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Stuyvesant

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Reporting for commenting duties, Sah! ;)

Smokes, Demetrios does not waste any effort, now does he? He sure knows how to take a shortcut to power - with a handy knife here and there. I imagine he'll be in Pecs tomorrow and have the King's ear the next day (at the latest). Me also thinks that the King of Hungary is about to wield a great deal more power over his subjects - or rather, that Demetrios will wield it for him. It is not going to be a happy time in the Land of the Magyars...
 

Tufto

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loki100- Oh, he most certainly does. He has nothing on his mind but the utter destruction of those who imprisoned him.

Stuyvesant- Well, it is very much appreciated, I can assure you :p.

And yes, the Hungarians will not have a wonderful time when Demetrios enters Pecs. Just when they think that nothing could get worse in their anarchy-ridden realm, things suddenly will...


To all readers- Once again, I was in a hurry when I wrote this, and it remains sadly without proof-reading. So my apologies for any spelling mistakes or nonsensical sentences.

PART FOUR:

The Greek Victorious.

Chapter Four.

It was midnight, but, as ever, Affonso was unable to sleep. He had crept out of his room and had gone for a midnight walk.

He wandered through the corridors, examining the ants which perpetually crawled across the cobbles. He stopped outside the door of his late marshal's room, listening to the sound of Maria sobbing.

He walked on, occasionally glancing out of a window. A few lanterns could be seen in the city below, a few shouts and cries of distant fishermen penetrating the waves.

He put his head around a door, peering into the chambers of his grandfather. The room had remained untouched, as a sign of respect by old King David.

Davit Bagratuni, the suicidal prince. At least his death was peaceful, in a way. He was not stabbed by some distant intruder, or some treacherous mole. He died on his own terms, knowing full well what was happening.

He could not quite understand the motives of the man. Affonso had never been tempted by the prospect of death, even in his darkest and most desperate hours.

Affonso had been transformed into a near-messianic figure by the peasants, and into an antichrist by the nobility. But none of them knew what he really was- just another man, clinging onto life by his wits and fears.

He shook his head, dispelling such thoughts. He would never get tired if he dwelt upon such matters. And he craved some sleep.

On and on he marched, through his palace. The Great Hall, the little council chamber used by King David, the kitchens- all felt his light footsteps upon their stone floors.

Eventually he stopped in the throne room. He looked up at the walls, and saw a tapestry spread across the room.

It had belonged to his father, one of the few things that Henrique had brought back from Portugal. It showed the Turks conquering Constantinople, as the Byzantine emperor watching with rage.

Seeing it inspire certain feelings in him. He was tired, so tired, of the endless conspiracies, lies, twisting webs of deceit which surrounded and encompassed him.

He wanted nothing more than to cast off the intrigue, the spying, the sneaking, and the hate. He just wanted to dive into the fray of some mighty battle, to fight on a fair and honest ground for his kingdom's fate, rather than some knife fight with an aged Greek.

He sighed, and left the room, and climbed the many steps back to his bedchamber. He often wondered why he did it, why he was forced into the life he had been. Forced to rule over a kingdom of bitter nobles and uneducated peasants, forced to marry a woman whom he did not love, forced to make so many enemies just to stay alive.

He opened the door to his chambers, and smiled, gazing at the slowly growing stomach of his wife. That was why. He had to safeguard his people, his family, his children. And he had to make sure that they would survive another winter.

A lone wolf howled on the moor as he slipped beneath the covers, praying for apathy.
 

Stuyvesant

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That's a rather downbeat and melancholy update. Very nice setting of a mood. I hope Affonso gets the peace he wishes for - eventually.
 

Tufto

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loki100- with the Hungarians and the Greek poised against the Georgians, peace is definitely under threat...

Stuyvesant- Affonso is the King of Georgia, and they haven't been getting much peace in the last few years- and after this update, it'll seem even less likely...


PART FOUR:

The Greek Victorious.

Chapter Five.

Pecs, Hungary.

The King of Hungary closed his eyes and wished, like his Georgian counterpart, for some peace.

He had come to the throne a year ago, but had not inherited the prosperous Georgia or the powerful Cumania as his kingdom. He had inherited the land of the damned, the chaos that had once been the Magyar state.

He had no effective army, and no effective method of control. All the little provinces squabbled amongst themselves, with enough fighting and bloodshed to make even the coldest of men weep.

He was utterly powerless, save over the city of Pecs and a few of the surrounding areas- and even gaining control back over those places had cost him huge amounts of gold and men.

He flung his eyes open again. He was sitting alone on the Hungarian throne, watching and waiting for someone to enter, to snap him out of his misery.

Nobody would, of course. The sparse court was more concerned with the growing tide of almost anarchical resentment in the city. His loyal subjects had long since abandoned their king.

A shadow moved to his left. He turned his head sharply, gazing into the darkness.

He saw nothing. A bitter frown momentarily crossed his face. Now he really could sink no lower. He was seeing things when there was nothing to see, hearing things when all was silence

"Good morning, sire."

The King turned his head, almost cricking his neck. A figure stepped out of the shadows- an old man, holding a stick and wearing a thick coat of fur.

"Who the devil are you, man? What is your business here?"

The man grinned. "My name is Demetrios Tzampklon. I am here to make you a deal."

The Magyar's expression changed. He'd heard of Demetrios Tzampklon- he was an infamous figure in the East. The creator of the Rurikovich hold over the Romans, the murderer of two Georgian kings, and the shadow of corruption behind little Affonso's throne.

These rumours were, as it happened, mostly unfounded, and were a source of great irritation to Demetrios. He knew that most of the courts of Europe would turn him away or hand him back to the Georgians.

But this King was in dire need of some help. And so, he would be prepared to enter into a deal with the devil to return his realm to order.

"What is your business here, Greek? I thought you had died long ago."

A little laugh, filled with contempt. The King narrowed his eyes.

"The Georgians make sure that their prisoners only receive the... finest luxuries, Magyar. I have managed to survive, just about. But as for my reasons for being here- well, that is of far more interest to you, believe me.

The Greek stepped around to the front of the King, ignoring the expression of dented pride etched across the Magyar's increasingly red face. "I have a deal to propose to you. You are not in charge of the kingdom which is rightfully yours. Unfortunate circumstances have taken their toll on your position, and thus you need some help to regain it."

He put his face very close to the King's, his eyes unnerving the Hungarian. "I can give you back your kingdom. I can give you utter and complete power over all the Magyars. And furthermore, I can make them pay for their insolence.

The King swallowed. "And what would you want in return?"

The Greek smiled. "One thing, one simple thing: the head of Affonso Bagratuni on a silver platter...
 

Stuyvesant

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For Demetrios, the desire is clearly there - by now, he must be a man animated solely by his hatred for Affonso. As single-minded as he is, I can see him succeed - because otherwise, he'd be dead.
 

Tufto

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Sorry that the update is so late, everyone.

loki100- ah, it isn't really the perfect place at all. But it's the only place where Demetrios can stay.

Stuyvesant- He certainly has the ability to succeed in his plans, but his single-mindedness is causing him the same problems as Papa Rurikivich- he is becoming more and more obsessed with taking Affonso out.

PART FOUR:

The Greek Victorious.

Chapter Six.

Demetrios looked out across his new home, watching its people go by.

He could see so many mixed emotions in their faces. Love, loss, hate, jealousy, rage. All these were marks of weakness. They were the downfall of men.

He knew that he was guilty of the same sins, the same emotions. He too had once known love, a long time ago. But he had found it to be an unpleasant experience, which caused nothing but misery. So he had cast it off.

He'd tried pride, but had found that it wasn't to his taste. He'd briefly tasted compassion, but found it caused too many restrictions, had inspired too many conflicts in his heart.

So on that fateful night when the little Portugese rat had imprisoned him, he had turned to a new emotion, one which he had restrained for many long years- hate.

He knew that it would destroy him- all emotions did, eventually. But he didn't care any more. His life would flicker out soon enough anyway. He was getting older each passing day.

But he knew that he would not stop until he had killed Affonso Bagratuni.

After Papa Rurikovich had died, the Russians had ceased their contact with him. Dmitri, who had taken Papa's throne, did not seem to have the same obsessive spark as the old Prince. He was not concerned with Pereyaslava's betrayal. He had no need for a Georgian mole.

So, the Russians slept- for now. And Demetrios had been forced to find another place to go.

But after so many years of lies and conspiracy, he was despised by the world. He had become a semi- legendary figure, a strange kind of evil, used to scare children into going to sleep at night.

This amused him greatly. But it meant that finding anywhere to take him on was impossible.

Except for the one place that would take all the help that it could get- Hungary.

So he would help the Magyar king to restore his realm. He would make Hungary a mighty state again. He would fight all the bickering peoples who composed what was once a glorious kingdom.

And in return, the world would see Affonso fall. It would see the Greek victorious. And it would see an end to the damned web of conspiracy that had overshadowed the East for the last half-century.

Demetrios turned away, and went inside. The sun dipped beneath the horizon, and the night began her rule.

THE END
OF PART FOUR.


There'll be one more part in this book, and after that I promise that the plot should be a little less concerned with the vast numbers of people trying to kill Affonso.
 

Stuyvesant

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The second-to-last paragraph makes it sound like this obsession of Demetrios is almost a burden to him, not something that will give him satisfaction, but merely a final task to be checked off his list, one last thing to do before he shuffles off his mortal coil.
 

ThunderHawk3

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[post=12999919]Congratulations Tufto! You're WritAAR of the Week![/post]
 

Tufto

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Thunderhawk3- Thanks a lot! :) This is a great honour.

loki100- Maybe so, but Affonso has plenty of other enemies, some of whom are also very powerful and feared.

Also, thanks!

Stuyvesant- Yes, he's become so single-minded that the only thing which really matters to him any more is killing Affonso. Life doesn't really concern him with much.

PART FIVE:

Affonso's Wrath.

Chapter One.


Dramatis Personae
Affonso, King of Georgia.
Demetrios, Spymaster of Hungary.
Sancha, great-aunt of Affonso.
The Sultan of the Seljuk Turks.

Several miles away from the Palace, Affonso I of Georgia dismounted from his horse, and began to walk eastwards.

He hated the autumn. Many spoke of its beauty, but he'd never been able to see it. All he could see was the rain, crushing the wet leaves into the ground, creating a substance viler than mud, bitterer than poison.

But Affonso had needed to get out of the Palace. So, he had ridden away from his home, and had gone for a walk, in a little place which only he knew about.

Georgia was a powerful kingdom. It held a huge empire, from the Crimea to Azerbaijan, and was rapidly becoming the dominant force in the East. With the Byzantines reduced to a few Greek holdings, and the Sultan's land in decay, the only rivals she had to worry about were the Cumans and the Russians.

Affonso had power. He had a beautiful wife, who was about to bear him a second son. But he still felt... empty.

Was this really what he had hoped for in life, when he was young, trying to push his way through the world? Was this what the little boy who played with the peasants would have wanted? The little boy who looked harmless, but who knew how to throw a hard punch at those who angered him, who had such strange red eyes?

He'd just wanted a simple, quiet life. He had never wanted the responsibilities of adulthood.

But, he'd been forced to become a king. And he took his job seriously. His duty to his subjects had caused him to do everything in his power to help the poor, the serfs, the oppressed. He'd learnt to love- but also to hate, hate with a passion.

This had given him enemies. And now those enemies seemed to be closing in around him.

The Whisperer had no clue about where the Greek was hiding. But Affonso had an idea. Why had the Hungarian king suddenly and abruptly gained control back over his country? Why had there been two attempts on Affonso's life in the last month?

He started, realising that he'd walked quite a distance away from his horse. He turned, and began to navigate the muddy path back to his steed. From there, he would travel to the palace, and back to the heavy cares of the world.
 
Last edited:

Stuyvesant

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Astute of Affonso to perceive the danger from Hungary. Not so astute that he still goes on solitary horserides and walks after two assassination attempts in the last month alone...

I hope he makes it back to those 'heavy cares of the world' - I hope he isn't killed before he even gets there.
 

Tufto

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Stuyvesant- Ah, most definitely very un-astute of Affonso. He may regret his actions in the future...

PART FIVE:

Affonso's Wrath.

Chapter Two.

One month earlier.

Picture a city, a shining jewel on the edge of a continent. Picture a marvellous vision of spires and riches, a fantastic settlement straddling both Asia and Europe.

Constantinople. The city of worldly desire, the prize lusted for by all the denizens of the East. The city where the last of the Romans had ruled for the last millennium, and where the Turks had moved their ruling house to.

But it had its darker sides as well. And in a little room, in a tiny, squalid house in the backstreets, two men sat opposite each other, staring into the others eyes.

One was the most powerful man in the East. The Seljuk Sultan, a man obsessed with wealth and power, determined to keep a hold on his declining empire, no matter what the cost.

And the cost here was his pride. Shorn of his splendour, he was dressed in simple clothes to disguise himself. And the other man had not bowed down to him as lord. The other man would have to be his equal- for now.

That man was known to many. Until recently he was thought to be dead, or at least rotting in a Georgian cell. Known to most simply as the Greek, he was a fugitive from justice in the Caucasian kingdom- and was therefore in a highly dangerous place.

Because the Turkish capital was crawling with the Whisperer's spies. Turk-hating Greeks, loyal Georgian patriots, adventure seeking youths- all found a place in the Mongol's ranks. The Greek knew that he'd have to be especially careful as he trod through the town.

The two men stared at each other across the table, neither one breaking their gaze, sitting in absolute silence. Finally, the Greek smiled, and began to speak.

"You know what I want from you, Sultan. And you know what I can do for you. So, how about we simply run through the finer points of what we each wish for and be done with our little meeting?"

The Sultan nodded, leaning back slightly. "I desire nothing less than total neutrality from the new Hungarian armies in any intervention from the Seljuk Sultanate in the affairs of the rulers of the Balkan realms. We have... plans there, and I would appreciate it if your liege would not interfere in our affairs."

"But of course. The king wishes to assure you that we have no designs in those lands, and would have no issue with any plans you may have. I, on the other hand, may have some difficulty with the idea. I am, after all, a Greek. I'm sure we can come to an understanding here."

The Turk nodded. "So, what is it that you want, exactly?"

Demetrios grinned. "If you do not want the new Hungarian army to interfere, I want a favour from you concerning Georgia."

The Sultan sighed, knowing full well what was to come. "What, pray, would that be?"

"I want you to tell me everything you know about Sancha de Coimbra."

The Turk looked up sharply. He had not expected this.

"I... Of course. Is that really all you want?"

"Yes. I want to know where she sleeps, who she sleeps with, where she likes to walk, who she spends time with, what food is most to her taste. I want to know every detail of her life. Can you find this out for me?"

The Sultan nodded, amazed. He was prepared to ignore the Balkans just to know about the life of an old woman?

The Greek, however, merely clapped his hands together, a big smile on his face. "Then I think we have a deal."

To be continued...
 

loki100

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Demetrios is playing a deep game - trading the Balkans for information about an elderly relative of Alfonso on the face of it seems a poor trade .... and does his notional Hungarian employer agree?
 

Tufto

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loki100- It is a highly poor trade normally, but Demetrios doesn't care- he is too set of Affonso's death.

And the King will do Demetrios' bidding, so indebted is he.

PART FIVE:

Affonso's Wrath.

Chapter Three.

The same room, two hours later.

Demetrios kicked his chair away, laughing viciously.

The information the Sultan had given him was perfect. He had a plan all formulated in his mind. Nothing would go wrong.

Maybe he was mad. Quite possibly. He didn't care much any more. But he did feel as though something had changed in him since he began his little vendetta.

He didn't just want to kill Affonso- he wanted to get away with it too.

Why? Oh, he had two reasons. The first was that it would be the ultimate victory. Not only would he kill the damned Prince, but he'd evade execution, too- that would be a perfect insult to the King's pride, and to his memory.

He chuckled a little with glee. There was also the second reason.

He hadn't needed to trade the Balkans. He hadn't even needed to go to Hungary to do all of this. But he had.

He'd forged an elaborate, nonsensical scheme which he really hadn't needed. He could have just lain low in Georgia for a few days, before creeping back to kill Affonso.

But he hadn't. He'd sold the Balkans to the Turk and conquered Hungary almost by himself.

And why? Because he just wanted to revel in the chaos. To watch the flames consume the world. To do something to mark his name down in history.

He would kill Affonso. Then he would do his utmost, from his little Hungarian fortress, to slash the world into little pieces, and let sweet Anarchy take her rightful throne.

Demetrios Tzampklon turned towards a small bag in the corner of the room, which held his belongings. It was time to return to Georgia. It was that time at last.



Only a short update, for which I apologise. I promise that I'll do a longer one tomorrow.
 

loki100

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whoops, he really has gone bonkers ... a real 'after me the deluge' mindset ... the flaw could be in wanting to do the perfect crime and escape undetected - that may be a factor too far?
 

Stuyvesant

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Hmm... Didn't Sancha command the allegiance of the Basque assassins? I think I see Demetrios' plan here.

But most likely, I'm entirely wrong. :)

Regardless of the details of Demetrios' plan, it is very clear that his overall scheme is nihilistic, just tearing down everything others have worked for.