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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The Kingdom of Aragon



Capital Seat in Glorious Barcelona Castle

Lands of the Realm


Regions of the Kingdom

Catalonia

Rousillon
Gerona
Barcelona


Aragón
Aragon
Zaragoza
Lerida
Taragona


Valencia
Castellon
Valencia


The Balaeric Islands
The Balaeres

Sardinia
Sassari
Cagliari
 
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The Royal Family
More coming soon



His Royal Majesty the King, Peter IV
King of Aragon and Valencia, Count of Barcelona
"The Ceremonious"


b. 1319

Son of Alfonso IV "The Kind", Peter now grows old and frail. He insists on proper court protocol and ceremony, in fact so much so that he earned his current moniker for such insistence.


Her Majesty the Queen, Sibila

b. 1344

Fourth wife of King Peter IV, she is the mother of his sons Juan and Martin.


His Royal Highness, Prince Juan
Crown Prince of Aragon and Valencia
"The Hunter Prince"


b. 1350

The first son of King Peter IV and Queen Sibila, Juan is a reluctant heir to the throne of Aragon. While he urgently seeks the pleasure and excess of the monarchy, the actual ruling of the country is not to his taste. He has little interest in economics, religion, the military, or day to day affairs of the running of state. Far more often, the Prince is engaged in leisurely pursuits and is famous for his grand hunting expeditions. He has two daughters, one by his first wife, Martha of Armagnac (Joanna, b. 1369) and one by his second wife, Violant of Bar (Yolande, b. 1380). Juan and Violant are currently estranged, and she spends almost all her time at her father's court in Bar.


His Royal Highness, Prince Martin
Prince of the Realm, Duke of Monblanch


b. 1356

The second son of King Peter IV and Queen Sibila, Martin is much the opposite of his brother Juan. He is an avid supporter of the military, an eager intermeddler in affairs of state and economy, and a strong supporter of the church. He possesses a good sense of humor and a sharp mind, complemented by his usually easy-going air. However, he is prone to fits of vanity and self-importance, though he can put even this aside if the circumstances warrant. Foremost, he is savvy and manipulative, and will eagerly exploit any situation to get what he desires. He has a wife, the lovely Maria Argentere, daughter of the Governor-General of Sardinia Baron Argentere, and one son (Martin the Younger, b. 1373).


His Royal Highness, Prince James, Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Court

b. 1320

The King's brother, Count of Urgell, Entença and Antillon



Other Characters of Importance

Ferran, Count of Lerida
b. 1354

A childhood friend of Prince Martin, he is the Prince's closest companion and confidant, as well as one of the only people outside the Royal Family who may address Martin by his first name and without his titles. Ferran is relaxed and down-to-earth, quick to laugh and eager for good company. Sometimes known as "the Bachelor Count", he is both handsome and unmarried. Should Martin ascend the throne, Ferran is assured of a high position within the court.
 
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Diplomacy

Military
 

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Culture

Religion
The Kingdom of Aragon follows the Roman Catholic Church and recognizes Pope Clement VI (Avignon). There are three bishoprics in Aragon: Barcelona, Zaragoza, and Valencia.
 

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Reserved, just in case
 

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And one more, for good measure
 

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The Court is Now Open!
 

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The Hunt, Fields of Rousillon


Prince Martin spurred his horse again as the hounds surged after a wild boar, freshly chased from the underbrush. To his left his childhood friend, Count Ferran of Lerida, let loose a whoop of excitement at the prospect of the kill, but Martin failed to share Ferran's enthusiasm. His mind boiled with the troubles of the moment...specifically, the Baleares. Try as he might to distract himself with the pleasures of a hunt, he could not do so.

"Ferran, I need your counsel", he finally said. The Count looked over, both he and the Prince still riding at full gallop.

"Ask and I shall answer, Martin" he shouted back, struggling to make himself heard over the baying of the dogs and the pounding of their horses hooves. Martin was about to speak when the hounds succeeded in cornering the boar, and so for a moment his troubles were forgotten. The second son of the King of Aragon turned to one of his soldiers and held out a hand.

"Crossbow" he said simply, and the soldier handed him a loaded weapon. Martin raised the crossbow and fired, an awful shot that not only landed far short of its target but also shot through one of his hounds, killing it instantly. At the same moment that the Prince fired, another of his soldiers did so as well...a perfect and precise mark that brought the boar down.

"An excellent shot, my liege!" yelled the marksman to Martin, who nodded and handed the crossbow back to his attendant. Ferran stifled a chuckle...if Martin had a sin, it was vanity. But he had been this way since childhood, and probably always would be. Besides, what was the harm in pretending?

As the attendants did their best to reign in the hunting dogs and keep them from the dead boar, Martin turned to face the marksman who had shot the boar. "Sir" he said, his voice flat and expressionless "why, exactly, did you shoot my hound?"

The marksman thought for a moment. He had been about to say rabies, but he had used that reason four, maybe five hounds ago. He ran through the list again in his mind. Rabies, the pox, the plague, syphilis...

"Blasphemy, my Prince!" barked the marksman after a moment's hesitation. Martin's eyebrows raised.

"Blasphemy? Did you hear my hound bark in a heretical fashion? Did it rise to stand on two legs and speak in tongues as well?" asked the second heir to Aragon's crown. Ferran struggled to contain himself, and was very glad to be behind Martin as his face reddened with stifled laughter.

"Briefly, my Prince! I thought it best to slay the beast before its possession grew more advanced! You were probably distracted while lining up the magnificent shot that slew that boar."

"Indeed" Martin nodded. "It was quite a shot, wasn't it?"

* * * * *​

Under the shade of a tree, Ferran and Martin split a bottle of wine and spoke, out of earshot of all their various servants and attendants. Ferran put the bottle to his lips and took a long pull, then wiped his lips with his sleeve. "You prayed my counsel before, Martin. What plagues your mind?"

Martin was silent for a long moment. He had known Ferran since the age of 11, and a truer friend he could never have hoped for, especially in the circles of royalty and power. "It is my father and my brother, Ferran. It is Aragon. Selling the Baleares to the Moor? I fear my father grows senile in his advanced age, and is too open to suggestion. I should spend more time at the court, keeping an eye on him and keeping his fork-tongued advisors at bay."

"If you're going to do that" Ferran said "you should just be King." His face was blank and flat, and Martin turned slowly to meet his eyes. Ferran continued. "Your father grows old, and some evil has worked its way into the court. Some evil that would conspire with heretics and destroy Aragon. Your brother seems more intent on pleasures of the flesh...he has never enjoyed his role as Heir, has he? But you...you thrive on it. You live to reign over this country and her people. Aragon needs you, my friend, and my colleagues and I will back you."

Martin held up a hand. "If you're going to suggest I usurp the throne, then I shall have none of it."

"Not usurp, Martin. Ascend. Your father has committed grave sins, and is no longer fit to rule. This much is obvious. Perhaps a pilgrimage to the Holy Land would be in the best interests of his eternal soul. And what kind of son would condemn his own father to everlasting hellfire? Your brother only thinks he wants the crown...what he actually wants is the leisure and pleasure that an irresponsible ruler can take from the crown. A grand estate in the north here, along with an ample supply of young maidens and hunting expeditions, should make him perfectly happy." Ferran reached for the bottle again.

"Happy perhaps...but for how long? No, Ferran, my brother does not need further leisure."

"Then what?" Ferran asked, raising an eyebrow.

"My brother needs a chance at redemption. The sort only the Holy Father can provide." Martin took the bottle back, and just before he put it to his lips, Ferran swore he could see a wry smile cracking the Prince's face.
 

unmerged(23474)

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To His Majesty, Pere IV de Barcelona, Rey d'Aragon

My dear abuelo, I worry for your safety. Minorca being seized by Monferrato, and the other Balearic islands seized by the papacy, I am forced to wonder why you have been silent for the past year.

I may not have had the opportunity to know my mother well, but as she was your daughter, it is my duty to do whatever i can to assist you.

By her own hand,


Maria I d'Aragon

By the grace of God, Queen of Sicily
 
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During his stay in Avignon, a note was delivered to the Prince Martin of Aragon, future King of Mallorca.


Clement, Bishop, Servant of the Servant of God; onto Our beloved son the Prince Martin: greetings.

We have received a strange and perplexing letter from the usurper Philippe d'Alençon. Amongst other things, he told Us that he is 'being transported to Barcelona' where he would attend 'a general council'. This latter piece We found especially perplexing since We convoked no synod whatsoever, neither to Barcelona, neither to eslewhere. The fact that he is 'being transported' to there, what more, awaits me there, sounds equally odd to us.

Since Barcelona is in the Kingdom of Aragon, what more, if my memory serves me well, it is the seat of the country your House originates from and where it holds utmost power; and also since We do very well remember this lamentable incident of the past about the sale of Mallorca, We cannot help but wonder: is it not your father behind these perplexing news? We suspect treachery, son. Maybe your father now wishes to be the head of the Christendom, convoking synods illegally? You had better enlighten Us about the background of these weird news.
Clemens PP. VII.
 
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Arrival of the 2nd Company of the Papal Escort in Aragon Waters -


Off the Coast of Sardinia


The seas had been calm and uneventful, with nary a cloud in the sky, and yet a strong wind to guide them northwords and ever westerly. Their trip to Sardinia had been relatively swift, given that the ship was not designed for speed, and it was heavily weighed down by the entorage from Rome and their supplies and equipment.


The Commander stayed on board with his men as Commander Rodreguiz and his 2nd Mate went ashore to larder supplies, and speak with the Sardinian officials, as well as collect news. The sailors took the opportunity to soapstone the decks and fish for larger sardines.

An area of the quarter deck had been cleared for the people in the hold to have an opportunity to take fresh air and see the view.
 

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While docked in Sardinia, Gregory received two letters in his name, forwarded from Rome. First he read the said letter from the Neapolitan King's future bride, and took great pity upon the Duchess, and the entire Royal Family of Naples. Not only was there great sadness, but a succession crisis was developing in the south of Italy. Gregory then read the letter from Cardinal de la Grange. It was an interesting proposal, and one which he could readily agree to. Gregory took two pieces of paper out and wrote, in his own hands, a letter to the Duchess of Transylvania and Cardinal de la Grange. The letters were soon sent to Captain Rodriguez, who, out of the kindness of his heart, sent them on their way.
 

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To His Grace, Pedro IV, King of Aragon;

Grandfather, I am humbled by your wise words and pious actions. Palermo has no truer friend than her brother Barcelona. I will do whatever is necessary, as I am sure no less shall be done by the most catholic kingdoms in Hispania. Frederick is in Avignon at the time of this letter's departure, but Sicily shall act at your convenience.



By her own hand,


Maria I d'Aragon

By the grace of God, Queen of Trinacria and of Sicily, Duchess of Athens
 

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Rendezvous with the 2nd Company of the Papal Escort​

The Roman Pope and his unlikely Castillian escort had been docked in Sardinia, forbidden by the Governor-General to leave until their Royal Aragonian Navy escort had arrived. And when it came, it came in force. Several of King Pedro IV's largest warships called at port, and soon the full force was at sea, heading for Barcelona.

On board the flagship, one of the admiral's adjutants turned to him. "Sir, if the Anti-Pope is on that ship...why don't we just tear it apart, leave him for the fish?"

"Our Castillian brethren are on board as well."

"A small price to pay for destroying satan himself..."

"I assume they have a plan, something larger in mind. If they wanted to kill him...don't you think they'd have done it already?"
 

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Interception of the 2nd Company of the Papal Escort by the Fleet of Aragon


West of Sardinia due north-west


The seas had had taken on a blood red tinge as the sunset revealed the navy of Aragon surrounding and escorting the Castelleon caravel as it left Sardinia. They allowed no ship to approach or depart from their ring of security, save those that travelled between the vessels couriering various officers invited to dine upon each other's tables.

Commander Rodreguiz had returned from port with a pale look and whispered to Captain Murcia who commanded the alleged Papal Escort.


"Captain, please look at this. Also, be aware that the navy of King Pedro is heaving anchor and coming to intercept our position."

The Commander handed over the copy of Pope Clement's Encyclical Pronunciation on Philip, of the House of Alençon.

The Captain read it, coughed and then nodded.


"It seems that the Gregory in our hold has been excommunicated by Pope Clement.

No matter, we shall procede as planned, so much the more proper indeed."


The ship sailed on under heavy escort, and the 1rst mate was dispatched to the Admiral of the Aragonese fleet's ship.

The Captain of the papal escort delivered a copy of the decree to one of Gregory's secretaries, and noted his condolances on their predicament.
 

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Gregory read the excommunication with great disgust. That great oaf. The liar! The traitor! He came with the Castillians in effort to end this schism. He was willing to give the Papal Tiara up and live in a monestary for the rest of his life, as long as Christendom was reunited! Hopefully, Cardinal de la Grange will receive his letter. He could only hope.
 

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Interception of the 2nd Company of the Papal Escort by the Fleet of Aragon


West of Sardinia due north-west
~Aragonese Admiral's Flagship~



The spray of foam crashed against the side of the ship as first lieutenant Cadiz sprung from the bow of his dinghy and grabbed ahold of the ratline and clambored upwards. Coming up onto the deck he stood straight brushed off the sea foam on his sleeve and straightened his hat and sword before addressing his greetors.

"Lieutenant Cadiz of the HMS Elenorra of Castilla y Leon, at your service.

I have come to speak with the Admiral regarding a matter of some importance regarding the secret location of our destination."
 

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The Deck of HMS Western Star, Flagship of Admiral Clariana of Aragon

"Lieutenant Cadiz...just when I was beginning to think we would never heard word one from our Castillian brethren regarding this bizarre venture. Start talking, I am eager to hear." The Aragonian Admiral strode across the deck to greet the Castillian sailor, imposing in his fresh crisp uniform and surrounded by marines. To be honest, the Admiral was not pleased to see the Castillian, and he imagined it showed. He had been sent to sea with almost no information about his mission or his destination, and it had seemed the monarch had known little or nothing as well.

Lieutenant Cadiz was not offered a towel or cloak until he had finished his explanation. Clariana was not pleased with the situation, and hated being out of control. In return, he was not exactly amiable or hospitable, his hard face showing no trace of emotion as he waited for the sailor to report.
 

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The Deck of HMS Western Star, Flagship of Admiral Clariana of Aragon

"Admiral."

Cadiz snapped to attention and saluted. Then held out to the Admiral a dark cherry colored bottle.

"Please a token of my Commander's esteem, a bottle of Port, a seventy-two, which I believe is a favored year.

My Lord, my tale is a complicated one, but I will truncate it best that I can.

Upon hearing of the death of the Anti-Pope, King Juan dispatched a small company to take a hold and garrison the Basilica in Rome, but for that the Bishops residing in Rome chose a new Anti-Pope to lead their Cabal. This company of soldiers had orders to execute or bring the Anti-Pope, and consequently they have actually taken the man in the hold of our good ship.

After stopping in Sardinia to take on more supplies we learned of the newest Papal Edict and of course, you were informed, sir."


*Lieutenant Cadiz pulled some parchment from his oilskin pouch*

"Here... on this map, north of Barcelona is a fine inlet where a manor and dock is held. Our orders are to transport the contingent there. I do hope you will be so kind as to continue to escort us and protect us from the forces of the Cabal, sir.

This mission could have great ramifications, though i would not presume to know more than I have been told, sir."
 

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The Deck of HMS Western Star​

Admiral Clariana cocked his head to one side and listened as the man spoke, acknowledging his salute and accepting the bottle of port. He spent most of the man's speech studying the bottle...the Admiral had a weakness for fine vintages and similar pleasures of the flesh. When the Lieutenant presented a map, Clariana waved to a junior officer in a disinterested fashion, who took the map and ran towards the helm.

"Yes yes, very well. We shall escort you to this location and keep the hounds of the Anti-Pope from interfering with your mission. However, King Pedro IV is not expecting you...I do hope Barcelona is not your final destination?"