English Independence, War for

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Introduction

See first Danish-Bretan War, The.

This war sees the end of Aztec rule in the British Isles in the 17th Century.

The Newsfaxes

1639-1640 T156
Kingdom of Britain: diSfortza, eying the Aztec presence in Scotland with some distaste, and the Papal incursion into Wales with disgust, issued a few witty pronouncements: "Nemo me impune lacessit" and "Neckties. Aztec neckties." were two of the pithier barbs. Otherwise the British lounged about and cleaned their nails. Lucco was amused to receive emissaries from the Azorean Pontiff and granted their request for trade relations. His Hussite advisors warned him against embracing the "Papal Snake", but Lucco pointed out that he was pursuing a policy of religious toleration.

Aztec Empire of Mexico: The Lightning Legion commander, who had been hosting a number of parties and other festivities at St. Brendan's on the Canaries, was rudely ousted from his palatial rooms at the Graceful Swan and forced to flee dressed as a Hussite mendicant from the city as it fell to the Danish armada. Efforts by the Earthquake Legion in Lothian met with equally ill success. The presence of the Ark of the Covenant fleet cowed the locals sufficiently for them to bend a knee and pay tribute, but nothing more. The Earthquake commander, Prince Kulhuz, noted in a dispatch home that the "native peoples, now freed from the guiding hand of Aztec suzerainty, have reverted to their previously sullen and barbarous ways." The disgust of Kulhuz was further increased when it became clear that the Duke of Northumbria had previously secured a secret treaty with the Hussite King in London and now turned away Kulhuz' emissaries. Further, certain agents in Kingston muttered dark tales that numerous Hussite regiments had encamped outside the city and were freely fraternizing with the Northumbrian levies and house troops.

1641-1642 T157
Danish Empire: Since the incorporation of the oxford faculty and staff into the various great Imperial Universities, the well-to-do had been exposed to an inordinate amount of English thinking and concepts. The continuing rule of the traitorous diSfortza kings in London was galling to the exiles as well as their friends and supporters in the empire. Indeed, when news came that Cromwell had launched his campaign to reclaim the islands the sight of English students and faculty staging demonstrations before the looming grey edifices of Imperial government buildings became commonplace throughout the empire. "England for the English" became the rallying cry.

Kingdom of Britain: While the diSfortza king in London had been struggling to bring together a consensus for his rule and to woo the landowners and merchants to him, certain indigenous factions had been thronging to the court of Duke Cromwell of Northumbria - the strongest independent ruler in the isles and a fulcrum of Aztec and diSfortza ambitions. After long consultations the Duke took it upon himself to reform the ancient realm of England and to free the land of the myriad foreign aggressors. To this end he sent word to Lucco inviting him to Kingston to seal their final agreement. So too did he send an emissary to Prince Kulhuz, commanding the Aztec fleet and army encamped in Lothian. Finally, he closeted himself with the Archbishop Myles of Kingston and struck a deal with the Church.

Lucco and Baron Godfrey, his right hand, met with Cromwell on Easter of 1461 in Kingston and were well pleased both by the lavish feast that Cromwell laid before them and his words of friendship. Further, Godfrey's men were well fed and wined as well. Even the Aztec embassy was not unpleased to share the same table with the hated Danish upstart so fine were the victuals.

The evening, however, ended in carnage (as you might expect with all the various parties that were attending). Cromwell's guards seized the tipsy King Lucco and were forced to shoot Godfrey full of crossbow bolts to keep him down. The diSfortza encampment was surrounded by the Northumbrian levies and its surrender demanded. The diSfortzan troops refused and attacked the ring, attempting to break out. A fierce fray ensued in which Cromwell learned well the tenacity and ferocity of Imperial Danish Regulars. The diSfortza army, despite a fierce resistance, was slaughtered and those few captives taken were so sorely wounded that they had to be slain in mercy. Cromwell, his body dripping with the blood of his enemies, addressed his men after the battle:

"Now lads, into the breach of war once more we stride, hearts brave and quick, for liberty of all these isles is at hand and none shall gainsay us! Great powers support us and will aid us, to London then, and let no man lag lest he fall behind in honor as well as pace!"

With this moderately invigorating speech, Richard Cromwell, the Duke's son, charged off south away with a guard of horse to meet with some allies that Cromwell was expecting. Oliver himself rode north with his forces to treat with Kulhuz in the grey barrens of Scotland. There he found that the Imperial Prince had solidified Aztec ties with the local king. Kulhuz met with Cromwell, but refused him recognition - indicating that the Emperor would have to grant that - but agreeing not to attack Cromwell at the moment and opening trade.

The hapless Lucco was dragged before a court headed by the Lord Protector and tried for treason. When the king accused Cromwell of treason and murder in response the Protector had the Italian beheaded and the remains sent to Empress Zoe with a note saying, "Here is your errant General diSfortza. We saved you the trouble of executing him. Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the United Kingdoms." Rumor reported later that Zoe found this passably amusing, but she was sick of a fever and near death at the time.

Richard Cromwell, meanwhile, had ridden south into Mercia where he was met by the combined armies of Lancashire, Gwynned and Dyffed. The Papal Legate commanding this fierce assemblage turned over the white rod to Richard, acclaiming him as Prince of the Isles. At the same time a wagon train of goods and priests made its way to Kingston, where later Oliver would receive in state the Cardinal Tapac, who would proclaim the Duke Protector of the Isles and turn over the provinces of Lancashire, Gwynned, Dyffed, Highlands and the Hebrides to the Lord Protector.

Richard's advance through Mercia was met with wild adulation on the part of the common people. DiSfortza rule had long been imposed by main force and Birmingham threw open its gates for the northern Prince. Emboldened by the news that the diSfortza garrisons were streaming back south to London Richard advanced boldly into Sussex with the Welsh and Cumbrian armies at his back.

Near the end of 1642 the Aztec Ark of the Covenant fleet arrived at Kingston bringing gifts from the Aztec Empire and a message of formal recognition for Cromwell. The city populace was pleased that the Aztecs, still hated and reviled for their treachery during the Great African War, had seen fit to acknowledge the destiny of the Lord Protector!

Excerpts from Kingston city newspapers published in the Spring of 1641:

As a devastated Britain reeled from chaos and invasion, one man -- the so-called "Lord of the Fen Country" -- without money, without an army, and without allies, declared that "the time has come for a United Britain under a British King, ruled by moral principles, under the heel of no foreign power, but exercising Britain's God-given right to join the ranks of independent nations." This man is "Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain."

Cromwell, a member of the burgeoning Protestant movement in the Catholic Church, has been canvassing the Isles tirelessly, drumming up support for his rebellion. He promises to return all the British Isles to British rule under a British King, a strong navy for defense, a policy of avoiding Continental entanglements and Continental ambitions, and representation in Parliament for all constituencies, including Aztec and Hussite minorities. He has also made the unusual claim that he will have no truck with assassins, as it "violates God's Law, the spirit of British fair play, and is inconsistent with the ideals of the Land of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table."

He has communicated with all the courts of Europe, asking for aid and promising peaceful relations, open trade, and a complete lack of interest in Continental territory. He has even gone so far as to ask the Aztec Empire to relinquish its claim on Britain in his favor, and to ask British expatriates across the world to support his cause.

Described as a humorless fanatic, Cromwell swears he will not rest until all Britain is liberated.

Kingdom of Britain: In London there was full-fledged panic in the streets as news of the disaster at Kingston fled south on booted feet. The Mercian garrison trooped in next with their baggage on their backs. "The Welsh have crossed the border in support of Cromwell," they muttered to their friends in the city, "Cheerless is comin' with a hunnerd thousand men to wrinkle us outen this place." In the White Tower, Prince Palato was mustering what defences he could. Scouts returned to report that Richard Cromwell was marching hard down the road from Birmingham with 50,000 men. Palato counted heads and found that he could field half that many. Wisely he decided to hold London against the northerner's. Wessex and Anglia were abandoned and their garrisons recalled.

When Richard and the Welsh arrived they found the great city strongly held against them and filled with diSfortza troops. Cursing and swearing, Richard ordered his men to form siege lines and settled down to wait for his father. Oliver arrived in middle 1642 and observed the defences of the great city with a sour expression. Palato had gathered almost 40,000 men to defend London and the Cromwellian army was not quite big enough to take out a nut that tough...

Aztec Empire of Mexico: Prince Kulhuz, stationed in cold and very damp Scotland, sent back a long stream of dispatches concerning the massive upheavals and mercuric politics of England. Tapaxi ignored them and continued about his business. Mogwa, having some interest in the matter, acquired copies of the dispatches and sent a message back saying that Kulhuz should recognize the Cromwellian government.

1643-1644, T158
Danish Empire: The Regency issued a statement on the 'situation' in the British Isles, indicating that the Empire would support British self-determination and warned all 'other powers' to keep out of the affairs of the Isles. The 'rebel cur' diSfortza was censured by the Empire and offers of amnesty and reinstatement were made to those Danish troops trapped in London.


United Kingdoms of Britain: While the defenders of London stared in sick fascination, the Cromwellian army pitched into the erection of extensive siege works around London with abandon. The entire city was encircled to the north of the river by a long barrier fosse and rampart behind. Draken were raised into the skies above the city to espy the efforts of the defenders and for other, more nefarious, purposes. Two great pontoon bridges were erected upstream and down of the city. The south bank was cleared of its various hovels and shacks and fortified as well. Opposite the tower of London, on the north side, a great star fortress was raised just outside the range of the defenders guns. Through the great smokes and dust raised by all this, the observers on the walls could make out long lines of men, guns and siege works pouring into the Cromwellian camps from the countryside. Within the city, morale steadily dropped, particularly after the closure of the Thames to all traffic. Now the spectre of starvation raised its head over the vast city.

After some months of strict closure of the city, and the completion of the pontoon bridges, Cromwell launched a sally against the London Bridge, and catching the diSfortza entirely by surprise, mined and destroyed the mighty span before withdrawing. Following this exercise, the Cromwellian draken began to make flights over the city at night, dropping colorful leaflets and using great megaphones to spread news of disaster and dissent to the populace. After some weeks of this, a Danish frigate appeared at the mouth of the Thames and arrangements were made by the captain to sail up to the walls of London itself.

The arrival of the Demeter was met with cheering crowds atop the battlements and consternation in the Tower, where Palato diSfortza now maintained his headquarters. The Danish captain was allowed to row to the Indies docks and speak with the Baron Godfried. His offer, which quickly spread through the city, was simple. All men of Danish blood and their wives, children, et cetera, would be allowed to leave upon the fleet that now harbored at the mouth of the Thames, assuming that they then swore allegiance to the Emperor. Only Palato and his immediate family were exempted, for they, the Emperor had proclaimed, were traitors and would be treated as such. As the news spread, rioting broke out the in streets, fanned by rumors that Palato and his confidantes had taken to ritual cannibalism and satanic rites in an attempt to flee the city with the aid of the underworld. The discovery of the bodies of six mutilated young girls in the backflow of the Tower sewers incited a storm of outrage. Parts of the central city were set alight and the Tower besieged by portions of the garrison.

In his camp to the north and east, Cromwell smiled a chilly smile of triumph and ordered his advance regiments to advance upon the city. They reached the great gates even as the panic-stricken populace, fleeing the raging inferno of the docks district, hurled the gates wide and rushed out into the fields. The municipal fire brigades, unable to pass through streets choked with panicked mobs, stood by helplessly as a full third of the great city was swept away in a raging inferno. The Danish fleet made its appearance as the last sight of the White Tower vanished beneath a roiling plume of black smoke. Cromwell's forces entered the city as its new custodians three days later, when the fires had abated. Of Palato diSfortza there was no sign, though the bodies of his family were found, overcome by smoke and heat, upon the upper battlements of the tower, all tangled in a mass.

Paleologos, the Danish admiral, carried away 40,000 men and their families from the wreck of London and the Hussite English state. Cromwell accepted the oaths of some 9,000 men as well, sealing his conquest. He was well pleased and praised God for this great victory. His son, Richard, also impressed the inevitability of Oliver's victory upon the dukes of the surrounding lands, securing the rest of southern England for the United Kingdoms.

The denizens of Cornwall were startled and horrified to be woken from their beds early in the Spring of 1643 to the sound of screams and distant shots. A Swedish fleet, brazen flags aflutter, swept along the coast, burning villages, choking ports with wrecked and shattered ships. Laden with loot, slaves and carolling a merry "You-ho-ho" they vanished out to sea thereafter.

Kingdom of Britain: A sharp short death filled with terrible suffering...

Occitania: The Occitanians made good progress in Ireland, improving their relations with the Rian of Dublin and his cousins. The victory of the Cromwellians was noted with interest and a large Occitanian fleet was posted to Lorient to watch them.

The Church Spiritual: His Holiness returned to the Azores after a bracing trip to the British Isles where he blessed his renowned servant Cromwell and sent that worthy off on his merry way. Otherwise the church minded its own business.

1645-1646 T159
United Kingdoms of Britain: Cromwell broke ground for the refoundation of the venerable University of Oxford and letters were sent throughout the islands looking for those learned men who had escaped the wholesale evacuation of scholars by the Dane during the Aztec War. In general order was restored as well and the roads made safe for travel. The nobles muttered amongst themselves about the need for a king and did this Cromwell have a claim to the throne, or would the Witan of old have to be invoked.

In line with this, Cromwell bent his back to securing the alliance of all of the remaining lords of the land. These efforts went very well indeed.

Occitania: The continuing diplomatic press in Ireland ground on, as the Occitanians desired to secure their hold in that green and pleasant land. These efforts met with great success.

Aztec Empire of Mexico: The Earthquake Legion finally rotated home from England to their home base at Guayami where they were met by cheering crowds and the Imperial Governor, who threw them a hell of a party.

1647-1648 T160
United Kingdoms of Britain: Things began poorly for the English with the death of Oliver Cromwell of a flux in his camp in the Sussex countryside. This left his son, Richard, the new Lord Protector, though that worthy, who was travelling about the highlands and islands, did not hear of it for some time. Though his travels went well, doom had come upon the kingdom in his absence with the rising of the Montroses of Scotland and their Aztec benefactors....

Kingdom of Scotland: The Scots, once masters of all Britain, now rose again at the behest of their Aztec overlords to crush the southerners. A great host of highlanders (mustered over many years) and the Aztec Ark of the Covenant legions as well a great force of mercenaries led by the Prince of Nahuatl now marched south in grim panoply to destroy the Cromwellian regime. When word reached them that Oliver had died there was much cheering and a general heartening amongst the troops who had secretly dreaded meeting that fell general.

85,000 Scottish and Aztec troops thus swarmed south into Northumbria under the able command of Prince Kulhuz where the English, forewarned by their spies in Edinburgh, had mustered a paltry 15,000 men to defend Kingston. When the true size of the Aztec host became apparent some of the defenders hustled themselves into Kingston while the rest beat feet south out of the province. Kulhuz espied the walls of Kingston from a nearby hill and ordered his men to prepare for an assault. Reports had reached him from his own spies in the south, indicating that the main English force was still gathering at Birmingham. London, too, it said, was undefended still in ruins from the war against the diSfortza. If Kingston fell quickly he could bring the main Cromwellian force to bay and smash it, capturing all of Britain in one go.

Within Kingston the English defenders stared in horror as the fields before the city filled with rank after rank of Aztec and Scottish troops, marching forward in orderly waves to the beat of a thousand drums. On the walls Duke Gwynchar of Dyffed raised his hand and then dropped it. The heavy guns of the city belched flame and shot, dropping explosive rounds into the Aztec artillery battery. Mammoth explosions shrouded the Aztec guns in smoke and dust for a moment, and then the Aztecs opened fire, filling the sky with a rain of heavy shot and shrapnel.

The first assault crashed against the walls and crested, leaving a flotsam of blood running in rivers and the wreckage of most of the defense of the city. The English had held for the morning's battle, but only barely. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, Prince Kulhuz, commanding the assault on the bastions near the port, had stopped a stray round and had died by sunset. He was quickly joined in the afterlife within hours by Lucan Montrose, king of the Scots. The Prince of Nahuatl and the commander of the Tsunami legion then quarrelled amongst themselves about who was in charge for most of the night. This was interrupted by an attack by English cavalry on the siege camp, which caused much consternation and confusion before it was driven off. By morning, however, it became clear that the Spanish and Scottish horse that the Nahutal had been commanding had been pretty much taken out of action by the night attack. The Prince waiting until the dawn sun had climbed above the distant sea before launching the second day's assault. This time it was no contest and the Aztec troops poured over the walls to minimal (but fierce) resistance. Kingston was in Aztec hands by the end of the second day.

With their king dead, the Scots now refused to advance further, sending riders to the north to find Prince Harry and inform him that he was now king. Unfortunately those riders fell prey to bandits and scoundrels along the road and never reached Edinburgh. And, indeed, it was meet that they did not, for Richard Cromwell, recently returned from the north with a Hebridean fleet, had swept down upon that city and landed some 11,000 men to storm its walls. The city, undefended save by militia and the city guard, fell and was put to the torch by the Hebrideans and their Strathclydean cousins.

Prince Harry arrived sometime later with the Campbell army from the Highlands and was enraged to find his home cold ash and broken stone. He was further disgusted to find his father's army trickling back north through restive Northumbria to regroup at the once capital.

Back at Kingston, the Nahuatl prince and the Tsunami commander - flanked by a very large fleet - pressed on into Anglia, where they easily overran the province and flattened the defences of Great Yarmouth. There they wintered. During the winter, however, English raiders attacked the garrison at Kingston and - the Scots having gone home - wiped it out, recapturing the province. With the arrival of spring, 1648, the Aztec commanders were faced with a dire problem. They needed to secure their rear area of raiders, but also needed to capture London and now recapture Kingston. Abandoning the southward drive, the Tsunami Legion turned north again, leaving the Nahutal to hold Anglia. The Tsunami advance was harried constantly by English cavalry, which with the destruction of the Aztec cavalry force during the night battle at Kingston was slow to reach that city once more. The Tsunami Legion spent the rest of 1648 securing Northumbria, driving off the English raiders and clearing the roads to the north. Communications were re-established with the Scots and the Nahutal prince spent the year chasing English rebels around the fen country in Anglia.

At the end of 1648, while London sweltered under an unusually hot fall, the Earthquake Legion (newly come from America) plunged out of the north and swept up the Thames to attack the Queen of Cities directly. The Aztec fleet sailed up as far as Thamesmead where there was good shoring to unload the troops. No sooner than the first longboat reached the shore and the Aztec rangers had piled out, though, than the tree line at the edge of the river erupted in flame as hidden batteries of English rungs opened up on the Aztec fleet. At the same time, some miles down the river, a great chain was raised from its watery hiding place by great wheels. The army of Duke Ireton appeared upon the shores and opened fire as well. A trap long prepared and well hidden was at last sprung. The Earthquake legion, enmeshed in its coils, howled in anger as the English batteries rained flaming shot and naphtha upon the fleet trapped in the river.

The Aztecs, their ships tangled and aflame, swarmed to the shore and were immediately engaged by Ireton and his men as they poured ashore in disorder. Many of the Aztec ships turned back down the river and attacked the chain, but the shore batteries poured a fierce fire into them and the Hebridean fleet now closed the river, turning its own guns upon them as well. Ireton took his butcher's work in hand now, and the Thamesmead strand was a scene of utter savagery and slaughter as the English troops fired in volley at point-blank range into the struggling Aztecs. It took two days for Ireton to complete his bloody-handed work, leaving not one man of the Aztec army alive upon the riverside. Thousands who swam the river to the further shore in an attempt to escape were hunted down and slain as well by the provincial militia. The Aztec fleet managed to break the great chain but was still unable to fight past the Hebridean fleet, ending its days in ruined hulks and tangled wreckage so severe that all river passage up the Thames was halted for long months while it was cleared away.

The Prince of Nahuatl, many miles away in Great Yarmouth, cursed with black-hearted grace when he learned of this disaster. He had ordered the Tsunami back north knowing that the Earthquake legion would make the London assault. Now his plans lay in ruin. The Emperor would not be pleased.

Occitania: The northern fleet perked up at the prospect of action in England, which was now once more aflame with war and slaughter. Things in Ireland went very well, with August's envoys taking direct rule of the various Rianii.

Aztec Empire of Mexico: The Aztecs sent off many fleets and armies to have fun in England, which they did to some degree or another.

1649-1650 T161
Danish Empire: The Regency declared its moral and economic support for the embattled English kingdom, cutting trade with the Aztec Empire.

United Kingdoms of Britain: The English, their hearts buoyed by the victories of last turn, and the turning tide of popular support on the continent for their brave stand against the vile Aztec aggressors, continued to fight on. Midway through the turn this was made clear at Kingston where the Wendigo Legion was encamped, cooling their heels while the Tsunami marched off south to fight the English. On a late afternoon the watchers on the seaward walls of the harbor espied a small group of Aztec transports fleeing towards the safety of the harbor. The city was alerted and all watched as the transports beat into the channel, hard pressed by three English frigates. At last the ships came within the shield of the cities guns and the frigates were forced to break off the pursuit. The crews were warmly welcomed to the city (their cargoes were rum) and the Wendigo commander spent his evening worrying about the whereabouts of the Spear of Fire fleet. It had gone north some time before to clear the sea lanes to Azteca of the verminus English. It had yet to return.

That night, while most of the city slept, figures rose from the crews’ barracks and stole down darkened streets to the harbor. Then, after some hours had passed, a sudden flare shell burst over the harbor and there were loud explosions. The crews of the 'Aztec' transports rushed the gates between the city proper and the harbor. Fires sprang up in the city and in the ruddy glare, the flag of Cromwellian England was unfurled over the guardian towers of the harbour mouth. The Wendigo Legion sprang from their beds and rushed to their positions, finding the streets blocked by overturned carts, burning buildings and wandering mobs of city-folk. The Aztec commander ordered his men against the inner harbor defences, while the populace was suppressed.

It took four weeks of fierce fighting in the harbor and the city to exterminate the English commando, but in the end it was done, leaving much of Kingston in ruins. It did not improve the disposition of the Wendigo Legion commander much to see at last the sails of the Spear of Fire fleet return from its northern adventures.

As the deeps of winter of 1650 settled fully upon the land, guards from the Wendigo command skulked into a graveyard outside of Kingston. There they levered the heavy iron door off of a large and grandiose tomb. Within they found a heavy lead coffin, anointed with brass and gold. This they worked upon for some time 'ere it at last yielded to their hammers and chisels to reveal the burial place of the Prince Kulhuz. It was empty.

Kingdom of Scotland: For their part the Scots attacked south into Lancashire, attempting to roll up the English rear area while the Aztecs crushed London and Birmingham... The Aztecs, for their part, were tired of fooling around in this swampy foggy land. The fleet set to sea to sweep the tiny English navy aside, swinging south from Kingston along the coast. At the same time that the Scots were attacking from the north, the Tsunami Legion advanced into Mercia, intending to flatten Birmingham. Strong regional garrisons and fortifications were thrown up in Northumbria and Anglia to prevent the English from penetrating into the rear areas.

The English fleet, meantime, had long ago left its anchorage at Dover and swept into the far northern sea lanes, ravaging Aztec merchant shipping (much of it now headed home, turned back from continental ports). Substantial portions of aid shipments to Scotland and the Aztec armies in England were intercepted and captured or destroyed (though not all). After several months of free-wheeling piracy the Aztec fleet plunged back into the north and drove the English away from the sea-lanes. Serious damage had already been done, however.

In the midlands, the Tsunami Legion drove on Birmingham, scattering an English cavalry probe that had been entering Northumbria as the Aztecs advanced out. Birmingham itself was quickly taken under siege, whereupon the Aztecs experienced a serious shock. Clear to see upon the battlement of the Rose Tower, Oliver Cromwell could be seen commanding the defence. "I thought he was dead," exclaimed the Aztec general to his aides. "So did we!" they replied.

From this inauspicious beginning, things got worse. The city was strongly defended and the Aztecs were constantly harassed by English cavalry. Two attempts to breach the walls failed bloodily and the Tsunami Legion was forced to abandon the siege and fall back north to the Lancashire border to meet the Scots who had easily reduced a lightly held Liverpool. Able to regroup, the Aztec-Scottish force attacked south again and this time they screened Birmingham with the Scottish forces while the Aztec advanced past into Sussex.

At the same time the Nahuatl troops in Anglia advanced into Sussex as well, intending to link up with them. This was accomplished near Badon and the combined force advanced upon London, which they reached by the spring of 1650. Duke Ireton having been slain by ASP agents, the defence was commanded by Admiral Blake. He holed up in the city and prepared to wait it out. The Aztecs established siege lines and started an exchange of artillery with the massive English siege guns. Only about a week after the siege began in earnest, the roving English cavalry forces materialized and attacked the Aztec lines. At the same time the army in the city sortied. The Aztecs happily gave battle, hoping to end the fracas immediately.

18,000 Englishmen (good and true) crashed into the 18,000 Aztec troops in a wild melee. Once the two armies had got to grips there was no quarter. The hatred between the English and the Aztecs went WAY back. The fields under the frowning walls of London were quickly a quagmire of blood and shattered bodies. After several days of fighting the Aztecs threw in the towel, their army shattered, and scampered back north to the safety of their base at Great Yarmouth (and the reserve army there). Cromwell, observing the aftermath of the battle, and the decimation of his own forces on that cruel field, brushed aside the worries of his men. "God will provide.", he muttered.

Aztec Empire of Mexico: The continuing campaign against the English required some adjustment as the commander of the Volcano Legion died of a fever at Totonac to begin 1649. Luckily, his second in command, took over and the fleet set sail on time.

1651-1652 T162
United Kingdoms of Britain: The defenders of the Thames approaches saw some action as a fleet of pirates attempted a raid on London, under the guise of Cromwellian traders. The pirates were driven off, losing two ships and some marines. The few captured prisoners proved to be Greek mercenaries paid off with Swedish gold.

Cromwell, his army regrouped at London and reinforced by new levies and mercenaries from the continent, now looked north to reclaim his realm. Most particularly the city of Birmingham, now besieged by a Scottish army under Harry Montrose. With the situation with the Mictla in hand, Cromwell marched north with 34,000 men (mostly French and German mercenaries). Once Harry's scouts espied the size of the British army, the Scots abandoned the siege and wound up being chased all the way back to Lothian. There they turned to give battle on their home ground, for there was little place to run.

The battle of Arthur's Seat (April 14th, 1652) was fought in fog and mist, with intermittent rain, as the British army of 34,000 sought to trap the 15,000 Scots against the long bay and smash them once and for all. Cromwell's victory was complete and crushing, bare three hundred Scotsmen escaping the slaughter. Thereafter, local legend says, the rocks and stones bleed blood red every April 14th. In the wake of the victory, the Highlanders were brought to heel and Cromwell returned to the south, victorious. Now only the Mictla remained...

Mictla Exile Kingdom: The Mictla control Northumbria, Anglia, Oran, Emphyro, Nuadihibou and Abyssal.

Kingdom of Scotland: The Scots took it hard upside the head and then lay dead on a soggy field in Lothian.

1653-1654 T163
United Kingdoms of Britain: Cromwell regrouped his forces and prepared to weather an even greater storm than that which had gone before. His lords and generals were staunch, however, in their faith that the Lord Protector would prevail!

Aztec Kingdom of Scotland: The Mictla, now resigned to their fate and to their exile in this foggy damp island, now took steps to ensure that they would have a foundation for a new realm. Pache'li married a MacDougal princess and declared himself King of Scotland. The mantle of true heir of the Aztecs he passed to the noble Tapac Thirteen-Coyote, otherwise known as the King of the Mali Ax.

All the pleasantries taken care of, Pache'li avoided a fierce assassination attempt and sent Lord Rick forth with a strong army to reconquer the highlands. Rick's advance was met with little resistance at first, but then, like a ghost, the Cromwellian cavalry army materialized out of the haze and fogs of the highland hills and attacked the Mictlan camp at Dunfresmore. Unfortunately for Rick, the majority of his forces were Swedish and German mercenaries and these rascals turned their coats for heavy English gold. Rick's 6,000 Mictlans were mouse trapped by the 14,000 English and smashed. None of the Mictlans returned from the north to Kingston and Pache'li was filled with fear...

Occitania: For his part, August had eyed his neighbors for some time, building his strength and preparing for another orgy of conquest like the one that had gained his grandfather all of Spain. Now, with England riven by war and ground down by a long struggle, he would act. Unfortunately there was a Swedish fleet in the Channel, its scouts watching the port of Brest (where his fleets had gathered) with an eagle eye. Considerable discussion then ensued as to whether the fleets should continue. At last the young king broke the deadlock and declared, "to the hells with the Swedes, if they desire battle, let them come!” The Occitanian fleet swarmed out of port within three days, causing the Bruge markets to panic and collapse.

The Swedish fleet, meanwhile, was merrily sailing south to try and reach the Black Sea. The Occitanians swept out of Brittany in a vast armada of 800 ships and watched in wary amazement as the Swedish fleet (of only some 200 ships) passed away south without so much as giving them a second look. The first wave of Occitanian troops landed at Plymouth in Wessex under the massive cover of their fleet. Anchored behind the shelter of the Isle of Wight, Admiral deFros hustled to get his ships unloaded. While the confusion of landing was in full swing, the Swedish squadron that had been shadowing the fleet attacked. Fireships led the way and the channel of Wight was quickly an inferno of burning ships, hurtling shot and crashing broadsides as the 130 Swedish ships attempted to pin the vastly larger Occitanian fleet against the shore. Though they inflicted heavy losses upon the Occitanians, the Swedish force was crushed in turn, only a few ships escaping. DeFros relaxed a little and continued his unloading operations.

Ashore the welter of guns, horses and men that choked the tiny port of Portsmouth was being sorted out by Generals Feyd and Halleck. Both knew that they did not have much time, what with Cromwell and his forces marching down from the north to oppose them. Indeed, they had barely half of their initial wave ashore (what with delays caused by the fleet attack) when the Cromwellian army (now reinforced by more mercenaries and the southern levies) attacked their beachhead. The battle of Wickam (August 9th, 1653) faced of 24,000 Occitanians against 26,000 English (and friends). Wickham proved that Cromwell's battle leadership was second to none as he demolished the Occitanian forces, driving them in rout back to their ships. Indeed, the entire beachhead had to be abandoned and the Occitanians withdrew to Wight to regroup. Ashore, Cromwell's troops policed the battlefield and carted what loot there was back to London.

Upon Wight the Occitanian commanders that had survived Wickam took counsel and agreed to mass their forces on the island first before essaying a second attempt at invasion. Thus the rest of the summer fled away as the Occitanian fleet (now freed of Swedish naval interference) ferried thousands more troops into Wight. Ashore the English busied themselves digging and entrenching all along the coast. Finally, as the leaves began to turn, the Occitanians were ready. Thousands of barges and small punts put out from Wight under cover of pre-dawn darkness and 54,000 Occtanian troops, guns and horse slammed ashore on English soil en masse.

English guns dug in to deep revetments hammered out at the Occitanian landing and the Occitanian fleet responded from offshore, turning the dawn red and orange with whistling shot and the dull ruddy glow of constant explosions. 33,000 English defended the bloody shore and Cromwell was quick to counter-attack the landings made by the Occtanians. Overhead, great draken plunged forward through the cordite murk of battle and the towering pillars of burning barns and villages, casting flaming shot and clinging fire from the heavens.

There was great slaughter done then on that woody ground betwixt the hills of Wessex and the shallow sea. No quarter was asked or given and the English made a fierce test of it. At last the Occtanians, unable to break out of the L-shaped beachhead that they had won with such terrible cost, were forced to fall back to Wight again. Cromwell and his men, exhausted after weeks of constant battle, rested then and buried their dead, including Richard Cromwell, the son of the Lord Protector. Winter settled in then, cloaking the ruined countryside in a shrouding blanket of white. Cromwell retired to London to winter and the Occitanians made a cold camp of it upon Wight.

Spring of 1654 arrived and Cromwellian scouts observed that Wight had been abandoned by the Occitanians during the winter months, all unobserved. They did not return. The English and Mictlans spent the rest of 1654 waiting for the other to make some kind of move, but neither did and an uneasy peace settled upon the islands. In Brest young King August railed and ranted against his generals for their failure and had to be restrained from throttling the lot of them. "There will be a reckoning for this..." he hissed, turning away in a towering rage from his councillors.

1655-1656 T164
Aztec Kingdom of Scotland: Things went very badly for the Scots in their attempts to raise the northlands against the Cromwellians. King Pache'li, Lord Mixli and Lady Gwen were all captured by Cromwellian borderers when they attempted to slip into the UK territories north of Northumbria. They were packed off south to London to visit the Tower. In Kingston Lord Mason was at a loss for what, exactly, he should do. There were rumors of unrest in Anglia and he needed to maintain control of Kingston. Cursing at the hapless luck of his King he marched off south with his army to crush the Anglian revolt...

United Kingdoms of Britain: Cromwell called for his Catholic subjects to boycott trade with Denmark, but did not interfere with Danish ships arriving in English ports, nor with the movement of ships owned by England's Hussite minority. The English Hussites were relieved at this turn by the government. As trade with Denmark did, in fact, decline the Archbishop of Canterbury did little more than grumble and send off missives to his Eminence requesting more direction in this matter. To ease the pain a little Cromwell directed that an extra tithe of grain and meats be sent to the Azores.

Vigorous Catholic missionary activity in Hussite Anglia led to a marked rise of tensions between the Mictlan overlords (themselves Catholic) and the common folk (staunch Hussites). Cromwell attempted to convince the Archbishop of Canterbury to refrain from this 'explosive' activity, but received no redress. With the failure of this effort the Anglians rose up in arms, calling for the return of Duke Ethelbert (drive into exile by the Mictlans). Lord Mason, the Mictlan military commander, immediately marched south with his army to crush the revolt. Ethelbert, commanding an army of English volunteers, mercenaries and his own kinfolk, counter-marched into the province. Battle was already underway between the Mictlan garrison and the local rebels so Mason and Ethelbert plunged into a confused morass of strike and counter-strike between ragtag bands and wandering Mictlan military forces.

At the same time the Cromwellians took the opportunity to invade Northumbria with a large force. In Anglia, Lord Mason dismounted and, cursing, strode into a roadside inn in search of some beer and a moment of peace to peruse the latest dispatches from the north. Unfortunately the waitress had a pistol up her dress and got off two clear shots to the head before Mason's guards gunned her down. With his death the Mictlan cause sort of ran into a brick wall. Ethelbert crushed the Mictlan army in Anglia and Duke Williams advance on Kingston was met by cheering roadside crowds.

In London Cromwell smiled a little smile and turned back to the heaps of paperwork that grew from the mould of his office floor in his absence. Many of the surviving Mictlans fled to the continent and became mercenaries, swelling the population of landless fighting men that were finding such a demand for their services.

The Church Spiritual: The monastic cooks of the Holy See were quite pleased to receive shipments of good English cheese, corn, salted pig and beef, some moderate wines and ales, and a great quantity of mead of an exceptionally fine flavor. This spoke in Cromwell's favor when word reached Alexander of his failure to restrain Hussite trade through his ports. The Pontiff glowered at the messenger and made a silent promise to deal with Cromwell very soon.

1657-1658 T165
United Kingdoms of Britain: To celebrate the end of the latest spate of wars to ravage fair England Cromwell directed that the slums and poorer sections of Kingston be razed and replaced with new dwellings and parks and fine roads to house the same folk. This not only increased the size of the city but it also won him the praise and gratitude of the poor wights that had been living in squalor there. Oxford in Wessex was also levelled and rebuilt as Penzance in Cornwall. There was great celebration and gladness in London as Pope Alexander agreed to crown the Protector, Lord Cromwell, King of England by main right and duty of the blood. This was accomplished in a grand and glorious ceremony in Saint Peters Cathedral. The Pontiff then left quietly on a Papal frigate to make his way to Sweden where he had further business.

Following this there were a series of arrests and executions by religious authorities within the isles aimed at cleaning up various questionable priests and other religious figures left over from the various occupations. In particular a 'coven' of 'heretical' fringe Hussites were wiped out in a fierce battle in Sadenham, Surrey by troops commanded by the local Bishop. Amidst their belongings were found a great deal of Occitanian gold and various peculiar boxes and figurines. These various items then disappeared from public view and were not seen again.

Just to keep their hand in, the English picked off Vinland from the Tlakotani Aztecs, capturing the city of Avalon with only a few hundred troops (nattily attired in captured Aztec uniforms). Cromwell watched the events on the continent and made a note to himself to make sure that any mercenary bands within his domain remained small, ill-funded, and denied heavy artillery.

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