Friday, December 14, 2012
Hapburgian - Wartenburg Looms.
For King Ferdinand the winter months had passed in extreme trying times. Hapburgia had lost the Bishopric of Ulrichstein in the war with Rechburg; the Duchy of Wartenburg had rebelled and was now self styled as the Kingdom of Wartenburg. Within his own Kingdom there were increasing signs of discontent even of rebellion forming, as is usual with most rebellions they were fueld by fear or as a result of Papist propaganda.
The greatest schism of public opinion had occurred when the King took a Protestant wife as Queen, from that moment on acting on the secret dictates of the Iberian Pope many catholic clergymen preached the theme that their King was under the influence of a heretic witch, rebellion began to smolder in the hills and towns of Hapburgia.
As early spring brought warmth and growth to his Kingdom, it sent a chill down Ferdinand’s spine. He realised it was time he put aside the comforts of having a new wife and deal with ever deteriorating situation in his Kingdom. The first steps undertaken were simply he was forced to deploy a third of his army within his own Kingdom just to quell any signs of rebellion. These units he placed under the command of Archduke Eugene, his younger brother. It was a gamble as his brother had already proved himself as an intriguer, but it was a chance he was forced to take, and it was a chance for Eugene to prove his loyalty.
Queen Caroline suggested that they take a small progress tour of the realm, so she could meet her new people and hopefully allay many of their fears; it was a suggestion fraught with many dangers as there were bound to be many extremists and agitators amongst the rebellious mobs. Initially fearful for his wife’s safety he refused to contemplate such a risky idea, eventually however she persisted and he gave way and they toured much of the Kingdom.
The tour was a great success, Caroline was tonic to many people in Hapburgia, it had been many years since there had been a Hapburgian Queen and many of the nobles fell under the charismatic spell of their new Queen.
Other changes also occurred, for the first time in hundreds of years Protestant churches began to appear in some of the towns and villages, at first the congregations would be small, but it was a sign of new religious tolerance, for others the fanatical minority no doubt it would lead to the hardening of religious intolerance.
Ferdinand enacted new laws and introduced new farming systems called the enclosure system which made land far more productive, selective animal breeding schemes would see the animal size and health improve. These were small starts and only time would show how effective they would become, but they were positive signs for his people. Trade was vastly improved with the new allies in Rechburg, Pomonia and Flensburg, products unseen for many years were once again readily available in the markets and village stalls.
Though these changes were sudden, they were effective in that the Kingdom passed from a low point of almost open rebellion in the winter to a growing acceptance of new changes and perhaps a more optimistic view point in its future.
Regardless of what Ferdinand was doing always in the back of his mind was the coming war with Wartenburg.
He had heard that King Juan of the Franconian Empire had openly come out in support of King Konstantin of Wartenburg, maybe even to the point of sending troops.
As Ferdinand stood in his office pondering the maps and orders of battle for his invasion of the rebellious province he knew he was about to cast the dice that could possibly blow Europia apart. If the reports were true and Franconia had come out in support of the Konstantin in Wartenburg, then Empires would be clashing, the first time in hundreds of years.
He heard a rustling behind him, his wife had quietly entered his office, he turned and took her hand, leading her to the window, they stood silently together just looking out on the gardens.
Charlotte knew Ferdinand was deeply troubled, there was little she could do to alleviate his worries, other than be there to support him. She glanced back at the maps on the table, knowing it was time that he settled the Wartenburg issue.
She hooked her arm through his and drew him closer, together they just stood, watching, waiting.
Slowly she let his arm go and stood before him, she did a twirl before him, all the while smiling, Ferdinand looked at her, he knew she was either teasing him yet again or showing off, sadly he was missing the point into regard which one is was.
“What is it, surely you not trying to woo me already, good god we have only been up a few hours?”
She never spoke just did a few more twirls and then went to him putting her arms around his neck.
He looked into her eyes, he had learnt that was a bad thing to do when one was trying to stay strong around her;
“What is my darling?”
She laughed and then said
“We are having a baby.”
Ferdinand stood transfixed to the spot, perhaps a more precise description would have been that he was frozen to the spot.
“What, how, I mean already.”
“Yes my darling already, the benefits of a woman having such a virile husband, is that these things happen sweetheart” she said as she planted a kiss on his lips.
She then gaily danced out of the room, Ferdinand still had not moved, he was looking at the door that she had just passed through, thinking to himself, good god if it’s not wars its babies.
A few days later Ferdinand left Hapburgia at the head of his army, the journey ahead was going to be difficult and he knew it would likely be months before he returned, the parting had not been easy but both he and Caroline knew it had to be done.
King Ferdinand lead five divisions of troops (3 Infantry and 2 Cavalry) through the mountain passes that separated Hapburgia from the Kingdom of Wartenburg, the first reports were the Wartenburg army was actually being led by his brother-in-law King Konstantin, it appeared the Wartenburgers were racing to concentrate at the border town of Hister, the same town Ferdinand’s army was moving on.
For King Konstantin the winter had been an equally trying time. He had made the decision to declare his provinces’ rebellion from the Hapburgian Empire for as much personal safety as well as the prestige of finally becoming King.
The real difficulty had been negotiating support from Franconia, because he knew with Franconian support he had a chance, without it there was almost no chance his reign would be a long one. As it turned out King Juan I was readily agreeable to supporting him, on certain conditions and generally they meant the Kingdom of Wartenburg would become a client state, but in the world of big Empires and smaller realms sometimes just surviving as a smaller realm was enough; at least for now.
King Konstantin knew that the Hapburgian King (his brother-in-law) was having other possible rebellion troubles, he hoped, nay; prayed that they would increase and expand keeping the Hapburgians busy long enough for the Franconian Army to arrive in Wartenburg.
Sadly it didn’t happen, the rebellious crowds soon disappeared and the country settled down, so Konstantin then knew that in the spring the Hapburgian King would come to reclaim his province and Konstantin’s head.
The first signs of the Hapburgian move came when spies he had placed in the border mountain passes reported the Hapburgian army was concentrating on Konich, the reports indicated that it would only be a matter of weeks before they marched.
For Konstantin, the issue was fall back and wait, either for the Hapburgians or the Franconians, or to march and meet the Hapburgian as the emerged out of the mountain passes near Hister.
In the end he decided on a combination of both, he would meet the Hapburgians at Hister, bloody them and hopefully delay them a little, then he would retreat back to meet his new allies he knew were already crossing his western borders. The main danger for the Wartenburg King was that in engaging the Hapburgians early he would be out numbered two to one, that disadvantage however could be offset if he could reach the border mountain passes before the Hapburgians moved; there the numerical odds would not matter too much.
The focal point for his concentration was the town of Hister, unfortunately for King Konstantin the Hapburgians marched several weeks earlier than he expected and they too were heading for Hister, a meeting Engagement battle is sure to follow.