survive this. He personally carried the golden statue on him because he didn't trust anyone else with something so valuable.

The king and his men eventually found themselves at a relatively large settlement filled with people they called Moors living there. With almost no food and water left, they had no choice but approach the settlement and hoped the locals wouldn't harm them. The Moors weren't too happy to see foreigners approach them seeing armed men surround the Phoenician king and his men while they alerted their elders.

The elders met with the Phoenicians but their attention was soon focused on the golden statue. From their gestures, the Phoenician king was certain they viewed the statue sacred like his people. He and his men were then treated like guests as they were brought into the elder's home where they were fed. Despite the language barrier, the Phoenicians and the Moors were able to communicate basics with hand gestures alone.

Few days later, other elders arrived at the settlement where they bowed before the Phoenician king who realized that they might be viewing him as a god. The arrival of the other elders also brought a few men who could speak some Phoenician which made communication much easier. Apparently, the golden statue was considered sacred amongst the Moors and the fact the king had it meant he was a mortal chosen by the gods themselves.

Suddenly, the Phoenician king found himself the king of Mauratenia, the home of the Moors. He got a ship to return to the Phoenician capital where he planned to return the sacred relic to its rightful place but, during the journey, it mysteriously vanished. The king hoped another dream would point him in the right direction but the gods no longer spoke with him. The statue had apparently performed its duty and was gone once again.
 

sebas379

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A nice start to the story. Looking forward to see what Carthage can achieve once the immediate surroundings are secured.
 

blklizard

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Statues don't usually walk off on their own. Perhaps the Moors were more interested in the statue than the king. ;)
Who said the Moors had anything to do with it? :p

A nice start to the story. Looking forward to see what Carthage can achieve once the immediate surroundings are secured.
Sadly, Carthage won't control all of North Africa due to an annoying bug. :( (there's a chance I can fix it)

Chapter 6

King Gisco learned a Phoenician messenger arrived at his court one day. He granted the man audience and, after hearing about the message, he excused himself so he could speak with his advisers. Apparently, Phoenicia was growing ambitious and looked to expand her influence into Greece, a region that was torn by conflict with two sides forming to fight for supremacy. This made expansion into the region rather easy if one could find one or two vulnerable targets.

Phoenicia found a single target in the nation of Messenia. The Greek nation was allied with Elis but both nations were fairly insignificant in the Greek region. Gisco could see why his ally wanted a chance for expansion but he also didn't want to in a position where Carthage wasn't growing either. Thus, he agreed to aid his ally by declaring a separate war where he could dictate when Carthage would exit the war against the Greek states.

Carthaginian soldiers were ferried to Greece with one thousand besieging Oetylos and two thousand besieging Kalamata. Yet, the one thousand Carthaginian soldiers somehow got repelled by the defenders of Oetylos forcing them to withdraw to Kalamata where Mauritanian soldiers were also present to aid the Carthaginians. To this day, few could figure out how the newly recruited Messenian soldiers could repel the somewhat experienced Carthaginian soldiers.

Kalamata was eventually captured with the fate of Elis in the hands of Gisco. The Carthaginian king was still undecided regarding the fate of the Greek state so he was content to wait it out until Messenia was also defeated, ideally at the hands of the Carthaginians. Phoenicia was still at war with Elis so, until his ally ended the war with Messenia, Gisco didn't want to do anything to possibly antagonize his enemy, especially when Mauritania was suddenly ruled by the Phoenician king.

The Carthaginian king might have yet to win the war but he soon received good news as his wife gave birth to a strong young boy. Those present all admitted the boy had the look of a warrior and certainly cried like one. Gisco couldn't believe his luck to have such a boy being born as his son. He felt the gods were truly watching over him and vowed to train the boy into a worthy successor. Hannibal was born that day.

Few months after Hannibal's birth, Gisco learned that Phoenicia annexed Messenia after capturing her capital. The Carthaginian king scoffed at this approach knowing the Greeks wouldn't bow to Phoenician authority so quickly. Unlike his ally, Gisco offered Elis vasslage where the Elis government still had control of most domestic affairs. Over time, the Greek would accept the rule of Carthage while Carthage needn't worry about suppressing the Greeks in the process.

Following the conclusion of the war, Gisco spent a lot of time with his first born son. The boy definitely had the traits that would make him great one day. Just as he must serve as Hannibal's teacher and mentor, he must also be his guardian by protecting him against harm. Gisco held no illusion he had enemies since taking the throne from Hanno and there was a small minority that viewed him as a traitor to Carthage.

During time of peace, Gisco almost promoted more people to begin a new life in Iberia. The province of Cadiz was a small town with only a few hundred population. It had served mostly as a trading post but Gisco could see the potential of it becoming something more. Iberia was a largely untamed territory waiting to be subjugated. With Cadiz serving as the base, Carthage could slowly expand her influence throughout Iberia. Gibraltar was the first Carthaginian colony in Iberia.

The peace was never meant to last when Carthage was suddenly at war against Sparta. Phoenicia was targeting the rising Greek state which had been in steady decline following multiple wars that weren't in her favor. Gisco wasn't about to let his ally have all of Sparta so he assembled an army to invade Sparta. There was great potential regarding what Sparta could offer to Carthage once she was captured, especially if Carthage wanted a foothold in Greece.

Sparta, with the entry of Carthage in the mix, was forced to accept the peace offer from Athens further lessening her influence in Greece. Phoenicia didn't waste much time taking a Spartan province in the process which left Carthage alone in the fight against Sparta. Yet, Sparta had grown so weak by this point that the invading force Gisco assembled was more than a match for what Sparta could field. The war was practically decided when Carthaginian soldiers landed on Spartan soil.

The campaign in Sparta still lasted two years but the outcome was very ideal for Carthage. Not only was Sparta forced to follow the Mesopotamic faith but she would also serve as a vassal under Carthage. This peace deal ensured Carthage would have a solid foothold in Greece allowing her to expand further into Greece once an opportunity presented itself. Gisco was very happy with the outcome and organized a feast to celebrate the occasion.

The Carthaginian king was rather stumped when he learned his ally wanted to invade a large island in the north later known as the British Isles. The nation of Demetae was apparently a threat towards Phoenicia which made absolutely no sense. Before Gisco could provide a proper response, he learned that Dematae was no more as an Italian nation, Rome, had annexed her in the recent month. He wasn't even sad to see the war end before it even began.

Meanwhile, the colonial expansion continued with Tangier being a new acquisition for Carthage. Gisco felt it was wise to have a complete surround of Mauritania so she would have a difficult time fending off Carthaginian attacks from two fronts. As Gisco foresaw at the time, Carthage would one day take on Mauritania and only one nation would reign supreme in Northern Africa. That war, however, will take place long after Gisco was laid to rest.

An additional benefit with the acquisition of Tangier was the fact Carthage controlled the Gibraltar Sound Toll. The provinces Gibraltar and Tangier gave Carthage control over the ships that entered and left the Mediterranean. While this might not seem worthwhile at a time when trade was limited outside the Mediterranean, there were still occasional traders and, in additional to forcing them to pay the toll, Carthage could gather information about valuable trading opportunities they weren't aware of.

Apparently, Phoenicia still had trade posts in other parts of the world which she kept secret from other European nations. When Carthaginian ships prevented them from passing through unless ducats and information were exchanged, the Phoenician king was furious and considered this a threat towards his nation. The alliance was broken and the two nations, once allies, were suddenly at each other's throats. A war might be brewing with the dissolved alliance.