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

  1. #61
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Avindian: I use admirals for story purposes, and I am tempted to agree. However, since their manoeuvre stat helps with positioning I was able to have good admirals most of the game and I never lost a naval battle in 420 years. Are they related? Maybe...but the key point I guess is that since my mod gives constant tradition based on the ruler's MIL stat you might as well use it.
    Sather: Yes, I was fortunate with my Castille alliance here. The first dividends of that alliance bore fruit, distracting the French so they charged into Navarra and got beaten. Stilll, it was mainly because I put my full strength into this war and didn't hold back. I hope you like this story update...it's long!
    Dewirix: Indeed! The French and more importantly Burgundy are not done yet!
    Arakhor: Yes, I reduced the size of the picture significantly - by default it would have taken the entire screen. I guess I wanted to get the broad perspective across. If you think I should I'll make it bigger.

    Chapter 5 – Dinner and a Tour

    6/1/1820


    “I didn’t want to go anyway,” George said, though his sulky look said otherwise, as did the fact he was waiting in the hall with his younger siblings.
    “Her Ladyship said I could only bring one guest,” John lied.
    Alexandra, who knew he was lying, smiled angelically. “I shall be sure to tell you what a fantastic time we had,” she said, rubbing salt into the wound.
    “Bah! Father has arranged me an appointment with Colonel White regardless, so I couldn’t have come even if I was invited.” With that he turned and stomped up the stairs.
    “John, that was so wicked, yet so funny!” Alexandra said, leaning on him to steady herself while she stopped laughing.
    Alexandra was perhaps overdressed in an elegant gown which she had been bought for her 18th birthday. Pearl earrings and a gold bracelet was complimented by an expensive silk shawl. She was trying to make the best impression she could for their host when they arrived.

    The sound of a carriage outside summoned them out to the street, and while Anne closed the door behind them John led his sister to the waiting carriage. Christian was there as before, and helped both of them up and then cracked his whip to spur the horses away.

    When they arrived at Three Oaks they found that the guards at the gate were there, and that several maids and servants were waiting near the entrance of the house.
    Alexandra was clearly awed by what she saw, and even though it was his second time, John was impressed.
    Tempest appeared and introduced herself to Alexandra before leading them into the house. They were taken to a different study from where John had gone two nights before, and there Lady Mendenhall waited. This time she wore a dress of blue and silver in the same slim cut as the previous time, but little jewellery except for her ring.
    When the two of them entered she rose gracefully and graciously accepted Alexandra’s curtsey with a smile.
    “Thank you for coming, John. And I suppose this is your sister?” she asked.
    “Alexandra,” John introduced, realising he should have done it before the Lady asked.
    “Charmed. You are a most beautiful young lady, Alexandra, and a lovely name to match.”
    “Thank you, Your Grace,” Alexandra said.
    “Please, my dear, ‘my Lady’, or ‘Lady’ will be quite sufficient. Please, be seated.”
    Flushed a little, Alexandra sat, and John took a seat also.

    When Tempest had delivered wine for John and watered wine for Alexandra, Lady Mendenhall put down her water glass.
    “May I ask how the meeting with her Majesty went?” John asked.
    “It went very well. The Queen was most gracious as always.” Her Ladyship paused, mulling something. “If I am not mistaken, you are related to her, are you not?”
    “I believe she is our third cousin. The late King married an Adams.”
    “Yes, as I suspected.” She looked to Alexandra. “May I say that you look very much like your mother, Alexandra. I was very sorry to hear about what happened,” Lady Mendenhall said softly.
    John frowned slightly. “You knew mother?” he asked, surprised.
    “Only passing, I’m afraid. After the detestable rebels were defeated I did what I could for the people of Hartford. Sadly I was luckier than your mother, who I had been introduced to just before the rebellion.”
    John bowed his head slightly. Even six years later he had not fully processed the loss his family felt.
    Lady Mendenhall leaned forward slightly. “I am sorry for bringing up such a painful memory, but your mother was a beautiful, intelligent woman, and I am sure she would be very proud of both of you. Now, I had hoped to show the both of you around this house if you were interested.”
    John nodded, touched by this almost unknown woman’s compassion. He had to ask one more question. “I would like that, but before we do. Was it you who laid the rose on her grave? When father and I arrived there the mausoleum had a red rose on it.”
    Lady Mendenhall seemed to hesitate for just a second, and then nodded. “It was I. I am sorry if it was inappropriate.”
    John shook his head. “It wasn’t. Thank you.”



    Her Ladyship rose and headed for a door. Tempest opened it for them and they filed into a long gallery. A crystal chandelier shone down on valuable paintings and other objects.
    John saw what seemed to be an original portrait of King Edward VII by Du Cane, symbolically receiving the symbols of authority from parliament, showing the restoration of the monarchy. There were also other valuable items such as an antique minature showing the marriage of Henry VI to Elizabeth Mason in 1740.
    As a man interested in history he couldn’t help but be astonished by the variety and value of the items displayed here. They were all, as far as he could tell, genuine and well maintained.
    “This is astonishing,” he said.
    Alexandra, not usually one interested in the past, had been fascinated by a magnificent diamond necklace. The central stone was large enough to be worth a thousand pounds or more!
    “That diamond is from the court of King Sanga of Vijayanagar, and was worn at the marriage of King Henry and Elizabeth Mason.” Lady Mendenhall laid aside her stick, which she barely seemed to need anyway. “Would you like to try it on?”
    Alexandra stared at her. “C-could I?” she asked, breathless.
    “Of course.” Lady Mendenhall deftly removed Alexandra’s current necklace and placed the more valuable one in its place. “Gold and adamantine – the two things that do not tarnish with time, I am told,” her Ladyship commented.
    Alexandra was lost for words, and could only stammer a thank you.
    “Think nothing of it, dear. This is but a small fraction of my collection in the north.”
    With apparent noiselessness Tempest appeared. “My Lady, dinner is served.”
    “Excellent. Now, let us go.”

    The dining room, which John had passed through briefly on his previous visit, was now even more grand. The vast table was laid at one end for them, leaving three dozen places empty. An array of cutlery and glasses was laid out, but John and Alexandra were fortunate enough to have been to many such dinners before, and knew which knife to use, and which glass to take when.
    The meal was of exceptional quality, with fowl, venison and fish supplemented with vegetables from the New and the Old World.
    Lady Mendenhall ate well, especially enjoying the venison. However she was a very fastidious diner, and did not interrupt her guests until the final course had been cleared away.



    “So John, have you thought more on my proposal?” she asked once the desert had been finished. She had drunk water through the meal, but now accepted a small nip of a dark Armagnac brandy. John turned it down in favour of a cup of coffee. Alexandra meanwhile had accepted tea.
    “I have, my Lady, and I accept,” he said. “At the least I wish to see Kirkwall and your residence there, and make my decision then.”
    “Of course. You should feel under no compulsion to stay if you do not wish to. A steamer runs to Edinburgh every four days, so you are certainly not limited or isolated. If you wish to go with me when I depart, I have my own private vessel which will take us north. I have some minor business the finish up here, so on the thirteenth of January we shall depart. We leave from Portsmouth, the ship is named the Persephone, a very nice steamer. Please try to arrive in the morning so we can leave in the afternoon.”
    John nodded. “I will be there. If there is any change of plans I will send you a letter.”
    “Thank you.” Lady Mendenhall raised her glass. “To a long life,” she said with a small smile. “And God save the Queen.”
    John repeated the slightly strange toast and rose.
    “Regretfully I must ask for the necklace back,” her Ladyship told Alexandra. “But, I do have something perhaps of less value, but hopefully you will see it as a good gift.”
    She gestured at Tempest who came forward and offered a velvet lined wooden box to Alexandra. Inside was a gold necklace with a smaller, less historically significant, stone.
    Alexandra could barely speak. “Thank you, my Lady,” she said finally.
    “You are welcome, Alexandra. And now, I must bid you goodnight. John, I will see you at Portsmouth, unless something changes.”
    John bowed and Alexandra curtseyed and they soon left. More intrigued by this strange, yet dynamic woman, John could not help but think about his coming day of destiny.
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  2. #62
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    I am really starting to enjoy this, Ashantai!

    (What I meant with the battles picture is that you left an ugly white border around half of it when you could easily have clipped that off and not have needed to shrink the main picture so much. If I'm babbling, forgive me, but I work in publishing, so I notice these things.)
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  3. #63
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Nice update. Love all the small details and unlike John I am still wondering about the intentions of her Ladyship. That's very much attention for a young man she met just twice. Well, she propably (aka obviously) knew his mother better than she admitted I'd say, people rarely place red roses on the graves of people they hardly knew.

  4. #64
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    Interesting...indeed, what is Lady Mendenhall after...and, why has John been selected to be a part of her scheme?
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  5. #65
    Second Lieutenant SouthernKing's Avatar
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    Quite the interesting AAR you have here Just from reading what has been posted so far, this "Mad King John" you speak of...

  6. #66
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    “Dashing romances only happen in books, El,” John replied with a grin.
    And perhaps in AARs as well?

    Excellent updates. Good to see France well and truly trounced after the earlier unsuccessful war with them. The personal union with Castille was very lucky and hugely useful, it instantly turned you into a behemoth! Nice to see things progressing so well both with the gameplay and also the story. Now that John has accepted the invitation, I'm looking forward to seeing how what happens during his studies.
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  7. #67
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    morningSIDEr: Haha, perhaps! Thanks! It will certainly be interesting, that's for sure.
    SouthernKing: Thanks, welcome aboard! Poor old Mad King James is a fair distance away, but it'll be worth it.
    Range: A good question. What IS she after?
    Arakhor: Oh, I get you now. Uhh, yes, my image skills are nowhere as good as Chris Taylor, so when I tried to cut the white border out I failed. I'll look into it sometime and post a new version. Thanks for your kind words.

    Chapter 5a – The Later Years of Edward IV

    Summarised from Chapter 2 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    England had emerged triumphant from the war with France, though the price had been high. In an effort to raise the high burden of the war the crown had been forced to concede privileges to parliament and nobles of the realm. One such concession had been the removal of Forest Law from much of England, thus allowing many cottagers and yeoman to make a more effective living from the forests.





    When several cities such as York and Canterbury attempted this same thing though, especially the collection of independent tariffs, they were rebuffed. This naturally caused a black market and massed smuggling, something the English crown did not have the money or officials to crack down on.





    On a more personal level, the King was made aware that his son and heir had been seen in the company of numerous women while visiting his mother’s family in Burgundy. Queen Louisa having died in 1412, the Prince was welcomed by the King of Burgundy and treated with all honours. This however was not popular in England, for the crown prince to be so friendly with a foreign, and rival, power.
    One unintended consequence though was that one of those liaisons, with Princess Yolande of Brittany unintentionally produced an heir of the blood to that Kingdom.




    When King Marti of Aragon came to England to ask for an alliance he was received, but soon he had started a war with France over the provinces bordering the Pyrenees. England had no choice but to come to aid their allies. With Castille and Portugal also committed to the war, the conflict became somewhat Herculian.






    Divided and hopelessly outmatched, the French forces could not contest as effectively as they had. With serious rebellions in Languedoc and Anjou the French were defeated. After a long siege Paris fell, and the French were forced to terms. King Edward did not get above himself though, nor did he become reckless. Rather, he demanded that the French king renounce all rights to the English held provinces, and that English sovereignty be recognised over Armagnac.












    In the words of the 18th century historian and philosopher William Goldman:
    France was far too formidable an opponent to be destroyed at once. However, once they had been defeated once it was substantially easier for them to be defeated again. After 1424 there was no chance that the English would be driven back into the sea.
    Though he speaks with hindsight he was nonetheless correct. 1424 marked a point past which France had lost the strength to drive out the English – only English incompetence or some other force could do that.

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  8. #68
    Second Lieutenant SouthernKing's Avatar
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    France got beaten surprisingly badly there.

  9. #69
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Why did you get infamy for taking Armagnac? If it isn't your province, shouldn't you get the full 4 infamy?
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  10. #70
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    For this mod I doubled all infamy, and made Reconquest CBs cost 2 infamy per province. The result was very effective, and stopped silly AI expansion.

    France got beaten mainly because they invaded Aragon, leaving me to take Paris. Best not to mention that though.
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  11. #71
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Wow, the unravelling of France continues apace. They can't seem to catch a break, and from your map of 1820 it looks like things won't improve for them.

    I particularly liked the part about the repeal of the hated Forest Laws.
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  12. #72
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    I cant believe I only noticed this AAR now. I just read up and I must say it is an incredibly well balanced story.
    Even though we already know the outcome of the entire campaign it is very exciting to find out how we got there.
    And if that wasnt enough we also get a very exciting story with John and his mysterious benefitor.

  13. #73
    I'm enjoying seeing the differencies between the paths of our two AARs despite their similar beginnings & goals...

    Also - how do you get the full on screenshots rather than the overlay map? When I try print screens as per the button, I get the stuff on my desktop 'behind' the game, rather than the game...

  14. #74
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    F11 is the answer, Cornelius. F12 and Shift-F12 do the maps.
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  15. #75
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Dewirix: Thanks! Yes, the Forest Laws would be a Free Subjects move. I've tried to put in story justifications for slider moves where possible.
    Sethanon: Thanks! Welcome aboard. Hope you enjoy, and please make yourself at home.
    Bishop Cornelius: Welcome! Loved the start of your AAR. England forever, eh? And you've got the best Avatar of them all too! For screenshots I use the program FRAPS, which creates them as JPG files, then I cut out the relevant pieces and combine them in paint.net. Quite simple, and avoids the issues with the massive files EU3 creates.
    Arakor: Yup!

    Chapter 6 – Preparations

    7/1/1820

    Like a defendant before a judge, John stood and waited for his father’s judgement. Benjamin was sitting behind his desk and peering at his youngest son.
    “Kirkwall, in the Orkneys?” he asked.
    “Yes, father. She has agreed to sponsor me for my doctorate, if I qualify and if I wish to do it.”
    Benjamin frowned and removed his spectacles. “I am not certain about this. You have met this woman only twice, and you are now going with her all the way up north to those dismal isles. What of your career, what of everything down here?”
    “Father, please. She specially requested my presence, and last night with Alexandra she was nothing but polite!”
    Benjamin conceded the point unwillingly. “I do not understand her motive though. She is still a young woman and…” he trailed off.
    “I do not think it is like that, father. But if it is, what of it? She is one of the richest peers in England!”
    “More than you think. I looked up the records this morning, with the help of the Lord Chancellor. She is a Duchess in her own right, a Countess, a Baronet and many other titles inherited from her family.”
    “Her husband is dead,” John pointed out. “If her father is dead then those titles are rightly hers.”
    “Yes, her husband died some years ago, and it seems she has no other family.” Benjamin sighed. “John, it is your choice. You are old enough to make your own choices, and I am not going to force you. But think about this carefully.”
    “I have, father. I will return if I do not like it up there.”
    Giving in, Benjamin finally nodded. “Very well. When does the ship leave?”
    “The thirteenth, from Portsmouth.”
    “I will organise a coach for you on the twelfth, and you can find lodgings overnight. The Ryefield Inn is my suggestion. Mention my name to the owner and he will let you stay in some of the nicer rooms.”
    “Thank you, father,” John said.
    Benjamin made no response, but went to a safe in the wall and withdrew a leather bag and a wooden box.
    The bag contained gold crowns, each worth slightly more than a pound. John counted at least two dozen of the coins. It was a massive amount, probably half a common man’s yearly wages in just one bag. Some small change was included as well.
    The box meanwhile contained a gun. It was one of the new revolving chamber pistols, able to hold six bullets, though the chamber had to be manually rotated via the hammer after each shot.
    “These are for you, son. I hope you shall not need either, but both have their ways of resolving situations. You know how to use a gun, so I will say no more.”
    “I shall not let you down, father,” John promised.
    “I know you won’t, son.”



    Later that day, and into the next John packed his belongings and stowed both the gold and the weapon in his handheld case, while his clothes and other possessions went into the larger suitcase. It took some time, but with the help of the maid he was finally ready. Ready for his great adventure into the unknown.




    (I am working on the figures from this site for my money, basing it on real 1820 figures. On that figure the real purchasing power is about 19,000 pounds today. So 25 pounds was a lot of money then!)
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    Downfall: A Byzantine Narrative AAR. See the fall of the mightiest empire the world has ever seen. On Hold 3rd Place OVERALL EU3 (Highest Narrative) AARland Choice Awards Q3 2012!
    The Grey Eminence: A British Narrative/History AAR. Witness the rise of Great Britain to world power! COMPLETE! WINNER EU - Narrative for AARland Choice AwAARds 2012 Q1!
    The Eternal Exile: Nation Hopping AAR with a mix of narrative and game-play. On Hold. | WINNER EU - Narrative for AARland Choice AwAARds 2011 Q1!

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  16. #76
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    just caught up again - I really like the way you meld the two time lines and the really plausible characters. Good to see the big blue blog collapsing so early
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  17. #77
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Money and a gun? Is John going to raise revolt in the Orkneys?
    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

  18. #78
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Hearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: Revolutions
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    Always nice to see a nation down on its luck given another kicking, France should trouble you no more. John seems well equipped for his trip to the Orkneys, perhaps a little over-equipped, but better safe than sorry I guess!
    This AAR Soks
    WritAAR of the Week: 8 January 2012 and Weekly AAR Showcase: 15 April 2012

    Are you Deshtined to suffer another kiss?
    Favourite EU Comedy AAR AARland Choice AwAARds 2010 (Q3) and 2011 (Q3)
    Character Writer of the Week: 5 December 2010


    My Inkwell - Warning! This content is rated EP: Extremely Poor
    Fan of the Week: 7 September 2010, 27 February 2011 and 26 April 2012

  19. #79
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Which common man earns 38.000 pounds (or the 1820-equivalent) a year? Especially in the time before there were Unions and big scale industrialisation.
    Finally found something to nitpick. Yes.

    Small but well set chapter. His father seems to be a man that has learned how to be prepared.

  20. #80
    General Range's Avatar
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    Nicely done...
    Previously Completed AARs:\
    Ireland Forever * Scotland, the Brave, the Strong and the Free * Riga - Range's Sabbatical (Yeah Sure) * Morocco - Casablanca * Poland * Range, Scotland's Highland Chieftain * Yemen - The Happy Arabia * Bavaria * Transylvania * Samurai * The Day of Reckoning * EU1 Portugal * Knights of St. John * Poland EU1

    CURRENT AARS: * Munster EU4 * England EU1 * Byzantine EU3 *

    Winner of King_Richard_XI's 3rd ever Irish Shamrock Cookie . Poll: Finalist in 2009 EUIII OscARRs: Best Completed ARR "Yemen - The Happy Arabia". Also, the Winner of the AARland Choice AwAARds 2010 for Favourite EU Narrative AAR "Poland" - Character Writer of the week ending 12/26/10

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