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Blood and Iron: The Conquests of the Chancellor

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by MTB4884, May 27, 2011.

  1. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    Thanks everyone for the kind words of encouragement! :blush: I hope to read more of "Save the Mongols", "Celtic Fury", "Sealand", and "The Sons of Odin" shortly as well.

    Working on a series of updates for next week. I can say that there will be an important military discovery, a retirement, and further planning for war in the story shortly. Stay tuned, everyone! :)
     
  2. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    June 1, 300 AD

    Chancellor Konrad von Bismarck, having taken the oath of office as Chancellor for a sixth term, turned to deliver his inaugural address.

    “People of Germany! It is my great privilege to address you once again as Chancellor of Imperial Germany! I wish to set forth a few remarks, as is customary on these occasions.

    “First, I want to personally thank the vast majority of Germans who supported the Imperial Party in the recent election. It is a grave mistake for a Chancellor to presume upon his popularity with the people, and it is a mistake I am determined never to make.”

    “I am pleased to announce that the scientific resources of the Empire will continue to be directed towards peaceful ends. The valiant sailors of the Empire have finally defeated the barbarian armada in the North Sea thanks to their skill and bravery, as well as the new weapons of war we have learned to build. The Imperial Academy of Science has already created wonders in the fields of warfare, as Queen Cleopatra and her evil minions have learned to their cost!” A wave of cheers and applause swept through the crowd.

    “It is now time to apply that same ingenuity to peaceful ends. One such end is the relief of suffering of many of our people from terrible diseases which we do not yet know how to heal. I expect to make this a priority in my administration over the next few years.”

    “We must not, however, turn a blind eye to the dangers of the world we live in. The Egyptian menace has been defeated, but they are not the only threat we face. I pledge to all of you this day that my administration will continue to keep a vigilant watch and will be prepared to take appropriate action under the circumstances as needed.”

    “One particular priority will be the Empire's relations with India. The treaty with the Indians expires in three years time, and we must be alert for potential treachery. We have no current plans to attack India at this time, but I can assure all of you that we will fight and we shall prevail if we are attacked in the future!”

    “Thank you all and God bless Germany!”
     
  3. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    December 7, 300 AD

    The retirement party for the Cultural Minister, Friedrich von Schmidt, was in full swing at the Imperial Palace in Berlin. Nearly everyone who was anyone in the Imperial government was present at the grand event. The great Meister Wagner had come out of retirement himself to lead a production of his most famous opera The Wotan's Spear.

    The Deputy Military Minister, Karl von Clauswitz, had just gotten a fresh drink, and was now looking around the crowded room for the Foreign Minister. His ailing father had given him specific instructions. He finally spotted the Minister talking with the Songhai Ambassador, Mansa Musa.

    Karl had his chance once the Songhai Ambassador excused himself to get another drink. “Excuse me, Minister.”

    “Hello, Karl! Are you enjoying the party yet?”

    “I am doing my best, Minister. Will you be in your office tomorrow?”

    “Of course, Karl. It is bad for morale if the boss is too hung over to attend to his duties.” The Minister saw the look on Karl's face and belately realized something was up. “Is something wrong, Karl?”

    “We have developed new information about both the English and the Arabs, Minister. Usually my father would brief the Chancellor about this. That duty has fallen to me with his illness.”

    “So? Why do you want me along for the briefing?”

    “My father was most insistent, Minister, that I ask you about this. There is no need to spoil the party itself, however.”

    “As you wish, Karl. I shall expect you at eleven tomorrow. Please give your father my regards. Is he doing any better?”

    “No, Minister. The doctors do not seem to know exactly what the illness is, or how to treat it. Our medical science has not advanced enough yet.”

    “I am sorry to hear that, Karl. Perhaps we can stop to visit him after the meeting with the Chancellor.”

    “A fine idea, Minister.” The Songhai Ambassador was returning, and so Karl took his leave at once. There is no need for the Songhai to know something may be up.

    Karl called on the Foreign Minister at exactly eleven the next morning. The Minister stepped into the waiting carriage for the drive to the Imperial Palace.

    “We do not have much time, Karl. Can you explain briefly what is so important and why your father wanted me at this briefing?”

    “I shall try, Minister. First, we have learned that the pirates and barbarians who prowl the eastern Mediterranean Sea identify themselves as Berbers. They are apparently connected to the Arabs in some fashion.”

    “What? The Arabs are behind this? I have not heard that they have built any large naval ships, or that they have anything like that level of knowledge.”

    “We do not know the exact origin of the barbarians and the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. It is possible that the Arabs have somehow managed to build such a fleet undetected. It is also possible that this is similar to the situation in the North Sea, where the pirates, having failed in a bid to rule the Vikings, turned to the sea and piracy.”

    “That is a most serious development, Karl. How do we know any of this?”

    “We captured a number of Egyptian records when we conquered Thebes. I was able to personally reconstruct notes of an Egyptian attempt to peacefully contact the pirates. The attempt failed, but the notes are quite specific on this point.”

    The Minister leaned back in the carriage seat as they sped on to the palace. “I can see why you are serious about this, Karl, and why you must brief the Chancellor. I suppose you want me to attempt to confirm this."

    The carriage slowed to a stop as they halted at the gates of the Imperial Palace. “Exactly, Minister. There is a second group of eight pirate frigates just off Gibraltar, near Songhai waters. We think these pirates are English in origin.”

    “English? Karl, the English are a backward people. They cannot possibly build such vessels.”

    “Someone built them, Minister”, said Karl as the carriage started up and proceeded through the gates. “I cannot believe that they simply appeared with no reason or explanation.” He paused for a moment. “We were able to capture a pirate crewman this summer. He was unwilling to tell us anything of real value. It was noted, however, that he spoke English, which is of course not commonly known in the Empire.”

    “How odd. Did the Egyptians attempt to contact the Songhai about this pirate fleet?”

    “Yes. However, the reply of the Songhai has been lost.”

    The carriage stopped again, at the very door of the palace. “Let me guess, Karl. You want me to check if the Songhai know anything about the pirates, without letting the Songhai know of the existence of England. You would also like to know if the English are willing to tell us anything useful about these pirates.”

    “Exactly, Minister.”

    “I will see what I can do, Karl. Now we must go in and brief the Chancellor.”
     
  4. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    January 5, 310 AD

    Chancellor Konrad von Bismarck called the meeting of the Ministry Council to order. “I will ask the Domestic Minister to give his report to the Council. Otto?”

    The Domestic Minister took the podium. “My Chancellor, I am pleased to report that the rebuilding of the former Egyptian territories is going well. All of the former Egyptian cities have an Imperial library either built or under construction, and many have churches under construction as well. We will be sending three new settlers deeper into the unclaimed lands in Central Africa. We are also training as many workers as reasonably possible to build a comprehensive rail network throughout our territory.”

    “How long will it take to complete this rail network, Otto?”

    “It is difficult to say exactly. I expect that the main line linking Berlin with Thebes and Bangalore will take at least ten years to complete.”

    “So long? Is there anything we can do to speed things up?”

    “My Chancellor, we are doing all that can be done.”

    “I understand, Otto. Keep at it, and keep us informed of your progress.”

    “It shall be done, my Chancellor.”

    “Next, I wish to hear from the Military Minister. Franz?”

    The Military Minister stepped to the podium. The Chancellor noted with some concern that Franz, though back at work for the last week, did not look at all well. “My Chancellor, we have developed an invasion plan, as you ordered, for both England and Arabia. We are building two more galleons, to be based in Hamburg, to assist the Wilhelm Tell in transporting our invasion force. The new galleons should be finished by this time next year. ”

    The new Cultural Minister, Ernst von Reinhardt, raised his hand. “Yes, Ernst?”

    “Franz, have you determined names for the two new galleons?”

    “Not yet. Did you have something in mind?”

    “Actually, yes. I propose that we name one the Friedrich von Schmidt, after my illustrious predecessor.”

    The Chancellor stirred. “Normally we do not name a warship after a living person. I am prepared, however, to make an exception in this case. Are there any objections?” No one spoke, so the Chancellor continued, “Very well. I had intended to pay Friedrich a visit myself after the meeting, and I am certain he will be pleased. I should like to hear the rest of the Military Minister's report.”

    “Of course, my Chancellor. To continue, we expect to be able to field a force of at least twenty cavalry divisions to invade England within the next three years.”

    “Will that be enough, Franz?”

    “We think so, my Chancellor. We do have a plan to help determine the strength of the English defenses. As you all know, we do not have a formal embassy with the English. Creating one will give us valuable knowledge of the defenses of the English capital.”

    “Horst, this is your field. What is your opinion?”

    The Foreign Minister paused for a moment. “I am still not convinced of the necessity of an attack on the English in the first place. However, there may be an easier and cheaper method. We could send an emissary to the English to obtain their maps in exchange for something simple, such as the knowledge of the wheel. We know the English are quite backward indeed, though in better shape than other small nations. I do not believe we need go to the expense of setting up an embassy, knowing that England will be attacked in three or four years time.”

    The Chancellor turned back to the Military Minister. “I think Horst is right about this. At least we should try it before going to the expense of setting up an embassy. All in favor of the Foreign Minister's plan?” Everyone except the Military Minister raised his hand. “Very well, then, Motion approved. We shall send a delegation as you suggested, with one small change. Franz, I want you to select someone from the Military Ministry to accompany this mission.”

    “It shall be done, my Chancellor. I suppose it does no harm to at least try to talk to the English.” The Military Minister paused. “To continue, we have also developed a plan for an invasion of Arabia. We will use Elephantine as a base for the attack. We should have at least forty cavalry divisions, plus our three heavy Corps, ready to attack in three years time. I remind the Council that this is roughly the same number of forces we had available to attack Egypt at the start of the war, and Arabia is a much weaker target.”

    “There is another matter which I should bring before the whole Council. We have recently discovered that the pirates and barbarians in the eastern Mediterranean Sea are somehow connected to Arabia. We have an agent in Mecca, codenamed “Sparthage”, who has confirmed earlier reports to this effect.”

    The Foreign Minister spoke out at this. “Franz, even if the Arabian Sultanate were to be destroyed, the pirates and barbarians would still exist. Why not build warships with these new cannons to battle them if you are so intent upon their destruction?”

    “It is not just the pirates, Franz. The Arabs have been hostile ever since Shiek Sadim was overthrown.”

    “And that is supposed to give us the right to simply ride in and conquer the Arabs by force?”

    The Chancellor stepped in. “Enough, Horst. You have made your point. There are two other matters to address. Have you been able to determine whether the Songhai know about the supposed English pirates off Gibraltar?”

    “It does not appear so, my Chancellor. I have heard at least one report that the Songhai are building a fleet to attempt to settle the islands off their western coast.”

    “All the more reason to defeat the English before the Songhai can launch ships to locate them,” said the Military Minister.

    The new Cultural Minister raised his hand. "Franz, how is it that the Arabs and the English were able to build these vessels undetected, or for that matter, build them at all. I thought both were far too backward to do so."

    "A very good question, Ernst. We do not know precisely, but we do have a theory. You will all recall that most of the barbarians in the North Sea were connected at one time with the Vikings. That is one reason why we went to war with them at the time. We believe the current situation is similar. It is also possible that both nations are more advanced in military strength than they are in more peaceful pursuits."

    “A good point, Franz. There is one other matter to address before we take a formal war vote. What is the situation with the Indians?”

    The Military Minister took the question. “My Chancellor, the treaty with the Indians expires in two and a half years. Tensions are quite high, but there has been little overt movements until recently. Two Indian caravels have been sighted approaching German waters. We suspect they are attempting to land colonists in the land now vacant after the collapse of the Egyptian kingdom.”

    “Franz, I wish to be certain on this point. Have the Indians sent any soldiers by land through our territory?”

    “No, my Chancellor.”

    “I am pleased to hear that. I have not forgotten that a war was started the last time the Indians tried this. I propose that any attack on either England or Arabia be delayed until after the expiration of the treaty with India. We must know whether the Indians will attack us before we commit ourselves. Is there any objection to this approach?” Again, no one spoke.

    “Very well. We will then vote on whether or not to invade England and Arabia, assuming that the Indians do not attack. All in favor of the invasion of England?” Everyone except the Foreign Minister raised their hands. “Then the invasion is approved. Horst, I will address your objections shortly.”

    “All in favor of an invasion of Arabia?” Again, everyone except the Foreign Minister raised their hands. “Then that invasion is approved as well.”

    The Chancellor turned to Horst. “I know you oppose both invasions, and you have explained why. What would it take for you to approve of either invasion?”

    “My Chancellor, I simply do not see the true necessity of either invasion. I can agree to an invasion of India, since they are a real threat to us. The Arabs and the English are not. I will bow to the majority opinion in this matter, however.”

    “That is what I expected you to say, Horst. I should perhaps add that, as Chancellor, I need your voice and your wisdom at these meetings.”

    “It is good of you to say so, my Chancellor. I do have one other request. I should like to lead the delegation to the English myself.”

    “As you wish, Horst, unless there is some objection?” No one objected, so the Chancellor continued. “Approved, then. Franz, I want this done as quickly as possible. I also want you to draw up defense plans in the event the Indians attack us when the treaty expires.”

    “We have a department at the Ministry working on precisely that, my Chancellor.”

    “Very well. There is one more matter before we adjourn. Franz, I believe you mentioned earlier that we have an agent in Arabia codenamed “Sparthage.” Why not use that name for the second new galleon?”

    The Military Minister sat back in his chair. “An interesting idea, my Chancellor. My concern is that we might draw unnecessary attention to our agent if we do so.”

    “I see. I will ask you to suggest an appropriate name, then. Meeting adjourned.” All stood as the Chancellor left the Ministry Council meeting room.
     
  5. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    April 5, 310 AD

    “My Chancellor, the Indian Ambassador is here as you requested.”

    “Very well, Rudi. Please send him in.”

    The Indian Ambassador walked into the throne room of the Imperial Palace. “Good morning, Chancellor. What can I do for you this day?”

    “Good morning, Ambassador. There is a brief matter to discuss. The Navy Department has reported to me that two Indian caravels, the Agra and the Vikraat to be precise, have been reported in German waters just off New Hyderabad. I should like to hear your explanation for their presence.”

    The Indian Ambassador did not seemed perturbed. “There is no cause for alarm, Chancellor. The two ships in question are transporting a group of colonists and settlers to the now empty lands in eastern Africa. They will soon sail out of your territory.”

    “Normally this is not a significant concern, Ambassador. You will no doubt recall, however, that a war between your people and mine broke out when the Mahatma sent two divisions of troops into our territory.”

    “That was long ago, before my time, Chancellor. These ships have no hostile intentions.”

    “We shall see, Ambassador. The peace treaty between your people and mine expires soon, and I must make appropriate preparations.”

    “I see. The Mahatma is no doubt taking appropriate precautions as well. I am certain, however, that he would be receptive to a proposal to renew the treaty for another twenty years.”

    “I do have a suggestion on that very point, Ambassador. I propose that the Mahatma and I hold a conference here in Berlin on the subject of the peace treaty in three years time.”

    The Ambassador paused for a moment. “We will certainly agree to a conference, Chancellor. I suspect the Mahatma would prefer that it be held in Delhi. What happens if the conference is not successful and the Mahatma is here in Berlin?”

    “I expected that you might say that, Ambassador. I remind you that the Egyptian leader, Queen Cleopatra, was here in this very room to discuss peace. This took place, as you know well, during the very height of the recent war. It is the ancient custom of the German people to assure the personal safety of leaders, even enemies, during peace negotiations.”

    “Surely you will recall, Chancellor, that you yourself traveled to Delhi to sign the peace agreement which ended the terrible war between our peoples. I can assure you that you will be quite safe in Delhi.”

    “I remember that occasion well, Ambassador. I also recall that the late Sultan of Turkmenistan was also there, as it was largely through his tireless efforts that peace was achieved.” That is the only reason I agreed to go to Delhi instead of holding the conference here. “Sadly, the Sultan is no longer available to assist.”

    “The Mahatma will always be willing to discuss an equitable peace, Chancellor. I shall contact Delhi for instructions and report his reply to you.”

    “That would be most helpful, Ambassador. I shall not detain you further, then. Thank you for coming in so quickly.”

    “A pleasure as always, Chancellor.” The Ambassador bowed and left the throne room, leaving the Chancellor to ponder.

    What are you up to, Mahatma Gandhi?
     
  6. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    April 12, 310 AD

    Karl von Clauswitz was working at his desk in the Military Ministry. His father had been seriously ill for the last three days, and so Karl's duties were more pressing than ever. There was a soft knock at his office door. “Come in!”

    His chief aide came in. “Deputy Minister, Dr. Erlich is here to see you.”

    Karl could not completely repress a shudder as he stood up. “Send him in.”

    Dr. Paul Erlich walked in. “Good morning, Deputy Minister.”

    “Good morning, Doctor. Is this about Father..?”

    “No, no. He is unchanged, or was an hour ago when I saw him.”

    Karl visibly relaxed at that as he sat down again. I thought he was here to tell me that Father had..died. “So, what can I do for you?”

    “I have what may seem an odd request. I and a few colleagues at the Berlin Institute have been working on a potential treatment for diptheria, and I need additional research animals. Specifically, I would like to obtain a small herd of horses.”

    Karl tried to be polite, but the skepticism was obvious in his voice. “Horses will help you find a cure of diptheria?”

    Dr. Erlich smiled. “Potentially yes. We need horses that are generally healthy, but no longer up to the demanding standards of a war horse or charger.”

    “So why come to the Military Ministry for horses?”

    “Again, we need healthy horses for the experiment. The Institute does not have the funds to purchase such animals on the open market. I thought that perhaps the military may have horses which have been injured, or are too old to remain in active service.”

    Karl leaned back and thought for a moment. “We do have specific standards, as you might imagine, for our horses. We do not, however, have large numbers of extra horses which are not needed for military use.”

    His visitor's face fell. “Surely you have a few horses available? We need perhaps two dozen or so for the experiments. The horses will not be killed, if that is what you are wondering.”

    Karl decided to try another approach. “Doctor, have you ever served in the military?”

    “Not as a soldier, if that is what you mean. I was an intern during the Egyptian War, but I served here in Berlin.”

    “Then I must explain something. Knights, and now cavalry troopers, tend to become attached to the mounts who carry them into battle. No self respecting knight will let his mount end up in the knacker's yard. A good war horse is expensive for a reason. War horses which are injured or no longer fit for military service are typically purchased by their former riders or other veterans and live out their lives on a farm or in civilian service.”

    “I do have an alternative, however. Have you approached anyone else with this idea?”

    “Not yet, Deputy Minister.” Again there was a knock at the door. “Come in!”, said Karl.

    Karl's aide came in. “Sir, the carriage is here to take you to the Ministry Council meeting.”

    Karl stood at this. “I will be there in a moment.” Turning again to his guest, Karl asked, “Doctor, can you return tomorrow morning at this time? I will check our records when I get back from the Council meeting, and see what spare horses we do have. I will also speak to the Cultural Minister in the meantime.”

    “The Cultural Minister?”

    “Yes. His second son died of diptheria, and I am certain he would be glad to help your research into finding a cure.”

    “Thank you so much for your help. I will be back tomorrow, then.”
     
  7. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    “I think that is London to port, Captain.”

    Captain Johann Bock of the new galleon Friedrich von Schmidt looked to port through his spyglass. There was indeed a city, with a large bronze statue at the mouth of the harbor. The Colossus, as it was called, looked impressive in the early morning's light, towering some thirty meters above the water. This was easier when I simply commanded a trade ship to the American colonies.

    The small canoes approaching the Friedrich, however, were anything but impressive as they came alongside. “Hail! Are you Germans?”

    “Yes! I am Captain Johann Bock of the Imperial German galleon Friedrich von Schmidt. We have diplomats aboard, who are anxious to meet with your leader.”

    “Permission to come aboard, Captain?”

    “Granted!” Captain Bock himself threw a line overboard, and two Englishmen quickly scrambled aboard the German galleon.

    “Welcome to England, gentlemen. I am John Smythe, the harbormaster of London.”

    “Welcome aboard, sir. I am Foreign Minister Horst von Steinberg, and this is Deputy Military Minister Karl von Clauswitz. Our leader, Chancellor Bismarck, has sent us here to propose a trade deal with your Queen.”

    The English diplomat paused for a moment. “I assume you mean our new Queen Elizabeth III. I am certain she will be most anxious to meet you, Foreign Minister.”

    Captain Bock spoke up. “Harbormaster, can you assist us in docking at your harbor? I would prefer not to make a poor impression on the Queen by running the Friedrich aground on a sandbar.”

    “Of course, Captain. The deepest part of the harbor approach is directly under the Colossus itself.”

    The Captain looked nervously at the statute. “I am not certain that the mast will clear the statue. Perhaps we could anchor just outside, and send in the diplomatic party in aboard the longboat.”

    “That will be acceptable, Captain. I regret that there is little trade at the moment, due to those accursed barbarians.”

    The Foreign Minister smiled at this. “Then I have some good news for you and your Queen. A sister ship to the Friedrich has destroyed the last of the barbarians in the North Sea, after a series of pitched battles. That is why we are finally able to visit your fair land in person.”

    “I see. No doubt the Queen will be pleased. I only wish my father had lived to see this day.”

    Something fell into place in the Deputy Military Minister's mind at these words. “Was your father Winston Smythe, by any chance?”

    “Why yes. How on earth did you know that?”

    “It was in my father's records, Harbormaster. A Winston Smythe visited Berlin on behalf of the English people nearly thirty years ago now. My father handled the mission at the time.”

    “I see.. It is a pity that my father's mission was not particularly successful. He died just last year.”

    “I am sorry to hear that. I hope that our mission will be more successful now.”, said the Foreign Minister.

    “We shall see.” The Friedrich by now was a mere two hundred meters away from the Colossus. “This will do as an anchorage.”

    “Lower the anchor!”, cried Captain Bock.

    An hour later, the German diplomatic party had duly left in the longboat and arrived at the English palace. They were ushered into the presence of the Queen. The Queen did not stand, which rather surprised the Foreign Minister. “We welcome you to England, gentlemen.”

    “Thank you, Your Majesty. Chancellor Bismarck asked me to meet with you concerning matters of mutual interest, now that the barbarians who infested the North Sea for so long have been defeated.”

    “We are pleased to hear of the barbarian defeat, Foreign Minister. What matters do you propose to discuss?”

    “The Chancellor is interested in the maps of your fair land, and he asked us to seek knowledge of the fleet of pirates far to the south. We are prepared to offer valuable knowledge to the English in return.”

    “We see. We will consult with our advisors and speak further of this tomorrow. You shall be our guests in the meantime.”

    “Thank you, Your Majesty. We shall report your gracious hospitality upon our return to Germany.”
     
  8. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    May 1st, 310 AD

    The Foreign Minister, Horst von Steinberg, and the Deputy Military Minister, Karl von Clauswitz, arrived at the palace quite late, after the failed mission to the English. “Minister, I am not looking forward to explaining this mission to the Chancellor.”, said Karl as the two men entered the antechamber of the throne room.

    “At least you will get to stand there while I tell the Chancellor that the mission failed. On the other hand, the Chancellor is a fair man. He will blame Queen Elizabeth, not us.”

    The chamberlain came in. “The Chancellor will see you now.” Both men entered the throne room.

    “Good evening, gentlemen. How did the mission to England go?”

    The Foreign Minister paused. “Not very well, my Chancellor. The new Queen Elizabeth III was not at all helpful concerning the pirates. She seemed to think we were some sort of spies. She actually accused us of making the whole matter up, though what we would gain by such a deception is beyond me.”

    The Chancellor frowned at this. “This occurred in their capital city, with their copy of the Stone of Translation in place?” The Foreign Minister nodded in confirmation. “Do the English have the knowledge to build these pirate frigates?”

    The Foreign Minister frowned. “I do not believe so, my Chancellor. However, the frigates exist, and they are crewed by English speaking pirates. There are not many possible alternatives.”

    “Do you still believe that we halt the planned invasion of England, Horst?”

    “My Chancellor, the English are not the real enemy. The pirates are an enemy, but a relatively minor one at the moment.”

    The Chancellor then turned to the Deputy Military Minister. “Do you agree with Horst?”

    “My Chancellor, the English are not a major threat at the moment. The Foreign Minister is correct about that. I saw only spearmen and a few archers in the capital city. However, I believe my father is also correct that the English are a potential threat, and that we should proceed with the invasion.”

    “I am sorry, Horst, but I must agree with Karl. We will hold a Council meeting on Tuesday, but I have no doubt that the rest of the Council will vote to proceed with the invasion of England.”

    “I am troubled by the Queen's attitude as well, my Chancellor. I would prefer to find another solution, however.”

    “The Council will listen if you have a better idea, Horst. Otherwise, we will proceed with the invasion.” The Chancellor paused for a moment. “There is another matter which we will address in the meeting. I am sorry to tell you this, Karl, but your father is not well at all. The doctors tell me that he is, in fact, gravely ill. He has submitted a resignation letter, effective immediately, and named you as his successor.”

    Karl was stunned into silence. “I...do not know quite what to say, my Chancellor. I knew that I would become Military Minister someday, but this is not what I had in mind.”

    The Foreign Minister spoke out. “Karl, your father has made a wise choice. You have worked for the Ministry since you were a boy, and I can think of no one else more suitable.”

    “Thank you, Minister.”

    “Please, call me Horst. That is one of the privileges of becoming a full Minister.” Both the Foreign Minister and the Chancellor smiled at Karl.

    “Yes, Minister..Horst.”

    “A final point of business, then.”, said the Chancellor. “I shall formally propose you as the next Military Minister. I am quite certain that the Council will approve. The Reichstag approval will be a mere formality. Congratulations, Minister Karl!”

    “Thank you, my Chancellor.”
     
  9. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    “Minister, your 10:00 appointment is here.”

    I still have not gotten used to being addressed as Minister. Aloud, the new Military Minister, Karl von Clauswitz, replied: “Thank you, Gunter. Send Colonel Feldmann in.”

    A tall man, in the uniform of the Imperial Guards entered and saluted. “Colonel Alberich Feldmann reporting, sir.”

    Karl returned the salute. “At ease, Colonel. I must reveal a few things to you before you take up your post as the new military attache at the Arabian Embassy. First, there is a large German cavalry force assembling at Elephantine. Officially, this force is intended as a defense, in the event the Indians attack when the peace treaty expires in two years time.”

    “I see, Minister. I take it there is an unofficial purpose for the troop buildup?”

    “Quite correct, Colonel. I will get to that in a moment. There will be a peace conference between Germany and India in the next year or so, a few months before the treaty expires. The precise details have not yet been determined. We will arrange to get this information to you in Mecca as it becomes available.”

    “The India department of the Military Ministry believes that the peace treaty with India will be renewed at this conference. I am not so optimistic. The Mahatma is not to be trusted. In the event of war, the force assembled at Elephantine will be sent into battle against the Indians.”

    “However, it may well be that peace with India will be achieved. This force at Elephantine will be sent into battle against the Arabs in that event. This plan is of course an Imperial state secret for obvious reasons.”

    “This could be a rather exciting posting, then.”

    “Yes, it could.” The Minister sighed for a moment. “I remember well when I served as the military attache at the Egyptian Embassy, not long before the start of the Egyptian War. Your first major task will be to get a sense of the military strength of the Arabs. We believe that they have trained bowmen, but no more advanced weapons or soldiers. You may be our first warning if that changes.”

    “I understand, Minister. I shall do my best.”

    “Your second task is a little more unusual. We have an agent, codenamed “Sparthage”, who works in a minor capacity in the Arabian palace. He will approach you during your first week in office.”

    “How will I know him, Minister?”

    “There is a code phrase he will say to you. He will make a remark about sandstorms, in general terms. You must make a specific reply, which is, 'The sandstorms are stronger this year.” He will then reply, “They are as furious as the Celts.” Once identified, he will pass on the message, whatever it might be. You will need to set up a code phrase to warn him in the event war breaks out between Germany and Arabia.”

    “It seems a rather roundabout method of obtaining information, Minister.”

    “Quite true, Colonel. However, this is for his protection. He has already been sent a detailed description of you, and so he will know whom to approach. He will be in the deepest of trouble if he is caught at best, and may well be executed at worst.”

    “He will not be caught if I can help it, Minister.”

    The Minister smiled. “That is what I hoped you would say. Good luck, and be very careful, Colonel.”
     
  10. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    January 3, 330 AD

    Chancellor Bismarck called the meeting of the Ministry Council to order. “I will ask Horst to report on the upcoming peace conference with the Indians.”

    The Foreign Minister took the podium. “My Chancellor, we have finally agreed with our Indian counterparts on the basic details of the conference. It is scheduled for March 1st, in Delhi. The treaty itself will expire on July 1st, unless other arrangements are made at the conference to extend it.”

    “Do we know what the Indian approach will be, Horst?”

    “We think that they will suggest that the treaty be extended for another twenty years. I doubt very much, however, that they are willing to pay any sort of tribute for such an extension.”

    “I see. What happens if the treaty is not extended? Will there be an immediate attack by the Indians?”

    “It is possible, my Chancellor. I think it is more likely, however, that there will be a tense standoff, with neither side willing to breach the peace unless provoked.”

    “What stops the Mahatma from simply declaring an immediate war if the peace conference is not successful?”

    “My Chancellor, as a practical matter, that would violate the existing treaty if this is done prior to July 1st. India's reputation among the other nations of the world might never truly recover from such a treacherous action.”

    The Chancellor then turned to the Military Minister. “Karl, do we know whether the Indians are prepared to attack us?”

    Karl von Clauswitz, the new Military Minister, shook his head. “My Chancellor, it is possible. We have not observed any large scale troop movements near the border, however. The Indians have a very large force of at least twenty divisions in Delhi itself, but most of these soldiers are musketmen and pikemen. We do have eight cavalry divisions in Bangalore, and we expect the city to be able to hold out for quite some time in the event of an Indian attack. We believe that the Indians do not have knights or cavalry available at this time, and so their ability to carry out a sneak attack is limited.”

    “A dangerous belief to base the future policy on the Empire on, Karl.”

    “Yes, it is, my Chancellor. It is the best we have at the moment, however.”

    “We will proceed with the conference, then. Karl, I want contingency plans in place in the event the Indians attack us.”

    “It shall be done, my Chancellor. I have a team working on that very issue even now.”

    “Good. I will then ask you to report on the situation with England and Arabia.”

    The Military Minister pulled down a previously prepared chart. “My Chancellor, I should mention at the outset that all of this assumes that the peace conference with the Indians is successful. We have three galleons in position to transport the English invasion force. We expect to make the landing next spring with 23 cavalry divisions. The English have only nine spearman divisions guarding London, and so we have every reason to believe the attack will be successful.”

    The Minister pulled down a second chart. “We will have no less than 42 cavalry divisions, along with the three heavy Corps, in place just south of Elephantine to launch an attack into Arabia by early next year. The Arabs have at least a dozen bowmen guarding Mecca, but that will not be nearly enough against our assault.”

    The Chancellor paused in thought. “How long would it take to divert them to the Indian frontier at need?”

    “It is difficult to say, my Chancellor. Our rail network is expanding, but is far from complete. The cavalry units are much faster than the older knights, and so we should be able to reinforce our defenses quickly if necessary. We should be able to send reinforcements within a matter of weeks, instead of months or years, once the rail line is in place.”

    "Very well, Karl. Please continue your efforts." The Chancellor now turned to his Science Minister. “I trust, Johann, that you have a more congenial report to make at this time.”

    “I do, my Chancellor. We have made considerable strides, after years of patient research, in learning to treat a number of serious diseases. I am pleased to report that the experimental serum of Dr. Erlich was quite successful in treating diptheria. It will take generations, perhaps centuries, to conquer other diseases, however. It is the consensus of the Imperial Science Ministry that we focus our efforts on other subjects for the moment.”

    “I see. What shall we examine now?”

    “My Chancellor, there is a particular subject which the Imperial Science Academy has in mind.” The Minister produced a small glass jar, with a leather top and a metal strip in the center. “We call this a Leipzig jar, after the city where it was first built. It is the beginning of another new field of science.”

    “What does it do, Johann?”

    “I will show you, my Chancellor. You will receive a mild surprise if you were to touch the exposed metal at the top.”

    “Very well.” The Chancellor did just that before the Science Minister could stop him, and withdrew his hand quickly as an audible popping noise was heard. “What the @#$ was that, Johann?”

    “My deepest apologies, my Chancellor. I had intended to demonstrate the effect in a less painful manner. The jar contains a small amount of a mysterious substance we call Electricity. It is quite harmless in small doses. We believe it is the same basic material which is found in lightning bolts.”

    The Chancellor rubbed his finger and gave his Science Minister a baleful look. “Let me get this straight, Johann. You think it is possible to capture lightning in a bottle?”

    “You felt the shock yourself, my Chancellor. We do not yet know how to increase the effect, but in theory, it should be possible.”

    “Johann, if I had not felt that...shock, I would never have approved of such an outlandish idea. I cannot afford to discount the possibility that you are on to something once again. All in favor of studying this Electricity?” All of the Ministers raised their hands. “Motion approved, then. Proceed with your experiments, then. Please be careful, though. I do not want you to get yourself killed by this Electricity, Johann.”

    “I will be careful, my Chancellor.”

    “Is there anything else before we adjourn?” No one spoke, so the Chancellor continued, “Meeting adjourned, then.” Everyone stood as the Chancellor left the Ministry Council room.
     
  11. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    OOS: It goes without saying, but I'll spell it out anyway. DO NOT TRY THE ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN THE NEXT UPDATE AT HOME!

    **
    February 2, 330 AD

    “Very good, Otto. I think that will do for today.”

    “Yes, Meister Kleist”, replied Otto von Bismarck, the eldest son of the Chancellor. He noticed that his physics tutor had brought a large sack with him, and the tip of what appeared to be a kite stuck out. “What is in the sack?”

    “A few materials for a science experiment. There will be a storm tonight, and I need them for the experiment.”

    “May I help, Meister?”

    Meister Kleist considered his pupil's offer. “It might well be dangerous, Otto.”

    “I am brave, Meister. Please, may I come along?”

    “As you wish, Otto. You must be very careful and do exactly what I tell you.”

    Meister and pupil left the Imperial Palace, headed toward the gardens. They stopped at a gardener's shed, where Meister Kleist took out a kite and a small bell.

    “We shall proceed quickly. We may not have much time before the storm hits.” It began to rain softly as the physics professor arranged his kite and launched it into the overcast skies. It took a good fifteen minutes to raise the kite above the treetops some hundred meters into the air.

    “I think it is high enough now. Otto, will you tie the free end of the twine to the post?”

    “Certainly.” Otto did just that. “So how long will this take, Meister?”

    “No one can say. Theoretical science rarely happens on a timetable. That is why it takes a certain sort of man to pursue this sort of thing.”

    “I do hope something interesting happens.”

    “Be careful what you wish for, Otto. You might just get it.”

    The rain outside the shack was getting worse as the storm approached. They heard the crash of distant thunder, though they could not see the lightning flash.

    “So what are you trying to do?”

    His tutor smiled. “Take a close look, Otto. I think you will be able to reason it out.”

    Otto did just that for several seconds. The Meister's kite was now flying a hundred meters in the air, well above the treetops in this part of the Imperial Gardens. The kite line was tied to a wooden post just inside the shed, leaving an additional meter or so of line hanging free. A key was tied to the end of the twine, and a large iron handbell was positioned a few centimeters away.

    “I think you expect that a lightning bolt will strike the kite, but I do not know what the handbell is for.”

    “It is a theory of mine, Otto. I believe that lightning is actually a very powerful form of Electricity. I hope that a lightning bolt will strike the kite, and travel down the twine to the key. It should become magnetized, and ring the bell, if I am correct.”

    “Is that why you think this is dangerous?”

    BOOM! A deafening crack of thunder sounded from all around them. The interior of the shed was lit up with a dazzling flash of light. Otto shook his head to clear the ringing noise. “Meister Kliest, are you all right?”

    “WHAT?”

    “ARE YOU ALL RIGHT, MEISTER?”

    “Yes, I am fine, Otto. You need not shout. Let us see if this worked.” He looked down at the bell. The key had been torn loose from the twine and fused to the outside of the iron cowbell, which was still smoldering. The twine itself was charred and smoking from the lightning bolt.

    “I did not expect that to happen.” Meister Kliest picked up the cowbell. “Obviously there was more power in the lightning bolt than I had expected. I will have to devise a different and safer way to test my theory.”
     
  12. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    March 1, 330 AD

    The morning of the peace conference dawned bright and clear in Dehli. Chancellor Bismarck, along with the Foreign Minister, and the Ambassador, were going over final details in the German Embassy for the initial meeting at noon.

    “The Mahatma will present his proposal first, my Chancellor, since he is the host. We do not know precisely what the Indian proposal will be, but we expect that it will provide for an extension of the existing treaty for another twenty years.”

    “I would rather see an extension for five years. Will the Mahatma expect an immediate response from us?”

    “Not necessarily, my Chancellor, but certainly within a short period of time. That specific detail was not expressly agreed to.”

    “The Mahatma does not seem to like to agree to many details, for a man who talks as much about peace and understanding as he does.”

    There was a sudden knock at the door. “Come in!”, said the Ambassador. The chief aide entered the Ambassador's office.

    “Forgive me, but the Vice-Mahatma is here in person. He says it is urgent.”

    “Very well. Send him in.”

    The Vice-Mahatma, Rajiv Gandhi, entered the Ambassador's office. “Good morning, Chancellor, Ambassador. A serious situation has developed. The Mahatma is dangerously ill. His physicians believe he suffered a stroke last night.”

    The Ambassador recovered first. “I am very sorry to hear that, Vice-Mahatma. Our Embassy physician is well versed in such cases, if he could be of any assistance.”

    “That is very generous of you, Ambassador. I fear the situation is grave indeed.”

    Again there was a knock at the door. “Now what?”, growled the Chancellor. The Ambassador was more diplomatic. “Come in!”

    The Ambassador's aide entered. “My Chancellor, the Indian Foreign and Military Advisors are here. They say they have urgent and serious news.”

    “Send them in, then.”, said the Chancellor.

    The two men entered, and saluted the Vice-Mahatma. “Sir, it is our duty to give you terrible news today. The Mahatma...has gone to his fathers.”

    The Vice-Mahatma turned pale, but his voice remained under control. “I understand. Return to the Royal Palace at once. I will join you shortly.”

    “As you wish...Mahatma.” Both men saluted the newly promoted Mahatma and left at once.

    The Chancellor turned to the new Mahatma. “Do you wish to postpone the peace conference, under the circumstances?”

    “No, Chancellor. I propose that we continue the conference. My father would have wanted that. Specifically, I propose that we renew the peace treaty for another seven years.”

    Chancellor Bismarck thought for a long moment. “Imperial Germany will accept your gracious proposal, Mahatma. I suggest that we remain in Delhi for the next few days, and sign a final agreement once our respective staffs work out the details.” He paused for another moment. "Please accept our condolences on your loss, Mahatma. It would indeed be a fine legacy for your father if a lasting peace between Germany and India could be achieved. I would like to see relations improve between our two nations, Mahatma.

    “I wish to see a lasting peace as well, Chancellor. If you will excuse me now." The Chancellor nodded, and the new Mahatma left at once.
     
  13. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    January 3, 340 AD

    Colonel Wilhelm Tell walked up to the Chancellor in the Imperial greenhouse and coughed once. “Yes, Colonel?”

    “My Chancellor, Ambassador Salah-al-Din is waiting for you. I also have a half-squad of Guardsmen waiting in the throne room.”

    The Chancellor sighed. “And Shiek Sadim?”

    “He is in the secret room. I took the liberty of quickly sweeping it out earlier this morning.”

    “That was thoughtful of you, Colonel. Let us go.” The Chancellor and the Colonel left the Imperial greenhouse and walked to his throne room. “Very well. Send the Ambassador in.”

    The Arabian Ambassador Salah-al-Din walked in, and gave a perfunctory bow. He made no outward sign of the presence of the armed half-squad of Imperial Guards in the throne room. “What can I do for you this morning, Chancellor?”

    “Ambassador, I am concerned with the continuing presence of Arabian troops in our territory. This is the fourth time in the last seven years that I have had occasion to speak to you or your predecessor on this subject.”

    “These troops are merely escorting a group of settlers to their new home in the far north, Chancellor. They are no threat to you and yours.”

    “And the Berber pirates and barbarians in German waters are just peaceful fishermen?”

    “They are not authorized by my government. They are outlaws and criminals, as you well know.”

    “They exist, Ambassador. Your government has done nothing whatever to stop them, and yet they were once connected to your people.”

    “Chancellor, the infamous 'Redbeard' is a wanted criminal in Arabia. We have no control over these evil pirates, and we are not responsible for their misdeeds.”

    “An opinion I and the German people do not share, Ambassador. You and I have spoken on this subject for the last time. Imperial Germany will take appropriate action.”

    “We welcome the capture and defeat of the evil criminals, Chancellor.”

    “That is not quite what I meant, Ambassador. Surely you know that there have been calls in the Reichstag for a more forceful solution. There are many who believe that your government is in fact responsible for the pirates.”

    “Then they are fools, Chancellor.”

    “There is more, Ambassador.” Colonel Tell, at a nod from his leader, handed the Ambassador a letter.

    “This is a copy of a letter sent by Shiek Bakr to Queen Cleopatra, lamenting the fact that he had no iron to send her to “drive off the German hordes.” We recovered it from the ruins of the Egyptian Royal Ministry building after the fall of Thebes.”

    “There were numerous rumors of such assistance, but they were false! You know that perfectly well, Chancellor.” For the first time the Ambassador appeared nervous.

    “Ambassador, your glorious leader would have sent military aid to our Egyptian enemies had he been able to, during a time of war. This letter is not generally known to the German people, or to the Reichstag. I intend to change that this afternoon, when I will publicly produce the original of the letter.”

    “Chancellor, that will create a very dangerous situation. I know there have been tensions between our two nations, but it need not come to this!”

    “That is what you said the last time your leader sent armed troops into Germany. I told you at the time that I would be most displeased if this provocation was repeated. Your government chose not to listen.”

    “We have the right to settle unclaimed territory!”

    “Ambassador, I am a busy leader. I have other things to do than listen to more of your lies concerning the latest Arabian provocations. Instead, I will take action to prevent this from ever happening again.” The guards closed in as the Chancellor continued. “It is now my grave duty to inform you that Germany is now at war with Arabia. Guards!” Two burly Imperial Guardsmen seized the Ambassador at the Chancellor's last statement.

    “This is an outrage, Chancellor! The rest of the world will not tolerate your lies and naked aggression!”

    “They tolerated the conquest of Egypt, Ambassador, and I have no doubt they will tolerate the conquest of Arabia as well. It will not take nearly as long in any event.” The Imperial Guardsmen dragged the protesting Ambassador out of the throne room.

    The door to the secret room opened, and the former ruler of Arabia stepped out. “I see that someone made at least an attempt to clean out the secret room, Chancellor.”

    “That was Colonel Tell's doing. I trust you heard everything?”

    “I did. I grieve for the innocent Arabian people who will suffer and die in the war, however.”

    “There is no other way, Shiek Sadim. I am certain, however, that the war will end quickly.”
     
  14. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    Hooray! The story reached 10,000 views today! :D:woohoo:
     
  15. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    January 3, 340 AD

    The chamberlain came into the throne room at 11:30 a.m. “My Chancellor, the Turkish Ambassador and military attache have arrived. Shall I send them in?”

    “Yes.” The Chancellor commanded himself to be patient. There is no sense in taking out my frustration with the Arabs and the English on the Turkish Ambassador.

    The Turkish Ambassador and the military attache came in. “A thousand apologies for my tardiness, Chancellor. I was away from the Embassy when the message came in requesting a meeting.”

    “That is a hazard of a quick request for a meeting, Ambassador. I appreciate your willingness to come in at such short notice. I have a brief but very important matter to discuss with you, and then I must address the Reichstag at noon today.”

    “That is most unusual, Chancellor. Is there something amiss?”

    “Yes, though it does not directly concern Turkey. I must first give you a little background. I presume you know of the pirates and barbarian vessels which infest the Mediterranean Sea?”

    The Turkish military attache spoke for the first time. “I know that they exist, Chancellor, but I do not know most of the details. I have heard that your warships in the North Sea have defeated numerous barbarian ships.”

    “Quite so. We have recently learned that the pirates and barbarians in the Mediterranean Sea are Arabian in origin. Specifically, they revolted against the Arabs some time ago, and now support themselves by attacking other ships.”

    “That is a most serious accusation, Chancellor. Are you quite sure of your grounds?”

    “I am indeed, Ambassador. The Arabian Ambassador was in this very room some two hours ago. I confronted him on this point. He claimed that they are wanted criminals in Arabia, and that Shiek Bakr is not responsible for them.”

    “It seems you do not believe his explanation, Chancellor.”

    “I do not. I have other reasons for distrusting the Arabs. First, they continue to send armed troops into our territory without authorization, and only reluctantly withdraw them. This has occurred four times in the last seven years.”

    “Second, we have uncovered a letter sent from Shiek Bakr to Queen Cleopatra. Apparently the only reason why he did not aid our Egyptian enemies in the recent war was that he had no particular aid to provide.”

    The Turkish Ambassador looked grave at this. “I do not like where this seems to be leading, Chancellor. What is it that you are going to tell the Reichstag?”

    “I will tell them what I have just told you, Ambassador. I believe you have served as Ambassador to Imperial Germany long enough to know how they will respond.” The Ambassador paled as he realized what the Chancellor was suggesting.

    “There is more, Ambassador. There is another group of eight pirate frigates off our coast, near Songhai territory. We have discovered that they are crewed by English speaking pirates. I sent a delegation to the English just over a year ago to get an explanation.”

    “Did the English explain any of this, Chancellor?”

    “They did not. The English Queen falsely accused us of making the whole matter up. Our delegation was fortunate to be able to return safely to Germany at all. This is even more of a provocation, in my view, than the lies of the Arabian Sultan.”

    “I believe the Reichstag will be most displeased, Chancellor, and will demand a...war against both the mysterious English and the Arabs. May I ask, however, what this has to do with my people?”

    “Nothing directly, Ambassador. However, I gave my word to Sultan Alhazred Timur-Lenk when I made a state visit to Samarkhand that there would be a period of peace following the Egyptian War. It seemed prudent for me to explain to you why that will change. It also seemed prudent to assure you myself that the relations between Germany and Turkmenistan have not changed from my point of view.”

    “I am sorry to hear of the impending war, Chancellor. I appreciate the confidence and candor you have shown me today, and I will report all this to the Sultan.”

    The chamberlain came into the throne room. “Forgive the intrusion, my Chancellor. Your carriage is waiting.”

    “Thank you, Rudi.” The Chancellor stood. “I must now perform one of the least pleasant duties of the Chancellorship. Thank you both again for coming in so quickly.”
     
  16. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    January 12, 340 AD

    “The German Chancellor did WHAT!?!”

    “O glorious Sheik, the Germans have declared war.”

    Sheik Bakr of the Arabs was livid. “Why did that @#$! of a Chancellor do this?”

    The Military Advisor was the first to react. “O glorious Sheik, it might be best if you read the message of Ambassador Salah-al-Din yourself.” The Sheik snatched the offered message and read the familiar script of the Ambassador to Germany with growing fear and alarm.

    “To the august and glorious Sheik Bakr:

    I write these lines through the courtesy of Colonel Wilhelm Tell of the Germans. It is my sad and grievous duty to report to you that the Chancellor has chosen to declare war on our peaceful people as of January 2nd. The Chancellor claims that we are responsible for the Berber pirates and barbarians loose in the eastern Mediterranean. He was also angered by our harmless settler parties passing through his lands. The Chancellor finally claims that you were willing to supply the late Queen Cleopatra with iron and other military aid during the recent Egyptian-German war, and produced a letter purportedly signed by you to the Queen to that effect. I did my humble best to point out the Chancellor's numerous errors without success.”

    I am assured by the good Colonel Tell that I and the Embassy staff are safe for the moment and will be treated well for the duration of the war. It is my belief that the Germans, though vile and warlike in other respects, may be believed on this particular point.”

    “Finally, may I add my humblest apologies to you, O glorious Shiek, for my failure as Ambassador to prevent the war. I shall continue to do my best for my compatriots while in German custody.”

    (signed)
    Salah-al-Din
    Ambassador to Imperial Germany"

    “That @#$! of a Chancellor knows perfectly well that we are not responsible for those accursed pirates!” The Sheik mastered his emotions with a supreme effort and turned to his Military Advisor. “So, what can we do now to defeat the oncoming German hordes?”

    The Military Advisor had expected such a question from his leader, but that did not help him find a satisfactory answer. “O glorious Shiek, we have fifteen bowmen divisions here in Mecca, and another six divisions in Medina. It has been reported that the Germans had massed some forty horse divisions on their side of the border last fall, together with at least two of their armies.” He paused, and the Shiek saw determination in his eyes as he continued. “Your soldiers will fight, but we cannot defeat such a force alone. We must have help.”

    Not everyone is giving up, then? “And how might we obtain this help?”

    “The Chancellor has enemies, O glorious Shiek. I propose that we approach the Indians, for assistance. The new Mahatma has no more reason to love the Germans than we do.”

    The Foreign Advisor spoke up for the first time. “An excellent idea, O glorious Shiek, if I may say so. We should contact everyone we can about this matter, and not just the Indians.”

    “What happens if the Indians refuse to assist us?”

    There was a tense silence for a moment before the Military Advisor replied. “We are no worse off in that event than we are now. “

    “Go then, and do as you have suggested. Offer anything we can to the Mahatma for his assistance.”

    “I hear and obey, O glorious Shiek.” The two Advisors left at once, leaving the Shiek alone with his dark thoughts and fears.
     
  17. Sparthage

    Sparthage Fighting Tyranny

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    lurker's comment: Hey, congrats! :goodjob:
     
  18. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    Thanks Sparthage! (& thanks to all the loyal readers of Blood and Iron!) I hope to be able to read a new update for "Celtic Fury" before you go on break.

    Next up: the Battle of Mecca (which should be posted sometime late Monday depending on RL work schedule.)
     
  19. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    February 16, 340 AD

    Excerpt from The Conquest of Arabia, Manfred Zelet, p. 123, 141, Ritter Press, Leipzig, 400.

    “The siege of Mecca lasted just over three weeks. The Arabian defenders were able to hold out until the early morning hours of February 16th. The successful destruction of the northern gates was the beginning of the end for the ancient city...Total German casualties numbered 4211, though only the 10th Viennese cavalry division was completely destroyed. Arab casualties were estimated at the equivalent of fifteen divisions of bowmen and hastily raised militia.”

    Field Marshall Stavros of the Germans looked out at the capital of the enemy in the early morning light. The Arabs seemed to have a never-ending supply of bowmen to man the walls, despite all his forces could do. He had decided upon a bold plan to destroy the north gate, and knew that the lives of many thousands of the men under his command depended upon the outcome.

    “Marshall, the sappers report the final tunnels are complete. The men are ready to attack on your order.”

    “Then the order is given. Let the attack begin!”

    The troopers of the German army marched into battle position, as if they had been in formation before the Chancellor on some great occasion of state. They stopped just outside arrow range of the enemy, with their muskets primed and ready to fire.

    A fountain of dirt and debris shot nearly fifty meters into the air as the 600 kilos of gunpowder in the sapper's tunnel underneath the north gate exploded. The heavily reinforced gates trembled for a moment, and then slowly but inexorably crashed forward, along with a large section of the north wall on either side. The thunderous roar of the explosion reached the waiting troopers a few seconds later.

    A series of clarion calls sounded, urging the cavalry troopers forward as the debris and dust clouds settled back to earth. They faced thousands of Arab bowmen, determined to fight to the last for their city and their Shiek.

    The massive battle lasted for hours. The German attack had cleared the gates themselves, but that was still not enough to allow the entire massed armies to attack easily at once. Volley fire of Arab bowmen were answered by volleys of deadly lead slugs, fired at near point blank range.

    The surviving vanguard of the German attack had by now advanced to melee range. The cry of “Sabres!” rang out, together with a prearranged clarion call. The bowmen were not prepared to fight hand-to-hand, and so the cavalry troopers were able to breach the Arab defenses and penetrate further into the city. Fresh troopers filled the gaps of the fallen as the Germans continued to pour through the shattered north gates.

    By noon the cavalry troopers of the 10th Viennese had advanced to within firing range of the palace. The Arab defenders had been trained by the Egyptians, and had prepared huge pots of flaming pitch and oil on the roof of the palace. A series of horns on the Arabian side sounded as the 10th Viennese charged.

    The last moments of most of the 10th were a sea of nearly literal hellfire as the huge pots crashed down on them. The cavalry troopers did not have the ponderous mantlets and shields used in the Indian War, which might well have withstood the flaming barrage. The roar of the flames could not completely extinguish the dreadful sounds of man and beast as they were burned alive. The troopers who had survived the initial flames retreated, pursued by a hail of arrow fire from the cheering and shouting Arab bowmen.

    The Arab defenders of the palace had blunted the initial German attack, but at a terrible price. The lower levels of the palace had not been properly protected from fire of such a scale. The same flames which had immolated the 10th Viennese quickly set the palace itself alight. Other cavalry units, seeing the fate of the 10th, began to surround the palace complex at a safe distance as the flames raged completely out of control.

    The effect on the morale of the remaining Arab bowmen, as they saw the smoke from the burning palace, was devastating. Those who could fled south, towards the last Arab stronghold of Medina, while the Germans preoccupied themselves with securing the city itself.

    Mecca, the ancient capital city of the Arabs, had fallen.
     
  20. MTB4884

    MTB4884 Chieftain

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    March 3, 340 AD

    The Indian chamberlain approached his leader. “O Great Mahatma, the Arabian Ambassador is here.” “Send him in, then.”, ordered the Mahatma.

    Ambassador Rasoul-el-Sharif of the Arabs entered the Imperial Palace throne room, and bowed politely in the Arabian fashion to the Mahatma. “Thank you for seeing me, O great Mahatma.”

    “The pleasure is mine, Ambassador. What can I do for you and the Arab people this day?”

    “O great Mahatma, we of the Arabs are in desperate straits. The sudden and unprovoked attack of the Germans threatens to overrun our peace-loving people. We need your help if we are to survive at all as a people.”

    “It is my understanding that the Germans claim they were provoked into this action. Even if I were to set aside the issues surrounding the pirates and barbarians in the Mediterranean Sea, the fact remains that you sent troops into German territory on multiple occasions.”

    “These forces were simply escorting our settlers to new lands in the unclaimed lands to the far north! They were no real threat to the Germans, despite what their evil Chancellor may claim.”

    “There is a German expression which is oddly appropriate to this discussion, Ambassador. You are 'preaching to the choir', as it were. My father once sent two divisions of troops into German territory, in a time of great tension. The war that resulted lasted thirteen years and caused untold damage to our nation and our people which we have yet to fully recover from a generation later. It is unwise to send troops into German territory without their permission.”

    The Arabian Ambassador wisely refrained from pointing out that the Indians had actually begun the Indo-German war. “I suppose you have a point, O great Mahatma. Will you help us defeat the German hordes which threaten our nation?”

    “I have no particular love for the Germans or their devious Chancellor, as you must know.” The Mahatma paused for a moment. “What would you have me do?”

    “Go into battle! Fight the Germans who have enslaved many of your people and who threaten ours! Most of their army is in Arabia, and they surely do not expect an attack by you on their holdings in former Indian territory.”

    “There is nothing I would like better than to comply with your request. However, the Germans are not the fools you seem to take them for. Their garrison at Bangalore is well armed and well fortified, according to the reports of my agents.” Again the Mahatma paused.

    “You may, or may not know, of another issue for me. I was recently able to conclude an agreement for a peace treaty with the Germans last spring, after the death of my father. The reputation of India would never recover if I were to breach the treaty less than a year later.”

    There was a knock at the palace door, and the royal chamberlain entered. “Forgive me, O great Mahatma. The German Ambassador has just arrived unexpectedly, and he claims to have an urgent request for you.”

    “A moment, Sanjay.” The Mahatma thought for a few seconds. “Let the German enter. I shall permit you, Ambassador, to hear whatever the German request might be.”

    Ernst Mayecker, the new Ambassador of Imperial Germany, entered the throne room. Only a careful observer would have noticed the brief look of surprise on his face as he saw the Arabian Ambassador there. “Forgive my intrusion, Mahatma. I did not know that you had another guest here.”

    “To imitate your no doubt beloved Chancellor, may I get to the point and ask what it is that is so urgent and important?”

    “Of course, Mahatma. I have just received word that the city of Mecca has fallen to our forces some two weeks ago. At least some of the staff of the Indian Embassy were rescued, and will be escorted to Bangalore at once. I have been ordered to meet with you and request that we work out a time and place to return them unharmed to Indian territory.”

    The casual way the German spoke of the capture of his capital was suddenly too much for the Arabian Ambassador. “You evil @#$%!” The Arabian Ambassador swung wildly at his German counterpart, who coolly dodged the blow and landed a heavy punch on the other's chin, knocking the furious Arabian Ambassador to the floor. The Mahatma's guards rushed in, quickly ending the fight. The German Ambassador turned to the appalled Mahatma.

    “My apologies, Mahatma, for this unseemly display.”

    “Enough! Tell me when my people have reached Bangalore, German, and we will work out a time for their transfer back home where they belong. Now get out of here, both of you!”
     

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