(One chapter will be released at the end of each month. The next chapter (Chapter 7: Paris) will be released on January 1st.)
The Paradoxian War ~ A Spaniard's Tale
Written and illustrated by: David Hannstein
"Some say it is to be the war to end all wars." ~ Francis Bluehawk
It was a time of nationalism, political strife, glory, and royal family anguish. The Paradoxian War is what has been thought by many to have been Pearson's "Final solution". In 1739, Czar Benjamin Macmorgan passed on the throne of Russia to Andrew Mallace and traveled to France to seek out work for the French royal family. In doing this, Macmorgan broke his promise to Pearson Wright to return Russia to the Spanish. Decades prior, Benjamin Macmorgan had staged a successful rebellion in Russia, and had overthrown the Spanish instilled government there. Pearson agreed to cede Russia to Macmorgan under one condition; Macmorgan would return Russia to Pearson after he became deceased. Macmorgan knew his days were numbered, and so he passed on the throne to an old friend to ensure that his line maintained control. Furious, Pearson gave Macmorgan an ultimatum: Return Russia to Spain, and stand on trial for political fraud or be destroyed along with his subordinates. Macmorgan trashed his demands, and as a result, Pearson openly declared war on Russia in February of 1739. In response, Great Britain, Tuscany, Denmark, France, and Sweden all declared war on Spain, thus beginning the grusome and unforgiving "Paradoxian War".
Chapter I ~ A Change of Plans Edit
The war had begun. Pearson's massive amassed invasion force of 2.3 million had departed from Madrid, and was on the move towards Muscovy. Unfortunately, only a week underway, Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Tuscany, and the Barbary Republic all declared war on Spain in Russia's defense. Forced to readjust his strategy, Pearson met with the Spanish high command in a meeting at a secret location just outside the town of Toulouse, France.
Overlord Augustine Clemente addressed the high command, "Let me be blunt." He paused as he threw a map of the European mainland on the high council's table. "We've got enemies on all fronts, Brits and Frenchies tothe North, radical barbarians to the South, and God knows what else to the East." He paused again. "It's clear to my eyes at this point that an invasion of Russia is out of the question. We've bitten off far more than we can chew. We need to prepare for the defense of the Spanish mainland at once!"
Admiral Spadus Ignacio cleared his throat and smirked. "Overlord, with all due respect, I think you are greatly underestimating the power of the King's armada." The council chuckled in unison. While this was happening, King Phillipe V Clemente sat silently next to Prime Minister Carlos La Verde Sanita, showing him a map of the French mainland, and pointing out strategic positions throughout the countryside. "Your majesty! What are your thoughts on this?" Augustine interrupted. Carlos La Verde Sanita stood, throwing his own map on the council's table, "The king has made his decision. We march on France at dawn. This meeting is adjourned." Carlos tipped his hat, and exited the tent in a speedy manner as two ranger knights followed closely behind him.
Meanwhile, Clemente sat silently in his chair with a Bible in one hand, and a flask in the other. Augustine approached him, "Highness! What of the mainland? What are your plans for the defense of the mainland!?" Clemente looked over his book in hand at Augustine, "You will take a third of our forces and return to Madrid. Demand the immediate
surrender of both Portugal and those fools to the South, what are they called... err, Barbare..?" Augustine interrupted, "Barbary?" "Yes, the lot of them!" Clemente responded. "Yes Excellency." Augustine bowed halfway, and began to exit the tent, before Clemente stopped him, "And general! One last thing." "Yes, excellency?" Clemente pointed towards a shelf at the corner of the tent, "Something for you there", Clemente smirked. Augustine approached the shelf, and picked up a sword hidden in a dark cloth bag with royal embellished golden threads on the ends. Opening it, Augustine's eyes widened as he pulled the sword out of its case, reading the engraving on the side: "The final solution of Kings".
Clemente smirked again. "You like it, I assume." Augustine turned, gulping, "Ye.. yes excellency." Clemente stood, walking around the table, halfway reading his Bible. "A remarkable tool indeed... fit for only the most distinguished commanders." Clemente walked up towards Augustine, grasping hi hand, "This sword belonged to my father, and his father before him. With it, no army has ever been defeated." Augustine interrupted, "Then how did you.." "How did I defeat my father then, you must wonder. Well, let's just say I made certain that the last thing he saw on God's green earth was the thrust of his own sword being gashed through his chest." Clemente smirked, patting Augustine on the back.
"Upon the morrow, you will take the Southern Flank, and venture back for the capital. I know you will not fail me." Clemente reiterated, "I know, you will not fail me", looking Augustine straight in the eyes.
Chapter II ~ Toulouse (Part I)Edit
The following morning, Clemente's army mobilized and split three separate ways, The Northern Flank, under King Phillipe V Clemente himself, consisting of roughly 1,000,000; the Southern Flank, under Overlord Augustine Clemente, consisting of 900,000, and the Eastern flank consisting of 400,000 under Prince Ben Squidskull. The first shots of The Paradoxian War were about to be fired, just outside the French town of Toulouse, just north of the Spanish border.
Meanwhile, in Toulouse, Lord Samuel Redbeard, a member of the British high command, prepared for the defense of the city with a combined British and French army of 200,000, outnumbered five to one.As Clemente's army was rapidly advancing on the city, Redbeard and his subordinate commanders scraped together every usable battle tool they could find in a desperate attempt to forestall Clemente's advance northwards. In a tent much like the one Clemente's high command had just gathered in, Redbeard met with his subordinates and the French high command in a wooded area about a mile outside Toulouse.
"Gentlemen..." Redbeard sighed, "The nightmare to the South that we thought we'd stored away for good is back on his feet, with a million men at his back, and only two days away." The council gasped, and looked around in disbelief and horror. "Gentlemen!" Redbeard exclaimed. "We have a chance to hold out here. We don't have to defeat the Spanish. We only have to prevent the Spanish from defeating us." A French garrison commander interrupted, "Are you mad!? If that crazed king of theirs gets through the outer walls, we'll all be lynched, and dragged through the streets behind a mule! The last time Clemente set foot in France, it ended in disaster! How can we possib.." Then, suddenly, BOOM! Redbeard drew his pistol and shot the Frenchie right through the head. "Now... gentlemen", Redbeard reiterated." "We have a chance. Will Toulouse fall to Clemente? Yes. Will this army be consumed? Yes. However! By the stars, I will make sure we leave a lasting impression so gruesome that once this city is conquered, those Spanish devils won't dare move another inch northwards! You have my word, gentlemen!"
The council looked at Redbeard with blank faces in utter silence, and systematically everyone slowly cleared the room in despair, returning to their respective regiments, and quarters.
In London, a daily news article was rushed through Buckingham Palace to King John Breasly's private quarters. "Your majesty! Your majesty!" a royal servant rushed into the King's bathing room. "WHAT!?!?!?!" Breasly yelled as he rolled over in his bathing tub. "Clemente!" the servant exclaimed as he gasped for air. Upon hearing that name, Breasly's face turned grotesquely pale, as his eyes widened and rolled back in his head. "Clemente has invaded France! He is advancing northwards with haste!". Breasly dropped his book in his tub and fainted then and there, right on the spot.
Andrew Mallace, Lord treasurer of Britain burst into the room, followed by a squadron of royal guards. He stopped abruptly in front of the King's tub, "My King!" Mallace exclaimed. Breasly suddenly awoke from his faintless daze, "WHAT!?!?!?". "King, sir; Lord Redbeard has requested reinforcements." "Can that buffoon not fend off that wicked old man on his own!?!?" Breasly responded in frustration as he tumbled out of his tub. "Sir..." Mallace replied, "He... he requests our entire Southern flank be dispatched to Toulouse immediately!" Breasly nearly choked on a bonbon he was eating, before shouting "WHAT!?!?!?!?" "SIR!" Mallace responded loudly, "Clemente advanced with an army of one million strong! We must send reinforcements" "To Hell with Clemente and those bastard seedlings he dares to call "soldiers"!" Breasly stated.
Meanwhile, in Paris, word had reached the Antoinette family of Clemente's invasion, and it was decided that if Toulouse were to fall, the royal family would be evacuated to Prussia. Queen Grace Goldtimbers of France had hoped that her once notorious general, the gentleman Francis Bluehawk would return to face Clemente and end the war before it spiraled too far out of control.
However, several months prior to the invasion, Clemente had hired Francis Bluehawk, and funded an expedition force of 100,000 Hessian mercenaries to invade France from the North East; and just like that, France was once again on the brink of collapse.
"Excellency!", Commander Lawrence Helmbane exclaimed as he approached and saluted Clemente. "Our 12 pounders are within range of Redbeard's outer encampment. Shall I give the order to proceed with the first stage bombardment?" Clemente pulled a spyglass from his coat and put it up to his eye looking down on Redbeard's encampment. "Eh....", Clemente pondered. "Your grace?" "Why just the 12 pounders commander?" Clemente smirked. "Fire them all!" he demanded. "Yes, excellency!" Helmbane bowed and walked across the field shouting "Ready on the guns! Load them all!" "We're at war now gents! It has begun!" The army began to chant in a loud, earth~shaking unision, "¡Viva España! ¡Abajo los británicos!", "¡Viva España! ¡Abajo los británicos!"
Soon after that, the first shots of the war were fired, and the sound of thousands of shells rocketing off from their
canisters was heard across the battlefield in Redbeard's encampment. Moments later, horror stuck as thousands of cannonballs impacted the ground, exploding in shrouds of shrapnel and fiery debris. "To your stations! Return fire! We're under attack", a British artillery commander shouted as he ran through the camp, only to be impaled himself by a shard of shrapnel, and killed instantly, being dismembered upon impact. Redbeard then emerged from his tent and drew his spyglass, and as he did this, he noticed Clemente staring straight at him with a grim smirk on his face, tipping his hat.
"Clever devil.." Redbeard murmured, throwing his spyglass on the ground. "My lord general, their infantry havebegun the advance!" a British colonel exclaimed. "How many?" Redbeard asked. "By the looks of it sir, they're throwing everything they've got at us, sir, their entire Northern flank!" "He's mad.." Redbeard insisted. Then, suddenly, the very ground beneath them began to tremble. "What is that!?" A French commander asked. Redbeard turned around to his cabinet officers, looking at them, "Hell."
Redbeard walked swiftly across the field and into the encampment, giving orders to various regiment and battalion commanders as he was moving. "Keep them as far away from the city as possible! Form up and advance with haste!" Redbeard shouted as cannonballs were exploding all around him, knocking soldiers right off their feet. "Sir, you must fall back! This is no place for you!", a member of Redbeard's cabinet insisted.
Meanwhile, on Clemente's side of the field, "Excellency, Lord Redbeard is within range of our howitzers. Shall I direct fire towards his position?" Commander Helmbane asked. Clemente paused for a moment before turning his head and looking Helmbane straight in the eyes, "Certainly not!" Helmbane bowed, and returned to his station. "Commanders of armies should have something better to do than to fire at each other." Clemente said.
By nightfall, Redbeard's last minute counter~attack had failed, and Clemente ordered a full advance into the city. That evening, Redbeard met with his cabinet to discuss a plan of action should the worst happened. "We will not survive another day of this!" a British colonel insisted, "Their artillery is too far superior to ours. We cannot compete with that!" said another." Meanwhile, Redbeard sat in his chair, with both elbows on the table, and his head deep in his hands. "Lord general, we must fall back to Bordeaux!", a commander insisted. "They are too many sir. We are beaten. We must retreat!" Suddenly, Redbeard slammed his left fist on the table holding in it a royal document, keeping his right hand firm on his forehead as he stroked it in frustration. The council became silent, and Redbeard slowly pulled his hand off of his head, raising his eyebrows as he cleared his throat, reading a royal letter aloud from Parliament which stated:
"This is an official letter from the people's Parliament of Great Britain.
Lord Marshall Samuel Redbeard, after careful but quick examination of your desperate case in the lower French region, we, the parliament of Great Britain have concluded that reinforcements will not be sent to Toulouse as this is not in the nation's best interest at this time. You will halt the Spanish invasion at Toulouse, and drive the invaders back to Barcelona. Your king thanks you for your service, and loyalty."
Signed, King John Breasly of Great Britain and Ireland"
"That's it!?" a man shouted from the corner of the room. Suddenly, the entire council burst into public expressions of anguish and frustration. "We're doomed! We're all going to die!" another man shouted in despair. Redbeard then pulled out his pistol, cocking it as he pointed it at the man saying, "Don't make me do this for the second time in a single day. I'm hardly in the mood, as you can probably see by now." The man shut up quickly, taking his seat as the rest of the council followed consequentially in his footsteps. Redbeard then exited the tent, leaving his subordinate officers inside with open minds, as they wandered what their fate held for them. Knowing defeat was inevitable, Redbeard dispatched a messenger to Paris warning them of Clemente's advancing army, and advising them to begin preparations for a possible siege of the city itself. His letter stated:
"I've never seen anything like it. He seemingly came out of nowhere, from the ashes of years of coalitions against him. This invasion force came at us like an army of wild locusts, consuming all in their path. We are inflicting minimal damage against them, and sustaining very heavy casualties ourselves. Our Southern flank is all but destroyed. Our only hope is too reunite the entirety of the combined French and British Southern army around Paris and pray that we are able to wait out the oncoming storm. I do not know if I will survive the morrow. The Spanish are ruthless and unforgiving. Should I fall, I will ask God to intervene when I walk beside him in the kingdom of Heaven. Godspeed.
Signed, Lord Marshall Samuel Redbeard"
The following morning, Redbeard and his men were awoken to another massive artillery barrage from a much closer range, obliterating the town's already damaged infrastructure and residential and commercial structures. By noon, the city had been surrounded and Redbeard had lost a third of his army, leaving 125,000 surrounded and cut off from their supply lines to the North. Redbeard knew it was only a matter of time before the damaging effects of attrition and starvation began to impact the moral of his army.
At around 6PM, the entirety of the armies from both sides involved in the battle watched as Clemente himselfrode steadily out into the open field on a dark horse alongside Premier Carlos La Verde Sanita, and several other members of his cabinet, including two small regiments of ranger knights which followed closely behind in dark linen clothes bearing large Templar flags which they held high in the air. As everyone focused their attention towards this man, Clemente drew his sword and thrusted it in the air with great force. Almost immediately, all of the Spaniards began to scream and cheer raising their weapons in the air, waving Spanish flags back and forth.
After reaching the front lines, Clemente dismounted and began to walk by the columns of men as his cabinet followed. Battalion commander Roger Goldhawk approached him, as Clemente came to a halt, "Your majesty, he's got them forming a ring formation around the Citadel. They're not giving in. I suggest a mortar bombardment." Roger Goldhawk pointed to the hills behind him, "I suggest we pull out and let the big guns do what they do best." Clemente nodded in agreement saying,"Let's get our men back up on higher ground to avoid collision with our own artillery." Goldhawk bowed halfway and pulled his subordinate rear commander aside, "Give the order to fall back to the hills. We're done here." "RETROCEDER A LAS COLINAS!", "RETROCEDER A LAS COLINAS!" he yelled.
One Spaniard turned around and noticed Clemente there looking straight at him. The man had an eye hanging halfway down his cheek, and a partially dismembered left arm. "Majesty! fa..forgive me for not being more presentable.. I.. I would have never anticipated seeing you here" he said, dropping to his knees. Clemente himself then got on his knees, putting his hand on the soldier's forehead, whispering "Your bravery here today will echo in the ears of generations to come my friend. Forgive me.". Clemente then snapped his neck, holding his hand behind the man's head as he slowly lay him on the ground. His cabinet members made the sign of the Trinity across their chests, bowing their heads in unison. Clemente stood, turning swiftly to his cabinet saying, "It is good that war is so terrible. Elsewise we'd grow too fond of it."
"Minister!", he exclaimed. "Your grace?", Sanita responded. "See that the mortar bombardment proceeds as ordered, and make sure that all regiments retreat safely under cover of fire back to higher ground." Clemente said. "I have seen my fair share of.. this.. for one day." Clemente said, looking around the field before he turned around slowly, folding his hands behind his back as he began walking back to his command quarters. "You, and you", Sanita said pointing to two of the ranger knights as they stood up straight, saluting the premier. "Accompany the King back to higher ground. Now!" The two men marched off, stepping in unison as they followed Clemente.
Meanwhile, in the center of the city, "General, they're retreating! Sir!" a British colonel exclaimed. "Sir, we've won!" Redbeard pulled out his spyglass looking off into the hills as the British soldiers began cheering. "GET DOWN!" he yelled, as he threw the colonel on the ground, shielding him as a massive artillery barrage shook the city. Redbeard stood up, pulling the colonel to his feet with him. "Don't get too comfortable soldier. There's still a war to fight." The colonel nodded, exhaling in relief. "Lord general!" a man shouted, running towards Redbeard. "New orders from London my lord!" the man said, kneeling in front of Redbeard, handing the royal scroll to him. Redbeard snatched it out of his hands, opening it recklessly. A few moments went by as Redbeard scanned the paper, skipping over every other word, before crumbling the paper up in his hand and looking up in the sky with an expression of distaste and anguish.
"My lord, what news!?" a man asked. Redbeard looked into the sky, murmuring below his breath, "God have mercy.."
Chapter II ~ Toulouse (Part II)Edit
By nightfall, of the third day, Redbeard's forces had been diminished to less than three thousand, all who were now hiding inside of the Citadel, praying to God for mercy, because they were certain they would receive none from Clemente. Reinforcements were not coming. Redbeard and his men had been completely abandoned."My lord, we must ask for terms.." a wounded and worn British colonel insisted. Redbeard moaned with his head in his hands. "If this city falls.... Clemente will tear through the countryside and butcher everything and everyone in his path." Redbeard stood, looking out the Citadel window down at the immense death, and scorching destruction surrounding the Citadel. "How could they abandon us like this.." The colonel approached Redbeard, putting his hand on his shoulder. "You will receive no honors for your bravery. You won't be pardoned, or rewarded, but we, your soldiers, we will remember you my lord."
White flags were hung outside the Citadel windows, and upon seeing them, Clemente immediately brought theartillery barrage to an abrupt halt and rode down to the citadel with his cabinet and two regiments of ranger knights.
The ranger knights formed two 10 manned single columns with a path in between them leading towards the citadel's front entrance. Lord Samuel Redbeard, British Commander Eric Machawk, and French garrison commander Jean De La'featte walked down the path together, trembling in fear upon seeing Clemente mounted on his dark, golden armored horse alongside his cabinet. When Redbeard reached the end of the path, two ranger knights moved in from the side with heavy broadswords and iron shields in hand. Clemente then dismounted, and approached Redbeard, staring him at him with a completely blank expression.
"Do you know who I am?" Clemente asked. Redbeard glanced at his cabinet, and then looked down at the ground. Clemente continued, "We met, a very long time ago. I'm sure you can recall." Redbeard continued to stare at the ground. "Many years ago, Sir Redbeard, you invaded our homeland, you corrupted my son, and you swore to dethrone me and put my head on a spike." Redbeard sighed, and the members of his cabinet began to tremble softly. "Well I'm here, Redbeard. Have my head and be done with it." Normally, the Spaniards would have chuckled, but given that the only Spaniards present were the highly~disciplined and undaunted rangers, the atmosphere of silence remained persistent.
Redbeard cleared his throat, "We.. we would like to ask you for terms of a conditional surrender of the city." Clemente smirked, turning towards Sanita and nodding his head. Sanita then raised his left hand and two ranger knights moved in from the sides knocking both Commander Machawk and Commander La'featte over the head with iron clubs, and dragging them into the field, throwing them on a cart full of dead British soldiers. Clemente moved in closer to Redbeard. "You nearly put me in the very position you are in now Redbeard, many years ago. I do not forgive, and I never forget."
Redbeard pulled a letter from his trenchcoat pocket, holding it midway in the air. Clemente snatched it out of his hand and ripped the seal off, skimming over the words swiftly but steadily. The letter read:
I know our past has been wrecked by wars, family grievances, and various other complications, and I know that you are set on avenging your fellow countrymen, but I hope that you will find it in your heart to spare the men who fought against you at Toulouse. Many of them are also your brothers, my sons, sons of France. Put an end to this violence before it rips the world asunder. You, and only you have the power to put an end to this. I will not meet with you. I will only ask that as a sign of your love for the woman who suffered to bear your children, that you will spare Lord Redbeard, his cabinet, and all the other men still stationed at Toulouse, British and French alike. Many things you were my love, but never cruel. I have faith that you will come back to the light and find it in you to forgive the British for what they have done to you.
Yours truly, Queen Grace Goldtimbers of France, Duchess of Anemois"
Clemente gawked, folding the paper up gently and putting it in his own pocket before turning and glancing at the ground. He murmured a few lines under his breath, expressing signs of strong emotional nostalgia before slowly turning back towards Redbeard. "Go." he said. Sanita looked at the other members of the cabinet puzzled, and Redbeard looked up staring at Clemente with owl eyes. "Go, take your men, and get the Hell out of here.." Redbeard's jaw dropped halfway, as he sat there gawking in silence. "The next time I see you Redbeard, do not expect me to be so merciful." Sanita and the other members of the cabinet began gossiping in frustration, and confusion. Redbeard bowed halfway, before turning and walking back into the citadel with his hands in the air as the cheers of British and French soldiers echoed from inside.
"Your grace!" Sanita exclaimed, grabbing Clemente's arm. "This man is treacherous, he leads an army of devilsandinfidels! We should have his head!" Clemente turned around swiftly, looking Sanita straight in the eyes, exclaiming fiercely, "I have made my choice! Do not persist to tell me otherwise. Do not forget your place premier, or I will not hesitate to put you back in it myself!" Captain Lunius, Clemente's chief of the king's guard then moved in with his hand on the hilt of his sword ready to draw it at moment's notice, to reassure that Sanita knew who was in charge, and who made the final decisions.
"Apologies your grace." Sanita bowed, turning around and walking back towards his horse. Halfway there,he snapped his right hand fingers and a ranger knight threw a torch on the cart that commander Machawk and commander Le'feate were lying on, setting them both ablaze. Clemente turned around towards Sanita with wide eyes and a firm face upon seeing the fire. "Fire cleanses, your grace." Sanita said. "Their sin has been washed away." Sanita mounted, whipping his horse while making the sign of the trinity across his chest and bolting off back to the command tent.
"You've won the battle your grace." Captain Lunius implied. "Yes... but does this make me a conqueror?" Clemente asked. "Thousands must die my king." Lunius replied. Clemente turned towards Lunius. "Millions", he said, before turning around swiftly and walking back to his horse.
Chapter III ~ Letters of Truth Edit
After the fall of Toulouse, Redbeard and his remaining men were allowed to retreat Northwards to Bordeaux. Commander Machawk and Commander Le'feate had snuck off the cart that they were on and back into the British ranks and had therefore also escaped with Redbeard. An estimated 256,000 men perished at Toulouse. Unfortunately, this battle wouldn't be the biggest, nor the last. There were many more to come, far worse, and far more consuming over the course of the next 6 years.
Meanwhile, in Vienna, Austria, a messenger rushed through the royal palace halls accompanied by two golden armored Queen's guards into Empress Hannah Maria Clemente's, or, "Hannah Bluefeather"'s chambers. "My Queen, an urgent message from Paris!" her chief guard exclaimed, as the three men kneeled before her. She then quietly stepped off her throne and walked down a few steps taking the letter out of the man's hand opening it carefully.
"Hmmmmm..." she said, walking back up to her throne and sitting down on the side of it. "My Queen, Toulouse is fallen." her guard said. "And so it would seem..." she said. "The British bid we attack from the East... and, is there any word from Spain?" she asked. "None, your grace. Clemente isn't particularly fond of alliances."
"Some say this new war is to be the greatest ever before seen in all of Europe." he implied. "The existence of this war is no longer up for debate.. what I can't say for certain is whose side we're on." she said, standing up and looking outside her palace window down at the city.
Concurrently, in Paris, the French royal family made all necessay preparations for their relocation to Cologne in Westphalia. "Come along little ones" Queen Grace said as the young Trish Peer, daughter of Taylor, and the older Bobbius and Sylius, daugher and son of Grace and Clemente himself circled around her playing with wooden toy swords. "Your highness!" a royal captain exclaimed, approaching from the distance. "Francis Bluehawk is in Alsace~Lorraine! He marches against us with an army of 100,000 strong. Your own general..."Grace smiled at the man before looking down at the young duchess Trish. "What do you think of that mydear?" she asked. The captain and his guard glanced at each other puzzled. "I think that they should come have tea with me and daddy!" Trish said, looking up at Grace, rocking back and forth, slinging her doll around in her hand. "Well, Captain. You heard her. Send word to our friend in Alsace~Lorraine that the duchess demands he come to Paris for tea!" Grace insisted.
Then, abruptly, a man in a long red embelished royal cape approached from afar accompanied by a small regiment of heavily armored Swiss guards. "Highness, it's your father."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers of Great Britain, Grace Goldtimber's father was taking a stroll through the Hall of Mirrors in the heart of Versailles alongside Cardinal Hector Wildhayes. "So tell me, your eminence, what is the Papacy's standing in this war?" Goldtimbers asked as he walked slowly alongside the Cardinal. "The Pope will do everything in his power to maintain neutrality. I personally must confess that what Clemente fights for, is a just cause at first glance... Spaniards butchered in Russia, Sweden in open rebellion, and marauding Muslim invaders to the South? Being a Spaniard myself, you know where my loyalties lie minister."
Goldtimbers sighed, shaking his head, looking at the ground. Wildhayes continued, "Clemente will do everything in his power to bring France back into the fold. I can't condone a war between two fellow Catholic nations, but, it's not something to simply be ignored." "Ignoring him is no longer an option." Goldtimbers interrupted. "Diplomacy then?" Goldtimbers stopped abruptly, turning towards Cardinal Wildhayes, "Diplomacy", he concurred.
As the two continued walking down the hall, Grace and her children and grandaughter approached from the other side of the hallway accompanied by a squadron of Swiss guards. "Ah, there she is!" Goldtimbers said, smiling as Grace approached. "The Queen herself!" he said, bowing halfway, as Hector followed. "Mother, what is grandfather doing here?" Bobbius asked. Grace gripped her hand, and continued walking.
As they came closer, Goldtimbers bent down on his knees and made a monstrous chuckling impersonation."Muahahaha!" Then, Grace let the three children loose as they all ran towards him. "Grandfather!" they all cheered in unison and jubilee. "It's wonderful to see you again!" Bobbius said. "And you as well my dear." Goldtimbers replied. "Mommy says that your big brother is coming here so we have to go hide in another house!" Trish said. Goldtimbers glanced at Grace smiling before looking back at Trish. "Yes. We have to make sure we pick a good hiding place so that he won't find us this time don't we?" he asked. Hector chuckled, looking at Trish.
"Is that Hector!?" Grace asked, smiling as she approached the cardinal. Hector bent, kissing her hand. "It's a pleasure to see you alive and well my queen!" he said. "I only wish that the circumstances could be better..." he continued. "Nonsense! It's always a pleasure to see an old friend, regardless of the situation" She said. Hector grinned.
Meanwhile, in Southern France, Clemente's army was advancing rapidly at a rate of 25 miles a day towards Paris, burning everything in his path as a part of the famous Spanish "scorched earth" strategy. Redbeard's army was only a day's march ahead, barely marching faster hoping to reunite with the combined British, Dutch, and French main army outside Paris.
To the East, Prince Ben Squidskull was moving closer and closer towards French~controlled Bern, and the Swiss Alps, while in Spain, Augustine Clemente was just past Madrid marching towards Portugal to demand the surrender of King Jeffrey Blasthawk I. From there, he planned to divide his army into three sub~sections, one to be stationed in Portugal, one in Madrid, and one in Cordoba to fend off a potential Barbary invasion.
Meanwhile, in London, First Sea Lord Johnny Coaleaston was devising his own master plan as a part of a massive counter attack on the Spanish mainland itself which Parliament was certain would bring a swift end to the war and send Clemente marching back to Madrid in defeat. With Spadus Ignacio XI, Clemente's master admiral dispatched to the Meditteranean, the British were certain that without his profound leadership that Spain would not be able to hold off a naval invasion from the North through the Bay of Biscay.
"Generalissimo!" a man shouted, as he ran towards Prince Squidskull. "Our scouts have spotted a British vanguard approaching through the Alps towards our position, sir!" "How many?" Squidskull asked. "By the looks of it sir, 50,000 strong, only a fraction of our number." Squidskull picked up a map of the Alps while scratching his head as he pondered upon it. "Our scouts report that they are under the command of a General Ryan Blademonk." the man continued. Squidskull dropped the map and smiled. "Blademonk..." he said. "They say he never smiles.." he continued. "I'll give him a red smile" he said, pulling his dagger from his belt.
"Have our skirmishers take positions atop the mountain passes, and put our line vanguard in between the pass below. This isn't the only army we have to beat. Let's try and keep the bloodshed to a minimum." Squidskull said. The man bowed halfway, before turning and walking out of Squidskull's tent.
In Rome, Pope John Clement IV had just received word from Cardinal Hector Wildhayes that Britain had considered the possibility of a potential invasion of the Italian mainland, there was however, not enough evidence to be true, but on the contrary, it was not too far~fetched enough to be a lie. Therefore, Pope Clement announced its formal declaration of war on Britain on July 25th, 1739 and joined forces with Spain. Shortly after this, Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers began to suspect Cardinal Wildhayes of sending the letter, and was able to conclude that he was in Paris solely to work as a spy for Clemente. As a result, Wildhayes was confronted by Goldtimbers and his guard and was convicted of espionage.
That evening, Cardinal Wildhayes was summoned to the throne room in Versailles to which where his royal cardinal's guard escorted him. There, on the throne sat Queen Grace Goldtimbers, and next to her stood Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers, Prince Jack Antoinette Bluehawk, and Lord Overseer Jack Swordmenace. In front of, and around them stood the Queen's guard, and the Prime Minister's Swiss guard. On the sides of the throne room hall stood more soldiers of the Swiss guard who had pledged loyalty to the Church above all and in the middle, Cardinal Wildhayes approached the throne accompanied by his own personal mix of Ranger knights and the cardinal's royal guard. "What is the meaning of this!?" Hector exclaimed loudly as he and his guard approached the throne before coming to an abrupt hault. Lord Swordmenace pulled a piece of paper from his belt, "Cardinal Hector Wildhayes, you stand accused of treason against the French empire, and her majesty the Queen, Grace Goldtimbers of France and Duchess of Anemois." Hector galked. "Captain Richard, seize this man!" Prince Bluehawk yelled. "Men of the Guard!" Hector exclaimed in response, before all of the Swiss guards on the sides of the hall turned in a diagnol position facing the throne with axed spears in hand." "I want no bloodshed here today. Stand down and none of your men will die." Hector said. Lord Swordmenace looked at Bluehawk puzzled.
Then, suddnely, "NOW!" the captain of the Swiss guard yelled, and before the Cardinal's royal guard had time to respond, the Swiss guard charged in from the sides stabbing all of the Cardinal's men to death. Meanwhile, the Queen's royal guard charged in from down the stairs. Four ranger knights jumped in front of the Cardinal shielding him from the Queen's guard, throwing daggers across the room, and firing their duel pistols in a reckless but flawless manner. "Your eminence, this way!" Ranger Captain Leon Daggerskull yelled as the ranger knights cleared a pathway for the cardinal and formed a close shielding square around him as he ran towards an exit at the back left side of the throne room while all of the cardinal's guard were being slaughtered by the Swiss guard. "Idiots! Kill him!" Bluehawk exclaimed. Swordmenace drew his pistol and shot off one of the ranger knights through the back of the head, then fired again as he moved in for a closer range but ended up missing.
The remaining three ranger knights escorted Cardinal Wildhayes to a secret location a few miles outside Versailles where an entire regiment of ranger knights on horseback awaited them and rode out with the Cardinal with haste towards Rome.
Meanwhile, back in the throne room: "You fools! You let him escape!" Bluehawk yelled as the Swiss and Queen's guard knelt before him. "I should have all your heads put on spikes and displayed throughout the palace gardens!" He continued. "Brother, that's quite enough.." Queen Grace interrupted. Bluehawk turned around with an expression of distate and frustration on his face. "You don't get it do you? We needed the Cardinal to exchange for Leon! Have you forgotten our younger brother still rotting away in Balboa?" He exclaimed angrily. Grace sighed. "Seal off all of the roadways. No one leaves the palace!" Prime Minister Goldtimbers yelled.
"Bah..ha..." a man chuckled from across the room lying on the floor in a pool of blood; it was in fact the ranger knight that Swordmenace had shot. Bluehawk and the Swiss guard approached the man. "Where is my brother!?" Bluehawk exclaimed fiercely. The man looked at Bluehawk with a grim smirk on his face as blood trickled down out of his mouth. "In Hell..." he whispered. "Ba..ha, ha hahaha." he laughed. Bluehawk then pulled out his cutlass and stabbed the man through the gut as he fell backwards slowly onto the hard marble floor.
A week later, a letter reached Vienna, also from Wildhayes, which stated that the British, Russian, and Tuscan forces intended to seize Austria and all of its assets to help pay for war reparations, and to better supply the British armies in France. This, like the letter to Rome, wasn't entirely true, but was believable enough to Empress Bluefeather for her to sign in a declaration of war against Britain and Russia.
The tides of the war were now beginning to turn in Clemente's favor. What once started as a coalition solely against Clemente's Spain was now a continental~wide war; Spain, Austria, Prussia, and the Church vs. France, Britain, Sweden, Russia, The Netherlands, Denmark and Tuscany. It was evident to the world now that this war would not receive a quick end. It would ensue for a near of a decade and claim the lives of millions throughout the European mainland, leaving a path of destruction in every region that its counterparts stepped foot in.
Chapter IV ~ Two swordsEdit
"General, sir!" a British lieutenant exclaimed as he bolted into the British Bern central command room. "They know." Blademonk and the other members of his cabinet stood up abruptly. "Who knows?" he asked in a rhetorical but curious manner. "The Spaniard prince. He's set up fortifications in The Alps." the lieutenant said. "What the Hell are they doing all the way out here?" Blademonk asked. "We've managed to intercept a letter from the Austrians." the lieutenant said. "Austrians..?" Blademonk asked in confusion. "Sir, Austria has declared war in Spain's defense. They're on their way here." he said.
Blademonk's council looked around murmering slurs under their breaths in a tone of anguish and confusion. Blademonkthrusted his dagger into the table in frustration. "We must move into the caverns!" a member of Blademonk's cabinet exlaimed. "Squidskull won't attack us head on... He's too cautious. He'll starve us out to the last man and ride in and butcher us like goats while we're all dying of attrition." Blademonk said. "We are the King's men. We do not hide in "caverns". We will fight." he continued. A cabinet member bent over the table looking Blademonk in the eyes, "Are you mad? Perhaps the attrition you speak of has already struck your mind general!" he exclaimed.
"The Spanish alone outnumber us nearly 10 to 1. Who knows how great a force the Austrians are amassing against us! No man in his right mind would meet either of these armies head on!" the man stated. "In nearly 200 years, no army has ever breached the outer walls of Bern." Blademonk said. "You think some bastard child of Clemente will be the first?" he asked. The council broke into a loud open expression of frustration and anger. "The Church has openly denounced all of the King's subjects! God is not with us!" a Swiss member of the cabinet exlaimed in an expression of hopelessness. Blademonk rolled his eyes.
"Oh Heavens no.. I dare say I think you mean the Pope, puppet of Clemente, who I'm for certain is no God." another cabinet member said. "Tell that to the tens of millions of Catholics who want our heads on spikes!" the Swiss member exclaimed. Blademonk fired his pistol in the air, yelling, "ENOUGH!" The room became abruptly silent. "You are the General's cabinet, and I am your General. I am the executive director here, and I have made my decision. We'll stay here in Bern until the first snow falls in November. After that, if the Spaniards have not moved on, we meet them in the open field." He said. "What of the Austrians!? They know the way into the caverns! Austrians are ruthless sir! They take no prisoners, they kill all, the women, and even the children!" Blademonk looked at the man smiling grotesquely at him. "It's a good thing we're not children then, now isn't it?" he asked rhetorically.
Meanwhile, In France, Clemente and his army had defeated Redbeard once again at Bordeaux taking 60,000 British lives this time, but once again Clemente allowed Redbeard to retreat this time to Tours. Clemente did not have any intension of making the French despise him, and so he instructed Premier Carlos La Verde Sanita to stay behind and reconstruct both infrastructurally and financially the lower French region, particularly the cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux.
Redbeard's combined British and French retreating vanguard army was now reduced to just 47,000. In an act of desperation, Queen Grace Goldtimbers wrote to the British Parliament asking for a reinforcing army of 400,000 to aid the 300,000 already stationed in Paris.
"Dearest King John Augustus Breasly of Great Britain and Ireland
It is in these troublesome times that we the French people look to our great ally to the North to protect us from the maruading pillagers advancing rapidly through our country, and laying waste to our crops and villages. It has been confirmed that the Spanish army totals around 1.2 million, a number four times greater than our own, one that we simply cannot defend against. I write to remind you that should Paris fall, what do you think Clemente's next target will be? It is crucial not only to we the people of France, but to the people of the World that Clemente's advance be halted here. Elsewise, this war could very well be the undoing of all Europe. My generals have advised me that a minimum amount of 400,000 additional troops will be needed to withstand the Spanish attack. As your friend and ally, I beg of you, do this not only for us, but for all those who will fall victim to the Spanish should Paris fall.
~ Her Majesty, Queen Grace Goldtimbers of France, Duchess of Anemois
"WHAT!?!?" Breasly yelled as he spit his food from his mouth. "400,000!?!?!?! IS SHE MAD!?!?" He screamed. "What did it say?" Lord Jeremiah Garland, a member of Breasly's cabinet asked curiously. "Evidently she's not the only FOOL guilty of such absurd requests. Did you not just hear me shout the words 400,000 you blundering dolt!?" Breasly said angrily. "Your grace." Garland said apologetically, bowing halfway. "Your grace, your grace, your majesty, your excellency, can you not come up with any other name for me you repititive wastrel!?" Breasly exclaimed loudly as he ran out of breath and inhaled deeply. "Do something useful and summon Lord Mallace to my chambers." he continued. "GUARD!" he yelled. "More ale!"
Moments later, Breasly's chamber doors flew open and Mallace entered the room hastily accompanied by two small squadrons of palace guards. "You summoned me, sire..." he said, bowing halfway with a grin on his face.
"It appears our friends in France have become quite desperate.." Breasly said, as he sipped his martini. "I do not feel obliged at all to assist them any further. Clemente has defeated Redbeard twice now and that is costing us millions!!!" "Your majesty, if I may.." Garland said before he was cut off by Breasly, "No, you may not. Silence!" "As I was saying, I see no reason to help one Catholic nation fend off another! We are protected from this madness by the channel!"
"With respect, your majesty... tacticians have observed that the biggest flaw Clemente's opponents have always made has been underestimating him. A 20 mile long path of water is not going to stop Clemente's million man army of locusts. By God, they'll swim here if they have to." Mallace said. "GAHHHH!!!!!" Breasly yelled in anger and frustration. "Fine! We'll compromise. 200,000!" he said. Mallace nodded in approval while Garland put his head on his forehead, exhaling in frustration and disappointment.
Even with the additional 200,000 troops, Garland knew that Clemente would still outnumber the coalition forces more than 2 to 1. There was also rumor that Francis Bluehawk's 100,000 man Hessian army was going to attempt to march on Paris from the North~East and join forces with Clemente there. Almost certain now that Paris would come under siege, Grace Goldtimbers and her children and grandchildren fled to Cologne while Lord Jack Swordmenace, Jack Bluehawk, and Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers stayed behind in Paris to await their fate.
"We'll hold them at the River Seine and slaughter their entire army like goats." Prince Jack Bluehawk said, positioning his hand on a map. "His artillery will prevent a cavalary charge." Swordmenace interuppted. "He wouldn't do that, he'd risk hitting his own troops." Bluehawk said. "You think that means anything to him?" Goldtimbers said, looking outside the council room window. "No." Goldtimbers said rhetorically, answering before Bluehawk could. "He'll lose his entire army here and never raise another if it means taking Paris." Goldtimbers said.
"Goldtimbers is right. The Bourbons will all rally to Clemente's cause, as will the Petalbees." Swordmenace said. "He'll have a hundred thousand man army ready in a week's time." he continued. "We need to plan for the worst, should it happen." Goldtimbers said. The council nodded in reluctant agreement.
Then, "Prime Minister! the Queen has been intercepted and captured! The Prussians sir!" a man shouted as he bolted into the room with a piece of paper in his hand. Goldtimbers and Swordmenace looked up with wide eyes and an expression of astonishment and horror on their faces. "Francis...." Goldtimbers murmured. "We must go after her!" a French Swiss guard commander insisted. "No. We cannot abandon our position here. This is precisely what Clemente wants." Bluehawk said. "Sir! This is the Queen we're talking about!" the commander exclaimed. "She's my daughter!" Goldtimbers exclaimed loudly in response. "And Swordmenace is right, we cannot risk being outflanked and surrounded by Clemente. We must remain here." he continued.
"Francis is merciful, and you forget that he was once a loyal follower of the Queen. He will not harm her, and chances are she'll be safer with the Prussians than she will be here in Paris." Swordmenace said.
Meanwhile, at the border of Westphalia. "Well, well, well... what have we here?" a Prussian officer said as he opened the door of the Queen's royal carriage pointing his cutlass at Grace as she held her children in fear. "Stand down Lieutenant Blasthawk!" a man yelled as he rode in towards the carriage on an armored white stallion. It was, in fact, the famed general Francis Bluehawk.
As he stepped off his horse, twelve Prussian soldiers formed two lines making a path for him to walk through towards the carriage. "I never thought I'd see you again. What in God's name are you doing all the way out here?" he asked her as he knelt in front of the carriage. A tear rolled down Grace's face as she looked up at Bluehawk before responding, "They... they told me that you're fighting with Clemente now." she said sulkingly. Bluehawk turned his head looking to the ground as he sighed. "Are you?" she continued.
"Years ago, before you and Phillipe were married, there was a great battle, just south of France." he said. "Clemente had us cornered, miles away from our nearest supply lines." he continued as Grace sat silently listening. "After several months, the deadly effects of attrition began to set in amongst my army, and I was forced to ask for terms." "Clemente agreed to let us retreat back into France under one condition, of which he was very clear." he said. "Clemente was no fool, you see, he's always had a knack for being able to read a man's soul." he continued as Grace nodded. "Anyways, I suppose you could say he knew I was a man of my word because nearly four decades later I stand by what I promised him." "I told him that if Spain fell into turmoil again, that I would be the one to come to his aid in his defense." he said.
Grace put her head in her hands, crying softly. "You don't have to do this!" she exclaimed passionately. "He's evil Francis! You're not like him!" she continued. "Grace..." he said, grasping her hand softly. "We Prussians are men of our word, above all else." he said. "Being a man of my word is one of the few good qualities I have, and I must endeavor to keep it, no matter the circumstances." Jeffrey Blasthawk, a trusted lieutenant of Francis nodded in agreeance.
"So what? Are you going to drag me to him, and let him kill me, let him kill your queen?" she asked. Francis sighed and then stood abruptly turning away as he walked off.
Meanwhile, in Bordeaux, Premier Carlos La Verde Sanita was "fixing up" the city to meet his accomadations. "I want
their heads on spikes!" Sanita exclaimed loudly as he slammed his fist on his office table, grunting at his officers. The officers glanced at each other, questioning whether the orders to kill all the sons and daughters of British and Dutch origin was morally sound. "Did I stammer!?" he asked angrily. "Kill them all!" he yelled. The officers bowed their heads reluctantly as they exited Sanita's office. "Orders sir?" Lieutenant Mcsteel asked as Commander Ponce De Leon exited Sanit's tent. Leon sighed softly as he looked at Mcsteel pulling a piece of paper from his trenchcoat pocket. It was a regional censues of demographical origins, showing who was French, who was British, and so forth. Leon handed it to him. "British, sir?" Mcsteel asked, looking at the paper noticing the British people's names circled in red ink. Leon nodded. "Crucify them all." he said.
"Sa..sir?" Mcsteel stammered. "Show them no mercy lieutenant." Leon said as he folded his hands behind his back looking off into the distance. "We'll receive none." he continued.
That evening, Sanita's men butchered an estimated 15,000 people in Toulouse and Bordeaux. It would go on to become one of the darkest hours in Spanish history and would forever scar Clemente's reputation. In Sanita's mind, the butchering of so many British people would ensure decades of strong sentimental Catholic Pro~Spanish ideals in France and Spain. However, in reality, what he was doing was drawing people away from both Spain and the Church, and giving the British a motive to keep fighting.
Meanwhile, 60 miles North~East of Bordeaux, Clemente was preparing to engage Redbeard one last time just outside the town of Tours before he was within striking distance of Paris. Redbeard's small, poorly supplied and beaten army now amounted to only 36,000, whereas Clemente, having gathered thousands of loyal supporters as he'd marched through France now had 1,130,000 men at his back.
"Excellency!" a man stated as he entered Clemente's war room tent grabbing the attention of everyone present. Then, suddenly, pushing the man out of the way, two dark hooded men walked in the room escorting a young woman in chains. "What is the meaning of this!?" a council member exclaimed fiercly, standing up as he drew his sword. The hooded men remained silent. "You dare bring this whore before your king!?" the council member said. "Speak you swine!" he continued, now pointing his sword at the two hooded men.
Right when he did this, one of the hooded men drew a dagger, and almost as quickly as it was drawn, he thrusted it into the man's forehead killing him instantly. The entire room then grew even more so gravely silent. Clemente stood. "Show yourself!" he exclaimed. The two hooded men knelt, pulling their hoods back over their heads. It was in fact the notorious pirates, Remy of Normandy and Captain Johnny of Dublin. Oddly enough, they were dressed in what appeared to be the same uniforms that the Ranger lords wore decades prior during the times of the Spanish oligarchy.
Clemente approached the two men. "Rise" he said, and so they did. "Tell me." he continued. "What are two outcasts doing in the middle of the French countryside.. and... who is this child you have here with you?" he said, looking at the young woman in chains. The woman stood, wiping a tear from her face, but maintaining an evident sense of pride and dignity despite her shackles clanging back and forth against each other as she stood. "My name is Amelia Augustus Breasly." she said. "Daughter of King John Augustus Breasly, rightful heir to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland." The council galked and Remy smirked, looking up at Clemente.
Chapter V ~ Under the table Edit
By late October, Phillipe's army had set up camp just 3 miles outside of Paris. The British reinforcing army of 200,000 had just reached Paris yet the defending forces were still outnumbered over two to one. In command of the combined French and British defense coalition was Lord General Samuel Redbeard, and Prince Jack Bluehawk. Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers was recalled by King John Breasly back to London and Lord Jack Swordmenace fled Southwards at the last possible moment towards Venice since French intelligence had suggested that that would be Clemente's next target after he had re-taken Paris.
In Portugal, Augustine Clemente instated Davy Badbones, a devoted Catholic and Spaniard by birth as the new "King" of Portugal. Of course, his titles held power only in name. To the South, Johnny Shark Turner, a marauding Muslim radical had raised an army of 40,000 and Spanish intelligence confirmed that he had intent to invade Palma and possibly Gibraltar to try and raid Spanish trade routes and wreck havoc on Spanish harbors and shipyards. To deal with this threat, Augustine dispatched Admiral Hector Pillageparr with a force of 2 120 gun SOTLs, 7 60 gun frigates, and 20 smaller scale vessels.
In Bern, the situation had gone from bad to worse for the British. Outside the city, Squidskull's army had completely surrounded the much smaller British army and was beginning to starve them out. Come November, British Commander Ryan Blademonk had promised that if Squidskull hadn't either retreated or assaulted the city, he would take the offensive and ride out to meet the Spanish.
"Damn it!" Blademonk said walking ferociously through the Bern military barracks. "Tuscany has no troops to lend me and every town in Northern Switzerland is begging for help!" he said, throwing a letter on the ground. "There's something else sir.." a lieutenant said, looking up at Blademonk as he looked back in curiosity. "OPEN THE GATES!" the lieutenant shouted notioning for the men to open the gates. As they did this, a man on a black horse rode in bearng a white flag smeared with blood and ashes. "Who are you!?" Blademonk exclaimed fiercly. The man dismounted and approached Blademonk slowly. "My name is Jason Blademorgan" he said. "Son of William Blademorgan" he continued. "These lands have been in my family for generations, long before my father's father, and until now we have protected the people who live here." "Until now." Blademonk interrupted. "What do you want boy?" "I want to live." he said. "I was captured some months ago by the the Spanish." he continued. "Since then, they have kept me fed, clothed, and have been merciful to my kinfolk." "You are asking us to surrender." Blademonk interuppted. "You go and tell your masters, 'Sir Blademorgan', or whoever the Hell you are, that the British at the Bern barricade will not surrender." Blademorgan then began stammering randomly in fear. "What is that you're murmerring?" Blademonk asked. "Speak!" he said.
Then suddenly one of the British lieutenants hit the commander over the head with an iron club. "Surrender and we live?" the lieutenant asked. "Is that what this paper says here boy?" he asked again, looking at the letter. "Yes." Blademorgan answered. "Open your gates and lay down your arms." he said smiling. "You're going home."
Unconscious and unable to protest, the other British soldiers threw Blademonk into one of the black cells underneath the fortress. That evening, Squidskull's army entered the fortress and butchered every man alive inside save for Blademonk. As a reward for Blademorgan's success in persuading the British to open the gates, and potentially saving tens of thousands of Squidskull's men, Squidskull granted Blademorgan control of Switzerland entirely with the permission of King Phillipe V Clemente. However, Switzerland would remain a protectorate of the Spanish empire. Blademorgan was given a small army of 1,500 men by Squidskull so that he could properly defend his new nation. To make his claims known, Blademorgan removed the head of all of the corpses still within the fortress and had them all mounted on spikes throughout the Swiss countryside. Once he'd cleaned Bern up, he went on to establish it as the new capital of the Swiss protectorate.
Back in France, the 200,000 British reinforcements were just arriving. Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers had been ordered back to London by King John Breasly. Prince Jack Bluehawk fled the city and sailed for Ireland leaving only Prince Jack Swordmenace and the war weary Samuel Redbeard to defend Paris. Although still outnumbered two to one by the Spanish, Redbeard knew that if Paris fell, Clemente would roll over any resistance in his path on the way from there to the English Channel which would put him within striking distance of London. He was therefore determined to hold Paris at all costs. It would be a fight to the last man, the ultimate duel of the fates.
Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, Squidskull moved his army out of the Alps and swept through Italy pillaging and burning everything in his path; his next stop, Venice, the gateway to the East. Squidskull wrote to Clemente personally requesting 200,000 reinforcements to help take the city. Some say Venice was an even more heavily fortified city than Paris. Surrounded by a series of rivers and waterways, and garrisoned with 100,000 British and Italian troops, who were supported by the full might of the entire British Meditteranean fleet. Squidskull's now reduced army amounted to 300,000. He knew it would be unwise to attack the British without at least a 5 to 1 numerical advantage and so therefore stationed his army in Austrian~held Bologna, to the South West of Venice where he would await the Spanish Medditterranean fleet under Admiral Spadus Ignacio, and reinforcements from Clemente's Northern Army.
Chapter VI: Paris Edit