The war in Germany rages for 18 months. Due to our diplomatic ties with almost all the states involved I receive regular updates of the war's progress. I'm amazed at how small the Austrian army is. They must spend all their money bribing German princes. They are bailed out by Lorraine and Moldavia who do the bulk of the fighting. Lorraine annexes Baden in March, and adds another perfectly placed province to their collection. Helvetia and Tyrol are besieged by the North German alliance, but Helvetia is a redoubt and shows no sign of weakness. Austria annexes Wurtumberg in November, just a week after Tyrol falls to Saxony. The Bohemians and Saxons are running out of friends however, as one by one the allies sue for peace. I look at the changing map of Europe and can't help but wonder if the dismantling of France has been a less than advantageous event. Austria and Lorraine look set to dominate Germany, and Spain is completely out of control. Fortunately, the padding of Venice should be able to keep the Austrians out of Italy. I target Hansa and Hanover as likely allies when their agreement ends in a few years. If Poland is going to sit back and watch Germany united, then we have to put some nations together to hold it in check.
The last of our colonists settle in Manhattan. We arranged a deal with the locals to sell the island for a few bushels of trinkets worth around $50. I try to have the conveyance transferred to my name personaly, but there are too many Chief Judges that I appointed poking their nose around for such corruption. Our explorers discover a couple more provinces inland of America, and we say hello to the Iroquois. I resist the temptation for a quick land grab against a weak and rich set of provinces, I hope that we can do things a little differently with the native Americans this time around.
The war in Germany burns into 1522, Ansbach and Ostmarch are put under siege by the Northern Allies. Saxony shocks it's neighbours by making peace, taking Tyrol from Austria in the settlement. The Bohemian army marches on the gold mines of Styria, but the attrition of a winter siege in those mountains rots the army to shreds. In April an uprising in Crimea leads to their declaration of independence from Turkey. Not the power they were, the Crimeans are limited to one province, and we await the news of Turkey crushing the revolt and distributing various body parts of the conspirators around the Middle East. We cordially invite the Iroquois nation to our alliance, they accept, and while I don't expect to see them rowing across the Atlantic to fight in Flanders, we do give our colonists a little security. It's a shame some of the independent tribes General Carlisle has run into in his march across America are less willing to sit down and talk. He's ambushed in almost every province he discovers. Thuringen is the next old Kingdom to fall, they submit to Austrian annexation in April. The Bohemians continue to fight the good fight, they and the Hessians siege Wurtemburg.
Although they're not big fans of ours, the Bavarians agree to a Royal Marriage, we ship a decent looking Princess out to Germany with instructions to report anything interesting back to us. The war out there takes another turn. The Bohemian army sieges Thuringen, while the Hessians have a go at Wurtemburg. It looks like they're trying to pry the new Austrian provinces away quickly. General Carlisle discovers the Great Lakes, and we have a party in his honor back at the Palace. While sipping warm meade I try not to think of the depravations Carlisle's expedition is suffering during their winter march across the lakes, instead we toast out intrepid explorer. In the 1st Reich, the Austrian army finally appears, they have captured Silesia. Their siege force moves to Ansbach, while the Moldavian army camps out in Bohemia. Studying intelligence reports from the area I am struck by the fact that Venice has only 5,000 troops in uniform. I'm praying that they have some way of quickly raising troops in case the Austrian tiger snaps at them.
At years end I take a close look at the accounts. Monthly income has risen sharply to 46.2 guineas, of which we claim 1.5 for the kitty. Yearly totals are 819, 266 of which is the census tax. Inflation is running at a modest 5%. While I am happy with the expanding economy I know that we have a lot of work to do to compete with Spain and Portugal. I call an end of year conference to discuss the succession crisis. Henry is now living with Anne, and she appears to have curbed his wandering eye. I explain to the King that we can't simply ship Catherine back to Spain like bad wine, but he has his mind set on Anne. I think back to his youthful riding accident, and can't help but conclude that perhaps it's not Catherine's fault for the lack of Royal progeny. Thomas Cromwell suggests poisoning Kate, and while it's a tempting thought, I am shackled by the idea of someone leaking the plot out, and I don't think our reputation will grow on the continent if they discover that we're regicides. Wolsley agains smarms about talking to the Pope, he's terrified of us changing religion and ruining his chance to be the Holy Father. Perhaps an expedition to the Great Lakes where both nature, and the local hostiles could do our work for us? I shelve that idea as Chief Judge Blackstone has ruled that deliberate negligence is equal to murder in a case before his court at Chancery. I'm afraid the only solution is to break with Rome, and I begin strengthening our armies to deal with the probable series of revolts. I will try and stall Henry for perhaps another year or so, hopefully another state will make the change first, and we'll be able to add them to the alliance first.
It's 1523 and the war in Germany shows no sign of slacking. The Austrians try to recapture Wurtemurg, while their allies make peace, taking Sudeten from Bohemia. Austria is now alone, and Moldavia has a province hundreds of miles from their capital. Turkey re-conquers Crimea. My body shudders at the thought of what exquisite torture the ringleaders of that little debacle went through. By March, mad King Francois of France grows thoughrougly jealous of the fighting in Germany and declares war on Lorraine. For some reason Lorraine was thrown out of their alliance, but we weren't notified in time. France's band of brothers now includes Iraq, Georgia, Naples, Poland and Savoy. Only the latter will prove usefull in the war. We send a letter of support to the Lorraines, and can't help but wonder how they would have fared had they stayed independent. I hope this serves as a warning to any other states considering jumping into bed with the Habsburgs.
The war in Germany is now 5 years old. It's almost impossible to follow all the maneuvers. Hesse gets out of the war leaving just Saxony and Bavaria against the mighty Austrians. As an Imperial army marches north to deal with the Bohemians in Silesia, they are cut to pieces by Hungarian rebels. Bohemia recaptures Silesia and moves on to Moravia. The Lorraine army disapears over the Alps, and in January 1524 our spies report their flag flying in Milan. Good luck trying to squeeze that out of the French in peace talks lads. The French and Savoyans siege Helvetia, and are close to a breathrough. Dissapointingly, no Iraqis or Georgians show up for the party.
By midsummer, the chaos in Europe shows no sign of abating. Hungarian provinces are rising up each month in revolution, a newly raised Austrian army is recalled from the front to quash the Magyars. In France, Helvetia falls, but the Lorraines show no sign of worry, they siege both Savoy and Paris, going for the knockout blow. The French go for Nivernaise. Revolts in Champaigne wrest that province from Palatine, they cannot move troops there, and it looks like anarchy for a while. Almost in passing I receive the latest score from Russia, they tap Kazan for 64 roubles. Perhaps instead of their annual war which solves nothing, they can simply arrange a Jeux Sans Frontiers contest. The Venetians are having a hell of a time trying to crush a revolt in Romagne, they keep sending in green troops piecemeal to deal with the peasants, with the result that the Italian's pitchforks run red with blood. The war in Germany continues, degenerating now down to a War of The Roses type scale. Tiny detachments scamper around fighting battles all over the Holy Roman Empire. Only the Bohemians have a significant force left, and it's too small to recapture Moravia. The Austrians abandon their attempt to pacify Pest, and march North. The Bohemians surrender, giving up Moravia to the now booming Austrian Empire. Austria came out the big winner in this war, gaining three provinces, and their Moldavian allies one. We do hope that the seperation of Wurtemburg and Thuringia leads to constant revolts there.