Ivaylo rode south, galloping past torched villages and overturned fields. He rode under the tall peaks and through the narrow passages of the Balkan Mountains. There, the remnants of his army would make their final stand.
A great Roman army was approaching, sent to reinforce Ivan's faction in Tarnovo. The army was commanded by the general Michael Glabas, who had strengthened his already impressive numbers with Tatar mercenaries.
With Ivan in the north and the Romans marching from the south, Ivaylo knew neither refuge nor retreat remained for his last followers. His men would win or die in these mountain passes.
But these valleys have witnessed impossible victories before. Here was where Bulgarian khans and tsars etched their places in history. The walls of granite rock echoed the names of heroes like Krum, Simeon, and Kaloyan the Romanslayer. To these, the names of Ivaylo and his men would be added.
- Starting Age: Feudal Age
- Starting resources: None
- Population limit: 200
- Starting units:
- Georgi Terter
- 2 Monks
- Gaia units:
- Ivaylo, Georgi Terter, and the Bulgarians must survive.
- Bring Ivaylo to the allied Bulgarian camp.
- Bring Ivaylo to the Castle in Devnya.
- (secondary) Find the mysterious Tatar raider.
- (secondary) Find the Roman supply camp.
- You are restricted to a population limit of 200.
- The Bulgarians are outmatched. They will need the help of Georgi Terter and the monks to survive.
- The Bogomils mark their hideouts with small statues. Bringing units near them will often reveal new friends.
- Some Bogomil villagers wander the passes. If Kozma can convert them, Ivaylo may be able to train a small army before reaching his destination.
- Use Kozma's far-reaching vision to avoid fights you cannot win.
- The Tatars are mercenaries and have no economy of their own. Only by weakening the Romans will they be weakened.
- While destroying the Romans and Tatars is not necessary, their defeat will secure your rear for the attack on Ivan Asen.
Your scouts report:
- The Bulgarians defend the Kotel Pass, but are outnumbered. With the nearby town of Devnya under Ivan Asen's control, Ivaylo must find a way through the mountains to reach the pass before it is overrun.
- In Ivaylo's way are Roman Infiltrators (4, Green) who will ambush him in the mountains. Fortunately, the priest Kozma may be able to find friends among the persecuted Bogomils, if he is able to speak with them.
- The Romans (5, Purple) and Tatars (6, Yellow) attack the Bulgarians. The Tatars are mercenaries and will fight as long as the Romans are able to support them. The total defeat of both forces is not necessary, but crossing the Kamchiya River to reach Devnya will be difficult if they remain strong.
- Player (Bulgarians): The player starts with Georgi Terter (technically a renamed Kushluk) and two Monks, and must flee from the Bulgarian town as the Romans invade. The player also soon gains control over Ivaylo and Kozma (a Priest) fleeing Devnya in the south.
- Bulgarians (Bulgarians): This player will have the initial town and some buildings. Later they will turn over the town to the player.
- Devnya (Bulgarians): Consists of the town of Devnya and most of the buildings, including a Castle, which the player has to reach in order to win the scenario.
- Bogomils (Bulgarians) only have Villagers that the player is supposed to convert.
- Roman Infiltrators (Byzantines) have units scattered all over the path between Ivaylo's starting position and the Bulgarian base.
- Romans (Byzantines) have a well-fortified base in the east. They mainly train trash units (Elite Skirmishers and Pikemen), as well as Cataphracts and Monks.
- Tatars (Turks) have a base on the path between the Bulgarian base and Devnya. They train Keshiks and Cavalry Archers.
- Ivan Asen (Bulgarians): His forces are occupying the town of Devnya. They will behave passively and will not actively attack the player.
The Bulgarian camp is under attack by five Cataphracts in the beginning, and so the player should convert two of them with their two Monks. Converted Cataphracts can be quite useful against the Romans' Pikemen, so the player should try to convert as many as possible whenever the Romans attack. Tatars will also attack the Bulgarian camp often, and so the player should try to convert their Keshiks on those attacks.
As Kozma briefly mentions in his dialog, the pigs near Ivaylo's starting point can be used as improvised scouts. The player should also use Kozma's range (avoid losing him) to plan their fights accordingly, and they should focus on converting the Roman Infitrators' Cataphracts. After clearing the Roman Infiltrators' camp, which has a Watch Tower, the player will find three more Cataphracts. Convert one of them and kill the other two. After that fight, the player can find a Lumber Camp with three trees to the left of it.
As briefly mentioned in the hints, the player can (and should) convert Villagers to collect resources in the first phase of the game. Convert the first Villager seen right in the beginning and move him to the statue. The player will find a second Villager and a Scout Cavalry. Assign the Villager to fishing and send the Scout Cavalry to the second statue. The player will find another Villager, and this third Villager can actually walk safely to the Bulgarian camp and find other Villagers on the way there.
Since the Romans will eventually attack the Bulgarian base aggressively (around 40 minutes after game starts on hard difficulty), it is better not to waste time, and the player can take a shortcut to the Bulgarian camp if they use their new Villagers to chop the trees left of the Lumber Camp mentioned above. After chopping those trees, the player can finally bring Ivaylo safely to the Bulgarian camp. After arriving in the Bulgarian camp, the player gets control of all the Bulgarian buildings and their units. Now the main focus should be to advance to the Castle Age and build a Castle with Murder Holes to repeal enemy attacks.
The 'mysterious' Tatar who will ally with the player is the very same Kasim Beg from the previous scenario. The player can benefit the most of him and his army if they first clear the walls and gates of the Romans (the purple team). Until he is 'invisible' for the player, the Romans will not attack him.
Alternatively, after arriving to the Bulgarian camp, the player can choose to speed-run the last part of the scenario by bringing all their cavalry units (the more the better) next to Devnya's right Gate while ignoring the Tatars' camp and their units. Ivan Asen's troops will open the Gate (this does not work with the left Gate) and so the player's units can enter Devnya and go to the Gate next to the Devnya's Castle (as the Castle belongs to Devnya and not to Ivan Asen, it will not attack the player's units). Be careful not to let Ivaylo die (while taking advantage of the fact that Ivaylo is a hero Konnik and so he can be dismounted). The moment Ivaylo is close enough to the Gate, Ivan Asen will change his diplomatic stance to Ally, the fight will stop and the player will be victorious.
Ivaylo's impossible victory at the Kotel Pass brought fear to Ivan. He abandoned Tarnovo and fled to the emperor's court. The emperor offered no solace to the coward.
In Tarnovo, no sooner had the bolyars discovered the tsar's throne empty than they began to squabble over it. The wisest of the bolyars reminded the others that the kingdom was still threatened by both Mongols and Romans. Bulgaria needed stability and that would mean all bolyars would need to unite under a single banner.
- Devina (Девина) or Devaya (Девая) is a fortress in the Kotel Pass. Not to be confused with Devnya (Девня) which is the contemporary name of Marcianopolis from the third scenario of the Attila the Hun campaign.
- The Bogomils appeared for a first time about 10th c. in Bulgaria. Persecuted by the law, some of them escaped to Western Europe and were known as kathars, and their ideas would be eventually at the basics of Protestant Christianity. It comes from the name of the priest Bogomil (Bulgarian: Богомил) whose name translates roughly as 'kind to God'. The Bogomils also appeared in Bohemond and the Emperor as the Normans' supporters against the Byzantine Army.
- Despite having their own civilization, the Tatars are represented by the Turks. This is historically inaccurate, as the Tatars who fought in Ivaylo's uprising were the Golden Horde, not the Turks who became Anatolian Turkish today.