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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

aniuby

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Chapter 5 B : Rise of a Tyrant - Rivers of Blood (1451-1456)
Sovereign Albrecht I von Hohenzollern, since 22 May 1431

Date - May 1456

From : Ulrich van Henegouwen, 'Le Journal de Genève' Correspondence Office
To : Francisco Jiménez, Adjutant to the Convention at Geneva on the Rights of Men
RE : The case to indict Tyrant Albrecht von Hohenzollern of Holland

My noble Inquisitor,

Please find enclosed details of correspondence between the Hollander 'Promised Land' Office of the Viceroy in Nieuw-Amsterdam (City of Vihara) and the Chancellory of Holland in Amsterdam.

This information was intercepted and leaked to us by a source which has interests in the prosecution of the Tyrant Albrecht von Hohenzollern for his crimes against God and man. I trust that you will find the information contained herein to be of use in your ongoing investigations.

Your humble servant,
Ulrich van Henegouwen



VanWick_zps76738e34.png

Office of the Viceroy
Nieuw-Amsterdam
Promised Land

Date : December 1455

Oi, Johan!

So I see you've brought about this business about having to writing some kind of report to you telling you who the hell I am and what my business is in kicking off this little border dispute in your 'Promised Land'. Not familiar with your new viceroy, are you? Where do you think that weekly bottle of Pulteney malt on your desk comes from? You'd think some high and mighty bureaucrat back in Amsterdam would know - like yourself, or better yet, why not ask your Lord Albrecht about it?

Since getting anything sent from here back to Holland takes the better part of the year, I thought I'd just go ahead and answer your questions for you in length, so you don't have to worry your wee head about it. We've got everything under control down here. Think of it as a favour ... as in, you owe me one. Maybe a government or court position back in Europe or something. It's bloody sweltering over here, and I thought midges were bad - the giant mozzies here are hell itself!

My name's Philip of Wick - or, as you Hollander people like to call it, 'Van Wick'. Merchant adventurer by trade, and as Scottish as an Orcadian - which is to say, not very. I can't get anywhere in business in my homeland thanks to having a pansy name like 'Philip' instead of something suitable like Angus or Alasdair or ruddy great Archibald (St) Andrews, so when I heard Lord Albrecht of Holland was sending out invitations for people of an adventuring persuasion willing to take on some dirty business, I jumped at the chance.

Of course, I didn't exactly want to get drafted into some conscript army and made to contract nasty diseases and go spread them to unsuspecting natives in a foreign land - so I made a little withdrawal from the bank of mom and pop and sent it along to Lord Albrecht's treasurer with my name card and a bottle of Scotch. Next thing I knew, there I was on a ship from Amsterdam, told to take control of the expeditionary force in the 'Promised Land' alongside this other man who had this whiff of cheese about him. He either had the worst BO in the world, or he really liked cheese, both not exactly the type of people you want as your bedfellow. I wouldn't be surprised if you were more familiar with him - Gerardus Gouda was his name, and he's a bit more of a soldier than I could ever be, even after a case of malt's worth of convincing.

So after a bit of butting heads we got to talking, and he told me that Albrecht picked him for the job after the recommendation of his older brother Karel, a patrician administrator in one of your government offices in Amsterdam. Also, his dislike of this 'curry', a common dish in the 'Promised Land', had something to do with it. Seems like the last guy the lord hired was a bit too fond of it; as a result, he went kind of soft with the natives after they offered him a bowl of the stuff. Anyway, we had instructions from the lord's Court Chaplain to make contact with some sympathetic elements in the native-held land of Vihara who had promised to help turn over their capital city to us. And by 'make contact', he meant to put everyone who didn't support Holland's destiny to the sword.

HOL0045A_zpsbbda6a2a.png

It took us half a year to actually reach the 'Promised Land', but when we did get there things seemed kind of iffy - our position was weak with no way to acquire the metal to equip and reinforce our Men at Arms except through shipments from Europe. We could have hired some of the local soldiers, and their horseback archery skills were indeed quite lethal compared to our rather straightforward raider cavalry, but the cultural and language difference would have made it difficult for them to integrate into the formations of our existing troops.

Worst of all, we found that the overlarge native kingdom of Bisnagar had sought to extend its overlordship and challenge ours by proclaiming a guarantee over all nations bordering its territory, as well as attempting to secure alliances with several neighbouring states. Perhaps the King of Bisnagar's arrogance was his downfall, for we soon received word of troop movements to our west.

HOL00460_zps8e746d46.png

First things first, of course. War was declared on the morrow with our target nation of Vihara. The defenders were caught out by the suddenness of our attack - it was clear they had not got wind of the conspiracy to surrender their capital to our forces, or they would have made better preparations. Foolishly, Vihara's associates agreed to join the war effort against us, the distant kingdom of Rajasthan taking the role of war leader and marshalling allied forces in Odisha and Nepal against us, despite their ongoing internecine conflict against Bisnagar. This was rather convenient, as when General Gouda laid siege to the market capital of Vihara he was quick to declare their merchants as enemy combatants, and cut them down so we could appropriate their goods for our war effort.

As for the defending forces of Vihara itself, their King abandoned their assault on Bisnagar's territory in the face of overwhelming force and led the remains of their force back to their homeland to beat off our assault. A border post was sieged by their forces and almost starved into submission - but despite encountering severe logistical difficulties the bulk of our army managed to catch up to them and relieve our forces. Although outnumbered and short on supplies, we remembered Lord Albrecht's military doctrine of heedless pursuit - to elaborate, if you chase them and cut them down to the last man, all their supplies are yours, so why hold back for petty concerns like feeding your own army?

HOL00470_zps7c4751e7.png

It took approximately half a year more, but their defences could not last forever. The sieges were won, and the nation of Vihara capitulated with all of their territory turned over to us. As expected, the other participants in the war against us posed no threat at all - the capitals of Odisha and Nepal were also occupied by our forces. However, Odisha still mainted a substantial force on its western front, sieging the territory of Bisnagar.

When our military intelligence observed the Odisha forces returning to their homeland to repulse us, I sensed an opportunity - as we held the family of their King hostage, we demanded the payment of a substantial indemnity in return for a ceasefire, along with the threat that their palace would be burned to the ground if they refused. Our threat was successful, and Odisha bowed out of the war with us and returned to concentrating their efforts against Bisnagar - which no doubt ended with the utter annihilation of their army. Lastly, there was still the matter of Rajasthan, the nation which was purportedly leading the alliance against us, but which our spies had reported was instead being overrun by the forces of Bisnagar. It took but a single messenger to the King of Rajasthan to offer unconditional peace, and the Fourth War of Hollander Destiny had been concluded in our favour.

HOL00480_zps952a991d.png

Now, onto the matter of the 'viceroyalty', and our little ... 'dispute' with the Kingdom of Bisnagar. As you might be aware we had managed to seize control of the capital city of Vihara, along with its centre of trade, with the aid of several conspirators. For having 'liberated' the city, we were awarded the honour of the use of the previous King's palace, which General Gouda and I established as the new headquarters for our operations in the region.

As per Lord Albrecht's orders, we also bestowed upon the city the new name of New Amsterdam, or 'Nieuw-Amsterdam' in your native language. Lord Albrecht still has not replied to us as to what he would like to name the region itself, which now unquestionably answers to our will. Did he want to call it 'Albert Land'? Or 'County Albert'? What about 'Nova Hollandia'? Do let me know more on this matter on your next correspondence.

And, upon the establishment of a new territory of the glorious nation of Holland, it is only right and proper that such a territory has a leader, or, shall we say, a domestic administrator. Of good European, Christian stock, no less. Naturally, I volunteered for the duty, Gerardus being of a more martial persuasion, really nothing at all like his brother. Also, the natives really didn't want the palace smelling of cheese, anyway - the sort that they prefer tends to be a little more mild in flavour. I'm certain Lord Albrecht would not be too displeased with me for taking the initiative over this matter - in fact, I think he ought to be most grateful that I've taken this responsibility upon myself. May I please just apologise for, you know, not having sent word to our lord sooner to inform him of this development. But I'm sure it doesn't matter.

cheese_zps8c6dc188.png

Gerardus takes on the Natives of the Promised Land - who will win?
"Cheese is not a weapon, it is food!"

I understand that you're somewhat concerned about our declaration of a state of war between the domains of Holland and the native Kingdom of Bisnagar - no doubt their total armed force is larger than our entire standing army combined with those of our allies in the theatre. However, I, as Viceroy, felt that the opportunity on the ground was too good to pass up, and the need for a decisive war to contain the spread of Bisnagari influence was pressing.

Bisnagar had been at war with their neighbouring kingdoms Rajasthan and Odisha for several years, and up until a short time ago the battle still seemed to be a back-and-forth affair. We hoped that our successful annexation of Vihara would not have affected the balance between the two sides - apart from the elimination of the Vihari forces, of course. However, developments in the later part of last year (1454) beyond our control led to Bisnagar gaining the upper hand. The first was the routing of the Odisha forces - it seemed that Rajasthan had only been able to run rampant because Bisnagar had concentrated on eliminating the enemy who was closer to them. After Odisha was decisively defeated and several of their territories were annexed, Bisnagar concentrated its forces on a northward push into Rajasthani territory and it seems they were eventually able to disperse and eliminate the primary Rajasthani force.

Gerardus and I agreed that, should Bisnagar be allowed to continue unmolested, it would overrun Rajasthan and further enlarge its domains. We also noted the likelihood that Bisnagar would be war weary and depleted of manpower after such a long conflict. The last straw came at the beginning of this year, when Bisnagar proclaimed itself supreme overlord and defender of all those of its faith, reserving for itself the right to intervene in any conflict involving those of its religion - meaning they would enter any war we started with other local lords, no matter how weak. You have to agree with me that it was the right thing to respond to this provocative proclamation by declaring a War of Containment of Bisnagari Influence.

HOL00490_zps4d69d69c.png

No doubt, your concern about the leader of Bisnagar being somewhat upset about our revocation of our two-way military access agreement was right, and their king, some bloke by the name of Sangama, decided to immediately reroute his forces to engage our army. However, it seems our apparent relative 'weakness' contributed to arrogance on the part of the Bisnagari forces, as their king felt that it would be a good idea to lead but a third of his forces against the combined military of the 'Promised Land' and her allies. General Gouda dealt him a stinging defeat that, in one blow, halved the advantage he had over us.

HOL00500_zpsc4ed055f.png

Damn, that guy has 5 shock! No wonder he was so confident.
Also, did I mention that their cavalry are better than mine?

Reeling from their defeat, the King of Bisnagar took some time to reassign some of his forces currently besieging Rajasthan to attempt to engage us. However, our suspicions regarding the internal weakness of Bisnagar were proven right - having already enlisted every available man for their war effort, they were unable to train any more troops, nor could they fund any mercenary replacements due to having spent all of their resources issuing that ostentatious proclamation which set off our war. We were able to concentrate the bulk of our forces on the Bisnagari-Rajasthani front, where the rest of the Bisnagari armed forces were located, and mostly neglect the southern heartland, leaving it to our less well-equipped allies.

Interesting developments during the course of the war contributed to the success of our war effort - apparently, some bright spark decided that it would be a good idea for us to sail our ships into enemy harbours and attempt to interfere with their shipping activity. Not only did this impede the movement of their navy - not that they were actually doing anything with it, or had very much of it in the first place - but it also disrupted their trade and the livelihood of their civilian population. We permitted our sailors to board all ships regardless of affiliation, and issued a writ of plunder against ports of the nation of Bisnagar; no doubt there were some unsavoury activities committed but I am certain you would agree that the net result - increased war-wearines and domestic unrest - significantly dented Bisnagar's war capacity.

HOL00510_zpsa68e9ae5.png

Our naval dominance paid dividends for our besieging forces on land, as enemy morale began to plummet with their supplies cut off, and their armies were easily routed. General Gouda offered the cornered armies a simple choice - the payment of ten guilders' ransom per man, or death. It could hardly have been our fault if they lacked sufficient funds to pay the ransom ... or if they did not actually understand our surrender terms in the slightest.

HOL00520_zpsd41b45a5.png

As of the time that I write this letter in my office in New Amsterdam, such is the situation. The enemy's army, from holding an overwhelming advantage over our own, has been almost completely exterminated. Their king, Sangama, commands one last battalion of elite troops somewhere in Rajasthani territory, of a strength less than half our combined forces. It is true that we have been as yet unable to compel him to surrender and accede to our demands of releasing a large proportion of Bisnagari territory as independent states, who would naturally be thankful to us for granting their freedom. However, that is because the southern proportion of the Bisnagar kingdom has yet to actually feel the full force of our repression. Perhaps the threat of having the rivers in their heartland run red with the blood of slaughtered civilians might force them to capitulate.

So you can see, dear Johan, there is really no need to worry. I, as self-appointed Viceroy of the Hollander 'Promised Land', have everything under control here. As long as Lord Albrecht continues to reciprocate my efforts with appropriate rewards - and the continued patronage of Pulteney malt whisky by the government offices of Amsterdam - I can assure you that there will be no problems from this little part of the world.

Yours,

VanWick_zps76738e34.png
 
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aniuby

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A thousand curses on your excessively fun aar for lowering my concentration on work during my internship! You are worse then the guy who invented solitaire! :laugh:

Anyway, I like how the dreams of empire and revenge side-track you from the quest for the promised land. Holy Roman Hindustan of the Dutch Nation... that sounds awesome!

And may you be sewn up in the belly of a dead camel ... oops, wrong game! Don't worry, this distracts me from my paper, too!

Anyway thank you very much for visiting - it was becoming a bit of a conversation between DensleyBlair and I. I promise you more revenge and senseless bloodshed in the next chapter. However, 'Holy Roman Hindustan of the Dutch Nation' is a bit of a misnomer - to paraphrase a certain philosopher who hasn't been born yet, this abomination I've created can be neither Holy, nor Roman, nor Hindustan, nor Dutch all at the same time because the game won't allow it. =P

Well, it could, eventually, but that's a whole lot of hoops to jump through.

All is well in the Promised Lamd, it seems - interesting to see an update based on that part of the world.

War is hell, isn't it. The way I'm going, I'm essentially building the Dutch Raj in the 15th century.

I'll put up a small ledger update showing Holland's statistics in the first part of the next chapter, before I go back to narrative mode. Hope you like it!
 

aniuby

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Chapter 6 A : Sic Semper Tyrannis - The War of Two Albrechts
Sovereign Albrecht I von Hohenzollern, since 22 May 1431 ...

HOL00540_zps3ed668df.png

It was the Christmas of 1455. Johan Spijkenisse, Chancellor of Holland, sat alone in his office, on the second storey of one of the terraced merchant houses overlooking the canals of Amsterdam. He was a workaholic, having decided to spend the day of rest poring over some of the census statistics that the treasury office had recently published. Besides, he had no family apart from his colleagues in the bureaucracy at Amsterdam - not that they were particularly friendly to him.

He understood that the statistics were slightly outdated, having been gathered in June that year, before Amsterdam had got wind of the unsanctioned border conflict the overseas office in the Promised Land had started with a neighbouring kingdom. But the slight time lag could not conceal the fact that over the last two and half decades that he had served as a bureaucrat - over the last two and a half decades Lord Albrecht been its sovereign - the country of Holland had blossomed into the wealthiest trading power Europe had ever seen.

With its income exceeding that of heavyweights such as the Hanseatic League, the Holy Roman Emperor, or the triumvirate of France, England, and Castille, Holland was poised for greatness thanks to the profits garnered from the shrewd investments of its patricians. However, it was admittedly true that this wealth did not translate into outright military dominance, with Holland's armed forces still lacking despite the exponential increase in its income. But then the military had never been the focus of Holland's investments due to its limited population.

Instead, Holland had chosen to invest most of its income into technological advancement, and the construction of infrastructure in its territories in the Promised Land. In particular, Johan had heard much about how smiths in Amsterdam were but a few refinements away from developing a hand-held weapon, utilising saltpetre and sulphur, which could be produced on a large scale, thus rendering metal armour ineffective and putting an end to the age of knights and chivalry.

HOL00560_zps435872de.png

Who is this 'Ming'? He sounds like one merciless chap.
Anyway, in terms of land power, Holland clearly leads the way among non-Great Power nations.
No one in Europe yet knows we have more than four provinces - my forcelimit is actually over twice my standing army.

Letting out a contented sigh, Johan also recalled the tense diplomatic standoffs and nail-biting negotiations in which he had participated, sealing Holland's place as a diplomatic powerhouse upheld by loyal vassals and trusted by nearly all the great powers, save Austria - which could be explained by how Lord Albrecht was poised to be nominated the Holy Roman Emperor. Even the 'Geneva Convention' set up by Emperor Franz Stefan to condemn Lord Albrecht's conduct had fallen flat, as deprived of consensus and legitimacy as the warmongering Emperor's own position. Holland, and its masterful Sovereign Albrecht von Hohenzollern, had become paragons of prestige throughout Europe which lesser nations aspired to emulate.

HOL00550_zps074c55d6.png

Everyone wants to be a Hohenzollern nowadays. You made a good investment, Fritz.

But all of his successes and all of his achievements could not disguise how much Albrecht had changed in the past ten years. Johan remembered his first meeting with Lord Albrecht, back in the field camp on the outskirts of Eindhoven. The Sovereign of Holland was but a youth then - ambitious, guarded around strangers yet friendly and dedicated to those close to him, and a pleasant though somewhat short-tempered man.

The Albrecht of forty and three years who now ruled Holland was a changed man, his personality completely transformed after something snapped deep within him that fateful day ten years ago. Where he was once shy, he now made frequent public appearances and grandiose speeches, winning the favour of patricians across Amsterdam. But Johan could see that there was not a shred of love in his eyes - he regarded those beneath him coldly, and only gave heed to flatterers and toadies who were willing to serve him unquestioningly. The Gouda brothers, Karel and Gerardus, were among such sycophants - a pair of siblings who had shamelessly bribed and feted Albrecht, singing his praises among the patricians of Amsterdam, and had thus been handpicked for promotion to positions of office far beyond their levels of competence.

More worryingly, Johan heard rumours that his lord had been making inquiries around 'The Wall', Amsterdam's infamous hotbed of prostitution, having sought something 'private' for the past few years, with such activity aided and abetted by his servants and hangers-on. As much as every man was entitled to the freedom to ... pursue his own pastimes, Johan could never have imagined that his lord would be the type to engage in such scurrilous activity. Albrecht kept his comings and goings a secret from all but those he regarded as his favourites - and Johan knew that despite his role as Chancellor of Holland, he was no longer entitled to know of his lord's actions and motives.

And then there was the issue of the Sovereign's 'Great Matter' - his relentless pursuit of those responsible for the spate of killings which had driven him to madness. Having lost friends and colleagues he loved to this unknown assassin, Johan felt driven to do his utmost in assisting his lord with uncovering what he could about the killers, but he feared in his heart that it was precisely this quest for revenge which had transformed Lord Albrecht into the crazed man he now was. Would Albrecht stop at nothing, however drastic or depraved, in his pursuit of those who had taken away everything he loved? And should this unknown assailant be apprehended, would his lord ever return to the way he once was?

Johan set aside the details of the ledger which were laid out before him, and rested his fingers on a transcript of a memorandum he had recently written to Lord Albrecht. The unknown assassin had finally made a grievous error - one which could possibly lead to his discovery.

A most ridiculous rumour had been spreading among the townsfolk concerning the ancestry of Lord Albrecht as a result of a protestation put up in Amsterdam's commercial square. While the baseless accusation was quickly dismissed out of hand, the placard's stout defence of the pretender Albrecht Jr's succession, and the surprisingly detailed family tree provided concerning the matter of Lord Albrecht's father's marital relations, suggested that a small town on Brabant's Wallonian border might provide further leads as to the possible location of Albrecht's tormentors. Johan had written to his lord informing him of this fact, expecting that Albrecht would deal with the matter himself, as was his way.

At that moment, a knock sounded from the door of Johan's office.

HOL00530_zps2a42e92e.png

Seriously, which idiot actually fell for that story?

"My liege? Lord Albrecht? You honour me with your presence..." stammered Chancellor Spijkenisse, for it was the Sovereign of Holland himself who had called. Johan would never have expected such a gesture from man so estranged to him - and not on Christmas day, at that.

"Yes, Johan. We have matters of grave importance to discuss."

Johan motioned to a small table in his drawing room, kept free of clutter for the purpose of entertaining guests, and drew up a chair for his lord. Without a word of thanks, Albrecht sat down, placing the items he had been carrying - a sealed letter and a bottle - on the table. Johan thought to remain standing to address his lord, but Albrecht casually gestured to the chair at the opposite end of the table, indicating that his Chancellor should take a seat as well. Albrecht's complexion was pallid, his eyes sunken, and his hair messy, and though his eyes watched Johan lazily, appearing to be disinterested, the corners of his mouth were slightly upturned, with the semblance of a cruel smirk in them.

"I ... I presume this is concerning my recent letter of correspondence ..."

"Yes ... and no, Johan. In truth, I have something to ask of you."

"Ask, and it will be done, my lord. I am at your service."

"Is that really so, Johan? Are you sworn to serve me, your Sovereign, and only me? Do I truly have your complete, absolute, and utter loyalty?"

Struck by Albrecht's disdainful tone, Johan hesitated and pondered his words before replying. "I am sworn to serve Holland, my lord."

"Oh...? It is most unfortunate that you do not swear loyalty to me personally," Albrecht remarked, his voice ringing with scorn, "but I was still hoping that you could help me with what I need. I have one last, great favour to ask of you."

"I ... I will serve you to the best of my ability, sire," stammered Johan unconvincingly as he grew more uncomfortable by the moment.

"You see, I need you."

"Me?"

"Well, to be precise, I need your body," Albrecht elaborated, sighing, "but don't misunderstand me. What I mean is, I need someone to find your body."

"I ... I don't think I can agree to that, my lord." Johan turned white with horror, as that hint of a smile in the corner of Lord Albrecht's lips grew larger, and more cruel. "I ... really don't ..."

"It seems you are not willing to assist. Well, then, good day," said Lord Albrecht, his voice disconcertingly serene, as he rose to leave. "By the way, Johan, Treasurer Karel Gouda has asked me to bring you a letter, and gift - a fine bottle of Pulteney malt. Please excuse me for having previously unsealed the bottle, as I simply had to have a little for myself."

"I ... my lord, please explain what you mean! I don't ..."

"Thank you for your service. Christmas greetings, and good evening, Johan."

As the office door slammed shut in his face, Johan gazed down at the table, upon which rested the letter and bottle of whisky. He felt his breathing grow laboured as a lump rose in his throat. Replacing the latch over his office door, Johan retrieved a glass he kept beside his work-table, and returned to his seat. He knew what he had to do now.

HOL00570_zpsd63035fd.png

I am sorry this had to happen.

22 April 1456. A sunny, yet pleasantly cool spring day. It was known throughout Amsterdam that their Sovereign, Albrecht I von Hohenzollern of Holland, was finally making his first public appearance since the tragic affair of Chancellor Spijkenisse's murder.

The gendarmerie had broken into the Chancellor's private office after receiving several reports of a foul smell emanating from within, and were horrified to find the former chancellor sprawled face forward over a table in his drawing room, his body already in the process of decay. It was surmised, from the overturned glass tumbler and uncorked bottle of alcohol on the table, that he had been poisoned - rumours also circulated that a letter, fingering the likely perpetrators, had been found beside his body. Naturally, no one had actually seen the text of the incriminating letter, with these same whispers suggesting that the matter had been kept in confidence by the Sovereign's private office.

However, the simultaneous disappearance of several junior officials from government offices across Amsterdam strongly hinted that some internal faction responsible for the murder had already been disposed of with astounding alacrity. It therefore came as no surprise that Lord Albrecht now felt sufficiently at ease to tour the streets of Amsterdam, with only his newly-promoted Chancellor Karel Gouda as his bodyguard.

Over in Amsterdam's market square, a lady in a luxurious linen dress and flowing golden hair crouched as she looked over the wares of a hunched figure, selling flowers by the roadside. As the lady picked out a bouquet of lilies of the valley, foxgloves, and nightshades, an exotic variety of large flower caught her eye - tulips, they were called. Smiling, she bought one of them as well, pinning the flower head over her breast. Paying the merchant a pretty penny for the flowers, the lady rose, and headed down the road where Lord Albrecht was making his public appearance.

"No comment, no comment at all," said Lord Albrecht as he waved his hand dismissively, attempting to disperse several members of the public who had attempted to interview him over ex-Chancellor Spijkenisse's mysterious death. He was splendidly attired in a silken patrician's outfit, most notable for its large, ruffled collar - such collars were becoming all the rage among the wealthy.

"His Excellency is on official business, so kindly move along," reiterated the younger man who stood beside Albrecht - a tall and mustachioed gentleman, with a high forehead, and gently-curled black hair that touched his shoulders. Lord Albrecht and Chancellor Karel Gouda both wore swords at their waists, safely sheathed in their scabbards, but Karel placed his hand meaningfully upon the hilt of his weapon as if threatening to cut his way through the crowd.

Apart from the previous unsavoury group who attempted to accost Lord Albrecht to ask him for his opinion on this matter or another, most of the townsfolk were content to watch Albrecht and his Chancellor from a distance. There were smiles on their faces - evidently there was widespread pride in their lord and his achievements. It was thus not out of the ordinary when a lady with shining golden hair, finely dressed and with the head of an exotic flower pinned over her breast, emerged from an alleyway and presented Albrecht with a bouquet.

"Thank you, milady," Albrecht said, a hint of self-satisfied pride in his voice. Ever since he began making frequent public appearances, he had become familiar with such gestures and the proper, gentlemanly way of responding to them. As the lady was approximately a head shorter than he was, he stepped forward, lowered his head slightly, and gently gave the bouquet of flowers a sniff.

Of course, this was the opportunity she had been waiting for. With a swift motion, she reached for something at her bosom, dislodging the head of the tulip she wore. There was a flash of light, the sound of cloth being torn ... and a metallic clang rang out.

A dagger clattered to the floor at Lord Albrecht's feet, beside the fallen bouquet - and a golden wig, which Albrecht had torn from the head of his assailant. Split asunder, Albrecht's cloth collar fell apart, revealing a metal clasp he had worn over his neck especially for this moment. Karel instinctively reached for his weapon, but was stopped in his tracks as Albrecht withdrew his sword in a flourish, raising it in a battle posture.

"You don't know how long I've been waiting for this day, pretender!"

Johan's 'sacrifice' had not been in vain. Everything had come into place, the false simulation of internal strife and the pretence of overconfidence, aided by the judicious dispersal of convenient titbits of information, had lured the assassin into revealing himself.

"Usurper!" the ginger-haired man spat, fumbling with something at the waist of his dress as he backed into the alley, away from the advancing Albrecht.

Albrecht knew that voice all too well. He had never forgotten that day - the day when everything he loved was taken away from him. The day when his dreams were torn asunder, and his mind forever shattered. The day for which he now knew he would sacrifice everything - his reputation, his friends, even his own life - to revenge.

"Now, you die."

A bang like a crack of thunder echoed through the alleyway, followed by the sound of a man crumpling to the floor.



More to come! To be continued in the second part - Chapter 6 B : Sic Semper Tyrannis - Dressed to Repress
 
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Sic semper tyrannis indeed.

A most intriguing and enjoyable update - though who has died? Albrecht or our assassin? I await the conclusion eagerly.
 

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Chapter 6 B : Sic Semper Tyrannis - Dressed to Repress

"Would that I could live forever ... I would ..."

Albrecht lay on the cold stone floor of the alleyway, his left hand clutched to his chest. His right hand still clung tightly to the hilt of his sword, which now lay uselessly by his side.

His hand barely concealed a small hole in his shirt, just over his heart, where the fabric had been violently torn. In close proximity to his wound, several similar marks had been torn into the cloth, on occasion exposing segments of the ring armour he bore beneath his outerwear. Such a form of simple personal armour allowed a comfortable degree of mobility, while protecting the wearer from light blows from a bladed weapon - unfortunately, it was ineffective against lead shot delivered at close range.

As his lord fell, Karel's eyes met those of the assassin. At that moment, Chancellor Gouda saw that the murderer's eyes were filled with fear, trepidation, even surprise, that his desperate gambit had worked the way it did. Gritting his teeth, the ginger-haired man whirled about and darted into the darkness of Amsterdam's back alleys.

Karel replaced his sword in his scabbard, and let out a sigh as stepped forward and crouched over Albrecht's body, shielding it from a crowd that was beginning to gather behind him after hearing the commotion. Blood had begun to seep from the wound, staining Albrecht's shirt a deep crimson, and judging from his lifeless unmoving gaze, it was clear to see that Albrecht, Sovereign of Holland, would rise no more. He was only forty-three years of age.

"Perhaps this was how he wanted it to end, after all."

HOL00580_zps4c7e8138.png

"Name, father's name, relation to our previous Sovereign."

"Albrecht, son of Jan van Henegouwen, half-brother of Albrecht von Hohenzollern."

"Is that so, Albrecht Junior? You still have to make a couple of changes in this other document, here ... and done."

Inside a private room in Amsterdam's town hall, far from the hubbub of its main hallway, a bearded and eyeglass-wearing old bureaucrat sat at a large table carefully inspecting a large assortment of papers. Before him there stood a man of surprisingly youthful appearance and somewhat below-average height, with neatly-trimmed ginger hair and a chin which smoothly tapered to a point. Apart from his feminine voice, the most curious thing was that this man was attired in a patterend linen gown more suited to that of a well-off lady from a patrician family.

"City of origin, and education?"

"I am a Hollander like my father, though I was brought up and lived in a noble lady's court near Bruxelles, staying away for fear of my half-brother's retribution. Unforunately, I cannot claim to have received tutoring or formal education of any sort - all the skills I know I have learned in my service as a domestic."

"... and I presume they taught you assassination and regicide as well?"

"I ... well, you can say I've been practicing since my youth."

"Indeed. Well, I'm sure you're aware that you can't be allowed to pull off any of those stunts as head of state. Things would get prickly if our sovereign was caught trying to personally murder another..." The bureaucrat paused, mentally summing up some details in his head, before continuing. "So in the sum of things, you're eminently unfit to be a Sovereign - and you quite like wearing ladies' dresses."

"It's about claiming my birthright, sir. And on that last point, I'd have brought my wig too if I hadn't lost my favourite one just a short while ago."

"Very well then." Picking up his quill, the bureaucrat signed something off on a piece of paper before glancing at Albrecht Jr once again. "I can assist in acquiring the signatures of the other council members in order to get this certified for you, so the administrative part of your succession will be complete. However, you're going to have to convince the people of Holland of your suitability to rule - preferably by yourself."

leg16_zps253b92f9.png

Albrecht MkII - now with less legitimacy than ever!

"By the way, sir, I can't help but notice one thing," Albrecht Jr interrupted, "but on your documents, you've marked out someone known as 'Floris von Hohenzollern' as my heir. Who's that?"

"Oh, that was decided under the reign of our previous Sovereign, your 'half-brother'. He's not Albrecht's son - apparently he's some other distant relation of yours. I've met the man a few years ago and he's a rather fine lad, so I'm afraid it won't be possible to convince the council to change it"

"Impossible! I mean, if I'm the Sovereign now, I should be able to ..."

"Think about it, Albrecht Junior. How do you think your blatantly fabricated claim got past our stringent authentication procedures, anyway? This is Holland, where patricians make the rules, not poncy posh boys. We do whatever suits our favour. And besides, are you saying you're planning on raising some offspring sometime soon?"

"...nnn..." Albrect Jr grumbled as he wrung his hands in frustration. It was true - as much as he was fond of Jeanne, he simply couldn't imagine being close to her in that way. "Then, could I appoint him 'Master of the Hunt' or something similar?"

"You'll have to find him first."

"And what's this about a pretender?"

"Well, we haven't any information on that right now, but we've filed the report because such uprisings are customary if someone actually manages to pull off a forged claim. Now, if you'll excuse me, Sovereign Albrecht II von Hohenzollern of Holland, I need to submit this paperwork on your behalf. You had best be off to meet your new councillors and get on with attending to matters of state."

"Fine."

"And now that you've got what you wanted, you can stop lining our pockets with your foreign money, because it won't help any more. We wouldn't be bureaucrats if we didn't do everything in our power to obstruct the comings and goings of our rightful liege lord."

"Go to hell."

ENGDick3_zps76a79314.png

I couldn't make a male portrait in CKII that was pretty enough for my liking, so here's a picture of Richard III of England.
Thereby proving that 32 year old Early Modern noblemen can still look eminently cute, as long as they're made of wax.
Source : BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21328380


Sovereign Albrecht II von Hohenzollern, since 22 April 1456

"You!"

Surreptitiously sneaking past the mobs of protestors crowding Amsterdam's streets who did not yet recognise their new lord's fashion sense, getting through the guards standing outside the Sovereign's private residence, and having to demonstrate to them (in a somewhat embarrassing fashion) that he was in fact Albrecht II von Hohenzollern, proved to be somewhat difficult. But being confronted with the sight of Chancellor Karel Gouda, seated alone beside a table set in the middle of the sovereign's private walled garden, was another ordeal altogether. Albrecht Jr felt disarmed by the Karel's devil-may-care appearance as he leaned back in his seat to soak up the sun, with his legs stretched out and boots resting on another garden chair.

"Oh, good afternoon, Albrecht Junior. Sovereign Albrecht Junior. I had a feeling I would be seeing you here."

"How impudent!" Albrecht Jr snapped, as he attempted to assert himself. "I am your liege now, Chancellor!"

Karel lifted his boots from the chair and unhurriedly got to his feet, towering almost two heads above Albrecht Jr. It wasn't readily apparent, given Karel's lush and well-groomed facial hair and Albrecht Jr's propensity toward fine attire, but he was also almost a decade younger.

"I presume you're finding out the hard way that power and authority don't come easily. Truth be told, our previous lord feared that things might end this way, so he instructed us to keep things going on as normal here in Amsterdam. And by 'us', I mean 'me', whom he left in charge of all government matters."

"Well then, you are sacked! I shall find staff who are more loyal to me to keep this administration going."

"You might like to reconsider that, Albrect Junior. Where are you going to find anyone who's loyal to you, at this time?"

As if to drive the point home, the roars of a crowd some distance down the street could be distinctly heard over the walls of the private garden, denouncing Lord Albrecht's murder and lamenting his loss.

"Just count your blessings that this government continues to run at all - it's probably thanks to the public sector pay, free healthcare, and other perks. We'd be perfectly happy to have you arrested as a regicide if it wasn't for the fact that we can't bring this Floris chap to us right now. And we need someone to actually be around, so they can help sort out the problems caused by your untimely succession."

"Like what?"

"Like the number of nobles and patricians who are up in arms about the number of commoners up in arms right now. It's bad for business, you know."

HOL00590_zpsd5bc9d02.png

So ... they're protesting against the right of protest. Okay.

"Let them complain. What could a bunch of wealthy and well-connected people protesting against my rightful succession possibly do?"

"Well, on that matter, there's a certain fellow who's particularly well placed to take exception to your accession. Specifically, the self-proclaimed Viceroy of the Promised Land."

VanWick_zps76738e34.png

"The previous Chancellor suspected him to be a rather crafty chap. Once he finds out about Lord Albrecht's death, he'll be certain to denounce you as a pretender, and raise an army to proclaim the independence of the Promised Land throughout the streets of New Amsterdam. Besides, though he swore loyalty to Holland, he's actually Scottish, so it would be out of character if he didn't take every opportunity he had to demand independence and start a fight with his rightful overlord."

"You're absolutely right, someone of that description couldn't possibly be trusted - who's ever heard of a Dutch Scotsman, anyway? We should instruct the forces that are still loyal to us in the Promised Land to destroy him. I know of a General Gouda - your brother, perhaps - who leads the expeditionary force there, so send him instructions."

"Impossible. Our latest reports from the Promised Land show him engaged in battle against some native kingdom or another. What's more, who's to say he wouldn't flock to
VanWick_zps76738e34.png
's side as well?"

HOL00600_zps8ee34df1.png

It's true. He is kinda busy at the moment.

"No, Albrecht Junior, you must personally travel to the Promised Land with a squad of reinforcements. Win over the troops there who are still loyal to us, and confront the traitorous Viceroy yourself."

"What do you mean by that? Do I look like a fighter to you? And who's going to run things here in Europe?"

"Don't worry, I'll handle things here. Besides, it'll give you a good excuse to get away from the rebellious mob here in Amsterdam and those who might want to have you lynched. I'm certain you'll be able to marshal the troops to victory over
VanWick_zps76738e34.png
with the aid of your innovative fashion sense and insurmountable claim to the throne ... *cough*... do excuse me. Now run along and make your preparations - don't want to keep your loyal subjects waiting now, do you?"

"If you think that's best ..."

HOL00650_zps7328f8ac.png

Chancellor Karel Gouda watched from a balcony overlooking Amsterdam's harbour, as a convoy of cogs bearing a battalion of reinforcements set out for the Promised Land. At the bow of one of ships, he could clearly make out a girlish figure in curled golden locks, navy blue sailor's outfit, and a pleated blue skirt that reached the knees.

"I see, he is rather talented at making himself popular with the troops."

Smiling wryly to himself, Karel turned away and headed back towards his office. His previous sovereign, Albrecht I, had shown quite a degree of interest in expanding Holland's control over the Promised Land, but never visited it himself. The present occasion marked the first time Holland's leader would be travelling to the Promised Land. It would take them almost half a year to get there, and half a year to return - and longer still to make the necessary logistical preparations and confront the viceroy on the field of battle.

In the meantime, the administration of all of Holland's European affairs would be left to the bureaucrats and the Sovereign's privy council. And by 'council', Karel meant 'himself'.

"He's still naïve. Killing a man is one thing, Albrecht Junior. I'm afraid you'll soon find politics to be bloodier business still."

HOL00640_zps53c9a271.png

More to come! To be continued in the third part, Chapter 6 C : Sic Semper Tyrannis - A Colonial Ceilidh
 
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DensleyBlair

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But, if that's Richard III, who's in the carpark? ;)

It's convenient how many distant relatives the Zollerns have - and a king in the Promised Land should be fun.
 

aniuby

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Sic semper tyrannis indeed.

A most intriguing and enjoyable update - though who has died? Albrecht or our assassin? I await the conclusion eagerly.

Sadly, I did feel that at 44 years of age Albrecht was a little too young to die 'of natural causes' - I tend to have rulers living to their 50s or 60s quite regularly and I did wish he had lasted long enough to have his revenge. So I guess the only reasonable conclusion is that the assassin finally did his work. I'm glad you liked the end of his story.

But, if that's Richard III, who's in the carpark? ;)

... you don't mean ...!

"Skeleton dude, I name you a pretender! Richard Plantagenet is the true King of England, as recognised by myself and other nobles. Relinquish the title or there will be war ..." *is killed by the Richard III Society*

It's convenient how many distant relatives the Zollerns have - and a king in the Promised Land should be fun.

The Hohenzollerns have lots of relatives everywhere due to people randomly deciding that they'd like to be a Hohenzollern as well, and Fritz of Ansbach was quite the player as you might remember.

In truth, there's no other way to rationalise EU3's wacko succession laws apart from assuming that you just conveniently happen to have a relative hanging around. Perhaps it's a sort of Seniority Succession with High Crown Authority, since your computer-generated heir will never be older than your monarch. So, nobody outside your realm could gain your throne although they have 'claims', but on occasion all of your relatives within your own realm die off and you're left heirless and prone to being claimed, through war or otherwise, by a foreign power. The game is also kinda iffy on which female characters get to succeed to the throne (assuming Agnatic-Cognatic succession, which not all countries have), and which get married off to foreign powers in 'Royal Marriages'.

Albrecht Jr was born in 1425 - that makes him 31 years old now, and 'Floris' is 18 years of age, which means he was born in 1438. Jan van Henegouwen died in 1431, so Floris couldn't have been Jan's son, and he's too old to be Albrect Jr's son, so ... anyway, I've played ahead slightly, so the truth will be revealed in the near future. And these barmy succession laws completely justify a return to silly mode.
 

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And these barmy succession laws completely justify a return to silly mode.

Fantastic! I look forward to getting back to the old ways - that is, until you need another convenient assassin justify said laws. :)
 

aniuby

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Chapter 6 C : Sic Semper Tyrannis - A Colonial Celiedh
Sovereign Albrecht II von Hohenzollern, since 22 April 1456

"Nobles. Bloody useless, the lot of them."

Chancellor Karel Gouda muttered to himself as he strode through the crowded passages, overseeing numerous junior bureaucrats as they sorted through Holland's national accounts and statements. In truth, he knew that it was a nobleman, one he had loved and admired, who raised him from his humble beginnings, sent him to a top-class university, and gave him the position he now held today. But that man was dead, and Karel was now free to discard all semblance of dedication and sentimentality.

"This administration will run more effectively than ever, now that our good-for-nothing Sovereign is out of the way. Holland shall rise to greater heights of glory, and I will be there leading from the forefront."

"... excuse me, Chancellor ..." called someone from behind him.

Joost Schönebeck, a meek little man several years older than Karel who was ostensibly Marshal of the Mint and a member of the Sovereign's Council, but in truth did little more than what he was told and had no opinions of his own. A lapdog, the type of servant Sovereigns quite preferred, who was submissive and unquestioning yet remarkably effective at doing his job in the background.

"... there's a noble lady here to see you ... um, I mean, to see Sovereign Albrecht Jr ..."

"Bring her in. I'll deal with her myself." Bah, noble women. The only type of noble that's any good, mainly due to their ability to procreate. Now if only their kids didn't turn out to be bloody nobles as well.

The woman who was brought before him wore a courtly robe, unpatterned but of high quality cloth from Antwerp, and she wore a thin veil over her head that lightly obscured her face. Age had not been kind to her; Karel surmised she was not yet forty years old, but her features were already lined with wrinkles and her auburn hair rested limp and bedraggled on her shoulders - a most unflattering appearance.

"Duchess Jeanne de Valois of Brabant. What can I do for you?" Unlike her father, the duchess had no aptitude or interest in governance and had not attempted to involve herself in her vassal lord's matters, instead preferring to reside at her court and entertain her favourites. Commendable, but still possessing an innate vileness of its own.

"I heard Albrecht came to Amsterdam on some important business. He told me not to follow, and not to ask anyone about him ... but he's been gone for over half a year! Where's my beloved Bertie?"

"I have no idea who you mean." Karel stated flatly, feigning ignorance.

"You know, Albrecht, the youngest son of Jan van Henegouwen! He told me he was the heir to the Sovereign! I want to see him again..."

"I understand now. Well, I'm afraid you won't see him for a long time, milady. He's travelled to the Promised Land, and won't return for several years."

"... impossible! He said he'd always be there for me! I love him so much, I just want to be with him again!" Duchess Jeanne was starting to get obviously distraught - and Karel was started to get quite obviously irritated with the woman's whining.

"Look, ma'am, it was his choice, not mine. Now if I were you - and I'm not and certainly don't want to be you - but if I were you, I'd find something more productive to do, maybe find a new paramour or so. If you'll excuse me, I have to return to the far more important task of supervising matters of state."

"You are a horrible man."

Karel turned his back on the woman even as she began sobbing, there in the hallway of the Amsterdam town hall, and he returned to his duties. No, Karel was not a terribly nice man at all, and he didn't care one whit about that.



"Oi, you pansy! Limp-wristed little Dutch boy! You great big girl's blouse!"

Arrayed across from each other in a field outside the rebel-occupied city of New Amsterdam, two armies faced each other in parlay. Both parties wore the standards of or, a lion rampant gules armed and langued azure, which would have been rather confusing for identification if it wasn't for the fact that the standards of the rebels added 'a double tressure flory counter-flory of the second', the self-adopted symbol of The Promised Land as decided by its rebellious governor
VanWick_zps76738e34.png
.

"Come on, you jessie! Get over here and fight, if you're man enough! You trollop! Tart! Eunuch!"

Patience, Albrecht, patience. The Sovereign of Holland gritted his teeth, trying his best to ignore the assorted misogynistic insults, as his body chafed uncomfortably against the bustier he wore beneath his dress. Upon arriving in the Promised Land, he gathered the tools of his assassination trade and sought to secretly arrange the 'disappearance' of the viceroy, but it seemed that his guards had been warned against a potential infiltrator who could well be dressed as a palace maid. The fact that a lot of the maids in the governor's palace were locals also made it a bit harder for him to blend in.

Now, on the field of battle, he was unarmed - not that anything he knew how to use would be effective against the bloody great claymore
VanWick_zps76738e34.png
carried with him. Instead, he now had to rely on his leadership to rally his soldiers to victory over the rebels, and the loyal troops he brought with him from Europe were only too happy to comply. That, or they quite enjoyed seeing two ginger men in skirts taking physical and/or psychological chunks out of each other.

"Whoreson! Pretender! You are a usurper and a traitor, and you know it!"

And it was that last barrage of insults, treading beyond limits which Albrecht had endured for most of his adult life, which finally set him off.

"I am the true Sovereign of Holland, and the office is my birthright! To me, brave men, charge!"

HOL00610_zps1389aa58.png

They should make it a rule that you have to fight pretenders with your monarch leading the army.
Also, look at that 4 shock. Albrecht is doomed.

As the melee raged on around them, the aforementioned two ginger men in skirts finally caught sight of each other.
VanWick_zps76738e34.png
had lost his claymore somewhere in the battle - presumably he was forced to toss it aside after it had been blunted hewing through the bodies of dozens of Holland's men. Albrecht was not much better, having got all mucky and sweaty despite not actually having fought anyone yet, and in the blazing heat his outfit was really starting to make him itch.

"Now let us duel, boy, man to man. Choose your weapon."

Albrecht bit his lip nervously - you would too if you had a six-foot tall wall of bearded, ginger pain descending on you - as
VanWick_zps76738e34.png
reached for the bottle of Pulteney Malt he wore by his side - and cracked it open over the skull of a nearby enemy soldier.

"I pick ... the broken bottle."

"Well, I ..." Albrecht stammered, feigning a look of horror as the rebellious viceroy advanced on him, before reaching for his collar. "I pick the throwing knife."

"Cheating bastard."

HOL00620_zps82323125.png

Rebels, rebels, everywhere!

"Final report, sire. The enemy Kingdom of Bisnagar has descended into anarchy as all manner of rebels and ruffians roam their borders. After four years of fighting, they're in no position to resist any demands. In fact, two of their vassal lords, in the provinces of Kattywar and Agra, have straight up embraced your enlightened rule and defected to us, figuring that you would do a much better job of protecting them. Their state of disarray is such that the neighbouring kingdom of Odisha, whom we initially tried to subjugate, has declared war on them and has in return been attacked by other states. The entire continent is in turmoil - so you could say that we've fulfilled our war goals."

The speaker was Jan Sluis, a minor noble Albrecht had chosen to be his propagandist in the Promised Land. Jan had a little bit of bureaucratic training, a good sword arm, and some inkling of the languages that were spoken in the region ('Bengali' was a popular one, with many more speakers than there were Dutchmen in Holland). Best of all, he didn't particularly have a problem with Albrecht's fashion sense - perhaps he quite liked it.

"Excellent work. We'll honour the promise we made to the Gujarat rebels by giving them their independence, as long as they swear fealty to us and accept Christianity. We'll let the rebels and rival kingdoms cause trouble, and once our opportunity presents itself we'll strike again. Which other provinces should we add to our domains?"

"Hmm... according to the prophecy, and the helpful translation provided by some of our native collaborators, we still require the capital of the nation of Odisha, as well as the port of Chattagram, which is held by the rival kingdom of 'Asham'."

"I see. So now that we've gathered our forces and concluded our war in the west, you're suggesting that we should turn our attention east and take Chattagram?"

"Well, that's going to be a problem. Not to question your might and boundless wisdom, my lord, but ..."

HOL00670_zpsd48e4931.png

"Who is this 'Ming'?"

"I don't know either, sire, but it seems that they have a really huge army, according to our sources. Largest in the world, in fact."

"And who, or what are these sources? How do they know so much about a foreign country's army without being able to even tell me who or where they are?"

"Beats me too. We just get these statistics in the national ledger is all. It's like they mysteriously appear."

"I wonder if the general Gerardus Gouda could lead our forces against them... if his skill is such that he's able to subjugate a nation as large as Bisnagar, perhaps this 'Ming' should fall easily, too."

"My lord, speaking of Gerardus, he's taken sick leave. Apparently the tropics don't agree with him, in more ways than one. He's followed our transport squadron back to Europe."

"Oh, I hope he recovers ... wait a minute ..." Upon the sudden realisation, Albrecht shot up from his seat, almost sending his wig flying in the process. "What do you mean the transport squadron left for Europe? Without me?"

"Um ... yes, sire," Jan admitted sheepishly. "I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the convoy to return in just over a year's time. Speaking of Europe, you might also be interested in this piece of news the sailors brought with them ..."

HOL00640_zps53c9a271.png

"Chancellor Karel Gouda has declared himself supreme authority in Holland proper in Europe, and the counties of Ghent, Friesland, and the Bishop of Utrecht have agreed to recognise his authority. Now don't get me wrong, he's not naming himself Sovereign or King or anything, just saying that he's in charge. And that's just not on, since you should be the one in charge, my liege. Even if you're not there in person."

"Impossible! Sack him, fire him, whatever it takes! This is intolerable!" Realising just how badly he had been outmanouvered, Albrecht grew pale, having to steady himself by leaning against the wall of the palace. "And our General, who's his brother, is on the way to join him? I hope Jeanne ... some of the other vassal lords will be able to do something about this."

"You never know, sire. Let's hope General Gouda remains loyal to his liege, rather than to his family. Anyway, there's no point fretting about it, unless you plan on rowing back to Europe by yourself. Stay here and enjoy the Indian summer, and let us bide our time and maybe make some further moves in the Promised Land. How about taking up a pet project your predecessor started?"

"What's that?"

"Well, the previous Lord Albrecht had considered giving the land of Vihara a proper Hollander name to commemorate the province becoming an official part of our country. He had already agreed to rename the capital of Vihara to 'Nieuw-Amsterdam', to celebrate its status as a centre of trade. And he was also considering renaming Vihar province himself, but he, unfortunately, passed before he could give a response. Some suggestions were considered, like Albertland, County Albert, Albertistan, Albrechtnia, Albertopolis ... anyway, since your name is conveniently also Albrecht, how about picking one of these choices? Or do you have a better idea?

"As a matter of fact, I do."

HOL0065A_zps8daeeb6f.png

More to come! To be continued in the last part, Chapter 6 D : Sic Semper Tyrannis - Proverbs 16 : 18
 

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Now if I were you - and I'm not and certainly don't want to be you

Genius!

A fantastic return to form - long may it continue.
 

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Chapter 6 D : Sic Semper Tyrannis - Proverbs 16:18
Sovereign Albrecht II von Hohenzollern, since 22 Apr 1456

HOL00660_zpsa9542b9a.png

The first of many.

"You know, Jan, I believe that we have a civilising mission here in the Promised Land."

"A civilising mission, my liege?"

Sovereign Albrecht II of Holland stood before the desk of Jan Sluis, his chief sycophant, yes-man, propagandist and acting viceroy in the Promised Land. Albrecht was wrapped in a sort of sash and ankle-length trousers, displaying a slender midriff, as was the fashion of the well-to-do-native ladies in the overseas capital of New Amsterdam. It would have been rather fetching apart from the fact that he kind of stood out from the crowd with his shockingly blonde wig. At least it wasn't ginger.

"It's true, Jan. Some less-informed people might think that I'm some sort of despot or psychopathic maniac. However, the truth is that the natives here have had to endure for worse under their tyrannical local lords. Let me state the ways - internecine conflict, religious oppression, racial and gender segregation, arbitrary division of society into some sort of castes, female infanticide, ritual immolation and suicide..."

"I've heard rumours about this sect of natives who ambush travellers and garrotte them with ropes. It seems a tad familiar, if you asked me."

"... that's besides the point. Anyway, have things not changed for the better since we took charge? Abolishing these backward practices oppressing the weak, granting freedoms to people who have lived without them, giving everyone the opportunity to succeed under Holland's rule!"

"As long as they don't rebel, sire, anything would be fine."

"I've felt this weakness, this oppression, ever since I was but a child. Isn't it therefore only right that it's my mission ... no, Holland's mission, to extend civilisation to these people crying out for help, and save them from themselves? A civilising mission, Jan! A Hollander's burden!"

"Not to question your wisdom, my lord, but your words sound far too philosophical for me. Maybe someone will write a poem about it someday. In my opinion, they like us merely because they find your enlightened rule far preferable to those of their former lords."

"I guess you may be right. We don't do stupid things like use war as an excuse to levy additional taxes, or recklessly declare war on others without just cause. And naturally we always keep our troops well-trained and equipped, to ensure that those who obey our authority are protected, while malcontents and others who would disrupt our rightful rule are dealt with efficiently and mercilessly."

HOL00730_zps619dd7a6.png

"It also helps how the morale of our troops has been bolstered by these recruitment posters we've distributed featuring your likeness. Even the natives are awed and inspired by your graceful presence. No doubt the effectiveness of our propaganda has been aided by your expertise at concealing the fact that you're actually past forty years old and ginger."

"... I think you're interpreting your duties as a yes-man a bit too literally, Jan."

"Ahem, you are right as always, my liege. Anyway, you might like to know from these latest reports that Chattagram, one of the provinces mentioned in the Holy Book of Holland, has recently rebelled from the 'Asham' kingdom's protection."

"It's about time. Looks like our strategy of offering Asham a two-way military access agreement worked. We let them cross our territory to battle with the nation of Odisha, as we pretended to siege the rebellious province on their behalf - while secretly allowing in supplies and reinforcements every month. It certainly tested my patience, but now we are first in line to capture the province for ourselves!"

HOL00690_zpscdabed3e.png

It's true, that's exactly what I did. I asked for military access and stood on the province to appear that I was sieging it.
In truth, I ordered the army to lift the siege at the end of every month to allow the garrison to reinforce.
With the province continuously occupied long enough to rebel, my army was already there to siege it. What a scoundrel!

"Very wise, sire. In addition, the nation of Delhi has rebelled from the kingdom of Rajasthan in the northwest region of the Promised Land. Shall we order our armies to also attack them ... I mean, also extend to them the bounties of our glorious civilising mission?"

"Of course! I shall lead the army myself - my natural charm and inspiring leadership, together with your artful power of propaganda, will lead Holland to victory! Have the minstrels sing our praises - Holland rides toward the fulfilment of her destiny!"

HOL00710_zps5b53e2ff.png

Heh heh ... you said 'rides'. And 'fulfilment' ... heh heh.

"Ah, you're back, my lord Albrecht. Well done on your latest campaign. I trust there were no problems whatsoever?"

"No problems at all, Jan. Well, apart from the odd guy who tried to chase me round and round a tree, but a few knives to the face taught them good."

"Excellent work, sire. I'm sure dance battling will be quite the fashion sometime in the future. In other news, you asked me to keep you informed when the convoy from Europe returned to the Promised Land, and they've just arrived a few days ago."

"It's about time - it wouldn't be right for a Sovereign to travel except with an escort of at least a thousand men. I need to return to Europe to deal with a certain rebellious Chancellor and his supporters. Can I trust that you won't similarly turn traitor once I'm gone?"

"Of course you can, sire. Your judgement of character is so profound as to have handpicked someone like me, who is so perfectly obedient to your every whim and fancy. I would have everything to lose, and not gain anything in the slightest, from disobeying your masterful authority. There is no way possible that an enlightened leader such as yourself could have ever committed the error of selecting someone who might be in the slightest disloyal to you."

"Somehow I feel that this whole yes-man thing is starting to get a little too introspective for my liking..."

"Ahem ... yes, you are right as always, my lord. I shall be more clear, concise, to the point, and avoid reiterating my statements or repeating myself over and over again. Brevity is the soul of wit, so they say. Anyway ... the news from Europe is that your authority has been reinstated - the Bishop of Utrecht has had his see revoked and officially incorporated into your demesne as punishment for his support of the traitor, Karel Gouda."

HOL0067A_zps1d07fbc7.png

Netherlands ETA - February 1513. You heard it here first, folks!

"And what of the traitor Karel himself? And his brother, who had travelled on the previous convoy to Europe?"

"Oh, the sailors tell of a terrible bloodbath on the fields of our homeland. General Gouda remained loyal to you, and co-operated with the forces of Duchess Jeanne of Brabant to defeat the rebels in Holland, Ghent, Friesland, and Utrecht. But it came at a terrible cost ... General Gouda is dead, and Duchess Jeanne..."

HOL0072A_zpsacb93903.png

"... is dead?" Albrecht's face turned pale just thinking about it. He hadn't seen her even once since he became Sovereign of Holland - perhaps she did not even know that he had finally reclaimed his birthright. He would have accepted it if she had moved on and paired with another nobleman who might actually give her a child, but to hear that she could have simply departed, in grief or in madness ...

"Perhaps. We can only assume, as we only know that her cousin Antoine de Valois now rules in Brabant."

"How could she have died? She wouldn't have been on the front lines fighting tooth and nail ... or even 'fighting' in the way I do. She isn't that sort of person. Maybe she just abdicated? I must return to Europe at once!"

"Indeed, it would be a most convenient time to return. Speaking of abdication, the Holy Roman Emperor, Franz Stefan I of Austria, has considered resigning his crown as a result of his infamously bad reputation as a warmonger, and you, my lord, have the overwhelming support of the electors to assume it."

"Seriously?!"

HOL0073A_zps2d30c27e.png

"That's absolutely correct, sire. Although I must say how impressed I am that they're open-minded enough to pick a candidate who's well known for being fond of women's clothes."

"Think about it, Jan. Would you rather have an Emperor who wears lederhosen? Besides, I do think the traditional dirndl would go very well with my figure - I hope to be able to try it sometime soon."

"A very wise observation as always, my lord Albrecht... *ahem*" Jan Sluis coughed discreetly, his yes-man abilities already stretched to the limit by that last statement. "Right, where was I. Oh yes, in addition, the electors have also added an extra benefit to sweeten the deal. Call it a form of dowry, if you'd like."

"What's that?"

HOL00720_zps896ab4c0.png

"The Duchy of Thuringia has fallen into abeyance as a result of the passing of its former Sovereign. The Margraviate council of Brandenburg honourably suggested that they be appended to Brandenburg in observing the directions of your illustrious counsel - and the proposal met with approval by a majority of the electors. Naturally, the Emperor was opposed on this matter, but he was overruled."

"I'm not exactly certain that's how personal unions are supposed to work, but it's no doubt that my charm and beauty can certainly accomplish what cannons may not."

"Considering that Thuringia is a landlocked country, I'm pretty certain we wouldn't be able to reach them with any of the cannons we have, anyway."

"Er, yes. Anyway, prepare my quarters on my ship, noble Viceroy, and inform the crew that I intend to leave as soon as possible. I, Albrecht, child of Jan van Henegouwen, will claim the final portion of my birthright!"

...

"... and Jeanne ... I know you won't be able to hear me now, but all that I have worked for - all that we have worked for, since we were but children, will come to fruition. I swear, upon my immortal soul! I will not let my father's memory be tarnished."

"My lord, what are you mumbling to yourself?"

"... n ... nothing."
 

DensleyBlair

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So, of you want to leave the HRE, will you disband it as emperor? (Is that possible? I haven't been elected as yet. (Brunswick will rise one day! And then you'll all be sorry! Mwahahaha- *cough* *cough* *cough* ;)))

And good to know that the Netherlands are nigh.
 

aniuby

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So, of you want to leave the HRE, will you disband it as emperor? (Is that possible? I haven't been elected as yet. (Brunswick will rise one day! And then you'll all be sorry! Mwahahaha- *cough* *cough* *cough* ;)))

And good to know that the Netherlands are nigh.

I mentioned it in one of the earlier posts, but it actually isn't possible to disband the HRE as the Emperor, and it's also not possible to leave the HRE as the Emperor or a Elector. However, what being Emperor does is give you is a ridiculous supply of manpower and forcelimits which basically lets you bully the whole of Europe. Due to having to wait for the inheritance from the personal union, so I can convert to a republic, it probably makes sense to be the most powerful person in the HRE while I still have a reason to be in it.

The challenge, in this case, is not merely to become the Emperor, but to get elected in such a way that I can get myself dethroned in the future - so that means not rampantly vassalising everyone, and so on. I make it a point to depict every single moment I had an opportunity to vassalise an elector and deliberately chose not to do so. Anyway, Austria is hell-bent on giving up the crown, as they have 20+ infamy and positive infamy gain every year due to having so many unlawful territories, so why not pick up the crown from the gutter?

Actually becoming the Emperor as a HRE minor really isn't that hard - just hover around the weaker electors with alliances, guarantees, and warnings, and eventually find some excuse to go to war, or join a war against them, and get them vassalised. The problem comes with making sure you have the financial wherewithal to actually make use of the bloated forcelimit and manpower you receive, and uphold your obligations as HRE - assuming that is your intent.

I've been unwell for the past few days, almost bedridden with the flu in this bloody stupid weather we're having, and not been able to concentrate and write as much as I'd like, so I thought to stick to multiple shorter posts instead of a few longer ones - shorter posts also helped for reasons of tempo. Instead, I've been playing quite a bit, and indeed I'm a little too far ahead of the AAR for my liking. I hope to return to the actual 'business as normal' soon.

In the meantime, a little exercise for those who read this page - and I know you do, because the Views counter ticks up and it can't just be me and DensleyBlair and the mods checking for vitriol against Hainautians/Burgundians/Brabantians/ginger people. I need some names to rename provinces and capitals of colonies and cores in the Promised Land, and I'm looking out for either names of actual Hollander colonies - or names of real places which are silly puns on my ruler's name, to reflect colonists' habit of naming just about everything after themselves.

Let me know if you have any ideas! And, please say something, in general! Yes, I'm actually desperate enough to ask outright!
 
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DensleyBlair

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Right, colony names...

I'd say that we need an Alexandria - everywhere is called Alexandria. And Nieuw-Omniworld would be amusing, considering it isn't a place, just a football team sponsored by a company.

If I can think of any more decent ones, I'll add them into later comments.
 

aniuby

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Chapter 7 A : Flower of Holland - Caution, The Floris Lover
Sovereign Albrecht II von Hohenzollern, since 22 April 1456...

Albrecht strode into the hall of the Sovereign's mansion, his flowing golden wig glittering in the afternoon sun streaming in through the windows. He was dressed in a pretty green dirndl, with frilly apron, bonnet, and knee-high boots, the head of a red tulip pinned over the left side of his chest. He had been able to get the outfit from one of the traders at the market square shortly after his convoy arrived back in Holland, and even managed to get a discount after the merchant recognised him (or least, his appearance) from one of the many propaganda/recruitment posters plastered around the city.

Amsterdam had become well known as a trading centre featuring goods from all over the world. From luxury clothes and flowers, to basic commodities such as fish, wool, and salt, as well as exotic spices and teas from Holland's outpost in the Promised Land, Amsterdam had it all. Well, to tell the truth, most of it was delivered to the port at Antwerp, before being conveyed to Amsterdam to be traded. But hey, let those Flemish do the donkey work - Hollanders get the profits, and the glory!

HOL0073B_zps3abe19f9.png

Production leader in Cloth - so that's how Albrecht gets all his nice clothes!

Holland's prosperity had provided Albrecht with the resources to continue his civilising mission - at this very moment, one of Holland's allies in the Promised Land had invited her troops to join with them in spreading a better way of life to the recusant nation of Odisha. On the route from the Promised Land to Europe, Albrecht had also observed the backward and uncivilised practices of the nations of Kongo and Benin, and implored them to change for the better. Instead receiving derision for his pains (and fashion sense), Albrecht instructed a detachment of the forces travelling with him to, shall we say, instruct them in a proper Christian way of thinking. His escort reduced to the bare minimum, Albrecht continued on with the return journey to Amsterdam, to seek the proclamation which had been promised of him by the Holy Roman Emperor.

Upon his arrival in Europe, another thing which struck Albrecht was how much ... calmer ... Amsterdam was since he last left it nearly ten years ago. Back then, thanks to his untimely intervention in the procedures of succession, there were riots everywhere and protestors in the streets, with law enforcement preferring to protect their behinds rather than innocent members of the public. And yet, based on Jan Sluis' words regarding the reports from Europe, Amsterdam was nothing like what he expected it to be, with martial law, armed troops patrolling the streets maintaining order, and the heads of traitors mounted on stakes. Instead, people everywhere looked genuinely happy, there were smiles again, and Albrecht didn't need to remove random articles of clothing in order to get recognised by the guards outside his mansion.

"My liege, I'm told that messengers from the Emperor's office are here to see you," said the doorman, as he opened the door of the mansion. "They are gathered in your throne room, together with your councillors. You would do well to make haste."

A message, from the office of the Emperor? Could it be? Having not spent very long at all in the Sovereign's mansion, Albrecht had to ask for directions to the throne room, but upon being told the way he hoisted the skirt of his dress and dashed to the destination as quickly as he could. There were no guards at the entrance to the throne room, so he rapped on the panel as loudly as he could. The doors swung open, pulled by men standing within, as if to welcome his triumphant return.

Stepping forward, Albrecht saw a tall, bearded and moustachioed man, bearing the morion of a Knight of the Promised Land, and armoured from head to toe, standing beside the throne. On the opposite side of the throne, there stood several councillors and civil servants, each bearing an assortment of papers. Oddly enough, there was no sign of any foreigner in the room - he had expected there to be at least an ambassador or another. This seemed suspicious ...

"Sir knight? Who are you?" Albrecht questioned the man in armour, as he halted his steps a short distance before the throne.

The man in armour did not speak, his only response being to tip the edge of his morion with a gauntleted finger.

"What is the meaning of this?"

The words had just left Albrecht's mouth when he suddenly felt the rush of movement behind him. He was unable to even angle his head to look behind as a muscular arm wrapped around his neck, while his arms were held fast, each seized by another pair of hands.

"Help! Guards ... murder, help!"

"So speaks the murderer himself. What irony, Albrecht Junior." Those last two words were said with such a degree of scorn and disdain that Albrecht immediately knew who it was who had him by the neck.

"Karel...!"

"Well, I guess the game is up. I'm not going to stick my hands in there, so get the ladies-in-waiting to search him while I hold him still, brother."

"Brother ... Gerardus Gouda?" But wasn't he dead?

"Yes ... and no. You see, Albrecht Junior, these are just names. Names we assume at some time or another. You could pose as some sort of nameless assassin, and have your target always on their guard, or you could pretend to be something different altogether and have your target searching for someone else."

"Unhand ... me ...! This is no way to treat a Sovereign!"

A couple of ladies had emerged from the backroom of the audience hall and approached their erstwhile Sovereign. With their hands clad in delicate silken gloves, they reached for Albrecht's neckline and delved into the secret compartment he wore at his chest, gingerly removing each and every one of the hidden weapons he had kept in there.

"Perhaps, Albrecht Junior, but have you forgotten? You are not a true Sovereign, but a usurper, a pretender to the line of Jan van Henegouwen. Oh, and ladies, don't forget to check his pockets - he keeps a firearm and powder in there as well."

"I ... can't breathe ... I am not a pretender! I am a true ... son of Jan van Henegouwen!"

"Don't even bother lying, Albrecht. We've searched the personal affairs of Jeanne de Valois of Brabant and we have your letters - and your correspondence with the office of the former King Zikmund van Henegouwen of Bohemia. Some bastard offshoot of the Henegouwen family you might be, but you are no son of Sovereign Jan van Henegouwen, as you've deluded yourself into believing. Your crimes have been assessed by the International Criminal Court in Den Haag, and counter-checked by a second opinion from the Geneva Convention, and you have been found wanting on all counts. Murder, regicide, the receipt of bribes, impersonation, fabricating claims, bad fashion sense ... there was no dispute whatsoever that you were the nastiest piece of work either court has ever seen!"

"Jeanne ... where is she!" Now that his charms were all overthrown, Albrecht could think only of the last thing he held dear to his heart ... Jeanne.

"Do not worry, she is safe." This time, it was the man in armour who spoke, lifting his visor as he strode forward toward the helpless Albrecht. "She was but an innocent party to your crimes - so she was released, though she was in no fit condition to continue ruling her duchy. But you, on the other hand, must be punished."

"... so who the hell are you, you whoreson, you nobody?!" spat Albrecht, as he felt the men who held his arms bringing them behind him and tying them behind his back. He was unable to resist, being without weapons or free hands and his neck held in a lock.

"You might once have known me as Gerardus Gouda, pretender. And it is probably all too accurate to describe me as a whoreson, and a commoner. For I am Floris Gerhard von Hohenzollern, son of Eberhard von Hohenzollern, and rightful claimant to the throne!"

HOL0074A_zps58ac9560.png

Uncanny...

"... Eberhard ... ?"

"Yes, Eberhard," snarled the man who held Albrecht in a brace, "Eberhard, our father, brother of Sovereign Albrecht I, both of whom you murdered. And I am Floris' twin brother, Wilhelm Karl von Hohenzollern."

"... impossible!"

"It is true," replied 'Gerardus' solemnly. "Our uncle, Sovereign Albrecht von Hohenzollern, sought among the prostitutes of Amsterdam the bastards his philandering brother had sired. Many of them older than us had already been employed or adopted, but we were still young then. Albrecht found us, gave us the wherewithal to move up in the world, and employed us ... on the condition that we return on a day such as this to serve justice to his murderer."

"The Gouda thing was just a distraction," 'Karel' added. "I mean, no one would seriously think very highly of someone with the last name Gouda, would they? Lord Albrecht managed to fool even his wise old Chancellor, Johan Spijkenisse."

"In truth," 'Gerardus' elaborated calmly, "the pretext which brought you here - that of the personal union with the Duchy of Thuringia, was brought about by my marriage with the only daughter of the Wettin family who ruled sovereign in Thuringia. I allowed the rumour to spread that I had died, in order to cover my disappearance as I made the necessary arrangements in Dresden."

"So everything I heard, about the uprising, your death, were all lies?"

"You should have known yourself, pretender," Karel snapped. "He who controls the spices, controls the world. And here in Amsterdam, I was able to oversee the movements of our spice merchants travelling to the Promised Land, and ensured that the necessary information was fed to you."

"And why didn't you act against me before ... you traitorous councillor! You had so many opportunities ...!"

"Yes, I did, scum," 'Karel' snarled, before loosening his grip slightly as he attempted to disperse his anger, "but I had to control my emotions. I allowed Lord Albrecht to name my brother heir to the throne, so it would only be right to act if he was actually there to assume it. It wouldn't be much use replacing one usurper with another, would it?"

gouda_zps48ca99cb.png

We are totally brothers!

"Unlike you, villain, not every brother or relative is a kinslaying, murderous bastard. In fact, despite the gravity of your crimes and your recalcitrant, irredeemable nature, I consider death to be an inappropriate punishment for you."

"What?!" exclaimed 'Karel', as he again tightened his grip around Albrecht's neck. "But he killed Lord Albrecht! Our lord ... our uncle Albrecht! I saw it right before my eyes! I want him hung, drawn, and quartered!"

"That is impossible. You know the effects that these kinds of things have on the livelihood of the average Hollander. We will already be causing a significant amount of disruption just by announcing a properly sanctioned change of Sovereign through the appropriate channels, never mind having to hold a public execution! Let it go, Wilhelm, trust me."

"Then what do you want to do with him?"

"I suggest we commit him to a monastery. Where he will be allowed to wear nothing more fancy than a drab hemp robe, meant for respectable men ... I repeat, men, of the cloth. And have him receive a tonsure."

"... no ... No, God, no! Just kill me and be done with it!" Albrecht shrieked as he trashed about wildly in his captor's grasp, the head of the tulip pinned to his breast falling to the floor. "Let me die! Have you no heart?"

"Death is too good for you, and you know it." said 'Karel' coldly, checking that Albrecht's bonds were secure before releasing him from his grip. "Guards, lead him away!"

As the former Sovereign of Holland was hustled from the room by two burly guards, 'Gerardus', or rather Floris von Hohenzollern turned back to face his throne. Spreading his arms, Floris invited the group of men standing beside the throne to step forward. Among them stood bureaucrats, members of the press, and representatives of patrician families, as well as the Marshal of the Mint Joost Schönebeck, whom Floris and Wilhelm had specially invited to be present for the occasion of the arrest of the pretender ... and the ascension of the rightful Sovereign.

"Honourable citizens, loyal servants, officials, and patricians of Amsterdam, this day you have seen the truth with your own eyes, and heard the words of the rightful heirs to Sovereigns Jan II and Albrecht I. So let it be proclaimed - today, Sovereign Floris VI von Hohenzollern, son of Eberhard, now rules in Holland!"

HOL00740_zps148f2d6d.png

More to come! To be continued in the next part, Chapter 7 B : Flower of Holland - Go with the Flo
 
Last edited:

DensleyBlair

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Well, was not expecting that at all. Fantastic storytelling.

Floris was always the heir though, wasn't he? A really good imagining of the events, nonetheless. I look forward to the reign of Floris immensely.
 

aniuby

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Colony names! Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

I'd say that we need an Alexandria - everywhere is called Alexandria. And Nieuw-Omniworld would be amusing, considering it isn't a place, just a football team sponsored by a company.

Alexandria - Well, I guess everyone is indeed called Alexandria, except that I've never heard of a Dutch person called Alexander. Perhaps in conjunction with the 'Caesar or Alexander' event? But I'm actually more likely to pick Caesar if I ever got that event.
Omniworld - I'll go ahead and name a place Omniworld ... when I finally take over the world!

How about Nieuw Utrecht? Or perhaps Caesaria (maybe you'll get that event that gives you a choice to name your heir Caesar or Alexander)?

Nieuw Utrecht - A sensible choice, but since the real Utrecht isn't actually one of my cores yet it'll have to wait for now. It would be a good name for a place with religious significance - perhaps I shall use that name for the first city to embrace the true Christian faith. And by true Christian faith I mean something which is heresy to Catholicism.
Caesaria - Unlikely, since I have never actually got Lux Stella since I played my very first game of EU3, but if I do, I might use that name for a border province. It'll be a sort of Caesarian section.

albertville http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertville
New Zealand(Zeeland)
Capetown for the tip of India
St. Martin
Colombo

Albertville - Well, that'll have to wait for the next Albert to roll around!
New Zealand - Unfortunately, that's reserved for the real New Zealand, as I aim to set up a colony there someday in the future (as in, really far in the future)
Capetown (or Kaapstad) - This is a very good suggestion, I might use it in the future! In addition, you've given me an excellent idea - I'll check the geography of South Africa for names in Dutch or Afrikaans which might be of use.
St. Martin (or Sint Maarten) - I think there's actually a province by this name, so that means it's disallowed, but I'll see if I can colonise it or seize it off another of the colonisers. I'm currently unable to colonise due to needing to meet culture requirements for culture switching.
Colombo - Isn't this the capital of Sri Lanka (Ceylon)? Apparently it's not actually a European name at all, or so Wikipedia says.

Well, was not expecting that at all. Fantastic storytelling.

Floris was always the heir though, wasn't he? A really good imagining of the events, nonetheless. I look forward to the reign of Floris immensely.

Thank you! I had this idea stuck in my head as a result of Wilhelm (Floris' heir) being of the exact same age as him, which is extremely rare. I got around to thinking that they might be twin brothers, and then I thought of how to work them into being Albrecht's relatives, and I thought about the last set of brothers to show up ... you sort of know how it goes from there.

I feel kind of sorry for the 'second' brother of a set of male twins in CKII. Though they're almost as same as same can be, one of them gets to inherit everything, and the other ... gets to be a pretender. It's quite sad somehow.

Under Floris, the story is going to go off on another chaotic, crazy tangent, with lots of unnecessary bloodshed - all for Holland's glory! I hope you enjoy it!

And yes, this is a bump post to knock the new story post onto the start of the next page =)