• 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

Nikolai

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This is a war Romaion must, and hopefully can, win. Then strike back and recover lands lost to the horrible barbarians they are! Back to the sea, I tell you! Only Romaion can save Civilization!
 

CzokletMuss

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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.)
Hmm, I don't think so but it's too early to say.
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?
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.
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.
If you are an Israelite it would work.


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!

(...)

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.
Glad to hear that :)

Well, it's hard to believe in it but "Leon" (which is where Wales de jure are) is not only led by English dynasty but by the House of Godwin intself. Yes, you heard me - they not only survive Norman conquest, conflicts between Englishmen and Scots and countless wars between Catholics and Cathars but also somehow survived Sunset Invasion. Considering Leon and Triple Kingdom (Scotland, Ireland, Bretanny) are the last 2 Catholic realms in the world it's even more astonishing achievement. House of Godwin indeed is tough.

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
Yes. I've been saying this for the last 6 months - if somehow AI puts itself together and attacks me in the same year (xenoi + the Horde + Timurds), I'm done. Losing 3 kingdoms means losing manpower, income and retinues and in current situation it would only make AI more willing to DOW me again.

Let us pray to Iesus Kristos it never happens.

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...
Yeah, funny that, huh? :) The Horde is dying and I hope by the end of CK2 part they will be completely disintegrated. This would mean expanding Aztecs and Timurids of course but one lethally dangerous mortal enemy less is a good thing.

Anyways, it's time for filthy xenoi to taste Roman steel.
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.
Marvelous and deliciously evil cunning plan. If only son of Cacamatzin Acatl was older and able to lead his armies... :(

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.
This is a war Romaion must, and hopefully can, win. Then strike back and recover lands lost to the horrible barbarians they are! Back to the sea, I tell you! Only Romaion can save Civilization!
Hear, hear! We shall drown xenoi scum in their own blood! The Imperium is eternal and no foe shall defeat us!
Servants of the False Emperor beware! Day will not save you! And we rule the night!
We will see about that, xenos - the Dark Gods won't save you from the righteus wrath of Romaioi!

Hey, guess what - "This Is Madness" was featured in the last AARland!



Derahan said:
This is one of the most entertaining premises for an AAR that I’ve seen in my (admittedly short) time at AARland. Czoklet started out as the OPM Angelos family in 1066. The actual AAR starts in 1264, at the pinnacle of the achievements of the Angelos family. They have managed to become Basileus of the Byzantine Empire.

But all is, as always, not well. The Aztecs have invaded from the west, the Europeans are split between many heresies, and the Ilkhanate goes from strength to strength. This unveils the basic premise of the AAR. It is an uphill struggle for the Romans to survive against so many enemies. It is Ironman as well, which makes it even wore. It is the tale of a crumbling world.

But he handles it magnificently, without saying too much of a spoiler. The Aztecs and the Ilkhanate declare war, he is faced with open revolt, and the rest of Christendom, including heretic Catholics (!), is in a permanent stage of war. He takes it all in stride.

The writing is good as well, though it is very much a gameplay AAR. Czoklet admits in the first post that he is not a native English speaker, and that sometimes shows. But his writing is clear, concise, and explains his motives. He usually throws in something nice to keep the reader occupied. Sometime it might be a poem; other times a short history lesson.

I do have one gripe about the AAR. It is sometimes boring to read about yet another revolt or war or Aztec invasion. This is somewhat minor, and just my two cents.
How could I missed this? Anyways, it's very nice to read some good words about my AAR. I know I make some grammar mistakes and typos so please, if you see any tell me about them so I can improve my English :)

And for those concerned about the next chapter release date: xenoi will taste Roman steel this weekend.

 

Enlil

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Well, it's hard to believe in it but "Leon" (which is where Wales de jure are) is not only led by English dynasty but by the House of Godwin intself. Yes, you heard me - they not only survive Norman conquest, conflicts between Englishmen and Scots and countless wars between Catholics and Cathars but also somehow survived Sunset Invasion. Considering Leon and Triple Kingdom (Scotland, Ireland, Bretanny) are the last 2 Catholic realms in the world it's even more astonishing achievement. House of Godwin indeed is tough.
Good for them... Even for heretics they still stand up against the even worse Xenoi faith.

This Is Madness" was featured in the last AARland!
Well done!

Let us pray to Iesus Kristos it never happens.
Oh course

We will see about that, xenos - the Dark Gods won't save you from the righteus wrath of Romaioi!
Tezcatlipoca, the lord of the smoking mirror will denied his feast on Toxcatl! The wretched Tloque Nahuaque will be slayed along with the rest of his Daemon brothers!
 

DKM

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Clearly the Xenoi have hacked your internet CzokletMuss. That is a picture of Spartans, not Romans.
 

Specialist290

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Finally managed to catch up with the most recent updates, and I have to say it's been quite a thrill ride. The Imperium seems to be weathering the storm quite well, but the continual expansion of that massive Aztec Empire has me concerned, I'll admit. Nevertheless, I'm sure the mad most blessed Basileos will triumph once more in the face of adversity.
 

Zqrfmb

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Everyone pray for Alexios, so that he gets the voice of Jesus, or Satan still Jesus, any rumors to the contrary are lies spread by the bishop of Rome, because in an AAR like this, we can't just have possessed fire and not have any follow-up.
 

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 29
1427-1430
AGAINST THE DRAGON

The first casualty of the invasion declared on 14th October 1427 was no one else but grandmaster of the Brotherhood himself.


Having heard the terrifying news from the West, grandmaster Pyrros of Ba'albek died. His death was shocking and greatly lowered the morale of monk-knights. But the Brotherhood must always have a grandmaster, especially when hordes of xenoi directly threaten the Imperium. And so a new leader of the Order had to be chosen. It wasn't surprising when sworned brothers chose king John Stibolt – his determination and past experience with fighting xenoi were traits most needed in this dark hour. Assuming the name of Ioannes Stibolt, king of destroyed kingdom was ready to lead monk-knights to battles and to seek revenge against the same savages who brought doom upon his people.

Weeks were passing quickly on preparations for war – holy day of Iesus Kristos birth came and passed and the Imperium was still reading itself for merciless conflict. Themata from every province were assembled and marching to the rallying points – tens of thousands brave Romaioi in Italia, Aegyptus, Aragon, Anatolia and other provinces were leaving their houses and families behind them, for months in case of some, forever in case of many. Whole forests were cut down to supply the Imperial Navy with additional dromoi needed to transport vast armies of the Imperium. Konstantinoupolis was like a beehive, with hundreds of eunuchs and servants carrying orders and requests through the halls of the Great Palace. Every strategos, domestikos and tourmarches who wasn't already with his unit was in the City waiting for an assignment. War plans were drafted, refined and then substituted with better ones and military treaties like Strategikon or Tactica were more commonly read than poetry. Soldiers mixed on the streets of the City with processions and even in quiet monasteries monks were praying three times a day for victory.

[video=youtube_share;4_gVrnf--C8]http://youtu.be/4_gVrnf--C8[/video]​

By the end of May everything was ready and tens of thousands of Romaioi were on imperial ships on their way to Africa. Among them was protospatharios doux Demetrios Komnenos as strategos of several themata – although Augustus initially wanted to keep him in the Great Palace as one of his military advisors, Alexios I following parakoimomenos Leontios Doukas advice decided to sent him to the battlefield. The honorable title of megas domestikos, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army, was bestowed on despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos, who personally was commanding Aragonese themata.

First skirmishes with xenoi forces were successful and Imperial Army was almost unopposed in initial part of the campaign, killing several thousands of savages on the fields of Cyrene and Ajim and securing territory east to thema of Tunis. Cities and castles in Djerba fell after a short siege and in early October the war was in favor of Romaioi. But it was only just a beginning – soon Aztec armies from West and North started to deploy on African shores. Despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos decided to meet them before they advance to the east. Huge army commanded by grandmaster Ioannes Stibolt and doux Demetrios Komnenos counting almost 50,000 troops, including monk-knights of the Brotherhood, marched against them.

And so on 20th October 1428 battle of Bejaija began.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Mark.
STRATEGOS STAVROS: MARK!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Draw.
STRATEGOS STAVROS: DRAW!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Loose!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: LOOSE!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Keep shooting, I want half of them dead before they move closer.
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Yes, kyrios. ARCHERS! READY YOUR BOWS!
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: My lord, the flag!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What?
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Blue flag – domestikos of the right flank is dead!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What!?
STRATEGOS STAVROS: SHIELDS!
:xenoi arrows rain upon Romaioi:
WOUNDED SOLDIER: :screams in pain:
:strategos Stavros pulls out the arrow from his wound:
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Poisoned.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Xenoi scum! Nock! Mark!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: NOCK AND MARK!
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Sir, shall we send the messenger? Without leader the right flank – they are charging!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Spearmen forward! Draw!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: SPEARMEN FORWARD! DRAW!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Antonios, give the signal to grandmaster. I'll lead the kataphraktoi. Horse!
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Kyrios.
:Demetrios gets on his horse:
STRATEGOS STAVROS: My lord, the archers!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What in the hell are you waiting for? Loose!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: LOOSE!


The battle of Bejaija was a spectacular success – more than 20,000 savages were killed by the triumphant Imperial Army. Victory was complete but despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos ordered Romaioi commanded by doux Demetrios and grandmaster Ioannes to retreat and regroup. The plan was for the Roman soldiers to prepare an ambush in the narrow passages of Atlas Mountains. Superior numbers and fortified positions would make it possible to completely wipe out the invaders. In the meantime the bulk of the Imperial Army was stationed in thema of Sicilia, ready to reinforce forces fighting in Africa at moment's notice. Reports brought by imperial spies concerning new armies of xenoi advancing from the east were worrying and despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos decided not to ignore them.

And so several weeks after successful battle of Bejaija, on 11th January 1429 the battle of Guelma began.


STRATEGOS STAVROS: Mounted messenger, kyrios.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: About damn time. First he ordered me to command the rearguard and then he not only took my kataphraktoi but also gave them to grandmaster Ioannes. I'm telling you, the battle is probably over by now and I didn't even draw my spatha.
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: It was direct order from despotes, my lord.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I was sent here by Augustus himself and not even Palaiologos can take my men. When I'm back in the City I'll-
MESSENGER: Orders from illustrious megas domestikos to honorable protospatharios Demetrios-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Enough, boy, just tell me what does he want.
MESSENGER: Despotes orders you to retreat immediately with all your men and to secure the-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Retreat? What the hell happened there?
MESSENGER: M-my lord, the orders-
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Doux asked you a question.
MESSENGER: There were too many. They flooded our defenses and when the charged failed, they made it through the-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Charge? What charge?
:messenger looks at Demetrios with fear in his eyes:
MESSENGER: Noble grandmaster Ioannes Stibolt has led the charge of kataphraktoi and sword-brothers of the Order across the river. The enemy perished in the initial strike but the xenoi spearmen and archers-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: He ordered heavy cavalry to charge in the MOUNTAINS?!
:messenger falls to his knees:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Did we won?
MESSENGER: I beg you my lord, you must retreat now.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Did we won?!
MESSENGER: Despotes orders you to fall back immediately with all your men and-
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Look! Xenoi horsemen!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Iesus Kristos...
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: How could we lost it!? We had numbers, we had superior positions!
MESSENGER: Kyrios, you must retreat now! This is order from despotes!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: God damn you, Kyriakos!
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: They are chasing our soldiers! The army is fleeing!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Kyrios, shall we attack? We have 3,000 men, we can slow them down and give a chance to our-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: No. We retreat.
MESSENGER: My lord?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Get on your horse.
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Sir, thousands will die if we won't-
:messenger gets on his horse:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: They are already dead. You - tell despotes that we're retreating. And may God have mercy on his soul.


Imperial Army emerged from passage of Guelma on 30th January 1429 victorious – not a single xenos has survived the battle. Another savage army was destroyed and it seemed that victory is within reach. But not everywhere things were going as well as under command of despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos. In Djerba the imperial themata were surprised and destroyed in an unexpected assault – somehow xenoi managed to land their armies much further into the east than it was thought possible. Of course, 20,000 savages marching north would be of no challenge for Romaioi concentrated near port of Souk Ahras. But they could be considered only a scouting force for the true armies deployed by Aztecs in the west. Combined they counted more than 90,000 savages according to imperial spies. Despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos in his wisdom decided to meet the enemy on the fields of Annaba.


KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: …a mistake.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You call it a mistake? Twelve thousands dead is a mistake?
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: You lost twenty six thousands in Bejaija.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: On your orders! I told you we should send stronger army, there is-
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Silence! You are way out of line, doux – don't you know who are you talking with? You should consider yourself lucky because I still need you – otherwise I would order you to be flogged.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: The Emperor-
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Not another word! I am megas domestikos and I'll have your eyes sent to the City if you open your mouth again.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: …
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Good. Now, strategoi, please look at the map. Here, here and here are our main fortifications. We can expect the reinforcements to arrive from Sicilia within-
:eunuch runs into the tent:
EUNUCH: Illustrious despotes! Enemy forces have been spotted!
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Where?
EUNUCH: Scouts report they were crossing river Yena before sunset. Current location unknown.
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Then there is no time to be lost. Strategoi! Romaioi, today the enemy is at our doorstep. We know our duty and we will do it! We fight for our honor, as imperial soldiers, as Romans, and we fight in the name of the Emperor! If we die this day we die in glory – we die hero's deaths! But we shall not die, no, it is the enemy who will taste death and defeat! As you know, most of our themata forces are stationed in Sicilia, prepared to embark dromonoi to make amphibious landing near our camp! Our perimeter has been prepared in the event that xenoi should be so bold and so foolish! We have placed numerous war banners and messengers, allowing our forces for multiple simultaneous and devastating defensive deep strikes. Strategikon names this maneuver “Water Kontos”. We will descend upon the foe, we will overwhelm them, we will leave none alive! Meanwhile, our tagmata will ensure our full domination on the battlefield, cutting them out from reinforcements. We are the Imperial Army! We are the Augustus' fury! The Angeloi protect!
STRATEGOI: The Angeloi protect!
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: You have your orders. Now leave my tent, I want to pray before the battle. Grandmaster?
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Kyrios?
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Gather your men - Augustus wishes that sword-brothers pray to God for blessing for porphyrogennetos Valerios Angelos on the day of his 16 birthday.
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: It will be done.
KYRIAKOS PALAIOLOGOS: Good. Leave now.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Grandmaster Ioannes!
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Yes?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Before you leave, there's something I must ask you about.
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Go on them.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Why, on Kristos holy wounds, did you charge against xenoi during Guelma?
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Why? Why? They are soulless monsters, they slaughtered and enslaved millions, they turned my kingdom into wasteland and you ask me why?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: This is not your personal quest for vengeance, my lord. This is Imperial Army. We survived for a thousand years not because of courage or lust for revenge but thanks to order, discipline and organization.
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: And yet the Imperium has been using my fellow Varangians to unleash their fury on enemies of the Throne for centuries. I am the king of Varangians.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You are not a member of the Guard, Ioannes, nor you are a king. You're Emperor's soldier now.
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Careful, doux – you don't want to have enemy in me.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: As you wish. But mark my words: four thousand finest kataphraktoi died to satisfy your pride. Not anymore, you hear me? If you lead me men to pointless slaughter like you did in Guelma...
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Are you threatening me, domestikos?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I'm just telling you that – drums!
:drums beating, imperial soldiers running and shouting orders:
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: They are here. We'll have to finish this conversation later.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Malista. You! Prepare my horse, now!
EUNUCH: Kyrios.
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Doux Demetrios.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Yes?
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: May Saint Markos guide your hand.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: May Isapostolos protects you too. Death to xenoi.
:grandmaster Ioannes smiles:
GRANDMASTER IOANNES: Death to xenoi.


The battle of Souk Ahras began on 23rd March 1429 when thousands of savages clashed with the invincible wall made of brave Roman soldiers. The same day megas domestikos sent messenger to thema of Sicilia to bring reinforcements – additional themata joining the battle after being transported through the sea by dromonoi would allow for complete annihilation of xenoi. The imperial forces were divided into three katepano. Left flank was commanded by protospatharios doux Demetrios Komnenos, right flank was led by despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos and in the center both Brotherhood and regular themata were under the command of grandmaster Ioannes Stibolt. Thousands of xenoi died from the rain of flaming arrows. When the gigantic armies finally clashed, the western savages were completely overwhelmed. They had no chance - Romaioi were better organized and more numerous and with reinforcements on route, the destruction of xenoi army seemed certain. Soon the Aztecs were forced to retreat and whole might of the imperial forces could focus on what was left from enemy's left flank.

The victory was near. But the power of Darkness can not be underestimated.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Rally to me! To me!
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: My lord, grandmaster is retreating! The xenoi are too many, we can't hold them!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: We can and we will! We have to buy some time for despotes. Stavros!
:Stavros blows the horn:
STRATEGOS STAVROS: FORM THE LINE, YOU SCUM!
:hundreds of kataphraktoi preparing formation:
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: But we have maybe a thousand kataphraktoi left!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I said we're charging.
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: For God's sake, Demetrios, that's suicide!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Soldiers! There are over seventy thousands of xenoi before us!
:tagmata kataphraktoi, prepared for charge, look at doux Demetrios:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :rises his spear: Let's go kill them!
TAGMATA KATAPHRAKTOI: :shouting: KRISTOS! KRISTOS!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Ride with me! Stauros Nika!
TAGMATA KATAPHRAKTOI: NIKAAAA!


The first battle of Souk Ahras ended in a catastrophic defeat on 12th May 1429. Xenoi horde, reinforced by the freshly arrived armies from the West, slaughtered thousands of Romans on this day. And although the savages paid heavy price in bodies for their victory, imperial forces were forced to retreat to Medjerda. Almost 40,000 brave Romaioi soldiers died and became a feast for crows and terrifying western cannibals – and only more would have died if not for doux Megistos Komnenos, who with his tagmata slowed down the enemy's chase. Still, the casualties were horrifying.

But the worst was only about to come.


Fresh themata from Sicilia landed on shores of Annaba as ordered by megas domestikos to reinforce Romaioi fighting with xenoi. But in the chaotic aftermath of the battle no messenger was sent to warn them about the outcome of Souk Ahras. According to the plan reinforcements from Sicilia were to help forces of despotes crush the savages – but it was the Imperial Army which fell into a trap. Surprised by enemy while disembarking, unready and disorganized Romaioi lost thousands before they managed to retreat. Second battle of Souk Ahras was over by 25th June – the Imperium lost. It was erroneous leadership of despotes Kyriakos which led to this tragedy.

Augustus was very disappointed.


When he news reached the City, they say that Alexios I Angelos aged several years in one day, his hair turning grey. He ordered to perform a great holy mass in Hagia Sophia to pray for the fallen and for the victory. To motivate despotes and to make sure he would not make another costly mistake again, Augustus ordered to imprison his son Kyrillos Palaiologos. But before the messenger from the Great Palace could warn megas domestikos about the consequences of yet again defeat, the xenoi pursuit catched up to the retreating Roman armies in mountains of Kasserine


Despite best efforts of imperial strategoi, xenoi attacked before themata was prepared. Mountainous battlefield would give enormous advantage to Romaioi if used effectively – alas, there was no time for preparations. Constant attacks of Aztec raiders and exhausting march from Souk Ahras combined with disorder caused by lack of discipline of mercenaries caused the morale to be low. When battle began on 29th June 1429, little more than 30,000 brave Roman soldiers had to face over 50,000 strong xenoi army. The ill-fated reinforcements from Sicilia were on their way but although they counted 30,000 men as well they were chased by even bigger horde of western savages.

There were no victors.


Although xenoi managed to force Romaioi from the mountains they suffered heavy casualties, losing two or three savages for every imperial soldier killed on the battlefield. Army led by despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos and reinforcements from thema of Sicilia finally joined their forces. The strategic situation was worse than bad and despite new forces promised by the envoys from the Great Palace it seemed that by the time tagmata and mercenaries arrive in Africa, xenoi would attack again. After regrouping, megas domestikos ordered his men to march back to Medjerda – it was in the same bloodied canyons which Romaioi left on 22nd July to the Aztecs were he was hoping to survive the incoming storm. Upon hearing the news about his son being imprisoned, despotes was determined to hold on long enough for tagmata from Konstantinoupolis to join the battle. More than 50,000 strong Roman army was about to face xenoi forces twice as numerous. But this time there was time to make preparations. Spikes, stakes, wooden palisades and short walls made from dirt and stones were raised to protect positions of themata. Wounded were being healed, hungry were fed and processions with eikon of Saint Markos Isapostolos were conducted to ensure God's blessing. The fate of the war depended on the incoming battle – it was to be either the turning point of the invasion or the last stand for exhausted Romaioi.

Finally, the hour has come.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: They charged! Sweet Iesus Kristos, they charged against him.
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Grandmaster will hold them.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: He better do.
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Kyrios, the messenger.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What is it? Speak quickly!
MESSENGER: My lord, I'm bringing news from the rearguard – xenoi attack has been repelled!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: They are determined, western scum.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Why are you telling me this? Does droungarios Zenobios needs reinforcement?
MESSENGER: No, kyrios. He... he just...
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Spell it out.
MESSENGER: No, kyrios. Sir, he stopped fighting. He isn't giving the orders anymore, the rearguard-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Then who is?
MESSENGER: Nobody. He – my lord!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Kyrios?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Xenoi can't break through. Horse! Strategos Stavros, you're now in command of the right flank. Antonios, you're going with me.
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Yes sir!
:guardsmen rise as Demetrios goes pass them:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You, take twenty archers and go to the passage – make haste! :mounts the horse: Don't let them take the hill, Stavros, no matter the cost!
STRATEGOS STAVROS: Yes, sir!


:Demetrios and Antonios ride to the narrow mountain passage guarded by several hundred troops; corpses of xenoi and Romaioi are everywhere; near the entrance to the passage droungarios Zenobios is on his knees holding bloodied body of another imperial officer in his hands:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Droungarios! What is the meaning of this? :gets off a horse: Are you deaf or blind? Xenoi are preparing another assault and-
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Kyrios.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :sigh: You! Yes, you – who is this? His friend?
THEMATA SOLDIER: 'Twas 'is brother, noble sir.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: God damn it. Let him go, droungarios.
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: …
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I said let him go. You're an imperial soldier and I am your superior.
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: …
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Do it, soldier!
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: :mumbling:
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: I think he's saying something, kyrios.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What? :gets closer to Zenobios: What are you mumbling about? Ugh!
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: THEY ATE HIS FACE! They killed him and they ate his face! :cries:
:eek:ne of themata soldiers vomits:
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Isapostolos protect...
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :shocked: You... you leave him now. You have your duties, officer. The Imperium needs you to command this men and to hold this passage. Do you understand?
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: :cries: They ate his face... his face...
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I asked you a question. The Imperium-
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: To hell with Imperium! :cries:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: How dare you?! You better pray to saint Markos I forget about what you just said or else-
DROUNGARIOS ZENOBIOS: Fuck saint Markos! Fuck the Angeloi!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :stunned: What? That's... that's heresy!
:themata soldiers observe the scene terrified:
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: :quietly: My lord, we need to do something – xenoi may attack at any moment and morale is already very low. They are not tagmata: these are just peasants from Anatolia and Italia, if they-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Give me your axe.
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Kyrios?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Give it to me!
:Antonios gives his battle axe to Demetrios, who swiftly swipes it at Zenobios head; Zenobios falls dead to the ground:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Soldiers! You will die today but not of traitor's death! You will die for your families and for the Imperium! :points bloodied axe at the passage: Death itself is coming for you but you shall face it like men! You are Romaioi! You will die standing! Antonios!
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: Sir?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Take five archers and put an arrow to everyone who tries to desert.
:scouts blow the horn:
THEMATA SOLDIER: Xenoi! Xenoi are coming!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Form the line, form the line! :pushes through the soldiers to the first line: Archers, ready your bows! Drums!
:drums begin beating:
STRATEGOS ANTONIOS: How many?!
THEMATA SCOUT: At least three thousand!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Soldiers! This is where we hold them! This is where we fight!
:masses of xenoi start pouring from the passage:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: The Angeloi protect! :rises his axe: Death!
THEMATA SOLDIERS: DEAAAATH!
:Romaioi and xenoi soldiers clashes:


It was a slaughter. The hills were red from the blood of the Romans and it was as if bodies of the slained formed a new mountains. Aztec beast were feasting on the dead and dranking from their skulls. Whole themata units were wiped out, few just a few thousands of survivors fleeing from the battefield and leaving their fellow soldiers to certain death.


On 12th October battle of Siliana was over – the Imperium was beaten. Tagmata from Konstantinoupolis arrived too late; kataphraktoi onboard dromonoi of the Imperial Navy could only watch as Africa was being burned, helplessly. The remnants of the Roman forces were scattered, most of them hunted down in the following weeks in battles of Netza and Zaghouan. Some managed to escape the ruthless pursuit, among them accursed despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos. Grandmaster Ioannes Stibolt and doux Demetrios Komnenos survived too, leading what was left of Imperial Army to the coast, from where they were evacuated.

Augustus was furious.


Disastrous failure of the campaign was the responsibility of megas domestikos and, as it was promised to him, there were consequences. Kyriakos Palaiologos himself didn't join the imperial forces gathered in thema of Sicilia – instead he and what was left of his men sailed straight to Aragon, seeking refuge from Augustus' anger. But for Roman citizens in Africa in mattered not. Defenseless, they were an easy prey for xenoi and despite best efforts of the Imperial Navy to evacuate as many as it was possible, tens of thousands were wiped out or enslaved. Thema of Tunisia was burning while hordes of savages from the Far West were razing whole cities to satisfy Dark Power to whom they serve. Whole Africa was overrun in the following weeks and there was nothing what could be done to save Romaioi from their terrible fate.

In the gathering darkness it seemed that God has abandoned his children.



 
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Enlil

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Cower servants of the False Emperor! Cower and pray to the cold, dead God you worship. There is only Chaos!
Tezcatlipoca, the Tloque Nahuaque (lord of the near and nigh) claims another victory against inteouh (their god)! Yes, but us Nahua must be careful, for our great Tezcatlipoca is the Amocualli Teootl Huitaz Aquin (The Dark God that Will Come) is the Necoc Yaotl (enemy of both sides). With all the prisoners taken in this grand victory, they shall be given in the Toxcatl!
 

Ricardo Rolo

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And so Africa is lost to the Xenoi again ... and some heads are bound to roll out :/

Gamewise, it is clear that all hinged in the first battle and that losing the battle of Bejaija made all the campaign a futile attempt to salvage your army from the encroaching 50k stacks of the enemy. The lack of competent generals ( or better said, of a general at all in the right flank and of a decent one in the center ) there made all the diference, since it looks that you could had won that battle if the right flank had held a little longer ...
 

Haldan

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Tezcatlipoca, the Tloque Nahuaque (lord of the near and nigh) claims another victory against inteouh (their god)! Yes, but us Nahua must be careful, for our great Tezcatlipoca is the Amocualli Teootl Huitaz Aquin (The Dark God that Will Come) is the Necoc Yaotl (enemy of both sides). With all the prisoners taken in this grand victory, they shall be given in the Toxcatl!
Alalalaa! As the tlamacazqui(Giver of Things) have spoken , the Lords of Day and Night alike have granted our brave Cuahchiqueh the mercy that is Victory, even sweeter than the maize of Centeotl or the skin of Tlazolteotl! A thousand captives will be flayed at the month of the Tlacaxipehualiztli(Flaying of Men) in honor to our wise Tlatoani and Teotl!

[video=youtube;Py0LSCglskc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py0LSCglskc[/video]
 

CzokletMuss

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Good for them... Even for heretics they still stand up against the even worse Xenoi faith.

Well done!

(...)

Tezcatlipoca, the lord of the smoking mirror will denied his feast on Toxcatl! The wretched Tloque Nahuaque will be slayed along with the rest of his Daemon brothers!
Indeed - it's quite astonishing to think that Catholics are still alive after all this.

Thanks! :)

If xenoi are so fond of death, we shall give it to them.
Clearly the Xenoi have hacked your internet CzokletMuss. That is a picture of Spartans, not Romans.
I know, I know - I just watched recently "300: Rise of an Empire" ;) Mediocre movie at best BTW, only redeeming qualities is cool soundtrack and Eva Green.
Finally managed to catch up with the most recent updates, and I have to say it's been quite a thrill ride. The Imperium seems to be weathering the storm quite well, but the continual expansion of that massive Aztec Empire has me concerned, I'll admit. Nevertheless, I'm sure the mad most blessed Basileos will triumph once more in the face of adversity.
Ahem, well, yeah, about that. What do you think about the situation now? :p
Everyone pray for Alexios, so that he gets the voice of Jesus, or Satan still Jesus, any rumors to the contrary are lies spread by the bishop of Rome, because in an AAR like this, we can't just have possessed fire and not have any follow-up.
I really hope it will fire, because this is too good of an occasion to be missed.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooo!
:(
:eek:hmy:
It is but a flesh wound !
- A scratch? Your arm's off!
- No, it isn't!
But seriously, it could'be been worse - Africa was just a two duchies themata. If the xenoi took Italia though...
Cower servants of the False Emperor! Cower and pray to the cold, dead God you worship. There is only Chaos!
Heresy!
And so Africa is lost to the Xenoi again ... and some heads are bound to roll out :/

Gamewise, it is clear that all hinged in the first battle and that losing the battle of Bejaija made all the campaign a futile attempt to salvage your army from the encroaching 50k stacks of the enemy. The lack of competent generals ( or better said, of a general at all in the right flank and of a decent one in the center ) there made all the diference, since it looks that you could had won that battle if the right flank had held a little longer ...
I don't get it why AI is targeting such lame k_titles - if I was playing against a human, I'm sure he would have invaded Italy or some other big and rich kingdom. Sicily maybe? It would give you a range to target Greece.

This was embarrassing to say at least:
1. I have no idea why I lost the first battle; I had a commander on the right flank before it started! I probably moved him to the other army by accident or something equally silly; still, I had the numbers, 1,5:1. What can I say? A shameful dispray...
2. Well, if only I noticed in time that there was an amphibious landing scheduled I wouldn't have a disaster of Souk Ahras 2. So again, shame on me.
3. I didn't use all my retinues (tagmata): I always keep at least several thousands near the capital in case of revolts and rebellions. I was helping Poland in their civil war (not depicted in last chapter), so it's safe to say I had 1/3 of tagmata in Konstantinoupolis, 1/3 in Silesia and 1/3 in Africa - a BIG mistake I won't repeat. From now on every war is total war: I underestimated Aztecs for the same reason some of you did (transported armies from Scandinavia and England to Africa should take months leaving me time to react).

All in all, it was not their superior numbers but screwed up tactics (reinforcements from Sicily, "forced" battles when my armies with shattered morale were engaged by Aztecs) and strategy (I should have sent all kataphraktoi and bought more mercs). I lost my African provinces (and it took decades to get them, considering I had to wait for good opportunity to DOW Aztecs or steal some provinces when their vassals were rebelling), income, retinue cap, levies, manpower, gold and pride. On the other hand, I have a truce now - but considering that Cacamatzin Acatl can die at any moment, it's not much. And the next invasion can very well target very important and rich k_titles like Italy, Egypt or maybe even Greece (Crete is in Greece, right? And it's only two sea provinces from Cyrenaica! Holy crap...).
Rally the levies and get us some coin we must take our revenge on the Xenoi!
Surely - the Cross is (usually) victorious! Stauros Nika!
Tezcatlipoca, the Tloque Nahuaque (lord of the near and nigh) claims another victory against inteouh (their god)! Yes, but us Nahua must be careful, for our great Tezcatlipoca is the Amocualli Teootl Huitaz Aquin (The Dark God that Will Come) is the Necoc Yaotl (enemy of both sides). With all the prisoners taken in this grand victory, they shall be given in the Toxcatl!
Alalalaa! As the tlamacazqui(Giver of Things) have spoken , the Lords of Day and Night alike have granted our brave Cuahchiqueh the mercy that is Victory, even sweeter than the maize of Centeotl or the skin of Tlazolteotl! A thousand captives will be flayed at the month of the Tlacaxipehualiztli(Flaying of Men) in honor to our wise Tlatoani and Teotl!
What is this? Did I hear blasphemous names of the Dark Powers? Are you speaking in language of western savages?

Let this be a lesson to all ck2 players: never put an ancestor of Indrick Boreale in a position of power.
Yay, someone noticed my obvious reference! :) To all those who didn't get it:
[video=youtube_share;WeCfod1XT7E]http://youtu.be/WeCfod1XT7E[/video]

Truly disastrous voice acting.
 

McGrey

Colonel
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I noticed that Aquitain is STILL arround and kicking. Weren't they orthodox christians too? Can we hear a bit of whats going on with them?
 

CzokletMuss

The Emprah
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They are true Christians, yes. I don't really have a good screenshot to show you right now but basically they are in a state of constant warfare with Republic of Pisa over border counties. And they are losing.

I'll try to give them more spotlight in the future :)