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    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

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帝國在天堂之下 Empire Under Heaven:
A Victoria (VIP) Chinese AAR



(Mood Music)


[size=+1]
Long ago the Prince of Gui (桂王) later called the Yongli Emperor, was a most noble and valorous Emperor of the Nan Ming Dynasty of the south in China. The last of his dynasty some and even said a true heir of the blood and the Mandate of Heaven to rule all the lands under the skies. A title for centuries men had fought and died for, had carried on endless conflict.

He was the last surviving Southern Ming emperor who lived long enough to see the collapse of the last vestiges of the true Chinese Imperial Dynasty in mainland China as the Manchu armies overran the lands, killing off the Prince's cousins and family to run out the last vestivgs of the Ming. Born and named Zhu Youlang (朱由榔) in 1623 to Zhu Changying (朱常瀛), the seventh son of the Wan Li (萬曆) the titular Emperor. The Yongli emperor, who was commonly known as the Prince of Gui, actually inherited this title from his brother whom was murdered by one of the Manchu's more devious assassins, finding himself pierced by a thrown blade during a ride outdoors.

From 1630 for twenty years the Ming dynasty began to fade from it's slow and shrinking Autumn into it's cold and icy Winter. The power of the Emperor was fading quickly and the Imperial title's Mandate of Heaven had all but expired. Constant popular uprisings broke out throughout the country. Intensified attacks from the Manchus further aggravated the situation. In April 1644, the popular army led by rebel Li Zicheng finally broke through the Ming defenses and occupied Beijing. Meanwhile, General Wu Sangui threw open the gates of the Shanhai Pass and invited the Manchus into China. Chongzhen gathered the entire imperial household and ordered them (except for his sons) to commit suicide rather than surrender. Hopeless and fearful for their lives, many did as they were told, including the Empress, who hanged herself. One of his daughters, Princess Chang Ping refused to commit suicide. In a fit of rage Chongzhen had her left arm severed. Chongzhen, still wearing his imperial attire, fled to the nearby Jingshan gardens 景山公園 with eunuch Wang Chengen 王承恩 . Distraught by the countless officials who had since abandoned him, Chongzhen lamented, "I should not be the emperor of a subjugated nation, but you, my subjects, must be resigned to such a fate. I have never mistreated any of the officials in my service; yet on this day, why does nary a single one remain by my side?" 吾非亡国之君,汝皆亡国之臣。吾待士亦不薄,今日至此,群臣何无一人相从?
He then hanged himself. The cold of the winter had reached it's peak.


Yet time flows as a river, and like a river repeats unto itself again and again. Such is the will of Heaven, it seems to many in these times.
On 18 November 1646, at only the young age of 21 the Prince of Gui as forementioned named Zhu Youlang ascended the throne and was crowned in great ceremony and assumed the reign name of Yongli, Son of the Heavens and Emperor of all China, the most honourable title in all the world as it was known, despite the reality of the situation. The regiments and battle-hardened armies of Manchurian and northern stock marching south and burning as they went caused chaos and panic amidst the people in an attempt to drive out any support for the true Ming Emperor. So he established his capital and center of rule in Guangzhou - also called Canton, the capital of Guangdong and ruled with great prowess.... though a fine quality in many men, this was not yet enough to stop the tide from the north. As before in the history of the middle kingdom, hordes of Qing Manchu warriors came with ferocity to no end. Yet as the weeks turned into months the wars and campaigns drew weary on the south and soon the enlightened and true Chinese would be overrun by these northern Manchurians. After an epic and long fought campaign against the Qing, the Emperor's Ming soldiers were overrun and, unable fend off the terrible and numerous northern Qing troops who were continuously sending reinforcements south in great armies and warbands towards the enlightened capital of Guangzhou in a great assault, using cannon and flame. Fires and dread filled the air as the people and court seemed to know it was the end. The Yongli emperor had no choice - lowering his head at the dissapointment of the decision, the Emperor ordered a retreat - to flee in 1650 from Guangzhou towards Nanning in order to save his life and his dynasty. However, as Wu Sangui's troops exerted a further pressure at the order of the Emperor of the north whom was obsessed with his utter destruction,, the Prince of Gui fled from city to city whom were still many loyal unto him and offered him refuge. In their wake, the terrible eventually retreated to Kunming in Yunnan in 1659 and into Burma in 1661, where he was granted refuge by the Burmese King and lived at Sagaing.

The Burmese king, however, was feeling frightened that he would lose his own kingdom as well if he continued to offer the Prince of Gui further protection. Having no choice, the King let in Wu Sangui's troops and let them arrest the Prince of Gui. In the process, most of his concubines and eunuchs, along with his small army, were either killed while defending him or ran away. The Prince of Gui was finally strangled to death by Wu Sangui in April 1662. It is said that he scorned Wu Sangui in his last moments, stating that he betrayed his people and country. He prompted Wu to kill him faster by stating that he is disgusted to see a "Traitor's face." Wu Sangui was embarrassed and enraged and thus executed him personally with his bow string. But Zhu Youlang, Prince of Gui's line was not ended there, contrary to popular belief...
Yet few at the Burmese court had noticed that the Prince's young son was scooped up into the arms of one of his adopted mothers, and rushed out of the palace... to dissapear into the winds of history, or so it is said.


It is now 1836 by the calendars of the strange and Christian foreigners...
The Daoguang God-Emperor rules as the Lord of Ten Thousand Years and Heaven's chosen and elect Emperor of the Middle Kingdom and all it's vassals. He is the seventh emperor of the Imperial Qing dynasty and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over all of the Middle Kingdom for sixteen years. To the north are the unruly barbarians and the trades of the west and north - to the east the vile Japanese pirates and to the south the strange and exotic barbarians. To the west lay 西藏 Xīzàng & Xinjian, strange lands under Imperial rule and the famed Ferghana Valley has not turned out to be the mysterious paradise the Chinese had once imagined in myth and legend. As the influence of the foreign devils grows upon their now numerous arrivals in Canton grow in number with trade and their 'enlightened' culture, it is a time when the winds of change shall blow across the Middle Kingdom if by the will of Heaven...
And of course, it is just that.


[/size]​



 
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The Middle Kingdom ~ 中國 ~ Zhōngguó
In the year 1844


Current Goals of Imperial Qing Dynasty:


Destroy massive internal corruption
Defeat rising rebellions in south and soutwest
Vassalize Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian states
Continue to hold dominance over Korea and Tibet
Resist British and dominance of trade
Resist Japanese dominance of the east
Raise schools of thought and new philosophies
Resist Russian growth and incursions in Mongolian and Manchurian borders
Resist rising European dominance of traditional Chinese vassals and subservient nations
Improve standards of military technology to at least a competitive rate




Dramatis Personae - 字符


The Emperor: Born as Mianning 綿寧 but changed his name by tradition to Qing Xuānzōng 清宣宗 the Daoguang Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Lord of Ten Thousand Years. An experienced and cautious ruler - he trusts few within our outside the borders of his realm. His brothers and family would as soon poison him as lift their hand to assist him, for he knows well all of the Aisin Gioro clan vies for the Imperial Mandate of Heaven. Attempting to control his vast empire amidst the struggles of rising modernity, foreign intervention, internal unrest and the winds of change.


The Empress: Empress Xiao Jing Cheng 孝静成皇后博尔吉济特氏 was the replacement for the Emperor's true love, and has been tasked with raising one of his sons. She is a sly, cunning, and very manipulative woman over her adopted child.


Lín Zé Xú 林则徐: Viceroy of Hubei & Hunan, vehemently against the trade of opium in the Middle King. A loyal servant of the Empire.


Sengge Rinchen 僧格林沁: Mongolian-born commander and officer, rose to the Imperial rank of Prince through his services to the Empire and heroism. Perhaps one of the highest ranking officials in the whole of the Imperial military - though he has many enemies and rivals.


Zhang Wen: An officer whom has served the Empire both in Korea and in Jiangsu during the Opium War.


Mian Yu 绵愉: The youngest of the Daoguang's sibling line, the Prince Mian Yu is in a position to attain Imperial brother. Many are wary of crossing him as some have in the past - A plotter and an expert warrior all the same, a man to be feared at court, though a loyal man in the eyes of the Emperor it seems.


Chen Miao: A lower official and commander, served in the Imperial Korean campaigns.


Yi Xin 奕忻: The son of the now dead Prince Miankai 绵恺 whom himself was a direct brother of the Daoguang Emperor, he is a powerful man within the Forbidden City. This Prince's intentions and allegiances are somewhat unknown at this time, however he claims to have the Emperor's best interests at heart.


Lady Xiang 祥妃: The Emperor's favourite concubine, a powerful and influential woman at court. This woman is clever and beautiful, yet has never achieved the rank of an Empress. The mysterious Lady favours only her lover the Emperor and his intentions, whether he knows it or not it seems.


 
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Li Hong Zhang 等肃毅候: The Marquis of Suyi, an official in the Forbidden City's Imperial court. A close ally of the Prince Mian Yu.


Yi Zhu: A Prince of the Empire and only son of the deceased Empress Xiao Quan Cheng 孝全成皇后钮祜禄, he is a slightly naive young man. However being raised and somewhat trained by the cruel Empress Xiao Jing Cheng 孝静成皇后博尔吉济特氏 may yet change these things.


Princess Xu Wen 公主: Member of the Imperial family, was betrothed to a Prince of Siam - some rumour her involvement in the opium trade. An enemy of the Mongol Prince Sengge Rinchen.


Zēng Guófán 曾國藩: A scholar and courtier in service of the Emperor, Zeng also has links to less... respectable means of income. He is secretly in service to an Imperial Prince, truly acting as a spy.


Yan Yi Jia: A Manchu commander, served the Empire in campaigns in Korea, Jiangsu, and Guangzhou.

Edmund Blythe: A British Officer in service in the far east. Holds a higher authority amongst the far eastern British administrations.

Xiaobao: Captain Edmund Blythe's protegee and local partner.

Sir Charles Elliot: One of the highest ranking officials in service to the British Empire, he gives orders to Captain Blythe in his endeavours to control the British influences in China.

... Under Construction Still


 
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This aar seems intresting =)
 

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Splendid, a Chinese VIP AAR. I'll be watching this for now though I doubt the Chinese would have called Canton, Canton ;) Guangzhou would be more like i.
 

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This looks absolutely incredible. The effort that has gone into the first page, and the way you're telling the story have got me hooked.

Please, please keep this up, it's not often I get properly excited over an AAR, but this looks set to be fantastic! Be warned though, you'll have a challenging game as China :D
 

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Simply amazing writing. And the format is perfect. :D
 

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Inovative format, and seems intriguing... Looks like I'll have to keep an eye on this one. :)
 

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獅子和起重機 The Lion & the Crane:
Chapter 一



(Mood Music)


[size=+1]
The well lit throne room gleamed in sparkles of gold and silver, lacquer wood and beautiful incenses which burned endlessly as they surrounded the holy son of Heaven, that being the Lord of Ten Thousand Years, the Emperor of all the Middle Kingdom. Amidst the eunuchs and courtiers present, the strangely painted and pretentious adoring wives of the Emperor watched on as he stood before the doors of his palace overlooking the mysterious and copper colour-clad Forbidden City. The Manchurian Qing court was at awe at the Emperor standing curiously enough and looking upon his capital silently. Always those around him obsessed in wondering what he might be thinking.
Scores of monks and soldiers kowtowed vehemently before their God Emperor, chanting hymns and praising his name. He was the Daoguang Emperor, the Qing ruler of China and Manchuria.

Yet the Middle Kingdom was not what it once was - for there had been a time when 韓國 Korea, 西藏 Tibet, and even the states of 越南 the Vietnamese and 老撾 the Luang Prabang Laotians all paid tribute to the middle Kingdom. Yet this was no longer the case. Furthermore it was the rise of the appearance of the strange, pale skinned foreigners whom came from the far west and north. Those called the British were amongst those which were causing problems within the Imperial borders. While the Qing Empire had always been wary of foreigners and their unsophisticated ways, the British had started to export the narcotic known as 鴉片 Opium into Guangdong, and the Empire had gotten it's first taste of the devilish substance which warped otherwise reasonable men's minds. In the last fear years of the Daoguang Emperor's reign the Imperial government had become increasingly worried, not only over the rapid growth of the illicit trade - at one point in very recent years it was estimated that 90% of the total foreign import into China was opium - but what made this crisis worse was that this consequently drained Chinese silver stores, as opium was of course only bought in silver.


It was in this year that the Daoguang Emperor wrote his edict for all the world to know. It had been rumoured he had been discussing the matter with his closer advisors and had come to the decision that in this year he would work to ensure the beginning of a change to all this.

On summoning and appearing like clockwork, the Viceroy of Hubei & Hunan Lin Zhe Xu kowtowed deeply as the Daoguang Emperor sitting on his dragon throne signed his name, and a servant took and delivered his instructions and the edict was brought forth on a pewter slab to the Viceroy. Looking it over and bowing again, he stepped back and out of the room to the grand doors, where the scores of ministers ceremoniously prayed and awaited the Imperial decision they had woken so early to hear.

Standing before the ministers, the Viceroy unrolled the Imperial edict and read in a sharp voice,

"His Imperial majesty, the Lord of Ten Thousand Years declares by Will of Heaven that;"

Pausing for a moment in his sharp and official tone, he spoke on to the Manchu ministers,


Lin Zhe Xu
Viceroy of Hubei & Hunan

"The Middle Kingdom as guided by Heaven shall no longer ignore it's supreme and divine right to assert it's authority over the inferior kingdom of Korea and it's insubordinate rulers. For such reason the Imperial army shall march north to Manchria to reinforce that rebellious kingdom's tribute.

It is the second decree of his Imperial majesty that all of China adhere to a law against the substance called opium. Any citizen of the Empire who is found to be holding such substances without Imperial mandate shall suffer consequence on pain of death for treason."

Murmurs and whispers amidst the ministers at this comment, especially those whom helped administrate the south, were talks of concern. The British traders would not like this, no doubt. And they were known for their violence when they were nay said to make their silvers and monies. The Chinese knew all too well of this amidst their neighbour's realms.

Then dismissing the ministers, the Viceroy smirked. His plan of convincing the Emperor of the dangers of opium had worked, and soon these British devils would be nothing but a memory to the Imperial court. While the Daoguang Emperor did not exactly share the Viceroy's opinions on the matter, it was all to clear to all of China that Beijing had no intention of opening her borders to trade beyond that city of Guangzhou.

Walking along the palace corridors and into his more private offices, the Viceroy silently sat for a moment in a chair and breathed in. Looking over some papers and documents, he felt over the floor - and finding that one floorboard which he knew so well as moveable, he lifted it where a pile of other documents for him lay. His secret messages.
The one which he was awaiting foremost lay there, and tearing it's seal the Viceroy unfolded the secret note.

Unto the Viceroy,
Your orders have been carried out and the Englishman called Lord Napier is dead, drinking accidentally the tea of the venomous Szechuan crane flower as ordered to mirror a natural death. We have received your payment and shall be contactable from our usual safe places.

~ The Order
命令



Smirking, the Viceroy returned the message to it's floorboard hiding place and summoning a servant, began to enjoy his morning tea not thinking again about the blood on his hands. To him, the blood of a foreign devil was nothing to think again of.

[/size]​



a
 
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Historically speaking the Daoguang Emperor was a hardworking Emperor; though he was unable to fix all of China's problems. Would be interesting to see how you deal with it, the addition of the Viceroy, nameless too, adds a bit of mystery to the affair :D
 

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戰爭在韓國 Campaigns in Korea:
Chapter 二





[size=+1]
And so it seemed as if many within the court were at a smirking standstill as they awaited the reply of the King of Korea. They knew well the Daoguang Emperor was serious about his request - if the Emperor did not declare war over the matter - if the Korean refused Imperial sovereignty - it would be a shame to the Emperor and his dynasty if he did not act to make the Koreans submit. His more recent ancestors had ignored these claims, bogged down with rebellions of their Chinese subjects in the south and far west the strange Mohammed-worshipping people of Xinjian, or, the West Countries.


Yet in the Daoguang Emperor's reign such was not a great issue and expansion could be a worthwhile enterprise. If the Middle Kingdom was to regain it's righteous and divine place as the supreme sovereign realm of the world as it is known, then the reinstatement of the tributes from China's neighbours was more than necessary. And if refused, the Emperor would act to show all the world that the Imperial Mandate still stood above all other law.

Naturally the small but relatively toughened Kingdom of Korea had refused the invitation to return to the old tribute system to the Middle Kingdom, much to the displeasure of the Daoguang Emperor. And as they were ignoring the laws and traditions of centuries of Chinese and now Manchurian Imperial dominance of Korea, the Lord of Ten Thousand Years proclaimed that they should be treated as the rebels they were.

So by Imperial command and to the great expense of the Imperial treasury which was not at a great summed amount to begin with, three smaller - by Imperial standards at least - armies were summoned to invade the Korean realm and end their defiance of the Emperor. The bold yet loyal General Yan Yi Jia commanded the Imperial Green Banner armies. Lord Chen Miao and Lu Jie were responsible for the command of the blue Imperial banner armies and the Manchu and Tartar cavalry reinforcements which would attack from the further north and east.


The march from the Imperial North Capital, Beijing, was long and arduous for the soldiers whom were used to their comfortable garrisons and half-ignored training in classical warfare. While some regiments of musketeers existed amongst the Qing imperial war host, it was minimal at best. Of course, the Koreans fared no better and were by no means famed for their armies in recent times.

The march through the Zhi Li highlands and into Manchuria exhausted the men, seeing as few roads of quality lead to the north, taking great care - and at great cost to the worried imperial bureaucrats - to supply the troops with reserves and stores of rice and easy to produce dumplings. Often soups were made, ensuring a steady flow of food - even if the rice had to be important from the south as it was too cool in the north. Such was a regularity of the Empire's economics and was dealt with. And so from these highlands the imperial Qing armies made their way on the eastern roads through the regions of Fengtian's valleys and grasslands and resting again near Shenyang. Then crossing the great river which fed the Manchurian plain and into the hill lands of Andong, that treacherous borders of the land of Korea.


Naturally the Korean authorities and their rebellious King anticipated that their refusal to honour their age old duties to the Middle Kingdom would result in a war - they relied on their hillsides and high walled cities... yet the Chinese and Manchu armies were far from inexperienced at scaling such walls. It would be the result of the battles that would determine the fate of the Kingdom of Korea.

Riding to the north, Lord Chen Miao at the head of the Imperial Blue Banner armies gathered and began a march south from the south Jilin plains of Manchuria into the Kangye mountain passes and clearings to rendezvous with General Yan Yi Jia there where they would certainly meet a Korean army of equal size to either of their own forces. At least this way, that army would face them from two fronts.
And yet the clever tactics did not end there.


General Zhang Wen had his own command of Mongol reinforcements stormed south to engage the Korean army in the hill countries of Chongjing under the command of Prince Sun Yook, a proud man whom was taught his lesson in humility when the Qing army outmaneuvered and beat back the much smaller armies of their rebellious state.

In the north west at Kangye the Qing armies had successfully routed the armies of General Jian and the King's own army of Korea and crushed their reinforcements from the city of Pyongyang. It seemed that the struggle to cross the border was over, and already the so called elites of the Korean army were in full flight, like a fox from a noble cast of hounds. Surely such a rebellion should be quelled, like an inflamed and corrupt house cooled by the rains of the spring.



At Chongjiang the ferocity of the Tartar onslaught was beyond measure - the subsequent raiding of the local towns and cities by those same Mongols terrorized the people of the region, though the imperial envoys told those diplomats whom approached the court that the Koreans had indeed brought such terrible wraith upon themselves, and surely they were ignoring the will of Heaven.

The Uprising of Lu Wang
Of course, things were not entirely well within the imperial armies. Since crossing the borders into the hillsides of north west Korea the supply lines from Shenyang had dwindled, and the sacking of Pyongyang did not ensure a future steady supply of the great numbers of Chinese soldiers stationed there after the city had been almost razed to the ground.

Left within the half ruined city was Lu Wang and and regiments of musketeers. Within the governor's palace the haughty commander complained to his men, "We have fought for the Emperor hard, and yet we do not share in the rewards?" His men shared in his complaints, and after some three weeks of the Qing armies reorganizing themselves and securing the north's cities and almost half ancient yet manned forts, by the month's end Commander Lu had secured the approval of all his officers and leaving the city, they opened fire on a supply wagon train bound east to resupply Zhang's armies. Furious with these events, Lu was declared a rebel and a traitor while on campaign.


Within Pyongyang Commander Lu cursed the Emperor for their starvation and poverty, shouting to his men, "We are the elite soldiers of the Empire, yet we live as beggars and dogs! Shame upon the dragon throne which ignores it's own sword hand!"
Followed by a murmurous cheer amidst his men, it seemed Lu would have the support of his loyal regiments.

Already while the imperial delegates to Seoul, the capital of the wretched Korean rebels negotiated matters of that Kingdom's surrender, Lu acted again against the imperial commander's authority. Learning of this from an envoy of Yan Yi Jie's, General Zhang was furious. He marched for Pyongyang.

Within the week General Yan had engaged Lu Wang's rebellious regiments, however they had made the best defence of the broken city they held. Pyongyang was made a fortress, with musketeers and archers on every rooftop, every street road blockaded. And the Tartar horsemen would be of little use in such street fighting.


After sending several contingents in to little avail of Lu's well organized defense, it was relief when Zhang's own battle hardened Manchu infantry arrived. Pouring into the city, by the end of the storming of the city Lu's head was brought out of the city and presented before the Generals who commended each other. The remaining rebels were pushed south and pursued, many cut down and traitors. And such was the fate of Lu and his band of traitors.
Of course the city of Pyongyang, battered with cannon and raided by men and force of arms twice now - including a cannon purchased from the British foreigners at great price -, was a shell of what it once was, though little to begin with by the opinions of the Manchu and Chinese commanders.

While two delegations had failed and negotiations soured - the Koreans claimed the Daoguang Emperor was asking for too much. The Generals on the Emperor's behalf would accept no less than total surrender to the Emperor's terms, and promised a more strict demand if the Koreans would refuse and wish to continue the war. And always in their pride and stubbornness, they did. And so the south was to be captured and secured on the Emperor's order, city by city.

The imperial armies converged thereafter and marched upon the capital city of Seoul, taking it within less than a month. The King of Korea was made a prisoner in his own palace, and before all the commanders present signed an accord of his error on behalf of his Kingdom and to reinstate the old tribute. Furthermore, the coastal region of Chongjian would be annexed to Manchuria as a sign of the Korean submittal to Manchu Imperial dominance and to pay for their errors of refusing their obligations to the Middle Kingdom.
Finally, the armies could march out of these hill lands of the north and back in the familiar lands where friendly people lived that they knew. The campaign, to the pleasure of the Daoguang Emperor, was over.

[/size]​



 

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The Canton
Mystery I:

A Man called Edmund Blythe



__________________


June 2nd, 1837 - Canton, China...
Staring at the strange junks in the harbour, he could not help but wonder. Surely few men of Yorkshire or the north had been here, he was at least amongst the first. It was a strange and exciting place, China. And finally as an officer in the service of the Company, his opportunity to serve his country in the mysterious land of China. Turning from his view of the harbour he began to walk towards the Company Director's headquarters near the docks, where he was ordered to report.

Passing through the streets he could not help but look over the strange ways of the Chinese - their curious wooden designs of their homes, the way their men shaved the front of their heads, their long robes and shaped hats. Yet the young English officer found some awe in his view of these strange and mysterious people as well.

Upon approaching the factory a private regular, a lad, approached him and spoke, "Captain Blythe?"


Canton - Center of European Trade in the East Orient

Turning the captain saw the young boy. He seemed to be of the lowest rank - yet indeed he was probably used for menial tasks. Still he was an official envoy of someone important...

Nodding in recognition of his name and rank Edmund replied, "Aye, that I am. Did Sir Charles send you?" He asked, looking around to see if the man was near. But aside the guards outside the warehouse doors and they two in the street, there was none others but scores of Chinese who curiously looked them over as they passed.

The boy remade his solid posture as he spoke, "Sir Charles requests that you would meet him after supper at his quarters. He has also instructed me to inform you, sir, that he is regrettably unable to see you at the moment and would hope you might use the time to make yourself comfortable in the officer's quarters he has ordered me to prepare for you." The boy saluted him again, and smirking he spoke showing one of his crooked teeth as he finished, "- It's a nice one, Cap'n. I tidied it up my'self."

The Captain reached into his pocked and tossed the young ensign a coin and nodding and handing his bag to the boy he spoke, "Well then it is for me to only assume you shall lead the way, young master." He spoke half humoursly and followed the proud young soldier to his quarters where he might dress well for his meeting with Sir Charles. Walking with the view of the gleaming Pearl River and the elegance of the ladies - often English in the confines of the British properties in the port fanned themselves with their asian fans as if to blend English and Chinese culture in their own feminine way. As far as his eye could see junks and smaller vessels along the river's mouth and coastline seemed to be conducting business. Truly, the city of Canton it seemed was always alive.




__________________


Later that evening...
Dressed in his best suit, Captain Edmund Blythe climbed the stairs of the queer building renovated to serve as the Company's headquarters in the city to meet the much spoken of Sir Charles Elliot. While the man back home had little support and was even said by some to be a bit of an eccentric, Edmund Blythe knew better. And seeing the strange ways of the people and customs here in China, it was no wonder men would act strange after prolonged living here. Even a staunch Englishman or any white man could lose his nerve here, he thought to himself.


Sir Charles Elliot

Upon entering the building an older but broad man appeared in the upstairs doorway win an outstretched hand and approached him, "Greetings, dear Captain," His voice was hoarse and bold, but still carried an air of cheerfulness in his tone that seemed to sound slightly indifferent with age. His hair was graying, and he had an old world quality about him.

Saluting he nodded then and took the man's hand in respect, shaking it in greeting, "Sir Charles, I am at your service."

Chuckling the man in charge of the East India Company's affairs placed his hand on Edmund's shoulder, "Nonsense, I have no need of titles here. Welcome to Canton, Edmund. Please, come in." Walking him into the quarters he then offered Edmund a seat while he walked towards a cupboard with liquors nearbye, "If that is so then you shall have a drink with me and we might discuss things.... things of interest. A drink?"

As Edmund nodded, Sir Charles spoke, "You don't want the local drink, Captain. It is made of rice and tastes of a soaked dockyard."

Then turning to the two Chinamen assisting him in preparing glasses and offering chairs and pipes of opium to the refusing Captain, Sir Charles clapped his hands and barked some Chinese to them, and they promptly left. Returning his attention back to the drinks, Sir Charles smirked, "You can never trust them to pour a proper drink, Edmund. But other than that I find the Chinese to be a phenomenal people." Handing a glass with the strong, brown drink inside Edmund raised it in cheers and took a short drink. Then replying he spoke with a smart tone,
"Phenominal perhaps, yet the Company directors do not share your opinions of the Chinese."

Looking into his glass and taking another drink Sir Charles then spoke with a voice hinting dissapointment,

"No... but to see the gravity of the situation, young Edmund, truly you must know the source..." Turning then and facing the Captain he spoke,
"Opium."

Indeed it was true. The Company had been exporting opium to the Chinese for years, and in the past there had been problems - well known to many in the British East India Company - and threats from Peking to limit the trade in face of the many addicts in China.

"You see..." Sir Charles began as if to tell a story, "In the last two decades or so the Chinese Imperial court has become increasingly frightened of the effect of the opium trade on their populace. After they had begun to place laws into effect against the trade, many of our merchants were seized. Of course the Chinese maintain no rights to interrogate or punish any British subject, so it was up to my predecessor Lord Napier to establish a Court in the city where British subjects within China would be tried if accused of a crime."

Edmund asked, "I would imagine this did not help you, where local opinion concerns?"

Barking out a half laugh the elderly commander spoke amused, "I should think not. At first, there seemed to be some local violence against our men in the city. Small incidents really, but they were beginning to grow in number. Indeed we are aware the merchant guilds of the city through which the trade is strictly regulated by the Chinese authorities is often controlled by smuggler groups and criminal bands, and this port is notorious for such groups. We suspected at first that these groups were plotting against our presence here, if not a fear of change as so many of these uncivilized people in these lands fear..." Staring into the air for a moment, he was silent. The curious Captain Edmund Blythe continued to listen silently, taking in all the facts as he heard them.

"Hostilities were escalating no doubt, Captain, no doubt." He began on again as he took another sip of his drink, "Soon the Co-Hong - that is the local word for the merchant guilds and gangs simply cut off trade."

Raising his brow, Edmund asked, "If they are gangs why not arrest them during their sabotage, or have the Imperial authorities informed?"

"The Co-Hongs are not to be taken so lightly, my friend... we have heard many grim tales of men being found amidst the docks, chopped into almost nothing for betraying them. The people in this port fear and respect their status in the community..."

Edmund was surprised, "Even of gangs and ruffians?"

"Indeed." Sir Charles said, "The Co-Hong claimed their ending of the trade - a considerable financial loss to our merchants and the company - was a request from Peking.... Yet after awaiting long weeks of inquiry whiel suffering public criticism within the company and at home the Imperial authorities denied this. Lord Napier's spies, however, had done considerable work in involving themselves in the affairs of the Co-Hong. One young Chinaman - a useful young local lad called... oh... Shao Bao had infiltrated their tightly nit group. After Lord Napier recieved further proof of Chinese double dealing, he publicly proclaimed their dishonesty. Soon after he died." He then stopped speaking. Instead, he shook his head.

Edmund interceded, "-Of natural causes, I have heard reported."

Sir Charles then looked down, as if with some great sadness in his memory,
"Of that I still question. The Chinese are strange breed of people, Edmund. While they may look curious or odd to we, indeed I suspect they have wisdoms on things far beyond our expertise. An assassin in these lands has many methods, I have heard. Yet I would not voice my opinion on the matter publicly... lest I end up the same." Staring forth again, the old man finished his drink.

He then turned to Edmund, "I need a man to be my... unofficial contact with the Co-Hong.... This, my dear friend, is where you come in dear Edmund. You're the man for this job."
 

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alex994 said:
Splendid, a Chinese VIP AAR. I'll be watching this for now though I doubt the Chinese would have called Canton, Canton ;) Guangzhou would be more like i.
Hehehe, I guess a slight mistake. Even though I've lived in the east myself, I suppose you can't take the west out of the westerner ;)

Cinéad IV said:
This looks absolutely incredible. The effort that has gone into the first page, and the way you're telling the story have got me hooked.

Please, please keep this up, it's not often I get properly excited over an AAR, but this looks set to be fantastic! Be warned though, you'll have a challenging game as China :D
Why thanks, I appreciate it :) Yep China is going to be one tough nut to crack. Rebellions, foreign intervention - especially I would guess in VIP. And the money situation is deplorable... I have to focus on the economic stuff too. But that's not so fun to write about, so you won't see the intrigues of the tea trade.

likk9922 said:
Simply amazing writing. And the format is perfect. :D
I really thank you for this kind of comment my friend. It helps me continue things actually. The format is a borrowed one, but I also think it sets the mood for the Chinese posts. Mind you, the British and perhaps other foreigner posts will not be the same ;)


Ahura Mazda said:
A chinese AAR! Must. Read This!
I am hoping to please one's Chinese AAR wantings :D

Raden Shaka said:
Inovative format, and seems intriguing... Looks like I'll have to keep an eye on this one. :)
Well I hope to get a good storyline going and I hope in any way it can match expectations :)
 
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likk9922 said:
Intrigue. :eek:
Oh yes, the Viceroy of Hubei/Hunan is up to his knees in hot tea... or is he ;)

alex994 said:
Historically speaking the Daoguang Emperor was a hardworking Emperor; though he was unable to fix all of China's problems. Would be interesting to see how you deal with it, the addition of the Viceroy, nameless too, adds a bit of mystery to the affair :D
Oh yes, the poor guy. Hopefully the European world won't be so ridiculously demanding on China (At one point china historically handed over a city to Germany because some wandering German missionary was killed in the far south by bandits). It became so bad even the Italians thought they could steal a city or two.
 
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I really thank you for this kind of comment my friend. It helps me continue things actually. The format is a borrowed one, but I also think it sets the mood for the Chinese posts.
I understand. I saw that WWL, but it doesn't matter that you took it. You're just using what's availiable to you to your own advantage. Not stealing, borrowing. :p

But really I'm floored by the quality with this kind of quantity.
 

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Danger looms in open ports. Will the Middle Kingdom prevail?

Aka: I look forward to this.

PS: I found that you can, by taxing your populace highly, recruit about 5-8 native divisions until the Ghanghzou (spelling?) incindent, which are quite a help against the brits. (Though winnig gagainst them freezes up the whole event chain)

Also, these fonts are a great mood piece.
 

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Oh yes, you know things are bad if even the ITALIANS try to take land from you. And ah, not to correct you again, but Xinjiang ;)

I eagerly await the results of Sir Charles' "noble experiment"