Avindian: Thanks! Im glad you like it!
Malurous: Thanks for the kind words, especially coming from such an esteemed AAR writer as you!
SgtPepper: I will do my best!
Ruwaard: Unfortunately enough, Brabant itself does not have these cores. So I will have to form the Netherlands first. After which I cant form Lotharingia anymore, very sad. We will make sure to keep Brabant's glory intact!
A meeting on the crossroads
The known world in 1359 AD
's-Hertogenbosch, Palace Gardens, 14-04-1359
Jeanne stared across the water. It had been almost a year. A year since the Duchy gained everything, a year since she lost everything. Orland Debruyne had pretty much governed the Duchy for the last year. She just couldn't keep her interest in ruling. She knew the army had been rebuilt, she knew they made more profit than before. It just all sounded a little insignificant. With her death her bloodline would be extinct.
She strolled along the side of the lake, like she had done almost every day. Today was a sunny day, she knew they'd let her be. Orland had often dragged her back inside if she just stood there for hours in the pouring rain. It was spring again, the world had slowly defrosted from a harsh winter. Little Guillaume, never would he see birds playing in the air or young ducks, taking their first swim, she thought.
So she did the only thing she could do, she walked on, vaguely noticing two guardsmen following in her trail.
The cruel Scotsmen were oppressing fellow Dutch countrymen
's-Hertogenbosch, Royal Palace, 10-05-1359
Debruyne, captain de Bruxelles and general Orland Jansen looked at a map of the Low Countries.
''We should throw the Scottish fools of the continent, they have no business here!'' General Jansen exclaimed.
General Jansen was hired shortly after the war with Utrecht to rebuild the armies. With the wealth gained from some things best not mentioned in Utrecht they could actually afford a general now. Orland Jansen wasn't the best general in the world, but he was quite capable when he wasn't drunk. He also was very nationalistic, sharing their dream of uniting the Low Countries.
''I disagree,'' said captain de Bruxelles ''We should try to claim lands from Burgundy, our Flemish brethren are more than willing to join our Duchy and kick these French back to where they belong!''
''Our army is 7000 men strong, Captain, you should know! How do you expect them to beat the Burgundians when they field 30.000 men and horses against us? '' the general responded.
Debruyne, afraid that this would end in one of their classic arguments again quickly interrupted. ''General Jansen is right, we cannot beat the Burgundians, but someone else can.'' he paused for a second to add a little drama.
''The English and the French are at war again, but word has reached our court that they will come to a settlement within the year. Our diplomats at the French court informed me that their next target might be a little closer to home.''
''That would be most fortunate, however we cannot sit here and wait for the French to distract Burgundy.'' Jansen stated.
''I agree with you, General, this is why I designed the following documents. This will give us a legitimate claim on Zeeland.'' Debruyne responded.
''Meeting adjourned for now, gentlemen, please bring the new reports on the army in next week''
Debruyne watched the general and his assistant leave. He quickly put the map back on a desk and navigated the palace hallways until he reached the gardens. He immediately saw the queen, sitting on a bench. She looked sad still. Orland knew there wasn't much he could do, which was exactly what made him feel so powerless.
Royal Marriages with France and Austria, providing useful information from their courts
The birth of Antoine
's-Hertogenbosch, Royal Palace, 25-11-59
Antoine was born a week ago, unlike his brother he was a healthy and strong baby. Jeanne just got a big smile on her face every time she thought of him. She wasn't exactly sure when she'd become pregnant. But it surely was a blessing from God himself. Her son had also given her back her spirit. She wasn't as innocent as four years ago anymore, a young queen who had just ascended her father's throne.
They had both agreed to raise their son first, at least the first year. Then they would strike.
The Prince-Bishopric of Liege gets annexed by Burgundy
Even though Liege came to Utrecht's aid in the last war, Brabant had no harsh feelings against the small state. The Burgundians quickly overran the princedom's defenses and the cities of Namur and Liege fell within a couple of months. There would be no pardon, Liege was no more.
Utrecht gets fully integrated into Brabant
The French Duchy of Brittany declared war on the Scots and occupied Holland
The exact reason for the war between Scotland and Brittany never became quite clear. All the court of Brabant knew that on a beautiful summer day one of their border patrols noticed hordes of Brittanian* troops attacking Scottish-Holland. What they did know was that it put a hold on their ambitions for a while. A year had passed since the birth of Antoine, but with a foreign nation already occupying their goal, declaring war was pointless.
Dutch rebels got routed by Brittany's armies and in their rage attacked the Leger van Brabant
France goes to war!
Brussel, near the Burgundian border, 04-03-1364
A huge cloud of dust was visible on the horizon. A small patrol of Brabandian* soldiers quickly rode to a nearby hill. The source of the dust became clear right away. More than ten thousand horsemen marched towards the border, behind them was a huge horde of infantry, army wagons and whatever else travels in the tail of an army. The troops however did not carry the flag of Burgundy. It was the royal banner from the king of France that proudly looked over the mighty host. The French army did not look hostile. However, as brave soldiers of Brabant were required to do the patrol quickly descended from the hill and blocked the only road the French army was travelling on. It took the French army another two hours to actually arrive at the brave blockade.
''Halt, this territory belongs to Brabant, please state your business!'' the patrol leader shouted.
''Qu'est-ce qu'il dit? Je ne comprends rien de cette langue folle. Je suis le Roi de France! Je demande le passage!'' Jean II of France spoke. It was the king of France himself who had come to lead the army.
Fortunately enough some of the soldiers were actually of Wallonian descent, making communication a little easier.
''Your Royal Highness, we beg your pardon but you're entering Dutch territory. We would like to know the purpose of your... trip.'' a soldier asked.
The king looked a little annoyed but answered nonetheless. ''My advisor already warned me for the annoying people living in these lands, keeping important men from important business. Go tell your queen we are merely passing through, taking a shorter route to the city of Anvers. We are going to kill some Burgundian swines!''
The commander took another glance at the French noble knights, all looking quite fearsome.
''It would be an honour, Your Majesty. Anvers is that way.'' he quickly replied, pointing to the hills behind him.
Jean II looked pleased with that information, ordering his generals to send a scout it immediately. As it turned out later the French army had actually been lost for quite a while. Marching in the opposite direction accidentally.
With that the patrol quickly mounted their horses and returned to Den Bosch with haste.
Burgundy's lands after getting trashed by the French
The French made short work of Burgundy, taking a great deal of territory from them. Queen Jeanne was obviously quite pleased with this news. However, even better news would come next month.
The conquest of Zeeland!
s-Hertogenbosch, Royal Palace, 09-05-1363
For three long years the war between Scotland and Brittany lasted. But now they were finally done. Scotland's forces were left in a bad state and the country itself was in turmoil. There was no better time to strike than now!
General Orland inspected the troops one last time and ordered the march for Zeeland. Frisian armies were already marching on Amsterdam and the Trierian and Colognian troops were amassing to guard the coastlines.
''We ride for battle! Forward march!'' he ordered the troops. A trumpet sounded and as one the army began to march. They would reach Middelburg within five days/
The remnants of the Scottish army get destroyed
As predicted the Scottish didn't prove to be much of a challenge. Their army got routed easily. The defenders of the city proved to be a little more stubborn though.
Scotland agrees with the Brabandian demands
Somewhere on a beach, Holland, 07-03-1364
''Sign here, please.'' Orland Debruyne ordered the Scottish diplomat.
The Scottish had no choice but to surrender Zeeland, peasant rebels in their home country were revolting en mass after four years of nonstop war.
The Scottish ambassador gave Debruyne an angry look. ''Dont think we'll forget,'' he muttered, more to himself than to Debruyne.
''Don't think we're done yet.'' Orland responded. Pointing his finger at Amsterdam for just a second.
The diplomat gave him another angry look and strode of to his ship.
''Let's go home, I haven't seen my wife and son for too long already.'' he ordered his personal guard.
Queen Jeanne's naval ambitions
The Duchy of Brabant, March 1364
* I really have no idea whether this actually refers to people from Brittany/Brabant.
Note: Some rather uneventfull years passed in this update, where I just sat and waited for Brittany to finally hurry the f up! They took their time, thats for sure!
Coming up next: Some adventures in Germany.