• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Mach Twelve

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A servant for the personal residence of the Speaker's Family was walking down the hall. Her earthly duties were done for the day and it was time to see if the Speaker had any urgent tasks that needed doing. He had journeyed to the countryside on a important task for their Lord and should be back now. He usually did. The Redeemed were loyal to their Lord and the Speaker, they would do anything for them.

The servant murmured a benediction for herself and as she breathed in she noticed something. A strange smell coming from a empty storeroom near the residence of the Family. She entered, and found the smell was coming through the window. It did not take long to realize that acid was eating through the bars. It was already halfway through.

She ran, trying to find the Speaker. He would know what to do. But where was he? She feared it would take quite some time.
 

Robban204

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Nicolás de Alvaro, Duke of Sardinia and Corsica and Chamberlain of the Cortz

[Duke, Chamberlain, funded colony]

((I hate writing on a phone :p))
 

Mach Twelve

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((Joint IC with @Michaelangelo, showing the Greek's response to the Veto))

((Private - Constantinople))

Pausanias grimaced as me walked up the steps to the Imperial Palace. He was carrying a rolled up sheet of paper and several wooden figures. As he entered the room where the meeting would be held he set the objects down and waited for the Basileus to arrive. This was the deciding moment for everything he had worked for.

Basileus Ioannes X showed up several minutes later, noticeably late. The man was not one to rush to the call of anyone. A servant accompanied him with some parchment, a quill, and an inkpot, with the simple task of scribing any events or thoughts the basileus chose to express. The servant walked with a limp, an ailment brought on by earlier failures to record what the basileus had wanted. As Ioannes swept into the room, bedecked in purple, he turned to Pausanias with a displeased expression and said, “I hope there is a pressing reason you required my presence.”

Pausanias greeted his Emperor as he arrived. It wouldn’t do to not show the Basileus the respect he deserved. His rule was a great improvement over the Regency Council. He knew the Basileus did not approve of the liberties he took during it, but it was needed to stabilize Byzantium caused by the chaos of too many people having control. Better that one man replaced them. He answered the Basileus, “I assure you there is, it is about the safety and security of the Nation, the greatest threat to it, and my solution to the problem.” He hesitated, but eventually rolled out the sheet of paper he had. It was a large map, with Byzantium at the center. All of the Rivers and Mountains were on it, with all known bridges and other easy areas to traverse the hostile terrain marked in another ink, likely Pausanias’s. Close inspection of the map would reveal that it was accurate. He took some of the wooden figures and started placing them on the map. “This represents the current state of Byzantium, its borders, soldiers, and fortifications. We have around 75 thousand Imperial soldiers, half that in provincial defenses and around 30 thousand as reserves for either. A great number, you may say, but given the circumstances not enough. For example, if this army were to suddenly be discovered here, what do you think they could be capable of before they are stopped?” Pausanias set up a great host in Serbia, more than they could field on their own. Close inspection revealed the army represented thirty thousand Polish soldiers in the nation’s capital.

Basileus Ioannes looked down at the map with cold disinterest. “You suspect a Polish invasion?”

“I suspect many things. And prepare for even more! But, I will show you how such an event would be handled.” Pausanias then showed the Polish army advancing occupying most of the Northwestern Balkans in a frightening pace. Given the Polish aptitude for their Hussars, this was a likely scenario. Then the Byzantine Army arrived, with reinforcements from Thrace, and the forces of Anatolia moving to close the gap the Thracian Army left. Fourty-Five Thousand Byzantines engaged Thirty Thousand Polish, and sent the invaders back to their side of the Danube. The troops then reclaimed the lost lands. “But that is not all. Now watch.” Suddenly, another thirty thousand Polish appeared at the Coastline of the Black Sea, entered Byzantium, drove the Thracian Army, Twenty thousand strong, away, and started to besiege Constantinople itself. In the West, another Army Thirty Thousand strong appeared, marching to the Danube “And if I were a Polish General. This is how I would break Byzantium’s back. What do you think of this?”

“I doubt even the Poles could march through stone walls,” Ioannes said, examining the map. “We do have forts all throughout Greece and the Balkans for the sole purpose of fending off such invasions of our territory. Any such invasion is doomed to break against our walls once reinforcements arrive.”

Pausanias answered. “The Polish will be hampered by our forts yes, but not enough to stop them. And they may not be alone in this invasion.Poland has allies, and As for reinforcements, are you counting on allies for these reinforcement? I would be reluctant to shape our defensive policy on the goodwill of others. I would greatly prefer to have a self-sufficient defense. As for that, I propose an alternative scenario.” Pausanias moves the borders of Byzantium until the Balkans are all in purple. The Balkans were framed by two mighty rivers, the Danube and Soca. He placed fortifications on the rivers, and shipyards for river galleys. An impressive defense. “Now let me show you what I think will happen.” A army thirty thousand strong approaches the Soca, and attempts to cross at a low point in the river. A river galley arrives, delaying them. After a while a small force crosses the river under the cover of night and begins to siege the fort guarding the bridge. The Byzantine Army in Serbia arrives and decimates the Polish force, leaving the main force on the other side of the river without a way to cross. Elsewhere, the Thracian Army engages the invading Polish Army. It ends in a Byzantine victory, without the Anatolia Army moving to reinforce either of the other two armies.

“And this shows the power of terrain. He who controls the rivers and mountains is he who is safe, protected, unassailable. Now you know why I have been insistent on expanding until we have these advantages.” He points to the land in the Balkans and Eastern Anatolia. They were either near a river or had great mountains in them. “This is why I did not approve of Hispania giving us Syria.” Syria clearly did not have these defenses. “Any force that makes it through the Levant will conquer Syria, it is a guarantee. And as long as Serbia and Hungary have land in the Balkans, little can stop an invasion from occupying the Balkans as well. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and that weak link is in Serbia. This must be corrected. As you may know I have already attempted to fix it, but was disappointed. Hispania seems to intend to force us to accept this weakness in our defenses. But I have a solution to this situation, would you like to hear it? “

“I fear you overestimate the threat of Poland and Serbia,” Ioannes said, not very convinced by the argument. “We have fended off invasions from the north before, and it should be noted that no one has outright attacked us in centuries. I do not suspect the Poles, and certainly not the Serbs, would risk an outright war over the Balkans.” Ioannes glanced over at his scribe, who was busy writing out his words.

“I have to be prepared for all eventualities. That is my duty as Megas Domestikos. I must be ready for such an unprecedented invasion, as I must be ready for the fact that we would be caught unaware of such a thing and without aid. Saying that such a thing is unlikely would not be of any use when an enemy army marches into your palace to give you the choice of surrender or death. What I showed you was the worst case situation, make no mistake I already have a solution to deal with it, but having control of all the Soca and Danube would make our position easier to defend, and thus safer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all.”

Basileus Ioannes nodded his head. “Indeed, such borders would be preferable. Once the mood of Hispanian court has swung back in our favour, we’ll undoubtedly secure the remainder of the Balkans.”

“The Hispanian Emperor is already supportive of this campaign. As is their Chancellor. The problem is that their Cortz isn’t. And this Cortz has hamstrung their Empire. I believe that the Nobility of Hispania is, for some reason, under the persuasion that we are their subjects, and exist to do their bidding. I hope you disagree with this. I certainly do, for the Greeks are slaves to no one. Hispania is already split on the issue. I suggest that we provide an incentive to aid our ally to support us in this war. It is simple, we call for the aid of the other three members of the Quadruple Entente!”

Ioannes let out a small chuckle. “Ambitious, and likely to fail. Hispania’s allies are not our allies. I see no reason why they would accept to aid us in a conflict not of their interests. In some cases we may be competing with their interests, such as with Austria, while others, such as Sweden, are so distant they rarely even get involved in Hispania’s own conflicts. France would be most willing due to our dynastic ties, but they would be unlikely to get involved with us unless Hispania is as well.”

“You are correct about our position with the other nations, but there is more to it than that. Sweden may be far away, but they are bordering Poland, and there is little love lost between them. I believe that Sweden will be much more willing than you think, especially if they were to gain land near the Baltic. As for France, they claim to be an Empire as well as Hispania, but are clearly second to them. Have you noticed that the less capable brother tends to be the one who seeks to prove himself more? I believe that France would take an opportunity to show that they are worthy of their claim to Empire. As for Austria, their willingness to protect Hungary is an obstacle, but not a large one. Hungary has been humbled by Poland, with their land near the Carpathian Mountains lost, their primary defenses, and now stands as threatened as we are, if not more so. They are desperate to reclaim the land between the borders and the mountains to regain their safety. I propose we make a deal, we aid them in regaining their rightful lands that they can defend, and they give us the land in Serbia, that they cannot defend. A diplomat of your skill should be able to negotiate such a deal. And with relations with Hungary stabilized, the Austrians will march against their hated enemy to support their ally. We may have little in common now, but I believe mutual hatred of the Pole will carry the day.”

“Perhaps such a plan would work, but it would undoubtedly anger the Hispanians, something we cannot afford,” Ioannes said. “I see no reason why we must push for conquest of the Balkans at this time anyway. We must secure our possessions in Anatolia and Syria first. The Balkans can wait. We must be patient, for in time they will surely be ours. Forcing the issue will just cause untold problems.”

“It will take time to make all these deals anyways, diplomacy takes a frustratingly long time. I will begin preparing our Armies for this war, in secret of course. And as the other nations join, so will they. When we are ready, two or three years from now, our Coalition will approach the Hispanians with a offer. Join, or watch as we do it ourselves. Together, we would be powerful enough to do so. I do not see why Hispania will not demand we wait again if we approach them alone. That is why we will not do so. But I must ask, do you agree to this? Such a plan will need your support, after all”

Ioannes gave the appearance of carefully studying the map as he thought over the proposition. Was it worth antagonizing Hispania for such gains? Then again, was there any harm in reaching out to Hispania’s allies? Surely Hispania could not fault him and his people for seeking aid for something of such concern to them. The act of reaching out to France, Austria, and Sweden should be harmless enough, but a declaration of war made without Hispania would be the point of no return. Perhaps with the backing of its allies, Hispania would have no choice but to join, but surely that would change the very nature of its relationship with Byzantium. And what if Hispania refused? The aftermath would be anything but pleasant. Perhaps it was better to consider that prospect once it was a reality.

Turning back to Pausanias, Ioannes said, “Very well. Send out diplomats to Hispania’s allies seeing if they are amiable to such a proposal. Make it clear though that for now this is a mere suggestion and not something we are bound to follow through with as of yet. I want to ensure such a plan is possible before we bring it before Hispania.”

Pausanias smiled, “Thank you for your consideration of this. You have proved to be more decisive than the Regency Council, and I applaud you for that. In fact, that is why I chose to come to you with this. With a strong Basileus, I no longer see a need for independent action. I only did what I thought was best, and I never disobeyed the Council’s orders, no matter how destructive they were. But now we have purpose and unity, and with it we will surely prevail.” He gestures to the map and figurines. “I leave this will you, perhaps a nephew or cousin will be fascinated by them. I have an Army to prepare, so I must bid you good day Basileus. You are making the right decision, and I promise you will not regret it.”

As the Megas Domestikos left, Basileus Ioannes turned to his scribe with a cold glare. “Did you write this all down?”

The scribe nodded enthusiastically.

“Good,” Ioannes said, spinning back towards the door. “If you mention this conversation to anyone, I’ll have you blinded and castrated.”

The scribe gulped nervously, resigned to nodding his head in agreement. With that settled, the two left the room, the Basileus’s mind whirring over the possibilities that were to come.
 

05060403

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[ Courtier, merchant, Grandmaster, PM, funded colony ]

It took some time for Alexis to learn of Timur Shah's letter, due to visiting some colonies on the coast of Africa, then traveling to Arabia to oversee the reconstruction of the cities, and building of the trade outposts. However as soon as he leared of the grievous insult the former general sent to the council. He also read the other letter, explaining the whole thing, however he didn't care. The man betrayed the company, and dared to insult the Prime Minister to do so. He burned the explenation and headed to the Imperial Palace to personally show the Emperor the insults thrown the Grandmaster's, the Council's and even the Emperor's way. After all even His Imperial Majesty was inderectly part of the council. Alexis also voiced his opinion on the matter, saying that Timur should be punished for this, by at least forcing him to pay a fine for his deed, or maybe ever spend some time behind the bars to reconsider his actions.

After that, Alexis returned to his office and wrote a letter to the Marshal, asking for a promotion from the rank of Sergeant Major General for his son.
(( If accepted then Gilbert de Saint-Pierre will be able to lead armies. He was born in 1698 and I would like him to focus on fire.
He's also the one who got married to the corrupeted marshal's daughter ))


(( Also
I'm finally back from vacation!
Which means I can finally get back to taking a more active role in the AAR! ))
 

hirahammad

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((Greece))
Timur had made it into the castle, the bars clattering behind him. He traveled down the hallway crouching, his shadow cast upon the opposite wall by the gloomy torches as he traveled slowly, and he went through a heavy door. Immediately the atmosphere became mustier than it had been before, and there appeared on the walls names. Alexandros, Sophia, Andreas, Demetrios, and Petros. Perhaps this was the resting ground of the great Petros Mandromenos, but Timur considered the fact that there were many branches of Mandromenos. There were even some Philaretos, a grim reminder of what Timur had come for.

At the very end of this house of dust lay another door, covered with inscriptions in what seemed to be Latin.

SEDETINSACRIFICIUM


If only Timur had taken time to learn what he thought was a dead language, he would have known what it meant. Unknowing what lay ahead, he opened the door, to find a bed, and upon it, a man. Timur crept forward, wondering who would sleep among the dead, until he noticed a strange lack of movement in the man. Timur neared the side of the bed, and realized the body was dead. Slowly recovering from the shock, which he though was unfounded, as a dead body in a Mausoleum was natural, it dawned on him the identity of the preserved cadaver.

Before he could fully absorb his discovery, the door crashed open, and Timur turned around to see...

((@05060403 , so I assume Alexis fired Timur. As that's what Timur wanted.))
 
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Mach Twelve

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The servant continued to run, she had to find the Speaker. Where was he? Eventually, she saw him on the balcony.

The man from the carriage was still watching the blaze burn out, it was almost gone. Suddenly he heard someone running to him. He turned, and saw one of his Redeemed hurrying to him.

"What is the problem, my child?"

"Speaker, someone is trying to break in. They have used acid on the window bars in the storeroom by the residence! You must flee before it is too late."

His Redeemed wouldn't lie to him. So the Speaker quickly gathered a group of guards and made to flee through the underground passage leading by the walls.

As he was passing the mausoleum, he noticed something off. The enterence was distributed and there were footprints in the dust. He entered the room and approached the hidden bunker in it, where his greatest secret was hidden

Taking his chances, he decided to kick the door open.

The intruder was standing over the mummified corpse of his father Philaretos, the Duke of Athens. To the world he was alive but in seclusion. Only he and his Redeemed knew the truth. Well not anymore it seems.

With a shout, he and his eight finest charged the man. Despite the odds, the intruder killed two guards, but he fell and was captured.

The Speaker ordered the six men to take him to the dungeon. There he would interrogate the fool.
 
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zenphoenix

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((Can someone help explain to me what just happened here?))
 

hirahammad

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((Can someone help explain to me what just happened here?))
It's part of a chain of stories set in Athens. It begins on 284.

Edit: It's mysterious. :cool:
 
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05060403

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((@05060403 , so I assume Alexis fired Timur. As that's what Timur wanted.))


(( Yes, Timur is very much fired
And pretty much looked for by every merchant and worker of the TATC.
But that started out pretty much now, so it shouldn't interfere with your story. ))
 

alscon

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((Is there any chance that my lovely wife learns of the Greek diplomacy from her brothers, Louis of France and Karl of Sweden, and shares it?))

Montségur was satisfied at the Cortz' decision as much as he was disappointed in Jaume's reaction. Clearly the emperor still lacked some strength. Mandromenos wouldn't stop though; a small victory was one nonetheless. Whatever the man plotted, he wouldn't let the Greeks command Hispanians nor anyone else around. His own plans advanced fairly smoothly so far, although of course nothing had happened of note.

If your son has the rank and experience required for a promotion, then I shall favour him over other equally suited candidates. I can promise you this much.

((05, as long as he fulfils these requirements, consider him a SMG. If not - you'll surely send another letter;).))
 

Michaelangelo

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((Time to wrap up the vote. Here are the results:

Veto Serbia War (Cortz Only): Yes
Veto Hungary War (Cortz Only): Yes
Support US Independence: Yes
Mission: Overextension
Idea Group: Offensive

I'm not certain when I will be able to do the update. I have some work I have to do today, and I get the privilege of being a chaperone for family and friends tonight. The update might well be posted tomorrow, but we'll see.))

It took some time for Alexis to learn of Timur Shah's letter, due to visiting some colonies on the coast of Africa, then traveling to Arabia to oversee the reconstruction of the cities, and building of the trade outposts. However as soon as he leared of the grievous insult the former general sent to the council. He also read the other letter, explaining the whole thing, however he didn't care. The man betrayed the company, and dared to insult the Prime Minister to do so. He burned the explenation and headed to the Imperial Palace to personally show the Emperor the insults thrown the Grandmaster's, the Council's and even the Emperor's way. After all even His Imperial Majesty was inderectly part of the council. Alexis also voiced his opinion on the matter, saying that Timur should be punished for this, by at least forcing him to pay a fine for his deed, or maybe ever spend some time behind the bars to reconsider his actions.

((Private - 05060403))

Emperor Jaume IV was admittedly shocked to see what Timur Shah had written. Was the man mad? The behaviour seemed so unlike what he had seen of the man. What had provoked it? Despite that, he did not feel personally insulted. This reeked more of madness or anger than anything malicious. The emperor made it clear he thought it would be a waste to lock up Timur Shah for writing such a letter and that ousting him from the TATC and all the benefits of such employment was punishment enough.

((Is there any chance that my lovely wife learns of the Greek diplomacy from her brothers, Louis of France and Karl of Sweden, and shares it?))

Montségur was satisfied at the Cortz' decision as much as he was disappointed in Jaume's reaction. Clearly the emperor still lacked some strength. Mandromenos wouldn't stop though; a small victory was one nonetheless. Whatever the man plotted, he wouldn't let the Greeks command Hispanians nor anyone else around. His own plans advanced fairly smoothly so far, although of course nothing had happened of note.

If your son has the rank and experience required for a promotion, then I shall favour him over other equally suited candidates. I can promise you this much.

((05, as long as he fulfils these requirements, consider him a SMG. If not - you'll surely send another letter;).))

((At the moment, what Byzantium is doing will not be brought to light. Also I think 05 wanted Gilbert to be made a lieutenant general so he'd be in-game.))
 

Michaelangelo

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1731-1735 – Alone Amongst Friends

With the Cortz vetoing the two Greek-planned wars, Hispania looked elsewhere for a time. The direction of the army was considered. With its vast size, it seemed capable of crushing all in its path. With that in mind, it seemed only logical that the Hispanian army always take the offensive. Military theorists starting drafting up plans and ideas for a more offensive war strategy. Despite this attitude, no major war was planned. It was time for Hispania to handle the problems of overextension first. Of course that didn’t exclude colonial conquest. The Exercit Colonial sailed for Oyo, while the Exercit Africa sailed across the Atlantic for Nova Hispania.

With no building projects planned for the time being, funds from the treasury could be devoted to improving all the trade fleets. Over the course of a few years, every single ship in the many Hispanian trade fleets was refitted into great frigates.

Even though their attempts at freedom had been quashed again and again, the Thirteen Colonies were able to take out their frustration on Mahican.

By July, the Exercit Africa had reached the New World. Chancellor Andreu de Trastámara had instructed them to issue a declaration of war to Xiu upon arrival, with the intention of acquiring all their land. All of Central America would belong to Nova Hispania.



It did not take long for Xiu to make a move. A trade fleet wandered right into the Flota Mediterranean, and that was the end of them. As for Xiu’s army, it tried to sneak through Petén, but Field Marshal Fausto Villanova, who had been tasked with leading this campaign due to his family’s extensive knowledge of the colonies, had his armies intercept. What transpired was a slaughter, the end of Xiu’s army.

Villanova’s superb leadership, as well as the many other Hispanian generals, inspired the many officers within the army to take a more direct approach to leadership and to lead from the front. Surely an army performed better when the one leading it was as willing to put himself in danger as those serving under him.

With the enemy army gone, the Exercit Africa split and marched onward. Villanova used the fleet to get around an enemy fort to reach Campeche and push towards Xiu’s capital. The second half of his army moved on to Belize and the east coast. Nova Hispania’s army had intervened by now, going after the fort in the west.

France, ever hungry for more land, declared war on Aachen. Poland couldn’t be the only one to expand into the HRE.

Xiu tried to rally a new army in their capital, but the arrival of Villanova cut that short.

By the end of the year, the colonies were fully pulling their weight. Nuevas Baleares had sent men across from Havana to besiege an enemy fort, and men from Nuevos Valencia were marching south. Even Sanchonia had sent their fleets to blockade the coast.



The start of 1732 brought the fall of Mani, Xiu’s capital. Xiu also was humiliated when two regiments of theirs surrendered rather than face Hispanian might. Their fleet then was nearly destroyed when it faced off against Sanchonia’s and Nova Hispania’s navies. By April, Xiu was all but done. Sending their fleet to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico was the final nail in the coffin.

In colonial news, the colony in Tierra del Fuego became self-sustaining and was handed over to Nuevo Leon. The Crown immediately funded a colony in Cayenne to seal off the north coast of South America before some eager European nation tried to cut in.

France, in their war with Aachen, showed that conquest was not always their goal, or rather they had an alternative strategy in mind. The Palatinate had been dragged into the war, and France used it as an excuse to vassalize them. Why France wanted this tiny state as a vassal was unknown, although it did show the weakness of the HRE since the Palatinate was an elector.



With Xiu in no position to resist, their annexation was demanded, securing all of Central America for Nova Hispania.

France ended their war with Aachen shortly after, taking Trier for their own. France’s borders continued to expand further eastward, but at least it wasn’t south.

With succession in doubt, some French nobles tried to enforce an agreement upon the French Crown to denounce any foreign claimants. That didn’t go over well when the French army returned from Aachen.

Hispania’s army continued to be the envy of the world, of much higher quality than anyone else’s.

Even with Hispania’s massive trade presence, there were inherent dangers to conducting trade over such vast distances. Many merchants were finding it more difficult to stay afloat, and bankruptcy was becoming a problem. Not wanting to see Hispania’s trade empire fall apart, the treasury was emptied to keep the merchants in business, even if it meant taking out a loan to achieve.



Serbia decided to tempt fate by conducting a blatant act of subterfuge. They sent spies to attempt to steal weapon designs, ship blueprints, and other superior Hispanian ideas. They were ultimately caught, but who knew how long they had been conducting such thievery.

Yemen got off relatively easy in their war with Ethiopia. The Ethiopians were content with them renouncing claims to lost land, perhaps as an attempt to ensure at least some semblance of peace in the area.

Patiently waiting to secure past conquests paid off. The world was starting to forget some of Hispania’s aggressive actions, a great boon to Hispania’s reputation. Now conquest could be pursued again. It was time to remove Oyo from the map.

Hispania’s finances were rarely in dire straits, which is perhaps why the loan was paid off in August of 1933, less than a year after it had been taken out.

Apparently Roussillon was the victim of piracy, an odd claim due to its position in Europe. Despite some doubts that it was legitimate, the people were provided with funds to build up defences.

Before further conquests could be acquired, it seemed better to secure some land without fighting at all. Zazzau had already had problems with their new coastal provinces, with rebels taking it at one point and thwarting any attempts at integration. A thinly veiled threat was sent to Zazzau suggesting that Hispania could take Ijebu off their hands. They accepted and that was the end of that. More African coastline for Hispania.



With troops all ready to go, war with Oyo was declared. Their army was eradicated with ease and their only province under siege.

Nobles seemed to be a constant problem in the colonies, this time pestering Nuevos Valencia. Apparently only the less refined nobles moved to the New World.

Another colony in Australia reached completion amongst the growing competition over the region with France. Further expansion of colonies near Malacca, this time Tulangbewang, could now be pursued.

In a surprise turn-around, Morocco managed not only to fend off a Mali invasion, but to secure its southern border with two more provinces. One of the last of the North African nations continued its struggle to survive.



In February of 1734, France decided it was time to contest British power. French Louisiana was starting to brush up against the Thirteen Colonies and was leading to increased tensions between the two colonial powers. While Hispania favoured the independence of Britain’s colonies to create friendly powers in the New World, France was the one who had to share a border with them, and they were a threat regardless of who was in charge. There was also talk of France securing a position across the Channel, an ambitious goal to say the least, but such rumours could not be confirmed until a peace was signed. France soon called upon both Austria and Sweden to assist them, but Hispania was yet again excluded. The French claimed it was due to Hispania’s ongoing war with Oyo, but anyone who paid any attention would know such a conflict was due to be over in no time. It seemed a pattern now that whenever one of the Quadruple Entente started a war, Hispania remained on the sidelines. Regardless, some viewed this exclusion with relief, for it ensured Hispania was not forced into a war with the very colonial nations it wanted freed from British rule.

Africa seemed to flourish the less the government was involved in its administration. Trade was free to flow as it pleased.

By May, Oyo had had enough. They signed away their independence and swore off any claims they had. The coast had been secured. Hispania had prevailed yet again, an inspiring victory.

Almost immediately after the conquest of Oyo, Morocco acted against Tunis in a startling move. The Moroccan army, perhaps to prevent a Hispanian invasion, attacked at a rapid pace and managed to enter the city in no time at all. Unprepared for such an invasion, Tunis was overwhelmed and subsequently annexed. The sultan of Tunis fled, while the remnants of his army gathered in the countryside to harass the Moroccan conquerors.



Lithuania’s war with Kazan ended in the near annihilation of the latter power. Kazan was reduced to a minor power between the Caspian and Ural Seas. Lithuania now stretched well into the steppes, although Bukhara and Sibir stood partly in the way.

With Egypt so weakened by Hispania, it was vulnerable to attack. Alodia, an East African nation, took the opportunity to try to grab what they could from their weakened neighbour.

Word from France and the other members of the Quadruple Entente trickled in as the war against Britain progressed. France had managed to land over 50k men in Cornwall, much stronger than the roughly 40k British army near London. This may be the only men they would manage to get across the Channel, for the British navy caught the French navy at sea and forced it to port. The battle wasn’t exactly one sided, but the British had won for now. This did, however, give time for Sweden to land troops in Scotland. As for Austria, they started boarding in ships in Genoa, a strange decision seeing as it was a Hispanian port. Apparently they wanted to avoid sailing around Italy to save time.

Down in Morocco, the last hopes of the Tunisian people were crushed when the remnants of their army died outside the wall of Constantine.



The Crown colony in Nootka became self-sufficient, a suitable naval base for future expansion. Now the Crown turned its eye to South Africa, deciding it was time to bolster the region, just in case another European power got any ideas. This was followed shortly after by Nakipa, a colony of the Lübecker family. Unfortunately, all the colonists were busy at this time, so no new colonies were established.

On Christmas Day of 1724, Hispania officially announced that it would support the independence of the Thirteen Colonies. If the colonial nation was to declare war on their overlord, Britain, Hispania would aid them in their struggle. This was partially Hispania’s way of striking at the British while not being engaged in France’s war. Of course with the Thirteen Colonies actively waging war alongside Britain, it seemed likely Hispania would not need to fulfill their obligation for some time.

Britain was currently managing to win the war against France, perhaps solely through naval victories and the continued freedom of their capital. It seemed likely events would turn against them though. The French army in Cornwall was now at 62k men, and the Swedes in Scotland had managed to beat a British army sent to expel it. Austria continued to build up troops in Genoa for transportation. Britain seemed likely to be defeated, but the question was how would their colonies fare?

And in the midst of this all, Byzantium continued to search for support for its claims to the Balkans, but with Hispania’s allies embroiled in war, it seemed likely no one would be responsive to another war.

As Hispania’s trade empire stretched across the world, some began to talk of ways to make it easier to transport goods from the faraway colonies to Europe. If only there was some way to avoid going all the way around the tips of South America or Africa. There was some talk of building canals in Egypt or Panama, but such projects would undoubtedly be expensive beyond belief. Was such an idea even worth it?





JpsioAG.png

Presenting His Imperial Highness, Jaume IV de Trastámara, Emperor of Hispania, Caesar of Rome, and Protector of the Greeks.

It seems our allies have gotten themselves involved in another large European war. It seems to have been quite some time since we’ve intervened in the continent. Our ambitions seem to be increasingly focused elsewhere. I pray that they weaken Britain but leave their colonies unscathed for the most part, for it would be good to see our American friends win their freedom. Seeing them forced to defend the very nation they’ve fought to escape bondage from is appalling.

We should also consider where we wish Hispania to head next. Colonial growth is always good for our nation, for our colonies are a great boon for us. Of course, so is trade, so perhaps working on building that up may be best, albeit more difficult.

I believe it will soon be appropriate to marry off my eldest son so he can ensure the future succession. I shall be arranging a match shortly, and hopefully one can be arranged for my second son as well.

I was approached about the strangest idea the other day. Some intellectual proposed digging a canal between the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Of course I said such an idea seemed absurd. He then proceeded to explain that the same could be done between the Pacific and Atlantic in Panama. It’s a fanciful idea, one that would benefit not only Hispania but the world, but I have my doubts such a thing is possible. Perhaps some of you have thoughts on the matter. Is such a prospect even worth pursuing?


((Ministers will have until Monday at 12PM PST to post their plans. Players may also propose laws in that time period. We’ll be voting on a new mission to pursue later, although I suspect only one is reasonably possible.

You may have also noticed my mentioning of canals. I just noticed we’ve reached the necessary technology and possess the proper provinces to build the Suez and Panama canals. Both are extremely expensive though. If people actually have an interest in seeing them built, I do have an interesting mechanic in mind to speed up the gathering of funds for such a project. Seeing as both areas fall under TATC monopoly zones, they’ll inevitably be involved too.

And no, I haven’t forgotten to marry off the heirs. I just wanted to get the update done first. I’ll get to that some time in the next few days once I’ve sorted a few things out.

Pensioners:
@05060403
@DaDerpyDude

Dying:
@Dadarian

))
 

Mach Twelve

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((So basically the extended war with England is delaying the Byzantine plot to go behind our backs. Considering that this war is proving that our allies are willing to work together without Hispania, would this improve the odds of the three doing it again. That Hungary situation might get in the way though. If they could be convinced that Nationalism (freeing the Hungarian subjects of Poland) is worth the price of Imperialism (dominion over the Serbs), it could work.))

((End of the story with @hirahammad in 1631 obviously))

Petros Mandromenos, son and murderer of Philaretos, walked up to the prisoner. He had already been broken by the guards and was ready to speak.

Who are you?

He was surprised, the General here? This was surprising. Time to discover why he was here.

Why did you break into the Palace. Did you want to speak to your fellow General that badly?

Petros listened to the answer, and smiled. The man was six years too late. He only found a trophy in that room. A hidden pride of Petros's.

Why would you want to kill him?

Petros smiled. So the man had secrets of his own. He had kept them so well too. Why, he might even be of use. He decided to give the man an offer he couldn't refuse.

Would you like to join us? I know you desirerevenge. I would offer you a opportunity. Become one of us. It will grant you everything you want, and more.

Timur replied, "Perhaps, but before I join you, I need to know who you are, and why you keep a mummy."

I am Petros Mandromenos, son of Philaretos. I have preserved my father's body because I wanted a constant reminder that there is no turning back from my path. I was born to show us the way, and I began to walk it when I killed him six years ago.

"What way? What do you follow? Is it some sort of religion? A cult? What?"

The Truth. Something that I always suspected but eventually was allowed to know by my Lord. Freedom from the Lies of the Enemy who has deceived so many.

"You give me no answers, so you are either ashamed or know not what you believe. I shall not speak until I receive information."

The Enemy's name is not to be spoken aloud, but I will bend this once. You know him as God, Jehovah, the Almighty.

"He is the enemy? Then, who is the friend? Unless, unless... You worship the Devil. Lucifer! Satan. Is it true? Is the Prince of Darkness you lord?. — Never! I'll never join you! Never!"

My Lord is known as the Bringer of Light, Lucifer. Those other names are false titles given to him by the Enemy. It seems that you are unwilling to join me. No matter. We have ways to make you see his Light.

Petros leaves the room, and two Redeemed enter, carrying tools with them. The door is shut and immediately howls of pain are heard.

The torturers are good, and they keep Timur on the edge of consciousness, denying the sweet embrace of oblivion

The Redeemed were replaced by demons, flitting through Timur, shadows encircling him. He saw his home burn. The fire spread, until it engulfed him, and it flowed through his blood, burning him.

The demons clawed into him, cackling, screaming. Or was he screaming? Timur felt himself flow onto the floor, and then the fire was gone. Where there had been burning heat, was now freezing cold. The slightest breath of air swept over him like a blizzard. It was dark. Everywhere dark.

Timur could not see, but he could hear. Everywhere, the screams of hell. The dogs barked around him, spiders spun their web, and at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion Timur did revolve. Everything left, and once again Timur was alone, until, suddenly light. Light which grew in him, around him, which swallowed his pain. The Light of his Lord.

Petros returned to the room after the Redemption was complete. The mess was already cleaned up and the General was bandaged and in a initiation robe. One look into his eyes revealed the truth: Timur Shah had accepted the Light, he was now Redeemed.

A bowl of goat blood was brought in. Petros poured a cup and drank from it. He gave the cup to Timur and watched as he did the same. Together they spoke the chant, ending with "a ab de, cum ex e, in pro prae, sub sine,sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt."

With the ritual complete, the Speaker gave his orders to his new follower.

"Return to Valencia and keep me informed of the current events. Tell no one you were here. I will give you one of your brothers as a servant to aid you. Remember, we must be patient. Also, please look for a lost niece of mine. My brother Ioannes sent her away in a misguided attempt to keep her from me, as she was due to be Redeemed next month. Her name is Sophia, and I believe her to be in Valencia.
 
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((Private, next part soon.))

His city, the last refuge, had fallen into Moroccan hands. Giacinto, the Trinacrian duke's guard, led him so expertly away that the Sultan suspected Montségur to have played a part in the attack. Still, he was his last hope, and so he accepted the offer, to once again rule his people, or at least what remained free.

* * * *

Montségur prepared a small invasion expedition to Morocco, holding true to his promise. The Sultan's son solemnly converted, and just after being christened, the duke spoke to him. In the time he had spent in Palermo, Alexandre had seen a man too naïve for his own good.
Assisted by the archbishop, he presented to the prince a document that would reglement Christian Tunis' succession laws. Agnatic-Cognatic Primogeniture. Most of Europe would have it that way, he explained. And to strengthen their alliance, he proposed a betrothal of his son Henri Charles and the Prince's sister, now Isabel. The renewed kingdom of Africa would have to keep close ties with Sicily in order to avert Hispanian wrath. He also negotiated the remaining price of his intervention. The Prince readily agreed to all, though he wondered why Montségur was speaking with him. 'Under Christians', he replied.

* * * *

The 'Rotten Sail' didn't exactly have a good reputation, the perfect place for his purpose. Kyrillos faced him, the scar on his face adding to his grim looks. The man snipped a coin over to Kyrillos, who studied it briefly, smiling.
'Hispanian gold doublons.'
'Plenty of them await as bounty, if you take my offer. Given your history in war, it should be easy enough. And I only ask a small part for the information.' The man held out his hand. 'Deal?'
Kyrillos didn't hesitate long. 'So many doublons are worth it. Taking on three ships at the rear of a small fleet and escape - Sicilians won't know what hit them.'
'I thought you weren't averse to a little piracy.' The man smiled. 'When you return, ask for Saint Andrew. I'll be here.'
Kyrillos didn't think about this. He would likely just take the loot and get away to live somewhere in luxury.
 
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After Timur Shah's disappearance in 1631, he is presumed dead.

Character Creation
Name: Erebus
Date of birth: 1675
Class: Courtier
Religion: Catholic
Bio: Pale and scarred, no one knows much of him. Some say he came from the far East, some say from the colonies. Some from the frigid North, some from the heat of the South.
 
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((still private))

The ships returned. So soon? The little fleet had set sail a mere day ago. Shortly after their arrival, the fleet's commander, Pasquale di San Battista, told their story to the duke. All was good as they set sail, proudly waving the Hispanian and Trinacrian flags, but half-way to Tunis, ships appeared at the horizon. Pasquale believed they were TATC ships and didn't think further. They also ignored the transports in formation. They didn't ignore the ships that followed.
Montségur knew what San Battista was coming to - the vessel of the Sultan, fearing to be killed on the way, staying behind as a consequence, a heavy mercenary ship, paid much more than usual to protect him, give him the safety he asked for, and the Prince's ship, so that he might neither kill the Sultan nor be killed himself. Cannon fire tore through the Sultan's, sinking it quickly. The attackers began to board the mercenary's, as the Prince's entered combat trying to save the sinking. Ill-equipped for it, the second Tunisian ship followed the first into the watery grave.
Even with multiple ships boarding them, the mercenaries fought fiercely. They held out long enough for the slower transports to encircle the attackers - Greek ships, as Pasquale recognized with his thirty years of experience, sailing under no flag at all.
While victorious against the sellswords, the Greeks, now unmistakable as such in their uniforms, took heavy losses and couldn't resist long against the Sicilian soldiers, although they tried. Their scarred leader accepted no surrender, so none survived.

* * * *

'Terrible, that.' Unshakeable as usual, Montségur took the captain's tale as if he had just swatted a fly.
'A Greek attack, my lord! Surely revenge for the Cortz' veto - you sit in it, and it doesn't please them!'
'No need to overreact, San Battista. Pirates have no nationality.'
'These weren't mere pirates. In uniforms, knowing exactly where to go after - had the mercenaries not fought on, they would have gotten away, just after sinking the Tunisians and taking the gold.'
'Deserters, then. Who saw our many sails, sloppy trandports, and tried their luck.'
'They didn't surrender, even when it was hopeless. They had something to hide!'
'Or their lives were already forfeited as they deserted and they didn't wish to live in captivity.'
The captain wasn't convinced. Ever since his fight with that merman over the mermaid, he meticulously proved all that happened to him. He didn't believe in his own encounter himself any longer. So he had taken parts of the Greek ship, both Greek and mercenary corpses with matching fatal wounds, and recorded witness reports during the return. 'This wasn't just coincidence, my lord. That was planned. Pirates would attack merchants; and no merchant is escorted by a fleet of warships, or flying Your Grace's duchy's flag in addition to the Hispanian.'
'The riskier, the more profit. At least that's what I heard. Think what you want.' Montségur, sitting so far, stood up. 'Send the men home. Not all though. I have to go to Valencia again, so take me there.'

* * * *

In the capital, San Battista, renowned as a blabbermouth with no secrets, told everyone his suspicions. Soon enough, the entire city, from the lowest peasant to the highest noble, knew his story. He even went to the Imperial court, asking for that raid not to go unpunished. If Greeks attacked Hispanian ships, the safety provided by Mare Nostrum, the trust in Byzantium would sink like these ships. Men who earned their livelihoods on the sea would live in constant fear. He also presented all his evidence, adding that a ship of the TATC appeared at the horizon and might have seen the combat from afar, though he wasn't sure.

((Public knowledge:
- a Sicilian fleet under Hispanian flag has been attacked by Greeks under no flag
- the Greeks wore Byzantine army uniforms, fought to the bitter end
- the experienced captain's suspicions are well-known, his thoughts presented at court))
 
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Four years had passed and still no word from Athens or the Mandromenoi that ruled it. It has been a decade since the city was open to outsiders and any hope of Duke Philaretos returning to court has been lost.

Name: Sophia Mandromenos
DOB: 1719
Religion: Catholic
Bio: The granddaughter of Philaretos, she seeks to represent her family because she is the only one present. Little is known about her other than that she came to Valencia four years ago, living with friends of her grandfather and his father.

When she is not attending court, she is with her tutor, learning.
 
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((Private))

Emperor Jaume IV sat down with Chancellor Andreu de Trastámara to speak about the recent rumours of Greeks ships attacking a Hispanian fleet. He wasn't certain of the validity of the claims and certainly didn't want them getting out of hand. Best to speak with the man in charge of foreign affairs regarding it.

"So what are your thoughts on this naval incident?"

Andreu shrugged, clearly not concerned. "I highly doubt the Greeks would openly attack our ships."

"All evidence points to the Greeks being responsible."

Andreu shook his head. "We are simply made to believe the Greeks are responsible. If they did want to do such a thing, they'd certainly be smart enough to make sure there was nothing pointing to them, not dress up in full military regalia for such an attack."

"Well someone in Byzantium could be trying to make a point," Jaume said, not entirely convinced. "They could be displeased with current relations would our two peoples and want to force our hand."

Andreu leaned forward, locking eyes with Jaume. "Do you remember the planned coup surrounding the attempt on your life?"

Jaume scoffed. "How could I forget. It is hard not to remember someone trying to kill you."

"During that whole affair, it was revealed that someone had sent instructions to the military using couriers dressed up as military personnel. All someone had to do was steal a few uniforms and they could impersonate a member of the army. The same could apply here. Anyone could have been on those ships dressed up to look like Greeks. For all we know, they could have been disgruntled Lithuanians, vengeful Genoese, or countless other enemies of Hispania."

Jaume couldn't help but nod in agreement. "True, we cannot know who is responsible, but it does require investigation. I shall wait to see what the court thinks on the matter, but you should reach out to Byzantium and measure their response. It is imperative we discover their connection to such an event, if there is any."

"As you wish, Your Imperial Highness," Andreu said, rising from his seat. The emperor did likewise and moved towards the door. The Chancellor drew his attention before he left, remembering one last thing he wished to speak about. "I almost forget, but word arrived this morning regarding our valued prisoner. Bartomeu de Trastámara is dead, having passed away peacefully in his sleep, a far kinder death than he deserved."

Jaume paused for a moment, taking it all in. The attempt on his life had happened over a decade ago, but was still fresh in his mind. Bartomeu had never been found guilty of that crime, but many suspected his involvement. His death spelled an end to that chapter of Jaume's life. Doubts still linger in his mind though. "Does it ever bother you that we never found the one responsible?"

Andreu gave the emperor a cold stare. "We did find him, and he's now paying the price with an eternity in Hell. Good riddance."

Without another word, the Chancellor walked away.

* * * * *

((Public))

The time has come for Hispania to secure its position in North Africa once and for all. Morocco tried to defy us by claiming Tunis first, but now they shall be made to see that there is no standing up to Hispania. I call for a war against the Moroccans to secure as much of their land as we can handle. The continent of Africa is increasingly falling under our control, and we should not stop until our influence is undisputed. Of course, we also have ambitions elsewhere. India is a rich land, and our neighbour Bahmanis there has remained stagnant and friendless. They are ripe for the taking. Between Morocco and Bahmanis, we have much land to claim for our empire.

With our the Council lacking a Viceroy Superior, I shall propose this idea in their stead. The people of Charrua have been under our protection for many decades. But just like the Cuscoans, they will surely prosper more under our direct rule, or rather that of our colonial nation. We should welcome them as friends and citizens of our empire.

As for this matter of an attack on Hispanian ships, I shall be contacting the Greeks to determine their involvement in the matter. I personally suspect it to be a front, but that does not rule out a Greek as being responsible. I can certainly think of one person in Byzantium who would be miffed by Hispania's recent actions.

- Andreu de Trastámara, Chancellor of Hispania
 

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Pausanias grumbled as the news came in. A Sicilian Squadron was attacked by Greek soldiers. Or so it seemed. It quickly became apparent that the attackers were skilled in naval warfare and were wearing Army uniforms, something very curious.

The only armed men who could fight on a boat would be the Byzantine Marines, a unit completely separate from the Army. In fact Byzantium was the first nation on record to seperate Marines from their land based counterparts, and they had their own traditions including uniforms. The fact that the attackers made such an oversight proved that the attackers were unlikely either Byzantine Army or Navy, current or former.
 

hirahammad

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((Private, thoughts are in italics and bold))

Hello.

No, no. Please go away.


Why, I only just got here. You know it seems you've been avoiding me.


Avoiding you, I haven't been avoiding you. I just need you to leave. I have to think.

Think? Fool, you believe you can think without me? What do you know of thinking? You haven't had a thought ever. You've never had any control. Not since...

What do you want? Just tell me what you want and leave.

All I want is to remind you. Remember what the Prophet told us. About she who fled her Redemption.

I, I was just getting to it.

Just getting to it! We've been here for a month! You'll do it either way, resist it or not!

I'll do it! Please, don't hurt me.

Hurt! You don't know hurt.

No, no, noooo!