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Wyvern

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Gather round, gather round and listen to the tale I will tell. A story of war and strife, treachery and betrayal, yet also one with deeds of noble courage and valour as we watch the kings and kingdoms of Europe strive for fame and fortune, wealth and power. Our tale begins in the year 1520 with all of europe balancing on a knife's edge. The New World beckons to the sailors and explorers of Europe and the Turk sharpens his sword in Constantinople whilst calling down for the blessings of Allah.

In the east in the darkest forests of Russia a new steely determination has taken hold that will likely see the new Tsar's of Russia drawn firmly into the European world possibly to the cost of the great power of Poland/Lithuania. For myself and my family we live our lives in the great nation of France and will no doubt do so through the coming generations. I shall be keeping a diary for posterity for I have the ear of the king and would record the great events of my day, a tradition I hope my sons and daughters will continue down the ages. Our proud nation is currently at peace though for how long few can say. Our king is wise though and all know of our just claims and the great ambitions of our state.

######

Yes here begins the sequel to Machiavelli, a 12 player MP game that tries to engenger a more realistic role-play experience for the players along with AAR writing.

The beginning player nations are:

France - Wyvern
England - Atilla the Hun & Kalpeti - the A & K team!
Spain - Holistic God
Austria - Archduke
Hungary/Papal States/Netherlands - Forzaa
Poland - Damocles
Russia - Peter Ebbesen
Sweden - Slargos
Denmark - Aldo
Ottomans - Mulliman
Venice/Brandenburg - Smirfy
Portugal - Barnius

The game plays every Tuesday at 20:00 CET/19:00 BST for 4 hours
This game's discussion thread can be viewed here . Please put any feedback, questions, encouragement etc here all of which is actively encouraged!

And so without any more ado, let us await with anticipation for the great events that will unfold across europe and beyond in Machiavelli II - the Rebirth.
 
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ForzaA

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…on desparate ground, fight

Hungary, early 16th century. One by one the Christian nations of the Balkans had fallen, now Hungary was to be the nation to defend Christianity against the Turkish onslaught. Hungary is a large nations, but few people are strong enough to live in this country. In recent years the Hungarian army had been on permanent standby, awaiting the inevitable flood of the infidels.

Janòs had only recently joined in the army, and now was on duty, watching at the border with mixed feelings, proud to stand, eager to fight, but on the other hand he felt, was almost certain, that he would not live to tell the tale of his heroic fight against the infidel.
 

ForzaA

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couriers speed across Europe to deliver the following message to all the royal families, great noble familes, bankers and traders of Europe

Brothers, friends, loyal servants of the Lord.

You must have all heard the tales of the Infidel hordes pillaging and plundering Europe and the Holy Land. As you will also know, one by one the Christian kingdoms, duchies and margravates between these Infidels and Hungary, and the rest of Europe, have fallen. As one Christian to another, I call upon you to send any aid you can to defend the Christian people against this onslaught. The Turk will not relent until all of Christianity has been eradicated. This must be stopped, and Hungary will stand to stem the tide as is its duty. Any and all help to do the work of God and stop the infidel, be it monetary, military, or in any other form, is much appreciated.

With the blessings of our Lord,
Lajos II,
protector of Christianity,
King of Hungary,
lord of the Danube.


a message is found pinned on many a door all over Europe, clearly with the intention to reach all the people of Europe

People of Europe, the Lord needs you.
The infidel hordes, led by devil-possessed man styling himself “Emperor of Rome”, MUST be stopped, they will stop at nothing, unless WE stop them. We call upon you to take up arms and support us in our Crusade against the infidel. People of Europe, UNITE!

The Lords humble servant,
Miklos Zrinyi, first Marshal to Lajos II.




edit: silly typo
 
Last edited:

unmerged(15723)

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Call to arms
Royal Castle, Copenhagen, 1520
a Danish PAR (Pre Action Report)


King Christian II is worried about the religious turmoil of Scandinavia and Germany. In order to strike down the heretic movement we ask our Catholic brothers of Europe and specially the King of Poland-Lithuania, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the Holy Pope of Rome to aid us in our cause.

To this day only Prussia has officially defied the Pope but if nothing is done more nations will follow. In league with Catholic Europe we offer to lead or merely participate in a crusade against the Prussians to bring them back to the True Faith.

Christian II, King of the Kalmar Union, Duke of Holstein and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire
 
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Damocles

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Poland-Lithuania
1520-1533

Beginning in 1520, the Jagiellon Dynasty was firmly in control of both the kingdom of Poland and the Arch-Dukedom of Lithuania. Their nephew ruled in Bohemia and Hungary until 1522. Zygmunt I Stary reigned supreme over one of the largest realms in Christiandom situated firmly between three of the most powerful upcoming empires that would ever be. No matter what happened, it would play a pivotal role in the upcoming centuries.

Geopolitically, Poland-Lithuania was in a more secure position then it first seemed. Yet it was still dangerous! To the southwest, there existed the formidable stronghold of the Habsburgs who would soon inherit Bohemia and had the support of the wealthy Spanish branch of the family. Zygmunt had a peculiar relationship with Charles. On one hand the Austrians wanted only cooperation and understanding, yet on the other, they were self-righteous and prone to breaking agreements. During the first invasion of Hungary by the Turks in late 1526, Zygmunt sent 60,000 Polish to their death whom were instrumental in forcing the Ottoman hordes from the gates of Budapest into Serbia proper whereupon a white peace was concluded. In return for this sacrifice, not least of which included the upheaval of the entire realm by the declaration of war, Austria promised to leave the far northern coast of Germany to Poland's discretion. The ink had hardly dried on the white peace with the Turks before Charles was again harping about the release of Mecklemburg. Thus, Poland was leery about sacrificing its armies again when the Ottomans overran Hungary in 1533. Poland-Lithuania had not expected such a rapid capitulation by Budapest, and in hindsight, would have rushed support to the capital had it known the extent of it's danger. Eventually, over 70,000 Polish were marching to meet 88,000 Turks...Yet the war ended before they could come to grips. Still, it goes to show how the Habsburg Emperor should pay more respect to previous treaties, if it desires prompt assistance!

In the East, there was a tentative understanding with the Tsar of all Russians. Poland knew that the Rus would be a terrible foe yet neither could they afford a rivalry. Zygmunt accepted the fact that the Russian provinces should belong to Russia, yet he informed the Tsar that he also held claim to the Ruthenian provinces in the south and suggested that it would benefit the Tsar more to have a friendly Poland, then one with a territorial grievance. Zygmunt however, does not desire to force a rash conclusion to the matter that might cause lasting enmity. On the other hand, the great wealth of Russian advice that is so forthcoming regarding foreign policy is duly appreciated and reciprocated. As a sign of just how small the territorial grievance is, Poland and Russia gladly arranged for a marriage to bind both Dynasties, and a trade agreement. Zygmunt is sure that sometime in the future, the possession of Donetsk will be peacefully dealt with.

In the far north, Poland remains apprehensive about the struggle between Denmark and Sweden. On one hand, it has found a close friendship with the Swedish people, and is sure that they will cooperate together in the future should the situation warrant it. Indeed, they are and were welcomed as allies. However Poland does not have strong feelings regarding Denmark. Regardless, neither pose a threat to Polish well being, except that their internecine warfare could destablize neighbouring regions. Poland did however, look on with much surprise when Denmark managed to trounce Sweden in the first war...Then stood aside to let them annex 2/3rds of the Teutonic Order.

In the south, Poland-Lithuania shared a border with the Ottoman Empire. It was apprehensive about the expansionistic tendencies of the Turks, hearing about the invasion of Persia in the far east, a conflict which stretched out for longer then five years to Zygmunt's great surprise. He suspected that the Turks would soon turn their passion for conquest to the west, and organized a league among Poland, Venice and Hungary to defend against such depredations. Yet it unfortunately did nothing except prolong the inevitable. The Ottomans were foiled before Budapest in the 1520s, yet returned even more strongly in the 1530s, and there was nothing that could be done. They now shared a border with the Habsburgs, and were less Poland's concern.

Conquests and Reforms

From 1520 to 1533, Poland-Lithuania added two provinces to it's possessions. Beginning in late 1521, it went to war against the Hanseatic League who had just become Protestant, in perversion of the ideals of the Catholic Church. Zygmunt, being a religious individual, was determined to crush this defiance, as well as extend his borders at the same time. For he knew that a nation's power rested on how far it could project and protect itself. Under such generals as Tarnowski, Ostrogoski and Radziwill, the Hansa were crushed. Despite the protests of the Emperor, who had no qualms about annexing duchies himself, Zygmunt decided to follow Charles' example and added Mecklemburg and Vorpommern to his realm. Only a few years later, an alliance of smaller Protestant states lead by Brandenburg annexed Hinterpommern, to Zygmunt's great dismay. Denmark annexed Holstein, becoming his neighbour. Poland used this leverage to sternly warn the Danes against annexing the weakened Teutonic Order.

On the home front, a vicious crusade against Heretical religions were launched both east and west. On the German border, Protestant Poznan and Danzig (!!) were swiftly dealt with. The Catholic Church was forcefully, if mercifully, reinstated in both these territories. In the East, a massive effort to convert the pagan and orthodox peasantry of both Lithuanian and Ruthenian origin was conducted. An effort which met with mixed success, yet is only a matter of time. Zygmunt implemented govermental reforms which resulted in an steady increase in Centralization over 13 years (+2) as well as a refinery and a goods manufactory being built in Danzig and Wielpolaska respectively.

Intellectually, Poland devoted much of it's resources towards new developments in producing keen looking blue greatcoats and fur hats and then outfitting the troops with them. It also invested significantly in the infrastructure of the country. Sometime by 1558, the country should have a suitable network of roads that connect the major populations of the cities. It also vassalized Prussia and was rewarded with EIGHT percent inflation for the 'boon'.
 
Last edited:

Juu

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Brandenburg - 1520 to 1526


Joachim I Nestor of Brandenburg:

m1499aaa.jpg


Joachim I, surnamed Nestor, elector of Brandenburg, elder son of John Cicero, also elector of Brandenburg, was born on the 2nd of February, year of our Lord 1484. The years of his rule 1499 to 1520 were spent marrying Elizabeth Oldenburg, daughter of king Christian I of Denmark. He took minor part in the political complications of the Scandinavian kingdoms, but administered his electorate and was supportive of merchants.

Joachim was initially known as a pugnacious adherent of Catholic orthodoxy, having urged the emperor of enforcing the Edict of Worms. His wife, however, tried to reason with him about the benefits of the Protestant faith and later used different forms of blackmail and pestering that the gender of women are keen on.

In addition to Denmark, Joachim married off some of his most prominent young men and women to many Catholic powers, for he thought the Catholics should multiply and the protestants die out.

He was concerned of the Protestant Hanseatic league to the North, and tried to organize a war to bring them back into true faith. Both Sweden and Denmark were busy in their squabbles, while the Emperor had larger fish to fry (France was making inroads into the HRE). Finally Poland agreed to attack at the same time, but the military skill of Joachim and the manpower it could raise was not sufficient to decisively break the Hanseatic league. Poland wound up gaining territory, while Brandenburg - only gold. Nevertheless, Joachim managed the budget strigently even during the times of war, and hence inflation didn't occur.

Joachim was very surprised on the Polish landgrab, for he had thought that King Zygmunt would convert the states of Pommern and Mecklenburg back to the true faith instead of annexing their realms!

In addition, despite Joachim having predicted that the Turks are a lesser threat than Protestants, the Ottomans had attacked. This made him ashamed! Perhaps his predictions had made Hungary lenient in their defence! And so in 1526 he declared war on the Ottomans, fully intending to slaughter the heathens since he knew the Poles would let his armies pass, while the Turks would have to walk far through hostile lands to reach him.

Overall, Joachim, based on the constant pestering of his wife, the thought of not having been able to succeed on the battlefield and several soft-spoken thinkers that were taken hostage in the siege of Luebeck, started to see that the Catholic states were making war on other Catholic states and gaining their territory, while the Protestant merchants prospered peacefully. This would later lead to his personal acceptance of the 95 theses at a time when he would be old and ill in health.

(OOC: my first RP AAR, don't be too harsh)
 
Last edited:

HolisticGod

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------A History of Imperial Spain-----
------------------------1516-1700-------------------------

In the Christian year 854, the Emir of Cordoba completed a network of fortresses along the passes dividing Al-Andalus and Christendom. Nearly central to the outer line was a small mountain citadel his engineers named Magerit, and around it inevitably arose a poor, dry farming village that had little to commend it but endless heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

Its architecture and defense were of the Berber style, deceptively underfed reminiscences of the Islamic bastions of Medina, Baghdad and Mecca. Its people were native to the wastes and had been conquered by Romans, then by Goths and then by Roman Catholics, and accustomed themselves to the eastern cult as simply and yieldingly as any. They clung to the Muslim garrison and accepted unconditionally its customs and its God, in exchange for their livelihood.

A people so long ruled do not subject to a ruler, but to rule.

As again in 1085, part and parcel of Alfonso VI, King of the Catholic Kingdom of Castile who never in his life held its name on his lips. It then numbered above ten thousands of men and came under the new but indistinguishable rule of a minor nobility. They would be challenged by war and by the royal decrees of central authority granted to alien governors, and yet, ahead of the great cities, it traded its inauspicious poverty and medievalism for anonymity. Its taxes were low, its produce hardly enough, and often not, for its people, its mines and its soil impenetrable to the easy exploitation of man. Trade, where there was, kept the metal hunters in supply of food and the peasants in supply of tin. It was not rich and it was not disreputable and it was not holy and, above all else, it was not by the sea.

By these measures of fortune, it retained its autonomy, but its medievalism and its poverty as well.

Under the Emirs and the Kings and the Popes, its consequence was interior and miserly and of no consequence at all. Its inhabitants were mean and dirty, its leading citizens were mean and dirty and its roots and its destiny were nearly that of a thousand other mean and dirty villages of Europe..

Alfonso and his heirs would, however, make one lasting contribution to the town's annals in their broad Christianization of Islam and all it touched. From 1085 onward, Magerit bears the imprint of its restored Latini: Madrid.

The Ascension of Carlos I: 1517: King of Spain, Emperor of the World

It is often remarked that Spain became a nation by the will of Queen Isabelle and an Empire by her death.

The explorations that would mark the dawn of a new era, it is true, began by her consent and persisted at her word. She ordered the conquest of the Americas before Carlos was born-indeed, before he had seen a rendition of his distant possessions on paper in January of 1520, viewed by many as the zenith of cartography, her heraldic was acknowledged from Trinidad to Mexico. The Queen's Men had opened the Atlantic corridor to adventurous traders and the first smatterings of the great treasure ships that would later raise their sails in vast forests about the sea-and below it.

In the settlements of Habana and Hispanolia the warm wide winds of the gulf stream had been found and studied. In the swamps of the American Isthmus the catalogue of thousands of new species of vegetation and animal life brought the promise of the exotic to the baroque of Toledo, and of the fated golden crops-bananas, coffee beans, corn, maize, squash and tobacco.

And gold itself too.

Rumors of it. Glimmerings on riverbeds and in the cloaking mists of giant blue mountains and in the ocean and the sky and the brown faces peering through the trees. The horror it would bring upon Spain was unknown-but already those brown faces had begun to disappear from between the trees and reemerge from the holes and the quarries.

Everything was new. Isabelle had discovered a virgin world, unkempt and ripe, and made it hers. But even in the glory of it, she appears to have soured on its pungent, bewildering taste. In her final days, she refused to charter more expeditions or send more ships or, less, arms, and became more concerned with the rumblings of the Church, both in the Archbishopric and in Italy, and the reform of the court's wild finances.

She appointed Cortez Governor-general of the Cubano and forbade him to adventure on the mainland. She restricted trade and emigration. She recalled her mighty sea captains to the ports of Flandern, Seville and the seaman's graveyard, the Canaries. She took pains to regulate merchants and expand the army, leaving the tradition of the Duke of Alba to her grandson.

His inheritance, however, would be much larger than the Iberian Kingdom, and in 1517, arriving among his Flemish court in his finery and livery, Charles was assailed all at once by the enormity of his bequeath. The realms of Austria, of Burgundy and of the Dutch states, and of the Two Sicilies, made him the greatest monarch of Christendom in the haze of his coronation. And it was this that propelled him forward in his youth toward the new world his grand mother, and, before his tragic, premature death, grand father feared. He would go on, in these first years, to conquer an area greater than Western Europe, to fill the banks of Seville with unprecedented riches, to converge two peoples with his missions to the Pagans, to construct mighty ships in untold numbers and ordain the system of governance that would prevail in the Empire for nearly two centuries.

Before all of this, however, he would choose as his capital, as the capital of Spain and of the House of Habsburg and of the world, a small town in the mountains of Castile, among so much the first new land he would call his own.

The Empire would be forged on Spanish soil under German boots by a Dutchman with American gold.

It would begin in Madrid.
 
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Austria 1520-1533
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Summary of the first meeting of the "Geheimer Rat":

"Es wurde beschlossen, da das Ottomanische Reich und Frankreich als die Hauptkontrahenten der neuen Hausmacht Habsburgs betrachtet werden, die Schlagkraft der Armee zu erweitern und Schutzbündnisse mit umliegenden Mächten zu suchen, als auch das Heilige Römische Reich Deutscher Nation zu schützen und zu bewahren und die Kaiserkrone in der habsburgischen Linie zu bewahren."


Protecting the Empire and the Realm


The times between 1520 and 1533 were turbulent years for the House of Habsburg in Austria. Protestantism and foreign powers tried to infiltrate and weaken the HRE. The threat of an ottoman invasion into Hungary and even more into Austria herself was looming and France having already acquired Lombardia looked to break out of the Encirclement by the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs.

This proved to be the first test of Ferdinand I. in charge of the Austria consisting of the Habsburg Hereditary lands in Austria and their ancestoral lands named "Vorderösterreich" as France ,without provocation or notice, in the year 1521 invaded Lorraine. The King of France, Francois I. was obviously of the illusion that Ferdinand would accept that without intervening as he mistook the Neutrality of Austria in the Mantuan war of 1520 as a weakness. Hectic diplomatic messages were exchanged between Madrid and Vienna as the cannons of the french army pounded against the walls of Nancy. Karl V. reigning over Spain was also worried over the future of the HRE if foreign powers could excise whatever they would from the HRE and additionally Lombardia on which Spain had a claim also looked like a tempting target as a possible indemnity for the french aggression.

So Ferdinand was left in charge of the "Reserve Armee" in Vienna and commander von Frundsberg took 27.000 austrian soldiers with him to Alsace and met with hastly new equipped new recruits and volunteers from all over the HRE. It took 3 months to drill them into a new army and the austrian intervention took a further delay as Karl V. took the honour of dowing the enemy for himself calling the allies of the House of Habsburg, the proud Kingdom of England and the wealthy Merchant Republic of Venice to arms also in the february 1522. The conflict further escalated as England declared war on a french ally Scotland in May dragging Savoy into the war also.

The Campaign in France

In an effort to save the Duchy of Lorraine from french oppression, von Frundsberg with some support from the rag-tag forces of Lorraine and the mighty spanish army took the war deep into France:

From the left to the right: Von Frundsberg arriving in Alsace making contact with the army of Lorraine and gathering more soldiers around him. Battle of Nancy freeing Lorraine against the summoned french army. Battle before the walls of Paris 2 weeks later supported by the Spanish army.​
Panorama.jpg
From the left to the right: Whilst his allies besiege french cities, von Frundsberg chases the french army around followed suit by the main spanish army. In the final picture the battle at Le Mans where the austrian forces vastly outnumbered in cavalry nevertheless prevail and chase the army of France over the Loire.

After numerous victorious battles the austrian army exhausted retreats to Alsace avoiding the french army leaving the further offensive to the spanish army which slowed down by her cannons was only able to participate in the Battle for Paris:

Von Frundsberg retreats to Alsace to meet with the reinforcements.​
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Meeting no resistance in Souther France and in North Italy, the spanish forces were able to take over key fortresses in the region and soon negotiations between Spain and France took place. Due unknown circumstances Spain left the alliance prematurely for Lombardia to be ceded to Spain. Suddenly Austria was and sought to find a new deal for her own whilst von Frundsberg routed a smaller french army in Orleans. It was agreed that Lorraine could acknowledge France as her new Overlord but was to be left independent and peace was struck. Von Frundsberg was mad and felt betrayed by the Austrian diplomacy that considered the Ottoman Empire which was still entangled in a war with Persia as the main threat and didn´t want to humble France too much.

Left in a separate war with Savoy and Scotland, von Frundsberg decided that he would avenge the loss of thousands of soldiers by invading Savoy. Doing this without consent of the government in Vienna, von Frundsberg was only protected by his personal friendship with Ferdinand who overrode the decision of the Hofkanzlei to call von Frundsberg back. And so as France continued to slaughter the again helpless people of Lorraine, Austria quickly occupied all of Savoy and Savoy had to acknowledge Austria as her new overlord and left the french alliance. As an answer Lorraine was brutally annexed and the royal family exiled to Vienna. Tensions were rising again.

Rundschreiben der Hofkanzlei:

Von Frundsberg hat durch sein eigenmächtiges Handeln die Möglichkeit einer friedlichen Co-existenz mit Frankreich fast zu einer Unmöglichkeit gemacht. Auf Anrat des Geheimen Rates sollen Geheimverhandlungen mit Frankreich aufgenommen werden.


Expansion in the East and the Fight against the Infidel

During the french war Poland had used the conversion of Pommern and Mecklenburg as an excuse to invade the HRE and outright annex the duchy of Mecklenburg. The ressources of Austria were too strained with the french war and also the prolonged friendship with Poland was considered vital for the well-doing of Austria and her claims on Hungary and Bohemia as in 1526 Ferdinand was crowned King of Bohemia and despite efforts to be crowned Hungarian King also Hungary elected Zygmunt as their King. As reports of a possible ottoman invasion of Hungary became more and more numerous Poland and Austria agreed to defend Hungary against possible intruders and laid their grudges over Mecklenburg, possible polish claims on Bohemia and the Habsburg claim on the Crown of Hungary aside for the time being.

In December 1526 the Ottoman Empire declared war on Hungary and the policy of apeasement towards France paid off as even France sent troops to defend Hungary against the Ottoman Empire. Intially 150.000 ottoman troops poured over the hungarian border whilst avoiding a direct confrontation with the Hungarian army in Pest. The polish and the austrian forces rallied and the austrian army came in the nick of time to save Buda from the ottoman army.

The ottoman army shortly before the encounter before Buda.​
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Whilst the french forces liberated Croatia the brave hungarian forces intercepted the fleeing ottoman troops in Banat. And soon after the Sultan caved in and left Hungary for now. Additonally Poland allied Hungary and for now Hungary seemed safe. Soon after the temporary alliance with France was dissolved and it was agreed that France was to release Lorraine again and Savoy would be allowed to break the vassalage as compensation.

With the newfound peace, a massive tax reform in Bohemia was issued, as to strengthen the ties with Bavaria, a direct oath of fealthy was sworn by the Bavarian duke towards the Austrian Archduke and Wurtemberg was cleaned from the protestant Heretics. During this time Von Frundsberg died peacefully and it proved to be futile. The austrian army was raised to a peace time strength of 50.000 men with 20.000 men as a reserve which was the outmost possibility.

Also the understanding with Poland grew more and more bad during those years as Poland seemed in no way inclined to leave the HRE but wanted to expand even more. The death von von Frundsberg and the misunderstanding between the polish and austrian allies proved to be the problems that in the end made the defeat in Hungary possible in 1533. As the declaration of war in 1533 came Hungary called her ally Poland to help and whilst Austria expected the war to go along the lines of 1526 the speed of the ottoman armies took them completly by suprise.

As the polish armies scambled to come down to Hungary, the Austrian army again moved to support Hungary in the time of need but without von Frundsberg the army was unable to come to the hungarian help on time.* Bravely attacking the ottoman army, Ferdinand again lacking the cavalry hordes that the ottomans had mustered, retreated after intial clashes to come back with the newly build 20.000 horsemen to save Hungary before Buda could fall.

Scrambling to save the hungarian army.​
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The polish army still nowhere in sight, the austrian decided to liberate Pest as to avoid that the 3 hungarian key provinces Buda, Pest and Maros would all three be in ottoman hands. A race began which the Ottoman Empire won. And as the old hungarian King fell in Maros,half of the hungarian nobility voted Ferdinand as their new King whilst the other half decided to co-operate with the Ottomans and Hungary and Siebenbürgen became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire with only the westernmost provinces saved by Austria.

Race towards assaulting the remaining key city.​
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*If you check the picture you will still see the hungarian soldiers disappearing, before the austrian army could help defend Pest.
 

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Fragment from the private diary of Barnius V “The Explorer” de Rico, Duke of Lisboa

Portugal, January 1520

Dukes of Lisboa were, are and will with Gods help always be the informal rulers of the kingdom of Portugal. Kings come and go, but our noble and old family stays and grows more and more powerful, as water passes in the Tejo River on her way to the Atlantic Ocean. For generations we carry the heavy burden of the title of Conselheiro Confidencial dos Reis, only occasionally finding some compensation for all the help we provide to kings. Like granting us the exclusive rights to operate Lisboa centre of trade...

Historically that was the main source of our family wealth. Portugal was a small country on the outskirts of the known world so my grandfather Barnius III “The Visionary” succeeded in making his Majesty King João I realise that the future of his kingdom lies not only in Europe or Mediterranean See, but that there is a whole new world just waiting for us to colonise. A lucky man my grandfather was, living in the time of wise King João I, who knew when he was advised well.

My father, Barnius IV “The Merchant”, extended our family wealth and influence on the Portuguese court to yet unheard levers. He was the founder and the main shareholder of The Portuguese Trading Company, which was granted the privilege and duty to carry on the orders received by Pope: colonise for the glory of God, Holly Church and the King half of the world given to Portugal. But he did more than just that: seeing how important trade was to Portuguese (ad his own) treasury, “The Merchant” set African and Asian centres of trade as primary objectives of the colonisation and conquest. Zanzibar, Mascate and Malacca one after another fell to his control, while in Goa he opened a new centre of trade to competition inland Delhi. Under his rule Portugal become the world leading trading nation.

I, Barnius V de Rico, decided to continue the path my forefathers started. Because of common (merchant) sense and because I am concerned about well being of Portuguese citizens, I advised his Majesty not to interfere into European affairs more than really needed. Portugal should maintain good relations with all Christian (especially Catholic) countries and naturally with Pope. Our primary objective was to strengthen our economy and continue colonisation of the new world. The goal is: no European colonies than Portuguese east of The Cape, as the Pope ordered it to be.
 

Smirfy

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VENICE 1520-1533


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THE EYE OF THE STORM


“The "eye" is a roughly circular area of comparatively light winds and fair weather found at the center of a severe storm. Although the winds are calm at the axis of rotation, strong winds may extend well into the eye.”


Personae Dramatis:

Leonardo Loredano (Doge) (1501-1522) (7-5-5)

Loredano’s long term in office reached its end at the start of our tale. His legacy which is now immortalized by Professor Ebbesen in Age of Exploration Volume X was allowing the Archduke of Austria to renegotiate her boundaries with Venice. Istria was ceded to the house of Hapsburgs and the clouds of war that hung over the Dalmatian coast for centuries disappeared. Leonardo was fondly remembered for this great service and his passing mourned.

Antonio Grimani (Doge) ( 1521-1523) (6-7-5)

Groomed by Leonardo as his political successor and though led a victorious expedition against Mantua his misjudgment of the Geo-political climate with regards the major powers left the Mantua as vassals rather than citizens. This failure cost Grimani much prestige and despite being elected as chief magistrate or Doge for life he resigned and retired to his estates a broken man.

Andrea Gritti (Doge) (1523-1538) (6-5-7)

Leader of the “progressive” faction in Venice sided with the Hapsburg’s in the “War of Lorraine”. His authorizing bold use of limited resources enabled Venice to maintain pressure along the Cote d’ Azur and dominate the Mediterranean despite Savoy siding with France. Robbed of several victories by inept coordination between the two branches of the Hapsburgs, he was nevertheless was awarded full sovereignty over Mantua from the Emperor for Venice’s contribution in removing the French from Italy. Gritti pursued Merchantilism with trade expelling several nations that interfered with Venice’s Monopoly. A devout Catholic he actively championed the conversion of the Orthodox islands converting Corfu and sending missionaries to Crete.
The closing years of his time in office was marked by the increasing dominance of the Ottomans in the Balkans. Recognizing the threat he joined with the Holy Hapsburg League though were not able to prevent the Ottomans overrunning much of Hungary.


Christian Grimani (Admiral) (1510-1545) (4-4-4-0)

Brother of disgraced Magistrate Antonio Grimani and Admiral of the Fleet redeemed the status of the family name by his skilful outmaneuvering of Savoy’s fleet under the command of the great Andrea Doria to land an invasion force in Provence during the War of Lorrainne. Though robbed of a great victory by peace, his efforts were rewarded by Gritti with title and estate. His squadron patrolled the Greek coast tirelessly in case of Ottoman Naval intervention during the Hungarian campaign. This threat however failed to materialize!


Roberto Lomelini (Admiral) (1510-1575) ????????? (3-2-3-0)


Second in command of the Navy and commander of the Galleys Lomellini served with distinction under Grimani. Gave his commander nervous moments whilst slipping past Doria due to the slowness of his galleys but found the truth in the saying victory has a hundred fathers and was rewarded with Grimani.
 
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The Ottoman Empire 1520 - 1533

The rise of an Empire
The Turks descend from an altai people in Mongolia and Central Asia. When they first arrived on the scene of the Middle East, they defeated a various opposition and established the Seljuk Empire in 1040. The empire grew to become strong and tolerant, with arabian and persian as the finer languages and turkish as the merchants language. Seljuk Turks can be regarded as the ancestors of Western Turks (today's Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbajdzan). They and their descendants (i.e., the Ottoman Empire) played a major role in the Middle Ages by setting a barrier against the Mongol onslaught, defending the Islamic world against Crusaders and bringing an end to the Byzantine Empire.
When Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantines at Manzikert in 1071, it marked the start of Turkish supremacy in Anatolia and the final stab at Byzantine life. The Turks were the first people who invaded Anatolia completely. Romans and Persians had been happy with just establishing political control in the area, but the Turks migrated in thousands.
After 1150, the Seljuks waning power enabled the establishment of border states along the fringes of the empire. They acted as gazis, fighters for the faith of Islam and against the crusading infidels, protecting Palestine and Syria from Christians. The Seljuks of Anatolia were divided into three emirates, each one of them struggling for power.
When the mongols raided Anatolia in the 1260s the emirates fell into chaos and were divided into smaller areas ruled by beys.
In 1299, the first Ottoman principality was established in Anatolia by Osman Bey. In 1326, Orsan Bey captured Bursa and established the first Ottoman capital as well as taking the title of Sultan. Orsan can be seen as the real founder of the Ottoman state through his military and administrative organization.
This marked the beginning of an extraordinary legacy of conquest.
Over the century, the Turks steamrolled the peninsula, conquering everything in its way, forcing other Turkish tribes to bow to them, as well as getting the Byzantines down to their knees.
Constantinople was not considered worth the effort however, so the Turks just ignored it and sailed across the strait, capturing the unstable states of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia instead. The Ottoman advance seemed unstoppable when they defeated the finest Europe could spawn at the battle of Nicopolis, 1396.
But now, the Golden Horde awakened and showed that however inneficient they were, they could still pack a great punch.
Tamerlane and his mongols defeated Sultan Bayezid I at Ankara and completely overran the peninsula. Though Ottoman power was severely beaten, they quickly recovered, subjugated the rebellious European holdings and in 1453, they were so strong so that they could capture the city of Constantinople itself.
Mehmet II, later named the conqueror, moved the capital there, both to establish a base for his growing empire and to move the base of power away from the Beys. Under the reign of Bayezid II, the Ottomans continued their conquests and when Sultan Selim I rose to power, the Turks performed an amazing blitz move on the Mamelukes, capturing Cairo in 1512, adding the title of Caliph and annexing the realms of Egypt.

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Selim I "The Grim "

Selim was a man of very low moral, his succession was quite peculiar. In the ninth year of his reign, when he was preparing a war against the Safavids, he fell sick and died the same year in 1520.
Now, a new Sultan took the throne and was about to embark on a new series of conquest.....
Suleyman I was proclaimed Sultan and it showed immediately that he had great plans for the Empire.

The Persian war of 1520 - 1524
During the last months of Seilm I´s rule, the Ottoman Empire embarked on a war against Safavid Persia. The Safavids had aquired a large part of the Caucasus from Armenia to Daghestan and the Sultan, always eager to expand his realms began mobilizing his troops. The Persians had been humbled a few years before, in 1514, but now they had come back to full strength under their leader Ismail I. The war started with an Ottoman invasion of Kurdistan. Just as the province fell, Selim died and was succeeded by Suleyman. During the battles that followed the general Gazi Husrev was killed. Suleyman, not willing to sacrifice more generals to this war, did not allow any of them to leave Istanbul. Thus, the war was fought with low efficiency and high loss in men. Whenever a province had been taken, Ismail arrived from inner Persia to relieve it with his fifty-thousand man army. When the Turkish armies engaged the Safavid, they were slaughtered. This charade continued a few years until Suleyman was finished with certain domestic problems (described below). He now ordered his soldiers to force the Persians to the peace table with full force. The same year, Ismail surrendered, handing over Armenia and Kurdistan.

s10-suleyman1.jpg


The Mameluke Uprising, November 1520
The newly conquered lands of Egypt were ruled by the treacherous governor Canbirdi Ghazeli. He sought personal wealth and power and decided to reestablish the Mamelukes under his own rule. On November 10th, 1520, right during the war against Persia, he decided that now was the time to act. Together with a total army of about seventy-five thousand men, they began sieging the capital cities of Egypt still loyal to the Sultan. Suleyman had been prepared for this move and dispatched a large portion of his army to Egypt. The troublemakers were quickly subjugated and as a punishment Egypt was brought closer to the government.

The first Hungarian Campaign in 1526
A few days before the Ottoman invasion of Hungary, a chat was exchanged between the Elector of Brandenburg and the Hungarian king Janos Zapolya:
Hungary: "Janos I calls to the European rulers for support in the inevitable conflict with the heathen.."
The German reply came a few days later.
Brandenburg: "King Janos, the heathen turk is peaceful, why worry?"
Hungary seemed left out for the Turkish vulture. When an army bigger than anything Europe had seen before (about 180k) crossed the Hungarian line on December 12 1526, much of Europe was so scared of the Ottoman advance that they immediately joined arms with Janos. What had for Suleyman first been seen as an operation against Hungary and the Habsburg Karl V, had developed into a continental deal. *
Poland, Brandenburg, Venice, Austria, Hungary and France now stood before the Sultan. Suleyman was not afraid however and with his main army he advanced to the capital of Hungary, burning and capturing everything in his way. When he reached Maros, his troops were exhausted and moral struck. Now, the Ottomans commited the worst error of the entire campaign and an error that would doom the advance.
A lowly general had miscalculated the fortifications (probably through the haze of wine) of Eger, believing there was a giant hole in the wall. Before Suleyman managed to override the order, the entire army had lined up, ready to assault (read, i clicked the assault button before morale was up, something i do time and time again, when will i concentrate!). The assault failed, the army even more exhausted and low on morale and now something worse happened!
The main allied army had arrived on the scene, numbering some ten thousand less than the Turkish (the Turkish being about 80k in the province). With the Austrian leader von Frundsberg, they managed to throw the scared Ottoman army over.
With this loss, the Turks were pushed all the way back to the border in Serbia. Suleyman, acknowledging defeat, signed a status quo with Hungary, vowing to return again.

The second Hungarian war of 1533
After the slightly humiliating defeat back in 1526, Suleyman sat back to consilidate his holdings and build up for yet another push for Europe. This time he would not be denied what was his!
So when the Ottomans crossed the border yet again on the 1st of March, he delivered this message to Janos:
In the name of Swubbly Dubbly!
And all that is pinkish green!
Poopie on you!
Obviously, this was a coded message, but as the messenger had lost the code, he told it to Janos in this way, causing the effect to severely deepen. Whoever could come up with this message must surely come from hell!

With Janos himself low on morale, the Turks advanced faster and faster and soon they were at the gates of Eger again, this time capturing it within days as well as completely eliminating a Hungarian army of fourty thousand man outside Pest. The European help was nowhere in sight and Karl V was the only one coming to the aid of Janos. This time he didnt have the feared Frundsberg however and when he met Suleyman on the plains of Hungary, his armies were severely beaten before he managed to withdraw. The cavalry hordes of the Empire had no equal. Hungary had fallen, the last bastion of Christian hope lying in Vienna.....

*Actually, i and Duke had agreed on a "restricted war", where only Austria and Hungary was allowed to be in. His later response was that the additional countries had "chosen to be in". Well, this choosing erupted the continent into a larger war than what was supposed to. Not very much in the spirit of the game and a minus in Dukes evaluation!

NOTE: About the first hungarian war. I did lots of mistakes then. Like having a VERY bad army combo. Too much cav made it impossible to assault. The delay the Persian war gave me gave Austria enough time, she even annexed Bohemia!
Well, the inflation gained from the first war was gone in the next thanks to an exceptional year :D
 

Wyvern

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France - the early years


Many have wondered at the mysterious series of events that took place during the years 1521 and 1527 kabetween the kingdoms of France and Spain. What was the cause of their conflict? Why did King Carlos of Spain sign the treaty of Milano leaving the eastern branch of his family to stand or fall on their own? As I reach my final years I find this sad tale must be told, for posterity’s sake and my own peace of mind. It is a story of a clash of nations, of treacherous kidnapping and daring escapes and a final understanding between men of greatness. You can question the validity of this tale but I know its truth for I was there my friend at the turning of the tide and saw these events unfold before my eyes.

It was a cold day as I joined my King outside the city walls. The Duke of Lorraine had been penned in and his forces scattered. The King greeted me in his usual penetrating way, he had a keen eye and knew I was troubled. “The Habsburg’s are marching my liege” I quietly informed him, in this our worst fears had come true. It had been a gamble from the start this venture, a test as much as anything of the new Archduke’s mettle following his acquiescence to Venetian expansion. At the time it had seemed a gamble worth taking, now it looked to have failed.

Surprisingly the King did not appear fazed, perhaps he took this turn of events as a fresh challenge, something new to pit his eminent will and ability against, but if the King did not worry I worried in spades as I considered the dire implications for our realm.

Some might say King Francois was a man inclined to rash, perhaps even foolish acts, I prefer to think that he was just more willing to risk himself and his followers for the greater goal and good of his people. War had come to him, a war that pitted half of Europe against his kingdom and the only way he could likely survive it would be to arrange a peace with at least some of his combatants.

That representatives of Carlos I of Spain were willing to meet him so readily should have been a warning of sorts, yet as I say Francois was not a cautious man and one did not expect treachery in those days when surrounded by heralds. We had been driven from the province of Lorraine on the very eve of victory, our army was in retreat though not beaten. Couriers arrived each day to tell of Spanish forces arriving in the south of the country in ever greater numbers and a large force from the lowlands was descending on our position. Throughout those first few months we were pursued by the Spanish and Austrian forces relentlessly across northern France. Our men fought bravely enough and our commander Pierre Bayard, held them together well enough, but the enemy was skilful and bold in those early days and it seemed we were ever on the defensive. Finally when news reached us of the fall of Milano to Spanish forces the King declared he had had enough. An exchange of heralds followed and Francois agreed to parley with the Spanish commander, the Duke of Alba.

Such a man I hope never to encounter again, at first he seemed the epitome of gentlemanly conduct and I was disinclined to pin the subsequent events upon his shoulders, it was only what I learnt later that showed the true character of this man. It might surprise people that such an act of treachery could have the consequences it did, yet from such sparks do the fates conspire to reach out and shape our world, unfurling them in ways mere mortals could not imagine nor predict. I hope the Duke appreciated the irony of it when the Act played out to its conclusion.

The King met the Spanish commander and his representatives under flag of truce, yet it was clear from the outset that peace was not on Alba’s mind, it was no surprise therefore when our party departed soon after with nothing resolved. Perhaps I should have been suspicious then how swiftly communication broke down yet all I could feel was sadness that the conflict would continue on. That we would come under attack soon after, before we had even reached our lines was a different matter and one that was unheard of. The men were dressed as Austrians though I now know that a trick, a subterfuge if you will to hide from us the enormity of this betrayal. Our numbers were not great and our guards quickly cut down, I feared my own life and that of the King, yet in the end it became clear that such a black act was not on the minds of these men.

During the brief yet bitter fighting I took a blow to the head that left me senseless. Why they didn’t kill me as I lay there unmoving I know not. Perhaps they missed me in the undergrowth and were too afraid to linger or perhaps they just didn’t care, but whatever the reason I was left alive and able to return to our forces and tell of the sad deed.

We returned to the site with trackers soon after, the trail was not hard to follow for the enemy soldiers had beaten a clear path eastwards toward the Austrian lines. Only the skill of Geraud our lead tracker spotted where the group of three horses split off from the main band heading back towards the Spanish lines.

... to be continued ...
 
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Peter Ebbesen

the Conqueror
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Tales of the Rus: Chapter I, "The Vodka Principle"

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- Being an exposition of the reign of Vasily III -
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Summary: Vodka is produced. A metropolitan complains. An emperor responds. A metropolitan is chastened. Diplomacy with neighbours is attempted. A neighbour is ignored. Diplomacy is attempted. Another neighbour is ignored. A war is joined. A metropolitan applauds. A war is won. A metropolitan complains. A metropolitan complains severely. A metropolitan is beheaded by mistake. An emperor chastens a guard. A guard is promoted. A war is declared. A metropolitan applauds. An emperor bites the dust.



January 1526, a Dark Cave Near Novgorod

[Present: Vasily III, Tsar of all the Russians, a metropolitan, an unnamed guard captain, his troop of 20 men, an impromptu crowd 400 peasants rounded up by the aformentioned troop to provide an appreciative audience.]

And thus, as your God-appointed Tsar, it is my great pleasure to present the very first state run Vodka enterprise, which will be but the first of many to slake the first of you, my people, the people of Russia. The Vodka will be sold under the Bear label. The first product is the Vasily Bear, named for my illustrious ancestor, Vasilly.

[The crowd applauds]

Prices will, of course, be reasonable and fair.

[The crowd applauds. The metropolitan rolls his eyes]

For too long have the unwashed masses had to suffer inferior products, made in the sweat of the brows of the greedy buggers

Burghers, your majesty. Surely you mean burghers?

Them too. My people! I have hear in my hand a letter from the Metropolitan of Moscow, stating that the Church SUPPORTS the Bear label! Do not be deceived by inferior products, but drink the straight Orthodox Vodka.

I mean, one is a solid member of the middle class, the other a rascal or a sodomite. As your metropolitan, I really should point out that there is a significant difference

Oh, you know that from personal experience, do you? Know what I mean, know what I mean. Nudge, nudge. You can confide in your Tsar, you know.

[The crowd applauds. The guards snigger and make explicit rude gestures. The metropolitan turns bright red]

No, no, do not answer that one today, metropolitan, you can tell me gomorrah.

[The crowd applauds. The guards burst out laughing. The guard captain attempts to restore order. The metropolitan has a fit]

Well, sod him then. Let's get stinking drunk! CAPTAIN, evict those layabouts! Shouldn't they be working at this time of the day?

[The peasants are evicted, drinks are distributed, and pandemonium ensues. Royal dignity is in short supply]



1520'ies, From the Master of Records

Draft #1
...To the ruler of Sweden, the humble Master of Records, servant of Vasily III, Tsar of all the Russians, sends greetings. It has come to the attention of my Imperial Master that you are laying claims to the fair ugric provinces of the far North. This has much aggrieved my Imperial Master, whose wisdom, courage, and eloquence is legendary. He says, and I quote, "Tell the silly bugger to bugger off on the horse he rode in on, or I'll gather the army, raze the Finnish fortifications, rape his women, mutilate his cattle, send out the peasants to make crop circles all over Sweden proper, and subject that silly bugger Gustav Vasa to such a big anal probe that he will never sit down again. And I'll do it twice."

Draft #9
...To the ruler of Sweden, the humble Master of Records, servant of Vasily III, Tsar of all the Russians, sends greetings. It has come to the attention of my Imperial Master that you are laying claims to the fair ugric provinces of the far North. This has much aggrieved my Imperial Master, whose wisdom, courage, and eloquence is legendary. He says, and I quote, "Blast and bebother. Tell the arrogant bugger to bugger off on the horse he rode in on, or bugger it, for all I care, just so long as he does it somewhere private, or I'll gather the army and BURN Finland to the ground and sow it with salt that none may prosper. Damn, it's cold. It's always cold, isn't it? Finland is cold too, and Soggy. BUT THAT WILL NOT STOP ME! Ha! If Finland is too soggy, I'll pull out the plug and sink it!"

Draft #241
...To the ruler of Sweden, the humble Master of Records, servant of Vasily III, Tsar of all the Russians, sends greetings. It has come to the attention of my Imperial Master that you are laying claims to the fair ugric provinces of the far North. This has much aggrieved my Imperial Master, whose wisdom, courage, and eloquence is legendary. He is displeased at the very notion, but is prepared to spare you a stinging retort that would utterly demoralize your corrupt court with its beauty and inherent truth due to his fabled kindness and forebearance.



1520'ies, From the Master of Records

...To the fairly-good king Zygmunt I of Poland, the humble Master of Records, chief servant of Vasily III, he who is as a father to all the Rus, sends greetings. It has come to the attention of my Imperial Master that you believe yourself entitled to certain lands in Southern Russia inherited by Lithuanian tax-dodgers, ruffians, and the other sort of human refuse that Lithuania is so well-known for. Feel free to advance an offer for the good lands. The serfs come who have squatted in the area come free of charge, and if they are not to your liking, they can be slain. In a humanitarian fashion, naturally. The mines are always in need of workers..... My Imperial Master has undertaken a thorough study of the issues of international trade. As all men know, grain is the very basis of trade. Without grain, horses sicken and die, and even the cities can be affected. Oh, the serfs complain that they starve and die as well when grain is short, but serfs are used to starving, and that is their lot in this life according to the metropolitan of Moscow, according to whom they will be well rewarded in the kingdom of God. As such it is the wish of my Imperial Master that a trade agreement between the kingdom of Poland and the Empire of Russia be signed the better to ensure an uninterrupted supply of grain... In other news, he sends word to his cousin, Zygmunt I, that the Polish wife supplied to his cousin Count Ruskomsnovskii is big with child - possibly even the Count's - so that is a "thumb's up", to quote my Imperial Master. My Imperial Master also urges his cousin to slow down the Catholic missionary activity on the border. It is inflaming passions and the metropolitan of Moscow is thundering against the Poles on a weekly basis now. Due to the fragile political situation after the minor political crisis of 1523, the metropolitan's support is needed. If this unrestricted missionary activity continues, it may prove necessary to burn a couple of Catholic villages on the border to satisfy the Metropolitan.



May 21st, 1530, Lugansk Province

My fellow soldiers! I have here in my hand a letter from the subhuman bastard of Crimea, countersigned by the ineffectual incompetent of Georgia, our beloved alliance leader, that your sacrifices for the crown of Georgia has not been in vain. For two years we have fought a grueling campaign against Crimea to save Georgia from their vicious attack, in due accordance with the warnings and guarantees made by the court, suffering thousands of casualties, hardships, and bad weather. Under my wise leadership, we have occupied Lugansk, Azow, Crimea, and Kerch and beaten the mighty armies of the Crimea. Now, I know that some of you were hoping to retire in a port on the black sea, and, indeed, our gains would have seemed to justify such an expectation. To those I say: Tough luck. Our glorious alliance leader decided to halt the war and, for your incredible efforts, Lugansk has now joined the Empire of Russia!

Now, I know that the metropolitan, once such a staunch supporter of this just war, has some been in close contact with the Georgian clergy and has long been the strongest Russian voice in the Georgian court, but please do not think that it is his fault the way things turned out. Despite his CLOSE connections both spiritually and economically with the Georgian court, nobody has ever suggested that he is to blame for this outcome. Indeed, you must remember that he is a man of God, and too much religion tends to make a man soft in the head, if you know what I mean, so do not take too much heed of any hypothetical criticism of your Imperial Master, i.e. me, that he might offer. He is a right pain in the ass sometimes, but he has a hard job, and someone's gotta do it.



August 9th, 1530, Palace of the Tsar

That went down rather well, all things considered. The soldiers were right mad, and it is hard to blame them, really. Wish it were as easy to deal with the nobles.

Indeed, Tsar. So instead of blaming them, you blamed me.

Who tells such lies!? Never would I blame you for this abject failure. I am sure it is the will of God.

Pardon me, my Tsar, but the will of God is MY province. Kindly render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto me what is mine.

Actually, I thought the second half had to do about rendering unto God, and, no offense, metropolitan, but God you are not.

Do you MOCK the Lord!

Not really, but for all practical purposes, I am Caesar. I am the Tsar of all the Russians. Surely, you must have heard the title? Wheras you, no offense meant, is mereley an obnoxious kinsman of mine who happens to have grown just a little too glad about having his fat bum planted squarely in the Orthodox Church. And, not to put it too bluntly, I have hordes of obnoxious kinsmen. You really are not all that unique.

Blasphemy! My heart belongs to the good lord and the mother Church while my head and its keen and incisive mind is always ready on the state's behalf! Do not mock me - I have powerful friends

Not again. Having one of your fits, are you? It is at times like this that I think the ancients were right: Either unite the religious duties under the ruler, i.e. me, or separate church from state.

You are intolerable Vasilly! You always were, even as a child. Do you still drown puppies for the kicks, you stupid wanker? I always told aunty that I would have a better Tsar than you, but did she listen? Separation of Church and State? Pah, such is impossible. It can not be. Unthinkable. Let me demonstrate! You there, Guard!

Yo! metropolitan?

Yo!? I want your name, guard, you are going into the black book

Brutus, Sir. Big Bad Brutus. Also known as BB Brutus.

As a true son of the Church, answer this truly, that the Tsar may see the folley of his speech: Pray tell me, is it possible to separate Church from State?]

That is an interesting question, your metropolitanship. Already the ancient Greeks studied this question and under the early Roman Empire it became a dominant issue between the state gods and the upstart gods of newly conquered areas. Assimilation worked well in all but one case. In later years, noted scholars investigating these issues have focused rather more on the issue of free will.... But I digress. Yes, indeed, Separation of Church and state is possible, at least locally

Ah, an intellectual. I should have known. Pray demonstrate the "local" solution, guard

Please do, guard. I am curious as to your solution.

SWIIISH
CHOP
PLOP


My Tsar. The body of the church has now been separated from the head of the state, and my statement shown to hold true by empirical evidence.

Except, of course, that the experiment cannot be verified easily. Sloppy logic, my man.

Indeed, my Tsar. I apologise profusely. I throw myself on your mercy. I kiss your feet! I lick your boots! I wipe your august royal ass!

Enough. You are clearly overqualified for your current job. Consider yourself promoted. You, my guard, are the new metropolitan of Moscow. Now, hop along, and get the Church in order.

Thank you, great Imperial Master! Thank you very much indeed! We wish you would be a bit more deferential to the representative of the Church, though, in these impious times. Consider the state of your mortal soul. And you can wave the ass-wiping and boot-licking goodbye. That's beneath the dignity of the metropolitan.

Et tu, Brute.



May 23rd, 1533, Army Camp in Ryazan

So it is like this, officers. The Astrakhani cretins have been insulting my mother, and, by inference, all of your mothers as she is MY mother and hence the mother of all of Russia, if you know what I mean, and I am sure that you do. So we are going to take these here formations of soldiers and sort of stuff them into Astrakhan until there is no opposition left. It should be over with in a snap, and we'll have the boys home for Christmas. Yes, Orthodox Christmas, of course. What did you expect?

As usual, Georgia will be the leader of any alliance-wide negotiations, which means that time is of the essence. The bastard midget of Georgia is likely to cut us out in the peace resolution otherwise.

But remember your job. Avenge the slight to your honour and work diligently to support our Imperial Title as Tsar of ALL teh Russians, not "Tsar of some of the Russians, excepting those to the east". Just doesn't sound as good, really, and one thing is for sure, to be immortalised in word and song, I need publicity and grandeur, and you fellows are the one's who will buy that prize for me with your heart's blood. Just like in the good old days.

Now, with fire in your blood, let us raise the banner on high and go there and slay them. They'll never know what hit them. God bless us - there are none like us!
 
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Wyvern

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France - 1520 to 1533, the tale continues...


It was many days before we received confirmation that the king was alive. The Duke of Alba was proclaiming that Francois had been captured in honest battle and our spies now reported that the King was being taken back to Madrid with all haste. Gathering together a group of hardy men, men who would not stand out as foreigners, I set off in pursuit.

For many days we tracked them yet always they remained one step ahead. Slowly we trudged over the Pyrenees using little known trails to hide our passage, hiring guides from the bands of bandits when necessary and picking up the enemy party on the other side. After many weeks they finally reached their destination, Madrid, capital of the united Kingdom of Spain. My heart was heavy as we watched the party pass beyond the city gates and seemingly beyond out of reach.

For days we waited, occasionally entering the city looking for news. A scrap of gossip, some proclamation as to the Spanish King’s intention, anything to give us hope. We had not come ill prepared and some of our own agents operated within the city so that after a time we felt ready to spread around some bribes and see what could be discovered.

The King was being held in a small but luxurious villa as befitted his station. It seemed he was being treated with every courtesy, better perhaps than could have been hoped for an enemy monarch captured during war. Our bribery though did not extend to the loftier heights of office nor cover what exactly went on when the King was led away to the Palace for what seemed to be increasingly regular meetings with Carlos I and his advisors.

Events were clearly mounting though. With the absence of the King reports from France were becoming increasingly desperate as local commanders failed to take the initiative and instead stood around, at best merely holding their positions. The only ray of hope lay with Pierre Bayard who continued to hold the army together. At length I decided the situation had reached the point where some truly desperate action was called for. With the King a prisoner I knew France was vulnerable to the worst possible sort of peace being forced upon her, it was time therefore to try and break out the king. If captured all our lives would be forfeit and perhaps even that of the King endangered yet I knew the King would approve.

Over a number of days we all slowly crept into the city one by one so as not to arouse suspicion. At around a dozen of us we stayed at various inns or with the more trustworthy of our agents. The visits of the king to the Palace were taking on a more regular and predictable pattern. The Spaniards were growing lax in their duties never fearing attack from within their midst. As they escorted Francois back to his residence on one such pale evening we descended upon them from out of the shadows. Grabbing hold of the king’s horse I vaulted onto the back and sped him away through the street, the others would delay the Spanish soldiers as long as they could yet I knew few would live to tell the tale. I prayed only that any that were captured would be treated with mercy. On we sped towards the city gates, half way there we met up with Fulk holding two horses at the ready onto which we quickly changed throwing a dark cloak over the kings shoulders at the same time that his presence should not stand out.

On we then rode at a canter down the darkening cobbled streets, I prayed to the virgin Mary every moment that our bribery of the men at the gates would hold, with a sigh of relief they came into view, the great wooden timbers still propped open. The faint sound of trumpets blaring could now be heard from behind but I dared not slow to take a look. Digging in my heels for one last spurt we both burst through the gates and out into the surrounding country whilst the soldiers continued to mill about in confusion, still not sure of what was going on. I thought briefly of the fate that awaited those men when our bribery was discovered but I soon put such thoughts away. The main thing was that Francois was free yet half of Spain still lay before us and the distant safety of France. Should we head for the border with all speed or take a more unexpected route?

I had thought much on this before mounting the rescue. A journey back through the Pyrennes would be fraught with danger not just from the Kings men who would be roaming the countryside but from the equal danger of bandits in the hills and mountain passes. We had traversed though those mountains with a well armed group of men, there would be barely a handful of us making the return trip bearing a prize far outweighing anything a bandit chieftain could possibly dream of. When they heard the news from Madrid as they surely would they would be equally if not more of a danger to us than King Carlos’ men.

I resolved therefore to take Francois west towards the neutral kingdom of Portugal. I had left two men outside the city ready with supplies for the journey and fresh cloths for the king, cloths that would allow him to blend in. These two then departed north leaving a clear trail that we hoped the Spanish would follow whilst the King and I set off on the perilous journey west. We put as much distance as we between ourselves and Madrid that night, travelling by moonlight and trusting to the lord to guide our step in the dark when all sensible travel should have stopped for the night. We risked the horses on worn trails and stony paths knowing that by first light the pursuit would begin in earnest and we must be well away if we hoped to escape.

As the sun began to come up over the horizon, dazzling us with its brilliance and banishing the sleep from our eyes we beheld a scene of glory. The hills stretched out before us sparkling like burnished gold in the morning light. Drops like diamonds hanging down from branch and tree before the morning dew was slowly burnt away. On we travelled throughout the morning until the heat became unbearable and our mounts began to stumble. Finding some sheltering trees we cobbled the horses feeding them fresh grain before slumping down to sleep off the afternoon heat.

So we travelled on each day. At Cebreros we picked up fresh mounts as I had pre-arranged, so far keeping us one step ahead of news of our escape. On we journeyed the days passing into weeks as we carefully worked our way across the Spanish countryside. We kept away from the more populous centres skirting Salamanca and finally crossing the border into Portugal one fine clear evening in the autumn of 1522.

By the time we reached the port of Porto we had heard news that the Spanish King had called off his hunt. Francois had already told me that Carlos I of Spain was less than happy with his Duke’s actions in France. As we rested and partook of the hospitality of the Portuguese the first Spanish diplomats awaited us proposing an offer that whilst still harsh was not unwontedly so and would allow both Kings to redeem honour in each others eyes as well as those of the world. So it was that the treaty of Milano came about.

King Francois ceded the city and its environs to the Spanish king and in return Carlos of Spain left Francois to pursue his war against the Duke of Lorraine and the interfering Austrians without further hindrance. When the Austrians heard of this the fight went out of them, withdrawing from Lorraine and agreeing the Duchy could become a French vassal. Revenge was very much in the air however and the Archduke immediately sent his armies against the French ally Savoy, occupying her cities and forcing the Duke to break allegiance to France and swear fealty to the Emperor.

Francois was enraged at this betrayal, was this how the Austrians acted to peace he asked? In one of the few times when I saw anger overcome his judgement Francois ordered the Duchy of Lorraine annexed into the greater realm of France and the Duke imprisoned! Let the Austrians stew on that before trying such a stunt again.

Words of peace continued to come from Carlos of Spain, and Francois was keen to mend fences with his neighbour. His time in Madrid had given him time to reflect upon the course he wanted his country to take, tales of the wealth coming in the from the New World intrigued him and he was keen to send out his own expeditions to map out the northern continent that rumours said existed north of the Spanish and Portuguese discoveries.

Wars in Europe still held everyone’s attention though, the Turk was brandishing his sword in Constantinople preparing for a sweep north. Hungary was calling for Christian help and Carlos of Spain was keen to heal the wounds of conflict between the Habsburg family and France. Mediating between Francois and the Austrians it was finally agreed that France would release Lorraine as a vassal, restoring the Duke to his seat whilst Austria would withdraw her influence and presence from Savoy. With such matters resolved, Francois agreed to send a force of 27,000 men to aid the Habsburg’s in the war everyone knew was coming to Hungary.

In the event French help proved to be unnecessary. The army marched and provided some aid during the dying days of the war in Croatia, but for all intents and purposes victory had already been won by the time the French army arrived. Disease and depravation were rampant however during the march and casualties were still heavy during the last days fighting and so it was that only 12,000 men returned to France, journeying from the Venitian port of Dalmatia rather than risking another long march over the Italian Alps.

To cement the new friendship between the Habsburg’s and France following the victory in Hungary, Francois agreed to renounce the French claims in Italy over Milano and Apulia. With peace in Europe settled the New World beckoned.
 

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Confidential Report on 1520-1532 Wealth and (not) Related Talks…

Portugal, 1533

…Duke of Lisboa delivering the confidential information on European wealth to His Majesty King Joaô III…

Your Majesty, here is the full report on European wealth I mentioned to you yesterday. You can see Portugal is not so bad.

wealth-1520-1532.jpg


I can see that form this? How exactly? Could you clarify it a bit, my friend? After all, I appointed you to take care about treasury and economy.

Right. You did put this heavy burden :D on my weak shoulders…
Well, it’s the year-by-year wealth you can see there. Wealth being the total income of your Kingdom except military maintenance costs, which are excluded. Basically, it’s the money you can use for whatever you like: science and research, colonisation, infrastructure like manufactories or tax collectors, hiring of additional soldiers, building new ships, organising royal hunting, ….

Royal hunting? We haven’t had that for quite some time…

True, Your Majesty, but instead we financed new expeditions to chart new seas and discover new land, we colonised a lot of new provinces, developed more than a few new cities. We also appointed tax collectors in every single one of them, surely you are happy because of that!

Well, yes….But royal hunting…

You are right Your Majesty…But let’s proceed with the analyses of the graph, shall we please?
You must notice the steady growth of the Portuguese wealth. The last two years are the exceptions really, caused by our war against Bengal. As soon as this is over we will be even richer than before with Ganges centre of trade as the sixth under the control of mine…er…Your Majesty’s Portuguese Trading Company.

Yes, your figures are nice, but look at our neighbours – they are more than twice as wealthy as we are L. And France and those infidels from Ottoman Empire are as rich as we are!

Well, your majesty, that unfortunately is true. And the situation is even much worse: Ottoman Empire would be even more wealthy if it wasn’t that HUGE army they are maintaining.

Yes, I see now why you always say wars are a tricky business… But also fun… And without royal hunting…

Very well, Your Majesty, WE WILL ORGANISE THE DAMN ROYAL HUNTING! But remember we have a lot expenses planned for the following few years…The Pope and his inquisition and his Jesuits…Perhaps we could…Yes, that could be the answer: we will organise that hunting and invite His “Hollowness” Cardinal Deeppocketeri, Pope’s treasurer - I hear he again has some problems explaining the sorrow state of the treasury :D. Perhaps it will be cheaper than expected…a gift to him personally and a small loan should suffice…
But let’s leave it for now. I was talking about wars and their bad influence on the economy: the expenses are so high that even additional war taxes can't cover them, and than there is the most dangerous consequence - high inflation...

Additional taxes? Togeather with war?! What’s bad with that? We should do it too!

But my Lord, our citizens wouldn’t like it. It’s only a small fraction of our income anyway, we are concentrated on trade… No, that's not the ansver for Portugal!

Hmmm...If you think so...

Yes, Your Majesty, we will find a way, leave everything to me…

Leave it to you? Ha! There is one more obvious source of income for our treasury you seem to have missed – yeah, right, leave it to you…
Look at Denmark and Sweden. They did it!… Why are you looking at me that way? Do you think I don’t know anything about economy? You better think twice :D.
Portugal should do the same as Denmark and Sweden – do…that…whatever they did! Immediately!


Your Majesty, as I said, better leave economical matters to me. And perhaps some other political issues you know…less…about? Denmark and Sweden ABANDON OUR HOLLY CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CONFISCATED CHURCH PROPERTIES – that’s the source of their income in 1530! Your Royal Highness, are you absolutely sure Portugal should do the same and do it immediately? :)

Hmm…er…oh, is it already so late? My beloved queen is surely waiting for me in the gardens! Do as we agreed, my dear Duke, I leave everything to your capable hands. You won’t let me down, I am sure…Not with your share in all Portuguese sources of income anyway.
 
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ENGLAND between 1520 - 1533: Newly Found Lands

Prologue:

The Tower of London, January 1520:

A thought ran through my had, as I was climbing down the stairs that night, I really should not have left the court of my beloved Buda…. …….. If only I could have persuaded Lajos II, King of Hungary not to regard the peasants as enemies, but rather as important allies against the Turks, but I have failed…………… Dózsa’a entire army consisting of 70.000 peasant was executed, hi himself brutally tortured and than torn into four parts. I became disgusted with the Hungarian Nobility, could they not see that a dark cloud was forming in the South???…………at that very moment someone grabbed my shoulder and said ”Still thinking about the past mate?” I turned around and saw my old friend Kalpeti smiling down at me. “Six years have passed since then. Let it pass, You can not live in the past forever….. What did the King say anyway?…. “Who?.. Oh, You mean King Henry” I replied rather silly “Well, I managed to persuade him this time, but I am not sure whether I will be able to do so next time. He is getting more and more frustrated as time passes” I heard his words echoing through my head once again:.

hank8.jpg
Henry VIII of England

earlier that night: [/B

“Enough, I want to divorce here, she does not please me anymore, ....”
“But Sire, she is the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, aunt of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor...”
“So what? She has failed to provide me with a heir...... she is cursed, just take a look at her sister Joanna, she is completely insane, her blood is cursed....”
“Sire, I really would not like to question Your judgement, but this comes at a most unpleasant time. We have no allies, our army is scattered throughout our realm, and our hated enemies, those barbarians in the north would not waste a second to invade our northern provinces if they could….”
“Hah, let them come, we will beat them again, they seem to forget what happened back at Flodden Field.”
“Sire, this time would be different, they have powerful allies on the Continent, the King of France and….”
“Who? That pathetic Francesca, who did not win a single battle in his life?
“…..ahm, You mean Francois my Lord…”.
“Whatever, let them come…” the King jumped up, his face was full of pride and glory, he did not resemble himself at all, it seemed to me that he was driven by an unknown spirit to me at that point, he started to mumble slowly, raising his voice steadily:
“We shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air,
We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be,
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
We shall fight in the fields, and in the streets,
We shall fight in the hills;
We shall never surrender!!!”
I was stunned, I have not seen King Henry this way before, it was a turning point in my life. At that moment I knew, I had to serve this man, this kind of passion, this kind of strength I have never experienced before. (Although I admit, that due to my still limited knowledge of English, I did not quiet understand the references he made to “strength in the air” nor the one concerning “the landing grounds”) My heart was strong and I knew I could persuade King Henry, as it was in the very best interest of his country. And so I did. He promised to give Catherine of Aragon another chance, and due to Kalpeti's [/B] and my good relations, England was secured, as we entered the strong alliance consisting of Austria, Spain and Portugal. This turned out to be a decisive decision for the fate of England. The war was on the brink to erupt.

To be continued………..
 
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Slargos

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A Righteous wAAR of liberation

*Somewhere in Dalarna. Winter, 1520*
*Young Gustav Eriksson Vasa, horrified at the danish atrocities being commited throughout the country, attempts to rally the people to his cause. It is not working aswell as he had imagined*

"Huff. Puff. Damned peasants. Will not support me in righteous liberation.. Huff.. Maybe in Norway... eh.. huff.."
*Gustav hastens from danish pursuit on Ski. As we all know, Danes can't ski for shit and are easily lost thus*

*Local skiing champs Engelbrekt and Lars catch up to the would-be king*
"Gustav! Håll opp! Thet äro daghs att wända om igen ock bekämpe de danske pultroner! J haver dalkarlarnas liff och blodh!"
*Translation: "Stop. Let's turn around and go kick some Danish ass. Ehh.. Eeeh.. waddayasay... Come on. You know you want to. Addaboy."*

*Mora. Summer, 1521*
*Gustav is proclaimed heir apparent to the throne. The mountainmen of Dalarna are not happy with Christian the Tyrant and will support Gustav. Everyone else is afraid of these guys, and will fall in line presently*

Lawman of Västergötland: "... so it becomes clear that in times such as these, the unjust rule of an oppresive prince must be cast away. Our champion, Gustav Eriksson will be the new rikshövitsman!"
*Translation: "You beat us fair and square. All hail to the King, baby!"*

Gustav: "Excellent..."

*Småland. Spring, 1523*

Gustav: "Lars. I know you're technically the commander here, but I'm your King. I will lead the troops into combat. I would kill some danes."
Lars Eriksson: "Milord. Will all due respect. You know very well, that besides the will of God, you are the tiny peg on which the wellfare of Sweden hangs. Verily, it would be better if your entire army lost the use of their necks, than if you did."
Gustav: "Very well, Lars. Make me proud out there."

*Småland. Spring, 1523*
*Memorial service for Lars Eriksson*

Gustav: "Well, Lars. It seems your prediction was as fortuitous as it was true. All of the army DID lose their heads. Nevertheless, I am still here, fighting the good fight. Your memory will not be forgotten very soon. As for me, no more fighting.. Von Mehlen shall do his thing."

*Stockholm. Spring, 1524*

Messenger: "M'lud! The danes! They are willing to sign the peace treaty!"
Gustav: "Eexxcellent."
 

unmerged(11031)

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An English AAR.

Europe was growing more turbulent, Protestantism was spreading across the land and while the great conflicts between the Turks and the Habsburgs had seemed to be settled, not in Christendom’s favour, new areas of conflict were growing, Northern Germany was growing into a major point of contention and more importantly, from our perspective, the French were making claims on Calais, that last remnants of our Greatness in Europe. Our Lord Henry was also having problems on the domestic front, Protestantism was spreading throughout the English part of his domain, and his attempts to produce an heir with Catherine of Aragon had failed, no male heir had been born, only a daughter, Mary and while she was loved greatly by her father, a woman could not rule, at least that’s what Henry believed.

A new advisor had risen to prominence, Thomas Cromwell, and he whispered in Henry’s ear. ‘Turn to Protestantism my Lord. The North has done it, Denmark and Sweden have become Protestants and no harm has befallen them, they had in fact gained greatly in wealth and Power. If we were protestant, then you can get rid of Catherine, no hope of a Male Heir is there, there!’ Henry at length listened to Cromwell’s whispers and took the great gambit and split from the Bishop of Rome, citing that the Pope would give him no divorce; therefore he would remove him from Britain!

Having converted to Protestantism, Henry began a grand plan. He would expand the holdings of the English in the New World, and more importantly he would bring the nation to Protestantism and strength the ties with our fellow Protestants. A royal marriage was arranged with Denmark and some attempts were made to improve relations with the other Protestant Power, Sweden, but nothing was heard from them and the attempt was only half hearted anyway.

While attempting to improve our economic might, Henry had to face the problems of an increasing powerful France. France offered to buy Calais from England a number of times during Henry’s wise reign, saying that us English were punishing Catholics, when all the world knew that we the English treated Catholics as well as we did our own Protestant people! We politely refused them, knowing full well that their claims to Calais were groundless while at the same time increasing the navy’s strength and numbers.

Henry’s death in 1547 left England in a perilous state. While we were stronger then we had been since during the Hundred Years War, we also were facing an aggressive France, who demanded Calais. It was decided by the council to stall the French for as many years as possible, citing Edwards minority as a reason Calais could not be sold, could they not wait until he reached his majority before such a momentous decision could be made?

The plan seemed to work, The French backed off somewhat and did not press their claim, though a French army was seen on the borders of Calais. However, Edward never got to make a decision, either Ye, or Nay, for he died in 1553, which resulted in a brief power struggle with Northumberland and Mary, our lord Henry’s daughter, which Mary easily won.

Mary was devote Catholic, yet she was also a realist. She knew that it would take time to bring Catholicism to the English, so she made Catholicism the most favoured religion in England, yet still allowed the Protestants their rights and powers. Despite the pressure from her Husband, Philip of Spain and the Pope, she knew that the best way to bring her fellow English round was gradually. She had years aplenty to do so.

However French aggression knew no bounds as it threatened us with war over Calais. How could we English surrender our precious soil to the hated French aggressor? Mary appealed to her Husband Philip for aid, but her pleas fell on death ears, Mary even offered to the French that she would speed up her religious plans and bring the English back into the catholic flock before the English were ready, hence removing Henri, lord of France, pretext of war, but to no avail. The French declared war upon us.

In the colonies the English were amazingly successful, our fleet of 3 ships routed a large French navy twice, before the fleet was reinforced by the main Colonial English fleet, and despite a slight set back, all of France’s Northern colonies were conquered.

However, in France, our armies were not so lucky. An attempt to conquer some of the French mainland failed and the French conquered Calais after a nasty siege. Knowing that the army was not strong enough to take Calais back, Mary regretfully signed a treaty with France, surrendering Calais. This defeat broke Mary’s heart and despite her other successes, with explorers learning more about the New World and other explorers heading to the Land of the Rus and also looking for a way to India via the East, Mary died of a broken heart in 1558.

England is now at a cross-roads. The last child of Henry, Elizabeth rules on the English throne, and has done so for little more then 6 months, yet the signs are there that she will lead us to greatness. Already under her rule we have untied all the British Isles under a single crown, but now the decision is this. Do we attempt to regain our position in France? Do we focus on the New World? Or do we make a grab for India? Only time will tell….
 

ForzaA

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apparently i forgot to post my Hungarian AAR (very short though :( )



only the dead have seen the end of war..
-Plato

Hungary, 1520-1533

in 1520, Hungary was to face the greatest threat to her existence ever. Fortunately, Hungarian diplomats had been able to gather support from all over Europe, although some of the Electors were doubtfull about this "threat".. Their words were soon contradicted by the flood of Infidels storming over the Hungarian-Ottoman border.

Of these years only few documents remain however, as most documents concerning this period were either lost during the siege of Eger, or were later burnt on orders of the Infidel sultan, to cover up that they were forced to retreat in the first War of Hungary..

From what remains we can gather that Hungary put effort into training its cavalry and officer corps [OOC: +1 Ari twice] and that this aggraveted some people, although one can only wonder why.

little was done to improve the Hungarian economy, although some efforts were made to improve the infrastructure in Croatia, this only to be undone by corrupt administrators...
It is known that neither Lajos nor Zrinyi fell before the Turk, but Janos the First, the only hope of Hungary in the Second Hungarian War, fell in battle, still awaiting messengers to report the Polish advance....
in 1533, all hope was lost, and Hungary ceased to exist as a separate entity.
 

Wyvern

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France 1533 – 1559

1533

Francois has begun looked across the vast ocean to the west. I can see his time of imprisonment in Madrid has had a telling effect, all he talks about now is mounting our own expeditions to the New World and bringing some of its wealth back to our own shores. Already he has despatched an explorer called Cartier with three ships who have discovered the northern coastline of the great continent the English have dubbed North America. He reports seeing many English trading posts in the richer more verdant lands to the south of these desolate and wintry lands, I suggest to the King that an understanding be reached with the English for the division of this continent, Francois only talks about wrestling it from them with force!

1535

The King has finally listened to my wise council and diplomats have put ink to paper. The English have agreed that everything north of the St. Lawrence river shall fall into the French sphere of influence. Francois wasn’t entirely happy with this arrangement, he had wanted the border to fall at Penobscot and Megantic and therefore had the diplomats include a clause covering colonies to the south drawing a border at the Santee river which we had recently discovered. South of this boundary would be considered French territory.

The fall of 1535

Great events reach us out of Eastern Europe. The Emperor has called down his hosts and is pursuing war against Poland, his intention seems to be to drive Poland out of Mecklenburg and Vorpommern. Francois seems happy to let the Emperor fight. Whilst the Emperor is busy the King begins making noises about reclaiming Calais from the English who have just broken with the Catholic church. I advise him to offer to buy back this last vestige of English ambition on the continent and so avoid a war, he finally agrees to make such an offer when I point out the precariousness of our trading posts in North America, a subject that is dear to his heart. Our diplomat returns without agreement however, the English are adamant, even for the princely sum of 400 ducats they will not relinquish control of Calais.

1543

Our colonies and trading posts have begun to take shape. We have discovered an island in the Atlantic we have named Bermuda and established a small port there over the last couple of years to allow our ships to restock. Cartier has explored all of the North American seaboard and most of the Caribbean, he is now confident he can extend his expeditions further afield to the south, perhaps even discovering the fabled Portuguese colonies of Brazil.

We have also come into contact with a tribe of savages called the Creek. These natives worship pagan idols and kill our colonists, Francois orders their immediate subjugation of this tribe and sends missionaries to bring these people to the true faith of Christ our Lord. The effects of religious turmoil are also felt at home as the reformist teachings of Jean Calvin take hold. The king orders all effort to be spent on eradicating these false teachings.

1547

My dear friend the King has sadly passed away. His son Henri II has ascended the throne. Henri seems disposed to carry on with his father’s legacy of exploring the American continent, he does begin raising the matter of Calais with the English in a more aggressive manner. Like his father I continue to persuade him to buy the city peacefully from the English if possible. For now he agrees to follow this course of action.

1548

The Holy Father has requested the aid of all Christian Kings in his fight against the rebel state of Siena whose armies lay siege to a number of Papal cities. As a good Christian Henri directs us to send what monetary aid we can to the pope with all haste.

1551

Henri is in jubilant mood, with our aid Siena has been defeated and Papal authority strengthened in Italy! At Henri’s suggestion the Holy Father joins in our alliance to discourage other states from challenging his authority.

1555

After many warning and refusals to negotiate over the fair city of Calais, one of the last bastions of Catholicism in a protestant state, Henri orders that war be declared upon the English. We receive reports of fighting in the colonies and our fleet is soon bottled up in Anticoste as small English armies overrun our northern trading posts. When Anticoste finally falls to enemy troops the fleet makes a dash down the southern coast and quickly begins ferrying the army from Savannah up to Santee. The Carolina’s are still hostile unexplored Indian territory that we dare not cross, a sea crossing is therefore the only way to reach the north. The war is brief however and when Calais finally surrenders and the English see the force of 25,000 men marching from Santee towards Roanoke they accept the inevitable and renounce their claims to our fair city. Victory is ours!

1559

All is peaceful now. Colonies are under development in Santee and the Carolina’s which our loyal conquistador Quisnel has finally mapped out. The King grows old but is happy with developments in the New World, a legacy he is pleased to leave to his descendants to develop further. He sees the English still as somewhat of a concern, following their brutal subjugation of Scotland the Heiress Mary Stuart fled to our court and has recently married the Dauphine of France, Francis. Mary is beseeching the King to help her countrymen and press her own claim to the English throne, but Henri is old and does not look for another war in his latter years. What Francis will do when he ascends the throne I care not to guess. I leave my own descendants to discover what such times will bring.