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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

iain_a_wilson

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NOTE: This is a megacampaign that has started in Crusader Kings and has finally made its way to HoI2. Therefore the opening few chapters may have a slightly "un-HoI" feel to them!

In fact, because I'm feeling prodcutive - here's an index. Those of you just wanting to read to HoI2 stuff you can jump straight to 1936 (although the stuff beforehand is quite good fun - honest!).

---

INDEX

Chapter 1 - the Papal Inquisitor (1179)
Chapter 2 - Phyrric Victories (1190)
Chapter 3 - the Reconquista (1211)
Chapter 4 - A New Flag (1216)
Chapter 5 - A Breath of Fresh Air (1239)
Chapter 6 - Let's Talk (1254)
Chapter 7 - An End of An Era (1451)
Chapter 8 - Terror Incognito (16th century)
Chapter 9 - The Cost of Modern Warfare (18th century)
Chapter 10 - Virescit Vulnere Virtus (early 19th century)
Chapter 11 - Deo Vindice (1840)
Chapter 12 - Foedere Et Religione Tenemur (1843)
Chapter 14 - Take the Afternoon Off Chaps (1921)
Chapter 15 - The Secret Masters of the World (1932)
Chapter 16 - Krgy...where? (1936)
Chapter 17 - Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (1939)
Chapter 18 - Faces of War (1939)
Chapter 19 - Faces of War (Part II) (1940)
Chapter 20 - Faces of War (Part III) (1940)
Chapter 21 - All Quiet on the Eastern Front (1941)
Chapter 22 - Winds of Change (1950)
Chapter 23 - Boom, Boom, Shake the Room! (1950s)
Chapter 24 - I Am Become Death... (1950s-60s)

The Preamble​

It's 1159 and the kingdom of Scotland is doing rather well.



The pretty light blue is Scotland

It rules over most of the British Isles, all of Sicilly, Venice and vast expanses of snow and tundra in the east.

The Vast Expanses of Snow and Tundra in the East (VESTE) were aquired through what was basically dynastic cowardice.



Oooh! Colourful!

In the early 1100's the Pope called for a Crusade against the heathen, suggesting none too subtly that those that didn't take part would be laughed at, mocked and shunned by all right minded, pious and blood thirsty Christian monarchs out there. Sadly for Scotland (pretty tiny and financially ropey at the time) the prospect of taking on the well armed and organized Arab nations was pretty daunting. However, it rapidly became apparent that the Pope, for all his ranting about libearting the Holy Land, wasn't really THAT bothered about what heathens were put to the sword as long as there was a substantial body count.

So it was that the Scottish hordes set sail for darkest Scandinavia and ramapged and pillaged there way through the pagan realms, taking on the might of the fearsome er...tribes of the Lapps, the Finns and the Zemeglians (although they sound like some scary sci-fi invader they were actually some scrawny collection of reindeer worshipping pagans who were armed with snow and dried branches). Quite a lot of VESTE was conquered before the limits of the Scottish exchequer were reached. In later years the VESTE served as a "reward" for the more rebellious of the King's subjects. "Oh, so you're feeling rebellious? Dear, dear. I *AM* scared. Tell you what, because I'm so scared of you, I'd best reward you to keep you on side. Here. You can be the count of Lapland. Off you go. I'll look after wherever else you were Count of before hand."

Sicilly was taken when the King felt a bit brave and decided to take on the four small Moorish caliphates (who had no allies to speak of) that made their home there. Turns out that they were quite wealthy so he decided to keep them instead of parcelling them out.

Venice was taken in a moment of drunken belligerence when someone thought that it would be a laugh to sack it. Thankfully the new cannon fodder from Sicilly proved to be up to the task and Venice was added to the realm.



Club Med

The realms of Ireland and Wales were added quite early on through a bit of blatent bullying and racketeering. Two small Irish counties were flattened into the ground and ambassador's were sent to the Irish and Welsh dukes and given messages along the lines of "Nice place you've got here. Shame if it was razed and pillaged, know what I mean?" To the surprise of all concerned all in question (along with their vassals) agreed to become the vassals of the King of Scotland.

Actually, this was almost a bad thing, thanks to a moment of utter stupidity on the part of some Welsh Duke (now deceased). He decided to pick a fight with England, England attacked him AND his vassal and I was obliged to steam into help them out. At first I thought that this was a great chance for me to blag some nice English land (I'd had my eyes on Northumberland for a while) but it rapidly became apparent that the King of England and his gang were more than up to the task of driving my sorry arse into the sea. Thankfully the coffers were quite full at that point, so I was able to almost bankrupt the realm and offer the King of England and his cronies a big chest of gold in return for him leaving me and my Welsh idiot vassals alone. Suffice it to say, said Welsh idiots were soon "purged" from the Scottish court.

Thankfully England had a little dynastic crisis of its own a few decades later on. The King went off to the Holy Land to do a bit of Crusading. He clearly got a bit tied down (I wasn't paying too much potential - I was busy sitting at home sulking at the thought of all the gold that my Welsh bitches had cost me) for he was over there for ages. While he was away a load of his vassals decided to declare their independance and there was very little he could do about it. Not being once to waste an oppertunity I offered them oppertunties to be my vassals and battered those into submission who refused.

Meanwhile, back in the Holy Land some knightly orders and a bunch of Arabs had got together to take the King of England's conquests off him and drive him back into the sea.

So, he's left in the sorry situation shown on the map.

At the moment I'm sitting cooling my heels a bit. I could sweep in and take the other rebel English counties and usurp the King of England, but world opinion of me isn't very good, and if I carry on behaving like a hooligan I'm going to have most of my vassals rebelling and a load of the big boys declaring war.

But don't worry - I don't have much patience for sitting around playing with my economy. I'm sure I'll be off warmongering again sometime soon. Oh, and here's a picture of our illustrious leader, good King David. Handsome devil, isn't he?



King Dave

;)
 
Last edited:

crusaderknight

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Very interesting. Young King David looks like a very promising king.
 

iain_a_wilson

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Chapter 1. 1179 - the Papal Inquisitor​


The Chancellor opened the massive double doors to the King's throne room and

shuffled in.

"Your majesty" he said as he bowed. "You have a visitor."

King David rolled his eyes.

"Let me guess, another one of our friends from Rome."

The Chancellor nodded.

"Indeed sire. The Papal Inquisitor awaits."

David sighed.

"Bloody hell. Why here? Why do they keep sending these creepy, little,

black-robed freaks to my demense? Why..."

The chancellor coughed in a none to subtle manner whilst nodding his head in

the direction of the doors. A beaming smile broke across David's face.

"INQUISITOR! Why, I didn't see you skulki...er...standing there. Come in,

come in!"

From the darkness beyond the doors a thin figure clad in a black monk's habit

glided into the throne room.

"King David", his voice was a sibilant whisper, "You really should assign me

my own chambers here. I'm becoming a regular visitor."

David coughed.

"Yes, well. It's a pleasure to see you again. As usual you have my full co-

operation. If you need anything just ask my steward."

A rictus like smile creased the Inquisitor's face.

"That won't be necessary your highness. It is your steward I'm here to see.

I won't keep you any longer. When I am finished I shall let you know and take

my leave."

The Inquisitor turned and silently exited the room. David shook his head.

"Honestly. I don't understand that Pope and his over zealous ways. That's

the ninth visit in just under two years. Why us? In fact, why my steward?

She's bloody good at her job is lady Fatima Al Navarra..."

The chancellor coughed.

"Highness, may I make a suggestion? One that might stop so many visits from

our creepy, black-robed friend?"

"Of course."

"Stop apointing Arabs into positions of power within your court."

"Bu...but....they're bloody good at their job!"

"They're heathen's sire."

"So?"

The chancellor shook his head and looked despairing.

"Ok...ok... Why have you got so many Muslim courtiers?"

David thought about this.

"Because I conquered their lands in Iberia."

The chancellor smiled.

"Indeed. And why did you conquer those lands in the first place?"

David puffed out his chest.

"Because it was at the request of His Holiness the Bishop of Rome."

"And why did his Holiness ask you to go there?"

David rolled his eyes.

"Where have you been for the last decade? Under a rock? The whole point of a

Crusade is to put the Heathen to the sword in the name of God."

There was an uneasy silence.

"Ah", said David after a few minutes.

The chancellor smiled. David frowned, petted his lip and relaxed into his

throne.

"So, what other news do you have for me?"

From behind his back the chancellor produced a large sheaf of notes.

"Well sire, the Duke of Palestine is fighting a losing battle in the Holy

Land. He requests some support and thinks that...sire, why are you smirking?"

"Say it again..."

"Say what again, sire?"

"The whole thing."

A look of confusion crossed the chancellor's face, but he dutifully consulted

his notes and started to read again.

"The Duke of Palestine..."

King David broke into uproarious laughter and banged the arm of his throne,

while the chancellor looked on in puzzlment. David waved his hand and slowly

composed himself.

"Sorry, but I just love hearing that. Tell me chancellor, am I right in

saying that the Duke of Palestine is the former King of England?"

The chancellor sighed.

"Yes, sire."

"And am I right in saying that he is now my vassal?"

"Yes, sire."

"And is it also correct to say that the Kingdom of England no longer exists?"

"Yes...sire..."

David beamed.

"Cor, it took a while but it was worth it though. Right, go on."

The Chancellor composed himself.

"Well, seems that the Duke of Palestine is a bit irked that you pulled out of

the war with the Turks and requests some help as he's getting 'battered'".

King David waved his hand in dismissal.

"Look, I didn't realise QUITE how many Turks there were. If he's not savvy

enough to secure a white peace then that's his fault. What else?"

"Well, looks like the counts of Porto and that bit of Sicilly whose name I

can't remember have been overrun by the Turks."

David shrugged.

"You win some, you lose some. We'll retake it in a couple of years time and

give it to someone capable to manage. Next."

"Good news from Iberia. Fechur the Bastard, Duke of Catalonia, is doing an

excellent job. He's pushed the Moors back into the sea."

The King punched the air.

"That's my boy!"

The chancellor raised his eyebrow. David pouted.

"Well, he IS still my son..."

Suddenly the chancellor raised a finger in the air.

"That reminds me, sire. Your wife is expecting...again."

David smiled.

"Good show. Hopefully she'll be made of stronger stuff than the other two."

The chancellor put his head in his hands and sighed.

"Sire, they bore you twelve children between them..."

David shrugged.

"And? Both of them gave up the ghost in childbirth. I mean, I ask you!

There I am, off risking my life against the heathen in battle, and they can't

even manage something that they're designed for. Bloody women."

Closing his eyes and counting to ten, the chancellor continued.

"Preperations are being made for your older daughter's wedding. If I may be

so bold, sire..."

David smiled.

"Excellent. He's a good chap that Duke of Cornwall. Comes from a good line!"

The chancellor nodded.

"That's what I was going to say, majesty..."

If David had heard his chancellor he didn't make it obivous.

"Yes. Royal blood. That's what we need. Good royal blood."

"He's her cousin sire."

David stopped.

"And?"

"Well, you know. It's..."

The King wagged his finger in the direction of the Chancellor.

"I hope you're not suggesting that marrying cousins is a bad thing. My aunt

Fingella was married to her cousin."

He paused.

"Why are you doing that thing with your eyes?"

"What thing?"

"That rolling thing."

"Well, your aunt Fingella. That would be Fingella the mad, right?"

"Yes..."

"Fingella the rabid?"

"Uh huh."

"Fingella the hunchbacked?"

"Ok. So she had a lot of nicknames. What's your point?"

The chancellor threw his hands up in exsasperation.

"Nothing, sire."

"Good. Now, what els..."

A heart rending scream echoed throughout the castle. Both men froze. Seconds

later the scream was followed by a low, evil-sounding chuckle that rapidly

built to a crescendo of manical laughter before a shrill, deranged voice cried

out "Accept the one true God as your saviour, heathen!!!"

David looked at the chancellor who had gone pale.

"How does he do that thing with his voice? I'd love to know how to get *MY* voice to echo all through the castle..."

Another scream, more piercing than the last one, tore up from the dungeons.

The chancellor supressed a shudder and looked at David who had gone pale.

"Promise me one thing, sire. No more Arabs in the court?"

David nodded hastily.

"Agreed."
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Doing well, and very amusing.
 

iain_a_wilson

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Chapter 2​

1190 - Phyrric Victories

King Alexander watched as the last of the delegation filed out of the room. As the large double doors banged shut he wrapped his cloak tightly around himself and shuddered.

"I don't care if they ARE my nieces and nephews", he said to his chancellor, "those hideous little monsters are not welcome in my court EVER!"

Margret, his chancellor, looked somewhat puzzled.

"Monsters, sire? Your Cornish relatives may be many things, but I thought that they were rather well behaved."

Alexander shook his head.

"No, no, no. I don't mean 'monsters' as in 'running around the place tearing down tapestries and setting fire to my pet stags' I mean it literally. Monsters."

"Sire, perhaps you are being a tad unkind..."

"Damn it woman, are you blind??? Did you see those freakish little mutants?!?! They couldn't be badly behaved if they tried because one of them has two club feet and can barely walk, the other one is cross-eyed and deaf and her webbed fingers prevent her from picking anything up and the third one can't do anything other than sit on the floor and giggle at the ever expanding pool of drool around him."

Margret smiled sympathetically, but by this point Alexander was pacing back and forth looking agitated.

"It's really quite scarey. I mean, how did they get like that? Witch craft? Pacts with the devil? Alchemy? Or maybe it's all those heathen's that my father liked to keep around him. Honestly, I'm tempted to have a word with Rome and see if they can send that nice man over that I used to see hanging around the court when I was a child. You know the one I mean. Pale little guy, black robes, very good at projecting his voice."

"I know the one sire."

"Well, yeah. He might be able to figure it out. After all, my sister's perfectly normal and her husband, my cousin, is perfectly normal. Why would they have such odd children. It's a damned mystery I tell you."

The chancellor, who had been studying the ceiling, smiled dutifully and nodded.

"A mystery indeed, sire. I do, however, have some updates for you regarding the state of the realm."

Alexander smiled and gestured animatedly.

"Excellent. Let's hear it then. How's the old Kingdom looking then? Would dear old dad have been proud of me?"

A thin, nervous smile flashed across Margret's face.

"Well, the celebrations for the fifth aniversary of your father's sad passing went very, very well. There was much pious rejoicing and rememberance. The citizens of Venizia even built a huge domed Church in his honour."

Alexander clapped his hands excitedly.

"Splendid!"

He paused and looked worried.

"Er... Remind me again. Which one's Venizia?"

Margret smiled patientally.

"The place with the boats, sire."

"Ah, yes. I remember it. Bloody nice place. Shame there's all those Arabs kicking around though."

A noise that may have been a despairing sigh came from the chancellor's direction.

"They're not Arabs, majesty. They're Italian."

Pacing back and forth, Alexander waved a hand dismissivly.

"Arabs. Pagans. What's the difference, eh?"

Mentally Margret was contemplating what life in a nunnery might be like.

"I'm afraid they're not Pagan's either, sire. They're Catholics. Like us."

The King raised an eyebrow.

"Just like us, eh? Well, how come we had to bowl in and put them to the sword all those years ago?"

Clenching her fists exceedingly tightly so that her knuckles turned stark white, Margret raised her eyes to the ceiling.

"I believe that was a whim of your father's, God rest his soul."

Alexander brightened. Margret always hated when he did this, because it usually meant he was trying to apply his own demented brand of logic to something that was puzzling him.

"Well, I'm pretty certain that if dear ol' dad felt the need to let 'em taste some good, Scottish steel, then they must have been either a BIT Arab or a BIT devil-worshiping-pagany."

Margret, who had been studying the hem of her dress, gave Alexander a smile that had 'insincere' stamped on it in big, gold letters.

"Indeed, sire. Your logic, as ever, is flawless. Although, technically, if they were devil worshippers they would be 'satanists' and not 'pagans'."

"Do you think it's got something to do with the boats? I mean, could we be looking at paganism with a nautical bent? God of the canals or something?"

"No, sire", Margret snapped, "I think that's probably just to do with the fact that the reuddy city's built on a lagoon."

The King did his best impression of nodding wisely.

"You're probably right. Infact, I know you're right."

Margret gave a sigh of relief.

"Thank you, sire."

"After all, they probably just worship whatever it is that lives in the lagoon. I bet it comes to them at night and demands that maidens be floated out into the darkness for it to consume."

With a shrug of her shoulders, Margret sagged visibly.

"Would you like me to read you the rest of this report sire, or is the contents of your mindmore interesting?"

The King, still addled by thoughts of maiden-munching lagoon-beasts, turned to face her.

"Hmm? What? Oh, the report. Yes. Go on. I can't *WAIT* to hear how our war against those ruddy Arabs is going!"

Margret started to slowly massage her temples.

"Sire, that particular war ended two years ago."

Rage caused Alexander's cheeks to flush a deep red, making him appear like a small, angry, ginger-bearded beetroot.

"It did? How? Did we not burn Mecca to the ground?"

"Yes, sire, we did."

"And did we not put...er...that other place of theirs with the odd name to the torch."

"Yes, sire, we did."

"Well how the bloody hell could the war have ended."

"Because sire, as you'll recall, they also raised Porto and Messina to the ground. It was felt that a return to the status quo was beneficial for all involved."

Alexander stamped his foot angrily.

"Who gave that order? I demand to see them now! They'll be hell to pay, I tell you..."

Margret closed her eyes for a few seconds and attempted to attain some kind of inner calm. Having a voice in your head yelling that regicide was quite an acceptable course of action in certain circumstances was not helping matters.

"You gave the order, majesty. I believe your decision was influenced by the fact that the coffers were running a bit dry. Remember?"

The King sat down and looked a bit po-faced.

"Oh yeah. I remember. Hmm. Probably was for the best."

"Indeed, sire. And may I remark was considerable foresight you have, for the realm is now very prosperous indeed."

As if by magic Alexander's mood brightened considerably.

"Splendid news! Wow. Look at those figures. I'm rich."

Margret smiled.

"If that's all sire, I'll be on my way."

Alexander nodded towards the door. As Margret was about to leave he shouted across to her.

"Do you know what I'm going to do with all this cash? I'm going to fund a trip to Venezia and see if I can catch the lagoon monster! Won't that be fun."

Clearly Margret had not heard him for the double doors just banged shut. Seconds later a gut-wrenching scream of despair and frustration came from just outside the throne room. Alexander looked puzzled.

"That's funny", he mused, "I'm sure I didn't see the Papal Inquisitor arrive."

Western Europe - 1190

Iberia - 1190

VESTE - 1190

The Holy Land - 1190
 

stnylan

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I think Margaret brings a new definition to the word 'long-suffering'
 

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Chapter 3 - The Reconquista​


The King's marshall bowed deeply before his liege.

"Sire. You summoned me?"

King Alexander looked up from the book which he had been intently studying.

"Bloody clever chaps, those Arabs", he said while jabbing at the book with an extended finger. "Take this book on mathematics. Absolute genius."

The marshall smiled politely.

"I never knew you were a scholar sir."

Alexander furrowed his brow and shook his head.

"What? A scholar? Good Lord, no. Wouldn't catch me wasting my time on all that mumbo-jumbo. Can't go wrong with a sword and a horse, that's what I say. Tell you the truth, I can't make head nor tail of this book. Been staring at it for the past three hours, and I'll be damned if I can figure out why anyone would want to add numbers together."

With a flick of his wrist Alexander casually tossed the book over his shoulder, where it landed with a crash and the sound of tearing paper.

"Still, it's got our boffins excited, and this has given me an idea."

The Marshall had faced down many foes, in many battles. He had fought as the King's personal champion on many occasions, and was widely hailed as one of the foremost warriors of his generation. None the less, Alexander's pronouncment had managed something that legions of his enemies had failed to do. It had brought a marked look of terror to his face.

"An idea, sire. Er...wonderful. What were you considering?"

Alexander grinned.

"Well, up until recently, I wasn't really aware of the fact that the inflidels could do things like, you know, count. I was always led to believe that they were bloodthirsty savages that would kill you as soon as speak to you."

The Marshall coughed and cut in.

"I can see where this is heading, my liege. You are doubtlessly suggesting that we initiate a dialogue with the heathen and attempt to understand him, and his customs, in an attempt at universal peace?"

The King, angry had having been interupted, struggeld to regain his train of thought.

"Huh? Eh? What are you suggesting?"

"Well, it seems like you'd like to reach a greater understanding with the heathen, and that the book you are holding has doubtlessly made you aware of the fact that, behind the stories and fables, that the Arabs are human beings just like us. In fact, I'd wager that you were given that book during a discussion with an Arab shiek, no doubt when you were negotiating some peace deal. Yes, that's it! He probably turned to you and, in a moment of universal brotherhood, handed over the book whilst saying something along the lines of 'As you can see, my friend, you and I are not that much different.'"

Alexander snorted.

"As if. I took it from the ruins of that orphange that we burned to the ground during 'Catholicism is fun!' week. You remember, it was part of our 'Convert or Die, Heathen Scum!' initiative."

He playfully punched his Marshall on the shoulder.

"Honestly, Malcolm. You're such a romantic. Universal peace and brotherhood indeed."

Malcolm looked downcast.

"Oh", he managed. Alexander laughed.

"No, according to our boffins, we can use some of the ideas in these books to make our armies more efficent. Think of it. REALLY big catapults!"

His eyes misted over. After a few moments of silence Marshal Malcolm coughed slightly when he saw the beginings of drool form at the corner of Alexander's mouth.

"Oh. Sorry. Got a bit carried away with my ideas there!"

Malcolm, ever patient, smiled.

"So, sire. What's this great plan?"

The King brightened.

"Well, with these great new weapons, the world, or in this case Iberia, is our oyster! Let's give the Aragonese a seeing too! They're practically Moors anyway! And besides, I could do with a couple of more crowns in the trophy cabinet."

Malcolm sighed.

"Are you sure this is a good idea, majesty? After all..."

"Of course it's a good idea", Alexander snapped. "It's mine, isn't it? So stop qeustioning things, and let's get out there and sort out those idolaters in the Kingdom of Aragon!"

Delusions of grandeur

The marshal bowed.

"As you wish, sire. If I may ask, though. What about the Arabs? Has your reading of that book done anything to change your views of them?"

Alexander shrugged.

"Not really. As I said, can't understand a bloody word of it. Shows how sneaky they are. I'll tell you one thing though, their women... Ding dong! Shame I can't get married to one of them! That whole smokey-eyed thing they've got going on. How is it they do that?"

Malcolm looked thoughtful.

"I'm not an expert on these matters sire, but I think they use something called kohl."

The King nodded and stroked his beard.

"COAL you say? Do we produce that in Scotland?"

Malcolm shook his head.

"Not that I'm aware of, majesty."

Alexander looked downcast. He thought for a moment before brightning and thrusting a figure in the air.

"I've got it! If we don't produce coal, which I thought we did mind you, I know that we do mine granite. They're both roughly the same aren't they? Have my chancellor draw up an edict requiring all noble women to line their eyes with granite before attending the next court. Let's see if we can make a few of the old hags look a bit more appealing, eh?"

Malcolm nodded and slunk out the throne room. He knew better than to try and explain this misunderstanding.
 

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Alexander is a classic.
 

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Chapter 4​

1216 - A New Flag​

"Woo-hoo!"

The voice, a childlike cry of glee, seemed to come from behind the enormous wooden chest that sat imposingly in the centre of the field. Marshal Malcom, seated on his horse, regarded it with a look that was part confusion and part soul-crushing despair.

"Woo-hoo!!!!"

The cry went up again, this time accompanied by a shower of golden coins flying into the air from behind the chest. They landed with a dull thlump on the muddy field beyond. Malcolm sighed and nervously ran his fingers through his hair. He'd developed a twitch recently - his family put it down to the stress of warfare, but Malcolm knew otherwise.

"Woo-hoo!!!!!!", cried King Alexander as he sprung up from behind the massive chest.

"Look, Malcolm!", he screamed at the top of his lungs. "Look at all that beautiful, bloody gold!"

Malcolm dismounted and peered around the side of the chest. His eyes widened as he took in the shimmering sea of gold, rubies, diamonds, saphires and many others stones and precious metals he couldn't even begin to name. He wasn't an avaricious man by any leap of the imagination, but the sight of all this wealth before him made his throat tighten and his mouth go dry. Alexander clamped a hand on his shoulder, snapping him from his reverie.

"So, my dear marshal. What do you think? Pretty good, huh?"

Malcolm nodded dumbly, his eyes still transfixed by the glittering sea of treasure that lay beyond the King. Alexander beamed.

"Who'd have thought those bloody French would have so much money, eh?"

A slight figure, dressed in ill-fitting and highly polished armour, and who looked utterly out of place on the battlefield, coughed politely.

"Actually, sire, they were Bretons."

Alexander whirled to face his sire.

"What?"

The chancellor cringed back slightly.

"The people we defeated and who paid this...er...bountiful tribute to your manifest glory. They were Breton. Not French."

Alexander shrugged.

"Who cares? Their country belongs to me now!"

He threw his head back and laughed, the pitch being slightly too shrill, and the length slightly too long, to have come from the throat of a sane man. He walked around to the front of the chest and threw another handful of riches into the air.

"Mine! Do you hear me! Mine!"

From where he stood, Malcolm twitched involuntarily.

"Indeed, sire. Sire, if I may ask, what do you intend to do with our...er...guests?"

He indicated a nervous looking group of noblemen who stood amidst a phalanx of muddy and bloodied Scottish soldiers. One of them, who Malcolm supposed was the former Duke of Brittany, looked pleadingly at the marshal, nodded surreptitiously in the direction of the massive haul of loot and smiled hopefully. Malcolm went to speak but was cut off by a wave of Alexander's hand.

"Do what we normally do with heathens. Burn them."

The ex-Duke paled and a few squeals of distress went up from the prisoners. Malcolm twitched again but composed himself.

"Sire... They're not heathens."

Alexander looked up from a huge sapphire that he had been studying intently.

"Hmm. They're not? Why did we go to war with them then, if they weren't heathens?"

Malcolm shrugged.

"Those were your orders, sire."

Alexander threw the sapphire back into the chest and picked up an ever bigger ruby.

"Oh well. I must have had my reasons."

Everyone looked at each other, nobody entirely sure what to do. Alexander sighed and turned around.

"Are they still here?" he shouted, pointing at the Bretons. "They're practically French, aren't they? That means that at some point or another they're going to have done SOMETHING immoral. Probably involving cheese, garlic, onions and young girls. So don't look at me with that 'Oh we can't burn them because they're not dressed in white sheets' look. Get on with it!"

Amidst much squealing, pleading, crying and wailing the Bretons were led off. During all of this the chancellor had tentativly made his way across the field to where Alexander stood, picking his way around the muddiest spots, so as not to spoil his armour's sheen. Under his arm he carried a large piece of fabric. Stopping just before Alexander he bowed.

"Majesty. As per your royal decree, we have commisioned, in honour of your majesty, your munificence, your justice, your glory, your prowess in battle and your kindness to orphened animals a new royal standard."

Alexander clapped his hands together.

"Splendid!"

The chancellor beamed.

"And as per your request, we had the finest seamstress in the realm, the Lady Finguella..."

Alexander held up a hand.

"Mad aunt Finguella?"

The chancellor flushed.

"Yes sire, the Lady Finguella."

The King nodded.

"Splendid. Do go on."

"Thank you, majesty. As I was saying, the Lady Finguella was instrumental in designing this standard for you."

"Excellent", said Alexander. "Ok, let's see it."

With a dramatic flourish, the chancellor unfurled the flag.


The banner

Alexander paced around it, drinking in its magnicient gold, reds, blues and whites. His brow furrowed in intense consternation and the chancellor found himself cringing.

"A problem, majesty?"

The King folded his arms and cocked his head to the side, before wagging a finger in the general direction of the banner.

"No. No. It's good. But, a couple of questions."

The chancellor spread his arms wide.

"Certainly, sire. Speak and I shall answer."

Alexander frowned.

"Ok, what's this wee lion thing here?", he said indicating the gold lion rampant on the white background. The chancellor smiled.

"Why that, your majesty, represents your Kingdom of Mauretania."

"The Kingdom of where?"

"Mauretania."

"I'm King of there?"

"You are."

"Seriously?"

"Yes, majesty."

"Where is it?"

"North Africa, sire."

Alexander turned to Malcolm with a big smile on his face.

"Did you know this, marshal?"

Malcolm, who had been trying his damndest to try and drown out Alexander's prattling, twitched in his King's direction.

"Indeed I did, sire. I believe it was your father that added them to your kingdom."

Alexander smiled.

"Well, I say. Ding! Dong! Another crown for the old trophy cabinet, eh?"

He punched the chancellor playfully on the shouder, almost flooring the smaller man in the process.

"So - question number two. What does it all mean?"

The chancellor looked stunned.

"I'm sorry, sire?"

The King stamped his food.

"Good Lord, man. Pay attention. It was a simple question. What...does...this...flag...mean?"

Malcolm cleared his throat as the chancellor stood wide-eyed with his mouth opening and shutting wordlessly.

"I believe, sire, that it represents al of your conquered kingdoms."

Alexander frowned.

"That doesn't sound like Aunt Finguella talking. No, she'd doubtlessly have hidden some subtle subtext into this glorious feat of weaving."

He placed one arm on either side of the flag, bending over and studying it intently. Malcolm glared at the chancellor and raised his eyebrows in an accusatory stare that, were an observer versed in the finer points of body language, could possibly be interpreted as "Tell him something to shut him up. It's bloody freezing here and I want to go home to my nice warm bed rather than tramping around the French countryside torching farms and putting peasants to the sword at the whim of some megalomaniacal madman." The chancellor, evidently a keen student of body language, nodded subtly and smiled at the King.

"Sire, aunt Finguella knows how much your warfare means to you and bore that in mind in designing this glorious standard."

Alexander looked up from the flag.

"Oh, yeah? What did she say, the sweet old dear?"

The chancellor smiled in a semi-apologetic manner.

"It seems, sire, that Finguella intended the standard to be read as..."

He stopped, cleared his throat and contorted his face into a deranged looking rictus, his eyes as wide as plates. When he spoke his voice was a crazed, wheezing rasp.

"HA! HA! They're all our bitches! We own them! All their base are belong to us! Losers! We came, we saw, we whipped their arses! Who's next? Eh?!?! Who's next? Who's......F***ing...NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He sighed deeply and slumped forward panting. Malcolm rolled his eyes and turned his horse homeward. Alexander smiled and clapped an arm around his chancellor's shoulder.

"She's a good old girl is aunt Finguella. Mad as a bag of badgers, but a good lass to have on your side. Can you believe that my last chancellor thought that there was something wrong with her? That just because her parents were cousins that she was somehow 'different'. Nonsense I say. All it means is that she's good more good royal blood flowing through her veins. Nothing wrong with that, eh?"

The chancellor looked into his King's wide, blood-shot eyes and smiled nervously.

"Nothing wrong with that, sire. Nothing at all."
 

stnylan

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An excellent update, with much chuckling taking place.
 

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Just finished reading everything and I must admit, it's a bloody fun read... :D
 

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Iain Wilson said:
MINOR UPDATE:

I've played a bit more and just received a message that Marshal Malcolm has committed suicide. Anyone surprised?

;)
No, I'm surprised he's lasted this long :D
 

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Chapter 5​

1239 - A Breath of Fresh Air?​


It was ten years since the death of King Alexander and the King's council were busy mulling over ideas of how to commemorate this (although a large percentage of the court had used the word "celebrate" to mark Alexander's date it was deemed as too insensitive when referring to someone who, for all their faults, had actually been a pretty successful monarch). It had been decided that a massive statue to Alexander was to be errected in Edinburgh city centre, completed with a huge gold plaque attached to the base, declaring in large platinum letters to any onlooker who may have been in doubt that this was indeed King Alexander. However, the council had reached a sticking point, namely over what honorific to append to Alexander's name.

"I don't see why he needs one", offered a mousey looking little man in a blue tunic. "After all, he's got 'King' BEFORE his name. How many titles does one man need?"

The chancellor, a swarthy man in Castilian dress (and who had been fully vetted by the Papal Inquisition thank you very much) shook his head.

"It's a question of respect. The whole point of this title is to honour Alexander's actions in life."

"How about Alexander the Belligerent?", offered one wit, amidst much muffled sniggering.

"Alexander the Homocidal?", said another.

"Alexander the REGIcial?", chuckled a third.

The chancellor banged his hands down on the table.

"ENOUGH!"

The sniggering died down.

"Despite what some of you may have thought of King Alexander, God-Rest-His-Soul, he was very good for the Kingdom. So, the idea of this statue, and it's associated honorific, is to show thanks for this. So, please. Sensible suggestions."

There was a bout of silence as the rest of the council mentally digested this.

"Alexander the pious!" yelled one of the courtiers from out of nowhere.

The silence that greeted this contribution to the debate seemed to offend the man who suggested it.

"What? What's wrong with that? I think it's a rather good title."

"Yeah, and I bet his five bastard sons think so too!", muttered another courtier amidst a chorus of sniggers.


Not likely

"How about Alexander the Short?", suggested the man in the blue tunic.

The chancellor looked at him in the same way a schoolteacher would look at an especially dim pupil who just isn't getting it.

"I'm sorry?"

"Alexander the Short?"

"Why on earth would we choose that?"

The man in the blue tunic seemed to consider this.

"Well, he was er...short, wasn't he? Lots of other nobles have physical features mentioned in their titles. There's Offa the Tall from Sweden, Herman One-Eye from Bohemia, Ilarion the Lame from Byzantium and..."

He was cut off mid sentance as the chancellor banged the table again, somewhat harder this time.

"There is a reason that these people have such titles. It is because, aside from whatever physical ailment it is that is plaguing their miserable existence, they have absolutely nothing noteworthy to be remembered for and would otherwise be consigned to the dustbin of history. We, on the other hand, are talking about the monarch who has expanded the territory of our kingdom ten fold, and who has helped turn us from a backwater agrarian economy into a er...", he waved his arms in the air as if trying to conjure the words he needed, "...a front water agraian economy, so I hardly think calling him Alexander the Stunted is going to help, do you?"

Folding his arms he sat back in his chair and glared at the assembled courtiers.

"Any other suggestions?"

"Alexander the Ginger?", chuckled a boistrous youth who had clearly failed to see the molten menace bubbling behind the chancellor's eyes. Without even looking in the courtier's direction the chancellor turned to one of the guards present, snapped his fingers and pointed at the youth. There was a slight yelping sound as the young man was hauled bodily out of his chair by the guard. Holding the couriter aloft in one meaty fist he turned to the chancellor who had steepled his fingers and was smiling evilly to himself.

"What shall I do with him, sah?" the guard asked, seemingly heedless of the young man's squeals of protest.

The chancellor's dark eyes flashed evilly.

"Take him to the Inquisitor."

The young man's teeth started to chatter and the chancellor waved his hand towards the door in a "shooing" motion.

"Tell him that we suspect this wretch of witchcraft, or heresy or...something. Use your imagination."

The guard, clearly not chosen for his imagination nodded, clearly fixing upon the first option and trying to remember it long enough to tell it to the inquisitor. Those around the table that were looking hard enough were sure they could see him silently mouthing "witchcraft" to himself.


The papal inquisitor awaits

After the door slammed shut the remaining council members turned to the chancellor with wide eyes and worried expressions. The chancellor smiled and spread his hands.

"What? The Inquisition are newly established here and they've had nothing to do in a long time, ever since King Alexander, God-Rest-His-Soul, stopped employing Arab Muslims."

He ran a hand through his long, dark beard and his dark, moorish eyes flashed.

"If he's a good Catholic like the rest of us", here the chancellor crossed himself, "He'll have nothing to fear, will we?"

Greeted by a wall of silence the chancellor smiled, and continued.

"So, my friends, where were we?"

One of the courtiers raised his hands.

"I have an idea!"

The chancellor extended a hand in his direction.

"Please, go on."

The man smiled and held a finger into the air.

"Well, since we're talking about Alexander, I think the best thing to consider here is...what would Alexander do in a situation like this?"

There was a few minutes of silence as the whole room imagined a small, ginger whirlwind tearing around the room, beating down everyone else's suggestions before leaping onto the table and yelling "You want an honorific? Here's one for you! I...AM...IN...VINCIBLE!!!!"

The man sagged visibly.

"It was only a suggestion."

The chancellor nodded reassuringly in the same way that a mother might toward a child who had just stuck their hand in a patch of nettles to see if it would sting.

"So, any one else?"

Everyone had a long hard think about it before a small, shrew like woman who everyone knew to be the new King's Steward smiled and stood up.

"Gentlemen, I think I have an idea. Clearly, Alexander and his er...expansionist policies have made a lasting impression on this kingdom. Likewise, his...er..larger than life personality has also left an indelible mark on all of our..." she paused, smiled and composed herself "...on all of our fond memories of him."

There was a lot of nodding, in her direction and an approving wave to continue from the chancellor. The steward smiled.

"So, I propose a name which I think will be acceptable to all, and which I think neatly sums up how everyone across Europe might feel about him."

She smiled and leaned forward.

"What about, Alexander...the Unforgetable?"

The round of applause and enthusiastic whopping from those around her suggested to the steward that her choice of name summed up exactly how those around her felt about Alexander. He was one of a kind.

Thankfully.


Unforgetable indeed
 

stnylan

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One of a kind is always special, even when it's one you're glad to see the back of. I almost feel sorry for the bored inquisitors. Who is the new King however? Doesn't seem to be taking much of an interest.
 

Murmurandus

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Great update. :)