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:rofl:
Being able to see beyond the electronic world is clearly off-putting for those without the gift. :p


That bit was so funny it reminded me that I've an awful habit of tucking my right elbow in so it does maximum damage to my ribs when running at tackle bags (we started back at training this week for the GAA).
 

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Wonderful update!

And Leopold turned exactly as I had expected - hated, unsuccessful and banished. A true bearer of its name ;).
 

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That bit was so funny it reminded me that I've an awful habit of tucking my right elbow in so it does maximum damage to my ribs when running at tackle bags (we started back at training this week for the GAA).

Glad you enjoyed it!

Wonderful update!

And Leopold turned exactly as I had expected - hated, unsuccessful and banished. A true bearer of its name ;).

He's still not as bad as Eugen, so you have that to be thankful for. ;)
 

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Chapter 27, part 2: A peasant's perspective on a short life

5 November 1386, castle village of Nürnberg

The farmer looked up in irritation at the sound of church bells. He was tired of having his work constantly interrupted by one noble or another, for weddings, coronations, dedications of huts, or whatever else the lazy fools spent their time on. He was 30 years old, had four kids and a wife. That meant not much time to bother with all of these goings-on, but it was his place in the world to be shoved around by lords and ladies. He looked down at his shirt; it was badly stained with turnip juice, but it was his only shirt until his wife repaired the other one. He hollered "I'm going to the damned castle again, woman! See to the children!", put down his tools, and walked towards the castle.

About fifty yards down the road, he noticed the attire of some of the richer sorts, all riding horses. Black. Somebody died then, I guess. Probably some third son of a baronet or some such nonsense. He started thinking about how to weed that patch behind the hut when a priest bumped into him.

"Oh dear, terribly sir, my good man."

The farmer grudgingly tipped his hat. "Not at all, father."

"Isn't it just awful?"

Thinking of the time lost for that day, the farmer could only nod in silent resolution. The priest hurried off. The farmer returned to his thoughts, when one of his friends from a local tavern waved him down. "Hans, are you sure that's the right clothes to be a-wearin'?"

The farmer looked at his smock. "What else would I wear, Rudolf? My good shirt's being mended."

Rudolf, a blacksmith, nodded sympathetically, but still gestured towards a pond. "You ought to get cleaned up all the same."

"Why? Who died?"

"The Herzog."

That took Hans the farmer aback. His eldest son, who was just about to leave the village to get married, was about His Grace's age. "18?"

"Yep. 18."

"I guess I'd better go wash up then."

The last funeral Hans had attended was Leopold von Hohenzollern's.

leopoldisdead.jpg


The poor guy had been away for some reason, but his body was brought home to Nürnberg. Hans mostly remembered how drunk he got that night. Well, sort of remembered. Still, the Herzog was different. Everybody looked up to him, and remembered "the Boy Duke" fondly. Bards sung tales of his kindness; Hans himself had been given his one good shirt when he brought the fattest turnip he'd ever seen up to the castle.

maxiiiskind.jpg


After Hans had cleaned himself up as best he could, he rejoined the funeral procession to the castle. Some lady was screaming her head off; Hans considered it a man's duty to look after the womenfolk.

"Can I help you, Miss?"

She looked up, tears staining her face. "Can you give me back my husband?"

All of a sudden, Hans recognized her: the Duchess of Bayern, Julienne. "N-no, My Lady, I suppose I can't."

"Then go away."

Hans hastily headed up the road. It was another ten minutes or so to the castle, and as he got closer, the crowds got thicker and thicker. Here and there he saw soldiers in the blue and yellow of Bayern. He overheard one muttering about the foolishness of the crusade in Anatolia; the cross on his chest showed he'd been there.

anotherfailedcrusade.jpg


Hans's youngest son was obsessed with soldiers and wanted to join. He still played with his toy soldiers all the time. Smiling at the thought of his son, he nearly walked into the castle gate from his distraction. The guard looked about ready to spit the poor farmer, but his companion waved him off. Hans hurried into the church, and gaped in astonishment at the speaker. The Kaiser himself!

"... and I cannot help but wish that poor Maximillian, my loyal vassal, had not died from his wounds. He was a fine warrior, and without him, this latest rebellion against my authority might have succeeded. I grieve with you all for your tragic loss, and may God show more kindness to little Reinhard II."

Hans turned to his neighbor and asked what was going on.

"Oh, you didn't hear? Those bastards over in Leiningen rose against the Kaiser again. Well, our glorious Herzog led the army into battle, but got himself a quarrel in his right arm. Still, the ol' Herzog wouldn't stop to have it looked at, and the fortress fell."

maxiiiswounded.jpg


Hans was puzzled; archery injuries were almost never fatal. If he really wanted to find out what had happened, he'd have to go elsewhere. When the service was finished, Hans looked for his cousin Michael; Michael was a doctor's assistant. He found Michael two thirds of the way through a tankard of ale in the local tavern. Hans ordered one of his own and sat down.

"So, Michael, did you work on the Herzog?"

Michael, bleary with tears and alcohol -- mostly the latter -- shook his head. "No, but the doctor did. Says that a normal man would have been fine, but the Herzog was so depressed about life that he kind of gave up."

"Depressed?! He was rich, loved by his people, and had a fine new wife. What's there to be depressed about?"

"His wound, I guess. You heard it was in the arm, right?"

"Yeah."

"It wasn't. That's a tale the doc spread around to protect His Grace's reputation. It was somewhere... much more sensitive."

Hans sat completely confused for a few moments. Then he figured out what Michael meant... and he wished he hadn't. "Poor guy. I'd probably not want to live either."

"Yep. Hopefully this new kid lasts a bit longer."

"Yep. To His Grace!"

Everyone else in the tavern echoed the toast.

latermaxii.jpg


Two more updates left before EUIII! We have one more story update, then an update that'll be part story and part wrap up.
 

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I am a sad panda now.
 

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Ouch, having your ruler to die at 18 surely hurts :/ I assume that will mean either a very long regency or some ugly heads rearing up against the poor infant Duke ;)
 

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SirkTheMonkey

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Poor Max II, dying so young of such a horrible wound. Now the historically-infamous Reinhard II is on the throne. I hope he had a good regent for your sake, or a bad one for the sake of an interesting story.
 

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Poor Max II, dying so young of such a horrible wound. Now the historically-infamous Reinhard II is on the throne. I hope he had a good regent for your sake, or a bad one for the sake of an interesting story.

Was there actually a Reinhard II? We'll just have to see how he does in comparison to his RL counterpart.

I will try to get the next update here Wednesday. Keep your eyes peeled!
 

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I meant alternative-historically-infamous. Perhaps infamous was the wrong word to use but he's certainly "controversial".
 

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"It wasn't. That's a tale the doc spread around to protect His Grace's reputation. It was somewhere... much more sensitive."

Hans sat completely confused for a few moments. Then he figured out what Michael meant... and he wished he hadn't. "Poor guy. I'd probably not want to live either."

I think the only appropriate response is:

 

Avindian

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Gen. Marshall

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I think the only appropriate response is:

Yes. We should all adopt odd accents!

By the way, Avindian, I have to say feel terribly insulted and humiliated in my manhood by this plot twist of yours. To have a ruler, bearing a name I have given to his ancestor, be hit by an arrow to the knee is undignifying!
 

Avindian

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Yes. We should all adopt odd accents!

By the way, Avindian, I have to say feel terribly insulted and humiliated in my manhood by this plot twist of yours. To have a ruler, bearing a name I have given to his ancestor, be hit by an arrow to the knee is undignifying!

I really need to get Skyrim at some point to get the joke. :)

Update still on track for Wednesday.
 

Brian Shanahan

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Yes. We should all adopt odd accents!

Somehow, I think that's his actual accent. The show Knightmare was a British production for ITV in the late '80's/early '90's. Some people do genuinely talk like that, c.f. Brian Blessed.
 

Avindian

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Somehow, I think that's his actual accent. The show Knightmare was a British production for ITV in the late '80's/early '90's. Some people do genuinely talk like that, c.f. Brian Blessed.

Brian Blessed is pretty awesome.

Update coming soon!
 

Avindian

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Chapter 28: A deal is struck

23 December 1386, Schloss von Hohenzollern

For the first time in a very long time, Bayern was not crippled by a long regency. Instead, Reinhard II, the new Herzog von Bayern, came of age mere weeks after the death of his father.

reinhard2allgrownup.jpg


He was a very well loved man; kind, generous to a fault, and always willing to talk. His personal bravery inspired many to follow his example. Yet his most dominant personality trait was his all-consuming fire for the Lord. Even a whisper of heresy got him into an uncontrollable rage. In most affairs of state, he was perfectly fine, but he brooked no disagreement over religion.

His wife was much less popular.

hiswfie.jpg


For whatever reason, perhaps because of his tutor, many of his nobles saw Reinhard II as a foreigner. True, Reinhard's first language was Swedish, but he was every bit as fluent in German. Nonetheless, without a properly German wife, he feared risings against him. That was why he'd chosen Agnes. She was very bright, kind, and humble, yet had a nasty side that either Reinhard didn't see or chose not to. She had none of his fiery conviction. She preferred to skulk in the shadows, to make pacts with various unsavory characters to get ahead. Her scheming was what turned her people against her. If not for Reinhard's superior character, she might have been assassinated.

Then again, she didn't last long as his wife anyway.

23 September 1388, Ireland

Johanna and her new husband, Karl, had been given a very important mission from her brother, Herzog Reinhard II. To absolutely no one's surprise, the Holy Roman Empire was at war with itself once again.

stateoftheempire.jpg


Her brother had something planned -- something he wouldn't share with his beloved sister -- but whatever his ultimate plans were, her assignment was to secure the betrothal of an important marriage in Ireland. Her brother divorced his wife when he realized she was far too old to bear children -- almost 40 years old. Johanna, as both the sister of the Herzog von Bayern und Schwaben and, more importantly, the daughter-in-law of the Basillia of the Byzantine Empire, was given this critical task.

johannagrowsup.jpg


Finding a husband for Johanna had been somewhat difficult. She was a dwarf, and as tended to be common of people of such short stature, envious of all those who were larger. She was temperate in all things, absolutely devoted to chastity, and did not lack for courage or charisma. Reinhard's choice of Karl for her husband -- the grandson of Simon von Hohenzollern, the former spymaster -- was inspired. He was a skilled diplomat, as any child of a Basillia would be, and although he was Greek, Johanna was not really in the direct line of succession so the matrilineal marriage remained a very popular one.

So, with both skill and alacrity, a marriage betrothal was signed on Reinhard's behalf and his new bride -- Aife, countess of Breifne. She belonged to the Ua Conchobair clan, which gave her an important position within Ireland; in fact, she could probably secure some key alliances later on. That, at least, is why Johanna thought her brother wanted to marry somebody who wasn't even 16 yet.

31 December 1389, Nürnberg

Erich von Hohenzollern, son of Orderic de Hauteville and Reinhard's aunt Gerlinde, was easily the youngest person at the council of war.

erichthegeneral.jpg


Despite his youth, Erich was trusted by Reinhard enough to be his personal representative at the war council. Reinhard II wanted somebody from the family on the council, and with the only other available Hohenzollern, Grimhild, being named regent for the Count of Essex, Erich was it. Erich was, indeed, an impressive figure, and a very skilled general. He was still far too young to hold an important battlefield commission, but his role as coordinator in Nürnberg would be invaluable. For all of Erich's personal courage and willingness to do what needed to be done, he was not very good at inspiring his men, and was ill besides. Erich's voice would be important, but not in the actual conduct of war.

Reinhard himself was not present, but visiting his wife in Ireland. Although she was now Herzogin von Bayern, she was also still the Countess of Breifne, which meant she had spend at least some her time home in Ireland. Erich personally found Aife incredibly intimidating. She was easily the smartest person in the entire Holy Roman Empire. She was a genius at diplomacy and had a military mind superior to everybody in Bayern but the Marshal. She shared her husband's love of charity, worked hard in whatever task she set for herself, yet in public was surprisingly graceful and popular. Everybody who spoke with her was enchanted by the experience; they always felt she trusted them implicitly. However, she shared something else of her husband's: her unflinching Catholicism. With no crusades at the moment, her (and his) zeal needed to be aimed somewhere.

That target was the Kaiser.

aboldplan.jpg


No fewer than four major nobles had started wars against the Kaiser; to both Reinhard and Aife, that must mean God himself had abandoned the Holy Roman Empire. It was time, therefore, for Bayern to be independent, to make its own way in the world, free from the sin and corruption of the Askaniens. Of course, to Erich and the other members of the war council, it looked strangely like suicide.

independencemap.jpg


Bayern was among the largest and most powerful Duchies in the Empire. The armies were massive, and the Kaiser simply couldn't face the Bavarian army as well as all of his other opponents. At least, that was what Reinhard thought. To Erich, the very idea of betraying the Kaiser seemed like idiocy. Erich knew the Kaiser's reputation was unmatched in the field. Bohemia was the sole former member of the Holy Roman Empire to have truly attained independence, and it had taken them years of preparation. Reinhard simply declared war without thinking. Barring capturing the Kaiser himself, victory seemed very doubtful. Of course, Erich didn't say that out loud. It wasn't his place. He even prayed for victory every single night.

Would prayer be enough?

6 October 1392, Hohenburg

Karl von Hohenzollern, in addition to being named the Chancellor of Bayern, was also enlisted in the war effort. He glared at the October sun as he cooked in his armor. The past three years, shockingly enough, had seen considerable successes for the Bavarian Independence effort. Every battle against the Kaiser's troops was a victory. 19,000 mercenaries had been hired to fill the ranks of the Bavarian army, but that was why men like Karl found themselves leading portions of the army. They had to, while Reinhard coordinated everything in the Schloss von Hohenzollern. Again, so far, the Herzog seemed like he knew what he was doing. Under cover of darkness, the mercenaries added themselves to the Bavarian army; the effect was to fool the Kaiser's army to attack Bavaria in Nürnberg, to bring everything to one single battle, where victory should mean independence.

Yet at the same time, Karl was concerned about the Herzog's judgment. When Reinhard II inherited Schwyz from his mother after her death, he gave it to a complete unknown, Rudolf von Zähringen.

anewtitlebriefly.jpg


makinganewfriend.jpg


This alarmed many of Bavaria's most prominent nobles. However, Reinhard's foreignness meant he had fewer friends to choose from, and the one thing he could not afford was a disloyal vassal. If Reinhard won this war, in his view, he could deal with his vassals later. Karl, personally, was insulted that the county wasn't even offered to him. It had taken many a conversation with his wife Johanna before he'd even agree to fight; but fight he did.

He studied the terrain very carefully.

warprogress.jpg


The Herzog claimed they were more than halfway to victory. Karl didn't believe that, especially since the Kaiser and his court had fled to Bulgaria, beyond the reach of the Bavarian soldiers. However, perhaps, if there was victory here in Hohenburg, the Kaiser might sue for peace. To that end, Karl's own unit had a very specific task. He was to draw in the enemy skirmishers with some purposefully badly aimed arrow shots. It worked; the poorly armored skirmishers charged at the well defended positions, and with the Bavarian heavy infantry ready to absorb the blow, the day was won.

ahugevictoryforthehohen.jpg


All that remained was to hear the Kaiser's response.

29 May 1394, Monferrato

Reinhard II was absolutely furious. After a series of victories, the Kaiser had refused to see reason and surrender. Bohemia would allow Bavarian troops to get through to Bulgaria, and Reinhard was preparing to lead the expedition himself. Until, sadly, he was betrayed.

aninsidiousrebellion.jpg


Arnold von Hohenzollern's treason was the ultimate insult to Reinhard II. His already uncompromising attitude to his duties became even more circumscribed. The birth of his daughter and new heir to the Duchy, Barbara, barely distracted him a week.

barbarab.jpg


Despite his intransigence, though, the Herzog recognized that the time for revenge was not now, and certainly not alone. He swallowed his pride, briefly, agreeing to status quo ante bellum with the Kaiser. Arnold quickly surrendered as well; he remained safe from prosecution, though. Reinhard found new, even more heinous foes.

whitepeaceendsallwars.jpg


29 October 1396, Nürnberg

Reinhard grew increasingly more violent as the final years of his life progressed. If he'd barely paid attention to Barbara when she was born, he completely ignored Andrea.

andreaho.jpg


He was obsessed with his moral rectitude, the idea that God had personally selected him for greatness, and brooked no argument with his plans. Two Counts of Vodi were disposed of, allegedly for plotting against distant cousins, but in reality because they tried to convince Reinhard to calm down and allow peace to restore the lands of the Hohenzollerns.

likefatherlikeson.jpg


When the Basileus of the Byzantine Empire also became Kaiser in September 1396, Reinhard II, Herzog von Bayern und Schwaben, simply couldn't handle it. He'd already joined a shadowy cabal designed to restore the ancient Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, but upon becoming its head, he declared war on the new Kaiser.

electivemonarchy.jpg


To Reinhard, his new Kaiser was an apostate, one who had rejected the true nature of God for his pathetic heresy. His passion burned so brightly that he committed most of the ducal treasury to an assassination attempt on the loathsome Kaiser.

ariskyassassination.jpg


Reinhard's killers did manage to stab the Kaiser in the eye, yet he lived. The Kaiser/Basileus was no more a forgiving man than his would-be killer, but he was smarter about it. Reinhard II was a kinslayer, after all, and had alienated most of his court with his increasing paranoia and hatred. Yet the Hohenzollerns were loyal to their family, so the Kaiser offered them a deal. If they removed their Herzog, not only would they be unpunished, but the new ruler of Bayern, whomever it would be, would find themselves a new title: König von Bayern. He would elevate a Duchy to a Kingdom. Of course, the war would have to end too, but in the end they would get what they deserved.

All five members of the council voted yes. Every last one. Reinhard's death, at least, was relatively painless.

apowerfulenemy.jpg


theduchess.jpg


Although Barbara was only formally invested with the titles of her father, at least to begin with, after the war was ended she would be given her proper due. Her regents had committed murder to elevate the Hohenzollerns; they had not done so lightly.

As a tiny spoiler, Bavaria will not become a kingdom in the CKII timeline; I've missed my chance. However, EU3 calls all independent rulers "kings" for the lack of a better title, so I wanted to explain how they got elevated.

The final update is coming up this weekend; if you have special requests for end of game screenshots, please let me know. I'll include a world map and a reasonably complete family tree. If there's anything else, please let me know by Saturday; that's when I intend to update.
 

SirkTheMonkey

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Well, that was certainly unexpected. A combined HRE/ERE? That's got to be one massive blob. A Swedish Herzog? I hope you didn't lose too much on cultural buildings. A Herzogin? I hope that's the correct feminine title.
 

Avindian

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Well, that was certainly unexpected. A combined HRE/ERE? That's got to be one massive blob. A Swedish Herzog? I hope you didn't lose too much on cultural buildings. A Herzogin? I hope that's the correct feminine title.

I believe that's the right title -- that's what Google translate says, at any rate. :)