Before I can do anything about the Franks, there’s a Swede, Åke, with a claim on one of my titles who’s amassed a 30K army. Now we see one of the pitfalls of having a gigantic empire – by the time I’ve managed to get all of my troops together and shipped off to their rallying point in Saxony, the warscore is already -50%. Luckily one battle is enough to get into the positive figures, and the remnants of their forces actually decamp to their ships and flee into the Mediterranean. I leave half of the army to liberate the counties they took, and with the other half, give chase! In a rather surreal and completely unrealistic sequence my fleet tails theirs all the way to Constantinople, where they jump out and smash themselves against the Theodosian Walls like a bunch of morons. It doesn’t matter, because there’s only 6,000 or so of them left, and my armies have already erased their gains in Sweden. Åke surrenders and Amalrich banishes him from the realm, keeping his 700 gold for himself.
All the time I’m doing this I am keeping extremely close watch on my factions. Rodislav, the King of Italy fancies himself worthy of the Empire, but his faction includes only himself, so I don’t think I have to worry too much about him. I still have a hefty independence faction, although most of my vassal kings must be in jail at this point so it only includes Iestan, the King of Scotland (Enudaig died in the oubliette) and the King of Bavaria. It’ll take a damn miracle to stop it from growing, though.
Another problem I’m having to deal with is the Catholic revolts that keep cropping up from time to time. It pretty much only takes my demesne levies and retinues to destroy them, but they’re occurring with quite disturbing frequency now. Despite this, I’ve had the first few counties fully convert to Kharijite Islam. Hopefully we’ll have some more soon.
Now I can finally get to the conquest of Damascus and Jerusalem. However, the Franks are having their own version of the conflict that my own empire is having. The Frankish Emperor, Arnaud, stunned the world by announcing his conversion to Mazdaki Zoroastrianism. Yes. Not even proper Zoroastrianism. So the two largest Christian empires are now both run by adherents of eastern heresies. Did I mention that secret societies are completely broken? And still, I love it.
The next step, I think, will be to use the Muslim Invasion CB to invade Jerusalem. Once I have that, I can declare a bog-standard holy war for Damascus. Both of these wars will be incredibly difficult but if I can exploit the religious turmoil within the Frankish Empire (while managing my own) I should be able to do it. If Amalrich survives long enough to get these holy sites he’ll proclaim himself Caliph. If he dies and his Christian son Aldrich takes over, then he’ll proclaim himself Augustus. And then I’ll convert him back to Islam because at this point I think trying to go backwards towards Catholicism will be harder. And also more boring.
Kharijite Islam is really the best religion for trying to expand your realm. It enables you to declare holy wars on both infidel Christians and Muslims of any denomination. The Muslim Invasion CB is really overpowered, and county conquest will probably be useful. Caliphal subjugation, not so much since I can only use it on rulers of the same denomination and as far as I can tell there are none. Once I’ve got these two wars out of the way I can either try and take Persia from the Abbasids or hoover up as much of Francia as I can.
Couple of fun miscellaneous events:
- The Queen of Sweden seduced her jailer and escaped, only to die in battle against Muslim rebels. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
- A courtier comes to ask to join the Knights Templar. Since the Knights Templar are a heathen Christian order and I don’t get any piety gain from letting him go, I was about to refuse, but then I noticed the courtier had the “eunuch” trait. It was none other than Innekentios, the former rebel that Amalrich’s dad had castrated. Since current Amalrich is a reasonable and Godly man, and probably a little ashamed by his dad’s excesses, he let him go. Sure, Innekentios, go join the Knights Templar. I’m sure I will see you on the battlefield.
- I also stole a bunch of Norway when they had a revolt. Norway is now 1 county in Scandinavia, Iceland and Mallorca.