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A historical fantasy manga set in a fictional 15th century Europe caught between the Türkiye Stratocracy to the east and the Baltic and Rhein Empire to the west. Our hero is Türkiye's youngest elected pasha in history, 17-year-old "Tuğril" Mahmut, a pacifist who must do everything in his power to prevent war between his homeland and their hostile neighbor. Although the scope of the story is small at first, it soon expands into a diplomatic struggle involving the entire continent.
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Shoukoku no Altair (released by Kodansha as Altair: Record of Battles) is an ongoing series written and illustrated by historian Kato Kotono, which began publication in Shonen Sirius magazine in 2007. A spin-off, Toukoku no Subaru, set in the far east of the same world, and illustrated by Kato Chika (Kotono's sister) began serialisation in 2016.

Has nothing to do with the character from Assassin's Creed.

A two cour anime adaptation by MAPPA aired July to December 2017, and it can be watched on Crunchyroll. Here's the official website.


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This manga provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Sultan Kemal is only 10 when he comes to the throne, and his teenage sister acts as regent until he is old enough to rule by himself.
  • Action Girl: Blanca, Niki, and Ayşe all have their moments.
    • Dark Action Girl: Lelederik is the strongest woman in the series thus far, however.
  • Action Pet: Mahmut's eagle, İskender, is pretty helpful in a fight. This was apparently the Tuğril clan's speciality.
  • All According to Plan: Minister Louis gives the impression that the Empire will come out on top no matter the eventuality. This overconfidence finally backfires on him, though.
  • The Alliance: The Türkiye-Urado-Venedik Tripartite Alliance is a major game-changer in the Great War, and later develops into an Anti-Imperial Alliance that cuts the continent in half.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Lelederik marries a minor aristocrat purely to secure his heavy cavalry in a military campaign that her uncle is losing.
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  • Always Someone Better: Mahmut sees Süleyman and Zağanos this way, albeit grudgingly for the latter, who just doesn't care.
  • Animal Motifs: Caterina de Rossi describes the Empire as a lion and Türkiye as a wolf.
  • Arranged Marriage: Hanım Ayşe and Prens Orhan. The latter is very eager for it to happen, while the former is a little less enthusiastic (though still accepts it as her duty).
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Apparently, the main reason Mahmut became a Pasha was that he excelled at military school.
  • Badass Boast: In Chapter 59, after learning that the Empire has torched the city of Campana, Mahmut claims he will teach them what it means to get burned.
  • Badass Crew: Ellvaldes troops are reputed to be Balt-Rhein's strongest army. Only a few thousand of them managed to take the city of Phoenicia, which had never been conquered before.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • Halil Pasha may look like a cuddly old man, but he's still fully capable of leading an army into battle and kicking copious amounts of enemy butt.
    • Otto Bernet is 86 and still successfully leads a rebellion to take back his throne.
  • Battle Butler: Abiriga sees himself as Mahmut's battle butler. Mahmut, however, sees him as an equal.
  • Battle of Wits: How Mahmut tries to solve all of the problems in the story. The results vary.
  • Belly Dancer: Şara seems a stereotypical example at first, though she's also an actress and wears sensible clothes when not working.
  • Betrayal by Inaction: When the Venedik navy fails to come to Phoenicia's aid, letting the city be captured.
  • Bifauxnen: Koran, who plays the male roles for the all-female Lir Esnaf.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Mostly Turkish/Arabic, but also German, Italian, Spanish, French, and smatterings of other European languages.
  • Bishōnen: Mahmut is very pretty, and everybody notices it.
    • There are even more examples of Biseinen in their 20s and 30s: Zağanos Pasha, Glalat Bellrik, Antonio Lucio, Beyazit, Carvajal, Nurcan Pasha, Cemil Pasha, Simon Blanchard...
  • Bigger Bad: Virgilio Louis, Prime Minister of the Empire, is behind the actions of most of the characters who threaten Mahmut.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Zağanos has spies scattered across every single country on the continent.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Türkiye will engage in some somewhat questionable Realpolitik every so often, and being willing to lie to achieve its goals. In contrast, Balt-Rhein is a nation that's constantly described (and outwardly depicted) as a monster that needs to continuously expand, lest it devour itself, and where the soldiers regularly commit acts of mass slaughter.
  • Blood Knight: While most people become mercenaries for the money, Erbach seems to do it just 'cause he likes beating people up.
  • Cain and Abel: Balaban is the Cain and Beyazit is the Abel, however in a twist Beyazit ends up killing Balaban to prevent him causing any more trouble.
  • The Caligula: Balaban does not take criticism nicely, causing most of his ministers' necks to end up in nooses.
  • The Charmer: Süleyman Bey has a way with the ladies, which is implied to have helped him hire a fair number of spies, and also hook with an old flame who is now Gonfaloniere of Florence.
  • Chaste Hero: Readers are frequently reminded that Mahmut is a hopeless virgin who knows nothing about sex.
  • The Chess Master: Minister Louis, both figuratively and at times literally. As the Great War progresses he even seems to have custom pieces made to represent various "players".
  • Child Prodigy:
    • Mahmut passed an exam and joined the military at only 12-years-old.
    • Amadeo Boccanegra is called the first genius to come out of L'isolani in 100 years, since he developed the "sight" when he was 5-years-old.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The three central Pashas; Mahmut (red), Zağanos (blue), and Halil (green).
  • Compressed Hair: Niki normally wears her hair tucked under a small hat, but when she removes said hat it reveals a multitude of incredibly long braids.
  • Cool Pet: Balaban has a pet tiger named Al-Sakal (Redbeard), who later passes to Beyazit.
  • Costume Porn
  • Cowardly Lion: Prince Orhan is weak-willed, prone to crying, and he's completely submissive to his strong father. That is, until his father tries to kill the woman he loves in order to dishonorably go back on a deal with Mahmut. Then Orhan kills him and steps up and assumes rule of the country.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Mahmut holds Frentzen in his arms for a moment as he dies.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: King Zsigmond compares the opportunistic Doge Lucio to a fox, and the nickname sticks.
  • The Cycle of Empires: Balt-Rhein is currently in Phase 3, presumably on the cusp of entering Phase 4 with over expansionistic and violent policies uniting most of the continent against them. By this point, with most of their military scattered, and the Turks on their doorstep, its noted by several characters that the Empire's chances are slim.
    • On another note, Türkiye is implied to be about to enter Phase 1.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Blanca has brown skin and, as her name implies, white blonde hair.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Abiriga, and presumably the entire population of Salos.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Balt-Rhein has something of a variation with its army. According to the protagonists, the army is based on meritocracy taken to its most ruthless extent, where triumphs are rewarded and failures are punished. To that end, the army is stated to be viciously competitive and violent.
    • Ironically, this proves it to be the Empire's saving grace, as it also fostered skilled commanders, and a very clear line of command, allowing the remaining army to relatively easily regroup under a new commander after the others are killed.
  • Death Faked for You: Mahmut fakes Sultan Fatma's execution, since she was merely a puppet being controlled by her brother and going through with it would have created a Cycle of Revenge between her children.
  • Decapitated Army: Often, killing the general is treated as winning the battle, and the Turks make active use of it to get the Imperial Armies to give up.
    • However, this comes back to bite them later because the Empire has a much more intricate and expansive command structure than they do, and even after they kill the highest ranking officers, there is still someone to take command.
  • Decapitation Presentation: A common way to declare victory in land battles is to cut off the enemy commander's head and display it.
    • First seen in this series at the Battle of Acayip, where Mahmut brought back Balaban's head to the remaining troops.
    • Later used by General Pineau when he defeats Halil Pasha and sticks his head on a pike in Chapter 65. Mahmut is not pleased at all.
    • Ironically, he suffers the same fate later, at Mahmut's hands no less.
    • Glalat succeeds in scaring the crap out of Wilhelm Meissner by giving him the heads of both his younger brothers... on his wedding night.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Caterina de Rossi is betrayed by her secretary, Giacomo, who objects to her involvement with Türkiye.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Phoenicia, the last bastion of an empire, was undefeated for centuries before Balt-Rhein conquered it. They later try the same with another undefeated city, Chielo, but are less successful.
  • Defector from Decadence: Cyrus is the son of the Mayor of Phoenicia, but he much prefers living dangerously on the streets as a kulak, and eventually runs away from the city for good.
  • Depraved Homosexual:
    • Sultan Balaban is the first obviously gay character introduced, and happens to be incredibly sadistic.
    • Turns out Louis and Simon share a bed as well as a penchant for evil schemes.
  • Determinator: People from Ellvaldes won't give in to the enemy, even if it costs their lives. They will do anything for the sake of their homeland.
  • Disguised in Drag: Mahmut has dressed as a woman on three occasions; once to infiltrate Hisar with Şara, once while posing as Süleyman's wife to avoid arrest, and once with Cyrus and Abiriga to escape the Argyros authorities' watchful eyes. Always an added bonus for the readers.
  • Do Not Go Gentle:
    • Constantinus tries to fight hand-to-hand with Lelederik even after his city has fallen. She mocks him for it and quickly finishes the job.
    • Gino Boccanegra finds himself mortally wounded and so waits for the enemy to board his ship before blowing them all to kingdom come.
  • The Empire: The Balt-Rhein Empire, which is compared to a monster that must constantly expand lest it consume itself.
    • Many references are also made to the Phoenician Empire, which fell just over a thousand years ago, and Balt-Rhein aims to conquer its entire former territory to prove their legitimacy.
    • It's indicated that Zağanos seeks to turn the Turkish-centered alliance into a Hegemonic Empire, based on trade and protection, though his attitude and behavior leave a few people rather suspicious that his goals may not be as egalitarian as he claims.
  • Ermine Cape Effect:
    • Emperor Goldbalt's daily wardrobe sure is flashy.
    • Doge Lucio also has a big ermine collar on his cape.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: After being defeated, and surrounded, Jacques and Siegfried are given the option to surrender, and join the Turks. Jacques tries to be Defiant to the End, and kills Zağanos' bodyguards, only to be stabbed in the back by Siegfried, who opts to take Zağanos' offer. When asked why, Siegfried callously responds that he doesn't care about the "honor" Jacques believes in.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Most of the deadly assassins from Röd Orm wear one.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Erbach, though he does open them pretty often. Cyrus calls him "squint-eyes".
  • Fanservice: Şara's dancing scenes in the early chapters. Mahmut also takes his clothes off now and then, though unfortunately he's covered in scars.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Türkiye is based on the Ottoman Empire, the only difference being that it's a stratocracy.
    • The Tuğril Clan is based on Kazakh tribes who hunt with golden eagles.
    • Balt-Rhein is based on the Holy Roman Empire, right down to claiming to be the successor of a much older empire (Phoenicia/Rome).
    • The nomadic Araba Tribe is based on Arabs.
    • The Phoenician Empire and the Roman Empire.
    • The Çinili Empire is the Chinese Empire, specifically the Ming Dynasty.
    • Venedik is the Republic of Venice.
    • L'isolani is the Republic of Genoa.
    • Salos and Ponente are North African.
    • Urado is Eastern European, particularly historical Transylvania.
    • Cuore di Rumeliana is based on Renaissance Tuscany, with the Republic of Florence needing no further explanation.
    • South Rumeliana is based on Iberia (modern-day Spain and Portugal).
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: Of the Hapsburg Wars, which were fought between the Holy Roman and the Ottoman Empires. However, the motivations are fundamentally different (politics opposed to religion), the countries that allied with the Holy Roman Empire in real-life are allied with Türkiye in the story, and the roles functionally flipped (the Turks being the small, defensive nation against the expansionist empire).
    • The use of gunpowder to bring down the walls of the Imperial capital by the Turks also brings to mind the fall of the Byzantine Empire (which coincidentally also considered itself a successor to the Roman Empire).
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Invoked by making Brigitta Grimaldi, who has a wildcat theme, fall for Kurt Pasha, who has a wolf theme.
  • Feuding Families: The D'Oria and Boccanegra families having been fighting for the throne of L'isolani for ages.
  • Foil: Zağanos is introduced as a foil to Mahmut.
  • Food Porn: Margit and Niki's side-story involves them discussing their favourite foods in delicious detail.
  • Footsie Under the Table: Caterina de Rossi initiates this during a conference to deliberately make Mahmut uncomfortable.
  • Four-Star Badass:
    • Türkiye is ruled by an entire council of these, the Japanese for "Pasha" being "general".
    • General Pineau of the imperial army poses one of the biggest threats to Mahmut and Türkiye in the story.
  • Gambit Roulette: A 14-year-old Zağanos tells Süleyman he will become a Pasha in five years. And exactly five years later, he's done exactly what he said he would.
  • Girl Friday: Director Carvajal's faithful secretary, Cassandra, who keeps her easygoing boss organised.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Princess Margit squabbled with her three older sisters, most predominately the second one, Gertrud.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • Carvajal, although it's made clear that he's putting on a brave face since he looks terrified and sheds a few tears during his farewell speech.
    • Pineau as Mahmut comes to behead him, calmly accepting his defeat.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: While it would be more accurate to say "Good Stratocracy, Evil Empire", the story doesn't pull any punches telling the reader who they're expected to root for.
  • Guile Hero: Every major character is this to some extent, as demonstrated in the Civil War arc by the Divan and between the inner circles of the four Sultanate families, and in the Great Rumeliana War arc, courtesy of Antonio Lucio.
  • Guyliner: Cyrus appears to be wearing it. That and the tattoo were probably a part of his rebellious phase.
  • Handicapped Badass: Izquierdo is missing both arms, but has replaced them with hooks and can crush stone with his feet. His brother Derecho is missing an eye and both legs, but still manages to punch an eagle out of the sky.
  • Hates Being Touched: The look on Zağanos' face when the Doge of Venedik lays a friendly hand on his shoulder is priceless.
  • Heroic Vow: After getting demoted, Mahmut vowed that he would take back his position as Pasha. Following a civil war, he succeeds.
  • Hero of Another Story: Zağanos Pasha and Süleyman Bey as they forged Türkiye's spy network.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Since it's a manga, this is a given.
    • Almost all real Ottoman Pashas had long beards, since it's encouraged in Islam for men to grow one. In the manga, most of the named Pashas are clean shaven.
    • The Doges of Venice tended to get elected when they were already elderly, while the Doge of Venedik is a handsome man in his thirties.
  • Hope Bringer/Hope Crusher: Minister Louis notes that, while Mahmut is Türkiye's "Star of Hope", Zağanos is the Empire's "Star of Misfortune".
  • I Am Not My Father: Cyrus has a complete lack of respect for his father Apollodorus and hates the idea of succeeding him or even being related to him. Although, he's visibly shaken when he gets news of his dad's execution.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Many people in this work have made difficult decisions in order to reach their goal, even if it rips their heart apart.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: Often happens in this work, where it's essential to choose your allies carefully, lest you get crushed by the opposing force. Not always an easy choice, though.
  • Ignored Expert: Done almost to an almost ridiculous degree in the Empire, where many separate people offering sound, reasonable suggestions, while the Emperor continuously ignores them, almost solely in favor of Louis' council, even if that advice is impractical.
  • I Just Want to Be You: In Chapter 87, Mahmut admits that his dislike for Zağanos came from jealousy, since he wanted to be the one to save Türkiye but knew he wasn't capable of doing so, while Zağanos is.
  • I Kiss Your Foot/I Kiss Your Hand: Depending on where you're from, there are different ways to greet a king. The Turks tend to kiss the hem of their robe, whereas in the Cuore you kiss their hand.
  • Ill Boy: Johan Frentzen has a delicate constitution and is nearly always sick. Despite being on the enemy side, he becomes more sympathetic as his health deteriorates, since he's young and the most noble of the imperial commanders.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Lelederik, Margit, and Caterina de Rossi all sport such outfits, though there's probably a corset involved.
  • Incest Subtext: Ayşe tells her uncle Beyazit that she dreamed of marrying him when she was younger, to which he responds that he felt the same (though since she's about to marry someone else it's implied they never planned to act on these feelings). Probably counts as a Childhood Friend Romance too, since they grew up together.
  • Internal Reformist: The Empire has many officials within both the government and military who seek to reform the Empire into a less aggressive, and more peaceful system. However, their efforts are repeatedly obstructed not only by Louis' faction, but also by the protagonists, who only seek the Empire's destruction.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Repeatedly discussed in regards to Balt-Rhein. Most characters, including the protagonists, hold to the position that the Empire is so hopelessly corrupt that the only option is to get rid of it. However, there are Imperials who are more optimistic about the Empire's future, with potential means of reforming it note .
  • Kill the Ones You Love:
    • The Civil War arc is full of this. Beyazit and Orhan kill their brother and father respectively because they are plotting to tear the country apart and side with the Empire.
    • Siegfried willingly murders his friend in order to surrender and prolong his own life, though unlike the prior example, he is completely unapologetic about it.
  • Lean and Mean: Virgilio Louis, which might be explained by his habit of staying up all night reading maps. Zağanos is also six foot tall and thin, and while not exactly evil, he isn't exactly nice either.
  • Limited Wardrobe
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Whenever there is a new arc, expect at least several new characters to pop up. As of Chapter 100, there are about 200 named characters.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: The Empire's (which is to say Louis') policy of ruling through threat of vicious reprisal and Rape, Pillage, and Burn only inspires hate, and the moment they get a real chance, the conquered rise against it.note 
  • Made of Iron: Even in a universe where easy healing is not possible, some characters are just too cool to make a fuss about some petty wounds.
    • Mahmut, our cute little protagonist, is such a determinator. In order to save Zağanos in Chapter 87, he jumped from his horse over a horde of Balt-Rhein's pikemen with İskender as his only support, broke one of Frentzen's cart's wheels using his bow, and presumably landed on the ground head first afterwards. And even that didn't stop him fighting Frentzen to the death when he's about to attack Zağanos, all done with blood dripping down his face, obscuring his vision. This all happened after he and his troops travelled halfway across the continent in one night and one day without rest. Not to mention that this is definitely not the first time he risks his life for the sake of someone/something else he deemed important.
    • Abiriga. Nuff said. Being dragged by a running horse across the ground, dislocating his shoulder and cracking his ribs still can't stop him from killing Adam, then he proceeds to resume riding his horse as if nothing ever happened. Those mummy bandages are not enough to repair all of the wounds.
    • Capitan Gino Boccanegra still has the audacity to face L’isolani’s fleet when a chunk of wood has made its way into his stomach. And this is even not the cause of his death.
    • Tragically, Balaban. Just rest in peace already, Beyazit suffered enough.
    • Eleonor still proceeded to taunt Mahmut relentlessly when she had lost her right hand a few moments before.
    • Glalat casually waved off his wounded hand (courtesy of Louis' agent) in the Hisar arc. He also plucked out a nail embedded in his arm without flinching during the Phoenicia arc.
  • The Magnificent: Extremely common for anyone of high status in Türkiye, e.g. “Golden Eagle” Mahmut or "Black Wings" Süleyman.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Minister Louis, Zağanos Pasha, and the Doge of Venedik, though all of them firmly believe they're doing it for the better of their respective nations.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Prens İsmail has 76 brothers (and lord knows how many sisters), all striving to prove themselves the better heir to the throne.
  • Merchant City: Many republics of the Centro sea (the Mediterranean) thrive on trade, particularly Venedik.
  • Miniature Senior Citizen: Halil Pasha, Otto Bernet, and Eisenstein are all elderly men under 5 foot tall.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: The position held by several of the high-ranking officers in Balt-Rhein. They are openly opposed to the violently expansionist policies Louis forced into place, but go along with them to preserve the empire as best they can.
  • New Old Flame: It's revealed in the last chapter of the Florence Arc that Süleyman has rekindled his relationship with Caterina de Rossi, saving her when she was nearly killed by the Anti-Turk supporters.
  • Naïve Newcomer: How Mahmut is portrayed in early chapters. Mostly goes away later.
  • Nice Hat: As the page image displays, Mahmut gets to wear a whole array of splendid hats and turbans in official artwork. Other examples are Halil Pasha, İbrahim Vali and Erbach.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Emperor Goldbalt claims that if his niece Lelederik doesn't start acting more ladylike, then she'll never find a husband.
  • No Name Given: Balt-Rhein's faceless messenger sent to the Urado Kingdom suffered this fate, due to his short appearance before being abruptly killed off by impaling.
  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Become more and more prominent as a result of Art Evolution.
  • Off with His Head!: Since this work is based on Medieval Europe, it happens frequently throughout the story.
    • Mahmut kills most of the Yeniçeris by decapitating them in one swoop as he rides by on his horse.
    • Carvajal has his head cut off so it can be given to the enemy as a sign of surrender.
    • Phoenicia's Caesar got executed this way.
  • Older Sidekick:
    • All of Mahmut's companions are between several years to decades older than him, with the exceptions of Cyrus and Ahmet, who are the same age and younger respectively.
    • Roni Boccanegra is the first mate of his nephew, Amadeo.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "The Baltic and Rhein Empire" is frequently shortened to "Balt-Rhein", or just "The Empire".
  • Only One Name: Turks, though they are also frequently referred to by their title and/or nickname. Abiriga, who came from slavery, and other common people who wouldn't have last names too.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Minister Louis is always composed and in control of his surroundings, so when Vasco's cannons start to damage the unbreakable walls of the city of Mur and Louis completely freaks out, you know it's bad.
    • Something similar happens to Zağanos, when he finds out that the remaining Imperial army (40,000 soldiers) has rallied around Lelederik, and invaded Türkiye. He breaks down in an almost mad laugh.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Halil Pasha is this for Mahmut, since his whole clan was eliminated when he was 5-years-old.
    • Silvestro Brega bought the teenage Abiriga's freedom, and has been like a father to him ever since.
  • Perpetual Frowner:
    • Zağanos (focused and serious), though he occasionally flashes a Psychotic Smirk.
    • Cyrus (angry and angsty), at least until the second half of the series when he begins to smile more often.
  • Perpetual Smiler:
    • Abiriga is polite and cheerful, even when snapping people's necks.
    • Kokoschka's chirpy demeanour comes across as unsettling since she's nearly always orchestrating genocide.
    • Carvajal rarely ever loses his light-hearted grin, but over time he grows to be more of a Stepford Smiler.
    • This is practically Doge Lucio's default facial expression. When it falters, something bad is about to happen.
    • The same goes for Nurcan Pasha, who is happy-go-lucky to a fault.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Virgilio Louis is quite indulgent with his young page, Nicolo.
    • Zağanos Pasha barely does anything that could be considered kind for anyone else, but he does make a point of treating Mahmut's wounds after Mahmut risks his life protecting him.
  • Plucky Girl: Niki al-Bahram tries to keep her father's caravan afloat almost single-handedly after his death, despite being only 15-years-old. She's also handy with a pair of tonfas...
  • Politically Active Princess:
    • Hanim Ayşe of Balta enters the narrative with plans to overthrow her mother and become Sultan. She eventually makes do with becoming Prime Minister instead.
    • At least two princesses from the Urado Kingdom, Gertrud and Margit, are cabinet members and ambassadors, with the latter even managing to do a little espionage on the side.
  • Professional Killer:
    • Abiriga is more or less a ninja from Africa.
    • There's also Röd Orm, Orquestra di Montagna, El Toro and various other mercenary factions.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: A cause for hilarity when Mahmut, Ahmet and Kurt are relaxing in the hammam, then suddenly a butt-naked Zeki Pasha appears and immediately starts scolding them.
  • Puppet King:
    • Deconstructed with Emperor Goldbalt. He is well aware of Louis' scheming, and often dangerous activities. But as it turns out, Louis' family is one of the wealthiest, and most important families in Balt-Rhein. It's not so much that Goldbalt won't oppose Louis, so much as he can't.
    • Sultan Fatma, and by extension her entire country, was under the control of her brother Balaban after her husband died.
  • Put on a Bus: Margit and Niki are packed off to Çinili after the Urado Kingdom arc.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Imperial army is regularly seen raping, pillaging, and burning its way across the continent, with the story sometimes going out of its way to demonstrate it. This inspires not only fear, but also disgust in the "civilised" nations, since while such behaviour is common it's not considered honourable.
  • Rapunzel Hair:
    • Şara wears her long hair Jasmine-style.
    • Ayşe's hair is knee-length or possibly even longer.
    • Glalat's hair falls far past his waist, yet he never seems to tie it back, even though it would probably get in the way while fighting.
    • Lelederik actually makes a point of letting her hip-length locks down when going into battle.
    • Carvajal is another guy with improbably long, silky hair.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Burak Pasha's role as head of the Divan is mostly a mediator.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Balaban (red) is ambitious and temperamental while his brother Beyazit (blue) is peace-loving and calm. Their hair colours correspond.
    • Zağanos' subordinates, Ilkay (red) and Cemil (blue), also fit the bill.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Chapters 77 and 78 introduce no fewer than eight new Pashas who've never been seen or mentioned before, even though several of them are apparently very influential, go on to become recurring characters and/or befriend Mahmut.
  • The Republic: Rumeliana is full of republics, however they are usually only interested in their own survival and remain neutral until forced to take action against the bad guys.
  • Retired Badass:
    • Wan Yixin used to be bodyguard to the Emperor of Çinili, but then he lost a leg and was given a cushy position in Argyros.
    • Theo Androsch comes out of retirement to lead the imperial army after Pineau and Frentzen are killed.
  • Royal Harem: Sultan Uzun from Bıçkı has a lot of wives, and LOADS of issue.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Ayşe and Beyazit go to war to fight corruption in their kingdoms, and eventually usurp the throne. King Zsigmond and his daughters are also very politically active.
    • Special mention to Duchess Lelederik, the Emperor's niece, a Frontline General who personally commands her own Elite Mooks, and later turns the tables on Türkiye by invading while the Turkish army is invading Balt.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Beyazit's death is a wakeup call to readers that the Empire is still a legitimate threat, and causes a temporary loss of faith for the Turks. He was a much-loved character and the decision to kill him may have been a response to the fact that Türkiye seemed practically untouchable up till then.
  • Secret Test of Character: Mahmut has experienced this at least three times; first when he was questioned by Cyrus about his real goal, when he 'bought' Abiriga from Venedik, and when he was called before the Divan after the civil war.
  • Self-Made Man: Mahmut goes from being an orphan to one of Türkiye's most powerful and decorated diplomats in just over a decade.
  • Sexy Secretary: The incredibly good-looking Lili Kokoschka is technically the Prime Minister's secretary, but she spends all her time assisting Pineau and occasionally flirting with him too.
  • Scary Teeth: Amadeo Boccanegra has pointy teeth like a shark, which match his personality.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Ship Tease:
    • Mahmut and Şara were being teased right from the start, since she's the only girl he seems comfortable around and enjoys flirting with him now and then.
    • Duchess Lelederik and Glalat always have little quarrels when they go on a mission together. Even their subordinates lampshade it.
  • Shoot the Messenger: The King of Urado executes the Empire’s envoy (by impaling) after choosing to ally with Türkiye instead.
  • Shown Their Work
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Caterina de Rossi comes across as a refined and aristocratic lady, but is quickly revealed to be a ruthless political mastermind who puts her position before anything else. Even when held at knife point, she talks down to her would-be assassins as if they were children.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The Empire generally enslaves those captured during its invasion, and the enslavement is depicted as especially brutal, with many protagonists expressing disgust at it.
    • However, strangely and rather hypocritically zigzagged later in the series when Türkiye invades Balt-Rhein, the captured soldiers they don't simply execute they instead sell into slavery themselves, with the protagonists having no issue with it. It might be because they're prisoners of war, not civilians.
  • Snow Means Death:
    • In the poor kingdom of Urado, sick and/or elderly citizens routinely walk out into snowstorms and freeze to death rather than put strain on their families.
    • Individual example would be Jacques, who dies on a snowy battlefield outside Mur in a huge puddle of blood.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Due to the difficulty of rendering foreign words in Japanese kana, most names had various spellings before their official romanisations were revealed, and many are still up in the air.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Princess Margit may be royalty, but she's prepared to make friends with anyone.
  • The Spymaster: Süleyman, who is the Göz Kulak Başkan (Chief of Eyes and Ears). He goes all over the continent, recruiting anyone who could be a potential Kulak (lit. ears, i.e. spies), and constantly travels to keep the Kulaks of each country in contact with Zağanos Pasha. And Zağanos Pasha himself is the one controlling them and informing them what they must do for Türkiye.
  • Stout Strength: Anton Adam looks harmless and roly-poly. You'd never imagine he could deflect swords with his bare hands and throw another man bodily over his head.
  • Taking the Bullet: Roni Boccanegra dies after taking several arrows meant for his nephew to the chest, though it's in vain since Amadeo is executed anyway.
  • Technical Pacifist: Mahmut and Halil Pasha are skilled warriors who don't mind taking down a few mooks here and there, but are totally against the idea of an all-out war.
  • Teen Genius:
    • Mahmut is a skilled warrior, diplomat, and elected to the Divan at 17.
    • Zağanos used to be one, having been plotting his political ascension since 14 and getting elected to the Divan at 19.
    • Vasco is an otherwise normal 15-year-old boy who designs revolutionary weapon technology.
  • Teen Pregnancy:
    • Nilüfer Fatma was only 15 when she had her daughter, Ayşe.
    • King Zsigmond is a male example, since his eldest daughters were born when he was a teenager.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Tauro City's twin mayors Derecho and Izquierdo have names meaning "right" and "left" respectively.
  • This Means War!: Balt-Rhein viewed Minister Franz's assassination in the first chapter as this, since the arrow that was found in his body was apparently Türkiye's. Later it's discovered that the one who planned the assassination was Minister Louis.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Happens quite frequently in this series due to its War Is Hell theme, with one of the most notable examples being Mahmut when he saw Halil Pasha's severed head on a pike.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Niki al-Bahram (tomboy) and Princess Margit (girly girl).
  • Tough Love:
    • Sultan Selim's relationship with his rather delicate and indecisive son, Orhan.
    • Although subtler, Halil Pasha's relationship with Mahmut showed shades of this. He let Mahmut act independently, but he never protected Mahmut from the consequences of those actions, because he believed that it's the best way for Mahmut to learn.
  • Unable to Cry: Mahmut's state after Halil Pasha's death, for obvious reasons.
  • Unknown Rival: Zağanos either doesn't know how much Mahmut dislikes him or simply doesn't care.
  • Vestigial Empire: Many, including Imperials, have noted that Balt-Rhein's hyper militaristic policies (mostly spearheaded by Louis) and refusal to engage in trade or form alliances have ultimately made its entire infrastructure and economy based on expansion. To that end, its indicated to be in a state of steady decline, and if were to stop expanding, it would collapse in on itself.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Nurcan spends most of his time getting Zeki riled up, but they're still very close.
  • War Is Hell: What the series is trying to portray.
  • We Used to Be Friends: As brothers, Balaban and Beyazit used to be close, and in their different ways both are heartbroken over having become enemies. Even on the edge of death Balaban demands to know why Beyazit betrayed him even though he always said he loved Balaban; and Beyazit admits that despite his huge flaws he still loved Balaban more than anyone.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Beyazit using şark yay in front of İsmail during the Civil War arc. The latter instantly realizes that Beyazit is not fooling around.
    • Vasco demonstrating what his cannon can actually do in Chapter 91, pretty much used in the same way as the example above. Louis' expression says it all.
    • Lelederik killing the border guard in Chapter 99, before looking over Türkiye with her 40,000 strong army.
  • Whip Sword: The assassins from Röd Orm wield similar kinds of swords which only they know how to create.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist:
    • Mahmut's Fatal Flaw at the start of the story, since while he may be clever he has almost zero experience of the outside world. This leads to him being demoted, and spending months travelling the continent trying to gain more wisdom. However, even a year later his idealism still shows.
    • Phoenicia's Magistros, Constantinus, is a very idealistic man who sees the world in black and white. This trait would later bring Phoenicia to its destruction.
  • The Wise Prince: Beyazit is a much more peace-loving and thoughtful man than his brother, the sultan, and proves to be a more virtuous ruler too, though he is haunted by his past.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Sultan Fatma has to lead Balta after her husband's death, while most of the court members never recognized her as their sultan because of her origins as a Mızrak princess
  • The World Is Not Ready: Several characters feel this way about new weapon technology such as guns and cannons.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Before attacking Altın, Lelederik has her soldiers butcher civilian children outside the city gates.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Mahmut's speciality, as opposed to Zağanos' and Louis' more well-planned strategies. Even Doge Lucio says at one point that Mahmut had forcibly moved the hands of history, all just by selling a large amount of Venedik glass to a Cinili Empire representative — whom he had just met- causing Venedik to step out of their comfort zone and declare war on Balt-Rhein because of their common claim on Salos' wheat, which they had planned to use as padding for the Venedik glass.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Abiriga decides to join up with Mahmut after being exiled from Venedik for borrowing money. At least, that's what the Doge wants everyone to think.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: While most hair colours are natural, if somewhat implausible, a couple are downright weird.
    • Beyazit and Amadeo have blue hair.
    • Zağanos and Ayşe have purple hair.
    • Minister Louis has green hair.
    • Nurcan has pink hair.
  • Young and in Charge: Brigitta Grimaldi, teenage leader of over 10,000 Lince mercenaries.


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