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1) What happened? Did I miss something? :confused:

2) Seconded

All your posts on Pdox boards is belong to Pdox. That's part of the user agreement. So the intellectual property inherent in Rome AARisen belongs to Pdox who could sue General_BT if he turned it into a book.

A few posts back General_BT was commenting on someone who said he should turn this into a book, I was commenting on that comment :)
I've heard that PI isn't shy of making a deal if such a situation as described in that post, comes to fruition.
And this is just the first part!

I wonder if it would suprass the LOTR trilogy in pages... (If the AAR will go all the way to HoI of course.)

I believe BT said something about the AAR turned into a book right now it would be over a 1000 pages already some 20 or 30 or maybe 50 pages back. We're only just over halfway in the first part! That would be one hell of a series!
I believe BT said something about the AAR turned into a book right now it would be over a 1000 pages already some 20 or 30 or maybe 50 pages back. We're only just over halfway in the first part! That would be one hell of a series!

The more, the better :D Since it's not one huge story arc but rather a flow of history (with arcs being the lives of the protagonists), he can easily cut it into multiple parts anyways.
With the current pace, a year or two from now on.:p
- Best Narrative AAR, CK 2007 Q4, Best Narrative AAR CK 2008 Q1, Best Narrative AAR CK 2008 Q3
- Best Overall AAR CK 2008 Q1, Best Overall AAR CK 2008 Q2, Best Overall AAR CK 2008 Q3, Best Overall AAR CK 2008 Q4

Post-Retirement Awards**
Best Narrative AAR, CK 2009 Q1
Best Narrative AAR, CK, 2010 Q1
Best Narrative AAR, CK, 2011 Q2

Best Gameplay AAR CK 2008 Q4

Canonized on 10/15/07
Glorified on 12/4/08
WritAAR of the Week, 9/30/07
WritAAR of the Week, 12/28/08
WritAAR of the Week 6/21/10
WritAAR of the Week 4/19/11
WritAAR of the Week 4/20/14
Character WritAAR of the Week - 12/04/07
Character WritAAR of the Week - 4/08/08
Character WritAAR of the Week - 8/14/08
Character WritAAR of the Week - 5/05/09
Character WritAAR of the Week - 03/14/10
Character WritAAR of the Week - 10/18/10
Character WritAAR of the Week - 03/28/12
Character WritAAR of the Week - 05/05/14

AArtist of the Month, August 2011

**While I humbly thank people for voting for me, I have since retired from the ACAs, and return these awards with the graciousness with which they were given.

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First off, next update is maybe 30% done. I went and had a long spell of writer's block I've had to work through... and as I've usually done when I have writer's block, I started another AAR, as that tends to get the creative juices flowing again.

Vesimir - Thank you the honor of being CharacterWritAAR of the week. I am humbled. :eek:o You made me finally have to change my signature! :)

Nikolai - The aim is for a year, maybe a year and a half. I'm probably going to be starting work on the mod in earnest in six months or so.

Sudaxe - See above. The new AAR was a byproduct of me playing with modding in HttT just to get the hang of things before the real deal...

Leviathan07 - It'd be easy to divide the earlier story up based on the lives of the Emperors. Later on the story gets all hodgepodged, and so you'll have to go David Weber Honorverse on it and start having multiple stories running at the same time... oi oi oi...

At the moment, I'm not looking into doing anything with Rome AARisen, mostly because it would need MAJOR revision and editing at the very least, and that I sincerely still don't like many sections of it. Part of the reason I'm asking my bf (who majored in creative writing) to read over it is so he can become an in-house critic, so to speak, so when I start writing my own work, he can lean over my shoulder and go "ah ah ah! Shouldn't do that!" before I get attached to the words on the page. :)

As for the social aspects of the empire for the average person... hmm... I haven't explored that enough yet. That sounds like material for a good interim, I think! :)

Qorten - This thing would be monstrous. Simple as that. Like a tome. Or a multivolume encyclopedia.

armoristan - Nothing much. Nothing to see here! :D Thank you for the vote of confidence. If I ever get anything actually published I'm going to make SURE to let all of you know!

RGB - Oh, Altani is definitely screwed out of the whole ulus... you'd better believe Ariq Boke is going to try to give it to an ally after her father was one of his enemies...but don't doubt she's going to TRY to go Daenrys on the whole affair. And with Tokhtamysh, as well as the parts of her father's forces still loyal, she's got a formidable, compact little force...

“Ties of blood are better than ties of paper.” – Unknown.

Ties of Blood

September 14th, 1247

Gabriel Komnenos sat uneasily on his mahogany throne. The thing was simply designed, with no cushion whatsoever, something that certainly didn’t help Gabriel’s perpetually sore back. The air around him smelled stuffy and thick, just like this throne room, buried deep in the heart of the palace of some ancient in this most ancient of cities. Gabriel didn’t particularly like this venue, but until money was available to build a new, proper palace, it would have to do.

Not that Gabriel planned on living in Isfahan, once the coming months’ work was completed.


The Emperor tried not to snort in front of his guests, or the great lords assembled on this most solemn of occasions—it would never do. One should never laugh in front of a foreign ambassador, especially one for the Mongols. They were notorious for misinterpreting signals, an accident that could spell the doom of the hoped for peace treaty between the two Empires.

The Emperor ran a hand up to his chin, feeling its strange nakedness as retainers and servants ceremonially lit torches around the room, as well as opened the few windows in the place. The Emperor had sworn in 1243 he wouldn’t shave until the Mongols were finally defeated. Using a razor on his thick beard had hurt, but the visual symbol had been worth it. He planned on keeping it shaved all the way through Baghdad.

That thought did make Gabriel momentarily grimace. His perfidious uncle had called for a Grand Conference in the wake of Amol, one to ‘renew the pledges of loyalty amidst the lords of the United Empire.’ But Gabriel knew what it really was… a rubber stamping of the status quo, a stalling mechanism, and above all, a sham designed to yet again deny him his birthright and his due by his father’s naming him Kaisar! He would demand that, by right, the title of Emperor of the Romans belonged to him and him alone, but he knew tthey wouldn’t give him the imperial title! Now that Nikephoros had tasted Eastern wealth, he wasn’t likely to kindly hand back Italy and Africa! And now that Albrecht had seven years to entrench himself in the Queen of Cities…

…No, they wouldn’t recognize Gabriel’s claims. They’d never recognized his claims! He’d love nothing more than to make them recognize his claims at the point of a sword!

Yes, his armies were tired… the levies would have to be dismissed, and the politikoi that remained, only 80,000 of the original 120,000, left to plot their new lands. Even the tagmata were stretched—most of the men had originally marched into Persia some 15 years before. Battle-hardened they were, but age and homesickness were catching up with them…

…time was of the essence. While Nikephoros was still in Spain, the Conference would undoubtedly be headed by Albrecht in person, along with his retainers and followers. So Gabriel would use the Conference to stall as well—stall Albrecht within his reach, just long enough his troops could descend on the city and end that wretched German’s life and influence. From that, Konstantinopolis would be easy. Gabriel had already heard reports that the brat who threatened everything was in Konstantinopolis, but with Albrecht gone, Gabriel knew his brother—Thomas would likely gladly hand over the imperial crown. From there, it’d be easy to destroy Anastasia and the young boy. Then, he could wait a year, recruit a new army while paying his veterans their just dues, then sail for Italy and force Nikephoros to fight or surrender his illicit gains.

One Empire.

One Emperor.

And for all of that to happen, he needed peace with the Mongol. Now. And that was the main reason the man clad in beautiful Chinese silks trimmed with gold now stood before Gabriel in this otherwise gloomy throneroom.

“Greetings, Emperor of the Romans, Vice-Gerent of Christ,” the man intoned. He bowed. “I come on the behalf of Ariq Boke, Great Khan of the Mongols, Emperor of China, India, and the Steppes, and Lord of All He Surveys. I am Toghrul, son of Tolui, and I have been authorized to speak on the behalf of the Great Khan.”

“Welcome to Isfahan, Toghrul, son of Tolui,” Gabriel nodded politely, if coolly, at his guest. The Mongol’s eyes narrowed slightly, but the Emperor paid little heed. He was triumphant, and it was the Great Khan, not Gabriel Komnenos, who now asked for peace. Regardless of the situation, that fact needed to be kept fresh—it would help once the details of the treaty were under negotiation. “Whatever you wish for during your stay will be our desire to fulfill.”

“Thank you, Majesty,” Toghrul bowed again, even stiffer than before.

“So Toghrul, son of Tolui, what are the terms you have been authorized to propose?” Gabriel asked, before glancing to the left. On cue, a servant materialized from behind the dais, a plate full of blackberries in hand. “Fruit, good sir?”

Toghrul looked over at the servant walking up to him, and despite eyes that plainly wanted the sweet fruit, he held up a hand. Gabriel smiled slightly and leaned back—so the Mongol was inclined towards business before all else. Fair enough, a good thing to know before negotiations commenced in earnest.

“My master offers the following proposal,” Toghrul turned to the Emperor’s chamberland and produced a piece of parchment. David duly took the paper from the Mongol, then handed it to Gabriel. As Gabriel read, the Mongol continued speaking. “He offers that the borders between your empire and the ulus of Hulagu return to their boundaries before these unfortunate hostilities began. He also promises a period of ten years of peace between our peoples.”

“Well and good,” Gabriel said slowly, reading the document to make sure it said the same. The Greek on its pages was flawless, if filled with Persian idioms. “I look forward to solidifying the arrangements on these matters, and once and for all securing peace between our peoples,” Gabriel said with a polite smile, handing the document to a waiting attendant. “But for now, Lord Toghrul, you are my guest! And in my home, it is custom that we do not make our guests stand.” The Emperor motioned towards a servant, and within seconds a chair made of fine mahogany was produced before the Mongol.

“Please,” Gabriel gestured. Uneasily, the Mongol ambassador settled into the thing. “Now,” Gabriel went on, after wine had been offered and refused by the Mongol, “Has your master decided on the fate of the ulus of Hulagu?” Gabriel looked up in time to see the Mongol’s eyes momentarily go wide at the emperor using a word from the Mongol tongue. The Emperor grinned—surprising foreign dignitaries gave him no end of pleasure.

“The Great Khan has decided that the ulus of Hulagu was too powerful, and in his great wisdom, has decided to split the ulus in three.”

Gabriel nodded. It wasn’t until after Amol the Romans had discovered just how much disunity there was within the vast Mongol Empire, and even now, Gabriel was sure the Romans were only scratching the surface of the petty jealousies that threatened to break up the largest realm ever seen in history. That Ariq Boke, Great Khan only through a splintered kurultai, would break up the lands of his late greatest opponent was expected…

“India, Transoxiania and Kashgar?” Gabriel asked, using the Greek names for those regions.

“Yes,” Toghrul nodded. “India will be given to his cousin Tekuder, son of Tolui, Central Asia to his brother Ong, and the lands of the former Kara Kitai to Yesugei, son of Chagatai.”


“Ah,” Gabriel said, managing to keep his voice level. At the mention of Ong Khan, the Emperor’s blood ran cold—why would the Great Khan put his brother the furthest from Karakorum? Family strife was always a possibility, but so was having a loyal, reliable pair of eyes and ears on the border of your greatest enemy—something that didn’t bode well for the purported ‘ten years of peace.’

Or Gabriel’s immediate future plans.

Fortunately, David had pointed out this… potential problem not long after the dust of Amol finally settled. If Gabriel was to march west, he needed two things—money for fresh soldiers, and a peaceful east. They were having a hard enough time coming up with the first, adding the second to the list…

“And what of Altani Khatun, daughter of Hulagu Khan?” David asked on cue.

Gabriel permitted himself only the slightest of grins to his best friend, Megoslogothetes and sometimes lover. The Mongol ambassador glared ever so slightly.

“My master is keen to find Altani Khatun, as well as her husband the Turk Tokhtamysh. She may go with him to his tribal lands, but the two tumen that ride with her are not hers. They belong to my lord and master, and she must return them forthwith, or risk the wrath of the Great Khan.”

“So she is a refugee then?” Gabriel pressed. “Her and her small army?”

“Yes, Majesty,” Toghrul nodded. “My master would consider it a great symbol of the new friendship and bond between our peoples if you could give me any information on her or her whereabouts.”

“Indeed it would be,” Gabriel leaned back and settled into that dark ebony throne, “and I truly wish I was able to tell you her whereabouts or intentions,” he lied. “She has…”

“Your Majesty, with your permission?” David said on cue. Gabriel turned, and nodded to his Megoslogothetes, who promptly and briskly walked out of the chambers. The Emperor looked back at the Mongol, who stared after David with an obvious look of disgust at a servant who would so willingly interrupt his master.

“He merely goes to make sure the arrangements for your welcoming feasts are in order,” Gabriel added, smilingly icily.

Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. Gabriel wasn’t sure who exactly said that, but in his opinion, no fairer words were spoken. A Mongol prince of the blood on Persia’s borders? Simply unacceptable, at least in Gabriel’s mind. It would be an invitation to friction, strife, and possible future invasion. Any rifts amongst the Mongols, no matter how large or small, needed to be exploited, for the sake of Romanion and Gabriel’s appointment with Destiny in the West. Toghrul, son of Tolui likely had no idea that David had not left to make arrangements for the state dinner that evening, but to speak to one a ‘merchant’ in the city named Abu Malik—really named Abaqa, cousin of Tokhtamysh, chief of the Turcoman. He brought more than good greetings, he would also bring a proposal…

…ties of blood, after all, were the strongest of all.



November 3rd, 1247

Alexios looked up nervously towards the hillsides all around, and sighed. He didn’t want to come through this defile, but he had little choice—the altnernative was to backtrack and take the route along the coast of the Caspian Sea back to Mesopotamia, which would’ve simply meant harder passes over the Zagros.

So the King kept himself to sighs and little else as he and his 100 personal bodyguards continued on. Scouts had scoured the ravine and the area around it, and they had pronounced the area clear. But Alexios still wanted to be careful—northeast Persia outside of the fortress cities had been mauled by the years of war, and many locals had turned to banditry. True, he had a strong retinue, but Alexios would have sooner avoided trouble than charged into it.

With the peace treaty signed between Gabriel and the Great Khan, the King hoped that eventually time might solve the problems of this region. Peace was convenient for the Mongol lord, as it gave him time to set his house in order. It was convenient for the small-folk, as it gave them time to rebuild their shattered lives. Finally, Alexios knew it was convenient for Gabriel, as the Emperor had made little effort to hide his intention of marching on Konstantinopolis with the tagmata in tow if he didn’t get his way at the upcoming Great Conference—a fight Alexios intended to completely stay out of. The coming contest would be a clash between the backers of Gabriel and the backers of von Franken and Alexios’ still childless brother-in-law. He saw no reason to be a part of it and stick his neck further out than necessary—but despite his planned neutrality, he’d already told Botenaites, as well as Tatikios and Bataczes once they returned from the frontiers, to make ready to flee to Edessa, and from thence to Antioch…

“Altani Katun,” Botenaites muttered, “she’s the one we’ve got to worry about.”

Alexios nodded grimly at the mention of that woman’s name. She’d been a shadowy figure, a dark cloud that seemed to hover over the Middle East. She was the only surviving child of Hulagu, and with her husband, held the support of nearly 20,000 of her father’s troops, including most of his crack Mongol tumen. Sure, she’d been declared an outlaw by the Mongol Great Khan, but she and her troops were still out there, somewhere down by Yazd last that Alexios had heard. He was glad for once Persia was so large… Sari was nearly three hundred miles from Yazd as the crow flies.

“Why doesn’t the Emperor just hunt her down?” Botenaites went on quietly to no one in particular as the lazy clank of horses and rider echoed off the surrounding canyon walls.

“Because she’s a useful pawn,” Alexios murmured in reply. “As long as Altani is alive and has a force, Gabriel can use the threat of backing her claims to her father’s lands to compel the Great Khan to stay from trying us again later.”

“Bah,” Botenaites grumpily complained, “all that plottin’, it ain’t for me.”

“You have the luxurious assignment,” Alexios grinned, “Guarding me instead of supervising the politkoi land disbursements like Tatikios and Bataczes!” The Emperor looked up and around the canyon out of habit, despite the scout’s swearing it was clear. Nothing. He let his smile return as he looked at Botenaites. “Tatikios wrote that he’s splitting the boys into politkoi and archepolitikoi. I’m sure Gabriel will have words with me in Baghdad over that!”


Botenaites laughed, but Alexios was serious. Many politikoi had brought more equipment than just the requisite helmet, leathers, shield, spear and bow. Some had brought horses even—draft horses, usually, but even those had uses in an army. Some, like Alexios and his generals, had argued that the politikoi who brought more should get larger sums of land… to become, in effect, archepolitikoi. Emperor Gabriel and others argued that the politikoi land grant was a standard size for every person, regardless of their contribution.

But the thought of Gabriel angry at the Great Conference in Baghdad paled before the excitement of Alexios’ return. The throngs he knew would greet him in the streets weren’t what made him want to return so badly—he would never be used to being a hero in the eyes of the littlefolk, and he knew it—it was the smiling face of his wife who he hadn’t seen in so long. He really did miss Anastasia. It’d been… five months since her last letter? Longer? He couldn’t remember. He’d try to come up with reasons why she didn’t write… or more likely, why her letters didn’t reach him, but…

“Hey, what’s that?”

Botenaites’ shout snapped Alexios back to the present. The King’s eyes flashed up the steep mountainside to their right.

There, standing alone amidst the sea of rocks, as a single, lone figure.

“I’m not liking this,” Botenaites murmured. Alexios nodded, eyes still watching the figure. From this far away the King couldn’t tell if it was a child or an adult scrambling along the rocks. A child could simply be eager to see a column of cavalry riding through the ravine. An adult… The King kicked his horse again to a canter. Hooves rumbled as the small contingent picked up speed. They were too far in to turn around… the scouts said the exit was barely ten minutes ahead. It’d be more dangerous to try to backtrack the last four hours if someone was planning something in the canyon. He hoped the figure would simply disappear, and that would be that.

No, the figure didn’t disappear. It clambered along the rocks, slowly falling behind the faster column. Alexios eyed the thing again—he still wasn’t sure. He spurred his horse again to a lope. Hooves rumbled as the entire column picked up pace as well.

Alexios looked up. There was another figure… then another. Both sides of the canyon, scrambling along carelessly, knocking over rocks.

“Swords!” the King heard Botenaites yell. Alexios spurred his horse again. Damn the narrowness! “Go Majesty!” Botenaites urged, his voice strained, insistent. Four figures now… then five. Then six. The Alexios stopped counting, he fumbled until he got Pyroglossa from its scabbard, then slapped the flat of the blade into his horse’s flanks. Brontos squealed and leapt forward in a panic, the King barely hanging on.

He looked down. There! The defile ended abruptly into a slight series of low hills! Cavalry could deploy there! Alexios smiled! They were only a minute away! Only one more…

The King’s thought was interrupted by the thundering rumble of a drum, and the bleating roar of a horn. The King didn’t look up, didn’t look around, he was focused on getting out of the canyon, getting into the open where…

Black figures suddenly erupted from behind the edge of the canyon, filling the exit. More rose from the rocks of the surrounding cliffsides, alien screams, cries filling the air. Alexios’ blood went cold—he’d heard those shouts, those calls only three months before, in the dust of Amol.

The Mongols of Altani? How?

The King reined up hard, along with Botenaites. Charge line, Alexios’ mind screamed. The King looked up, and the chillarchos was already bellowing the orders. Horsemen crowded the narrow front ranks, swords ready. They’d have to fight their way out!

Botenaites shouted, and the King felt the ground tremble as his retainers thundered by towards that line of men blocking their escape.

Alexios looked up at the hillsides. The men up above clearly had bows, but why hadn’t they fired yet? They stood there, screaming, yelling, like their comrades blocking the exit of the defile. Why didn’t they attack? Why?

Was that?


The King blinked. He knew it was stupid, he knew he should be galloping ahead with his retainers, Pyroglossa drawn, to fight out the noose around them. But that woman… was that?

No, it couldn’t be! She was supposedly near Yazd!

She drew a bow and notched and arrow.

Alexios frowned as guardsmen flooded past him, battlecries in the air. She was too far away! There was no way… was she grinning? Why was she…

The King felt a sudden blast of pain, and caught a glimpse of a deadly black shaft sticking from his chest. His last moments were filled with the thunder of hooves all around him, and the whistling of arrows and clash of steel as his retainers were cut down to a man…



So Gabriel is doing as everyone predicted, but has several problems in his path… though one of them, the King of Mesopotamia, has fallen. How will Albrecht et al react to this? And what happens when Gabriel and Frederica meet? The father has fallen, will the mother and child escape Gabriel’s clutches? More to come on Rome AARisen!
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Well, my favorite didn't last long. I think you mentioned his sword just to rub it in... you smarmy weasel! But all joking rebukes aside, why on earth did Altani want to do that? She obviously was proposing to kill Alexios for Gabriel early on in the update, but what does she want? Just to be left alone? Or official backing? Because how would Gabriel justify backing her in a Civil War when he needs peace in the East? Is he doing it to make the Mongols fall off balance and be in turmoil while he goes West? Does he have a way of knowing that the Mongols wouldn't declare war again if he did that? Seems like a casus belli to me.
This is just too much Dune, man.

Pictures and assassins in the sand and all.
Despite him defeating the Mongols, I'm starting to seriously dislike Gabriel. I always favoured Thomas and Nikephoros and Alexios but the real dislike of Gabriel is only coming now.
Is it me or is Gabriel's ambition starting to border on insanity?
One Empire! One Emperor!

However, that emperor was supposed to be Alexios :(

If Gabriel usurps Thomas, the Empire will divide...again... I really don't think Gabriel could beat Nikephoros, not with Italy in Niko's hands.