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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Blust

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3 years after my first AAR (Wallachia can into Europe) and 2 years after my last, I have found a country I'm interested in and that I would like to share to this forum. Anyone would've guessed with the title : it's Theodoros !

A gothic kingdom in the black sea, the last of its kind !

theo 1a.png

Such a beautiful piece of land. Would be a shame if someone was to gobble it up.

Historically, the kingdom of Theodoros was the last of the byzantine and gothic countries to disappear. That is why I chose to make Alexis of Gothia aware of this terrible fate and help him secure a future for his family and his people.

This one province minor starts with 9 development, a small navy and an even smaller army.

The prince Alexis, a 2/5/4 ruler, immediately decide to build its army over the limit. With 6,000 infantry men and 1,000 knights, Theodoros should be able to fend some others minor countries ; but the country is now going slowly towards bankruptcy. A move has to be made as soon as possible.

The legend say that the first night of december 1444, Alexis of Gothia made a terrible nitghmare, which turned him into a complete coward. The army, still in training, lost a bit of its morale. On top of being a yellow-bellied prince, Alexis of Gothia was a terrible general (3/1/2/0). Therefore, he turned towards the nobility and asked for help.
A noble general answered and led the troops from this day : Philippos Riza, a much better 1/3/1/1 leader...

The future was looking darker every day. But, when looking across the sea, the prince knew he had no much time left before the ever-hungry Ottomans would eat Byzantium, Trebyzond and finally Theodoros, and by this definitely closing a part of european history.


Less than two weeks after his nightmare, the prince took his decision. The 11th december of 1444, he attacked, without warning or casus belli, a foreign, diplomatically isolated country. Just like his own duchy. A soul for a soul.

theo 2a.png

A strategy worthy of Alexander the Great, truly.

And thus, the conquest of East Frisia began. Only allied to (regular ?) Frisia, they were still able to field twice as many men as the mighty Theodoran's duchy. But Alexis directed every scientist of his little duchy towards researching one thing : getting the military upper hand.

Even with the morale malus given by their prince, the Theodoran army was able to take apart the defensive western armies and completely annihilate them, securing a peaceful raiding and pillaging time for themselves.

Both Frisia were devastated by war, while Theodoros was sieging their capitals. Upon complete victory, East Frisia was made an orthodox vassal, and as such, immediately asked for help in the wars its own neighbors started after seeing its army destroyed. Like a pack of wolves who smell blood in the air, Munster and Oldenbourg both went for the weakest prey : East Frisia. But East Frisia now has an overlord.

An overlord who expected such an attack. He even wished for it. Being the coward he is, he wouldn't dare attack the mighty Holy Roman Empire ; that would only accelerate the doomfall of his own country. But defending a vassal ? That's something the Holy Roman Emperor wouldn't condemn.

East Frisia was attacked on two sides, and thus Alexis of Gothia, formerly its unlawful agressor, was now tasked to defend this very territory. He chose to attack switfly, just like he did in his own conquest, before the armies could regroup. Oldenbourg's army was utterly destroyed. Their pitiful 4,000 infantry western troops were no match for Philippos Riza, the glorious general. He then chased the Munster's army accross its territory and, after crossing a river, won a decisive battle. No survivor.

Both countries were then properly sacked and sieged. Oldenbourg was fully annexed, while only the northern province of Munster, Osnabruck, was taken. Their gold ended up in Theodros's treasurery, which was looking very worrying for a time. Munster was even politely asked to convert to the one true faith : christian orthodoxism.


pentecostb.jpg

The first nation of the Holy Roman Empire, Munster, and his nobility, converting to orthodox faith.


July 1452 : Theodores now directly owns land north of the Holy Roman Empire. The future is looking better. Development inside the country skyrocketed. But Theodoros was still alone on the diplomatic scene. Luckily, like a blessing given by God after converting a country to the one true faith, Muscovy was willing to ally such a tiny but fierce duchy like Theodoros. The Rurikovich probably wanted to push their faith toward the west too, while also destabilizing the Holy Roman Empire.

Even after a royal mariage with the Rurikovich dynasty, Alexis of Gothia wasn't sure he could trust the mighty but now foreign giant to come to the rescue in dire times. Therefore, Alexis sent emissaries to potential allies.

France agreed to a royal mariage but nothing more. Burgundy was looking at Theodors with hungry eyes and wouldn't want to listen to any proposal. Bohemia wasn't even considering Theodoros as a serious potential ally. Austria was pissed a foreign prince would settle in his land, and didn't want to consider making Alexis an official Holy Roman Prince either. But Denmark was really interested in a challenger willing to disturb the Empire's peace.

Theodoros is now at peace and with two allies, while developing the country new provinces with Renaissance.
It is time for the prince Alexis to improve relationships with its angry heretics neighbours.


theo 3.png

Hungary and Denmark are having internal issues, this may change this map drastically.
 
Last edited:

volksmarschall

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God bless the Goths resurrected! :cool:

Very best of luck with this. I'll be watching. The history of the rise and fall of the Goths is truly one of the most captivating stories in all history. But now they a get a new chance, of sorts, to claim what should have been theirs from the start! Count me in.

Cheers!
 

Blust

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Thanks you and welcome to you both !

Unfortunately, shortly after his rigthful conquest, the prince Alexis died. His heir, Alexios IV, known for being a master tactician, will have the hard but how important task to integrate the Holy Roman Empire, to put the duchy of Theodoros under its protection.

In order to achieve this goal, he started by... waiting. It was necessary to improve the relationship between Theodoros and Austria, the emperor.

In 1466, after annexing the short-lived vassal of East Frisia, Alexios IV decided to make it its new capital, a great step to make Theodoros able to join the Empire. After an impressive monetary gift to the emperor, this one agreed to welcome Theodoros within the Holy Roman Empire. Alexios IV knew he made his duchy safe. But his rule only began !

BmhS5.jpg

Finally an official imperial prince !

Not sure about what would be his first move as imperial prince, Alexios IV waited a bit more. There was no time being wasted as the armies were training and his diplomatic network expanding.

One of those diplomats soon made known to the prince some issues (or opportunities) in the east : Transylvania took its independence from Hungary, and the Zaporogues cossacks broke free from Lithuania.

The prince wasn't interested by these dirt provinces. But he was interested by their location, and so was Crimea. In early 1485, a fleet set sail to Theodoros, to launch an immediate attack on those independent cossacks.

the-eendracht-and-a-fleet-of-dutch-men-ludolf-bakhuizen.jpg


In 1444, the gothic army travelled thru land. 20 years later, they make return by sea.

Within a year, their army disbanded and their territory became part of the Theodoros emp... hu, duchy.


Not long after, Lithuania was left alone by Poland. Everybody knew it was the time to strike. Calling Muscovy into the war, Alexios IV of Gothia made its way into Kiev, then Vilnius. Complete victory. Mostly thanks to the numerous muscovite troops.

While Muscovy's demands were a big part of the lithuanian cake, Theodoros was able to secure a center of trade and the liberation of a new vassal of his : Galicia-Volhynia. A future asset in order to claim his rightful cores.

Consolidating his power, Alexios IV, still alive and well, saw an opportunity when Genoa attacked Crimea. While his army was inferior to the crimean's, he knew he could seize the moment by backing the genoese's war.

However, he was not able to secure the juicy province of Crimea itself. He was left with a bittersweet taste after the conquest of more cossack's land.

1494.png


1494 ends on another conquest.

It was now time to take care of rebels and build a spy network in Poland, in order to later build on in Transylvania.

But the prince was happy. Even though he was unable to expand within the Holy Roman Empire, he could still manage to build a future in eastern Europe, far from the others imperial princes.


What would come next ?
 

volksmarschall

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What comes next, well, either the world is yours or you are the world's. That's part of the excitement of geographic location, you're literally sandwiched in between worlds with so much open to you -- but also so much to consider.