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

  1. #421
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    bananafishtoday: You should have seen me laugh when Thomas Cromwell was randomly generated as the leader of the rebel army. It was just so...fitting!

    Now, if anyone has a desire to vote for this AAR in the awards I will be eternally grateful...though not confident of victory! This AAR fits into the Narrative category. Link


    Chapter 30 – Ambush!

    30/1/1820


    John had been about to ask some more questions, when the train suddenly jerked and screeched to a stop. They were on a section of otherwise empty track with a high embankment on their side. Around them the passengers in the first class carriage were starting to ask questions.
    In their compartment, John had almost fallen forward when the train stopped. He looked out the window and saw two figures moving to the embankment. For a second he sat and looked at them, still confused and puzzled.
    Lady Mendenhall suddenly dived down and pulled him with her so he hit the ground hard. At the same time the glass in the window shattered and the wooden panel on the door splintered. A heartbeat later there came the crack of a gunshot.
    John didn’t know what to do. It was all so sudden that he didn’t still comprehend that he was under attack.
    “Well, this is fun!” Lady Mendenhall said. John was surprised to see a different side of her now. She seemed almost…excited. “Ever been shot at before?” she asked.
    “N-no,” John replied. He winced as a bullet was punched in the side of the train just above his head.
    “It’s simple. Have you got your gun?” The Lady pulled John until they were at the far end of the compartment, the seat shielding them. She peered up from this refuge and ducked back down. “Two men on the embankment. They know which compartment we’re in, and presumably stopped the train with more of them.”
    There were screams in the rest of the carriage, gunshots. John pulled out the pistol, holding the weapon in his hand. Sir Henry had helped him load it, and though he had fired a gun before, it had never been at a living target.
    “Right, give it here. I’ll draw their fire. You get outside and take cover.”
    “Shouldn’t I be doing that?” John asked. After all, she was the peeress and he was just a young man.
    “Trust me,” the Lady said with a grin, taking the weapon. Another pair of bullets slammed into the compartment. “Go!” she cried, knowing the enemy would have to reload.

    John scrambled for the compartment door. Behind him Lady Mendenhall fired at the distant targets through the broken window. She had little hope of hitting anything, but it would keep their heads down.
    John pulled open the door of the compartment and dived into the corridor as another bullet smashed the window opposite.
    Other passengers were milling around, but John stayed low and pushed his way towards the exit. All was confusion as people milled around, some panicking, some demanding to know what was happening.
    Suddenly a loud noise announced the presence of the attackers from the engine of the train entering the first class carriage.
    “Down on the floor now, all of you!” one of the men said in an accented voice. He fired a pistol into the roof to make his point.
    John hit the ground, but instead of staying still he crawled back the way he had come. While confusion reigned in the front of the carriage, John got up and ran with some others for the rear of the carriage. He passed their compartment, but Lady Mendenhall was gone.

    John pushed out the door with some others and ended up on the far side from the embankment, standing in a gentle snow.
    “What do we do?” one woman cried.
    John pointed to a dip not far away. “Run there. Take cover!”
    He was about to follow when there was a shout from the train. Turning, he found himself facing one of the attackers, a tall and beefy man carrying a revolver.
    “You. Boy, come here,” he ordered. He cocked the gun and aimed it at John’s forehead. “That woman can’t save you now,” he gloated.
    There was the sound of a gunshot, deafeningly loud, and a man fell to the ground in the snow.
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  2. #422
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Maybe she couldn't save him, but Tempest did. Atleast thats my unfair guess!
    These are exciting times for John!
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  3. #423
    Waah, reaching the climax! Excellent writing and what a way to start off the new year! Great job Ashantai!
    War, it's faaaaantastic.

  4. #424
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    great stuff ... missed a couple of updates & come back to find that Cumbria is more like the wild west (though Wokington on a saturday night can be pretty wild)

  5. #425
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    “Trust me,” the Lady said with a grin, taking the weapon.
    I hate it, when this happens lol, things always get ugly after someone says "Trust me" to you.

  6. #426
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sather: Very true!
    Loki: Well, it wouldn't be as fun if it was filled with trouble-at-mill northerners.
    adamclason: Thank you!
    Sethanon: You'll have to wait and see! Exciting times indeed.

    Chapter 30a – The Civil War

    Summarised from Chapter 7 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    The English Civil War of 1642-3 was a catastrophic event which shook the Empire to its very core, and very nearly toppled it entirely. In it a culmination of two centuries of questions regarding the monarchy and Parliament came together explosively.

    It was clear that there would be conflict, and so both sides set about raising troops and supporters for the conflict to come. In England Thomas Cromwell, himself with no military experience, organised a large army, and set out forces to all the shires. In this effort he was helped by the presence of many English veterans from the wars, as well as German or other mercenaries. Still, the prospects were daunting.



    The King raised a considerable army in France, which was generally loyal. However, bad weather and resistance in the south prevented a landing and direct march on London. Instead, Scotland and the north of England provided a good position to move from, as those areas were more loyal to the King than the south.
    So the King himself headed for the north and landed in Newcastle on the 22nd of August 1642. It was there he raised his standard and officially started the civil war. However, bad news came quickly. A force sent to defend London under the Duke of Norfolk was wiped out by Cromwell’s army. Many of the men deserted, and the Duke was killed in the fighting.





    With the rebels occupying large areas of England, the King slowly headed south with thirty five thousand men. Along the way he drove off or defeated most of the smaller enemy forces, but in doing so forced them to coalesce in the capital. Finally, as winter started to set in, King Edward approached London. His advisors told him to settle into winter quarters, but the King was determined to press on at once.

    On the 7th of December near St Albans the two armies engaged. The King’s army was outnumbered, but was composed of better quality troops. At first the two sides sparred inconclusively, but then the previously unknown talents of Thomas Cromwell came to the fore. He had used the year from the death of Edward Seymour to the present to prepare heavy field guns. Before this point the British troops had used only light artillery exclusively, but now with sixty big guns served by Germans, Spanish and Italians, they made an immediate impression. This, combined with superior numbers forced a breakthrough in the centre of the royal army and forced it to retire in disorder.



    The defeat at St Albans had a profound effect. New troops came to the colours over the winter, and all of southern England, Wales and Ireland declared for Parliament. Even in France the Army of Flanders and Army of Toulouse moved slowly, and did not reinforce the King. King Edward had to replenish his numbers with Scottish and English levies, most of dubious quality.

    The armies met again on the 14th of March 1643 at Cambridge, the two sides essentially being the same strength as at St Albans. This time however Thomas Cromwell strengthened his left flank secretly, while dispatching half of his cavalry on a flanking movement around the King’s right also. When the Royal Army attacked the Parliamentarian centre it made little headway, but at just the right moment Cromwell unleashed his surprise.
    A battery of thirty guns, concealed out of sight, were suddenly moved forward and opened a devastating barrage on the royalist forces. Following up on this a massed infantry and cavalry attack, supported by the flanking movement, caved in the King’s right flank.
    For a moment it seemed as though the entire royalist army would be pushed into the river, but a gallant stand allowed half the army to escape.





    The King was not among those survivors though. During the attack he and his guard had been driven apart and with few friends he had been forced to take refuge in a barley field. What happened next has been the subject of much debate. The King was found dead in the late afternoon, shot through the head by a pistol found at his feet. His single remaining servant was also dead nearby, shot through the back.
    The servant was killed while fleeing from some Parliamentarian cavalry. Some claim that the servant attacked the King and that he died fleeing the scene, others that the King committed suicide. Whatever the case, the King’s death ended the war. The next in line for the throne, his half-brother William, died soon after, leaving Parliament in control of the country.

    And so Thomas Cromwell assumed the title of Lord Protector, advised by Parliament, while a new constitution was drawn up. It cannot be underestimated just what a shock and a change this was, for Britain to dispense with a monarch entirely was something few could have fathomed. Naturally, many did not accept this change, and it would take some time for the new regime to impose its authority on the British Empire.



    The end result of the Civil War was confusion and chaos. Violent rebellions stretched across France and in the new world, and it would be a trying task for the Protectorate to once again recover the glory of Great Britain.

    (Simulating a civil war was VERY hard. The Civil War event chain causes a lot of problems, so I decided not to use it. I've done the best I can, and I hope you can appreciate the spirit of what I was trying to do...rather than the actual in game problems.)
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  7. #427
    Not Cromwell! Protect the Irish!

  8. #428
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    think you handled that brilliantly, a really nice rationalisation on top of whatever the game actually generated. That rebel army in London was rather awesome.

    So we now have a Commonwealth, headed by a Cromwell. As Morrell8 says, it may not be a good time to be Irish, or to like dancing ...

  9. #429
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    I, for one, really liked the Civil War; I've never seen anything like it in vanilla DW, so I give you tremendous credit for pulling it off. If PI were to make a fifth expansion for EU 3, I would love to see more potential for civil wars/revolutions, etc.
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  10. #430
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Great civil war, there seem to be a lot of them in AARs all of sudden. (MDS Japan HoI2 AAR, good one)
    However as far as my bad memory allows me to remember, in John's time, there is a monarchy again?
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  11. #431
    Major Chris Taylor's Avatar
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    Wow, look at all those rebels. And led by a Cromwell!

    One wonders whether this republic will be as dour and mirthless as the real thing. In OTL, it's not as if 17th century English subjects particularly loved the monarchy, but they definitely missed the simple pleasures (like Christmas and bear-baiting). It just so happened the monarchy had a more expansive view of religious and social life than the Puritans that replaced it.

    I am dying to know what happens to John and Lady Mendenhall in the next update. The evidence suggests someone else (who is, shall we say, of an unfriendly disposition) knows the lady's secret.
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  12. #432
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Enjoyable updates as eveer. John being shot at, Edward VI proving horrendously incompetent and thus bringing about a civil war which he goes on to lose, good stuff. Thus now Great Britain is a Republic Dictatorship and can no doubt look forward to some interesting times ahead!
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  13. #433
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    morningSIDEr: They shall indeed be interesting! Thanks for reading!
    Chris Taylor: Welcome back! Yes, a Cromwell. As I said, I was floored when he turned up as the rebel leader. I laughed for a full two minutes! As you'll see this Republic has other issues dragging it down.
    Sethanon: Oh yes, there is a monarchy again by John's time...which sort of indicates the Republic is doomed, doesn't it?
    Avindian: I totally agree! As it was, I had to virtually pull out all the stops to ensure I lost those battles. Rebels are really weak in EU3 once you get beyond a certain point.
    Loki: Thanks! And it's not the Irish who should be worried...but a certain other green nation to the south west....
    Morrell8: Indeed!

    Chapter 31 – Echoes of the Past: The Barley Field

    14/3/1643


    “No! How could this happen?”
    “Majesty, please, they’ll hear you! Down here!” Richard Walker, the only one of the King’s household to keep with him during the rout, pulled them down a hill. From there they were in a little bit of cover.
    King Edward VI cut a sorry figure as he followed his steward into the shade of the trees.
    “Dismount, sire,” Walker said.
    Unwillingly the King did so. His mane of dark hair was tangled and covered in dirt, while his armour and clothes were torn and marked.
    “What now?” he asked, slumping to the ground. He looked utterly bereft and lost.
    “If we wait here until dark we can escape north and re-join the army.”
    “What army. These damn peasants, I hate them! How dare they-“ he begun, his voice rising.
    At that moment though there was the sound of hooves in the field. They could see a dozen Parliamentarian horsemen searching the field.
    “Look sir, prints,” one said.
    Walker cursed. Their horses had crushed the stalks so their path could be clearly seen. The rebels were advancing.
    He turned to the King. “Majesty, I’ll draw them away. Stay out of sight!”
    “What are you doing? No…wait!” King Edward cried.
    It was too late.
    As Walker spurred out, the cavalry saw him and gave chase. Their horses were fresher, and they were armed. The crack of pistols sounded, and finally one struck Walker in the back. Rearing, back, he slipped from his horse and fell into the barley, to be finished off by one of the horsemen.



    The King had watched this, and was just about to leave his refuge when there were more hoof beats. He ducked back into the forest, but the other rider followed and dismounted.
    King Edward drew his sword, the richly engraved blade flashing as he stood at bay.
    A thin figure entered the clearing and pulled off the hat they were wearing.
    The monarch’s eyes narrowed. “You!” he growled. How he wished he had a pistol, but his had been lost in the rout.
    “Me,” Lady Mendenhall said, walking towards him. “You are defeated, your Majesty.”
    “You are a curse upon this nation, woman. My father should have killed you when he had the chance.”
    “A lost opportunity,” she replied placidly.
    “And you have done your filthy work well. I am the King, anointed by God, and I will not give up to one such as you.”
    “You are just a man, and a particularly stupid one at that.”
    King Edward’s eyes flashed and he stepped forward to strike her down, then saw the pistol she produced. “You would add regicide to your list of crimes?” he asked. “Does your peasant master know of this?”
    The Lady ignored the last question. “My crimes? You began this war through your arrogance and your stupidity. Now, I try not to judge people too harshly. In another case I might have been merciful, but it is never wise to let the King live. Goodbye, your Majesty.”
    She raised the gun, her arm not trembling an inch.

    “Wait!” King Edward said suddenly. “You can’t kill me! I am the King! I have done nothing to you! Everything I did is in the service of my people!”
    Lady Mendenhall’s eyes narrowed, and she lowered the weapon slightly. Before the King could relax she spoke in a low voice. “Nothing? Aside from starting the civil war against your own people and refusing to negotiate you sent assassins against your own people, you had a little boy murdered for no good reason.”
    “His father was a traitor!”
    “That does not justify murdering his son. And worst of all, you tried to kill Alexandra. And that I cannot, will not forgive.”
    For a moment the King looked puzzled, and then he seemed to comprehend. “The traitor’s daughter. My father told me about you, and the things you do. In that case I am only sorry that my men didn’t put a bullet in the sow’s head and-“ he begun.
    Lady Mendenhall stepped forward, the gun came up and…fired. Her expression did not change as some of the royal blood flecked her, and when the man was down she threw the empty pistol beside him. She knelt down and took his sword.
    “Justice is served. Rest in hell, and know that your son will pay for the sins of his father,” the Lady said, turning to go. She was gone from there long before anyone came to investigate the shot. The last Grey King of Britain died at the edge of that barley field, unlamented and alone.

    (Yay for regicide!)
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  14. #434
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    she's pretty decisive when she puts her mind to it

  15. #435
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    And thus ends the short line of the Grey monarchs of England. May their rule be forgotten in the glorious history of Britain that is to come.

    (Ps: Unfair to post an echoes from the past now!! It must be on purpose!)
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  16. #436
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Very gripping stuff. A lose end tied up then, I just wonder if any of the Republican Dictatorship will end up meeting the same fate.
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  17. #437
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Great Revolutionary war. Though the rule of the parliament will probably as shortlived as in reality.
    Kinda funny how the only real difference are the names of the monarchs and the size of this Britain.

    And the Lady at least takes the murdering into her own hands. She's got class.

  18. #438
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    Now that I have caught up, most excellent...except for Edward (absolutely just a man!)
    It will be interesting to see what the Republic will do. After crushing the rebel scum.
    Last edited by blsteen; 04-01-2012 at 16:06.
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  19. #439
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Arakhor: War...that is what's next!
    blsteen: Thanks!
    Sather: It does parallel the real history somewhat. That is by design. I had really wanted the 3/3/4 heir to take over, but 7/3/8 did just as well for a bad King. In reality though the things the Civil War were fought over IRL and in this story were almost bound to happen.
    morningSIDEr: Only time will tell!
    Sethanon: Would I deliberately post an echo just to stretch out the suspense of what happens? ...Well, yes, probably.
    Loki: She certainly is!

    Chapter 31a – Thomas Cromwell and the Republic

    Summarised from Chapter 8 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    With the King dead, and Britain firmly under the control of the Protectorate, it was time to take stock. The Civil War had been devastating, and many thousands lay dead, but it had not been as catastrophic as it might have been. It did take time for parts of France and the colonies to once again be brought under control, but for the most part resistance to the new regime was less strong than expected.
    Much of that had to do with the personality of Thomas Cromwell and his daughter Alexandra. Though Thomas was not a great orator he was a bastion of common sense and good judgement while his daughter was a passionate, intelligent, beautiful woman. Perhaps more than this, Parliament was expanded on a grand scale for the first time. Never before had France, Scotland, Ireland or the Americas had seats in Parliament, but now the first few were allocated. Though at this stage 85% of the seats were still English it was the first step to a representative nation.









    However, the most important feature of Thomas Cromwell’s government was the military. The efforts of the military had brought him to power, and now a massive reorganisation begun. Heavy artillery, so vital to winning the civil war, was now produced and attached to the main field armies to give them decent firepower.
    In the infantry, new designs of muskets lessened the need for pikemen, and the ratio of muskets to pikes became 3:1 where they had been inverse at the start of the century.



    Parliament was naturally worried that such a force would be used against them, and that having toppled one King they would merely create another. Thomas Cromwell allayed these fears though, but created new ones by suggesting war with Portugal. Portugal had long been England’s ally until James’ madness. Since then colonial tensions had only increased.
    Cromwell promised victory, and that he would lead the forces in person. To this Parliament agreed, and the promise of rich rewards prompted them to authorise payment. Much hinged on this war. If it failed then it was clear that royalists would attempt to regain control, while if it succeeded, the regime would be strengthened. And so after bullying Spain’s weak King to allow them access, war was declared.







    The war’s many twists and turns are too long to get into in this work, but suffice it to say that this war was fantastically successful. Fought in two oceans and four continents it was a massive effort. At sea the British fleets destroyed and raided Portuguese forces, while on land the British forces captured Portuguese possessions in America and Mexico. Most crucially of all, Thomas Cromwell’s army, reinforced by sea, drove into Portugal and occupied Lisbon in 1648.
    After that, the conflict was mainly mopping up. Portugal had been unprepared for a war of this kind and lost massively. Their King, Joao VI, was forced to concede all their North American and most of their Mexican possessions, as well as paying a large indemnity. The war was a total success. Portugal in the aftermath descended into civil war, and not long after the monarchy itself fell to be replaced by a junta of nobles.
    Britain was now indisputably the most powerful nation in the world.







    The victory, so quick and so rewarding made Cromwell a hero, and he did not squander this chance. Hard reforms, such as a new currency, a revamp of the trade policy, and the creation of Hartford as the North American hub trading centre were all pioneered in this time. Veterans from the Civil War and Portuguese War meanwhile were settled in Picardie, and this land soon became mostly English in character as many French left for the new world or were evicted.











    However, Thomas Cromwell was not immune to the ravages of illness, and the campaign on Portugal had weakened him. In 1658, at the age of 59, he died. However, he had given thought to what would come after his death. Throughout his fifteen year ‘reign’, the Lord Protector’s daughter Alexandra had been with him constantly. When he died the strangest person imaginable became ruler of Great Britain; Lady Protector Alexandra Cromwell.

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