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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The Pope smiled.

Of course I shall recognize the right of Maria to rule as Sovereign Queen of Hungary, aswell as Jan of Luxembourg as King-Consort.
 

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An emissary arrives for an Englishman staying in Rome, of the White Company..



Unto Sir John Hawkwood
of the White Company and of the Crown of England


Hail to thee!
A fellow comrade of arms, long have I sat in this Sienese court of pomp and nobles, and much gladdened I am to have received word from another of our kind. To introduce myself I am Gerardino da Lucari of Cortona, and it gives me pleasure to introduce myself to a man of your respects.
In truth, I and my own mercenary captains and men at arms seized power from the Siena Republic, of which my Lordship fiefdom had always been given trouble from. From it’s political confusions in my youth my fiefdom was seized and I was exiled, and thereafter I myself served as a mercenary across Italy, and under Roberto di Geneva against the heretical anti-Papal rebels at Cessena, as of in other endeavours in my lifetime.

It is true that his Holiness has indeed recognized my claim, and is coming on an official visit himself to bless the new Sienese fiefdom, of which he has named me feudal overlord thereof. I owe much to his Holiness, and I truly believe he is the one legitimate Pope, and I have ill feelings for any man of Avignon whom would wish him anything but the highest respects that the true Universal Father of Christiandom deserves. Of course Siena would be most obliged to receive the endeavours of trade and other matters with England, and I myself would warmly welcome you as my guest, unless affairs in Rome or for your liege keep you elsewhere, although you might do well to escort his Holiness or come beforehand for his reception here in the city.

You may send your King Richard that I am most gratious for his well wishing, and I pray that God grants him the greatness and lawful lands he is truly destined to rule.​

You are welcome to my lands at any time,
~ Gerardindo da Lucari
Duke of Siena
Count of Cortona
The Church’s Overlord of all Tuscany
 

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An envoy dressed in the formal livery of the Order of Teutonic Knights arrives in Rome for an audience with Pope Urban.

zum Seine Heiligkeit, Urban VI

Dear Papa,

the faith and Church are at bay in the Balkans. The pagan Liths continue to threaten the security of our territory as well as the heathen inhabitants who have not yet come to the Lord. In our attempt to secure a peaceful solution through the acquisition of Samogitia, these pagans refused our generous offer. We must now resort to war. The Order humbly seeks your blessing of our martial endeavours and to look upon us as true crusaders in the service of Mother Church. If there is any material assistance that could be provided we would be grateful. The word of the Pope would also be invaluable in encouraging other faithful kingdoms to oppose the Liths and at least refuse to aid them.

May you continue to find peace in Our Lord,


Konrad III Zollner von Rothstein
Hochmeister, Der Deutscher Orden
 

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Some time after the last meeting, Mátyás Ujlaky once again arranged a meeting with the Pope. Upon being let in he kissed the papal ring and spoke.

"Your Holiness, as you may know the most Holy Order of the Teutonic Knights have asked Hungary to do what it can diplomatically regarding the Horde. Now, it is the belief of both the Queen of Hungary and the Cardinal-Archbishop of Esztergom that Lithuania can be reasoned with and even be converted to the Holy Mother Church."

"This would not only save many souls, but would also give us a valuable ally against the vile mongol hordes. The Cardinal-Archbishop has initiated dialogue with the lithuanians. Yet we seek the guidance and advice of Your Holiness in this matter. How best to proceed? Does Your Holiness have any wishes or commands regarding the situation?"
 

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An anonymous messenger arrives with a letter written painstakingly in Latin. It translates thus:

Your Utmost Holiness,

I humbly come before you, inquiring about a possible conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. I have been studying Catholic scripture for years now, learning more and more of your teachings. With each page I turn, I become more impressed with your religion's teachings and virtues. I am Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania, now beset from all sides. My conversion now needs haste with the Teutonic knights proclaiming me a pagan. I tell you, I am no pagan, and would not convert simply to prevent a war, but I may soon be dead should not the Teutons stand down. I wish to convert not to get a peace with the Teutons, but this adds haste to my wish. I have refused offers to convert to Orthodox Christianity, but should I not adopt Roman Catholicism the people of Lithuania may soon convert to Russian Orthodox. Should I convert, I would like to take the name Karol. I could also ensure the conversion of my family and greatly stress it throughout the Grand Duchy. Would you consider accepting me as a convert to the Roman Catholic Church?

Most Devoutly,
Jogaila Gediminaicis, Grand Duke of Lithuania
 

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The Messanger of Hungary and the Letter from Lithuania were directed to the City of Siena, where the Pope was staying, awaiting the Mass and Coronation of the new Duke of Siena. Urban, contemplated the Hungarian.

Dear Brother in Christ, the Muhommeden Horde from the East is a menace, and we hope to allieviate the problem. With the possibility of a conversion of the Liths, please intervene and spare the new believers.

As soon as he dispatched the Hungarian, a letter arrived from Lithuania. He read it and was overjoyed. He immediately called the scribe, and took down a letter to the Grand Duke of Lithuania.
 

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A letter arrived, rather swiftly, from the lands of Lithuania. Apparently it had been written soon after the first one and far before the Grand Duke had received the Pope's letter.
Most Holy Father,

I forgot in my last letter to mention that I will be baptized as soon as is possible. Of course, it shall not be possible until this war has ended and Lithuania is at peace once more, for I must lead my troops into battle against the Muscovites. The very second that the Grand Duke agrees to peace, I shall ride and never halt until I reach St. Peter's Basilica.
 

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THE SUPREME PONTIFF OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH HAS ENTERED THE KINGDOM OF GOD. WE SHALL NOW BEGIN A PERIOD OF THREE WEEKS TO MOURN OUR LOSS, BEFORE THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS CONVENES TO ELECT THE NEXT POPE. ALL AFFAIRS CAN BE SUBMITTED TO THE PAPAL REGENCY COUNCIL: FOR SPIRITUAL AFFAIRS, DIRECT INQUIRIES TO PIETRO CARDINAL TOMACELLI, ARCHBISHOP OF OSTIA AND DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS. FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, DIRECT INQUIRIES TO FATHER ANTHONY DIROSSIO, CHANCELLOR OF THE STATES OF THE CHURCH.
 

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Procession to Rome

Now began the long, solemn, and tearful procession from Urban's deathbed in Siena to his resting place in the Great Cathedral of Saint Peter. The Supreme Pontiff, wrapped in his traditional garments, was placed on an elegant stretcher, inside a large carriage, and moved to Rome, followed by all the Cardinals in the College, and then by the laity. The Parade was beautiful, as the carriage stopped infront of the Basilica, and Urban was layed to rest.

After a Mass was said, all the Cardinals, led by Pietro Cardinal Tomacelli, were locked inside a Room in the Basillica, and so began the deliberations for the election of the 103d Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
 

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A letter arrived at the Papal Palace, for the reading of Pietro Tomacelli.

“Charles d’Anjou, By the grace of God, King of Naples and Albania, Prince of Achaea and Corfu, Duke of Anjou and Provence, to Cardinal Pietro Tomacelli, greetings.

These past few weeks have been of great sorrow to me. The death of the Most Holy Father was a strong blow to us, for we have long prided ourselves in being the foremost champion of Rome amongst the courts of Europe. And, of course, we will continue to do so. And not long after, our beloved Queen Margherita, after bearing us two healthy princesses, died, whilst away in Hungary. We were not with her, and we must take the word of Erzsebet – who bears much hatred towards us – that the death was one of accident, caused by the strenuous birth of two children, and not Hungarian poison. We ask that you pray for us, and for the weal of the soul of our late wife, as we pray for you at Rome, and the weal of the soul of our former Apostolic Father.

Also, for the past two years we have kept, at our convenience, the heretic, atheist “Cardinals” Giacomo d’Itro, and Leonardo Rossi - both followers of the self-proclaimed, upstate friar in Avignon – whom we all know to be nothing other than an atheist, the practitioner of strange mystical arts, a simoniac, a bandit, a sodomite, and a glutton, who knows not the will of the Lord. We seek your guidance in dealing with these two.

By his own hand,
The Most reverent,
Charles, King of Naples, et cetera.”
 

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Soon after, another letter, also from Naples arrived. This for the reading of Pietro Tomacelli and Antonio Dirossio.

“Elizabeth, By the grace of God, Queen of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Transylvania, Princess of Hungary and Poland, Princess Dowager of Taranto and Achaia, et cetera, to the most holy and pious Cardinal Pietro Tomacelli, Archbishop of Ostia, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Antonio Dirossio, Chancellor of the States of the Church, greetings.

We must give thanks that the LORD is the same today, as he was yesterday, and will be tomorrow. Everyday I study the scriptures, when the good LORD forgave our gracious lady, Saint Mary Magdalene, when she was to be put to death for her great many sins, and he gave her everlasting life instead, telling her to go forth, and not to sin again, and thereafter she lived a most righteous and holy life. Fathers, I must confess to you the great sins that I committed in my youth. Whilst I was engaged to be married to Philip, the second of that name to rule as Prince of Taranto, I did lie with the good and noble Charles of Durazzo, who is now King in Naples, and I did bare him a son, to whom I gave the name Stephen Pietro, and gave to be raised in a monastery, in the vicinity of Bari. And thereafter I married Philip of Taranto, and did bare him a son, who died in his youth, and a few years after that my lord Philip of Taranto was slain, and I did lie with Charles of Durazzo once more, and bore him a second son, to whom was given the name Jean Tristan; Jean, for he (despite my great sin) is still beloved of God, and Tristan, because he is the child of my sorrow. And thereafter I went to the same monastery as my other son, and I reared the two boys in the ways of the lord, with the assistance of the nuns and monks of the abbey of St Mark near Bari. Many believed me dead, and I was forgotten. But whilst I was dead to the world, I was alive in Christ, and now I am restored to the world, so that I might spread the one and true Gospel, under the guidance of the one and true Pope in Rome. Despite this, my mind is still at times tormented and ill at rest, and I ask that you send me a good priest to soothe my consciousness and absolve me of my sins. Perhaps you will send to us the Archbishop of Corfu, or some other noted prince of the church from this blessed kingdom of Naples.

My lord, King Charles of Naples, informs me that he has already informed you of the death of his most pious and righteous Queen, Margherita. Now both I and him seek to rectify what we have done wrong in the past, and marry, and purge our royal lineage of our great sin. We have heard with much sorrow of the death of our most Holy Father, and have decided to mourn him along with you for the duration of three weeks. At the end of that three weeks, as is customary, the College of Cardinals will convene to elect the next Pope, and thus we have decided to wait until his election for our marrying. Indeed, we would be most delighted if he and his cardinals would honour us with his presence at our matrimonial festivities.

Last, but by no means, least, I seek your guidance in more mundane, political matters. Know that I am the daughter of Stephen, King of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Transylvania, who ruled those lands in his own right, the brother of Louis, King of Hungary, whose widow is now regent in that country. My only brother died whilst still a child, and I have no other siblings; the laws of the church govern that those lands held by my father should therefore pass to me, and to my heirs thereafter. I am under no illusion that the woman Erzsébet will give me back my lands, which she has taken for her own daughter, although I have little desire to send men into the battlefield, and will only do so if I am forced to by her own malevolent actions. I believe my words, and claims, would carry much more weight, if I was supported in them by you, my most righteous and noble fathers. The church, as always, has supreme governance over all, and in this matter I ask that the true church, that of Rome, make known its support of me, their most humble and reverent child. That it is God’s will for me to rule those lands, I know it to be, for had I been destined to rule naught, I would have been born a peasant, or the daughter of a prince with many sons; but alas! I was born the only daughter, of a great king, whose only son would die young. The Lord knew it to be so, and yet whilst I was still in the womb, he ordained me, he anointed me as the Queen over those nations. I only ask that his earthly representatives do likewise.

By her own hand,
Elizabeth, By the Grace of God, Queen of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Transylvania, et cetera.”
 

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Father DiRossio read over the two letters. With Cardinal Tomacelli holding the 203d Conclave, he was taking over most of the affairs of the Papal States, most other issues stopped, and began to line-up. What a predicament. Charles will just have to wait until a new pope is elected to make such a decision.
 

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The Senior Cardinal Deacon, Adam Easton, stood at the Central Balcony of Saint Peter's Basillica. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the white smoke from the burnt ballots still pluming from the chimney. He looked down at the crowd of gathered Romans. He let out a great smile, and spoke the words said so many times before him.

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; Habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Philippus, Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem d'Alençon, Qui sibi nomen imposuit Gregorius Duodecimus.


The crowd erupted with cheering as the former Patriarch of Jerusalem walked out in his Papal Robes. With a great smile on his face, Gregory raised his hand and gave his first Papal Benediction:

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Amen.

Gregory then went back inside Saint Peter's Basillica, to await transportation to the Castel and the many problems which now plagued Christendom.
 

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Arrival of the 2nd Company of the Papal Escort


The Vatican

From the caravel on the coast the collumn of 21 men, armored in plate, and mounted on fine steed, barded in red and gold, rode with purpose but neither haste nor sloth. They proudly held their lances high and approached the what had been the Holy See for hundreds of years.

As the white smoke began to rise in the foreground, the head of the collumn mumbled with some dismay that they were too late already, and increased the pace of the hooves upon the cobbles.



Upon entering the town and making a quick ducat payment to a errand boy they learned the name 'Gregory,' as well as the use of a carriage and a team of four mares to pull it.

Continuing onwards, fully armored, they marched through the streets until they approached the Bacillica, where they halted in formation.

One of the riders from the middle cut out and moved to the left and forward, and called out in a booming voice to a Vatican servant.


"Please inform Gregory, now of Rome, the Second Company of the Papal Escort has arrived from Iberia with ship and carriage to escort him from this place on a mission of great importance, complete with his regali and proofs of office. Additionally requested is the name of each alleged Cardinal supposedly to be in attendance of the papal election.

If ready, we shall set sail as soon as possible."
 

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Gregory had been the Pope for not more then two hours when the Castillians arrived. Gregory, a blunt, proud and courageous man, walked down and stood infront of the Vatican Aid. The poor man, quaking something awful, was sent away. Gregory stood, looked at the man, whom appeared to be the Captain of his regiment, and spoke.

I am Gregory, One True Pontiff of Christendom. I demand to know your business in Rome, especially marching an armed contingent into the City at the Center of Christendom.
 

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Arrival of the 2nd Company of the Papal Escort


The Vatican

The Commander swung down off of his horse and unfurled a paper bearing the seal of the Archdiocese of Iberia and its Primate, Pedro Tenorio.

"A letter of introduction from Archbishop Tenorio, despite the fact that we were not sent by him."

He held the paper out for one of Gregory's assitants to grab if any were about, and continued.

"We are charged with escorting your person to Barcelona, where we will endevor to bring the Lord of Avignon and settle this matter of Christondom, and of the Balareics, in finality. Secondarily, I come to enquire into the proper protocols of Papal selection as there was no general summons for the Cardinals of Christiandom to arrive.

Are you prepared for travel?"
 

Velasco

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In the midst of everything, another letter arrived, from Naples. It was handed to a low ranking scribe, who was to pass it on to his superiors. It was adressed to Gregory XII, the new Pope.

"Charles, by the grace of God, King of Naples, Jerusalem, and Albania, Prince of Achaia and Durazzo, Duke of Anjou and Provence, Lord of Corfu, et cetera, to our Most Holy Father Gregory the Twelvth, the One and Only True Pope, the Head of the Christian Church, Heir of the Apostles, Archbishop of Rome, et cetera, the most reverent greetings.

This morning we heard with great elation of your election. We write to you inviting you to our court of Naples, so that we might talk face to face. We hope that you will grace us with your most Holy presence at our marriage, next June. As you know, I have long been the foremost supporter and champion of Rome, and I intend to remain so.

We trust you have received our previous letter, and that of our lady Elizabeth. We await your reply.

Most reverently and fearfully,
By his own hand,
Charles, King of Naples, Champion of Rome, et cetera. "
 

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It was a large hungarian delegation that entered the Curia this day. It was lead not only by Mátyás Ujlaky, the normal emissary, but also by one other. After entering Ujlaky presented himself and requested an audience.

"We come to show our respect for the newly elected Holy Father, and thus request an audience. Sadly that is not the only reason we are here. With me is Miklós Garai, Palatine of Hungary. He brings grave news and seeks the council of the Holy Father. News of such urgency and importance that none other than the very head of hungarian government could be trusted with the task."
 

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The Holy Father was distracted by the Hungarian Delegation. He spoke to his aid, and he went running. Gregory walked over to the Captain, and said,

Your intentions are noble. I shall go with you under a few conditions. I take along all my unattended business, I receive any and all Envoys after discussions, I take one of my own Regiments with me.

He looked towards the Bishop Ujlaky, and just when the aid returned with the various papers which had accumulated during the sede vacante, and said to him,

I shall speak to you and your people in a miunute.

He turned back,

Well Captain? Is this acceptable?
 

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A Secret Letter has arrived from Syria
 
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