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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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TheAnguishedOne

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Just as you rightfully regain the Principality (with the help of some Lovecraftian monsters by the sound of it), the Pope decides it's time to meddle again... honestly, I'm just waiting for one of the Visconti to convert and declare war against the Papacy.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Return to Rome - never a good sign. Return to Aswan - a good sign.

Each time that even greater ball concerns someone with a beard, I don't want to imagine it :rolleyes:.

All roads lead to Rome, eventually, we would get there one way or another.. ;)

Hopefully the extension of the beard was pulled and not the real one... :p

The perfidious papacy looms again!

Good job on Aswan.

The papacy hinders and helps, keeping the balance ;)

As of Aswan, it was an opportunity that could not be missed!

Just as you rightfully regain the Principality (with the help of some Lovecraftian monsters by the sound of it), the Pope decides it's time to meddle again... honestly, I'm just waiting for one of the Visconti to convert and declare war against the Papacy.

As of the monsters...it could have been only Davide's imagination... he was a mad 70 year old man too ;)

About converting, it could be a plausible scenario in the future, depends if we land on a cynical character and the moral authority is low enough..for the moment though the Holy Orders are quite useful at bashing the Shia Caliphate :)
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc II
Chapter 2
Part 3:
Pope Nicolaus IV summons Sinibaldo II to Rome and launches the 5th Crusade for Jerusalem/ The Conquest of Debul from the Baluchistan Maharaja – The Battle of the Indus River/ The deeds of Sinibaldo II’s offspring – Gianfranco and Sinibaldo III the Chaste


“He is hunting me…the Holy Father is after me I am certain…”


The man repeatedly mumbled his words and rocked back and forth. Like a pendulum, his swinging was beginning to become annoying and nauseating.


With a swift motion, Grand Prince Sinibaldo II let the scroll fall to the ground and grasped the man by his shoulders


“My son, be reasonable! The Holy Father is not after you! He knows you have left the Order not because of your will but because I wrote to him to do so…and now…”




Sinibaldo III later known as the Chaste, was a man passionate about religion to such point that he wished to join a Holy Order even though he was married. With the death of his wife, he fell into depression which slowly turned into an obsession towards prayer and ways of salvation. Sinibaldo II took pity upon him and allowed him to join an Order of his choice, when he asked to do so again, but not for long: he was expelled for dubious reasons and found his way yet again back to the court of the Grand Prince, his father.


“Perhaps His Holiness found out my implication in the Riots in Pisa? Those impious della Gherardesca scum got what they deserved…”




The Grand Prince shook his head. He sighed to himself, how his good son with such a resourceful mind laid it to waste with his intense suspicions and overreactions…


“No, my son. I am certain that you have managed to erase all traces leading to yourself and whatever may be, the Pope is not interested in some petty dispute here in our city…”


Sinibaldo II continued


“…he has summoned me, and my person alone to present myself in Rome. So, you should stay here and see that no further trouble is caused and more importantly, lay low for some days…”


He knew that his words would go in vain. But Sinibaldo II felt that he should have said them anyhow, for if his son came in secret, perhaps he could intervene or do something spectacular like in the days of Doge Gerardo Visconti the Bearer of Stigmata.


His stomach twitched and churned. Again, he would have to face the trial of fighting his inherent reservation and especially among a difficult crowd, the College of Cardinals. Inside him though, he believed that his dedication to the faith and his conquests would only add to his actions and whatever slights there may be, they would be overlooked…


8 July 1281

Rome, Papal State


“Grand Prince Sinibaldo II Visconti of Pisa, Doge of Alexandria and Aswan and holder of many titles!”


The herald announced the arrival of the Grand Prince before His Holiness Pope Nicolaus IV and his College of Cardinals.


Already he would feel his knees weaken as he approached solemnly at the throne of the Pope, eyes fixated upon his every move. Yet again, another Visconti would have an audience with the Pope, with the motives and presumptions of the Papacy being unclear…


“Before Us stands a proclaimed valiant fighter of Christ: a man who has reclaimed his ancestral lands and struck a blow at the infidel Caliph…yet they say…you emulate a pagan king, Alexander of Macedon? And is your bloodline truly stemming from Grand Prince Sinibaldo, he who lost Jerusalem and is alleged to…”


There was mumbling and voices in the College. How did these men of God always find a flaw in whatever they set their eyes on?


The Grand Prince did not reply and looked at the floor. He would rather have his deeds speak than rumors and hearsay


“The College must be certain before a final decision has been taken…”


Decision?


“Grand Prince Sinibaldo II Visconti, the reason of your presence being summoned is one and only…”


Silence fell in the room


“By absolute majority of the College of Cardinals, His Holiness the Pope and the College as a body have examined your life thus far and have deemed you…worthy… of being declared a living Apostle on our Earth.”


An Apostle?


“Your achievement to bring Aswan back to our holy jurisdiction and the conversion of the heathens of Muscat is most admirable…”


“Better still is your lifelong commitment to spreading the holy word to places even further than we could so far reach. Grand Prince Sinibaldo II, Apostle of the Indies, with the might of Pisa, go and preach the holy word where Apostle Thomas once brought the message of the Lord to the unbelievers!”


The Pope made the sign of the cross and the Grand Prince bowed. He was known as Grand Prince Sinibaldo II the Apostle henceforth.


Not only was he rewarded with this grand title but also his chancellor Abelino Visconti, your grandfather, was given by the Papal State the Papal Decree of the Indies- our birthright to the lucrative ports of India which the Silk Road passed through




Meanwhile Pope Nicolaus IV declared in religious fervor the 5th Crusade for Jerusalem, hearing the cries of the oppressed Catholics in the Holy Land. With the weakened state of the Caliphate, there was much hope in the Christian world that Jerusalem would once more become Christian and the blight of its loss would be erased.




Grand Prince Sinibaldo II the Apostle did not pursue this Crusade: rather he set his eyes upon the conquest of the Indies and namely Debul, the crown jewel of the Maharaja of Baluchistan- a glorified pirate lord. With the aid of the monsoons and the supply ports of Aswan, Aden and Muscat, an army of thirteen thousand troops landed on the port city and immediately began the siege.




Only two years after the declaration of the 5
th Crusade and the Pisan Conquest of Debul that Pope Nicolaus IV closed his eyes forever and rested, knowing he began a great work for the Catholic Creed.

He was succeeded by one of the most popular – if a bit lacking in skill- warrior clerics of the Holy Order of Santiago- Pope Marinus IV Visconti ‘the Quarreler’. The College of Cardinals elected in their decision, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, a man versed in war as to carry out with victory the Crusade.




On the edge of the world, in Lesser India, Grand Prince Sinibaldo II the Apostle had successfully captured the stronghold of Debul : yet the Maharaja assembled his forces and his allies with the aim to oust the Occitan invader.


At Ranikot, a battle of epic proportions took place, a parallel of which can only be traced to the battle of the Hydaspes River between Alexander the Great and Porus. The victory was outstanding for the Pisans and the Indian armies fled for their lives. The Grand Prince even composed a hymn to celebrate his success.


Yet the Grand Prince had become old and weary and although he ached to put his mark on the footsteps of Alexander the Great and cross where he did not go, his age caught up with him and at seventy one years of his life, the Grand Prince slept, content that he at least managed to see the places where the ancient great man once stopped his campaign.



As were the laws of the Principality, the people and the Great Houses of Pisa elected Gregorio II d’Appiano as the new Grand Prince of Pisa. He had earned his reputation as High Judge of the Principality as a man abiding to austere justice: ambitious and wrothful, he executed the sentences of the crimes to the extreme and recognized no appeals to leniency. With him as Grand Prince, it was no wonder that he immediately called off the attack on the Maharaja of Baluchistan, deeming it was a private affair between the Visconti and the Maharaja and not a war in the interest of Pisa.




This though did not deter Doge Gianfraco Visconti, whom you might remember as a man of ambition as well as a renowned fortune builder. Despite his numerical disadvantage, he immediately declared war for Debul, under the vestiges of the Papal Decree of the Indies. He believed the Visconti finances would help him win the war swiftly by the use of mercenaries and hired swords, as was the case with Muscat. Alas, he was deeply misled and the Visconti had to pay an enormous sum to the Maharaja, to alleviate the costs both of the war of his father and his own.




It would seem though that luck had not abandoned the Visconti just yet: for news arrived at the Visconti tradeports that to the near south of the Maharaja of Baluchistan there was a child Maharaja who commanded the Thikana of Navasarika, another prominent port of the Silk Road Trade Route. Far less powerful than Baluchistan and his allies, Doge Gianfranco renewed (with a considerable fee) the Papal Decree and with a hasty alliance with the Ethiopian King, he set sail for the conquest of the Indian port.


Alas, fate was not again on his side, and due to his stutter, his horse did not obey and was fatally maimed in the field of battle. It was an inglorious death, money and opportunity thrown for naught. With this demise, the new Doge of Alexandria was Sinibaldo III known as the Chaste, with his sottocapo being Abelino Visconti, your grandfather and an esteemed chancellor.




What can we write about Doge Sinibaldo III, famous as he is? As you know, he later became Grand Prince himself, after a string of incompetent Grand Princes, two of them being della Gherardesca! It is their evil meddling that have discredited quite many of his accomplishments, which we shall set straight as much as we can.



But first, let us though begin from the start, the day Gianfranco’s death became known to the court of Alexandria…
 

TheAnguishedOne

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At least we won't be waiting long for the Principality to return to its rightful owner. I'm excited to see how the paranoid Sinibaldo III rises to the challenge and leads his family to glory.
 

alscon

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Gianfranco might enter history as 'the Luckless', or 'the Overambitious'. Perhaps a good predecessor for Sinibaldo.
 

fabiolundiense

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What an amazing saga ! Doge of Alexandria, after having guided Pisa to fame and fortune... and now reaching for the Indus. Wow !!
 

Crimson Drakon

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At least we won't be waiting long for the Principality to return to its rightful owner. I'm excited to see how the paranoid Sinibaldo III rises to the challenge and leads his family to glory.

All Great Houses have a right to lead the Principality...some more than others ;)

It took me some time to write the chapter as to present the deeds of Sinibaldo III in an entire go..hopefully it wont be tiresome :)

The thing about being paranoid and powerful in a merchant republic: sooner or later your worst imaginings will be correct.

True enough, I am kind of concerned that all Great Houses present candidates who are at some point either paranoid or lunatics... maybe Pisa is cursed somehow? :)

Gianfranco might enter history as 'the Luckless', or 'the Overambitious'. Perhaps a good predecessor for Sinibaldo.

I earnestly had much hope for Gianfranco, his abilities were rounded, if you exclude the stutter and I hoped he would have been the one to successfully expand into India...but he was luckless. Forgot that the button to forbid to lead the army was ticked off and...here are the results!

What an amazing saga ! Doge of Alexandria, after having guided Pisa to fame and fortune... and now reaching for the Indus. Wow !!

We want to get to the end of the world after all ;) Thank you for your kind words! :)
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc II
Chapter 3: Sinibaldo III Visconti (1289-1302)
The Capture of Navasarika/ The 5th Crusade for Jerusalem Succeeds- The Teutonic Order protects the Holy Land/ Catwalk of Grand Princes/ Of the della Gherardesca scheme and his fall/ Sinibaldo III becomes Spymaster of Pisa and Grand Prince-Elect/ The della Gherardesca Rigged Elections/ The Election of Grand Prince Sinibaldo III/ Epilogue of his life


It was certain that the black sail the port authorities of Aswan sighted would signify grave news: either the trade galleys had been marauded and the goods looted or someone of importance had perished. But the news that the Doge himself had lost his life in the distant Indies in a battle against the heathen idolaters caused many of the Alexandrine residents to lament his fate.

Sinibaldo III did not lose the opportunity to propagate the virtues of his brother and exalt his courage during a modest memorial ceremony. Indeed, in his speech, he recalled how Gianfranco, in a personal conversation with him, imagined the very same scene of battle in which he was ultimately maimed by a valiant foeman. Only though in imagination, Gianfranco was victorious and stood his ground in triumph. What shame that reality was much different…



He would comment on how Gianfranco was, like their father Sinibaldo, a preacher of the faith by action and since the heathens refused to listen by the word, they would so hear by the sword.

However then he paused….

Do you remember? Do you remember Sinibaldo?

The bass, austere masculine voice boomed in his head. The unexpected visitor had once again rang without invitation.

What is it now Salvatore?

He had named him Salvatore, as the voice reminded him of the Headmaster of the Order of Santiago, which he had joined and ousted with disgracefulness .



10 February 1263

“Absolutely not! How can you join a Holy Order when you are married Sinibaldo? You cannot run away from your marital obligations just like that…you should have thought of the consequences of your actions before!”

The consequences…how did this word sting and hurt as much… he still remembered when his favorite Ethiopian courtesan announced him that she was with child… and if she did not wed, the populace would stone her... she asked for his clemency to move to Alexandria with him…

But his mind was elsewhere…the Holy Land…what his great-grandfather Grand Prince Sinibaldo had lost, he may have had the chance to recover for the glory of Christendom… not in this life…the shackles of marriage would burden his dream forever


13 November 1275

She was gone… she… she died when having labor on my second child… God did work in mysterious ways… she had taken my dream on joining the Knights Templar but she soothed my mind, my spirit…now though…

“Go. Go and fight the infidel and forget your worries. We will take care of little Agostina for you… leave before I change my mind!”

I became a Knight of the Order of Santiago. I fought the Moor in Spain and acre by acre, the Kingdoms of Castile, Aragon and Navara had ousted almost entirely the infidel from the peninsula. Yet I felt empty… it was not enough…

18 October 1279

“Visconti! Visconti!”

“della Gherardesca!! della Gherardseca!!”

By chance we were passing by Pisa when we saw flames arising.

“Remember where your ties are!” a sergeant barked since I was not the only one from our glorious city.

But it was difficult not to. A mob of the della Gherardesca supporters had found a young boy with the heraldy of the rooster, my family insignia and had him cornered. They were beating him without mercy

“Did our Lord Jesus teach you to be vindictive?”

They turned and faced me

“Did our Lord Jesus teach you to poke your nose where it does not belong?” they said. Their impious remark seemed funy to them and roared in laughter

I heard you then Salvatore. My mind blanked and around me were their corpses, my Order cloak and surcoat red with blood. The frightened boy ran as fast as he could, probably to his mother

…..

Yes, Sinibaldo… but it was for good. They mocked our Lord and your family. I have shown you what will happen if the Visconti do not reach the end of the world… the giant octopus…then the serpent…will…


“Enough, you will drive him crazy!”

This was a new voice he had not heard before. It was a female one, but he could not recognize where she came from.

But he is crazy… are you…or are you not Sinibaldo?....

His surprise snapped him out of his thoughts. The people gazed at him, waiting for him to end his speech. He then saw at the edge of the crowd, the widow and his two nieces, both deeply saddened.

Sinibaldo came to his senses

“In that foreign land is where my beloved brother rests, his body waiting to be salvaged from the sea of impurity. For my niece Letizia, the port of Navasarika shall be Visconti and Pisan! I give command immediately all men to assemble the next day to conquer by God’s Will that place!”

There was warm applause by the bystanders and Letizia Visconti, his niece immediately ran at her uncle and embraced him.



As Sinibaldo III willed it, many took their arms to avenge the death of Doge Gianfranco. Even the Knights of Calatrava enlisted themselves in the struggle to capture the port city from the Gujarat people. At 20 January 1290 the Visconti fleet reached the Coast of Gujarat and the first battle of Navasarika took place, victoriously so.



The timing could not have been more perfect: the lord of Navasarika was uprising against his rightful liege lord, the Maharaja of Hoysala, thus effectively splitting his forces.

Yet the sight of the Occitan attackers incited the religious sentiment of the people and the Followers of Arjuna took arms to defend their homeland. It was though futile as the better equipped and prepared Pisans crushed the local Holy Order and after the surrender of the main city of Navasarika and its citadel, peace could only be concluded with total Visconti victory.



Some months later, on 8 November 1291, Pope Hadrianus V (for Pope Marinus IV Visconti died a year ago due to severe stress for the success of the Crusade) called for a celebration across the Christian world: Jerusalem finally fell to Catholic hands and it was rewarded to the Teutonic Order for their sheer dedication to his cause. Hochmeister Guaimar di Salerno became the new Protector of Jerusalem and vowed to keep the pilgrims safe from Saracen harassment.



During this time, Pisa saw the ascencion of two new Grand Princes: Giacinto Alliata, who succeeded Gregorio II ‘the Just’ d’Appiano and Federigo della Gherardesca, who in turn took the place of Grand Prince Giacinto.

Giacinto Alliata was a well versed scholar and had significant influence with the Papal State. However his weak composure and frail body, although adding to his ascetic nature, would hasten his passing and almost nine months from his election, Grand Prince Federigo della Gherardesca became the new Grand Prince. Both of them were known, as savants in their domain of expertise, to possess eccentricities and unfortunately for the Visconti, Grand Prince Federigo recalled in his memory the family vendetta and sought indirect ways to undermine their governance of Alexandria and the overseas holdings of Pisa.



Grand Prince Federigo’s machination was relatively simple and tried: he sowed dissent among the vassals of Doge Sinibaldo III , claiming that nowhere else in the Principality of Pisa did a Doge rule in such an unchecked way like in Alexandria. The Visconti amassed the wealth of the land like the Pharaohs of old and hoarded the treasure, while the Lord Mayors and castle owners slavingly brought their goods before the almighty despot.

And thus, Lord Mayor Ezio of Gizeh rallied the support of the other vassals in a bid to increase the Council Power of Alexandria. Sinibaldo III did not yield to their demands and civil war broke out. The determination to end the war as a victor and restore order in Alexandria brought out a new aspect of Sinibaldo’s personality and he became more ambitious in his plans.



Doge Sinibaldo III from his part mustered war veterans from the war for Navasarika on his side, people who were loyal to the Visconti Household and not men of weak character like Lord Mayor Ezio. Soon the revolutionaries were put to the sword and the conspiracy was revealed. Sinibaldo III appealed before the High Judge of Pisa of his case and, despite all odds, Grand Prince Federigo was sentenced to retire from his position as he breached the law by meddling in the internal affairs of the other Republic- satellites of the Principality.

With surprise, the new Grand Prince who was elected was Innocenzo d’Appiano, once leader of the Condotta Pisani but now confined to house restriction due to his gout and thus incapable to rule without a Regent. What was even more astounding was, to reward Doge Sinibaldo’s III unmasking of the della Gherardesca conspiracy, he was named Spymaster of Pisa, a role which he accepted most dearly.



The cloak and dagger was an element Doge Sinibaldo III felt accustomed to and what better place to start looking for potential troublemakers than Amalfi, the seat of the della Gherardesca. Promptly he dissuaded the Great House from further machinations, with Gian di Appiano, the Regent of Pisa expressing his gratitude.

However , due to his new seat of office, Sinibaldo III became more remote as a character, as many approached him for favors and he worried constantly for his life, with his condition taking a turn for the worse. There were even rumors that he conversed regularly with himself or otherwise had a shadow agent called Salvatore, a man no one had ever seen.



Unfortunately his term of Spymaster of Pisa ended abruptly when Innocenzo d’Appiano passed away, a year after he was elected Grand Prince. In his stead, Grand Prince was elected Niccolò Caetani, the first Caetani to ever hold this high position. Like his predecessor, he was distinguished into the armies of the Condotta Pisani and as a mercenary leader serving under various feudal lords.

The old rivalry between the Caetani and the Visconti had died during the ages and Sinibaldo III congratulated Niccolò for his rise as Grand Prince. Whatismore, Sinibaldo III was destined to become the Grand Prince- Elect, as the census of Pisa confirmed. Sinibaldo III was most glad, for due to his popularity and the senile age of Niccolò , he expected to become the new Grand Prince in a relatively short time.

But to the surprise of everyone (and some rumored by rigging the elections), when Niccolò reigned only for relatively six months, the new Grand Prince who was elected was not Sinibaldo III but rather Baldovino II della Gherardesca ‘the Fat’!

The Visconti supporters rose in protest over this turn of events and Grand Prince Baldovino II della Gherardesca, to appease them and not have open rebellion in the city, granted Sinibaldo III yet again the office of Spymaster of Pisa.

By the new census of the Principality, Doge Sinibaldo III was again the Elect Grand Prince, with the Alliata candidate competing fiercely. In the end though, as Pisa was wrecked in civil war due to the demands of the Republic of Algier and the Knights Templar to be free from its yoke, Grand Prince Baldovino II resigned and the new Grand Prince was Sinibaldo III Visconti on 8 January 1300.



With the news of Grand Prince Sinibaldo III being elected, the civil war ended inconclusively as the Doge of the Republic of Algier, who was also leader of the revolution, suddenly died due to severe stress, perhaps in fear of what Sinibaldo III would have devised should the war had ended with him losing.

Being now master of the Principality, Sinibaldo III achieved his ambitions and shifted his attention to hunting, seeking new excitement at the forests surrounding Pisa. His wife, Princess Desta of Abyssinia, gave him a puppy of a breed most highly prized in Abyssinian royalty, an Azawakh. The dog was trained to become a hunter of the highest caliber, escorting Sinibaldo III at his excursions to the countryside.

Yet one day, Sinibaldo III returned with a bite on his leg, some say it was from a fox , others by a wolf. Whatever it was, this lead to the increasing ambiguity of his behavior, with the pinnacle being the debated banquet of 18 March 1301 in the Palazzo Visconti



18 March 1301
Palazzo Visconti, Pisa


“Leave me alone! Do not touch me, this House here is the epitome of madness! You should have had a moon for your insignia, you are all lunatics!”

Doge Ettore della Gherardesca of Salerno-Amalfi stormed off the Palazzo, leaving the banquet with haste. Before him ran Grand Prince Sinibaldo III, half dressed, with his wife Desta following behind him.

“What happened? Why did he ran off like he was chased by dogs?” asked Desta

“I made a fool of myself…now Pisa will laugh behind my back after tonight's incident… and of all people, it happened with Doge Ettore!”

“You know that he is a prude, a classic theologian battling his urges… especially towards the same gender…”

Princess Desta raised her eyebrows.

“The Grand Prince-Elect is…”

Sinibaldo nodded

“…I had found out when I was Spymaster to Innocenzo d’Appiano and that was the way I kept him out of causing trouble. And now that I am Grand Prince, I decided to take advantage of it…”

“How…?”

Sinibaldo sighed. Not all were as clever as Salvatore and Aemilia, his trusted voices. They were the geniuses behind his plan…

“ I excused myself from the dinner when I saw the full moon. It was the signal we had arranged with Baron Sinan”

“Piece by piece, he had chopped the balcony railing, the only thing that was needed was Ettore standing to admire the view… he liked the vista from the Palazzo and we had discussed theology sometimes there, but now he was too upset to do so…. It was then I tried to … “

Desta asked.

“You, a man of almost seventy years of age, sworn to celibacy attempted to…”



“…I howled like a wolf, hoping he would become scared and support himself at the damaged railings. Otherwise, he would have become excited by my naked nature and I would push him…alas…”



“Fortunately for you, people know Doge Ettore is an envious man and your family rivalry with the della Gherardesca knows no bounds. People may shrug it off as slander…and the balcony railing as negligible repair…”

He would nod in agreement.

Thus the deeds of Grand Prince Sinibaldo III in the Indies, though great and exalted, faded away in comparison to the myths and legends about his alleged lycanthropy, his false vow of celibacy and his white wedding to an Abyssinian wife who preferred the company of her handmaidens, the consultation with the voices of Salvatore and Aemilia and so many more fables which were crafted by the della Gherardesca slanderers.

He would die at the age of seventy by a presumed tropical malady, after a voyage to inspect the troops who had routed when fighting once again the pirate Maharaja of Baluchistan. The truth though of his illness was probably more close to a dreaded plague which would inflict great losses to our mighty Principality in the years to come…


 
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TheAnguishedOne

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Love Sinibaldo III's rise to power, especially given his success as a Spymaster. Really appreciate the combination of the insanity event and the failed assassination attempt. His death by the Bubonic Plague worries me for the future...
 

Nikolai

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The Black Plague, eh?:eek:
 

alscon

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Never trust elections. :p
 

fabiolundiense

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The Bubonic Plague !!! :eek:
The chaste, non-hetero priestess Princess Desta of Abyssinia !!! :eek:
 

Crimson Drakon

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Love Sinibaldo III's rise to power, especially given his success as a Spymaster. Really appreciate the combination of the insanity event and the failed assassination attempt. His death by the Bubonic Plague worries me for the future...

Thought I'd give a glimpse of the political life of Pisa with the Grand Princes that come and go, Sinibaldo III was a curious case: he wasnt a classic case of insanity, but also was cunning...so we cant know for sure where madness started and where it ended, thus the failed assassination scene (was crazy on its part now that I think of it :p )

The Black Plague, eh?:eek:

Yes it has come upon us and some Visconti are its victims sadly... (as you will see :) )

Never trust elections. :p

At least I didnt invest a lot of money to get elected, I would be crying about it too. Least Baldovino passed away relatively quick and his victory was short!

The Bubonic Plague !!! :eek:
The chaste, non-hetero priestess Princess Desta of Abyssinia !!! :eek:

I am beginning to think Pisa is too drowned in sin... as of Princess Desta, she was the perfect match I suppose, Sinibaldo was celibate, and she well...at least she didnt commit adultery with another man I suppose :p

Note: We are approaching the 1320s and the time I have paused playing (from May.. :D) , so I will do another interlude which will fill the gaps from the time of Sir Giordano the True Christian Knight
 

Crimson Drakon

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Arc II
Chapter 4: How the Black Death struck our Great House but Fortune Favored Doge Ausonio II with the breath of a dying man​


“…and these are the signs of our times! Repent! Repent while it is time! For the sins of our humanity are many and sooner or later, the angel of the Lord will descend and take with him only the most worthy!”

A classic argument of the destruction of the world… when all words fail and do not make any sense, invoke the wrath of God to scare the less educated.

“How did I go? I am certain our little parish here in Mahoyadapuram will be filled with more people thanks to my speech… the villagers here say they saw a dragon flying, perhaps a demon of their false religion! We must be vigilant Abelino!”



Doge Abelino coughed nervously. He should have expected that either the bravest or those who could not do else would have been send by the church authorities of Pisa so far from home, to the challenging conditions of South India. In a land where the Hindu priests make idols talk, the shade indicates which time is best for barter, people walk naked and eat dried plants as not to hurt them and other curious events, the least that the people would be concerned is sin and the fury of the Lord.

Maybe to a gullible audience such as the one in Pisa it would have worked. Truly, there were rumors of the dead and the living sleeping together in appalling conditions and it was , according to the Church, all explained as the punishment of God for the perpetual challenging behavior the Holy Roman Emperor had shown towards the Pope of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on Earth.

Others said that the Black Death was brought from the East by that schismatic Venetian (for the Venetians renounced the Pope and became subjects of the Basileus of the Romans, another example of an enslaved republic) – Marco Polo and his ilk. For they traversed the Tartar Plains and crossed into the Empire of the Mongol Khagan , that is into a mythical land named Cathay, where he became ill, as he had the gall to chronicle himself in his book.



“It was a fine sermon, my friend. I especially liked the part where you focused on charity and the chapel tray passed, asking for donations and you invoked my donation to our Grand Prince’s war chest…”

The priest nodded with enthusiasm

“See! I knew you would spot it! Come now, it was hard for you to donate to a della Gherardesca… to a man rumored to be lovers with Grand Prince Sini…”

“Please, stop it.” said Abelino. He then wondered by himself if this rumored plague was genuinely a punishment of God upon Earth when people such depraved are the rulers of men. How can the common folk be virtuous when their leaders are doing their best to invent the undiscovered eighth sin?

“There were news that he has offered you to become the Chancellor of Pisa! Is this why you will be leaving for Pisa today?” asked the priest. He looked with interest at the eyes of Abelino

“I do not know… I have become tired of all these diplomatic missions, from the time of Sinibaldo II and further. What that charlatan Marco Polo has written, I had documented before he was born!”

He sighed. Then he continued

“I am thinking of staying with my family after this one last trip to Pisa and then I will pass the leadership of our Great House to Ausonio II, my bright son.”



“A laudable goal that is, my friend! I wish you success in your endeavors, by the time of your return this heathen province will be following our creed in no time, I am sure!!” said the priest , as he shook the hand of the Doge

The ship must have docked at the port. I better not miss the tide!

With that, Doge Abelino, your grandfather departed from one of the crown jewels of our House, the far away Mahoyadapuram, for Pisa, the center of trade of the Western Mediterrenean.



Taking advantage of the monsoons, he hoped that the journey, although dangerous, would have been faster than the common route, that is sailing to Navasarika, then Muscat and then with escort of Abyssinian ships, crossing the coast of Aden and then to Quena in Aswan.

However, along with the precious cargo, the ship contained the dreaded Plague, the Black Death. When the vessel reached the port of the Ethiopian King, almost the entire crew was dead, with ulsters filled with pus covering their bodies. Amongst the dead was Doge Abelino, may he rest.




The disease was so rapid that my father did not even have the time to write a final will. So, with the laws of seniority, our Great House was placed in the hands of a man incarcerated by his own son-in-law and comatose.

You may remember him, he was the Duke of Sardinia, Berthold ‘the Wise’ named thus after his great invention of the Screaming Arrows under the rule of Grand Prince Sinibaldo II Visconti ‘the Apostle’. To him , or mayhap to his Regent Catone, I owe the fortune to be now the capofamiglia of our Great House Visconti, the masters of the silk trade.

He also arranged my betrothal to your mother Candida d’Appiano, the daughter of Grand Prince Gregorio II ‘the Just’ d’Appiano.

I paid the money for his release, for it was a shame for a man of such magnitude, to languish in a prison because of the petty inwars of our Principality. According so to the rumor, for I was in Alexandria managing our household’s trade networks, he whispered in the final days of his life, my name, Ausonio.

Came thus again the reigns of the family to the grand line of Cassio the Great and his progeny. And with the passing of Duke Berthold, the ancestral lands of Sardinia were again united under direct rule of the family head. Time and fate would show if the choice of the comatose Berthold was wise or mere folly.


 

TheAnguishedOne

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That's two rulers who, once they controlled the land... didn't do all that much. Probably ending up as a footnote in the family history.
 

Crimson Drakon

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May Ausonio prove to be a healthier cynic.

So far, he has ;)

That's two rulers who, once they controlled the land... didn't do all that much. Probably ending up as a footnote in the family history.

They did not really have the time to do anything actually... their achievements are merely those they attained due to their offices and not as Visconti Doges!

Right then, after this part of chapter 5, I will do a known world interlude and pick up from where we left... last interlude was...200 years ago?! :eek:
 
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Crimson Drakon

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Arc II
Chapter 5: Ausonio II Visconti
Part 1: Reflections of the life that has been​


(Pharos of Alexandria_(Fischer_von_Erlach)

13th of June 1325
Alexandria, Grand Principality of Pisa


A week had passed from the time when Ausonio II and his son, Abelino the Fortune Builder, as he came to be called, began the arduous task of transcribing and completing the Visconti Chronicle until their days. Abelino had become a patient man, as he had well been taught and they had finished sooner than expected. The final detail that remained was his own life and the pressing questions of his son, as of how he had found il Libro, the legendary book which was lost from the time of Grand Prince Sinibaldo ‘the Just’…

For several days now the recollection of these stories and the almost daily contact with the pages of il Libro made him uneasy, anxious. He had trouble sleeping and when he slept, disturbing images clouded his mind, nightmares and illusions of the dream world. He made the mistake to confess to the court chaplain his worries and ill condition and he was advised with nightly prayer, with the relic of the hand of St. Thomas, recovered at Mahoyadapuram, by his side.

It did nothing to improve his condition.



It was not as difficult to document the lives of others. But how can I put myself to the task to write or omit to write about my deeds and achievements?

Then another question arose : il Libro itself. What would he tell his son about it? While on one hand the unknown scribe, probably its owner, had meticulously documented the events that transpired until almost the days of Doge Abelino, on the other it had become decrepit, with some of its content fading away due to the centuries old age. In fact, there were passages that had been written off and he suspected the ink was not from squid…but a darker fluid…

Ausonio would catch himself recollect the events that lead to its unearthing. A rumor that was paid, during the immigration of the Pisan settlers in Muscat, proved to be true: there was a holy man by the mountains with the name of Ibrahim. He lived as a hermit, as he had been expelled years ago due to his strange beliefs.

Promptly, Ausonio had some guards being sent to the caves and investigate the validity of the rumor. With surprise, he was quickly summoned and saw the spectacle himself: a relic of a man, who had perished long ago, with his robes being in tatters, holding by his grasp il Libro and a note by his side ‘alla fine del mondo- to the end of the world’.

That was the family creed by the days of Ildebrando. Was it though a message to the capofamiglia to complete it? For in the days of Grand Prince Sinibaldo III, the Visconti had already infiltrated Greater India and had captured two of its silk ports: Navasarika and Mahoyadapuram, the place where they found the relic of St. Thomas when the populace was entirely Christianized, not without protest of course.



To the end of the world… what a cryptic message. How can the end of the world be defined?There was still controversy amongst the scholars and the Church whether the world was a board with finite borders or spherical.

To the cartographers, as the occupation was being picked up again due to the opening of the Red Sea to commercial transactions, the end of the world was signified at Candradvipa, at the Ganges Delta. Beyond there was the infinite wilderness and potentially the Gates of Paradise.

He remembered how the spark to complete the conquest of the Indian Silk Ports was ignited. One of the many traveling merchants made his way in Alexandria and asked the hospitality of the Doge and the merchant from his part would share news that would interest him. Soon, the marvels of the Orient were unfolded by the man : spices, silk, gems, all these material wonders piqued his interest. And all these would be Visconti monopoly, of course, would he play his cards right.




Ultimately, he did reach the end of the world, as the modern cartographers would locate it: one by one the Indian Silk Ports fell with himself taking advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves, with the final confrontation being at Candradvipa, at the Ganges Delta, where the forces of Maharaja Laxminath II Sing Devh of Pala were defeated in the battle of Candranatha, across the Ganges River.

Mercenaries and sell swords of all ilk: Abyssinian, Indian and Occident along the holy knights of the various Orders pledged themselves in his service towards removing these vital ports from heathen hands. But it was not enough: for his distant cousin Letitzia Visconti held firm control over the entire county of Navasarika and refused to hand it over to the capofamiglia as requested. She foolishly joined the Independence faction of Pisa and along with the Knights Templar and the King of Abyssinia, she deemed herself free from the Pisan advances and her kinsman’s demands.

This is when he stroke again: unable to secure herself as she was no longer bound by the realm peace of the Grand Prince, she submitted the county to him and retired as the Baroness Dharampur, at the outskirts of the city.



By all rights, he was deemed the harbourmaster of all Indian Silk Trade ports, the trade of the Indies belonging to himself and his family alone. But his quest for wealth and his prospect to complete the family creed had , in the back of his mind, another ill twist: he suspected the infidelity of his wife Candida for he was away for a long time and after the birth of his firstborn Abelino, Ausonio’s mother informed him that the foul Doge of Tuscany tried to recruit her in a scheme to seduce his wife…

From that moment on, Ausonio would receive news of his wife’s pregnancy... he saw himself how insatiable she was on their amorous bondings, when he returned from the distant voyages. He justified it to his long presence abroad, but he was still not certain. Finally, his character broke and at a voyage far away from home, he caved in to his sinful desires with an Indian courtesan, extracting his “revenge” on the suspected misdoings of his wife



How can I tell my son that I believed his mother was not faithful to me? How can I confess that I broke my marriage because I was so far from home?

At least Abelino became a fine young man, a person bound for greatness. Already, he was named as the Doge of Sardinia to begin his administrating career and was wed with all splendors to a Greek princess, claimant to the Empire. The succession was secured and all that remained was the conclusion of the wishes of Ildebrando: to sail to the end of the world and bury il Libro, with a cross marking the borders. After all, what good fortune he had amassed and what he achieved, he was duly inspired by his family and owed to them his rise to success.



Perhaps my unrest is caused by the presence of the book and the worry it will be lost again and my family’s legacy yet again would be jeopardized… my work here has been done. I will prepare my belongings and with the aid of the monsoons, my port of call will be the end of the world, Candradvipa, at the Ganges Delta.

Alla Fine Del Mondo!
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Ah, some details on how Pisa will come to control the Silk Road and create a foothold in India. That will be so fun in the years to come, cultures and religions clashing.

Definitely helps to have your heir married to someone with a claim on the Byzantine Empire, even if you have no plans of conquering it.
 
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