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

  1. #541
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    This piece was very well written, even better than most of the others! Good job.
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  2. #542
    Argentina Delenda Est Tanzhang (譚張)'s Avatar
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    Britain invading southern China aside, I really respect the historically-plausible stance you've tried to take in this AAR, point and case the recent republican revolution you engineered. I rarely get into narrative AARs with few exceptions, but this is definitely one of those. I also am in awe at your ability to masterfully weave narrative and historybook styles together in one tapestry, and I say that as someone who has tried something similar and gave up on it pretty quickly.

    All in all, congratulations on writing such a great AAR and I look forward to future updates. Subscribed!
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  3. #543
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  4. #544
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Quicksabre: Thanks!
    Tanzhang: Thanks! I've had to abstract several concepts in this game. Think of the Chinese territories as 'spheres of influence' like Hong Kong and such was in reality. Since there is no way to accurately portray treaty terms think of these Chinese possessions in that way. Similarly, I've colonised all North America, but in the narrative it's more...'explored' than really colonised.
    Sethanon: Awesome praise, thanks!
    Arakhor/Loki: It reminds me of someone else's abilities, doesn't it? Someone starting with a T...whose name I can't recall! What a coincidence.

    Chapter 40a – The Seymour Ascendency

    Summarised from Chapter 10 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    When Elizabeth II Beaufort died in 1737 there was considerable debate over the fate of the British Empire. With the extinction of direct Beaufort heirs some of the more radical Barleys were starting to mention a Republic again.
    The closest direct heir to the throne was actually another Elizabeth, descended from the sister of Edward VII, the restorer of the monarchy. This woman, Elizabeth Mason, was twenty years old, and was the next in line to the throne.
    Many though had another candidate in mind. That candidate was descended from the last of Queen Caroline’s daughters, Anne. She had married into the powerful Seymour family, and their descendants had been prominent before the Civil War. Indeed it was Edward Seymour, Anne’s grandson, who had been assassinated by Edward VI, the event which had symbolically started the Civil War. Afterwards the Seymour family had married into the Hungarian and Swedish royal families, but never forgotten their claim to the British throne.
    This heir, Henry Seymour, was 26 years old, dashingly handsome and had been notable as a staff officer during the wars of Elizabeth II.
    Thus, a solution was proposed; Henry would ascend the throne as Henry VI and would marry Elizabeth Mason, thus unifying the two branches of the royal family tree. Though she was related to him, it was sufficiently distant to not be a problem.
    And so Henry VI was crowned as King of Great Britain in 1737, and also of Hungary, as he was the last surviving male heir to that crown. As his distant ancestor Edward IV had done with Castille though, King Henry allowed the Hungarians to rule their own affairs with limited British oversight.









    King Henry was a potent man, and would remain possibly the greatest King in this period. In contrast to Queen Caroline he ushered in no dramatic changes, but he nonetheless effectively built up the British Empire and begun the industrialisation of Great Britain.
    In Parliament he had no equal except Caroline when it came to dealing with Lords and Commons. Though he was still bound into an effective Constitutional Monarchy his opinions and views very often carried the day.

    The first major issue his reign had to contend with was the breakup of the Spanish homeland. Spain, defeated and humiliated by Britain a few years before had been fractured by civil war. Within only a few years the Catalans formed their own separate republic, and even in the south a Granadan state had emerged, though not Muslim this time.



    There was certainly a sense that this was a golden opportunity, as was the feeling that Elizabeth’s reign had left Britain lagging a little. Now the King, cabinet, Chief Minister and Parliament formulated a plan for war. The new Chief Minister, Sir Richard Simmonds, decided on a plan to seize the remaining Central American and Caribbean possessions of Portugal.
    With support of King and Parliament war was declared, and within two years it had ended in complete success. King Henry was no frontline leader like William III, but was instead a brilliant innovator and organiser. The victory gained in this war was punishing, especially since Austria had intervened once more in a desperate attempt to stem the tide. Both Portugal and Austria lost their fleets, and soon after the war.









    Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth Mason produced two children, William in 1740, and James in 1747. These heirs ensured the security of the royal line, even if neither quite lived up their father’s talents!



    Chief Minister Simmonds again brought war to India, seizing more lands and demonstrating the superiority of British soldiers in a series of battles. Benjamin Baffin once again led the British armies to spectacular victories, especially at Bangalore where his army inflicted horrific losses on a massed enemy force of infantry for almost no loss themselves.
    Baffin’s stock rose even higher as a result of these campaigns and he was made Viscount following the war.



    King Henry’s reign also saw the broadening of the franchise to more men, and also instituting a secret ballot, a revolutionary improvement which allowed for a greater fairness in the electoral process. The other great inclusion was the allowance for French, Dutch and Irish to enter Parliament, elected by their own constituents!
    Ironically it was the Wheat Chief Minister who argued most strongly against these new measures. Despite being in a party mainly dedicated to greater representation, they disapproved of too much electoral freedom because it was damage their own support base!
    The election of 1747 proved him wrong, with the Barleys sweeping into power for the first time in thirty years. Lord Edward Poole, a dedicated monarchist, but also a supporter of Parliament. Immediately he moved to cement his popularity by reacting to Brabantine provocation and occupying part of it and enforcing Protestantism on them. It was a significant success, and led to a much stronger series of checking and vetting procedures to stop this sort of spy activity happening again











    Overall, King Henry’s first decade in power was a significant step up, and that trend would only continue as Britain faced its greatest, and last, great enemy…the Empire.

    (Alas the culture acceptance is just a dud, since those provinces had long slipped below the 5% necessary. But for display purposes it looks nice!)
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  5. #545
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    your family trees are becoming very convoluted ... much credit for keeping it so clear. And a pretty awesome set of stats on that man ...
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  6. #546
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    Great stats for Henry! I hope you conquered Breda and Limburg too. I really want to be part of your awesome empire!
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  7. #547
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    I'd have been part of it ever since 1399.
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  8. #548
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    intriguing stuff and very well written ... so she isn't just long lived but also pretty much invulnerable?
    Except for the stake through the heart thing. If I remember the Byzantine chapter of Eternal Exile correctly it prevents regeneration of the wound as long as it is inside the body.

  9. #549
    Is Ireland a part of Great Britain?

  10. #550
    Major Chris Taylor's Avatar
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    I enjoy the family trees also; helps to flesh out the course of each dynasty. I thought about doing something similar, but it took up more mental energy than I was willing to commit—so kudos for keeping at it through the course of the game.

    And durn it, Kyran Masters got away again! His just reward can't come soon enough.
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  11. #551
    Argentina Delenda Est Tanzhang (譚張)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrell8 View Post
    Is Ireland a part of Great Britain?
    No, it's a separate island. (seriously though, I do believe he annexed the Irish kingdoms some time ago)

    Who would have thought Henry VI a sane and competent king? I don't think your ventures into north, central and southern America are at all implausible given Castile was once a British vassal and France doesn't exist. The only thing I don't particularly like are the party names: couldn't you just call them something more historically accurate like Parliamentarians and Royalists, or Whigs and Tories (almost at that period I think) or something?
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  12. #552
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Tanzhang: My Henries have been rather inverted from the real ones, I think you'll agree! Henry IV comes to power with popular acclaim and lasts for 23 years. Henry V dies as a minor, while Henry VI is the equal best (stat wise) ruler I ever got. Very interesting. Yes, Ireland was completely annexed during the Civil War for the final time.
    The party names: Whig and Tory refer to Scottish bandits and Irish horse thieves...that's what the words mean. Their circumstances of use were entirely situational...I couldn't see how they'd come up in this very different reality. Wheat and Barley means something in this universe, so I chose that.
    America I feel is entirely logical. After all, nothing pre-destined Spain and Portugal to take what they did, especially with a much stronger England.
    Chris Taylor: I did a full family tree, which I can send to whoever wants it, as much for my own use as anything else as it was proving impossible to keep up with things without one! Kyran will get his just desserts....
    Morrell8: Yep. Britain lost control of it during James' reign, but won it back later.
    Sather: Good man! You're spot on.
    Arakhor/Sethanon: Thanks! Both those provinces are coming. Brabant annoyed me so much in this game, continually trying to use spies on me. In the end I annexed them just to stop them irritating me.
    Loki: I got his stats naturally too. They're the best of any ruler of mine. Thomas Cromwell and Caroline share second best. I actually wanted to, and forgot, to edit him to have a 9 in ADM. I had planned to have one ruler have a 9 (normally unattainable for monarchs) in each stat. Caroline was DIP, Thomas Cromwell in MIL.

    And...since I got such nice replies, have another update!

    Chapter 41 – Treason and Plot

    5/2/1820


    “Soldiers in the streets! Gun battle in central London!” Elijah Hill exclaimed grandly. “Somehow I just knew you’d be stuck in the middle of it! If nothing else, your girlfriend has at least made you a little more exciting!”
    “Oh, cool it,” John said, embarrassed. “Besides, it’s your fault. You got us just the info we needed and we moved in to get him.”
    “But he got away?”
    They were sitting in the St James Club, drinking tea while others bustled around them.
    John nodded, sighed. “Her Ladyship…well, she was shot at and fell to the ground, and I went to see to her. But I got him with fragments across the face. My bullet missed him but hit a tile.”
    Elijah just shook his head in frank amazement. “You’ve turned into a great warrior it seems! Was she alright?”
    John couldn’t explain the whole amazing tale to his friend. It was simply too hard to make him understand. So finally John settled for a partially true answer. “She’s fine, but unfortunately I didn’t know that at the time.” He took a deep breath. “He’s the man who killed my mother, Elijah.”
    His friend’s face suddenly became one of concern. “Are you sure?”
    “Absolutely. That’s why it’s so important that we catch him.”
    “You’ve changed, John, in just a few weeks. It’s a good change though I think.”
    “I’ve learned some things which…well, I didn’t expect. I mean, what would you do if you found out that everything you knew was different from what you thought? What if you learned the truth?”
    “What, like that world is really flat? That sort of truth?”
    John shook his head. “Look, don’t worry about it. Sorry.”
    Elijah gave him a shrewd look, as if he guessed more than he said, but finally nodded. “As you wish, your greatness! So, what are you going to do now?”
    “I’m going to go see her again tonight.” He glared at Elijah. “And no quips from you!”
    “None, I promise you! Come, let’s walk back past the river there. I fancy that Spanish lady is still at the Embassy!”
    “Can you even speak Spanish?”
    “It hasn’t been a problem so far!” Elijah said dismissively.

    And so the two of them walked in the late afternoon sun along the Thames. Passing along the front of the Parliament building they came to a line of old houses on the river. Most of them were old, from the time of the de Veres or older. Their primary benefit was that they were directly on the riverfront.
    “Father won’t be back for the opening of Parliament, he says,” Elijah was saying. “He sent me a message last night that he has got passage on a clipper. He still doesn’t trust my opinion of steamships, mind!”
    John wasn’t listening. Instead he’d wandered over to the last house in the row and looked at it curiously. It seemed empty, with boarded doors and windows. And yet…the mud from the road footsteps that led inside. They were relatively recent for they were only partially covered by other tracks. There were also other odd markings too which had obliterated most footprints, as though something heavy had been rolled over the cobbles.
    “What is it?” Elijah asked.
    John said nothing, but followed the footprints and the other track to the water’s edge. There was mooring for a boat. John returned to the house and looked at the boards.
    “John?” Elijah asked.
    “Maybe I’m paranoid, but this is weird. Tracks and something heavy being put into an empty house?”
    Elijah looked at the towering House of Parliament with the mighty statue of Britannia. “The Queen is swearing in the new cabinet tomorrow and then speaking to the Lords. That is, if she is well enough, otherwise it would be done by Prince William.”
    John reached out and touched the door.

    At that moment there was the sound of oars and John dragged Elijah instinctively behind the corner of the house. He motioned his friend to be quiet, and listened.
    Six men got out of a boat. While two seemed to be in charge and one was clearly on watch, the remaining three lugged out two large barrels and rolled them to the boarded up house. The boards themselves were only loosely attached and easily removed. The boat was sent away, and the five remaining men headed inside the door. The boards over the door were replaced, and they adjourned inside.
    John could feel a tingling up his back. There could be a harmless explanation, or even just simple smuggling. However, he figured that there was something more to it.
    A high wall and embankment prevented him from getting further around the side and rear of the house. Parliament was literally right above him, built up slightly above the river level so this house was on a level with its foundations.
    “Elijah, it might be nothing, but I suspect something very bad is going on here. Give me a boost up onto the roof.”
    Elijah didn’t protest, though he did grin a little wryly. “You know, Johnny, I could get used to this excitement.”

    John was able to use his friend’s help and the wall to get onto the roof. There were few people around, but he still crouched down and took cover by the chimney so he couldn’t be seen, but could listen in below. By quietly putting his ear to the chimney, which was not being used since that would have given away the fact that the building wasn’t really abandoned, he could just hear what was being said below.
    “Are those the last barrels?” a voice asked in French.
    “Yes, sir. They’re all packed in place,” another man replied.
    “Good. See that they are guarded night and day.” He paused, and there was some movement down there that John didn’t understand. Finally, the leader spoke again. “Would you stop bleeding on my floor?” he snapped.
    “I can’t help it!” a man with an American accent said a bit indistinctly.
    “You could have avoided being shot,” the leader said unsympathetically. “It wasn’t even the woman who got you, but a mere boy!”
    “I’ll deal with both of them.”
    “You won’t. You will stay here and guard this place. I have a score to settle with that woman. We’ll deal with her soon enough.”
    “When?”
    “Soon!” the Frenchman insisted. “All we have to do is wait until tomorrow and then…our revenge will be complete.”
    John listened to no more, but quietly went to the edge of the roof and dropped heavily to the ground.
    “What is it?” Elijah whispered.
    “Masters…and someone else. They’re going to blow up Parliament tomorrow!”
    “Blow it up?” his friend asked, shocked.
    “Those barrels, they’re full of gunpowder!” John insisted. He didn’t know that, but what other sort of barrels would enemies like Masters put under Parliament House?
    “We need to do something!” Elijah said.
    John nodded. The problem was finding someone of authority and getting them to believe the story. “We’ll go to my father, then her Ladyship. Come on!”
    John knew they didn’t have long. They had to move quickly and decisively, or else Parliament – and much of London – might go up in smoke!
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  13. #553
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    so a variant of the gunpowder plot, but more importantly the evil Kyran is not really in charge ... so who is the mysterious controller? Who in turn really has it in for her ladyship.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  14. #554
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    It's one of the froggies, so I'd say one out of the line of the disposed Kings of France. Remember how much was put into the scene of the dethroning of the last one?
    That said it still might be a personal score that he has to settle, a second time traveller is always possible. Though I think my first guess is right.

    @Ashantai
    Of course I remember, I loved the Byzantine chapters, still pitying poor Zoe.

  15. #555
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    The plot is thightening. I hope they can stop them before someone gets hurt. Unfortunately we'll have to wait till saturday to find out :C
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  16. #556
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sethanon: Or later...since there's an Echo tomorrow!
    Sather: You never cease to amaze me! And yes, those Byzantine chapters are still some of my favourites ever. Rome must rise again!
    Loki: Who indeed!

    Now, sort of like the climax of a movie, I have my greatest war. The funny thing about EU3 is that in the first 2 centuries the battles are unhistorically large, but in the latter two they are usually rather too small. Well, here is just such an example. This is the largest army I would ever command in one battle.

    Chapter 41a – The Grand Alliance and the Imperial War

    Summarised from Chapter 10 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    King Henry VI and the British Empire faced probably the greatest challenge in over a century during the 1750s. With typical resolve and shrewd use of wise Chief Ministers Britain not only survived but prospered. This was the time when British superiority in both fledgling industry and moral superiority came to the fore, and it culminated with the overthrow of the very power that sought to unseat it!

    Firstly, Britain took various important steps towards economic greatness in the early 1750s. The decade begun with the British residents of Mexico, along with the remaining Iberian and native citizens, demanding that Mexico be an independent state. Parliament declared such succession illegal, and move troops in to stabilise the situation. However Parliament, on the King’s advice, successfully improved conditions and allowed the Viceroyalty of Mexico to send representatives to Parliament.
    Mexico’s prime concerns had been the corrupt administration of parts of America, as well as a heavy black market in illegal products. The King helped suggest improvements and went in person to Mexico in 1752 and helped sort matters out. While there he became ill, but survived what most believe was malaria, and recovered in time for the great war.











    Perhaps the biggest and most important change wrought domestically in this time was the King’s working with Parliament and abolitionists to end slavery in the British Empire. This grim institution had been the foundation for much of the wealth in American sugar, cotton and tobacco fields, but at a terrible price. Millions of unfortunates had been torn from their homes and forced to work in hellish conditions to enrich their masters.
    King Henry had a stiff fight not only from planters but also from the shippers and traders in Britain who made their money from this. Henry also had allies though. Many people who saw the immorality of the practice joined in, as did abolitionists and freed slaves.
    Finally it came down to a vote in Parliament on the 2nd of April 1755. From the 640 members of Parliament the vote passed 335 to 305, and then eased through the Lords and was pronounced law on Sunday 4th April 1755.
    From that moment not only was the slave trade made illegal, but slavery itself was phased out by territory. Though it almost plunged even the British Empire into debt, many thousands of former slaves were resettled in separate communities and some care was taken to ensure that the former slaves were not simply rehired again by their former masters and exploited.
    It would be many years before this could be enforced, and sadly equality has not yet been realised.



    The main feature of the 1750s though was war. Knowing that war was coming, the King worked with the Minister of War to ensure that the British troops were superbly equipped and prepared. This also was expensive, but it ensured that in the coming war that Britain’s claim to having the world’s greatest army was not misplaced.







    When the small state of Münster chose a new Archbishop with strongly anti-British views, Parliament ordered Benjamin Baffin, now Duke of Kent, to deal with the situation. It was the old hero’s final war. He retired from active service after Münster was brought under control, and died in 1754. Baffin, a soldier who had fought on three continents and 25 years was given a state funeral.




    Soon it would be apparent just how much he would be missed as the greatest of Britain’s wars begun. This conflict started over British claims over Luxembourg and ended with a massive campaign by much of the Empire to halt British power once and for all.
    In January 1756, as British troops moved into Luxembourg and seized it, delegates from 15 German states met in Prague and formed the Grand Alliance against the British. The Bohemian Emperor Jiri II perhaps realised that this was the final opportunity to check British power before it became too strong even for such a coalition. Jiri was a man of equal talents to King Henry, and it was this showdown that would decide the fate of Europe.



    And so it was that a vast Imperial army of 75,000 moved through northern Germany and into Münster, liberating it. Facing them was a British army culled from northern and central France of over 90,000. It was the largest British army ever assembled, and it was commanded by the Scotsman Sir Ambrose Clive, Baffin’s most senior subordinate and a skilled, though not brilliant, soldier.
    Knowing that 20,000 further Bohemian troops including many more artillery pieces was coming, he resolved to fight.
    The battle’s first campaign was fought in June when an advance force of Imperial troops met the main force of Clive’s army near Gelre. Clive’s army had not yet received its full strength, but even so it was a complete victory and allowed Clive to push on to Münster.
    The Battle of Münster, actually fought at Senden 10 miles away, was fought on the 31st of July 1756. It was a colossal struggle, with massed Imperial cavalry and infantry assaults foundering under British artillery. The Imperial artillery was outmatched almost 8 to 1, and the effect of these weapons cannot be overstated. British rifle armed infantry skirmishers, the light and deadly flying batteries, and the predominantly French cavalry inflicted terrible losses.
    By 3pm the Imperials were on the verge of collapse, and Clive ordered an assault that broke the Imperial forces utterly.
    Though more than 8,000 British troops became casualties, over 30,000 Imperial troops were lost, about half captured. It was a famous victory and Clive pursued the Imperial troops further into the Empire, hoping for a decisive battle.



    The remainder of the campaign was just as dramatic. In a battle on the 23rd of August the 20,000 reinforcements joined the battered Imperial army at Osnabruck, but were defeated heavily, losing a further 25,000 men to just 7,000 British. The remains of the Imperial army was forced to capitulate near Oldenburg on the 1st of September. Meanwhile in the south Anthony Wellington defeated a suicidal Imperial assault on his entrenchments and drove that Imperial army back into Italy.



    The war ended fairly tamely. Luxembourg was annexed by Britain, while the other allies in the Grand Alliance were forced to pay reparations. More than anything it showed that the power of the British Empire was utterly dominant, and even the Holy Roman Emperor could not fight that. As if to underscore the point the Austrians declared war a year later and sacked Prague. Britain was triumphant in Europe, though the cost in men and material was high indeed.

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  17. #557
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Anthony Wellington? ... whow you are doing well with the names thrown up by the game engine

    & a brilliant rendition of the sequence of events around Mexico
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  18. #558
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Yeah, late wars tend to be small scale affairs and short. Normally because every possible rival is already crushed or out-teched or both.
    Good thing though, cause I hate having to manage wars on 4 continents. Not even trying to use the fleet most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    Anthony Wellington? ... whow you are doing well with the names thrown up by the game engine
    Well some names are coming up really often. Can't count all the Mansteins any more, I had in my Prussia game. Sadly no von Kleists or Moltkes though

  19. #559
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sather: The AI usually obliges by ramming their fleets into mine and getting destroyed. I always make sure I have few colonies and that I find their fleets first though just in case. Some names come up a lot since there are relatively few of them. I added some more in.
    Loki: Thanks! Yes, I have been fortunate to get some very close to the original names.



    Chapter 42 – Echoes of the Past: Bitter Freedom

    10/9/1755


    Even in September it was hot in South Carolina, inland from the cooling breezes of the Atlantic. The plantation was large and extensive, growing cotton and tobacco for the markets of Great Britain. The fields had been worked by generations of black slaves, thousands of which had come and gone in order to enrich their masters. It was a cruel and brutal trade, but relief had finally come that April, when slavery and the slave trade had been outlawed through the Empire.
    However, this plantation was one place where the news had not been received kindly.

    “I will ask you again, filth, where is she?” the plantation owner, Miles Fisher, asked menacingly.
    His captive, a young black man, was held firmly by two whites, his hands bound behind his back. When he made no answer Fisher hit him hard in the stomach. The captive struggled, but the two men holding him did not let go.
    “You have…no right,” he managed to say. “You don’t own me anymore. I am free!”
    Fisher laughed. “Free? We’re a long way from London, darkie, and if you and your no good friends don’t toe the line like you did before then I’ll put a bullet into you. What they yammer about in London don’t mean nothing here. You are still my property. You got it?” he shouted. “Now I am giving you one last chance. Where is that bitch of a wife of yours?”
    From his holster he produced a fine pistol, the flintlock clicking back.
    The black man shook his head defiantly.
    The gun came up until it rested against his forehead.

    “That would be very unwise,” a woman said from the door.
    Fisher turned, his gun pointing at the newcomer. “Who the hell are you?”
    “Duchess Mendenhall, though you may address me as ‘my Lady’,” she said smoothly, walking in.
    He glared. “I don’t care who you are, woman. Get out of here or I’ll do to you what I’m going to do to this darkie.”
    Her Ladyship’s eyes narrowed as she looked from the captive former slave to the former masters.
    “Captain, might I borrow your assistance?” she called.
    To Fisher’s horror a redcoated officer and two privates entered the room.
    “Now see here!” Fisher said, now visibly shaken. “What is the meaning of this?”
    “The meaning of this is that you have been keeping over five hundred people as slaves, despite knowing that the abolition laws are in effect. Therefore, the Viceroy has dispatched this force to end this unlawful tyranny.”
    Fisher scowled, but when he moved the gun the two British privates shifted their weapons also to cover him.
    “Fine! You can have them, but I expect compensation!”
    “This is not a negotiation. You are ending this vile practice now, and you are coming with us back to Jamestown to stand trial.”
    Fisher seemed unable to respond. “But why do you care?” he finally managed.
    Lady Mendenhall stepped forward, her eyes narrowed. “Why? Why you ask? Because there is such thing as a common humanity. What you have done here was obscene even before it was against the law. However, even without it being illegal, your greed and arrogance has made you contemptible.”
    “I will not be talked to that way by you!” Fisher spluttered.
    Her Ladyship moved with furious speed, and the heavy stick she carried struck Fisher on the neck. He went down.
    “Clearly not,” she stated. “You two, get out of here right now. Captain, please go and arrange matters so that the victims are given shelter and food before their movement. I will be here.”

    With this done Lady Mendenhall and the black man were left alone. She knelt down and undid the tight ropes binding him.
    “Mr Hopewell, I presume?” she asked.
    “Yes, thank you, Lady.” Hopewell massaged his wrists and sat up. “If you hadn’t come, Lady…” he said, trailing off.
    “I’m only sorry I didn’t come sooner to spare you that brute’s attentions. It was brave of you to stand up to him, even if it almost ended badly. But courage, courage is never misplaced if it is against oppression. As for how I knew, I was brought here by a very special person. Come in, dear!” she called the last over her shoulder.
    A pretty black girl no older than Hopewell entered and ran over to him.
    “Atalanta!” he cried and embraced her. “Thank God you’re safe!”
    “Hopewell! What did they do to you?” she replied, holding him close.
    “They found out you were gone and tried to get me to tell them where, but I wouldn’t!”
    “I couldn’t stand being here anymore. I had to get away!”
    “And she found me, fortunately,” Lady Mendenhall said.
    “Yes, she helped me so much,” Atalanta said, smiling at her benefactor.
    “I was happy to crack down on these animals. Now, my friends, the other unfortunates here are being moved to a freedman colony a few miles away. It’s on my land so that I can make sure everything is fairly governed. You can go with them of course, or I have a job for you both if you wish.”
    “A job?” Hopewell asked.
    “Indeed. Nothing menial, I assure you. What I need are two people I can trust to help me greet visitors, sort my mail and run errands. It’s nothing grand, but it will be steady work, and I will pay you very well.”
    The two former slaves looked at each other, and then at her Ladyship.
    “You saved my husband’s life, and believed me when no one else would. We will gladly come with you.”
    “Excellent.”
    “There is one problem,” Atalanta said timidly. “We can’t read. Master never let us!” She looked downcast at this until Lady Mendenhall raised her chin up gently.
    “Fear not, my dear, that is something I can easily remedy. For all your years of suffering and trial it is the least I can do.”
    Hopewell looked at her in a mix of awe and confusion. “Lady, I must ask why you take such an interest in us…in any of us?”
    Her Ladyship turned away a little, looking sad and reflective. “Because no one deserves to be a slave, no matter the method or reason.”

    Outside in the humid warmth they found a rakish young man sitting on a fence humming to himself. He jumped down when he saw them come out.
    “The gallant soldiers are rounding up the ruffians and coloured folks.” He approached Hopewell and Atalanta. “Pleased to meet you, I am Allen Ramsey. I trust you’ve heard of me?”
    “Though it may hurt your ego, my dear Allen, not everyone has heard of you, especially not these poor unfortunates in rural Carolina!”
    “I can make allowances for that, I suppose!” He shook both their hands. “I will make it worth your while for having met me by spinning a tale of music and verse!” he declared to the bemused couple.
    “As you can see he is a man of many talents,” Lady Mendenhall remarked wryly. “He shall also teach you your letters. Come along, my friends, the cool winds of the Orkneys beckon!”
    “I was getting used to the heat, and now it’s back to cold seas? Oh, my muse will be quite lost!”
    Bemused, Atalanta and Hopewell followed, not knowing just what they had gotten themselves into!
    Last edited by Ashantai; 28-01-2012 at 23:59.
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  20. #560
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    another very enjoyable shift of tone and pace ... her ladyship is quite the revolutionary in her own way
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

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