Chapter 9 - Troubles
'Dam' politicals!' he fulminated, 'There looked to be a jolly little war developing there: wretched Rechburg and dinky Danemark on the one side, and Bloody-minded Bergatonia and Sly-beria on the other.'
'Surely, Sire, thou jesteth,' demurred his Minister of the Exchequer and breakfast companion, Count Manfred von Lustburgerstein. 'Things are delicate enough in Europia right now, what with the Papal election looming, and - begging your Imperial Majesty's pardon - the question of the Imperial succession unresolved-'
'Yes, yes, you are right, Manfred, of course,' The Emperor sighed. 'A large war - even the small wars we actually have - are not good for us, not good for trade, not good for peace and order, not good for the exchequer. But it might sufficiently have distracted the Herzog for us cheaply to make good the situation in Ulrichstein... Has Ferdinand yet got over that dreadful muddle he got into the other week? Terrible business...'
'He's recruiting vigorously, Sire, and seeks only the chance to redeem his reputation.'
'Very well. But we would have preferred the Herzog to have asked for terms to keep the Empire out of his disputation with Iberia and Bergatonia. Or even were we forced to take the first overtures, we might well have obtained an arrangement - I gather the issues are religious rather than dynastic or territorial - an arrangement we would have been sufficiently happy to accept.'
'Constantine would have demanded Bishop der Plonk's removal, Sire...' The Count murmured.
'I dare say, and, after a deal of harumphing, and appeals to precedent and the legal ramifications, blah, blah, blah, we would have agreed to that,' The Emperor mused. 'To ease Bishop der Plonk's deposition, I feel sure an opening might well have appeared in the College of Cardinals - the price of Our support in the coming Papal elections, of course.
'I do believe a friendly rapprochement would have been on the cards.'
'But we might equally well have been dragged into a Europian-wide war with who-knows-what consequences,' The Count shuddered at the prospect.
'Yes... Good thing events have turned out the way they have, really...' The emperor paused, deep in thought, seeming to drift off into a reverie. Suddenly he banged the flat of his hand on the table.
'Meanwhile, what of Ferdinand? What are his requirements? How soon can he try conclusions once more with those Ulrichstein rebels?'
Chapter 10 - Hapburgian Succession
Chapter 11 - Defeat & Victory
The Coronation of the Hapburgian Emperor Ferdinand was held two days later than originally intended, however the dignitaries and nobles that attended the Coronation did not mind at all as the week was full of festivities, balls and organised events.
However behind closed doors the Emperor elect Archduke Ferdinand was doing all he could to repair the damage done to Hapburgian prestige as well as securing his throne. The morning after Prince Konstantin and Princess Arabella Ferdinand had fled Veronia, Ferdinand was surprised to discover his younger brother Archduke Eugene had remained behind.
Ferdinand had suspected that Konstantin and Arabella would flee, though he had half expected them and perhaps hoped that they would try and bluff their way out of the predicament they had made for themselves; however running away to save ones skin was what both Konstantin and Arabella were good at. The surprise however was Eugene staying, and as far as Ferdinand was concerned Eugene staying and accepting his part of the charade meant a lot to him as well as the Empire, he therefore decided this was a time for building bridges not seeking retribution.
There had been much heart to heart talking and in discussions with all those involved it soon became clear that almost the entire palace and indeed the Government had been duped by the charade Konstantin had evolved. It was worrying to all that such a simple plan could have had massive detrimental effects to the Empire. It seemed that his plan was to have Eugene made Emperor before Ferdinand had arrived back from Ulrichstein, once Eugene was Emperor clearly Konstantin was intending to manipulate and use Eugene to achieve his own ends, essentially he would have had Eugene create Wartenburg a Kingdom thus elevating Arabella and himself.
Konstantin’s plans relied on timing and everything falling into place. He had not expected Ferdinand to leave his army before he had settled the Rechburg issue, he was being kept informed by dispatch riders sent from Wartenburg’s General Romer who commanded a Brigade in Ferdinand’s Army, obviously he heard incorrectly as it turned out that Ferdinand would not advance on the Rechburg army for at least a week or more. Then Konstantin had been further encouraged by the news from the couriers that the first of the snows were falling on the high passes, so he assumed if Ferdinand was still in Ulrichstein for another week, preferably two he would not make the passes before the blizzards hit and cut the roads. The journey around the mountains was much longer and would have taken several more weeks and by that time Eugene would have been Emperor for several weeks or even months and in that time he would have convinced Eugene to elevate Wartenburg into a Kingdom.
All Konstantin had to do was replace the courier message with one that read Ferdinand was dead, and with no news for several weeks it would have been too late when it was discovered that Frederick was indeed still alive. Konstantin would not expect Ferdinand to try and start a civil war just to replace Eugene, he was far to loyal to the Empire to risk that. Besides regardless of what arrangements Ferdinand and Eugene would finally arrive at once Wartenburg was a Kingdom and independent of Hapburgia there was nothing the Emperor whoever he was could do, short of declaring war.
It was a plausible plan Ferdinand assumed, it really only went wrong because Ferdinand left the army the day after he received the summons from Charles to return immediately, he was confident General Kyler could handle the Rechburgians and Ferdinand was determined to see Charles before his brother passed away. As Ferdinand remarked to Eugene the morning after his return, Konstantin’s real mistake was not having Ferdinand assassinated and thus making his death a reality, he then would have been secure in his ambitions. He was willing to wager that fact there was no assassination attempt was most likely due to Arabella, even she could not sink as low as having a brother killed just to become a Queen.
During the week before the Coronation Eugene and Ferdinand had done much to repair the breach made by their sister and her husband, In the first instance Ferdinand summoned the Haulic Council and informed them that their approval of Eugene as Emperor had been as a result of intrigues, it was a simple matter from there to reverse their decision acknowledging Ferdinand as the true heir to the throne. Eugene accepted that now Ferdinand was back he must be Emperor, what Eugene worried about more was what would become of him.
So the discussions between the Haulic council and Eugene really centred less on Ferdinand and more what was to be done with Eugene and then later Konstantin and Arabella.
Ferdinand finally convinced the Haulic council that he and they should accept Eugene’s pledge of loyalty made both to him personally as well as at Ferdinands coronation. After the coronation Ferdinand appointed Eugene commander of the southern Army facing the Attaman Empire, it was a way of getting him out of Veronia without a loss of honour, plus it gave Ferdinand peace of mind at not being constantly reminded of how close he came to not being Emperor.
Emperor Ferdinand I of the Hapburgian Empire now had another problem to settle and that was the Papal throne. It was pivotal to the strength and security of the Hapburgian Empire, but it was the one throne that was elected and thus could not be taken for granted.
To test the strength of the remaining loyalty of Prince Konstantin and Arabella, Ferdinand had written to them that they were to contract a pledge to vote for Hapburgia for the Papal seat, if they did so he was prepared to forgive them their intrigues; he had not received an answer. In fact he learnt from other sources that Konstantin had been in negotiations with Franconia and to a lesser extent Iberia, so from that news he was prepared to accept the worse.
In fact as far as Ferdinand could predict the race for the Papal seat would be between Franconia and Iberia.
Iberia could count on its own vote as well as those of Bergatonia and Danemark.
Franconia had its own vote and as well as those of Buchenwald and Neider,
Hapburgia had its own vote and the Kingdom of Vandahalla, possibly but not likely Wartenburg, if Wartenburg did vote for Hapburgia then it would be a three way split for all the applicants and most likely a war if reason didn’t prevail; and when did reason ever prevail on Europia.
So with the assumption that Wartenburg would betray Hapburgia once again, it left Hapburgia as the maker of the Papal throne that is if Franconia were to enter the competition. Even if Wartenburg were to vote for Franconia, Ferdinand still had had two votes to add and that would give Iberia the Papal seat.
God help Europia then.
Of the two likely to become the seat of the papal throne Ferdinand preferred Iberia simply because it has fewer issues with Hapburgia than he would if Franconia become the seat of the Papal throne. He was equally sure that Franconia would soon make its claim for the Papal throne known. He based this assumption on the fact that as soon as Franconia could be sure of the Wartenburg vote then it really was being forced to try and gain the Papal throne. If only because Franconia had too many issues with Iberia already just to allow it to gain such a powerful leverage of its own ecclesiastical destiny.
Ferdinand then realised that his Empire could be on a point of where it would decline through the loss of income and prestige usually created by the Papal throne. On the positive side Hapburgia would not bear the responsibility of defending the faith and forever spending fortunes on wars to prevent the erosion of the true faith, another positive would be that he would at least be able to develop Hapburgia from the bottom up. Without the constant threat of wars erupting in areas of little interest to Hapburgia other than defending the faith, he could modernize Hapburgia through overhauling its economy; then at least his Empire could compete far more effectively that it has over the years that Charles reigned as Emperor.
To Ferdinand it came down to two issues, he was going to lose either the Papal throne or Wartenburg, but he would not lose both, if he must lose one is was better that it be the Papal throne.
Therefore Hapburgia’s destiny was really entwined with Franconia entering the Papal race; if they did he could barter his Hapburgian votes for Franconian neutrality in the argument between Wartenburg and his Empire. If on the other hand Franconia remained indifferent to the Papal seat as they have done in the past it would likely mean war with Wartenburg and possibly the Franconian Empire.
If he was to risk a war with Franconia and that was a big risk, for that he needed Iberia on his side, with Hapburgia to the Franconian east and Iberia and its ally Bergatonia to the north and south, then the Franconian war effort would be hopelessly divided.
The final key was what happens in Ulrichstein, if General Kyler can gather a victory, then perhaps the Rechburgians may be more receptive to a negotiated settlement. If there was no victory then any negotiations would mean loss of territory but more than that even more loss to Imperial prestige; that was not something Ferdinand would accept very easily.
The Papal vote was in two weeks, Ferdinand prayed he would hear from General Kyler before then, otherwise Ferdinand would have to play out a huge gamble.
News did arrive from General Kyler a week later.
He had been defeated at Ulrichsburg and had to retreat back to Quedinburg, the capital of Ulrichstein he had lost 2,500 men in the battle and his army was beyond any offensive capability, he intended to place his troops in winter quarters and await further instructions, a few days later more bad news arrived that General Romer had been defeated at a place called Penie near Newhausen.
This news came as a thunderbolt, Ferdinand was sure he had the troops to defeat that damned Rechburgian Prince, failure now meant a host of other ills would likely start to rise. Not the least being that he would have to negotiate with the Rechburgians, the worst likely effect was that this defeat could only encourage Prince Konstantin and Princess Arabella to strike out on their own.
The defeat mixed with the likelihood of Hapburgia losing the Papal throne would in the eyes of many in Europia be seen as the beginning of the decline of the Hapburgian Empire, he would have to send a message in such a way that all of Europia would understand that Hapburgia was far from weak and declining.
It was just unfortunate that the timing of all these events occurred when Hapburgia could not strike out, all he could do until the campaign season resumed was negotiate and intrigue while he prepared for a war that must now come.
Herzog Constantine II sat at his desk, opposite him sat Rechburg’s Prime Minister Hienrich Schmettau, General Molyneaux the Army chief of staff who had recently returned from the Bergatonian border where he had been assisting Prince Leopold and finally there was his daughter Princess Caroline.
Constantine’s smile told volumes as he read the reports just received from his son and heir Prince Wilhelm, nodding with each sentence read and the grin was becoming infectious, now the others were smiling and grinning at each other and they did not have a clue what was in the dispatch.
“Well father, are you going to tell us, or must we all sit here waiting forever.” Caroline demanded.
Constantine placed the missive on his desk, he leaned back in his chair and looking at Caroline said
“Your brother has just won a major battle in Ulrichstein, he has clearly defeated the Imperial army, in fact the victory is so complete the Imperials have withdrawn back to the Ulrichstein capital of Quedinburg, which means most of Ulrichstein is now under our control. It appears General Walmoden has also gained a victory near Newhausen so the Imperils have only Quedinburg to call their own.”
Caroline squealed with delight, she had been so worried about Wilhelm she knew he would put every fibre of his essence in fighting these battles and she also was aware that he would not hesitate to put himself in danger if he had to, and for that reason she had always feared something awful would happen to him.
“Is Wilhelm alright father”?
Leopold nodded, “Yes, yes my dear he is fine and he sends you all his love.”
General Molyneaux was smiling as well, something of a rarity thought Constantine, he handed the General the statistics of the battle, while the General quickly read through the details Constantine turned to Prime Minister Schmettau.
“How do we take advantage of this victory Hienrich?”
The Prime Minister sat with his small brief case sitting firmly on his lap clutching it as if its contents were giving him reassurance. Staring at Constantine over those rather thick lenses in his spectacles he said,
“Naturally Sire this is excellent news, indeed most excellent. However it does rather emphasise that we find ourselves in an awkward situation, these victories that the two young Princes have gained for us will place the Herzogtum on top of the list for many nations in Europia, in some cases those lists will be good, and for others it will be bad.”
The Prime Minister paused for breath,
“Our allies will be heartened by these victories sire, so much so they may themselves be emboldened to chance their luck in wars, I am thinking in particular of Pomonia who has been making noises about the Kingdom of Vallahalla again. So perhaps one of our first requirements is to consult with the allies and try to keep them from doing anything foolish, especially something that will require us to step in and help. It does also places us in the dominant position in deciding what to do with Ulrichstein, and that will likely create its own dilemma’s. For example if the Emperor decides to drag negotiations out until the spring we will likely have a new war over there, so we need to negotiate with some urgency, it will require some delicate discussions for should we be too firm in our demands the Emperor will simply delay, too lax in them and we will one day have to do this all over again.
Finally sire, it means nations such as Bergatonia and even Danemark will look upon as an increased threat, which may prompt one of them to try and bring Rechburg back to size.”
General Molyneaux looked up from the papers he was reading, glancing at the Prime Minister he said
“Surely Heinrich you are not telling us that because we won these battles were are in greater danger than if we lost them”
“No. no General I am not inferring we are in greater danger, merely in a different type of danger, if we had lost we were vulnerable as a weak nation, so the more aggressive neighbours would have wasted no time attacking us for whatever pretext they wished. Now however we will be seen as a dominant and more powerful nation, so it is more likely that our enemies will unite against us, so it is the alliances developing we must watch out for, for in them we will most likely see our next enemies.”
The General nodded, and then pointing to one of the pages on his lap he said
“It says here Archduke Ferdinand was not commanding at Ulrichsburg, prisoners state that he was summoned home because the Emperor was dying, what do we know of that Heinrich.”
“Indeed general, the news we have from Veronia is that Emperor Charles I has indeed passed away and that Archduke Ferdinand is now Emperor, however I have reports from our agents that there was some sort of Coup attempt involving the Prince and Princess of Wartenburg.”
Constantine laughed, “Good god when it rains bad news for Hapburgia it does so by the bucket load. So Hienrich what do we know of this supposed Coup and how has it affected things there between the new Emperor and Wartenburg, by god I would love to be a fly on the wall in Ferdinand’s palace when he found out about that.”
“Well sire I gather that Hapburgia now has other issues as well and that involves the papal throne, I have been calculating the possible outcomes of the votes and as far as I can see, the most sure new seat for the throne would be Iberia; however if, and I do stipulate If Franconia throws in its hat, then it could go to them, for then it would depend on how the Hapburgian and Wartenburg cards are played.”
Constantine rose from his chair, he walked over to the window for a moment, a slight breeze was coming in, a definite winter chill, and he closed it and then returned to the desk.
Constantine spoke, perhaps more to himself than the others; but they all overheard him anyway.
“If Iberia gets the Papal seat, we could very well be in for a lot of trouble, not the least from that bloody mad Duke, but also from Danemark as they seem to have cuddled up with the Iberians over the voting issue, I can full well see that Danemark would seek Iberian help to regain Flensburg and that means a war for us.”
“Surely not father, these past few weeks I was sure things were improving with Danemark, I mean with the visits between you and Princess Charlotte becoming so frequent half Rechburg is expecting to hear the wedding announcement.”
Constantine smiled, he had heard the rumours and he wondered how many had been started as wishful thinking on behalf of his daughter, for she and Princess Charlotte and now become firm friends as well.
“Well my dear I can assure you there will be no wedding bells, far too much has happened for that, no Caroline and I are the dearest of friends but that is where it will stay. Oh I suspect her brother Olaf has been pushing the wedding idea along, if merely to gain Rechburg’s approval through a family alliance for his war against Flensburg. No there will be no wedding and no alliance, my commitment to Flensburg is as strong as the day I announced it.”
General Molyneaux then spoke up,
“So if Iberia gets the Papal seat we can expect troubles from Bergatonia and Danemark, that then means troubles for our colonies and the maritime trade, Sire we are not strong enough to deal with such combinations, we must increase the defense budget considerably.”
Constantine sat back down.
“Yes General and as Hienrich pointed out, as a result of our victory in Ulrichsburg and the papal seat possibly moving to Iberia we are moving into an era of new dangers and we must prepare for them, both militarily as well as diplomatically.”
Charlotte asked “So if we don’t want Iberia to have the Papal throne, who on earth is acceptable to us.”
“Oh I should think Franconia would be my preference, first of all Franconia is much more stable and reliable than Iberia, but also Franconia and Hapburgia will be a counter balance to each other in central Europia, especially as far as Wartenburg is concerned.”
Constantine looked at the three of them in turn, and then his eyes settled back on the Prime Minister,
“Hienrich we need to settle Ulrichstein and quickly, also I think we need to look at conscription in the spring, it won’t be popular but I don’t see we have any choice if we are to survive the next year.”
“Very well Sire” the Prime Minister replied “What will our conditions for Ulrichstein be?”
“The Hapburgians can no longer claim a ecclesiastical interest in Ulrichstein, particularly if they lose the throne, it will simply come down to a territorial issue, so this is what I demand.
Hapburgia gets to keep Quedinburg and we keep the rest under a new treaty where we will guarantee the protection of the Catholic subjects that choose to remain in our territory. It’s the same treaty they imposed on us last time, it’s merely this time we have the boot on their throat instead.”
Hienrich nodded, “I doubt the new Emperor will be keen to sign up to that Sire, being new he has to create an impression of strength to survive, and these demands will sound like a defeat to him.”
“Yes I know Hienrich, it will be galling for him I know, so let us see what he comes back with, but he does need to be reminded; regardless how we nicely we present this it was a defeat for him personally and for his Empire.”
“And the papal throne Sire, what should we do there?” Hienrich asked.
“We will wait and see, just wait and see who fights over the crumbs”.
Chapter 12 - Papal Intrigues
The King of Franconia Jean I was not a patient man, he had
sat with his council of state listening to the pros and cons of Franconia
putting forward a candidate for the Papal throne, it was discussion as
pointless as it was overly long; but it was necessary to placate the egos of
the nobles and members on the council.
The council was not constructive in its advice, but that
hardly surprised King Juan because the members of the council was so ridden
with self interests they could rarely agree in what order they should walk
through a door way, let alone agree on matters of state.
It was not
that King Juan needed the Council of State, in fact he sat here listening to
the droning of members as if he hung on to every word, whereas in fact he is
mind traversed the real issues. What the council achieved in a day King Juan
would have decided within the hour, perhaps even less.
the revolt of the Nobles those many years ago the nobles and functionaries of
Government had assumed a position of authority over the Franconian Kings,
however since Juan I had been King he had been on a pathway of re-establishing
the authority of the throne. Naturally there were his opponents who would hang
on to every thread of hope through intrigue or open opposition just to retain
power and prestige in Franconia. The opposition that the King faced was no
better represented than by the very annoying and ambitious Cardinal Patel, a
man that saw himself as a candidate for the Papal throne. Sadly he was not a
man without influence and power, so King Juan had at least to go through the
motions of paying attention to the words, even if both detested each other.
Patel had been for over the last 30 minutes extolling the Council about the
benefits of Franconia having the Papal seat, not just a papal seat but a
separate papal throne from the traditional joint throne that had been the
custom for hundreds of years; now King Juan had finally decided he had paid
enough sufferance to the imbecile.
raised his hand, which was a polite way of saying “shut up, you have bored us
Cardinal Patel as usual your advice has been informative as it has been interesting.
Now if I may abbreviate your discussion you propose we put a candidate forward
because it offers Franconia the power and influence over other Catholic states
that we cannot achieve through diplomatic means. However your eminence I am
more than a little concerned that you wished to return to the old ways of
having two separate thrones within a state, the throne of the Royal House and a
separate ecclesiastical throne.
To my mind
the joint thrones as practiced by nations such Hapburgia has served them well,
it focused the power and attention where it matters, at the head of state
rather than possibly having a situation where powers and responsibilities will
eventually over lap and in the end cause confusion and discourse within the
realm. To my mind this is unacceptable at this time”.
rose “Your Majesty, I sincerely believe that by having the dual throne system
the odious duties of the church can be lifted from your shoulders so that you
have much more freedom to guide our realm.”
nodded “Your consideration for my welfare is touching Cardinal Patel, but
believe me if and I do say IF we put a candidate forward it will be under the
single throne system, and please my dear cardinal you do not need concern
yourself over my well being. With a council of State with such an illustrious grouping
of advisors as I have here I really do not see the need to share power further.
Besides if I remember correctly am I not a part of Royal dynasty that was appointed
by god, what better way for me to serve god but as his earthly representative”
sat, quietly fuming, he knew before the meeting he would not have a chance to
wrestle the papal throne away from the King if he chose to put himself forward
as a candidate, but for the cardinal this was only the first shots in a long
war for power and he was really testing the waters within the council as to the
level of support for his proposition. Sadly he pondered to himself, most of
these dull minded royal lackeys wouldn’t raise a finger to help themselves let
alone raise the power and influence of the church in Franconia, his church.
continued,” Alright gentlemen for now we will stay the course of keeping the
throne a singular entity with dual responsibilities, both royal and ecclesiastical,
now Cardinal Patel has quite rightly reminded us of the power and influence a
Papal seat gives us; do we take chance of this opportunity now or is there a
for Foreign affairs and younger brother to the King Prince Louis rose.
“Sire I have
listened to both sides to this worthy discussion and if I may I just wish to
offer a few suggestions and guidelines that I have seen from my position as
Minister of Foreign affairs.
last decades Franconia has come from a nation that was broken and divided, the
colonial wars in Gurania ruined generations of lives, the plague and winters of
the last two or three decades treated all of Europia badly, but Franconia in
gentlemen, today Franconia sits once more preeminent amongst the Empires of
Europia, we are economically and technologically far more advanced than Iberia
and Hapburgia and we have managed this not only through the devotion and
excellent service such as yourselves but because we have avoided the pitfalls
that Iberia and Hapburgia both have fallen into.”
looked straight at cardinal Patel, a man he hated with a passion.
pitfall Gentlemen is defending the faith, quite frankly having the papal throne
means war, it means we are automatically in a state of war with every
Protestant nation in Europia, oh it may not be a declared war but the war of defending
the faith does mean the nation with the papal throne must defend that
responsibility, not only defend it but to destroy the enemies of the true
faith, the catholic church.
that mean in real terms? For Franconia
it means our maritime trade is threatened, not only with our own colonies but
with rich nations such as Britannia and her colonies and the trade with the
Empire of the Tsars which has been increasing annually.
Will we risk
this for the income from the holding the Papal throne, the income is I will
admit quite significant, but in accepting it
we accept that it is our nation that must led the war against the
heretics, not only the protestant nations such as Britannia and Rechburg but
nations such as the Orthodox church of the Empire of the Tsars and the Islamic
church of the Attaman Empire. In other words Gentleman that income is swallowed
up by the need to produce more men, more ships and more armaments; in brief our
economy will at best stagnate at worse shrink just as it has done with Iberia
and Hapburgia when they have held the Papacy.”
Patel rose to speak, but King Juan rose his hand which meant – you have had your time sit down and listen
you might even learn something.
smiled at the Cardinal, “Now gentlemen I am sure Cardinal Patel would remind us
it is our right and duty to defend the church, and I am in agreement with that,
but not as the pre-eminent nation of the Catholic Church. Let Hapburgia or
Iberia lead that struggle and deal with the consequences, we can support them
as a supporting and dutiful Catholic nation and still not be drawn into the
consequences of a continuous state of war.
gentlemen I wish to add that while I see wars defending the faith may be a
necessity of the faith, I would rather Franconia fight wars that in the first
instance benefit her economically, secondly gain territory and finally and only
then fight to support the faith. We are entering a new age gentlemen, it is no
longer the age of prayer and sufferance of the soul, Franconia has shown the
way in how to govern and survive. We should choose our enemies not because some
Pope says we should but because we can gain economically or gain diplomatically
the cardinal rose and this time the King let him speak
can think of nothing more primeval and horrible than fighting wars for money
and the glory of Kings, Good grief if that becomes a principle then the world
will soon be at war with each other just so Kings can bask in their earthly
glory, a pathway that leads to ruin for us all except the winning ruling house,
which will be a house that rules a world of devastation. It is the very pathway
of Satan and I do not say that lightly gentlemen.
There is no
doubt in my mind that war for the aggrandizement of Kings is a pathway that
leads to ruin, the ruin of our souls as we sell the love of god for the love of
man made glories, defending the faith however raises us above that primeval
energy that would bring us ruin, fighting for the glory of god gives sustenance
to our souls just as it does to the purses of Government.
speaks of Iberia and Hapburgia shrinking economies, yet we see Iberia expanding
its colonies at the expense of pagan natives, we see Danemark crawling to
Iberia for favours and ships, does this sound like those nations are on their knees.
Hapburgia has fought wars and has held back the wave of heretic nations, we
should have done more, I have over the years lamented the fact that we favoured
filling our purses while true godly nations like Hapburgia carried the burden.
But despite the last two decades of holding the Papacy Hapburgia still stands
strong as the defender of the faith, I am sure no one here calls Hapburgia a
ruined nation, a weak nation and now it has a new vital Emperor I am sure it
will also be a grand supporter for that nation that takes up the torch.
gentleman, let us hear no more of short term earthly gains at the expense of
our spiritual goodness, let not our fellow Catholic brother’s fight alone, it
is our duty to share the burden of defending the faith as much as it is in
sharing the glory of god.”
sat down once more.
sat looking around the room, it was time he thought to himself, this may not be
taken to well and I must be ready for dissent but if Franconia is to be strong
I must do this.
I have listened to your wise council and believe me when I say all your pleas
and arguments have touched me dearly, sadly I now must make the decision for
which way Franconia will go over the next decade or so. It is a decision I do
not take lightly, but it is one that I have considered benefits us all.
Franconia will not be putting a candidate forward for the papacy unless
Hapburgia declines to do so. In fact it is my intention to urge Hapburgia to
resume that role, even though at this stage they have not declared whether they
will do so or not.”
rose to his feet” My god sire, you will damn us in the eyes of god, we are
turned to cardinal Patel, “Cardinal you forget yourself, I have the floor and I
will brook no interruption from anyone in this room, is that understood sir?’
“Sire I have
meant no disrespect but this is a matter of papal jurisdiction that needs to be
fully discussed, I am sure sire the other members of this house are not aware
that the Franconian Papal Financial obligations have not been met for the last
two years, in truth sire that leaves us open to being expelled from the College
of cardinals and taking even being allowed to have a vote let alone place a bid
for the Papal throne. What do you intend to do about this sire?
stood, glaring at the cardinal he said “Your eminence I am on my feet, you will
be seated please.”
slowly sat down; it seemed every fibre of his body was shaking with fury.
cardinal is quite correct in some aspects; Franconia has not paid its full fees
for two years because
And I have
discussed this with the late Pope Charles I, the Papal throne has not invoked a
state of war for this period and we do not see the need to finance the Papacy
for a situation that has not occurred. What we have done is pay the fees due
for our membership within the College of Cardinals, and his eminence must have
known that considering it was paid through his offices. If he didn’t he has
been negligent in running his office, if he has and he has just falsely accused
me of a wrong doing, that has much more serious issues. However gentlemen I do
not wish to haggle over the rights or wrongs of how the Cardinal runs his
office, that matter will be discussed in the appropriate place and time.”
ticked off a mental box in his mind, step one in gaining full Royal control;
exert direct control and authority within the council, the King continued,
in the event Hapburgia does not place a candidate then I will reluctantly put
my name forward, but I will only do this so that Iberia does not gain the
throne by default.”
again looking at the Cardinal and his allies within the council,
“If I am
declared Pope I can assure you the way the Papacy will be run will be vastly
different than it has in the past, as Pope I will defend those who are of our
faith, but I will no longer seek to convert and punish realms that have made
their own secular choices, in short gentlemen I want to put an end to the
religious wars of the last century, as mentioned earlier, we are heading into a
new age of enlightenment, and under my Papacy that will include the catholic
In the past
years when the world suffered what seemed eternal dark winters and years of
plagues it suited nations to have the papacy and the King in the one entity,
for the nation that held the Papal throne was seen as the nation favoured by
god, the ruling house was deemed to be gifted and protected by the hand of god
and thus the people would accept their sufferance with some spiritual
forbearance; knowing that God acting through their Kings and Emperors would
guide them to a period of peace and tranquility.
I don’t believe god ever intends it to be
By the same token however I don’t believe that
it is necessary to have the papal throne for a nation to prosper, our own
Kingdom is a classical example of that. We can see God has blessed Franconia by
its growing influence, the betterment of its people and its increasing wealth,
all this without a Papal throne and even with not persecuting other religions
within our Empire.
If I am
blessed by the faithful to assume the Papal throne I will as mentioned change
the ways things have been done, the throne of Franconia and the Papal throne together
will protect the Catholic faith, but we will not persecute those who believe
thing I will not do is allow a corrupt and backward regime such as Iberia to bring
the aura of the Papacy into disrepute, I will offer my support to Hapburgia
because in my mind they have acted faithfully, if they feel unable to accept
that task for now, then reluctantly I will accept the challenge, but if I do so
it is under my rules and my guidance, and those are not the dictates of the
King Juan I declared the council session closed and rose and left the room, he
was shortly followed by his brother Prince Louis and the Constable of Franconia
Duc de Boise.
made their way down to the Royal apartments, once there all three collapsed
down in the lounge chairs, they sat there looking from one to the other, then
the king started laughing and before long all we laughing.
said “My god I thought the cardinal was going to have a fit when you said there
would not be a papacy in Franconia, and did you see his hands when you said you
support a Hapburgia claim to the Papal throne, my god they were shaking with
rose from his chair and went to the desk ringing a bell, moments later a servant
please bring us three coffees.”
bowed and left the room.
once again walked back to his chair and eased himself down, he said
right at this moment two things will be happening, there will be a courier from
the Cardinal heading to Iberia very soon, no doubt informing them that we will
support Hapburgia if Hapburgia choose to hold the papacy and the second is the
Cardinal and his friends will be quietly testing the waters with the other
members of the council to see if they can wean any more support away from me.”
asked “Why do you let him get away with this Juan, why not simply dismiss him
and get rid of the dissent, for god sake we might even enjoy the council
meetings were he not there anymore”.
little brother” the king replied, “I like to keep my enemies close, it’s much
easier to watch them and know what they are about rather than allow them to go
underground and meet secretly, they already do enough of that without encouraging
Constable of Franconia Duc de Boise asked,
is it your really intend, I have more than a sneaking feeling what we heard in
there was not where you intend to take us?”
There was a
knock on the door, the servant wheeled in a trolley with three coffees, he
moved amongst the trio placing their cups on the appropriate side tables, he
then bowed and left the room.
looked at de Boise, he was the one man within his close circle apart from Louis he trusted most, and therefore
was a valuable advisor and friend.
“Yes you are
quite perceptive my friend, I have not been entirely open with the council, the
reason for that is twofold, firstly I intend to do away with the council before
long, I am sick and tired of the factional arguments they spend days trying to
resolve the simplest arguments. It is an archaic system and it is bad
government. I do expect the nobles to scream and perform and so at the moment
while they think they have a chance to weaken me in the council my own people
are determining those who we can rely on and those who will betray us at the
first opportunity. Have no doubt, before this week is over Franconia is going
to be vastly different, a difference that will make our Kingdom much stronger.
have already heard from Hapburgia, they want to buy our neutrality with an
offer of their two votes if we stay neutral in their argument with Wartenburg,
I have heard from Wartenburg they will support us with their vote if we support
them, so it would seem if I support Hapburgia I will be the Pope.”
sat looking, “yes and so what will you do?”
leaned forward taking the coffee cup; again he eased himself back in his chair,
gently sipping the coffee.
accept the papal throne from Hapburgia, and when it is appropriate I will as
the advocate of the Papal throne intercede with Wartenburg and Hapburgia to
prevent them from going to war.”
Duc de Boise
looked on incredulous,” My god Sire, that means you would go back on your word,
if you accept Hapburgia’s vote then are you not duty bound to act on it.”
continued sipping his coffee, then said “No not at all, I will act in the first
instance what is best for Franconia and then what is best for the Papacy, in
this case I will have Wartenburg beholden to me for protecting them but I will
not allow them to claim independence from the Hapburgian Empire, so both
parties will gain what they seek, the Prince and Princess of Wartenburg becomes
King and Queen, and Hapburgia retains Wartenburg as a client Kingdom. Sometimes
Louis we must treat these Kings and Princes like we do our children, and like
all parents sometimes it is convenient to twist the truth a little.
In the end
they will see the wisdom of me acting in such a manner both sides hold their
honour and both will consider Franconia a reliable friend.”
you cannot be sure it will go as you expect, we could end up in a real mess,
what off Iberia how do you think they will respond?” Louis asked.
Iberia, like the Cardinal will see me as the instrument of Satan, what they
will do is plot against me, Iberia will plot from the outside and try to build
a coalition and the cardinal from within, when they do I will act.”
Duc de Boise
placed his coffee back on the side table,
expect a war with Iberia then Sire?”
possibly but I doubt it, but what I will be doing is seeking a reapproachment
with Brittania and possibly Rechburg, if we can come to some ahhhh diplomatic
arrangement with both of them then Iberia will be less than enthusiastic to
make war on anyone.”
Louis squealed “You will make peace with the protestants our own people will
likely revolt Juan, that’s madness.”
revolt especially if I end up with the Papal throne, but even without it our
people will be glad of the extra trade and wealth that comes from improving our
relations with the Protestant nations. As I said to the council, we need to
bury the old ways, we are in an age of enlightenment and the time of religious
wars should be over; now each nation should seek its own pathway based on its
own merits and its own abilities. It is the time of nationhood and we should
“As the cardial said back there, It sounds like a time of Kings and god only
knows where that will lead.”
“God and the Pope know my friend.”
more question Juan if you will” asked Louis? “What if Hapburgia will not take
the throne and you don’t agree to remain neutral in Wartenburg, he will likely
vote for Iberia just to remain in favour with the new Pope”.
if that happens then we will live in interesting and dangerous times, but we
Ferdinand and Count Manfred von Lustburgerstein who had under Charles I been
the Empires Exchequer was now the First Minister of the Hapburgian Empire.
sitting in the Emperors office, it was 5am and dark outside, the one big and
main difference Manfred had noted between this Emperor and Charles was
Ferdinand was a workaholic; he rose at 4am every morning and usually went to
bed around midnight.
Manfred had to change his old routine of being in the office at 7am but at
least the Emperor granted him the luxury of being able to go to bed earlier
than his master.
Ferdinand and Manfred were discussing the mail and events that have come in
over night, they had heard back from the Franconian Emperor and it was not
particularly good news.
it seems King Juan will honour us by allowing us to vote for him in the Papal
vote, yet he offers nothing in return; he has not agreed to remain neutral in
the Wartenburg affair so I suspect he has his own plans for my little sister,
either allowing them to become a Kingdom or worse allowing them to cede into
the Franconian Empire”.
“My god sire
that is a gross violation of Hapburgian sovereignty no matter which option he
chooses.” Manfred gasped almost spilling his early morning cup of tea.
“Yes you are
quite right my friend, a gross violation and he knows it, but he will no doubt
explain the violation away in some nice papal legalistic judgment, a situation
which means if we oppose it we are in opposition to the Papal jurisdiction to
make judgments between ruling houses.”
will you do Sire?”
“ First I
will vote for Iberia and if somehow he should still become Pope I would ignore
his judgments, you see in King Juan I I think we have a new type of ruler, he
has been hiding his talents away and there is no doubt he has done a marvel
with the Franconian economy, Of course it is easy to do so when you fail to
honour your obligations to allies, every time we have sought assistance from
Franconia they have come up with some excuse not to get involved. All the wars
we have fought on behalf of the Papacy Franconia has benefited from, either by
not paying its share of Papal financial obligations, or lining up for the
spoils latter. Also this King has
developed a skill for intrigue and diplomacy; in fact I suspect he rather
enjoys it, as one would enjoy a game of whist.
So Manfred we must amuse our new playmate, I too love a game, so we will
have to see how well he understands the rules.”
nodded his head, since Ferdinand had become King and Emperor everything was in
a state of change, new rules, and new organisations formed from many older ones
that had often duplicated duties, it certainly was a case of the new broom
making a clean sweep.
has everything been made ready for the College of Cardinals?”
the Dessau Palace has been made over to them and we should have the first
guests arriving in the next day or so. On that matter sire I have been asked to
offer a guarantee of protection and immunity for Prince Konstantin and princess
“But sire if
they do not have the offer of protection they will not be able to come and
old friend I believe you are quite right, and so if they cannot come and vote I
will vote on their behalf as their liege and lord. My sister and her husband
are about to learn the new rules in the game of Kingship, and the first rule is
if you don’t own a throne you don’t get to play.”
muttered, “I think I may like this game sire, but it makes me extremely
shouldn’t Manfred, embrace the thrill and together I am sure will enjoy
“Sire may I
ask, being since I am getting a little old for new games, there is every chance
the aims of the game may get lost in my rather simple mind.”
Manfred you do yourself an injustice, you are neither old nor simple, it is the
one reason I chose you as my first minister. Now secondly the aim of this
particular game is not to be the one caught with the Papal throne though I
suspect Juan has not become aware of that yet.”
“N,n, not to
have the Papal throne, I don’t understand, I thought it was what nations almost
went to war to claim, and now you are saying you don’t want it.”
laughed “Its not that I don’t want it, its just I would prefer not to have it.
Juan only wants it if Iberia is likely to get it, and Iberia wants it to rule
over the rest of us, but you see Manfred neither Juan or I really place any
value in the papal throne anymore. So it really doesn’t matter at least to me
whether Iberia or Franconia gets it; in fact as Charles found out the Papacy
can be a liability. I would prefer to see the Papal throne given a permanent
small realm of its own, and then the cardinals can go and play their games
leaving the ruling of the kingdoms to those that matter.”
sire, if Iberia or Franconia has the Papacy, we are obligated to obey its
judgments, that is the way it always has been.”
friend, that’s the perception, for example when Rechburg invaded Ulrichstein,
neither Iberia nor Franconia answered the call. They both had excuses and even Iberia’s
ally Bergatonia only attacked out of spite and not obligation, so you see
Manfred, kings don’t respect the papacy anymore. The reason they don’t respect
it is the Papacy lacks teeth. I am sure Juan understands that, Emperor
Fernandez of Iberia is likely about to learn that.”
the papacy has the power of excommunication.” Manfred replied.
does, and that’s its only weapon, but the papacy that uses it will likely make
all Catholic Kingdoms nervous, and that creates its own problems. No Manfred I
don’t fear excommunication, I doubt Juan would use it and if Miguel Fernandez
does he may learn a valuable lesson that is use excommunication and every
catholic ruler will likely turn on you, you see Manfred we Kings are a prickly
lot; we may backstab each other but use a universal weapon like excommunication
on a brother Sovereign and you would invoke a war of unbelievable ferocity
purely out of the fear the next time it could be you or your Kingdom.”
“So Sire, I
think I understand, the Papacy is irrelevant other than a tool in diplomacy, it’s
sort of sad in a way, I wonder how god would feel about that.”
“I have no
doubt my friend that one day we will find out”.
what else have you for me this morning?”
of the Rechburg demands for Ulrichstein, what shall we do there sire?”
then Manfred this matter requires some delicate negotiations, clearly their
first demands are the opening shots and we will respond in kind, but I want you
to handle these negotiations personally so I need you to understand my
the next Campaign season I wish to reclaim Wartenburg, there is every chance I
may get Iberian support for this, even if their support does not amount to
actual military help they could demonstrate on the Franconian border if
Franconia makes a move to help Arabella and Konstantin.
foremost Wartenburg is Hapburgian territory so if Franconia intercedes it does
so knowing they are making war on us, personally I don’t think Juan wants a
war, there is little profit in it besides his army is untried so it’s a risk he
may not like to try.
So if I am
to be involved in a war in Wartenburg either against Franconia or my sister the last thing I need is to have the
Ulrichstein mess blow up on me again, everything in its own time and place
eehhh Manfred, so this is what I want you to do.”
By the time
Ferdinand finished explaining his strategy for Rechburg Manfred was totally
aghast, my god the world is a changing place he thought to himself, he then
snickered as he left to pack his travel bags,
like this new game.
Chapter 13 - Changes
All the Cardinals from every Catholic nation had assembled
at the Dessau palace, however the meeting and purpose of the Electoral College
turned out for many to be an anti-climax. The results of the elections were
known before anyone sat down to formally discuss the business of the college.
Once it was known that Hapburgia would vote for Iberia, the
Franconian Cardinal Palet had withdrawn his sovereigns bid (as per King Juan’s
instructions) before the college even sat down for the formal business. King
Juan I had realised there was a possibility that Hapburgia might do the
unthinkable and support his rival because he had not agreed to promise to
remain neutral in the Hapburgia-Wartenburg argument. It had been a risk in not
issuing that promise and now Franconia paid the price for it. Juan was certain
that Ferdinand of Hapburgia would weigh up the two remaining candidates and
decide Juan was more reliable than Miguel Fernandez of Iberia.
In his heart of hearts Juan was not too disappointed that Franconia
would not have the papacy, it merely complicated his plans but it would not
stop them, and at least now he had a free hand to rule for Franconia and not
the Catholic faith. He had sent cardinal Patel to represent him at the
Electoral college, so uncertain was he that he would gain the papacy he decided
the risk of loss of face in being there personally was too great, if by some
miracle he had gained the Papal throne he could have been in Hapburgia for the
Papal coronation within a week.
In the end King Juan realised he had misjudged Ferdinand,
obviously the new Emperor of Hapburgia was playing a longer game than Juan had
given him credit for, but he had other ways of tweaking the Hapburgian king.
The first things to do would be to write to the Prince and Princess of
Wartenburg with a few words of encouragement and advice.
Cardinal Palet King Juan’s Papal representative was not at
all surprised at the result either, in fact he had kept the Iberians informed
of what King Juan’s attitude to the Papacy was, the Iberians were just as
concerned as Cardinal Palet that perhaps
King Juan was turning his back on the Catholic faith.
If the surprise was to be complete for anyone it was to the
man who received the honour, for Emperor Miguel Fernandez this was the moment
of crowning glory, he had finally reached the cherished goal of Pope, the
highest office in mother church. He was 72 years old but this was literally his
crowning glory. To him the past Popes had been too weak, the Papal throne had
fallen into disrepute and the word of God was not given the respect nor the
priority that it deserves, but all that will change now he decided.
When he arrived in Hapburgia for the Electoral College vote he
was surprised to find the new Emperor Ferdinand had prepared rooms in his own
palace for him to stay in, it was he realised a singular honour that was being
presented to him however as Ferdinand
had said on his arrival it was beneficial for both to learn more about each
On that first night, Ferdinand had told Emperor Fernandez
that he would be supporting him in the vote, in that moment the Iberian monarch
knew he had the papacy and his gratitude was manifest at this unexpected boon.
He like King Juan had expected Hapburgia to vote for Franconia, so this new
development needed to be explored further.
Over the next day or so Ferdinand had explained the
treachery that Prince Konstantin and Arabella had displayed towards him, though
the Iberian had heard the story as gossip to learn the details first hand
raised his anger. In fact so much so Ferdinand had to cool the Iberians ardor
for he feared the man might go to war then and there. So passionate was he
about a sovereigns own princes being faithful to their liege lords that he said
he felt almost as insulted as Ferdinand was.
Ferdinand had explained to Miguel that he had sought an
assurance from Franconia that they would remain neutral, and when Franconia had
not agreed to give that assurance in writing Ferdinand said he realised King
Juan was not the man to hold the Papal throne. It required a man of integrity
and wisdom and that was why he had decided to give Miguel his full support.
Miguel Fernandez King of Iberia and Emperor or the Iberian
Empire as well as Pope elect was horrified that a fellow Catholic sovereign would
conspire with another’s Prince to try and steal his lands, he at that moment
assured Ferdinand his new friend that Hapburgia would have Iberia’s full
support, no matter the consequences.
From that moment on the Papal elections were but a
formality, at the end of the whole process Pope Miguel had left Hapburgia full
of love and goodwill to his new friend Ferdinand, the other cardinals left soon
Now alone at last Ferdinand wondered how his first minister Count
Manfred von Lustburgerstein was doing in the Herzogtum von Rechburg.
The journey to Ulrichstein had been a long and arduous one,
the roads were often blocked by snow and long detours had to be made, however 2
weeks after leaving he arrived in the
Ulrichstein capital Quedinburg, he rested there for two days having to
get over the effects of a serious chill he had picked up on his journey.
However once rested and feeling much stronger he made his way to Ulrichsburg to
meet with Prince Wilhelm.
had initially expected the Hapburgians would negotiate an Ulrichstein treaty
with him personally but after Manfred had assured him though no disrespect was
intended his brief was such that he needed to speak with the Herzog directly.
Wilhelm left the army in winter quarters and decided to accompany Manfred back
to Rechburg. Wilhelm had taken the precaution of sending a courier ahead to
warn of the Hapburgian Ministers arrival.
As the coach
arrived at the steps of the Herzog’s official residence Manfred was surprised
to see the Herzog’s family were all out
on the steps to welcome him, even though it was late at night.
Manfred was only too well aware that he was
the first Hapburgian Minister to visit the Herzogtum in decades, so he was
really uncertain of the nature of the welcome he would receive. After the many
years of animosity and wars between the two nations there was every reason to
suspect he would be received very coolly or at least with suspicion.
descended the steps and waited for Manfred to step down from the coach; Prince Wilhelm
did the introductions and then in turn received the biggest welcome from his
sister Caroline followed by bear hugs from his younger brother Leopold who had
come up from the south for this special occasion. Caroline literally smothered
him in kisses and hugs then getting between her two brothers shook hooked her
arms between theirs and marched them up the steps.
A footman helped Manfred step down from the coach;
Constantine was there to greet him as he stepped down on the snow covered
children made their way up the steps they left Constantine and Manfred smiling
at each other,
apologise Minister Lustburgerstein, my family have been separated for some time
and as no doubt you will discover they do have a rather nasty habit of allowing
family bonds to overrule official duties, but please let us go in out of the
cold, you must be very tired and I am sure you will need a rest”
simply said, “Sire you have already shown me a great consideration in allowing
me to share in the family reunion and yes I must confess the journey has been a
long and a very tiring one, sadly I am not as young as as I once was when I
used to race around the continent on the Emperors business. But please sire, if
you will allow me one instant of informality please call me Manfred as I am
afraid my name becomes a mouthful when in official discussions.”
nodded “Manfred it is then, so Manfred a nice warm fire and a good nights rest,
a chance for you to gather your strength and a chance for me to listen to my
children tell tales all night.”
The two men
climbed the steps, Manfred was offered a supper which he respectively decline, Constance
made polite conversation but he could see Manfred was wearying and Manfred eventually asked if he could
excuse himself as the journey had taken a severe toll on him, he was shown to
his rooms and allowed to rest.
down in the family room, the Herzog’s family was laughing and jesting with each
other, Constantine stood with his back to the fire basking in the warmth of the
fire and the joy of having his family together.
over, Caroline was still attached to him, arm in arm.
Wilhelm said “what do you think the Hapburgians want.”
had been wondering just that since he had received the message that the
Hapburgian First Minister wanted to discuss new terms and arrangements over a host
of new issues. It was apparent they were to discuss more than Ulrichstein, and
apart from that he wondered what else they had in common, he hoped it was not
some issue with Pomona and Vandahalla; he had enough on his plate right now.
“Well son I
am at a loss, so I guess we will find out in the morning.”
The rest of
the night and into the early hours of the morning Constantine and his family
discussed much from wars and battles to Caroline’s plans to marry their father
off to Princess Charlotte of Danemark, eventually the whole family tired and
made their way to bed.
morning Manfred who was by now usually conditioned to waking at 4:00am and
going to work this morning struggled to get out of bed early, he realised as he
dressed that he was far more tired and weary than he first thought so by the
time Manfred eventually made his way down stairs it was 8:00am. Even at that
late hour the only one of the family up and about was Princess Caroline, she as
was her manner immediately latched on to him and walked him around the palace,
her arm through his as she explained paintings of the family and various Rechburgian
scenes. They eventually made their way into what she described as the family
room, it was a large comfortable and quite informal room, the fire was already
burning and the staff had just laid out what clearly was a breakfast table.
Manfred was a little aghast at all the informality, he wasn’t sure of the
protocol when one found themselves in another sovereigns family room waiting
for the family to descend for breakfast.
asked Manfred if he would like a tea, which he eagerly thanked her for, before
long she had him seated in front of the fire and was bombarding him with
questions about society matters in Hapburgia.
He found it
difficult to remember that Hapburgia and Rechburg were still enemies even more
so than when he found he was being treated almost like one of the family. It
was vastly different from the stiffness and formality of court life in Hapburgia,
and it was many years that he had even remotely enjoyed the sense of a family
gathering. Eventually the whole family came down and gathered in the family
room, once more there were the hugs, kisses amongst Herzog and the family and
all came and shook his hand once again.
then lead them all to the table and Manfred who had expected to be lead out of
the room while the family ate, found instead he was expected to sit down with
them, Caroline patting a seat beside her, “Come sit here Manfred I have
hundreds of questions to ask yet.”
“Now come on
Caroline, leave the poor man alone, there will be time to pester him later”.
servants were bringing platters of breakfast foods for them to choose from,
Constantine looked at Manfred and said.
Manfred, what brings you all this way from Veronia to Albany in mid winter, it
must be of some urgency.”
once more thrown of balance,
“Well Sire I
have been instructed to discuss matters of mutual interest to both our nations
including peace in Ulrichstein”
I am all ears on what your new Emperor proposes.”
looked at him, then at the others gathered around the table,
now Sire here, I thought we would talk these matters over err privately as it
family smiled, Constantine looked up, with a piece of bacon hanging from his
fork, he looked around and there were no servants so he said
“We are fine
now, the servants won’t come back in until we finished….”
then giggled, she whispered overly loudly to her father.
think Manfred means he feels you and he should talk privately, is that not
well your highness, that is the normal way we discuss diplomatic matters”
reached across with a reassuring arm
do things very differently here don’t we father”
had to quickly swallow the bacon and taking a napkin he gently wiped his lips
Manfred, if you have matters to discuss with me, you must tell all of us. Don’t
worry I will make any decisions but my family will always have input into our
nations business, so please my friend, talk away; I’m all ears.”
swallowed and it wasn’t the food that made a lump in his throat, however he had
decided if this is the way one does business so be it.
Emperor Ferdinand very much regrets the situation our two nations have found
themselves in over these last few months, in particular of course I am
referring to Ulrichstein, he has personally asked me to assure you that Bishop
der Plonk will be punished most severely for the actions he committed in the
Bishopric. Furthermore Sire the Emperor asked me to let you know that what the
Bishop has done in Ulrichstein was totally without our knowledge, his actions
were his own and as such even if Rechburg had not responded he would have been
treated as a criminal by us. His actions were unforgiveable and for that you
have my Emperors most sincere apologies..”
placed his fork on the plate,
“I am sure
the apologies are well meant Manfred, but you did not see the suffering and
inhumanities the Bishop and his men inflicted on the Protestants, and might I
add not all were Protestants there were Catholic people who suffered at their
hands as well. It will take a lot more than the Emperors well meant apologies
to make matters right.”
highness you are quite correct and the little damage I did see was horrific
enough without seeing the worst of it all, My Emperor did not only wish me to
pass on his sincerest apologies he has asked me to ensure that the Protestant
people of Ulrichstein are kept safe from future reprisals.”
looked around the family, here it comes
does the Emperor intend to do that Manfred?”
Ferdinand is convinced the way nations viewed each other in the past must
change, the old Catholic versus Protestant or Calvinist attitudes are attitudes
of the past, we must all view each other as neighbours who share similar
values, be they religion, political policies or even similar cultures.
believes the way we connect together as neighbouring nations will reflect the
new emerging Europia, it is he feels obligatory upon us all to find new ways of
understanding each other, failing to do so means we continue on a pathway of
eternal war and conflicts simply because we are off different religious
He feels nations
should be tied together for economic, military or even philosophical reasons,
these are attitudes that become tangible and real to the people; alliances and
relationships based purely on religion are doomed to repeat the failures of the
past simply because they are based on bigotry and bias.”
looked around his family; all of them had stunned looks on their faces, if what
Manfred was suggesting were true, the religious wars could indeed finally be a
thing of the past.
the views you have just reiterated here are very much the attitudes of this
house, we have always been convinced of the failings of diplomatic relations
simply being based on religion, however sadly in the past it is how nations of
Europia would only view each other.”
continued, “My Emperor would be heartened to hear that Sire, it is the same view he has cherished for many years, but until he
was in a position to implement change it has remained an unfulfilled desire,
possibly until now it seems.”
looked around the room, he had seen how is Emperor’s views had impacted on them,
he knew those views were getting a sympathetic hearing so he continued.
“Sire it is
my Emperors most cherished wish that the Hapburgian Empire and the Herzogtum
von Rechburg put the enmity of the past behind them and show Europia a new way
for nations to respect each other, not based on religion but on respect and
mutual necessity. The possibilities for trade between our nations are wholly
undeveloped, for example, there are potential markets in both nations that have
for decades remained unexplored simply because we walked into different
this my Emperor has asked me to put forward these basic principles to you, the
details of each can be worked through at
a later time so can if you understand this is his new broad stroke of how he
wishes relations between our nations to develop.
In the first instance a cease fire in
Ulrichstein is declared with a view to discussions on how the matter in
Ulrichstein can best be resolved.
We declare a trade agreement between our nations
and allow each nation to develop markets within the other.
All religions in our combined territories are
respected, no religious intolerance in any of our territories will be
An alliance be negotiated between our nations
that will ensure that war between us is a thing of the past. Such an alliance
would have immense repercussions throughout Europia therefore my Emperor
believes it would be best if our relationship as an alliance was based on a
royal marriage between the two houses”.
looked around the family circle, he thought to himself
If a pin were to drop now the sound when it
hit the floor would be like a thunderclap
Each of the
family were literally stunned, Constance simply smiled and said
Manfred I can certainly say your new Emperor has vision, but with so much at
stake in all you suggest I am sure you will understand that we will need some
time to discuss your proposals, what sort of time frame was Emperor Ferdinand
thinking in allowing discussions.’
Ferdinand has suggested that I leave Rechburg as soon as practical and return
to Quedinburg in Ulrichstein, there are matters there I need to settle, not the
least ensuring a cease fire is maintained at least until I hear from you. If
you agree with the proposals in the basic format then my Emperor has suggested
you and he meet in either Quedinburg or Ulrichsburg to discuss the details.”
Caroline asked “In this royal marriage, just who is marrying whom?”
Here comes the deal breaker Manfred
thought to himself.
Highness the marriage would be between yourself and Emperor Ferdinand, you
would be Empress of the Hapburgian Empire”
“Oh, I see”
she said keeping a perfectly straight face,
My God she has such self control; I wager
she would make a formidable Empress.
in the family were less controlled, all looked immediately to her, and taking
the cue from her they tried to maintain the same self control.
give us two days before you leave, by then we will, be able to tell you what we
agree to and what we don’t and then your Emperor can decide if he wishes to
Emperor expected that you might need a week or more to discuss this, it was for
I return to wait in Ulrichstein for your reply, but if you feel you able to
arrive at a decision within two days then yes, I would certainly like to wait,
there is just one request my Emperor asked of you and that was that all I have
spoken should remain secret for now, I am sure you understand there are many
nations that would seek to take advantage or sabotage any agreement between our
nodded, he placed the knife and fork down on the plate, wiping his lips with a
napkin again he smiled at Manfred,
was an excellent way to start our day, Manfred would you prefer to enjoy the
comforts of the palace or would you like me to arrange a tour of Albany while
the family and I begin to discuss these matters.”
would be most pleased if I could perhaps enjoy the benefits of your library,
Princess Caroline was most kind to show me around this morning and I was most
interested in some of your books, so indeed a book or two and a warm fire and I
would be most comfortable.”
asked “Manfred, I don’t know anything of your Emperor and before I sit down and
discuss any possible marriage there are things I need to know, so perhaps while
the men in my family get themselves ready for what will be a heavy day of
talking, perhaps I can have a chat with you in the library, at least I can then
have a inkling of what I am likely to get into by marrying a man I have never
certainly I would be most pleased and in my room I have a small picture of the
Emperor he thought it best for you to see the likeness before you even
members of the family then finished their breakfast discussing everything but
the purpose of Manfred’s visit, then following the meal Constantine and his sons
retired to the Herzog’s office to discuss business, and Caroline and Manfred
departed for the library where she questioned Manfred about the Emperor Ferdinand.
He had gone
and retrieved the picture of Ferdinand and as she asked questions she would
often look to the picture perhaps trying to imagine the answers this man would
give her. By the time they were finished Manfred had divulged everything about
his Emperor he ever knew; he was sure she had a reasonably good mental picture
in her mind of the man she would possibly married.
the interrogation Caroline left Manfred to his books and before she joined the
others Caroline sent a message to the family she would join them directly and
she went to her room, it was the one place in the Palace that she could hope to
find peace and solace.
the room, her beds were already remade and the room cleaned, Caroline made her
way to the bedside table and gathered a small picture from it and then made her
way to the large armchair in front of the window, sitting down she looked
outside, it was snowing heavily and the ground and trees covered by the snow
looked so pure and clean. She burst into tears.
In her lap
she held two small pictures, one the Emperor Ferdinand the other the man she
had been in love with these last few years the Brittanic Ambassador to Rechburg
Lord Geoffrey Anders.
extracted a promise from her father many years ago that he would never arrange
a marriage with a man she didn’t want to marry, over the years that agreement
had frustrated her father as he had hopes of making dynastic alliances through
her marriage, however on each occasion she had declined the man and despite his
own hopes and desires he respected her wish and the matter passed.
years ago Lord Geoffrey Anton had come to Rechburg as the Brittanic ambassador;
Geoffrey had been a soldier but had lost an arm in the Gurania wars so had
ended up in a diplomatic career. Since his arrival in Rechburg Geoffrey and
Caroline had fallen in love, though they kept their relationship as secret as
possible but it was generally known by the family. Geoffrey never asked for her
hand in marriage because he knew her father still held hopes of a royal
marriage. Caroline though she pestered her father never urged him beyond a
certain point that she be allowed to marry Geoffrey. It was as if there was
this unseen line that none would cross so the Caroline and Geoffrey’s
relationship just drifted on and existed.
Caroline knew this was different, this was no marriage to a Protestant prince
of some small unimportant Duchy. Her marriage into the Hapburgian Royal family
would heal a breach that existed between Hapburgia and Rechburg for over a
hundred years; it could alter the way Europia moved forward. She looked at the
picture of King Ferdinand, it surprised her to find he was so handsome and from
what Manfred had told her he was a man of strong character and determination,
clearly this was evident in the proposals that he had suggested through
So she sat
in her chair, looking at the likeness of the two men, the man she loved and
wanted to marry but couldn’t, and the other the man she could marry and change
the future of her beloved Rechburg possibly Europia.
what her father wanted, but she also knew no matter how important this was he
would never insist she make a choice that she wouldn’t accept.
She sat for
a long time just watching the snow fall, then eventually there were no more
tears she walked over to her bedside kissing the picture of Geoffrey she gently
placed it in a draw, the picture of the Ferdinand was placed on the top of the
bedside table and she left the room to see her father.
discussions of the other matters that Ferdinand had proposed were actually
quite easily agreed on by Constantine and his family, from the outset they all
knew that the entire agreement had hinged on Caroline. That was why none would
urge her, it was decision she had to come to and when she came back into the Herzog’s
office they knew she had made the right choice. It broke Constantine’s heart to
see her trying to be so brave, because he knew what she was giving up, he had
been in a similar position many years ago when he was told he was not allowed
to marry the woman he loved, the woman that would carry his bastard child, he
too had to make a dynastic marriage and now his daughter was in the same
asked Manfred for two days to discuss the proposal but by the end of the first
day they had Manfred come to the Herzog’s office, As soon as he entered the
office he knew history was being made, he glanced at Caroline, but she had her
back to him looking out the window, at the still falling snow.
signaled to Manfred that he should take a seat and then Constantine handed him
a sheet of paper, on it were the conditions that Rechburg would agree to.
The treaty of Ulrichstein be settled on the
basis of land occupied by the forces currently in place, in other words except
for Quedinburg all of Ulrichstein would become Rechburgian territory.
It was agreed that trade be expanded between the
Everyone living in Hapburgian and Rechburgian
territories were to be guaranteed religious freedoms and protection from
The alliance and marraige would only be agreed
on under the following conditions
Princess Caroline and King Ferdinand would meet
and if both parties were agreeable to the match then a marriage would be agreed
Each would maintain their own religious choice,
so two marriage ceremonies would need to take place.
Constantine pointed out, these were in response to the Emperors broad stroke
proposal, there would need to be details to be hammered out at a later time.
the brief document, he looked up at the Herzog and then he glanced towards
Caroline, she in turn was watching him with a stone cold face, he thought to
I would dearly love to know who the man is
you have just given up.
smiled at Constantine,
you think its rather a anti-climax that nations of opposing religious beliefs
can war against each other for a 100 years without giving an inch and then in
one afternoon peace can be made.”
nodded, looking at Caroline then back to Manfred,
Manfred it is only possible now because of two extraordinary and brave people,
Emperor Ferdinand for making the proposal and my daughter Princess Caroline for
having the selfless courage to accept them. They are going out into a world
that will do everything it can to break this marriage and the alliance between
our two houses, so if this agreement does happen the wars are far from finished
my friend and they won’t be limited to catholic against protestant.”
sire, we are all going to enter a new age and for a while it will be rocky but
things will change for the better, of that I am sure”
replied, “yes well it has taken a hundred years of war to get to this point, I
suppose ten years to force peace may not be unrealistic.”
stayed on in Albany for another three days, the weather being so bad it had
prevented any movement for that time, eventually he left the capital
accompanied by Prince Wilhelm who was returning to Ulrichstein, it was agreed
that in one month they would all meet again in Quedinburg to determine if the
alliance and marriage details could be settled.
Chapter 14 - Shifting Alliances
It had been five weeks since Count Manfred von
Lustburgerstein had left Rechburg, the heavy snowfalls had blocked many of the
roads and by the time he had passed through Ulrichstein he was both exhausted,
impatient and very late returning to Veronia the capital of Hapburgia.
On his arrival back in the capital he had hoped to have a
day to gather his energy and recover from the journey, however the very next
morning he received a summons to come and make his report to the Emperor.
Ferdinand was impatient for any news but in particular he was eager to hear of
the Rechburgian response to his proposals. Much had happened since his first
minister had left on his journey, and most of it involved Wartenburg and
had been sending back a steady flow of reports indicating that there had been a
constant series of two way visits between Franconian and Wartenburg diplomats.
He knew something was in the wind and guessed whatever it was likely to
eventuate in the spring, just in time to correspond with the campaign season,
so Ferdinand wanted to be ready before then.
It had also
been reported that the Pope had warned Franconia to stay out of Wartenburg –
Hapburgian internal problems, how effective those warnings were he would not
know until spring, sadly events were to overtake his hopeful outcome.
arrived early on the morning of his summons, Ferdinand was shocked to see how
grey and drawn his First Minister was, he felt some pangs of regret for being
so impatient but for Hapburgia and in particular for Ferdinand time was of the
ushered into Ferdinand’s office, the Emperor rose and went to greet his
minister, and giving a large pat on the shoulder he indicated a chair so
Manfred could take a seat.
made his way back around his desk to his own seat he said:
I am glad you are back, what news have you for me, I want to know all”
the news from Rechburg is good, the Herzog has agreed to all your proposals, with
conditions naturally; but in essence I don’t see why you could not have an
alliance with Rechburg”.
and what is your opinion of Princess Caroline?”
from his folder a small picture that Princess Caroline had given him to present
to Ferdinand. He passed the picture to Ferdinand.
“Sire she is
both beautiful and intelligent, she will not be a Queen to be taken for granted
and she like the rest of her family are very strongly family orientated. I believe she is the ideal Empress Sire; she
would make an ideal Royal partner so long as you involve her in ruling
Hapburgia. The Herzog consults with his entire family over all matters in
ruling Rechburg and all their suggestions are listened to and considered So she
is used to all aspects of Governing and ruling. I would suggest that you would
be well advised to continue that practice sire.”
was running his fingers around the small golden oval frame with the likeness of
Manfred she is beautiful is she not, how is it she has not married before?”
appears the Herzog promised her as he has done with all his children that he
would not make them marry into dynastic
alliances unless they so choose, if she chose to marry it was to be her
decision, so the decision to marry you sire was hers not the Herzog’s”
chose me” Ferdinand smiled, “This is excellent news Manfred most excellent. Now
tell me about the others.
Herzog is very capable ruler sire, he rules with a gentle but firm hand and he
is ambitious for Rechburg, he is also loyal to his allies so I would suggest he
would make an excellent ally for us sire.
Wilhelm is a very able young man, I formed the opinion that he is very capable,
but very suspicious of things he doesn’t understand. He will also speak his mind;
it would appear the Rechburg High Command hold a very high opinion of him as might
I add does our own General Kyler. As far as I could ascertain he is neither
married nor betrothed, I would say he
has possibly deliberately or not made himself into a true warrior Prince and
for that he is popular amongst the soldiers.
Leopold is as you know the youngest, but again the common opinion is he is
learning to command extremely well, in listening to General Molyneaux Prince
Leopold he made short work of the Bergatonions with just a militia force.
From what I
could see off the Herzogtum countryside, realising of course sire that it is
mid winter the nation seems very well run, it is wealthy and industrious and as
we already know its army and its commanders are of a very high standard.
that there has been some improvement in relations with Danemark; Princess
Caroline tells me she has been working very hard to get her father to marry
Princess Charlotte of Danemark, but he refuses because he feels it would
compromise his alliance with Flensburg.
still has strong alliances with Brittania, Flensburg and Pomonia.”
you Manfred, now I will expect a full written report but I want you to take the rest of the day off, oh
before you leave Manfred, have the Rechburgians heard about our troubles with
Wartenburg and Franconia?’
are aware of what happened with Prince Konstantin and Princess Arabella but I
don’t think they suspect any Franconian involvement. They were surprised that
you supported Iberia in the Papal elections and they are very weary of Iberia
which is understandable when one considers the intrigue Iberia has been
committing against Rechburg and using Bergatonia as their tool. I suspect Sire
there will be more issues between Rechburg and Bergatonia, and therefore Iberia
in the foreseeable future.”
to leave but sat back down again,
other thing I noticed Sire, when I passed through Quedinburg on the way to
Rechburg I spoke to General Romer, and he said the Wartenburg Contingent had
recovered from the battles, but they were quite weak and he was seeking
permission to march his army back to Wartenburg, when I came back from Rechburg
General Romer and his men had already left for Wartenburg. General Kyler said
he had received a demand from Prince Konstantin for the release of his troops
and as he had no instructions to the contrary he had allowed them to leave.”
I had hoped to isolate Romer and have a word with him in the hope I could
persuade him to stay loyal to the Empire, Damn this winter everything is
getting out of control and I am hampered by the damn weather.
“From my own
discussions with the man sire I suggest there was little chance he would betray
his Prince, he struck me as being rather a fanatic in his loyalties to
Wartenburg and the Prince”.
back to Rechburg for a moment, when are we to hold the negotiations?’
as I was held up by the storms getting back and realising you need this settled
urgently I would say right now, I would suggest you send a courier letting the
Herzog know you will meet him as soon as possible so you can settle the
negotiations before the spring, which will likely be 4-6 weeks away.”
Manfred, you get some rest and write up a report tomorrow, and I will do as you
suggest, I will arrange a meeting for 3 weeks time which should give everyone
time to get to Ulrichstein, but barely enough time to deal with my other
sire and thank you.”
rose, bowed slightly and quietly left the office, Frederick was gazing at the
new picture he had on his desk.
Konstantin and Princess Arabella’s hasty return to the Duchy of Wartenburg
there had been a lot of diplomatic activity. But their first move was to start
setting up a new capital in Trensburg in Western Wartenburg. It was felt that
the historical capital Dreisden in Eastern Wartenburg was just too close to the Hapburgian border.
So a new Government capital including Diplomatic missions were being set in
Trensburg. Dreisden would remain the historical centre of Wartenburg however,
for example the royal couple intended to have their coronation in Dreisden.
back in Wartenburg Konstantin’s was fearful that Ferdinand may gather an army
and immediately march on Wartenburg, just as he had expected Eugene to be
severely punished perhaps even executed for his part in the failed coup. As
neither had happened in fact Eugene had been given an army command and allowed
to go, it just confirmed in Konstantin’s mind that Ferdinand was yet another
weak Hapburgian Emperor.
return his first priorities had been to gather support from Franconia and to
extract his military units out of the clutches of the Hapburgians in
In the first
he had been moderately successful but not as much as he wished. Konstantin had
realised that the Franconian King Juan I was treating Wartenburg as a pawn in
his own game, just as the Hapburgian Emperors had been doing for years.
Konstantin had often remarked to his wife Arabella that for now they play their
games but very soon the Empires may find their plaything has a bite of its own.
King Juan I
was encouraging Prince Konstantin to announce his independence from the
Hapburgian Empire in the coming spring, Juan claimed until he does so the
Franconians cannot do anything to help Wartenburg.
however was wary of making such an announcement without concrete support from
King Juan I. From the moment he made such an announcement Prince Konstantin and
Princess Arabella as well as their entire Duchy would officially be in a state
of rebellion. Konstantin knew how unforgiving Europian monarchs were about
rebellious states, he had already been warned by the new Pope not to intrigue
with Franconia and that any word of rebellion from Hapburgia would bring down
the wrath of the Catholic world on his realm and on him personally.
Then a week
or so later General Romer had arrived with his army from Ulrichstein, and with
him came a snippet of news that intrigued Konstantin.
Romer had met the Hapburgian First Minister Count Manfred von Lustburgerstein
in Quedinburg; the minister was on his way to Rechburg.
wondered about the significance of that piece of news, surely if a peace was to
be made in Ulrichstein protocol if not convenience would suggest that it should
be negotiated on the spot, that is in Ulrichstein. However that was not the case
and Romer went on to add that the First minister was accompanied by Prince
Wilhelm and they left Ulrichsburg rather hastily heading for Rechburg. The
implication from this news was that there was more at stake than a mere peace
Now he was also
holding a missive from one of his agents in Rechburg that the Hapburgian First
Minister actually stayed in the Herzog’s own palace and was seen being
entertained by the Royal family. The message ended with a further intriguing
snippet, the Herzog and his family had been seen preparing to make a long
journey. He wondered what would be important enough to drag the Royal family
out of the warmth and comfort of Albany in the middle of winter, why the rush
and to where?
had something to do with the Hapburgian Minister and his mission, but what.
On a hunch
he had sent a courier to the Hapburgian capital Veronia to ascertain whether
the Emperor was in residence and if he was not where had he gone? He had received
no replies from there yet.
sent this snippet of news to the Franconian Ambassador to Wartenburg Marquis
D’Aubigne who had recently installed himself in the fashionable area of Trensburg
the new Capital of the Wartenburg. The Ambassador had ironically received a
message the day before from his own agent in the Hapburgian Capital, the report
indicated that Emperor Ferdinand was preparing to travel to the Kingdom of
Vallahalla which was another Hapburgian fiefdom, looking at both messages it
was too much of a coincidence, the Hapburgian Emperor and the Herzog of
Rechburg were clearly going to meet somewhere, but where and why.
piece of the puzzle arrived 3 days after the Wartenburg Foreign minister Count
Wraxell had sent his original messages and suspicions onto Franconia, a
Catholic sympathiser in Quedinburg reported that Rechburg Guard units and
Hapburgian units were jointly garrisoning Quedinburg and that the Palace of
Sainte – Anne was being prepared for special guests. It was clear now that the
Emperor of Hapburgia and the Herzog of Rechburg were meeting secretly (or not)
raced though the catholic church’s own lines of communication faster than it
did through the various embassies and their associated bureaucratic methods of
communication, Pope Miguel Fernandez, the man who envisaged himself as the
warrior Pope destined to cleanse and purify the faith received a short message.
catholic Majesty Ferdinand of the Hapburgian Empire is expected to meet in
secret the pseudo defender of the so called protestant church in secret at
Quedinburg in Ulrichstein.”
He threw the
message on the floor
He had been betrayed by a man he called his
in Quedinburg appeared to be going very slowly, the impression most observers
had drawn was that the negotiations concerning the peace treaty were being
argued down to the smallest details. Sainte-Anne Palace was cut off from the
General public as well as the many notables that had gathered in Quedinburg to
witness this rare event, rumours circulating seemed to indicate it was a
historical event because it was a case of a small realm having defeated a much larger one and
was thus dictating the terms or so it
uninvolved observers however there was much to entertain them, so the length
and details of the talks were of little interest, every night in Quedinburg
there were balls and soirees, during the days horse riding, military Parades by
Rechburg Guard and then Hapburgian Guard so for the socialites and noteables
who gathered it seemed the negotiations were secondary to the entertainment.
Another encouraging sign was the last of the winter storms seemed to have
passed, this winter having been one of the easiest and shortest in living
scenes however the peace treaty had been settled very quickly, it had been
agreed that Hapburgia would cede Ulrichstein to Rechburg, but Hapburgia would
have access through Ulrichstein to Eggsburg the neutral city on the Eura River,
this would allow Hapburgia to trade with shipping coming up river, also
Rechburg would open the port of Darvik to Hapburgian shipping thus increasing
the markets Hapburgia could reach.
to free choice of religion were guaranteed by both sides.
delay was in working the details of the proposed marriage and the alliance. In
the first instance everyone was stunned how quickly Princess Charlotte and
Emperor Ferdinand took to each other, it was clear from the outset that any
fears either may have had over being rejected were gone within hours of them
and Ferdinand would spend many hours walking arm in arm around the Gardens of
Sainte-Anne Palace while the officials inside argued over the mechanics of the
alliance as well as the wedding details.
alliance arrangements the main obstructions were how existing alliances which
were based on religious associations would sit with this new alliance based on
mutual need and security and cemented with a dynastic mixed marriage.
conceded that he would likely face considerable opposition from Iberia and
would face opposition as well; probably the strongest opposition would come
from Pomonia and then Brittania. Both countries also had their unresolved
issues, Rechburg had the unresolved war in Bergatonia and Hapburgia had the
Wartenburg issue looming. These side issues were likely to spread out and draw
in the other allied partner.
and Ferdinand undertook to try and convince their respective alliance partners
of the Duchy of Pomonia and the Kingdom of Vallahalla to enter into their own
peace treaty, and possibly even join this new alliance at a later date.
days after the talks began the details were settled and the new
Rechburg-Hapburgia treaty simply known as the Quedinburg treaty would take
effect in one month’s time, this time delay would allow each of the signatories
to notify the other existing alliance partners.
surprise to those not involved in the negotiations was the announcement of the betrothal
of Princess Caroline and Emperor Ferdinand, the wedding to take place on the
first day of Spring, ironically it was also normally the first day of the
Europian campaign season.
It was without
a doubt the marriage announcement and its ensuring alliance would have far
greater impact than the mere signing of a peace treaty
alliance such as this altered the entire security arrangements of Europia, it
would seem too many monarchs that either religion was not a guaranteed basis
for alliances anymore, or it would become imperative that alliances had to be
formed to destroy such an abomination as the Quedinburg heretical treaty.
Rechburg and Hapburgia there was much disquiet, many saw years of wars coming
as a result, others the opportunity for new trade and growth. Religious
ministers in both countries were shocked, some had to first decide their
loyalties on faith or Realm, those who chose faith fled for sympathetic realms,
those who chose to remain faithful to the realm adapted to the changes. There
was no doubt both realms would feel the effect of this huge schism created by a
Catholic King marrying a Protestant Princess and both remaining loyal to their
international effect was felt no greater than in Wartenburg.
This was the
golden opportunity that Prince Konstantin and Princess Arabella had prayed for
but never in their wildest dreams could they have foreseen.
Konstantin immediate made ready to announce the independence of the Kingdom of
Wartenburg, this great and regretful rebelling from a Kingdom was forced on him
and his wife because of the unholy alliance and marriage that had just been
announced in Hapburgia. Wartenburg could not in all its conscience remain
faithful to a monarch that was in essence heretical and in violation of basic
precepts of the mother church.
Franconian Empire’s ruling council met to discuss the ramifications, they too
condemned this new arrangement in Hapburgia, but King Juan I urged patience and
caution to his own ruling council, as he had pointed out later to his brother there
was more than one way to skin a rabbit and why should Franconia do its own
skinning when there were plenty of others willing to do so.
Franconian diplomats were sent scurrying to Iberia, the new Kingdom of Wartenburg, the Duchy of Bergatonia and the Franconian satellite realms of the Duchy of Buchenwald, the Duchy of Neider.
The principle aim behind King Juan’s foreign policy was that Franconia would support a holy crusade against Hapburgia and Rechburg. Most diplomats picked on the message of holy crusade, and not the 'only support'; which was as King Juan had hoped. He understood it was vital for Franconia to remain aloof from it, there was far more profit to be gained by supporting a war than there was to become directly involved. He could step in later when the armies were weaker and the booty would be taken at a lot less risk. His main priority was to limit the damage to Franconian maritime trade and to this effect he sent assurances to the Kingdom of Britannia that if they limited their support to Rechburg, Franconia would not become involved.
sent a host of diplomats forth, but these were to catholic realms and all urged
destruction of Rechburg and the punishing of the Hapburgian King who had
clearly fallen under the spell of the heretic witch from Rechburg, the Pope
announced that she should be killed at the first opportunity.
Bull of the Popes authorizing the death by assassination of the Empress
Arabella was by far the most polarizing effects to come to date so far.
Hapburgia and Rechburg had expected the opposition to the new alliance, however
the Papal order to kill the daughter of one and the new wife of another was to
add a new dimension to the war.
nation had declared war just yet, apart from the declaration of rebellion in Wartenburg
Europia held its breath and waited for the inevitable.
In the next positing I will describe the
various national reactions to this event in greater detail as well as a
description of likely military forces involved, it promises to be a busy
Chapter 12 - Papal Intrigues
Chapter 13 - Changes