• 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

Mach Twelve

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I saw the big font for the chapter title and the "done" and I got really excited for a few seconds there :(

Did you get any kind of infantry shock or morale damage advantage for the pyrotagmata? T'would make sense to me that close-quarters combat is a bit more terrifying the more people get lit on fire.
Aren't pyrotagmata the lore explanation of the in game artillery regiments?
 

zenphoenix

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Aren't pyrotagmata the lore explanation of the in game artillery regiments?
I thought they were the explanation of gunpowder weapons in general.
 

CzokletMuss

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Aren't pyrotagmata the lore explanation of the in game artillery regiments?
I thought they were the explanation of gunpowder weapons in general.
Yes they are - the Greek fire is a long-lost secret, hence no flamethrowers. The pyrotagmata are units using fire-lances (primitive guns) and cannons. Sorry if this misguided somone, wasn't feeling that well when I posted it yesterday.

Today I'm feeling much better though and since I'm on a sick leave until Friday I may actually have some time to write :)
 
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Attalus

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Yes they are - the Greek fire is a long-lost secret, hence no flamethrowers. The pyrotagmata are units using fire-lances (primitive guns) and cannons. Sorry if this misguided somone, wasn't feeling that well when I posted it yesterday.

Today I'm feeling much better though and since I'm on a sick leave until Friday I may actually have some time to write :)
I was thinking that if we ever end up doing greek fire again you could make a special modifier in V2 akin to gas attacks (but less powerful).
For those who don't know/remember, Gas attacks when discovered gives a +2 in battle unless the enemy has defence against it. Maybe lowering it to 0.5 instead of 2 (I don't see flamethrowers be as dangerous as gas) could be a good way to model a fixation of pratical Greek science on that field of research.
 

CzokletMuss

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I was thinking that if we ever end up doing greek fire again you could make a special modifier in V2 akin to gas attacks (but less powerful).
For those who don't know/remember, Gas attacks when discovered gives a +2 in battle unless the enemy has defence against it. Maybe lowering it to 0.5 instead of 2 (I don't see flamethrowers be as dangerous as gas) could be a good way to model a fixation of pratical Greek science on that field of research.
This is a cool idea. I'll be rewriting all modifiers and decisions for ISF mod (btw currently I'm waiting for 1.15 with the Roman estates) and assuming we make it to V2 it would be appropriate.

Just imagine how the Xenoi-Roman wars will look like at this point...


Source: https://jakubrozalski.artstation.com/portfolio/1920-apocalypse-day
 
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qer

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I was thinking that if we ever end up doing greek fire again you could make a special modifier in V2 akin to gas attacks (but less powerful).
For those who don't know/remember, Gas attacks when discovered gives a +2 in battle unless the enemy has defence against it. Maybe lowering it to 0.5 instead of 2 (I don't see flamethrowers be as dangerous as gas) could be a good way to model a fixation of pratical Greek science on that field of research.
I think it would be better to implement it thought an invention only available for the roman empire. Giving then a gas-like modifier is probably to OP
 

Attalus

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I think it would be better to implement it thought an invention only available for the roman empire. Giving then a gas-like modifier is probably to OP
If you mod it correctly, it would be OP for only a number of years before the enemy adapts and invents defence against it. And +0.5 will not avoid defeat against a better enemy.
 

Mach Twelve

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Yes they are - the Greek fire is a long-lost secret, hence no flamethrowers. The pyrotagmata are units using fire-lances (primitive guns) and cannons. Sorry if this misguided somone, wasn't feeling that well when I posted it yesterday.

Today I'm feeling much better though and since I'm on a sick leave until Friday I may actually have some time to write :)
Glad to hear that. Praise the LORD and pass the wood and oil!
 

zenphoenix

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Yes they are - the Greek fire is a long-lost secret, hence no flamethrowers. The pyrotagmata are units using fire-lances (primitive guns) and cannons. Sorry if this misguided somone, wasn't feeling that well when I posted it yesterday.

Today I'm feeling much better though and since I'm on a sick leave until Friday I may actually have some time to write :)
So I can assume that the Greek fire event chain in CKII didn't fire at all?
 

CzokletMuss

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HOLY SYNOD IN RAVENNA - DAY 1



***

26 April 1566
Midday, Basilica of Saint Apollinaris in Classe, Ravenna



The sun shined in the eyes of mosaic saints and martyrs, looking down at the immense crowd. For a thousand years there has not been such gathering within these walls – hundreds of Roman officials, clergymen, guests from distant countries, Varangians, soldiers, eunuchs and all sorts of servants filled the church to its limits. The only available space was between the benches - prepared for bishops and highest dignitaries of the Imperium - and the marble dais leading to the altar, where a simple wooden lectern was placed.

The basilika itself has a very spacious nave with two side aisles. The ancient mosaics on the walls, some of them dating to 6th century or earlier, glitter in the sunlight, flooding the church through fifty eight windows. The nave is supported on two dozen slender marble columns topped with classical carved capitals, created centuries ago in imperial workshops of Proconnesos. The eastern part of the nave ends with a large central apse, round inside but polygonal outside, flanked by two square chapels known with small pentagonal apses. In the central apse a massive altar is placed – but eyes and minds of everyone present are focused on what is beyond the altar.

There, below the hemispherical dome in the apse, a throne was placed. Separated from the rest of the church by white curtains it remains hidden from the assembled Romaioi. Still, like moths to the flame, everyone's attention was irresistibly drawn to it, because right there, behind the altar, sat the true ruler and protector of Christendom - the sacred Emperor himself. Statement made by the Ecumenical Patriarch yesterday gave life to a thousand rumors concerning health of His Imperial Majesty. Will the Autokrator attend the Council? Or is he already in the basilika, sitting on a throne beyond the curtains? Curiosity bred many answers but for every one of them a new question was born, thus leading to an unending circle of gossip and half-truths which members of the Imperial Court were familiar with all too well.

On the same level as the altar two massive tables were placed, each of them a true work of art as it is suitable for the people sitting at them. On the right looking from the hidden throne was the table of the Holy Synodos, the highest authority in the Roman Church. There in the middle sat Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites himself, with other four Patriarchs and bishops of Zadar and Cherson on both sides. On the other side, as if it was a mirror image, was the table of the Imperial Council. Members of the Council were not as numerous as the representatives of the Holy Church however – in the middle sat megas domestikos Nikephoros Dalassenos, with sakellarios Isaakios Taronites on his left and megas droungarios Georgios Lekapenos on his right side. With Ecumenical Patriarch presiding over the Holy Synods, it meant that two members of the Council – megas logothetes Manuel Komnenos and eparchos of Konstantinoupolis Markos Skleros – were absent. Such was the will of the sacred Emperor however, who ordered them to remain in the City and ordered Manuel Komnenos to carry out duties of the Imperial Regent until His Imperial Majesty returns from Ravenna.

The door opened and three thousand turned away from the central apse. Light and distant noise filled the nave when the Varangians entered into the church and with them – a murmur went through the crowd – Angelina herself. Having made several steps she stopped and looked around, gazing upon the silent saints with hands extended in eternal blessing. The soldiers closed the door loudly and light receded from basilika. She could feel the cold of the stone floor as walked barefooted toward the altar, with thirty Varangians accompanying her. The sunlight reflected by golden mosaics shined upon her hair, long and dirty. Ignoring the crowd and with her gaze fixed on the altar she walked calmly toward the lectern and, having reached it, stopped and put her hands on the pulpit. Standing straight and with raised chin she looked up beyond the altar but the white curtains remained shut. For a while she was staring at them with intensity, as if she was trying to see through the thick silk. It was only when Ecumenical Patriarch rose up from his place and with him all the bishops and members of the Imperial Council when she reluctantly turned her eyes away from the hidden throne.

***

Excerpts from minutes of the first hearing
prepared by chorepiscopus Zenobios, eunuch of the Holy Synodos
in chronological order


His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites opened the hearing. The Ecumenical Patriarch reminded the interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos of her duties before the Holy Synodos and the Imperial Council. Then he requested the interrogated to make a solemn vow to speak only of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth by making an oath on the holy Bible. The interrogated asked why His Imperial Majesty, sacred Emperor Theodoros I 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 is not present during the hearing. His Most Divine All-Holiness answered that by order of His Imperial Majesty the first hearing was to be conducted in his absence and that His Imperial Majesty was represented by the Imperial Council. He then demanded from the interrogated to swore a solemn vow, for which she replied that she shall swear on God Almighty himself. It was agreed that she shall make an oath is such form and so she did swear a solemn vow before God in the presence of the Holy Synodos and the Imperial Council

His Most Divine All-Holiness announced that the hearing has begun and, in order to allow Their Eminences Bishops of the Imperium Romanum ask questions freely, it was decided that the Holy Synodos shall refrain from asking questions during this day, that is on 26 April 1566 Anno Domini. Then the Ecumenical Patriarch took his seat and with him all members of the Holy Synodos and the Imperial Council.

The hearing began and first to step forward and ask his questions was the bishop of Athens.

His Eminence Bishop of Athens Georgios Kanikes:

- The movement you led, kyria Angelos, started in Smyrna. The city as well as the whole thema was ruled by your father doux Niketas Angelos before his death. Your husband, strategos Anthimos Balsamon, was not vested with authority over the thema before he died due to the Plague. You had no mandate to rule over Smyrna, not by the right of your father nor your husband, and not by the order of His Imperial Majesty. It is said in the Epistle to Romans that there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. If not given the authority by His Imperial Majesty in the name of God Almighty, where did your power come from if not from sheer force and manipulation, the instruments of the Archenemy? What do you say to those who claim that you are an usurper who illegally seized what was not your to take, a rebel who created his own militia to oppress good Romaioi? By what law did you commit all these things?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- By law of God himself. Isn't it said in the same Epistle that not the the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified before Him? Didn't Saint Paulos the Apostle write also: „For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” All human laws derive from the Divine law, eternal and unchangeable, sacred and governed by the Divine Reason. It follows that since laws of God take precedence before laws of men, all the more so they must be observed when there are no laws of men. Order derived from Divine harmony must be preserved lest the anarchia and chaos take their place. What I did was necessary to observe God's laws and to preserve population of Smyrna.

His Eminence Bishop of Athens Georgios Kanikes:

- You speak of laws of men. But what of the authority of His Eminence Bishop of Smyrna? Authority of His Eminence derives from the law of God and yet you disobeyed him, preaching to the Romaioi not only without permission of the Church but also in clear violation of His Eminence will?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- The man you are referring to barricaded himself inside bishops' palace together with his servants as as the Plague came in Smyrna. He abandoned his flock the moment death arrived in the streets of his city. „And the King will answer them, »Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me«”. This man did nothing for them and thus rejected God himself when the time came for his piousness to be tested. Speak no of his authority for it was forfeited by his own deeds.

His Eminence Bishop of Smyrna Evangelios Monikes

- Lies! Brothers and sisters in Kristos, do not believe these vile words! It was me who was trying to save the city while she and her thugs seized control over holy Smyrna, the very place were Saint Markos himself was born, and desecrated-

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Silence. You shall return to your seat, Your Eminence, and you shall not speak until allowed to by this Holy Synod.

His Eminence Bishop of Smyrna Evangelios Monikes

- Your All-Holiness, I simply-

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Order! Guards, return His Eminence to his seat.

(...)

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Your Excellency Metropolitan of Thessalonike, you may now ask questions to the interrogated.

His Excellency Metropolitan of Thessalonike Petros Kzymbes:

- Thank you, Your Most Divine All-Holiness. In light of the answers regarding Smyrna I would like to ask this: if what she claims is true, than why did she flee Smyrna and sailed to Aegyptus?You claim that you were acting in the accordance with God's law and in the best interest of Romaioi in mind. Why leave then? Weren't you interested in helping the Throne and the Holy Church restore stability in the region? Haven't this movement initiated by you spread first to nearby towns and villages and then to other themata as well, reaching as far as to Nikea? If what you say is true, than your help could be substantial. And yet you left Smyrna behind as soon as you learned that His Imperial Majesty sent for you. Was it because you knew that you would be find guilty of what many accuse you of?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I went to Aegyptus because it was requested from me. I had no knowledge of the fact that Black Tagma was sent to Smyrna. Leaving the city and my companions was not something which came to me easily but I had no choice in this matter.

His Excellency Metropolitan of Thessalonike Petros Kzymbes:

- You say you had no choice and that it was requested from you. By whom? By our Father in Heave, the Almighty God? Or perhaps by Diabolos?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- The word of God came to me and His Holy Spirit has been guiding me ever since. All I do I do in His name.

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Order. Order!

(…)

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- You may continue, Your Excellency.

His Excellency Metropolitan of Thessalonike Petros Kzymbes:

- Thank you, Your Most Divine All-Holiness. You claim to be a prophet then, is this correct?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.

His Excellency Metropolitan of Thessalonike Petros Kzymbes:

- „And Iesus said to him, »I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me«”. Your Most Divine All-Holiness, I have no more questions.

(...)

His Eminence Bishop of Belgrade Joanikije Sremac

- „Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” I ask you, kyria Angelos, what are the fruits of your teachings? Have you not spent your time in Aegyptus with Mongol slaves who rebelled against their rightful masters, those who call themselves the Mamlukes? Have you not gained their trust and possessed their hearts and minds? Have you not led them astray from the Holy Church, turning them into Angeloduloi? And what of the atrocities committed by them while you were residing in Alexandreia? The massacres of Jews, the pillage, the burning of the books in imperial libraries – do you deny all of this was done on your orders?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I deny it all.

His Eminence Bishop of Belgrade Joanikije Sremac

- How come? Were you not there when your companions the Mamluke leaders committed these terrible things? Why did you not speak against them?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I was there but I didn't speak against what is just. The Jews rejected Kristos when He came to this world and denounced Him. Despite witnessing the mystery of Incarnation they murdered Him, thus committing the ultimate sin for which their whole race was cursed. Moreover, they continued to worship their false idol and to practice their abhorrent ceremonies and sinful activities like usury and many others. They are servants of the Serpent, wallowing in sin and malice, whose very existence is blasphemy in the eyes of God. Their souls are corrupted almost as much as those of the xenoi and thus they may not be redeemed. The Kristos-killers deserve no mercy – it's a surprise to hear that the Church is willing to defend them.

His Eminence Bishop of Belgrade Joanikije Sremac

- The position of the Holy Church on this matter is clear, so try not to twist my words, kyria Angelos. We all know well of the vices of Jews. It was Saint Ioannes Chrysostomos , Doctor of the Church, who first deemed them guilty of deicide. However this Council is not dedicated to the Kristos-killers. What of the books burned by the Mamlukes? Many libraries and repositories of Pandidakterion were destroyed in Alexandreia. Did you condone this horrible act?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I did not.

His Eminence Bishop of Belgrade Joanikije Sremac

- And yet it happened.

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- All men are judged by their deeds before God.

His Eminence Bishop of Belgrade Joanikije Sremac

- You find this act to be sinful then?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- Knowledge leads to salvation – who turns away from the light shall remain in darkness.

His Eminence Bishop of Belgrade Joanikije Sremac

- I have no more questions.

(…)

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- We have been told that the Angeloduloi here in Italia acting on your orders burn books of account, bank notes and other instruments of Mammon. And perhaps it is a good thing that-

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Order. Order!

(…)

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- You may continue Your Eminence.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- Thank you Your All-Holiness. You call Italia „the Mother of Harlots”, we've heard, and indeed this land is full of corruption and vice. But what of the veneration of saints? We've heard that you denounce them and burn the holy icons. Is this true? And if it is, do you denounce Saint Markos Isaposotolos as well?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- „God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- You speak with words of Ioannes the Apostle but this does not answer the question.

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- „Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” Those who engage in idolatry commit a grave sin in the eyes of God.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- Are you familiar with canons of the Second Council of Nikea on this subject?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I am.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- If the Holy Synode allows, I shall read the ruling of the Council regarding the holy icons.

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- We allow it.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- Ruling of the Second Council of Nikea, made on 13 October in the year of Our Lord Iesus Kristos 787. „As the sacred and life-giving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol as the sacred and life-giving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol, so also should the images so also should the images of Jesus Christ the Virgin Mary, the Holy Angels as well as those of the saints and other pious and holy men be embodied in the manufacture of sacred vessels, tapestries, vestments, and exhibited on the walls of churches, in the homes, and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who might see them. For the more they are contemplated, the more they are moved to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not however the veritable worship, which according to our faith, belongs to the divine being alone. For the honor according to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores it in the reality of what it is there represented.” These are the words of the Second Council of Nikea.

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- „Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them.” These are the words of God.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- The heresy of iconoclasm has been condemned centuries ago. Do you challenge the authority of the Holy Church on this matter?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- The Church has no authority except this which is vested in her by God.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- I ask you - do you obey the canons of the Ecumenical Councils?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I obey God.

His Eminence Bishop of Nicosia Paulos Touvak

- I have no more questions.

(…)

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- Your Most Divine All-Holiness, I would like to read a passage from cannons of the Council of Hierusalem before asking my question if I may.

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- We allow it.

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- Ruling of the Council of Hierusalem, made on 16 September in the year of Our Lord Iesus Kristos 1400. „The sublime God so loved the human race that He created man in such wise that he might participate, not only in the good that other creatures enjoy, but endowed him with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face; and since man, according to the testimony of the sacred scriptures, has been created to enjoy eternal life and happiness, which none may obtain save through faith in our Lord Iesus Kristos, it is necessary that he should possess the nature and faculties enabling him to receive that faith; and that whoever is thus endowed should be capable of receiving that same faith. Nor is it credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it. Hence Kristos, who is the Truth itself, that has never failed and can never fail, said to the preachers of the faith whom He chose for that office 'Go ye and teach all nations.' He said all, without exception, for all are capable of receiving the doctrines of the faith. The Enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God's word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to claim that the xenoi of the Far West should not be treated as dumb brutes created for his service, pretending that they are capable of receiving the True Faith.”

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- If Your Eminence is going to read the whole canon we have to point out that its content is known to all of the bishops of this Council.

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- If I may Your Most Divine All-Holiness, I read it for the benefit of the other Romaioi gathered here and to remind it to the interrogated.

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- You may continue but keep in mind that there are many more who would like to present the interrogated with their questions.

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- Of course, Your All-Holiness. Ahem. „We, assembled here on this Holy Synod, consider however, that the xenoi are truly soulless beasts and that they are not only incapable of understanding the True Faith but, according to our information and what was proved during last decades on innumerable occasions, they desire nothing more but to exterminate good Christians.

By the authority of this Ecumenical Council and the Holy Church we declare all the xenoi the Enemies of Iesus Kristos and servants of Diabolos. These creatures are but a pathetic mockery of the holy form of man, created by God in His image, a blasphemous soulless corpses created by demons whom they serve. For Our Lord, knowing of their existence far beyond the seas, decided not to bring Gospel to them because they are not human nor they possess an immortal soul. They can not attain salvation nor can they hope for God's mercy, as what many suspects their are remnants of the giants who once inhabited the earth.”


His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Your Eminence is advised to come to the point.

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- I apologize Your All-Holiness. The Council ruled as follows: „As soulless instruments of the Diabolos in his desire to destroy beloved children of God, which is proved by countless atrocities committed by them including blasphemous and terrible human sacrifices to their false dark gods, the xenoi should be considered equal to vile and dangerous animals incapable of reasoning and devoid of love, kindness, justice or any other virtues or feelings.” Sophia of the Great House Angelos, you said today that the souls of Jews are corrupted almost as much as those of the xenoi. Yet the position of the Holy Church is clear – the xenoi have no souls and thus are not truly human. They are but a devilish mockery of Man created in the image of God. Explain yourself before this holy Synod, kyria Sophia of the Great House Angelos – is it possible for xenos to possess an immortal soul? Are xenoi men or beasts? What do you preach to the Angelodouloi?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- All men and women have souls. All of us have.

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- And do you consider xenoi to be men? If so, how do you-

His Holiness Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus Archbishop Romanos Komnenos

- Excuse me Your Eminence. Your All-Holiness, if I may I want to ask the interrogated a question concerning the Angeloduloi doctrine regarding souls.

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- I agree.

His Eminence Bishop of Amalfi Giacomo Denonti

- But Your All-Holiness, I haven't finished yet.

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- You had your time, Your Excellency. Your Holiness, in the name of the Holy Synod I allow you to ask your questions.

His Holiness Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus Archbishop Romanos Komnenos

- Gladly, Your All-Holiness. „And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” - the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 24, verse 15. Sophia of the Great House Angelos, we've heard that you reject the doctrine of Anastaseos ton Nekron, the Resurrection of the Dead, and instead preach some unheard notions regarding the soul. We were told that you teach that our souls are not that of our own but instead belong to angelic spirits who, having been cast down from Heaven and stripped of their glorified bodies, were imprisoned in the material realm and here they took the holy form of Man. Furthermore you preach, as we were told, that after death the souls is not separated from the body and judged by Our Lord, but instead takes a new material form, condemned to live in the material world for eternity. Is this true? Are these vile and disgusting heresies what you really preach to the masses?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- „That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” So says Ioannes the Apostle and so do I.

His Holiness Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus Archbishop Romanos Komnenos

- Sophia of the Great House Angelos, all of us assembled here know the Holy Scripture. Answer the question.

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- A pure soul may escape the Wheel. Everyone can achieve salvation and break free from the corruption of Matter. Not even Diabolos can-

His Holiness Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus Archbishop Romanos Komnenos

- Sophia of the Great House Angelos, I expect you to answer my question. Do you preach these abhorrent lies, thus denying the sacred doctrine of Anastaseos ton Nekron, or not?

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- ...

His Holiness Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus Archbishop Romanos Komnenos

- Sophia of the Great House Angelos, if you are not willing to answer to me than perhaps-

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

- I do, for such is the word of God I was sent to teach in His name.

His Holiness Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus Archbishop Romanos Komnenos

- Heresy! Heresy of the Katharoi! Brothers and sisters, you've heard her words! She's a her-

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Your Holiness, enough of this! The Holy Synod - order! Order!

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

(unintelligible)

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- Order! Guards, protect the interrogated!

The interrogated Sophia of the Great House Angelos:

(unintelligible)

His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Taronites

- In the name of – silence! - in the name of the Holy Synod the Council is hereby adjourned until tomorrow! Varangians, escort her to the monastery!

***

26 April 1566
Dusk, Sophia's cell, Monastery of Saint Helen, Ravenna


The door to the monastic cell opened, accompanied by a loud protest of unoiled hinges. Sophia Angelos was sitting on the wooden floor with her back to the door. Her thin legs were folded underneath her thighs and she seemed to be resting on the her heels. With hands laid palms up on her knees and closed eyes Sophia remained still. She could clearly hear heavy footsteps approaching her and with them the clanking sound of armor. The intruders surrounded her and then the metallic noises went quiet. Who was interrupting her meditatio?

- Lady Angelos.

This voice… She heard it before. Sophia exhaled slowly and opened her eyes. Few paces before her a tall man with black grizzled hair, with six Varangians standing by his side. The man was wearing a ceremonial klivanion – lamellar cuirass made of metal plates – under which bottom of a short tunic was visible, overlaid with a fringe of leather straps. Similar strips were covering upper arms, partially covered by a long red paludamentum cloak. With a smile on his hawkish face he reached out his gloved hand toward Sophia. A great ruby in the ring of megas domestikos shined in the candlelight.

- Please, allow me.

She looked up at Nikephoros Dalassenos. Despite his apparent friendly attitude there was something off about megas domestikos and his dark eyes – she noted – were not smiling like his mouth. Sophia remained still, ignoring the hand extended in courtly gesture. After a short while Dalassenos took his hand back and started to toy with his ring.

- As you wish. I've come to visit you, my lady, for I bring you words of His Imperial Majesty himself.

He looked at Varangians.

- Leave us.

Members of the Varangian Guard bowed their heads and left the room, closing door behind them. Sophia Angelos was now alone in the cell with megas domestikos. Dalassenos turned his back to her and approached a tiny window through which pale moonlight was entering the room.

- You left quite an impression on my dear colleagues from the Imperial Council. I think some of them even admire your courage, you know. This is completely understandable, of course. To stand before the Holy Synod and the Council, nay, before His Imperial Majesty himself and loudly proclaim such heretical ideas… well, it surely is something. The question remains however what exactly. Courage, as some members of the Council want it to be? Stupidity, as many courtiers from the Imperial Palace must think? Madness of a heretic, as most bishops surely consider you to be after this little performance of yours?[/b]

Nikephoros stopped toying with his ring and turned around, now facing Sophia.

- They are all mistaken, as we both now. The courtiers, the dynatoi lords and ladies from every corner of the Imperium, noble guests from afar, even the bishops – all of them blinded, incapable to see the simple truth. It's not really surprising. After all, the more one plays the game the harder it is to believe that there may be some who don't play it at all. And you – you are not interested in the game, are you?

Sophia looked at him unfazed.

- It must be strange for them to encounter someone who has no ulterior motive, no desire for power or gold. Ironic, really, that the Holy Church cannot see the flame of devotion in you, despite it burning so brightly. You really believe in what you say, don't you? Your motives are as pure as you claim they are.

Nikephoros slowly took a few steps toward her.

- I must say that in a way I admire you as well. The zeal, the passion. Perhaps, at least to some extent, that's why I advised His Imperial Majesty to left you to your own devices back in Smyrna. I considered you to be a harmless preacher, a distraction for those who could interfere in my plans. But I have misjudged you, haven't I? I made a mistake and... - he raises both his hands - …here we are, in Ravenna, together with most of the Roman bishops, 30,000 strong tagmata, half of the Imperial Court and His Imperial Majesty himself, far away from Konstantinoupolis. And all of that because of you.

Nikephoros stopped several paces away from her.

- You are more dangerous than they could possible imagine.

Sophia's eyes met his cold gaze.

- I serve God, nothing more.

- Of course you do. That's why you have arrived here, to give your testimony before the Council of the Holy Church. But that's not the true reason why you decided to enter into lion's den. The Emperor knows it and so do I. You have come here to die.

Her green eyes widened.

- Why else would you do this? You can't think that after admitting that you believe in such vile heresies the verdict of the Council could possibly be different than this. Ravenna is a trap and yet you've gladly let yourself to be surrounded by wolves.

Sophia stood up, her gaze meeting his dark brown eyes.

- The truth is you welcome death because you know that as a woman, even with a name like yours, you may be ignored or destroyed, but as a martyr you could be incorruptible, you could become an everlasting symbol for the Angeloduloi. You want to use your pyre as a foundation for something great, something enduring.

His mouth extended in malicious smirk.

- It won't happen, we made sure of it. You will be find guilty of heresy, blasphemy and rebellion against the Throne. Being an unrepentant apostate, the Holy Church will declare anathema against you and your movement and many of the Angelodouloi shall burn – but not you. You will be banished to Chios where you spent the rest of your days in a monastery. You will be provided with servants to look after your every need, as well as many books as you wish and physicians to make sure you will remain in good health. You will be even allowed to receive visitors from time to time but you shall never leave the island. Those misguided by you will either renounce it or burn until all of them are wiped out. The heresy of Angelodoulism will be rooted out and forgotten and you will be watching helplessly as this taint is removed from the face of the earth. And then – then you will die.

Nikephoros went silent. Sophia was still standing before him, straight and with raised chin, looking up at him with shining eyes. He lift his eyebrows slightly before scowling at her.

- You have nothing to say? You, Lady Angelina, the preacher who swayed Aegyptus and half of Italia with her silver tongue? Nothing?

Her gaze was intensive and there was something mesmerizing in it, something unearthly.

- I must say I'm disappointed. You better prepare yourself – today the bishops were just toying with you, testing your skills but tomorrow… Tomorrow the best theologians of the Imperium and Holy Synod itself shall interrogate you and they won't hold back. This… chimera you created from carcasses of Paulicianism, Bogomilism, beliefs of Katharoi and other heresies? It won't stand a chance. It's one thing to held sway over gullible peasants, but to win a theological dispute against hundred of bishops of the Holy Church? They will tear you apart.

Silence once again filled the room. Nikephoros started fiddling with his golden ring, unsure of what to say next.

- Is this all you have to-

Suddenly Sophia extended her right arm, placing her index finger on Dalassenos' lips and silencing him.

- „A great and strong wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, but the Lord was not in the wind.”

She let her hand slowly go down his beard and on his ceremonial armor.

- „After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.”

Dalassenos was looking at her as if he was frozen, unable to say anything. Sophia stopped her index finger right where the heart of megas domestikos should be beneath the armor.

- „After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.”

Sophia pushed him with gently with her index finger – like a statue Dalassenos fell on the floor, inert and heavy.

- „And after the fire, there was a soft whisper.”

Pale on his face, megas domestikos jumped to his feet.

- What is the meaning of this?! How did you-

Sophia pointed at him and Dalassenos immediately went silent.

- Your victory will defeat you. The deceiver has been deceived and what was promised shall turn into ash. The Imperium will be consumed by the fire started by you.

Nikephoros looked at her with widened eyes.

- Wha- How.. Who are you?!

- I am a messenger of God and His Light is with me. Tell your master that the hour or judgment is nigh.

Her eyes were still shining when Dalassenos left the room. She could hear him commanding his men to follow him and their heavy footsteps on the corridor. After a moment everything went silent. Sophia turned away from the door and looked at the small window. Dust was slowly dancing in the moonlight and yet there was a stillness to it. Suddenly the particles of dust began to glitter more and more and the moonlight started to fill the cell with a silver glow. She grabbed her right thigh, its muscles cramping.

At last.

Sophia sat down on the floor still holding her thigh, now jerking spasmodically. She looked around - the room was now filled with the silver glow, which was quickly giving place to painfully bright light. With both her legs now twitching uncontrollably, Sophia laid down on the floor with a radiant smile on her face when she whispered silently.

- You have come to me again.

She could fill the light filling her, burning through her with agonizing pain – she was melting like an icicle thrown into a furnace. Suddenly all was gone and she was the Light and the Light was her.


Convulsing and shaking, her body was dancing on the wooden floor of a dark cell.
 
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Attalus

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Well that's some hardcore theology you have dug up there :eek:

It was good to see the Megas Domestikos again, and see him shaking before a woman. But Angelina ... her mind is lost, completely. The plans of the Emperor and the Council will not turn as they want that's for sure...
 

Mach Twelve

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So Dalessenos isn't her supporter. But that doesn't mean he isn't dangerous. And Sophia, Heretic, Blasphemer, Apostate, possible Schizophrenic. What to do, what to think? My dagger is ready!
 

zenphoenix

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It's finally happening! Dalassenos gets owned, Angelina takes on the entire Church, and a whole lot of theological information gets dumped on us. Coincidentally, I just used the same passage from the Second Council of Nicaea in my own synod on heresy in my own megacampaign. This coincidence calls for one thing: Angelina must unmask the Emperor in public and reveal him for what he truly is (and then get burned as a heretic, of course)!
 

Mach Twelve

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Teutonic King

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Okay so she is having a seizure. That is good to know, it would explain a lot actually. Clearly thought the constant seizures have caused some serious damage to her brain. I still think we should exile her to some distant land. It would be best for everyone.
 

Mach Twelve

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Okay so she is having a seizure. That is good to know, it would explain a lot actually. Clearly thought the constant seizures have caused some serious damage to her brain. I still think we should exile her to some distant land. It would be best for everyone.
I looked at it, our friend Sophia, with her seizures and schizophrenia, likely suffers from epilepsy. The details of her seizure is consistent with some epileptic seizures and there is a link between schizophrenia and epilepsy.

Fortunately, assuming this "Light of God" that came to her was the beginnings of adult onset epilepsy, it is unlikely that it is genetic, and the bloodline of the Angeloi is not tainted with seizing voice-hearing maniacs. But our sick prophet has done enough damage on her own.

Causes of adult onset epilepsy are PTSD, head injuries, and stroke. Not sure about the last one, but was our prophet traumatized by the plague or injured in a riot?
 
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Teutonic King

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I looked at it, our friend Sophia, with her seizures and schizophrenia, likely suffers from epilepsy. The details of her seizure is consistent with some epileptic seizures and there is a link between schizophrenia and epilepsy.

Fortunately, assuming this "Light of God" that came to her was the beginnings of adult onset epilepsy, it is unlikely that it is genetic, and the bloodline of the Angeloi is not tainted with seizing voice-hearing maniacs. But our sick prophet has done enough damage on her own.

Causes of adult onset epilepsy are PTSD, head injuries, and stroke. Not sure about the last one, but was our prophet traumatized by the plague or injured in a riot?
I would assume that it would likely be PTSD, maybe a head injury from the post plague riots, but likely PTSD from seeing her husband and father killed by the plague.
 
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