The Black Sea Campaign

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The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:50 am




With the events in Cyprus coming to a close, and the Greek involvement ended, one may think that the drums of war would grow quiet...But things rarely are how they seem, indeed, those drums now beat louder than ever. As the expedition to Cyprus returns home, a large Bithynian force numbering 6,800 gathers in the Region of Constantinople. Ships are prepared to send these men to their destination - the Bogumil held land along the Black Sea. The leader of this expedition is Emperor Varius Corvinus, who now will once more lead Bithynia to war.



In the large camp assembled along the coast, banners wave in the wind as the thousands of soldiers go about their preparations for war, and a great cacophony of sounds can be heard. In one of the largest tents, Varius and his lieutenants sit stand around a large table, with a map of the region. They were making the final plans for the campaign, which would also likely rely on some outside help. They had sent to Cybelos and Scilenia to provide military assistance for the Campaign, to assure victory and to improve relations between the three majority Orthodox nations.

Varius looked over the map, and recited the plan in his head. They would soon sail, and he was slightly nervous. It had been too long that he'd been leading from a chair in Constantinople, and now it seemed his nerves had grown too at ease. He figured he'd grow into this kind of leading again soon, after all, it's what he'd done almost his whole adult life.

"How are the preparations going?" Asked Perikles, entering into the large tent. Varius turned, and replied;

"About as well as can be expected, but everything has gone according to schedule, so that's good." The two friends embraced, and focused their attention on the map.

"So, we go along the coast, take a city, and expand from there?" Perikles asked.

"That's the idea. Ideally we take the city without it offering resistance, but that should be quite easy once help arrives."

"How long can we expect to wait until that help gets here?"

"Can't say for certain, but it should be quite soon."

Perikles sighed, and rubbed his hands together. "Just like good 'ole times, huh?" He said, not too serious.

Varius laughed, "I suppose so. I suppose so." He said.




The Camp



Meanwhile, elsewhere in the camp, General Aristides Tychon, third in command of the expedition, was coordinating some of the more minor aspects of the operation. He was working to ensure that all the necessasry supplies were brought, and that no ship was lacking. Aristides was unique among his family, in that he had pursued a martial career as opposed to one of a politician. He was also unlike his family, in that he was quite loyal to the Emperor. Of course, he hated being relegated to such a boring task, but someone had to be. Plus, it'd be better he do something boring here than the entire expedition fail because some moron didn't organize the supplies correctly.

Aristides was relieved to realized he had completed the orders for each Bithynian ship, and that the workers were now working to fill most of them. He would take the time to get some rest, before they set sail.




There was an atmosphere of excitement around the entire camp, as they were finally headed to do something worthwhile. Many men had disliked how the events in Cyprus went down, so they were pleased to see such an effort being made here. While what would happen to this expedition still was somewhat unknown, one thing was clear: war would be had, one way or another.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Scilenia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:19 am

In the Royal Castle, Duke Alexander IV resides on his throne in the Throne Room. A Squire runs into the room, carrying an important message

"My liege, I come with a message from Bithynia."

He hands Alexander the letter, opens it, and reads it

"Squire, bring me me Commander Aesculapius"

30 minutes later, the squire brings Aesculapius.
Both Bow to the Duke


"My Liege."

"You both may stand."

They stand

"What is it my liege?"

"The Bithynians have requested military assistance against the Bogumils. I wish for you to gather my armies and lead them to the Bogumil lands."

"Yes, my liege!"

He bows and then leaves

"Squire, wait here."

Alexander writes a letter

"Take this and give it to the messager."

Alexander gives him the letter

"Yes, my liege."

He bows and then leaves

Later with 5,000 soldiers, Aesculapius sets up a military camp with his soldiers near the borders of Scilenia


Last edited by Scilenia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:36 am

The 5,000 soldiers departed from Athens, the soldiers' prince, Theon would lead them as he had already befriended many and he wished to prove himself.

The boats were loaded to the brim, two ships carried an elephant each, and the supplies the bulls would need, siege equipment, water, and stocks of food filled the transport ships that were guarded by the military ships.

The group of ships reached Bithynia easily, no resistance could be found in the Aegean.

A nest was to be attached to the backs of the elephants, where archers stood, it would wait until the group crossed the sea. Prince Theon rode straddled on the elephant's neck, the general for this campaign, Deimos rode atop the other.

The two men rode to Bithynia's camp. Two soldiers in the front guided the elephant's movement. The ships would pull up shore to await their prince.


Last edited by Cybelos on Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:44 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Whatchu talkin bout?)
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:56 am

The Bithynian soldiers were awestruck at the sight of the elephants. Most had never seen them before, though plenty knew what they were. Some were frightened, others amazed, and others were happy to see such support. When they were seen to be approaching, Varius, Perikles, and Aristides came out infront of the camp to greet them.

Once they were close, Varius called out to them. "Greetings! I see you've brought some extra help!"

"If you'd like, we can give you some help keeping those magnificent creatures still while we discuss matters!"
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:10 am

Once the Bithynians learned of the Scilenian forces gathering, they sent out the following letter to them:

"Greetings, Scilenians,

We are happy to see that you will assist us in this campaign, and offer our thanks. Soon our forces shall set out, and your assistance would be of great help. We shall soon send another letter, once we have made landfall, so that you may know where to meet with us.

Best Regards,

Varius Corvinus."
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:05 am

"That sounds good, be careful not to frighten them or they'll rampage. An area with a trench will keep them virtually penned in if you've not a fenced off area." Deimos said nonchalantly

"Of course. Waiting on more of your men? Shall I call my men to shore?" Theon said.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:09 am

"Your men can come ashore. We are making our final preparations, so we should be able to set out fairly soon once you're ready." Varius said to Theon.

"The rest of my officers are currently in the generals tent, we've got some plans laid out if you'd like to take a look."
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:26 am

Theon worked both of his legs to one side of the elephant and dropped down. "Heh, well if you think that was ungainly you should try to get on one of these unassisted"

"Paian" Theon called to the guard guiding his elephant "Find a place for 'ol Perseus here and once they're both secured signal the soldiers to shore." Paian nodded and was off.

"Lead the way"

Theon began walking, Deimos remained close to his side.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:43 am

Varius led them through the camp, until they finally reached the large Generals tent. Inside the other lieutenants were stood around the table, making light conversation. When the group entered, they stood at attention, and ceased their conversation. On the table before them was map, showing the region controlled by the Bogumils, and the upper reaches of Bithynia. A wooden figure denoted the position of the encamped Greek forces.

"Our plan is quite simple," Varius said, looking at the map. "We'll depart from this position, and sail for this settlement" He pointed to the closest Bogumil held coastal settlement where the Bogumils are more professional, "We give them an ultimatum: Surrender to us, or burn. Once it's under our control, we shall use that City as a place from which to conduct further operations."
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:06 am

"What of the soldiers that already hold the city? Leave them with their weapons to guard the city, or take away their weapons and face possible rebellion. How much of a retainer would need to stay behind to comfortably hold the city?" Deimos asked

"Can't risk any of them running and spreading word of our armies arrival, we'll be dealing with dug in soldiers if they decide to heed any escapee's word. Any thoughts?" Theon added.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Scilenia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:37 am

At the camp, a Soldier walks into the commander's tent, where Aesculapius and two lower commanders make plans on a map

"Sir, I have a message for you from the Bithynians."

The soldier gives the letter to Aesculapius.
He reads the letter and then hands it to one of his commanders


"Alright "soldier, tell the messager that we will be moving out right away."

"Yes sir!"

The soldier leaves.
Aesculapius points at one of the lower commanders, whose name is Andreus


"Andreus, tell my men to pack up camp."

"Mhm."

He walks outside, where he find soldiers moving about, busy at work. However, once everyone sees him, they all stand in a straight line at full attention.

"Alright men, Pack up the camp! We move out right now!"

Soon, the loud sounds of the men returne as the soldiers start to take down their tents

A few hours later, Aesculapius leads his army on horseback, with 4 other lower commanders right behind him. He moves his army forward, shouting words of encouragement to boost spirits
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:22 am

"Revolt is something that could present a serious issue. I would say we give them a simple offer: If the guards, and the people, are peaceful, we shall not force them to convert. That is not to say we won't try by other means, but we may have some leverage by promising them safety. After all, if it were the west to take them over, they'd likely be burned. If we must leave any men in the city, I would say no more than 1000, and that would be a better number for men in the whole region." Varius said in response to Theon and Deimos.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:32 pm

"Any other preparations that need to be made? I believe we're ready to depart if you are." Deimos said.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:38 pm

"I believe we are ready as well. I shall tell the officers to make their final preparations, and we may be off."

Varius gave the order to his officers, who quickly got to work finalizing the preparations. Many of the soldiers grew quite anxious to set sail, seeing that it was likely they would soon. People around the camp rushed around, making sure that everything was ready. In truth, most was, and it was just a lot of double checking. Some of the soldiers, even though it was not quite time, boarded their ships.


Last edited by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:46 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Probably should have included more the first time.)
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:09 pm

"Well, while the winds favor us, let us be off."

The soldiers helped Theon and Diemos on the elephants, they were all granted enough time to stretch their legs, for which they were grateful, but now they must take to the seas again.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:51 pm

The preparations were finally complete, and the fleet ready to sail. Soldiers boarded their ships, and the last of the supplies were brought aboard. Tents were taken down, fires extinguished, and horses brought aboard. They had been waiting to set off, and now they finally would.

Varius and the officers did not all travel aboard the same ship, most officers travelled on the flagship of Aristides, while the rest were aboard Varius' flagship. They watched from the deck as the fleet slowly pulled off from the land, and gathered in the waters. Then, with the sounding of horns, the fleet was off. Sails were lowered, and rowers manned their posts.

The Fleet Sails

They sailed towards their destination, the Bogumil held lands along the black sea, which are the target of the campaign. It is not a long journey, and it will not likely take long for the fleet to arrive where they are heading towards. With the combined Bithynian and Cybelian forces, the expedition numbered 11,800 men strong.

Yellow: Target of the Campaign
Red: Fleet movements.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:03 am


The Greek fleet had sailed from its base in Constantinople, and now saw the shores of the Bogumil lands approaching. They closed in on the port city that was located in the closest professional Bogumil province, and soon the 118 ships were not far from the city. Those in the city would surely see the massive fleet assembling outside, and too would see the banners of Bithynia and Cybelos.

A small rowing ship was lowered from the side of one of the Greek ships, and aboard it was a messenger. He delivered the following message to the city:

"By order of the joint Bithynian-Cybelian expedition to the Bogumil lands, you shall surrender this city to our control. Assuming you are peaceful, and make no trouble, we shall not make any effort to convert your people by force. This is not a luxury you will have if the Western Church comes into control of these lands, for they shall surely see you burnt for your heresy. Should you surrender peacefully, and make no future trouble, we shall protect your people from the horrors the Westerners would inflict upon you, and grant you rights the same as any others. Indeed, it is said even now that the West marches on your lands. You have two choices: Accept our offer, and be granted protection and safety against the West, and be free to live as you like. Or you may decline.

You are free to accept, or decline this offer. But know that if you decline, we shall burn this city to the ground and until all that remains are ashes and the memories of lost loved ones. I implore you, for the sake of your families, that you accept our generous offer.

Signed,

Emperor Varius


The fleet would wait outside the city until they received a response.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Varasd on Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:22 pm

Upon seeing the vast greekish army approach, the coastial cities have welcomed the invaders. The cities have surrendered, but with a price.

The more fanatical bogumil forces have retreated, and have set the towns and villages on fire behind themselves. Pulling back to their heartlands, they plan on strenghtening their stronghold even more in their heartlands.

The small shoreline is now free to be occupied by the greeks, however, only a handful of towns remained intact - mostly those with non-bogumil majority.

Another surprising event was that many villagers, who just wanted to avoid war and conflict, have fled towards the coastal areas, trusting that the Byzantine and Cybelosian forces would protect them.

Once the Greek armies begin their march further into the Balkan forests, they can expect heavy resistance, and the prolonged guerilla warfare of the heretics. They have learned a lot from the Transylvanian campaign of Varasd.


Red: Occupied territories by the Greek Army
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Hellas on Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:09 am

Diemos rode with his retainer of the army, 3000 strong, up the roads next to the Danube towards the city of Galati, elephants pulling behind them the catapults and siege equipment.
The General decided to send a rider to the city gates with a letter. It read:

To the Lord of Galati,

The coasts, the economic center of your realm have fallen. Refugees from your city and the nearby village of Braila have fled to the Greek controlled coastline for protection under our banners, they would not do so if they believed your realm could withstand the conflict. I would ask of you this, surrender this realm to the Greek armies, dismiss this Bogomilism as heresy, and you shall retain the lordship once this conflict has concluded. Fight with us, have your men protect your cities as they would normally. You needn't worry of the Bogomil barbarians, the same group that has burned nearby villages indiscriminately. Decline our offer, and we shall return with the full strength of the Greek armies, that is all.

We eagerly await your response, send word to our encampment,

General Diemos of the Hellene Army

OOC: This would be the light grey area, near to the Danube delta.
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Scilenia on Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:58 am

Aesculapius and his army enter into Bogomil territory. They move until they come across a major city, where they set up a camp outside the city's wall. Aesculapius orders a team of ten, including himself, to bring a message to the city

"We order you, the people of this city, to peacefully surrender yourselves in the name of Duke Alexander IV of Scilenia. We will not force you to convert to our religion, unlike members of the Latin Church, who would order you to believe in their faith using force. However, if you surrender peacefully to my forces, we will make sure you're not harmed by the Latin Church. You have a choice to decline our offer, but if you do, you face the might of Scilenian soldiers. If you accept, we will keep soldiers here as an guard to protect you, and you will be ingratiated into Scilenia. You will not be allowed to leave the city for a few years, for your protection."

"We hope you make the right choice."
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Re: The Black Sea Campaign

Post by Varasd on Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:10 am

The Ghost of Bogomilism

Varasdian riders from the North, Calabrian and Scilenian troops from the West, and Bithynian-Cybelosian fleets from the East. Suddenly, nobody but a few fanatics believed that Bogomilism will survive. The great armies of both Eastern and Western Christendom marched upon them, to stamp their new faith out. The Khan of Azaq has denied them refugee as well.

There was no hope.

Villages and towns surrendered in row, all of them suddenly converting to whatever faith the attackers believed. Those who still believed that a new homeland for Bogomilism could be found, have fled to the mountains, and are harassing the locals from their mountain hideouts. The once great threat to Europe, the Bogomil heresy, was now nothing more than a band of bandits from the mountains.

Many of them have disguised themselves as refugees, and tried to fled to various other Kingdoms, where they hope to re-establish their religion, this time with more caution.

Villagers and townsmen often accuse each other, and report that their neighbour, or rival was a heretic, using the situation to get revenge for petty conflicts of the past.

Small feudal lords openly restore churches from their personal treasuries, and the bogumil warlords suddenly turn into Orthodox Lords of the Balkans.


Instead of an inpenetrable fortress, the Bogumil state suddenly collapsed, like a fragile sand castle. However, peace is yet to come to the region. The power vacuum is causing almost as much power as the heresy did, and making peace may be a greater task than defeating the heresy itself...
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