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unmerged(56211)

Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
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In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
When God Chose To Intervene: A Poland 1187-? AAR

Okay, so first things first. I would like to welcome you to my first AAR ever. I have been a lurker on Paradox forums for some time, I’ve been enjoying their games a lot and just recently – yesterday, in fact – I found out this 1.05 patch for CK. It’s been a surprise to me, as the Polish publisher seems to have lost interest in maintaining the game in Poland, a pleasant surprise I may add. So after a little initial trouble (registry and stuff), I managed to install it and started a new game. I found out that all those nifty things that have been added to 1.05 made the game candy again, so not only have I decided to come back to it after what has been almost a year, but I also started an AAR-ed game.

Yes, that’s that. The game is the 1187 scenario, played as Kingdom of Poland. As already stated, it’ll be run on the 1.05 version, with no mods, and I hope that the momentum of novelties and improvements in this patch will last an entire game, allowing me to finish this monstrous undertaking. As of yet, I don’t know whether I’ll be aiming at a full campaign, but I’m rather positive I’m not aiming for a world conquest. I will try to keep clear of using cheats, unless I deem it absolutely essential to the story – nevertheless, I’m ready to accept what fate (and the scripts) has in store for my game.
As this is my first AAR, I’m not yet sure as to what style to adopt, so initially this may be a bit of an experiment, until I get the feel of things. What I play is to kinda try and role-play things, do as little gamey things as possible and convey it to you in a manner both readable and enjoyable. It is possible that I may sometimes load as other rulers, but only when it will feel really good for the story, or when I have to clear things up. Ah, I'm not versed in modding of the game, nor do I know how to change things, so should I run up a wall of bugs/errors/whatevers I'll be relying on the help of my readers :) .
Also, initially things may seem a chaotic. I’m not sure yet how detailed I want my updates to be, as well as I’m uncertain as to how much time I can devote to the game and how often I’ll be able to update. The updates themselves – well, I don’t know, I’d optimally want to achieve 5 year periods covered in each update. However, I doubt if that is going to be the norm, or possible at all.
The objectives of the game are going to be implicitly stated in the first set of updates, but for clarity and reference, I’ll also give them here:
• Ensure the survival of the Piast dynasty and the Polish kingdom
• Expand the lands, to encompass pagan lands situated near the Kingdom of Poland, maybe beyond
• Survive, stop, optimally destroy the Horde
• Ensure the thriving of Christian faith

These are just sketchy objectives, but ones that I’ll try to stick to. I may expand on them later, but let's not rush ahead of things.

A few final notes:
I’m not a native speaker of English. Yes, I’ve studied the language for long, but I reserve for myself the right to err sometimes. It will be due to either a) my linguistic experiments at stylisation b) me, unawares, smuggling Polish grammar dressed in English words c) plain linguistic incompetence. I hope the accidentally resulting silliness/ cheesiness/ whateverness will not spoil the fun of this AAR (if there’ll be any to begin with ;) ).
I’m not a historian, I’m not a writer. I’m an amateur, and oft my imagination will have to stand in for facts, presenting you with my imaginations about life then and there.
I so do hope that you will at least mildly enjoy this thread.

Ok, so now I’m going to go cook the soup for today’s dinner, allow for the euphoria of starting this thread to sink in, and when I come back, I’ll get down to giving you the first episode. But I don't know how long it will be in the making, so I ask your patience. Thank You :) .

PS. I haven't checked that prior to the beggining of the game, so the difficulty is Norm/Norm. I think ;)
 

Olaus Petrus

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Well, let's see before we judge, shall we. ;)
 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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I wish you good luck with your first AAR, don't worry about the language, for the majority of us, English is not our first language.
 

unmerged(56211)

Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
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And so it begins...

Prologue
Of What the King Did One Night and What Ensued for the Kingdom of Poland and Others

It was the year of Our merciful Lord 1186, shortly after Christmas. Cold have been the winters for the past several years, but this one has proven to be lethally cold. Throughout the kingdom, many have frozen to death and many still were doomed to freeze, while foraging in the wilds, hoping that their prayers will win them enough favour to last through the cold and hunger. The season was murderous, as if the Lord was not so merciful, afterall.
However, cold was not a significant problem for Kazimierz, King of Poland – hunger even less so. No, troubled as his mind was, it was not by such profane matters. For the King’s trouble were nested deep in the confines of his soul.
When he met his wife early in the morning, during the breakfast, she – apprehensive – sought out his hand and looking him in the eye asked in a whisper, voice trembling:
-My lord, are you not well? I am quaking for your health – you know how strange this winter is that doth turn our beloved lands into desolate and barren and unhospitable and … oh, tell me, my Lord, what has passed during the night? For you were in church the whole nighte, were you not? Tell me that no evil was beget there!
-I… I… Dear Elena, I was, that’s true – and I did hold up my prayers to Our Lord, but then again I did not spend the whole of the night on prayers and you must not think me a monk. – how could she know… ah, she spied on me and she is as perceptible as ever, she must have noticed the unease of my behaviour. But I cannot tell her, she could use it against me, perhaps even betray me to her brother, the Duke of Smolensk (but no, that’s unlikely) – I spent the rest of the night sleeping there, for a certain weariness had crept into my aching body. I hope that the Lord will still grant me salvation, despite that. – Oh, I pray that he will, I need it. Damnation, that couldn’t have been anything else, these… dreams. Curses, have the melancholy fluids poisoned his mind, condemning him to lunacy? Were those things some vile visions spawned by his diseased mind? But why? Why should God punish him thus? He was a good Christian, the courtiers honestly acclaimed his wisdom… He did not spend much time with the rabble, so little did he have to fear that their mean demeanour could infect his mind. The more he thought of it, the less probable it seemed to him that he could have gone mad. Nor could he think of any such cases in his family.
Perhaps it was the Devil, then? But what audacity it was to haunt and torment him in the House of the Lord – were not the lackeys of the Fallen One supposed to be powerless there? Fear gripped Kazimierz’s heart. It would certainly be impossible, he knows that for sure – he has letters writ by the Pope to confirm that – yes, it would be impossible for a servant of Satan to enter unharmed into the sanctity of a church. But… no, save me Holy Virgin, it cannot be… Has Satan himself visited him during the previous night? He snapped and crossed himself. He noticed Elena was still watching him, intent. Unfortunate that she saw him cross himself, because for lack of a better excuse for his… absent-mindedness, he decided to claim it was exhaustion.
-The stalls are not as comfortable as some would like us believe, dear. I think I would use a good sleep, to relax my bones. And have me my guards called to march in my room again, because I want it warm.
When he left the dining room and passed his confessor in the corridor, his eye caught the glimpse of a cross with a holy relic of St. Thomas of Antioch, glinting from under the thick clothes Mateusz was wearing. Immediately, the King was reminded of another St. Thomas, one only recently canonized – Thomas à Becket. Having recalled that, King's mind was filled with certainty. If such barbarities could happen in the House of God, then his nightly visions must have surely been sent by Satan, who posed off as one of his entourage and pretended to be watching over the safety of his monarch, thus fooling the real guards which Elena had set up around the church. The King stopped and turned round to call to Mateusz’s back:
-I want you to come to my chambers when you are done with your midday prayers
Mateusz, his trusted personal confessor, nodded and in his silent voice replied that he would.

Long were their deliberations. Dinner time came and went. The world outside grew first dim and then was swallowed up by the gathering darkness. Many a candle burned out. Finally, the burden was taken out of King’s heart and he accepted the Host.
He smiled. His soul had been pure, afterall. Nor was it in the clutches of the Devil.
When Mateusz left, the king took out some paper, his pen and ink. He stooped over the white surface, his pen poised at it. It would certainly be difficult with what little Latin he knew to convey all his impressions and thoughts of the previous evening. Lord, it seemed so long ago and he feared that many details have already seeped out of his memory. Again a smile lit up his face, when he recalled his old tutor’s words: Non tam praeclarum est scire latine, quam turpe nescire. If these were the words he used, for Kazimierz could not remember precisely.
Oh, well, this Latin of mine will have to suffice. He dipped the pen and began to write. The scraping of the pen on the paper surface would continue for some time still, separated by stretches of silence, during which the King would muse on what words to use and how to inflect this one, or the other.
When finished, the document would be sealed in a chest – and a beautiful one at that, embroidered with gold sculpted in leafy patterns, with emeralds and rubies; ‘twas a gift from the Bishop of Kaliskie, whose envoy visited Jerusalem and brought it from there. The document was to be given to the next king upon Kazimierz’s death. Only the next king could know its contents. Then after he died, it would be handed down to the next king and the one after him et caetera, et caetera.
While mostly incomprehensible to him, the Prophecy of Kazimierz would surely begin to unfold one day, with portents coming true slowly with the flow of time.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
OOC: Uff. That… was supposed to be just an introduction and here should follow the beginning of the actual game, but it seems I’ve already filled up my quota for the day. More to come soon, as I have already played out the start of the game. Just a matter of editing the screenshots (and waiting for FileLodge to start working for me again) and writing up the story. However, I think I shall be more brief for future – or at least try to. I didn't sign up for writing a novel, but a game AAR, right? ;)
 

Olaus Petrus

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You don't have to worry. Your English was exellent and your story is interesting. About screenies, you could use Imageshack, if FileLodge doesn't work.
 

Saber

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Hey Nice to see a Polish AAR.

I'd like to see a lot of intrigue in this AAR. The XIIth century has'nt really been pleasant to the Poles. Poland was divided among the sons of Krzywousty. In Fact, Casimir(Kaziemierz Sprawiedliwy), wasn't even King, being merely duke-senior. Sorry for smarting my ass out, just would like to see a good "unification" AAR.

Powodzenia z AAR ;)
 

stnylan

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Your English is perfectly understandable, and a good first post. A word of presentational advice - it helps to leave a clear line between paragraphs to improve the look of things on the computer screen. Other than that, looks good!
 

unmerged(56211)

Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
162
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Chapter I
The War Council and Thereafter


Come the year of the Lord 1187, Kazimierz set about to carrying out his part of what God intended for Poland and Christendom. And there was much to do.

The King called up his Marshall, Miroslaw Sulima. A few other nobles were also invited. It was revealed that the King thought that given the events in the Holy Land, given the fact that there is word of a new crusade to be announced by the Pope any time, it should be obvious that such a Christian kingdom like Poland would go to war also.

The nobles objected. Several lamented. The Marshal noted that the vault was still rather empty, after sending numerous gifts to appease the nobles after Kazimierz reunited the kingdom and abandoned the district division system of the land only two years ago.
The King smiled. At least they are not the bunch of dimwits he had to battle to restore the land to a kingdom. He leaned on his throne, beckoning a boy to bring in the map of the kingdom. The page swiftly produced the now rather worn map, which had been done for his father, Boleslaw III – whom some called “the Wrymouth”. Richly illustrated and ornamented with finest calligraphy, it was five months in the making by learned monks from the Gniezno abbey. Its worth was estimated as equal to the yearly income from a good village.

-Here is our Kingdom. It pleases us to bring to your attention the fact that these – here he pointed to one region of the map – and these – here to another – lands are no longer considered districts. They are, I remind you, our demesne. Now, Sirs, tell me what should be done about the lands around us.
Here spoke Piotr of Vratislavia:
-My Liege… Whatever it is decided here today, I pray your Lordship to heed the Emperor. We should be mindful of his reactions to what we undertake. He is dearer to the Pope and his fame as a Christian extends far – as do his powers. I say let one or two more springs pass before we stir, lest he is dissatisfied with our actions

Next was Pawel of Krakowskie, who rose up violently – as was customary for this reckless courtier:
-My Liege! We are not a weak Kingdom, we should not try to act like we were vassals to the Holy Roman Empire! – then, checking himself, he spoke in a more civil voice – My beloved Liege, I say we foster the friendship we had with the family of Ārpáds. Since your coronation, there have been hardly any visitors from King Bela and you omitted to send your envoys there as well, my Lord. Let us ally ourselves with him.
The gathered party murmured in approval. The King nodded in assent, silencing the gathering with a gesture of his hand:
-Indeed, it was my design to do so. I see that we should not lose time about the matter, and therefore, dear Pawel, you shall speak my mind to the King of Hungary, just as you spoke it here, to us. Stay with us for now, but ‘ere the cock crows, leave with my blessing and with all haste.

The King waited a while, his gaze wandering over the faces of his trusted advisors. He leaned above the map and his finger circled around the lands to the east – the Principality of Galich.
-Look here now to these lands. They are good lands and since some time it has been our intent to perhaps enter into better relationships with their ruler. Alas, he belongs to the schismatic Church and he looks with attention to Constantinople, rather than Rome. I designed to perhaps marry my dear Duke’s of Silesia sister, Agnieszka, to one of their nobles and to use the occasion to ask them if they would not rejoice at the prospect of entering under our caring rule. Dost any of you deem them ready for such an action?

Silent were his advisors. It was a difficult question and it was difficult to tell about the Rurikovichs.
The King’s gaze now went into the northern regions of the map and o’ershadowed became his visage.
-’Tis a disgrace that these lands here, Pomerania, are ruled by a Pole, yet are vassal to a Dane. I know it has been long since these lands were part of our Kingdom, but I ask you now – do we want them back? Should we force a claim on these lands? Mind you, I have heard that Boleslaw Gryfita is a commander of great prowess and I’m sure that were we to fight, he would lead his armies with excellence in the field. He lack knowledge of documents, however, and my men tell me he is weak like a rotten apple – ‘tis but to press him and he could yield. He is, however, very loyal to his sovereign and I’m sure that the Dane would field his armies against us, were we to try to break those lands away form him.

Here, again, the gathered party assented and Piotr of Vratislavia spoke, carefully weighting his words:
-I pray you again, my Lordship, stir ye not. Why seek quarrel with a Christian? Let him be prodigal son, for I say: there can be no great understanding between him and his Liege. Sooner or later, he will realise where his allegiances should lie and then he will seek out your hand to kiss it. Leave those Pomeranians to their designs for the while, my Liege. – Piotr ended, his hands together in a gesture of supplication and a pained grimace on his face. Clearly, the man feared for his lands, should the King of France aid his ally with forces in a conflict between Poland and the Danish sovereign – and the Emperor would allow the French troops through his lands, with no doubt. Let it be, then. Christians shall live in peace with Christians. But pagans – ah, yes, the pagans. The King’s finger stopped just east of the county of Danzig, just across the border of Subislawowic’s lands.

The Prussians, Pruthenians and, further east from Danzig and to the north of King’s own demesne, Yatviags were all pagan lands, inhabited by a folk base and barbaric. The immediate thought was to think of St. Adalbert’s fate – Lord knows how he suffered in his martyrdom, and how he basks in the Glory of Heaven now.
The King revealed his design, stating that too long they have been a thorn in his side. He was tired of the countless letters from Count Subislawowic, depicting the continuous offences commited by the Prussians. The Count could not field enough men to raid the Prussian lands and remove the threat. It was decided to wait a while and invade en masse, claiming the lands for the Kingdom of Poland and setting down to Christianise the heathens. The armies the King could field and the ones that the pagan tribes could gather were without comparison, at least if the words of Miroslaw’s men were to be believed.
Poland002-Enemies-collage.JPG


The advisors agreed and the exact details were being talked about for several hours. The campaign would start in summer. Should it extend over a greater period of time, the Prussian and Pruthenian lands would be invaded first, then when armies would be free to strike down the Yatviags, the King would call up the regiments from Płock, so the coup de grace would come from all directions.
The Marshal was tasked with all the necessary preparations and ordered to report on his progress.

Poland001-Intro.JPG

The summary of the briefing in King’s chambers, January 1187.

In the evening, to everyone’s surprise, a guest to the court was announced. The King, having just came back from a late ride with his wife, asked the guest to his dining hall, where a feast was already steaming on the tables.
It turned out to be an emissary from the King of Hungary, whose cloak was burdened with snow and whose entourage were all swaying on their horses with exhaustion.
As the feast progressed, with many delicious courses still being brought in, the emissary disclosed the purpose of his arrival. Bela Ārpád asks to renew the alliance between him and Kazimierz Piast. There was much rejoicing as the King gladly accepted the proposal and embraced the envoy as a brother. The musicians played their most joyous tunes and presents were exchanged. Pawel of Krakowskie was relieved – he would most gladly carry out the will of his King, but the weather was bad and the roads were nigh impassable and the bandits in the mountains were all known for their brutality. The King patted Pawel on his back, perfectly understanding. More mead and wine was brought in and the rejoicing continued into the night.

The envoy stayed a guest to the court for over a month, with the subsequent feasts not as exquisite as the welcoming one, but still the time was enjoyable. Finally, when it was time for him to part with the merry company of the Polish court, he took with him letters from Kazimierz to Bela.
There would be no marriage between Agnieszka Piast and the Prince of Galich – instead, the King wanted to marry Agnieszka with Hungarian King’s brother, Geza.
Well, yes, the stories about him being deformed and dumb were indeed true. His ability to waste money was almost legendary.
But he was still a brother to the Hungarian King, the only living brother left. Kazimierz pitied the poor Agnieszka, who clearly deserved a better husband – he even had a mass held for her – but it was deemed worthy to strengthen the tie between the two Kingdoms. And the ties of blood were truly strong.

Poland003-HunMarriage.JPG

Lord have mercy on you, Agnieszka, but it must be!
 

Veldmaarschalk

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Indeed poor Agnieszka.

The only good thing about Geza is his impressive beard :)
 

stnylan

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An interesting conference.
 

unmerged(56211)

Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
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Chapter I (continued)
How the King Went to War and a Terrible Thing Happens to a Courtier

Winter waned away and Agnieszka went with it, away to the Hungarian court. Then came the spring showers and the land began to heal its winter wounds. So did the people, so did the people…
Kazimierz began to grow impatient and despite the fact that the vault did not hold enough gold for the whole campaign, Miroslaw Sulima was ordered to be ready any day to ride out with his regiments. Kazimierz would follow. Miroslaw, however, begged – and received – another month or so, arguing that it would be wiser to start the war when the weather was better. Especially given the fact that he had a certain stratagem up his sleeve, which would serve to swiftly dispose of the vile Yatviags. Upon the King’s request, he promptly revealed his intentions and the King, appeased, condescended to the plan.

And so the spring turned into an early summer and the armies set out. The regiments were strong in numbers and there was no question as to the outcome. God was with them and their cause was just. Kazimierz’s only worry was the vault, which held a mere 170 gold – with the army upkeep consuming nearly 80 gold pieces monthly.
By the end of June 1187, the armies were at the border. The King was not sure exactly as to whether Miroslaw had managed to reach the easternmost extremity of the County of Danzig, for the last letters were two weeks old, but the war was ripe for starting.

Meanwhile, the Marshal and his troops entered the County of Danzig and were travelling through a particularly dense forest, when a massive, bearded stranger came out of the woods and stopped in Miroslaw’s path. He was wearing heavy furs, despite the heat. He seemed unarmed, save for a staff. Raising his hand, refusing to budge, he forced Miroslaw’s horse to come to a halt.
Sulima at first thought him a lumberjack, or a tar maker. But then he noticed that the man was old. Perhaps a vagabond, or an exiled beggar. But he didn’t seem decrepit. Who then?
-Sir. I warn you not to go any further.- his voice was strong and deep, as if the forest itself spoke.

A madman? – thought the Marshal and spurred his horse. The bay resented.
-Sir. Do not go any further. Turn back and seek out your King.
-What is this, man? Dost thou dare to defy me? Do you know who I am, fool?
-I know who you are. You are the King’s fool, for if this is a battle of wits, thou art clearly unarmed, to judge me ere you had opportunity to know me.
A spy from the Prussians? – the horse was spurred again, yet refused to move ahead. The troops have stopped several yards behind Miroslaw, observing the spectacle with traces of fear touching their hearts and running down their spines.
-What is this fool?! Wilst thou loose ye head?! Get out of my way, now!
-You make the same mistake again. The dumber you are – for now you had time to at least notice that I am not a common man. I say, turn ye back now and enjoy happiness for years. Go you not further, for illness awaits you if you do.
Lord, is he some pagan sorcerer?! No!
-I will have none of this nonsense! Be gone! Be gone now!!! – Miroslaw shouted at the top of his lungs, cheeks burning, and lashed out forward, when the spurred horse finally reacted and broke into gallop. The man dextrously stepped aside from the horse’s path and retreated between the trees, observing the rest of the troops watch him and take up their march.
-Very well, man. If thy pride covers your eyes that you do recognise a friend when you see one, and covers your ears that you hear not his advice, then be thy will. It is happened.
The Man From the Woods receded into shadows and vanished from human sight.

Word got through to the Prussians and when the King struck at Chelminskie, they were prepared. Their light cavalry wanted to harass the Polish supply trains, but vain were their efforts. The battle was fought on the 22nd of July and the King – with God’s help – emerged victorious. Brief was the ensuing siege and the lands were heralded as belonging to the Kingdom of Poland.
Kazimierz directed his army north, still uncertain as to the fate of his Marshal, but trusting that no harm came to him.
Poland004-War-Prussians.JPG

July 3rd, 1187 with the later report of the Battle of Marienburg, in which the ill Marshal Sulima crushed his pagan foes just in time for the King to arrive and congratulate him on the victory

Alas, it was to the contrary. The battle had been won splendidly, as the King learnt when his forces met up with the Marshal’s victorious army, but an inexplicable illness was sapping Sulima’s body and mind. He would not reveal how the illness came about. The King was only able to learn that some strange man had cursed Miroslaw. The stories were, however, lacking credibility, with soldier’s tales varying from a Green-Bearded, Flame-Wielding Giant through An Old Pagan Sage, Whose Tongue Was A Snake to A Strange Man From the Woods.

The King sought out his friend and together with his entourage, congratulated the Marshal on the wonderful victory.
-God is with us, my friend. I have complete trust in you. Unfortunately, we cannot feast tonight. I have to go north – the Pruthenians are growing restless and I want to quiet them with my great army, while I still have an army. Should the Jews come with my bills here, send them north to me; I doubt that they would, but the bigger the emptiness in my vault, the more it pains them to wait for my return. I leave these lands to you and I am hopeful that the next time we meet, I will be able to congratulate you on your County. Rid these lands of the barbaric scum and claim them for yourself, you deserve them, my dear Miroslaw.
Sulima’s grip was not as strong as the King’s – not anymore. It pained the King to see his friend rendered thus, but it was God’s will apparently. Tears appeared in the eyes of both the men. Miroslaw closed his lips to the King’s ear in the brotherly embrace and whispered in the faintest of voices:
-Pray for me, my Liege, pray for me.
-I will, fear not. – was Kazimierz’s quiet reply.
Then they parted and the King’s armies drew north to Sambia.

It was a late afternoon on a lazy September day. A few horsemen came out of the woods on the hill and stopped amazed at the sight. Before and below them, basked in the orange glow of the sun, was encamped the army of Kazimierz, King of Poland. Tenths of colourful tents were set up everywhere in the valley. Some early fires were already going, the smoke rising almost undisturbed by the wind. Delicious smells were to be felt, and a delicious smell was an invitation to which Maciej Traba could not refuse. They finished their rosary on the way down to the camp and to the King’s tent.
It transpired that Maciej Traba was a bishop sent by the Pope, with the request that Kazimierz take up this sheep to his herd and care for him. That is, if this was what Kazimierz wanted.
Of course that this was what he wanted – such a sign on the eve of battle could do nothing else than strengthen his belief in victory.
-Battle? Battle?? – asked Bishop Maciej. He was clearly perplexed by this discovery.
-Yes, what else?
-I was not aware of these events. I thought that the Pagans had been subdued already and that I was to seek you out and join you on your way back to Wawel. It is… unfortunate. – the Bishop looked to his companions and suddenly they all began to murmur prayers. The King, his spirits high as always during this campaign against the pagan lands, clapped his hands.
-Excellent! We will have two masses – one now and one tomorrow morning! Dear Maciej, would you do us the honour and celebrate this evening’s mass?
-I… I would love to, my Liege.
-And tomorrow we do battle, my friend! – the King came out of the tent and looked in marvel at the glory of his army, admiring the glinting of orange on their arms – Have you ever been in battle before? – he asked turning to the Bishop.
-No, I have not, my Lord. I fight my battles with the Scripture, not with the sword.
-Nevertheless, you shall ride out with me tomorrow.
And so they did, and so they did…
Poland005-Battle-Sambia.JPG


-Your Honour, what are these troops on the left… flank – it’s a flank, isn’t it? – what are they doing?
The King surveyed the battlefield and leaned closer to the Bishop’s horse. He pointed to the light cavalry on the left flank and then at the small hill behind the enemy’s lines.
-You see, dear Maciej, they are racing to cut off their retreat and when they get to that hill, they will strike in the back. I’m sure that the pagan has already seen it, but it is too late for him to effectively counteract – our knights there on the right flank are engaging his light cavalry. While they are trying to break off the skirmish, he can’t… oh, wait, someone’s breaking through. Oh, well. – the King turned right to his messengers and beckoned to the archers below.
-So, as I was saying, when the knights finish their run, their forces will be effectively trapped and this will be when you and I will spearhead the attack and aid the onslaught of Leszek’s footmen there.
-But, won’t it be dangerous? – the Bishop asked, looking briefly at the King.
-Of course it will, but fear not. God’s protective arm will shield us from any harm.

Looking through the letters a few days after the battle, Kazimierz’s resolve began to weaken. The debts were getting scandalous now and there was not much in terms of spoils of war to pay to the men. Something had to be decided about his younger son, Konrad. There was no money for keeping him in the court, for the moment. The boy would have to go to… perhaps his nephew, Bishop of Kaliskie. Not religious education, of course, but the place was close to Krakow. That would do.
A crusade! Oh, Heavens, so he decided to call for a crusade. To… Alexandria? Is that somewhere near Jerusalem?
Anyway, it is time to end this war for the year. The King wrote the letters to his Marshal. It was time to strike on the Yatvyags.

The secret was in Miroslaw Sulima’s stratagem. However, when they planned it, they haven’t expected for the whole summer to pass. Now, the weather was beginning to be against them – and weather was an important part of the plan.
They had set up small camps of men around the Yatvyags’ lands. They were separated by several miles and ordered to watch for any signs of smoke from the direction of the previous camp. Then they should relay the signal by starting their own fire.
Obviously, this could go wrong in way to many places, so they also had horsemen at those camps – they were to carry the message, should the weather prove unfavourable. This way it was hoped that the troops in Płock will learn of the signal to attack quick enough and that the battles will erupt at more or less the same time, making it impossible for the Yatvyags to muster enough force in a particular region – instead, forcing them to fight three battles against impossible odds at the same time.
But then again, the Marshal was not as quick thinking since his illness. Things could go wrong. I hope they won’t.

Poland007-War-Yatvyagi-14Nov87.JPG

Eventually, it took more time than expected, but the attack was carried out almost simultaneously – as it was later discovered. The victories came on the 24th, 25th and 28th of December – on the anniversary of the King’s visions.

There were certain prices for the victories, however. The already weakend Miroslaw Sulima was heavily wounded with a spear thrust up his side, and became bedridden and bitter about his fate. Some said he blamed the King and that he became less loyal toward his Liege. Allegedly, the illness was sent by a sorcerer who was in turn sent by the King, who didn’t want Sulima to own his lands. How else could one explain the strange meeting in the forest? It was strange that the King knew people versed in the way of witchcraft, but then again, there were some insidious rumours about the King. About his commerce with things unearthly. All in all, Sulima came out of the war a very changed man. His once legendary prowess with the sword and his knowledge of the military were traded for expertise of numbers and impressive stewardship. Not that he could wield a sword while bound to his bed.

What is more, during the King’s long absence – reportedly – a thieves guild was formed in Sacz. Not only were they cutting into the tax incomes – which were needed badly – but they also began terrorising the people.
Additionally, there were rebellious Prussian nobles to be quenched and converted to Christianity. However, regardless of how many were cut down and how many homesteads were burned down, they Prussians in Scalovia refused to accept the Christian faith.
Well, the war had been won and that was what mattered.
Not everything was wrong, however. Pawel of Krakowskie was very enthusiastic about the Yatvyagi lands he was given – as well as about the title of Count. His loyalty to his King seemed to be limitless.
The Kingdom was coming back to normal with the passing of months.

Eventually, the King decided that waiting to pay off the debts – even with the nearly 45 gold pieces monthly income – was tiring. The King decided to call the Estates General and to demand a hefty contribution. He enthralled the gathered parties with a long, four-hour speech. Heavy-hearted, everyone nevertheless accepted and it was thought just. The resulting income of 1198 gold pieces was more than enough to pay off the debts. The rest was also put to good use, with the King demanding good roads to be built throughout the Kingdom. Additionally, in an attempt to win back poor Sulima’s trust, Kazimierz granted him the title of Duke of Prussia.

In July 1188 word reached the King that the Principalities of Pskov and Polotsk declared war on the Lithuanians. This was not good news for the King. He feared that those Russian Princes could defeat the Lithuanians and claim for themselves the land – land, which Kazimierz thought was intended for him.
There was still some money from the Estates’ contribution in the vault, possibly enough to fund an entire campaign.
But would not this stretch his credibility? Did he not promise a period of peace now?
The King mused on what actions to take, looking out on the garden from his chamber. Time would show.
 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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Great update, only those 'green' parts of the text are very hard to read, I had to select the text to be able to read it.
 

unmerged(56211)

Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
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Saber: I'm glad you liked it, I hope you still will. Well, I don't have my history books with me here and, of course, I forgot to check who this Kazimierz really was prior to writing the prologue, so... Let's just assume that since the '70s he managed to get crowned, after spending fortunes on paying off nobles' loyalty. I may be doing a bit of 'reunion' stuff, but the initial focus was (and still is - Estonia, etc.) on defeating the pagan tribes near the Polish kingdom.

Veldmaarschalk: :D I appreciate your kind words. In a token gesture, I even fixed those green texts. Somehow, when I was writing that last night, the olive colour looked good and readable. Today morning, it was no longer so. Pale green from now, it is!
ps. Poor Agnieszka, it seems that Geza's beard doesn't go along with his fertility. Bummer.

This set of updates was rather introductory, designed to set the scene - so to say - and it's possible that we'll go into a less detailed mode for now. I expect to have periods less detailed for when the plot doesn't really thrive and more detailed for when the action gets thick. I hope you're with me on this ;)
Any ideas what the King is going to do now? :D
 

Veldmaarschalk

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I think he will keep his promise and give his country a few more years of peace ;)

I can understand if you go into some less detail, it is an a lot of work writing these kinds of AAR's, with intrigue, conversations, explanations and so on.

And it is much better readable not, thanks :)
 

Olaus Petrus

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Good update. I see seeds of future conflict with Russian principalities.
 

stnylan

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Very successful expansion. Well done.
 

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Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
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Chapter II
Tumultuous Times Ahead

With summer slowly swinging into its prime, early in July 1188, news reached the King that the pagans in Sambia are protesting against Christian rule. There could be only one answer to such behaviour. Some of King’s trusted men were tasked with finding the ringleaders and bringing them to justice. They were not to relent until the sight of pagans hanging in every village would convince the rest to embrace the Christian faith.

The importance of the task was the greater since the lands west of Dvina fell to the Prince of Pskov in September. It seemed that the combined pressure of armies from Pskov and Polotsk was destined to bring the Lithuanians into the rule of Rurikovichs. But then again, there were hardly any news concerning the advances of armies from Polotsk.
Nevertheless, Mstislav Rurikovich was more than successful in fighting the Lithuanians, men from Polotsk helping or not. This was unsettling for Kazimierz. Worse, it was driving him mad.
Poland010-princeofpskov.JPG

Kazimierz was slowly growing to hate the name of Rurikovichs – he even came to resent his own wife. Her repeated visits to his chambers, with the sole intent of nagging him on his lack of action were encouraging thoughts he did not even suspect to be hatched in his mind.
Did she not ask him to send agents to incite revolts and wreak havoc in Pomeranian lands – as well as in the Principality of Polotsk? Since June she kept harassing him about that. Well, the coffers were rather empty, given that the money from the Estates’ General contribution went into building roads and instituting a system of royal post (which was to replace the service of Thurn and Tassis’ post). Funding such actions was not to be included in the spending. Besides, it did not seem like a thing a good Christian would do.
So when in October she insisted on poisoning the water supplies in Pskov, the King was nearly ready for his decision. He put aside the letters and said that he desired not to hear from her again, save for real issues. He would take action soon, but the details were not yet for her to know.
Poland009-news.JPG

Some of the things that were in King’s letters

So the Principality of Polotsk was out of the picture since the end of July – the Lithuanian gold was enough to satisfy their craving. The war between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy was a strange thing, however. They have been allies to this date and now they were at war. It was a very saddening revelation to learn that two of the world’s finest Christians could fall out with each other to the extent of driving their Kingdoms to war against themselves. If such things were happening, would Christianity stand a chance should the Prophecy start coming true? The prospects were truly enough to drive a man into despair.

November of the year of the Lord 1188 saw a turn in the tide of events. Antanas of the Lithuanians managed to gather enough of his brutish men to drive out the Price of Pskov out of West Dvina. It was possible that he would take the fight to the enemy.
Now or never, said the King and the armies marched north. Queen Elena silently watched her husband go, gazing out of the eastern tower of Wawel castle. There was nothing to say. Was she happy that finally her husband took the fate in his hands? There really was nothing to say.

The King decided not to call for the aid of his vassals. While marching through the lands of Count of Yatvyagi, he visited his friend and Pawel wished his sovereign luck.
Kazimierz would strike on Zhmud, attacking the army of Dravenis, chief of those lands. One of his trusted knights would lead the attack on the tribes in Memel. The King’s Chancellor, none other than the zealous Maciej Traba, would invade the southern lands of Dravenis. Reportedly, there was no army there, so Maciej should be safe in establishing Polish reign there. Even if there was to be a battle, the Polish army was strong and Maciej knew something of battles, didn’t he?
Poland011-War-Lithua.JPG


Shortly after the King disposed of Dravenis’ armies, Krzeslaw, an itinerant bishop arrived from the Pope, arrived to the royal camp, asking to join the King – which the King gladly accepted, thankful for the good sign. The Bishop brought also news of peace between Italy and Germany. Thankfully, God’s wisdom enlightened the monarchs and it was good.
Memel, Zhmud and Sudovia already conquered by the middle of February 1189, the King turned east to strike at the armies Antanas gathered in Aukshayts. He would meet up with the newly appointed Count of Sudovia, Maciej Traba and their armies, over 6000 men in strength would find nothing else than victory.
medbattle1.jpg
The battle ended with a splendid victory, the Polish King losing 144 men – three of them valorous knights – and Antanas losing 1361 men and retreating through Dvina back into the dark depths of Lithuanian forests

Meanwhile, with the royal coffers empty as during all the wars, Elena sent off her older son, heir to the King, to Count Pawel of Yatvyagi, hoping that this would be what the King wished for. She was to remain in loneliness. Not for long, though.

Back in Lithuania, early in March of 1189, Kazimierz was preparing his forces for crossing the Dvina, through a narrow bottleneck of territory between the Zemigallian lands and the lands of Mstislav Rurikovich – he did not want to provoke hostilities with either.
Poland012-Revolts.JPG

Unfortunately, there was news of tension in the newly acquired provinces. The lagging army coming from Memel was ordered not to turn back and instead suppressed the revolt in Zhmud, successfully bringing Christianity to the land and leaving for east, to join the King on his crossing of Dvina into the last lands controlled by Antanas, to erase the Lithuanians off the map.
Luckily, the bottleneck crossing was not guarded well, as the Lithuanian armies just managed to stave off the army from Polotsk. The King struck with all his might on the weakened foe and won, ending the war.

While still stationing in West Dvina, having disbanded some of the regiments and released Maciej Traba from his duties, terrible news reached the King.
Poland013-WifeDies.JPG

Note: black lines indicate the route taken by King’s forces, grey ones indicate the route of his other forces

The King left the Lithuanian forests and returned to Krakow. His already sad condition became worse when he learnt from his courtiers that there have been reports of Pomeranian forces mobilised under the banners of the Danish King, stationed near the border, perhaps poised to strike into the Polish kingdom.
As if all this was not enough, there were more tensions in the realm, even in the very heart of the Kingdom.

The King’s mourning would continue for nearly forty days, after which time – on the 20 June 1189 – he married a courtier from the Principality of Galich. The King celebrated the occasion by levying a duty for his marriage, as well as granting Count of Yatvyagi more titles – in an attempt to repay him for the wonderful presents and his taking care of the royal heir, Lescek.

Poland014-NewWife.JPG


Poland015-GrantingTitles.JPG

And so the once lowly noble, owner of two villages near Krakow, became the Duke of Podlasie

The Fall of 1189 brought news of Verkhoslava’s pregnancy with the King. The King’s heart softened somewhat after this was revealed. Deep inside, he was recounting the losses of the past few years. It has been over one and a half years since his old friend Sulima died, leaving the Duchy to his distant cousin. The former Marshal never reconciled with the King and to his dying days held his Liege responsible. Geza Ārpád died during the winter, his marriage to Agnieszka Piast fruitless – she passed away early in September. The Hungarian King was moving away from his Polish friend. Piotr of Vratislavia died to small pox in West Dvina, while bringing justice to the restless folk there. And then there was his wife… In fact, Kazimierz missed her. The things, the terrible things… they were never meant in earnest. The losses… they just amounted to too much. Lord, grant peace to their souls, but they all went before their time.
Poland016-Heir.JPG

Soon after, a delegation from the people of Zhmud reached the royal court, asking for forgiveness and hoping to put an end to the occupation there. The King caved in to their demands, recognising them as Christians and forgiving them their faults.
Lord knows, he thought, they have suffered enough. We all have. The Lithuanians as well – with the small pox, with the hangings… Why would they not accept the Good Word and enjoy my rule over them as good Christians?

In February 1190, a Venetian, recognised as a long-time inhabitant of Krakow, came with an envoy from the Consul of Venice. Apparently, the Consul expressed his desire to marry a girl from the court.
-Which one it is, good sirs? – asked the King from his throne, motioning for them to come slightly closer – Verkhoslava, please, ask your ladies to gather here for us! – he told his Queen.
And so the court ladies gathered, in their best dresses, bowing in a genteel manner to the Venetian guests. Venetians were rich and their ruler would surely supply the finest dresses and perfumes brought in from distant lands. It would be most lucky to be chosen as the one.

The Venetians took their time, looking carefully at the girls. It was hard to tell. Surely, Pietro has seen the girl many a time, gathering herbs in royal gardens, when he visited the royal cook about the spices, but now it was difficult to tell which one it was… Or maybe there was a way to tell which one it was. He gestured for a permission to speak, which the King granted – slightly irritated at the long time they were taking to choose.
-It would be perhaps possible to come closer to each lady and look into her visage, your Highness?
-If the ladies have no protests, then I allow it. – here the King looked at the ladies. No, they had nothing against it. But, Lord, what if the Venetians saw the imperfections of their faces up close? Heavens forbid – to be so close to marrying the Consul of Venice and be denied it because of some… detail!

The Venetians, having agreed something between themselves in their tongue, rose up and approached to scrutinise the ladies. The carefully approached each woman, looking at their faces as if they were a precious good waiting to be bought. Finally Pietro stopped by the young Swietoslawa, turned first to his companion and then to the King.
-This is the girl! – he exclaimed, moved by great emotions – This is the girl. – he repeated, grabbing her forearm, as if fearing she might run away and carefully looking at her left cheek.

-Who is that, I can barely recognise the girl – the King asked his wife quietly. She replied it was the young Swietoslawa Nalecz, the girl with the mole on her left cheek, the one who kept gathering herbs – both in the royal garden and oft outside the city walls, in wilderness. Ah, yes, the King remembered now. He had always thought her to be a witch, but since she didn’t seem to do any harm in the court, he did not do anything to rid her from the castle. Verkhoslava explained that one of the Venetians must have spied her in the royal garden, for the man was often a guest to royal kitchen, supplying spices for royal feasts. The King quietly argued that she might have charmed the man during one of those visits, given that he was so moved now.
The Venetians were now awaiting the monarch’s decision.
-I shall happily consent. The girl has my blessing! You may ride out as soon as you will it! Congratulate the Consul on my behalf.
And there was much rejoicing.
Poland017-CourtMarriage.JPG
 

unmerged(56211)

Second Lieutenant
Apr 23, 2006
162
0
D'oufffff. "Stealer of my land!" AArrgh. Was I even remotly conscious when I edited that screen and compiled the update? :eek:o :wacko:

Anyway, Chapter 2 is going to be continued, and some truly tumultuous events are in store. Be ready.
After that, we'll have the quiet after the storm, but shh shh, it will all come in its time ;)

ps. Notice the mole, notice the mole on that last pic. I just noticed that one of the pics I had looked like that court lady, so I added the mole and voila.
 

Veldmaarschalk

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I can't see all the pictures
 

stnylan

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I'm also having some trouble, but currently I am on a work computer and does sometime have trouble.

A very full update, lots of details.