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PerfNES I: Ultima Ratio Regum

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Perfectionist, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Wrymouth3

    Wrymouth3 Emperor

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    The people of Tver have long been hostile with Veliky Novgorod. The people of Tver though wish for peace in order to stop this needless bloodshed
     
  2. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    Perfectionist, If you answer my questions, I will send my orders in right away.
     
  3. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

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    Right, deadline is past, and I'm happy to report that I've got nearly everyone's orders now. If you haven't sent orders, please do try to at least send brief NPC instructions sometime in the next day or so.

    Sorry about that; answered. Glad to have you back.
     
  4. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Happy Updating!
     
  5. Agent 89

    Agent 89 King

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    Sorry, but I didn't have time to write up orders. I guess have Gascony do basically the same thing as last turn.
     
  6. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Its been a few weeks...you should update us on how things are going, Perf.

    Cue people killing me for bumping before the update.
     
  7. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

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    2 week #nes ban
     
  8. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Honestly, I just didn't want Perfectionist to disappear without warning like he did last time.

    Perfectionist, if you're reading this, even if you can't update immediately, or if there are delays in the update, it's perfectly acceptable to just tell us so. It's far worse to say nothing than to say that the update is late.
     
  9. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

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    Well, sorry about that. Wasn't my choice, I assure you. I've been home for the holidays and we lost internet around Christmas, so I haven't really been able to get on. Anyway, update's nearly done, though of course it has been for three weeks; should be up in a day or two.
     
  10. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

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    ladies and gentlemen, west virginia
     
  11. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

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    I think someone in your family plotted to have the internet connection "lost" so you guys could spend some more quality family time together ;)
     
  12. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

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    Update 4 - 1509-1511

    International Events

    The energetic new Archabbot has been pursuing church reform...energetically. This has taken various forms: encouraging secular patronage, increasing Ramsay's involvement in English politics, pushing Heinrician scholars into higher echelons, and so on, but the most visible and arguably most important prong was his instruction to the Inquisitorial Commission to undertake a review of compliance complaints against all extant Orders. The Commission reported in 1511, and on its recommendations Theobald ordered a full-blown Inquisition General into three Orders: two tiny, probably heretical German ones, and the Order of the Saint Cnut. The Order was instantly outraged, of course, even though it had barely avoided Inquisition a number of times before, and began pressuring their Danish colleagues to use their influence to stop the Inquisition. Whatever the Inquisitors decide, Theobald has certainly shaken up the Monastic religious establishment in the east.

    (+Inquisition into the Order)

    Rudolph von Franken requested that Albrecht send him the forces to crush the Saxon revolt; fortunately, cooler heads, and the advice of Stanislaw of Lusatia, prevailed. Stanislaw brokered a truce between von Aller and the Lotharingians in 1509, and mediated discussions between Saxons on both sides and Lotharingians that generally cooled things down. In 1510 von Aller offered to negotiate with the Lotharingians, on the condition that Albrecht personally represent the Lotharingian side, not von Franken. Albrecht overruled von Franken's protests and arrived for the conference at Celle in early summer. Thanks in large part to Stanislaw's herculean efforts to maintain civility, the two sides reached a surprisingly amicable agreement: Saxony would be subject to the Lotharingia crown and Lotharingian taxes, but the administration of the province would be handled by native Saxons, and von Aller, as governor of Saxony, would have the same rights and privileges as the Duke of Franconia. This infuriated von Franken, of course, but all other sides could at least live with it as a solution to the Saxon problemat.

    (+Saxony, +100,000 taris to Lotharingian revenue, -1 Rudolfings Confidence)

    Heavily pressured by merchant-bankers impoverished by the default, Aimeric decided to take punitive action against the Saraqustans. An unprecedented, extraordinarily punitive tariff was levied on all goods carried by Saraqustan merchants, and Isbunan too for good measure. This pleased the Sicilians, and brought a vast amount of money into Sicilian coffers, but had a disastrous effect on the Saraqustan merchantry. Their position and their fortune had been based on the special relationship with Sicily; now, at a stroke, they found themselves virtually locked out of Sicilian trade. Saraqusta retaliated eventually, by imposing an equally punitive tariff on Sicilian merchants, but that only exacerbated the situation. Mercantile traffic in Barcelona collapsed, hundreds of merchants were impoverished almost over night, and the whole economy of the emirate shuddered. Mobs rioted in Barcelona and Tarragon, blaming Khalid, the architect of the default, and the perfidious Sicilians in almost equal measure. Some of their fury was vented against the Sicilian Catholic population, and a number of churches were burned before the Emir's forces regained control of the situation. Just how badly Saraqusta's long-term prosperity has been dented by the dramatic Sicilian move remains to be seen, and the domestic situation is still somewhat unsettled, but what does seem certain is that the Saraqusta-Sicily alliance, so secure half a decade ago, is now broken beyond repair. Some hotheaded askaris have even begun pushing for a joint descent on the Baleares with the Muwahhidun, an utterly unthinkable proposal even three years ago.

    (-300,000 taris from Saraqustan income, -2 Merchantry Strength, -2 Merchantry Confidence, +1 Askaris Strength)

    In 1509 the Polish Crown Prince married a princess of Veliky Novgorod in a spectacular ceremony. Aside from impressing upon the visiting Russians the magnificence of the Polish crown, the increasing ties with Novgorod perhaps provide another means of exerting pressure on Denmark; the Danes certainly saw things that way, at any rate.

    (+1 Polish Prestige)

    On the other side of the Mediterranean, the Egyptians and Romans, having made peace with each other (see below), separately decided to impose their own massively punitive tariffs on Sicilian shipping, to underscore their displeasure with Sicilian policy and influence. Sicilian commerce with Rome, that had been on the upswing for the last decade, collapsed, and Sicilians positions in the eastern Mediterranean in general fared scarcely better. No official Sicilian response has yet been forthcoming, but furious merchants are pressuring Aimeric to respond in kind.

    Between the previous pressures of war, and the new pressures exerted by all these massive tariffs, the Mediterranean economy has been in something of a state of flux. While Sicily remains commercially dominant in its sphere, its influence outside that sphere has been severely restricted, while the Roman economy is only tenuously connected to the Mediterranean in general, as the Egyptians have been slow to reoccupy their old territories. The greatest beneficiaries of the upheaval have so far been the Italian municipalities and, to a greater extent, Provence. Indeed, the commerce of Marseilles, virtually alone of all Mediterranean ports, has been booming of late, as the Provencals move into vacated niches in Egypt, Isbunah and Saraqusta. In 1510 a Roman convoy was despatched to Barcelona, but finding the economy of the city in shambles redirected to Marseilles, where it established numerous profitable links with the Provencals, who quickly negotiated arrangements for an annual convoy from Constantinople to Marseilles.

    (+120,000 taris to Provencal revenue, +40,000 taris to Italian revenue, -150,000 taris from Sicilian revenue, +30,000 taris to Roman revenue, -50,000 taris from Egyptian revenue)

    In 1510 Aimeric of Sicily, aware that his slightly...erratic diplomacy had left Sicily somewhat isolated, undertook a major state visit to Provence, ostensibly to ease his wife's homesickness, and actually to try and secure an alliance, or at least a friendly understanding, with the Provencals. While on the social level the visit was a success, the Sicilians making quite an impression on the Provencal court, on the political level Aimeric met with a distinctly chilly reception. His offer to broker a treaty with Lotharingian was refused, as a treaty was in the final stages of being drafted anyway. The Provencals refused to make any concessions to Sicilian merchantry, or give any guarantees of military support, and in off the record discussions high Provencal officials made it clear that they regard Sicily as a falling star to which they have no desire to hitch their wagon.

    With the coalition against him weakening, Carolus in Italy made the absolutely pragmatic and thoroughly sensible decision to split the alliance by making peace with its the most dangerous members, Swabia and Sicily, allowing him to focus on driving back the Hungarians. However, he neglected to consider how this course of action would appear to the municipalities; this led to significant friction (see below). The Swabians received an indemnity and a couple of border fortresses; more importantly from their perspective, the peace confirmed Swabia's status as one of the big boys of European diplomacy. The Sicilians, after all their grand hopes, secured only a status quo ante peace, but they made up for their disappointment by systematically pillaging Naples and Trieste before they left.

    (+1 Swabian Prestige, +20,000 taris to Swabian income)

    Negotiations between the Lithuanians and the Danes had reached a mutually beneficial peace agreement early in 1509; unfortunately they didn't bother to consult with the Lithuanian's Polish allies, who promptly refused to go along, forcing Algirdas to abandon the peace and prepare for further war.

    Judging the situation in Anatolia unsalvageable, and preferring to concentrate on more promising avenues in the west, Ioannes IX agreed to a peace with the Chobanids, by the terms of which Rome ceded its eastern Anatolian possessions and paid a large indemnity. While the Chobanids exulted at having definitively turned the tables on the Romans, the Roman elites fumed at what they saw as a betrayal of Roman interests for those of Sicily. Before long, they made their displeasure with Ioannes absolutely clear (see below)

    The new regime in Constantinople wasted no time in abandoning those wars of which it disapproved. By the end of the summer of 1509, peace terms had been reached with Italy and Hungary. The Italians ceded Epirus in return for a nominal indemnity, while the Egyptians agreed to evacuate all their conquests in exchange for the restoration of the old commercial privileges. Most sides were happy with the arrangements; elements in the Italians center disapproved of abandoning Epirus, but Carinthia's far more important. The exception was the Egyptian military establishment. The Admiralty of the Mediterranean could scarcely believe its ears at the news. With the Sicilian alliance gone, the admirals considered abandoning the Chobanids to be both spectacularly strategically ill-advised, and thoroughly dishonorable. More to the point, having spent five years and a vast amount of money and blood to win a series of impressive victories in the Aegean, they considered giving it all back for effectively nothing to be borderline treasonous. The royal explanation that peace in the Med was necessary to allow focus on the Red Sea situation only further enraged the Admiralty; why not instead make concessions in the south to allow focus on areas actually important to Egypt, they argued. Di Fayum rushed to Alexandria to make a last ditch effort to convince Lucrezia not to go through with it; when that failed, he resigned on the spot, and some hasty royal peacemaking was required to prevent many in the Admiralty from following suit. In the Aegean, meanwhile, Egyptian commanders took out their frustration on the occupied territories before they left: Chalkis and Corinth were systematically looted, the naval base at Isthmia destroyed, and as many captured fortifications razed as time permitted. The Romans were of course outraged by this display of poor faith on the part of the Egyptians, but Lucrezia, unwilling to even further alienate the Mediterranean admirals, refused to take punitive action against them.

    (+1 Roman Prestige, +350,000 taris to Roman revenue, -2 Admiralty of the Mediterranean Confidence, +1 Admiralty of the Red Sea Confidence)

    As all involved parties had long since lost interest in the war on the upper Volga, a white peace was agreed in 1509, ending the long, indecisive conflict.

    The Horde had been gently pressuring Georgia to honor their alliance and attack the Ardabilids for some time, while the Georgians had delicately deflected the issue. In summer of 1510, Uzbeg lost patience, and delivered a blunt ultimatum to the Georgian crown; attack Ardabil, or all deals are off. After a furious debate in the Georgian court, it was decided to reluctantly acquiesce.

    (-1 Osi Confidence, -1 Greeks Confidence)

    Domestic Events

    The League arrangement with Denmark (see below), largely instigated by Dyflin, imposed unprecedented administrative burdens on the League. Suddenly there were tolls to collect and distribute on behalf of the whole League, and the only reasonable way of managing it, Dyflin argued, was to have Leaguebank do it. This would require a dramatic increase in Leaguebank's size and responsibilities. Several longphorts, and Vedraford in particular, were suspicious of Dyflin's motivations, suspecting that this might be some sort of ploy to turn Leaguebank into a instrument by which Dyflin could totally dominate League affairs. Dyflinthing reasonably pointed out that Leaguebank was mostly staffed, even after its expansion, by non-Dyfliners, and that most of the actual toll collection would be done by Visbyites, and in the end not even Vedraford was willing to turn down the money just due to suspicions, so the scheme went through.

    (+Leaguebank)

    If English intentions on the continent are still somewhat murky, imperial actions have lately gone some way to clarifying them. In 1510, Leofric, with the enthusiastic support of the ecclesiastics and the more pro-imperialist members of the Witan, pushed through a series of acts that amounted to a substantial electoral reform. Ecclesiastical membership of the Witan was increased, in line with the increased Monastic presence over the last half century or so; much more dramatically, the Act for the Representation of the Gascons resurrected the old Ealdordom of Gascony, provided for the coopting of Gascon administrative structures into proper imperial government, and arranged for the occupied territories to be shired and send representatives to the Witan. This amounted, more or less, to the unilateral annexation of northern Gascony, and sent anti-English elements on the continent into a frenzy. The Gascons were disheartened; the Lotharingians saw it as a clear indication that England's old oecumenical aspirations are alive and well; and even in Frisia, the alliance was questioned from some quarters. In England itself, however, the move was exceptionally well-received; the anti-imperialists, whose arguments had heavily involved the injustice of conquering Gascony, found themselves undercut, and the pro-imperialists are riding high in the Witan. Even in occupied Gascony the move met with fairly slight protest. Relatively little changes on the level of daily administration, as the Gascon system of administration was modelled on the English anyway, and after years of occupation most of the local Gascon elites are rather relieved to have a say in government, even if it is an English government.

    (+250,000 taris to English revenue, +1 Monastic Church Confidence, +1 Burghers Strength)

    Although he has ceded nearly all his influence over the day-to-day running of the principality to his son, Klaes, Forst Ygo remains startlingly hale and healthy for a man in his 80s; so much so that rumours are spreading that perhaps his alchemical experiments were not such failures after all.[1] While Ygo continues his alchemical and arcane pursuits, Klaes has remained focused on the economic health of the principality. The general instability of the Mediterranean mercantile economy prevented efforts to expand Frisian influence in the south from making much headway, but the Rhine trade is increasing fairly rapidly. As local nobles and municipalities, encouraged by royal examples, begin to invest, the various land reclamation projects are accelerating and beginning to bear fruit; already the sale of reclaimed land has recouped much of the Principality's expenses.

    (+1 Frisian Prestige, +90,000 taris to Frisian income, +40,000 taris to Frisian treasury)

    Between the Polish invasion, the loss of Ducal Lithuania, and the Swedish invasion of Friland, the Danish system in the Baltic is clearly facing its greatest threat in decades. Recognizing the potential for
    the whole revival to be undone, King Erik has pulled out all the stops to preserve the Danish order, calling up nearly all his levies and ordering major extraordinary taxation. Additionally, he reached an extraordinary deal with the Longphort League, whereby Denmark's debt servicing costs dropped precipitously in exchange for granting the Sound Dues to the League for the duration of the war, and allowing them to be collected by League administrators. This move did meet with some domestic criticism, from those who feel it increases Denmark's reliance on the League too much, but since, on the face of it, it's an almost excessively good deal for the Danes, this was rather muted.

    (-300,000 taris from Danish revenue, +300,000 taris to League revenue)

    To shore up support for the war, King Erik has taken steps to underscore the confessional nature of the struggle. Royal patronage of monasteries in Jutland has been expanded considerably, and Erik has been conspicuously pious, ministering to his soldiers and holding large public masses in the capital. In certain odd corners, some Heinrician monks have even begun murmuring about a renewed Baltic Crusade.

    Mieszko, the new Polish monarch, has quickly proved far more energetic than his predecessor. In addition to his foreign entanglements (see above and below), he has initiated a reform of the royal administration, aimed at rooting out corruption and streamlining the taxation mechanisms. More importantly, realizing that superior Danish access to credit has been the chief reason for Poland's defeats, Mieszko and begun quietly reforming Polish debt mechanisms, establishing a loose board of merchants and burghers, not unlike a less sophisticated version of the Egyptian organization, to arrange and oversee bond issues.

    (+20,000 taris to Polish revenue, +5,000 taris to Polish expenses, +slightly decreased Polish borrowing costs)

    The Company of the Canaries has been expanding by leaps and bounds, consolidating its control over the plantations on the Canaries themselves, and using the tremendous profits thus obtained to make incursions into the undercolonized holdings on the Azores, and integrate most of the merchants on the African routes into the Company. The Company focused particularly on the African commerce, purchasing a number of ships from the Isbunan state and establishing regular convoys to the Gold Coast. The Company's commissioners have begun petitioning the state to allow expansion down the African Coast to restart.

    (+Company of the Canaries, +60,000 taris to Isbunan income)

    Frederick III of Swabia passed away early in 1509, not long after negotiating the peace with Italy. His son succeeded him as Frederick IV in a lavish ceremony, and lionized his father as a great leader who secured Swabia's place as a major European power.

    (+1 Swabian Prestige)

    Faced with the enormous cost of servicing the debt incurred over the last decade, the Sicilians decided on a radical course of action. In summer of 1509, Aimeric suddenly announced the unilateral conversion of the state's floating debt to long-term bonds, backed by tariffs. This shocked the financial sector, but Aimeric made it clear that the only real alternative was outright default, and paid back several of his most powerful creditors in full, on the condition that they act to keep the lesser ones in line, so the uproar was relatively limited. Still, the forced conversion is yet another blow to a Sicilian merchant community that has already taken many, and the Sicilian economy is exceedingly fragile at the moment.

    (+Sicilian floating debt converted to consolidated debt)

    The municipalities in general, and the members of the Partido Ambrosiano in particular, saw the Italian peace with the Swabians as a betrayal of their interests so that a bunch of imperial lackeys could salvage their estates in Carinthia. The Ambrosians flatly refused to send their troops to the eastern campaign, and Visconti, under pressure from his subordinates, angrily refused an offer of imperial position and stormed off to Lombardy. There he began turning the ad hoc Ambrosian military command formed during the war into a more formal coordinating apparatus; meanwhile most of the Ambrosian municipalities, chagrined by their inability to stop the Swabians without imperial aid, began or continued reforming their military forces. This all seemed somewhat ominous to the imperial center, and when the furious Ambrosians ejected the cruel and ineffective Imperial appointee responsible for reestablishing order in Milan, tensions between the Ambrosians and the Imperials were running higher than at any time for a generation.

    (-1 Partito Ambrosian Confidence, +1 Partito Ambrosiano Strength, -81 Italian Levy Companies)

    The Neapolitans were initially less unhappy about the peace with Sicily, but that changed quickly once the Sicilians pillaged Naples. Furious at the perfidious Sicilian, most of the Neapolitans withdrew most of their forces from the campaign in the north, although di Urbino did manage to convince some to stay the course. While the Neapolitans did not undertake any measures to formalize their military cooperation, discussion among the party's higher-ups still revolved around ways of countering Sicilian aggression. This led to establishment in mid 1509 of the Band of Campania, a mercenary outfit organized by senior Neapolitan commanders and led by the Salernan Innico Sannazaro. The Band quickly recruited large numbers of veterans of di Urbino's campaigns, and purchased a reasonable fleet from municipal interests. In early 1510, Sannazaro and the Band took their first non-Neapolitan contract, when they offered their services to the embattled Ghaniyans. Sannazaro's intervention in the war in Libya, and his vague relationship with the Italian state, has created something of a diplomatic difficulty for the Emperor, as the Sicilians have protested vociferously.

    (-1 Partito di Napoli Confidence, +1 Partito di Napoli Strength, -15 Italian Levy Companies)

    Gaborite strength in eastern Bohemia is on the rise, seemingly as a result of a fresh-surge of anti-Polish feeling in the area.

    Hungary was mostly quiet domestically; Stephen and Andrew were busy in Carinthia, and their administrators in Hungary proper just maintained things. On a bright note, both of the King's younger children were married off to lesser Hungarian nobility. This might prove important in the long run: after the Romans denounced their alliance, opinion in the streets, never happy with the Roman marriage, turned decisively against. Much rhetoric has been expended on the so-called 'Roman whore', and church officials have quietly sounded out Stephen on the possibility of annulling the marriage and finding someone more suitable and less heretical.

    The upper echelons of the Roman military were particularly horrified by the terms of Ioannes's peace treaty; handing away half of Anatolia, that so many had spent so long reconquering, to fight a pointless war with the Italians: utterly unacceptable behaviour in an emperor. Dadibrenos, after making some particularly acid comments, was recalled to the capital in March of 1509 and placed behind a desk. In Constantinople Dadibrenos quickly became quickly became the center of a circle of like-minded aristocrats and officers, opposed to the peace. As Dadibrenos' salon discussed and argued over the political situation through the spring, their opposition to the peace gradually developed into a consensus that old Ioannes, however great he may once have been, had gone badly off the rails. The Hungarian alliance had been perhaps the first sign, but his policy since then had clearly been virtually dictated by Palermo; slick-tongued Sicilians taking advantage of the old man. In June, Dadibrenos and his allies presented a petition to the emperor, asking him to expel Sicilian diplomats, abandon the war with Italy, and recant the Chobanid peace. Ioannes furiously refused, and only the threat of a an en masse resignation in the officer corps kept Dadibrenos out of serious trouble. With it thus clear that the emperor was beyond reason, Dadibrenos' cadre entertained more drastic action. In late June, the commander in the Aegean, Bardas Ouranos, arrived in secret in Constantinople, and quickly convinced Dadibrenos that prompt, decisive intervention by the high officers was the only way to save the empire. On the night of July 2nd, Dadibrenos, Ouranos and several dozen trusted associates stormed the Bucoleon and tumbled the old emperor out of bed and into a waiting ship, where he was roughly blinded and tonsured and dispatched to a monastery on Aphousia. As the sun rose, the conspirators proclaimed Ioannes X Emperor of Rome.

    Despite the initially shocking nature of the coup - no sitting emperor had been deposed in more than a century - the transition went mostly smoothly. Ioannes X had been increasingly visible anyway, and the officer corps fell into line almost immediately, as Dadibrenos and Ouranos cleaned house. A number of Sicilian diplomats and merchants were expelled, and a number of the former emperor's advisors publicly executed. Not quite trusting Ioannes the younger to keep up the good work, the new regime arranged the creation of an extraordinary council of state, headed by Dadibrenos, to oversee the transition and prosecute the war; much effective authority in government quickly came to reside with Dadibrenos. Said council's first recommendation was the repudiation of the Chobanid treaty and expulsion of Chobanid troops from Roman Anatolia; Ioannes of course approved this initiative, to general acclaim.

    While Ouranos went to Anatolia to take overall command of Roman forces there, Dadibrenos stayed in the capital, and began a concerted effort to blame all the failures of the old regime on the Sicilians. Peace was quickly concluded with the Italians and the Egyptians, the latter on almost ludicrously favorable terms, on the grounds that both wars were fought only for Sicilian gain. And in a dramatic move to curtail Sicilian influence in Roman affairs, Dadibrenos pushed through the imposition of a massively punitive tariff on Sicilian goods. This was generally cheered on by the merchantry, though the seesawing trade policy of recent years has had an increasingly disruptive effect on commerce in general.

    The second major prong of Dadibrenos' policy was a drive to repair relations with the church. To that end, the alliance with the Gaborites was revoked and imperial rhetoric against the heretics stepped up considerably. Ioannes was paraded through Constantinople's churches and engaged in various displays of public piety. As a sop to the Church's sensibilities it was all fairly obvious, but no less effective for that, and as holy war comes to Anatolia the Patriarch has generally been inclined to rally around Dadibrenos' regime.

    (+2 Orthodox Church Confidence)

    The Transylvanian Gaborites protested the breaking of the alliance. Orthodox authorities, no longer constrained by imperial edict, cracked down. Gaborite riots broke out and required the intervention of the Transylvanian Prince Miklos to suppress. While there have been no really major disturbances, Miklos has warned Constantinople that Gaborite numbers are growing, and he fears they are increasingly cooperating with their Hungarian brethren.

    As in Sicily, Egypt's finances were strained by the intense war. Lucrezia ordered a sizable cutback in the size of the Mediterranean fleet to cut costs and, at d'Allifi's advice, initiated a conversion of debt from short-term instruments to lower costs bonds, similar to Aimeric's project. The Egyptian debt rejiggering, however, was rather more subtle and clever than the Sicilian one, and better institutionalized to boot, so backlash was minimal.

    (+Egyptian floating debt converted to consolidated debt)

    Tensions between Catholics and Copts have eased slightly in Egypt, as the threat of war with Makuria fades, but the Coptic Pope still refuses to rejoin the Council of State, and there are rumours that Coptic churches, fearing future pogroms, are stockpiling supplies and weapons.

    The Makurian situation has been somewhat defused, the Egyptians and Ethiopians having decided that opposing Zabid took precedent over a proxy war in Nubia. Semamun and David were strong-armed into signing a peace treaty, whereby Semamun surrendered his territory in the north in exchange for a guarantee of safety and large, unspecified estates elsewhere, which turned out to be deep in Alwa, where he could be safely contained. To appease the Egyptians David then cracked down on the anti-Norman and anti-Catholic sentiment, though that was dying out anyway due to lack of remaining targets. Makuria is stable, at least for the moment, but David seems determined to pursue a more independent course than his predecessors; although persecution has been stopped, Normans and Catholics are still marginalized in the new administration, and fees on Egyptian commerce have been steeply increased.

    (+dejiggering of Ethiopian stats)

    Even while busily dealing with a Zabidi invasion, Asnaf Sagad has not slacked off on his patronage efforts. The Coptic Church has been a particular beneficiary, and as the influence of the Ethiopian church waxes in Nubia, some have begun to whisper that they should break ties with the Egyptian flunky in Alexandria.

    (+1 Ethiopian Prestige)
     
  13. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

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    Faced with the problem of reintegrating the administration of the Lithuanias, Algirdas commissioned a general land survey, to allow for the equitable division of obligations. This was interpreted by most, quite correctly, as an excuse to increase taxes, and the survey's efforts, already made very difficult by the sheer expanse of Lithuania, were opposed by the locals at nearly every turn. Still, some headway was made, particularly in formerly Ducal Lithuania, which was the most important place anyway, and revenue from the formerly Ducal lands has increased noticeably. Algirdas' offer to the urban communities that they might gain exemption from military service in the present conflict by paying a special, one-off levy met with rather more approval, and raised a decent sum for the state.

    (+40,000 taris to Lithuanian revenue, +10,000 taris to Lithuanian expenses, +200,000 taris to Lithuanian treasury)

    The Prince of Moscow has spent a great deal of time and money trying to turn his backwater city into something more substantial, expanding markets, establishing a trade fair, and initiating a general urban welfare and renewal program to help the less fortunate citizens. As all the other Russian states are busy with more militaristic aims, this has made some progress, and at the very least the Prince is presently extremely popular with the urban population of the principality.

    (+1 Muscovite Prestige, +20,000 taris to Muscovite revenue)

    The aged Shah Ismail passed away early in 1509, and control of the Ardabilid state passed to his son Tahmasp, who was heavily influenced by a clique of aristocrats and soldiers led by the ghulam commander Farrokh. While Tahmasp drifted into decadence and dissolution and the Dhahabi clergy watched disapprovingly, Farrokh and his ghulams assumed responsibility for prosecuting the various wars the state finds itself in.

    (+1 Ghulams Strength, +1 Ghulams Confidence, -1 Dhahabi Clergy Confidence)

    In Delhi, Altai's continued illness and Garbhasena's increasing unpopularity with the Mongol elite came to a head in 1510. Arghun, having returned from Bengal in 1509, had quietly gathered a clique of like-minded aristocrats and set about undermining Garbhasena's position. By summer of 1510 Arghun was ready to move: Garbhasena was accused of attempting to usurp the throne and a warrant issued for his arrest and execution. The spymaster, however, was warned by his few remaining friends, and promptly escaped the men sent to arrest him, smuggled himself out of Delhi disguised as a prostitute, eluded his pursuers in the Aravalli, and disappeared. And, despite the enormous price placed on his head, and rumours that he'd joined Muhammad notwithstanding, that was the last anyone saw of him. Still, while Garbhasena's escape was annoying, it didn't really change anything; Arghun slid smoothly into Garbhasena's role as chief minister, and vocally denounced his predecessor's centralizing and reformist policies, without actually rolling any of them back.

    (+1 Moguls Confidence, +1 Moguls Strength)

    The Guangzhou Society, realizing that they'd dodged a bullet, poured money and resources into strengthening the defenses of the capital. The garrison was dramatically reinforced, and the forts destroyed by Zhu Dayou rebuilt, stronger than before.

    On a different note, the Grandmaster convinced the Society to fund a pet project of his: the dispatch of an expedition to the Spice Islands, with the hope of establishing a trade outpost there. The small expedition was plagued by difficulties nearly from the start, trapped on Hainan for a month by contrary winds, and things only got worse from there. They were attacked by pirates off Palawan, and lost one ship on reefs while escaping. Another ship ran aground in the Sulu Archipelago, and when the three remaining ships arrived at Ternate they managed to instantly offend the local ruler, who, not unreasonably, assumed the heavily armed Chinese were hostile. Two thirds of the company was killed our captured by the locals, and another ship lost. The two remaining vessels, badly undermanned, decided to throw in the towel and make for home, but their misfortune was still not quite finished. In the Celebes Sea a storm separated the pair, and only one appeared on the other side; the other was presumed sunk or run aground. The one bedraggled ship that limped into Guangzhou harbour months later made a sorry sight, and it will be difficult to convince the Society to finance a second expedition.

    (-4 Guangzhou Ships, -4 Guangzhou Companies)

    Facing an enormous shortfall, the Nanhai took drastic measures to avoid catastrophe, tapping out their remaining credit, printing money to make up the shortfall, and underpaying their soldiers while promising to make it up to them out of plunder. This has had a disruptive effect on the economy, but with all the chaos in China a little more disruption hasn't really made much difference.

    Hoping to minimize the shock of transition, the Haishu began recruiting former Nanhai officials into their service, and maintaining or reestablishing Nanhai administrative structures. Although some Nanhai diehards refused outright to enter Haishu service, most were fairly happy to keep their jobs, especially as the Haishu guaranteed little change. Unfortunately, the whole process of integrating the Haishu conquests into the state apparatus was badly disrupted by events in 1510, so progress was more limited than the Haishu had hoped.

    (+1,200,000 taris to Haishu revenue,

    Facing mounting opposition from the great clans, the Yamato Emperor abandoned his attempts to coerce nobles out of their holdings, and instead focused on improving the agricultural productivity of his own holding. This had relatively little impact; throwing money at peasants doesn't make them work harder or rice grow faster, and expanding land under cultivation would require a population increase.

    The Oda clan has become increasingly powerful and visible over the last few years, establishing direct links with Hubaekje and constructing a network of ties with smaller clans. Some in the imperial inner circle fear, without evidence, that the Oda may be planning a usurpation.

    (+1 Oda Clan Strength)

    Military Events:

    In 1509 the focus of the English campaign in Gascony shifted, under heavy pressure from the Bretons, to the hitherto neglected western front. The Gascons were caught somewhat off-guard by this sudden change in direction, and the English in the spring achieved some early successes, defeating the small Gascon army in the area and quickly taking the under-defended city of Niort. Meanwhile the English fleet, supplemented by a Frisian detachment, arrived in the Bay of Biscay at last, and was promptly engaged by its Gascon counterpart off La Rochelle. The two fleets were fairly evenly matched, and although the Anglo-Frisians had probably the better of the engagement, ambitious plans for a descent on La Rochelle had to be shelved in the face of the Gascon threat. Still, the presence of the English fleet served to make seaborne supply of La Rochelle difficult, and their naval artillery contributed to the siege of La Rochelle, which fell in May. By then, however, the Gascons had redeployed the bulk of their army from the east, and things fell into the familiar, dull pattern of this war. Still, the English kept making progress, and the Gascons seemed to have no real ideas to break their losing trend. Rochefort fell in mid-summer, followed by Royan at the mouth of the Gironde fell in early fall, and thereafter an English squadron operating out of the town harassed Gascon shipping heading up the estuary.

    In 1510 and 1511, the English began to push inland from their coastal bases. Saintes and Cognac fell in spring. Angouleme required a much harder and more difficult siege that consumed nearly two months in summer, but it still fell after the English fought off a relief attempt. The English were then distracted by a serious Gascon counterattack against Niort, but the arrival of powerful forces from further south forced the Gascons to withdraw to Limoges in fall. In 1511, the English kicked off their largest and most significant campaign in half a decade, aimed at capturing Limoges at last. The city, defended by a near ten thousand strong garrison and with its fortifications newly refitted, was surrounded in May. An early Gascon relief effort was beaten back in June, but the defenders continued to hold out, and it became clear that the Gascons had decided to make a stand at Limoges. The garrison drove back an assault in late July, and a large Gascon relief army arrived in early August. In the largest battle of the war so far, the English definitively crushed the Gascon relieving army, and the garrison surrendered shortly thereafter.

    As fiscal problems mount for the Gascons, a purely military solution to the war seems increasingly out of reach. Factions in the Gascon state have begun to energetically urge the young king to either negotiate a peace with the English, or beg the Lotharingians to intervene.

    (+1 English Prestige, -200,000 taris from Gascon revenue, -30,000 taris from Gascon expenses, +1 Burghers Confidence, -1 Maritimers Strength, -1 Inlanders Confidence, -32 English Companies, -29 Gascon Companies, -17 Gascon Levy Companies)

    Opinion in the Lotharingian elite turned decidedly against the Provencal war in 1509; with Saraqusta out of the war, Saxony in revolt, a huge Swabian army returning from Italy, and England growing ever stronger, Albrecht's southern ambitions seemed foolishly reckless. Still, the king managed to convince enough of the nobility to stay the course to make one last effort for a decisive victory. Albrecht took personal command of the army at Liyon and marched down the Rhone. The Lotharingians quickly recaptured Vienne and advanced on Valenca. There they found a strong Provencal garrison, and the siege took a month. Just south of Valenca, while Albrecht was still weakened by the siege, the main force of Provencal decided to engage. On the Drome the Lotharingians had the better of the fight, but the cost was high and the Provencals escaped intact. Shortly thereafter, the Duke of Ales once again appeared out of nowhere to capture Vienne and menace Liyon, and Albrecht had to abandon his campaign and rush back north to restabilize things. Clearly the Provencals were nowhere near spent, and the Lotharingian appetite for the war plummeted. At year's end, Albrecht still held Liyon, but his attempts to raise more revenue and men from the nobility were completely stonewalled, and it was clear that when the campaigning season started, he'd have little more than the Burgundians to rely on. Faced with this bleak situation, and under heavy pressure from every faction at court, Albrecht opened negotiations with Provence. After the high hopes of 1506, the terms were a distinct disappointment to the Lotharingians: they didn't even get Liyon, receiving only a nominal indemnity in exchange for returning the city, and some mostly irrelevant mercantile privileges.

    (+1 Provencal Prestige, -1 Lotharingian Prestige, +90,000 taris to Provencal revenue, +1 Liyon Confidence, -1 Burgundy Confidence, -8 Provencal Companies, -5 Provencal Levy Companies, -6 Lotharingian Companies, -10 Lotharingian Levy Companies)

    In the Baltic war, the first half of 1509 was largely occupied by preparations by all concerned. The Poles massed on the Oder, the Lithuanians reorganized their forces for a final strike into the east, and the Danes pulled out of Vildmark, harassed by Lithuanians and Poles, and frantically readied their reinforcement flotillas. The Lithuanians were the first to move. In early summer, two Lithuanian armies moved against Danish positions in the west; Algirdas led ten thousand men into Prussia, while Liudas took another ten thousand against Magnusson's garrisons in Kursas. Under orders to hold the line until reinforcements arrived, Magnusson decided to concentrate his defenses in Prussia itself, leaving a relatively weak force in the north. While Liudas gradually reduced Danish garrisons in Kursas, Algirdas managed over mid-summer to outmaneuver Magnusson and cut off Klaipeda from western Prussia. Algirdas slowly prepared to besiege Magnusson in Klaipeda; unfortunately for him, Danish reinforcements arrived before he could begin. A fifteen thousand strong force landed, at long last, in the Curonian lagoon in August, and Magnusson promptly went over to the offensive. Suddenly very badly outnumbered and overextended, Algirdas tried to fall back into Lithuania, but was cut off by Magnusson near Silale. The old man managed to escape the complete annihilation Magnusson had hoped for, but Algirdas' army was still too battered to be an effective instrument for some time. Fortunately, the Lithuanians had the foresight to leave a strong reserve around Vilnius; Algirdas quickly brought this up and merged it with the remnants of his force, to block any Danish advance east. Magnusson, however, had no intention of marching east, and instead moved quickly against Liudas in the north. Lithuanian intelligence realized the Dane's plan quickly, but not quickly enough. Magnusson, aided by local Ost Danes and Christian Lithuanians, got to Liudas' retreating force before Algirdas could, and inflicted another stinging defeat at Vainode, though Algirdas' men arrived fast enough to stop much damage being done. With Lithuanian arms badly depleted after Vainode and Silale, Algirdas expected a swift Danish drive into the interior; however, Magnusson's order explicitly prohibited such a course of action, and he could only use his advantage to extend Danish control in Kursas.

    By spring 1510 the Lithuanians had recovered from their defeats of the previous year and went back over to the offensive. Algirdas led the remnants of his army into Kursas as a diversionary measure, while Liudas and the bulk of Lithuania's force reinvaded Prussia, hoping to link up with Polish forces. Algirdas made very little headway against Magnusson's defenses, but Liudas, bypassing the strongest fortifications around Klaipeda, penetrated nearly to Elbing, burning as he went, before news of the Polish defeat at Oxerhovd forced him to abandon the offensive. Liudas then marched on the town of Tjungste. This he captured and burned after an assault, but Magnusson finally despatched a column from Klaipeda to oppose him, and with reinforcements from Pomerania en route Liuda had to march east to avoid being trapped. He arrived back in Lithuanian territory having covered a great deal of ground but accomplished nothing really lasting. Magnusson, following his orders, spent 1510 and 1511 shoring up his defenses. With more engineers from the metropole at his disposal, and more guns from the fleet, the coastal fortifications are quickly becoming quite impressive. He has also been trying to establish Danish government in the coastal areas; consequently, there has been something of a migration of Christians from the interior to the Danish-held territories on the coast, and Ost Danish soldiers have joined Magnusson in fairly large numbers.

    In 1511 the war declined into mostly low-level raiding, with Liudas mounting a single large raid into Prussia, though with less success than that of 1510. It appears that, with current force allocations, the Lithuanians can't really break Magnusson's defenses, and while Magnusson might be able to change the tenor of the war by seeking a more decisive engagement, he has thus far refused to do so.

    (+10 Danish Levy Companies)

    (+1 Danish Prestige, +1 Nye Maend Confidence, -8 Danish Companies, -6 Danish Levy Companies, -18 Lithuanian Companies, -13 Lithuanian Levy Companies)

    The Polish invasion of Denmark kicked off in July of 1509 with a two pronged offensive, aimed at Stettin and Prussia. The western prong, under Jaroslaw Kopanski, brushed aside the small Danish force on the border forts and invested Stettin, which fell after a brief siege. In the east, Stefan Plater led his force, initially against very scant opposition, towards Klaipeda, hoping to eventually link up with the Lithuanians. Unfortunately, Lucas Larson and the second major Danish reinforcement flotilla, hurriedly redirected to Danzig, quickly moved to block his march. Despite being slightly outnumbered, Plater tried to force the road at Bartensten and was repulsed, his noble levies giving a singularly poor account of themselves. Larson followed Bartensten up by overtaking Plater's force near Holstin and inflicting a second defeat. He then occupied Holstin, though shortly thereafter he had to abandon the city, and his hopes of definitively crushing Plater, to handle the situation in Pomerania. For in the west Kopanski, after taking Stettin and detaching a portion of his force to join the Polabians, had been marching east along the coast, driving the outnumbered Danish forces back and occupying city after city. By mid fall, he was at the gates of Bunkhold, where Larson finally arrived to oppose him. Kopanski was quite badly outnumbered, but his army was of a rather different character than Plater's, being composed largely of Bohemian veterans. Although the Poles had to retreat, Kopanski's army remained intact and performed much better than had Plater's. Still, he did have to retreat, and Larson recaptured a number of towns in the weeks following Bunkhold.

    In 1510, the Poles changed tack; clearly neither of their armies was capable alone of defeating the Danes, and defeating Larson's army had to be a top priority. Consequently, Plater's army, reorganized and reinforces, was joined to Kopanski's, under the latter's command, and the combined force marched into Pomerelia, hoping to eventually meet up with Liudas' Lithuanians coming west, and resolved, in any event, to force the issue with Larson. Larson, his forces somewhat depleted by the need to oppose Liudas and transfers to the west, was slightly outnumbered by the combined Polish force, refused battle, as Kopanski took Bunkhold and occupied most of Pomerelia. By June, with Kopanski approaching Danzig from the north and Liudas at Elbing, Larson could wait no longer. He resolved to break Kopanski's advance before the Lithuanians arrived, and marched north to meet him. Kopanski, knowing that he had only to buy time until Liudas arrived, retreated to a defended camp at Oxerhovd. With no other option, Larson mounted an assault on the camp. The presence of the Danish fleet proved decisive; effective naval artillery tore up Kopanski's defenses, and an amphibious attack by the Danish marines stormed the heights at a crucial time, distracting the Poles as Larson mounted his major attack. Order broke down, and Kopanski was hard pressed to extricate most of his force from the battle, and had to abandon most of his baggage. Even so, it's unlikely he would escaped, save that Larson abandoned the pursuit to oppose Liudas, only to find that the Lithuanian had already halted his advance and pulled out to the east. While Kopanski licked his wounds and refit his force, Larson rooted most of the Polish garrisons out of Danish Pomerelia and prepared for a counterattack the next year.

    By 1511 the series of Danish victories had changed the balances of forces in the theatre, and Larson resolved to press his advantage. An assault in early spring destroyed the fortifications at Derszewo, opening the Vistula to Danish galleys. While Larson besieged and captured Elbing, the Danish navy bombarded towns along the Vistula and destroyed riverine shipping. Larson spent late spring and early summer systematically evicting Kopanski's garrisons from Pomerelia, while discord with the local magnates prevented Kopanski from mounting an effective counterattack. In midsummer, Larson, emboldened by the lack of Polish activity, decided to mount a raid in force down the Vistula. With the navy keeping pace, Larson burned and looted his way down the river; however, Kopanski had resolved his disputes by this time, and moved to check the Danes at Swiecie. This time it was Larson who was complacent; sure of Polish inferiority, he allowed himself to be outmaneuvered by Kopanski, and was handily beaten and forced to withdraw back up the river. If the Poles can't evict the Danes from Pomerelia, it's clear that neither can the Danes mount really serious incursions into Poland.

    (+1 Danish Prestige, +1 Vendland Cities Confidence, -9 Danish Companies, -10 Danish Levy Companies, -14 Polish Companies, -14 Polish Levy Companies)

    The most successful front for the loose anti-Danish coalition was, strangely enough, the far west. There the Polabians, overjoyed that Poland was finally doing something about the Danes, massed slightly over ten thousand men by summer of 1509. These were quickly joined by a couple thousand Polish reinforcements, drawn from Kopanski's force, and the joint force pushed into western Pomerania. The Danes, judging the Polabian front to be more or less irrelevant, left relatively few garrisons in the west, and the allies made slow but steady progress throughout the period, culminating in the twin captures of Smukke and Rostock in 1511.

    (+5 Danish Levy Companies)

    (+1 Polabian Prestige, -5 Danish Levy Companies, -3 Polabian Companies, -2 Polabian Levy Companies, -1 Polish Company)

    Pirates operating out of Swedish ports, and reportedly supplied with Polish money, have plagued Danish shipping in the Baltic of late.

    (-1 Danish Ship, -10,000 taris from Danish revenue)

    The Swedes reinforced their armies in Friland and launched a renewed offensive into the interior, hoping to capture or kill Mathias. The Frilanders had by this point gathered their levies, and mustered a more or less equal force to oppose the Swedish advance. Acting on information that Mathias was in Tavastland, the Swedes marched into the province, but, finding no real urban centers to target, quickly found themselves slogging through the forest in a vain attempt to catch up with the Frilander prince. In late summer the Swedes were ambushed outside Vanaja, and sustained losses heavy enough to induce them to abandon Tavastland. Having by now realized that quickly breaking the Frilanders was likely to be impossible, due to their decentralization and knowledge of the interior, the Swedes resigned themselves to securing the country one village at a time. Esbo was captured in 1510, and Ornen in 1511, but the need to be in force everywhere in the occupied territories prevented much further expansion, and by late 1511 Mathias' attacks on Swedish held territory were becoming difficult to defeat; a surprise assault late in the year very nearly recaptured Turku, and scared the Swedes into abandoning their outlying positions and consolidating. The Frilanders are showing no signs of giving in, and it doesn't seem likely that the Swedes can occupy the whole country without pouring many more soldiers into the war.

    (-5 Swedish Companies, -2 Swedish Levy Companies, -4 Frilander Companies, -4 Frilander Levy Companies)

    In spring of 1509 the Hungarians prepared for a coordinated offensive into Lombardy to break the Italians once and for all. And then in swift succession both of Hungary's allies pulled the rug out from under them, leaving Stephen's army a few miles into the Veneto with no support and a plan that had to be torn up completely. Stephen promptly fell back to the Carinthian border and assessed his situation. Several advisors urged him to retreat east, and meet the Italians on better terms, but Stephen, heartened by reports of discord between the Imperials and the municipals, decided to try and beat the Italians quickly, and end their reconquest of Carinthia before it could properly begin. As the Italians, under the command of di Urbino, advanced towards Trieste, Stephen moved to block their crossing of the Isonzo at Gorizia. Unfortunately, Stephen had underestimated the Italian's strength, and proved incapable of holding the crossing. After di Urbino's vanguard punched through a second, half-hearted defense on the Vipacco, Stephen fell back to the Postumia Gate, while the Italians moved south and recaptured Trieste after a brief siege. At Postumia, Stephen was reinforced by his son Andrew with the garrison forces from Carinthia, replacing the losses at Gorizia. Di Urbino mounted a series of probing attacks against Stephen's defenses at the Gate; finding them too strong to easily force, he pulled back to Trieste and ended his campaigning season early.

    In 1510, di Urbino marched to the edge of Stephen's positions and then...dug in and waited. Stephen was initially happy for di Urbino to waste his time, but then the Italian's plan became apparent: with the Carinthian interior largely denuded of Hungarian troops, the Catholic population was difficult to control. Over the spring, di Urbino began slipping small units of troops, led by Carinthian veterans over the Dinarics. Once in the Hungarian-occupied territories, the Carinthians began stoking discontent and organizing action against the Hungarians. As the situation grew ever more unsettled, Stephen had to draw troops away from the west to contain uprisings further east. In July, a number of Catholic bands joined together north of Celie under the Duke of Fiume, seeking redemption for his earlier defeats. The several thousand strong peasant force then marched on the capital of the march. With an apparently serious threat to his back lines, Stephen elected to take a flying column and crush the peasants himself, leaving Andrew in command of the forces facing di Urbino. Stephen's troops met Fiume at Zalec, and handily crushed his force, which was, after all, little more than a mob of peasants. But Fiume had done his job; meanwhile, di Urbino finally moved against Postumia, and the weakened Hungarian force and somewhat inexperienced generalship of Andrew put up surprisingly little resistance. Andrew retreated to Lubiana, Stephen rushed to join him, and di Urbino slowly advanced east, gathering support from the jubilant countryside as he did. While Stephen rearmed in Lubiana and prepared for a battle at the city, di Urbino instead focused on securing the fortresses and towns surrounding Lubiana. Creina, Lasce, and Gorica all fell, while Stephen, wary of falling into another Zalec situation, refused to engage. By late in the year, Stephen's position in Lubiana was untenable, and he was forced to withdraw east to Celie, as di Urbino captured Lubiana without a fight.

    In 1511, di Urbino tried to repeat his trick at Celie, but this time Stephen moved to sharply check the Italian at Zalec, and di Urbino decided to go right for the brass ring. The repaired fortifications at Celie were a daunting prospect for an assault, but the Italians dug in and decided to starve out the Hungarians. Meanwhile, Catholic uprisings continued in the Hungarian controlled areas, and more and more territory was lost to the occupiers, though as the Hungarian zone shrinks, they are having less trouble with uprisings. Anyway, the siege of Celie dragged on through the spring and summer of 1511. di Urbino defeated a breakout attempt in August, and the garrison, out of food, finally surrendered in late September. The loss of Celie was a major blow to Hungarian power in Carinthia, but at least the long siege prevented the Italians from making any further gains.

    (+20 Italian Levy Companies)

    (+1 Italian Prestige, +1 Carinthians Confidence, +1 Carinthians Strength, -22 Italian Companies, -15 Italian Levy Companies, -18 Hungarian Companies, -15 Hungarian Levy Companies)

    By 1510 Al-Radi could stall the bellicose elements in the Maghrebi populace no longer; demands for action against the Sicilians had become deafening. However, the wily old Andalusian wasn't willing launch a proper invasion of Ifriqiya, so instead Al-Radi organized an irregular force out of the local Berbers, and despatched it against Algiers; if this had the secondary effect of temporarily occupying the most vocal opponents of Al-Radi's Maghrebi reforms, so much to the good. The Sicilians had expected some sort of action against Algiers, and had consequently dramatically reinforced the garrison, under Giuseph D'Ebaccar. Still, D'Ebaccar didn't have enough men to hold all the outlying fortresses, and by the end of 1511 the Berbers had mostly confined the Sicilians to Algiers and its immediate environs. However, lacking many guns or naval support the Berbers couldn't seriously attempt to dig the Sicilians out of Algiers or cut their supply lines with the east, and so the siege, such as it was, was not particularly difficult for the Sicilians.

    (-1 Maghrebi Berber Confidence, -2 Sicilian Companies, -1 Sicilian Levy Company, -4 Muwahhidun Levy Companies)
     
  14. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
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    Location:
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    While the Sicilians were busy evacuating Naples and Trieste, the Ghaniya prepared themselves to face the Sicilian onslaught. A renewed attack on Djerba in March of 1509 finally overwhelmed Pieri di Lampedusa's few remaining defenders; the island fell to the Ghaniyans, and di Lampedusa and his men were carted off to captivity in Cyrenaica. The northernmost Ghaniyan positions were abandoned and the ground scorched by the retreating tribesmen. When in April Simon Castamara and the Sicilian army arrived at Djerba from Italy, they found the fortifications manned by Ghaniyans; the reduction and pacification of the island required nearly a month. After the recapture of Djerba, the Sicilian fleet, as usual commanded by the Admiral Ricard, based itself at the island and began far reaching raids into Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. Castamara, meanwhile, after a brief pause to reorganize his supply lines, began marching east towards Tarabulus. Apart from a minor clash at Zarzis, which confirmed Sicilian strength to the Ghaniyans, the early days of the campaign were fairly uneventful; the Ghaniyans retreated and avoided confrontation, content to let the Sicilians extend their lines of communication. By early July, Castamara was only a few miles from Tarabulus, and at last the Ghaniyans, reluctantly and under heavy pressure from the Zurayids and other western tribesmen, decided to fight. The Ghaniyans hoped to use their overwhelming cavalry advantage to outmaneuver the Sicilians and destroy them piecemeal, but the discipline of the regulars and Castamara's able generalship foiled their hopes, and the Sicilian pike and crossbow formations proved nearly invulnerable to direct assault from the Ghaniyan light cavalry. Tarabulus wasn't a catastrophe for the Ghaniyans, but they did suffer heavy losses, and it demonstrated clearly their inability to meet the Sicilians in pitched battle. Tarabulus itself fell in the immediate aftermath of the battle, and shortly thereafter a naval descent by Ricard captured Misratah. More damagingly for the Ghaniyans, the Zurayids took Tarabulus as their signal to change sides: having been promised control of the Emirate by the Sicilians, the Zaydi forces crossed the lines almost en masse, while in Barneeq itself a Zurayid instigated coup briefly controlled the palace but, lacking Sicilian military backing, was quickly put down. While the Ghaniyans reeled at the Zurayid defection, Castamara set about reconquering the rest of the Admiralty of Tarabulus against little opposition; by the end of the year, Sicilian forward detachments had secured the fortress at Zaafraan, commanding the main road to Cyrenaica.

    In early 1510 the Banu Ghaniya received a much needed boost, in the form of a large subsidy and shipment of weapons from the Egyptians. This they used to bolster their sagging forces, shore up confidence among the tribes and, most importantly, hire Sannazaro's Campanian Band when he came offering in March. Meanwhile, Castamara began marching up the coast road to Barneeq, hoping to finish the war quickly. Once against the Ghaniyans refused battle while they waited for reinforcements and Sannazaro to arrive. By June Castamara was less than forty miles from Barneeq, and the Ghaniyans could wait no longer. At Qaminis they moved to bar Castamara's way, and the Sicilian, perhaps overconfident after the easy early victories, eagerly engaged. This time, though, he met Sannazaro's men, most of them veterans of di Urbino's campaigns in Sicily, holding the Ghaniyan center. As Sannazaro gradually gained the upper hand in the center, the Ghaniyan cavalry advantage could finally be usefully exploited, and a somewhat shell-shocked Castamara had to order a hurried retreat to avoid being enveloped. After Qaminis, the Sicilians, concerned by the presence of Italians on the other side, fell back to Bishr and prepared for an emergency evacuation to Sicily, while the Ghaniyans reoccupied Ajdabiya. By late July it was clear that the Italian state had not officially reentered the war, and Castamara felt free to go back over to the offensive, moving against the Ghaniyan position at Ajdabiya. However, Sannazaro repelled Castamara's attack, and by this time tribal raiders striking from the desert at the Sicilian held coast were becoming a major problem in Tripolitania. Castamara had to detach significant forces to stabilize his supply lines in the west, and when in late summer the Ghaniyans moved against his weakened force at Bishr, Castamara felt himself compelled to retreat westwards. In 1511, the Ghaniyans launched their own drive west, but failed to recapture Zaafraan, and themselves had to draw forces away to combat Ricard's increasingly painful raids into Cyrenaica.

    (10 Ghaniyan Levy Companies to Sicily)

    (+1 Sicilian Prestige, -Banu Zuray -8 Sicilian Companies, -4 Sicilian Levy Companies, -3 Ghaniyan Companies, -9 Ghaniyan Levy Companies, -2 Ghaniyan Ships, -2 Band of Campania Companies)

    By late summer of 1509, having closed Rome's other theatres, the new regime in Constantinople was ready to attempt the expulsion of the Chobanids from Anatolia. Virtually the entire military strength of the empire was deployed to the east, under the overall command of Bardas Ouranos. While the Chobanids had redeployed most of their forces to the east for actions against the Ardabilids (see below), Taqi ad-Din had possessed the good sense to keep a fairly strong force in Anatolia, under the Palestinian Arab Muhammad ibn Maruf, to organize the the locals and oversee the transition. As the Roman army massed around Dorylaion, ibn Maruf concentrated his forces and issued an urgent plea for reinforcements. With the campaign in the east off to such a good start, however, Taqi ad-Din refused to weaken it for Anatolia; ibn Maruf was ordered to delay the Romans by any means necessary using only the forces at his disposal.

    When the Romans marched east from Dorylaion, ibn Maruf armed as many of the local Turks as he could, and began a series of delaying raids on the Roman outlying columns. It quickly became clear that the Roman target was Ankyra, and that Turkmen harassment, however annoying, wasn't going to stop Ouranos' force. Outnumbered nearly four to one, ibn Maruf decided that his only hope lay in inducing the Romans to separate and overextend; certainly, risking everything on a siege at Ankyra would be playing right into Roman hands. He therefore pulled his troops and materiel out of Ankyra and retreated to Mokissos, leaving Ankyra defended by local Turkish militiamen. These gave a fairly good account of themselves, when the Romans arrived, but Ouranos of course took the city quickly anyway. Pausing briefly to arrange a council of grandees and officials to oversee the organization of the recaptured territories, Ouranos then followed the Chobanids into Kappadokia.

    Meanwhile, as ibn Maruf and Ouranos dueled in Kappadokia, in the west Roman forces set about restoring Roman governance in the recaptured areas. In this endeavour they were hampered considerably by Chobanid efforts, while the nominal peace held, to uproot Roman institutions and replace them with local elites. The Romans found themselves opposed by surprisingly well organized local Turkish elites, who, if they couldn't have Chobanid rule, at least saw an opportunity to negotiate a more favourable relationship with the Romans than had previously obtained. The returning grandees were, with a couple of exceptions, not at all inclined to make any concessions whatsoever to Muslim sensibilities. Clashes between Roman forces and Muslims militias broke out across a wide area, becoming in places serious enough that Ouranos had to dispatch troops to hold things down. By the spring of 1510 the situation in Roman Anatolia was terribly tense, and with Ouranos busy on the front the grandee council in Ankyra resorted to increasingly heavy-handed measures to keep the peace. In May, Ankyra despatched a column into Paphlagonia, to hunt down the residual Chobanid garrison. The small Chobanid force, under Karagoz Pasha, having found itself cut off during the retreat of the previous year, had taken to the hills and, with the enthusiastic cooperation of the local populace, begun making a nuisance of itself. The Romans managed to, by severe reprisals, cut off Karagoz's local support and force him to ground near Timonion. Unfortunately for the Romans, he was there joined by a large Muslim militia, organized by an extraordinarily charismatic local cleric, Karabiyikoglu, and the Roman force was overwhelmed by Karabiyikoglu's followers. The joint force then stormed Timonion's citadel. There, in the same place where two generations earlier the Bringids had been defenestrated and the Four Years' Revolt ignited, Karabiyikoglu issued a call for holy war against the false Romans in support of the Chobanids.

    While Karabiyikoglu's proclamation immediately electrified Paphlagonia, in Anatolia at large it went mostly unnoticed at the time, and the grandees in Ankyra seem to have initially regarded the man as no different from any of a dozen other petty fakirs, so their response was muted. Ouranos, meanwhile, was far too busy to pay attention to a minor setback in the east. In July, the Chobanid scouts made a critical error, and ibn Maruf finally slipped up: he was cornered and forced to fight against vastly superior Roman numbers at Korama. Chobanid discipline prevented the day from being a total catastrophe, but ibn Maruf was badly bloodied and in the aftermath had no choice but to abandon the province to Ouranos. Kaisareia changed hands again, and although ibn Maruf sharply checked a Roman advance from Ikonion in late August, by September the Chobanid occupation of Roman Anatolia was in serious danger of being eliminated entirely. Ouranos spent the rest of the year mopping up and preparing for a final campaign in 1511, while ibn Maruf resigned himself to a fight to hold the Taurus passes and renewed his pleas for reinforcement.

    Karabiyikoglu spent the summer rallying followers in Paphlagonia, rooting out Roman officials, and ordering Karagoz to whip his men into something resembling a fighting force, it having quickly become clear that this was the cleric's show and the Chobanid was just along for the ride. Ankyra, while somewhat distracted by the task of organizing the government of Kappadokia, became aware by the end of the summer that what was brewing in the north required rather more attention, and sent a series of forces to restore order, all of which Karabiyikoglu handily defeated.

    In early 1511, Ouranos began his campaign to drive the Chobanids beyond the Taurus. Ibn Maruf, by now catastrophically outnumbered and running out of room to maneuver, could do little but harass Ouranos' supply line, while frantically shoring up the Taurus defenses. Feeling no particular need for haste, Ouranos marched carefully towards Cilicia. In June ibn Maruf was forced to abandon the newly constructed fortress at Cybistra and the Chobanid presence on Roman soil was reduced to a sliver. And then the Roman plan was overtaken by events.

    By spring of 1511 Ankyra had belatedly realized that the Paphlagonian uprising was an entirely different beast than the rest of the Muslim unrest, and resolved to crush it utterly. Most of the council's immediately available military forces were brought together for the purpose, along with a few companies of veterans begged off Ouranos. Karabiyikoglu, his force by now numbering near ten thousand - albeit ten thousand badly armed fanatics - simultaneously proclaimed his intention of stamping out the nest of vipers in Ankyra and began marching south. The forces met some forty miles north of the city, and Karabiyikoglu won a smashing victory that his followers attributed to divine intervention, though it actually had rather more to do with Roman complacency and Karagoz's tactical acumen. The Romans fell back to Ankyra, which Karabiyikoglu's rebels promptly invested. Unwilling to wait for a siege, the cleric ordered an immediate assault on the city, against Karagoz's strenuous protestations. The rebels suffered appalling loss, but still breached the city, with Karabiyikoglu himself leading the last assault. The grandee council was burned alive the next day, while elements Karabiyikoglu's (very much reduced) force began to openly speak of their leader as supernatural.

    As news of the shocking result at Ankyra spread, Anatolia erupted. Roman officials were massacred by the hundred and overmatched Roman garrisons fled or destroyed as the simmering unrest exploded into general revolt, and ghazis flocked by the thousand to join Karabiyikoglu. And Turkish euphoria was matched only by Ouranos' horror and dismay. Practically overnight, he had gone from the brink of victory to the jaws of the nightmare scenario that had terrified Roman planners for generations: caught between the Chobanid army and a hostile Anatolian populace, hundreds of miles from the nearest safe haven. Fortunately for Ouranos, things were not quite totally lost: Apokaukos in Ikonion had been one of the few grandees to reach an accommodation with the Muslims, and so managed to hold out against the storm. Ouranos pulled out west to Ikonion, arriving in time to drive off a serious rebel attack, and there, in relative safety, assessed his situation. With ibn Maruf cautiously marching out from the Taurus again, and a major rebel force mustering in Philomelion, Ouranos decided that his first priority had to be extricating his army from their perilous position. Taking a protesting Apokaukos with him, Ouranos abandoned Ikonion and forced his way through the countryside to Seleukeia on the coast. Arriving to find it in rebel hands, he promptly reduced the walls, dispersed the rebel forces and captured the city, then established contact with the Roman governor in Attaleia and organized the seaborne extraction of his force to Attaleia and Ionia. The troops in Attaleia arrived in time to decimate a poorly organized rebel attack over the mountains, while Ouranos himself, with the better part of his force, rushed to confront a much larger rebel force marching down the Meander, and routed them at Chonae.

    Karabiyikoglu spent the summer organizing the various rebel groups under his leadership, and recruiting. In fall, having mostly secured his position at the head of the revolt, and now possessing an army well in excess of thirty thousand strong, he moved west. Amorion fell after a brief siege, and the rebels advanced on Dorylaion. This, much better defended, held out through a siege, but fell to another spectacularly bloody assault by Karabiyikoglu's ghazis, opening the way to Bithynia. Rebel outriders reached nearly to Nikaia before major elements of Ouranos' army arrived to shut the door.

    Ibn Maruf and the Chobanids, meanwhile, while grateful for the respite, were uncertain of the intentions of this unwashed fanatic with apparent delusions of grandeur, and so proceeded carefully in the aftermath of Ouranos' withdrawal. Kaisareia was reoccupied for the third time, but that was as far as ibn Maruf was willing to go. Karagoz showed up at Kaisareia in early winter at the head of an embassy to assure him that Karabiyikoglu was a true and loyal servant of the Sultan, but the Chobanids were notably unassured.

    (+1 Roman Prestige, -32 Chobanid Companies, -25 Roman Companies, -32 Roman Levy Companies, -lots of ghazis)

    With the Ardabilids proving a harder target than Uzbeg had hoped, the war with Novgorod fell somewhat to the back burner. Even so, Shahgali managed to defeat Ibraimov near Bolghar in mid 1509, and once again almost completely evict the Novgorodians from Samara. Shahgali's followup assault on Kazan was abortive, however, and Ibraimov received major reinforcements later in the year that restored the balance. In 1510 the Beglerbeg resolved to destroy Ibraimov's army once and for all, and began a complicated series of maneuvers south of the Volga, aimed at drawing Ibraimov into a trap. Before Shahgali had done anything more than overwhelm a couple of isolated Novgorodian detachments, however, he received urgent orders to send reinforcements to Uzbeg in Persia; the losses at Mashhad had to be made good. Shahgali was reluctant to so weaken his campaign, but of course had no real choice. In fall, the tables turned: Ibraimov caught Shahgali's weakened force at Kanash and won a signal victory. Disputes between Shahgali and the Crimean Khan Qasim became acute after Kanash, leading ultimately to Qasim abandoning the campaign in Samara and returning to the Crimean front. Ibraimov, meanwhile, through skillful political wrangling over the winter parlayed his victory at Kanash into a strongly increased commitment to his army. In 1512 the balance in Samara had decidedly shifted: without the Crimeans Shahgali couldn't meet Ibraimov, who methodically reconquered most of the Khanate, though it's in a fairly poor state. It was a different story in the south, where Qasim faced little opposition and made significant gains, though Shahgali noted with displeasure that Qasim acted as though his conquests would accrue directly to Crimea.

    (+50 Nizhny Levy Companies)

    (-6 Horde Companies, -20 Horde Levy Companies, -8 Nizhny Companies, -16 Nizhny Levy Companies)

    Having settled their Makurian situation, at least temporarily, the Egyptians and the Ethiopians formed an alliance to combat Zabid's aggression. While the Ethiopians mustered the chewa and prepared for a counter-attack, the Egyptians increased the size of the Red Sea fleet, and transferred Danti Farini in from the Mediterranean to take command of the flotilla. The Zabidis, meanwhile, strengthened their fortifications at Zeila and Massawa and shipped more reinforcements over, while appealing to the Sharifate to join their opposition to the Christians.

    Farini and the Egyptian Red Sea fleet arrived on station at Aydhab in July of 1509, and immediately began operations against the Zabidi fleet. Egyptian hopes for a quick, decisive victory in the naval war came to naught, however, as the Zabidis scattered and refused to fight a fleet engagement. After a month long cruise down the Ethiopian coast turned up nothing, a frustrated Farini crossed the Gulf of Aden to the Zabidi coast, and menaced the major Zabidi ports. Menace was all he could do, however; the Zabidi coastal presence was too strong for any major descents to be possible, and Farini in any case had little time on station before needing to return to Aydhab for resupply. Zabidi elements operating out of Hudaydah and Massawa took advantage of Farini's absence to harass Egyptian shipping far up the Red Sea, and then eluded Farini's pursuit by ducking into Sharifal ports. In 1510 Farini, acting under advisement from the Red Sea Admirals, decided that closing the Bab el-Mandab to Zabidi shipping required taking at least one of the major Zabidi bases on the Ethiopian coast, and it was decided to make a try for Massawa. The Zabidis caught wind that the Egyptians were preparing for a major operation and decided, reasonably, that Massawa was the likely target; consequently when Farini arrived at Massawa, he found a large portion of the Zabidi fleet on the strand, and was forced to delay his descent on the city. The Ethiopian army in the north, under heavy pressure from Farini, agreed to step up operations to try and draw away Zabidi strength. However, Yaqob sensibly refused to mount an unsupported assault on the prepared Zabidi positions, and after an Ethiopian detachment was sharply defeated by an inferior Zabidi force at Dogali, Ethiopian pressure relaxed somewhat. Upon learning that Ethiopian support was not forthcoming, Farini, perhaps unwisely, decided to chance it anyway, and mounted a midnight amphibious descent on the city. Although the Egyptians did burn a couple of Zabidi ships and storehouses, the swift, overwhelming response from the garrison drove them back with heavy losses, and Farini had to evacuate as the sun rose.

    After the Egyptian failure at Massawa, Farini decided that future large scale attacks on Zabidi positions were unlikely to bear fruit, and turned to combating the Zabidi little war, in the hopes of wearing down their navy that way. He had rather more success this way, though the faster Zabidi ships tended to elude pursuit more often than not. Nevertheless, by the middle of 1511 the Zabidi presence north of Massawa was in clear decline. In response, semi-official Zabidi privateers began operating increasingly out of Sharifal ports, with the acquiescence, if not actual support, of the Sharifal authorities. Determined to eliminate the Zabidi presence, Farini decided, in August of 1511, to attack a major Zabidi squadron while it lay at the Sharifal port of Jiddah. The Zabidis, thinking themselves safe, were caught unawares and most of their ships burnt in a signal victory for the Egyptians, but Farini's men came into conflict with the Sharifal garrison, and lost a pair of ships to bombardment from the shore guns. Although the Zabidi presence north of Massawa is now severely limited, Farini's provocation has prompted a call for intervention from a wide section of the Sharifal population, which could undo much of his good work.

    (-6 Egyptian Ships, -2 Egyptian Levy Ships, -4 Zabidi Ships, -8 Zabidi Levy Ships)

    On land the war with Zabid was still less eventful. Fully conscious of the peril of further extension, and having taken most of what they wanted anyway, the Zabidis refused to do much more than dig in around Zeila and Massawa and launch the odd raid into the interior, while the Ethiopians were, probably wisely, unwilling to risk a confrontation on Zabidi terms, and contented themselves with containing said raids while gradually tightening the cordon around Zeila and Massawa and waiting for the Egyptians to sever Zabid's sea links.

    (+70 Ethiopian Levy Companies) (+40 Zabidi Levy Companies)

    (-1 Ethiopian Company, -5 Ethiopian Levy Companies, -2 Zabidi Companies, -3 Zabidi Levy Companies)

    The Chobanids decided that, with the Ardabilids heavily engaged in the east, they had to seize this opportunity to break the Persian menace once and for all. Most of the army was pulled out of Anatolia for this purpose and mustered to Anatolia. The Ardabilid army in Mesopotamia, aware of the Chobanid peace with Rome, was momentarily paralyzed by indecision, unable to decide whether to make one last try for Baghdad before the Chobanids arrived in force. Unfortunately for the Persians, they overestimated how much time they had; the Chobanid army, marching along pre-arranged military route from Syria to Mesopotamia, arrived in the vicinity of Baghdad a month earlier than the Persians had anticipated. The Ardabilids, massively outnumbered, found themselves summarily cut off and blasted into oblivion by Chobanid guns. Following the virtual annihilation of the Ardabilid army in Mesopotamia, Taqi ad-Din began a swift invasion of Persia itself, marching on Kermanshah.

    On the other side of the Ardabilid domains, Uzbeg, having reinforced his army with troops from the Dasht-i-Kimek, stepped up his advance, capturing the important forts at Farah and Zaranj by the end of summer 1509, and menacing Kerman. In the far east, a renewed drive on Charikar was successful, although fierce Pashtun resistance continued, limiting further gains.

    While the enemies of the Ardabilids advanced on all fronts, Farrokh initiated a furious recruiting drive and gathered the remaining provincial militias. By the end of summer, he felt confident enough to push back. The overconfident Chobanid advance on Hamadan was sharply checked by a large force of ghulams at Kangavar, while on the Horde front Miran's force was caught between Persians coming from Kandahar and west and almost destroyed. Uzbeg had to hurriedly withdraw from Kerman to salvage the situation, while Taqi ad-Din and the Chobanids retreated all the way to Kermanshah to regroup. Having thus gained some breathing room and momentarily silenced his critics, Farrokh personally led a late campaign in the east that crushed a Horde detachment near Nishapur and recaptured Mashhad shortly thereafter, forcing Uzbeg to abandon his southernmost gains and retreat to Herat.

    In 1510, Farrokh, heartened by the successes of late 1509, resolved to try for a more decisive victory against the invaders. The Chobanids renewed their advance on Hamadan, more cautiously this time, while the Ardabilids harassed their supply lines and gathered their forces. Uzbeg simultaneously began marching to retake Mashhad, judging the threat to his rear too great to leave unchecked. Taqi ad-Din captured the strangely poorly defended Hamadan in June, and began a rapid advance towards Qazvin. At the same time, Uzbeg arrived at Mashhad and began besieging it, against determined resistance. Farrokh's trap shortly closed: he had mustered every resource he could to break the invaders at one strike. Uzbeg's besiegers at Mashhad found themselves surrounded by fifty thousand screaming Dhahabis, while at Avaj an even larger force, including most of the ghulams, fell upon the Chobanids.

    At Mashhad, Uzbeg characteristically ordered an immediate massed attack on the encircling Ardabilids, but Ardabilid numbers told; the attack was driven back with heavy loss, and Miran himself killed in the cavalry charge. A sortie from the garrison struck the wavering Horde, and for just a moment it appeared that Uzbeg's force might disintegrate. But the Khan rallied his men and personally led a frenzied defense of the outer lines, while the men of Samarkand on the other side contained, then threw back the sortie, and were quickly engaged in bloody fighting inside Mashhad. Dhahabi coordination broke down, as the Horde stubbornly refused to break. Finally, late in the day, Khalil, Miran's son, having ridden hard all day, arrived on the field with five thousand cavalry from the north, and immediately plunged his exhausted men into the Ardabilid rear. Khalil's arrival proved decisive, for the Ardabilids were too disorganized to effectively pivot to engage him. Cohesion in the Ardabilid force broke down, confusion spread, and all at once the militamen routed. After Mashhad, the Ardabilid army in the east was reduced to just a fraction of its former strength; it was scant comfort that Uzbeg was in scarcely better shape, and in fact had to suspend operations for the rest of the year to rebuild his army.

    Farrokh, in personal command at Avaj, hoped at first to catch the Chobanids off guard and unprepared, and quickly crush them. This hope proved fruitless, so he instead elected to throw his militia at the Chobanids to soften them up for a ghulam charge. The Chobanid center, comprised mostly of regular units, drove off the Ardabilid infantry with little difficulty, but the levies on the flanks had much more difficulty, and when the ghulams charged the levies broke hard. The flanks quickly turned into a rout, but the Ardabilids overpursued the broken levies, giving Taqi ad-Din and the center time to withdraw in good order to the baggage train. When the Ardabilids, flush with apparent victory, charged headlong into the remaining Chobanid forces, they found the hard core of the Chobanid infantry definitively unbroken, formed up behind impromptu field works; moreover, the Turkish engineers had organized the siege train into makeshift field batteries. The first Ardabilid attack evaporated in a storm of steel and lead, and the second, third and fourth fared no better. Finally Farrokh ordered an all-out ghulam charge; when this, like all the others, failed, leaving thousands of ghulams dead, the Ardabilid army began to fall apart. Taqi ad-Din ordered a steady advance across the field, as Farrokh tried desperately to organize a counterattack, but the piecemeal effort saw the Ardabilid army either fled or chewed up by the Chobanids. By the end of the day, the Chobanid infantry levies had suffered disastrous casualties, but the professional infantry was intact, and Farrokh's army had suffered more than thirty thousand casualties.
     
  15. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

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    The twin catastrophes at Avaj and Mashhad, occurring almost simultaneously, proved the last straw for the Dhahabi clergy. A deputation of clergy led by Nasir al-Tusi proclaimed Tahmasp a kaffir, blamed the defeats on his lack of piety and the influence of ghulams, and deposed and executed the Shah; when Farrokh arrived in Qazvin shortly thereafter, he was torn apart on the spot by a clergy-led mob. Al-Tusi elevated Tahmasp's brother Ismail to the throne; as the Shah was, however, surrounded at all times by fanatics loyal to al-Tusi, it was clear where real power lay.

    Avaj cleared the way to Qazvin for the Chobanids, and Taqi ad-Din wasted no time in seizing the advantage. Two weeks after al-Tusi's coup, he was forced to evacuate Qazvin in the face of the advancing Chobanids, and relocated the court and government to Esfahan. The Turkish occupation of the mostly deserted Ardabilid capital was resisted only by a few die-hards who'd refused to leave. Leaving a largish garrison in the city, the Chobanid Sultan then marched west, where he occupied Tabriz and Ardabil and linked up with a Georgian army that had been slowly pushing Ardabilid forces in the area back, and was extremely grateful for Chobanid support.

    With Taqi ad-Din busy in the west and Uzbeg licking his wounds, al-Tusi was free to spend the rest of 1510 and early 1511 preparing for a counterattack. It was clear to al-Tusi and his cohorts that the reason for the defeats of previous years was a lack of piety on the part of the Shah and his advisors, and an overreliance on the ghulams; after all, had it not been ordinary Dhahabis that propelled Ardabil to greatness in the first place? The course of action was clear, then: a total refocusing on Dhahabi principles. Al-Tusi cracked down hard on the remaining ghulams, began a series of confiscations from merchants and Turks, and, in an eerie mirror of events in Anatolia, sent out a call for general holy war to save the faith. With Dhahabi clerics now preaching jihad in every town and village in the realm, the result was a torrent of ghazis; tens of thousands of devout peasants flocked to Esfahan and Nishapur. Peasant uprisings broke out everywhere in the Chobanid and Horde occupied areas, and Taqi ad-Din and Uzbeg were hard pressed to maintain order.

    For all his grandiose declarations of jihad, al-Tusi knew perfectly well that throwing his horde against the Chobanids in a pitched battle would work out no better for him than it had for Farrokh; in the west, therefore, his plan was to avoid direct confrontation with the Turks, but make it too expensive and difficult for Taqi ad-Din to maintain his position, let alone keep advancing. In this he was generally successful; the Turks and Georgians had to disperse most of their army into garrisons just to keep order in the territories they now controlled, and constant Dhahabi incursions all along the front prevented them from concentrating for a really major offensive. Still, although futher advances will be difficult for the Chobanids, it doesn't seem that there's any way for the Dhahabi to actually throw them back; with the exception of a single Chobanid detachment that was overwhelmed by ten times its number of Ardabilids near Nazarabad, every pitched engagement since Avaj has gone the Turks' way.

    In the east, where the Ardabilid qualitative disadvantage was less overwhelming, the Persians pursued a slightly more active policy. Uzbeg, wary of repeating his experience at Mashhad, was uncharacteristically cautious, and slowly mustered for an attack on Nishapur in the spring. The Dhahabi horde at the city retreated, rather than fight a pitched battle just yet, and Uzbeg sieged out the garrison with little difficulty. He then marched west, intending to have another crack at Tabaristan. Shahrood and Astarabad fell quickly, but with Ardabilid forces continually increasing, Uzbeg decided not to risk moving further west, and instead settled in to wait for the Ardabilids to make a move. Further east, where there were many fewer ghazis to contend with, Khalil had rather more success, recapturing Farah and taking Qandahar late in the year before unrest in his rear forced a halt.

    While the Dhahabi coup has more or less stabilized the situation, in the long run Ardabil still is in serious trouble. It doesn't seem likely that Al-Tusi can evict either of his enemies from Ardabil by force, and unless he can convince one to bow out it's difficult to see how he can maintain this level of mobilization for long.

    (+600 Ardabilid Levy Companies)

    (+2 Chobanid Prestige, -1 Ardabilid Prestige, +1 Horde Prestige, -400,000 taris from Ardabilid revenue, -1 Merchantry(Ardabil) Strength, -1 Merchantry(Ardabil) Confidence, -2/+4 Dhahabi Clergy Confidence, -2 Ghulams Strength, -2 Ghulams Confidence, -1 Tabaristan Confidence, +1 Fars Strength,+1 Kurds Confidence, -53 Chobanid Levy Companies, -27 Chobanid Companies, -21 Tokhta Companies, -4 Georgian Companies, -11 Georgian Levy Companies, -109 Tokhta Levy Companies, -52 Ardabilid Companies, -249 Ardabilid Levy Companies)

    After Garbhasena's ouster, Delhi's efforts to establish effective government in Bengal were redoubled. The Khanate's forces in Bengal, now commanded by Sartak, Arghun's son, took as their top priority the elimination of Muhammad and his resistance. This proved somewhat harder than anticipated, however; the Bengali had apparently constructed a wide network of informers across Bengal, and continually eluded Sartak's attempts to pin him down. Delhi's information gathering efforts, conversely, were far less successful, owing in large part to the difficulty of telling apart bandits and Bengali loyalists. After spending most of 1510 being outmaneuvered and humiliated by Muhammad, Sartak changed course in 1511, and moved against Muhammad's strongholds with overwhelming force. Most of Muhammad's forts fell one by one, though each exacted a toll and Muhammad himself remained at large, raising merry hell up and down the Brahmaputra. Still, as Sartak rooted out his safe havens Muhammad's zone of operation shrank, and the crackdown on the larger bandit groups and progress towards the general restoration of order late in the year further restricted his movements. While Delhi is making considerable progress, the Bengali loyalists are proving damnably hard to root out.

    Political struggle between the Jurchen clans erupted into open war in 1511. The Yehe clan and their allies, on the outs due to the khan's Haishu alliance, declared the khan a usurper and raised their banners against him. They also appealed to the Mongol Khagan to restore legitimate rule to the Jurhen; Mandukhai was too busy indulging her various depraved appetites to respond, but Galdan, Viceroy of the Left, took matters into his own hands, and marched his men across the border to join the Yehe. With Galdan's support, the Yehe won a signal victory on the Shen that ensured the survival of their alliance. Meanwhile, opportunistic generals of Hubaekje took advantage of the confusion to extend their control over disputed border areas.

    (+30 Mongol Levy Companies) (+80 Jurchen Levy Companies)

    (-5 Mongol Levy Companies, -21 Jurchen Levy Companies)

    The great Chinese war was quiet for most of the first half of 1509, as both sides maneuvered their forces into position for a decisive confrontation. The Haishu, judging all other concerns to be secondary to the reduction of Sichuan, redeployed virtually their entire force to Yichang and prepared for an epic showdown with Zhu Dayou's defenders. When in late summer the Haishu offensive kicked off, however, they met strangely little resistance; Zhu Dayou's defenses delayed them, of course, but the defenders were hopelessly outnumbered. For the Nanhai Emperor had reached quite the opposite conclusion about the relative importance of the various theatres: one way or another, Sichuan was doomed, so his only option was to launch a war-winning offensive in the south, while Nanhai still had the strength to do so. As 80,000 Haishu soldiers marched out from Yichang, nearly 70,000 Nanhai men at arms, under the rising star Qi Jiguang, mustered quietly in Jiangxi.

    The Haishu garrison in Jiangxi, expecting little in the way of Nanhai activity, was baited into a battle near Yichun and overwhelmed by Nanhai numbers. The terrain and the weather proved a greater impediment to Qi Jiguang's progress through Jiangxi afterwards, but by year's end he had evicted most remaining Haishu forces from Jiangxi and cut off a somewhat significant Haishu force in Fujian. In Sichuan, meanwhile, Zhu Dayou's defenses strengthened west of Xiling gorge. He couldn't stop the Haishu advance, of course, but after nearly three years of preparation he could slow it considerably. Still, by the end of the year the methodical Haishu advance had reached Yunyang, and cleared the worst of Zhu Dayou's defenses.

    Even with his strongest defenses already lost, Zhu Dayou in 1510 fought a fairly brilliant defensive campaign, but with the Nanhai outnumbered more than six to one the end was never really in doubt. In late summer, the Haishu entered Chongqing, though it was something of a hollow victory: the Emperor, the court, and the administration had all been evacuated long before, and Zhu Dayou's army, such as it was, remained intact. And anyway, the Nanhai had never intended to hold Chongqing, only to keep the Haishu busy in the east for as long as possible.

    In early 1510 there was a fierce debate in the Haishu command as to how many men to send against Qi Jiguang. In the end, it was decided that, since the Nanhai surely weren't stupid enough to mount a major Jiangxi offensive while their heartland burned, only a relatively small force should be detached to oppose the Nanhai in Jiangxi; maintaining the advance on Chongqing was the important thing. Consequently, when Qi Jiguang started his all-or-nothing drive for Hangzhou in the spring, he still had a massive numerical advantage. Once again the Haishu forces were caught out of position and forced to retreat to Nanchang, whereupon the Haishu fleet was hurriedly redeployed to the Gan, to block any Nanhai crossings. Qi Jiguang was momentarily stymied by the presence of the Haishu fleet, but only for the time it took him to construct a huge number of crude barges and fire ships. The latter were sent en masse into the Haishu fleet in Lake Poyang, and while no ships were lost, the fleet was damaged and scattered. In the days before it could regroup, Qi Jiguang managed to effect a crossing upstream, leaving most of his supplies behind. And after that, the only thing standing between him and Hangzhou was a couple hundred miles of countryside. The Nanhai crushed the hastily raised peasant militias that opposed them, and stormed east, taking as many supplies as they could carry and burning everything else. When Qi Jiguang obliterated a Haishu force at Lin'an, Li Qilai decided to evacuate the capital and fled north. Qi Jiguang's army battered its way into Hangzhou a week later, and immediately engaged in an orgy of destruction. The soldiers, underpaid and for long sustained by the promise of plunder, went wild as the promise became reality. By the end of the next week, the great capital of the east was in ruins, the Haishu administrators who hadn't fled had been massacred, and most of the immobile wealth of the merchants and the emperor was taken or destroyed.

    Eventually, Qi Jiguang got most of his troops back under control, and turned to his next move. The Haishu fleet in the Yangtze, much more careful now, blocked any move beyond the river, but he rooted out Haishu forces between Hangzhou and the Yangtze, and, having taken to heart the lessons of the ill-fated invasion of Mongolia, established a rough requisitioning system to feed his men over the winter.

    Once the Haishu in the west got over their initial shock and horror at the loss of Hangzhou, they reasoned that Qi Jiguang's force was bound to fall apart sooner or later, and that pulling out of Sichuan en masse to go take revenge would be playing into Nanhai hands. So, while a fairly large portion of the army was despatched east to regain control of the heartland, most of the army stayed in Sichuan, to finish the job of destroying the Nanhai empire. The Haishu marched on Chengdu, the last major Nanhai stronghold on the plain, in the mistaken belief that the emperor was lurking there. He wasn't, having instead gone to Yunnan, but Zhu Dayou was, with all the force he could still muster. Determined to tie down as many Haishu as he could for as long as he could, Zhu Dayou finally made a stand at Chengdu.

    The Haishu, having become accustomed to taking cities with relative ease in Sichuan, were surprised when their first assault was thrown back easily; they were more surprised when a vicious sortie destroyed their second and overran their forward camp. Realizing that they were facing most of Zhu Dayou's remaining force, and supposing this to mean that the emperor was indeed in Chengdu, the Haishu settled in for a proper siege. Zhu Dayou held out all through fall and winter, and made the besiegers' lives hell, but the Haishu gradually tightened the cordon around the city. By early spring, it was clear the Nanhai weren't getting out alive. Finally, mistakenly believing the Nanhai to be on their last legs, the Haishu mounted a general assault. The Haishu took appalling casualties in the ferociously bloody street fighting that followed, but the Nanhai were exterminated to the last man, Zhu Dayou himself perishing at the gates of the citadel.

    Zhu Dayou died having accomplished his aim; while the Haishu held Sichuan, their remaining forces were in no condition to hunt down the Nanhai remnants, and enough Haishu had perished to give Qi Jiguang a fighting chance. This he made the most of; when the Haishu relieving force disembarked at Nanjing, Qi Jiguang - whose army, contrary to most Haishu expectations, had not fallen apart over the winter - promptly fell upon them, forced them north of the Yangtze, and defeated a subsequent attempt to cross. Unable to pursue the Haishu to the north, Qi Jiguang instead turned to occupying Zhejiang. He faced relatively little organized resistance, and by the end of the year had secured most of the province, while the Haishu secured a couple of footholds south of the Yangtze.

    As 1512 arrives, the Chinese states are in an odd situation: each controls the others heartland, and has suffered tremendous casualties and losses, but each one is still holding on. Qi Jiguang, however, seems to be increasingly acting as an independent warlord, and the cult of personality around him in his army is disturbing to such of the Nanhai administration as remains.

    (+3 Nanhai Prestige, +1 Haishu Prestige, -6,200,000 taris from Nanhai revenue, -2,100,000 taris from Nanhai expenses, -4,100,000 taris from Haishu revenue, -700,000 taris from Haishu expenses, +Qi Jiguang, -Wu Clique, -Army Administration (Nanhai), -2 Bureaucracy Confidence (Nanhai), -2 Bureaucracy Strength (Nanhai), -2 Merchantry Confidence, -2 Merchantry Strength, -1 Royal Court Confidence (Haishu), -1 Army Administration Confidence (Haishu), -1 Naval Administration Confidence, -81 Nanhai Companies, -51 Nanhai Levy Companies, -101 Haishu Companies, - 94 Haishu Levy Companies)

    Guangzhou stood apart from the titanic convulsions taking place in the north. The Society resolved to wait for a victor before taking any major action; as the war could conceivably go either way, the southerners contented themselves with occupying territories south of the Pearl, facing no real resistance.

    [1] Sorry Iggy. He keeps surviving his death rolls, so I feel bad about killing him off by fiat.

    Special Bonuses

    Cleverest Money Raising Scheme: Kingdom of Denmark (+1 Prestige)
    Most Hilariously Well Matched Orders: Nanhai Empire/Haishu Empire (+250,000 taris)
    Most Incestuous Sexual Tension: Li Qizeng and Li Qing (+1 Haishu Prestige)
    Laziest Participant: Mod (-10 Mod Points)

    NPC Diplomacy

    FROM: The Order
    TO: Principality of Lithuania

    The Order announces its intentions to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the security and prosperity of the Christians of Lithuania. We advise Prince Algirdas to make peace on equitable terms with the Danes.

    FROM: Sharifate of Mecca
    TO: Kingdom of Egypt

    Unless you cease your operations against the God-fearing Zabidis and provide recompense for the damage your man Farini has done to our port of Jiddah, we will have no choice but join the Sultan of Zabid in his war against you.

    FROM: Ardabilid Empire
    TO: Chobanid Empire

    Loathsome though it is to treat with such as you, it seems we have no choice but ask for peace. What are your terms?

    World Map, AD 1512
    Spoiler World Map, AD 1512 :


    OOC:A day or two, a week, it's all basically the same thing, right? Well, there you are. Hope it's not too bad. Stats to come sometime later; sorry.
     
  16. North King

    North King blech

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    18,145
    OOC: Nice update! Will read through sections not related to me later...

    Littleboots, if you would have the decency to actually respond to this diplo it would be quite nice.

    IC:

    To: Italy
    From: Hungary

    We would like to [re]open peace negotiations.
     
  17. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,822
    Location:
    Land of the Successor
    From: The Roman Empire
    To: The Chobanids

    In light of the rise of dangerous heretic Karabiyikoglu who poses threat to lawful rule everywhere, we are prepared to recognize your suzerainty over the follow area:



    Should you denounce Karabiyikoglu as the heretic he is and embrace our hand in peace to preserve the rule of law and order.
     
  18. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2005
    Messages:
    21,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne
    From: the Chobanid Empire
    To: the Romans

    That area is already under our suzerainty, as per Karabiyikoglu's embassy's submission to the Sultanate, whether the Romans are prepared to "recognised" it or not. Besides, at this stage it seems that the Roman bloodlust and penchant for treachery is a more pressing threat to the rule of law and order in these regions...

    If you Romans are finally serious about honouring treaties this time around, we are still willing to consider a peace proposal, but do not expect us to be generous. As for Karabiyikoglu and his followers, our relationship with them is for us to define, not you Romans.
     
  19. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    42,420
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Very nice update!
     
  20. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,573
    Location:
    In the desert
    From: The Principality of Sicily
    To: The Emirate of Saraqusta


    We would be willing to renegotiate the current tariff climate on the basis of a mutual reduction. Certainly both sides have been wronged, but we must act to restore commerce and repair the attendant damage.
     

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