Introduction

iain_a_wilson

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The interior of the hut was cramped, uncomfortable and humid. A variety of mangey animal pelts were scattered around the floor in a vague attempt to make the place feel more comfortable, but the only thing anyone who was foolish enough to sit on them ended up feeling was itchy, as the myriad insects that made their home in them swarmed forth. A large brass bowl was balanced precariously on a rickety wooden table in the middle of the mess of furs, and it was from here that great gouts of sickly smelling smoke were slowly dissipating. Grigor Gardman-Aghbania, count of Suenik, coughed loudly and waved his hand in front of his face, in a vain attempt to clear the smog that had settled over his eyes, and which was stinging like hell. The woman that knelt opposite him, her face partially obscured by a tatty black robe, cackled gleefully. Grigor frowned.

"Well, THAT was an oddly specific prophecy. You seriously saw all THAT in your horrible, smokey fire?"

The woman cackled again - a high pitched, irritating noise that - if it were written down - went something like "EEEE-hehehehehehehehehe!" Grigor rolled his eyes.

"Oh for goodness sake, you can quit with the crone act now; I'm not some silly girl coming to you for a love potion. Besides, you're only 32."

The woman sagged visibly and rearranged her sitting position to one that was more comfortable - no mean feat when you feel like you're being eaten alive by a thousand, tiny, biting insects. She pulled back her hood and scowled.

"You're no fun. Atmosphere is very important when soothsaying. There are some countries where they won't let you practice proper fortune telling with out all the correct trappings."

"Yeah, and there are other countries out there where you'd be burned at the stake for having 'all the correct trappings' so be thankful I'm such a wise and benevolent ruler."

Grigor frowned again.

He did that a lot.

In fact, it was a family trait. Most Gardman-Aghbanias found themselves frowning more often than not, because usually fate tended to deal them the sort of hand that necessitated frowning.

Or crying.

Or screaming.

The last one was pretty popular - probably more so than the frowning.

"So, you're being straight up with me - everything you saw was true? All of that is going to happen?"

She nodded and grinned.

"Yup - straight up. Pretty cool, huh?"

Grigor blanched, mainly as an alternative to frowning.

"Er...NO!"

This seemed to catch the fortune teller off guard, whose grin promptly vanished.

"What do you mean 'Er...NO!'? That was a quality fortune - one of the best I've ever told. You're going to take your shi...er...modest little county and become the dominant power in the world! There was excitement, adventure, derring-do..."

By this point Grigor was shaking his head and holding up a hand.

"Forget all that - what about the psychopaths, the devil worship, the ghosts, the rivers of blood, the miles and miles of bodies littering the pages of history. Oh yeah, and the fact that the final family member you mention ENDS UP IN HELL???"

"Well, when you put it like that, Mr Glass-Half-Empty..."

With a scattering of mangy furs, Grigor pushed himself to his feat.

"No way - I don't want any part of that."

The fortune teller held her hands up.

"Aw, come on! Your family get to be emperors of Germany!"

"I don't even know what that is! What's a Germany? Is it a country? A town?"

The flames in the brass bowl seemed to flicker and the fortune teller's eyes rolled back in her head.

"And lo, brother shall fight brother. A great eagle shall spread its wings, the shadow from which will cover from Persia to the Rhine. A three headed..."

She was suddenly cut off by the pelt that Grigor hurled in her direction.

"Enough! Cut it out. No more of that rubbish. I'm not interested. I'm going home."

"What do you mean you're not interested?"

"Simply what I'm saying - I don't want any part in your stupid prophecy - it sounds horrible. My descendents...they all sound mental."

The fortune teller waved her arms in a faintly silly, but what she assumed was properly mystic, way.

"Fates designs cannot be denied. Even now, you chart history's course with your very actions."

Grigor stopped at the door of the hut and turned to face her, a sly smile creasing his typically serious features.

"I can't deny fate's design, eh? You're saying what you have foreseen will happen regardless? That I'm powerless to resist."

"Yeah, pretty much that. Because of...er...mystic reasons. And the tides of starlight. And angels. And other things."

"Riiiight. I'll prove to you that this is all a load of old bollocks."

By this time the fortune teller was on her feet, hands planted firmly on her ample hips.

"Oh yeah? And how do you plan to do that?"

"Simple - I'm going to change history right this minute. I'm going to do something that you never saw in your vision."

She arched an eyebrow.

"Go on. This will be good."

"I'm changing the name of my country. In your vision you referred to Suenik. Well, I'm changing it's name to Syunik. With a Y."

"Look, that's hardly changing the course of history. In fact, it's cheating. They sound the same. No dice. You've changed nothing."

"Nope. I totally have changed history - you never saw it spelt with a Y in any of your silly visions, did you?"

"Well, to be fair..."

"Ha! Look at that - I've denied fate! I'll see you later, lady!"

With that, Grigor Gardman-Aghbania, count of Syunik, wandered off into the night, to carve out a destiny for himself, hopefully free from the shackles of history.

---

Old hands may remember, but back in 2009 I created a comedy AAR in the original Crusader Kings, based around the middle eastern minor country of Suenik. This little realm is unique in that it is one of the only Christian realms in the Middle East, surrounded by angry Turks, and therefore is something of a challenge to play! The original AAR was a lot of fun, and when it finished I had a few people ask "Will you ever do something in CKII?" Well now, six years on from when the original AAR finished, I've decided to give it a pop.

I have no idea if my gameplay will ever reach the heights it did in the original AAR, but that was never the intention even back then - the goal was always to roleplay the characters and all the crazy situations that the game world threw at me. Sadly, it appears that the Gardman-Aghbanias are no more, so I've had to create them myself. Here's hoping I can survive long enough to make an interesting tale!
 
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iain_a_wilson

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coz1

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Well done, Iain! Excellent to see you back and writing again. Great comedy in this and probably as difficult this time as it was the last. Good luck!
 

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Well done, Iain! Excellent to see you back and writing again. Great comedy in this and probably as difficult this time as it was the last. Good luck!

Thanks amigo. Hopefully I'll have the first update on here later on tonight. I'll caveat all of this with the fact that I'm really new to CKII and not entirely sure what I'm doing...
 

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Being new to CK2 and not knowing what you're doing just makes it all the more fun!
 

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Ahhh, this promises much indeed.
 

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CHAPTER 1 - ENTER GRIGOR

iain_a_wilson

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SUENIK RELOADED
CHAPTER 1 - ENTER GRIGOR...

(1066 - 1068)
Hello and welcome to the prosperous realm of Suenik (now with an added "Y" for extra avoidance of fate reasons!) gentle reader. My name is Grigor Gardman-Aghbania, and I rule wisely over all I survey!

upload_2017-4-13_23-37-11.png


In fairness, that's not saying a lot. Suenik - sorry, Syunik or whatever I'm calling it these days - is a barren, mountainous and sparsely populated outpost of Christendom that is pretty much adrift amidst a sea of angry Muslims.

upload_2017-4-13_23-36-47.png


I've got no real idea WHY exactly they're so angry; if I were to guess I'd assume it was down to something that the Byzantine Empire said or did. In my experience the Greeks are a bunch of haughty arseholes, who are extremely good at rubbing people up the wrong way. In fact, given their penchant for ancient, Athenian buggery, I'd probably be happy to bet that a lot of this anger has a lot to do with the Byzantines LITERALLY trying to rub some people up the wrong way.

So yeah, lots of angry Muslims on my doorstep. Thanks Greeks.

It's not all bad news though - I've got a lovely family.

upload_2017-4-13_23-38-42.png


This little chap is Artavazd, my son and heir. He's also part of my "avoid Fate's cruel embrace plan." You see, the fortune teller told me that, in her vision, I gave my son the WEIRDEST name. I mean, who calls their kid Hovhannes Senek'erim Garman-Aghbania? Not this guy! My wife actually WANTED to call the boy Hovhannes Senek'erim, but I told her no way - so we settled on a nice normal name like Artavazd.

I've also got a daughter too.

upload_2017-4-13_23-42-21.png


Little Yeva is being brought up to be a proper lady, and yes - this is another "fate avoidance tactic". According to that accursed soothsayer, all Gardman-Aghbania women seem to share some inherent personality flaw that causes them to become self destructive, scheming monsters so I set Yeva on the path to becoming a cultured and refined young woman, who will be an asset to the court. Just like my lovely wife.

upload_2017-4-13_23-47-39.png


Some say I married beneath my station, but personally I think it's more down to the fact that beggars can't be choosers. I'm an ugly bugger, and Nane has seen past that, and loyally borne me two lovely children. Plus, she gets to call herself "countess" and wear pretty dresses, but I doubt that's got anything to do with it.

There's also some wits who suggest marrying into the Gardman-Aghbania name is "marrying beneath your station" for lowborns, but those particular wits are currently strapped out on the mountain side staring up at the circling vultures.

Speaking of vultures, here are the capable and loyal souls who help me keep Suenik the fun, interesting and safe(ish) place that we know and love.

upload_2017-4-13_23-51-51.png


Vahag (whose name sounds like a greeting you'd yell when jumping out on someone unexpectedly) and Ivane are basically morons, but they're the best of a bad bunch. Vahag (VA-HAG!!!!) is also from Dwin - our neighbours to the west - so his weird accent gets on my nerves too. I'm going to get rid of the pair of them just as soon as someone more capable shows up. Which I'm willing to bet is going to be the next visitor to my court. Or their pet vulture.

I need to learn to be careful what I wish for though. Turns out I might be getting a visitor sooner rather than later, but said visitor is probably going to be riding on a pale horse.

That's a Biblical reference by the way, for those of you slow on the uptake.

Death.

Death is probably going to show up in Suenik shortly, in the form of a disease, which messengers assure me is sweeping the known world.

Thankfully, as the wise and just ruler of Suenik, I know just what to do.

upload_2017-4-13_23-59-23.png


Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm desperate or anything. Or that I'm the sort of guy who just grabs the first solution to come to hand. I don't want them to think that I panic, just because - nay ESPECIALLY because - I hear rumour of a horrible disease running rampant throughout the Byzantine Empire. No, I want them to know that I take my time and consideration over such life and death matters as choosing my court physician.

upload_2017-4-14_0-2-38.png


Ok, so I lie. I completely flipped out when I heard that there was a pandemic bearing down on my county like an angry bull, and I more or less yelled "YOU'LL DO!" to the first butcher who answered my call.

He's got one eye and he's cheap - how bad could it get? I'm very confident that this decision will not come back to haunt me.

As I'm fretting over the impending tidal wave of disease about to spew itself over my lovely little demesne, my wife joyfully announces that we will be having another child. I say "WE" - clearly "SHE" is the one having the child. SHE is the one who gets to bear it for nine months and contend with all the hormonally induced psychosis that it brings and...actually, who am I kidding? If this is anything like the time when she was pregnant with Yeva, I'm going to have to spend nine months walking on eggshells, lest my slightest remark set her off into a frenzy of blubbering and wailing; a state of misery that is occasionally livened up by a guest appearance from her "angry accusatory voice" which can only be described as being delivered at the same volume that one normally reserves for commanding cavalry, and which packs the emotional punch of a swarm of bees.

Angry bees.

Angry bees that are angry because they're on fire.

Thankfully the nine months pass in a state of (relative) marital bliss, and we are blessed with another son!

upload_2017-4-14_0-13-43.png


I'm not a fan of vowels as you can tell.

So far, the dreaded plague hasn't made an appearance, so I take the time to tour All I Survey (it takes me a good couple of hours) and I bump into some odd looking gentlemen who convince me that if I invest in something called a Trade Post, they can help make me wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

upload_2017-4-14_0-15-31.png


I agree to invest in building this, but I don't hold them to the "wildest dreams" part. In my time I've had some fairly racy dreams - that one with the three Armenian priestesses, the Coptic Pope and a camel was insane; there was literally no humanity in what they were doing for my amusement.

Banking on the fact that I'm going to be rich, I strike a deal with one of my barons (ok, my ONLY baron) whereby I'll ask him for less cash every month, in turn for him making more soldiers available in time of war.

upload_2017-4-14_0-18-35.png


He seems to think that this is a great idea, and readily agrees. Then, he pauses, blanches and says "We're not going to war, are we?" I give him a confident "No, silly!" but temper this with "...oh, and you do know we're surrounded by angry Muslims, right?"

Grigor, inspirer of underlings!

Oh, and while I'm splashing the cash, I also decide to by my wife a buzzard.

upload_2017-4-14_0-22-15.png


Because what do you give the woman who has everything, right?

We're about to take it (she's called it "Mleh" for some reason) out for it's maiden flight, when a breathless messenger spits out some grim tidings before collapsing in a heap on the floor.

upload_2017-4-14_0-23-28.png


I have the guards spear him, drag him outside and burn the body to prevent the disease from spreading further. Turns out, it wasn't the fever that had made him collapse, just a general unfamiliarity with physical exertion and cardio exercise, but you can never be too careful, right?

Speaking of which, I confer with the great and the good of the realm and decide that in a time of trouble and hardship, which affects everyone equally, from the lowliest peasant to the greatest in the land (which is yours truly in case anyone has forgotten) there is only one course of action to take.

upload_2017-4-14_0-28-24.png


Yup - lock out the filthy, unwashed masses!

Hopefully this plague business will sort itself out and then I can get back to the important business of running the realm!

Will the disease pass? Will untold thousands die? What of Mleh the Buzzard? Find out in the next exciting installment of Suenik Reloaded!
 

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stnylan

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Ahh what are a few irate neighbours between friends?
 

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Manly Men Names don't need vowels.
 

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I like Grigor, he has entirely the right attitude for the country he is running and has an excellent turn of phrase. Plus he is a man raging against fate and trying to fight his destiny, both things I approve of.
 

coz1

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Your ending reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows...SOAP. Nice. :)

Great comedy in this so keep that up! And to give you a little extra nostalgia...

"To my Lord Grigor,

We do not bugger, nor beggar. If someone gets slit up a treat, it's their own damn fault.

- The most joyous and regal representatives from Byzantium."​
 

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Glorious, rich, and mighty Suenik returns... oh wait. It's still a doomed land-locked little province surrounded by Greeks and Saracens...

Welp. May the glory of S*enik spread as far as their hatred of vowels!
 

iain_a_wilson

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IT BEGINS

Though as someone who hasn't looked at the vanilla map in the past three years or so it's painful.

There's a non-vanilla map? SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE, OH WISE ONE!

Ahh what are a few irate neighbours between friends?

Ha! Irate neighbours are there to be ignored and pacified. So far I've not yet had to call upon the patented Grigor Defence (TM).

Manly Men Names don't need vowels.

The Armenian culture does produce some stupidly manly names. My favourite has always been "Toros". You don't want to mess with someone with that name...

I like Grigor, he has entirely the right attitude for the country he is running and has an excellent turn of phrase. Plus he is a man raging against fate and trying to fight his destiny, both things I approve of.

Grigor is fun to write for. He's smart, so that's why he's trying to make the best of a bad situation. And having heard The Prophecy (TM) he knows he wants no part in any of that nonsense! What he doesn't realise is that by denying fate he's setting himself up for a whole load of nonsense of his own making...

Your ending reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows...SOAP. Nice. :)

That sounds like high praise. What's the show (and why did it remind you)?

Great comedy in this so keep that up!

That's the intention - comedy comes more easily than seriousness :)


To my Lord Grigor...​

Grigor is smart enough not to respond to that.

Glorious, rich, and mighty Suenik returns... oh wait. It's still a doomed land-locked little province surrounded by Greeks and Saracens...

Welp. May the glory of S*enik spread as far as their hatred of vowels!

Yup - S*enik is still beleaguered!

Thank you all for your comments - I love that you're all following this! Stay tuned for the next episode...
 

coz1

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That sounds like high praise. What's the show (and why did it remind you)?
It was a late 70's sitcom called SOAP. It was a play on daytime soap operas and always ended with various questions leading to "find out next time on SOAP." You can YouTube bits but nothing beats watching the whole thing. It's only 4 seasons long and gave Billy Crystal his start, among others. High comedy and one of my favorites.
 
CHAPTER 2 - IT WAS THE CATS WHAT DID IT...

iain_a_wilson

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SUENIK RELOADED
CHAPTER 2 - IT WAS THE CATS WHAT DID IT...

(1068 - 1072)

Plague is a serious business. I call my councillors together in the safety of my castle to discuss what we should do next.

Something's not right.

That is, something OTHER than the screams of anguish coming from the peasantry who are dying in their own filth on the other side of the thick stone walls that keep me safely cloistered away from Camp Fever...

I look at my councillors and realise what it is. Nobody is making a nuisance of themselves by ranting loudly about Christian Armenia taking a stand against the Infidel. Which, to be fair, i'm fine with - I could really do without some Emir hearing rumours like "Oh yeah, in Suenik they're really big into bashing Muslims. Stirring up a Crusade I hear..."

That being said, where IS Bishop Hovhannes?

015.png


Oh.

Awkward.

Guess he didn't get the note about the closing of the castle gates, huh?

A few months pass and I receive three bits of news. One welcome, one amusing an one not so welcome.

016.png

Firstly, my trade post has been built. Hurrah! Turns out, Suenik is slap bang in the middle of something called "The Silk Road". Lots of traders pass down it, and my wonderful trading post lets me tax them.

Success.

Secondly, my neighbour in Dwin is having a LOT of trouble with the local peasantry. They're led by some charismatic sort calling himself "The Liberator" who is doing a damn good job of liberating a lot of the current count's land.

I have a jolly good chuckle at this - I've been coveting ol' Dwin-chops' land for a while - but my chuckle turns into an angry squawk when my messenger lets me know that because Dwin is a war torn shithole, all the nice traders who I want to tax won't be swinging by my trading post any time soon.

The messenger also neglects to mention that regardless of the war, the traders would probably avoid my county anyway. Nasty diseases that are so severe that those infected end up having a gastric exorcism from both ends tend to produce an avoidance strategy in most sane folks.

Still, I appreciate my messenger's attempt at sparing my feelings.

More time passes...

Have any of you ever been locked away in a castle before? It gets boring REALLY quickly. Thankfully, my lovely wife and I manage to keep ourselves amused.

018.png


One of the problem with a plague, is that it's pretty hard, short of standing on the battlements and yelling "Everything ok down there?", to tell if it's still running its course. However, after a few months, we notice that things have got a LOT quieter outside - the banging on the gate (and the associated whizz of arrows) had ended a while back, but now even the screams of the dying have stopped.

017.png


Not sure how that's a "gain" but hey ho, I have a few guards test the water (so to speak) and it turns out that the time of pestilence is over. Hurrah!

Naturally, I have heralds proclaim around the land how I had spent every night piously in prayer, and how the good Lord has now clearly heard my petitions and decided to bless Suenik once again.

Some of the locals indicate my wife's swollen belly and mutter darkly. They're peasants, but they're not ALL stupid...

However, it's clear that a lot of them are CLEARLY mental...

019.png


No, it's not the cats.

That's just silly.

Go back to your farms.

020.png


Seriously? Cats? Really? REALLY?

The cats have fuck all to do with this. Go home.

I suggest to my marshal that he take the troops out and drill them on nearby farmland.

Was that some weird plague that killed off the healthy and left only the feeble-minded behind?

021.png


On a sadder note, my son and heir seems pretty ill. I pray that it's not Camp Fever and I summon my physician, imploring him to do anything and everything in his power to save Artavazd.

As he's working on him, I pace the corridors of my castle. I am worried sick (no pun intended) and most certainly NOT in the mood for any more cat related idiocy.

022.png


As if sensing my mood, my marshal springs into action...

024.png


The peasants disperse, muttering darkly to themselves about "a reckoning".

I LOOK FORWARD TO IT, BITCHES!

Speaking of reckonings, it seems like The Liberator next door has done his bit for Suenik, as the Silk Road reopens.

025.png


He's also (obviously) liberated his county from whomever it was it needed liberating from. The previous lord, I guess. Hmm - I wonder if cats featured anywhere in their disagreement?

Oh, and no laughing at the trade post - that's a lot of money from where I'm from!


Amidst the Trade Post Inauguration celebration, my physician announces the birth of my daughter.

023.png


I keep referring to her as "my little trade post".

Literally nobody, least of all her, finds this endearing.

With life in the county getting back to normal, I find myself dispensing justice like a proper Lord should.

026.png


The crack of the gallows clearly proves to be a hit with my wife who opines that she likes a "strong, decisive man"...

027.png


Ha! Gardman-Aghbanaian women, who'd have 'em...

Oh...

Wait...

Wasn't this just the sort of thing that fortune teller warned me against?

The royal pregnancy is announced around the realm, and in a show of spontaneous celebration, the local peasantry prove that anything their lord can do, they can do better...

028.png


Wow. I'm actually impressed. I mean, when I was in my castle, THOUSANDS died. These guys must breed like rabbits. That's a lot of dedicated peasant loving.

Urgh.

I actually was a little bit sick in my mouth there. I really didn't want to think of that. Now I won't ever be able to unthink that mental image.

Peasant loving...

Who even says stuff like that?

Urgh.

I disgust myself.

Somebody give me some good news to cheer me up...

029.png


Fortune Teller! We meet again...

What will Grigor do to the Fortune Teller? Will he show mercy? Will he ever be able to forget the image of peasants repopulating the countryside? Find out in the next exciting installment of Suenik Reloaded!
 

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stnylan

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Weigh her against a duck and go from there I think
 

El Pip

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I think the locals would prefer her to be weighed against a cat, they appear to be the Syunik standard of evil. If she weighs more than a cat she must be weighed down by the evil in her soul and/or the devil sitting on her shoulder guiding her ways, either way she would be more evil than a cat and deserving of burning at the stake.