Trebizond, Exarchate of

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Foundation: 1759 (Turn 215)
Capital: Cerkes in Abasgia
Religion: Roman Catholic

By Scott C. Nolan


A small autonomous region of the Swedish-Russian Empire, The Exarchate of Trebizond controls much of northern Anatolia and the Caucasus, as well as ports on the Caspian Sea.

The History:

The first incarnation of the Exarchate of Trebizond was a brief-lived polity (1691-1739), a viceroyalty of the Swedish Empire that controlled territory along the southern and eastern shores of the Black Sea. In 1739 the Exarchate was brought back fully into the empire. The ruling Tuchachevky family retired to London where Vladimir took up the reins of the newly established Society of Jesus - the Jesuits.

In 1757-1759, the question of war against Poland dominated and split the Swedish-Russian Empire. The smaller of the two factions, led by the Kalmar Senate, was vastly outgunned by the larger, Imperial faction. The brief civil war was brought to a close by the cultic release of a virile plague in the contested port city of Sevastopol.

The Treaty of Sevastopol recognized the Kalmar faction as the newly reconstituted "Exarchate of Trebizond" an autonomous region of the Swedish-Russian Empire, and forced the Kalmar to return the Crimea and much of the northern Caucasus. In return, the Emperor and the Exarch each swore oaths of mutual defense.

NewsFax Entries (First Exarchate):

1691-1692 (Turn 182)

Sweden: The Empress also appointed one of her ( distant ) cousins, Piotr Tukhachevsky, as viceroy of the Exarchate of Trebizond, a new vassal state of the empire that was being carved out of the lively corpse of the Georgian kingdom. Piotr, his brother Boris, their families and several thousand servants, administrators and customs inspectors then packed up and headed off for the sunny south.

And in Anatolia, the marsk Sourov had marched his army out of Cerkes and slashed west along the coast of the Sea of Darkness through Pontus, Galatia and into Paphlagonia. The Georgians having long abandoned those provinces, the campaign was an easy one and all three of these provinces ( as well as the cities of Trebizond and Amisus ) became part of the new Exarchate. Piotr was more than a little ill to see the state of his new palace in Treb ( the Polish Light Horse had had it before him ). By the end of 1692 they had returned to Cerkes to find that parts of the city had been burned down in the religious fighting.

Trebizond: The new Swedish vassal state comprises Pontus (and Trebizond), Galatia (and Amisus) and Paphlagonia.

1693-1694 (Turn 183)

Trebizond: The Exarchate continued to cling to its narrow strip of northern Anatolia and wished with a great fervor that its Russo-Swedish mater would send settlers, lots and lots of settlers!

Sweden: Aside from spending a lot of blood in the Persian highlands, the Swedish engagement in the Middle East continued to expand as money and missionaries were poured into Trebizond and other Swedish Corps continued to keep the peace in Cerkes. At home, St. Charles in Livonia was expanded as more warehouses and apartment buildings were raised to house the thousands of workers required by the government.

Several members of the Polish Liberation Front were captured after they attempted to rob a branch of the House of Procurare in the town of Sopot. The criminals were easy to apprehend because they attacked in broad daylight, made no attempt to conceal their identities, and returned straight to their homes after the attack. When authorities went to arrest them, they found the criminals wearing stocking masks. Said one PLF member: "How'd you find us? We thought that no one could recognize us with these masks on!"

Prince Snorri, who was biding his time while waiting for his wife to join him in Cerkes, took up the hobby of digging about in old buildings, graves, tombs and other unwholesome places in the city. In the process of this, the Prince and his guardsmen encountered a particularly loathesome clan of grave-robbers and perished, shrieking, under the talons of these ghouls. Later, the partially gnawed bodies of the prince and his men were found by a civil milita patrol. All Sweden mourned this unlookedfor death, particularly with Prince Piotr lost in the malestrom of Persia.

1695-1696 (TURN 184)

Trebizond: Viceroy Piotr, determined to act fierce if not so in fact, issued an edict declaring his "protectorate" over the provinces of Lazica, Vaspurakan and Psidia - despite the fact that the Georgians held all three provinces. He followed up this tough talk by sending his brother, Boris, and the Viceregal army to capture the Georgian city of Konya in Psidia. As any Georgian troops that might still exist were all off in the east, Boris' campaign was a great success. The successful general was less delighted to learn that his older brother had been killed by a Galatian separatist and he was now Viceroy.

An influx of Swedish aid continued, particularly in Trebizond and Amisus themselves, where the Islam-professing population was rapidly dwindling. Along with this, Oleg Knyphausen arrived in Paphlagonia ( after a long march from Rostov ) with fifteen thousand colonists ( Germans, Finns, Poles, Russ and Norwegians ) to settle in the coastal province. Overawed by the strength of the IXth and Xth Imperial Swedish Corps, the locals bowed their heads to the inevitable.

1697-1698 (TURN 185)

Georgia: Gazan managed to broker a peace with the Trebizond, giving up the provinces of Lazica, Vaspurakan, Cappdocia, Phrygia and Cilicia ( in theory ) to the Swedish colonists. In real terms that meant that the mountain peoples grumbled and became independent, while the ornery Cilicians and Phyrgians remained part of Georgia, since they certainly did not want to be part of either Syria or Trebizond.

Trebizond: Eager to prove to his subjects that he could better their lives, Boris authorized the repair of various irrigation works and projects in Konya and Amisus. Too, peace was arranged with the Georgians, though it amounted to little more than the Georgians agreeing to not contest any Trebzi moves against the mountain tribes of high Anatolia. Various grain sales were also arranged.

For the first time in hundreds of years, Catholic mass was celebrated on Easter of 1697 in the cathedral of St.Matthew in Trebizond. The Viceroy and many of his closest advisors and friends ( as well as a passel of Swedish princesses ) were present during the emotional ceremony while thousands of Christians, representing all sects, celebrated in the streets of all of the major cities of the Exarchate. Boris squired the various visiting princesses about, wondering which one of them would make the best wife.

Swedish troops and settlers continued to pour into the Exarchate, as well as shiploads of Papal and Swedish gold, tools, iron ingots, textiles, guns, scribes, priests and gunpowder. Boris viewed the bustling docks of Treb with considerable satisfaction - things were going well. Trebizond town itself became Catholic.

1699-1700 (TURN 186)

Trebizond: Boris, while attempting to select amongst the Swedish princesses that had been foisted upon him by Octavia, decided to bag it in and took to the mountains of Lazica with the army. Only one of the ladies-in-waiting, Lysia, the daughter of the baron of Rybinsk, was up to the task so she tagged along.

General Anderks, the Swedish commander at Cerkes, received news of the Lubeck Explosion in late 1699 and, while rushing about to ready the defences of the city against expected Danish attack, slipped on a wet paving-stone and dashed his brains out.

In the high valleys, Boris hoped to find that the Georgians had held to their agreement to withdraw all of their supporters to lands to the east. Unfortunately, what he found was that while the Georgians had left, the local Kurds and Armenians had no intention of abandoning their homelands. Despite superior firepower, Boris was handily repelled by the Lazicans. After regrouping in Pontus, he took a go at the Vaspurakaners - whom he managed to defeat, before getting trounced by the Cappadocians. In all, a very mixed bag. On the other hand, he and Lysia got along famously.

The diplomatic mission to Pamphyla also failed; these moslem states just do not like Catholics! The birth of a daughter, Magda, to Boris and Lysia cheered things up some, though. Oh, Phyriga was taken from the Georgians.

Denmark and Lybia
Sweden, Syria, Papacy and Trebizond
AD 1699—AD 1702

Sweden massed 23,000 troops in Warsaw under Yakob Anderks and that general marched west, pausing briefly to put down Hussite unrest in Poland itself. Shortly after entering Danish territory in Thuringia, Anderks was killed by assassins. Kristof von Dorner assumed overall command of the Swedish army in north Germania.

Meanwhile, the Danish forces encamped in Uppsala pulled up stakes and marched south, also pausing to suppress unrest in Skåne. Uppsala was abandoned completely, to be retaken by the Swedish northern forces under Pia Ullmansdottir. After the Danish forces were ferried over to Denmark, they split into two groups; 36,000 troops plus artillery under Marshal Jaenish marched into Northern Germany looking for trouble. The 600+ warship Danish fleet backed by 8,000 Imperial marines and artillery headed east, towards Riga.

The two armies in north Germania met in Thuringia and after a two-day battle at Tangermünde the Swedes were routed, the Danish superiority in cavalry proving decisive. Von Dorner is captured and another Swedish leader, Baron Tolstoy, is killed.

The Danish navy demonstrated off of Riga as a feint, but did not land. It then moved west, through the Skaggerak and up to Norway where Oslo was attacked, taken, and sacked. The Danish admiral, Przepiorka, was killed and command devolved to Captain Johner. Whilst the Danes were away, the remnants of the Swedish Baltic fleet attempted to capture the ferries linking Denmark to Skåne. Danish siege artillery on emplaced at Copenhaven shot the Swedish ships full of holes and the Swedes withdrew.

With the defeat of the Swedish main army, the Danes went on the attack -- occupying Lausatia (and Berlin), Kauyavia (destroying the fortress there) and finally Poland, capturing Warsaw at the end of turn. Another Swedish leader, Greybear, was captured during the Danish "romp". Finally, the Danish navy returned to the Baltic.

Hussite revolts broke out in Little Poland and Meissen. Both provinces are now ruled by pro-Danish princes.

1701-1702 (TURN 187)

"Boris, whatever is the matter with you now?" Queen Lysia asked her husband as he sat brooding in the great room of his palace late one night.

"The whole world is going to hell." Boris intoned. "First demons and practitioners of the dark arts, and now the Danes are going to set the whole bloody world on fire. Damn heretics…"

"Well dear, they ARE only fighting cousin Sigurd. It’s not as if…"

"If they take down the Gustaffsson line, what do you think will happen to us?" Boris roared. "Our subjects hate us, we have little manpower and less support! The only thing we do have is a strong army and support from our cousin Sigurd."

"Well then, my love, what can you do about it? Its not as if you can take on the might of the Danish army."

"My dear," Boris said with a knowing smile, "how would you like to take a vacation this year?"

After securing the services of Geren Thucidides (Religion don’t enter into it, a man’s gotta eat!) and most of the Trans-Asian mercenary pool, Boris massed his troops in Paphlagonia. There were gathered, both Trebizondi and mercenary, 41,000 troops (centered around the Swedish Corps originally stationed in Abasigia) backed up by 74 guns and the Swedish Black Sea fleet (104 ships). This muster complete, the army moved west.

The Danish wall construction at Constantinople was only half finished when the Trebzi arrive and begin laying a siege. Led by the Mayor of the city, the Danes conducted an active defense, but numbers told and the city fell. The condotierri captain Geren was wounded and went home (Food, hell, a man knows a sign when he sees it!). The Trebzi garrisoned their new acquisition, and then rampaged through the Balkans, raiding Thrace, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia before arriving at Verona (and the Danish capital).

Here they were met by Paul el-Vis, Swedish Governor of Graasland, and another mercenary General, Sir John Sheridan. The attackers now numbered 26,500 troops backed by 74 guns and 20 Swedish warships (the other Swedish vessels are off a-raiding and are not present). Facing the besiegers from their battlements were the Danish leader Greco, the Emperor Kristatos, and 13,000 troops backed by 30 guns. The siege of Venice went very badly for the Trebzi. el-Vis lost an arm to the dreaded green rifle and Sheridan was injured and left the proceedings. Having lost most of his infantry, Boris broke off the siege and withdrew to Constantinople. The Danes, fearing a trap, do not pursue.

1703-1704 (TURN 188)

Boris, having rampaged across the Balkans and taken his men to the very gates of Venice, now occupied his time with the destruction of the remainder of Constantinople. That ancient city was once more set alight with greed and echoed to the screams of the innocent and the lusts of the occupiers – before abandoning the wreck of the ancient Roman capital and retiring to Paphlagonia behind the screen of his fleet, which still held the Sea of Marmara.

1705-1706 (TURN 189)

The Trebizondi returned in moderate triumph to their capital, but not before taking the time to militarily convert the province of Psidia to Catholicism. Late in 1705, two men of dubious origin were seen in the taverns along the waterfront of the city, drinking heavily. Each was terribly scarred, though their accents were of an eastern origin. One seemed blind, though the horrors that they had suffered rendered it almost impossible to tell.

1707-1708 (TURN 190)

The Exarchate was saddened by the sudden, and unexpected, death of the Viceroy Boris. Luckily, one of his cousins, Vladimir of Syzom, was visiting Trebizond at the time and accepted the Viceregal crown. Vladimir then embarked on a campaign to Phrygia to convert the natives to Catholicism. In other news, an attempt to hire mercenaries to bolster the defense of the Exarchate was rebuffed by the Albanians, who were dealing exclusively with the Danes by this time. The Exarch fleet attempted to run the Sea of Mamara past the guns of Constantinople, but was turned back by a storm of fire, losing nine ships in the process. They retaliated by closing the Black Sea to Danish, Libyan and AEIC shipping by blockading the northern approaches to the Golden Horn. Phyrigia was converted.

1709-1710(TURN 191)

Trebizond: The Trebizondi continued to hassle Danish and other Hussite shipping in the western Black Sea. They did not attempt to run their fleet past the guns of Constantinople.

Meanwhile, the nearby viceroyalty of Khirgizia, also ruled by a branch of the Tukachevsky family, was overthrown by vile cultists.

1711-1712 (TURN 192)

Trebizond: Vladimir, keeping true to the oath of fealty to Sweden, took ship to the Crimean shore to join a small force of his personal retainers to aid and assist the Swedish armies operating in Kievian lands. At the same time, the Exarchate fleet undertook vigorous patrolling operations off of the Golden Horn to deny the Mare Negri to any Hussite shipping. Finally, the city of Amisus accepted Catholicism.

TREBIZOND IN THE HOLY CROSS WAR - August 1711 - Vladimir Tuchachevsky of Trebizond lands at Kherson in Polovotsy with a force of volunteers to assist the Swedish campaign against the Danish Balkans. They join Dubovitch and march west into Pechneg.

April 1712 - The combined Swedish-Russian-Trebizondi army under the command of Marsk Dubovitch crosses the frozen Danube into Dobruja, a Wallach province. He is unopposed.

1713-1714 (TURN 193)

Trebizond: Vladimir remained at Constantinople with his small army and threw all of his effort (as well as that of a constant stream of Swedes and Russians that trickled in from the north) into rebuilding the battered fortifications of the ancient city. Too, his fleet was busy. At home, Princess Magda died of the Cough and a new park in Trebizond was built in her memory.

TREBIZOND IN THE HOLY CROSS WAR - March 1713 - Trebizondi troops at Constantinople begin rebuilding the walls of the city and preparing a wide ring of fortifications around the ancient ramparts.

April 1713 - A Trebizondi fleet arrives in Heraclea in Thrace, loads a large number of troops aboard while sacking and burning the city. The Swedish army that had been at Heraclea marches to Constantinople and begins digging in.

May 1713 - The Trebizondi fleet at Heraclea leaves the wrecked city and returns to Costantinople. At the same time that the Viceregal fleet returns, the long-missing General Uralpinsky shows up in Constantinople as well on a House of Falcone ship.

November 1713 - In the south, at Constantinople, Ghaudamis finds himself already engaged in a siege battle with the Marsk Dubovitch and the Swedish-Trebizond army. The Libyans tested the Swedes with 23,000 men against 22,000. An even match – a recipe for an ocean of blood! The Libyans were soon learned that they were no match for the Swedish defenses and abandoned the attack, having taken it on the chin.

1715-1716 (TURN 194)

Trebizond: The Trebs, their arms fortified by refugees from the north (only the first of a flood…) rebuilt parts of the walls of Constantinople in expectation of continued struggle over the Bosporus. The numerous Swedish forces fighting in the area were placed under the command of Viceroy Vladimir.

TREBIZOND IN THE HOLY CROSS WAR - AUGUST 1715 - In the south, the Hussite Afriqan army enters Thrace and finds that the Trebizond have fallen back to Constantinople itself. The rule of the Empire is restored in the province.

SEPTEMBER 1715 - In the south, under a hot sun, 45,000 Hussite and Coptic soldiers besiege the 20,000 Catholic troops in Constantinople. A massive Libyan and Ethiop fleet also swarm the waters of the Sea of Marmora, waiting to break through into the Black Sea. A combined Swedish, Nörsk and Trebizondi fleet keeps them at bay, backed by the guns of the city.

1717-1718 (TURN 195)

The citizens of the Exarchate took a long, well deserved, rest and finally tended to their own plot.

1719-1720 (TURN 196)

Despite rumors of dreadful happenings to the south, the Trebzi were quiet and peaceful until about April of 1722. In that blustery month, a huge fleet of Catholic ships (bearing the flags of Sweden, England, the Papacy and the Nörsktrad) arrived at Amisus in Galatia. A great horde of people – strange brown-skinned people that spoke no local tongue, or even the harsh guttural languages of the Westerners – were offloaded, overseen by brigades of Swedish and English marines. These refugees, now twice cast out of their homes, stared around in scornful pride and well-hidden fear. The Tarahumara and the Yaqui had come far to reach this land, but here – in an arid land of plains and mountains far more like their homes in the Amerikas than the thick forests of Germany – they would start again, anew.

Supported by their own Swedish-armed militia (the Mukait) as well as Vladimir and his Exarchate Guards, the Yaquis were settled in Trebizond town, the countryside in Psidia and Vaspurkan and most of the city of Konya. The Moslem inhabitants were driven out and escorted, after a grueling march over poor roads, to the Georgian frontier. There they were left, angry and dispossessed.

Efforts by Papal missionaries to convert the remaining Moslems in Phrygia and Paphlagonia met with widespread unrest, massacres and the slaughter of the priests. The Catholic landowners then took the opportunity to execute all of the Moslem "troublemakers" they could lay their hands on.

1725-1726 (TURN 198)

Vladimir, having suppressed the Moslem rebels, returned to Trebizond and his family and home. Otherwise, General Tork patrolled the Anatolian highlands with the Queen’s Own Lancers, watching for invaders. Efforts to begat a few fresh heirs were stymied by the unexpected death in a riding accident of the Viceroy’s wife.

1727-1728 (TURN 199)

A very frustrated and tolerant Vladimir Tukh agrees to the assumption of strategic direction of the Operation Deny Flight campaign against Abasigia. The participants last minute changes effectively made his job difficult. But he overcomes the hurdles and presses on. His daughter, Natasha, is promoted to heir and her combat abilities are evident in the campaign. The Trebizond army is expanded and the army and all leaders participate in the campaign (see Operation Deny Flight). By the end of the turn the Trebizond army and all leaders are in Abasigia after a successful (however, not as fruitful as desired) combined operation.

Operation Deny Flight, Europe, 1727-1728 The gathering began across Europe early in 1727. National armed forces from Trebizond, Denmark, France, Three Isles, Sweden, Occitania, and Kiev converged on Pontus from all points west. The goal: the pirate airfleet home base. General Maurice Ney of the Frankish Commonwealth was named Supreme Commander of the combined forces. Rarely in the course of European history had there been such cooperation between nations. In all, about 41,000 troops amassed between March of 1727 and late May, 1728. The significant groups missing were the Danish and Occitanian contingents, and one group of Frankish Commonwealth regulars. On June 21st, 1728 Ney led the push north into Abasigia.

The armed forces passed the port city of Cerkes and made for the main zeppelin base. What they found was a reconstruction under way. East India Company raiders had obviously done a number on the fuel depots and explosive factories there. Lacking either a regional or base defense force, Ney had little trouble, at least from natural forces. The majority of Abasigian citizens were happy to be rid of their Khirgiz masters. Norsktrad mercenaries, at least what remained form the Gibraltar fiasco, assaulted the undefended port of Cerkes on July 17th, 1728, meeting only token resistance.

Unfortunately for the Sunlander host, unnatural forces were at work as well. Almost as soon as the combined army invaded, the weather turned bad. Storms boiled up out of the Caucasus, turning the sky dark with cloud. Snow followed in blizzards, covering the land. The allied commanders, faced with hideous weather, fell back into Cerkes to wait out the storm. Men froze on the march, horses and mules perished in hundreds. When the army reached the safety of the city, they found the port nearly frozen over. Ney immediately ordered the fleet to depart, to flee for warmer climes lest they be trapped in an icy tomb.

Some regiments were able to board before the last ship set sail, the harbor and much of the Abasigian shore becoming ice-locked. The rest triple-bunked in the city, wondering how long it would take to burn all the firewood and soft coal stored in the city.

In August, still struggling against the freezing weather, a massive earthquake rocked Cerkes, flattening nearly a third of the city. Thousands of civilians and tens of thousands of soldiers were killed or trapped in the rubble. Fires bloomed, even in the sub-zero temperatures, and the survivors had to fight both ice and fire. Worse, the men digging for their comrades often found the partially consumed bodies of their fellows, gnawed and dismembered while still trapped under the rubble. Something slithered and crawled in the ruins, hunting men. Patrols often exchanged blows and gunfire with bands of “hairy men” that crept from dark holes under the ruins. Ney, however, refused to abandon the city, committing his men to fight a brutal hand-to-hand struggle in the snowy wasteland.

National military commanders had major difficulties preventing desertions. Mercenary commanders didn’t have a chance. They weren’t paid nearly enough to fight that kind of war.

1729-1730 (TURN 200)

The Alliance Commanders confer outside of Cerkes

The Exarchate army, battered by a year of guerilla warfare in Abasigia (as well as the hideous cold) launched a concerted effort to wipe out the Ice partisans in Cerkes. Their offensive met with great success, for the rascals had fled during the heavy snows of winter. The port was secured and the various fleets there escaped during the spring thaw (because, yes, there was a spring thaw!)

A large number of Swedish refugees were resettled in the quake damaged towns of Trebizond and Amisus. The various Alliance armies in Abasigia were shipped out through Cerkes as well, leaving the Exarchate the proud owners of the province. Missionary work by the good fathers also continued in Paphlagonia to try and root out the last of the Moslems there.

1731-1732 (TURN 201)

Though the war in the north continued, Vladimir felt that he had gained a breathing space to tend to the affairs of his own nation. As a result, mobs of Swedish settlers were installed in Trebizond and Amisus, expanding those cities. A considerable cleanup was also undertaken in Amisus, where new sewers were installed and the old Roman aqueduct repaired. The Viceroy did, however, find himself widowed and endeavored to rectify this state of affairs by marrying the last descendant of the old royal house of Cerkes. That poor and benighted land was only recently reclaimed by the sun, and still required aggressive patrols to keep down the bandits, slavers and other – less savory – inhabitants.

Lady Nimaya did produce a baby boy in ’32, but her presence in the Viceregal household was not looked upon with favor by the Princesses Natasha and Olga. However, since Olga was five and Natasha was off in the north, there was not much they could do. The Princess, meanwhile, was leading a doughty force of Cossacks in a series of raids into Alan and Kuban, intending to punish the Khirgiz with saber and torch.

Rather to her surprise, then, Natasha found that Kuban was not controlled by Khirgiz, but by a feisty lot of Orthodox nomads. They chased her off, cursing her as if she were the Ice itself. Alan was more troubling – there she found villages, fields, towns still occupied by peasants, tradespeople, nobles – all within the Ice! Of course, the old churches were abandoned and in ruins. Now gray-black temples rose at the center of each village, decorated with loathsome idols and obscene carvings. Her raid netted quite a bit of loot and the Khirgiz army was not to be seen.

The Road to Sarai

Baron Knuphyn, meantime, was also raiding along the Black Sea coast and his main target was the city of Yeysk in Patzinak. Upon his troops landing, however, he was met by cheering crowds. Unlike the other provinces, the Patzinak had not embraced the dark gods of the Khirgiz and had languished under their cruel and unrelenting rule. Knuphyn found himself the liberator!

1733-1734 (TURN 202)

Well, the Viceroy certainly had a daring plan… he launched two expeditions into the lands previously held by the Khirgiz – one by sea in the west, and another overland from Abasigia. Both forces immediately ran into hideous weather and the advancing front of the Ice. By tremendous efforts, Princess Natasha’s cavalry army in the east managed to wade through to Kuban in Alan, where that city (still Catholic) had long suffered under the iron tyranny of Khirgiz. The citizens, starving, frozen and wraith-thin, were hauled back to Cerkes in Abasigia where they got, at least, a warm meal and a cot to sleep on. Unfortunately, it was also quite clear that the Ice would finally cross the Caucasus within the next year (’35) and everyone would have to flee again…

The western effort also foundered, and was reduced to a hasty evacuation of Patzinak and the city of Yeysk. Those Christian citizens were resettled in the cities of Trebizond, Amisus and Konya. Not the glorious conquest that Vladimir had imagined, but a worthy effort nonetheless.

1735-1736 (TURN 203)

The viceroy, who had been planning on packing up his household, his mistress and all the children and bolting for someplace on the Afriqan coast, instead spent ’35 and ’36 in a long, endless, incredibly boring discussion with various local potentates about the disposition of merchant shipping stranded by the Ice in the Black Sea. Though Vladimir considered just slitting his wrists, he managed to struggle through.

Considering that everyone expected the Ice to advance and swallow up the Exarchate, when it did not (in fact, some trappers and Ice-fishers thought that the weather was getting better north of the Caucasus) there was more stunned disbelief than relief. Even the news that Khirgizian bandits had raided the Royal Mint in Trebizond city and stolen wagonloads of kroner did not wake the population up. Baron Knuphyn, on the other hand, caught a chill and perished of ‘ammonia’ in the winter of ’36. He was missed by all.

1737-1738 (TURN 204)

Bereft of their usual subsidy from the Swedish crown, the Trebizond were forced to muddle through on their own. Housing reform and council flats were instituted in Trebizond city. The army was dispatched into the lands once held by the Khazars - cultists and other Ice-worshipping scum were driven out of Taman and Alan. All two Catholic inhabitants of Kuban were very glad to see princess Natasha arrive with her lancers and rifle companies.

Intermittent bouts of hysteria in the countryside were suppressed by the Viceroy's police, who found a continuous litany of accused witches, ensorcelled dogs and cats and one 'flying Icelord airship' constructed by two young men (who are in so much trouble) from their mom's bloomers.

1739-1740 (TURN 205)

Trebizond: His thoughts filled with bittersweet memories, Vladimir Tuchachevsky leaned on the railing of the RSN Porchovaka as the cutter pulled away from the harbor of Trebizond. His family crowded the aft deck, chattering and pointing, letting the sun fall on their weary faces. Packing up an entire palace - much less their mountain estate, or the town house in Amisus - had been a long and strenuous task. But now they were done, their fleet embarking around them, the sea covered with white sails, and soon they would be in a new home.

The Exarch wondered how his so-lately-adopted land would fare under it's new governor. The crown had made Trebizond - a motley collection of restive Moslems, Yaqui Catholics, Swedish settlers, Russian refugees, bits and pieces of every nation in Euopre Ð from whole cloth. Vladimir wondered if the bold experiment would last, or if the tides of war lapping around the region would engulf the little state.

"No matter," he said, pushing away from the rail. He had a mountain of correspondence to review, and the clutch of cardinals inside would want to bend his ear, again, about the Hussite problem. He did not look back at the swiftly receding shore.

Sweden: The Tsar took ship to Trebizond, where the administration of the Tuchachevsky was being replaced by direct Imperial administration. He was greeted by cheering crowds and parades, and pressed a lot of flesh and kissed many babies.

Jesuits: Somewhere outside of the pestilential sprawl of London, amid green fields on a vast and well-ordered country estate, a conclave gathered in rapidly falling dusk. Countless candles and torches illuminated a long procession of potentates, kings, princes, priests from every corner of the globe. A simple shrine stood under the brow of a turfed hill, a gleaming marble statue of the Risen Christ standing alone on the altar, the dark, almost invisible shape of a simple wooden cross behind him.

The ceremony was short, entirely in archaic Church latin, and the man kneeling before the old priest bowed his newly tonsured head. "Do you accept the service of Christ, his Church and his people, forever?"

"I do," Vladimir Tukhachevsky answered, rising newly anointed, a prince of the Church, and now founder of the Society of Jesus. A white brand, a keen blade, by which the Catholic nations hoped to drive back the darkness and usher in a new, golden age.

NewsFax Entries (Second Exarchate):

1759-1760 (Turn 215)

The Kalmar Senate: Under gray skies, the remaining members of the Kalmar Senate gathered in Kherson, seeking consensus over the dire and irredeemable question of civil war. A haggard-looking King Solomon addressed the assembled Senators and declared "The nation must not be divided in these cruel times – the people and the land cannot stand another war and our enemies are everywhere. Therefore, I will abdicate in favor of my son Kjell" Bang!

The Tsar staggered on the podium and the entire room fell hushed as five hundred Senators, guards, clerks and newspaper reporters stared in horror at Solomon’s bodyguards. One of them lowered his pistol, a curl of gray smoke drifting away to the ceiling. "You will all die" the man proclaimed, grinning insanely. "My master will consume thee!"

A blaze of gunfire from the other guards drowned out his words and threw the assassin’s body against the podium, riddled with bullets. Prince Dagmar shook himself awake from a terrible dream and felt himself rushed away by frightened guardsmen. Bishop Issak Greycow, the sole remaining authority (save the prince) in the city, rushed to secure the gates and prevent any more assailants from entering or escaping. The arrival of an Albanian Airways aeroliner within two hours was unremarkable, save for the two Royal Swedish Air Corps Baldur-class zeppelins who turned to intercept the merchantman.

Signals were exchanged and the Albanian ship was warned away and directed to seek landing at the airfield of Stevastopol. The Albanians signaled their acquiescence, turned upwind of the city and labored to gain height. Just as the airship disappeared into the clouds, a hatch opened on the bottom of the cargo bay and a black dot spun downwards, plunging into the northern district of the city.

The plague bomb smashed through the roof of a warehouse and burst, sending a dusty black cloud gouting out the fragile windows and open doors. The warehousemen, stunned by the impact, began to putresce with bulboes within minutes.

Dust, carried on the cold Russian wind, drifted south across the city. Within sixteen hours, nearly three-quarters of the population was dead. The Swedish fleet, in harbor, fled in panic, warned by the crewmen aboard the Baldur-class zeppelins, who could see the wave of death sweeping across the city.

Greycow escaped, though his orders to close the gates doomed thousands, while prince Dagmar, attempting to command an orderly evacuation, did not.

Two months later, a stunned Kalmarite fleet regrouped at Stevastopol. Eventually, in the fall of 1759, Dottski’s northern fleet from Halland would reach the city and find Greycow and his officers completely demoralized and the few surviving Senators waiting for Kjell’s hangman to arrive.

Trebizondan Cavalry in Cerkes

1761-1762 (Turn 216)

Peace, it seemed, was breaking out all over. While the middle east had sadly failed to burst into flames, things in Russia were also quieting down. The Vilhunas, finding themselves with little to hand but the old Exarchate in Anatolia, agreed to a reasonable peace with the Swedish Militarist government. Various treaties, of course, followed.

WHEREFORE the Empire of Swedish Russia has stood as a shining monument to the best natures of Man since time immemorial and,

WHEREFORE a division of opinion has arisen amongst the opinions of the Peoples of the Empire of Swedish Russia and,

WHEREFORE those Peoples desire greatly that this division shall not shed the blood of their brothers of ancient and noble alliance, IT IS THEREFORE AGREED that:

1. The Empire of Swedish-Russia and the Kalmar Parliamentarian Faction of the Empire agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the continuation of the Empire as before, but with certain southern territories to be given regional autonomy under the name of "The Exarchate of Trebizond."

2. In keeping with the ancient and beloved traditions of the Empire, the Kalmar Parliament shall be reconstituted as a bicameral legislature, the upper house (the Regency Council) of which shall have the power to elect the Exarch and to vote upon the election of the Swedish-Russian Emperor, and the lower house of which shall have the power to elect the Altkansler, or Prime Minister of the Exarchate.

3. Both the Empire and the Exarchate agree to cooperate on all matters of mutual concern, and to regard each other as two halves of one unalterable whole. This shall include the mutual sharing of information and giving the other the right of first refusal when selling agriculture.

4. Both the Empire and the Exarchate agree to a Mutual Defense Treaty, whereby the troops and peoples of the two shall travel freely across the lands of either and an attack on one shall be considered an attack upon the whole.

5. The Exarchate agrees to the peaceful and immediate turnover to the Empire of all territories now in its control which lie north of the Black Sea and/or the Baltic Sea. This includes all the cities in those territories except St. Sigurd.

6. The Exarchate will retain the city of St. Sigurd in Halland.

7. The Empire shall build a level 1 port city in a place of the Exarchate's choosing and then transfer control of that city to the Exarchate no later than turn 219. This is explicitly intended to be a distant location useful for trading, such as on the African or American coast.

TO THIS THEIR MOST CATHOLIC MAJESTIES attest and pledge their sacred honor:

Kjell Torsson, King of Sweden, Tsar of all the Russias

Lars Vilhuna, Exarch of Trebizond, Prince of Cerkes

More to the point, the Vilhunas raised a new army in the south, almost entirely composed of Anatolians and settlers. Mindful of the woeful lack of bureaucracy in his new domain, Exarch Lars bent his full attention to establishing ministries, seeing a census was conducted and the organs of the state were set in motion. The five principal cities of the state were also fortified.

Vilhuna’s efforts to restore civil order in the south were immeasurably aided by the provision of a veritable corps of administrators, clerks, messengers and copyists provided by the Roman Church. Indeed, pope Benedict himself visited Cerkes in ’62, holding mass for thousands of the faithful, blessing the newly established state and assuring the Exarch of his full and enduring support. While in the city, the Pontiff addressed a number of critical religious questions:

"Many of you are curious about the new faith quickly spreading in Africa. There is much that seems good and wholesome on the surface. But do not be deceived. Look closely at their beliefs, and pray for guidance in understanding what lies beneath. In truth, this is more evidence of Satan exercising his influence in our world. their belief system holds that Satan is co-equal to the Lord God. Where is the presence of the Saving Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ? It does not exist. I warn all Catholics - indeed all Christians - do not let your guard down. Hold fast to the apostolic faith, and ensure your ultimate salvation. The Orange Catholics represent grave errors of faith - they are a serious heresy."

"We also urge the Hussites - yes, they are also Christian - to resist the temptations offered by this charismatic leader of the desert. It is time for Catholics and Hussites to find common ground - we should not continue to be enemies. The strife in Northern Europe must come to an end."

"And a final message to our brethren of the Lencolar creed. I urge you to open your hearts, and question your spiritual leadership. When the Sisters find common cause and shared beliefs with the pagans of Japan, and quickly embrace the heresy of the Orange, have they in fact lost their way? Remember that the road to perdition is wide and broad. They may be innocent of any intentional wrongdoing, but Rome cannot stand silent when the Sisters lead their flock astray. If you find yourselves in doubt, approach the Priests, Brothers, and Sisters of the Roman Catholic faith - discuss your fears, rejoin the True Church."

The Mixtec ‘outpost’ in Lydia saw a massive degree of investment in rural grain combines, mills, irrigation canals and reforestation. The House of Mary was also very busy, as the Mixtecs implemented a ‘free passage’ program to allow throngs of pilgrims from sub-Saharan Afrika to visit Ephesus and the cathedral there, as well as the stone house on Mount Prion which had been the last dwelling of the Holy Mother. A very substantial number of Vastmarki matrons took advantage of this generous offer.

1763-1764 (Turn 217)

Prince Sigurd

Prince Sigurd mustered a fresh regiment - his Vaspurakan Rifles - as well as a large number of engineers imported from the homeland. Efforts were made to improve sanitation and the roads in Abasigia and Pontus. Dried apples, pears, peaches and salted mutton was exported to Russia in bulk. While the Exarch was toodling around in the east on horseback (with only a servant to shine his boots and a cook) and annoying the chieftains of Vasi, Sigurd marched his mountaineers south into Vaspurakan to escort the engineers to a new project clearing wells and building aqueducts in the high mountains.

Not so far away, a Mixtec fleet arrived at Ephesus in Lydia an unloaded 15,000 colonists, fifteen pregnant priestess-acolytes of the Sisterhood, and one very seasick Princess Zinsa. The settlers were in no better shape and everyone raised a huge groan when told they would only be spending the winter in Ephesus, before heading on to the Persian Gulf and their new home.

After failing to secure the allegiance of the Vasi, Exarch Vilhuna hied himself south into Georgia, where the Karidjite emir took him in, thinking him a lost, mad, Englishman and treated him very politely. The Georgians, however, were not interested in an alliance. The odd visit did, however, set the emir to thinking about the troubled state of the mountain emirates and the inevitability of the Great Powers turning their eyes to his bucolic domain.

Rickard Vasa, the margrave of Vaspur, was packed off south in a collection of ARF hulls to visit the desolate coastline of Asir, in Araby, where of late the Swedes and ARFen were busy with some unannounced project. The ARFen also picked up a contract to carry Exarchate trade to and from the distant shores of North Amerika.

1765-1766 (Turn 218)

Trebizondan Aircrew

The general uneasiness in the region convinced Governor Vilhuna that not only should grain be stockpiled in the event of famine, but that the Phyrgian borders should be watched by a series of new outposts and forts. Work began in Vaspurakan as well on building aqueducts, dams and levies to provide more constant water to the highland farms.

Governor Vilhuna, meantime, had mustered a couple thousand militamen in Cerkes and marched them up and over the mountains into Urmia, where his party was then met by his son, Sigurd, and a much larger force. Together, both groups then pressed south, approaching Ararat from the north. Overhead, the Swedes noted various airships in familiar colors also approaching the cursed mountain...

1767-1768 (Turn 219)

Many ships were dispatched to the south to carry yet more colonists to the barren and rugged coast of Asir, in Araby, where the Exarchate had undertaken to establish a town around for the fortress of St. Olafs (which, among other things, was now serving as a way-station for Arfen ships traveling to the east, and for airships in need of food, water, spare parts and other supplies on the Alexandria to India passage).

A complicated shell-game of ships and men and banknotes was successful in acquiring a small fleet (six men-of-war and ten frigates) from the Arfen in Rostov. Margrave Vasa was appointed admiral of the Black Sea Fleet, which (after a shakedown voyage to Alexandria to deliver Prince Sigurd to the African theatre of war) took up residence in Cerkes.

Other mercantile business with the Arfen was stymied by the Companie’s lack of proper groundwork. The possibility of trade with grand and distant lands faded for the moment… though the Company was granted an exclusive right to trade in the feathers of various rare birds (such as the Anatolian Whooping Crane) which made their homes in the highlands of the Exarchate.

1769–1770 Turn 220
Cossack Khanate of Georgia: Stranded in Armenia after the withdrawal of the various Swedish and Russian forces which had been campaigning against the Daemon Sultan, a variety of Cossack clansmen had migrated into the Baku area by '66, where - under the inspired leadership of the Dakessian hetmen - they seized control of Baku itself and the surrounding countryside in '67 and '68. By 1769 they had consolidated their little bandit kingdom (in main by adopting the Karidjite faith of their subjects, strongly influenced by a local strain of sufism) enough to launch a campaign against the Catholics who had recently invaded Urmia. After marching boldly across Azerbaijan, where prince Ari and General Serj had a bit of 'splainin' to do with the locals.

As the Exarchate didn't actually have any troops in Urmia (even around Mount Ararat, where of late many odd things had transpired) the Cossacks were greeted with cheers, flowers and a warm welcome by the local maidens. Dakessian's troops then marched on towards Armenia itself, hoping to reach the city of Van sometime soon.

Trebizond: Even though true Swedes and Russians were still pretty thin on the ground in the Anatolian highlands, Vilhuna found it necessary to dispatch several thousand more colonists to St. Olaf in Asir, on the coast of Araby. Of course, most of those sent were paupers, criminals or other malcontents whose presence in the Exarchate would not be missed. Efforts to clear the forests of Vaspurakan bore fruit, as the province became cultivated.

News from the south of the 'rebellion' of Georgia and Urmia against the putative rule of the Exarchate was met with ill-tempered silence in Cerkes.

The Exarchs

  • Piotr Tukhachevsky 1691-1695
  • Boris Tukhachevsky 1695-1707
  • Vladimir Tuchachevsky 1707-1739
  • Lars Vilhuna 1759-Present

The Players

  • T182-197 (1691-1724) - Barton Kersteter
  • T198-203 (1725-1736) - Lorne Colmar
  • T204 (1739-40) - Kerry Harrison
  • T215- Present (1759-Present ) Scott Nolan

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