+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 366 1 2 3 11 26 51 76 101 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 7307

Thread: Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World?

  1. #1
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888

    Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World?












    Selected Praise for Timelines:


    "A generation defining AAR!" - English Patriot

    "There are only two words that could come close to describing the brilliance of this AAR: Absolutely Amazing!" - kleomenes

    "I read through the whole thing and if it wasn't the best work this forum has ever produced, I'd be surprised." - anonymous4401

    "I must give you my highest honorable congratulations on a work that is absolutely and totally un-superfluously the best writing I have ever seen...This is truly a vade mecum everyone should have to keep, cherish, and love forever" - demokratickid

    "I consider myself somewhat jaded when it comes to storylines and seem to be able to predict what (elements of) happens next relatively accurately, but I really haven't much of a clue this time. Between the keys, the timepiece, the End, and the connection between Tom, Rodrigo and the events of centuries ago...simply brilliant stuff!" – Myth

    "I absolutely adore the narrative style of Timelines. Most narrative AARs, including mine usually stick to the historical facts of a certain country without jumping off course with another plot. However with Timelines you have done just that. Including supernatural elements as well as an interesting plot makes readers want more. Not only has Timelines given readers historical growth of Spain but a fascinating subplot as well. That is rather rare in AARland." - Eber from our Interview with him

    "You have three basic "worlds" in your story -- the unified present, the disparate ("our world") present, and the past, where the battle seems primarily to be occurring, though the battle spills into different times. How you fit each of these elements together in a believable fashion amazes and excites me." - Rensslaer from our Interview with him

    "It is a magnificent work you've managed to pull together here - and I mean pull together. Writing across time things can threaten to fly apart (as I know from experience) but this is a tightly-run ship. Writing with a number of characters also has its risk, yet you have managed three main 'pairs' of characters without noticeable problems." - stnylan

    "The way you’ve tied past and present, and each chapter with each other is excellent. Historical insight into the second plane characters was very good move - there are a lot of AARs describing only monarchs. Also, the life of Tom being on track with the mysterious history is very exciting." - thrashing mad from our Interview with him

    "I've finally read through the whole thing, in one sitting. I hate long things, usually, and catching up, so that's a biggie for me. It's probably the most accomplished AAR plot I've ever come across, and I've been lurking for years. Solidly-written, intricately planned, with a tinge of the philosophical and a deep sense of the aesthetic. As well as positively plagued by references clever and corny." - RGB

    "I think, when all is said and done, aside from your outstanding writing abilities, that the "canonized" series of interviews will stand out as one of your greatest contributions to the forum. You have taken a number of long time members and relative newcomers and brought them into a new light." - grayghost on our Interview segments

    "The action is so well described that for a minute there I felt like that gauntlet was round my neck" - Petros

    "This stuff here is good eatin'. BAM!" - Llywelyn

    "Wow! I just spend most of my day reading the whole piece. Once I started, I couldn't really stop..." - afb

    "I'm really proud to see how far this has come and just how engrossing it is - I set aside time every day to make sure I get to read the latest installment." - Panzerkardinal

    "I have been impressed at how you weave in the action and drama with traces of humor every now and then. It makes the story move quickly and easily along until you hit one of those BIG moments. " - coz1

    "It's truly amazing how well the writing has stayed so steady throughout the entire story. It's a very long tale, but it hangs together so well that it is virtually seamless...." - Amric

    "Just as an aside, this is how you can tell I've been reading this AAR too much (if that's even possible): Today, while I was watching the news, they had a press conference with the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, William DeWitt. Of course, my immediate thought was: 'Hey, it's a Cardinal named DeWitt!' " - Judas Maccabeus

    "I must confess that I haven’t' found a similar AAR neither in the English nor in the Spanish section it's the most professional I've read, and I read a lot, and I have a very selective taste, but the highly complicated nature of the AAR in itself, the very intricate set of influences, references, cameos, I haven't found such an almost perfect -and I repeat again- and professional AAR, really. It's a bit hard to get used to it, by the way, but once you get it, it's an endless pleasure." - Kurt_Steiner from our interview with him

    "EXCELLENT story." - ForzaA

    "A veritable paella of intrigue!" - AlexanderPrimus

    "Among the AARs that I started reading, even before signing up to this forum, this has to be the one that most inspired me to write my own AAR... So, I'll have to thank you canonized, for inspiring me to sign up and start writing my own AAR." - patham
    http://timelinesaar.wikispaces.com/
    Join the Timelines Wiki Project !


    Disclaimers:
    I’m rather new to the whole concept of an AAR , so you’ll have to forgive me . I’d like to make a few disclaimers . Despite some of the tone given in this AAR , it is not meant to be particularly historical or give an extrapolation of history so please forgive any gaps or misinterpretations herein .

    Also , some of these images although put together by me may also be constructed from images found on the internet of which I do not claim to own . All images are copyrights of their respective owner but since this is just an AAR and not a published work , I thought I'd just dabble and have a little fun ! I also make several indirect references into individuals who are both literary/fictional figures and some are real people and are done so either in parody or 'for fun' reference !

    Last edited by canonized; 05-07-2009 at 19:10.
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  2. #2
    Field Marshal wilcoxchar's Avatar
    200k clubHoI AnthologyCrusader Kings IIDeus VultDiplomacy
    Divine WindFor The GloryHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In Nomine
    March of the EaglesEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: RevolutionsEuropa Universalis: RomeSemper Fi
    SengokuVictoria 2Victoria II: Heart of DarknessRome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: Warband
    Mount & Blade: With Fire and SwordCK2: Holy KnightEU Rome Collectors EditionEU3 Collectors Edition500k club
    Europa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of ParadiseEUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    Crusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The RepublicCrusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    Crusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    a hill in the capital, but not Capitol Hill.
    Posts
    2,548

    Thumbs up

    Nice start. Good narrative, and that last part was great.

    I like the idea of an alternate-alternate history.
    Played as the Loanshark of Europe, the Duchy of Flanders and then the King of France in Ultima Ratio Regnum/AAR Thread (Abandoned)
    Solo AARs:
    To Granada and Beyond: A Comprehensive History of Spain EU3, Castile, (Abandoned due to patches)
    What Nerds do with a Day Off: A 7-Player Diplomacy AAR (Abandoned)

    P'dox Forum Pet Peeves: When people refer to countries as 'factions'.
    Complaints about newer games that fall entirely under the They Changed It Now It Sucks trope.

  3. #3
    I am the fifth star. k-59's Avatar
    Cities in MotionCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourEU3 CompleteHeir to the Throne
    Victoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of Darkness
    EU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Conquest of Paradise

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    490
    Was that Captain Picard
    Winner of Werewolf CIII: Kleptocratic Overlords and the Worldwide Revolution
    Come play Werewolf with us here

    "Malus" you keep using that word I don't think it means what you think it means.

  4. #4
    Spectre of Battle grayghost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lost in the Void
    Posts
    2,564
    Blog Entries
    1
    An excellant beginning. I can tell you put alot of thought into that. The switching from the modern alt. hist. to the past was good. Might want to put some lines between the eras to show transition. I like the map episode in the gym. Sounds like something I would have done, using maps and pencils to cover the what ifs of history. Wait, I did do that.

    I like the concept that you have started with and hope you can keep up the quality work. That was really fine writing.
    Current AAR's: The Manchurian Candidate...on hold.
    Founder and charter member of The Warlord Club
    Fan of the week 02/26/07 & 06/04/07
    WritAAR of the week 03/12/07
    Character Writer of the week 07/15/2007
    Favorite AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    Favorite Narative AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    I was canonized on 03/18/2007 & canonized again 07/15/2007
    Honorary Fellow in the Tempus Society

    "Gold does not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold." Machiavelli

  5. #5
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888


    The young man scribbled his name at the top of the page with his ballpoint pen with feigned alacrity. It would be his final test in secondary education, and he was secretly kicking himself for having chosen History as his paper’s subject. It wasn’t that it was hard for him, he was astute and, after all, nowadays the Encyclopedia Hispania was available electronically which he had perused addictively. Instead, it was a painful subject for him. He was, after all, a Protestant.

    Tom Royce attended the First Lutheran Church of Santa Ana, California. It was built in the 1980s, almost a decade after the long Great War finally ended. It was the first Protestant church allowed to be built in California ever since Vatican II relaxed the restrictions on non-Catholic denominations. It was a sign of the times, his parents used to tell him, grateful towards the tolerance, but ultimately still bitter over the centuries of conversion. Tom told himself that he wasn’t going to be like his parents. He wouldn’t be bitter like them- after all, his research told him that despite the prejudice of the times, conversions were relatively peaceful and that it was done with the vast missionary manpower of the Empire. These thoughts wandered through his head as he scribbled on his test sheet.

    “Pens down, the test is over,” sounded the proctor at the head of the gymnasium.

    There was a bustle around him; the easy shuffle of metal chair legs against the wooden flooring of the gymnasium eased his hand from forty five minutes of frantic essay writing. Tom looked over his paper as he slowly passed it forward, as if getting one last glimpse of what he had written may force it to make sense for him.

    “I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for this,” he thought to himself. But it was as if asking that question triggered the words of the paper again in his brain and emboldened him. He was almost 18, and the spark of independence gave him a fortitude he hadn’t known as a child. He would leave it as it is; his paper would speak for him; his title would be his herald. But for now, it was hidden in the middle of the stack of papers, but the words seemed to jump back out: “If the French had defeated the Empire at Perpignan.”

    As he stood up to gather his books and prepare to leave, the thought arrogantly passed through his head. Indeed, what would have happened if it didn’t always go Spain’s way? What if History had been changed? His near-daydream was interrupted by the thud of his history workbook hitting the gymnasium floor and flopping itself open. Tom’s eyes widened as he gazed down at the well-used pages of the World Map in his book showing a sea of flowing gold-orange representing the stretch of the Empire today. He quickly grabbed it, his adrenaline willing that no one else see it. He didn’t want the other students casually walking by to notice the thin black lines he had drawn with his pen on the map and little words he scribbled on the once glossy golden fields. Most people might have thought he was crazy even if they had seen it, what in the world was the “United States” where New Mexico and California were? What in the world is “Turkey” and why did it have the old name Istanbul instead of Constantinople? Some may have thought he just didn’t know his geography. After all, everyone knew that the province of Lithuania was a large chunk of Eastern Europe, why did Tom put it in a small corner along the Baltic? And what happened to the Papal State of Rome? Surely, he would have remembered that it was always a separate enclave for the Roman Pontiff. Instead Rome was somehow the capital of “Italy.” Everyone knew the provincial capital was in Milan! But luckily for Tom, his imminent lunacy was hidden in his backpack quickly after its revelation. His adrenaline propelled him out of the gymnasium.



    Chapter I: Perpignan


    August 12 1529

    “The King must be mad. We have only two armies on the border. Navarra barely has any men on their side. We could probably keep the mountain passes, but you expect us to move into Roussillon and Foix with only twenty thousand men each?”

    “That is the plan, General Gonsalvo.”

    General Gonsalvo stood with both arms outstretched on the table his beard and his hair neatly kept despite weeks of patrolling the mountain forts of the Pyranees. Across from him on the large table was Cardinal Ximenes, clothed in the crimson regalia of his office. He wore around him the golden aperture of an official seal- he was a statesman.

    “With all due respect, Cardinal, most of our armies are spread thin; twenty thousand in Peru, another five thousand in Mexico, and now fifteen thousand in the Americas. We can’t afford a war with France.”

    The chamber resounded with the stentorian resolve of the general. For the past thirty five years, Spain had been plundering the depths of the new world along with its partner and ally Portugal. The Treaty of Tordesillas kept the two happily engaged in their own quests, but it had caught the attention of the other European Powers. France was not happy that Spain was not satisfied with her fill of Incan and Aztec gold. She had to plunder the Appalachian and Great Lakes tribes of their territory as well.

    “It is true, General, but despite the efforts of the King and the Pope, we cannot expect France to stay still while we monopolize the New World. War will be inevitable.”

    “But why must we push further than the mountains?” the General fired back, his resolved desperation mounting as the calculations for such a war continued to accumulate in his head, “with the Navy along the Viscayan Bay, we can hold off the French indefinitely at the passes. I don’t understand why we must push forward especially with so few men at our disposal. At least…” and here the General began to falter into obedience, “recall my veterans from Alexandria. That should double my army at Gerona. With that I can push into Roussillon.”

    The aged Cardinal rose up from his seat and as his figure passed from the candlelight of the table to the relative dark of a standing pose, the gloomy darkness of that chamber suddenly became evident.



    There were no lavish carpets or draperies here. The table was made of simple wood, ugly yet durable and even the garb of the exquisite cardinal seemed to decay in the very atmosphere of that chamber. Despite this, the aging statesman and cleric turned to the far wall where an elaborate painting depicted Europe and, further to the left past the Ocean Sea, the New World. Despite the grandeur of the size—filling almost the entire wall—it was marred with smudges. Indeed, places like Alexandria had a slight smudge, evidently to inscribe the new border after the Spanish had captured the old Patriarchate from the Mameluks in the past decade.

    “Take half of them. I wasn’t meaning to tell you, but we expect the Mameluks and the Ottomans of the Delta to resume hostilities.”

    He almost heard the general give a grunt from behind him as he stood up. He knew he wasn’t going to get more out of the shrewd politician. France outnumbered them at least four to one. The Ottomans and Mameluks may sieze Alexandria which he himself had fought for with his own blood. And nearly half the Spanish Army was busy seeking gold and skins.

    “Why was Ximenes pushing so hard?” General Gonsalvo de Cordoba thought to himself. The price of failure weighed on him, but he failed to show it to the sword bearers on the way out of that dark chamber. He would leave the war room to the Grey Eminence locked away therein.

    ~~~


    By the time Cardinal Ximenes saw the light of day, the sun was already setting over the parapet of the castle at Villadolid. The stuffy atmosphere of those deep chambers preyed on his frail breathing, but he laboured to his apartments relentlessly. It would be dark soon, he thought to himself, he needed to reach his hearth before long.

    He was safely in his apartments at the castle by the time darkness had spread its ebony blanket over the Spanish town. There was a meal ready for him and the fire was already red hot by the time he changed out of his clerical garments. A capon was waiting for him lined with bread soaked in its fat, but he was not hungry for a heavy meal. Nonetheless, he moved over to his table and began his lonely dinner. His strength needed the consumption more than his appetite.

    The wine he drank was infused with bitter herbs and he gulped it down as quickly as he could to avoid the taste. Even if the concoction was lined with sugar, it was a horrendous liquid, but he knew he had to. "Winter is coming early," Señor Mendoza had mentioned to him the other week, and he took the warning seriously. Warnings and portents were his area of expertise, he would joke to himself. Winter was not the only thing he was fattening himself up for.

    "There will come time when we must ration the bread supply at the mountain towns," he had told his associates in the room after the General had left the meeting. "We will need to make a grain depot at Urgell to supply the armies as they move forward. Men are hard to come by along our barren peninsula compared to the richness of France, but at least we can store grain and animals in warehouses and barns ahead of time."

    He had made the plans meticulously, and almost to the surprise of many of his associates there in the room. To some, however, they saw this coming as much as the Cardinal did. France was necessary, many thought, and that was why nearly a century earlier, the princes of Castille were married off to the royalty of France. It was for this moment. War with France would mean a chance to legitimize Spanish claims on the throne and establish a monarchy that would rule over both nations.

    The claim had existed for a while, but enforcement from a second rate nation had never been taken seriously: not by France and not even by the Castillian nobles. It was why the marriage contracts were agreed to in the first place: unlike England or nobles of French blood, there was no expectation of ascension of a Spaniard to the French throne; much less an expectation for it to be backed by force.

    Even now, with the riches of the new world entering Spanish coffers, the pretense seemed impossible to enforce. Ximenes stoked the fire as he prepared himself for sleep. "Winter is coming early," he muttered to himself. They had to strike soon.

    ---


    It happened after the Spanish had reached the Great Lakes. The cross of St. Andrew flew above the battlements of the wooden fortresses and the Seal containing the heraldry of Castille, Leon, Aragon, The Two Sicilies, and Granada was a prominent fixture above the local Governor’s office. The Viceroyalty of the Great Lakes began its life with a flurry of construction. The gold was redirected to build fortifications along the cities from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Michigan. It was a lengthy process, but it would give the missionaries streaming in a chance to spread the word of God in peace. It was at this time that the French ambassador declared his King’s intention to make war with his neighbor.

    “Because of the cruelties your majesty has enacted against the native population and for the interests of our King, inheritor of the lands of Anjou, to his title in the Two Sicilies,” was the abridged version submitted to Emperor Carlos after Morning Mass that December 22nd 1529. The last the men in the Silent Room heard, was that the mountain provinces were ready and the Gulf of Lyon was victoriously controlled by the Armada. All it took now was the right moment to push into the plains and woods of southern France for the grand enterprise to begin.

    ---


    General Gonsalvo headed the initial foray of the line. He sent his men along the coastline of Roussillon keeping constant communication with the fleet offshore. His second army was directed by a young man from Santiago.
    “Saint Jago protect us,” he would pray as they marched. Little did he know how well the patron saint for which Santiago was named after would intercede for him and his men on this campaign. Ten thousand foot, seven thousand horse, and three contingents of cannons sailed in from Spanish Sicily made up his army. The parallel army moving up to Foix had similar numbers with about five thousand extra foot and horse. Another five thousand were along the Pyranees as a precaution to secure the line behind them. It was a month’s journey before they reached the southern French town of Perpignan and they found the French army awaiting their arrival.
    The first engagement was a route for the French. Simply outnumbered it was probably the reason they decided to make their stand near the city itself—they had planned to retreat into it until the brunt of the main French force arrived. For the next few months Gonsalvo made sure nothing went in or out of the city without his knowing. His parallel army had similarly surrounded Foix and they were making preparations for the inevitable French counterattack to relieve their garrisons. There was word that at least forty thousand were amassing in Limousine, Gascogne, and other provinces surrounding the siegers. Indeed, were it not for the supply line heading through the Pyranees it would have been a siege within a siege. But Gonsalvo knew the gravity of the situation well; he knew that a comparable French force was approaching from Bourbonnais. A war council was convened.

    “Let us redirect some of the troops from Foix over to us. If we are to survive the attack, we need more men,” one of the general’s lieutenants pleaded.
    The sense of desperation both excited and depressed the men in that tent. The rapid flickering of the candlelight seemed to highlight their mood.
    “We can’t spare it. With forty thousand along three corners over there and more coming in from Orleans every month we’ll be lucky they hold off from so many directions.”

    “Then we must ask for reinforcements from the King,” another lieutenant suggested. It had been on their minds the entire campaign.
    It was decided that Gonsalvo send a messenger to the men in the Silent Room for more troops. The letter denying the request would not return to Gonsalvo before the French began storming the perimeter at Narbonne.

    ---


    News of the attack reached the men of the Silent Room with a strange apprehension. The thickness of the stone laden walls seemed to double with the impact of the news that François ordered nearly forty five thousand men on two fronts into the Langeudoc-Roussillon front. Cardinal Ximenes coughed in the middle of the briefing given by one of the sword bearers of the Palace. The damp atmosphere was definitely showing in his health. Clerics working for the statesmen moved pinned pieces of cloth along the large field of map on the far wall adjusting the French positions as the report came in. As far as he could tell, Foix remained steady with only a few skirmishes here and there. The main attack was concentrated on the besiegers around Perpignan.
    “I don’t understand, why Perpignan? Foix would be more vulnerable with their three divisions,” a young nobleman obscured at the far edge of the table commented.

    The old cardinal stirred in his seat a little but calmly pointed towards the map.
    “With their right to the sea and their backs to the mountain, it would be hard to surround Gonsalvo’s army,” the old man began, “However, if it were taken before the garrison fell; the Army in Foix would be finished. And it is a much greater prize.”

    “Have we miscalculated putting so little troops with Gonsalvo?” the young one asked worrying that the explanation unraveled their plan.
    The old Cardinal would have grinned if he was still younger.



    Interlude


    The television sparkled with unusual alacrity as the evening programmes began their usual roll. Tom placed his notebook aside and flipped the channels that May evening hoping to catch a glimpse of something to watch. His notebook was covered in frantic scribbles of rectangles with Xs and squares with slashes down the diagonal. There were two different colours nonetheless, yellow and blue. There had been pencil marks as well, pointing with different arrows, the moves old Gonsalvo made when he had pushed the French cavalry into the woods where his infantry was waiting, or the French counterattack near the walls of Perpignan allowing the garrison to sally out in one final attempt to recapture the situation. But the defensive position proved the better of the French line and Tom kept erasing and redrawing the arrows from each block trying to find a legitimate victory for the French against this Spanish general steeped in the Military Traditions of Alexandria and the New World.

    He also noticed another variable- the sea battle that coordinated along with the attack. It was only supposed to be a distraction to draw the ships away from the coast, but it was still just as fatal. He shook his head more so in academic thought than in particular persuasion on the outcome of the battle. For him, this was only the beginnings of History. There was a long chain of events which would turn him inside out and make him truly ponder the state of the world and all the souls on it. He turned to the television again and ironically they were portraying the famous naval scene of the battle of the Gulf of Lyon. He laughed a little to himself as he sat back to watch the lights fill his eyes. The adventures of the Mediterranean Spanish captains were always an easy source of entertainment for millions all over the continent.

    “Captain, long range scope has detected incoming French vessels bearing zero eight three,” announced on of the galley men onscreen.

    “Raise the alert flag, condition red,” the Captain responded.

    Tom chuckled to himself. Naturally it was an entertainment recreation but he still pondered watching the modern actors giving today’s vernacular to an event over 400 years ago.

    “Did people actually talk like that?” he asked himself as he watched the Spanish captains approach the French flotilla.

    “Raise shields!” the captain called out to his subordinates.

    Immediately the galley men put up an extra parapet along the galley and started manning the posts along the holes. One of the lieutenants reported in shortly thereafter.

    “Shields up, weapons on the line, captain.”

    “Transfer the auxiliaries to the rows, give me full manpower!”

    Tom shook his head and turned off the viewer. There was enough misconstruction of History for tonight. Despite the victory at the Gulf of Lyon, it was never that ridiculous.

    “Speaking of misconstruction history,” he thought to himself as he glanced up towards the clock hanging on the living room wall. It was eight o’ clock and that means it was almost morning in the Old World. He smiled to himself and walked the short distance to his computer room, and—taking his seat—said hello to his friends just coming online on Brynhildr.net. Some were already talking to each other in charming yet broken Spanish.

    “I don’t care what you say, the Curia is BROKEN, why are countries like Lithuania getting it this early! It was mostly France and Spain and Italian minors because they were so powerful back then. They should get a bonus! And then Spain should continue to get bonuses as time goes on,” one typed emphatically.

    “I disagree, Hispania Universalis III is supposed to be dynamic, just because Spain ruled the Curia for so long doesn’t mean history can’t change!”

    It was these kinds of discussions that made Tom smile a little.

    Chapter II: The Spanish Curia (coming soon)
    Last edited by canonized; 29-05-2013 at 00:32.
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  6. #6
    Spectre of Battle grayghost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lost in the Void
    Posts
    2,564
    Blog Entries
    1
    Another great update. Your research is very good. My Latin isn't that good, so could you translate “Regimini Militantis Ecclesia.” Sounds like a military school to me, but I'm just guessing.
    Current AAR's: The Manchurian Candidate...on hold.
    Founder and charter member of The Warlord Club
    Fan of the week 02/26/07 & 06/04/07
    WritAAR of the week 03/12/07
    Character Writer of the week 07/15/2007
    Favorite AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    Favorite Narative AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    I was canonized on 03/18/2007 & canonized again 07/15/2007
    Honorary Fellow in the Tempus Society

    "Gold does not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold." Machiavelli

  7. #7
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888


    Chapter II: The Spanish Curia


    September 27, 1540

    The wax was dried and the bull was sealed. Although it was really signed much earlier, it was chosen to be today that this bull was to be formally promulgated. For all its importance, the event passed as if it was a normal bureaucratic day at St. Peter’s and the palaces alongside the basilicas in the Eternal City went about their daily business, but this parchment was what the dying Cardinal Ximenes had thoroughly wished to pass.



    At the age of 52, he was already too old to be living and he closed his eyes only a few days after this Ecclesial Legislation was put into action. It was then that the embassies and basilicas of that city started to bustle. A vacancy in the Curia was now available. Deep in a squalid corner of the city, however, poorer clerics were less distracted by the power play. Indeed, they were still mourning the death of their great benefactor and fellow Spaniard. These humble and poor clerics gave prayers for the late Ximenes’s soul and would talk to themselves about the miracle he had performed for them. It was a bittersweet moment for all of them, but the grieving turned to resolved gratitude. The first of them would start heading out immediately—to Morocco, to America, to France. Truly, it was a time for celebration for Cardinal Ximenes had succeeded in convincing Paul III to promulgate “Regimini Militantis Ecclesia.” Finally, they all thought, the Societas Jesu could finally go out through the world.

    ---


    The people in the Silent Room at the same time also felt a bittersweet moment. Their forty year hold on the Curia was now coming to a close—at least temporarily. They had first thought that their gains in the several French wars since the beginning of hostilities more than a decade ago would secure more Spanish Episcopal seats for the Pope to choose from. Unfortunately, despite the increase in Spanish bishops, it was checked by English ducats.

    “Why not simply buy them away from the English?” one of the silent ones spoke out in that fortress-within-a-palace. “We certainly have the gold to do it. Maybe cancel one of the fortification orders in southern France.”

    The commune was disturbed and at first the various men—both young and old—looked at each other inside that chamber as if the very notion brought embarrassment. The young man who asked the question, who was at first erect in his seat, slowly sank backwards cautiously. One did not speak lightly in the Silent Room.

    “You will excuse him,” a voice calling them to order sounded from the corner of that large table. A young man moved into the candlelight’s radiance, his handsome features somehow slightly familiar. “Lorenzo is new to this Room,” he added before turning to the bold young man with such bold ideas. “Whatever the other nations ply as their tactics or how certain Curial appointees react can hardly be controlled even by the resources of this chamber, but it is for certain that we ourselves do not attempt to corrupt the cabinet of His Holiness.”

    The explanation was terse, but it was given lightly—almost arrogantly. Certainly this Chairman is more youthful than the late Cardinal who presided over them previously.

    “For now,” he continued, “we will move on with the plan. Despite the loss of the Curia, we have gained the Society of Jesus—they will be a powerful ally in staunching the spread of Luther’s ideas in France.

    It was at that moment that the chamber’s luminescence flickered anew and the young Chairman stood up to a wall with an impressive map upon it—it was certainly a replica of the already well used map of the known world on the opposite side of the room, but this one did not only show the various borders of the realms but, in a sinister blue colour, highlighted the spread of the Reformation. The servants had now lit candles almost on cue to their leader’s movement.

    “As you can see, although our forces have captured most of the territories south of the Loire over the past ten years, the spread of heretics increases in areas such as Champagne, Picardie, and Normandie. At this rate, our experts estimate that the heresy will occupy over forty percent of the remainder of France within ten years… including Paris.”

    “That’s not giving us much time…” one of them called out from the table.

    The young man at the map seemed to pause momentarily before resuming the briefing as if ignoring the question.

    “It is clear therefore, that we have two choices. Either we end our current war and wait for the next to roll around to take the remainder of the French territories piecemeal, or we begin the process of… Unification.”

    The table suddenly erupted in heated discussion. Naturally, despite them having the ability to force the French people to submit to the Spanish crown, they had not thought that it would eventually lead to the unification of the lands. After all, it only worked with Aragon because of the Marriage between their glorious monarchs and the relative closeness in cultures, but how could they fully assimilate a large and almost alien nation into their own.

    “That’s impossible!” one of them suddenly exclaimed over the voices of the others—calming them by voicing their common sentiment. “Even if it were possible, the preparation and assimilation process would take more than ten years to complete—”

    “It will happen,” interrupted the young Lorenzo, almost forgetting the admonition he received earlier. “We have no other choice. In about fifteen years, the eldest daughter of the Church will fall into Protestant hands. With the support of the Jesuit—”

    “Do not call them that,” another person in turn interrupted him this time cutting everyone around the wooden table into a tense standstill. Who did this boy think he was? Everyone knew that calling someone a Jesuit was saying they used the name of Our Lord too often or appropriated it for their own gain. Was he one of those detractors who called the members Jesuits as part of their arguments against the formation of the order? Poor Lorenzo, it would be decades before the term would lose its bad connotations.

    “Nonetheless,” the Chairman called out from the well lit wall, “Lorenzo is correct. With the Society of Jesus ready to take in the provinces we will be acquiring, this merger will be the fastest way of halting the spread of the Heresy.”

    There was a residual murmur but the atmosphere began to enter a calmer evaluation of the proposition. The young president stood at the wall letting the veterans of the room talk amongst themselves for a while. It was a usual occurrence in the Silent Room, the various ‘experts’ would huddle amongst themselves and discuss almost informally until the presiding minister would call them to attention. It was a chance the young chairman took to bring Lorenzo aside.

    “So how is your first day in the Silent Room, Lorenzo?” the handsome chairman asked at a far corner of the room. It was almost an arrogant question—like he was showing a childhood friend how much better his toys were.

    “I don’t think I belong here, Francisco,” was the answer Lorenzo gave. Despite the shaken look of the young man, his arrogant friend seemed to grin—what a familiar grin someone may have said.

    “We have lots to do, Lorenzo. Most of these men are older, they don’t think like we do. I suppose it’s why my father chose you to help me as I assumed this role.”

    “Your father?”

    It was as if Francisco Jimenez had been baiting that question all day.

    “Why yes!” he replied raising his eyebrows in a pompous fashion. “I thought you knew that the Late Cardinal was my father. He had my last name transliterated to Jimenez to make sure it wasn’t obvious to most people. And now that you’re part of the Silent Room, I can finally tell my old friend the truth.”

    “But…” Lorenzo started, “He was a—So that means—”

    At this point Francisco shook his head—he once again had his friend at a disadvantage.

    “You think too two dimensionally, my friend. My father was indeed as chaste and celibate as Saint Francis for whom he named me after. But you forget, no one is ever born wearing the crimson garb of the martyrs.”

    Lorenzo could only look at this friend with newfound astonishment, his eyes wide at the state secret, but Francisco was looking back at his group of thinkers eagerly writing down notes as they progressed in their work—what he was distracted with was immediately made clear to Lorenzo.

    “My mother died after giving birth to me,” Francisco started, “and after I became 16 and could fend for myself in the palace, my father decided to become a priest. In a sense, just as he married Holy Mother Church, so too did she really become like my mother…”

    “Is that why you want to stop the heresies, Francisco? To pay back your mother and father?”

    It was a strange question, or perhaps just more candid than anything Francisco asked himself. He merely smiled to his curious friend.

    “I suppose, but it’s more than that. The men in this room represent the future of the world, Lorenzo. Here together we are trying to do where the Roman Empire before us failed. But we have the benefit of learning history. We have the ability to finally unite the human family in a way that was never before thought of since times of Antiquity. Not just for the Church, but for España. Plus, we have unfinished business in France.”

    “Unfinished business?”

    “Yes. Especially in Southern France where Templar and Albigensian activity in the past were so focused on. My father was intent on finding and securing the secre—”

    Their moment was suddenly disturbed as one of the Sword Bearers of the palace came running down the hidden staircase.

    “What is it?” Francisco asked over Lorenzo’s shoulder as the other young man turned to face the messenger.

    “My Lords, I have grave news from the Lisboa.”



    Interlude


    Tom finished his almost nine hour Hispania Universalis III session with great satisfaction. It was only one of several that he enjoyed participating. This particular session was a mid-16th century scenario. He had played as Portugal. His penchant for experimenting with alternate histories on the game influenced the outcome of this scenario as well. Everyone knew that historically Portugal had launched a surprise attack on Spain shortly after the latter solidified the personal union with France, but just as he knew the historic beginning he knew the historic outcome—that backstabbing that alliance lead to the vassalization of Portugal itself in crushing defeat. Instead, he cleverly maintained the alliance with Spain forcing her to deal with a grand trading power and making Spain suffer the stability hit if she wanted to stop Portugal from colonizing and materializing the world.

    “Not bad for playing an Iberian minor,” one of his friends had told him.

    “I know,” another joked casually, “Portugal usually gets gobbled up so early. It’s so much more fun playing as one of the majors like Bohemia or Savoie.”

    Tom left it at that, it was already almost morning but he didn’t care. One of the reasons why HUIII was so addictive was the fluid and easy multiplayer engine they used. Indeed, the multiplayer aspect was so well developed by the game producers that he didn’t mind paying the extra ten dollars. Before the upgrade, the game kept glitching whenever he tried to access Brynhildr.net for a game. Nonetheless, he got himself ready for school. It would be an easy day after the tests, he thought to himself.

    ---


    As Tom entered his homeroom class in St. Ignatius of Loyola High School, his glazed expression caught no surprises. Most everyone was still staying up late preparing for other exams that they had to take; lucky for Tom he was all finished. The brightly lit classroom was at the end of a long hall. His school, much like others around Southern California, was composed of separate one-hall buildings connected to each other like organelles in the cellular grounds of the campus—each working its own function for the greater education of everyone. The nucleus of this building block of education was, naturally, the church and its adjoining offices. It was to there that Tom’s homeroom teacher told him to report to.

    He had almost forgotten about it—his paper would have been reviewed over the weekend by now. And this was most certainly related to that. Perhaps that’s why he stayed up all Sunday evening playing Hispania, he wanted to forget that today he faced, what he believed, would be censure from the conservative administration. His independence—or was it arrogance?—brought him to this situation, and now he had to go through with it.

    ---


    He didn’t stay long outside of the offices of Rev. Francisco Xavier. He looked at his pallid complexion on the window pane next to him; his straightened auburn hair was beginning to curl again in the California spring. He was sure Father Xavier was going to reject his essay. Indeed, he could imagine him now with his thick glasses and partly bald head both glistening in contempt as the accusations rolled from his tongue.

    “Come in,” suddenly interrupted the martyr’s train of thought. When tom looked up, Father Xavier had already turned around to walk back to his desk—he couldn’t tell if he was frowning but Tom was sure he was.

    When they both sat down across from each other, Tom’s eyes noticed his paper opened to his essay on the desk. Nothing else graced the unusually Spartan mahogany work table of the counselor-priest. There was the usual Icon of the Theotokos and crucifix, but no other business except his own—as if his paper alone was set before Jesus and Mary on that crucible of a table.

    “Father… I…” he almost began to start.

    “I read your essay personally, Tom,” Father Xavier interrupted. It was then that Tom looked up at the priest’s face. For a man of about 42, Father Xavier kept his hair—the parts left of it—in a tidy fashion. His glasses hugged the regular sized frame of his head with fastidious faithfulness as if at any moment they might “fall from face.” “I wanted to let you know that I would like to publish it.”

    Tom’s eyebrows rose almost at the same time that the wind escaped his lungs in a silent slump. Surely, he thought to himself, his paper was blasphemous. His chain of events noted that without the capture of Perpignan, the spread of Protestantism would have changed world history forever.

    “It’s a great piece, and I called you in today because the deadline to submit new essays is this afternoon and I wanted to get your permission before I courier this over to the publisher,” continued Father Xavier, a smile just now being noticed adorned the priest’s middle aged face.

    “A great… piece?” Tom startled.

    “Oh yes,” Father Xavier nodded almost sagely as he gave that guttural response. “It shows adept knowledge of cause and event affecting History. Not only that but it was certainly entertaining! The Huguenots, for example, and the Defenestration of Prague. It was certainly a grim reminder of the dangers of religious warfare, but that’s what also makes it important! So would you be alright if we published this in the local journal?”

    Tom was still absorbing the information. Maybe Father Xavier didn’t know he was a Protestant? Did he understand that he was writing a history where the “enemies” of his faith triumphed at least on equal footing with the dominant Church for generations? Or maybe… maybe this was what tolerance meant? Was he so steeped in his own prejudice that he couldn’t recognize sincere tolerance when he saw it?

    “Sure,” Tom finally managed and Father Xavier went on afterwards as Tom simply retreated into his thoughts—both relieved and puzzled.

    ---


    On his way back to class he glanced again at the card Father Xavier gave him. It was the publisher’s card and apparently he was a friend of the counselor-priest. He looked at it as if it was a ticket on a grand cruise, feeling the edges to make sure the cheap laminate was real. Robert J. McDonald was the name given on the card. For a moment he nearly smiled, finally letting some pride escape before turning into his building, pocketing the card in his front pocket as if it were an amulet, protecting his essay from the invisible prejudice he thought existed.

    “Where are you going so happy go lucky today?” a voice suddenly giggled into being behind him. Tom recognized the author immediately and turned around dramatically.

    “Your Imperial Majesty,” Tom quipped almost laughing in return giving a pitiful nod as his bow.

    “Damn right, your majesty. I would have had you last night if I had twenty more ducats to bribe Silesia.”

    “I don’t think so, Rodrigo, I could have just taken it as quickly. Having the National Trade Policy National Idea really does give me a lot of cash on hand to thwart your plans.”

    Rodrigo still grinned back at Tom. Rodrigo had been a worthy adversary on HUIII for a while now, but the both could not have been any more different, but it was almost in a poetic fashion. Rodrigo’s beach-tanned skin made him one of the more handsome in their graduating class whereas Tom was only a few shades from the colour of milk. Tom’s auburn curls met in opposition with the longer curved blondeness of Rodrigo. Some would say these were the roots of their polarity. One was an Aristocrat, the other a Plutocrat. One favoured the Ocean, the other, the land. Either way, they met in a clash of civlizations, but that’s what kept their friendship fresh.

    “Ahh well,” began Rodrigo, “I’m sure those Germans will get around to crowning me Emperor.”

    Tom relaxed his playful grin into a friendly smile as they prepared to depart for different classes. “Of course, Your Imperial Majesty. Maybe you should be Spain next time and get the Emperorship by accident.” And he let off a small laugh before walking off.

    Of course Tom was exaggerating in his History. Spain worked hard to get the Emperorship. And Rodrigo knew intimately well how.

    Chapter III: Spanish Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (coming soon)
    Last edited by canonized; 03-08-2011 at 01:43.
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  8. #8
    Spectre of Battle grayghost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lost in the Void
    Posts
    2,564
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks for the background. I'm Catholic, and I like to think well versed in church history and lore, but you never know to much to learn something new.
    Current AAR's: The Manchurian Candidate...on hold.
    Founder and charter member of The Warlord Club
    Fan of the week 02/26/07 & 06/04/07
    WritAAR of the week 03/12/07
    Character Writer of the week 07/15/2007
    Favorite AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    Favorite Narative AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    I was canonized on 03/18/2007 & canonized again 07/15/2007
    Honorary Fellow in the Tempus Society

    "Gold does not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold." Machiavelli

  9. #9
    Excellent AAR. Very creative and well done. An enthralling read to be sure.

  10. #10
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888


    Chapter III: Spanish Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire


    January 18, 1557

    For the man gazing upon the map wall in that Silent Room, the past seventeen years had taken its toll on the once pristine piece of artwork. The scrapings of past colouration still lingered as workers every few years were brought in to update the latest happenings of all the invisible lines of ownership in the world.

    By then, Sweden and Norway were almost disappearing in the weight of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

    Lithuania and Poland were two halves of an unfinished circle spanning all of Northern Germany from Friesland and rounding through Poland’s native land onto the other terminal of the unfinished circuit near Pskov and the Baltic Sea.

    Bohemia spanned middle Germany as well as its native lands resembling a large fish trapped in the middle of the continent. Austria dominated the rest of the lands north of the Alps and bulged out like the end of an ant around the Carpathian Mountains and resting its rump insultingly on the Danube border with the Ottoman Turks. The Netherlands still remained in Austrian hands and communications was secure between the Low Countries and Vienna through a healthy alliance with Bohemia who stood in between.

    Everything south of the Alps with the exception of Modena, Rome, and the Two Sicilies was controlled by a behemoth Venice who colonial empire even now began challenging the south coast of Brazil. England too felt itself comfortable to have completely monopolized the emerald isle and the lands of Scotland with the exception of the Free City of Edinburgh—the last Scottish stronghold. Aside from Scotland, it seemed that Denmark and Silesia were the only city-states left as well, relegated to minimal independence amidst all these intense neighbors.

    To finish off the European family portrait was Spain. Her golden colouration on the map spanned from Artois, down the Rhine and then Saone rivers all the way to the Peninsula and to its vassal of Portugal. The map also flew the cross of St. Andrew over the forts of Apulia and Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, Alexandria, and—naturally—the lands of Mexico and the Incan mountains. Half the islands of the Caribbean, the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico, and halfway up the East North American coast sprang a chain of colonial settlements that all bore the flag of that Kingdom. Her mission was halfway complete—for half the day, the sun would not set on her glorious lands.

    The now more experienced man touched the portrayal with his fingers as if making the grasp of temporal power more real to him just by feeling the gold dust rub off on his fingertips. His touch found strange places just recently scouted—China, Japan, and the East Indies. He caressed it like one would the cheek of an exotic princess.

    But something caught the eye of the man, it was another hand gently grasping upward only being able, however, to touch the upper tip of Madagascar. He looked down with a smile and saw to his approval the enthralled grin of a young boy.

    “Good, my son, good,” he gently whispered.

    ---


    It was at the same time that Lorenzo, now almost two decades older, stood atop the battlement at Avignon, leaning almost pensively at the stone cold merlon. It was, naturally, a cold wind that afternoon but all the better to have a nice glass of Burgundy. After all, he was in the region for it. The sun would be setting soon.

    “Preparations are ready, sir,” someone from behind entered.

    “Good,” Lorenzo replied without looking away from the horizon. “Once we receive word of the Italians joining with the Bohemians and Austrians, we should focus on them first. Have the generals prepare a solution to push us all the way to the Alpine Mountains. We’ll force the Doge to recognize us as legitimate Emperor first.”

    The aged Lorenzo didn’t even notice the lieutenant leaving his presence after receiving those orders. Despite the fact that he had nearly 100,000 men spanning the length of the former French border with the other major powers of Europe seemed to matter less and less as he went deeper into his thoughts. That is not to say that he did not meticulously plan these operations for his master back in the Silent Room. All the men in that chamber knew that once the unification process was finished with France, none of the other powers would stand for an all-powerful Spain.

    “The Armada in the Dover Strait will hold the British,” he said offhandedly to himself, his finger toying with the brim of his wine glass. “We will hold the Rhine and Saone…” His eyes seemed to narrow, his recapitulating train of thought being eroded by those deeper thoughts that were distracting him. “…and forty thousand here and twenty thousand mercenaries in Modena will sweep through Venice…” The sun continued to set in his sight, and his eyes narrowed at the shining horizon. “…Austria after Venice…” as the minutes passed in between his words, the world seemed to get narrower as he burned his gaze against the burning horizon. “Then we shall crown our King Emperor of the –”

    Finally his words stopped. He had a silent epiphany that almost had the effect of giving him a stroke. A soldier patrolling at the bottom of the castle nearly called out an attack as the wineglass shattered close to him; that object having left the now frozen fingers of Lorenzo.

    “So that’s why you’re doing this, Jimenez!” he finally said with jolted conviction nearly convulsing his entire body. “That’s why you needed this land first!” came the second ejaculation.

    His eyes were wide now. The sun was about to set behind the golden field of Southern France—Yes Southern France, he thought. The land where the Cathars and Templars left their—Yes! It all made sense to take Venice and Austria too. We needed the Imperial Title to open it! Jimenez was right all along!

    He nearly laughed. He saw the treasure ahead of him seem to be reflected by the gold-orange shift of the setting globe. After all, he was looking West for the setting of the sun, not East towards the immediate struggle of Venice.

    ---


    April 23, 1565

    The delegates almost overflowed outside of the Cathedral of Bologne where the Spanish King was being crowned by Pope Paul IV. Despite the pageantry of the occasion, there were a few individuals not in attendance.

    Within a cloistered building not far from the Cathedral, stood Duke Jimenez and his trusted lieutenant Lorenzo. Unlike the damp and abstemious nature of the Silent Room, this chamber was rich in the crème de la crème of renaissance accoutrements. The cushioned seats were provided, of course, for their guests.

    “Thank you for coming, gentlemen,” began Francisco. “It’s been a long time, especially between me and Sir Roman General.”

    “So it has, Janus.”

    The delegates always worked this way, it seemed. In their closed-door meetings they had different names for each other. No matter what generation, the delegate from Spain had always been called Janus, for example, since somewhere in the 1450s. The Roman General was the Austrian Eminence. This was a meeting of… kindred spirits.

    “I’m sure you understand your obligation now that our King is the Thrice August—”

    “Oh stop that,” The Roman General interrupted. “Byzantium is gone.”

    It elicited a grin from Francisco. Only the Byzantines were supposed to use Thrice August. The petty Western Imperial pretenders were only Semper Augustus, it seemed. The joke, apparently, was an old one between these two delegations.

    “Nonetheless,” The Roman General conceded, “I suppose this is why we chose to play this little game. You’ve certainly earned it.”

    An assistant procured a box from behind him. The emblem of the double headed eagle was emblazoned in brilliant gold upon the top of the domed container. It was presented onto the table in front of Lorenzo and Francisco.

    Lorenzo was the first to approach it, and, touching it lightly with only enough force to prop the top open for his master to see, paused in a momentary trance.

    “The timepiece is ours. Now only the keys remain.” Francisco confirmed behind the familiar grin.

    “The other keys won’t be as easy to get,” admonished The Roman General as he stood up with his friends. The guards that had now just been almost furniture at the sides of the room stood up in attention. “The English fleet is notoriously difficult.”

    “That’s nothing for you to worry about,” replied Francisco, “especially now that I’m forcing you into retirement.”

    The reply was almost a bitter reprisal. He should know his place. Or perhaps it was just the thoughts of a war weary soul. Ten years of fighting just to inch their way into making the rulers of Venice, Austria, and Bohemia subservient to the King of Spain. Fifty years, Francisco thought as his old adversary left the chamber. Fifty years before the center of Europe would be… Unified as well. After all, it didn’t seem as if the monarchs of these nations were doing anything to staunch the Reformation. Spain would have to once again champion the faith herself.

    But The Roman General was right; the English navy sat in the port of Essex ready for action as well as having scattered squadrons around the world along their colonies.

    “Francisco,” Lorenzo called out as the box was shuffled away by servants.

    “What is it?” Francisco responded from behind the reverie.

    “I’ve received word from our admirals. We’ve engaged the English navy.”

    “In the Dover Straits?” Francisco asked with some anxiety.

    “Yes,” Lorenzo answered but took a breath and continued, “As well as off the coast of Tortuga, The Cape of Good Hope, and I’ve received word that an allied navy from Ceylon has engaged our expeditionary fleets trying to pass to the East Indies.”

    Francisco looked at the gold gilded box being taken away from the room before giving a grave look at Lorenzo.

    “Make sure that arrives in Avignon by carriage. Don’t let it go near the English fleets.”



    Interlude


    Tom’s weekend came sooner than he imagined although he wasn’t complaining. However, after long nights playing sessions of HUIII, he was ready for the respite. In his middle-class home, he rested on his bed not even bothering to have taken off his shoes after arriving from school that Friday afternoon. They had a half day so he was home early by two hours so his parents had not yet returned from their day jobs. His father worked at the local law firm as an associate. Tom vowed not to emulate the job choice his father made. He had spent only ten minutes inside the firm once and he realized that the environment in there was probably why his father was losing most of his hair. His mother worked mornings like this at the library. It didn’t pay much but she said she only did it as a service to the community.

    The television in his room gave him something to vegetate with before some sleep would kick in. At least that was his plan. Spanish sea captains were showing re-runs again. This time it was during the great 16th century sea battles with England. This particular episode was about some far off Sea Explorer miles from a friendly port trying to pass through the strait of Ceylon.

    “It’s been almost a year now since we abandoned the twelve colonies in the Philippines,” the Commander stated to the audience. Naturally it was a dialogue only in his head. “We’re trying to make our way to the thirteenth colony to regroup but the surprise attack left us with only this battleship and the various survivors from the twelve colonies in a fleet following us.”

    “Commander, Ceylon Base-Ship along the coast,” one of the lieutenants said to the commanding officer. “They’re launching raiders!” he added as multiple smaller vessels were now making their way with fierce tribal warriors commanding the oars towards the small wayward flotilla.

    “Signal the fleet!” the Commander boomed as heavy drum music highlighted the situation. “Tell them to get to the starboard side of Galact—”

    The dialogue was suddenly interrupted by Tom’s cell phone erupting in a Christmas tree of colours and sounds. He reached over from his slump on his bed to answer it.

    “Hello?” he asked into the small microphone.

    “Hi there, is this Tom Royce?” asked the almost enthusiastic voice on the other side.

    “Yeah, who’s this?”

    “This is Robert McDonald, the publisher,” was the reply.

    “Oh yeah! Hi!” Tom replied suddenly sitting up against his headboard. The muted television was now fully turned off.

    “Hi, well I was calling to see if you could come to see me sometime. I read your essay and I wanted to also ask you a few questions and maybe put that in the journal as well.”

    Tom almost felt light headed but more so out of the fatigue of the past week.

    “Sure! When would you like me to come over?”

    “How about tomorrow 8pm?” One could almost hear the pen scraping paper as Mr. McDonald wrote down the appointment.

    “Sure I’ll be there.” Tom assured as if it was an opportunity ready to slip away.

    “Great see you then!” was the final statement before the click. It would have seemed almost rude but Tom was thinking more of the strange luck he’s having this week.

    ---


    Mr. McDonald still had his hand on the phone after having put it back down onto the receiver. He was staring at his hand at the same time. He was a middle aged man and slightly stocky, but for some reason he seemed somewhat disarming. Like a better kept John Candy. He stared again at the phone for a while before looking up at his door and at the secretary tapping away at her computer.

    “Linda!” he called out more so in urgency than in any anger.

    A tall curly haired woman walked into his office.



    “Yeah? What is it, Bob?” she asked, her Brazilian accent was a heavy one, but it was mostly charming.

    “Get me everything you know about this kid,” he said and simultaneously held up a copy of the high school’s record on Tom Royce complete with an image.

    Linda didn’t ask questions, she simply took the paper and teetered away on her high heels. Normally Robert McDonald would have watched his secretary walk outside without her watching, but this time his focus was on papers strewn around on his desk. Naturally, there was Tom’s essay, but there was also a copy scribbled with his own writing. He had circled certain words in the essay.

    He scanned his editting once again and then glanced at the reference material he had brought up. A box was opened to his right with the label “Perpignan Murders” written on the side. He moved the box slightly revealing the mess of papers he had underneath it. One was of a strange photograph—an old black and white of something that looked like a small box with a dome for a top. Some kind of ornament was taken from the top of it, probably stolen in all the confusion of the Great War but it still left an imprint on the velvet coating: an afterimage of a double headed eagle.

    He put that photo next to the copy of the essay and glanced at each piece back and forth as if following some strange connect the dots between the two documents. He quickly took hold of his pen and a notepad he had on his left. He crossed out a few things on the pad: “Paris, Vienna, Venice, Prague.” There was one left untouched by his pen: London.

    Chapter IV: The Siege of London (coming soon)
    Last edited by canonized; 05-07-2009 at 19:12.
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  11. #11
    Spectre of Battle grayghost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lost in the Void
    Posts
    2,564
    Blog Entries
    1
    “Commander, Ceylon Base-Ship along the coast,”
    Okay, that was fricken funny.

    Good stuff in the beginning, but the stuff at the end is what now has my head spinning. You are doing a good job of keeping what I now percieve as multiple plot lines going. The writing was excellant.
    Current AAR's: The Manchurian Candidate...on hold.
    Founder and charter member of The Warlord Club
    Fan of the week 02/26/07 & 06/04/07
    WritAAR of the week 03/12/07
    Character Writer of the week 07/15/2007
    Favorite AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    Favorite Narative AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    I was canonized on 03/18/2007 & canonized again 07/15/2007
    Honorary Fellow in the Tempus Society

    "Gold does not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold." Machiavelli

  12. #12
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888
    Quote Originally Posted by grayghost
    Okay, that was fricken funny.

    Good stuff in the beginning, but the stuff at the end is what now has my head spinning. You are doing a good job of keeping what I now percieve as multiple plot lines going. The writing was excellant.
    Haha, thanks . I promise everything will get clearer as the story progresses . Unfortunately I will warn readers that it may also get murkier and darker before it gets clearer. Hopefully not confusing . Think of it as .. mystery ! If you have any questions feel free to ask , I'll edit the story if there's something too vague . And thanks again for your patronage !
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  13. #13
    Spectre of Battle grayghost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lost in the Void
    Posts
    2,564
    Blog Entries
    1
    Nah, it wasn't that is was too vague, it was what it implied that had my head rotating like Linda Blair.
    Current AAR's: The Manchurian Candidate...on hold.
    Founder and charter member of The Warlord Club
    Fan of the week 02/26/07 & 06/04/07
    WritAAR of the week 03/12/07
    Character Writer of the week 07/15/2007
    Favorite AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    Favorite Narative AAR HOI1/2 Q2 2007
    I was canonized on 03/18/2007 & canonized again 07/15/2007
    Honorary Fellow in the Tempus Society

    "Gold does not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold." Machiavelli

  14. #14
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888
    I'll try to see if I can get some personal webspace going so that I can start uploading pictures as well . Any suggestions on good reliable places ?
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  15. #15
    Corporal Kelendor's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    37
    well i must say, this is a most excellent AAR, both gamewise (doing very well ), and writing wise. well done indeed! i cant wait for the next episode, and i especially like the movie style hang at the end there!

    btw im playing spain now myself (started castille), and i have to say, easiest country for world domination any day! its not even 100 years on and i have fully colonised north and south america with no other european interference, and the carribbean! definatly a fun country to play, and a great country to read AARs about!

  16. #16
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888


    Chapter IV: The Siege of London


    June 30, 1566

    Francisco peered through the spyglass anxiously awaiting the final signal fire on that dark midnight horizon to be lit.

    “Come on…” he whispered.

    His companions were similarly gazing out into the dark blue horizon along that northern battlement of Calais. The harsh winds and current of the Channel in front of them seemed to calm in as much anticipation as they.

    Lorenzo apparently couldn’t stand the quiet blurting, “Alessandro surely would have landed by—”

    “Shh! I see it!” Francisco’s words were hardly spoken when they all turned their attention to a single orange beacon emanating from the dark shore. The moment was spent in almost quiet admiration and respect, but was cut short by the snap of the spyglass into its compressed form.

    “Don Miguel, send word to the fleet to retreat. Tell the ports along the French coast to be ready to receive them,” Francisco barked out immediately.

    “Understood,” came the reply as the lieutenant rushed down the battlements. As the soldier exited, all eyes seemed to have followed his movement as he rushed to the group’s right, but their gaze was slightly higher than the battlement. Indeed in the tense aura of the moment, one almost forgot that just a few leagues to the east, the Spanish Armada was exchanging desperate volleys with the English Navy.

    “All our hopes are with Alessandro now,” Lorenzo sighed outward.

    “Yes,” responded Francisco, but he turned to his comrade, “but we still have much work to do here if we are to sneak reinforcements across the channel again. Lorenzo, you must go now. You will head up the resources necessary for the Armada. Instruct them to hide carefully along the Bay of Viscaya.”

    Lorenzo nodded absently stealing a glimpse at the fiery blaze that was beginning to illuminate the distant North Sea north east of them, but he moved down the parapet obediently.

    Francisco also gazed at the burning of tar and wood a moment longer before also making his way down the parapet; the other men of his entourage followed him. Deep within the temporary headquarters of the Château de Calais, a strange dungeon enclosure was renovated. Indeed, the Silent Room was faithfully recreated in secret for these men to work within. Already within the dimly lit recesses of this cold chamber was a facsimile of the Grand Map back in Madrid as well as the various pinned flags of the English and Spanish flotillas.

    Francisco noted the flag of his monarch now being firmly attached on the edges of English Soil. Sussex would wake up tomorrow to find over twenty five thousand Spanish troopers.

    “Send word to General Hernandez, he is to move his division to Normandie,” Francisco called out; one of the many men in the room immediately began writing down his dictation. “Have him bring his thirty thousand men and Juan’s twenty thousand by the end of the second month for the second invasion force into mainland—”

    “My Lord, I’m afraid there’s been a change in the situation,” one of the men at the outer edge of the semi-circle of men formed around the map suddenly interrupted.

    Francisco turned towards him slightly puzzled, his eyes asking for the explanation for him with a curious stare.

    “Ten hours ago, our garrison in Modena was attacked and thirteen thousand troops have massed near Lake Geneva. The Venetians have suspended their allegiance to our King and…” the poor man who just received the report seemed to shorten as he read the dispatch out loud “have declared open hostilities against our oppression of the sovereign nations of Europe…”

    Francisco almost grunted as he heard the letter. Immediately he looked back at the map where white robed silent ones were already quickly adjusting the positions of the Venetian flags pinned on the border with the Spanish border along the Alpine mountains and Rhone River. They also added the winged lion of St. Mark on top of the Spanish city of Modena.

    “Cancel my last command,” Francisco ordered frigidly. “Instead, order General Hernandez to proceed to the Venetian front immediately. Tell him to take Colonel Juan to relieve Modena and then move into Venezia.”

    The silent one took down the new command and rushed away to dispatch this latest order. Francisco could only look on before looking back up at the English isle. Alessandro was now alone in his task of subjugating the English King.

    ---


    October 21, 1566

    General Alessandro de Gutierrez had just finished his final inspection of the trench line surrounding the city of London. After having landed a few months before, he had made a secret crossing of the Thames to effectively shut out enemy movement on either side of the river before enclosing on the City. He had fought two major engagements on English soil. Both with the minimalist English army retreating in full force, but the main problem now arose as the tower walls of the city of London.

    Reinforcements were supposed to arrive ten days ago, but the only word he received from the mainland was that none would come. He would need to control the situation in England himself and force the King to become one of his monarch’s many subservient vassals.

    Of his twenty five thousand troops, only about six thousand horse, four thousand foot, and five artillery divisions remained. He had built a massive chain to be pout across a narrow portion of the Thames and guarded by two of the artillery divisions. This was to keep Navy ships from interfering with the siege. The rest of his men formed a near concentric series of trench work around the city itself. He was working for the long haul.

    “General, all our men are in position and the advanced cavalry scouts have indicated that none of the adjacent divisions are in any position to challenge our siege line,” one of the lieutenants eagerly reported.

    “Despite their great navy, so long as we’re on English soil their army won’t be a match for ours,” another lieutenant enjoined.

    It did not change General Alessandro’s expression, however, as he looked at the map lain out before him. He had memorized the terrain within the city as well as outside in the two weeks they have been working to encapsulate the city. He could tell you where St. John’s Priory house was and how it was just north of Smithfield and St. Bartholomew or how Westminster Hall was just below the Whitehall where the Thames curved south.

    “Double the guard on the roads leading to St. Cile’s street. And see if you can get a spy into Baynard Castle,” he called out. One of the lieutenants dutifully nodded and took down the instructions by memory.

    A bustle was heard near the edge of the tent, a page had arrived for the General. A small piece of parchment was passed from the young man by the lieutenants to the studious general before he opened it noticing immediately the seal of Duke Jimenez at the top. He glanced at the paper carefully; one would say he read it twice.

    “Gentlemen,” he said to them, all of them focusing their eyes on his candlelight lit figure at the center of the tent, “we must take London within the week.”

    “The week?” one of the Colonels asked hurriedly. “But it would take months for starvation to—”

    “As of eighteen hours ago, the Spanish fleet was discovered off the coast of Navarra by the English navy. We expect English ships to arrive down the Thames by the end of the month.”

    There was a general commotion among the ranks present in the chamber.

    “How many are we expecting?” one of them asked anxiously.

    General Alessandro looked up at them while he tore up the parchment carefully in his hands. “We don’t know.”

    His response elicited another round of anxious commotion. “What are we going to do, General?”

    The bearded Stratego stroked the map in front of him for a moment, both eyes glued onto the flowing lines that represented the Thames. His gaze finally met them. “We will assault the city by the end of the week. But I have a special plan. You are only to tell the troops what they need to know. Tell them nothing about the fleet, is that first agreed upon?”

    They all gave a guttural affirmative. It was time for a miracle, and Alessandro was somehow confident.

    ---


    October 27 1566

    General Somerset sat quietly in a damp chamber somewhere underneath the Tower. There was a strange dimness to it, and the maps along the walls of this room with the various pinned flags of the nations of Europe made him feel slightly uneasy. He had not seen this room before. Nonetheless, beverage was offered to him.

    “And you’re sure we’re ready for an assault if it should come?” asked someone from across the table. Their visage was barely visible in the faint candlelight, the chilling voice permeating through the equally chilling atmosphere almost made the vessel the General was holding clamour with nervous sound.

    “Of course. We’ve managed to deplete nearly half their forces since they arrived, they would not wish to assault us anyway.”

    There was a sudden interruption of diffused light from the back of the chamber as the General finished his sentence.

    “I’m sorry to interrupt, your eminence but there is someone to see General Somerset,” a page called out from the now open portal.

    “Very well… we’ll talk later, General,” the voice again called out to him. The General was already getting up, he would take any opportunity to get out of that room.

    The man with the frozen voice leaned forward slightly into the candlelight as the General left, his face half obscured by the flickering shadow play it had on the curvature of his cheek and nose. Despite the disposition, his anxiety rose as the General left the room and he brought his hand up to his chest feeling at it as if calming a terrible pain. As he pressed down with his palm, the fabric arrested itself onto a hard object underneath the garb. It was in the shape of a key.

    As the General rushed up the stairs into the relative openness of the higher levels of the Tower he was lead into a waiting chamber where an anxious young sea captain was waiting to greet him.

    “General Somerset, it’s good to see you,” the younger one saluted. “I’m Lieutenant Lawrence working under Admiral Edwards. I’ve come to bring you excellent news.”

    “Well let’s hear it,” the General said without so many formalities as they both took a seat opposite from each other on a small table, the afternoon sun beginning to directly enter into the otherwise well hidden room.

    “The fleet is victorious in the Bay of Biscay, and we’ll be arriving back in two days time, two weeks earlier than expected. We managed to elude the Spanish scout vessels by going around the Hebrides. I was sent ahead to give you the news that we will be coming to your relief.”

    The eyes of the old greying general seemed to light up once again. Two days, he thought. The siege would finally be lifted in two days. It would be these same two days that the Spaniards were taking time to prepare their final attack.

    ---


    October 29 1566

    Colonel Manuel was the best infantry commander in the 2nd Army. He lead the decisive center division in the Battle of Breda a few years back which helped secure the entire Austrian Netherlands to Spanish occupation helping to expedite the vassalization process. He was now at the head of his men, advancing in the cover of darkness towards the Postern Gate. If his division could take the Tower, the rest of the city could be taken from that vantage point and it would be an effective barrier against any ship coming into the city by river. They had abandoned the chain downstream in favour of this gambit. The Colonel only waited for the signal.

    The English sentries patrolled the musky atmosphere atop their parapets. Anxiously awaiting their relief, few were asleep for this day of reckoning. The guards changing at nine o clock along the Aldgate was then interrupted by a barrage of cannon shells whistling through the air. The attack had begun.

    All five cannon divisions had been diverted to the South and fired northward into the city. The attack coming from the Southwark unloaded ordinance that the English had not seen yet. The sky was alight in explosive luminescence. The main army was now advancing to the London Bridge and mercilessly taking all of Southwark.

    The English response was to hold the opposite side of the Bridge as intense battle now began to ensue. Aside from the cannon barrages, men at arms and Tercio infantry met with English resistance on the Tower side of the Thames. As the intensity of the bottleneck increased, more English troops rushed to plug the walkway. It was time for Colonel Manuel to act.

    The veteran guard now charged the Postern Gate and overran the garrison there. They made their way around the Tower and began to attack the bridge defenders from behind.

    The expert discipline ignored the dangerous Tower looming before them in order to open a gap in the bridge-line. This was it! A flank attack from the East would mean that the bridge line would be in Spanish hands, London would soon fall.

    A warning shot boomed from the, until now, darkened lower sections of the Thames. A second and in that instant of a golden blemish of light from the cannon, the Cross of St. George appeared atop the ship. The English ships had arrived.

    At first the fighting seemed to dampen but then even the hard trained troops of Colonel Manuel began flooding back through the Bridge. It was a full retreat.



    The English troops soared into action chasing their bewildered enemies back down the London Bridge as the massive carracks burgeoned their way into the city. Nearly half the guard was now in full pursuit down the venues of Southwark as they chased their adversaries.

    It was then that the lead ship along the line entering the city crashed into the London Bridge and exploded with her entire ordinance. The ship and the Bridge now communed as a terrible fireball hurling into the sky. The English troops nearly collapsed forward in the wake of the explosion and countless windows across the city cascaded into tearful shards of glass.

    The second explosion now came from the Tower as the naval guns fired a broadside onto the battlements at point blank range. The Cross of St. George was ceremoniously exchanged for the Cross of St. Andrew and three marine divisions with General Alessandro at the lead now entered the city from the boats.

    The English guard divisions were trapped on the other side of the river as London Bridge was the only communication across the Thames and they found, to their surprise that their beaten and wounded adversary turned back into their lines to advance them. With the river to their back, and the re-formed Spanish ranks to their front, it was a massacre.

    ---


    December 22, 1566

    “Well done, Lorenzo. Or should I call you Lieutenant Lawrence from now on?” chuckled Francisco. They were both sharing Burgundy atop one of the English frigates. They looked on at the slowly recovering remains of London’s Tower.

    “I can’t take all of the credit, Francisco,” Lorenzo replied almost sarcastically, “it was your plan after all to lure the English Navy into the Bay of Viscaya with half the fleet hiding away. Being so far away from home port, they could never have gotten news back to London before I could bring some of the captured boats in here.”

    They both shared another drink and another silly smile as they looked at the busy workers. It was as if they were taking a vacation cruise these past few months. It might as well be since now England was a subsidiary land of Spain. The renovation of the Tower, after all, was funded by American Gold.

    “Do you think that thing would make for a good place to have another Silent Room?” quipped Lorenzo.

    “It already has one,” Francisco responded almost soberly, “But now that we have this nation’s Key, it won’t be needed.”

    Lorenzo gave Francisco an understanding look. “Your father’s work is almost done,” he let out in a friendly tone.

    “Oh no, Lorenzo, it’s far from done,” his friend replied with a smile.

    “But I think so,” Lorenzo quickly entered, “the War with Venice is almost complete. With them our King’s vassals again and THIS time we are faster in bribing them into an alliance, they won’t pose a threat again and we would be free to be masters; secure in our greatness forever especially now that we have the Five Keys and the Timepiece. We’re done!”

    Lorenzo gave Francisco quite the happy grin as if the years of his life would finally be spent in peace and relaxation.

    Francisco gave him a rueful laugh.

    “You think too three dimensionally, Lorenzo. But I suppose I can’t blame you. There are still three more keys to obtain as well as another timepiece.”

    Lorenzo’s forehead suddenly wrinkled hideously. His age was showing and this statement somehow made him feel and look older than he was.

    “What are you talking about? You told me there were only five keys and the timepiece. Italian, French, Spanish, English, and German and the Emperorship for the timepiece.” His eyes followed Francisco carefully, pleading with his body for an explanation.

    “He was not lying to you, ‘Lawrence’,” a chilly voice called out from the portal to the below decks. Both men turned to the voice and a figure clad in a monk’s habit emerged with two guards flanking him as escorts to make sure he would not escape.

    Francisco grinned again. “My friend, I would like you to meet ‘Hal.’”

    “Janus is correct when he tells you that there are only five keys and one timepiece,” was the chilled reply giving no heed to the jovial introduction by Francisco.

    Once again, it was that diplomatic talk. Apparently the English delegate is always known as “Hal.”

    “That doesn’t make any sense,” replied Lorenzo his eyes passing between the two men.

    “The ones we will go after next,” Francisco soothed his comrade, “will be the same keys and the same timepiece.”

    Lorenzo stared at his friend for a moment.

    “You mean the ones we have are merely copies?” he asked.

    Hal seemed to give a whispy chuckle. “You’re right, Janus, some people just think too three dimensionally.” Hal quietly exited back into the decks of the frigate; back to his retirement.

    Francisco merely gave Lorenzo an almost paternalistic look. “Don’t worry, Lorenzo. I promise in the end you will understand everything. For now we need three more. One we already achieved when we had previous control of the Curia; the other from our conquest of Alexandria. Three more to go and then to track down the timepiece.”

    “Where must we go to next?”

    Francisco gave another grin.



    Interlude


    “So my research tells me your family was originally from Beirut?” Mr. McDonald asked with a friendly chuckle attached.

    Tom sat across from him in his office. The table between them was a friendly obstruction, it wasn’t too small to be intrusive and wasn’t too big to make it seem like Mr. McDonald was a distant businessman with no interest in being a person. They were talking for an hour already, but Tom didn’t mind, he was just surprised someone wanted to talk to him about him or his essay at all.

    “Beirut? That’s going a bit far back,” Tom replied in surprise. It was actually ironic that Tom knew his family had originally been from there. Then again he was the one who wrote about it in his 8th grade class report on heritage. He had given a smashing presentation about how, after the Anglo-Spanish war ended, his once Catholic family in Beirut was liberated by Spain in the 1570s and 1580s paving the way for the capture of Jerusalem. It was probably that report that Linda dug up and gave to Mr. McDonald.

    “But yeah,” he continued, “from there our family relocated to Ireland where we met up with—”

    “Oh yes, that’s when your family converted to being Lutherans. My family’s from Ulster, actually. Most of my relatives were Protestants before the Jesuits came. Some of my older relatives used to talk about the Emerald isle as the Pearl of the Protestant West.”

    Tom watched Mr. McDonald carefully but at that story he almost felt more comfortable, a kindred spirit he thought? Maybe.

    “I read from your essay how if things had been just a little different, it would have been England that was Protestant and Ireland that was Catholic,” Mr. McDonald added. It was as if he realized he was going off on a tangent about himself; he wanted to drive the point back to Tom.

    “Oh yeah. I was just taking into consideration how the nobles in each side may have taken different National ideas with them.”

    Mr. McDonald nodded sagely as if he was a great historian hearing the testimony and theories of another great historian.

    “I also took the liberty of looking up your family’s coat of arms,” Mr. McDonald said. It was almost out of place, but it relevant enough to not raise too much suspicion. Mr. McDonald got up from his chair just enough to take a piece of paper down from a shelf and submit it with a smile in front of Tom.

    “Oh yes, I remember my grandfather showing me this a long time ago. I didn’t know someone keeps track of coat of arms these days,” Tom replied candidly with a smile while his eyes stayed on the image slightly enraptured.

    Mr. McDonald gave a smile back but just kept staring at the young man as in an almost contrived fashion. Of course, he almost thought to himself. Of course you would say that.

    “Could you tell me what the inscription says by the way? I’m afraid my Latin isn’t very good these days.”

    “Oh this?” Tom replied innocently pointing to the bottom of the image. “Of course, it says Augusta et Ierusalem. Well Augusta is like a title for an Imperial Lady and Ierusalem is just Latin for Jerusalem.”

    “Ahh, I thought as much,” Mr. McDonald replied with a smile. “Well thanks again for meeting with me today I’ll give you a call if I need anything else,” he said getting up from his seat.

    “Oh! No problem, thanks for talking with me,” Tom replied shaking Mr. McDonald’s hand. He then gave a polite smile and exited with even a nice goodbye to Linda.

    “Augusta and Jerusalem, huh?” Mr. McDonald whispered to himself as he took up the image. Maybe he really doesn’t know, the publisher thought. He placed the image back at the shelf next to his notebook, a notebook that had scribbled on it “Romans also called London by Londinium or Augusta.” He inserted the photo of the Royce family crest into the notebook and before closing the book, once again glanced down at the imagery of the crest: two twin keys.

    Chapter V: Jerusalem (Coming Soon)
    Last edited by canonized; 31-03-2008 at 04:33.
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  17. #17
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelendor
    well i must say, this is a most excellent AAR, both gamewise (doing very well ), and writing wise. well done indeed! i cant wait for the next episode, and i especially like the movie style hang at the end there!

    btw im playing spain now myself (started castille), and i have to say, easiest country for world domination any day! its not even 100 years on and i have fully colonised north and south america with no other european interference, and the carribbean! definatly a fun country to play, and a great country to read AARs about!
    Thanks for your patronage ! It's really fun to write and I hope that this method of retelling my story of world conquest will continue to be interesting to you and the others who read ! If anyone out there has any suggestions i'd be happy to entertain them .

    P.S. I'm still looking for a solution to get some images posted both screenshots and images I'd like to add for the sake of the other stories .
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  18. #18
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888
    Quote Originally Posted by Toltec
    Excellent AAR. Very creative and well done. An enthralling read to be sure.
    Thank you for your patronage ! I wanted to also give an update. I installed an Abstract at the top of the story to help any first timers get the gist of the format before delving into the first chapter right away . Hopefully it will help those interested in the story get to know it better without getting too overwhelmed . I apologize if I'm slow in responding to the wonderful comments . I've been busy trying to get images generated ! Thanks again !
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  19. #19
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
    200k clubHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    EU3 CompleteDivine WindHearts of Iron III CollectionHOI3: Their Finest HourHeir to the Throne
    March of the EaglesVictoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House Divided
    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    You might very well think that ; I couldn't possibly comment
    Posts
    5,888


    Chapter V: Jerusalem

    November 25, 1575

    The crack of the cannonball enjoined the chorus of ordinance over the skies and parapets of the third holiest city in Islam. The moments of blinding light glistened against the armour of the sea of Spanish Imperial troopers advancing upon the city’s walls. Hold High the Cross, shining like gold upon the sea of chaos. The Spaniards, reinforced with divisions taken from Italy and Austria, crashed into the scimitars and shields with fervor of half a millennium of resentment.

    Just a few hours earlier an eagle flying above would have rarely seen a more momentous occasion as, in that setting sun, the two monotheistic armies had converged there in the desert fields of the Sanjak district. The Ottomans here would face the disembarked Christian army.

    The Ottomans were arrayed in their usual formation, a crescent with cavalry divisions on either flanking side waiting the enemy advance whereas the Christian army formed a line of battle with an advancing cavalry column in the center and the artillery train directly behind the center. It was the meeting of Cross and Crescent just miles away from where the Kadosh Hakadashim used to be.

    Another eruption of light and flame tore away at a section of the Jerusalem wall now hours after the initial encounter. The surprised Turks in the region would have barely guessed that forty thousand Spanish troops were now storming their gates; the Sublime Porte barely heard the declaration of hostilities when the army of the Cross stepped off the Armada off the coast of Palestine and Lebanon; Forty thousand to take Jerusalem, thirty thousand to take Antioch; The Armada to cover their backs.

    In the midst of the struggle and chaos thirteen figures moved swiftly through a recently breached area where the guard had fallen back. Dressed as peasants, they entered the fray of disoriented denizens fleeing from the wreckage and dust.

    Their pace was swift, and they weaved through the crowded streets making their way to the barbican where the reserve guard was now holding back the waves of ladders rippling through the walls of the city.

    The thirteenth figure in the midst of the hooded persons motioned to the right and immediately three of the others went in that direction. The rest followed their leader to the rear portals of that fortification. They waited in the alley way huddled together in a mockery of the scared citizens.

    ---


    Outside, Antonio was rushing forward with his infantry corps. The siege ladders were slow in approach and fiery arrows and arquebus fire slowed their progress. Nonetheless he was followed by his men as he climbed past the bodies of fallen comrade and infidel alike and helped to lever the massive wooden constructions.

    He struggled hard against the ropes as the din of moving armour and clashing swords filled the air above him. His hands blistered against the coarse wood and the whistle of arrows and the shock of bullets flickered around him as often as the cannon light.

    Once his ladder was secure, he began the long ascent followed by many of his corps, the battle standards of Spain slowly rose against the will of those parapets. A quarter up the way, a flash and boom erupted above him and his grip failed before plummeting upon some of the mangled corpses of his comrades. A large explosion had just created a crater on the battlement a few meters above where he was just climbing.

    The temporary blindness and loss of hearing made the world a stifling dream for Antonio; it was an unreachable reality which kept spinning as his comrades helped him to his feet lest he be trampled by the rush of the storming troopers.

    “Sir, are you alright?” one of his comrades screamed out. It was like listening to someone speaking through a pillow for Antonio. The young man, however, did manage to give a nod to his condition. He managed to pick up a fallen comrade’s espada and followed them to another ladder.

    ---


    Within the assaulted walls, the companions covered their veiled ears at the sound of the explosive being set off. Their three friends had been successful in detonating an ammunition store. As men rushed from the nearby garrison and barbican to help repel the breach, the ten figures quickly moved against the rear doors of the Barbican, naturally lightly defended on this side of the battle.

    They dispatched the standing guard and shot a pistol bullet into the door’s lock. With a kick they rushed the unsuspecting soldiers within with drawn swords. Five of them engaged the various soldiers who now turned from their port holes to the intruding cloaked shadows. The other five including their leader made their way up the stairs to the next level.

    Hearing the noise below several officers including the Janissary on duty approached the staircase only to find the ascending intruders with swords drawn. Before even a question could be demanded, the commanding officer was dispatched with a bullet to the abdomen by the lead figure. The other four now advanced on the remaining officers of that level.

    The nine fighting on both floors were outnumbered and despite their superior fighting prowess would not last against the dozens of troops within that structure rushing upon them. It wouldn’t matter, their veiled leader sliced the ropes on the far corner of the room and the main gate of the city which the Muslims called Al-Quds was now forced open from the inside.

    A sudden roar was heard even from within the deep walls of the Barbican. It was the cry to Saint James; the Spaniards were rushing into the breach.

    ---


    December 25, 1575

    The thurifer passed by Francisco and Lorenzo swaying the thurible with great reverence allowing the frankincense and myrrh to permeate throughout the chamber of the oldest church in the Holy Land. It was, fitting, one would suppose. Francisco had always admired the Emperor Justinian and now he was celebrating Christmas Mass in the Church of the Nativity which that Emperor had rebuilt.

    Despite the Spanish control, there would be a Feast of the Nativity liturgy by the Orthodox clergy on their old calendarist date 13 days from now. There would be tolerance for all faiths in this Holy Land. The progressive ideas weren’t novel, either, but it did help to decrease the chance of an uprising. After all, the war was not yet over. After the invasion the Ottomans quickly sued for peace for the two provinces after several failed attempts. Francisco estimated that they were just buying time to consolidate their considerable forces in an attack after the treaty expires.

    For now, however, peace through domination reigned through the lands from Lebanon to the border with Gaza and the two middle aged men would enjoy this once in a millennium opportunity.

    Francisco felt the friendly touch of a hand on his shoulder.

    Lorenzo would not need to say any words. His hand communicated his admiration and comfort. They were too old for cocky youthful boasting of their victories. With a smile and pat they both stood up and prepared to move forward; to kneel and receive the Sacred Host at that Sacred Land.

    Antonio waited for his father outside of the Basilica after the Mass finished; his frilly costume did nothing to hide the obvious scarring he’d received during the conflict just a month ago. A scimitar had nearly cut his jaw off. All of the older nobles seemed to exit slower than someone as young and energetic as he. Regardless he awaited his father with almost a deep reverence.

    “Looking like your old man more and more, young Antonio,” came a voice exiting the portal of that basilica.

    “Sir Lorenzo,” Antonio started with attention before giving a low bow, “It’s good to see you.”

    Antonio’s greeting however was distracted by a sparkle of light blue behind the distinguished gentleman.

    “Oh,” Lorenzo let out, “allow me to introduce my daughter Isabella. I don’t think you two have met as of yet.”

    From behind the extended costume of Lorenzo stepped Isabella. With the advantage of the higher step on the staircase, that young lady seemed almost taller than Antonio before she curtsied politely at the young gentleman. Antonio was a bit slower to react but managed a bow in return, his eyes slightly lost in the sky coloured gaze of the young lady.

    “A pleasure to meet you,” Isabella greeted.

    “A pleasure,” Antonio responded more so out of the lack of words than rudeness.

    Isabella was a strange contrast to the young soldier. Her blonde locks almost curled in contrast to the straight and parted jet black hair of Antonio. Despite her pursed smile she bore a strong and slender jawline as opposed to the tanned face of Antonio—and the small scar where his jaw curves.

    “Ahh, what a wonderful liturgy,” came another voice from behind the others. Duke Jimenez was now descending the entrance to the others.

    “Father, took you long enough to come out,” was the smiling jibe of the young soldier.

    “Oh you know me, Antonio, I love seeing old places. I had to take a peek at the grotto before heading out,” he nearly chuckled back before stopping on the step his son was on. “Lady Isabella good to see you again,” Francisco bowed.

    “Thank you,” Isabella responded with a grin, “and congratulations on your crusade, Duke Jimenez.”

    Francisco nodded with almost a wisdom that was starting to show in his age. He was already pushing fifty. “Thank you. But everyone should be proud, we all worked to get this far. That’s why I’m so proud of you, my little Antonio.”

    Antonio gave a little chuckle a bit embarrassed at the tenderness of his father. One may have heard Isabella giving a little chuckle at that.

    “I heard you were almost hit by an explosion,” entered Lorenzo mixing teasing with admiration at the young lad.

    “Oh yes,” Antonio remarked returning a polite nod, “Some of father’s spies managed to explode an ammunition depot and open the gate. Talk about careless.” Antonio shook his head, his demeanor attempting to assuage his embarrassment of having nearly died such an ignoble death by placing the blame on others. “I’d love to get my hands around those agents’ necks. I could have done a better job.”

    The old men held in a little laugh. It was at this point that Isabella took a step downward toward Antonio.

    “I’ll make sure to tell my men to avoid you next time we have to liberate a city, Sir Antonio,” she said tilting her head to one side with a nod. With that, she wandered down the steps with a grin leaving poor Antonio with a flushed face.

    “You mean she’s…” Antonio asked looking at the two older men.

    Lorenzo nodded. “I suppose the tales of Lieutenant Lawrence really hit home with that one,” he explained.

    “If you two would excuse me…” Antonio said quickly bowing to them before scurrying off after the young lady perhaps hoping to make some apologies to his future spy master.

    “A bit cocky isn’t he?” Francisco said as Lorenzo descended to his stair.

    “Not unlike a young handsome man I used to know,” replied his friend.

    “I suppose. I’m glad they’re already hitting it off. It’s about time the two of us retire.”

    “Retire? What a dreadful thought.”

    “Oh come now, Lorenzo. It’s about time. We’re both too old for this. Let the young ones take care of the nation and the treasures now.”

    Lorenzo gave a nostalgic sigh as he watched from a distance his daughter and Sir Antonio talking to each other in Manger Square.

    “It won’t be easy for them…” Lorenzo started. The last key is in Constantinople and with the Sultan sitting on top of it like a mother hen…”

    “I know, my old friend, but they can handle it. Trust me.”

    They both began descending the stairway to their carriages.

    “So what are you going to do when you retire, Francisco?” Lorenzo asked as they boarded the coach.

    “Well… to be honest I’ve been thinking of writing…”

    “Writing? You really are getting old!”



    Interlude


    “In 1577, King Felipe II published ‘Assertio Absolutus’ or, in modern Spanish, ‘Defense of The Absolute,’” continued the nun at the head of the class. “The title itself lends to several interpretations. For one, we know that the modern term of ‘The Absolute’ is a philosophical expression meaning God; even St. Thomas Aquinas emphasized the absoluteness of God. We can also see it as relevant today in the struggle against relativism in secularism.”

    Tom Royce sat quietly near the rear of the class, passively absorbing the monotonous lecture of the middle aged nun. He was half busy drawing the borders of “Russia” where the province of Muscowy was.

    “For publishing this work, King Felipe II was rewarded by the Pope the title ‘Fidei Defensor’ or “Defender of the Faith.’ However, modern scholars believe that it was actually one of his aides who wrote the book in his name. In fact, modern historical evidence suggests that the work was compiled by at least two of the King’s best advisors—you could call them political and philosophical all stars.”

    The class let out a small peal of polite laughter. Sister Mary Joseph liked to make little jokes but they were never funny. Tom was half paying attention anyway but he did manage to write down a few notes to remember: “Felipe II published DoTA All-Stars.”

    “‘Defense of The Absolute’ is a philosophical treatise written to Catholics that they should be Sentinels and to fight the Scourge on the three fronts of secularization, heresy, and ignorance. The text uses several allegorical figures such as the ‘Axe,’ ‘Razor’ as divisive elements for example to help illustrate the point making this particular work easier to retell to peasants or other lay people who may not fully grasp grand philosophical ideas…”

    Luckily for Tom, the bell gave its familiar toll. It was time for Lunch.

    ---


    In the courtyard of the school, he found one of the concrete tables and began unpacking his boxed paella when Rodrigo placed himself on the opposite side of his friendly rival. When Tom looked up, Rodrigo already had a grin to complement his wild blonde locks and light blue eyes.

    “So up for another match tonight?” Rodrigo began as Tom calmly unpacked the rest of his food.

    “Tonight? You mean for the 1580s scenario? I hate that one,” replied Tom, a sour look upon his face already.

    “What do you mean!” replied Rodrigo, although his tone indicated he already knew why.

    Tom sighed, getting out a fork and spoon. “It’s too hard. Spain’s already got all of western and central Europe.”

    “Well…” Rodrigo looked away as if at first reluctant to say anything to him, “We could always play as Ming and Japan…”

    Tom stopped his unpacking for a moment and gave him a wrinkled look.

    “Oh c’mon!” continued Rodrigo, “It’ll be a challenge! We can both be allied for a change and try to fight off the Spanish expansion together.”

    Tom took a moment to think about not letting his eyes off his enthusiastic friend. After a moment he still shook his head. “No way, we’ll have 5 years max before Spain takes all of the CoTs from Andalucia to Bihar then they’ll come for ours. We can’t beat the Armada so we can’t even reinforce each other…”

    “It wasn’t that easy,” countered Rodrigo, “It took almost ten years just to take Guangzhou and that’s with having to ferry reinforcements back and forth from the mainland. We can do it! And think what it would do to your future scenarios!”

    “Shh!” Tom suddenly erupted. He didn’t want anyone else around them knowing about his secret historical deviance. Rodrigo just gave him the same cocky grin. But Rodrigo was right, he thought. Just imagine… what if Spain had failed in taking the far off Far East lands?

    Actually it wasn’t the first time he thought about it, in his present alternate universe he put Japan and China as major superpowers despite being almost taken over by opposing military powers. In fact he postulated that because the European powers were rivals they ultimately lost in subjugating China before it would become one of the largest economies and militaries in the world—even with nuclear power!

    Indeed, because Spain had been the single European entity, he thought, China was successfully colonized. He had to play it. He had to resist the tide of destiny. He accepted Rodrigo’s proposal.

    Chapter VI: The Far East (Coming Soon)
    Last edited by canonized; 27-11-2007 at 18:18.
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
    The New Short AAR about Seduction , Manipulation , Intrigue , Mystery , and Revolution .
    -~= =~-
    T I M E L I N E S : What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Seventeen AARLand Choice Awards: Favourite Overall New WritAAR Q1 2007.
    Favourite Overall EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008
    Favourite Narrative EU3 AAR: Q1 2007; Q2 2007; Q3 2007; Q4 2007; Q1 2008; Q2 2008; Q3 2008; Q4 2008

    Three Times WritAAR of the Week: 4 March 2007 13 May 2007 & 28 March 2008;
    Twice AAR Showcase: 9 Dec 2007, 14 Jun 2009; Twice Best Character Writer: 9 Dec 2007, 13 Sep 2008

    Editor in Chief of The AARlander

  20. #20
    I am the fifth star. k-59's Avatar
    Cities in MotionCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourEU3 CompleteHeir to the Throne
    Victoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of Darkness
    EU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Conquest of Paradise

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    490
    very nice update
    Winner of Werewolf CIII: Kleptocratic Overlords and the Worldwide Revolution
    Come play Werewolf with us here

    "Malus" you keep using that word I don't think it means what you think it means.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 366 1 2 3 11 26 51 76 101 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts