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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Vesimir

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I agree with the general sentiment of the poster above.
 

hoi2geek

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It's a very excellent AAR, Mr. Capitalist. However, I have some questions . . .

-Given the history of the Azovians, is it a Romance language(based on Norman) or a Slavic language(based on Ukrainian)?
-If I was born in the Philippines(which I am), who would my counterpart be in this world?
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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It's a very excellent AAR, Mr. Capitalist. However, I have some questions . . .

-Given the history of the Azovians, is it a Romance language(based on Norman) or a Slavic language(based on Ukrainian)?
-If I was born in the Philippines(which I am), who would my counterpart be in this world?
Thank you!

Azowian is a Slavic language based on Ruthenian.
The Philippines are known as the Edwardines, which were a British colony and are now part of the British Commonwealth.
 

hoi2geek

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Thank you!

Azowian is a Slavic language based on Ruthenian.
The Philippines are known as the Edwardines, which were a British colony and are now part of the British Commonwealth.
So, Azovian is based on Rusyn, and Britain colonised the Philippines.

Thanks for claryifying it. It seems that this AAR is a world of its own now.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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So whats going on in the Icelandic colonies, I'm very curious about those.
Actually, that makes my life easier on what to write for the next update!

So, Azovian is based on Rusyn, and Britain colonised the Philippines.

Thanks for claryifying it. It seems that this AAR is a world of its own now.
It has for some time now. I am always tweaking the modern world (just little things) to make it as realistic/interesting as possible.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Bastions
Chapter Forty Five: Quid Pro Quo
Part 2


Prelude:
The war in the Balkans had become a real thing. Wallachia and Bulgaria fought it out over the land while the Romans and Prussians fought over the seas. Morcárgrád, the great Prussian city on the Black Sea, was being starved. Not by some sieging army or wide-spread famine, but by blockade. It was an ancient tactic, and one that had failed for the Romans before. Emperor Stephen I, ruler of the Romans, did not hope to starve Prussia, which he knew was impossible. He wanted to starve Morcárgrád and cement a rebellion which would force Prussia out of the war. If that would work, it would mean that he could turn his attentions to recovering Wallachia and Bulgaria; strengthening his European lands for an eventual return to Asia Minor. What he didn't know was that Lord-Protector Doyvát already sensed the rebellion and had called upon the ancient allies of the Prussians: the Azowians. On top of that, his father was concocting plans of his own. The King of the Prussians wanted to sack Constantinople and force the Romans out of the war and hopefully force them to give up plans for expanding in the Balkans. He also hoped to take hold of Galata, the city on the opposite side of the Golden Horn from Constantinople. There Prussia might be better able to keep trade open out of the Black Sea. But there was still a war to be won. And far away, there was another war being fought; a war against inevitability and the elements. A war no one could win alone.

November 5th, 1375

Lúðvik led his growing troupe of Skrælingjar toward the crumbling walls of an abandoned Norse settlement. Eirik, as always, was his right-hand and the two had slowly shed away their Norse backgrounds and adopted the life of their native friends. Both had native wives and half-breed children. Both shaved their beards and kept the hair cropped close as to move more easily. And now, as snow began to fall around them, they pulled their fur coats up close to their faces to stay warm.

Rarely did the two speak to each other in Norse, instead choosing to speak a pidgin that the tribe had adopted to speak with the foreigners. However, when they were away from the others they tended to fall back on old habits. "What does this look like?" Lúðvik asked.

Eirik turned to him, "Looks like it has been empty for some time. You can see where the tree line is slowly creeping back to the wall. No one has cut down trees around here in a couple years."

"True. But I could have sworn I saw sails, Eirik. Norse ships, I saw them as clear as I see you. There has to be a settlement around here."

"Lúði, I don't doubt you, why don't we go inside and look for some sign, maybe get the rest of the tribe in here... can't turn down good shelter," Eirik said. The years had matured him, he was thinking calmly and rationally. "The Norse here probably moved to that other settlement, there is protection in numbers."

Lúðvik nodded, "You are right." He signaled for the others to follow them into the old settlement. He and Eirik went ahead, entering a few of the building and scoping out what was left. "This was not a sudden thing, Eirik. There are no personal things left behind save a few odds and ends... and what was nailed to the floor..."

"No, this place was willingly abandoned. But it will make for an easy build. We can easily turn this into a defendable spot. Build a big palace for Lúðvik of the Skrælingjar."

Lúðvik laughed, "Maybe. I'd like to see some beds made and the walls nailed back together before we worry about my palace."

Eirik stopped and thought, "How can we nail anything without iron, Lúðvik?"

The older man also stopped and thought, "I have no idea. The Skrælingjar might have an idea... or we can take about things we don't need and scavenge them that way."

"Maybe we can raid a Norse settlement for them," Eirik joked.

Lúðvik threw a quick glance at Eirik and then chuckled, "Maybe. I think that they would rather part with their nails than their lives, right?"

"Their wives, maybe..." Both men had a hardy laugh as everyone started to trickle into the fort. The all gathered around Lúðvik and waited apprehensively for his orders. He cleared his throat as he tried to think in the pidgin. "Everyone, this is an old Norse settlement. It is well constructed and will give us plenty of protection. I would like for us to settle here, at least for the winter maybe permanently. We can easily convert this place into our home. With your help we can last longer than us Norse alone. Please start settling down, grab a home, Eirik and I are going to continue searching for the Norse settlement near-by. I want most of the warriors to stay here; we only need five to follow us!"

With that the tribe divided into two, leaving Lúðvik and Eirik taking several of the warriors to search for the other Norse settlement. Their journey was not a long one, simply through the wood and to the coast, a distance of only a mile or two. There they saw a great sight. "Lúðvik, what are those things?" one of the younger warriors asked.

"Ships, Norse ships..." Thirty or so ships sat in the waters before them, all headed toward a singular mark on the horizon, a Norse settlement. "Let us hurry there," Lúðvik commanded. They set off, running along the beach until they reached the town, where everyone was in a buzzing panic. Few people even noticed that they had entered.

"What is going on here," Eirik asked. He had grabbed a tallish man who seemed to have some semblance of sanity around him.

The man eyeballed Eirik suspiciously and then, with a low-growl, muttered, "They are finally taking us off of this rock."

"Taking you off? As in?"

"We are headed back to Iceland," the man answered before pulling his shoulder out of Eirik's grasp and hustling away.

"Why are they panicking?" Eirik wondered.

"Because 30 long boats will not fit all these people... a lot of people are going to be left behind," Lúðvik answered. They ventured farther into the town, and everywhere the sights were the same: families fleeing back and forth, stores empty or looted, homes deserted.

"Lúði... I think this town will make a far better settlement, don't you think?"

"Please, Eirik, don't joke about that... these people... their lives are falling apart around them. They must have expected a massive armada, instead all they get is a tiny squadron... our home ports have abandoned the project... they are just leaving."

Eirik was silent as he watched Lúðvik walk away from their small group. He headed into a home that had already been left deserted. He stooped down to pick up some unseen object and when he came back, had a small toy in his hand. It was a tiny stuffed likeness of an owl, left behind in the rush to get to the docks. "I used to have a toy like this," Lúðvik said, "I had called him Verner." He looked at the toy pensively and then stuck it into his bag.

"What should we do, Lúðvik? We cannot let so many lose hope..." And just as he spoke, Eirik looked up as a man threw himself from the top of a building and onto the ground, ending it all in a sickening crunch. Lúðvik looked at the ground and tried to think. The ships had arrived and were quickly filling up. The tolls to get on were set almost by auction, as captains asked how much people would pay. The poor were left behind... those with nothing were left on a place thought to be haunted and unfit for human life.

Screams of terror and madness starting coming from the port as the first ships began to pull away from the docks. The Skrælingjar all watched as people jumped desperately from the docks into the ships; some landing in the water, others managed to grab hold of the boats and were pushed off into the cold waters. The numbers were dwindling; fights began to break out on the docks as people fought for the right to get on the ships. Woman and children pushed out of the way and into the waters by panic-stricken men. Lúðvik began to head toward the docks; along the way he grabbed the lost and the grief stricken, the desperate and the forgotten, the penniless and the slow.

"Life does not end here, my friend. Hold on a bit longer," he would tell them.

Eirik turned to the other Skrælingjar. "Go get the rest of the tribe. Lead them here," he commanded. The warriors nodded and headed off. Then Eirik went about following Lúðvik's example. By the time the others had returned, the two had collected some forty or fifty remaining Norse and gathered them near the center of town. Many had rejected their offer and fled town, heading toward some mystical other Norse settlement where other ships were said to be gathering. At least one other took his family in a small fishing boat and rowed himself out to sea. But not before a dozen others tried to get on as well and capsized the boat some three hundred feet from the shore.

"My name is Lúðvik, and I too was once abandoned. I and very few other settlers survived a particularly harsh winter, far to the north of here and managed to trek to the edge of the great harbor. There we met a tribe called the Innu, who let us join them. We've been working together for many years now... and I can tell you there is no need to give up hope, you'll make sacrifices but you'll survive. Now please, join us so we can start rebuilding."

Around him the faces were not those of rising spirits that he had hoped to see. Instead, everyone's heads hung low.

"At least think it over," Eirik added, "We'll be rebuilding society if you want to join it. We hope that you will." Lúðvik nodded in agreement. The Skrælingjar dispersed into the town, centering themselves on the areas closest to port. They set about the gruesome task of caring for the dead and dividing up housing. Hanna had chosen a larger house next to the shore and not far from the main street of town. It was not just her, Lúðvik and Joná anymore. They needed the room and she enjoyed listening to the ocean. Slowly, as they watched the Skrælingjar go to work, the abandoned began joining them, but not all. Some left forever, never to be seen again; choosing instead to search for the mystical city beyond the horizon. To them it was better than giving up hope. Lúðvik would not understand them, but for now the tribe was growing and they had a permanent home for the winter. Hopefully it would be a permanent home forever.
 

robb1993

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Wow, what's caused this sudden abandonment of the colonies? Too expensive for the Norwegian Crown or something else?
Brilliant update
 

mayorqw

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Good to see that at least some Norse influence remains in Vinland :D
If they become somewhat more 'characteristically' Norse, without their customs diluting much, I reckon the colonizing powers will be in for a surprise when Roanoke (or equivalent) gets attacked by Battleaxe wielding natives :laugh:
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Wow, what's caused this sudden abandonment of the colonies? Too expensive for the Norwegian Crown or something else?
Brilliant update
Thank you! I imagine that the Norse (read: Icelandic) colonies worked a like a mix of ancient Greek colonies and company colonies. They were funded by home ports and if the home city ran out of people, money or influence they would drop the colony. Then another city might invest in it to keep it going, or merge it with a pre-existing colony. Norway didn't have colonies, because they were fighting a losing war with the Caliph. Iceland did all the colonizing while they ignored Europe.

Good to see that at least some Norse influence remains in Vinland :D
If they become somewhat more 'characteristically' Norse, without their customs diluting much, I reckon the colonizing powers will be in for a surprise when Roanoke (or equivalent) gets attacked by Battleaxe wielding natives :laugh:
I have already been thinking about that. I might have to add them (briefly) to PEIOU...
 

robb1993

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Thank you! I imagine that the Norse (read: Icelandic) colonies worked a like a mix of ancient Greek colonies and company colonies. They were funded by home ports and if the home city ran out of people, money or influence they would drop the colony. Then another city might invest in it to keep it going, or merge it with a pre-existing colony. Norway didn't have colonies, because they were fighting a losing war with the Caliph. Iceland did all the colonizing while they ignored Europe.
Ahhhh so the home port has just run out of the means to afford the colonies. So why doesn't the Crown step in and in effect subsidise the colonies?
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Ahhhh so the home port has just run out of the means to afford the colonies. So why doesn't the Crown step in and in effect subsidise the colonies?
Iceland is a sort of republic. It has a small enough population that this is not a big problem. Basically one day Norwegian representatives from the King stopped showing up, and the Icelandic people never really noticed a change.
 

Killerflood

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Does anything of the Norse colonies survive up to the present day (or at least colonization) or is it like in OTL where they all died out and possibly interbred with the natives so much that their only legacy is in archaeology and "giving the bird" to this universe's equivalent of Cristobal Colon?
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Does anything of the Norse colonies survive up to the present day (or at least colonization) or is it like in OTL where they all died out and possibly interbred with the natives so much that their only legacy is in archaeology and "giving the bird" to this universe's equivalent of Cristobal Colon?
There was definitely interbreeding, not just with Lúðvik's clan, but also other settlements that got abandoned and went native. I also think that their discovery of the Americas is much better documented, not only in the archaeology, but also in the tales of the Icelandic peoples and the maps of Europe. Newfoundland is where the Europeans head to eventually "rediscover" the Americas. In fact, the Caribbean isn't discovered until later.

So, any news? A break maybe from the AAR...?
Ek! I've got a chapter started, but I am not sure if I like it so I might restart it from scratch. It is either some fighting between the Prussians and Romans, or more stuff about Lúðvik.
 

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Bastions
Chapter Forty Five: Quid Pro Quo
Part 3


Prelude:
The colonization of America was an outfit that ill suited the Vikings and Norsemen. They arrived expecting to conquer, but found no one to conquer. The natives would simply walk away and return after the newcomers had frozen in the harsh winters; picking apart the remnants of civilization. But when the Althing in Iceland had decided to end state-sponsored colonization there were simply not enough ships to carry back all the people who had left to settle the new world. On top of that many of the settlements had simply been "lost", never to be heard of again. Companies were even worse; most just decided to cut their losses and just stopped funding the colonies, leaving them to their own devices. But the tail of the Norse did not end in 1376 with the end of official colonialism. History tells of a great Viking leader: Lúðvik of the Innu, later Lúðvik of the Skrælingjar. Lúðvik was able to unite a small fraction of the Norse settlers left behind and form a small state based on the workings of his native Iceland; he called it the Little Parliament or Litl'þing. These Skrælingjar settled along the southern coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Centuries later, when the first Vasque and Breton explorers arrived at the Gulf they found traces of Norse civilization: red haired children, pale natives, iron weapons handed down within families. The language was foreign but held many Norse words and the people spoke of a loose confederation of Skrælingjar which had fallen apart in the decades before. However; like many other pagans, the last of the Skrælingjar were not permitted to live in the midst of the good Frandist colonists. Instead they were ejected and later destroyed when they united again under the banner of the Nyjaþing and died fighting for their freedom.


A modern recreation of the Banner of the Nyjaþing.

July 18th, 1376

The horizon was ablaze with the fires of war and deceit. Emperor Stephen watched as Constantinople burned from within. He had been foolish, his navies had been incompetent, and now the fleet that was supposed to protect the Queen of Cities was somewhere in the Mediterranean waiting for their orders. He would have to congratulate the Prussians on their flagrant disregard for the rules of war, though he must admit he was only angry because he had not managed to capture the messages of his enemy first. The siege was reaching its third morning, and most of the town was barricaded and blocked off, forcing the Prussians through more easily defended areas. However; any defense erected in a night can be dismantled in as many hours. How could everything gone so poorly? Why was he still here? He turned away from the burning horizon and headed toward his Megas Dux who was leaning over a map of the city, trying to think of a better way to defend the capital.

"I must get out of this city," Stephen said.

The Megas Dux, his brother and trusted commander who put him on the throne to begin with, looked at him grimly. "I know, I've been trying to figure out how for some time now. Brother, my lord, this was a swift action of a master tactician. King Doyvát was never to be under estimated. He won a civil war through barbarian tactics... we... I should have seen his tricks coming."

"Well, it wouldn't be a dirty trick if we could predict it," Stephen relented, "Is there any hole in the ground I can escape through?"

"The sewers lead out and into the bay... which is swarming with Prussian ships. My lord, this might be unheard of, but we must disguise you as a monk and hide you among the clergy. When the city has fallen and the Prussians begin to move on elsewhere, we can smuggle you out of the city to Athens. I believe that Athens will be spared for a while longer while they try to cross into Asia and take Thessaly."

"Always a step ahead of me, Cenwig." The Emperor removed his crown and placed it in a near-by chest and then began stripping off his robes and royal outfits while his servants fetched an old monk's habit.

"It is best that we do not tell anyone who you are while my guards and I move you around. If anyone finds out, the Prussians might catch wind of it and hunt you down."

Dressed and starting to grow worried and demoralized, Stephen was pushed down the hall by several guards also disguised as peasants and monks. Cenwig lingered briefly in the throne room, looking at his aides. With a deep breath he grabbed a bag and threw the crown unceremoniously into it. "Tell no one, but we cannot let this fall into the wrong hands." Then he joined his brother and the guards and they all hurried out into the courtyard.

"Where are we headed, brother?" Stephen asked.

"The Hagia Sofia, we must move. There is no telling when the Prussians will seize the cathedral!" Getting there was not a difficult ordeal. Though soldiers were running to and fro, the Prussians had so far been held back and out of the city, with only a few small footholds in the walls. However, things were not looking so great. From the great cathedral, so close to the palace, Stephen could see the extent of the Prussian resolve. The whole city was surrounded by land and by sea. The sails of the Prussian Black Sea Fleet nearly blackened out the early morning sun, casting a strange and eerie shadow over the great Roman city.

The Emperor froze in place; looking out over the Bosporus a grim face slowly took hold over his usually calm demeanor. The Rome he had fought so hard to control was already slipping from his grasp. He could not help but think that there was indeed something wrong with the Roman model of succession. His nation was weakened from war and in no shape to be fighting one so needlessly. It had been his Roman honor that had driven him to antagonize Prussia, but they did what Saxons and other Germanic barbarians did best: conquer and plunder.

***​

Stephen exited the monastery and headed toward the Hagia Sofia on his normal rounds. "Lábrit, kung Mun," said the one of the two Prussian guards who sat outside of the giant cathedral. The man tipped a finger to his cap as Stephen walked past him, smiling with a brief nod. Inside he saw several soldiers at work helping artists fix and restore the interior of the cathedral, damage as far back as King Kiten's invasion of the Empire only a century ago.

"Hwæt, Mun! We mussáju kætrsletá in se ræcáŝan ŝew sinik rædát!" yelled one soldier. He began pushing Stephen aside, but in a moment of temporary lapse the confused Emperor punched the soldier as he tried to free himself. "STÁT!" the soldier called, he fumbled with his weapon as Stephen headed toward an exit. But on his way he tripped and fell face-first onto a section of the floor's mosaic that was being redone. Wiping plaster and small glass pieces from his face, Stephen turned to find several guards had surrounded him.

"Kát ist taws ándit hór, Mun?" asked a lead guard. Stephen shrugged his shoulders. He never bothered learning Prussian as a lesser noble and was even less interested now. The soldier rolled his eyes and grabbed the man disguised as a monk and lifted him up, picking glass out of his forehead and brushing him off. "Bráult!" he commanded, making a pushing gesture with his hands. Quickly leaving, Stephen headed toward the main market where things were slightly more normal, if anything during the occupation could be called that. He turned to see if anyone was following him and in doing so felt himself walk into another person.

"I'm so s..." Stephen began, repeating the words as taught to him by some of his fellow monks to be said in this sort of situation.

"Indrátsak!"

Wonderful, Stephen thought, of all the people in Constantinople's market he finds the one Prussian. The man turned around, a youngish man of dark curly hair wearing a naval uniform. A Roman woman clutched his left arm and Stephen recognized her as his niece. He quickly tried to cover his face and run off, but the man simply but his boot down on his robes and he stuck where he had fallen prone. Catching a quick glance, he saw that the naval officer was not angry, though rather startled and unhappy that his time out was being interrupted.

But then the dreaded sound of his niece: "M... my lord?" Konstantina asked, she let go of the officer and reached for him.

"Please, don't!"

"But uncle yo..." and then she stopped as she realized the error she had made.

"Gadist," the man started, "Your uncle?" he finished in Greek, "My lady you called yourself niece of the Emperor himself... so either you've made me a fool or a hero."

"A fool, my good sir," Stephen lied. The officer grabbed him and picked him up, pushing off his hood in the process. The Emperor got a good look at his captor, a younger version of a man he had seen in the court before the disappearance of the Æthelstan's wife Helena and his sister Isabel. Seeing that the Prussian was unconvinced Stephen broke down, "Please don't kill me! Please have mercy!"

"So... you are the Emperor then?" the Prussian asked. "Well then, all is well for me, eh?" he asked Konstantina jokingly.

She didn't look to happy with the jest, "Lord David, I... I... um..." but she was lost. She could tell that her uncle was lost to her and her Prussian beau was already past her. He needed her to help control the Roman elite stuck in the city, but now he had the Emperor. He had his leverage. Even so, he turned to her and waited for an answer that all three of them knew was never coming. Stephen watched as the man stuck his arm up, summoning his personal guards. Across the market, the Emperor saw his brother Cenwig watching, stunned in horror. The Emperor cut his gaze after he got a small nod, he knew that his Megas Dux would not be in the city long, continuing the fight in exile.

"Please, don't kill him, David!" Konstantina blurted out.

It caught both men off guard and Doyvát turned to her an in a monotone voice stated, "I am not going to kill a crowned monarch of a foreign country... I am not a barbarian as you Romans are quick to compare us Prussians to. What good would come from gaining the ire of every other monarch in Europe when it would be much easier to just get our way?"

"What do you want? I can give you anything, please just let me go!" Stephen knew he was running out of time, the guards were closing in.

"Why would I want anything more? I have the Emperor in one hand and a woman of his court in the other. I could have myself crowned Emperor at this rate!"

"Never, I... never!"

"Well, you and I have very different definitions of 'anything'. Not what I was looking for anyway. See, what I strive for... and what all Prussians strive for, is to finally step out of the shadow Rome casts over us. We are always second fiddle, no matter how much better the tune or more we are paid."

"So you are all some sort of upset middle child?"

"No, see that is the thing. At this point we have all the allies, all the gold, all the power, all the merchants, all the contacts, the most powerful army and arguably the most powerful navy. Yet... for some reason, nothing convinces you Romans of that, but then again this is only the second time we've sacked this supposedly impenetrable city. Maybe you'll learn in time."

Konstantina sobbed quietly, she knew she was stooping herself only a few pegs above a common street prostitute, but she didn't want to hear it said so frankly. The guards closed around them, "Kát ist he, min laof?"

"Ludzó ládrt se siewkalp uzán min cámbæræs un gáræntt ŝis kalp ingelókæn en ien cetumsŝip sieæt." The guards saluted and took the Emperor away while the kindly surrounded Konstantina and paraded her off. Doyvát chuckled briefly and followed the group with the Emperor. He debated whether he'd keep the Emperor's discovery a surprise until his father arrived or if he'd entice the old bastard with the good news. Either way; today had been highly successful for the young Prince and he reflected on his good fortune.
 

Hick101

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Your narrative is perfect, and a brilliant update as well, shame to hear about the Norse but all good things must come to an end.
 

Gwyn ap Nud

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Aw, poor Constantinople. I'm beginning to like the Prussians less now. It's increasingly clear to me that it is in the Caliphate that the future lies, not with Prussia.