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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kapt Torbjorn

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No, you're Beyond any Woods, Holly or not. The country name gives it away.

Transylvania has such an interesting name and flag and all these other little things I keep finding about it. It's probably my favourite little slice of the world.

Excellent battle update, Kapt Torbjorn!

Thanks!

Great update, as always! :)

:D

--------------

And the AARland Choice AwAARds are back!
http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?501840-AARland-Choice-AwAARds-2010-(Round-3)

The question is however, what category should this fall under this time around? It's technically a history book, but there's been a rather large deluge of narrative style chapters as of late. *puts on thinking cap*
 

Doctor Zoviet

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Concentrated Awesome, this thread is so epic it deserves to make it's own category.


Granted, many would be put under that category, but this is the push :3
 

Lhankor

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Just wanted to say that this AAR is truly inspirational for a newbie; enough to make me break my lurking duck. I have sat and read it from beginning to end in (almost) one sitting. Maybe one day one of my EU III games will last long enough before I get mulched for me to do something similar ...

Looking forward to the next installment with bated breath.
 

Ashantai

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Hmm, I nominated it under narrative, but I can change it if desired.
 

Qorten

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The earlier parts were certainly history book but IMO it has evolved more into narrative by now. Therefore I nominated it under EU narrative.
 

Kapt Torbjorn

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Narrative it is then!

Concentrated Awesome, this thread is so epic it deserves to make it's own category.


Granted, many would be put under that category, but this is the push :3

Heh, thank you very much.


Just wanted to say that this AAR is truly inspirational for a newbie; enough to make me break my lurking duck. I have sat and read it from beginning to end in (almost) one sitting. Maybe one day one of my EU III games will last long enough before I get mulched for me to do something similar ...

Looking forward to the next installment with bated breath.

:D That is great news to hear. This forum is all the more better to post within then to just simply lurk. The interesting part is about AARs is that a game doesn't even really need to be long or filled with interesting events and whatnot to spin a nice tale about it, it's all up to the writer :)

----

This next chapter is quite the monster I must say. Eek.
 
Last edited:

Kapt Torbjorn

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k8WLc.gif

Sergeant Drago Jágic took a deep swig from the canteen of rum he had hanging by his side, scrunching his face together as the rank taste of the cheap drink washed through his body. Beside him on the dirt track that was the pitiful excuse for a road in a tiny village on the outskirts of Koloszvár stood Lieutenant Anton Kostov, the fresh badge denoting his new rank contrasting heavily with his worn out clothing and face.

oKPae.png

The village that the Army de Mihály was camped in

“I’d give it another day or two.” Lieutenant Kostov spoke dismissively, as it did not matter to him whether the assault on Koloszvár would take place tomorrow or a week from now. The heavy boom of artillery forward of the village was enough of a reminder of the grim fight that they had to look forward to. Drago chose to ignore his newly promoted lieutenant’s greeting.

“You think they promoted us simply because all our officers keep dying?” Drago paused for a moment before adding the proper ‘sir’ at the end. It still felt odd though.

“That and the fact that General Apafi really couldn’t not promote us. We did after all, save his army.”

“Depending on whose story you believe, sir.” Drago chuckled at that, considering there were those on the General’s staff who believed that him and Kostov should’ve been demoted for their actions at Belvárosi bridge, claiming that they ‘abandoned their duties and fled their proper station in the battle line’. Never mind that they ‘fled’ to an area of the army’s line that was near collapse and managed to turn that around.

Lieutenant Kostov ignored the statement and held out his hand for Drago’s canteen, which was relinquished with an air of reluctance that the both of them knew was superfluous. Kostov took a gulp of the harsh rum and handed it back. “This war is stupid.”

Drago thought about the statement for a moment, watching a supply wagon carrying cannon ammunition past the village. “The more battles I fight in, the more I believe that all wars are stupid, sir.”

“Exactly!” Lieutenant Kostov paused for a moment, “Maybe you’re right. I don’t really think they should’ve promoted us.” They both chuckled at that, but it was not the jolly laugh of men who enjoyed life, instead it was meant as a distraction against what both of them knew – that regardless of what they wanted this was the path that they were meant to take, and there was nothing they could do to change it.

Off in the distance the two soldiers could see the walls of Koloszvár, the capital of the Transylvanian Empire, as the occasional plume of dust and smoke was thrown up as a cannon ball slammed into the city’s walls. It was a daunting prospect for anyone to face. The Army de Mihály and Prussian First Army was expected to break into the capital of Transylvania, a capital which was defended by over 8,000 men to their 12,000. And all of this before the Army de Janos, commanded by General Samuel Alvinzcy could march his men down to relieve the capital. If that happened they were doomed, and the prospect of putting the rightful heir of Ákos of the Great upon the throne would die with them.

Both men walked to the side of the dirt road as a group of cavalry passed them, the man at the front of the group wearing the ragged and stained uniform of a captain of the Emperor’s personal guard.

“Don’t see that uniform that much anymore.” Lieutenant Kostov remarked, pointing at the man in the lead.

“Do you get the feeling that everything is sort of coming to a close, sir?”

“I get the feeling like I’m getting too old for this nonsense.” Kostov saying so was nonsense in and of itself, being only 34 years old, but both of them nodded in silence as the group of cavalry silently filed past them.

“I agree, though. All wars are stupid, Drago.” They both nodded in silence to that too.

----------------------------​

Kálmán Lázár opened the heavy wooden door to the tavern that General Leopold Apafi and his staff were staying and waved away a servant that inquired as to the nature of his visit, instead crossing straight to the room that General Apafi was staying in.

He opened the door to find the General being informed as to how close the artillery was to making a serviceable breach in the walls by a young artillery lieutenant, and so Kálmán calming leaned against the wall and waited to be received by the General.

Soon enough, Leopold had waved away the artillery lieutenant and then stood and closed the door, crossing back to his desk and motioning Captain Kálmán to take a seat in the chair from across from him, which he dutifully did.

“My brother has sent you?” Leopold asked distractedly as he sorted through supply papers that cluttered his desk, absent mindedly signing every odd one and tossing the rest away.

“Dávid figured it would be best if you had someone with you who knew the city and the royal palace extensively.”

“My brother is always trying to interfere with my work.”

Kálmán stopped and narrowed his eyes at the General who sat across from him. “With all due respect Leopold, I think this situation we find ourselves in is a fair bit more pressing than your concerns about your brother meddling in your affairs.”

Leopold tossed down a paper that detailed in very precise order the remaining oxen the army had for pulling artillery supply wagons and looked at Captain Lázár with an expression of mock disappointment. “I was kidding, Christ! I’m glad to have you here.” Leopold pulled out a drawer in his desk and unfolded a map of the city of Koloszvár, weighing it down with an ink well and candlestick, jumping straight to the point of the meeting. “Now, what exactly would you do if you found yourself in my situation?”

Captain Kálmán Lázár ran his fingers over the perimeter of the city of Koloszvár on the map that was laid out before him, and jabbed his finger at the eastern wall. “This is where the breach is being made?” Leopold nodded, and the captain of the Emperor’s Guard continued searching.

“And how many men do they have?”

Leopold toyed with the idea of presenting a view to the captain that it was not an almost impossible task to take the city, but decided against it. “At least 8,000.”

Kálmán whistled softly. He knew how many men the Army de Mihály had, and he also had been a soldier long enough to understand that it was not nearly enough to take the city from such a large defending force. After a long silence between the two men, Kálmán eventually pointed to the southern wall of Koloszvár. “That’s where I’d attack. A small force can get over the walls and make their way into the city un-seen. Then storm the palace and kill Gábor. It would be hard, but we could do it.”

“We?”

“Me. I. You didn’t expect me to suggest someone else to lead the force did you?”

“I suppose not,” Leopold paused as his mind worked itself over the plan, “how many men do you need?”

“Twenty should do.”

“That little?” Leopold was almost caught off guard by how small a force the guard’s captain recommended.

“Any more than that risks the chance of appearing out of place once we get inside the city.”

Leopold nodded in understanding. “I assume you want 20 of my best men then, yes?”

“Fifteen. I already have some of my men here; and not precisely your best.”

“Not my best?”

Kálmán smiled a rather wicked grin, as if he hid a secret that only he was privy to. “You give me the fifteen best men in this entire army and I end up with a group of soldiers that speak fifteen different languages. No, I want fifteen of your best men from a single regiment.”

“I don’t know if I can do that. We’re already stretched thin as it is, and robbing an entire regiment of their best would practically cripple them.”

“Then give me fifteen of your best from some reserve regiment,” Kálmán said before adding, “as long as it’s a good regiment. I don’t want fifteen men from some fresh regiment.”

Leopold reluctantly nodded and then stood and walked to the door, opening it and calling for an aide who brought him a list of the ‘good’ reserve regiments that were either too under strength or ill-equipped to take the brunt of the fighting. There was only one regiment on the list that made any sense though. The 4th of Larissa.

--------------------------------​

Drago woke with a sour feeling in his stomach, the after product of too much cheap rum and various other filler drinks in between. He vaguely recalled the same Guard’s captain visiting him in the tavern him and Lieutenant Kostov had been drinking in the night before, but he could not recall for the life of him what was said. Eventually he decided it wasn’t important and rolled off the straw mattress he had been sleeping on and picked himself up. Most of the men in the 4th were still asleep beside him, but as his eyes focused to the early morning light he saw the silhouette of Lieutenant Kostov standing in the doorway of the barn part of the 4th was billeted in. “You’re up early.”

Lieutenant Kostov eyed Drago suspiciously, eventually concluding that Drago had forgot what it was the Guard’s captain had asked them to take part in today. “Do you remember anything that Captain Lázár said last night, sergeant?”

“Who?”

Kostov groaned and motioned Drago to followed him out the barn, which the hangover Sergeant grudgingly did, his boots shuffling raggedly on the floor of the barn as he crossed outside. Kostov turned to him when they were both out of earshot of any of men in the 4th that might be awake this early. “We’re to take the city today. Me, you, Lázár, and seventeen other men.”

Drago couldn’t help but blurt out laughing, even though it churned his stomach. “You’re bloody mad, sir.”

“You said you’d do it as well, sergeant.”

“I never said anything like that!” Drago wiped the sleep from his eyes before continuing, “That’s suicide! I’m not stupid enough to have agreed to even try that.”

“Maybe not when you’re sober.”

Drago groaned and plopped himself down on the ground. “Twenty? We’re supposed to take Koloszvár with twenty men? Attack the gatehouse from inside and let the army in, is that it, sir?”

“Oh we could do that easy enough, but no.” Kostov looked around himself to make sure no one was within range to eavesdrop and then dropped his voice to a whisper, “No. We’re going to sneak into Koloszvár, make our way into the palace, and the kill Gábor.”

“WHAT?” Drago shouted, causing a group of birds in a nearby to take off in panic and a servant carrying water nearby to look over. Lieutenant Kostov motioned him to be quiet.
“You can’t be serious, sir. There’s got to be a thousand soldiers in that palace!” Drago moaned, “Oh God. I agreed to this?!”

Kostov couldn’t help but chuckled at the contrast between drunken Drago and sober Drago, one ready to leap straight into the fire and cut off the head of the snake and the other only wanting to see himself alive out of the war. “Yes. In fact, your exact words were ‘Upon my honour I will follow you Captain Lázár. Let’s stick that bugger straight through the heart!’”

“Oh, Christ.” Drago rolled over and vomited last night’s dinner onto the grass outside the barn. He picked himself up with much groaning and eventually followed Lieutenant Kostov to the outskirts of the village. The regiments in the village were slowly waking up and finding a hot breakfast prepared for them – a sure enough sign that the day had come to take Koloszvár. Drago eyed the breakfasts being prepared hungrily, but Kostov explained that Captain Lázár would have better food waiting for them.

The two of them ambled their way through the camp at the outskirts near to a windmill a ways from the village where they met with Captain Lázár, four other soldiers of the Emperor’s Personal guard, and the rest of those chosen from the 4th of Larissa. After they had eaten breakfast Captain Lázár stood.

“Obviously you’ve all figured out that today is the day.” The soldiers around the table all nodded.

“Well, our job is going to the trickiest of all. You’ve all agreed to do it,” Captain Lázár eyed Drago who blushed slightly, “but as until now I haven’t had a chance to explain exactly how.” Kálmán pulled the same map him and General Apafi had been scouring over previously and unfolded it onto the table.

“We go over the wall here,” the Guard’s captain pointed to Koloszvár’s Southern wall, “while the rest of the Army is trying to make its way through the breach. We go over with these,” he pulled out a grappling hook from a nearby saddlebag and tossed it on top of the map, followed quickly by a dirty looking uniform, “and we wear these.”

The second item brought an ominous silence to group assembled around the table.

“They’re in the city, then?” A corporal from the 4th asked tentatively.

Captain Lázár nodded, “which makes it all the more crucial we succeed in our mission, because if they,” he pointed at the crumpled uniform that sat above the map, “are holding the walls, the army of the heavens itself would never be able to break through.”

All the faces of the men present showed a mix of desperation and determination, for the uniform that lay before them showed the well worn badges of the 1st of Banat.

---------------------------------------------

Background Tab (Music)

The group of soldiers surged forward with a cheer, calling out the name of Saint Istvan as they stormed the breach of the city that bore his name. They clamored up the jagged bits of wall that had been blasted aside by cannons, the first into the breach. If they lived, they could expect promotion and fame within the entire army, but if they died their deaths would still be meaningful as they took the full weight of the first blow from the defenders of the city.

But they were damned men, their death a certainty. General Leopold Apafi had known beforehand that the breach was mined, but the soldiers who had volunteered to be the first to brave the horrors of the breach served two purposes – one to clear the way for the rest of the army, and the second to provide enough distraction for Captain Lázár and his small band to slip over the Southern wall of the city.

As the very ground shook while the mines were detonated, all that could be heard from the city’s southern wall was the faint clank of five grappling hooks gripping onto the edge of wall, and quick as lighting the first soldiers of Lázár’s group were over the walls, and two bodies were tossed off the wall, dark stains of blood still expanding across their chests.

-------------------------------------​

Sergeant Drago Jágic took hold of the rope and began his climb, keeping pace with Lieutenant Anton Kostov on the rope beside them as they both made their way up the southern wall. At the top Corporal Mitsotakis held out his hand and Drago gripped it and was hauled over the lip of the wall. If he strained his eyes he could see the soldiers guarding the breach at the Eastern wall, fighting against the Army de Mihály that was desperately trying to break through. Captain Lázár beckoned the group, and Drago thought he could see the flag of the 1st of Banat flying over the Eastern wall as they all jumped down from the wall onto the roof of a shoe merchant’s shop below.

The group made their way through the narrow streets of Koloszvár, picking their way through alleys and backways on their way towards the palace. The city was crowding with soldiers, so they did not look entirely out of place, but Captain Lázár wanted to avoid any confrontation for both fear of recognition of him or any of the guardsmen he had with him, and the fact that the any officer would immediately challenge them as to why they were not with the rest of their regiment defending the breach.

The steady drum of cannons and crack of muskets slowly faded away as they made their way deeper into the city, but as they approached one of Koloszvár’s main streets Captain Lázár hissed at them to get themselves hidden. The only place of refuge seemed to be a tavern at the side of the street, so they all quickly made for the doorway. But as the group hurried inside Drago was caught at the back, and behind him heard the sharp commanding tone of a man born to high status.

“Halt!”

Drago froze, and from the shadow of the doorway saw a flash of panic cross Lieutenant Kostov’s face. Drago turned around and stood at attention.

“Yes sir?” Some deep dark recess of his memory plucked at him as the officer dismounted and walked forward. Drago could not place the man’s uniform, but as the man walked forward Drago suddenly remembered who he was – General Samuel Bethlen.

General Bethlen pointed inside the tavern, “what’re you up to soldier?”

Sergeant Drago’s mind was working in over-drive and he managed to grab hold of one of the ideas that flew through his brain. “Water, sir.” In his nervousness it came out as little more than a croak, which probably helped sell the story to the General standing before him.

“Water.” General Bethlen slowly walked around Drago in a circle, “water.”

“Yes sir. Need water for the men on the walls, sir.”

“And yet you are standing in front of a tavern, private; a tavern that is a fair ways away from the wall.” Bethlen crossed his arms as he eyed daggers at what seemed to be an impudent rat of a soldier standing in front of him.

“My lieutenant thought it would be faster if we just got beer, sir; since they’re already in barrels and whatnot, sir.”

Bethlen’s face twisted in a ruckus of disgust. “There are very few things I dislike more than soldiers drinking on the job, private.”

“Sorry, sir. Won’t happen again, sir.”

“You are lucky I suppose. I am looking forward to watching that snake Leopold get his entire army massacred and with it all his hopes for that bastard kid. So, you can take your ‘water’ to your comrades at the wall, but if I ever catch you doing something like this again I’ll cut your fucking tongue out, you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” Drago nodded enthusiastically, “Sorry, sir.”

Bethlen turned around with a snort and mounted his horse before speeding off to the Eastern wall followed by his aides, and Drago let out a heavy sigh of relief before making his way inside the tavern where a smiling Kostov handed him a drink, who he took and gulped down greedily. “Christ Almighty I was shaking like a leaf!”

Captain Lázár came forward and patted Drago on the back, “Good work. But we need to get going, c’mon.”

They made their way through the back of the tavern past the shop’s owner who was tied up and gagged in the back room for fear he would alert the guards.

“This way.” Lázár beckoned to a ramshackle house a street away from the walls of the palace grounds, bringing about puzzling looks from everyone but Sergeant Borys who only grinned. They made their way inside and Lázár made led the way down to the basement where he unrolled a dust filled carpet to reveal a cellar door.

“Hopefully there are not too many guards in these,” Lázár lifted the cellar door to reveal stone stairs that led into darkness, “tunnels.”

“What are these tunnels?” Drago whispered to Lázár as they made their way quietly through the darkness, not using torches in case Gábor had placed guards inside, as there were supposed to be.

“These are the old mining shafts from when the Romans were here. Samuel used them when he was King to take the city back from the nobles, and after that he collapsed them all, or so it was thought. There’s a few that were kept intact and reinforced or expanded; they’re there in case the palace is attacked. I didn’t use them when Gábor marched on the palace because I had thought for sure he must’ve known about them. Easy, quiet place to kill an Emperor down-“ Lázár halted himself and held up his fist and the line behind him eased to a stop, quiet as mice. The Guard’s Captain flashed a few quick signals to Sergeant Marku Inoescu who was behind him, and the sergeant slipped forward, his soft footsteps barely audible as he was swallowed by the darkness ahead of them. They waited in the darkness and in short order the quick hiss of a blade came from the abyss to taunt their ears, followed by the muted thump of a body being eased onto the ground.

Lázár waved them forward and the set forward again, being rejoined by Sergeant Marku. They felt their way through the tunnel, passing over the body of a man wearing the uniform of the Emperor’s Guard, a fresh gash across his throat.

After what felt like an eternity Lázár led them past a crossroads and they found themselves at a crude wooden door, which Lázár beckoned Drago to and had him press his ear against.

“What do you hear?”

Drago strained his ears, searching for anything, “nothing.”

Lázár patted his on the shoulder, “then it’s time.” He paused as he looked at the shadow shrouded faces of the soldiers behind him. “Whatever happens, I just want you all to know I’ve never had the pleasure of leading such a courageous group of men.” They smiled in response, and Lázár opened the door, whose outer appearance was meant to blend into the wall on the outside of the tunnel, and dragged across the bookcase that covered the door to reveal one of the inner hallways of the palace.

Gábor was not a kind man, thankfully, and so he had found it exceedingly difficult to find servants to fill the depleted ranks of the palace following his coup, and so the hallway the group emerged into was deserted, void of the usual bustle of servants, dignitaries, and messengers. They crawled out like a gang of rats sneaking into a warehouse’s storerooms, and some began to pat themselves down to get rid of the dust and grime they had accumulated, but Lázár hissed at them to stop. He wanted them to look grimy and dirty, as if they had just come from the breach, and so the group set off down the hallway, to the throne room.

They marched through the palace, and Lázár nodded to Borys, who slipped away from the group carrying a bag that jingled and clanked with every step. Nobody raised an eyebrow. As they made their way through the palace corridors they rounded the corner to the hallway outside the throne room, and through the small windows that were open across the wall they could hear the Usurper arguing with someone inside.

“Because it is my order, that’s why God damnit!”

The steady tramp of the group’s footsteps seemed to reverberate off the walls with an ominous twinge.

“You show me disrespect at every possible opportunity, and lap your praise on that…that dog of a man!”

“Mind your fucking tongue, General, and keep clear who exactly you are speaking to.” even through the hallway the soldiers of the 4th of Larissa could detect the malice that filtered through what had to be Gábor’s voice.

“How can you expect me to show you respect when to give me none? I have served you to the highest of my abilities with utmost loyalty, and you repay me how? By disrespecting me in front of my men and replacing me with Bethlen? That man has brought nothing but disaster wherever he goes, and whoever he commands, Emperor.” The last word was spat out with equal malice.

“Look around you, maggot. See these men? I could snap my fingers and they’d chop you into little dog treats in an instant, and they’d do it with looks of glee all over their faces. Either obey my orders, or you can try your little weaseling arguments with the Devil.”

“If you even tried it half the men in this city would revolt. At the very least you’d have to deal with the 1st.”

“Oh dear me, not the fucking 1st of Banat.” Gábor laughed, a sickly thing to hear by anyone’s standard.

Lázár and the rest of the group rounded the corner to the front of the throne room and were joined by Sergeant Borys coming from the other side, who nodded at Lázár. There was a string of shouts from inside the throne room and suddenly the door was thrown open and out stormed General Lorand Bocskai, who stopped in surprise as he was faced with the group of scarred and grim faced soldiers, uniforms ratty and dusty. The General shook his head, “good luck trying to deal with that creature in there.” He spoke plainly as the soldiers in front of him wore the uniforms of one of his own regiments, and then sighed and continued walking.

But General Bocskai froze and short distance away and turned back to look at Lázár.

“What is your name, soldier?”

“Tibor Csonka, sir.”

Bocskai narrowed his eyes, deep in thought. “And what do you wish with the Emperor?”

“Just delivering him news from the walls, sir. The first assault has been defeated.” Lázár had no idea if it were true or not, it could very well have been defeated an hour ago, he had no idea how long it had been since they had slipped over the southern wall of the city.

“And these?” Bocksai gestured to the rest of the group.

“My Major thought it would be good if we give the citizens a good show of force, to show them we’re in full control of the situation, sir.”

Bocksai nodded, seemingly satisfied with the answer. He turned and began walking away before he halted for a second time.

“Oh, and Captain?”

“Yes sir?” Lázár froze as he realized what he had just done, for his uniform bore the rank of a Lieutenant of the 1st, not a Captain. And the 1st of Banat was one of Bocskai’s regiments, and he would certainly not have made such a mistake.

Bocskai smiled knowingly as he looked at Lázár, “Good luck.” The General turned his back on the group and continued on his way out of the palace.

As General Bocskai rounded the corner out of view Lázár turned to the rest of the group with a wide grin on his face. “Listen. We all go in, I go up to Gábor, and when I give the word you do your work. Wait for my word.” They all nodded assent, and then Captain Kálmán Lázár led the remainder of his Guardsmen and the chosen men of the 4th of Larissa into the throne room.

The first glimpse Drago had of the room made his breath freeze in his throat as lining both walls were Guardsmen bearing the red armband of the Usurper. Their uniforms looked like a sea of red and yellow, stretching from one end of the room to the other, at least sixty men in total. Drago breathed heavily as Captain Lázár made his way forward, calm as if he were simply taking a stroll down the street. Gábor Plater turned to looked at the bedraggled group that approached the throne with a look of contempt.

The Usurper waved his hand at Lázár. “That’s far enough, soldier. Why are you in my throneroom and why have you brought these…things with you? If this is some game of Bocskai’s I am not amused.”

Lázár looked about the room, visibly unsettled as he realized he was not nearly as close as he would’ve liked to the throne.

“You are to answer me when I ask you a question!” Gábor stood and shouted at Lázár.

“Sorry, Emperor. I...we, are here to deliver news to you. The first assault has been beaten off, but it looks as if the Army de Mihály is preparing for another attempt.”

“Splendid!” Gábor sat back down, obviously pleased with the news that Lázár had conjured up, but his mood quickly turned sour again. “Well? You’ve delivered your news, now get out of my sight, and take your soldiers with you.”

Lázár looked back and Borys shrugged. “There is something else, Emperor.” Lázár walked forward and one of the guards standing beside the throne gripped the hilt of his sword, drawing Gábor’s gaze before he quickly returned it to Captain Lázár. Very quickly Gábor’s gaze turned to puzzlement, and he stood again from the throne.

“I have seen you before. Where?”

Lázár kept walking forward slowly, hoping Gábor’s puzzlement would but blind him for a few more moments.

“I have been garrisoned here for a few weeks; perhaps you have seen me during that time somewhere, Emperor?”

Gábor was visibly puzzled, and as Captain Lázár drew closer it seemed that all the tension in the world had been condensed into this very throne room.

“No…no. It’s,” Gábor twisted his head to the side, wracking his memory trying to place the face of the man who walked steadily towards him, “It was not recently, something from before the-“ the man’s eyes suddenly sharpened and his mind connected the face with correct memory.

“Guards!”

“Now!” Twenty blades hissed out of their scabbards and slashed at the red armbanded Guardsmen along the walls, and Lázár whipped his own out and surged forward at Gábor, a wild swing coming forward with enough force to behead an ox, but the Guardsmen who had been tensed beforehand threw himself forward in front of the Emperor and Lázár’s blade sunk deep into the man’s shoulder and lodged in his chest.

Gábor threw himself backwards as the other guard that had flanked him came forward. Somewhere in the room the call was raised, “Defend the Emperor!” and the Guardsman came at Lázár with his blade drawn and stabbed forward, driving it through Lázár’s stomach as he tried desperately the free his blade from the other guardsman he had slain.

Drago watched as Lázár crumpled to the floor and Sergeant Borys charged forward, his eyes red with rage as he came after his Captain’s killer, beating the man’s blade down by sheer force and cleaving his arm off before he too was cut down by other guardsmen who swarmed to the Usurper, protecting him with their bodies and blades.

But Drago was too busy to help, fending off the blades of Guardsman who came at him with a fury, knocking aside the wild swings and precise stabs of the red armband Emperor’s guards. Kostov was to his right, sinking his blade into a brute of a man who had crumpled to his knees from a slash to his hamstring, and Kostov joined his side, battering blades aside and grunting in satisfaction as his sword ran through another of Gábor’s guards.

The entire throne room was chaos as the sharp clang of metal against metal sounded all around it, and in the back another sound came through as one of Gábor’s guards yanked at the back doors only to hear the clink and clank of chains that kept the door shut – Borys had done his job admirably.

The sheer number of Guardsmen was overwhelming though, and slowly the men of the 4th were isolated and cut down, until a knot of them formed near the center of the room, desperately parrying blades that came forward seeking their death and viciously darting forward to claim another Guardsman victim. Somewhere a soldier of the 4th raised the call in Greek, “Death to the Usurper!” and the soldiers of Lázár's group raised a ragged cheer and came forward again, their faces grim and coated with blood and dirt.

A blade came slashing towards Drago while he was fighting another Guardsman and cut deeply into his thigh, bringing him to his knees. The guardsman in front of him shouted in glee and his sword came forward at Drago’s throat, but the man’s was shouldered aside and Lieutenant Kostov’s blade bit deep into the man’s throat, pulling Drago up at the same time.

Bodies littered the floor as the fighting continued and Gábor realized he was trapped within the throne room. He barked an order at the Guardsmen near him and they went forward into the fight - the only escape from this room was in killing Lázár’s group. Corporal Mitsotakis was cut down as five guardsmen descended on him, stabbing repeatedly at him until he collapsed, the dust on his uniform mixing with his blood to form a thick red paste that coagulated on the marble floor of the throne room.

The fight still went on though as the group of soldiers from the Army de Mihály were slowly picked away at, but they brought down two guardsmen for the every one of them that died, and ever so slow the frantic chaos of sounds, the bang of metal on metal and the dull thumps of bodies crashing to the floor grew sparser and sparser in between.

Soon enough it was just four men from that original group – Sergeant Drago Jágic, Lieutenant Anton Kostov, Sergeant Marku Inoescu, and Private Akylas Marangakis facing down a group of nine guardsmen, who cluttered around the calm figure of Gábor Plater, whose blade was still clean, as was the crown that sat upon his head.

“If you surrender, your deaths will be quick.” Gábor flashed a wicked smile at the group. Lieutenant Kostov spat in response. All four of them were breathing heavily and each bleeding from some sort of wound. Gábor waved his hand at his guardsmen, “Kill them.”


The knot of Guardsmen charged forward and the four soldiers went forward to meet them, blades already coated red with blood crashing against one another. Sergeant Marku went down with a sword stuck in his stomach and the remaining three inched backwards, but Marku picked himself up with a grunt that was not heard from behind and dragged the sword from his stomach and came at the Guardsmen from behind, slashing and cutting at their backs.

The startlement of one of their enemies coming back from the dead was the opportunity the other three needed, and their blades flashed forward with lighting speed. One of the Guardsmen had turned and slashed his blade across Marku’s chest, and he was rewarded by Lieutenant Kostov’s darting through his chestand rib cage.

Private Akylas let out a gasp of surprise as a Guardsmen brought his knee forward into the soldier’s stomach, then ran his blade down through the Greek’s shoulder blade and into his chest. The last Guardsman tripped over Akylas’ body and Kostov stabbed downwards, cutting into the man’s pelvis before ripping his blade free and staring at the Usurper, whose blade had finally been drawn.

Drago and Kostov came forward with their bloodied swords held at the ready, and Gábor grinned, coming forward with an uncanny speed at Drago who drew back to parry his blade, but in an instant the Usuper’s blade switched direction to Kostov, who had his own raised to come down on Gábor’s head. The tip of the blade punctured Kostov’s stomach easily and was withdrawn just as fast back to the ready position.

Kostov pressed his hand against his stomach as Gábor chuckled. “I have trained with swords all my life, you little shits. You can’t beat me.”

Drago threw a nervous glance at Lieutenant Kostov, who gritted his teeth. “Death to the Usurper.” They both rushed at the Emperor again, and Gábor tried the same trick, but Kostov did not withdraw to parry, and his blade came at the Emperor’s chest, and the only thing that saved Gábor from its point was that he tripped over the body of one of his slain guardsmen and crashed downwards. Kostov threw himself forward, the point of his swords aimed squarely at the Usurper’s heart, but Gábor rolled to the side, his blade crashing against Kostov’s; the cheap steel of a soldier’s blade against the finely crafted blade of a master swordsmen. Kostov’s sword shattered, and as Drago came forward to stab at the prostrate Gábor a dagger flashed in the Usurper’s other hand, darting forward to sink straight into Kostov’s heart; he was dead before he even knew what had happened.

Gábor kicked his foot forward, catching Drago in the chest and sending him backwards before rolling upright, his sword held forward. Drago shuffled back, his face a ruckus of pain and rage as the blood that was pooling in his left boot from one of his wounds squelched at every step.

Gábor came forward, his blade hissing every which direction as Drago tried to judge where it would land. As the man who wore the Crown of Blood came at him, Drago realized he could not beat Gábor through skill alone, and so swung his blade at random to parry the oncoming blade, trusting in God alone. The two blades clanged together, Drago’s visibly straining against the well crafted steel of the Emperor’s. They circled around another and made their way across the throne room, swords clashing and banging against one another.

It was the epitome of a class struggle as the son of a poor Croatian farmer crossed swords with one of the most powerful and influential men in the entire world, but the poetic nature of the moment was lost on the two combatants as they gritted teeth and came at one another for another round. Drago had to guess again where the blade would land, his mind unfocused due to the severe blood loss, and he guessed wrong as Gábor’s sword cut a deep gash across his right leg and Drago crashed to the floor with a yelp of pain.

Gábor was on him in an instant, kicking away his sword, the sound of it skittering away across the marble floor sounding as death to Drago’s ears. The edges of his vision darkened as Gábor placed himself on top of him and withdrew a dagger from the folds of his clothing. Drago’s vision focused again and he tossed his left hand forward to latch onto Gábor’s wrist, who pressed downwards with all his strength, driving the dagger inch by inch closer to Drago’s chest.

Drago could feel his muscles slowly being sapped for their strength as the tip of the blade kissed the fold of his shirt, and Gábor’s eyes stared into his own, full of malice and hate. Drago felt around desperately, looking for something to attack Gábor with, and his finger brushed up against something metallic. It was his only chance, and he strained every muscle in his body, both to hold back the knife that was now pressing against the skin of his chest, but also to reach out a sieze the object to his right.

Drago gave one last stretch of his fingers and his hand slowly closed around the hilt of a sword and he put all his weight into the stab, the shattered stub of Lieutenant Kostov’s sword driving straight through Gábor neck. The blood of a usurper flowed freely as a river through the spaces between the marble tiles of the palace throne room, and Drago slowly eased the dagger held by the dying Emperor away from his chest and threw Gábor’s twitching body to his side.

The faint ringing of the Crown of Blood sliding off of Gábor’s head and rolling away across the blood soaked tiles of the throne room was the last thing that Drago heard before his vision turned to darkness and he slipped away.
 
Last edited:

Hick101

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That could have been written by Shakespeare.

Bravo! only piece of writing to inspire my imagination as such in a long while.
 

Ashantai

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I just read all of that, Kapt, all 6,600 words of it, and I was amazed. That is quite simply the best battle scene I have ever read in an AAR, and quite worthy of professional publication. If that had been in a Bernard Cornwall novel I'd have not been surprised. The action was clear (which is hard to do), the characters distinct, and the depictions of the historical facts very well presented.

If I had cookies I'd give you one...or more likely some cream from the RSI in your fingers! :p

Marvellous!
 

Qorten

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Excellent monster update! It's sad to see these two officers die (or Kostov for sure, Drago isn't certain). I'd say you have a definite talent for battle scenes.
 

Eber

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Wow...just wow. Amazing update! Your attention to detail and the way you eloquently write narrative is brilliant. I loved it...simply loved it!
 

History_Buff

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That was a sweet update. I always say that the difference between genius and crazy is that genius is what they call it when it works and crazy is what they call it when it doesn't. Still say you should have had at least one of them survive to be made a general or something sweet like that. Also, why did you have to make the 1st Banat regiment side with the usurper, I hope they do not get disbanded as a result of them backing the wrong side.
 

dinofs

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That may have been one of the greatest things I have ever read in my life. :D Bravo, Kapt.
 

Kapt Torbjorn

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That could have been written by Shakespeare.

Bravo! only piece of writing to inspire my imagination as such in a long while.

Very high praise indeed, thank you very much!

I just read all of that, Kapt, all 6,600 words of it, and I was amazed. That is quite simply the best battle scene I have ever read in an AAR, and quite worthy of professional publication. If that had been in a Bernard Cornwall novel I'd have not been surprised. The action was clear (which is hard to do), the characters distinct, and the depictions of the historical facts very well presented.

If I had cookies I'd give you one...or more likely some cream from the RSI in your fingers! :p

Marvellous!

Now now let's not get too hasty :p Thank you, does mean quite a bit to me.

And the writing part was not so bad, I think I split it apart into three days or so, moreso for lack of inspiration and writer's block than the protests of my poor finger joints haha.

Excellent monster update! It's sad to see these two officers die (or Kostov for sure, Drago isn't certain). I'd say you have a definite talent for battle scenes.

It was quite a monster, eh? I think if I had any idea how long it was going to turn out I never would've started writing it; didn't want to scare anyone off with my legions of text cohorts, but I do like how it turned out.

And there is one survivor from the whole thing...only one though.

Wow...just wow. Amazing update! Your attention to detail and the way you eloquently write narrative is brilliant. I loved it...simply loved it!

:D
Thank you Eber!

This has got to be one of the most epic update I have ever seen. :D!!!!!!!!!

Haven't seen you around the forums much Magnus, where'd you take off to? I'm still working out a rough idea for General Magnusson btw ;)

That was a sweet update. I always say that the difference between genius and crazy is that genius is what they call it when it works and crazy is what they call it when it doesn't. Still say you should have had at least one of them survive to be made a general or something sweet like that. Also, why did you have to make the 1st Banat regiment side with the usurper, I hope they do not get disbanded as a result of them backing the wrong side.

But death begets legends my friend! I have a feeling Drago, Kostov, and the rest shall live on for a while yet.

Ahh the 1st of Banat. Interesting little turnaround, eh? I will say though that they do not get disbanded, they'll pop up again...just another part of their long and bloody regimental history.

That may have been one of the greatest things I have ever read in my life. :D Bravo, Kapt.

Now that is quite amazing to hear. Tyvm dinofs.

---------

Anyways, this whole part of the Empire's history has probably been one of the most interesting parts I've written yet, and I know I said this was the conclusion but there's still quite a bit to wrap up so there'll probably be another chapter dealing with various other loose ends that need tying. Hopefully nobody minds.
 

History_Buff

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I say you should continue to play as the Transylvanian empire in Victoria and guide it into the modern age. I would like to see how it would transition into the modern age and see if it survives or collapses like Austria-Hungary did.
 

Enewald

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That was a really splendid battle scene I must say, one of the best one can find on the AARland. :cool:
 

unmerged(195775)

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Haven't seen you around the forums much Magnus, where'd you take off to? I'm still working out a rough idea for General Magnusson btw ;).

I disappeared for a while after my computer crashed (which is only just getting fixed). I also disappeared to Europe for a while so I lost contact with the forums for a good month or so (could not find internet at any of the hotels). So I am just getting back into the swing of things. I glad this AAR is turning out to be pure brillance. It also good to hear that Magnusson will get the spot light soon.
 

Kapt Torbjorn

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I say you should continue to play as the Transylvanian empire in Victoria and guide it into the modern age. I would like to see how it would transition into the modern age and see if it survives or collapses like Austria-Hungary did.

Oh, I have plans of that sort. However, the Rise and Fall part will be completed within the EU timeframe. I can't really say that much more without ruining some of the storyline.

That was a really splendid battle scene I must say, one of the best one can find on the AARland. :cool:

Tyvm Enewald :)

I disappeared for a while after my computer crashed (which is only just getting fixed). I also disappeared to Europe for a while so I lost contact with the forums for a good month or so (could not find internet at any of the hotels). So I am just getting back into the swing of things. I glad this AAR is turning out to be pure brillance. It also good to hear that Magnusson will get the spot light soon.

How was Europe? You go for a vacation?

And it shall be General Arn Magnusson.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOuj2MB20vM

:D

Ahhh superb

Ty