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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Mach Twelve

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((Private))

As the time wore on, and it seemed that the letter was a hoax, a woman walked in the room.

She appeared to be in her forties, and dressed as a servant. Many would know her as a maid within the Imperials Family's Residence, the most protected part of the palace, but only the most observant.

"Greetings, Father. It will warm the Mistress's heart to know that you have come here. My name is Caterina. My Mistress has a simple question for you. Circumstances may have forced her to make a hard choice, one all loyal Hispanians would disagree with, but she intends to see it through. But that is not what concerns her. Threats to the Emperor exists beyond the Austrians. My Mistress wants to know, if needed would you side with her for the good of the Empire, regardless of the circumstances it may be in or what may be required?"
 

Michaelangelo

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((Vote closing time.

Flag: N/A
The Parliament Act of 1755: Yes
Reform of the Cortz Act: Yes
The Trans-Atlantic Trading Company Restraint Act: Yes
Imperial Governance Act: Yes
The Security of the Capital Act: Yes
The Regency Act: Yes
Austrian Peace Offer: N/A
Byzantium Civil War: Intervene

Cortz (Nobles Only - Pick 2): N/A

Villanova Trial (Council Only): Exile
Montségur Family Trial (Council Only): Revoke Titles & House Arrest

You may notice the weird results for the flag vote. That's because none of the choices had a clear majority. Based on the results, we'll have another vote between adopting Flag #2 or keeping the current one. Also, the Austrian vote really doesn't matter anymore because a peace treaty has been signed different from the one proposed for the vote. The Cortz vote is similar in that the Reform of the Cortz Act makes it irrelevant. zenphoenix and Dadarian would have won if anyone is curious. Fausto Villanova will now be exiled to the colonies. St. Helena is always a good choice. :D As for the Montségur family, they shall lose their titles and the most prominent members shall be placed under house arrest. If you're wondering how I figured out the results of that vote, I just counted up the VP of everyone involved and any result that had over half the total VP passed.

I shall be getting to the playthrough shortly. I might have to tweak the rules a bit to fit these new laws.))
 

hirahammad

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((Private))

As the time wore on, and it seemed that the letter was a hoax, a woman walked in the room.

She appeared to be in her forties, and dressed as a servant. Many would know her as a maid within the Imperials Family's Residence, the most protected part of the palace, but only the most observant.

"Greetings, Father. It will warm the Mistress's heart to know that you have come here. My name is Caterina. My Mistress has a simple question for you. Circumstances may have forced her to make a hard choice, one all loyal Hispanians would disagree with, but she intends to see it through. But that is not what concerns her. Threats to the Emperor exists beyond the Austrians. My Mistress wants to know, if needed would you side with her for the good of the Empire, regardless of the circumstances it may be in or what may be required?"

((Private))
Velazquez thought about what the woman had said. regardless of the circumstances, she said.

"No. I need to know what your Mistress wants, why she is so secretive, and what she plans to do. This sounds very much like Pheonix propaganda, and let me assure you, I only wish what is best for Hispania. I have served under His Majesty for many years, under much harder circumstance, and I have not left him. I do not plan to do so now."
 

Mach Twelve

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((Private))
Velazquez thought about what the woman had said. regardless of the circumstances, she said.

"No. I need to know what your Mistress wants, why she is so secretive, and what she plans to do. This sounds very much like Pheonix propaganda, and let me assure you, I only wish what is best for Hispania. I have served under His Majesty for many years, under much harder circumstance, and I have not left him. I do not plan to do so now."

Caterina looked to the door, and approached the man, her voice barely a whisper.

"My Mistress, the Empress Dowager herself, fears that while the main threat has been dealt with, others remain. She knows she is being watched and cannot act herself, but wants to organize a group to keep tabs on any threat that would harm her son. The Mistress knows of your loyalty, and that is why she asked me to approach you. I would like to tell her that you would be willing to assist her by monitoring the Church. Also, I recommend you take a page out of her book. Should you be willing to assist, designate a capable man that you trust absolutely to come to me on your behalf if needed. Have him placed in the palace so none suspect him but let him have access to you. A friar or monk would work nicely. The Phoenix threat has past, but more remain."
 

hirahammad

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((Private))
Velazquez gasped. The Empress Dowager herself.

"Let you Mistress know that I will continue monitoring the Christian Churches. If she wishes to contact me, you may speak to a young man I have taken under my protection, though few know of him. Justinian Lagos. I will instruct him to be present. Though, I must say. The Phoenix threat has not past. I fear it may be aptly named, and rise from its ashes. We must never forget." He nodded his head, and left.
 

Michaelangelo

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1755-1760 – The German Question

With the Hispanian Civil War at an end, negotiations were opened up with Austria. Despite the court generally being against the Austrians due to their betrayal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs managed to convince the Austrians to return all the disputed provinces, while the Empress Dowager intervened to arrange a marriage between her daughter and the Crown Prince of Austria. It seemed that peace would be achieved at last. However, a breakdown occurred almost immediately. Despite agreeing that the Crown Prince would spend four months of the year in Hispania, the Archduke refused to allow his son to leave Austria. The marriage agreement was already in shatters. ((Austria broke the marriage after the event. Those bastards. :p))

A colony was established in Nicaragua to ensure Scotland didn’t get that piece of Central America as well.

The Greek Civil War continued to rage on, with the rebels being knocked down one by one. Another army was crushed in Macedonia near the end of January. A month later, they managed to eradicate the army in Serbia. All that remained was Pausanias and his large force.

Perhaps the greatest change of all involved the Parliament. The membership of the Cortz was expanded to all landed nobles with a rank higher than baron. The Crown took more direct control over the provinces. Many nobles accepted the arrangement, attempting to use the Cortz as a means of earning prestige and to influence imperial politics. The creation of the Assembly was the most exciting to the average citizens of Hispania though. Men all throughout the Empire, or at least the ones in Europe, went to vote in the first election. The Assembly was soon filled with a mish-mash of random notables from the provinces. The Emperor proceeded to appoint most of the members of his court to the Assembly. The first election saw a major impact throughout the Empire. The Northern Italians and the Greeks, isolated from the capital, had felt that their interests were being ignored for so long. This was perhaps why the former had sided with the Phoenixes to begin with. Now they had a way to get involved directly in politics, and felt more accepted as part of Hispania as a result. Even some of the North Africans were enjoying the changes. While the vote had not been extended to Africa, the fact that the Crown was taking more direct interest in the area meant more attention. In general, people were enjoying the changes.

Wallachia received some notable attention in the first few months of 1755. A marriage between Emperor Alfons IX and Princess Mirela Kosovic was met with much celebration in her native Wallachia. The Voivode of Wallachia eagerly requested an alliance, seeing this as a chance to ensure protection against a potential aggressive Poland. His fear of Poland was so strong that he agreed to swear allegiance to Emperor Alfons in May, less than two months after the alliance was signed. Wallachia was now to serve as a buffer state between Byzantium and Poland.



It wasn’t until April that the arrangement with Austria was finally revived, perhaps in part thanks to the help of the newly hired Ferran de Cabrera, a distinguished diplomat. The Austrians agreed to the original arrangement, probably knowing that since the winter was past that the Crown Prince would not need to leave for Hispania until the end of the year. To show that they were earnest this time, Austria offered an alliance, which Emperor Alfons signed personally. ((Apparently we needed a new diplo advisor to boost our reputation to get them to keep the marriage and sign an alliance. What a hassle.))

While Emperor Alfons was pushing his hardest for reconciliation with Austria, it seemed he was the only one. Relations between France and Austria had not recovered, and possibly never would. The Archduke had already started expressing an interest in French land, and perhaps more damaging to Hispania, parts of the Balkans owned by Byzantium. The Quadruple Entente was no more, despite the Emperor’s hope for its restoration.

While Hispania was focusing its attention on Austria, change was coming to Germany. Ever since the Phoenixes had approached the German states with the hopes of creating a unified nation to use as an ally, the Germans had been tossing around the idea of a unified Germany. Only the Protestants seemed interested, but they had become almost fanatical about it. Unification was the answer to protecting themselves against their encroaching neighbours. The HRE had proven ineffective at protecting them, and Protestantism had been unable to spread beyond Germany. Both Munster and Saxony took up the mantle of German unification, rallying states to their side. Munster had the strongest military, but Saxony had many diplomatic connections and influence. The smaller states swore allegiance to one or the other. However, there could be only one Germany. Either Munster or Saxony had to fall for the other to rise. Most of the states sided with Saxony, hoping that its smaller side meant they could maintain some influence in a unified Germany. Only Frankfurt and Hesse joined Munster, but Munster had the advantage of still being larger and less spread out than Saxony. The regency also found some unusual aid in the form of some unknown noble with a German name and strange accent, who insisted on helping their cause.

The navy began the slow process of rebuilding, with the Asiatic Armada merged into the Armada Colonial. A further ten galleys and some heavy ships were added to it, while the Grande Armada was mothballed in Gibraltar.

Down in East Africa, the rebels that had been stirred up by the Imperials still remained and had to be dealt with. The Exercit Colonial attacked the first of them in Inhambane.

Kaffa’s victory over Alodia proved of some benefit to Hispania. Some of their land in Egypt was returned to Egypt, leaving it ripe for the taking.

The two German states were ready to clash, but Munster had one more thing hidden up its sleeve. Austria certainly didn’t want to see a unified Germany, but it wanted a unified Germany as emperor even less. While Saxony still clung to its imperial title, Munster had no interest in remaining in the HRE. It was a failed institution. An arrangement was soon reached between the two. Austria would back Munster against Saxony, and in exchange Austria would have the opportunity to seize the imperial crown. Munster would have help unifying the Protestant German states, and Austria would finally steal the imperial crown away from the Protestants. It seemed beneficial to both sides.

The German conflict became that more interesting with the death of the Frankfurt Pope. His successor, Innocentius XI, was not exactly the brightest man, and instead of staying out of the war raging around the Papal State, he instead sided with Saxony. Austria had abandoned him for the Roman Pope, and the HRE provided him with some protection even under a Protestant emperor. The decision seemed questionable, but it was made nonetheless.



Two armies under Generals Leon and Trastámara landed in Anatolia, ready to assist the Greeks in their civil war. While the Greek army did some evasive manoeuvres, Pausanias proved just as bold as ever. He launched an attack on Francesc de Trastámara’s army in Kutahya. A few days later, the rest of the Hispanian and Greek armies arrived, outnumbering Pausanias’s men 2:1. Not even the Greek pretender could match those odds. He retreated south, with the Hispanian forces in hot pursuit. Leon struck the final blow against the former Greek general. After such a lengthy civil war, Pausanias had fallen. Basileus Demetrios IV ordered him brought back to Constantinople, where he was blinded, castrated, and then placed in a cage outside the palace where he slowly died of starvation. This was the fate that traitors would face in Byzantium. There were still holdouts that remained in the provinces. Demetrios had his armies sent out to reclaim the occupied land, and ordered any of Pausanias’s sons, if found, to receive the same treatment as their father.

The Hispanian armies linger for a bit, helping to retake parts of Western Anatolia.

Perhaps due to the unrest in Byzantium, the fortifications in Mylasa received some extra attention.

In East Africa, the last of the rebels were crushed and order restored. With Africa quiet once more, colonization could continue. A colonist was sent to Calabar in West Africa to help seal off the coast.

In February of 1756, Persia went to war with Najd over religious issues, but of more interest was Scotland’s declaration of war on Great Britain. Scotland was intent on unifying the Isles under their rule, and Tyrone was willing to back them.



The finances of the Empire were quickly recovering. Minister of Finance Nicolás de Alvaro had proven himself most able over the years at keeping inflation down. This left money available for the Minister of the Interior, Cibrán Rodrigo Paulo Afonso Arceo, to fund the expansion of the forts in Northern Italy, something that should better prepare Hispania for any potential conflict with their northern neighbours again.

A few of the nobles, perhaps annoyed that they had less control over lands that they had ruled in the Emperor’s name, tried to prevent the adoption of some new methods of production. Such rumours were ignored.

Alfons’s desire for reform was strong, and nothing was left untouched. Changes in both the army and navy were encouraged, especially the latter since it had never received the attention that the army had. Its performance during the civil war had proven its worth.

Ming was just falling apart. Kara Del managed to take some land from them, despite being an insignificant backwater in Central Asia.

Preparations had been made for war with Egypt. While many had spoken up against it when war with Austria was still a reality, there seemed no reason not to pursue it now. Three armies were moved into place and war declared. Egypt’s ally Zazzau abandoned them, leaving them alone to fight off the invasion. They seemed doom for certain.

By the end of the month, Egypt’s miniscule army had been eradicated. The men laid down their weapons rather than get slaughtered by Hispania.



The Catholic Church was irreparably shaken by the events of June. Pope Innocentius’s decision to join the war against Munster had proven ill thought out. Munster had no love for the Frankfurt Pope. When its armies occupied Frankfurt, the Holy See was run out of the city. Frankfurt was to be part of Germany, not the home of the Catholic Church. Innocentius fled to the last independent theocracy in Europe: Mainz. There he found himself rebuffed, for the Archbishop of Mainz had no interest in relinquishing his position, even for the Pope, especially with the hostility it’d undoubtedly cause. Even more shocking, the Archbishop denounced the Frankfurt Pope, choosing to align with the Roman Pope. This was the start of a transition in the Catholic world. The fall of the Papal State had destroyed the legitimacy of the Frankfurt Pope. As for the Roman Pope, he was accepted by Catholics in some of the most powerful states in Europe, and was protected by Hispania. Catholic even in Poland and Lithuania started to see the Roman Pope in a new light. Within a few months, the entire Catholic world had accepted the Roman Pope as the sole pontiff. The schism was at an end.

Upon hearing the news, the Roman Pope was said to be so overjoyed that he promptly died of a heart attack. The College of Cardinals was immediately convened to appoint a successor. Despite the influx of cardinals from parts of Europe that had followed the Frankfurt Pope, Hispania’s influence was still strong. It seemed logical then that a Hispanian cardinal would be chosen, and why not one who had been most influential in Hispania. Thus Cardinal Sancho Velazquez found himself chosen as the next pope. ((@hirahammad you get to be pope now. You may choose whatever name you want, and the benefit of not being part of the Papal State anymore is the game can’t kill you off. :D))

The Egyptian war proceeded with ease. Cairo fell in less than a month, allowing Captain General Gilbert de Saint-Pierre to spread his forces out through Egypt. Two months later, the new Egyptian capital of Fezzan fell, with the last fort of Ouargla a month later. It seemed only a matter of time before Egypt would no longer be a problem.

In Greece, a Hispanian army assisted in retaking Morea, while the Greek armies were trying to retake Tarnovo.

The next focus for reforms were the colonies. Alfons IX called for greater freedom for the colonies in trade, removing restrictions on which ports they may trade with and with whom. Efforts were to be made to restructure the administration to ensure efficiency and boost the colonial economies. While in theory this would greatly aid the colonies, the way it was carried out proved very intrusive. Empress Dowager Sophia, as Minister of Colonial Affairs, took over control of the reforms and made sure they were carried out the way Hispania wanted. The colonies did see noticeable improvement for their economies, but certainly did not appreciate the intrusion of Hispanian officials meddling in their affairs.

As for Egypt, they had little resistance left. The remnants of the once belligerent Islamic power were annexed into the Hispanian Empire. North Africa would have no master but Hispania.

Scotland signed a peace with Great Britain, reducing their enemy to a mere nub state. Most of England and all of Wales now belonged to Scotland. Much to the annoyance of Tyrone, Scotland took England’s Irish lands. Perhaps a conflict between allies was now inevitable.

The colonization of West Africa continued, with Colonist Joaquin Villanova sent to Bonny.



With Egypt having fallen, the Exercit Jerusalem under Saint-Pierre aided the Greeks by reclaiming Trebizond. When Tarnovo finally was reclaimed in July of 1757, Byzantium was at last at peace. Basileus Demetrios IV personally travelled to Valencia to express his thanks to the Hispanian court. Most shocking of all, when he arrived he knelt before Emperor Alfons IX and pledged his allegiance. The status of Hispania and Byzantium’s relationship had always been murky. It had generally been accepted that Byzantium was the lesser partner, but no one openly spoke of them as a vassal. Now there could be no doubts. Byzantium took its orders from Hispania, and not the other way around.

The encouragement of reforms and the changes to the government had sparked a wave of innovative thought. People were encouraged to share their ideas to improve the Empire.

It seemed that Demetrios’s time on the Greek throne was limited. Despite surviving the Greek Civil War, his health had failed from the stress caused by it. By early 1758, he was bed-ridden, and in March he passed away. His son, now Romanos V Palaiologos, became the new Basileus, with his son Alexandros as heir.

Rumours started to circulate that Emperor Alfons’s great-grandmother was actually the daughter of a farmer from outside Valencia, through his mother’s line. When questioned about it, Alfons stated that there was no truth to it. His great-grandmother had actually been the daughter of a farmer outside Athens, not Valencia. Of course there was much dispute later on about what the Emperor considered a farmer, for it seemed he believed that managing the affairs of an agricultural estate counted one as a farmer. By the time it was further explained, the rumour had spread far and wide.



Ming next fell victim to Manchu, who started encroaching from the north.

Despite the death of Demetrios IV, Romanos proved just as compliant. The Voivode of Wallachia was also unlikely to be a problem. For the first time in awhile, Hispania’s subjects were behaving and remaining loyal to the Emperor.

Things were not entirely rosy in the capital. The Empress, the Wallachian Mirela Kosovic, had experienced a difficult pregnancy in 1756, resulting in a miscarriage. Her second pregnancy proved just as difficult. Complications arose during the birth, and neither the mother nor the child survived. Alfons was left without a wife or heir and went into grieving for the next few months.

The desire for tea was meeting with difficulty in supplying the demand, with more and more imports from other countries being needed. To fight this unfavourable trade deficit, the Crown encouraged the consumption of coffee, a more easily accessible trade good.

The German conflict finally came to an end with a clear winner. Munster reigned supreme and forcefully integrated Saxony. There would be only one Germany. The name was officially changed and what was once Munster withdrew from the HRE. Thus Germany was born. As for Austria, they got their wish. With the all the Protestant electors now part of Germany and no longer part of the HRE, Austria used its influence over the last elector of Alsace to secure their position. Thus Austria seized the imperial crown. They then proceeded to hand out the title of elector to the remaining members, including themselves, although Bavaria was noticeably ignored. With only five members, the HRE was a mere shadow of its former self.

It did not take long for this new Germany to make some big moves. An alliance was signed with France, taking advantage of the rift with Austria. As for Austria, that alliance of convenience came to an end. Austria felt it deserved Bohemia, Saxony proper, and Mainz for its participation in the war. Germany refused to part with a single province, even the isolated Bohemian province it could not reach. Germany announced that Austria was and would remain a rival of the German people, despite their assistance in German unification. In indignation, the Archduke of Austria broke the alliance. Germany had no more need for Austria.



Some merchants in Shiuhing requested aid against pirates. Not only were funds sent to them to build defences, but the Armada Colonial set sail for Canton to rid the region of pirates.

Kara Del’s victory against Ming proved short lived as Manchu annexed them.

As the troublesome 1750s came to an end, Hispania could look forward with hope. New innovations were being brought forth all the time. A new plow was created that was much lighter and easier to use. Joint stock companies started popping up as a way to accumulate capital with less risk to shareholders. A new design of cuirass for cavalry provided a better balance between protection and mobility, something key for cavalry. The army had returned to a state of glory, and it rode into battle with confidence.

In Germany, the young king came of age and was proclaimed King Johann IV von Sponheim of Germany. One of his first acts on the throne was to choose a Chancellor to serve him. He chose a man who had been helping him since the unification effort began, a key figure during the regency. He went by a German name, but he was all too familiar to Hispania. The Phoenix had risen from the ashes.





JpsioAG.png

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

It is difficult to believe that only half a decade ago Hispania was engaged in a brutal civil war. Prosperity has returned and we have returned to our state of prominence on the world stage. Relations with the colonies and Byzantium are at an all-time high, and Wallachia has welcomed our protection. I pray that such times may continue and that we may reform this Empire into something even greater.

While I welcomed a reunion with Austria, they have made this most trying for us. They refuse to reconcile with France, and thus the Quadruple Entente lies dead in the water. An unfortunate occurrence. I wish nothing more than for relations to return to normal once more.

The creation of this new German state was certainly unexpected. It would seem that the Phoenixes’ attempts to meddle in the region has sparked some rapid changes. This Germany seems friendly enough, especially since they are on good terms with our ally France, but we should keep a close eye on them. Their alliance of convenience with Austria could be a symbol of how they will handle future affairs.


((You can thank @alscon for the appearance of Germany, although I was thinking of going ahead with something similar before he suggested it. Either way, Germany will never be the same. :D

The reforms will have some impact on the voting process. The landed nobles are now off in their own house, so their votes must be counted separately. Also, landed nobles have to declare they have joined the Cortz and gave up their feudal rights to get that vote.

Now on to business. Minister have until Monday at 12PM PST to post their plans. Players may also propose laws or reforms in that time period. Also, we’re reaching the time where we can finally remove some of the policies we enacted during the civil war, so we might want to consider revoking some to get our military points back up.

Pensioners:
@jacobweller))
 
Last edited:

jacobweller

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Vladimir was tired. So very tired. He did not know how he was still living. He had seen so much in his life. He missed his child, his wife, and his family. He would be with them soon. He would be with God soon. Vladimir struggled to get out of his chair. After about a minute, he was on his feet. He could not be bothered waiting for God to decide. He hobbled over to the window of the second floor of the tavern. He was sick. He was dying. He wanted to die on his own terms. Vladimir opened the window. It was a long way down. Hopefully a far enough fall to kill him. Vladimir walked to the table, had a swig of whiskey, and wrote a short note, detailing his reason for what he was about to do. He folded it, and placed it in his pocket. He hobbled back to the window, and leaned over. Vladimir leaned further out, at peace with the world. He then leaned too far, and fell.

And so ends the life of Vladimir Pugachev, colonist of Hispania, and head of the Pugachev family. With him died his family name, and their honor


((Thanks so much for having me to play. Sorry I was not too active, might join again later when my real life is a bit less stressful.))
 
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Mach Twelve

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Sophia stood before the joint session of the Parliament and the Cortz, before the Emperor, Sophia rose to speak.

"It seems that our traitorous Marshal Montsegur has been found. Chancellor of Germany. That the Germans so readily make him their Chancellor shows that they are the enemy as well.

There is only one answer to this. War. This nation, founded to be our foe, must be annihilated. And annihilate we shall. If we desire for Denmark to be made Scandinavian, we shall allow it. If we desire to see the Low Country made French, we shall do it. If we desire to see the rest made Austrian to form a TRUE Germany, we shall march and fight for it. The hated enemy will be ground into dust, its remains used to forge a better world. And we must send a message to the kingdoms of Earth. Those who cross us are not so easily forgiven nor released from their debt.

We fight the German, force their king to hand over the Traitor, and then string him up from the nearest tree."
 

hirahammad

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Velazquez takes up the Papal name of His Holiness Xystus II, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God.
 

Mach Twelve

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In Byzantium, the Mandromenoi did not receive a light sentence.

Emboldened by the victory, the loyalists of Byzantium sought to make the rebels pay in blood.

Any Mandromenos found suffered a terrible fate.

His eldest son was thrown into a metal bull and roasted alive.

His second son was placed on a rack and stretched until his limbs were torn from his body then left to bleed out.

His youngest son was impaled alive and left to die, which he eventually did.

All other Mandromenoi, even the youngest, were given similar fates. Not just death, but a prolonged, brutal one.

Thanks to the extensive record keeping of the House in their Morean stronghold, the loyalists had a very good idea on the number and location of the remaining members of House Mandromenos and were able to carry out this purge with unexpected efficiency.

Only one remain, Sophia herself.

In fact, some Army officers, wishing to gain the position left open by the death of Pausanias, have traveled to Valencia with one sinister purpose in mind. To deliver the head of the Empress Dowager, the Last of the Mandromenoi, to the Basileus to remove the perceived threat of having such a person in charge of managing the affairs between Byzantium and Hispania.

((That's right, I'm requesting an assassination roll on myself.))
 

Michaelangelo

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((That's right, I'm requesting an assassination roll on myself.))

((I don't see any reason to do this. Since she's your character, you can kill your her off whenever you please. If you want her to be assassinated, just go ahead. The only thing you can't do is pin it on another player or significant character.))
 

alscon

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((Mach, in that case you could roll yourself to see if you die, as long as Byzantium is not involved. Just stands to hope that you don't have similar luck as the tournament hosts :p.))

It had worked as planned. Two sides had emerged from the negotiations, and he had supported the right one - and used the tried tactic to get the Austrians on his side. Not more than mercenaries. The crown of the all but defunct HRE, the official price. Of course, greedy Austria wanted more. What had become of 'felix Austria nube'? No, this was enough. They would have to pay the price for their greed. Their involvement in the Hispanian civil war had shattered the trust with France and likely irreparably damaged the relation with Hispania, even more considering the development of the betrothal. Friend after friend would abandon them, to end up surrounded by enemies if he played the cards right and the other players did as well. Time to address one of them. Then he would arrange a meeting with the duke and leaders of Lüneburg to speak about a possible integration of his lands into Germany.

Court of Hispania, His Imperial Highness Alfons,

You are certainly aware of my new role in the new nation of Germany, a role I have prepared for a while. Something that might strain the relations between Hispania and Germany, but which, as I will explain to you, should not. It has never been a personal goal of mine to obliterate Hispania nor its ruler. And if you are honest to yourselves, it is only for personal revenge that you might want to seek me.
For what have I brought Hispania? A civil war? My actions alone would not have, but the combination with your reaction. An action that was necessary for the empire to survive, to continue to strive. And now, you see the benefits for Hispania - the state has been modernized, the people have quickly recovered from the war, a war that had been fought under the clear orders not to cause the usual devastation a war brings, and are now more productive, appeased, thankful for their representation. The Greeks have acknowledged their place as subjects of Hispania.
All that because you have learnt from the failures of the past. Because you have accepted most of what Phoenix represented, and put it into reforms. Reforms which allowed you you stay in power, while modernizing the state and avoiding a similar situation from arising for the following decades at least. Phoenix's goal was to install a new order. This goal has been achieved. Your aim was to keep the reins of the state, to uphold the rule of Alfons IX. It has been achieved as well. In the end, Hispania is the victor. Even if you consider the casualties - they were far lower than one could have expected. It wasn't a fight until the bitter end. And they were far lower than if the people would have taken matters into its own hands. A possibility that arised more and more, one that forced me to act.
It kept you all in power, while bringing Hispania into the modern era. I am not an enemy of the empire. I will not claim anything else, only that now I am the highest representative of a potential ally of the empire. As the French have, listen to my words, and treat them rationally, for then you can see the benefit that it brings for Hispania, Germany, and all of Europe.

Alexandre César de Montségur


The man delivering the next letter had made some changes to it he believed necessary. A bit much for Montségur's taste, but if he would want to succeed in his new position, he had to accept some compromises or alterations, wanted by the parliament, the king or his ministers. The diplomat was ready to take his new place as ambassador of Germany in Hispania, so at the same time he would deliver this, clarifying the intentions of the realm, its monarch, its people.

((Open letter to the Hispanian Parliament))

Noble Parliament of Hispania,

As the representative of Germany, I address you in good faith, and in the hope that the relation between our young realm and your great empire shall be long, good and fruitful. For Germany wishes not to be an enemy of Hispania - there is no reason to. No, in the long time it took for our nation to form, there was no enmity to the empire, rather the contrary. The Frankfurt Pope was an enemy of Hispania, and also one of Germany. With the end of his rule over the city, the schism within the Catholic world was mended. Let that be a sign of the path we shall continue on.
A path that will undoubtedly bring us to the question of Austria. Why did the Austrians support His Majesty Johann IV of Münster, when in the end Germany seemed to ungratefully turn their back on them? Because the price to pay would have been too high. In exchange for the support, Austria demanded not only the crown of the HRE which they got, they demanded territory that was rightful German land, never in the hands of Austrians, no, core lands of our new nation. It is the Austrians that betray themselves, that sell their armies to the highest bidder. Can they be trusted any more? Hardly. Instead, we seek good relations with whoever shares our sentiments towards the Austrians. France sees it and turned their backs to their former ally. What shall Hispania decide?
For the territorial ambitions of Germany are hardly conflicting, unlike the Austrian. We seek to unite the German lands in one nation. Not to advance into Italy, Scandinavia, France. The balance of power in Europe is best served when the people in their respective lands identify with their nations, a way to a lasting peace.
Parliament of Hispania, we seek cooperation. Perhaps not now, perhaps not in the near future. But it is in all our interests to create the balance and peace Europe needs, to fight those who stand in its way.

In the name of His Highness Johann IV and the people of Germany, may the relation between our peoples be a good one
Chancellor Alexander von Sickerberg
 

hirahammad

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((Public))
A message arrives from Court Chaplain Velazquez. ((but not Pope Xystus II))
"The Pheonix armies have been defeated. The Pheonix navies lie under the waves. The Phoenix leader is in hiding. But, they are not gone. I fear that, as their namesake, they may rise again. Therefore,we must take action to prevent another Marshal from usurping control of the armies. To advance this goal, I petition the members of the Court to propose laws to reduce this danger. One possible, but flawed, alternative, would be for the King to establish direct control over the army.

Secondly, there is the German question. But, also, the Montsegur question. He says civil war was necessary. Perhaps if there were no way to speak to the Kingdom. Perhaps if Hispanian kings had been against reform. But throughout Hispanian history, the Kings have always been receptive to reform. I believe Montsegur simply started a civil war to gain power, regardless of if it required the death of thousands. If he started it to "reform", as he says, then that show that he is impatient and weak, one who will simply resort to mass murder to achieve his goals faster. Either way, I tell the German people not to trust this man."
 

Firehound15

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"I will now go into opposition and resign my position as Minister of the Interior in rejection of the warmongering spirit of the Empress Dowager. For too long her and her urban elites have ruled without reason or proper judgment, and I can no longer stand idly by as she continues to provide an undue and un-Hispanian outlook on our national realities.

"I urge my fellow compatriotas to join me in opposing both an unnecessary war with the Germans, as well as the oligarchy of the Greek and her self-interested and anti-Hispanian ilk."


- Cibrán Arceo
 

Mach Twelve

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((Well I did the roll, and the results will be interesting to say the least.))

Sophia was walking through the Viceroy Section of the Palace, where she did her work and where the representatives from the Colonies, Byzantium, and Wallachia did their duties. She was finished with her work for the day and was returning to her study deep in the Imperial Residence.

As she was doing so, something caught her eye. A man, charging her with a dagger. He screamed at the top of his lungs,

"Death to kin of the traitor. Death to the Oppressor. DEATH TO THE MANDROMENOI!"

Sophia attempted to flee, but all she could do was redirect the man's dagger away from her heart and into her shoulder.

Hearing the approaching soldiers, her attacker fled, leaving the Empress wounded on the floor. Despite their best efforts, the attacker managed to elude the guards.

The Empress retreated to her room, and forbade anyone from entering, even her son. The only one allowed in was a servant by the name of Caterina.
 

Robban204

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The financial plan have worked this far, let us keep it.

Minister of Finances plan:
Keep inflation under 2%
Keep army and navy maintenance at half during times of peace
 

zenphoenix

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((Marshal's plan: same as last time, but move one army to the border with Alodia in case anybody wants to clean up that bordergore there.:p))
 

Michaelangelo

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((Private))

Emperor Alfons IX sat alone with his thoughts. He had just turned 20, yet he had lived through so much. A brutal civil war that nearly cost him his throne, the Austrian betrayal and continued tensions, the loss of his wife after only three years of marriage, and now some fanatics had attacked his own mother. She had retreated to her rooms and would not allow anyone to see her. At times it felt that the world conspired against him. Before Alfons even had a chance to prove himself, Montségur had threatened his throne. Now they had received a letter from him, or at least assumed to be, stating that he had helped Hispania. Alfons found that hard to believe. The Emperor's convictions ran deep and he knew that even if there had been no civil war, he would have sought reform regardless. If anything, the conflict during his regency only made him more careful and hesitant. As much as he wanted to let the people participate in the workings of government, the naive trust was starting to fade. How could he know there wasn't another Montségur out there waiting to stir up more chaos? As emperor, Alfons had to keep his hands steadily on the reins or risk the whole system collapsing. He would find the right balance of royal absolutism and democratic government. It would take time, but he would make Hispania a better place.

Then there was Austria. Just thinking about them made Alfons's head ache. Had he made the right choice compromising with them and repairing the alliance? At times he had his doubts. It just seemed so wasteful to see the Quadruple Entente die like this. Perhaps he was being too idealistic. He wanted peace in Europe, but reality begged to differ. He could push for reconciliation, but there were others out there much less willingly to give up personal ambitions for the greater good. Alfons realized he need to try looking at things the way others would. Just because he always sought out the good in others, did not mean others were the same. The Austrians had shown their greediness and ambitions quite plainly. Alfons prayed there would be no further tensions, but he had to accept reality. If Austria made another move that went against Hispania, he had to consider cutting them loose. Despite his desire to keep on good terms with Austria, he had to put Hispania and his people first.

Now it was time he addressed the Court on these matters. No, not the Court, he told himself, but Parliament. These were no longer just the gathering of the most elite and talented of society, but representatives of the people, his people. That brought a smile to his face. Perhaps some things did look bleak elsewhere, but Hispania was on the rise again. He would not give up. He would make Hispania better for all.

((Public))

JpsioAG.png

The recent attack on my mother is quite frankly appalling, and those responsible should be caught and brought to justice. I am just glad that she was not killed or others were harmed. We have seen too much violence in recent days, and I pray we shall see no more.

But I come before you for another reason. As you have surely heard, the traitor Montségur has resurfaced, this time in Germany. Before my mother was attacked, she called for war against Germany. As much as I want that traitor found and brought to justice, I cannot support this war. I will not allow my own personal emotions to cloud my judgment on this matter. Starting a war with Germany solely to capture Montségur will cause more grief than it is worth. Not only would we earn the ire of the German people, but force a conflict that will provide no benefit to the Hispanian people. Worst of all, we would force our French allies to choose a side, for they are also allied with Germany. While they have stood by us for centuries, it would be cruel of us to force them to turn their back on their new ally, or even to force them to defend Germany against us. I cannot in good conscience allow that to happen. I do not believe violence is necessary in this pursuit either. The best option for us is to try diplomacy. We do not know why the German king protected and placed Montségur in such a position. Perhaps he would be willing to hand over Montségur, and thus avoid a potential conflict. Even if he chooses not to, as long as Montségur does not take action against Hispania again, I cannot ask the Hispanian people to fight a war with the sole goal of capturing this one man, regardless of the great evil he has committed. We must not be blinded by our hatred and allow it to rule our judgment.

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