I bribed a couple of Cardinals to take control of the Papacy. What can I say, I have a Pope fetish. First order of business was declare a Crusade against the Ottomans. I learned an important lesson while playing my dearly beloved (yet cowardly) Portuguese: don’t fight a war you can let others fight for you.
I waited until most of the Ottoman troops were tied up in the east fighting the Timurids. I sent one army into the Balkan Peninsula and the other into Anatolia. I envisioned a blitzkrieg, breezing through their empty provinces. Unfortunately, I got bogged down by their fortifications. By the time I’d taken their first two provinces, Ottoman reinforcements had been recruited and the Timurids had backed off. Thanks for nothing. My fleet was engaged with the Ottomans in the Black Sea so I could no longer reinforce my troops in Anatolia. My treasury was only large enough to pay for my existing troops, and I couldn’t recruit any more. This was not the glorious campaign I’d hoped for.
“What are we, Portugal?” was our battlecry. It was not a very good battlecry.
I held my own in the Balkans, but then Serbia and Bosnia sent troops all over the place, ruining what progress I made. Fortunately, Achaea’s army came through like a champion. Who knew? And Naxos sent an army to Anatolia. My allies were kicking ass. My own army in Anatolia was getting hammered, however. Unable to reinforce them (not that I had the money to do so anyway) I feared they faced annihilation.
Like a kick to the groin of a downed man, the Timurids returned to devour the Ottoman’s east, so I gambled and funded rebels in two western provinces of Anatolia. This tied up the Ottoman’s armies enough that the Fighting 4th of Byzantium was able to conquer a province, recover and move to the next.
The rebels I’d funded wreaked serious havoc on Anatolia. Not wanting to give the Ottomans time to regroup, I entered into peace negotiations. My armies were a mess. I badly needed to end the war and disband the costly mercenaries. If the Ottomans had decided to hold on, the tide would have rapidly turned against me. I showed them my strong face. It was a face I hadn’t used in Portugal. I faked how strong my position was. “Look, I have a tenuous grip on several of your provinces. Did I say ‘tenuous?’ A strong grip. A strong, iron-fisted grip,” I lied.
We signed a peace treaty in which they ceded a couple of Balkan territories. I felt lucky to have survived. Meanwhile, rebels ran rampant throughout Anatolia.
Next: “Rebel, rebel, how could they know?” Part 3.