Wow. Amazing graphics, great writing, awesome AAR. Keep up the good work
Wow. Amazing graphics, great writing, awesome AAR. Keep up the good work
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
nice continue france thrusted into decades of war and whit a austria still on the height of power keep up the good work and dont let us wait
lots of things sound historical here great update, looking forward to more.
Well worth the wait.
@Tweetybird: I'm glad you like the pictures, and Eh, Y'all can expect whatever ya want. Y'aint gonna geddit, but yall can expect it.
@swippy: Hopefully this won't be any less awesome. Hopefully... I hate writing Conversations.
@Derahan: Eh, Austria gets what's coming to them eventually.
@gabor: I've tried to make sure that anyone who was alive at 1453 has some role, such as Louis XI, however after that I've just been drawing inspiration from History, feeling fully allowed to change whatever I wanted. That's one of the reasons I have changed the Austrian Succession drastically, Luckily enough for me, Friedrich V's Heir Maximilian wasn't born until 1459, so I can effectively do whatever I want to the Line.
@mw1776: I would say I hope this is the last Schedule Slip, but I know it will happen again eventually. And by eventually, I mean two days ago....
And why does everyone keep winking at me?
So... Hey there. Hows it going?
So. I was thinking, always a bad sign, had to take the smoke alarm down and everything...
Where was I?
Oh Right, so I've decided I really want to expand on Friedrich VI and Maria of Burgundy and their marriage. Unfortunately the Personal Aspects of the History are outside the scope of the works of Hugo Grotius. This is further comfounded by the fact that Describing anything from Friedrich or Maria's point of view would just give away everything.
So, without further ado, I'm going to start on a series of Narratives, none of which are going to be from the point of view of the actual subject.
So Let's get started everyone. Hold on to your Butts.
The People of the Renaissance
Ferdinand I 'One Eye'
July 21st, 1489; The Meeting with Charles II
The Sun was shining, the day was warm, and the sound of my young Sons' Laughter was pleasing on my ears. As young Friedrich and his younger brother Karl ran through the Gardens of the Imperial Palace, I reclined in my chair in the few moments of peace afforded me, enjoying this brief respite from the affairs of state. I was glad this small estate, high in the Swiss Alps, had remained within the Family Domains.
Here, playing Chess with my Eldest Son, while my two Youngest Sons played together nearby, surrounded by guards to ensure our safety, with delicious Wine from the Duchy of Champagne, arrived two days earlier as a gift with the message requesting this meeting, in the calm warm of the summer. Truly, this was happiness.
"Father, your move." My Elder Son's words brought me back to the moment, as I turned and looked down at the Board. There was the slightest hint of a smile on his face as I looked at the board. Why was obvious. His Bishop was staring my queen in the face, she herself being largely trapped. The Bishop was protected by a Knight, the Knight in turn being protected by a Rook, with its companion defending it, forming a self reinforcing formation.
My Own formation was likewise deep, with the trading of pieces having begun only 6 moves before. My Queen could retreat back to the original line, however that would give my young son control of over half of the board. I could not allow that, and besides, what better opportunity to judge his character?
I advanced my Bishop to claim a Bishop of his, and place his Queen into Check. A Knight of mine, and my Queen, both defended this attacking Bishop. Should one of us Lose our Queen, Both of us Lose our Queen.
My Son's Brow furrowed ever so slightly.
He had taken to this game relatively easily, and had been more than capable of adapting to the quickly shifting rules. He had become almost immediately skilled using the new rules for the movement of the Queen and Pawns for instance. He had been less interested in his Bishops, or so I had thought, he appeared to be adapting to that easily enough. I guess I wouldn't have to try to teach him this. At the very least, I was proud of his usage of his pawns.
His Queen had retreated, and mine did as well. I had my answer, I had indeed chosen my successor wisely.
Today was a big day, although it would hopefully be less significant than most would initially fear. The Meeting would begin shortly. Today was a secret day. The World could not know of this meeting until the arrangements set forth were well established. We had to tread carefully. Although France would be unable to do anything to challenge this new Partnership, Castille would be more than willing to intervene, as would the Polish Crown, and perhaps even Hungary, although they were nominally our allies.
Indeed, it was the weakness of France that had prompted this arrangement. The Duke of Burgundy would be arriving shortly to discuss the terms and conditions of this new alliance of powers. Were the other powers to learn of this, they would never accept it, as today, the Kingdom of France effectively joined with the Holy Roman Empire in Alliance, as a powerful state that would dominate almost the whole of Europe. The Empire of Charlemagne was to be reborn, if not in name, then at the least in practice.
I Frowned. My Son had made a mistake in the progressing game. Despite my Queen being Trapped behind his lines without support, he had attacked it in the wrong way, leaving one of his flanks open. I had assumed My Queen was surely lost at this point, having decided to merely have her do as great of damage as possible before she fell. Perhaps, I could save her, as I slid her into the corner, and claimed his Rook. By the lack of change in his expression, it was apparent he had seen his mistake before I moved. At least that was some lesson for him to learn.
This deal would secure the borders of the Empire, and turn a former ally, who was at this point growing in power by leaps and bounds, into a strong ally. With Burgundian Support, I would be able to push through grand, sweeping changes to the Imperial Constitution, centralizing power greatly and expanding the reach of Austria. Everything was going exactly as planned. I had already begun sending messengers up to the northern Demesne to prepare to claim it directly for the House of Habsburg. With a base in the north from which to project Imperial Power, and the Duchy of Milan holding sway over much of Italy, action could be taken to significantly curb the power of the Local Lords.
One could only Hope.
His Bishop had taken a pawn, and was now Pressuring a Knight. My Queen was back within my lines, the front having remained relatively constant, and his bishop was behind it, wreaking havoc alongside a Knight, while another Knight was defending him from my queen. This was annoying, but I could do nothing about it, I withdrew my Knight, forcing his Bishop to return to its original location.
Austria had been isolated within its phantom empire, Beset on all sides by those wishing to destroy us. No Longer.
Today, I seized my Dynasty's Future.
A Soldier ran up to me and my son. With the exception of a pair of pawns, no further pieces had changed hands, the campaign degrading into a Battle of Positioning. Unfortunately, it appeared this game would have no resolution. This was likely for my own benefit, I appeared to be losing.
"My Lord, Duke Charles II has arrived."
"Good, show him in here. I'm afraid our game is done my Son, go get your brother."
Leopold responded quickly in affirmative and walked off, clearly unhappy with the situation and preferring to have finished the game. He stood quickly and bowed slightly, respectful to the end, and then walked down the small hill we were on. His Brothers were still playing together, wrestling together on the grass below. Friedrich remained the stronger. Regardless, neither were my heirs, for that I was deeply thankful.
The Duke entered the gate to this Imperial Palace with his personal bodyguards, all garbed in modern armor and bearing both halberds and swords. He himself looked polished and clean in his armor and long black cloak, his hood down and his helmet under his shoulder. There was a sword at his side, even from here I could see the fine craftsmanship involved, the embroidery on the edge of his cape was likewise elaborate, the gilt on his helm and armor was perfectly balanced, as each step brought into view a new level of detail.
He was trying to impress me. Let him.
"Emperor Ferdinand I."
I gave him no Title, he winced slightly when I said it. His slight smirk, that constant feature which gave him his reputation, did not leave his face, however it noticeably weakened. So I drew out his true personae, his false humility was a disservice to our understanding of the situation. In this time, he held more sway in Europe, however his influence was precarious, and could be destroyed at any moment.
"I Come seeking an Audience, to determine the Balance of the Empire and France."
"So I have heard." I drank once more from the goblet of wine beside me.
He took a slight breath before speaking again.
"I wish to request the Title of the King of Lotharingia from you. At present I control virtually all of the territory of that old Kingdom and claim influence extending deeply into both the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. I wish to elevate my standing."
"Your Request is Heard, and Denied."
"I expected as much, though I suppose one cannot blame a man for simply trying."
"Indeed." A Slight smile graced my face now, as his returned to its full strength.
There was a longer pause now, as he studied me carefully, his smile surely an attempt to distress me. He did not fidget, and neither did his guards, nor mine, now gathered to stand behind me at attention, themselves armed and armored similarly to his, although all bearing long cloaks of Austrian White with Gold Trim around their edges.
They served as a nice contrast to myself.
"You have not the power to stand against me."
I paused, finishing my current sip of wine before speaking softly in response.
"Oh but I do."
He paused slightly before responding.
"My Realms are richer than yours, greater in territory and manpower, and fully loyal to me. Burgundy would surely defeat an Austria who struck against it."
"Indeed, in a straight war, Burgundy would surely defeat Austria, however you forget your surroundings."
"How? England is in the throes of the aftermath of the Hundred Years War and continues in their 'War of the Roses', Castille and Aragon are consumed by their rivalry, Poland is occupied with putting down a Lithuanian Pretender, and the King of Denmark is busy fighting for control over the Crown of the North."
"And all of those would throw aside their differences were Burgundy to truly upset the Balance of Power."
"A war with Austria would not upset the balance enough to interest them when they are so distracted."
"True, but were Burgundy to War with Austria and Empire, and were the Duke of Burgundy to then order the Death of the Young King of France, such a death of a foreign Prince within your Lands might just sully your reputation enough for the other powers to take interest. We're all of this to likewise be accompanied by an excommunication from my Good Friend Pope Marcellus III, I think the Duchy of Burgundy would be too tempting of a target for the other powers and the Local Nobles of Burgundy itself to resist. Remember the Fate of the Kingdom of France."
His Eyes Widened visibly.
"I come here as a Friend, a fellow Ruler in this World, to speak of partnerships and cooperation, and you threaten my Realm with Death? Is this how you receive every head of state, an itemized list of the ways you could destroy them?"
"Oh, I assure you Charles, I am speaking as a Friend, were I not your Friend, I would have already done all of these to you several times over." I smiled through my teeth just ever so slightly, this look of panic so slight in its existence, barely contained behind the steely gaze of one well versed in the intrigues of the world, it was what I lived for. "This is merely me clarifying our positions. Although you have greater power in the moment, your power is precarious and could easily be wrested from you. Your Duchy remains unstable, while I am popular in my Empire. The only blemish on my record has been my willingness to let you run amok, the Princes of Empire would be more than willing to support me in my efforts to stop you."
I paused to let the full force of this declaration sink into his understanding, it didn't take long, so I added one more statement to truly knock him off balance.
"And besides, my dear friend, I have not even begun to describe the ways I could destroy everything your dynasty has spent the past century working for."
It was a while before he spoke again, as his eyes darted back and forth, visibly working out battle plans and sorting through the web of intrigue surrounding European Politics, trying to find a way out of this trap.
"I would never order the Death of the Young King, and I would be able to prove it."
"My Young Friend, no you wouldn't. No matter how much evidence you brought to the table, the other rulers of Europe would not accept it. Indeed, the more evidence you brought to the table of your own innocence, the blacker they would paint you. They are already salivating at the possibility."
"I know, I have already dismantled five attempts on the young King's Life." He Responded.
"Indeed, I myself have done the same." I replied.
That shocked him. So it was, mostly, a bluff, and so many of the plots I had 'dismantled' I myself have constructed in the first place, those were all unnecessary details.
"Why, if you wish to kill my realm, would you defend it?"
"My dear Friend, I don't want to kill your realm. I want you as an ally, a Powerful Ally. Through you, the Empire will spread, however briefly, into the Kingdom of France. Even if it is not so on any map or paper, by the agreement we will reach today, the Empire of Charlemagne will be reborn. This Rebirth will be at first fleeting, however through you I will sow the seeds of a greater Imperial Revival. You are in a unique position, more than able to gravely, fatally, weaken the Kingdom of France, weaken it in ways that the other powers will be entirely willing to preserve, and their own Kings will be unable to undo. You can destroy all of the centralizing progress the Kings of France have made over the past century of warfare with England."
"And if I won't assist you in your schemes?"
"Then you will fall alone." I took another drink of Wine. "You have no one else in all of Europe who would ally with you, too great has your power and reach grown. Your Ally of Aragon has left your circle, and now stands in Mine, opposed to you if necessary, because of the fear you have placed in the King, the fear of a Two Front war against you and Castille. Castille, likewise, will not risk strengthening a new state so close to its border. The Crown of England sees you now as mocking it, having achieved what it could not, dominance over the Kingdom of France. All other powers are either too disinterested in you or too far away. Unless you wish to seek aid from the Ottoman Empire, which will only make it easier to crush your realm with the Church." I waved my hand, as if brushing such a foolish option from the air. "You have grown to great, too quickly, and now teeter on the Edge of Oblivion, you will require the Validation of another, already established state in order to survive, and I am the only state that will give you such validation."
"And why will you give it to me, when you seem sure I would be your enemy?"
"Oh Charles, you could never be my enemy. You require me. You cannot fight me, any more than you could fight your own feet."
"Burgundy can stand on its own. It has before, and it shall once more if necessary."
"And Likely it could, were it not facing myself. I think you underestimate my Grip on Europe my Dear Friend. I have Influence in every country, and no ruler can resist one of my demands. As you have seen, once the Order of the Teutonic Knights no longer served my purposes, I cast it off and maneuvered the Kingdom of Poland to destroy it. I shattered the Iberian Wedding between Aragon and Castille, preventing the Unification of those Lands, and prevented the Ottoman Empire from completely annexing the Mamluk state of Egypt. I have destroyed Realms before, Pray I do not Destroy Yours." I glared him dead in the eyes.
There was a long Pause, as I drank the last of my wine. It was a particularly delicious batch I must admit. Yet one more reason to secure the friendship of Burgundy.
"Who...What are you?" He asked, shakily, before once more finding his voice.
I Laughed heartily. "My Dear Friend, Who I am is simple; I am Emperor Ferdinand I 'One Eye'. What I am is a bit more difficult to describe, but I will assure you that my family has deeper secrets than you could imagine."
My Son Leopold was walking back up the hill, having finally dragged Friedrich from his games.
"So, have you brought your young Sister with you?" He nodded, and I smiled kindly, my eye almost closed as I stood. "Then we shall discuss the terms of our Partnership."
So then....I told people conversations weren't my strong suit. Though I think this conversation went pretty well.
To make up for the lack of new history, and otherwise total lack of Images of any kind, have a nice map of Austria, part of the new HRE map I'm making. The Next update will show the actual discussion from the point of view of Charles II.
Thnak you for this AAR, plausible alternate History, vast Scope and EYE CANDY! Yay!
War einmal ein Bumerang;
War ein Weniges zu lang.
Bumerang flog ein Stück,
Aber kam nicht mehr zurück.
Publikum noch stundenlang *
Wartete auf Bumerang.
Good narrative. Looks like Austria's planting the seeds for an empire that could soon encompass all of southern Germany and northern Italy.
Just read through it all, and I have to say I'm mesmerized. I wish one day I can formulate sentences as you do; your flow of words are amazing hahaha. Great AAR, keep up the good work
War loses a great deal of its romance after a soldier has seen his first battle. I have a more vivid recollection of the first than the last one I was in. It is a classical maxim that it is sweet and becoming to die for one’s country; but whoever has seen the horrors of a battlefield feels that it is far sweeter to live for it.
John Singleton Mosby
you did pretty well with the conversation, although it was kind of one-sided
and what a coincidence: chess! (in the same time period!) we've had the same inspiration/ideas lately
A very nice AAR!
I shall follow.
Just caught up. Excellent AAR - subscribed!
Sages such as Yao and Shun and Tyrants such as Chieh and Chou come but once a thousand generations. Mediocrities follow on the heels of each other; the rulers of the world are invariably among them. -- Han Fei Tzu
When the lips are gone, the teeth are cold. -- Han Fei Tzu
I have not been tested (with the responsibility of high office), so I have learned many (lesser) skills. -- Confucius
Simplified characters are an abomination. -- Me
The cost of Steam:
PI games not bought because of Steam: 19
PDS games not bought because of Steam: 1
PDS games bought despite Steam: 1
@Ringelnatz: I'm counting on everyone here to make sure I keep things plausible and point out any implausibilities you see. In most cases there will be a Very Specific Reason why those implausibilities stay, if they do. For instance, the Unanimous Vote to go to war with the Ottoman Empire has a Very Specific Reason why it hapenned, but I am entirely willing to Ret-Con this thing to high heaven if someone finds a Gaping Plot Hole(tm).
And I would say you haven't seen Eye Candy until Maria grows up, given that I already have two pictures chosen for her, but she won't be nearly as, how shall we say, 'visible' as Elizabeth from Preußenlied, so it looks like pretty maps are all I'll have.
@Valentin the II: Flashy? I no Blinky!
@asd21593: Yeah, it is, its a shame I decided to come through here with a Rototiller!
@Arya V.: I do try to keep a sort of 'fluidity' in my writing, I'm glad I'm pulling it off.
@gabor: Yeah, Charlie here is really most at home either behind his books balancing a budget, or in his armor killin' people. And I agree on the Chess, though I do have a Very Specific Inspiration and Reason for including it...
Oh, and I want to thank you; your AAR, told from an indirect point of view, is partly what inspired me to do my narratives, as there are four characters who will never tell a narrative from their point of view. They are, incidentally enough, the protagonists.
@English Patriot: Thanks! and If anyone wants me to, so long as they are for an AAR here, I can try to make maps for other people. Of course, the ETA for all of them will only be defined as closely as 'As I can make them'. But really, provided the map isn't too complex (and my complex I mean with a bunch of different pieces) I can crank these suckers out pretty quickly. The three Burgundy maps took maybe three hours total because I work in a modular format that lets me essentially Mass Produce these Maps.
Okay, this update has been delayed TWICE now because the Paradox Forums stop working at Midnight where I live. What gives?
We were sitting together in uneasy silence, and had been for several minutes now, or perhaps it was merely myself who was uneasy. In the Gardens below Friedrich and Maria were talking in relative privacy. Even from here I could feel how stiff Friedrich was. His back was straight and his hands were clasped tightly behind his back while Maria stood in a half slouch besides him, both of them standing near a large marble fountain in the center of this garden talking peacefully with one another.
It was hard to believe they were only 8 and 6 years of age respectively, Friedrich in particular acted so much older. His Long, for a boy of his age at least, blond hair wreathed a face that never seemed to smile, never laughed, at least, not when Maria was near him. His Clothing, in Habsburg Red under a brown cape, shone out against the green foliage near him, and nicely matched Maria's slightly paler red dress.
"They complement each other" Ferdinand said softly. I didn't want to argue with him, and I must admit, they did.
"They will make a beautiful couple." I responded. Returning to silence, the unfinished game of Chess between us, the Eldest Son Leopold standing high on the hill some ways away, watching over his younger brother with an unflinchingly stoic demeanor, did no one in this family ever Enjoy Themselves?.
"You seem troubled." Ferdinand said softly, and although it wasn't in his tone, I couldn't help but feel as if I was being mocked.
"You remember your words just moments before. I have no need to repeat them." I responded.
He Glanced at me, that damned Smirk on his Lips; "You must Yourself learn to relax. I told you then, those are all of the things I could and would do to you were you to become my enemy, so long as you remain my friend, I assure you I will do all of those things to those who strike against you."
"You wish an alliance?"
He paused ever so slightly. "No. A Full Alliance between what is currently effectively France and the Holy Roman Empire would too vastly upset the balance of power and restrict our actions. Instead, a Mutual Assurance of Defense. Should either party find themselves attacked, the other will aid them in their defense. The Offensive Matters of either party need not concern the other."
"You wish me to be an Ogre, a Bodyguard to your Little Austria?"
"Oh, you will be far more than that."
I Paused before speaking, I didn't like the sly tone in his voice, any more than I liked him shrugging off my 'Little' comment.
He Tilted his Head to the right, his Black Hair falling aside and revealing the Black Cloth Bandage he wore to cover his left Eye. I was not aware of how he had lost it, I'm not sure if anyone really was, but he had been Ferdinand I 'One Eye' since at most three years into his reign.
"I shall name you as my representative in the West, granting you authority to speak in my name in the Empire."
"So I will have the title of Lotharingia in all but Name?"
"I suppose that is acceptable. I want my conquests in The Empire Legitimized."
He Didn't speak for a long period of time. Was he thinking? Had he ignored my demand? If it could even truly be called a demand in the present situation I was not even entirely sure.
"I shall grant you Liens on all territory you hold. So long as your line maintains its hold over the Burgundian Throne, The King of Burgundy may rule those lands on the Emperor's Behalf.
"King of Burgundy?"
He Smiled, softly, nodding his head once. "You shall not be King of Lotharingia, instead you shall be King of Burgundy, not the old Kingdom of Burgundy, a new Political Entity."
"A New Kingdom of Burgundy. I assume you mean a King within the Empire. As is the Electoral Crown of Bohemia?"
"You assume correctly."
Another slight pause.
"I will not remove my Land from Subservience to the King of France just to place it under the Emperor of Rome."
"You will be subservient me only in name, and when dealing with the other princes of the Empire."
His Evasiveness was growing tiring.
"So your refusal of my initial request was meaningless? Or were you simply trying to illustrate a point?"
I nodded. This man was clearly not going to elaborate on his damned plots and plans. So be it, then I would keep mine from him, if they were even still mine. I almost chuckled, but such a betrayal of emotion could not be tolerated. I was back, he had attempted to shift me off balance, but I was back on my feet. This man was merely a mortal like me, he could be bested, or at least brought down such that he would not have victory over me. I needed to keep demanding, and so discover all of his limitations, this would likely be the only meeting we would have like this.
I would make him Fail, at something.
"I want a Domain within the Empire. Alsace-Lorraine, The Low Countries, as well as Savoy, Montferrat, Genoa, and Provence. In addition, anything I conquer from France for the Empire will be under my jurisdiction."
"As You wish. Indeed, that will work well with a Reform I intend to place before the Reichstag soon."
"What Reform is this?"
"I intend to create a series of 'Imperial Circles' to assist in the government of the Empire. I had been planning on having Six Large circles, however if the Dutch and French Circles are both occupied by the Kingdom of Burgundy, then that will simplify things further. Actually...."
He Trailed off into thought. So, the man can be caught unawares...
"Actually, Your Kingdom would be a good example of Two Circles Overseen by a single entity, this will make it easier for the Habsburgs to gain control of Both German Circles. Thank you my Friend, you are useful already." He chuckled to himself, then turned and smiled to me. This wide smile seemed genuine.
I Looked back to the two young children. They were walking through the gardens now, Friedrich was still stiff and proper. Against Maria, he appeared to be a statue, as she picked flowers and tossed them to Friedrich, his only motions to catch them all. For all of the force of personality his father had, was this child afraid of a mere girl? Perhaps this was why Friedrich had not been issued even a ceremonial title. I could never stomach such a son.
Lorraine and Alsace, in combination with Champagne, once I finished absorbing that duchy into my realm, would wonderfully centralize it. Fortresses would be established at Metz, Reims and Verdun, reinforcing my position. I would have to prepare for this. I had 9 years before the King of France would be of age and would come to claim his Throne. If I was lucky and could destabilize France enough before then, I might get an extra decade while the young King pacifies his realm.
Ferdinand startled me slightly with his sudden declaration.
"You Really must bring the Duchy of Champagne into the Empire." He drank deeply from his refilled goblet. "I don't think I could stand to lose access to this."
I Laughed. "As you wish, Emperor." I'm sure he noticed the tone in my voice. If he wanted me to act subservient to him when in a personal meeting, he would be sorely disappointed.
My Mind was racing, past fortresses and Armies. This was an opportunity, this break from war. I had some time, I would need it to establish my defensive lines. Pushing into Alsace-Lorraine would give me an advance front against a possible Hapsburg Invasion from their territory in Breisgau. Champagne would be a nice buffer against Paris. My Hold over the French Crown would make it easier to Re-Draw the Map of Western Europe.
I had 10 Thousand Soldiers in my standing army at Dijon, with Mercenary Regiments numbering at least 30 Thousand in addition to that. The Dutch Provinces had long demanded great autonomy, and although I had succeeded in limiting their ability to escape paying their taxes, and had even begun to incorporate Dutch Policies into my own, they still resisted my attempts at Conscription. If I could force them to serve in my military, I could organize their regiments at Antwerp, Amsterdam. If I could feign weakness in my Central Provinces of Champagne-Lorraine, it would be an easy thing to lure an overconfident or aggressive French King into that territory, there I could Trap him.
The Swiss Confederation would be a problem. They had no love for either me or the Empire, however it was My Father who had recently fought a victorious war against them. They would side with the Emperor if given the chance as this would reclaim them their territory. I would need to reinforce the Franche-Comte to defend against a possible invasion.
"You didn't comment on the Low Countries." I stated, bluntly.
"Indeed I did not. I will not move against you, if you can suppress them, you may do so. They will be within your Realm, it will be your Legal Obligation to Police them after all is said and done."
My Smile returned to my face, a welcome return, a happy return. With Ferdinand's Support, I could Pacify the Netherlands fully, finally forcing them to accept a policy of Conscription that would more than double my Available Regiments. With the Dutch Provinces finally under my full control and my Realm finally Contiguous with them, I would also be able to begin the expansion of my Fleet. If I could defeat the weakened English Navy, I could secure the Port City of Calais, vastly reducing the front I would need to maintain, ensuring I would not need to worry about the easy invasion of a large English Force at my rear. As for the Empire?
Ferdinand had 11 Years on me, and his slight frame betrayed a weak constitution, this was good. I could outlast this Bastard.
His Son Leopold, What did I know of him? He was active in the military, his posture was straight and tall, the posture of a soldier, organic, fluid, with a grace and poise. He wasn't stiff like his brother, but stood softly in his place, not moving in the wind. This meeting was another opportunity, few had seen much of the young Prince outside of his military campaigns. He has served as a general at sixteen, victoriously defeating a few peasant rabbles with minimal losses, before assisting in the decisive Hapsburg Victory over a Milanese Pretender.
He governed the Austrian Territories in Lombardia because of this, territories that had become a polished, fluid organism. The Bureaucracy in that duchy was legendary, and administrators from all of Italy and much of Germany traveled to the young Duke's court to observe his practices.
He was stoic, that remained. He stood silently, and had for the entirety of the meeting. Could he hear us? I noticed no reactions from him to any exclamations in this conversation. I couldn't see his eyes under his short brown hair. He did not deal overly much with foreign courts himself, preferring his finances and books, as he did the sword. None had any real indication of his charisma.
Outlasting this bastard would not give me an easy fight, but so long as his son did not inherit his persuasiveness, it might give me a fair fight.
My Smile was back in full force.
I could do it. I could win.
The Southern Duchies in Guyenne and Toulouse, they would love to have greater autonomy. Well, let them have independence. That should slow the young King Down. In the East, let the Empire be at Peace. They can rot in their Golden Cages while I rebuild my land into the power of Europe.
I had been skeptical of this entire meeting at first, and Ferdinand's Initial Comments had disturbed me, but perhaps this would be a profitable arrangement. My Smile Grew as I turned towards Ferdinand to tell him this, but I never got a chance.
As He turned his gaze to Friedrich and Maria, I saw his jaw clench, however that lasted less than the blink of an eye, as he leapt out of his chair and ran down the hill, shouting for the Guards.
I have never in my life heard Rage so, Primal.
August 23rd, 1597;
My Friend, Daniel Heinsius, has informed me of a potential patron, a man who wishes to publish a work of history covering a long range of years. As Daniel himself is not terribly enamored with the idea of tracking such long stretches of history, he has suggested my name to this man, whose identity he will not elaborate on beyond claiming him to be "A Wise Professor at the University."
I have a meeting scheduled with the man tomorrow shortly after lunch.
And with that we will turn towards something completely different, the Early Reform of the Empire. Then we will take a look at Iberia and Probably the Wars of the Roses, finishing up the history until 1538 and then returning to the Ottoman Empire to look at the Reforms and Conquests of Suleiman I 'The Magnificent'. All the while, I need to be updating the old maps to the new style.
And now for a First for this AAR, in honor of Two(2) Narrative AARs, I give you your first look at Two(2) of the Characters!
Prince Friedrich von Habsburg and Princess Maria de Valois
Shortly after their Engagement.
Aren't they just adorable?
(Paintings from Here and Here. Pretty much the right time period, wrong spot, but that's okay. Personally I'm just amazed the boy has the right hair style, actually, the girl does too...)
Good update, but cant see pictures
That's strange, I can see them fine.
You know, I've been meaning to ask, the recent maps, in the more detailed style, how do they show up? On my screen all of the images are automatically shrunk to fit the thread, but I use Opera, so it might be a feature of that Browser.
If the maps I post ever start to Destroy Forum Layout, please let me know.
And I will try and figure out why the pictures aren't showing up.
What Browser do you use asd21593? Hmmm, they are .gif files, whereas my maps were all .pngs, maybe that has something to do with it?
I'm going to try reuploading them in .png format.
EDIT: Ahhh, Now its telling me 'exceeded Bandwidth Upgrade today'. Wonderful. Well, looks like I might need to find a new Image Hosting Site...
EDIT Junior: How about that? Do they show up now?
Weird, I can see the portraits in the latest update, but not the one before it.
EDIT: Actually, since it isn't that expensive, I think I'll just upgrade to Pro so I get unlimitted Bandwidth. This problem should be solved soon.
(I need a Technical Difficulties Graphic)
EDIT 3: Problem solved.