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Much thanks for Paradox Interactive for holding this contest! :) I was one of the writers of the future, so advice is very welcome. Here it is:
Rome Reborn


1884. The Former Holy See, Roma.
He was a wanted man.
Not that he cared, of course. The man smirked to himself as he realized that over 50 governments, ranging from the Americas to China, had put out bounties for his capture.
His name was Enrico Caligneri, and he was a trained killer. The trolleys slowly made their way through the city of Roma. His next target had been assigned. He never asked questions. But that last meeting had been a strange one. The contact was obviously drunk as he ushered Enrico into a dark room. He had called for food and drink, and tried to make small talk.
Enrico never made small talk. He simply smiled, a lethal smile, and asked the poor man when they could get on with the job. The man abruptly coughed and seemed to hesitate. Enrico’s eyes urged to go on; cold and unforgiving. He hurriedly pulled out a piece of paper with two words. Enrico allowed himself a raise of an eyebrow as he saw the name.

The Pope

Enrico honestly had no care for politics. But his contacts in the underground had told him how the Pope, Adriano Grenaldi, had been working for the purpose of Italian freedom. He guessed that the French, current rulers of Italy, had contracted him for this purpose. He grimaced. He was a Catholic, and disliked the idea of killing his Father. He shrugged away his worry and continued through the busy streets of Roma.

The Pope knew nothing of this sort. Adriano, or Benedict XVIII to use his proper name, was a simple man. It was men underneath him, such as Ferrante Mazzini. Mazzini was the son of the more famous Giuseppe Mazzini, who had campaigned for Italian unification. In the early 1860s, the French executed him in front of the Vatican. He had become a martyr. Ferrante followed in his footsteps. He was in a meeting with Adriano, and getting rather frustrated.
“Il Papa, you cannot simply waltz onto the platform and proclaim independence!”
Adriano smiled sincerely.
“And why not, my son?”
“We have to take into consideration politics, Benedict-”
“Politics? I am the Pope, Ferrante. Politics is your job. Mine is to stay alive, is it not?”
Adriano’s irritating smile continued to infuriate Ferrante. It was so much easier to hate a man when they were not so likable. He sighed.
“The French will shoot you. They will take you to the square and shoot you in the back of the head.”
Adriano spread his hands.
“Then I will be a martyr for the Church and Italy!”
Ferrante put his in his heads.
“It is not that simple! The people adore you, not me! Who know who might become Pope? But you-the people love you! They will rise up at a single command!”
The Pope smiled sadly.
“But I do not want them to rise up. I want my people to thrive, not die! My hands will be bloodied, Ferrante!”
“You are the only hope, Benedict! Please-just wait until I can organize some meetings.”
The Pope nodded slowly.
“Very well. God Bless you, Ferrante.”
Ferrante quickly ran out. He had a revolt to organize.


The streets of Rome were chaotic. But Enrico knew how to maneuver them. He brandished his prized knife and the people parted soon enough. The authorities would notice, but Enrico would be long gone. He made his way to the Vatican. The Pope resided there, under official protection by the French Emperor. Enrico grinned and noticed that there were no guards.
Official protection, my foot, He thought as he weaved his way through the crowd. He detested politicians, and believed that the Pope was most likely an unabashed populist. The slight thought that this might be sacrilegious entered his head, but he quickly banished it. The Pope came out every noon to give an address to the people. Enrico positioned himself close enough to the balcony, but not too close as to be suspicious. As he waited, an old history lesson flashed into his head, forgotten long ago. The teacher had droned on in their one-room schoolhouse in Bologna about the glory of the French Empire and how they had brought so much to Italy. He hadn’t paid attention to most of it, but one bit now stood out. The teacher had said, “One episode is notable as the Pope’s only stand against France. In the Italian Wars, from 1496 to 1523, the French absolutely crushed the Papacy and the Habsburg family. It took several other wars, but soon the French had control of Italy. Fertile Italy gave birth to the great French Empire that rules over one-third of the globe.”
Enrico never listened to such propaganda, and looked upon school with disdain. Strange, he thought, that this would suddenly come to him. A beggar interrupted him. The small woman was old and wrinkled. She smiled a toothless smile and held out her worn hand. Enrico hesitated. He finally pulled out a two-franc coin and placed it in her hand. The old woman looked in astonishment. This would feed her for more than a month. He smiled at her, and she grinned back. The woman shuffled away, oblivious to the world. Enrico turned away sadly. He would never see her again. Night slowly fell in Roma.

The Pope was ready for revolution.
Ferrante had come to the conclusion that Adriano had to be blackmailed. He hated to upset such a good man, but it was necessary, he thought grimly. He had created several ‘documents’ that showed the Pope as a double-crosser, colluding with the French. Ferrante despised this, and he said so.
“Father, I am so sorry.” He had begun. “But I must use these, unless you agree to join us.”
Adriano had shaken his head thoughtfully. “Clever, clever, Ferrante. No doubt these documents are fake.”
All Ferrante could manage was a slight shrug of assent. The Pope sighed heavily. “I have no choice, do I?”
Again, Ferrante simply shrugged. “It is all your decision, Father.”
Adriano smiled tiredly. “Very well, Ferrante Mazzini. You obviously need me, to go to such lengths. I will do it.”
Ferrante simply smiled. Behind that smile, lay the satisfactory feeling of ,

Enrico’s plan was much the same. In several days time, he would enter the Vatican. He knew a forger that owed him a favor. He dropped by later that day, and, in his silky tones, threatened to slit the man’s throat and drop his body in the Tiber unless he made an elaborate document stating that he was, in fact, a churchman coming to an audience.
Enrico never seemed to have expenses.
Then, he would go to Cardinal Benotti’s palace. The Cardinal was one of the few ‘old guard’ members of the College of Cardinals. He steadfastly opposed the Pope in nearly everything. Enrico was walking to the Cardinal’s, with a grimace on his face. As he reached the gates, a bulky man stepped in front of him.
“I am sorry, signor, the Cardinal is not seeing anyone currently.”
Enrico smiled thinly. “Oh, don’t worry. I am just an old friend of Benotti, and I thought I would come for a visit.”
The guard frowned. “Hmm…then, wouldn’t I have seen you around?”
Caligneri kept up the smile. “Oh, I was off in China, on a missionary duty.”
Once the guard was done with his ruminations about Enrico, he was gone. “What the-” he breathed. But whatever he could do, it was too late. The hired killer was already in the building. He climbed past cherubs holding up a throne, and angels carrying Jesus to the heavens. He recoiled in distaste from it all. He hated paintings, and always had. He saw a huge door ahead. It dominated the hall. Without a glance, Enrico glided through, as if he were a ghost. The cardinal was reclining on a couch being spoon-fed. He abruptly sat up. He spilled some food on his lap.
“Gua-” Benotti nearly managed to finish his sentence before Enrico’s knife was at his throat.
“They won’t come. I killed them.” He said coldly.
Benotti gulped. “Wha-what do you want, signor?”
Enrico smiled. It never reached his eyes.
“I need your clothes.”
The good cardinal was surprised by such a sudden request.
“Er-very well, signor. May I go into my chambers to undress?”
Enrico considered it.
“Hmm…very well. But just know-if you try to escape, I will find you, and I will kill you. Make no doubt, Cardinal.”
The Cardinal had in fact been thinking of just that. He glanced up at Enrico. The man’s hard eyes, a brilliant blue, stopped him.
“Yes, signor.” He muttered, and went off into his private room.
Enrico nodded once. He would have to kill the Cardinal once this was all over. Too many loose ends. He mulled over the possibilities while waiting. It really was sad, he reflected, how a man could be made to view killing as his God-given duty. Then he remembered how men, young boys even, were sent to be trained like that every day. He sighed, and uttered a quick prayer to the Holy Father. “Amen.”

Nearly a mile away, the Pope was saying the same thing. The congregation slowly filtered out of St. Peter’s. He searched in vain for Ferrante. He knew that the man never went to Church ceremonies, but there was always hope. The most irritating thing about Adriano, his hope was also the most gracious and kind. As his eyes flitted around the church, he missed something rather important. A French soldier was pushing his way roughly through the crowd, jostling all and sundry. Behind him was a squad of gendarmes.
“ Monsieur! Monsieur Adriano! Monsieur!” He shouted.
Adriano, not knowing a lick of French, recognized his name. He smiled warmly, spreading his arms.
“Welcome, brothers! How may I help you?”
The Frenchman rushed forward. Breathlessly, he said, “You are under arrest for treason against the Emperor of France and his great Commonwealth.”
The Pope’s smile froze on his face.
“Treason? Surely-”
The officer shook his head. “No, Father, do not argue. You must do as we say.”
Adriano sighed and allowed himself to be hauled away.
The following morning, Roma was in uproar. People were chanting and there were rumors of a planned riot.
Somewhere deep inside Roma, Ferrante Mazzini groaned. The Pope was the linchpin in all his plans. Without him, all was lost. He put his head in his hands and wept.
Then, something strange happened. Ferrante started praying. He had no idea what made him all of a sudden start praying, but he did anyway.
“Our Father…”
Throughout Roma millions of other people were doing the same.
“Our Father…”
“Who art in heaven…”
“Hallowed be his name…”
“Thy Kingdom comes…”
“Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven…”
“Give us this day, our daily bread…”
“And forgive us our trespasses,”
“As we forgive those who trespass against us…”
“And lead us not into temptation…”
“But deliver us from evil…”
“Amen.”

Enrico was not praying. He had business. Caligneri marched straight into the forger’s office, resplendent in his Cardinal clothes. The forger, Hans Gottentrup, looked up with a start. He quickly and guiltily moved the papers on his desk aside.
“Er-uhm-what, what would you need from Gottentrup & Sons, Co. Industrial Paper?”
Enrico sighed.
“Drop the façade, Hans. I am not actually a Cardinal. Try and guess who I am, you old reprobate.”
Hans frowned, thinking it over. Called him Hans…not actually a cardinal…knows his real business isn’t paper manufacturing… He shrugged.
“ I am sorry, mein Herr, I know many underworld men. I need more clues.”
Enrico’s eyebrow twitched slightly upward.
“More clues, Hans? And here I thought we were like brothers.” He said sardonically. “After all, we spent five years in the Swiss Alps together…” He added casually.”
A light of recognition appeared in Hans’ eyes now. “Oh…I know you…you’re…Enrico? Caligferi?”
Enrico grinned and shook his head. “Not Caligferi, but Enrico Caligneri.”
Hans was delighted. “Enrico! Old pal! How could I have forgotten our adventures?” Enrico raised another eyebrow.
“Why, I always knew you would come back to me!”
Enrico smiled.
“You did, did you?”
Hans nodded emphatically.
“Then perhaps you also know that you tried to kill me in Schwyz.”
Hans’ face turned pale. “I…I…had hoped you would have forgotten.”
Enrico snorted. “Forgotten? How can I forget, when you tried to shoot me in the gut?”
Hans looked extremely uncomfortable. “Um…ehm…sorry?”
Enrico laughed a hollow laugh. “Sorry? You think I will just forgive you? No.” His voice turned icy cold. “I need you to do something for me, Hans. Then all may be forgiven.”
Hans saw his opportunity, and seized it eagerly. “Yes, yes, of course! What is it?”
Enrico couldn’t help having a small smile touch his lips.
“You are going to forge a document saying I am Cardinal Caligneri.”
Hans frowned. “A cardinal? Haven’t done one of those in a while…”
“Remember that night in Schwyz, Hans…”
He looked even guiltier. “Fine, fine. Come to me tomorrow.”
Soon-to-be Cardinal Caligneri grinned. The Pope would have no idea.

The Pope currently had no idea what was happening. He had been thrown into a dank prison cell with only a trickle of light allowed in. They fed him twice a day, and, as always, he prayed every day. He gently admonished the guards, for imprisoning their Father. One of the guards swore at him and threatened, in rapid French that Adriano could not understand, to spear him with his bayonet. The other guard turned away and Adriano thought he could hear a small sniffling sound. “Do not worry, my son.” He whispered. “All will be right. God wills it.”
“Such inspiration indeed, Father!” came a new voice. An eerie tramping of boots followed it. A French officer walked in. He had a thin smile, belied by the gun in his right hand and sword in his left. His mustache curled upwards, ending near about his ear. The officer placed a hand on the crying guard’s shoulders. He then pushed the guard into the guard. Taking off his pure black glove, he slapped the guard in the face, drawing blood with its ferocity. Dusting the blood off his hands, he looked for a reaction from the Pope. Adriano was merely shaking his head. The officer, Pierre Lollique, raised an eyebrow. This was not what he had been led to suspect. He had heard the Pope was a compassionate man, who loved all beings. Pierre was angered and, in a sudden movement, forced the cell door open.
“Come out of that hellhole, Monsieur!” He spat. Obligingly, Adriano slowly walked to Pierre. The Frenchman pulled back his glove again, and sent it into an arc heading straight for the Pope. Adriano saw it coming and stepped back. He was, however, too slow after decades in the Curia, and was hit. Blood slowly flowed from his mouth. Again, he simply shook his head. Pierre felt his anger boiling over. How dare this insubordinate Italian shake his head at his rightful master, the French?
“Speak your mind, signor.” The Pope said compassionately.
Pierre urged two of his men over.
“Hold this rebellious Italian.” He said simply. They complied. Pierre, after some preliminary stretching, got into his work. He rained blow after blow upon the Pope. Blood spurted everywhere. Adriano was sure that his jaw was broken. After Pierre was down, Adriano still had some strength left. He summoned enough energy to shake his head once more. Pierre was filled with rage. His mind was blotted out with complete madness at this one man.
“Take him,” he breathed heavily, “to the workhouse. Let us see if he can disobey there.”
The Pope cast a searching glance at Pierre. He stared for several minutes. Finally, he said something.
“How I pity you, poor man. To live without knowing the joy of a child’s laugh or the happiness of the common people. But I do not despise you. As the Holy Father says: Turn the other cheek.” He slowly, mustering every last effort he had, turned his head so that his slightly less bruised cheek faced Pierre. It took every last ounce of willpower for Pierre to avoid taking a gun and killing the Pope right then and there. “Take him away! TAKE HIM AWAY! You fool!” He snarled. “You don’t know who you just talked to.” The Pope met his gaze, and had time for one last retort. “I do. A poor man, with little to love and live.” All he could hear as the gates closed was Pierre’s angry stomping of his feet.

Ferrante was working on overdrive. He had to lessen the impact of the Pope’s imprisonment. It was too much for one man to handle. Ferrante looked up wearily as someone entered the room. It was his maid, Maria. “Hello, Maria.”
“Hello, sir.” She replied respectively. Do you need any help, sir?”
He moved her on. “No, no, nothing you could help me with. Just trying to make this rebellion work.” Maria knew everything about Ferrante’s dealings, even the shady ones, and sometimes played a part in them. She craned her head, trying to discern what he was reading. She was able to figure out that it was a short article by some German philosopher about the state vs. people. She struggled to remember the man’s name. Mark…Carl Mark…no, it was Karl…Marx! Yes, that was who it was. Satisfied, she turned away. But Ferrante called her back. “On second thought, Maria, there is something you can help me with.” She walked over. “Yes, Ferrante?”
“I need to garner support-again. Can you help? Specifically, win the people over. I know you are a talented speaker.” She acknowledged the compliment with a slight nod. “That is why I hired you. So, go to the Vatican and stir the people up. You do not fear imprisonment or death?”
“No.”
“Good. The French will most dislike somebody inciting rebellion.”
He smiled grimly. “So, try not to get caught. I need you around here, Maria.”
She nodded once and withdraw into the streets of Roma.
Ferrante sat silently, considering all that had happened. He sighed once. Then, he came to a decision. The Father must be rescued. He knew a man who was good with weapons, who could break Adriano out. He was going to call up a messenger, but hesitated. The man liked to deal with clients directly. He pulled on a heavy coat and headed out into the cold. The man he was heading to was none other than Enrico Caligneri, the man who had orders to kill the Pope.

Enrico was just settling down to sleep when a doorbell woke him. Exasperated, he sighed and walked blearily to the door. Upon opening it, he found a freezing Ferrante Mazzini. “Business is closed.” He said bluntly, and closed the door. Ferrante knocked again. Enrico angrily opened the door once more. “What do you want me to do at this ungodly hour?” He shouted. Ferrante shivered. “I need you to rescue the Pope.”
Enrico had to sit down.
“The Father is imprisoned?”
“Yes. All of Roma knows. I assumed you did, Caligneri.” He shook his head.
“Never,” he whispered, “would I have expected the Pope to be chains.”
“Not only that,” Ferrante put in, “but word has it on the streets that he is beaten every day. And the streets usually have accurate information.”
Enrico grunted in assent.
“This may be in conflict with another job…” Enrico immediately regretted saying that.
Ferrante frowned. “Another job…? Wait-you were going to kill the Pope!” The accusation flew out of his mouth.”
Enrico nodded unhappily. Ferrante swore in disgust.
“And, to think, I thought you would be helpful! But in the end, you were going to be my downfall!”
Tears had begun to form in Enrico’s eyes. “I’m…so…sorry.” He managed to choke out. “I…I…don’t know that to do…” He broke down into huge, racking sobs. Ferrante looked upon him with pity and mild horror. Unsure about what to do in these situations, he gingerly put his hand around Enrico’s shoulders. “It’s…it’s alright.” He murmured. “Don’t worry.” Enrico stopped sobbing. He wiped his eyes. “Sorry,” he sniffed. “I guess I’m working with you now.” Ferrante grinned. “Good, because we need to go now.” Enrico straightened up. “Alright, just let me get my tools of the trade.” Several minutes later, he came back wrapped in a dark green mottled cloak. “It’s to blend into the landscape.” He explained. They set out for the political prison, and soon found the hulking behemoth that was the Roman Political Penitentiary. Enrico put up one finger to his lips, the universal signal for ‘be quiet’. He walked up to the guard on duty. The guard drew his weapon and pointed it straight at Enrico. “Halt!” He cried, trying to be braver than he felt. Enrico smiled viciously. “I’d rather not. You know, got to visit an old friend.” The guard, puzzled by this lack of fright on Enrico’s part, tried louder. “I said, HALT!” Enrico continued to smile. This frightened the guard so much he dropped his gun. The loud clatter of the gun hitting the floor led him to flee. Enrico laughed. “The guards are all just cowards, who took this job instead of in the army.” He explained. He led Ferrante through the winding passages and curving halls, to the worst cell: Cell 4B. As they came to it, Enrico easily killed the guards. Inside was a broken husk of a man, huddled in the corner. “Benedict?” Ferrante said before he could stop himself. The man looked up, and a smile creased his bruised and battered face. “Ferrante,” he rasped. “You finally came.” Enrico picked the lock with expert skill and helped the Pope up. “Here you go, Father,” He said, giving Adriano some much-needed water, “drink it up.” They made their way quietly back, raising the alarm as they ran away.

Maria had done well, Ferrante thought. The people of Roma were ready to rise up against the French. He had been in contact with the rest of the Italian cities, preparing them for war. Using his keen understanding of international politics, he had orchestrated a worldwide outcry against the wrongful imprisonment of the Pope. Every Christian nation, from Portugal to Russia, and even some non-Christian nations, such as Japan, denounced the French Empire. France had retaliated the way they normally did: massacres and brutal attacks on civilians. This only caused more global anger. France was ready to burst; Ferrante could feel it. Meanwhile, the Pope was safely ensconced in Ferrante’s apartment. Enrico was staying with them, comforting the Father. Ferrante reflected that perhaps that was his major weakness: his inability to emphasize. Even though Enrico was a cold blooded killer, he could help the Pope better than Ferrante ever could. He sighed once more.
“Something troubling you, friend?”
Ferrante looked up and saw Enrico staring at him from the stairs.
“Oh, nothing much. Just planning how to make this revolt perfect.”
Enrico was surprised. “Revolt? I thought you were just a guerilla fighter.” Ferrante chuckled. “Me? A guerilla fighter? You must be joking. No, this was always a revolt. France has been powerful for much too long. Italy needs independence now. The two needs, one to destroy and the other to build, have intertwined at this exact moment in history. We are the ones who can make history happen, Enrico. You will be joining us, correct?”
Enrico hesitated. Ferrante could see a look of anguish flit across his face, until Enrico composed himself again.
“I-I don’t know.”
“What’s wrong, Enrico?”
“I feel duty-bound to two things: my job and my country. I know France oppresses my country, so I simply choose to ignore it. My job has won over country for almost all of my life.”
Ferrante noticed something. “Almost?”
Enrico hesitated again. “When-when I was a youth, I was an idealist, believing that my country must be made free against the oppressive state.” He frowned. “That is, until I discovered the money I could make. Ever since then, I feel detached from the world.” He looked down pleadingly. “But now…ever since the Pope arrived, I am feeling home again. I feel as if I have returned.”
Ferrante smiled. “Then you have returned. Come, join us in the battle.”
Enrico still was uncertain. “I think I shall wait until the day of this battle, my friend.” Ferrante shrugged. “It makes no difference if you refuse. But if you accept, then you will make all the difference.”
“Very well.”

The day had come, and sooner than expected. As the French moved to preemptively strike the citizens of Roma, they rose up in arms. The result was a bloodbath. For the French, they lost many men in the hand-to-hand fighting. But the Romans had it much worse. Men had died, who were the breadwinners and women and children as well. Ferrante chose exactly the right time. All the other Italian cities, from Venice to Messina, rebelled. Fire roamed throughout the city, tearing up everything in its path. The French had moved in with brutal force. Ferrante’s apartment was currently in flames. He had had to usher the Pope and Maria out. He knew Enrico could take care of himself. In the streets of Roma, blood ran red, redder than even the flames. He stood in the middle of the street, surveying all he saw. “God forgive us all,” He breathed. He heard the Pope chuckle behind him “He chooses now to believe in God!” Ferrante came to a large group of armed citizens. They were all ages, from great-grandparents to toddlers. Ferrante looked at them and felt a surge of pride. They weren’t much, but they were the best he could hope for. He felt a twinge of guilt for making them suffer, but waved it away. “Come on!” He shouted, and led them to a group of French-led by Pierre.

He sneered as he saw them arrive. “Peasant rabble.” He spat, and then turned to his men. “Attack!’ He roared. They surged forward as one being, intent on destruction.
They were met with a more determined army. The Romans had the better of the first exchange, killing many Frenchmen. Ferrante himself was in the front line. He now knew why men like Enrico devoted their lives to this. It felt so powerful…until he killed a man. Then the sheer horror of what he had done shocked him. He felt a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry!” Enrico shouted. “I’m here!” Ferrante grinned. “You decided to come!” He shouted back. Enrico grinned back as well. “To the end!”
“To the end!”

Meanwhile, Pierre was searching for prey. He saw it in the form of the Pope. He marched forward purposefully. “Oh, Father!” He called. Adriano turned and saw him. He frowned, then realized who it was. He simply stood there. Pierre grinned viciously. This was going to be easy. He drew his sword and discarded his gun. He wouldn’t even need it. The Pope was as good as dead. He drew up the sword as high as possible, relishing the imminent moment of contact.
Except it never came.
A bayonet emerged from his shirt. He looked down, uncomprehending, until his sword fell from his dead fingers. Blood matted his suit as Maria looked down at her victim and shrugged. “Sorry, Father,” she said, “but he was about to kill you.”
Adriano grinned. “No worries, Maria! Thank you for saving my life.” Maria shrugged again. “It was nothing. That arrogant pig was too stupid to realize I was even there.” The Pope shook his head in wonder. “Amen to you, Maria. Amen.”

Ferrante and Enrico were on their last legs. The French kept on coming. They had overwhelmed everyone else. The two were the last standing. Enrico grimaced as he got stabbed in the thigh. “Why did I agree to do this?”
“Freedom.” Ferrante said simply.
“Ah, yes. Well, might as well make my last day worth it. Once more unto the breach?”
“Once more unto the breach.”
Once more unto the breach, they went, and together they would die.

100 years later
Roma was celebrating 100 years of independence. Two iconic figures were mainly remembered. Ferrante was the revolutionary politician who died fighting for his beliefs. Pope Adriano was the idealist who saw good in all, even the man who tried to kill him. But who remembered the other players? Who remembered Enrico, and Maria, and Hans, who killed many Frenchman for his own country? Who remembers?



About myself
My name is Brendan, and I am an 8th grader in the United States. I love gaming, especially Paradox Interactive, especially especially Europa Universalis, and writing. My favorite subject is history, and I have even gone into the National History Bee in Atlanta. This interested me because it combined three things I love: history, Paradox Interactive, and writing/reading. I also play Minecraft, but I think your games are much more engaging and fun. Thank you for making such awesome games.


About the Italian Wars
The Italian Wars started in 1496, and dragged on into the end of the 16th century. It was marked by intermittent warfare between four main states: Austria, the Papacy, France, and minor Italian states. The battle of Pavia was a huge loss for France, and their king was captured. However, in my story, Pavia was a huge victory, which allowed France to capture Italy, and then rule most of the world (yes, Germany too.) In reality, the Italian Wars were meat grinders and bloodbaths. Nobody truly ‘won’, but nobody truly ‘lost’ either. France only lost Savoy, and Austria gained territory. The Italian Wars were an interesting, but ultimately not that important, series of events.