A Green And Pleasant Land

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VVD0D95, Jun 28, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 67: Alphonso's Ireland

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 67: Alphonso’s Ireland



    March, 1299


    Dublin was a beautiful place, the people were somewhat friendly, and if he were honest with himself, Alphonso wished he could spend more time here. He had written letters to Margaret describing everything and she seemed just as enthused as he was. Of course it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There was still a rebellion going on that he needed to quell. Connaught and his rebels had been very clever, they’d stopped themselves from outright action and instead resorted to shadow tactics, to try and push him into engaging. Thankfully, he’d shown restraint and his authority overruled that of the more belligerent Earl of Ulster, but for how long he did not know.


    He looked at the letters which had come from across the land. “Connaught and his allies continue to move through the land, but they do not raid or pillage. They simply march. And the common man allows them to do so.” He rubbed at the beard that had started growing. “Figuring out how we are to change this is going to be an issue.”


    “The answer is simple, Your Highness.” Ulster said. “We make an example of anyone who has allowed Connaught and his band of rogues through.”


    “That would require hanging thousands of people.” Alphonso countered. “Not effective at all.”


    “Oh, I do not mean that we should hang them, Sir.” Ulster responded.


    Wary of what might be said next, Alphonso asked. “So, what exactly is it that you are suggesting then?”


    “We find out the names of the people who allowed Connaught to pass through their homes and lands, and we lower their taxes, whilst taking away the best trading options from them and giving them to their rivals.” Ulster said.


    Alphonso thought on this. “Benefit them in one manner, but then punish them by lowering their ability to yield money. A possible solution.”


    “And one that would go against the law of the land, Your Highness.” Sir John Wogan, Justiciar of Ireland said. “The laws passed under the great council were clear.”


    “And they also left room for them to be repealed in times of great urgency.” Alphonso replied, remembering his lessons. “This is such a time.”


    Sir John shifted then, and the impression Alphonso had of him as being a man who stuck to rules like a fly stuck to blood, grew. “I am not sure it would be right, Your Highness.”


    “Why ever not?” Ulster demanded. “The men following Connaught or who allowed him to pass through their lands are committing treason, and the Prince has the right to do something about it.”


    “I just feel that it would unnecessarily antagonise people.” Wogan replied.


    “You are scared.” Ulster said filled with disgust. “The greatest threat the Lordship of Ireland has ever faced and you are scared of it. Pathetic.”


    Before Ulster could continue, Alphonso spoke. “We understand your concerns, Sir John, however, this needs to be sorted out promptly. If we can do it without bloodshed the better. Start drafting the law. The King will be here by the next month, with any luck this matter will be dealt with by then.”


    “Yes, Your Highness.” Wogan replied.


    “We shall keep the army here for the time being, but should they actively strike then we shall respond accordingly.” Alphonso responded, though he prayed the Irish would not do so.
     
  2. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    Alphonso is showing the wisdom that his namesake, his uncle, often didn't show himself. However, his decision could still go any number of ways, but it feels like the prudent decision at the moment. He had to something to demonstrate his authority.
     
  3. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Aheeed though the Irish kings have always respected strength is tbis strength
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 68: Scheming Philippe

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 68: Scheming Philippe



    July, 1299



    They met in the manor house that belonged to his wife as Countess of Champagne. Philippe knew that if they were found out he would be done for treason, given his father’s explicit orders But he was beginning to find he did not much care. His father was dying, or rather would be dead soon, and he was already King, in actions if not law. He looked at the three men sat opposite him and began to speak.


    “King Edward of England is in Ireland now. He has met up with his son Alphonso and they are working together to handle the Irish. However, the Irish King of Connaught sent a message to me a few days ago, requesting my assistance.” He saw the Count of Lesparre’s eyes widen. “He proposed an alliance, in return for recognising him as High King of Ireland and encouraging His Holiness to do the same, he would send us the aid of some of his kinsmen and the Gallowglass to attack Gascony and cause trouble there for Edward.”


    Lesparre nodded. “A sensible decision, Your Royal Highness, make King Edward decide between which he values more. Ireland or Gascony. With Gascony contributing something around 40% of the total revenue for the English treasury, I think it is simple to see which one he will go for.”


    “Indeed that was my thinking.” Philippe said. He wanted to take Gascony from Edward, deal with the English presence in France once and for all.


    As always though Guillaume de Nogaret, his main advisor came in with a cautionary piece of advise. “I would be hesitant to agree just yet, Your Royal Highness. After all the Gallowglass now belong to Scotland, not as mercenaries anymore. Furthermore, Ireland is far from Gascony, and any movement they make would alert King Edward’s suspicions.”


    “So, what would you suggest?” Lesparre demanded. The man had lived in Gascony for many years and his family had been one of the wealthiest and most powerful families for some time, until he had gotten on the wrong end of a loan from a Jew, which had forced him to flee, to escape the Duke of Gascony’s bailiffs, who also happened to be the King of England’s bailiffs.


    “I would suggest we agree to recognise Connaught as High King of Ireland, we encourage him to send a emissary to His Holiness, and then we ourselves move onto Gascony. With King Edward distracted in Ireland he will not be keeping a close eye on the province. He will then need to decide.” Nogaret said.


    “But that would require the King’s permission.” Lesparre said. “And the King has indicated that he does not want war.”


    “I have been given the powers of the King.” Philippe reminded Lesparre. “And that includes incursions. But we would not make it an all out war.”


    “So, you would bait him into war?” Lesparre asked. “Knowing Edward as I do, I can tell you now that he will come running to Gascony the moment that he learns it is under attack.”

    “That is what I am hoping for.” Philippe said. “We must ensure that this does not leave this group of people for now. I shall speak with the marshal and then make the plans from there.”


    “I shall ensure my tenant are ready.” Lesparre said.


    “Perfect, you may go.” Philippe said. Lesparre rose, bowed and left, Nogaret also rose and left, leaving Philippe alone with his brother Louis. He looked at his brother and asked. “What is it?”


    “Why did you not tell either of them that the King is a day away from death. The doctors confirmed it and the Priest has come for him to say the last rites.” Louis said.


    “Because I need them to have the illusion of rogueness.” Philippe said.


    “Why?” His brother asked.


    “Because they would never agree to this war were I King of France. As Crown Prince, this is a raid. As King it would be war.” Philippe said simply.
     
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  5. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    I think Philippe might be overplaying his hand a bit here. Edward absolutely will come running to Gascony's aid, if only because he knows Alphonso is on top of the Irish situation. The English have the luxury of having two supremely commanders who wield respect and authority in the king and the prince.
     
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  6. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Indeed though Alphonso has yet to fight the Irish.
     
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  7. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    My money is still on Alphonso :biggrin:
     
  8. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Interesting, why is that?
     
  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 69: Alexander's Last Legs

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 69: Alexander’s Last Legs



    November, 1299



    “We now stand on a platform that shall enable Scotland’s peace and prosperity for many years to come. The economy is thriving and we are bringing something very special to the realm. However, we retain some concerns.” Alexander said. He knew he had limited time left. The illness that had left him bedridden for so long had passed, but the after effects were still strong.


    His son, the Lord of Mann and Earl of Gairoch spoke then. “Alasdair of Islay and his movements in the isles?”


    “Indeed.” Alexander responded. “The man has his father’s ambition without having his tact also. I have already received complaints from various nobles about what he’s been doing and as such I would consider suggestions for how to handle him.”


    Almost immediately, the Lord High Constable spoke. “I would advise sending ships to Islay and showing the might of the Scottish crown.”


    Alexander looked at the man and asked. “How many ships and with how many men?” He was not actually considering sending an army, he just wanted to get some considerations.


    “I would send thirty ships with as many men as can be stationed on them, Sire.” Comyn said. “Islay is a man who like the rest of this kingdom respects strength. He has been doing what he has for reasons that might remain mysterious to us, but to him make perfect sense. We cannot allow him to unify the Isles, anymore than we could allow the Irish to use the Gallowglass to threaten Mann.”


    “Lord Buchan is right, Sire.” His son said. “The Gallowglass would be perfect for this, they have been training for months on this very possibility.”


    James Stewart, the High Stewart spoke then. “Whilst it is admirable that both His Highness the Earl of Gairoch and Lord Buchan wish to show their bravery through arms, might I remind the council that unless Islay has actually committed some sort of treasonable offence, the crown cannot use force.”


    “The man is raiding through different islands and is forcing some of these islands’ tenants to pay him dues.” Alexander’s son protested. “Surely that is an offence deserving of punishment?!”


    “Mortimer?” Alexander asked, looking at his Lord Justiciar. He knew the answer, but he was curious what angle, Mortimer who was definitely not a supporter of Islay would go down.


    “Well, whilst the Steward is correct, in some circumstances there is an ability to circumvent the procedure. By forcing some members of the raided isles to pay him dues, Islay is in violation of the laws sealed during the meeting of the Estates twenty years ago, Sire. Therefore, if you were of a mood you could use military force to bring him to heel.” Mortimer responded.


    Before anyone else could speak, Alexander spoke. “Indeed, I could. However, Islay will be important in the future should we wish to retake anymore of the islands currently under Norwegian control. Therefore, for the time being we shall not send force to deal with him, but shall instead request that he send his nephews to foster here in Stirling. That way he shall know the implicit threat if he continues on his actions.”


    “And if he does not stand by that?” Buchan asked.


    “Then we shall kill his nephews and kill him.” Alexander said simply, though he knew that he likely would not survive the journey to fight Islay.


    There was a murmured consensus there, and then Alexander turned the topic of conversation elsewhere. “Speaking of such things, there is another matter I wished to discuss.” He paused and then said. “The matter of my grandsons and granddaughters marriages.”


    “Sire?” His son asked, sounding somewhere between intrigued and concerned.


    “Our grandson David shall marry Eleanor Balliol, daughter of Lord John and his wife. Given that Lord John’s son has unfortunately died due to a fever, that will ensure that Galloway and Dundee do not fall into anyone else’s hands.” Alexander said.


    “A good marriage, Sire.” Comyn said. Alexander knew that Comyn’s cousin had plotted for this to happen, indeed, he was even convinced Comyn had poisoned his own nephew to have it happen. But the Comyns would be disappointed, David was not going to be their puppet. His second grandson was strong willed and stubborn. Much like his mother.


    “As for our eldest granddaughter Margaret, we are torn between wanting to have her marry a Prince of France, perhaps Crown Prince Philippe’s son Louis, or somewhere else. Perhaps to Naples.” Alexander said.


    “France would bring us into dispute with England, Sire.” His son said. “Especially given the actions of Crown Prince Philippe as concerns Gascony. Naples whilst perhaps being an unusual candidate might do more to open trade for us.”


    “Indeed, that was my thinking.” Alexander responded looking directly at his son. France, he had dreamed of having a granddaughter as Queen of France for some time, but their actions in Gascony were far too damaging now. “As for our grandson Alexander, we are not sure where he should marry.”


    “I had thought perhaps to Brittany. It could bring a large dowry and replenish our coffers some.” His son said.


    “Brittany might be considered, though of course they are cousins to one another, which would require a Papal dispensation.” Alexander pointed out. “Something that might not always be achievable depending on His Holiness’ mood.” There was a pause then as they considered their choices.


    “What about a Princess of Sweden?” The High Steward suggested. “If Your Majesty is looking for an ally against Norway, a marriage with Sweden would make the most sense. Of the two kingdoms between them and Denmark they are stronger at this time.”

    “Sweden would be considered, yes.” Alexander said. He would need to send somewhere there to see. “Regardless for now, the time has come for us plan and prepare. Winter is upon us and thus all this must be set aside for now.” With that he rose and walked out of the room, needing to rest.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 70: Edward's Dilemma

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 70: Edward’s Dilemma



    March, 1300



    Edward rifled through the papers on his desk, well it was really the Justiciar of Ireland’s desk, but since he was the King and Lord of Ireland, it was his desk now. He could feel his bones beginning to wear down, and he knew he needed to return to something else soon enough. He missed Eleanor’s arms around him, and her laugh. She was still in Castile, having written to say that she thought she’d be able to sort out the tensions between Castile and Aragon herself. She’d send their son Edward back though, and Edward had written to cousin Edmund asking him to keep an eye on the boy, to make sure he didn’t do anything foolish.


    “The Irish remain within their hold outs. They have not engaged in anything more than simple raiding and foraging, which we have also engaged in.” Alphonso said. His son was sporting a beard, it made him look refined, Edward thought.


    “And how is the morale of the men?” Edward asked.


    “Well enough. I think they would rather have a fight though, then to be constantly sat around doing nothing.” Alphonso said.


    “Indeed, though we cannot force a fight, unless we wish to make it an all out war.” Edward responded. He had been considering his options for a few months now, ever since he had landed in Ireland, the King of Connaught had stopped his outright flaunting of authority and had instead settled down in the hills.


    “Then why don’t we try and force them into engaging?” Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster asked. “If they are the ones who initiate the fighting then everyone will know that they are the ones who broke this situation we find ourselves in.”


    Richard was a good friend of his, but Edward had to admit the man always presented some strange scenarios. “It would not work, Richard. Connaught has shown himself to be far more conservative in his approach than we thought. In order to force him out into the field we would need to do something drastic. Something that might well lead to us losing support from others.”


    “Then we should take that risk.” De Burgh said. “The longer this drags out, the longer it will take to rebuild your authority, Sire.”


    Edward knew that de Burgh was right, but at the same time he felt somewhat conflicted. Did he engage in a direct assault or bait Connaught? If he baited Connaught what would that do? How many lives would be lost in the retaliation. Eventually, he decided he needed to hear the man out. “What do you suggest?”


    Before de Burgh could respond, Alphonso spoke. “I think it would make the most sense to send out a few of our local lads. Let them go to Connaught and tell him that they are facing hardships. That the English are raping their women and harming their children. Let them spread all sorts of falsehoods to Connaught. That will eventually goad him into doing something. Connaught is a man who sees himself as a champion for the Irish after all.”

    Edward thought on this, it was a sensible proposal, but it did carry risks. “We would need to ensure that a counter whisper was being spread to ensure that none of our allies in Ireland took the advice literally.”


    “Of course.” Alphonso replied.


    “You have people in mind?” Edward asked impressed.


    “Yes,” Alphonso said. “Two lads who come from powerful families within Connaught’s lands. Seamus and Connor. They know how to operate within the confines of the truth and lie.”


    “And they will be able to convince Connaught of this ruse?” Edward asked.


    “Yes, Sire.” Alphonso replied.


    “Very well.” Edward said, deciding to trust his son. “See to it.”


    Alphonso nodded, and then the Justiciar of Ireland spoke. “Sire, there is the matter of France that needs discussing also.”


    Edward nodded. “Philippe III of France has died, and his son has succeeded to the throne. This has consequently meant that his support of Lesparre is now an act of war. However, His Holiness has offered to send someone to mediate in the dispute. This means that I would need to head to Paris to settle the matter.” Edward waited for any protests, when none were forthcoming he continued. “This was something I had considered doing originally, but then we found letters on an emissary from the Connaught boy, that showed Connaught had been communicating with Philippe, this was to serve as a distraction for a wider war.”


    “So, what will you do now?” Alphonso asked.


    “I have sought advice from the Lord Chancellor, and it has been made clear that Philippe has broken our previous agreements made with his father. Papal mediation will solve nothing. Therefore, it must be war.” Edward said. “I intend to set sail from Ireland in a few days’ time.”


    “How many men will you take with you, Sire?” Alphonso asked.


    “One thousand men from here, another two thousand are already setting sail for Gascony under the command of the Earl of Lincoln. I shall meet them there.” Edward responded. “You shall command the forces remaining here in Ireland.” He told his son.


    “Very well, thank you, Sire.” Alphonso replied.


    “A wise decision, the Prince will bring peace back to these lands.” De Burgh said.


    “Indeed, that is my hope.” Edward responded.
     
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  11. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    These last 2 updates were great!
     
  12. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Cheers :). Curious as to your thoughts on Edward's plan as it were and whether he can beat Phil IV
     
  13. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    It's all going to depend on how much money Edward will have. The costs of these military operations over the past few years in Wales, followed by Ireland and France, must surely be adding up. However, he would also be leading a vastly experienced and battle-hardened army and by this point, Edward's reputation as a commander precedes him. Ideally, he will hope for Alphonso to find a way to expedite success in Ireland, the sooner to have Alphonso arrive in France to assist.

    The silver lining is that he can campaign in Gascony with his younger son and his brother Edmund, the younger Edward can hopefully gain significant experience. If the Castilian situation is settled, perhaps his alliance with Aragon can aid him in defending Gascony, as the Aragonese would surely be interested in weakening Philippe's authority in Navarre if they can. If and when Alphonso finishes dealing with Connaught, he will likely be instructed to defend Ponthieu, which his mother actually would be ruling in her own right and would be part of Alphonso's future inheritance.
     
  14. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    This is very true, and given there's not been any setbacks like there was in Scotland otl, if he needs to call a Parliament for more funds, they should be relatively willing to acquiesce
     
  15. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    Maybe. Though at this point, Edward likely has so many supporters in England that Parliament would be more willing to vote in his favor; they were traditionally very reluctant to grant expansive funding for continental military campaigns. You are correct in that the coffers likely have a lot more money in them without the OTL Scottish War.
     
  16. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    This is very true. Man just imagine that an inexperienced Philippe going up against Edward and Edmund and most of the experienced English nobility.
     
  17. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    Especially since Edward has more international allies than Philippe does. I think ultimately Philippe will see the wisdom of coming to the negotiating table before too long.
     
  18. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Agreed, and he'll be humiliated by it as well
     
  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 71: Valois Begs

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 71: Valois Begs



    May, 1300


    Charles had heard the news of his father’s death and brother’s ascension and tried to rush back to France. He knew his brother and knew his attitudes toward the English, but he’d been delayed. The Elector Palatine had had some request or the other and then from there things had just gotten out of hand and so he had been delayed. But now he was back in Paris, and he was desperate to convince his brother against his current course of action. He did not know how successful he would be, but he hoped somewhat at least.


    As King of the Romans, he had the right to address his brother as an equal, something he was sure would anger Philippe. “Brother, we cannot go ahead with this Gascon campaign.” He said.


    “Why ever not?” Philippe replied. “Edward as Duke of Gascony has failed in his feudal obligations to the Count of Lesparre, as his feudal overlord as well as Lesparre’s we owe it to him to ensure proper justice is done.”


    “So, summon him here. Do not lend credence to Lesparre’s ploy for power by invading.” Charles pleaded.


    “Edward considered himself too good for coming here.” Philippe said simply as if that answered everything. Charles was not convinced though.


    “Did you even bother summoning him here?” Charles asked. He knew Edward somewhat; his wife’s father was a reasonable man.


    “I did what was within my rights.” Philippe said.


    The way his brother said that made Charles think that this had been in the works for some time. Cautiously he asked. “How long have you been planning this?”


    “Whatever do you mean?” Philippe asked in the same tone he had used once when their mother had tried to tell him off for something that he had later blamed on their older brother Louis.


    “Oh come off it, brother.” Charles said. He noticed the flashing in his brother’s eyes and secretly delighted in it. “You cannot fool me. I know you’ve had some obscene fascinating with creating a rivalry with the English that does not need to exist. Lesparre was perhaps just an excuse for this.”


    “Well if you are so aware of what I am thinking, why don’t you use that thinking to see the truth.” Philippe asked.


    “What truth?” Charles demanded his own patience lessening.


    “The longer the English remain on our Kingdom the more they erode our authority. Our father was foolish to think that he could ever maintain a balanced relationship with the English whilst they sit in Gascony. The only way we can ensure that we have proper control over our Kingdom is to remove the direct challenge to that rule.” Philippe ranted.


    “You want to drive the English completely from the land, and finish what Philip Augustus could not do?” Charles asked. His mind raging with the consequences of this action.


    “Yes.” Philippe said. “It is the only way to strengthen what we have now.”


    “I disagree.” Charles said. “Our father worked long and hard with King Edward to develop a peace process that ensured that their rights and our rights were recognised. King Edward helped ensure that there was a settlement of issues relating to the time of our grandfather. He is a good ally to have, especially with the situation in Castile and Aragon.”


    “Pah.” Philippe said derisively. “He is an ambitious man and his son even more so. We must act now before he grows any more powerful.”


    “And what of the marriage alliance that our father was negotiating?” Charles asked.


    “What of it?” Philippe asked dismissively. “That was our father’s plan not mine. My children will not marry English Princes or Princesses.”


    Charles looked at his brother and sighed. “You are dooming us to another hundred years of war.”


    “I will defeat the English and convince the Gascons that they are better off with our family as their overlords than the English.” Philippe replied.


    “And if they do not agree?” Charles asked.


    “Then I will make them agree.” Philippe responded, he then added. “You can accompany me into Gascony, or you can lose your land and titles here.”


    Charles had expected this, his brother knew that his income from his estates here was how he generated the right to do what he did in the Empire. Therefore, he had no choice but to say. “Very well, I shall accompany you.” He would need to write to Joan, to try and set up some sort of communication with her father.
     
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  20. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    Nice, I was waiting for this next update. Poor Charles has a pretty challenging dilemma in front of him.
     
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