Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Nuka-sama, Apr 14, 2014.
Korea, led by Seongjong is here.
The Emperor requests that the dirty sea barbarians do something interesting besides stating their existence outside of the civilizing light of the Middle Kingdom.
OOC: I dunno, some diplomacy...something
Brandenburg is here. They request an alliance and royal marriage with their friends in Saxony. Perhaps Anna the elder to Magnus?
They also propose a marriage between Joachim and Margaret of Austria.
Maximilian I, by the Grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, acting as regent to Friedrich III, Archduke of Austria,
hereby announces the Betrothal of Margaret of Austria and Henry, Prince of England. The Union of these two youths shall represent the Bonds of Familial Piety, Alliance, and Friendship between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of England.
In doing so, Maximilian I, by the Grace of God Holy Roman Emperor, hereby recognizes Henry VII Tudor as rightful King of England and all attendant titles and claims therehof.
The marriage between Henry and Margaret shall take place in 1507, when Prince Henry shall reach the age of majority.
Furthermore, Maximilian I, by the Grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, acting as regent to Friedrich III, Archduke of Austria, and as Proud Father and regent to Phillip IV of Burgundy
hereby announces the Betrothal of Duke Phillip IV of Burgundy and Princess Joana of Castile The Union of these two youths shall represent the Bonds of Familial Piety, Alliance, and Friendship between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.
The marriage is scheduled for the year 1496, when the Princess Joana reaches the age of majority.
To: Johan II, Margrave of Brandenburg
From: Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Unfortunately, our daughter Margaret is currently engaged to another. Should I take another wife and father other children, the House of Hohenzollern shall of course be considered for marriage with the House of Habsburg.
To: Johan II, Margrave of Brandenburg
From: John V, Duke of Saxony
Considering Anna's young age, perhaps you would be willing to betrothal her to my son John instead? We may sign an alliance now, and young Anna may come to Saxony for her education if you so wish.
To: Ferdinand I, King of Naples
From: John V, Duke of Saxony
In the interest of building friendship between the German and Italian peoples, would you be willing to wed Isabella to my eldest son, Magnus?
From: Ferdinand I, King of Naples
To: John V, Duke of Saxony
Your offer of marriage has been received and is under consideration.
(OOC: see my PM)
Mamluk-Sultan Qaitbay rebuilding the Mosque of Prophet Mohammad 1493
Al-Ashraf Sayf od-Din Qaytbay would used some of his personal Treasury to begin rebuilding the Mosque of Prophet Muhammad to show his great love for both the architectural patronage and his Islamic faith.
Henry VII, King of England, France, and Lord of Ireland confirms the union and everlasting friendship between England and the Holy Roman Empire.
Orders in today!
Don Ferdinand and Dona Isabella, by the grace of God king and queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Sicily, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galiciaj Majorca Seville, Sardinia, Cordova, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, Algarve, Algeciras, Gibraltar, and the Canary Islands, count and countess of Barcelona, lord and lady of Biscay and Molina, duke and duchess of Athens and Neopatras, count and countess of Roussillon and Cerdagne, marquis and marchioness of Oristano and Gociano,
celebrate with our ally and friend Maximilian I, the betrothal of our beloved Joana to his son Philip.
Need a couple of more days to write orders. I haven't been home a lot and haven't had time to get my ducks in a row. Maybe tonight, no later than tomorrow.
Orders were sent yesterday. Unfortunately not very long ones thanks to some extraneous circumstances, but orders are orders
I don't seem to have any initiative points. Is that intentional?
It's a mistake, you have 3. In the future please use the OOC thread for this sort of thing
Update One: 1493-1495
News from Europe
Pécs, Kingdom of Hungary, Summer of 1493.
Pál Kinizsi felt himself grow tired on horseback. He could feel the age catching up with him. It was coming faster than before, his back and neck aching. Had he been wearing armor, he may very well have collapsed by now. He sighed as he watched the Black Army push the rebels from the field, looking at the greatswords held by his attendant. He would have enjoyed taking two of them and smashing through the enemy, but alas that was not his battle to fight. For now, he would content himself with watching.
Still, there was a satisfaction to be taken, watching the banners of the enemy collapse as the Black Army marched on. Before, the Hungarian lords had been broken by taxation. Now they were being broken by lances, swords and arrows.
Vladislav slammed his hands to the table in frustration. “We have no money to pay these men! The lords have made it quite clear they will not be burdened by taxation any longer”
“Your Majesty, what of our existing treasury?”
“We have not the funds. I might sustain them for a year from my own personal treasuries, but after that, then what? A horde of trained, unpaid soldiers ravaging my lands?” The King slumped into his chair, sighing. “We have no other option. We must destroy them before they destroy our lands.” He eyed his general “Is that something you can do?”
Pál nodded. “Certainly, Your Majesty” But then he smiled. It was a bit amusing to think that the son of a miller could contradict a King. He supposed it helped since the miller’s son placed the crown on the King’s head, but he couldn’t help but chuckle a bit. “However, there is perhaps another...solution.”
The King raised his eyebrows, which Pál took as a sign to continue. “Your Majesty, you said the nobility will not accept your taxation. However, Your Majesty has a tool, loyal only to you, to MAKE them accept your taxation….among other things. Tell me, would you rather rule? Or be ruled?”
The King sat up in his chair and eyed his old general “Yes, I have the ‘tool’, but its loyalty is to the gold and the King that pays them, and I have not that much gold. Tell me, General, what am I to do when it runs out? What will THEY do when it runs out?”
Pál gave his King a grin “Well Your Majesty, the Hungarian lords haven’t been taxed in a while, who knows what they have hidden away….”
Steven Báthory snapped him out of his daze “Sire! The enemy has disengaged, your orders?” Pál nodded “Send the cavalry in pursuit. We will not win the war today, but let’s be sure they will not leave with anything of value.” Steven saluted and raced off to give the orders, and Pál nodded contently. After this war, he could retire. Báthory was confident without being cocky, and inspired confidence, a suitable enough replacement as the leader of the Black Army. He got off his horse with the help of two attendants and began walking back towards his tent. The war was not even close to being over. And the problems with civil wars was that you never knew how long someone would stay on your side. Today the Bohemians fought with them. But tomorrow, the promise of gold and estates would be outweighed by the terror that they might be next to be crushed by the Black Army. Still, as he moved the pieces on the map, he liked what he saw. The two biggest rivals to the King, Maximilian of Austria and his brother John Albert, were both occupied with other issues. The Polish seemed more concerned about building fortifications to guard against Muscovy, and Pál doubted that even the Emperor would want to intervene against the greatest army of Europe after what he went through the past few years.
He hesitated to celebrate. Save for Polish intervention, the nobles would be defeated. But there would be sieges to be won, castles to be stormed and broken before this country could be unified. And there was the threat of the Great Turk to the south. And perhaps looming larger than all of this was the financial issues. Estates had to be sold and given to raise gold to pay them, loot and ransoms taken. The dowry the King had been given was nearly gone. Perhaps a loan could be taken. The Queen’s nephew sat on the throne of Naples with a Medici as his consort. Arrangements could be made, but that was not his task for now. An attendant handed him a flask and he took a swig. He began coughing as the taste of the cheap liquor hit his tongue “God I’ve forgotten how bad this stuff tastes.” He looked at his attendants “After we’ve captured their personal baggage, find me something better than this.” The attendants both bowed and hurried from the tent. With them gone, Pál took another swig. The taste was bitter and coarse, but at the same time came with memories, sitting with his King and passing a flask before one last fight. Pál chuckled a bit. He would not find his new King on the frontline. Before Pál died, he would be sure to instruct his King on how to command, or at the very least find loyal generals who could. Though Pál had no children of his own, he felt a certain responsibility to guide his new King. At this he began laughing aloud. The thought of a miller’s son treating the King as his ward was funny enough to bring tears to his eyes. Satisfied, he sat down and smiled. His victory at the least meant that the nobles would no longer be able to field an army. And for now, that was enough.
He smiled and to no one in particular, raised his flask and gave a quiet “Long live the King”. He hesitated, but then remembered he might not be able to do this many more times, and took another swig.
At court in Paris, France, June 1493
Margaret tore a piece of bread off and sighed. The ducks looked up at her curiously, wondering why they had yet to receive their bread. Of course, this was nothing to be upset about. Everyone wanted something from her. It was the fate of a woman born to this family. Marriage for duty and alliances, please your husband, bear him children, and serve the family. She broke off the pieces of bread and started feeding it to the ducks. They quacked, content as they received their bread. Of course her personal preference would never factor into it. She would be married to a disgusting slob or a man without teeth if it suited her father’s interests. She smiled. She shouldn’t get too depressed at such things. She lived a better life than many, and she could not complain for lack of food or entertainment. But her bitterness was fueled, for she thought she had escaped the fate of the highborn girl. She thought Charles was her escape. But oh, how illusions shatter.
Since her birth, she had been meant for Charles. She had left her father as a child for France, to learn to become Queen of France. The language, the ceremony….even the politics and intrigue needed for the Queen. And through this, she would dance with her beloved, and they would talk and laugh with merriment. Oh how she dreamed of the day he would place the crown on her head. To be Queen! She became giddy just thinking about it. She knew the fate of other girls, of her aunts and friends marrying unseemly men, but Margaret had escaped it. Her Charles was dreamy and kind, a perfect gentleman so she thought.
But then, as he grow older he became colder, more distant. The burdens of the crown grew on him, and his demeanor clouded. The happy days of dances and walks in the garden after the entire castle had thought them put to bed were gone, replaced with weeks without hearing from him, and months without seeing him. She told herself that he was stressed, but soon, when she could give him the comfort of what a wife could give, provide him a son, and all would be right once more.
But then, things changed. The Duchy of Brittany had the misfortune of falling to an unmarried woman, and the French acted upon it. Soon, with French troops surrounding her, Anne of Brittany found herself betrothed to Charles of France, and Margaret found herself discarded.
She was treated well enough of course. Luxuriously so even. But Margaret found herself depressed and alone, heartbroken, and when no one was around, late at night, would sob into her pillow.
Returning from her daydream, she opened up the letter from her aunt Kunigunde, and smiled. At long last, she had given birth to a son. Little William was happy, healthy, and adored by his father. However, as the letter went on, the smile faded from her face. It seemed the rumors were true about her new betrothal, and the problems in Burgundy were not exaggerated by those who wished to torment her. At the very least, her brother and father were safe, the Lord be thanked. It then spoke of her grandfather, and his declining health. The court feared he would not survive the year. Margaret sighed as she folded the letter. When she had a chance, she would burn it. No doubt it had already been read by the King’s advisors before being given to her, but there was no reason that anyone else should be able to read it.
As she glanced across the garden, she saw the Queen enter, laughing and talking, with ladies hanging on to her every word. With the birth of two princes, Anne had begun to warm to the French court. She doted on her two sons, and the soldiers and nobles bowed to her, thankful she had provided security for their throne. Margaret could not help but feel a bit hateful. What seemed like a fortnight ago, that was where Margaret was. About to be married to Charles, to be the Queen of France, the center of Europe at the side of a man she both loved and respected. But it seemed the feelings were not mutual. He did not even have the courage to tell her himself, and forced one of his ministers to break their engagement. He hadn’t spoken to her in years. She barely even saw Charles at court, locking himself in his study for days on end. Were she not well-breed, she could have cried. He had two sons, a wife, riches and people hanging onto his every word. And what did she have? Nothing. She was a leper at court, her old friends and hanger-ons now surrounding the new Queen. Margaret had not even spoken with the Queen, and as the Queen began walking closer to her, Margaret grabbed her letter and left back for her chambers, lest that situation change.
As she walked into the palace, a thick man wearing a fine velvet cloak bowed to her. Étienne de Vesc, the chancellor and advisor to King Charles, perhaps the second most important man in the Kingdom. He gave her a bow, and in a calm, soothing voice asked “My lady, might I have a word?” Margaret nodded. When de Vesc asked for a word, it was usually not a request. But of course, he was far too much of a diplomat to ever imply that, and his voice always made him sound like a friend, no matter how much you hated him. No matter how much pain he had caused you….
“Monsieur Vesc, what do I owe the pleasure?” Margaret asked, her voice filled with ice and hostility. The minister coughed and seemed to fumble for words, until he could find footing for what he was about to say. “Forgive me, my lady, but I am afraid it is news of your grandfather. He collapsed, and is….not long for this world.” Margaret gave a slight tilt of her head, and replaced the hostility with sorrow on her face. As what must be expected of me, she thought. de Vesc continued “It is in his graciousness that, His Majesty has deemed it that you should be able to be with your family in this trying time. An escort has been arranged for, so that you may go home. His Majesty has asked that when you return to tell your father of His Majesty’s love for him and desire for peace and friendship.”
She nodded. Home, she thought, but not for long. But a few years and then she would travel to England, to marry a little boy… by the time he would be able to give her children...she exhaled. She was supposed to be Queen by now, and a mother. Was she expected to wait a lifetime? Was she never to wear a crown? Margaret gave a mocking curtsy to de Vesc “Thank you, Monsieur de Vec. Might I have the graciousness to thank His Majesty for his kind hospitality?”
De Vesc looked pained “Unfortunately, the King is feeling ill today, and is remaining in his study without visitors.” As Margaret nodded without a word, De Vesc ventured further “My lady, I know it may be of small consolation to you, but His Majesty did love you. He wanted very much to marry you. But the political realities of the situation called for a different bride for His Majesty. I know how much pain this has caused you, my lady, but…”
At this, Margaret snapped. “Yes monsieur, thank you for your kind words. I too, am sorry that the daughter of the King of Romans, the soon to be Archduke of Austria, was not good enough for His Majesty. I am sorry that political realities changed so that I could not marry the man I loved. But I am sure that you made His Majesty see that, oui monsieur? Rest assured though, I will be sure to tell my father of the graciousness of His Majesty. Now if you will excuse me, I must prepare for my departure”
Margaret’s departure was without fanfare. Chevalier de Bayard saluted the small guard that was to accompany her, and her carriage set off. Anxiously waiting for what seemed like years, the carriage at last left France, stopping to change guards. As she heard the chatter outside change from French to German, for the first time in years, Margaret smiled. The nightmare of the last four years was over at last.
Hamburg, Free City of Hamburg 1494.
Hermann reviewed the report with a look of . As Albert entered the room, Hermann sighed. The tinge of the air was filled with hate and despair, a depressing departure from the happiness of just moments prior. He did not bother asking his brother what was wrong. Experience told Hermann that he would soon find out anyhow.
“My entire cargo, seized by the Danes!” Hermann shot up instantly. He did not expect something this serious. Albert continued “The captain declared that the entirety of the cargo was contraband material”. Fuming, he picked up a chair and threw it at the wall, instantly splitting apart. As Alert breathed heavily, Hemann dusted himself off and studied his brother. “Albert, did you pay the dues?” When silence followed, he took the non answer as a no.
While normally he would be unwilling to get involved in this any further and would let his brother learn from his mistake, Hermann felt something different about this one. The family fortune had grown since their father had passed, yes, but it was in no thanks to Albert. It would be more accurate to say it grew in spite of the elder Furhaken brother. It was not that he was dumb. He was quite educated in fact. The problem was that his brother took risks, and it always seemed that luck was against him. A smooth voyage caught in bad winds, a cargo that became spoiled, a Danish naval patrol…It was bad enough that there was a constant whisper of whether or not Albert was really suited for this, especially when Hermann routinely brought in a steady stream of income. But when the mistakes kept piling up, Albert began thinking it was true, and tried taking bigger risks to prove that he was just as capable as their father. But his rashness would cost him, and it would lead to further losses. Hermann shook his head. This needed to end, or Hermann would not be able to keep the family business afloat. Albert needed a victory...a big one.
Hermann read aloud from one of the reports “Clashes outside of docks at Gothenburg, men throwing rocks at Danish soldiers, quickly dispersed. Presence far from Stockholm, Sven Sture will not act, incident too small to warrant.”
Albert piqued up and Hermann smiled. Albert wasn’t dumb, he could take it from here. Take a ship from the brothers, and they would burn two of yours.
At Court in Seville, Spain. November 1494
I hope this letter finds you in good health. We have not met since Granada, and I heard that since you have a daughter. Congratulations my friend, congratulations. The joys of fatherhood are many, and I am sure that you will have many more. I would advise enjoying what you can at court now, for when she becomes older and your family grows larger you will want a better place for them. Somewhere in the countryside. But it is exciting I must admit. I heard that the Italian ended up finding a land of gold and spices, and has returned once more. It truly captures the mind, though if it can rile the body is the question. Were I a younger man, perhaps I would go out on the next voyage, but alas. I was born too late. My second son though, Carlos, has no such hindrance, and hopes to strike out when he is old enough. Ahh to be young and full of folly.
I hope I did not bore you wish such idle pleasantries, and it is here that the true purpose of my writing is to be revealed. As you may have heard, Their Majesties have begun attempts to try to bring power to their crown. They try riding two horses, hoping to control the gold and the knights. It is not uncommon to hear open talk of the dissatisfaction this has brought. The knights, the men of honor and nobility, they have bled for Spain, for Christendom! No less important, the merchants, bankers and guilds, whose gold let Christian soldiers march, stomachs full of food and wine, not of empty promises. The corpse of Granada is barely cold, and Their Majesties forget this. Instead of distributing lands and towns, the Crown insults the men who led her, treating them like traitors. To be frank, it’s insulting.
I hear you have some influence of court. I know not if you serve for the gold or the honor, but Their Majesties need to know. If they continue on this path, they will divide the realm more than the heathens ever did.
Stockholm, Kingdom of Sweden. January, 1495.
The attendant staggered into the room, panting as he removed the hood from his cloak. An ugly face emerged, covered in pox and scars, completely unhidden by the scraggly black moustache he tried to grow. Ugly enough that you wouldn’t want to look at him again, but not so ugly that he was noticeable, a perfect appearance for a man of his nature. He gave a slight bow to the man wearing the fine, bright yellow tunic and fur cape, for even an urgent messenger must show some respect, and then he began his report “Sire, the reports from Gothenburg are exaggerated.” The wealthily dressed man’s smile began to drop as the man struggled to catch his breath. Between gasps for air he continued “Three warships, four merchant ships...burned...warehouses...looted” The cloaked man grabbed onto the chair for support. The rich man helped work him into the chair and called for his guard “Prepare a room, a meal, and wine for Erik. Allow him to rest, and send for me when he wakes.” The guard nodded, and carried the man out of the room, perhaps the preference of the cloaked man at that point. The richly dressed man went to his desk and pulled out some parchments and quil. The most important ones would have to wait until Erik recovered, but there were some that needed to be sent now. Men to train, money to collect, allies to gather...the people were speaking. He had listened. And now, it was time to act.
London, England. May 1495
John Morton looked at the map of Europe and furrowed his brows. Kings, knights, dukes, they would use this map to plan future conquests, to see whether their enemies were growing stronger or weaker, to determine which king to ally with, or if allies were needed to stop the growth of another king.
He toyed with one of the ships. An alliance with the Emperor was a great thing for England, especially if it eased the passage of English wool and cloth into Europe. But now, the entirety of Burgundy was up in rebellion. He furrowed his brows. It was so simple, a quick peasants rebellion that grew with the support of some cities. Nothing a trained army couldn’t handle. The Austrians even had assistance from Antwerp, who fielded an army for the Emperor, and by the end of 1493 the rebellion was crushed. The sackings of Ghent and Brussels were especially cruel, but that was the fate of a conquered city. Dutch ships had begun terrorizing the seas, especially the ships foreign merchants, though the English fleet was able to provide some protection to their merchants for the most part. The rebellion was over, Philip of Cleves was dead, and everything could return back to normalcy. But that was not to be.
The Emperor felt his hold on the country was weak, not unlike his own King. He ruled by virtue of his son, Philip, the heir of his late wife Mary of Burgundy. The issue was not the succession, for Philip was by far the one with the strongest claim. But the Emperor must have had his doubts. Perhaps one of them would seek to recreate an independent Burgundy. Margaret was betrothed to Prince Henry of England, yes, but he was but a child. Besides, this would not be the first broken engagement with Margaret. A lord could usurp Philip’s title in the name of Margaret, and rule the duchy, taking it away from the Habsburgs. No, the Emperor could not allow that. Of course, and at this Morton could not help but smile, plans would always go awry.
In 1494, Emperor Maximilian made a final few declarations on behalf of his son before handing off the regency. Seeing the hand of the Burgundian nobility in the rebellion, Maximilian saw the threat of allowing them to continue their rule. A list of Burgundian lords who were deemed ‘traitors’ to the Duke was produced, and it was decreed their lands would be taken, to be distributed to loyal Austrian lords. In addition, to prevent their taking part in future rebellions, the cities would now have new overlords, a council of Austrian nobles to oversee them. Though told they would still retain their traditional rights, this was seen, at best, as an empty promise. And while some Burgundian lords had been compliant in the rebellion, most had not acted for or against the Emperor, and to declare them traitors outraged both those on the list and off of it. Only a few months after crushing one rebellion, a new one reared its head. An alliance of the cities with Burgundian lords, with even those that did not stand to lose fearful of the Habsburg retribution siding with the rebels. Leading the rebellion was the bastard of Charles the Good, Philip of Beveren, and already they had an impressive string of victories. A core of 30,000 professionals had assembled and drove out the small Austrian contingent. The rebels had even pressed Antwerp into their cause, and now all of Burgundy lay liberated from Habsburg rule, with Duke Philip and the remaining Austrians fleeing back into Germany.
Of course, the thing Morton care about all of this was that Dutch merchants were buying soldiers and weapons, not cloth and wool. And England was feeling it in her weakest position: her coffers. Something needed to be done. If the rebels wouldn’t buy English cloth, they might be more amenable to purchase English soldiers? Or perhaps a safer, if longer term, strategy could be to offer English aid to the Emperor, and gain a concession for their aid, perhaps, and Morton grinned at the thought of this, tariff free exportation for English merchants for a few decades. He chuckled to himself. Rather cutthroat to a man whose daughter would be married to his son, but the King did not gain power by giving his hand freely. The only part that Morton cared about was that the King did not act rashly. As many had seen, that only led to disaster.
As he scribbled down his notes and handed it off to a page, he turned his attention to the budget reports. Whatever England would do in the Netherlands would be the King’s decision, not his. In the meantime, revenue had to be made up from lost trade. Almost the entirety of the crown’s budget came from export dues, and this rebellion was not helping. A rebellion in Cornwall had not helped either, but at the least it was taken care of, with the leaders hanging, though that didn’t bring back the gold putting the rebellion down had cost. Exhausted, he set down the reports. He would need to speak with his Majesty tomorrow. But for now? He would need to rest before he acted.
A pity few others took that lesson seriously.
Hamburg, Free City of Hamburg. November 1495.
Albert grinned from ear to ear. “Brother, did you see this?”
Hermann looked at his brother quizzically. Ever since the raid at Gothenburg, Albert had been in particularly high spirits. And more practically, he had been out of Hermann’s hair. All was right for the Furhaken brothers, and they had been making a good profit now that Albert’s collapsed ventures were no longer a monthly happening. Curious what could have gotten Albert so elated, he grabbed the report and began to read
“In the name of the Swedish Council of the Realm…”
And then Hermann’s face turned white. Dear God, No he thought.
“We hereby declare the union of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway to be invalid. Further more, we hereby announce the ascension of Sten Sture to the position of King of Sweden, long may he reign.”
Albert’s grin began fading as he saw Hermann’s hands quivering as he held the report. “What’s wrong Hermann? Are you alright?” As he looked at his face he nearly jumped back “Hermann, your face is..are you alright?”
Hermann set the papers down and buried his face in his hands. “Albert…you...you didn’t” Albert smiled “But I did, brother. But I did. The Swedes needed gold. We needed revenge. A natural partnership was formed.”
Hermann stood up and stared angrily at Albert. At this he truly appreciated the ‘big’ part of brother. Albert was at least a head taller than him, but Hermann felt his blood boiling as he shouted “You FOOL!” grabbing his brother’s jacket “Do you realize what you’ve done?”
Albert pushed his brother back “What’s your problem?” Hermann locked eyes with his brother angrily, “Brother, you just started a war! Do you know what that means? It means instead of peaceful waters, you’ve turned it into a war zone!”
“It wasn’t just me! Some of the other merchants are in on it too. Besides, it’s not as if it was a gift, it was a loan!”
Hermann collapsed into a nearby chair and shook his head. “Brother. If the Swedes LOSE, then who is supposed to pay your loan back?” Albert shrugged “But they’ll win.” Hermann shook his head “Confident, but that’s not exactly an ideal situation. Instead of just the Danes, you’ll have TWO navies patrolling the Baltic that hate each other with a passion.” He slammed his hand on the table “No matter who wins, WE LOSE!”
As Albert sat down, Hermann sighed. “Albert...how much did you send the Swedes?”
Albert shifted in his seat, before tearing off a piece of parchment. He dipped his quill in the ink and tapped it on the glass’s side before writing down a quick scribble. He blew on the ink softly , and looking away from Hermann handed him over the parchment.
Hermann’s eyes widened more than he had ever knew possible. All thoughts left his mind and formed another one that he would never dream of saying aloud. Setting the parchment down, he sighed. He needed to find his manservant to pack his furs. He was going to need to travel.
News from Asia
The Imperial Palace, China. May, 1494
Wang Zhen sat in the gardens, admiring the beauty of the situation he found himself in. He could scarcely believe it at first. When the Emperor asked for him, he thought nothing of it. He had been one of the Emperor’s closest advisors for years, Wang Zhen even knowing him when the Emperor was only a prince.The Emperor had recently been suffering from sickness. He would wake up in the middle of the night in a terrible fit of coughing, that soon began showing itself in the middle of the day. A few gold coins to the Emperor’s physician told Wang Zhen that he had been coughing up blood on occasion. While the fact was concealed from most of the court, it had created a crisis for a few trusted advisors.The Emperor had become worried that his fate would take him from this world sooner than expected. His son was only a child, and the Emperor knew not how his child would rule. After many days and nights of thought, study, and discussion, the Emperor had decided that the position of Chancellor would be reinstated, to help guide the rule of his son, and save his rule if need be. The honor of this most prestigious office had fallen to him, Wang Zhen.
He picked up one of the documents and smiled. The Malakkans had sent their heir to be confirmed as the future ruler of Melakka, along with their tribute for the Emperor. The Emperor had ordered cannon and gunsmiths to be sent in order to help prepare fireworks for a grand celebration of the Emperor’s birthday. Wang Zhen wrote down a few quick messages, and handed them to two nearby attendants. They bowed after receiving the papers, and quickly went to enforce the will of the Emperor through his loyal servant’s mouth. Wang Zhen smiled. He would now be the center of court as the Emperor withdrew further. People would be begging for the favor of Wang Zhen, and his word would cause fortunes and empires to rise and fall. And then when the Emperor parted from this world and the prince came to the throne, Wang Zhen would show the prince the pleasures of being the Emperor, and would not have the prince burden himself with the tediousness of ruling. Wang Zhen laughed heartily. This new position called for a celebration. He called out for an attendant, with a marvelous idea for a feast...
On the other side of the garden, Xu Wei fumed privately. It was an absolute disgrace, both personally and to the nation, for that abomination to be named chancellor. What did those castrated freaks know about governance. They cared not for the beauty and tradition of China. The only thing they cared about was getting power. And the Emperor appointed a eunuch to chancellor? These were men that literally sold their manhood for it. Xu Wei felt disgusted by their appetites for office and riches. They, and those merchants they consorted with, did not live a proper lifestyle. He shuddered. It was bad enough that one of them was chancellor, but did it have to be Wang Zhen? Wei remembered when he was a younger man, when he first came to court. He happened to receive an invitation to one of Zhen’s feasts, and accepted out of both courtesy and curiosity. He quickly wished he hadn’t, as the men gorged themselves on course after course. Wang Zhen in particular enjoyed the food so much, that after twelve courses that he disgorged himself so that he might enjoy the remaining eleven. Sometime during the feast, Wang Zhen had noticed the sick look on Wei’s face, and asked if the food was not to his liking. Wang Zhen then clapped his hands and three beautiful serving girls rushed over, and offered them to Wei for an act that he refused to even think of. After that feast, Xu Wei had made a private crusade to break the eunuchs, to ensure that they would not corrupt his beloved homeland any longer. It had given him influence, with his peers giving support to his efforts, but it seemed for naught when Wang Zhen’s name passed the Emperor’s lips. He had failed.
But then he looked around the corner, and saw the Empress playing with her son and Wei smiled. The Emperor said he may depart from this world sooner than he had liked, and his son would not be ready to rule. But in two years, his son would begin formal lessons. And then a plan began in Wei’s mind. A tutor would be needed for the young prince. It would be easy for Wei to take part in the rearing of the young prince. Wei couldn’t help but grin. Let the generals take orders from a man with a woman’s voice, and the lords be content with reporting to those without honor or pride as men. And then, when the Emperor was dead, and the young prince had grown into a man of harmonious virtue, the prince would take the energy of the people yearning for proper governance and would sweep aside the eunuchs from his court as a wave.
And then, all would be right with the world once more.
Nakhon Si, Ayutthaya. May, 1495
Soomboom looked nervously at the assembled villagers. The wind blew slowly, as if to carry the words he just said into the ears of every man, woman, and child. He glanced over to the soldiers that accompanied him. Two men, soldiers. They would certainly acquit themselves in a fight, but two men against two hundred? He did not bother counting himself; all he would hope for is a quick death if the mood turned sour. He had heard, spoken of in hushed voices, of the peasants hearing the new service law, revolting and attacking those with the misfortune of bringing them the news; every adult male would be required to register into a new conscription system, to be used for war or labor. Soomboom looked over at the soldiers again, and prayed that these men were not conscripts. This year already, ten villages had revolted, and though they were put down eventually, it was too late for the bureaucrat and his tiny escort.
Soomboom looked at the faces and despaired. The anger on the faces of the men who would be soldiers, and the women, who stood to lose their husbands, sons, brothers, and fathers, was one that he had never seen before. Soomboom looked at the horses and began inching backwards. He did not intend to die here. As a man inched closer, the soldiers grew more alert, but then a man emerged from the crowd of villagers. Older looking, though still with vigor in his steps, he stoodat the front of the crowd, trying to hold back the anger of the crowd. He turned to Soomboom and said “Our village is always prepared to serve the King. But as he knows in his infinite wisdom, His Majesty knows we cannot survive without our young men during the harvest. His Majesty surely realizes this, and I assume it would not be too forward of me to presume that there will be no conscription during the harvest?”
Soomboom could kiss the man if he were not caked in the mud and stench of a commoner. He smiled “Of course! His Majesty would not take the livelihoods of his subjects like that.” A murmer of assent went around the crowd. Truth be told, Soomboom did not know or care when the peasants would be called up, as long as they registered and did not kill him.
The names of the peasants were taken down, and the small royal party was on their way to the next town. One of the soldiers smiled “Only five more village to go!”
Soomboom died at the next village that, along with numerous others, began a revolt
Castle of Clan Masamoto, Japan. November, 1495.
Chikayasu sheathed his sword without word or expression, but were he alone he would be grinning ear to ear. Ten officers of the Shogun had come in, attempting to arrest Lord Masamoto. Chikayasu and his three companions were all that stood between their lord and the dogs of the Shogun, but they fought like demons, and killed all ten without losing one of their own. They would not embarrass themselves in front of their lord, and when Chikayasu looked at Lord Masamoto, his face showed nothing, but his eyes beamed with pride.
He nodded to his guards and stood as he addressed them “This false shogun fights without honor. His assassins failed twice already, and once more, you have proven yourselves worthy of your swords. Ashikage Yo****ane now sends a small army to arrest me, and though your brothers fight bravely, they will not be able to hold them off forever.”
The other guards nodded, though Chikayasu spoke defiantly “Lord Masamoto, please, allow us to fight the dogs of Ashikage. We will take ten of the shogun’s dogs before falling ourselves.”
Masamoto smiled at his upstart guard. Though few guards would speak to their master like this, and even fewer lords would tolerate it, Masamoto appreciated it when his subordinates voiced their opinon “No doubt. But one does not win by fighting every battle. Our allies have agreed that if the Shogun openly tries to arrest me, they will raise their banners with us. And he has. So for now, we will hide.”
And then, with a devious glint in his eyes, Masamoto said “And then, we will strike”
Dispatches from the courts of Europe:
A letter Columbus had sent ahead between his landing in Portugal and his arrival in Seville declared the success of his expedition. The letter described the lands he found. Massive islands, only a short distance from China, abound in gold and spices. He described a land full of rivers and forests, perfect to erect towns and farms, and of natives that could easily be converted to Christianity. His letter reached courts throughout Europe, drawing interest from numerous countries. From Portugal, an expedition went out to search for the supposed new lands that Columbus had found. Bartolomeu Dias set sail with 500 men and some horses, but did not find land considered suitable for living on, and, low on supplies, returned home.
The Papacy was convinced to broker a treaty between Spain and Portugal to divide the newly discovered lands between the two. Pope Alexander VI helped broker an agreement, known as the Treaty of Tordesillas between the two in an effort to prevent conflicts over the newly discovered lands.
The people of Italy assembled for a great many funerals. The peninsula saw the death of King Ferdinand I of Naples in the Year of Our Lord, 1495, whose throne passed to his son who became King Alfonso II. Alfonso died within the year of his ascension, and his throne passed to his son, who became King Ferdinand II of Naples. Lorenzo de' Medici the Magnificent passed from this world as well, but not before he saw his daughter Contessina de' Medici married to Ferdinand II with a sizable dowry.
Duke Gian Galeazzo passed from this world as well though. Officially, it was from illness. However there has been much gossip among the courts of Italy that his death came from poison. One of the royal physicians asserted that he had seen manifest signs of it, though soon there was no trace of the physician. Nor was there anyone who doubted that if it had been poison, it had been administered through his uncle Ludovico Sforza's machinations, who had been rumored to be furious to hear that a ship he had outfitted to explore uncharted territory had been stolen by the men commanded to crew it. It likely had not helped that the crew had been chosen from those of poor repute.
In Germany, the Duke of Saxony sent out a contingent of forces to attempt the conquest of Wursten. Unfortunately, they did not depart until the later months of 1495, without provisions or winter quartering. The soldiers found soldiers of Bremen had marched to block them, fought a quick skirmish, and then withdrew. The blow was softened when the future Duke Magnus married Juana of Naples. The Margrave of Brandenburg contented himself with simply playing at soldier than actually being one.
In Austria, Frederick III at long last passed from this earth. He was succeeded by his son, Maximilian, already the King of the Romans. He welcomed back his daughter Margaret, and makes plans to bring his son Philip back to Burgundy.
In England, the new of a new son, Prince Edmund was welcomed by the court, though news of discontent in Wales was not. In addition, eyes across the sea were cast at France, where Richard of Shrewsbury was still a guest. Suspicion went further when the French and Scottish reaffirmed their traditional alliance.
Dispatches from the Courts of Asia:
The Ports of Jambi, Palembang, Aru and the islands of Bangka and Beiltung have rendered tribute unto the Malakka Sultanate, some without fight, others with. In the end, one by one they were forced to recognize the Malakkan’s superiority, and in exchange the Sultan bestowed upon them regalia and gifts. Their tribute has helped bring fund the new shipyards and gunsmiths that have gone to work in Malakka.
Dispatches from the Courts of the Americas:
Mighty Huayna Capac, the glorious Sapa Inka, has conquered another insignificant tribe, his warriors overwhelming their paltry forces. They have been conquered and annexed into the mighty empire of Tawantinsuyu.
The Year of Our Lord, 1495.
The next updates will cover the years of 1496, 1497, and 1498. Stats and NPC diplomacy will be coming soon, and some notes about orders will be in the OOC thread, as well as responses to OOC addresses.
Thanks for being patient
From Hungarian Dissident Nobles
To John I Albert, King of Poland and rightful King of Hungary.
Your Majesty, we write to plead for your aid. Your brother, Vladisivius, has taken it upon himself to wipe out the ancient nobility of Hungary, those who had stood guard against the Turk from their incursions into Christendom. And for our service to Christendom, he has seen fit to lay waste to our towns, kill our serfs, and kill our fathers, brothers, and sons. Please, put an end to this madness of your brother.
From The Archbishop Henry the Second of Bremen
To Duke Frederick the Fifth of Saxony
We suggest you cease your efforts immediately, lest we are forced to respond any further to your aggression.
Private Diplomacy Also Coming
Good update. I will have time to write my orders next turn (When are the orders due?)
One thing, you might want to change to Spanish text color to a little bit darker yellow.
Separate names with a comma.