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Thread: Archived: Chronicle of Spain - A Redux 1004 AAR (Updated 1/2/14)

  1. #1

    Default Archived: Chronicle of Spain - A Redux 1004 AAR (Updated 1/2/14)

    Sons of Castile:
    A Redux Chronicle of Spain




    Here begins my first Redux AAR (my first AAR ever, in fact). It's intended to be a walkthrough of the Spanish campaign with a few fictional additions, and it's certainly not intended to be historically accurate. I'm playing with Redux for MTW 1.1, RX Classic campaign, on veteran difficulty.

    Prologue: The Chronicle Begins

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    In this Year of Our Lord 972, being not much use to anyone now that my two daughters have grown and having entered my dotage, I, Rodrigo Moncada, loyal subject to the brave and cunning Felipe II, King of Spain, begin this account of all that befell the monarchs of this land — including deeds both heroic and dastardly, as well as moments of victory and of defeat — leading to its place as one of the foremost kingdoms of the world. It is by understanding the past that we may better understand the present, or so runs the common (and commonly dull) saying. But what of the future? It is by its very nature a thing unknown, or known only to God. Yet, can we not, in some small measure, know what is to come by knowing what has gone before? It is my hope that my chronicle of the sons (and daughters) of Castile will contribute to a greater understanding of how we might face the crises ahead. For neither the meanest donkey keeper, nor the loftiest merchant, will doubt that great travails await us in the coming years. But such is the fate of all the kingdoms of men, until the day the redeemer returns to forge a single kingdom of Heaven. What trifling gaps existed in my knowledge of these events I have endeavoured to fill through lengthy perusals of many a tome in the library at Valladolid, which remains the seat of all Spanish learning and power. God has spared my old eyes from blindness for yet another season as I write this. May it also please Him to spare your eyes as you read it.


    Chapter 1: Dominion

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    It is no mystery to anyone now inhabiting the realm of Spain that the de Asturias family was present from the very beginning. The de Asturias clan is as old as the mountainous region from whence they took their name. Long had they ruled the land of Castile, bringing some measure of prosperity. Alfonso I of Castile, called the Silver-Headed, was the first to proclaim himself "King of Spain." Many called this a foolhardy gesture, and perhaps with good reason. Castile was still a land of pastures and hills, a few villages, and not much else besides. With only a modest castle from which to hold sway over his dominion, Alfonso de Asturias was nothing if not ambitious.




    An ordinary ruler would have stuck to his stronghold, avoiding the perennial troubles of famine, disease, and banditry, with little hope of seeing his realm expand. But Alfonso was no ordinary ruler.

    Leon, to the North, was a land rich in resources, but long held by vicious robber barons. Christians in name, perhaps, these men were long used to living off the weak. These self-styled "Kings of Leon" held the people to ransom with the points of their swords.


    "I am as much a king as Alfonso of Castile. If he believes otherwise, let him come test me."

    Alfonso knew that the usurpers would have to be dealt with eventually. For now, he would turn his attention to bettering his realm, and preparing his troops for the inevitable wars.

    In AD 700, the king appointed a promising young nobleman named Fernando de Claris as "Protector of Castile." A knight by birth, de Claris was more passionate about archery than horsemanship, and took with him a retinue of bowmen wherever he went. De Claris proved to be an able administrator. Not a genius, by any stretch, but staunch in his support of the king.


    "For my king, my country, and God."

    In AD 701, Alfonso the younger came of age. His mother, the queen, was a Hungarian noblewoman of royal blood. She had grown much accustomed to the warm climate of Castile, which seemed to match her fiery temperament. In this, the son resembled his mother. Where King Alfonso was cold and exacting, Prince Alfonso was rash and indomitable. Indeed, Alfonso had also inherited more of his mother's looks, which led some at court to question his paternity, though never openly.


    "One day, I will be king."

    At this time, a strong Moorish Caliph had arisen in North Africa. Having subdued the independent muslim states of Spain, the Caliph now cast his eye toward the Christian kingdoms.



    Alfonso knew his modest army was ill-prepared to face such a foe. Rather than appease the Moors with offers of tribute, he sought alliances with the other Iberian Christian kingdoms. He dispatched an emissary first to Portugal. The Portuguese were ruled by upstart lords who had come to claim kingship. While Alfonso did not intend to recognize their claims of sovereignty, he was prepared to form a strategic alliance. The Portuguese, also much disquieted by the Moorish advance, agreed.



    Next, Alfonso sent his only daughter, princess Jimena, to the court of king Sancho I of Aragon. There, guided by her advisors, she was able to contract a marriage with the Aragonese crown prince. Prince Alfonso was sorry to see his sister go, since a fondness had existed between them from early childhood. But such was the way of things. This dynastic alliance was necessary to secure the North for the eventual confrontation with the Moors.


    "I will serve my father by serving my new lord."


    "The lady is fair. That makes my decision easier."



    In the same year, the Portuguese launched an attack into the heart of Moorish Spain: Cordoba itself. King Alfonso did not condone the rashness of the invasion, and so did not participate. This proved a wise decision.




    Meanwhile, Alfonso was preoccupied with matters in Castile. He understood that developing his territory's assets — both in food production and mercantile ventures — would be necessary to finance his ambitions.



    His next oldest son, Sancho, came of age in 707, securing the Spanish king's dynasty.


    "I will do what honour demands.

    But war was on the horizon. By the summer of 708, Prince Alfonso had grown restless. Tired of court life and desirous of warfare and its spoils, he led a raiding party north into the unclaimed kingdom of Navarre, which was known to be rich in iron and copper.



    The Basques who lived in that mountainous region were notorious for their ability to melt away in the face of organized invaders, only to regroup elsewhere and do all means of injury to their enemies. As expected, Alfonso's contingent encountered no open resistance as they raided deep into the mountains. What few villages they found were abandoned. The Basque lords had retreated to their mountain strongholds, taking what wealth they could. Though little loot was gained, Prince Alfonso and his men swelled with pride at the seeming helplessness of the Basques to defend their country. Alfonso plundered a full month before finally making preparations, in late August, to leave the country. As the Spanish raiders prepared to take the road through the mountains, however, they found the main pass blocked by a large Basque host. Alfonso and his men were hungry, tired, and vastly outnumbered.



    A single Castilian horseman made it through an unguarded pass and — riding his horse to death — came to the court of King Alfonso. Upon hearing of his son's peril, the king sat for a long time, stroking his favourite hound, saying nothing. Some who saw him in that moment would later claim that his icy gaze seemed to travel a vast distance — perhaps to the place where his firstborn son now found himself trapped before an advancing host, or perhaps to some other place, where his other son, Sancho — who was well-liked at court and obedient by nature — was being crowned the next king of Castile. Then Alfonso stood and clapped his hands twice. To his steward, Lord de Claris, he said: "Prepare the men. Take a week's provisions from the storehouse." Turning on the lone messenger, he said: "Find yourself a new horse. Tonight you ride back into the mountains."





    Chapter 2: The Battle for Navarre

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    It was Prince Alfonso's impatience that led the Spanish kingdom into its first overt clash with a foreign power, and it now fell to the king to see to his son's safety by risking all. King Alfonso led his men north in a two-day forced march. Approaching the Basque territory, they began to see smoke over the mountains. Scouts reported that the Basque host had broken camp and was preparing an attack on the prince's position. Using the same rocky defile by which the lone horseman had come, the king and his army were soon able to rendezvous with the prince, who had established his lines on a wide hill. The Basques, not suspecting that the Spanish king himself had arrived, remained confident in their numbers. King Alfonso now took charge of the entire Spanish host, arranging it over the top of the hill. He himself would command the royal cavalry — comprised of his own bodyguard, as well as some Spanish horsemen and lancers. Lord de Claris, according to the man's love of the bow, was put in charge of the archers. Prince Alfonso would command his own contingent of foot and cavalry on the left flank.



    At midday, the Basque host opened its attack, advancing beneath a hail of arrows.




    Moving with characteristic speed, some Basque horsemen ambushed Prince Alfonso on the left.



    Alfonso and his bodyguard managed to fight them off, taking no losses.



    Meanwhile, on the right, a furious melee developed as Basque horsemen attempted to encircle the Spanish line.



    Together, the Spanish horse and foot were able to hold the line.





    As Prince Alfonso and his men were chasing off the last of the Basque horsemen, a rogue knight ambushed the prince from behind.



    The rogue knight was quickly dispatched by one of the prince's best men.



    "My friend, I owe you my life."

    The Basque centre and left flank collapsed simultaneously before a downhill charge by the Spanish.


    Uploaded at ImageFra.me

    Spanish swordsmen engaged the enemy general, now virtually alone with his small retinue, while Prince Alfonso and his knights charged from behind.





    With the capture of their leader, the Basque forces melt away.




    Scant mercy was shown to those unlucky enough to have been captured.



    After the battle, the king rode to where his son stood and, seeing him bloodied and exhausted, said: "You've comported yourself well today. That is the only reason I will not strike your face from your head."

    Alfonso dismounted in silence and bowed to his father.

    Just then, a cry went up. More banners were sighted on the horizon. Another Basque host had arrived, larger than the first. Later, it was discovered that the first Basque host had been comprised of squires and lesser knights. Now came riding the flower of Basque chivalry.



    At their head was a man called Raimundo de Claris, the cousin of the Lord de Claris, Protector of Castile, who had just proven himself in battle for his liege.

    "My cousin is a churl," Lord Fernando told the king. "But he fights like a maddened bull."

    Once again, King Alfonso and his son made ready to defend the hill, which the men had already dubbed "The waste heap" due to the great number of slain Basques that lay upon its side. For the Spanish, the coming battle would not be such a clean affair as the first.



    The second battle of Gasteiz Hill opened with King Alfonso and his bodyguard facing a troop of Basque knights in the vanguard.



    Prince Alfonso and his men, though still weary from the previous encounter, rushed to join the fray. The rogue Basque knights were slain to a man, before their comrades could catch up.




    King Alfonso returned to the main Spanish line to supervise the defence, while his son the prince remained to face the Basque leader, Raimundo de Claris himself, a fearless and accomplished fighter. He took down several of the prince's royal bodyguards, and Prince Alfonso seemed to waver before him.





    Seeing his son in danger, the king ordered a full out charge, resulting in a furious melee.



    Then the Basque knight de Claris took an arrow to the face, shot by his own cousin, Lord Fernando, who thus proved his unflinching loyalty to the Spanish king.

    The remainder of the Basque host took flight, only to be hunted down by Spanish horsemen.



    The Basque knights had fought hard, which did not endear them to the Spanish king, who once again ordered all prisoners beheaded, with no regard for their titles.



    The Basque nobility had been treated the same as their social inferiors. As one chronicler has remarked: "All men are made equal by death."

    With the Basque strongholds now emptied of men, there was considerably more plunder to be had. The king and his son — and all the Spaniards who had survived the battle — spent the rest of the year living well off the stores of the fallen Basque lords.

    For now, Navarre belonged to the Spanish.
    Last edited by Axalon; 05-08-2017 at 03:57. Reason: formatting

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    First post has been updated with Chapters 1 and 2. Stay tuned for the next chapters, in which I will do more than just fight rebels...

  3. #3
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    hey, great epic story-telling, really! And, with all this battle-trouble going on, how did you find the time to make all those cool screenshots?!?

    Not being a storyteller myself, it is real fun to read how you put pieces of history together with the development of the game, like the bit about the "cousin" - I wouldn´t have thought up something catching like that myself, for sure. Keep telling more, please!

    What makes me wonder a bit (playing 1003-VI/now1004e-VI myself) is the high stats of your Leaders - I´d love to start out with 6 influence and a heir this loyal in my games as Norse. Is this a 1.1 vs. 2.01 thing? Or a bonus for playing "veteran"? (sniff) never had those starting-stats for my guys up in the grim North...

    Never having played the Spanish in Redux, I also never met one of those Rogue Knights. Are they something like Rebel Champions down south there?!?

    Eager-to-read-more greetings

    daigaku

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by daigaku View Post
    Hi @Cyprian2,

    hey, great epic story-telling, really! And, with all this battle-trouble going on, how did you find the time to make all those cool screenshots?!?

    Not being a storyteller myself, it is real fun to read how you put pieces of history together with the development of the game, like the bit about the "cousin" - I wouldn´t have thought up something catching like that myself, for sure. Keep telling more, please!

    What makes me wonder a bit (playing 1003-VI/now1004e-VI myself) is the high stats of your Leaders - I´d love to start out with 6 influence and a heir this loyal in my games as Norse. Is this a 1.1 vs. 2.01 thing? Or a bonus for playing "veteran"? (sniff) never had those starting-stats for my guys up in the grim North...

    Never having played the Spanish in Redux, I also never met one of those Rogue Knights. Are they something like Rebel Champions down south there?!?

    Eager-to-read-more greetings

    daigaku
    Greetings right back at you, @daigaku. Your words of encouragement are much appreciated!

    For screenshots, I use the F2 capture method. That way, the battle isn't interrupted and I can simply go to my TGAs folder and sort the pics as I please. It's kind of a scattershot approach, so you have to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.

    This being my first AAR, I'm still learning a lot about pacing. I'm basically clutching at straws to find elements that might make an interesting story, but the main idea here is to tell it as fast as possible. Otherwise, I'll be stuck writing hundreds of pages. This is, after all, just a few turns into the campaign so far! But thanks for your kind words. It helps to know someone is enjoying this as much as I am. :P

    The high stats seem to be luck of the draw mostly. My king started with ridiculously good stats. I think they tend to get a little worse as the years go on, especially if no new conquests are added to your realm. Some people advocate using the green_generals switch, which makes all generals start with lower stats. Things are definitely easier when you have a jedi or two!

    As for the Rogue knights, they appear to be a later addition. I don't recall seeing them in earlier versions, or certainly not before 1003.

    Well, stay tuned for more. (Hopefully by the end of the week.)

    regards,

    Cyprian

  5. #5
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    "....end of the week"?!? Hopefully you won´t let us wait that long! Being myself more a basic-pattern and analytic man, I really have fun with a story like yours. A "story" or AAR told by me would more sound like "took with me 4 Slavic bowmen to crush the Polish infantry, put them on a hill to extend their longrange even more, used the Boyars to flank and tidy up the remainders" No fun to read, just basic tactical info;-))

    About stats: Even if Daddy had 8 or 9 influence, the heir, with hardly any exception, starts again with - lousy 4. It´s a pain in the ass to get that up to min. 7 again, even using the rebellious-province-exploit. The drop in loyalty is a really harsh one, so I have to keep all my russian (and even more the newly acquainted) provinces heavily garrisoned. I hope for you, playing this rather heavy-under-pressure faction, the "luck of the draw" stays with you!

    greetings, and a happy new year wishes you

    daigaku

    p.s. ...had completely forgotten about the "thanks" button....
    Last edited by daigaku; 12-31-2013 at 12:52.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Chapter 3: The Bull's Horns

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    In the years following the battle of Gasteiz, with the annexation of Navarre nearly complete, a measure of discontent grew among certain Castilian nobles. This came about indirectly with an offer of alliance from the pope. Pope Urban II, a militant pope even by the standards of that age, had been waging war in Italy for several years against the so-called "bad Christians" of Lombardy and the Holy Roman Empire. Urban also advocated the total annihilation of all non-Christians, whether pagan or muslim. So it was that he sent an emissary to Alfonso of Castile with an offer of alliance, at the same time imploring the Spanish king to make war on the Moors. Now, Alfonso was well aware of the growing threat which the muslims posed to the Christians, but he was above all things a cautious ruler and would not engage in a war he did not consider winnable. Some in court, however, whispered that it was not caution but cowardice that stayed his hand. One courtier, pretending to speak of the equally inactive Portuguese, dared ask (within earshot of the king): "Is there any true difference, my friends, between a king who will not fight and a bull that has been tethered by the horns?" The courtier was Sir Enrique, of the Quesada dynasty, who would become a sworn enemy of King Alfonso and his sons.

    In 713, when the Moors annexed Valencia, it looked as though Alfonso had little choice but oppose them. At least, such was the conviction of the war hawks. Who was the king, they demanded, to tie up the Spanish host in Navarre when the greatest enemy had arrived on their very doorstep? In 714, their discontent turned to full-fledged rebellion. Enrique Quesada took command of an anti-royalist host and prepared an assault on Castile itself, hoping to replace the king with a council of nobles calling themselves "The Bull's Horns."

    The rebels struck first at sea. Though a competent commander, admiral Don Antonio de Àgreda was taken by surprise off the Costa Verde. A fleet of rebel corsairs (hired by The Bull's Horns) bore down upon Àgreda as his ships were trying to tack. The entire royal navy was lost.



    It would be many years before Castile could afford the resources to make a new royal fleet. The king heard news of this disaster on the road from Navarre as he rushed back to Castile with the bulk of his knights. There was nothing he could do but to push on. What men had been spared from the pacification of Navarre were already tired from the forced march. Prince Sancho, alone and having barely escaped the rebels, met his father and brother on the road. The de Asturias dynasty was reunited. Taking a little rest and sustenance, the Spanish host encamped on the highlands of Castile and prepared to face the renegade Quesada and his Bull's Horns.



    The rebel host marched from Valladolid in the middle of the night and, by morning, they had reached the Spanish royal camp.

    Along with the usual rogue knights and foot champions, their number included a sizeable contingent of crossbowmen led by a Spanish noble by the name of Rodrigo de Trastàmara. The crossbow was a very new weapon to Spain. While in Navarre, the king had hired some crossbow mercenaries who had come all the way from Bavaria. For the first time in Spain's history, the crossbow would be wielded by two opposing forces.



    Prince Alfonso had assigned his own bodyguard to his brother, Sancho. Such was Alfonso's confidence in the coming engagement, that he chose to ride alone at the vanguard of the army. The royal cavalry took up their position at the top of a hill as the Spanish foot caught up.



    Once in position, Lord de Claris's archers and the mercenary crossbowmen plied their deadly trade before the oncoming rebels.




    Seeing the core of the rebel knights mired in the mud at the bottom of the hill, King Alfonso and his knights charged. Soon, the ground was a soupy mixture of blood and mud.




    Having slain many rebel champions and rogue knights almost singlehandedly, the king charged into the ranks of the mercenary archers, where the leader of the Bull's Horns had attempted to disguise himself.

    Meanwhile, Prince Alfonso struck down and captured one opponent after another. No man, it was later said, could have stood before him that day.



    The rebel army fell into disarray and was routed in just over an hour of fighting. Still disguised as an archer and fleeing with the remnant of his men, Quesada was knocked to the ground by the king, at which point, blubbering and screaming for mercy, he revealed his true identity.



    Quesada was taken, along with several highborn rebels, including Rodrigo de Trastàmara, whose renegade crossbows had worked to deadly effect that day.

    The Bull's Horns were shattered.



    After the confiscation of their lands in the name of the crown, Enrique Quesada and Rodrigo de Trastàmara were led to the town centre of Valladolid, where an angry bull snorted and stomped in a wooden enclosure. The populace crowed and jeered at the sight of the two leading members of the Bull's Horns meeting, in a very literal way, their namesake. Both men died bleeding and begging for mercy in the dust. While most of Castile agreed that this was a most fitting end, it would not endear the de Asturias dynasty to the men's families. For now, however, rebellion at home had been stamped out.


    Last edited by Cyprian2; 01-14-2014 at 23:34. Reason: formatting

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  7. #7
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Hi @Cyprian2,

    great story-telling again; and this spanish ending, with the rebel leaders dying in a corrida, is truly the cream on the cake ;-)) let´s have more of it!

    One thing I saw: you don´t use some "fast moving" cavallry to "collect" routers. No need for, or not yet in production? Myself, I´m always happy to have something like the IrishHorsemen or LightCavalry at hand for this purpose, some pedestrians being faster on foot when routing than an exhausted RoyalKnight or similar unit. Of course, if you spared Prince Alfonso for just this job, there was no need for something else - I wondered nevertheless.

    Please keep us informed about your progress, sure not only me being interested in your campaign!

    Thankful greetings, daigaku
    Last edited by Axalon; 01-14-2014 at 08:34. Reason: Merged posts...

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Thanks again, friend @daigaku, for your continued support. I'm actually in the process of reworking a few things in the beginning chapters -- hopefully giving the story a better narrative framework. Haven't had much free time lately, but I assure you there's more coming. A lot more.

    As for your question about cavalry, yes, I agree that it's best to have some light cav waiting in the wings for chasing down routers. In this particular battle, I was stretched pretty thin, so the brave Prince Alfonso and his (nonexistent) retinue had to do the trick. Spanish horsemen are Spain's answer to the European generic light cav and they are usually my preferred chaser-downer (And let me tell you, they are worth their weight in florins!).

    Anyway, keep checking back for more story. You may also find you'll need to re-read some of the earlier chapters...

    best,

    Cyprian

  9. #9
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    about:LightCav

    I myself, having played Redux only as (my all-time favourite) Norse, English and Russian, always try to get Ireland (yes, even as Russian!), for the Irish Horsemen and their pedestrian counterpart, Irish Spearmen. Elite, great morale, fast moving - what can one expect better? Both because of their speed great for flanking or surrounding, and great chasers. As Russian, I put them together with those increadible Slavic Horse Archers - those demoralize the enemy with showers of arrows, and then a charge with both units, the SlavHorse wielding swords, the Irish their spears - even Knights break before such an attack. Just had a look - pity those SpanishHorse aren´t equipped with javelins, like in Vanilla - would make them even worse for any foe.

    Keep going strong, and wish you great battles,

    greetings daigaku

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    If you keep this up Cyprian, I'll have little choice here but to make you a "don" of Redux...

    Anyways, I totally like this tale... Sort of a Redux (old-school) comics almost (- ever read Prince Valiant?)...
    BTW, you modded Spain slightly, right? Changed start-up cash and set Leon to be rebel-held? ...?...

    - A
    Last edited by Axalon; 01-14-2014 at 11:05. Reason: Da English!

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by daigaku View Post
    Hi @Cyprian2,

    about:LightCav

    I myself, having played Redux only as (my all-time favourite) Norse, English and Russian, always try to get Ireland (yes, even as Russian!), for the Irish Horsemen and their pedestrian counterpart, Irish Spearmen. Elite, great morale, fast moving - what can one expect better? Both because of their speed great for flanking or surrounding, and great chasers. As Russian, I put them together with those incredible Slavic Horse Archers - those demoralize the enemy with showers of arrows, and then a charge with both units, the SlavHorse wielding swords, the Irish their spears - even Knights break before such an attack. Just had a look - pity those SpanishHorse aren´t equipped with javelins, like in Vanilla - would make them even worse for any foe.

    Keep going strong, and wish you great battles,

    greetings daigaku

    Thanks, as always, @daigaku You are an audience of one, but a fabulous one at that.

    Yes, I recall liking those Irish Horsemen. The Scottish Horsemen are decent, too. Heck, even the Norse have far and away better cavalry than some of the other factions. It's all a matter of taste, I guess. Would love to hear more about your campaigns — especially the Russians. Sounds like you have a great tactical formula going there. Yes, those Slavic Horse Archers are deadly. And Slavic Bowmen? Watch out for those guys! I plan to do an AAR with the Russians eventually. But first thing's first: I'll have to finish this one.

    And you're in luck as far a javelins for the Spanish go! There's another cavalry unit called Spanish Raiders, and they are essentially the jinetes of yesteryear with somewhat modded stats. Very fun to play. All in all, I'd really recommend Spain based on the great variety of units available to them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Axalon View Post
    If you keep this up Cyprian, I'll have little choice here but to make you a "don" of Redux...

    Anyways, I totally like this tale... Sort of a Redux (old-school) comics almost (- ever read Prince Valiant?)...
    BTW, you modded Spain slightly, right? Changed start-up cash and set Leon to be rebel-held? ...?...

    - A

    Thanks for the props, @Axalon. Well, I fully intend to keep going with this, so I'd better get myself fitted for that suit and fedora.

    Yes, I used to read Prince Valiant when I was a kid. Now that you mention it, there is a resemblance. It's a fun format to write in, even if it isn't proper "literature."

    And, yes, you caught me -- I have taken the liberty of slightly modding the startpos. I wanted Spain to have the challenge of taking Leon (like in the Supremacy campaign, which I tried first). I also broke up the HRE a little bit, to make it so they start in the middle of a civil war. Surprisingly, despite all that, HRE did quite well in the hands of the AI (at least for a while). I also turned Valencia rebel, which may not have been the best idea, since it weakened Aragon a fair bit and hampered their development. Still, in other "test" campaigns, it didn't stop them from backstabbing me on several occasions. (Interesting how you can have such different experiences from one campaign to the next.) Finally, I tweaked the titles related to provinces somewhat to my own taste. Just a personal thing. As for the starting treasury of 500, that's default on "veteran," as far as I know...

    Well, stay tuned folks. More on the way!
    Last edited by Cyprian2; 01-14-2014 at 23:13. Reason: typos

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  12. #12

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Cyp...

    I got my popcorn ready for chapter IV, you just post it up whenever ready, I'll be here... Umm... A suggestion for you... On format... Bunch up/gather all chapters in post 1 (in order obviously) - just to keep them all together and in one (easy to find) place. Then you simply, update da post whenever you got new chapters ready, and leave the rest (below) for comments, update-notes etc. etc... Well, just a suggestion for you...

    - A

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  13. #13

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    It's a good suggestion, and exactly what I'd intended to do. Problem is the forum only allows 50 pics per post apparently. Not sure if there's a workaround.

  14. #14
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    About: Units

    I always prefer region-bound special units to the mainstream. I never built RegularInf or LightSpear - what are they good for, if you´ve got SaxonWarriors or IrishSpears? In the cavalry-department for me morale, elite, speed and discipline go before other stats. So, the ScottishNobles, the IrishHorse and the NorseCav, all not being Knights, I prefer to those; some armour upgrade and, if possible, weapon/attack upgrade, the highest possible morale/valour buildings, and you get Knight busters at less expenses and upkeep.
    Your Spanish guys: Good to hear those Javelins made it into Redux. Hadn´t had a look - what about their morale? If that´s okay, you could combine those two and get some irresistable cav combination! Throw in the Javs, retreat, flank, pin with SpanishHorsemen, charge in flank or even back with Raiders - and there they fall, the knights and wannabe-control-the-battlefield guys ;-))

    After your question about my campaigns I decided to write a bit in the "battle and tactics" thread. Will need some time to type (I´m sooooo sloooowwwww), but will be there today. Enjoy!

    Hoping-for-more-to-read greetings, daigaku

  15. #15

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyprian2 View Post
    It's a good suggestion, and exactly what I'd intended to do. Problem is the forum only allows 50 pics per post apparently. Not sure if there's a workaround.
    I see… Well there is little to be done about it then, at least at this point… Because I don’t think you should somehow cut down on pics due to some stupid regulations by the management. Carry on and hopefully, we can come up with better solution eventually.

    - A

  16. #16
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi, @Axalon @Cyprian2,

    not knowing enough about forum mechanics, I don´t know if something like that is possible: To make a sort of sticky of posts within the thread and keep the different chapters on top, the comments underneath. Any chance for that?

    greetings, daigaku

    Member thankful for this post:



  17. #17

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Axalon View Post
    I see… Well there is little to be done about it then, at least at this point… Because I don’t think you should somehow cut down on pics due to some stupid regulations by the management. Carry on and hopefully, we can come up with better solution eventually.

    - A

    Thanks, @Axalon It would definitely be preferable for convenience's sake (and much better aesthetically) to have it all in one post. I'll PM one of the mods and see if it isn't possible. Maybe @drone has some ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by daigaku View Post
    Hi, @Axalon @Cyprian2,

    not knowing enough about forum mechanics, I don´t know if something like that is possible: To make a sort of sticky of posts within the thread and keep the different chapters on top, the comments underneath. Any chance for that?

    greetings, daigaku
    A very good idea, @daigaku. I've actually been planning to do this.

    Well, here comes the next instalment. (Finally!)

  18. #18

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Prelude: The Road of Bones
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The Spanish host followed a track through grassy wetland. Wagons bogged down in a slurry of horse-scat and mud, their drivers exchanging curses with riders who splashed them as they passed.

    King Alfonso — now 67-years-old and hale, called the "Silver Haired" — rode beside a wagon full of his favourite provisions. There was a hard cheese from LaMancha, soft bread from the castle bakery at Burgos, and a cask of rich Valencia wine (imported before the fall of that province to the Moors) — all things he found handy in maintaining the spirits of his knights.
    If he were to die today, in this muddy field, or somewhere beyond, he'd be leaving behind a stronger Castile than he'd inherited. His lands were prospering. He had even seen to the construction of vast new estates that would cement the laws of feudalism in Spain.



    The star of de Asturias was very much on the rise, and when this Alfonso died, another Alfonso, his eldest son, would rule. Prince Alfonso was headstrong — but he could be perhaps be tempered by his three brothers, provided they did not fight amongst themselves. The king had considered dividing the realm between his sons, but knew this would be folly. Civil war was ever the bane of Spanish crown families, and King Alfonso was determined that the kingdom should stay whole. Yes, Alfonso the younger would rule. The others would be rewarded for their service. But there could only be one king.

    Prince Sancho rode in the vanguard. He had learned to rely on no one's eyes but his own. There was an unfortunate incident in the mountains south of Toledo, which had left a scar from a bandit's blade across his left eye. Never again would he trust others to do his scouting.



    There was ample grass here for the horses, but not much else. The track rose gradually and the marsh gave way to stretches of charred soil. The fields to either side of the track were furrowed, but no one sowed or tilled them anymore.
    Sancho looked around, wiping his brow. "Either the peasants around here are lazy," he said, "or something has scared them from their lands."

    "Not scared, my lord," remarked Don Garcia Arvantez of Àvila, bringing his mount to a sudden halt. "Dead." He pointed to something in the field.

    A pile of rocks, thought Sancho, nothing more.

    Then another man shouted: "God of mine! They're everywhere."

    The rocks turned out to be charred piles of bone, and human heads — hundreds of them — with blackened scraps of flesh still clinging in places, but no eyes. The ravens had seen to those.

    "We're riding through a charnel pit." Sancho spat and turned his horse, spurring back along the Spanish line.

    Prince Alonzo rode beside his father. This was his first taste of the warrior's life. His older brothers — Alfonso and Sancho, and even Fernando — had already been to battle. Now it was his turn. The previous night, while others had slept, he'd stayed awake polishing his weapons and armour until the metal shone in the torchlight as water at high noon. He would look like a proper knight in the coming battle, could he only comport himself like one. He had done well in his last tournament (which was also his first), unhorsing Don Alvarez, a knight in his brother Sancho's retinue, and then Lord de Sales, who'd come all the way from Anjou, and whom no one at the court liked, so there had been much cheering. Perhaps the most frightening and exhilarating moment had been when he asked and received the favour of the woman he swore he'd always love, yet whom he could never possess. Afterwards, when Alonzo had been swelled with pride (and wine) at the feast, Lord de Claris had turned to him and said: "a knight in tourney does not a knight on the field make," which Alonzo took to mean that a man can be gallant and not necessarily brave in battle. Could a man be both? He hoped so.

    There was a splashing of hooves in the road ahead and Prince Sancho reigned in before their father. "My lord, " he said, "I must ask you again: of what value are these lands to us?"

    The king, who had been silent these past hours as was his wont on long journeys, now eyed his second eldest son. "Of what value?" he asked. "Of what value is your honour? Of what value is your pride as a son of Castile? They obscenitied on our family name. Of what value, you ask?"

    "I agree it is with good cause that we march against these men," said Sancho, "but what of the Moors? Have they not obscenitied on all Christendom?"
    Alonzo thought his father might explode at this, but the king stayed calm. "Everything has a time," he said. "What riches we gain here will, in time, be used to the despair of the heathens."

    "I had hoped," rejoined Sancho, "to find spoils for my men who've seen no spoils since we put down the Bull's Horns."
    Prince Alonzo chose this moment to speak: "It is said that the false king gathers treasures as a dog gathers bones in its kennel. But we'll soon unkennel him. Won't we, father?"



    Scouts came galloping back from the fields ahead, splashing wagons and men.

    "Obscenity in the milk of your mothers!" shouted a waterlogged footman.

    A rider dismounted and bowed before the king. "Your highness," he said, "the false king of Leon gathers his host. He has left the stronghold in Zamora and comes to meet us in the field."

    Prince Sancho spat, and spurred his horse forward, followed by Don Garcia Arvantez.

    Prince Alonzo felt a stewing in his guts. "They come to fight."

    "No," said the king, taking his crowned helm from an attendant. "They come to die."



    Chapter 4: Feast and Famine

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    In 716, a royal wedding was held at Valladolid. Prince Alfonso, heir to the Spanish throne, married princess Constance of Burgundy in a great show of pomp and splendour. The bride and groom were virtual strangers on their wedding day, having only met the previous year, when Alfonso and his father accompanied King Philippe II of Burgundy on a hunt in Lanquedoc. Luckily, the younger sister, Brigitte, had chirped and giggled enough to fill the silence between Alfonso and his bride-to-be. While the prince remembered to offer Princess Constance his cloak when a cool wind kicked up through the trees, there was yet a stiffness and formality between them that was more than just strangeness. Alfonso, who was well into his forties, had never seemed anxious to acquire a consort. Indeed, his preference for the company of men was widely known in the Castilian court. Alfonso had been very close to his sister Jimena in their youth, but with her departure to become queen of Aragon, an iciness had descended on Alfonso in his dealings with women. Even the queen of Spain was no longer on speaking terms with her son, having quarrelled too long and often about his need to take a bride. Now his father gave him no choice, and the match with Constance, once arranged, was made good.



    She was a mild girl of seventeen when she came to the city of Valladolid. Thousands came into the streets, cheering loudly. As one court poet sang, the wedding "entwined two kingdoms in filaments of gold, and brought happiness to the people." Like Alfonso, Constance possessed hair of the palest gold, and the two of them looked to be a good match. Her character was believed to be beyond reproach. It was whispered that she'd once taken vows at a nunnery before her father sent men to remove her. The will of God notwithstanding, Constance was too valuable a game-piece to be wasted thus, or so the Burgundian king had convinced himself.

    Such was the love the Spanish people bore their queen-to-be that certain charlatans even devised a noxious elixir made from boiling down several tree nuts and fermenting them in serpent's blood, which was supposed to turn dark hair to gold if applied in the full light of the sun. It became commonplace, on market days in various Castilian towns, to see women, men, and even children, hurrying about with hair encrusted with the substance, giving their hair the look and texture of trampled straw. All this to say that the union between the houses of Burgundy and Castile was a welcome distraction from the ever looming threat of war and famine. Both these things had been visited on Spain in the recent past. Both would come again.

    A letter had arrived some days before the wedding. It came from Jaca, the royal house of Aragon, and the weary knight who bore it had been instructed to deliver it into the hands of Prince Alfonso and none other. I have been fortunate enough to obtain this letter from a little frequented corner of the library at Valladolid:


    My dearest Alfonsito,

    It is with a heavy heart, dear brother, that I miss your wedding, as you once missed mine. The years have been difficult for me in ways I had never expected. My husband thinks I dote too much on our sons, and he has reason. You would be proud, my brother, at how they've grown to resemble true sons of Castile. Pedro is twelve and Enrique is eight, and they show themselves to be worthy of our father's line in every way. Should you have occasion to meet them you will know my words to be true. Never since I left our fair Valladolid — never since you, my brother — have I loved anyone the way I do them. This is why I now break the long silence between us. It is for them, and not for myself, that I write. Famine descended on our land last spring. Perhaps you have heard? There was no harvest. An icy wind from the mountains felled the crops. If you could have seen the suffering of the common people, dear brother, even you would have been moved — you, who used to scorn our poor scullery maid Augusta so cruelly — would feed such as her from your own table. I have no doubt of this, brother, for I know your heart is kind. After the famine came the red flux. A disease so vile I cannot relate the details. It persists still in our land. The people are dying in their homes and in the very streets, so even the nobles are afraid. They lock themselves in their keeps and refuse my husband's summons. Now, misread me not, dear brother, as horrible as the disease and famine have been to our people, it is from the south whence comes our greatest threat. The heathen Moors have arisen from the very fires of hell to try us. Have you heard what they did in Valencia? For a while, there was a duke there who offered resistance. His forces were outnumbered, though, and he was soon overcome. My heart is too faint to repeat the tales I've heard of the barbarity enacted on the Christians of Valencia. Forgive me, for I am sure this is old news to you. Still, I cannot imagine what should happen if the Moors ever come here to Jaca. And if the spies from our court speak true, it is only a matter of time. They say the raids have begun. With hardly enough healthy fighters to man our walls, dear brother, we shall be sorely assailed. For the sake of my sons and whatever love you may still bear me I beg of you: speak to our father, tell him of our plight. I know the sons of Castile will come to the defence of their Aragonese cousins in their time of trial. And if you should choose to accompany our father's host when it comes, then our meeting will bring untold joy to my heart.

    Signed,

    Your Jimena.


    It is not known what answer Alfonso made to this letter. I include it here merely for the fullness of my chronicle.

    For three days, the wedding feast for Alfonso and Constance filled the royal palace at Valladolid. By the second night, it was whispered, the bride and groom had taken separate apartments.

    A tournament was held some weeks after the wedding, attracting men from nearly all the realms of christendom. Prince Alfonso, enough in the public eye, did not participate, but preferred to watch the proceedings by his father's side. Princess Constance, newly on show for the Spanish court, occupied a seat at the prince's right, though it was observed that the newlyweds rarely spoke or even looked at one another. Three of King Alfonso's sons were in the lists. Prince Sancho, a battle scarred and redoubtable fighter of forty-one years, jousted first.

    He fared well both in the joust and close combat, and asked favour from a damsel of nineteen, named Aldona. She was a princess from the pagan lands of the far East, who had come to Castile with her brother, Olgernas, the crown prince of Lithuania. It was said later that Aldona's eyes possessed a bewitching quality, as if she possessed the magic of the old gods, and Sancho came under her spell as soon as her garland of pale yellow flowers touched his helm.



    Prince Fernando came next in the lists. A solemn and pious youth. He had already shown himself to be a promising fighter and would soon go to the Basque territory — as the Castilians had taken to calling Navarre — to defend his father's interests there. He conducted himself well in the joust, and was only unhorsed when a shard from a shattered lance put out his horse's eye.



    Next came Prince Alonzo, the king's youngest son, who was, by all accounts, the champion of the tourney. At only fifteen years old, his hair was already the same silver as King Alfonso's. Indeed, it was often joked that Alonzo, though last born, should have been the king's true heir, if only because he was the only son who truly resembled the father. Alonzo's performance that day was much praised in the days and months ahead by the court at Valladolid. So the young prince's legend began to grow.



    It was after winning his third consecutive battle that day, and to the shock of all assembled, that Alonzo asked for the favour of none other than Princess Constance, consort to his brother. All eyes turned to the prince and his bride. She looked at her husband, perhaps for the first time that day, and he, in turn, looked amused.

    "Brother," said Alfonso. "Would you pluck a flower so lately delivered to me? Very well. As a man who earned his spurs today, so you have earned, I think, a small token from your future queen."

    Alonzo stood blushing for some time before the lady — who was also blushing — proffered her garland of fresh red roses.

    "Look," Alfonso quipped. "My wife and brother are the same colour as the roses." There was much laughter.

    At this moment, Prince Alonzo bowed low, took Constance's hand in his, and kissed it. It was a strange gesture, and the first time anyone at court had seen such a thing performed. But it's been claimed that from that day, hand-kissing became common in many parts of Christendom, being practiced with especial fervour by the French.


    Chapter 5: The Journey of Princess Berenguela

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    King Alfonso's eldest daughter, after Jimena of Aragon, was a lady both comely and dignified, named Berenguela.



    She had been raised in the court and was very close to her mother, the queen, who'd made sure she received training in the usual feminine arts, learning to play lute, flute, and harp, to sew and to stitch. But her unofficial tutor, who'd been close to her since she was a young child, was a man of great learning, and it was he who ensured she learn the great pagan writers of Greece and Rome, and to study the arts of philosophy and rhetoric. She also became proficient in several foreign tongues. So much did she excel in these disciplines that her father once lamented that Berenguela had been born a woman instead of a man, for she far outstripped most of his emissaries whose sole specialty seemed to be getting murdered in foreign lands.

    Most recently, Berenguela had travelled to Cordoba to treat with the Moors. Caliph Yusuf II was a learned man and able to discourse with Berenguela in Latin. While he had spoken to her in honeyed terms of peace between the Christians and Moors, there was hesitance in his voice.



    The caliph's son sat in a chair to his father's right, looking generally bored, but sometimes his eyes would flicker with venom. When Berenguela bowed to him and attempted a greeting in arabic, the son only scoffed and looked away. He then called for a servant and spent the rest of the audience having his fingernails cleaned.



    Berenguela, like her father, knew that any peace with the Moors would be tenuous and only likely to last for as long as Yusuf still lived. There would be no bargaining with Ibrahim — the sullen prince had made that much clear. All the same, Berenguela had been able to negotiate, without diminishing her father's honour, a mutual assurance that no aggression would come from either side for the span of three years.
    So it was that King Alfonso called Berenguela to his chambers one night in order to enlist her in the next part of his plan. He tasked her with going to a distant province of Asia, there to seek out the Emperor of the Byzantines (Greeks who called themselves Romans) Alexius Comnenus.

    "Is that how you will finally rid yourself of me, father?" demanded Berenguela, whose tongue could be as acid as her looks were delicate. "Because I won't marry some rich Italian?"

    "I know you are not a fool, so do not act it," replied Alfonso "I ask this of you because I know you are capable. You need not marry anyone. Only conclude the alliance and return home."

    Berenguela could have fought him further, but her eyes softened. She would go, and they both knew it.

    The journey was long and arduous. First she sailed to Italy by trireme, where she met and secured an alliance with the doge of Venice.


    "What a delightfully clever lady!"


    Then she went by Galley — crossing the Aegean and passing through the great horn of Constantinople — to the remote land of Chaldia, where she first met Emperor Alexius. He was reputed to be among the mightiest rulers in all the world, and seeing the extravagance and wastefulness of his court, she could believe it. He was then conducting a campaign against some unruly subjects in the mountains of Colchis and had assembled a mighty host. It was into a sea of tents that the princess proceeded to meet him for the first time. His was the largest tent — almost a portable palace, bright purple with crimson pennons flying all around.



    "I like my tents to be large and colourful," the Emperor told the princess. "So that my enemies might find me and die all the sooner."

    "It is a good thing your friends can find you, as well. Or those who wish to befriend you."

    "Your Greek is good," said the Emperor. "And do you wish to befriend me?" His eyes were twinkling.

    "I am here to do my father's bidding in all things. My first order of business, though, is those pesky Moors."

    Over the course of the next hour, a deal was forged, which secured the military assistance of the Byzantines in return for Spanish support in the wars Alexius was planning against the Moors of Corsica and Sardinia. With the deal completed, Berenguela wrote home to her father:



    Dear father,

    The Greek alliance will hold firm. Alexius is a very rich emperor whose wife has recently died. He is only a bit older than you. Perhaps I will marry him."

    Signed,

    Your Berenguela


    Berenguela remained at the Byzantine court for another two years. It was said she was a great favourite among the satraps and princes of the East.

    At length, the lady decided it was time to return to Spain. But it was not to be. Berenguela sickened with the flux while crossing the plains of Anatolia. Despite love the Greeks bore her, not even their most reputed physics could save her. She died in 720, and only her bones ever returned to Spain.

    Her father, it is said, had those bones entombed in a gold casket, and would sometimes go to the catacombs, open the casket, and weep over her still golden tresses.



    Chapter 6: The Scouring of Leon

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    In 720, another letter arrived, this one from the castle of Zamora in Leon. It has since become part of the vast collection of letters at Valladolid. I include it here, though I suspect it is mostly lies.


    "To Alfonso, who calls himself king of Castile.

    My name is Martin Algerra, and I am the rightful King of Leon.

    God has chosen me, in his great wisdom, to rule this land. I offer this testament as proof. My father was the duke of Soria. When he died, my two brothers received his lands and wealth and I was left with nothing. I decided to set out from Soria and, with God's help, make my own way in this world. I came to Leon, where I met and befriended a man by the name of Ramon de Berenguer. Ramon was a prince of Leon by birth, had been usurped by his uncle, Garcia de Berenguer. Ramon's sister, Sancha Berenguer was a maiden of fourteen when I first laid eyes on her. Ramon had planned to marry her to the King of Portugal, but it did not come to pass. Ramon met his death while hunting, when an arrow pierced his neck. Many believed this to be no accident, that his treacherous uncle had planned it. I had won much wealth by then, and so, lawfully and in the eyes of God, I took Sancha de Berenguer for my bride. It pains me to relate that Sancha is no longer alive, having been called to God in her nineteenth year. But the claim to the throne did not die with Sancha, for it lives on in me, her husband. It was I who killed renegade Garcia de Berenguer for his crimes, and I thus pressed my rightful claim to the throne of Leon. Let no one deny it. You, Alfonso de Asturias, have no better claim to your own throne. If you do not believe my words, if you should choose to contravene the laws of God and men, then I invite you to test my kingship by force of arms.

    King Martin Algerra.


    Alfonso's response to the letter was the have its bearer tied to a donkey and sent back to his master. If this sounds unusually cruel, it must be noted that Algerra had often treated the emissaries of Alfonso in similar ways, even resorting to outright murder on occasion.

    In the spring of 720, the maiden known as Aldona the pale made her return to the Spanish court. Since her last visit, her brother had risen to the throne of Lithuania, becoming its Grand Duke. At the tournament in 716, Olgernas had noted the special bond that seemed to grow between his sister and Prince Sancho. So it was as a prospective bride that the maiden came to Valladolid. What could have possessed King Alfonso to marry his second son to a pagan princess? To this day, it is a mystery. Sancho was not a young man, so perhaps Alfonso had despaired of finding him a worthier, Christian bride. In her private audience with the king, it was whispered, Aldona had enacted a pagan spell that turned the will of the king. I, for one, hardly find such claims credible. Alfonso was a strong king, and not easily swayed. Perhaps he was as taken with her as was his son, for she was said to be of exceeding beauty, pale in complexion with eyes so blue they were almost purple. Perhaps the king, having recently learned of his daughter Berenguela's death, sought to distract himself by welcoming a new daughter to his family. Whatever the reasons, Sancho and Aldona were wed in the Fall of 720. Far from the pomp and ceremony of Prince Alfonso's wedding, that of Sancho was conducted with much simplicity. The real ceremony, it was whispered, took place at night, amidst torches, in the deep castle vaults, and had included the pagan rite of bloodletting. But all such claims can only be seen as fanciful.



    In time, this union would give rise to much controversy in the court, earning Sancho the "Secret Pagan." But more of that later.

    By 721, there was one obstacle to Spanish supremacy in the north. The king assembled his four sons and their sworn men in the great hall at Valladolid.

    "It is time we avenge ourselves on those who have insulted us," he told them. "It is time we ride against the false king of Leon."

    The king set out his plans. Sancho and Alonzo would accompany him on the campaign, while Fernando would go to Navarre. Prince Alfonso would stay in Castile and keep the peace (by which it was understood that he and his new bride were to busy themselves in extending the de Asturias line). Though Prince Alfonso entreated his father to let him ride with the host, the king held firm.
    On the following day, as the sun rose over the hills outside Valladolid, the Spanish host rode out. After a long march through grasslands and swamps, along gullies and canyons, the Spanish scouts sighted the gathered Leonese host. The battle for Leon had begun.



    It was over in a single afternoon.

    The battle opened as a formation of Leonese riders with lances poised charged a band of Spanish horsemen. Lance broke against shield, pierced flesh and tore sinew. The Spaniards responded with their razoring shortswords, thrusting them into the grooves of helmets and the gap between shoulder plates. Blood frothed and spouted in the midday sun.



    Meanwhile, the Spanish swordsmen who could travel afoot more quickly than the Leonese feudal infantry, along with the Spanish lancers and royal knights joined the fight, routing the Leonese horse.




    King Alfonso and his retinue engaged the Leonese centre, while a unit of Leonese feudal infantry, seeing little hope of victory, attempted to escape the slaughter.



    Just then, Prince Alonzo and his knights charged from the flanks, completing the rout. It was said later that Alonzo's sword flashed in the sunlight, spraying the blood of his enemies like a mighty fount. Prince Alonzo caught up with Algerra and his retinue of feudal archers, slaying the false king where he stood.



    So ended the rule of the Leonese pretender, and so the realms of Castile and Leon were united under one ruler.





    The kingship of Leon was given to a knight of low birth but of much repute, Don Garcia Arvantez, who had slain dozens of enemies during the battle of Leon. It was widely known that rebels from Leon had attacked Arvantez's homeland of Avila when he was a child, slaughtering many of its inhabitants. So Arvantez had sworn revenge and occupied a prominent role in the invasion. Although his family had no true claim to the kingship of Castile, a royal decree was duly produced, and the title "King of Leon" was given to Arvantez and his descendants in perpetuity — provided they remained loyal to the crown of Castile. Of course, Alfonso was the true king of Leon.

    To further bind Arvantez to the crown of Castile, Alfonso offered in marriage his youngest daughter, Sancha de Asturias.



    Being young and utterly dependent on her ladies in waiting, Sancha showed little aptitude for anything beyond the princessly arts. She was adequate in all things: adequately charming, adequately beautiful, and adequately intelligent. And she made her new husband adequately happy, which adequately served Alfonso's purpose.



    The wedding took place at the castle of Zamora, where the defeated Algerra had amassed vast amounts of plunder, which was now divided equally between the leading members of the Spanish host. Leon, well known for the quality of its fish, proved to be a land of plenty. Though it had been much depopulated in the previous years by famine and red flux, the villages began to fill up again with happy peasants. Under the wise rule of Alfonso and his descendants, the land of Leon would once again know prosperity. Or so it was hoped at the time of its conquest by the Spanish.



    Two years the Spanish king spent scouring Leon and setting things aright after the bad rule of Algerra. It was discovered that many peasants had been killed and burned in the fields in a futile attempt to control the red flux which had ravaged the land. For three years, Alfonso occupied himself with the restoration of Leon. And yet, he had neglected matters in the East of Spain.

    In 726, news reached Castile and Leon that the learned and moderate Caliph of the Moors had died.



    His son, who took the name "Caliph Umar," would not be as tractable as his father. Spies reported that the new Caliph was gathering a formidable host from all corners of his vast domain.



    In 728, king Alfonso returned to Castile, expecting to live out the last of his years in peace. He had worked hard throughout his life in forging a kingdom worthy of Spain. He had faced enemies on all sides, vanquishing some in battle, and keeping others enemies at bay through his shrewd diplomacy. It was time for him to rest and enjoy the fruits of his labour.

    One night in the same year, a bag was thrown over the ramparts of the royal palace of Valladolid. The sentries who found the bag brought it directly to the king and his son, who were taking their supper in the great hall. Inside the bag were two human heads. One head had tangled auburn hair. Alfonso the younger threw up his supper when he beheld it, for it was the head of his sister, Jimena. The other head belonged to her husband the king of Aragon. With the heads came a note: "submit to the laws of the one true God, or die."



    Aragon had fallen to the Moors.

    Upon receiving this news, king Alfonso took to his bed. Within two days, he was dead.



    And Spain had a new king.






    Coming soon: The Moorish War.


    Last edited by Cyprian2; 01-31-2014 at 01:50. Reason: formatting

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  19. #19
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    ....wow...so waiting for it had it´s worth....

    You being such a skilled author, boiling up all the tiny bits and pieces making a great story, should write books ;-))

    The way you describe the mood of situations, how you condense a story from dry game feedbacks is, I have to say again, simply great. I was laughing at some bits you strew in, like about the unloving marrieds, or the blushing little brother...

    Battle descriptions, and the characterisation of family and enemies, altogether give an atmosphere to this AAR that lets me feel to be in the middle of the whole story happening.

    Another masterpiece, for sure, and thanks for it!

    nearly envious greetings ;-)) daigaku

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  20. #20

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Thanks, as always, @daigaku.

    One of ambitions in life is to write and publish novels. But I don't pretend that AAR writing could ever pass for literature. Still, it's a lot of fun to tell of my campaign this way. So many plot-points are suggested with every single turn. And so, there's a lot more to come!

    best,

    Cyprian

  21. #21
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    ...for my taste, good enough to write historical novels - like Bernard Cornwell, but with your unique style ;-))

    keep going strong!

    daigaku

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  22. #22

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Well, @daigaku, it's funny you should mention Bernard Cornwell. Just today, I finished The Pagan Lord -- such an amazing series, the Saxon stories! I am beyond flattered that you could even think of me in the same breath as him.

    You've inspired me to write more!

  23. #23
    Member Member daigaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi @Cyprian2,

    You've inspired me to write more!
    Waiting for it! But please, just because I mentioned Cornwell, don´t start to give your AAR this gruntling tone he uses so often for his main characters ;-)). I´m quite happy with the way you write/describe........

    looking forward greetings, daigaku

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  24. #24

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Is it just me, or are you getting better at this, Cyp? I totally dig, the new chapters... Maybe you should increase the intervals of releases and publish a chapter at a time? Just brainstorming here...

    - A
    Last edited by Axalon; 02-03-2014 at 19:44.

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  25. #25

    Default Re: Chronicle of Spain: A Redux 1004 AAR

    Hi, all.

    Unfortunately, I'm not back with an update, but to report a disaster...

    My harddrive was fried during a lightning storm a couple weeks ago, and since I was so foolish as to not have backed anything up, it looks as though I may have lost everything. I have the computer elves working on the problem, but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to retrieve anything. Anyway, the AAR is now officially on hold. If this one proves to be kaput, I will surely start another (and with a different faction).

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