[RI] Excuse my French

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Stories & Tales' started by tranx, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    No, no profanity here (moderators relax!) but English is not my mother tongue so some parts of the story will probably read awkward. We'll try to keep it entertaining though.

    Realism Invictus mod. Planet Generator map. Huge world size. 15 Civilisations. Realistic speed. Prince difficulty. Random leader.

    Part 1

    First there was light. Then there was France. Or so the French say. Curiously other civilizations never totally adhered to the French cosmogony. What is certain is that on one bright day of 4000 BC (some say it was Tuesday), a group of nomad wanderers settled down and took what they couldn't know was the first step to... Wait... That doesn't add up. They took the first step by stopping to walk? That's self-contradictory. No, would the French retort. That's paradoxical. Then everyone would shut their big pie and hope for the invention of the dictionary. Paradoxiwhat?


    The French were led by Henry IV, who was so called because when asked about his surname he would invariably answer: "A surname? What for?"


    Henry was a charismatic ruler, meaning that he could get laid without much effort, a humanist at that, always inquiring about other people's beliefs and opinions after he had beaten them with his club (and then beating them some more to get their opinions right), and anti-clerical, which without the existence of religion, let alone a clergy, just meant he disliked people putting on airs while loafing around.

    Historians still debate how it was that Henry For took the lead of the French people. Was it the strength of his vision? His subjugating aura? His humanist clubbing?

    Actually, Henry was just the first member of the nomadic tribe to get fed up with all the walking and say: "Hey guys, what about we stop and rest for a while?" Thus it is that they put down their belongings on the spot that was soon to be called Paris - an alteration of "par ici", "this way" in French, thought to be Henry For's own words at the founding of the city.

    An exploration party was sent around and it was quickly revealed that Paris was surrounded by sea on all side. Not exactly an island, but a maze of land extensions barely emerging from the ocean and connected to the main landmass in the East only by a narrow strait.

    Paris still had enough in terms of cattle and sheep to sustain growth, but many a French city would have to rely on the sea to get its sustenance. Thereby the French took it to themselves to become a nation of fishermen and sailors, trying to get the most from the sea.

    But first it was deemed imperative to lock the corridor to the East by the founding of a new city, to forbid any other sedentary tribe to settle the shores that the French would rightfully call theirs. It wasn't before some time that a group of settlers was sent to found Rouen, because the majority of the people of France, having discovered that the sitting - or lying, in some cases - position was much more comfortable than the walking-20-kilometers-a-day-pushing-Grandma-in-a-wheelcart position, were very reluctant to move, like, ever again. A few humanist clubbing sessions convinced a group of people to move away from Paris, and away from Henry For. And that was just the right time too because on their way East they met emissaries from the Maya empire. Well the Mayans fancied themselves an empire, but they were really not more than a bunch of club-wielding savages, if you asked any French.


    Rouen was founded nonetheless and all the land - and water - to the west of it was claimed. Near Rouen were also found huge depots of copper, which would be crucial to maintain claims and keep Mayans or other savages at bay.


    Having kept a few habits from their long tradition of wandering, the French naturally set for a pastoral nomadic economy, trying to get the most from the pastures around Paris before they would get used to their maritime destiny, trying to walk on water and all having somehow not been the tremendous success Henry For had foreseen (but here again some very humanist arguments seemed very persuasive in keeping people trying).

    As more civilizations were met - Incan, American, Malinese, Transoxianan - the pressure was high and Henry For finally agreed to let his people build boats. They started to harvest the sea for food and luxuries. Marseille was soon founded in the North, next to resources in fish and amber.


    In 2140 BC the French people, eager to distinguish themselves from lower civilizations, built the Pyramids from the top of which, they said, you could see the whole world. The whole world seemed to consist in a large body of water. All the more reason to maintain our efforts toward mastery of the seas, reasoned Henry For, who started then and on to put a lot more "Aaaar!" and "Scupper that!" in his talking, to show his people the Way.

    After that nothing happened for quite some time. Scouts were sent to the East to survey the lands beyond Rouen and further convince the French that they indeed had chosen an inferior spot for their founding of a civilization, what with all the resources the savages could get without even having to get wet. A hurricane hit Rouen, soon followed by an infestation of vermin in its granary, which prompted some to believe that the French people were damned and that Henry For was to be blamed for it. That was a bit much to take so Henry decided to found Judaism just to prove them wrong. Scupper that!


    The choice of Judaism as national religion was a bit unfortunate though since the French soon found out that seafood was frown upon by God Himself and so they wouldn't get health bonus from a lot of the resources they relied so much on.

    This didn't dampen Henry's enthusiasm and he sent two groups of settlers to found Lyons (in order to grab himself some gold resource) and Orleans on an island northwest which waters were teeming with now-forbidden seafood.


    Still eager to see his civilization thrive on water, Henry For had the Great Lighthouse built in the capital with the help of Gustave Eiffel, a great Engineer, in 1380 BC. It would be, he said, a great counterpoint to the Pyramids. Paris thus became the second-most awesome city in the world. Aaaar!


    The French were the leading civilization scientifically speaking, but Henry For, not so confident in the strength of the French military, would not hesitate to give away technologies in order to buy peace with its neighbours. Every other civilization was pleased with the French, but that was achieved at the cost of the French technological lead. The idea was to avoid being the first target in a major war, in order to be able to pick sides according to French best interests, but the continent despite its diversity of peoples still was eerily peaceful.

    The only battle that the forces garrisoned in Rouen ever saw was an expedition to take barbarian Olmec, North of Marseille. The French renamed it Veracruz immediately after conquest because Olmec didn't sound French enough (whereas Veracruz, you know...). They had been assisted in their attack by battering rams, stressing to all the importance of siege units. The Helepolis built for the occasion sadly had to stay behind, because of a massive case of forests happening to grow like, all the way up.


    The world could now be our oyster (but God expressly forbade to taste it).

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  2. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    The French soon adopted a civil service legal system, providing a much needed boost to cities' production (try producing hammers out of seaweed. Just try).

    A maritime expedition, the first long-ranging journey of the French fleet of longships, sailed out to explore the width of the continent, discover new civilizations and see what's on the other side.


    Far to the northwest, the band discovered unspoiled lands populated only by a few Barbarians living in crude huts. Beyond that, the sea, and the shore of some new, undiscovered lands. Undiscovered by the French, that is, because on this small continent - or large island, French mapmakers have yet to make up their mind, and no amount of humanism can seem to help them reach a conclusion - a few civilizations were vying to imprint their bootmark on the fine face of history. Spanish, Berbers, Hungarians and Turks all seemed to live in fear of their Aztec neighbours. Moctezuma, having embraced the Zoroastrian faith, appeared to be especially hostile towards the Hindu Spanish led by Isabella the Faithful. Other leaders had all cautiously refrained from deciding themselves for one belief or another. One might say that they believe in Moctezuma and his army. They believe he exists. Like, next door.

    Some people are bound to make you regret your eagerness to make new friends...

    In 675 BC the conflict long awaited for by the French decision-makers erupted without much warning: the Ethiopians declared war to the Americans. The causes of the war were not well-known even then to the French, something to do with the length of the involved leaders' beard. Anyway, after long consideration, ponderation and deliberation, the French decided to side with the Ethiopian, not actively of course but by the means of cancelling all their agreements with Lincoln, whom beard decidedly makes one want to punch his face.


    This proved to be a sensible choice since not long after this decision the powerful Carthaginian neighbour declared war to America. Henry For started to consider attacking America to get his rightful share of the spoils of war and get in even better relation with the two allied belligerents, but Bordeaux, one of France's new founded city, built to get control over a source of iron and located right on the continent, close to American territory, was not very well-defended. Getting access to it from Rouen by ship (that is, the shortest way given that the French had no longer open borders agreement with the Americans) would be perilous because of the reefs north of the city.

    In 555 BC, at the turn to the Medieval era, France built the Colossus in Paris, asserting to the world its claims as a dominant power and a leading civilisation. Show a leg!



    France is recognized as a great nation already. But its military is lacking, production is stunted by the amount of sea tiles in its territory, and growth is pushing at best. With the beginning of a new era, great challenges are arising. France must beef up its army and not rely anymore on the giving away of technology to appease its neighbours. It must find a way to grow bigger and stronger, and affirm itself on the world stage. Will France live up to its people's expectations?

    End of part 1
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  3. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)

    Part 2

    There is always a war going on somewhere during Medieval times. It is a near-scientific fact.

    France started the new era by timidly asserting its independence, refusing for the first time in its history to give a tech tribute to one of its neighbours, the mighty Ethiopian at that. The French hoped that this little defection wouldn’t affect relations that had been very much genial. With the Ethiopians already at war with America, it seemed safe to assume that their powerful armies wouldn’t be directed at France.


    Not long after, a Carthaginian army was spotted in the vicinity of New Orleans, an American city that Henry For would have very much liked to see integrated to his empire, for the following reasons: first and foremost, he reasoned, the city’s name is French and therefore it shall belong to the French. Especially since the eponymous French city of Orleans was just a small village populated with fisherman and possibly newts, situated on a island at the extreme west of the French territory, and that it paled in comparison with the busy town of New Orleans (which was not let’s face it a hustling metropolis either, but still, it felt insulting). The second reason was that it would fit perfectly into the French empire, where it would act as a node between Rouen and the newly founded town of Bordeaux, serve as a garrison base for either defense of territory or offensive military operations, and deny access to the ocean to any power west of France. France military was ill-prepared, but the presence of Carthaginian forces boosted Henry For's generals’ confidence.

    Therefore, when Tewodros of Ethiopia came to request France's military assistance, Henry For jumped on the occasion to show his good will to his friend (not exactly Friendly yet but very much Pleased indeed). War was declared with America in 505 BC.

    The poorly trained army consisted only in three units of Frankish warbands, three units of Frankish spearmen and two units of skirmishers. In addition to that and the jewel of the already obsolete force was the Helepolis, a gigantic siege tower that would at last be put to good use. The troops marched North towards New Orleans.


    It was at that time that the great thinker Blaise Pascal was born, and he set himself to serve his nation at once by discovering an engineering marvel: the water pump. Good boy! No one knew how this discovery could be applied to warfare but a lot of people sure gave it a thought.


    French troops set behind the river. The Carthaginian force had vanished and the French were not in sufficient numbers to take the city on their own. They needed support from foreign troops to defeat part of the defending party. Moreover, the French force was subject to skirmish attacks in the rear. These attacks though repelled left the Helepolis as well as a French skirmisher unit damaged and they were promptly sent back to French territory for recovery.

    An American group of ships called Knarr launched an incursion into French waters and destroyed some fishing boats before being put down by a unit of French longships. This first naval victory logically appealed to the French sense of pride and a great General emerged from this battle.
    He was a man of steel, an indomitable spirit: Maurice de Saxe. One couldn’t help but notice that 'Saxe' rhymes with 'axe'. Also 'wax', but that seemed secondary. ‘A man of wax’? Get serious.

    Maurice de Saxe was first destined to develop a new fighting method that would help train better, fiercer warriors, and to do so was sent to the city of Rouen, which was chosen to become the French military center. But the contingencies of war and his knowledge in medicine as well as engineering urged the leaders to send him close to the front to put his ability to heal to good use. There, he oversaw reparations on the Helepolis then took the lead of the troops to conduct the siege of New Orleans.


    The brave resistance of the American after the first round of attacks triggered the General de Saxe to fully integrate the army as a commander, allowing the troops to draw from his experience and fight a lot better thanks to their promotions. His position as commander also allowed him to heal soldiers and perform reparations on the Helepolis on the go (instant heal after promotion). With their morale boosted by the presence of the great general, their new learned-skills as well as the imposing presence of the Helepolis, it made no doubt to the French that they would be victorious. In 456 BC, New Orleans - or shall we say la Nouvelle-Orléans - fell into French hands. The newly appointed governor immediately made the use of the French language mandatory all over the city and environs. It rapidly proved impractical, so he allowed the locals to speak their native language only with a thick accent more pleasing to the French ears. So dey starteydeuh too speekeuh lykeuh dis.


    Once refreshed, a strong detachment of troops was sent to the East towards the next American city, with the purpose of wrecking the copper mine standing just at the edge of the American territory, in the hope that the loss would disrupt American production.


    The party was met with strong resistance from American stray units and even though the operation was successful, the mood was down: Maurice de Saxe had perished in fierce battle, along with his unit. The rest of the detachment immediately retreated towards French territory, where it could heal and wait for reinforcements.

    A similar operation, only on a smaller scale but with the advantage of surprise, was launched at roughly the same time on an iron mine south of New York. Two units of skirmishers sneaked all the way to the mine and destroyed it, then promptly retreated to friendly Carthaginian territory.



    They stayed there for a while to see if the mine would get repaired by undefended workers. After a while though, American skirmishers dislodged them, but not before the French units waged a heroic battle which sent two American units to go see their maker.

    The American then gathered a retaliation force that marched on New Orleans in the hope to take it back. But they were driven away by the swelling forces of the French army. Units of Frankish swordsmen were now becoming common among the troops and they made for pitiless warriors, as the American to their demise soon learned.

    This fantastic surge from the French military was allowed by tremendous progress made on the homefront:

    The city of Moulins was founded in 464 BC, a trapper’s town set between Paris and Rouen. Later in 388 BC Grenoble was founded on an island North, allowing the French to completely lock the remaining land among the inner seas, in the prospect of future colonisation.

    A Great Spy had appeared in Paris and this had prompted the French to develop their intelligence network and send a spy to the territory east of New Orleans, in American lands, beyond the copper mine that had cost General de Saxe his life, to see what lied there. Unfortunately the spy was caught very soon after his incursion but he had revealed the name and situation of the city that was bound sooner or later to become the target of the French armies’ wrath: Brooklyn.

    ''Yesseuh. Ayam Amerrican likeuh yoo.'' were reported to be his last words.

    The Great Spy himself was made a national symbol and prompted the French to rejoice for a long time over their success in battles and their cunning, Machiavellian plans, triggering a Golden Age.

    Another Great Person to be born during the war was Coco Chanel, who helped greatly to discover ways to produce paper. This would prove invaluable for map-making and strategy-planning.

    Commerce was flourishing, especially with the excellent relations the French maintained with their close neighbours and war allies Ethiopia and Carthage, as well as the exchange of technologies. France was not giving its technology away anymore and other civilizations had come to respect that.

    The French soon launched a series of reforms and adopted a republic form of government, something much more sophisticated than the old despotic rule. They also adopted a plutocratic legal system, getting rid of the old civil service system, thus getting a welcome boost to their treasury. More importantly, in 428 BC they ditched away Judaism, the local religion, and embraced Solar Cult, the religion of Carthage, on a request from Hanno, the Carthaginian leader. Henry For sealed the deal by saying: "I’ve always wanted to know what mussels taste like anyway", which got him odd glances from Hanno. Despite the war, the French chose to promote pacifism through their religion.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  4. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Peace with Abraham Lincoln of the American was indeed signed in 260 BC. Objectives had been fulfilled and the death of France's first Great General had been a blow that would need time to recover from. New Orleans carried on building high walls, for fear of future attacks. A strong garrison was stationed in and around the city.

    The French went on selling their sea products that were reknowned around the known world.

    Francois Truffaut soon was born, the first French great artist to sing the high deeds of the French people. He would soon go and build the Nataraja in New Orleans itself, boosting the city's culture as well as the production of French bronze smiths.


    Another deed worth remembering was the completion of a military quest. The war had been an excellent pretext for the training of several units of swordsmen, and all of France's melee units were now promoted to City Raider I.

    The French were also encouraged to build harbours in enough of their cities to get some naval bonuses, a quest they would very much pride themselves in bringing to completion.

    Under pressure from their Ethiopian allies, the French abandoned their Republic and adhered to Monarchy in 180 BC. The reduction in maintenance cost was welcome, but they would have to make for the huge discontentment such a change of government provoked in the population. Henry For himself didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. "I used to rule you as a president, now I rule you as a king, what difference does that make to you?"

    In 160 BC Berbers, Turks and Transoxianan declared war on the Mayans. The French immediately cancelled their open border agreement with Spearthrower Owl, the Mayan leader, so as not to anger the strong coalition

    In 120 BC, war was once more at the gates of France. The bloodthirsty Transoxianan were marching on Bordeaux in a surprise attack.


    The city was ill-defended but the good news was that it wouldn't take much time to the New Orleans garrison to arrive and assist their compatriots in need.


    The aggressors started by pillaging the iron mine North of Bordeaux. Battle raged and despite reinforcements from New Orleans, the city fell into enemy hands.
    Not for long though, since a group of swordsmen units carried away while pursuing an enemy unit came back promptly to save the day and take the city back. At sea, a Transoxianan galley started to disrupt fishing boats, but its evil deeds were soon put to an end by a group of French naval units. The aggression thoroughly squelshed, Ahmad Shah Durrani sued for peace and obtained it, at the price of his maps and 80 in gold.

    In 4 BC, Jean-Baptiste Colbert was born and his work proved decisive in the discovery of mill machinery, allowing workers to drain the numerous swamps scattered across the French territory, making room for more productive improvements. In fact his contributions to the glory of France were so crucial that the whole calendar was to be set after him: BC was meant to signify Before Colbert, and AD After Drainage.

    The siren songs of technological progress were strong and the leaders of France proved greedy and impatient. In order to accelerate the draining process, they ordered the adoption of serfdom laws and pushed the workers to their limits. Pastoral Nomadism was abandoned and the economy put into the hands of wealthy Merchant Families. These merchants, enriched by trade, dismissed shepherds and cattle raisers that had for centuries constituted the bulk of the French economy. These suddenly impoverished people could now only hope to get a living as serfs, working in the fields, draining swamps, digging mines... a toil they were not keen to take on. Resentment was growing. A catastrophe was near, but the leaders, blinded by their successes on the battlefield, the promises of wealth from the rich merchants and the tales of modernization, were totally aloof to the situation.

    End of part 2
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  5. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Part 3

    There had been signs. A group of peasants had once revolted South of Paris. Their capacity of nuisance was limited but the capital was not so well-guarded that a detachment of troops could afford to leave the city and take the field to quell the revolt. The rebels rampaged around, destroying a mine and a lumbermill before being subdued by a unit of swordsmen stationed in nearby Moulins.


    The same process went by in 1 AD, South of Marseille. This time the rebels were so bold as to try to attack the city, without much success.


    Then the unthinkable happened. Just as the French were accomplishing a new technological prowess, succeeding in cultivating grapes in what had previously been mere fertile soil, getting four wine resources in the process, a large rebellious band assembled in the forests southeast of Marseille.


    These peasants were assigned to timber work, a hard, excruciating work that had hardened their bodies, hearts and souls. They could see the wealth and the promises of more abundance all around them, but knew that under the current system they would never get their share of it. Nobody had foreseen that such a large group of rebels could rise from the ranks of the serfs. Marseille defenses were very weak. In their panic and the hope to see the winds of revolt subside and the city of Marseille spared, Henry For and his counsellors announced the premature end of serfdom and the adoption of a caste system. But for the rebels, this was overdue. Their goals were set and there was nothing to appease them. Before long, Marseille, the second biggest city of the realm, fell to the hands of a horde of peasants, much to the horror of the nobility and gentry of the country of France.


    Crisis meeting in the palace. Paris.

    Henry For: "What is to be done?"
    Religious advisor: “Burn them with fire.”
    Social advisor: “Have them lynched by a mob.”
    Diplomatic advisor: "Banish them to the depths of the ocean."
    Economic advisor: “Cut them in small pieces and sell them on the market.”
    Military advisor: “I think a humanist approach should be taken.”
    Henry For: “You mean hit them with clubs?”
    Military advisor: “Exactly.”

    And so a consensus emerges.

    Because of the previous rebellions, the French leaders knew that armed peasants were not a force to underestimate, and such a large number of them meant that the retaking of Marseille would be no mere walk in the woods. Therefore, most of the troops stationed in New Orleans, including newly built catapults, packed up and prepared to leave for Marseille, a trip that would take them up to eight turns, given the distance and the bad condition of the roads.

    Abraham Lincoln was quick to seize this opportunity and, having ascertained the reduction of the defenses in a city that he still claimed as his own, treacherously declared war to France while troops were still on the move towards Marseille.


    He swiftly moved his army near New Orleans. With such a meagre garrison the defend the city, the walls were of no help and La Nouvelle Orléans once more became New Orleans.


    Troops stationed in Bordeaux in prevision of a Transoxianan attack as well as newly trained units then converged towards the would-be American city.




    Hurray! The city was once more under French control. Secession had been only for a short duration.

    After the retaking of the city Henry For and his advisors met once more in Paris and decided to reform the state immediately. Specifically, the French government wanted to see an end to the French pacifist tradition and promoted a switch to militancy, a more vigorous approach to religion that was much more adapted to the tumultuous times. Rather than stress the benevolence of the Sun, which shines and warms up everyone good and bad, the priests and theologians started to emphasize the light, the heat, the fire. Yes! The fire. Fire purifies.

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  6. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    The retaking of Marseille was not as easy as expected. The peasants pulled out a desperate fight. The French soldiers, galvanized by the exhortations of their chaplains, exerted themselves to their utmost to reunite Marseille to the kingdom.


    A young commander rose from among the ranks of soldiers. His pugnacity and his strategic genius helped to reduce casualties greatly. His name was Napoleon.


    This General like no other, aware that the future of war laid into the building of formidable siege engines, decided to oversee the development of more powerful machinery.

    The rebels once annihilated, the troops packed up to reinforce the building up contingents assembling to chastise the perfidious Americans once and for all.

    All of the French cities were now producing troops. There were the already mentioned catapults and also state-of-the-art swordsmen. The Turks provided the French with horses in exchange for wine and pearls and France started producing cavalry, some unheard of units in this part of the continent.


    The troops assembled in good order in prevision for their attack on Brooklyn.


    They would move from both sides of the lake to avoid any flanking. The Carthaginians as well as the Ethiopians had joined the French in their rightful battle to destroy the American heretics. The cavalry soon made a move forward and the infantry followed.


    A cavalry unit managed to capture a group of American workers. The French spying network providing complete visibility over the American territory, officers were quickly informed that a couple of American axeman units were heading North towards Brooklyn.


    They were intercepted by the French light cavalry. A skirmish ensued. One of the enemy unit survived the attack and carried on to Brooklyn while the cavalry retreated. French heavy cavalry got deployed on the field just in time for the siege of Brooklyn to begin.


    The surviving Axemen were pursued across the forest North of Brooklyn and obliterated. The walls surrounding Brooklyn were almost torn asunder when HOLY SUN WHAT IS THAT?


    Giant beasts made their apparition on the battlefield. They flattened trees as if they were stalks of wheat. They trumpeted louder than the French fanfare. They were the mighty elephants, leading the powerful army of the Ethiopians.
    It made no doubt that the Ethiopian generals had made Brooklyn their target, but the French were not keen to see all their efforts benefit Ethiopia, whom although an ally had yet to decide to convert to the one and only true religion. The French had their catapults bombard the city for another turn then launched their attack. The outcome of the battle really made no doubt.


    Seeing the city firmly in French hands, the Ethiopian army diverted its route and walked toward Washington. The French commanders had the cunning idea to send a party of troops still at full health in their trail. If Ethiopia was to launch an inconclusive yet damaging attack, the French could snatch the victory from them and occupy the American capital. But - to the great relief of the American defenders of Washington - the Elephant army soon retreated. The defenses were too strong for them. The elephants missed their homeland. The food was not to the Ethiopian footsoldiers' taste. The Ethiopian officers didn't really like the architectural style of the city that much, and so would not bother taking it. The Ethiopian army left without having waged a single battle. Ah! Let the French take care of it!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  7. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    The French army approached Washington in a unified front. Cavalry protected the flanks. Catapults were on the ready. They started to bombard the city turn after turn while reinforcements arrived.


    The generals were a bit wary of letting siege engines cross the enemy territory unprotected but there was no way the American forces could reach them. Eventually the attack was launched and in 204 AD the French conquered the American capital.


    The French, overexcited by their string of victories, were now completely unrestrained and immediately set their eyes on their next target: New York. Their religious leaders had been clear: the Holy City of Taoism should, nay must be razed.


    The defenders of the city of New York seemed to be struggling against a large number of rebel slaves already. They must have sensed a wind of freedom coming from the West. They must have seen the light of the Sun God. Blessings upon them.

    Unfortunately, before plans could be laid for the conquest of what the French were already eagerly calling la Nouvelle York, the Carthaginians launched their own attack and captured the city.

    The war then took an unexpected turn when Lincoln suddenly became the Incan vassal. French contacts with the Incan had always been distant but courteous, and now they found themselves at war with them. The Incan were located on the extreme East of the map and wouldn't probably hamper war efforts much. Still, cavalry units were sent to scout and cover the advance of the French army.


    Incan naval units proved to be a more pressing problem as one of them managed to elude the surveillance of the French maritime patrols and destroy three fishing boats before being sunk.

    Philadelphia, the last of the American cities, fell in 268 AD after a harsh battle. Once again the attack had been launched earlier than what was befitting because of the looming presence of a Carthaginian army ready to fall on the city. Nevertheless, the American were now history, and not to be named again except as a rude term.


    Frustrated from the capture of the last American city, the Carthaginian army turned its weapons towards the barbarian city of Boston and defeated the garrison there. Meanwhile, a consistent Incan army showed at the gates of Philadelphia and, rather than clash with the whole French army still healing within the city, set its course towards Washington, now poorly defended.


    Unwilling to play this cat-and-mouse game with the Inca and unhappy with the prospect of another long and costly war in faraway lands, the French set the peace with the Incan at the price of one of their latest discovery, the Steel Crucible. Whatever. They had quenched their thirst for revenge, and they would leave it at that... for now. The Transoxianan, feeling the power of the French and fearing to be the next victim of their superb army, converted to Solar Cult and even pushed their ladies to marry French nobility in order to improve relations with the French leader. This debasing behaviour only drew disdain upon them. The French hated the toady sycophants. On the surface though, the Transoxianan leader managed to score diplomatic points, putting the threat of a deserved attack from the French away... for the time being.

    As for the French, they hoped to set for new horizons, new lands illuminated by their Sun God. With the help of such men as Cavalier de la Salle, a Great Merchant, they were getting closer to the discovery of Optics, a first step toward the sailing across the oceans. And beyond...



    End of part 3
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  8. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Part 4
    Now that the war was behind them, Militancy was deemed a little bit too assertive by the French religious leaders. The French first considered introducing Monasticism in order to develop orders such as the French Friars (they are delicious with ketchup). But they wanted most of all to show their goodwill to the world and so reverted to Pacifism.

    They even went as far as giving away their newly discovered Optic technology to the Incan, in order to lure them into friendship. Clearly the French wanted to develop peacefully. It was about time too, the war had delayed the much-needed modernization of cities that were growing painfully slowly, if at all. Indeed, the French civilization was starting to fall behind other, stronger and more advanced peoples. The Hanseatic League, expected to bring about all the benefits of the old, obsolete Great Lighthouse, was created by Ethiopia before Paris could complete it. The additional trade route for coastal cities would have been a huge benefit for the French whose cities were mostly coastal, but now they would have to make do without it.

    The Aztecs, sensing the doubt creeping in postwar France, kept asking for technological tributes, but a rapid inspection of their territory overseas revealed that they had not a single port city and therefore, unable as they were to build any ships, were not a threat at all.


    In order to promote fraternity with the people of the former American territories, some Solar Cult missionaries called Pontifex were sent to all the conquered cities to teach the people about pacifism and urge them to convert to solar cult. They gathered great success and soon all the cities of the French empire were following the same religion.


    Washington built the Forbidden Palace, the administrative building effectively turning Washington into a provincial capital, greatly reducing maintenance costs. The cities of the American province were all busy building cultural edifices to assert the French influence against the combined push of Ethiopian culture in the North and Carthaginian culture in the South.

    In France proper Riom was founded to take advantage of a source of amber previously unexploited. The hills West of the city would provide the necessary production to develop the new colony.


    The Great Scientist Joliot-Curie was born in Paris in 426 AD and supervised the creation of a scientific academy in Paris, in the hope of making the French civilization a leader in science once again.

    However, an unexpected work by Herodotus revealed that France was the third most cultured country in the world. This was a surprise to the French and suddenly gave their leaders great hopes for cultural domination. But one of France’s most culturally developed city was Rouen. The city was first and foremost a military center and as such it devoted the greater part of its production to the training of fresh troops. Surely another path toward victory was to be taken.

    Given the French great relations with all the other leaders – to the exception of Moctezuma, but Monty was the new Lincoln: nobody liked him – it could be hoped to direct France’s efforts towards diplomatic prevalence. First attempts to gather world leaders under the protective wing of the French rulers were ruined when the Apostolic Palace was built by the Malinese, whom united all the followers of Taoism, among them some French, under the spiritual guiding of Sundiata Keita. Hence the French could only place their diplomatic hopes on the distant construction of the United Nations Organization. They would have to build it first, meaning to lead scientifically, or be the biggest country in terms of population numbers. Comparing the size of France’s cities with other great cities of the world further shattered France’s hopes of success in that domain.



    Clearly the French leaders were doing something wrong. But what was it? Other civilizations were devoting a lot of their territory to agriculture, but the French needed their land for production. The sea should be their primary food provider. Fishing docks and lighthouses were a common seen in French cities, but somehow France needed to develop new ways of taming the waters and harvesting the bounties from the depths of the ocean, in order for the cities to grow bigger and faster.

    With the discovery of Education, the French could hope to take the lead back on Science. France’s most prominent cities started at once to build universities.

    Now that Solar Cult had spread to all cities of France, its effect were felt across the country. Religion at the time was emphasizing hard work and toiling under the Sun. Production to buildings and units hence was increased. Most cities were busy with development and the France had vowed not to wage war again and focus on peaceful growth. France was still officially at war with the Aztecs, though, but it didn’t really mean anything. Or did it?


    Anyway, not everyone seemd to share the same peaceful mood: one day Paris received diplomatic message that a Great General was just born in Germany, led by Adolf Hitler. Wait... Germany? Adolf who? A quick check at the world map revealed that there were indeed two minor civilizations at the very East of the boreal continent, the German and the English, that had not been met by the French.

    Suddenly, in 570 AD, Turkey – another civilization located on the boreal, decidedly warlike continent (must be the bad influence of Moctezuma) – declared war to France. "The Turks! What for? We’ve had pleasant contacts all the time for Sun’s sake! " retorted Henry For to the untimely declaration. He had just been listening to an innovative melody composed with the use of a newly invented music notation.

    The explanation for this declaration of war came soon as Moctezuma had actually agreed to become Suleyman’s vassal, triggering a war with the Turks. Contrarily to the Aztecs, the Turks were an intimidating enemy and only the presence of Mali fighting side by side with the French felt a little bit reassuring. Sundiata Keita soon tried to drag all countries harbouring followers of the Taoist faith into the war, but the motion issued by the Apostolic Palace was not carried.


    France started to produce more war galleys in order to anticipate a naval invasion.

    The invention of Black Powder, followed by the design of advanced Shipyards in 624 AD propulsed the French into the Renaissance era. France decided to offer their newly discovered technology to the Turks, in exchange for a peace treaty. A separate treaty was signed with Moctezuma, who had freed himself from his Turkish master, for a much cheaper price: 10 pieces of gold. Peace once secured, The building of shipyards in all coastal cities was made a priority, as those would increase the amount of food brought in from the sea, and solve for a great part the French development problem. Now at peace with everyone and firmly intent on development, the French entered a brave new era.

    Montpellier and Amiens were founded North of Brooklyn, in the deep forests surrounded by mountains between the Transoxianan and the Ethiopian territory, to claim a second source of prime timber and a source of salt.



    The Great Merchant Jean Baptiste Say, born around that time, started to work on the mechanisms of the clockwork. The design of the intricate mechanism, its cogs, springs and wheels all interdependant, opened the way for a revolution of the mind.

    In 648 AD, Malinese ships proved that the world was round. This rocked the old scheme of things as people were more and more prone to question the certitudes, the beliefs and everything their forefathers had taken for granted.

    In 705 AD it was the turn of the French to launch their ships towards the West. At last the French would see with their own eyes what lay beyond the shallow waters of their shores. Stories from times immemorial had been told and passed on from generations. Tales of sea monsters, of pirates’ dens, of paradisiac islands, of cities of gold, all populated French children’s dreams. Now the dreams were about to become reality, France was at large.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  9. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Probably in awe and reverence for the stories of their childhood, the French didn't dare assert too bold a claim on what lay beyond and only a single spy unit boarded the ships on their first trip westward. Caution prevailed. The ships discovered the coast of a virgin island populated by savages whose ships were absolutely no match for the French caraques. After a long journey and several disembarkments for exploration, and also it must been said with the help of an exchange of maps with another leader, it was possible to map out the entire ocean and its main islands.






    Great riches known or unknown lay there and plans were made to colonize these islands. The French would need to build more spacious ships first. New ways of designing ships, of building them, even new ways of navigating were necessary. In spite of the building of schools and universities all across the kingdom, progress was deemed slow, too slow for the eager French.

    The French army was adding Carolingian Paladins to its ranks, but they were mainly ornamental, as the production of Musketeers soon started. With all the progress on the civilian and social side though, the military was not exactly at the forefront of French thoughts.

    Pliny had forewarned the French with his 753 AD opus on the most powerful civilizations on Earth, of which the French were not part. France’s vulnerability was apparent to everyone, but with all the new discoveries and the excitment of the new era, as well as the development of critical thinking, the French were so busy self-improving and developing their somewhat backward cities – Paris population was still less than a third of Kostantinyyie, the Turkish capital – that no one paid much heed to the doomsayers.

    No, the French didn’t see the coming threat. "Oh! Come on! This is not the Middle Age anymore" would the commoner retort to the foresighted Cassandras.

    Indeed, Renaissance was for the French a time of discoveries, a time of invention, a time for exchange and cooperation, a time for building, improving, developing....



    A time for war.

    End of part 4
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  10. Noyyau

    Noyyau Privateer Captain

    Jun 9, 2012
  11. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Part 5

    War... War never changes.

    After they overcame the shock of this right-out betrayal, the French tried to rally their Sun-worshipper allies for assistance in the conflict against the Malinese traitors and heretics. But neither Hanno nor Tewodros the Ethiopian were eager to join France on its rightful struggle against Taoist aggression. The only diplomatic success was of little significance: Isabella of Spain agreed to sever all ties with Mali, in exchange for the knowledge of Heraldry. This failure left a bitter taste in Henry For’s mouth. With friends like this, he thought, who needs a diplomatic advisor?

    A careful look at French maps revealed that Malinese intruders were likely to launch an invasion either from the North, near the recently founded city of Amiens, from the East close to Washington, or from the South, towards Philadelphia. Troops were gathered and sent to these cities, where they consolidated the defenses. The Berbers represented a seaborne threat that would have to be dealt with separately.


    A Malinese raid on Montpellier, just South of Amiens, confirmed the analysis. The reactivity of the French mounted troops stationed in Amiens prevented the little mountain town of Montpellier to become Mali’s prize of war. French war planners congratulated themselves on their strategic skills.


    Emboldened by this defensive success, and remembering that the best form of defense really is a good offense, the French organized an expedition to strike at the very heart of Malinese territory, at the city of Koumbi Saleh, Southwest of the Malinese capital, a daring attack that would similarly strike terror into the enemy’s heart.


    The target was not very far from the safety of the French border, but progress was made difficult by tundra and swamps. The army was slowed down even more by the constant harassment of Malinese units. Infantry, cavalry and elephants units were attacking from all sides in lethal skirmishes. This use of guerrilla tactics was very upsetting, especially coming from elephants units. Indeed, the elephants were disturbingly good at guerrilla warfare.


    “Are you telling me it’s hard to spot an elephant in the tundra?” asked a suspicious Henry For to the emissary reporting the hardships of the advancing army.

    The wearied expeditionary corps eventually took the barren hills that were but another obstacle on the way to Koumbi Saleh. The French troops could now look down on the city of which laid behind a lazy river. But before they got to its gates, they would have to go through the city outskirts, which were defended by more enemy troops.



    Finally arriving on the river shores, with a good view on the defenses of Koumbi Saleh, the French commanders realized that they were in no position to take the city and retreated after a bit of burning, raping and plundering that was mainly a way for the commanders to let the soldiers vent their anger and frustration.


    All that fighting hadn’t been for nothing though since a war theorist called Suffren, having studied the causes and the process of the conflict with Mali, developed a new doctrine that would greatly influence the war. Our war against the Malinese, he declared, wasn’t ordinary. It was demanded by the Sun itself. It was a war to eradicate heresy, a war to show the world the light of God, a war to end all wars. Ours was a Holy War. The French état-major exulted. Troops were galvanized by the prospect of killing for God and not merely for their sold.


    Upon learning what the Generals had concocted, Henry For was aghast. A Holy War! What about France long-lasting commitment to pacifism? What about exchange and cooperation? What about all efforts made at maintaining good relationships ever since Antiquity?

    Greatly upset by this turn of history, he personally departed for the war council and, once there, managed to convince the generals to sue for peace with the Berbers, arguing that France shouldn’t be fighting on two fronts, and that the Berbers were not miscreants anyway, only faithless. Henry For really hated to have to resort to this last argument, but it worked. It cost the French 90 in gold to dispel all worries of an invasion of the French backwaters by the Berber navy.

    Tensions at the head of French state were just beginning to abate when the Malinese cavalry launched a surprise attack at Brooklyn and took it. The enemy troops had journeyed through and entered French territory from Ethiopia. France protestation with Tewodros was of no effect. Ethiopia was friend both with France and Mali and unwilling to antagonize any of them. French troops were immediately dispatched from Washington and Amiens. They converged towards the city and promptly put an end to the occupation.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  12. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Meanwhile, the French état-major was preparing to launch a new offensive from Philadelphia, with Takkeda as a target. Takkeda was another well-developed city which lay northwest of the Malinese capital. The route to it involved no freezing tundra, no bogging swamps, no-armed-to-teeth suburbanites. Just a stretch of savannah and a line of hills surrounding the city. It sounded like a walk in a park. And indeed, the savannah was crossed without loss. The hills, on the other hand, proved a whole different story. Every inch of it was conquered with the blood of French soldiers and countless bodies laid on the way to its top.



    Eventually, the hills were secured by the French army and nothing else stood between them and a poorly defended city.


    Against the opinion of his generals, Henry For insisted on giving an opportunity to Sundiata Keita to sue for peace, but the latter would have none of it. Holding Sundiata Keita intransigency as proof of the need for toughness and even mercilessness, the generals pushed their agenda and argued for a switch back to militancy. The pressured government gave way. Without more ceremony, the French troops entered the city.


    A handful of officers demanded that the city be razed, but Henry For didn’t allow this villainy to happen. He didn't want to antagonize the Malinese any further and threatened to sack the bloodthirsty generals and their whole staff if such a request was reiterated. The city was occupied, but tensions between the government and the army went one step up.

    When Sundiata Keita, whom decidedly didn’t have as many scruples as the good Henry For, swiftly took Brooklyn again and razed it, the same generals were beaming: "We told you so...", they said. Henry For was said to have wept.


    Horrified by what had happened, tremendously shocked by the atrocities reported by the rare survivors fleeing the thoroughly destroyed city, Henry For backed out and decided to put an end to the conflict at all costs. He offered to liberate the city of Takkeda in exchange for peace. Sundiata Keita accepted, thus ending a long conflict. Trade relations were resumed at once and the forgiving French sold sea amber to the Malinese. The generals felt betrayed by their own king.

    The French rebuilt Brooklyn and expressed their wish for long-lasting peace. In 882 AD, Gibbon updated Plyne’s work and the French entered the list of the most powerful civilizations on earth, albeit at the last place. This was mere consequence of the war and no consolation for the loss of a city.


    Shaken by the war, disturbed by the careless talks of some irreverent officers, the population was growing restless. The sophisticated and cultivated French had much higher expectations than their forefathers, and the way the war had been concluded was not at all to the taste of many a layman at odds with the French pacifist tradition. Religion started being overtly criticized in the Salons of the aristocracy and it became fashionable to express doubt on the very godness of the Sun. What good was a God who didn’t do justice? would some ask.

    Therefore, when the heir of a prominent Malinese family eloped with a French woman and wed her in the Solar cult tradition, the government seized the opportunity. Officials heartily congratulated the couple and offered them a great deal of presents (a bust of Henry For carved in sea amber was among the gifts, and it found a place of honor on the newlyweds' main room's mantelpiece. It has been said later that the bust was cause for their subsequent divorce, but these are unfounded rumours propagated by enemy agents). The event became a cause for national celebration. This greatly lifted the people’s piety as well as their happiness. It also angered the Malinese, but tactful Henry For made for it by voting for Sundiata Keita at the subsequent apostolic elections.


    Henry For and his état-major des armées soon seemed to find consensus on a decision. The generals were hungry for war, revenge and the eradication of heresy. Henry For hoped for peace, concord and good relations with France’s neighbours. In line with the French tradition of pleasing most and especially the powerful, the French joined another coalition against Moctezuma, alongisde the Ethiopian, the Malinese and the Incan.

    While the French état-major was away planning and strategizing an unlikely invasion of the Aztec lands, Henry For secretly met with the rest of the government and told them that he was sick of this religion thing, that the Sun really had never seemed to care about the hardships of the French people, that it was as bright for France as it was for evil Mali, that all this worshipping thing didn’t really make any sense and that everyone would feel a lot more relaxed if they were not trying to kill each others over their beliefs. He cited as example the Carthaginian, the Ethiopian and the Incan who had embraced a free religion policy. This allowed them to live at peace with the rest of the world (except Moctezuma of course). "I really think we’ve been a little too far with this Holy War thing, you know. If people would only sit down and chill out, maybe have a smoke... The Ethiopians sell some really good... erm.. hemp... you know what I mean? I could get some if needs be... Actually... I got myself some already... And it’s reaaaaaaaaal good. So yeah, if people just relaxed they would probably realize that all these divisions really are superficial, you know what I mean? What with nations, ideologies, religions... especially religion. We’re all looking for the same thing, we just take different paths to it. Yeah, man, in fact, we are all connected, you know what I mean?"

    And that’s just how the Free Religion policy was adopted. Upon hearing the news the French état-major was furious and started to plot the destitution of Henry For and the establishment of a military junta.

    Some say the downfall of the French started there. Others affirm that ever since Henry For took the lead of the French when they were only a clueless bunch of disheveled mud-eaters, things only went from bad to worse. Serious historians deem it a bit unfair to put all the blame on poor Henry For's unfortunate shoulders.

    The birth of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as a Great Person of France only served to render the decay of France more apparent. I mean. Strauss-Kahn. Wow. If that’s the cream of the French people, it has probably gone sour.

    Therefore it wasn’t really a surprise when Turks and Berbers made a joint declaration of war. Henry For himself could feel a lot more bored than he was distressed when he got the news. It was rumoured that the generals had provoked the Turks into war, hoping that it would motivate the government to adopt more warlike policies. In any case, the French admiralty was not part of any conspiracy and proved extremely loyal in the first stages of the new war, as it held a first wave of enemy ships at bay in a series of fierce naval battles against Berber flutes.


    Unfortunately, a group of Berber ships, part of a second wave of attacks, managed to reach the coast and deliver an army at the gates of Bordeaux. A turn later the city had fallen.


    Despite dissensions in its midst, the French army was quick to react and troops made their way towards Bordeaux.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  13. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    The passage was narrow but after a battle against Berber troops set to occupy the precious copper mines, French forces were able to spread around the city for a siege.


    Battle raged from all sides...


    And the city returned to its French ownership.

    Possibly lured into war by her friends on the boreal continents, Isabella declared war. The French were not too waried of an attack from backward Spain, but the Turks had yet to launch a most dreaded invasion. Looking for an opportunity for peace with the turban-headed Suleyman Kanuni, Henry For went as far as to offer a modern naval technology, the pride of French science, to the Turks, who accepted the deal.

    More Berber flutes were sunk by the experienced French navy, as wave after wave of ships were sent in French waters.


    A cavalry scout was sent to Transoxianan Kandahar to watch the sea channel and report any approach of more Berber or Spanish ships.


    A flotilla of French ships even ventured as high as the aforementioned channel and sunk several Berber ships on its way, but it was deemed preferable for them to return to the safety of the French harbours rather than risk being attacked by a large number of ships. There was not much to plunder in Berber waters anyway.



    Among the captains of the French ships a most gifted one stuck out. He was Admiral MacMahon. Upon hearing the order of returning to French waters he famously said: “Here I am, here I stay”. Well, he went back all the same, but this show of intransigency greatly impressed French hearts and spirits. He became a symbol of French resistance and pugnacity.

    In an unexpected move, the now pleased Turks offered the French the tech to naval engineering, that would allow France to build the powerful frigates – provided they built drydocks first. The French thanked their benefactors effusively and the Turk embassy left the country satisfied. Henry For was pleased to tears. Here was the proof that goodness and virtue paid, he said. Here was the start of a new beginning. Here was an era of peoples of all faiths and nationalities, holding hands, working together, helping each others and walking towards the same destination, somewhere, over the rainbow.

    More deals were made with Turks merchants and France also exchanged technologies with Ethiopia. Metallurgy, Fine Arts and Cavalry Tactics were all acquired in a series of technological exchanges. Henry For was euphoric and kept humming to himself.

    MacMahon was soon made Grand Admiral of the Navy and the ships under his direct command greatly benefited from his experience.


    In spite of the war with the Berbers (peace was made with the Spanish at no cost for either party) commerce was flourishing. Ethiopia, Mali, Turkey and others all traded with France, and the benefits in gold were substantial.

    Battles still raged at sea, but the French naval forces were seasoned now and would not let a single Berber ship reach the French shores.


    The war ended unexpectedly when some Berber soldiers helped wounded French Tommies and returned them safely home, prompting a delighted Henry For to secretly send an emissary to the Berber to sue for peace. Peace was signed, notwithstanding the protestation from the French état-major. Henry For rebuked them, saying that by helping their enemy, the Berber soldiers had accomplished an act of braveness much more courageous than the whole crawling in the mud, yelling and shooting of the rest of the war. To him, they were the real heroes. The generals left the royal palace pallid with anger and incomprehension. Anyhow, peace had been signed. The war was over.

    The damage had not been so great but the war had much delayed France’s plans for growth. Development was primordial to guarantee an ear for France’s voice in the debates for the future of the world. Henry For felt very much on a quest to influence this future and make the world, finally, a better place.

    End of part 5
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  14. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)


    The Moste Wonderfulle Tale of Tom, Dick and Harry


    Harry – Tom! Tom!

    Tom – What’s it Harry?

    Harry – I was off the village, down by the shore, trying to see if I could get some clams for us to eat... you know I love clams, they’re hard to find but they’re a welcome change from the squirrels and berries we find in the forest. Anyway, I was down there with me nose in the rocks when I heard a great deal of ruckus. Cries of “Hi-yo, there!”, “Aaaar!”, “Scupper that!” and plenty other nonsense like that. I raise my eyes and behold! Ships! Not our own kind of flat-bottom boats, mind you. Huuuuuge ships. The size of Dick’s wife. Or bigger.

    Tom – You haven’t been eating those mushrooms again, have you? I told you before about the mushrooms, they eat your brains. Not that they would feast on yours, but... (sounds of steps coming from outside) Someone’s coming... Dick, is that you?

    French spy – Greetings, gentlemen. I would very much like to talk to your leader. Pray introduce me to him.

    Harry – Chief? He got eaten by a badger last month. Nasty bastards those badgers. They’ll sneak on you from behind and bite without warning. They make good house guards though. Dick used to raise one, but then he got married. No need for two wild animals at home he reasoned.

    Tom – Shut up, Harry. I am the interim leader in the absence of our chief. What is the matter of your request?

    French spy – Marvellous. I was merely hoping that I could get some help discovering the secrets of this charming country. Could I get a glass of water, please? Thanks... Sorry, do you have anything else than seawater? Ah, good. My most grateful thanks.

    Tom – What’s it you want to know exactly? We are a simple people.

    French spy – Most simple, indeed. I would just like to know more about the topology of the land, its places of interest, its resources... you know, this kind of stuff that erm... tourists enjoy.

    Tom – There’s not much to see amafraid. Lots of mud West o’ the village, makes for a nice sight mind you, tundra and forest in the North, with more tundra and more forest beyond that. May be a coupl’mountains somewhere in the set. That’s it, Mylord.

    Harry – Yeah and you forgot to mention the shiny stones. Not that they are worth anything, though, but...

    Tom – Harry will you shut your gob?

    French spy – Shiny stones? That sounds... fascinating. I am mightily interested. Tell me more about these stones, will you?

    Tom – Oh, well, there’s not much to it, you know. Nothing edible anyway...

    Harry – The rubies are tasty.

    Tom – Shut up, Harry. Anyway they are just these bunch of colored shiny stones that people dig up way up North. Never found a proper use for them. Harry eats the red ones. That’s why he ain’t got no teeth anymore.

    French spy – I would love to see those with my very own eyes, but alas, time is pressing and I must reembark at once. Our party will sail away towards other islands. Here’s what: in accordance with the powers bestowed upon me, I hereby declare you full citizens of France, complete with stubborn self-righteousness and a taste for berets. Now, His Excellency the King Henry For, your King, orders you to go up North and guard the mine for him in my absence. Now go. I have urgent matters to attend myself. I will be back soon. (Exeunt)

    Tom – Congratulations, Harry. It’s a great fix you just put us in.

    Harry – What was all that about? French? I don’t feel French. Do you feel French? And what is a beret anyway?

    Tom – Sigh... Shut up and go fetch Dick.


    Dick – What? So a guy comes and makes you French – are you sure he wasn’t just being rude? – and all of a sudden we have to scramble across the forest in the middle of winter.

    Tom – Come on, Dick, it is not that far. The fresh air will do you good.

    Dick – The fresh air! It will maybe do me good if it doesn’t kill me first! Air’s so fresh up there that it makes you crap compact ice. And what with the bears? The wolves? The badgers?

    Harry – Don’t mention the badgers, Dick, you giving me the heebie-jeebies.

    Tom – They all sleeping at this time of year. Now is our chance!

    Dick – Whatever. I’m not going.

    Tom – Don’t be a dick, Dick.

    Dick – What of it? I don’t want to be French. Why French, of all people? We could have been Turkish! I’d fancy a bath in a hammam, or a delicious loukoumi. But France? What do they have for them?

    Harry – They have berets!

    Dick – What is that?

    Tom – It’s a... thing... dish... with garlic. You’d like it.

    Dick – Right. Ok, then. Berets. But apart from the delicious berets, what have the French ever done for us?

    Tom – They built the Pyramids! The top of which you can see the whole world, ‘tis said.

    Dick – The bloody Pyramids? We can’t ever see the sunrise anymore because of the goddamn thing! I refuse to freeze to death for the sake of Pyramid-builder, beret-eater Henry the French.

    Tom – Your wife sure would miss you, were you to go on such a long journey...

    Harry – You could get a badger to look after her in your absence, though.


    Dick – When are we leaving?


    French spy – Captain! Don’t you think we should steer away from the coast? The locals seem rather... hostile.

    Captain – Aaar! Don’t be daft, boy. They are fine. Lovely exotic people greeting us in their balderdashing way. They couldn’t do us no harm anyway.

    French spy – I hope you know what you’re doing. I must report to his Excellency the King Henry For and come back swiftly with a colonizing party to relieve the poor villagers form their duty.

    (Sound of a rudimentary spear hitting the mast and small chunks of wood falling in grim fashion)

    French spy – Oh, dear...


    Tom – Here we are then. The stonies.

    Harry – Good to know we are arrived, I was starting to get the munchies. Are you alright there, Dick?

    Dick – Methink I lost a couple o'limbs or two, care to check that for me, mate?

    Tom – Don't overstate everything there, Dick. You'd be damned if you had but lost a few toes. What could have gotten you so bad, eh?

    Dick – Dunno, Tom... The mind-numbing frost? The hunger-crazed grizzlies? Monomaniac Harry and his club? Or you know just... trees?

    Tom – DON'T mention the trees!... Sorry... You got me all nervous here... It's ok, now. We are here and there we are. Nothing bad can happen to us anymore. Hurray for the King!

    Harry – Hurray!

    Dick – I tell you what, mates. I'll wait with you for two days for that ship to come back. After that, I'm off, trees or not trees. Being stuck with you two has made me see my wedlock life in a whole new light. My! The things you say at night, Tom! If trees would speak, they would not even dream of saying that. And you should definitely stop trying to cook, Harry. Anything is better raw than cooked by you. And stop saying it is French cuisine, I don't believe a word of it. I mean, snails? Who would eat that?


    Dick – So, how long have we been here, Tom?

    Tom – About two hundred years, Dick.

    Dick – Two hundred? Gosh!

    Harry – It felt like two months or something to me. Do you want more emeralds? We are running out of rubies. The emeralds are too crunchy for my jaws.

    Dick – Bugger off, Harry. Where has that bloody French guy been? I’m starting to think you have imagined the whole thing.

    Tom – Well, I admit it’s been a tad of a long wait. Maybe we should go back. I mean, your wife is probably very worried by now.

    Harry – And upset. Probably extremely upset. Kind of like... badger-upset.

    Dick – ... I’ll wait for two hundred more years, but not a minute longer, I tell you!

    Tom – Hey look! A group of people are heading this way. Can you hear what they say? Are they French?

    Harry – I dunno, Tom. I somehow thought the French would look more... how to say... refined.

    French officer – Oi! There! Is this the place where precious stones and jewels are so common that locals just eat them?

    Tom – Might be, might be... May I inquire of your identity?

    Capitaine de la Saille – I am Capitaine de la Saille, pour vous servir. Not to be taken literally. Actually, I have a mind to put you three to good use serving me.

    Tom – Alas, that might prove impossible. We have already taken oath to serve the King Henry For of the French.

    Dick – Wass goin' on Tom? I can't get a word you sayin. You ain't never told me you were fluent in foreignish.

    Harry – He's speaking tongues he is.

    Capitaine de la Saille – Praise the Sun! I am sent by His Majesty the King Henry For to colonize these lands and subdue the indigenous peoples to the French rule. I see that latter part is already achieved. To be sure, my good lad, I am the voice of the King in this sunforsaken island. To obey me is to obey him.

    Tom – Dang.

    Capitaine de la Saille – Do you have food to offer me and my men? We have consumed all the rats on our ships long ago, and haven't since gotten any decent cooking.

    Harry – You are lucky! We have some beret left. It's still warm, too.

    Capitaine de la Saille – I'm sorry. Some what?

    Harry – Beret! Only we ran out of garlic last century. Can't get to grow them in this stony ground, so I used amethysts instead.

    Capitaine de la Saille – So the rumours were true...


    Tom – Right... ok... so... erm... you have founded your city and all. You have a mine running where there previously was jungle and stones, which, albeit precious, were really only popular with Harry, on toasts. Anyway... We have kept our end of the bargain by standing guard on this piece of land for more than three hundred years. Now could we get into the city and start to reap the full benefits of civilization, as promised?

    Capitaine de la Saille – No way.

    Tom – But why not? We are as much French as anyone else, sacrebleu!

    Capitaine de la Saille – You guys have no shirts. We have a strict dress code in here. Sorry. Maybe next time.

    Tom – But what are we going to do? Shirts don't grow on trees.

    Capitaine de la Saille – Know what? Keep doing what you've been doing until now. Stick with it. You really have got the knack of it. I'd hate to be the one bringing such dedication to an end.

    Dick – I am so going home. And I don't care what my wife, or the badger, depending which of the two survived, will say.

    Harry – I'd go with you but I'm quite concerned about this pink gooey border-like thing we see on the ground all the way across South.

    Dick – What the...?

    Harry – There's a sign there near the hill, too. It says 'Carthage'. What does that mean?

    Tom – It means that down there is now Carthaginian territory.

    Dick – Whaaat? Means we can't go back anymore, right? Means the village probably doesn't even exist anymore. Probably turned into a Carthaginian megalopolis in a fortnight, right?

    Capitaine de la Saille – Worry not, my fellows. France is at peace with Carthage. In fact, we have always had excellent relations with them.

    Dick – So glad to hear that. I guess that they won't mind at all when they control me after I cross the border and I tell them that the purpose of my visit is to fetch my badger.

    Harry – You can tell them you are going to see your wife.

    Dick – I am not going to marry a badger! I mean a real one. God, why aren't we Turkish? I wanted to be Turkish. Damn the stupid French.

    Capitaine de la Saille – I can hear you.

    Dick – I should have listened to my wife. I should have listened to my wife. I should have...

    End of the interlude
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  15. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    Part 6

    The study of the history of France from the end of the Renaissance to its last days well into modern times always leads historians into confusion and circumspection, for contradictory tendencies seem to have governed French political actions. It is assumed that these opposing tendencies were the result of the tensions between the army and the government led, as it is, by a increasingly segregated Henry For. The greatest scientific achievements and unhinged international cooperation mingled with horrid tales of war atrocities and complete isolation of France on the international scene. No two historians agree on a chronology of the events following the end of the Berber war at the end of the Renaissance era up to the final demise of the French during modern times. It is thus difficult to relate the final times of France in an ordinary fashion. Undoubtedly, the era opened by a new scientific revolution was for the French full of promises and dangers. However, a few great trends seem to make a consensus among historians and are generally agreed to be reliably consistent with the rest of France's history.

    Following a breakthrough on the Sextant technology, France found itself once more at the forefront of scientific research. Astute judgement and a mind for trade allowed this discovery to be literally as well as figuratively cashed upon. By consulting the Turkish and Ethiopian archives, among others, it became clear to several historians that France sold or exchanged this technology to as many other civilizations as they could, reaping colossal gains in the process. These gains allowed France to devote their entire budget to scientific research. New technologies were in their turn sold or exchanged, giving unprecedented momentum to France's scientific research. All the way to their final years, the selling - at high price - or exchange of technologies, as well as much appreciated gifts from friends during hard times, highlighted the natural tendency of the French for cooperation. Historians have no doubt that the hand and mind of Henry For was behind this humanist approach. This trend and a cohort of Great Scientists (Parmentier, Pasteur, D'Aurillac...) are here to prove the world that France - until its very end - was a nation with a heart and a mind.

    When Mali declared war to France in 1028 AD, Henry For could secure the Turks as well as the Incan assistance in the conflict. Vassals and allies declaring in good turn, the world saw itself plunged into its first world war, in which only Transoxiana and Ethiopia were left out. Sadly, nothing could decide the mighty Tewodros to join the war. Mali attacked from the sea, took Bordeaux and razed it. They managed to take New Orleans and Brooklyn before the French eventually turned the tides and liberated these cities. A string of sea battles against the Malinese navy won by General Joffre proved to the world the Superior Seamanship of the French, a title they had been wont to obtain since the dawn of times, and surely deserved.
    In 1096 a peace treaty was signed with Sundiata Keita, putting an effective end to World War One. The never-wearied France took to themselves to rebuild and repopulate, until the next, inevitable conflict.

    Turkish archives reveal that when the Sultan went to war against Mali in 1116 AD, the French didn't openly side with them but offered them technologies that could greatly help them in their struggle. Sadly, the Malinese got news of it and declared war on France. Other civilizations declared and the world was once more precipitated into strife. World war 2 was to be deadlier than the first. Once again, Tewodros, and this time him only, stayed neutral.


    Lyons was razed by the Mayans. Brooklyn and New Orleans changed hands several times in just a few decades. Philadelphia was occupied. Amiens was razed. Montpellier was captured and then liberated. Only Washington stayed strong and well-defended. The times were brutal.

    The discovery of Military thought and Nationalism opened a new, turbulent era. The état-major des armées felt that they had the upper hand in the government and the minds of the people. France needed a new, authoritative government. Fascism was in fashion, but curiously enough and one of these occurrences that leave historians scratching their heads for a sense of consistency in France's politics, but ultimately reveal plainly the constant struggle of power between army and governement at the head of the French state, the adoption of fascism was soon followed by another peace treaty, as soon, in fact, as the troops on the field could liberate and secure the French cities - minus Philadelphia - and threaten the Malinese territory directly, leading Sundiata Keita to show willingness to open negotiations. Henry For's idealism once more had taken the lead and deluded his mind with dreams of peaceful development and good relations with his neighbours. ''Look what diplomacy alone has achieved with the Turks, the once great enemy of the nation!'' would Henry For affirm to a flabbergasted board of counselors and generals. Indeed, the Turks - the most powerful civilization on Earth - were now great friends of the French and showered them with lavishing presents.

    But Mali wasn't Turkey. Soon after having overthrown the dictature and installed an overpraised democratic system, Henry For and his followers found themselves, for the last time, under the threat of the Malinese army. The attack was swift and merciless. When Washington fell, France found itself deprived of their only source of sulfur, an unvaluable resource without with France was unable to produce riflemen. Thus it was just a matter of time before the end. In 1466 Rouen fell. The great military center, the lock to the mainland - the Shores, as the French used to call their native territory - was occupied and this was an unmistakable sign of doom.

    In 1490 Paris was besieged and captured. Henry For was pressed to flee for Turkey but decided to stay and face his destiny. After laying down his arms and honour at the feet of his conqueror, the dreaded Malinese Sundiata Keita, Henry For retired.


    It is said that he has been allowed to live in exile in the overseas colony of Narbonne, where he spends his time pondering over life and writing poetry.

    The End
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  16. tranx

    tranx Civilized

    Sep 29, 2007
    Qingdao (China)
    There. I didn't want to leave this unfinished but the game was getting redundant and it would have been boring to relate at length, and even more boring to read.

    I can't play this game very well... anymore. I used to win on Immortal, but that was years ago. I don't have much time to play anymore and will invariably get crushed, even on Prince. I'm more of a peaceful builder to begin with but I used to be able to maintain a deterrent force and good skills at diplomacy so that my neighbours would think twice before attacking me.

    Next time I'll try to be more offensive.

    Hope you enjoyed nonetheless.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  17. Noyyau

    Noyyau Privateer Captain

    Jun 9, 2012
    That was an unexpected ending!
    But thanks for not leaving the story hanging.

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