• 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

CzokletMuss

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Yeah, about that - RL happened, so I didn't really have time to write. However, I did play a little and I currently have enough material for 5-6 chapters. Rest assured, this AAR isn't dead and will be continued soon :)
 

CzokletMuss

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Great read, great stories & characters. Do keep up, sir! (Even at slow pace)

Yours kindly,
AdL
Thank you very much, I surely will continue - although not that much time is left before year 1444 thanks to the save converter there is another 400 years in EU4. I'm curious how the world is going to look like at the end of it all :)
 

Slasher_D

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Thank you very much, I surely will continue - although not that much time is left before year 1444 thanks to the save converter there is another 400 years in EU4. I'm curious how the world is going to look like at the end of it all :)
Pax Romana!
 

Yvanoff

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Yeah, bring the Pax Romana to the pagans invaders :laugh: an aar that I really enjoy, I forward it but never dared to posts though :huh: The angelos byzantine empire shall not fall
 

CzokletMuss

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Stuyvesant

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Real Life can be a bit... bit troublesome, sometimes. No problem. When you can continue, I'll be happy to read. :) The continued struggle of the Angeloi against Mongol hordes, Aztec monsters and all sorts of internal intrigue never ceases to entertain.
 

CzokletMuss

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Real Life can be a bit... bit troublesome, sometimes. No problem. When you can continue, I'll be happy to read. :) The continued struggle of the Angeloi against Mongol hordes, Aztec monsters and all sorts of internal intrigue never ceases to entertain.
Thanks :) I don't want to promise anything (in case something happens and I won't keep my word) but I do want to write a chapter or two in the next several days.
Rumors tell you are trying to revive the Sheikdom of Granada... :huh:
Nah, I tried few weeks ago but I didn't have much time to play so I gave up for the time being. I didn't have much free time at all lately.
Subscribed. This is awesome!
Thank you, this is very nice to hear :)
 

Nikephoros II

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We need more CKII grimdark!

In the Grim Darkness of the Crumbling Europe, there is only War.

It is the 1st millennium since the coming of Christ. For more than a thousand years the Roman Empire has stood, ruled from Constantinople. The Basileus is the Lord of innumerable lands by the Will of God and the might of his inexhaustible armies.

Mighty fleets cross the wide seas and vast armies give battle in his name on far lands. Greatest among his soldiers are the Imperial Tagmata, professional soldiers trained for war. Their comrades in arms are legion: levies and conscripts from the Themata, and the Brotherhood of the Sepulchre to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to defend the Empire from heretics, heathens and invaders.

To live in these times is to be one amongst millions, it is to live in a collapsing, warring continent. These are the tales of these times. Forget the promise of progress and understanding for much is forgotten, never to be relearned. There is no peace amongst Men, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of heathen gods.
 
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CzokletMuss

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We need more CKII grimdark!

In the Grim Darkness of the Crumbling Europe, there is only War.

It is the 1st millennium since the coming of Christ. For more than a thousand years the Roman Empire has stood, ruled from Constantinople. The Basileus is the Lord of innumerable lands by the Will of God and the might of his inexhaustible armies.

Mighty fleets cross the wide seas and vast armies give battle in his name on far lands. Greatest among his soldiers are the Imperial Tagmata, professional soldiers trained for war. Their comrades in arms are legion: levies and conscripts from the Themata, and the Brotherhood of the Sepulchre to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to defend the Empire from heretics, heathens and invaders.

To live in these times is to be one amongst millions, it is to live in a collapsing, warring continent. These are the tales of these times. Forget the promise of progress and understanding for much is forgotten, never to be relearned. There is no peace amongst Men, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of heathen gods.
This is delicious! May I use it on the first page of the thread? :)
 

CzokletMuss

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Done. Thank you very much :) Oh, and expect (grim) update this week!
 

CzokletMuss

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It fits perfectly. Which says a lot about CK2, may I add :)

Also:

 
Last edited:

Khanwulf

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We need more CKII grimdark!

In the Grim Darkness of the Crumbling Europe, there is only War.

It is the 1st millennium since the coming of Christ. For more than a thousand years the Roman Empire has stood, ruled from Constantinople. The Basileus is the Lord of innumerable lands by the Will of God and the might of his inexhaustible armies.

Mighty fleets cross the wide seas and vast armies give battle in his name on far lands. Greatest among his soldiers are the Imperial Tagmata, professional soldiers trained for war. Their comrades in arms are legion: levies and conscripts from the Themata, and the Brotherhood of the Sepulchre to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to defend the Empire from heretics, heathens and invaders.

To live in these times is to be one amongst millions, it is to live in a collapsing, warring continent. These are the tales of these times. Forget the promise of progress and understanding for much is forgotten, never to be relearned. There is no peace amongst Men, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of heathen gods.
Toss in some gratuitous steampunk tech and a bit of magic, and you got yourself an RPG setting, there....

--Khanwulf
 

CzokletMuss

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Toss in some gratuitous steampunk tech and a bit of magic, and you got yourself an RPG setting, there....
This isn't a bad idea actually :)

Okay folks, I have some time so FINALLY I may write the next chapter (this time seriously). Stay tuned and pray for the Empress, for there are dark clouds gathering over Basileia Romaion.

[video=youtube_share;IomxvOTf-So]http://youtu.be/IomxvOTf-So[/video]
 
Last edited:

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 11
1316-1326
DARK TIDE



Caesar and Antypathos of Basileia Romaion, Grandmaster of Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, illustrious magistros of the Empire and Protector of the Realm, porphyrogennetos Leon Angelos was dead.

Great funeral took place in the Hagia Sophia in Konstantinopoulis on 10th February 1316. The whole City was mourning – even the common folk knew how much they owed to Empress uncle. Many words were said but none of them could ease the pain. Declared post mortem as the Hero of the Empire, Leon Angelos was dead and with him the great pillar of Throne's strength was gone too. Without his strong support and undying loyalty the aristoi were surely to cause trouble to the Throne. Nobody dared to challenge imperial tagmata and forces of the Brotherhood. With his death, the threat of eternal struggle for power amongst the aristocracy transforming once again from the game of poison and dagger to the full-fledged military conflict was more serious than ever before. And without a doubt the last thing Empire needed was pointless bloodshed.

Alas, in these harsh time it was inevitable – the jihad for Hierusalem has been declared and when the Hero of the Empire was being put in a grave, the vast armies of infidels were gathering. And although the very idea of attacking Ilkhanate was madness, the cursed Shia had nothing to loose and it was only a matter of time before they cross the imperial borders. Empress knew that she needed another champion, a man with enough authority and power to serve the Throne as the carrier of her will. Seizing the occasion, she kept the position of the grandmaster for herself, just like in the time of war with the barbarians. But with all her wisdom and cunning she was a woman - she needed a symbol, someone who could be trusted, someone who will be able to force her orders if needed.


Although nobody could fill the void left by porphyrogennetos Leon Angelos, doux Theophylaktos Angelos was the best choice. Every man in the Empire knew that it was him who led Imperial Army to a stunning victories during the bloody battles of Samosata and Tercan. And indeed, a man who slaughtered more than 55,000 of barbaric locust commanded much respect. Moreover, made eunuch by Imperial Regent Salvador de Luna years ago, he still feared the power of the Throne, knowing how ruthless it is against those perceived as enemies of the state. Brave, cunning and ready to carry every order without hesitation, he was worthy. Nobody dared to scheme against the Empress or disobey her will with doux Theophylakots as the enforcer of the law. In following months thanks to his cruelty and absolute loyalty to the Throne he quickly earned a nickname Skylos – the Dog.


In the meantime, more bad news kept coming from the West, as they always did. Although the civil war against young king Theodorich II of Bavaria, a new ally of the Empire, has ended in victory on 27th November 1316, the imperial spies brought a grim information from what once was France – the Aztec offensive continued. The savages attacked cursed heretics from the Order of Calatrava on 5th December 1316. And good riddance, for it was the same corrupted order in battle against whom died years ago a beloved son and heir of Saint Markos, blessed be his name. This time it was just a small scale war to correct border but there was no doubt they would not stop there.


In 1318, two years after porphyrogennetos Leon Angelos death, Empress position was again strong enough to think about reclaiming old imperial borders. Various plans for expansion were prepared but all of them turned into nothing when powerful revolt revolt erupted in the province of Nubia. Led by Benaim, one of the few surviving aristoi of the old kingdom, in they arrogance they demanded restoration of independent Nubia, blind to the fact that such realm would not only be limited to but a few castles and cities but also it would be nothing more than a buffer state between the Empire and Shia Caliphate. Disdaining imperial protection, they would surely led what was left of Nubians to extinction – they had to be stopped. Basilissa sent doux Theophylakots with strong army of mercenaries to join forces with levies from Egyptus and crush the rebellion.


On 29th January 1319 king Theodorich of the House Zähringen began his reign, immediately striping the aristocracy from their old rights. Although young, he was widely regarded as a good king and thanks to his popularity and to the alliance with Basileia Romaion he didn't face much opposition. Basilissa decided to test the strength of this new ally by declaring war on Pisans on 4th February 1319. Kingdom of Bavaria honored the alliance and soon blood flew like a river in Italy. Empress hoped that by reclaiming Padua she would strengthen the power of imperial merchants and she knew well that without a coin even the best sword is useless.


Not long after that the news of crushing defeat of Shia reached the City – the might of the Horde was way too much for the followers of the Prophet to challenge and on 17th February 1319 the jihad was over. It seemed that finally things were going well for the Empire. Thanks to the truce with the Ilkhanate and the alliance with Bavarians the Empire was safe, for a while at least, and with Nubian revolt quickly put down by combined forces of tagmata and mercenaries led by doux Theophylakots the aristoi feared the Throne.


By 29th July 1319 the war against Pisans was over – Padua was reclaimed. And although many celebrated this, considering every victory against Italians a payment for battle of Calcinaia, some pointed out that there are dark clouds gathering over the Empire. Khagan Menggei used the victory against the Shia to increase their grip over the vast lands they ruled over. Barbarians, humiliated during the failed Second Invasion of Armenia, were hungry for revenge. Like a feral beasts, they would never stop until the Empire is destroyed, for there may be no peace between the Holy Cross and the Sky-Father.

But even the most pessimistic eunuchs who worked in Bureau of Barbarians didn't anticipate the news which came from the West.


On 15th September 1320 Aztecs declared invasion of Lotharingia. Terrifying leader of the savages Zolin the Fat, worshipper of the Dark Gods and cannibal, decided to led his innumerable armies against the German heretics. King of the Cathars, or kaiser as the Germans called him, was but a small child, completely helpless against the mighty dark tide of invaders. Basilissa Martha and ever aristoi in the Empire would be more than happy to see the cursed heretics drowned in their own blood. But if the Cathars were to fail, it would endanger kingdom of Bavaria and good Christians living in these lands.


In her wisdom, Empress decided that it was the perfect occasion to enforce another reform of tagmata. Being the iron hand of the Empire's might, the elite forces of kataphraktoi gained new equipment and the new recruitment was announced. Only the best warriors could hope to join the ranks of tagmata – many of the veterans of the Second Mongol Invasion were to be found amongst the volunteers. The pathetic Cathar realm didn't have such force to protect itself, their land turned into wasteland after decades of continuous warfare. Their defeat was inevitable.


Less than three years after the invasion started, the Cathars were forced to surrender on 4th May 1323, their realm limited to just a few counties on the other side of Rhine. The death toll was catastrophic. German population was decimated, exposed to uncountable terrors brought upon them by their new Aztec lords. Mass crucifixion and ritual sacrifices were common, the once rich cities turned into smoldering ruins and every Christian or Cathar being hunted down like a mad dog. The savages were triumphant. Like an unstoppable cancer, the Aztec realm grew. With shared borders with kingdom of Bavaria and Republic of Pisa it was only a matter of time before the next conquest begins. Although successful in small scale conflict with the Shia in the south, even the Empire's might may not be enough to stop the invaders from the Far West.


An unexpected tragedy fell upon basilissa on 29th June 1324 – her husband, king of Aragon, died in sleep. With the crown of one of the few independent Christian realms now in the hands of his son from the first marriage, the threat of Aztec invasion on Aragon was suddenly very real. To make things worse, few days later doux Theophylakots the Skyrios also died after short illness. With both of this great men dead, Empress had to face always hungry for power aristoi alone. Knowing that House of Doukas still had many supporters, she quickly married Zacharias of Mafraq, one of the courtiers of the Imperial Palace, to make sure she won't be forced to marry one of the Doukoi or a powerful general in a vicious scheme against the Throne. With the union with Aragon now null and a king not being the heir of Basileia Romaion, the kingdom of Aragon could never be incorporated into the Empire.

Unfortunately, there were much more pressing concerns than the fate of Aragonese Christians.


On 26th August Zolin the Fat declared invasion of Sweden. This was completely unexpected move – everyone suspected that the Aztec locust was going to attack Pisans or Bavarians, or maybe finish off the various small states in northern parts of what used to be France. It's enough to say that old king Dag the Bold of the House Stibolt was not prepared for this. Although a wise commander and with strong army, he couldn't hope to defend his realm easily. With most of his forces in Germany, where together with Bavarians he destroyed pathetic state of heretic Breton Company, and in pagan Lithuania, it would take time before he was able to prepare defense. And it wasn't the only front on which he was exposed.


Just like Basileia Romaion southern borders were constantly attacked by Shia raiders and threatened by attack of unpredictable Mad Caliph, kingdom of Sweden was in constant danger of pagan invasion. Barbaric tribes from the frozen forests of the North united by Valta Ironside were a thorn in the side of the Christian kingdom for decades. Surrounded by enemies, king Dag the Bold had to tread carefully. It was widely believed that if there was a force capable of resisting the Aztecs it was kingdom of Sweden. After all, Basileia Romaion knew well the capability of Norse warriors.

But as it turned out, even the descendants of vikings were no match for the beasts from Far West.


The sack of Stockholm on 27th May was a turning point of the invasion. With their capital burned to the ground and whole families of most powerful nobles butchered, the spirit of the warriors of the North was broken. King Dag himself suffered a fatal stroke when he heard what happened to his wife and children, leaving the crown to his only surviving son who accompanied him in the campaign. With their leader dead and country slowly turned into ruin, the army forced young king to surrender to the Aztecs on 17th June 1326.


The kingdom of Sweden was defeated. With only small chunks of land in Germany, Lithuania and Finland, it was doomed. Exposed to heretic revolts and pagan raids what was left from one of the most powerful independent Christian realms was but a shadow. Enslaved or sacrificed to the Dark Gods by thousands, the Norse were dying and there was nothing which could stop this. The invaders were triumphant once again, causing much fear and unrest among the Christians.

But their celebrations were short.


On 11th July 1326, less than a month after successful invasion of Sweden, cursed Zolin the Fat died a natural death, unlike hundreds of thousands of his victims who suffered greatly from the hands of his subjects. His death was like a beam of light among the shadow, a sign from Our Lord that He has not abandoned His children. The City and the whole Empire celebrated, just like our brothers and sisters in kingdoms of Bavaria, Aragon and especially Sweden or rather what was left of it.


According to intelligence gathered by imperial spies, the new leader of the invaders, Tlacaeleltzin, was nothing like his father. Soft, corrupted and focused mostly on pleasures of life, he didn't seem like a man who was capable of leading Aztecs to victory. It was widely believed for a moment that his reign may be the start of the long awaited decline of the realm of savages from Far West. The Aztec lords of course were not pleased with such weak ruler and the threat of civil war was more real then ever.

Unfortunately, he was determined to stay in power.


His first act as a ruler was ruthless even for a savage. After the funeral his personal guard slaughtered all the nobles gathered in the pyramid-palace. Then, bathed in their blood, he declared revocation of the old privileges dating from before the invasion. At the same time, on 14th July duke Berenguel III of Navarra started a rebellion against king Luis Angelos. It was believed it was Aztec gold which enabled him to gather large army of mercenaries. But as it turned out, civil war in kingdom of Aragon was just a distraction.


On 20th July Tlacaeleltzin declared second invasion against kingdom of Sweden, this time for the lands of Denmark. With Aztec forces still in burning Scandinavia and mere weeks after the crushing defeat, young king Faste knew that his situation was hopeless, even more than his father's before him. Seeing how not only a mighty Christian kingdom is turned into ashes but also how completely dedicated to victory the new Aztec leader is, basilissa worried about the future of Europe and the Empire. With truce with the Horde ended and Aragon consumed by a civil war, Basileia Romaion situation changed dramatically. It seemed that the short period of peace was over and that soon the Imperial Army would have to bleed again to defend the citizens of the Empire.

But as it turned out, the most devastating blow came not from the barbarians but from within, for the House Angelos was about to face one of the greatest threats to its survival in history.

 
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