"I sent him those men, and they ran," - Andronikos III's attributed horror to the Battle of Velbazhd.
Andronikos, in notice of the letters sent by Michael of Bulgaria, took time to measure out his own interactions with his army. Most the troops being drawn for the Allagion were themselves recruited through a third party, the Pronoiar.
The Pronoia themselves were akin to the old Thematic units that held lands in-exchange for service, or the providing of service, they were given fiscal rights over land directly owned by the state. The biggest difference, and one that allowed Andronikos to draw from them, was the fact that there was no middle-man--the Pronoiar worked directly for the state.
As the Pronoiar were effectively directly employed by the state, rather than a Thematic administration, Andronikos and his Domestic Theodore were able to go directly to them in order to draw troops. The result however was a very bottom-heavy army which was filled with infantry and very few cavalry; this having to be offset by the state itself paying to imburse some of these men with the horses, weapons and armour needed to fill the ranks appropriately .
Andronikos would pay for the barracks of the Palaiologian Palace to be expanded in mid-June to accommodate the gradually swelling numbers of the Allagion. During this expansion the Emperor would find himself spending more time within the Boukoleon Palace along the seaside; enjoying the air and privacy provided to him and his direct court there.
Officially, on the 19th of June, the Stratos Chrysosbull would be put into affect by the hand of Andronikos. This Goldenbull formally designated the differences between the Vasilika Allagion, and the Authentika Allagion--Imperial and Pronoiar respectively; indicting that the Pronoiar regiments were still 'active' but separate from the Emperor's own Allagion. This was simply a matter done to balance the books and make things easier to understand for the administration.
It was on the 25th that Anna finally gave birth, roughly around the expected time; the affair being rather standard considering things. It was a healthy boy, one named after Andronikos' best friend John, and given the title of Porphyrogennetos due to being a legitimately born child of the reigning Emperor, and thus born in the purple birthing chambers of the palace.
Chambers Anna had designed herself, alongside many other changes.
The early month was dedicated to the practice of making sure messengers were sent to important hubs such as Thessaloniki so that the Pronoiar within these areas could be properly informed of the changing circumstances; even if in functionality nothing really changed for them. The Emperor was already starting to tread on toes with his reforms--especially with his aristocracy and Genoa. While he could tolerate issues with Genoa he couldn't risk pushing things too far within his own Empire.
The messengers who'd been sent along Thrace returned back near the end of the month with news on the fact that Michael of Bulgaria was directly making moves against Serbia. This news didn't surprise Andronikos--although he'd expected Michael to have made moves last month it seemed as if the Bulgarian Tsar had needed more time to prepare than either of them had expected.
News was trickling in gradually as more and more messengers came back; amongst them low rumblings of discontent from the Pronoiars--more worry than anything else, but the Emperor made a note of it. He'd have to handle these deeper issues sooner rather than later--lest they fester and cause problems at the most inopportune of moments.
As if to add worry to worry news was coming in from Galata that the Genoese merchants were acting roughly against their local Roman competition; petitions were coming in across the golden horn for the Emperor to intervene on behalf of the Roman merchants in the area. Andronikos found himself unable to react beyond sending a firm warning to the leadership of Galata that if there was continued attacks against Roman citizens--especially merchants--in Galata then there would be consequences.
The leadership of Galata itself responded rather quickly--their answers were almost dismissive, but they noted that they would attempt to keep a tighter leash on their own merchants .
Andronikos had earmarked August as a month he'd dedicate entirely to Constantinople. The reason for this was that the Emperor had not spent much time purely dedicated to Constantinople within his lifetime--most of his time as a ruler being spent in either Thessaloniki or Adrianople. Despite it being a shadow of its former self Constantinople was still a unique beast that Andronikos wanted to take time to learn properly.
This wouldn't come to pass as within the first week of the month more news began to pour in.
First was from his sister, Theodora, Empress-Consort of the Bulgarians, which arrived on the 5th. The news left Andronikos white in the face. Michael III of Bulgaria was dead, as was most of his army--killed at the Battle of Velbazhd.
Theodora herself spoke in fear; the boyars of the Bulgarian Empire were plotting with the King of Serbia, Stefan III, over who to put on the throne. This was a direct threat to both her, and her young son Konstanin who was only himself 12 years old  and thus not old enough to truly defend himself. Theodora effectively begged her brother to make the march to Bulgaria to protect her son's claim to the throne.
Andronikos saw the opportunity as well as the obligation he had, but what truly made up his mind was the knowledge that it had been *his* mercenaries that had caused the death of Michael. They'd fled mid-battle, leaving Michael exposed . With this knowledge Andronikos felt an obligation to defend Michael's throne for his nephew, and preparations were begun within the week.
Anna was beside herself--Andronikos was leaving yet again in such a short span of time, and she worried that this time he might not even come back at all. This worry was only abated by the reassurances of both Andronikos and John. The Empress however had to have the last word in, and thus made sure to make the Domestic Theodore swear to ensure that her husband came home.
By the 19th by the time Andronikos and his Allagion arrived at the Roman-side of the Marista river border; crossing into Bulgaria that day and making the march to Tarnovo. By that point the Emperor's forces had enlarged to around 8,000 with 2,000 additional Pronoiar units called up from Thrace along the march.
By the time Andronikos had reached Tarnovo on the 25th, he'd already secured the surrender of the towns of Anchialus, Aetos, Messembria as well as several others within the Burgas region of Bulgarian Thrace. These acted as relays back to Tarnovo, with the boyars that still remained in the city agreeing to open the gates for the Emperor and allow him in.
Andronikos was quick to take charge of the city, but maintained orders for his men to keep their distance from the locals and not antagonize them.
The Emperor is said to have embraced his sister and nephew openly upon his arrival within the court at Tarnovo, and immediately asked for whatever information could be gathered on the status of the Bulgarian state.
It wasn't pretty; Ivan Stefan, the choice chosen between the Serbs and the Bulgarian boyars, had heard of Andronikos' march to Tarnovo. The claimant had rerouted from Tarnovo to the semi-autonomous Dobruja once Andronikos had passed him, and taken it over as a base of power from which he intended to claim all of Bulgaria. Aside from Ivan the Serbs themselves were rather cross with the Romans for daring to interfere, and there were hints of movement along the Roman-Serbian border.
Andronikos' terms were rather steep; in order to defend Konstantin's claim to the throne the young prince would need to cede the area the Romans and Bulgarians had been fighting over for generations around the area south of the Bulgarian Mountains. The Emperor was adamant about this--he wanted cities such as Philippopolis and Burgas back in Roman hands.
Konstantin himself made a rather large impact on the proceedings; having butt in rather firmly during an argument between his mother and Andronikos. The young prince bluntly told Andronikos that he would only agree to hand over the lands specified once the Emperor had retaken Dobruja from Ivan and put an end to Ivan's attempts to claim the throne.
Andronikos found himself impressed with Konstantin's resolve, and found no reason to argue with the position--even if Theodora had taken to dismissing him without discussion for daring to take advantage of the situation .
After resupplying at Tarnovo the Emperor and his forces would depart the city on the 29th of August; taking the eastern paths into Dobruja.
The march into Dobruja was a hard one--the waterlogged terrain and the manner in which Ivan had spread out his forces as guerillas made it an utter slog; forcing the Romans to keep along the coastline. The first impediment was the city of Varna. Varna itself was an imposing location--it's citadel and port making it too important a location to ignore for the Romans. Attempts to talk the city into opening its gates failed, and the Romans were in for a siege.
Due to their lack of siege equipment Andronikos ordered a centralized camp build directed at a single section of the walls. This camp would serve the Romans well when elements of Ivan's disseminated army attempted attacks to disrupt the Romans in their efforts. It took roughly a week and a half to produce enough equipment to start damaging the city at Andronikos' order .
After a day and a night of bombardment the people of Varna threw open the gate and accepted a Roman garrison of 200, having given up on the 14th. The Romans would rest within the city for three days, deconstructing their siege equipment and taking count of their losses--which were comparatively few considering their tactics.
The Emperor would leave the city on measured terms on the 17th, and begin the march to Balchik, hoping to capture the city within the month.
This march would be interrupted just before Andronikos and his armies reached the walls of Balchik by Bulgarian messengers, these messengers having trekked the distance with important information.
Stefan III was invading.
Andronikos was forced to think on his feet once more, as he had in Anatolia. The decision he came to was to split off his 2,000 Pronoiar units, and hand command of them over to his Domestic Theodore; having them stay in Dobruja to continue the fight there. Theodore himself was against this idea, as he still had the promise he made to Anna in his mind; but he did not disobey the orders of his Emperor.
The Emperor and his army would march back to Varna, reclaiming the 200 man garrison, and leaving behind Theodore and the 2,000 Pronoiars--alongside the siege equipment they'd built.
It would take another half-week to pass back into Roman territory, with the Emperor and his forces taking the coastal route and passing by Burgas, before they finally stopped at Adrianople to resupply on the 21st.
Once the march was on again the Emperor continued to get a slow trickle of news from Macedon. The biggest news was that one of the more powerful Pronoiar of Macedon, John Sfyrios, had called to arms many of his fellow Pronoiar to defend Macedon. The trigger for this hadn't just been Serbia's invasion; which has continued to pour south after failing to take Ohrid in early September--but also the timely invasions of Epirus and Athens; as both had sensed weakness and gone for the kill.
Andronikos increased the pace of his armies march in order to get to Thessaloniki and resupply for what he predicted to be a long campaign full of skirmishes. Upon their arrival at the Second City of the Empire, the Emperor was met with the news that Ohrid had finally fallen upon the return of the Serbian army. Stefan III was himself continuing his efforts southward; with calls for aid coming from both Prosek and Prilep as both were being besieged by contingents of Stefan's forces.
The Emperor took the time he had to write to Sfyrios; declaring it the duty of the Pronoiar to defend Kastoria and its environs from incursions from the Epirot's and Latins.
Andronikos didn't even wait for a response, and as soon as he was sure his army was prepared he and his forces marched northward along the Vardar river; choosing to handle Prosek's defense first. The reason for this choice lay in the fact that of the two cities in need Prosek was the furthest from Ohrid--and thus unlikely to have a large presence of Serbs.
This decision would prove sound when on the Romans routed a force of roughly 2,000 Serbians outside the walls of Prosek--forcing them to leave behind their equipment as they fled. Andronikos would order this equipment packed up and dragged within Prosek's walls; settling in his army for the next three days--as was quickly becoming custom .
The Emperor took the ensuing three days to resupply his army as best as he could, as well as set-up a basic siege-train for the captured equipment. Once this was done the army was yet again on the march; crossing the Vardar river by the 5th under heavy caution, before crossing their way into the environs of Prilep. Andronikos would find out that he arrived too late to catch Stefan III and his army--as the Serbian King had decided to pull back from the siege of Prilep upon hearing of Prosek's relief.
Andronikos himself would take a day and a night to check over Prilep's fortifications, before leaving the city on the morning of the 7th content with the size of the garrison and the strength of the walls.
News that the Emperor got from the locals informed him that Stefan III had moved southward against Bitola--the only city keeping the Serbs from being able to punch down on the inner-Macedonian cities of Edessa and Veria.
This forced Andronikos to march his forces once more; this time their pace quickened in order to catch the King before he could flee again. Upon the arrival of the Emperor and his forces however it was clear that Stefan III was still embroiled with the siege of Bitola; having gathered up his forces into one cohesive army once more in order to pose a viable threat to Andronikos.
Scholars debate the reason Stefan put this all together--although the common idea is that the Serbian King lured Andronikos down to him in order to give him time to properly reconstitute his dispersed army, as well as draw the Roman Emperor into a repeat of the Battle of Velbazhd.
The battle that ensued, known as the Hammering at Bitola, was anything but a repeat of Velbazhd.
The Roman land-based troops proved far more willing to put up a fight than those of Michael III. This willingness to hold their ground bought Andronikos the time he needed to hammer and route Stefan's riders with his own--with the Emperor breaking off a portion of his force to continue chasing these fleeing Serbs while he returned back to aid his infantry .
The unique line-flexing tactics of the Romans forced the Serbians facing them into odd angles; continuously throwing them off balance as well damaging their cohesion. This gradually sapped their strength, and allowed for the returning Andronikos and his riders to make continuous passes with each angle--causing damage to any Serbians who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There simply came a point where the Serbians and their King could take no more, and a route ensued. The fight had exhausted the Roman ground troops--and it was only Andronikos and his riders that were able to chase after the fleeing Serbs.
But, as for the ground troops, there came a point where the riders and their Emperor could no longer keep up their pursuit. Instead the Emperor regrouped with the detached riders he'd sent out earlier and reunited with his army outside of Bitola.
The Emperor took stock of his losses once the field was quiet; the infantry having taken the brunt of the damage and at least 200 men had died. The Serbians by contrast had lost roughly 2,500 or so men; most of which had died during the route. Andronikos bluntly ordered them looted for excess equipment, then given as proper a burial as was possible under the circumstances.
The Romans would spend four rather than three days recuperating at Bitola. This was down as much to Andronikos checking the cities fortifications and getting a handle on it as it was to the exhaustion of his forces. The Emperor knew he couldn't ignore Epirus or Thessaly any longer--and decided to gamble with the fact that he'd hammered the Serbs enough for them to flee to the only major city they'd taken in Ohrid.
Leaving a garrison of 500 behind in Bitola, Andronikos effectively turned the city into the new temporary Ohrid upon his departure 12th of October.
Andronikos and his army would march south until reaching Larissa--the border city of Roman Thessaly and Latin Thessaly, therein the Emperor would meet Sfyrios for the first time. The two immediately struck up a friendship; with Sfyrios being of the same generation as Andronikos, and having served him during the War of the Two Andronikos' what felt like a lifetime ago for the two men.
It would be agreed there that Sfyrios would continue his efforts against Thessalian raids. It was also at Larissa that Andronikos punished Stephen Gabrielopoulos, a magnate who had effectively been given control over Roman Thessaly. Gabrielopoulos had failed to stem any sort of tide from the Latins, and was thus sacked; his lands in Thessaly and Kastoria confiscated by the state until something could be decided.
Gabrielopoulos, a sickly man by this point, begged that Andronikos spare some of his lands for his heirs as well as allow him to retire peacefully to a monastery. The Emperor couldn't bring himself to destitute the whole family over the failings of its patriarch; thus he separated Gabrielopoulos lands in Thessaly amongst his heirs, and allowed the sickly man to retire quietly.
Andronikos would depart Larissa on the 14th with only a force of cavalry; enlarged with men from his infantry which had served with him in Anatolia being given horses. This force roughly amounted to 2,300. The Emperor had made this decision because the Despot of Epirus, John II Orsini, had relied on a small force of raiders for his efforts--and if reports were to be believed he was already on his way back to his lands around southern Epirus.
The Emperor and his men took a heavy pace, only stopping scantly along the way to rest. With time those of his riders which had been assigned as scouts came back with news that they'd spotted the troops of John II himself trying to pass through the lands passes around Roman Northern Epirus.
In the late day of the 15th the Emperor and his riders managed to catch up with Orsini and his retinue--and while they put up a skilled fight in defense of their lord they were eventually overwhelmed. Orsini himself would be crippled when his horse was killed under him as he attempted to flee; with the Despot being captured and tied to the horse of one of Andronikos' officers.
The Emperor and his men would ride southward with Orsini in tow for the next day and night, coming upon Arta on the 17th of October. Due to Orsini's lingering unpopularity as a Latin ruling Romans in former Roman lands the gates were opened when the garrison was notified of Orsini's capture, and shown the crippled Despot for surety.
With the fall of Arta it only took another three days of marching up and down what had once been the Despotate of Epirus to annex the remaining cities. For the first time since 1205 there was no longer a rival state within the Epirus region that could prove itself a threat to Roman dominance of the region. Orsini would die shortly afterwards of his wounds; his heirs imprisoned within Arta.
As had become practice by now, the Emperor chose someone within his own army to be placed at the head of the newly conquered territory . Andronikos chose the commander of his cavalry, as he had with Artemios in Anatolia, a skilled a shrewd man around Andronikos' age named Michael (hereafter known as Michael of Arta).
The Emperor designated Michael as Governor of the Governorship of Arta--the entire southern Epirus territory, with Arta at its core; leaving the new Governor with 200 men handpicked from the cavalry.
On the 28th of October the Emperor and his remaining men left the Governorship; having to cut through the lower passes back into Thessaly and then to Larissa, which they arrived at on the 2nd of November.
Coordinating with Sfyrios upon arriving back at Larissa, it became obvious that Sfyrios had managed to keep a rather tight lid on Thessaly while Andronikos had been away--much to the gratitude of the Emperor. With Andronikos back proper coordinated efforts could be managed, and after some preparations the Emperor and Sfyrios led their combined forces south--which numbered roughly around 8,000 or so.
The first target of their efforts was Velestino, directly southward of Larissa. Velestino itself didn't put up much of a resistance upon seeing the arrival of the Emperor--throwing open their gates and allowing the Emperor to check through the garrison, until departing on the 6th.
Next to fall was Demetrias, further southward. Demetrias put up a decent struggle--able to be resupplied by sea throughout the weeklong affair that was the siege. A week was all the city could take of being bombarded by Andronikos' trebuchets before throwing open their gates. The Emperor was forced to replace their garrison with men from his own army--as those within Demetrias refused to fight for him; roughly 200 men being left behind to defend the city on the 13th as the Emperor and his men marched off.
The nearby city of Halmyros surrendered itself as soon as the Emperor's banner was seen--traders from Demetrias informing them of the Emperor's tactics by the time Andronikos reached its walls. After an inspection of the garrison and the fortifications the Emperor left on the 15th, and continued on westward deeper into Latin-held territory.
The Romans would cross the Pinios river on the 16th, and arrive at the city of Domokos later that day in preparation for a siege. Domokos, due to its proximity to the Latin capital of Thessaly, Neopatras, refused to negotiate.
Andronikos and his men were forced to build a fortified camp as raiding parties from both Domokos and Neopatras attacked the Romans on and off as the day dragged on--forcing the Romans to waste time prepping things within the fortified camp. In one of the many skirmishes that erupted as the Latins made their hardest attempt at throwing the Romans off, the son of the Vicar-General of Athens and Neopatras, William Fadrique, would be slain.
This death effectively caused the end of the raids, and the Romans took Domokos on the 23th of November. As with Demetrias the Emperor was forced to leave behind a garrison, leaving the city on the 25th and marching towards Neopatras.
Neopatras was the core of Latin control in Thessaly. While the Romans simply referred to it as Latin Thessaly the Latins officially dubbed it as the Duchy of Neopatras, so important was the city.
Andronikos set up a siege of the city much as he had Domokos--but the back of the Latins in the area was broken. The Emperor detached Sfyrios from his forces on the 26th, alongside his men, ordering the Pronoiar to defend the newly claimed border.
Neopatras would hold out until the 29th--the excessive damage done to the cities palatial district through concentrated fire finally breaking the frayed nerves of the city. It seemed a good moment for the Emperor, as the day before Sfyrios had routed Alfonso Fadrique's attempts to cross into now-Roman Thessaly; permanently putting to bed the idea of a Latin Thessaly.
With the return of Sfyrios from this however came the news that Stefan III was causing more trouble for the Empire, and that he had almost taken Bitola due to the absence of the Emperor and his men. Thus on the 1st of December the Emperor made to leave, but not before proclaiming the Governorship of Thessaly, and placing Sfyrios at its head as a reward for his loyal service.
The Pronoiar units under Sfyrios' command would be given the choice of continuing their service or returning back home to their lands in Macedon--many would return home. With his position confirmed, Sfyrios would take to his duties quickly, without much time to say goodbye to Andronikos, making his capital of Domokos due to its more centralized location.
Andronikos and his men would arrive at Servia on the 3rd of December, preparing to rest and resupply as was standard. This arrival also saw the Emperor receive the news and letters that had piled up while he had been focused on central Greece; Andronikos having informed Thessaloniki via messenger to send along anything from there to Servia.
The news he got was mixed, but the good outweighed the bad.
Theodore with the aid, of the Bulgarian commander Peter and his retinue, had pinned down Ivan in Constanja in October, and the Bulgarian pretender had been killed trying to lead a sally from the city when the siege seemed lost for the defenders. This had seen Konstanin confirmed as Tsar--with a regency council led by his mother Theodora--and Doburja firmly put back under the control of the Bulgarians. If the letter was to be believed, then Theodore himself was staying with his army in the captured cities of Burgas in order to maintain Roman interests there until Andronikos had time to officially put together a treaty with Konstantin.
The bad news however came from John at the capital; the Genoese were acting up yet again and starting to interfere with Roman shipping. Apparently Alexios himself had to get involved and change the routes of the navy to avoid running into the Genoese militarily, but still allow the Romans to protect their merchants. Andronikos himself wrote back; giving John free-reign to attempt to resolve the issue.
Andronikos couldn't allow himself to be distracted.
The Emperor and his army would depart Servia on the 7th, having taken an extra day to ensure the siege equipment was ready for transport, and in large enough numbers. They would arrive at Kastoria on the 8th for a quick resupply, before departing the following morning on the 9th, the march to Bitola a straight shot from there.
It was in the late hours of the 10th that Andronikos and his forces came upon Bitola; a skirmish ensuing that lasted roughly 4 hours between the surprised besiegers and the Emperors forces. The Serbians put up a good fight, and managed to ring around Andronikos' line to damage pieces of his siege equipment before retreating into the darkness.
This state of affairs forced the Emperor and his army to stay at Bitola longer than they'd intended--as the Emperor originally wanted to simply check over the fortifications and garrison before leaving. Instead he and his men had to discard the equipment that was too damaged for use and integrate the captured pieces the Serbians had left behind.
The Emperor and his men were on the march again only by the morning of the 9th, and encountered heavier resistance from Serbian skirmishers the closer they got to Ohrid--with the formation they were forced to use to protect the siege equipment slowing them down to a crawl. It would be midday on the 11th that the Four Betas came into view of Stefan III and his defenders at Ohrid.
The Serbian King was determined to hold onto this fortress at least; as it could serve as a bridgehead into Roman Macedon should he be able to gather enough strength to do so later.
Andronikos himself was forced to confront the fact that he couldn't use his tried and tested tactics; Ohrid was too important to damage internally like he had the opposing cities in Bulgaria, Epirus and Thessaly. The Emperor had to settle for selective bombardment--and that only proved to draw things out.
As winter truly set in, and days turned to weeks, the Romans were once more forced to build a truly fortified camp--both to combat regular Serbian sallies and to defend from the cold.
By Christmas both sides were exhausted, but Andronikos refused to give up the siege despite being pressed by his officers to at least consider it. Instead both Andronikos and Stefan agreed to a Christmas truce of sorts, lasting from the 25th until the 28th. There were reports that Stefan had managed to get a messenger through on the eve of the 29th.
The siege itself continued to drag on. It was only by the 4th of January that it would end. The population of Ohrid was sick of it; their homes were being destroyed and the Serbians were gobbling up their food--even as their numbers gradually dwindled with each failed sally.
Thus it was that on the 4th both rulers agreed on an armistice. Stefan and his remaining forces evacuated Ohrid in the midday, and were fully gone by the night. Andronikos and his men would wait until noon of the 5th to enter Ohrid after deconstructing their camp.
All that met the Emperor and his men were solemn faces and cold winds.
 This system of drawing men from the Pronoiar to fill the armies formed the backbone of the military Andronikos himself would make use of. It would also serve to gradually weaken the Pronoiar themselves as they could no longer rely on having men to fill their own retinues. This would allow John V to put an end to the Pronoiar practice during his early reign.
 This would prove to be the first strike against the Genoese in the eyes of Andronikos, with the Genoese at Galata proving themselves obstinate and unwilling to fully listen to the Emperor. This would prove to be their downfall in short measure.
 We don't actually know the names or ages of any of Theodora and Michael's children--only that they couldn't have been older than 12. Ivan Stefan, the elder half-brother of these children, was given the Emperorship of Bulgaria through a conspiracy between the Boyars and Stefan III of Serbia OTL, thus these children faded from history.
 This knowledge would prove to be the final nail in the coffin of Roman Mercenary armies. Never again would the Romans make use of armies that were made up of mostly mercenaries; fearing the havoc they could cause.
 Andronikos' relationship with Theodora never recovered after this--as she saw this opportunism as a direct slight to her, considering she had been the one to request his aid. Upon her death she was buried in Tarnovo at her own wish; having never returned to Roman lands let alone Constantinople.
 This tactic was put together by John II Komnenos during his various military efforts. It involved badly damaging the city within the walls instead of the walls itself in order to preserve his army and get through sieges more quickly.
 Andronikos III grew to rely on fast movement, with interspliced periods of rest, in order to hammer opponents before they had a chance to settle in properly. The speed of his army and the way he was able to quickly make decisions, and thus moves, often caught his enemies entirely off-guard around this time due to the fact that they'd grown use to the sluggish pace of previous his predecessor Andronikos II.
 Command of the Serbian cavalry was attributed to Stefan III's young son, the later Stefan IV Dusan. It is speculated that his failures here gave him the inherent avoidance of pitched battles that would characterize his whole reign. This battle also served to sever Dusan's connection with his father, and would see Dusan return to Serbia in order to gather enough support to depose his father. This deposition would succeed in 1331.
 A practice developed by Andronikos due to the need for skilled military men to keep a lid on the lands he held, or reclaimed, placing skilled officers at the head of important or risky territories ensured the control of the area due to the loyalty bred between the Emperor and his men, as well as the general military skill of the officer. While it did cause definitely friction between the aristocracy and the Emperor, the blunt fact was that they could do little against a skilled military man.