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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

KOS17

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-------------------------
CHAPTERS
-------------------------
A Dream to be Formed (in this post)
The Dream and it's Consequences - Part I -
The Dream and it's Consequences - Part II -


INTRODUCTION

First of all, I have to make an apology to you all. My English is not perfect as I'd like it to be, and I make many errors, from used terms to grammatical so I just hope that you can bear the errors and have anyway a nice reading of the AAR that I'm going to write week by week. I've been looking to many AAR's and I enjoyed many of them and wrote one in an Italian forum always regarding the Este family, but now I wanted to try it out in English and share this new adventure with everyone.

The objective of the original AAR made in Italian, was "to boldly go where no Italian gone before in Medieval times" literally conquering and smashing most kingdoms and have a vast control on many territories. Despite the hard objective (got thanks to the Crovan chronicles while laughing at the Crovan's adventures) I managed to have control of many of the Kingdoms of Europe, including Italy, Germany, France and England. Many of these , as the one of Germany, came without notice and in the end the game began to be too complicated to control and awfully slow. By the end of the 14th century, the family controlled almost the 60% of known Europe.

What was the point on going on at the time ? The family reached its peak and what did I got from it ? Was all that warmongering good for my game ? The answer was.. NO.

Despite the fun I had as completing my first campaign in CK I felt empty. The family lost its main objective and stretched too far away becoming something different.

Here, now I'd like to repeat the game and be true to the basic objective... making Italy a Kingdom of its own that could strech through north Africa thanks to the Crusades, but... that's all.

And now, after this long and tedious introduction I'm going to give you some historical information regarding the Este family. Please note that this information has been taken from the Italian Wikipedia. If you want to have some more information about the Este, please go here.

- HISTORICAL INFORMATION -

The Este dynasty were a family originating from the city of Este (near Padova or Padua) that at the time (before year 1000) was an important exchange and market zone. The first and most important member of the family from wich we can make the dynasty start is Alberto Azzo II d'Este (996-1097) who was specifically granted his noble title by the Emperor himself.

During the years, the Este family achieved to control many territories from Milan itself to the western territories of Liguria, an Italian region that in CK is in west of Genoa, and some territories near Genoa itself.

The Este were also important because thanks to them the great houses of Hannover and Brunswick were able to be formed later in the years.

Many of the territories that fell under control of the Este were Lombardy, western Liguria, the cities of Ferrara, Mantova and Verona and Reggio.

Later in the years, while the wars between the Emperor and the Pope were eating literally Italy and the Comuni, the Este lost many of their territories but remained as Dukes of Modena and Reggio when the Pope refused to grant Ferrara to them as their domain and got it back in the Papal State demenses (late 16th century).

In the end, the Este, now known as Asburgo-Este from the beginning of the 19th century, were annexed by Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860 during the Italian wars of independence that formed after 1861 the Kingdom of Italy thanks to the efforts of the Savoia family.

------------------

-------------------------------


THE ESTE FAMILY
A quest for Italy

AZZO ESTE, Duke of Lombardy, Count of Pavia and Lombardy

-------------------------------​

It has been quiet a time since Italy had peace. Wars betweens local nobles , barbarians and various conquerors erupted in all the penisula. In the far north, where the Duchy of Lombardy lies, the Holy Roman Empire controls everything trying to keep the vassals toghether despite the differences between regions and nobles alike.

We have desired for so much peace, that we keep looking to the past trying not to remember our actual situation. Fragmented, devided, hating each other, the Italian is slowly forgetting where it is coming from. Rome with its mighty armies, an Empire that controlled the known world and that as impossible as it could be... it falled leaving chaos and war to the penisula.

But we are the Este, we rule Milan and a part of the north. It is my duty, my sworn duty, to recreate a united kingdom that can cut away the wretched and hated Holy Roman Empire. They have controlled, bossed and shattered us too much... we need someone to create a new power, a new way that will lead all the others to follow.

Will I be successful ? Will be my heirs follow my step ? Mighty God only knows what lies on the path of our family. May God bless us all.


"My Lord ? Are you still writing ?"

"No... no I don't what's the matter chancellor Marco ?" Azzo looked at the figure that was approaching. Marco Gonzaga was a good chancellor even if it was fat as a pig sweating at every move.

"I've been looking around for a wedding as you've request my Lord. Since the ... sad departure of your previous wife, God may bless her, I have tried to find a new one that could... stay with you" the voice of the chanchellor was disturbing and squeaking like a old fat rat.

"And I think" Azzo placed the pen down on the table after cleaning it with a sleeve "that you've found a proper one ?"

"Yes my Lord, a courtier of the Pope has...accepted and granted a meeting with you."

"Young at least ?"

"Yes my Lord"

"Good then, arrange for the meeting with this young woman and now Marco... if you have nothing else , please leave me"

the chanchellor stood on the door a little bit changing the weight from one feet to another, sweating, then decided to leave the room and Azzo alone.

"Damn Gonzaga, last time the chick was an old woman, I need a young one to have heirs... that can manage the upcoming struggle, how may I fight alone surrounded by trecherous bastards ?"


Time passed, and Azzo married the young woman.



The time passed slowly, nothing was happening in the realm besides some raw nerve between the northerer nobles that seemed to be plotting something against the Empire. Rumors were fast to move especially in a territory where secrets were known by everyone and told by everyone. The Duchy of Lombardy is a strange place.

Perhaps it was for this that while in a tournament the Count of Monfalcone erupted in an insult to Azzo that was jousting as everybody else. He talked about his short height , the fact that he married twice and that the Emperor himself was thinking of him as a traitor... anyway and nontheless Azzo got a grudge from this Count.



War was in the air, a righteous claim to the territory of Monfalcone was found in the old libraries in Milan. Azzo was looking to start a war against that tiny little insignificant territory, when something broke up his plans. How could something get between him and the righteous revenge that he wanted to unleash with his armies ?

A simple word.... war.

"What in the known world is this THING!!" Azzo shouted hitting the table with rage. "How is possible that the Duchy of Florence is splitting from the Holy Roman Empire ? Is the old hog insane perhaps ?! Does she think that her armies can whistand the ones of the Empire ?"



"My Lord please calm down there's nothing to be enra..." the chanchellor tried to mediate , fearing Azzo's reactions.

"Stay at your place Marco or I'll make you calm in one way or another!"

the chanchellor simply closed his mouth while sweating more than ever

"First God sends me the blessing of two childs thanks to my new wife, and then he decides that some of the local Counts can be of my liking and then... and then this!" the piece of paper with the help request by Heinrich the Emperor was being crush in the fist of Azzo "Even my son Hueges can understand what this is all about dammit! We'll have to delay our revenge... prepare the army."

And then... the first great war in northern Italy started. Regiments from Lombardy and Pavia joined the armed forces of the Emperor that engaged a terrible and long lasting war against the Duchy of Florence.

A long... really long war. Charesty and poverty strikes the land while the soldiers faces the horrors of war. Perhaps as a revenge for all the words of Azzo, God took away the two newborns leaving just another one that struggled to survive in the terrible events that were coming.

The fights in north/central Italy lasted for 5 years and in the end, Florence was victorious. Azzo was concerned about the matter. If this was a good thing, meaning that the Imperial armies were not so might as he thought, it was also a bad thing, meaning that the reunion of Italy would have been tougher. His son Fulco in the meantime was getting older and more capable to run a territory by his own in the far north of the Duchy... maybe also the new born bastard would have the qualities of an Este, even if the possibilities to join the throne would be thin as air.

And then... one day... after a new declaration of war by the Emperor, while Azzo kept the grudge against Monfalcone talking and inspiring his sons. He died.

Records tell that Azzo died in a battle leading his army , ambushed cowardly by the enemy and falling in the river nearby.

The truth is, that after the ambush he had some ... pleasures with a local peasant and ... died in the process.

"At least" as Marco Gonzaga will know the truth some days later "he died with a smile."

----------------------------------------------

Azzo gave his dream of a reunified Italy to his son Fulco that now is the rightful heir and ruler of the Duchy. Will Fulco lead the family to victory or will it ignore his fathers dreams ?

-----------------------------------------------
 
Last edited:

Inteuniso

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Wow, pretty good.

I feel for you. Only one child? Never a good sign for a Dynasty's destiny.
 

KOS17

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- The Dream and its Consequences Part I -

Fulco d'Este, son of Azzo, Duke of Lombardia was a kid of fourteen. A young one that had to rule on a land that could be at war in any moment with one of their neighbours that were fighting for their independence from the iron fist rule of the Holy Roman Empire.

The counselors gave what they could to help the boy understand the various decisions that took place after the death of his father Azzo. He grew strong but uncapable to decide what to do regarding the dream of his father. When he got full control of the Duchy, the matter was more important than anything else since it seemed that everyone in the penisula was trying to get free from the Emperor.

At first, the little armies of the Duchy were sent to provide support to the Emperor, it wasn't wise to get him upset and perhaps showing some gratitude would have been a good start to get more territories. Shortly the wars around the territories of the Duchy stopped , soldiers got back to the fields and to their families, but young Fulco always had questions on mind.

During the war he got close to a couple of Counts that felt not being recognized by the Emperor itself. The Count of Saluce and Monferrato expressed their anxiety and desire to know what the new Duke thought about the situation of the Penisula, and shortly, they accepted to become vassals of the Duchy of Lombardy beliving in the new friend that they both made in Fulco d'Este. The younger of all three of them perhaps was the cause of all of this even if the Count of Monferrato deeply thought about the possibility to achieve a greater goal.

He was famous for his need of power... for his avidity but none of these were shown to Fulco in the next years.

After obtaining two new vassals and getting more territories of northern Italy, Fulco accepted to search for an optimal spouse. Various nobles proposed their daughters but in the end only one attracted his sight... and as Marco Gonzaga told him "An appropriate noble woman". After a couple of meetings the proposal was made... Catherina of Salerno became now an Este, she was older than Fulco but this did not stop him. If at the beginning everything was just for pleasure and duty... shortly love broke through the two of them and they got close one to the other.

In the meantime, while Fulco had kids war erupted again in the Holy Roman Empire. A sense of nonsense got through the halls of the castle in Milan... how could it be that the Emperor had so many problems with his vassals ? What they were doing in the northern territories ? Was someone planning a revolt ?

"Marco, I have to know" Fulco turned from the defensive walls leaning his shoulders on the stone. "Is someone trying to revolt or causing problems to the Emperor ?"
"My Lord Fulco... all I can say is that there are turmoils and voices regarding vassals refusing to stand under the rule of a sick and dying Emperor. There have been rumors of atrocities, high taxes and ... robberies all of these perpetrated in the name of the Emperor itself" the Chanchellor was steady adn sure of his thoughts, he knew well the situation in northern Europe.. it was a mess a big mess
"And so they request independence for what ? Don't they understand that they could be smashed by his armies ?" Fulco looked Marco in the eyes. His clothes moving slightly to the calm breeze that shattered gently the woods of the countryside while candid clouds were moving in the blue sky of the afternoon.
"For this, my Lord, you know the answer better than me. The Emperor keeps asking regiments from his vassals to defend his lands..."
"Lands that are even far away from where we are... money wasted to sustain our men while they can be used for farming and training new recruits. And for what ? To defend HIS territories ?" Fulco moved the right hand in the air with a rapid movement "this is a complete nonsense. My men and the ones of our vassals will remain at their houses."
Marco was caught off guard. Who told the kid these things ? Perhaps Catherina ? Was that woman part of something ? The old man slowly sighed while crossing hands , thinking.
"My Lord, you do realize that not sending troops could be seen as an act of rebellion against the Empire ? This is not to be taken lightly"
"And we will not be light on the matter" Fulco smiled "we will refuse to give our men once again, he used them for two years now and we need to reinforce us, what would happen if the Duchy of Toscana will attack us ? They have far more men than us and no allies in the vicinity... if our Emperor wages war on northern Europe. Prepare the letter to send with the messenger."
"My Lord..." Marco wanted to tell his Lord about the danger of the situation. What was Catherina telling him ? To revolt ? To follow his father dreams ? Azzo was a mad man, none could reunite Italy with the Pope and the Emperor on that land... not with the Arabians at the gates in Sicily waiting for a wrong move to reck havok in Christianity. "...it will be done"

------------------------------------
War is raging in the far north while Fulco appears to be following a personal scheme told by his wife Catherina. The Holy Roman Empire is in turmoil, vassals are refusing to follow the lead of a dying Emperor and northern Italy appears to be, this time, a peaceful territory not interested from the war.

But at the gates, the Duchy of Toscana is waiting to get other nobles and free cities off guard.

The Pope is still calling to arms do attack the infedels and free the heavens. What will happen ? Will Fulco follow the plots of his father Azzo or will draw a new plan ?

------------------------------------​
 
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KOS17

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Wow, pretty good.

I feel for you. Only one child? Never a good sign for a Dynasty's destiny.
Azzo had some other heirs, one was a bastard but beside Fulco and the bastard son, all the others died. He had MANY bastards, but they all died in misterious ways even if he accepted them and had them raised as part of the family.

Usually they ended up in the grave after two or three years. This could be a suspicious plot by someone... whoever will this be ?

Thanks for reading the AAR, I know I don't write well and I still have to... well understand how to better write it to make it pleasent for everyone to read. I understand that with my English someone could get annoyed.

I hope you'll enjoy the update! ;)
 

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Looks like a pretty good story so far. I just have one thing to point out, though, from the first chapter:

"And I think" Azzo placed the pen down on the table after cleaning it with a sleeve "that you've found a proper one ?"

"Yes my Lord, a courtisan of the Pope has...accepted and granted a meeting with you."
I believe the word you're looking for is "courtier." A "courtesan" is something entirely different, not likely to be found anywhere near the Pope (...at least in public, anyway :p )

Overall, though, keep up the good work! :)
 

KOS17

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Looks like a pretty good story so far. I just have one thing to point out, though, from the first chapter:



I believe the word you're looking for is "courtier." A "courtesan" is something entirely different, not likely to be found anywhere near the Pope (...at least in public, anyway :p )

Overall, though, keep up the good work! :)
ooopsie

I understand what you mean, my bad! :(

I'll modify immediatly, thanks :)
 

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Better to listen to the wife than to the Emperor.
 

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Better to listen to the wife than to the Emperor.
Yep Enewald, the problem is... what are you going to do if sooner or later you'll find out that your beloved wife is making a conspiracy to hit your dinasty with excomunication ? ;)

Things are getting interesting in House Este at the moment , you'll see :D
 

Enewald

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Yep Enewald, the problem is... what are you going to do if sooner or later you'll find out that your beloved wife is making a conspiracy to hit your dinasty with excomunication ? ;)

Things are getting interesting in House Este at the moment , you'll see :D
Then she shall become the disliked ex-wife without an neck?
 

KOS17

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- The Dream and its Consequences Part II -

Fate has its own turns and bad ideas. Fulco's life was full, the power of the family was growing as never it had before. Piemonte and Savoy quickly accepted the protection of the Este family from the angry Emperor, but soon enough... problems erupted.

As if having an Emperor trying to wreck havoc and war in all Europe just to keep for himself the territories, intrigue was beginning to tear apart the curt of the Duke of Lombardy.

Fulco's wife was vile enough to speak at his back when he refused for the fifth time to not aid the Emperor in his wars against his vassals. He didn't care about them nor he wanted to waste the population on wars with no rewards.. and for this, she started a campaign against his husband. Vile, coward, many words were whispered in the court day by day. As a working bee she edificated facts that didn't exist and gave to much of the advisors a way of thinking bad of Fulco's actions as if his willing to defend and preserve his dominion wasn't good enough.

Despite the efforts to keep everything at bay and not to let others know about the situation, the information about the family situation quickly went to other counties and Fulco quickly became someone of wich have fun. The Emperor, thanks to all this, qiuckly acted to place once more his vassal into bad light, shaping a plan to make Fulco a stupid noble with no spine, courage or capacity. Repetedly he insulted him trying to have a reaction to have a casus belli to provoke war and have back the territories of northern Italy. But Fulco, played the game, smiling and putting aside the grudges,waiting for the right moment to strike at the heart of the Emperor ... and of his own wife.

Nonetheless, as if Imperial hatred was enough, the Pope placed Fulco as a heretic within Christianity, a blashemous being that wasn't enough pious nor capable of serving in the right manner the will of God. Nothing could place Fulco back from heretical status, nor money, nor expeditions to north Africa could prove his worth as a christian to the eyes of the Pope... yes... the Pope.

He knew why all this was happening, his wife was the problem. She who was currupting and destroying the Duchy from the inside, how could he be so blind, so careless ? He wanted to act quickly but he never had time to place his plans in motion. While returning to his castle from a countryside trip, someone abushed him. Unknown men attacked Fulco bringing him down from the horse and hanging him to the highest tree, leaving the body swing to the wind of the plains.

Fulco while dying, moved his feet trying to avoid that fate, his eyes wide open were looking at his killers that were smiling and he could see one of them as a court memeber of his wife. That man... the one that stayed in the bed of his beloved wife. He hated him. The last thing he thought was that he didn't want to die not when his plans were not finished... but he died, hanged and alone in the countryside.

Alamanno, his son, got the title of Duke. Without hesitation he placed his mother away from the court sending here to Piemonte , away from him and to the possibility to make any damage to anyone. He loved his father, while his mother was always tricky and he didn't liked that, nor the way she treated dad.

A civil war erupted from Piemonte after some years followed by an excomunitation from the Pope claiming that Alamanno, as his father, was a traitor of Christianity. Having enough of this, the freshly entitled Duke waged war against his former vassal advised from his mother. Quick investigations made clear that she was working for the Pope and mainly from the Emperor, this was enough to make Alamanno gather more and more rage. With no hesitation he attacked the castle of Piemonte and killing his own mother with a rapid movement of the sword. He felt the hand and spirit of Fulco over him. Somehow now he knew that his father was avenged as the Este's honor.

The Emperor, knowing about the fact that Alamanno killed his own mother, tried once again to make the same trick used with Fulco, but this time, after refusing to send him troops, Alamanno launched a direct attack to the lands of the Emperor. This was the will of his father, the will of the Este's honor. That German, that Emperor with no guts capable only to request troops and insulting proud and good people, now needed a lesson.

5000 men from the county of Lombardia and Pavia joined in the plains with Alamanno leading them. Quickly they marched north to Schwyz where the Emperor was waiting with his men ready.


Battle of Schwyz - 1101 a.d. circa
Taken from the book "Duchy of Lombardia, wars and achievements"



The battle of Schwyz, the first between the Duchy of Lombardia and the Holy Roman Empire, erupted from a matter of honor and old grudges. The Este family rebelled from their liege , the Emperor of Germany, after refusing for many times to aid the HRE on their wars against rebelling vassals. Many historians thought that the rebellion of the Este family couldn't be righteous since they refused to follow their obligations as vassals but this, nontheless, was the beginning of a struggle that in one way or the other settled feud and grudges between the Emperor and the Este family for that time.

Judging from the forces, it is obvious that the Dukes waged war against the Empire after it suffered a bloody rebellion in the far north of Europe, in the lands of the now known Denmark especially. Therefore, without many men to defend the counties, the Empire suffered a quick defeat, from wich Alamanno Este asked the control of the territory of Schwyz and a sum of money as compensation to conclude the war.

In this way, the first war between the Este and the Empire finished. Bloody and quickly. From vassals to free men, now the Este had the possibility to expand on northern Italy without being worried about the Empire nor their allies.

Aproximatly 4000 men died that day on the battlefield, of wich more than 3.000 of the Empire, but the correct amount of losses will never be known since all documents are reported from the archives of the Este family itself.

---------------------------------

Independence has been now guaranteed. Alamanno, now the new Duke rebelled and crushed from his former liege creating a new power on northern Italy. Excomunicated as his father, now many other powers of the penisula are looking at him as a possible enemy.

In the meantime, forces operated in the background to hit directly the court. Who is attacking Alamanno from the inside ? And what is going to happen now that the Popes are always excomunicating every ruler of the family ?

What will be now of the dream ? You'll only know on the next chapter!

---------------------------------
 

KOS17

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...the Pope must die? :p
hmm I'd rather not being involved in actions against the Pope, it is possible however to kick out his spies and try to let him recognize the work of Alamanno as a good christian.

Main problem is that there are some pagans and acts of blasphemy in the court that triggered all of this. Since they attacked one of my most valuable advisors and since she was also pious, I have tried to help her out against the inquisition but the result was that she didn't had an excomunitation and then Fulco and Alamanno recieved one.

Surely this is a plan of Fulco's wife... how could this even be happening... I mean... Alamanno had a good score of faith and suddenly without any kind of warning, the Pope excomunicated him. That's absurd.

Anyway, we'll see what will happen next... if the Este attack the Pope now, it's going to be bad, it will make a righteous Casus Belli for anyone in Europe to crush them and it wouldn't be wise.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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A Parricide is always a good way to start a powerful dinasty.