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The Paradoxian War ~ A Spaniard's Tale
Written and illustrated by: Jack Darksteel
"Some say it is to be the war to end all wars." ~ Francis Bluehawk
It was a time of nationalism, political strife, glory, and royal family anguish. The Paradoxian War is what has been thought by many to have been Pearson's "Final solution". In 1739, Czar Benjamin Macmorgan passed on the throne of Russia to Andrew Mallace and traveled to France to seek out work for the French royal family. In doing this, Macmorgan broke his promise to Pearson Wright to return Russia to the Spanish. Decades prior, Benjamin Macmorgan had staged a successful rebellion in Russia, and had overthrown the Spanish instilled government there. Pearson agreed to cede Russia to Macmorgan under one condition; Macmorgan would return Russia to Pearson after he became deceased. Macmorgan knew his days were numbered, and so he passed on the throne to an old friend to ensure that his line maintained control. Furious, Pearson gave Macmorgan an ultimatum: Return Russia to Spain, and stand on trial for political fraud or be destroyed along with his subordinates. Macmorgan trashed his demands, and as a result, Pearson openly declared war on Russia in February of 1739. In response, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Sweden all declared war on Spain, thus beginning the grusome and unforgiving "Paradoxian War".
Chapter I ~ A Change of Plans
The war had begun. Pearson's massive amassed invasion force of 2.3 million had departed from Madrid, and was on the move towards Muscovy. Unfortunately, only a week underway, Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Tuscany, and the Barbary Republic all declared war on Spain in Russia's defense. Forced to readjust his strategy, Pearson met with the Spanish high command in a meeting at a secret location just outside the town of Toulouse, France.Overlord Augustine Clemente addressed the high command, "Let me be blunt." He paused as he threw a map of the European mainland on the high council's table. "We've got enemies on all fronts, Brits and Frenchies tothe North, radical barbarians to the South, and God knows what else to the East." He paused again. "It's clear to my eyes at this point that an invasion of Russia is out of the question. We've bitten off far more than we can chew. We need to prepare for the defense of the Spanish mainland at once!"
Admiral Spadus Ignacio cleared his throat and smirked. "Overlord, with all due respect, I think you are greatly underestimating the power of the King's armada." The council chuckled in unison. While this was happening, King Phillipe V Clemente sat silently next to Prime Minister Carlos La Verde Sanita, showing him a map of the French mainland, and pointing out strategic positions throughout the countryside. "Your majesty! What are your thoughts on this?" Augustine interrupted. Carlos La Verde Sanita stood, throwing his own map on the council's table, "The king has made his decision. We march on France at dawn. This meeting is adjourned. Dismissed." Carlos tipped his hat, and exited the tent in a speedy manner as two ranger knights followed closely behind him.
Meanwhile, Clemente sat silently in his chair with a Bible in one hand, and a flask in the other. Augustine approached him, "Highness! What of the mainland? What are your plans for the defense of the mainland!?" Clemente looked over his book in hand at Augustine, "You will take a third of our forces and return to Madrid. Demand the immediate surrender of both Portugal and those fools to the South, what are they called... err, Barbare..?" Augustine interrupted, "Barbary?" "Yes, the lot of them!" Clemente responded. "Yes Excellency." Augustine bowed halfway, and began to exit the tent, before Clemente stopped him, "And general! One last thing." "Yes, excellency?" Clemente pointed towards a shelf at the corner of the tent, "Something for you there", Clemente smirked. Augustine approached the shelf, and picked up a sword hidden in a dark cloth bag with royal embellished golden threads on the ends. Opening it, Augustine's eyes widened as he pulled the sword out of its case, reading the engraving on the side: "The final solution of Kings".
Clemente smirked again. "You like it, I assume." Augustine turned, gulping, "Ye.. yes excellency." Clemente stood, walking around the table, halfway reading his Bible. "A remarkable tool indeed... fit for only the most distinguished commanders." Clemente walked up towards Augustine, grasping hi hand, "This sword belonged to my father, and his father before him. With it, no army has ever been defeated." Augustine interrupted, "Then how did you.." "How did I defeat my father then, you must wonder. Well, let's just say I made certain that the last thing he saw on God's green earth was the thrust of his own sword being gashed through his chest." Clemente smirked, patting Augustine on the back.
"Upon the morrow, you will take the Southern Flank, and venture back for the capital. I know you will not fail me." Clemente reiterated, "I know, you will not fail me", looking Augustine straight in the eyes.
Chapter II ~ Toulouse (Part I)
The following morning, Clemente's army mobilized and split three separate ways, The Northern Flank, under King Phillipe V Clemente himself, consisting of roughly 1,000,000; the Southern Flank, under Overlord Augustine Clemente, consisting of 900,000, and the Eastern flank consisting of 400,000 under Prince Ben Squidskull. The first shots of The Paradoxian War were about to be fired, just outside the French town of Toulouse, just north of the Spanish border.
Meanwhile, in Toulouse, Lord Samuel Redbeard, a member of the British high command, prepared for the defense of the city with a combined British and French army of 200,000, outnumbered five to one.As Clemente's army was rapidly advancing on the city, Redbeard and his subordinate commanders scraped together every usable battle tool they could find in a desperate attempt to forestall Clemente's advance northwards. In a tent much like the one Clemente's high command had just gathered in, Redbeard met with his subordinates and the French high command in a wooded area about a mile outside Toulouse.
"Gentlemen..." Redbeard sighed, "The nightmare to the South that we thought we'd stored away for good is back on his feet, with a million men at his back, and only two days away." The council gasped, and looked around in disbelief and horror. "Gentlemen!" Redbeard exclaimed. "We have a chance to hold out here. We don't have to defeat the Spanish. We only have to prevent the Spanish from defeating us." A French garrison commander interrupted, "Are you mad!? If that crazed king of theirs gets through the outer walls, we'll all be lynched, and dragged through the streets behind a mule! The last time Clemente set foot in France, it ended in disaster! How can we possib.." Then, suddenly, BOOM! Redbeard drew his pistol and shot the Frenchie right through the head. "Now... gentlemen", Redbeard reiterated." "We have a chance. Will Toulouse fall to Clemente? Yes. Will this army be consumed? Yes. However! By the stars, I will make sure we leave a lasting impression so gruesome that once this city is conquered, those Spanish devils won't dare move another inch northwards! You have my word, gentlemen!"
The council looked at Redbeard with blank faces in utter silence, and systematically everyone slowly cleared the room in despair, returning to their respective regiments, and quarters.
In London, a daily news article was rushed through Buckingham Palace to King John Breasly's private quarters. "Your majesty! Your majesty!" a royal servant rushed into the King's bathing room. "WHAT!?!?!?!" Breasly yelled as he rolled over in his bathing tub. "Clemente!" the servant exclaimed as he gasped for air. Upon hearing that name, Breasly's face turned grotesquely pale, as his eyes widened and rolled back in his head. "Clemente has invaded France! He is advancing northwards with haste!". Breasly dropped his book in his tub and fainted then and there, right on the spot.
Andrew Mallace, Lord treasurer of Britain burst into the room, followed by a squadron of royal guards. He stopped abruptly in front of the King's tub, "My King!" Mallace exclaimed. Breasly suddenly awoke from his faintless daze, "WHAT!?!?!?". "King, sir; Lord Redbeard has requested reinforcements." "Can that buffoon not fend off that wicked old man on his own!?!?" Breasly responded in frustration as he tumbled out of his tub. "Sir..." Mallace replied, "He... he requests our entire Southern flank be dispatched to Toulouse immediately!" Breasly nearly choked on a bonbon he was eating, before shouting "WHAT!?!?!?!?" "SIR!" Mallace responded loudly, "Clemente advanced with an army of one million strong! We must send reinforcements" "To Hell with Clemente and those bastard seedlings he dares to call "soldiers"!" Breasly stated.
Meanwhile, in Paris, word had reached the Antoinette family of Clemente's invasion, and it was decided that if Toulouse were to fall, the royal family would be evacuated to Prussia. Queen Grace Goldtimbers of France had hoped that her once notorious general, the gentleman Francis Bluehawk would return to face Clemente and end the war before it spiraled too far out of control.
However, several months prior to the invasion, Clemente had hired Francis Bluehawk, and funded an expedition force of 100,000 Hessian mercenaries to invade France from the North East; and just like that, France was once again on the brink of collapse.
"Excellency!", Commander Lawrence Helmbane exclaimed as he approached and saluted Clemente. "Our 12 pounders are within range of Redbeard's outer encampment. Shall I give the order to proceed with the first stage bombardment?" Clemente pulled a spyglass from his coat and put it up to his eye looking down on Redbeard's encampment. "Eh....", Clemente pondered. "Your grace?" "Why just the 12 pounders commander?" Clemente smirked. "Fire them all!" he demanded. "Yes, excellency!" Helmbane bowed and walked across the field shouting "Ready on the guns! Load them all!" "We're at war now gents! It has begun!" The army began to chant in a loud, earth~shaking unision, "¡Viva España! ¡Abajo los británicos!", "¡Viva España! ¡Abajo los británicos!"
Soon after that, the first shots of the war were fired, and the sound of thousands of shells rocketing off from their canisters was heard across the battlefield in Redbeard's encampment. Moments later, horror stuck as thousands of cannonballs impacted the ground, exploding in shrouds of shrapnel and fiery debris. "To your stations! Return fire! We're under attack", a British artillery commander shouted as he ran through the camp, only to be impaled himself by a shard of shrapnel, and killed instantly, being dismembered upon impact. Redbeard then emerged from his tent and drew his spyglass, and as he did this, he noticed Clemente staring straight at him with a grim smirk on his face, tipping his hat.
"Clever devil.." Redbeard murmured, throwing his spyglass on the ground. "My lord general, their infantry havebegun the advance!" a British colonel exclaimed. "How many?" Redbeard asked. "By the looks of it sir, they're throwing everything they've got at us, sir, their entire Northern flank!" "He's mad.." Redbeard insisted. Then, suddenly, the very ground beneath them began to tremble. "What is that!?" A French commander asked. Redbeard turned around to his cabinet officers, looking at them, "Hell."
Redbeard walked swiftly across the field and into the encampment, giving orders to various regiment and battalion commanders as he was moving. "Keep them as far away from the city as possible! Form up and advance with haste!" Redbeard shouted as cannonballs were exploding all around him, knocking soldiers right off their feet. "Sir, you must fall back! This is no place for you!", a member of Redbeard's cabinet insisted.
Meanwhile, on Clemente's side of the field, "Excellency, Lord Redbeard is within range of our howitzers. Shall I direct fire towards his position?" Commander Helmbane asked. Clemente paused for a moment before turning his head and looking Helmbane straight in the eyes, "Certainly not!" Helmbane bowed, and returned to his station. "Commanders of armies should have something better to do than to fire at each other." Clemente said.
By nightfall, Redbeard's last minute counter~attack had failed, and Clemente ordered a full advance into the city. That evening, Redbeard met with his cabinet to discuss a plan of action should the worst happened. "We will not survive another day of this!" a British colonel insisted, "Their artillery is too far superior to ours. We cannot compete with that!" said another." Meanwhile, Redbeard sat in his chair, with both elbows on the table, and his head deep in his hands. "Lord general, we must fall back to Bordeaux!", a commander insisted. "They are too many sir. We are beaten. We must retreat!" Suddenly, Redbeard slammed his left fist on the table holding in it a royal document, keeping his right hand firm on his forehead as he stroked it in frustration. The council became silent, and Redbeard slowly pulled his hand off of his head, raising his eyebrows as he cleared his throat, reading a royal letter aloud from Parliament which stated:
"This is an official letter from the people's Parliament of Great Britain.
Lord Marshall Samuel Redbeard, after careful but quick examination of your desperate case in the lower French region, we, the parliament of Great Britain have concluded that reinforcements will not be sent to Toulouse as this is not in the nation's best interest at this time. You will halt the Spanish invasion at Toulouse, and drive the invaders back to Barcelona. Your king thanks you for your service, and loyalty."
Signed, King John Breasly of Great Britain and Ireland"
"That's it!?" a man shouted from the corner of the room. Suddenly, the entire council burst into public expressions of anguish and frustration. "We're doomed! We're all going to die!" another man shouted in despair. Redbeard then pulled out his pistol, cocking it as he pointed it at the man saying, "Don't make me do this for the second time in a single day. I'm hardly in the mood, as you can probably see by now." The man shut up quickly, taking his seat as the rest of the council followed consequentially in his footsteps. Redbeard then exited the tent, leaving his subordinate officers inside with open minds, as they wandered what their fate held for them. Knowing defeat was inevitable, Redbeard dispatched a messenger to Paris warning them of Clemente's advancing army, and advising them to begin preparations for a possible siege of the city itself. His letter stated:
"I've never seen anything like it. He seemingly came out of nowhere, from the ashes of years of coalitions against him. This invasion force came at us like an army of wild locusts, consuming all in their path. We are inflicting minimal damage against them, and sustaining very heavy casualties ourselves. Our Southern flank is all but destroyed. Our only hope is too reunite the entirety of the combined French and British Southern army around Paris and pray that we are able to wait out the oncoming storm. I do not know if I will survive the morrow. The Spanish are ruthless and unforgiving. Should I fall, I will ask God to intervene when I walk beside him in the kingdom of Heaven. Godspeed.
Signed, Lord Marshall Samuel Redbeard"
The following morning, Redbeard and his men were awoken to another massive artillery barrage from a much closer range, obliterating the town's already damaged infrastructure and residential and commercial structures. By noon, the city had been surrounded and Redbeard had lost a third of his army, leaving 125,000 surrounded and cut off from their supply lines to the North. Redbeard knew it was only a matter of time before the damaging effects of attrition and starvation began to impact the moral of his army.At around 6PM, the entirety of the armies from both sides involved in the battle watched as Clemente himselfrode steadily out into the open field on a dark horse alongside Premier Carlos La Verde Sanita, and several other members of his cabinet, including two small regiments of ranger knights which followed closely behind in dark linen clothes bearing large Templar flags which they held high in the air. As everyone focused their attention towards this man, Clemente drew his sword and thrusted it in the air with great force. Almost immediately, all of the Spaniards began to scream and cheer raising their weapons in the air, waving Spanish flags back and forth.
After reaching the front lines, Clemente dismounted and began to walk by the columns of men as his cabinet followed. Battalion commander Roger Goldhawk approached him, as Clemente came to a halt, "Your majesty, he's got them forming a ring formation around the Citadel. They're not giving in. I suggest a mortar bombardment." Roger Goldhawk pointed to the hills behind him, "I suggest we pull out and let the big guns do what they do best." Clemente nodded in agreement saying,"Let's get our men back up on higher ground to avoid collision with our own artillery." Goldhawk bowed halfway and pulled his subordinate rear commander aside, "Give the order to fall back to the hills. We're done here." "RETROCEDER A LAS COLINAS!", "RETROCEDER A LAS COLINAS!" he yelled.
One Spaniard turned around and noticed Clemente there looking straight at him. The man had an eye hanging halfway down his cheek, and a partially dismembered left arm. "Majesty! fa..forgive me for not being more presentable.. I.. I would have never anticipated seeing you here" he said, dropping to his knees. Clemente himself then got on his knees, putting his hand on the soldier's forehead, whispering "Your bravery here today will echo in the ears of generations to come my friend. Forgive me.". Clemente then snapped his neck, holding his hand behind the man's head as he slowly lay him on the ground. His cabinet members made the sign of the Trinity across their chests, bowing their heads in unison. Clemente stood, turning swiftly to his cabinet saying, "It is good that war is so terrible. Elsewise we'd grow too fond of it."
"Minister!", he exclaimed. "Your grace?", Sanita responded. "See that the mortar bombardment proceeds as ordered, and make sure that all regiments retreat safely under cover of fire back to higher ground." Clemente said. "I have seen my fair share of.. this.. for one day." Clemente said, looking around the field before he turned around slowly, folding his hands behind his back as he began walking back to his command quarters. "You, and you", Sanita said pointing to two of the ranger knights as they stood up straight, saluting the premier. "Accompany the King back to higher ground. Now!" The two men marched off, stepping in unison as they followed Clemente.
Meanwhile, in the center of the city, "General, they're retreating! Sir!" a British colonel exclaimed. "Sir, we've won!" Redbeard pulled out his spyglass looking off into the hills as the British soldiers began cheering. "GET DOWN!" he yelled, as he threw the colonel on the ground, shielding him as a massive artillery barrage shook the city. Redbeard stood up, pulling the colonel to his feet with him. "Don't get too comfortable soldier. There's still a war to fight." The colonel nodded, exhaling in relief. "Lord general!" a man shouted, running towards Redbeard. "New orders from London my lord!" the man said, kneeling in front of Redbeard, handing the royal scroll to him. Redbeard snatched it out of his hands, opening it recklessly. A few moments went by as Redbeard scanned the paper, skipping over every other word, before crumbling the paper up in his hand and looking up in the sky with an expression of distaste and anguish.
"My lord, what news!?" a man asked. Redbeard looked into the sky, murmuring below his breath, "God have mercy.."
Chapter II ~ Toulouse (Part II)
By nightfall, of the third day, Redbeard's forces had been diminished to less than three thousand, all who were now hiding inside of the Citadel, praying to God for mercy, because they were certain they would receive none from Clemente. Reinforcements were not coming. Redbeard and his men had been completely abandoned.
"My lord, we must ask for terms.." a wounded and worn British colonel insisted. Redbeard moaned with his head in his hands. "If this city falls.... Clemente will tear through the countryside and butcher everything and everyone in his path." Redbeard stood, looking out the Citadel window down at the immense death, and scorching destruction surrounding the Citadel. "How could they abandon us like this.." The colonel approached Redbeard, putting his hand on his shoulder. "You will receive no honors for your bravery. You won't be pardoned, or rewarded, but we, your soldiers, we will remember you my lord."
White flags were hung outside the Citadel windows, and upon seeing them, Clemente immediately brought the artillery barrage to an abrupt halt and rode down to the citadel with his cabinet and two regiments of ranger knights.
The ranger knights formed two 10 manned single columns with a path in between them leading towards the citadel's front entrance. Lord Samuel Redbeard, British Commander Eric Machawk, and French garrison commander Jean De La'featte walked down the path together, trembling in fear upon seeing Clemente mounted on his dark, golden armored horse alongside his cabinet. When Redbeard reached the end of the path, two ranger knights moved in from the side with heavy broadswords and iron shields in hand. Clemente then dismounted, and approached Redbeard, staring him at him with a completely blank expression.
"Do you know who I am?" Clemente asked. Redbeard glanced at his cabinet, and then looked down at the ground. Clemente continued, "We met, a very long time ago. I'm sure you can recall." Redbeard continued to stare at the ground. "Many years ago, Sir Redbeard, you invaded our homeland, you corrupted my son, and you swore to dethrone me and put my head on a spike." Redbeard sighed, and the members of his cabinet began to tremble softly. "Well I'm here, Redbeard. Have my head and be done with it." Normally, the Spaniards would have chuckled, but given that the only Spaniards present were the highly~disciplined and undaunted rangers, the atmosphere of silence remained persistent.
Redbeard cleared his throat, "We.. we would like to ask you for terms of a conditional surrender of the city." Clemente smirked, turning towards Sanita and nodding his head. Sanita then raised his left hand and two ranger knights moved in from the sides knocking both Commander Machawk and Commander La'featte over the head with iron clubs, and dragging them into the field, throwing them on a cart full of dead British soldiers. Clemente moved in closer to Redbeard. "You nearly put me in the very position you are in now Redbeard, many years ago. I do not forgive, and I never forget."
Redbeard pulled a letter from his trenchcoat pocket, holding it midway in the air. Clemente snatched it out of his hand and ripped the seal off, skimming over the words swiftly but steadily. The letter read:
I know our past has been wrecked by wars, family grievances, and various other complications, and I know that you are set on avenging your fellow countrymen, but I hope that you will find it in your heart to spare the men who fought against you at Toulouse. Many of them are also your brothers, my sons, sons of France. Put an end to this violence before it rips the world asunder. You, and only you have the power to put an end to this. I will not meet with you. I will only ask that as a sign of your love for the woman who suffered to bear your children, that you will spare Lord Redbeard, his cabinet, and all the other men still stationed at Toulouse, British and French alike. Many things you were my love, but never cruel. I have faith that you will come back to the light and find it in you to forgive the British for what they have done to you.
Yours truly, Queen Grace Goldtimbers of France, Duchess of Anemois"
Clemente gawked, folding the paper up gently and putting it in his own pocket before turning and glancing at the ground. He murmured a few lines under his breath, expressing signs of strong emotional nostalgia before slowly turning back towards Redbeard. "Go." he said. Sanita looked at the other members of the cabinet puzzled, and Redbeard looked up staring at Clemente with owl eyes. "Go, take your men, and get the Hell out of here.." Redbeard's jaw dropped halfway, as he sat there gawking in silence. "The next time I see you Redbeard, do not expect me to be so merciful." Sanita and the other members of the cabinet began gossiping in frustration, and confusion. Redbeard bowed halfway, before turning and walking back into the citadel with his hands in the air as the cheers of British and French soldiers echoed from inside.
"Your grace!" Sanita exclaimed, grabbing Clemente's arm. "This man is treacherous, he leads an army of devils and infidels! We should have his head!" Clemente turned around swiftly, looking Sanita straight in the eyes, exclaiming fiercely, "I have made my choice! Do not persist to tell me otherwise. Do not forget your place premier, or I will not hesitate to put you back in it myself!" Captain Lunius, Clemente's chief of the king's guard then moved in with his hand on the hilt of his sword ready to draw it at moment's notice, to reassure that Sanita knew who was in charge, and who made the final decisions."Apologies your grace." Sanita bowed, turning around and walking back towards his horse. Halfway there,he snapped his right hand fingers and a ranger knight threw a torch on the cart that commander Machawk and commander Le'feate were lying on, setting them both ablaze. Clemente turned around towards Sanita with wide eyes and a firm face upon seeing the fire. "Fire cleanses, your grace." Sanita said. "Their sin has been washed away." Sanita mounted, whipping his horse while making the sign of the trinity across his chest and bolting off back to the command tent.
"You've won the battle your grace." Captain Lunius implied. "Yes... but does this make me a conqueror?" Clemente asked. "Thousands must die my king." Lunius replied. Clemente turned towards Lunius. "Millions", he said, before turning around swiftly and walking back to his horse.
Chapter III ~ Scorched Earth (Coming Soon)
After the fall of Toulouse, Redbeard and his remaining men were allowed to retreat Northwards. Commander Machawk and Commander Le'feate had snuck off the cart that they were on and back into the British ranks and had therefore also escaped with Redbeard. An estimated 256,000 men perished at Toulouse. Unfortunately, this battle wouldn't be the biggest, nor the last. There were many more to come, far worse, and far more consuming over the course of the next 6 years.
Meanwhile, in Vienna, Austria, a messenger rushed through the royal palace halls accompanied by two golden armored Queen's guards into Empress Maria Theresa, or, "Hannah Bluefeather"'s chambers. "My Queen, an urgent message from Paris!" her chief guard exclaimed, as the three men kneeled before her. She then quietly stepped off her throne and walked down a few steps taking the letter out of the man's hand opening it carefully.
"Hmmmmm..." she said, walking back up to her throne and sitting down on the side of it. "My Queen, Toulouse is fallen." her guard said. "And so it would seem..." she said. "The British bid we attack from the East... and, is there any word from Spain?" she asked. "None, your grace. Clemente isn't particularly fond of alliances."
"Some say this new war is to be the greatest ever before seen in all of Europe." he implied. "The existence of this war is no longer up for debate.. what I can't say for certain is whose side we're on." she said, standing up and looking outside her palace window down at the city.
Concurrently, in Paris, the French royal family made all necessary preparations for their relocation to Cologne in Westphalia. "Come along little ones" Queen Grace said as the young Trish Peer, daughter of Taylor, and the older Bobbius and Sylius, daughter and son of Grace and Clemente himself circled around her playing with wooden toy swords. "Your highness!" a royal captain exclaimed, approaching from the distance. "Francis Bluehawk is in Alsace~Lorraine! He marches against us with an army of 100,000 strong. Your own general..."Grace smiled at the man before looking down at the young duchess Trish. "What do you think of that mydear?" she asked. The captain and his guard glanced at each other puzzled. "I think that they should come have tea with me and daddy!" Trish said, looking up at Grace, rocking back and forth, slinging her doll around in her hand. "Well, Captain. You heard her. Send word to our friend in Alsace~Lorraine that the duchess demands he come to Paris for tea!" Grace insisted.
Then, abruptly, a man in a long red embellished royal cape approached from afar accompanied by a small regiment of heavily armored Swiss guards. "Highness, it's your father."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers of Great Britain, Grace Goldtimber's father was taking a stroll through the Hall of Mirrors in the heart of Versailles alongside Cardinal Hector Wildhayes. "So tell me, your eminence, what is the Papacy's standing in this war?" Goldtimbers asked as he walked slowly alongside the Cardinal. "The Pope will do everything in his power to maintain neutrality. I personally must confess that what Clemente fights for, is a just cause at first glance... Spaniards butchered in Russia, Sweden in open rebellion, and marauding Muslim invaders to the South? Being a Spaniard myself, you know where my loyalties lie minister."
Goldtimbers sighed, shaking his head, looking at the ground. Wildhayes continued, "Clemente will do everything in his power to bring France back into the fold. I can't condone a war between two fellow Catholic nations, but, it's not something to simply be ignored." "Ignoring him is no longer an option." Goldtimbers interrupted. "Diplomacy then?" Goldtimbers stopped abruptly, turning towards Cardinal Wildhayes, "Diplomacy", he concurred.
As the two continued walking down the hall, Grace and her children and granddaughter approached from the other side of the hallway accompanied by a squadron of Swiss guards. "Ah, there she is!" Goldtimbers said, smiling as Grace approached. "The Queen herself!" he said, bowing halfway, as Hector followed. "Mother, what is grandfather doing here?" Bobbius asked. Grace gripped her hand, and continued walking.
As they came closer, Goldtimbers bent down on his knees and made a monstrous chuckling impersonation. "Muahahaha!" Then, Grace let the three children loose as they all ran towards him. "Grandfather!" they all cheered in unison and jubilee. "It's wonderful to see you again!" Bobbius said. "And you as well my dear." Goldtimbers replied. "Mommy says that your big brother is coming here so we have to go hide in another house!" Trish said. Goldtimbers glanced at Grace smiling before looking back at Trish. "Yes. We have to make sure we pick a good hiding place so that he won't find us this time don't we?" he asked. Hector chuckled, looking at Trish.
"Is that Hector!?" Grace asked, smiling as she approached the cardinal. Hector bent, kissing her hand. "It's a pleasure to see you alive and well my queen!" he said. "I only wish that the circumstances could be better..." he continued. "Nonsense! It's always a pleasure to see an old friend, regardless of the situation" She said. Hector grinned.
Meanwhile, in Southern France, Clemente's army was advancing rapidly at a rate of 25 miles a day towards Paris, burning everything in his path as a part of the famous Spanish "scorched earth" strategy. Redbeard's army was only a day's march ahead, barely marching faster hoping to reunite with the combined British, Dutch, and French main army outside Paris.
To the East, Prince Ben Squidskull was moving closer and closer towards French~controlled Bern, and the Swiss Alps, while in Spain, Augustine Clemente was just past Madrid marching towards Portugal to demand the surrender of King Jeffrey Blasthawk I. From there, he planned to divide his army into three sub~sections, one to be stationed in Portugal, one in Madrid, and one in Cordoba to fend off a potential Barbary invasion.
Meanwhile, in London, First Sea Lord Johnny Coaleaston was devising his own master plan as a part of a massive counter attack on the Spanish mainland itself which Parliament was certain would bring a swift end to the war and send Clemente marching back to Madrid in defeat. With Spadus Ignacio XI, Clemente's master admiral dispatched to the Mediterranean, the British were certain that without his profound leadership that Spain would not be able to hold off a naval invasion from the North through the Bay of Biscay.
- King Phillipe V Clemente/Clemente ~ Rightful King of Spain and France, and commander of the Spanish Northern flank during The Paradoxian War.
- Lord Samuel Redbeard ~ Commander of the allied British and French Southern flank during The Paradoxian War. Also the Grand Lord Marshall of the EITC.
- Overlord Augustine Clemente ~ Head of the Spanish armed forces; answering only to King Phillipe V Clemente. Augustine is tasked with commanding Spain's Southern flank in the defense of the Spanish mainland.
- Prime Minister/Premier Carlos La Verde Sanita ~ Representative of both the Spanish people and the Catholic church in Clemente's cabinet. Sanita is one of Clemente's strongest followers, but he often has a mind of his own, especially when it comes to religion. Sanita is also one of the most ruthless and brutal Spaniards.
- King John/George Augustus Breasly ~ King of the British Empire. Breasly rarely steps foot outside of his palace in London.
- Queen Grace Goldtimbers/Duchess of Anemois ~ Rightful Queen of France, and one of the three primary Antoinette children. She is also Clemente's ex wife.
- Admiral Spadus Ignacio XI ~ The most revered and daring naval commander on Earth. Spadus, or "Spade" is Clemente's secret weapon at sea, often compared to the "Kraken". He is unbeatable.
- Captain Lunius/Luuluu ~ Clemente's chief of guard. Lunius, or better known as "Luuluu" is tasked with defending the King from any potential threat(s)
- Commander Lawrence Helmbane ~ Chief artillery commander of the Spanish Northern flank.
- Lord Andrew Mallace ~ Lord of coin for the British empire and false Czar of Russia.
- Prince Ben Squidskull ~ Commander of the Spanish Eastern flank, and third heir to the throne of Spain.
- Empress Hannah Bluefeather ~ Empress/Queen of the Austrian Empire. She enters the war neutral, but after the fall of Toulouse ends up joining Spain's side against Britain and its allies.
- King John Macbatten I ~ King of Sweden. Ally of Britain in the beginning of the war, but ends up turning on Britain while also remaining hostile with Spain in later years.
- Shah Robert Shipstealer ~ Shah/King of the Ottoman Empire, also the Prince of Spain and son of Clemente. He is neutral in the beginning of the war, put ends up ceding all of the Ottoman Empire to Spain in later years and re~uniting with his father.
- Commander Roger Goldhawk ~ Commander of Clemente's 3rd, 7th, and 9th line infantry battalions of the Northern flank.
- General Francis Bluehawk ~ Mercenary general of the "Hessian Jaggers" which fight under Clemente against the British.
- Prime Minister Johnny Goldtimbers ~ Prime Minister of the British Empire.
- Lord Leon Goldtimbers ~ The infamous "Captain Leon" himself. Leon joins forces with Clemente after Clemente frees him from a prison in Paris.
- William Sharkskull ~ Grand Lord Admiral/First Sea Lord of The Spanish Navy. William Sharkskull, like Spade is a very talented and daring naval commander, an individual not to be trifled with.
- Lord Hector Raidgrin ~ Commander of Clemente's third ranger knight regiment.
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