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Posted: Monday, October 09, 2017 8:31:13 AM
 1st Lieutenant

Joined: 4/11/2013
Posts: 205
Thousands of years before the coming of Christ, a religion was born. A tale of a family of gods, not perfect, but of a strength no mortal man could accomplish. Able to cast bolts of lightning from the sky, or turn the seas from calm to stormy if not properly appeased. Not omnipotent, but still quite capable of cursing or blessing their followers as they saw fit. Following the birth of Christianity, the religion of Greeks, long since adapted by the Romans and spread across much of the land, found itself on the back foot. Driven back by the more organized religion from the Levant. The opportunity of an afterlife in a blessed heaven a draw for so many peasants and poor that could not afford the sacrifices the old gods demanded, until finally it had mostly faded from memory.

Yet still, bastions of the old religion survived. Either in places like the the greek peninsulas where it took ages for any information to spread. With no roads or path other then sea to reach the distant villages. Others carried on the traditions in secret. Those with wealth and long memory deciding to hedge their bets and get in good with as many pantheons and gods as they could on their way to the afterlife. A strange mix of both the former and the latter existed in this world, on the northern coast of Sardinia. Taking ques from the truly ancient version of the religion, worshiping the figures of Zeus and Ares instead of Jupiter and Mars. The republic would find itself ruled at the time our story begins by Doge Valentino, whose family line believed themselves descended from the Heracleidae of old. The return of the Herakle's blood.

The lands of Sardinia.

Life for the first few decades was relatively easy on Sardinia. Under the protection of the Byzantine empire, there was no immediate danger. The Doge focusing on improving the strength of his nation, as well as converting the other patricians and counts on the island to hellenism. Within a decade or two, all rulers within the Theme followed the old gods once again. Temples to Poseidon, Zeus and Hermes were built upon the island to honour the gods that assisted in the function of the republic. Wealth flowed through the land, and the Doge would spend his time increasingly on pursuits of the flesh. Between his wife and his two concubines, he'd lay his seed wide and thick, birthing many children both male and female to lead on the next generation.

Unfortunately it was this pursuit of an ever larger family that would lead to Valentino's demise. For one day a christian nun came from the south, heading toward Corsica.Out tending his garden that day, Valentino would be approached by the nun, asking about a place to stay as a rest for her travels. Entranced by the woman's beauty Valentino would welcome her to his own court, and a few days later propositioned her to stay as one of his concubines. Of some surprise might be that she accepted, but Valentino was much to happy for the success and the latest addition to his household.

Skilled, and shrewd, what more could a man ask for for his third concubine.

Unfortunately only a week later the woman revealed her true purpose, an assassin.

Thinking quickly Valentino challenged her to the only thing on hand, a game of chess. Unfortunately the reason the chess set was on hand was because Valentino had been attempting to learn the game in his spare time, which wasn't very often. Needless to say, the match wasn't going very well for the Doge, and after the first moves he could tell he was doomed. So he tried the one thing he could think of. Channeling all the greed and deceit of when he had minted diluted coins in his own image, he tried to cheat.

Once again unfortunately, he actually had no personal skill in cheating, just working through associates to get things he wanted in an underhanded manner. As such he failed to cover his tracks well enough, and the next thing he knew, a dagger in the gut brought an end to his game.

The dogeship passed out of his families control, for now, but Valentino had been preparing for such an occasion. While his son might not have access to the same wealth his father had, he did still have the strongest singular holdings in the realm, and when he came of age there would be much to do for the young Cuicco. For now though he bides his time away on the families new prime holding in Cyprus, building cities to increase his power. The strongest castle, with the most numerous army. Soon it will be the Heracleidaes time to shine again.

Soon, they will return, and the dogeship won't slip past our fingers so easily next time.
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