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Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Two

Part One.  Updates Wednesdays!

When we left off, the brave founder of our dynasty had died, leaving his two-year-old orphan grandson in charge.  But that two year old is descended from the Emperor himself!

Time for a fresh quack!  Visiting holy sites is definitely a good qualification for being a doctor.

My regent, Arsenios, is the younger son of Taxiarches.  Fairy tales inform me that uncles being in charge of young heirs to the throne always end well, right?  But … dunno if I’m ready to murder him at age four.

(In retrospect I 100% should have murdered him.)

Here’s why I didn’t murder him — I’m trying hard to forge claims to more land.

And Arsenios, inconveniently, turns out to be the most awesome diplomat in the kingdom.  So I make him Magistros and dispatch him to forge some claims.  Maybe someone else will murder him for me?

He kind of sucks at everything else and he has a stupid haircut.

Taxiarches II grows up with the usual shenanigans.

Although around age twelve he has to spend some time in hiding until I convince Strategos Pantoleon the Seducer to cool it with the murder plots.

Still, he likes poetry and is turning out pretty well.  And, evil uncle or not, Arsenios has been doing a fantastic job forging claims!  

When another civil war breaks out, I could make a play for the Empire.  But I’d only get crushed.  Fortunately, Byzantine civil wars are like subways — if you don’t like the look of this one, another will be along in a few minutes.

Taxiarches II didn’t turn out to be quite the administrator I wanted.  But he’s happily married and ready to get to warring!

First target, Anatolia, where I have claims to both Dorylaion and Ikonikon.

Buuuut Uncle Arsenios is trying to kill me again.  Now that I’m grown, I can have him arrested, but since he’s a count that means a civil war while I’m already fighting Anatolia.

I settle for sending sternly worded notes to his co-conspirators, which knocks his plot power down under the 100% threshold.  That means I should be reasonably safe, and I can deal with him after the war is over.

Nooooo don’t go in the creepy basement!

Well, shit.

(Get it?)

So, in spite of all my efforts, Taxiarches II ended up getting murdered by his wicked uncle, just as the Brothers Grimm foretold.  Shockingly, said wicked uncle stands to inherit the throne!  What a twist!

Arsenios, I choose you!

Arsenios has managed to become better at diplomacy and even worse at everything else.  Wonderful.  Time for damage control.

My war against Anatolia has stopped, because Arsenios only has weak claims, and can’t press them against a strong ruler.  More importantly, I’m rapidly running out of dynasty.  With his only son dead, he has just the one child to be heir, and I have no cousins to help me run my extra counties.  To remedy this, I quick make sure my remaining unmarried sisters get matrilineal marriages for “Operation Breed Some Cousins”, and switch Arsenios to Family focus for “Operation Bone Your Wife”.

Unfortunately, the latter is somewhat impeded by the onset of gout, which is apparently going to be the family curse.

Dammit, I told you no eating cats!  My life isn’t worth it!

Meanwhile, in order to press my weak claims, I need Anatolia to be ruled by a child.  That means murdering my way down the line of succession.  I start with Strategos Ioustinos, with significant aid from his wife.

Whose name is, awesomely, Aikaterine Drakokephalos.

One down, one to go!  I wonder if Aikaterine will be up for helping me murder her son, too.

I’m Batman.

Batman has heart problems.

Also, how did the murderous Arsenios end up with a jolly nickname like “the Troubadour”?

That bodes poorly.  Also, the realm is wracked by civil war.  Again.

Tepid?!  Pregnant sow urine should be served chilled or not at all!

In the background, the Imperial army has an epic throwdown with the rebels.

Poor Arsenios didn’t get very long to enjoy the throne he murdered his nephew for.  Can’t say that I’m sorry, really.

Unfortunately, we’re going to run into serious succession problems if we keep losing rulers like this!  The future of the Katakylas dynasty rests on Arsenios’ daughter’s young shoulders.

Chrysogone, I choose you!

Chrysogone is doing … okay.  Her stewardship isn’t great, because someone decided to raise her as a warrior.  Maybe Arsenios was compensating for the death of his son?

Count Diogenes, of whom more later, immediately leads a rebellion against the young Duchess.

Fortunately, I haven’t had much to do during the regency, so I’ve saved up a considerable war chest.  My mercenaries make short work of the rebels and Diogenes and his friends go to prison.

Chrysogone is already thinking along the right lines, I see.

The Byzantines do not fuck around with prisoners, jeez.  I decide to hang on to Diogenes for now and let him keep his balls.

Chrysogone is a 10-year-old girl version of Liam Neeson.

But she ends up befriending the culprit!  What a twist!

I’m getting mixed signals from this kid. 

Alright, who gave her Atlas Shrugged as bedtime reading?

Operation Cousin Breeding has borne some fruit, though both my aunt and her husband are now dead.  (The latter of rebelling against me.)

Chrysogone finally comes of age.  She’s brave, cruel, and an incompetent administrator.  Not great stats, honestly.  I marry her to a high-stewardship husband to mitigate that somewhat.

“What do you love about me, Chrysogone?”

“Your administrative efficiency, Obeko.  It gets me hot and bothered.”

This turns out to be literally true?

Lustful: the negative trait I’m always glad to have.

All that hard work pays off!

Also, I’m sleeping with the Orthodox Pope now.

Hurrah!  The dynasty continues.

Expansion-wise, I’ve got one easy pickup left, the last county that’s de jure part of Cilicia, so I go for that.

My liege is totally uncool with accepting my unsolicited donations in exchange for a favor.  It’s definitely not like I’m going to want to marry a princess again!  (I totally would.)

Build a bridge out of him!

So, my uncle, Count Diogenes, hates me and is a traitor.  But for some reason he has a claim on Ikonion, a county adjoining my territory.  Since he’s already my vassal, grabbing him another county will add it to my realm.  Also, pressing his claims will make him love me.  So yes, Diogenes, I am very concerned about the injustice done to you!

Quack quack.

Pretty sure that’s not the Great Pox.

Given the doctor’s general incompetence, I restrain Chrysogone from taking the “let’s try something new” option.

At least he consulted some star charts first.  Gotta be safe.

Fortunately Chrysogone is a badass.

Prosecuting my expansion wars is an exercise in carefully maneuvering around the rebel armies as they hash out their beef with the Emperor.  Have fun, guys!  Good luck storming the castle!

But I manage it, and add another county under the rule of the grateful Diogenes.

Psh, I had measles, it was weak.

My vassals are getting shirty about so many wars, so I decide to calm down for a while.

With a few children already born, Chrysogone (only 23!) switches to studying the mysteries of gold in order to build up the ol’ war chest.  I spend the proceeds on improving my castles, for future wars.

Later, Jews!  See you in a few years!

And yet the Emperor still won’t submit to my totally reasonable bribes!

Clergy, man.  Always judging you.

I’ve got a claim on Dorylaion, next door to Ikonion.  But I’m still in a truce toward the guy ruling it, so I need to wait for a while and/or kill him.

We can pass the time by burning the witch Catholic!

To help with her stewardship, Chrysogone spends some time running an inn, I guess?  These names are all uninspired.  Where’s “The Rampant Dragon”?

At the very least we can have a poetry-reciting ass!

“I swear I thought they meant Jim Carrey!”

Note to self: verify all talking animals before advertising.

For two stewardship, I would do a lot worse.

A woman wants to be marshal!  And she’s awesome at it, so she’s in, whatever the stick-in-the-mud councilors might say.

In the background, Empire riven by civil war, thousands dead, blah blah blah.  Tuesday, basically.

Heeeeey, isn’t that the dude who wasn’t helping me when I was blackout drunk?

Guards!  Seize him!

I resent the implication that I had him killed.  I merely put him in the darkest, nastiest part of the dungeon with no food.  Technically, the rats are guilty.

Time to introduce Arsenios to the realm!  Although, frankly, with stewardship three he’s already a disappointment.  Plus he’s indolent, which means he’ll do badly with a stewardship education.  Who raised this kid?

Soooo my half-sister is sleeping with the dude I’m trying to kill?  A little help here, sis?

Chrysogone’s husband has died of something or other, so she goes abroad looking for a young hunk with an accounting background.

Immediately I start getting offers to try to kill him.  Just because you’re stuck with my stupid brother, Adosinda, is no reason to be jealous.

Hmm.  On the one hand, I do like burning witches.  On the other hand, Diogenes is personally indebted to me and has other useful claims.  I think he can live … for now …

One of the rebellions offers to let me on the team.  I consider it, but there’s not much upside.  I’ll keep my head down for now.

Chrysogone is slowly progressing toward basic competence!

There are now two simultaneous rebellions dividing the empire.  Honestly, do I really want to be in charge of this place?

One of the rebel armies uncouthly takes over my capital and captures all my children.

Tiberios takes the opportunity of being imprisoned to tell me he wants to become a monk.

Kid, you’re like eight.  You don’t know what you’re missing.

Eventually the revolt ends and I ransom my kids back.  Yes, yes, I love you enough to pay 14 gold a head.

Although frankly, maybe I should have let them keep Arsenios.  He’s turned out to be an incompetent diplomat, trusting, craven, and greedy.  Not exactly the makings of a great ruler.  

Kids these days, I swear!  He’d better give me grandkids ASAP.


Current Year: 837 AD

Current Status: Not Angry, Just Disappointed