Chapter 14: French Affairs
In 1365, Charles V of France faced a number of challenges inherited from his father's reign and the conflict with the kingdom of England. One of the challenges was the conflict with the King of Navarre, Charles II, known as "le Mauvais", which led to the Truce of Avignon, which saw the settlement of the conflict over the succession to the Duchy of Burgundy. Another conflict added to the war with England, the war of succession in Brittany, was resolved with the Treaty of Guérande, under which Jean IV de Monfort became Duke of Brittany at the expense of Jeanne de Penthièvre, and paid homage to Charles V.

The King of France also had to deal with the payment of his late father's ransom and manage a kingdom weakened by the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360 and ravaged by the "routiers", unpaid mercenaries who had organized themselves into large companies that ransomed and attacked various corners of the kingdom and even the Pope's domains, prompting the Pope to issue a bull condemning these excesses.

This did not prevent Charles V from reinforcing the royal domain with the châtellenie de Vaucouleurs in the Barrois region.

To solve the problem of the large companies, Charles V sought to send them on expeditions to other places. Thus, in the summer of 1366, Arnaud de Cervole and his 40,000 men joined Duke Amédée VI of Savoy on his expedition against the Turks. To get rid of the other large companies remaining in the kingdom, Charles V commissioned Du Guesclin to lead them to the Iberian Peninsula, where they would intervene in the Castilian civil war between Peter I the Cruel and his half-brother Henry. With the English supporting Peter I, Du Guesclin backed Henry.

In 1367, in the context of his support to Henry of Trastamare against Peter the Cruel in the Castilian civil war, Du Guesclin was captured at the battle of Najéra before being released on ransom. The great companies, however, played a crucial role in Henri de Trastamare's success in claiming the Castilian crown during the months afterwards and in the end of the 1360's.

During this period, the conflict between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France, which had become a proxy conflict through the Castilian Civil War, threatened to flare up again in 1368, when the Counts of Armagnac and Albret, officially vassals of Edward III since the Treaty of Brétigny, turned to Charles V in 1368, the following year, Cahors and several Aquitaine territories preferred to turn to the King of France, and withdrew from English domination in protest at the increased taxes levied by the Black Prince to continue his expeditions in support of Peter the Cruel of Castile. This led to the resumption of hostilities between the English and French kingdoms, marked the following year by the sacking of Limoges by the Black Prince, and by Robert Knolles' English cavalcade before Du Guesclin, who became Constable in the autumn of 1370, defeated him at the battle of Pontvallain.
 
Chapter 15: A Death and a Betrothal
Buda, May 1378: Princess Catherine, the eldest daughter of King Louis of Hungary and Poland and Queen Elizabeth of Bosnia, died at the age of seven. Always sickly, she passed away surrounded by her parents and siblings, who all grieved for her. Catherine was laid to rest at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Alba Regia. This child’s death caused a change in Louis’ succession plans for his children. Princess Mary would now inherit the Kingdom of Hungary, while Princess Jadwiga was intended to inherit the Kingdom of Poland.

Eastern Europe, July 1379: Princess Jadwiga, heiress to the Polish throne, was engaged to Ernst, the eldest son and heir of Duke Rudolf of Austria and his wife, Jadwiga of Sagan, who was once herself a Queen of Poland. The marriage was set for 1390, when Jadwiga would be seventeen and Ernst would be thirteen.
 
Eastern Europe, July 1379: Princess Jadwiga, heiress to the Polish throne, was engaged to Ernst, the eldest son and heir of Duke Rudolf of Austria and his wife, Jadwiga of Sagan, who was once herself a Queen of Poland. The marriage was set for 1390, when Jadwiga would be seventeen and Ernst would be thirteen.

Sorry to nitpick, but at that time she wasn't heir to Poland or anything, privilege of Koszyce gave Louis power to make her or Mary heir but he never actually used it in favour of his younger daughter, his wife did it after he was dead. Polish-Hungarian split was freak accident who was never expected to happen before it actually happened.
 
Sorry to nitpick, but at that time she wasn't heir to Poland or anything, privilege of Koszyce gave Louis power to make her or Mary heir but he never actually used it in favour of his younger daughter, his wife did it after he was dead. Polish-Hungarian split was freak accident who was never expected to happen before it actually happened.
Well, this is alternate history…
 
Chapter 16: Anglo-French Developments
During 1371, Du Guesclin further pushed his advantage in Poitou after defeating an English force at Bressuire. However, the following year, while he further moved in the Poitou, he renounced to take Poitiers as the kingdom of France had to endure the double attack from John of Gaunt in Normandy and from the Black Prince in Aquitaine. Using the same tactics as in 1370, Du Guesclin avoided fighting with the Black Prince in 1372-1373 while still working on retaking the Poitou. 1372 saw the birth of prince Louis, third son of Charles V after John and Charles.

After managing to take control most of the Poitou, Du Guesclin is recalled in the summer of 1373 by Charles V to handle the threat of John of Gaunt in the North as the proximity of the latter in Normandy with Paris was more considered more worrying than the attacks of the Black Prince in Aquitaine, especially with the fall of Rouen in the first half of 1373.

As a result, Du Guesclin planned the defences of the Ile-de-France, both relying on the local defences and on his favourite tactics. This strategy allowed Charles V and him to gather enough force while delaying and weakening the English force during the first half of 1374. In summer 1374, taking advantage of the fact John of Gaunt was retreating towards Rouen to reorganize his forces, Du Guesclin struck him near Gisors, destroying his enemy’s rear-guard and forcing John to take refuge in Rouen. Du Guesclin besieged the city while retaking part of the Normand territory that the English took in the two previous years.

Charles V was however forced to renounce to further pursue the reconquest of his kingdom in the West and in Aquitaine, allowing the Black Prince to assert the control of the English crown in this part. It also brought him to speed up his military reforms to counterbalance the strengths of the English army while Jean de Vienne began to reorganize and to rebuild the French navy. Charles V also reformed the majority age for the king to thirteen years old.

In 1375, while Rouen was still besieged, Du Guesclin pursued his attacks against the other English forces in Normandy, forcing those defending Le Havre to retreat. Charles V was ready to negotiate a truce with the English, even though it was to allow his forces to implement the new reforms and to rethink and improve his strategies for the reconquest of his realm.
 
Chapter 17: The Heir of Austria
CHAPTER 17: THE HEIR OF AUSTRIA
Music: Marek Klein – Jubilate Deo

Wiener Neustadt, 22 July – 1 November 1375: After Duke Rudolf’s return from his trip to Italy with Emperor Charles IV, he’s pleased to see that his wife Jadwiga has managed his realms well during his absence – and that his daughters remain happy and healthy – but try as he might, Rudolf still wishes for a son. After all, with his brothers gone, Rudolf has no heir. And although he loves his daughters very much, he’s not willing to fight so that Kunigunde – a girl of three – succeeds him. What he needs is a son, and he needs one soon. Despite these lingering worries, he resolves to spend more time with his wife and daughters. And although Jadwiga conceives later in the year, the pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Despite this, though, Rudolf remains adamant that Jadwiga will give birth to a son.

Masovia, 2 April 1376: Duke Rudolf IV of Austria – along with his wife Jadwiga – meets with King Louis of Hungary and Poland, to discuss a marriage alliance between their children: should Rudolf have a son, he will be betrothed to Louis’s youngest daughter, Jadwiga of Anjou. Rudolf and his wife are pleased, since a marriage between a son of theirs and Princess Jadwiga ensures a lasting alliance between the House of Habsburg and the House of Anjou. The two men shake hands and their wives say goodbye to one another, and with this, the alliance is done.

Bruck an der Mur, 22 July 1377: In her fifth childbirth, Duchess Jadwiga of Austria gives birth to Rudolf’s longed for son and heir. He’s named Ernst, a name so far not seen in the House of Habsburg. His elated mother Jadwiga is relieved, as the birth of a healthy son has eased the pressure on her shoulders. But peace will not last long.

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Jadwiga and Ernst as Madonna and Child

Prague, 29 November 1378: After dividing his lands between his three sons and his nephews, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, breathes his last. His eldest son Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, promptly sends his ten-year-old half-brother Sigismund to Brandenburg (in accordance to the young Sigismund’s title of Margrave of Brandenburg), instead of to Rudolf IV’s court as agreed by his father. This will be one of Wenceslaus’ many mistakes during his ultimately unsuccessful road to the Empire.

Kraków, 13 January 1379: Princess Jadwiga of Anjou and the three-year-old Ernst of Austria are officially betrothed in Kraków. The alliance with the Polish-Hungarian King is very beneficial to Rudolf, as Louis brings him his support and friendship.
 
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