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Crimson Drakon

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Curtea Domnească de Basarab- A Wallachian AAR

(The Royal Court of Basarab)



Hello once again to another CK2 AAR, this time to bring into the spotlight the House of Basarab- the founders of medieval Romania! Briefly, Basarab I is considered the founder of the first ruling Romanian dynasty. He was a vassal to King Charles I of Hungary until he broke free with the result of the battle at Posada in 1330, which was a decisive Wallachian(Romanian) victory.

Game wise I shall begin on the 1st of January 1310 where Ioan Basarab is de facto free. However will he remain so? I hope I entertain you with my AAR and here is a list of the goals I hope to achieve:

- Form the Kingdom of Wallachia - done!
- Form the Empire of Carpathia- done!
- Whatever the game brings us!

A final note: I have been playing before the 2.3.2 Patch, with the infamous levy bug. Although with such a late starting game, I have had my share of wars declared upon me but it is possible I had been spared the full brunt of attacks against me. When the time comes however, where the game is played with 2.3.2 and later on, I shall let you know!

Contents

Voivode Ioan Basarab -the Usurper- of Wallachia(Duke) (1310-1353)
Cneaz Nicolaie Alexandru Basarab of Wallachia(King) (1360-1368)
Cneaz Vladislav Basarab -the Strange- of Wallachia(King) (1368-1381)
Cneaz Nicolaie II Alexandru Basarab -the Holy- of Wallachia(King) (1381-1393 )
Cneaz Dracul Basarab-the Cruel- of Wallachia(King) (1393-1409 ) Împărat of Carpathia(Emperor) (1403-1409) Kralj of Serbia(King) (1403-1409)
Împărat Stelian Draculescu Basarab-the Strong- of Carpathia(Emperor) (1409- 1447), Cneaz of Wallachia(King) (1409-1447), Király of Hungary(King) (1416-1447)
Kralj of Serbia(King), (1409-1447)

Împărat Ioan Iosifescu Basarab- the Cruel- of Carpathia(Emperor) (1447 ) Cneaz of Wallachia(King) (1447) Király of Hungary(King) (1447) Kralj of Serbia(King) (1447)

 
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Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 1: Wallachia- the land of the Vlachs

1st of January 1310

My name is Johan Kronstadt, a Saxon by origin and a merchant by occupation. The road brought me here, in the Voivodate of Wallachia in search of new markets, especially here in Targoviste, the Curtea Domnească de Basarab as the local Vlach peasants here call it, the Royal Court of Basarab. What am I to find in this land? They tell me here is a land of pastures and agriculture and true to their word, I see around me small villages and vast tracks of land, green fields and the foreboding Carpathian Mountains, which I crossed from Transylvania to see this new realm for my eyes.



The old lord Thocomerius had died some time ago and in his stead rules the young Ioan Basarab, a man who they say knows how to wield the sword and is honest in his words. However they say he is whimsical and before my arrival, he has ousted other Saxon merchants before, and Hungarians, claiming they spoil the pure Vlach way of life.



I should note that before the rise of Ioan Basarab as the Voivode of Wallachia, these lands were part- loosely- of the Golden Mongol Horde. These barbarians grazed their horses together with the Vlachs and the notion of the nomad- wandering lifestyle has not departed entirely from these people. Indeed, the Golden Horde still borders dangerously both the Kingdom of Hungary, the King of the Bulgars and the new Prince of Wallachia and even in these days, most of the Russians and the Vlachs of Moldau sigh under the iron grip of the Khagan.

Despite the arbitrary dealings with foreigners, Ioan Basarab did not reject the service of Catholic pastors in his realm, as he is a Christian himself although following the Orthodox rite. Plenty of Orthodox churches paint the landscape and the liturgy is entirely different from my Catholic creed. As a merchant though, I will not let religion divide my interests for there is gold to be made, especially if I manage to find a secure way to access the Black Sea.

For now though I shall enjoy my ale and see what the local dish offers… hopefully I can gain the trust of the locals, who are quite suspicious of my dresscode and my accent… they were kind though to offer me one advice: never travel after sunset for every door is closed and the forest is dark and perilous…


15st of January 1310

How difficult is it to learn this language? I cannot seem to easily get into the minds of the Vlachs, although with my stay in the local inn, they have become to call me Ioan, a corrupted form of Johan. The innkeeper knows my language although I cannot pry from him much conversation. Still it is better than nothing.

I saw a gypsy woman the other day, who whistled and in broken language told me to pay her so that I will learn my fortune. I did not really feel comfortable with this, for I have been advised to be careful of strangers and gold, then again it is local superstition here not to anger a gypsy, lest they curse you. With that, I handed her a gold coin and she was most happy.

She spoke mainly in Vlach, not a surprise, but she did put the effort and tell me in my language

“You…rich man to be… to meet Basarab, you will… the enigma of gold…”



I did not really believe her…me, a common merchant to meet the Voivode himself? Hopefully, if I did, he would not show his arbitrary side immediately…

She suddenly stopped though. She said, in a hasty tongue, that the mystery will be solved, the riddle unraveled.

I shook my head in confusion and thanked her. What a strange land this is.


12th of May 1310

It seems this land cannot be freed entirely of its past: rumors of the peasant folk talk with fascination and fright about the rumors of what is happening in the Golden Horde territory. They speak of admiration of Andrei Rurikid, a Grand Prince but otherwise known for his basic theologic education, although it was enough to project the rights of the Orthodox to the Tengri overlords.



What may come out of this revolt? Who knows, with victory the Russians will be free and the Mongol will be challenged in his authority. But with defeat one is certain: death of all traitors and especially the Russian lords.

31st of May 1310

Târgoviște, Wallachia

Spring begins to give way to summer to come, as the weather gets warmer in the otherwise cold land of Wallachia. The town of Târgoviște itself has quite an economical importance as Saxon traders have set their quarters along with the Vlach residents. Johan Kronstadt the Saxon trader ,made a name for himself in those few months in Wallachia, buying from the locals dairy and sheep wool and selling it to his compatriots, who were not so keen to mingle with the populace. As Târgoviște is not exactly a large settlement such as the magnitude of Paris, London, Rome or Constantinople to the south, the name of Johan travelled to higher positions, to the boyars or local barons of the land. From there, he was even suggested to Voivode Ioan himself, as a potential interesting trader who could help the Prince to amass the wealth he so desperately had put as an ambition in his life.

Indeed, upon a day, Johan Kronstadt was summoned to the Curtea Domnească de Basarab to present himself to the Voivode. In this peculiar land, he heard and kept to his heart that in the presence of the Voivode-Prince, he is to remove his hat and not keep it upon his head, as it is a sign of disrespect. Not wishing to provoke the wrath of Ioan Basarab, the merchant bowed in courtesy and took off his hat. The Voivode gave a smile of approval, seeing that the Saxon merchant was not above the local customs

“So I hear you, Saxon trader, have made yourself a name in my city of Târgoviște. Do you find it to your liking? Does it match in glory your German towns?”
Johan considered his answer well. Ioan Basarab was not to be toyed with, nor could his flattery be obvious, for Ioan detested deceit.

“My lord, forgive my ignorance, but my family roots are lost in time. I am of humble origins from German settlers in Transylvania, where my ancestors with the Teutonic Knights defended the Carpathian Mountains from the Golden Horde… of course though the towns in Transylvania are no match to your capital...”

Ioan Basarab rubbed his beard…

“Hmm….so I see…then you are a neighbor from the lands of the Hungarian Duke of Transylvania, Laszlo IV Kan…”

As the audience was held, a man who seemed to be of noble stature entered into the throne room. He bowed briefly before the Voivode and handed him a scroll. Ioan Basarab read word by word, then folded the scroll and looked upon Johan

“Well it seems your former liege lord, Duke Lazlo IV Kan refuses to accept my claims that the County of Feher is from time immemorial Wallachian… yet I am sure when you crossed my domain, you saw the plenty Orthodox Vlachs that reside there, am I not wrong?”



Politics thought Johan… Politics and leaders, the very thing that enables or negates trade. Feher was not far from Târgoviște and fortunately it was far from Johan’s family home.

Before Johan could answer, the boyar spoke for him

“Indeed my lord, they all hailed you as their rightful Voivode and wait the time you will liberate them from the frail Hungarian Duke. With time, the Voivodate of Transylvania shall be yours I am sure!”

“Thank you Boyar Radovan, if not, you were an immediate witness to the truth of my information. You may dismiss yourself”

Boyar Radovan nodded and left the audience, leaving Johan and Ioan alone with the guards, with Johan trying to balance on a rope of words like an acrobat.

“Well then, Saxon merchant. That will be all for today. I shall call upon you soon enough, for I have plans for the prosperity of Wallachia and the wider Vlachs and you seem to have a grasp of both trade and our people’s customs…. Make haste as the sun sets and the city gates will close soon enough!”
 
Last edited:

alscon

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The style is different from your Hafsid AAR, but it is off to a very nice start. And if you add Vlachs and an unusual start date, I'm following with interest.
 

DKM

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Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 2: War unto Făgăraș(Feher)

As days and seasons changed, Wallachia began to show signs of prosperity. The Saxon traders helped in their part and soon, Ioan Basarab minted the first coins of the realm…



…vile tongues though proclaimed that the coins were not of real value but debased. The argument was raised more intensely from the Saxon merchants but the Vlachs did not really believe them, they were probably jealous of the good fortune of the Voivodate.

It was not long ago that after the minting of the coins, Ioan Basarab declared war upon the old Duke of Transylvania to incorporate Feher into the Voivodate of Wallachia. The Vlachs of Feher were joyous of the news, although war would cost the lives of many, as it usually did.

The Voivode though, throughout the campaign, was acting more and more peculiar, even for his known arbitrary character. Ever since the news of his wife’s pregnancy, Ioan was preoccupied thinking and becoming distant with his advisors.



While still campaigning, a letter reached the camp, bearing news. Lady Ana gave birth to a son named Tihomir. The news raised the morale of the troops, however the Council of Boyars was concerned that the appearance of a second son would now mean that Voivode Ioan would have to divide his lands to give an equal share to both of them.



Yet still, Ioan’s mind was never at rest. His spies in the following months gave him more and more curious news.



Several months later, the war was decided: the Regent of Duke László V accepted the terms of Voivode Ioan and Feher was now part of the Voivodate of Wallachia



November 1314

Târgoviște, Wallachia

The townsfolk were excited to see their Voivode so close and with all his battle regalia, returning back from the victorious reunion of the Vlachs of Feher with the homeland. Flowers were thrown at him and his troops and everyone felt glad and safe that Wallachia was in the hands of Ioan Basarab.

It was almost 2 years since Ioan had last seen his palace. However the voices would not let him enjoy his victory. He would see Ana again, the mother of his three children. Was she truly faithful to him? What about Tihomir? Indeed, she was content with her place in life, the wife of Ioan Basarab, the ruler of Wallachia. But was it enough?

The other voices though defended her, saying she did come to Feher when she was asked of, to see him and report to him of what has been happening in the realm. She also did prove her love on that day. Was it true though?

“Tată! Tată!” (Father!Father!)

The young children ran to him and little Tihomir followed, his clubbed foot making it difficult to run along.

Ioan Basarab dismounted and hugged his offspring, the voices coming to a halt. Then Lady Ana came and smiled at the beautiful sight. On a better observance, her belly was full and it seemed she was with child again!

Ioan’s face darkened and the voices began to speak again, in confusion.

The children were laughing and then went off to play, taking young Tihomir with them.

Ioan rubbed his beard and spoke to Ana

“…is it mine? For your sake I better hope it is…”

Ana was lost for words. Her husband’s obvious lack of trust was once again shocking for her, after doing the most to convince him of Tihomir’s parentage.

“My husband, if I have been untrue, may holy fire burn me where I stand… it is the fruit of our meeting in the place from where you come from, in such glory and beauty!”

Ioan did not say a word…

12th December 1314

The day was rainy and there was a storm. The people were gathered, the sadness was great. What a sudden transition it was from the high spirits of the Feher victory to the grief and mourning of today.

The children were dressed in black, everyone was speechless and most of all Ioan himself. He only muttered some words, no one could hear.

The priest spoke and spoke, commenting and praising and giving a shoulder to the burden of the eventual fate of mankind.



“Doamne miluieste…doamne miluieste…” (Lord have mercy…Lord have mercy…)

“My condolences, fair Duke” a familiar voice said

It was Johan Kronstadt

Ioan was wracked in grief and could not hold any longer. The Council of Boyars took him back to the castle, for the people could not see their leader fall below his position. All was done in haste, so no one could suspect a thing about Ioan’s growing voices, which urged him day after day to act, and not in a peaceful manner.

People though were already talking amongst themselves, naming the Domovoi of House Basarab as displeased and bestowing bad luck to their Voivode.



(Domovoi- A House Spirit in Slavic Folk Lore)


8th February 1315

“My Voivode..do you remember the rebellion that Andrei Rurikid had incited against the Khagan of the Golden Horde…”

Ioan gave a look at Boyar Radovan, his trusted chancellor.

“I do..did he win? Are the Russian Princes free at last from the Mongol yoke?”

“They are free…though not from the Mongol yoke but the earthly one…the Khagan was victorious and each and every rebel was put to death in a most violent way. Such is the punishment of the Mongols..”

“…and what is worse..the Khagan launched a retaliatory attack on Novgorod..the great Russian city has been set ablaze…”



The Voivode then had a vision. The Wallachian lands were burning, the people were slaughtered and he was set high upon a cross, first tortured, then set to fire with him and his children.

He burst into shouting

“That will not happen to us! Quick, compose a letter to King Charles or Károly as now he calls himself in Hungarian, so that we may benefit the protection of the d’Anjou from the Khagan… the Mongol left, only so that he may take his improved payment from the Vlachs who have prospered these years”

Boyar Radovan could only write what was dictated to him. The answer did not take long to be received.

 
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Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 3: The Hungarian Dance part 1

It was weird at first, Wallachia now was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary and Voivode Ioan was no longer a ruler on his own. He paid tribute and homage to King Károly d’ Anjou, a noble French house, and in exchange of protection, Ioan had to agree with most of the demands imposed. Namely, the Saxon merchants would have more trading rights in the Wallachian Duchy and the Catholic bishops were to travel and preach freely with no restrictions to the Vlach populace. It should be noted that the moral authority of the Orthodox faith was not at its greatest heights: the Byzantine Empire was fighting hard to defend its lands from the various Turkish Sultans and more importantly the Ottomans and they already had in their control many a holy site for the Orthodox faithful. It was therefore difficult to resist the allure of the Papal legates’ power and promise of aid in difficult times.

All these events estranged the Vlachs. The influx of Hungarians and Saxons, the more numerous Catholic priests, Wallachia was no longer the restricted land which broke off from the Mongol Horde.

In this cultural confusion, Duke Ioan, as he was now called by his liege lord Károly, was more of the representative of the Vlachs- as a Boyar than a sovereign lord. However, not everything was as terrible as it seemed. For apart from the Hungarian Dukes, King Károly d’ Anjou was also King of Croatia, and the Croat vassal lords would rather have one of their own in Károly's seat.

Except Ioan Basarab though, another familiar person decided to offer his vassalage: Duke László V Kan of Transylvania, through his Regent, placed himself in the service of the d’ Anjou King, perhaps to protect himself from the aggressions of Ioan Basarab himself. Little he expected though that Ioan would join the forces of Hungary, to the dismay of the Regent Council of Transylvania.

Johan Kronstadt had become also a close advisor to Ioan Basarab, giving him counsel on the etiquette of the court of the King of Hungary and Saxon- Hungarian customs in general. Ioan Basarab’s character though did not help much to assimilate all these advice, for he was a warrior at mind and heart and the reasons for his vassalage were clearly opportunistic.

The trader was a judge of characters and saw that Ioan Basarab would rather have guidance in the survival of the Hungarian court intrigue, for as a Vlach he was considered a foreigner, adding to the fact that he was Orthodox and did not embrace the Catholic faith with his oath of fealty.

May 1315
Târgoviște, Wallachia

As the snows completely melted the pass to and from Wallachia was once again free for safe transport.

With it came a letter, bearing the seal of the King of Hungary addressed to Duke Ioan Basarab.

“Great Duke Ioan,

I am pleased to see that you are following my decrees and trade flows freely between my realm and your lands under my protection. While sooner or later it would be prudent to follow the Catholic creed, still my bishops have no complains and the people hear with great interest the word of the Pope.

I write to you, apart from my congratulations, to invite you to a great ball that I will host to unite all my vassals in a grand meeting and renew the oaths of every vassal to my person- anointed by God.
I shall see you in a month or so at the capital of Hungary, Esztergom.

Charles- Károly d’ Anjou
Rightful ruler of Hungary and Croatia
Protector of Wallachia”



(Charles Robert D’Anjou – King of Hungary)

Ioan Basarab read the letter and mumbled

“The Mongols may slaughter us all and he thinks of balls… bah, he more probably wants to milk our money and see us grovel before him…it was humiliating the first time, to kiss his ring and bow, now it seems this must become a custom…”

Boyar Radovan, the Chancellor however had a different opinion

“Your Grace..I must disagree…true, you now have to swear the oath of fealty once more but think of the opportunity to see the whole Hungarian court assembled before us! As it has been reported, you are by far the strongest vassal of King Károly and it is logical for him to keep you in check, it has been so recent that you have called him your liege-lord!”

“…the Croats will be there and the other minor Hungarian Dukes.”

Ioan commented

“Speaking of minors, that spoiled László of Transylvania will be there, already defaming us for our righteous claim of Feher! Maybe it is he and his Regency Council that have begun this new round of humiliation before Karoly…”

Where the voices again beginning to act?

Johan stepped in the conversation

“I believe not my lord…but whoever it was…I believe I know how you will gain a good ally in your standing in Hungary…”

Ioan was interested

“Go on…”

“Since you will attend the ball…why not…use your status as lord of the Vlachs and woo the upstanding Princess Erzsébet Árpád, Duchess of Ungvar, one of the strongest duchies in Hungary?”

Boyar Radovan blinked his eyes… Ioan was equally speechless and looked at Johan blankly

“It has not been a year since the Lord claimed Ana..and I…I will woo another woman?”

Johan tried to hide a smile but remained serious. It was Ioan Basarab he was speaking in the end, not some fellow in the street.

“My liege..you will understand..trust me… I can speak to Boyar Radovan who is good with words to establish a correspondence and when you meet you shall know… truly, sire, it is difficult now but later on, you may see the clarity of your move”

“And what is more, Princess Erzsébet Árpád is known for her…advances…you will not lose!

Ioan let a sigh. What else could he lose in the end?

“Very well..do so..but do not expect me to make dances and flattery with these Hungarians and whatnot. I am a pure Vlach!”

“Oh yes my liege…you are indeed! And Vlachs are clever, you will see!!”

 
Last edited:

Crimson Drakon

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Vlachs? Insta Subbed.
The style is different from your Hafsid AAR, but it is off to a very nice start. And if you add Vlachs and an unusual start date, I'm following with interest.
Thank you for your vote of confidence with your subscription, I hope I don't let you down :)

@alscon: Yes, I began the introduction from Johan the Saxon merchant's point of view as to give the general feel of the era and the region I am playing. Later on I may do a transition between narration, the ruler point of view and so on, it depends. But I will need to "roleplay" the AAR more since if I follow the Hafsid route, we will be done in 5 chapters or so, 1 ruler per chapter :) Anyway, thank you for your interest!

Following!
Mult succes !
Thank you very much! :)
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 3 : The Hungarian Dance part 2

The day of the great ball came! Colorful wagons brought the various vassal Dukes of King Károly and it was an explosion of colors: King Károly even went a step further and asked of the guests to come disguised in Venetian Masks, that were all the rage of the time.

Of course, Ioan grumbled for the duration of the travel with this silliness, still though he went along and brought himself an elaborate Wolf Mask

“Most fitting sire, the wolf amongst the sheep!” said Boyar Radovan , who also wore a nice fox mask for the ball

Ioan mumbled

“Ah my lord, do not pout, you will meet the great Princess, are you not anxious to see her in person? From the letters it seems she is most in awe of your person!”

“Fine..whatever…”

The carriage came to a halt and the door opened. Before them was the Castle of Esztergom, a proud bastion with rich history. Ioan and his advisors were in awe of the edifice in which King Károly resided.



(Modern Esztergom Castle- with personal adaption)

The guards inspected the newcomers and asked for their invitation. With the presence of the captain of the guard(for not each soldier could read and merely the presentation of the stamp would be a superficial check, especially for this event), their identity was confirmed and the guardsmen asked for any weapons to be given to them, for safekeeping.

Ioan had to comply, although he did feel immediately vulnerable to any potential threat from anyone. He hoped that nothing bad would come out of this ball and he reassured himself that if anything, Károly wanted his oath to be renewed and not silenced. Besides… his curiosity for the Princess put away most ill thoughts and he concentrated on keeping his wits about.

“Remember Voivode Ioan, the Princess will recognize you if you ask her ‘Are you the Rose of Midnight?’ and she will reply ‘I only bloom at midnight!’

Ioan Basarab rubbed his beard…only Johan Kronstadt could come up with such recognition codes…

They were lead inside the large hall, where the faint sound of music and singing became even stronger as they ascended the staircases that lead to the hall. When they entered the room, a sight which they had never seen in Wallachia was before their eyes, at least not in the multitude of people that filled the hall: men and women, with all colors of garment and wearing masks from all the animal kingdom, held each other’s hand in a circle and according to the rhythm of the music they danced. Johan told him this dance was called carole in the court etiquette.



(Dance with musicians, Tacuinum sanitatis casanatense (14th century)

“Hmph, we dance like this in Wallachia as well, without the animal masks of course…”

“Come, let us join the dance, we may find the Princess” said Boyar Radovan, very excited with this merry making

And so they danced in circles left and right, left and right, with Ioan wearing the Wolf Mask asking the ladies he happened to hold hands with if they are the Rose of Midnight. Some giggled, flattered with the compliment, some looked him as if he was a madman until…

…a lady with red gloves, wearing a beautiful golden mask with flower motifs touched his hand and joined the dance

“Are you the Rose of Midnight, my lady?” asked Ioan Basarab for perhaps the 10th time.

“Ah, I am, for I only bloom at midnight!”

Ioan’s eyes shone that he finally found the Princess Erzsébet Árpád!

“How happy am I to finally find you dear Princ…”

“Shhh, do not reveal any identity, that is why we wear the masks after all… and I am happy to meet you , dear Wolf!”

Ioan let a chuckle, although he was wondering how could she breathe in that golden mask… it looked quite heavy

“Come then, let us drink some fine wine from the homeland of our good King and cheer to his toast! I am sure you would agree…” proposed Ioan Basarab

“My, you are a daring Wolf..why not, everyone is fixed on the dance!”

So the Wolf and the Lady with the Red Gloves drank and nibbled from the food that was available, trying to discuss in some common language since Ioan knew basic Hungarian and the Princess some basic Latin. The Princess originated from the mighty house Árpád, the founders of Hungary. Through circumstance (and wisely avoiding to extend on the subject), King was now Charles-Robert d’ Anjou. In an effort to be more liked to his vassals, Charles- Robert changed his name and began to adopt the Hungarian customs and speech, pleasing for the moment the majority of those he governed.

Ioan though, from the wine and merry atmosphere, could only hear the sound of her voice, envisioning how she would look like without the mask…

Of course the wine made him more bold and enhanced his daring nature

“My dear Princess..perhaps you can give me a tour of the castle…the other rooms perhaps…”

“Oh, are you not a bad Wolf...and what large hands and eyes and teeth you have…”

The rest were the deeds of the night which the day would look at and share with glee….
 
Last edited:

Jokolytic

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Very nice !
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 4: A marriage and a conspiracy

The sun had risen and the castle relaxed after the frantic ball, which to everyone’s opinion was a great success. In the gossip of the event was that a gentleman with a Wolf Mask left with a Lady with Red Gloves and were lost throughout the night... people suspected that the Lady was the Princess Erzsébet Árpád, who was known for her seduction tendencies...

The calm of the castle was disturbed however from the voices of a man, who spoke half in Vlach and half Hungarian.

“AAH!!! A strigoaică(witch) in my room!! Guards!!”

With hurry the guards rushed to the scene when they stood and looked dazzled by the sight…

….it was Princess Erzsébet Árpád sleeping in the large double bed, the golden mask thrown at the floor and the red gloves delicately hanging upon the chair…



The guards could not control their laughter and held their bellies!!

The Lady with the Red Gloves was the senile Princess and what is more she spent the night with the Wolf- Voivode Ioan the Vlach!

“My lord…ahahaha…she…she..haha… is Princess Erzsébet Árpád!!”

Ioan was furious and red with anger! Johan framed him and humiliated him in the most terrible manner… of course, Ioan thought, he was a Hungarian-Saxon he had the interests of Hungary in his mind!

It was fortunate that he did not have any weapons for murder would surely have had happened.

He stormed out of the room and went about to find Johan’s apartment. He needed to explain much…

When he finally came at the door, he barged in as if Ioan was in his castle.

“You foul knave! Vlachs are clever eh? I will be the laughing stock of the castle when news spread that I spend my night with Erzsébet Árpád, the 60+ year old seductress!! What is more, I am another noch in her belt….I was drunk, I can’t remember a thing..”

Johan’s eyes widened…did the Voivode just confess that…

“My lord..first of all I suggested you to court the Princess since because of her age and your grief, you would not..eh…you understand…but now you did…”

“Quit mumbling Johan! What will we do now…? The King will hang me or ask for my excommunication if it is found out that there was…you know..outside wedlock, with royalty no less!”

Johan was struck with an idea…

“That is it my Voivode… a marriage!! Now with this scandal, the Princess will have to marry you and she can assist you a great deal in your Hungarian court politics! Also, with this slight, King Károly will underestimate you and focus on other troublesome vassals!”

It was not irrational…but to marry an old Princess… was hard

“Dear Lord, what have you put me into…”

As midday came, the guests were summoned for the feast to take place, without masks, and the oaths of fealty to be given again.

King Károly rose with a goblet in his hands and began a speech.




He thanked everyone for coming at this feast and expressed his delight for the success of yesterday’s ball…then he looked at Ioan Basarab and Princess Erzsébet Árpád and said:

“I have been told we have some good news that I am to announce!!”

Ioan Basarab gulped

“….our good Duke of Wallachia, Ioan Basarab is to wed at the 17th of July of 1315 our most precious Erzsébet Árpád. May they live long and prosper!!”

Everyone cheered and clapped their hands although a laughter or two could be heard meanwhile, how the “Wolf” ate “Little Red Riding Hood”

“And now let us proceed to the oaths of fealty…”

Suddenly though there was commotion and a man bypassed the guards and started shouting

“You wretch! You dared defile my daughter!! You shall die!!”



(Felicián Zách)

The man headed straight towards King Károly running with a sword in hand! Though it was highly improbable for the King to do such a thing, concerning his chaste nature, nevertheless after the Wolf incident, anything was possible.

Of course panic ensured and the ceremony was put to a halt. Everyone had frozen and it seemed inevitable that the King would be in grave danger,seeing that the King hid behind the throne. Without thinking twice, Ioan’s warrior nature awoke and after stealing a sword from the sheath of a dumbstruck guard, he headed quickly towards the angry noble and before he could get the chance to strike down King Károly, Ioan stabbed his back



(Picture from Illuminated Chronicle (Chronicon Pictum). Attempt of Felician Zach)

The assailant fell to the floor, lifeless. There were mumblings who it was, but Ioan did not care for Hungarian politics.

“You…you saved my life…I cannot believe it… I am in your debt…”

Ioan cleaned the sword and gave it back to the guard. He said he only did his duty to his liege lord…

“Then I have no need for your oath, as your actions spoke clearly than words! After a moment of rest, we shall continue with the other vassals oath!” said King Károly, shocked and grateful at the same time.

Ioan did not stay at the court any longer, for who knows what more bizarre things might come up in Hungary. He became betrothed and he foiled an assassination attempt.. it was enough for a day!

17 July 1315
Târgoviște, Wallachia


Today was the day that Ioan Basarab, Duke of Wallachia and Princess Erzsébet Árpád, Duchess of Ungvar would unite their lives under God.

Whatever the reasons for this union, it was a joyous event that brought happiness to the Vlach population; although it was true they would rather have seen a young Vlach lady at his stead.

There was discontent however that a Royal Aid Duty was collected to fund the wedding and since Erzsébet Árpád was a Princess, the duty was quite high.

Still that did not let the people not enjoy the ceremony and feast afterwards, for Voivode Ioan saw it as an opportunity for them to forget the troubles of Hungarian lordship.



Feast, dances and joy complimented the event and everyone headed happy to their homes.

The bride and groom were left to enjoy their first wedding night…however that had already happened back at Esztergom castle…

Some months later

Time passed smoothly in the lands of Voivode Ioan. He had to travel to and from Ungvar to see his wife, with whom he began to saw virtues in her such as handling the diplomacy needed for the Hungarian court. After her wedding with Voivode Ioan, she did not actively pursue the thrill of seduction, although no one could guarantee it…if it happened, she was not caught. Or perhaps for the fear of Ioan’s wrath, there were no suitors.
Nevertheless, Erzsébet Árpád became fond of Ioan and the struggles of the Vlach people. After talking with her husband, she was convinced that he should be the rightful Voivode of Transylvania and not some child influenced by a Regency Council.


The plan was put in motion and after various contacts (and suitable gifts), it was time to pursue the establishment of a strong claim to Transylvania



The conspirators lay low after their failure, although they did not really mind the wrath of a child…

King Károly remembering the act of valor Ioan Basarab had shown, proceeded to send a letter to his vassal asking him to become his Marshal of Hungary.



He accepted since this position would bring him more close to Hungarian court intrigue and closer to the Princess as well.

After some time and with increased, stronger, connections, the plan came to a success. The Hungarian court recognized that Ioan Basarab should be the righteous Voivode of Transylvania and not the Kan child.



However, Ioan Basarab was not the only busy bee plotting. Apparently, Duke Jacab of Pest formed a faction to lower the crown authority of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Even more interesting were some other news which came from Constantinople, the heart of Orthodoxy. The Genoese merchants from the Galata quarter led a coup against the Byzantine authorities and they seized the town, proclaiming it a Genoese Merchant City.



20 June 1318
Esztergom, Hungary


The people were cheering as the great spectacle was coming to an end. King Károly arranged a grand tournament to entertain his people and his vassals, who muttered about the reforms that the King was passing. The faction of Duke Jacab was becoming stronger and not without cause. The King was beginning to appoint foreign advisors and neutral people to crucial positions and the traditional Hungarian nobility were left out. For example, Marshal of the Realm was a Vlach, although his worth was noted. Nevertheless, he was a Vlach, a foreigner and an Orthodox.

And now this! Hungarians cheering for the Vlach…



That man is everywhere! Ioan Basarab weds to Hungarian nobility, Ioan Basarab marshals the armies of Hungary and now Ioan Basarab is the first warrior of the Tournament!

…and Ioan Basarab has the most gold in the realm!!



The nobles muttered…if Ioan Basarab becomes King of Hungary, it wouldn’t be a surprise in the end, they nodded.



11 March 1321

The sinews of war, infinite money, as Cicero said. The Hungarian Kingdom is plagued by civil war as nobles of Hungary have risen up in an attempt to lower the crown authority of King Károly! Fortunately Voivode Ioan Basarab is neutral in this affair although the matter of Transylvania concerns him. Relationships have been strained with the King, especially now that he fights to retain his control over his subjects. The boy Duke is growing in age and we must act, said the Duchess. Ioan waits, the rumors of a conspiracy against him make him cold sometimes and unable to react, he scrutinizes everyone and everything, including me, his favorite economical consultant, because of my Saxon heritage.

Other news, more bizarre. The Mongol Khagan became Orthodox! In an attempt to keep his Russian Princes in line, at least in name, he shares their Orthodox creed although he did not take a Christian name yet. All his family followed suit and they do not practice their Tengri beliefs anymore.




22 March 1321

The die is cast. Ioan Basarab will claim by force what is his birthright, the Voivodate of Transylvania. The King flatly rejected to pass him the title that was held by the boy Duke to him and warned him that should he act against Duke Kan, he will answer with weapons.

The War for Transylvania begins.


 
Last edited:

alscon

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Ah, the joy of court intrigue! Steadily increasing, until the bubble bursts and war covers the realm.

And while Hungary follows this favourite occupation, the belligerent Mongols embrace Christ and are at peace...
 

Crimson Drakon

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Very nice !
Thank you!

Ah, the joy of court intrigue! Steadily increasing, until the bubble bursts and war covers the realm.

And while Hungary follows this favourite occupation, the belligerent Mongols embrace Christ and are at peace...
Yes, intrigue is contagious as it seems, once one begins they all start to press their demands... as of the Mongols, even embracing Orthodoxy did not give them a peace of mind: later on there were religous revolts, first by the old Tengri believers and then by the various old forgotten heresies such as Iconoclasts, Paulicians and so forth. Nothing unbeatable however!
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 5: Vlach Uprising

So, you wish to learn what happened after Voivode Ioan declared his war to claim Transylvania? You can hear many versions of the story but I shall tell you the true one, for I fought in each and every battle and as you can see I still live.
What is my name? Why would you care? All it matters is what happened and your need to know. So hear me:




It all begun with the terrible defeat at the hills of Bihar in June 1321. That was my first battle and I was a green one, my feet shacked and I could barely hold my shield when the Hungarian cavalry charged at us. Our commanders were pretty terrible too: the best commander was a Hungarian Catholic priest and he was the first to run when things got bad!

It would seem Ioan did not calculate correctly: King D’ Anjou was as mad as a dog when he heard that Ioan spat on his letter and went to conquer Transylvania on his own. Rather than fight and relieve the siege of Heves from the Factionists, he went straight ahead for Ioan’s army. Of course the force that gathered at Bihar were simple levies like myself, Vlachs raised to fight against the Hungarian lords and the Catholic priests.
On that day many a Vlach died, while the King lost only a few hundred men. The shame.


Things would turn around though: Ioan Basarab had gathered a lot of gold and it was the time to put it in use. He made a contract and hired two mercenary companies to bolster the defeated levies of Bihar. What were their names…ah it was a Band of Bulgars and some riders from Alania, a land in the Golden Horde! About the Bulgars you know pretty much how they fight:sword and shield and a bow or two. The Alans though… they were some of the best horse archers, firing thunder like the Mongols! With them and their experience, Ioan turned the tide and defeated a large segment of the King’s army.





(The Battle of Posada in the Chronicon Pictum p. 143)

The morale of the army was even more raised when in a grand ceremony, good Voivode Ioan announced that his son Nicolaie had come of age and he would lead the army beside his father! We were lead by lions!



After the great victory over the army of the King, Ioan Basarab saw fit to dismiss the mercenaries, saying that the Vlachs now could carry on with their valor over the scattered enemy forces.



The intensity of combat and the rush of battle made Ioan Basarab a more cunning strategist but the fire consumed him, making him wildfire himself when he fought in the field. He roared and gave commands to his soldiers and it was as if Mars, the ancient Roman God, had descended on Earth to fight once more in the field of men.



Everything would be sealed in the final battle of Usora, down in Croatia, where the last standing army of King Károly stood against Voivode Ioan. The Vlachs were victorious and King Károly could not but surrender to Voivode Ioan.






(The Battle of Posada (November 9-12, 1330) in the Chronicon Pictum)



King Károly threw his sword at Ioan Basarab, admitting defeat. All the while the King fought Ioan Basarab, the Factionists conquered the loyalist provinces and were closer to their goal of reducing the crown authority of Hungary.

Now Ioan Basarab became Voivode of Wallachia and Transylvania and under him now had the former Duke, the ill-lucked László of Transylvania and the count of Temes, whose family would gain great prominence in the future.

With this turn of events, Ioan felt complete, his ambition sated. Was there a next goal?



And now this part of the story is the one which agitates the most, even to this day: with what mind did he….



….execute King Károly himself, who was his hostage after surrendering himself after the battle of Usora?

The Patriots say he did it as an act of revenge against what the Vlachs had put up with during the years of Basarab’s vassalage: the forced conversions, the preference of the Saxons in Wallachian trade and the alienation of the people from their customs.

The Cynics say that the voices acted again and in a delusion of grandeur he saw himself as above the law and did as he pleased. Some even go further and say, as witnesses that when he did the deed, he muttered: “ I gave you life, now I will take it away”.

One thing is sure: this disrupted the Kingdom of Hungary in a great effect and Károly was succeeded by his young daughter Maria, with an appointed Regent.
The moment the crown was placed upon the young girl’s head, Ioan went a step further and broke all vassalage ties with Hungary, declaring the War for Wallachian Independence




Despite the war exhaustion from the claim to Transylvania, the people joined the fight to break free from Hungary. Even the Factionists of Hungary, who at first became shocked with the death of the King, saw that the succession would weaken the resolve of the loyalists and continued their fight.

Meanwhile, as Ioan Basarab was mustering his troops in revolutionary Wallachia, he closed down the Catholic churches and revoked the Bishopric of Arad in Feher, where the Vlach bishop was persuaded and joined the Catholic faith. As new Bishop was appointed the second son of Ioan, Tihomir, whom he had pledged to God with the death of his first wife, Ana



Feeling he had pleased God by his act of making his son a man of the cloth, Ioan Basarab went forth and fought with fervor to liberate Wallachia and become the sovereign lord he once was.



Without much of a fighting force to put up with, Queen Maria of Hungary and Croatia d’ Anjou had to give up on Wallachia and grant the independence that Ioan Basarab fought for.





Even to these days, Queen Maria did not relinquish the titles to Ioan Basarab’s lands as she claimed she was too young to ratify the independence movement and everything was done in her name by the Regent. They say she still calls Bazarab infidelis Olacus, Basarab the unfaithful Vlach. The Vlachs call him the Great, the Hungarians the Usurper.

And I am sure you too would have a name for him, after hearing my story.
 
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Nikolai

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Independence so close to the Mongols is daring, I´d say.:) Good luck!
 

alscon

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The Hungarian episode is over for Ioan. I see the kingdom is still two Mongol counties away - taking advantage of their moment of weakness like in Hungary seems the way to go. Or undermining them again, although he will certainly not throw away his recently gained independence to return under his former overlord!
 

Crimson Drakon

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The Hungarian episode is over for Ioan. I see the kingdom is still two Mongol counties away - taking advantage of their moment of weakness like in Hungary seems the way to go. Or undermining them again, although he will certainly not throw away his recently gained independence to return under his former overlord!
Ah, there will be plenty opportunities for the Wallachians to engage both the Mongols and the Hungarians, trust me!
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 6: The Late Years of Voivode Ioan Basarab

After the events that transpired with the Claim for Transylvania and the Wallachian War of Independence, Voivode Ioan Basarab was a free ruler once again. What is more, he was now the Voivode of Transylvania and had acquired the county of Temes or Timis in Vlach, when the late King for some reason placed as a vassal the Count of Timis to the former Duke of Transylvania

Two years after the war ravaged the countryside, the people were joyous once again, as the Princess of Serbia came of age and would wed in Orthodox matrimony with the son of Ioan Basarab, Nicolaie Alexandru. The Serbian Princess Malina Nemanjic was known for her skills in diplomacy and she was very healthy and fit, a trait which was very welcome as she had more chances to survive pregnancy.



Meanwhile, Ioan Basarab did not stop his incursion into Hungarian land: although a peace treaty forbade him from attacking the underage Queen, he did not have any restriction to claim de jure the remaining counties of the Voivodate of Transylvania and namely Bihor, from the Hungarian Factionists.

However the libertine movement affected Wallachia itself: for Count László V Kan(the former Duke of Transylvania) finally came of age and , of course, was furious with Ioan Basarab for all the losses he had suffered these years. In an act of defiance he send a letter to the Voivode, demanding his release from vassalage.



It was rejected and gave all the more reason for Ioan to be done once and for all with this troublesome Hungarian.

As Wallachia was engulfed in a relatively minor inside rebellion, a Bulgarian Duke saw it fit to press his claims on the county of Turnu, with a laughable document dating in the era of the Bulgarian Empire



It did not take long for the Karvunian claim on Turnu and the War for the Wallachian League of Independence to be dealt with, leaving Ioan Basarab only to deal with pressing his de jure claim on Bihor from the Voivodate of Transylvania



As the wars raged on, Queen Maria d’ Anjou became a grown woman, with no need of a Regent. With haste she wed a man of Italian nobility, a Doria, and she was quick with child. Ioan Basarab had a letter send to her to congratulate her of all these successes however he did end it with a very different tone altogether : he invoked an old law, as presented by his new Chancellor the Count-Boyar of Timis, that in the case of split between Timis and Bacs, the overlord of Timis should also have in his position the county of Bacs.



Needless to say, the letter went unanswered.

While in this Eastern European corner of the world, the web was tangled with claims and the aggressor became the defender and vice versa, news from the Holy Land brought joy to the Catholic world in an era that the Kingdom of Heaven, as it was founded in the first Crusades , seemed mythical:



Apparently, Henri de Lusignan, perhaps a descendant from the historical de Lusignan family of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, wrestled away the Holy Lands from the Muslims and re-established the long lost Kingdom.

Less than a year later, it was obvious to all in Wallachia that the Mongol conversion to Orthodoxy was a lie: for an obscure Mongol house of Olvi decided to turn against their brothers in faith for a ludicrous claim that they were the first horsemen which dismounted in the Vlach valley and not the Basarabs. In fact they claimed that the whole Voivodate of Wallachia was Mongolian and not Vlach…



“The demands of a drunken Mongolian… it seems everyone wishes me NOT to conquer Bihar and distract us from uniting Wallachia and Transylvania… you know the drill, summon the men, fortify yourselves, hold the perimeter of the Dniester river and let them come…”

The war did not last even a year, with a decisive Wallachian victory and the Mongol paying war damages



Finally, after 10 years, Ioan Basarab dealt the mortal hit at the Factionists near Szeged and Bihor was now his…well…not immediately…





Voivode Ioan wondered where was this Chancellor all his life… he appeared documents for his needs from thin air! And he was a Hungarian no less!

To thank his new vassal for his skills, Ioan Basarab pressed the claim against Queen Maria for the reunion of Timis and Bacs and he promised one day, with a family bound oath, to give the latter county to his new Chancellor.
However, as he was fighting once more against the Hungarians for bringing Bacs under Vlach rule, news of the resurgence of Bogomilism reached the ears of the Voivode




What is more, his daughter-in-law decided to adopt Catholicism as her faith, fortunately though, through well constructed theologian arguments, she was brought back to the Orthodox faithful



In 6 July 1344, the ravaged by war Hungary had to declare a peace and give Bacs to the warlike Ioan.



After so many wars and conquests, Ioan Basarab felt proud that in his lifetime he had managed not only to preserve the Voivodate of Wallachia, but also to encompass Transylvania and ensure the potential creation of a new Voivodate of Timis. Yet still all these did not matter when fate played a cruel game once again:



His son, Tihomir, he who was given to God to be a man of cloth passed away at the young age of 34, after being ill….

….or was he ill? Senile Ioan Basarab, who was in his 60s now, could not believe this twist of fate and as the voices suggested, this was an act of man and not of God…

…but who could have dared to do such a thing? Was he poisoned? The Hungarians were tattered and could not have dared to murder the son of Ioan Basarab. Serbs? Bulgars? No…they were bound with good relationships, despite the attack of the Duke of Karvuna against him.

There was only one suspect in his mind… the Mongol Khagan, the false believer, who envied the Wallachian valley. And so he conspired…and conspired… gold did help much in this scheme, so did the fact that the Khagan was a kinslayer- for killing his brother, and the resentment of the various tribal warlords with Tengri belief(at least they had the courage to be true in their faith) helped for the plot to take action quite soon enough:



It was a success and in Ioan’s mind, he was paid with the same coin he paid for the murder of his son. He was content ever since.

In the last years of his life, Ioan Basarab called the boyars of the realm to ratify a law, which in his belief, reflected an ancient tradition of the land: there was to be an election from now on who would be the heir to the titles of Voivode of Wallachia and Transylvania and the winner would inherit all the titles. The boyars agreed unanimously and Elective Succession was now in place



Of course, being the major elector of the Voivodate of Wallachia, it was clear to all that the elected heir would be no other than Nicolaie Alexandru Basarab, the marshal of Wallachia and an accomplished warleader.

And so it was done, according to the new law, that on 11 January 1353, Ioan Basarab died calmly in his sleep reaching the age of 71. The voices which ushered him to expand Wallachia and perform deeds which made him a controversial man, hushed forever. He was buried beside his wives, Lady Ana and Princess Erzsébet Árpád and his youngest son, the Bishop Timohir Basarab in the Royal Tomb of the Curtea de Argeș Monastery.

 
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