The Holy Roman Empire of the French Nation

Discussion in 'Finished Timelines and Scenarios' started by Mental_Wizard, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Mental_Wizard High King of the Sea Peoples. The Apostate.

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    Prologue
    November 21, 1498

    A courtyard in Bruges


    It was a wonderful day. Philip's first daughter, Eleanor had been born six days previously. He was King of Burgundy and many of the surrounding lands, and was going to rule Castile and Aragon. This was promised to him. His wife Joanna would soon bear him a son perhaps, and this son would rule all his domains after him, including most likely the Empire. It was no matter that she did not really like him.

    The only obstacle was the sickly Miguel da Paz. Not half a year old, but the heir to Portugal, Castile, and Aragon. Hopefully he would die soon. Perhaps he could drink some of this fine wine until then, seeing how sick the boy was said to be.

    "Get me some more of that wine!" the King shouted.

    The king had thought about stopping with the wine, as he had already had too much. But what was the worst that could happen? It wasn't like wine could magically kill him!

    Nearby

    "Look at that pathetic fool. The glorious Duchy of Burgundy is his? Must we sit and listen to his rambling about owning all of Europe?" - Frederick Homfray Meshaw

    November 25, 1498

    A street in Bruges

    Crouching in the crowd were three assasains. They knew they would probably die to the wretched Habsburgs. It did not matter to them. It was time for Burgundy to be ruled by a Burgundian again.

    As the carriage approached, these figures leaped up.

    "Pour bourgogne! Mort aux Habsbourg!"

    The strongest of the three lept at the carriage and hacked into it. As blood rushed down the carriage along with the screams of the passengers and crowd, the asassains rushed away, only to be impaled by guards standing near by. They attended to the passengers.

    Lifting the cover, they found the passengers. It was the king and his wife.
    Both were bloodied and badly wounded.

    It was the King that managed to speak.

    "Mon reve..."

    The King and Queen were dead. The citizens started roaring at the guards and overwhelmed them. A messenger was sent east to the Emperor.

    The Third Revolt had begun.

    Chapter I
    Vienna, December 1, 1498


    "Sir! Sir! The Burgundians have revolted!" shouted a haggard messenger.
    "AGAIN?" Maximilian thundered. "Is my son safely returning here to raise an army?"
    "Sir... your son was the target of the revolt. He and his wife were caught in a carriage and killed."
    Maximilian's face contorted in an unusual matter, and it looked as if his eyes would burst, but then it ceased. He sunk back down into the throne, sullen and tired.
    "Send an army. Rescue Philip's daughter. The insolent Burgundians refuse yet again my and my family's right to rule. What was it that made them love my wife so?"
    Maximilian seemed to think on this for a few minutes, and then turned back to stare at the messenger.
    "I will take the Imperial Army and make those God-forsaken Electors and Princes pay for it. I will also get the Pope to exocommunicate every last one of those bloody rebels, as he did the last time. The "Netherlands," as they seem to call themselves, really seem like they are going to cost me a lot of money for no success!"
    "Yes sire," the rested messenger agreed.

    Paris, the same day

    "So the Burgundians have killed Philip the Fair?"
    "Yes, my King," said a well-rested messenger.
    "This interferes with my Italian plans little. As for those bloody Austrians, this is good for us. Let them waste their time quelling this uprising while we take Italy. Emissaries shall be sent to the Scots and Venetians in the coming year- they must aid us. England would be better, but we cannot trust those rapscallions, and we have allied with Scotland before. As for Venice, we will use her to take control of Italy," connived Louis.

    Bruges

    All of the Netherlands was aflame. The remaining Royalist forces in Bruges had holed up in the old Burgundian court with Philip's daughter being cared for. Philip's body was still somewhere in Bruges, but the guard had not the strength to go get it.
    "What shall we do?" A noble woman cried.
    "We must wait for deliverance by the Emperor Maximilian," said a lord. "The rabble outside will be no match for the Imperial Army. Their blood will flow through the country, and we will resume our rightful places in society."
    "I certainly endeavor that such an event could be impossible," said another. "Nothing is stronger than angry commoners. The Army will be helpless against their numbers. Not this time is it only a revolt against the Emperor, but also they have KILLED Philip, whose right to rule they once protected. We will all be next."
    "But surely the Pope can fix this then?"
    "Unlikely. This band of brigands will not come to any reason. We cannot control these people any longer."

    outside the court

    "We fight for all of our people! We fight against the tyranny of the Habsburgs, who connived to steal our liberties, quash our freedoms, indoctrinate our rightful ruler to be one of them, and absorb us into their own massive empire. We will not stand for this: 20,000 men must appear within the week for service in the Grand Army of the Burgundian Netherlands. Send word to the French of our pleas: their King Louis is not German and he was related to our old Dukes. Offer him the crown if he can deliver us from the Habsburgs." Thundered a prominent member of the Burgundian Assembly.

    Chapter II
    Paris
    December 3, 1498


    Louis had not expected this. The Burgundians offered HIM the crown? This was a delicate matter to consider. Kingship over Burgundy would lead to war with Austria and most of the Empire. However, his former enemy, the Pope, was making friendly overtures. Most of the Burgundians would be with him too. Venice could probably benefit from a weakened Austria. Perhaps revolt could even be stirred up in the Empire? Italy would have to wait- this was a rare opportunity that few can measure.
    "My King, we ought to get a response to the Burgundians soon." Said the messenger.
    "Tell them they must hold out a little longer, the French army will be there on the first of the New Year with I at its head."

    Rome


    Alexander VI was considering his options. It was time to crush the Empire. They had trampled on the rights of his predecessors and family, and that was not alright. They had not aided him in his time of need. Now, the French were his allies. That damned Maximilian would be exocommunicated for his treachery against the Pope.

    Bruges
    December 5, 1498


    "The French are coming! The French are coming! We just have to hold the Germans off for a month!"
    "Fortify the towns, arm the militia, and begin training. The Imperial Army is well-trained and well-finannced. We threw off their terrible reign already, and we will do it again! For Burgundy! Death to the Habsburgs!"
    Shouted a Council-member.

    Madrid

    "Isabella... they have killed our daughter." Ferdinand mourned. "That German fool of a husband got them both killed in the Netherlands, and the baby remains trapped there. Maximilian is going to rescue the baby. what should we do?"

    "Those God-forsaken Habsburgs... imagine if one of them had come to rule over our glorious realms. Surely the nation would have declined into a middling power?" murmured Isabella. "As for what to do: we must rescue my daughter's body, and make the Austrians pay for what they did."

    "What of the succession?" Worried Ferdinand. "Should it go to Manuel and our grandson Miguel?"

    "Yes," said Isabella.

    Chapter III

    Rome

    December 24, 1498


    The Pope stood in front of a clerical council. Slowly, he unfurreled the long sentence against Maximilian I.

    "Maximilianus, Imperator Sacri Romanorum, Regis Romanorum, Regis Germanorum, Archiduce Austriae...
    Quae renuit et singulis Ecclesiae iura adsuetum calcavit necessitatibus. Nec exploratione Romae approbatione regulae. Prodidit Pontifex universae Ecclesiae et fiducia. Sunt autem in Burgundia geruntur nomen horrebant, tantum peccat. Ex hoc, quod privaretur omnibus potestatibus temporalibus. Non est membrum Ecclesiae necnon iure divino potestatem non habet. Sed manus Percutiet unde sit. Quisque capiat suorum verticem enim certe virtuosum. Surge super bestiam! Nunc, Maximilianus I, imperator Sacri Romani, exocommunicated est.

    Per ordinem
    Pope Alexander VI


    "You there! Page! Have copies of these distributed across Christendom!" screamed the Pope.


    Munich

    December 28, 1498


    Albert IV had received a most curious document. The Emperor was exocommunicated! Now was his chance to take back Further Austria, and other lands that were his. That Burgundian revolt seemed to be hurting the Emperor also, and he would have no real way to fight them. It was time for war.

    Vienna

    "That blasted Pope! I must raise an army and crush him before I am locked in a civil war! The next Pope will be a Habsburg: mark my words."

    "Now, get on with it! Go to every Prince, every village! The Imperial Army has fared badly in Burgundy, and there are rumors that France is mobilizing. Summon all the Princes to a Council as fast as possible!"

    Venice

    Doge Agostino Barbarino weighed his options. The coming war would consume all of the West. If he chose to stand with the Pope against the Emperor, Austria would invade from the north. If he stood with the Emperor, the Pope and France would invade.
    "What is your decision, Wise and Magnificent Doge?" A lowly servant asked.

    "We are bringing the Turks into this. I stand with his Holiness the Pope."

    Chapter IV

    January 20, 1499

    Worms


    "Why has no one come? Do they think the title of Emperor is a ceremonial one? I am the rightful ruler of all of Christendom, and the Princes are cavorting to steal much of my authority! They defy my calls for conscription, ignore my summons, and refuse me the common homage. Fine. If the House of Habsburg stands alone, I will get the kingdom of Philip's wife to help me ravage the blasted Netherlands, and then MY Empire! After that, I will march on Rome and put a proper Pope in!"

    Aachen

    "You 93 princes of the Holy Roman Empire, here have gathered. Unto the Emperor we all shall speak ill will: he has betrayed us. The wrath of our own armies is being turned against our lands as Maximilian turns into a madman. He must be deposed. He is unworthy of gracing the throne of Charlemagne." said Albert IV.

    "Then who will be the new Emperor?" "All of you Electors are here: what is your great plan?" Sneered a minor noble.

    "The line of Emperors has strayed too far from Charlemagne. It should go to one of us. Me, in fact." Shouted Albert.

    "Why you?" Cried out many.

    "I am related to the current Emperor, but closer to Charlemagne, and I am the strongest of you. Give up."

    "Never! Our predeceasors fought for the same liberty and rights we hope to secure for Germany. We will not cede them to you or any Habsburg whelp!" Shouted the Duke of Julich.

    Thus all of Christendom was at war. French, Imperial, and Spanish troops ravaged the Netherlands. Imperial and anti-Habsburg armies clashed practically everywhere in Germany. Northern Italy was a battleground too: the Pope and Venice attacked the Empire. The Ottomans attacked in the Balkans as well... the Habsburgs were overextended.

    Roughly a month later

    Vienna


    "Sire! We have a problem..."

    "WHAT IS IT." The Emperor snapped.

    "There is no more money for the army," squeaked the messenger.

    "Then go find more. The Princes are just going to have to reduce a few of their liberties until the Turks, Pope, Venetians, French, and Burgundians stop fighting." Maximilian said plainly.

    Chapter V

    Bruges

    January 23, 1499


    Louis had been told the city was safe. This was amazing. The mighty Imperial army, laid low in under a month by his army and some peasants. Not to mention the roving bands of Spaniards covering the countryside, but he would attend to that shortly. Now, it was time for a coronation. This land had never had a coronation before, and so he did not have to play by the same rules as at Reims. HE dictated the ceremony.
    "It better be short. I have two countries to rule and another to conquer."

    "Yes sire," spoke the grovelling servant.

    "Now where is the Archbishop?"

    "This land has none..."

    "Fine. Just get the leading member of the Council over here."

    "What do you ask of me, My Lord?" whimpered the councilman.

    "You are the hgihest authority in this land. Grab that crown and put on my head."

    As the councilman briefly entertained thoughts of putting it on his own head, he noticed the French troops massed around the church.

    "As you wish." He walked over, picked it up, and delivered it unto Louis.

    "I pronounce you, by the grace of God, Louis I of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, King of the Burgundians, rex Belgicae."

    Chapter VI

    March 2, 1499
    Aachen/Aix-la-Chapelle


    The Most Christian King surveyed the city of Charlemagne, his illustrious forebearer. This city was technically a fiefdom of the accursed Maximilian. Now Louis had come to claim his birthright. Charlemagne had made the Franks great: Louis must make the French great.

    "Are there any Imperial troops left here?" said Louis.
    "There are no Imperials west of the Rhine even, Sire." a squire piped up.
    "I wonder why..." Louis pondered.

    just outside Rome

    "My Emperor, it is bad to besisge the city of God." a frightened emissary begged him.

    "No. That treacherous Pope has abused his position as the Vicar of God to blaspheme me. He is an unholy usurper. The Sforzas will suit me as Popes." spat the Emperor.

    Rome

    The Pope could hear massive tremors coming from outside the city. Citizens had spotted Milanese forces a few days earlier. Now, the great eagle of the Holy Roman Empire flew outside the walls of Rome. The Emperor had come to destroy him. He would pave his own road to damnation by desecrating the heart of Christianity.

    "custodes; patriam custodiret et fidem! Gratia et fortitudine Domini, et liberet me de sceleratis prensat quaeram conterere praedam Romam!" The Pope roared.

    Chapter VII

    Aachen

    March 10, 1499

    Louis thought of his young cousin back home. Due to his personal "issues," kept secret from his nosy court, the young Francis would succeed him. Francis would inherit a massive kingdom: and Louis thought of the peasants of his new lands.

    "I must impress unto that boy how to govern popularly and effectively. The conquest on which I embark is for la gloire de France, not me. Those Germans will know a French overlord as they have not known since Charles I. A Valois will be the Emperor of the West if it is the last thing I do! There is nothing I can do for the Pope, however... His fate is in the hands of the Venetians."

    Venice

    "We must rescue the Pope! The seat of power is in danger! Exclaimed the Doge.
    "We will break the siege!? The French are attacking the Imperials in Germany. It is only Venice, defending the Eternal City against the Holy Roman Empire! We are doomed for sure." Lamented a noble.
    "No... we must break the siege. The fate of all of Christendom is in our hands. Let not the princes of the realms know that we are cowardly and weak. We have a duty to the Holy Father, and we will pay it." Asserted the Doge.

    At the edge of Rome

    "
    Sire! The French have reached Aachen! The Turks are pounding our frontier! Your Bavarian cousin has started an uprising and there is anarchy throughout the Empire!" Tremored a messenger.
    "No. None of that matters. Once the Eternal City is ours... the new Pope will excommunicate them all. The Burgundians, French, Venetians, and Turks will all bow to the might of the Emperor of the West!" Roared Maximilian.
    "Begin the attack! Storm the city! Capture the Pope alive!" Shouted a general.

    Tens of thousands of Germans, Spanish, Milanese, and other Italians and various mercenaries charged the city's walls. The old Aurelian Walls looked sure to fall... but soon the great horde's tide was ebbed. On the horizon of the city's battlements was the Vicar of Christ, Alexander VI Borgia.
    "Populi Romani audire murorum In infideli autem ingressus urbem sanctam. Sanctitatis et gloriae defensionem fidei! DEUS VULT!" Roared the Pope.

    Romans appeared on the battlements, and attacked their besiegers. Slowly, they were driven back. This would not be the last charge, however...

    Chapter VIII

    Rome

    April 2, 1499


    The preparations for Easter were being made in the battered city. A massive horde sat outside it, but the people within held out. Perhaps their belts streched less, but they were alive. The messenger considered himself lucky to have been able to slip through the German camp. He was doing the work of God: and his Vicar must know of the victory in his name. The Holy Father sat before him, anxiously looking at him.
    "My Lord, this message bears news of the Battle of Frankfurt."
    "Then spit it out, good sir! I harken to hear of the progression of the Lord's armies against the infidelous Emperor." the Pope said.

    "The Germans were utterly routed. Franco-Burgundian forces assisted by some minor principalities annihilated the Imperial Army. The Holy League lost 10,000 to the Empire's 50,000. Several of the Emperor's commanders have been captured as well: the might of Austria is broken. Never again can she regain her former strength. The only significant threat to Christendom left is outside these walls. The food supplies here are running low: if Your Holiness were to be captured, the whole venture would surely fail. The French implore you to hold out the best you can: they cannot spare any armies to break the siege."

    "I see... The end is approaching. The armies of Hell descend upon Rome in a final battle for good and evil. The Devil has thrown his last card... and with it he will devour us! You are a fool to think the Austrian Army is broken: the Imperials have many thousands more coming. The Eternal City is doomed to fall. Christendom can now only be saved by a miracle." Wailed the Pope.

    Chapter IX

    Rome

    April 3, 1499


    The armies of Maximilian thundered at the gates. The last push for the Eternal City had begun. With 6 days until Easter, the foremost prince of Christendom battered at the walls of God's representative on Earth. The catapults roared and battering rams were thrown against the gates. The cannons and handguns fired away at the Aurelian Walls. The cannons did the most damage, and rained death and destruction into the city. The Romans fought back with boiling lead, catapults, and other projectiles. However, there were simply too many Germans. The city would fall by Easter. The most successful counterattacks came from raiders that plundered the German supplies in the countryside, but it was little comfort to the beleaguered city. The artillery pounded at the gates for days and days, and the Eternal City was falling.

    April 8, 1499

    Maximilian roared over the battlefield, "We must take the Eternal City today! It is unholy to fight on Easter, and they are nearly finished. Onward, for the soul of Christianity!"
    A well-placed artillery shot crashed through the wall. As the dust settled, tens of thousands of Germans poured into the Holy City.

    Lateran Palace

    "Finis rerum est nobis. in bestia est. Vae civitas est in æternum." Wept the despondent Pope.

    Chapter X

    Rome

    2 hours after Chapter IX


    The Swiss Guard eyed the advancing formations of Germans. There were far too many. The Pope was en route to Castel Sant'Angelo, but it was unclear if he could make it. The whole city was being torn apart by the ravenous Germans. The Emperor seemed to be so angry at the Pope that he cared nothing for the lives of the Romans. The Eternal City was sacked like it had not been in over a thousand years. Many of the fanciest Roman buildings survived, however, as the Emperor wanted them for himself.
    5 hours later

    The Pope turned to hear a gasp of pain. His last defender, a faithful Guard, had been shot. He heard the Germans rush at him. Being a man of only middling age, unlike many Popes, he swung out with a sword he had picked up and beheaded the first two.
    "veniat ad me, pueri Lucifer Die per repraesentativum Domini in terris; Fidei Defensorem ego relictus sum solus, et protegam eam curam mei finis!"
    As the warrior-Pope raged against his assailants, the sword was knocked out of his hand, and he was shoved to the ground above the bodies of six Germans.

    30 minutes later

    The Pope was dragged in chains to the Lateran Palace, where Maximilian brashly sat on His Holiness' throne.
    "You insolent snake!" Spat the Emperor. "You have no power over me. Rome once again belongs to the Empire. You are nothing. I AM THE REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD ON EARTH!"

    "in fide... enim... nunquam..." Gasped the Pope.

    In the distance, a trumpet could be faintly heard.

    Chapter XI

    Rome

    High Noon, April 8, 1499


    The trumpets outside the city sounded once again. An army was on the horizon. For seemingly as far as the eye could see, stood Italians. The bulk of them were Venetian, but many of the smaller cities had sent forces to save the Holy Father. The Doge stood at the front, in a full coat of armor, leading what history would know as "The Crusade of Rome."

    The Doge shouted, "DEUS VULT!!!!!!" The armies of the Italian states had come to save the home of the holy, and the legacy of St. Peter from the tyrannical German usurper of their common Roman heritage. The Italians crashed into the hastily closed gates of the city, and the Germans within were trapped. The city was already low on food: even the Christian Emperor was powerless to stop this attack. They sat in Rome, awaiting the day the Venetians avenged the Vicar of God and slaughtered them all.

    a little later

    "I appoint you Innocent IX, Vicar of God, Holy Father, and Supreme Leader of the Catholic Faith," gruffed Maximilian uncaringly. "In exchange, you will crown me as imperator et augustus of the Roman Empire tomorrow during the Holy Day."

    "Yes, my Emperor." The pathetic "Pope" groveled.

    Chapter XII

    Rome

    early morning, April 9, 1499 (Easter Day)

    (very early Easter service concludes)

    "Our Lord and Saviour will deliver unto our host the Eternal City today. The thanks we give unto Him are out of reverance for Him and His Vicar, the Pope. We pray for the safety of the Pope and the fall of the blasphemous Germans." The Venetian Patriarch slowly said.

    "Now is the time to strike! Free the Eternal City from the barbarians!" Cried the Doge. The Doge knew however, this would be hard. They had lost many men in the first assault: the city-states could not hope to stand up to the might of the Empire.

    "STOP!" A loud echo reverberated across the plain.

    The astonished Venetians looked up to see a massive Franco-Swiss army behind them.
    "The King of France and Burgundy wishes to help you reclaim the Eternal City," a page shouted to the Doge.
    "Then so be it!" Shouted the Doge.


    two minutes later

    The old Aurelian Walls crumbled under the French cannonade. The Germans had not had time to reinforce them from their siege. The Holy League troops poored into the city, slaughtering every German they could find, most still sleeping before Mass. The Emperor was captured by a Roman mob who had been thrown in prison the previous night. A Venetian detachment set them free and told them to hunt for the Emperor. The angry mob dragged the Emperor before the Doge and King. Innocent IX was also found and brought as well, but there were no cells with the Pope in them: his body was found on the floor of the Lateran Palace.

    "You Austrian filth have desecrated the Eternal City, desecrated its people, and desecrated the Holy Father. You have appointed this scoundrel, this dredge of the lowest order to imitate the Vicar of God! Your Italian allies have all been rounded up: your Burgundian territories are French, your Empire is having a civil war, and even your precious Austria is under attack from the Turk." Spat Louis.

    "I AM THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR! UNHAND ME NOW OR YOU WILL BE CONDEMNED TO DAMNNATION!!!!!!"

    "That would be you." Quipped the Doge.

    "Swiss... He is all yours, " smirked Louis.

    The courtyard was the scene of an episode too graphic for this tale. The Swiss had lost everything because of this hated man, and they repaid him and his anti-Pope.
    The Italian princes that fought with the Germans were rounded up and imprisoned. Venetian and French forces were sent to their lands to ensure a stable transition of power.


    that night

    "Cardinal Cesare Borgia (Louis reinstated him), I pronounce you Vicar of God, the Holy Father, as Pope Alexander VII!"

    Chapter XIII

    Vienna

    April 20, 1499


    "Messenger! I assume you bring us news of the Emperor's glorious entry into Rome that I heard yesterday?" Exhaled a noble.
    "No, sire. I bring far graver news... the Emperor and the Imperial Army have been destroyed. France and Venice---"
    "Say no more!" Thundered the noble.

    "The Empire is leaderless! The Emperor has been slaughtered by a Roman mob. The Princes are up in arms against us. The Turks are pushing to the Danube, the Treasury is empty, and our armies shattered. We must sue for peace!" Cried a distressed noble.

    "At what price? Our enemies hold all the cards."

    "tu, infelix Austria nube."

    a few hours later

    "The French are our only hopes for salvation from the Turks!"

    Reports of a Turkish rout of a Hungarian army had come in. The Poles were aloof, and England or Spain too far away. The nation left to resist the infidel was their enemy. It was time to sue for peace, on any terms they could get.

    Chapter XIV

    the negotiating table

    May 12, 1499

    Treaty of Rome

    -Alexander VII is recognized as Pope
    -An Imperial Election is to be held as soon as possible
    -The nearest eligible Hapsburg princess will marry Francis I (Eleanor of Austria).
    -Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria, is to be Regent for the underage Eleanor.
    -Louis XII is confirmed as King of Burgundy; the Hapsburgs forfeit all rights
    -France gains possession of half of Savoy, and French relatives rule the rest.
    -Venice annexes the Romagna, the Duchy of Friuli, and some overseas territories of Genoa.
    -A Crusade is to be organized against the Ottomans by the Pope.
    -The ongoing civil wars in the Empire are an affair with Imperial members: France may not intervene.
    -The possessions of the House of Hapsburg devolve to Albert of Bavaria, as the nearest eligible male heir.
    -The Swiss cantons are independent from the Empire.
    -The cantons are enlarged with Basel, Schaffhausen, Appenzell, Baden, Voralburg, and the Vaud. (intended as balance to Mega-France and Venice).
    -It is officially declared the Kingdom of Switzerland, and the monarch will be the dispossessed Vladislaus II of Hungary, robbed of his lands by the Turks.
    -Papal States gain large indemnities from the remaining Italian states.
    -France receives reparations from Austria excluding the future dowry.
    -Any breach of the treaty is to be met with excommunication by the Pope and the offending power being placed under interdict. Foreign powers will also be invited to invade said state for themselves.

    Chapter XV

    Vienna

    July 7, 1499


    The new Holy League had assembled at the Austrian eastern border. Eleanor, the half-year old issue of the dead Philip of Austria had been betrothed to the five year old Francis in exchange for the Holy League's help against the Turks. They had crashed through Hungary and the other Balkan states in the absence of Austrian forces. This "Crusade" did not see much fighting, however. The Turks simply fortified what they had gained from Hungary. To hold up their end of the bargain, France and Venice engaged in a few skirmishes, but really did nothing. In exchange for recognition of their gains in Hungary, the Ottomans gave the Venetians and French great trading privileges and concessions in Constantinople, promised protection for Christians throughout their Empire and any lands they may conquer, and let Venice absorb Ragusa. Austria was left fuming, but was powerless to do anything. The French and Venetians had complete dominance over Austria, and technically they had fulfilled their obligations.

    "The Imperial Election is coming soon... I MUST BE EMPEROR! That damned Louis becoming Emperor, or one of his goons, would be the end of the House of Hapsburg! There is still war in the Empire though. Austria is hated. France is seen as a liberator from our "tyranny." What am I to do?????" Cursed Albert, Regent of Austria and Duke of Bavaria.

    Chapter XVI

    Aachen

    August 4, 1499


    The summit to elect the next Emperor would have happened now, but most of the Electors were at war. Albert fumed at the delay in transferal of imperial power. Surely he would get the throne? He was a little low on cash however, as the French asked for Eleanor's dowry early for some reason. He could not fathom what they were spending it on. It did not matter- unless he could conceive a child, the throne of Austria was passing to Eleanor, and through Eleanor into union with France. There was nothing he could do now to stop the French from winning the imperial election, the throne of Austria, and their clear dream of universal monarchy.
    Albert had children, but the Treaty of Rome stipulated that only Eleanor could inherit the void throne of Austria: Albert was merely a regent for her. Violating the treaty now would result in the utter destruction of all of Austria.
    "I must wait, until Eleanor has almost reached the age of rule. Then, I will have built Austria back up and we will throw off the French yoke!" Albert cackled.


    Paris

    later that night


    Louis realized that there would be another war. The Austrians would not let his cousin march into Vienna without a fight. Luckily however, Louis was already brokering peace between the electors. He already knew he had most of the votes: he was going to be the next Emperor. For all the fuming the Castilians and the English did, they could do nothing. It was Louis who ruled Germany, whether they liked it or not. The Spanish can have their colonies- The French New World was to the East.

    Chapter XVII

    Frankfurt

    August 14, 1499


    The Electorate of Trier had just declared for Louis. That was it- Louis had the majority. He also had the remaining members, but it did not matter. A Valois was now Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation.

    Vienna

    August 17, 1499


    The messenger collapsed of exhaustion.
    "Sire! The election has been decided... The French won..."
    A guttural echo could be heard coming from the walls of the palace. All of Vienna mourned for their lost Empire, now in the hands of their detested enemy. It was a dark day for Austria.
    "No!" Shouted Albert. "We will not accept this. We will not tolerate this. Austria will rise again and punish the insolent French!"

    Chapter XVIII

    Rheims

    September 2, 1499


    To humiliate the Austrians completely, Louis arranged for the coronation to take place at Rheims and not Aachen. He claimed that the Empire was still chaotic and he was safe in his own realm. The coronation started as planned.

    "Louis XII of the House of Valois, King of France, King of the Burgundians, Duke of Savoy and Defender of the Faith- I anoint you as King of the Romans, Holy Roman Emperor, Louis V Valois!" The Pope cried.
    (Te Deum plays)

    "It is time to rule my Empire! All my life I have waited and dreamed for Imperial power, as my ancestors have back to Charlemagne. Today I have achieved it! la gloire is mine!!!!" Louis laughed.

    "I may have told the Germans I will be nice... but my cousin will be Holy Roman Emperor of the French Nation when I have finished with those princes!" Cackled Louis.

    Albert suffered a stroke; he cited this as why he did not come. Eleanor was sent as representative of Austria: And also to meet her future husband. Austria spirals even closer to French domination... was there anything they could do?

    Chapter XIX

    Paris

    September 24, 1499


    The Queen of France and Brittany had died. She had been sick for months- and Louis knew. She was too sick to be saved, and he let the love of his life waste away while he conquered an empire for his cousin. Louis saw an opportunity in even the most tragic event of his entire life.
    "Send the troops in. My dear Anne's little duchy is ours. Our laws of primogeniture do not apply to them, so I am the heir. Claim my kingdom!" Louis mourned.
    "Sire, there is a problem." Said a courtier. "There is a usurper. A grandson of their Duke Francis I! He has been claimed by their nobles as Duke John III. The whole duchy will be up in arms against us!"
    "Then I guess I will lead the troops in. Germany may wait- let them think the Emperor will not tighten their collars... for now."

    far to the east
    Muscow


    "Tsar Ivan! There is a new usurper of your Imperial title!" Murmured a boyar.
    "Who dares to claim my sacred Imperial throne???? Is it that Angle chieftain, or the Turkic usurpers? Is it another one of those damned German barbarians?"
    "No, sire. It is a Frankish whelp."
    "German to me." Spat the Tsar.
    "He is not. The Germans are broken. The Lithuanians and Poles must notice this. We must make sure they do not take advantage of this power balance change." Cried the boyar.

    Chapter XX

    Breton countryside

    October 11, 1499


    The battle had come. The Bretons were swarming out of the hills. The resolute, veteran, Franco-Burgundian army stood firm. The battle seemed to last for hours. The Bretons were outnumbered against the finest army in Christendom, but they were determined. Their land had stayed independent for centuries, maintaining its greatness. Now the French usurpers claimed the rightful throne of their Duke John. John was a dashing man, and a fine fighter. He was the best of the Bretons on the field, a man befitting of a king. Alas, their determination and leadership was all for naught. The French slaughtered them. With this, the cream of Breton military-age men died. The good Duke was taken prisoner: and the French king took the crown of Brittany from his head. Thus ended the independent history of the proud Duchy of Brittany; now a fiefdom of the King of France, Duke of Burgundy, King of the Romans, Holy Roman Emperor, imperator et augustus, and Defender of the Faith, Louis XII, I, and V.

    Chapter XXI

    Paris

    January 3, 1500


    Louis thought of what had been done in the great year of 1499. He had broken the power of Austria, gained the Imperial crown, saved the Pope, and became Duke of Burgundy and Brittany, though sadly the last came with the death of his beloved wife. His mistress simply was not the same- and Louis painfully recognized he could never procreate. The succession was doomed to go to his cousin Francis. Francis needed him to live for perhaps ten or eleven more years: then Francis could rule for himself. This meant that he had to stay alive for that long at least, in the interest of la gloire de France, the well-being of the people, and the prestige of his offices. Francis would receive all his domains, and additionally become Archduke of Austria by marriage. The only threats to Louis were Spain and England. It was unlikely they would attack him: the English grovelled to him to keep Calais so as to not incur the wrath of the Pope, Empire, and the greatest military in Christendom. The Spanish rambled about "sailing to India and founding colonies." For Louis, his colonies were in Germany. If Philip the Fair had lived, he may have had a son. That son would have been Holy Roman Emperor probably, and Archduke of Austria, King of Spain, and Duke of Burgundy: that would have been a disaster for France. Perhaps in another time; France was the foremost power on the Continent.

    Chapter XXII

    the same day

    Muscow


    Ivan was fuming. The Lithuanians really were different than the "Austrians," and were not on the verge of collapse when he attacked them. Yes, he had destroyed them, but it was not easy. There was still a Lithuania to the west of his sacred empire. The Third Rome had the stain of barbarians just to its west, heretics to the one true Orthodox faith. The border lands he seized were nice, but he wanted more. The accursed Tatars were broken to his east, but other Tatars still held the Second Rome. The home of the greatest church in Christendom, and the city of Constantine himself. It was time to recover the jewel of the East. After that, perhaps he could push on and take Jerusalem as well, and extinguish all the Lithuanians, Poles, Tatars, and other heretics who dared question the authority of the Roman Emperor! Some petty Frank glories in Constantine's great title- hah! They would be better served to give up their heathen ways and accept the tutelage of the great, senior, Empire of the East.

    London

    Henry was envious of Louis. He had taken the pitiful duchy that Henry's ancestors had plundered and conquered most of Christendom. What a terrible state of affairs! Henry had considered trying to be Emperor, but there was no point in running afoul of Louis: he was unstoppable. Yes, Henry had fostered somewhat decent relations with the French, but that was only for show. His forefathers had controlled much of France, and so why shouldn't he?

    Paris

    It is often odd how some people have the same ideas at the same time. Louis wanted more glory for France. He had brought it into being the strongest force in the world: now it was time for a new opponent. The Spaniards had disrespected him for too long, and the English had plundered his fathers' lands. The treaty that forced them out did not give enough. Louis wanted Calais: as well as something else. The old English quest for his throne was preposterous- certainly their precious William I was a Frenchman? The English were Louis' people as much as the Burgundians, Savoyards, French, or HRE subjects. His divine right to the English throne was clear. Prince Louis the Lion had tried to claim it- now Louis XII would take up his forefather's sword against the vile English pretenders. The House of Tudor would be destroyed before it ever really began. All those silly civil wars would be for nothing- Louis didn't give a care as to which descendant of John of Gaunt was first- Louis was the King of England.

    Chapter XXIII Part I

    July 7, 1500

    Northern French coast


    Louis had all the ships in position. Over 400,000 Frenchmen, Burgundians, Imperial vassals, Italians, Papal mercenaries, Scot and Irish allies, and soldiers of practically the entire continent were ready to invade Britannia. Louis had come up with another casus belli- He was King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor. His rebellious rightful provinces had been gone from the Empire for a thousand years- now Hispania and Britannia would be Roman (French) once more.

    "Today we fight, for the soul of Christianity! The Spaniards and English have conspired against the Holy Father, and by the grace of God, we shall defend his Holy Name and cast down the pretenders to the thrones of Western Christendom! The Christians of the West need not fear us! We come to overthrow your corrupt and treacherous, blasphemous and unholy monarchs, and to SAVE you from damnation at their hands! God is with us: the Spanish crown and English king are excommunicated- the grace of God rests upon any who should unseat their foul presences from their thrones. The "Catholic Monarchs" of Spain are heretics! They have claimed, along with the vile English, that the Pope is a French puppet! How preposterous of an insinuation to make that the Vicar of God is controlled by my humble self, his loyal Servant and Defender! This slander against my character and that of my Empire, not the least against the morals of the Holy Father, SHALL NOT GO UNANSWERED!!! We may come from many places, but our reverence for the True Faith binds us! The slanderous monarchs of these foul countries will die for their sins against the Pope! Any who fight with us in the name of God will receive absolution, as decreed by the Holy Father himself. Now, onward! Let us end the rule of these foul heathens!" Louis roared.

    Louis hoped that the invasion force for Spain had received a good welcome in Navarre- they should welcome any who would try to destroy Spain. The best part of all this was that old Albert was forced to contribute nearly his entire pathetic army to attacking Louis' enemies, under pain of a French army in Vienna. He could not even revolt now: the Electors supported Louis and his army was half the continent away. Louis' triumphant plan was sure to work, there was no way the damned English could repel a force of this magnitude!

    London

    later that day

    "Sire! There are reports coming in of a huge fleet attacking our harbors! Our ships are burnt! A landing is imminent! Squealed a frightened squire.
    "Who dares invade my realm?" Barked Henry.
    "Louis XII, I, and V of France, Burgundy, and the Holy Roman Empire!" Thundered a French army in Chatham.

    Chapter XXIII Part II

    outskirts of London

    a little later


    "Friends, countrymen! Lend me your ears;

    today I come to bury my animosity against any I wronged, not to praise it.

    The evil of the Wars of the Roses will live on after me, and much of the good may soon be lost.

    The French "Caesar" claims his dominance! The noble Maximilian tried to warn us!

    He said Louis was ambitious! Such a grievous end did that bring him... BUT NOT ENGLAND!!!

    England has brought Louis here: and here he will meet his doom. All of us, all of England is of honorable men!

    Surely we will send Louis to his funeral? He once treated us in the cordial manner that befits our position in the world- now he does not.

    Maximilian of Austria died showing us that he was ambitious, and Maximilian was always a good Christian monarch.

    He did much for our cause in the East, at which battering the Turk has never ceased.

    Louis has had many opportunities to invade- thrice perhaps he has had times when he could!

    The Austrians said he would attack! The Austrians are his noble victims: they are not the enemy, however enslaved their corpulent state may be.

    I speak not in vain, but to appeal to my countrymen, and my friends.

    I speak, to reclaim judgement from the brutish, beastly hands of Louis.

    England decides her own fate, and if my country is damned, than my heart will be in the coffin with it.

    Now we pause, and wait for the French to arrive!" Henry cried.

    Chapter XXIII Part III

    several hours later, a field near London


    The armies of Hell had descended unto the plains of England. For the future of her country, she would have to bear against the greatest army ever assembled.
    The gallant King Henry signaled his followers into battle, but all knew it was hopeless. For all the spirit, shown by the Burgundians, Bretons, Italians, English, and all the other subject peoples, the power of France could not be undone. The horde crashed into the tight line of English and loyalist Scots/Irish. Metal clanged as the battle raged on in the middle of the night. If they lost this battle, England was lost. The navy had been caught in harbor and burnt: they were the only hope. Their anger became fury: the armor of the French rent against the blows of the English, and more and more fell to the ground. But for all of this, the battle was not over. Louis himself, triumphant Emperor of the West, Defender of the Faith, rode out to the position of King Henry. Henry's guards were assailed by many Frenchmen: and in this way he was left in the open. The French king swung at him, and Henry barely parried it. The armies ceased their fighting to watch the epic duel for the fate of all of Brittania, and very possibly Europe. Unfortunately, the six extra years of Henry's life now worked against him. The slightly younger Louis began swinging faster and faster. Henry knew that this was a fight he could not win, so he made a fateful choice. Henry held his arm down, as Louis ran him through the chest.
    "You... You will never rule Christendom as long as I live... and if I die, than you will go to Hell with me..." Henry croaked.
    Henry picked his sword up and stabbed Louis in the heart, catching him off guard.
    The English turned and ran: they had lost. Their King was dead, and their army shattered. There was no hope left. A few barons tried to organize an orderly march back, but it was to no avail. The soldiers scattered back to the countryside.
    Meanwhile, the French army carried Louis on a litter into London.

    Chapter XXIII Part IV

    a London hospital

    The glorious monarch of the Kingdom of France and a dozen other polities lay dying in his newly-conquered city. The doctors were powerless to help him: he was too far gone. Unlike his foe Henry, Louis would die slowly and painfully. As the greatest French king since Charlemagne lay dying, his triumph was complete. A Spanish army was smashed at the border of Navarre, the English were broken and their king dead: and France controlled most of the West.
    "la gloire...." Louis whispered.

    The Emperor of the West was dead.

    Chapter XXIV

    Paris

    October 2, 1500


    All had settled down. English resistance continued in the north, but Henry's ill-advised destruction of his army against the French hammer had turned the people against him. Arthur I ruled in the north over a kingdom of southern Scots and some English, hiding from the French. The people did not rise up: for Louis had made sure they would gain many liberties, and the barons governed mostly as they pleased in the name of the King.

    Back in Paris, the Regent Guy oversaw the affairs of the Empire. A snap election was held that elected the child Francis as Holy Roman Emperor, but he was not of age to rule France, and Guy essentially oversaw all his domains. In exchange for this, Guy was forced to legally recognize that Francis would take precedence at the age of 13, and was not to be supplanted by any of his issue. The Spanish War raged on, however...

    Chapter XXV

    Rome

    June 17, 1502


    Pope Alexander looked out into the city streets. The people there looked to the glorious past of the Roman Empire. The Pope wished he had a temporal monarch strong enough to be imperator et augustus. But he did. The young Francis I of France would take over from his Regent soon. Only five years and there would once again be a Roman Emperor. In exchange for crowning him Emperor, marrying him to the Archduchess of Austria, and styling him Defender of the Faith, Francis would grant the Pope unlimited spiritual powers. Sounds pretty good, the Pope thought. The people did not like the church as they used to: they mistrusted it. Alexander resolved to fix this, for the sake of Rome and her new Empire.

    Chapter XXVI

    Rome

    September 12, 1507


    The day had come at last. Francis would no longer chafe under his Regent. He was ruler of all his domains, and would be crowned Roman Emperor today, for his birthday, marriage, and subsequent inheritance of the Archduchy of Austria, his marriage to the lovely Eleanor giving him all the Habsburg domains by the Treaty of Rome. Some cake sounded good right now- but that was hardly befitting an Emperor's birthday! His great cousin left him an empire stretching from Scotland to Serbia, a Roman Empire. After so long, there would once again be a senior Christian state. The antiquated HRE would live on as a subdivision titled "The Duchy of Germany," which would also apply to several other areas. As for expansion, Francis planned to fight the Turks. He would free the Second Rome and restore it to the Empire, and then march on Jerusalem. While this may have sounded grandiose two decades ago, Francis knew that the empire of his cousin's building could accomplish it. Francis was destined to bring peace and order to Christendom, and unite it under his glorious Imperial banner. He suspected most governing would still be from Paris, but a slow transition to Rome might be a good image idea.

    "My Emperor, it is time." Whispered the Pope.
    As the grand Iron Crown of the Lombards, the Sword of Charlemagne, and an Imperial diadem were all bestowed unto Francis, the Pope spoke.

    "Gratia Dei, tibi, Franciscus rex Franciae, Angliae et Romani duce Belgio Sabaudia Aragonum et Neapolitanis Imperatorem." -Solemnly cried the Pope.

    Thus was the Roman Empire reborn in the person of a distant descendant of an upstart Frankish usurper of a pathetic rump of a once-great Empire.

    Francis was duly married to Eleanor, who was crowned Empress, and the ruling House of Valois-Habsburg was born. Their great love for each other would surely secure the future of the young dynasty. All dignitaries from foreign states at the lavish coronation and wedding were astounded by its grandeur. The might and majesty of the Roman Emperor was all-encompassing, as the site was surrounded by an honor guard of King Louis' veterans, 20,000 strong. The celebrations were decked by every measure of finery and pomp imaginable. The representatives came from as far away as Ming China, and came with gifts rivaling those at the coronation of their great Emperor.

    The ramifications echoed across Europe. Ivan III trembled before the might of the great Christian emperor he now bordered, and feared for his life on account of declaring Muscow the Third Rome. Even the great Turk would not defy Francis. Alone in defiant resistance were Scotland, and the remnants of England and Castile. The areas so quickly taken by France may have rebelled- but they genuinely saw France as a savior, a return to the greatness of Rome. The ideals of the Renaissance made this a popular ideal, but not before this time had anyone mustered the strength to truly restore the Empire.

    Under the patronage of Francis and the great Pope, arts and learning spread at a rate never seen before. The greatest artists of all of the western world flocked to Paris and Rome. An important legislative reform of Francis was to standardize a language for the Empire. That language was Latin. Despite a great many of the powerful nobles and peoples speaking French, Francis wanted a Roman Empire, not French. The nobles resisted, particularly in France, but Francis gradually eroded their power away. By his death, he had complete control of the empire just like the Roman Emperors did at the empire's height. His expansion of the Empire's political power continued apace. A brutal war against the Turks in 1527 saw Constantinople sacked. The Greeks of the patriarchy were killed along with much of the Turkish population. The Second Rome was Roman again. But at what cost? Even the Pope decried the atrocities. This spelled the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Empire, now a truncated fragment. In 1571, Francis achieved his one last dream- he was carried on a litter into Jerusalem. The old emperor knelt at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and died. Christendom was saved. The dream of 900 years was fulfilled. There would be no more Crusades to take "rightfully" Christian lands.

    Some of you may be wondering why I am writing in the vulgar tongue of Lowland Anglish. Surely Modern Latin is far more refined? Eh, where I come from there is more Lowland Anglish. The regional dialects of each Roman province really are fascinating. Emperor Philip VIII rules the finest Empire ever on the planet. Mostly because, it is most of the planet! From the accession and triumphs of Louis XII the Great the rebirth of Rome is dated, a salvation on Earth for the victims of a corrupt and sinful world. The might of Rome once agains rules the world. The glass of wine that caused all this is probably fairly common. Surely Tarquinius was intoxicated when he assaulted Lucretia? If not for the glass of wine that is said to have tipped off the Burgundians to Philip the Fair, perhaps his heir, inheriting Austria, Burgundy, Spain, and the Empire most likely, could have formed a universal Christian empire of his own. Alas, we may never know...

    -Idea Malejico
    mmm.alternishistoriam.mer
    Anno Domini MMXVII

    Finis...