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Is this a different Hagia Sophia?
Now we just have to wonder whether this will be good or bad for Trapezous.

I'd guess its the Hagia Sophia located in Trapezous.
Yes, I'm referring to the Hagia Sophia of Trapezous.

is that from a total war fanfic?
Also i realy love this tl its realy realy great i love your writing style of actualy giving the greeks smth to struggle for.
I remember that wankfest. Been a few years.

Ironic that conquering is done on 1475 which is same as OTL Ottoman/Crimea khanate conquests of the same regions.
That was the intention.
How much population did the trapezuntians gain in their new lands?
I'd say about 25,000, although I'm far from an expert and this is just a rough guess.
Looks like you missed a footnote, you have a [8] in the text but no [8] footnote
Thanks for the heads up, I'll fix it in a second.


Wonder what the Crimean Khanate is up to.
Probably busy with the Russians up north or dealing with raiders on the east of the volga river.
The civil wars have been butterflied, Hayder Khan is still on the throne.
I hadn't expected a Skantarios reference at all, hmm multiple Muslim armies dying before the walls of Trebizond to come?
Yup. Care to take a guess whose Muslim armies they are?
Long live The Emperor! May his rule be as glorious as the emperors of old!

also can we get a map update after he dies?
I'll make one in 1487.
Seems interesting, watched!
Thanks, welcome aboard!
Part XV: The Paphlagonian War (1475-1478)


Part XV: The Paphlagonian War (1475-1478)

The Çandarid beylik had collapsed in a spectacular fashion. With most of his army food for the crows in the Pontic mountains, the young Iskender Bey had been unable to prevent his subject lords from rising up, being forced to play his innumerable enemies off of each other in hopes of preserving shreds of his father’s realm. This had failed like his father’s army at Mavrokastron, and within a year Iskender was dead in a ditch in Paphlagonia. His martial, Bayezid Admanoglu, then installed Iskender’s young son Ahmed II on the throne to act as a figure head as he struggled to maintain control over the capital and the lands around it. To the west, an Ottoman Army rolled across empty, undefended pastures, while to the south Pir Ahmet’s men ranged across former Çandarid territory. The former advanced cautiously, moving only to the Bolu Valley, while Pir Ahmet advanced as far north as the Halys River, conquering the many bands piecemeal. With their back to the wall, the post-Çandarid warlords rallied together under Bayezid and met the Karamanids at Karabuk, forcing the latter to retreat back south. This peace was not to last, however, and within a few weeks Bayezid had been assassinated. Ahmed II reigned for a time before he too was assassinated, and then everything got even worse. A long drought devastated Paphlagonia, forcing the Greek farmers up into the mountains and destroying great amounts of pastureland all across the country. With nowhere left to graze their horses, the Turkmen bands became even more fierce, with many of them massacring defeated tribes rather than enslaving them in the customary manner. In 1472 Kastamone was brutally sacked and burned, destroying the largest population center of the region and sending things even further into hell.

Amongst all of this chaos rode Suleyman Bey. The brother of Iskender Bey, he had escaped the route that had been his brother’s downfall and attempted to reform the old Çandarid beylik around himself in an effort to restore control. This went nowhere, and after the sack of Kastamone he despaired of restoring his father’s realm and fled westwards with the remains of his father’s band. The fighting was less severe here, and there was some good pasture land left during the drought. He established his capital at Eflani, the first residence of the Çandarid beys, and attempted to organize a state. He brought the local Greeks onboard with his governance and organized a tax system that allowed him to organize a standing army capable of defending his territories. For a time, things were going well.

Then they weren’t. The Ottomans were profiting immensely off of the chaos, with Bayezid II planning to allow the constant raids and massacres to continue until the locals were begging for Ottoman help. The existence of Suleyman’s state was an affront to that desire, and the new sultan would brook no affronts. In 1475, he dispatched an army under Gedik Ahmed Paşa to put an end to the Second Çandarid Beylik. Suleyman mustered every man he had to meet the invasion from the west, but it wasn’t enough. On the field of Kurşulu in late May, the Paşa was victorious and the Çandarid army routed. Suleyman himself had three horses shot out from under him before finally being beheaded by a janissary. Eflani was then put to the sword, after which the Ottomans withdrew, believing the last remnant of the Çandarid beylik to have been destroyed.

They were wrong.

As the Çandarids were being driven from the field, Suleyman had changed armor with a footman, who was then killed by the Ottomans. The prince laid low for several months before going east. He swore before God that he would restore his father’s realm and avenge his fallen comrades or die trying, and there was one state he knew wouldn’t assassinate him or turn him over to the Ottomans; The Trapezuntines. After several weeks of incognito travel across the hills and plains of Paphlagonia, he struggled across the Pontic border near Merosyphon. From here, he was arrested and taken to Trapezous.

In December 1475, Suleyman arrived in the court of Alexandros II. He was a less than impressive figure, exhausted and covered in the filth that he had accumulated in his flight across Anatolia, and Alexandros was tempted to dismiss him out of hand. However, he allowed the exiled prince to speak his peace. He spoke of the long rivalry between Trapezous and the Çandarids and of how complete victory over the Çandarids would immortalize Alexandros as the aftokrator who had defeated his realm’s eternal foes. He spoke of how he long border shared with the burning remnants of the beylik left the Trapezuntine frontier exposed to constant raiding, and of how the constant struggle between various band would inevitably spill over into Pontos, and of how the labor which Alexandros and his regents had performed to expand westwards would be eroded by another round of raids and migrations. Finally, he spoke of the weakness of the Paphlagonian beyliks, of how none of them would be able to resist a determined push on part of the Ponts, and of how the creation of a loyal vassal would protect the Trapezuntines from both raids as well as create a buffer zone with the lands of the Sublime Porte. While Suleyman wasn’t a great general, he was a great speaker, and by the end of his tirade the courtesans of Trapezous were hanging on every word. While Alexandros wasn’t entirely convinced, both Keteon and Mgeli were deeply persuaded and lobbied the aftokrator to campaign in the west. Alexandros, seeing this as a fairly low-risk, high-reward situation, agreed.

However, he would not be giving an army or funds directly to Suleyman. He was doing his best to be a kind and generous ruler, but he wasn’t a complete fool. Odds were that if he left the campaign in the hands of the Turkman it would either end in disaster or with the Second Çandarid Beylik refusing to acknowledge Trapezuntine overlordship. Instead, he made arrangements for Suleyman to accompany a Trapezuntine army into Paphlagonia. He tapped Mikhael Kantakouzenos Philanthropenos to lead this force, and then set about raising an army. He was unwilling to risk any of the bandons on what could easily be a false errand or a disaster waiting to happen, instead raising a host of mercenaries for Suleyman. Some 4,000 mercenaries, a mixture of Latin crossbowmen, Caucausian light infantry and Turko-Cuman[1] cavalry were mustered from around the Black Sea and the surrounding lands at Sinope, as well as a small force of eleutheroi thrown in as Philanthropenos’ personal guard regiment. In late May, the Trapezuntine army marched south out of the peninsula, into the heart of Paphlagonia.

After crossing the mountains in mid-June, the Trapezuntine army arrived on the Paphlagonian plateau. A near decade of constant warfare had devastated the region, and the Ponts were immediately beset with supply problems. They could find neither forage for their horses or food for themselves, and ran into a severe water problem as they found well after well stuffed with corpses. As he waited for a supply chain to be established with Sinope, Kantakouzenos Philanthropenos described the land in a message to Alexandros;

‘The land here is desolate, ravaged by war and fire. Great plumes of smoke rise up from the eastern and southern horizons, which I suspect are funeral pyres, and when the sky is not choked with smoke the scorching sun makes moving nearly unbearable. The ground is cracked and dry from lack of rain and glitters with bleached bones. God has left this place.’

Despite this bleak attitude, Suleyman and Phialnthropenos advanced further into Paphlagonia once their supply situation had been taken care of. Their first target was Boyabat, a major fortified city that overlooked the passes down the Alys Valley. The Trapezuntine army approached from the north-west, taking the suburbs of the city in early July. This drew the attention of the garrison to the larger force in the town below them. While they were thus distracted, Suleyman led a smaller force around to the rear of the fortresses and scaled an undefended section of the wall. They then secured the gate and threw it open, after which the Trapezuntine force rushed in. The garrison members either threw down their arms or were slain, and the city was soon secured on behalf of the Çandarids. However, Suleyman had no time to rest on his laurels, as the supply situation was growing steadily worse and he hoped to completely reconquer Paphlagonia before the Trapezuntines pulled out.

After securing Boyabat, the Trapezuntine-Çandarid army then made its way west. After three weeks on march, during which time they repeatedly skirmished with minor Turkmen bands who saw them as intruders into their land or were attempting to pillage the supply lines. All of these minor battles with Trapezuntine victories, but given the sheer number of Turkmen in the region they were almost universally inconsequential. In spite of these delays, the combined host arrived at Kastamone[2] in early August. The city was still a burning ruin, but Suleyman and Kantakouzenos Philanthropenos agreed that it was of both symbolic and strategic importance, given its history as the capital of the beylik as well as its central position in Paphlagonia. They detached a small force to oversee the reconstruction of the city’s walls while the main force continued westwards.

By this time, the advance of the Trapezuntine army had caused quite a stir amongst the minor Turkmen bands, as they recognized that victory on the part of Suleyman would mean that they would be killed or expelled from their newfound homeland. As such, as autumn set in, several thousand of them rallied at Eflani around the banner of one Mesut Afyonoglu, one of Ahmed’s former lieutenants. Afyongolu set about organizing his ragtag force into a capable fighting unit, but was confounded in every attempt by the tribalism and factional nature of the Turkmen, who refused to put aside their tribal quarrels even when presented with an existential threat. As the Trapezuntine army drew ever closer, Afyonoglu began to despair of ever creating a functional army. One day in late September, he and his family slipped out of Eflani and rode cross-country to the Trapezuntine camp. He threw himself at Suleyman’s feet and offered detailed plans of the Turkmen camp and capabilities in exchange for clemency. The Çandarid prince quickly agreed, and in the next few days the three generals drew up a plan of attack.

Shortly after dawn on the morning of 8 October, a fire broke out in the Turkmen camp. It spread rapidly, engulfing tents and the men sleeping inside them in a towering inferno. Panicked men and horses ran out from the camp in all directions, only to be cut down by crossbow bolts as they were backlit by the fire. The camp was surrounded on all sides by Çandarid and Trapezuntine soldiers, and as the fire spread they began to close in on the camp, hacking down any who attempted to escape the flames. Throughout the night the air was filled with the screams of dying men and the smell of burning flesh, but these were not the sounds of battle. By the time the dawn rose, the entire Turkmen army was dead, killed by either the fire or the allied army. Some 5,000 foemen had been killed for the loss of less than two hundred Trapezuntines or Çandarids[3].

After this massacre, Eflani quickly surrendered. With his former capital secured, Suleyman then turned his attention south-west and marched on Safranbolu[4], which in turn surrendered without a fight. Winter forced a temporary halt to the campaign season, but this lull in the fighting proved to be a boon, as many of the Turkmen bands living in Upper Paphlagonia took this as an opportunity to flee south. The campaign seasons of 1476 and 1477 would see the last of these bands driven out of Paphlagonia and the southern border of the Çandarid beylik established as the heights north of the Halys Valley. All told, the reestablishment of the Çandarid state caused the death of some 10,000 persons in both armies. However, these costs were outweighed by the region’s recovery once stability had been restored, and from the Trapezuntine perspective the whole affair had been a smashing victory. The perennial problem of raiding had been temporarily quelled at little expense, and the western border was now guarded by a suitably loyal vassal.

This period of peace of Trapezous’ western border would be mirrored by instability in their east, however, and within a few years Alexandros would be forced to intervene in Kartvelia on his mother’s behalf….

[1] That is, composed of a mixture of Turkmen and Cuman cavalry hired from across the Black Sea.
[2] At this point, Kastamone technically became part of the Trapezuntine Empire as the ancestral property of the Megalokomnenoi. The city had been founded as Kastron Komnenos back in the 10th Century, and although it had been lost to the Komnenoi for nearly four centuries by this point Alexandros still desired to control his ancestral estates. Practically, of course, it was still controlled by the Çandarids.
[3] If you want a really graphic description, check the spoiler. It’s taken from Byzantium’s Resurrection but depicts a similar scenario
Took me a while to find that Candarid is written as the Jandarid Beilik on maps, I'd been trying to find it on a map for a while now.


Great update
Err, what spoiler?
Sorry, I accidently cut it out. Here:
Speaking of Adrianoupoli, let us now turn our attention to the city and the siege that had been ongoing for ten months. The siege had been fairly quiet, with the Bulgarians deciding that the defenses were too impressive to be stormed after two failed assaults, and the rival forces had settled into a routine of daily arrow barrages. Tagaris and the defenders had had little trouble defending themselves, but by the end of the winter supplies were beginning. The daunting prospect of surrender was slowly drawing closer, and morale amongst the garrison was falling day by day. There was some relief in the fact that the Bulgarian camp was slowly dissolving as bored soldiers wandered off to forage or loot the surrounding communities, but there were still far too many men sitting outside of the walls to make a breakout anything other than suicidal. However, at the same time, conditions in the Bulgarian camp were steadily degrading due to a severe supply shortage--they had exhausted the surrounding country during the autumn months and now, with the wave of deserters spreading out around them, they were having increasing troubles collecting enough supplies to feed the army itself, let alone the teeming hordes of camp followers. There was also an incredible amount of infighting within the Bulgarian leadership, with Altimir clashing with the upstart lord Vojisili over control of the army. By May, sections of the Bulgarian army were more hostile to each other than they were to the Rhomans.

The march from Sethoupoli to Adrianoupoli took half a month, with Alexios’ forces moving in multiple small columns across the countryside to prevent detection and/or supply issues as they marched. They reformed at Sylvanoupoli (Svilengrad) where the Imperial army camped out while secret messengers were sent to Tagaris. In the following days, the general and the basileus formulated a plan to crush the Bulgarians, slowly orchestrating it and moving soldiers and supplies into place every night until, on 3 May, Alexios struck.

To any in the Bulgarian camp, 3 May would’ve passed like any other day. The soldiers rose at dawn, ate a meager breakfast of stale bread and boiled….something….before either returning to your tent or marching to the berm at the periphery of the camp, where they spent the next few hours either staring off into space or muttering to their comrades about the bad food, bad quarters, stupid officers and non-existant pay. Even those who made a pretense of keeping watch would’ve found the surrounding forests and plains to be as empty as they usually were, deprived of life by their predations. The single gap in the berm, serving as a de facto gate, would’ve been occupied with parties of foragers and scouts going in and out of camp. No-one would’ve noticed the Vlakhs riding through the camp, occasionally stopping and scattering straw beside camps, just as no-one would’ve noticed the Rhoman soldiers hidden in the scrub outside of the camp. Instead, most of the Bulgarians would’ve retired as the sun set, facing the prospect of a repeat of the same day. While the Bulgarians dispersed to their tents after another pathetic meal, the Rhomans were woken by their sentries and began preparing their weapons, a bow, crossbow or spear in every hand. The whole process had been carefully planned in advance, so that the Bulgarians were tired and/or bleary while the Rhomans would be well-rested and alert.

The Rhomans struck shortly after sunset. The few Bulgarian sentries would’ve been greeted by the sight of hundreds of fires being lit at once, filling the forest and plains with an infernal light. At once, hundreds of flaming arrows whistled into the camp, setting everything they touched alight. Fire spread throughout the camp like a ravenous beast, devouring tents and straw and clothes alike as another wave of projectiles flew in. The Bulgarians, awoken with little rest, stumbled to their feet in confusion, surrounded by fire on all sides with their comrades being reduced to shapes dancing in the firelight. It was then that the Rhomans loosed a third volley, the Bulgarians perfect targets backlit by the spreading fires. In the next minutes the Bulgarian camo became hell on earth, any man who moved being cut down by the unseen enemy and any who didn’t being roasted alive in his armor. Wave after wave of arrows poured into the camp, nailing men to the ground and adding more fuel to the fire. The land rang with the agonized screams of burning men and the crackle of the flames and the hiss of the arrows, while the sky was choked with greasy smoke and the acrid smell of burning flesh. The noblemen were nowhere to be found, their section of the camp having been singled out to receive most of the fuel, and the few cavalrymen that were near their horses had already been killed or fled. Hundreds of men, many of them burned or burning, stumbled out from their deathtrap of a camp and into the crossfire, with archers in the forest and the walls pouring dozens of arrows down upon them. The few that made it to the treeline were greeted by the same men whose homes they had despoiled months before. The luckiest were killed quickly, the unlucky being left to burn to death feet from their enemies. Within an hour of the Rhoman attack most of the three thousand Bulgarians were dead, the survivors in the camp soon succumbing to smoke inhalation or being finished by the attackers in the morning. Only a handful of men, those who kept their heads about them and stayed down until the air filled with enough smoke to hide their escape, survived the massacre, and few of them survived the next few days. Supposedly, only three survived to return to Bulgaria.

The fires burned for the rest of the night, dying out with the screams shortly before dawn. The next day, the Rhomans marched into the Bulgarian camp. Fire had already consumed much of it, but they searched amongst the ruins and the ashes for any survivors; the few that remained were killed, which was often the only thing that could be done for them. A total of 3,482 bodies were found or made, as well as several hundred pounds of tarnished metal that would eventually be melted down. The burned corpses--many reduced to charred skeletons--were buried in a mass grave north of the town while cavalry patrols were sent out to hunt down any survivors or deserters.

After the massacre, Tagaris and the combined army moved north-west to Philippoupoli. Here they could guard against any further attacks while Alexios made plans for a counter-strike into Bulgaria. Given his reduced force, the basileus was reluctant to attack this campaign season, instead preparing to muster the men of Thrake and Makedonia to a great host to invade Bulgaria and cast the tsar down from his throne….
Took me a while to find that Candarid is written as the Jandarid Beilik on maps, I'd been trying to find it on a map for a while now.
I already knew about Jandarid being Candarid from how it's pronounced and subbed from a Turkish series on Netflix.
Yeah, the letter Ç is pronounced like a weird mixture of 'Juh' and 'Chuh'
Part XVI: The War of the Three Alexanders (1477-1482) aka Marching Through Georgia


Part XVI: War of the Three Alexanders (1477-1482)

The reign of Giorgi VIII of Kartvelia had been an unstable one. Caught between an increasingly powerful nobility and worldly church, the reign of Girogi had seen the powers of the Kartvelian monarch, which had been in perpetual decline since their height under Davit VI and Tamar, wither away to previously unseen depths. He had fought more than a half-dozen civil wars, emerging victorious only through God’s grace and the force of Trapezuntine arms. As his death approached, Giorgi desperately tried to shore up his realm for the succession of his son, Alek’sandre. However, by the time of his death, royal control had been reduced to lands surrounding Kakheti and a few ports along the coast and despite his best efforts Kartvelia was still primed for a fatal explosion. The spark would come with the succession of Alek’sandre ‘the Simple’ to the throne in June 1477, marking the beginning of the War of the Three Alexanders.

The death of Giorgi VIII had been long awaited in western Kartvelia. This was the region which had rallied to the banner of Bagrat Bagrationi when the young nobleman had revolted the decade previous. In his moment of victory, Bagrat had been assassinated by Girorgi, but his death had not ended the political cause he championed. One of his illegitimate sons, also named Alek’sandre, had survived the wave of assassinations that had followed his father’s death, and the prince and his supporters had spent the years since the revolt organizing a second. As soon as word of Giorgi’s death reached the western part of the kingdom, Alek’sandre proclaimed himself King of Imereti. He was supported by the nobility of all the west, many of whom had deeply despised Giorgi’s reformist efforts, with forces loyal to Alek’sandre seizing all of the western countries, with only the fortress city of Kutaisi remaining loyal to Alek’sandre….aw, hell. The forces loyal to Alek’sandre II seized all of the western countries, with only the fortress city of Kutaisi remaining loyal to Alek’sandre II….dammit. Okay, now I’ve got it.

He was supported by the nobility of all the west, many of whom had deeply despised Giorgi’s reformist efforts, with forces loyal to Alek’sandre of Imereti seizing all of the western countries, with only the fortress city of Kutaisi remaining loyal to Alek’sandre of Kartli. The city, which commanded the Rioni Valley, very nearly fell to the Imeretites, with it only being retained for the Kartlians by the heroic action of a commander of the city watch, Erekli Khakhaleishvili, who was a diehard supporter of the Kartlian Bagrationis. Upon first sighting the approaching Imeretite army, Khakhaleishvili leapt into action and seized all of the city’s gatehouses, holding the south gate alone against several dozen Imeritite cavalrymen until his subordinates could close the portcullis. Even with several deep cuts he remained a ball of motion, rallying the city watchmen and the garrison around him. A veteran of Bagrat’s Revolt, he took Kutaisi on a crash course for siege preparations, securing wells and storehouses to ration supplies. He then rounded up anyone suspected of supporting the Imeretites and confined them in an empty warehouse near the center of town. He then set about organizing the men of Kutaisi into a militia to defend the wall. All of this bought time for the city to be relieved, but no city could last forever. If Alek’sandre of Kartli were to have any hope of preserving a unified kingdom, he needed to act quickly to relieve the city.

This Alek’sandre of Kartli did not. The prince had once been a promising future ruler, but a fall from a horse in his early twenties had left him significantly less so. After being crowned following his father’s death, the Kartlian court begged for Alek’sandre to send an army to relieve Kutaisi. There was no shortage of manpower--the ferocious loyalty of Khakhaleishvili was shared by many in the eastern mountains, and most of the nobility in Kartlia and Kakheti supported Giorgi’s line, in theory at least--but Alek’sandre believed that the western rebels would surrender if some concessions were given. This was a horrible idea, of course, but given the king’s erratic temperament and frequent mood swings none of the courtiers were willing to risk pointing this out. As such, even as Khakhaleishvili fought a desperate fight against the Imeretis, Alek’sandre of Kartli refused to send help, instead opening negotiations with Alek’sandre of Imereti. Alek’sandre of Imereti’s terms--Alek’sandre of Kartli giving up his land and claims and then exiling himself in Avaria--were ridiculous, but Alek’sandre of Kartli saw this as hard bargaining and refused to send an army.

This carried on throughout the rest of 1477, then into the spring of 1478, then into the autumn of 1478, and then into the spring of 1479. COnditions within Kutaisi gradually worsened, with food running out in mid-1478 and the defenders being forced to eat their animals and boiled leather to survive. Dissent against Khakhaleishvili gradually increased, and in May 1479 he was cornered and lynched by an angry mob. The city fell on the first of June, being subjected to a brutal sacking that saw hundreds raped or killed and the city stripped of anything of value. Significant sections of it were put to the torch as the angry soldiers vented their rage on the city that had defied them for so long.

With Kutiaisi taken, Alek’sandre of Imereti could at long last advance eastwards into his rival’s territory. After this disaster, the courtiers of Tbilisi finally swallowed their fears and told Alek’sandre of Kartli that the Imerities were serious and needed to be dealt with swiftly. The monarch finally came to his senses and ordered the levies of the eastern mountain to be raised. However, by this point many of the chieftains and noblemen of the east considered Alek’sandre to have insulted them by refusing to call them to arms and refused to answer their monarch, significantly weakening the martial ability of the Kartlians. Due to these defections as well as a number of communication problems and the general poverty of the region, Alek’sandre of Kartli was only able to muster some 12,000 men. This force was almost entirely light infantry, loyal and fierce but ultimately not very capable, with smaller forces of heavy infantry raised from the burghers of Tbilisi and Telavi interspersed with noble cavalry and a small group of mercenary Mongolian horsemen from the northern side of the Caucausus. This was in opposition to the 35,000 men who followed Alek’sandre of Imereti, primarily heavy infantry and heavy cavalry raised from the coastal lowlands. Knowing that he was hopelessly outmatched, Alek’sandre of Kartli sent a plea for help to his nephew, Alexandros II of Trapezous, while he began making plans to withdraw into the wilds of Kakheti and wait for help.

The message arrived in Trapezous in late 1479. Alexandros had by now completed his indirect conquest of Paphlagonia and was eyeing up a group of seperatist rebels on his southern border that he could use to attack Theodosioupoli (Erzurum). However, these plans were thrown to the wind when word from his uncle reached him. Dowager Keteon remained a strong influence on the Trapezuntine court, and she lobbied for her son to answer her brother’s cry for help for the sake of the alliance between Kartvelia and Trapezous. Alexandros was reluctant to leave behind such an excellent opportunity to shore up his southern border, but due to unknown reasons (presumably a great deal of guilt-tripping) he agreed. When the spring of 1480 came, he raised fifty bandons to arms and marched eastward, hoping to bring a quick end to the war.

However, the greatest impact made by the Pontic realm would not be on the battlefield but on the seas. As the winter winds calmed in late March 1480, the Trapezuntine fleet turned its attention to Imereti. The Kartvelians were not seamen, and the few Imereti vessels were either captured or forced into port within a month of Trapezuntine entry into the war. In mid-April, a flotilla under Adrianos Khaltkizes took Poti, the chief port of Kartvelia, by storm, repulsing several attempts to retake the city[1]. The Trapezuntine fleet also participated in the capture of Batumi, a secondary port near the Trapezuntine border, by attacking the sea walls while Alexandros stormed the walls.

Speaking of the storming of Batumi, it nearly saw Alexandros killed. Leading his men from the front, he was one of the first over the thickly defended walls, taking part in the brutal hand-to-hand fighting that was needed to clear the battlements. Arrows filled the air, catching the aftokrator in a gap in his armor and nearly sending him back off the walls. He recovered and fought on, but an examination after the battle had been won revealed that his heart had been spared only by the leather strap of his armor. This particular incident instilled the foolishness of leading an assault on the city, and Alexandros would never again personally storm a city. However, this injury did not halt the advance of the Pontic army, and after securing the city they advanced further north-east. In June, they were met at the small trading post of Ozurgeti by a delegate sent by Alek’sandre of Imereti. Alek’sandre’s agent, a distant cousin of his named Konstantine Bagrationi, spoke personally with the aftokrator. The exact contents of their conversation have been lost to time, but the broad strokes remain to us. Alek’sandre of Imereti offered to allow Alexandros to retain Batumi and the alliance between Trapezous and Kartvelia if he would only recognize him as the legitimate king of Kartvelia and waive his claim to the throne. For, as Alek’sandre explained, Alek’sandre was demented and rapidly growing to be hated amongst all aspects of society. The Imeretites would unify the old kingdom quickly enough, as Alek’sandre stated, and then they would be much stronger than the Trapezuntines. This was true--the Trapezuntines could raise a maximum of 50,000 men from the bandons, eleutheroi[2] and mercenaries, while the Kartvelians could muster some 120,000 men from similar sources--and it was entirely possible that the alliance between the two states could be broken due to the ongoing turmoil. In fact, the death of Alek’sandre of Kartli and his brother Vakhtang would leave Alexandros as a potential claimant to the Kartvelian throne, which would certainly cause a split between the two. The proposed arrangement would benefit both parties, however, by allowing the alliance to remain intact and shoring up Alek’sandre of Imereti’s position. Evidently, Alexandros found it a compelling argument, for he agreed. The Trapezuntine army and navy withdrew back to Batumi, content to watch the fighting play out.

With the Trapezuntine threat in their rear gone, the Imeretites redoubled their campaign against Alek’sandre of Kartli. Tbilisi fell after a brief siege, having been gutted and abandoned by Alek’sandre several weeks before as he withdrew eastwards. By this point, most of his supporters defected to the Imereti cause, denouncing their former ruler. Telavi surrendered without a fight at the end of the campaign season of 1480, allowing Alek’sandre of Imereti to kick up his heels in the second city of Kartvelia over the winter. This defeat caused the final collapse of the Kartlian cause, as most of Alek’sandre’s followers either defected for their own sake or resigned in disgust. Throughout 1481 Alek’sandre of Kartli and his few remaining followers were hounded through the mountains, with a dozen small battles gradually whittling down their numbers. In early 1482, he was confined in the isolated mountain-top fortress of Krdeven, in the very south of Kartvelia near the Qoyunlu border. For the next year and a half, Alek’sandre of Imereti and a small host kept up a blockade against the fortresses, allowing most of his supporters to return to their homes. After more than fifteen months of siege, Alek’sandre of Kartli finally realized the game was up and killed himself by riding off the side of the mountain on his horse[3]. Alek’sandre of Imereti recovered his body, cut off his head, and then marched triumphantly back to Tbilisi. The sight of their leader’s head on a pike crushed any Giorgist revivalists, and in a rich, jubilant ceremony Alek’sandre of Imereti was crowned as Alek’sandre II of Kartvelia. True to his word, he conducted an alliance with the Trapezuntines, restoring the pre-war relations between the two states.

As a final note, Saint Vakhtang, Alek’sandre of Kartli’s half-brother, took holy orders to avoid death or blinding. He traveled south across the Qoyunlu realm and then even further beyond to the east coast of Africa, where he prozletyzed amongst the pagan tribes of the region. In the process, he became the first of the famed Orthodox ‘African Fathers’, to be joined by other Kartvelians, Avars and Trapezuntines. But that is a story for another time….

[1] This incident would inspire the creation of the Maritime Army, a force of soldiers trained in naval warfare and amphibious assaults who would become a Renaissance version of a Marine Corps.
[2] Alexandros expanded the eleutheroi to 5,000 in the first year of his reign, and they would later be expanded to a standing army of 20,000 by his death.
[3] This is how Leon Sgouros, the famous enemy of the Frankokrats, killed himself in 1208.
Being too cautious might end up badly for Trebizond, at some point they will have to be audacious and crush their enemies themselves instead of waiting for opportunities.
Even with Trebizond's recent successes, it's still better to be cautious and wait for opportunities to arise than just gambling everything on something like the Karamanids only to blow up in their face. The Karamanids, the Aq Qoyunlu, and the Ottomans are still extremely strong powers in their own right and it's fair to say that the Trapezuntines probably aren't interested in making boneheaded maneuvers against the Turkish beyliks.

I wonder where did Saint Vakhtang go to proselytize? OTL Eritrea or Kenya seems likely but I guess we'll see.
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