Either way blood is shed. Good update!
Either way blood is shed. Good update!
Naples, 1119 AD
The city of Naples had capitulated to Ioannis Komnenos' on Christmas Day, in hope of mercy. Ever a good Christian, the symbasileus had provided it, allowing anyone to leave provided they left their weapons behind and providing food to the starving inhabitants of the erstwhile Norman capital. It had been the Bishop of Naples, one Giacomo, who had opened the gates to them and knelt first before Ioannis, kissing the hem of the Roman's ceremonial blue robes. All of Italy south of Rome itself belonged to the Empire once more and the citizens of Naples and Campania seemed to treat Ioannis as welcome news. He owed the Bishop much.
Not all was rosy, however. This new Pope was a tricky customer, his emissaries dismissive of the true Romans- a technique which reeked of fear to Ioannis- and this new Crusade without consulting with Constantinople a blatant message of intent. Not having seen his father since the first march eighteen months ago, he could not guess what would happen next. Personally, he would retaliate against the aggression by marching on Rome should the Magyars harm a single Roman citizen. However, both Isaakios and his second-in-command Roman Dalasennos believed it was more likely that he would be sent to Sicily. Nevertheless, he vowed internally that the Eternal City would be his one day and the might of Rome bent to his will.
According to the Bishop, he should try and meld the two Churches back together, fusing east and west. But he disagreed, even if he had learned enough not to voice it openly. Unless the Pope and his Catholics were prepared to make concessions, he would make it his aim and the aim of his Empire-to-be to crush them and subject them to rule from Constantinople. For the moment the Roman host camped adjacent to the sprawling mess of Naples, with a few garrisoned and patrolling after some disturbances and fires had sprouted up, instigated by Norman agents, Ioannis suspected, but one time it had been his own soldiers involved in a brawl over a woman. They grew restless, even as brothels sprouted up and bawdies were sung in every tavern they wanted to either return home or move on.
Himself, he wanted the same thing. Naples had been decimated by siege, he only remained here for diplomatic reasons... a thought struck Ioannis as he lay on his bed next to a slumbering Dimitra and he smiled... Bari would be a much better capital of Roman Italy. But he could not leave Naples undefended. That and Yaroslaw, who hovered like a spectre through his dreams and as a malign presence in Bari, with his wife and myriad children, now strategos of Calabria and Apulia, the two hooves of Italy. Scowling and shutting his throbbing eyes, which ached under the oppressive damp clouds of a Mediterranean winter, he tried to empty his mind. As chief general of the Roman Empire behind his father this was his duty. One day he would doubtless leave Priskos in some god-forsaken hole before Priskos could become Emperor. This city would benefit from some Roman baths, some Roman aqueducts and some Roman pride. It would be years before it was like Bari, a proud part of the Empire.
By then he would be long gone, the team of architects and designers he had ordered from Constantinople having made Naples suitable for human habitation while Ioannis Komnenos conquered the Italian peninsular, Sicily and Africa for his father before assuming the purple himself. Feeling a deep pity at his own childish dreams, Ioannis rolled over and poured his frustrations away into the sleepless nights.
Romans patrol through Naples, a heavy military presence remaining through the tense political climate
2 great updates
Although, Taticius wanting to stop the killing? That doesn't sound like him - it must be old age
And Ioannis should just march on Rome, kill the Pope etc. etc.
I am looking forward to the political madness you will surely conjure up when Alexios dies
Constantinople, 1119 AD
Outside the three curtain walls of Constantinople, Istvan the Hungarian and nigh on twenty thousand Magyars and Poles had been camped for the past three weeks. Istvan and the Polish Count Wladyslaw had been guests of Alexios in the palace for that time, being wowed by the grandeur and impressed by the military might of the Roman Emperor. Two weeks earlier Henry V of the Germans had been ferried across the Bosphorus with his twenty thousand men as a gesture of Roman goodwill and as a reward for his signing of a treaty which pledged to return all land conquered to Constantinople and swear fealty to Alexios and his descendants. The Magyars and the Poles were less willing to acquiesce to this request and an uneasy peace reigned. Alexander Axuches had escorted them south, past his river forts, and the presence of his Roman soldiers here had added to a generally hostile air as forces from Anatolia were levied to Constantinople- Alexios planned to send his second son Andronikos to invade Sicily.
Amid this climate in a heady summer, Mikhail's fits grew worse and more frequent again, surpassing anything he had ever felt before. As his contacts fed him conflicting stories from the Italian city states, from Venice, from the Seljuqs, from the Crusaders and the Fatimids, he felt lost at court for the first time in many years. Even so, he held enough influence to stop Alexios throwing the Magyars straight out, as Gabras wanted, or letting them straight across, as the Patriarch preached. He suspected Alexios had the plan Mikhail himself had, to keep the Hungarians outside long enough for them to get bored and leave or die attacking the city walls.
This evening walking back from council, he was tempted to agree with Gabras, such was the insolence of their guests. It would not be long before the situation came to a head, he suspected. The nape of his neck crawled like it was covered in insects. He swatted it ineffectually. The war was going well in the west, but the east was so volatile now. Henry would retake Antioch and Edessa had recovered, but Jerusalem was beleaguered, even if all the Crusader force was there. Once he would have predicted what would happen next, but now... any day he would die, what did it matter? Opening the door to his private rooms, Mikhail bit the inside of his mouth so hard it broke his scars there from his previous fits. The effort to keep walking so far had been so hard and for such scant reward. With a sense of a relief but great fear, he let himself succumb to the tornado of his torture.
Mikhail surfaced like he had just fought his way out of quicksand. A kind dark hand offered him a goblet "Wine." which he took and gulped at. A bitter inferior taste, which he clumsily had spilled down his front. He swallowed it and scrubbed at his gummy eyelids with his free hand, which quivered slightly, before dropping the goblet. He had just drunk something from a stranger. A stranger who had been sitting watching him and now leaned over him. "Good evening Mikhail Szekeres. My sect feel it polite to tell our victims who killed them." he spoke Greek clumsily, his Arabic accent licking at every word "Basir, in the service of Mesud, sent me." he leant back and smiled beatifically "Poison. A remarkably quick poison. May Allah be kind to you, heretic."
Trying to force some words out of his painfully dry mouth, Mikhail found he couldn't, for his throat felt as though it was in a vice of steel. Panicking, he tried to thrash around but for once he could not even force a spasm, as every muscle stiffened and he tautened, his eyes rolling uncontrollably, his last focused view the bowed head of his murderer. And Mikhail Szekeres passed out of this world and into the next.
The famous sea walls of Constantinople, bastions of invincibility
_____________________________________________________In the weeks that followed the death of Mikhail Szekeres, the Crusading army departed Constantinople, marching south to attempt to cross at the Dardanelles rather than by Roman rule. Retaliating, Andronikos Komnenos was sent with Gabriel Gabras and all of his men to intercept them before they could cross and destroy the Magyar threat.
Old age creeps up on us all- and Taticius has had a life of murder so far...
The Dardanelles, 1119 AD
Twenty thousand Roman soldiers broke camp that morning and formed up on the hill, to intercept the Crusading host. Himself, Andronikos had broken his fast in his tent, going over the pre-agreed tactic with Gabras and Taticius. Taticius' plan had won out, the Roman infantry holding the hill in two ranks against the Magyars, with the advantage of the slope negating the equine and archery advantage of their enemies. The skirmishing cavalry and stratiotae were on the flanks, designed to push the weak Magyar infantry back and turn a flank. Andronikos' first battle had given him undeniable shivers and he had not finished the haunch of minted lamb his servants had provided for him. They had the ground, they had the men and they had the might of Rome- Alexios was depending on him. The men formed up as the Magyars made their way up the hill like so many ants. From his horse, Andronikos saw only glimpses of the battle.
Militia spearmen mass on the hill in the name of the Emperor, hoping the stem the tide of false Christian Magyars, who march to the Dardanelles with flame and fear
A clash of men, less a dance of war than a sickly shove of blood and gore, as men of the cross and of Rome fight. On the horizon Magyar lords spur themselves to death as the left flank turns
Istvan himself throws his life away in folly as he seeks to encourage his faltering men, tumbling from his steed and riddled with arrows, he was slaughtered on the floor, like an animal as around him the remnants of his army were massacred
After a famous victory, Andronikos and Taticius make camp before sailing for Sicily on the fresh, red dawn
Short but sweet, I'm afraid...
2 Great updates my friend
I'll change the family tree later to accommodate for Mikhails death Speaking of which, I can't believe you killed him Now how is Alexios going to find everything out
Andronikos first battle was well-described, and the pictures were good, the Istvan one especially
Things are really building up to a crescendo - only will it be in the East or West??
Constantinople, 1119 AD
"Who mourns a spider?" Thomas Doukas, the handsome, strapping thirty-year old new ruler of the Doukas family said dismissively, waving an effeminate hand glittering with rings as he spoke. He had arrived a week ago, with news from the Battle of the Dardanelles- Andronikos had won a great and crushing victory. The day before he had been greeted onto the Council as a guest, Mikhail Szekeres had been murdered in his apartments, found dead and presumably poisoned by the Quaestor Philip. Naturally, many suspected the half-man due to their prejudices, but Iakovos was sure it was a foreign agent.
Philip looked up from eerily pale steepled fingers, like a church made of bones and growled in his half-broken voice "The man who suspects he will be squashed next." and smiled a cruel smile "Our enemies would sow discord among us, do not look at me like that, friend."
Waving a hand again, Thomas sank back into his sea. "Indeed, are we not brothers?" the chamberlain of Roman Dalasennos was a queer fish, styling himself Maurice of the Many Colours, wearing a tattered cloak with a hole in it where he claimed there had been a purple patch before Dalasennos had torn it out. Flamboyant, ostentatious and devilishly sharp, he represented his master with alacrity and had endeared himself to the Basileus, who seemed empty without Taticius, who was in the west. With Michael Phillipus at his shoulder and Zeno Zigopoulos on the other, he lacked some of the verve he possessed when the earthy golden-nosed Turk lurked in the shadows there. Since Mikhail's passing many of Iakovos' fellows scented blood at court. This was not good for the Empire.
"We are at war... gentlemen.... War... against the... Normans and the... Venetians not each... other..." drawling tiredly, Iakovos prayed that he could maintain order in a court that was lurched by a war that dragged many away and brought new faces. Maurice, Zeno Zigopoulos the younger son of Zigopoulos and adopted heir of the Iasites in southern Anatolia and Thomas Doukas.
His brother Michael nodded "Indeed, even now the great lords and generals of our Empire amass on Sicily."
"And why not our Emperor? Too old?" Thomas Doukas whispered it under his breath, smirking. A silence deeper than usually possible in the city of a million souls settled on the room like a shroud on a corpse. Alexios did not lean forward from his darkened seat, hidden behind a shaft of glimmering sunbeam and dust motes. A busy fly of the summer flittered through it and like lightning Alexios clapped it between his hands, the corpse dropping away as the waves of his palms departed each other.
"Why not our Doukas? Too craven? Were you not my nephew by blood, Doukas, I would crush you as I crushed that fly. My sons and my generals may be in Sicily, but the Imperial Guard could still seek every one of you in your beds and smother you among your silken excesses. Among your concubines and the weaknesses of your flesh. Six foot Varangian monsters can haunt your every step. I am your Emperor, chosen by God and chosen by Fate, Emperor from Trebizond to Naples, from Caffa to Crete. This Empire is mine and the world turns east and west, would you have me turn my back so the rats could turn the wheels?" Alexios leaned forward into the light, catching in his burning eyes and fire-flecked beard as his voice hushed to nigh whisper "If for a second you plot for my death, natural or otherwise, think again. I shall reign a thousand years." standing up, he left the table "Bicker amongst yourselves, fools, I'm going to see Pazzini."
Alexios I Komnenos, Emperor of Rome
Cheers, Shankbot, really juggling a bit at the moment- considering changing the update style when Alexios dies, will ponder it more but wonder if there are any thoughts about becoming less vignette more novella?
Excellent! Some new meat Although how dare they speak against Alexios :schocked:
If you would like my opinion, keep the updates the same, they work, they're original and I like them In all seriousness it's kind of your 'style' - it works so I wouldn't change it (But that's just me)
Whatever the outcome I'm sure you'll manage to get it to work
The Tyrrhenian Sea, 1119 AD
"Can we trust the Pope with Anna?" Ioannis was wracked ever more by doubts that never plagued him on the battlefield and this fraught and perilously sea journey to Palermo had his on edge. They were open to attack and to winter storms, but Ioannis reckoned the advantage surprise would bestow on them would prove itself worth it. Normally they would have passed the narrow strait at Messina, but the plan was for the Roman attack to come from two prongs, seizing Palermo and Syracuse in one swoop as Andronikos sailed to Sicily for Spring. With the Normans engaged on Sardinia and Africa, it promised to be a fairly easy conquest and Dimitra remained certain, even as Ioannis' confidence wavered. His latest bugbear was their eldest daughter Anna, who was serving as the New Roman emissary to the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire in Rome.
"No." she did not give false comfort "He cares little for the diplomat we have with us." a lowly monk, the Papal diplomat had spent most of his time alternately praying or puking.
Ioannis wrung his hands together "They would not harm her, she is a good Christian girl and well protected by our Varangians and the escort... perhaps she can impress some German princeling too... the Pope needs my donations to his cause."
"You grow too close to the Pope." Dimitra did not approve of Ioannis' predilection for Catholics, ever since Naples he had been growing closer to Rome than Constantinople, a lack of faith Dimitra was sure her father-in-law would find disturbing. Should he linger here in the West when Alexios passed, she worried that he would turn to the Eternal City first, such was his obsession with it.
"I grow close to Rome." he confirmed her suspicions, turning eyes which had a strange fire lit in them, one of ambition which had not yet been quenched by the manifold restrictions of his status within the Roman Empire. "Rome is the true home of our people and our Empire, not Constantinople. Romulus and Remus are the fathers of our Empire, not Constantine."
She scowled, chewing at the inside of her mouth "Constantinople is the home of your father and his father and his father before him."
He shrugged his warriors shoulders and stood from their cabin table, donning his deep blue cloak and making to go above decks "First, we must conquer Sicily."
The Tyrrhenian is home to the four Latin winds: Boreas, Auster, Eurus and Zephyr
Shanks and Scottish King, as my main commenters I value both you opinions, as I do all of my readers out there I'm pleased you like the little windows into this world, I shall see how the game pans out, in all likelihood it stays though
We shall be seeing a bit more of this new meat and new ground for Alexios I think...
Palermo, 1120 AD
Idly daydreaming, twirling a quill between his fingers and gazing over the calm seas, Ioannis mentally recounted the battle to himself. They had landed a few miles north of the City and had been met in the open field by a Norman army led by King Roger himself, presumably the Norman hoping to use the might of the knight at it's best in the grassy plains to crush the host that outnumbered them so dreadfully.
To stem the flow of the enemy, Ioannis had sent forward his mounted acritae, who sent many Normans to hell before retreating to safety
The Normans crashed into the mass of Greek infantry with a devastating immediate effect, but once bogged down were left exposed
It was not too long before the enemy flank was turned completely and Imperial banners alone fluttered in the breeze, the Norman might in Sicily broken
Palermo surrendered, begging for mercy as Naples had, as Andronikos besieged stubborn Syracuse
"Bring me the Moslem." Ioannis found himself using those words far too often nowadays, the eunuch proving himself as invaluable for Sicilian counsel as the Bishop had in Naples. They had been only a month on this island and only Syracuse had failed to surrender. The Norman Lords that remained- so few, for most had died or been taken prisoner- had bent the knee before him or fled to Africa, where in Tunis the son of Roger had set up a new court. Meanwhile, Ioannis had the pleasure of having conquered Sicily but felt uneasy with how easy it had all felt.
"You called, master?" the eunuch still had a man's voice, having been cut when he was in his early twenties after leading an attempt for an Islamic revolution on the island. He had reached a siege at Palermo before reserve forces routed his army and his actions became a Casus Belli for the Norman invasion of Africa. He insisted his own name was impossible to pronounce by Greek tongue so they called him Julius.
Ioannis regarded him, a tall thin man who wore a headscarf and had a strong chin. His eyes must surely once have burned strong than they did now, just a sputtering flame "Yes. Are there many Moslems in Syracuse?"
"You opened the gates to me here, I would have you go treat with my brother and the people of Syracuse. If he is held up too long there it will not do and the Normans could wheel around and counter-invade us." he was gambling, for the Moslem community in Sicily could all too easily rise up if they saw their demagogue travel through the land, gelded as he was, but a heavy guard and trust should do it "If you should succeed, there will be high place for you in my court."
Tilting his head to one side, Julius appeared to frown a little "I shall have an armed guard?"
"And shall die if I betray you?"
"It is a deal, master."
Ioannis bowed his head and sent a prayer to his own God "Good luck and Godspeed."
Constantinople, 1120 AD
"Sicily is ours." like a wolf, the Patriarch grinned as the messenger left the room, showing his teeth but no joy "A great victory for Rome, but it seems that the proliferation of Islam shall remain on the isle?"
Alexios' lip turned a little "The watchword of Rome is not forcing people to change their beliefs."
"We must spread the word of God!"
"Indeed." the old ice crept through the timbre of the Emperor's words now "You have priests to spread the word of God, I have soldiers to spread Roman law. The two are different. Remember that. I rule through God, you are merely his messenger." Bristling and scowling the Patriarch shuffled his bony rear on his seat but inclined his head. Iakovos could not help but feel a warm inner glow at the militant religious leader's discomfited countenance. Not reacting but maintaining the imperial mask Alexios spoke to his council at large "And what of the Norman court in Africa?"
Thomas Doukas fancied himself as an informant and had bought much of Mikhail Szekeres' extant network "Entrenched but weakened."
A lie, Iakovos knew, for his own brother Michael had bought all of it and told them to feed Thomas false. And duly, Michael spoke to truth, which for this occasion at least was a necessity "No. They are disparate but have sent for reinforcements from the Venetians, probably mercenaries and from their northern brethren."
"No... match for our... armies in the... field..." Iakovos gave a nod he knew was sanctimonious but one had to give to continue the strength of Alexios' within the council. It was the support of the Phillipus and the Quaestor that supported the Basileus here now- a fact which evidently made him feel uneasy but one he seemed grateful for, having lavished gifts on their family.
"Let us hope not." no-one liked Maurice of the Many Colours, he was rumoured to spend much time in brothels and low houses. In itself of no great level, but the whispers that he sought only the strangest half-breeds of doubtful provenance- men and women were equal game in Constantinople and he chose neither- those whispers make Iakovos feel queerly ill. "In other matters, gentlemen." his voice was like a lyre "my master returns, and returns with Yaroslaw, Catapan of Bari."
The news would appear to be that the Normans flee ever southwards
Dimitra is a character I am not sure about...
LXII."Nice place you've got here." Nikophoros swept through the palace, his bat-winged cloak fluttering at his heels, forcing the stumpy German lord to chase after him like a puppy after it's mother
Antioch, 1120 AD
"Ja..." even the Latin of Wolfgang von Bayern was desultory and halting, often lapsing into German "We took it. Thanks to strength and Roman help." hopping to catch up with Nikophoros, Wolgang smiled and bounced a bit, before collapsing in relief as Nikophoros stopped to admire a statue.
"This is Turkish." he stroked the fine lines and the symbols which were no doubt illegible to his ill-educated companion "'Allah is strong.' Do you have art like this in your dank forests?"
The German did not understand him and simply stared at the statue with his overlarge drooping lips flopping around like two lazy dolphins. Since the bloody sack and siege of Antioch- all but abandoned by the Seljuqs who poured towards Jerusalem- Wolfgang had been left in charge of the city. It was a hollow shell now, with only perhaps 4,000 citizens left who had not fled for refuge in the east or west. Nikophoros' had sent many to Cilicia or Athens and enjoyed the tumbleweed empty forums and streets of Antioch. War bred places like this. It went without saying that Antioch was ripe to take, with the walls of Mons Silpius still extant alongside so much great architecture and houses, Nikophoros liked what he saw and did see true potential there. When peace settled on the Levant, people would return here.
Now the Crusaders swarmed south to relieve the Turk siege of Jerusalem and Nikophoros had sent his son Meletios south in his stead. At the storming and subsequent four-day sack of this city he had acquitted himself with much verve and panache. The one time Nikophoros had found him he had been bathing with four terrified whores, two dead bodies lying on the dirty ground. Although he had shown embarrassment that a Vyrennian should be so ungentlemanly, that he manifested guilt by beheading the whores did not replace with confidence Nikophoros' growing fears that he was no fit successor to one of the most powerful men in the Empire. Sighing, he turned to walk away, cracking knuckles underneath thick black leather gloves.
"Where going?" the fat German bobbed like a sparrow in front of him and Nikophoros swatted him away, striding through the palace to his personal chambers.
He won at chess that night, defeating Anna in three straight games, prying her away from the weighty tomes she was devouring with astonishing speed. She seemed distracted, sunk in his histories and inextricably bound up in a never-ending series of political comments that he understood but had little interest in. The Crusading Kings were of interests, as were the Shahs, the Caliphs, the Popes, the Basils and those who he dealt with in the world now. Romans, Greeks and the dead did not interest him.
"Pazzini sent a letter. My father has still a hold on the capital but is still hopeful of negotiating a peace with the Venetians." Anna looked up from her last fallen king and raised her eyebrows at Nikophoros
"Seeing as the Normans have lost Sicily and Italy, I suspect he will get it." Nikophoros reached for his goblet and sipped delicately "Does his faith hold?"
She chewed her lower lip "From what we can tell he does nothing untoward. He grows ever closer to the Basileus and the Basileus desires the costly peace with Venice."
Nikophoros finished his wine "When Ioannis and Andronikos have taken Africa and Sardinia for their own, Venice shall send more men and the card shall turn. I must return to the City."
Antioch, City of the Orontes and Levantine hills- and spice
Thomas Doukas is not to be trifled with, even if he is something of a spade, he is of rather good stock.
Sicilia, 1120 AD
They rode side by side, the blue garb of Ioannis' fluttering in the breeze, his dark beard heaving on his jaws but light as he laughed. Bathing in warm Sicilian sunlight, the symbasileus and his entourage had ridden out to meet Andronikos at Messina, with both set to vacate the island after a year of treaties and a muted attempt at a re-invasion by some Norman lordlings led by a bastard of Roger. Julius the Moslem had made himself demagogue of the third of the island which still knelt eastward and had offered his services to Ioannis, swinging the crucial numbers at Syracuse and surely due to be bestowed great honours when they returned to Constantinople. However, it was just the two Komnenos brothers who rode fifty yards ahead of the imperial group.
"I do not intend to return to Constantinople." Ioannis had stopped laughing and suddenly whipped that line out to Andronikos, who was stunned
He laughed again, but hollowly "Not never, but I wish to see Rome."
"A shell." Andronikos waved a hand, feeling shocked and somehow disappointed, even a stroke of anger underneath it all "The Franks have ruined it, it is not the imperial city any more, but a centre for Goths and Catholics."
Pushing his lower lip out a little, Ioannis raised his eyebrows "Indeed."
The fire of anger burned a little harsher through Andronikos' veins and he spurred his horse a little, Ioannis following him at a slower pace "And what do you intend to do in Rome while I tend to our venerable father?"
"You do not tend to the Emperor. You serve him." the admonishment had a clear subtext which riled Andronikos further, but he could not say anything, for he had no argument. One day, he vowed, when Ioannis was Emperor, he would not serve him. "I intend to learn, to talk, to build bridges with the Catholics."
"To be coronated Emperor of Rome in the Eternal City?"
His brother wrinkled his nose in a show of distaste, but Andronikos wondered what he was thinking as he adopted a scoffing tone "I shall be crowned in Constantinople, brother." and reared his horse around "I would see my wife."
Scowling and uncomfortable with the anger ripping at his stomach, Andronikos wheeled his steed around, noting as he turned the spewing Etna in the distance. They were not quite in the shadow of the ancient volcano, but he felt the ash and the weight presence had effected him adversely since their arrival. That and his bastard brother and future Emperor. He dug his heels in and galloped in alongside Taticius.
"Told you he's going to Rome?" the old man growled, each word like a wild bear's morning yawn
Clenching his fists, Andronikos turned to the infuriating Turk who he had grown close to since his victory against the Hungarians "Who told you?"
Snorting, the Turk chuckled "No-one, I just have eyes to see."
"Hmm." the man with the golden nose continued to chew his spices amiably next to Andronikos, ignoring any prompting to continue. "I am going back to Constantinople."
"Indeed you are."
"Were you always so insolent to my father?" Andronikos still felt a sickness at the pit of his stomach, a curdling of discontent and it showed with the violent flick of his tongue, biting it as he missed the rhythm of his steed.
Taticius grinned and shook his head "You wait until your brother is Emperor to learn the truth of insolence."
Etna should provide no pathetic fallacy to the future of the Empire
2 great updates mate! The last one very foreshadowing...
Ooh, that has made things very interesting.One day, he vowed, when Ioannis was Emperor, he would not serve him.
As ever Taticius has porved to me again he is my favourite character:
I'm glad to see old age hasn't ruined him just yet."You wait until your brother is Emperor to learn the truth of insolence."
Do I also sense that Thomas Doukas will have a part to play?
The tension is almost unbearable!
Caught up once again and it seems that Ioannisis having some radical views towards Rome. May this be a source of trouble during his reign? Great update.
The Eternal City, 1121 AD
"Rome." Ioannis grinned as he lay in bed next to Dimitra
"Rome as guests." she was dubious about the whole venture, even more so while Andronikos returned to Constantinople and Alexios lived through the twilight of his reign with an apparently weaker grip than before. If Ioannis was seen as uninterested in the Empire it would do no good with so many powerful men behind him- particularly Nikophoros Vyrennios and his violent son Meletios.
"And one day as rulers." his dreams were not contagious to Dimitra, even if he seemed to have infected her boys Priskos and Strategios, who had the ambition of the father, Priskos in particular with his flaxen hair captivated with ideas of reinstating a true Roman Empire.
She rolled away from him and faced over the stinking medieval city which to her was not so different from Naples or other Frankish towns, other than the ruins left from Trajan's time "Maybe. Our city is Constantinople though, your city is Constantinople, jewel of the world, bridge between east and west..."
He cut across her "An afterthought. Rome conquered the world, Constantinople only governed her."
"You intend to conquer the world?"
Suddenly full of an animal strength, he growled, "Yes."
"Shall I marry a prince, mother?" Anna Komnene the Younger was eighteen years old and full of ambitious dreams.
"Shall I be a prince, mother?" Strategios Komnenos was only thirteen and full of highminded dreams.
"I shall be Basileus and ruler of Europe and each of you." Priskos Komnenos was sixteen knew what he wanted.
"Shall I be pretty...?" whispered Thekla through thin lips and pale lizard-like nose, a fifteen year old girl with no hope.
Dimitra looked at her children and felt a peculiar twisting in her chest, her four children sitting before her, on the edge of leaving her forever, each for their own way in the world, each the progeny (perhaps) of a future Emperor and in the line of succession. Perhaps the four most important children in the world. "Each of you can achieve whatever you want." except Thekla, she thought, Thekla would always be known as a gorgon. God knows she had neither her mother's looks or the looks of either possible father.
"I shall." only Priskos spoke, staring brazenly back at his mother and reminding her all too much of Yaroslaw.
That evening she walked back to the quarters she and Ioannis shared and heard the most uncommon noise from the bedchamber. The servants had informed her the Bishop of Naples was visiting but she had not expected to hear a man of God so blasphemous in this city. Shivering, she poured herself a glass of wine and dreamed of home, dozing off in front of a warm fire, blissfully unaware and perfectly at peace...
Medieval Rome, centred on the Coliseum. Most of the remaining power is symbolic.
Many thanks S12 and Scottish King, tension is what we're aiming for!
Will add to post Shanks
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