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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kamelot

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Hello everyone. This AAR will not span the length of an entire game, but only ten years. It was part of a game I'm still playing and concerns the war between France (me) and Spain (AI). Hope you enjoy, it has ten chapters in total. Questions, comments, etc... are always welcome.

Added 1: I will be using a blank map I found from EU III to present you with maps of the war. As soon as somebody can point me towards a blank EU IV map, I will be happy to change it.

Added 2: Ah yes, another thing. I have the tendency to add more along the way. More maps, more pictures. Regarding the text, I will only be fixing any spelling errors.


Chapter I: Standing at the edge
Chapter II: Into the abyss
Chapter III: Secreta
 
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Kamelot

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Chapter I: Standing at the edge

Chapter I: Standing at the edge



France, Spain and other nations on the eve of the war

On the outskirts of Caen, 5 February 1571

The fields were black from the gunpowder and fire. General de Pellefort walked among the battlefield where many a soldier had fallen and many a corpse would soon provide for the recovering nature. The religious turmoil in France had erupted into a full religious civil war. A “chain of Protestantism” had surrounded Paris. Only Nemours had remained faithful to the Catholic faith and was the only safe passage for the still Catholic French Army. Otherwise, from Normandie to Barrois (which was in Lorraine’s hands) Protestantism flourished. King François I had ordered the French army to break this chain, drive the protestants from their fortresses and bring their army to heel. And thus de Pellefort had acted. Five long years of internal war had paralyzed France. While de Pellefort had been fighting Hugenot armies, general de Rochemaura had been fighting off Berber rebels in newly conquered French Algeria.

Now Caen had finally fallen. Two years of siege it had withstood, but now de Pellefort could see how the first divisions of his army were entering the city in orderly fashion. No looting or razing had been allowed, this capture was to be the beginning of a new start. In Nantes an edict had been proclaimed to reunite the nation. To the great anger of Rome, which had begun fuelling the flames of the Contrareformation in other parts of Europe, with great success. de Pellefort had also forbidden the destruction of confiscation of any protestant churches or any other propert. Cardinal de Tocqueville, advisor to the king on behalf of the Church, had even visited the siege proceedings. Despite his efforts, de Pellefort had not revised his orders.


Cardinal de Tocqueville visiting the siege of Caen
Paris, royal council chambers, 12 March 1571

“France has been driven to the edge of the abyss”, de Vergy told the king. As national quartermaster he was the one who informed the king regarding issues of the military. “We only have a few thousand men left in the reserves. Our army in Algeria is 21,000 strong, but in France itself we only have 12.000 soldiers left. When the war against the Hugenots began, our army numbered 78,000 men.” The king shivered when he heard these numbers. “So, we lost more than half of our army. Almost an entire generation brought to the slaughterhouse?” de Vergy nodded. “It will take some time to rebuild, my Liege. But on the more bright side, the Hugenot chain around Paris has been broken and their military power is gone too. And our fleet has sunk the last ships of the Algerian Barbary pirates. So there too we are rebuilding.” The king leaned back in his chair at the head of the council table. He closed his eyes to think for a moment, then turned back to de Vergy. “And what about the feeling amongst the peoples of France?” de Vergy nodded, took out a bundle of papers to refresh his memory and continued reporting “Overall we see a decrease in unrest, banditry and any other form of serious contesting of the power of the state. It would seem that the important elements in society, the elites, have accepted the current state of affairs.”


King Francis I

Cardinal de Tocqueville coughed, stating his discontent without words. King François turned his head surprised while de Vergy grinned. “Of course, the church is not very, let’s say, pleased concerning the edict you…” de Tocqueville interrupted de Vergy: “The Church is not content indeed my Liege. I bring to you this protest” The cardinal raised himself to his feet to grab the bag that he had carried into the room and was standing next to his chair. From it he took a document that bore many seals, unrolled it and held it in his hands so all could see. “This is a protestation from the bishops of France. Both of church provinces safe in the hands of the Church and those that are currently besieged by, by” de Tocqueville swallowed as if he had to pronounce a most vile word” by the heretical satanists that call themselves Lutherans! We protest the edict as there is only one church. Unam, Sanctam, Catholic et Apostolicam! How can we be a united, holy, catholic and apostolic church when the king, sworn to protect his people and the faith, signs an edict like this.”

All fell quiet around the table. Admiral de Dampierre, a man in his forties who had fought Barbary pirates in North Africa, Englishmen in the Channel and had gathered not only wounds but also a fine collection of curse words while losing a large part of etiquette, chuckled. “Well then” he said smiling, “monsigneur de Tocqueville. What a fine protestation, should I now presume that the bishops are protestants too now?” de Vergy put the palm of his hand to his face and the king rolled his eyes as cardinal de Tocqueville’s face turned into the same red as his ecclesial outfit. “WHAT?” he shouted “Dare you compare the church of Christ Almighty to these filthy heretics?” Out of anger de Tocqueville almost began hyperventilating, almost tearing the protestation he was holding in his hands. “Enough!” the king shouted, silencing all. “Cardinal, please be seated. Admiral,” the king turned to de Dampierre “just shut up.” de Dampierre nodded and leaned back grinning, poking the general next to him hard enough to have him show irritation. “Cardinal,” the king continued, “we shall of course defend the faith. But you too understand that when God leaves us with only 12,000 soldiers, that we must have peace before fighting again. In due time, we shall resume our religious offensive. Now, we must recover.”
The king turned to Minden, royal treasurer. “How do things fare with the royal treasury?” Minden smiled “My Liege, I am glad to say that I am the bringer of good news, which we can all use. The treasury is filled to the brim. The new fortresses in southern France have cost many a fortune, but with great pride I can say that that has not even put a dent in the amount of gold we have. The king smiled “Good, thank you minster Minden. On this more happy note, I conclude this meeting.” Cardinal de Tocqueville obviously tried to speak, but was stopped by a hand gesture from the king “Yes Cardinal, I know the bishops protest. Let us continue this conversation tonight, over dinner.” Once again the king turned to the rest of his council “Council adjourned, I shall trouble you no further”

Gironia,19 March 1571

General de Alva sat on his horse while the soldiers passed before him and his lieutenants. The flag of the newly united Kingdom of Spain flying high in the wind. Aragon and Castille had been united in one state, merging their empires that now spanned not only the Iberian peninsula (minus Portugal) but also Central and Southern America. A new world had been discovered, two great nations had united to form a great empire and now this empire was set to dominate Europe. Together with its ally Portugal it had driven the Berbers before them in Northern Africa, dividing them among several nations which they could more easily control. The western Mediterranean Sea was under almost completely a Spanish sea. Only France could challenge them. In the past, Aragon had formed a coalition against France with England. Which ended with the destruction of the English army and the annexation of northern England by the Scots. The fleet of Aragon had been destroyed by the French before Sardinia and peace was concluded while the last remains of the Aragonese army had been bravely resisting the French army in Rousillon. It had been a disaster, but also the moment when Aragon and Castille had realized that together they could be stronger. And now together, they would destroy this French beast, take revenge for the past and carve it up in smaller pieces. They claimed all of southern France, from Labourd to the Provence. Now that France had been destroying itself, they would only have to pick up the pieces.

It is said that the king of France was asked to leave Sunday’s mass by cardinal de Tocqueville himself to discuss important events in the south. While on their way to the council chambers, the king was informed that more than 60,000 soldiers from Spain and Portugal had entered the provinces of Béarn, Toulouse, the Languedoc and Labourd. General de Pellefort would be in Paris in several hours as he had already returned after his conquest of Caen. But France only had 12,000 soldiers left, while the Spanish Armada, 46 ships strong, was blocking the French fleet, 32 ships strong, from leaving the ports of Northern Africa. Thereby blocking the largest part of the French army.

Historians would find many symbolism in these first days. When the Spanish opened up their artillery before Toulouse, hammering at the new fortifications, they fired ten cannons at a time. Historians later would see this as a symbol that this war was to last for the ten years it did.
 
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Kamelot

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Chapter II: Into the abyss

Toulouse, in the citadel, 25 April 1571

de Alva walked into the council room of the governor of Toulouse. Governor Bertaud sat at the table, standing behind him the councilors of the city Toulouse, the captain of the city guard, the captain of the garrison and the masters of the guilds. de Alva stood before the council table and laid down the conditions of surrender. He looked at each of the men present, took a step back and took a copy of the document he had just put down. From it he read aloud

“In the name of the king of Spain, by the grace of God and of Our Lady of Toledo to which we say our thanks, I present you the conditions of surrender.” The captain of the garrison, dressed in a blooded and scorched armor which he had worn every time he had thrown back the Spanish assaults on Toulouse, four times in total, was trembling with rage and grief. A hand was placed on his shoulder by the captain of the city guard to calm him. de Alva saw it, but pretended not to notice, he continued. “In his goodness the king of Spain gives the garrison freedom to leave the citadel unharmed in any way. The city shall be spared of plunder and looting if the citadel surrenders within two hours of the presentation of these conditions. All men who wish to leave, are free to do so. All women are given the guarantee that their integrity shall be spared. A Spanish garrison shall enter the citadel, which shall have free access to trade with the merchants of this city. The cost of this garrison shall be split 60/40 between the Spanish crown and the city. The flag of Toulouse may hang from the walls, but lower than the Spanish flag. No other concessions shall have to be made. Thus wills the king of Spain, ruler by the grace of God.” de Alva rolled up the document and handed it to his aide. “I wish to add something, gentlemen. Do not consider this a capitulation. You have fought brave and skilled, you have withstood the Spanish soldiers four times who drove the Moors from Spain and broke their backs at Tangiers. I salute you, not as a victor, but as a fellow soldier who recognizes true skill and devotion. Since we are not barbarians coming to plunder, but soldiers of the Spanish king who has legitimate claims to this land, we will be working together for many years. Spain welcomes you in its caring arms and from this moment on, we are all equals.” Silence followed, after which de Alva continued “I shall now leave this room and wait two hours with my aides and bodyguards in the room next to this one. As stipulated in the conditions, I shall return in two hours. Enough blood of noble men has been shed, I beg of you to accept these conditions” The general bowed to the council and left the room. Two hours later, the governor handed him the signed document. Toulouse had fallen. In the same month, so fell Béarn, Languedoc and Armagnac.

Berry, on the champs de Mars outside the city, 2 September 1571

“The council meeting is opened” the king spoke, sitting down on his chair in the command tent. Before him and his councilors a big map of France lay on a table. “Tell me the situation”. de Pellefort sighed and reported “We have 14,000 soldiers, the Spanish have an army of 46,000 soldiers gathered around Toulouse. 15,000 Spanish and Portugese soldiers are besieging Labourd, which is still holding on. Scouts have reported that the Spanish army seems to be preparing to split up to cover more ground, which should give us the chance to at least defeat some of their armies while rebuilding our own.” King François I nodded “How about the 21,000 soldiers in Algeria?” de Pellefort looked at de Vergy who busied himself with the matter. “The Spanish are still blocking the coast and the Berber tribes are rebelling. Our army reports that they are almost daily in combat, having already lost the southern provinces of our overseas territory to the Berber tribes. General de Rochemaure is keeping them away from our coastal holdings however” The king nodded and looked at the map. “As talked about before, we shall strike at them in Rouerge. If the Spanish army is splitting up, then we could be able to strike a blow at them there and maybe even take Toulouse back. Then we would have broken the territory they hold in two, cutting them off. Should our fleet be able to break out, we can prevent supplies from reaching them by sea.” He looked up at the councilors which were nodding in agreement. “Any news from de Dampierre?” Cardinal de Tocqueville rolled his eyes and sighed heavily “Other than that he is a reckless fool without manners?” The cardinal unrolled a document which he held “He send me a letter detailing his progress. Of all people, he of course send it to me. He has boarded a merchant vessel in the Provence and is making his way to the fleet through Sardinia, Corsica and Tunis. The letter was send from Spanish-held Corsica, so I guess he is once again dancing on the slippery cord of adventure.” de Vergy frowned and asked de Tocqueville why de Dampierre would send his report to him. He sighed and handed the letter to de Vergy who rolled his eyes on discovering the reason “I must say, cardinal, our admiral has an extended vocabulary to describe the Spanish and, well, everything. He also reported on the brothels of Corsica in very vivid language I must say” The king rose from his chair “Gentlemen, if I may.” de Vergy quickly rolled up the document and pushed it in the hands of the cardinal who quickly handed it to an aide. “Our army shall march to Rouerge, where the Spanish are besieging the town with 14,000 soldiers. Let us pray that God is on our side.” He looked at the cardinal “Cardinal, you shall go to Rome and plead with the pope regarding this matter. We should be fighting the infidels, the Barbary states, not eachother.” Cardinal de Tocqueville nodded in agreement.

Rouerge, 1 November 1571

General de Alva was inspecting the siege barricades when a messenger arrived to hand him the scouts report. The general opened it by breaking the seal, read it and ordered an aide over. “Go to general de Madura and tell him that the birds are preparing to nest.” Puzzled the aide look at him “Just do it, he shall understand” Quickly the aide rushed off, the general continuing his inspection.


General de Alva
Rouerge, 7 November 1571

Smoked filled the air as the French army marched forward. General de Pellefort sat on his horse, surrounded by aides and messengers. To his left stood the French cavalry, waiting for any orders. Four formations of French soldiers were marching towards the Spanish tercio’s which had formed up outside Rouerge. In between the cannons shot at the French, who despite the losses marched on. A French colonel approached the general. “Sir, my apologies that I must trouble you, but I sense something is wrong” The aides of the general looked surprised, but de Pellefort did not. “I know my dear colonel, I know”. 14,000 Spanish soldiers was said, my scouts have reported to have counted around 8,000. Including the 4,000 or so that are needed to maintain the siege, that leaves 2,000 soldiers in an unknown location.” de Pellefort went silent for a while “Then again, it is only 2,000 soldiers. We shall adapt.” The colonel nodded and rode off again.

The French and Spanish soldiers had by now reached each other and were indulging themselves into the art of gruesome warfare. Long pikes were trust in the lines and bodies of the other, while some soldiers ducked underneath them and slashed at each other with daggers. On the right side de Pellefort could see the Spanish cavalry charging. He gave a sign and the French caracole cavalry, the best in Europe, countercharged. In less than fifteen minutes the Spanish cavalry had to retreat and the French were surrounding the Spanish tercios, covering them with their bullets. From his position de Pellefort could see the Spanish line falling back slowly, being pushed back along the whole line by the French. Suddenly a horseman arrived with news from de Pellefort “General, Spanish soldiers are approaching from the west” de Pellefort nodded, smiled and turned to his aides “See, as I said, they will show up and we will adapt. We can handle 2,000 soldiers more” The horseman shook his head “No sir, much more” The general stopped smiling and looked shocked “How much more…?” Trumpets were heard, from behind a nearby hill ridge Spanish flags could be seen, followed by several tercios behind them. de Pellefort lost all color from his cheeks and turned to a nearby colonel “How many do you guess?” The colonel, himself also looking quite pale, counted the flags he could see. He swallowed before he spoke “I think, counting the flags of the divisions, at least 8,000 men. And since the Spanish don’t form up everything in one line…” More trumpets were heard and soon more Spanish tercios appeared from behind a nearby forest line.

General de Alva nodded to himself as he oversaw the battle. The French had gone to battle on lower ground, with the Spanish army having taken the high ground on the western and eastern side of the battlefield during the early hours. As ordered, the French had been lured into combat and drawn into the Spanish lines so retreating was almost impossible. de Madura had moved to make the French think he would besiege Avignon. The moment the French had entered the province of Rouerge, he had broken up the siege and marched to de Alva. With a Spanish massive victory in their grasp as a result. de Alva had given de Madura specific orders. There would be no surrender until dusk, this would be a battle to destroy the French army and break the back of France.

Berry, 13 November 1571

The king sat back in his chair, shocked by what he was hearing, his hands clenched together between his knees. Next to him sat de Vergy, his head down in his hands, his eyes closed. The cavalrier, still bloodied and looking exhausted, continued while wiping away his tears, still in shock from the battle “When the Spanish army approached, general de Pellefort ordered the carré final. We formed up in a big square, the cavalry and where possible the artillery, with the soldiers around us. The Spanish kept attacking, taking no prisoners. It was madness, the Spanish just stood back and let their artillery open up on us.” he sobbed, then regaining himself, he continued, “When we were only a few thousand strong, de Pellefort ordered a sortie of the cavalry to report of the battle. He refused to participate in it however. He dismounted, took up a pike from a fallen soldier and wished us good luck. We sortied with around 300 cavalriers and managed to smash through a weaker part of the Spanish line.”


The cavalry sortie at Rouerge
He paused again, to wipe his tears. The king looked at his advisors, who were split between shock and grief. “A dozen of us got through, the Spanish gave no chase. We rode as long as we could, before our horses gave out. Then we had to walk, sometimes even hide from Spanish soldiers. That is my story, my Liege.” François I nodded, rose and addressed the soldier “You have fought well against great odds, go get yourself patched up and rest.” He turned to an army quartermaster “Provide him and the others with warm food, a bath and rest.” The quartermaster nodded and escorted the cavalrier out.
“de Vergy,” the king said “what is the status of the army in France?” Slowly de Vergy looked up and softly said “Look outside sire, four thousand men. That is the French army.” He sighed “de Pellefort is lost, so is probably his experienced staff.” de Vergy now sank completely into his chair. The king nodded and started walking to the exit of the tent. “Gather the men, I speak to them and tell them that their king is now their general. I will sleep on a field bed like them, wear an armor and lead them into battle myself. Montjoie, Saint-Denis!” The councilors rose as one “Pour la France!” Standing to the side, the eight year old son Henri looked on with amazement. Although he could not understand it all, he knew that his father had took a decision that would make or break France.

Rouerge, one day earlier

de Alva left the citadel of Rouerge on horseback with his personal guard while Spanish soldiers were marching inside. He descended at a nearby inn and, after his soldiers had opened the door and entered the room, made his way to the first floor. The two soldiers standing at the door saluted, moved aside and opened the door. de Alva sat down next to the bed. One eye, three fingers on the left hand, four on the right hand and several wounds on the face that were stitched. Severely wounded, but still alive. de Pellefort had been on the threshold of death, but was pulled back by skilled Spanish army surgeons. He had awoken a few hours before and now looked at de Alva. Upon recognizing the general, he grinned “Nous avons vraiment rasé vos cheveux”, he coughed. de Alva nodded and replied “Nos espagnols avons perdu notre barbe, mais la France a perdu ses bras et ses jambes. Je suis sûr que nous avons cassé votre dos aussi.” de Pellefort looked at him, kept silent for a minute, then replied “Notre dos est plus fort que des soldats, notre dos, ce sont tous le français, c’est notre âme et c’est notre amour pour la France. Vous êtes seulement des bâtards des wisigoths, des sarrasins, des juifs et des romains. Vous ne pouvez pas gagner cette guerre, la France va vous engloutir!”

de Alva smiled. “I thank God every day that my king has send me against you Frenchmen. You fight bravely, with a soul fueled by passion. We Spanish respect your Frankish heritage, the Roman stubbornness and the German ferocity that you hold in yourselves. That is why I thank God, for when victory is achieved, He will have granted me the honor of having defeated the great French beast. But I must say, you French never do lose your prejudices over other peoples, even when defeated.” de Pellefort turned his head away from de Alva “I did not die on that battlefield. God has thus given me the chance to drive you Spanish back into your dark peninsula.” de Alva rose, nodded in salute to de Pellefort and left the room where his aides were waiting. As he left, an aide asked him “Why did you let him survive? He is a skilled general, veteran of many wars and knows the art of war very well” de Alva turned to his aide “Why do you ask questions of me when you answer them yourself?” de Alva continued, left the tavern and rode off to rejoin the army marching further north.


Western Europe at the end of 1571
 
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Kamelot

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Chapter III: Secreta

Rome, 22 November 1571, during Holy Mass

Pope Pius V turned to the faithful in the church. He raised his hands in devotion to God and proclaims to the people gathered “Ite, missa est”. As one they responded “Deo gratias”. The pope turned to the alter again, bends before it in the center and speaks in silence “Placeat tibi, sancta trinitas, obsequium servitutis meae, et praesta, ut sacrificium, quod oculus tuae majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus, pro quibus illud obtuli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen” He kissed the altar, raises his eyes to the heavens and stretches his arms towards the sky. While turning to the people he proclaimed clearely: “Sit noemen Domini benedictum. Ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini. Qui fecit caelum et terram. Benedicat vos omnipotentes Deus, Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen.”
While the pope again turned himself to read for the gospel for the last time, a few bishops detached themselves from the crowd, bending their right knee before entering the aisle and leave quickly. The two of them quickly march through Rome, their guards catching up to them after having waited outside. After walking for a few minutes they enter the house of a rich Roman citizen, who guides them to a separate room without windows. Before leaving the room he closed the doors and orders guards before them.

The two bishops sat down in the couches and waited. After several minutes, another door to the room was opened. Both cardinals rose as cardinal de Tocqueville entered the room. Instead of the regular exchanging of pleasantries, they immediately showered him with questions regarding the state of affairs in France. “Is it true that there is no more French army?” one quickly blurted out. Before de Tocqueville could reply, the other one added “That France lies open? That soon there will be no more France?” de Tocqueville gestured them to calm down and asked them to sit. He placed himself in a comfortable chair and began his story. “Things are indeed dire in France. It is true that the French army is no longer a strong coherent force. Our good king François has gathered the remains of the army before Paris, placing himself in command. The Spanish are many, but” he raises his right index finger “France shall not perish, of that I am sure. God does not will that, far from it.” The two bishops stay silent for a while after which one asks “How was your journey?”. de Tocqueville grinned “Hard. While I was traveling through the Holy Roman Empire I discovered that the Austrians had entered the war on the Spanish side. They probably wish to conquer the French parts of the Netherlands. And even Lorraine is now at war in France. Can you imagine that? An army of 5,000 men strong and they actually pose a threat!” de Tocqueville threw his hands in the air “France has always served the Papacy well, when they were driven from Rome by the Napolitans for example. The pope relocated to Bologna with the Napolitan army only a few hours march behind him. It was the French army then that halted the Napolitan army, drove them back and kept Rome for the Papacy. And we broke the back of those Lutheran Bohemian heretics when they tried to dominate the Holy Roman Empire. It was our army that drove them back from Vienna and eventually brought back the true faith to them.” de Tocqueville stayed silent for a while, lost in thoughts. After a while, he turned to the bishops “Now, why I am here. I have send you here to keep your ears open in Rome. Tell me and make it worth my while, the king does not like absentee bishops, even when they have important tasks.”

Bishop Sastre looked at this compratiot bishop de Tavares. He nodded and Sastre began speaking “The pope does not support the Spanish war, far from it. But the curia is on the Spanish side. Three cardinals are in the pocket of the Spanish crown, you are the only French cardinal. But should we gain the upper hand, then I am sure that the Holy Father will be more openly supportive of France.” de Tocqueville nodded. “How strong is the Spanish grip on the curia?” Bishop de Tavares replied this time “Strong, very strong. They of course have Spanish gold and if needed Spanish soldiers to back them up. But, they are old, very old.” de Tocqueville rose from his chair, the bishops following suit. “I will be departing for France again. Let’s hope that the Austrians or Spanish or whoever that decides to declare war on my poor country won’t stop a cardinal” The bishops kneeled before him, kissing his ring, before he left.

Paris, 23 December 1571, the royal palace

de Vergy unrolled the letter and read it out loud for the king who stood at the window, looking out over Paris. “I shall of course keep the cursing out of it. de Dampierre tells how he has managed to reach the French fleet in Algeria. On the route between Sardinia and Algeria he, so he writes, had to borrow the ship of some Barbary pirates, stole some horses in Tunis and so on. He apologizes for the diplomatic damage he probably has inflicted on the French-Tunisian relations, but also writes that he is preparing the fleet to depart. He will try to transport the French army from Algiers to the Provence, but it will take him several trips. The Spanish have raided the ports, only enough transport vessels remain to carry 9,000 men at a time. They also block the Pillars of Hercules, transporting troops to a more convenient location is thus impossible. But he will succeed he writes and concludes by saying that all Spanish that try to stop him will meet his long and hard…sword.” Rolling his eyes, de Vergy rolled the letter up and put it down on the table.

“How are things faring in the south?” the king asked. de Very narrowed his lips, then reported “The whole of southern France is in Spanish hands. Their superior numbers have allowed them to assault the fortresses, only Labourd is standing firm. Our army has reinforced its number a bit, we stand now at 7,000 soldiers.” The king nodded “How are things in the north?” “Well, the Austrians are laying siege to Hainaut. I’m afraid they will break through eventually. And Lorraine is marching 5,000 troops into Champagne.”

The doors were suddenly thrown open as a messenger came running in “Important, important! For the king only!” He rushed to the king, fell to his knees and presented a letter. The king quickly unrolled it and read it, looking shocked from its contents. He turned to de Vergy and spoke in horror “Gather my family, gather the treasury and prepare the army. The Spanish have entered the province of Orleanais and scouts say they are ignoring the cities and fortress. Everything seems to indicate that they march onto Paris…with 37,000 soldiers!” de Vergy, turning pale, nodded then ran outside. In the following hours many a servant and aide was seen running through the palace. Carriages were gathered in front of the palace and in the late evening they left Paris, carrying the royal family with them to the north. The king himself had equipped himself with his armor and battle gear and had joined the army that began marching northbound too.

While riding horseback the king asked to de Vergy, who was riding next to him “Where is de Tocqueville? I had imagined him back in Paris a while ago?” de Vergy nodded “I know, my Liege. Unfortunately, I have no idea where he is and in what condition. But he is a cardinal, I am sure God will protect him” The king nodded “I hope the Good Lord protects France too, for we need it”
 
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