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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Renzo da Lusari

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To the Honorable Duke Denis Vincent de Montségur

I of course accept to serve as representative to Byzantium.
I am glad you offer me a way to bot settle down and help the realm.

My deepest thanks,
Count Lorenzo Volturno.
May our dynasties always stand side by side.
 

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And this was exactly why he was glad not to have to return to Constantinople in the foreseeable future. The 'precise form of flattery and persuasion that Greeks employ'. He very much preferred his take on diplomacy learned in Northern Europe, enriched by his own pragmatism, something that entirely lacked in the Greek version. Plant a seed and you have to make it grow to an entire forest - Montségur prefers to plant the seed and then have it grow to a tree in the mind of the other party. And always that drive to make anyone's achievements your own if it suits your interests - if you do it, then do it with integrity and honour. He would never understand the Greeks entirely. Volturno was well-suited as Representative as they knew little of him and his ways. That Greek would be useful to translate Hispanian efforts into Greek. As long as he didn't have to deal with it any more.

Senor Mandromenos,

you may begin your service as diplomat in Constantinople, but not immediately. I don't want you to say anything you will come to regret. I do not mean this as a threat, far from that if your Greek understanding leads to such belief. Byzantium will not feel more endebted to the current Hispanian rulership as it is now after we have finally chased out the Venetians from Greece in what has been a very hard and costly war. But with regrets, I want to say to present yourself as force behind the coming declaration of war. For anyone in Constantinople who is not entirely blind to the proceedings at the Valencian court, or even just seeing the troop movement along the coast, it has been clear for a while now that Hispania prepares war with the Mamluks. Anyone with some understanding of diplomacy surely recognizes the nature of our alliance with Persia. Stepping forward and saying that it is partly your achievement would only ridiculize you and make you lose all of your credibility. Instead, this shows me that you have to learn from an experienced Hispanian diplomat. The men of the Chancellory will teach you what knowledge of the Byzantine finesse lacks. You may want to choose a mentor in particular, but not myself, as I am too busy.

Young man, I hope you will serve Hispania well,
Denis Vincent de Monstégur, Duke of Trinacria and Chancellor of Hispania

Then there was the matter of the Grandmaster. The Emperor didn't agree that Fulminante deserved to be dismissed. He might not have made a mistake yet, but it was his task to make sure that no mistakes were made, and the man's views and education would very likely lead to such a mistake in the future. Now that he had said that, Montségur thought it wise not to try to change his mind. After the change of succession, that could only damage Pere's reputation if he doesn't keep true to his decisions. But there was something else to discuss.

Your Majesty,

If I may ask, how are Your bastard children now that the succession change has been made? The demands of the letter have been met, so I would expect them to be safe again - or aren't they? If the author of the letter has seen that you are giving in so easily to their demands, then I expect whoever did this to proceed in the same way if there is something he wants. I would suggest to try not to grow too attached to whatever person in the future, and if You do, then to protect them as much as if it was Yourself. A monarch has to be able to rule, not to be dictated his decisions by some ominous person that stays in the dark. If His Majesty has his doubts, the Council is there to provide whatever advice is necessary.
This recent problem brings me to the matter I want to bring forth. What now if the blackmailer wouldn't just aspire to change the succession, but for You to abdicate Your crown of one of Your many kingdoms to a foreign claimant, such as Portugal or Naples? Given Your very understandable reaction to the first blackmail, they would expect You to give in, a choice much harder than before. Either lose one of Your loved ones, or lose a crown of the empire. Hispania has to prevent it with all possible means. We should try to find any claimants to Your kingdoms and have them renounce their claim, whatever necessary. Still, there will always be a claimant the people will be able to rally behind. Another solution would be to crown few selected amongst Your loyal subjects as kings within the empire. The ultimate recognition for their service, creating more loyal powerful vassals and eliminating this threat. Each Emperor of Hispania would crown the kings to serve him in the various kingdoms of the realm, strengthening their pledge of loyalty.
I am praying for the well-being of Your children, may You have brought them to safety wherever they are now.

Your loyal servant,
Denis Vincent de Monstégur, Duke of Trinacria and Chancellor of Hispania
 

Michaelangelo

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Your Majesty,

If I may ask, how are Your bastard children now that the succession change has been made? The demands of the letter have been met, so I would expect them to be safe again - or aren't they? If the author of the letter has seen that you are giving in so easily to their demands, then I expect whoever did this to proceed in the same way if there is something he wants. I would suggest to try not to grow too attached to whatever person in the future, and if You do, then to protect them as much as if it was Yourself. A monarch has to be able to rule, not to be dictated his decisions by some ominous person that stays in the dark. If His Majesty has his doubts, the Council is there to provide whatever advice is necessary.
This recent problem brings me to the matter I want to bring forth. What now if the blackmailer wouldn't just aspire to change the succession, but for You to abdicate Your crown of one of Your many kingdoms to a foreign claimant, such as Portugal or Naples? Given Your very understandable reaction to the first blackmail, they would expect You to give in, a choice much harder than before. Either lose one of Your loved ones, or lose a crown of the empire. Hispania has to prevent it with all possible means. We should try to find any claimants to Your kingdoms and have them renounce their claim, whatever necessary. Still, there will always be a claimant the people will be able to rally behind. Another solution would be to crown few selected amongst Your loyal subjects as kings within the empire. The ultimate recognition for their service, creating more loyal powerful vassals and eliminating this threat. Each Emperor of Hispania would crown the kings to serve him in the various kingdoms of the realm, strengthening their pledge of loyalty.
I am praying for the well-being of Your children, may You have brought them to safety wherever they are now.

Your loyal servant,
Denis Vincent de Monstégur, Duke of Trinacria and Chancellor of Hispania

JpsioAG.png

I can assure you that I will not put this empire in danger, nor abdicate my crown. I may have been pressured into changing succession, but the outcome of that decision is not necessarily detrimental to Hispania. The court seemed to agree with the decision, so perhaps it was the right choice after all. Either way, the state of my children is my own concern and I will not allow them to be used against me.

I do not know of any claimants outside of my own family that are not already dead. The Aviz family that ruled over Portugal was exterminated by their primitive overlords, the Castilian branch of the Trastámara family was long ago merged with the Aragonese branch, and I do not know of anyone who could lay a sufficient claim to the rest of the empire. Perhaps the Greeks may make a claim, but I do not want to press them any more than I must. I simply do not know what those involved want, so I could well be playing into their hands with such things. I have not heard from them in years, so perhaps that is the end of it for now. It seems that inaction does not provoke them and it also does not seem to harm the empire, so for now I will not be making any unnecessary changes.

- His Imperial Highness, Pere V de Trastámara, Emperor of Hispania, Caesar of Rome, & Protector of the Greeks

* * * * *

((Private))

In the dank dungeon-like basement of an old building somewhere in Hispania, a figure waited in the shadows. The plan had progressed slowly over the past few years. There were still obstacles to overcome, pieces of the game that needed to be removed from the board. The emperor had changed succession, but was that enough to ensure everything went to plan? No, anyone that stood in the way had to be eliminated from the picture.

The sound of footsteps alerted the figure to another presence. A brutish man stepped into the torchlight, making sure he did not come too near. The figure remained in the shadows, a precaution to maintain a secret identify.

"Have you found them?" the figure asked in a muffled voice.

"The two bastards have been located," the brute said. "What do you want me to do with them?"

The figure remained silent, thinking over the dilemma for a moment. It was time to make a move. No one could stand in the way.

"Eliminate them."

"As you wish," the brute said with a nod before leaving the room. The figure waited a few minutes after his footsteps had receded before leaving as well. If everything went to plan, yet another threat would be removed soon. Yes, things were proceeding nicely.
 

zenphoenix

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((Well, this could get bloody very quickly...good thing my character's about to die!))
 

05060403

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Matthias was sitting in the army headquarters, thinking about his life. His life wasn't hard, but it wasn't easy. Sure he was a son of a rich merchant, but he never had a chance of inheriting his wealth. Or at least so he thought. When his brother Henri decided to attempt a murder of a royal twice, getting caught red-handed, being thrown in the prison, Matthias found himself the proud owner of the Trans-Atlantic Trading Company, a company which would go to his nephew, if he was of age. He never really wanted that, but he was given no choice. And now here he was, Provence, where his army was stationed. He looked out of the window. Some of these man served with him for many years, some of them survived the massacre that was the battle of Vidin, now called the Battle of Five Generals. Some of them just joined. He always wondered why they did that. What did they expect? were the conscripted by force? Or did they feel like they had a duty to serve their nation? It didn't matter. Matthias glanced at his desk as he walked towards it, noticing a new letter. He sat down to give a rest to his old bones, opening the message only to reveal new orders. March on Ulm to help out the Austrians. He never truly understood why the Germans have to be so divided... He read the orders again before leaving the headquarters. He immediately ordered his adjutant to spread the word, get the army ready to head out.

After few weeks of constant marching and a small skirmish with the free city's army he was ready to set up the siege. Matthias has heard many stories about the city of Ulm and it's greatness. Famous for it's astounding cathedral and the nation's resistance despite it's size. After few days of careful maneuvering, setting up the siege equipment and appraising the situation, Matthias came to a conclusion that this city truly was mighty. HIs army simply wasn't big enough to fully cut it off, he had to await for reinforcements.

In October he was close to call a retread as he heard news of a big enemy army moving in, but soon he learned that the army was in full retreat with the French close behind. He continued his "siege" of Ulm, making the life of it's citizens as hard as it could get, constantly bombarding the walls with the artillery he had. But they refused to fall, just like the city itself.

When he heard the news that general Limmona landed in Austria with the reinforcements he felt relieved. He never allowed the citizens of Ulm to feel, like they left. But no matter how hard they tried to the city tood tall. After few weeks messengers reached him informing him that Limmona was caught in Lienz. Immediately he lifted the siege, let those dogs enjoy the peace while it lasts, he had to help his mentor out. When he finally reached Lienz he was greeted with a sight he got used to it years ago. A demoralized army full of wounded and dead lying on the field and in the camp. He tried to find the man who led this army, but the only thing he was able to find were news... Terrible news. Niccolo Limmona, the man who appointed Matthias as a general, the man who allowed Hispania to take it's first steps towards tolerance, the man who fought with him in the Battle of Five Generals, was dead, struck down during the battle. He gave a quick speech to the soldiers, mostly to really and regroup the remnants of Limmona's army. After that he charged at the enemy, leading the assault despite his age, striking the Germans with fury he didn't know he was able to feel. After breaking the enemy lines, he temporarily joined the both armies together and once more marched on Ulm.

The city of Ulm was once again in his sight. Matthias set up his cannons and began the bombardment. The siege draged on and on, but with time the people of Ulm looked demoralized. The bigger amount of troops surely helped a lot, however the city iself remained unconquered. It truly was a fortress, no wonder it didn't fall in the past. Nonetheless this would change and general de Saint-Pierre will carry on wtih his order. No matter the cost, no matter how long it will take, Ulm will fall. The encirclement dragged on and on for months and the proud citizens of the free city still held their home.

And finally after a year it finally happened. The city fell and Hispania was victorious once more. Ulm was in ruins, but these ruins were the goal of the war, and Matthias wanted to finish the war as soon as possible, go back to his family in Perpinyà. After handing the city to the Austrians Matthias headed back to Provance before taking a ship to Roussillon.
Once back in his barony and spending some time with his family, Matthias de Saint-Pierre, baron of Perpinyà, hero of the Battle of Five Generals died peacefully in his bed at the age of 74.


______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Name: Jean Gérard de Saint-Pierre
Date of birth: 1574
Class: Courtier
Religion: Catholic
Bio: Jean Gérard is the son of Henri de Saint-Pierre. After his father killed himself while being imprisoned, Jean was brought under the wing of his uncle Matthias. He was taught in the ways of trade and commerce to inevitably inherit the Trans-Atlantic Trading Company. He is rathery shy, prefering to keep to himself, but he isn't afraid to do what he must to pretect his family and his company and it's interest. He isn't a greedy or power-hungry, however that doesn't mean he wishes to be someone without a voice in matters or someone living in poverty. Despite that he is very proud to be a member of the Saint-Pierre family. At some point of time he married Amelia Lucindia Majoré de Soneta, daughter of Adalbero Eanraig Ichiro de Soneta. Together they had to children.
 
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hirahammad

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((private))
Almudena Hashem felt very old. Though he was old at 68, he felt ancient. His two fellow generals, who served at Vidin, had died. But why? They hadn't died for some glorious cause, for Hispania. One had died in some war in Germany fought for the French. Limmona. Great Limmona. He had done much to further tolerance, far more than his father, Santoros had done. And then Saint-Pierre, dying in bed, perhaps from the stress of fighting a war for the sole purpose of keeping up the alliance with the French. Saint-Pierre had been something of his father's rival, in business. Head of the TATC, of course he would come into conflict with the force behind the CTC. Strange, to fight allied with your dead father's competitor. Why did we fight this war? Why did the French never stop slaughtering Hispanians in the name of bloody conflict? Generals, immortalized in battle for the freedom of the Byzantines, killed in battle for another scrap of German land.

Almudena had had a son, born 1610, Almaden, when he had given up hope on a child. The child had been born 3 months after Almudena departed Brakna, on yet another campaign. Almudena prayed the child would not take an interest in warfare. Whenever he saw him playing soldier in the courtyard, Almudena was terrified. He wanted to spare his son a meaningless life spent killing others. And then dying in battle with the Germans. Sure, Almudena had been inducted into the Order of the Light, but that did not make him better than his father.

Why even continue? All he did was fight for the sake of show. The only great things Hispania had yet to fight for were in the Dar-As-Salaam. And Almudena would not, could not fight there. Almudena must do something else. Something greater.

He would write.
 
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delpiero1234

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José was in his fifties now and looked back on what he had achieved in his life. He was content with how things played out. His job as merchant never made him very wealthy because he pretty much only sold fresh seafood from Crunia but he enjoyed it. If he hadn't been appointed as Grandmaster then he could have dedicated even more time to catching delicious fish. But he was Grandmaster and so he continued studying trade maps and reports to improve Hispania's financial situation. One day, José noticed that the modernization of the trade infrastructure had paid off but now there was a shortage of merchant ships in the Mediterranean. If Hispanic had more ships then more ducats would fill the imperial treasury. He sat down and wrote a letter to the Emperor to sanction the construction of twelve additional trade vessels which were to be sent to Genova.

((Grandmaster's Plan

- Build 12 light ships and send them to the Genoa trade node.
- Continue upgrading market places to trade depots; do so also outside of the Genoa trade node in key provinces after every possible province in the Genoa trade node has a trade depot.))


((Letter to Emperor Pere))
Your Imperial Highness,
I beg you to consider to incorporate the costal province of Genova into Hispania. The Genoese are among our fiercest rivals for trade dominance in the Western Mediterranean Basin. You would profit tremendously if you were to seize Genova.

Your loyal servant,
- José Fulminante, Grandmaster of Hispania and Crown Merchant
 

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((Letter to Emperor Pere))
Your Imperial Highness,
I beg you to consider to incorporate the costal province of Genova into Hispania. The Genoese are among our fiercest rivals for trade dominance in the Western Mediterranean Basin. You would profit tremendously if you were to seize Genova.

Your loyal servant,
- José Fulminante, Grandmaster of Hispania and Crown Merchant

JpsioAG.png

The Genoese certainly won't be a threat to our trade now that they've been exiled to the Black Sea. Our chancellor has already been taking efforts to secure the coastline from Savoy, so I do not doubt that he has plans for taking the province of Genoa in the future. For now we have greater concerns, a threat we have ignored for far too long, to consider.

- His Imperial Highness, Pere V de Trastámara, Emperor of Hispania, Caesar of Rome, & Protector of the Greeks

* * * * *

((Time to start the next vote. Seeing as alscon was the only noble to nominate himself for the Cortz, he gets the position. The members of the Cortz may now choose a new chamberlain if they wish. As for what to vote on, we get to name our future colonial nation in Mexico and pick a new idea group. The court also gets to decided whether the grandmaster should be replaced or not. I'll include a screenshot of the idea groups, so you know the options. I still advise picking a military or diplomatic idea this time. That vote is tiered, so place them in the order you want them. Here's a link to the descriptions of the various idea groups for those unfamiliar with them.

Fire grandmaster?: Yes/No/Abstain
Colonial Nation Name: Leonia/Nuevo Leon/Nueva Valencia/Nova Hispania/Abstain
Idea Group:
1.
2.
3.​

Everyone has until Wednesday at 9PM PST to vote. The deadline is a bit different than usual since I have an exam that night and won't be able to start the playthrough until later that evening. Please bold your votes and include your character's name and class.

))
 
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KF25

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Colonial Nation Name: Nueva Valencia
Idea Group:
1. Humanist Ideas
2. Trade Ideas
3. Economic Ideas

[Oren Goldhirsch/Courtier/Merchant/Jew/1VP]
 

DragonOfAtlantis

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New Colonial Nation Name: Nueva Valencia

Idea Group:
1. Diplomatic Ideas
2. Aristocratic Ideas
3. Maritime Ideas

[Eduard Villanova, courtier, colonist]
 

Robban204

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Fire grandmaster?: No

Colonial Nation Name: Nueva Valencia

Idea Group:
1. Offensive Ideas
2. Trade Ideas
3. Humanist Ideas

[Felipé de Alvaro, landed noble, founded colony, treasurer and temporary steward]
 

zenphoenix

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Fire grandmaster: Abstain
Colonial Nation Name: Leonia

Idea Group:
1. Humanist
2. Offensive
3. Quality

~Hernando Francisco de Leon, Marshal of the Realm
 

delpiero1234

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As Grandmaster of Hispania, I vote for strengthening the merchants of this glorious empire. I abstain from voting on the naming of a potential new colonial nation. Of course, José also voted against being fired as Grandmaster. After he voted he sent a letter to the court.

Idea Group:
1. Trade Ideas

Fire Grandmaster: No
Colonial Nation Name: Abstain

Jose Fulminate
[Courtier, Merchant, Grandmaster, Funded Colony]



((Public Letter))
Court of Hispania,
I write you today to inform you that the Co-Prime Minister Denis Vincent de Montségur, is mad. Mad because he fails to see that my work has tremendously improved the financial situation of Emperor Pere V's realm. It seems that the de Montségur, is not capable of studying financial reports which back up what I say, yet he calls me uneducated.. Anybody is invited to come to my Grandmaster's office and look at the hard facts. I wonder what madness drove this man to call for my dismissal.
de Montségur claims that I have had multiple disputes with the Grand Admiral. I only recall one dispute over the small number of fifteen trade ships. Of course, exaggeration is part of de Montségur's poor scheming. I did not expect less from a madman.
The madman claims that calling for war to conquer Genova and Alexandria is detrimental yet he fails to support this with arguments. Alexandria is the key trading port in the Eastern Mediterranean Basins and there are not not any other key ports of the size of Alexandria in that area that the Mamluks could use if we were to seize the city.

I hereby challenge Denis Vincent de Montségur to a duel to settle this dispute.

- José Fulminate, Grandmaster of Hispania and Crown Merchant
 

Michaelangelo

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Fire grandmaster: Abstain
Colonial Nation Name: Leonia

Idea Group:
1. Humanist
2. Offensive
3. Quality

~Hernando Francisco de Leon, Marshal of the Realm

((We already have quality ideas, so you'll have to change that one. Did you mean quantity?))

I hereby challenge Denis Vincent de Montségur to a duel to settle this dispute.

((Since a duel has been issued, @alscon gets to choose whether to accept or not. If he does, he gets to pick the weapons used and both participants can then decide whether it is to first blood or to the death. I'll do the rolls after that.))
 

Dadarian

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Etxeto-arms.gif

A Message from Duque y Conte y Conte Tomas IV B.L. Etxeto of House Etxeto



Fire grandmaster?: Abstain
Colonial Nation Name: Abstain
Idea Group:
1. Aristocratic

[Noble, Duque y Conte]
 

zenphoenix

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((We already have quality ideas, so you'll have to change that one. Did you mean quantity?))



((Since a duel has been issued, @alscon gets to choose whether to accept or not. If he does, he gets to pick the weapons used and both participants can then decide whether it is to first blood or to the death. I'll do the rolls after that.))
((Oh, right, yeah I meant quantity.))

Changing my vote to:

3. Quantity
 

hirahammad

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Fire grandmaster?: No- While I am not the trader my father was, I still believe Jose Fulminate to be much more than competent for his role.
Colonial Nation Name: Nuevo Leon
Idea Group:
1. Humanist- We must continue our work in making Hispania a tolerant, peaceful state.
2. Offensive- We hardly ever defend, and so our army must be equipped to wrest initiative from the enemy.
3. Trade- Our trade empire is vast, but could further increased with these thoughts.

((Almudena Hashem, courtier, general, CTC, Order of the Light))
 

Mach Twelve

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Fire Grandmaster- Abstain - I do not know the man or his deeds well enough to judge him
Colonial Name - Nova Hispania
Idea Groups - 1. Humanist 2. Diplomatic 3. Quantity

May our battle with the Muslim prove to be a successful one.
(Petros Mandromenos/Courtier/Diplomat)
 

Raboude

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(( I'm new at this, but I'd like to propose a character to join play :) ))

Name: Lúcia (Fernanda Manuela) de Maia
Date of birth: 31 July 1607
Class: Noble
Religion: Catholic
Bio: Lúcia is one of the last surviving members of the noble house de Maia. The family is on the branch of extinction: nearly all the members were killed during the Lisboa uprising in 1607 by rebels, who accused the de Maia family of collaborating with the Hispanian occupation. Having escaped with her mother, Lúcia was taken in and raised by an uncle on her mother's side, near Coimbra. Determined to right the wrongs done to her family, she developed in a headstrong young woman. Unfortunately, this also meant it was quite difficult to find her a suitable wedding match, especially within the Portuguese nobility - Lúcia wasn't exactly fond of the nationalists who killed her father and brothers. Having grown tired of finding her a suitable candidate, her mother had sent her to the Imperial Court. Which suited Lúcia perfectly. After all, what better place for an ambitious woman to put her skills to use?

edit: adding a portrait!

SIcQhA9.jpg
 
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