Darkness before Dawn - Purple Phoenix 1416

I'd like seeing the ottomans get weakened and if something like that's going to happen unfortunately Anatolia is going to be partitioned.
That is certainly a very possible scenario - the proud Turkic tribes in Inner Anatolia have almost been the master of their own fate. ;)
CHAPTER 13 – Super Grammaticam
CHAPTER 13 – Super Grammaticam

The Prince-Bishopric of Konstanz – Holy Roman Empire.

When Plethon and Andronikos arrive at Konstanz on 5th October, they were greeted by the Roman diplomat Nicholas Eudaimonoioannes, who have been participating the Council of Konstanz on Roman behalf for a year. Plethon and Nicholas is old acquaintances and colleagues from Morea. After a brief rest from the long journey, Nicholas gives an update of the current situation to Plethon and Andronikos, and the reason why he invited them to Konstanz soon becomes clear.

The council of Konstanz has been ongoing for almost three years. Originally, the main purpose of the council was to end the triple Papal schism which had resulted from the confusion following the Avignon Papacy. Pope Gregory XI's return to Rome in 1377, followed by his death (in 1378) and the controversial election of his successor, Pope Urban VI, resulted in the defection of a number of cardinals and the election of a rival pope based at Avignon in 1378. After thirty years of schism, the rival courts convened the Council of Pisa seeking to resolve the situation by deposing the two claimant popes and electing a new one. Though the elected Antipope Alexander V and his successor, Antipope John XXIII, gained widespread support, especially at the cost of the Avignon antipope, the schism remained, now involving not two but three claimants: Gregory XII at Rome, Benedict XIII at Avignon, and John XXIII. Therefore, many voices, including Sigismund, King of the Romans and of Hungary (and later Holy Roman Emperor), pressed for another council to resolve the issue. That council was called by John XXIII on 16 November 1414 in Konstanz.

With the support of Emperor Sigismund, the Council of Konstanz recommended that all three papal claimants abdicate, and that another be chosen. Gregory XII then sent representatives to Konstanz, whom he granted full powers to summon, open, and preside over an Ecumenical Council; he also empowered them to present his resignation of the papacy. This would pave the way for the end of the Western Schism.

On 4 July 1415 the Bull of Gregory XII was formally read before the assembled bishops. Prince Malatesta then informed the council that he was empowered by a commission from Pope Gregory XII to resign the Papal Throne on the Pontiff's behalf. The bishops voted to receive the Papal abdication immediately. Thereupon the commission by Gregory XII authorizing his proxy to resign the Papacy on his behalf was read and Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of the papacy by Gregory XII and handed a written copy of the resignation to the assembly. Followingly, the other anti-popes were all deposed. Gregory XII's cardinals were accepted as true cardinals by the council, but the members of the council delayed electing a new pope for fear that a new pope would restrict further discussion of pressing issues in the church.


Bishops debating at the Council of Konstanz

However, before the new pope is elected, another controversial matter was brought before the council - the heresy of Jan Hus. Initially summoned to Konstanz under a letter of safe conduct, after several theological debates where Jan Hus and his followers stood firm against accusations from conservative bishops, he was later found guilty of heresy and turned over to the secular court, which on 6th July 1415 sentenced him to be burned to death at the stake. This act is seen as an outrageous betrayal by Hussite followers, and seeds of discontent and rebellion begin to spread throughout Bohemia.

When Nicholas arrived at late March 1416, the Council was at its critical stage of electing the next Pope. Many names were put forward, each with backing from prominent figures such as established Italian noble houses, influential cardinals, the Monarchs of Europe such as King of France or Emperor Sigismund of the Holy Roman Empire. Nicholas is well-known for his natural gift to socialize, always able to read the room and say the words most pleasant to the ears of the listener. As soon as he arrived, he managed to identify the deciding figure in the Papal election, Emperor Sigismund and focus on befriending the emperor who himself is also a gregarious man. As both men are interested in a united Catholic Church to sponsor a renewed crusade, the two soon formed a close friendship and working relationship, where Nicholas helped Sigismund to persuade people of importance to the election behind the scenes. It was with Nicholas’ assistance that the candidate favored by Sigismund, the 48 years old clergy man Otto Colonna became the man favored by most electors and most likely to become the next Pope.

Bringing the Western Schism to a successful end is no small feat which required enormous amounts of efforts and diplomatic skill – the result will inevitably provide Sigismund with significant prestige and authority throughout Catholic world. With strengthened position at home and a Pope of his backing, Sigismund could now focus his energy on planning for the next crusade against the Ottomans, of which Constantinople could potentially play a very critical role. The recent Roman success in Achaea no doubt improved its standing in Sigismund’s eyes, so when Nicholas asked him for an audience with the newly arrived Roman delegation nominally led by son of Emperor Manuel II, Despot of Thessaloniki Andronikos, he happily agreed.

As for why Nicholas would need to bring Andronikos all the way from Venice to meet Sigismund, is due to one simple fact – the ever-cautious Emperor Manuel II though have given Nicholas the authority to initiate a discussion of fermenting a crusade, have refused to give any concrete promises on Roman participation in such crusade. To Nicholas, he fully understood his emperor’s position – the crusade is far away and distant in the future with many uncertainties, while the Ottomans is close by within vicinity and have every means to utterly devastate the Empire. There are inherently no wrongs in be cautious and not anger the Ottomans before circumstances become clear. That being said, Nicholas knew well the ever-pragmatic Sigismund would need to be assured of Roman involvement, before crusade goes into any meaningful preparations, therein lies the dilemma - to help organize a crusade that have the potential of decisively destroy the Ottoman threat to the Empire once and for all, Nicholas must disobey the explicit order of his Emperor. For that to happen, and to make his case convincing to Sigismund, Nicholas would need someone with more credibility, who better than a son of Manuel II, Despot of Thessaloniki? As soon as he heard of Andronikos’ arrival in Venice, Nicholas knew his only chance to convince Sigismund and set the crusade in motion has arrived.

Nicholas had initially expected a long and difficult effort to persuade the young Despot to consciously disobey his father. To his surprise Andronikos was surprisingly accommodative to his idea. Nicholas soon realized that Andronikos shares his view on the Ottoman threat. Opposed to the risk-adverse strategy of constraint adopted by Manuel II, Andronikos is far more risk-taking and view the Ottomans as the foremost existential threat of the Empire and therefore must be weakened at every opportunity – and the only opportunity to destroy Ottoman threat once and for all is through a crusade. Dire situation calls for radical measures, and Nicholas, Andronikos and Plethon are all willing to take the risk to give the Empire a chance to rise. Determined and ready to bear any responsibilities, it is on 16th October that the meeting between Sigismund, Andronikos, Plethon and Nicholas happened.

The failure of the last crusade of Nikopolis in 1396 of which Sigismund was the leader have always lingered at the back of his mind. It reminds him that the sole effort of his powerbase in Hungary and the nearby allies of Serbia, Bosnia and Wallachia are not enough to overcome the Ottoman threat. Although significantly weakened by the Timur invasion and subsequent civil war, the Ottomans still hold a firm control over the Balkan territories, possess a strong army, and a large pool of manpower – in order to succeed, Sigismund is convinced that he must assemble all he could muster into a united crusade effort. For this purpose, Sigismund founded the Order of the Dragon in 1408, which was fashioned after the military orders of the Crusades, requiring its initiates to defend the cross and fight the enemies of Christianity, particularly the Ottoman. In the mind of Sigismund, if the Romans were to participate in the crusading effort, their sheer geographical position could make them an invaluable asset in hindering Ottoman reinforcements from Asia, and as such Sigismund had high hopes going into the meeting. With both parties having the same purpose in mind, it is sufficient to say the meeting went as smoothly as possible. Sigismund was delighted that Despot Andronikos shared the same crusade fervor as he does. After Andronikos made a vow promising full participation in crusading efforts, the topics quickly moved into the realm of detail and substantiality.

After hours and hours of discussion, it is concluded that as soon as the next Pope is elected and the Catholic world united again, a passagium generale i.e., crusade will be proclaimed against the Ottomans. The members of the Order of the Dragon would be called upon arms, which include many monarchs and prominent nobles in Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Wallachia. Contingents from Poland, Bohemia would join the grand crusading army, Venice will provide naval support, while Italian city states and the Papal State would provide monetary support. By Sigismund’s estimation, by late 1419 and early 1420 a crusade army of estimated 30.000 men would be ready to move against the Ottomans, and by that point the Romans will close the Dardanelle strait together with Venetian fleet, and harass the Ottoman rear through their positions in Constantinople and Thessaloniki, creating the perfect circumstance for a total victory that can evict Ottomans from Christian lands once and for all.

Both parties were very pleased with the result, and a regular correspondence is agreed to conjointly prepare the coming crusade. After the meeting with Sigismund, Nicholas, Plethon and Andronikos then participated in the final vote of the new pope – Otto Colonna as pope Martin V, Plethon even had a brief intellectual discussion with the new pope, who also becomes interested in Plethon’s knowledge of Greek philosophers from the Classical Age. By mid-November, while Nicholas stay to oversee the conclusion of the Council of Konstanz, Plethon and Andronikos depart Konstanz to head back to Italy, where they board a ship and sail through the Adriatic Sea towards the Aegean Sea.

Couple of weeks later, landing in the now refurbished harbor of Patras on, Plethon departs his young friend and returns to his position as magistrate of Morea. Before he could return to his home in Thessaloniki, Andronikos must first sails around the Peloponnese towards Constantinople, where he will report the result of his travel to his father, emperor Manuel II.

At the palace of Blachernae, the old emperor is initially pleased by the diplomatic conclusion Andronikos help reach with the Venetians, but as soon as Andronikos mention his meeting with Sigismund, the face of Manuel turns from interest to disapproval. Even though Andronikos have foreseen the angry reaction he would receive, he still underestimated the fury of his father, who became furious at his son to go behind his back to make deal with foreign monarch against his strategy.

A furious scolding rarely seen in the palace of Blachernae immediately follows. Manuel II angrily lashes out on his son for risking to jeopardize the status quo with the Ottomans, his hands waving, heads spinning, words seldomly used by the dignitaries ring aloud. To the ever-cautious Manuel II, the peace with the Ottomans is precious and hard earned – although he has repeatedly tangled with Sultan Mehmed I and carefully extracted concessions from the Sultan, he has always been mindful to not cross the Sultan’s redline. However, if Mehmed I gain knowledge of an actual alliance between Constantinople and Sigismund, and Roman active involvement in a crusade, that could potentially be the point of no return. The prospect of the empire to face the full wrath and repercussion from the Ottomans, strikes fear deep into Manuel's heart.

While Andronikos must withstand the firestorm he helped created, his elder brother, co-emperor Ioannes comes to the rescue. A secret partaker in the Roman deal with Sigismund, he manages to drag Andronikos away from the scene, then goes back to calm Manuel II down. Different to his father and like Andronikos, Ioannes sees the Ottomans as the greatest existential threat to the Empire, and must be eliminated at all cost, at all risks. A potential crusade would certainly go a long way towards the end goal of defeating the Ottomans once and for all.

While Ioannes is speaking with Manuel, a messenger runs past Andronikos who is waiting outside the palace entrance, into the hallway and brings news of a major Ottoman defeat at the hands of rebel Bedreddin.
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Nice chapter, like the papal intrigue. I wonder how the Romans will react to the Ottoman defeat by Bedridden. Hope we can look more eastward with the Timurid Empire, how are they reacting to events in Anatolia? Keep up the good work.
This is interesting. Considering bedreddin's ruling the ottoman empire I'd expect a religious backlash from the more conservative Muslims, so the crusade may strike at the ottoman empire while it's weak or even when it's in civil war. That may lead to the Turks accepting the loss of the Balkans and maybe even western Anatolia too.
This is interesting. Considering bedreddin's ruling the ottoman empire I'd expect a religious backlash from the more conservative Muslims, so the crusade may strike at the ottoman empire while it's weak or even when it's in civil war. That may lead to the Turks accepting the loss of the Balkans and maybe even western Anatolia too.
A perfect storm is coming, and everyone needs to be prepared :)
CHAPTER 14 – A Menace in Forests
CHAPTER 14 – A Menace in the Forests

While the Romans were fighting the Latins in Achaea, the Ottomans didn’t stay idle. Mehmed used most of the campaign season of the year 1417 to try eliminate his arch-nemesis, the self-proclaimed sheikh and rebel leader Bedreddin, who combined his deep understanding of the forested and hilly terrain of Northern Bulgaria with his guerilla tactics to wreak havoc on Ottoman rule in Bulgaria. The cause of Bedreddin was especially attractive to disgruntled gazi warriors and the lower caste of the society who are constantly brutalized by Ottoman nobilities, the rebel forces quickly grew in numbers, and attacked Ottoman garrisons, granaries, mansions throughout Bulgaria, gaining provisions and arms while spreading their influence further and further across the lands.

On the other hand, after the disastrous defeat at the battle of Deliorman in late 1416, the Ottoman forces have recovered their strength by late spring of 1417, and began pushing aggressively into rebel territories to counter the rebel activities. Under the leadership of Mehmed, the initial Ottoman campaign gained a lot of ground – many rebel villages and towns along navigable waterway or road conjunctions were swiftly conquered by the advancing Ottoman forces, forcing the rebel army to retreat from the rich farmlands into the hills and forests. On 20th May, 1417, a major contingent of rebel army was defeated and routed by the Ottoman army at the battle of Novi Pazar, a village on the banks of Kriva Reka River. For a time, many thought the rebellion crushed.

However, things didn’t play to Ottoman tunes. As the rebel forces abandoned villages and town in the plains and valleys to retreat into rugged hills and forests, the progress of the campaign bogged down significantly. With a well provisioned supply and a mobile army mainly containing light foot soldiers which have a deep understanding of local ground, the rebel forces began to constantly harass the over-extended Ottoman supply line through guerilla tactics, setting ambush on Ottoman garrisons and patrols, picking out small reconnaissance groups, while avoiding pitched battles at all costs.

Although the daily Ottoman casualties remains relatively low, as the rebels lack manpower and weapon to face the mighty Ottoman army head-on, their guerilla tactics nevertheless made a significant dent on Ottoman morale. As summer progresses, the Ottomans found themselves in a game of cat and mouse, which they couldn’t win. A new battle plan was set up by Sultan Mehmed – to crush the rebellion once and for all, he will personally lead his army and penetrate deep into enemy holdings, to try and take enemy base of operation, the town of Macin.

The town of Macin is located on an ancient Roman fortification on top of “Cetate” Hill. South of the town, the river branch Macin runs into Danube which is situated to its west, north of the town is vast areas of wetlands and marshes, and to the east lies the mountain of Macin, the highest point within Dobrudja plateau. A town that is well-fortified and situated on hilltop, with marshes, mountains and rivers covering its flanks, and an easy access to the transportation artery of Danube - such geographic features of Macin make it an excellent base of operation for the rebels. In addition, the rebel cause is secretly supported by the Wallachians which have send large quantities of arms, weapons and other war materials across Danube into Macin. If the Ottomans were to cut off the flow of supplies by taking Macin, the rebel will lack capacity to resupply their depleted war materials – a significant blow to the rebel cause.


The Roman town of Arrubium appearing in Tabula Peutingeriana

To crush the rebellion, Mehmed has assembled a large contingent of boats and ships – he will personally lead the main Ottoman army of 20.000 men and sail on Danube, while a detachment of 7.000 men is to march north next to the branch river Macin – both armies will meet and surround the town of Macin.

On late July, Mehmed and his forces land next to Macin unscathed. To his surprise, his detachment was met with fierce delaying attacks and therefore couldn’t make it to the rendezvous point in time. Nevertheless, based on reliable intelligence, the town of Macin only has around 6.000 rebel defenders, and with 20.000 well trained and professional soldiers at hand, Mehmed is confident to take Macin within a short timeframe with or without his detachment.

The rebels managed to fortify Macin around its hillside with stones, bricks and wood. In addition, several lines of ditches and wooden palisade is also prepared, making a frontal assault a difficult task. A task which the Ottomans were forced to make, as only the southwestern side of Macin has relatively flat and open terrain for troop deployment.

For the next couple of weeks, the Ottomans bombard Macin with small cannons, siege equipment and missiles, followed by countless assaults by heavily armored infantrymen. The rebel defenders fought ferociously against seemingly unlimited waves of Ottoman attacks. Ditch after ditch, palisade after palisade, soon the outer layer of fortifications is all leveled, yet the town of Macin still withstood Ottoman onslaught throughout August, taking heavy casualties while inflicting even heavier losses in both lives and materials on the Ottomans.

In the end, the brute force of the Ottoman war machine proved simply too much. After almost 80 days of heroic fighting where the defenders fought fanatically to its last man, the town of Macin fall into Ottoman hands early-October. For Mehmed, the joy of conquest proved to be short-lived however – firstly the Sultan learned that the actual number of rebel defenders who died defending were closer to around 2000 men, which means the main force of the rebels have escaped before the Ottoman arrival, including Sheikh Bedreddin himself. Secondly, on the night of Ottoman conquest of Macin, during its celebration where many soldiers became incautious, a group of rebel saboteurs managed to infiltrate behind Ottoman lines and set fire on the lightly guarded ships docked next to the Danube.

That night, the burning of the ships could be seen all the way in Macin. Also engulfed in the flames are a major portion of Ottoman supplies. Mehmed soon realized the precarious situation he landed himself in. Although he has taken Macin with great cost in men and equipment, he has failed to achieve his main object to annihilate the main rebel forces and capture Bedreddin. Furthermore, as winter season closes in, efforts to locate the rebel forces hiding in the mountains of Dobrudja failed, and after all his ships is vanished along with most of his supplies, the urgent question for Mehmed became how to resupply his hungry and war-exhausted soldiers.

Mehmed stayed and waited in the now destroyed town of Macin for two weeks – when the messengers he sent to his main camp didn’t come back, nor any signs of resupplies on the Danube, Mehmed begrudgingly made the decision to retreat. The Ottomans firstly burned and leveled what was left of Macin to the ground, then set on to march south on land next to the branch river Macin – which the Ottoman detachment managed to traverse in around 10 days.

It was on the road of retreat, that true disaster stroke. The traverse which the detachment made have given Mehmed incomplete and misguided information – and the rebel main forces, always hidden and impossible to catch, suddenly appeared out of nowhere all along the road. With Ottoman army crammed into a thin long line along the narrow passage of the river banks with forests and hills all around them, the march south became the perfect hunting ground for rebel forces.

Hungry, tired and demoralized after a long and fruitless campaign, the Ottoman soldiers became easy pickings for the rebels. The sickly and weak were forced to be abandoned to their own fate.

What took the detachment one week to traverse took Mehmed’s large army almost three weeks. By the time he arrived back to his main camp, out of the initial forces of 26.000 men, less than 7.000 soldiers came home.

Mehmed himself is devastated physically and mentally by this defeat, yet he rebuffed the advice to return to Adrianople to have some rest. Knowing that the morale of his soldiers is at all-time low, and the rebels may very well take advantage of his absence, Mehmed decides to over-winter in Bulgaria despite the toll it would make on his fragile health. Furthermore, the Roman success in Achaea, and the peace deal made between Constantinople and Venice made Mehmed alarmed. The news that a large Roman delegation was sent to Konstanz upset him furthermore. The threat of potentially another crusade which the Romans participate will become a great threat to Ottoman rule in Balkan, perhaps even more than Bedreddin. To frighten and dissuade the Romans from taking radical position and crush the threat of crusade before it happens, Mehmed knew he must send a strong signal soon.

Not all news is bad for Mehmed however – as his army suffered a crushing defeat in Macin, messengers arrive from Anatolia whom bring the good news that the army of Prince Murad (nominally led by Murad but practically led by Vizier Bayezid) has decisively defeated the rebels in Saruhan, killed its leader, executed thousands of its most fanatic supporters, and successfully stabilized the situation.

As a harsh winter arrives and the year of 1417 comes to an end, all campaigns come to a halt. The warring parties of Southern Balkans find a small room of respite, licking their wounds while preparing for the inevitable continuation of conflict come spring.
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Nice chapter, like the papal intrigue. I wonder how the Romans will react to the Ottoman defeat by Bedridden. Hope we can look more eastward with the Timurid Empire, how are they reacting to events in Anatolia? Keep up the good work.
Things will develop fast come 1418 - the Romans better fasten their seatbelts.
Nice new chapter, the Ottomans took a beating fighting the rebel forces. They're down but not out of the fight, I think the coming winter will greatly affect Mehmet health. One mistake given due to his sickly state will kill him. Wonder how the other Balkan nations/people are looking at the defeats the Ottomans are receiving. Keep up the good work.
When I read this I get a very weird feeling. the perspective is writing like it’s a history book being written as the history in it becomes history. Your use of the word will makes it feel like it is the present and not the past.

also there are a few grammatical errors.
But besides that I feel that this a general improvement over your previous chapters.
So I've looked back at the recent chapters and weren't really satisfied with the quality - in addition I have made some changes to the path of the TL, and as such made some changes to the contents of Chapter 12, 13, and 14. Ppl interested can take a re-read.

A new chapter will arrive tomorrow, cheers.
CHAPTER 15 – Athenian Intrusion

The New Year’s celebration has just passed, the mood of festivities still lingers over the streets of Constantinople, before the Roman emissary to Venice and Konstanz, Nicholas Eudaimonoioannes returns with another cause for celebration – in the show of Christian solidarity between Rome and Constantinople, and a demonstration of Roman diplomatic success, the newly elected Pope Martin V has agreed and arranged a marriage of three prominent Catholic Italian noblewomen to Roman princes Andronikos, Theodoros and Ioannes. The ordinary Roman citizens are delighted over the apparent festival arrangement, and soon streets and public houses in Constantinople is filled with chatters and gossips over the identity of the brides, their looks, clothes, dowry etc. To men of influence, the marriages showcased a clear sign of support from the West, and rumor of a potential crusade from the Catholic world to help the Empire evict the Ottoman menace begins to spread cross the circle within upper class.

By February the news of the marriage reaches Andronikos who has returned to his domain in Thessaloniki. Unlike his ecstatic subordinates, Andronikos is less enthusiastic to the news of his marriage, seeing it as an event not worth much consideration – the meeting of Konstanz has made him fully devoted into potentially participating in the upcoming crusade.

Andronikos may be bold and ambitious, but he is no fool – as the blood in his vein cools down, he begins to see clearly the huge disparity of power between Ottomans and the Romans, and that the Ottomans exceed in every measurable number and assessable strength, be it the quality of the army, the quantity of manpower, the tax base, or the depth of coffers. Against such a formidable foe, to only rely on the support of the crusading allies would be foolish. If the Romans were to indeed participate in the crusade, they must be prepared and be confident to hold back Ottoman aggression for at least half a year. The strength to hold back Ottomans is not only a necessity as the Ottomans would most likely throw everything they have against the Romans once they join the crusade, it would also be crucial that once the Ottomans were defeated, the Romans show enough strength and devotion to receive its well-deserved share of war spoil, both in forms of land and coin.

The territories the Romans managed to secure after 1405 is mainly coastal with no strategic depth, the Roman army although victorious in Achaea, is small and insignificant against the overwhelming Ottoman force. In such circumstance, to try and hold every single town and cities would be impossible and would most likely destroy what little force the Romans have. The Romans must be prepared to abandon large swaths of its country-side and indefensible towns, and concentrate its forces in well-defended cities and positions, such as Constantinople and Thessaloniki.

However, even if the Romans manage to succeed in defending its major cities, they would be bearing the main brunt of Ottoman attack and thus suffer the most. Furthermore it would throw their fate to the mercy of its allies, which includes the always treacherous Venetians and could never be fully trusted. The bloody lesson of the Fourth Crusade is injected deep in Roman memories.

A most opportune circumstance leading to the disintegration of Ottoman central power must arise before the Romans could make the fateful move. Such circumstance could occur either as a result of a powerful crusading army successfully defeating the Ottoman army in Balkans, or by a sudden fragmentation of Ottoman power and a succession crisis similar to what happened decades ago. Such circumstance would not only mean great opportunity for actions, but it will also mean the Ottoman princes which the Romans hold in their hand would become a trump card.

Before any of that happens, Andronikos must bid his time and make preparations to strengthen Roman position. One such thing which Andronikos finds would improve Roman odds against Ottomans is the innovative weapon of firearms – with his own traumatized war experience in Achaea in mind, he sees great potentials in this deadly weapon, especially the usefulness of cannons in siege warfare as demonstrated in the siege of Glarentza.

Andronikos has personally gained an impressive war spoil from loot and confiscation of Latin properties in Achaea, which after paying his army and repaying the 1.500 ducats loan from Venice still left him with 2.000 ducats in coins and many estates and properties worth another few thousand ducats. Throughout the spring of 1418, Andronikos spends handsomely to establish a gun smith modeled after the Venetian Arsenal to produce firearms in Thessaloniki. Craftsmen from across Italy were invited to Thessaloniki, and the first prototype cannon copied from the Venetian cannon seized by Andronikos from Glarentza and brought back to Thessaloniki is produced in early April, marking the first instance of Roman cannon production.

Just as Andronikos is busy overseeing his gun smith, a messenger from Morea arrives at Thessaloniki on 10th April, and brings news of a sudden aggression from the Duke of Athens, Antonio I Acciaioli against the Roman position in Corinth. The Duchy of Athens hasbeen ruled by Italian noble families since the Fouth Crusade, and the latest Duke Antonio has been a de facto vassal of the Ottomans after his war with the Venetians in 1406, and ever since that he has been on and off harassing the Venetians and Roman territories with quick raids. As such Andronikos initially saw the news as nothing but another ordinary Athenian intrusion and dismissed the messenger without giving further thoughts.

Few days later, a formal request of aid arrives at Thessaloniki from Despot Theodoros himself. In the letter Theodoros directly pleads for assistance from Andronikos, his brother, as the scale of the Athenian intrusion far surpass what was witnessed in the past -the city of Corinth is now besieged by over a thousand well-armed Latin professional soldiers, assisted by many thousands of levies, some eyewitness even saw Ottoman contingents within Latin ranks. It is not a raid, but a full-on invasion into Morea. As Theodoros is still trying to consolidate his control over newly-conquered Achaea, he relocated much of his resources and men to Achaea. As such, the defense of Corinth and Morea in general lacks sufficient men to resist the surprising Athenian invasion. Corinth could fall in anytime, and if it were to fall, the whole of Morea will lay open to Latin brutality.

Only Andronikos have enough men to intervene in due time. Without any hesitation, he assembles his generals to immediately form a battleplan, while sounding the call of arms. By 16th April, an army of 2000 men marches across the gate of Galerius, towards the south.
Before any of that happens, Andronikos must bid his time and make preparations to strengthen Roman position.
It should be 'bide' right?

Hmm the Athenians moving against the Romans is actually quite interesting but the playing field should be levelled a bit with the cannon the Romans have right?
I was starting to get worried about this story being dead. Glad it is not. I wonder if this could be the chance for the Romans to get back Athens (or at least part of the duchy). Theoretically it should not be impossible, but a siege would be a lengthy thing (even more compared to Glarentza). Time is a resource the Romans can not really afford as they also need to prepare for the crusade. Curious to see what we will get in the next chapter.
As I have previously said I love the story but could you please write it in the past thence. Instead of has it should be had because it have already happened. Instead of is it should be was.
Also are should be were and be should be had been. These minor changes could help make the updates feel a lot more fluid and natural.

But as said previously I really like the story and hope you continue this and it is quite possible that I am wrong about some of the things I have just said as I am not a native English speaker. So if you know any native English speakers maybe have them read your update before you publish them.
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Are you sure, you should be criticising, the grammar of others?

I literally stated that I might be wrong. I’m just trying to point out that it is a problem.
As I have previously said I love the story but could you please write it in the past thence. Instead of has it should be had because it have already happened. Instead of is it should be was.
Also are should be were and be should be had been. These minor changes could help make the updates feel a lot more fluid and natural.

But as said previously I really like the story and hope you continue this and it is quite possible that I am wrong about some of the things I have just said as I am not a native English speaker. So if you know any native English speakers maybe have them read your update before you publish them.