+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 6 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 113

Thread: Her(?)Story - Savoy MMP2.15

  1. #21
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition
    Europa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    At my PC
    Posts
    1,445
    You know, I keep having to remind myself this is a Savoy AAR - your scenes seem to be set anywhere but Savoy!

    Nice move to set up the war against Aragon, though it looks a close-run thing despite it. Once you deal with those pesky invasions, how are you planning to make Aragon give up Sardinia?

    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    Let’s have a new tradition: quizzes
    The previous one is pending (though now it's easy to guess, i think), and here comes the new one:
    Quiz: What’s going to happen to the girl who keeps saying, ‘My name is Idir.’?
    Me first? She ends up as Beatrice's confidential maidservant
    EU3 AARs - Re-Uniting Gondwanaland - with Elephants! (completed)
    Screaming Popes (completed) , Resistance is Futile (completed)
    I carried a bill for the Free Company in Free Company Book VII - Closure (demise much regretted)
    EU2 AARs - Ayutthaya - The March of the Elephant , The Walls of the City , Piazza Genovese

  2. #22
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410
    merrick: no chance to get Sardinia in peace negotiations (a bit weird as the Island was a recent acquisition of Aragon and in 1470s it actually faught for its independence, so the Aragonese hold on it was not guaranteed);
    i'm goining to wait it out; in MMP an occupied province gets 'occupied' modifier and after many years of occupation you can claim it as yours; meanwhile i'll have to endure Aragonese landings on Sardinia (which actually boost my prestige); i've seen AI benefit from this tactics (also in this very game);
    as for your guess...

  3. #23
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410

    Santa Reparata




    Nice, 8 March 1472

    I



    Nice Cathedral


    ‘Donna Marina. It’s a shame few Nicean women are so generous as you,’ said almost inaudibly the Dean, Father Anselmo, accepting her donation. ‘Your contribution will enable our Chapter to commission the painting of Saint Reparata, our patron, to express our gratitude for relieving the town from the siege. Tossed into a furnace on the orders of the vile Emperor Decius, she emerged unharmed, and now so did the town,’ he raised his eyes to the vault and added in a whisper, ‘Thank You, Our Lord for timely deliverance. Your mercy knows no bounds.’ He lowered his head humbly. Inspired, Donna Marina straightened her most modest dress, squinted her eyes and lowered her head. ‘The gratitude of the Cathedral Chapter and the Mother Church will always be with you, my child,’ he continued. ‘Your words are too kind, Father,’ she curtsied involuntary. ‘Now, remain in peace, my child, I’ll leave you to your prayers.’ Father Anselmo made the sign of cross and left her alone.




    Nice readying itself for another siege



    II


    She didn’t regain her posture until she heard the sacristy door creak. Then she went to her seat in the pew in the seventh row. ‘Thank you, Good Lord, for your favours and good fortune You bestowed upon me,’ she started her silent prayer. She vividly remembered that tense night over two years ago when she calculated whether to stay or leave the town. She gambled and worked hard, now she could reap the rewards of her efforts.

    ‘All seems to have gone as I’d expected. Thank you, Lord.’ As she’d predicted, hearing the news of the advancing Neapolitan and Aragonese armies, the authorities readied the town for the siege and the local nobles and burghers, those who could afford, evacuated their beloved wives and adorable children to the countryside. ‘Yes, almost all gone, for their safety and protection, wives and children, most precious little heirs of estates, cantors and workshops alike,’ she smiled. The ratio of sexes shifted in her favour even before the arrival of soldiers and workmen employed by the siege experts Duke Filiberto I had sent to oversee the defence.

    ‘Now it’s high time I thought about the future. I know it’s just a respite. Enric I will not ease up, the Neapolitan and Aragonese fleets are said to be on their way to renew the siege. How much time do I have? A few weeks at most. And so many errands! The pantry has to be replenished. I have to invest in a supply of good wines and exotic foodstuffs, my clients are fussy and demanding. Also, the girls’ dresses could do with some altering, yes the fashion has changed for the past two years, the neckline should be lower, really low cut, and square; yeah, the clients can get tired seeing the girls in the same outfits all the time; not that it matters afterwards,’ she smiled, ‘but the first impression counts. I’ll need to buy a few ells of fine velvet and silk. This will make the girls happy too; good for business, cheerful girls means satisfied customers.’

    ‘Ah, the girls… First, I need to find a replacement for Luba. Someone with fair hair and blue eyes, Slavic or Nordic type; yes Luba must go, she’s too old and… I should’ve known from the start, she’s not cut for the job. What else…? I have to get a good physician for Hamiba, this Nubian girl is too good to lose, her nasty cough is alarming and I don’t think it’ll be easy to find someone to stand in for her. Of course, I’ll kick out Mariette, this French slut, she’s been earning on the side, and that after all the mercy and good I showed her! Such ingratitude! I can easily find a dozen nice, good-natured girls with expertise exceeding hers. Also, all the girls could do with some fattening, so no more food rationing, for a week.’

    ‘Yes, the business took up and started going well as soon as the siege forced the town gates close,’ mused Donna Marina. For the past two years her modest retreat attracted the most prominent men of Nice. Those who could afford, recently paying in jewels, food or wood supplies rather than money, and those who could not, but made promising debtors, were discreetly admitted inside for those little wondrous moments of pleasure and oblivion. The world outside was so grim and men got so bored during the lengthy siege, her little skilful angels appealed to so many of them. ‘Well, Father Anselmo wasn’t one of them,’ she thought, ‘which cannot be said about many other men of the cloth. But both the siege experts commanding the defence of the town, Pietro Fiesco and his English second, have become regulars.’ And she always made sure they got the best service. ‘I’ll have to tend to this lieutenant-governor the Duke is sending to take charge of the garrison,’ she resolved. ‘Some special treat for the new commander.’ She crossed herself and left the pew.


    The new fashion



    Nice, 2 June 1477


    I


    ‘Oh Lord, be merciful on me, I’m just a feeble woman.’ Donna Marina was kneeling in front of the painting of Saint Reparata. ‘Why has it come to this? What have I done? It wasn’t my fault. I am the aggrieved party. I’ve lost one of my best guests. Oh, Lord, I shouldn’t’ve taken in this Berber slut! He might’ve caught it somewhere else still; he must’ve. I always make sure my girls are clean and healthy. They’re the best. Oh, what am I supposed to do now? Saint Reparata intercede for me! Oh, Lord, deliver me!’

    ‘This ban will ruin me. Since lieutenant-governor Gioberti forbade his soldiers to visit my girls my business has been going to pot. As if this damn, yet another, stretched out siege wasn’t enough! And now that this devious Berber slut kicked the bucket, Father Anselmo began to allude to my little business in his preachers.’ The other day she herself heard him say something about a bawdy-house and God’s wrath for sins and wantonness. She started losing even more clients, at an alarming rate.

    And just yesterday someone dared to throw stones at her windows. And today, just now as she was on her way to the Cathedral, those nasty people. Some turning away, some hissing something about filth and God’s punishment, a few ran up to her as if intending to hurt her; one spit at her feet. She shivered at the unpleasant recollection.

    Recently, with the Duke’s death and an unclear succession, the people have been getting more and more restless. And this siege seemed like the one too many for them to bear, too. ‘Oh, I should’ve left the town last year, there was plenty of time; I’ve been pushing my luck for too long. I’m trapped now.’

    ‘Oh, Lord, poor me. What am I supposed to do? I beg you Lord, please, if you make Father Anselmo say a few words of how good a Christian I am giving shelter to orphaned, stray girls, I promise you here on my knees as soon as this horrid war is over I’ll go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, and I’ll take all the girls with me. Mercy, mercy me!’


    The illness...



    ...and the death of Pietro Fiesco



    II


    She heard the squeak of the hinges, the oak door to sacristy opened. Quiet, rhythmical footsteps followed. Then they stopped.
    ‘What are you doing here, woman?’
    ‘Praised be the Lord. Father have mercy on me!’ Marina threw herself at Father Anselmo’s feet. ‘I am here praying and hoping you’ll listen to me, a good Christian and servant of God, dutiful daughter of Mother Church.’
    ‘What are you talking, woman? Leave this Holy Site at once! There’s no place here for filth and depravity.’
    ‘But I thought maybe the Cathedral could do with some new…’ She raised her eyes to the painting of Saint Reparata. Father Anselmo followed her gaze.
    ‘Have you no shame, woman? Sin! Sin! Out! Out!’


    Saint Reparata and Emperor Decius


    ***



    I made anything I could to slow down the sieges of Nice and wear down the besiegers: siege engineers (whom I employed from the start -> cheaper buildings), scorched earth and defensive war modifier (which helped a lot, also with we).

    Internationally, not much has changed during this year. OE is winning its war (land is Syria is mostly occupied). The Balkans are in war too Austria, Hungary and Brandenburg vs Wallachia, Serbia, Moldavia, Montenegro and Bosnia (grrr!). The Emperor succeeded in protecting Milan, France is again at peace (no gains). Burgundy annexed Friesland but was forced by Lorraine to release Luxembourg.

    MMP stuff: The strangest thing ever happened over my border: France swapped Anjou for Dauphine with Provence. Now Anjou has no Provence core and Dauphine is French-core-free too. Provence is a vassal of France. (January 1477 Dauphine is French, February it’s Provencal. I even have screenshots, but no log to check what happened.) Anybody knows what happened here?!

  4. #24
    MM Dev Team
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourDeus VultHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In Nomine
    EU3 Napoleon's AmbitionSword of the StarsMount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Lisbon
    Posts
    18,694
    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    MMP stuff: either I’m dirt poor (more likely) or there’s been a change to ‘Strategic pact’ event (ubik somewhere said that no); it was a shock to see 7d when in my Navarre game I got around 100d from it. Pirates offering help was a nice surprise though, I hadn’t seen this event before.
    Many events got lump sums scaled to the country income. MAybe that was the case. I vaguely remember about nerfing the Strategic Pact.
    == MAGNA MUNDI ==

    PAY GOLD,
    SHED BLOOD,
    INSTILL FEAR,
    PROMISE HOPE


    HISTORY IS YOURS!

  5. #25
    MM Dev Team
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourDeus VultHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In Nomine
    EU3 Napoleon's AmbitionSword of the StarsMount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Lisbon
    Posts
    18,694
    MMP stuff: The strangest thing ever happened over my border: France swapped Anjou for Dauphine with Provence. Now Anjou has no Provence core and Dauphine is French-core-free too. Provence is a vassal of France. (January 1477 Dauphine is French, February it’s Provencal. I even have screenshots, but no log to check what happened.) Anybody knows what happened here?!

    A bug?
    == MAGNA MUNDI ==

    PAY GOLD,
    SHED BLOOD,
    INSTILL FEAR,
    PROMISE HOPE


    HISTORY IS YOURS!

  6. #26
    Part Time Warp aldriq's Avatar
    200k clubCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionRome GoldVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House Divided500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-order

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,254
    It seems merrick's guess was a bit off the mark... unless there is a further twist of destiny. I like this short-flash style you are using, it makes it very readable and vibrant.

    In her-story terms - did Beatrice marry Filiberto? to become a widow shortly after?

    In game-play terms - don't the Aragonese send any sizeable force during the entire war?
    On-hold: Mamma Mia! The AAR
    Completed: Europe is our dancefloor | The Shortest Road to Damascus | No Iron, One Lion, Maybe Zion
    Tintero

    The July AARlander is out now, no excuse not to read it: Thread | PDF | iBooks

  7. #27
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition
    Europa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    At my PC
    Posts
    1,445
    I see my predictions are up their usual standard. I like the style of tellinghte story via vignettes, rather than a single narrative.
    EU3 AARs - Re-Uniting Gondwanaland - with Elephants! (completed)
    Screaming Popes (completed) , Resistance is Futile (completed)
    I carried a bill for the Free Company in Free Company Book VII - Closure (demise much regretted)
    EU2 AARs - Ayutthaya - The March of the Elephant , The Walls of the City , Piazza Genovese

  8. #28
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410
    ubik:
    Quote Originally Posted by ubik View Post
    A bug?
    i might have found the culprit (from history of Anjou province):

    [1477.2.15={
    decision="flurbegradigung"
    }
    1477.2.15={
    controller="FRA"
    }
    1477.2.15={
    owner="FRA"
    }
    1477.2.15={
    remove_core="PRO"
    }
    so maybe not a bug after all? (whatever this decision is)

    aldriq:
    Quote Originally Posted by aldriq View Post
    In her-story terms - did Beatrice marry Filiberto? to become a widow shortly after?
    no, try again

    Quote Originally Posted by aldriq View Post
    In game-play terms - don't the Aragonese send any sizeable force during the entire war?
    oh, they do, but as they can't reach me through France, no mil access, they can only disembark in Nice and Sardinia, i wrote there were about 8-9 sieges of Niece and the attacks on the Island are incessant, but they have only 6 cogs so their 'sizeable force' is 6k maximum; i have 5k men + ~1 regiment of mercenaries (local Arboreans ) on Sardinia and this so far has been enough to repel them, Enric I's poor military skills are to my advantage; there have been a few close shaves (i'll show one or two in next updates), in fact Aragon focused its fierce attacks on Sardinia but AI is not smart enough to build more cogs to transport, say 8-9k army

    merrick: more luck next time

    aldriq and merrick: glad you like the concept (as a non-native speaker i felt rather apprehensive about starting such a project but, what a heck, decided to give it a try)

  9. #29
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410

    Riders





    Aragon seems desperate for help in its war effort



    Six years into the war, peace still is far from near



    I


    Chambèry, 20 September 1476

    ‘You must understand. She can’t stay here. It’s too dangerous, for her and us alike,’ said Count Philip.
    ‘Your Grace, and where would you send her? Where else could she be as safe as here in the capital of your realm?’ asked Jacques Coeur, the former Royal Treasurer, now a refugee from Navarre. He’s been nervously pacing the antechamber, which made it difficult for Count Philip to keep his composure.
    Yet he started as politely as he could. ‘I made sure she hadn’t been captured, but you realise Enric’s men are looking for her. Knowing what’s at stake, they won’t relent easily. It’s not so safe here. Too many eyes and ears.’ Then he added, ’We need to hide her, find some remote and inconspicuous place. So that she’s safe.’ He broke off and thought to himself, ‘For now at least, as long as she might be of use. It’ll be easier to dispose of her if she’s out of sight, too.’
    ‘But she’s in no condition to travel!’ protested Coeur.
    Count Philip didn’t reply to the old man’s objection, evidently lost in his thoughts.


    II



    Still standing


    Pamplona, 09 September 1476


    The town was ablaze. The enraged attackers had no mercy, too lengthy was the siege, too long they’d been pining to get in. Now their horses, decked out in red and gold caparisons, flew over makeshift barricades like spectres, their riders’ bright, glistening blades sowing death amongst the fleeting defenders. From the north, from beyond the narrow streets leading to the Pau gate, the clamour of vicious battle was coming. Blanca felt the knight who carried her before him on his saddle abruptly spur his horse. She heard his cry. ‘Hold on,’ he shouted. ‘Hold on!’ Other knights wearing the colours of Navarre overtook them. Blanca caught a glimpse of the skirmish from the corner of her eye – the clatter of blades against shields, the neighing of horses, shouts, no, not shouts, screams.

    Pain. She felt it with every jolt. Her legs contracted, unable to find support, her eyes watered from the smoke. The arm around her suffocated her, choking her. Fear. Overpowering, paralysing. Shouts. No not shouts, screams. All around her screaming. What must one do to a man to make him scream so? Again clash of iron, the grunts and snorts of horses. All at once the knight at her back gave a strange wheezing cough. A fall, a shock, painful bruising against armour. Hooves pounded past her, she could see horses’ bellies, she could hear the vibrant crash - iron against iron. A slash. And something huge and dark collapsed into the mud next to her with a splash, spurting blood.

    Some force pulled her up, onto another saddle. She recognised the red and golden stripes. The mark of murderers. She remembered this pattern, and the jerk of a sword into her mother’s belly. She remembered her mother's eyes desperately trying to warn her, ‘Don’t move!’ while the light of life was going out in them. The mad gallop again, it seems to the south this time. Suddenly the horse falls. There’s no way to jump aside. A violent collision with the ground. The taste of blood in her mouth. The trickle of red on her clothes. The street is on fire. Red wall of flame.

    Silhouetted before it, a rider, white cross on his shield stands out against the red of the background, the red of the fire. The rider stares down at her. Blanca sees his eyes gleaming through the slit in his huge helmet. She sees the fire reflected in the broad blade of his silver sword. The rider looks at her. Blanca is unable to move. The dead man’s motionless arms wrapped around her waist hold her down. Frozen with fear she’s pinned to the ground by something heavy lying across her thigh.

    The rider spurs his horse. His eyes blaze though the slit. They blaze with cold indifference. He comes up to her.


    Within the walls of Pamplona



    III


    Chambèry, 20 September 1476


    She woke up, drenched in sweat, with a scream.
    ‘It was just a dream. A bad dream,’ said a soft voice.
    Blanca shuddered violently, curling her arms and legs tight.
    ‘Sleep child. I’m right here. You have to rest,’ said the soft voice. It was a woman leaning over her and stroking her damp hair. ‘It was a dream. Sleep peacefully.’

    ‘How is she?’ Jacques Coeur asked as soon as Beatrice of Arborea closed the door behind her.
    ‘Lots of bruises and scratches, but these are nothing. She’s tired, extremely tired. And her mind is… she’s unstable. She’s been through too much. She needs rest, peace and quiet and a lot of affection. I’ll be watching over her and… and I don’t think we should tell her about her father’s death yet.’
    ‘All right. Tend to her, my Lady. You have this night. In which I expect you to get her ready to travel,’ said Count Philip, the Regent.
    ‘One night?’ exclaimed Beatrice.
    ‘Not an hour more. She’s due off at dawn.’


    The Aragonese razing and plundering villages in Navarre


    ***



    Historically, the Wars against John II raged from 1462-72 (or 1478 - final settlement regarding Roussillon). Enric I (John II’s equivalent) experiences the turmoil of his own, a tad later though. Almost as in real life the problems started with the question of Navarre, Enric, king de jure should cede his title to his son Francisco (irl Carlos of Viana), which he didn’t, supported by his second wife, a Castilian noble. As you’ve seen, the House of Savoy supported Francisco’s rightful claim. In real life this sparked a real headache for the Aragonese king. The Catalonians as Parliament-led Principality opposed him, Carlos died, rumoured to be poisoned by his step-mother, what followed were: peasant revolt, numerous pretenders (Henry IV of Castile, constable of Portugal as Peter V, René the Good of Anjou and Provence, the latter two conveniently died), the French intervention (the pledge -> loss of Roussillon), revolts in Valencia, Aragon proper and Sardinia. I find it a miracle the Crown of Aragon didn’t fall apart at that time. Even more surprisingly, it’s when the famous Iberian wedding took place. I’ll do my best to press Aragon a little bit harder.

    Story-wise we move backwards a bit, till the fall of Navarre. Despite praise-worthy resistance the small kingdom stood no chance, as I could not afford a relief military operation. Pamplona fell after over 6 years, anyway!

    The war score is in my favour, but Aragon wouldn’t give me Sardinia anyway. War exhaustion is still in the green for me, largely thanks to the ‘defensive war’ modifier, whereas Aragonese we has climbed so high due to their failed attempts to rout me from Sardinia (these also boosted my prestige nicely). Despite such high we and around 10% revolt risk in its provinces Aragon hasn’t had any serious rebel problems so far. How a-historical!


    The end of Navarre

    and a new man in employ of the House of Savoy

  10. #30
    Part Time Warp aldriq's Avatar
    200k clubCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionRome GoldVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House Divided500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-order

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,254
    Poor Navarre, a pawn sacrificed to Savoyard's ambitions

    Beatrice... did she marry a younger brother of Filiberto?
    On-hold: Mamma Mia! The AAR
    Completed: Europe is our dancefloor | The Shortest Road to Damascus | No Iron, One Lion, Maybe Zion
    Tintero

    The July AARlander is out now, no excuse not to read it: Thread | PDF | iBooks

  11. #31
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410

    Consignments




    Verres Castle


    I


    Nice, 22 February 1476

    Mother,

    I will not come to visit you now. Count Philip has called for me. Now that Nice appears to be safe, I’ll probably be sent off to the Island. De Alagons had supported our cause but they need help. The Aragonese attacks are becoming fiercer and fiercer. I won’t be home for some time. The situation after the Duke’s death is unclear. Lay low. Wait it out.

    I expect you to take the bearer of this message in. He’s dearer to me than a brother. Those years in besieged Nice put his loyalty to test. I want him to be as dear as a son to you. He’s a good boy. From a noble family. Been disinherited though. I double-checked him (as you’d’ve done). You need some help to steward the land. He’ll do. He’s name’s Gaston.

    Mother, if I die or, God forbid, should you feel unwell, I implore you to adopt him. Don’t let that greedy brother-in-law of yours put his hands on our land. As soon as the war’s over, I’ll be with you. Take care.

    Your son
    Gian Maria Gioberti



    After the Duke's death Gian Maria Gioberti took command of Armata di Piedmont



    and he routed the enemy



    II


    Chambèry, 21 September 1476


    Mother,

    I couldn’t make it. And I won’t come. Gaston will explain. I’d been sent on some errand so I didn’t sail to Sardinia. Not yet. But I’m setting off shortly. The things there have come to the boil.

    On Count Philip’s insistence I’m sending you a special dispatch. Gaston will deliver it. I don’t know the Regent’s intentions, be watchful. Keep your eyes skinned and keep an eye on the dispatch. I risked my life for it and I should guard it with my life.

    Gaston tells me you’re in good health, which pleases me. Hope he’s been of use for you. And that the praises he sings about you prove you two get on well. As soon as the Sardinian question has been resolved, I’ll be with you. Take care.

    Your son
    Gian Maria Gioberti



    Gian Maria and Gaston



    III



    Oristano, 2 February 1478


    Mother,

    I hope, I’ll come soon. You must have heard of de Alagons’ victory at the battle of Macomer. Enric I is dead. They captured Leonardo de Alagon though. Our troops secured most towns. The Island is practically Aragonese-free. The talks about the armistice are about to commence. Artale demands pardoning his father and releasing him from imprisonment in Xàtiva.

    With unrest in his other lands after Enric’s death Sanç II has too much on to refuse. The local parties, de Alagons and even former supporters of Nicolò Carros, who’d fled, are on our side. Counting on the governorship, Artale supports the Regent unwaveringly.

    I made an acquaintance with a Lady Yolanda. She’s apparently of our kin; through your late aunt, Lady on Bresse. A chaperon and tutor of local noble girls she has a most sharp wit, she seems to be getting on a bit though. She beseeched me to use my military means of communication and send you these manuscripts; they seem to be verse. She said you’d understand, she made me promise to cite this line, ‘alone and in great suffering in this deserted world’. Take care.

    Your son
    Gian Maria Gioberti



    Battle of Macomer



    IV


    Oristano, 3 February 1479


    Mother,

    Good news. I hope I’ll be home soon. Sanç II relented and gave the Kingdom of Naples to his half-brother, natural son of Enric I, Alfonso I, who signed peace with the Regent’s envoys.

    It took longer than expected, but the conditions of the armistice have finally been concluded. A two-year-long armistice has been agreed upon with Sanç II. Sardinia seems to be secured. Artale de Alagon has been made the governor. His father, the margrave of Oristano, was promised to be pardoned and released.

    I hear Gaston and our little cousin venture on long walks in the valleys. Good for health and good sleep, maybe. I deem it dangerous though. I want you to put a stop to these escapades. The girl is under your tutelage. Keep them occupied with something else. Between the lines of the last Gaston’s letter I read things which were most disturbing.

    The Regent has asked for documents from the chancellery here. I thought it wise to let you go over them first before they reach Chambèry. I’m off to the capital. Send them back to me; I expect to receive them while on my way. With your comments. Take care.

    Your son
    Gian Maria Gioberti



    Anti-Aragonese nobility of Sardinia pledges to the House of Savoy



    Peace with Naples


    ***



    By February 1479 the peace with Naples (which had left the PU with Aragon) had been concluded and Sardinia, the province, had flipped to Savoy: thank you MM team for ‘the Long Wait’! For role-play reasons I decided not to sign the peace treaty with Aragon yet as I’m under regency. Luckily for me, Sanç II, the new ruler of Aragon, is no better than Enric I, his stats are DIP 3, ADM 4, MIL 5. No real-life Ferdinand this time! It’s a bit odd though when I check, just to compare, to see the Regency in Castile which is: DIP 9, ADM 5, MIL 8! One would expect regencies to be punishing, but pbly Castile got the ‘lucky nation’ thing.

    Internationally, don’t know if I mentioned this but Franche-Comte belongs to France. In 1478 Tripoli attacked much weakened Mamluks and by 1479 the Mameluks lost to them Libya and to OE Aleppo, Dayr az Zor and Damascus. OE promptly attacked the Knights + its allies: Cyprus (interestingly, ruled by the Regency now, but the House of Savoy can do nothing about it - although the late Filiberto’s mother and wife are Queens of Cyprus - it’s not HttT) and Frankfurt (?). Ferdinand I of Austria amazingly white peaced with the Balkan minors despite being DIP6, ADM8, MIL 9 ruler. Not that I’m complaining. The two-prov Connacht decided to attack Tyrone and got itself (and Leinster) in the war with England; the fate of Ireland seems to be sealed. Apart from these three wars Europe is peaceful at the moment.

    'The Battle of Mocamer' was one of countless ones I faught for Sardinia and one of those few really close.

    Quiz questions: 1) Whom did Lady Yolanda made Gioberti quot in the third letter (and thus who was her and pbly Gioberti's mother's mentor)? 2) what errand did Gioberti do on the Regent's order (letter 2)?


    The learned Lady Yolanda

  12. #32
    Part Time Warp aldriq's Avatar
    200k clubCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionRome GoldVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House Divided500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-order

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,254
    A long wait but Sardinia is finally yours Although time doesn't always work in everybody's favour, like Gian Maria has discovered...

    The quote seems to belong to Christine de Pizan... quite a woman she was. As for Gian Maria's errand, could it have been related with the outcome of Naples?
    On-hold: Mamma Mia! The AAR
    Completed: Europe is our dancefloor | The Shortest Road to Damascus | No Iron, One Lion, Maybe Zion
    Tintero

    The July AARlander is out now, no excuse not to read it: Thread | PDF | iBooks

  13. #33
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410
    aldriq: you're the riddle master!

    Quote Originally Posted by aldriq View Post
    The quote seems to belong to Christine de Pizan... quite a woman she was.
    bullseye! i'm planning her - sort of - reappearance later

    Quote Originally Posted by aldriq View Post
    As for Gian Maria's errand, could it have been related with the outcome of Naples?
    more with 'the dispatch' / 'our little cousin'

    Quote Originally Posted by aldriq View Post
    did Beatrice marry Filiberto? to become a widow shortly after?
    not Filiberto, nor his brother, but she did get widowed quickly; the next upgrade will, soon-ish, make it clear

    Quote Originally Posted by aldriq View Post
    Poor Navarre, a pawn sacrificed to Savoyard's ambitions
    funny, you should say that...

    well, it looks you're now the only one who's trying to solve my riddles (or read my scribbles )

  14. #34
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410

    Arte de Ajedrez





    The imposing edifice


    Chillon Castle, 05 October 1478


    I


    She asked the servants to turn the house upside down to prepare for his arrival, but she did not summon tenants and neighbours for a feast. She saw to it that the silvers were given an extra polish, and that the best linen was laid out for her bed. She had his favourite dish made and his favourite wine ready. She made sure the children looked sweet and charming and made Louise promise she’ll be extra nice for the daddy.

    She asked Philip to come to the privy chamber to see the children as soon as he gets washed and changed from the journey. Louise looked like an angel from a miniature. Girolamo was laid in a magnificent cradle; two maids were on duty in the rooms outside to take care of the children as soon as they tire their father. Marguerite knew Philip loved and adored Louise, he surely loved and was proud of Girolamo too. She knew as well that he loved them not only as his daughter and son, the first-born one; but also as the assets for the House of Savoy. And his fatherly affection was overshadowed by the duties he had as the head of the House and the Regent.

    She had the room spruced up and richly decorated. She had the wine fetched and put on the side table. She had the décolletage on her new dress cut lower, lower than required by fashion, much lower. She heard the steps, took Girolamo out of his cradle and started breastfeeding him. It was still a new sensation for her as the boy had his wet nurse, and she felt rather uncomfortable with it. Still, it enabled her to expose her round breast and strike a Madonna-like pose of a caring mother. The final look in the mirror and the door opened.

    ‘My Lady,’ said Count Philip. ‘My Lord,’ she replied making a move as if rising from her sitting position but her husband stopped her. ‘Please remain seated. Let my eyes rejoice this wondrous sight of my beautiful wife and my lovely children.’ He sat next to her, took Louise, who as instructed had thrown herself into his arms, on his lap. He stroke Girolamo’s silky hair; as if by mistake brushed her full breast, kissed her on her cheek, on her neck. He stood up suddenly and threw Louise up. There was laughter. He give the girl two spins in the air and sat next to his wife again. The laughter died down but the cheerfulness remained. The blissful moment was so intense with joy it seemed time had stopped and they were inclusions in a piece of amber to stay put joyous and happy forever. ‘Son,’ she whispered, ‘your heir, my Lord.’


    II


    The children taken away, she whirled round to him from the door and repeated, ‘ Son. Your heir, the heir of the House of Savoy.’ Philip approached her. ‘Don’t forget there’s my older brother’s daughter, my dear,’ he said running his hand over her forehead, her hair, her nose, her lips. ‘My beauty.’ He was rewarded with an encouraging smile. ‘Ah, Joanna, she is in the way. And she’s reached this dangerous age she might be used in the marriage politics, I hear Sanç’s envoys discussed armistice with your men but what did they talk to the Queen of Cyprus about if not a prospective marriage between the two?’

    He didn’t answer immediately, instead he let his hand stray down over her chin, down her neck. He moved his face closer to hers, ‘I have a better bait for Sanç; the child Queen of Navarre’s hand would secure us Sardinia, let him keep his face and Navarre, which is in permanent revolt against him…’ ‘And bring peace to the two fighting realms,’ she picked up on what he was saying. She didn’t step back from him, neither did she get closer, ‘How brilliantly devious, my Lord, you will be the peace-bringer, the saviour of the nation and the Lord of Sardinia. But this doesn’t remove Joanna’s claim, and won’t stop her other suitors.’


    Poor, poor Navarre


    He held her firmly, he gripped her with one hand at the waist and with the other he traced the border of the neck of her gown, the border drawn temptingly low, his fingerprints brushed the tops of her breast. ‘Something must be done about Joanna, but you know, her mother has the Emperor’s support and I cannot veto all marriage proposals ad infinitum.’ He slid his hand down the front of her gown over the sophisticated embroidery of the neckline tape. She gave a pant but did not stop him. ‘I am not a third-rate princess; my brother is the Duke of Bourbon, my other brother is married to Anne of France and, my Lord, France will support you and our son’s right to his Ducal inheritance. I received signals from the royal court with some betrothal proposals: Charles, Count de Angoulême to our Louise and Chalres, the Dauphine to Blanca of Navarre.’




    France supports the Regent's salic-law justified claims


    The Regent pressed his body against his wife, the colour blazing in her cheeks as his hand went down the front of her gown, to her very crotch between the petticoats, and than round her back to take hold of her buttocks. She moaned, ‘My family can recommend many a respectable monasteries where our niece could take up a vacant post of an abbess.’ He slid his other hand down from her waist, so that he was embracing her, so that he had her bottom in both hands, ‘Make her take vows, hmmm… I vow, I’ve touched the very curves of heaven,’ he whispered archly into her ear and kissed her softly, her earlobe, her cheek, her lips. She jerked and tried to break free from his tight embrace. ‘Huh, you rush so to grab a woman, it’s so easy, isn’t it? But will you be a man to grab your father’s inheritance?’ she cried. ‘I shall be the Duke. Our son shall be the Duke,’ he said firmly, pushing her onto the bed.


    Clergy has yet to be swayed



    III


    The morning sun slid its beams of light through the window, into the room and onto the bed. Philip stretched his body, felt about the bed for his wife, but his hand failed to find her heavenly curves. Instead he felt something hard. He opened his eyes. On the sheet he spotted a pouch, he opened it; inside there was a book, a manuscript and an envelope. He opened the book it was Arte de Ajedrez by Luis Ramirez de Lucena. ‘She must have been hunting high and low to get it,’ he thought. He opened the envelope, it smelled of Marguerite’s perfume. ‘Get ready,’ the note read.



    Marguerite and Philip


    Chillon Castle, 11 February 1480

    I


    She knew, nothing steadied his tense nerves as well as a game of chess, and he needed reassurance desperately. Frankly, she could do with some too. The witches in Chambéry concocted their plan and, with the Emperor’s backing, taking advantage of Philip’s absence, they betrothed Joanna to this lightweight, Amadeo of Montferrat. Witches, two plotting, scheming, intriguing witches. The pathetic queens of ridicule. The queens without crowns. That harlot and murderess, dowager Duchess, there must be a grain of truth in the rumour that she poisoned her first husband, infante João of Coimbra; this loser Charlotte of Cyprus, whose own Kingdom was going down presently. And the other one, this stray bitch, this viper nursed on her husband’s family’s bosom, Beatrice of Arborea, this nonentity with her nonentity son.


    The usurper



    II


    She put the chessboard in front of him and set out the pieces. ‘So,’ she said, ‘they made the first move.’ She picked the king pawn up and moved it two squares forward. ‘We are on the defensive here. What can we do to resume initiative? They wanted to trick us, why don’t we play by their rules?’ She broke off than asked, ‘Hasn’t Lodovico II of Saluzzo approached you on several occasions asking for Joanna’s hand?’ The pause which followed her question was unbearably long, but finally Philip replied, his voice getting louder and more confident with every syllable. ‘Yes, I can see what you’re hinting at. Let him live his dream and threaten theirs.’ He moved the knight, ‘this will embolden other nobles, and I presume they are enraged anyway.’ ‘Oh, yes, my Lord, some of the most powerful ones actually oppose the marriage on the grounds that if Montferrat will do, why not any of them.’


    'A vassal for the Duke?' Lodovico II of Saluzzo


    ‘How will the court party react then?’ Philip asked. ‘I’m sure, they’ll want to quiet Saluzzo down.’ She moved the pawns attacking the knight and driving it about the board. They looked at the board for a while. Imposing mass of white pawns in the centre and the black knight chased away. ‘Aren’t we losing tempo?’ wondered Philip as soon as Marguerite put the fourth white pawn in the centre. ‘It may seem so, but we need time to reach our friends in France, to make sure of your brothers’ loyalty, of Milan’s neutrality’, she paused. ‘My Lord, who else knows where Blanca resides? With this knowledge under control we might find a few new options open, new allies.’ ‘Us, Coeur and Gioberti; his mother Catelina di Challant might have guessed who her guest is.’

    Marguerite started as if talking to herself, ‘The latter two are unreachable, but we can use good old Jacque Coeur. Shouldn’t we remind him how much he owes you. Let him express his gratitude more vocally and praise you as the saviour of the royal blood of Navarre, we don’t want neither the King of Aragon nor France to forget of the possible advantageous marriages. Then, well, he’s quite old, isn’t he? People die of old age all the time.’ She went to her husband’s side of the board and made a sharp advance with a bishop pawn. ‘They’ll want to silence him, before us,’ said Philip and captured the pawn, accepting the sacrifice. They got back to their ranks.

    ‘Now it’s time to counter-attack, she said, ‘let’s wreck their centre leaving them with isolated pawns and weakened pieces. See,’ she went on, ‘there’s a way to neutralise the queen and expose the king.’ The exchange of queen for queen followed. The white king was forced to move. ‘And now, I believe your brothers will be ready to declare on your side, my Lord, if not for brotherly love, for prospects of privileges and land.’ She fianchettoed the king bishop making it attack on the long diagonal. ‘I believe,’ she continued, ‘your clerical brothers, Bishop of Geneva and Archbishop of Auch, will find some obstacles to prevent this marriage, a too close kinship or some such. So shamed, Joanna might be easily persuaded to devote her life to the service of God.’

    ‘And us?’ asked Philip, ‘shouldn’t I take to arms and lead my men to crush this upstart Montferrat like a bug. I’ve seen him fight, and, my Lady, your commanding skill surpass his by tenfold.’ She chuckled, ‘I don’t think it wise, I don’t think you should oppose Joanna directly, after all you’re still the Regent and there’s too much at stake.’ She patted her rounded belly, ‘We’re threading on thin ice here.’ She looked at the pieces. ‘I suggest castling,’ she waved her hand over the board, ‘and staging a revolt, say, on Sardinia. Isn’t Artale de Alagon loyal to you, my Lord? But more importantly he holds a grudge against this usurper Beatrice. An unrequited love case, as far as I know.’


    Artale de Alagon's unwavering support for the Regent


    ‘I can’t just sit and wait, I promised you our son will be the Duke,’ Philip retorted. He stood up and started pacing the room fretfully. ‘You will sit and wait, if you take up arms against Joanna, our son might not be even a count.’ She sensed anger rising in him. ‘Remember, you are the peace-bringer, they represent the war-party. People are tired of war, who do you think they’ll support?’

    ***



    Now, how can one not love MMP!? I’ve been at war for about 10 years and now this, noble opposition! The one thing I miss in this great game, which EU3 undoubtedly is, is the lack of credible and playable portrayal of late-medieval feudal feuds and early modern dynastic scheming. (I dare say even the heir part of HttT falls short of reflecting it plausibly.)

    As for the game, I admit my tactics has been a bit exploit-ish so far what with my soldiers ready on Sardinia, Navarre-pawn strategy & ‘long wait’ event; but:
    1) I see no other means to achieve such results (stubborn peace negotiations AI) and why not make the most of what MMP has to offer
    2) I have my (role-play) dynastic reasons to persevere with such policy; this will become clear soon
    3) in MMP nothing is for free; my economy is shambles, piracy rampant, advisors too costly, I scrape to keep my army (I ‘dance' call it a swing or ballet with the maintenance slider!); so I see everything is balanced pretty well.


    Aragon's war exhaustion at last triggers frequent revolts. Apart from Navarre, three other provs went up in arms. Pirates have also become a problem for Aragon. There's no peace but with revolts to put Aragon attacks less frequently, so there are three/four-month-long lulls in the warfare.

    Internationally, Cyprus is falling , England predictably got Munster and Leinster from the ill-fated Connach’s aggression. Remember, England is still holding on Gascoigne and Calais.


    Jacques Coeur didn't make it through the storm. Was he simply too old?


    Quiz: What chess opening did Marguerite and Philip play? (surely not included in de Lucena's treatise)

  15. #35
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition
    Europa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    At my PC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    Quiz: What chess opening did Marguerite and Philip play? (surely not included in de Lucena's treatise)
    That one I can answer - it sounds like the Four Pawns Attack against Alekhine's Defence (which is way too hyper-modern for the fifteenth century - I don't think the two-square pawn move was even legal then )

    While your writing is excellent, your plotting has me baffled. Philip is regent - for Amadeo IX if I read the screenshots right. But Amadeo IX is only Joanna's betrothed husband, so Philip is really regent for Joanna? And will become Duke if she dies or fails to marry? That sort of makes sense, but as to where Beatrice and the Queen of Cyprus come into it, I'm lost!
    EU3 AARs - Re-Uniting Gondwanaland - with Elephants! (completed)
    Screaming Popes (completed) , Resistance is Futile (completed)
    I carried a bill for the Free Company in Free Company Book VII - Closure (demise much regretted)
    EU2 AARs - Ayutthaya - The March of the Elephant , The Walls of the City , Piazza Genovese

  16. #36
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410
    merrick: well done about the Four Pawns attack! what Black played on here was the Planinc Variation: the poisoned pawn 5...g5!? but normally White doesn't capture the pawn as it weakens its ranks

    Quote Originally Posted by merrick View Post
    way too hyper-modern for the fifteenth century - I don't think the two-square pawn move was even legal then )
    very true; i think the pawn movement reform was under way at that time though

    Quote Originally Posted by merrick View Post
    so Philip is really regent for Joanna? And will become Duke if she dies or fails to marry?
    right

    Quote Originally Posted by merrick View Post
    But Amadeo IX is only Joanna's betrothed husband
    not even MMP portrays this i'm afraid; i needed it for the story, he's of course my new ruler; historically think of Anne of Brittany and her betrothal to Maximilian of Austria (by proxy); so let's assume this was the case here too

    Quote Originally Posted by merrick View Post
    And will become Duke if she dies or fails to marry? That sort of makes sense
    again, i'm not sure whether even in MMP it's possible; i'd have yet to lose to the noble opposition

    Quote Originally Posted by merrick View Post
    but as to where Beatrice and the Queen of Cyprus come into it, I'm lost!
    the next update should make it clear

  17. #37
    Part Time Warp aldriq's Avatar
    200k clubCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Chronicles
    Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionRome GoldVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House Divided500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-order

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,254
    Marguerite and Philip are quite a pair, we'll see where their/your scheming leads to... I agree that if the game had the dynastic bonds a bit more into account France would be a bit more vocal in supporting you against Aragon. But then where would be the fun in that? This way you have to do it the hard way, all by yourself

    Good job merrick stepped in to answer the chess question... My dad was a decent chess player and had just enough patience to teach me how to play, but not enough to teach me to play well - he was a fast player, whereas I'm more of a slow thinker; that's why I love EU3 and MM, I can pause the game for as long as I need to without the game getting frustrated
    On-hold: Mamma Mia! The AAR
    Completed: Europe is our dancefloor | The Shortest Road to Damascus | No Iron, One Lion, Maybe Zion
    Tintero

    The July AARlander is out now, no excuse not to read it: Thread | PDF | iBooks

  18. #38
    Alien Space Bat Judas Maccabeus's Avatar
    200k clubDeus VultEU3 CompleteHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the Throne
    Majesty 2Victoria: RevolutionsRome GoldVictoria 2Mount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
    Posts
    3,493
    I believe, if memory serves, that the two-square opening pawn move and en passant capture were introduced in the 15th century, so it would just barely be legal, time-wise.


    Nice to see some women getting their due, I must say. And some interesting plotting going on on all sides...
    SHEEP ARE THE FUTURE

    While Thou Shalt Flourish Great and Free (Saxon England, pt. 3) (Started 11 October 2010)
    Scenario progress: Base maps complete, pops and diplomacy in progress.

  19. #39
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410
    aldriq: the more i read about dynastic entanglements and interrelationships in the era, the more i feel this aspect is under-represented in PI games (CK including); there were simply too many nuances, opportunities, claim juggling, etc;
    i guess it would be a nightmare/impossible to depict it the way it was irl anyway

    Judas Maccabeus: also, Marguerite got hold of de Lucena's work over a decade early (hence manuscript) and it was in Spanish (or Castellano?), wasn't it, so we'd have to assume that both Philip and Marguerite read the language - so, yes, it's a bit anachronistic
    believe me, it's not easy to give women their due in EU3

  20. #40
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1802
    Posts
    2,410

    I, the Duchess




    Chambéry, 08 September 1480


    I


    Joanna stopped in the doorframe and looked around. The aisle in front of her was lined with the lords of the realm. Their heads lowered now in a gesture of respect even though just a few weeks ago many of them plotted against her, trying to rid her of her rights. She made a step, she walked slowly, along the seemingly never-ending aisle; she walked with dignity, just as her mother had instructed her.

    ‘It’s always a muddle, my daughter, and you are always in it. In the very core of it. You cannot be a Duchess and not be enmeshed in a dozen of plots. You live in a snake pit and I tell you, frankly, you have limited recourses to play this game. Your kingdoms have already been lost to infidels. Your lords will wait for any sign of your weakness. And personally, you’ve no aptitude for it, you’re too mild. You still have one weapon though: your royal ancestry. The power of appearance, my daughter, use it.’


    'Avoid confrontation.' Charlotte of Cyprus to her daughter Joanna


    II


    Her mother followed her closely, together with her mother-in-law; both widowed queens living the moment of their triumph and glory. Joanna looked back to see reassurance in their eyes. Charlotte’s face was stern and dignified, the traces of uncertainty studiously hidden behind the mask of majesty. Beatrice, still pretty, her complexion fresh, her head held up high, smiled back encouragingly. They both looked like queens regnant. They radiated confidence and grandeur. As though they really ruled all the lands they claimed titles to. But just the other night Beatrice explained it to her what the prize for this show was.

    ‘My child, this is an odd union. Union of kingdoms which appear to have perished and are to be forgotten. Loveless union of convenience and political calculation; the tradition passed on to you through the generations of my and your mother’s ancestors. My son doesn’t love you, I can easily tell. Know it, accept it and you’ll live with it. But at his side you’ll hold your ground. You are merely a Princess, a half-monarch. Less than a man and less than a woman. I’ve been through this myself. You cannot rule this country and you cannot decide your fate. You need him as much as he needs you.’


    Saluzzo gambit failed


    III


    They were treading slowly along the aisle. The thrones closer and closer with each step. Her destiny. She’d been advised not to look sideways, but she couldn’t resist. Her handsome husband, Amadeo, fake smile on his face, the air of self-assuredness about him, perfectly reconciled with his new role, nodded to the left and right when the gathered men bowed. They, in fact, bowed to her.

    The turncoat Saluzzo with his new bride, Amadeo’s cousin – his consolation prize. Her uncles Giovanni, Bishop of Geneva and Francesco, Archbishop of Auch, their constancy as unflinching as their moral conduct, were sending her their constrained smiles; not until the week ago did they drop their doubts as to the legality of her marriage. The French ambassador with best wishes from her aunt, Queen of France exchanged dagger glances with the envoy of the Emperor. And at the very foot of the podium her uncle, Count of Geneva, the Regent. Her arch-rival. Alone; his wife apparently in her confinement, expecting another child, another claimant to her titles. She climbed the platform, quickly repeated the speech to herself in her mind; the speech she’d prepared under the guidance of her mother and mother-in-law; she cleared her throat and, standing, went ahead.

    ‘Radiating with joy I, your Duchess, see you all gathered here, my beloved uncles, my lords and ladies, my loving people! We welcome whole-heartedly the ambassadors and envoys from the neighbouring realms. We are glad to see this unity in Our war-torn country. Our realm which needs stability and wise guidance. I humbly admit I understand your worries, my lords, if I can manage my duties. Alas, as I am but a feeble woman, not suited to rule this land, neither by the nature of my sex nor by the laws of Our realm; I announce that I give you this Prince, Amadeo Palaiologos of Montferrat, the heir of Arborea and the whole of Sardinia, and the rightful heir of the Kingdom of Majorca and the County of Roussillon, as my husband and lord, your Duke and Sovereign. I also pronounce him Our general; in Our stead he shall command Our troops to accomplish Our just and noble cause. Not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord, and your valour we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of Our kingdoms, and of Our people. My husband’s inheritance of Majorca and Roussillon shall be recaptured. And in this glorious endeavours We shall listen to your advise, my lords. Especially to the sage counsel of my dearly loved uncle Philip, Count of Geneva, to whom We are indebted as he’d safeguarded Our realm in the years of Our minority.’ She turned to him and extended her arm to let Philip kiss the ring on her finger and added in a theatrical whisper, ‘and We wish your wife a happy delivery; I dare to request to be the child’s godmother.’


    Marguerite and Philip miscalculated





    Chambéry, 08 October 1483


    I


    The hubbub in the great hall didn’t die down when she entered the room. She had to wait a few minutes for silence, the show of respect due to her standing. Only when she could hear the heavy breathing of her mother and mother-in-law behind her, did Joanna start walking along the aisle; the two women following her like shadows. And they did look like shadows. The court had grown grim and desolate in the past three years. Her husband more often than not away, somewhere in Roussillon, fighting for his inheritance in this seemingly never-ending war. Her mother not getting any younger and but getting bitter instead. Her mother-in-law inexplicably changed, her spirits sunk and her face turned ashen, after the return from the splendid voyage to Oristano onboard of Castilian ships, where her Arborean inheritance was officially recognised.

    From her throne Joanna looked around. So many new faces. So many notable absences. She missed her old enemies. Uncle Giovanni had passed away. Uncle Philip was a broken man after his wife Marguerite died in labour, soon followed by Girolamo, his first-born son. ‘At least they’ve sampled the taste of love,’ thought Joanna with a pang of jealousy. Apart from the ‘old queens’ she had no friends at court. Still, she felt to be continually surrounded by apparently casual passers-by, half of whom were paid to spy on her. Anne of France, the regent, had her spies in her court, the Emperor had his network; the Castilians were a new, somewhat refreshing, addition. Admittedly, she herself created and paid a network of informers. Joanna was growing tired of this tense world of constant suspicion and pretended friendship. She got tired of the nobles’ incessant demands. ‘Will they ever get satisfied,’ she asked herself.


    The turmoil's simmering


    II


    Chambéry, 06 October 1483


    ‘I’m doing my best. Can’t they appreciate our obvious accomplishments?’ Joanna whined.
    ‘Calm down, my child,’ her mother kept her voice steady, ‘Remember as long as the war’s going on the nobles are a threat. They have arms, weapons, they command soldiers. They are men, and many of them your former enemies. It would be wise to start negotiating peace terms with Sanç II.’
    ‘The war’s not a problem,’ Beatrice of Arborea butted in, anger in her eyes ‘and my son shall fight until he regains what’s rightly his. It’s a question of time now, and diplomacy. And our diplomacy has scored a major victory with the rapprochement with Castile. It’s the lack of heir what the problem is.’ She looked meaningfully at Joanna.
    ‘Oh, yes. You’ve got the point here,’ Charlotte retorted gruffly. ‘Our children’s position, our position is shaky without an heir and with still so many greedy uncles Joanna has. But is it my child’s fault? No! It’s your son!’ she exclaimed accusingly. ‘Constantly away. Always seen with his blue-eyed, Berber dog of aide-de-camp at his side,’ Charlotte hissed with a contemptuous shriek. ‘Admit it, he should be more willing to get down to producing the heir.’
    ‘He’s away, fighting for his inheritance.’
    ‘Why don’t you send him to Cyprus. Fight the Turks? Fight for Joanna’s claims?’
    ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Charlotte. We have to be sensible. Cyprus is now only a mirage. Roussillion is within reach. Charlotte, we need to stand together. As for my son, I’ll have a word with him.’
    ‘You better do.’
    ‘But what are we supposed to do about the nobles’ demands? You’ve jammed this crown on my head. Now you have to help me,’ begged Joanna.
    ‘You’re definitely more suited for an abbess than a duchess, my child. There’s still so much you’ll need to learn. Listen. With the new men, thankful for lucrative offices they were granted, we’ll force reforms,’ said Charlotte steadying her voice. ‘And if anything goes wrong they, not us, will take the blame. We can tax burghers and traders more, this won’t anger the nobles, yet will remind them where the power lies.’
    ‘Agreed,’ said Beatrice curtly, ‘We should also centralise the command of Savoyard army more, in my son’s hands, and improve the information flow. No more forays without the knowledge and approval of the Duke. This will anger the nobles …and weaken them at the same time.’
    ‘And you’ll have to employ your power of appearance, my daughter, to minimise the negative effects of the reforms. And at that you’re excellent. We’ve taught you well,’ the widow-queens exchanged glances. They both new the rivalry would lead them nowhere. They were condemned to cooperate.




    The reforms of 1483-84


    III


    Chambéry, 08 October 1483


    Joanna rose from her chair. She was standing there, at her throne, her husband’s one empty, Charlotte’s and Beatrice’s presence her only support. She remembered her mother’s advice. She straightened up. Looked boldly ahead. And started.

    ‘My loving people. I, the Duchess of these realms, am here to hear your plights. I assure you that there is no prince that loves his subjects better, or whose love can countervail our love. There is no jewel which I prefer before this jewel, I mean your love, for I do more esteem it than any treasure or riches: for that we know how to prize, but love I count inestimable.’


    before the speech

    Joanna, seated; two widowed queens, standing at her sides


    ***



    It’s the first time I’ve given in to the nobles’ demands, but I guess this was the wisest and most cautious option, taking the dire situation into account. I can’t afford to fight noble rebels with 8k men, 5k out of which are trapped on Sardinia. The question: will the noble privileges be with me till the end? Is there a way to get rid of them? (Not that they hurt that badly.) I went for ‘balanced policies’ modifier as I need all the help I can get.

    Internationally, Castile under Juan III finished the first round of reconquista and promptly offered me an alliance. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (I’d been ally-less.) Cyprus was annexed by OE ; Rhodes is being besieged. Venice dowed Mantua and got seriously beaten, lost Friuli to Austria, but the Emperor gave the prov back within 2 or 3 years. I’m surprised to see Algiers allied to (save its Muslim neighbours) Portugal -!?- Will it last?

    November 1483 witnessed the demise of Burgundy. The Emperor didn’t get any cores on the inherited territory. (WAD?)

    Quizzes: 1) The pic opening this update is the riddle. Who’s in it?
    2) Whose speeches are Joanna’s ones modelled on?

+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 6 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 ... 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