• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Rebaltion

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Everyone knows of the von Habsburgs, the rulers of Austria and later the Holy Roman Empire. Of course, before the Habsburgs ruled Austria, it was ruled by the von Babenbergs. The Babenbergs pretty much got the shaft when the last of their line died in a battle against the Hungarian king, Béla IV.

So, I started up a game as Austria in 1066 with the goal of making the Babenbergs Holy Roman Emperors. Difficulty is set to Normal, and AI aggressiveness is set to Normal. I'm also using the latest version of DVIP with addons.

untocaesarheader.png

Table of Contents

Book One: House Babenberg Rising
Chapter One: A Tale of Heirs
Chapter Two: Splinters
Chapter Three: Bastards
Chapter Four: When the Pope Came to Vienna
Chapter Five: Among Thieves
Chatper Six: The Sound of Drums
Chapter Seven: March to War
Chapter Eight: Only the Dead
Chapter Nine: Woe to the Vanquished
Chapter Ten: The Winds of War
Chapter Eleven: This is the End: Part One | Part Two

Book Two: The Reign of Fools
Chapter Twelve: What Fools
Chapter Thirteen: Sic Semper Tyrannis
Chapter Fourteen: The Center Cannot Hold
Chapter Fifteen: By Their Own Petard
Chapter Sixteen: On the Brink
Chapter Seventeen: For Glory
Chapter Eighteen: Blood in the Streets
Chapter Nineteen: Things Fall Apart
Chapter Twenty: The Devil You Know
Chapter Twenty One: Death Be Not Proud
Chapter Twenty Two: Fanning the Flames
Chapter Twenty Three: Guests
Chapter Twenty Four: Absolutely
Chapter Twenty Five: Friends & Enemies
Chapter Twenty Six: Deus Vult
Chapter Twenty Seven: When in Rome
Chapter Twenty Eight: Deal with the Devil
Chapter Twenty Nine: Matters of the Heart
Chapter Thirty: Love and War
Chapter Thirty One: The Sport of Kings
Chapter Thirty Two: The Vienna Reichstag
Chapter Thirty Three: Death in Vienna
Chapter Thirty Four: Moment of Truth
Chapter Thirty Five: Best Laid Plans

The World at a Glance: 1090: Part One
The World at a Glance: 1090: Part Two
The World at a Glance: 1090: Part Three

Chapter Thirty Six: The Man Who Would Be Emperor


Awards
Character Writer of the Week 1/18/10. Awarded by Iain Wilson. Awarded for Duke Leopold II, the Butcher.​

-------------------------------------
Chapter One: A Tale of Heirs
April 27th, 1069

Leopold.png

Leopold lounged in a chair, toying with his hair. His father was busy yelling at him for something. Probably that business with young Konrad, he thought.

"How many times," drawled Leopold after the duke had gone quiet, "must I explain that all I was doing, father dearest, was playing a game with Konrad?"

A vein on the side of Ernst's neck bulged and his face turned a deeper shade of red. "Keep it in your pants, boy," growled the duke, "or I will make Adalbert my heir. Do you understand me?"

Leopold rolled his eyes. His father had been giving him this speech since he and Konrad had been found in such a compromising situation. "Yes, father, I understand you perfectly," he said, "And now, if you are quiet finished, I am expected at the pub."

Ernst sighed as he watched his son and heir leave the room. As if it wasn't enough that Austria was a backwater, now he had to watch over his son. Just thinking about it was making him stressed. The duke rubbed the side of his neck, an irritated gesture he'd picked up as a child. Ernst knew one thing that would relieve his stress, at least for a while. He rang for a servant and gave the man his instructions.

RedLady.png
-----------------

Leopold entered the pub and scanned the tables. Off in the corner sat a man who's proportions could only be described as gigantic. He was waving his pudgy arms around and shouting at some rather bored looking teenagers. His words could be heard even over the noise of the pub.

"...so there I was, fighting the heathens, with only my trusty sword..."

Leopold smirked. He'd heard this story before, as had most of the pub's patrons. The enormous man, a self-styled knight named Alfred, loved to tell falsities of his life. If you listened to him tell his life story, he'd been to the Eastern Emperor's court and had nearly slaughtered the Sultan of the Turks by himself.

Leopold ambled over to Alfred, and smacked him on the back. "Hello, you whale of a man. Trying to bore these young men to death, are you?"

Alfred turned around. "You charlatan! Here to ruin my fun, are you?"

"Who, me?" said Leopold, affecting to be shocked and hurt.

"Ay, you," said Alfred, before turning back to the boys. "Now, where was I?"

All three of them looked desperately at Leopold. "Alfred, I'm sure these boys need to be somewhere," said Leopold, taking pity on them, "Besides, I must talk to you about some business."

Alfred frowned, then waved his hands, dismissing the boys. "As you wish, you Majesty-to-be." When the boys had left and Alfred had ordered some more wine, he said, "Now, what was it you wanted?"

"I have gotten word that tax collectors will be arriving tomorrow. I foresee they will be way layed by by highwaymen," said Leopold with a wicked grin.

Slowly a grin spread across Alfred's face. He leaned back in his seat, causing it to squeak in alarm. "And will these highway men be the same that have plagued our fair land in the past?"

"I'm afraid so," said Leopold, shaking his head sadly.

"Yes too bad," said Alfred, signaling for the pub wrench. When she finally appeared, Alfred said, "More wine, my dear. And please tell my friend Mr. Pons that I would be delighted if he would come have a chat with me."
 
Last edited:

Rebaltion

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Chapter Two: Splinters
August 1, 1069

Ernst shook his head. He turned to his marshal and said, "And you and your men haven't had any luck finding these highway men?"

"No sir," said Leopold von Babenberg, a cousin of the duke's, "We can't seem to find the bastards."

The duke sighed. "Bastards is right," was all he said, before turning to his son, Leopold. "How is the treasury?"

Leopold lazily pulled out some paper, and consulted it. "In your own time, son," said Ernst angrily.

"Hmm," said Leopold slowly, still consulting the papers, "Seems that somewhere along the line our fair duchy has gotten itself into debt."

"How much?" asked Ernst, fearing the answer.

"Three thousand," said Leopold airily, "but nothing we can't withstand. We just need to make cutbacks somewhere. May I suggest Church donations?"

Austria's bishop, Father Heinrich von Habsburg, sputtered. "It is in times like these that we must embrace the Mother Church, not push it away!"

"Or we could raise taxes," said Leopold shrugging, "what will the peasants do? Revolt?"

----------
October 5, 1069
Outside Graz


euros2.jpg

" 'What will the peasants do? Revolt' " said Ernst, mimicking his son's words.

The peasants had proved tenacious, defeating the local garrison and over running several towns, before Ernst and his marshal had finally reached the area. The ducal force had routed the peasants and had forced them to take refuge in a local fort. Now the Austrian army was busy setting up for a siege.

Ernst continued to stare at the rebel fortifications cursing under his breath when a messenger came up to him. "Sire-" said the man, panting for breath, "sire, the duchess of Toscana and her compatriots have risen against the emperor!"

The vein on the side of Ernst neck budged. "When you say 'compatriots' who do you mean?"

"The dukes of Swabia, Carinthia, Provence, and Lombardia, my lord," said the messenger.

"I see," said Ernst, "what troubling news indeed. What has been the emperor's response?"

"His Majesty is requesting that all loyal vassals mobilize their forces and go to war against these traitors."

Ernst stared at the rebel fortifications once more, then back at the messenger. "Tell his Majesty that as soon as we have dealt with these upstart peasants Austria would be glad to help the emperor in his time of need. Repeat that back to me."

After the messenger had repeated the message back to Ernst, and the duke had made corrections, the messenger galloped off to give the message to the emperor.

After the messenger was gone, Ernst's marshal leaned in close to the duke and whispered, "Sire, do you really intend to help the emperor?"

"No, Leopold, I intend to walk a strictly neutral line," said the duke, "Austria could profit greatly from siding with either side, and I plan to take advantage of that fact."
 

Rebaltion

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Chapter Three: Bastards
November 12, 1070

Heinrich_4_g.jpg

Emperor Heinrich IV, called the Bastard​

The vassals that had remained loyal to Heinrich had gathered in Franken, the Imperial capital, to plan the campaign against the rebels. The Emperor's gaze swept the room and stopped when they reached the Duke of Austria. So far the duke had refused to mobilize his troops, but as far as the Emperor knew, he didn't harbor any rebellious thoughts. He seemed to be straddling the line.

Heinrich pounded this fist on his leg. By straddling the line, the duke was making incredible amounts of money, as refugees from both sides rushed to Austria in search of a stable environment.

Heinrich stood up and called for attention. Quiet slowly descended, and Heinrich began to speak.

----------

Ernst sat impassively as the Emperor gave his speech. The man next to him, the duke of Bohemia, nudged him. "This man is a buffoon, no?" he said.

"I can't hardly disagree with you," said Ernst.

"I am Vratislav, Duke of Bohemia."

"Ernst, duke of Austria."

"A pleasure," said Vratislav, "I am glad I am not the only one here who sees what a fool this man is."

Ernst chuckled. "I can see this is a start of a beautiful relationship."

------------
April 1, 1070

"There it is!" yelled Ernst, forcing his horse into a gallop.

"Ah, yes, I see it!" yelled Vratislav back, also forcing his horse into a gallop.

Both men galloped after the fleet footed fox, each trying to catch it. After traveling for a short while, the fox reached a thick patch of woods and the two dukes had to reign their horses in.

"Do you want to pursue it on foot?" asked Ernst.

"No," said Vratislav, wiping his brow, "but perhaps we should return to the castle?"

"Not a bad idea," said Ernst, turning his horse around.

As the two made their way back to the castle, they talked about the state of the Empire. The duchess of Toscana had been defeated, but the rebels had rallied behind the Duke of Swabia, Adolf von Rheinfelden. And as Heinrich IV continued to find hidden conspiracies where there were none, more dukes rose up against him. The Dukes of Saxony, Holland, and Luxemburg had even joined the rebel cause and the Archbishop of Franconia had even started to preach against "the Bastard."

During a pause in the conversation, Vratislav said, "I must tell you Ernst, as my dearest friend, that if the Bastard continues his policies I will be also joining the rebels, and I urge you to stop your policy of neutrality and join them with me."

Ernst was silent for a moment. "Vratislav, you know I agree with you that Heinrich is a complete and utter bastard, but I must think of Austria first. I'm sorry, but I can't commit to the rebels until I'm absolutely sure. I hope you understand."

"I understand, but that does not mean I agree," was all Vratislav said.

Back at the castle a courtier was waiting for the duke. "Mi'lord I've got some, um, personal news for you."

"Alright," said the duke, "Vratislav I'll join you in a moment." The duke turned back to the courtier, "Is it Leopold again?"

"No, sire," said the man, "pleas follow me."

The servant lead Ernst to his room, where a nurse was holding a baby boy.

"What is this?" said Ernst, the vein on his neck throbbing.

"This...this is your son Adolf," stuttered the servant, "a lady in red left him for you."

Ernst rubbed his neck. "Damnit all," was all he said.

rebelmap.png

A map of the Holy Roman Empire and its revolters.​
 

Enewald

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Quite an intriguing beginning.
Keep it in your pants... :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

Rebaltion

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Chapter Four: When the Pope Came to Vienna
April 22, 1070

Papa_alessandro_II.jpg

Pope Alexander II, a staunch opponent of Emperor Heinrich IV and a personal friend of Duke Ernst.​

"Your Holiness," said Ernst, shocked, "what a surprise! May I ask what brings you to Vienna?"

Pope Alexander II smiled slightly. "Why yes, my son, you may. I am returning to Rome from a visit to the Imperial capitol. I was having words with the Emperor." The smile on the Pope's face slipped. "Yes, words, nothing but words," said Alexander sourly.

"I take it that your visit didn't go as you wanted, Holiness?" asked the duke.

"No," said Alexander, sighing. "The Emperor granted me an audience, but he refused to pay heed to what I had to say. I am afraid that the Emperor's arbitrary actions and harsh words will be the end of the Holy Roman Empire."

"Surely it cannot be as bad as you say!" exclaimed Ernst.

"I wish it were not, but as I've said, I'm afraid it is. But," said the Pope, his smiling returning, "we should not worry about such things; they are for the future. Come, would you care to show me around your beautiful home?"

---------------
October 4, 1070

"Father!" whined Leopold, "Am I not worthy of some land of my own? Am I not your heir?"

"Shut up, you whining brat!" yelled Ernst, "You are always drunk or hungover, your friends are highwaymen and cheats, and you've managed to drive Austria into even more debt with your reckless spending!"

Leopold's face darkened. "If you think I'm such a terrible steward, then why don't you replace me?"

"One of the smarter things you've ever said!" said the duke, for once happy to follow one of his son's suggestions. "As of now, you are no longer Austria's steward, your wife is. God knows she doesn't have anything else to do, being married to you."

Leopold opened his mouth to protest, but immediately shut it. Finally after a long silence, he said, rather lamely, "Uh, right you are, mi'lord," before stalking away.

"I know I'm right!" yelled Ernst to Leopold's receding figure, "I'm the duke!"

-------

"...and then he dismissed me," sulked Leopold.

"Aww, you poor thing, you," said Adolf, "Look at you, the heir to a duchy with nothing to do but drink. Sounds like Heaven to me."

Leopold finished his wine and waved for more. "All I wanted was some land," he moaned, ignoring Adolf, "not even a rich piece of land. Just somewhere where I could enjoy the finer things in life."

"I know something that may cheer you up," said Adolf, "I've gotten word about a merchant caravan from Bohemia is making it's way to Carinthia bringing supplies to the rebels. Do you feel like making some money?"

Leopold gulped down the rest of his wine. "Aye," he said.
 

Rebaltion

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I'm interested in continuing this AAR, but I'd like some feedback to see if anyone's reading it.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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I'm interested in continuing this AAR, but I'd like some feedback to see if anyone's reading it.

Have trust. You started this during winter break, readership is down right now. And on top of that you post updates quickly, so the updates to replies ratio will be high.

Things seem to be going well, but the updates are a bit short, but not too short. A good mix of seriousness and humour, I am not a big fan of the out-right comedy AARs myself.

Lastly, remember not to confuse "readers" and "replies". Your story has already been read 206 times, in four days none-the-less! I'd say you are doing well.
 

Hawkeye1489

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indeed. I have been stalking, more my thing then outright replies, but as long as you post, I shall continue to read!

Cheers,
~Hawk
 

Rebaltion

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Chapter Five: Among Thieves
October 5, 1070

Medieval_Merchant%27s_House_Tim_Knight.jpg

The Good Knight, the pub frequented by Leopold von Babenberg.​

Leopold gazed down upon the merchant caravan, using his hand to shield his eyes against the sun. "Certainly looks easy enough," he finally said.

Adolf nodded from atop of his horse. "Yes," he said, "it should be easy enough. All we have to do is go and get it."

"Then what are we waiting for?" asked Pons, a professional highway man and leader of a small gang of bandits.

Leopold gazed at the caravan again. "Nothing, I suppose. Let's go, boys!"

The group galloped towards the caravan, screaming and whooping. The merchants looked up from their conversation and stared goggle-eyed at the bandits. The bandits started to circle the caravan. "If you want to keep on living," yelled Pons, "I suggest you throw down any weap-"

Pons sighed and slid off his horse, an arrow sticking out of the back of his neck. The bandits stopped circling and slowly turned to where the arrow had come from. A small group of soldiers was galloping towards them.

"Oh, bugger this for a game of soldiers," moaned Adolf, breaking the shocked silence, "I'm getting out of here!" Thus saying, he turned his horse around and started to gallop away. About halfway up the hill where they had been waiting, Adolf's overworked horse finally collapsed. Had the situation not been so dire, Leopold would've laughed.

------

Ernst couldn't remember the last time he'd been so angry with Leopold. Well, perhaps when he had learned about Leopold's games in the broom closet... The duke shook his head, clearing it. "I knew you were friends with some of the scum of society, but bandits?"

Leopold was sulking. "Yeah," was all he said.

"Leopold, let me ask you one question? Why do you hate me? What have I done that has made you want to destroy my reputation?" asked the duke.

"Oh, let me count the ways," said Leopold sarcastically, "One, you refuse to give me land, two, you fired me, and three, you put my wife in my place. How could I not hate you?"

"Perhaps if you acted less like a buffoon and more like a man, I wouldn't have a problem granting your request for land!" yelled Ernst.

"Oh, a man like you? How many bastards do you have? I bet you have to take your shoes off to count them all!" said Leopold.

Ernst turned bright red, and the vein on the side of his neck looked ready to pop. "Get out," was all he said, his teeth grinding, "and don't come back until I'm good and dead, you hear me?"

"I wasn't planning to!" yelled Leopold, stomping out of the room.

LeopoldinUpperLorraine.png

Leopold von Babenberg, heir to Austria and Upper Lorraine's newest courtier.​
 

Enewald

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A man without 20 bastards ain't no man. :rofl:
 

Rebaltion

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Chapter Six: The Sound of Drums
July 11, 1073

Pope_Gregory_VII.jpg

Pope Gregory VII, the man who excommunicated the Emperor.​

The news of the Emperor's excommunication had just reached Vienna. The whole court was shocked. Never before had a pope excommunicated a ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, and the aftershocks of such an action were already being felt. Already, there was rumblings from the various Italian rulers that they wouldn't stand to be ruled by someone the Church considered a heretic.

Ernst rubbed the side of his neck, feeling the vein swell. He gazed around the court, making up his mind. "Well?" he said, "You lot just going to stand around a gawk all day? I'm sure you have things to do, so do them already!"

Everyone started moving at once, seeing the tell tale signs that the duke was on the edge of hauling off and hitting something or someone. "You!" yelled the duke, pointing to his chancellor, "Do I have any meetings today?"

"No, sire," said Karloman von Habsburg, Austria's current chancellor.

"Good," said Ernst, "I'm going to retire to my room and attempt to relax. Do not disturb me or I will have your head. Do you understand?"

"Y..yes, mi'lord," said Karloman.

"Good," said the duke, turning to leave, "I'd really hate to lose my chancellor."

----------------
September 10, 1073

Henry_II%2C_Duke_of_Bavaria.jpg

Heinrich the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria.​

"The Duke of Bavaria sends his regards," started the messenger, "and hopes that this message finds you in good health."

"Get on with it," said Ernst, "I haven't got all day."

"Er, yes," said the messenger, "Right. My liege sends me to ask if you will join him in his revolt against the heretic emperor."

"Tell Duke Heinrich that I have no interest in being slaughtered by the Imperial armies," said Ernst, "but thanks for the offer."

"Surely you jest!" said the messenger, "Surely God will protect His own and bring them victory against Heinrich the Heretic!"

"Maybe," said Ernst, "I cannot say what God will do, but I do know that the Emperor is a capable commander and that on the field he out numbers the rebels."

"God will even the odds for His children!" said the messenger.

"You have brought me your master's message and I have given my reply. You may leave," said the duke, dismissing him.

The messenger bowed stiffly and left. As soon as he was gone, Ernst called for his marshal. "Prepare the armies. Soon Austria will march to war."

"Against the Emperor?" asked Marshal Leopold.

Ernst grimaced and shook his head. "No, against Bavaria and in support of the Emperor."
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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unmerged(129932)

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I like this AAR. It like it a lot.

It is interesting that Austria shall support the Emperor rather than oppose. Though it will make for an opportunistic land-grab. However, but supporting the Emperor, I am sure Rome won't be happy...
 

Rebaltion

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A man without 20 bastards ain't no man. :rofl:

Ernst had the lustful trait, and I never could pass up a chance to get more sons.

good_to_be_king.jpg

It's good to be da king!

:rofl:

I like this AAR. It like it a lot.

It is interesting that Austria shall support the Emperor rather than oppose. Though it will make for an opportunistic land-grab. However, but supporting the Emperor, I am sure Rome won't be happy...

Austria starts out with three provinces, all of which are dirt poor, so I felt justified in exploiting Bavaria for some easy land.

As for Rome, well, they haven't seen anything yet.
 

Enewald

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Stealing Bavaria under the nose of the Emperor?
 

Rebaltion

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Chapter Seven: March to War
February 23, 1074

Bavaria.png

In September 1073, Bavaria revolted against Emperor Heinrich IV.
In February 1074, Austria declared itself for the Emperor.​

"Treason!" yelled Count Gebhard at Ernst, "You're a bastard, no better than the heretic Emperor!"

"I will remind you that you are the one who wanted this parley," said Ernst calmly, "and that I have you surrounded with my most loyal men."

"You wouldn't dare break the rules of parley," gulped the count.

Ernst shrugged. "I've already sided with a heretic, so according to the Pope I'm already going to Hell. What's one more sin on top of so many? Now say your say and leave."

The count spat on the ground. "There is nothing I can say that you do not already know. Your soul is damned to Hell for siding with the Emperor, but you can still save it if you turn back now."

"Hmm," said Ernst, rubbing his chin, "Gebhard, let me show you something. Please follow me." The duke stood, motioned for the count to follow, and left the tent. Outside, it was drizzling lightly, but the distant sound of thunder promised that it would pick up.

"Behold, Gebhard, Austria's army," said Ernst grandly, "You face Austria's finest, five thousand men strong, all ready to fight." Ernst pointed to the Bavarian lines. "Your army, by contrast, is made up of ill-trained peasants forced into service by your knights. Furthermore, the terrain doesn't favor you. You must charge up a hill to get at me. It would be far better for you if you left the field now."

HREarmy1.jpg

The Austrian army, which greatly out numbered the Bavarian defenders.​

"Your scare tactics will not work against me," said Gebhard, signaling for his horse, "I have God on my side, and through Him all things are possible."

--------

RebalpicsHRExbowatt.jpg

The Bavarian charge. Count Gebhard dismounted several of his knights in an effort shock and awe the Austrians.​

"He's dismounted his knights, sire," yelled Marshal Leopold, trying to be heard over the rain and the wind, "shall I order the archers to open fire?"

"In this rain?" said Ernst, dismissing the idea right out, "No. Dismount some of our own knights and send them forward. We have the numbers."

Rebalpicsdismountfight.jpg

The first skirmish between Bavarian and Austrian forces. Note the Bavarian light cavalry in the background attempting to flank the Austrian knights.​

Ernst grimaced. The Austrian knights were being slaughtered by their Bavarian counterparts. He was ready to issue a the order for the knights to retreat when he saw the Bavarian cavalry attempting to flank them. He whistled for his marshal. "Tell the men to hold as long as possible against the Bavarians. Me and my guard will attempt to stop those Bavarians from flanking our knights. My men, to me!"

RebalpicsKnightfight.jpg

Ernst and his men crash into the Bavarian light cavalry.​

Ernst swung his sword, cutting down the Bavarian. "Forward, forward, my brothers!" he yelled, waving his sword and urging his horse forward.

And forward they went, forcing the Bavarians back. "Ha!" laughed Ernst, smiling under his helmet, before wheeling his horse around. "Come my men, we must support our comrades!" He galloped off, without looking behind him.

Instead of crashing into the knights' flanks like he had hoped, Ernst was shocked to find that his guard was greatly depleted. That's when he fell off his horse.

RebalpicsHREknightowns.jpg

Ernst's ill-advised attack against the Bavarian knights.​
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Good use of Medieval Total War II. Ernst might be in a bit of trouble, though it was common in this time frame to not kill knights and nobles, as they could be ransomed back for a great deal of $$$.