Danish Civil War

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Introduction

This seems not to have been so much a civil war as problems on the frontiers and within the government due to the Empire being over-extended following the defeat of the Aztecs in the British Isles.

The Newsfaxes

1635-1636 T154
Danish Empire:Things were even stickier this time, what with the assassins weilding melon-ballers, ice-picks, obsidian daggers, poisoned cats, garden-weasles and a wide variety of guns and astringents. The Heir was sent into hiding and the Empress travelled in the constant company of a hundred utterly loyal guards. Despite this the young Prince was murdered by an Imperial accountant (paper cut, wouldn't you guess it). Regardless of this the Empire continued to grind away, promoting extensive missionary activities in Anglia and Mercia, whose populations grudgingly accepted the new faith. The First Imperial Chess Tournament was held in a rented hall in Mantua and featured no less than seventy Danish masters, as well as Occitanian, Burgundian and Wallachian players. A Danish player, Grand Master Roberto diOrmani (of Gubbia in Umbria in the prefecture of Tuscany) won the top honors after a sixteen hour duel with Tuchni of Bosnia (a Wallachian).

The Empress also became disgusted with the Ukrainains who were always beating up on her cousins in Wallachia. They too were expelled from the Empire, all six of them (wagoneers every last one). Michos Paleologos, commanding 30,000 Imperial Regulars, was sent north into ex-Wallachian lands and evicted the Ukrainian garrisons from Ialomita, Wallachia and Transylvania.

At the same time, in the Hungarian plain, the Prince of Croatia advanced through Banat and Alfold (showing the Imperial Eagles) and into Carpathia (which had been abandoned by the Ukrainians) where subdued the Vlach and imposed Wallachian rule by edict. He then attacked into Bochnia, which was defended by the Ukranian general Brizhalov and 15,000 German mercenaries. The Croat Prince smiled and scattered Imperial kronor before the condotierri. They evaporated and Brizhalov was forced to flee on a stolen horse for Volhynia.

In Ireland, most of the Danish armies of occupation packed onto the fleet under the command of VonCooperstien and sailed north for the remaining Aztec stronghold within striking range... mist-shrouded Iceland! There they found the island strongly defended by 13,000 Aztec troops dug into extensive fortifications. Sadly the Ukranians had retained the services of Percy Shelly and the defenders were leaderless. Jan Ziska and his Immortals were landed under heavy fire from the fleet and spent the early fall of 1635 reducing Aztec fortresses and bunkers. This accomplished by the late winter of 1636 the Danes packed up their bags (save for a hardy garrison of Finnish exiles) and sailed back home.

On the way back the Danish fleet sideswiped the Nisei trade station on the Shetlands and vaporized it, casting the hapless inhabitants adrift at sea in small boats. Some of them made it to Bergen where the Swedish authorities took them in hand. In Venice, a visiting Nisei prince made a scene at an Imperial Audience and had to be hauled off in chains with a gag. [See Aztec].

Those left behind, under the able command of the Grand Duke of Lorraine, persecuted a vigorous campaign against the Catholic princes of Ulster and Connaught. Those worthy lords put 18,000 men into the field against Lorraine (who led 30,000 hardy lads and bastards all), but failed to stop the Danish juggernaut which salmmed them flat and then jumped up and down on them. Both provinces fell under the sway of Denmark.

The knives, axes, pistoles and poisoned umbrellas of the enemies of the Empire found foul fruit near the end of the turn; bringing low Baron Vulth in Mantua (at the Imperial Chess Tournament, in fact) and old Jan Ziska as he stepped off of a transport from Iceland on the docks of Bruges. The Empress wept to hear that Ziska had at last gone, snarling and spitting, down into the maw of Hell, and the reprisal executions were grisly in the extreme.

Even after this fearsome display of wrath, rumors began to surface that the Empress had done away with the last of the Basilican male line and that her assumption of the Purple indicated that she would install her own, Comnenan, family as the new dynasty. This did not sit well with some of the more patriarchal lords and patrons of the realm and sly little plots and schemes hatched themselves...

The Black Bureau was not blind to this, however, and upon dark nights their thugs and heavies broke into many homes and hauled away many malcontents, ambitious officers and conniving lordlings. But it was not enough. The dam of trteachery broke first in Venice, where two Generals (newly minted by Zoe's own hand) attempted a palace coup "to restore the glory of the Emperor". Sadly, the lacked the Empress' sure-footed skill at intrigue and were both arrested and hung. The mutiny of Admiral Capponicini and the Mediterranean Fleet was another matter, for the thematic troops in Constantinople were fighting in Transyvania at the time. Thus did Greece fall away in open rebellion...

Croatia, and its prince, grown strong in the service of the Empire, was next, slashing the Great Eastern Road to Constantiople. With this the Thracian priovinces trembled on the edge of widespread revolt, yet, did not, for the Comenanii were strong in Constantinople and Thessaloniki.

In the north, however, where the Duke of Lorraine had returned home from the conquest of Britain to cheering crowds, and Jan Ziska, the most loyal of generals lay dead, mutiny sprang forth with a bloody head from the body of the state. In conspiracy with VonCooperstien, the admiral, the Republic of the Netherlands was declared as the Consul's palace in Bruges burned and hysterical crowds rampaged through the streets, smashing the shopwindows of Italian and Greek merchants.

Things were more intresting in Britan, where the island was already devided by Danish missionary activity in twain. Lucco diSfortza, commanding the Imperial garrison, found himself in a land entirely torn by internicene war between the Catholics and the Hussites, who immediately fell to slaughtering one another when it became apparent that the Empire was going to be occupied for a while... diSfortza fell back to London with the remaining garrisons, hoping to escape. In London, however, the converted lords and princes waylaid him as he attempted to escape with his army to the continent. "We shall all be slain!" they cried, "the Catholics will hang the lot of us, and murder our families!" diSfortza refused the Governorship, but then they offered him the Crown of the ancient kings of England. "Take it," they pleaded, "be King, take up the dragon-banner of the ancient kings!" diSfortza, who in a trivial aside hails from Corsica, at last acceded and was crowned King of England.

1637-1638 T185
Danish Empire: The Danish garrison of distant Strathclyde was ordered to disband and make its way back to the empire by the best means possible. Zoe, faced with rebellion throughout the rim of the Empire, was quick to take the offensive. She herself led an army east to secure the Grecian principalities that had so shockingly revolted. Guy of Lusignan and Marco diGirolamo she dispatched west to bring ruin to the Burgundian duke and secure the French frontier.

In Croatia, the local barons were willing to pay tribute to the Empire, but this was insufficent for Zoe's mood and she spent the summer of 1637 reducing their castles and hill forts. In the following year she marched with her army into nothern Greece and sent riders to the rebel Prince of Athens, Luco. Luco, however, was not at home and Zoe found herself meeting the Prince's son, Buoncarlo (a rather rash, but handsome, youth) who revealed under the influence of wine that the Lybians had attacked the southern shores of Greece and that his father was away with the fleet. Zoe smiled and proposed a plan.

Three weeks later, as Luco Capponicini stepped from the gangplank of his flagship, the Victrix, he was met by his son with open arms. His murder was swift and Zoe followed her bargain, marrying the new Prince of Athens within the month. The Grecian fleet, wooed by their former admiral, Michos Paleologos, acclaimed the Empress and her Prince-Consort with shouted hails. Attica and Thessaly, occupied already by the Danish army, were quickly returned to Imperial rule. Morea and Epirus revolted from all outside control. Crete and the Kyklades were secured by the fleet. The Grecian mercantile fleets (which were really reflagged Avar ships) were returned to their rightful owners, much to the amazed delight of the previously expelled merchants.

Duchy of Burgundy: Brion, concerned at the increasingly harsh mutterings from the Venetian Palazzo, gathered his advisors and landschneckts and confided in them his concerns over the future of their small realm.

"Long we served Denmark," he remarked, "and well. Fighting in the forefront of many campaigns. Now, they are ruled by a woman and my heart bades me that there is no honor in such an overlord. Thus, these years past, I claimed all this land for my own and raised us up as a state. Now, messengers come to me bringing word that our enemies of old, the Orleanais, are gathering for war and that Italian regiments are crossing the mountains to bring fire and sword against us. I ask you, old comrades and new, will you stand by me in this harsh time?" And yea, they did acclaim him with shouted cheers. But the day grew dark, for riders came speaking of the advancing fires of Danish armies come at last to reclaim fair Burgundy...

In the midst of the surging clamor of preparing to march forth to meet the Dane, the young scientist Rene Descartes (who had found a hospitable refuge at the Burgundian court from creditors in Occitania) came to the Duke and bade him steal away for a days journey. This the Duke did, even as no less than three Danish armies converged upon his small realm, for Descartes and his fellow alchemists had been of late toiling hard upon a strategem that Brion hoped would rescue his small nation from its geographic stranglehold. What Brion saw in those three days filled him both with great hope and leaden dispair, for his bold plans of peace would bear marvellous fruit if but conquest and devastation could by held aside by strong arms and hearts.

The Danish army had gathered in Swabia that it might assail Burgundy as one, plunged into the fertile countryside some 61,000 men strong. Brion met them head-on with 41,000 of his veterans at Besancon under the towering massif of the Jura Alps. The Duc duOrleans gave battle in open order, his men filled with vigor. By days end, Brion and his son, Lucas the Hammer, had smashed first the Danish left (pinning it against a swift mountain stream) and then the right, scattering the Orleanais cavalry. The Danish force retired in great haste from his superior skills in battle back into Swabia. The Danish force was so battered, in fact, that it remained encamped at Ulm for all of 1638 while its various commanders recovered from the various dire wounds they had sustained.

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