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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Zqrfmb

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You forget the general mindset of the Imperium. Sure some Blue aristocrats are erudite but most of the people's opinions are clearly White with a desire to burn what is dangerous at all costs. :p
The reds also want to burn dangerous things, primarily gunpowder, in a cannon barrel with a cannonball behind it, that's a pretty dangerous thing that should be burned, preferably while pointed at the enemies of the imperium.
 

Attalus

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The reds also want to burn dangerous things, primarily gunpowder, in a cannon barrel with a cannonball behind it, that's a pretty dangerous thing that should be burned, preferably while pointed at the enemies of the imperium.
Always there to blur definite separations aren't they ? :p
 

Serpent

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And the whites would use shredded seditious and heretical literature as wadding in the cannon before pointing it at the enemies of the imperium.
 

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 4
1500-1520
KAISER OF THE LATINS

"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (...) Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished."
- Isaiah 13: 9-16


With wrath and fierce anger

On 25th December 1498, after a holy mass in Hagia Sophia, His Imperial Majesty Belisarios Angelos, basileus basileon by the Grace of God, king of kings and rulers of rulers, Caesar Augustus of the Romaioi and all Men, Autokrator of the Holy Church and Protector of the Christendom, knelt before the Golden Throne - the most sacred reliquary of Saint Markos - and, asking him for his blessing, declared war against the soulless xenoi, making a solemn vow to do everything in his power to achieve victory over Dark Powers and their slaves.

Two years have passed since this day and the end of the war seemed to be as distant as ever.


The Xenoi Xolal was still suffering from Tlacotli Yaoyotl - the Slaves' War - which continued to lay waste to territories hold by the Westerns in desolated Europe. The domestikoi of the Imperial Army hoped to use this situation to the advantage of the Imperium and to turn the rebels against their xenoi brethren, alas to no avail. Even while at civil war the soulless invaders concerned the Romaioi and all Christians to be their mortal enemies and were more than eager to spill their blood. Thousands of Roman soldiers paid for this miscalculation with their own lives when several tagmata of the Imperial Army together with Bavarian auxilia were ambushed in mountains passage during what was later known as battle of Tirol which took place on 6 September 1500. Without their support, the imperial forces gathered in Linz were crushed by the xenoi army which effectively set back the whole northern campaign, planned to liberate German lands from yoke of the Westerners.

But the greatest defeat of the Romaioi in this war was only about to happen.


Disaster at Pillars of Hercules

After the catastrophic Third Battle of Almeria on 22 September 1481 in which virtually the whole Imperial Navy was destroyed, the droungaroi were determined to avoid such devastating losses. And so when the blessed Autokrator declared war against soulless xenoi and ordered to close the Mediterranean for them, megas droungarios Nikephoros Nikodemos was sent to the Pillars of Hercules together with his fleet to personally supervise the blockade. However even his experience was proven to be insufficient when on 1 April 1501 the mighty fleet of the Westerners arrived. The battle was disastrous - more than two thirds of the imperial dromonoi were sunk and the crippled remnants of the Imperial Navy were forced to retreat. Megas droungarios ordered all available vessels to gather in harbour of Palermo in a desperate attempt to mount a counter-offensive. The xenoi didn't pursue - in their malice they waited until all the remaining dromonoi of the Imperial Navy gather in thema nautikon of Sicilia as per order of megas droungarios and then suddenly attacked. Intercepted by the Westerners near the Barbary Coast, the Imperial Navy was utterly destroyed - not a single dromon survived and vast majority of Roman seamen were killed or drowned during the battle, including megas droungarios himself.


The invaders from the Far West had now unlimited access to the whole Mediterranean Sea and could launch attacks in every corner of the Imperium practically unopposed. To make things worse, the remnants of the Imperial Navy consisting of ships used to transport the imperial tagmata were now trapped in African ports by xenoi blockade. This in turn meant that all forces of the Imperial Army engaged in African campaign were cut off from the rest of the tagmata fighting along the northern limites. It was obvious that in case they were needed elsewhere, it would take months before they could traverse the long land route connecting Africa with Italia through Aegyptus, Syria, Anatolia, Moesia and Dalmatia.

Meanwhile the Westerners were advancing.


Kingdom of Poland defeated

With majority of tagmata stuck in Africa, the northern campaign turned into a catastrophe. The Imperial Army and Polish auxilia alike without reinforcements were forced to retreat and soon the xenoi invaded the lands of Kingdom of Poland. With most of his forces beaten and fearing Mongol invasion from the east, king Borzywój of Spis decided to sign a white peace with the Westerners on 5 December 1504. Many of the courtiers in the Great Palace were eager to accuse him of treason but the blessed Autokrator understood that the disaster at Pillars of Hercules forced his hand - with most of the Imperial Army trapped in Africa, Polish king could not hope to face the xenoi alone. Seeing how devastating the war was for the Imperium, the Pisan merchants decided to abandon any semblance of neutrality in the conflict and began to support the Westerners, naturally for a price. It was clear that this worrying sign was a harbinger of even greater hostility between the corrupted Pisans and good Kristianoi.

The soulless beasts from the Far West tried to sign peace with the Imperium as well instead of seek its destruction, such great was the unrest in their domain caused by Tlacotli Yaoyotl. The sacred Emperor refused, unwilling to let the blood of so many good Romaioi be spilled for nothing. And indeed the losses of the Imperial Army suffering from torrid African sun and attrition were staggering - the desert took perhaps even more lives than obsidian blades of the Enemy. Constantly attacked by xenoi raiders, without reinforcements and supplies, the brave soldiers of the Imperial Army pushed forward fulfilling their only duty - to die for Kristos and for the Imperium. Soon, albeit for a terrible price in lives and with Italia and Dalmatia defenseless against the forces of the Westerners, all of the xenoi territories in Africa were conquered.

Slowly the tide of war began to turn.


Rise of Funj

Anno Domini 1509 began and with it the 9th year of a terrible struggle in which tens of thousands of good Kristianoi perished. The Imperial Army was exhausted, the coffers of the Imperial Aerarium empty. Northern Italia and Dalmatia became a battlefield between small imperial forces consisting of several tagmata and sell-swords from Christian Kingdoms facing the armies of Westerners of xenoi rebels. But despite such horrible losses it seemed that the Imperium gained an upper hand in the conflict - many lives and golden basilikoi were spent in order to achieve this but it seemed that the Westerners may finally agree to imperial demands. Even on the northern front the brave Roman soldiers in the end managed to push back the forces of the Enemy.

And then came the news from Africa.


On 21 May 1507 messengers sent by eparchos of Abyssinia reached the Queen of Cities bringing worrying news. The savages dwelling beyond imperial limites in the desert organized themselves into a federation of tribes. Together they launched an unexpected attack on the Roman territory, conquering several themata and wiping out the provincial defense forces. This proved to be a turning point of the war, for the sacred Emperor understood that the prolonged war left the Imperium far more exposed and vulnerable than any sekreta of the Great Palace or domestikoi of the Imperial Army realized.

And so the negotiations began.


In an unprecedented display of weakness the Westerners agreed to negotiate the terms of their surrender. Truly strange and terrifying are the times in which wise megas logothetes as plenipotentiary of the sacred Emperor and hideous tlacateccatl - Cutter Of Man and general of the xenoi armies - representing soulless monsters from the Far West can meet face to face without spill of blood. The meeting took place in Pisa and lasted for several days; it is said that several slaves who served the emissaries as translators were executed during the negotiations. In the end an uneasy compromise has been reached between the Romaioi and the invaders from the Far West.

The war finally ended on 23 July 1507.


Bitter taste of victory

The Imperium was victorious but only in name. Despite best efforts of megas logothetes and his mastery of the art of diplomacy, only a handful of imperial themata were liberated from yoke of the xenoi. Together with small concessions for Kingdom of Poland the results of war lasting almost a decade were disproportionate to the price paid by the Imperium in gold and blood. It was obvious that it would take years before the Imperial Navy and Army could regain all their strength and in case of loans taken by Aerarium even decades before they could be paid. Nevertheless, the ancient province of Tripolitania was finally restored and the land connection to province of Africa secured. The blessed Autokrator Belisarios Angelos entered Carthage in a glorious triumph, just like his namesake Flavius Belisarios did almost a thousand years ago during Vandalic War. The Imperium now stretched almost as far to the west as it did under rule of emperor Ioustinianos the Great - truly the sign of God's blessing! With Xenoi Xolal engulfed in flames of Tlacotli Yaoyotl it seemed that at least for a time the Christendom was safe.

But beyond imperial limites lurk forces almost as dangerous as horrors from the Far West.


With the Imperium engaged in the west, the attention of the Mongol barbarians turned to the east. The agentes in rebus of Scrinium Barbarorum were reporting of numerous wars waged in the vast steps by both the Horde and sons of Timur. Many were worried that this was a sign of growing power of the horse-lords and mugahidun whose endless armies inflicted untold death and destruction upon the Christendom in the past. Alas, with the battlefields of wars so far from the imperial limites nobody - not even the best among the agentes in rebus - could tell what was their outcome, whether they were waged under green banners of Islam or in the name of Great Khan. Blessed Autokrator knew that sooner or later the Mongol barbarians will strike again, as they did so many times. Therefore His Imperial Majesty ordered to move numerous tagmata to the easternmost limites to ensure that the invaders would be greeted with Roman steel.

But not all of them.


Second Sack of the Reich

Angelo di Orange, duke of Bavaria and vassal of the Throne, was in command of the Bavarian auxilia during war against xenoi. He witnessed the destruction unleashed by the Westerners on his lands and with his forces suffering heavy casualties he could do little to help his Bavarian subjects. With the long conflict finally over, the duke looked towards the wealthy lands of few remaining independent German lords, which were spared the horrors of war. His father, Rafaello di Orange, asked the Throne for intervention against traitorous lords who hired their armies as mercenaries for the xenoi - an intervention which led to liberation of Bavaria. Duke Angelo di Orange - named so by his father to honor the Great House Angeloi - decided to seek permission of His Imperial Majesty to once again save good Kristianoi from German yoke and with fire and sword reclaim Bavarian lands from the corrupted Reich.

And in his great wisdom the sacred Emperor agreed.


On 17 March 1509 Christian forces combined of 20,000 strong tagmata and 11,000 strong auxilia led by duke di Orange crossed the Bavarian border with Oberbayern. With help of regiments sent by king Borzywój of Spis, eager to redeem himself in the eyes of His Imperial Majesty, the small German forces were swiftly crushed. Suffering heavy losses in battle of Bamberg, the Reich was decisively beaten in battle of Ansbach which took place on 2 October 1510. It was in this battle when Bavarians employed Pisan mercenaries who were in possession of metal fire-breathing statues, the same daemonic weapons which were employed by the xenoi with a devastating effect against the Imperial Army. The destruction unleashed by them was unmatched - but the devices were clearly powered by dark magic and so the domestikos who was in charge of the campaign after battle ordered the Pisan mercenaries to be burned and the xenoi weapons to be destroyed. And so it was done, despite vile rumors that some of these devices were intercepted by the Great Pandidakterion - which surely cannot be true, for no scholar would dare to defile the Queen of Cities with such abominations.


The war ended on 25 October 1511 with a complete and utter defeat of German lords. What was left of Reich was now limited to princedom of Oberbayern and it seemed that at long last this German mockery of the one and true Imperium would be put out of its misery. But when the prince of Oberbayern was brought in chains before domestikos and duke Angelo di Orange to reveal where the Reichsinsignien - regalia of the false empire - were hidden, a horrible plot against the Imperium was revealed.


Treason of Christian King

As it turned out, the Reichsinsignien were sent in secret to the court of king Czcibor I of Aquitaine, who now claimed to be the rightful heir to legacy of the so-called Charlemagne and Emperor of the Romans. Despite being saved by the true Imperium from xenoi invasion in its hour of need, the Kingdom of Aquitaine now pretended to have authority over all Christendom in a clear violation of God's will, truth and all that is good and sacred. The claim of the clearly insane king of Aquitaine was obviously and utterly baseless and devoid of any legitimacy. The ragtag federation of tribes created by Charles the Usurper - chieftain of Frankish barbarians - was nothing more than a locust dwelling in ruins of the westernmost provinces of the Imperium. The blessing received by him from the false bishop of Rome on 25 December 800 Anno Domini didn't matter then and didn't matter now, for the so-called "pope" had no authority nor saying in who may become the Emperor - this was and is solely in power of God himself. One could only speculate what the mad king Czcibor wanted to achieve by assuming title of the kaiser but it was obvious that it was nothing more than usurpation. Like the treason of Bavarians centuries ago who also claimed to be emperors, it was surely a work of Diabolos who wanted to seed mistrust and disorder among the good Kristianoi, a sign that the Dark Powers managed to corrupt one of the last Christian Kingdoms - a terrible thought indeed.

Such great was this betrayal that upon hearing of this outrageous and blasphemous act of arrogance, His Imperial Majesty blessed Autokrator Belisarios Angelos gave up the ghost.


Death of Belisarios Angelos

Belisarios Angelos died on 7 December 1511 at age of 72, leaving the whole Imperium mourning after the loss of great Emperor and a worthy successor of Markos III Angelos. Having no wife nor children of his own, Belisarios left the Imperium to his brother Basileios, who - born on 6 July 1442 - was 69 years old at the moment of his ascension to the Throne. As His Imperial Majesty Basileios II Angelos, basileus basileon by the Grace of God, king of kings and rulers of rulers, Caesar Augustus of the Romaioi and all Men, Autokrator of the Holy Church and Protector of the Christendom, his first act was to sent emissaries to treacherous king of Aquitaine demanding him to desist from impugning Emperor's authority.


What can only be described as a diplomatic dance began, with diplomats from Aquitaine using all possible means to delay the inevitable. For several months patience of emissaries of the Throne was tested while hosts from Christian Kingdom were using tricks of all sorts to not allow them to meet the king. His Imperial Majesty was hesitant to use force against "Kaiser of the Latins", as king Czcibor ordered to call himself - thought of spilling blood of the very Christians for which so many brave Roman soldiers gave their lives was abhorrent to him. It was obvious however that the situation must be resolved one way or another, whether it was a result of a scheme of the Dark Powers or not - for there could be only one Emperor.

And then on 14 August 1512 news from the East reached Konstantinoupolis.


War on the Great Steppe

The Horde launched an attack against the dominion of Timur's sons. Tens of thousands of horse-lords marched south to battle the fanatical mugahidun on the endless steppes in the name of Sky-Father Tengri. Many rejoiced, for two mortal enemies of the Christendom were about to fight against each other. Some however knew better - no matter who wins in this conflict the Imperium was going to lose, for the war among Mongols could end only in one side growing stronger and thus posing even greater threat to Roman citizens. His Imperial Majesty ordered to amass weapons and supplies for the Imperial Army along the easternmost themata - it was only a matter of time before the flames of war reach the imperial limites. Some of the domestikoi gathered in the Great Palace advised sacred Emperor to launch a preemptive strike at barbarians, whose western borders were now exposed.

Soon however the situation became much more complicated.


Xenoi invasion of Caledonia

The imperial emissaries finally managed to get an audience with king Czcibor - alas, this didn't bear any fruit. The mad king refused to hear any demands of the true Emperor and instead insulted His Imperial Majesty numerous times. In a blatant violation of all laws of God and men he claimed to be the only "Kaiser of Romans" and ordered imperial diplomats to leave the capital, never to return. It was clear that he must've been possessed by the Dark Powers, for no sane man would dare to take such outrageous steps. And so when the emissaries returned to Queen of Cities shortly before Nativity of the year 1512, the blessed Autokrator with heavy heart decided that the mad usurper must be removed in order to save the people of Aquitaine from its inevitable doom. Despite blasphemous claims of king Czcibor, only the might of the one true Emperor and his Imperial Army protected the Aquitaine from destruction by the hands of xenoi.

As it turned out, the soulless invaders had other plans.

On 1 January 1513 imperial agentes in rebus brought most worrying news - the Westerners launched an invasion against Caledonia, the last realm in the world where Catholic heresy was still present. Eunuchs of Scrinium Barbarorum were puzzled by this turn of events, for Xenoi Xolal was still consumed by bloody Tlacotli Yaoyotl and revolts against their rule were erupting and were violently dealt with almost every month. His Imperial Majesty obviously didn't care for fate of the Catholics still dwelling on Heretic Isles, nor was he responsible for those who rejected God and His Regent on Earth. The invasion of the xenoi could be ever considered a divine punishment for their transgressions: in such way Our Lord Iesus Kristos could turn pure evil of soulless beasts into something undoubtedly good for His children. Truly God works in mysterious ways - may all praise His glory!

And then, barely two weeks after the invasion began, the Republic of Pisa decided to side with Caledonia.

By supporting Catholic heretics against the might of Xenoi Xolal it seemed that greedy merchants miscalculated, for there could be no other end to this conflict than their utter destruction. But, as the Imperial Council suggested to His Imperial Majesty, this must've meant that there was more to Pisan move than the imperial agentes in rebus could find out. Open declaration of war against their former masters could mean their destruction, which Pisans must've realized, which therefore forces one to wonder - what was it that made them took such great risk? Were this news from the Far West? And if so, what exactly was happening beyond the Great Sea which remained hidden from eyes of the Romaioi? One thing was certain - the Republic of Pisa was at war with xenoi.

And demanded Roman aid.


Emperor Basileios III Angelos

Both Caledonia and Pisa in an unprecedented move turned to the Imperium, asking for help against the innumerable armies of xenoi. This understandably became the most controversial issue - after all, its one thing to set one barbarian against the other, but to support heretics and Pisans, even against the Westerners, is something else entirely. The sacred Emperor as God's Regent on Earth was about to make an uneasy decision - alas, before he could do so His Imperial Majesty got ill and after few weeks died on 15 October 1513. Untimely death of Basileios II saw the ascension to the Throne of his son, Basileios III Angelos. Only 25 year old, the Emperor was thus left with his father's dilemma - but unlike his father he decided to act quickly.


Blessing of God

His Imperial Majesty not only decided to support Pisa and Caledonia by allowing them to use imperial harbors and roads but also, to complete surprise of many, sent them coffers filled with gold. No means were unjustified if they could help accomplish the goal to which blessed Autokrator dedicated his thoughts - to weaken the Westerners as much as possible. And so the war against xenoi raged with even greater force, as did the war between Mongol hordes, with the Romaioi safe from sword of their enemies and acting from behind the curtains. His Imperial Majesty abandoned plans of war against the mad king of Aquitaine, at least for the time being, and instead focused on strengthening the Imperium. It was thanks to his great wisdom that the raids of savage tribes known as Funj were finally stopped by imperial tagmata. Not only that but it turned out that the primitives are actually Christians - clearly a sign from God! Although they were found to be followers of the Anti-Chalcedonian heresy, in his wisdom the sacred Emperor ordered to spare them and bring the light of Iesus Kristos to them - if they bend the knee before the Throne and accept His Imperial Majesty as God's Regent on Earth, which the savages did. Many were shocked by this display of mercy of the blessed Autokrator, however soon attention of all Roman citizens turned away from the barren deserts of Abyssinia toward Iberia, where a true miracle took place.


On 12 July 1514 rebels who took control over Barcelona from their xenoi masters declared independence - the Kingdom of Aragon was reborn, the very kingdom which since the reign of Saint Markos himself was so closely connected to the Great House Angelos. The news of liberation of the land which gave the Imperium two of the Angelid Emperors and which for so long was a part of the Imperium itself filled the hearts of men with joy. It without a doubt was a sign from God - when one of the Christian Kingdoms appeared to become a victim of madness and corruption, the realm so long and so closely intertwined with the fate of the Imperium have risen from the ashes. His Imperial Majesty quickly sent megas logothetes to Barcelona to take the reborn Aragon under imperial protection, which took place on 29 September the same year.


Before the storm

The next 2 years were spent on preparations to war. The Imperial Navy, created anew once again in a record time and for a price of heavy loans was soon prepared to fulfill its duties - to protect the coasts and to enable quick transport of tagmata from one corner of the Imperium to another. The Imperial Army, having paid the terrible price for facing blasphemous xenoi devices with no clue of their power, was reorganized and its soldiers retrained, now better prepared to face the horrors from the Far West. His Imperial Majesty issued many decrees and spared no effort in order to complete the last of the unimplemented reforms of the imperial administration initiated by his grandfather Markos III Angelos. In an exceptionally short period of time so much was accomplished that it seemed to many as if the ascension to the Throne of the blessed Autokrator took place not few but a dozen or so years ago.

All of this however came at a price.


In order to ensure that tens of dromonoi as well as equipment and supplies for tens of thousands of Roman soldiers will be ready on time, the slaves had to work harder than ever. In mines and harbor, in the fields and manufactories, the douloi were working day and night and many of them died due to exhaustion and malnutrition. Soon slave uprising became frequent and the Imperial Army was forced to suppress them, thus worsening the growing problem of shortage of labour. Especially violent were the uprising in Tripolitania liberated from the Westerners' yoke barely a decade ago, where xenoi beasts formed an army more than 10,000 strong and burned many villages and cities before they were put down. The Imperium had no other choice but to turn to the Republic of Pisa, which due to the ongoing war had unlimited access to xenoi slaves. And so in exchange for gold and weapons the Pisans were delivering so needed douloi to the imperial mines and manufactories. Roman trade companies, since time immemorial most vocal enemies of the Republic, were concerned that huge amount of cheap cargo from Pisa would threaten their income and in turn hurt the Imperial Treasury - but even despite that the Aerarium was more and more indebted. The situation was only worsened by the fact that, thanks to great generosity of Basileios II Angelos who donated many lands in Africa to the Holy Church, more villages and fields than ever were exempted from taxes.

In the end however His Imperial Majesty achieved his goal - the Imperium was ready for what was about to come.


War in the East

On 3 February 1516 over 100,000 strong tagmata of the Imperial Army crossed the limites and attacked the lands of the Horde. Together with Polish and Bavarian auxilia, as well as tagma ton Moldavon the Christian forces quickly overcame armies of the horse-lords and pushed deep into the territory of the enemy. With vast majority of its warriors far in the East still fighting with Shia mugahidun, the Horde could not hope to defend itself without calling back their armies. And so even to the most feeble mind the plan of His Imperial Majesty became suddenly obvious. By attacking the Horde, the blessed Autokrator forced the Mongol barbarians to either abandon their desire to conquer lands of ruled by sons of Timur and try to defend themselves or to crush the remaining armies of the Shia but for a price of their westernmost territories. In either case, both enemies of the Imperium would not gain strength but at the very best remain as dangerous as they were before, while with God's blessing the Imperial Army could potentially strike a devastating blow against one of them.

As it turned out, rather than destroying what was left of armies of the Iron Khanate, the Great Khan decided to face the Romaioi.


On 13 December 1517 the Horde turned away from its prey - tens of thousands of horse-lords were now marching west, leaving behind only ruin of a war which lasted for five years and gained them nothing. The Imperial Army together with auxilia met first wave of the Mongol armies in battle of Bryansk, where on 9 May 1518 more than 10,000 barbarians were killed. Although suffering heavy losses, the Imperial Army was victorious and took huge numbers of Mongol slaves during the following months. However, while the Great Steppe was a silent witness to the horrors of war now unleashed upon the Horde, the Westerners were advancing. Having destroyed the last Pisan army in battle of Dauphine on 17 September the same year, the xenoi instead of pushing forward to punish their former servants agreed to sign peace. This unexpected move saw Pisa to emerge from war almost unscathed, for the Westerners for some inexplicable reason decided to not demand anything from the Republic. Still, having lost the war and great number of troops and gold, the Pisans were forced to abandon Caledonia to the inevitable. The most imaginative rumors concerning the Pisan participation in war began to circulate in Konstantinoupolis, but the truth is that nobody knew what motivated the greedy merchants to rise against their old masters.

As it soon turned out, they were not the only ones to do exactly this.


Khanate of Lithuania joins the war

Khanate of Lithuania for decades enjoyed xenoi protection, serving them both as a wall separating the Horde from northern territories of Xenoi Xolal and as a sword always ready to strike at Kingdom of Poland. As the strongest remaining splinter chiefdoms and former vassal of the Horde, the realm created by Alexandr of Myadzel from tribes of Lithuanians, Mongols and Russians was ruled with an iron fist by the latter, the only chiefdom in which Mongol barbarians were nothing more than slaves to their Slavic masters. Not a single one of the Ruso-Mongol khans of this strange realm decided to attack the Horde since the rebellion of Alexandr - until now.

On 9 October 1518 to the surprise of all Christians and to the relief of queen Judyta of Spis - heir to the Polish crown after king Borzywój - the armies of the Khanate marched not the west but to the east. His Imperial Majesty immediately ordered to sent valuable gifts and gold to the Lithuanian khan, hoping that his lust for blood may be used for the cause of the Christendom. The Horde, now fighting on two fronts, was losing badly. In his malice the Great Khan ordered his warriors to make the brave Romaioi pay dearly for the bloodied steppe. With winter came death for thousands of soldiers of Kristos, dying from exposure or poisoned Mongol arrows. The horse-lords became ghosts, luring whole tagmata into ambushes, evading open battles and constantly harassing the Romaioi. Casualties increased tenfold but finally came spring and with it the offensive in which the barbarians were decisively pushed back.

There was no spring for heretics however.


Forced to surrender in early May, Caledonia could not hope for the same treatment Pisa received. Having lost almost one third of its territory the realm was crippled for years, with thousands of heretics killed or taken as captives by the merciless xenoi beasts. The Westerners decided not to deliver a killing blow, instead apparently planning for the realm to fall apart in order make the inevitable second and last invasion be that much easier. And in fact shortly afterwards a huge revolt have risen in Brittany against the rule of queen Marthoc a Muirebe. With Caledonia gone, it was certain that the last remnants of the Catholic heresy would be destroyed with it and false bishop of Rome who, according to some agentes in rebus, was residing in court of Heretic Queen would finally meet his fate - such is God's justice. His Imperial Majesty however was occupied by other matters entirely than rightful punishment the vile heretics suffered from the xenoi. With the war against the Horde slowly coming to an end, the blessed Autokrator turned his attention to the most dire matter which was only postponed but by all means not forgotten.


One Emperor

Despite having years to repent and ask for forgiveness, the mad king Czcibor stubbornly continued to claim to be "Kaiser of Romans", defying God's will and - knowingly or not - serving the Dark Powers as a pawn in their scheme to destroy Christendom. There is only one true Emperor and no matter what Latins claim he resides in the Queen of Cities. The pathetic mockery of this God-given dignity created by Frankish barbarian Charles the Usurper together with false bishop of Rome is nothing more but a tool of Diabolos. It was no one else but German kaiser Eudes IV whose corruption by Cathar heresy led to wars with Catholics which devastated Latin lands and made it much easier for xenoi to conquer the western Europe during Sunset Invasion. It was king Theoderich von Zähringen who was crowned as kaiser by the patriarch of Germany on 23th April 1363 whose usurpation led to the fall of his realm. And now it seemed that one of the last Christian Kingdoms was about to became another victim of the curse of Charlemagne.

His Imperial Majesty could not allow this to happen.

On 1 October 1519 the blessed Autokrator declared war against the Mad King, war which was going to save Aquitaine from imminent doom. Soon tens of thousands of good Roman soldiers were embarking imperial dromonoi in Taurica, preparing to bring salvation to the realm suffering from corruption of its ruler, while tagmata assembled beforehand in Bavaria marched towards Oberbayern. And then God's Regent of Earth did something unexpected - His Imperial Majesty decided to call a special session of the Imperial Senate in December.

The ancient institution, although reformed by basileus Markos III Angelos, during rule of Belisarios and Basileios II lost much of its prestige and influence, being rarely asked for advice by either of the Angelid Emperors. Basileios III Angelos seemed to ignore the existence of the Senate entirely during his reign, so the greater was the surprise when invitations were sent to noble Houses from every corner of the Imperium. What counsel blessed Autokrator decided to seek from the Senators remained unknown and many wild rumors began to circulate in the City, some even suggesting that the expedition of Kermanos which results were kept in secret for so long was going to be subject of the session. One thing was certain however - the special session of the Imperial Senate, like so many before it, was surely going to influence the future of the Imperium and with it the whole Christendom for years to come.



***
 
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CzokletMuss

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DIARIUM SENATORUM IMPERIALIS #9


ALBUM SENATORIUM
Illustrious protospatharios Michael Komnenos, President of the Imperial Senate and vestarches of the Sacred Palace, hereby annouces:

1) that the following delegates of the noble Houses to the Imperial Senate have died due to natural causes:
  • senator Hadrianos Raoul (played by: Attalus)
  • senator Lazaros Melissenos (played by: McGrey)
  • senator Theophilus Rhadenos (played by: viola)
  • senator Septimark Wedrovander (played by: Kingjerkera)
  • senator Anastasios VI Salamis (played by: ParrotGuy)
  • senator Konstantinos Moustakas (played by: Andre Massena)
  • senator Georgios Tsoukalos (played by: Halocon720)
  • senator Alvar Cortez (played by: zqfrmb)
  • senator Michael Scipion (played by: varetta)
  • senator Zubinus Jalius (played by: alamking)
  • senator Oscar Godric (played by: Malal)
  • senator Alexios Batavos (played by: LordSolar)
  • senator Frederik V Hvide (played by: Drucchi)
  • senator Alexios Chrysos (played by: Mighty Imhotep)
  • senator Gaius Arrius (played by: TheAnguishedOne)
  • senator Ferrantios Kastelos (played by: Leandor)
  • senator Aeneas Taurinus (played by: Ponce_The_Great)
  • senator Nicodemos Psarakis (played by: ThrashEater)
  • senator Eumenes Ouranos (played by: Blogman66)
  • senator ArmanII Eliasian (played by: eliaspays)
  • senator Marcus VI Serapis(played by: Serpent)
  • senator Ferrucio di Capponi (played by: Enlil)
  • senator Alexandre de Mallorca (played by: tunapirate)
  • senator Ioannes Vojimir (played by: TheSlavicWiseMan)
  • senator Mahdi ibn Tarek Rashid(played by: BanishTheSpleen)
2) that therefore the following noble Houses may appoint new representative to the Imperial Senate:
  • House Raoul (played by: Attalus)
  • House Melissenos (played by: McGrey)
  • House Rhadenos (played by: viola)
  • House Wedrovander (played by: Kingjerkera)
  • House Salamis (played by: ParrotGuy)
  • House Moustakas (played by: Andre Massena)
  • House Tsoukalos (played by: Halocon720)
  • House Cortez (played by: zqfrmb)
  • House Scipion (played by: varetta)
  • House Jalius (played by: alamking)
  • House Godric (played by: Malal)
  • House Batavos (played by: LordSolar)
  • House Hvide (played by: Drucchi)
  • House Chrysos (played by: Mighty Imhotep)
  • House Arrius (played by: TheAnguishedOne)
  • House Kastelos (played by: Leandor)
  • House Taurinus (played by: Ponce_The_Great)
  • House Psarakis (played by: ThrashEater)
  • House Ouranos (played by: Blogman66)
  • House Eliasian (played by: eliaspays)
  • House Serapis (played by: Serpent)
  • House di Capponi (played by: Enlil)
  • House de Mallorca (played by: tunapirate)
  • House Vojimir (played by: TheSlavicWiseMan)
  • House Rashid (played by: BanishTheSpleen)
3) that therefore as of now the Imperial Senate consists of the following delegates of the noble Houses:
  • senator Junius Pylaeus (played by: ThetrueColt)
  • senator Alexandros de Bretagne (played by: fastrike)
  • senator Christoforo Colombo (played by: luciusmalfoy012)
  • senator Ioustinianos Argyros (played by: Tharassian)
4) that the following delegates of the noble Houses to the Imperial Senate were absent on the previous Senate Session and will be removed from the Senate in case of absence on the next Senate Session:
  • senator Aeneas Taurinus (played by: Ponce_The_Great)
  • senator Konstantinos Moustakas (played by: Andre Massena)
  • House Tsoukalos (played by: Halocon720)
  • senator Ioustinianos Argyros (played by: Tharassian)
5) that there are currently no vacant seats in the Imperial Senate.

May the blessing of Saint Markos be upon all of us.

Signed,
Michael Komnenos
President of the Imperial Senate

***

IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE SENDING YOUR CHARACTER

1) The plan is as follows:
  • starting today you can send your new Senators
  • starting this wekeend there will be Meetings for all three Factions, each lasting 2 days during which new Faction Leader and new Faction Bonus will be chosen; we shall start with Blue Demes because so far it was the most numerous one
  • on next Thursday/Friday the Fourth Senate Session shall begin; it will last for 3-4 days including 24 hours for voting
  • in the meantime expect „State of the World (1520)” update and another special update
  • after the Senate Session I will play for the next 20 years or so after which I will start writing the next chapter

2) New characters
  • IMPORTANT – please title e-mail with your new character like this: „House YYY, ForumNickname, Faction” (so for example „House Komnenos, CzokletMuss, White Demes”)
  • IMPORTANT – biography of your character may not be longer than 1000 characters
  • the rules concerning interative AAR will change in the near future but for now we shall stick to what we have
  • if you don't want to participate in the Senate anymore please let me know via PM or e-mail – right now there are no vacant seats, so please don't block them
  • Ponce_The_Great, Andre Massena, Halocon720, Tharassian – absence on the next Senate Sesion means that your House will be removed, please keep this in mind

From now on I'm accepting your applications with new Senators, like always as per the rules:
To participate in the AAR you have to:
1. Send an e-mail to senate.of.the.imperium.romanum@gmail.com which contains:
- your Noble House prepared using the template from the first page of the thread;
- your Senator prepared using the template from the first page of the thread.
2. Get my approval for your House and Senators
3. After getting my approval you may join the AAR

IMPORTANT
1. You MUST include your forum nickname in your application.
2. Your character MUST be Orthodox male Christian, citizen of the Imperium and a noble.
3. Only male members of the Noble House with experience in the service of the Imperium and at least 25 years old may be Senators.
4. You MAY NOT create characters who are pagan, Catholic or of a culture/nationality that doesn't exist within the Imperium.
5. Creating characters of Aztec or Mongol origin is forbidden.
6. Please use he terminology of this AAR: Imperium instead of "empire" or "Empire" etc. I reserve the right to suggest necessary changes in your applications in this aspect.
Oh, and since this day marks the official reactivation of this AAR, let's listen to some glorious Byzantine music (with a very fitting album cover) to celebrate this!


The Angeloi protect!
 
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Attalus

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Praise St-Markos, it's updated !

That was a terrifying defeat for the Navy but in the end Carthago is now once again connected by land to the heart of the Imperium.

The addition of Aragon and Funj as vassals is good news. Does Aragon still have some cores in Iberia or is it the last enclave of Christianity ?

It is time to close the Pont-Euxin at last it seems but the matter of Aquitaine must be also dealt quickly before the Xenoi try to take advantage of the situation.

I guess for the the new character we have to precise to which faction he belongs ?
 

Ponce_The_Great

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Loved the chapter, lots of grim dark followed by small moments of hope (that are usually crushed)

The time has come for the Reds to rise once more (hopefully, the navy keeps getting killed so that's got to reduce the Blue's prestige a bit)
The time has come, assemble the league of elderly angry crippled warmongers once more!!!

Though I have to say I was hoping Caledonia would scratch out a continuing existence on the edge of the world for centuries unnoticed.

Now to start writing a new character
 

Blogman66

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Amazing chapter as per usual. Really excited for a Senate session after so long :p.

The Elderly League of Senatorial Men may have lost most its members, but it shall rise once more!
 

McGrey

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Great update and well written as usual! It looks like the Xenoi get weaker. Slowly, subtle, but it is there...
 

Zqrfmb

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Hopefully the new Megas Droungarios will pay more attention to the maps of the currents around the pillars of hercules, it seems his navy was just out of advantageous waters. Things are looking grim for the horde, but grimmer for us with Czoklet's changes to make the AI less feeble taking effect next chapter. At least if we're lucky we can walk away with full coastal control up to Sicily.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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A successful war against the Xenoi, Aragon reborn, the Horde is in a weakened state, and quite possibly signs of a beneficial relationship with Pisa. So much good news from this chapter, though there is of course the expected bad news... the British Isles are looking more and more doomed with each passing day and Aquitaine has the stupidity to become the Kaiser of the Unholy Foreign Kingdom. If only we had let them die years ago....

I look forward to the State of the World update and the special update (show us India!), and the madness of the Senate session quickly approaches. Hopefully the new generation of Senators will be able to reach agreements so they can properly guide the Imperium.
 

McGrey

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A successful war against the Xenoi, Aragon reborn, the Horde is in a weakened state, and quite possibly signs of a beneficial relationship with Pisa. So much good news from this chapter, though there is of course the expected bad news... the British Isles are looking more and more doomed with each passing day and Aquitaine has the stupidity to become the Kaiser of the Unholy Foreign Kingdom. If only we had let them die years ago....
I wouldn't write of the brits just yet. If the empire continues it's pressure on the Xenoi, Caledonia still has a chance to come back, take the rest of the Isles and form Great Britan. And that would be awesome.
 
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ThetrueColt

Pandidakterion Vanguard
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Seems like my character is one of only four survivors. Surely the great task of preparing the new kids has been passed onto us.

We shall see if they will listen to the voice of reason and (unaffiliated) unity.

--

The Basileus bribes a Khanate, he is giving access to Pisans and he declares war upon Aquitaine, which was desperatelay sved some time ago.

Desperate measures but fitting in these darkest of times, aren't they?

Also, we have got to be at 50 loans or so at this point. I am looking forward to the complete collapse of the Imperial economy. :D

Czoklet, do you mind telling us where the inflation stands at this point?
 

CzokletMuss

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Before I answer to your comments, two very important things which can't really wait:

1) Please include which Faction your Senator is joining in the e-mail (if any).
2) So far I got only 3 submissions with new characters, which gives us in total 7/30 Senators. It's understandable after such a long hiatus but I would like to get everyone to declare whether they still participate in the AAR or not. Therefore I'm going to send an e-mail (BCC) to all remaining Senators today in which I'll bring them up-to-date. Sorry in advance for this little spam!

Also today I'll release "State of the World" update for year 1520 - next one will be released when we reach year 1620 in game.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Senator Marcus Arrius:

As the representative of the Arrius family, I declare myself a member of the Blue Demes. Glory to the Imperium!

{{I was given permission to make one post in-character to declare for my Faction. CzokletMuss, if I've made any mistake in my formatting, please let me know. I might be a little rusty.}}
 

Attalus

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Well I'm in the middle of studies so I can't write it right now but I'm sure willing to continue. I'll try to come up with my character tonight
 

CzokletMuss

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STATE OF THE WORLD
YEAR 1520
REPORT OF SCRINIUM BARBARORUM



***

SUMMARY


***

IMPERIUM ROMANUM






***

LEDGER












***

THE KNOWN WORLD

 
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Malal

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Just sayin, that fleet we sent out into the indian ocean, didnt really discover much did it?
 

Blogman66

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Just sayin, that fleet we sent out into the indian ocean, didnt really discover much did it?
Most likely due to attrition and the lack of ports to put the fleet in