• Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


  • Paradox Space Exploration Sale has arrived! Up to 75% off

    How's the space on your hard drive? Paradox wants to challenge your galaxy brain with a great selection of space exploration games - and they're all on sale for some very down-to-earth prices! The sale runs from May 4th until May 10th at 17:00 CEST / 08:00 PDT.


    May 4th - May 10th
  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART THREE:

The Red-Eyed Prince.

Chapter Eight.

Peace was sweet. As was wine.

This particular drink was from Portugal, from Hovhannes' little realm. The king's uncle had sent it, along with many other lavish gifts, to show his continuing loyalty to Affonso and his happiness at the Georgian victory over the pagans of Itil and Cuman.

The wine was the perfect accompaniment to the victory feast. Georgia had gained some territory near the Crimea, and a small amount of money from the Tribe of Itil. Never mind the thousands lying dead in the Volgan mud. Tonight was a time for good food and good cheer.

Affonso, now twelve, sat at the top of the table. He remained oddly quiet, a faint look of loathing on his face as he surveyed the rancour of the nobles seated around the table.

How they loved to be merry, to get drunk. He wondered if they'd be laughing if they had to work for fourteen hours a day for every day of their lives, slaving away to get enough food to survive the winter.

On the right of Affonso sat the Greek. He, too, was observing the table- but rather than with Affonso's contemptuous distaste, he was thinking of ways to use their drunken merriment for his own advantage. The cogs and gears of his intellect created a powerhouse of a mind, forever scheming and plotting.

On Affonso's left was Romanos. He was deep in discussion with a Roman nobleman, trying to extract from him the Emperor's true intentions towards the Turks. The others on the table did not interest him- most were simply minor Georgian nobles, who had little influence on the events of the world.

Akakide simply looked at his food, occasionally taking a bite, the odd mumble coming from his mouth. Without a battle to distract him, he had simply withdrawn into his crazed shell.

Next to him was Maria. She seemed a little twitchy and distracted, occasionally glancing at Demetrios, and paying her husband little attention. But then again, people muttered amongst themselves, she had only recently recovered from a cruel disease. It was only natural that she'd be a little out of it.

And so, the feast went on, with much drink and merriment, with the players of the deadly game all grouped together around the same table. All of them eating the same meal.

Then Affonso smiled. Now was the time to strike.

He stood up.

"My lords and ladies- I have something to tell you all."



To be continued...



loki100- thanks!
 
Last edited:

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART THREE:

The Red-Eyed Prince.

Chapter Nine.


"My lords and ladies- I have something to tell you all."

Demetrios looked up. What on earth was the young fool doing?

Affonso stood over the table, a cruel little smile playing over his face. He had been waiting a long, long time for this moment.

Had Demetrios really expected Affonso to just lie back and let Demetrios kill thousands of his subjects, with no punishment or retribution? The man was a fool. He may have skill at his art, but he was arrogant, overconfident and pretentious.

"We are a Christian kingdom. We uphold Christian laws, Christian values, and Christian ideals. Our people are all equally judged with regard to any crimes they have committed, be they a peasant or a nobleman."

Demetrios breathed a sigh of relief. The child was simply going to give a speech about the great victory that had just been won over the pagans. There was nothing to worry about.

"And it is in that knowledge that all our citizens are treated equally that I must remind you that no man is above the law. All must answer to their crimes.

He smiled again, toying with his knife. This would be amusing.

"And therefore, it is my regrettable duty to accuse three members of my court for crimes which are abhorrent to both my sensibilities and the subjects who I have pledged to protect."

Romanos almost smiled. He's spent a night which he could have been spending with his wife helping Affonso to learn the speech, and how to speak it well. But then again, becoming the king's friend was always a useful occupation. Affonso would need a strong right hand, soon enough.

The others in the room had become deathly quiet, staring at the king intently. Nobody noticed the emotion passing across Demetrios' face.

Fear.

"And so," Affonso continued, "For the crime of adultery, Maria Bagratuni and Demetrios Tzampklon shall be imprisoned for as long a period as I see fit."

The court was in uproar. Cheers of happiness and cries of outrage echoed across the hall. Demetrios himself had stood up, knocking over his food in his fury.

"How dare you suggest that I would do such a despicable act, you little brat!", he shouted. " You dare to mock me, your Regent, with such horrific charges as these?"

Affonso laughed. "Shall we add insulting a royal to those 'horrific charges'?"

Demetrios leapt at Affonso, but was dragged to the ground by the royal guards.

"I am your Regent! Unhand me!" he roared.

But all resistance was useless. He was dragged away, screaming and cursing at the king. Demetrios had lost control of his senses. He had become the little, wild peasant boy he might have been, had the Tzampklon family not found him in the wreckage of a mud hut all those years ago.

Maria was also being led away, but without such a scene. She was oddly quiet and humble. But she knew her crime, and was angry at herself as much as Demetrios had been angry at Affonso.

The nobles seated at the table were all in shock. To interrupt such a feast on petty charges of adultery was a horrendous crime, in their wine-addled views. But they stayed as still and as silent as stone. None of them wanted to be imprisoned either.

Akakide could understand little these days, but he had understood one thing. Maria had betrayed him.

He had loved her with all his heart and soul. Why go on when she had burned that love to ashes?

Affonso, at last, continued his speech. "The last person who must be sentenced is guilty of the murders of both King David and King Henrique."

Akakide smiled. The excecution he would recieve would be sweet. Peace was what he had craved for so long. As the nobles waited for Affonso's next words, he simply crawled inside himself and waited for death.



To be continued...
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART THREE:

The Red-Eyed Prince.

Chapter Ten.

Constantinople, 1112.

The Sultan laughed. This was good news.

The Georgian infidels had been the dominant Christian power for the last decade, ever since the Romans had passed into insignificance. The tyranny of Demetrios Tzampklon had kept Georgia in that position.

And now Demetrios had gone. The driving force behind Georgia had fallen.

The Sultan had many problems. Mesopotamia was up in arms. Rebellions had been breaking out all over Anatolia. And Trabzon had not only recently split away from the Empire, but had also come under Georgia's protection.

This would not do.

Ever since it had been discovered the Georgia had blamed the Romans for their false declaration of war, the Sultan had been hellbent on putting the Georgians in their place.

This morning, he stood in front of the Hagia Sophia, his sword in his hand. Before him stood the assembled ranks of the Sultan's army- Christian slaves, Muslim soldiers and hundreds of mercenaries, all eager for the Sultan's gold. It was an army to be reckoned with.

An army which had conquered half the world.

The Sultan was an old man, with little of his youth's fire remaining. But today, even brave Achilles would have trembled before him.

"Men! Too long have the Georgian infidels mocked us!"

The roar from the crowd was deafening. A thousand shining blades were raised up high.

"Too long have the accursed heretics dared to defy our will. Too long have they tried to defy our righteous message. Too long have they attacked our brethren, and forced them into bondage!"

The crowd roared again.

"Well, no more!" shouted the Sultan. "Today is the day we shall smite the heathens with the will of God, and take back the land which is rightfully ours. And let me make one thing clear," he said, a cruel grin beginning to play around his face.

"We shall not stop until all remnants of Georgia have been wiped from the map! Georgia shall be no more!"

The shouts and roars from the crowd had turned into a frenzy. With a speed quite abnormal for his age, the Sultan leapt onto his horse and began to lead the charge eastward, into the rising sun.


THE END
OF PART THREE.
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
No updates for a couple of weeks, I'm afraid. But I promise to have some more regular updates after that.

loki100- Exactly. Affonso desperately needs some support, considering that he is still a child. The nobles might not be too happy with a child on the throne. But we shall see if he is able to prove himself.
 

Alfredian

Major
7 Badges
Aug 1, 2009
733
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Was he going to be a good King even without the war? Something in his tone just makes me think that any social levelling he might do would be more at a Khmer Rouge level, rather than anything we might want to live through.

He seems to be keen on bringing down the hereditary power of the nobility, but will he want to retain his own (inherited) power?
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
I'm back, and updates shall soon resume.

Alfredian- His stats are ok, but not brilliant, though I can't remember off the top of my head. And yes, he does have a little of the vicious dictator in him, despite his good intentions.
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART FOUR:

The Blind Theban.

Chapter One.

Dramatis Personae
Romanos, General and Chancellor of Georgia.
The Whisperer, the mysterious advisor to Romanos.
Catarina, Wife of Romanos.
Akakide, Marshal of Georgia and Romanos' Commander.
General Kommenus, General of Georgia and claimant to the throne of Byzantium.
General Spartenos, General of Georgia.
Affonso, King of Georgia.
Cristina, Dowager Queen of Georgia.
The Sultan of the Seljuks.
Pereyaslava, a Rurikovich Princess.
Narek, leader of the Armenian Rebels.


1113

The desert was a source of both joy and sorrow for Romanos.

It was joy to be in a place where the worries of the court were well behind him. When Affonso had not denounced Akakide as the killer of Henrique and David, but had instead accused Sancha de Coimbra, his great-aunt, of the murders, Romanos had been livid.

The little wretch was supposed to have sent the real killer to prison. Why had he not?

He knew, of course, of Akakide's value to the kingdom. There was no other general who could come close to matching Akakide on the battlefield. But Romanos craved the position of marshal, and had been so close to attaining it.

Romanos could be a curious mix of both kind and hateful, charitable and selfish. He could be committed to getting a man justice at any cost, before stabbing him in the back for the sake of ambition.

So Romanos had few qualms about committing Demetrios to life imprisonment. It was strange, though- Affonso refused to have him killed. Perfectly happy about ruining the man's life, but when it came to the death-blow he was so... reluctant.

Anyway, that was not important right now. The war was.

The Turks had attacked the Georgians at Trebizond, but had been held off by an intrepid and ever-brilliant Akakide. A stalemate had been set up there.

Affonso wished for a second front to be set up, to see if they could break through Turkish lines in the East. And so, Romanos was in the deserts of Mesopotamia, far away from the troubles and machinations of the court.

The sun burnt down upon him. His army lay behind him- Romanos always insisted on leading it from the front.

On his left rode his beloved Catarina. Her dark Spanish face was looking downwards, both beautifully and painfully. She was sick, and badly so- the desert sun did not agree with her.

Romanos was sorely worried. She should never have come in the first place, but she had not been able to spend another minute away from her husband without feeling pangs of loneliness.

And he, too, longed to be at her side again after so much campaigning. He had barely seen her in the last few years, with the war in the north occupying him.

So she had come with him on the campaign. Highly irregular, but there weren't many who objected to the whims of a man as influential as Romanos.

On his right rode a man whose name was not known to him. He was simply called the Whisperer.

He never let anyone see his face- he covered it with a black hood and dark grey bandages. He war dark grey gloves too- indeed, all that anyone ever say of him were his eyes and mouth. Nobody had any idea who he was, save that he followed some strange, heretic faith of the far east. He occasionally spoke of his god, some heathen known as Tengri.

But the man knew things. He could speak Georgian, Armenian, Arabian and Turkish, and Romanos suspected that he knew many more languages.

He had shown them where enemy armies were waiting to ambush them. He had shown them where an oasis was when they were sorely in need of water. He had shown them a path that could take them to their destination quicker. He had been of tremendous help.

Akakide and Affonso wanted Romanos to meet up with the leader of the Armenian rebels in the area. They hoped that some sort of bargain could be struck with him, to join forces against the Turks.

He prayed that they were right. They were away from home, in a hostile land, with fewer and fewer supplies each day.

Without a friend, they wouldn't last long...
 
Last edited:

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART FOUR:

The Blind Theban.

Chapter Two.

Lisbon

Seven men crossed the street at dusk.

All wore black. All were masked. All had come from a lonely mountain in Navarra.

The crack of their boots on the stones ringed through the night. An owl screeched. A cry of horror echoed across the city, as another person was mugged and murdered.

Hovhannes and Henrique had been brought up very differently. Henrique had mostly been raised by his mother and the Portugese members of the court. His first tongue had been Portugese, and he had lived in Portugal for most of his life.

But Hovhannes had become the Duke of Porto. He tried his best, but his preoccupation with books and his pro-Orthodox religious policies had caused his realm to split and fracture.

Portugal was dying. And the Moors lay just beyond the border, waiting to pounce on its corpse.

And so, the assassins of Demon's Peak were going to end it all.

The doors of the Palace were thrust open. Upon its stones, Henrique had once brooded over the power he craved, and his brother now quietly read his books, soaking up the knowledge they held.

More doors opened, more doors closed. Guards fell before silent knives.

The seven gathered together outside Hovhannes' door. Sweat began to build on their foreheads. Even hardened murderers such as themselves were a little afraid of the implications of what they were about to do

Killing the uncle of the King of Georgia would have its consequences. But now that snooping Greek had been dealt with, it was unlikely they would be caught.

Slowly, one of them opened the door...

 

Alfredian

Major
7 Badges
Aug 1, 2009
733
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
The royal family seem to be getting a little thin on the ground. Does Hovhannes have an heir?
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Hovhannes isn't dead yet, remember. The assassins have only opened his door.

And he does have an heir, but he's only a child.
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART FOUR:

The Blind Theban.

Chapter Three.

The Whisperer sat back, sighing as he reclined in his tent.

He was a long, long way from home. He doubted that anybody had ever travelled as far as he had.

He could remember his family, distantly. He could remember his tribe, his mother, his father, if he concentrated hard enough.

But he had left that place when he was only sixteen. He had travelled south, seeing the great Chinese cities, the glory of the Middle Kingdom. Her Emperors ruled by the decree of the Heavens themselves, or so they claimed. He had not thought he would ever see anything as wondrous and mighty as that realm.

But for a Mongol brought up in a nomad's life, he could never quite come to terms with the restrictive nature of Chinese society. And so, he travelled westward.

For a long time, he saw only bitter steppes and harsh desert. The further west he went, the stranger the people became. Their skin was oddly light, and they worshipped a curious being named Allah.

Their ways fascinated him. They were a people of immense passion, but also of a strict moral code. He both admired and scorned them. For all their might, they also were not free, as he was.

He had gone further and further west. The people changed again, their skin becoming as white as snow. He had encountered a great city, with a new religion, and a vast domed temple rising above the waters of the ocean.

He continued on his travels. He saw villages squandering in poverty, all of whom were shocked and scared of dark skin and foreign religion.

He went north, and crossed seas. At last, he had found himself in a little republic of mud and farms- Iceland.

He didn't think that any man had seen as much of the world as he had. And he doubted even more that any man loved it as much as he did.

For the Whisperer had found it fascinating. All the people, kings, nobles, peasants, criminals. There was tremendous pain in the world, but such hope and friendship too.

It was like a patchwork quilt, with both the dark and the light playing upon its surface. It was some great, sprawling epic, telling the tale of a thousand princes and farmers, all scraping a meagre existence upon this mortal coil.

After Iceland, he had gone back east, to Constantinople again. There, he had learnt how to speak and write in four languages, read great works of literature, and had studied the history of the Western world.

And then, he had decided to go adventuring again. He found an army of Christian Georgians, lost in the desert, and had joined them.

He had no ideology. He didn't really care who won the war. He just wanted to be a part of it, somehow.

The Whisperer left his tent, and looked up at the stars. They were the only constant thing in this ever-shifting world. He had often wondered what made them light the earth. The old kings of Babylon had thought they were gods, watching over the land. The Greeks had believed that they were heroes and monsters, forever fighting across a darkening sky.

But the Whisperer had eventually decided that it didn't matter what they were. They were his. That was all that really mattered to him. They were part of his world, which his cherished and adored, and would continue to do until his deathbed.


Yes, this AAR is not dead!
 
Last edited:

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART FOUR:

The Blind Theban.

Chapter Four.

When Romanos was negotiating with foreign rulers, he was used to fine palaces built in great cities. He had been in Constantinople, Rome, even as far away as Aachen on occasion.

So having to make a deal in the freezing desert, huddled around a little campfire at the dead of night, was not his idea of diplomacy.

Before him sat an old man. His beard was long and thick, and he was fond of stroking it in a way which he thought was meaningful and thoughtful. Others just found it annoying.

The man's name was Narek. He had been leading a group of rebels in Mesopotamia for the last few years, offering a slow but steady resistance to the Turks.

He was a legend in the desert. He had started with a small band of determined freedom fighters, and was now the dominant political power in the desert.

Romanos disliked him. He found him arrogant and tedious. He didn't see how a deal could be made. He was desperate to get back to Catarina, who had taken a turn for the worse.

"But we don't need the protection of Georgia here. The Seljuks are fragmenting, Chancellor. Soon, my new Armenian state will be able to dominate the little Islamic emirates. We will carve for ourselves a place in the East. We shall be a third power, a great player in the game. We are the heirs of Byzantium!"

Romanos was fed up of this man. he laughed scornfully. "You own a small fiefdom in a wasted desert. How can you be anything but a pawn? I'm afraid that if you do not pledge your support, Georgia might not be so... lenient towards your realm's continued existence."

He'd hoped not to have to threaten him. He could tell that this peasant-king wouldn't heed the warning anyway- he was far too proud. To think that his backwater could take on a power as great as Georgia.

In the corner of his eye, he could see the Whisperer shaking his head behind his bandages. But what did he know? He was no diplomat.

To his surprise, Narek smiled. "I would like to talk to the Chancellor alone, please. His advisor can stay, if he wishes, but the rest of you must go.

The assembled guards and soldiers melted away. Soon, the three of them were alone.

Narek smiled. "Tell me, Romanos, what do you know about Demon's Peak?"

Romanos almost choked. That was the last name he had expected to hear.

The Whisperer spoke up. "I have heard of it, but know little of it. Isn't it some Basque myth?"

"Demon's Peak is no myth. It is a place where few dare go." Narek smiled.

Romanos leant towards the Whisperer's ear. "Demon's Peak is a small commune of killers high in the Pyrenees. Georgia's old Spymaster and I discovered that King David was paying them to kill somebody, but I'm not sure who."

Turning back to Narek, he asked, "What do you know of it?"

"I know that a very high ranking member of the Georgian court is paying them to finish the job that your old King paid them to do. I know that you would be very interested to learn who that person was. And I also know that you might be a little more receptive to my original offer in return for that information."

Romanos licked his lips. The Armenian had wanted Georgian money and a guarantee of independence. He wasn't sure...

It was the Whisperer's turn to speak in Romanos' ear. "This may be your only chance to uncover the truth. I'm sure you can find some way to get more from this man later on."

Romanos had a feeling that the Whisperer knew more about the Navarran issue than he was letting on. How did he know that this was his only chance to learn the truth?

But he was right, of course.

The deal was wrapped up. Romanos went back to his tent with much to think about.



loki100- well, you can never go wrong with a good overly-convoluted plot. Which is now even more convoluted than before.


This update was done in a bit of a hurry, so there may be several mistakes. I may come back and proof-read it later on, but please forgive me if there are lots of errors.
 

Stuyvesant

Field Marshal
40 Badges
Dec 7, 2002
6.230
44
Visit site
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Leviathan: Warships
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Pride of Nations
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Achtung Panzer
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
There's an awful lot going on in Georgia, between the wars, the plots inside the court and the plots outside of it... Not to mention murderous sleeper cells in the Basque highlands... I'm very much intrigued and want to know what is going on, how it all will play out. I guess that means I'll have to follow along. :)
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.110
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
PART FOUR:

The Blind Theban.

Chapter Four.


When Affonso was little, he'd had the same dream, over and over again.

He would be running through a forest, chased by wild animals. He would keep on running, as branches flicked and span around him. He'd just keep going, and going, and going, never tiring, never stopping.

Then, eventually, he would come to a clearing. The trees around him would be too dense to run through. He would turn around and face his fears.

And every time, he saw a thousand beasts, all with the faces of the people he knew. His father, his friends, his brother and his uncles. All with a lust for blood.

Sometimes, these days, he'd feel like that again. With a failing war and his vicious reforms being rejected by the nobles, the mood of the country had turned against him. Affonso Bagratuni thought that he was always perilously close to death.

He voiced these concerns to his mother. She had always been the person whom he'd ran to after the dreams ended, who he'd cried to when his finger was cut, whom he'd hugged when he was sad and needed comfort. The rest of his family were stiff, cold, and condescending towards him. They all appeared in the dreams. But not his mother.

She agreed with him. "You're right. After that attempt on your Uncle's life, it's hard to tell who to trust."

"I know", Affonso said. Cristina Bagratuni was technically the Regent now, but she tended to listen to her son. The fiery lady with the blood-red hair was still beautiful, even in her Autumn years.

"It's why you had to lock up Demetrios, of course. And if I were you, I'd do the same to that mad General of yours."

"Akakide? We need him, mother."

Cristina sighed. "He's a danger. A threat. You can't have a madman as the head of your army."

"He's the only decent General in this kingdom, mother. And the troops are more loyal to him than me. We already have one war going on, I don't want another.

He was worried about the Turkish situation. Romanos may have been making some headway in Mesopotamia and Armenia, with the Armenian alliance now set in stone, but there was still a long way to go. But around Trebizond, Akakide had only just managed to hold the vast Turkish army off.

The other two main Generals, Spartenos and Kommenus, were in the Crimea. The Turks held some land there, and that was the one place where the Georgians had been gaining some real victories.

He sighed. "Now, mother, what did you ask me in here for?"

His mother smiled. "I have found you a bride, my dear son!"

Affonso looked up sharply. "You've done what?"

"Found you a wife! She's a lovely girl, bother beautiful and rich. And she is very influential in her home country.

Affonso felt butterflies flapping around his stomach. A wife? He was only sixteen, after all. And did he get no say in the matter?

"Mother, I'm fairly sure that I'd like to pick my own wife-"

"Do as I say, son." His mother's voice was rarely so cold in conversation with her son. It was enough to make him feel nervous.

"Well, at least tell me who she is. What's her name? Where's she from?"

"She's called Pereyaslava, of the house of Rurikovich. She's the granddaughter of the Prince of Pereyaslavl, but her father is the Count of Navarra, where she currently resides. Our friendship with our Spanish vassal is a little rocky, but I think it would be good to restore our relations- don't you?"

Something in his mother's smile made Affonso nervous. It seemed a little too.... forced.

After much argument, he eventually conceded to his mother's will. Nervous and a little panicky, he returned to his chambers.

It was only late in the evening that he began to stop thinking about his impending marriage and ruminate on this strange turn of events. It was true that relations with Navarra were a little rocky, but he knew that there were plenty of available young brides in more important regions- Castille, Byzantium, Alexandria. Why would she pick a woman from somewhere as small and unimportant as Navarra?

Navarra... the Greek had mentioned something about it, once... he had told him to never go there...

Affonso blew out his candle and went to sleep. He could always deal with these problems in the morning.


With Romanos away in Mesopotamia and Akakide in Trebizond, Affonso is seemingly alone. And with the ever present danger from both the Seljuks and from Demon's Peak, his days could be numbered. And who is the shadowy figure behind the little Basque hideout? All will be revealed, soon enough.



loki100- Things will start to draw together, now. Soon enough, you'll see what's going on, and who the mastermind behind it all is.

Stuyvesant- good to have you on board!
 

Stuyvesant

Field Marshal
40 Badges
Dec 7, 2002
6.230
44
Visit site
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Leviathan: Warships
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Pride of Nations
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Achtung Panzer
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
I think you made a typo when you had Affonso ruminate on his own 'vicious' reforms. ;) As far as the update is concerned, I pity poor Affonso. He is a young man to already have the knowledge of all the perils swirling around him. A great burden for a 16-year old. And his mother's marriage plans have an ominous tone to them (and not just because my image of the Rurikovichs is forever stained by loki100's AAR featuring them :p). Lots of hints for a rather eventful future.