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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Muscowy
Version 1.5 EEP.
Very Hard/Weakling

My ultimate aims are to(more or less in order):
- To at least equal Russia’s historical boundaries
- Own the route to the Black Sea (Thrace, Anatolia, Smyrna)
- Own all Orthodox provinces in the gameOwn
- Colonise some of the Pacific
- Avoid BB wars
- And just possibly own all slavic provinces and convert them all to Orthodox (slavonic, czech, polish, etc.)

For the record this is both my first AAR, and the first time I have played the game on VH. All comments, suggestions, and advice will be very much welcomed, both as to the writing and as to the strategies.

Text like this will refer to game info, such as events etc

Text like this will be the IC commentary

Text like this, but starting OOC will be OOC narrative


With all of that….
Here I go!
 
Last edited:

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Introduction

The Monastery of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios was founded by refugees from Kiev, fleeing the Tartar hordes. With safety of prime concern they chose an isolated place, a barely passable path the only access route. Small, and largely unnoticed by the outside world until fifty years or so ago the Monastery has been ignored by most of the world’s events, and has taken little part in them. However the story of this foundation is best left to the monks themselves. What follows is a story written by one Brother Vasili.

From an Account of the Foundation

And in that time there came a storm of rude and savage men from the east, and they were the Lord’s Scourge to His People, assailing them with woe as He had done of old for their unfaithfulness to him. Yet to the faithful few He gave strength of will to survive this storm. Brother Pyotr was a holy man in his house in Kiev, always attending the Holy Order at the proscribed times even as his superiors abused the Holy Faith. He gave strength and comfort to the brothers who were as disgusted as he at the behaviour of their superiors and brothers, saying that it was to the Lord to decree punishment.

So, when word came of the Tartar horde he was not afraid, for it was revealed to him in a dream by the Ss Ignatios and Stephanos that there was a task appointed to him – to save all that was good in his House and take it to a place of safety that would be revealed to them by holy sign. When he told his brothers this they were amazed and none doubted the truth of what he said for holiness was evident upon his tongue. But spying on them was a wayward brother – Simeon by name - a servant of the Abbot, who incensed took himself from his hiding place and upbraided Pyotr for lying, for talk of rebellion, and for blasphemy. Thus accused the man of God was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and he rebuked Simeon saying, “Even pigs that scrabble in the mud are more holy than the Abbot that you serve, he scrabbles in mud though he is a man. You shall reap what you sow, and you have sown madness and death.” So saying he banished Simeon from his presence with the sound of his voice, and then he and his brothers began making preparations to leave.

Simeon went to the Abbot and told him all that had been said, but that Abbot had seen the horde from a tall tower, and had lost control of himself in his fear. Murmuring in his madness, covered in his own filth, Simeon came to know the truth of what Pyotr had said, and so he returned to Pyotr, and offered confession and penance, pronouncing his sins to all the brothers present. And the man of God, seeing that his repentance was a true one, forgave him, and together with the others brothers they saved all that was righteous and true from their former House, and then left before the Horde arrived. It is said that the Abbot died screaming upon a Tartar stake as the defiled house burnt about him, in shame with not a trace of dignity. As did all those who had believed in him and his falsehoods.

Pyotr and his followers evaded the horde through the Grace of God, for in another dream a safe route had been revealed to Pyotr were the horseman did not go. So at last they came to a mighty precipice, hidden from the world and upon seeing it did Pyotr die. And he buried at a secret place near a river. And Simeon then lead his brothers up the precipice, and there at the top they were shown a vision of Stephanos and Ignatios, and the Blessed Saints said: Here you shall build your new House. Be faithful, and prosper. And Simeon and his brothers took these things to heart, and it was not long before it became known that there was a House of Holy Men on the precipice, and many sought their counsel on account of their wisdom, and because of their evident favour with God.

__


It should be noted of course that this account was written sometime around the year 1570, and the details are suspect. The first charter in the monastery’s vast library does however date to the year 1276, a charter that seems to have established the patronage of the monastery by the lords of Muscowy. The literary tradition of the monastery started later. In the year 1415 a small group of monks from the Byzantine Empire arrived. They had been forced to flee the south, and ended up in the monastery by some strange fortune with many books. Within just a few years the character of the monastery had changed, and the first of its many chronicles was begun by Brother Niketas, one of the Greek brethren, and possibly the first proper Librarian that the monastery possessed. By the mid-1400s the position of Chronicler became a permanent fixture, and was usually though not always filled by the Librarian.
 

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The Journal of Brother Niketas

Brother Niketas had a personal interest in writing about events that happened to him in an expansive journal. This exists in two forms. The long form contains varied details and minutiae about his life. The condensed form that was probably compiled by his successor to the post, Brother Gregorias, is extant only from 1419. It excludes much of the journal, but ties the information into Gregorias’ later work.

… After all these things were done, the Grand-Duke in his wisdom initiated some reforms of how troops were raised. This met with some opposition in the country, but the Grand-Duke did not brook any opposition. Also during that winter the Grand-Duke sanctioned the marriage of Katerina of Nizhny with the son of the Duke of Tver.

Quality +1

Not long after news of these events had reached us Father Ivan took seriously ill to his bed, and it seemed for some weeks that he might die. Final confession was administered several times, but by the Grace of God and the prayers of the brethren he was spared to serve with us for longer. There was much gladness in the community as a result, for although Father Ivan is a stern man he guides us well in this difficult time.

In the month of May the Kingdoms of Kalmar launched an assault on the Livonian Order. Seeing an opportunity to profit from the turbulence being suffered by that schismatic order and its ally, the Order of Teutons, the Lithuanians, oppressors of the faithful, launched an attack on the realm of Prussia. Yet the Lord rightly showed them disfavour, for they were defeated and chased back into their country, where they were once again defeated. So the Lithuanians were forced to humble themselves for their pride and foolishness.

In the month of August we heard that the Grand-Duke had concluded negotiations for a marriage between his cousin Vladimir and a daughter of Novgorod. Later news came to us of a great heresy affecting the lands of the Moravians. It is a sure sign of the perfidy of Rome that they spawn so many illogical and heretical sects. The legitimate authorities could not stand before these heretics, since they were clearly lacking in their faith and derelict of their duties. Anxious lest this heresy spread the realms of Poland and Lithuania attacked the Moravian lands, and inundated the eastern provinces with troops filled with holy zeal.

Later that year we heard tell of a magnificent gift that the Grand-Duke in his wisdom gave to the Archbishop of Novgorod, it was a golden relinquary, studded with many gems, with perfect but tiny ikons piously painted showing the scenes of the Passion of Christ. There were three small places blank, so that when the Archbishop determined which relic should rest therein three scenes of relevance could be added so all would know what lay within.

During the winter of that year we heard that there was great confusion in the court of the Tartar Khan, and that the old Khan was deposed. Throughout the Golden Horde there was great unrest at this unjust act, and the Grand-Duke took the opportunity presented by this chaos to refuse to pay the tributes that he had offered until then, claiming that the new Khan was not the legitimate authority, and that he would not foreswear himself. Although great retribution was promised, the new Khan became so concerned with his own troubles that his words became lost on the wind. So ended the Year of Our Lord 1419, and so began the year 1420.

In the spring of this year we heard tell of a confederation of German states led by the Saxons that joined in the assault on the heretics of Moravia …

There is a gap in the manuscript here. When we take up the story we are referencing events in 1421

… and so the Grand-Duke welcomed the representatives of the city of Novgorod, and thanked them for their address. He gave each of them kingly gifts, and then in the sight of God and the whole assemblage of the realm, with the Dukes of Tver and Pskov also in attendance all pledged to come the other’s aid in times of need. Thus nearly all the free peoples of the Rus came together in harmony and pledged allegiance to one another.

Meanwhile we heard that the war had turned against the heretics, God showing all the sin of heterodoxy. The forces of the Lithuanians now conducted several sieges in the northern part of the country, while the forces of Poland, having seized the regions of Silesia and Moravia, moved into Bohemia. They were unsuccessful there.

We also heard that the Empire of Rome had attacked the heathen Turks at this time. Though in our hearts we all wished and prayed for victory, we could not but think that this was an unwise move by the Emperor, unless matters had substantially changed since our flight, but their was no evidence that this was the case. Still, Father Ivan mindful of our fears ordered a series of prayers for the Empire, and this was very pleasing to us.


The journal ends at this point, occasioned by the death of Brother Niketas
 

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Book I of the Chronicles of Gregorias

If Niketas started the tradition of Chronicle writing, then it was Gregorias that consolidated it and ensured its continuation. He was probably the greatest chronicler of the fifteenth century, and maintained his chronicle from 1422 until his death in 1451. He also initiated the method by which almost all further chronicles were composed. He would make notes of the events of the world, and then after a suitable period (usually 4-6 years) he would write the section up, usually aiming for a reasonable ending as well. Unlike Niketas, who relied more on hearsay Gregorias tried with varying success to find informants in the outside world. Time and again though his sources failed him. This can be easily seen by the vagueness of many of the dates. Finally, it was Niketas who in the 1430s started the Book of the Monastery of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios. This was really a continuation of the long journal of Brother Niketas, but otherwise does not concern us here.

Early in the Year of Our Lord 1422 Brother Niketas fell down in the yard of the Monastery, slipping on some piece of treacherous ice. He split his head upon the rocks, and taken to the Infirmiary. There despite the prayers of his brethren that he might be allowed to stay with us the Lord claimed him as his own. He was buried with due ceremony, and Father Ivan spoke kindly upon his career. It was well known that the two did not always get along but this only made Father Ivan’s tributes the more meaningful to us other Greeks. It was from this time I think that we truly became accepted in this strange land. Afterwards Father Ivan asked me if I would continue the writings of our departed brother. I was humbled by the request, and I only pray that God grants me the grace to be able to write justly of the events that I have heard.

In the month of March there was an uprising amongst the peasantry near Moskva. These claimed to be following revealed truth, and reviled the church. Their real goal was larceny and anarchy. Thankfully by the Grace of God they were put to flight by a stratagem of Yuri Patrikeev and were thus dispersed without the loss of a single man.

Crush Them! IN the Stralgonik Heresy Revolt in Moskva

On the 12th day of May in this year the Duke of Suzdal launched an assault on the Golden Horde. The Tartars were still in great confusion, with many local chiefs backing a successor to the deposed Khan. Hearing that the faithful were being most cruelly oppressed in this dark time the Grand-Duke called a meeting of his allies, and they determined that this would be an opportune time to free their brethren from the Tartar yoke. Thus on the twenty-fourth day of June the assembled representatives determined war against the Golden Horde.

The forces of Muscowy under the command of Yuri Patrikeev laid siege to the town of Saratow, while their allies attacked Vorones. Elsewhere the forces of Suzdal were laying siege to the Tartar hold of Kazan, after defeating a force of Tartars that tried to stop them. While these sieges were taking place we heard that Lithuania, seeing the opportunity to profit from the Golden Horde’s tribulations launched their own attacks with their Polish allies.

This holy war did cause much upset and worry among the older folk who remembered a time when the Tartar was far stronger than he now is. The war also dislocated trade, and the Grand-Duke spent some time trying to correct to the deficiencies thus created.

Give unto their Demands IN Unhappiness among Merchants: Mercantilism +1 Trade +70

Meanwhile Lithuania had made peace with the Bohemian heretics for a paltry sum. Also, after many attempts the forces of Kalmar finally managed to take control of Kurland. During the winter peace negotiations were held. Through the intervention of the Swedish nobles, who were loath to see their Danish kin become too powerful, peace was secured for a comparatively small tribute.

The heresy of the Bohemians was finally defeated in the Year of Our Lord 1423. However, not content with conducting their rightful duty of forcing the leaders to acknowledge orthodoxy, the leaders of Poland and Saxony saw this as an opportunity for territorial aggrandisement. The Saxons took the Sudenten, while Poland claimed Silesia and Moravia. The Bohemians were unable to gainsay these commands since every strong place in the country had now fallen.

Along the Volga the war went well for the forces of the Lord. The forces of Suzdal took control of Kazan, and then in November secured the province of Ufa. Ryazan had taken Vorones, while Yuri Patrikeev took the submission Tambow, Saratow, and Bogutjir. Outside Bogutjir a mighty battle was fought by the forces of Muscowy, Ryazan, and Novgorod against the Tartars. The feared Tartar horsemen were no match for the cavalry of Muscowy. Thus the earlier reforms of the Grand-Duke were justified by the sweetness of success. Yuri Patrikeev dedicated the victory rightly to God, before retiring for the winter. Further south the Lithuanians took Donetsk for themselves, and with their Polish allies poured across the southern plains of the Horde.

In Moskva the Grand-Duke set about securing proper finance for the war, and raised a number of extraordinary taxes. These did occasion some unrest, but certain that right was on his side the Grand-Duke ignored these impious protests. To celebrate their victories the Grand-Duke arranged a close marriage between his cousin Yuri and the youngest daughter of the Prince of Ryazan. As a gift to the bride he gave two chests of jewellery taken from the Tartars.

These were only one sign of the wealth from the war that started to reach Russia. In the monastery we were gifted with two precious ikons saved from their defilement by the Tartars, who kept them in a log-shed. The fears of the elderly thus diminished. The army of Muscowy now marched to lay siege to the Tartar capital in Volgograd. On the way they passed by the camp of the army of Suzdal that had taken up residence in Ufa. The pious Yuri urged their commander to be more offensive, but they were content to lap up the spoils even as their army lost itself in orgies of decadence.

Exceptional Year +40 gold Inflation –3

Meanwhile we heard news that the war of the Empire of Rome against the Turks had ended in failure, and the Emperor was forced to accede to a humiliating peace and pay annual tribute to the Turk. As the year waned news even more surprising came that the Emperor had launched an assault into Epirus.

During the winter the Grand-Duke Vasili took ill. Worried about his chances of survival, leery of the ambitions of his brother Yuri of Halich, and mindful of his son’s youth he made moves to make peace with the Tartars. Yuri Patrikeev had at the turning of the seasons secured the Tartar capital, and shortly after joined the forces of Novgorod in their siege of Lugansk, which he brought to a speedy conclusion. Thus the Grand-Duke demanded from the Tartars the freedom of their brethren, and took possession of Tambow, while Ryazan was given Vorones. News came soon after these negotiations that the Lithuanians had also made peace, forcing the Tartars to cede the province of Donetsk.

On the 7th February in the Year or Our Lord 1425 Vasili, Grand-Duke of Muscowy, was claimed by God and taken from us. He had been a great man, honoured and respected by all who knew him. His piety was somewhat lacking in his early years, but in later life he made moves to rectify this fault, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he did so with a true heart, and that the Lord will forgive him any faults. Alas his son was still a child, and Yuri of Halich impiously, against the will of man and God laid claim to the throne.

This period of civil disturbance came at a most inopportune time, for in early March news arrived in Moskva that Ivan of Tver had launched an assault on Lithuania. In this he was supported by Feodor II of Pskov. Envoys from Ryazan and Novgorod advised against supporting the warmongers, pointing out that they all needed time to recover after their war against the Tartars. Comment was made that no help for that war was given by Pskov and Tver, despite their promises. Yuri of Halich stood with Tver, but the regents were wiser knowing that the country was ill-equipped at this precarious time. While Tver and Pskov prosecuted their war Muscowy, Novgorod, and Ryazan formed a new alliance.

In this war, which is still ongoing at the time of writing, Tver and Pskov initially launched attacks against Tula and Welikia, but were both defeated and beaten back by the Lithuanians in the process of several battles in July 1425. A further attack by Pskov was defeated in September.

During the winter that followed Tver laid siege to Tula for a second time. Elsewhere the forces of Suzdal were defeated by the Tartars who began the process of reclaiming the territories conquered by Suzdal.

During the summer of the year 1426 the regents of Muscowy, having seen off the first challenges of Yuri of Halich, sought to take advantage of his distractions and cement their support with Novgorod. An agreement was drawn up by which neither would interfere in each other’s trade, allowing for both to be more prosperous.

It was also during this summer that Father Ivan passed away. He had been complaining for some time of a lack of energy, and life finally left him on the night of the 27th August in the Year of Our Lord 1426. Father Ivan was well-known for his strictness, for his adherence to the rules. Yet he was prepared to suffer much criticism for the continuation of knowledge, for which my Greek brethren are not always properly thankful. After a suitable period his successor, Feodor, was chosen to lead us. Feodor was committed to uphold the ideals of his predecessor, though many are thankful for his gentler nature.

During this summer we also heard report that the Roman Empire had managed to reclaim the lands of Epirus, called Albania by some, though it took me some time to deduce that this good news was not just some wild rumour.

During the last months of the year Lithuania attacked Pskov and defeated the army of Feodor II, and laid siege. They were forced to retire soon after however because of the cruel winter. Thus did God show his contempt of those that follow the devil of Rome. In January Ivan of Tver took Tula, and the hapless Lithuanians could do nothing to prevent it.

Meanwhile Suzdal was now reaping what it had sown in the decadence of its deeds in the war against the Tartars. In the winter both Ufa and Kazan were finally retaken by the Tartars, and at the break of winter in the Year of Our Lord 1427 the Tartars laid waste the land of Vladimir and laid siege to the towns therein.

Meanwhile the regents and the boyars finally agreed to measures to combat the heresies that had been present in the peasantry. Although this did cause some further unrest it is clear that the peasants did indeed need strict discipline, else their faith will lapse and their souls be lost forever.

Bow to their demands IN Nobles Seek to Subjugate Peasants: Serfdom +1 Stability –1 Gold +25 RR +2 for 18 months

In June of that year Ivan of Tver laid siege to Welikia. Word also arrived of negotiations between Lithuania and Ryazan, whereby Prince Ivan sought to insulate himself from the instabilities that are currently afflicting the land of Muscowy like a plague. In this he attracted much criticism, but in times such as these can a Lord be faulted for doing all he can to ensure peace?

The uncertainties of these times were marked by the surrender of Suzdal to the Tartars. Forced once more to pay a humiliating annual tribute, and to allow the Tartars to go wherever they wanted, Suzdal was marked by its impiety in the stain of defeat. So ended the war of the Middle Volga, and so ends this part of my history.

By choosing the end his book here Gregorias does leave us somewhat awkwardly. Perhaps this is the difference between foreigner and native that means his interests are more concerned with wars against Moslems than internal affairs of the Russian peoples.
 
Nov 26, 2001
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This is excellent stuff! I very much like your approach in telling of the story--and a Russian one too! I will be following this one with eagerness. Keep up the good work!
 

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Thanks to both of you for your support! My next installment follows. Query, does anyone know how Russian pluralises names? Example of what I mean: you have Plantagenets, Windors, and so on. Now I know we can just do the same when Anglicising Russian names (i.e. the Romanovs), but I would prefer the feel of something a little more Ruskiy, as it were.
 

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The Second Book of Gregorias’ Chronicle is perhaps more ordered and contained than the first in that it focuses on the regency of Vasili II. It is also a period for which Gregorias was extremely well informed as regards internal events, perhaps because of his amicable relations with Father Feodor. For external events there is some indication of a growing number of sources, but his chronology continues to suffer greatly.

The death of Vasili I, beloved of God, in February in the Year of Our Lord 1425 left his young son, Vasili II heir, though he was still a boy. For the administration of the Grand-Duchy, and to counteract the claims of Yuri of Halich a regency council was set up of seven prominent nobles of the realm, and the Archbishop of Moskva and the Bishop of Nizhgorod. These nine worthies unanimously decided to follow the exhortations of Novgorod when Ivan of Tver launched his war on Lithuania. However, soon after this decision one of them died, and the boyar Leonid Scherbatov was selected to replace him. It became clear from an early time that Scherbatov was a more aggressive man than many of his fellow councillors. During the first meeting full meeting of the Council after his selection he spoke vehemently against Tver, which had just accepted an agreement with the Lithuanian Prince Vitautus that infringed upon the rights of Muscowy. This took place on the 3rd day of November, in the Year of Our Lord 1427.

Scherbatov quickly came to dominate the Regency Council, for he spoke with great passion. His loyalty to Vasili II could not be doubted, and he was tireless in seeking out the agents of Yuri of Halich, for that dissolute Lord was always looking for an opportunity to press his claim to the Grand-Duchy, even though his claims were hateful to both God and man.

So Scherbatov gained influence, but it was revealed to me that his actions were not always virtuous. In the month of April in the Year of Our Lord 1428 another of the Regency Council died through accident, and was replaced by a nominee of Scherbatov’s. A similar occurrence in November gave Scherbatov a working majority on the Regency Council, since the bishops often sided with him because they liked his signs of piety and his enthusiasm for the state.

During the summer Scherbatov’s influence grew after a small group of boyars supporting the claims of Yuri of Halich seized Tambow. Yuri Patrikeev quickly defeated their army at the Battle of White Fields, and then laid siege to Tambow. Although Yuri Patrikeev was on the Regency Council – how could such a man not be? – he took surprisingly little part in its deliberations. Apparently he said little during the meetings, and he rarely voted. I did here some say that this was because he felt his vote would become too divisive, and other who claimed that he was so often absent that his presence hardly mattered. The town of Tambow was finally recaptured in November of that year, and the traitors within were executed as was their due.

Meanwhile the war had turned against Tver. In January the army of Ivan was heavily defeated by Vitautus in Welikia. The remnants of his forces retreated to Tver, while Vitautus laid siege to the unwise Pskov. There the inhabitants were forced to undergo terrible privations during an eight-month siege that tested the mettle of man and beast. Hoping for relief from Tver now Ivan showed his lack of worth, for he abandoned Pskov to its unhappy fate. As a result Pskov was forced to cede for peace in November of that year. Vitautus though was surprisingly lenient in his demands. But then he was a rare man, who would have been godly if he had not followed the devil of Rome.

In January in the Year of Our Lord 1429 the Regency Council determined that further reforms of the army were necessary. These reforms were championed especially by Scherbatov, who declared that if Muscowy was to be able to weather and profit from the coming storm it must be prepared. Yuri Patrikeev also backed such reforms, citing his experiences in fighting the supporters of Yuri of Halich and the Tartars.

Quality +1

Scherbatov’s predictions came true only a few months later when a conflict that even now, before it is finished, is being called the War of the Orders. It started when the Grandmaster of the Teutons, a warmongering and despicable barbarian called von Russdorf declared war against Poland. The Livonians followed him, but just at that time the regent of Sweden in the Kalmar Union attacked Livonia, forcing the rest of Kalmar into the conflict. Into all of this Scherbatov announced to the Regency Council that he had found evidence that Ivan of Tver had supplied troops to assist the rebels in Tambow. Moreover, he claimed that he had raised at his own expense in Moskva several thousand infantry ready to seize Tver that was now nearly completely undefended. So the Council decided for their own security, and the security of Vasili II and of the state to end the independence of troublesome Tver, and declared war on the 12th day of April in the Year of Our Lord 1429

Yuri Patrikeev immediately left for Tver with Scherbatov’s troops. Scherbatov had wanted to command this force himself, but the bishop of Nizhgorod prevailed upon him to relent to the Council’s wishes. Meanwhile another member of the original council had died, this time from a seizure. This death was not unexpected, and his replacement was Anatoli Platonov, a cautious man who disliked war, but an exemplary administrator, and who supplied the army throughout the coming war.

Yuri Patrikeev quickly defeated the remnants of the army of Tver, and then learnt through emissaries from Pskov that the new Prince of Pskov Alexander IV had repudiated Ivan of Tver. He also learnt that Lithuania had now recaptured Tula, and so he set out to siege Tver to the best of his ability. Winter came early however, and threatened to make the siege impossible. So Scherbatov was finally released by the Regency Council to go to Tver with reinforcements. With the aid of these the siege was brought to a successful conclusion when Tver surrendered on the 17th December of that year. He then returned to Moskva with most of the army while Scherbatov took it upon himself to crush the remaining resistance in the vicinity. Ivan of Tver also remained unaccounted for, and the Regents were determined to see that he should pay for his crimes.

The war with Tver, and the war of the Orders created a number of migrant people. Platonov, seeing no reason why these people could not be settled within the Grand-Duchy directed them into the province of Vologda. Here he gave them homes and put them to work for the benefit of the Grand-Duchy, despite some initial opposition. The success of this venture strengthened his position on the Council. Added with Scherbatov’s frequent absences the balance of power started to change. Scherbatov was still in the ascendance, and when he demanded more money fresh taxes were raised though this caused unrest amongst the peasantry.

New Land Claimed in Vologda +1000 pop +1 Tax +1 MP

The War of the Orders turned savage in this year, the Year of Our Lord 1430 when the Teutons conducted a raid that ranged far and wide over Poland bringing terror, fire and sword to the land. In all of this von Russdorf was at the head of his troops, giving no thought to his supposedly holy vows and engaging in rapine and pillage like a common soldier. Such barbarous activity is usually the preserve of the Tartars, not Christians even if they do follow the devil of Rome. Still, this is a lesson in the Catholic perversion of monks that fight. Let it ever be a lesson to us. Elsewhere Kurland was taken by Lithuania.

Then in November of this year we learnt that Vitautus had died. This occasioned great turmoil within Lithuania that only grew worse in the following year. Despite my best efforts I was unable to find anything else of definite regarding these events. All I can say is that the Poles are a treacherous people from all that I have heard.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1431 we heard that the Elector of Brandenburg, citing evidence that the Bohemians were returning to the heretical teachings of Jan Hus, called for a crusade against them. So started the second Hussite War, which was a protracted affair, but ultimately came to naught as the armies of Brandenburg and Saxony were repeatedly beaten back. Peace was concluded two years later, and one can only assume that the Germans acted through avarice, and that God justly put them in their places.

Meanwhile evidence was coming back from Tver Ivan had most likely been killed in the battle of Tver at the start of the siege. It appears that the city managed to hide this from Yuri Patrikeev right until the very end of the siege in the hope that Ivan had escaped. With this in mind the Regency Council decided to exterminate the remaining members of Ivan’s line and claim the city in perpetuity for Vasili II and Muscowy. This decision was confirmed by representatives of Ryazan and Novgorod. Scherbatov was appointed governor of Tver, at the behest of Platonov who saw it as a great opportunity to keep Scherbatov out of Moskva. Not seeing how he could reasonably refuse this charge Scherbatov agreed, though he maintained many agents throughout the Grand-Duchy.

However, these agents were unable to compensate for Scherbatov not being present himself most of the time, and Platonov soon secured himself a position of great authority within the Regency Council. This was especially obvious after he won over the bishops to his cause, and in November of the Year of Our Lord 1431 he was appointed president of the council, much to the chagrin of Scherbatov. Meanwhile the war had turned against the Orders. Prussia fell to the forces of Poland, and the whole of Livonia was devastated.

Appoint ‘Dove’ IN An Excellent Minister ADM+2 for 24 months

Curiously there is no mention of events in the year 1432 in the chronicle. It may be that there is a page or two missing. Certainly this seems more likely than Gregorias just not writing anything for that year.

On the First day of February in the Year of Our Lord 1433 the War of the Orders finished its first phase at a peace conference organised by Novgorod in the previous winter. The Livonian Order was forced to cede the province of Estland to Sweden, and swear vassalage to Poland. The Sword-brethren hoped that this would secure them peace, but Lithuanian nobles rejected this deal and continued their fight. Poland however repudiated their actions, and withdrew their troops from the fight against the Livonians.

This was timely for the Poles because in the summer of that year the Duchy of Pommern joined forces with the Teutonic Order, and marched against Poland. This breathed fresh life into the war, which had been slowing down due to the quality of the Teuton fortifications.

In the weeks following the Peace of Novgorod the Swedish nobles rejected Danish over-lordship. Thus the Kalmar Union collapsed, with the nobles of Norway electing to join with Denmark.

Meanwhile on the 25th March in the Year of Our Lord 1433 Vasili II came into his majority. It now became clear that Platonov had secured Vasili’s favour in the past year, and he was showered with gifts. Scherbatov was reportedly extremely unhappy at this state of affairs, and his agents and relations began to persecute the supporters of Platonov.

It was at this time that Father Feodor was taken from us. He died suddenly, without any previous illness. He was greatly missed, especially for myself. In his tenure as our leader I had come to appreciate his wisdom and counsel. For these qualities he was highly sought, and I think for these qualities he was also laid low. His successor is Yuri of Saratow, who came to the Monastery not long after the capture of Saratow from the Tartars. There he had aided the forces of Muscowy, and so he left after peace was concluded. He is a wise man, who has been of the world and has not been corrupted.

In Lithuania the forces of anarchy strengthened, and four provinces fell to local nobles in revolt against the Submission to Poland. Throughout the spring and summer of the Year of Our Lord 1434 they grew in strength, and another province fell to them. Thus Lithuania was split into three, with some nobles continuing the war in Livonia yet professing allegiance, with some holding true, and others in open defiance and revolt.

April in the Year of Our Lord 1434 saw the final climax of he feud between Platonov and Scherbatov. Throughout the winter it now seems Scherbatov was preparing the make a move against his opponent that would see Platonov dead. For his part Platonov made his own preparations. As the number of incidents between supporters of the two grew, Vasili II prepared to intervene. On the 19th April he held a court in which he found Scherbatov’s younger brother guilty of treason. This was a catalyst, and three days later Scherbatov’s supporters were up in arms, seeking out their rivals, and aiming the ravage their estates. Vasili II was ready, and sent Yuri Patrikeev out to restore order in his realm. This he did in a the battle of the Nydna on the 25th April. Soon after agents dispatched to Tver arrested Scherbatov. He was brought back to Moskva were he was publicly killed, and his family were hunted down so not one scion of that unworthy line were left alive.

Side with One Family IN Noble Families Feud. Revolt in Moskva.

Thus ends the second book of Gregorias’ chronicle. Given his evident delight in the fate of Scherbatov it seems likely that Scherbatov’s agents were responsible for the death of Feodor. There is some inconclusive evidence that the Archbishop of Moskva may have relied heavily on Feodor’s advice, and this might have prompted the Archbishop to switch his support to Platonov in 1431. If so the reasons for Scherbatov wanting to remove Feodor becomes far clearer
 

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Book III of Gregorias

After the battle of Nydna and Scherbatov’s execution Anatoli Platonov was summoned by Vasili II to account for the actions of his family and supporters in the previous years. Platonov abased himself before his Lord, and asked forgiveness of all that he had done that had been contrary to the good of the Grand-Duchy. Vasili forgave Platonov, and showed him signs of friendship, and re-appointed him as head of his council.

Soon though the memories of such dark times were put to flight as Grand-Duke Vasili entertained the Prince of Ryazan, Ivan IV. The climax of the visit was when Ivan put his realm under the protection of Muscowy. Vasili II could not refuse such an offer, and the event was celebrated with great cheer. No one in Moskva went hungry that week.

After these celebrations it was time to restore the realm of the Scherbatov revolt. The Hunt of the Scherbatovi continued for quite some time, and even at the time of writing some scion or supporter of that vile line are being exposed, for they ever hide in darkness as befits their status as servants of hell. Nonetheless their harmful effects to the realm were soon diminished and the Grand-Duchy prospered.

It was about this time that the new Father, Yuri of Saratow, took me aside. He had finished reading my earlier work, and the work of my predecessor, and had determined that my task was a holy one. Since we never know when it is our turn to be called to the Lord, he bade me take an apprentice, so that should I die this work can be carried on without interruption. After some deliberations that lasted all that summer and into the next spring I choose Brother Andrei, a slight youth who has difficulty in the more physical labours on account of the weakness of his frame and the brittleness of his bones. Yet he is faithful man, and though he could not write when he arrived here some four years ago he has taken to learning like a bird to the air.

Also at this time Father Yuri revealed to me that he had several correspondents in various parts of the realm, and that he regularly asked them for news of where they were. This information he passed onto me, and I thanked the Father most profusely, since scarcity of information continues to plague this work.

In the third day of June in the Year of Our Lord 1435 the governor of Tver was attacked by two unnamed men. He fought them off valiantly, since he was no mean swordsman, and put them to flight sustaining only minor wounds himself. Investigations immediately began upon this matter, and it was quickly deduced that these men came from Pskov. Messengers were immediately dispatched to Vladimir II, ruler of that place, asking for explanation. At that time it was thought that these were Scherbatovi, and that Pskov was simply were they had been lodging.

Initially Vladimir II denied that these two men have ever been in his city, and then his emissary was shown the proofs and sent back to his master. Then for three long months Vladimir did not answer at all, and only after another emissary had been sent was there a reply. In it Vladimir rebuked the Grand-Duke in the most uncivil language, calling him a child and a warmonger. All those that saw Vasili after these words had been read out say a change came over him. This prince who was so often joyful in all that he did became quiet, and told the quaking emissary – “Take this message back to my false cousin. He shall have his reply to these charges in the spring. And take this message also to the Fathers of Pskov: they should choose their Lords more wisely, for it will be them that pay for their excesses.”

Vladimir of Pskov appealed to the Archbishop and city of Novgorod, whom they owed vassalage, but Vasili had foreseen this move and prevailed upon the Archbishop to give Vladimir no succour. However some of the Fathers of Novgorod were less easily swayed and their were dark mutterings in many of the houses of the rich in that city of traders. Grand-Duke Vasili’s forthright manner and quick decisions did not always sit well with those who are more cautious in their approaches, and my ordering Yuri Patrikeev to march on Pskov as soon as winter broke Vasili further angered the denizens of Novgorod.

Yuri Patrikeev quickly put the army of Pskov to flight. The witless Vladimir fled, leaving the city to suffer a siege that lasted all summer. The city was finally taken in the dying days of October, and Yuri Patrikeev sent word back to Vasili, and so after returned to Moskva himself. Anatoli Platonov argued in Council that they should incorporate Pskov into their own realm, but mindful of other events that had occurred Yuri Patrikeev suggested rather settling for a large ransom from Vladimir for his city. By this time it was well-known that Vladimir was in Novgorod hoping to gain support for his cause.

The reason why he received such support there was the marriage of the daughter of Anatoli Platonov to the second son of the King of Sweden. I confess that I did not understand why a man of the faith would wish to condemn his daughter to vile schismatics, but in this Father Yuri came to my aid and explained. The King of Sweden is ever envious of Novgorod, and is always on the look-out for opportunities to isolate her. The alliance between the Grand-Duchy and the city is a continual hindrance to Sweden’s ambitions. Meanwhile Novgorod is a strange place, where there is no single Lord, and the rude and mean are allowed to rub shoulders with the worthy. Vasili II does not like such inversions of the holy order, and it was hoped by this marriage to force Novgorod to change its ways.

The marriage took place on the 22nd day of October in the Year of Our Lord 1436. When news reached Novgorod the citizens were furious. The Archbishop His Holiness Eufimei II rebuked Vasili in a sermon. It was also claimed that Vasili was intending to strip Novgorod of its vassal and claim Pskov for itself. Vladimir added fuel to this fire, and concocted stories of Muscowian atrocities that were mere fabrications. In response Vasili dispatched a messenger setting out his position, and told Vladimir of the ransom he would have to pay for his city. The next several years saw repeated attempts by Vladimir to reduce the amount, none of which the Grand-Duke entertained.

Scandal at the Court (DIP –3 for 4months Novgorod –50) Royal Marriage with Sweden on same day.

Throughout this year the Lithuanian Grand-Duke, a brute called Zygmantas, sought to subdue the rebels against him. He retook all his provinces save one: Kursk. Although he managed to siege the city several times he was never able to bring about a successful completion. The man who had surfaced as leader of the rebels was a cunning boyar called Sergey Semenov. Zygmantas then vowed to retake Kursk, and to draw Sergey Semenov apart from between four horses, for like all Lithuanians the Grand-Duke excelled in cruelty, and I have heard tell that at the dead of night he visited heathen groves and did honour vile demons, making a mockery of his public faith. In all of this Semenov appealed to the Prince of Ryazan to heed the plight of their Russian kin. Ivan IV sent some monies, but would not take the allegiance offered.

In the summer of that year Poland made peace with the Teutonic Order at the Peace of Riga, where the vile and irreligious order was forced to indemnify Poland for the damage their troops had caused on the land and people.

The following winter proved to be a quiet one, as did the next spring. Crisis occurred though in summer of the Year of Our Lord 1437. For on the first day of July of that year Ivan IV of Ryazan accepted sovereignty over the city of Kursk after a second request had been made by Sergey Semenov and representatives of the people. They told of the barbarous acts that the Lithuanians had perpetrated upon them, and told how many of the Lithuanians still followed pagan ways and tried to force good Christian men and women to bow before idols of snakes and consent to diabolical acts. Hearing all of this, and knowing it to be true for each charge was attested to by witnesses of good character, Ivan concluded that he had no recourse but to become the defender of these people.

The Grand-Duke of Lithuania was livid at this development, and swore that he would burn Ryazan to the ground and salt the fields. The King of Poland counselled caution, and for the moment the War or of the Orders dragged on for Lithuania in the north. Emissaries flurried across the land between Ryazan, Novgorod, Moskva, Vilnius, and Krakow. The Poles knew what barbarous people the Lithuanians were none the less could not act as they knew was right because of the oaths that they had sworn.

In Novgorod there was talk of allying with the Lithuanians. Vladimir II openly suggested this. Seeing danger of splitting the alliance Vasili resolved to make amends with both the city of Novgorod and its Archbishop. Seeing that the city was dominated by wealth he sent Anatoli Platonov to Novgorod to speak on his behalf. He arrived with twice the moneys that Novgorod would usually have received from Pskov, and with his skills in debate reassured the Fathers that Muscowy had no intention of usurping their rights. It was merely a matter of money. He found favour in the city, and returned soon after with good news.

Meanwhile the taxes being raised in response to the Lithuanian tensions and to support the garrison in Pskov was creating increasing dissent from the craftsmen of the Grand-Duchy. By decree they had been crafting many military supplies, but corrupt servants of the Grand-Duke were withholding payment. As a result many smiths, carpenters, cobblers, fletchers, coopers, and a whole range of other tradesmen had no way of supporting themselves. In Moskva a few stole out one night and beset the official in question. An inquiry followed, and the murderers were executed as was their due. Anatoli Platonov suffered during this affair, for the corrupt man had been one of his own appointees. Vasili removed him from the council in a fit of rage, and ordered him to retire to his estates. Being a true servant Anatoli obeyed his lord’s command, and departed from Moskva that very night. Alas for Muscowy that this man’s wise counsel was lacking in the years to come. So ended the Year of Our Lord 1438.

Execute the Troublemakers! IN Unhappiness among the Artisans (Infra –150)

During that winter momentous events happened in the Tartar Horde. Ulugh Mohammed the Khan was forced to flee by rebellious nobles. He ran to the fortress of Kazan, where he gathered his followers. His opponents followed with a large force but they were defeated before the city on the frozen ground. The new Khan was forced to recognise the independence of Kazan, and had to turn his attentions southward where other rebels against the new regime were rising.

Also during that winter Lithuania made peace with the Teutonic Order for a princely sum, finally ending the War of the Orders. It had been a long war that lasted nearly ten years and had seem much brutality and loss of life. The lands of the orders were devastated before the end, a fitting payment for such impious creations. However, this news caused great concern in the Russian lands for this now meant the Zygmantas was free to turn his attentions to Kursk.

In response to this Vasili and Yuri Patrikeev organised another set of reforms to the army, this time concentrating of the equipment of the troops, seeking to ensure that every soldier had a proper weapon. Vasili also invited Archbishop Eufimei to Moskva. In a number of conferences that lasted several months, and grew to include a representative of the city of Novgorod many of the issues of conflict between the two realms were resolved. Most importantly a ransom was agreed for the city of Pskov. This was declared as the Settlement of Sylvester, after a deacon who organised these conferences.

Matters with Lithuania would not wait, and on the Ninth Day of April in the Year of Our Lord 1439 a messenger arrived from Ivan IV of Ryazan announcing what all feared would happen. Zygmantas had finally persuaded the Polish King to stay true to their alliance and union, and had marched once more on Kursk.
 

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Chronicles of Gregorias Book IV

The fourth Book of Gregorias describes for us the events of the so-called Semenov War, after the boyar leader who led the rebels of Kursk to defect to Ryazan. Gregorias seems to have kept a close eye on the course of the war, and this Book seems to have been completed within a few months of the war’s ending. Usually it seems that Gregorias took over a year to complete a section, sometimes even longer, but this book in an exception.

Fortunately this war had been a long time coming, and all knew that it would be a hard-fought and bitter affair. Not wasting any time Vasili dispatched his armies into Lithuania. Yuri Patrikeev took command of the siege of Tula. Meanwhile Vasili himself took to the field and defeated the Lithuanian forces that had moved into the countryside around Kursk. He was not idle, but marched straightaway southward where he defeated the armies of two Lithuanian magnates before he began to lay siege to the city. In his absence he appointed Aleskei Vnukov as Regent in Moskva. Vnukov had been a child companion to Vasili, and is well liked within the Grand-Duchy for his pleasing disposition. His loyalty to Vasili is unmistakable, and the only things that makes him truly angry are attacks upon his family, and slights against Grand-Duke Vasili. Vnukov had been the one to negotiate the Swedish marriage, and had travelled widely throughout Scandia and Germany. In particular he had contacts with some German merchants, and he used these to help finance the war that was now upon us.

Meanwhile a youthful boyar from Tver called Vasili Kurbatov led a contingent of troops into Welikia, and after scattering Lithuania forces he began the siege of the fortress of Velikije Luki. So all things seemed to be moving in our favour. A raiding force sent by Vasili to ravage and disrupt the countryside routed a group of Lithuanians before marching into Mozyr. Meanwhile the magnates of Belgorod returned to try to break the Grand-Duke’s siege. Two hard battles were fought, but on the 27th Day of June the combined armies of both magnates were finally beaten for good, and the magnates were forced to give up their hopes of relieving Belgorod that year.

Then news arrived in the camp of Vasili that the raiding force had been ambushed in Mozyr by several thousand Polish cavalry, and had been completely destroyed. Moreover the very same Poles were on their way to Belgorod. The Grand-Duke readied his men and prepared traps so when they came the Poles were left helpless as their horses fell to caltrops, stakes, pits, and all manor of other contrivance. On the day after this victory news came that rebels against Lithuania had taken control of the province of Donetsk, and had also seized the primary town and fortress, Kharkov.

Shortly after this we heard news of a more sombre nature. The great general and bastion of the Grand-Duchy, Yuri Patrikeev, passed away. He was hit by a stray arrow whilst reviewing the siege of Tula, and did not recover. His body was conveyed to Moskva where Vnukov organised a great funeral so that none might be in doubt that he was valued in this life. Churchmen everyone, including in this place, said prayers that this good man might be judged kindly. For though he was a man whose profession was war, he never sought it, and always counselled peace. In the great siege at Tula, where the forces of Muscowy had now been joined by regiments from Ryazan and Novgorod, Mikhail Shemiatev took command.

After this a second expedition was led into the heart of Lithuania. It had passed by Smolensk and Belarus, and was aiming for the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius when they met a force of Poles that was marching to Donetsk. Alas the Poles are the most cunning military opponents that the armies of the Grand-Duchy have ever faced. The army was defeated, but through the grace of God and the tireless effort of one of the sub-commanders, a man called Petrov, the army managed to return to Kursk despite being harried all the way back. Alas also that such a brave leader of men died from his wounds and exhaustion soon after this return. The Grand-Duke, newly arrived at Kursk for the winter after successfully concluding the siege of Belgorod, was at this hero’s bedside when he died, and he rewarded the man’s family handsomely for his deeds.

Seeing how the Lithuanians were massing near Smolensk the Grand-Duke then conceived of a winter raid to disperse the gathering troops. He set out with some nine thousand cavalry across the frozen plains, and on the 21st day of December he came across his prey. However the conditions went against him, and he was forced to withdraw first from the battle and later from the entire area. Meanwhile a small force he had left near Kursk had been attacked by a force of Poles, and utterly vanquished. Returning to find enemies rather than friends after his ordeal incensed the Grand-Duke, and he chased the Polish troops away at some risk to his own person. So ended the Year of Our Lord 1439, the first year of the war, and the year of the betrayal.

Throughout the months of December and January the armies of Poland and Lithuania massed in Belarus, and then they marched on they army of Vasili Kurbatov encamped in Welikia. There the winter hit them cruelly, and many men froze to death outside the obstinate walls of Velikije Luki. Hearing of the enemy’s advance Kurbatov prepared his men as best he could, but they were cold and hungry, and though they fought hard the numbers of the enemy, and their freshness forced Kurbatov the break the siege and withdraw to Tver to gather reinforcements.

Having broken the siege the Lithuanian then stopped, whilst the Polish army continued and invaded the lands of Muscowy, aiming for the fortress town of Tver. At Tver Kurbatov found several thousand new soldiers who had been recruited over the winter and trained. Incorporating these into his wearied forces enough of a backbone was provided to face and defeat the Polish army on the 18th day of March. In another blow for the forces of light the rebels in Kharkov proved false, surrendering their city soon after an army from Poland arrived, proving that their protestations of allegiance were nothing more than whispers on the wind.

Then the mystery of why the Lithuanian ceased their advance was revealed, for it emerged that Zygmantas, the spawn of Satan, had been murdered by some unknown force. The Lithuanian nobles chose one Kazimir to be their new leader. Hearing news of this dislocation the Grand-Duke set out with ten thousand of his best men in a sortie. It was hoped that he would be able to persuade others to revolt, and force the new Grand-Duke of Lithuania to peace. Alas, for though initial victories were scored these were always against the forces of Poland. Finally, on the plains of the Ukraine the Grand-Duke’s force was caught out by an army of Poland. Far from a place of safety the Grand-Duke suffered heavy losses, and was forced to flee.

During this time Tula finally opened its gates to Muscowy and its allies. After re-organising Shemiakov marched into Welikia. There he did not encounter the Lithuanian troops he had been expecting, but the Polish survivors from the attack on Tver. However, once more superior Polish infantry withstood our soldiers, and Shemiakov retreated to join up with Kurbatov in Tver. When he arrived there he learnt from Kurbatov that Lithuanian troops had begun to siege the garrison he had left behind in Tula. Together he and Kurbatov began preparations to relieve the city.

During his nearly disastrous foray the Grand-Duke had come to an appreciation of the difficulties facing Muscowy and its allies. In a meeting in Kursk with Ivan IV and the commander of the Novgorod army he counselled that they make a separate peace with Poland. He presented evidence that they knew not how strong the forces of Poland were. His allies disagreed. The commander of Novgorod claimed that his men would soon take Kharkov in Donetsk and this would force Lithuania to peace, and thereby Poland. In a rage the Grand-Duke decided to send his own emissaries to the King of Poland. For a token payment for the Polish King to show to his unruly nobles peace with Poland was attained, leaving his erstwhile allies to face the might of Poland alone.

With this agreement made the Grand-Duke organised a two-pronged assault on the Lithuanian army in Tula. From the north Kurbatov and Shemiakov advanced with their forces, while he advanced from the south. The result was a dramatic rout of the Lithuanian forces as they were caught between a holy hammer and an a righteous anvil. The scattered survivors fled to Welikia, while the armies of Muscowy returned to Tver, where the Grand-Duke held a conference with his commanders. No one knows what they there discussed, though from that point on we never lost a battle in this war. Thus ended the Year of Our Lord 1440.

The following spring saw the Polish assault of Ryazan begin. The forces of the Principality were destroyed outside Ryazan, and soon the whole of Ryazan was filled with Polish troops that surrounded every strong point. However here we became aware most truly of the difference between the Poles and the Lithuanians. Though followers of the devil of Rome the Poles did not seek to commit atrocity, or force the people of the lands to do things that were abhorrent to them. The crimes of the Lithuanians I have already detailed in part, and I will not sully my Chronicles with further repetition of their vile deeds.

While Ryazan suffered the Grand-Duke had been preparing his forces, and in April of the Year of Our Lord 1441 he entered Welikia and laid siege once more to Velikije Luki. A Lithuanian relief force was quickly defeated. Then an emissary from Kazimir arrived, who was willing to pay vast moneys to the Grand-Duke if he would but withdraw from the war. The Grand-Duke snuffed these advances, claiming that he would not make peace until Poland had withdrawn all forces from Ryazan. It was told to me that Kazimir did not even inform his overlord, King Wladislaw III of Poland, of this demand.

A second force meanwhile set out from Moskva under the command of Kurbatov to Smolensk, which they quickly leaguered. Finally Shemiakov was sent out to Tambow with a force of cavalry, since it seemed prudent not to leave the East undefended for too long with the chaos that was still prevalent in the Tartar lands.

In Moskva Vnukov was forced to raise several extra-ordinary taxes so that troops could be raised to fight the war. He also sought assistance from Hansa bankers, and secured two loans. It was explained to me by Father Yuri how these strange contractions worked, and I was horrified to here that the Catholics distorted the word of the Lord so much that they allowed base usury to endanger Christian souls.

However, it was in the summer of that year that Isidore, Metropolitan of Kiev, returned from a Council of the whole Church. He reported to our astonishment that the Roman Emperor had abandoned the faith of his fathers and adopted the blasphemies of the Pope, and was forcing this faith upon his subjects. Even more to our astonishment this formerly holy man supported this decision. Vnukov immediately arrested Isidore when he heard what had happened, and sent word to the Grand-Duke who was incensed beyond all measure. Sometime later this false Bishop died, and none mourned the passing of a creature whose soul was surely destined to oblivion, as are all those who try to tempt the faithful from the truth.

It is interesting to note this is a rare occasion where Gregorias chronology completely fails him, since the return of Isidore happened the year before in 1440.

Metropolitan Isidore accepts the Council of Florence (Relations with BYZ PAP POL LIT –50. Relations with SUZ NVG RYA PSK +25. Stability +1)

In that autumn Ryazan itself fell to the Poles. Ivan IV had been able to flee to Moskva, where by dint of the peace between Muscowy and Poland he was safe. Vnukov entertained him in the manner to which he was accustomed, but refused to release troops or funds to allow an attempted re-conquest. Upon hearing of his vassal’s flight the Grand-Duke is reputed to said: “I care not. The current misfortunes of Ivan are of his own stupidity, and my vows mention no protection against that. Let him make whatever peace he can with the Poles. Maybe it will teach him the lesson of listening to his betters and doing what he is told!”

The following winter saw the surrender of Velikije Luki to the Grand-Duke in the middle of the month of January. However instead of retiring to spend the rest of the winter in Tver the Grand-Duke called for more reinforcements, for scouts and spies brought word of a large army under command of the Lithuanian Grand-Duke was on its way. Indeed it was large, it was reported that over forty thousand men had mustered in Vilnius, but the Lithuanians are a feckless people. By the time of the Battle of the Oak, on the last day of March in the Year of Our Lord 1442, fully a quarter of these had melted into the woods, or frozen in the winter march. The army of the Grand-Duke was of a similar number. They fought in a hilly valley, and the Grand-Duke watched the battle from under a massive oak. There he won a great victory, and the army of Lithuania was forced to retreat.

Scenting further victories the Grand-Duke marched into Belarus, only to discover that the Lithuanians had reorganised in Polotsk and were now marching towards him once more. This suited the Grand-Duke who prepared to meet the Lithuanians at the river crossings, and inflicting several loses on the Lithuanians. The remnants of their once might army arrived back in Vilnius only a fifth of the size they once were.

Meanwhile Ivan of Ryazan had taken the words of the Grand-Duke to heart, and sorrowfully entreated peace, for his whole realm was now in the possession of the Poles. Wladislaw demanded a heavy price, and Ivan was forced to empty his treasury and hand over all possessions that Ryazan had acquired since the start of the War of the Middle Volga. Thus the provinces of Vorones and Kursk bought the freedom of Ryazan, and Ivan was properly humbled for his obstinacy of two years before.

About this time Smolensk also fell to Kurbatov, who quickly marched into Mozyr and besieged Moghilev. In this he was helped by no small measure of luck, for he was quickly able to reduce the citadel’s water-supply. He was not the only Russian loose in the Lithuanian lands, for in the south the Commander of Novgorod had held Donetsk throughout the winter, and now had defeated the force sent to deal with him. So the Lithuanians ceded for peace with Ryazan and Novgorod in return for some monies.

Indeed the end was close, for on the last day of September of that year Moghilev fell. This effectively split the Lithuanian realm in two, and Kazimir ceded for peace. The Treaty of Minsk was nearly as hard fought as the war itself. Enlivened by his successes the Grand-Duke pressed for every advantage with little thought to his reputation in other lands. So the provinces of Welikia, Tula, Smolensk, and Belgorod were ceded by Lithuania, along with a small payment.

Thus ended the Semenov War, for part of the agreement of the peace was the surrendering of Semenov to the Lithuanians. We were glad to see him go, for he plainly believed himself to be above his station. His vices were obvious, and when it was discovered that he had fallen prey of the Lithuanian disease all saw that it would be better for serpents to lie in bed together. Thus ends this book of my Chronicle.
 

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Book V of the Chronicles of Gregorias

The fifth book of Gregorias’ chronicles is a slightly awkward work. This is partly because of damaged state, and partly because it is not solely Gregorias’ work. From the ‘Deeds of the Fathers of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios’ – Gregorias’ concurrent history of the Monastery itself – we learn that Gregorias’ sight began to fail either in 1454 or 1455. After 1457 his health began to decline in other ways, and it seems likely that his apprentice, Brother Andrei, took to writing more and more of the work. Finally, after suffering a stroke late in 1450 Brother Gregorias was nearly always confined to his bed. He died in early spring the following year, and Brother Andrei includes an obituary in the so-called sixth book of the Chronicles, which he continued.

Having successfully secured a peace with the Grand-Duchy of Lithuania, the Grand-Duke returned to Moskva. There he made a ceremonial procession on the 25th day of March in the Year of Our Lord 1443, bringing with him all the spoils of his war, and symbols of all the provinces he had taken. Indeed, he looked the very image of a Roman Emperor of old, so grand did he sit that day. I myself saw this with my own eyes, for Father Yuri was invited by the Archbishop to attend, and he invited me so that for once I might see of what I write. I thank God, the Lord of All Hosts, for allowing me to see this one Host return in victory.

Magnanimous in his victory, the Grand-Duke recalled Platonov for his retirement, and once again brought him into his council, though never again would Platonov rise so high as he had done in the past. He was given overall authority for the newly conquered provinces, whilst Vnukov kept his authority over the older lands of the Grand-Duchy. Between them they administered the lands wisely.

Here there are several damaged pages, with little that is recoverable. The story takes up in the spring of 1445.

Alas that these heavenly times could not last, for while he was on his way to visit the town of Tambow he and his party were ambushed by a large group of Tartars – for along the Volga there were still many raids between Kazan and the Golden Horde. His and his men fought bravely, but the Grand-Duke was hit by a stone on his head, and he fell unconscious. Many of his men, thinking him dead, fled the field, and he was captured. Had it not been for this unhappy chance many grievous events that followed would not have happened.

Vasili II has been captured by Tartars! (Gold –200. Stability –2. STE KAZ –50 CB v STE KAZ for 48 months)

News of this disaster spread quickly, and the whole realm was in turmoil. The sum that the Tartars demanded was great, and Vnukov was forced to raise more money though the Hansa. It also became clear the Dmitri Shemiaka, the son of Yuri of Halich, was now claiming the Grand-Duchy, saying that the Grand-Duke’s capture was a sure sign that God favoured him. What fools men are when they try to interpret the will of God!

Shemiaka claims right to rule! (Stability –2 Centralisation –1 9000 cavalry in Tambow)

Platonov quickly realised the dangers here, and summoned Kurbatov, who was then in Smolensk. Together with Vnukov they planned to rid themselves of Mikhail Shemiakov, who was a cousin of the false pretender. Kurbatov, trusting to the soldiers under Shemiakov’s command, some of whom had served under him, rode quickly to Tambow. There he found everything in a state of disarray, and saw evidence that Shemiakov was indeed in league with his cousin. Quickly gathering a few loyal men he came upon Shemiakov unawares, and there meted out the rewards of treason. Then he rallied the army and led it north, to Vladimir.

Meanwhile Platonov started to raise extra troops, and soon paid the ransom that the Tartars had demanded, while Vnukov remained in Moskva. When the Grand-Duke was freed he was beside himself with rage at the presumption of Dmitri, and went straightaway to Vladimir. There Kurbatov had already put the usurpers to flight, though the Prince of Vladimir had long ago fled elsewhere. While he was reviewing the siege the Grand-Duke was hit by devilry, heated sand. This got into his eyes, and his sight started to fail him after that. Livid as he was, Kurbatov nonetheless persuaded him to return to Moskva and his son.

The siege of Vladimir lasted long into the winter. Then it was decided to set a cruelly high ransom for the city, and this was communicated to the Prince by means of an inhabitant of Novgorod. Meanwhile the search was on for Shemiaka. He was rumoured to be hiding in the country of Vladimir, but no amount of searching located this impious wretch.

Through the talents of Vnukov and Platonov the Year of Our Lord 1446 saw the Grand-Duchy begin to restore order to the realm. The Prince of Ryazan also visited Moskva and presented himself to the Grand-Duke, showing to the whole world that his allegiance was still true. The Grand-Duke appeared with his son, and gave the Prince several signs of his favour.

Exceptional Year (Gold +75 Inflation –4)

Another break in the manuscript. This may or may not be connected with Gregorias’ declining health, or with the war. This section of the ‘Deeds’ is also sparse, giving only an obituary to Father Yuri, who died in 1447, and introducing his successor, Father Mikhail. The story is taken up again in 1448, at a particularly momentous event.

Ever since the return and imprisonment of Isidore, that false Metropolitan who had betrayed his people, his Church, and God at the heretical Council of Florence, the clergy of Russia had many discussions of what to do. News from the Empire seemed to show that the decisions of the Emperor had not found favour with the people, but to place us under the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople, an office that at this time was disgraced by an Imperial puppet, was unthinkable. It was resolved that it would be best if the Russian Church was allowed to elect its own Metropolitan from among the episcopacy, but the bishops were aware that they needed the approval of the Grand-Duke for such a move, for without secular support such a move would faith. Made quieter by his blindness, and more thoughtful the Grand-Duke took several months to make his decision – as is right for the nature of the decision he had to make. At last though saw the wisdom in the desires of the Russian Church, and on the 20th day of February I in the Year of Our Lord 1448 we Russians chose for the first time our own Metropolitan.

Let the Russians Elect their own Metropolitan IN Elections of a new Metropolitan (Stability +1 BYZ –50 PSK NVG RYA SUZ +25)

Later that same year the Grand-Duke proved himself to be truly the defender of the Church. When it came to his attention, through his minister Vnukov, that some of the boyars of Vologda were trying to usurp the rights, privileges, and duties of the church he moved swiftly to restore the Church to its full authority, and punished the treacherous conduct of the unruly.

Decline IN Cessation of Church Functions to the Nobility (VP –5)

During this time it became obvious to all that in his blindness the Grand-Duke was relying more and more on his able and competent son. Given his inability to travel now as easily as he used to Ivan was declared co-ruler of the Grand-Duchy, and all were told to consider Ivan’s word as the word of the Grand-Duke. Among the first of Ivan’s measures was to continue the reform of the army, and to improve relations with the city of Pskov with the signing of an agreement regulating trade between the City and the Grand-Duchy.

Vasili II appoints his son Ivan as co-ruler (ADM DIP MIL +3 for 157 months)
Quality +1


The summer and winter of that year, that is, the Year of Our Lord 1449 saw few events of any import. The land was ruled wisely and was fruitful. The spring of the following year finally saw peace with Suzdal. Through some bankers in Novgorod Shemiakov and the Prince were able to raise the necessary capital needed to meet the demands of the Grand-Duchy. The city was handed back on the 7th Day of March, in the Year of Our Lord 1450. So ends this part of the Chronicle.
 

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Book VI of the Chronicles of Gregorias

In monastery chronicles throughout Christendom it was common to continue the works of initial chroniclers. These ‘continuations’ are common, and sometimes there are several. This is what occurred to the Chronicle of Gregorias. After Gregorias’ death his apprentice Brother Andrei was installed as Chronicler of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios. Although Russian, curiously he maintained this Chronicle in Greek, even as he started the write ‘Deeds’ in Muscowian Russian. However, he did have his own ideas about writing, and instituted a system of dating whereby he would refer to events happening in the spring (March to May), summer (June to October), or winter (November to February) of a year. Andrei was less concerned with what occurred in the world outside Russia than Gregorias had been. This may have been because of the paucity of sources, and because of his own inclinations.

In the spring of the Year of Our Lord 1450, in the month of April, the City of Pskov declared war upon the Livonian Order, claiming that the impious Order was encroaching on their land. Also in the same month the City of Novgorod underwent a change of government, one less favourable to the enemies of the Grand-Duchy. This occurred because the Prince of Vladimir refused to repay the loans offered him by the City for the recovery of his city. The Prince did this on the impious urgings of Dmitri Shemiaka, his companion and friend. So the City declared a war against the Principality for restitution. The City requested help from the Grand-Duchy and the Principality of Ryazan, and it was gladly offered. The army of Muscowy quickly dispersed the army of Vladimir, and then withdrew, letting the forces of Novgorod have the honour of taking the city.

Meanwhile we heard tell that the Tartars of the Horde were cruelly maiming and putting to death all those not of Tartar blood, expelling them from land and treating free people as if they were slaves. Coming to the aid of their kin under the Tartar yoke the Georgians, a faithful people who live on the eastern coasts of the Inland Sea, invaded, also in the spring.

Matters proceeded much the same throughout the summer of that year. In the winter the forces of the City of Novgorod were forced to withdraw from Vladimir, by the weather and also by the incessant raids from a number of troops of Vladimir that were raiding the countryside. The soldiers of Novgorod are made weak on comforts, and it is no surprise that they have proven incapable in this and other wars.

In the spring of the Year of Our Lord 1451 the armies of the Grand-Duchy returned to Vladimir, and once more defeated the enemy. Then they started to siege the city themselves, since it was regarded that the Novgorodians would be unequal to the task.

Also in this Spring began the true start of the great conflagration that occurred throughout all countries bordering the Inland Sea and the Sea of Athens. Many nations and peoples fought, and there were many alliances. The primary focus though was a grand alliance against the Ottoman Turks and their Allies. From the east and north attacked the White Sheep Turks allied with the Tartar Horde. Also from here the Georgians attacked, claiming that the people of Trebizond should no longer suffer the Ottoman yoke. They themselves were then attacked by the City of Genoa, who held the ancient part of the Crimean peninsular. From the north-west attacked the Lithuanians, supported as ever in their warlike ambitions by the Poles. Finally the Latins that occupied Athens also attacked the Ottomans. All these occurred within a few months of each other, so that by the time news arrived to us it seemed as if everything was happening at once. In addition I heard at this time that the King of Hungary was already at war with the Ottoman Turks.

Also in this spring, on the twenty-ninth Day of March, Brother Gregorias, First Chronicler of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios was taken mercifully from this life to the bosom of God. He was born in the city of Thessalonika, and had served God there, until the depredations of Latins and Turks caused him and his brothers to flee, and so mirrored the experiences of Saint Pyotr who founded this Monastery. He came to us, and seeing us bereft of the learning he had, he taught us, and took delight in that teaching. Under his tutelage our knowledge of the Lord grew, and we became accustomed to the delight of learning. Yet he never sought position, and was not ambitious save in the service of the Lord. Each day he would humbly see to the Monastery accounts, and instruct his pupils in the basics of grammar. Towards the end of his life he lost the use if his eyes, yet his faith in the Lord remained undiminished and continued to lighten his world, and from then on he still taught, though with assistance that I myself often provided. Though his body weakened he would not ask for any help, and took his place each day at prayer until physical frailty forced Brother Infirmarer to confine him to bed. Even then he insisted on saying the Holy Office. This blessed man of God will be much missed by the world, and by all who knew him.

In the summer of this year the Livonian Knights, after a winter of raids, launched an attack upon the City of Pskov, and destroyed the army of that city. They then laud siege, and though the Grand-Duke sent what help he could he was unable to take a more active role because of the depredations of Tartar raiders in the east and the siege of Vladimir.

Towards the end of summer we heard that the Tartar Horde had divided, and that a new Khanate, called Crimea, had separated. The advisors of the Tartar Khan had all been slain, and the Khan himself only escaped through unlucky chance. After this the Khan had no thought of foreign adventures but only of suppressing the many persons who opposed him.

In the winter of that year the Grand-Duke re-organised the city of Moskva and its hinterland, allowing its men to be more effectively utilised in time of war. Also in this winter the city of Vladimir finally fell, and now the Grand-Duke stipulated that only the death of Dmitri Shemiaka would be sufficient ransom.

In the Summer of the Year of Our Lord 1452 the Livonian Order occupied the City of Pskov, and installed there a garrison, and appointed their own governor, denying the city its freedom. From the City came many who appealed to the Grand-Duchy for aid. The Grand-Duke considered their request most carefully, and decided that the situation must not be allowed to stand. So while he organised troops he sent a demand to the Order for the release of the City. The Order never deigned to reply.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1453, having not achieved satisfaction from the Livonian Order, the Grand-Duke ordered his armies invade. After an initial victory in Livland, an army of the Grand-Duchy was defeated by the base cunning of the so-called holy knights outside Pskov. Justice did not long await these false monks, and they were surrounded and destroyed a few weeks later.

With the armies of the Order decimated armies were dispatched to siege all the fortresses that the Order maintained, while efforts were primarily directed to reduce the defenders of Pskov. There several treacherous inhabitants fought willingly alongside the Order, showing their true heretical colour.

In the winter of that year the Georgians were forced to withdraw form the War of the Inland Sea, and had to cede Sochi to the vile Genoese. The Ottomans remained hard pressed, with the Hungarians advancing into Bulgaria and the Poles having taken Moldova.

The Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1454 saw Pskov liberated from the putrid Livonian Order. It also saw the uncovering of a great deceit on the part of the King of Poland. This false friend had been claiming that the Grand-Duke of Muscowy was his own vassal in the courts of Italy and Germany, to enhance his own prestige. The Polish clearly never thought that the Grand-Duke would mind such an insult. It was only a mission of the Grand-Duke’s to Hungary that dispelled this fiction, and the Polish people were denounced from pulpits everywhere, and their merchants expelled. Even so no further action was needed, for the Polish King was made the image of the fool, and the Grand-Duke upon hearing this from his envoys was content at the Polish humiliation.

Diplomatic Insult (CB v POL LIT for 12 months)

This spring also saw the death of Dmitri Shemiaka. This thorn against the righteous was finally handed over the justice of the Grand-Duchy on the First Day of April, along with his personal treasures. With honour satisfied Muscowy withdrew from Vladimir, and let Novgorod seek its own redress.

In that winter the Prince of Vladimir sued for peace with the City of Novgorod, and was forced to provide considerable monies to sate the Novgorodians appetite for revenge for their earlier reverses. Also in this winter the province of Kurland finally came under the control of the Grand-Duchy. Overtures for peace were made, but were rejected by the obstinate Order, and so efforts now concentrated on taking the massive fortress city of Riga, which is excellently positioned for the defence. The final event of that winter was the Peace between the Ottoman Turks and the Lithuanians, who accepted but a measly sum from the infidel.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1455 the City of Novgorod itself declared war against the Livonian Order, having finally heard the cries of their Russian brethren. However, like all traders their real concern is not with what is right but with money. Also in this Spring the Khanate of Crimea joined with the enemies of the Ottoman Turks, and thus the War of the Inland Sea entered its final portion.

The Siege of Riga dragged on throughout the year, only coming to an end finally on the last day of October in the Year of Our Lord 1455. To celebrate this capture the Grand-Duke sent gifts to both the Prince of Ryazan and the Archbishop of Novgorod. He then sent his demands to the Grandmaster who was then in Prussia with his Teutonic brethren. The demands were for the return of Pskov to the Russian people, and reparation for the damage caused by the Livonian occupation. With all his lands under Russian dominion the Grandmaster was forced to agree. The City of Novgorod though continued the war, after taking counsel with the Grand-Duke, for they still sought redress for actions against their kin who were present in Pskov when the city had fallen to the Livonians.

Also during this winter the Prince of Vladimir, seeing the chaos into which the Tartar horde had fallen, refused to send any further tribute. In recognition of his efforts at freeing himself from the Tartar yoke the Grand-Duke sent a magnificent trophy and other adornments .

The Year of Our Lord 1456 saw the end of the War of the Inland Sea, with the Ottoman Turks, proving how mercenary are all infidels and schismatics, buying their security. Meanwhile the City of Novgorod launched several abortive invasions of the Livonian Order, but as has been mentioned the troops of Novgorod are weak, with no true stomach for the fight.

So ends the Sixth Book of this Chronicle, the first to be written by myself, Brother Andrei, Chronicler of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios.
 

Valdemar

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What a ride, this was great, how do you find tme to write all that in such a short time?

I've tried Russia myself once (start 1492, when already unified) It is going to be fun to see how you handle certain events ;) (wouldn't spoil the surprise)

V
 

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Valdemar

I find the time unfortunately because I am unemployed :(
Though this does give me plenty of time to play EU2! :D


More generally, I am thinking of including as a sort of side-line some narrative about the Monastery, focusing naturally on the Chroniclers. Would would people's opinons be on that?

Also, what are people's opinions on the 2 different styles of Chronicle that I have used thus far? The more narrative approach of Gregorias, or more annalistic approach of Andrei.

Edit: corrected some atrocious typo
 
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Seventh Book of the Chronicles of Gregorias

After his attempts in Book VI, Brother Andrei wrote clearly a more thoroughly organised work in Book VII. It is also the first ‘Decade’ of the Chronicles of Gregorias, covering as it does a ten-year period. It also demonstrates an increased interest in foreign affairs, though some have argued that this may be the result of Brother Ivan, who became Brother Andrei’s Assistant in the year 1460. However the arguments here are inconclusive, and I would suggest that the book not be examined too closely, for by doing so my fellow academics risk inventing rather than reporting.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1457 there was an attack on the town of Belgorod, led by a Lithuanian boyar and supported by the voevode of Poltava. It was defeated without effort, and representations were made to the Lithuanian Grand-Duke.

In the summer of that year the Roman Empire reclaimed the city of Athens, but were immediately attacked by the City of Venice and the Kingdom of Bosnia. Also in that summer a Novgorodian trading party was attacked by a group of Tartars who were raiding the banks of the Volga. By chance the Prince of the Realm came upon the party in their moment of need with his bodyguard, and the Tartars were put to flight. In the party was the son of one of the Novgorodian senators, one Timofey Ivanovich. He and the Prince formed a deep friendship, and the Grand-Duke entertained the young man throughout the summer. The Prince also restocked the party with goods, and gave each member gifts, and sent a guard so that the troublesome Tartars would hinder them no further. Accounts of this incident were related in the City of Novgorod, and the Prince received much credit there for his generosity. Also in this summer Anatoli Platonov, who had served the Grand-Dukes loyally for all his life, succumbed to the weariness of old age and left this world.

Diplomatic Move (NVG +25 Diplomats +1)

In the winter of that year the Ottoman Turks, seeing the Roman Empire under heavy assault opened hostilities, and surrounded the Holy City of Constantinople. There, through the use of devilries, and through the treachery of the Latins that dwelt within, they took the City of God, and plundered it. Then the Ottoman Sultan took the city as his capital, and every day that the city suffers foreign dominion it is abused. The Empire was not yet wholly defeated, and the Heirs of the Caesars fought on from Greece, and many Turks met their deaths in the mountain passes.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1458 we received five new brethren fleeing from the infidel Turks, and we heard stories of great destruction as the Turk robbed everything of value, and tore down all that offended them. They desecrated the Churches and Cathedrals, and desecrated the Church of Holy Wisdom with their foul acts of worship. For these Turks, like all of their heathen faith, cannot abide the sight of what is pure, and seek to pervert these buildings, and then pretend that they had conceived and built them. I have heard tell of a beautiful Domed Cathedral in Jerusalem, built by the Emperor Heraclius and dedicated to the Patriarch that the tendentious Saracen claim was their own creation. Indeed, these barbarians can build nothing themselves, they only know how to kill and to oppress, and they regularly break the tenets of their own so-called faith. If they do need anything done of worth they compel their subjects to do so.

In the Spring of the Year 1459 the Prince of the Realm initiated further reforms of the army of the Grand-Duchy. He organised the boyars, so that some would always gain experience of warfare, and some of administration. He organised the men so that they received regular training. In all of this the Prince gained great respect, and the people were happy to know that he would succeed his father, and that his father valued him so high in his counsels.

Quality +1
Heir to the Crown (Stability +1) – alternatively Ivan making himself well-liked!


In the Summer of that year Father Boris of this Monastery died in his sleep. He had been complaining of tightness in the chest, and this often presages the final journey. He had been a steady hand, and he always gave wise counsel to all those that asked it. Humble in his believes, and faithful in his opinions one never doubted he was a man of God. His successor is Father Mikhail, a learned man who has agreed to my request that Brother Ivan become my apprentice and assistant.

Late in the winter of that year we heard that the Lithuanian magnates had come to argument with the King of Poland, their Grand-Duke, and forced to agree to his terms. Henceforth they made sure that their realm was separated from the Kingdom of Poland in all ways, so as to retain their freedom. Lithuania breaks vassalage with Poland.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1460 certain boyars in the province of Welikia encouraged the peasantry to rise up against their lords. The rabble fled from soldiers, and the boyars concerned were all arrested. Upon examination they confessed to having taken fealty to the devil of Rome, and had been provided with monies by agents of false Patriarch of Rome. They were executed as befits apostates to the faith.

Also in that spring the Grand-Duke let it be known that from henceforth a certain portion of the income of the state would be set aside for the promotion of Russian culture and virtues. For in foreign realms they think we are a backward people. To be a visible display of Russian achievement work began on the Kremlin of Moskva, under the direction of the Prince of the Realm, that the whole world might see the might of the Grand-Duchy and marvel at its artistry. Begin construction of a Fine Arts Academy in Moskva

In that summer we heard joyous news that the Roman Emperor had returned to the true faith, and now rued the abandonment by his kin of the teachings of their ancestors. This incensed the Venetians then at war with the Roman Empire, and exhorted them to further efforts. So much that they seized the lands of Albania and took them for their own.

Meanwhile a consensus had been forming amongst certain boyars that the continuing reforms of the army were eroding their rights and privileges. Understanding their concern the Prince of the Realm agreed to meet with them several times over the summer and winter of this year. Through patient negotiation he explained to them the need for reform, and through his skills of persuasion the boyars concerned were convinced of the justice of the reforms. The Prince, and later the Grand-Duke also made plain that under no circumstance did they envisage removing the rights of the boyars to bear arms. They declared this right inalienable, and the boyars were satisfied.

Resolve Politically IN Nobles ally against the King (Aristocracy +1 Centralisation –1 Gold –50)

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1461 saw the further dismemberment of the Tartar Horde, as rebels against the Khan ran amuck, looting and pillaging everywhere they went. This saw further provinces slim away as those that craved order switched their allegiances from the decrepit Khans. These revolutions saw the provinces of Lugansk bow before the Crimean yoke, and the region of Samara come under the saw of the Tartars of Kazan. By the end of these occurrences, a few years hence, the Tartar Horde was left as but a husk, though maintained its pretensions.

In the summer of that year the worthy general Vasili Kurbatov went to join his fathers. He is to be missed by all who love Muscowy, for the Grand-Duchy never had a more loyal soldier.

In that winter of that year the Grand-Duke renewed his friendship with Sweden, by organising another marriage. This was against the feelings of most of the boyars. They however much rather liked an event late in the winter when the Prince announced that secret negotiations with the Kingdom of Hungary had borne fruit, and that the Hungarians and the Grand-Duchy had resolved to support each other in the event of war.

In the spring of the Year of Our Lord 1462 it was reported that the Prince of Ryazan was extremely ill, and he rallied for a while it was clear to all that he would soon die. Looking to the comfort of his realm he took counsel with the Prince of the Realm, for he was not enamoured of his son who had fallen under the sway of a Lithuanian woman of common birth. Exhorting him to remember the dictates of their common faith the Prince advised him to consider the case of his cousin, the Grand-Duke. The Prince was in agreement, and made it known that the Grand-Duke of Muscowy, whosoever it might be at the time of his death, was to be in addition the Prince of Ryazan.

Shortly after this agreement was announced Vasili II, Grand-Duke of Muscowy died from a stroke. Vasili was, until his blinding, a man of great energy, always seeking to excel. At times it has been said that this led him to incautiousness, something that he supposedly acknowledged after losing his sight. Indeed that seemed to settle the Grand-Duke, so that from then on he considered matters of the realm more carefully and fiercely scrutinised every proposal. His son became the Grand-Duke of Muscowy, Ivan, and the third of that name to hold the Grand-Duchy.

The summer of that year was spent with the new Grand-Duke touring the realm. The winter saw the death of the Prince of Ryazan, and so the Grand-Duke also became Prince of Ryazan. Also at this time Aleskei Vnukov died. Alas for that servant of the state, his sons had died before him, leaving him childless in the twilight of his years. The Grand-Duke searched for some suitable relation, but none could be found, so his lands reverted to the Grand-Duke. This caused some upset in the province of Belgorod, where Vnukov had been granted wide estates that had been taken from rebellious boyars who had secretly abandoned their faith and cleaved to the Lithuanians.

Directly Administer IN An heirless noble dies (Stability –1 Tax in Belgorod +1 Gold +30)

Also in the winter of that year the Prince of Vladimir rejected a proposal by the Grand-Duke to ally against the infidel Tartars. The Grand-Duke was incensed, for had not his father lavished gifts upon the Prince and let him retain his Principality despite his obstinate support for the craven Shemiaka? An investigation was made, and it soon became clear that the Prince of Vladimir was beholden to Tartar money. The Grand-Duke communicated this to the Archbishop of Novgorod, the Revered Iona, and together they resolved that the stain of Vladimir must never again be allowed to besmirch the reputation of the Russian peoples. So, on the 4th day of February at the Declaration of Novgorod they made public their resolve to put an end to this meddling. At the same time the City of Novgorod and the Livonian Order declared an end to their present hostilities.

In the spring of the Year of Our Lord 1463 the army of Vladimir crossed the river Volga and advanced on Moskva. This army was ambushed by the army of the Volga as it advanced from where it kept watch on the Tartars. Having put the enemy to flight across the river it then crossed the river itself. There the remaining troops were dispersed, save for a few that fled into the forests. The army then settled down to siege the city of Vladimir for the third time in under twenty years.

In the early summer some of the remnants of the forces of Vladimir were organised under a somewhat capable boyar who led a raid into Vologda. Although incapable of harming any well-guarded place they still caused havoc in the country. But when returning to his estates to get supplies a contingent of soldiers from the siege of Vladimir ambushed him a river crossing, and he was killed in the fighting.

Throughout the winter of that year, and into the spring of the Year of Our Lord 1464 the siege of Vladimir continued. Seeing an opportunity with the attentions of the Grand-Duchy focused elsewhere some evil boyars in the provinces of Tula and Smolensk resolved to throw off the lawful and legitimate authority of the Grand-Duke and replace it with the authority of the King of Poland, through conspiracy with the starotsa of Kursk. The voevodes of the Grand-Duchy were forewarned with one of the boyars confessed to the conspiracy. Seeing their game was uncovered they attempted to lead the peasantry into revolt, claiming that the Grand-Duke had murdered his father. These were quickly and easily suppressed, and the boyars either fled or were justly put to death.

Also in that summer came news of a sickness in Welikia that left many dead. Upon investigation it was proven that the contagion affected only those who had a close proximity to snakes, and was clearly a sign of the Lord marking those Lithuanians who still followed their old and pagan ways. Many others who did the same, and yet lived, were now persuaded to make a true conversion, and thus the wood-people of Welikia were finally won.

Plague! (Pop in Welikia –2000)

The city of Vladimir had fallen to the Grand-Duchy earlier in the summer, but the final holds were not taken until the month of September. It was in one of these that the Prince and those members of his family who had not fled abroad were taken. They were taken back to Moskva, where they were tried before a committee made up of notables from the Russian alliance. Being found guilty they were killed, though the women and little ones were killed quickly with a single axe stroke. Then on the Nineteenth Day of October the Principality of Vladimir was held no longer to exist, and all rights to the Principality were transferred to the Grand-Dukes of Muscowy. To celebrate this the Grand-Duke gave Archbishop Iona some sacred works that his troops had rescued from being burnt, and a marriage with the cousin of the King of Hungary was celebrated.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1465 the Fathers of the City of Novgorod, led by Archbishop Iona, came in a Procession to Moskva, where the Grand-Duke received them in all honour. They then addressed him, being mindful of all the favours he had given the City, and of all the slightly which he had suffered by them yet had shown forbearance, would the Grand-Duke accept to be named the Protector of Novgorod. This address was delivered by Timofey Ivanovich, the Grand-Duke’s friend. The Grand-Duke replied that not only was he honoured he would accept the position offered. He swore to be mindful of the rights of the City, and promised never to interfere in the affairs of the City unless specifically invited. So the Grand-Duchy of Muscowy and the City of Novgorod formed a harmonious alliance. All this occurred on the 25th Day of March, in the Year of Our Lord 1465.

In the winter of that year there was further unrest in Tula, this being caused by the particularly harsh conditions in the city of that year. For seven days there were riots before order could be restored and bread supplied from other parts of the realm.

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1466 we heard that the White Sheep Turks, ever envious of the success of the people of the faith overwhelmed the army of the Georgians, and enslaved many so that those hardworking people would be forced to build and to smithy for them. As I have mentioned the infidel is incapable of honest work, and is ever on the look out for skilled men.

So ends the Seventh Book of the Chronicles of Gregorias, the second to be written by myself, Brother Andrei.
 

stnylan

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Implementing new idea

Hi all

Back from holiday, hence the lack of posts the last few days. I have decided to add the odd narrative passage, to help me get into the heads of the various chroniclers.
 
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The Eighth Book of the Chronicles of Gregorias

OOC

The draft wafted around the corridors, hugging close to the floor. As Brother Ivan tramped along the corridor, unconcerned at the reproving looks he received from others of the brethren, it chilled his feet. He was still wearing his cloak, the furs still frostbitten from the cold. The Monastery was beautiful in winter, but it was also bleak, and no place for a sick man. The servant at the cell’s door nodded as he approached. Dmitri was mute, but the monastery took in all like he that it could.

“How is he?” Ivan asked softly, surprisingly softly when his thick build and somewhat fierce looks were taken into account. Dmitri made a motion with his hand, so-so. “Is he awake?” Dmitri nodded, and showed Ivan that the door was slightly open. Nodding to the mute Ivan slipped inside.

“Come to see an old man croak?” came a voice from a huddled form hunched over a writing desk. The cell was dark. Only one candle gave light. This was followed by a series of wracking coughs.

Ivan quickly stood beside his master. “You should be in bed,” he commented.

“No!” Andrei whispered back fiercely. “I can still see, I will still write.” Ivan sighed. He and his master had already had this debate half a dozen times or more in the last month. His master was sometimes a weak man, but never about this, his duty. He peered over his shoulder, and saw what he was writing: an account of the life of Gregorias. That made sense. Andrei was in a perpetual fear that the deeds of that worthy would be forgotten.

Ivan for a moment thought back to his few memories of the old man. He only knew Gregorias for a year or two at the end of his life, and his recollections were dimmed by his youth and by time. He remembered a sense of sorrow that had seemed to cling to the old Greek, twined with a sort of wonder at this, his new land. To listen to Andrei you would think that no one in Russia knew how to read or write before Gregorias arrived.

His introspection was abruptly ended when a vice-like grip squeezed his arm. Startled, he looked to see Andrei had seized his arm and was holding it like the salvation of his soul depended on it. “You will complete my work?” the old Chronicler requested, demanded. In the old man’s eyes Ivan saw a fear, and he found he could feel it, taste it. As if that the touch that was even now turning his hand numb had communicated Andrei’s final desires in a most palpable way.

Ivan found that he could only nod. He put his hand atop Andrei’s. “Master, I will.” In that moment Andrei looked at peace, and then he fell, gently, ever so slowly, into Ivan’s arms.


___


This book is the first that we have to be written by Brother Ivan. We know next to nothing of Ivan’s parentage, and it is more than likely that he was a noble bastard committed to the Monastery from a young age. He seems, strangely enough, to have formed a correspondence with Ivan IV, though this is only hinted at in other works. Brother Ivan also completed a life of Gregorias that was heavily used in the later hagiographies of that man’s life

It is with a heavy heart that I, Brother Ivan, do begin this, the Eighth Book of the Chronicles of Gregorias, who came to us from Tsargrad. For Brother Andrei, who formerly wrote these books died during the course of what I here tell, for the Office of Chronicler has fallen to me, and I trust that through the Grace of God I may prove worthy to record.

In the summer of the Year or Our Lord 1467 the Ottoman Sultan forced the Emperor to make humiliated peace, and hand over the city of Athens to the ungrateful heathen. So the city that had lightened the world long before the birth of Christ, and the streets where Paul himself had preached, fell into darkness.

This and other occurrences made the Grand-Duke certain that the world was becoming a more dangerous place, and he now determined that certain practises of the army had to be reformed and refined. Henceforth the boyars were not to be responsible for the raising of troops in each district. This function was to be given to the voevode of each place, though he confirmed in charter that the boyars were still to be the commanders of the troops.

Greater Reform of the Army (Land +1 Land Investments +500 Gold –100)

Throughout the Year of Our Lord 1468 the boyars grumbled at the new reforms. Why were they needed, they asked. Had not the practises of the past served the Grand-Duchy well for his father and grand-father? These mutterings were not of a public nature, but I noticed that several noble scions would pray for impolitic things at the altar when they came seeking the support of the saints.

At the start of winter Father Mikhail contracted a chill from the early snows. This debilitated him with uncharacteristic speed, and he died on the third day of the Season of Advent. He will be sorely missed amongst us, for though he was not a great man he was good one, and cared for his flock as does any true Shepard. His successor was Pyotr, called the Tall, for this he was, standing at over six and a half feet. He was a soldier in his youth, turning to service of Christ after the Shemiaka wars.

In the Year of Our Lord 1469 word began to circulate of a conspiracy against the Grand-Duke, from certain boyars who were already aggrieved. In the summer of that year a number of them presented him with a petition. When the Grand-Duke heard the purpose of their audience he commanded them give the petition to a functionary, and they departed from his presence. Days past, and then weeks, and no answer was heard. One or two of the most headstrong sought a new audience, and demanded answer, but the Grand-Duke did not answer their queries.

Ignore their Demands IN Nobles demand recovery of former rights(RR+2 for 24 months)

Some of these boyars then proved false their pledges of loyalty, gathered some troops to them. They ambushed a portion of soldiers of the Grand-Duchy outside Tula, and demanded that the city open its gates. The voevode refused, and before long the main army from Welikia hunted the rebels down, and killed every one.

Although very few boyars took part in this rebellion, many were sympathetic, and acted like crows. The Grand-Duke was much angered, and claimed that the boyars were obstacles to the safety of the state, and that no boyar could be allowed to hold the Grand-Dukes to ransom by not obeying a military summons. Thus far some fair portion of the boyars did not answer such summons, even though it was upon them that the security of the state rested. Thus is was the Grand-Duke initiated further reform that winter, and he made the Decree of Crows he extracted the price the boyars were to pay for their collective treachery. Each boyar was to provide land for the Grand-Duke to disperse to men trained to be cavalrymen. This land and the workers on it would support the cavalry, and allow them to be always ready for the realm’s defence.

In instigating this decree the Grand-Duke was not unjust. For those families who had never shirked their duties he guaranteed position for relatively small amounts of land, and he lauded them with praises and honours. The burden of these laws fell upon those who were deficient in their duty, and it was made plain that any further dissension would be severely punished.

Let us Reform IN The Pomestija Reform (Aristocracy +1 Centralisation –1 Quality +1 Land Investments +800 10000 Cavalry in Tver 5000 Cavalry in Ryazan)

As these reforms were implemented other counsels were heard that perhaps the armies of Muscowy might launch some assault, either towards the Tartar or Lithuanian. I am told that these discussions became quite heated, and many thought that the Grand-Duke was planning such a war. He was not, for he rebuked some of those who counselled such in open court. ‘Do you want the name of Russia to be sullied?’ he asked one of the fiercest, for the Grand-Duke knows the importance of a country’s reputation.

Hold them back IN Nobles demand expansion (Stability –1 Aristocracy +1)

Even so some were not reconciled, and these conspired together, and with the starotsa of the Polish garrison at Kursk. This Pole, who disobeyed his King and almost brought open war between the two lands allowed these boyars to cross he lands, and provisioned them, so that they came upon the garrison of Belgorod unawares as they exercised their horses before the onset of winter made such activities unwise. Alas, through this trickery the entire army of Muscowy was slaughtered.

Upon hearing this had taken place the Grand-Duke immediately sent an envoy to the Polish King. Alas, this worthy had since departed his realm on a pilgrimage to Rome, and it was to be some time before news was heard of him. Meanwhile the boyars were joined by others in support of their cause, and the city of Belgorod fell to them. The produced one among their number and proclaimed him Duke, but even this pathetic excuse for a ruler they treated with jeers sp unruly had they become. So they deposed him, and proclaimed a republic, but the citizens of Belgorod were later to talk of a tyranny, for there was no benevolence in their mean spirits.

In the winter of that year, the Year of Our Lord 1470 the Grand-Duke completed these reforms, now training it to make the best use of the extra cavalry his army now possessed. During this time the Grand-Duke became particularly frustrated at the slow pace of diplomacy, and since he was patron of our house he decided it was time that he visited us on our mountain. It was not the first time that the Grand-Duke had visited us, but it was the first since his father was blinded. He complimented us on all our work, and he was especially interested in the work of my master and myself in our roles as chroniclers. He gave us a charter whereby certain monies would be given to us each year for the acquisition of paper, inks, and quills. For this gift we honoured him highly, for there can be no doubt of the faith of the Grand-Duke. He also seemed in better humour when he left than when he arrived, thus proving that the Lord offers surcease to the faithful even here on Earth.

Offence +1

This winter also saw the death of the Archbishop of Novgorod, the holy Iona. This holy man had always been a cause for peace in his realm, and through his council the City of Novgorod avoided many of the arguments that republican government often result. The removal of this restraint by old age caused much strife in the realm of Novgorod, as old scores were settled and new feuds prosecuted. The Grand-Duke sent a force of men to assist the forces of law and order who were trying to keep such debilitating disruption to a minimum, who included of course Timofey Ivanovich.

The whole of the next year, the Year of Our Lord 1471, the entire realm waited for the return of the envoy the Grand-Duke had sent to the Polish King. In the winter of that year the reply at last arrived. The Polish King, mindful of the respect with which he had been treated in the past, and to further the friendship between the two realms had agreed to the request of the Grand-Duke. This was that the starotsa of Kursk was to be arrested, and that the army of Muscowy be allowed to march across the province to subdue the rebels in Belgorod.

When this army arrived the following spring it became apparent that the rebels were being aided by Tartars of the Horde. Shortly after this a message arrived from the Tartar Khan, who demanded that the Grand-Duke pay him tribute. The Grand-Duke ridiculed the Tartar Khan in his reply, but still there was disquiet along the border for many months. This was followed by a similar demand from the Tartars of Kazan, but this the Grand-Duke ignored.

Diplomatic Insult (CB vs GH KAZ for 12 months)

At this time news arrived from the King of Hungary that his domains had been attacked by the pernicious Venetians. The Grand-Duke immediately declared all Venetians outlawed from within his realm, and set about preparing to send a force to assist the King of Hungary. This war was to end however before such a force was ready to set out. Meanwhile the rebels of Belgorod now sought mercy, seeing how their Tartar allies had abandoned them to their fate. When the city fell they were treated with no mercy.

The news of this victory arrived in Moskva just three days before the wedding of the Grand-Duke to the Great Lady, Zoë Paleologus, daughter of the Emperor. This was a splendid affair, and it was the first occasion where the Grand-Duke used the title of Tsar of All-Russia. He did this after the marriage had taken place, for the Emperor had deemed him worthy of such an honour. With her the Empress brought many gifts from Tsargrad, saved from the infidel, and these the Grand-Duke distributed to places of worship, to those worthy of them as gifts, and some few he kept himself.

In the following winter Brother Andrei died in my arms. He was a humble man, always afraid that he was unworthy of the position he held. He was not, indeed he was more than equal to it, and he served God with distinction and with love. Father Pyotr then asked me to hold the Office of Chronicler, and I accepted.

It was at about this time that the City of Novgorod declared war upon the Livonian Order, citing barbarous acts that members of the Order had inflicted upon citizens of the city when they tried to trade in Riga. The Father of Novgorod asked the support of the Grand-Duke, which he was happy to give, and he allowed the armies of the City to march through the Grand-Duchy.

Thus the Year of Our Lord 1473 saw war again beset the borders of this realm. In the spring the forces of the City of Novgorod put to flight the army of the Order, and set to besieging the lands of the Order. Riga was the primary target of the City. They blockaded the harbour with their fleet – the Livonian ships were too frightened to put to sea – and sent only small forces into Kurland to ensure that no army could be successfully raised from there. Meanwhile we heard that Hungary had forced Venice to pay for its presumptions, and that our allies were once more secure.

In the winter of that year Riga surrendered to the City of Novgorod. The army of the city now intended to reduce Kurland more definitively than had yet been done. This is no easy task, for Kurland is a remote and backward place with many small towns and forts. The tangled forests contrive to hinder all movement, and ambushes are easy to execute. Knowing the difficulty of the task before him the Commander, Timofey Ivanovich, set out a plan whereby each region of the province was to be reduced in turn. First the coastal places, and then moving inland. By doing so he foiled all those who had hoped to fault him with failure.

By the winter of the Year of Our Lord 1474 this process was completed, and then the representatives of the Order were brought by Timofey before the City of Novgorod. There they were offered terms: to cede Kurland to the City and to pay a fine. These were agreed upon, and Timofey Ivanovich was hailed as a hero by the mob of the city. In his victory address he praised his friend the Grand-Duke for the aid he had offered, and used to opportunity to ridicule those who desired to leave the protection of the Grand-Duchy.

Shortly after this it became apparent that the Tartars had once more taken up arms against one another. The Khan of Kazan prosecuted his claim to the Horde, though in this the Khan of the Horde was supported by many others. Seeing that the Khan was outnumbered, and seeing that such discord only served the people of God the Grand-Duke dispatched funds to support Kazan. In doing so he made the humiliation of the Khan obvious to all right-thinking men.

During this summer the Grand-Duke made a decree concerned the production of vodka and other such drinks. Since so many of his subjects pleasured themselves with these liquors he declared that it was his duty to see that no harm came to his people because of it. By organising centres for the production of such he saw that no disloyal elements could wreck havoc on the people by introducing poisons into the brews. He also claimed a charge on this activity, since it was a form of trade.

Establish Vodka Monopoly (Moskva Tax +5 Stability +1 Serfdom +1 Nizhgorod MP +2 Refinery in Nizhgorod)

Such measures did not settle well with many people, who thought that the Grand-Duke was only looking for a way to reap a profit. There was an outbreak of evasion that autumn, but the Grand-Duke appointed special commissioners to walk lightly among the people, and little came of these disquiets. Of more concern was the news that the Ottoman Sultan had decided not to suffer the Roman Empire to live, and he declared war against the Romans because of his spite, breaking his former treaties.

Poor Government Policies (Stability –1 Trade Investment –350 Infra Investment –350)

In the summer of the following year, that is the Year of Our Lord 1476 we heard that the Ottoman had been successful in his ambition, and that the Empire of the Romans was no more. How can I describe our anger and our grief? I cannot. For my part I can only say that in that moment I understand the sorrow of our Greek brethren, who surely have had to live with the knowledge that this day would come. Blessed have we been, those of us whom distance granted innocence. It is the passing of an age, and all now look to the Grand-Duchy as being the only light of our world for the faithful. So I end this Book, the Eighth of the Chronicles of Gregorias, and the first to be written by me, Brother Ivan of the Monastery of Ss Stephanos and Ignatios.
 
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stnylan

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The Ninth Book of the Chronicles of Gregorias

In the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1477 the Council of Swedish nobles decided to prosecute their claims against the Kingdom of Denmark, and to seek redress for old slights suffered when the Kingdom of Sweden was under Danish rule. They were joined in this endeavour by the Teutonic Knights, and by the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand-Duchy of Lithuania, united in the person of Kazimir IV. Upon hearing this news the Grand Duke consulted with his allies in the City of Novgorod, for the fathers of that City wished to seek compensation for the mistreatment of their merchants by the Lithuanians. The Grand Duke, for reasons more pious decided to support his allies. He was concerned with the many brothers of faith that laboured under the yoke of the Lithuanians, some of who cleaved to the devil of Rome, and others who still continued their vile pagan practises in secret. The Kingdom of Hungary chose to honour their commitments. Thus the greatest war of our time began.

In the summer of that year the armies of Muscowy attacked the realm of Lithuania in many places. In the north the city of Vitebsk was put under siege after the Lithuanian army nearby was put to flight. After a hard-fought victory over a Polish army before the walls of Belgorod they also laid siege to the pocket of land that some have called Russian Poland, that is the lands surrounding the cities of Kursk and Vorones. To the south the armies ranged far and wide, wiping all opposition from the field, and they invested the cities of Kharkov and Kiev. Meanwhile the army of Novgorod defeated a large Lithuanian army in the province of Belarus. However, in their absence the Teutonic Order and Sweden made a dual attack on Kurland. Finding no opposition they invested the forts of Kurland unopposed. Also during this season the army of Hungary defeated the Poles in Moravia, and started the reduction of that province.

Shortly after these initial moves a second Polish army, advancing across the Mozyr gap laid siege to Belgorod. In the far north an army of the City of Novgorod was defeated by a Swedish army that then ranged across the City’s territories with impunity, only leaving with the onset of winter. The force of this raid caused the City to sue for peace with Sweden, a peace that the Swedish nobles were minded to accept because they had no quarrel with the City save as resulted from their conflicting allies.

This peace was signed in the winter of that year. Also in that season, a little later, the Grand Duchy and the Teutonic Order made an agreement not to conflict with one another, though the City was excluded from this agreement. This caused some upset in the City, and there was some talk of breaking the alliance with the Grand Duchy. Nothing seriously came of this talk, for the City once again showed its inexperience in the art of war by allowing many of its troops to die in the cold of winter outside Minsk.

This winter saw the fortresses of Kharkov, Kiev, Kursk, and Vorones fall to the armies of the Grand Duchy. Having been visited by success the armies of the Grand Duchy advanced further south, into Jedisan and Krementjug. In those regions winter’s grip is less harsh, allowing the Grand Duchy to conduct sieges with impunity from the elements. Unfortunately the city of Belgorod was also starved into submission by the Poles. Cruel winter starved many within and without the walls, but in time the voevode could not prevent the city’s fall.

In the spring of the Year of Our Lord 1478 the second siege of Belgorod began, as the forces of Muscowy attempted to take back what they had lost in the winter. Elsewhere the war was proving static, with only a few instances of raids by either side. It was about this time that the Grand Duke announced to the world his intention to humble the realm of Lithuania. Lithuania, he declared, was in reality nothing more than a portion of the Russian state. Thus he, as the leader of the Russian peoples, was its natural suzerain. Kazimir IV currently held Lithuania by false practises, not least the false conversion of Jagellios about a hundred years ago. As evidence he produced examples of pagan practises that the ruling house and magnates still tolerated within their lands. In the same decree the Grand Duke ordered his armies to destroy all images of snakes that they came across.

Heaven clearly favoured such sentiments. In the summer of that year the armies of Muscowy again proved victorious. The provinces of Jedisan, Krementjug, and Polotsk were all secured, and the armies advanced upon Poltava and Belarus. Meanwhile an army from Novgorod sent to relieve the province of Kurland from the Teutonic Knights arrived too late to prevent the fall, or to catch the Knights’ army as it withdrew for reinforcements having garrisoned the main places of that province. The Novgorodians then settled down to retake their newly won possession, though some argued that its gain had been unnecessary in the first place, and was now proving to be wasteful.

Also in the summer Poland won a great victory over the Magyars in Moravia, which the Magyars had reduced. The Poles now set about retaking their castles, and from henceforth concentrated their prime effort against the Magyars. The Lithuanians appealed to the Polish Council for aid, but since the Grand Duke had made plain his intentions were focused on Lithuania the Polish nobles were disinclined to act, seeing the Magyars as being their prime foes and targets.

Of the winter of that year there is little to tell. The Lithuanians were doing their best to gather a final army around their capital, Vilno. Meanwhile the men of Muscowy were doggedly determined to restrict the free territory of the Lithuanians. In this though the general were careful not to risk the lives of unnecessary men to the elements, thus earning the respect of the soldiery. This is unlike the actions of the Lithuanians, who have no respect for their troops because their troops are often holders of the true faith, while they are followers of the devil of Rome, or have retained their pagan ways.

The Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1479 opened with great news and glad tidings. An heir had been born the Grand Duchy. The Grand Duke decreed that his name was to be Vasili, after his grandfather and great-grandfather. This was heartening news to us all, for subjects are always happier when they know a succession is assured.

Heir to the throne (+1 Stability)

In Lithuania the spring also brought tales of unmitigated success. The city of Belgorod was liberated from the Polish yoke, while Belarus and Poltava were both subdued and brought under Russian dominion. Following this the armies converged on Mozyr and Chernigov, and an army was prepared to invade the small portion of land should properly be called Lithuania. Also at this time the Novgorodians finally retook Kurland, though they did nothing worthwhile after that.

During the summer months the armies of Muscowy advanced to the Lithuanian capital, and there they defeated a large force of Lithuanians that had been gathered in a final effort to push our armies away. They were not successful, and were soon utterly defeated, and the capital, a place called Vilno, was put under siege.

The winter of that year was blessedly mild, allowing all the other sieges around the realm of Lithuania to be successfully completed. Thus the provinces of Krementjug, Chernigov and Mozyr fell to the Grand Duchy. The winter also allowed the siege of Vilno to progress without undue loss of life. Meanwhile an army of Poles had advanced of the Novgorodians in Kurland, and put them to flight before investing the region once more. Also at about this time the Poles reclaimed the region called Moravia from the Magyars, which they had earlier lost.

The Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1480 opened with the fall of Vilno. The impious inhabitants, though strong walls still protected them, could not withstand the siege any longer. Against the wishes of the commander the soldiers mutinied, and the civilians demanded that the city be surrendered. The voevode, knowing that he could not do that was then killed by the mob, which elected three worthies of the town to surrender it the army without its walls.

Upon receiving this news the Grand Duke sent to the King of Poland, who also ruled Lithuania. Since, he declared, the realm of Lithuania was under his dominion, and since there was nothing to stop him from crossing the river into Poland itself and lay all to waste, the King of Poland henceforth shall recognise that he holds the realm of Lithuania at Russian sufferance. Moreover, that the King of Poland was to openly acknowledge him as the Tsar of All Russia. The King of Poland, Kazimir, though in his heart desiring to resist knew he could not. Nor could he understand how the Russians had forced him to come to such a pass. So he sent his regent – the man he used to govern Lithuania in his absence, to grovel and abase himself before the Tsar, and deliver the Lithuanian realm in bondage to him. Alas, the City of Novgorod refused to accept this peace, so contrary is the nature of republican government. Unconcerned there, the Tsar made this peace.

The submission of the Lithuanian regent became the centre of the pageant whereby the Tsar officially adopted his new title for all occasions, and proclaimed the unity of Russia. From the City of Novgorod came Timofey Ivanovich represented his country, and once more pledged the City’s allegiance to the Tsar and to Russia. This was a wondrous occasion which I was privileged to see with my own eyes, for Father Feodor had requested that I represent our House at these celebrations, for he was rather elderly and did not travel well. The Tsar paraded with an army, entering the city as Belisarius had entered Tsargrad after reconquering Africa for the Emperor Justinian. First there were heralds and musicians, beating drums and playing pipes. Then came the army, marching proud and holding their weapons high. First the infantry strode though, and then the cavalry followed them. The horses were proud, and the men upon them gloried in their victory. Behind them came the prisoners, dejected and miserable creatures, who radiated despair, for they believed that they would die.

Then came the Tsar himself. His steed a brilliant black, surpassing all others. His armour shone with the sun’s light. He was surrounded by priests singing to the Lord above, thanking him for the victories. Walking in front of the Tsar’s horse was the Lithuanian regent, and when the procession came to the Kremlin, and before the boyars, the army, and the whole people, the base regent acted as nothing more than a servant to the Tsar, helping him off his horse, and carrying his gear. Then outside the church, for the Pole was not going to be allowed to desecrate the sacred place with his presence, he swore in the name of Christ Jesus that he governed the realm of Lithuania, (and that his King held the same realm) only at the sufferance of the Tsar of All Russia. Then the Tsar spoke out to the prisoners, saying that they were to be freed and taken back to Lithuania, as proof of his leniency. And the regent thanked the Tsar profusely, and praised his clemency and mercy. The Tsar rebuked him, explaining to the irreligious regent that he was doing what the Lord Above required. There was never a prouder moment for the Russian peoples than this one.

The Empire of Russia (Stability +2 Pop in Moskva +3000 VP +200 Muscowy to Russia)

Here I end this book, the Ninth Book of the Chronicles of Gregorias and the second by my hand.
 

Storey

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Just wanted to say that I'm enjoying reading this story stnylan. The only thing you have to do is promise me not to post in dark blue anymore. My eyes can't take it.:) How long before you start to colonise the Pacific?:D Think you'll get there by 1500?

Joe