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Thread: The Grey Eminence - A Narrative/History AAR 1399-1821

  1. #101
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Good to see you inherited Castille. I'm not sure I would have vassalised her in your place, but then again I always dislike allies, I'd rather have the land itself! More recently with gains in Ireland and mainland Europe Charles' reign seems to be getting off to a very good start. Hopefully his luck holds.
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  2. #102
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    that war went well, some useful gains. One wonders if our good lady author had a Breton governess when she was young? It did seem as if that last comment was based on something more than just a state engaging in an ill-fated war

  3. #103
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    A wonderful post.
    And, I too believe you could write books.
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  4. #104
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Range: Thanks! I'm pretty sure I could, but I'm not sure the effort vs reward would make it worth it. We'll see. Thanks for your kind words.
    Loki: Yes, she does seem very unimpressed with Bretons, doesn't she? I wonder why? (Rhetorical)
    morningSIDEr: I dislike small allies, but Castille can do one very important thing - use the AI omnipresent radar and hunt down small enemy fleets I can't see! I like large vassals, so yeah, I keep them around.
    Dewirix: Very true on both counts. However, Mary is no one's pawn, as will become very clear.
    Edgewise: I should! But since it wouldn't pay that much and I already have a good job, probably not. Besides, writing's only fun if it doesn't become a chore.
    Southern King: At the moment Aragon is pushing into there along with the French remnants.
    C0d5579: Hehe, yes, the Bretons paid for their foolishness. On an OOC level their rather bizarre attack on me was totally ill timed. I blamed it on their 3/3/4 queen.
    Sather: She sure does...funny that.

    Chapter 8 – The Persephone

    13/1/1820

    Perhaps a little rattled by the events of the night before, John had wedged a chair against the door and taken the time to load his pistol. However, no night-time incursions disturbed him, and he woke as the first cold light of dawn filtered through his window. Clouds has come over, though there was no snow yet, but a cold wind blew from the north.
    John dressed and packed his belongings. The gun he kept close at hand and loaded, just in case. He needn’t have worried though. Tempest was waiting for him in the entrance hall of the Ryefield Inn, and she wore her revolver openly at her side.
    “Good morning, Mr Adams,” she said with a nod.
    “Good morning. To the docks?”
    “Indeed. I have a carriage.”
    A small hired vehicle was indeed waiting. While John packed his luggage on the backboard and climbed in Tempest took the driving seat.

    By carriage the journey to the docks took little time, and soon they were driving along the many quays. Portsmouth had been extensively redesigned over the years into a naval and civilian harbour. Strangely they headed to the naval side, as though her Ladyship’s vessel was no mere civilian ship.
    The mighty warships of the Grand Fleet were in port, their slab sides dotted with cannon, each enough to supply a small army. Also present were some of new fangled steam powered frigates, capable of moving quickly to intercept enemy ships.
    It was in just such a berth that the Persephone waited. It was a new ship, powered by a side driving wheel, though also equipped with sails to make use of the wind as well. John couldn’t help but notice that it carried several cannon as well. It was an unusual ship for even a noble lady to use.
    There was one further surprise as well. As they came down to pull along side the ship they passed a half dozen gibbets. Such public displays of criminals was thought to deter crime, though the reality was often different. Three of them were occupied, and as they drove past John could have sworn that they were the very same men who had attempted to rob him the night before.



    As the carriage pulled Christian came forward and removed John’s luggage and carried it on board. John also saw that a half dozen redcoats were present, apparently Lady Mendenhall’s guards, though why she would have regular troops in such a role John could not guess.
    At the head of the ramp her Ladyship appeared.



    “Ah, John, I’m glad to see you are still with us,” she said with a smile. “Please, come aboard.”
    “Thank you for sending Tempest to help me,” John said, walking up the gangplank.
    “It is no problem. I think justice has been served,” she said, indicating the gibbet with the head of her cane.
    “They were caught last night?”
    “Indeed. They were criminals wanted for similar thefts. Once the local constabulary was rousted into action they were soon discovered.” Lady Mendenhall smiled. “Now, did you sleep well?”
    John nodded, turning away from the hanging bodies. It was justice of course, though the swiftness with which it had been achieved surprised him.
    “Yes, thank you, Lady. And you?”
    “I had a very good night.”

    As John’s luggage was taken to his cabin he was led by Lady Mendenhall to a table set on the deck.
    “This is a lovely ship, my Lady,” John commented. “I was surprised to see it was a naval vessel though.”
    Her Ladyship made a delicate gesture that might have meant anything. “The ship and the soldiers are part of my personal guard. As Countess of Orkney I am permitted to have a personal force since it is so isolated. A battery of artillery, a squadron of dragoons and two battalions of infantry, and of course three of these ships.” She shrugged. “It is an ancient law, but I am one of only three peers in the British Empire to possess such a force. The others are the Governor of Hawaii and the Governor of the ironically named Freetown in Madagascar.”
    “Ironically?”
    “Ironically because that is where most of the Empire’s slaves were harvested from. Tempest’s family were originally enslaved there and moved to the Americas.”
    Tempest, standing behind her Mistress, bowed her head slightly.
    “I did not know any of that, thank you. How long does it take to reach the Orkneys?”
    “Around a week I believe, depending on the weather. I hope you brought warm clothing. Though certainly not as cold as Hudson or Arcadia the wind can be quite piercing at times.”
    “I did, yes.”
    “Excellent. Then I believe we will make to depart.” Lady Mendenhall turned. “Captain, when you are ready.”
    “Yes, my Lady.”

    As the crew started to get the ship underway John felt a first flake of snow brush against his cheek.
    “I believe this is a good time to head inside, John. Come, we will speak more later.”
    John took a last look at Portsmouth and followed her, then headed to his cabin. His great journey was about to begin.
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  5. #105
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Nice, army and navy of her own, big enough to conquer an OPM, if she wanted to that is of course.

    Should I know the woman in the picture? (In real life that is) Her face seems familiar.

  6. #106
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    if I were John ... I wouldn't trust her ladyship one millimeter never mind go on her private ship - but then I'm obviously the cautious/suspicious type. She is a great character creation.

  7. #107
    Captain bananafishtoday's Avatar
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    I like her a lot, though her motives are mysterious... considering John's royal blood, using him in a bid for the crown maybe?

    Great updates!
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  8. #108
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    I'm probably reading far too much into this but this update alongside something I noticed previously;

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    “Thank you. It is a fine vintage. I myself do not drink…wine, but I am always careful to have some for visitors to enjoy.
    The odd pause by her Ladyship when stating she doesn't drink wine, her well armed servant, the haste with which the muggers were caught and dispatched, I'm getting very odd vibes about her and have something of a theory about her. I'm probably clutching at straws though. Anyway I'm very intrigued by how things will pan out regardless!
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  9. #109
    Second Lieutenant SouthernKing's Avatar
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    I am sure that all shall be revealed sometime very soon


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  10. #110
    She's sneaky and hot. Perfect woman!

  11. #111
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    I think she's pretty good-looking too!
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  12. #112
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Arakhor: Thanks! It was an exceptionally hard picture to find. The model and dress is from deviant art and are well worth a look! All in all both model and outfir was exactly what I wanted.
    Edgewise: Thanks!
    Southern King: Eventually, yes!
    morningSIDEr: Well it's mostly a play off Dracula's line. But you are wise to look closely at the oddities about her, and see if you can figure things out!
    bananafishtoday: It's certainly possible! There are others with a closer claim, but it's certainly worth keeping in mind.
    loki: Thanks! And yes, there is something a little unusual going on....
    Sather: Why bother conquering things herself? She apparently seems to have everything she wants! As for the woman, she's not a celebrity, that I know of. I think it's the woman in the above link. She is very pretty though.

    Chapter 8a – The Subjugation of France

    Summarised from Chapter 3 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.

    After the conflicts and struggles of his early reign one might have been forgiven for thinking that King Charles might have wished for peace. However, there was one more conflict to be fought before peace could return.
    Holland and the Dutch lands had long been a key area of interest for the English crown. Since much of the vital cloth trade passed through Dutch hands this area was treated as very important. The rule of Holland itself had passed from the control of Hainault to themselves in the 1420s, and King Albert I van Brabant had taken the crown. However he ran afoul of the rather obnoxious Papal Legate Paolini, and after an acrimonious split King Albert was placed under interdict. Seeing a chance, King Charles moved in and placed the country under his vassalage and deposed Albert. Sadly the lands were soon lost to the Archbishopric of Utrecht, and the venture was wasted.



    In this time the King was lucky to rely on yet another Byron; his cousin George, Baron Ipswich. As a diplomat he had few peers, and together the two Bryrons established a powerful court faction advocating war on the continent and final defeat of France. The King, seeking to establish the popularity of his house agreed and plans were made for war. Between Christian and George ancient claims from the days of Edward III and beyond. The two men of course naturally expected rewards if the war was successful.



    Thus, war with France begun. To finance the conflict, the King drew heavily upon manpower and taxes from their French possessions, especially Normandy and Picardie. Without having to ask Parliament for as much money they satisfied the English landowners at the cost of upsetting the local landowners.

    The conflict itself was short lived. Faced by the Iberian Coalition, Brittany and the English forces, the French had no hope. One by one their forces were driven out, and harsh terms forced upon them. Soon France would slide into anarchy, and the Hundred Years War would reach its final end.
    For their roles in the conflict the Byron family received generous settlements and titles in France.





    Now the attention shifted to Scotland, and Christian Byron once again came to the aid of his monarch. Certain disreputable sources of his had discovered a rival claimant to the Scottish throne, a certain Henry de Vere who had a tenuous connection to the Scottish throne. That throne was held by a half-Frenchman minor. This gave Lord Byron all the cause he needed to persuade the King to enforce the rights of Henry de Vere.

    At a battle near Stirling the Scottish forces were defeated in a hard battle. Stephen Moore, Earl of Darby could then march on Edinburgh which surrendered to him in early 1441. Henry de Vere was then installed on the throne; it being made abundantly clear to him that he would follow the dictates of London. From this slightly tenuous start the histories of England and Scotland would be forever linked.








    France by 1445 was in a pitiful state, and it took little effort to convince Parliament or the King to move in. French forces, having forced out their ruling monarch and replaced him with a pretender found themselves unable to resist the English, who simply moved in and installed yet another de Vere.
    And thus on January 11th 1445 the Hundred Years War ended. It had raged for 108 years in reality, and now it had ended in total French defeat. From now until their final annexation it would be they who were vassals of an English crown. Revolts and strife completely failed to restore this balance, and in due time many Frenchmen would come to accept that they were defeated.



    From this point on a new flag would be flown, the union flag of France and England.



    It was as clear a symbol as any that England had won the war. Yet great challenges would remain, and English dominance was by no means assured.
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  13. #113
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    Oooh, nice flag, Ashantai! It'll be interesting to see how it changes when you incorporate Scotland and Ireland.
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  14. #114
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    the flag is a great touch ... at the moment this is mostly going rather smoothly, which makes your last sentence all the more intriguing

  15. #115
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Great updates, and indeed a nice flag. If that wasnt enough yet things with John keep getting more mysterious!

  16. #116
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sethanon: Thanks! And yes, they do indeed! Stay tuned....
    Loki: Nothing is ever assured.
    Arakhor: I've done one for when that day comes. I hope you like it!

    Chapter 9 – A Keepsake

    14/1/1820


    The White Cliffs of Dover were receding into the distance as John came on deck. It was early morning, and a cold wind blew into his face. He had been able to do little on the day they had left, due to a cold sleet that had blown in though. Besides having dinner with Lady Mendenhall the weather had mostly kept him in his cabin.
    In the distance he could see the heavy outline of Deal Fort, a key defensive position for the south-east of England.



    So intent was he on the horizon that he didn’t hear the soft footsteps behind him. “Awake early, I see?” Lady Mendenhall asked.
    John jumped slightly. “Oh, yes, the weather is more fair than it was.”
    Her Ladyship nodded. She was dressed in a beautiful grey dress. “I agree. The cabins can be so very…stuffy.”
    John looked up at the smokestack of the ship which was pouring fumes into the air. “We have made good progress so far, Lady,” he commented.
    “Indeed. This ship can go much faster than a mere sailing ship.”
    Without any more small talk to make at this point, John thought of something else to say. Finally he remembered a subject he had wished to bring up. Ever since he had met Lady Mendenhall he had wanted to show her the present that Elijah had given him for his birthday; the little ivory and silver pendent of Queen Caroline. He hoped that she would find it interesting.

    Drawing out the pendent that Elijah had given him, he held it out to her. “Are you able to tell me if this is genuine? I think it is. Quite old as well.”
    Her Ladyship took the little pendent and examined it closely. Her eyes widened in surprise, the first uncontrolled emotion that John had seen on her. The moment passed quickly though and she looked curiously at John.
    “It is genuine, and it is very rare. I am not sure if you saw, but there is a tiny number etched onto the reverse side. Only a hundred of these were ever made, I believe. Yours is,” she looked closely, “number one. I must say, this is a great surprise. I myself have three of them, but all are later numbers than this. I never expected to see this. Might I ask where you bought it?”
    “My friend bought it for me as a present. He said it came from an antiques store in Hartford.”
    This seemed to amuse Lady Mendenhall. “What a strange and unknown journey this has taken across the Atlantic and back again. A collector’s piece indeed, an antique.” She smiled at something, and then handed it back. “Keep it, John, it was an item of great value once, even if those reasons are now lost.”
    “I have read more of your book, Lady,” John said, pleased to have impressed this woman. The way she smiled made his heart beat faster, though he didn’t know why.
    “I hope it is not too dull for you,” she replied with a self deprecating laugh.
    “Not at all. It is fascinating, I think. I have created some summaries of them for my own use.”
    “Excellent. Do not hesitate to ask me if anything should puzzle you.”



    They talked for a little while longer, and then her Ladyship dismissed herself and returned to her cabin. John was left alone on the deck again. Deal Castle was passing by as John pulled his coat about him and also retreated inside.
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  17. #117
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Only a hundred? It did indeed get more mysterius. I wonder why they were made, if their value was great once it must have had an important reason.
    Maybe a secret brotherhood bound to the protection of the queen, will we find out once we arrive at Queen Caroline's rule? -ponders-

  18. #118
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    Incredible...the photos, the flag...the art of the AAR...utterly fantastic...I can tell you're having a lot of fun creating...as much as we are enjoying reading the tale.

    It is in fact a history book...
    Thank you my friend.
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  19. #119
    Lt. General Aliasing's Avatar
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    Subscribed but too lazy to say something clever

  20. #120
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    The framing story continues to excite the interest, particularly after morningSIDEr's observations about Lady Mendenhall.

    In the history section, England has established itself as a giant-sized patrimony of the King of France. The Valois may have had the Ile de France as their personal domains, but that can hardly compete with a whole country.
    AAR in progress
    Yet this will go onward the same: the Yamato Destiny - Continuation of the last AAR in Victoria 2. Last updated 17th October 2012

    Completed AAR
    The Yamato Destiny: A Japan HTTT AAR

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