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OK, this is my first AAR. I'm playing Sweden with 1.03b and using the VIP scenario. Unfortunately, I didn't start taking screenies or taking notice of everything I did until 1849, so we're just going to start from there.

I've tried posting a few screenies on photobucket, but it won't recognize the .bmp format. Does anyone have any suggestions of an easy way to change them to another format so that I can post them? (Screenies are VERY important to the game. :D )

Edit: I didn't mention, but there are no cheats. Of course. :D
Edit again: I know I'm not using Swedish names. I'm using the names of me and my friends mostly. :D
 
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JoshWeber said:
OK, this is my first AAR. I'm playing Sweden with 1.03b and using the VIP scenario. Unfortunately, I didn't start taking screenies or taking notice of everything I did until 1849, so we're just going to start from there.

I've tried posting a few screenies on photobucket, but it won't recognize the .bmp format. Does anyone have any suggestions of an easy way to change them to another format so that I can post them? (Screenies are VERY important to the game. :D )

You can convert them to jpg by using Paint...*you find it in your accesories... comes with Windows. ;)
 
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Chapter I
January, 1849

King Joshua I could not get rid of the smile on his face or the butterflies in his stomach. As he paced up and down the halls of his palace, the possibilites raced through his mind. Could this be the start of a new Golden Age for Sweden? Could he truly earn the title of Emperor Joshua I? Would history remember him as Joshua the Great?

It was all possible. After all, Sweden was secure. Only months before he had secured an alliance with Russia and Prussia both. Sweden's two largest neighbors were allies, making the threat of war all but gone. Additionally, Sweden's economy was healthy. Everyone was employed, Sweden was making approximately $40 per day, and taxes were not oppressively high. Even as he paced work continued on the rails now beginning to criss-cross Sweden. Finally, education levels and literacy had never been higher across the nation. Though he had to do so at the expense of the military and crime fighting, Joshua was able to raise funding for education to 100%. This did make the people happy, but Joshua had a different motive for the high educational levels -- with a high literacy rate, his scientists were able to reserach and develop military technologies much faster. However, that was not the issue on this fine day. The issue was where in the world Charles, the King's advisor, was with news from Russia. If he did not get here soon, Joshua would --

Suddenly the doors flew open. Charles walked slowly into the room, a smile stretching from ear to ear. Immediately the king knew that a deal had been reached.
"Your majesty," Charles began, "Sweden is now in control of Tornio and Oulu. We finalized the deal with Russia this morning."
The kind felt an immediate sense of relief. Imagine if the deal had gone sour. It could have bred a sense of resentment in the Tsar's mind. It could have lead to a buildup of troops. It could have -- Well, no point in worrying about that now, was there?
"What did it cost me? Did you have to give everything that you were authorized to give?"
"No, your majesty. We bought the two territories from Russia in exchange for the technologies of Medicine, Organized Factories, and the Stock Exchange."
"But no military technology, right?"
"Of course not your majesty," Charles answered.
"Good. I hate to think of it, but some day we may have to go to war with Russia. With their massive armies, we will need every advantage we can get. However, even giving them these economic technologies is not too bad. After all, they're still several years behind us economically speaking."
"Of course your majesty."
"Well, that's that, then. I knew that honoring our alliance and decalring war on Switzerland last year would be to our advantage. By the way, how is the war faring for our allies?"
"The Russians are as stand-offish as we are. They have yet to commit any troops. However, the Germans have almost all comitted troops. It's not going too well for them. Switzerland has been able to keep the invaders at bay so far."
"Hmm . . . well, that's just as well. Who is going to miss a few thousand Germans?"
Charles didn't reply. After all, the king must have simply forgotten that Charles himself had German roots.
"Well, a celebration is in order! Send the order to immediately begin the expansion of our rails into our new territories. Let the newspapers know the news as well. Surely the people will be happy about my diplomatic success. Oh, and send a gift to the Tsar. After all, we don't want his opinion of us to diminish at all. He still has a lot of land that I desire. You're dismissed."

With that, the king turned, still smiling, and headed towards his bedroom. Once again, the possibilities seemed endless. Charles lingered, though, looking out the window. Though the king would claim this victory as his, Charles couldn't help but feel a sense of pride at his diplomat's accomplishments. Sweden had expanded its borders and not an ounce of blood had been spilled. For Charles too, the possibilities seemed endless.

Sweden in 1849
ScreenSave3.jpg
 
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JoshWeber said:
OK, this is my first AAR. I'm playing Sweden with 1.03b and using the VIP scenario. Unfortunately, I didn't start taking screenies or taking notice of everything I did until 1849, so we're just going to start from there.

I've tried posting a few screenies on photobucket, but it won't recognize the .bmp format. Does anyone have any suggestions of an easy way to change them to another format so that I can post them? (Screenies are VERY important to the game. :D )

Photobucket is evil just use imageshck anyway good start I am watching.
 
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Shaytana said:
You can convert them to jpg by using Paint...*you find it in your accesories... comes with Windows. ;)

Thanks. I can't believe I forgot that. :eek:o
 
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This AAR looks like it's going to be interesting.
So I'm going to read it. And you're right, screenies are very important to the game :p
 
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Chapter 2
June, 1849 - November, 1849

The rest of 1849 proved to be a series of emotional highs and lows for Joshua. After agonizing over the war in Switzerland, which was now going in favor of the Germans, his majesty decided that the risk of revolts among his people was simply too great. As such, he ordered Charles to send diplomats to Swizterland on a mission of peace. Unfortunately, it would prove to be too little, too late. The very day that the news of a peace with no tributes granted to either side reached Stockholm, Joshua was forced to dispatch troops to quell a riot in Falum. This was the thing he feared the most -- Swedes killing Swedes.

Despite this low point of violence, things continued to look bright on the diplomatic front. Once again, Charles's diplomats proved their skills by purchasing Kajaani and Kuopio from Russia in exchange for High and Low Pressure Steam Engines, Interchangeable Parts, and Mechanical Production. Though overwhelmed with joy, Joshua couldn't help but wonder if the Russians had a more sinister motive in selling their land. After all, Charles and his diplomats had saved the Russian scientists at least six years worth of work and the Swedish/Russian Alliance expired in November of this year. Is it possible, Joshua wondered, that the Russians are plotting to take this land back by force when the alliance expires?

ScreenSave8.jpg


Later that evening, Joshua summond Charles to his bedroom for a meeting. Though he thought the request strange, Charles did not question the king. After all, Joshua was a good king who seemed to be leading his country down the right path. He had allowed Charles to chance to expand the nation through diplomacy rather than war. As a former general, war was the last thing that he wanted. He had spent too many years walking through the corpses of his fallen comrads after securing another victory for his nation. Now he swore that he would do everything he could to avoid seeing such useless slaughter happen again. Even now, he could still smell the gunpowder mixed with blo -- Lost in his thoughts, Charles walked right into the king's chambers without announcing himself, a major faux pas. However, it was what he saw when he entered the room that gave him pause, not the fear of any punishment.

Hunched in his chair, legs crossed Indian-style, Joshua stared intently at the fire. Charles saw a look in his eyes that he had never seen before. He looked anything but majestic. He looked posessed. In fact, it almost seemed as if --

"Your majesty! You sent for me?" Charles said, attempting to snap the king of of his stupor.

"Yes," Joshua replied without moving, "I did."

The knot in Charle's stomach grew ever tighther. This was not the king he knew. What, he wondered, was wrong?

"Have you heard any news from the Russian front?"

"Your majesty, the Tsar sends his warmest regards. He was very grateful for the statue you sent him after our last deal was reached. I am sure he is looking forward to the gift that you will surely --"

"Do you think we trust them too much?" the king interrupted.

"The Russians? Why would you ask that? They are our allies, sire. They have proven that."

"No," Joshua snapped. "They have not proven that. We have proven that we are their allies, but they have not returned the favor. It is we who declared war on a nation with whom we have no quarrel. It is we that work hard in the laboratories, freely giving them technology in exchange for land. It is we who are in danger."

"Sire? How would they return the bargain? Thankfully, we have not had an enemy on whom we must declare war and the Russians have sold us their land at a rather fair price! They have no troops near our borders and no ships in our oceans. What more must they do to prove that they are our friends?"

Finally Joshua turned from the fire. Slowly his gaze met Charles's.

"I don't trust them. They may not have troops at our borders now, but they are near. They are ready to strike at Stockholm the moment our guard is down, the moment our treaty expires. They are ready. As such, we too must be ready."

"Sire, what do you mean?"

"I mean I want you to immediately increase the military's budget. I want more soldiers on the field. I want them better equipped. I want them ready. When the Russians come, I want Sweden to be ready . . ."

November 30, 1849:
Recalling the chilling episode in the king's quarters a few nights before, Charles wondered what he could do. Their alliance with Russia expired this very day and the Russians did not seem too worried about renewing it. He knew that the king was wrong about the Russians. They had other things to worry about -- modernization for one. Poland for another. With the Poles and the Ukranians declaring their independence from Austria, the Russians had much more important things to worry about than Sweden and Finland. War was not something they wanted. How to convince the king of that, though?

ScreenSave6.jpg


However, he worried that the king's incresing the defense budget sent the wrong signals. When one's allies bring more soldiers to the field and spend more money to train them, it can only mean one thing. After all, if the Russians had exhibited the same behavior, Charles would be suspicious. They hadn't, though. That was the problem. The king was worrying himself sick over nothing. And now with the treaty expiring --

There must be way. How could he satisfy both parties? The king had not granted Charles the authority to seek another alliance. To act without his authority would be treason. Did he dare commit such a heinous crime? Even in his saner days the king would surely have him executed for such a thing. But, then again, even if it cost him his own head, wasn't it worth it if he could save innocent lives? "Yes," he finally decided, "my life is worth it if that's what it takes. I don't care if the king finds out, I must do what is best for Sweden."

So with the threat of death over his head, Charles sent out a diplomat. Late that night, under the cover of darkness, the little ship set sail for Saint Petersburg . . .
 
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Well, I got an update done that was about twice the length of my first two and the window closed. :mad: So, I may do some more tonight, or I may just update it some more in the morning. I hate technology. :mad: :mad: :mad:
 

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You hate technology? Then I hate it even more. My computer's a bit sick right now and I literally can't use the mouse. I use ALT, TAB, Enter, and the arrow keys to navigate. Just try it. You'll go mad within the hour.

Anyways, good luck with your AAR. It's good so far.
 
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Chapter 3
November, 1849 - November, 1851

November, 1849:
After what seemed like an eternity, news finally reached Charles. As he ran into the king's bedroom, after months of brooding, royal pageantry had gone out the window, he hoped that he finally had the news necessary to turn the king's mood around. Once again, the king sat, staring into the fire as if it would spew forth some magical answer. How much wood has he wasted, Charles wondered. How many peasents are freezing right now?

"Your majesty!" Charles ghasped "The Russians! They want to renew the alliance!" Of course, Charles would never tell Joshua that he had acted without royal authority.

Joshua slowly turned from the fire, all of the tension and madness slowly mealting from his face.

"There is one catch, though."

"Yes?" Joshua inqured.

"We must declare war on Switzerland once more."

Josh sat motionless for all of five seconds. "OK. OK, we can do that. The Germans are finally turning the tide. This looks like a war they can win. Besides, we won't commit any troops anyway. It's not like any Swedish blood will be spilled from this conflict. Wonderful! Send word immediately that we accept!"

"Certainly, sire" Charles responded, knowing that it was a journey that would never have to be taken.

"And send word to the Swiss that we consider ourselves to be in a state of war."

"Yes, your majesty."

The king rose from his chair, the blanket that was drapped across him fell to the floor along with all of the months of unnecessary worry.

"Send word to everyone in the palace. We shall have a feast tonight! This is certainly a day for celebration."

"Yes, sire," Charles said, turning towards the door.

"And Charles?"

"Yes, sire?"

"Have the cooks prepare some extra food. Certainly there are some hungry peasents nearby in need of nourishment . . . and give them several chords of wood. It's cold outside"

"Of course, your majesty" replied a shocked Charles. He had never seen the king so generous. It was in that moment that he knew that he had done the right thing. Because of his defiance, no Swedes or Russians would die in a battle caused by the evil demons lurking in the dark recesses of a king's mind. Because of his defiance, several hungry families would have the best meals of their lives tonight. Because of his defiance, no one would freeze to death in Stockholm on this evening.

The situation in Switzerland:
ScreenSave4.jpg


September, 1851:
These last few months have certainly been better, thought Charles. After declaring war on Switzerland, the king was able to obtain a white peace by December 15. Even the Russians didn't complain. After all, the Swedes had honored their alliance by declaring war on the Swiss in the first place.

Perhaps that's why no one complained with the king again increased the defense budget and converted thousands of Finns into soldiers. Of course, the official story was that the king was preparing for any possible revolts, but Charles couldn't shake the feeling that there was some other motivation behind the king's actions. Thankfully, though, he hadn't fallen back into the state of depression and near-coma that he had in late 1849. That was scary for everyone. Not just for Charles because he would have to clean up the king's mess, but for the average Swede as well. After all, the king had absolute power and, if he gave the order, the average Swede was the one that would have to die. It didn't matter if he was sane or not, a king's order is still a king's order. Oh well, Charle's thought, there's no reason to worry about that now. That's all in the past and everything worked out well. Sweden is at peace and its economy has never been better.

As if on cue, a messenger boy arrived with a letter for Charles. After peeling back the wax seal and unrolling the scroll, Charles's jaw dropped. He must see the king immediately!

Moments later, in the palace
Charles through the double doors open as he burst into the dining hall. The king, in the middle of dinner, was furious at Charles for bursting in as he had. His anger only grew more as shardes of glass fell from one of the door's glass panes. In such an emotional state, Charles forgot just how fragile these French doors can be.

"Your majesty! I have news from Prussia! They're asking for a declaration of war against Poland!"

Rather than dismiss his guests as he probably should have, the king decided to use this opportunity to show off his genius.

"And what is the problem," he replied.

"It's war, your majesty!"

"War with Poland, yes. They are a landlocked nation surrounded by Prussia, Russia, Austria, and Ukraine. They present no danger to us militarily. We will have to send no troops. We have been given an opportunity to show our loyalty to our allies and test the strength of our alliances. However, if we do nothing, these dangerous liberal ideas could infect the Norwegians and the Finns. Is that a suitable situation at all?"

It was in this moment that Charles could see the king's guests, even the women, laughing at him under their breath. The king had played this moment perfectly.

"No, sire. I suppose it isn't. But what did you mean test the stren--"

"Send a message to Russia immediately. Ask them for a declaration of war against Poland. We shall see just how loyal these Slavs are to us."

"Of course, your majesty."

"And Charles?"

"Yes, your majesty?"

"You're dismissed."

With cheeks red from embarassment and anger, Charles turned to exit the dining hall. As he left, though, he could hear Robert, an emissary from Great Britain, ask "Is he always so childi--"

November 11, 1851:
The sunrise is always so beautiful in Sweden, Charles thought. He and the king walked through the snow covered mountains, fresh snow crunching beneath their feet, as they discussed what to do next. Though the king would always bring him on vacation, he seemed to be paying extra attention to Charles recently. Perhaps he realized how angry Charles was at the way the king treated him in front of his dinner guests a few months ago.

Regardless, Charles couldn't help but wonder what the king had planned. He knew that Joshua wanted more land from Russia. The establishment of a Scandanavian kingdom had become his obsession. Unfortunately, most of that land would have to be gained at the expense of Russia. Charles's only worry about this was that nations will only give up so much before they come into conflict with each other. How much would Russia give up?

Since September the king had ordered diplomatic missions, one after another, to improve Sweden's relations with China. He told Charles that, in doing so, he was ensuring Swedish expansion in Finland. How, though? Was the king planning blackmail? Was he planning war? Even though Russia was currently engaged in a war with China, they certainly had plenty of divisions to turn and crush Sweden as well. Even with the increased military budget the king had only been able to muster an army of approximately 30,000. And the ships! Oh, the ships. They had suffered the worst, rotting in port. Certainly the admirals were enra--

"I sent a mission to China myself recently." Joshua interrupted Charles's thoughts once again.

What? Charles thought. He sent a mission without telling me? As king this is certainly his right, but it severly hurts the chain of command!

"I received word today that it was successful."

"That is wonderful, your majesty. And what did Sweden gain from this mission?"

"I gained claims on North Sakhalin and Taldyqorghan."

Sakhalin and Taldyquorghan?

ScreenSave9.jpg


"Your majesty? May I ask what you would want with such claims? Russia surrounds Taldyquorghan and we lack the ability to colonise South Sakhalin. Even if we did, there aren't any resources there we need and the locals would be more trouble than they're worth!"

"You answered your own question, Charles. Russia does surrouns Taldyquorghan. In fact, it is the only claim that they need to take the entire region. And as far as Sakhalin, well it's no secret that the Tsar has envied that island for quite some time. I couldn't tell you why, though. Filled with bloody savages in a worthless part of the world."

The king drifted off, lost in thought. Charles didn't dare interrupt him.

"Charles, I'm sending you on a mission to Saint Petersburg."

Highly unusual, Charles thought. Shouldn't I be here in case of emergeny?

"I want you to go personally and offer these claims to the Tsar." Joshua stopped, turning to face Charles.

"I want you to personally study his face as he hears that we own these claims. I know that he believed that he would be able to take them by force in his current war with China. I want you to study his face and report his every expression to me. I want to know how he feels when he learns that I outmaneuvered him. Additionally, I want you to get as much land from him as possible. Though you are NOT authorized to offer him any more technology in exchange for land. We've helped them out enough. The time has come to completely unify Scandanivia and I believe that we may be able to do it."

"Yes, your majesty" replied Charles as he set off to make preparations for his journey.

Charles would come to learn, though, that the king couldn't be more wrong. Not only was the Tsar not angry about Joshua obtaining these claims before him, he was quite relieved. Now he wouldn't have to send his ships to the area. Now he wouldn't have to divert soldiers to a little, insignificant trading post to capture it. For the Tsar, this was simply another affirmation of the friendship that existed between Russia and Sweden. Joshua had helped the king in his quest, the Tsar would help Joshua in his. Charles was delighted to report to the king that he had obtained Helsinki, Kotka, Riga, Tampere, and Turku in exchange for the two claims. Though the joy in these acquisitions was quite plain on the king's face, Charles couldn't help but see a little bit of anger there as well. Was the king really so mad that he hadn't caused the Tsar any pain?

The deal that expands Sweden:
ScreenSave10.jpg


Sweden after the trade. The expansion into the Baltic states has begun:
ScreenSave11.jpg
 
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anonymous4401 said:
You hate technology? Then I hate it even more. My computer's a bit sick right now and I literally can't use the mouse. I use ALT, TAB, Enter, and the arrow keys to navigate. Just try it. You'll go mad within the hour.

Anyways, good luck with your AAR. It's good so far.

Yeah, that would drive me crazy. As you can see, I decided to go ahead and rewrite my update. You have lots of free time when your girlfriend lives three and a half hours away. :(

It's crazy how this AAR is kind of writing itself. I mean, I'm taking good notes and lots of pics, but it's coming out different than I imagined it. For example, I'm kind of making the king (Joshua, after me) into the bad guy. That wasn't my intent. :D Oh well, I'll be interested to see where this goes. ;)
 
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Thanks. To be honest, I was surprised that the trade with Russia for the trading posts worked as well as it did. Oh well, I got some even bigger surprises later with Prussia. :D I'll probably update tomorrow. I had to come to my mom's house for her birthday and father's day, so I don't have my screenies or notes.
 

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JoshWeber said:
Yeah, that would drive me crazy. As you can see, I decided to go ahead and rewrite my update. You have lots of free time when your girlfriend lives three and a half hours away. :(

It's crazy how this AAR is kind of writing itself. I mean, I'm taking good notes and lots of pics, but it's coming out different than I imagined it. For example, I'm kind of making the king (Joshua, after me) into the bad guy. That wasn't my intent. :D Oh well, I'll be interested to see where this goes. ;)

Well AARs do that to you. Though you should be thankful the AAR is writing itself. A lot less work, it is. The last update was great, hope you have more like it.
 
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anonymous4401 said:
Well AARs do that to you. Though you should be thankful the AAR is writing itself. A lot less work, it is. The last update was great, hope you have more like it.

Thanks. Like I said, the characters are kind of based on me and my friends, so it's like I know them more already. I don't trust Russia much IRL, so that kind of found its way in naturally. ;)
 
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Chapter 4
November 18, 1851

November 18, 1851:
Joshua emerged from the church to thousands of cheering Swedes. Despite the falling snow and bitter cold, the people of Stockholm came to praise Joshua on this, his most joyous of days. As he slowly made his way down the steps of the main entrace, his long cape flowing behind him, the crowds surged forward. Only his personal bodyguards shielded Joshua from the delerious crowd. They were under strict orders that no one was to be harmed, though. This was a day of celebration, not a day of tragedy.

And why wouldn't the people be happy? After all, Sweden was once again a world power. Joshua had expanded Sweden into Norway and peacefully regained almost all of Finland from the Russians. Education was the king's primary concern, followed closely by jobs. The press, among the freeest in the world, was even open to criticize the government, should an opportunity arise to do so. Not a decade before this would have been unthinkable. Still, just the knowledge that it could happen was enough for most of Sweden's citizens. The country's coffers were full and taxes weren't anywhere near oppressive, though some did wish them lower. Conscription was not mandatory and soldiers didn't roam the streets as they did in so many other nations. Through Joshua's skillful diplomacy, and the work of Charles's diplomats, all potential enemies had become allies. War seemed the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Finally, with the acquisition of Riga, Sweden had overseas posessions again. Nevermind that it was merely a foothold waiting to be swallowed by the Russian giant should the Tsar so desire. Nevermind that it had a population of merely a few thousand citizens. Nevermind that it produced nothing of any real worth to Sweden's economy. The fact was that Sweden was once again an empire, something most Swedes would never have dared dream of. In the minds of the people, Joshua was the reason for it all. Joshua was the people's hero.

Because Joshua was seemingly the reason for everything good in Sweden, his subjects felt nothing but joy when he declared himself emperor. After all, having an emperor at the head of the government seemed to be a status symbol for the people as well. They were no longer merely subjects of the king of Sweden, a minor kingdom in Northern Europe. No. They were now the citizens of an empire. In their minds, they were now equal to the citizens of Britain and France. They were superior to the mere kingdom of Prussia. They were more than average. They were special. No one even seemed to mind the arrogance of the young emperor when, taking a page from Napoleon, he placed his crown on his own head.

Additionally, the emperor seemed to genuinely love his people. Once more, he distributed food to the masses. Once more he gave them wood. Once more he showed the people that he cared. He even took the time to stand in the snow to acknowledge the people. And as he stepped into his waiting carriage, he looked back to wave to them once more. Now, the old women thought, if he could only find a wife to provide him with an heir we can adore . . .
 
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Chapter 5
January 21, 1852 - August 12, 1853

January 21, 1852:
On June 8 the emperor deployed 30,000 troops to be stationed in Riga. The strange thing about these troops was that they were Russian. After the emperor's bout with near madness, Charles never would have thought that he would trust Russians with the defense of Sweden's first overseas territory. Perhaps the king -- no, Charles corrected himself, he must remember that Joshua was an emperor now. Perhaps the emperor had overcome his earlier fears and actually trusted his allies now. Or perhaps Joshua was testing his new subjects. Perhaps he was looking for some excuse to -- No. No, Charles must not question his emperor. Despite those few dark months, the emperor did seem to be a genuinely good leader. Besides, he was still only 18 at the time. At 18 such a thing as the destruction of one's kingdom could easily overcome you. Emotions were much stronger than logic. Of course, Charles had only been 19 at the time. That hadn't stopped him from thinking with a clear head and acting logically. Then again, that's what advisors were for. They must be logical when the rest of the world seems to have gone mad. They must stand firm when the rest of the world is being tossed about like leaves in a storm.

Oh well, Charles thought, no need to worry about it now. I must go to Joshua's newly redesigned throne room to tell him that Prussia accepted Sweden's offer to renew our alliance. He'll be happy.

July 21, 1853
"DAMMIT!"

"Your majesty, you must make a decision."

"I know, Charles! I know! I just -- DAMMIT!"

"Your majesty, the Tsar's envoy is waiting in the --"

"LET HIM WAIT! I am an EMPEROR!"

"So is the Tsar," Charles mumbled.

Unfortunately, the emperor heard. Charles had never received such an angry look from Joshua. He felt like a puppy being scolded for making a mess on the carpet.

"If only it were the Ottomans by themselves." Joshua looked as if he were about to burst from anger and sob uncontrollably at the same time. "If only they had . . . who all declared war on Russia to help the Ottomans again?"

"Tunis, Serbia, Sardinia-Piedmont, Spain, Belgium, and France your majesty."

"Ugh!" The emperor plopped down in his chair, rubbing his eyes with the balls of his hands. As he ran his fingers up through his hair, he breathed deeply, letting out a long, slow sigh. "Tunis is a joke. Serbia I could avoid. Are you sure it's Serbia? They're really fighting their big brothers?" Charles nodded. "OK. OK. Sardinia and Belgium I could handle as well. Maybe even Spain! But France? There's no way I can handle France! They would be in Stockholm within the week. We simply don't have the manpower. Why must the life of an emperor be so hard?"

Charles didn't respond. He knew it was a rhetorical question.

"Fine. There's nothing I can do. I just -- I can't do it. Tell the Russians that I simply cannot honor my alliance."

"Yes your majesty." Charles didn't show it, but he was deeply relieved. The emperor was right. Most of the kingdoms could easily have been avoided in a war. Since they were mostly in Southern Europe, they would focus on the front at the Black Sea and the Balkans. But with France in the war? That was simply a different story altogether. Hell, if France hadn't joined the war, Sweden might have even been able to snatch a few African provinces from Tunis. They held little economic or strategic value, but it would give the empire more prestige. But now? Now there was just no way. Sure, they were no United Kingdom, but France had a bigger navy and a bigger army than Sweden could ever hope for at this point in time. And Charles knew the emperor would never mobilize the people. He couldn't risk losing that many craftsmen and clerks. And in Charles mind, that was the right decision. War simply wasn't worth the risk.

"And Charles?" Charles turned to face the king as he was exiting the bedroom. "Send Michael to me. I want to try and put some kind of positive spin on this in the press."

"Certainly your majesty." And as he left to tell the Russian envoy the news, Charles heard the king throw his glass agains the wall, cursing.

He must really be mad, he thought, the king just wasted the rest of his beer.

August 12, 1853
By now it was unavoidable. Europe was at war with the mighty Russian Empire. The conflict that would come to be known as the Crimean War was well under way and Europe expected Sweden to follow. There was no one to force them to do so, of course, but if they didn't, Sweden would suffer major loss of face in the international community. It might even seem as if they were helping Russia, which would be a disaster. Imagine that coalition headed for Stockho--

"What do you suggest, Charles?"

"Your majesty, I would avoid war, of course --"

"Of course."

"But it seems as if we have no choice here. The best we can hope for is a quick end to the conflict. Perhaps we can force Russia to accept a white peace after only a few weeks."

"General? What's the military situation?"

General Paul Bennear was a tall, skinny man. The typical Teuton, he had blonde hair, blue eyes, the courage of a lion, and did not shy away from any threat.

"Your majesty, I believe that we can take them. It will have to be quick and it will have to be decisive, but I believe that we can take them. The British have captured most of the Ukraine and the Ottomans are firmly in control of the Caucuses. Russia's forces are concentrated in the South, seeking to somehow cut the Brits off from their supply lines. It doesn't look like that's going to happen, though. There are simply too many soldiers down there. The Russians have simply pissed too many people off. There's no way the rest of Europe will allow them to posess a warm-water port and access through the Helespont. Unfortunately for the Russians, they can't even count on revolts against the occupying powers either. They haven't exactly been the nicest overlords for the Ukrainians."

"And what of our forces? Do we have enough manypower to actually do this?"

"Again, your majesty, it has to be quick. We only have 48,000 troops, 30,000 of which are Russian--" the emperor didn't respond to this near accusation "but, thanks to the increased defense budget, they are highly trained. Additionally, we have much better technology than the Russians. 10,000 Swedes can easily take 40,000 Russians. And with Saint Petersburg right on our border? Well, the Tsar will be lucky if he isn't in a Swedish dungeon by the end of the week."

"And how will you wage this war?"

"I'll send the 18,000 troops stationed in Stockholm north. They'll capture the Kola Peninsula, working their way south. The 30,000 Russians in Riga will move north, capturing Saint Petersburg, and work their way back south. Even though the navy is in an extremely atrophied state, it's still large enough to keep the Russians off of Swedish soil. With Kola, the capitol, and the Baltic Territories captured, and the rest of the alliance capturing more of the South each day, Charles can probably make the Tsar agree to be your royal ass-whiper if you wanted."

For a moment, the emperor allowed himself to entertain the thought of such a scenario, causing him to smirk a little. That is, until the graveness of their situation once again emerged, ridding the emperor of all happiness once again.

"OK. We have no choice. I have all the faith in the world in you and your people general." Bennear didn't respond. "And Charles, once the plan is in motion, it's all up to you. You must secure a peace as quickly as possible."

"Of course, your majesty."

"And ask the Prussians for a declaration of war. We honored our alliance when they declared war on Poland. Now it's time for them to return the favor."

Unfortunately, Prussia would not return the favor. Despite Charles's best efforts, the Prussians would remain neutral. Upon hearing the news, the emperor, in his anger, would lose another beer stein to the brick wall at the back of the fireplace.

That was the least of his concerns, though. The Crimean War had begun and Sweden waded into it hip-deep.

Edit: Changed a few "kings" to "emperor."
 
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Go Sweden! :D I like the writing style of this AAR, and I have a feeling there will be a lot happening in the next update :)
 
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Chapter 6
September 5, 1853

September 5, 1853:
"Where the hell IS he?" Joshua yelled, once more rising from his chair.

General Bennear found the constant pacing, sitting, standing, and pacing again extremely annoying. As a career military man, he believed that it was very important for one to control one's emotions. An emperor should be even more level-headed. His emotions should govern nothing, especially in front of foreign dignitaries. Granted, right now he was only in front of his advisors, save Charles, but still.

"General? Any more news from the front?"

"Nothing in the last twenty minutes, sir. We control everything from the Kola Peninsula down to Russia's border with Prussia. As we speak, the siege is taking place in Archanglesk. Aside from that -- nothing. Even Saint Petersburg is quiet."

"And the Tsar?" the emperor asked.

"As per your orders, he is in his palace. Our troops have not entered the palace nor placed one hand on him. Should anyone attempt to escape, though --"

"I get it." Joshua paused for a moment, looking out the window. It seemed as if a cold winter was on its way. He wanted to finish this conflict before his troops were stranded and his navy was completely worthless. After all, this area of the world was notorious for its ports freezing in the winter. That was, after all, why Sweden was in this situation. Russia wanted a warm water port. "Damn him," Joshua whispered, "the Ottoman Empire is falling apart. Did he really have to start this war right now?" Turning back towards his advisors he asked "And there were no major surprises?"

"Actually," Bennear answered, "the only real surprise was just how well our troops did.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, they did even better than I had hoped. For example, at the siege of Saint Petersburg, our 30,000 troops, all of whom were Russian, faced an army of 50,000 Russian regulars. We won with minimal losses, but the Russians were all but destroyed. As soon as we captured the capitol, we chased them south along the Baltic to finish the job. The Army of Sweden reported similar results in Kola. Of the two armies, they took the worst losses. After starting with 18,000 regulars, they've been whittled down to about 9,500 now."

"Damn," Joshua whispered. "I hope no one holds me responsible."

Bennear continued. "Our technology is several more years ahead of the Russians than we predicted. Of course, I still would like to have more troops. If the situation had been different, if Russia weren't so concerned with the invaders in the South --"

"Well, general, this is all the soldiers I'm prepared to give you right now."

"Of course, sire. I apologize." Bennear paused for a moment to show deference. "Of course, our real saving grace is that the Russians are no where near as industrialized as we are. With our railroads we were able to transport troops from Stockholm to Kola in a matter of days. For the Russians, that could have taken months. Your majesty was very wise to invest as much money in the rails as he did."

This was exactly what the emperor wanted to hear. He didn't want yes-men around him, but he must admit, he did enjoy having his ego stroked.

At that moment Charles entered the Great Hall. For the emperor, everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. He had waited so long for Charles to return with news from Russia. Why was there no expression on his face, damn him?

"WELL?" Joshua shouted, causing an echo.

"Your majesty, as you remember, you appointed me minister plenopotentiary to Russia."

"Yes, I remember."

"That means that you invested me with all of the authority of your throne."

"I am aware, Charles." The emperor was growing increasingly impatient.

"So when I arrived in Saint Petersburg and saw the guards standing outside of the Tsar's palace, I asked for news from the northern and southern fronts, which I found enormously favorable. The guards informed me that the Tsar new of the news as well."

"What is your point, Charles?"

When the emperor uses your name this many times in a row, it can't be good, Bennear thought.

"Well, sire, I didn't ask the Tsar for a white peace. I entered the palace with demands."

"WHAT?" Joshua was roaring now. All of his admirals and generals, all of whom were men of war, tried their best to become invisible. After all, they and the table were all that stood between the emperor and this treacherous diplomat.

"Your majesty," Charles was speaking faster now as Joshua began to circle the table like a lion, "I demanded Viipuri and Marieham."

The young diplomat was surprised to find that this didn't give the emperor pause. Rather, he continued his march towards Charles, never taking his eyes off of his prey.

"Your majesty," Charles was almost pleading now, "he agreed!"

Joshua approached faster. Charles could hear his heartbeat in his ears now. His mouth was as dry as the driest desert, though his brow was sweating profusely.

"That's it, sire. That's everything! All of Sweden's claims in the East have been obtained."

Joshua slowed to a stop, the look on his face changing from rage to puzzlement. Could this really be true?

"Save for Denmark, you have succeeded in unifying Scandanavia."

A smile began to form on the emperor's face as he approached Charles once more. Finally the two met at the head of the table, the emperor embracing Charles, a laugh of pure joy reverberating in the hall. The generals began to smile as well, each rising to congratulate their emperor. Finally, when Joshua released Charles from his bearhug, he placed one of his hands on each of Charles's cheeks, leaning in closely. Still with a smile on his face, Joshua threatened "If you ever disobey me again, I will have you killed."

All Charles could do was force himself to swallow, though there was no saliva to moisten his cracking throat.

The emperor turned, slapping Charles on the back and motioning for him to be seated, and yelled for the servants to bring everyone a beer as they celebrated.

"Each of you shall have vast tracts of land in Finland for what you have done for me and for Sweden" exclaimed the emperor.

It would be a night of joy and celebration. Their headaches in the morning would be evidence of that.

Sweden after the Crimean War:
untitled2.jpg
 
Jun 6, 2001
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P.S.

Sorry for the lack of screenies on these last few updates. I don't know what in the world happened to them. Don't worry, though. I have PLENTY for the rest of the updates. :D
 
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