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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

McGrey

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How much more prove for the divine mission of the Angeloi can there be than the Angels and Saints talking to one of them!
 

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Well this emperor might push the Empire in another direction after the evil Synod held by his father
 

CzokletMuss

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It disgusts me to see the realm of the blasphemous Kaiser in existence again, but wonderful to see Pisa.
Oh yes, the treacherous merchants were of almost no importance back then. But like vultures they grew in power while the Europe was bleeding.
Ok, I admit that late medieval maps are not much better than those ( and islamic maps are normally even worse regarding accuracy ), but I think that in this time line and given the expected knowledge you have both about India ( due to have Arabia Felix in hands ) and a vague knowledge about lands to the west of the Atlantic ( the Xenoi have came out of somewhere, after all :D ), a trunkated version of the Cantino planisphere ( that is, without Southern Africa ) would work well ... atleast India in there is well defined and has the bonus of a "here be dragons" space in the west for future usage
P.S. If Cantino map looks too clean and neat, you can also see Ryusch map of 1507 ;)
Thank you, these are cool maps and I'll probably use them in EU4 part of this AAR :) I know that Ptolemy's map isn't perfect but it was good enough for this chapter.
*Proceeds to do absolutely nothing while the xenoi roflstomp Scandinavia* :rofl:
Can't wait for the next part!
Why do anything? Let the barbarians kill themselves - it's not like they are Christians after all, so why should Roman blood be spilled to save them? ;)
That map is supposed to be a late 15th century reconstruction of Ptolemy's map - so highly inaccurate given the knowledge of the time, and even more inaccurate when it comes to which countries actually did exist in the East ;)
And since it's possibly my first post in this AAR, very fine work, congratulations!
I know, but the issue is that in the context of the game, it is problematic to see someone still using that India ;) and Jerusalem as the center of the Universe ( this one because of the various events the player receives detailing the lands in the west in the same way the Zheng He event comes ). OFC if this was a AAR about some kingdom in western Europe, the map would be fitting enough, though ...
Yup, it's Ptolemy's map - and I get it guys, next maps will be better, I promise :) Thank you very much and welcome!
How exactly do you plan on dealing with the culture and religion issues post-conversion? You mentioned modding to keep everything from imploding seven ways till sunday, but what exactly are the specifics?
By this I meant, for example, giving Timurids Uzbek culture as their prime one (in vanilla converter they have Mongol which doesn't trigger the "Form Mughals" mission) or changing Sunni provinces in Asia ruled by Timurids in EU4 to Shia (they are Sunni in EU4 and Shia in CK2). Something like this, no bigger changes - I want to change as less as possible to get as faithful representation of Crumbling Europe from CK2 in EU4 as possible. I'll post detailed list of all changes when EU4 will be started.
Both Germany and the HRE? Those Germans are (were) nuts...
Poland was a power to be reckoned with it seems. Now its just a shadow of its former self...
In my game they sort of formed a Commonwealth, but instead of Lithuania they absorbed Bohemia.
HRE was Cathar and Germany was Catholic, hence bloody religious wars hundreds of years before Reformation. Yes, Poland was a superpower for a short period of time with Hungary and Aquitaine ruled by House Golovin. Of course, it didn't last for long.
Fantastic AAR, one of the best I've ever read.
Most of them tend to devolve into pretty depressive descriptions of steamrolling over new and new enemies after initial setbacks; if the author is good he can make it interesting, but still.
This one is a nice exception - the atmosphere, constant threat of complete annihilation, war against impossible odds that you somehow manage to survive.
Just excellent.
It's very nice to read such kind words - thank you, I really appreciate it :) Threat of complete annihilation was what made "In the Shadow of Certain, Painful Doom: Abyssinia" so interesting to me two years ago and it was this AAR that get me to buy CK2, so it's even better to hear that I continue the tradition ;)
The horse-lords of the split tengri empires have discovered your plans to conquer them while they're unstable, and have sent the following reply:
deep breath
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
Also, in regards to your reconquest of moesia, they have the following to day:
"Who do you fink you iz, comin' back and stealin' wot we done rightfully stole from yaz, we'z gonna krump yer gitz gud fer dat!"
Hmm.


Versus:



I dunno :D
Just discovered this AAR. Glad to see you're still writing, CzokletMuss; I remember your writing style from elsewhere on the Internet that shall not be linked to because the PI forums have silly rules about linking to external sites as being quite enjoyable. I'm still slogging my way through the earlier chapters (I'm about a quarter of the way through), and it's been an entertainingly grim saga so far.

Hope to see more! :)
Hullo there! I'm glad you enjoyed journey of "Proteus", I hope you won't be dissapointed by this AAR by the time you catch up with the newest chapters :) In case you don't know: I'm still planning to complete the story of Jeb&crew when 0.25 is released, so it's not the end of my adventures with KSP :)

Ahh! The legendary Nosemen fighting against the invaders with their superior smelling sense. :D
So apparently Scandinavia has been taken over by anthropomorphis sentient noses. Though, with the deadly black magic wielded by the Western Devils, who knows what they can do?
This made my day. :happy:


Interesting to see cultural "Germany" basically meaning Bavaria + Austria, with some enclaves to the west. And are those Wends in much of (historic) Germany's north? Also, though I may have missed it, what are Poles doing in Aquitaine? (and there's something ironic about Castille becoming Aragon)

Aztec and Mongol assimilation is as haphazard as ever, the Croats are surprisingly intact, and I fear for Europe's xenoi population should they ever fall under the Empire's sway. It could get ugly and become a running sore in the EU4 era - can't assimilate without converting (or change demographics through massacring rebellions/inducing emigration) until Victoria 2 (or maybe 3 by the time you get there) and how can you convert them to orthodoxy if orthodoxy claims they don't have souls?
No, there are Bretons - there was a succesful Breton Company invasion which created (petty excuse for) a Breton state there for several decades. And yes, there are Poles in Aquitaine - after the crusade against Cathar HRE which was won by House Golovin (who, after their conversion from Old Tengri to Catholic, controlled both Poland and Hungary). This particular branch of their dynasty was polonized, so after some time all the nobles were Polish too and to this day Aquitaine's culture is Polish.

Ugh, don't even mention Croats, I've been trying to exterminate assimilate them for so long and it was a complete failure for some time. Conversions and culture changing may be problematic in EU4 indeed but honestly, after announcement of "Res Publica" and new ideas groups and bunch of changes it's hard to say how would it work. Conversion to Orthodoxy will be adressed soon (?) in story - but hey, I have whole another game to tackle this issue, let's leave something for me to do in EU4 ;)
I wonder what the Náhuatlacah is offering its people for migration? Safety from sacrifice? New conquest? New opportunities? Is it getting overcrowed in the horrifying but clearly marvelous city of Tenochtitlán?
Does the Náhuatlacah provide protection to its foreign converts to the One False Faith?
What does the Empire regard the priests who converted? Are they not greater traitors than the normal converts?
Do converts have a soul? Does the Empire acknowledge most of the conversions are based on fear?
What is the secondary capital of the Náhuatlacah? (as in where is its ingame capital?)
Will the glorious empire bring the nahui ollin to the Xenoi?
Does the Náhuatlacah have the Cuauhchicqueh? (Greatest warriors meaning the shorn ones) If they and probably the Otontin are remaining in Tenochtitlán, (say as a personal guard) then the Empire has not seen the full might of the Imperium of the Xenoi. The Tlacochcalcatl, or great generals are only enlisted from this caste, and to become part of the Cuauhchicqueh one must capture many prisoners for sacrifice, and perform many great deeds. So it is likely that the Cuauhchicqueh attacked in the initial invasion (for honor and prestige)they would probably return to Tenochtitlán to become Tlacochcalcatls, which are kind of like Generals and the Praetorian Guard, killing weak Tlatoani.
These are excellent questions but I'm afraid I can't answer to them before getting to EU4 part of the story - I have some ideas concerning these things but RNG has a great influence on the story too. So please be patient, they all will be answered one way or another in EU4 part of this AAR.
Sorry for the large post, simply interested in how the Aztecs still in America are at this time. With the fall of the Suomi, it is now danger that many more Augusti will be laid to rest by Miccapetlacalli, god of tombs, and Tezcatlipoca, god of darkness will reign over Europe, or as the Xenoi would refer to him as through his 7 epithets: Titlacauan, Ipalnemoani, Necoc Yaotl, Tloque Nahuaque, Yohualli Èecatl, Ome acatl, Ilhuicahua Tlalticpaque (The beast of whom we are slaves, he by whom we live, the enemy of both sides, lord of the near and nigh, night wind, two reed, possessor of the sky and earth)
You are welcome :) You seem to be well-informed about Nahua - I haven't done my research yet because I wanted to save it for EU4 part of the story, but seeing that you are so knowledgeable about the subject I may have some questions for you in the future :) BTW, the titles of Tezcatlipoca (obviously false god of xenoi who is nothing compared to Our Lord Iesus Kristos) are really, really impressive!

Well, the OP can always say that, after a rigorous scrutiny of their ancestry, most of the population of that place was actually not Xenoi, but only very misguided humans ... or inversely, conversion = repopulation with real humans ( disclaimer : any similarity of the above with the fate of Poland between 1939 and 1945 is pure coincidence :/ )
That wouldn't be a problem - those who are not of a pure blood will be put to work as slaves or in labour camps and the rest will be sterilized and will serve the Imperium as eunuchs. Or they will be simply exterminated, being the filthy soulless subhumans they are.

This is actually very depressing that what I'm describing in this grimdark made-up fictional setting actually happened in real world...

A long and great update. News good - the Tetrarchy is once again fully restored in Roman hands, Moesia almost completely reincorporated, the Iron Khan dead - but also, of course, bad - the ever-onwards march of the Xenoi and, a double-edged sword, the shattering of the Hordes. Now that the Aztecs have a path to the east, I fear they might push all the way to Sinae. Regardless of the Chinese' misguided beliefs, an alliance of convenience seems urgently desirable for the Romans.

Well, when you put it like that, you do make Franciscus of Assisi sound like a rather filthy personage. ;)
Thank you! I agree, it may be necessary to ally with Seres in EU4. Assuming that nothing changes on the map and we know that it surely will change - for worse.

But of course! He's another stark-raving mad Catholic scum, what else did you expect? ;)

Oh no, the Xenoi demons are attacking the Augustus.
Also, there IS a Pisan dynasty still alive. aha!
I said they are no Pisans within the Imperium ;)
For the Dark Gods! Maim! Kill! Burn!
Behold the power of Chaos ...
Blood for the Blood God Sky-Father! Feel the wrath of Tengri!
There is so much potential in either direction.
Oh yes :)
Wow, that's some payoff to that update. I was going to mention the ever-so-subtle editing of any positive remark made about Leontios Doukas, but all that pales in comparison to the last line - and that screenshot.

The Empire is in for a rough ride, I fear.
Thanks; yes, this was surely unexpected, even more for me than you - when the even pop-up showed on screen I was like "no way, this is way too good to be true" :D

Oh well, it can't get much worse than it already is. Or can it?
Doth the Byzantine historians protest too much? :laugh:
Gotta love possession events
Those who did protest can no longer answer to this question, I'm afraid. Or any other, for that matter.
Yeah :)
That's a lie! An Augustus could never be a victim of the dark arts! The divine hand of God is watching over the Angeloi, and those who might doubt that must be punished!

Whoa, that's an end! Let's hope that the voice of Jesus will be the one that the troubled Basileus will have to hear. Who knows, maybe Iesus Kristos will give him some... "military advices" ("Hey, you, Alexios: Hit that pagan with this stick." "Of course, my lord"! ---> Whole Europe reconquered).

Waiting for the next chapter! Great as ever!
Thank you! With "advice" from Iesus Kristos himself, Alexios I would be like Archangel Michael - unstoppable slayer of the all that's evil :)
I suspect the Imperator's recent so called, "friend" of consorting with the Xenoi to cast a spell on the Basileus.
No spoilers :)
How much more prove for the divine mission of the Angeloi can there be than the Angels and Saints talking to one of them!
It would indeed take a fool or a madman to deny that House Angelos is chosen by Our Lord to protect His Church and Children - the Angeloi protect!
Well this emperor might push the Empire in another direction after the evil Synod held by his father
Or push it in the same direction. Harder.

Next update coming this week, for the time being take a look at this table - some of you were asking for religion or culture tables but nobody asked for military one; well, here it is:

 
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drucchi

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I cant imagine that the Varangian Guard are happy that the empire is leaving their homeland to the xenoi. On a tangentially related note, would it be possible that the imperial senate contains varangians (ie orthodox norsemen)?
 
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CzokletMuss

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Yeah but, well, who cares about what they think? :p Considering the role which historical Varangian Guard had in Byzantium, there's absolutely no way for them to be in the Senate. They were serving the Throne, whoever was the emperor - they weren't involved in politics at all as far as I know.
 

drucchi

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I thought varangian could both mean the guard and be a general term for norseman in the roman empire so let me clarify.
Would it be possible for any norse orthodox, to be in the senate in your world, (ie if the mods allowed interactivity in the eu4 thread, and would we be allowed to play them.)
 

Pezito

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Oh yes, the treacherous merchants were of almost no importance back then. But like vultures they grew in power while the Europe was bleeding.

Thank you, these are cool maps and I'll probably use them in EU4 part of this AAR :) I know that Ptolemy's map isn't perfect but it was good enough for this chapter.

Why do anything? Let the barbarians kill themselves - it's not like they are Christians after all, so why should Roman blood be spilled to save them? ;)


Yup, it's Ptolemy's map - and I get it guys, next maps will be better, I promise :) Thank you very much and welcome!

By this I meant, for example, giving Timurids Uzbek culture as their prime one (in vanilla converter they have Mongol which doesn't trigger the "Form Mughals" mission) or changing Sunni provinces in Asia ruled by Timurids in EU4 to Shia (they are Sunni in EU4 and Shia in CK2). Something like this, no bigger changes - I want to change as less as possible to get as faithful representation of Crumbling Europe from CK2 in EU4 as possible. I'll post detailed list of all changes when EU4 will be started.

HRE was Cathar and Germany was Catholic, hence bloody religious wars hundreds of years before Reformation. Yes, Poland was a superpower for a short period of time with Hungary and Aquitaine ruled by House Golovin. Of course, it didn't last for long.

It's very nice to read such kind words - thank you, I really appreciate it :) Threat of complete annihilation was what made "In the Shadow of Certain, Painful Doom: Abyssinia" so interesting to me two years ago and it was this AAR that get me to buy CK2, so it's even better to hear that I continue the tradition ;)

Hmm.


Versus:



I dunno :D

Hullo there! I'm glad you enjoyed journey of "Proteus", I hope you won't be dissapointed by this AAR by the time you catch up with the newest chapters :) In case you don't know: I'm still planning to complete the story of Jeb&crew when 0.25 is released, so it's not the end of my adventures with KSP :)








No, there are Bretons - there was a succesful Breton Company invasion which created (petty excuse for) a Breton state there for several decades. And yes, there are Poles in Aquitaine - after the crusade against Cathar HRE which was won by House Golovin (who, after their conversion from Old Tengri to Catholic, controlled both Poland and Hungary). This particular branch of their dynasty was polonized, so after some time all the nobles were Polish too and to this day Aquitaine's culture is Polish.

Ugh, don't even mention Croats, I've been trying to exterminate assimilate them for so long and it was a complete failure for some time. Conversions and culture changing may be problematic in EU4 indeed but honestly, after announcement of "Res Publica" and new ideas groups and bunch of changes it's hard to say how would it work. Conversion to Orthodoxy will be adressed soon (?) in story - but hey, I have whole another game to tackle this issue, let's leave something for me to do in EU4 ;)

These are excellent questions but I'm afraid I can't answer to them before getting to EU4 part of the story - I have some ideas concerning these things but RNG has a great influence on the story too. So please be patient, they all will be answered one way or another in EU4 part of this AAR.

You are welcome :) You seem to be well-informed about Nahua - I haven't done my research yet because I wanted to save it for EU4 part of the story, but seeing that you are so knowledgeable about the subject I may have some questions for you in the future :) BTW, the titles of Tezcatlipoca (obviously false god of xenoi who is nothing compared to Our Lord Iesus Kristos) are really, really impressive!


That wouldn't be a problem - those who are not of a pure blood will be put to work as slaves or in labour camps and the rest will be sterilized and will serve the Imperium as eunuchs. Or they will be simply exterminated, being the filthy soulless subhumans they are.

This is actually very depressing that what I'm describing in this grimdark made-up fictional setting actually happened in real world...


Thank you! I agree, it may be necessary to ally with Seres in EU4. Assuming that nothing changes on the map and we know that it surely will change - for worse.

But of course! He's another stark-raving mad Catholic scum, what else did you expect? ;)


I said they are no Pisans within the Imperium ;)

Blood for the Blood God Sky-Father! Feel the wrath of Tengri!

Oh yes :)

Thanks; yes, this was surely unexpected, even more for me than you - when the even pop-up showed on screen I was like "no way, this is way too good to be true" :D

Oh well, it can't get much worse than it already is. Or can it?

Those who did protest can no longer answer to this question, I'm afraid. Or any other, for that matter.
Yeah :)

Thank you! With "advice" from Iesus Kristos himself, Alexios I would be like Archangel Michael - unstoppable slayer of the all that's evil :)

No spoilers :)

It would indeed take a fool or a madman to deny that House Angelos is chosen by Our Lord to protect His Church and Children - the Angeloi protect!

Or push it in the same direction. Harder.

Next update coming this week, for the time being take a look at this table - some of you were asking for religion or culture tables but nobody asked for military one; well, here it is:

Blasphemy!How can the Xenoi Empire be more pious than the Imperium?
 

Pilot00

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Nov 27, 2013
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Blasphemy!How can the Xenoi Empire be more pious than the Imperium?

I can answer that for you: When was the last time you saw a human sacrifice in a Christian church?
 

drucchi

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I can answer that for you: When was the last time you saw a human sacrifice in a Christian church?
Around 1500 years ago, but ofc since Jesus was the perfect sacrifice no more human sacrifice was necessary. (i think, im really bad at orthodox theology.)
 
Last edited:

Leandor

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Around 1500 years ago, but ofc since Jesus was the perfect sacrifice no more human sacrifice was necessary. (i think, im really bad at orthodox theology.)
-National decision: Sacrifice Iesus Kristos. Gives 50k piety.
 

Enlil

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You are welcome You seem to be well-informed about Nahua - I haven't done my research yet because I wanted to save it for EU4 part of the story, but seeing that you are so knowledgeable about the subject I may have some questions for you in the future BTW, the titles of Tezcatlipoca (obviously false god of xenoi who is nothing compared to Our Lord Iesus Kristos) are really, really impressive!
Any way I can help is wonderful! And yes, the Aztecs have a knack at cool names, but the "Lord of the Near and Nigh" is no match for the Holy Empire. The Angeloi Protect!

These are excellent questions but I'm afraid I can't answer to them before getting to EU4 part of the story - I have some ideas concerning these things but RNG has a great influence on the story too. So please be patient, they all will be answered one way or another in EU4 part of this AAR.
Neat!

Next update coming this week, for the time being take a look at this table - some of you were asking for religion or culture tables but nobody asked for military one; well, here it is:
Really shocked to see Leon on there, is still led by the descendents of King Cadwgan the Ill-Ruler, or is it a foul rebirth of the nation by the Xenoi.
 

Ricardo Rolo

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Hum , that table is sobering: you really have no real chance against the Xenoi if they are united ... but if you don't do anything, they will munch the remaining of Europe bit by bit. Hopefully Jesus will come to speak directly to the blessed Emperor and give some military advice in what to do :D
 

Pilot00

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Around 1500 years ago, but ofc since Jesus was the perfect sacrifice no more human sacrifice was necessary. (i think, im really bad at orthodox theology.)
Cant understand what you really mean by that what happened 1500 years ago? And no Jesus was not a 'sacrifice' in the context of offered to appease a god,bloody rituals and all that. The word sacrifice is a metaphor used to describe the action of His taking the burdens of humanity upon Him, an act He chose Himself not forced. On a sidenote, He was not 'sacrificed' by Christians either.

-National decision: Sacrifice Iesus Kristos. Gives 50k piety.
If you are an Israelite it would work.
 

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 28
1421-1427
TWISTING SERPENT

The East was in flames. The sky was dark from the smoke of burning cities, the trees were bending under the weight of the dead. The rivers run red of the blood of annihilated armies and where once countless Mongol horses had their pasture there was nothing more but a feast for crows.


On 16th June 1421 Bolkhadar Toluid, khagan of Tartaria, attacked “khanate” of Bulgaria. Forced to fight against the Ilkhanate and rebelling horse-lords, Bolkhadar hoped that by forcing “khan” Alagh into submission he would boost numbers of his troops. Although he was losing the fight for dominance over the Horde, he still thought that in the end he may emerge victorious from the conflict. And while the endless steppe was burning, Tartar forces marched to the West to destroy those still loyally to “khanate” of Bulgaria. Titanic struggle was consuming vast armies like wildfire and tens of thousands lied dead – but if there was one thing which Mongols had in abundance, it was men. It seemed that only in lands ruled by Menggei, son of Timur, there was order. Like his father he was building pyramids of skulls from defeated opponents and he was determined to keep his subjects in line. Meanwhile Conquest and Death were riding the steppe, with Famine and Death following them in every step. Whole settlements were razed to the ground, including great cities of old like Kiev or Moscow, their Mongol inhabitants slaughtered for worshippers of Tengri know no mercy. Being slaves of the Horde for decades people of Rus could only observe the desolation of the land of their ancestors and despair. But nor lord of Tartaria nor khagan of Ilkhanate dared to attack khan Afanasyi, the last independent Russian lord.


Having brutally crushed rebellions against his rule, on 14th April 1422 he declared war against what was left of Kingdom of Sweden. King Johan Stibolt had to face not one but two terrible enemies, both of which outnumbered his men by thousands. There was no victory, no hope of quick death – the destiny of Norsemen was sealed. Hearing this news, Augustus was said to be greatly saddened, some even say that there were tears on his face when he heard about the atrocities committed by xenoi to people of king Johan. Before Imperial Army could arrive in his lands, the war would be over – there was little what could be done. Augustus ordered all monasteries in the Imperium to pray for the souls of brave Christians fighting against the invaders, for only Our Lord could help them. He also ordered Scrinium Barbarorum to make preparations – together with Polish officials imperial agents were to transport remaining Norsemen to the Imperium, so that not all of them would be exterminated.


Bad news came from the East when on 1st May 1422 the Aghlabid invasion of Arabia ended with Ilkhanate defeat. Now not only whole Arabian Peninsula but also all lands east to the imperial limes and south to Caucasus and Caspian Sea were under the firm rule of Timurids, with only several scattered holdings being still loyal to the Horde. Presumptuous caliph Sadiq II claimed to be the sole ruler of the Peninsula like his father before him. Accursed Aghlabid, now khan of Arabia, was still slave to khagan Menggei and even with golden chains he couldn't ever hope to regain the position of his ancestors. Still, it was a great triumph for the Shia – weakened Ilkhanate lost land, troops and gold and was now one step closer to complete disintegration. There was no doubt that shattered into dozens of chiefdoms it would be an easy pray for both Timurids and xenoi.

And then came the message.


Menggei Timurid, son of Iron Khan, declared invasion of Hierusalem on 5th June 1422. Even the Shia barbarians respected the Holy City – they believe that this was the destination of Prophet's ride on miraculous steed Al-Buraq and that it was Hierusalem from where Prophet was taken to heaven. This blasphemy is obviously nonsense for their false god Allah either does not exist or is just a daemon, one of the thousands fallen servants of One True God. But if there is a city for which Shia were ready to fight and bleed for, it was surely Hierusalem. Hungry for revenge after the Second Sack of Mecca, armies of ghazis were marching on the Holy City to drown the faithful Christians in their own blood.

Few weeks later imperial agents brought equally disturbing news.


“Khanate” of Bulgaria was no more. All its lands were now under rule of khagan Bolkhadar Toluid. Suddenly the scales tipped in favor of Tartaria – with new troops and Ilkhanate weakened by the loss of Arabia, it seemed that House Toluid may soon be victorious.

But khagan Bolkhadar was not destined to see this.


He died during small battle against war-chief loyal to Ilkhanate while his armies were returning from the West on 3rd December 1422, leaving the fate of Tartaria in hands of his son. Young khagan Jurchedei Toluid was only 7 years old – it was more than certain that he would not survive the regency. In the short term this were very good news – Imperial Army marching to meet the forces of Shia in Hierusalem didn't have to worry about northern limes. It seemed that they would be secure for years, perhaps even forever if the fall of the Horde was to be complete. Alas, Tartaria and Ilkhanate were not the only Mongol realms which could pose a threat to good Christians.


On 18th April 1423 khan Afanasiy forced king Johan to surrender – what was left of Sweden was now completely controlled by his armies. Several thousands of surviving Norsemen fled to Kingdom of Poland, were they were met by imperial agents ordered to transport them safely to Konstantinoupolis. Khanate of Lithuania was growing in power quickly – with almost all neighboring chiefdoms already conquered it seemed that khan Afanasiy would soon turn his attention towards Kingdom of Poland. King Jacek the Great of House Spis was no fool – he was preparing for the inevitable invasion for years. But before the Lithuanians, Russians and Mongols united by their khan could march against Polish knights, xenoi attacked. On 6th July 1423 hordes of Aztec savages flooded the khanate of Lithuania, easily overcoming small numbers of defenders. For huetlatoani Cacamatzin Acatl truly was the Great Wolf and he could not tolerate rising power of khan Afanasyi – he was determined to destroy any other predator wanting to feast on the rotting carcass of Europe.


When Johan Stibolt arrived in Konstantinoupolis with remnants of his men, he was astonished by the glory of the City. His kingdom was no more – House Stibolt which once ruled over frozen Scandinavia was all but destroyed and his people were either xenoi slaves or dead. When he finally met Augustus in throne room of the Great Palace, he asked him for only one thing – vengeance. The last king of Sweden knew that the time of Norsemen has come but even without people to rule or armies to command he was not willing to go down without a fight. With one sword in place of thousands, Johan Stibolt wanted to fight with xenoi to the last breath – he truly was a Norseman. And Augustus agreed: Johan Stibolt took the habit and became the monk-knight of the Brotherhood, sworn to protect Christendom and the Imperium from darkness.


His shining example of devotion to the Lord was so great that some of the aristoi feel embarrassed by this foreigner. It was no mystery that some of noble Romaioi who found themselves under Timur's rule after invasion of Syria were less adamant. Corrupted or threatened, out of fear or desire, many swore loyalty to their new master, hoping to maintain their position. But Iron Khan didn't need servants – he wanted to have slays. Mutilated, tortured, beaten into submission, in the end they all surrendered to his will and abandoned the Light of Iesus Kristos for the mad teachings of a false Prophet. Scourge of the East was victorious, for he was commanding not only flesh but also souls of his subjects. Many feared that if Hierusalem was to fall, thousands of faithful Romaioi would meet the same fate of these accursed traitors. After all, Sword of Islam strikes with furious might.

But, thanks to Our Lord, khagan Menggei was not his father.


After bloody battle of Belfort on 29th August 1423 it seemed that the invasion lost its momentum. Numerous revolts caused khagan to send big part of his forces back into the realm; among the rebels were even those who wanted to liberate ancient kingdom of Persia. Like it was suggested by wise Leontios Doukas, Augustus sent envoys to khagan demanding truce. Although not beaten, in the end khagan Menggei Timurid agreed, hoping probably to wait for a better moment to strike again. And so on 15th November 1423 the invasion was over – Hierusalem was saved and ghazis marched back to the East defeated. Peace was restored in the Imperium and citizens rejoiced, for their Augustus protection saved them once again from unspeakable horrors of Mongol oppressive rule. With the Horde more and more devastated with every month and xenoi invading khanate of Lithuania, it seemed that the Imperium was safe, at least for a time.

It was not until the end of the year that another worrying news reached the City.


Bocek Hrabisic, kaiser of Germans, died on 30th December 1424. It seemed that with his death the same fate will meet his pathetic realm. Alas, it did not happen – lords of Germany have chosen a new kaiser and this time he was a force to be reckoned with. Duke Alighiero di Orange was ruling over duchies of Bavaria and Provence in the name of the Republic but he had no love for his Pisan masters. Although content with his position within the oligarchy, he didn't protest when few surviving German lords asked him to be their kaiser. Freedom from the Republic would mean his doom – after all, it was thanks to Pisan slavers that the merchants could afford vast armies of mercenaries, stronger than those of Kingdom of Aquitaine. But luckily for him, he controlled silver mines located in Tyrol – he was wealthy enough to not fear Pisan anger.


And so on 1st January 1425 kaiser Alighiero di Orange declared independence from the Republic. His secession completely changed the balance of power in the region – German realm once again could hope to defend itself from Aztec raids and Pisa, having lost almost half of their territory, was now more exposed than ever. Alas, tricky merchants could not fear the xenoi attack – for decades they have been supplying them with slaves, trading with everyone who had gold, be it Christian or barbarian. Some members of the Imperial Council were saying that this is the time to finally destroy the Republic once and for all and to secure the lands of Germans for the Imperium. Surely, they were saying, sooner or later they will be conquered by xenoi – wisdom would dictate to protect the Christians living there from such horrendous hate, not to mention more soldiers for the themata and gold for imperial merchants after fall of Pisa. But Augustus, like Leontios Doukas wisely suggested, decided to not waste resources and spill Roman blood over this issue, for his most trustworthy advisor had other plan.


Despite false accusations, Leontios Doukas proved to be loyal and good servant of the Throne. His devotion to Alexios I Angelos was so great that he didn't hesitate to act against the interest of his own House. Always willing to make sacrifice for the good of the Imperium, thanks to his sharp intellect and good counsel, he was appointed as parakoimomenos, The One Who Sleeps Beside. Honored by the great privilege of sleeping next to sacrum cubiculum, sacred bedchamber of Alexios I, he was entrusted with sphendone, Imperial Seal of Augustus, and access to his personal correspondence. He was proved worthy of such great honor. Despite vicious rumors surrounding him, he was completely loyal to Augustus and even though some of the most jealous courtiers went so far as to spread lies that allegedly Leontios was said to have an affair with Empress Ambrosia, his dedication to Alexios was a shining example to everyone.


Leontios advised Augustus to not concentrate on Pisa or German realm but instead remove the greatest threat to the Imperium – huetlatoani Cacamatzin's Acatl himself. Saying that there is virtually no one left to take care of Cacamatzin's personal security after he slaughtered Aztec lords and that imperial agents would have no trouble with getting into his private chambers to murder him, he argued that this is the best occasion to secure the peace for the Imperium for years, for Cacamatzin's heir was still just a child. Among members of the Imperial Council he had no supporters save for his son, magistros Eirenaios Angelos but despite of that he was doing his best working effortlessly to persuade others, always in the service of the Throne and public good.


One of his greatest opponents was doux Eusebios Komnenos, sakellarios of the Imperium. It was not surprising – being responsible for the finances of the Throne, he was frequently instructed by Leontios Doukas who, as sakellarios of the Brotherhood, wanted to share his knowledge with him and obviously had greater experience in matters of coin and taxes. Doux Eusebios, seeing that his influence in the court is shrinking while the position of Leontios is only getting stronger, decided to seek Augustus' approval for his cousin's nomination to the position of protospatharios. Originally a member of guard of the Great Palace, since the formation of the Varangian Guards spatharioi became completely insignificant and the title itself became purely honorary. But it was the best doux Eusebios could achieve before being forced to resign from the Council – and Augustus agreed. And so his cousin, doux Demetrios Komnenos, as protospatharios became the leader of the non-existent corps of guard. Despite young age he was known as great warrior and brilliant strategist. With his new dignity came command over one unit of tagma and admittance to the Senate – all that was left of once great influence House Komnenos had in the Great Palace.


Before he was forced to resign from his position, sakellarios doux Eusebios Komnenos asked Augustus for permission to use mercenaries to enforce new tax rules onto the population of African and Italian themata – but Augustus's attention lied elsewhere. On 11th May 1425 Alexios I Angelos was blessed with daughter, when his wife Empress Ambrosia gave birth to porphyrogennetissa Zoe Angelos. He rejoiced greatly and so did his most loyal servant parakoimomenos Leontios Doukas, who was the first to congratulate the Empress. Arrival of Zoe Angelos into this world was a true blessing not only for the Imperial Family but also for all citizens of the state.


King Jacek the Great of House Spis didn't want to agree to betroth his daughter to porphyrogennetos Markos Angelos – he feared that the Imperium may use this to remove him from power and to join two countries under one rule. This was obviously groundless anxiety – unlike Aragon, Kingdom of Poland was too distant to be ruled from Konstantinoupolis and too poor to be worth incorporating into the Imperium. The single greatest treasure of Poles were their formidable warriors, even more prowess on the field of battle than famous Norsemen. It was Polish army which kept the realm secure despite it being surrounded by xenoi and Mongols, it was the power of the skrzydlata husaria, winged hussars which kept in bay both savages from the Far West and barbarians from the East. The Throne had no intention in weakening Polish realm – in the contrary, the stronger the Kingdom of Poland was, the better protected both Romaioi and Poles were. Birth of porphyrogennetissa Zoe Angelos gave a chance to bound both realms by blood – and so in September 1425 king Jacek and Augustus Alexios signed the betrothal contract. PorphyrogennetosMarkos, heir to the Throne, was to marry princess Magdalena, while her brother and heir to Polish crown, prince Szczesny, was to marry porphyrogennetissa Zoe.

Peace and prosperity were thus secured.


Although in the end Augustus didn't listen to advice of his parakoimomenos concerning supreme lord of xenoi, he didn't decide to launch an attack against Pisa or Germans neither. Working day and night for the good of the Imperium, Augustus soon fall ill and, forced to remain in his sacred bedchamber, ceded even more responsibilities unto his loyal servant Leontios. But it was not weakness of flesh which made him retreat for a time from his duties. Horrifying discovery was made – porphyrogennetos Maximos, brother of Augustus, was possessed. Being still in house arrest in his chamber in the same wing of the Great Palace as Augustus, miserable heretic was suffering from demonic possession. It was a tragic lesson for us all – even members of the blessed House Angelos weren't completely safe from the schemes of Diabolos. The moment porphyrogennetos Maximos Angelos turned away from the Light of Our Lord, he became vulnerable to the influence of Ruinous Powers, who were more than eager to corrupt descendant of Saint Markos Isapostolos. Augustus spent days and night praying for the soul of his poor brother who was in such great pain that his screams could be sometimes heard on the corridors of the Great Palace. This tragedy was a cross for him to bear, a holy burden – fighting with illness and daemons who possessed his dear brother, noble Alexios I Angelos continued to carry the will of Iesus Kristos.


Parakoimomenos Leontios Doukas, fulfilling Augustus' orders, carried out the tax reform and soon thanks to his exceptional skills the income of the state was greatly increased. From every corner of the Imperium rivers of gold were glowing to Konstantinoupolis and every doux in every thema was paying his due. Corruption seemed to be finally eradicated and trade was flourishing, partly because of the duke Alighierio secession from the Republic. When on 16th February 1427 news of complete victory of xenoi over khanate of Lithuania reached the City they weren't considered troubling. Khan Afanasiy had to lose for there save for the Imperium itself there was no power in Europe which could oppose hordes of Aztec savages. Cacamtazin Acatl was now in total control of former kingdom of Suomi and although some were worried that his next step would be to initiate invasion of Rus, these fears didn't draw much attention. Parakoimomenos Leontios focused on taxes didn't want to hear about additional spendings on limes fortresses and defenses, what surely would cost a lot after several years of negligence. Leontios, as he was ordered by Augustus, was instead funding new monasteries and churches all over the Imperium so that Romaioi could pray for “soul of damned porphyrogennetos, sinner and unworthy servant of Iesus Kristos”.

The greater was the horror when first reports from western themata reached the City.

 
Last edited:

Ricardo Rolo

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Oh, nice ... just after I pointed out that Basileia would have problems facing a united Xenoi, this happens ;)

Well, if it is of any consolation, I assume that the Mongols are in no position to attack you. With some luck and maybe some divine guidance from Our Lord ;) it might be even a oportunity to break the Xenoi back...
 

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Here's an idea. Kidnap Rescue a royal Xenoi prince from the Heathens and indoctrine him show him the glorious and forgiving nature of the lord and then send him back.
 
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Zqrfmb

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The xenoi are powerful, sure, but considering they have to raise troops from france, england, sweden, and the like, I doubt they can bring much more to a fight than a roman empire making proper use of the mediterranian, especially with the vassal opinion modifier. Plus, they dont' have horse archers, and you do, which I think is a big part of why the mongols may have taken bites out of the empire successfully, but the aztecs, to my knowledge, have yet to win a war against the empire... well, that and the fact that the xenoi are soulless monsters imitating humans, and the light of Iesus Kristos, if wielded by his greatest and most faithful champions, will overcome anything a soul like child's play.

Also, Alexios had better not croak without getting one of the voice events, it's one of the biggest letdowns to get possession but never have it progress.
 

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Thanks Stuyvesant.