The rise of the Hohenzollerns, 1192-1399: A mega campaign beginning CK2 AAR

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Avindian

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Vrael_1492

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Vodi is the province that would be Ingria/Ingermanland, the area tha has St. Peterburg nowadays:)
 

Sakura_F

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Vodi is the province that would be Ingria/Ingermanland, the area tha has St. Peterburg nowadays:)

I was about to say that. Good job. ^_^
 

Avindian

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Vodi is the province that would be Ingria/Ingermanland, the area tha has St. Peterburg nowadays:)

I was about to say that. Good job. ^_^

Thanks guys! That's a lot of help.

Thanks. Although now the question is how Max became the Marshal of Vodi... Did I miss something?

Max's wife is Countess of Vodi.

Vodi kind of sounds like vote, doesn't it? (This is my third such segue, so you'll have to forgive its lack of cleverness.) Go forth and vote in the next round of ACAs!


The plan is to have a new update Sunday or Monday; tomorrow (i.e. Saturday) at the earliest.
 

Avindian

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Chapter 20: Vindication

4 September 1329, München

As Xavier von Hohenzollern knelt to receive the kiss of peace from his new lord, he thought back to the last few months. Xavier was fully prepared to wait a while before acting against the Wittelsbachs again. He even accepted the position of Marshal of Bayern.

swallowingmypride.jpg


Of course, as Marshal, Xavier would have access to defensive data, like which parts of the Bavarian castles were defended, how many soldiers Ludwig III had, and the like. Yet Ludwig's open acceptance of the Hohenzollerns back into the fold made Xavier suspicious, so he ordered Simon, his Spymaster, to be especially vigilant. Sure enough, the Wittelsbachs -- finally -- had a plan to weaken the Hohenzollerns.

thewittelsbachsfinallyg.jpg


Losing Nürnberg, although not fatal to Hohenzollern interests, would certainly be damaging. Xavier decided that enough was enough; he gave Simon full discretion to spend the comital treasury, all of it if need be, to... make his biggest problem go away. It took 500 thalers, and both attempts technically failed, but Simon's contacts waylaid Ludwig III on his way to his family castle of Wittelsbach. They couldn't quite kill him, but maimed him sufficiently that Ludwig III died just a few days later.

takethatwittelsbachs.jpg


The new Herzog, Thietmar, was but a child. Inside, Xavier was privately delighted. The rest of the Bavarian nobles wouldn't fear repercussions if Xavier tried to build a coalition against the Wittelsbachs. As he started scheming in his head, the Bavarian master of ceremonies tapped him on the shoulder. "High Almoner Xavier? You can go now."

"Oh, yes, sorry. Thank you very much." As Xavier stood to leave, he paused for just a moment. "Did you say High Almoner?"

"Indeed, my lord. Quite an honor!"

orhavethey.jpg

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2 January 1331, Nürnberg

Simon von Hohenzollern, more than anybody present save perhaps the Graf, felt a true sense of pride at the enterprise that had just begun. Exactly as Graf Xavier had anticipated, all of the objections once held about opposing the Wittelsbachs disappeared.

nobodylikesthenewguy.jpg


Not only did Thietmar's spymaster join the conspiracy, but many other nobles did too. Not all of them were enthusiastic about helping the Hohenzollerns -- the Duke of Susa was even trying to steal the County of Monferrato -- but enough were that Simon felt comfortable he could make an attempt. Unfortunately, the first attempt failed miserably. [1] Not only could Xavier not fabricate a claim, Simon himself was briefly arrested. When his cousin Gebhard came to ransom him, Simon knew what he had done wrong.

gebhardthebrutallycompe.jpg


Gebhard, who'd just turned 16, was best described as brutally competent; he wasn't exceptional in any one area, but very good at all of them. He was smart, funny, and above all virtuous. If not for his absolute loyalty and trustworthiness, the Graf might have named him to a bishopric, as Gebhard could have easily threatened Max's position as heir. It was actually Gebhard who discovered the flaw in Simon's plan: one of the conspirators turned out to be a guard and a close family friend of the Wittelsbachs.

pickingthewrongdecision.jpg


Then, good fortune struck. Thietmar's regent was injured in an accident, and the most qualified replacement was none other than Xavier von Hohenzollern.

nowimregent.jpg


Just a few days later, Simon used his insider's knowledge and successfully fabricated a claim on the Duchy of Bayern.

claimfabricated.jpg


The stage was set. The Chancellor declared war on the Wittelsbachs. If God was willing, it would be the last time.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
21 January 1331, Passau

Gebhard von Hohenzollern wiped his brow; he was covered in sweat. It wasn't the temperature, which was mild; it was the exertion of planning this operation. The objective was simple: to trap as much of the Wittelsbach forces in one place. While Graf Xavier himself led the main thrust from Nürnberg, Gebhard would take a smaller, but quicker force, to pin the enemy troops. Of course, Gebhard had a very powerful asset that the Bavarians didn't yet know of.

The King of Bohemia.

akeyally.jpg


The King was related to the Hohenzollerns through marriage (by this point, nobody quite understood exactly how). The Bohemians would be the hammer, with the Hohenzollern forces the hammer.

finallyaneasywar.jpg


The most important part of his job, no matter how many casualties, was to ensure that the Wittelsbachs couldn't escape. That might mean some heavy casualties, which worried the kind and gentle Gebhard, but not enough that he would not carry out his duty. He muttered the family motto under his breath as he prepared the charge.

Pro deo et familia. For God and family.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
21 September 1332, Wittelsbach

Xavier, Graf von Nürnberg, heartily clapped his youngest son on the shoulder. The now Marshal Gebhard's plan had worked perfectly. That the Hohenzollerns now possessed their hated enemy's family castle was all the sweeter.

sweetsymbolism.jpg


In fact, all the Wittelsbachs could claim was a few scattered castles and a very tiny garrison in Oberbayern.

surrenderbavariancreamd.jpg


Victory seemed certain. Xavier had already had contacts with a few scattered nobles who sought peace; Thietmar stood resolute, but how long could a child ruler last without some kind of intervention?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14 September 1334, München

Little did Xavier and the Hohenzollerns realize that there were much bigger things at stake than simply who was the Herzog von Bayern. The Duke of Luxembourg decided to install Prince Reinhard as Kaiser, and the entire Holy Roman Empire was in flames.

massivecivilwar.jpg


Xavier intended to remain loyal to the Kaiser, but without a secure hold on southern Germany, the Kaiser might not be able to win. By January, the Chancellor insisted that he was 97% certain the Wittelsbachs would surrender soon, but if the Kaiser asked Xavier to divert significant troops to fight in the north, he might fail. Instead of immediately joining to defend the Kaiser, then, Xavier decided to press as hard he could. Two main castles remained: Straubing and Fürstenberg. The Bohemians, thankfully, committed to the war in the south as well, and after almost four grueling wars, the Wittelsbachs surrender. Xavier became Herzog von Bayern.

sweetgloriousvindicatio.jpg


As a reward for his faithful service, Gebhard was named Count of Monferrato and became the new Marshal of Bavaria.

gebhardgetsacounty.jpg


Of course, the Kaiser had his own ideas for the new Herzog von Bayern.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
23 August 1336, Zollern

Not everybody was pleased with their new liege, of course. That was troublesome to Xavier von Hohenzollern. He'd been fighting furiously in the south, driving the Kaiser's enemies out of Bayern and, especially, besieging key cities like Bamberg and Wien. Xavier dared not trust his new vassals yet, so it was his own personal troops doing most of the fighting.

By the end of 1334, some of the smaller lords had already left the fighting.

anotheroutbreakofcivilw.jpg


The Duke of Luxembourg begged Xavier to betray the Kaiser, knowing the value of Xavier's army and expertise. Xavier refused without hesitation, but knew he had to build more support in case he needed to call up feudal levies.

refusingthecall.jpg


As a show of goodwill to his vassals, Xavier released Thietmar, who now held only Kempten, Oberbayern, and Niederbayern. Xavier was already in danger of losing Monferrato; with his son Gebhard so far away from the rest of the realm, and Gebhard himself leading armies in Wien, Monferrato was left to their own devices. Therefore, although part of Xavier really wanted to split Thietmar's head from the rest of his body, Xavier restrained himself. He would not make the mistake the Wittelsbachs did, though: at every opportunity, he would erode their power until only Hohenzollerns held land in Bayern. It was as simple as that; neutralize the troublemakers.

Diether von Wittelsbach was one of those people. He was also Graf von Fürstenberg, so the ancient Hohenzollern home belonged to him, by way of vassalage. Diether had fantasized for years over Adelaide, Xavier's daughter. Xavier had, at one time, even considered accepting the arrangement, but when Adelaide was married to another man, Diether's love turned to bitter hatred. He decided to hire an assassin, because if he couldn't have his love, then nobody could. When Xavier found out, he tried to arrest Diether, but not all of his guards were loyal. Diether escaped and raised his flag in rebellion.

ungratefuljerkdiether.jpg


Xavier's attention was now firmly drawn to his own lands.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
25 February 1337, Schloss von Hohenzollern, Nürnberg

Xavier looked around the castle with approval. With the civil war ending, Kaiser Christopher finally had time to come to Nürnberg and formally invest his vassal with office. The Kaiser was naturally grateful for Xavier's loyalty, and with Xavier's personal war against Fürstenberg over, the Hohenzollerns intended on a new mission: a Crusade to Anatolia. The Byzantines had formally requested help from the Pope, with more and more Byzantine land being consumed by greedy vassals, not to mention Muslims. The Pope had personally asked Xavier to join the Crusade, knowing of Xavier's tireless service for the Catholic Church. In the Holy Roman Empire itself, the new Herzog von Bayern was one of the most powerful.

He gathered his sons around him and smiled. Even Max was home from Vodi. Xavier was proud of his boys. Two were Counts in their own right, with Sigmund being a Mayor. Burkhard, Xavier's half-brother, was recently ennobled as well, becoming Mayor of Erbach in Salzburg.

citytoburkhard.jpg


"Lads, today is a great day for us. Max, put down that chicken leg. Now. I'm trying to talk to you!" Max looked up from his feast unhappily. After Xavier glared for a few moments, Max finally wrenched his attention to his father. "As I said, today is a great day. I am certain your grandfather is looking down on us from Heaven with pride. We have achieved our fondest desires, and are one step closer to truly becoming a great European House. We are connected to every notable family. We hold some of the finest and richest land in the Empire. The only thing that can stop us now is complacency. The Wittelsbachs are down and wounded, but not beaten; over the next few years, I intend to consolidate as much power in our hands as possible. Once they are no longer a threat, we will elevate ourselves even further, but that is a discussion for another time. I will not be around forever; it is time that we discuss what is to happen when I am gone."

At that, all three men turned their attention to their father.

"Max, you will be my heir. Use your brothers well."

Xavier turned to Sigmund. "Sigmund, you will be Chancellor someday, and a great one. Your brother has no children, so you will be his heir, for now. Oh, and leave Simon alone as Spymaster. Your cousin knows what he's doing."

Finally, he turned to his youngest son, Gebhard. "Gebhard, as Marshal you will defend our realms when I am gone. You are two heartbeats away from the throne yourself, and in many ways you are the most indispensable of us. Max will surely take your counsel with the greatest of care; be prepared to give it at all times."

Max looked troubled. "Father, why do you talk this way? Surely you will be with us for a very long time!"

Xavier smiled gently. "I certainly hope so, Maximillian. But I am an old man. God has his plan for us all, and I do not know much longer it includes me. A wise sovereign is always knowledgeable about the past, devoted to the present, and mindful of the future."

Max wiped his eyes, brimming with tears, and nodded. Sigmund's lip quivered, but nothing else. Only Gebhard stood silently, nodding in understanding. Briefly, Xavier asked God why the order of his sons couldn't be reversed. Outwardly, he continued to smile. A courtier ran up and whispered in Xavier's ear. The Herzog nodded. "Boys, it is time to receive our commissions. Let us show the world what the Hohenzollerns are made of!"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think one more contest is in order; I like having a nice backlog of characters. This time, the question is simple, pure guesswork.

In what year will Xavier die? He's either 74 or 75 at this point in the game, for reference. We'll give this contest until Wednesday at 10 PM (-6 GMT). Readers who already have a character are not eligible for another.
 

Michaelangelo

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So you attempt to kill the Duke of Bavaria and then plan to usurp his son when he ascends to the throne, and instead of disposing of you the Wittelsbachs appoint you Marshal, High Almoner, and regent. I've given up on trying to understand their crazy family. They deserve to be usurped. :rolleyes:

I'm going to guess he dies in 1339.
 

Athalcor

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Dat Venice! I also wonder that while Germany is in flames while Roman England remains loyal to the Kaiser.

And 1341 for me.
 
Last edited:

Guilu

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So what's the plan ? Crown Authority is still absolute isn't it ? And you don't have any ports.

I'll say Xavier dies in 1337. He's just that cool.
 

Sakura_F

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1336 or 1337, he's going to be poisoned by a Wittelsbach.
 

History_Buff

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So you attempt to kill the Duke of Bavaria and then plan to usurp his son when he ascends to the throne, and instead of disposing of you the Wittelsbachs appoint you Marshal, High Almoner, and regent. I've given up on trying to understand their crazy family. They deserve to be usurped. :rolleyes:

I'm going to guess he dies in 1339.

They were probably thinking of trying to placate him by giving him enough power that he didn't think he needed to try to overthrow them. They were bribes trying to win them over because until they actually rebelled, they had no grounds to remove them.

Good to see that you finally gained control of Bavaria. So, is it onto Brandenburg then?
 

Ricardo Rolo

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That Venice needs a trim down ;) Better said, it looks that our timeline Italian naval republics ( Venice and Genoa ) decided to firmly go terra ferma in yours and most likely ate Tuscany in one of those perennial Italian rebellions against the Kaiser ...

I know that I'm not eligible for the challenge, but Xavier could pretty much die at this time, since his work is done ( unless you are gunning for the crown of Bavaria still in his reign ... not sure if you will have enough piety for that at this point and, even if you do, it might be more desirable to let the next Hohenzollern to do that because of the time penalty to change laws and the short reign diplo minus ). That said, last time I wanted that a certain ruler would die out in his 70's ( in a game that I played to make a welsh count lineage ruler of Britannia ) he dragged up to 96 ( !!!! ) years, creating a huge mess due to his durability vs his designated heir one ... :(
 
Last edited:

crimson_king

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All those generations of plotting finally paid off. Bavaria is yours. Use it well.

Considering that there is another crown in Xavier's lifetime, according to the prophecy from an update or so ago, I'm going to go with 1342.
 

Thoctar

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I'm guessing 1342
 

Avindian

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Nice update. For content, I guess that he would die in 1340.

Thanks!

So you attempt to kill the Duke of Bavaria and then plan to usurp his son when he ascends to the throne, and instead of disposing of you the Wittelsbachs appoint you Marshal, High Almoner, and regent. I've given up on trying to understand their crazy family. They deserve to be usurped. :rolleyes:

I'm going to guess he dies in 1339.

I'm pretty sure I can't make them angry at this point.

Dat Venice! I also wonder that while Germany is in flames while Roman England remains loyal to the Kaiser.

And 1341 for me.

Yeah, that's a good question!

So what's the plan ? Crown Authority is still absolute isn't it ? And you don't have any ports.

I'll say Xavier dies in 1337. He's just that cool.

Plan is to try to revoke the titles from the remaining Wittelsbachs; after that, who knows?

1336 or 1337, he's going to be poisoned by a Wittelsbach.

Not likely, as you can see below.

Oh, well, that's one way to do it!

D'oh! I'll have to fix that.

They were probably thinking of trying to placate him by giving him enough power that he didn't think he needed to try to overthrow them. They were bribes trying to win them over because until they actually rebelled, they had no grounds to remove them.

Good to see that you finally gained control of Bavaria. So, is it onto Brandenburg then?

If I can; with Absolute Crown Authority it'll be tricky.

That Venice needs a trim down ;) Better said, it looks that our timeline Italian naval republics ( Venice and Genoa ) decided to firmly go terra ferma in yours and most likely ate Tuscany in one of those perennial Italian rebellions against the Kaiser ...

I know that I'm not eligible for the challenge, but Xavier could pretty much die at this time, since his work is done ( unless you are gunning for the crown of Bavaria still in his reign ... not sure if you will have enough piety for that at this point and, even if you do, it might be more desirable to let the next Hohenzollern to do that because of the time penalty to change laws and the short reign diplo minus ). That said, last time I wanted that a certain ruler would die out in his 70's ( in a game that I played to make a welsh count lineage ruler of Britannia ) he dragged up to 96 ( !!!! ) years, creating a huge mess due to his durability vs his designated heir one ... :(

Wow! That would be pretty terrible (although I have grown to like Xavier).

It's already 1337, so he can't die in 1336 :p(or maybe I am wrong... xd)

He could get sucked into a time machine.

All those generations of plotting finally paid off. Bavaria is yours. Use it well.

Considering that there is another crown in Xavier's lifetime, according to the prophecy from an update or so ago, I'm going to go with 1342.

Actually, the prophecy stated he would try to get another crown. :)

I'm guessing 1342


You're ineligible, my friend. :D

So, nobody's gotten it yet. Keep trying!
 

Brian Shanahan

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I was going to say that he'd already died and the coda was a dream by Max from his ghost as a parting gift.

I'll plump for 1348, wassa ver' goo' yeer, *hic*.