Our protagonist, Emperor Gondar the Holy. Could be a better steward, but not too bad. Four daughters so far but one died of plague.
This seems like the most profitable holy war, since it gets me three counties. Always tricky to get the last few counties efficiently.
Another daughter! Now that I have Full Status of Women this is fine. (Without it, vassals dislike female rulers.)
My wife, Empress Zauditu, asks if I'm having an affair with General Zauditu Zauditu. I consider tell her I was honestly just confused, but end up going the passive-aggressive route.
Holy war for Basra ends satisfactorily. On to the next target!
Well, maybe not. Have to let that tick down a bit first.
If you recall from last time, I was trying to get all my vassals to like me so I can change the succession law to Absolute Cognatic, where women inherit equally. Standing in my way was Viceroy Tefri, currently rotting in jail for rebellion. So I get some friends together to help kill him.
Seems like a plan.
It actually works for once!
His replacement is Vicereine Abrihet. Did you know there was a female form of "viceroy"?
After distributing some judicious bribes, all my vassals like me! Unfortunately, I need them to all be at peace for a minute, which is rare. There's not much to be done about it, either, so I just have to wait and take the chance when it pops up.
I have a son, finally, who becomes heir. He's going to be pissed if I change the law...
He may not survive, though.
Even my wise eunuch is helpless.
Gondar is only in his early 40s, but he's already not looking well.
Definitely having my doubts about the eunuch. Also, is my wife wearing a weird mask now?
One of my dukes dies without an heir, handing me his revolt-in-progress, which he's losing badly. I'm not actually sure what would happen if I lose, so I don't take the chance. Fortunately my troops arrive before the war ends and quickly smash the rebels.
...or I would, except Emperor Gondar dies. Long live Emperor Ogbae!
...who is three. This is not going to be pretty. Really regretting not getting time to change that law.
Ogbae, or his regent, quickly shuts down the revolt in progress. But there's worse to come.
Kafa the Lewd and a gang of vassals declare a revolt, and with the Emperor being a toddler, loyalist forces are severely diminished.
The best choice for Marshal is dad's old flame, Zauditu Zauditu.
It's not the worst revolt I've had, but I'm particularly weak, and I lose an early battle. Fighting to get things back under control ...
Really? Jihad against a four-year-old? Honestly I guess that's the best time.
Why not? Join the party!
I'm now fighting four wars simultaneously. Doughty Aunt Debre leads my armies against the rebel hordes.
One down. Maybe the rebels and the Shia will kill each other.
Come on, come on, I got plenty for all of you!
Two down. It's possible the rebels actually did stop this one.
Ogbae seemed ... a little young to be breeding? Turns out it was a different Ogbae. It's a common name!
Also, note that Aunt Debre was kicking rebel ass while pregnant, apparently.
Three down. Emperor Ogbae throws a tantrum because his regent won't let him strip titles from his imprisoned vassals. "But I wanna!"
Note that the tormentor is Ogbae's younger brother Jima. I, uh, wouldn't torment the Emperor if I were you.
Four down. The Shia Jihad is still going, but not making much progress.
The Grandmaster of the Zealots is a cousin of mine, and he's come to help!
My army finally makes it up to Kirkuk and starts liberating castles.
Five for five. The kid's got moxie!
Emperor Ogbae is now eight. He wisely decides not to join the holy war for Poland. These high priests have big dreams.
In fairness, Poland is ruled by someone called King Swietoslaw II the Evil. I'd probably want to go fight him. Although he specifically has the Sympathy for Judaism trait!
"What'd you do this weekend?"
"Crushed religious rebellions. You know, tween stuff."
Tempting. But Tefere isn't that bad, really.
At twelve, Ogbae needs a tutor. Given that he's likely to spend his entire life fighting, he chooses a warrior. Aunt Debre is awesome but insane and Zauditu Zauditu is depressed, so we go with Debre's husband Ogbae, who has lost an eye since we last saw him.
For some reason we've got some breakaway counties. I think what happened is one of the revolting rebels lost a revolt of his own and one count got independence. Once Emperor Ogbae comes of age, we'll see about that.
Maybe start a little smaller, guys. "Great Holy War for Uncle Bob's Farm", or something?
Irritatingly, the moral authority of Judaism is eroded when these holy wars fail. Get it together, guys!
Ogbae feels tired, which is obviously a sign of gout.
"Keep this quack away from me..."
Emperor Ogbae is actually turning out shockingly well for a boy who's father wrote him off.
Okay, maybe Tefre knows a little bit after all.
The Emperor's brother, Prince Jima, is ... not so good. He's "dull", and he's rivals with the Emperor to boot. I'd say he's the jock to Ogbae's nerd, but Ogbae is way better at fighting too.
Time has only made Aunt Debre more violent, and still insane. Although Khalil, the new "pope", is not far behind.
Emperor Ogbae is fifteen when I get the bad news. Again with these fuckin' guys. Can't you crusade for somewhere else for once?
Pope War IV: Live Free or Pope Hard. (Not the best of the series.)
Do they like, coordinate these things? That seems out of character. This is the Sunni caliphate this time.
Finally. Welcome to the throne, kid. Things are, uh, great!
Unfortunately, Uncle Ogbae provided Emperor Ogbae with only a mediocre education in the art of war. In spite of that, he's done pretty well for himself, with solid stats across the board.
Things go badly at first, as I manage to lose a battle in spite of a significant advantage in numbers. I think I have too many light infantry, which is an Ethiopian thing.
Duke Daniachew the Evil, I get that you have to live up to your nickname, and usurping territory from little girls seems like a good way to do it. But have you noticed the holy land is overrun with giant Christian armies? Now may not be the time!
That didn't take long.
I concentrate my armies and manage to get two-to-one odds for a decisive battle. The Sunnis are busy laying siege to something though.
With Christian strength scattered, things slowly turn around.
Dumb brother Jima has come of age, and he's not much better than he was as a kid. He also hates me, and he's next in the line of succession. I decide to have him killed, so if Emperor Ogbae dies without a direct heir one of his more talented sisters can take over.
Better luck next time, Pope Lucius VI the Confessor!
Guys, maybe revolting right next to my capital where all my troops hang out is a bad plan.
Seriously, take a hint!
Okay. After one major revolt, seven minor revolts, one Crusade and two Jihads, Emperor Ogbae is finally in charge.
He's got a daughter already! But the realm has gotten a little messy, so we'll have to clean that up. First a little redistribution of titles.
Everyone pretty much likes Emperor Ogbae, so to finally change to Absolute Cognatic he only needs the realm to be at peace for a minute.
Basically everyone is willing to help me kill Prince Jima. It's going to be the first assassination by consensus.
Aunt Debre, predictably, is first out of the gate. Unfortunately, Prince Jima is uninterested in the view and ignores the balcony.
Poison seems more likely. He does like his booze.
Will somebody just kill this fucking guy?
I'm starting to have a bad feeling about this.
At this point I'm picturing Prince Jima as Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther, blundering amiably along while assassins frantically take shots at him.
Rabbi Mamo decides to try the balcony thing again. You're the rabbi, I guess...
Finally. Rabbis get shit done.
To add to the farce, this popped up after the previous event but before Prince Jima had died. So presumably while he was falling.
"Duke Geteye! Welcome to Semien, I hope you'll spend some quality family time with Prince Jima!"
"Oh, there he is now!"
While this nonsense was going on, Emperor Ogbae was busy with clean-up operations. I attacked the breakaway provinces to remind them of their proper allegiance, and finally went to war with the Abd Al-Qays to clean them out of Arabia.
It's not unprecedented, we has this one before! Although I guess that was hundreds of years ago, it's probably faded into myth by now.
Okay, I like Tefere. He doesn't whip out the diseased badger secretions at the drop of a hat.
Emperor Ogbae has a son! Though if the Absolute Cognatic law passes, he won't be the heir. Hopefully he'll be cool with that?
Progress! My vision is coming together, provided my vision is a big purple blob.
At twenty-five, Emperor Ogbae has three daughters and two sons, and is shrewd, ambitious, charitable, just, gregarious, and has typhus. And is a poet. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
Fortunately even typhus is unable to slow him down for long!
Claiming some more territory. The nice thing is, I now have de jure claims on most of it, since I own the duchies and kingdoms. So I can take the pieces one at a time without triggering holy wars or building up much threat.
This Turkic Company territory is tricky, though. They're Orthodox, so a holy war would bring in not the shattered remains of the Sunni states, but the Byzantine Empire. I wisely decide to just forge a claim on their land instead.
Finally, for about thirty seconds, there's peace in the realm! I hurriedly take the chance to push through the Absolute Cognatic law. Hurrah!
You can see the new order of succession! A lot of vassals are mad about this, but they'll get over it. The key now, though, is to watch my daughters' marriages carefully to maintain dynastic heirs.
Spreading Judaism is coming along. The old Monophysite/Miaphysite territory in particular has been mostly converted.
Jewish "popes" get their hands dirty, unlike those pansy Christian popes who just declare crusades from Rome.
Hmm. On the one hand, Ambitious is an excellent trait. On the other hand, if my daughter is my rival she may try to kill me. I decide to risk it.
One of my asshole vassals (vasshole?) dies and bequeaths me his territory and a holy war that's 92% lost. If I lose it I'm on the hook for a huge ransom! My troops frantically march to battle as the score ticks upward...
The score reaches 100% while the battle is in progress. Fortunately, the enemy don't demand my surrender at that instant, and a day later their forces are crushed. Whew. It turns out we're fighting Socotra, that tiny little island there, so I send over an army and smash it.
"What's the worst that could happen?" Why would you ever say that?
My heir Princess Nishan has turned out pretty well! I quickly marry her matrilineally to a rabbi.
When one of my vassal kings gets caught being naughty, I once again go to war with him to convert his kingdom to a viceroyalty.
"I am pretty great, after all," he says, as rebel armies spring up across the empire.
Better and better.
Then the most annoying possible thing happens. My eldest daughter dies of food poisoning, but not before having two daughters of her own. They are now my heirs, but are not under my direct control. They're three and two respectively, so fortunately they're not married yet. Once they turn six, I can offer to educate them, which will bring them to my court where I can keep an eye on them.
Rival or not, Emperor Ogbae, I'm pretty sure this is not the healthiest way to react to your daughter's death.
Crazy dude must have died while I wasn't looking. I feel like I had a Sea-Devil once before and he was pretty good, why not?
After nearly twenty years of war, Emperor Ogbae has united the peninsula.
Abroad, Poland continues to grow and Ireland is still taking over England. There also appears to be a Kingdom of Africa now.
Emperor Ogbae is now plentifully provided with sons. He's shrewd, ambitious, charitable, brave, just, humble, diligent, and kind, but also a kinslayer and a poet. I decide to try for five years of peace, to build up a war chest for my confrontation with the Byzantine Empire.
What remains of the Persians have been squeezed north between the Byzantines and the advancing Hindus. Almost the entirety of the Russian Steppe has been converted to Islam, though.
Aunt Debre, greatest warrior of her generation, sadly dies of depression at age 69.
No doubt emboldened by the old battleaxe's passing, the Byzantines decide to get things started. So much for five years of peace.
As expected, they're very tough opponents. It doesn't help that the war is for a relatively small bit of territory, so they start storming my castles before most of my troops even arrive. After a couple of battles, they pull off the victory -- I think that's the first war I've flat-out lost in the entire game. Grrrrr.
The territorial loss is pretty minor, but I will not forgive. The Byzantine Emperor is an old man and his heir is a little girl, there should be a chance coming soon.
Emperor Ogbae is ready.
Current Year: 1205 AD. Current Status: Vengeful.