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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Mr. Capiatlist

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Bastions
Prologue Three: The Kings of Kings
Part 32


ien tevádus gebáswánt turnáf ien sunus háŝ turnáf ien kalpus godkár.
A father's distain becomes a son's hate becomes a man's ambition.​

Prince Vishly was trusted more and more to deal with the issues of the nobles, all the while his father retreated from the public life of the King. Kiten was tired of the throne, but enjoyed its benefits. He was also not sure of whether to completely trust Vishly yet, a boy who had caused him a great deal of trouble as a child. Oleksander, on the other hand, could not inherit at all as he was known not to be Kiten's son. If the Monarchy was to be maintained, and the Unions with Bohemia and Hungary maintained, Vishly had to inherit the throne of Prussia. The Unions with Bohemia and Hungary were becoming more and more strained, more hate filled. The southern states yearned for freedom; they were tired of being nothing but Prussian play things. The nobility there paid heavy taxes and were under constant watch. The people were tired of being ruled by Prussians, and in some parts, Prussians were tired of being ruled by a distant and distrusting Monarch. In the far south lived a group of Prussians called the Carpathians. They spoke Prussian and ruled in the stead of the Monarchy, but they really sought independence.

Within the court a new buzz word was coming into fashion: Fraternalism. Fraternalism was a belief in the Feudal Contract, the Æthelræchtæs. Someone who believed in the Æthelræchtæs as the supreme law of the land was known as a Fraternal. However; fraternalism was becoming synonymous with separatism in many circles of the Empire. In Hungary, Bohemia, Mordvia, Brandenburg, Croatia, Moldavia and Wallachia the elite circles were made up mostly of Fraternals who craved independence from Prussia. Fraternalism was spurred on by cultural elitism in nobles who often spoke Prussian as a second language: German and French nobles who had fled the Caliphate. But the Carpathians who ruled Hungary and Moldavia were also ardently fraternalist. On the other end of the spectrum were the Monarchists, nobles who believed in the blood rule of the royal family as well as the royal family being the ultimate law of Prussia, above that of even the church (which ruled the spiritual, not the material). Their ranks were packed with the lowest of nobles, mainly wealthy merchants and other "peasants" who had made their wealth in the cities along the Baltic coast. However, many remained in the middle as well. Most famously were the Horselords of Azowia. They were uninterested in petty bickering and saw to it that their taxes were paid on time.

In 1307 the entire Empire held its breath. King Kiten was dead and his only son, Vishly inherited the throne. Within hours the Empire was a different place. Those who had stood against Vishly as a Prince were already disappearing. Kiten's lovers, Prince Oleksander, court members; all were dispatched quickly and brutally. The nobility knew the process was going to be painful, they just didn't know how painful. King Vishly removed their rights to command armies, protected by the Æthelræchtæs. It was the first of many amendments the King would make before just doing away with the document all together. Next was limiting their ability to tax their fiefs for personal gain and then the actual size of personal fiefs. The King cut away their ability to defend themselves, their ability to pay for themselves and then their ability to feed themselves. But more deviously he also removed their ability to call up levy armies in the future, an important change. The King had the upper hand, but the nobility was becoming angered, their anger boiling far below the surface where it was changing from just rage to a pure hate, a hate that screamed to burst forth.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Enewald

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THEY KILLED OLEKSANDER!!!
I had forgotten him totally. :(
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Bastions
Prologue Three: The Kings of Kings
Part 33


baditt næ se niev tu cannás kræsálæt, baditt se ien tu cannás næ.
Do not fear the blade you can see, fear the one you cannot.​

The court in Memelgrád was a dark and gloomy place under the eye of the new King, King Vishly. Courtiers who disagreed with the King were likely to disappear, their families destined to never find their loved ones. All the while the King and Queen surrounded themselves with yes-men and lesser nobles drawn from the growing middle class. They continued to expand over the Æthelræchtæs, taking rights away from the nobles and consolidating them in the Monarchy. One of the brokers behind this power grab was Marshal Árás Kæstótis, often called the "First General". Árás was not a noble born, and was the first non-noble to hold the position of Marshal. He was a very able commander, as he would soon prove, but where he excelled was in training. Árás was instrumental in the creation of the first permanent Prussian Army, which existed during the reign of Vishly. He argued (correctly) that a smaller army of trained professionals would fight better than a larger army of levy soldiers supported by a handful of knights. The permanent army was noted for its heavy, well-trained infantry and medium hit-and-run cavalry designed to pincer the enemy. This was in direct opposition to the traditional army composition which favored light levy infantry and the heavy knights designed to strike at the core of the enemy.

In 1310 Queen Ziedás gave birth to Prince Gunvald, Vishly's first son of many. Gunvald would be followed by several more including Butovit, Kalev, Doyvát and Vilhelms. Vishly's sons were notoriously pitted against one another, more so than during the reigns of previous Kings. For Vishly and Ziedás it was to ensure the survival of the fittest heir. But it created a hostile environment to grow up in. Gunvald would later grow into a serious stutter that he would carry with him for the rest of his life. But out of all of Vishly's sons, Gunvald was the best adjusted individual. But court life was becoming just as harsh. In 1311 several nobles tried to assassinate Vishly after trying to force him to abdicate. This drove Vishly into the first series of purges, or Impalements as they became known as. The King and Queen quickly killed off all resistance to their rule and seized the assets of the victims. If the family of the dead was lucky, they might have the chance to buy back their lands and titles at a premium. The Ruriks were some of the hardest hit. Their family was especially wide-spread and influential in the old Russian territories, and as the saying goes the tallest poppies are the first to go.

More surprising was the forced end to the Prussian Guard, which had faithfully served the Empire since the days of King Gunvald I. The Death Knights attacked their rivals during the night, burning many priories with the brothers still inside. This act cemented the allegiance of the Guard, which had many brothers survive the ordeal. The Guard met in secret, slowly reforming its ranks and trying to gain support from their beleaguered neighbors. The stage was set; the actors had their lines and were being shepherded out in front of the crowd. Civil war was unavoidable, Vishly had committed too many crimes in the eyes of the nobles and he had to be toppled. The First Prussian Civil War would give Europe a glimpse of the future as old-fashioned feudal armies would fight the modern centralized armies of the Monarchy. On the sidelines sat Vishly's impressionable sons. They would defined the future of Prussia, and regardless of the war's outcome, would dictate where Prussia went afterwards.
 

Gwyn ap Nud

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Gotta say, the inclusion of 'Death Knights'and 'Prussian Guard' felt like it threw me a little out of the story. Literally EVERY OTHER aspect of the story sucked me in, but those two just felt out of place. An anachronism, something that couldn't have existed at the time. Or at least, not with so much power, and certainly not without a deep religious base.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Gotta say, the inclusion of 'Death Knights'and 'Prussian Guard' felt like it threw me a little out of the story. Literally EVERY OTHER aspect of the story sucked me in, but those two just felt out of place. An anachronism, something that couldn't have existed at the time. Or at least, not with so much power, and certainly not without a deep religious base.
The Prussian Guard was a religious organization, though I agree there was a bit of anachronism with the Death Knights.
 

Enewald

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Could we get to know more of the Prussian Guard?
You do not mention it often.
 

IrishKaiser

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so...close...to EU3...sooooo cloooose...
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Mr. Capiatlist

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Short and sweet

Bastions
Prologue Three: The Kings of Kings
Part 34


se lefá tas tór ist kien tirta wæk, tas tu bist eţær «ár æm» vai «intó æm», ist ien bistás ien un he gráófst labs kalpæs tán urs.
The belief that there is no third way, that you are either "with me" or "against me", is a dangerous one and has destroyed better men than us.​
-Klaudijs Ludissun, first President of the Prussian Republic​

In 1314 the First Fraternal War was underway. In some books it is called the First Prussian Civil War. Leading the Monarchist armies were Marshal Árás Kæstótis and General Juhán Ramondssun. Before them were the unorganized rabbles of Fraternal nobles, usually representing some foreign region that yearned for independence such as Hungary, Croatia and Denmark. But many others were involved as well. The core of the Fraternal Army was made up of the Old Guard, which is to say the survivors of the old Prussian Guard. The Prussian Guard, founded during the reign of King Eadbert, had been a religious organization tasked with putting down religious revolts. They lent themselves well to controlling the Catholic population and later with crushing the pagans in Finland. The order itself maintained a hierarchy not unlike that of the Church and had many of the same limitations upon entering. Applicants must be white, male Orthodox Christians; all had to take vows of poverty and abstinence; many also took vows of silence that could only be taken back if they are promoted to order giving ranks. In battle they often wore black or white, usually with the opposite color as a cross. Rarely did they were anything other than these colors. Browns were common outside of battle, as they were the traditional color of monk robes. However; black robes were often common amongst the lowest ranking brothers while white was most common with the ranking members. Most members had access to horses before the attacks by the Death Knights; afterwards many Guardsmen were forced to fight on foot or on horses stolen during battle.

The First Fraternal War did not fare well for the fraternal forces. It was soon obvious that victory was not possible for them, even after the Roman Empire stepped in around 1315. The Romans offered their support to Croatia and Wallachia and despite losing Wallachia quickly, Croatia was able to feebly hold onto its lands. During the war Vishly turned his soldiers loose on the country side. Rape and pillage was the modus operandi for the Monarchist army. Local leaders and supporters were often impaled for their part in the Civil War and dissent was not tolerated. The noble populations were quickly being thinned. By the time the Romans got involved the war was over in many places, but they provided a second wind of resistance in the south, which probably saved Croatia, but did little for Hungary. The war was over in 1317 after an anti-climatic siege at Pest, the Hungarian capital. For Vishly it was time to strengthen his rule; for the fraternalists, it was time to rebuild.
 

Enewald

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So, Croatia is the only one managing to escape. :p¨Furthest away. Caliph expanding hitherto?
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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So, Croatia is the only one managing to escape. :p¨Furthest away. Caliph expanding hitherto?
No, the Caliph is pretty stagnant during this period. They do manage to grab southern Sweden/Norway in 36.
 

Lord Strange

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This overview is an excellent reminder. I am looking forward to the start of the EU3 section though.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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This overview is an excellent reminder. I am looking forward to the start of the EU3 section though.
Thank you. I am going to have to rework how to do the Prologue for Books 3 and 4.

To think I was actually cheering for Vishly when he wasn't as much of an omnicidal maniac, when it seemed like only wanted to curb the power of the aristocrats and strengthen the middle class...
Damn my class loyalties.
Vishly became what he did because of my own over-hyping. At the same time, I had so many courtiers that I was constantly getting the "X thinks s/he is a better (position) then Y" and I had some awesome advisors so I was mashing "Exile" all the time. I had to expand on what he was doing and make it a bit more fun then "Then Vishly exiled half the court".

Everyone is, very veyr much so :b I don't think even Mr. Capiatlist can wait much more xD
Nope, hence I dropped images, length, and routine culture updates. Only a few more. @__@
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Bastions
Prologue Three: The Kings of Kings
Part 35


ciltás kræsálán kát kalpæs cannán næ, se ófæl en se sirdæs uw tea álskórne hiem.
Boys see what men cannot, the evil in the hearts of those around them.​

Before the war had ended, Vishly was experiencing problems in his own home. His eldest son, Gunvald, was growing to fear and loathe his father. His fear manifested in a permanent stutter, one he carried all his life. Even at a young age, Gunvald was vested in a great deal of power. His maternal Grandfather abdicated as Duke of Livonia-Courland and had Gunvald crowned at the age of four. In 1317, at the age of seven he left Memelgrád with his teacher, Nigul. Nigul was a mysterious man. He was hired by Vishly to teach his son the art of stewardship, but quickly became hated for he was above flattery and was a generally silent man. Nigul was a merchant from Æstlinn, a northern city from the region of Estonia and when he left with young Gunvald took him to his home in the growing northern port. There the merchant felt he was safe. He was well liked in him home city and operated a shipping company, where Gunvald would work instead of taking classes. It was Gunvald's job to manage the books; keeping careful track of every penny, many of which flowed back into the city to pay for water transport, monuments and other improvements.

Like many of the Baltic regions, Estonia was quickly growing. Her inhabitants spoke a strong dialect of Prussia, influenced by their old Estonian. The economy thrived on trade as goods headed to Mordvia often passed through Æstlinn first. Estonia was also the center for the fishing industry in Prussia. Fishermen spread the Prussian language, specifically the Estonian dialects, throughout the other Baltic regions including Gotland, Öland, and Finland. But more than anything, Estonia was known as a place of restless soldiers, run-away Guardsmen and a strong independent mind. Estonia was neither Monarchist nor Fraternalist. They were on their own, supporting their own for the good of Estonia. So when Gunvald arrived as Duke of Livonia-Courland, the Estonians were glad to see the center of the Duchy shift northward into Æstlinn. But it also shifted Vishly's attention to Æstlinn as he carefully monitored the rise of his eldest son, whom he was quick to disinherit.

To the North and West wars were flaring up. Norway and Sweden launched a series of raids against the Caliph, using the rivers as paths to their targets. They struck targets deep inland, cities that thought of themselves as free from worry of naval attack. The Caliph in Barcelona did very little; his vassals in France and Germany acted almost as independent states and chose to deal with the issue themselves. Soon the tide turned at it was the Germans raiding Sweden and Norway. But unlike the Norse, the Germans had more than pillaging on their minds. Funded entirely by the Zähringer family, the Germans staged an invasion of Scandinavia, one that would have drastic implications. Meanwhile the Caliph did little to stop his vassals who were too far out of his grasp. It was during this time that the Caliphate moved its capital from Toledo to Barcelona and added the Electorate. The four most powerful houses could send representatives to Barcelona to act as advisors to the Caliph. The four were the bin Iñigos of Navarre, the de Beauces of France, the von Zähringers of Holstein-Tirol, and the Crown Prince of the Caliphate.
 

Enewald

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And so the decadence of the west begins again.

How would the prosperity/peace/raids affect the population of Europe?
Larger than in our timeline? Or more bloodshed?
And the east is more populated?
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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And so the decadence of the west begins again.

How would the prosperity/peace/raids affect the population of Europe?
Larger than in our timeline? Or more bloodshed?
And the east is more populated?
Despite the lack of a major plague, the population in Western Europe was kept in check by the infinite war. This means that the east is more heavily populated then in our timeline. Famines were also common in the west, while rare in the east. The east falls behind, though, due to its lack of access to the Atlantic and therefore colonies. Prussia manages to get around this, but Mordvia is forced to colonize eastward while Rome is just out of luck.