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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Yenzen

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'Twas the fall of 1066 when Count Sergios of Neapolis came upon a realization:

He was a lone, middle-aged, unmarried Orthodox count swimming in a sea of Catholic Normans, opportunistic Patricians and Muslims. This should alarm him. Lucky for him, he also felt inspired, as if an Eldrich Abomination from across the endless dimensions had taken his strings of fate and assumed control of them, as were he simply the puppet in a cosmic comedy.

And it was time to start the show.

2015-01-20_00046.jpg

Color-coded for your convenience

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. This is my new AAR. I don't know how long it'll run, probably until such a point as I'm utterly invincible, but at least I shall make it clear that we've reached the end. There are a few ground rules here:

- Neapolis is always the capital.
- Can't marry females who are not me nor my heir.
- Must not come into service of the Holy Roman Empire nor the Byzantine Empire willingly and if it does happen, must seek independence ASAP.
- Don't do things that are blatant abuses (such as using ambitions to skill cheat).
- Must try to get Primogeniture when it becomes possible.
- The game must be played Ironman. A gameover is possible and must be accepted.

Other than that, this is mostly about screwing around the high middle ages with a dynasty that should be headed for disaster.

Some of you may know me from my other AAR "I am the King of Naples" which has not been updated in.. a very long time. I'm afraid that I've completely lost interest for EUIV for the time being, and I simply can't motivate myself to continue at that point in the game. I will try to finish it at some point, likely in one long update covering the last 80 years during the summer (if the save still works by then). This AAR is not going to be nearly as detailed since the former one took a lot of resources and this is meant to be a more.. digestible format.

Addons (no mods):

- Some portrait and UI packs (not Greek, as you can clearly see)
- Sword of Islam.
- Legacy of Rome.
- The Republic.
- Sons of Abraham
- The Old Gods (Chapter 5 onwards)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: To Rule All Sicily - 1066-1116 - Part 1
Chapter 1: To Rule All Sicily - 1066-1116 - Part 2
Chapter 1: To Rule All Sicily - 1066-1116 - Part 3

Chapter 1.5: To consolidate the realm - 1116-1125

Chapter 2: To Be Queen Undisputed, Respected, Saluted - 1125-1160 - Part 1
Chapter 2: To Be Queen Undisputed, Respected, Saluted - 1125-1160 - Part 2

Chapter 3: To Fight the (un)Holiest of Wars - 1160-1174

Chapter 4: To Spend a Lot of Time Doing Too Little - 1174-1207

Chapter 4.5: To Make a Short Stop, Look Around, and Realize Things Could be Worse - 1207

Chapter 5: To Replace the Old with the New - 1207-1234 - Part 1
Chapter 5: To Replace the Old with the New - 1207-1234 - Part 2

Chapter 6: To Look Both East and West - 1234-1248
 
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Chapter 1 - To Rule All Sicily part 1. 1066-1081

Count of Sergios of Neapolis, the scion of the proud house of Spartenos (which counted himself, his half-brother and his... half nephew?) were in dire straights. The Normans had landed not long before, driving the Muslims and Lombards ever further back. Their intent was obvious: To unite all Sicily and wipe out any opposition under the leadership of Duke Robert of Apulia.

The solution was a concise three-step plan:

Kiss Robert's ass, then kiss his God's ass and then kiss his nieces' ass.

2015-01-20_00013.jpg

The fact that she came with weak claims on Robort's titles were, of course, unimportant.

Having found as much security as was reasonable to expect under the geographical circumstances, Sergios used loans from the Jews insane enough to live in the area to fuel his own little crusade against the Sicilian Muslims, before that Bastar.. I mean, his wise and overworked liege could get his grabby hands on them. The fact that the Muslims often tried to counterattack by the sea first was, surprisingly, a decisive factor in the Neapolitan victory, as they lost their battles due to low morale.

2015-01-20_00090.jpg


Robert did actually declare war on the same sheiks, before Sergios had won. However, Neapolis gained 100% warscore before its Liege by fighting battles before him and being siege leader when the Normans arrived. Since there were not enough Neapolitan troops to siege the last few holdings (and the mercenaries had to be let go too soon), Robert essentially won the war for his subject by declaring the same goal!

2015-01-20_00228.jpg


While Duke Robert had snatched Malta before Sergios could get to it, the house of Spartenos held 4 out of 6 provinces in the duchy of Sicily by 1071, enough to make a ducal title once the Kingdom was created.. and of course also enough to overtax the holding limit until then. Other than randomly generated vassals, the Newphen of Sergios was given a Barony in Sicily with the plan that eventually a branch of the dynasty would hold hold the island.

One thing was clear though, House Spartenos was destined for great things.

2015-01-20_00115.jpg


And Count Sergios had become a known scholar in the field of Applied Abuse of Liege Lord's Forces.

2015-01-20_00179.jpg


In fact, he had become quite the skilled (albeit cowardly) character and had his first child, Sibylla - with the second, his first son Kyriakos, in the oven. His half brother was made a bishop to shut him up. The eternal screams from the beyond his world now told him that it was time to aim for greater things.

2015-01-20_00213.jpg


... But for now, this was not possible as Duke Robert kept using money left and right, and since he had only technically won one Holy war, he did not have the money nor piety to create the Kingdom of Sicily. The game of waiting, pilgrimages (a hundred or so kilometers to Rome), having tailors teach you to murder people and feasts began. Thanks to becoming kind thanks to his lazy pilgrimage to Rome, Sergios was made Chancellor of Apulia.

2015-01-20_00259.jpg

Appointing the ambitious guy owning half your powerbase chancellor? Have you watched any theater pieces at all!?

In the meantime, what of the great starting wars? In England, Harold had his daughter married to the young French King and called him into war, which had invalidated William the Bastard's war (despite William being on the verge of winning)

2015-01-20_00158.jpg


Sadly, This clever move was not done in time to save England from foreign invasion:

2015-01-20_00185.jpg


Meanwhile the Byzantine Empire had fallen to the Seljuk invasion and then followed the usual finger pointing afterwards:

2015-01-20_00191.jpg


By 1077 Sergios had been in the position of being at 6/2 provinces after the Baron of Portici had a sudden accidental explosion of manure blow him into pieces for almost ten years. Robert somehow managed to keep finding things to spend money on other than the kingship title and the stupidity of it all had slowly chipped away at his ambitions...Culminating at the point where the Muslims attacked Robert.

While Duke Robert would... eventually, after about 5 years, emerge victorious, the stress of managing his oversized realm caused by the inability to form a duchy, eventually became too much for poor Count Sergios. He decided to quit the Game of Life quietly in 1081 and leave his county to his underage son.

2015-01-20_00348.jpg

At least the realm didn't split

His wife became regent for his first and only son (although his daughter may have been more deserving):

2015-01-20_00346.jpg

Must.. Create.. Ducal.. Title.. Please?
 
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Saxon125

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Good start here, your position is safer at least. Good luck in this. Also I like the humour in this AAR. It makes me chuckle.
Count Sergios had become a known scholar in the field of Applied Abuse of Liege Lord's Forces.
:)
 

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Good start here, your position is safer at least. Good luck in this. Also I like the humour in this AAR. It makes me chuckle.
:)

I won't lie, this was my third attempt. The first two where I tried to go solo ended with my elimination by wither muslims or the Normans. This time I reasoned that servitude early on was better for my health.

----------

Chapter 1 - To Rule All Sicily part 2. 1081-1103

As noted, Robert would soon emerge victorious (mostly because half of Europe had united behind him, including the HRE, the pope and Croatia)

2015-01-20_00361.jpg


Offers from Robert to turn Kyriakos into a filthy barbarian Norman were turned down in favor of having the new lord of the Sicilian branch teach him how to hit things with a sword.

2015-01-20_00360.jpg


And finally came reflief:

2015-01-20_00363.jpg


Finally Kyriakos could be make a duke and the counties in Sicily was granted to multiple random Greek courtiers. While the aim was for the island to be uncontestedly controlled by house Spartenos, there simply weren't enough members and creating a supervassal this early on seemed unwise, so the Baron of Gratteri (Kyriakos' cousin) was only granted Palermo for now. There also was a great shortage of catholic Greeks and this helped created more courts filled with such.

Faced with another long regency didn't mean that Sicily was without interesting events, for soon the Byzantines wished to regain lost lands... just not ones to the east:

2015-01-20_00369.jpg


That ended with a predictable defeat and the Byzantine Empire expanded into Croatia and would continue to do so for some time. In Sicily, the old farts of house Hauteville decided that the kingship of Sicily should be decided by the length of ones old man rants:

2015-01-20_00382.jpg

Crippling arthritis did not prevent them from being ultimately successful.

Kyriakos' mother and the regent of Sicily found herself pining for love and I could not deny her - she was allowed to marry some Dutch noble and the duchy of Sicily gained a new regent.

2015-01-20_00399.jpg

the fact that she was quite a weak regent and refused to let me do interesting things were, of course, irrelevant

When Sibylla came of age, she had become quite a specialized character. While she excelled at diplomacy, she did not really seem to understand the more.. sharp methods of direct diplomacy. She was a killer at discussions in bible class though. She would soon marry a German Prince from the HRE far enough removed that the Kaiser wanted to get rid of him:

2015-01-20_00417.jpg


In 1086 my liege suddenly changed to the son of King Roger, when he deposed random old family member that had inherited the title because of seniority succession.

2015-01-20_00412.jpg


The same year, another faction installed a new ruler in the duchy of Apulia.. Which normally I wouldn't care about, but it seemed that he had held some position in the French court, so when the faction installed him... You see where this is going:

2015-01-20_00425.jpg

Further putting emphasis on just how much I needed to take control of this kingdom ASAP.

To the left in that image you can see our forces laying siege to Capua which would soon fall under Spartenos control. The current plan is to control the duchies of Capua, Lukania (Salerno) and Calibria personally.

Finally Kyriakos came of age and was reasonable satisfied with his education. He was engaged to wed the slightly older Eria de Hauteville - Daughter of King Robert and sister of King Robert. She may not have had huge tracts of land, but she did have claims to them! (and she was quite skilled to boot)

2015-01-20_00434.jpg

I would like to point out that by now, any offspring would have more Norman ancestry than Greek.

At this point Ithe house of Spartenos controlled about 2/3's of the remaining Kingdom of Sicily and reasoned that the quickest way to gain control would be to force King Roger to accept an elective monarchy.. then Kyriakos remembered that he was much too kind for such a thing and stopped doing it. At least he was now almost done subjugati.. I mean, kindly reminding his legal Sicilian vassals of their proper place.

2015-01-20_00450.jpg

Every war against other vassals in the kingdom was hell because they were all de Hauteville and they all hated me.

Of course, Duke Kyriakos still had to pay his new vassal to release his own wife..

2015-01-20_00455.jpg


Alas, the family was struck by tragedy as the heir to Palermo, who had sadly become Kyriakos' rival during their common upbringing and who was now being taught by Kyriakos himself, accidentally fell down from the highest window in the keep and was paralyzed from the waist down. Offers to put him out of his misery were cruelly turned down.

2015-01-20_00465.jpg

I'm a bad man.

Kyriakos had his first born heir in the summer of 1092, his daughter Kalinka. While he would have preferred a male heir, the new toddler quickly endeared him with her big eyes, loud belches and how she solved basic algebra equations in her little crib.

2015-01-20_00476.jpg


Kyriakos was becoming tad annoyed at still being unable to gain support for fabricating a claim on Sicily. Even when King Roger's head suddenly unexplainable just fell off during a visit and he was replaced by his great-grand uncle or something, Drogo "The doomed horselord" de Hauteville, could a claim be fabricated. Being unwilling to declare independence and thus splinter the realm, there was only one course of action: The crown authority must be lowered and then elective rule established.

2015-01-20_00484.jpg


The declaration for war to lower crown authority was followed by a declaration of war from the north African muslims - Which the HRE, Pope, Venice and Croatia offered to fight off while Khal.. I mean, King Drogo was humiliated by Kyriakos.

2015-01-20_00497.jpg

The greatest loss of life in the holy war? When the HRE parked 50.000 troops in Malta and half of them starved to death.

Crown authority was soon lowered and Kyriakos had his first son in 1097.. Who then died in 1098 :-/.

2015-01-20_00514.jpg

Not putting a joke here.

To mourn his loss, Duke Kyriakos invaded Malta which had somehow fallen under Muslim control once again. Afterwards Kyriakos managed to fabricate a claim on the Duchy of Salerno and that too was defeated in a war that included such high points as a royal visit in the dungeons that made Croatia regret getting involved.

2015-01-20_00527.jpg


In the image you can see the now independent Apulia having lost a province to the Byzantine Empire. At some point afterwards it swore fealty to Sicily again.

But the eldrich abominations from across the dimensions were growing restless. House Spartenos should not have to fabricate claims on Sicilian lands! We control over two thirds kingdom and should be kings! The voices in his grew larger and whereever Kyriakos went, he heard them scream such horrifying things as "Epic fail!" and "You blew it man, you blew it!".

2015-01-20_00536.jpg


He could easily install his wife and become prince regent, but that might take his heir out of his control and make him/her a filthy Norman! Besides, it could take decades before house Spartenos would be in control - long enough for the Byzantine Empire or the Muslims to chip away at it.

It was time to take action! But first came a little scuffle with the Pope. Those of you who have played in the Sicily region may know that there is one Barony in Benevento that owes allegiance to the Pope. The wise khal Drogo had decided that 1103 was a good year to return this barony to its rightful de-jure ruler. The war actually went swimmingly, and when Kyriakos (who was the marshall of Sicily at this point) cornered the Pope's forces, the foolish old man challenged Kyriakos to personal combat.

Duke Kyriakos readied his sword and was about to strike the old geezer, when the pope suddenly made a bull rush at him. Only too late did he realize that the silly pope hat was made of sharpened titanium, and as he was skewered by the sharp edges of the hat and felt his soft organs give away, he once again heard the distant voices from across the dimensions whisper.

"Epic fail."

2015-01-20_00543.jpg
 
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Chapter 1 - To Rule All Sicily part 3. 1103-1116

I failed to take screenshots of Duchess Kalinka at the time of her ascension, but know that she was tutored by an exiled Komneos who had accepted Catholic Christ into his heart and was both Chancellor and Regent.

2015-01-20_00550.jpg

Okay, fine, I found him using the character finder and bribed him to come to Sicily. I needed a decent chancellor to lie about what lands were rightfully mine.

Kalinka's first act as regent was to avenge her father and sack Rome, before Khal Drogo declared himself victorious and claimed the contested Barony.

2015-01-20_00555.jpg

All pointy hats were burned in a great fire.

Soon the dualclassed Regent/Chancellor Nikephoros discovered that the county Benevento actually, rightfully, belonged to the Duchy of Sicily and a war was declared to bring it back into the fold. The Sicilian forces ran into trouble as the Byzantine Empire also decided to bring what they believed to be theirs into the fold. The reign of the Khal had ended when he died of an infected wound and he had been replaced by another old geezer "King Radulf" who was in his mid 60's at the time.

2015-01-20_00576.jpg

Arrrrgh.

The constant flow of Byzantine troops prevented victory over Benevento for a long time and while they were only claiming a single county, Kalinka would work to distract and defeat as many Byzantine troops a possible to prevent loss of land in her rightful domain. It did not go well. What did however diminish the Byzantine efforts was an invasion launched against Anatolia by the Seljuks, who at this time had subjugated both Syria and Jerusalem.

2015-01-20_00578.jpg


While any reasonable Emperor would turn his attention eastwards and defend against the invaders, the Basilius was not reasonable and divided his attention between both Sicily and his eastern frontier, because who wouldn't rather have a little extra south Italian shoreline than enormous slice of Asia minor?!. While the chaos reigned, Duchess Kalinka came of age in 1108 having received a most satisfactory education.

2015-01-20_00609.jpg

I would give that old chancellor some land as a reward, if I wasn't afraid of some distant Byzantine relative inheriting it.

But the situation was dire. For far too long had inefficient rulers controlled Sicily and there simply wasn't enough vassals to fabricate a claim on the throne. Declaring independence would prevent Duchess Kalinka from usurping the royal title for ten years and leave the remaining fragments of Sicily vulnerable in the meantime. However, she could not simply sit idly by either.

It is now important to realize that Kalinka's mother was the daughter of King Robert and the sister of King Roger. She, of course, had a weak inheritable claim on Sicily. If you don't know where this is headed or if you have a fragile spirit, I suggest you look away from the next two images.

2015-01-20_00612.jpg

Close your eyes and think of Sicily, mother.

2015-01-20_00614.jpg

1: Defend your eastern frontier you crazy "Romans", 2: You can see how war with one de Hauteville in Sicily means war with all of them.

Sadly, Kalinka's faction to put herself in charge was delayed for two years because she was nice/just/honest (take your pick).

2015-01-21_00008.jpg


To make matters worse, Venice used the weakened state of Sicily to launch an invasion on its coastline. While the Byzantine war was being won, Sicilian troops were deeply engaged in Greece and Kalinka's own patriotic attempt at expelling the invaders was a disaster.

2015-01-21_00042.jpg


By the end of 1111, not only had the Byzantine Empire failed to take land from Sicily, they had also failed to defend against the real enemy.

2015-01-21_00075.jpg

Getting Slightly worried about the Seljuks right about now.

While the war with Venice still raged, the time had come for Kalinka to marry. She was able to arrange for a matrilineal marriage to the heir to a county to the north of Sicily.

In 1113, two great holy conflicts were started: The Catholic crusade for Jerusalem

2015-01-21_00115.jpg

Of course...

... and the Sunni Jihad for...

2015-01-21_00120.jpg

Frick. This is bad.

Duchess Kalinka had her first son, Sergios, in 1114 while the war with Venice was still going on.

2015-01-21_00126.jpg


On the bright side the war with Venice had completely depleted the king-in-name-only of Sicily of manpower, and with 800% of her "Liege lord's" forces backing her, her demand to the throne was accepted immediately. Finally Sicily was in capable hands.

2015-01-21_00129.jpg


Frighted for his dear life, the Doge of Venice surrendered immediately to her splendor. Some might say that the war was simply cancelled because game mechanics invalidates republic wars when a new ruler takes over, but such nonsense is of course slander towards the throne and punishable with execution.

2015-01-21_00137.jpg

As you can see, seniority succession is still in effect and her son is not her heir. It's on the to-do list.

Time to purge some Normans. (if you look at the war line, you can see that I'm already uprooting one of them).

... However, celebrations were cut short with news of what had just happened to the east: The Seljuks were victorious in their Jihad.

2015-01-21_00153.jpg

Oh Shi-.

End of chapter 1
 
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This has started out well. Well, not for Greece, or the Byzantine Empire in general, or Christian Europe in even more general, but at least you are queen!
 

Crimson Drakon

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Oh dear, at first one can say that the Byzantine Empire wont give you problems concerning de jure Sicily, on the other hand, while potentially Greece and Asia Minor is up for grabs in a Crusade, still the Seljuks are going to put up a fight...

Looking forward to what happens next!
 

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This has started out well. Well, not for Greece, or the Byzantine Empire in general, or Christian Europe in even more general, but at least you are queen!

Haha, started out well is relative, but it's all coming together nicely. It's a bit odd to de-facto rule 2/3's of Sicily, but having no means to directly usurp the throne. But it's one of the charms of this game, you can't just do what you want and sometime the RGO is a mean sonnuvabitch.

On another note, I'm a big fan of yours! It's an honor to have you reading it.

Oh dear, at first one can say that the Byzantine Empire wont give you problems concerning de jure Sicily, on the other hand, while potentially Greece and Asia Minor is up for grabs in a Crusade, still the Seljuks are going to put up a fight...

Looking forward to what happens next!

Yeah, after this chapter I need to focus on gathering strength and trying to disrupt the Seljuks any way that I can. They need to be hit hard by a crusade for Greece and/or Mongols and not be allowed to expand much before that happens.

Chapter 1.5 - To consolidate the realm. 1116-1125

The purpose of this chapter is mostly to bring to AAR up the point where I am now and give a quick glimpse of the game world. Also, to be honest, nothing much happened as I focused on consolidating the titles that I meant to hold for myself and uprooting any non-greeks or converting existing vassals. I must admit to being a bit of a control freak when it comes to this game and I really wanted to secure my intended crown lands and Hellenize all of Sicily.

First Kalinka I (Suppose we're using royal titles now, yes?) managed to form claims on the two counties of Calabria.. albeit at a high cost. Since the death of Kalinka's old Komneoi mentor, Nikephoros, Her husband Guichard I had been made chancellor. Sadly, it was a dangerous job.

2015-01-21_00174.jpg


As you can see from the above screenshot, in trying to depose the rulers in Calibria, I had once again engaged the De Hauteville Hive Mind.

On the bright side, after the natural two week grief period (the time it took to send a messenger to Aragon) a new King-Consort was found. Somehow the crown prince of Aragon was willing to marry matrilineally and Kalinka could simply not resist his huge, bulgy, throbbing inheritance.

2015-01-21_00182.jpg

They were also both really huge on the whole zealous 'god' thing, so at least they had that going for them.

But of course, to secure said rights, one must do the horizontal, sometimes vertical, boogie as God himself intended.

2015-01-21_00183.jpg


By now the crown lands were secured, and every holding along the southern coast of mainland Sicily was now under direct control of Kalinka I and the traitorous Duke of Apulia, who had tried to stop her from revoking the illegal holder of her land, imprisoned... And was under a truce so that she could not revoke his titles and declare an elective monarchy.

2015-01-21_00201.jpg


Kalinka I even had time to join the crusade for Jerusalem, which against any sense was actually doing well. There was no real possibility of being the overall winner, so she only sent her personal troops.

2015-01-21_00210.jpg

We're just here for the badge, pay us no heed.

The Sicilian troops even arrived in time to capture Jerusalem itself.

2015-01-21_00219.jpg


Indeed, by 1120 the winner of the Crusade was declared.

2015-01-21_00220.jpg

Nice. It won't even last a decade. But nice.

Immediately following the Crusade there were issues to deal with. The Byzantine Empire still held a county in southern Sicily, and considering their weakened state after the loss of Greece, now was the time.

2015-01-21_00222.jpg


During the war, the King-consort of Sicily decided that he'd rather go kill infidels than inheriting Aragon and being married to one of the most powerful women in the world. Kalinka saw no reason to prevent him from pursuing this holy task and let him go (Actually I hit the wrong option and couldn't change it because this is an Ironman game >_<)

2015-01-21_00233.jpg


A few months later, Kalinka founds out she's pregnant with what could have been the next ruler of Aragon.

2015-01-21_00239.jpg


The child would be the first born girl of Kalinka I, Stephania Spartenos, who inherited Kalinka's genius trait.

Oh well, at least the game figures that it was the just thing to do.

2015-01-21_00241.jpg


And soon the fight had been punched out of the Byzantine Empire. In 1122, they surrendered their Sicilian holding.

2015-01-21_00265.jpg


In the meantime, Kalinka I divorced her Aragonese husband. She was still fertile, lustful and couldn't be expected to stay with a celibate man for the rest of her life!

2015-01-21_00246.jpg

Oh, what could have been. Such a fool to walk out of this. Even if it was for the sake of Catholic God.

Kalinka I spent the next three years either setting up young Norman heirs with Greek tutors, or making claims upon their land to simply replace them if they were too stubborn. Of course, she also married her new boyto- I mean, a most honorable Danish Prince born out of a romantic entanglement.

2015-01-22_00025.jpg


Interestingly, the Knights Hospitaller has built 6 baronies in the kingdom of Sicily. One of them (the one in southern Calabria) is owned by the Grandmaster himself!

2015-01-22_00006.jpg


They may have to be confiscated by the crown at some point. But now isn't the time.

A few notes from around the world:

- Jerusalem is falling to a combined Shia/Sunni Jihad. The only real question is which side will win first.
- The Reconquista has gained ground and around half of Iberia is now under Christian rule.
- Orthodox and Shia religious authority are shattered at about 25% each. The former I expected, but I do not know what caused the latter. Catholic and Sunni are at 64 and 88% respectively.
- France has been hit hard by a freak inheritance by the kingdom of Galacia and the following revolts and is now partitioned into France, Aquitaine and Toulouse.
- The Norwegians have managed to not just hold England, but many dukes (including the current head of the Godwin dynasty) are now of Norse cultur and multiple provinces have even culture shifted (about 1/3 of provinces are Norwegian).
- Sweden is held by followers of the Nordic religion after Erik the Heathen won the civil war. It's not working out well for them.
- The descendents of Rurik have united almost all Russian lands into the Kingdom of Rus and only a small handful of independent realms remain.
- The Endless Seljuk Empire stretches from the Aral to the Adriatic Sea, and is headed by a lunatic with Great Pox.

2015-01-22_00010.jpg


World map:

ck2_map_2.png


Queen Kalinka I and her two children (right-click to enlarge, one of the few images that is not naturally 800px):

2015-01-22_00024.jpg


Crown authority is Low, heading for Medium. Centralization is Medium, heading for High. The rest are 'standard' for now.

Around this time, the possibility of creating the Latin Empire has not escaped me. If the next crusade is for Greece, Sicily shall throw everything into it.

It also now dawns upon me that if Sergios inherits those southern counties and I become him, I'll become a vassal of the HRE. Not a desirable outcome, to say the least. If I Sicily does gain to form an elective monarchy as a middle station to primogeniture, there must be a choice between accepting a short vassalage, making Stephania the heir or hoping for a second son. I will not elect a distant relative.
 
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Selzro

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On another note, I'm a big fan of yours! It's an honor to have you reading it.
Flattery is a sure way to keep me reading. :p

But seriously, this is quite interesting. I've never seen a crown prince agree to a matrilineal marriage before. If he hadn't gone and joined the Hospitalers we could have seen a reversal of history, with Catalonia being ruled by Sicily instead of the other way around. But if you can somehow manage to form the Latin Empire via crusade, it would be superb (and rather ironic, since your dynasty is Greek).
 

Saxon125

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Once again exellent progress, perticually in the field of breeding children with good traits. :) (Sergios is turning into a bloody good diplomat and he is only 11!) at Poor Byzantines though, still rather lucky for you I guess. May the Spartenos dynasty flourish. :)
 

Yenzen

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Once again exellent progress, perticually in the field of breeding children with good traits. :) (Sergios is turning into a bloody good diplomat and he is only 11!) at Poor Byzantines though, still rather lucky for you I guess. May the Spartenos dynasty flourish. :)

And I'm not even trying to breed in those traits! And yeah, the only one better at diplomacy in the known world than Sergios would become, would be his sister.

Flattery is a sure way to keep me reading. :p

But seriously, this is quite interesting. I've never seen a crown prince agree to a matrilineal marriage before. If he hadn't gone and joined the Hospitalers we could have seen a reversal of history, with Catalonia being ruled by Sicily instead of the other way around. But if you can somehow manage to form the Latin Empire via crusade, it would be superb (and rather ironic, since your dynasty is Greek).

Turns out he agreed to it because he was in the court of some bishop. Quite happy it fizzled now, otherwise it would have been a tad abusive. Anyway, it would have been a dynasty member who ended up ruling Aragon, at least at first, since Kalinka already had Prince Sergios before the second marriage.

To form the Latin Empire, it seems that I'll have to:

- Be catholic or a heresy thereof (done).
- Capture Thrace (easy enough).
- Wipe out the Byzantine Empire completely (this will take a while. Greece first.)

I find it amusing that the lunatic sultan of the Seljuk Empire is known as 'the wise'. :)

There's sometimes wisdom in madness. Not this time though, the guy is just nuts.


Chapter 2 - To be Queen Undisputed, Respected, Saluted part 1 - 1125-1145

With Sicily in more or less proper order, first came securing a proper marriage for the young crown prince (a lovely princess of Rus).

2015-01-23_00009.jpg


Then came time to get proactive before another Jihad was declared on Sicily. If the realm was to face a great holy war, it should be for Africa!

2015-01-23_00014.jpg


I'd like to tell you how the combined levies of Sicily along with a mid-sized mercenary company fought desperate battles across Northern Africa, however the African Sultanate decided it better to land in Malta and suffer death by attrition, while the Sicilian army simply assaulted the weakest counties.

2015-01-23_00046.jpg

If nothing else, at least half the Sicilian forces died assaulting the keeps or walking across the desert. Mostly the latter.

In the meantime, The Kingdom of Jerusalem came to its quite unavoidable end.

2015-01-23_00035.jpg


The republics of Pisa and Genoa had been wiped out at this point, albeit Pisa lived on as a proper Kingdom with the court moved to Sardinia after the loss of the mainland. Two counties. Just sitting there. Largely undefended. No allies.

The chancellor of Sicily wasted no time:

2015-01-23_00069.jpg


And in 1126, neither did the army of Sicily:

2015-01-23_00077.jpg


The Seljuk realm would soon be wrecked by a rebellion where even the Caliph (controlling most of Greece) would participate. The scale of the rebellion was large enough that attacking it would still be unwise.

2015-01-23_00083.jpg

The Sultan still won

The wars had been a major drain on the reserves (and patience) of the Sicilian vassals and a short break commenced. In 1129 Sicily finally was able to enact elective succession... Which annoyed multiple vassals because the only other duchy in the real was Apulia. The others would gradually be handed out as all landed position became occupied with Greeks.

2015-01-23_00129.jpg


A year later, the crown prince came of age, the only slight dent in his polish was that his sister would end up even more insanely skilled. Kalinka decided to give him a fief in the newly acquired Sardinian land as a wedding present.

2015-01-23_00166.jpg

I'm certain nothing terrible could ever happen to him shortly before or short after he's about to inherit, right?

Despite the risk involved, he was also made chancellor and sent to fabricate a claim to expand his own land.

Other than a trip to Santiago, where the only thing Kalinka I learned was that leaving home meant getting sick, that stone bridges are a small price to pay for +3 diplomacy and that reading the same incomprehensible book as her father somehow made her a scholar, nothing much happened.

That is until it was noticed in 1132, that Venice, since before Queen Kalinka ascended to the throne, had held a Sicilian city under its control. War was swiftly declared, both sides rushed to besiege each another, and then met for a final showdown in northern Sicily.

2015-01-23_00237.jpg


Back home in Sicily, a couple of cities were founded.

2015-01-23_00218.jpg

The new residents quickly grew bored with jokes regarding the name, but it stuck.

The same year, Appolonia, the second daughter of Kalinka I and first child who couldn't solve a Rubik's Cube by age 2, was born.

Meanwhile, tragedy soon struck the Seljuk Sultanate. As the mysterious and tragic death of the former Sultan left his underage son alive, the vassals soon found themselves hoping that they had had an average heir.

2015-01-23_00252.jpg

Conventional wisdom is not to marry a woman who wants to kill you. The poor Sultan married three of them.

The young imbecile would suffer multiple small revolts over the next many years, but managed to quell them all. At least it kept the Seljuks busy.

Back on the warpath, the Emir of Granada had recently somehow come into the possession of Tunis and was embroiled in the endless wars that kept the overall religious battle for Iberia undecided. It seemed an easy target, until the Emirate of Hammadid (controlling most of modern day Algeria) decided to intervene. It turned a little bloody and required the use of a ludicrous amounts of mercenaries (at least compared to the fact that the war concerned one county) to make the trouble go away.

2015-01-23_00300.jpg


On a more family-related matter, the first Grandson of Kalinka I (Phokas, who was STRONK) was born, while the relationship between Kalinka I and her King-consort Boris would soon develop into a state fit for an "It's complicated" designation in Court Gossip, as the Facebook pages of those times were known.

2015-01-23_00073.jpg


The best part about random courtiers is when others pay money to take them away from you:

2015-01-23_00276.jpg

Those Venetians sure love them angry. And lazy. And envious. And greedy... Somehow it all seems fitting.

In 1136 there would be no rest for Sicily, as the Sultan of Africa was engulfed in civil war and Kalinka I decided that the best response would be to screw both parts over. The only remotely interesting thing about the war was that the new pope agreed to hand over a completely unnecessary amount of cold, hard cash. Oh, and a third daughter of Kalinka, Theodosia, was born, despite her and Boris being Rivals.. Lovers.. Former Lovers But Still Occasional Fornicators.. Something.

2015-01-23_00362.jpg


With the dissolution of Genoa and Pisa, Venice has been utterly without competition in the Mediterranean. It was time to change that. There was a distant Spartenos dynasty member, without any real chance of inheriting anything, who was both extremely skilled and underage (and therefore, malleable). From his new home in North Africa, Doge Orestes would be the beginning of the Mercantile line of the Spartenos dynasty (of course to compete with four other patricians that moved in, but that time, that sorrow).

2015-01-23_00408.jpg

Alright, so I did accidentally give him a Barony in one province, but at least he also rules two cities in the county of Cyrenaica, amongst those the newly branded capital city of Kalinkandria.

During the war, when Stephania came of age. There was no way that she could be allowed to not marry matrilineally. Besides, Sicily needed some reassurance if the Seljuks declared an invasion of Sicily and the "Holy" "Roman" Emperor had plenty of sons to spare.

2015-01-23_00374.jpg

I am aware that I am technically breaking the rules here.. but look at her!

The last true believers in Sweden were nothing, if not optimistic.

2015-01-23_00451.jpg


In 1142, the claim on the final county of the "king" of Pisa was finally fabricated. The only marginally "martial" thing that happened during the conflict was the marshal entertaining the middle aged Queens' desire to show her Champion just how easy this jousting stuff really was.

2015-01-23_00452.jpg


The crown prince was granted the Duchy. Just a year later, in 1142, the HRE emperor faced a civil war to lower crown authority and called in Sicily on account of his sons marriage to Princess Stephania. Sicily answered of course and set about pillagin.. er, liberating the Italian provinces.

However, when the poor Emperor suffered yet another major revolt, this time for independence, Sicily could not be called into war! To ease the troubles of the overburdened Emperor, Sicily set about attacking the rebels using the only CB we had!

2015-01-24_00019.jpg

This is sure to help the HRE defeat those damn rebels.

Still feeling helpful, Sicily quickly turned east across the Adriatic Sea to help the Seljuk Sultan manage some of their troublesome provinces.

2015-01-24_00048.jpg

The Seljuks would annoying keep occupying one of the bishoprics there permanently for some reason.

When Boris finally died during these wars, Queen Kalinka forswore further marriages as they could no longer produce any offspring and any such matrimony would only be made with the aim of committing sin.

... Just kidding, she was lustful, after all.

2015-01-24_00032.jpg

She's a women with grown woman needs.
 
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Selzro

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It will be hard for the Kingdom of Sicily to find a more memorable queen than Kalinka I. Her (some kind of) affair with Boris would have inspired troubadours if they could only agree on what to sing about. As for her latest marriage... I'm sure Court Gossip will be busy for a while.
 

fabiolundiense

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Amazing story, amazing dynasty, amazing incredibly fun story-telling ! It's incredible that those silly Romans in the east didn't watch their back, I can't believe you're free of them already ! Can't wait for the next installment.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Greece, Africa, Sardinia..it seems Sicily is on the way to become a formidable power! And the Spartenos seems blessed, Stephania herself is a genius grey eminence.... looking forward to the future expansions of the realm!
 

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It will be hard for the Kingdom of Sicily to find a more memorable queen than Kalinka I. Her (some kind of) affair with Boris would have inspired troubadours if they could only agree on what to sing about. As for her latest marriage... I'm sure Court Gossip will be busy for a while.

Ah, he's a content and charitable man. I strongly doubt he minds the arrangement. 'Tis only proper that a Queen has a companion, after all.

But yeah, she's been good for me after Sergios and Kyriakos always threw obstacles in the way of assuming the kingship. If they laid the foundation, Kalinka I built Sicily into what was the goal ever since fealty was sworn to the Normans: A Hellenized Sicily, united under Spartenos Rule, expanding in the the Mediterranean. When this AAR is done, she'll be that one ruler that first really stood out.

Amazing story, amazing dynasty, amazing incredibly fun story-telling ! It's incredible that those silly Romans in the east didn't watch their back, I can't believe you're free of them already ! Can't wait for the next installment.

Being free of the Byzantine county claims is good, yes.. the risk of the Seljuks being able to go for the entire Kingdom is a bit more worrisome. I considered creating the Kingdom of Africa as an assurance that I would not be integrated or lose all land, but decided against it.

Their priorities *were* screwed up though. They wasted at least 20k men on Sicily while they were losing major battles against the Seljuks for Greece! They don't deserve the Imperial title like the Normans didn't deserve Sicily.

Greece, Africa, Sardinia..it seems Sicily is on the way to become a formidable power! And the Spartenos seems blessed, Stephania herself is a genius grey eminence.... looking forward to the future expansions of the realm!

Yeah, Stephania is something. She's been non-stop tutoring children and since the start of this chapter was doubtlessly always the backup heir if things really went haywire.



Chapter 2 - To be Queen Undisputed, Respected, Saluted part 2 - 1145-1160

The newly acquired Greek lands were swiftly turned to good use. A while back a man had arrived in Neapolis with a claim on the duchy of Rascia. Sadly, he didn't live long - but his son did.

Time to remind the "Empire" who's the true Greek power in these parts.

2015-01-24_00074.jpg

Not us?

... Whoops.

Well, never mind. This is what (making the pope pay us the necessary cash to purchase) ludicrous amounts of mercenaries is for!

2015-01-24_00090.jpg

By the power invested in me by the Holy Catholic Cash Cow, I banish thee!

Leading to the usual chase of the remnants and siege of the Byzantine holdings.

2015-01-24_00138.jpg


Back at home, the benefits of having a content, yet diligent king-consort quickly shows itself.

2015-01-24_00068.jpg


The third oldest daughter of Kalinka comes of age and is married to a HRE prince.

2015-01-24_00124.jpg


The goal is to keep the dynasty to a reasonable size and not going out of the way to make matrilineal marriages with unspectacular female members.

Trouble soon brews anew in the HRE. First one rebellion.

2015-01-24_00128.jpg


Once that ends, another.

Then things got out of hand.

2015-01-24_00189.jpg

Count the Imperial Rebel Badges in the minimap and weep.

Turns out that four rebellions is the point where you're just supposed to give up on keeping another realm alive. Whoever comes out on top of that mess may be able to restore the HRE, but Sicily won't be helping it. If Sicily can find any of the soon-to-be-indepent free states in Italy easy to pick, it'll be done swiftly. In the mini-map you can observe France having become a disjointed mess too.

Meanwhile, the truce with the sad remains of the Zirid Emirate, and their last county quickly fell to holy war.

2015-01-24_00174.jpg


In 1154, the Seljuk Shan (Not Sultan, the dynasty is now Persian.) tried to revoke a title from the Sunni Caliph, who rises up in rebellion. Meanwhile, Sicily rises up in rebellion at the fact that said Caliph controls vast swathes of Greek lands.

2015-01-24_00222.jpg


Shortly afterwards a decadence revolt springs up against the Seljuks. While this meant that they would take longer to put down the Caliph's rebellion, it also meant having to deal with (that is, run away from) random stacks of decadence revolters marching across Greece.

2015-01-24_00238.jpg


Luckily, Sicily brought enough troops to take the holdings in Achaia by storming them and the remarkably western-looking Caliph had other business to attend to.

2015-01-24_00244.jpg

Namely, losing to a imbecile Shan, who is also very slowly defeating the decadence revolt.

It's worth noting that soon after, Shan Dogan of the Seljuks was murdered at the age of 35 and replaced with his average 12-year old son. It's nice to think that assassinating Dogan's father and putting the imbecile in charge kept the Seljuks from invading surrounding the large de-jure kingdoms, such as Georgia and Egypt, because he caused so much internal unrest, but who knows?

Anyway, The last offspring of Kalinka celebrates by producing the first Bastard of the Spartenos Dynasty.

2015-01-24_00229.jpg

Just because she's trying to keep the expansion of the dynasty in check, doesn't mean she's going to waste that which has already been done. He may become a bishop after the next holy war or something

She begged for a marriage afterwards and Kalinka sent her off to a Prince of Aquitaine. While weak compared to what France should be, Sicily may need stable allies and the HRE has not been of any use thus far.

As for Kalinka? She celebrated by expanding the Sicilian realm juuust a little more.

2015-01-24_00291.jpg

I have no idea how that one county Sheik became independent, but yoink.

The domestic front is less encouraging. Phokas Spartenos, grandson of Kalinka and son of the Crown Prince, Duke Sergios of Sardinia, decided to demonstrate just why you should not land your heirs. He had not only married a commoner, but an unskilled one!

2015-01-24_00294.jpg

The lesson here is, if you're going to be all progressive with your marriage, at least find someone with more than 30 total skill points.

It took Phokas all of two weeks to marry another commoner.. who died of tuberculosis within six months. After that he married a commoner for the third time. At this point Kalinka knew a lost cause when she saw one, and decided to take her anger out on less stubborn targets.

2015-01-24_00301.jpg


Sadly, she did not live to see the end of it.

2015-01-24_00341.jpg


On the 14. of April 1159 Queen Kalinka I 'The Just' of Sicily, duchess of Lukania, Countesse of Napoli, Gaeta, Amalfi, Salerno, Lukania, Kroton, Rhegion and Baronesse of Portici passed away from disease at age 66.

The old Queen is dead, long live the Despot.. no that sounds silly, King is fine when using the saying!

2015-01-24_00348.jpg

Heir to the duchy of what now?

Despot Sergios had five children: His sons Phokas, Samuel and Traianos and their younger twin sisters Hypatia and Pulcheria. The two eldest sons:

2015-01-24_00391.jpg


Being an elective monarchy meant that an heir to the kingship must be selected. There were two obvious candidates: Sergios' sister and super genius Stephania and his eldest son Phokas. While Stephania was much more skilled, Phokas was no slouch (in other things than marriage) and much younger than Stephania, who was herself middle aged by now. The choice fell upon Phokas, and he quickly was handed the dukedom of Sardinia, which had belonged to the new King until he assumed the throne. Despite this, initially the dukes of Sicily strangely first put their votes on Sergios I's youngest son, Traianos.

Not it really mattered, there would be time to get them to sway their votes.

...

2015-01-24_00399.jpg





:confused:




Now the old King is dead, long live the King! At least more than bloody 6 months.

2015-01-24_00407.jpg


Okay. Crisis management time.

1/2: Who's the new regent? And who will be tutoring the young king? - Doge Orestes Spartenos is serving as chancellor and regent, his aunt Stephania will be his tutor. This is excellent. (Though the first thing Stephania did was teaching him to be deceitful, then slapping him when he failed to hide himself torturing rats. Probably a survival trait all things considered.)

2015-01-24_00461.jpg


3: Who's the heir? - For now Sicily is putting it's weight behind duke Phokas, but the other electors are supporting... Stephania!

4: Is anyone likely to kill Traianos? - No. Even Duke Phokas who holds a strong claim and is landed in Sicily is taking things in stride, only going as far as starting a faction for primogeniture (which is desirable anyway). The fact that he was showered with cash, titles and we're voting for him probably helps. No vassals with negative opinions after gifts and titles and no angry courtiers worth mentioning. Samuel was content, that just about says everything.

5: What about that war? - It was a done deal.

2015-01-24_00454.jpg


Goodbye, Kalinka. You served long and you served well.


End of Chapter 2

(There will be no chapter 2,5, the world has not changed that much other than events mentioned. Instead there are a few rants below about Sicily and the World below)



Sicily and the Spartenos dynasty

A short description of the dynasty tree:

2015-01-30_00002.png


- It is interesting that the vassals would still pick the aunt of King Traianos over his elder brother. I suppose her insane diplomacy (30) is just that powerful. It would best be avoided though, she is already middle aged and I dislike electing distant relatives outside emergencies. Overall the situation isn't that bad when you think about it: Sergios and Stephania were middle aged when Kalinka died and Sicily may now have the chance to have a long reign, besides the second most skilled person in the realm (Orestes) is the regent and the most skilled? She's his tutor (Stephania). The legacy of Queen Kalinka lives on through her former wards, as they work as chancellor/regent of Sicily and tutors of the new king.

- Prince Samuel at least had the good graces to marry a noblewoman (sister of the duke of Tripolitania), and for now Orestes has handpicked him as his heir and hence the next patrician of the Mercantile branch. Traianos' gift to Prince Phokas will be to leave him be with his new wife and lands, support him with elective monarchy and agree to primogeniture succession should Prince Phokas demand it. Otherwise it will be instituted once Traianos has an adult heir.

- As for the dynasty itself, there's been some effort in culling it from becoming too big. Many members are asked to take the vows, given bishoprics after wars or married off (females). Ideally there will be four main branches: Neapolis, Sardinia, Sicily and the Mercantile branch. The three feudal ones may be reunified with marriage, some may be started in the two extra baronies in the crown lands, and new ones started in foreign courts, but ideally the far reaches of the Spartenos realm won't be ruled with kin; they're way too happy with inbreeding themselves into supervassals and working together against the ruler.

- Since the Knights Hospitaller are now puppets of the King of France and "Jerusalem", They should be banished from the realm ASAP - Sicily could use 8 new baronies.

2015-01-24_00143.jpg


- If creating the Latin Empire should become possible, Kingdoms with 2-3 duchies will be handed out. Handling too many small vassals is a hassle and hopefully they'll constantly fight with their own powerful duke vassals instead of the Crown.

- Sicily was a bit calm in this part of the chapter, as small wars dragged on. A crusade should be near, so troops should not be wasted, but the breakaway states in Italy seems to be offering some easy targets.

The world

- One of the reasons that the Seljuks have not expanded widely is that the Abbasid Caliph won the Jihad for Greece and now controls 2/3's of the realm. Even after the rebellion. The Caliph still often works against the Shan and joins rebellions when the Shan tries to weaken his power (as seen previously). I don't know how the small lands in Seljuk Greece which Sicily captured in this update became independent, but I suspect a faction.

- The state of the Christian world is a little unsettling on the frontiers. Iberia is deadlocked for now, but the major powerhouses such as France and the HRE are splintered and the Byzantine Empire shattered beyond redemption. The Ruler of Rus is childless and through the short-lived King Sergios' marriage with his sister, King Traianos stands to inherit a weak claim - not something that's ideal to pursue for Traianos, honestly, but perhaps putting one of his brothers on the throne...

- While Norway and England have parted ways, England remains Norwegian ruled and Norwegian culture covers half of the realm.

- The Seljuks are doing worse than I thought. They are at 100% decadence, and while they are winning the decadence revolt, a new one could happen soon. Hopefully not during a Crusade. Their independence revolt may also win if they are disrupted by yet another decadence revolt.
 
Last edited:

Selzro

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I like the dynasty tree description. May Traianos' reign be long and happy!
 

fabiolundiense

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Excellent idea to show the genealogical tree!

Hmm, an elective monarchy. I have yet to try that adventure. Staying tuned to this Spartenos epic!
 

Yenzen

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I like the dynasty tree description. May Traianos' reign be long and happy!

I don't know about this 'happiness', but I'll try to keep the most crazy assassins off his back. :p

Excellent idea to show the genealogical tree!

Hmm, an elective monarchy. I have yet to try that adventure. Staying tuned to this Spartenos epic!

I liked doing it to keep an overview! Sadly, controlling the dynasty is slowly turning out impossible and I fear it'll soon be too complex to be contained in one image.

As for having an elective monarchy, I'm not a fan. There's too much temptation to elect very distant successors who I have no idea who are and to destroy every king title you hain - and I suspect the AI is hardcoded to not elect the player once in a while.

Subbed, (you make me giggle)/10, keep it up

Thank you, I will!

Now on to the admission: I'm making this response in part to get to the second page by the time I'm done with the next chapter (probably tomorrow). The first page is very close to the 100 image-pr-page limit and it's already taking a good while for new readers to load. Sorry for teasing.