Back to the Byzantine Empire, which is finally mine to command!
The new Emperor, Michael, isn’t much to write home about. His stats are bad and he’s envious, humble, and greedy. But he’s Emperor, and that’s what counts.
First up, a quick finish to the war with Serbia. I’m steadily chipping away at the Balkans, which is on my eventual “restore the Empire” list.
Next up, new council. My uncle Hypatios hates me but god damn is he a good steward.
New quack, check.
Pay back the loan that dad “forgot about”. We cool, Jews?
Speaking of religion, it hasn’t escaped my attention that the Muslim empires have remained shockingly united. A quick glance at the map reveals why — in this timeline, apparently, the Sunni have totally crushed the Shi’a, who usually establish a stronghold in the Persia/Afghanistan area. That’s … probably bad for me, especially once they get the jihads going again.
My next goal is to start working my way into Italy with an eye toward eventually taking Rome, which would seem to be the sine qua non of a Roman Empire. The king of Lombardy is weak, and Capua is also a tempting target. I need claims for Lombardy, though, since I can’t holy war against Christians.
Capua, on the other hand, is held by a Tengri chief. That means it’s holy war time!
I mobilize the full force of the united empire.
Soooo I guess Uncle Dorotheos is a Satanist?
Honestly I’d like to be a member of the Hermetic Society or something, but I’m not eager to be a Satanist. Satan can’t grant me much I can’t take with military force.
Christian holy wars! I see no way in which this could end badly for the Byzantine Empire. Come on and help out, guys!
Capua falls. I make Uncle Hypatios a count, which seems to mollify him somewhat.
Uh oh. Herbal remedies, right?
… is that herbal?
Boy do I have enemies though! Let the traditional revolt against the new emperor commence.
The core of the empire has remained loyal, thankfully. And my upgraded demense in Nikea produces a LOT of troops now.
At least the pope and his hordes are headed in the other direction.
The paper thing didn’t work, damn it.
Go back to goat flatulence, it’s always worked for my family.
GOAT FLATULENCE 4 LIFE.
The revolt drags on as I besiege the rebel castles, but I’m thinking ahead. Specifically, I’m thinking of young Aunepert Alaschisling, who has a beef with his father and is willing to come hang out at my court.
Congratulations, Aunepert, you’re Despot of Georgia! This definitely has nothing to do with the fact that you’re, um, the brother of the King of Lombardy and pretender to the throne …
(Spoilers it has everything to do with that.)
I finally manage to corner and crush the primary rebel army. Die, rebel scum!
Generously, Uncle Hypatios is willing to help out with my crappy stewardship.
Quick, Nathaniolos Silvestrios, what do you think?
WOO TIME TO BET THE FARM NEXT CHANCE I GET!
I have a new son. The Byzantines have a weird notion called Born in the Purple, which designates children born to a sitting emperor. They take precedence in succession over their older brothers, which can be a little dangerous if those brothers are ambitious. But it gives a nice opinion boost.
Finally! Off to prison with the lot of you.
What’s this? I’m shocked to discover one of my vassal kings has been unjustly denied his rightful claim to the throne!
How dare you just … keep being king? How dare you.
Conveniently, the Lombards barely show up to their own war. My armies soon spread across the landscape, laying siege to everything in sight.
Oooh, I could use a fancy sword …
Uhhh, no. Not that fancy.
Take that, Lombards! That’s what you get for supporting your rightful king.
This is the best way of taking land from other Christians. Forging claims to each county would take forever.
Unfortunately it kicks my threat way up, so I’m going to have to be cool for a while.
Five years of peace question mark?
Huh. Turns out the guy who tried to recruit me to be a Satanist, is a Satanist. What a twist!
Burn the witch!
Actually, that gives me Kinslayer, which I don’t want. Throw the witch in prison!
He has the good grace to die almost immediately, so I can create a new exarch.
At some point I lost the ability to strip titles, so I spread some bribes around and get that back. That lets me properly punish the various rebels still languishing in my dungeons.
This is troubling, though. One of my duchesses has married the king of Middle Francia, and her sons stand to inherit land in the empire. Unfortunately, we’re not legally advanced enough yet to outlaw titles passing out of the realm. I quickly start trying to murder the sons.
I’m still too threatening (and being peaceful) to take much action, but at least very few people are plotting against me!
I am apparently the wicked stepmother from Snow White.
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME is little kids apparently.
And the duchess is a widow now so I think I’m in the clear? Maybe? I’m not getting the vassal inheritance warning anymore …
Michael has improved his stats to at least average levels and picked up Hunter, honest, just, and gregarious. Not bad!
He may be a little paranoid though.
Hmm. Middle Francia is weak, and I have a claimant to the throne of East Francia, a large sub-kingdom. I could pull the same trick I did with Italy — land the claimant, then push his claim.
I decide not to, though. I need to stay focused on my goal of restoring Roman glory, not get bogged down in conquests in Germany. (And it would keep my threat so high the whole world would ally against me.)
Prince Anthimos has some natural talent, but unfortunately he’s ended up with “Indolent”, which makes him a poor fit as an administrator. I give him a diplomatic education as a second choice.
“Doctor, help me! I’m pooping too much!”
“Here, drink this Potion of Pooping.”
“How can I ever repay you, Doctor?”
The Pope is under siege by an army of angry peasants, so this seems like a good time to pick on him. I send my chancellor over to start forging a claim.
In the meantime I’ve formed an alliance with the King of Middle Francia, “Philippe the Ill-Ruler”. What could go wrong?
He immediately drags me into a horrible, interminable war. I guess I should have seen that coming.
I do get a new, awesome French wife out of the deal, at least.
And my indolent son marries an equally awesome Scandinavian.
By liberal application of bribes and appointing sycophants, I’m slowly taking power from my council and moving towards absolute rule. I’ve got most of the important ones now, including granting and revoking titles, which are crucial because that’s where they’re most likely to disagree with me. Declaration of war is harder, but usually the council can be talked into a good war.
Speaking of wars, this one is going kind of poorly in spite of my support. Fortunately I don’t lose anything but a little prestige if it fails.
How did he get to be “the Bane of Lithuania”? I want to be the bane of something.
Of course, the first casualty of war is always the truth.
But at least my threat has ticked down! That means it’s time for MOAR WAR.
Thank goodness for quackery.
Now that that’s done with, MOAR WAR.
I decide to start things off by picking on the Serbians a little more, and that goes badly wrong almost immediately.
Fortunately, a lack of cash convinces their Pecheneg mercenaries to switch sides, which makes things easier.
Then something complicated happens. King Philippe the Ill-Ruler dies, which scotches my alliance. But the duchess I was worried about earlier also died, and her son inherits both France and a bunch of land in my empire. Which means a scattering of random counties now belong to France!
To add insult to injury, the new king immediately gives one of them away to the Teutonic Order.
I get that one back with a quick de jure claim. But to get the others means fighting Middle Francia, and they’re pretty big. I’m betting they won’t show up, though.
How dare you inherit the territory that I rightfully stole, kid!
I was wrong, and a few Middle Francian armies do show up, but badly weakened by their march across Europe. So I smack them around and lay siege to the contested territory while I wait for them to return.
Better. Now we are officially disentangled from Middle Francia.
But that’s kicked my damned threat back up and now everyone hates me again! Argh. Can’t a man depose the rightful Pope in peace?
Current Year: 929 AD
Current Status: Frustrated