• 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

Darth Cheesecak

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Part 6.1: Uriel

"Gold is the lifeblood of the realm."

Imperial Male.

Traits: Master Trader, Quick, Ambitious, Lustful, Diligent, and Proud.

Uriel was always sort of an odd duck in the Cyraliin family, while his father and grandfather had been great warriors Uriel was instead cast in an economic mold. Though his reign saw two provinces added to the empire he never once commanded an army, he instead focused on improving the empire's revenue stream, a task for which he was eminently suited. He was also "lucky" enough to be the reigning emperor when the great flu came knocking.

He left the task of actually commanding his legions to his aunt the formidable Potema, who I will cover in my next mini-update 6.2

Cheesecake's note: I've finished about a third of the script for part 7, so Potema's mini-update should be the last, if not I'll end up covering King Hakim of Rihad or Emeric of Daggerfall (The only rulers who posed any challenge to the imperial takeover.)
 
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Darth Cheesecak

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Part 6.2 Potema

I said I'd never stab him in the back... I didn't say anything about his eyes! *laughs*

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Traits: Master Warrior, Genius, Attractive, Melodious Voice, Deceitful, Ambitious, Ruthless, Diligent, Patient, and Inspiring Leader.

Potema was without a doubt the most entertaining character to write for, getting into character and then writing down the dialogue that resulted from my "Character Powwows" (Thanks Natasha and Sean) really helped bring the characters to life.

Anyway onto the main event, Potema has had her eye on the throne for decades now. She's been able to wait patiently fairly secure in the knowledge that she really can wait until the time is right to make her move (Damn elven longevity!)

After her brother Constantine I gave her Skyrim as a reward for her loyalty she was faced with several wars against usurpers who thought that Skyrim really should be for the Nords, after the Wulfharth and Bearclaw families were destroyed root and branch the surviving Jarls got the message.

Her Nephew Uriel ended up giving her command of the Imperial Legions during the conquest of Hammerfall and High Rock, this combat experience would serve her well in some of the less civil wars that followed...


Part 7 "Imperial Diplomacy" will be out Monday.
 

thekinguter

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A world map would be nice. Uriel's empire in all its glory :)
 

Darth Cheesecak

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Aaaaand I finally got another screenshot to work Huzzah!



This is the Empire a few days before Constantine died, so this is what Uriel has to work with when he takes the throne in part 7.

Part 7 will be up shortly.
 
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Darth Cheesecak

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Part 7 "Imperial Diplomacy"

(The Imperial Palace, three years after the death of Constantine I)

Uriel I Emperor of Tamriel was looking over his maps when his Aunt High Queen Potema of Skyrim entered.

"Your Grace" she said giving a nod of her head as opposed to the bow that was expected.

The Emperor turned to face her. "Ah you have arrived good, we have much to discuss."

"Is that so?"

"Yes. The time for expansion is now, Our target is Hammerfall."

"Wonderful, when will you be leading your legions to the front?"

"I won't. We both know that I am not a warrior."

"Then who shall command the legions?"

"My father gave you Skyrim as a reward for your loyalty and you've held that throne against the worst the nords can throw at you. You know war, and that is why I am placing you in command of my legions."

"What restrictions will I be operating under?"

"None, you are to subdue Hammerfall by any means necessary. I'm giving you free reign, see that you use it well."

"Of course my lord. I will begin preparations as soon as I return to Whiterun." With another pseudo-bow she left.

"Are you sure it is wise to give her that much authority?" Uriel's consort Lucina Reman asked.

"Wise or not she's the best candidate..." the Emperor responded.

___________________________________________________________________________

(Six months later, Dragonsreach Whiterun)

"You've been given total control over the conquest of Hammerfall. How are we approaching this?" Serana Volikhar Chancellor of Skyrim and perhaps Potema's only friend asked.

"We will destroy Rihad first, Old Hakim is the only ruler in Hammerfall who is competent enough to pose a threat. The rest of the province will fall in short order once he is removed."

"Shall I summon our assassins then?"

"No. Hakim and his army will be crushed in the field. His fall will serve as a warning to the other rulers of Hammerfall."

"And because you want to bring his dreams crashing down around him?"

"Of course, just because it's a war of conquest doesn't mean I can't keep myself entertained."

"Very well my Queen, when do we strike?"

"As soon as my "dear" nephew gets to declaring war. Until then I'll be conducting a little light raiding in Elinhir."

Uriel declared war on Rihad a month to the day later. The Empire ended up at war with Righad, Sentinel, and Elinhir due entirely to Hakim's hastily arraigned political marriages.

Hakim and his allies surprised many in Imperial High Command when they went on the offensive, capturing Sutch and destroying the 5th legion outside Crowhaven. (Which was the greatest defeat the empire had suffered in its history)

The old king flushed with victory prepared to march on Anvil when he received dire news. While he had been battering his way in to Sutch and routing the 5th legion the rest of the Imperial Army had staged a whirlwind campaign through the heart of his realm. Tanneth and Rihad had fallen and both of his sons were now in enemy hands. Hakim immediately abandoned his march on Anvil and rushed back to Rihad.

He met the main imperial army just outside Sutch and the decisive battle of the war was fought, despite gaining an early advantage due in part to his more numerous cavalry his right flank broke and fled in disorder, after that his army was slowly routed.

His army broken, his sons prisoners, and personally minus an eye the last king of Rihad surrendered unconditionally to the empire.

Elinhir fell before the year was out, Sentinel the year after that. The remaining petty lords of Hammerfall fell one by one until five years after the battle of Sutch Hammerfall had been completely absorbed by the Empire. Hammerfall would prove to be the most rebellious province in the empire in later years, but for now its people were quiet as if in shock.

Potema returned to the capital in triumph to meet the Emperor.

__________________________________________________________________________

(The Imperial Gardens, The Imperial City)

"You subdued the Redguards faster than I expected you to."

"They are a long way from subdued, we've beaten them and they're smart enough to accept that for now, but I believe it will take a very long time for the them to truly accept their new place in the way of things."

The Emperor sighed. "You're probably right, but we have more important concerns now. Hammerfall has been secured... more or less. It is time for High Rock to share its fate."

"I trust you'll want me to start with Daggerfall then?"

"In a sense, it turns out that Emeric Daggerfall's king has been quite busy."

"In what way?"

"He just recently declared himself the High King of High Rock, most of the petty lords have already sworn him their allegiance."

"Am I the only one who finds it mildly ridiculous that the Bretons are apparently the only people smart enough to unite against us?"

"Oh I agree bold action is very out of character for them. You really should crush them quickly, I won't tolerate this kind of defiance."

"Of course your grace." Potema left.

The Imperial invasion of High Rock went more or less according to plan. The Breton's new High King only managed to score a few minor victories against isolated detachments of the imperial army, Eventually after seeing most of his kingdom occupied and any army he cared to raise casually brushed aside Emeric "The Wise" surrendered to the Empire. Unlike the former king Hakim he was allowed to retire to Daggerfall where he would be killed along with his entire family a few years later by the great flu.

Uriel had originally planned on invading Elsweyr and had been making preparations with just that in mind when the great flu hit. Four years of abject chaos followed. The Emperor himself survived the sickness as did his aunt but his consort and all three of his young children were killed.

By the time the great flu had finally passed on the Emperor was a changed man, no longer did he dream of further conquests and expanding his great empire.

The remaining thirty years of his rule were spent primarily on improving the Empire's infrastructure, roads were built in many cities and many of the old forts had their walls strengthened and their garrisons increased. The Emperor was eventually remarried to the beautiful Amanda Tharn.

The match proved surprisingly fruitful resulting in four sons. Constantine, Cephorus, Antiochus, and Tiber.

The eldest Constantine was kept in the capital and groomed for the throne.

Cephorus was given Hammerfall and Antiochus was sent to rule High Rock.

Young Tiber was eventually given the Duchy of Bruma.

By the time Uriel "The Great" finally passed the horrible damage caused by the great flu had largely been undone and the empire was once again on firm economic footing.

His son Constantine II came to the throne of a strong prosperous empire, determined to expand his family's conquests until all of Tamriel answered to one throne- his own.

He probably would have succeeded if family troubles hadn't overtaken him...

Part 8 "The Empire ablaze" will be out later this week.
 
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Leztoon

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I like this AAR, short but punchy entries but with a lot of info in them. Looking forward to this one
 

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Cheesecake's note: Due its size I have decided to split part 8 into two separate updates. "The Empire Ablaze" will be out shortly.
 

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Part 8: The Empire Ablaze

Constantine II came to the throne during an age of peace, aside from a few minor peasant rebellions the Imperial Legions hadn't seen serious conflict in over thirty years. Almost as soon as his father's body had been buried Constantine set to work preparing his empire for another war, the deserts and jungles of Elsweyr would feel the Empire's wrath...

By this time "Free Elsweyr" had been divided into two bickering kingdoms, the larger Rimmen had been responsible for breaking the Mane's stranglehold on the province and the smaller Senchal had been the first to successfully declare its independence following Tai J'zargo's shattering victory at Torval.

Unfortunately for the Khajiit they were unable to put aside their long standing hatreds in the face of Imperial aggression. Constantine let both kingdoms battle for three years and then when a shaky peace had been established rushed across the border in three separate attack groups.

The first led by the emperor in person marched southwards from Dune along the Valenwood border with the obvious intention of taking the old capital of Torval.

The second was commanded by the emperor's great aunt High Queen Potema of Skyrim marched through the unforgiving central deserts to destroy the Tai's army.

The third detachment was commanded by the young Allectus Reman (who in later years would become both the consort of an empress and one of the most brilliant generals in Tamriel's history) traveled by sea to take Senchal's army by surprise.

Potema's army group accomplished its objective first, catching the Tai's army almost completely by surprise and annihilated it just outside Corinthe.

Allectus' army reached Senchal without facing any significant opposition, after crushing the natives he settled down to siege the great city.

The Emperor's army was very slow in reaching Torval, by the time Constantine managed to get his forces organized for a proper siege both kingdoms were practically begging to surrender.

Elsweyr had fallen but few gave the Emperor any credit for the deed, preferring to heap praise on the commanders who had actually secured the great victory.

The years following the acquisition of Elsweyr were not easy on Constantine, peasant rebellions and heretic uprisings were breaking out from Daggerfall to Firewatch with alarming frequency and the Imperial Legions were tied down in the provinces to busy stamping out rebellions for any further conquests to be remotely practicable.

The Emperor tried his best to stop the chaos of course, but unfortunately for the Empire he was not quite up to the challenge.

It was during this period of almost constant civil unrest that the Emperor made the decision for which more than anything else he has been remembered for. Constantine only had one child, a young girl by the name of Alessia, and it was for her that Constantine took the dramatic step of enforcing gender equality in the Imperial succession.

This had the unfortunate side effect of turning many of the Emperor's vassals who had long maintained a delicate tolerance for the man openly against him.

It was all the opportunity his ambitious great aunt needed.

It was around this time that Constantine's brothers began dying with alarming frequency, Antiochus was murdered in his bed, Tiber was struck down by cholera, and Cephorus was believed to have been poisoned.

These were of course only the opening moves of what was to be the Jagged Rebellion...

__________________________________________________________________________

(Dragonsreach, Whiterun)

"All three are dead my queen" Serana Volikhar Potema's long time friend and adviser bowed after delivering the news.

"All three? I am fairly certain that I only ordered the deaths of Antiochus and Cephorus."

"You did my queen, young Tiber was killed by cholera."

"Splendid! Think of all the gold we'll save on assassins!" The High Queen smiled (Always mildly unsettling of course but with so much more impact here)

"There is still the matter of the Emperor--" Serana began.

"And his little bitch of a daughter."

"She's little more than a child. Hardly worthy of notice." The chancellor began.

"How old is she Serana?" The queen asked.

"Sixteen my queen."

"And how old was my father when he began his great conquests?"

"Sixteen my queen."

"Exactly, as long as she lives she is an obstacle, and as long as she is an obstacle she is a threat. She dies."

"Everything you say is making perfect sense, it still feels wrong."

"It is necessary my friend, Constantine is a fool and his daughter is likely no better, once they are dead I will give this Empire the leadership that it has sorely lacked ever since that lack wit took the throne."

"And what if your assassins fail? What will you do then?"

"I will take my throne with fire and sword, and gods help anyone who gets in my way..."

Part 9 "The Jagged Rebellion" will be out as soon as I can get it finished.
 
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Part 9: "The Jagged Rebellion"

(The Imperial gardens)

Alessia Cyraliin heir to the Empire was walking through the Imperial gardens with her longtime friend the great general Allectus Reman, their talks eventually turned (As they always did) to the state of the Empire.

"Your father is doing his best Alessia."

"His best isn't good enough, rebellions are breaking out everywhere, heresy is running rampant, and I'm fairly certain my "Dear" old Aunt Potema had my uncles killed. My father either needs to vastly increase his capabilities or it is time for him to... leave the throne."

"You can't be suggesting what I think yo--"

"I am, he's a good man but he is weak. Potema wants the throne, Hammerfell, High Rock, and Eleswyr desperately want to reclaim their independence. The Empire has been turned into a mass of kindling. A single spark could ruin everything."

"He is still your father, what you are suggesting is evil!"

"What I am suggesting is ne----"

Their argument was interrupted by the rasping sound of a blade drawn from its sheath.

"Assassins!" Was all Allectus had time to shout before battle was joined.

The battle was short but brutal, the three would-be assassins assumed that the princess would be alone and that a girl of 16 would be an easy kill. They were wrong on both accounts.

Shortly after the last of the assassins was dispatched several members of the Imperial Guard rushed towards the scene.

"My lady! Are you alright?" the leader asked.

"I'm fine, Allectus check the bodies, you three. (she pointed to three of the guards) Secure the area! The rest of you follow me, my father is in danger."

By the time the young princess and her escort entered the throne room the Emperor's own battle for survival was over, six assassins and four Guardsmen lay dead on the floor. The emperor was unharmed.

"Assassins in my throne room!" The emperor said surprise evident in his voice.

"There are three more corpses in the gardens father."

The emperor turned to his surviving guards. "Sound the alarm, no one is to leave the palace, search everywhere if there are any more I want them found!"

The Guarsmen bowed as one and left withing moments the palace was fully locked down. No more assassins were found but that did little to ease Constantine's worries.

______________________________________________________________________________________
(Two days later, the Emperor's personal chambers)

"She tried to have us killed father we- you have to handle this."

"I'll have her thrown in prison. She will pay for this!"

"Then I can only hope that you act in time..."

____________________________________________________________________________

(Dragonsreach, Whiterun, two weeks later)

Potema would-be empress of Tamriel and High Queen of Skyrim had guests.

J'zargo High King of Eleswyr, Tacitan High King of Hammerfell, and Emeric Motierre the recently crowned High King of High Rock took their seats at Potema's great table which was at this time covered with a surprisingly detailed map of Tamriel.

After several hours of intense negotiation the four monarchs had reached an agreement. High Rock, Hammerfell, and Eleswyr would back Potema's bid for the throne in exchange for great rewards and preferential treatment.

Shortly after the three kings left for their respective kingdoms Potema summoned her council.

"It is time, send word to all of my vassals, they are to ready their warriors, the throne will be mine!"

A messenger was sent to Constantine informing him of the strength of Potema's supporters and her demand for the throne. The Emperor refused her outrageous demands and the Empire found itself at war.

______________________________________________________________________________

(The Imperial Palace)

"High Rock, Hammerfell, Eleswyr, and Skyrim have all risen against you my lord." Allectus (who had recently been named marshal of the Empire) said.

"Morrowind and Black Marsh have remained loyal father." Alessia added.

"Very well." the emperor said gravely. "Allectus ready the legions, I will take what local soldiers I have and move to hold Pale Pass."

"Of course my lord." Allectus bowed and left.

"And what shall I be doing during all of this?" Alessia asked.

"You will remain here, should anything happen to me it will be up to you to put down this rebellion."

"I see. Gods be with you father."

And so it was that Allectus Reman the greatest general to remain loyal to the Empire was not with the main Imperial army when it met the rebels at Pale Pass. On one side the usurper Queen Potema on the other Constantine II.

The battle was long and hard fought the Loyalist forces were initially able to inflict great damage on Potema's army due to a vast numerical advantage, but slowly bit by bit Potema's superior martial ability started to carry the day. the left flank of the Imperial army shattered and was driven back in complete disarry, the Emperor who was commanding the center ended up being attacked from two sides, his forces lost heart and his army began to collapse into a rout.

Constantine II fought bravely against the increasingly hopeless odds that he faced but eventually the Emperor was overwhelmed and killed by Potema's warriors.

His body (and much more importantly the imperial regalia) were only saved by the heroic actions of a small group of the emperor's soldiers, who fled the battle and manged to make it all the way back to the Imperial City where they handed over the Amulet of Kings to Alessia now Tamriel's first reigning Empress.

Her father was buried with a minimum of ceremony, with the dragonfires hastily lit afterwards.

_____________________________________________________________________________

(Camp of the 1st Legion, just outside the Imperial City)

Allectus Reman had succeeded in gathering the Imperial Legions, though he was shocked to learn that the Emperor had been killed and that Alessia herself would be leading them against the rebels.

"What of Morrowind's warriors?" the new Empress asked.

"They will attack Eastern Skyrim via Silgard, my lady."

"Good, I trust your father has readied his soldiers?"

"He has, While we move against Potema's main army he will attack the Khajiit and keep them from ravaging southern Cyrodiil."

"Good, tell the legionaries to be ready to march by daybreak. This war is just getting started..."

Part 10: "Shattered armies and broken thrones" will be out later this week.
 

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Part 10: Shattered armies and broken thrones

The Jagged Rebellion had been raging for six months, in that time the Imperial loyalists had been dealt two humiliating defeats. The first had been at Pale Pass where Emperor Constantine II had been killed and his main force had been ignominiously routed, the second had seen Morrowind's main army broken just outside Riften sending Morrowind's queen Brelyna (Potema's half sister, Constantine I made his mother High Queen of Morrowind, Brelyna was born almost twenty years later and ascended to the throne when her mother died of the great flu) scurrying back to Morrowind, she would eventually join her forces with Empress Alessia in what became known as Army Group Center.

But while Potema was busy smashing armies and securing large tracts of northern Cyrodiil the Empire was readying its first real counteroffensive.

Army Group South which was composed primarily of levies from Black Marsh and the old kingdom of Nibenay was under command of the amusingly named Reman Reman king of Black Marsh and father of the brilliant Allectus.

Reman gathered his forces at Leyawiin, the Duchy had always been directly subordinate to the throne and had remained loyal because of that. After gathering as many men as he could find Reman set out to accomplish his first and only directive, to "Knock the Khajiit out of the fight". He began with a series of rapid assaults on the border counties, the success of these glorified raids became apparent when Elsweyr's king J'zargo turned his forces away from Cyrodiil to confront the invaders.

The two armies ended up meeting in almost the exact center of the province. The battle that followed was long and hard fought but at the end the loyalists prevailed and J'zargo was captured. Reman had effectively knocked the Khajiit out of the war in two months.

His forces were eventually sent west to confront the armies of Hammerfell and High Rock, after several months of hard fighting the Bretons had been subdued and the Redguards were on the run.

Potema's allies had failed her just when she needed them most, Alessia was marching on Skyrim...

In the relatively short time since she had taken the throne Alessia had proven herself a marvel, while Reman was subduing the Khajiit she scored her first victory, capturing the Jarl of the Pale and destroying his army, after that it seemed like the young Empress could do no wrong three more rebel armies were smashed in quick succession (Though none of them were commanded by Potema) each victory adding to Alessia's rapidly growing understanding of war.

It was only after receiving news of Reman's victories in Hammerfell and gaining significant reinforcements (Brelyna had brought her forces to the Imperial Isle after being forced out of the Rift)

With an army of 20,000 at her back Alessia was ready for the endgame.

Potema's army was defeated near Helgen and forced to retreat towards Whiterun, a second battle this time near Riverwood ended in another resounding victory for Imperial arms.

After this second crippling defeat Potema was forced back behind the walls of her capital, which the victorious Imperial army besieged in earnest.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Dragonsreach, Council chambers)

"The Empress will order a full assault soon." Potema's chancellor Serana said.

"Decades of planning thwarted! A mountain of gold wasted! An ocean of blood shed for nothing!"

"What shall we do my queen?"

"There is nothing more to do Serana, we've lost. My niece's army will break through our defenses before the day is out..."

"Despair is so unlike yo---"

"It isn't despair, I'm just being realistic... There is however something you can do for me my friend."

"What do you need of me?"

"Get my sons out of the city, Don't let them fall into her hands." (Potema had two children the eldest a nord named Ulfric after his father, the youngest a dunmer named Valerian (Later Emperor Valerian II)

"It won't be easy, but it shall be done."

"Good, slip out after nightfall. You've always been so very effective after dark, your "unique" talents no doubt."

"I...what do yo--"

"I've known for years now."

"You never said anything."

"It was never relevant, you were exceptionally good at your job and more importantly you are my friend, your...dietary requirements won't change that... It will be dark soon, you should get ready to leave."

"What will you do?"

"I will wait here for my niece, when she arrives I will formally surrender."

"She'll have you killed."

"Oh I know, but there isn't really any way around that now so I'm going to face it with my head held high."

"Then, goodbye my queen." She bowed and left.

Potema sighed. "And now to wait for my conqueror."

The castle fell early the next morning, Potema was captured but her children were nowhere to be found.

Alessia dismissed that concern, after four brutal years of war the Empire was finally at peace and she wanted to return to the Imperial City to celebrate her victory, and make plans for future conquests....


Part 11 "Prison dialogues and world conquest" will be out later this week.
 

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Part 11 Prison dialogues and world conquest


(The Imperial prison, the Imperial City)

Potema the recently deposed Queen of Skyrim was pacing in her cell, she had been "convicted" of high treason days ago and still no execution. Her train of thought was interrupted when the door to her cell creaked open.

Ah my daily allotment of "food". She thought.

"You can leave the gruel over there and get out." She said with all the Royal disdain she could muster.

"Tsk tsk Potema that is no way to greet your empress." Alessia said.

Potema turned to find herself face to face with her conqueror. "Why are you here?

"I'm having you executed in a few days, so I decided to see if you had any useful information or advice to share."

"And why would I want to tell you anything?"

"Because every time you cooperate I'll push your execution back a little further, and if you refuse I'll just have you killed today."

"Cooperation it is."

"I thought so."

The Empress first asked about the preparations she had made for her rebellion, the resources involved, the names of her assassins, and other sundry details." After a few hours of this Alessia had had enough for the day.

"Marvelous, I will be back tomorrow with further questions." She left.

The next day the Empress returned.

"Tell me when did you start plotting to take the throne?"

"A day or so after my father died."

"Really?"

"Oh yes, of course back then my plan was much more... circumspect. I knew I couldn't challenge my brother with any hope of success so I did everything I could to goad my idiot sister into attacking him."

"To what end?"

"If things had gone perfectly they would have killed each other and I would have gained the throne by default."

"Well that didn't work out like you had hoped."

"No, no it did not. My idiot sister didn't even have it in her to kill Constantine. After that I decided to play the long game."

"The long game?"

"Time dear, time was on my side since my first attempt had failed I resolved to wait until after my brother was dead and to make my move on one of his feckless descendants, Your great grandfather was to strong to beat, your grandfather was to politically adept to unseat, it wasn't until your idiot father took the throne that I felt secure enough to make a move."

"How did that work out for you?"

"Not well..."

They both laughed.

"I'll be back tomorrow with mor---"

"How are my sons?"

"I wouldn't know."

"What do you mean?"

"They managed to evade capture when we took Whiterun, they've been on the run ever since."

"What are you going to do if you find them?"

"Nothing, they're practically children and more importantly I know they had nothing to do with your actions." The empress left.

Potema waited until her footsteps faded before sagging into her chair with relief.

The next day Alessia had her guards bring decent food and some Cyrodillic wine.

"What's with the---"

"I felt like rewarding you for your continuing cooperation, more importantly I haven't eaten yet."

"I see."

"So if you had beaten me what would you have done?"

"Completed the conquest of Tamriel of course, after that I was either going to seize what is left of Yokuda or begin island hopping my way to Akavir."

"Ambitious."

"What about you? What is your grand plan now?

"Well the legions started my invasion of Valenwood just last week, the various feuding Bosmeri lords shouldn't be able to hold out long, after that Alinor."

"Good, What about Yokuda?"

"Honestly? I hadn't given it much thought, the pitiful remnants of a shattered continent do not seem worth the effort."

"It hold immense symbolic importance to the Redguards, and it has been nothing but a nest of pirates for years."

"I suppose I'll have to consider it then, I'll be leaving for the front tomorrow, when I return I'm sure I'll have more to talk about."

Alessia left, the conquest of Valenwood was concluded in record time. The entire province had submitted to Imperial rule after only two years of campaigning. After receiving her newest Vassals and "asking" for their conversion Alessia headed back to the Imperial city to celebrate her great victory.

She visited her aunt again and again over the next few months talking about topics ranging from the Daedric lord to whether or not Reman Cyrodiil could have taken Valerian I in a fight (They decided it would have ended in a draw because otherwise Nirn very well might collapse in on itself from the concentrated amazing), when Potema died of pneumonia three years into her captivity the Empress was much to her surprise devastated.

The remaining decades of Alessia's reign were wildly successful, first Alinor and then Yokuda fell, after that she turned her armies to Roscrea and Cathnoquey. She was preparing to invade the rest of the islands between Tamriel and Akavir when she died in the Imperial city at the age of 87, Alessia and her consort Allectus Reman had nine children the second oldest Uriel II succeeded her.

Uriel planned to finish his mother's island conquests before pushing on to Akavir itself...

Part 12 "Ionith" will be out next week




____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
(70 years ago, The wilds of Skyrim)

Potema's two sons Ulfric and Valerian (later Valerian II) were being led through the wilderness to possible safety by their guardian Serana the chancellor of Skyrim, the small group reached a cave that they would use as a temporary refuge, Ulfric fell asleep almost immediately while little Valerian walked up to his guardian.

"Will I rule the empire someday?" he asked.

"Of course you will child..." she responded.
 
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Part 12: Ionith


(Imperial war camp, Yneslea)

"The invasion went smoothly my lord." Valerian High King of Skyrim said.

"Of course it did, we brought six legions and hundreds of warships. Their fall was a foregone conclusion."

"As you say, is Esroniet our next target? It would make an excellent naval base."

"Yes, we will begin preparations as soon as the local nobility work up the courage to surrender."

The Emperor did not have to wait long, after Yneslea surrendered the imperial army turned its attention to Esroniet which fell after a year of heavy fighting. With all of his initial objectives achieved Uriel II began preparations for the invasion of Akavir, as luck would have it he couldn't have picked a better time to invade...

The Tsaesci empire was in the midst of a devastating civil war, the current emperor was opposed by three of his brothers and nearly every county had declared for one of usurper or another.

By the time the imperial fleet anchored off the coast of Akavir they found an empire in chaos, some quick diplomatic work allowed the emperor to claim that several coastal counties actually belonged to his empire. A series of lighting attacks saw three local counts displaced, Uriel took the opportunity to form them into a new duchy, Which he immediately handed over to his youngest brother Tiber. The Imperial province of Akavir was born...

Before the emperor could plan additional Akaviri conquests his attention was wrenched back to Tamriel where three different peasant rebellions and two heretical uprisings had suddenly broken out. It took the better part of four years before peace was restored to the Empire and by the time Uriel II was able to return to Akavir he found the political situation had changed dramatically.

The civil war that had proved so helpful to his initial conquests was over the Tsaesci emperor had (against all odds) managed to keep his throne.

Unperturbed Uriel launched his second invasion, initially everything went his way, three Tsaesci armies were smashed and a dozen counties were occupied, which lead to Uriel ordering his kinsman Valerian to take the third legion and engage in a little light raiding against the Tang Mo.

This act of overconfidence meant that when the imperial army finally faced the Tsaesci Emperor's personal army in combat they were faced with a critical shortage of manpower, this was to prove decisive.

The two armies meet on an open plain which was to prove highly advantageous to the Tsaesci's more numerous cavalry, The empire's superior skirmishers allowed Uriel to gain an early advantage which he promptly threw away on an overly aggressive attack. The right flank of the Imperial army (which was commanded by Uriel's oldest son Valerian) broke after its commander was killed, the left flank (commanded by the emperor's younger brother Constantine) shattered shortly thereafter.

Alone and surrounded by enemies the Emperor and his remaining soldiers gave a surprisingly good account of themselves, racking up an impressive kill count before being overwhelmed, before the emperor could be overtaken by the victorious snake men he cast of the imperial regalia and gave it (including the all important amulet of kings) to a trusted servant ordering him to make sure it was returned to the imperial city.

Uriel turned to face his pursuers fighting them all alone to give his servant time to escape when he was finally cut down the snake men added his body to the pile of his fallen soldiers with nothing to identify him he was buried alongside his men (Which is to be fair likely what he would have wanted).

Uriel II had reigned just 9 years. He had been a good emperor perhaps even a great one but he was eventually brought low by his two greatest flaws, his pride and his reckless pursuit of victory.

The Empire was interestingly enough able to end the Akaviri war with a white peace, the "Imperial province of Akavir" what little of it there was left was preserved.

Back in the Imperial City there was a new Empress to be crowned.

Alessia II was 15, she was young passionate and if she had been given time to mature had every sign of greatness, it was not to be, she was found dead in her chambers less than a month after taking the throne.

Her murderer and successor was Uriel's brother Constantine who took the throne as Constantine III, he was dead less than a week later from an infected injury he had received in Akavir, his son and successor Tiber was six, The empire was in for a very rough ride...



Part 13 "Chaos" will be out this weekend or early next week.
 

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Nice, just went through a similar succession crisis myself. When my emperor started getting quite old (early 70's) so he delegated Cyrodiil to his heir (I prefer to delegate the other kingdoms but keep Cyrodiil to myself) to stop revolts. Within 5 years of my more then capable heirs death to crimson plague his sons and grandsons were involved in "accidents"!

Still don't know who it was but had to revoke Cyrodiil from my great grandson just to keep him alive, I love this game :)
 

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Part 13 Chaos

The adventurers slowly worked their way up the mountain, they had encountered dozens of draugr thus far and they knew something far worse was awaiting them at the summit...

After blasting their way past the last deathlord they found themselves face to face with a mighty frost dragon!

Foolish mortals! he hissed, You cannot defea-----


"Why are you giving the Dragon an Altmeri accent?" Serana Valerian's chancellor asked.

"They make the best villains, now shut up the villain needs to finish his boast!"

She rolled her eyes.

You cannot defeat me! I shall crush your bones and burn your very souls!!!!

"This is getting ridiculous, I shoot the dragon with my enchanted arrows."

*dice roll* "Alright you got a 17 so your hit isn't enough to kill him but it does keep him from flying!!"

"Four questions your grace, 1. Why do these dice have so many different sides, 2 why do each of these "Campaigns" start out with us in prison, 3 Where did you find this "game", and 4 why in Oblivion are we wasting our time with them?"

"You "live" to kill my fun don't you?"

"Of course, now answer me."

Valerian sighed. "The dice are meant for different things, don't ask me to fully explain the rules because I'm pretty sure they're written in Dwemer or something like that." he continued. "The people who wrote the original campaign had the hero escape from prison, ever since that's become some kind of tradition for them."

"Wonderful now where did you get these...things?"

"A merchant from Cyrodiil, he said it was all the rage amongst the bored elite."

"And why are we wasting our time with it?"

"Cyrodiil is in chaos, little Tiber won't hold the throne for long and he's got a whole slew of ambitious cousins, aunts, and uncles who would love nothing more to see him dead."

"Isn't that our goal as well?"

"In a sense, the throne should be mine but I'm not particularly looking forward to murdering a child."

"So... you're hoping one of your kinsmen will do the deed for you? Only for you to sweep down from the north and seize the throne?"

"Essentially."

"Then why haven't you made any preparations?! We should be gathering allies, assassinating potential threats!"

"My dear my preparations have already been made, I'll be marrying princess Morgiah of Morrowind in three weeks."

"So you are marrying your cousin to secure Morrowind's loyalty? Is that it?"

"Of course not, You can join us now Risi."

Valerian had no true born children, his daughter was the result of a night of passion at the end of a feast almost twenty years ago, Risi Cyraliin was 19 intelligent, vigorous, and infused with a passion for life that showed just how strongly she had taken after her father. She was unfortunately (at least as far as the succession was concerned) human so Valerian knew that she could never have succeeded him.

"You summoned me your gra---"

"Risi." Valerian began.

"---Father." she finished.

"Yes I did, Do you remember Tullius Tharn?"

"Of course we grew up together before he went off to be king of High Rock, why?"

"He sent me a letter not too long ago, asking for your hand."

"And what will you tell him?" She was apprehensive.

"That depends on you, I won't lie I need High Rock on my side, especially in the... difficult times we face. But I won't force you to marry him."

"He was ugly!"

"He's a good man, kind and gentle he even included a little poem in his letter for you." Valerian handed her the poem.

Risi read it. "That... that was surprisingly sweet."

"You don't have to decide today, take some time to think it over. Just remember I only want what is bes---"

She sighed "I'll do it, he was always such a sweetheart and this is probably the best match I could ever hope for."

"Thank you, I will write him with your answer later today."

"If you don't mind I would like to take my leave, explore the city one more time."

"Of course dear, try to have fun."

Risi left*

Valerian turned to face Serana "Well that went better than expected."

"Alright so you've actually made some legitimate plans, what do we do now?"

"For now? We wait, now come on we've still got a dragon to kill!"

"You're ridiculous, you know that right?"

"Oh hush you know you love it."

They got back to their game...
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emperor Tiber I did not have a pleasant childhood, he had twelve cousins who wanted him dead, two uncles that wanted him dead, and an aunt that wanted him dead. The only reason that he lasted as long as he did was because of the machinations of his formidable mother Lucina Reman, he was safe as long as she lived.

Lucina Reman died when Tiber was 12 during the worst outbreak of the Crimson Plague the capital had seen in over a century, by the time the dreaded sickness had passed the imperial family had been decimated, eleven of his twelve cousins were dead, one of his uncles and his aunt had succumbed.

The only members of the emperor's immediate family to survive were his uncle Tiber in far off Akavir and his son Cephorus neither of whom were in any position to topple the child emperor, Tiber married the ravishing Julita Larich when he came of age, less than a year later his daughter Alessia was born. The young emperor relaxed his guard, he finally thought he was safe... he was wrong.

Tiber I was assassinated while walking in the Imperial gardens at 18, his daughter Alessia was crowned Alessia III.

Within weeks of her ascension the empire descended into chaos.

King Tacitan of Hammerfell, the Tai of Eleswyr, and King Ancano of Alinor all declared war on the empire pushing for their own independence, at almost the same time her great uncle Tiber declared war on her hoping to take the throne for himself.

Marlena Tor Alessia's regent sent out an urgent call for aid to those provinces that had remained loyal, Black Marsh was (as usual) the first to respond, Crassius Reman crushed the Khajiit in a lightning campaign before putting the Tai's entire family to the sword.

The Camorans of Valenwood were entrusted with removing King Ancano from the fight, a task they embraced with a will, following a daring amphibious assault on King's Haven the Bosmeri army quickly marched on Alinor's capital taking the rebellious king prisoner with scarcely any blood shed, his head was sent back to adorn the White-Gold Tower.

Tullius of High Rock and his father-in-law Valerian worked together to reduce Hammerfell, attacked from the north and east the Redguards and their Imperial king were quickly brought to heel.

The usurper Tiber was the last foe standing and his motley army was comprehensively destroyed near Firewatch by Morrowind's army, the usurper fell in the fighting. His son was only spared because of his extreme youth.

The "Five years of Chaos" had ended with an overwhelming victory for the Empire.

Marlena Tor the imperial regent thought that would be the end of her troubles, she was wrong...

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Dragonsreach, Whiterun)

"You're ready now?! You could have attacked at any point during the years of chaos and you wait until things have finally settled down to make your move?!" Serana practically shouted.

"Of course, the other pieces have been removed from the board, Eleswyr and Hammerfell have been devastated they won't be capable of causing trouble for years. Alinor is having another succession crisis and Black Marsh is in the grips of an almost province wide famine. Now we are ready."

"Very well... your grace."

"Oh cheer up Serana it will be fun!"

Part 14 Valerian Triumphant will be out this weekend.


*(Chronicler's note: Though Risi Cyraliin now passes from the main narrative her story is still worth telling (Albeit in a drastically shortened form) she married Tullius Tharn a few weeks later, they proved to the surprise of many to be perfect for each other, the story of their romance has become a favorite all over High Rock, A play was written during the reign of Alessia V describing their misadventures, it proved wildly popular.)
 
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Darth Cheesecak

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Part 14 Valerian Triumphant

(Valerian's war camp, just outside the Imperial City)

"Olaf! What do you have for me?" Valerian shouted.

"We've thoroughly scouted out the city's defenses sir-"

"Any weaknesses?"

"Just one, we believe we've found a way under the walls, an abandoned aqueduct that seems to lead to the old Alessian catacombs."

"You aren't sure though?"

"No sir but there was a sizable patrol moving through the catacombs---"

"And no one would waste soldiers guarding a dead end."

"Exactly. Will I be taking my Wraiths in sir?"

"No, I'm giving this one to the Shadows*

"Ah, of course sir. Do you require anything else?"

"Gather your fellow Legates, we're taking the city by storm..."

"Sir!" *Olaf left.

"You're sending me in to some dusty old crypt?"

"Of course! You'll feel right at home!"

"I never lived in a---*she sighed* and what are our objectives once we get inside?"

"Generally? Cause havoc, I'll leave the specifics up to you. If you see an opportunity act on it. Should you manage to capture a guard tower or secure a gate have Ralof send up a signal, Red if you capture a tower, yellow if you secure a gate."

"Of course, anything else?"

"You might want to find the opportunity to get a meal in, you're looking a little "ghoulish"." *he laughed*

"That's just never going to get old for you is it?"

"Nope!" he said with a smile.

"Very well, the Shadows and I will leave now."

"Excellent! I'll see you once we've broken in!"

*She left as Valerian's senior command staff began to file in*

"Gentlemen, ladies" Valerian began. "We will be launching our assault tomorrow."

*There was a general feeling of surprise*

"Olaf and the Wraiths seem to have found an entrance. I've sent the Shadows in ahead of us, the chaos that they're sure to cause will take a bit of pressure off the walls."

"Our allies from Morrowind will be attacking here by the old Reman gate, its in fairly poor shape so the enemy has compensated by placing a disproportionate number of soldiers there."

(The rest of the meeting passed quickly Valerian's officers began to shift their soldiers into position for the assault, while the Shadows began their infiltration...)

(The Alessian catacombs, under the Imperial City)

"Why do we always get the shit details?" Serana's adjutant Titus asked.

"Because the divines hate you Titus, yes you specifically."

"What?! Why would they hate me?!"

"Bruma."

"Ah... yeah that would explain it."

(Their banter was cut off by the sound of approaching footsteps, the shadows melted into the background effectively vanishing from sight)

"How are we handling this?"

"Distressed damsel, don't make a move until we've got them surrounded."

"You got it boss."

"Alright time for some fun."
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Sir why do we always get the shit details?" asked one of Captain Tacitan's men.

"Quiet! Did you hear that?" The captain asked.

(They were interrupted when a young woman came running at them out of the shadows looking terrified)

"Oh thank the divines you are here!" She practically sobbed. "He almost got me!"

"Who almost got you?"

"A madman! He had sunken eyes and fangs!"

"Sounds like a vampire sir."

"Ma'am I'd ask you to stay here but that monster could be anywhere. We'd really appreciate it if you would lead us back to where you saw him."

"But if its a vamp---"

The Captain interrupted her. "Ma'am I know you're scared but you've got a full squad of soldiers to protect you and we need to find this thing before it does manage to kill someone."

"Al-alright, it was t-this way." She lead them deeper into the tunnels right past the first of the hidden Shadows.

That is when the first men began to die, two soldiers were pulled from the back of the group, killed before they could cry out. Three more guardsmen were taken out silently before the captain noticed what was going on.

"Gods this beast has killed five of us without a sound! We need to pull back, get reinforcements."

"Truly your bravery and dedication is inspiring captain, but I'm afraid I can't let you do that." she gave him a cold smile.

The Shadows all revealed themselves as one.

"A trap... of course it was a trap!" The captain shouted. "There was never a vampire in these tunnels was there?!"

A knife flashed and Tacitan's last surviving man fell to the ground, dead.

"Oh... I never said that." She smiled and lunged. He screamed, but not for very long...
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A short time later a brilliant red light was seen emanating from one of the towers on the Alessian wall. It was at that moment that Valerian's army launched a full assault.

The defenders resisted stoutly for hours eventually forcing Valerian's soldiers to commit their reserves, the walls were eventually taken at an appalling cost (Morgiah's contingent was hit especially hard with just under half of her soldiers dead or wounded.) What followed next was some of the most brutal urban combat in recorded history. The defenders turned every building into a fortress, every street into a kill zone.

The attackers eventually resorted to burning the defenders out with mage fire, half the city would be wrecked in the blaze.

Eventually the attackers managed to batter their way into White-Gold tower where Valerian faced Marlena Tor, Regent of the empire.

(The Imperial throne room)

"Ah there you are! I've been looking for you everywhere "Lord" Regent! I really think you should be a dear and surrender now, I promise you won't be harmed if you do!"

"Shut up you ridiculous fop!" She shouted. "I'll never surrender to the likes o---"

"All I needed to hear." He readied his axe. "But before we begin I'd really like to make sure my musicia--- Ah there they are!"

Several men and women carrying rather exotic instruments began to set up at the end of the throne room.

"What in Oblivion are they?"

"My musicians, You can't expect me to fight a climactic battle without some entertainment!"

"Wh-what are those two carrying?"

"Oh the guitars? A fellow with a name that was an obvious anagram for Sanguine, he gave them to me and I've really quite enjoyed them, you see the musician uses lightning magic to make some truly amazing music! Gorba, play the song about fires and flames!"

"At once sir!" (The music began)

"Now we can begin!" Valerian charged at the regent.

Their battle was long and surprisingly hard fought. Valerian had an advantage in speed while the Regent possessed remarkable strength, Valerian only prevailed because he was able to inflict a few shallow cuts early on, he spent the rest of the fight keeping away from her and letting blood loss do its work.

Eventually the lord regent collapsed too tired and weak to continue.

Valerian had his soldiers bind her wounds before dragging her off to the imperial prison. Most expected the worst for the child empress, they were to be pleasantly surprised.

The new Emperor showed every consideration to Alessia, providing her with a generous pension and an estate in Skyrim where she lived out the rest of her life in comfort.

Almost as soon as he had taken the throne Valerian sent out orders for extensive repairs for the Imperial City before leaving for the East, the Empire had unfinished business with the snake-men...

Part 15 Conquests, Heirs, and poisonings will be out as soon as I can finish it.

(Chronicler's note: The Shadows were an elite unit of soldiers founded by Valerian about a decade before the Siege of the Imperial City, they specialized in night time operations, assassinations, ambushes, and reconnoitering territory that was deemed too dangerous for Wraith cohort (Valerian's main scouting body), The future emperor had turned command of the Shadows over to his chancellor who quickly proved to be a genius at nocturnal warfare)
 
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