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Stuyvesant

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Oh Lord... Even if the Roman Empire remains strong and beats the Mongols (and the Muslims. And possibly the Aztecs), I still think the rest of Europe is in for a whole lot of pain before it is finally brought under the benevolent rule of the Roman Emperor. And that's the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenarios are more numerous and involve even more death and destruction. :p

Regardless, this should be very fun to watch! Looking forward to it!
 

Nikolai

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Nice! Will be following.:)
 

EU3NOOB

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God be with you, son.


Or Satan, whomever helps more!
 

CzokletMuss

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Thx! I hardly can wait for your AAR to begin ;-)
Thank you, the first chapter is in the making.
Oh Lord... Even if the Roman Empire remains strong and beats the Mongols (and the Muslims. And possibly the Aztecs), I still think the rest of Europe is in for a whole lot of pain before it is finally brought under the benevolent rule of the Roman Emperor. And that's the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenarios are more numerous and involve even more death and destruction. :p

Regardless, this should be very fun to watch! Looking forward to it!
Yeah, the world in this save is kinda grimdark - xenos and heretics everywhere and in the best case scenario, surviving Christians will become subjects to the merciless tyranny blessed reign of the Basileus.

Nice! Will be following.:)
Thanks!

God be with you, son.
Or Satan, whomever helps more!
I don't think either of them is strong enough to defeat Aztec hordes :)

I'm gonna play some more today and finish preparing the material for the first chapter but I guess I can give you this extra screenshots now since the AAR is starting in a middle of a giant mess and there won't be time to explain everything in the chatpers. So please treat this as expanded background:



 
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CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 1
1264-1275
WORLD WITHOUT END


[video=youtube_share;VcK26_mYD4Q]http://youtu.be/VcK26_mYD4Q[/video]​

Portugal had fallen first.


The last castle was taken 5th March 1264. The power of Aztec army was unmatched. Tens of thousands of devil-worshiping savages simply flooded the small forces of Leon. King has no other choice than to surrender. Many good Christians died during this short but brutal conflict – but it was just the beginning. Bloodthirsty invaders weren't yet satisfied and soon on 5th April their leader declared war against the Teutonic Knights. Heretic order was in command of the vast territory of what once was called France, before the Kaizers madness, before the German Crusades. Leaders of the order were confident – they were fighting against infidels and heathens for decades and almost every time they were victorious. Surely this new strange enemy can't pose a bigger challenge than followers of the Prophet or even German Cathars.

Hochmeister's heart was carved out last.


The war was over in just a year. 8th may 1265 the Paris was just a smoldering ruin full of corpses and slaves. Thousands of prisoners were sacrificed to the false gods of Aztec invaders – the single greatest slaughter since the sack of Kiev by Mongols over thirty years ago.

It wasn't enough.


Like a wild beast that smells fresh blood, Aztec horde searched for a new prey. They found it quickly. This time they decided to strike on the Ibadi. For some it was a huge relief – it proved that Aztec aren't the demons send by Allah to destroy Christendom. What many failed to noticed, is that it doesn't mean that the other dark forces aren't working against the True Faith. Another blow came with the brave king Enrique II of Aragon, who was slain in combat by Catholic heretics in battle against kaiser of so called “Holy Roman Empire”. This blapshemous abomination of a state was still in control of several holdings in Germany and, as it turned out, was still very much alive. Enrique II, who wasn't even 30 years old, left the throne to his underaged daughter Varela. Child-queen was only 7 years old – her father's death weakened the Kingdom of Aragon severly.

Then things got worse.


Opportunistic traitors led by the countess from the House Komnenos dared to demand more liberties from the Basileus and, after the refuse, declared war against the Golden Throne on 24th August 1265. Blinded by their ignorance, they were working for the arbarians cause – or didn't they see that by rebelling against the last strong Christian state they were threatening the very survival of the True Faith?


The Aztec invaders didn't stop after invading the land of Al-Andalus. After sultan Immeghar's untimely death by the hands of unknown assasins, they started yet another invasion. Consumed by petty infightinh, the corrupt Ibadi showed little resistance and the invasion was soon over.


Once proud city of Qurtubah was drowned in blood of its jewish, christian and ibadi citizens, its treasures and libraries forever lost. The sacrifice rituals seems to be endless. Thousands of still beathing hearts were carved out and cast into the flames to appease the apetite of the Dark Gods of Aztec savages.

Basileia Romaion, consumed by internal struggle, could only helplessly watch this inconceivable horrors – and prey.


Imperial forces thanks to the iron fist of elite tagmata were slowly gaining advantage. It mattered little to the bleeding realm – thousands have perished and whole villages were burned to the ground in this pointless war. Famine and diseases spread like a wild fire, heretic preachers had no problem with finding supporters and even the Queen of Cities wasn't left intact. The short but powerful eruption of violence during the chariot races left entire streets in ruin. Varangians protected their Basileus but they were truly a blunt hammer, killing many innocents in the process.


While the Basileia Romaion was slowly falling apart, the Aztecs pushed forward and declared another invasion on a young queen Varela on 15th November 1267. Constantly changing regents were powerless to stop them – soon another victory of the invincible saveges was secured.


Finally, after 3 years and 9 months, the traitors surrended 9th May 1269. Empire was exhausted and in no condition to fight the invader nor the Mongol barbarians - it desperately needed peace. Seeing the ruin which this pointless conflict inflicted upon the Christendom, Basileus Markos the Saint decided it can't happen again. Almost four years of persecutions against the christians by catholic England and Denmark, four years of slaughter and struggle against the heretic unholy orders in Germany – and during all this misery, the only shield the Christendom have was shattered. It was decided – it won't happen again, no matter the price.

They say that Markos the Saint spent three days in a dungeon's chapel while his first son and heir was being mutilated. They say that for every scream he heard, he flagellated himself and begged mercy from the Blessed Virgin. But he himself showed no mercy – all of his children who were deemed unworthy suffered the same faith, save for his son Leon whom he loved the most. He ordered him to take the vows and became the member of the Brootherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, the first and only holy order of the true Christians. Many were terrified by this cruel act, much harsher than the punishment which many of the traitors suffered – but with all potential claimants disqualified from succesion, Basileia Romaion won't suffer another rebellion.

Truly horryfing are the times which forces the best of people to commit such deeds.


In the meantime, Aztec invaders continued their conquest, killing and sacrificing thousands of Ibadi to the demons they serve. Acts of cannibalism and rape were common and the ibadi states descended into darkness.


Basileus in his wisdom saw a chance in this chaos, chance to reclaim long lost provinces and secure Empire from the west. The victory was swift but it didn't bring any joy to the Basileus – quite the contrary, when the frightening news came to the capital. The Aztecs after subduing the Ibadi continued their march to the east.


25th December 1271, on one of the holiest day in the year, the first reports came to the Queen of Cities. There was no doubt about it – Basileia Romaion was at war with the Enemy of the Christ.

Then it got worse.


Shia rebels have risen in Egypt and threatened to reconquer the whole province. Imperial army was in no condition to oppose both them and the Aztec savages. Basileus Markos the Saint ordered retreat – Tunisia had to be sacrificed in order to save holy places of Alexandria and Jerusalem.

Six months later, on 23rd June 1272, the war was over.


The Aztec realm was vast and strong – it was only the matter of time before the next christian kingdoms are to be drowned in a blood of their desparate defenders.


To make things worse, even before the invasion West Europe was shattered and consumed by war. Another bad news came on 24th November 1272, when the heretics from the Teutonic Order attacked Kingdom of Poland. Although most of the order was annihilated during Aztec invasion on France, some survived deep in the Germany and continued to fight the cathar kaiser.

Dark clouds were gathering over Europe and it seemed that all hope is lost. Then our Lord gave us long awaited sign of His Divine Providence.


Christians and Ibadi alike have risen against the bloody rule of the Aztec on 1st May 1273. It wasn't the first rebellion in their dominion and it wasn't the last one – but what happened later, was clearly a sign from God.

Supreme commander of the invading forces and conquerer of Europe, Tlacaeleltzin, have died. Death of this ruthless tyrant and frightening leader, a true demon of war who was praised by his fanatical soldier as the Holy Chosen One, was completely unexpected.


Relatively small rebellion suddenly became a real threat to the Aztecs, now ruled by Tlacaeleltzin heir, young boy named Zolin. Any chance of internal conflict however, was lost – all of the Aztec lords were now united in their desire to wipe out the rebels. Seizing the opportunity, now adult queen Varela declared war on some of the rebelling Ibadi. This small glimmer of hope was soon eclipsed by yet another bad news, this time from the eastern barbarians – the Mongols.


Khagan Yesugei the Young not only survived as a ruler after his father assasination but was now strong enough to start reclaiming lands which broke off from the Ilkhanate during civil war. Invasion on Cumania was declared 27th August 1273.

Elder and weaker with every year Basileus Markos the Saint realized that the situation is hopeless. With two young and bloodthirsty rulers of the gigantic pagan empires surrounding Basileia Romaion like two wolves getting closer to a wounded and old lion, the strategy of the Empire had to be changed – if it was to survive. Orders were given and on 23rd December 1273 aristoi from all corners of the realm arrived in the City of Constantine to counsel their Basileus. The fate of all Christendom depends on the prosperity of the Eastern Empire – but will the Basileia Romaion survive the End of Days?

Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom God's love commits me here
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.


 
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DarthJF

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How I love to watch the world burn. :D
 

Mkoll13

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The sheer chaos of it all :O

No matter what happens this is going to be amazing because it verges on 40k levels of doominess
 

Nikolai

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Western Christendom is all but enslaved by the devil worshippers...:( And even the Roman Empire couldn't withstand the invasion. These are surely grim times...
 

CzokletMuss

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How I love to watch the world burn. :D
And it will burn for a foreseeable future :)
The sheer chaos of it all :O
No matter what happens this is going to be amazing because it verges on 40k levels of doominess
Yeah, it's kinda overwhelming - I mean I have 700+ hours on steam on CK2 and I've seen a lot of things but this is just... so much! Every part of the world is crazy and in almost every single case things have gone completely nuts. Nubia resisting Fatimids for 200 years, Godwin England, Orthodox Sweden... And yeah, it seems that it's as hopeless as W40 - the only state capable of defending itself is Byzantium and all it takes is one battle to go horribly wrong so that I lost most of the retinues and levies and the civil law and Aztec and Monogl invasions are imminent...

Western Christendom is all but enslaved by the devil worshippers...:( And even the Roman Empire couldn't withstand the invasion. These are surely grim times...
In the grim darkness of the collapsing Europe, there is only war. And heretics. And xenos :)

a tale of three empires :D
More like two giant empires and once-great-but-not-so-strong-anymore empire :)
 
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mike the knight

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This story is simply AMAZING! You should never lose hope ! Maythe Virgin bless us with a miracle
 

CzokletMuss

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This story is simply AMAZING! You should never lose hope ! Maythe Virgin bless us with a miracle
Thank you. Well, if she won't it could be a short AAR :)
Maybe, I don't know how, you can make arrangements so that aztec declares war on mongol (or on the other way) and let the two doomstack collide.
The problem is, between these two horders is christian Europe and Byzantium itself :D

I'm glad you like the story, I'm going to post next chapter in the next few days.
 

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Wow. That chapter was a long string of setbacks... Certainly not your average "Let-me-show-you-how-I-conquered-the-world" AAR. It makes for compelling reading, but I really can't see how this is going to end well for the Roman Empire...

Now, forgive me my ignorance, but did I understand correctly that you took all of your heirs out of the line of succession? Shouldn't there be one left to ensure the succession? I fear I must've missed something here.

Looking forward to more. I hope I'll be proven wrong and that the Roman Empire can see off both the Mongols and the Aztecs, but even if you can't, it'll make for great reading.
 

CzokletMuss

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Wow. That chapter was a long string of setbacks... Certainly not your average "Let-me-show-you-how-I-conquered-the-world" AAR. It makes for compelling reading, but I really can't see how this is going to end well for the Roman Empire...

Now, forgive me my ignorance, but did I understand correctly that you took all of your heirs out of the line of succession? Shouldn't there be one left to ensure the succession? I fear I must've missed something here.

Looking forward to more. I hope I'll be proven wrong and that the Roman Empire can see off both the Mongols and the Aztecs, but even if you can't, it'll make for great reading.
Thank you very much! Yeah, I have a feeling that it won't end well too. And what about the children of the Markos the Saint:



So no, I didn't kill them all since it would mean game over :)

And sorry for the long brake, rest assured that the next chapter is coming soon - in the meantime, feast your eyes on the pure madness of the world in AD 1275:



 

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 2
1275-1285
DELIVER US FROM EVIL


[video=youtube_share;-NtMCPmwtYI]http://youtu.be/-NtMCPmwtYI[/video]​

The answer to problems of Basileia Romaion was obviously war.


Facing immensely powerful enemies in both west and east, stretching the borders even further was a bad idea. However there was one region when expansion seemed to be a good idea – Italia. Reclaiming and securing the long lost provinces in Italy would strengthen the Empire and imperial rule wouldn't have to deal with religious revolts. Wealthy provinces meant more taxes and more manpower. And so the liberation holy wars were declared on the Catholic heretics in the northern part of Italy.


In the beginning victories were swift. On 21th October 1275 heretic count of Modena was forced to accept his defeat. His small forces, even with the support from military orders still loyal to so called Bishop of Rome, were no match for the elite tagmata. Basileia Romaion was triumphant. War with Pisa on the other hand seemed to drag indefinitely. The last of the old independent merchant republics, Pisa was a truly Christian realm. This excluded the forces of the Brootherhood of the Holy Sepulchre from the battlefields – no Christian blood can be spilled be its members. This together with Pisa's wealth which allowed it to recruit mercenaries caused severe problems – Basileia Romaion had much more troops than Republic of Pisa, but to sacrifice them on the battlefield meant to weaken the Empire and risk invasion from the barbarians.


War against another Christian realm wasn't very popular. Reclaiming Ancona was vital for securing the trade routs connecting imperial vassal republics and safe passage between completely controlled Sicily and northern provinces. A lot however opposed the idea of spilling blood of our brothers in faith in such harsh for the Christendom times. Among them were even members of the imperial family, with the Basilissa Peksen in the lead. In his wisdom Markos the Saint decided - with a heavy heart – to press on and continue the war, for the greater good and the benefit of the Basileia Romaion, the Shield of Christendom.


Porphyrogennetos Valerios, as a kind and temperate man filled nonetheless with a truly admirable religious zeal, felt so ashamed by this war against Christians that he asked his father for his permission to join the Brotherhood. Seeing how pure is the heart of a young porphyrogennetos willing to resign forever from the luxuries of the Imperial Palace for the harsh life of a warrior monk, Markos the Saint rejoiced. He didn't gave his son the permission he asked for though – he already gave one of his sons to the order. Valerios accepted the decision without protest.

In the meantime, against all odds, young queen of Aragon Varela not only survived her infant years but emerged from the chaos after her father's untimely death as a strong and capable leader, despite some... oddities. And she was looking for a husband. Markos the Saint saw this as a perfect occasion for the Basileia Romaion, not only to support fellow Christians, but also to forge strong alliance and maybe even one day include Aragon as a vassal kingdom to the Empire. Diogenes, heir of the Imperial Throne and porphyrogennetos, was soon accepted as a royal husband and the wedding on 27th January 1276 brought both realms together. Lucky inheritance of one of the douxes gave even the Basileia Romaion small county which formerly was part of the Kingdom of Aragon.

But the queen didn't oppose.


Being strong and independent woman, Valera shortly after the ceremony declared war against sultan Iher, one of the rebelling Aztec vassals on 18th February 1276. She was clearly counting on support from the imperial army – a promise which couldn't have been fulfilled. Exhausted forces taking part in the Italian campaign consisted only of tagmata and mercenaries. Due to the necessity of preserving the imperial levies, Republic of Pisa had superior numbers on its ground After long series of defeats, republican forces reinforced with fresh mercenaries from the north finally managed to gain momentary tactic advantage.

It was enough.


The battle of Calcinaia was one of the greatest military defeats of the Basileia Romaion in the 13th century. There were battles more bloody or more disastrous from a strategic standpoint, but on the fields of Calcinaia the old tagmata were all but annihilated. Elite soldiers, many of whom were fighting in a victorious battle against the Ilkhanate during its 3rd invasion on the imperial lands, were dead. Almost 5000 of kataphraktoi were slained by Pisan mercenaries – a catastrophic blow to the Empire's army capability. They say that on this day, 25th May 1276, militant spirit of all the imperial leaders was broken. Basileia Romaion couldn't afford loosing another aggressive war without risking defeat in an always threatening, like a sword of Damocles, barbarian invasion.

The white peace was signed two weeks later.


The war with Pisa ended on 7th June 1276. Shortly after however the good news finally came to the Constantinople – queen Varela was victorious and duchy of Mallorca was reclaimed from the savages, still fighting against their Aztec lord. After signing the peace on 15th September 1276, a grand ceremony was held in the capital by the queen, who sweared to Almighty God her will to continue what she called Segunda Reconquista until all the savages, infidels and heretics are driven out from the peninsula.

But in these times every moment of joy intermingles with sadness.


Porphyrogennetos Diogenes contracted terrible disease known as measles while leading Aragon forces on the isles of Mallorca and got severely ill on 11th of December. Even worse, imperial spies were delivering unnerving reports about his increasingly odd behavior. Some members of the Aragonese royal court were even whispering about porphyrogennetos Diogenes being cursed or influenced by the evil spirits. Nobody in the Constantinople wanted to believe in it – Diogenes Angelos was just, patient and well educated man, who enjoyed theological disputes and even wrote several essays about inconoclasm heresy and its development in 8th century. Could it be possible that the beloved son of the Emperor, out of all people, was loosing his faith? He soon got better but it was just a beginning of a bad news.


After reclaiming almost all the land lost during the regency, khagan Yesugei the Young was still bloodthirsty. He was no longer the small child – he was a man now, a brave soldier and a brilliant commander, without a doubt a terrible foe for all his enemies. On 6th March 1277 he declared yet another invasion, this time against one of the former Mongol vassals who created his own petty realm on Crimea, near the imperial border.

Basileia Romaion couldn't interfere – the Empire was slowly regaining strength after disastrous Calcinaia and was in no condition to fight. Its enemies on the contrary were hungry for blood.


Ferocity of the Aztecs surpassed even those of the Mongols. Zolin, son of the Antichrist, despite still being a child declared invasion of Castille against brave queen Varela on 18th January 1278. Basileus Markos the Saint honored the alliance and joined the Kingdom of Aragon in its fight against the savages.


Sending the tagmata to help the queen however, was out of the question - Basileia Romaion couldn't risk risking its finest. Small forces consisting of levies and mercenaries were dispatched, along with a generous gifts to the treasury of the Kingdom. But Basileia Romaion still wasn't ready to fight.


It took another year before the so called Markian reforms were completed. Just like infamous Manzikert changed the Imperial Army, impact of Calcinaia was immense. New organization structure, better equipment and tactics heavily influenced by rediscovered and again popular Strategikon of Maurice created a completely different forces. Tagmata decimated in the catastrophic battle of Calcinaia were now reborn with new capable commanders and professional soldiers, many of whom already experienced in a Brotherhood service. This new tagmata, or as they used to say in the West retinue, was to become the iron fist of the Imperial power, never to loose a battle again – or so was the official position of the Imperial Palace.

The time has come.


To try the reformed tagmata in the battle like a gold in fire, Basileus Markos the Saint decided to go after the last holdings of the Shia caliphate in Egypt. The war with Aztec was dragging on as a resourceful queen Varela together with small imperial forces was able to halt their progress. Thus the decision to test the prowess of the reborn army in a fight against infidels before moving them to Aragon seemed completely reasonable. After decisive battle of Mustabiq in which kataphraktoi completely destroyed the enemy army, caliph didn't have a choice and had to beg for peace which was signed on 13th September 1279.

Alas, joy in the Queen of Cities was very short-lived.


In a truly barbaric display of brutality and power, armies of khagan Yesugei the Young after defeating yet again of his former vassals in battle sacked the great city of Baghdad. Once proud capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, what remained of Baghdad after orgy of destruction lasting several weeks was but a smoldering ruin full of corpses. Shia, Ibadi, Yazidi and Sunni alike were shaken by this inhuman atrocity – was it possible that the Allah has forsaken his faithful? Ummah was long broken but this terrible act has united all Muslims in a furious anger and great sadness, even if only for a while. Situation of the followers of the Prophet was truly desperate – while most of the Ibadi and heretic Sunni were forced to serve their Aztec or Mongol lords, only few independent states remained. Apart from the kingdom of Mali, were Yazidi was a state religion, all what is left were Shia kingdom of Abyssinia and several counties in Arabia. Even once mighty Fatimids were reduced to nothing more than a few castles and cities, surrounded by barbaric Tengri.

For Basileia Romaion there were other pressing concerns however.


Aragon after depleting all its reserves of manpower was loosing badly. Giant armies of savages were in total control of a vast territory, raping, pillaging and sacrificing good Christians to their dark gods by the thousands. Slaughter seems to be endless. Queen Varela demanded reinforcements from the Empire but Markos the Saint in his wisdom understood that dragging the conflict on can serve no purpose. It could bring only even more death, to the Aragon peasants and Imperial Army alike, and wasting precious few resources in this war could be a fatal mistake. He advised brave queen to consider surrender in exchange for a truce, thus giving more time to the Defenders of Christendom to regain their strength. This would give also a possibility for reclaiming even more land from a rebelling Aztec vassals – united only by fear, local nobility regularly were raising their arms against their overlords. Religious revolts and so called liberation armies were causing trouble to the Aztec empire every year. With a heavy heart, just queen Varela agreed – the peace was signed on 30th October 1281, almost four years after the beginning of the invasion.


It wasn't the end of the bad news – tyrannous khagan Yesugei the Young after several victorious wars managed to bend the neck of every lord in the Ilkhanate, forcing them surrender their power to the khagan or suffer fate worse than death. His rule was now stronger then ever before and, however unlikely it seemed to be, barbarians from the East were becoming a bigger and bigger threat to the Empire with every month. The invasion was imminent – the only question was when will it happen.

But the worst was just about to come.


On 25th June 1283 the tragic news has reached the Constantinople – porphyrogennetos Diogenes, heir to the Imperial Throne, was dead. He was slained in a battle against the heretic Knights of Calatrava, whose grandmaster Teobaldo refused to surrender lands of the order to its righteous ruler, queen Valera. His untimely death during Segunda Reconquista was a great tragedy for both Basileia Romaion and Kingdom of Aragon. Markos the Saint lost not only his beloved son but also his heir and alliance with Aragon, in which the so called anti-Byzantine faction quickly arranged another marriage for a queen Varela with a Polish noble. It wasn't surprising that during these black days almost nobody in the Queen of Cities noticed or seemed to care about the desperate decision of caliph Murshid.


And it was truly desperate. Announcing jihad against the khagan Yesugei the Young was nothing more than a sacred suicide – the tiny forces of Shia couldn't dream about defeating armies of Ilkhanate.

Luckily for both kingdom of Aragon and Basileia Romaion, the royal husband Dobiesław Gołowin died of pneumonia on 17th October 1284, almost exactly a year after the disastrous war against the heretic Knights of Calatrava was won by Aragon. Basileus Markos the Saint once again offered his son and heir to the glorious queen Valera – and once again she accepted.


Porphyrogennetos and queen were betrothed on 18th October 1284 and the marriage followed shortly after. Fulfilling the wish of Basileus, queen promised to never ask her husband to lead Aragonese armies. In these dark times the royal marriage was like a beam of hope, again uniting both realms in an alliance against their enemies. And they were powerful. It seemed however that a delicate balance was achieved after this long decade. Neither Aztec savages nor Mongol barbarians didn't decide to attack Basileia Romaion, which on the other hand couldn't attack one of the pagan realms without risking invasion from another. Although aging, Basileus Markos the Saint managed to defend the Empire for whole ten years – the Empire was like the last and only safe haven for Christians and even Muslim or Jewish minorities were tolerated. As long as this precarious balance was sustained, the Cross was still standing and one could hope for a better future.

The horror brought to the Constantinople by the news from Arabia on 21th May 1285 couldn't have been greater.

 
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CzokletMuss

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I honestly have no idea - if it weren't Ironman I would load the game as Fatimids and check this out but I can only guess. Maybe Mongol army was in Europe when they started sieging everything in Arabia?
 

DarthJF

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Looks like Allah hasn't forsaken his followers just yet. Jesus instead seems to be turning the other cheek...