Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Back home, perhaps

Monte-Cristo, 16th August 1713

After having finished re-reading his own report for King Charles, written with a copy to the General Deputation as usual, the Marquis of Vilana wearily sighed. Under other circumstances, he should have had more than enough reasons to feel satisfied with the work done so far, but as a matter of fact he was overwhelmed by an overall fatigue feeling, as well as a certainty that the hardest work was yet to begin.

During his few weeks stay in Monte Cristo, Vilana had managed to unequivocally reaffirm mutual loyalty between the Principality and the Empire, and had secured the unconditional support of the Whig faction of the British Parliament. True that none of both commitments could be translated into direct military aid to the Principality, but crucially confirmed that the old alliances were still alive and would continue acting on their behalf in the international sphere, and this was a real success.

But more importantly, he had managed to open doors to an eventual separate peace with France, which in turn could open wide the path to a definitive European peace. Further, all this had been achieved in spite of his Spanish rival, legate Marquis of Ordoño, whose diplomatic initiatives had proved to be completely ineffective so far. This was a promising sign of a progressive diplomatic isolation of Spain until they consented to an agreed solution of the Catalan Case.

True there was nothing certain about France beyond a statement of intent, so that all remained pending future negotiations -which he presaged difficult and full of obstacles. Not surprisingly, since the distant time when the Catalan counties seceded from the Carolingian Kingdom about XIth Century, France had become a perpetual and relentless enemy for their Nation. Vilana was fully aware the first barrier to overcome would be the atavistic distrust of his own naturals toward France, whom they’d never expect anything good from.

If negotiations with France failed, their only lasting hope would rely on an eventual change of mind of Queen Anne, allowing the Whig party reprisal of power in Britain. By such, Franco-Spanish fear of an English rentrée in war would then become the Principality’s safest conduct to the so long awaited liberty. But that would mean trusting to fortune -always so capricious and unpredictable...

Vilana then took the short note Lord William of Beerstein had delivered to him that morning, acknowledging him about the immediate plans of His Majesty the King & Caesar about the Principality. He had been suggested to come in Vienna too, and certainly he'd be happy in attending to the meeting... in other circumstances. But now it was clear to him that he still had a role to perform in Catalonia in the meanwhile, because not all the fronts in this war were external.

It was clear to him. He would come back in the Principality and face the Parliament's reaction to the French proposals... as well as to eventual news coming from Vienna.


abdul666 said...

French diplomacy is complex and evolving -though rival circles are trying to promote different directions. In the North the rising threat of 'the Russian giant bear' is perceived, and the alliance with Catholic Poland but also with Lutheran Sweden is developed as a counter: this may set an example. True, with regard to Germany as a whole, the growing Prussian power is still unnoticed -in our timeline France will realize it and shift alliances a war too late; still traumatized by its surrounding by hostile lands under a single ruler -Holy Roman Emperor, King of the Romans, King of Italy, Duke and Count Palatine of Burgundy, Lord of the Netherlands and King of Spain. Yet France has been at war with Spain since the Wars of Religion and, a Bourbon on the Spanish throne notwithstanding, Spanish intrusions into French internal affairs did not cease to be a worrying possibility -quite the contrary. Then, from the time of Richelieu France his aiming at 'natural borders': the Pyrenees perfectly represent such, and given recent hostilities across them, a -small, innocuous- buffer State on the 'glacis', on the other side of the 'counterscarp crest' can only be considered positively.

Marquis de Vilana (and his staff and retinue) will leave fond memories in Monte-Cristo (some of personal nature). We wish him success and a safe journey back home; and after his departure our Bureau de la Surete Nationale will relax a bit.

Soldadets said...

Marquis de Vilana's departure is not to be immediate -likely within next campaigning week, after the battles of this fifth turn are fought. There are still some protocolary issues to be adequately performed, as it will be seen at a short term ;)