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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

zenphoenix

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Estrid.
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Paramara.
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Seljuk.
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Hohenzollern.
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Long ago, the many peoples of Europe lived in peace and harmony, united under the benevolent and guiding hand of the Hohenzollerns, August Kaisers of Rome and the defenders of a truly united Christendom.
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But everything changed when the hordes attacked.
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From the east came the heathen Mongol Empire, its armies utterly crushing all those who stood in its way. They crushed the Saray Khaganate, an alliance of Khazar clans which had adopted Judaism centuries ago and had carved out a second Promised Land in the steppes (the first being the Reich-administered Provincia Israel-Arabia), and absorbed them into their empire. They then cut a bloody swathe westwards, slaughtering and looting and pillaging until there was nothing left but ash and pyramids upon pyramids of skulls. In just twenty short but deadly years, they had subjugated all of Central Asia and Afghanistan, a large portion of Persia, and all of Russia (not pictured), with the Reich expected to be next.
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(Ignore the Russian enclave in Mongolia)

When the High Priest of the Mongol Tengri Church called a Tengri crusade for the conquest of Bulgaria from the Reich, Kaiser Wilhelm II the Magnificent feared that Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire which so far had been unstoppable in its relentless drive west, would turn his large hordes on the Reich at once. He ordered every single Imperial Legion, except those in Provincia Britannia, Hibernia, or Caledonia, to march to the Reich-Mongol border in Provincia Taurica-Alania and Eastern Europe in preparation for a Mongol invasion.
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That was his and the Reich's downfall, for little did he know there was a second horde ready to go on a rampage through Europe.
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From the west, from the other side of an ocean that was supposed to be impossible to cross, came the true barbarians, men unlike any in the known world. They spoke in a tongue unknown to even the most skilled translators and wore strange clothes. Wilhelm II soon realized that they were demanding land from the Reich and moved to negotiate the barbarians’ peaceful withdrawal from Europe. However, he died before the negotiations could be completed, and the barbarians began their invasion soon afterwards.
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Within days of the declaration of war, large fleets of barbarian long-ships appeared off the coast of the Reich, disgorging thousands upon thousands of strangely-armored warriors. In months the hordes of the Mexica Triple Alliance had overwhelmed the legions of Provincia Britannia. The Imperial Provinces of Hibernia and Caledonia fell to the Mexica in rapid succession, with the Aztecan conquistador Ocuil Acatl proclaiming himself "Huetlatoani" of the Mexica's holdings in Europe and making Dublin his new capital. Thousands of Scots and Irishmen, true Christians and Imperial citizens, were sacrificed to the Mexica's barbarian gods in a bloodbath not seen since the sacks of Rome by the Huns and the Goths and the Vandals in the early Dark Ages.
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Only the Kaiser, ruler of the largest empire in the known world since the days of Caesar and Alexander the Great, could stop the ruthless hordes. But when the Reich needed him most, Wilhelm III was captured by the Mexica and sacrificed to their barbarian gods.
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Several years have passed by, and the Mexica and the Mongol hordes are nearing victory, with the Mexica disregarding any treaties and truces signed with the Reich and laying siege to London, the Mongols having subjugated Russia, and the Reich's mortal enemies in Scandinavia invading the imperial heartland itself.
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Some people believe that the new Kaiser, Siegfried I, is not up to the challenge of defeating the hordes, saving Christendom from destruction and a violent collapse back into the Dark Ages, and preventing the Empire of the Romans from being destroyed by barbarians a second time. But there are a few that believe he can save the world and prevent history from repeating itself.

---

Welcome to my second AAR! If you have read my previous AAR (in my signature), welcome back! This is my first attempted megacampaign, and I intend to take the Romans all the way to the 20th century and beyond.

Some important notes before we get started:
-This game was started in 1066, and I decided to start the AAR in the mid-13th century because (a) I used too many console commands and other modifications in the first 30-40 years, and (b) the 12th century was relatively boring because I had almost nobody to fight/conquer. I apologize for my use of constole commands, this is one of my first CKII games.
-This game is non-ironman so that I can use console to fix internal and external borders and to give advantages to AIs.
-All pagan faiths begin reformed, and Judaism and Zoroastrianism begin in stronger positions than in vanilla game. The Seljuks begin as Zoroastrians, the Ghaznavids begin as Zunists, the Finns begin as Suomenusko, most Rurikids begin as Slavic, etc. Aztecs will reform sometime after spawning.
-I started as a custom character (no special stats/traits) in Berlin of dynasty "von Hohenzollern," which is name-wise identical to the historical Hohenzollern dynasty but game-wise a separate dynasty. So there are two Hohenzollern families, one player-controlled and one AI, which can be easily distinguished between by the coat of arms and the fact that the real Hohenzollerns own France and are my vassals.
-There will be no blobbing on my part, unless it is within my de jure territory (basically all of Europe south of Scandinavia and all of the Middle East and Africa west of Iraq and north of Ethiopia and Mali). I will try to limit AI blobbing to within reasonable constraints.

Gott mit uns!

---

Table of Contents

Chapters are arranged in chronological order, not posting order. To avoid spoilers, I recommend starting with "Prologue." Please let me know if the links are incorrect.

Friedrich I "the Great" (1066-1105)
Chapter 10: Bicentennial (1066-1105)

Friedrich II "the Glorious" (1105-1126)

Chapter 13: Saint Gunhilda, the Maid of Kujawy (1118-1125)

Wilhelmina I "the Saint," or Saint Wilhelmina, Isapostolos (1126-1192)

Chapter 15: Saint Wilhelmina, the Mender of the Schism (1126)
Chapter 17: Saint Wilhelmina, the Hunter (1126-1133)
Chapter 19: Saint Wilhelmina, the Poet (1135-1151)
Chapter 21: Saint Wilhelmina, the Enlightened One (1126-1151)
Chapter 23: Saint Wilhelmina, the Warrior Empress (1151-1160)
Chapter 25: Greek Fire, Part 1 (1161)
Chapter 27: Greek Fire, Part 2 (1161)
Chapter 29: Greek Fire, Part 3 (1162)
Chapter 31: Saint Wilhelmina, Gunhilda's Daughter (1162-1174)
Chapter 33: Saint Wilhelmina, the Final Years (1174-1192)

Wilhelm I "the Lionheart" (1192-1199), Wilhelm II "the Magnificent" (1199-1237), and Wilhelm III "the Hammer" (1237-1243)
Chapter 35: The Three Wilhelms Period and the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century Crisis (1199-1243)

Siegfried I "the Hunter" (1243-1261)
Prologue: First Contact (1236-1246)
Chapter 1: Enemy at the Gates (1246-1251)
Chapter 2: Worcester and Gloucester (1251)
Chapter 3: War in the Near East (1251-1259)
Chapter 4: The Wrath of (Temur) Khan (1259-1261)

Sigismund I "the Holy" (1261-1308)

Chapter 5: Protection Through Victory (1261-1275)
Chapter 6: The Holy Kaiser (1275-1300)
Update 6: The Known World in 1300
Chapter 7: The Silk Road and the Great Plague (1300-1304)
Chapter 8: The Stag (1304)
Chapter 9: Sigismund the Holy and the Dragon of Marrakech (1301)
Chapter 11: Holy, Roman, and an Empire (1305-1308)

Friedrich Augustin I "the Just" (1308-1347)
Chapter 12: The August Kaiser (1308-1313)
Chapter 14: Rise of the Ottomans (1317-1327)
Chapter 16: The Just Kaiser (1327-1347)

Reinhard I ('the Mad Kaiser') (1347-1353)
Chapter 18: Reinhard, the Mad Kaiser (without a nickname) (1347-1353)

Friedrich Augustin II "the Hammer" (1353-1378)
Chapter 20: The Last Horde; Or, The Iron Khan (1353-1357)
Chapter 22: Fire-lances and Thunder-sticks (1357-1362)
Chapter 24: The End of the Augustiad (1362-1378)

Martin I "the Noble" (1378-1418)
Chapter 26: The Wrath of Timur (Khan) (1378-1395)
Chapter 28: Persepolis (1395-1400)
Update 28: The Known World in 1400
Chapter 30: 300 (1400-1418)

Friedrich Augustin III "the Lion" (1418- )
Chapter 32: Friedrdich Augustin III and the Giant of Napoli (1418)
Chapter 34: The Lion Kaiser (1418-1421)
Chapter 36: Second Contact (1422)
Chapter 37: In the Beginning (c.950-c.1010)
Chapter 38: Wilhelm III's Revenge (1422-1430)
Chapter 39: The Mexica "Crusade" (1430-1435)
Chapter 40: The Pointless War and the Reforms of 1436 (1436-1440)
Chapter 41: The Last Malian Crusade and the Reforms of 1440 (1440-1442)
Chapter 42: The Reforms of 1442 (1442)
Chapter 43: Feudal Life (1443-1444)
Chapter 44: The End... (1 2 3 4 5 6) (1444)
Epilogue: ...Of the Beginning (November 10, 1444)


Link to Uber Alles, the EUIV stage of the megacampaign
 

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TheAnguishedOne

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That's one way to kick things off. Seems like the known world is divided between some powerful empires. This should be interesting.
 

ML8991

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Ma gawd, interesting premise, and regain brittainia for the Romans.
 

zenphoenix

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Prologue: First Contact


“God abandoned the Romans to the barbarians again for the sins of the Scots and Irish and of Kaiser Wilhelm I…but I bet everybody here knows that Wilhelm I sinned more in his seven years on the throne than all of the people of Caledonia and Hibernia did in the thirty years between the Mongol invasion and the Mexica invasion.”
-The Ecumenical Patriarch, in a conversation with the Pope, Kohen Gadol, the Caliph, and Kaiser Wilhelm III during a synod in the Vatican


“All this has happened before, and it will happen again…and again…and again.”
-Ocuil Acatl, Mexica conquistador


“The Gaelic clans told us of a tradition their ancestors had heard from their Norse overlords, that a Norseman had been exiled to a land across the ocean, that a shaman in those times had prophesied the coming of men from distant lands in the direction of the sunset, who would conquer them and rule them and seek vengeance on those who had exiled the Norseman. Somebody’s obviously been drinking a lot here.”
-An Orthodox priest, spreading the True Faith to the people of the Hebrides during the reign of Saint Wilhelmina (1126-1192)


December 2, 1236

The Hebrides were a relatively new addition to the Reich, having been conquered along with the rest of Scotland and Ireland in the early 12th century during the short reign of Kaiser Friedrich I the Glorious, the man who united the Holy Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire into a single empire and made the Reich the most powerful, and then only, nation in continental Europe.

Most of the population in the villages on the archipelago were farmers or fishermen. Most spoke a form of Norse not that much changed from the Norse spoken during the life of Leif Ericson. Those who were not descendants of Vikings and Norsemen spoke Gaelic, and the nobility and merchant class were predominantly German-speaking.

Being on the western edge of the Reich, surrounded by ocean on many sides, when the Mongols began rampaging through the steppes, they considered themselves the safest of all Romans, being the farthest from the fighting and chaos (they ignored the Irish). Celebrations were held weekly in town centers where villagers boasted that when the Continent fell to the Mongols, they would be the last of the Reich to go.

By the end of the 13th Century Crisis, as the time period is known to modern historians, there was nobody left alive to boast about their relative safety.



The Nahua were first spotted by a peasant boy tending to a herd of sheep. He rushed to the nearest village screaming about the return of the Norsemen, as the ships that he spotted looked similar to Viking longboats. However, nobody listened to him, as he was just a peasant boy. However, some people, wanting to make sure of their safety, went down to the beach.

Meanwhile, on the beach, the longboats beached themselves, and it became clear to the small crowd that had gathered there that the men operating the longboats were not Norsemen. These men wore feathers and other brightly colored clothes, in addition to light armor. Their swords were more like large paddles with sharpened blades on their sides. Some wore helmets that looked vaguely like the heads of eagles, but such helmets looked like they were mainly for show. All of them were definitely not European, African, Middle Eastern, Norse, Indian, or any ethnicity known to the Reich.

One man, the only one with a beard, stepped in front of the “soldiers.” He wore more feathers on his helmet than the others, so the villagers assumed he was their leader. He spread out his arms to show he was not carrying any weapons.

The man pointed to himself. “Ocuil Acatl,” he said, the words utterly foreign to all but himself.

By 1250, the name Ocuil Acatl would be known by millions of Reich citizens.

---

Acatl had made his intentions clear to the Kaiser very early on. He demanded land, a lot of it, in exchange for a few small trinkets of gold and jade. Wilhelm II invited the conquistador to the imperial court in Berlin, where they attempted to negotiate a solution. Wilhelm wanted the Mexica to go back to where they came from. If they couldn’t do that, Wilhelm suggested that they invade the Norse Scandinavian Fylkirate, the Reich’s mortal enemy (after its ancient nemesis of Zoroastrian Persia). At the word “Norse,” Acatl became visibly agitated, spouting what the translators described to the Kaiser as “curses and insults” aimed at the Norse, particularly the Norwegians and the royal and imperial houses of Yngling and Estrid.

Talks broke down when Kaiser Wilhelm II died. He was old, so it was proclaimed he died a natural death. However, some in the imperial court believed Ocuil Acatl was responsible for the Kaiser’s death. Upon hearing this, the conquistador and his diplomats fled Berlin.



On January 1, 1240, a massive fleet of five thousand Mexica longboats appeared off the coast of the Hebrides, and over a hundred thousand Mexica warriors stormed the beach. Waiting for them on the shore, however, was the combined force of no less than five imperial legions: Legion X von Britannia, Legion XI von Britannia, Legion XII von Caledonia, Legion XIII von Hibernia, and Legion III von Gallia. All in all the five legions fielded at least eighty thousand battle-hardened soldiers, veterans of recent wars with the Persians and Mongols, and were commanded by the Reich’s best generals.
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The Battle of the Hebrides was a complete disaster for the Reich. After weeks of brutal combat between the two armies, the Mexica devastated the legions and wiped them out to the last man, quickly improvising strategies to take down the mounted knights which they were not used to fighting, as horses apparently did not exist in the Mexica homeland.

With every single legion in the British Isles annihilated in a single battle, there was nothing stopping them from pillaging and looting everything in their path; thousands of Christians and imperial citizens were brutally sacrificed to false barbarian gods. The Hebrides suffered the most out of all of Caledonia and Hibernia; the entire population of the archipelago was sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli, and Mexica settlers were sent in to replace them.

The Kaiser began receiving reports that a second invasion force had landed in Norway, with another hundred thousand Mexica looting and sacrificing everything in their path. However, they didn’t appear to be heading for the Scandinavian capital of Uppland. Wilhelm III realized with a shock that the Mexica were slowly making their way south towards the German heartland and Berlin itself.

Wilhelm III and the Caliph, one of his generals, personally led Legion I von Germania into battle against a Mexica horde laying siege to the city of Altmark, just outside of Berlin. The First Legion consisted of the Kaiser’s personal guard and the Varangian Guard, which were handpicked from among the best of the other legions, making Legion I von Germania the Reich’s most experienced legion.

One month after the assault, Altmark had been razed to the ground, with a pyramid built in the city center. Out of the twenty thousand men of the First Legion, only the Caliph managed to make it out alive.

Wilhelm III was captured alive. The Mexica emperor personally sent a letter to the conquistador congratulating Ocuil Acatl’s victories. As was Mexica tradition, it was always better to capture an enemy than to kill an enemy…since they could then be sacrificed.

The Kaiser was sent across the ocean to the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlan, where he was paraded around in a cage before being dragged to the top of the temple-pyramid of Huitzilopochtli in the center of the city, where Ocuil Acatl personally cut out his heart with an obsidian blade in front of the assembled crowd of Mexica peasants.



News of Wilhelm III’s death spread rapidly, aided by the propaganda spread by collaborators and Mexica soldiers. His son Siegfried was hastily crowned in Berlin and given a quick ceremony in Constantinople before proceeding to negotiate a surrender with Ocuil Acatl, in the process voluntarily being imprisoned in Ocuil Acatl's dungeon. Siegfried was forced to cede half of Hibernia and all of Caledonia to Ocuil Acatl, in exchange for a ten-year truce. Once the treaty was signed, Ocuil Acatl tore up the treaty and had all of the Reich diplomats immediately sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli.

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A week later, the Mexica were invading the rest of Hibernia. Siegfried immediately sent in the legions to stop the madman, but it was just a futile gesture, as each legion was easily annihilated by the Mexica armies. Ocuil Acatl laughed and wrote letters to Siegfried, telling him “resistance is futile” and that he should just stop sending men to their deaths.

Siegfried simply threw the letters in his fireplace and personally led armies into battle, where he was wounded by a Mexica barbarian.

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The Kohen Gadol, once a loyal servant of the Reich, was abducted by Ocuil Acatl, who forced him under threat of sacrifice to declare a milkhemet reshut, a Jewish Crusade, on the Reich for the "liberation" of Provincia Mesopotamia from Siegfried. The Empire of Abyssinia immediately launched an invasion of Provincia Aegyptus, the breadbasket of the Reich, and Israel-Arabia, where the majority of the Reich's Jews had settled after the collapse of Islam. At the same time, the Norse Fylkir Sigurdr decided to invade the German heartland...again. The Reich's enemies were sensing blood in the water as the Roman military was being crushed by the Mexica.

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In other less horrifying news, Siegfried I became the second Kaiser (after Saint Wilhelmina) to find the White Stag. Unlike his saintly ancestor, however, he killed it. In addition, foods from the Mexica homeland began making their way to Europe and the Reich.
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Eventually, with hundreds of thousands of fatalities, the Mexica-aligned Jews and Norse invading, and the non-Christian kings of Leon-Andalusia, Mauretania, and Israel-Arabia preparing a revolt (which never happened), the Reich was forced to the negotiating table. This time, all of Hibernia was ceded to the Mexica, and the imperial diplomats managed to escape Dublin before they could be sacrificed to the barbarian gods. Again, Ocuil Acatl declared the truce null and launched an invasion of Provincia Britannia, what he considered to be the “jewel of the crown” of the Triple Alliance’s colonial empire.
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Hibernia and Caledonia were isolated provinces, less populated than the rest of the Reich, and far from the heartland. They were frontier provinces. However, Britannia was the Reich’s source of many trade goods and certain types of soldiers (especially the feared English longbow archers). The duchies of Normandy and Brittany, on the northern French coast, were designated as part of Britannia, and Ocuil Acatl knew it. Losing Britannia would put the Romans at a severe disadvantage and give the Mexica a foothold on continental Europe. The Reich would lose two of its strategically important cities, London and Paris, to the barbarians.

For the third time, Siegfried prepared for a war he knew he was going to lose.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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A series of failures... Eh, you'll bounce back from it all eventually. The Aztec-aligned Jews is a major surprise.
 

zenphoenix

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A series of failures... Eh, you'll bounce back from it all eventually. The Aztec-aligned Jews is a major surprise.
Yeah, I was completely caught off-guard by that. Somehow the Kohen Gadol went from being my courtier to the Aztecs' courtier. Game mechanics can be weird.:D
 

ML8991

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This is very dramatic Zen, hope you can get it back under control, or i may have to cut out your heart..... Oh no, history is changing already, you must be quick, or the whole of brittannia shall be lost to the true gods.... The heatherns, HURRY!!!!!!
 

zenphoenix

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And here I was expecting that starting out as a giant blobby empire would be boring. Guess I was wrong. :p

Heathens; heathens everywhere.
Literally everbody else is a heathen (except for some random German Orthodox Mongol vassals of Jewish Mongols). And it actually was kind of boring for over thirty years in the 12th century when nobody declared Great Holy Wars on me and I refused to attack anybody. Thirty long years of peace and prosperity. Good for the people of Rome, but not for me.:D
 

zenphoenix

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Chapter 1: Enemy at the Gates


“To defeat an enemy you do not know, you must come to know them. If you can’t do that, and you’re on a beach, reinforce via amphibious assault until victory is achieved.”
-Gunhilda of Kujawy, Polish-German military genius, later Empress Consort of Kaiser Friedrich the Glorious, Queen of Italia-Afrika, and founder of the von Schweinfurt dynasty


“Allahu akbar! For Allah and Kaiser!”
-Shia Caliph Hakam von Fatimid, just before the Caliph’s Charge


“Ye maca timiquican, ye maca tipolihuican.”
(May we not die; may we not perish.)

-Phrase said by Mexica soldiers before going into battle


The Huey-Tlatoani, as Ocuil Acatl referred to himself now, had divided his army four smaller divisions, each numbering about fifteen thousand in strength, with a reserve force of fifty thousand waiting behind them should a Reich army attack one of them. His forces consisted completely of infantry and archers, as the Mexica had not been able to incorporate cavalry into their armies yet. These numbers do not include the over ten thousand small skirmishers that attacked before the arrival of the main armies or the messengers sent to maintain communications between Ocuil Acatl and all of his armies, which were crucial to his strategy of converging his entire force on unprepared Reich targets that otherwise would be able to defeat one Mexica division.
2015-10-26_00041.jpg
2015-10-26_00033.jpg

In northern Britannia, the Reich was slowly and steadily driven back by a Mexica offensive from occupied Caledonia; in Wales, the Mexica had slowly driven eastwards, with one eager division laying siege to London itself. Siegfried refused to send in the rebuilt Legion III von Gallia, Legion X von Britannia, and Legion XI von Britannia to directly engage the Mexica armies. He learned this the hard way.
2015-10-26_00051.jpg


Instead, he ordered them to sit in southern England and Wales to lure the Mexica to the coast, where reinforcements from the eighty-thousand strong Legion XX von Afrika were waiting off the coast.
2015-10-26_00053.jpg

With the Reich on the verge of defeat (-91 score), and the mercenary leader of the Company of the Star, a high-ranking general in the Reich armies, sacrificed in Dublin, all three legions engaged a small Mexica army of ten thousand men in northern Cornwall and southern Wales. As Siegfried had expected, the other Mexica armies in the area, with a collective strength of over a hundred thousand men, immediately came to assist their allies. Soon Caliph Hakam, Mayor Beathan of Tavira, and Kaiser Siegfried I found themselves outnumbered five to one. Eleven years ago, this would have been a disaster on the scale of the Hebrides. But not this time.


---


Siegfried sat in his tent, looking over a map of the city of Ergyng. The Mexica had been besieging the city for weeks before the imperial armies had arrived, and the people inside were growing more and more desperate. It was only a matter of time before his armies were overwhelmed by the numerically superior Mexica.

He looked closely at the map, trying to find weaknesses in the Mexica defenses. He found none.

“Siegfried, an army always has its weaknesses,” said a voice behind him, “What matters is how they are covered.”

He spun around to face another older man wearing a crown and rusted armor. Siegfried immediately recognized him as Wilhelm III, his father.

“Aren’t you dead, father?” asked Siegfried.

“Well, yes, but I could just be a figment of your imagination,” replied Wilhelm, “Now, I understand you want to seek vengeance against Ocuil Acatl for my death, but I urge you, think rationally in doing so, lest you end up like me.”

“How is this going to help me survive today?” said Siegfried.

“Recall that Legion XX von Afrika, led by my children, is waiting off the coast, ready to reinforce your men,” said a female voice.

A woman dressed in simple peasant clothing and also wearing a crown appeared next to Wilhelm. Siegfried inferred that she was Gunhilda von Schweinfurt, the military genius who led imperial legions to victory over numerically superior Norse, Malian, and Persian armies before becoming Friedrich the Glorious’s wife and the tutor of Saint Wilhelmina.

“Make the enemy fight on your own terms,” said Gunhilda, “That way you gain the advantage of deciding what happens in a battle.”

“My son, they may have superior numbers, but you are a Roman and a strategist, trained by the best of the best,” said Wilhelm, “Saint Wilhelmina, our ancestor, defeated the Persians many times with even worse odds, so why can’t you?”

And with that both of them were gone.

Siegfried sat back in his chair and sighed. He felt quite unprepared to be Kaiser, and he certainly did not want to be remembered as the Kaiser who lost Britannia.

It was no use trying to fight destiny, he realized. He was Kaiser now, and he would lead the legions into battle as his father and grandfather had did before him. Even if it killed him.


Outnumbered at least five to one, Hakam first attempted to flank the Mexica, only for the waves of Mexica infantry to drive his armies back to the center of the battlefield. Beathan moved his army to the nearest set of hills and ordered defenses to be set up at the top. Despite the Reich forces being heavily outnumbered, the waves of Mexica infantry were unable to drive Beathan’s men off the hills or even get through the locked shields of the English legions, with Ocuil Acatl forced to send in his heavy infantry. Beathan simply ordered his longbow archers to strafe the enemy relentlessly. As the most heavily armored Mexica warriors advanced up the hill, Caliph Hakam and Siegfried struck the Mexica army from behind, raining volley after volley of arrows down on them simultaneously.

The next day, the Mexica again sent wave after wave of infantry up the hills to break Beathan’s defenses. Surprisingly, they were met with little resistance on their march. Encouraged by the fact that the English were seemingly running out of arrows to hold off the Mexica advance, the Mexica commander did not suspect anything.

However, the English hadn’t run out of arrows. In fact, they were far from that.

At approximately noon, with the sun shining from behind the English, the Roman front erupted as every single English longbow archer, feared throughout Europe for their deadly accuracy and reload speed, opened fire on the Mexica simultaneously. Thousands of Mexica were struck down by the black hailstorm of metal and feathers.

At that moment, the ground began to shake. However, the English under Beathan hadn’t budged from their positions. The Mexica slowly turned around to confront the eighty thousand men of the Twentieth Legion, led by King Baldwin I von Schweinfurt of Africa and Shia Caliph Hakam von Fatimid. The stunned men of the Huey-tlatoani dropped their weapons and scattered in sheer terror as the trumpets blared and Carthaginian drums beat out in perfect synchrony with the steady charge of the mounted knights and armored infantrymen. Above all of this, above the deafening feeling of imminent doom, above the thundering of the imperial war horses, came the battle cry of a religion that had ceased to exist decades ago, the cry of the last Muslim nation to be conquered by the Reich, the cry of the people of Arabia before Friedrich the Glorious subjugated them in a crusade and gave their land to the Jews: “Allahu akbar!”

The Caliph, whose family and small court in Imperial Azerbaijan were among the last true Muslims in the known world, led the charge, alongside King Baldwin and Kaiser Siegfried.

“Allahu akbar!” he repeated, and the common soldiers, the soldiers of Christendom and Islam, repeated his words without question.

The Caliph’s Charge, as it became known, flattened what remained of the Mexica armies. Shocked by unexpected volleys from the English archers, the Mexica had no time to defend against the Carthaginians. Their fear of horses returned to them on the fields of Ergyng as Roman swords ran through their chests and Carthaginian lances pierced their armor and useless helmets with ease. For once, Romans and Carthaginians met on the battlefield as allies, not as the mortal enemies they once were.

The Mexica lines disintegrated over the next two days, the Reich slowly gaining the upper hand. From all sides, the Romans moved in, showing their enemies no mercy.

Ocuil Acatl slammed his fist down on his table and ordered his reserve forces to engage the imperial legions at once.


Siegfried calmed his horse down as he observed the battle. Dust was everywhere as the cavalry continuously charged and engaged the Mexica forces. Cries of “Allahu akbar!” and “Deus vult!” filled the air. If he was to die here, he would take as many of the barbarians as he could down with him.

“Hakam! Beathan!” He shouted. “Full advance!”

The caliph and the lowly mayor simply stared back at him. “My Kaiser, but that would be complete suicide!” shouted Beathan.

“The Kaiser’s word is law,” said Siegfried, “You will advance and send as many of those barbarians back to the Devil as possible! We are avenging my father, and we will do it now!”
“Yes, Kaiser. Knights and Kataphraktoi to the wings! Heavy infantry, prepare to march! Archers, aim and fire on my mark!” The trumpet calls sounded out, soon joined by the clatter of an army readying to move.
“Servants of Allah!” Hakam yelled, turning to his retinue, his personal guard of cavalry drawn from the best soldiers and horses in Aegyptus and Israel-Arabia, one of the Reich’s few Muslim-majority armies. “We have fought in the name of the Reich and Allah for many years now. We have tasted victory and defeat over our many enemies. I am proud of you all. No Caliph could have asked for braver soldiers of Islam, for more worthy champions of the Kaiser. Let me ask this once more: will you join me as we charge into the chaos, into the fire? Will you join the Commander of the Faithful, as he storms the ramparts of the servants of Shaytan, cross blades with these barbarians, to smite the infidels who threaten everything we and the Reich stand for?”

One after another, they called “Yes, Caliph! We shall!”
Hakam smiled. Hope lives. He turned his horse around to face the enemy. “Allahu akbar!” he shouted. “Allahu akbar!” Forty five thousand voices answered. He lifted his sword again. “For the Hebrides!” he yelled.
The call grew as more took it up, a steady, rumbling oath of vengeance, until once again forty five thousand voices yelled as one. “The Hebrides!”
Hakam raised his sword again. “Forward!” The trumpet calls sounded, and then the drums as the Arabs advanced. And so the forces of the Shia Caliphate, the last bastion of Islam, bellowing its new cry of vengeance, advanced across the bloody field of Ergyng.

Hakam’s second charge came as a complete surprise to the Mexica again. The soldiers fell upon the Mexica heavy infantry, engaging them in fierce hand to hand combat, exposing them to repeated cavalry charges from Arab horsemen. Meanwhile, the light cavalry flanked the Mexica armies, launching volley after volley of arrows into the barbarian mass.

Hakam’s charge broke the Mexica army, and few barbarians escaped the Caliph’s wrath.

2015-10-26_00054.jpg
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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The Kaiser might be losing his mind, but that's still a good victory against the Aztec. Now just do that again about twenty times and you'll win the war! :p
 

Michaelangelo

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A victory at last!

Those are some staggering death tolls. I doubt medieval Europe say battles of that scale. Then again, they didn't have swarms of Aztec soldiers rampaging through Britain. :p
 

zenphoenix

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Chapter 2: Worcester and Gloucester

“Every man has his own famous battle. Alexander the Great had Gaugamela. Charles Martel had Tours. Harold Godwinson had Stamford Bridge. Our brave Siegfried the Hunter had two: Ergyng and Worcester. Or three, if you count Gloucester, but that would be too unfair.”
-Attributed to Mayor Beathan

"Blood, blood, everywhere, and not a drop to sacrifice."
-Nahua Commander Acamapichtli Acamapichtli, after the Two Great Battles

As night fell, the legions retreated to their defenses within the walls of Ergyng to lick their wounds at the end of that bloody day, much bloodier than the Five Crusades of Friedrich the Great against the Vikings and Muslims (and Finns, but nobody talks about the Fourth Crusade), bloodier than the (relatively bloodless) subjugation of France, bloodier than all of the times the Reich had to invade Denmark and Persia in self-defense. The Reich’s military capacity had been severely crippled over the last decade, to the point that the Kings of Israel-Arabia, Mauretania, and Leon-Andalusia were threatening to revolt again (they were quickly satisfied with huge sums of money from the imperial treasury).

But the demon had been bloodied. The Huey-tlatoani had lost over a hundred thousand men (not pictured in screenshots), around forty percent of his entire invasion force. It was a heavy blow for him, for reinforcements from the homeland would take months to be organized and sent across the ocean.

Upon hearing of the victory at Ergyng, Romans all over Europe rejoiced. Church bells rang day and night. The Ecumenical Patriarch personally congratulated Mayor Beathan for his efforts during the battle (he was promoted and granted some honors), and the few Roman Muslims alive felt that their faith was not quite dead yet, although conversion efforts were still futile.

Upon hearing of the defeat at Ergyng, Ocuil Acatl flew into a rage again and ordered what remained of his army to drive south and halt the Roman advance into Wales and Ireland. On the fields outside of Worcester and Gloucester, the armies of Christendom and barbarism clashed again in what would be immortalized as the Two Great Battles, the battles which finished what the Caliph’s Charge had started.


Worcester
The ground in front of Beathan was completely covered by Mexica arrows. Across the fields were the huddled masses of Mexica archers, still firing at the English. Some of the obsidian arrows hit their targets, and Englishmen screamed. A whistle sounded, and the English retaliated, doing the same thing to the Mexica. And it repeated again and again. Then the Mexica strangely began retreating.
Again he coughed, the dust invading his nostrils.
Beathan pointed. “They’re readying for another charge.” His bodyguard nodded, wiping the sweat and dust from his forehead.
Ocuil Acatl had been pounding them with waves of skirmishers for days, focusing on the chinks between the various armies, which was his usual strategy. The Huey-tlatoani had committed the vast majority of his troops to this battle. Beathan saw new medium infantry from other lesser barbarian tribes across the ocean, he assumed. On their own they were nowhere near as lethal as Reich knights or English archers, but they made up for that in huge numbers; Ocuil Acatl had at least sixty thousand fielded today, as far as Beathan could tell. Beathan frowned even as the English cheered, lashing out a volley of arrows to help speed the barbarians on their way. This was too easy, he thought. But where were the heavy infantry?

“Caliph! We must retreat or we lose the right flank!” Hakam turned to look at Ali, his commander.

“No! We stand and fight or we’ll lose the flank anyways!”

“It’s already gone! If we don’t move now, Ocuil Acatl will take us in the rear, and the Kaiser will be overwhelmed!”
“He’s doing it already,” Ali said.
The caliph swore. “Very well. Get the knights to cover for us.”
Ali breathed a sigh of relief, then snapped the orders. The calls rang out, and the Arabs began their retreat. It was then that Ocuil Acatl struck with the intensity and ruthlessness of the ancient barbarian Attila the Hun.
Forty thousand Mexica medium troops slammed into the fracturing Arab and English lines. At the same time arrows slashed into the right flank as the soldiers screamed and ran to escape an enemy that vastly outnumbered them.

“Run! Run for your li-” “To London!” “Buggers! Bloody wankers!” The English troops were scattering and falling, their German commanders screaming “Ordnung!” at the top of their lungs in vain.
“Stand fast, men!” Hakam yelled. None did. An arrow snapped past his nose, causing him to think again.

“Screw this, I’m out of here,” he said. He whipped his horse and galloped away.



The drums were beating rapidly. Siegfried could hear the shouts of the soldiers, the screeching of the horns, as the English and Arab flank shattered. They had been flanked.

Now Acatl’s heavy troops were curling around the left flank. Siegfried could feel the rumble as forty thousand barbarian warriors marched.
“Form ranks! Testudo shield formation!” Siegfried heard Beathan yell. “Archers, aim and fire on my mark!”

The soldiers locked their shields together. Archers loaded their bows and prepared to fire.

The steady marching was growing louder and faster by the second; it appeared that the Mexica were charging the center, to break them completely.
“They’re coming!” shouted a knight.
Siegfried turned and yelled. “Varangians!”

The Norsemen accompanying Siegfried all raised their battle axes and prepared for combat. Twenty five thousand Mexica burst out from the dust, bellowing in a dozen tongues, vastly different from each other but equally barbaric to Siegfried.

Just when Siegfried could see the whites in the Mexica’s eyes, Beathan shouted, “Fire!”

Every single English archer unleashed his volley at point-blank range, an immense wall of sharp black metal and feathers flattening the foremost Mexica, with the warriors behind them stumbling and tripping over the dead.

The Varangians brandished their axes again. “Saint Wilhelmina, grant us victory! Charge!” Twenty five hundred Varangians attacked.


The Varangians advanced, great, armored figures in the dust, wielding their great axes, which rose and swung with ruthless rhythm and efficiency, each time hacking apart a Mexica. Like their berserker ancestors and Viking cousins in Scandinavia, they feared nothing but their commander’s wrath. They charged into the chaos, and the sheer fury they unleashed on their enemies was enough to shatter the Mexica lines for a whole minute.
The Mexica advance stalled, the crunch of Varangian axes as they smashed limbs and shattered bones reverberating in the dust. But then more men piled in, and more and more and more, as Acatl sent in even more reinforcements. The Mexica were like the Hydra of Hellenic lore, except even deadlier; for every Mexica cut down, four more took his place on the front lines. But the Varangians were trained to fight under such odds, and they didn’t care. To them, the reinforcements were just more men to kill and more chances of going to Valhalla.

The Varangians returned to Siegfried’s side. They had fought for just five minutes, and lost over five hundred of their number, but it was time well spent. Siegfried was relieved, as reinforcements from the Twentieth Legion arrived. The reserves were in place, and the flank was secure.

For now.



Moctezuma smiled as his courier handed him the latest report; a counteroffensive had broken the Reich line again, if only temporarily. The tall Zapotec man squirmed under the gaze of the Nahua commander’s barbarian grin. “You may go,” Moctezuma said, waving his hand. The man ran off.
He turned to behind him, to the feathered warriors that made up his personal guard, all wearing the pelts of jaguars. “Jaguars!” he bellowed. “Forward!” He charged on foot, and behind him the Jaguars marched, the men who had brought down the Mayapan League, who had broken the hated Tlaxcala Kingdom and humbled the Anasazi Confederation. Following them were another fifteen thousand men, to bolster the ever tightening noose. A noose, Moctezuma thought, more than fit for a Kaiser. And once again his barbarian grin flashed in the sun.



Beathan wasn’t listening to his messenger. In his mind’s eye he saw the battlefield. The left flank wasn’t gone yet, and with the elite German knights in place it would take a long and bloody time for the Mexica to destroy that pocket. And at the same time they’d have to guard their flank carefully lest the Romans try to break the ring. Ocuil Acatl’s heavy troops weren’t on the right wing; they were bad for pursuit, and he wouldn’t be holding them in reserve. His mediocre medium troops wouldn’t stand a chance against Siegfried’s Varangians. No, the heavy infantry were concentrated in the left flank. And that meant…
Beathan smiled and turned toward the second-in-command. “We attack the center.”
“What?”
“We attack the center.”
“It’s suicide! Then again, I probably told you this at Ergyng…”
“Actually, I said that, and to the Kaiser. But the enemy’s gate is down. We must act on it.” He held up his hand. “The decision has been made. We march.”
Beathan trotted over to where the two thousand German heavy cavalry were stationed, looking into their eyes. They had heard the news. “Soldiers of Christ! My brothers! It is true that the day is dark! That hope is dim! But we are Romans! We shall prevail.”
He looked into their eyes. Fear was still there, but determination as well. Hands still gripped swords and lances, but no longer with shaking white knuckles but the steady grip of combat veterans. “Saint Gunhilda!” Beathan shouted.
Two thousand voices answered. “Saint Gunhilda!” The patron saint of miraculous victories, the second most-revered saint in the Reich, and the tutor of Saint Wilhelmina.

Beathan turned around to face the hosts of the Huey-tlatoani. “Soldiers of Christ! Charge!”

Trumpets sounded, and two thousand hooves slammed against the earth. The English infantry opened their ranks, the two thousand cavalry filing through. Onward they marched, Beathan in the lead. Forward they all charged, into the fire and the chaos, and into legend.

Siegfried stared back at the courier. “Beathan’s doing what?!”
“He’s charging the enemy, with two thousand knights.”
Siegfried sighed. “Seriously?!”
The courier nodded in agreement. “He also said he needs more men but that you can retreat if you need to.”
“We aren’t retreating,” Siegfried growled.
“What?” said the commanders.
“We aren’t retreating,” Siegfried repeated. “I am going to avenge my father.”

Before anyone could react, he charged.
Siegfried charged into the fray, his sword rising and falling, each slash cutting down a barbarian. He felt unstoppable. He was the Kaiser, Lord of Europe, and he would not fail.
An arrow slammed into the neck of his mount. It reared in pain, throwing the Kaiser off before landing on top of him. A Mexica warrior approached him, sword raised. Nothing stood between the barbarian metal and the Kaiser.
Suddenly, Beathan charged out of nowhere and leapt from his horse, sword drawn. The Mexica parried Beathan’s lunge, and then swung. Beathan barely dodged the blow.
The man moved, ever so fast. His sword parried again, and then slashed at Beathan. This time Beathan dodged again, only to trip on the body of a fallen German and fall on his back. The sun shone into his eyes before it was blocked out by the man, who raised his sword.

A blade burst from the man’s chest, and the Mexica fell. Behind him was Siegfried, who had somehow managed to get out from under the horse, even with his limp.
“Uh, thanks, Your Imperial Highness,” Beathan said.
“Save the thanks for later,” replied Siegfried.
Siegfried smiled as his lines were consolidated and he found himself at the head of his mighty army again. “KATAPHRAKTOI, READY KONTOI!” The allied line shivered, the lances of five thousand German and Greek knights shifting to the attack. “Saint Wilhelmina, grant us victory!”
He smiled once again. “Charge!” The drums beat, the trumpets sounded, and together the imperial legions charged.

The Mexica never stood a chance.

2015-10-26_00055.jpg


---


The Battle of Worcester, and later the Battle of Gloucester, was a decisive victory for the Reich, both strategically and morale-wise. The majority of the Mexica invasion force had been wiped out in a single battle, boosting the morale of the Romans; that this happened three times was a miracle for the Romans. The image of the invincible barbarians from across the ocean destined to repeat the conquests of Attila the Hun had been finally and fully shattered. With renewed zeal, the legions drove north, where other Mexica armies were assaulting northern England and eastern Wales. Each legion moved independently of each other to bait the Mexica into attacking one of them, hoping the other Mexica armies would come to aid the barbarians under attack, before converging all of the legions upon the combined Mexica force.
2015-10-26_00056.jpg

2015-10-26_00057.jpg

The trap worked, and two small Roman and Mexica armies clashed in central England. Both sides immediately sent in reinforcements to crush the other quickly, but again it was the Twentieth Legion which decided the battle. The Reich seized another decisive victory, wiping out much of the Mexica invasion force.
2015-10-27_00003.jpg
2015-10-27_00004.jpg

This time, the Mexica were forced to end their invasion of Britannia. Status quo antebellum, a white peace, was proposed by Ocuil Acatl and accepted by Siegfried, though Siegfried was already developing plans to liberate Caledonia and Hibernia from the Mexica yoke.
The year 1251 marked the end of the Mexica conquests against the Reich. Triumphs were held in Berlin and Constantinople that year, with the victorious soldiers marching down the streets past cheering crowds. Beathan was rewarded greatly for his victories, but Siegfried's attempts to raise him to true nobility were blocked by the Kings of England and France.
Those soldiers were quickly redeployed to the Middle East, though, as the Romans' ancient nemesis, Persia, was invading Mesopotamia yet again...
2015-10-27_00002.jpg
 
Last edited:

Michaelangelo

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It's definitely a great victory when you lose under a thousand men and your enemy is nearly wiped out.

Don't those eastern heathens know that the Empire is dealing with heathens from across the ocean? How rude. :p
 

zenphoenix

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It's definitely a great victory when you lose under a thousand men and your enemy is nearly wiped out.

Don't those eastern heathens know that the Empire is dealing with heathens from across the ocean? How rude. :p
Or maybe there's a conspiracy connecting them, like the Mexica-aligned Jews.:D
 

TheAnguishedOne

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White Peace! Not quite perfect, but it is an excellent start. I'm starting to think you'll constantly be in war though.
 

ML8991

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Well done zen, we knew you could bring it out the bag.

Good luck with the north now, but where will you go next...
 

zenphoenix

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Chapter 3: War in the Near East

“Know this, brave soldiers of the Reich. Know that you will go forth and smite the unbelievers, the barbarians, the men who desecrate our culture, our civilization, our Reich. Know that you will go forth and conquer. Know that you are an imperial legionnaire. For we are Romans, and the barbarians will be put in their rightful place—driven back into the sea! Today, we reclaim what is rightfully ours! Today, we free Caledonia and Hibernia! May Saint Wilhelmina grant us victory in this war!
-Siegfried I, before leading troops into battle against the Mexica


“Jewsade!”
-A Jewish student in my class, when I attempted to discuss the milkhemet reshut


The Mexica weren’t the only enemy the Reich was fighting. At the same time the blood of thousands of Germans and Mexica was being spilled on the fields of England, the Reich was targeted by its traditional enemies, which sensed weakness. From the north, the Fylkir sent his Vikings to conquer the German heartland under the guise of a crusade, while the Zoroastrians invaded Mesopotamia (though the Hashshashin, a Reich buffer state, sent assassins to destroy the armies sent into Iraq and the Persian Empire itself refused to participate).
2015-10-27_00006.jpg

In the Far East, Genghis Khan, the conqueror of Russia, Afghanistan, Finland, and half of Persia, finally died and was succeeded by his son, Chagatai Khan. Surprisingly, Chagatai abandoned his father's faith in Tengri and quickly converted to Zunism through one of his Turkish concubines, while the Ghaznavids converted to Slavic after their Sultan took a Russian concubine, and the Finns found themselves ruled by a Turkish Padishah.
2015-10-27_00007.jpg
2015-10-27_00008.jpg

In December, a son was born to Siegfried, and he was named Sigismund.
2015-10-27_00009.jpg

The year 1252 saw two important events. First was the defeat of the Mexica-aligned Jews. It took several long years before the forces of Judaism were finally stopped, as Siegfried hadn’t taken the Kohen Gadol’s declaration of war seriously. Enraged at his betrayal, Siegfried cut off all relations with the Abyssinians and forced the Kohen Gadol to swear fealty to him. The High Priest of Judaism was given the city of Orvieto, north of Rome (where the Ecumenical Patriarch reigned in the Vatican) and south of the Papal estate in Orbotello, to “rule” over and spread his faith, albeit under what was effectively house arrest.
2015-10-27_00010.jpg

The second was the First Mongol Civil War, in which the former Tsar of Russia, the Ghaznavid Padishah, and the Suomenusko Padishah simultaneously rebelled against Chagatai Khan. Before this civil war, Chagatai had been planning for invasions of Scandinavia, India, and Persia, with the ultimate goal of encircling the Reich and then destroying it from all sides. By December 6, 1252, the civil war was over when the Tsar managed to capture Chagatai Khan during a battle and force his surrender. Around that time, reports began filtering in of a huge war that the Mexica were fighting in their distant homeland against another barbarian empire.
2015-10-27_00013.jpg

1253 passed without much incident, other than the fact that a smallpox epidemic was devastating the Mexica homeland. It was said that the epidemic began on the day seven years ago that Hibernia fell to the Mexica.
2015-10-27_00017.jpg

In March of 1254, the Zoroastrian High Priest surrendered after the Hashshashin sent him numerous death threats (and after his armies were wiped out).
2015-10-27_00018.jpg

With the Reich finally at peace (the Norse having been defeated at some point), more triumphs were held in Berlin and Constantinople, and a grand tournament was organized.
2015-10-27_00021.jpg

After the tournament’s conclusion, Siegfried turned his attention back to the Mexica. Their armies were weakened, and reinforcements were still being organized in the Mexica homeland, which was being torn apart by smallpox epidemics and the other barbarian empire.

Siegfried promptly ordered the invasion of Caledonia and Hibernia to begin.
2015-10-27_00028.jpg

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2015-10-28_00005.jpg

The Tenth Legion was quickly assembled and prepared in Northumberland, just south of the border with occupied Caledonia, at the same time the Eleventh Legion was readied in Wales for an invasion of Hibernia. Supported by the Third Legion and Twentieth Legion, they launched a coordinated offensive against Mexica forces, easily driving them back. Throughout 1255, the Mexica armies were quickly and decisively crushed. By 1258, it was all over, and Ocuil Acatl was forced to sue for peace. Caledonia returned to the Reich, along with half of Hibernia. Siegfried was hailed as a hero during the triumphs.
2015-10-28_00006.jpg

(Ignore Aztec enclaves in Scotland)

But the peace would not last. In the winter of 1259, the King of Taurica reported that the Mongol horde was moving—this time, it was headed straight for the Reich border. Days later, a Mongol diplomat arrived in Berlin, with a piece of paper in hand. Temur Khan, the brother of the late Chagatai Khan, demanded that the Kaiser swear fealty to him—or die.
2015-10-28_00020.jpg

(revolt was put down five seconds after this screenshot was taken)

Siegfried had the Mongol imprisoned.

And so the Mongol invasion of the Reich began.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Wow, the Mongol Empire converts to Zunism only to shatter into different warring factions. Nicely done defeating the Aztec again.