by Max Barry

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The Dilapidated Court of
Psychotic Dictatorship

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Lord Trokondas, The Last of the Anatolians (Nearly Finished, I Think)

A stern ruler and a born leader of men, Trokondas has ruled over his small mountain realm for some thirty years now- in an age of renewed magics, it was once said that he was the chosen deliverer of God, who would lead the long-suffering Isaurian peoples into greatness at the head of a mighty host of holy warriors. However, when his wife died while birthing their only child only a few years into his reign, his unorganized conquests quickly unraveled. Now, long a shell of his former self, he has yet to place any responsibilities into the hands of his frail daughter- said to be illegitimate and the unnatural offspring of an incubus, who stole her mother's life with her birth, he has often instead resorted to following the advice of his councilors, all of whom had once been brave warriors but are now fat with age and debauchery.

Born in the summer of 1184 AD, Trokondas was born to a family of privilege- his father, named Vatatzes, was a close personal friend of the empress Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera, and his mother, named Touatris, was considered the best seamstress in all of Rhomaion. However, in the year 1196, his father was falsely accused of adultery with the Empress by her brothers, and was executed as a result, with the Empress being forced off to a convent in Epirus. Prior to this incident, Isauria had been on good relations with the imperial Angelos dynasty- after, entirely negative. Thus, when in 1203 the Latins so horribly struck the City of the World's Desire, Isauria declared for Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera as the true empress, and conquered much land seeking to reach her in her prison. However, in 1211, she died under mysterious circumstances mere months before Trokondas ravaged the area, Trokondas declared himself Lord of Isauria and King of the Rhomaioi. When, a year later, his wife gave birth to a daughter, it was only natural that he named her after the late empress who had for so long been his peoples' friend.

From a young age, Trokondas experienced visions of his future greatness- after the death of his mother in 1215, he would claim to have heard them since 1190, and that they were uniformly the voices of saints. Given this intense belief in his destiny, as well as the innate charisma and jovial personality which he possessed, he was quickly able to establish a grand court of warriors and scholars. At its peak, in the period around 1220, it was said that the court of Trokondas was the most glorious East of Paris and West of Bagdad, with golden walls and a vast storage of holy items and legendary swords, said to include the Lance of Longinius, the scabbard of Excalibur, and an orichalcum crown said to have been forged in Atlantis. However, as he aged and those he fought against remained young, he eventually suffered a debilitating injury which none of his artifacts, holy or otherwise, could heal, and he quickly became addicted to the increased visions granted to him by datura, which had been used to treat his pain. The delirious state which he has often been in since could be said to have improved his emotional stability, however, as he had previously been known for his great fury, and he has since been known to simply laugh in the face of bad news and disaster.

"Let it never be said, 'Trokondas doesn't know how to party or plunder'! I know very well how to plunder- I've done it since I was... Oh, maybe 12, 13 or so? And as for parties... well, you best believe there're a few bastards hanging around waiting for when I die! There's a reason they call me the 'Lion of Isauria', after all! Oh, but enough about such rough subjects- I should probably tell you the intimate details of my life, eh? Well, I am the Lord and Lion of Isauria, and King of the Romans, who have ruled this land since time immemorial. I am, I do believe, 55 years old, and I've always had a thing for the funner side of life. Why, when I was still but a child, my father would always get on to me whenever I got caught with my little cousin- she was such a cute thing, such a shame she grew up-, he would make me do all kinds of boring labors, such that they would make Heracles himself tremble at their mediocrity! Oh, but that all changed when he died and I became lord- that affair with the empress really cost him, eh? Oh, but anyway, ever since I was a small child- before even the age of partying and pillaging, yes, yes- I have always had visions of my greatness. So, when the Latins attacked the Queen of Cities, I knew it was nothing but an opportunity for me to seek this greatness. I rose up, took what was mine, and struck down the great behemoths of the Rhomaioi and the Latins! I ruled over a great empire, stretching from Epirus in the west, to Antioch in the east! Oh, how glorious those days were... oh, but then my beloved wife died, and the Empress died, and my mother died, and I got that awful injury... If it weren't for these new visions, of that gross demon-witch's greatness, I dare say I'd just give up on the whole affair and gain my rightful place at the right hand of God... Oh, but you didn't come here for the ramblings of an old man, did you? No, you should go out, enjoy yourself! Yes, and I'll just be here if you need anything else."
-Trokondas, Lord of Isauria & King of the Romans, for some reason I read this as if he's slightly drunk.