Subjugation of Bulgaria

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Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:12 am

The home of many upstart Kings and refuge of the heretical Bogomilist movement, the land of the Bulgars and the Vlach have shown themselves to be an uncivilised one.

The weakened lands risk Pechenegs or Cumans exploiting the anarchy and establishing a state in the lands which could sunder both Varasd and Byzantium.
Such opportunity for instability could never be allowed to be realised, and so, by sword or by diplomacy, peace must be brought to the region.

Thus, Emperor John wrote to the Varasdian prince, Stephan, asking the prince to help him tame the wild lands, protect the Christian population, and return the muddied swamp of a region to a fresh spring once again. Each leader tasked with their own respective side of the mighty Danube.

Letter was received, and armies were raised. Emperor John rode with his men, and other lords arrived from Illyria, Macedon, Epirus, and the Peloponnes. The other Hellenic lords were each led by the Katepans of their respective Themes.

Emperor John would base his operations out of Aegyssus, the Imperial province at the mouth of the Danube.
The Illyrian armies, led by Katepano Georgios, would be based from the city of Philippopolis at Pannonia.
The armies of Hellas, led by Katepano Alexandros of Macedon, would be based out of the city of Serres.
From their comfortable bases, scouts would be sent into the heart of the Bulgar lands to further the intelligence of the lands, and the people.

Each lord wished to prove themselves, and attempt to gather lands and titles for themselves. Some wished to fight for noble reasons, for example, Strategos Loukas of Aegyssus seemed adamant to get out onto the fields, and make his settlement safe from the attacks that were fairly commonplace for the isolated tourma.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:31 pm

The Army of the Order of St. George - en route through Transylvania

The Order of Saint George was, once again, marching to war. Then again, war against the enemies of Christendom was their only purpose of existence, to defend the faith at all costs. The soldiers of the Order were first reluctant to accept this style of life. Many of them have joined as warriors, seeking loot and payment, maybe even land, for their service. They've got none of this in return.

But soon the Prince-Grand Master has shown them something worth fighting for, even if they did not share the same zeal as he did. About fifty common soldiers were picked from the lines to be officials, recruitment officers, judges, and manage administrative tasks, which meant a peaceful life and a steady income for the rest of their lives. Their examples spread quickly through the ranks of the Order, and soon all common soldiers were ready to fight and felt like the cause of the Order was their own.

Now they were marching through the lands of the King - without the approval of the King. The Prince-Grand Master has ordered the local garrisons and guards to let them pass, on behalf of his royal authority. The King did not know why his son has decided to march south, so a group of escorting soldiers were always marching together with the army of St. George, sending news back to the King.
Soon, they were about to reach the borders of the Kingdom - and the Order would once again, defeat its enemies.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:28 pm

Lord Ivan-Mikhail of Rusi

Settled in the skeleton of an abandoned Roman outpost on the shores of the Danube, in a castle made of at least three different eras of quarried stone, sat the self-proclaimed 'Emperor of Bulgaria, and Tsar of the Vlach' Ivan-Mikhail, an otherwise vicious and unrefined man, he saw this intervention of the combined forces as an opportunity to further his domain, and unite the lands into a second 'Bulgarian Empire', hostile to the Greeks and Varasdians, siphoning gold from them both, with himself as the head of state. Perhaps getting a tribute from both nations.

Ivan-Mikhail would send his brigand army down the river to gather support, through force, if it was needed. He would also send word to the hidden Bogomilist villages, the ones he knew of at least, vowing to protect them if they proclaimed him as their Emperor, and sent their men to serve him. Ivan had seen the Bogomilists settle in the era a few years ago, and knew that both monarchs were hostile to them. Ivan himself, a Slavic pagan, knew he risked conversion from the Bogomilists, but he thought he could destroy them if they proved to be a problem.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:02 pm

The Army of Saint George has reached the Iron Gates, or "Vaskapu Szoros", as the Hungarians themselves called it. The troops of Varasd have already won once after crossing the Pass, and they will win again. It was the official end of the domain of the King but the Prince-Grand Master was sure that he would have to do this, for the Glory of God and the Order of Saint George.

His plan was to follow the left bank of the Danube with his main army, while using the Hungarian light cavalry to scout the area ahead as much as possible. Step-by-step, he would siege down each and every fortification he would find until finally meeting the Byzantine army.

The Prince knew that the people of these lands still remembered The Firecage of Zvonimir, and Prince Stephan wanted to make sure that they knew he isn't a force to be reckoned with either.

The Prince Grand-Master has sent a messenger to the Greek armies, to notify them of his plans - and he has also set up a possible meeting point with them, where he would send a 2.000 Hungarian horse archers to aid the Emperor's troops.


Red: Journey of the Order of St. George
Orange: Planned campaign
Yellow X: Meeting point.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:46 am

The Imperial armies proved able to project themselves onto Bulgaria, their position had the lands surrounded from this side of the Ister. The south portion proved incredibly easy, minor skirmishes, but those lands were already Hellenised and quickly proclaimed their support for the Emperor. The river itself though, would prove to be the main source of trouble, raids seemed to be conducted from there, and would harass local settlements looking to find and exploit weak spots in the otherwise well-fortified Imperial supply lines.

Loukas, Strategos of Greater Istros, the lands on the mouth of the Ister, proved himself to be an excellent tactician, his anger after suffering years of raids on his lands seemed to turn the previously stately man into a hardened veteran, and now that Constantinople was taking interest, he had the funds and supplies to take the fight off his lands instead of just repelling raids. Loukas would relish in finding bandit hideaways and decimating them. It was this man, Loukas, who had learned of the bandit stronghold of Rusi, this knowledge led Imperial scouts to check the validity of these sources.

Indeed there was a large army moving through and around Rusi, but Ivan-Mikhail, however brash, wasn't a complete fool. He had seen the Imperial scouts sizing him and his fortress up. It wouldn't hold for long, even with the new underequiped Bogomilists, with their willingness to die in a last stand. So, Ivan-Mikhail would march a few miles north, leaving a retainer behind in Rusi, towards what he hoped could become his new capital, Bucharest.

The Emperor and his armies marched for the meeting point, hoping to share intelligence on their shared enemy, and work together to de-throne the so-called 'Emperor' Ivan-Mikhail. The Imperial cavalry, scouting ahead, did notice the armies of Ivan-Mikhail marching north, and would harass his baggage trains and whatever soldiers guarded them, before they would ride back into camp to report.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:21 pm

The Hungarian contingent was led by Vajk Aba, a hardened veteran who fought many wars: including the conquest of the Carpathian basin, the Northern Campaign, and the swift war of the Moravian lands too. He was accompanied by a Greek servant named Stephanos, to help translating with the Greeks.

The Hungarians have not been easy on the southern side of the Danube. They were given strict orders from the Prince-Grand Master not to harass or pillage any village north of the Danube. As soon as they've crossed the river, their first thing to do was to raid a neighbouring village, after declaring them "heretic rebel scums". The Hungarians were openly hostile to all Bulgarians, as they have still remembered the stories of their grandfathers about their fight against the Bulgarians and Pechenegs.

Once meeting with the Byzantine Army, Vajk Aba has requested an audience with the Byzantine Commander. His soldiers were at ease for now and resting, but any man who had the fairest bit of common sense knew that the Hungarians would want to pillage again, as soon as possible.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:36 am

The man leading the camp until the Emperor arrived was a man named Alexander, Alexander came forth from his tent, with a handful of papers, the man had a stern look on his face when addressing his servants, he handed off a sealed letter to a servant who gave a quick bow, and ran off towards the area of camp where the horses were being held. The rest of the papers were handed off to another servant who ran with then towards the local Stategos' tent.

Alexander walked towards Vajk, while he tried his best for a friendly smile.
Alexander looked at Vajk, and then at Stephanos, and spoke, switching eye contact between the two men:
"Sir Vajk Aba, I presume? I am Alexandros Katharos, Catepan of the Theme of Hellas, I am honored to meet you."
Alexander gave a small bow once Stephanos was finished translating for him.

"Gentlemen, let us go to my tent, I have information that may prove useful."

Once inside the tent, Alexander had a servant fetch a map from a drawer, it was of the river Danube, and the surrounding area, he layed it out for everyone to see.

"I'm sure you have an idea of this 'Ivan-Mikhail' based along the river, terrorizing locals, and attempting to spread an anti-Hellene, anti-Magyar sentiment throughout these lands."
Alexander pointed our Rusi on the map, and the movements recorded from there.
"He has forced many Bogomilists out of their mountain dens, and into a sizable army. Poorly equipped, but they will prove a deadly foe, just as they were those years ago.

I have received reports that villages that have not shown malice towards us have been plundered. I originally  thought this the work of the Bogomil army of Rusi, but I was just recently informed that these attacks originated from Varasd. I was disheartened to hear this was your mens work.

I am willing to play this off as the actions of barbarous Bogomilists, but the attacks on peaceful villages must cease immediately. These lands are to be integrated as Imperial provinces. I don't need the bureaucracy on my back with their  talks of 'unruly subjects' and the like. I trust you can appreciate how tiring that can be.

I saw the looks on your mens faces, I understand, they're hungry for battle, but attacking poorly defended villages is not worthy of true warriors such as yours. Our target is Rusi, along the Ister,  Ivan-Mikhail's camp, a fortification that will prove a good fight, with a good amount of wealth, I'd imagine.

We have also seen an army headed beyond the river, towards Bucharest, we're unsure if Mikhail is with that group.
Our cavalry was only able to hit some baggage trains, but had to fall back as they could not risk attempting a crossing by themselves.

I have sent word north to Istros, to His Majesty's position there, telling him of the army headed north.
Hopefully we can take Rusi together, and ride on to lift the siege on Bucharest before they surrender.
At least, that is what I imagine this Ivan is up to, that is the direction his army was headed.

Now, I don't have as many eyes north of the Ister as I'm sure His Majesty, Prince Stephan does, so, any intelligence you have there, especially on Bucharest would be welcomed."
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:51 pm

The Army of the Order of St. George

The Prince-Grand Master has ordered his troops to march north, after the Hungarian band under command of Vajk have crossed the Danube to the south. He did not want to leave any hostile and unsecured ground between his army and the Kingdom of Varasd.

It was out of sheer luck that he and his scouts have therefore missed a perfect opportunity to defeat the army of Ivan-Mikhail when they were crossing the river.
Maybe the Prince-Grand Master would regret that decision later.


Vajk Aba

The Magyars have listened to the Imperial with patience and nodded.

"Yes, yes, no loot. But once we defeat the bogomilists' army, we get our fair share? That sounds like a fair deal indeed." He asked another rider if he had anything worthy of information, then told Alexander the following:
"The Gyula- I mean, the Prince-Grand Master, has turned his army north to deal with the fortifications between the Duna and Erdőelve.* Only once that has been dealt with, is he going to turn south again and follow the river. He has scouts and garrisons all around the lately conquered territory though, and will be informed soon if the bogomils begin to march."

Vajk whisted, then yelled "Jenő! Botond!". Two young Hungarians appeared in the tent, standing at attention.

"These two will be there for you to send messages to the King's army or the garrisons. They speak Greek - kind of."


*Erdőelve: a medieval Hungarian expression for Transylvania
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:21 am

Alexander Katharos
"Very well, I hope His Majesty is able to secure his fortifications quickly. If Ivan Mikhail's army takes Bucharest we're in for a much longer war, even if the lands south of the Danube are pacified.

"I know His Majesty, Emperor John wishes to see the Magyars fight this war on the north of the river, and the Hellenes to fight it in the south. We are capable enough to push past the river should your lord need our assistance."

Alexander looked toward Jenõ and Botond before returning his gaze to Vajk.
"So, will you be joining us for the battle for Rusi, or are you off back across the river to regroup?"

Emperor John
The Emperor meanwhile, rode throughout the new lands, holding court, settling legal disputes, training locals, personally inspecting garrisoning, and generally, projecting the power of the Empire onto his new subjects.

John wished to leave Constantinople at any opportunity he had.
This campaign would be a nice way to reinforce to some of the more uppity nobility that the power didn't come from Constantinople, but from the man who called himself Emperor.

John had messengers coming and going at what seemed like all hours, observing the city from afar, and sending word of the campaign back home to his people.

John knew his history, and studied it more and more ever since he was elevated, he knew trying to outmanoeuvre the entirety of the Constantinopolitan nobility could prove deadly quickly, so the Emperor would follow the advice of Hadrian, minus the choice in lovers.

In this era, the Senate was irrelevant, the title of Senator was sold or given as freely as a grain dole.The armies and the popular support are what John relied most on.

John would dine with his soldiers, sleep in the same accommodations as them, and had his agents spread the stories of his beginnings as a soldier on Crete, repelling Saracen raids, trying to spread those stories as far as they could, to free men who hadn't chosen a side, to the other side of the Istros, even attempting to spread it to the Hungarian camps to try to shake any misconceptions they might have about 'pampered Imperial life'.

John and his group rode south, leaving his Istrian command post to his capable Strategos, Loukas.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:47 am

Vajk Aba

"We will be joining you for the battle, indeed." Vajk said. "That is why the Prince-Grand Master sent us. There are some riders who served as mercenaries in your Emperor's army, so communication shouldn't be a problem."



The Army of St. George

The army marched north and fought small battles on the way. Enemy skirmishes were quickly retaliated by the Hungarian light cavalry accompanying the Order, and the small, earth or wooden forts were no match for an organized army of this size. However, the Prince knew there was Mikhail's army he would have to defeat - and that was his main concern.
If he wanted to strike fast, he had to storm all the fortifications he would find, and if he wanted to preserve his army, he had to lay sieges carefully. It seemed like there is no good choice - so the Prince-Grand Master has tried to balance these two things.
The lands between the Danube and the Carpathians were mostly occupied, and after it was secured, he would turn south again, to face Mikhail.

Somewhere in Varasd

The King was no fool - he knew what his son was doing. He had mixed feelings about the campaign of his son: first, he was furious as Stephan has abandoned the Moravian campaign and he made a diplomatic decision without consulting him first. On the other hand, he was proud that his son was turning out to be just like him - a born ruler.
For both of these reasons, he has decided to send 3000 knights to aid Stephan in his campaign, under command of Lajos Újlaki, a westernized Hungarian Lord. He would carry the banner of the King and Varasd into the Bulgarian lands.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:44 am

Alexander Katharos
Alexander led his men, and Vajk to Rusi, on the banks of the Danube.

There stood before the men, a den for caitiffs and varlets, an old Roman fortification, long forgotten, the victim of one too many floods perhaps.

The bones of the fort were built upon in many places over months, stone facing south, a combination of wood and stone facing the river.

Now, living in the skeletal fort were Bogomils, a group already once thrown out of society.

The intelligent remains of the Bogomils had fled westward, looking for a new start for their movement. This group though, had lodged themselves in the Balkan mountains, now recently, have slithered downhill, and allied themselves with a group as brash as themselves.

The small town that had formed around the fortification was dead, all citizens either hiding inside or behind the walls.

The walls of the fortification were alive with movements, a vaunt-courier having apparently sent word of the armies movement.

Alexander had good, stable supply lines back home, and so he made camp on a nearby hill.
Wooden fortifications went up quickly, stone being brought in to replace the facade, Alexander wanted to make it look as though he was willing to winter there if necessary. Meanwhile, imperial teams of engineers were set to work to build engines to take down the walls, looking for a way to exploit the wooden areas of the wall.

In Rusi meanwhile, the mood was worsening rapidly, Mikhail had made it seem as though the Greeks and Varasdians were looking to project themselves deeper into Bulgaria, not outright subjugate it. They thought they would have time to build power and syphon wealth away from their neighbours.

Mikhail had given control of Rusi to a group of Bogomilists for their assistance, while the majority of his army made way for Bucharest.

It was obvious to the Bogomilists that Rusi would fall, and they would be slaughtered, all of them.

With pressure from the citizens and soldiers, the leader of the Bogomilists sent a letter to Alexander's camp, translated from the rough Slavonic, it read:

"To the army of His Eminence, True King of the Bulgars, the Emperor of Constantinople,

We, the people of Rusi, are humbled by the mere steps of your boots, pacifying the earth underneath you as you walk.

We wish to surrender our position, and become loyal subjects, under the yoke of His Majesty.

We offer His Majesty this in exchange for peaceful surrender: We will travel to Bucharest under the guise of Rusi having fell to your ceaseless might, from there, we will open the gates of the city for your armies to enter, and do with what you please.

If we do so, we, the students of Bogomil, ask to live and remain in Rusi and Bucharest, where we will live and contribute peacefully, subject to the same taxes as any other citizens.

I remain, dutifully yours,
Milogost, Lord of Rusi

Alexander sent a rider to Emperor John's camp, to see what he thought, and he sent Jenõ and Botond to Prince Stephan's camp to see what he wanted to do, after all, Bucharest was to be his prize after this, it was up to him if he wanted Bogomilists living there.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:46 am

The Army of St. George

The Prince received the message as he was marching towards South again, to face the main army of Mikhail. He didn't even stop for the typical procedure, just read the letter on horseback.

When he was done, General Aldwyn and Vajk Aba rode up to him to ask about what letter the Emperor has sent. Stephan let his trusted men read the message.

"Seems like a good chance." - said Aldwyn, as short and meaningful as ever. "What do you think, m'lord?"
"It sounds risky. These Bogomils tend to backstab anyone whom they can... Write an answer to the Emperor! We shall not allow Bogomils to live on this side of the Danube. However, they are free to leave the lands unharmed if they surrender."
"A Solomon's cut, m'lord, but it might just work."
"It will either work, or we will make it work." - answered the Prince, showing that there was no more room for debate. Vajk Aba sighed and rode his horse off to order new horses for Jenő and Botond, to return to the Emperor. Aldwyn remained next to the King, and rode in silence next to him.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:17 am

The Emperor's response to Alexander would echo Prince Stephan's.
Too many men had already fought a few years ago to remove the Bogomil threat from their home. One too many of history's rebellions had been started by angry veterans, this couldn't become another case.

If the armies of Varasd were willing to grant them safe passage through and out of their lands, that was more kindness than the Bogomilists would soon receive from the Empire, the Emperor let his feelings be known, and had Alexander transmit that message to Milogost.

The Bogomilists of Rusi, had options: ready for a losing battle, flee towards Bucharest and delay their deaths, getting picked off along the way, or move peacefully westward, perhaps meet up with the groups they had been separated from all those years ago. They chose wisely, and surrendered the fort. The Bogomilists followed Milogost, most willingly, some begrudgingly, but all still alive at least, they had to appreciate.

Rusi was secure, but now Bucharest would be a much more daunting task, the gates sealed, the soldiers whipped up in a fervent last stand against what they saw as tyranny and oppression. Believing themselves to be fighting for independence for all of the land between the Empire and Varasd.

Now also lay an opportunity for the Bogomilists to grow further in the west, perhaps splintering off, and creating more heretical movements.

Knowing that the Varasd men would still be looking for a fight, it was decided to move across the river as soon as possible, inching closer to Bucharest, and away from future Imperial provinces.

The Emperor would take the lead on the side, Alexander rode back with a contingent to squash a possible rebellion in Preslav before it gets out of hand, and especially before the city hears of Ivan-Mikhail's rebellion.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Fri May 12, 2017 6:13 am

The Army of the Order

The northern parts of Wallachia have been finally taken. The majority of the forts have been kept intact and garrison has been stationed - however, there were a small number of cases when the siege was too severe to keep a fortification.
Before continuing down along the river Danube, Stephan knew that he had to face the army of Mikhail and take Bucharest if he wanted to secure his positions in the area.

And they have finally reached the outskirts of Bucharest too. The army was in full alertness - they have chosen a high ground to set camp at. The main army of the enemy was nowhere to be seen - and, surprisingly, the priests that Stephan has brought along have succeeded in converting some Pechenegs, who have decided to join the cause of the Order.

Stephan has then ordered that groups of Pechenegs, accompanied by priests and Hungarians (as they had an easier time understanding the culture of the Pechenegs than the rest of the army) would go out to the neighbouring villages and tribes. For the Prince-Grand Master, it became an objective to boost his army with as many Pecheneg warriors as possible - they would be his fists in this region later.

Bucharest itself was more of a nominal center than an actual one. Prince Stephan has prepared siege engines and ladders - but it seemed like the poorly made wood-earth fortress wouldn't need such advanced technology to be destroyed. The Prince-Grand Master was a bit disappointed in the overall poverty and underdevelopment of this province, but at least it would be a perfect place for a "clean start".

Stephan sent letter to the Emperor that his army is ready for a decisive battle, should they aim to meet Mikhail's forces head-on.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Thu May 25, 2017 7:51 am

Ivan-Mikhail was no oaf, he knew his time was coming.

He had managed to whip up something of an anti-authority sentiment along the Danube, and in Bucharest especially.
It wouldn't be enough to hold the city, but if the fighting continued into the streets that would give Ivan his chance to escape and live to scheme another day. He wasn't planning on being toted about Constantinople or Varazdin as a trophy any time soon.

Some of the more zealous of the Bogomilists would lead the defense of the 'walls'.
Meanwhile, the newly found, not so devout convert of Ivan-Mikhail would lead a group of the Bogomilists out of the city, disguised in peasant garb. The plan was to move north, find the other groups of Bogomilists who were driven away initially, take a leadership role, militarise the group, and start a new Duchy all for himself.

Imperial forces gathered and readied to assault the city. Two armies, each led by their respective monarch? This battle may as well an international training exercise of sorts. The Emperor wasn't going to throw his entire strength into this, as this was Prince Stephan's prize, not his own. Deaths on his own side for no immediately obvious reward would not look good.

Emperor John was sure he wouldn't need to worry about that though, the commanders on the walls looked bloodthirsty, but the soldiers looked like newly conscripted farmer-soldiers, using pitchforks, scythes, and crude spears.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:46 am

The days of the siege passed with no major assaults happening. There were usual bouts and mocking from each side - the most interesting event was when the Bogomils have hanged a priest from the walls. Then again, nothing happened, and day became night.

It was a dark night, no stars were shining in the sky. However, just a bit before the first lights of the new day arrived, the starless sky was burning. The Prince-Grand Master, outraged by the Bogomil's refusal to surrender and by the hanging of the priest, has ordered that the catapult's projectiles be coated in pitch, set on fire, and shot into the town. He didn't just do this out of anger, he knew that these people would have to fear him as much as they fear his father, if he wants to rule over them.

Then, with the first lights of the day, he has ordered an assault. The Pecheneg and Hungarian horse archers circled around the city, constantly raining arrows upon the defenders while the Croatians and Germans advanced to the walls with ladders, and the battering ram coated in wet leather was rolled to the biggest gate.

The plan was simple: break an opening and let the Knights of Saint George charge into the town. Once they were in, it was a matter of time (and slaughter) until victory was achieved.

But these were just plans for the future. Currently, Prince-Grand Master Stephan had an assault to command.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:41 am

There had been hopes that Bucharest would peacefully surrender, but it seemed that what was left of the intelligent Bogomilists were left behind in Rusi. It would make the most sense to offer surrender for the Bogomilists. Perhaps they could have even escaped with their lives. Well, perhaps...

But here, in the Balkans, it seemed that something that would 'make the most sense' was a rarity, which would always seen to be a root of one conflict or another, or the bane and eventual downfall of many petty kingdoms.

But, now, with this hanging of a priest, surrender was not an option for the defenders.

These Bucharesters must be under the complete domination of these Bogomilists it would seem. That brutish behavior would never have been allowed by any true citizen of the city.

Perhaps the Bogomilists had to compromise in order to not risk a revolt, perhaps it was a criminal dressed in the garments of a priest. That was what the more collected of the soldiers, and commanders believed, an intimidation attempt gone awry.

Nevertheless, that attempt at intimidation was likely going to cost the ordinary citizens of Bucharest.

The bulk of the Imperial soldiers, who before the hanging, were fairly docile, (as docile as an army could be, that is).

Now, they bloodthirstily eyed the shoddy walling, pouring over the packed earth in their minds, getting vengeance, stewing in their anger.

The insolence of these Bogomilists, to hang a priest, and still call themselves Christians.
Bandits was a more fitting description.

Emperor John could likely keep his soldiers under control, enough to keep post-battle violence to a minimum. If the Imperial soldiers were mad, the Varasdians had to be even more so, denied their prize, along with the slap to the face of the hanging.

The Imperial scouts had noted that the Varasdians were ready to set pitch alight and catapult it over the walls. The city was likely thatched throughout, and would be caught in an inferno if this was the case.

The walls themselves were mostly earthen, and would not burn, but if a fire was started, that would send men off the walls to fight the fires, or would finally ignite the internal rebellion.

The Imperial forces gathered on their side of the wall. Siege engines in place, ready to break their assigned gate, and to bombard the walls. A siege tower was ready to protect the ladders and shock troops.

Once this was over, and the rebellion in the south was extinguished, one group of people would have to rule these Balkans. Administrativly, the Greeks, of course. But, personally, and in the field, a native knowledge was needed for this tinderbox.

Emperor John told one of his chroniclers of his plan, and told the man to quote him that if these 'Balkans' were ever disjointed, they would become a major source of conflict until the end of days.

Emperor John had an idea which group should hold power, and unify the lands, but that could wait until after the battle.

Now, it was time to wait for the call that the Varasdians had begun the assault.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:00 am

...And thus, the assault of Bucharest began. There was something about the members of the Konski dynasty that made them respond to defiance with cruelty - luckily for the inhabitants of the Kingdom, they usually encountered defiance with enemies only.

The assault began as planned. The nomads did a good job of raining arrows upon the enemy and their losses were minimal too - the defenders were focusing on the other part of the assaulting force which was advancing against their walls and gates.

Once the ladders were up, the men tried to swarm the walls. The Prince-Grand Master has promised nobility to the first man who climbed the walls. He also saw a spear running through the man's chest with his very own eyes.

The battering ram has finally reached the gates and the heavy cavalry was ready to charge in the city. Prince-Grand Master Stephan decided that he won't be left out of being God's vengeful hand and has joined the knights to lead them personally in battle.

As the heavy cavalry has charged through the gates, several lines of ragged soldiers, holding straightened scythes and wooden pikes awaited them. A nearby knight was quick enough to grab the bridle of the Prince's horse - which was enough for the knight to charge in front of the Prince and possibly save his life.

Stephan has noticed none of this as he was busy hacking and slashing the "damned heretics" in the burning city. The defenses on the Varasdian side have mostly collapsed but the Varasdians have noticed none of this as there was just pure chaos around them. Some of the men have begun looting while others have started cutting off heads to show the Grand Master their valour.

As victory was paid for (even if this payment was much more bloody than it could have been) the Prince Grand-Master left the city to get into a commanding position again. He didn't feel happy, but for a long time he was grinning and laughing.

A minute or so, that grin was frozen on his face when he saw the Army of the Varasdian King arrive - carrying a huge flag of Varasd and the King's banner. Led by Lajos Újlaky, the 3000 knights were going straight for the city.

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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Hellas on Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:51 am

Ivan-Mikhail, the fiery opportunist lay among the other dead of the city, the two armies may not have known his face, but he was by far the best outfitted soldier on the defensive side.

He died not in battle, but as a result of the fires, his mail armor not enough to protect him from his hiding spot crashing in on top of him. His body was nearly destroyed, but his head remained, the skin around his nose and mouth was stained with dried blood, but intact, available for any Varasdian to take as a trophy, or to place on a pike if they pleased.

The defenses on the Varasdian side collapsing did have an effect on the Imperial side, more of the peasant soldiers of Bucharest were free to move around and harass the Greek lines, luckily the defenders didn't have much resistance other than their skin and linen shirts.

The defenders with iron, the ones who were paraded along the walls, the ones who hanged the priest, were tough, and committed to the defense, but were eventually overpowered on both sides, just leaving the masses of peasant soldiers.

In the wake of a hard fought victory, the Imperial soldiers enjoyed a similar revelry as their Varasdian allies, mostly pulling any men out of hiding places, and corralling the citizens who had fled back to the city. Couldn't risk having Bogomilists escaping westward.

It was these soldiers outside of Bucharest who noticed the Varasdian King's army approaching, and quickly rode back to the city to inform the Emperor.

Emperor John gathered his troops together inside the area of the city where the main gate once stood, all formed together, some standing above on the sections of wall not torn down. Other soldiers remained clearing bodies from the city along with some Varasdian soldiers they gathered with them to assist, their brothers carefully loaded onto carts, while their enemies were brought into piles outside of the city.

Soldiers raised the double-headed eagle banner behind their Emperor, and the party waited for what could have very possibly been King Zvonimir, angry at both men for going behind his back to work together.
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Re: Subjugation of Bulgaria

Post by Varasd on Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:59 am

The knights of the Varasdian Army cut down some fleeing enemies just in order to bloody their swords for show and nothing else. They rode into town, carrying the white-horse banner of the King high.

Lajos Újlaky rode close to the place outside of the walls where the main gates once stood - and where the Imperial and the Order's armies were having their "meeting point". He spoke in a clear, calm, yet somewhat commanding tone:

"By the orders of His Majesty, the King of Varasd, Zvonimir I., I, Count Lajos Újlaky, hereby claim these lands in the name of the King.
Long live Zvonimir, King of Wallachia!
" Then, he continued, in a less commanding voice: "I am also authorized to make agreements with the Emperor of the Romans with regards of borders."

The common soldiers cheered for the King as always, yet the knights of the Order knew that Stephan would be furious. And indeed he was.

Stephan was riding towards Újlaky, covered in blood, dirt and sweat - he was a great contrast to the Count who just dipped his sword into a poor routing peasant just so he could show the blood of the fights.
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