Another day, another duchy.
Empress China the Bewitched, in spite of her bewitchment, is Israel's longest-serving ruler. Under her enlightened, speaking-in-tongues leadership it is more powerful than ever.
An event finally triggers that I've been shooting for for a while -- Sinai is the only holy place without a temple, so I need some new land to build one on. It only took like three hundred years!
Now all the holy places of Judaism have their own proper rabbis. Moral authority is maxed.
There's a new Basileus of the Byzantines, who is married to a extremely creepy-looking woman. I guess she's blinded, but she really just looks like a zombie.
Anyway, he is no longer part of the pact against me, so that means 🎶Holy War Time🎶!
Unfortunately, our buddy the pope has to spoil everything.
Pope War VII: The Pope Awakens
This turns out to be an extremely serious crusade -- instead of dribbling in by ship, the crusaders arrive by land and attack Constantinople. And the Byzantines are still fighting in force. It quickly becomes clear that I can't take them both, even with mercenary and holy order support.
Fortunately, the Basileus is willing to make peace, possibly because he's replaced his creepy wife. Cue 🎶Holy War Theme Song, Bummer Remix🎶.
Even then, things look pretty dark for a while. That's a lot of crusaders. I try to get them to fight at a disadvantage, and distract them from their sieges.
In the middle of this mess, Empress China dies, exhausted, at 71. Long live Empress Zauditu II! She's going to need that military skill.
There's an enormous battle for which I somehow get no credit at all. Warscore is weird that way.
After some extremely tense fighting, I finally get the crusade under control and chase them out of Constantinople.
One downside of this style of recap is I can't recount how tense some of these wars are. This one was a nail-biter, believe me!
Empress Zauditu II has excellent stats, although her diplomacy is lacking. What she doesn't have is any children, and since she's 48, it looks like her brother Fethee will inherit. Of her four brothers, the two middle ones have already died.
Ominously, her treasury is nearly bare after the long, expensive crusade. Hopefully the vassals aren't revolting...
Of course they are. They're always revolting.
I hate it when that happens!
Urgh. Stay away from the fish.
This guy just cannot get enough of these leeches.
Can't argue with results, though!
Duke Abai the Merry sounds like a jolly old soul, but he's actually a syphilitic lunatic. He's also plotting against me, so I try to throw him in prison. This fails, as it almost always does.
Shortly thereafter, a blind guy declares a revolt as well.
Thaaaat's a big one. And the treasury is still empty...
Meanwhile, I have pneumonia.
Again with the god-damned leeches! Not all problems can be solved with leeches, Afework.
You know what? I changed my mind. Go back to the leeches.
Again, though, the man gets things done.
I've smashed several rebel armies, but my forces are getting weak and they've got more men in the field. Fortunately, Mengesha the Blind loses his nerve and asks for a white peace, which I eagerly accept.
This sounds like a song lyric.
With the larger rebellion over, Abai the Merry will now be perpetrating his zany shenanigans in prison.
One of my nephews is both "Slow" and "Midas Touched", with I think makes him like Rain Man?
Since I didn't actually take any territory, my threat is still down, and I don't have a truce with the Byzantines. You know what that means: 🎶Holy War time🎶!
The Byzantines put up a stiff fight but without all of Christendom turning up mid-war I'm stronger than they are.
Victory! Only a thin strip now separates the two parts of my empire.
Four parts, I guess. Or five. I always forget about the others. Unfortunately I am once again super threatening and so I have to wait a while.
Here's a weird one. King Dawit III dies, and is succeeded by ...
...King Dawit II. Are they counting down? Was there an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine?
Actually, I think what happened is that the Syrian and Mesopotamian monarchies combined. The result is my largest vassal, and bears watching.
In Western Europe, France has almost absorbed Spain, and the combined Ireland/Italy kingdom is now called "England".
I meant to send my spymaster to Damascus to scheme, but I accidentally send my court rabbi there to preach instead. Oops.
Empress Zauditu II, now 60, decides to try for five years of peace. In my experience this virtually guarantees war.
Ah, there is it. Wait. Who is this guy again?
Turns out he's the Ecumenical Patriarch, sort of the Orthodox Pope. I, uh, hope he's got some allies or something, because he's outnumbered about thirty to one.
Another adventurer headed my way. Let's see if we can head this one off at the pass.
He's not very popular, so we have a shot at him. In the background, you can see the Ecumenical Patriarch's tiny army getting pounded into paste.
She looks a bit like that nun that's always murdering me.
That's how we deal with adventurers in my town. More evil overlords should learn that lesson.
This baffling war ends with the Patriarch paying me a considerable ransom. Were you just in it to ruin my five years of peace, jerkface?
I hold a seder just to check something. Apparently we still say, "Next year in Jerusalem", even though the capital is now in Jerusalem.
Empress Zauditu II is reaching epic levels of martial prowess in her old age. Three of her younger brothers are now dead, though. Fortunately they have plenty of children of their own.
My husband gets the flu, has his treatment horribly botched, and dies. Fortunately I can always entice a fresh one in from abroad.
Once again we're ready to take a swing at the Byzantines without the whole world getting involved. But they're allies with the Empire of Francia, which gives me pause.
Never mind. Francia is in the middle of a revolt and the emperor has only twelve thousand troops to his name. 🎶Holy War time🎶!
Irritatingly, some of my troops muster near Constantinople and get jumped by a big Byzantine army. But the war overall goes pretty easily.
Basileus Eustratios the Confessor has had a very long career consisting mostly of me kicking him in the teeth.
Constantinople is finally connected by land to Jerusalem and Semien.
Okay, this time surely we can manage five years of peace!
(Right after I stop those raiders from burning Constantinople.)
Nope. A tasty chunk of Khotan revolts, and I jump at the chance to grab it, unprotected by the grand defensive alliance.
It wouldn't have mattered in any event, since Empress Zauditu II died shortly thereafter. Since she had no children, she's succeeded by her younger brother. I like the sound of "fabulous riches". Long live Emperor Fethee!
Honestly Fethee only had about three thousand gold. Disappointing. His oldest daughter is 17 and fortunately not yet married, so I don't have to murder an inappropriate husband.
She's also a lot whiter than her father? I guess she takes after her mother.
I secure the services of Nissim of Horodnia for her in the traditional fashion. (That is, inviting him over for dinner and then forcibly marrying him on pain of death.)
Turns out to be a good thing, too! Emperor Fethee apparently couldn't take the excitement. Long Live Empress Berta!
Berta's stats aren't ideal, since I didn't get to raise her. But at least she's young. I hire an insane rabbi just to be on the safe side.
In spite of the thirty-year age gap, she wastes no time. Meanwhile, the war decreed by her aunt goes on against the Khotan rebels.
I'm never super-upset by this, but especially not now, since I'm expecting a vassal revolt at any minute. Emperor Fethee may be the only ruler who didn't have to fight one.
It took a lot of death, but we got there.
And we have a son! Definitely a good start for Empress Berta.
Duke Kifle is plotting something, so we go through the whole farce. Guards, rebellion, war. Can't we just skip to the part where you end up in jail?
What is it with these mayors?
Damn it, romantic poetry is hereby outlawed!
As I crush the Duke of Axum, the other vassals are surprisingly quiet. Good vassals!
The spread of Judaism is coming along nicely, too.
Hmm. Duke Afework's romantic poetry apparently worked better on my sister Princess Falasha.
Why are so many of these dukes called "The Ill-Ruler" anyway?
Empress Berta is doing nicely -- brawny, brave, and charitable, with two sons so far.
There's a new Basileus, but he's still in the pact against me, so no holy war yet.
However, a Mongol Empire revolt offers a tempting target!
We can't do ... somewhere even vaguely nearby? No? Okay, Norway it is. Have fun storming the castle. I'll be here where it's warm.
Unfortunately, the Mongols work out their differences before I can win my war, and their revolt disappears. I consider going to fight in Norway, but what would I even do with Norway if I had it?
Instead, I take advantage of another revolt to grab the county of Archa.
There, that was much easier than going to Norway.
Enthusiasm for the northern adventure is strong among my vassals, though. Good luck, guys.
There's a lot of them helping, but Charles II the Monster (which is my new band name) is helping on the other side. Francia is still surprisingly weak.
Huh. That's going ... better than I expected.
Goddamn if they didn't take Norway!
So, the Empire of Israel now includes the west coast of Scandinavia and half of Iceland. Awesome!
In revenge, the pope declares a crusade for ... somewhere else, for once.
Aw. I guess owning Norway wasn't as fulfilling as she expected.
This view shows my vassals. Syria has gotten kind of alarmingly large.
Speaking of Syria. No, you may not have more vassals. You have such a large ... realm already.
Empress Berta takes up hunting on the theory that judicious murder might cheer her up.
My husband, Emperor Nissim, promised to build me a statue. Turns out it's a grand monument to fuckin'. Teen boys across the realm rejoice as I decide not to tear down the Emperor's erection.
That's the way to Empress Berta's heart -- not through romantic poetry, but grand public statuary.
Emperor Nissim, having completed his masterwork, dies almost immediately thereafter, though not before impregnating me one last time.
I remarry someone closer to my own age, after checking out his stats, of course.
Wait. I took that county over, right? Was that a dream?
Apparently I took it over, I granted it to a guy, and then a foreign king inherited it and ... somehow the same guy got it back? Huh.
My son and heir, Gebereal, has turned out quite nicely.
Unfortunately, in my haste to get him a wife with good stats, I accidentally marry him to a 66-year-old woman. She can teach him some tricks, I guess.
Okay. For realsies this time, five years of peace. I can do this. I'm strong.
Nope. I'm weak. Simultaneous Mongol and Byzantine revolts! Time to get to work.
Mongols first. Om nom nom.
The Byzantine's war is only at 12%, so I try for them too.
🎶Holy War theme song🎶
A quick victory! Slowly moving toward my goal of taking all of Anatolia.
Prince Gebereal's wife dies, shockingly. I find him someone a little more suitable this time.
Empress Berta is feeling better. Maybe she was sad about being left out of the Norway trip, and some more holy war is what she needed?
Another revolt means another opportunity! I actually have a real (that is, forged) claim on Taron, so I don't even need to get all holy on them.
Considering their land is mostly occupied by Hindu kings and Mongols, I would imagine so.
Empress Berta is still merrily having kids at 41.
Honestly I can have five years of peace whenever I want, guys. I'm really more of a social conqueror.
A surgeon-poet? Well, poetry is banned, but I suppose I can make an exception.
So, is the prescription poetry? Because if it is I'm not sure I can take it.
It's super effective!
In addition to chest pains, Empress Berta now has an infected wound from a hunting expedition.
It's making her somewhat cross.
But hey, we finally made it!
Any wars going on? Anybody got any wars?
Spreading Judaism continues apace.
And seeing all of Israel now requires maximum zoom!
Current Year: 1344 AD. Current Status: Peace Is Constant Agony.