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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Velasco

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Beatrice of Gravina left Naples under cover of night. With three maids, a priest, and Heinrich the Sly to guide them, they set off for the distant lands of the Duke of Julich, her future father-in-law. She said goodbye to her father, who seemed cold and distant, and she did not even have a chance to do so to her sisters. She wondered if she would ever see Naples again, and if she did, if it would be as its future Queen Regnant.
 

Velasco

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John welcomed the Archbishop of Corfu warmly.

"Father, we are much troubled here in Naples. The late King's eldest daughter is, as far as we know, in England, and her two infant sisters away in Hungary. The King's remaing sons are illegitimate. Only I remain, the remaining legitimate Angevin prince. We seek your guidance in the matter of the succession."

Elizabeth of Slavonia, who'd had more wine that was perhaps good for her, muttered her assent. All eyes were on the Holy Father.
 

Hawkeye1489

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Giovanni studied the matter at hand. It was a perplexing issue. The matter rest in the factions of at least four factions within the Royal Family. First of all, there was the legitimate daughter of King Charles, Joanna of Naples. As far as he knew, she was already styling herself Queen of Naples. Next was John of Gravina. He was the Duke of Gravina and Brother of King Charles. After him was the elderly Duke of Anjou and the Count of Provence, Louis I, and his son, Louis. They were the heirs of the Late Queen Joan, and the Duke of Anjou styled himslef the King of Naples. His claim was most certainly being pressed. The fourth faction consisted of the Duchess of Translyvania and her sons. The Duchess Elizabeth was betrothed to Charles, but due to the interdict, was prevented from marrying. It is a well-known secret that she wants the crown, either for herself or for one of her two sons, Stephen or Jean. Although illegitimate, that could be changed by the Holy Father. Giovanni contemplated very long, and finally he spoke.

Your Highnesses, this is indeed a perplexing issue. At the moment, I wish to seek council from the Royal Scribes and Historians, for their are as of yet too many factions in this court vying for the crown. I shall contemplate, and have an answer by the morrow. Are there any other problems which need my attention at the moment?
 

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The next night, Giovanni Cardinal de Amelia, the Archbishop of Corfu, entered the audience of the the Duke of Gravina and the Duchess of Transylvania. He took a deep breath and spoke,

Your Graces. I have thought long and hard, and have taken into consideration the main claims, ancestrial lines, and stances on succession. After consulting a very close aid of Pope Gregory XII, it has been determined that he supports the system of Primogeniture. But if it can't be had, then the eldest female may inherit, as long as she is married before she takes the throne. Therefore, it has been determined that this should occur. The sole legitimate daughter of His Majesty, Charles III shall inherit the throne, but, as has been stated, she must be married. The Holy Catholic Church shall give her three months to wed. If she is not betrothed by the First of August, In this Year of Our Saving Lord, 1384, then she shall be removed from inheritance, and the Crown of Naples shall pass to her uncle, John of Anjou, the Duke of Gravina.

With that, Cardinal de Amelia bowed before the Regents, and stood in such a way that he could answer any more questions before he returned to quarters.
 

Velasco

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John of Gravina was pleased. In the first two weeks following the deaths of Charles III and Ladislas, the princess Elizabeth had takena n active part in the government of Naples. Thereafter, however, she took to drinking more than was good for her, thus relinquishing her part of the regency over to John. During her more sober of hours, she would indulge herself in a continuous round of gossiping and court intrigue, particularly embarrassing herself with her disgraceful conduct with a handsome Venetian at the court. In the meantime, Duke John seized the reins of government, and established his control over the crown property, appropriating much of the income for himself. Together with his own income from his extensive lands, and those of his very wealthy consort Jeanne (the duchies of Lecce and Andria, & principality of Taranto), gave him unprecedented hold and control over the Kingdom of Naples. To all intents and purposes, he was a King already. It was only for that wretched girl that he hadn’t been crowned already, but he did not worry over much. She was still in England, but his brother had broken off her betrothal to Edward d’Anjou! By the time she learnt of the Archbishop’s words…even then, she was a mere girl of thirteen. She would not have the wisdom to seek out a husband. He hoped she would be happy at the English court, the Queen that never was.
 

Velasco

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John smiled at the Archbishop. “A most wise ruling, my lord. However, there is another matter of which I wish to speak to you. The Poles…they are without a ruler. Indeed, I find it most surprising that Rome has not intervened, especially considering that the Poles have always showed allegiance to the one true pope in Rome. I ask that you crown Elizabeth Queen of the Poles, by virtue of her grandmother of the same name, who was a princess of the Piast house. With her and her son installed in that kingdom, the succession of Naples will never be disputed by them or their descendants. The Poles will not deny the Pope.”
 

Velasco

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John was jubilant. Even if the girl Joanna had heard of the Pope’s ruling – which he did not believe possible – there was little chance of her finding a husband at such short notice. Such negotiations usually dragged on for months; furthermore, Joanna could bring no dowry whatsoever. He began preparing for his coronation. He had decided his wife would be crowned with him; after all, she was of royal descent, being the legitimate granddaughter of Philip I of Taranto (second son of Charles II, and thus, by rule of primogeniture, a possible candidate to the throne, possessing claims superior to his own). She would be styled Queen Giovanna II, to make it clear to all that the other Giovanna – the little girl in far-off England – never was, and never would be, Queen of Naples.
 

Velasco

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John sat on the throne, shaking. Whilst he awaited the Archbishop’s response, a messenger had arrived, to tell that the girl Joanna had been smuggled out of the English court, and gone to Castille, of all places! He wondered what she might do there. The Castilian King was unmarried, that he knew for sure, although he had not thought that Juan of Trastamara held any aspirations in Italy. Castille owed allegiance to Avignon; thus, if she was to marry the Castilian King and bow to Avignon, she would have the support of much of Christendom against him. Even if she didn’t, if she was betrothed or married before August 1st, her claims would be supported by Rome also. Perhaps the girl truly was her father’s daughter, a scheming, cunning, diplomat, even at thirteen. What if she was to go to Barcelona? He shuddered at the thought. He must be crowned, right away.
 

Lord E

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A letter arrives delayed and late by messenger from England.
The messenger is dirty and seems to have had a very hard voyage. The letter has got a injuries, probably from an arrow or a dagger going through the letter and on the back it was possible to see bloodstains.
Also if anyone had been at Windsor when the letter was sent they would have know that the messenger delivering the letter in Naples wasn’t the one that left Windsor supposed to go to Naples, he would never been able to get there either. The letter also had signs of having been opened and then sealed again, and at the end there was some lines written in a different handwriting, and clearly of much newer date than the rest of the letter. It must have been added to the letter somewhere in the last days, somewhere in Italy …





Unto Charles III d’Anjou, King of Naples and Jerusalem, Prince of Achaea and Durazzo, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, et cetera

Your Majesty,
England has not forgotten the treaty of marriage, but as we had already agree with Your Majesty upon we should wait with the marriage until the children came of the correct age!
But now we understand that Your Majesty will no longer uphold this treaty, and we find ourselves asking why? We can inform Your Majesty, through Our Royal word, that His Majesty have not yet been informed about this case because it was seen wise that the diplomacy was used to find out more about this situations before informing His Majesty. So we must ask against why?

We would be interested in the marriage Your Majesty propose, but since this new girl is of lower rank and not as close to Your Majesty as the first girl compensation to the Crown of England by Your Majesty’s Kingdom would be needed, because We can’t just let a good marriage declaim into a not so good without getting any compensation in the matter!

We hope to hear form Your Majesty soon, and that We shall be able to understand this situation, and solve it without the use of force!

We now hear that the young princess has been kidnapped from England. We understand that she seems to have left without protesting, so We must ask have Your majesty taken the girl from England instead of waiting for a proper answer. We demand to hear what is known about the princess and where she is.

Remember the Crown of England is not be fooled with, and we see this as a great insult to England and His Majesty if it is correct that Neapolitan people have moved her from England. That would be dangerous politics, Your Majesty, remember the arms of England stretches further than Your Majesty knows…


Written in own hand at Windsor, in the year of Our Lord 1384 A.D

John of Gaunt

King of Castile and Leon, Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Richmond, Lancaster, Derby, Lincoln and Leicester, [/i]
 

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An other letter arrives from England, this one not bearing any marks of having been altered

Unto John I, Regent and King-Designate of Naples

First let Us express Our deep sorrow on your loss. We are saddened by this news, and We think His Majesty will feel the same way.

So from what We understand the Duke of Jülich is the heir to the Kingdom of Naples? England doesn’t not care too much for that Duke as he seems to be a French loving bastard, but we hope he will do better in Naples than he did here in the north.

We are glad to hear that it was not the making of the official Naples that was behind this act. Now We thank you for your information about the girl, and We have already started Our own search for the girl. Now We shall also look more closely in Iberia. We can’t see that she marries the bastard in Castile, and We will do anything thing necessary to avoid such a cause. We understand that also you would accept the use of special measures to be taken to avoid this getting out of hand.

We would be willing to consider such a marriage after you have been crowned. We hope to hear from you soon again.

Written in own hand at Windsor, in the year of Our Lord 1384 A.D

John of Gaunt

King of Castile and Leon, Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Richmond, Lancaster, Derby, Lincoln and Leicester,
 

Avernite

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Karl the worthless, or so his enemies called him. Well, at least his friend Heinrich knew he could be counted upon to deliver messages for a few coins. Napoli was a nice city, he was sure he could arrange something.

Onto John I, Regent and rightfull king of Naples

My dear future father, I have received from my father the news that you wished to hear from me directly, as is your right as father of my bride.

While I have not seen your daughter yet, I have heard the stories that talk of her, and what I hear makes me believe that indeed the heavens have bestowed her upon me. Offcourse, normally I would not believe random rumours, but I have also seen a painting made of her that seems to confirm the rumours.

It is with gladness that I look forward to the day I see her, for I have heard that she has allready landed in Northern Italy from her ship on which she set our from Naples, and by the time this message reaches you she will probably be travelling the Rhine untill she disembarks in the Duchy of Jülich, where I will be awaiting her arrival.

Now it remains for me to thank you for your promotion of my humble person to Duke of Calabria, for it was indeed feeling a bit awkward that my brother outranked me. I do hope that your endeavours in Naples will be succesfull, so that someday your daughter and I can return to inspect my new Duchy.

Written by his own hand in Jülich, Anno Domini 1384,

Rainald von Jülich-Gelre, Designated Duke of Calabria, heir of the Duchy of Gelre, Lord of Bergheim.
 
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Clement, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God; onto His astrayed daughter, Jehanne, of the House of Anjou, who is to be found in the court of the noble & pious King John of Castille: sends Greetings & the Apostolic Benediction.
God's mercy is infinite and eternal, daughter, but this special grace may be rejected by the man; and so did your father, that Charles of Durazzo whose sins and crimes against the humanity and the Church were very severe and very numerous; repeatedly refusing with most vulgar words Our several pleas and warnings, disobeying Us and resisting Our calls, thus disobeying the Lord God and rejecting His grace, he did condemn himself to eternal damnation.

But We, who are the Vicar of King Christ on Earth, despite the numerous insults and injuries the Church and Us had to suffer from the hand of your father and family, feel compelled to extend Our mercy towards you, partly because of the commendation of the King John of Castilia who is Our well-beloved son; partly because of the love the Church always had for your namesake the Queen Jehanne of blessed memory; but mostly because We do recognize that the cause of your soul is not yet fully lost.

Therefore, wishing to save you from the eternal damnation, We, in the name of the King Christ We are the Vicar of, herewith command you to come to Us, to hurry to Us with all due haste; to come to Avignon where We shall invest you with your rightful inheritance.​
Written in Villa Nova, Diocese of Avignon, in the year of the incarnation of Our Lord MCCCLXXXIV, by the hand of the Brother Lucius who is Our secretary, signed & sealed by Our own hand:



Clemens PP. VII.
 

Elias Tarfarius

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A ship arrives from the Crimea bearing a message from Sarai, the heart of the Golden Horde.



Unto Ionnes, rex Neapolita

I, Isa ibn-Hâkim Chormaghan, Grand Vizer of the Khan of Khans, Toqamish, write unto you so that the alliance your late brother held with the Khan might be reaffirmed despite his untimely demise. The Khan deeply appreciates his new bride, Maria, who has served as the symbol our new bond, but wishes to give back. There are tidings on the wind that usurper plot against your Majesty, but strong arms will always crush such wicked foes. If your Majesty wishes, the Khan is willing to give 200,000 byzants (2 eco) even unto your righteous cause, if you are willing to reaffirm Charles' alliance with my great lord.

Your humble servant,
Isa ibn-Hâkim Chormaghan, Grand Vizer of Toqtamish, Great Khan of the Golden Horde, Overlord of the Grand Prince of Muscovy, the Prince of Ryazan, the Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal, and the Prince of Tver, and Khan of Nogai and Sibir
 
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Clement, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God; onto His astrayed daughter, Jehanne, of the House of Anjou, who is to be found in the court of the noble & pious King John of Castille: sends Greetings & the Apostolic Benediction.

Astrayed daughter of a damned tyrant, the blood of Charles of Durazzo is already showing in your behaviour, even at such an early age. For in Our previous letter, We did not plead, We did not ask, We did not beg you to come; but rather commanded you, in the name of the King Christ, and you still dared to disobey Our call.

But God's mercy is, as We pointed out in Our previous letter, infinite and eternal, and We are compelled to excercise Our mercy for the benefit of your soul. Therefore We are ready to forgive you this excommunicating insult of disregarding the call of the Lord God, and We shall issue Our command once again, for the second time: in the name of the King Christ We are the Vicar of, We herewith do order you to hurry to Us at once, coming with all due haste, without any hesitation or delay.​
Written in Villa Nova, Avignon diocesis, in the year of the incarnation of Our Lord MCCCLXXXIV, by the hand of the Brother Lucius who is Our secretary; signed & sealed by Our own hand:



Clemens PP. VII.
 

Txini

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Onto Elizabeth of Slavonia, Regent of Naples, Queen of Dalmatia:
We have heard about the Death of Charles of Durazzo and the Papal Bull for her daughter to become Queen, and being you a member of our most faithfull family althought a repent sinner, that is what matters, that you saw the light of Christ finally we would like to offer you two things.
A) The Marriage between my granddaughter Countess Margarete von Wittelsbach to your Heir Stefan Peter.
b) My own Marriage to Charles of Durazzo's Heir, actually I'm Single and already have childs to inherit me in Pfalz so if we had heirs they will be only of Naples, and while the Princess Johanna is able to reach back to Naples and is in Age we offer you the Regence.
I think this both are just offers and you'll be happy enough to receive them, we wait your answer.

Signed: Ruprecht von Wittelsbach, Count and Heir of Reheinpfalz
 

Velasco

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On July 1st, John was crowned King in Naples, in a splendid ceremony. Beside him, his wife Jeanne, who was henceforth called Queen Joanna II. The two returned to the palace in great regality, and pronounced the regency of Elizabeth of Slavonia over. Elizabeth and her two sons remained at the royal palace for a few days, before going to a residence the late King had given her in Abruzzi, where she thereafter held court as Princess of Spoleto, a title which had been given to her for life (it would not pass to her children). The transition of ruler was peaceful, and the populace of Naples seemed jubilant at the King's coronation.

However, John's throne, was by no means secure. There was still Joanna, in far off Iberia, and her nonsense of Avignon. And then there was Louis of Anjou, and his kinsman, the King of France. Then Erzsebet, Queen Dowager of Hungary, and Friedrich, King of Sicily. The most eminent problem was the lady Elizabeth of Slavonia. He had to rid himself of her, somehow.
 

Txini

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Onto Elizabeth von Slavonien
Well then we'll send some diplomats to prepare our childs marriage, Margarete is actually 8, so we'll better wait some years more, but preparing it already will help to avoid any future problem. On the other issue I'm not sure what would be the problems of marrying you if claiming the Kingdom of Poland, possibly there won't be any, but this is something that need to be thought of, so I'll wait a time to answer.
Your Relative Ruprecht, Count-Palatine and Heir of Rheinpfalz
 

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UNTO HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, JOHN, THE FIRST THEREOF, KING OF NAPLES.

It is with great honor and priviledge that, in the Name of the One True Pontiff, His Holiness, Gregory XII, that the Papacy confers unto John and his Consort Joanna, the status of legitamacy and right in the Eyes of God. From now on, Joanna d'Anjou, the daughter of the late Charles III and all her issues are hereby withdrawn from the line of Succession to the Throne of Naples.

While we believe that the Princess of Spoleto is a pius and noble candidate for the Crown of Poland, she is yet unbetrothed. Jadwiga of Poland is also a Noble and Pius Candidate for the Crown of Poland, but her crown belongs to Hungary, and her attention needs to be within her own nation. This Pontificate does not wish to repeat the decision of her father of Blessed Memory, Louis, whom concerned himself with Hungary, and neglected Poland. We wish for the Poles to have a King whom would rule from Poland. Therefore, in that respect, the Papacy, in the form of Poe Gregory XII, officially supports the ascension of Elizabeth's heir, Stephan Pietro, as King Stephan I of Poland, with the Regency of the Princess of Spoleto and a council of Polish Nobles until the underaged candidate may turn proper age.

In the Name of His Holiness, Gregory XII, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church,

His Eminence, Pietro Cardinal Tomacelli, Archbishop of Ostia and Dean of the College of Cardinals
 

HJ Tulp

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Two men wearing dark, black capes arrive at Elisabeth of Slavonia's court at Spoleto.
When the captain of the guards asks them for their business one of them says that they are in the employ of the Duchy of Bavary and that they are here to speak with Elisabeth of Slavonia. When they are asked to prove that the man that had done the talking says something in a strange language to the other man. That man gives the speaker a letter who in his turn gives that to the captain. The letter confirms what the man has said...
 

Velasco

Meddler Sublime
RPG Leader
Apr 9, 2005
395
0
Elizabeth sat on her throne, with her two sons at either side. She bade the Germans enter and state their business.