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Thread: The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

  1. #1
    Marble Emperor's Avatar Civis
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    Default The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

    Basic Info: My goal for this campaign is to become the dominant force in the Central/Western Mediterranean, knocking out Carthage and Rome in the process. Another one of my goals is that I do not wish to grow too unrealistically or too quickly, I intend to try to limit my expansion and try to liberate when possible/realistic.
    Mods/Submods: Divide et Impera, Larger Battlefields & Age of Hellenism (Aesthetic changes only).

    The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of Hieronidai
    Chapter I: The Choice Before Us
    "He's right through there, sir," a guard told Anaxis when he inquired as to the whereabouts of the King. Pushing the door open, Anaxis entered the room indicated by the guard only to find it empty and silent. "Crap," he mumbled, turning around to leave and berate the guard for losing his master. Before he could open the door though, Hiero strolled in off the balcony where he had been concealed by a light curtain, surprising him and causing him to jump. "Gods above," Anaxis yelped, "will you ever learn the decency of greeting someone when you hear them enter?" "I'll make you a deal, I'll start doing that when you start knocking before you cause a disturbance," Hiero said, a smirk spreading across his face.

    With that, Anaxis adopted an exaggeratedly offended facial expression then feigned a fighting stance for an instant, but Hiero pushed him off balance before he could coax him any further. Anaxis fell back a bit, but managed to catch himself on a table, and with that the two both erupted in laughter. Hiero took a step forward and hugged Anaxis, "It's been far too long my friend." "Indeed my King," Anaxis said mockingly, now feigning a bow. "I'm glad to see that marriage has yet to rid you of your sense of humor," Hiero said, rolling his eyes. "I had to pick between that and my manhood," Anaxis quipped, "for me that was an easy choice." "I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your manhood, I'm sure Leontina's whores still mourn it's loss." "I know you're the King and all, but don't think I won't hit you... I'm not above that," Anaxis replied. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry that was unrealistic.. there's no way the whores would even notice that anything changed." With that, Anaxis punched Hiero in the shoulder while he tried to backstep out of his reach. "Okay ," Anaxis said, "well the council is all assembled, we should not keep them waiting too too long." "Why not? It's not like they're quick to do anything," Hiero stated. "Yeah, well, if we do they'll piss and moan about it for half the afternoon, and it'll ruin the whole day." "I suppose you're right, we'd best get in there."

    Entering the council chamber, Hiero walked to the head of the table and Anaxis took his seat at amongst the leaders of the Boule. "Good afternoon my friends," Hiero began, "I come today with grim tidings. I have reports from our assets across the sea that Carthage is gathering men and ships in preparation for a siege of the city. From what our spies could gather, we still have some time but what time we do have is of the essence. If we do not resolve the coming war with Carthage quickly, we could find ourselves without allies when Rome eventually finishes off Pyrrhos and the Etruscans and their gaze falls upon us." "Those are indeed ominous words, my King," Aristaeus, Spokesman for the Noble Families said, "but how can we be assured of Carthage's target? For all we know, they could be planning on making war on one of the Iberian tribes, or even bloody Egypt." "One of my spies is sleeping with the man who will be leading the invasion," Hiero replied, meeting his gaze, "if they knew she was a spy, they could have tried to deceive her, but to what end? Why would they tell us they were coming here, if they were going somewhere else? What would that get them other than to confuse us and perhaps create an enemy that they did not need to." "I understand that the threat posed by Carthage is grave," Aristaeus responded, "but if we mobilize in response then we will certainly become a target, and we will lose all hope of finding a diplomatic outcome. Besides, we have done nothing to warrant aggression from Carthage, why would they attack us?" "We are not the ultimate goal," Anaxis countered, cutting in, "we are simply in the unfortunate position of being caught between the two major powers of our time. Rome is quickly coming to dominate the Italian peninsula, Carthage is eyeing this expansion and seeks to unite Sicily under their rule as to prevent the Romans from getting a foothold here. That's why they need to remove us from the equation."

    "Gods, what can be done to avoid this," Evios, spokesman for the merchant oligarchs, asked. "Nothing," Hiero replied pointedly. "War is upon us, whether we would like it or not. All that matters now is what we do in response. So, I am asking that you allow me to gather our forces and expel them from their strongholds here. Let us claim this island for ourselves and free our fellow Greeks in the West that have fallen under their dominion. Let us meet them on the field and remove their ability to encircle the city on land. They count on us being passive and cautious, let us shock them!" "Well, I am not thrilled with this plan, I must say," Aristaeus admonished, "but I agree that we cannot just sit here. Escalation is going to happen it seems, no matter what we do. So it seems the choice before us now is only when and where we shall meet them."

    Winter, 278 BC
    Hiero II personally takes command of the Syracusan Army, named "Stratos I Syrakousai" in mimicry of the Roman legions. His first move is to build up the city infrastructure to tier two and expand the city walls to make room to build a training grounds so as to expand his recruitment capabilities. He decides to hold off on recruiting men initially however, as he realizes that the sooner he begins recruiting forces, the longer he will have to pay for their upkeep. He also moves one of his spies, Crisa out from Akragas, and up into Calabria to keep a lookout for Roman troop movements. His last move is to dispatch an emissary to the Athenians to attempt to get a trade agreement, this endeavor is successful.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Spring, 278 BC
    This season passes quickly, as not much can be done while construction is underway in the city and for the moment peace is maintained. Evios, the spokesman for the merchant oligarchs is given a ship and tasked with sailing to Massalia so as to attain trade with them. Crisa continues into Calabria, locating the Roman forces that left Cosentia during the end of Winter. Pyrrhos also leaves Taras, and sails back towards Epeiros.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Summer, 278 BC
    In the summer of 278 BC, the buildup of forces in preparation for war begins. Evios departs Syracuse and makes his way up the Italian coastline.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Autumn, 278 BC
    The recruitment of land forces continues, as the training grounds nears completion. An emissary arrives from Carthage, officially declaring war upon the Kingdom of Syracuse. Evios is attacked by a Carthaginian fleet, but manages to retreat and escape.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Winter, 277 BC
    The training grounds in Syracuse is finally completed, allowing the recruitment of archers, cavalry, and more varied infantry. Hiero begins by recruiting archers, as their upkeep will be the least expensive. Evios makes contact with the Etruscans, Ligurians, Volcae and Massalians. The Etruscans are friendly, however, they are unable to trade as they do not have a port, and the Ligurians and Volcae are flat out unwilling to negotiate with Evios. The Massalians require a payment for the privelege of a trade agreement, which Evios in turn hands over. In Southern Italy, Crisa discovers two small-medium Roman forces that appear to be amassing in preparation to assault Taras.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 










    Spring, 277 BC
    As Spring rolls around, traders from Greece bring word of an alliance between Athens and Sparta in opposition to the Antigonids. The recruitment of troops in Syracuse continues. Evios makes contact with the Edetani, the Iberian tribe bordering Carthaginian holdings on the Peninsula. After negotiating trade with them, he leaves and lowers the flag on his ship, so as to avoid being identified as a Syracusan vessel and sunk by Carthaginian forces patrolling the coast. In Italy, Crisa discovers that Pyrrhos has left Taras with a moderate force and is marching towards Beneventum.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Summer, 277 BC
    Hiero allows a group of Bruttians, who are fleeing the Roman occupation of Calabria, to settle in Sicily in exchange for military service. He also recruits a hero to begin military training for some of his units, as well as to reduce the upkeep. Just the next season after agreeing to trade, the Edetani end their trade agreement and kick Sicilian merchants out of Arse. Hiero marries Althea, the ambitious daughter of Leptines, a widely respected Syracusan statesman.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Autumn, 277 BC
    Evios makes it home safely, but does not remain there for long as he is soon commissioned to travel east as an emissary for Syracuse and secure trade agreements with as many states as possible. Hiero recruits the last few regiments necessary to round out his army.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Winter, 276 BC
    With Hiero's army at full strength, the council is eager to strike at the Carthaginian holdings in Sicily, but he knows that during winter there is no way his army will reach Akragas in the same season, so he determines to wait until Spring to strike. Evios sails towards the Peloponnese on his diplomatic mission. He is attacked by a Carthaginian fleet once again, but he is able to evade them once again and make it towards the Greek coast. Crisa, who was traveling up from Italy towards Cisalpina and Illyria makes contact with the Daorsi, Breuci and Nori tribes, none of whom are receptive to diplomatic envoys.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Last edited by Marble Emperor; September 21, 2019 at 11:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Chapter II: The Bells

    Chapter II: The Bells
    "Rouse the men," Hiero told Anaxis, "and make sure that all of the officers know their orders." "Sir," Anaxis replied, leaving the tent and making for the mustering grounds. "Sound the bells," Anaxis ordered a guardsman. "Aye Sir," the guard said, and pulled the bell-lever, sending a resounding wave of sound through the encampment. The men scrambled from their tents, grabbing their arms and armor as they went. Everyone made for the mustering fields, which Anaxis was standing at the head of. The hoplites formed ranks, behind them, the Bruttian infantry formed squares, behind that, archers assembled, and finally, the cavalry formed up into their regiments.

    When everyone was finally in formation, Anaxis began, "Countrymen, today we spill the blood of Carthage. And we shall not stop until the corpse of their empire is as white as a ghost, and the desert sand around it is forever dyed red. For too long have these up-jumped pirates held sway over what is rightfully ours. For too long have they gone unchallenged. Our ancestors defeated them at Himera, we shall defeat them here today." Cheers broke out among the army as Anaxis concluded. Hiero emerged on horseback at that moment, and the army slowly quieted back down. "I haven't much to add," Hiero announced, "just keep your heads up, listen to your officers, and all of us will live to see another battlefield." The army roared their approval and Hiero gave the signal to move out.

    Once the army was on the move, Anaxis mounted up and galloped up to the head of the column to ride next to Hiero. "That was a good speech you gave back there," Hiero commented when Anaxis arrived. "Thank you sir, I was feeling inspired this morning." "Well it was good, I think the men will find courage in your words." "I fear they will find as much courage in those words as the bells that awoke them this morning," Anaxis said, brushing the compliment aside. "Anaxis, stop acting like a man with no ambition." "It's not that I have no ambition, it's just..." "Just what," Hiero asked, putting Anaxis in a corner. "Just that you've always looked out for me, ever since we were young.. I can never tell if I am actually doing something well, or whether you just want me to believe that."

    "Well my friend, I fear that the problem you are describing can only be solved by you. You must gain the ability to discern when you are doing well or failing, but I can promise you that for my part I will not lie to you and tell you you are succeeding when you are failing." "Thank you," Anaxis said, "that's all I ask." "Now, I have a great favor to ask of you," Hiero pressed, "and you will not like this, but this is necessary." "Oh what is it," Anaxis smirked, "do you need me to scratch your back?" "I need you to ride with all haste back to Syracuse, today," Hiero responded seriously. "What do you mean," Anaxis asked, "are you being serious, is there an emergency?" "No, no, I am serious, you are to be named Strategos by the council upon your return. You will be given charge of a second army, one that will remain in Sicily while I go fight alongside Pyrrhos." "Is this serious," Anaxis asked with an incredulous look on his face, and stopping his horse. "As serious as life or death," Hiero responded, "I have already approved it with Aristaeus, Evios and Iason. You are the only person I trust with the task. And let me assure you, this task is most serious. If you should fail while I am abroad, Carthage could ravage the entire island before word could get to me and I could return." "I need a moment," Anaxis said. "Take two if you need it," Hiero laughed, "but then go, get your belongings and make haste for home. Time is something in quite short supply these days."

    Spring, 276 BC
    Hiero assaults the city of Akragas, and destroys its light garrison losing only 16 men in the process. When the garrison surrenders, Hiero makes the decision to occupy the city, rather than to liberate them, as he decides that their iron resources may be useful to have under his direct control. Upon occupying the town he commences public works projects almost immediately. He begins work on two military installations in the city, as it is directly across the sea from Carthage and will be facing the greatest threat of any of the Sicilian cities. Evios makes contact with the Cretans, Rhodians and Ptolemies in Egypt. The Cretans and Rhodians both agree to trade, however the Ptolemies are much more protective of their markets. Anaxis meanwhile is given command of a second army group, Stratos II Akragas, which will be tasked with patrolling between Akragas and Panormos and deterring or repelling any Carthaginian incursions.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


















    Summer, 276 BC
    Hiero wastes no time in exploiting the Carthaginian weakness in Sicily, he chooses to march on Panormos the very next season. Employing the same tactics as the last battle, using archers to draw the garrison out into the open for the infantry to kill them, Hiero wins another decisive victory only losing 30 men. Anaxis moves to Akragas to recruit more men and protect the city now that Hiero's army is at Panormos. Evios makes contact with the Attalids in Pergamon, and although they cannot trade due to lack of ports, they accept non-aggression with Syracuse. An edict can now be issued in Sicily as well, since Syracuse now rules the whole province, for lack of a better idea, Hiero chooses Tax Harvesting to help boost tax revenue.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Autumn, 276 BC
    As the year draws to a close, word arrives that one of the Cisalpine tribes that borders the Romans has declared war upon them, no doubt in hopes of seizing wealthy lands in the north of Italy for themselves. When Crisa moves to investigate this prospect, she discovers that the Etruscans have in fact taken the city of Ariminum from the Romans, effectively preventing the Veneti from marauding southwards. Since they have captured a port though, the Etruscans are now able to trade freely. Hiero begins marching his army back towards Syracuse in preparation of an invasion of Calabria. In turn, Anaxis takes a position between Panormos and Akragas where he can effectively reinforce either city. Evios meanwhile manages to negotiate trade with the Antigonids and Odrysian Kingdom.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Last edited by Marble Emperor; September 21, 2019 at 11:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

    Great start, it looks like Hiero is a capable commander and that his strategy in Sicily will improve Syracuse's chances of survival, despite starting in a precarious position in between Rome and Carthage. It's helpful to see what's happening in nearby provinces through the eyes of Crisa, too.

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    Default Re: The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

    Indeed as Alwyn said, a great start! Two chapters that set-up the Syracusan campaign with Hiero perfectly. I like that there is a more narrative bit at the top of each chapter which is followed by a more strict account of what is happening on the map plus pictures. A wonderful weaving of story and campaign which is perfect for an AAR. Interested to see how Syracuse will fare against the might of Rome and Carthage.
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    Default Re: The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

    Chapter III: The Italian Campaign Begins
    “Alexandros, come in here and have a drink,” Hiero bellowed loudly enough to ensure that the guards outside of his tent could hear it. “Sir,” Alexandros said, lifting the tent flap and saluting the guardsmen in passing on the way in. Hiero's tent was large and looked comfortable. Upon entry, Hiero's figure was obscured by a drape that hung to cordon off a corner for privacy. He emerged after a moment with two cups of wine, and an amphora containing the same. “Do you always wear your armor,” Alexandros asked, noticing that Hiero was wearing his breastplate even in his own tent. “I do. I think it reminds people that at heart I am a soldier,” Hiero replied without much thought, handing him one of the cups. “I have a question for you in turn, if you will indulge me,” he postured. “Of course,” Alexandros replied, “I will do my best to answer it.” “Good, my question for you is pretty simple. I just want to know what your ambitions are as a soldier,” Hiero said, downing his cup with one big gulp. “Sir, I’m not sure how to answer that,” Alexandros said, trying not to fumble his answer while Hiero poured himself a second cup.

    “Well, the way I see it,” Hiero responded, “you are young, and not incredibly experienced, but you have demonstrated bravery in the field, and from what I have heard, are quite steady under pressure. How long have you been a fighting man?” “Three years, sir,” Alexandros replied struggling to meet Hiero’s gaze as he slowly began to realize what was happening. “Well, as I am sure you are aware, I have been deprived of my right hand in losing my lieutenant, Anaxis,” Hiero said, “now this as I am sure you can understand, was necessary. However, the most obvious candidate to replace his role was gravely wounded at Panormos and is not expected to recover. This could be a terrible misfortune, and it certainly is for that man, however, it is also an opportunity for someone else, one that I would like to extend to you.” “Sir, surely there are others who are more qualified to take up such an esteemed position before me,” Alexandros said.

    “Are you declining my offer,” Hiero asked, seeking to press the issue. “Sir, I… I will follow whatever orders you give me,” Alexandros stuttered, “but I feel as though this is unearned, and I think others will see it that way as well.” “Why,” Hiero asked dismissively, “need I remind you that it was your detachment of hoplitai that saw the heaviest fighting in Panormos and Akragas. Furthermore, you were among the first to draw blood in the ensuing melee, if I recall correctly. And most importantly, you are well esteemed among your own men and among your fellow officers.” “I cannot be sure if the first thing that you said is true, many of us drew blood early in the fighting,” Alexandros said, seeking to cast aside some of the praise, “but it is true that I am assigned the center left contingent of Hoplitai.” “Not anymore,” Hiero interjected, before Alexandros could defuse any more of his compliments, “you will command my cavalry. You will be my new right hand, to replace the one I lost. You do know how to ride, correct.” “Yes sir,” Alexandros replied, somewhat bewildered, “I um… I grew up riding on my family’s estate.” “Perfect, so all you will need to do is learn the signals, they’re slightly different on horseback. Oh, and I will make an announcement to the other officers, that way you won’t have to worry about how to break the news. Now let’s toast to it,” Hiero asked.

    “Congratulations sir,” one of the guards said as Alexandros exited the tent, saluting him as he went. “Thank you,” he replied, still somewhat in shock by his turn of luck.

    Winter, 275 BC
    Anaxis temporarily concludes his recruitment drive with a small force of four light hoplitai divisions, and four divisions of toxotai due to a lack of funds. This is all he will have to defend Western Sikelia with whilst Hiero is campaigning in Italy. Hiero in turn, marches Stratos I to Messina in preparation to make the jump to the Italian peninsula in the Spring. Before heading South towards Roma, Crisa manages spots a large Veneti force moving Southwards through Etruscan territory towards Asculum. Word reaches Sicily that Pyrrhos has been killed in action in Italy, leaving Epeiros under the leadership of a new King. A small Carthaginian fleet is spotted not far from Syrakousai. Contact is made, and trade is established with the Anatolian city state of Sinope.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Spring, 275 BC
    The Romans, emboldened by their victory over Pyrrhos in the Winter, lay siege to the Greek city of Taras, seeking to consolidate their control of the Southern Italian Peninsula. This serves as "causus belli" for the Sicilians, taking up the mantle left by Pyrrhos, to defend the Greeks of Italy. Hiero drafts a letter to the Roman Senate in which he officially declares war, and crosses the Strait of Messina. Crisa, traveling South past Benevento, spots a Roman allied force mustering in the city. Meanwhile in Greece, the Aitolian League declares their independence and thereby war upon the Antigonidai. The Antigonidai, in anger over the fact that the Hieronidai have stayed neutral with regards to conflicts in Greece, decide to end their trade agreement with the Sicilians. Evios makes contact with the Mithridatidai in Pontos, but cannot establish trade with them due to lack of available ports. Trade is established with the Seleucid Satrapy of Lydia.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 









    Summer, 275 BC
    The Growing population of Syrakousai begins to spill over, forcing the city's administration to expand the walls of the city to include a new Agora. The drill square that Hiero had built in prelude to the war with Carthage is used as grounds for a new Temple, and across the Island, building projects get underway. News reaches Sicily that in Cisalpina, the Insubres tribe has conquered Liguria, possibly creating a new threat in the North for the burgeoning Etruscan Kingdom. Crisa makes her way to the city of Taras to get a look at the composition of the Roman force besieging the city; it looks to be slightly weakened by the battle with Pyrrhos, it is also smaller in size than Hiero's army. Reassured by Crisa's reports, Hiero marches on the minor city of Cosentia, the governing city of Calabria. The city's garrison, and the minor force garrisoning the city sally out to meet Hiero before he can encircle their position. In the ensuing battle, Hiero utilizes his infantry and archers to entice the enemy into attacking his position in an uphill foray. While this is happening, his Bruttian allies encircle the Roman forces and the Cavalry provides the final ingredient in a total encirclement that eventually results in a decisive victory for the Sicilians. Hiero elects to occupy the city, so as to utilize it as a staging point for expansion into Italy.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




















    Autumn, 275 BC
    Sicilian diplomats renegotiate a trade agreement with the Antigonidai, facing pressure from the merchants of Sicily to be able to market their goods in Pella, now that the Italian market is unavailable to them. A non-aggression pact is signed between the Hieronidai and the Etruscans, laying the groundwork for a potential alliance between the two nations, if Rome is to be defeated. Research into the realm of scholarship is completed and a milestone achieved. Althea gives birth to Oreithuia, her first child with Hiero. Fields are built in Cosentia, to replace the industry built in the city by the Romans. Hiero marches his army out from the city to get closer to what would be a striking distance to Taras should it fall.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 







    Winter, 274 BC
    Evios reaches the city of Trapezous on the Black Sea, finding it to be under the control of Kolchis. He manages to find an audience with their ruler, and negotiates a trade agreement with them. Hiero holds his position while he awaits the outcome of the siege of Taras.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Spring, 274 BC
    Word reaches Evios that the Mithridatic Kingdom had been destroyed that winter by the rising Galatian Kingdom in Anatolia. The new temple complex in Syrakousai is designated as one to Zeus.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Summer, 274 BC
    Evios makes contact with the Spartokidai in the north of the Black Sea, and attempts to negotiate trade with them, unsuccessfully. The breathing room afforded to the Romans by Hiero's failure to press his advantage manifests itself in an Etruscan defeat and loss of Arretium to the Romans. The Attalidai in Pergamon manage to take the city of Nikomedia from the Bithynians. This allows trade to begin between Sicily and Pergamon, for which the Attalidai agree to pay 3,000 gold talents. Anaxis recruits a man by the name of Epistates from Akragas to govern the province of Sicily, so as to be able to focus solely on military matters.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Autumn, 274 BC
    Althea gives birth to Kleisthenes, her second child. Legio III Italica is spotted in Roma, apparently on its way back down south from its conquest of Arretium. A Holosideros Barracks is completed in Akragas, adding to the garrison capacity of the city, and the recruitment ability in Sicily generally. Epistates officially takes control of the administration of Sicily. A small Roman force crosses the border into Apulia and begins raiding Epeirote territory. A pirate fleet sails from North Africa and sits off of the Sicilian coast. Evios makes contact with the Catiaroi, at the city of Olbia. After several attempts to negotiate trade, it becomes clear that the Catiaroi are unwilling to entertain the idea.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Last edited by Marble Emperor; October 27, 2019 at 03:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

    Good update! The decision in relation to Rome seems like a brave one, it looks like Hiero's bold leadership is exactly what's needed.

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    Default Re: The Life of Hiero II and the Rise of the Hieronidai

    Conflict with Rome is always dangerous and seeing how it is going it should prove very interesting to see unfold. The bit were Alexandros is 'bombarded' to the position as Hiero's right hand is well versed and feels well paced.

    An interesting update that has left us wanting more!
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