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Mr. Capiatlist

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I am glad everyone enjoyed it. Sorry about the break, I was in Chicago with my girlfriend's family to pick her up from her trip in Japan.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Bastions
Chapter Forty Four: War and Peace
Part 2


Prelude:
Mesopotamia was, long ago, the cradle of civilization. In 1371 it had new rulers: the Turko-Persians of the Jalayirid dynasty. They set up their capital in the grand city of Baghdad and decreed it would be the greatest of all Persian cities until the end of the time. The fall of the Seljuk Empire left Mesopotamia in a weak position, but it seemed that few were interested in instigating a war to conquer the region. In the west Egypt sat idly by. In the north, Armenia continued their war with the Romans. To the east the Yuan continued to just barely hold themselves together. It was as if the world had forgotten about the Near East and it offered a much needed respite for the Turki-Persian states to try to stabilize and legitimize their rules. After a decade or so it was obvious that no one power really had the urge to waste time, money and lives conquering the others. So a strange thing happened: peace broke out. Despite their obvious hegemony over the other Turko-Persian states, the Jalayirids did not try to reunite the Seljuk Empire. To them it was simple economics: the return was not worth the investment. In the coming century, though, it would leave Persia weak to outside forces. Despite the peace, they were not allies. And even when they did manage to ally against a common enemy, it was never an effective arrangement.

August 17th, 1371

"Lady Grey, how are you this morning?" Doyvát the Elder asked. His son had obviously left quite a mark on her father to have her suddenly show up one day forever. As usual she was busy in the gardens at the center of the palace of Memelgrád. The city was a more beautiful place with her around, selling flowers to any who could afford to part with a coin or two. "And Mister Grey, how are you?" he asked the small red-headed boy by her side.

"The boy is fine," Sarah answered after she finished trimming the branches of a shrub. She looked up at the King through a silver mask that had been forged for her. It had taken her ages to convince him not to have it made with a smile. It was a beautiful mask, but it felt hollow. It wasn't really a gift. The King could not stand the look of my face, she thought. To an extent it was true, but Doyvát was not that heartless. He had seen the girl curl away from anyone who attempted to greet her or speak to her, he thought it in her best interest. However, the King would not have his son seen around her. Enough rumors had come and gone since she arrived. He would not have the reign of his only son sabotaged before it began. Instead, Doyvát the Younger was in Krakow tending to his duties as Lord Protector of Poland.

"And how are you, m'lady?" The King asked again. Still, Lady Grey provided no answer. She did not turn away, she only stood there silent. She was obedient to her King, but only to the extent that she had to be. Doyvát stood there until it became obvious that he would never get an answer and then nodded his head, putting his hands behind his back and starting to turn away.

"When can I see Master David again?" she blurted out as the King took his first step away. Immediately shame filled her heart and she fiddled with her hands and looked past them at the ground.

The King stopped and turned around, but only partially: enough to see her fiddling and trying to take back the question. "My son is busy in Krakow. I cannot tell you," he lied. He'd like to think it was a white lie, something that was for the good of all involved. Sarah nodded and accepted it as the truth. Her isolation made her bad at reading people. She was extremely gullible and accepted almost everything at face value. When he knew she had nothing else to say, the King resumed his walk; leaving her to tend to her flowers as she pleased. His mind, though, had now completely focused on marrying his son off before it was too late. The fears of the father, however, were unfounded. The younger Doyvát busied himself with becoming a presentable ruler and part of that was to make himself attractive to the Princesses and Duchesses of Eastern Europe.

In Krakow the younger Doyvát was enjoying his freedom. He took to travelling around his palace and visiting his vassals. He wanted to build a strong rapport with the nobles of Prussia before he eventually became king. His father and grandfather had been lucky. The Civil War had thrust them onto the national stage, especially his father who was almost unknown before he began serving as a commander. But for the younger Doyvát there was no war to be had. He had to build himself up. Today he was entertaining Grand Duke Zydrunas Kasimirassun, Lord Commander of His Majesty's Baltic Fleet. The large man had left the coat of wolf fur behind, instead wore light fabric from the Roman Empire. The look did not suit a man of his stature, but he seemed not to care. "I must know, Lord Protector, who this silver-faced girl is," the admiral asked.


The Kingdom of Prussia consisted of "Greater Prussia", made up of smaller demi-Kingdoms; the Kingdom of Poland, which was nominally under the guidance of the Lord Protector; and Azowia, an autonomous realm that was dependent on Prussia for trade and diplomatic recognition. Generally, a treaty with Prussia applied to all three realms.

Doyvát, holding a glass of wine as he looked out across the grounds of the Krakow palace did not answer right away. This is one of those times to be tactile, he thought. "I met her father in England. He was the Duke of Wales, when he died fighting on the Isle of Man he had his only daughter sent here. Why, I cannot honestly tell you."

"Ah! So she is a Duchess. It is remarkable that she works so diligently. Why not drop the trappings of a peasant and live the life she is entitled to?"

"She isn't a Duchess; her family has all but disowned her. I believe that a distant cousin of her father has taken up the title. I cannot say I know much about her. Her father and I only met twice."

Zydrunas nodded his head, "She does not send letters?"

"If she does, then there is a very attentive thief stopping each and every one of them," Doyvát answered.

"Would you not write to her, then?"

Doyvát thought about it, the image of her face still burned into his mind. The very idea of kissing those burnt lips sickened him. "No," he replied with brutal honesty, "Never."

Zydrunas gave him a quick smile, "Ah, do you have your attention on some other girl then? Perhaps a Bessarabian girl or an Azowian warrior princess? O or one of those dark-skinned Romans? If Rome has anything, it is beautiful women."

"My fancy is owned by no one, Duke. However, there are some for whom I have no fancy. Lady Grey is one of them."

The Duke was slightly shaken up, he did not know the young man to be such a stick in the mud, but decided to change the subject. "Your father has told me that you were seeking a military command."

"I was, but I am not interested in standing idly by during times of peace."

"Well, if that is the case, I can give you a commission in the navy. We are always busy keeping ships safe from pirates and raiders. Plus you'll see much of the world: we often have to escort ships from here in Memelgrád to the Black Sea. That might get you out of the palace a bit, no?"

"What kind of commission are we talking about?"

"Well, I cannot make you a captain right away, but we can get you into the officer corps and if you catch on, we can get a ship or two under your command," Zydrunas winked.
 

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Blackbeard of the Baltic!

Nothing else contributive to say. ;)
 

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I must say, Lady Grey has had it too hard.
 

Gwyn ap Nud

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Poor Lady Grey. I'm afraid she truly is one of those people who history simply has no more than a bit role for, interesting as her story may be. However, what she truly adds, is a human element to the story.
I wonder who Doyvat the Younger will marry in the end...
 

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Time-travelling surgeons will return to this time, giving Lady Grey her face and life back. The marriage between Prussia and Wales (and by extension, England) will cement a lasting alliance that will stand the test of time, letting them dominate the continent. Because they are so focused on the continent, America is only visited and colonized (and even then, only lightly) by Asian powers, and the East Coast is a Chinese-culture U.S.A. The continent to the east of the Rockies is a confederation of Native Americans who trade for crops and herds, tools and technology, enabling them to band into cities and grow into a relatively large power. South America is colonized by sub-Saharan Africans who prospered from trading resources from the interior, rainforest wood and diamonds, iron and exotic plants, rubber, etc. Prussia expands into Germany, and England becomes a dominant trading power.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Blackbeard of the Baltic!

Nothing else contributive to say. ;)
Or of the Black Sea, maybe?

Oh that sounds bloody epic.
Good. I'll get right on that.

Dovyat chasing pirates sounds great! And I love the Jalayirids!

Also, poor Lady Grey.
I must say, Lady Grey has had it too hard.
Poor Lady Grey. I'm afraid she truly is one of those people who history simply has no more than a bit role for, interesting as her story may be. However, what she truly adds, is a human element to the story.
I wonder who Doyvat the Younger will marry in the end...
I'm glad people are not reacting too harshly to the Lady Grey arc, it is accomplishing its point though.

Time-travelling surgeons will return to this time, giving Lady Grey her face and life back. The marriage between Prussia and Wales (and by extension, England) will cement a lasting alliance that will stand the test of time, letting them dominate the continent. Because they are so focused on the continent, America is only visited and colonized (and even then, only lightly) by Asian powers, and the East Coast is a Chinese-culture U.S.A. The continent to the east of the Rockies is a confederation of Native Americans who trade for crops and herds, tools and technology, enabling them to band into cities and grow into a relatively large power. South America is colonized by sub-Saharan Africans who prospered from trading resources from the interior, rainforest wood and diamonds, iron and exotic plants, rubber, etc. Prussia expands into Germany, and England becomes a dominant trading power.
:eek:o
 

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Or of the Black Sea, maybe?
Meh, Baltic is where it's at. I'm still hoping Prussia will go Mare Nostrum and conquer Denmark, Sweden and the rest of Finland. At least as vassals of Prussia proper.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Deep down, you know it to be true!
Funny thing about being the author...

Meh, Baltic is where it's at. I'm still hoping Prussia will go Mare Nostrum and conquer Denmark, Sweden and the rest of Finland. At least as vassals of Prussia proper.
I shall keep that in mind.
 

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