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What a horrid position to be in, a terrible thing to feel the need to do.
 
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the various factions that had arisen between his uncles, Beaufort and Gloucester
Alas, he would have benefited more from Uncle Bedford, but that train has left the station.
“As long as I have breath in my body, my son, I shall always do so.”
A big caveat ;)
surrounded by men of his affinity
These lordly street gangs are reminiscent of the equivalent gangs prevalent in Rome at the time of Caesar and the fall of the Republic.
we went on chevauchée throughout the countryside
I love this word. Coincidentally I have started using it in my CK2 AAR, in the context of a Russian Viking war with East Francia.
Without turning, Edmund Beaufort stopped short in his steps and replied, “Quite. And I shall hate you for it forever.”
Kinslaying is always bad for the soul in these stories.
Damn that Suffolk!
That is very likely!
 
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Oh, fun! I can't wait to see how this goes.
 
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coz1

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Fb-fb:

Somerset seems like a complicated character.

He seems to have been given a fate he doesn't want...
Oh, he wants it. But the hurdles to jump are...painful.

What a horrid position to be in, a terrible thing to feel the need to do.
Which one? John Beaufort to feel the need to end it, or his brother Edmund to feel the need to help it along? The death happened historically. How? I've taken some liberties.

Alas, he would have benefited more from Uncle Bedford, but that train has left the station.

A big caveat ;)

These lordly street gangs are reminiscent of the equivalent gangs prevalent in Rome at the time of Caesar and the fall of the Republic.

I love this word. Coincidentally I have started using it in my CK2 AAR, in the context of a Russian Viking war with East Francia.

Kinslaying is always bad for the soul in these stories.

That is very likely!
Heh! Lordly street gangs. Not a bad way of describing them, indeed. As above, I took a liberty in how to portray what really happened. But these were all men of amazing ambition. What they might stoop to can only be imagined. As for Suffolk...well, read on.

Oh, fun! I can't wait to see how this goes.
Thanks for jumping on board! I hope you'll enjoy! :)


To all - We are getting closer to when the last writing was done and the new, as well as chapter 2 and the gameplay beginning. I'll have a few more things to say about the game itself and some changes made to recreate as much as I can at these early stages, but unlike last time, I have been working with both what I get and what I want. I'll just say this...do not follow this AAR to know how to play the game. It will not be readily apparent. This game will serve the story, not the other way round. But first we must get to the game, so the next scene follows. Because we must meet the next characters. They are rather important. ;)

Really thanks all for reading! I truly appreciate it!!
 
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eaYoWTQ.jpg


Paris, 1445

William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk paced back and forth in the great hall where he and his wife were given lodgings by the French King. A years worth of diplomacy had yielded a momentary peace and further, a bride for the English King Henry VI. They were to greet the new Queen after her great stately welcome at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and soon they would be on the road through Normandy, and from there, England.

Suffolk’s wife was Alice Chaucer, granddaughter to the famous poet. She was a strong woman, as formidable as her ancestor was talented. And today she was in a mood…one he knew well. Thus it was left to him to storm up the stairs and retrieve her so they might be on time for the grand reception.

Taking the steps two at a time, he finally reached her room and burst through the door without knocking, “Damnable woman, would you move!”

She sat on a stool by a window brushing her long brown hair and did not turn to face her husband, “I still do not understand why it is that we must stand aside in favor of the Duke of York, my Lord.”

“I have told you, my wife…he is the King’s representative here in France. And further, Regent in Normandy…it would be unfitting of us to pass him over.”

“Are you not the King’s representative in the recent talks? Have you not just stood in his stead in Nancy for the proxy wedding? Did we not just escort Margaret of Anjou all the way to Paris, my Lord?” She turned to face him giving him a waspish look on her last words.

“Dearest wife…I care not to argue with you at this or any other time.” He paced across the room and filled a goblet full with wine. He started to take it down but stopped just short and looked back at her, “If we might simply get through the day and have this princess sent off to London I would be most grateful.”

He then took the drink as Alice raised herself from her stool and walked slowly towards him taking a slightly different tone but relentless all the same, “You are a man of means, my Lord…however meager…and it is in you that the King has entrusted the care taking of not just his Kingdom but so too his new bride. I offer only words such that you follow this path and let not another take from you that which you have earned.”

She briefly laid a hand upon his shoulder before pulling it away as he turned to face her, “I have done what was asked of me, my wife, and I shall stand against any man…or woman…that says otherwise. I was asked to bring peace by the Cardinal, he so aged as to be unable to find his piss pot with the sunny sky above, and regardless of the peace I make, it will be unpopular. I need not this rancor, my love.”

“And what peace have you made…my love?” She spitefully walked away to place the cover upon her head. Pulling back her hair tightly and attaching the bonnet, she turned to face her husband and waited with steely eyes.

“I care not for the question,” Suffolk shifted and began to walk from the room, allowing a brief glance back to his wife.

“And I care not for the answer, my Lord!” She walked gently to him and stood strong as she waited for his full reply.

After a moments silence he relented, not happy about it but willing to trust in the one person whom he knew had his best interests at heart, “I have offered the French King some recompense. That is all you need know.”

“Recompense?” Alice stepped back with no less a strong look. “He has already deceived us into taking on a princess with naught a dowry nor even a decent trousseau…what else does His Grace require?”

Suffolk stood silent, unwilling to reply right away but the fierce look in his wife’s eyes let him know he would not make the reception this day if he did not answer, “…Maine and Anjou.”

“Christ’s Keys!” She turned away from him at first and took a step towards the window before swinging back upon him, “You will be hung from every gate in London, my husband!”

“I have it on firm authority from both King and Parliament…my task was to make a peace and I have done so.”

“This is no peace, William...this is treason!”

“It is what is required from the court! The Beauforts have cocked it up as far as we have seen and the Duke of York has been unable to parry the French thrusts both south and north. We have lost Pontoise and so Ile-de-France. But we will keep both Gascony and Normandy and have this war done which was my charge. Do not presume to question my judgment woman! I’ll not have it!”

She stood firm, “You may raise your hand to me as is your prerogative, but this does not mean I should stand silent and see my great husband find himself dead within the year! Gloucester will have your head!”

“I think not,” Suffolk began to move from the room, “But I shall have yours if you are not on the move and outside within the minute.”

William de la Pole stormed from the room, angry with his wife, and angrier still that what she said was truth. But as he had stated, it was his charge. He moved down the stairs as quickly as he had ascended and his wife did follow, but she said not a word to him as they moved towards the reception. As they approached, they were met by the Earl of Salisbury and all due deference was given by both parties. They all stood in line and waited for the new Queen to arrive.

After some time, Alice did lean towards her mate and ask with coldness, “Where does the Duke of York presume to meet Her Grace?”

“Here,” he replied with the same air.

“Does he assume to completely show us up? He cannot greet us with any style?”

Suffolk looked out over the horizon in wait for their new Queen Margaret of Anjou, “He must put on a show...as always.”

There was a moments silence before Alice got in the last word with great scorn attached, “It is sure to be the wife.”

Soon, the crowds that gathered moved into a throng and there were many cheers as the new Queen Margaret of Anjou moved through the streets atop a snow-white mare adorned with a brilliantly etched leather saddle over a scarlet cloth draped from the sides. She was a beautiful woman, and seemingly proud even given her birth to a man with titles that had no land attached. As she rode past the many gatherers, she stood tall in her saddle, her head lifted as if to reach to the sky. This was an important day, not just for herself but so too her family.

Behind her rode her father, that same bearer of empty titles – King with no Kingdom, Duke with no Duchy and Count with naught a County to speak of. Rene d’Anjou lived in the grace of his wife’s inheritance and the goodwill of the now King of France, Charles VII. But for a time it gave him the prestige that his lack of money could not support. Thus, the marriage of his daughter to a King of England was a coup not simply for himself but so too his liege Lord.

Other dignitaries followed along, though conspicuously absent was the actual Charles who had proposed the match and would reap the rewards. But one such present was the lady’s “Chevalier Servant” as he called himself and Pierre de Brézé was quick to dismount his horse and move swiftly to her side to help her off her own.

As they moved to the ground, a quiet came over the crowd as a sound from the distance began to echo through the hushed tones. Suffolk and his wife, along with all others, shifted their eyes to see the shape of a long train of men moving towards the reception. At its head was the Duke of York and next to him, adorned as if she herself were the Queen of France, was the Duchess Cecily. It was clearly meant to be a brilliant attempt at pomp and circumstance but none there as witness could mistake the perfect show of force it provided to the French, numbering as it did at least six hundred English archers alongside further retainers of the nobles in Richard’s service.

Pierre de Brézé lead the new Queen forward to the front of the steps and waited as Richard slowly moved up the lane and finally in front of her. As he did so, he led a palfrey caparisoned with crimson and gold velvet sewn with golden roses. He dismounted and led the palfrey towards the new Queen, and then bent a knee as he presented it to her. All heard him announce in perfect French that it was a gift from her noble husband.

She clapped her hands together and all the crowd saw her smile with glee, but she presented the perfect royal person as she bade Richard stand once more and herself gave a regal nod. Suffolk and his wife looked on and if one were to look at them, they would have seen faces of near disgust.

“See how he acts as if he were the right hand of our Lord, my husband?” Alice softly scoffed.

“He is only acting in King Henry’s place. It is all well and fine.”

“I like it not, my Lord.” She remained quiet for a time but then suddenly followed, “Though she is a pretty thing.”

“She is indeed,” Suffolk was quick to reply.

Alice gave a sly turn to her husband before attempting to lock eyes with the Queen but Margaret and Richard were in the midst of a flowery conversation spoken entirely in French.

“She does have bearing as well, she will be a fine bride,” Alice again attempted pleasant words where there were none in her mind.

“As long as she provides the balance we require and does not forget her place, all will be well,” Suffolk suddenly gave a large smile as he noticed Margaret leading Richard over to speak with himself and his wife.

The conversation that followed spoke of elegant celebrations and grand feasts to take place all the way from Paris, through Rouen and finally to Cherbourg where Margaret of Anjou would sail the channel to finally marry her new husband in full. York and his wife would act as cordially as possible to Suffolk and his own and as well towards all the many nobles in accompaniment. Only the principles could tell that something underneath it all was perhaps not quite right. But none knew precisely how history would unfold and certainly no one was aware that the very fine and pleasant meeting held that day would be the very last that Richard, Duke of York and Margaret of Anjou, now Queen of England would ever have again. And Suffolk…he too would find a difference after this day. His wife’s words had been truer than either of them knew.
 
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I had been thinking of Edmund, but John's position as you've presented it is pretty horrid as well.
 
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A years worth of diplomacy had yielded a momentary peace and further, a bride for the English King Henry VI.
And a thorough diplomatic rogering by said French king.
“…Maine and Anjou.”

“Christ’s Keys!” She turned away from him at first and took a step towards the window before swinging back upon him, “You will be hung from every gate in London, my husband!”
Exhibit 1.
“As long as she provides the balance we require and does not forget her place, all will be well,”
Oh dear. Nothing will be well for a long time, methinks.
 
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I'll have to catch up over the next few days, but just to reiterate as mentioned in the Creek thread that it is great to see you back and writing, coz, and I look forward to enjoying your work in real time for once! :D
 
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Fb-fb:

I had been thinking of Edmund, but John's position as you've presented it is pretty horrid as well.
John's position was indeed poor. It was rumored at the time that he may have committed suicide. I decided to play it up for more character building for both of the brothers, but in RL nothing like that likely happened at all.

And a thorough diplomatic rogering by said French king.

Exhibit 1.

Oh dear. Nothing will be well for a long time, methinks.
Maine and Anjou certainly became a sticking point as this all begins, with Suffolk getting most of the blame but Margaret getting plenty of her own. I decided to present her like this the first time because she is an unknown (or would have been at the time) but quickly becomes quite well known. All of the major players are entering the scene.

I'll have to catch up over the next few days, but just to reiterate as mentioned in the Creek thread that it is great to see you back and writing, coz, and I look forward to enjoying your work in real time for once! :D
Excellent and thanks! I'll be quite interested on your take as we move forward. This really is one of my favorite points in history regardless of all the bloodletting involved.


To all - As always, thank you for following along and giving comment. The next update follows and will complete the bits I had written the last time around. After that, we will start getting into what I have written now (which is quite a bit, but not too much.) And barring a change, there should be 2/3 more scenes before chapter 1 is done and we start on chapter 2 and the real game play begins. I'll explain then more about the actual game though know that it will be heavily buried within the narrative. Always feel free to ask questions if something is not quite clear.
 
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K3CEn3H.jpg


Westminster, 1445

The King of England, Henry VI, drummed his fingers with an absent mind as he peered out the window over the grounds leaving his council to drone on about mundane affairs. He longed to walk the gardens again this day but matters of state took precedence and thus he was forced to sit and listen and had little to say. A bird flew by at one point and distracted him such that William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk was forced to remark that perhaps the King might wish to resume the meeting at a later date. The wish might have been there, but that would mean another meeting leaving Henry to answer, “No, my Lords, we should like to complete our business now, if you please.”

The Earl took his cue and stood to pace the length of the room as he moved to a new subject, “I should like now to mention the rebuilding efforts at Eltham, Your Grace.”

At this Henry pricked up, “Yes…how goes it?”

“The new hall is now complete as is the scullery. I should think the Queen Margaret might be in residence there by the winter at the earliest. No later than spring, certainly.”

“This is wonderful news, Suffolk. The Queen will be glad to hear of it, we are sure.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury spoke up, “On that score, we might like to also mention one other item.”

“Indeed,” Cardinal Beaufort continued, “There is this matter of a license the Queen has arranged.”

Henry leaned forward just slightly, finally interested in the conversation, “Yes?”

“It seems she has now her own trade of wool and tin, My Lord. Though we are pleased to see her take an interest and certainly find a means of her own support, it has had some deleterious effects.”

“At last, my dear Cardinal, we finally agree upon something,” Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester spoke up after remaining silent for most of the meeting while he seethed in rage about several items he hoped to bring up later.

The Cardinal did not turn as he kept his gaze upon the King but did respond, “Oh?”

“Quite. The merchants are in a stir and I fear they will not accept such kindly. She goes round their backs and circumvents general practices. They will not stand for it.”

“This was my point, my lord Duke, and thank you for your inclusion,” Cardinal Beaufort traced a bony finger along the table while he continued to ignore Gloucester’s face.

Henry sat back in his large chair and looked out the window once more as he pulled a hand to feel at the ermine of his cloak. “We shall speak with her, My Lords. We are sure she means no disrespect and wishes to only, as you have ably stated, find her own means of support which we greatly appreciate at present.”

“Well then, I should think this particular matter settled, would you not good Duke?” The Cardinal finally turned to look upon Gloucester.

Gloucester stood as if to rush the Cardinal but stuffed his anger down so he might make a far more important point, “I shall leave off if we might discuss something of quite more import, good sirs.” Turning to Henry, he bowed slightly, “And with you, Your Grace.”

Henry turned back to the table and looked upon his uncle with impatience, “Do proceed.”

“Thank you, Your Grace.” Gloucester moved away from his chair and walked to a table filled with maps. He grasped one that was rolled up and held it aloft as if it were a torch, “We have the matter of the French Embassy that I feel requires not only an answer to them but an accounting between us, and certainly Parliament.”

Taking much umbrage, the Earl of Suffolk stood answering as if personally charged, “Now see here…”

There was much grumbling in the room between the other Lords and Suffolk was ready to pounce had not the King interrupted him. “Now, now Suffolk,” Henry lifted a hand, “Allow our good Uncle to continue as we have some interest in his words.”

“Thank you once again, Your Grace,” Gloucester made sure to burn a look towards Suffolk then slammed the map upon the great table, “They demand Maine and Anjou, I have been informed and this is far too great a price. For what have they done to gain it?”

Suffolk remained standing himself and moved away from his own chair, taking a step towards the Duke of Gloucester, “It was the peace I was ordered to make, my Lord. Both his Grace and Parliament gave me my charge and I take this as a personal attack!”

“As you should, sir! For that is precisely how I mean it!” Gloucester stood his ground nearly begging Suffolk to come at him further.

Cardinal Beaufort took the opportunity to move in between the two men as he looked towards the King, “My Lord, we should perhaps provide them with some answer, I should think. Though you have played them well thus far, I am pleased to say.”

Henry VI remained seated and looked upon both Gloucester and Suffolk, silent and questioning. He seemed deep in thought for a moment before finally speaking up, “We have given them all the answer they require at present and we should hope to keep it thus for the time. The truce has been extended through to next year.”

“But Your Grace,” Gloucester interrupted, “How can we even consider giving away such jewels and all as payment for taking a Queen?”

Henry bore a hole in Gloucester’s head such was his look but he said not a word so the Duke continued, “Why not simply invite them into Normandy itself, so hard won by your august father! I cannot see that he would be pleased with these goings on! An aggressive policy was his charge to us all. Good King Henry must be screaming from the heavens!”

At this, Henry turned his face from his Uncle never to turn it back. Not today or ever. He still remained silent and Suffolk took the opportunity to gloat, “I think not that His Grace appreciates such a slight against his wife, My Lord, nor upon his own person.”

“I speak of no slight towards Your Grace,” Gloucester walked forward, attempting to regain eye contact with his nephew nearly pushing Suffolk out of the way, but Henry did not meet him. “Have you forsaken your Uncle, My Lord? Is this all I am to expect from now on? What place have I left if this is so?”

“I should think none, my Lord,” Suffolk remained beaming in victory with a catty grin. “Especially after the rumors you and yours spread and the manner in which you treat the King.”

The Duke of Gloucester moved directly in front of Henry but the King turned away once more as he looked towards the Cardinal, “We shall deal with the embassy in due course, my Lords. Think not that we will leave this undone and poorly managed.”

“You see, good Duke,” the Cardinal turned to Gloucester, “The matter is well in hand.”

Humphrey slammed his fist upon the table, “In hand is not how I see it, my Lords. I may not have the voice to contest this, but I do have the support of a great many nobles who will, and do protest!”

“I think you may have over-stepped, my Lord,” Suffolk moved to sit. “We are quite confident that the King has our interests at heart, as much as he has his own. You do speak foully sir, and perhaps it best that you go from this place not to return.”

Humphrey turned once more to his nephew, “Is this your wish, My Lord King?”

But Henry did not answer him, nor grace his face with favor. Instead, he himself stood and walked to the window, stewing in silence.

“Then your wish is my command. But I shall not stand idly by. Mark my words!”

The Duke of Gloucester stormed from the room slamming the door behind him and all the other Lords, both temporal and spiritual, breathed a sigh of relief. There was some worry about the King’s mood after this display and Cardinal Beaufort moved to seek a private counsel, “Your Grace…shall we retire for the moment?”

“Nonsense,” Henry spoke finally and moved back to take his seat, a hint of tears perhaps noticeable if one looked close enough. “But what more business is there to discuss?”

“Ah, Your Grace…” Suffolk quietly pushed a parchment across the table for the King to see, “…there is the matter of the Duke of York. His term in Normandy is up and we think perhaps he might be better suited elsewhere.”

“Yes?” Henry was unsure.

“Indeed, My Lord…he has done so very little in his tenure and for such a great price.”

“So we shall recall him, is this your suggestion?”

“It is, Your Grace,” Cardinal Beaufort answered.

“But what to do with him, this is the tricky question…” Suffolk followed.

Henry sat back and thought on the matter but before he could say anything, Suffolk continued, “If anything, we should find a replacement at the least and I should think the Earl of Somerset the man for the job.”

The Cardinal remained silent as he studied Henry’s response. The King’s look was neither positive nor negative so he allowed Suffolk to move forward in his suggestion.

“Though his brother was not quite the man for it, I do feel that Edmund has just the right spirit, Your Grace. And he shall be easier convinced of our needs, as I should think you require.”

“Yes…yes…indeed,” Henry finally answered.

“But there is still the question of York, My Lord…” Cardinal Beaufort reminded the King.

As Henry placed his hands together on top of the table, yet again in thought, Suffolk and the Cardinal shared a glance. A nod from the Cardinal gave him the right of way, “My Lord, there is actually a question of the man’s work there that we think should perhaps be studied.”

Henry looked up at his uncle, the Cardinal, “His work?”

“Well, there is a question of what could easily be called failure…” the Cardinal answered.

At this point, Bishop Moylens spoke up, “Quite, Your Grace…mismanagement of funds, financial malpractice…we know that his steward on the Isle of Wight lives like a Lord himself, with as rich wines as can be imagined. I cannot think that his charges in Normandy have any less.”

The Earl of Suffolk stood, pretending to be slightly shocked at the charge, “You do not imagine to bring him to justice, my Lord Bishop? To accuse a man of his caliber…”

“I do, my Lord of Suffolk,” Moylens responded quickly.

“Well this is more serious than at first I suspected.” Suffolk turned to the King offering sympathetic eyes without a hint of his own possible guilt.

Henry slumped in his chair and with sad eyes looked back towards the window, “We shall have to question our cousin of York then. ‘Tis a sadness that such brings over our person, however.”

“This is certainly understandable, Your Grace.” The Cardinal walked towards the King and knelt beside his chair, “Lets us have that walk now, yes? The good Lord will surely come to your side in this time of need and struggle.”

“Yes…yes…this is an excellent suggestion Cardinal. We shall do so.” He turned to Suffolk as he stood, “You may call York home, my Lord.”

Henry then walked from the room on the arm of Cardinal Beaufort leaving the rest of the men to share a smile in their own personal victory. Two foes vanquished in one afternoon. Not bad for a day’s work.
 
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fL3n2xI.jpg


Greenwich, 1446

Servants came and went as the two men sat opposite in dining from one another in a large hall. Just the two of them. A question, or argument, could be made as to which one had the higher degree of power, influence and indeed claim between them. And in some circles, it already was. The elder was now fifty six. Greying and light of hair, his face remained slender and he held the aquiline nose of the Plantagenet dynasty. Despite his years of troubles, he maintained sharp eyes with nary a paunch beneath his lids. Many called them striking and he used that to full effect.

The younger was now thirty six. He too held the aquiline nose, but his body was thicker. Shorter than the first, he was much more endowed with strength in his torso, legs and arms. Both were men of influence. Yet the former held his due to position and place. The second more for his prowess, but no little amount of place as well. In certain circles, the meeting itself would or could be considered dangerous. And it was. Because, in truth, both men held deeply reserved thoughts about what was happening within their kingdom and those they professed to love and cherish.

The elder sipped at his wine and after finding it filled once more, dismissed his servants. He sat the goblet down with a gentle hand and then leaned forward with his eyes clear in determination, “You have had a difficult year, Richard.”

“Are we to that now?” the younger man asked as he too sat forward, “I may say the same about you...my Lord.”

Humphrey attempted a grin, “Come now, cousin. You must know that I am not in their employ. Suffolk...Somerset...the rest...”

“And yet it is perhaps too pleasant...this meal between us...” Richard of York questioned in his answer.

Duke Humphrey drank once more and sat back with the hint of a smile, “I do not blame you for finding suspicion. We that challenge in this day are always to be questioned. And yet I ask you here as friend to me...as I am friend to you.”

“Would your nephew see it as such, my Lord?” Richard replied with some irritation, “I find it difficult to know who is friend and who is foe these days.”

“As do I,” Humphrey answered.

The Duke of York finally sat back with a curious eye, “Tis true. You do appear rightly out as I do...but you remain family.”

“And are you not?” the Duke of Gloucester responded with a slight laugh, “You that likely finds more claim than I, even though I am the youngest of Bolingbroke?”

Richard did not find the response amusing as sat forward once more, “Do you test me? As your cousins do? As I have seen since I returned from France? As I have found cause at trial...”

“Two trials as I know it, cousin,” Humphrey answered quickly, “And neither of which should have ever been brought forward. You were acquitted in false claims brought to the bench for France...”

“When I was asked to be there and given no thing in which to properly prosecute the war!” Richard interrupted before Humphrey continued.

“And then...when a foolish man thought to curry your favor by proclaiming that you had more right to the throne than my nephew.”

Richard remained irritated, “Found himself hanged for that, did he not? I made no claim. I make no claim. Do you?”

“Cousin...” Humphrey attempted to calm him down, “...I am not here to be jury and executioner. There are many that would, but it is not I. You and I find ourselves with a common foe. The Cardinal...Suffolk...Somerset...and what I hear tell what they are beginning to call the she-wolf of France. Could you not agree?”

“I will speak no ill of the Queen,” the younger Duke replied as he eyed his companion, “She has done naught to bring me to poor repute. Yet the others...especially Suffolk...”

“Indeed,” Humphrey replied, “A most foul man if I have ever met one. They do you an injustice.”

Richard sized him up for a moment before responding, “They do...yes. Yet what are you to do about it? A fine meal, my Lord Duke, but you are as rightly out as I. I am to understand that the King will not look you to the eye these days.”

A sting was clearly felt by Humphrey as he responded, “My nephew...is entranced.”

“By a she-wolf...” Richard countered, “...or a devil in his corner?”

The Duke of Gloucester stood and shifted to fill his goblet. He kept his back turned as he thought before his answer, “You have been lucky in your mate, my Lord. Perhaps more than I.”

“I’ve heard the stories,” Richard replied with a questioning eye.

“My brothers...” Humphrey moved to the window and looked out, “...just as troubled in their way.”

Richard questioned again, “What has this to do with me, my Lord?”

“You think it faction,” Humphrey declared before turning to train his clear eyes upon the Duke, “And I think it not. There can be no mistake that Suffolk sold us poorly at the Treaty of Tours. He has betrayed the country and shall pay for it, should I have words to say about it. Yet there is another...a more pernicious influence...that should be considered.”

“You have more words to say against the Queen,” Richard replied knowing the attack.

“I have some,” Humphrey answered before swallowing the rest of his drink, “And they are not nearly as pretty as she. It is known to me that she wrote her benefactor, the King of the French, in December of last year. All to tell him about how slowly we are keeping true our word. How callous and unthinking are we of our terrible truce. Her own husband, our King, wrote to Charles...and I quote ‘we shall return these lands to please the King of France and the request of my wife.’ Now...you tell to me...who is it that she serves?”

Richard gave nod and answered, “She remains but a Queen. Henry remains King.”

“I know that you are not foolish cousin,” Humphrey stepped forward, “You have done too much to prove yourself. Your valor is not to be questioned, nor your mind. So why do you not see what the rest of us see? Did you enjoy it when Margaret suggested an alliance between your young son and the princess of France, Madeleine?”

“One that I did not take,” Richard answered quickly.

Humphrey was as quick to reply, “One your lady wife did not take for she knew the implication. It is once more a ploy to put you aside with the gift a lessor daughter when the entire thing shows you your true importance. Do you not see it?!”

The Duke of York stood and rounded the table to fill his own cup. He took down a healthy pull before looking back to the Duke of Gloucester, “I will not be brought into faction, my Lord. I am sorry that the King does not cast eyes upon you, for you do not deserve it. Yet I am no man’s totem to be introduced because you have failed...whatever it is that you have failed.”

“I’ve not failed, my Lord...” Humphrey used his sharp eyes, “...for I am not in this to win. I hold no interest in bringing down my nephew.”

Richard stood as tall as he might, “Then what is your interest? As I’ve no desire to place any more fodder for the flames that is my reputation...my Lord!”

“Do you think to return to Wales?” Humphrey was quick to ask.

“No,” Richard was as quick to answer.

Humphrey grinned, “So you think to stay and fight again.”

“I need not fight!” Richard was emphatic, “I am for His Grace!”

“Then you lose,” the elder Duke turned away and looked out the window, “He will not protect you. We are in a time of choosing, and it is sad to me that it will not be his choice. He is not his father...my brother...but few men are. I have quarreled with many, but never him. Yet he picks his court. And he chooses the likes of Suffolk...our so-called cousins...his wife. You are but an annoyance. A flea above his ear that he cannot scratch. Always present because he has not the means within himself to either be rid of you or embrace you. An amulet he wears round his neck until he decides to tear it off. And he will not. Others will do that for him.”

Richard considered the words before giving his reply, “He is more Godly. He takes time before making his decisions.”

“I have no want for the crown,” Humphrey spun on him with a serious face, “Do you?”

“I...do not,” Richard answered with question.

The Duke of Gloucester offered a slight smile, “And so...you are alone. You are questioned. I am questioned. And all from the same place. It may not be from my nephew, but it carries all of his weight. Look you to the factions...and more...and count your days, cousin. They will come for you as they come for me. For myself, I will not be silenced even if I am unseen. You must chart your own path.”

Richard, Duke of York, looked with great question, “Is that why you have had me here? To pass on this knowledge?”

“No, my Lord,” Humphrey answered with all seriousness, “I have you here to show you your true place. I am the son of a King. Brother to a King. Uncle to a King at the now. And what is all of that? No thing. I will speak my words and rally those to my cause...the cause of England. Another faction you may say...but mine is of dynasty. Our family...ruling. France...so hard won. You that have fought there...what blood and treasure shall be lost? I’ll not do it for the whims of an upstart group that considers their claim from a whore, my Lord. And nor should you. And I’ll not do it because a King is so easily lead. It remains your choice by whom...but it is your choice.”
 
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The Wars of the Roses will come soon. The stage is set.

Dissent reigns everywhere, and the peace is hated.
 
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On Westminster 1445:
“They demand Maine and Anjou, I have been informed and this is far too great a price. For what have they done to gain it?”
Nothing, really, and certainly no lasting peace. A weak king bargaining (via Suffolk) from a weak position, in desperation, against a far more ruthless opponent determined to exploit it.
At this, Henry turned his face from his Uncle never to turn it back. Not today or ever.
Fateful moment #1.
I should think the Earl of Somerset the man for the job.
Disastrous appointment #1 (In OTL anyway).
I do feel that Edmund has just the right spirit, Your Grace
Oh dear.
The Earl of Suffolk stood, pretending to be slightly shocked at the charge, “You do not imagine to bring him to justice, my Lord Bishop? To accuse a man of his caliber…”
“You may call York home, my Lord.”
Fateful moment #2, again with far-reaching implications.
Two foes vanquished in one afternoon. Not bad for a day’s work.
Or so they think. Knocked down but not out, and making them more implacable.

On Greenwich 1446:
There can be no mistake that Suffolk sold us poorly at the Treaty of Tours. He has betrayed the country and shall pay for it, should I have words to say about it.
The usual price in that period became to have one’s head hacked off and shoved on a pole or nailed above a gate.
He will not protect you. We are in a time of choosing, and it is sad to me that it will not be his choice.
It will be the perennial Evil Councillors.
“I have no want for the crown,” Humphrey spun on him with a serious face, “Do you?”

“I...do not,” Richard answered with question.
That slight hesitation in the reply. Circumstances will no doubt come that a ’yet’ should be added.
I have you here to show you your true place. I am the son of a King. Brother to a King. Uncle to a King at the now. And what is all of that? No thing.
The worms are burrowing all through the bud by now. The rottenness is spreading from within while France seeks to exploit it from without.
 
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Fb-fb:

The Wars of the Roses will come soon. The stage is set.

Dissent reigns everywhere, and the peace is hated.
Just about set. I have one more piece before we start chapter 2 and the real fun starts.

On Westminster 1445:

Nothing, really, and certainly no lasting peace. A weak king bargaining (via Suffolk) from a weak position, in desperation, against a far more ruthless opponent determined to exploit it.

Fateful moment #1.

Disastrous appointment #1 (In OTL anyway).

Oh dear.


Fateful moment #2, again with far-reaching implications.

Or so they think. Knocked down but not out, and making them more implacable.

On Greenwich 1446:

The usual price in that period became to have one’s head hacked off and shoved on a pole or nailed above a gate.

It will be the perennial Evil Councillors.

That slight hesitation in the reply. Circumstances will no doubt come that a ’yet’ should be added.

The worms are burrowing all through the bud by now. The rottenness is spreading from within while France seeks to exploit it from without.
Excellent points all. I hope I've done justice to the puzzle pieces that kick the thing off good and proper. I've taken a few artistic liberties but the motivations hopefully remain (if not perhaps strengthened a bit.)


To all - the final section of chapter 1 will follow. Each of the others took place prior to the prologue but this one happens just after it and rather completes the circle, I hope. After some comments, I'll respond with some gameplay info and then we'll get going with the real meat of the piece. Also, I wonder if anyone notices any type of change between the first 6 pieces and these last two. Only 14 years difference in the writing. ;)

Thank you all for reading and commenting. :)
 
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P2fkpl4.jpg


Wolvesey Palace, March 1447

Thomas did his best to sleep on the uncomfortable pallet laid out for him. The blanket was sheer thin and his arm was his pillow. He very nearly fell asleep a few times and each time he saw visions of his young wife. Her golden hair was as soft as ever and her full cheeks...all he wanted to touch. The longer he kept his eyes closed, he could begin to see the faces of his two children, Adam and Alice. Twins...whatever was his wife thinking? But cherubic and so sweet. They were only nine years old, but as he turned on his make shift bed, he thanked God that they were there to help his beautiful Lizzie. He had been gone for so long.

And then he heard the voice…

“You there...” it trailed off with a frail tone, “...I am wanting.”

Without thinking, Thomas threw off his meager cover and stood to gather wine. Filling a goblet full, he shifted to the bed and held the old man’s head to drink. Those once sharpened features of that face were now wrinkled and his lips were thin and seeming to beg for the sustenance of such drink. As much wine that may have been taken in was matched only by that which spilled around his mouth as he lapped at the offering. Yet the old man did not seem to care. No hand came to his face to wipe away the spill. It was as expected as much as it did not matter.

“I...am not long...for this night,” the voice rasped as a head fell to the soft feathered pillow.

Thomas did his best to clean the old man’s face, “You shall be well, Your Grace.”

Suddenly clear eyes flashed in the murky light of the candle and a crooked and dirty grin enveloped the mouth of Henry Beaufort, “I have no need to be made well, my son...I AM well...and will be to my Lord and Creator soon enough. The wages...of my trial...will soon be over.”

“Of course, milord...” Thomas again attempted to offer some drink but an aged hand softly pushed the cup away.

“You are loyal,” the old man looked deeply into his servant’s eyes, “Though I know not why...”

Thomas stood taller, “For I must, Your Grace. You are the esteemed and honored Cardinal and confidant to the King!”

Henry allowed a slight smile upon his face, “I am no thing but...a bastard, my son. And worse...the spare to my elder brother.”

“I could not say, milord...” Thomas attempted to answer.

“Nor should you...it is not your...” the Cardinal attempted to speak but found a cough. When he finally found some peace, he reached up his bony hand to touch at Thomas’ face, “Where are you from, my son?”

Thomas gave nod, “To Bath...milord.”

“And...you find family?” Henry pressed to his face, “Children...other people?”

“I do, Your Grace,” Thomas answered quickly with a confused eye, “Wife...children...and my father still lives.”

Henry Beaufort did his best to sit up in his bed and failed. Instead he rested his head once more with a grin, “Seen much...your old man has found...I would think. Many years and much turmoil.”

“Surely, milord...and more than that,” Thomas replied with a harder face, “Yet what care have you for my father?”

The Cardinal kept his dirty grin, “None. Tis not my flock. Mine is to the crown...the King. My family. As much as yours might be to you.”

“Are you hurting, milord?” Thomas questioned, “I may fetch the physician.”

Henry closed his eyes and smiled, “I find no hurt. Pain...yes. Yet no hurt. My life...has been...complete.”

“And such a life!” Thomas attempted to comfort this ailing prelate.

“I am...” Cardinal Beaufort kept his eyes closed as he remembered, “...the victor. My rival...is gone to hell. My work...is complete.”

Thomas took a hesitant step before sitting to the bed and reaching out for the old man’s hand, “Your Grace...you are a man of God. What need have you for rivals...enemies?”

“You are an innocent,” the Cardinal smiled and looked into his servant’s eye with clarity, “You cannot know it all. Yet I do...I see it all so clearly now. My father...and all of his travails. My dear mother...whom they called a whore. My brothers...all of them! One...was even a King!”

“I should fetch the physician, milord,” Thomas pleaded.

Henry looked to him with wide eyes, “Why, my son? There is no need. There is naught that he might do. I have...fulfilled my destiny. I fought crusade in Bohemia! I saw the witch of France burned for the glory of God Almighty! I served my good nephew Hal as he bested the French and put them low! I was given my place by the Holy Father himself...truly...a Cardinal of the Church in Rome. I have no need...of assistance!”

“Surely, milord...” Thomas attempted to counsel as he held the old Cardinal’s hand, “...you may wish to speak with your nephews.”

Cardinal Beaufort flashed a brief grin, “Why ever for? They are useless. Those that remain have none of their father’s spirit...tenacity. There is only the one nephew...grand-nephew. He is all that matters.”

“Is the King to come here, milord?!” Thomas was suddenly excited.

The Cardinal softly patted his servant’s hand, “She would not. And so neither will he. He is well taken care of by the lady...for she knows what is right.”

“Yet you are alone, milord...” Thomas suggested with sadness, “...at this great hour.”

Henry softened his features and found a slight smile, “I would...wish to see...sweet Jane. But that...is not to be. I gave that up...many years ago.”

Thomas was confused, “A lady, milord? One that you knew?”

“One that knows naught of me, my son,” the Cardinal rested his head, “One that knows now a life...I once knew.”

“A...mistress, milord?”

The Cardinal found enough strength to open his eyes sharply, “You speak too plainly...my son. But no. The result.”

Thomas helped the Cardinal rest once more with a skeptical eye, “You have indeed lived a full life, Your Grace. I did not know...”

“Nor should you,” Henry answered with his eyes calmly closing, “It is not your place. Nor...mine.”

“Milord...” Thomas held at his hand as it softly went limp, “...you will be missed by many.”

Cardinal Henry Beaufort, second Beaufort son of John of Gaunt and grandson to King Edward III found enough strength to pull his servant close, “I will...not. Yet...what care...have I? My last foe...is defeated...and I return to the bosom of my Lord...while he shall rot. My nephew...is...gone. And I...may rest…in peace. I...won.”

The old man’s eyes closed as he slumped back in the bed and Thomas was left alone. It was the end of an era. And the birth of a new one.


End of Chapter 1
 
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Bullfilter

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I saw the witch of France burned for the glory of God Almighty!
Poor young Joan. Abandoned to her enemies. Hard done by her own, but probably an inevitable fate.
It was the end of an era. And the birth of a new one.
And a difficult birth for a no doubt troubled one.
 
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HistoryDude

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The Cardinal believes he won.

Time will show how true that is.
 
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coz1

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Notes on Gameplay:

So it comes the time that I must place my gameplay cards on the table. As I've mentioned, it will be very heavily buried underneath the narrative. Yet from time to time, I do feel the need to explain a few things as to what I have done. I did try this in game some years back and noticed then that while the game was fun, it still does not model terribly well the WOTR sequence of events. As I fired it up again this time around, it had not changed much. And the first issue is that while it makes sense to put Henry's stats as zeros across the board, it also places a very harsh negative qualifier on England as regards the WOTR event which is at hand as the game begins in 1444. It has not started, but a countdown is already working against you and, in my opinion, those harsh qualifiers make the thing begin far too early.

That the House of York is not in power makes sense, but then you toss on a negative to add to that with each of Henry's stats. Another adding to the time until it sparks is stability level (if under +1) and of the few times I gamed it out, the war always began in 1448. It is inevitable with the starting position. And then, when the Treaty of Tours is modeled, you have a choice. Give it back, that drops stab to 0. Or to not give it back which may spark a war with France, but not historically accurate. Henry did dither for some time in RL after agreeing to the Treaty. It did anger Charles VII. But Henry did finally acquiesce to the transfer. This is much the reason there was so much bitterness by many at the time.

And so when I played it out this last time, I did two things. After the start in 1444, I do agree to give Maine and Anjou back, and it does switch back to the French and then I modded the save game and bumped my stability back to +1. Further to that, I bumped up Henry's stats to 2 across the board. This takes away all of the negative qualifiers other than the House of York not being in power. For the first, in this period it was not so much that York desired the Kingdom. He merely claimed he desired good and proper Councillors for King Henry (he himself among them.) And for the second, for all of their worth (or lack thereof), Henry did have a full council regardless of his personal ability. You can say what you will about what and how they did, but they certainly added to Henry's personal worth as King.

You may call it a cheat, but I call it trying to better model real life events as best I can given the framework. I will do this again in the early going (and against me that time, and I will mention so when I do) but what I desire is something very near to RL even if not exactly that. There is too much good stuff to let go in these early days that help explain the motivations of our players and I do not want to lose that in the story because I am bound to EUIV too closely (though as we go forward the game will be more in power, as it were.) The practical result of my changes allows me some few more years before the event fires and I think the modification worth it so I can write the story I want to tell.

Fb-fb:

Poor young Joan. Abandoned to her enemies. Hard done by her own, but probably an inevitable fate.

And a difficult birth for a no doubt troubled one.
The Cardinal had a full life, to be sure. He did witness a lot.

The Cardinal believes he won.

Time will show how true that is.
As I've studied the history, it always strikes me that Cardinal Beaufort dies barely a month after Duke Humphrey. Two bitter foes as they lived. And both exit the scene around the same time to allow new players to act. Part of my fascination of this story.


To all - I'll give it a day or two to start Chapter 2 so some can catch up should they wish. I've written a good portion of that chapter already, but I'm really only into 1450 in the game. I play this one very slow because I want to note every little thing (and those I may need to change for the tale.) Also, the Creek AAR is getting rather heated at the now so I may play that one out a bit more at the moment.

Thank you very much to all that are reading, considering it and giving comment. It is nice to be back and writing narrative again. I rather took 2020 off in that regard and I'm happy to note that while my writing muscles are weakened, they remain strong enough (I hope.) Thank you again! :)
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Looking good so far. As ever.
 
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Bullfilter

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The practical result of my changes allows me some few more years before the event fires and I think the modification worth it so I can write the story I want to tell.
Very logical and in keeping with the narrative intent - a sensible little mini mod.
while my writing muscles are weakened, they remain strong enough
A few good runs and the match fitness returns very quickly for the veteran player. I’m sure the literary touch downs will be coming thick and fast! :)
 
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