Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Three

Part One and Part Two.

The reign of Chrysogone Ironsides continues!

Buuuuut maybe not for long?

Is "itchiness" really a pregnancy complication?

Children cause cancer now.

That will definitely help.

But Arsenios comes through!  Nagging works wonders.

I guess it was "not-enough-grandchildren-itis".

So the duchess was just like ... mugged?  Rough forest!

After six children, Chrysogone's young hunk dies, presumably of exhaustion.  Since she needs a spouse with good accounting skills to keep the realm running, it's time to go looking for lucky suitor number three.

She settles on Zula, who is a good administrator and a fantastic warrior.

Meanwhile, her eldest daughter is betrothed to the king of Middle Francia, who is only five but may be a valuable ally someday.

France is kind of a mess at the moment tbh.

Time for some game theory.  The first part of my plan, get a hereditary duchy so I'm not dependent on the Emperor, has succeeded.  I'm already at the limits of the amount of land I can personally hold, though.  The next step is to become a king, which will allow me to have duke-level vassals.  The kingdom I have the most land in is the relatively small Kingdom of Anatolia, which includes Cilicia but not Nikea.  It doesn't current exist, so I only need 50% of its counties to create it, which is eleven.

So!  I forge a claim of Dorylaion and get to warring.  Fortunately the Emperor is too weak or distracted to currently stop me from attacking other vassals.

Turns out my old friend Diogenes has a claim to Tyana!  Since he's already a count, taking it for him will mean he stays as my vassal and add it to my realm.  Diogenes likes me a lot for pressing his claim, although Chrysogone secretly hates him because she thinks he's a witch, even though she let him off the hook.

Chrysogone is getting stressed and unhealthy, so I set her to hunting to improve her martial and health.  Hopefully she'll get a dog.  Dogs are better than antibiotics.

"Okay, this time he's definitely a witch!"

"How do you know?"

"I asked him, and he was like, 'Oh yeah, I'm totally a witch!'"

"Hmm ... I'm still not convinced."

Next up is Chaldea in the north.  Yet another major revolt is going on, so I carefully side-step the rebel armies on my way up there.

One of my daughters has turned out awesome, so I marry her matrilineally to a Karling heir.

While he's a bastard, he has all sorts of potentially useful claims that his children can inherit.

Just when I've got the war against Chaldea nearly won, another revolt breaks out and I lose all my progress.  I guess my guys just politely go home when the Chaldeans say they've got better things to do?

Instead, I go for Sozopolois, which my chancellor has forged a claim on.  Getting closer to the eleven I need.

Three husbands are not enough for Chrysgone Ironsides.

Speaking of which, Zula managed to get himself killed in battle, so I guess we're on to contender number four!

Aman may be old, but he's got that sweet, sweet bookkeeping skill I can't resist.

Nice!  A dog to help keep me alive!

Things are a little confused.  I'm besieging Sozopolis, the rebels are in Constantinople, and for some reason the Ecumenical Patriarch has laid siege to Nicomedia?

Also some of my vassals are super pissed about me using their armies for too long.

On the plus side, I caught the mythical white stag!  No big D.

By the time Sozopolis falls, my hard-working chancellor has forged claims on two counties in Paphlagonia, which is a very silly-sounding name.

I take my doctor's advice and lay off a little.  Not long afterward, she dies unexpectedly.

Time for a new quack!  Bring on the mercenary limb-chopper!

Control of the two Paphlagonian counties gets me to the eleven I need.  Long live the Kingdom of Anatolia!

Except I can't afford it.

Fortunately, Jewish merchants are always happy to lend me money!  Although why that should be, I have no idea.

Hurrah!  One step up the ladder!

And the next step is pretty clear: as a queen, I can forge a claim on the whole Empire, and then start a faction to install myself as Empress.  I'm not nearly strong enough to do that yet, but we're getting closer.

Hmm, that may be jumping the gun a little.  Call back later.

I manage to pay back my loan to the Jews.  "Wait, people actually do that?" say the Jews.

Meanwhile, I now have de jure claims against all the other counties in the Kingdom of Anatolia I don't hold yet, so I don't need to keep forging documents.  I set out to take them one by one.

Why do all these doctors keep telling me to fast?  Are they fat-shaming me?

Hey, maybe their empire has broken up a bit!

Or it could be way bigger than ever.  Sigh.

Okay, this time it's actually cancer.

Having achieved her goal in life by creating the kingdom, Chrysogone insists on trying something exciting.

Apparently this means removing my eyeball.  But it cured my cancer!

At 51, Chrysogone is doing pretty well, and sporting a badass eyepatch.

And she's high on vitamin dog!

Hmm.  Dog's got his work cut out for him.

Maria: "I have a confession to make.  I'm secretly Orthodox."

Chrysogone: "Uh ... so am I.  So is everyone.  It's the official religion of the empire."

Maria: "... why have I been worshiping in the basement all this time then?"

Uhoh.  My underwhelming son Arsenios is dead.

Apparently his daughter murdered him to seize the throne?  A commendable show of initiative, I say.

The new heir is decidedly 'meh', but at least he has a better hair situation going on than his older brother.  He's also got two sons, which is promising.

This dude Aetios has been a pain in my ass ever since I, um, conquered and usurped his duchy.  Having forged a claim against his county, I demand it back, and he wisely goes with the program.  I give it to Tiberios to run, just to get him started.

While I might forgive my granddaughter for murdering my son, she also hates my guts, which makes her dangerous to keep around.  So while I'm cleaning house I send the guards for her, too.  She manages to raise a rebellion, but I quickly crush it and throw her safely in jail.

Hey, and no more pus oozing from my eye!  Winning.

I'll gladly take money for favors, at this point.  Who knows if Chrysogone will even be around to repay it?  

I have no idea who this guy is, but I want him on my team!

What do you think, WebMD?  Rabies, huh?

Hmm.  Maybe it is rabies!

Surprise it was smallpox.

Meanwhile, the wars continue.  I'm pounding it into the heads of the local dukes that I am now queen in this vicinity.

Hey, it worked for cancer.  Let's let it ride!  I got another eye, don't I?

Hmm.  This time all it cost was my sanity.

Ironically, the smallpox just went away on its own.  Woops!

I asked the Emperor for some more land, and he just gave it to me?  I guess he likes me!

Count Stephanos is being uncooperative, and hates my guts.  Time to have somebody pay him a little visit.

Fortunately for me, everyone is willing to help!  It's gonna be a team assassination guys.

Crap.

Double crap!  

Finally.  Maybe next time we should go straight to poison and skip "manure explosion".

Chrysogone is 60, and only getting wilier.  She's outlived two sons and a daughter so far.

Aaaaand chalk up another husband to the score.  I head over to the shelter to adopt a replacement.

This guy's bookkeeping is almost too good.  And his name is "Radbot".  

"Are you a robot?"

"OF COURSE NOT.  LOOK AT MY RADICAL MUSTACHE.  BLEEP BLOOP."

"The weird thing is, she did that even before she was insane..."

Good work, Radbot!

AFFIRMATIVE.  RADBOT WILL COLLECT GOLD.

Sergios has fucked up one time too many.  Time for a new quack!

A guy who plucks out eyes, you say?  Tell me more!

Medieval stress relief: either dogs, fucking, or gloating over the skulls of your enemies.

So, the patricidal Agne died in my dungeons, and apparently her aunt Leontia is pissed off?  I mean, she did murder your brother, dear.  We have a firm stance on that in this house.

Uhoh.  Despot Radbot has a virus.  He's started DDoSing Chinese porn sites.

And Chrysogone may finally be losing her grip.

I want to know if she lost another chalice in the woods, or if she's looking for the same chalice twenty years later.

The Theme of Nikea was destroyed when its owner rebelled, so I managed to recreate it as a proper duchy and lay claim to the wayward fourth county, which went astray back in the first generation.  Most of the rest of Anatolia has accepted my rule!

Well, she's my best friend, but God forbid peasant children have nightmares.

Leontia was apparently so mad at me for letting Agne die in the dungeons that she ran off, got married, and started a band of mercenaries.  Which, let's be honest, is awesome.

I'm getting more powerful, but I'm hesitant to make any moves towards the Emperor because I don't know how long Chrysogone will last.

She's 70 now, and fading a bit due to being infirm and insane.  But the wars go on!

I like to have multiple baronies in my capital to stack troop bonuses, so I revoke this one without a good reason.  That makes everyone mad at me, but I figure I'll be dead soon regardless!

Nooooo Despot Radbot!  Has anyone tried turning him off and turning him back on again?

Chrysogone finally settles down with a nice Jewish boy, who happens to be possessed.

The medium pink is me, now covering most of mainland Anatolia.

My heir's heir is Ioannes the Lecher, who has four sons so far, though only one via his actual wife.  Still, at least the dynasty will continue.

Chrysogone's remarkable reign finally comes to an end at 73.  She took power at 9 and ruled for 64 years, created the Kingdom of Anatolia and conquered something like fifteen new counties; survived six children, measles, cancer, smallpox, and infection; and outlived five husbands.  That's quite a run!

Tiberios, I choose you!

 

Current Year: 876 AD.

Current Status: NOT A ROBOT BLEEP BLOOP.

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