Wallachia, Grand Duchy of

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Foundation: ????-????Dead.gif
Capital:
Religion: Hussite Christian

By Martin Helsdon

Description

The History:

Unlikely to be written.

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1608 T140
Turkic Kingdom of the Ukraine: Vselvolod marched north with part of this army to deal with the ­Wallachian incursion into Volhynia. The Volhynians - it must be said - were ­not too suprised at this turn of events since they had been expecting ­invasion from some quarter for quite a while. Vselvolod, despite his not­being the finest of commanders, made great progress against the locals­ until the sudden appearance of the Wallachian army under the command of­General Strephon. A wicked fight erupted then in the dank forests of ­Volhynia between the Wallachians and their Volhynian allies and the Turks.­ The Turks were slaughtered and King Vselvolod barely escaped, dressed as a­ monk, back to Goryn.

Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The governor of Ialomita was pleasantly suprised to arrest a Ukrainian­leader who was well attired with heavy bags of gold that attempted to bribe­him to abandon Wallachia and join the Ukrainians. The hapless Ukrainian­leader was packed off to Walachia to languish in a deep cell. He was soon­joined there by many of his countrymen who had remained trapped in­Wallachia. All of these hapless wights soon ended their days impaled upon­rows of stakes along the highways and byways of Vlatimir's realm. The boy­Prince also raised taxes, that he might better presecute the war against­the Ukrainians.

While Wallachian arms were being victorious in the north, the Princes­of Banat and Moravia launched a campaign against the Turks in Transylvania­- where they found to their disgust that a Turkic army had reinfoced the­local prince. The 22,000 Wallachians - despite superior arms - found­themselves in deep kimchi and were barely able to extricate their battered­ force from the mountains.

Finally, Duke Vlatimir, who had but come of age, ordered a far­reaching set of repressions against the Catholic church in his lands.­Charging that the church had conspired with the Turks to steal Transylvania­from the Grand Duchy, Vlatimir ordered that "the Cardinal shall be impaled,­that all Church lands, moneys, possessions and properties be confiscated;­that all abbots, bishops, cardinals, monsigniors and other officials of­repute and station be seized and put to death; that all priests, monks, ­friars, prelates, novices and lay initiates be likewise siezed and remanded­to the holding of the officers of the roads to work until dead; and that­all future activities of the Catholic Church - late of Rome - be forbidden­on pain of death henceforth until the end of time." So spoke Vlatimir as he­took the ducal crown for his own in 1607.

The repressions that then followed were bloody and vicious in the­extreme and Vlatimir smiled as wagonloads of loot wound their way into his ­castle at Polesti.

1613-1614 T143
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Proclaiming, from horseback, "Now we begin the final offensive against the Black Turks. Let us be merciless, show no pity. They shall pay dearly for their agressions against Wallachia.", the Grand Duke ordered his armies at last to cross the frontier into Moldavia, intending to spread his realm to the very Caspian in the east!

The Ukrainian counter-attack reclaimed Polovtosy and the Crimea for Vselvolod, but the Wallachians meantime had struck through Moldavia (where they had to reduce a number of forts) and through Pechneg to Atelzuko. The Wallachians, having faced no resistance save that of Debrecen in Moldavia (which was taken by storm) then swung north and secured Kiev itself (only recently back in Ukrainian hands). The Pinski barons had reduced Turov in the meantime.

1615-1616 T144
Avar-Persian Empire of Bokhara: In the Ukraine the Avar Expeditionary Force was ordered to crush the Wallachian army in short order and then return to the sunny climes of the south.

Turkic Kingdom of the Ukraine: Ukranian stonemasons got a lot of work as Stevastopol and Rostov were heavily fortified. The Avars and Turks then advanced west to crush the invading Wallachians once and for all! Assassins, doubtless of Wallachian origin, attempted to off Vselvolod whilst he was attending some fund-raising banquets in Urkel, but failed.

Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians gathered their armies for the final showdown as well, throwing up a series of forts along the fords over the Dnepr. And lo, the Avars and Turks attempted to force a crossing of that river into Atelzuko from Levedia and found their progress blocked by not only the Wallachian army, but the Wallachian fleet, which made crossing the river quite dangerous.

Despite the annoying Wallachian navy, the Turks and Avars pitched 25,000 Turks and 79,000 Avars against the 47,000 Wallachians at the river-town of Taromsky. Despite a ferocious defence the Wallachians were unable to hold the river and were then cut to bits by the Turkic cavalry as they attempted to retreat to Debrecen.

Unrestrained by the non-slaughtered Wallachian army, the Turks swept back to Moldavia (where they retook Debrecen), reclaiming Pechneg on the way.

1621-1622 T147
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Prince Rikos fell off of a horse and expired.

1623-1624 T148
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Prince Tlach died off of scurvy after refusing to eat any citrus for two years in a fit of pique. Some per­sons felt that his younger brother, Wlotech, might have poisoned his beer, but did not say.

1625-1626 T149
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Prince Tlach fell from his horse while riding in the hills near Milosivic (his horse though it spied a vampyre and was understandably desiring to leave the district) and cost Vlatimir a son. However, the young Vlatov was still hale and assumed command of the duties that his older brother had been trying to sluff off. Trade with the Egyptians was opened as the Wallachians tried out their skills at sea.

While the various minions of Vlatimir beat a path from province to province in a concerted diplomatic effort, so too did the tax collectors come, levying a heavier and heavier burden against all who dwelt within the domain of the Gran Duke. At last, in 1526, the peasants, crushed under ruinious taxation, and the merchants (penniless after paying once, twice, three times) could stand no more and the bright flames of general revolt swept the Duchy!

The Carpathians led the way, seizing the Gand-Duke as he slept in their Baron's castle and demanding a remission of taxes in exchange for his release. The Dobrujans were next, and then forest-princedoms of Galich and Goryn. The Moldavians followed as soon as they espied that the army of Dracul was engaged in crushing the Goryni revolt to their north (costing the Wallachians, incidentally, their merchant fleet). Moravia, Pinsk, Transylvania and Volhynia rounded out the exodus from Vlatimirs rule.

The revolt of the Goryni was crushed by Lord Dracul in much blood and fire.

1627-1628 T150
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Grand Duke paid a hefty sum to ransom himself from a Carpathian garret and made his way back to lands still controlled by him. Recinded taxation measures and hefty bribes followed to try and restore some of his battered standing amongst his fellow clansmen. His son, Prince Vlatov made friends anew in Moldavia and aquired a wife to boot.

1633-1634 T153
Turkic Kingdom of the Ukraine: Two Turkish armies were on the march in the west against the Wallachs; one, under General Beria, crossed the Iron Gates into the fields of Banat, where he found his advance blocked by an Imperial Danish army (13,000 Croats). Beria, commanding 21,000 men, considered the odds and backed off - his cossacks were no match for the Imperial artillery and infantrymen. He withdrew to Wallachia.

Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The usual attempts to murder Vlatov failed, for he was growing used to such paltry assassins. In the midst of all the other excitements (like the Danes intervening to save Wallachia from destruction at the hands of the Turks) Vlatov was presented with a Danish princess (Margarethe) as his wife and gladly took her and all that his marriage implied in an attempt to save his realm.

Efforts to turn a crucial enemy general were diverted by Danish action and a planned raid into Ialomita had to be abandoned when the Turkish army wound up encamped there.

1635-1636 T154
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians noted with intrest that the Ukrainians had abandoned Carpathia in all the excitement. The Vlach of Banat, with a few thousand of his cousins, launched a raiding sweep into Moldavia out of the swamps at the mouth of the Danube. This met with passable success, mainly due to the withdrawl of the main Ukrainian armies back to more eastern locations. Otherwise the Grand-Duke was waiting for the Dane.

1637-1638 T155
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Grand-Duke made a few shekels by selling grain and beef cattle to the Swedes. A Wallachian attempt to kidnap Prince Aral of the Ukraine was foiled by his mother, a Betan scientist, I mean a Suvarii duchess, who chopped down the three thugs with a halberd. Efforts by the Baron of Banat to woo the aloof hillmen of Transylvania failed miserably as the Baron became lost in the woods and was forced to flee from a pack of ravenous wolves.

1639-1640 T156
Turkic Kingdom of the Ukraine: In the Wallachian hills, Brizhalov and his raiding force marched out of Carpathia into Alfold, seeking the Wallachian command camp!

Grand Duchy of Wallachia: 1639 began in the usual wise for the Wallachians with the death of the Grand Duke Vlatov. A hasty regency council was assembled to rule in the stead of the seven-year old Sigismund. Various Wallachian spies failed with their big undertaking on one hand, and on the other found Moldavia to be rife with Turkish troops. The Banati prince, who had been freezing his tussock off in Transylvania during the winter of 1638, received messengers from the barons in Alfold, warning him of a Turkish army that had marched out of Carpathia into the great Hungarian plain. He turned aside from his given orders to sweep down to the defence of his own realm.

Thus, with 6,000 heavy horse to his hand, he clashed with the 5,000 Turks at Nagyvarad in the shadow of the Transylvanian alps and annhilated their army. Later, a tall column with five sides would be raised to celebrate the victory by the townsfolk.

1641-1642 T157
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians were annoyed to have their riders to the Savavids arrive too late, finding only mouldering campsites and a few heckling Russ shepherds. Long negotiations with the Transylvanians met with no success, the high mountain chiefs were no longer willing to listen to anyone. Substantial sums of gold were paid off to the Occitanians for the sunny province of Campania, which Sigismund had heard was quite nice in the spring.

The regents, meantime, had mustered their strength - now recovered - in Ialomita for a daring blow against the Russ. However, they had hoped to disguse and shield their muster from the eyes of the Russ. This was not to be. Percy Shelly and the various condotta at large in the vicinty had been hired on by Empress Zoe in Constantinople and had made a swift march north to find the Walach barons encamped by the broad banks of the Danube. Shelly held a war council and informed them that they all were going to be invading Moldavia very soon and they had best get their buttinski's off the fat camp stools and into saddle. The barons quailed at this and tried to explain that the Walach armies were still gathering and, perhaps next year would be better, yes?

No. Shelly and his men, with the Walach in tow, crossed into Moldavia with the late summer winds of 1461 behind them. Much to everyone's surprise they almost immediately encountered Russ cavalry patrols and then Tsar Ivan and the Russ army. The battle of Sarata (September 24th, 1461) was a pretty cosmopolitan affair pitting 73,000 Hussite troops against 65,000 Catholics. Classically for the long struggle between the Southern Russ and the Walachs, neither side had really planned it this way, but here they were, advancing in fire and smoke towards the enemy lines...

Oxenstierna, taking advantage of the moderate confusion in his enemies, imemdiately attacked while the Walachian army was deploying for battle, commiting his cavalry to pin the Walachian left wing. Shelly hurried to deploy his main body and Oxenstierna's artillery (already emplaced) shredded the Walachi foot unhindered. By the time that the cavalry melee had sorted itself out the Moscow Guards foot had already charged the disordered Walachi lines and was making a butcher's feast of the French and Germans. Shelly, seeing that the battle was quickly spiralling out of control, ordered his artillery to withdraw behind his reforming cavalry screen. The Walachi regents, stranded on the battlefield with the theft of their carriages by a troop of Tauregs, were captured. Shelly made an orderly withdrawl back into Ialomita.

Tsar Ivan, wounded by a gun carriage explosion, was trucked back to Kiev in a litter and his son, Alexis, took over supreme field command. Alexis then pointed west, up the Danube, and said "That way" to Oxenstierna. The Russ army advanced from its base at Debrecen with high spirits and a goodly share of loot already!

In Ialomita, the Walachi cause was in considerable disarray and the khan of Banat and the prince of Dobruja made common cause to get a new regent (the Prior of Giurgiu) elected. While this wrangling continued Shelly was digging in outside of the crossroads town of Bucharesti with cavalry pickets between him and the advancing Russ. Oxenstierna advanced warily now, for the terrain was on the Walachi side. He did, however, have one major advantage that his enemy did not.A fleet. Admiral Kutuzov has swept up the river, wrecking bridges and providing a swift and sure supply line for the advancing Russ army. Further, the Russ control of the river meant that communications south into Dobruja were greatly hindered. Shelly sweated it out in the Gran Palacio Hotel in Bucharesti and wondered if he was going to get any reinforcements. He didn't.

The Battle of Bucharesti (March 14th, 1462) pitted Shelly and 37,000 Walachi against Oxenstierna and 47,000 Russ. Again Oxenstierna proved the master and Shelly the unrepentant student. The Walachi army was soundly thrashed and the condotta scattered. Shelly, severely wounded, was carried across the Danube in a shallow boat during the bloody aftermath. The Banati and the Dobrujans, escaping the battle with their horse, fled for their various homelands to nurse their wounds. Oxenstierna advanced into Wallachia itself before winter stayed his hand.

Danish Empire: Papparazi in Thessalonika noted with glee that the Grand-Duke Sigismund of Wallachia had taken up residence in the Imperial Summer Palazzo, apparently for good, what with the disastrous defeats at Sarata and Bucharesti.

1643-1644 T158
Russ Kingdom of the Ukraine: In the south, as a Swedish-mediated peace took hold, the Ukrainians abandoned the provinces of Wallachia and Ialomita to the Wallachians as well. Swedish peace-keeping forces took up residence in Galich and Moldavia to secure the new peace.

Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The unfortunately venal and corrupt regents of the young Sigismund breathed a wine-besotted sigh of relief at the agreement of the Ukrainains to let them live. Vitally important (and rich) provinces were recovered without strength of arms and the Swedes agreed to guarantee the frontier. With dreams of gold and silver dancing in their heads, the Regents cast about looking for a suitable match for the young Prince who at last returned from his Danish exile. Messengers hurried off in all directions.

Those same regents, seeking an audience with the reclusive Duke Alucard of Transylvania, met with an unfortunate end while attempting a cross of the Borgo Pass in late Fall of 1643. Come springtime their torn and gnawed bodies were recovered from the deep snows, mummified and shrunken into curled corpses. Seeing as how the young Prince was still too young to assume the throne, the Duke of Dobruja, one Bogdan, assumed the weighty post of Regent. Bogdan's brother, Besarab, recieved the ducal coronet in turn.

Bogdan was quite pleased as well to preside at the marriage of Sigismund to the eight-year old Duchess Margaret of Carpathia, securing a strong alliance between the Walachs and that crucial principate. Bogdan also impounded the small and varied Walach banking concerns and availaled himself of rather low rate for large loans. Bogdan, flushed with wine after the long and extensive wedding feast, also made the following speech:

"For 75 long years we have been locked in bloody war with the Black Turk Ukrainians, with no quarter or mercy shown by either side. Hundreds of thousands of brave men-at-arms and countless peasants have died in this futile war, but now peace is at hand and the bloodshed is over. The Russ kingdom of the Ukraine will return the disputed baronies of Galich and Volhynia to Wallachian control, and we in turn renounce all claims to the barony of Moldavia and the city of Debrecen. The Kingdom of Sweden will monitor the provinces and provide peace-keeping troops to ensure they will remain demilitarized. A new age is dawning in Europe and Russia now that our two great nations are at peace."

Swedish Empire of Russia: Peace was worked out between the now vassal Ukraine and the Wallachians, with contingents of Swedish curaissers dispatched to Galich and Volhynia to watch the frontier. The Empire recieved the province of Bialoweza as tribute, and Volhynia as an extra. This disgusted the Walach embassy, who complained that Volhynia was theirs.

1645-1646 T159
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Grand-Duke Sigismund, finally of age after all these years, shrugged off the confining Regency that had ruled in his stead for so long and stepped out on his own. For the moment that comprised sending emissaries to eveyone in sight, asking them to be friends. In this he was aided somehwat by the generosity of the Swedish crown, which granted him the province of Volhynia as a"gift".

1647-1648 T160
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians, in a burly move that shocked all of their neighbors, raised a capital city, Craiova, in Wallachia. Therein Sigismund took residence and devoted himself to the ordeals of rule. Despite all his efforts, however, he failed to father any young and was petulant. (ah, to be fifteen again...)

1649-1650 T161
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians, eager to prove that they're a real modern nation, expanded their capital of Craiova to size 2. Otherwise the Wallachians were annoyed by the various failures of diplomacy, but had faith that they would get better in time.

1651-1652 T162
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians winced at the slapping around that the Ukrainians were getting. Then they smiled and it was an evil smile.

1653-1654 T163
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Strong missionary efforts in Galich began to bear the fruit of faith for Ferenczy's church minions. Craiova was expanded again as the Wallachians attempted to step onto the stage of powers in Europe. So too were many ships built to carry the wine, rose-oil and timber of the high mountains east and south to new nations.

With the Ukraine in all disarray, Sigismund was quick to plunge his dagger into the heart of his ancient enemy. Five armies smashed east to bring down the rest of the crumbling facade of the Russ state. While sly tongues and promises of autonomy wooed the southern cities, the steel blades and iron hooves of the state marched into Goryn, eager to revenge ancient defeats.

16,000 Wallachian troops crushed the Goryni into paste and then slaughtered the Kievians and Atelzuki as well, bringing the Wallachian state at last to the Dnepr. Sigismund was annoyed by the news that his realm had been placed under interdict and that the Catholic nations were supposed to stop trading with him.

Swedish Empire of Russia: Charles divvied up the collapsing Ukraine with his allies, ceding the lands west of the Dnepr to the Wallachians, while the lands to the east and south of the Volga were granted in fief to the Most Catholic Khirgiz.

1655-1656 T164
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Religious riots in Debrecen had to be suppressed by the local garrison, causing an ugly incident over missionary work in the newly conquered territories. Sigsimund took a step towards superpower status with the construction of a fleet. Otherwise all efforts were dedicated to schmoozing the local powers of the occupied territories. The fleet ravaged the Black Sea, searching for Syrian shipping and sinking random ships willy-nilly since they could not find any Syrians.

1657-1658 T165
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Sigismund devoted all of his efforts (and those of his realm) to the consolidation of the new eastern reaches of the Duchy. In this his agents and liegemen achieved considerable results. And while Sigismund bent his will to the firm and proper maintenance of his realm, his cousins and - most notably - wife began mentioning to him that his realm was great enough that it should, by rights, be termed a Kingdom rather than a mere Grand-Duchy...

1659-1660 T166
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: While the rest of Europe thrashed about in the grip of religious conflict or general warfare, the Wallachian realm was quiet and prosperous. Craiova in Wallachia and Nikolayev in Pechneg expanded a level apiece. The lords of Banat and Dobruja, in a pair of freakish accidents, were found dead in their bathtubs while travelling in Transylvania and Pechneg. Sigismund shed quite a few tears at the funerals of both of those lords and made sure that their lands recieved his direct protection! The Theological College of Krakow announced, after thirty years of study of certain relics from the Islands of the Antipodes, that the 'Demon' or 'Elder God' known as Great Cthulu does not and never did exist.

The Arch-Duke also issued decrees banning all Catholic missionary activity within the Duchy. A large number of arrests followed and confiscation of a number of Catholic properties. The Eastern Orthodox and Hussite fathers were quite pleased by this and applauded the strong actions of the Arch-Duke.

1661-1662 T167
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians refused to answer questions posed by a number of Achaean visitors about the whereabouts of the missing King Marco. Sigismund amused himself by ordering and overseeing the construction of a postal road from Craiova in Wallachia down the banks of the Danube into Ialomita. Following the initiation of this helpful project he marched east with an army and suddenly descended upon the province of Atelzuko (a Roman Catholic province) and in a swift blow launched an enslavement campaign against the locals. They fought back and were summarily crushed. Attempts by thousands of peasants to flee across the Dnepr into Swedish lands were foiled by the Wallachian fleet which patrolled the river vigoriously, gunning down those who attempted to ford in boats or clinging to logs or inflated bladders. The loss of life during this "resettlement" campaign was extreme.

The supression of the Catholics pleased the Eastern Orthodox boyars in the new territories, however, and they viewed Sigismund in a much more favorable light thereafter.

Swedish Empire of Russia: The Swedish ambassador to the Wallachian court was informed that the Wallachian armies marching about on the eastern frontier posed no threat to Sweden.

1663-1664 T168
Kingdom of Macedon: The Acheans, smarting at the rumors that Tzetsas had conspired with the Wallachians to have Girolamo kidnapped and then to bungle the Crusade in the Holy Land so that the religious factions in the government would be discredited, ordered Grolingen, commanding the Crusader army, to attack Palmyra and take the Moslem city of Homs. At the same time, Tzetsas returned administration of the Levant to the Danish Empire and apologized for the 'oversight'.

Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians ignored (well, almost) the fray exploding to the west and spent a goodly portion of their national energies on building a broad and level courier road from Nikolayev in Pechneg to Debrecen in Moldavia. Work also began, but was not completed, on a similar road from Debrecen into Ialomita. Many Wallachian church leaders and other trouble-makers converged on Pechneg, where they importuned the locals and did a lot of preaching.

Back in Craiova, the halls of the churches and the university were also thronged with many a priest, hermit, holy father and learned layman. The Arch-Duke had called upon the Hussite fathers to draw together a creed to govern the administration of the Church and all its works. This, in the bare a proposal to elect a primate or supreme Church leader of all Hussites, ignited a storm of controversy. Is not the Emperor of the Danes the supreme leader of our church? Shouted one father from the western provinces of the Duchy. Nay, let none stand above another - are we not equal in the eyes of God? Retorted another. Heated words oft led to blows as the various Hussite factions began to grapple with the sprawling and uncoordinated nature of their faith. No progress seemed likely, either in the short or long term.

The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch, however, did proclaim Ferenczy the 'Protector of the Faith' from his seat at Kiev, and this pleased the Grand-Duke for it made his administration of those Orthodox regions under his sway much easier.

In more wordly matters, General Poluch set off in a fleet from Nikolayev with a braw and feisty batch of Pechnegs and Volhynians to fight for the Danish cause in Spain. At the same time the Grand-Duke signed no less than ninety letters of marq against Occitanian shipping. Offers of land and noble entitlement were made to those that wreaked the most havoc.

Christian Emirate of Lybia: A Wallachian fleet made landfall at Tangiers and joined a flotilla of Lybians awaiting it. As one this collection sailed off to invade Spain. The combined force landed at Gebel-el-Tarik and besieged the great fortress that the Occitanians had raised there. Unlike much of the rest of Spain, the French did have troops defending the crucial citadel. Indeed, they had 11,400 men encamped in the looming 'rock' and the myriad fortresseses, redoubts, strongpoints and bunkers ringing it about. The Wallachians and Lybians, for their part, had 14,000 to take the city with. Oh, and they had quite modern equipment - much better than that owned by the Occitanians.

The Duc du Aragon, commanding the Occitanian defence, fought fiercely for some months before stopping a Wallachian musketball. With their commander's brains spattered all over the ramparts, and the Hussite army having carved its way into the final ring of fortifications (to the wall of the Rock, in fact), the remaining French surrendered and were given passage of arms to Andalusia.

1665-1666 T169
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: A postal road was built from Moldavia to Ialomita to Wallachia.

1667-1668 T170
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The Wallachians were somewhat stymied by the sudden weight of their realm and Sigismund was unable to even get his head above water for '67-'68. The advances made in the south were rolled back by the Macedonians, but Sigismund was not unduly alarmed. Relations with Occitania were restored.

1669-1670 T171
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Sigismund waited around for a couple of years for the Danes to send him big bags of gold. Unfortunately, the check did not arrive in the mail. He was despondent at this as it meant that his fiscal problems would continue. Prince Lodmund spent a lot of time marching troops back and forth, gathering forces in the capital. In a bizarre accident the Baron Licz, the Bakony khan and Lord Rothari all got killed in a bordello fire in Moldavia.

1671-1672 T172
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: The towns of Pechneg finally gave in and became Hussite, converting the entire province to the Walach faith. Sigismund reiterated his promises to the Eastern Orthodox clergy in the eastern part of the Duchy that their faith would be protected. The Catholics were ignored. Both Debrecen in Moldavia and Craiova in Wallachia were expanded. Despite these outward signs of prosperity, the people themselves grumbled under the heavy hand of Ducal tax collectors. The great lords, meantime, paid the collectors off in handsome bribes and watched their own lands grow fat at the expense of the Duke's coffers.

The first notes that discontent had grown beyond merely grumbling and cursing the name of the Ferenczy came with the odd and unexplainable death of Jervis Kumis, the robust mayor of Craiova and a new confidante at court. Apparently the Mayor had undertaken a series of 'expeditions' into the nightlife of newly urban Craiova and had fallen in with some Polish fellows of very ill-repute. Lured by them into the warehouse district by the Danube, the Mayor was robbed and then killed in such a devilish manner as to leave the warehousemen that discovered his body in such a state as to require remandment to a house of the hopelessly insane. Surgeons that later examined the body were heard to exclaim that "...surely it is impossible that a man's skin and bones be turned inside out...".

The real trouble came soon after, with the death of Sigismund on an early morning gallop through the Ducal Forest. A group of dispossessed farmers, driven from their ancestral plots by heavy taxes, rushed out of the fringing woods armed with scythes and pitchforks and did the Duke to death, as well as several of his guards. The young Lodmund assumed control of the state thereafter, but there was widespread rioting and insurrection in the countryside. The lords of Pechneg, Volhynia, Atelzuko and Transylvania all repudiated the alliances that they had made with Sigismund. Goryn and Kiev followed soon after, stripping the Duchy of the entire eastern frontier. One of Lodmund's cousins, Jamis Thurn, made himself boyar of Kiev in the ensuing troubles, seizing control of the city with a band of Swedish outcastes and malcontents. His reign was marked by a peculiar green metal pistol that he carried, rumored to be capable of hitting a knot-hole at a mile distance.

1673-1674 T173
Holy Kingdom of Macedon: King Gustav, having seen one too many reports about the popular unrest, open rebellion and general laxity of the Wallachians, ordered his generals to him. "This has got to stop," he proclaimed, "Hussite nations are supposed to be models of ruthless efficency and crushing might. These Wallachians are bumbling around like some kind of third world nation on hemp. It is time to … restore … order." And he smiled a big toothy smile. The fleet departed Heraclea the next day.

The Macedonian attack developed along three lines of advance. The fleet, under Lothar, swept out of the Golden Horn and sealed off Debrecen and the mouth of the Danube. At the same time, all Wallachian shipping passing the Sea of Marmara was stopped and seized. Considering that the Macedonians controlled all avenues of approach, they made a killing at this.

The wreckage of the fishing boat 'Lucky Dragon' washed ashore on the coast near Aegespotamae, on the estate of the former Duke of Heraklia. Despite calm weather, which had prevailed for several days, the timbers of the boat were shattered, as if by the grip of a giant hand. Reportedly, traces of gold were found on the wreckage, leading authorities to suspect that the vessel was involved in a smuggling opperation.

The Bulgarians, in turn, made a spoiling attack into Ludgorie, hoping to draw the Wallachian army across the river to deal with them. At the same time the main Macedonian army, under the direct command of Gustav (and supported by Jervis Hozolen) marched north out of Thrace and into Dobruja. Duke Lodmund, however, was not convinced of the danger of the Bulgarian attack and shifted his army into Ialomita to face the main attack. The Wallachian fleet, mostly designed for use on the Danube, was also committed to this defence. As a result, when Gustav's troops reached the great river, they found it held against them by a combined force. The Macedonian king was put out at this, but Hozolen immediately dispatched a messenger to find Lothar.

The Macedonian fleet sortied up the river and drove off the much smaller Wallachian force. Supported now by the fleet, the Macedonians crossed in force at Giurgiu on hundreds of boats as well as two great floating bridges. The Wallachians put up a tenacious defence on the far bank, but their 16,000 men could not contain the 38,000 Macedonians and once the defence ruptured, the Macedonian cavalry wreaked a hideous slaughter upon the fleeing Wallachians. Duke Lodmund was captured in the diaster and Lord Wosul and Cardinal Drakul were both killed.

Following the victory at Giurgiu, the Macedonians wasted no time in marching into Craiova - only to find the Bulgarians already encamped in the city and enjoying the fruits of their victory! Having already "restored order" in Ludgorie, Dobruja, Ialomita and Wallachia, the Macedonian command now split into separate columns and secured Moldavia, Banat, Alfold, Carpathia, Slovakia and Bakony. The Wallachs were left with a rump state comprised of Moravia, Bochnia, Galich, Illyria and Campania (yes, in Italy).

Principate of Krakow: Lodmund was very sad that the expected wagonloads of gold did not arrive as expected from the Danes. His nation was in such sorry straits now that he needed that largess to do more than maintain a precarious hold on his throne. The news that a Danish expedition was crossing the northern reaches of the Duchy did not sit well with him either, but unless he was willing to take up arms against the Master of Europe, he could do nothing. The Duke also undertook strong measures against any "cultes, ghoules or other heretikal forces amongst us" with mass arrests and executions. Lodmund did, however, manage to acquire a Pechneg wife and was trying to get her pregnant when he recieved a message that his realm was at war via a Macedonian assassin. Lodmund escaped the attempt, barely, but things were going to get much worse…

After Lodmund was carted off to Thessaloniki to grace the prisons of the Thiucideans, his new wife, Raina, took command of what government remained and relocated the seat of power (in great haste) to the strongly fortified city of Krakow in Bochnia in the north of the land. There she gathered to her what supporters there still remained, and plotted revenge upon the Macedonians. The Baroness S_, a onetime associate and patron of the late Lobelia M_, was slain by an assailant who stabbed her through the heart with a sharpened wooden cane before taking his own life. The assailant appears to have been a former lover, driven mad by the Baroness's many notorious infidelities.

1675-1676 T174
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Baron Pripen, tasked with defending Krakow, dug in around the city and it the mountain passes from Slovakia and Carpathia with a new army of exiles and southern Poles. The Duchess, meantime, took her son Lodmun II to safety in Denmark, renting rooms in a hotel in Munich to house herself, her children and her retinue. The hoteliers and restraunteurs of the city were very pleased to make her aquaintance, for she spared no expense in wining and dining the Danish army commanders and governor. They were getting her country back, afterall.

By the end of 1676 Danish and Lybian troops had managed to recover the following provinces for Raina: Banat, Wallachia, Ialomita, Moldavia, Ludgorie and Dobruja. Duke Lodmund was rescued from his cell in Thessaloniki and once more proclaimed Duke of Wallachia.

Danish Empire: The Emperor, somewhat unwillingly, weighed his options and then issued orders to his eastern commanders - Ponziani, Kieseritsky and Stamma - to succor the Wallachian state. A hoary and ancient treaty had been dredged up by the Duchess and presented to the Emperor, signed by his own grandfather. He sighed, "ah, another cleanup job" but honor runs strong in the Paleologai line and he issued the proper writs and troop mobilization orders. After long thought on the matter, Romanos realised as well that he had some words to say upon the matter. Thus, while standing aboard the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet (the Ark of the Covenant) he declaimed:

"When the zealots took Greece for their own some years ago, I stayed my hand in sympathy for their Holy Crusade, and in earnest hope for its ultimate success. Even when the brave crusaders succumbed to the Mohammedeans on the harsh desert sands due to the corruption and utter incompetence of their leaders, I allowed the so-called zealots to persist, assuming that they at least would be true to themselves and their cause and rebuiltd for another strike against the infidel. But now I see that my faith has been misplaced, as they have plunged a dagger of treachery deep into the back of our longtime allies and Hussite brothers. Their ambition is for naught but their own power, and the purity of their former quest has been irrevocably stained by the blood of innocents. History's only comprable example of Hussite betrayal of Hussite was the former German state's attempted entry into Italy in concert with the Papacy, a crime for which the von Bayern pretenders paid the just and terrible price. The time has come for the usurpers of Macedon to reap their just rewards as well, and for the the long decieved people of Greece to once again be unified with the Danish throne."

As so began the Danish campaign both to free Wallachia from Macedonian rule, but to reclaim the territories lost to the Achean revolt all those years before. Romanos also declared the Thucides regime to be "criminal in the eyes of the Emperor" and apostate from the Hussite church as well. Following these statements, the Emperor took to the sea with the fleet and a large marine contingent and sailed for the Aegean.

At the same time the army of Germania, under the command of Ponziani, marched east through Bavaria and Austria and then south into Slovenia. There the Danes met a force of Lybians that had landed at Trieste and the combined army then moved inland into Croatia looking for the Macedonian army. Agents friendly to the Danish cause informed Ponziani and Rah'aman (the Lybian commander) that the Macedonians had fallen back to Craiova in Wallachia and met Prince Lothar and his men. The Danes then turned east and crossed the Danube into Banat. Scouts continued to report that the Macedonian army was still at Craiova trying to decide wether to defend against Kiseritsky's attack on the Russian border, or to turn and face Ponziani's advance.

The Danes were hot for battle and swept ahead into Wallachia. The Macedonians, meanwhile, had been furiously digging and met them in the mountains. The battle quickly sparked up at Petrosani in the Transylvanian Alps. 54,000 Danes and Lybians smashed into the 43,000 Macedonians in prepared positions. For the first two days, the struggle teetered on the balance, but by the third day the superior Danish numbers at last ground down the Macedonian defence and the southerners were forced to abandon Petrosani and fall back into Wallachia. The Danes poured through the pass and spilled down onto the hilly plain around Craiova.

During this struggle, the Danish fleet had swung around the Peloponnesus and into the Aegean. Though the Macedonian fleet was present, they were off of Rhodes at that time and the Danes slipped past to reach Macedon unmolested. Romanos landed his troops on the narrow plain to the east of the city of Thessaloniki - expecting the countryside to rise in his support - but the agents that had laid in wait for such a day had been expecting news of a sea battle first and were caught unawares. Thucides, however, was not, and attacked the Emperor's landing while the Danes were still piling out of their ships. The Macedonians, outnumbered two to one, were beaten off, but they inflicted heavy casualties on the Danes - particularly in the death of Admiral Larsen. Romanos now moved on Thessaloniki and prepared to assault the city. The Macedonian fleet, however, now arrived and attacked the Danish fleet as it lay at harborage at Kitros. A fierce sea battle ensued, and Romanos proved the victor, but more time had been lost and the Macedonians were now ensconced in Thessaloniki and had crushed the first popular revolt in the city.

Romanos, seeing that his long-laid plans of a massive popular revolt in his favor were not quite working out as he had intended, abandoned the putative siege of Thessaloniki and shifted his fleet and army to Larissa in Thessaly. That city did fall by treachery to Romanos' agents. Now he waited for Ponziani's army to fight its way down from the north and besiege Thessaloniki, whereupon the Emperor's fleet could blockade the city. A village on the north shore of the island of Lemnos was struck and destroyed by a violent storm. By some freak of the action of the waves, the docks, houses, and even the village church were all shattered as if by the blows of giant fists. The Danish regiment inthe area was sent to deal with looters drawn in search of scraps of gold that were reportedly discovered within the ruins of the church.

To the north, the Macedonians had abandoned Ialomita and Dobruja on one hand, and had fallen back through Ludgorie and Bulgaria behind a strong cavalry screen. Ponziani had first intended to cut back to the west and secure the Imperial Highway through Bosnia and Serbia, but then he learned from an Imperial Courier that the Emperor's sea attack on Thessaloniki had failed and he would have to take the city himself. So, he too drove south through Ludgorie and Bulgaria to march down out of the Macedonian hills to lay siege to the Achean capital.

General Hozolen and Prince Lothar had long since reached the city and had made strong efforts to fortify it. The Danes threw up siegeworks and their fleet, operating from Larissa, blockaded the sea approaches. Within the city, Hozolen and the Bashar Fadil' now commanded some 9,000 men. Without, the Danes and Lybians now gathered 27,000 troops. The siege was underway with alacrity as the Emperor desired to cut the heart out of his enemy as soon as possible. Thessaloniki was broken after a siege of three months of hard fighting. The cost was heavy to Denmark, however, as some 16,000 men were lost - as was the Emperor, Romanos, of a flux caught in the last weeks of the siege. With this, and the heavy losses sustained taking Thessaloniki, Ponziani elected to hold his position on the Hellene coast and to await further orders from the new Emperor, Basil.

Finally, to the north, Kiseritsky's expedition at Kiev had marched south (after a long delay) through the then-independent Pechneg and into Moldavia where they laid siege to Debrecen. This siege did not last long and the DEF continued south into Ialomita, which they found to be back in pro-Wallachian hands after its garrison was stripped by the Macedonians to defend Thessaloniki. They passed through Wallachia itself and then spent the end of 1676 fighting in the mountains of Bosnia, which they managed to secure for the Empire.

1677-1678 T175
Grand Duchy of Wallachia: Lodmund whined pitifully to the gods for his lost empire. The Gods laughed and their gaze turned east to far Injah, where now many Wallach scribes and scholars labored in the tent cities of Outremer. Equal complaints to the Danes went unheard, or at least ignored. The Duke slouched north to Craiova to once more preside over the crumbling shell of his nation. Duchess Raina and the boy Lodmund were finally evicted from their ever-so-comfortable quarters in Munich and sent south with an Imperial cavalry escort to meet Baron Pripen and the Wallach army in Slovakia. Once back protected by Wallach arms, Raina reassumed some of her previous firey demeanour. Pripen noticed that while the Duchess was as handsome a woman as he had ever seen and a fine rider and marksman to boot, her son, the younger Lodmund, was a weasily weak boy with a mean temperment.

This did not please Pripen and pleased him ever less as his troops reclaimed Alfold, Bakony, Moravia and Slovakia for the Duchy. The Carpathians and Transylvanians continued to be quite vocally independent. Some days before entering Craiova, the Baron at last resolved to speak with the Duchess about these matters. Entering her tent, he was surprised to see that she was garbed in luxurious robes of samite and silk. Languidly, she eyed him as he entered, her hands toying with a pomegranite. Pripen had never actually been within her tent before and had never quite realized exactly how beautiful the Duchess was, nor how white her skin, how bronze-red her hair. "Uh..." was about all he managed to get out.

Six days later, upon StCrispians day, Pripen's army entered Craiova in triumph, men of the reclaimed lands carrying the traditional provincial banners at the head of the long columns of infantry. Raina rode just behind them on a magnificent stallion with a glossy black coat. She was garbed all in dark colors, with a long black scarf wound around her shoulders. A veil, in the manner of the hill-women, half-covered her face. The townspeople of Craiova looked upon her in wonder, for she had never seemed so grim and terrible to them before. Gone was her bright laughter.

Lodmund, too, noted this as his wife dismounted from the stallion. With his usual ill-grace he turned when she had entered the great doorways of the palace and got himself a drink from a footman standing nearby.

"Where is my son?" he asked in his usual bitter tone. Raina cast her eyes down, demure, and said: "Dead, my lord."

Lodmund rocked back, his usual cynical detachment shattered. His eyes bulged and the cup of wine fell the floor with a clatter.

"Dead! What fell fate is this? How... how did this transpire?"

Raina looked up and she was smiling, her teeth bright white in the gloom of the entrance foyer.

"I killed him myself, the mewling brat, I drowned him in the black waters of the Danube. Never was a better sight seen by these eyes than the last bubble of breath from that fetid mouth." She advanced upon Lodmund, her long scarf cast back over her shoulder like a dark wing. In her right hand the pale metal of a pistol glittered in the dim light.

"No, no, you're my wife, you cannot ..." Lodmund's cries were cut short by the sharp bark of the pistol. He stumbled back, hands clawing at the ruin of his face, and died then, slumped against the pale wainscotting. Pripen's troops entered the palace then, and secured the buildings for their mistress and the new Duke.

In all this, the eye of Imperial Denmark was upon the Duchy, for their agents had held long converse with Raina in Munich and had expressed certain concerns about the poor rule of Lodmund and the corruption of his followers and lackeys. Pripen put an end to all of that, with a stern will and an eye for justice. Many rich and powerful men found themselves before the stand of justice in those days that followed and the lesser nobles, the landowners and the peasants found opportunity to remark as 1678 came to a close that the rule of the new Duke exceeded even the rule of the Macedonians in vigor and justice.

The marriage of Raina and Pripen was attended by many nobles and priests of the realm and was only spoiled by the later stillbirth of their first child.

Danish Empire: Marshal Tartakoner, commanding a force of 4,000 Imperial Legionnaires, aided the new Wallachian regime in "cleaning house" and spent 1678 kicking in the brass-bound doors of greedy nobles and dispensing a little land redistribution and hard justice. By these actions they won the friendship and support of the Wallachian populace, though Tartakoner also racked up an impressive list of disenfranchised nobility who would love to see him dead.

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