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Thread: Novum Romanum Imperium -- A Tuscany DW AAR

  1. #541
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avindian View Post
    I'm actually not as afraid of Austria as I used to be, provided I get Muscovite support. It will still be quite a challenge, though.
    That is because, by this point, you have essentiallly outgrown Austria. You have expanded like mad and Austria has not kept pace with your expansion. They also failed to intervene to stop you when they could. Now they have not one but two borders with you and are very vulnerable to a pincer maneuver and if Moscovy joins, they might have a war on as many as three or four fronts.
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  2. #542
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    Very interesting progression from Tuscany to the world. Have you thought of switching tags to Roman Empire? It should not be hard to mod in unless you've chosen against the option.

  3. #543
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Awesome View Post
    is it possible that you can mod it so Milan gets inherited after Leo dies? i wanna see you kill Austria (:< also why is Kyoto red on the COT screenshot?
    I don't like cheating, if I can avoid it That said, I'm starting to lose patience with Milan. Kyoto is probably red either because they're outside my trade range, their market is closed, or both.

    Quote Originally Posted by History_Buff View Post
    That is because, by this point, you have essentiallly outgrown Austria. You have expanded like mad and Austria has not kept pace with your expansion. They also failed to intervene to stop you when they could. Now they have not one but two borders with you and are very vulnerable to a pincer maneuver and if Moscovy joins, they might have a war on as many as three or four fronts.
    Very true.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedRooster81 View Post
    Very interesting progression from Tuscany to the world. Have you thought of switching tags to Roman Empire? It should not be hard to mod in unless you've chosen against the option.
    It's certainly something I've considered, but I'm not sure how to mod it in. I would prefer to wait until I'm a little closer to the actual empire, of course.
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  4. #544
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    I just read this AAR in about 3 days, and I found it amazing. Excellently written and played out. I will definetely be following this from now on.
    I really hope you will be able to unify Italy very soon and then focus the expansion of the empire towards Europe. They have waited long enough for the glorious Roman Empire to return to them.
    I'm also very fond of the older families of the empire. Recent updates introduced many new character up to the point were I began finding it confusing. I hope for more action for the Cicero's and the other older families in the future, they deserve it! Not to say that totally new characters like van Dijk can't be very refreshing.
    Lastly I was sad to see the Latin names disappear, but I can imagine they're quite difficult.

  5. #545
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    Excellent update on the progress of the Tuscan Empire. Even if Britannia doesn't become incorporated into the Empire before 1820...Hispania definitely should
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  6. #546
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sethanon View Post
    I just read this AAR in about 3 days, and I found it amazing. Excellently written and played out. I will definetely be following this from now on.
    I really hope you will be able to unify Italy very soon and then focus the expansion of the empire towards Europe. They have waited long enough for the glorious Roman Empire to return to them.
    I'm also very fond of the older families of the empire. Recent updates introduced many new character up to the point were I began finding it confusing. I hope for more action for the Cicero's and the other older families in the future, they deserve it! Not to say that totally new characters like van Dijk can't be very refreshing.
    Lastly I was sad to see the Latin names disappear, but I can imagine they're quite difficult.
    Thank you for the kind words! My biggest problem with the Latin names is keeping them unique. It's entirely possible you could see a return of the Ciceros or Catos; we'll have to see how things go, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by blsteen View Post
    Excellent update on the progress of the Tuscan Empire. Even if Britannia doesn't become incorporated into the Empire before 1820...Hispania definitely should
    Absolutely!
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  7. #547
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Very busy weekend; I'd intended to write a new update, and got the pictures edited, but it'll be another two part chapter. I'm not sure when it will happen, but I promise you it will.
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  9. #549
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    Chapter 28, part 1: The Wars of the Vassals


    10 May 1600, Foreign Minister Tonelli's office, Rome

    Ippolito Tonelli sighed. Emperor Leo III probably wouldn't be very happy with this. Aquelia, long claimed by Tuscany to be an ancient Italian province, had been annexed by Austria a few weeks ago. Two more wars, with Hungary and Transylvania, earned Austria some additional funds, a new ally in Moldavia, and more prestige.

    The Foreign Minister briefly wondered why Leo III was so interested in Austria of late. Normally, Tonelli saw the Emperor about once a week. However, after their last meeting, he'd ordered Tonelli to report any information on Austria as soon as he had it. The minister shrugged to himself. He was the Emperor, after all.

    At least he had some good news as well; Muscovy had won her own victory over Ming, releasing Lan Na and freeing Manipur from vassalage. He'd already prepared a note, which was to be delivered to the Muscovite embassy within the hour, giving congratulations. Tonelli checked his clock; it was time to see the Emperor. As he gathered up his things, a page handed him a note.



    Austria was no longer Emperor? Tonelli smiled; this would be the very best of good shows, and he immediately went to tell the Emperor. Without the Imperial Crown, Austria would either have to disband part of her army, go bankrupt, or suffer losses in battle. All of these were desirable, from Tuscany's point of view, and the best part was that a loyal ally might be less likely to intervene in Tuscan affairs than a boorish German. He prepared another note of congratulations, this one for Carlo III of Savoy, and turned to leave.

    Maybe the news about Austrian conquests would be forgotten entirely!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    10 January 1601, Emperor's personal chambers, Rome

    Pietro Leopoldo Datti, Prince of Constantinople, was puzzled by the letter he'd received from his father.

    Dearest Pietro,

    I spoke with a man of the cloth for the first time in years, and he has shown me a way to strengthen your patrimony. Please make haste to Rome. You will be in Rome for many a day, I think, so appoint a suitable regent to look after your lands in the east.

    Your Father




    After ensuring that Julius Tullius Cicero was well-prepared to rule in his stead, Pietro took the first ship heading west he could find. He'd arrived the day after the New Year and tried to meet with the Emperor, but oddly Leo III was nowhere to be found. Things looked more and more mysterious to the young Prince.

    Pietro knocked twice on the Emperor's door, half expecting no response. This time, however, his father answered. Smiling from ear to ear, he embraced his son and gestured towards a chair.

    "My son, I am pleased you are here. You received my letter?"

    "I did, Father. How may I serve our Empire?"

    "You remember my decision to take up arms from the council of 1600?" After seeing a nod, the Emperor continued. "We have an opportunity. I spoke with Gian Carlo Buti a few days ago, and he has discovered a method that will not only let us add additional lands to the Empire, but to justify it in such a way that the rest of Europe will look more kindly upon us as a whole. I do not understand the specifics, but I am confident it will work. War is imminent."

    An alarmed Pietro managed to stammer out a response after a moment. "A-a-are you sure this is a wise course? I am not ready to lead the Empire, and I fear that you may fall in the field. Could you not find a talented general to lead our forces?"

    Leo III frowned for just a moment, but it was as quickly replaced by another smile. "Your concern for my welfare is touching, but it is misplaced. I have spent the last months training with our weapons, and I will be well back of the front lines. You are more than capable of administering our Empire in my absence, or I would not be doing this now. Chancellor Germanicus should be invaluable, and when I return in triumph, you will be the better prepared to inherit our lands when I go to my reward."

    Still clearly shaken, Pietro nodded. "It shall be as you say, Father."

    "Excellent. I have three decrees here; your first duty is to see they are promulgated. I leave for the front in two days. God go with you, my son."

    "And with you, Father."

    Pietro turned and went to his own apartments. As soon as his door was closed, he grabbed a chamberpot and vomited. His father had left him in charge so he could go play soldier. I'm just not ready; I may never be ready to handle this responsibility. If God is truly kind, Father will break his leg tomorrow and be forced to stay behind.

    Pietro wiped his face, then looked into the mirror to ensure he was clean. I have no choice. I must endure; it is all a man can do. He examined the decrees he was to promulgate. The first two were not very surprising; one proclaimed Pietro the acting Emperor while Leo III was in the field. The second named Leo III General-in-Chief of the Imperial legions.



    The third was a little odd, but Pietro let himself forget it.

    To the people of Tuscany,

    The ban on the sale of noble estates has been lifted. Any property in the Empire not belonging to His Imperial Majesty may be sold to any other noble in the Empire. However, the sale of Imperial estates remains forbidden, punishable by death.

    Emperor Leo III


    It was this decree that would one day profoundly transform the Empire.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    18 February 1601, off the coast of Provence

    Leo III was clutching his stomach. He'd never thought he'd ever get seasick, but sure enough, that's what was happening. Instead of planning, he was doing his best to hold down his lunch.

    Another unpleasant surprise came when one of Tuscany's most loyal friends, Burgundy, actually joined Provence in the war.



    Thankfully, Savoy had honored Tuscany's call, and so the odds were a little more even. Savoy's entry into the war ensured that Burgundy would be preoccupied with Switzerland.



    Leo III took a moment from his own discomfort to wonder how his son was doing. He was, to be frank, worried about his son's ability to rule in his stead. What Pietro didn't know was that Leo had carefully prepared a series of decrees, to go into effect in the event of his death. Quite simply, the Emperor wanted greater control over his Empire, and had the means to do it. Even now, his agents were traveling the Empire, buying up land. So far, nobody had caught on to his plan, but he knew that eventually, one or more of the Dukes would start to object, no matter what price the Emperor offered.

    The thought of having his entire Empire owned personally by his family mitigated his illness for a moment. He'd have to have a long talk with Pietro, to explain what he had done, but for now, he savored his daydream.

    He only prayed it could become reality.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    21 March 1601, Provence

    As Leo III shook hands with his cousin, Jean I, he was glad that the first part of this war was over. He only directly confronted Jean I once in battle, a rout that destroyed their sole army.



    After that, he only had to wait until Provence fell, and then Jean I agreed to swear fealty to the Empire of Tuscany.



    His next target was the Knights of St. John, then defending the island of Rhodes. He had no diplomats, as he'd been trying to build relations with France and Great Britain. His policy bore fruit; France agreed to let him use their territory as a way to get at Burgundy proper, and force them to sue for peace.

    His attempts to buy land were already running into a brick wall, however. He'd bought out the family of Axel Gathenhielm and the Archduke of Asia Minor. The Duke of Carthage was also eager to sell. General Ulivelli was unsure what he wanted to do, as Duke of Jerusalem, but seemed at least willing to listen. The obstacles were expected: Gaius Andreas Germanicus, the Catos, and the Ciceros. Privately, Leo couldn't care less about Egypt; he was happy to leave it to Germanicus. But without the Italian peninsula, the richest part of his Empire outside of Constantinople, his plan would never work.

    Leo III knew there was only one solution. Let Pietro in on his plan. The most capable person was obviously Drusus Germanicus, but he feared his Chancellor would reveal the plan, either intentionally or unintentionally. Only Pietro could be trusted -- after all, it would benefit him most of all -- but he was not at all certain that Pietro had the necessary deceit to buy land from extraordinarily suspicious folk like the Ciceros and Catos. Worse still, Pietro was close friends with Julius Tullius Cicero, and might see this action as a betrayal of his friendship.

    For now, Leo III left such thoughts behind. Perhaps they would take care of themselves. He had a war to win, and began to plan for exactly that.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    12 June 1601, the Emperor's chambers, Rome

    The Prince had begun to accept his new duties with bad grace, but at least he accepted them, Drusus Germanicus thought to himself. That was a vast improvement over even a month ago. For the first few months, Pietro had done his best to avoid any important decisions, foisting them on either his Chancellor or his Marshal. The Prince did take a very active role in foreign affairs, which was all to the good, since the Foreign Minister had taken ill.

    Drusus knew of Leo III's thoughts with vassalizing as many independent Christian nations as possible, and even approved of them. He was less sure he liked all the land purchases that the Emperor had been making, but he gave Leo III the benefit of the doubt. Besides, the lands he'd purchased so far made sense. Asia Minor really made more sense as part of the Imperial lands than as an independent Archduchy. Istria and Sardinia were too weak to thrive on their own, particularly since Axel Gathenhielm's successors had proven to be incompetent. He even conceded that making Jerusalem and the surrounding lands an Imperial protectorate was good sense; after all, Christians from all over the world would want to visit, and that kind of money and prestige was too much to trust to even a man such as General Ulivelli.

    Drusus knew his son had been approached to sell his land as well, but had refused politely. Gaius couldn't prove it was a member of the Imperial administration, but he suspected it. Bartolini, the Duke of Carthage, couldn't wait to sell his "worthless" land, and had actually approached the Emperor about this dozens of times ever since he realized how desolate some of his land actually was.

    The Chancellor sighed. Even if the Emperor was planning something sinister with these new purchases of land, there wasn't much he could do. Nobody else saw the patterns because nobody else saw the land deeds. The nobles who sold the land certainly weren't talking (except for Bartolini, who was an idiot anyway). In fact, Drusus realized, if Pietro hadn't been evading his duties, even he, the Chancellor, wouldn't have been aware of it. That did not bode well.

    Drusus's thoughts were interrupted by a guard, who motioned he could see Pietro. The young Prince was even paler than usual. "Chancellor, it would seem we are at war again."



    The Chancellor read the declaration of war and shrugged. "Your Highness, I do not see your concerns. You yourself know that Austria is at war with Bohemia; I highly doubt they would intervene to save a small island. Castille might be a challenge, I grant you, but we have defeated them before and can easily defeat them again."

    "Drusus, why does Father pursue all of these senseless wars?"

    The Chancellor was taken aback. "Why, for you, Prince Pietro. He wants to give you as much as he can before he goes on to his reward, just as any father would. You should really trust him; he is a skilled military mind, and I am certain he would not pursue any war he could not win."

    "He's doing this... for me?"

    Puzzled, Drusus nodded.

    "Thank you, Chancellor. You may go now."

    As Drusus left, he bumped into Marshal van Dijk. "Off to see the Prince, Karel?"

    "Aye, Drusus. The Emperor has a battle plan to end the war with Burgundy, so we can focus on Castille and the Knights."



    "He's after Bourgogne, I see."

    "Indeed, Drusus. It's bold but I think it will work; Burgundy is so focused on Savoy and Switzerland that I think he will slip past their defenses. If they attack him as he sieges their capital, he'll have the river."

    "Well, I trust your and his judgments. Who is commanding our forces in the East?"

    "Ulivelli; he's capable enough, and has at least four legions at his disposal, in addition to the one crossing the straits to take Rhodes. The fleet is already heading to blockade the Iberian coast; we will win any naval battles. I'm not too worried, to be honest."

    "Communicate that to the Prince, my friend. He seems overly concerned about the justification for these wars. I think he's just bothered by his conscience; he's always been a very sensitive lad."

    "I will do that, Chancellor. Good day."

    "To you as well."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    11 August 1601, Bourgogne

    For the first time since becoming a General, the Emperor knew loss. He had not lost the battle; indeed, he'd won it. Future generations would doubtless excitedly study this battle, as he'd held off a force twice as large as his own thanks to superior defensive tactics.



    His navies had won a pair of victories over some ships of Castille, which was also excellent news. Still, he'd lost almost 2000 men in this battle, and he had no reinforcements. Any additional legions would have to be transported by sea, and with his successful fleets blockading Castille, he had no real way to do that. He needed to talk to Marshal van Dijk about that; the Dutchman had promised to expand the navy, but had failed to do so.

    Although he'd won for the moment, he knew he had to prepare for another assault. As he began to survey the damage and prepare a list of casualties, he began to hear cheering from over the hill. Angry that his men were not giving the fallen the appropriate respect, he mounted his horse and rode to chastise them.

    His anger quickly dissipated when he saw why they were cheering; the Duke of Burgundy himself had approached the camp, shouting "Pax! Pax!" as loudly as he could. It took but a moment to sign a white peace between the two countries. Leo III couldn't help but let out a few cheers of his own. He'd won the difficult war, and now had nothing to worry about.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    16 December 1601, Janina, Greece

    With Leo III having briefly returned to Rome and General Ulivelli busy with rebellions in the East (as well as fighting Castille), a new General was needed for a new war.

    Rhodes capitulated quickly, after a small portion of the fleet was spared to protect the legion's crossing.



    The Emperor's next target was Albania.



    Once again, it was a risk, but worth taking, as Austria remained at war with Bohemia. Once again, Austria dishonored her alliance and Tuscany was free to act. To invade and capture Albania, a new general rose on the battlefield [1]:



    A distant cousin of the infamous Orsini family, which had won acceptance thanks to the heroic actions of Adriano Orsini, Giovanni Orsini was the first beneficiary of the new policy of Battlefield Commissions. In the event of war, if a new General was needed, the officers of a particular legion could vote for one of themselves to take command. In this case, Orsini, a Captain, was promoted to General. The Commander of the Legion and his Colonel were both still in Constantinople when the war with Albania began. Orsini was the most seasoned veteran among the Captains, although he was not the most senior thanks to a couple of political appointees.

    The new General knew he did not have a difficult task, but he didn't really mind. Sure enough, he won his victory a mere two months after his appointment.



    The war with Castille raged on, and the General quietly wondered if he'd be asked to move east. He liked easier assignments more than harder ones -- who didn't? -- but he was also ambitious, and wanted to cement his legacy as a proficient commander. For now, though, he focused on letting his men recover.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    31 May 1602, Dayr az Zor

    General Giovanni Ulivelli smiled to himself, exhausted. He was getting too old to lead, and had even briefly considered turning over his command to the very capable General Orsini. Still, he'd won, defeating Castille's main army in the east and probably earning himself a transfer to Marshal van Dijk's staff.

    There was a new war, in any case, for young Orsini to prove himself in.



    Achaea, Salzburg, and Corsica all agreed to support Venice. General Ulivelli thought that bringing Venice to heel was an excellent suggestion; after all, they had a wealthy Center of Trade that could be very beneficial to the Empire. Even Corsica was a worthy target; he'd heard rumors that the Emperor would also try to vassalize the island nation, whether or not the international community approved.

    No matter the case, General Ulivelli had his own hands full in the east. His first victory, at Damascus, was in January.



    He'd actually suffered more casualties than his opponent, but it at least drove off their army and let him recover. While he waited, Achaea invaded Athens and Venice landed in Sardinia. When the army of Castille invaded Damascus, he was ready, and the second Battle of Damascus was far more decisive.



    Diligent pursuit had finally cornered the Castillian army in Dayr az Zor, and he eliminated the enemy forces. Castille sued for peace a few days later.



    It was shame they couldn't take any more land from Castille, but the General understood why. Their time would come. In the meantime, he planned to take a vacation; he'd certainly earned it. He reflected on the offer of that consortium to buy out his Duchy. The more he thought about it, the more he liked it. He really didn't like the desert heat and wasn't much of a religious figure anyway. Staff service in Rome appealed to him much more than administration in the east. He decided he'd take the offer. He wrote to Marshal van Dijk, requesting a transfer, which he knew he would get.

    His military career was a shining example of what young men could look forward to, if they persevered.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [1] A very cool event from Battlefield Commissions gives you, on occasion, a free general with 50 military tradition.

    That's the end of part I! Part II should be much quicker, and is full of action, drama, and tragedy. Then we've got one more chapter (with a VERY big shoe dropping), then it'll be time to play some more.
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  10. #550
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Britain View Post
    Can't wait for it
    Your wait is over!
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    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Leo surely grew aggresive all of a sudden. Im wondering what his intensions are with buying all that land too.
    Onwards to form Italy and the Roman Empire!

  12. #552
    Leo is blinded by his own greed and deluded himself into think this new land was for his son. Leo should know Pietro doesn't want more power and hes setting his entire family up for a fall!

  13. #553
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    I actually think It would be good to have Italy consolidated under Imperial Control. The Cato's and the Cicero's lands have quickly become insignificant. I myself would like to see them granted new, larger estates outside of Italy so that they could perhaps become relevant again.
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  14. #554
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sethanon View Post
    Leo surely grew aggresive all of a sudden. Im wondering what his intensions are with buying all that land too.
    Onwards to form Italy and the Roman Empire!
    There is method to his madness, which we'll discover in the next part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Awesome View Post
    Leo is blinded by his own greed and deluded himself into think this new land was for his son. Leo should know Pietro doesn't want more power and hes setting his entire family up for a fall!
    You may be right!

    Quote Originally Posted by History_Buff View Post
    I actually think It would be good to have Italy consolidated under Imperial Control. The Cato's and the Cicero's lands have quickly become insignificant. I myself would like to see them granted new, larger estates outside of Italy so that they could perhaps become relevant again.
    An interesting thought; not what I had planned, but we will see.

    I want to get some work done tomorrow; if I can get enough done, I'll have part 2 up tomorrow night. If not, well, I won't.
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  15. #555
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    I don't know if I'm missing something, but how did you get subjugation CBs on all those nations other than Provence?
    I have a feeling that Leo is transitioning Tuscany towards an Absolute Monarchy. Seeing as the monarch was usually the largest wealthiest landowner, it would make sense.

  16. #556
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    or trying at least to break the last vestiges of feudalism in the Empire? Fascinating set of developments, but my guess is given the multi-national/multi-ethnic make up of the Empire aiming for a French style absolutism is not really going to work?

  17. #557
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michaelangelo View Post
    I don't know if I'm missing something, but how did you get subjugation CBs on all those nations other than Provence?
    I have a feeling that Leo is transitioning Tuscany towards an Absolute Monarchy. Seeing as the monarch was usually the largest wealthiest landowner, it would make sense.
    A really lucky batch of missions; I probably should have made that clear. I honestly wanted to be good and stay peaceful. The missions made me do it!

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    or trying at least to break the last vestiges of feudalism in the Empire? Fascinating set of developments, but my guess is given the multi-national/multi-ethnic make up of the Empire aiming for a French style absolutism is not really going to work?
    France under Louis XIV isn't my model at this point; it is, however, another European ruler at another time. It may or may not become clear after the next major update (not this small part coming up).
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  18. #558
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    Chapter 28, part 2: The end of the Mamluks


    31 October 1602, chambers of the Emperor, Rome

    Given the great successes of the Empire of Tuscany the last few months, Leo III returned to Rome and resumed the throne. He'd proven what he'd intended to prove, and barring a disaster, he trusted his Generals to get their jobs done. He was particularly with General Orsini, who'd already captured the island of Corfu and begun the long siege of Venezia.

    Corsica had sworn fealty to him, which gave him an important island without the chance of the Holy Roman Empire interfering. (With Savoy as Emperor, there was no objection to restoring the old name.)



    As a statesman, he had everything he could want. A strong, powerful Empire, loyal vassals, and the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as his ally. His armies and navies were feared throughout the world. He even earned, or so his theologians claimed, the thanks of God for converting so many heretics. When his son inherited the throne, he would be the envy of every other sovereign in the entire world.

    His son. His only failing of late had been his relationship with Pietro. Pietro had seemed so much happier in Constantinople and so much more capable. He'd only of late realized that the capability came from Julius Tullius Cicero. The Prince would probably make a fine Emperor in time of peace; he was very gifted at diplomacy, and had his name been anything other than Farnese, he would probably have been Foreign Minister. He understood administration nearly as well, but when it came to the military, well, Pietro loathed the institution of war and had only slightly more respect for those who practiced it.

    Leo sighed. War was a part of life, there was nothing to be done about it. It was an integral part of an Emperor's duty, and if he had not the skill, he should rely on his Marshal to compensate. Liking or not liking it had nothing to do with it.

    If only he had another son, Leo thought wistfully. As a son, Pietro had made his father very proud, but as an Emperor, he would probably be a disaster. Pietro was simply too indecisive. Even if he did have another son, if Pietro abdicated his claim to the throne, the Empire could lose legitimacy and respect in the eyes of the rest of the world. He needed to find a practical solution. As he sipped a small celebratory glass of wine, he looked at the trophy on the war; a lion's head, which he'd had mounted and stuffed during an expedition in Africa while he was still Prince.

    All of a sudden, it came to him. He smiled in his glass, and knew he could solve all of his problems. God would have to lend a hand, but He always did for those who were faithful.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    26 February 1603, the Marshal's office, Rome

    Karel van Dijk, Marshal of the Empire, had preparations to make. Less than two months ago, he was congratulating the Commander of the Tenth Legion for a job well done in Sardinia, defeating the Venetian expeditionary force. He'd also formally established the hierarchy of ranks that the Emperor had wanted; it made good sense, since there was some confusion.

    Marshal of the Empire - highest military office
    General - commands one or more legions, usually at the theater level, occasionally serves on the Marshal's staff
    Colonel - serves on the staffs of any General or the Marshal
    Commander - Commands one Legion
    Lieutenant Commander - Second in command of a legion
    Captain - In charge of 1000 men; official title for the commander of a garrison
    Centurion - In charge of 100 men
    Lieutenant - Usually 25 men; often fill minor roles for other officers


    The Marshal had this sent to every legion; it actually felt good to have a little more order in the army.

    However, bureaucratic questions were the least of his concerns now. The Mamluks had declared a jihad on the Empire of Tuscany. Muscovy had dishonored -- not surprisingly, the Tsar had it in his head that he was already at war. That meant the vassals and Savoy against the Mamluks and Morocco. Nothing too difficult, but it did require more planning than these fairly minor wars had.



    He checked his clock. He was due to meet with General Ulivelli, who would be in charge of the theater, and the Emperor. He left his office with a map and some blank order documents and made his way to the throne room. He nodded to the guards on duty and entered, to find the Emperor and the General already waiting.

    "Your Imperial Majesty, General, I have a basic plan ready for your approval."



    "As you can see, I've focused on bringing overwhelming force to bear. I've also ordered the fleet to make preparations to sail to Italy; I think the North African theater will need some reinforcements."

    The General nodded. "I'll have command of the Fourth Legion?"

    "Yes, General. You'll have a total of four legions at your disposal, which should be more than adequate. If you need additional forces, let me know, but I think you should have no trouble."

    "I agree."

    "Emperor, what are our objectives in this war?"

    Leo III thought for a moment. "I think complete annexation. If we take out Venice first, that should cancel out some of the international infamy we could incur."

    "Very well. General, proceed to your post. Emperor, is there anything else?"

    The Emperor shook his head, and Marshal van Dijk took his leave.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    12 February 1604, Venice

    Leo III returned to the field to help in the fight against Morocco, so Pietro served as negotiator with the Doge of Venice. Since he'd left office as the regent for the Emperor, Pietro found himself much happier. Pietro knew he'd never be a good Emperor, and now that the Empress was pregnant, he could abdicate with little fear of reprisal. For the first time in a long time, he felt at peace with the world around him. His father's plan to ensure the succession was a little unorthodox and not a little frightening, but it was best for the Empire, and so Pietro agreed.

    The death of General Ulivelli a few weeks before had shocked many close to him; for such a skilled general to die of something as simple as falling from his horse seemed unthinkable. Ulivelli had been near retirement, and was due for a transfer to the Marshal's staff. Even Pietro, who had little love for the army, had shed a tear or two at the funeral; Ulivelli was a good man, but without children. He willed his lands "for the good of the Empire", as the phrase went, and so only three Dukes remained with independent lands: Drusus Germanicus, Julius Tullius Cicero, and Cornelius Porcius Cato. Germanicus and Cicero Pietro knew well; the current patriarch of the Cato family, Marius's grandson, was much younger than the other two, about 30 years of age.

    The young Prince had heard little of other matters; his father had won a pair of battles in Morocco, and Ethiopia had signed a white peace, but that was about it. A recent order of battle for the enemy showed that victory was only a matter of time.





    His own work gave him much greater pleasure, and the treaty he'd just signed did everything his father hoped and more.



    Where he was going, Pietro knew he wouldn't be seen again by many of his friends and relatives. To avoid becoming Emperor, that was a sacrifice he gladly paid. He even didn't mind the Emperor's future target, Achaea. It just wasn't his problem any more.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    30 March 1604, Constantinople

    The newly promoted General, Rodolfo Grimaldi di Busca, found himself puzzled at the events of the day. It wasn't really his place to comment, after all, he'd been General Ulivelli's Lt. Commander just a few weeks ago and his position was tenuous.



    Still, he couldn't help but wonder why everybody was so torn up about the Prince's death -- everybody, that was, except for the Emperor and Empress. It was possible, Grimaldi thought, that he was still under the euphoria of victory, having decisively beaten the Moroccan army.



    But why would the Empress be so unconcerned? It was true she was many months pregnant, but she was still her son's mother.



    The General was especially puzzled that a pacifist like the Prince would ever engage in hunting of any kind. He really thought that he should tell somebody his suspicions, but whom? The only person he truly trusted was the late General Ulivelli. Grimaldi snapped his fingers, albeit quietly. The Marshal! If anybody knew what was going on, it would be him.

    As he approached Marshal van Dijk, he noticed a shadowy figure to his right, dressed in the robes of a monk. He paused for a moment, but the figure was gone. He'd caught the General's eye because of the quality of his robe; it was much richer than the normal fabric. By the time he recovered his equilibrium, the Marshal had also disappeared.

    Something very strange was going on. Perhaps strangest of all was the Emperor. Leo III appeared to be looking where the monk had gone, but that wasn't the odd part.

    It was the expression on his face: a smile, wholly out of place for somebody who had just lost his only son. Grimaldi put it out of his mind, and spent the rest of the funeral going over his new command in his mind.

    He was the only person who noticed anything unusual.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1 September 1604, the chambers of Emperor Leo III, Rome

    Leo III had nothing but good news, in his mind. Morocco signed a white peace the very day of Pietro's funeral. As soon as Funj made peace with the Mamluks for a small sum of currency, the Emperor had immediately annexed the formerly independent kingdom.



    The new lands were made part of the Archduchy of Egypt. The thought of the Germanicus family temporarily dampened his mood, but only for a moment. Julius Tullius Cicero had sold his land in the Italian peninsula upon being named the Regent of the Prince of Constantinople. The land buyer, of course, was an Imperial agent, and the holdouts now were only two.

    But the real reason for his wonderful mood was that Cicero had a reason to be a Regent; there was a new Prince of Constantinople!



    Alexander was something like his elder brother, it seemed, with a little less competency in administration but more in military affairs. It was a miracle of God that the Empress could even conceive again, so he was not too picky. An astrologer told him great things about his son; normally, he did not truck with superstitious nonsense, but he was desperate for any sign that he'd made the right decision. [1]

    Among the letters that had poured in was a very simple one from a monastery on Malta. It was unsigned, apart from one word which was crossed out in the heading. The rest of the letter read:

    It brings me great joy to hear that the Emperor has a son. May he reign for a hundred years.

    Leo put this one with all the others, having failed to notice the word before Emperor that had been crossed out.

    Pater.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [1] The event, called Lux Stella, let you pick a name, either Alexander or Caesar. I liked Alexander better and found Caesar too obvious. Who knows if I made the wrong choice?

    I wrestled for a while with how to "get rid" of Pietro. I initially wanted to have him commit suicide over guilt, but a lot of you seemed to like him or at least sympathize with him. If you didn't catch my subtle hint, he retired to a monastery He may or may not return; probably not, but who can say?

    One more update is coming up, then I'll be all caught up. Until then, enjoy this one!
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  19. #559
    Wow, so many subjugate missions!

  20. #560
    strange, Pietro never really struck me as a religious character. i guess all the monks at his monastery are going to inconspicuously take an oath of silence :P it is a little sad that Pietro will never been seen again, unless under extraneous circumstances, but i suppose its for the best. now lets just hope Leo will survive for another 16 years!

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