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The Valkyrier

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Next update: Prelude, part 6 - Early next week.

This AAR will be played with HttT 4.1b, no mods per see, but there are tons of small changes I've made to the game over the last 3 years. All settings are standard exept for AI on aggressive and difficulty on hard. I will start the game as Achaea, and will as soon as I can try to (re)form my custom nation, the Latin Empire. The point of this won't be as much an after action report as it will be to tell a story I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I will enjoy playing and writing, so if things get out of hand (a lá france inherited castille pop-up) I might edit the save game to create a grand succession war or just reload. The illustrations in the prologue are by French artist Gustave Doré (chapters 1-5). The illustrations used in the banner as well as in the prologue (chapter 5) are made by Adolphe de Neuville.

Goals:
Form the Latin Empire
Destroy the Byzantine successor states.
Drive the saracens out of Europe
Conquer Jerusalem
Stop the reformation
Spread the faith to all four corners of the earth
Dismantle the Holy Roman Empire (there is only one roman empire)
Maintain the equilibrium in Europe (too powerful kings have a tendency to challenge the pope)

Rules:
Strictly roleplay
No breaking the bad boy limit, cheating or using gamey tactics
Remain catholic
Never fight the pope

The actual AAR hasn't started yet, I'm still writing the prologue. I think there will be 6 or 7 chapters to the prologue, so if you're impatient it might be a good idea to come back in a few weeks or so :D

Chapters:
Prelude, chapter 1 - The Fourth Crusade
Prelude, chapter 2 - Disaster at Adrianople
Prelude, chapter 3 - The reign of Henri
Prelude, chapter 4 - The ships of Saint Lazarus
Prelude, chapter 5 - Knight-errant, Savior, Emperor

Latin Emperors (de facto only):
1204-1205 Baudouin I de Flandre
1205-1216 Henri I de Flandre
1216-1219 Yolande I de Flandre
1219-1228 Robert I de Courtenay
1228- Jean I De Brinne
 
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CatKnight

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Given your house rules (RPing and not breaking the BB limit among others), I think you'll have a challenge on your hands.

Good luck! I've never played Achaea - I doubt I'd last very long.
 

The Valkyrier

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Prelude, part 1

This prelude was written with no regard to historicity.

The fourth Crusade

Since the Third Crusade, that had ended in the late 12th century, all of the holy land had been taken back by the Muslims, except for a few cities. The dying kingdom of Jerusalem was now centered in Acre, to the north. The new pope, Innocent III, preached flamboyantly for the European kings to send aid but due to the political situation no one responded. After 7 years however some states agreed to participate in a crusade. The plan was to retake the Holy land coming from the south, not the north, and sack Egypt on the way in order to weaken the ruling Ayyubids. Venice was contacted to organize for transportation and agreed to transport 33,500 crusaders across the Mediterranean, but as there was no binding agreement among the crusaders that all should sail from Venice, many chose to sail from other ports, particularly Flanders, Marseilles, and Genoa. The Venetians would not let the crusaders leave without paying the full amount agreed to, originally 85,000 silver marks. The crusaders could only pay some 51,000 silver marks, and that only by reducing themselves to extreme poverty. This was disastrous to the Venetians, who had halted their commerce for a great length of time to prepare this expedition. In addition to this 20-30,000 men (out of Venice's population of 60,000 people) were needed to man the entire fleet, placing further strain on the Venetian economy. The Venetians proposed that the crusaders pay their debts by attacking the port of Zara in Dalmatia. The city fell after a brief siege.

Gargantua02-1.jpg

The Venetians refused to supply ships unless the crusaders promised they could pay.

Meanwhile, Bonifacio del Monferrato, the head of the Crusaders, had left the fleet before it sailed to meet the son of the recently disposed Byzantine Emperor Isaac II. They had agreed to restore Isaac to the throne, in exchange for money to pay the Venetians and ships to help with transportation. Together they headed to Corfu to rejoin the fleet. The fleet of 60 war galleys, 100 horse transports, and 50 large transports arrived at Constantinople in late June 1203. The current Emperor, Alexios III, received an envoy from the Crusaders stating their intentions, but refused to abdicate. The crusaders returned to their ships and in a public display the ex-prince showed the citizens that had gathered on the city walls to watch that he was friends with the crusaders, but the citizens of Constantinople didn't approve. The crusaders soon found themselves being taunted by the masses that had gathered on the city walls. The situation escalated even further and the commanders soon realized they didn't have the support of the people. They went up the coast and sacked the cities of Chalcedon and Chrysopolis for food and riches, then defeated 500 Byzantine cavalrymen in battle with just 80 Frankish knights.

Don_Quixote_7.jpg

The seasoned Frankish chevaliers slaughtered the Byzantine cavalry.

The sacking of Constantinople

The decision was made to take Constantinople by force, a plan which both Monferrato and the prince agreed to. The crusaders first needed to cross the Bosphorus. About 200 ships, horse transports and galleys would undertake to deliver the crusading army across the narrow strait, where Alexios III had lined up the Byzantine army in battle formation. The Crusader's knights charged straight out of the horse transports, and the Byzantine army fled south.

Alexios III finally took offensive action, and led an army of about 8,500 men against the crusader army of about 3,500 men but his courage failed, and the Byzantine army returned to the city without a fight. The retreat and the effects of the siege caused the citizens of Constantinople to turn against Alexios III, who then fled. Isaac II was raised from the dungeons, but after 8 years of imprisonment he wasn't fit to resume his reign. Instead his son, Alexios was elevated to the throne as Alexios IV.

Orlando_Furioso_41.jpg

The coronation of Alexios IV.

Alexios III had managed to flee with 1,000 pounds of gold and priceless jewels, leaving the imperial treasury short on funds. At that point the young Emperor ordered the destruction and melting of valuable Byzantine and Roman icons in order to extract their gold and silver, but even then he could only raise 100,000 silver marks. This wasn't enough to cover the cost of the Venetian fleet, which he had promised to do. Nevertheless the crusaders stayed true to their word, and 6,000 men from the Crusader army clashed with Alexios III in Adrianople.
Opposition to Alexios IV grew due to him not being able to pay nor supply the fleet promised to the crusaders, and among the Byzantine nobility he was seen as weak for not throwing out the Catholics. One of his courtiers, Alexios Ducas soon overthrew him and slayed the Emperor. Ducas took the throne himself as Alexios V. The crusaders and Venetians, angered by the murder of their patron, demanded that Ducas would honor what Alexios IV had promised. When the Byzantine Emperor refused the Crusaders assaulted the city once again. Soon after Ducas fled.

Orlando_Furioso_28.jpg

Ducas fleeing the Sacred Palace.

The Crusaders took Constantinople on April 12 and for three days they looted and pillaged the city. According to a prearranged treaty, the Empire was apportioned between Venice and the crusade's leaders, and so the Latin Empire of Constantinople was established. Monferrato was not elected as the new Emperor because the Venetians thought he had too many connections with the former Empire because of his brother, who had been married to Maria Comnena, daughter of former Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, desposed in 1180. Instead they placed Baudouin de Flandre on the throne. Monferrato went on to found the Kingdom of Thessalonica, a vassal state of the new Latin Empire. The Venetians got Crete and a dozen other islands. Byzantine refugees founded their own successor states, the most notable of these being the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond, and the Despotate of Epirus.

The crowning of Baudouin and the creation of the Latin Empire meant that there were three so-called Roman Empires in Europe at the same time, the others being the Holy Roman Empire and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire and none of which actually controlled the city of Rome. Surely no respectable nation in the world could let this be so, so if the Latin Empire ever had a chance to, it would need to destroy the false claimants.

Gustave_dore_crusades_bohemond_alon.jpg

Frankish Templars climbing the walls of Constantinople in the cover of night.
The elite Varangian Guard patrolled the walls during daytime, however during the night only regular soldiers were stationed.
 
Last edited:

canonized

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Oohhh this not only looks very cool , but very promising . Enjoying it already :D
 

The Valkyrier

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Given your house rules (RPing and not breaking the BB limit among others), I think you'll have a challenge on your hands.

Good luck! I've never played Achaea - I doubt I'd last very long.

Thanx! Hope you will enjoy it, Im a great fan of your Teutonic AARs (I've read II and subscribed to III) so it's an honor to have you as first poster.

I've already played the first 10 years or so, otherwise I wouldn't have spent hours reading on wikipedia and writing prologues :rofl:

I was in for a rough start and got stuck in dead ends a few times. After a couple of attempts with different approaches I managed to avoid the compulsory Ottoman and/or Byzantine DOW long enough to build an army.

Oohhh this not only looks very cool , but very promising . Enjoying it already :D
Glad you like it! Looks like I got two AAR-celebrities posting well wishes :D Im flattered.

A word of caution tho, looking at my AAR record I have a very low ration of completion, but then again it's that thing about the journey, not the destination, right?
 
Last edited:

germanpeon

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Looks very interesting! I'd love to see where this goes. :)
 

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Prelude, part 2

This prelude was written with no regard to historicity.

The partition of the East

The foundation of the Latin Empire was especially insisted upon by Dandolo, the Doge of Venice. As the leader of one of the most powerful economies in the known world he wanted to see the "key of the east" in catholic hands, but he did not want to be directly responsible for it's safety. As had been Venice attitude historically, they preferred vassals and allies over direct control, so that they themselves could remain mobile with their fleet and flexible in their allegiances.

Once in control of Constantinople, the crusaders proceeded directly to the partition of the Empire. It had been agreed between the Doge Dandolo and Bonifacio del Monferrato before they left Venice that one full quarter of the whole dominion was to be assigned to the new Emperor, who was to be elected by Venetians and crusaders together. This left three-quarters remaining, of which Venice was to take half, the rest to be divided among the crusaders as vassal states of the Empire. First of all, however, came the election of an Emperor for the new state.

Venice had no nobility, at least not in the same sense as the rest of Europe, so it was out of the question to crown any Venetian. The Emperor therefore had to be chosen from among either the lords of the Imperial domains in Italy, or the French nobles under the Capet dynasty, since these two groups made up more than half the crusading army. A council of electors was set up, initially consisting of 58 dukes and counts, with the Doge it's chairman. As time went on however, a few electors left for Europe, so when the final decision was made there were 51 electors. Two lords soon became the final candidates of either side: Hugues de Berzé, supported by the French and Bonifacio del Monferrato, supported by the Italians. Neither had enough support to be elected without the support of Venice however, and since neither side among the crusaders were willing to give in the discussion stagnated. In due time it became clear that, for any one of the candidates to win the election, they would need the support of the third faction, Venice. Doge Dandolo, as the businessman he was, decided he would sell the crown to the highest bidder. Del Monferrato, who at first seemed the most likely to be chosen, was declared ineligible for election, due to the connection, through his brother, with the old Empire. Hugues de Berzé publicly withdrew from the election since he came from a rather poor family, and he returned to France soon after. None of the remaining knights with a reasonable enough reputation and name to be elected wanted to buy the Empire, and so the Doge cancelled the bidding, in fear of the crusaders refusing the crown entirely.

Gustave_dore_crusades_dandolo_preac.jpg

Doge Dandolo announcing the auction to the council.
Many of the senior knights refused to participate, and so the auction was cancelled
.​

Now a young knight, Baudouin de Flandre, entered the limelight. He had been one of the boldest of the crusaders, and he was the commander of what had become known as "la charge des Chrysopolis", where the crusading knights had slain a force more than 5 times their own strength. Where as both previous candidates were well over 45 years old, Baudouin was only about 30, and he came from a very well respected house. The crusaders had finally agreed on a candidate, and the Doge of Venice soon accepted as well, supporting Baudouin because he believed the duke was wealthy enough to support his kingdom without subsidies from Venice, something that was considered a necessity due to the near total collapse of the Venetian economy after the construction of the crusading fleet. There was therefore no surprise when the council announced that the choice fell upon Baudouin. Bonifacio del Monferrato accepted the decision straight away, and was given the kingdom of Thessalonica by the council.

Orlando_Furioso_40.jpg

Baudouin was the commander at the battle of Chrysopolis, and in only a few weeks the event had turned into somewhat of a legend.
The rumors flourished, and Baudouin himself wasn't interested in giving any clarity to the story,
since his popularity arose only after having been declared the hero of the battle
.​

The fate of Greece

The Greek Empire had fallen to pieces in one blow. Theodore Lascaris, one of the wealthiest nobles of the fallen Empire, established himself as Emperor of Nicaea and the sons of ex-Emperor Manuel I Komnenos created the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus. The two most recently disposed Emperors, Alexios III and Ducas at first joined forces and started rebuilding their armies in the northwest provinces. Their temporary alliance didn't last very long however, and soon Alexios decided to hand his ally over to the catholics, but before doing so he had Ducas eyes put out. As the council was still present in Constantinople they put a court together, found Ducas guilty of the murder of Alexios IV, and decided it was appropriate to throw him over the city wall at the Gate of Petrion onto the cobblestone street, 20 meters below. Alexios III, after various attempts at recovering his Empire, both from the catholics and from the Greek successor states, was captured by Lascaris of Nicaea and sent off to a Monastery.

Orlando_Furioso_7.jpg

The council specifically picked the place where the Templars had first penetrated the city's defenses as the location to execute Ducas.​

Baudouin began his reign by sending a letter to the Pope. Jerusalem was still under the influence of heathens, and thus the Crusade wasn't successful, yet the Pope congratulated the Emperor for ending the great schism. To Philippe II Auguste of France he sent an open invitation for knights to come to the new Empire and fight for church and glory. The crusaders of Acre also received word from the Emperor, stating that the gates of Constantinople were in catholic hands and that troops soon would make their way to the holy land.

With the Empire being fairly parceled out, the council disbanded. The Venetians soon sailed to secure their territory, even though the Doge stayed in Constantinople to help the Emperor secure the borders, and to ensure that Venice got the major trade deals. Bonifacio del Monferrato took his knights and men-at-arms to establish his own kingdom of Thessalonica, located a few days to the west of Constantinople. Other lords, such as Othon de La Roche of Athens and Guillaume de Champlitte of Achaea also took their knights and left the Capital, turning to their possessions in the west. A few crusader lords stayed in the employ of Baudouin as the first attempt at an organized army, while others either went home or went east to conquer territories for themselves. The Greeks soon began to perceive that they were ruled by a mere handful of Flemish knights.

Orlando_Furioso_39.jpg

Those that hadn't joined the successor states were few, but they had all been pardoned in an attempt to secure the throne.
The nobility wasn't as thankful as Baudouin had hoped however, and they soon started cooperating with their former enemies, the Bulgarians.​

Soon a group of emissaries arrived from Kaloyan, the King of Bulgaria. Kaloyan wanted an alliance with the Empire, as well as to reunite with the catholic church, in exchange for the curia recognizing the head of the Bulgarian church as a Patriarch. The Pope was informed of the Bulgarian kings wish for reconciliation, but his holiness advised Baudouin to bring the Bulgarians into the fold the same way he had done the Greeks, and to not negotiate with heretics. The Emperor told one of the Bulgarian emissaries that he would not bargain with his barbarian king unless the same first touched the footstool of the imperial throne with his forehead. The rest of the Bulgarian delegation was executed.

Kaloyan instantly turned his attention to destroying the Empire. He secretly entered an alliance with large parts of the Greek aristocracy, and they waited patiently till a time when it seemed as if the force of Baudouin was at the lowest; that is, when Prince Henri, brother of the Emperor, was leading a majority of the troops against Lascaris of Nicaea, far to the east. The empire's garrisons were sparse and far between, and there were no forces near Constantinople to come to the rescue. It was a revolt of thousands against tens and the few knights left in the city tried to escape. Meanwhile the Bulgarians, led by their King, started making their way toward the capital.

The battle of Adrianople

Baudouin ordered his brother to return in all haste, and then decided to take the forces he had left and head to Adrianople, where the Bulgarian army had been sighted. He had with him no more than 2000 men, about 100 of which were mounted knights, and the rest were archers and men-at-arms. The main body of the army was commanded by the Count of Blois, and the the rear was brought up by Dandolo. Just east of Adrianople they clashed with the enemy, 20.000 men in total, of which about 12.000 was light cavalry. The Bulgarian infantry was composed of a dozen different units, ranging from savage axemen to mercenaries equipped with pole weapons and spears. These soldiers were no match for the veteran Latin men-at-arms. The Emperor decided to support the infantry, and lead the knights in a charge at the flank. While on their way however they spotted the Bulgarian cavalry heading straight for them, and so they were forced to turn and face them. As usual, the enemy fled at the first charge of the heavily armed knights, who hurried after them, led by the Emperor. Soon the knights horses got so tired they had to stop, and by doing so they allowed themselves to become surrounded by the enemy cavalry. All but a few of the knights died, among the dead was the Count of Blois and Doge Dandolo. The Emperor wasn't so lucky as to die in battle, but was captured, brought to the camp of the Bulgarian King, forced to lick his boots and then beheaded. A few weeks later Bonifacio del Monferrato was slain in a skirmish with the Bulgarians.

Don_Quixote_4.jpg

Many of the senior knights and leaders of the crusade died during the battle,
among them Doge Enrico Dandolo of Venice and Louis I, Comte de Blois.

The leaders of the crusade, who only three years before had set sail from Venice, were dead. Left was only Henri de Flandre and Marshal Geoffrey de Villehardouin, who had miraculously survived the battle. Othon of Athens and Guillaume of Achaea were busy defending their own territory, and could not lend any help to the Empire. Henri later assumed the possition of Emperor, but only after having waited almost a year in hope of the return of his older brother.
 
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bofski

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The 4th crusade.. another shame of the church. I'll be following this, as it looks very interesting
 

The Valkyrier

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Looks very interesting! I'd love to see where this goes. :)
Cheers :D At first I was aiming at doing only 3 chapters in the prelude, but as I've written the outline it has just kept branching, and so I'm looking at 6 or 7 chapters right now, so don't expect actual gameplay any time soon:rofl:

The 4th crusade.. another shame of the church. I'll be following this, as it looks very interesting
Indeed things would have been very different if the 4th crusade had never occured, but that's of course true for every distant historical event. I think it was Hegel who wrote something along the lines of "the two greatest tragedies in the history of the world were the crossing of the Rubicon and the sacking of Constantinople". Or maybe it was Goethe... In any case thanx for posting :rolleyes:
 
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The Valkyrier

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Oh, I almost forgot. I've made a (very) rough map of europe in 1205, so that anyone who's reading and can't find a decent map can get a better understanding of the political situation. Note that about half of France was occupied by the English, and that there were several states surrounded by the Holy Roman Empire that weren't part of it, for example Pisa, that owned large parts of Tuscany along with Corsica and Sardinia. Some states in France were members of HRE, including Flanders and Burgundy. Also there were several strong duchies in France that weren't ruled by the Capet dynasty, most notably Flanders and Toulouse. HRE at the time was in crisis, and imperial authority had plummeted the last 15 years, since the death of Friedrich Barbarossa, due to there being two rival emperors, Otto IV of Brunswick and Philip of Swabia.

colored_europe_12052-1.jpg
 
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unmerged(104889)

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Looks great so far, definitely subscribed! I like the map graphics also.

Drive the saracens out of Europe
Conquer Jerusalem
And the most important goal: Re-establish the holy orders!
 

The Valkyrier

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Looks great so far, definitely subscribed! I like the map graphics also.

Drive the saracens out of Europe
Conquer Jerusalem
And the most important goal: Re-establish the holy orders!
hehe thanx, just made the map when taking a break from studies, but I think it turned out pretty nicely as well :)

Regarding the holy orders, I might create custom nations for holy orders such as the Hospitaller and Knights of the Cross with the Red Star (damn shame that the Knights Templar were disbanded before the game, but maybe we can fix that), and hand out territories as the empire expands. I have already created Order of Saint Lazarus as a nation, since they will play a key role in the early plot (of 1399 that is). Also I think I will do some of the Crusader states, like Armenian Cilicia, Principality of Antioch and County of Tripoli. This all depends on which direction the game takes of course. Jerusalem however will be controlled directly by the Latins... at least to begin with.
 
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unmerged(104889)

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(damn shame that the Knights Templar were disbanded before the game)

I think the pope wouldn't agree to re-establish The Knights Templar. After all, they all were killed as heretics and tortured to confess sins they did not make, and who was behind the slaughter? Vatican of course.

Funny thing is that only few years back, Vatican declared the Templars innocent.
 

The Valkyrier

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I think the pope wouldn't agree to re-establish The Knights Templar. After all, they all were killed as heretics and tortured to confess sins they did not make, and who was behind the slaughter? Vatican of course.

Funny thing is that only few years back, Vatican declared the Templars innocent.

Yes, it seems quite unlikely the Templars would be reformed less than 100 years after their total annihilation, thats why I cursed at history :rofl:
 

The Valkyrier

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Why is Dacia black?
If I remember well these areas belonged to the Hungarians.
I only used two graphical sources for my map, and one of them only cover the immediate area around the Latin Empire. On this map that area is divided between Hungary and nomadic tribes. As I used the original provinces of Ht3 to make the map the borders didn't end up exactly like the source. I didn't mean the map to be historical, only to give the smallest hint on what Europe looked like at the time :p

Also, in Geoffrey de Villehardouin's writings, which are pretty much the only contemporary source of information, he briefly mentions Cumans (simply called Bulgarian "light calvary" in my prelude) and other tribal peoples occupying the territories north of Bulgaria.
 
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unmerged(114802)

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I'm sorry, I'm confused. Which faction allows you to form the Latin Empire? Achaea?

And how can you form your own "empire"? =/
 
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I'm sorry, I'm confused. Which faction allows you to form the Latin Empire? Achaea?
None in vanilla, but luckily adding nations is one of the easiest things to learn when modding paradox games. These are my criteria:

Code:
country_decisions = {

	latin_nation = {
		potential = {
			NOT = { exists = LAE }
			TAG = ACH
			primary_culture = lombard
			religion = catholic
		}
		allow = 
		{
			owns = 1773		# Achaea
			owns = 151		        # Thrace
			owns = 148	                # Macedonia
			war = no
		}
	  effect = {
			LAE = {
				add_core = 151	# Thrace
				add_core = 149	# Edirne
				add_core = 148	# Macedonia
				add_core = 146	# Athens
				add_core = 145	# Morea
				add_core = 1773	# Achea
				add_core = 164	# Naxos
				add_core = 147  # Larissa
			}
			centralization_decentralization = -2
			prestige = 0.15
			change_tag = LAE
			LAE = {
				capital = 151
			}
			LAE = {
				government = imperial_government
		}
		ai_will_do = {
			factor = 0
		}
	}
	
}
 

The Valkyrier

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Im finishing the next update right now, will be posting in an hour or so.
(just want to get the 20th post in here so next update end up at the top of page 2)