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Gedierond

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1st of Thw al-Hijjah of the year 564 from the Hijra (August 26th, 1169 A.D.)

This last year has seen the first stages in the war between Sunni and Catholic forces at the lands of Sarkel. And, even though we have occupied a few Hungarian holdings, this will not be a brief war, nor an easy one.

A few days after my declaration of a Holy War against the Hungarian infidels, as I was preparing to march with my troops to the west, I found myself in a most unexpected situation. My Cheif Qadi informed me that Daniyah had asked him to arrange a divorce, as she no longer wanted to be my wife!

Divorcio.jpg

This was unexpected

I need Daniyah´s skills to mantain my good relations with foreign rulers! Also, I planned to entrust my son Girgen´s education to her... with her skills, my son will have a much easier rule than I do. I immediately went to her, and told her I forbade her to carry on with the divorce. She is clearly distraught by my prohibition, but she agreed to remain as my wife when I told her about my plans for Girgen. I will watch her closely, nonetheless.

After this small dispute, I departed Bulgar, leading my demesne army to Khopyor, where we would join the rest of the realm´s soldiers. My family would remain in Bulgar, protected by my personal guards. Nevertheless, before leaving I held council meeting. There, I instructed my Spymaster Aepak to look after my family, and, should anything go wrong in the war with the Hungarians, to make sure Girgen grows up out of harm.

The travel to Khopyor was a long one, and it would take my armies several months to gather there in significant numbers. Shortly after the march began, news arrived that the King of Croatia would send aid to Queen Luca in the defense of the Catholic faith. I had expected other infidel rulers to join the fight, but I hoped not many others would step up.

My army reached the province of Lower Volga, next to the Hungarian border, in the month of Raby` al-Thaany (January in the Christian calendar). There I learned that most of my vassals´ provided soldiers had arrived already, and were advancing to Hungarian territory, still unopposed. However, Volga-Bulgaria´s army for this war comprised about 15 thousand strong, not quite as much as I had expected. Apparently, my vassals had sent a small fraction of their forces, as they do not respect me enough to support this aggression against the Hungarian infidels! Damn them!

As I arrived to lead the siege of the Hungarian province of Don Portage, reports from my scouts informed me about the response from Queen Luca: about 8000 Hungarian soldiers were approaching from the west.

Lleganhngaros.jpg

The defending forces arrive

As my vassals had initially dispersed their forces to take several holdings simultaneously, I immediately sent word for them to regroup in Sugrov, to face the infidels with a single, strong front. I left the siege of Don Portage in charge of my generals, and marched with a batallion to battle the Hungarians along with the bulk of my forces.

RegrupoenSugrov.jpg

With my full armies combined, the Hungarians will not stand a chance

As I marched to Sugrov, I was informed that both the Kingdom of Poland and the Venetian Republic would lend their forces to Hungary... our list of enemies grow longer. As my allies´ armies would still take time to reach Sarkel, I sent a messenger to the Turkomen Company, a mercenary band, to hire their services. Their forces consist entirely in light cavalry, both melee and ranged, so they would be able to travel quickly from Bulgar to the battlefront.

According to my reports, the Hungarians were advancing to Don Portage, in order to liberate the county of my sieging forces. My plan was to intercept them at the province of Desht-I-Kipchak, attacking from Sugrov.
On the 6th day of Rajab (April 6th in the Christian calendar), the battle of Bakhmut started. It was a long battle, lasting over a month, but in the end we emerged victorious!

BatallaenDesht.jpg

ResultadobatallaDesht.jpg

The first battle in the war for Sarkel

The remaining Hungarian soldiers fled to Sarkel, where they were swiftly routed. There, my armies received their first reinforcement from my allies, as Hooshyar arrived leading his army, consisting in about 2000 soldiers. I then divided our forces: part of my army along with Hooshyar´s would siege the province of Desht-I-Kipchak, while another part of my forces would remain laying siege to Sarkel.

On the 30th day of Sha`baan (May 29th in the Christian calendar), my son Girgen turned six years old. As I had instructed before leaving Bulgar, Daniyah became his guardian. I hope that under her tutelage he will become a great ruler when the time comes.

In the month of Shawwal (July in the Christian calendar), new reports of a Hungarian army of about 4000 approaching from Lower Don reached my ears. I immediately marched with my forces stationed in Desht-I-Kipchack to intercept them. It seemed strange to me that a small force such as that would be sent by Queen Luca, but soon after our victory in Lower Don I learned the reason for the approach: my spies informed me that the infidel Roman Kaiser had pledged to send aid to Hungary in their time of need, and ships from the Empire were already on route to the Black Sea.

HREseuneaHungra.jpg

This war has just got much more difficult

It appears that Queen Luca´s plan was to join her forces with those of the Kaiser´s in Tana, as today about 14000 Empire´s soldiers disembarked there. I have sent word to my men in Sarkel to advance to Tana, and meet me there with my and Hooshyar´s forces from Lower Don. Only combining our full armies may we be able to defeat this new enemy. I will now march to meet the infidels... may Allah watch over us!

HREenTana.jpg

We must prevail!
 
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Gedierond

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29th of Shawwal of the year 565 from the Hijra (July 15th, 1170 A.D.)

Almost another year of war has passed by, and the resolution of this conflict does not seem any nearer.

The battle of Tana against the Kaiser´s forces was a terrible defeat. We started gaining the upper hand, but during the fight our enemies received Polish reinforcements from the sea and Hungarian reinforcements from Sarpa, that had sneaked by my scouts. In the end, the infidels proved to be too many for our soldiers.

DerrotaenTana.jpg

A terrible defeat, indeed

I retreated with my forces and what little remained of Hooshyar´s to Sarpa. There I received some good news: the Hamadan were finally arriving to aid us, with over 5000 men. Also, about 5000 more soldiers from my realm were coming west to reinforce the battlefront. I ordered these reinforcements to join with the Hamadan in Saray, and then march to Sarkel.

RefuerzosHamadan.jpg

At last, my allies arrive!

I took some time for my forces to regroup, but by the month of Jumaada al-awal (February in the Christiam calendar), I was ready to march to battle once more with a host of about 17 thousand. Fortunately, the Kaiser´s army was leaving Sarkel after liberating Don Portage from my forces garrisoned there. However, Khopyor had fallen to a combination of Venetian and Hungarian forces, so I headed there with my reassembled forces.

BatallaenKhopyor.jpg

I will liberate these lands!

The battle in Khopyor was easily won, and the county itself swiftly taken back later. From there, I marched to the Hungarian province of Sharukan, to once again siege the infidels´ holdings.
While I was in the camp waiting for the castle of Sharukan to fall, shocking news reached my ears. My wife Daniyah had been murdered! This time the Hashshashin were not responsible, as they always leave evidence of their assassinations, and not a clue was found in Daniyah´s body.

Daniyahmuerta.jpg

This is terrible!

While a full investigation will have to be conducted when I return to Bulgar, for now I must focus in the war. With Daniyah dead, I must find a new guardian for Girgen. I had already assessed this situation, as Daniyah was quite old, and it was quite possible she would not live until Girgen became an adult. Thus, I had already chosen a substitute for her in the person of a noble woman named Samur Kopti, who was part of my court. To make sure she would not leave for any reason, I sent word to her informing her that she would become my new wife, and that she would be in charge of my son´s education.

EsposaSamur.jpg

Samur will be a good teacher for Girgen

With Daniyah dead, the role of being my first wife now falls to Munya, of the Abbadid dynasty, which regretably does not possess the same great skills Daniyah did. I will see how to deal with this new situation when I return to Bulgar.

EsposaMunya.jpg

I miss Daniyah already

In the month of Ramadhaan (June in the Christian calendar) my forces had already taken Sharukan, and I marched once more to Desht-I-Kipchak to lay siege to the Hungarian holdings there. The castle of Desht-I-Kipchak fell quickly to my overwhelming forces, but reports from Sharukan informed that a force of about 4000 men from the Empire were arriving to liberate the holdings my soldiers occupied.
Thus, as I write these words, the combined forces of Volga-Bulgaria and Hamadan are engaging the infidels near the castle of Sharukan. I will join them immediately and we will relieve my besieged soldiers in this province. Afterwards, we will head to Khopyor once more, as the sneaky Hungarians have again taken the county.

BatallaconHREensharukan.jpg

We will crush these heathens!
 
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Gedierond

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To the royal court in Bulgar,

I am sending this note to inform you that today, on the 5th day of Thw al-Qi`dah of the year 565 from the Hijra, Khan Sugr I of Volga-Bulgaria died in the province of Sharukan while fighting the infidels of the Catholic Roman Empire. The messenger carrying this note also carries Khan Sugr´s personal journal, which is to be looked upon only by his son, Khan Girgen I, and none other.

Long live Khan Girgen I!

MuereSugr.jpg
 

Jedrek

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Ouch. That'll hurt...
 

BogMod

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Just hope your regent doesn't want to see you dead.
 

Gedierond

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Ouch. That'll hurt...

Oh damn. Things are about to take a turn for the worse!

Just hope your regent doesn't want to see you dead.

All of my thoughts exactly when I got that pop up. Well, not that exactly, actually... a couple of thoughts came to my mind which I should probably not write down here.
Fortunately, things didn´t come up as bad as they could have. I´ll have to take some time to think how to continue the story, though... probably won´t be able to update for a couple of days.
 

BogMod

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I just read almost the whole thing, I deeply enjoyed it, subbing now.

One question thou: how do you manage to keep your decadence at 0%? I read that its quite difficult to do so.
There are a few tricks useful for that. Whenever you imprison a noble with a Emir level title revoke it then execute them, grant the title to their heir. Granting the title reduces decadence. Because of Muslim law no one cares if you revoke the Emir level title or kill your non-direct kin. Ramadan is also great for reducing Decadence. The base action reduces by 3% and you get a few events that will also reduce it during the event. Holding the once a lifetime big tournament reduces it by 5%. If you have the piety for it you can murder entire family branches until titles return to your hands for redistribution.
 

Gedierond

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Following. Volga Bulgaria is a nice choice.
Also...greetings from a brazillian ;)

I just read almost the whole thing, I deeply enjoyed it, subbing now.

One question thou: how do you manage to keep your decadence at 0%? I read that its quite difficult to do so.

Glad you like it so far, welcome along! And it´s particularly great to welcome two neighbours to this thread! :)

Stefanos, BogMod pretty much explained it all in his post.
In my game I saw a lot of decadence reduction through war, but I also had lots of wars, lol! If you plan on having a expansionist strategy, decadence pretty much goes down by itself. You just have to remember to imprison non-landed dynasty members who aren´t your sons, and use your landed dynasty members as generals. Once you get to 0% decadence, it´s quite easy to keep it that way.
 

Tufto

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You've done well so far- but it looks as though troubled times are in the works. Still, if Girgen's stats are OK, things might be alright... what are they these days?

Also, excellent writing.
 

Shaytana

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A bit of tragedy is always the most interesting! I always love it when my rulers die in battle.
 

Gedierond

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You've done well so far- but it looks as though troubled times are in the works. Still, if Girgen's stats are OK, things might be alright... what are they these days?

Also, excellent writing.

Troubled times indeed! By now in the AAR time Girgen is only 7 years old when Sugr dies, with no traits so far, so his stats are just beginning to take shape. You´ll see what happens with his upbringing in my next update (which I hope to post in a couple of days... friday, maybe).
And thanks!

A bit of tragedy is always the most interesting! I always love it when my rulers die in battle.

It surely is tragic. And sudden! Sugr´s death came with quite a shock for me! But I agree with you: it´s most interesting, particularly with a big war such as this.

I concur, I love the journal/ narration style.

One of the most enjoyable AARs I read.

Very nice AAR. I'll be waiting for the next part.

P.S. The intro was superbly done ;)

Thank you both!!


On another (though related) subject, I wanted to thank those of you who voted for this AAR in the contest Paradox just held! I just received a PM from Regina (of the Dev Team) about my character being included in the next update! (I´m so geek, lol!)
 

Stefanos_P

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On another (though related) subject, I wanted to thank those of you who voted for this AAR in the contest Paradox just held! I just received a PM from Regina (of the Dev Team) about my character being included in the next update! (I´m so geek, lol!)

Well deserved, felicitaciones!. :D

Do you have any details regarding it?
As to where your character will be placed, name, dynasty, etc?
 

Gedierond

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Well deserved, felicitaciones!. :D

Do you have any details regarding it?
As to where your character will be placed, name, dynasty, etc?

Thanks! And no, no details yet, sorry!


And to all: sorry for the delay with this update. I´ve been quite busy lately, but I will continue this AAR to its end. I´ll just have to update less frequently, that´s all...
 

Gedierond

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18th of Thw al-Hijjah of the year 574 from the Hijra (May 27th, 1179 A.D.)

I am Khan Girgen I of Volga-Bulgaria, Caliph of the Sunni people. It was just yesterday that my regency ended as I came of age, and now I am ready to take my place as rightful ruler of my realm. After the crowning ceremony I was presented with my father´s personal belongings, and among them I found this journal. It is fascinating to read about the exploits of my ancestors... I have not slept at all, as I was thrilled by both my grandfather´s and my father´s words! I did not even know this book existed, I can not believe it! And now, I will honor my grandfather´s desire, and continue to tell the story of our great dynasty.

However, before writing about my current situation, I will relate what has transpired during these last almost ten years.

When my father, Khan Sugr, died in battle against the Catholic Roman infidels in the year 565 (1170 A.D. in the Christian calendar), I was just a seven years old boy, barely beginning to understand my position within my country. I had already proven to be a brave child back then (although others might have called me reckless rather than brave), as I did not fear climbing towers, or fist fighting much larger kids.

Girgen7aos.jpg

I was just a boy when I inherited the Khanate

When news of my father´s death reached the court, there was much debate as to who would rule in my stead while I grew up. Many wanted who had been my father´s Chancellor, a very capable man named Sotan who was the Count of Uzens, to take the post. But in the end, due to fierce insistence from my mother, Queen Mother Ilkay, the one appointed to be my regent was none other than the court Spymaster, Aepak Aepakid.

RegenteAepak.jpg

Aepak, my regent

Aepak was indeed talented in intrigue and scheming, and had some diplomatic abilities, but lacked any administrative skills whatsoever. Thus, many wondered why my mother insisted so much in appointing Aepak as regent. Having read my father´s story, I think I understand my mother´s intentions now. Surely, she knew that my father had ordered Aepak to watch over me, as he feared another Hashshashin attack in the palace. So, she might have considered that having him as regent should keep me safe from harm. I do not know if I was actually in danger back then, but I´m grateful that she cared for me that way.

Back then I was being taught one of my father´s widows, Samur. My father was wise to assing her as my guardian, as I learned much from her. She was the one who taught me the value of humility, and how pride can be one´s downfall.

GirgenHumilde.jpg

I will not let my pride get the best of me

I see now why she insisted so much in the importance of humility... pride was my father´s doom. His need to prove, as much to others as to himself, that he was worthy of my grandfather´s throne led him to wage a war many would have considered far too risky. He sought glory, but all he found was an arrow through his chest.
My father wrote in this journal that he hoped his descendants would learn from his story... I have learned, Father, do not worry.
 
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Gedierond

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19th of Thw al-Hijjah of the year 574 from the Hijra (May 28th, 1179 A.D.)

Once the regency issue was resolved, it was time for the council to focus again on the war against Hungary. The battle of Sumy, where my father died, ended with a victory, albeit a costly one due to him being lost.

BatallaSumy.jpg

Khan Sugr was one of those few casualties

A few days after this victory, bad news arrived to Bulgar. One of them was that the Count of Kakheti, in the border with the East Roman infidels had declared his independence from Volga-Bulgaria. The rebellion posed no risk to the integrity of the realm, but its timing was annoying, as some soldiers would have to be driven from the war front with Hungary to deal with the traitor.

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Opportunist traitor, no doubt

The other bad news was that reinforcements from the Roman Empire were arriving at Hungary, and our armies there would be outnumbered if not managed carefully.

VuelveHREAgo1170.jpg

These Romans command huge armies!

The Roman soldiers liberated the holdings our armies had taken in Sharukan and Desht-I-Kipchak, while our men lay siege to Don Portage. There, Volga-Bulgaria´s forces waited for the enemy to attack, and attack they did. On the first day of Raby` al-awal (November 11th in the Christian calendar), the Roman army crossed the river between Sarkel and Don Portage to engage us.

BatallaDPortageNov1170.jpg

Good use of the terrain can give a significant advantage in battle

The battle was victorious, but soon after the Roman soldiers were routed, our scouts informed that another hostile army was on its way to Don Portage.

BatallaDPortageDec1170.jpg

Tough war

The second battle of Don Portage ended with victory as well. Enduring both battles took almost two months for Volga-Bulgaria´s brave men, and they were excited but also exhausted after the fights.

ResultadoDPortage.jpg

A hard won victory

Six days after the victory at Don Portage, on the 4th day of Jumaada al-awal of the year 566 (January 12th in the Christian calendar), the last holding in Kakheti fell, and the traitorous Count had to surrender. The soldiers besieging Kakheti were then ordered to march to Saray, where they would meet with reinforcements from the realm as well as a mercenary band to strengthen our forces, the Khazar Company.

Kakhetipierde.jpg

He had no chance to succeed, really

As reinforcements were arriving to the war front, Volga-Bulgarian scouts reported that a new huge enemy army, composed of allied forces from Hungary, Poland and the Empire was advancing towards Don Portage. Immediately, orders were sent for our forces to converge on Don Portage.

BatallaDPortageAbr1171.jpg

A huge battle was on the horizon

The third battle of Don Portage was a terrible massacre. It would take several months for Volga-Bulgaria to recover for this defeat.

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Don Portage has seen many terrible battles

After the defeat at Don Portage, the council decided that the war had already lasted too long, and that extending it would be unwise. Thus, a peace offer was sent to Queen Luca, which was fortunately accepted.

GuerraconHungriatermina.jpg

Not a victorious one, but a welcome peace nonetheless
 
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