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Thread: InTveresting Times: An AfTver Action Report

  1. #121
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    Episode XIII: Tvebel Without A Cause

    Aleksandr rode to deal with the rebels, Dobczyński at his side, at the head of a rapidly-assembled force that would escort him to join what was left of the main Tverian army. Half were from his personal guard, half from that of Prince Konstantin. The two hundred men of Konstantin’s Guard had all been hand-picked by the Prince on the basis of their attractive partners and willingness to work long hours on sentry duty, especially nights. The arrangement worked well for all concerned, for all the Guards’ partners were regularly giving birth to very healthy, strangely regal-looking children – testament, Konstantin always told them, to the honest service that his men gave to him.

    Trouble soon reared its ugly head, however, as more rebels made their way across the border, Russian Patriots who were very patriotic about Russia, and were thus attacking Russians rather than Tartars.



    Dobczyński brought the latest report to Aleksandr’s tent.

    ‘The Metropolitan is expressing concerns about heresy, sir.’



    ‘Heresy where is this heresy I do not like heresy.’

    ‘It’s because we’re too open-minded, he says, sir. Too tolerant. Sunnis in Viatka, Catholics in Polotsk and Smoleńsk. Says we should take a harder line.’

    ‘Then take a harder line we will Dobczyński make sure it is done heretics pay less taxes .’

    ‘Less? They should pay more, not less!’

    ‘That would be logical Dobczyński but the fact is that they pay less the reason matters not merely the fact and we shall act upon that fact make a note of it.’

    ‘Yes, sir.’

    ‘Good Vladimirov you are hovering which means you wish to speak so speak.’

    ‘Thank you, sir. I was wondering about something...’

    ‘Wondering is dangerous stop wondering do not wonder or think merely express.’

    ‘Yes, sir...I’ve been thinking, well, men like me, sir. Bit of business expertise, bit of know how. Well, I’m not sure that our country really appreciates us. Wealth is still the preserve of the nobility, sir, but since Novgorod is now the second city of your glorious realm...’

    ‘You believe that we should promote the interests of merchants you are correct we must modernise our society attract investment and make more money this way the bourgeoisie are more profitable than the aristocracy by at least three percent.’

    Dobczyński looked concerned. ‘I’m no aristo, so, but you still need their support to raise troops and tithes.’

    ‘I am aware of this our society swill still very well serve the interests of the aristocracy we will merely make conditions for commerce more favourable you will make it happen Mr Vladimirov.’



    Having retaken Tver and Pskov, the Tverian army headed south to crush fresh rebellions in Polotsk and Smoleńsk. Their manoeuvres, though, were too slow.





    Both cities fell to nationalist uprisings, wasting valuable time and resources in their recapture. The rebel problem was dealt with, however, and Aleksandr had an idea.

    ‘Dobczyński we can improve productivity by encouraging people to go for a holiday.’

    The soldier blinked. ‘Holidays, sir?’

    ‘I said holidays that is what I meant specifically state-funded holidays allowing them to relax and travel they will either return to work more productive or set up new farms and businesses and create more opportunities it will also help us in defeating the Hordes as it will encourage people to settle in newly captured lands make it happen.’



    Shortly afterwards, though, the black day came. As bleak winter enveloped the land of Tver, the Tartars returned. The men of Tver readied their weapons once again to face the oncoming tide.

    The Hanseatic League sent subsidies, wishing to see the Hordes stopped before they could plunge into the heart of Latin Europe. War was devilish for trade, after all.



    The Tverians marched on Bryańsk, aiming to us the same tactics they had deployed in the capture of Polotsk and Smoleńsk. The city fell quickly into Tverian hands.



    The second phase was put into action, as the first wave of settlers – funded by the treasury – headed for a new life in Bryańsk.



    The Tartars, though, had other ideas. They again broke off their attacks on the Ottomans, deciding for some reason that the smaller, poorer nation posed a greater threat (or possibly they preferred easy fights to challenges). Whatever their reasons, they forced the Tveriasn to retreat from Bryańsk. One Horde army could have been beaten, but there were ten thousand more Tartars advancing ont he city when Dobczyński, reluctantly, gave the order to retreat.



    The city was swiftly retaken, the colony burned to the ground, and twenty-seven million ducats had been lost. Frustrating, since when the Horde had taken Tverian territory from Aleksandr’s grandfather, it had not cost their treasury a penny.

    The Tverian army retreated to the north. Unheroic, perhaps, but there was little to be done against the numberless Hordes. Better to preserve their troops and use them when opportunity presented itself.

    Further Tartars streamed over the eastern border, taking control over the region of Viatka.



    Receiving reports from his scouts, Dobczyński saw a potential weakness in the enemy plan. He moved south-west again, avoiding the Horde armies besieging the south and east of the country, and set up a new defensive position in Polotsk, looking for a chance to cross again into Horde territory.



    Aggression looked to be the only answer, as the Horde would accept nothing from the Tverians, seemingly only wishing bloodshed and destruction. They had no objectives, they were merely a legion of bloodthirsty, mindless savages.



    The Tverian army attacked an isolated Horde force in Mogilyov. Aleksandr wore his best battle dress, and donned a fabled artefact from the country’s history: his grandfather’s rainbow waistcoat. He had never wished to be in the same room as it, but this was a desperate hour for the principality. It further damaged his already weak eyesight, but its effect on the Tartars was shocking enough to allow his troops a genuine, solid battlefield victory over the heathen.



    The Horde force was surrounded, outflanked, and completely destroyed outside the Belorussian city of Mińsk.



    Aleksandr, emboldened by his first taste of real battle, laid siege to the city. It was huge risk, but the young king had grown reckless, feeling for the first time the thrill of combat. Their situation was bad, but if the Horde’s Khan was to make further mistakes – or the Ottomans were to keep hammering at their southern border – there might be further possibilities for the Tverians.



    His abandonment of caution, though, proved to be in error. The Hordes broke down the resistance of Rzhev, capturing the city.



    They were then free to turn their attention to Aleksandr’s army in Tver. At the Horde’s head was the man Aleksandr had hoped never to see: the dread Surenchar, still alive and still ablaze. Try as Dobczyński might to rally the man, none could stand before the advance of this unholy terror, and the army of Tver was forced to retreat once more.



    One by one, the cities of Tver came under siege, Tartars battering at the gates. If not Tartars, it was further misguided ‘Patriotic’ uprisings, men maddened by fighting the Horde so much that they believed they were still fighting them, when in fact they were laying siege to the cities of the one free Russian nation. Outnumbered, besieged, and with the old enemy closing in on what was left of his army, Aleksandr III’s situation looked grim.
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  2. #122
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    grim indeed ... I must try a russian minor in DW game soon -- it seems just thing for crazed masochists
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  3. #123
    The pen may be mightier than the sword, but apparently it is no match for a flaming mustache.

  4. #124
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    Hugely vexing thus far, I really thought you'd made some good progress in the last few wars but it seems it is still not quite enough. Have the Ottomans been having any luck against the Horde? Really, I can only suggest perhaps bringing some buckets of water with you next time you fight Surenchar!
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  5. #125
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    A good land gain, only to have rebels and tartars come to fight and ruin it! I hope Aleksandr is able to regroup and fight off the oppressive idiocy of the two eternal enemies of glorious Tver!

  6. #126
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    @ All : Next part will be up today, probably in the next few hours: I played this update and the last two in one long session last week, hence the rapidity of updates. I'm afraid I won't always be this productive

    @ loki100 : I think it would be right up your street, darling. Certainly last night you were very...oh, that kind of masochist? Uh, aye. Carry on.

    @ Extreme Unction : The pen is mightier than the sword, though only at close quarters. The flaming moustache, sadly, is in a different league

    @ morningSIDEr : I can't see what the Ottos are up to very easily. They're fighting a few wars simultaneously, though, so even though they're at war with the Horde, they seem to have called some kind of unofficial truce so that they can fight various crusaders (Ottomans) and me (Horde). Blatant religious bigotry. Make no mistake, if Tver still exists by the end of the sixteenth century, Sarai will burn. If I ever become President/King/Guardian of Scotland, God help the people who live there...

    @ GoldenKhan The two problems are connected: 90% of my bloody rebels start off in Horde territory, then cross over once the Horde have beaten them up
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  7. #127
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    Episode XIV: It Is A Far BeTver Thing That I Do...

    Here is a box. A musical box. Wound up and ready to play.



    But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?






    It’s Bronisław Dobczyński. Hello Bronisław.



    How are you today?



    (Oh dear. Not very happy.) Is it the Golden Horde? Are they still causing trouble for no reason?




    Sir?




    ‘Sir?’

    Aleksandr Rurikovich jerked awake.

    ‘Are you all right, sir? I was reading these reports and you sort of...dozed off.’

    ‘I am fine Dobczyński all is well or rather all is well with myself in this particular place even though the more general military situation is rather more grim continue your report.’

    The king was tired, more tired than he’d ever been. His forces had been forced to reatreat before the might of the Horde, defeated before the very gates of Tver herself. It was a bleak, demoralising day for all Tverians.



    ‘Very well, sir. I’m afraid the garrison of Smoleńsk has fallen, and the city is back in the Horde’s hands.’



    ‘The Horde no longer controls Viatka, however.’

    ‘I did not think that we had troops there.’

    ‘We don’t, sir.’



    ‘This Qasim Khanate would be a huge country if it ever formed.’

    ‘It certainly would, sir.’ He looked at the Prince of Tver. ‘Sir? Are your eyes all right?’

    Aleksandr had been rubbing at his eyes almost constantly since he had awoken. ‘No they are not all right Dobczyński it is the wearing of that infernal waistcoat the reflection hurts my eyes even more.’

    ‘Sorry to hear that, sir. You might try going to the field without it...’

    ‘I am no soldier Dobczyński and when I am on the field of battle I must give our men every advantage that I can and without Shock we are lost so I must shock even at my own expense.’

    ‘Very well, sir.’ The veteran soldier turned to take a fresh report from one of his lieutenants. ‘Kurka wodna...

    ‘What is it?’

    ‘More bad news I’m afraid sir.’

    ‘I am aware that it must be bad news Dobczyński it is the only time you lapse into that uncouth tongue what is it.’

    ‘Qasim Khanate rebels have taken Ustyug, sir.’



    ‘This is getting ridiculous we shall march there immediately Horde or no HordeI will not tolerate these brigands interfering in our nation’s plans summon the army we head for Ustyug.’

    The Tverians marched north to engage the rebel troops, but during the march further black enws came to them.



    Bar the capital herself, the whole of the Tverian heartland was under occupation. If this lasted, Tver would lose ground to the Tartars permanently, as they had lost the city of Vladimir so long ago under Aleksandr’s grandfather Mikhael II.

    Eventually, though, some respite came: finally tired of fighting on three fronts, the Horde’s Khan decided to make peace with his Christian opponents. Glutted with conquest, the whole of the Baltic under his heel, he sent offers of peace first to the King of Denmark, whom he had driven out of the Prussian lands around Warmia, and then to Aleksandr. Eastern and east-central Europe was a mess, and Lithuania, formerly the largest country in Europe, had been completely annihilated.

    Tver, however, would live to fight another day. Aleksandr grudgingly accepted the offer of peace.



    Aleksandr rode for home along with his armies, only to find that Qasim Khanate nationalists had committed the ultimate insult, and overrun the capital.



    While normally he would show restrain with fellow Russians, Aleksandr, grown weary and short-tempered by the frustrations of fighting the Tartar, showed them no mercy,a nd the city was swiftly recaptured.

    His newly-found militarism did have its advantages: having seen several years of frontline combat, he was able to make several suggestions as to how the country’s military could be improved. His plans were immediately put into action.



    The territories of Viatka and Ustyug were not yet fully integral parts of the Principality, overseen by a regional governor, Prince Aleksandr (the king’s second, more militaristic son: Crown Prince Konstantin was more interested in the finer arts of diplomacy, constantly testing his skills with the wives of important nobles and merchants). This autonomy, though, had its advantages: Prince Aleksandr was able to oversee the recruitment of steppe cavalry into the main army of Tver, adding diversity and mobility to the principality’s armed forces. In many ways, these light horse would be far more effective against the horde than the heavy cavalry that Tver was still employing: if they could be recruited in large enough numbers, they could prove a potent weapon against the Horde.



    Aleksandr sat in his study, poring over the country’s finances. He now understood the need for a strong military, but it cost a lot of money, especially the new regiments he had recruited in the effort to diversify his armies.

    ‘You look troubled, sir.’ Dobczyński had entered and walked over the sovereign. As ever, papers were piled high on his desk. The soldier had returned from sword exercise with the king’s younger son, Prince Aleksandr – who could hardly be more different from his father – and placed his curved sabre on the king’s desk.

    ‘I am troubled Dobczyński I need to find savings and efficiency drives.’

    ‘Are we not richer than ever before, sir?’

    ‘We have more income this is true but our armies are larger than ever and still we cannot defeat the Horde.’

    ‘It’s frustrating, sir. But we can take small victories when our chances come. One day, we will drive them out of Russia altogether.’

    ‘I hope so Dobczyński but I doubt that I will see that day.’

    ‘Neither will I, young sir. It will take time. Maybe Seamus will see it. My son, that is.’

    ‘I know who he is why did you need to clarify.’

    ‘I felt it appropriate, sir.’

    ‘I have never understood you Dobczyński I think you had more in common with my father.’

    ‘He was a soldier, sir. But we need administrators as well.’

    ‘Do we really need them Dobczyński I don’t know any more I fear that our country’s story will be a violent one for a long time yet.’

    ‘It’s the way of the Horde, sir.’

    ‘And we must divert all resources towards our military we must find savings in other areas I will sell some of our carriages we do not use them.’

    ‘As you wish, sir.’

    ‘And halve the number of servant we do not need all of them these are austere times for austerity.’

    ‘Yes, sir.’

    ‘And tell my barber that his services are no longer needed I will shave myself.’

    ‘Are you sure that’s a good idea, sir?’

    ‘You think I cannot do it.’

    ‘No, sir, I just think that a trained professional...’

    ‘Shaving is not difficult Dobczyński I believe that you do it yourself.’

    ‘No, sir, but I’ve had years of practice.’

    ‘Then I shall practice.’

    ‘But, sir...your eyesight, sir, is it...’

    ‘You think that my eyesight prevents me from performing basic tasks I am no cripple Dobczyński I am the King of Tver!’

    ‘That you are, sir!’

    ‘I will show you I will show all of you!’

    ‘Calm down, sir!’ Dobczyński had never seen the king so angry. ‘Don’t lose your head!’

    ‘I will not calm down you hectoring old woman I am the king and I will do what I want I am more than capable of shaving myself!’ He reached for his shaving razor, kept at the end of his desk, grabbing the handle, his eyes still locked with those of Dobczyński.

    ‘Sir, you...’

    ‘Be silent, Dobczyński!’ He shook his head, teeth gritted, as he stared at his retainer. ‘You really do underestimate me I have had enough of your patronising.’ He grinned sarcastically.

    ‘What can possibly go wrong?’

    Aleksandr III Rurikovich was correct: he was grossly underestimated. A thinker rather than a man of action, he always favoured the head over the body, and was a master of separating the two at important times. His people never saw how great an example he would set to humanity, a message that is as important today as it was in his time.

    When reaching for one’s shaving razor, make sure that one has not picked up a cavalry sabre.



    Last edited by Fyregecko; 25-01-2012 at 22:19.
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  8. #128
    Mugged in a dark alley by the Horde!

    I wonder if Konstantin's improved diplomacy might actually get you a decent tribute deal with the Horde.

  9. #129
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    a nasty end ... esp if he got blood poisoning from the shaving foam .. & just what you need is a skilled diplomat (though maybe that might convince the horde to let you off earlier next time?)
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  10. #130
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    Your POLISH advisor's son has an IRISH name??? That is weird...
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  11. #131
    Aw-haw-haw. (It is difficult to type in a stereotypical French accent) That is one snazzy new king.

    The horde is as frustrating as always, but your updates are still really great. I, for one, can't wait to see the horde shatter into smaller, more violent hordes : )

  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    & just what you need is a skilled diplomat (though maybe that might convince the horde to let you off earlier next time?)
    Very true and Konstantin is undoubtedly a skilled diplomat but I get the feeling he may use his considerable charms to impress ladies of the Horde's court, which may just make the ruler of the Horde ever so slightly angry!

    The illustrations must take you an age to create but they look great, I especially liked the Camberwick Green section at the start of this update. Thus poor Aleksandr has passed away after an very eventful and reasonably successful reign. A pity that he could survive the Horde but not personal grooming! It is then the charming Konstantin who now takes the throne. Husbands of Tver had best watch out.
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  13. #133
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    Poor Aleksandr, I do believe that the Horde has driven him mad. Let us pray that Konstantin can produce some sons that are capable generals. With as great an amount of chest hair as he has.

    LONG LIVE PRINCE KONSTANTIN!!!

    EDIT: It seems to me that something is highly suspicious. Two out of the three princes we've had have died in the presence of a Pole. Could it be that there is a conspiracy in our midsts to control the outcome of Tver?
    Last edited by GoldenKahn; 26-01-2012 at 04:27.

  14. #134
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    Well, I'm sure that if Konstantin can somehow put off destruction for another 8-12 years he'll have a whole army of noble sons uhhhhh.....nobles' sons...to take on the Horde for him.

    Yeah, things seem tough. I'd advise you to use attrition more but the rebels a re preventing your mobility.
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  15. #135
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    @ All: The next sequence is played, give me a day or two to write it up

    @ Extreme Unction: I'd been wondering what affected the amounts paid in Tribute. It doesn't seem to have gone down since Konstantin took over, although his DIP is only one more than Aleksandr's.

    @ loki100: Nothing so slow and lingering, thankfully. It was a quick death, if messy.

    @ Vrael_1492: That would be strange. A Polish advisor with a Scottish wife giving his son a Gaelic name, though, is not weird at all

    @ Omen: You have Konstantin down to a T!

    @ morningSIDEr: Thanks, some of the doodles take a while - it's surprisingly hard to keep the characters looking the same from drawing to drawing - but glad the effort is appreciated I'd love to try and do a whole AAR or comic in the same way but 1) It would take forever and 2) I'd need to break them up into more parts.

    And yes, Konstantin does have a talent for annoying people he should really be trying to keep on his side. His womanising will be the death of him. Probably.

    @ GoldenKhan: It is rather suspicious. I don't think much suspicion is placed on any of the Dobczyńskis, though: they're too demoralised by having to work for Rurikovich & Co to get any serious plotting in.

    @ RGB: His personal guard aren't called Konstantin's Own for nothing! They're literally a bunch of bastards.
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  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyregecko View Post
    @ Vrael_1492: That would be strange. A Polish advisor with a Scottish wife giving his son a Gaelic name, though, is not weird at all
    Having a Scottish wife explains a lot! I don't seem to have seen that though...
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  17. #137
    Captain Fyregecko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrael_1492 View Post
    Having a Scottish wife explains a lot! I don't seem to have seen that though...
    I haven't got around to talking about that yet. Seamus is the new Dobczyński (Bronisław is getting on a bit), so people will get to know him in coming updates, fear not I didn't want to dwell on him in that update, just introduce him by name
    I can make a lord, but only God can make a gentleman - King James VI of Scotland, England and Ireland

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  18. #138
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    Episode XV: I’m A FirestarTver, Twisted FirestarTver

    It was only with the development of the revolver that ‘The Aleksandr’ – slicing one’s own head off with a sabre – was replaced as the most common method of suicide in Russia. As with most traditions, the name was rather deceptive, as Aleksandr III Rurikovich had merely been attempting to shave himself, and his demise was an unfortunate accident. However, it ensured that this most capable of kings was remembered for something other than his innovative banking and infrastructure reforms, neither of which stir the passions in quite the same way. He was a man of many parts (and, after his accident, a man of many separate parts).

    The new Prince of Tver, Konstantin II (Rurikovich), was taller than his father, with long hair and a neat moustache. As a king, he had little time for the internal business of state: his father’s boundless enthusiasm for numbers had caused him to develop an allergy to numeracy. His preferred focus was the international: diplomacy and politicking were his preferred spheres of operation. And it was a well-known fact that the wives of ambassadors were almost always more attractive than those of businessmen.

    At his side was a powerfully-built young man in black jacket, kilt and hose, wearing a red and white sash and belt. This was Seamus Arkadiusz Dobczyński, son of Bronisław Dobczyński and Katarzyna Dobczyńska (formerly Catherine McGovern, widow of a Scottish merchant who had worked in Novgorod after its acquisition by Tver). His father had resigned from service to the royal family of Tver after the demise of Aleksandr III, publicly citing a wish to retire to the country (privately glad to be rid of the machinations of the House of Rurikovich). Those pleasures were now to be the domain of his son, inheriting the family position of chief military advisor, senior bodyguard and administrative overseer. The second of these positions had become the most complicated since Konstantin’s younger brother, Crown Prince Aleksandr, was planning to kill him. Everyone knew and understood this, except Konstantin. He had lived his early life between Tver and Poland, but travelled to his mother’s homeland to study at St Andrews University, and never been quite the same since.

    The king, Dobczyński, and his financial ‘expert’, Roman Vladimirov, sat down to discuss the business of state.

    ‘So, Dobczyński, what is happening? And keep it brief, the Swedish ambassador’s wife is arriving at seven. With the Swedish ambassador.’

    ‘We wullnae keep you longer than we need tae, sir.’ Dobczyński leafed through the papers in front of him. ‘The Prime Minister isnae happy with yer new appointments tae the government. He thinks they’ll destabilise it.’

    ‘Of course they will. Why would I want a stable government? If they’re unstable they can’t stop me doing things! Go and get him outrageously drunk, then he can try stability.’



    ‘Next?’

    ‘Catholic Zealots, sir, rising up in Polotsk and Smoleńsk. It’s aw Lithuania’s fault for converting them.’

    ‘That it is...but very well, we can’t have this heresy spreading. Send the army to deal with them. We’ll have to start a missionary project when we can afford it.’



    ‘What else?’

    ‘The people are unhappy, sir. They’re worried about the amount we’re spending on the production of weapons.’

    ‘We need weapons to defend the country.’

    ‘Aye, sir. But every ducat spent on weapon research isnae being spent on mind-blowingly strong alcohol.’



    ‘Clearly an important matter! Reduce spending on production research.’

    ‘Sir. Good news, though: we’ve fully integrated the regions of Olonets, Kholm and Beloozero into our administration.’



    ‘Meaning?’

    ‘More shiny gold cash money, sir.’

    ‘Which can be spent on colourful clothing and more colourful women?’

    ‘If you so wish, sir.’

    ‘Better that than Production Research! I favour a different kind of production...’

    ‘In other good news, sir – the Golden Horde has a serious rebel problem.’



    ‘Oh. Well, that’s good.’

    ‘Aye. Though we should double the border guard – they’ve got a nasty habit of crossing over into our territory.’

    ‘Can’t have filthy immigrants coming in here, Dobczyński. That would never do.’

    ‘No, sir.’

    ‘Although well-groomed, unrestrained, suitably buxom immigrants...’

    ‘We’ll filter them, sir. Next, a delicate matter.’

    ‘Sounds nice. What’s her name?’

    ‘It’s your brother, sir. He’s been telling our enemies about your activities.’

    ‘Oh, has he? Well, I know he has my best interests at heart.’

    ‘He wants you dead, sir. He wants them to try and assassinate you.’

    ‘Never. He is giving them the option of sending me presents.’

    ‘Poison, gunpowder and knives for instance?’

    ‘Oh, I’d rather he didn’t...I have plenty of knives, and poison is bad for the complexion. Incidentally, you should eat more protein, Dobczyński. Put some hair on your chest.’

    ‘Sir, your brother is a traitor. I suggest you call for the Lord High Gizzard Slitter and be done with it.’

    ‘Execute him? Never! Oh, what he’s done is unusual, but we all have our strange habits! I love my brother and know that he loves me too. Leave him alone, dear boy!’



    Dobczyński sighed. ‘Very well. To the south-east, the Horde are pushing back the Ottomans.’



    ‘Serves them right. They conquered Constantinople.’

    ‘It’s Istanbul, not Constantinople.’

    ‘But was Istanbul not Constantinople?’

    ‘What’s now Istanbul was Constantinople but now it’s Istanbul.’

    ‘And all the girls in Constantinople?’

    ‘Live in Istanbul, not Constantinople.’

    ‘So if I had a date in Constantinople?’

    ‘She’d be waiting in Istanbul.’

    ‘Ah. And the guitar?’

    ‘Just felt appropriate, sir. Other than that, there’s not much else...’

    Dobczyński’s closing comments were cut off by a sharp cry from Valdimirov. The banker fell out of his seat, jumped up, and ran to the window, gaping.’

    The king was annoyed. ‘Calm down, man! What is it?’

    Vadmirov’s eyes were glazed as he pointed at the sky.

    ‘COMET SIGHTED!’

    Dobczyński shrugged. ‘And? It’s a comet. As you said.’

    Vlaimirov’s eyes were wide. ‘But...you must react, sire!’

    ‘Why?’

    ‘You must! It is what rulers do when comets appear, they react, causing instability and turmoil.’

    ‘Then I won’t react. No instability, no turmoil. Correct, Dobczyński?’

    ‘Correct, sir.’

    ‘All these peasants, pointing and gaping at the sky...’

    ‘Better not Ignore the Peasant Rabble, though, sir. That too would cause instability.’

    ‘Very true. I will be aware but aloof. The girls like a bit of mystery anyway...’ He glanced out of the window. He noted an elderly gentleman – possibly one of the grounds staff – looking at the sky (and was careful not to admonish him for so doing – such would, also, cause instability). by the way, who’s that standing on the lawn?’

    ‘Don’t know him, sir.’ Dobczyński shrugged. It’s an old ma...n....’

    He realised what he had said. But it was too late. All within the palace – nay, the country - were seized by the infectious power of rave. Loss of stability was inevitable.



    When the effects wore off, thankfully, nothing too strange had happened, the worst being Poland receiving a Declaration of War from a country that they didn’t know existed.



    Trouble, though, was soon to rear its ugly head. Five years had passed since the last time Tver had gone to war with the Horde. Konstantin had used the last few years well enough – or rather, his advisors had while he made sure that their partners were well-looked after – and Tver was now a better-organised, richer state than it had been. The army was strong, confident, and of a good size. The Horde were still fighting rebels and the Ottomans, and Konstantin had decided that it was time to roll the dice of fate once more. The Horde would have accepted an extension of the truce, but this would have lost Tver Prestige: and what more powerful aphrodisiac was there than Prestige? It was time, as his grandfather would have proudly declared, for war.



    Eager to be seen as leading the fight against the enemies of Christendom, the merchants of the Hanseatic League agreed once more to sponsor Tver’s efforts. A small patch on the right sleeve of Tverian uniforms would bear the Hanseatic symbol for the duration of the conflict (pride of place being taken by the logo of Vladimirov’s bank).



    Dobczyński was concerned by mutterings amongst the nobility, however. Many of them were unhappy at Konstantin’s willingness to attack the Horde when an extended peace had been available. Lady Anastasja Kavelnikova had been heard to use the word ‘tyrant’ in connection with the prince of Tver.

    Hearing the news, Konstatin had grinned.

    ‘Where is her problem? The ladies love a bad boy...’



    Eager to further prove his badness, he declared that he would lead the armies of Tver into battle personally. Tales of his mighty heroism would sweep the country. They were 95% accurate, since the name ‘Seamus Dobczyński’ constituted only 5% of the reports, and its replacement with ‘The Glorious Prince of Tver, Konstantin II Rurikovich, mounted upon his fiery stallion’ was the only change to them deemed necessary. In any case, Dobczyński proved himself an able commander, and Konstantin took the credit for it. It was, the king declared magnanimously, a symbiotic relationship.

    In any case, the combination of Konstantin’s proud, haughty prancing about the front lines on his shining white charger, eyebrow permanently cocked and clad in bright purple and maroon, with Dobczyński’s genuine fighting abilities, made the army of Tver a dangerous opponent.



    Instead of moving south, as his father had in his last campaign, Konstantin followed Dobczyński’s advice and moved his forces east, into Yaroslavl. If they were able to take this city – itself richer than many others in the region – it would create a corridor from the Tverian heartland to their holdings further east. Journey time from Tver to Viatka was around three months, and the capture of Yaroslavl would make it a lot quicker.



    Good fortune, it seemed, rode her winged steed alongside the armies of Tver. A wealthy merchant, Boris Tartokovsky, had been having difficulties with his wife: specifically, he was unable to satisfy her rather considerable physical needs. Prince Konstantin, upon hearing of the merchants troubles (and the considerable charms of his partner) had taken a personal interest in relieving the burden upon this poor, embattled man. Grateful for his sovereign’s assistance, and his liberation from his wife’s demands, Tartokovsky made a considerable donation to the royal treasury.



    The Tverian army laid siege to Yaroslavl, untroubled by the Horde’s armies, who were busy fighting the Ottomans in the Middle East and Lithuanian rebels in the Baltic. The Horde defenders’ resistance weakened, and the Tverians began a final assault, raising ladders and sending troops up the walls. As they reached the top, however, the attackers were surprised: they were not facing Horde troops at all. The Tartar guards had been overcome. Indeed, the white standards of the Horde had been torn down,a nd replaced with another, rather more colourful, and rather familiar...



    Surprised, but happy at not having to finish their dangerous assault, the Tverian soldiers reported to Dobczyński, who in turn took the news to the king: the ground they stood on was no longer that of the Horde, but that of Qasim Khanate.

    Konstatin smiled. ‘Well, then! They have thrown off the shackles of oppression, they breathe again the sweet air of freedom! Let us celebrate with them.’ He handed a parcel to Dobczyński. ‘take this gift to the new Lord of Yaroslavl.’

    Dobczyński rode to the city wall, climbed the ladder, and handed the parcel personally to the smiling mayor. The old man opened the parcel, and extracted the contents. One was a bottle of fine spirits from the prince of Tver’s private reserve. Two were fine crystal drinking glasses.

    One was a piece of paper.



    Grumbling, the Tverian soldiers charged up the ladders again, over the walls, and swiftly occupied the city. The same tactics were employed simultaneously in Vologda, thousand of armed soldiers pouring into the newly liberated city with apologetic looks.



    Qasim Khanate is, to the this day, the shortest continually-existing state in history, having controlled the regions of Yaroslavl and Vologda for thirty-three days. Its people would embrace a new and glorious future – as part of the Principality of Tver.



    The war raged on elsewhere, as the armies of Tver moved to confront those of the Golden Horde once again – but great progress had been made, albeit not in the way Konstantin had expected. Two more provinces, a tidier map, and most important of all –

    Tver’s letters were now bigger than those of the Horde. This, not Vladimirov’s comet, was surely the Omen.

    Last edited by Fyregecko; 30-01-2012 at 12:53.
    I can make a lord, but only God can make a gentleman - King James VI of Scotland, England and Ireland

    The Eagle's Bastards, a Silesian AAR (CKII)

    InTveresting Times, a Tverian AAR (EUIII) Violence! Bad accents! Nudity! What more could you possibly want? [Complete ]
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  19. #139
    Cartographers rejoice!

  20. #140
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyregecko View Post
    The new Prince of Tver, Konstantin II (Rurikovich), was taller than his father...
    ...particularly after the shaving incident.

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