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    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

Haldan

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How about 1bump?
 

CzokletMuss

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I miss it too! And that's why new chapters are coming this week. Sorry for the delay but some RL stuff had to be taken care of first, you know how it is. Stay tuned :)

 
Last edited:

Enlil

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I miss it too! And that's why new chapters are coming this week. Sorry for the delay but some RL stuff had to be taken care of first, you know how it is. Stay tuned :)
We understand! I am personally tuned to a B-Sharp!
 

AALough

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Best AAR ever. I'm really looking forward to the next one. Which Angelos will become the God-Emperor (who was born in Anatolia)?
 

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 31
1431-1433
CONSUMING FIRE



On 5th day of October in the year of Our Lord 1433 the illustrious Imperial Council of the Imperium Romanum have assembled to debate and advice the blessed Augustus Basileus Autokrator of the Imperium Romanum Alexios Angelos, chosen by Our Lord and Savior as God's Regent on Earth and Protector of the Christendom.

Subjects of the 197th Imperial Council assembly:
- Second Jihad for Aegyptus;
- Italian campaign;
- Tunisian campaign;
- report of Scrinium Barbarorum concerning: Temuge Csikid;
- report of Scrinium Barbarorum concerning: ghazis movements along eastern limes.


Present members of the Imperial Council:

- Maximos Komnenos, Magistros of Imperium Romanum and doux of thema of Armenia
- Demetrios Komnenos, Strategos of Imperium Romanum, kouropalates protospatharios antypathos and doux of themata of Paphlagonia and Armeniakon
- Porphyrios of Pempton, Sakellarios of Imperium Romanum and doux of thema of Modena
- Theodoulos Komnenos, Mystikos of Imperium Romanum and doux of thema of Krete

and domestikos Stavros of Armeniakon as a guest.

Minutes made by vestes Evangelos, eunuch of the Great Palace



DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Please, sit down my lords. Let's not waste any time. Theodoulos, any news from the East?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: No. Our spies are deep behind enemy lines but so far we couldn't confirm any preparations for war. You must remember that we gather most of our intelligence from Syria and Arabia – damned Shia snakes may not notice our agents near the borders but they surely can recognize Romans where there shouldn't be any.
PORPHYRIOS OF PEMPTON: You mean Persia.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Yes. Khagan Menggei may not be his father but he's smart enough to know that if he wants to surprise us, he needs to concentrate his armies far in the East.
PORPHYRIOS OF PEMPTON: So what you're saying is that he may be gathering his armies beyond Tigris and Euphrates as we speak?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: This is possible. However, as I pointed out on multiple occasions, it's rather unlikely that Menggei-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: He's Timur's son, my dear cousin. His father conquered Syria and he himself already tried to conquer the Holy City. Make no mistake – he wants nothing more but our destruction.


THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: I understand this. I'm not trying to defend the man who dared to rise his sword against Hierusalem. I'm merely pointing out that right now the best course of action for him would be to attack the Horde.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: He won't do this.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: What makes you so sure about it? The moment for the attack is perfect – horse-lords are exhausted by the years of infighting, their armies bloodied and disorganized. Thousands of barbarians perished during the civil war, they are in no shape to defend themselves from Menggei's ghazis. Or the Imperial Army for that matter.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I see where this is going.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Than you know that I won't cease my attempts to make you understand why this has to be done.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: My answer is no. We liberated thema of Abkhazia but we will not go any further and you know why – we don't have enough soldiers.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Only because you had them send to Africa and Italia while keeping the rest of them in Hierusalem and for what, to stop bands of mugahidun from passing the limes? Eastern themata can handle this and meanwhile the Army could easily crush Moldau and then secure the rest of Crimea peninsula. I'm telling you, if we strike now we may-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I won't give every Mongol barbarian from Caucasus to the frozen plains of the North reason to rally behind their khagan. We are not going to war with the Ilkhanate, end of discussion.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Now, let's continue with what's truly important. The rebel forces in Italia are-
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: I haven't finished yet.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Yes, you have. Most of castles in thema of Lombardy-
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: This is a terrible mistake. I swear, if your father was still alive, he would-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You keep interrupting me, doux.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Doux? How dare you! I was serving the Throne before you even learned how to take a piss! I am the Head of our House and you will behave respectfully while talking to me, boy.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: :gasps:
PORPHYRIOS OF PEMPTON: …
:Demetrios stares at Maximos:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: …
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Ahem. I, uhm, I didn't mean to-
:Demetrios turns to Porphyrios while keeping his eyes on Maximos:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Sakellarios, be so kind and go find domestikos Stavros, I'm eager to hear what he has to report.
PORPHYRIOS OF PEMPTON: Of course, kyrios. Uhm... when I find him, shall I come back with him or-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Just leave us, please. There's something I have to discuss with my dear uncle.
PORPHYRIOS OF PEMPTON: Kouropalates.
:porphyrios leaves the room:


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What in the hell you think you are doing behaving like that?
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Careful, my nephew, you are talking to the Head of House Komnenos. I will not let you disrespect me and I think it's about time you-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I don't care what you think but I know what you want. You want Moldau, don't you?
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: What?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Spare me these games, I know you do. Since I in my recklessness made your son doux of thema of Abkhazia you are thinking only about amassing more lands for our House. You desire war because you think I'll let one of us kinsman to become doux of Moldau, isn't that so? Isn't this the reason you're willing to waste lives of our soldiers?
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: I most certainly-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You greedy old man. Haven't I give you titles? Haven't I made you wealthy? You got more than you deserve and you still desire more, more offices for your bastards, more gold for your palaces and castles and for what?
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: For our family! Or have you already forgotten where you came from? If it wasn't for Eusebios you would have never even set your foot in the Great Palace! Yes, I'm taking our family's interest into consideration and so should you – every man has to be loyal to his own blood, every man!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: There's a fine line between taking care of your House and treason.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Treason? I want what's best for the Imperium, what's best for us all!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: And how conquering Moldau helps the Imperium?
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: It helps immensely! We can secure northern limes, we can acquire thousands of slaves, we can get a foothold to liberate Crimea and thus secure the whole Black Sea for ourselves... But no, you are too busy chasing “traitors” and “heretics”, terrorizing every House which is not blindly loyal to the Throne with these Athanatoi of yours – and you dare to accuse me of being the one who wants to spill Roman blood?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: There is only so much blood to be spilled and your mad ideas would only further weaken our forces, thus making the Imperium vulnerable. I'm saying this for the last time – there will be no war with the Horde.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Figures. :tapping his fingers on the table: Do you know how they call you since you had Kyrillos Palaiologos executed ? All those aristoi whom you're trying to bring to heel? Kerberos. Emperor's dog.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: How very imaginative of them.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: I see now that the rumors were true. You're no longer one of us, you don't care about your own House at all. All you think about is how to better bootlick your precious Alexios. You think you're one of them, one of the Angeloi? For them you're but a tool to be used and tossed away – or do you honestly think that they earned the Throne solely through God's favor?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I serve God and He has chosen them to protect us all.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: Oh, please! Are you really that stupid to believe in your own lies? The Angeloi-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Enough. I made a mistake giving you position in this Council – shame I didn't realize it earlier. Guards!
:door open and Varangians enter the room:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Magistros is tired, escort him to his chamber and make sure he's safe.
:Varangians approach Maximos:
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: What?! You can't do this! I'm your father's brother! I am the Head of the House Komnenos! How dare you betray your own blood like that?! Is Alexios' madness really that contagious?!
:Demetrios raises his hand and Varangians accompanying Maximos to the door stop:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: If one more heretic lie gets out of your mouth, our House won't be the only one to lose its head.
MAXIMOS KOMNENOS: :pales: You wouldn't-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Try me... uncle. Take him away. And tell domestikos Stavros I'm waiting for him.
:Maximos and guards leave the room:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :sighs: Saint Markos give me strength. :turns to Theodoulos: You didn't say a single word.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Yes.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Why?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: I'm not the one to judge the Head of our House – or you.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Mhm. Tell me, do you think what I'm doing is good?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Kouropalates?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I mean what I've been doing for the past three years. No lies, no false compliments, I want your honest opinion.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Honesty is a rare thing nowadays.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: The more precious it is for me. So?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Sometimes the good of the realm demands sacrifice. Sometimes we may be forced to fight fire with fire.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: But?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: But... I find some of your decisions in regards to securing the Imperium a bit... excessive. Like what happened to other Palaiologos when he was a ward in the Palace.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: There can be no half-measures when we're facing hordes of xenoi and barbarians bent on destroying us. His death sent a clear signal to all aristoi – oppose the Throne and there will be consequences. But thank you for being straightforward, that's really refreshing. :Demetrios gets up from his place and starts walking: Fighting fire with fire... this is the only option we have. The Imperium has stood for centuries against all its enemies and against all odds always managed to emerge victorious or at least survive no matter what threatened its very existence. But what we're facing today... Xenoi have arrived here less than two centuries ago but the devastation caused by them was greater than anything what happened since the western provinces of the Imperium were conquered by barbarians over a thousand years ago. The truth is we're surrounded, Theodoulos. With xenoi in the West and the Horde and Timurids in the East we can barely muster enough men to defend ourselves – and even then we are not always able to win against what barbarians throw against us.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: I imagine that African campaign must've been a harsh experience.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Harsh? This was a slaughter. I was there. I saw finest imperial tagmata wiped out by endless hordes of western cannibals. Xenoi so far managed to destroy everyone on their path. Leon, France, Germany, Denmark, Bohemia, Sweden, Sultanate of Mauretania – all gone, all tainted by them. Ilkhanate consumed everything east to our limes and borders of Kingdom of Poland – all Russian princes knelt before Mongol khagan as his slaves. Timur the Angelos-slayer not only saved Islam from complete destruction and subjugated Hindustan but also razed Syria. We're in war for decades now and this war will never end until either we or them are all dead. Killing a young boy to save us from a civil war was “excessive” to you? :turns to Theodoulos: I would personally slay his whole family if this would help the Imperium to survive. The Emperor didn't hesitate when his own kin turned against him and conspired to seize the Throne for themselves – why should we?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Death of Iakobos Palaiologos didn't save us from civil war.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: No, it didn't – but it could have and it was a chance worth taking. It sow fear in hearts of aristoi. It showed them that there is no mercy for traitors who for their petty egoism are willing to put the whole Imperium in danger. Do I have to remind you what happened barely one month after Iakobos was killed?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Temuge Csikid won.




DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Yes. After years of infighting the Horde united once again on 14th day of June 1431. Remember this day, Theodoulos – this is the best example why we're doing what must be done. We thought they are no longer a threat, that the Mongol beast is slowly bleeding to death. And here we are, two years after Temuge's victory and they are as dangerous as they were few decades ago. That's why there can't be any half-measures – what's at stake here is the survival of Christendom itself. The Imperium is the only protector of the Holy Cross in this world. If we fail, with us dies not only the light of civilization which is shining upon the world for over a thousand years but also the Church and all what is good and holy on this earth. The Angeloi is the only thing which is holding the Imperium together and to try to challenge them is equal to helping Diabolos to damn millions of Christian souls to oblivion and eternal torture. We may be Romaioi but we're men and men are weak – and there is no place for weakness if we want to survive. People must know their place and their duties, they must be kept in line, by any means necessary if that's what it takes. And that's why I do what I do. That's why I restored tagma ton Athanatoi. Tell me, are you familiar with the phrase quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Yes. Who watches the watchmen?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: We do. For the Emperor and survival of the Imperium Romanum. No price is too high to save children of Iesus Kristos from carnage and slaughter and the laughter of the xenoi daemons. Do you understand now?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Yes.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Good. What Maximos said about conquering Moldau isn't entirely wrong from a strategic point of view but to do this today is pure madness. The Imperial Army was decimated in Africa and what little is left of themata with some experienced in combat is spread too thinly to think about offensive on the lands of the Horde, not to mention that it would make uniting the horse-lords only easier for Temuge Csikid. My uncle thinks that taking Moldau would strengthen our House but he fails to understand that it would put the Imperium in danger – and without the imperial protection, we would all be nothing more but a slaves of barbarians, aristoi or common citizens alike. And yet noble Houses continue to scheme and plot, betraying each other and making false promises, with poison and dagger trying to fight their way out of the bottom and crawl a little closer to power, a little closer to the Throne. :hits his fist on the table: Delusional fools! Curse them and their petty ambitions, I say. The Imperium is all that stands between them and darkness and they continue to think that somehow every war will won itself and that we are somehow immune to xenoi threat.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: But the Imperium cannot fall, can it? It's what Saint Markos teaches us. The divine grace of Our Lord is what protects us.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: The Angeloi protect – through them the God's work is done. It's our duty to participate in His work however, for God helps those who help themselves. And there is so much to be done, things the none of the Heads of the Houses could possible grasp.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: What do you mean, kouropalates?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Hindustan, for instance. We've been trading with merchants from this distant realm for decades but it's always them who come to our shores, not the other way around. Why? We should sail there to secure trade routs, to explore it, maybe even to find allies against the Timurids. Sinae and this so-called “Celestial Empire” - their giant fleet appeared out of nowhere. Seres claim to have no malicious intentions but how can we be sure they are not lying? And this “Son of Heaven”, is he really the benevolent ruler as Admiral Zheng He described him? Who's to say the threat of another invasion doesn't lie in the Far East? Or South for that matter? We don't know what is hidden in the jungles of Africa. The world stretches far beyond our limes and, who knows, perhaps there lies the instruments of our salvation from xenoi?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Or our destruction – after all, xenoi have come to us from the Far West.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: About which we know nothing. There are so many things which require our attention. Aztec arrival marked the day in which we learned that the world is a much greater and more dangerous place than we ever thought. We can be no longer focused on the defense if we're to survive. Do you see it now?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Oh yes, I see it. Is that what you're talking about with porphyrogennetos Markos?


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Excuse me?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: The long hours you spent teaching him the art of war, as Augustus requested – is this also a part of his lessons?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Perhaps. Why are you asking?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Curiosity.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I appreciate your concern but too much curiosity may be dangerous. Asking wrong people the wrong questions is not a recipe for a long life. Or don't you remember how I was able to get you this position in the Council in the first place?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: I... didn't want to disrespect you, kyrios, what motivated me was solely the concern for the-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I'm not trying to scare you, cousin, but as a man in your position you should know better than this. Let me give you a good advice – concentrate on your work for the Imperium and leave porphyrogennetos education to those responsible for it. Are we clear?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Yes, kouropalates. Please forgive me.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Apologies accepted. You should be more interested in what princess and her Polish courtiers are doing in their free time.



THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: We're keeping a close eye on them but since the wedding princess Magdalena seems to dedicate all her... attention to give Markos son and lengthening the line of the Angeloi.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Very good - progeny of Saint Markos shall carry his legacy until the End Times. The betrothal with House Spis and securing the alliance with Kingdom of Poland was probably the only good thing which came out of Leontios Doukas being parakoimomenos.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: May he rot in Hell. But there was price to be paid for the royal marriage.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Irrelevant. Kingdom of Poland is our vital ally, few thousands of themata soldiers who died during the Silesian campaign gave their lives away for a worthy cause. King Jacek is a honorable man and he didn't hesitate when we were force to ask him to fulfill his obligations. Polish knights will arrive in Aegyptus when the revolt against him is finally surpressed, I have no doubt about this.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Still, they are barbarians. I mean, not like the Mongol brutes, but they are not Romaioi. They can't be trusted.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Nobody can be trusted, especially Romaioi. We have common goals and common enemies, that's it. Children of Augustus and Polish king may be bound by marriage but this doesn't make us friends.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: But men of the Imperial Army will bleed for Poles and their realm.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: As they will for the Imperium. Speaking about marriages, is Empress in good health? I didn't have time to speak to her recently.


THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: She is. And she is very grateful for what you did for her.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I didn't do it for her, I did it for the Imperium. It's not worth mentioning.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Still, she insisted that I give you her regards.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Tell her I say thank you but really, there's no need to come back to it. The bride-show ended year ago, she should concentrate on her marital duties instead of wasting her time on thanking me for carrying my duties.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Duties, you say? Was it really only your duty which made you help my sister gain Emperor's favor? An interesting duty that is.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I did less thank you both think – she's a well-mannered and sweet girl but we both know that behind these pretty eyes there's hidden determination and strong will. Outmanouvering other candidates is her merit, not mine.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Either way, she wishes she could show you her gratitude somehow.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Fulfilling her duties as empress and wife would the greatest reward I can ask for. Enough of this. :sits down: We've wasted too much time speaking about matters not related to this Council meeting. Where's Stavros? He should already be here – what's stopping him? You, eunuch, come here.
EUNUCH: Kyrios?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You'll go and find domestikos Stavros and tell him to get here immediately.
EUNUCH: Yes, kyrios.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Go! Enough time has been wasted on fruitless-
:door open - sakellarios Porphyrios and domestikos Stavros enter the room:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Wait! Go bring us some wine with water instead.
EUNUCH: :bows: Kyrios.
STAVROS: My lord.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: What took you so long? Wait – I don't want to know. We're already late, so let's just go straight to it. Sit.
: sakellarios Porphyrios and domestikos Stavros take their places at the table:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Report. What news from the East?


STAVROS: It's been almost ten months since it began and during all these time we've encountered only disorganized bands of mugahidun, most of them too small to call them an army. Vast majority is from lands under control of caliph himself. But...
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Yes?
STAVROS: It changed few weeks ago. Forces counting more than 30,000 have crossed the limes in Sinai and we have every reason to believe that more is coming.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Theodoulos?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: More chiefs join the jihad with every passing month but without a strong leadership they are scattered.
STAVROS: I agree. There's no unity or coherence in their actions, most of the barbarians seem to be more interested in raiding villages near limes than going any further into the Aegyptus or Hierusalem. My lord, I know you are convinced that Menggei will join the jihad as well but-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: He will. He's Timur's son and he's still hungry for revenge after the humiliation he suffered from our hands ten years ago.
STAVROS: Sir, I understand all of this. But while our main army is waiting for his attack on Cyprus, our forces in Italia and thema of Tunisia are facing severe difficulties. If we were to send more men-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: The answer is no. What about our allies from Aquitaine?


STAVROS: They arrived two months ago, led by their prince and 15,000 men strong. Surprisingly enough, he didn't want to wait but he instead went after a small Mongol army and destroyed them during battle of Sarepta.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Admirable dedication. Speaking of which, how do you find the spirit our officers?
STAVROS: The morale is high, sir. The men are eager to show their mettle in battle. No incidents of desertion or treason so far.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Splendid. You see, Theodoulos? The African disaster will not happen again. The strategoi were cleansed from the taint of treason and heresy and now will loyally carry their orders. Truly it is as Iesus Kristos said: Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Forgive me, kouropalates, but He also said by their fruits you will know them.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Are you going to argue with me over what the Bible says?
STAVROS: This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people”. Book of Zechariah.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I see that your promotion to domestikos serve you well if you have time to study the Holy Book.
STAVROS: It's all I can do on Cyprus while we wait for Menggei.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Don't worry, you'll have to draw your sword sooner than you think. He will come.
STAVROS: But in the meantime our finest soldiers are idle, confined on Cyprus by your orders. My lords, please allow me to take 5,000 men and go to Italia, I'll conquer thema of Lombardy and bring you the traitorous doux Malacresta in chains. We can end this civil war in one swift-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: No. I need you on Cyprus, my friend – Timur's son may strike at any moment and if his ghazis are to descend upon the Imperium, I need someone trusted in the East to lead the Imperial Army. Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour - there is wisdom in these words and much greater than you may think.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Excuse me, kouropalates – I'm not trained in the art of war but wouldn't it be reasonable to eliminate the rebels first? This civil war drags on for almost three years now.


DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: A good general is one who utilizes his own skills to fit the opportunities he gets and the quality of the enemy, as Strategikon teaches us.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Well-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Xenoi also are suffering from a civil war and it would be foolish not to make use of it. Just like in case of Abkhazia, the weakness of our enemy was too big of an opportunity to be missed. Do you think that despotes Kyriakos Palaiologos is a threat bigger than the Horde or xenoi? His petty rebellion will be crushed in due time and meanwhile our forces were able to liberate some lands lost to Aztec savages because of his incompetence.
STAVROS: We could have defeated him if only you had allowed me to do this, my lord. Let me take several themata and sail to Aragon, we shall-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: No, Stavros – don't make me repeat this for the third time. The danger from-
:door opens and eunuch dressed as a vestes of Scrinium Barbarorum walks in:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I hope this is important.
EUNUCH: Message from the East, kyrios.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :waves at eunuch to come closer: As I already said, you will stay on Cyprus until I say otherwise. What little damage the rebels can inflict upon us is nothing compared to the horrors which Timur's son can unleash if he and his ghazis join the jihad. :eunuch handles him the sealed letter: Wisdom would have us first deal with the snake before we turn our attention to rats. Do you understand?
STAVROS: It will be so, my lord.
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: I'm glad to hear that. Now, Theodoulos - tell me about your agentes in rebussent to the East. I hope you made good use of them? :starts reading the letter:
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Yes, kyrios. The agents were dispatched in every thema and we have already gathered some... alarming intelligence from several of them.
STAVROS: Heresy?
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Mostly just corruption within the local administration. Extortions, bribes, illegal slave trading, turning a blind eye to smuggler... But indeed there were few cases in which some of the imperial officials were participating in an, hmm, unorthodox activities. And I don't mean by that refusing to venerate Isapostolos – may his name be blessed – but something far more... sinister.
STAVROS: But my lord, are you suggesting that-
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: Idolatry. In most cases they follow blasphemous teachings of Shia, but few Romaioi turned into Tengri or other false gods of barbarians.
STAVROS: Saint Markos protect! What are we waiting for then? Shouldn't the unclean be purged? Kyrios, let me take few dozens of Athanatoi and I assure you that the heretics-
:Demetrios raises his hand, both Stavros and Theodoulos become silent:
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Menggei has crossed the limes with 100,000 men.


THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: :makes the sign of the cross: Iesus Kristos save us...
STAVROS: What are your orders, kyrios?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: :stands up and walks over to the window: Assembly the Army. We're going to need soldier from every themata to endure what's coming. You will set off to Cyprus immediately, mercenaries from Poland and Aquitaine will join you there as soon as possible. :looks at Konstantinoupolis: And so the true jihad began...
STAVROS: What about our troops in Italia, my lord?
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: We're going to need them as well. :turns his head to Stavros: Call them off. All of them.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: But... kouropalates, what about the rebels? We can't just-
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: You'll send envoys to ask for peace – as of now, you are magistros of this Council until I find someone trusted to replace Maximos. :turns away and walks toward the door: We need to have the West secured if we're about to face the wrath of the East. Stavros, I want all the bells in the city to ring – let every man know that we're at war.
STAVROS: Yes, kyrios.
THEODOULOS KOMNENOS: What? But... I... where are you going? Demetrios!
DEMETRIOS KOMNENOS: Somebody has to tell the Emperor that the storm has come for us again.



 
Last edited:

DKM

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FINALLY! ANOTHER UPDATE!

Seems like the troubles for the Imperium never do stop do they?
 

Pezito

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Stupid rebels,without the protection of the Imperium they will be swallowed by the xenoi in seconds.
And that is an insane amount of troops from the Timurids.Do they still have their event troops?
 

Attalus

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The Komnenos ( Komnenoi ? my Greek is weak :p ) hold a substantial influence over the Imperium. Hope they'll stay good servants of the Angeloi and not like the Doukas family
 

McGrey

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Aragon lost, what a dark day. Lets hope, the Jihad can be repeled, bevor the western Xenoi grab the iberian Kingdom and it gets lost for a long time.
 

CzokletMuss

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This is so good to read when your coughing up a lung!
Oh boy, I hope you are in good health - long live and prosper, as they say!
Meanwhile, in Tenochtitlan, it's always a bright and sunny day from the sacrifices, and everyone's happy because there's a nigh endless supply of savage easterners to go up to the altar instead of hardworking Aztec citizens, and all the riches plundered from Europe has created a state of utopia!
The great xenoi shall drink the blood of these weak romans! The time of their rule has come to an end!
Prosperity of the Far West ensured by the blood of the Romaioi? A truly terrible vision - and how this utopia would look like?



Nah.
Diplomacy screen:
->Imprison
->Execute imprisioned
Now that's what I call agressive negotiations.
Ma ihyalpatic cozcacuauhtli quimatiz mictiloz auh tepallama auh tlamictizque ihuanyolque!
"The term "barbarian" refers to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person. (...) The Ancient Greek word βάρβαρος (barbaros), "barbarian", was an antonym for πολίτης (politēs), "citizen" (from πόλις - polis, "city-state"). The sound of barbaros onomatopoetically evokes the image of babbling (a person speaking a non-Greek language)"
Story-wise - one of the best, if not the best, chapter so far. Fragments like these make you regret there is no "Enable Dialogues" button in the game. The grimdark world of crumbling Europe and paranoid atmosphere of Imperial Court where backstabbing officials and aristoi weave their plots to the accompaniment of the Mad Emperor's howls just come alive when you read it.
But was there any need in disposing of so many seemingly competent people, gameplay-wise?
Thank you very much! :) Also please report to the nearest doux palace for interrogation for spreading lies about Emperors, umh, "condition".
Gameplay-wise, not really - but the second son of Augustus, Markos Angelos, had better stats, so...
I can't believe I haven't subbed to this yet. Subbed.
Also, it looks like glorious children of the sky lord the Mongols keep on fracturing after fracture. Is it possible that Tengri's chosen they will become politically irrelevant soon, becoming nothing more than just feuding warlords?
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy the story :)
Well, the last chapter (31) answered this question really - I hoped that this is what would happen considerind they were on their best way to total fragmentation. Alas, it would be too easy.

Glad I'm not the only one getting that kind of vibration from the last update. It looks like the Byzantine high leadership has started spiraling into a cycle of poisonous intrigue, paranoia, and treachery.

...Not that this is meant to reflect poorly on the Angeloi themselves. Clearly, the fact that evil influences have managed to worm their way so high up into the Imperial chain of command can only reflect well on the Basileos's acuity in uncovering their insidious plots before they could cause any real damage. I'm sure his own august personage is, of course, totally inviolate and free from error.
Obviously!
That said, I'm not placing any money on this being the last of these little "palace coups" by a long shot.
Yeah, I would be more concerned that there have been council meetings in this AAR that don't have a coup.
Palace coups? In Roman Empire? They were practically everyday events. :D
Pointless infighting while outside forces threaten to destroy them is a proud tradition of the Byzantines, though!
As KaiserWilhelmI and LACKADAISICAL pointed out, internal strife and instability was (sadly) a common thing in the Imperium in real life. Ambition and treachery were far more dangerous than external enemies and, for instance, they were the real causes of the downfall which followed ill-fated battle of Manzikert. Knowing this and how desperate the situation of the Imperium and the whole Christendom is, it's not hard to imagine that " spiraling into a cycle of poisonous intrigue, paranoia, and treachery" would be a natural, if somehow twisted, response to total defeat temporary setback for soldiers of Kristos.
Sometimes the AI just makes me laugh. An independence faction when the Aztecs would chew them up in two seconds :laugh:
Yeah, this is ridiculous every time it happens - especially when you play on Ironmen as Karen (Zoroastrians) surrounded by Muslims and Tengri.
So, you made your only king vassal hate you? :D
No problem, realy. He just send his headsman to "improve foreign relations".
I actually did this on purpose - giving him k_title was a mistake, it didn't really help much and it lowered my income and levies. I can't revoke it without everyone hating me, so I could only make him rebel and then take the crown of Aragon and destroy it. Obviously it was to good of a plan to work, so now I have to deal with the consequences after it backfired.
It looks like the madness is contagious. Literally.
Haha, yeah, my thoughts when I noticed that despotes has the "condition" as well :)
How about 1bump?
Always welcome :)
We understand! I am personally tuned to a B-Sharp!
We understand. I was gone for a week and missed alot of stuff
Real life ? What is this madness ?!
I know, right? My apologies, I want to get back to regular updating and to finish this AAR this month so that I can finally start the second part of it in EU4.
Best AAR ever. I'm really looking forward to the next one. Which Angelos will become the God-Emperor (who was born in Anatolia)?
Thanks! Oh I don't know, if there only was one of the Angeloi who was already venerated and hold as an exemplar to all people he ruled over and saved from heathens, barbarians and xenoi... Hmm, I wonder who could be that person? ;)
Encouraging news indeed. I'll be looking forward to the return of regular updates.
Me too, it's good to be back :)
This is an awesome update! The court intrigue is incredible to read!!
Thank you very much
No! Not the Imperium!
Brace yourself - the East is coming.
FINALLY! ANOTHER UPDATE!
Seems like the troubles for the Imperium never do stop do they?
No, they don't :)
Stupid rebels,without the protection of the Imperium they will be swallowed by the xenoi in seconds.
And that is an insane amount of troops from the Timurids.Do they still have their event troops?
AI is suicidal as always. And no, they don't - these are all genuine levies and retinues of Timurids.
Aragon lost, what a dark day. Lets hope, the Jihad can be repeled, bevor the western Xenoi grab the iberian Kingdom and it gets lost for a long time.
Let's hope or even better, let's pray to the Isapostolos so that he may preserve the Imperium!
The Komnenos ( Komnenoi ? my Greek is weak :p ) hold a substantial influence over the Imperium. Hope they'll stay good servants of the Angeloi and not like the Doukas family
Who?






Next chapter will obviously be dedicated to the jihad - stay tuned, it may arrive sooner than you think. Oh, and if you have any questions concerning the AAR feel free to ask. Thanks for reading and kind words, it's always very nice to read them :)

The Angeloi protect!
 
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siempie78

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When reading this, I'm always trying to figure out a party to call the good guys... the ones who cut out hearts in ritual sacrifice? The ones that eradicate cities because they can? The ones that wipe out everyone that believes something different?

I'll settle for the Shia caliph. I'm rooting for Sadiq!

(But good luck anyways ;p)
 

CzokletMuss

The Emprah
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Apr 20, 2012
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When reading this, I'm always trying to figure out a party to call the good guys... the ones who cut out hearts in ritual sacrifice? The ones that eradicate cities because they can? The ones that wipe out everyone that believes something different?

I'll settle for the Shia caliph. I'm rooting for Sadiq!

(But good luck anyways ;p)
It's easy actually. On the one hand we have an opressive, authoritarian, monocultural, expansionist, hypocritical, intolerant, supersticious, bigoted, paranoid, corrupt, stratified, xenophobic, militaristic political entity willing to go to great lengths to ensure its supremacy. On the other hand, we have xenoi beasts and barbarian heathens glorious Imperium Romanum led by descendants of Saint Markos Isapostolos chosen by Iesus Kristos to protect the Christendom as its Sword and Shield.

The choice is obvious.

oh my, a combo attack on the imperium, it finally happened. Well, nice knowing you.
Well, there was almost a 1,5 year between xenoi invasion and jihad (which Menggei would have joined earlier btw if not the truce we had after he tried to conquer Hierusalem), so it could be worse. But yeah, it's not good...
I love it ALL
Thank you! I decided to concentrate a little more on the intrigue since in EU4 the personal element of the power struggle is rather missing.

As an extra, take a look at Timurids realm: