Holy Cross War

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First read Case Hammer.


1701-1702 T187

The Exarchate of Trebizond: "Boris, whatever is the matter with you now?" Queen Lysia asked her husband as he sat brooding in the great room of his palace late one night.

"The whole world is going to hell." Boris intoned. "First demons and practitioners of the dark arts, and now the Danes are going to set the whole bloody world on fire. Damn heretics…"

"Well dear, they ARE only fighting cousin Sigurd. It’s not as if…"

"If they take down the Gustaffsson line, what do you think will happen to us?" Boris roared. "Our subjects hate us, we have little manpower and less support! The only thing we do have is a strong army and support from our cousin Sigurd."

"Well then, my love, what can you do about it? It's not as if you can take on the might of the Danish army."

"My dear," Boris said with a knowing smile, "how would you like to take a vacation this year?"

After securing the services of Geren Thucidides (Religion don’t enter into it, a man’s gotta eat!) and most of the Trans-Asian mercenary pool, Boris massed his troops in Paphlagonia. There were gathered, both Trebizondi and mercenary, 41,000 troops (centered around the Swedish Corps originally stationed in Abasigia) backed up by 74 guns and the Swedish Black Sea fleet (104 ships). This muster complete, the army moved west.

The Danish wall construction at Constantinople was only half finished when the Trebzi arrive and begin laying a siege. Led by the Mayor of the city, the Danes conducted an active defense, but numbers told and the city fell. The condotierri captain Geren was wounded and went home (Food, hell, a man knows a sign when he sees it!). The Trebzi garrisoned their new acquisition, and then rampaged through the Balkans, raiding Thrace, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia before arriving at Verona (and the Danish capital).

Here they were met by Paul el-Vis, Swedish Governor of Graasland, and another mercenary General, Sir John Sheridan. The attackers now numbered 26,500 troops backed by 74 guns and 20 Swedish warships (the other Swedish vessels are off a-raiding and are not present). Facing the besiegers from their battlements were the Danish leader Greco, the Emperor Kristatos, and 13,000 troops backed by 30 guns. The siege of Venice went very badly for the Trebzi. el-Vis lost an arm to the dreaded green rifle and Sheridan was injured and left the proceedings. Having lost most of his infantry, Boris broke off the siege and withdrew to Constantinople. The Danes, fearing a trap, do not pursue.

The Swedish Empire Of Russia: In spite of the vast war against the demon Hussites, the Swedes continued their foreign aid subsidies to both Khirgiz and Kiev. No demands were made, yet, upon those principates in return.

Uma also gave a speech to the Ecumenical Council of Swedish-Russia on New Year’s Day, 1701. The pertinent passages follow: …and so we of course love our loyal Polish Hussite subjects, just as intensely as we would detest any traitorous Catholic subjects.

As for the so-called Danish Empire and its unilateral military abrogation of the Peace of Munich, we can only say that a madness has taken hold in Venice. Perhaps the malarial vapors from the fetid canali are to blame. Perhaps the new emperor has spent too long the barbarous East. And perhaps, just as the Crown was striking a fatal blow against the scourge of our citizens, PA, and also against the Focus of Evil squatting on the steppe in Sarai, the Forces of Darkness cried out for help.

And lo, who should find those vaporous emanations compelling but t he sewer dwellers of Venice!

So, havig cast aside Justice, Honor and Christianity, having taken the Beast under protection, and having desecrated all that is Right and Good, we may yet hope that God in His Grace will show the ‘Dane’ mercy.

For we shall show none!

So did the House of Gustaffson bend all of its will to the promotion of a Holy War against the Hussite Danes, and even in the dark results of the distasters in Germany and the fall of St.Michael’s the faithful heard and came, in their thousands, to Riga to defend both the King and Crown but also to arm themselves from the great armories and storehouses there before they turned against the Dane to cast them down in ruin.

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: Cromwell watched and waited, seeing how the war went on the continent. Though a firm, even fanatical, Catholic he wanted to know the lay of the land before he moved. Too, the shipyards of Hull, Kingston and London were still running day and night to expand the fleet. London itself was awash in religious fighters (the ‘blackcoats’) who swarmed to the city to gain arms and train to battle the devil itself. Cromwell grinned a grim grin – now there was a sharp sword to weild as well, and a strong fleet, even strong enough to face the might of Denmark.

The Christian Emirate of Lybia: Awab announced that the Catholic Scourge was being punished to avenge the death of his beloved Grandmother , Sayyida and to reward their base treachery.

An attack force of 320 warships, 60 transports, 21,000 troops and 100 guns was massed in Morroco. After a short side trip to Mansura to pick up additional siege engineers and the Danish leader Boncourt (who dies at sea), the whole lot headed out into the Atlantic and arrived at the Azores. The 200 ship Papal fleet, which had sailed out in an attempt to defeat the Hussites, was smacked around and driven back into St. Michael’s. The Libyans landed. They then spent the next three months clearing the exstensive field forts from around the Papal capital. During this time, several Masters of the ecclesiastical orders are laid low.

The Master of the Sisters of Mercy was wounded while commanding the fleet and that of the Dominicans while defending the forts. St. Michael’s was then besieged and after about two months fell and was razed to the ground. The Pope and entire College of Cardinals were butchered and the entire city took a full month to burn out completely.

Denmark and Lybia
Sweden, Syria, Papacy and Trebizond

Sweden massed 23,000 troops in Warsaw under Yakob Anderks and that general marched west, pausing briefly to put down Hussite unrest in Poland itself. Shortly after entering Danish territory in Thuringia, Anderks was killed by assassins. Kristof von Dorner assumed overall command of the Swedish army in north Germania.

Meanwhile, the Danish forces encamped in Uppsala pulled up stakes and marched south, also pausing to suppress unrest in Skåne. Uppsala was abandoned completely, to be retaken by the Swedish northern forces under Pia Ullmansdottir. After the Danish forces were ferried over to Denmark, they split into two groups; 36,000 troops plus artillery under Marshall Jaenish marched into Northern Germany looking for trouble. The 600+ warship Danish fleet backed by 8,000 Imperial marines and artillery headed east, towards Riga.

The two armies in north Germania met in Thuringia and after a two-day battle at Tangermünde the Swedes were routed, the Danish superiority in cavalry proving decisive. Von Dorner is captured and another Swedish leader, Baron Tolstoy, is killed.

The Danish navy demonstrated off of Riga as a feint, but did not land. It then moved west, through the Skaggerak and up to Norway where Oslo was attacked, taken, and sacked. The Danish admiral, Przepiorka, was killed and command devolved to Captain Johner. Whilst the Danes were away, the remnants of the Swedish Baltic fleet attempted to capture the ferries linking Denmark to Skåne. Danish siege artillery on emplaced at Copenhaven shot the Swedish ships full of holes and the Swedes withdrew.

With the defeat of the Swedish main army, the Danes went on the attack -- occupying Lausatia (and Berlin), Kauyavia (destroying the fortress there) and finally Poland, capturing Warsaw at the end of turn. Another Swedish leader, Greybear, was captured during the Danish "romp". Finally, the Danish navy returned to the Baltic.

Hussite revolts broke out in Little Poland and Meissen. Both provinces are now ruled by pro-Danish princes.

1703 - 1704 T188

The Exarchate of Trebizond: Boris, having rampaged across the Balkans and taken his men to the very gates of Venice, now occupied his time with the destruction of the remainder of Constantinople. That ancient city was once more set alight with greed and echoed to the screams of the innocent and the lusts of the occupiers – before abandoning the wreck of the ancient Roman capital and retiring to Paphlagonia behind the screen of his fleet, which still held the Sea of Marmara.

Grand Duchy of Khirgizia: Baetar, ignoring the usual rumblings that the Dark Tower would bring the doom of the land, dispatched General Hasid and 4,000 pikemen to aid the Swedes in their war against the devil-Danes. Sadly, no one really expected them to return…

Principate of Kiev: Much like their Khirgizi neighbors, the Kievians were more than willing to hire out some of their troops to help the Swedes in their war in the north-west. Boyar Lebed and 4,000 Cossacks marched off north in the spring to join up with the various other ‘foreign’ armies milling around on the Moscow-Warsaw highway. They found that a large force of Persians and Khirgiz was already at Smolensk, so all three armies marched off west together.

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: "It is with profound regret and sadness that I, Oliver III, King of England, Scotland and Wales do declare war upon the nations of Denmark and Libya. The recent actions of those nations have made this grave step a necessary one. The destruction of the Papal compound and the slaughter of so many innocents in the Azores can not be left unanswered. I call for all Christian nations to join in this action against Denmark and Libya. Your eternal souls are imperiled if you abstain." With these words the English entered the great European war. Within days of Cromwell’s order, a vast fleet had set sail from the Channel ports and headed south for the Mediterranean…

The Danish Empire: The Swedish general Dorner was gunned down by his prison guards while attempting to escape from the Fortress of the Pearl. The guards were severely disciplined for such lax watch. His cellmate, John Greybear, was later released when it became clear that the Swedish Crown had decommissioned him from their army. Kristatos, learning of this, ordered him released. Greybear, bitter beyond words at the treatment he had received at Uma’s hands, became a condotierre commander.

Thousands of sailors and other able men were called up to support the effort of the Empire against the Papists. Reserves were summoned to their posting stations and a veritable horde of mercenaries were imported by the Albanians to support their pyramid investment schemes … wait, no, to support Denmark in its war against the demonic Papists.

Denmark, Libya, AEIC
Sweden, England, Spain, Shawnee, Papacy, New France, New Granada and Trebizond

Opening Moves…
The latest round of slaughter led off with the revolt of the Catholic peasantry in Friesland, Kauyavia and Skåne against the Danish garrisons therein. Armed with arms from secret caches and led by land-reform spouting agents of the Imperial Office, they besieged the Danish garrisons in their laagers throughout those provinces. In a similar vein, Hussite peasants that had risen up in arms against him murdered the pro-Swedish baron of Silesia. Too, the Danish commander at Warsaw, Jaenisch, was killed by a cart-bomb as he walked out of a brothel frequented by himself and his officers. Mass arrests were made and hundreds of Polish Catholics put to the wall and executed in reprisal.

Not far distant in the Swedish-held port of Sopot, the Swedish King Sigurd learned of these atrocities and, ignoring the orders of his mother, marched off south with his rather paltry force of artillerists to save the God-fearing citizens of Warsaw. Soon after the King had left the city, the Jarl of Pomerania sped through as well, heading for his own lands to the west, where he raised a troop of his cousins and their landsmen and headed south-west into Kauyavia, to support the revolt of the peasants there.

In Scandinavia, the Warrioress Jarla of Norbotten, Pia Ulmansdottir, attacked the Danish garrison of Smaland and, aided by a rising of the staunch peasantry there, defeated the Hussites. Emboldened by this victory, she and her rag-tag army then swarmed south into Skåne, which they also liberated and recaptured the city of Malmö from the invaders.

In the west, along the coasts of Holland and Friesland, Danish watchers observed that a paltry force of English frigates and armed merchantmen were harrying the coast. Indeed, the English seemed to be showing an unhealthy interested in the ruins of Amsterdam, perhaps searching for Freikorps artifacts.

The Tumult of Armies…
April 1703: The English fleet under the command of Prince James, having sortied from London, plows north into the Viking Bank, seeking the Danish fleet and a victory at sea to clear the way for those who would come after. At the same time, the Danish fleet under Admiral Johner had debauched from the Denmark Strait and swung southwards. Under blustery skies the English spotting draken espy the Danish fleet off of Blåvads Huk and the Catholic squadrons wheel out into battle array. The massive Danish fleet (over six hundred ships) found itself stunned to face over seven hundred English ships of the line, frigates and lesser craft. Despite the looming menace of English fire-draken, the Danish squadrons plunged ahead -- "Victory for Christ!" rose from three hundred thousand throats. Within the hour the two fleets were locked in a swirl of fire, crashing ships, fierce melee and the agonized screams of men dying from shot, saber and drowning. Things began to go against the Danes almost immediately, but though Johner and the Borkou khan attempted to break off and flee for the safety of the Skaggerak, Prince James harried them unmercifully. There would be no mercy for the Dane this day. In the end the Danish shore would yield up the wrack of battle; corpses and shattered beams for years afterwards. The English ended the day triumphant, masters of the northern seas.

May 1703: The English general Oxworth lands from the English fleet in Friesland, expecting to be greeted by cheering peasants. Instead he finds the province in open revolt against Denmark, in the name of Sweden. Oxworth declares the region a Crown Fief of the English monarchy. A three way struggle begins between the English, Swedes and Danes in the area.

June 1703: The Swedish main army, under the command of the Marsk Aesirov (and a multitude of other potentates) completes its muster at Grodno in Masuria.

The peasants and other folk of the province of Kauyavia rise up against the Danish garrison there, cutting the Imperial Highway between Berlin and Warsaw.

In the south, the Albanian fleet lands a large force of Syrian, Egyptian and Arabic mercenaries at Trieste in Slovenia, where they are taken under the command of Johan Greco and his force of Danish regulars.

Brigadier Najdorf of the Engineers Corps arrives in Warsaw to find that the Danish army there is in confusion. He takes command and orders that the city be fortified and held by a small force while the remainder of the army retreats to Germania to deal with the English invasion.

July 1703: Aesirov's army of Christ enters Poland.

Johan Greco and Geren Thucides' Danish-Arab army leaves Trieste and marches northeast into Wallachian territory. The Valachs bow before their passage.

Fighting continues in Kauyavia between the rebels and the Danish garrison. Najdorf and the main Danish army in the north march through a hostile Kauyavia, picking up the garrison and abandoning the province to the Catholics.

Oxworth completes the extirpation of the Danish troops in Friesland and secures the province. The pro-Swedish rebels are rounded up and hanged. Protectors begin going door to door, searching out witches, Hussites and Bjarnifolken.

August 1703: Aesirov's army of Christ reaches Warsaw and finds it held by several thousand Danish engineers along with a passel of Hussite sympathizers. A screening force is left around the city and the Swedes continue to the west.

The English army in Friesland, having taken stock of the province, marches south into Holland.

The Danish general Ladislas Ziska arrives by coach from the south to meet Najdorf and the Danish Northern Army in Berlin. He takes command and the Northern Army turns west to deal with the English invasion of Holland.

September 1703: An Spanish Crusader army, with a passel of Jesuits in tow, crosses the border of Provence and descends upon the great port city of Marseilles. With all of the Danish armies off in the north, fighting England and Sweden, there is nothing to stop them.

Prince James of England lands a new army of 23,000 men in Friesland to secure the province while Oxworth harries the Dane.

Aesirov's army marches through Kauyavia, the roadsides thronged with cheering peasants, merchants and Congregationalists. Thousands of rebels, flush with victory over the Hussites, join up.

Ziska's Northern Army reaches Hannover, where dispatches from all quarters reach the general. He is determined to throw the English out first, continuing on towards Friesland.

Oxworth's English troops rampage through the countryside of Holland, slaughtering Hussites, burning churches and generally laying waste to all that they find.

October 1703: The Spanish army under the joint command of Reynard Bey and Father Darrien of the Jesuit Order reaches Marseilles and finds the city an impregnable fortress. After much discussion over the merits of an assault, Bey relents and agrees to leave Essino and 8,000 men to besiege the city. The Spanish continue southeast, into the maritime Alps.

Unexpectedly, a large army of Iroquois Crusaders land in Friesland at the ports controlled by the English garrison. Oxworth and his army in Holland, hearing of an invasion by "red devils", march hurriedly back north.

At the same time, Ziska and his Northern Army march into Friesland and find themselves facing both the Iroquois and the English. Informed by Frieslander separatists that the Papists, Iroquois and the English are bickering over the command of the combined army, Ziska force-marches his 58,000 men to Aschendorf, where he attacks the Iroquois army - hoping to destroy it before the English can join their fellow Catholics. The 21,000 Iroquois are not caught by surprise, however, their scouts having alerted Warchief Jonathan of the approach of the "gray-backs". The red men fall back in a fighting retreat to join the English army at the nearby village of Papenberg. Ziska now faces 49,000 Englishmen as well. Ignoring the odds, Ziska attacks along the axis formed by the join of the two Catholic armies. His bold stroke is a crushing success. The Danes drive a wedge between the English and the Iroquois, then shift their center of gravity and smash the Indians into rout. Prince James, the day lost, retires in poor order to the landing, suffering more losses to the Danish cavalry that pursues him.

Aesirov's army of Christ reclaims Lausatia and Berlin for Sweden.

A Danish force under the command of Jankowski recaptures Constantinople; finding it in ruins, looted and raped.

November 1703: Another Crusader army enters the scene as the New French and New Granadan fleets arrive at Morocco and disgorge a host of fanatical Catholics that then besiege St.George-the-Defender. The Libyan army and fleet, recently returned to New Oran, loads up again and sets sail to repel this invasion.

Aesirov's army of Christ conquers Danish Thuringia, capturing the city of Kassel. Now it turns north to try and pen Ziska and his Northern Army against the coastline.

Prince James evacuates his battered English army onto the fleet standing off the Frisian shore. Without a port to handle his horse and guns, he is forced to abandon his cavalry mounts to the Danes, who are more than happy to acquire the fine horseflesh. As the last Englishmen scramble in the surf to board the longboats, the Danes on the bluffs above the beach taunt them mercilessly.

Amused by the good cheer of his troops, Ziska wheels his army and marches back into Saxony to the city of Hanover.

Winter 1703-04: Heavy snows cover the northlands, isolating the Swedish army in Kassel from the Danes in Hannover. In the south, the Spanish enter Liguria and winter in the farmlands above Genova, drinking wine and eating some cheese.

Prince James sails his disheartened fleet back to London and spends the winter of his discontent wenching and drinking to excess.

In the eastern lands, Greco and his Arabs winter under the snowy peaks of the Carpathians and further east than that, the snow-bound Russian roads echo to the tramp of Persian boots.

March 1704: The snow-clouds lift and the sun shines at last in clear blue skies.

The Spanish army comes down out of the hills above Genoa and captures the city with barely a shot -- Catholic sympathizers betray the gates. The Jesuits are elated! Italy at last will be returned to the Mother Church! A garrison is left and the army pushes onwards; Rome awaits.

In Morocco the Libyan army lands at Tangiers and advances cautiously southwards, light cavalry fanning out through the countryside, seeking the Crusader host. They find the Crusaders dug in around the massively fortified St.George. Once the French realize that the heretic army has come against them, they abandon the siege and eagerly seek battle! The 31,000 Catholics meet the 24,000 Hussites at Kenitra on the narrow coastal plain north of St.George. Ksar Sada, the Libyan commander, drew up his men in a curved line, backed with his artillery battery and with the wings held by his large force of cavalry. The Duke of Aburra, commanding the Crusaders, feinted against the middle and then threw his horse and the Aburran Ducal Guard against the right flank of the Lybians. The right flank snarled in the low hills and amid the ruins of an ancient Roman vinyard. The Lybians, unable to charge down the hill into the Crusader flank, were forced to go toe to toe with the more numerous invaders. Ksar Sada soon saw that his numbers were eroding. Unfortunately, he failed to break contact. The second day was a disaster for the Hussites and Ksar only managed to escape at the end of the day with his personal guards. The French and Granadans resumed their siege of St.George.

A bitter cold wind blew down the valley of the Liene, straight into the faces of the Swedish troops trudging north from Kassel along the muddy roads bordering the river. The Marsk Waldstein, commanding the vanguard, reined up his horse at the sound of a shot. Within moments, the word came back down the line -- the Hussite army was ahead. The 76,000 Swedes spilled off of the road and into line; gun cassions rumbling past as the artillery took up position. A quarter of a mile away, the village of Northeim shuttered its windows.

Ziska, who had left his camps at Hannover earlier than his men would have liked, was furious - the Swedes had moved just as quickly. Still, his 43,000 veterans had defeated greater numbers before… This time there was no confusion between his enemies, however, and Aesirov's endless regiments of infantry smashed into, and then over his line. The Danish Northern Army was pinned down and stomped out of existence. Ziska is killed and Najdorf captured.

April 1704: A motley force of Persians, Khirgiz and Kievian Cossacks arrived in Neyvilna in Lithuania, looking for the "Sweedish armee". The local constables pointed west and off these itinerant warriors rode, looking for battle and glory.

The Spanish crusader army entered Tuscany.

Greco's Arab army, now reinforced by the angry nobility of Little Poland and Silesia, suddenly marched out of the woodlands south of Warsaw and scattered the Swedish garrison that had been sitting around drinking beers and wondering why the Danish engineers in the city were still refusing to surrender.

Aesirov's force, with the German southlands open for conquest, now turned north and marched into Saxony, capturing Hannover.

May 1704: At Warsaw, Greco had mustered his Arabs, Hussite Poles and the Danish engineers and was preparing to strike north-east against Riga when word came that an "army of easterners" was approaching along the eastern road. Geren Thucides, who only a few years before had led the Trebizondi victorious to the gates of Venice, now led the Hussite-Arabs out of the battered gates of Warsaw 32,000 strong. When the Duzme Mustafa, who commanded the approaching army saw that his ramshackle force was outnumbered, he attempted to retire from the field - but the throng of Syrian light horse arrayed against him prevented this. The Duzme's foreboding was well founded, for the allied army was soundly trounced by the Hussite-Arabs and the Duzme captured.

The Spanish complete their reduction of Tuscany, installing garrisons in the hill towns of Firenze and Siena.

Aesirov's army overruns Holstein, capturing Lubeck. A smaller force, led by Waldstein, liberates Pomern.

June 1704: The Libyan defenders of St.George, isolated by sea and land, at last surrendered. The French crusaders then took a terrible vengeance upon the Hussites and elevated the Catholic peoples (many of whom remained from previous days when the province was a stronghold of the Papacy) to rule instead.

Aesirov's army, now rejoined by Waldstein, occupies Denmark and attempts to besiege Copenhagen. Unfortunately they have no fleet to support them and the island city remains involiate. They begin building rafts and confiscating barges.

The English return to the continent, again under the command of Prince James, landing the reformed army in Brabant, which is seized.

The Spanish Crusaders march down into the malarial plain that surrounds Rome. Latium in conquered.

July 1704: The Danish general Greco, fighting in Poland, declares the Free Polish State of Warsaw and begins organizing the local Hussite militias into regiments.

The Spanish crusaders besiege Rome.

The Swedes attempting to come to grips with Copenhagen continue to build rafts and refit the confiscated barges. The Marsk Waldstein is dispatched to the east with a force of hussars and lancers to try and reopen the road through Warsaw and defeat the Polish uprising.

August 1704: The English continue their conquests in the low countries, capturing Holland.

The Spanish army at Rome launches an assault on the Palatine bastion and, after fierce fighting, manages to capture the entire city save the citadel of the Rock of St. Peter.

Waldstein and his hussars canter eastward from Berlin, sunlight flashing from their lancepoints, their dress jackets and plumed helmets stylish and brave.

Back in the waterways of the Danish isles, Aesirov counts heads before his first seaborne attack. Much to his dismay he finds himself at a severe disadvantage. The Danes had fortified Copenhagen to within an inch of its life - every approach covered by heavy guns, the walls carefully sloped, each island a bastion swarming with angry Hussites. Only surprise would make the difference - so he decided to wait for a foggy morning and attack anyway. The attack was a particularly bloody failure and the Swedes were forced to abandon the effort. Copenhagen, still open by sea, was impregnable.

September 1704: The French crusaders in Africa overrun the province of Merrakesh as well, adding it to their small state. There too the Hussite natives were treated harshly and the Catholics returned to their rightful place in the sun!

Greco's Free Polish Army, operating out of Warsaw, raids the Swedish city of Koningsborg in Prussia and destroys it, carrying away a hundred wagonloads of loot. In the months since the defeat of the Persians, the Thuringians, and more volunteers out of Silesia and Meissen have reinforced him.

October 1704: Prince Jame's English army completes its efforts in the low countries with the recapture of Friesland. All three provinces - Brabant, Holland and Friesland - are declared the Crown Fief of Frisia.

The Spanish launch their last attack in Rome, seizing the Rock of St.Peter. Rome, at last, is once more in Catholic hands. The crusaders pray in thankfulness for three days and nights for the resurrection of the Western Church.

Waldstein's cavalry army reaches Warsaw to find the Free Polish State in arms against them. Greco can now field 24,000 men (between his Danish regulars, the Thuringians, the Arab and Syrian mercenaries, and now the Free Polish Militias). Waldstein is greatly troubled to see the size of the enemy, particularly as he has only 18,000 horse to face their artillery and ranks of musketeers. He backs off from the battle. Greco laughs and Geren joins him in a flagon of wine on the redoubt of Warsaw. Winter is coming and the storehouses of the city are full.

Oliver III of England, seeing his long held dream of a continental empire about to bear fruit choked to death on a piece of cheese at the Swiss picnic. His son, James, succeeded him as King of England, taking the reign name of Oliver the Fourth.

Kristatos, mewed up in the Fortress of the Pearl, lamented the disasters that had befallen Danish arms. Again and again, his eyes stray to a black-bound book sitting locked in a box of iron and brass. Victory could still be snatched from the jaws of defeat…

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: The Emperor , his hand forced by the religious fervor of his barons and dukes, acceded in ill-humor to this daring strike into the underbelly of the Danish Empire. Stunningly, it succeded beyond his wildest dreams and he found himself the master of a Franco-Hispanian-Italic empire. Now, flush with success he dared dream that all of Italy would be his!

The Church Spiritual: The Church, despite the squealing of the Swedish bishops, reiterated that it had already elected a new pontiff from the ruins of St.Michael’s. This fellow, now named Clement XI, was an Iroquois cardinal. The Holy See in Penzance, who pointed out that Clement was already on the job and there did not need to be TWO Pontiffs at this critical juncture, repudiated the efforts of the Council of Moscow.

Otherwise, the outpost of Heaven’s Gate was reinforced and the Templars in Abasigia made their hazard-filled way home to join their brothers in France. The master of the Jesuit order, Father Dietrich of Alsace, was dispatched to Spain to aid the crusaders there in the battle against the devil-spawn.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: Awab, speaking soon before his death, said: The recent necessary actions against the evil persons which headed the Catholic Church cannot be regarded as aggressive acts, since Libya merely acted in self-defense. Sayyida al-Senussi, one of our most beloved rulers, was foully assassinated by these devils and yet they had no motive. Moreover, she and her homeland were excommunicated forever by the Papal authorities for failing to submit to a vague and arbitrary edict on trade. No doubt they were hoping that she would be damned to Hell for eternity but she discovered and led her country to the True Path of the Hussite Church where they discovered a purer form of salvation. Long have we waited for vengeance, but finally her blood cried out from the grave for justice, which we have administered. May the Catholic Church forever sink back into the abyss from which is first arose.

Fine words, but Libya suffered cruelly at the hands of the Catholics, who smashed her armies in Morroco and took that province and Merrakesh from her. Yusuf, only sixteen, was elevated to the Emir’s bench in a time of great crisis.

1705 - 1706 T189

The Exarchate of Trebizond: The Trebizondi returned in moderate triumph to their capital, but not before taking the time to militarily convert the province of Psidia to Catholicism.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: Regent Uma, seeing that her enemies were in disarray and that the Dane had been sorely smacked in the chops, continued her various machinations. Large sums were doled out to the Trebizondi, through those fellows were greatly out of the picture. The cities of Koningsborg in Prussia and Stockholm in Uppsala were rebuilt, and considerable works were undertaken in Stockholm, Koningsborg and St.Charles. The Lapps that had fled past Gylfistad were offered homes in Jamtland, but they shook their heads sadly and continued south into Yaroslav and Kostroma.

Shipments of grain were sent to the English, and distributed in the northern lands that now suffered under increasingly lengthy winter. Large quantities of Persian wheat and corn were also dumped on the Russian markets, depressing the markets there. A vocal faction in the Kalmar Senate learned of the various atrocities committed by the English in the low countries against pro-Swedish persons there and began pressing the government to demand satisfaction from the English crown over this matter.

The split between the eastern Church and the Azorean church was papered over after Uma dispatched the Steward, Matthew di Corleone, back to Italy to attend to the masses there in their time of trouble. The Swedish crown also recognized Clement as the pontiff of Rome and the successor to Peter.

The Regent, speaking to the Royal Society of Alpine War Veterans, said "A new peace with the lord of Venice must rest on a firmer foundation than our last hard-won treaty. The Dane must be reduced, must be transformed, and must be removed as a blight and yoke from Christian Europe. Only when the Swedish-Russian Empire and her allies are once more dominant can Venice be trusted to hold the requirements of honor. We do not mean trusted in the sense of the ladies and gentlemen with which we associate, but trusted as a prisoner is trusted to behave under the threat of the lash. Then, truly, we can turn from this hellish business of war with the Dane and engage in the True Battle, the struggle which is still to come." Soon after this pronouncement, Uma met with her cousin Glyfi in the White Palace and, in a quiet ceremony, named him as Prince of the Realm and heir to King Sigurd, should anything happen to him.

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: Otherwise, the English fleet sortied once more to bring war to the Dane.

The Danish Empire: Despite the reverses of the past two years, the Danes were as vigorous as ever. Military engineers under the command of Janowski rebuilt the wrecked city of Constantinople. Large sums were spent to re-secure the services of the Arabs fighting for Greco in Poland and to hire a new clutch of expatriate Franks, Englishmen and Wallachians at Venice to serve under the command of the newly promoted Reshevsky. With the defenses of Constantinople at least partially restored, and the emplacement of many guns there, the Danes closed the Black Sea to Swedish and Persian shipping. At the western end of the Mediterranean, the Danish fortress at Gebel-el-Tarik also closed the strait, this to Catholic shipping. And finally, the Egyptian canal at Mansura, now under Danish control once more, closed that critical waterway.

Confounded by the sheer numbers arrayed against him, dismayed at the many brave Danish footsoldiers already lost, crestfallen with the sheer uselessness of the Burgundians and Wallachians as allies despite the decades of support in coin and blood given to those realms, Kristatos reached for the "black book" and … threw it into the hearth that warmed his chambers against the winter chill. He watched grimly as the flames, its ancient binding quivering and writhing, consumed it as it burned away. "This war was begun under God, and it shall be decided by Him."

Hussite priests throughout the Empire began preaching hellfire and brimstone against the Catholics, stirring the populace to a fever pitch. Even in areas that had been spared the war so far, the Hussite majorities began to persecute the Orthodox or Catholic minorities. Things slowly became uglier and uglier.

Denmark and Libya
Sweden, England, Spain, Papacy, New France and New Granada

Opening Moves…
The Hussite population of Rome, despite the presence of an occupying army of Catholics, began to fight back agains their oppressors. The homes of those who were cooperating with the Spaniards were burned, Catholics were beaten up if they travelled alone, and so forth. The Spanish commander retaliated by hanging three citizens of the city for each Catholic so molested. When Danish agents attempted to murder Reynard Bey, the counter by the Spanish was quite horrific and the streets stank for weeks of burned flesh and rotting blood clogging the gutters.

Further north, fighting broke out in Little Poland between Hussite and Catholic factions there as agents of both Sweden and Denmark attempted to gain the allegiance of the province. Swedish attempts to send priests into Poland were poorly met and resulted in a nice pile of dead priests.

Otherwise there was a flurry of assassin and counter-assassination attempts. Greco in Warsaw, Aesirov in Denmark, Waldstein in Kauyavia, Uma in Riga - all were targeted at one time or another. All of them escaped, thanks to the vigilance of their bodyguards and the difficulties of penetrating their security.

The Tumult of Armies…
March 1705: English fleet under Oliver IV leaves London to resume operations against Denmark. Pleshey's English army in Friesland decamps and marches into Holstein. Aesirov abandons the siege of Copenhagen and marches off to the sout. The Swedish-allied Jarl of Pomerania takes his courassiers out of Berlin and up the road into Kauyavia, where he and his men deploy as a screening force.

The Danish general Reshevsky leaves Venice with a newly raised army and marches west to deal with the Spanish invaders. In the north, Greco abandons Poland, though he leaves a strong force to hold Warsaw, and marches hurriedly west into Kauyavia.

April 1705: The Swedish army under Marsk Waldstein enters Poland, seeking to find Greco's Dano-Arab army. Aesirov's army reaches Lubeck. The provincial garrison of Holstein is withdrawn into the city. The English garrison the province.

Reshevsky's Danish army reaches Genoa and scatters the Spanish garrison there. Greco pushes through Kauyavia, though his forces are now shadowed by the Pomeranians nipping at his heels.

May 1705: Spanish fleet under the command of Ricardo de'Montalba arrives at Marseilles to support the siege being maintained by General Essino and his crusaders. Pleshey's English army enters Denmark to take up the siege of Copenhagen. Oliver IV's English fleet arrives at Copenhagen as well, now the city is completely cut off. Aesirov's army moves through Saxony, picking up the garrison there. The province returns to Danish rule.

Reynard Bey's Spanish army at Rome learns that the Danes have recaptured Genoa. Bey gathers his forces and advances north into Tuscany, where he meets the Spanish garrison fleeing south in the face of Reshevsky's advance from Genoa.

Greco continues to push west into Germany, passing through Lausatia and into Thuringia. He is seeking to bring Aesirov to battle, a wish granted at Goslar as his army and that of Aesirov run into each other. The Danish force remains the 30,000 mixed mercenaries and regulars, though the Arab mercenaries are now well acquainted with Greco's command. Aesirov commands 23,000 men, nearly all regular Swedish army, as well as the courassiers under the Pomeranian jarl. Once the two armies had come to grips, the Danish numbers and (most importantly) their cavalry superiority immediately proved decisive. By the second day at Goslar, Aesirov was dead after his command had been overrun by Syrian lancers, and his army scattered and then cut to bits in the fields and farmsteads of Thuringia. King Sigurd of Sweden is also killed in the aftermath when he is captured by Turkish mercenaries who abuse him horribly (though they do not know who he is) before abandoning his body in a ditch near Stelhaffen.

June 1705: Spanish Imperial army under Diego Cortez arrives at Narbonne to defend the Spanish northeastern frontier.

Oliver IV and his fleet and Pleshey's army begin the siege, in earnest, of Copenhagen. Word reaches the English king of the Swedish defeat at Goslar.

At Kassel, Greco regroups his men and prepares for the next phase of the campaign.

In Tuscany, the Spanish army under Reynard Bey advance cautiously northwards, encountering the Danish army under Reshevsky in the fields below the hill-town of Orcia. Once Bey saw the full might of Denmark arrayed against him (41,000 men to his 23,000) he knew that all hope was gone. Nonetheless, he ordered his men into battle formation and they advanced, heads held high. The Danes were victorious at Orcia, smashing the Spaniards. Bey fled south with three regiments of cavalry, all that survived of his once victorious army.

The English under Oliver, having completely isolated Copenhagen with a vastly superior force, demanded its surrender. Stahlberg, commanding the defense, refused. Oliver then consulted with his commanders. They had more than enough force to break the city in full siege, yet it would still be quite costly to do so. In truth the only sensible way to proceed was to starve it into submission. Thus a screening force of some thousands of men was left to secure the city, and the rest of the English army would press back south.

July 1705: The Spanish cavalry under Bey continue to flee south, through Latium, pursued by Brigadier Stoltz and a crowd of Danish cavalry.

Reshevsky regroups and resupplies his men in Tuscany.

Greco, at Kassel, has learned that Waldstein and his "new army" has advanced to Berlin in pursuit of the Danes. Supsecting that the eastern Swedish force was, or is, seeking to link up with Aesirov's (now defeated) western force, Greco and his veterans quickly march towards Berlin.

August 1705: The Spanish under Bey continue their flight, through Campania, ignoring the protests of the Wallachians. Stoltz continues to pursue but cannot catch up.

Greco, by unexpected good luck, catches Waldstein and his "new army" just south of Berlin, foraging for hay and other fodder for their horses. Greco attacks Waldstein's main force at Nedlitz with the advantage of surprise. Nedlitz was inconclusive. Greco inflicted heavy losses on the Swedes, but quickly discovered that engaging elite Swedish cavalry was dangerous. He fell back to Kassel. The Swedes were content to let him go.

Oliver IV's English army marches back south through Holstein, leaving a large garrison to secure the province, and into Saxony. The city of Lubeck remains in Swedish hands.

Reshevsky marches his army north from Tuscany through Liguria and into Provence. His scouts report that Marseilles is still holding out against the Spanish.

September 1705: Bey and his refugee cavalry find safe haven, at last, in Calabria, which is controlled by the Three Isles. They seek refuge with the Catholic government there. Stoltz takes up position at Napoli to watch the Islander border. The protests of the Wallachian governor are ignored.

Oliver IV and his English enter Saxony, which they find difficult to subdue due to the heavy forests and stubborn nature of the locals. In Berlin, Waldstein is content to screen the Swedish border.

The Spanish Emperor, Diego, learning that a large Danish army has crossed the Alps into Provence, marches his own main army up to support the siege of Marseilles. Too, he learns that Bey's forces at Rome have been defeated.

October 1705: Reynard Bey and his men are transported by the Islanders to Archimedea on Sicily, where they await pickup by the Spanish fleet.

The Danish defenders of Warsaw, at last reduced to eating shoes and those few rats slow enough to catch, surrender.

Oliver IV and his English army enters Thuringia. Greco, once his scouts report the vast size of the English army, and that Waldstein's cavalry corps have joined it, withdraws to Stuttgart in Alsace.

Reshevsky advances upon Marseilles and finds his way blocked by a very large Spanish army under Emperor Diego, at Roquevaire. The 29,000 Danes engaged the 58,000 Spaniards carefully, keeping the lines of battle apart. This proved fruitless once one wing of the Danish line of battle was engaged in melee. The rest of the Spanish army charged in and before Reshevsky could withdraw, his entire line of battle was locked in a titanic struggle. Despite a marked superiority of Danish arms, the tide of the Spanish advance was unstoppable. Reshevsky did manage to break contact during the night, and fled back to Liguria. Diego was overjoyed. His less well trained, well led and frankly clumsy army had triumphed over the fearsome Dane!

November 1705: Copenhagen and Marseilles, still besieged, continued to hold out, though supplies in both cities were growing dangerously low. Reynard Bey and his cavalry force was picked up from Archimedea by the Spanish fleet and returned to Provence.

Winter 1705-06: The winter was particularly bitter, with many villages in the Alps and the Carpathians having to be abandoned due to the excessive snowfalls. Even the Spanish army encamped outside of Marseille suffered from heavy rains and dysentry. In Venice, Kristatos looked out upon the frozen canals and was glad that no Trebizondi army was attacking the city this winter - they could easily have walked from the shore to the island city.

March 1706: Though various of the generals involved would have been happy to begin operations in March, the snows had not melted yet, halting new campaigns. Copenhagen, however, did at last surrender to the English that were besieging it. April 1706 With partially clear skies, and an abundance of mud, the Catholic armies were on the move again. The Danish armies, however, had fled before them, trudging either south or north to join up at Mantua in Lombardy.

The combined English / Swedish army advanced into Alsace and besieged Stuttgart.

In the south, the Spanish launched into a full siege of Marseilles.

May 1706: Both Marseilles and Stuttgart fell, their walls broken and their defenders with hands raised, to the Catholic armies besieging them.

June 1706: Greco and his battered Army of the North reaches Mantua to join Reshevsky and Stoltz with the remainder of the southern Danish armies.

In the south, the Spanish army crosses into Liguria, seeking to engage and destroy the remaining Danish armies in Italy.

In the north, the English and Swedes advance into Swabia and besiege Ulm, which is held against them by general Cohn and a hastily gathered force of militia.

July 1706: The combined Danish army in northern Italy, numbering a bare 22,000 men, crosses into Liguria to try and keep the Spanish army there in play until some miracle occurs… The 38,000 Spaniards are not interested in a miracle, they are interested in pinning Reshevsky and Greco and crushing their army like a bug. Campomorone provides the venue, the Danes the attack with superior tactics, firepower and elan. In two days of vicious fighting the Danes soundly thrash the clumsier Spaniards, killing or capturing almost 22,000 Spaniards. Emperor Diego is killed and his army falls back in rout to Provence. Again, Reynard Bey commands the retreat.

In Germany, the English and Swedes smash the defenses of Ulm to splinters. Now they stand poised to move south into the Alps or east into Bavaria.

August 1706: Oliver IV is cautious, hearing only rumors yet of a possible Spanish defeat in the south, and sends General Pleshy into Switzerland with the crusader troops, while maintaining his main army at Ulm. The Swedes advance into Bavaria and besiege Munich.

September 1706: The English under Pleshy reduce Bern in Switzerland by main force and Munich surrenders to the Swedish army under Waldstein.

October 1706: Winter comes early, again, giving the Danes a last reprieve before the tide of battle washes to the shores of Venice.

The Swedish regent, Uma, died in the winter of 1706 after contracting tuberculosis. With the death of King Sigurd at Goslar, this elevates an incredibly startled and quite unprepared Gylfi Torrson (an otherwise unremarkable cousin of Uma) to the Swedish-Russian throne. Sensing a weakness in the Royal Household, the more activist elements of the Kalmar Senate then began badgering the new King to give them back the powers that had been stripped from them in the Restoration.

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: Diego, seeing that things might get a little dicey with the expected Danish counter-attack, moved himself, his court, and the main Spanish army, up to Narbonne in Languedoc to support the continuing siege of Marseilles and to protect the old Occitanian lands from any attack from the Commonwealth or Denmark. At the same time, the Spanish fleet sailed to support Essino at Marseilles.

The Church Spiritual: Clement moved his court and attendants to Heaven's Gate, in Poitou, long the last temporal bastion of the Catholic Church in Europe proper. There too were moved much of the merchant fleet remaining to the Church, as well as thousands of Templars and the city fortifications were vastly expanded. The city itself expanded as well, becoming a well armed camp and armory for the Templar order. Substantial investments were made in Catalonia as well, to reward the landowners there for their support in the war against the Danish heretics.

By the end of 1706, Clement was quite pleased. The Danes were on the run, reduced to almost nothing. The Yaqui in the New World were smashing Hussites and Heretics with equal fervor. Yes, things were looking up! Various boons were granted to the Yaqui, who needed a little help.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: The Lybians piled what troops they still had to hand into Zirid to try and stop the French and Granadan advance there. Luckily for them, the Catholics decided to come straight across the mountains and into the teeth of their defense. After a series of battles, the French were thrown back, bloodied, into Morocco, where they spent the rest of 1706. Without sufficient forces to retake the western provinces, the Libyans contented themselves with digging in in Zirid and cursing the Catholics.

Teutonic Kingdom of New Granada: The Knights of Saint John were stunned by the disaster that had befallen the Papacy. The call to holy war reached them slowly, however, and only some thousands had gathered in Zaragoza by the end of 1702.

The New French Empire: Jason’s sleep was troubled little by the petty bickering of the True Incan despots, but much by the news that the Hussites had kicked over the Catholic ant-hill and put the Papacy and Sweden to rout. Now the port of Salamanca was thronged with religious fanatics demanding aid and assistance to transport them to the ancient world in another war against Denmark – the French are fond of fighting the Danes.

1707 - 1708 T190

The Exarchate of Trebizond: The Exarchate was saddened by the sudden, and unexpected, death of The Viceroy Boris. Luckily, one of his cousins, Vladimir of Syzom, was visiting Trebizond at the time and accepted the Viceregal crown. Vladimir then embarked on a campaign to Phrygia to convert the natives to Catholicism. In other news, an attempt to hire mercenaries to bolster the defense of the Exarchate was rebuffed by the Albanians, who were dealing exclusively with the Danes by this time. The Exarch fleet attempted to run the Sea of Mamara past the guns of Constantinople, but was turned back by a storm of fire, losing nine ships in the process. They retaliated by closing the Black Sea to Danish, Libyan and AEIC shipping by blockading the northern approaches to the Golden Horn. Phyrigia was converted.

Albanian East India Company: Davich laughed, then stopped as a coughing fit overcame him, at the sight of the Swedish agent that had come to him in an effort to secure the services of various and sundry mercenary battalions. "They are already under contract," wheezed the Badger, "and you've not enough silver to buy them out." The Swede went away disgusted and Davich was well pleased. Claudia would have liked that, he thought fondly, seeing the confounding of her enemies. It was a pleasant thought.

The wars in the north and the east continued to benefit the Company hugely, with vast sums pouring into their coffers from the supply of arms, men and munitions to the embattled parties. The Dalmatian Guard was sent to Venice to protect the Company holdings there.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: A team of men from the mysterious W Group took the family of the expatriate mercenary commander, John Greybear, into custody. Unfortunately for their plans, they found that Greybear's family had been spirited out of Swedish lands years ago and replaced by a clutch of Anatolian immigrants. The intel apparat of the Empire was further dismayed when the Danish general Stahlberg, who had been a prisoner for some time in Riga, managed to escape from his 'private residence' in the suburbs and was shot down by a Cossack guard. The guard was severely reprimanded and a note placed in his permanent record.

The Danish Empire: Still alive and still kicking, Kristatos drew upon the bedrock of Danish success - the ultimate intent to never surrender. A new army was raised at Mantua under the command of Rheshevsky, reinforced by more mercenaries provided by the Albanians.

Generals, messengers and fleets were sent in all directions in a frenzy of activity as the war prepared to enter a new phase…

Denmark and Libya
Sweden, England, Spain, The Papacy and New France

Opening Moves…
Janowksi, the Danish general commanding the defense of Constantinople, was killed during the night battle when the Exarchate fleet attempted to run past the guns of the city into the Sea of Marmara. Later investigation revealed that he had been murdered, rather than killed by a stray shot.

The religious troubles in Poland continued, even though it was now again in Swedish hands. The brief period of the Polish Free State had inspired a long-smoldering desire for independence to spring into full flower. With surreptitious Danish aid, the Poles began waging a campaign of banditry, rioting and general insurrection. Fellow Hussite Poles filtered across the border from Little Poland to make matters worse, the first amongst them the resistance leader Palador.

Hussite assassins made game tries to murder the raft of English commanders in Switzerland and Swabia, but ran afoul of the excessively strict security practiced by Cromwell and his minions. An attempt on Waldstein in Bavaria came much closer to succeeding. A more worrisome event for the Catholics was the wide-spread revolt of the rural populations in Swabia and Switzerland.

A similar scene to the events in Poland was carried out to the west, in Lausatia, where the Swedish garrison was hard pressed to put down rioting and rural insurrection by the Catholic populace, who demanded autonomy. The entire Baltic seaboard was teetering on the edge of rebellion. On the plus side for the Swedes, a SHAFT hit team managed to trap the Danish provocateur Menchik in a church in Meissen and capture him. The poor fellow was dragged off to Riga to be paraded around at parties and embassy receptions.

The Tumult of Armies…
March 1707: King Gylfi leaves Riga with the Royal Guard. The Marsk Waldstein demands a huge ransom from the burghers of Munich or he will destroy the city.

The Swiss and the Swabians revolt, clogging the roads in both provinces with refugees, insurgents and galloping troops of English cavalry.

Rheshevsky and Greco leave their camps at Mantua with the new Danish army of the North and press into Switzerland.

Greybear's Lorraine Corps decamps from Augusta and rides east into Westphalia.

The Swedish colonel, Hohlakov, arrives in Kassel to take command of the English garrison there.

The Libyan fleet lands at Tangiers and unloads a new cavalry army sent from New Oran.

The French crusaders at St.George the Defender march out of the city and head south into Merrakesh.

April 1707: Hans Rhee arrives at Gibraltar to take command of the defense of the Danish citadel on the Rock. At the other end of the Mediterranean, Ljuboljvek arrives by ship in Constantinople to take command of the army of the East.

Pleshy and his English crusaders manage to reach Ulm, having fought their way north from Switzerland. Cromwell, meantime, has extorted a large sum from the nobles of Swabia.

The Swedish Marsk Waldstein exacts a vast sum from Munich and the Bavarian countryside, leaving it pillaged and smoking from the ruin of many farms and villas.

The citizens of Lorraine, now freed of their Danish overlords establish the Republic of Augusta, a communal state ruled by a Council of Ten.

The French crusaders in north Africa loot the province of Merrakesh, taking many captives.

May 1707: The Danish army of the North recaptures Switzerland and Swabia.

The English army under Cromwell and Pleshy move north into Alsace, looting that province and the city of Stuttgart by exaction as well. The Swedish army that had been in Bavaria joins the English, and they now move as one.

Greybear's Lorraine Corps strikes into Thuringia, aiming to capture the city of Kassel and cutting the English line of supply to the south.

The French crusaders march back north into Morocco, heavily laden with the spoils of Merrakesh.

June 1707: The English fleet arrives in the Sea of Hercules to land General Loxley and his Spanish Expedition in Andalusia. At the same time, the entire Libyan fleet is prowling around the straits, looking for Catholic attempts to take the Rock of Gibraltar. Loxley attempts to bring the Hussites to battle, having twice their numbers, but Kyzl'orda refuses and slips back beyond the Rock. Loxley is unwilling to try and force the strait in the mouth of the Danish guns and the Libyan fleet, so he lands his ground troops.

Greybear's Lorraine Corps (now joined by the Danish general Portisch) attacks Kassel, which is defended by Hohlakov and 3,200 reservists and wounded men. The battle of the Hospital is won by the Danish heavy horse, which storms over the ragged lines of the English. The result is a slaughter.

At the same time, the English and Swedish armies are marching up the highway from the south. They reach Kassel to find it in Danish hands. Determined not to be trapped between two Danish forces, Cromwell and the Swedes swing wide around the city. Unfortunately, their movement is slowed off of the main roads.

The Danish Army of the North also enters Thuringia, hot on the heels of the English.

Ksar Sada's new Libyan army sweeps down out of the mountains into Morroco to find the French busily looting villages, churches and old folks homes. With DuPlain's army scattered, the Libyans tear through them, slaughtering hundreds. DuPlain and his knights manage to flee back into St.George, where they hole up for a long siege.

July 1707: Gylfi and the Swedish "field government" arrive in Berlin and take up residence there. Word reaches them of the pursuit taking place in Thuringia, now spilling over into southern Lausatia. Gylfi abandons his courtiers, camp followers and bureaucrats at Berlin and dashes south to meet Cromwell.

Cromwell and Waldstein have already turned to face the Danes, on the border between Thuringia and Lausatia, at a little village called Saale. Rheshevsky commanded a combined Danish-mercenary army of 49,000 men against Cromwell and Waldstein's 57,200 Allied troops. This was the first European battle between the "new" armies. The fury unleashed on that field beggared even the battles that had gone before it… The first day went very poorly for the Danes - regiments got lost in the rain, the entire left flank sat idle for two hours while the entire rest of the army was locked in a death-struggle with the Allies. Despite this, the sheer ferocity of the Dane, as well as superior cavalry work by Greco and Greybear, kept them in the fray by days end. The second day, Rheshevsky counted his regiments and decided to break off. Behind his cavalry, he disengaged and fell back south to Kassel. The Allies regrouped and were almost immediately joined by King Gylfi and his Royal Corps. With the fresh troops, Cromwell and Gylfi decided to press the attack.

In southern Spain the English under Loxley reach the back-side of Gibraltar and dig in to besiege the Danish citadel. Unfortunately for them, their supporting fleet has returned to the north and the landward defenses of the Rock are far too strong for the English to take.

The Libyans under the command of Ksar Sada begin a siege of St.George, supported by their fleet, which once more sorties into the Sea of Hercules and blockades the port.

August 1707: The Allied army pushes south into Thuringia, while The Dane gives ground slowly. The Allies retake Kassel. Rheshevsky sends messengers south to Venice, begging for reinforcements. None are forthcoming. With cavalry superiority the Danes manage to deny battle.

The Libyans at St.George begin shelling the city and digging siege trenches. After only three weeks of this, they are dumbfounded to see a flag of truce waving over the shell-pocked main gate. When a light colonel of the Gaudhames Horse goes to see what the French want, Baron DuPlain, the city commander surrenders to him. "Huh," says Yusuf later when he hears of it, "these French have no taste for the fight!"

September 1707: Rheshevsky falls back into Alsace, though now the Allies are pressing him harshly. There are still no new troops from the south. He decides to leapfrog all the way back to Switzerland. Despite the exhaustion of his men, he force-marches them south. Waldstein's cavalry only just misses trapping the Danish rear-guard on the north side of the Danube at Ulm.

October 1707: The Dalmatian Guard, a band of hardy mountaineers employed by the Albanian East India Company, arrives at Venice to defend the Company holdings there. They number 1,600 men and are commanded by Pauli Cannari.

Rheshevsky reaches Bern in Switzerland and deploys his men to hold the passes against the Allies. Cromwell, disgusted with the failure of the Swedish horse to bring the Dane to battle, throws out a screening force in Swabia and marches east into Bavaria.

November 1707: The Allied army reaches Munich and laagers at the city, preparing to pass the winter. The roads to the south are already closed by heavy snowfalls.

At Bern, Rheshevsky is appalled to learn that the passes south into Italia are also closed by rockfalls and a heavy, early, snow. His army is trapped in the Bern canton.

Winter 1707 - 1708: The Allied army at Munich suffers terribly during the endless winter. Waldstein's men had done their work well in the spring, leaving little to support the armies now. The Danube freezes as far south as the Iron Gates.

March 1708: The Wallachian army arrives at Trieste after a long march up from Constantinople. They are taken into the command of the Danish general Ljuboljvek.

The Alpine passes remain closed, due to the heavy snows. Rheshevsky prepares to break out to the north into Swabia or Frankish lands if the snows on the southern passes do not melt in time.

At Munich, Cromwell and Waldstein come to the conclusion that their army has suffered too much to sustain a campaign into Italia for three or four months. They break camp and head back west.

In Africa, the Libyans retake Merrakesh, crushing the Catholic emirate that had sprung up there over the winter. The French crusade has been defeated.

April 1708: The passes into Italia finally clear, and Rheshevsky marches his army south from Bern.

The Allied army falls back to Stuttgart, where supplies and replacements reach them from Sweden.

May 1708: Rheshevsky reaches Venice and is joined by the Wallachian army under Ljuboljvek. This brings his army to over 60,000 men. Now that spring has come, the land is filled with life. The Danish commanders decide to reopen operations north of the Alps, through Austria.

The Allied army also regroups and repairs at Stuttgart. They feel sure that the Danes will remain south of the Alps now, so begin laying plans for a feint into Switzerland and the main attack through Carinthia.

June 1708: The Israelites land in Friesland from the Aztec fleet. Juan Najera, their captain, declares the foundation of a new Catholic religious kingdom in North Germany.

The Danish-Wallachian army marches northeast from Venice with new uniforms, muskets and gear.

The Allied army departs Stuttgart and swings southwards with a merry song on everyone's lips.

July 1708: The Danish-Wallach army crosses the Dinaric Alps and begins the long march down into the valley of the Danube in Austria.

The Allied army is already in Austria, marching south at an equal pace. Each army is moving almost as fast as communications will allow, so the first contact is a pair of couriers - one heading north, the other south. In fact, neither commander gives great credence to the reports of the presence of the enemy until Waldstein's Cossacks slam into Greco's Bohemian Lancers at the crossroads of Weiselberg on the Yrrb river. Within the day the 60,000 Danes and Wallachians are fully engaged in a series of battles with the 47,000 Swedo-English troops. Despite the overall superiority of the Allied troops, Danish flexibility in the field (and particularly their signal corps) proved the true master. Cromwell, his forces severely battered, abandoned the field and fell back to Munich.

In the north, the Israelites march south into Lorraine, where they are greeted by cheering Lorrainish crowds. Juan Najera proclaims Augusta his capital and makes common cause with the Council of Ten. Another Israelite army occupies Westphalia.

August 1708: At Munich, Cromwell is heartsick to count heads and find that nearly his entire English army has been destroyed in battle against the Danes. The only regiments still capable of battle are the Swedish Guards Corps. Waldstein declares that he and his men are falling back to Lausatia. Cromwell resolves to leave the continent entirely and return to England.

Rheshevsky, his own Danish army intact and the Wallachians blooded, advances through Austria into Bavaria.

Israelite forces cross the Rhine into Hainaut.

September 1708: The Swedish army retreats to Stuttgart.

Reshevsky's army retakes Swabia and Bavaria.

Israelite cavalry enters Nivernais and Champagne.

October 1708: Waldstein's Swedish army reaches Berlin and prepares for another winter in quarters.

Rheshevsky's army retakes Alsace and takes up winter quarters at Stuttgart.

Israelite settlers disperse themselves through Westphalia and Hainaut, displacing the Hussite landowners, who flee across the frozen Rhine into Alsace in the grim episode immortalized in Torkmens' epic painting "The Flight of the Burghers". Israelite cavalry capture Nivernais and the city of Metz.

In southern Spain, Loxley and his English are still sitting outside of Gibraltar, staring at the extensive Danish fortifications. They have made a lot of friends amongst the local population.

So, after all of that, the Swedes had restored their German border to Pomern, Lausatia, Kauyavia, Poland and Bialoweza. The English retained possession of Brabant, Holland, Friesland, Holstein, Denmark, Saxony and Thuringia. The Israelites had overrun Westphalia, Lorraine, Hainaut, Champagne and Nivernais. The Danes had recovered Switzerland, Swabia, Alsace and Bavaria.

The disgraced French commander of St.George, the Baron DuPlain, commits suicide in the small pensione he was living in, in Cortez, southern Spain.

The Church Spiritual: The ill-named Heaven's Gate was renamed Nantes as part of an overall expansion and refortification of the entire city.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: Yusuf continued to bend the entire effort of the Emirate to the destruction of the French invaders in Morocco. A new army was raised and shipped west to reinforce Ksar Sada and his forces. The crusaders would die! The fleet was also sent into the Atlantic to seek Catholic ships to kill!

Yaqui Zacateca: After extensive negotiations between the Aztec Empire, the Papacy and the English crown, an arrangement was made to transport the faithful Yaquis to a land where they could come to grips with the true enemy, the Hussites, rather than the Lencolar Church. Najera, seeing that there was little future for his realm in its present situation (and having the tremendously successful example of the Yaquis who had gone to the Chin lands to guide him) agreed to take himself, his warriors and their families and the families of those that followed him on the great voyage.

The provinces of Apache, Chiricaua, Jumano and Zacatec were all but emptied of people as they thronged in great long lines down to Itza in Tamaulipec. There they boarded a vast fleet of ships assembled by the Aztecs and, at last, sailed away over the eastern horizon to reach … long months later, the cold forests of Germany.

1709 - 1710 T191

The Exarchate of Trebizond: The Trebizondi continued to hassle Danish and other Hussite shipping in the western Black Sea. They did not attempt to run their fleet past the guns of Constantinople.

Principate of Kiev: The veritable brood of offspring that infested the krom of Kiev continued to grow, with the birth of Princess Greta to the elderly Sviatoslav and his young wife. The peace-loving Sviatoslav had long resisted the very idea of war, preferring to watch innocently from the sidelines as Europe devoured itself. But he was alone in this sentiment. Restlessness, imperialist designs, dreams of glory and a recent spate of anti-Wallachian propaganda had stirred nationalist feeling among the Kievans.

Rumors abounded of Wallachian arrogance and aggression (obviously they had built up their army for no other purpose than to invade sweet Kiev). There was talk of Wallachian racial and moral inferiority and whispering of Christian-blood-sucking demons (vampyrie) nested in their mountains, working for the Duchess. The lusty and restless Vladimir had a hand in all this rumor spreading and he and the Royal Court put great pressure on the Prince to give the order.

Finally the political consideration that perhaps Papa Sweden would approve weighed heavily on the mind of the Prince. At last, the old man agreed to let Vladimir undertake his campaign…

The Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Duchess, her hand committed to the war against the Catholics, at last paid some paltry attention to the defenses of her capital. A city guard and militia was organized and the walls repaired. Unfortunately, it was a little late… Prince Juduz, who had been styling himself as Morgana’s heir, was taken aside and given a firm talking to. He was prince, true, but not heir – his nephew Cole held that honor, even if he was only three.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: King Gylfi returned from Germany by sea and took over direct control of the government. The war must needs continue until the Dane was driven to destruction, and that meant more troops, more guns, more public hospitals and irrigation works. To better secure his position, the king also took as his wife, the lady Ultana Gustaffson – a niece of the late Empress. Large sums, as usual, were dispatched to the Kievians, the Trebizondi and now Spain. A Gascon refugee, Jean-Louis Vaubon, who had found service in the Royal Artillery Corps, accompanied the shipment of gold to Spain. Two substantial new armies were raised as well.

As it turned out, it was a good thing that the King had returned home, for the Senate was in a veritable state of apoplexy over the defection of the English and the continuing trend of the Government to continue with "pork-barrel projects" aimed at lining the pockets of construction guilds while Swedish soldiers died in the fields of Germany, lacking guns, shoes and powder. The Royal response was to open corruption investigations into the doings of the Senate. It promised to last much longer than the war.

Divine Kingdom of Israel: Najera, eager to gain the support of European powers, granted the Procurare a number of concessions and advantages within the territory he controlled. In return, that trading house provided large sums of coin and material to him. Too, he began building a new kind of army, one predicated on swift movement of troops and light equipment. All too soon he would see how they would fare in battle against the Dane…

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: A sour-faced Oliver issued the following statement from his quarters in London: "At the behest of his Holiness, Pope Clement XI, and after protracted discussions with the Danish government, England will withdraw its forces from "The Continent" and allow the free passage of merchant ships through waters controlled by the Crown. Be advised that any interference with the peaceful withdrawl of English troops or the movement of ships of war through waters controlled by the Crown will not be tolerated. On this day, April fifth, 1709."

As can be imagined, this caused considerable uproar both at home and abroad. In London, near-riotous protests rocked the city as the Catholic fanatics amongst the citizenry lambasted the government for this "weak and cowardly" move. Swedish merchants and other citizens hurriedly packed their bags and prepared the leave the country. On the continent, the abandonment of Brabant, Denmark, Friesland, Holland, Saxony and Thuringia precipitated even more confusion and chaos than before.

The Danish Empire: Aided by their close relationship with the Albanians, the Danes once more were able to supplement their forces with many Arabic and Hussite mercenaries. The formation of a competing brokerage, aimed at Catholic troops and nations was not unexpected, though it would make things more difficult in the future. Still the Arabs, along with a strong new levy of Imperial troops, reinforced Rheshevsky’s army at Stuttgart for the next round of slaughter.

The Emperor’s spirit was nearly crushed in 1709 when his beloved wife Itoyo died in childbirth with what would have been their first son, if the child had survived as well. This plunged the Emperor into a very deep depression, during which time his ministers were forced to take custody of the war against the Catholics.

Denmark, Wallachia, AEIC and Libya
Sweden, Spain, Kiev, The Papacy and Israel

Opening Moves…
The Hussite population of Poland, still riled by Danish agents and the dream of an independent state, continued to simmer despite the attempts of the Swedish garrison to suppress them. The Swedes also began to employ bands of toughs to visit the homes of Polish patriots and other troublemakers in the wee hours.

There was the usual flurry of activity in central Germany – the Danish commander of light horse at Stuttgart, the renowned Greco, was murdered by a prostitute he had been paying court to. Torture revealed that she was an agent of the Swedish Imperial Nunnery. A cruel and fickle business, this. General Ljublovek took over command of the light horse.

Delicate negotiations between Venice and London ended with a diplomatic victory for the Dane as the English (a cowardly lot at best) were convinced to withdraw from their continental imbroglio.

A series of rather fierce attempts were made to assassinate Juan Najera, the war-chief of the Israelites, but they failed – unable to penetrate the obsessive paranoia of his guardsmen. In Riga, where lord Menchik had been the long-term guest of the Swedish government, there was a minor scandal when the Danish lord was shot to death trying to escape through the roof of the carriage taking him to another society function.

The Tumult of Armies…
March 1709: Marsk Waldstein’s army at Berlin, now reinforced by a large levy, marched south to Kassel in Thuringia. There the Marsk found, to his complete dismay, that the English had abandoned the province and, indeed, their holdings throughout northern Germany. He immediately suppressed the nascent Danish provincial government and spent a good six hours cursing the Cromwells for perfidious dogs and heretics.

To the west, the Israelite army decamped from Augusta and hurried east to join the Swedes and English at Kassel.

Down in Italia, the Danish general Rauzer – freshly installed in command of the forces in and around Verona – fell off of his horse on an icy patch of ground and dashed his brains out.

Rheshevsky’s army at Stuttgart, reinforced by many new troops, finally managed to get in gear and began crossing the still-frozen Rhine into Champagne.

April 1709: Prince Vladimir of Kiev and his Russ army cross the Wallachian border into Moldavia. Word of the invasion speeds west to Craiova and beyond.

The Israelite cavalry force, under the command of Tehac Najera, strikes into Swabia, looting and burning farmsteads and towns.

The English abandon the provinces of Saxony and Holstein. Fighting immediately breaks out between the Hussite and Catholic populations.

The Danes under Rhesevsky manage to complete their crossing into Champaign and cut the highway to the east. The Israelites are nowhere to be found. Ljublovek’s light horse charges off to the east into Swabia.

May 1709: The news that the Kievians have invaded Moldavia reaches the Wallach army in Alsace, but General Dereth is dead, having contracted a fever in the late winter. The Wallachs are still in their camps at Stuttgart while the commanders discuss what to do.

In Moldavia, the Kievian army besieges Debrecen.

The Israelite army arrives at Kassel to meet the Swedish main army.

The English abandon the provinces of Denmark, Holland, Friesland and Brabant. In those lands, fighting breaks out between pro-Swedish, pro-Danish and independent factions.

Rheshevsky, having completed the conquest of Champagne, learns that the Israelite main army is to the north, and has already joined the Swedes at Kassel. Further, the defection of the Wallachians has left him understrength. He marches back east into Swabia on the heels of Ljublovek’s light horse, which…

The Danish light horse had caught up with the Israelite cavalry under Tehac Najera and was now dogging it. Faster than the Amerikans, and far more familiar with the terrain, Ljublovek’s raiders harried the Israelites northwards into Alsace.

The Spanish fleet arrives off of Gebel-al-Tarik and deploys to blockade the port from the east.

June 1709: Vladmir of Kiev and his army storm the walls of Debrecen, capturing the port city from the rather feeble Wallachian defense.

The Wallachs at Stuttgart decide to return to their homeland to fight against the Russ. They begin the long trek south.

Under the leadership of John Palador, an expatriate Dane, the Hussites of Poland, Kauyavia, Little Poland, Silesia and Messien rise up in open revolt against the Swedish Empire as the second Polish Free State. The efforts of the Swedish Catholic church to convert the Polish people to their faith was the primary spark-point for the revolt.

The Swedish second army, under Lukachenko, arrives at Berlin, though now it finds itself cut off from Riga by the Polish revolt. The Swedish first army, under Waldstein, and the Israelites now advance south into Alsace – which has now been abandoned by the Wallachians. They encounter Tehac’s battered cavalry force just south of Stuttgart. The Danish light horse is immediately to the south, and beyond them, the main Danish army. A series of cavalry skirmishes ensue.

A small Libyan army lands at Venice to supplement the defense of northern Italia. They join the Army of Italia, under Kavalek. The Danish-Italian army of Italia then marches to Mantua.

July 1709: The Kievian army digs in to defend Moldavia. Vladimir will wait, patient as a wolf in the forest, for the Wallachians to send him on his way… Just to the north, the Volhynians – despite orders to the contrary - invade and capture Galich.

The Swedish second army arrives to reinforce the main Swedish / Israelite force, which has been denying the Danes battle behind a vastly superior cavalry screen. Now the tables are turned and Waldstein goes on the attack!

A minor disaster occurs when heavily overloaded wagons collapse a bridge in the Danish rear area, causing a hold-up in the Danish retreat into Swabia. Rheshevsky is forced to give battle at Möckmül, some sixty miles north of Ulm. Without the cowardly Wallachs, the Danes have 48,000 men on the field, against 77,000 Catholics. The Hussites shake out into their lines of battle amid burned out farmsteads and a gutted chapel. The Catholics advance, their light infantry thrown out ahead as skirmishers, the Israelites on the left, the main block of the Swedes to the right. The Catholic cavalry swings wide, beyond the divider of the Highway. Battle erupts first on the far Catholic right, where the Swedish III Corps leads off against the Gabled House. The first day is tremendously bloody – 33,000 Catholics are killed or wounded, and 37,000 Hussites. Lukachenko is killed on the Catholic side, and both Ljubolvek and Portisch are wounded on the Hussite side.

The next day is just as bad. The Hussite army is still pinned by the Catholic horse, and the Necker river. Disaster overcomes Rheshevsky and his army. The Israelites showed no qualm at taking terrific losses and broke the Danish line in three places. Swedish cavalry poured through and the Hussite lines collapsed. Rheshevsky, with the remains of the light horse, escaped the field, but both Ljubolvek and Portisch were killed.

The Danish-Libyan army of Italia marches to Genoa.

August 1709: The Catholic army, having garrisoned Alsace with Israelite troops, advances into Swabia. The city fathers of Ulm surrender their city, fearing that if they resist, their people will be slaughtered and even heavier penalties will be exacted from them. Surprisingly, however, the Israelites and not Sweden garrison the province and city.

On the verge of invading Spanish-held Provence, Kavalek learns of the disaster at Möckmül and orders his men to reverse course. They march back to Mantua.

Not all of the Swedes continue south – Leopold von Anhalt-Dessen and his cavalry force rides quickly back north to deal with the uprising of the Polish Free State. He reaches Berlin by the end of the month and learns that Kauyavia is in open revolt – and in fact in the control of a ‘Revolutionary Commune’.

September 1709: Rheshevsky and the remains of his cavalry reach Bern in Switzerland, where they regroup and rest their horses. Messengers are sent south to Venice bearing the grim story of defeat. Riders come from the south, bringing letters from Kavalek that he is marching to reinforce them.

The Catholic army advances into Bavaria and captures Munich. The city fathers, dreading another ‘Swedish winter’ beg that the Israelites rule them. Najera is pleased to do so.

Von Anhalt-Dessen, fearing that the Polish uprising might get out of hand, struck across Kauyavia at all speed with his cavalry and reached Poland itself by the end of the month.

October 1709: Von Anhalt-Dessen discovers to his horror that the PFS army, under the command of Stanislas Leczinski has captured the city of Warsaw, which had been torn by internal unrest and revolt. The head of General Poyntz, whose cruel policies had done nothing to endear the population to him, or to Sweden, dangles from the main gate. Facing a rapidly gathering Polish army, Von Anhalt breaks contact and manages to make his way to Masuria. There he meets up with Ivan Lubomirski and his cossacks.

Reinforced by the army of Italia, Rheshevsky counter-invades Swabia. The Swedish-Israelite army marches back from Munich to meet the Danes as well. Heavy snows delay the advance of both armies.

The Libyan fleet arrives off of Granada with a passel of transports packed with troops. Their scout frigates, however, quickly return with word that the Spanish fleet is blockading Gebel-al-Tariq. After some threatening sailing around the Libyans forgo battle with the Spaniards and return to the Afriqan shore.

November 1709: The Wallach army at last reaches Craiova, though in a confusion of regiments and bands of unattached men. Morgana is hard pressed to restore order amongst the men, and to place a new general, her brother Juduz, in charge.

The Danish army of Italia (and Germania) square off against the remaining Catholics (muchly reduced by the necessity of garrisons throughout the conquered lands and the departure of Von Anhalt-Dessen to the north. The two armies meet at Erbach, just south of Ulm itself. This time there are only 26,000 Catholics and 43,000 Hussites (Danes, Libyans and mercenaries). Snow flurries obscure the battlefield and both armies begin losing cohesion as soon as battle is met. In such conditions, the numbers of the Danes prove the deciding factor and the Catholics are chopped up into mincemeat. A stray round kills Juan Najera. The Catholics attempt to break contact during the night, but find themselves fighting again, the next day, only a few miles distant. This time the rest of the Catholics die in a futile stand in the snow. Only a Swedish heavy curaissier division manages to escape to the north.

The Papal army, under the command of the Jesuit master Anthony Remi, reaches the slopes of Gebel-al-Tariq and sets up camp in the old English siegeworks.

Winter 1709 - 1710: A dreadful winter clamps down on the theatre, killing thousands with ice-storms, deadly frost and an unending procession of bitter gray days.

March 1710: The Wallachs, their army regrouped and firmly under the command of Juduz, march forth from Craiova to drive the Kievians from their lands.

In the north storms continue to blanket Germania and Poland, denying any of the various armies scattered about the roads or any movement.

In a stunning bit of tradecraft (and rampant greed and faithlessness), the Danish commander of Gebel-al-Tariq - Hans Rhee - sells the fortress to the commander of the Papal army besieging it for seven hundred thousand crowns. The citadel is captured, intact, along with all of its heavy artillery.

April 1710: Some clear weather at last reaches Germania and Poland. The roads clear a little, and the sun is seen from time to time. The body of the Marsk Waldstein is finally shipped back to Riga from Lubeck, where his men had managed to carry the body during the winter.

The pitiful remains of the Swedish army of Germany is camped at Berlin – only two thousand men. Likewise, the Israelites have fallen back to their provinces along the Rhine. The Danes, their Libyan allies dead in battle or from disease during the winter, have only 8,000 effectives to wage a new campaign with.

The Polish Free State, on the other hand, musters almost 34,000 men at Warsaw. Stanislas decides to launch a campaign into the north, to seize the port of Sopot from the Swedes.

May 1710: The Wallach army under Juduz reaches the approaches to Debrecen and encounters Vladimir’s Kievians at the ford of Tiraspol. The 17,000 Wallachs stormed across the shallow river into a wall of fire thrown up by the 22,000 Kievians. They failed to break the Kievian lines – the Russ were well dug in, with a broad field of fire for their artillery. Juduz and his forces fell back, screened by their Dobrujan light horse, into Ialomita.

Rheshevsky’s army advances from Ulm into Bavaria, where Imperial order is restored and the roads are reopened.

June 1710: Vladimir and the Kievian army, having bloodied the Wallachs once, pressed into Ialomita. Juduz, his scouts bringing him word that the Kievians numbered in excess of 14,000 men to his bare 9,000, continued his retreat to Wallachia.

Rheshevsky and his men march – now in reasonably good weather – back through Swabia and into Alsace. They find that the Israelites have withdrawn either to the north, or back across the Rhine.

Stanislas’ Polish Free Army reaches sight of Sopot in Danzig province. The town is well defended by Colonel Nyland and a force of three thousand milita and regulars.

July 1710: Rheshevsky re-establishes Danish control over Alsace. Now he ponders whether he should essay a campaign into Thuringia to restore communications with the Danish provinces that had been abandoned by the English.

Stanislas and the Poles continue their siege of Sopot. The city is taken by a nighttime attack and the defenders are slaughtered. Colonel Nyland is gunned down while rushing from his bedchamber in only a nightshirt. The Poles celebrate wildly - they have defeated Sweden!

August 1710: Juduz was forced to battle near Craiova, either that, or give up all hope of holding the ill-defended capital against the Russ. The battle at Leu was an ill day, though the Wallachs fought bravely. Kievian numbers told quickly, as did their superior cavalry arm. Duchess Morgana, who had taken the field, was killed a little after noon and Juduz ordered a general retreat. It was too late, however, and the rest of the day was a disaster. Vladimir ruled the field at sunset.

Rheshevsky launches a probe into Thuringia and finds that a motley army of some 12,000 Catholics defends the province. Having only eight thousand of his own men, he decides to sidle back to Stuttgart and mind his own business. Also exhausted the Catholics leave him alone as well.

After the battle of Leu, the Bochnians abandon the Wallach cause and ally themselves with the Polish Free State.

September 1710: Craiova, the capital of the duchy of Wallachia, surrendered to the besieging Kievians. Prince Juduz had taken his family and government into Banat beyond the mountains and there was little chance of relief.

The Poles overrun Pomerania as well, extending their fledgling domain to the Baltic Sea.

October 1710: Winter comes early, again, and a cold silence descends upon Europe.

The Polish Free State controls Pomerania, Danzig (Sopot), Kauyavia, Poland (Warsaw), Little Poland, Silesia, Meissen and Bochnia (Krakow). In northern Germania, Denmark and Friesland are independent. The city of Lubeck remains in Swedish hands, though the province of Holstein is nominally Danish. Saxony (and Hannover) are Danish, as are Holland and Brabant. The Israelites have added only Thuringia (and Kassel) by the end of the turn.

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: Queen Anna dispatched more troops to reinforce Reynard Bey and his army at Marseilles, though the Danes were sufficently distracted by the war in Germania that they left the Spanish alone. The fleet, however, was dispatched to blockade Gebel-al-Tarik from the eastern side.

The merchants and warehousemen of the port of Lisbon watched in bemusement as the Danish priest ran down the quayside, screaming that "the angles were following him" and then plunged into the fetid harbor waters. When the body was recovered, the city watch found that sharks or eels had savaged it, leaving it almost unrecognizable.

The Church Spiritual: Clement pursued a dangerous policy - with one hand he arranged for the disengagement of the English from the fighting in Germania, leaving the Swedes and Israelites to stand against Denmark and their loathsome allies by themselves - while with the other he launched an audacious campaign into southern Spain to attack the Hussite stronghold at Gebel-al-Tarik.

1711 - 1712 T192

The Exarchate of Trebizond: Vladimir, keeping true to the oath of fealty to Sweden, took ship to the Crimean shore to join a small force of his personal retainers to aid and assist the Swedish armies operating in Kievian lands. At the same time, the Exarchate fleet undertook vigorous patrolling operations off of the Golden Horn to deny the Mare Negri to any Hussite shipping. Finally, the city of Amisus accepted Catholicism.

Principate of Kiev: The southern Russ labored long and hard to raise fortifications along the border in Kiev and Moldavia. Anyone attempting to reclaim the lands taken from the Hussites would have a fierce fight before them. Many Swedish-built artillery pieces were purchased as well, bolstering the army of the Prince.

Albanian East India Company: Young Alex, the youngest of the sons of the dead Davich, became a captain in the family fleet, though he was almost immediately sent away to serve on the long voyage to Austral. Karos was not pleased by the brash nature of the youth. New ships for that fleet - some of them heavy warships with three banks of guns - rolled out of the builders yards in Venice. The crews had been hired in eastern ports - Syria was particularly rich in young men seeking to escape slaughter at the hands of the Georgians.

The Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Juduz, given an unexpected respite by the failure of the Kievians to pursue their campaign against this prostrate realm, managed to make his way to Naples in Campania with his remaining advisors, family and a gaggle of scribes and accountants.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: Another budget passed and, again, left the Militarists seething with anger. The fate of the Empire tottered in the west, and still the Tsar was determined to shell out good Royals to the insane and possibly cultic Khirgiz and the weak Kievians. Again they pressed for more troops and guns for the battle against the Dane, and again they were turned down.

Divine Kingdom of Israel: The Israelites, though they were loath to do so, abandoned the Hussite province of Thuringia and pulled their small army back to Lorraine to see what would happen next… Some bands of Yaquis and Tarahumara and Mayo arrived at Augusta on English ships - more refugees from the Amerikas and the fury of the Aztecs.

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: While the continent bled itself white, the English luxuriated in a warm winter.

King Oliver, having become somewhat wroth with the Papacy, issued the following statement: "Be it known that the Crown and Government of the United Kingdoms of Britain are concerned that the resounding silence from the Papacy, on the matter of the provisional peace agreement with the Danish Empire, is a deliberate slap in the face to the Crown and peoples of United Britain. The peace was negotiated at the personal behest of the Pope of the Church of Rome in Exile, and was entered into with all good faith after much of the Church's might was brought to bear on the issue. Such a lapse, in common courtesy if nothing else, is deeply disturbing to the Crown and will cause the Crown and government to look less than favorably on future proposals from the same source."

The Danish Empire: The continuous fighting in the German provinces, coupled with the increasingly severe climate, fostered a resurgence of the Hussite faith at the lowest level - amongst the common people and the parish congregations. Amongst the effects of this new movement was an increase in charitable organizations and works by the parishioners and the gradual emergence of the small city of Mount Tabor in Bohemia as a center of pilgrimage and religious thought. The chapel built to house the mortal remains of Johannes Huss and John Ziska gradually grew, becoming a sprawling collection of monastic cells, chapels, pilgrim houses and workshops.

A small fleet of merchant ships and personal craft left Krak de Chevailers in early 1711, bound for the east. Almost sixteen thousand Danish citizens were aboard, seeking a new life far from the hellish war in the north and a chance at lands and title in the retinue of the Royal twins. The two, Anarion and Arwen of Outremer, were seeking to reclaim the kingdom lost by their father in India. Large sums were invested in their expedition by the great houses of Denmark (and, too, the Albanians contributed, if only to offset the growing influence of Tewfik in the sub-continent).

The continuing affluence of the Empire showed itself when Kristatos ordered that the bankers that had payrolled the last four years of war should be paid off in full. An enormous quantity of coin and scrip changed hands - more than many nations make in two years of taxation. In part the Emperor undertook this action to deflect political pressure upon him to remarry. However, he would simply have no other woman after his beloved Itoyo. To further confound his advisors and the leaders of the great houses, he issued an edict that his daughter Oniko (a practicing Catholic no less, and half-Chinese) would be his heir should he die.

It was a testament to Kristatos' enormous personal prestige in the Empire, as well as a seldom revealed, but awesome, capacity for intrigue that he was not only able to install Oniko as his co-ruler but to drive those that opposed this move out of the political area in Venice. The nobility of the Empire was on the verge of open rebellion, but backed off. Sweden would be destroyed first.

Denmark, Poland, Wallachia, AEIC and Libya
Sweden, Spain, Kiev, The Papacy and Israel

Opening Moves…
The Danish general Rheshevsky, well aware that his successes on the field of battle would make him a target for Catholic assassins, nimbly evaded a number of efforts upon his life while he was in Stuttgart. Similar attempts by Hussite partisans against Isiah Zuma in Kassel also failed. The generals on all sides were becoming so paranoid and secretive that the hunters had a hard time bringing their prey to bay. On the other hand, the rest of the war in the shadows continued to heat up, leaving many mysterious deaths and disappearances in its wake.

The Tumult of Armies…
March 1711: Pauli Canari, of the Albanian combine, arrives in Constantinople with almost four thousand Albanian soldiers and a squadron of ships. With a warrant from the Emperor, he undertakes the defense of the city. Duke Stanislas of Poland, fearing an attack from either Denmark or Sweden, sends his army - under the command of his uncle, Augustus - out of Warsaw and into the forests of Kauyavia, where he makes camp in the ruins of the old Swedish fortress at Elge.

A new Swedish army, under the rather young Altmarsk Lars Petrov, marches south out of Riga to reinforce the Polish frontier and see what new disaster developed.

In Germania, the wily Danish commander Rheshevsky marshalled a new army of twenty-five thousand men for the new campaign. He prepared to take action against the Israelites first…

April 1711: The Swedish general Uralpinsky, still a captive in Venice, attempted to escape - again - broke his leg leaping onto a moving wagon and wound up back in gaol, though with a pretty nurse to keep him company. Marsk Dubovitch leaves Riga on a swift horse for the south. Rheshevsky and his Army of Germania occupy Kassel in Thuringia, as the Israelites have abandoned it. The populace, beaten down by years of war, peer out of the smoke-blackened ruins with dead eyes. There is no parade.

May 1711: The Albanian, Canari, is killed in his bedroom in Constantinople, smothered with a pillow.

The Polish general, Michael Wisnowski, arrives at Danzig with a stout band of Meissen soldiers. Rumors circulate that he is in the city to meet a "friendly" army that is to arrive by sea. Gamblers in the city bet that the Aztec Empire has sent an army to assist the Poles in gaining their freedom from both Dane and Swede.

Rheshevsky and his army invades Westphalia, seeking to hunt down and destroy the Israelites.

The Spanish admiral Essino, in command of a Catholic fleet of over two hundred warships, terrorizes the Tyrhennian Sea - raiding Hussite shipping, burning villages and generally wreaking havoc.

A Spanish cavalry army under the command of Alex deBeers strikes into Savoy from the Dinaric Alps and causes considerable havoc.

June 1711: The Danish army of Germania attempts to batter its way through the Israelite positions at Bramsche on the Haase river and Rheshevsky finds himself in a pitched battle with Juan Najera and the entire Israelite army. To Rheshevsky's disgust he finds that the Israelites, unlike the Swedes, have rebuilt their army to emulate the Danish model… 25,000 Danes threw themselves across the river in a massive assault along the length of the Israelite positions. The equal number of Israelites poured fire into the ranks of the Danes, filling the river with corpses and blood. The sky clouded with a fog of burned cordite and powder. After the merciless pounding of the first day, Rhesevsky elected to abandon the campaign, but failed to break off from the Israelites and fought a second battle two days later at Orutz. This time the Danes were severely mauled and Rheshevsky sacrificed his light cavalry to break out to the south into Alsace.

The Lybian fleet under Kyzl-Orda, returning from a voyage to Venice, swings up into the Tyrhennian Sea to drive off the Spanish fleet that is wrecking Danish trade along the Italian coast. The Spanish, dawdling off of Corfu, are forced to battle in poor wind conditions. The three-hundred-plus Lybian brigantines and galleons smash the Spanish in a decisive sea battle. Both Essino and Prince Montalban are killed in the wreckage of their fleet.

July 1711: Altmarsk Petrov and his "new model" army, as well as many others gathered from across Russia, reach Grodno in Masuria and assemble. Petrov issues orders for the army to press west into Polish lands. Rumor is rife amongst the troops that a secret deal has been made with the Poles to grant them their independence in return for aid against the Danes.

Marsk Dubovitch reaches Kherson in Polovotsy and meets up with a large levy of southern Russians. The Marsk puts his army through training while waiting for the arrival of more allies.

In Germania, Rheshevsky reaches Stuttgart and learns that the Israelites have not pursued him, leaving things status quo along the Rhine.

A combined force of Hussite Lybians and Afrikan mercenaries arrive in Liguria and drive Alex DeBeers and his cavalry command back over the Alps into Provence.

August 1711: Vladimir Tuchachevsky of Trebizond lands at Kherson in Polovotsy with a force of volunteers to assist the Swedish campaign against the Danish Balkans. They join Dubovitch and march west into Pechneg.

Altmarsk Petrov and his "new" army march through Poland, finding the city of Warsaw closed against them and the walls crowded with Poles in arms. A messenger comes from the north and tells Petrov that the Polish army has moved west to defend against a Danish attack into Lausatia.

September 1711: Petrov's "new" Swedish army reaches the ruins of the old fortress at Elge and finds the Polish army under Augustus Leczinski encamped there. Riders are sent out to negotiate between the two armies. After a time, the Swedes begin breaking ranks on the road to make camp. A shot rings out from the woods and the Polish regiments suddenly rush into line. Petrov curses and his buglers peal out the command to load and deploy for battle. Within minutes the woods are filled with the rattle of musketry and the two armies are locked in a death embrace. The 28,000 Poles rushed forward, eager to come to grips with the 20,000 Swedes. Their hatred of their long-time oppressors had been fanned by the presumed treachery of the Swedes to a white-hot heat. The first hours of the fighting were confused, but the Swedes managed to fall back two miles to a series of meadows where they reformed their ranks. The Poles, running through the forest, were cut down by volley fire before they put on the brakes and regrouped themselves. Marsk Dottski, the second-in-command of the Swedish army now found himself the commander as Petrov had been killed by a stray piece of artillery shrapnel. He attempted to withdraw again with his force in good order, but Augustus forced the issue and the forest echoed again to the screams of dying men and was choked by thick clouds of powder smoke. After a second day of fighting, Dottski was able to make a clean break as the fanatical Poles had slaughtered his infantry regiments.

October 1711: Uralpinsky, with the connivance of the nurse, managed to escape from the Fortress of the Pearl across the frozen Venetian lagoon and made it to the coast of Slovenia before Walach trackers captured him. The nurse was executed and the general sent back to his cell, a heart-broken man.

Dottski and the battered Swedish army reaches Grodno in Masuria, beaten once more by the Hussites. Dottski considers suicide while writing a letter to the Emperor explaining the treachery of the Poles and the latest disaster to befall them.

The Poles invade Lausatia, flush with victory after Elge.

November 1711: Augustus Leczinksi and his Polish freedom fighters capture Berlin, driving the scattering of Swedish defenders out of the city. Further operations are halted by heavy snowfalls.

Winter 1711 - 1712: The winter is sufficiently fierce to kill almost six thousand people in lower Germania alone due to freezing to death.

March 1712: Despite hopes for a short winter, the snow continues to lie heavy on the ground and the rivers remain frozen.

April 1712: The combined Swedish-Russian-Trebizondi army under the command of Marsk Dubovitch crosses the frozen Danube into Dobruja, a Wallach province. He is unopposed. Augustus Leczinksi and the Polish army invade Pomern. There are no Swedish troops to stop them.

At Stuttgart, Rheshevsky learns of the defeat of Petrov's army at Elge and laughs heartily. Given the continuing threat of the Israelites in the west the weary general settles in to watch the frontier for the summer.

May 1712: The indefatigable Uralpinsky, using a sharpened spoon, manages to cut out the bars of his cell and escapes into the streets of Venice, where he vanishes without a trace. A massive search fails to find him.

The port city of Stralsund falls to the Polish army. Swedish Germania is reduced to the city of Lubeck. Admiral Chekov, who had landed a force of marines to try and hold the city, is unable to prevent the Poles from driving him out. In Riga, there is a sense of dreadful inevitability about the course of the war.

The Israelites, with their main army screening any possible Danish intervention, overrun the coastal Danish provinces of Holland and Brabant.

June 1712: Dubovitch's combined army, supported by the Exarchate fleet, enters Thrace from the north. The Danish forces in the area fall back into Constantinople. Exarchate troops garrison Thrace and Heraclea.

July 1712: The combined Swedish-Russian-Exarchate army reaches Constantinople by land and sea. The Catholics lay siege immediately. Within the city, there is considerable confusion between the Danes and the Albanians as to who is defending what, but eventually General Velimorovic prevails.

August 1712: The siege of Constantinople continues with both sides suffering horribly in the unusually hot summer. Disease eats away at both armies, as done the constant sniping and fighting along the eight mile wall.

September 1712: The Swedes carry the bastion at the northern end of the wall of Constantinople and pour into the city. They find the defenders emaciated by the Cough and the city is fired and the remaining inhabitants slain to prevent the spread of the disease. An Exarchate garrison is installed in the ruins and many captured Danish guns are recrewed and turned to close the Golden Horn to Hussite shipping.

October 1712: Winter arrives early again, closing down the theatre of operations with heavy snows, killing ice and dreadful winds out of the north.

Both Israel and Poland establish themselves in the northern Germanian lands. Both Sweden and Denmark are exhausted by the long struggle.

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: The Spanish undertook to strongly fortify Provence, particularly the approaches in the mountains from Italy. While this was underway, Alexander deBeers launched a major raid into Danish Italy with three thousand cavalry. Reynard Bey continues to importune Empress Anna with proposals of marriage. His men expect him to march back to Lisbon and capture the Kingdom for himself, but the general does not do so.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: Lybian arms met with great success, though the taste of victory was spoiled by the death of the great admiral Kyzl-Orda in 1712 due to a bad veal cutlet while he and his fleet were stationed in Genoa. Ash Adrar also died while in Genoa, which has bad food.

1713 - 1714 T193

The Exarchate of Trebizond: Vladimir remained at Constantinople with his small army and threw all of his effort (as well as that of a constant stream of Swedes and Russians that trickled in from the north) into rebuilding the battered fortifications of the ancient city. Too, his fleet was busy.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: The Tsar at last listened to the urgings of his advisors – a halt was made to all bridge-building and other works. The whole weight of the state was at last turned to the effort of the war against the Hussites. Too, trade was shut down (banned, in fact, by order of the Senate) with the Aztecs (vile dogs to support the Poles!), and the Javans and Australs (whose trade was now riding in Albanian hulls and not to be countenanced). The irascible General Cohenov, who had been loitering around in Skåne for many years, was finally cashiered. Negotiations were opened with the Polish state to resume trade between the two nations.

The rivers south to Trebizond and Kiev were clogged with barges carrying men, supplies, guns, horses and building materials. A great effort was made to reinforce the forward positions at Constantinople. Thousands of refugees driven out of the north by the Ice also followed the rivers south. Near the end of 1714, the Tsar’s new wife, Rebekah, gave birth to a son, Solomon.

Divine Kingdom of Israel: The Israelites shuffled garrisons and dug in at Augusta, expecting a fierce Danish counter-attack after the failure of Reshevsky’s campaign the previous year.

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: The English continued to ignore the war on the continent and contented themselves with sending three new squadrons of ships to their foothold in the Amerikas.

The Danish Empire: Even with the armies of the Empire on the attack, the religious ferment in Germania continued to ferment. The zeal to restore the faith of the Church of Huss that had ignited around the shrines of Mount Tabor flickered outwards like a fire in dry grass. Conclaves of Taborites were now noted by the Imperial authorities as far south as Verona and as far west as Alsace. Given that the common people acclaimed the Emperor as part of their daily prayer, it did not seem to be an issue for the Office of Internal Affairs.

An enormous effort was expended by the Empire to restore the losses taken in the previous year’s campaigns, and to outfit the new corps raised with cold-weather gear, new standardized weapons and bullets, better shoes and a surfeit of wagons with spring wheels.

At home, Kristatos bowed to severe pressure from the great landowners and the military and removed Princess Oniko from the succession to the Imperial Throne. He declared that her offspring (should they be Hussite) would take his place on the Throne of Pearl instead. The princess, showing good grace, acceded to her father’s wishes.

Denmark, Poland, Naples, AEIC and Libya
Sweden, Spain, Kiev, The Papacy and Israel

Opening Moves…
Night hung over Venice like a shroud. Even the brilliant lanterns and lights of the Fortress of the Pearl did not illuminate the low-hanging clouds. On the arched bridge that led from the main island to the Fortress and its artificial island, two young men – the generals Lasker and Steinitz, newly granted the baton of command – walked, deep in discussion. The wise Emperor Kristatos had summoned them both to his presence for some last words of wisdom before they betook themselves north, to the war on the other side of the Alps. Their guardsmen and servants trailed behind them a dozen paces, for the two brilliant young commanders (each blooded on the fields of Italy, Germany and the Rhine-land) had never met before.

A noise drew their attention to the waters of the canal, each man glanced about – this was a dangerous time – and their hands drifted to the hilts of their cavalry sabers. Their guardsmen sidled up, ready for any event. A gondola was tipped over in the canal and a faint cry cut the air. Looking down, the two generals saw that a woman in an evening dress was clinging to the side of the boat, but her grip – weakened by the icy water – was slipping. Lasker threw off his jacket and prepared to leap into the waters. His guard-captain, Otto Tacher, grabbed his shirt-collar and dragged the rash young man back onto the bridge. Tacher grunted and two of the guardsmen shed their jackets and boots before diving into the waters.

At Lasker’s side, Steinitz suddenly grunted and slumped into the general. Lasker whirled and caught side, for a split second, of a dark figure amid the servants behind him. All of the guardsmen, their attention drawn by the drama in the canal, were looking the wrong way. Something bright flashed in the dim light, then Lasker felt a sharp pain in his left eye, then nothing. He did not even hear the outraged shouts of his guardsmen, for he was dead before he hit the brickwork of the bridge.

This event was only one sample of the increasingly heated war that was taking place in the shadows around the fringe of the two great Empires locked in mortal combat.

The Tumult of Armies…
February 1713: The Libyan captain Noor Nehid arrives in Genoa on a fast cutter and takes command of the Libyan fleet there. It immediately departs for the south.

March 1713: Trebizondi troops at Constantinople begin rebuilding the walls of the city and preparing a wide ring of fortifications around the ancient ramparts.

In the west, the various Hussite and Moslem mercenaries that had been fighting in northern Italy gather in Alsace under the command of Greybear and Thucides. A large contingent, however, of Osmanlu mercenaries are forced to gather at Krak-de-Chevaliers in Mansura (being unable to teleport from Azerbaijan to Germany…).

The Danish generals Lasker and Steinitz are ice-picked in Venice, causing great consternation amongst the Danish High Command. Similarly the Danish general Van der Weil (serving in the Alsace) was gunned down in the suburbs of Stuttgart by a Swedish commando team. The kommando escaped.

The English general Pleshy lands in Friesland with his Expeditionary force. The pro-Israelite locals allow them to land, but then undertake harassment raids against their encampments along the North Sea coast.

The Danish colonel Paulsen departs Venice by the Balkan highway, heading for Thesssaloniki with a small force of engineers and infantry.

April 1713: A Trebizondi fleet arrives in Heraclea in Thrace, loads a large number of troops aboard while sacking and burning the city. The Swedish army that had been at Heraclea marches to Constantinople and begins digging in.

Similarly in the north, the Swedish admiral Chekov arrived at Lubeck in Holstein with five thousand Royal Marines to reinforce the defense of the city.

In Greece a force of Catholic mercenaries under the command of Lord Vis sweep into Macedon, avoiding Thessaloniki and heading south.

Soon after der Weil’s death, Rheshevsky (who was relieved of command of the Army of Germania during the winter) received new orders and marched the AoG out of Stuttgart and headed east.

The Libyan troops at Genoa, having marched east under the command of the bey Gaudamis, reach Trieste in Slovenia and join up with Colonel Paulsen and his engineers.

May 1713: The Trebizondi fleet at Heraclea leaves the wrecked city and returns to Costantinople. At the same time that the Viceregal fleet returns, the long-missing General Uralpinsky shows up in Constantinople as well on a House of Falcone ship.

The Osmanlu mercenaries that had gathered at Krak, discovering that no one was going to come and pick them up, wandered off to see if the Georgians had work for them.

The Catholic mercenaries operating in Greece punch south through Thessaly and into the passes to Attica itself.

The Spaniard cavalry commander in Provence, Alex de Beers undertook to invade and capture the province of Lyonnais from the Danes while neither his commander (who was busily marching his army back to Lisbon) nor the Danes were looking.

The Libyan fleet returns to New Oran and loads up Ben Yazair, Prince Abadin and 16,000 fresh troops. They then sail north to join Ghaudamis.

June 1713: The Swedish admiral bin-Karel arrives at Constantinople with a transport fleet and fresh troops for the defense of the city.

In the mountains of Transylvania, the Danish agent Marco is ambushed by the side of the road by burly men and hacked to death with broad-bladed knives.

Rheshevsky’s Army of Germany, supported by Polish supplies, sweeps across the Polish frontier into Masuria to find the road to Riga blocked by Marsk Dottski and his three corps.

July 1713: The Libyans under Ghaudamis and Colonel Paulsen and his engineers finally reach Macedon, having spent a dreadful summer tramping around the Serbian highlands.

To their south, the Catholic mercenaries attack Athens, which is undefended. The city, with particular attention shown to the warehouses, offices and homes of the Albanian East India Company officers, is sacked and then set to the torch. Thousands of Albanians are dragged into the streets and shot down in cold blood. Lord Vis laughs, and his Serbian armsmen laugh with him. The slaughter is terrible.

To the despair of the Swedes, Dottski only had 11,000 men in the field on the Masurian front and the Danish-Polish army that had come against him was well over 45,000. The running battle of Skidel was black mark in the record of the Swedish army. Once the Danes began to deploy, the Swedes started running, abandoning their prepared positions and the city of Grodno.

August 1713: The Libyan reinforcement fleet under Noor Nehid reaches Thessaloniki, looking for Ghaudamis and Paulsen.

The Swedish army in northern Russia continues to flee, reaching Kur on the Dvina. News of their flight reaches Riga and the city begins to empty at a precipitate rate. Most of the civil officials flee back to Scandia. The locals scatter for the forest. The Tsar, however, refuses to budge.

The Danes advance into Lithuania, which (like Masuria) is garrisoned by Polish troops. The Polish prince Augustus, however, halts his advance in Neyvilna, having run out of troops to garrison the Free State’s new possessions.

In Greece, the Catholic mercenaries move back north into Thessaly, leaving ruin and despair in their wake. The sky is black with smoke and fumes over their line of march.

September 1713: The Swedish army under Marsk Dottski drags itself into Riga, the first defensible position in the entire Baltic seaboard. There they find some few more reinforcements and dig in to defend the city against the expected Danish assault. Admiral Chekov also sealifts her marines back from Lubeck to protect the capital.

The Danes overrun Kur, striking north on the highway to Riga.

At Thessaloniki, the combined Danish-Libyan army consults and strikes south into Thessaly to defeat the Catholic marauders. Lord Vis and his men, eager for more loot, run right into the maw of the Libyan host at Dium under the slopes of majestic Olympus. The 9,000 mercenaries are overwhelmed by the 24,000 Libyans and slaughtered to a man. Ghaudamis allows none of the Catholics to escape. The bodies are displayed along the miles of road leading back to Thessaloniki.

October 1713: Almost unopposed, the Danes cross the Dvina and capture the great mercantile center of St.Charles.

With the Catholic raiders smashed, Ghaudamis turns his attention back to the fortress of Constantinople. He marches his Libyans, Afrikan mercenaries and Danish siege engineers east towards the citadel.

November 1713: Despite fierce snows and the onset of winter, Rheshevsky presses on and reaches sight of the walls of Riga by the end of the month. His men are exhausted and the strain of maintaining a supply line almost a thousand miles long is beginning to tell. Still, the Poles are watching the supply train and he came prepared. The Danes dig in around the approaches to the city. The siege will start with spring.

In the south, at Constantinople, Ghaudamis finds himself already engaged in a siege battle with the Marsk Dubovitch and the Swedish-Trebizond army. The Libyans tested the Swedes with 23,000 men against 22,000. An even match – a recipe for an ocean of blood! The Libyans were soon learned that they were no match for the Swedish defenses and abandoned the attack, having taken it on the chin.

Winter 1713 - 1714: Not unsurprisingly the winter was as dreadful and cold as it had been for the past decade. In the south, the Libyans retreated back to Thessaloniki to nurse their wounds.

March 1714: The ice had barely broken on the Dvina when the Danish siege guns rumbled and the first shell whistled over the massive, beveled, walls of Riga. Tens of thousands of Danish shock troops swarmed forward through siege trenches cut under the cover of the winter snow, surging against the walls of the Swedish capital. Though it was a dreadful risk, Rheshevsky was determined to redeem himself in the eyes of his Emperor. His failure against the Israelites three years before weighed heavy on him. The struggle was tremendous – every inch of earth before the walls of Riga was bathed in blood, every building in the city shaken by bombardment.

With the Libyan attack thrown back from Constantinople, the Swedish Marsk Dubovitch pressed his advantage, retaking Thrace and besieging Thessaloniki in turn. Ghaudamis ground his teeth, but he no longer had the numbers he needed to fight in the open. Still, with his fleet to supply him, he could hold out in the city indefinitely.

In the west, the Israelites, learning from spies in Poland that the Danish army was engaged in a siege deep in Russia (and that there seemed to be no reserve to prevent them from getting frisky), launched a raid in force into southern Germany.

April 1714: The outer ring of the defenses of Riga was breached in middle April. Once the outer walls had fallen, the Swedes fought in the rubble, house by house, inch by inch and the Danes bled for every yard, every street. Rheshevsky continued to pour men into the meat-grinder, heedless of casualties, all concerns subordinated to the destruction of the hated Enemy.

After snooping about the defenses of Thessaloniki for a time, and devastating the Macedonian countryside, Dubovitch and his army fell back to Constantinople, content to hold the entrance to the Sea of Darkness.

The Israelites destroyed Stuttgart in Alsace, leaving the city a burning pyre, its citizens driven into the fields to fend for themselves in the chill night.

May 1714: The last Swedish positions in Riga fell to the Danish army in late May. Rheshevsky had spent 24,000 men to take the city – but victory, at last, was his. He dispatched a letter to the Emperor in Venice, bearing news that not only had his disgraced general redeemed himself, but that the Tsar of the Russias lay dead in a canvas cover outside the Danish camp. So too died Admiral Chekov (in the fighting at the Imperial Mint), Marsk Dottski (amid the ruins of the Port, covering the retreat of the last members of the Royal Family onto the fleet) and the cossack, Lubomirski (when the southern bastion was destroyed by a mine explosion). 33,000 Swedish soldiers had died, and nearly 50,000 civilians. The city itself was in ruins.

At Thessaloniki, Ghaudamis considers moving up to Thrace to try and pin the Swedes at Constantinople, but then learns that the province is devastated and has no forage for his troops, so he remains in Macedon.

June 1714: The Israelite raid swept into Swabia and destroyed the city of Ulm. In Venice, Princess Oniko disobeyed her father and rode north with her personal guard – a bare thousand men – to defend southern Germania from the Amerikans.

At Riga, Rheshevsky learned of the Israelite incursion and marched his army out of the ruined city to return to Germany.

July 1714: The Israelites march to Munich, where the city fathers beg for the deliverance of their city. Five hundred Taborite monks block the road, but are hewn down by the Israelites, who care not for their piety.

August 1714: Oniko and her guardsmen, after a rough crossing of the Alps, reach the ruins of Ulm. Munich is destroyed by the Israelites.

September 1714: Rheshevsky’s Army of Germany reaches Kassel in Thuringia. The Israelites, flush with victory, march back homeward. In Swabia, princess Oniko can only watch from the shelter of some barren pines as they swing past, heavy with loot.

October 1714: The Israelites return to their dread capital of Augusta. Rheshevsky leads his men through wrecked Alsace to the barren waste that was Ulm, meeting, at last with Oniko amid the disaster of European civilization. Her face is terrible to behold. Israel, she says, shall be destroyed.

Though the Danes had smashed the strongest force that Sweden could raise against them in the north, they had failed to capture the Swedish Imperial Government, which had spent a dreadful winter and the early months of 1714 being evacuated from doomed Riga, back to Stockholm, its seat of old. The tremendous effort of Leopold vonAnhalt in organizing and commanding the evacuation of most of the civilian population would long be honored in the beerhalls of Sweden and Russia.

Unfortunately the shock of the fall of Riga would have many repercussions, not least that the reins of government fell, perforce, into the hands of an inexperienced, pregnant, eighteen year old Russian girl – Rebekah Libov, now Tsarina of Russia and Sweden. She was no Claudia of Denmark, or Octavia Whitehair, to hold a fractious, stunned, Empire together in the face of all odds.

The Swedish provinces of Veposkava, Suzdal, Sviria and Courland all abandoned what they felt was a sinking Empire.

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: The Spanish, roundly ignored by the Danes despite the state of war between the two realms, decided to bicker amongst themselves for amusement.

The Roman Church in Exile: Rumor swirled around the Papal Residence in Nantes that an accommodation had been reached with the Dane and that peace would soon obtain across the face of the world. If some parties had thought this, they were soon disabused of the notion. Indeed, an announcement of a Papal Bull was withdrawn within days after the news came that the Army of Germania had advanced across the Polish frontier into Sweden itself.

Innocent himself, showing great personal bravery, visited the Israelite possessions in Holland and accepted alms from the Yaqui settlers among the swampy lowlands. Later, he visited the Rock of Gibraltar and blessed that edifice of Catholic strength. Masked men who stole his horses and carriage murdered Bishop Timlin, sent to the Isles to see about the properties of the Church there, on a Sicilian back road.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: The Libyans continued to involve themselves in the war in the north, ignoring various troubles at home. A Catholic insurgency was slowly accruing followers in Morroco in reaction to the heavy Hussite pressure to convert – the lord Iseyin being the latest victim. Yusuf also arranged to hire the local mercenaries for a very princely sum (the war in the south being over), and gathered an army at New Oran to send across the water. The Emir also sent emissaries to the Kabilyan chiefs, seeking a bride, as he had noticed that he had no heirs!

1715 - 1716 T194

The Exarchate of Trebizond: The Trebs, their arms fortified by refugees from the north (only the first of a flood…) rebuilt parts of the walls of Constantinople in expectation of continued struggle over the Bosporus. The numerous Swedish forces fighting in the area were placed under the command of Viceroy Vladimir.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: The disasters in the fields of Russia were compounded, as the Swedish position became increasingly tenuous. The Ice continued its unstoppable advance, smothering new provinces in the north.

The Senate continued to function - though now they were working out of warehouses in Stockholm (the old Senate buildings were now a national museum and library and did not have enough space). More troops were raised, and settlers redirected. Long hours were spent working by whale-oil lamps in freezing rooms. The nation was at the edge of destruction but they continued to strive for victory.

Shipments of grain were sent to the English and city and rural militias were called up throughout the land - every man would be needed to battle the heretical Danes. And too, every church in the land was packed with old babushkas and widows, praying with unending fervor for an end to the Ice and the War. Too, the powers of Sweden, seeing that Queen Rebekah was simply not prepared (or inclined) to rule the embattled domain, went to her with a simple proposal - one that she gladly accepted, almost weeping with relief in fact.

The Queen would step aside as the head of the government and allow the popular (and dogged) Leopold von Anhalt-Dessen to become regent for her son, Solomon. She would accept the role of Queen Mother and see to the refugees that were spilling out of the north in a slow tide. Leopold was not pleased at his new place in the scheme of things, but he was tremendously loyal to the state and the people and the royal family, so he could not refuse.

Once in command of the government, however, he pressed the Senate to declare war on Poland. The Kalmar, after little debate, acceded to his request. Also, the elections were put off for another five years so that all those citizens in occupied lands would have a chance to vote. This pleased the Senate no end.

The Polish Free State: Stanislas took some prudent steps - the existence of his nation was precarious - particularly with the withdrawal of most of the Danish army to the west to fight Israel.

Divine Kingdom of Israel: Knowing that the time of the Israelites was close to ending, Tehac gathered the last of his men to him in Augusta, in Lorraine, and they prepared for a final battle against the forces of darkness.

The Danish Empire: Secluded in the fortress of the Pearl, Kristatos continued to plot and plan the destruction of his enemies. By gold and cunning words, he drew the Ethiopians into the war, and launched campaigns to destroy Israel and mortally wound Spain.

Denmark, Poland, AEIC, Ethiopia and Libya
Sweden, Spain, The Papacy, England, Marocain and Israel

Opening Moves…
Sensing that such an opportunity came perhaps only once every four or so centuries, General Kavalek's men scoured the ruined city of Riga for any clues as to the inner workings of the ancient Enemy. There was not much to be found, however, as the fleeing Swedes had shown their legendary efficiency in ensuring that all records were either evacuated or destroyed. In late January, however, alert Danish soldiers sifting through the wreckage of some warehouses that seemed to have been razed before the assault found some bundles of paper that were incompletely burned. Though much of what remained was also water-damaged, with painstaking work they were able to partially decipher the contents of a fair portion of the documents. Each word and number was carefully transcribed. Scattered dates indicated that the documents were about four years old, and most of them appeared to be unremarkable if unusually thorough shipping manifests. However, a few points caught Kavalek's eye as he read through the report being prepared for Venice. A page with the lone heading "active" listed a number of cities, including Venice, Munich, New Oran and Nantes, each followed by one or more lines of obscure symbols. A second list titled "passive" consisted of several pages of cities that spanned a much wider geographical range, from Persia and Syria to cities throughout Europe and northern and western Afriqa, and even a few in the New World and the far East. Although the Swedish code could not be deciphered, the general's assistants noted that each line was preceded by one of three symbols: a cross inverted so it was resting on two of its upper arms, a circle with the profile of a face inside, and a mace or scepter. Nearly all of the more distant cities had the circle symbol, while those that were closer in, particularly in Denmark and England, frequently had examples of all three.

Kavalek was also concerned to find a log of diplomatic communications that showed frequent activity going to and from Khirghiz. The sole indication of the contents of any of them was a single annotation for an incoming letter that said only "progress".

Back in the fortress of the Pearl, the Emperor was displeased to learn from his agents that not only had the Albanians collapsed in internal dissention, but that efforts to acquire the talents of the Osmanlu had failed in a singular manner as the fierce nomads could not be found… Further news from the north also indicated that the peasantry and small-landowners of Latvia, Masuria and Lausatia had risen in revolt against the occupying Danes and Poles.

This unrest in the north presaged equal trouble in the south - the Danish Emperor's agents had been very busy, ferreting out plots and betrayal in Venice and the organs of government. The murders of the young generals pointed to traitors in the highest reaches of the government. Mass arrests and midnight executions were in order. Black carriages rumbled through dark streets and the sound of a musket butt striking a door woke many a clerk and official. Though the Special Police had expected to find some weak-minded individuals that had fallen under the sway of some Swedish tart in a tight-fitting corset no one expected the true scope of the Papist rot that was uncovered.

The Catholics had been very busy, both the Papacy and the English (oh, those blackguards who professed neutrality towards Denmark!). Many Hussites of Danish descent live still on English soil and from this fertile ground the Order of Black Dominicans had found a thriving community of infiltrators. The Special Police arrested almost four hundred sympathizers, agents, moles and bag-holders in Venice and the northern Italian cities. Many of those apprehended were high-ranking officers and bureaucrats of the State. Oh, the cost of this perfidy was high…

The Tumult of Armies…
February 1715: The baron of Little Poland, a liege-man of the Leczinski's, is icepicked by a Swedish kommando in a bath-house in Warsaw. A clean kill, no muss and no fuss.

In the south, at Thessaloniki, the Libyan fleet under the command of Noor Nehid departs the city for Afriqa.

March 1715: Queen Rebekah of Sweden, accompanied by a large contingent of Lapplanders, leaves Stockholm and heads north to Jamtland.

At Riga, the Danish troops under General Kavalek sack what remains of the city and bundle up to leave.

April 1715: The Swedish general Hans Dottski lands at Lubeck in Holstein with two regiments of cossacks and hussars. As soon as his men and horses are unloaded from the fleet, he sorties into the countryside.

In eastern Poland, the Catholic citizens of Masuria rise up in open revolt - armed with guns smuggled in by Swedish agents. Unfortunately for their dreams of freedom, the Polish commander Wisnowski is on hand and crushes their insurrection in two battles and a massacre at Katyn.

Kavalek's army continues its retreat from Russia, looting the countryside of Livonia.

May 1715: Rebekah and a great host of Norse refugees undertake the stunning effort of crossing the frozen Gulf of Bothnia by sled, reindeer and foot. Almost fifteen thousand people begin the crossing from Jamtland.

The Marsk Yeltsin lands at Koningsborg with a fresh Swedish army of ten thousand men. His new regiments are arranged somewhat on Danish lines.

Feldmarshal Rauzer arrives in Swabia with a newly raised Danish army to reinforce Princess Oniko and the wily old veteran Rheshevsky. Oniko reads her sealed orders and tells her commanders that they will destroy the Israelite kingdom.

Kavalek and his army loot the great mercantile city of St. Charles in Livonia, then they set it to the torch, causing a conflagration whose blazing light and smoke can be seen for a hundred miles in every direction. Hundreds of wagons are required to carry the booty.

June 1715: The Swedish general Kutusov arrives in Novgorod to take command of a regiment of cossacks and a regiment of hussars. This force then marches south into Livonia, attempting to cut the road to Riga.

In western Poland, the Catholic underground in Lausatia rises up, attacking the Polish garrison and fire-bombing the governor's offices in Berlin. The Kauyavians, however, are on hand to brutally crush the uprising. Thousands of students at the University of Berlin are put against the wall and gunned down in the St. Stephen's Day Massacre.

Kavalek, despite being harried by Kutusov 's Cossacks, managed to march out of Livonia into Kur. A trail of wrecked villages and burned-out farmsteads lay behind him.

A massive fleet of Ethiopian ships - strange and exotic looking with their triangular sails and catamarans - arrive at Thessaloniki and unload an army of fierce black warriors (much like the Swiss) to fight the Catholics.

On the western front, Oniko and her army of Germany march north into Alsace, with a strong cavalry screen.

July 1715: General Pleshy and 11,000 English troops land in Koningsborg and join the Swedish army already there. They prepare for a joint campaign in Poland.

Kavalek's Danish veterans reach Neyvilna in Lithuania and join up with Augustus Leczinski and his army of Eastern Poland.

The Libyan fleet returns to Thessaloniki with a new army of recruits to fight and die on European soil. Nehid, Abadin and Ghaudamis launch their campaign to capture Constantinople. Their army is composed of Libyans, Ethiops, Danes and sundry mercenaries.

Oniko and her legions enter Lorraine, intending to strike directly at the Israelite capital at Augusta. The Israelites, outnumbered by more than two to one, fall back into the city.

August 1715: Yeltsin and Pleshy's Swedo-English army marches south in Masuria to liberate that province. They are far too late to help the rebellion there. Kavalek and A. Leczinksi's army hurries to intercept them, pursued by Kutusov's cavalry. The armies meet north of Grodno, on the plains at the edge of the Neman. 11,000 Swedes and 14,000 English - at last, managed to have an advantage over the 4,600 Poles and 8,000 Danes. Despite this the Catholics came very very close to throwing the battle - the English cavalry wandered off in the middle of the first morning, allowing the Danes to turn the entire right flank of the Catholic army. Still, a day of hard fighting restores the position and wrecks the Hussite force. Leczinksi broke contact that night and fell back to Poland with the Hussite cavalry.

Princess Oniko besieges the Israelite citadel of Augusta in Lorraine - defended by the remaining might of Israel. A grim siege, fought in cold and fog, with the men camped in fields still turning up bones strewn by the passage of the Friekorps a generation before.

In the south, the Hussite Afriqan army enters Thrace and finds that the Trebizond have fallen back to Constantinople itself. The rule of the Empire is restored in the province.

September 1715: After a horrific trek through bogs, mosquitoes, storms and ice-fall, Rebekah and her army of refugees reach Glyfistad in Kymia. She is reinforced with supplies, new clothes, thousands of mules and three thousand cossacks to protect the refugees.

A. Leczinksi and the Dane, Kavalek, fall back to Warsaw with their cavalry screening a scattered remnant of the Hussite infantry in the east. At the Polish capital, Stanislas orders them to screen the approaches to Germania, while he holds the capital.

At Augusta, the 32,000 Danes hammer at the stout walls, held by 20,000 fanatical Israelis. Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds (Augusta was a strong city) Oniko presses on - counting, as her father and grand-mother had done, on the martial valor and skill of the Danish legionnaire. And she won out. Augusta fell in flame and wailing screams. The populace was slaughtered wholesale by Oniko's troops - mad for revenge - and the atrocities of Ulm and Strasburg and Munich were repaid in blood. The princess was sick at heart to see such slaughter, but such were her orders from her father. The Najera clan was massacred and the priests and bishops that had advised them were hung by the neck until dead. Of all the dead the victory had cost her, none saddened Oniko more than old Rheshevsky - slain at last by an infected foot - he who had sustained the Empire in dark hours with his dogged determination.

In the south, under a hot sun, 45,000 Hussite and Coptic soldiers besiege the 20,000 Catholic troops in Constantinople. A massive Libyan and Ethiop fleet also swarm the waters of the Sea of Marmora, waiting to break through into the Black Sea. A combined Swedish, Nörsk and Trebizondi fleet keeps them at bay, backed by the guns of the city.

October 1715: While A. Leczinski and Kavalek fall back with their cavalry corps into Kauyavia, the Swedo-English army besieges Warsaw.

The Hussite army at Constantinople mounts a massive assault on the gate of Charisus and carries the outer walls of the city. Within the week, the last Catholic positions have fallen and thecity is once more in Hussite hands. The Catholic fleet falls back to Stevastopol in haste. The Swedish generals Dubovitch and Uralpinsky are hauled off to Venice in chains.

November 1715: Oniko and her German legions cross the Rhine into Hainaut and occupy the province. The princess, despite orders to "treat the Israelites as they have treated us", does not slaughter the locals, installing a garrison instead.

The Marsk Yeltsin, surveying the walls of Warsaw, determines to his complete disgust that he does not have the strength to breach them. Unfortunately, winter is upon him and the enemy has a swift and effective cavalry army in the field. He has little option but to try. The struggle is hard, and he fails to capture the city by winter, but neither does he suffer debilitating losses.

Winter 1715 - 1716: Rebekah and her Norse refugees reach Moscow, where they spend a cold winter - but indoors at last! Twelve thousand people remain of the fifteen that began, but they are infused with a hard spirit and a stubborn belief that they will prevail and find a home in the sun, far from the Ice.

March 1716: The Norsktrekkers leave Moscow, where some thousands of them have found a new home, and march south into the forests of Chernigov.

The Libyan fleet loads up the army and leaves Constantinople to sail west to Italy. The Ethiopians accompany them.

April 1716: Oniko occupies Nivernais and restores Hussite rule of Metz, A letter comes to her from her father, demanding that she depose the Catholic lords and restore the Hussite barons - but there are none, having fled beyond the Rhine and then died in the intervening years of war - so she ignores his orders.

With the lifting of the winter snows, Yeltsin resumes his siege of Warsaw, hoping to capture the city before the Danish armies in Germany can come to Leczinski's rescue. The fighting continues - the defenders steadily growing weaker, the Catholics barely managing to maintain their edge.

May 1716: Almost half of the remaining Norsktrekkers found the city of Chernobyl in Chernigov, on the banks of the Dnepr. The Slavic peasants in the rural areas around the city look upon them with awe - tall, burly, golden-haired men and women who speak of torments and sufferings as none have survived before.

Oniko marches through Champagne, restoring order and law, hunting down bandits and convincing the local landowners that the Empire has returned to rule them.

Warsaw falls at last - Stanislas and Michael Wisnowski are captured - and the Swedish general Simonagum is killed. Yeltsin breathes a big sigh of relief, now he can rest his men and resupply. The English general Pleshy, having lost his entire army to the siege, the cold and disease, returns to England in a litter - near death himself. The Polish winter is too harsh for this weak English blood.

June 1716: Oniko returns to her camp in Swabia, near the ruins of Ulm, to rest her troops. She consults the dispatches from the south - have the Spanish attacked? No, not yet. Indeed, the victorious Afriqans have landed at Genoa and are preparing to attack Provence.

July 1716: The last of the Norsktrekkers reach the Dnepr again, this time in Pereaslavl and stop, founding the city of Kremenchug. Rebekah is tremendously tired and proud. She and her people made a journey of almost two thousand miles to find this new home.

In Germania, Oniko and her army (now rested and resupplied) march north to Kassel in Thuringia.

At Genoa, the Libyans and Ethiops unload from the fleet and are met by a delegation of Swiss merchants and nobles, eager to see kinsmen from Afriqa after all these long years. The Swiss host a weeklong party and everyone drinks far too much beer! The Afriqans march up the highway into the Alps and Provence.

August 1716: Oniko and her veterans march through Saxony and into Holstein - there are Swedish raiders to drive off!

The Libyans and Ethiops cross the Alps into Provence and immediately find themselves mired in fighting their way through all sorts of border fortifications. The Spanish generals Ortiz and Preslar move to counter them from Languedoc.

September 1716: Oniko's army of Germany reconquers Holstein and besieges Lubeck, defended by a small (but scrappy) force of Swedes under General Hans Dottski.

The Afriqans in Provence run headlong into a massive Spanish army at Volonne and find themselves in a pitched battle before they even know it. The Spanish commander, Sir Mark Preslar, had been laying his trap for almost a year (since he had taken command from Reynard Bey) and he was determined to let not one Hussite escape. The Lybian commander, Ghaudamis, watched in horror as 60,000 Spanish troops poured out of the hills around his position. "I didn't know anyone in Europe had an army this size!" he sputtered. The 28,000 Afriqans scrambled to take up positions in the line of battle as the first Spanish artillery rounds whistled overhead. Preslar crushed the Hussite army, sending Ghaudamis and his Libyan horsemen fleeing in terror back over the Alps. The Ethiops tried to fall back in square, but were slaughtered. Preslar, lacking orders from his king, elected not to pursue.

October 1716: Dottski and his Cossacks are forced to abandon Lubeck, which falls to the Dane. Oniko, again, refrains from slaughtering the Catholics, and installs a new governor and garrison.

November 1716: The Danish army of Germany marches back south to Kassel to take up winter camp. Next year, this Swedish incursion into Poland will be dealt with.

Brabant and Holland, abandoned by the Israelites upon the advance of Princess Oniko into Lorraine, restored their barons and dukes, free and independent of any great power. The Catholic provinces of Friesland and Westphalia also became independent. The combined Polish-Danish cavalry force continued to watch the new frontier in Kauyavia - Danzig - Little Poland while the Swedes sat at Warsaw and waited for more reinforcements.

The Spanish were incredibly smug that they had smacked a Hussite army around - even if it wasn't Danish…

The Roman Church in Exile: Fulminating with rage against the Dane, Innocent remained in the fortress of Gibraltar, surrounded by regiments of Holy Troops, waiting to bring ruin and defeat upon the Hussite scum. Unfortunately, things did not turn out at all like he had planned and he cooled his heels, waiting.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: Despite warnings from local Hussite leaders for the last four years, the Libyan government continued to allow the rebellion in Morroco and Merrakesh to fester. Two cruel and rapacious governors had been assigned to the provinces, and the garrisons that they had to hand were far too small to contain a full scale revolt. Which, in 1715, is what finally exploded across both regions. Thousands of Catholic tribesmen, aided and abetted by the mercantile class of St.George and armed with Swedish guns and powder, rallied to the cause of the El'Rif - chief of the Atlas tribes.

Back in Morroco, rioting in St.George turned into open battles between the Catholics and the Hussites. At the same time, the El'Rif stormed down out of the mountains with a huge army. Unable to hold St.George against a violently rebellious population, Ksar Sada - the better general of the two Libyan governors - attempted to break out to the north-east, for Zirid. The El'Rif trapped the Libyans at Ouzuanne at the edge of the maritime Atlas. 11,000 Libyan troops found themselves trapped in a deserted mud-brick town by screaming hordes of 23,000 Catholic Marocáin. Swedish-built field guns hammered at the town, shredding the flimsy buildings while wave after wave of Marocáin troops smashed into their lines. The Libyans fought hard - no scurvy Catholics were going to bring them down - but were wiped out by the frenzied tribesmen.

El'Rif followed up his victory by overrunning the Hussite provinces of Zirid and Cheliff. He knew that this struggle would end only with his death or that of Yusuf - might as well fight on Libyan ground!

The Marocáin: The Marocain control Merrakesh, Morroco, Zirid and Cheliff. Many Swedish and Spanish advisors accompany the El'Rif's army. On to New Oran!

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The Swedish Empire of Russia: The Imperial government continued to shed its skin, stripping down to the bare minimum so that it could better respond to the threat of the Ice. Thousands of Swedes emigrated, with the help of the Senate, to Kiev and Trebizond. A vast slow movement of people and populations was underway the length and breadth of the Empire. Chapels throughout the land continued to be packed by old babushkas and children, praying for an end to the threat that loomed over them all.

The Regent Leopold, with an interesting cast of supporters (including the Judean ambassador to the Swedish court, Sir Joseph T'sing-Batsinas) in attendance, went before the Kalmar Senate and informed that august body that the Queen had accepted terms of a truce from the Danish Empire and the ‘state of Poland’. After the shouting had died down, Leopold iterated the basic terms of the arrangement – the province of Poland would be returned to Polish control, the city of Lubeck would be returned to Swedish control and an armistice would prevail between Sweden, Denmark and Poland. No mention was made of the other combatants and it became abundantly clear (within the month) that the truce did not apply to anyone else.

Given that the Regent then presented a budget to rearm, reequip and expand the army, everyone in the building figured that as soon as the inconvenience of the Ice was past, the ‘issue’ between Sweden and Denmark would resume.

The United Kingdoms of Great Britain: The fleet spent a goodly time patrolling the waters around the Isles, expecting a Hussite invasion, but none came.

The Danish Empire: Peace settled uneasily upon the land. The peasant and merchant of Denmark was not used to such a thing – or to the sight of Swedish goods and merchants in the marketplaces. At least hostilities continued with the damnable Pope. The government, freed of having to pour all possible funds into the War, was able to begin rebuilding towns, roads and other public edifices in Alsace, Attica, Macedonia, Swabia, Thrace and Thuringia. So many farms and small towns had been abandoned, it grieved even the veterans of the War.

Some fighting continued in the north; particularly in Westphalia where a large contingent of Taborite monks was beset by Israelite marauders and massacred. That province remains a hotbed of Catholic villainy.

Denmark, Naples and Libya
Spain, The Papacy, Three Isles and Marocain

The Tumult of Armies…
February 1717: A Danish kommando attempted to murder the El’Rif in his camp outside of Nador in Cheliff, but failed when a camel sounded the alarm unexpectedly. A similar attempt to gun down the Spanish general Preslar in Marseilles badly wounded that notable, and he then expired after three months of lingering. It would be a lie to say that Emperor Reynard was sad when he heard the news – Preslar was, of course, a potential rival…

The Libyan fleet, under the command of prince Gaudamis, sets sail from Genoa for Constantinople. The Ethiopian fleet also left, returning home with a fine cargo of coffins.

March 1717: Leaving the El’Rif to continue the siege of Nador, the jarl of Graasland leaves for St.George to pick up fresh troops.

The Islander fleet sorties from Valetia into the Bay of Tunis, looking for the Libyan fleet returning home from Genoa.

The Libyan fleet attempts to pass through the straits of Messina to make a shorter voyage to the east, but finds the narrow passage held against them by the Islander army, which is preparing to invade the Duchy of Naples. Gaudamis orders his fleet back west, to swing wide around Sicily.

April 1717: The Ducal army of the Islands storms across the border from Calabria into Campania, intending to knock out the Duchy of Naples with one blow.

The Libyan fleet sails around Sicily into the Bay of Tunis and almost immediately runs into the Islander squadrons off of Cape Granitola. Gaudaumis swears again and gives orders to beat to sea, away from the Sicilian shore. Duke Alexis and his fleet bear down, rushing to engage the three hundred Libyan ships with his own 156. The Libyans laugh to see the paltry number of ships bearing down on them. Then the Islander fleet begins to fire, and their cannonades tear through the Libyan ships at half again the range of the Libyan guns. Among the Islander ships, twenty behemoths lumber, mounting four decks of guns, each belching fire. Gaudamis fights hard to escape the fray, but the Islander captains are more than a match for his own and the smaller fleet dogs him, tearing away at his ships with broadside after broadside. By eventime, with the sun falling through smoke and fire into a bloody sea, the Libyan fleet is in ruins, wrecked on the Sicilian shore.

May 1717: At Constantinople, the Libyan generals Abadin, Ben Yazair and Daraj wait fruitlessly for the fleet to come and pick them up. They will wait a long time…

In Campania the Islander army finds the land empty and marches to the walls of Naples. There they find that the Duke Juduz has fled on his small fleet to exile (again) in the north. Jakob laughs, seeing that his enemies have fled away before him.

June 1717: The Libyan general Beni Saida arrives in Algeria with a new army, determined to relieve the siege of Nador.

July 1717: A large Catholic mercenary fleet lands at St.George-the-Defender and debarks nearly 30,000 fresh troops to assist the Marocain. The jarl of Grassland returns to the siegelines at Nador with a fresh army. El’Rif, now reinforced, turns up the heat on the city. His guns thunder night and day, hammering at the walls.

Beni Saida and his army cautiously advance into Cheliff, his Taureg scouts probing ahead, trying to find the Marocain.

At Oued Talat on the road to Nador the Libyans find the Marocain, who had been searching for them as well. Ninteen thousand Libyans clash with the 23,000 Marocain in a day long battle under a blistering sun. Outgunned and outmaneuvered by El’Rif, Beni Saida’s army was pinned, bludgeoned and destroyed. Both Beni Saida and Al’Fahd were captured and then sent back to StGeorge-the-Defender in chains.

August 1717: The Papal army arrives in Provence to reinforce the Spanish, having spent the summer marching up from Gibraltar. It is accompanied by a veritable air-fleet of draken.

In north Afrika, the Marocain resume their siege of the Nador fortress complex, now reinforced by the Amerikans. The Amerikan fleet arrives as well, isolating the city from the sea. 30,000 Catholics stormed against the massive walls, while the sky was filled with draken and the whistle of shells slamming down into the city. After a furious assault, the city and fortress fell – though both El’Rif and General Xho were wounded. The Libyan general Beida is killed, as are five thousand of his men.

September 1717: Some of the Papal draken, specially refitted by Norsktrad mechanics, make an overflight of the harbor of Genoa, but find that the Libyan fleet has already left that anchorage.

The Marocain army at Nador mops up the remaining pockets of resistance, and the Jarl of Grassland takes command of the combined Marocain / Amerikan army.

October 1717: After deliberations, the Marocain army turns back west and marches to besiege Tangiers – another formidable Libyan city. A Marocain scout force enters Algeria and sends back reports that the Libyan garrison has withdrawn into Oran. The province is garrisoned and the scouts continue east.

November 1717: Very pleasant weather accompanies the Marocain cavalry as they continue to advance east, now into Kabilya. Again the Libyan garrisons withdraw into the city – in this case Al’Rhemish. The El’Rif, riding with the scouts in a litter while he recouperates, observes with distaste that every single Libyan city is a ruggedly fortified strong point, bristling with redoubts, guns and angry defenders.

At Tangiers, the Amerikans besiege the city. This time the Libyan commander (slipped in by sea) is general Daraj and he puts up a stronger fight than Beida did at Nador. The fighting continues through the winter.

Winter 1717 - 1718: For a change the weather is almost normal, though the Christmas freeze in Rome killed seventy-two people.

March 1718: A motley force of Danish regulars and Copenhagen city militia invaded the Catholic barony of Westphalia to find the last remnant of the Israelites well prepared for them. The Danish commander, Kavalek,managed to blunder his men into a poor position and got the Copenhagen militia slaughtered. The Danes fled in disarray and only Kavalek’s light horse kept the Yaquis from murdering the rest of the army. In all, a poor showing for the Empire.

In Afrika, the Marocain scouts finish securing Kabilya and advance into Tunisia. Back at Tangiers, the siege continues and the city falls at last, after months of struggle. Daraj is killed, as is the jarl of Graasland.

The Ethiopian fleet returns at last to European waters, sailing into the Bay of Tunis in search of Catholic pirates to drive off. Unfortunately, what they get instead is the combined Amerikan and Islander fleets (174 ships) up the snoot. A sea battle in a rainstorm off of Malta ends with Admiral Fredik and his Ethiopian squadron (228 ships) trading burning ship for burning ship before breaking off and scurrying back to Alexandria to "refit".

April 1718: The El’Rif, now recovered from his wounds, finds that Tunisia is an odd province – the rather large city of Augostina (near the site of ancient Carthage) is a free port and ruled by its own elected council. They do not hew to the Libyans and there is evidence of a desultory Libyan siege of the port. Still, the city-folk have no truck with this ragged band of desert bandits, either.

The Amerikans turn back east and march through Cheliff.

May 1718: The Amerikan army arrives in Algeria and sets about besieging the city of Oran, which is, of course, strongly defended. The Amerikan troops, promised easy battles against some wogs and lots of loot, are getting tired of wrinkling Libyan fanatics out of their fortress-complexes. Still, the siege begins and the city is pounded by both the fleet and the Swedish siege guns.

June 1718: General Xho lays into Oran with every gun he can lay his hands on. This time the enemy is Ben Yazair and he has a paltry few more troops to put in the trenches and on the walls. The weariness of the Amerikans is evident in their initial attacks – poorly executed and easily beaten back.

July 1718: Xho continues to grind away at Oran, but still cannot break into the city. Several ships are lost to the port guns and the fleet pulls back to a safe distance.

August 1718: Oran finally falls, the defenders ground down to a nub and then rooted out, house by house and street by street. Xho’s men refuse to advance any further, which is fine by him!

The mayor of Copenhagen, having been nearly killed himself, and having lost most of the men of his city, sent Emperor Kristatos a letter informing the Emperor that Copenhagen was now a free city and would no longer pay a coin to the Empire.

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: The Spanish continued to march troops east to reinforce the army in Provence – now that Preslar was dead, Malcolm Ortiz, the duke of Aragon, took command of it. The Emperor also rescinded the monopolies that been granted to the Nörsk so many years ago, returning those commodities to the control of his own merchants.

The Roman Church in Exile: The shadow war between the Papacy and the Hussites continued – a number of prominent Franciscans were murdered in Spain and Nantes itself, and Carlos de Jesus was killed in a gun-battle in Languedoc when Hussite agents ambushed his carriage on the streets of Narbonne.

The Afrikan (doubtless Lencolar) pirates also pillaged the waters near Nantes, capturing several Nörsk ships bound for the residence of the Pontiff. A few survivors were picked up by Frankish fishermen and dropped off in the city. Captain Tuegen, after a few stiff goblets of port, declared that it was the Lybians that had seized his ship, but no one believed him.

The provinces of Lucayo and Carnook, actual possessions of the Holy See, were granted their independence. Priests were also sent to help the Norsktrad and the Trebizond. The guns of Gibraltar, as well as a small fleet there, closed the strait to Hussite shipping.

The Christian Emirate of Libya: Yusuf was given to a great anger when news came to him that not only were the Rif continuing to besiege Nador, but that the Mixtecs had hired all of the available mercenaries for their war against Vastmark. This left him with only the strength of his own men to stand against the Catholics. Still, a new army was raised and sent west under the command of Beni Saida. Dark thoughts were directed towards the Danes for leaving Libya in such a pass.

Amid all the excitements in the west, Libyan coastal patrols snared a pair of Afrikan pirate frigates (operating south of Malta) and found them crewed by a motley assortment of Mixtecs and Vastmark exiles. The Libyan captain was disgusted at the stench the Afrikans affected, but he was most pleased to find – in their hold, in stout crates, a complete Olesson Engine with books describing its operation. The captain made haste for New Oran, where his find was quickly taken to the University. The scholars, there, with government officials in close attendance, found that the books and attendant letters were intended for the enjoyment of the Devil-Pope himself. Great was the glee of the Libyan Hussites, to have snatched such a prize from the Ice-Bringer himself!

Round-the-clock efforts were undertaken to build the Engine, which was successful after three months of labor. This particular model was designed to drive an endless belt that, in turn, turned the vanes of a great fan – doubtless to provide a cooling breeze to the sycophants that fawn at the feet of the corpulent Pontiff. Levers were thrown and gauges carefully watched. Pressure built, the machine made a great racket, the fan moved – first slowly and then faster…

The resulting explosion tore the roof off of the Makue Hall of Science, flattened the stucco buildings on either side, killed seventy-five of the finest minds in Libya and left a giant smoking pit where the Engine had been. It took three hours to put out the fires that resulted. Afterwards, examination of the scattered remains found that the valve housings and pressure gauges were faulty.

The Marocáin: Foreign troops, including many ‘retired’ Swedish volunteers from the northern front poured into Morroco to reinforce the Rif. Papal, Spanish and English ships thronged the port of St.George-the-Defender, unloading guns, munitions, men, horses and supplies. An estimated 25,000 Catholic Amerikan mercenaries (every one armed to the pointed teeth) unloaded from a Frankish fleet, under the dual command of General Xho and Captain Bern. In the hinterland, the city of Nador came under constant shelling by the Rif forces arrayed around it

1719 - 1720 T196

The Exarchate of Trebizond: Despite rumors of dreadful happenings to the south, the Trebzi were quiet and peaceful until about April of 1722. In that blustery month, a huge fleet of Catholic ships (bearing the flags of Sweden, England, the Papacy and the Norsktrad) arrived at Amisus in Galatia. A great horde of people – strange brown-skinned people that spoke no local tongue, or even the harsh guttural languages of the Westerners – were offloaded, overseen by brigades of Swedish and English marines. These refugees, now twice cast out of their homes, stared around in scornful pride and well-hidden fear. The Tarahumara and the Yaqui had come far to reach this land, but here – in an arid land of plains and mountains far more like their homes in the Amerikas than the thick forests of Germany – they would start again, anew.

The Swedish Empire of Russia: The Treaty of Constantinople was signed, bringing a welcome halt to the long and bitter war with Denmark.

The Danish Empire: With peace declared throughout Europe, the Danes turned their attentions to repairing some of the damage sustained in the recent war. Heraclea in Thrace was partially repopulated by pensioned veterans and their families, and rural roads, canals and bridges were repaired in Bavaria and Attica.

Other aspects of the peace were accomplished – a portion of the ancient city of Rome was turned over the lax and corrupt Papists for their den of iniquity and vice. The provinces of Provence and Lyonnais were recovered from the Spaniards.

The Grand Duchy of Naples: Concomitant with the Great Peace, the Neapolitans were able to return from exile in Trieste and Juduz was once more duke in the land of his childhood. Trade was restored by the merchants of the Duchy and some hope was held out that things could be restored to normal.

The Roman Church Returned!: The Cardinal Georgantas, representative of the Church, entered Rome in a humble habit of homespun wool – his gilded robes and jeweled miter and crown left behind on the Papal fleet that lay at anchor in Ostia. Ranks of Danish imperial troops lined the ancient streets, their faces grim and terrible. Under a gray and inauspicious sky, the Catholic Church returned, at last, to its ancient home. A section of the city on the western bank of the Tiber, in the old district of Transtiburtina, was placed under Papal administration. The Churches first task was to build a huge complex of fortifications around the ruins of the Church of Saint Peter.

The Roman citizens laughed to see the priests laboring in the hot sun. They had seen empires rise and fall and the Church flee in terror before the advance of the implacable Dane. How long will they last this time? They wondered.

The Marocáin: Pressed by his Swedish advisors to abide by the terms of the Constantinople Treaty, the El’Rif begrudgingly abandoned the provinces of Algeria, Cheliff, Kabilya , Tunisia and Zirid to the "motherless and weak" Libyans. The El’Rif, however, did not leave without a present or two for the Libyans. In particular, the city of Nador in Cheliff was utterly destroyed, leaving no stone on stone, by the hawk-faced desert warriors. Lieutenant Tatarsky, the Swedish advisor on the scene, protested but it was to no avail. The massacre was gruesome.

"We are honorable men," growled the chieftain, stroking his long white mustaches with a tan finger. "But the Libyan lapdogs of Denmark will remember us…"

Here follows the text of the treaty ending the Holy Cross War:

With the aim of Christian Brotherhood and Freedom, we take quill in hand to pledge our Sacred Honor to Peace in our time. Each is tasked to his part of the whole as written herein.

The Empire of Swedish Russia: Withdraws from the Hussite lands of Emir of Libya, to retain the Marocain provinces commonly known as Morocco and Merrakesh and the contents thereof. The city of St. Gustavus is given over to Libyan overlordship with the promise of free exercise of the citizens religion, and their general security. Cedes to the King of Spain and Occitania the city of Corunna. Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Christian Emirate of Lybia, the Danish Empire, and the Grand Duchy of Naples.

The Danish Empire: Cedes to the Emir of Lybia that portion of Egypt known as Mansura. Receives from the Imperial Kingdom of Spain the Rhoneland Hussite provinces of Lyonais and Provence and the contents thereof. Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Imperial Kingdom of Spain, the Duchy of the Isles, the Holy See, and the Empire of Swedish Russia.

The Imperial Kingdom of Spain: Cedes the Rhoneland Hussite provinces cited above. Receives from the Swedish-Russian Regency the city of Corunna. Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Christian Emirate of Lybia and the Danish Empire.

The Christian Emirate of Lybia: Cedes to the Empire of Swedish Russia the Marocain regions, as cited above. Receives the city of St. Gustavus and the region of Mansura, as cited above. Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Empire of Swedish Russia, the Imperial Kingdom of Spain, the Duchy of the Isles, and the Roman Church.

The Holy See: Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Christian Emirate of Lybia and the Danish Empire.

The Duchy of the Isles: Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Christian Emirate of Lybia and the Danish Empire.

The Grand Duchy of Naples: Declares peace and unsequestered trade with the Imperial Kingdom of Spain, the Duchy of the Isles, and the Empire of Swedish Russia.

Addendum: While the issues dividing Juduz Dracul and Alexis Feyd are legion, the undersigned promise to pray for Providential Guidance in their peaceful and rapid resolution.

And so peace came upon the lands of Poland. With the treaty in place, Stanislas breathed a great sigh of relief and turned his attentions to an accounting of the citizens of his realm. Too, a small college was opened in Warsaw, so that the sons and daughters of Poland need not go away -- the great universities of Denmark and Sweden -- to learn of the world and its myriad wonders.

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