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

  1. #361
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    She had nothing to do with King William's death. On the contrary, she wanted him alive so that James didn't ascend the throne! Besides, I believe William was rather...satisfying, if you take my meaning.
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  2. #362
    Really, really nice description of the battle and the death of the King shows that it's just as much about luck as it is about skill to survive out there. Really liked this chapter!
    War, it's faaaaantastic.

  3. #363
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    She had nothing to do with King William's death. On the contrary, she wanted him alive so that James didn't ascend the throne! Besides, I believe William was rather...satisfying, if you take my meaning.
    I'd agree my interpretation was that she won't abide by the deal to be 'nice' to James .... esp if he's as big a muppet as you've signalled, I can see how William was one she'd favour ... in lots of ways
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  4. #364
    Hmm. Kings often die in rather unremarkable ways. At least he went down fighting. :P

  5. #365
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    So William wasn't the brightest either eh? Also seems to be a rather cruel one, chasing a small group of stragglers that just wanted to escape. Seldom has a Kind died a more unnecessary death.

  6. #366
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sather: Very true, and that's kind of the point. Even the best of rulers can fall prey to bad luck.
    Edgewise: Exactly! At least he didn't die of a surfeit of lampreys like his ancestor Henry!
    Adam Clason: Well, I had no idea it was going to happen, but I did want it to because it was the perfect narrative point.

    Well, this is a chapter you've possibly been waiting for. So...enjoy!

    Chapter 25a – The Madness of King James

    Summarised from Chapter 6 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    After the disasters of the first years of his reign it was hoped that King James would settle down and continue a reign of some modesty and talent. However, it was not to be. It has been a subject of frequent debate just what King James suffered from, but no conclusive answer has been arrived at. Whatever the case, it is known that he alternated between periods of hyperactivity optimism and moody, violent depression.

    While his wife was away in Spain, King James often went to visit his son, now six years old. The little boy was bright, though shy. It was as he was visiting one day in March that tragedy and infamy came upon the royal family. Witnesses report that the King wished to be alone with his son, and had been in good spirits. However, when a servant came to investigate the strange noises he found the King standing over his son. James was said to be hysterical, kneeling beside his son, the fractured skull oozing blood onto the floor. It is said that then the King flew into a rage and struck the servant for killing the Prince, and then carried the body off himself.



    It was not long before this story got around the palace, and when Henry de Clifford confronted the King a week later he at first denied it. Henry de Clifford was a favourite of King William, the man most often being left in charge of the realm when William was away on the continent. It is unknown what happened next, as no witnesses survived, but it is clear that King James personally ran through his own servant with a long knife. This murder sent the King into a deep depression from which he rarely emerged.



    The problem was of course that the King was the monarch, anointed by God. Therefore, the fact he was mad did not matter. What mattered was that he reigned. However, the death of both heir to the throne and the King’s behaviour caused Parliament to take over more of the running of the country. However abhorrent his behaviour was, the King had not come for any of them, so they merely accepted the position they were in and made no move against the King.



    Meanwhile, news came that Queen Isabella had given birth on the 24th of May to a son while in Toledo. She had heard little of what had happened in England, so when she returned in mid November she was horrified at the state of virtual anarchy the palace was in, and especially the mind of her husband.
    The two had never gotten on, and she had endured him for her father’s sake. Now she found that even this earlier mood was gone. Matters came to a head on the 3rd of December when the King confronted his wife and demanded their son, accusing her of trying to poison young Prince Henry. She denied this, and he struck her, calling her traitor, murderer, even accusing her of murdering young Edward, though this was of course impossible as she had been in Toledo at the time. Reason had lost its hold over James at this time though, and he attacked Isabella.
    Only with the assistance of a loyal friend did Isabella escape, though she had to leave her son behind.





    The implications of this night of madness was the final straw for Philip of Castille. He formally broke his bonds of alliance with Great Britain and demanded his grandson be delivered to him. The war that followed was incredibly half hearted. No one in Parliament wanted to fight a global war against their former allies; a war they would have little chance of winning easily.
    Peace was signed in mid-1607, recognising the break between the two nations as permanent. However, Prince Henry, now just 1 year old, was left in Great Britain, in the care of relatives.
    For King James though a different tale was told. He rarely left his room yet demanded hourly reports on the war’s progress. Ministers such as Alexander, Duke of York, provided elaborately forged messages reporting victories that never happened. For months the King was enmeshed in a land of maps and figures, giving orders to non-existent armies in a war long since finished. One time York even brought the King a bloodstained Spanish helmet, claming it was Prince Enrique’s. The King immediately made the Duke a bishop, claiming he had slain the anti-Christ. Although he was not really made a bishop the Duke was always careful to wear cleric’s robes when he met the King as if he was.
    All of this had the effect of strengthening Parliament and the Council’s power while keeping the mad King in the background.



    Finally, the King had a moment of sanity in January of 1608 and seemed to come to his senses. Worried that he might discover their deceptions, Duke Alexander planned to have the King poisoned. He was too late though; the King had written a note begging forgiveness and had thrown himself from his window. He was lamented by few and succeeded by his infant son.

    By almost any reckoning, King James was the worst king in English or British history. His instability caused personal tragedies of a hideous nature while the breakup of the British/Portuguese/Castilian alliance was a great blow. From now on the three nations would compete rather than cooperate.
    On another level too King James started in motion a series of events culminating in anarchy, civil war and tyranny. For this and so many other reasons, the death of King William at Staar must be measured as one of the greatest tragedies in British history.

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  7. #367
    That's a hell of an event chain! I half-expected to see that James had partitioned his kingdom, half of it to be managed by black-clad riders with the badge of a broom and a dog's head. On the other hand, there's precious little to celebrate in the reign of James the Mad, unlike Ivan Grozny.
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  8. #368
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    A fantastically dramatic last update, James certainly had a turbulent reign, it seems clear why Lady Mendenhall feared his coming to the throne. A pity too as Great Britain has enjoyed good rule from both Caroline and William. Hopefully James' heir can get things back on track.

    Turning to the revelations surrounding Lady Mendenhall, I'm glad I wasn't too far off the mark regarding the mysteries surrounding her. I do wonder though if perhaps she is another of the crew who served on the same ship as Talena, as from memories of Eternal Exile I believe Talena was not the only one sent back in time. Regardless, it has been very interesting find out more about her, and now reading directly of her exploits throughout the past decades, ever aiding the de Vere. The battle scene with William was an especially excellent read.
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  9. #369
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    A shame he didn't have much staying power, but that was still pretty awesome.
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  10. #370
    Is Lady Mendenhell psychic too now???
    War, it's faaaaantastic.

  11. #371
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    Good grief, those events were harsh! I noticed that you switched to Castille briefly - were all those events random rather than triggered?
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  12. #372
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    That's got to be the best event chain EVER.
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  13. #373
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Talkin about having a hard time. I'd like to see Britain recover from that, but with civil war glooming on the horizon I'm pretty sure its not going to be anytime soon.

  14. #374
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Now this is one mad king. I like it.

  15. #375
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sather: Thanks! he's certainly more nutty than a peanut farm!
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    Chapter 26 – The Railway

    27/1/1820


    Edinburgh Castle loomed over John as he walked through the streets of the Scottish city. The old St Andrew’s Cross flag could be seen flying in places, but much more common was the British flag. Indeed, after nearly 250 years in the British state the people of Scotland had long given up hope of an independent state, but instead tried to preserve their culture as well as they could. Here and there one could see the heroic shapes of Robert Bruce and William Wallace on stern statues. However, often enough the statues depicted men and women after the nation’s integration into the British state such as the famous general Ambrose Clive of the 18th century. He had been a Scotsman, but more than that, he had been British.



    John followed Lady Mendenhall and Tempest through the crowded streets. It was a busy day and John had to avoid rumbling cards filled with products, or hurrying crowds of people. A steep walk up from the docks took them near to where John could hear the whistle of an engine.
    “Still keeping up?” Lady Mendenhall asked jovially. She seemed tireless, and didn’t even need the stick she carried. He hadn’t found the time to ask her about that.
    “Yes, Lady, but I thought we were going to London?”
    “We are! But I need to see someone at Carlisle, and we couldn’t do that easily by ship. Therefore we’ll take the Great Hibernian Line to Glasgow, then down to London via Carlisle. Have you been on the railway before?”
    “Yes, they’re rather popular in America. The Hartford and Edwardton could get speeds of up to 30 miles an hour. Father doesn’t like them though, thinks they are dirty and dangerous.”
    Lady Mendenhall laughed. “He’s right, but so is everything else. Besides, you just need to know how to travel. Come, we should get to the station, the luggage and servants went on ahead.”

    Soon they could see the station itself. The great belching monsters came in on the tracks to be unloaded of the people or goods they carried. The crowds were getting heavier, and John noticed several undesirables lurking near the gates. Some were shifty looking men, others women of ill-repute.
    It was as he was looking around him that a young boy bumped into him. As he turned, he saw the boy hurrying away. When John felt his pockets he realised that the brooch was missing.
    “Lady, pickpockets just stole something from me. They stole the Caroline brooch.”
    Lady Mendenhall turned quickly. “Well we can’t have that, I am not losing it twice. Tempest, see to it.”
    The black woman strode off meaningfully into the crowd.
    “What will she do?” John asked.
    “Not kill them, if that is what you fear. She will recover it though. Do try to be a little more careful though. You never know when…”
    Suddenly her stick’s hooked end shot out and tripped a young boy trying to get behind her.
    “How careless of me, son,” she said pleasantly. “You could come to harm in such a place as this,” she added.
    The urchin looked up at her. “I didn’t do nothing!”
    “Capital. Now run along, and make sure none of your friends do anything either,” she said with a smile.
    The thief left, seeking easier pickings.
    “Crime is a terrible thing, especially when done in such a crude fashion. Come, John.”
    He followed her, having given up wondering how she did things.

    An hour later they were sitting in a first class carriage being served lunch by uniformed servants. Steam formed clouds around the train, and while it was chilly, there was no snow.
    It was as the train was about to take off that there was a commotion at the door. Tempest entered, followed by the conductor. “I’m sorry, Miss, this carriage is not appropriate for you,” he said.
    “She is with me, Conductor. Admit her,” Lady Mendenhall said calmly. She stood and faced them, her back to John.
    He seemed uncertain. “Lady, she is…coloured.”
    John was not able to see her face, but the man backed away from the look she gave him.
    “Leave,” Lady Mendenhall ordered him.
    He did not hesitate, and left quickly. The rest of the carriage, upper class all, looked at them, but her Ladyship did not pay them any notice, but sat.
    “Did you succeed, dear?” she asked Tempest.
    The bodyguard produced the brooch and offered it to Lady Mendenhall. “On the way back a man made an offensive comment. He will recover.”
    Lady Mendenhall took the keepsake, then passed it to John. “Nothing too serious, I hope?” she asked wryly.
    “He will have trouble walking for some time,” Tempest said matter-of-factly.
    “Good. Respect must be maintained. And the luggage?”
    “All aboard, Lady.”
    “Excellent. Now, eat.”

    The train jerked and set off. Soon they had left Edinburgh behind and were steaming west on the first leg of their return journey to London.
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  16. #376
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    A nice update, Tempest showing once again she isn't to be messed with. The description of Edinburgh seems very accurate too from the statues crowding the city's streets, to the picture of the castle and mention of the hordes of criminals ever ready to set upon a likely target, much as the city still is even now!
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  17. #377
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Ah good old racism, what would the world do without you. lol
    But the Scots giving up their hope for independance I find rather unbelievable.

  18. #378
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    really liked the King James post ... very realistically embroidered from the rough in-game events ... & I personally would be very very polite to Tempest
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  19. #379
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    Where were the ever-present bagpipers filling the air with endless variants on Scotland the Brave?
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  20. #380
    I can just imagine it, "I didn't do nuffin'" Great stuff.

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