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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

CzokletMuss

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This is ck2. Mongols and Aztek can explode when you least expect.
I would comment on this but this would be a spoiler so I won't - but trust me, this particular game is different :)
 

CzokletMuss

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CHAPTER 6
1297-1303
BEAST FROM THE SEA


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

And so the war began.


Tens of thousands of the worst scum of the earth, the true vultures and jackals, suddenly appeared near Antioch. There was no doubt about it – they must've been sponsored by the enemies of the Empire. Only a fool would think otherwise – or is there anyone who would believe that such gigantic army was just created over one night, like the dragon teeth army of Cadmus? No, it truly was madness to believe that so many men could just appear out of thin air. It must've been the work of the enemies of Basileia Romaion. And only one man outside the imperial borders was wealthy enough to buy and sold whole armies – the heretic bishop of Rome. This cursed usurper, leader of the Catholic heresy was attacking the True Faith, using the naïve Greek douxes as his puppets. May the Almighty God forgive them their stupidity, because Imperial Regent had no mercy in his heart. Fearing about his position, he didn't declare the mobilization of levy troops – instead he have gathered a powerful army of mercenaries and together with imperial tagmata transported them to the shores of Antioch. Although the rebels had numerical superiority, no force could match the power of the kataphraktoi.

And so the bloody battle started.


Battle lasted for whole two weeks during which gigantic forces clashed with the furious power. Only one could prevail and thanks to our Lord the imperial army was victorious. Decimated rebel forces had to flee deep into the country, pillaging, raping and setting the whole villages on fire in a mad attempt to kill growing awareness of their inevitable defeat. Although the fate of this uprising has been decided on the fields of Antioch on 19 August – 4 September 1298, the cursed traitors were still powerful enough to bring misery on a good Christians loyal to the Emperor – but they couldn't dream of achieving victory. Truly our Lord Iesous Khristos was looking after His beloved Basileia Romaion.

But the enemies of the Empire are always vigil.


Khagan Belgutei Toluid, son of Yesugei, son of Belugtei, was now a man. Having survived the turbulent period of his regency, this cruel and proud man was a dangerous opponent. Although not talented as his ancestors, being the commander of the greatest power in Europe he didn't need to do much to bring death and destruction to good Christians – all it takes is one word from the khagan for the invasion to begin.

Unlike the leader of the Horde however, young Leon was still a child.


He was growing quickly but his teachers were concerned about the lack of progress. Raised without his father and with his mother ruling over distant realm and after the Salvador de Luna disappearance separated from him by the Imperial Regent, young basileus was developing strange habits. He knew he's the ruler only in name – but even in such young age he started to show the virtue of patience. He promised himself that one day all the schemers and eunuchs and corrupted aristoi will feel his righteous anger. One day...

Unfortunately, he was still a child – and he was naïve as a child. Leon VII was easily tricked by the Imperial Regent to sign the orders sentencing the old Gunnar the Norse, captain of the Varangian Guard, to death. Although innocent and always loyal to the throne, brave Norse became a victim of a scheme inspired by regent Megistos Basiliakos, who feeled threatened by this faithful servant of the Empire. Branded an enemy of the Throne and falsely accused of treason and cooperation with the rebels, Gunnar the Norse was blinded and executed on 3rd February 1299, his remains burned and cast into the sea.

The second and decisive battle took place one week later in the mountains of Armenia.


Bloody bath known as the battle of Tephrice marked the end of the rebellion. More than 18 thousands soldiers died on this day, 10th February 1300 – a tragic conclusion to the pointless rebellion. After several months of a stalemate the leaders of the traitors agreed to the harsh conditions of the imperial peace – they were all to be imprisoned, their titles revoked and their families stripped of all privileges and honors. The war was finally over on 30th March 1299. It was the end for all of them – the heretic bishop of Rome and his puppets lost.


Basileia Romaion consumed by this petty struggle didn't have enough energy to take care of the ever-present external threats and during this long conflict a lot have changed. The last independent realm of Miaphysites, kingdom of Nubia, was no more, swallowed finally by the armies of cursed Shia caliph on 2nd December 1300.


Unlike the Catholic heretics, the Oriental Orthodox Church was also considered a misguided brother rather than a traitor by the Church of the True Faith. The news of Nubia fall saddened all Christendom. The last ruler of Nubia, Gondar Azim, became the True Christian and emigrated to one of the distant provinces of Basileia Romaion, married to one of the Angeloi. Concerned by the growing strength of Shia, controlling now both Abbysinia and Arabia, Imperial Regent promised him revenge in his name and so that all the Miaphysites may not suffer under the rule of cursed infidels.

The world was changing – there was no doubt about it.


The whole Imperial Court with much curiosity listened to the tales of a young merchant of Republic of Venice, Marco Polo, who was brought to the Constantinople by the Doge of Venice, who wanted to impress his liege and Imperial Regent in hope of gaining support to wage war against Pisa. Italian traveler made a great impression on the court and Leon VII – tales of great states of the Far East like Cathay and Manji made the young basileus dreamed about the mysterious Orient for many nights after the visit.

Alas, the harsh reality soon turned the dreams of the Far East into the nightmares of the Far West.


After resisting savages for more than 11 years, the kingdom of England finally surrendered. The once wealthy state was no more – more than 10 years of constant war decimated the population. Hunger and diseases brought by the invaders together with ruthless persecutions and scorched earth policy of the English rulers caused virtual extermination of more than 60% of the British Isles population. The heretic kingdom was all but destroyed and amongst ruins of long dead cities and villages the small bands of cannibals were roaming the land, desperately trying to survive another day. Lords of Wales and Scotland were terrified – they knew that they turn would come soon. The suicidal strategy of Englishmen brought some bitter fruits however – total war exhausted the savages from the Far East, who were in need of at least few years of relative peace before they may continue the slaughter.


The terrible stories of atrocities committed by Aztecs in England reached also young Leon, who must have suffered a mental breakdown being exposed to such horrors after listening to the tales of the magical realms of the Far East. And so basileus Leon VII lost all the joy of life, feeling the suffering of his fellow Christians whom he was sworn before God to protect.


It was during those darkest days in the short life of the basileus when Imperial Regent managed to achieve another goal – eliminate Emperor's sister Euphemia. Fearing that this beautiful and silver-tongued woman may be used as a banner for another rebel forces and that in case of their victory he would lost his position and power, he decided to get rid of her. Seeing in which terrible state young basileus was, Imperial Regent forced him to sign the orders, convincing him that it must be done for the good of the Empire and Christendom and that no sacrifice is big enough when it can save the Empire and countless lives of good Christians. Tricked, intimidated and scared basileus still deep in his depression agreed – he ordered his own sister to be executed. This sin would long haunt him and the common men and aristoi would never forgive him spilling the blood of one of his kin. However, Leon the Kinslayer was in such misery and pain that he barely noticed this – it was during these years when Imperial Regent reached the heights of his power. Having eliminated potential claimant, influential aristoi and surpressed the rebellion, he reign was now completely unopposed.

Then the Shia attacked.


On 1st July 1301 the infidels crossed the imperial border and began the slaughter. Regent Megistos Basiliakos reacted quickly and sent to Egypt both tagmata and forces of the Brotherhood. Reinforced with the mercenaries, the imperial army once again going to protect the Empire from the heathens.

But the cruel fate striked yet again, this time right into the heart of the young basileus.


Brave queen Varela, Lioness of the Aragon, was dead. Found in a pool of blood in her chamber with a cut throat and few dozens of stab wounds, she was killed by the party unknown. Truly a tragic end to such great queen and women, a true giant of will and determination. Markos Angelos, son of the queen and porphyrogennetos Diogenes, son of Saint Markos who was slained in the battle against heretic Knights of Calatrava, was now the new king of Aragon – and a claimant to the throne of Basileia Romaion.

The tragic death of his mother on 31th July 1301 completely shattered already frail and weakened psyche of young basileus, who now was spending most of his time alone, locked in his chambers with only few eunuchs to accompany him. Meanwhile, the flames of war were consuming Egypt. Finally, the decisive battle was fought.


After battle of Taufiq, armies of Shia infidels were virtually destroyed. Seeing their utter defeat, they surrendered. Seeing how great occasion this was, merciless Imperial Regent swiftly declared war on the caliph with intention to liberate Nubia. It didn't take long.


The whole war started on 8th March 1302 and ended on 25th May of the same year with Shia surrendering to the demands of the Basileia Romaion. The reason for which infidels surrendered so easily when discovered brought to the Imperial Palace no joy however.


The khagan Belugei, son of Yesugai, declared invasion on Arabia willing to reconquer lost province. The Shia were facing complete annihilation, just like the Sunni before them. Better news came from Aragon, where king Markos Angelos decided to attack the heretic Knights of Santiago to avenge his father.


Feeling that the borders of the Empire are again safe, Imperial Regent decided to turn his attention to Italy, when several small wars against heretics were fought during 1302. His motives were clear – he knew that he won't be able to regain his influence indefinitely. Even when he was eliminating all his real and perceived enemies, he knew that one day the real basileus will arrive in the Imperial Palace and his career would be over. That's why he focused so much effort trying to conquer small counties in Italy – before loosing his position he wanted to take the crown of the kingdom of Italy. This were of course just illusions of his power-hungry mind – the majority of the de jure territory of the long destroyed kingdom were under the rule of Republic of Pisa. And weakened by the internal struggles and under constant threat of invasion Basileia Romaion just couldn't afford to risk a failure in a war with enemy so powerful as Pisan merchants.

In the meantime, Leon was slowly growing up.


With both his parents dead and with a terrible guilt over his sister whom death he ordered, he was facing new unknown emotions now. With no real friends to speak off, isolated, lonely and despised he was an easy victim to the court intriguers. Many powerful aristoi wanted to find a way to manipulate the young and naïve basileus and what was the better way to do this than through his heart?

Unfortunately for them, Leon VII was gynephobos, the one who fears women of whom all reminded him of his dead sister and mother. Terrified by their very presence, he remained completely passive against the best seducers the wealth of imperial douxes could buy. They found a way however and soon basileus discovered a way to make his inner demons silence, even for a while. Carnal pleasure with young and pretty boys were filling his days. Completely marginalized and consumed by sin, he stopped praying to the Saint Markos for guidance and even worse, he lost the holy relic which was in possession of the House of Angelos since 1066. Weak and corrupted, easily manipulated it's seems that his rule would be disastrous to Basileia Romaion, for which he didn't care much.

But the news which came on 11th October 1303 froze young basileus blood like everyone's else in the Empire.

 
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mike the knight

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CzokletMuss

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So, correct me if I am wrong, but until now Aztecs were using a very quickly tribal invasion CB (1 year of truth). Now that they have reformed their faith, they can start to great holy war enormous part of the map?
Yes, they can.

What can I say? This is madness:



O god! I can hear the sound of terror and the fall of the Empire ...
As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror... :)

Dear Basileus: you suck.
Don't be too harsh on him - he's an orphan trapped in the golden cage without a real father figure and with no friends. Plus, he's just a kid.
 
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CzokletMuss

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So when I see your faith table, Aztec Heretic are also catholics before the mending :p
Aztec AND Catholic? That's EXTRA HERETICAL!

Seriously though - lol, funny bug. I didn't notice it :)
 

Nikolai

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That kid will be the end of us all.
 

CatKnight

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Things are looking dark and grim indeed.

Let's hope Leon can pull out of the tailspin that's become his life before it's over.
 

CzokletMuss

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That kid will be the end of us all.
Things are looking dark and grim indeed.
Let's hope Leon can pull out of the tailspin that's become his life before it's over.
He's an Angelid. Such is the normal state for one of their House.
I must say I'm impressed by the RNG and the completely chaotic nature of this game. Even without my grimdark-ish interpretation, the current situation (I'm now more or less in what chapter 8 will be describing) is just... crazy.
It's like Warhammer 40k - it's bad, really bad and you know there's no much hope. And then it get worse.

Next chapter incoming in the next few days, I'm currently quite busy IRL :)
 

CzokletMuss

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But he reminds me of Joffrey...
Leon VII in one of the Imperial Palace towers with Bosphorus behind him.

...
Holy crap.
 

Stuyvesant

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Oh dear... Wars abroad (though successful, so far), intrigue at home. You have a ruler who is homosexual, a kinslayer, AND he's still underage. The Aztecs have followed in the Mongols' footsteps and have 'reformed' their religion... This does not look good.

In fact, I think the game (or the big G himself) is giving you a clear sign: Leon lives in sin and he has lost the relic. Clearly God's favor is not with him. King Markos must be made to rule the Empire and restore it to greatness (I mean, even his name is a dead giveaway - it's Markos, after Saint Markos! No way is he not meant for the throne). The only problem is: how can you start a plot as Leon to have himself removed from the throne, so that good king Markos can take care of things?
 

Nuka75

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Oh dear... Wars abroad (though successful, so far), intrigue at home. You have a ruler who is homosexual, a kinslayer, AND he's still underage. The Aztecs have followed in the Mongols' footsteps and have 'reformed' their religion... This does not look good.

In fact, I think the game (or the big G himself) is giving you a clear sign: Leon lives in sin and he has lost the relic. Clearly God's favor is not with him. King Markos must be made to rule the Empire and restore it to greatness (I mean, even his name is a dead giveaway - it's Markos, after Saint Markos! No way is he not meant for the throne). The only problem is: how can you start a plot as Leon to have himself removed from the throne, so that good king Markos can take care of things?
Signs are for the herd! ;-)
You have historically speaking great kings who started very bad and managed to become great (through the aid of powerful advisors). For instance, king Luis XIII was a very weak child under a deceitful regency. Some historians say he was homosexual, yet he managed to be a great king.

I say, lets give the little emperor his chance. Maybe the trial the empire suffers yet is a result and a price paid for so much bloodshed? (the sons of the Saint emperor blinded and castrated... the poor marshal killed following a deceitful campain of Leon the Chancellor... the kin the young emperor slayed...). What is currently differentiating the holy greek Empire from the savages hordes of the Mongols and the Aztecs? There is maybe no religious sacrifice, but the walls of the palace in Constantinople are painted in red nonetheless.
 
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