Princess Johiehon was traveling in a carriage near the Potomac river. She had been traveling for several days from her home in the Kingdom of Kahrakwa. They are an ally of the nation she was visiting; the Kingdom of Marytolia. She was here to visit a certain someone for a potential marriage. She was traveling with her handmaid, who was talking about the gossip of the man in question.
“So, what do you know about King Julius II?” Johiehon asked.
“Well… from what people have said Julius is very young for a king. In fact, he’s 18.”
“Really? That is quite young for such an important position.”
“It is, but do not be fooled, he has proven himself quite capable as a ruler. For Marytolian standards, that is.”
“ Well, we must be lucky that there are three kings of Marytolia.”
“Yes, Erik I seems to be the most reasonable of the three. Very business-like. King Codimius IV is quite friendly.”
“What does Julius II do?”
Her handmaid looked at her and said with an ominous tone, “Julius is the War King. He is the man the other two kings turn to when force is needed.”
“How comforting,” She sighed looking out the window of the carriage.
The carriage suddenly stops. Johiehon sticks her head out of the window and asks the driver, “Why have we stopped?” The carriage driver responds, “We are being stopped by Marytolian horsemen, princess.” A group of heavily armored horsemen surround the carriage. All of their horses are covered in scale armor while the riders themselves woear their plate mail armor in either the Northern Italian or Southern German styles. One of them approaches. He is distinguished from the others with an eagle feather crest across his head. He comes close to the carriage window and asks, “Are you Princess Johiehon?” She nods in response. “Follow me, we will escort you to New Constantinople.”
After a few days of hard riding, they make it to the outskirts of the Maritolian capital of New Constantinople. The city is surrounded by a massive wall made from black granite. On the walls are what seems like thousands of guards. The gates have doors covered in sheets of metal. They are decorated with designs and depictions of the Norse Gods. As they got to the city, the gate opened and inside was a small tunnel of three portcullises. Leading to the city were two aqueducts and also the river that runs through the city. Inside the tunnel, there are slits in the wall for archers to loose their arrows or fire their arquebuses. They finally make it into the city. It is a bustling metropolis filled with many people. The buildings are decorated in the roman style and the streets had gutters for rainwater to run into the sewer systems. The smiths are hard at work and military patrols marching their routes as people converse in the small plazas here and there. There is a distinct feature among all of the citizens. All of the citizens are wearing their weapons on their sides. Axes, swords, maces, any weapon that could be attached to the hip is everywhere.
The carriage stops at another wall inside of the city. “It must be the citadel,” she mumbles to herself. As they go through the gates and portcullises, they enter into a complete fantasyland: the palace courtyard. There is a Japanese style garden with large creeks, small lakes, and islands where at least dozens of people could fit on them. The walkways are made of small rocks along all of these creeks. There were also Koi fish that swim in these creeks and lakes. The palace itself is built extremely well fortified, but also is a well decorated exterior with statues of both Saints and Norse Gods. Approaching the carriage isa tall man with a full beard and a crown on his head. He is wearing fine clothes with pelt interiors. A Marytolian Royal Guard opened the door for her as the man approached.
“Welcome to the royal palace princess, I am Codimius IV. Unfortunately, Julius is not here until tonight.”
“Why is his highness not here yet,” she asks curiously.
“He had just tracked down some raiders in the northern territories of our kingdom.”
“Oh, I see. Well, is there a room I can stay in? The journey was quite long.”
“Yes, right this way.”
As they enter the palace, a group of royal guards form around them as they walk to the guest room the princess would stay in. The walls of the hallway are richly decorated with tapestries, murals, and paintings of people, battles, nature in the Italian style. There are also portraits of kings and their families. All of them seem to have a grin on their faces except one particular painting. She stops to take a closer look at the painting.
“What family is this?” She asked curiously.
Codimius gives a sigh, “That is King Philip III and his family, also Julius’ father. My uncle as well.”
“None of them are smiling.”
“King Philip was a very capable ruler and administrator. But, he was not the greatest father. That goes the same with his mother queen Livia.”
“Yes, that might be the reason he has an extreme temper.”
“Is his temper publicly known?”
“Yes, among his nicknames, is the King of Fury.”
The princess goes into her room and her bags are brought in and she closes the door. She lays down to take a rest as the sun starts to go down. A few hours passed when a commotion outside woke the princess. She looks outside to see a large entourage of men lightly armored with small shields and javelins. A young man on a large black stallion with a white star on its face comes in behind them. Johiehon goes by her door and listens. The young man bursts into the hall yelling, “I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS VENETIANS!!!” The guards form around him and escort him and whoever was with the man. “Julius, will you please calm down.”
“How am I supposed to be calm when our enemies are funding raids into our lands?!?!”
“We need to reassess the situation and come up with a plan.”
“My plan is war, this cannot go unanswered!! Bandits are raping our lands and the Kingdom of Piansylvania are reaping the benifits!”
They moved to another room down the hallway. The princess has just gone to bed.
In the morning, Johiehon is woken up by her handmaid. She gets up and is told by her handmaid that King Julius was waiting for her in the dining hall. She picks a long blue dress and she heads to the dining hall with a royal guard escort. She enters the dining hall that is also richly decorated with crystal chandeliers and paintings along the walls. The long dining tables form rows and have white, elaborately decorated tablecloths and candlestick holders. Julius was sitting at a dining table that was on a raised platform. He was wearing five clothes with a shirt that was made of silk along with his pants. He also wore a royal purple with a cheetah pelt interior. He was also wearing a plain silver crown with sapphires in the shape of the rune sign for the Norse War God, Tyr. He stands up as the princess walks over to him and sits down with her..
“You must be princess Johiehon, I am Julius II.” He smiles.
She responds, “Pleasure to meet you, your highness.” She smiles back at him.
“I hope you were not disturbed yesterday by the… commotion.”
“I slept fine, was it about the new kingdom that has been formed.”
He sighs, “Unfortunately yes, The Republic of Venice are also in an upheaval over their sudden colony’s independence.”
“I see, are you always interested in conflict?”
“It is what I am considered ‘proficient’ in.”
The two of them begin to converse. They are getting to know each other better and better. The two seemed to be a very good match. As the day reached into the afternoon, Julius and Johiehon are taking a stroll through the royal gardens. It was feeding for the Koi fish. They were all swarming towards the surface, eating the food that was being given to them. As they were watching they were approached by Erik I. Erik I went to them and said, “Julius, a situation has arisen. There is a diplomat from the Republic of Venice.”
Johiehon stood in the back of the room as the royal guards surrounded the entourage of the Venetian diplomats. Julius, Codimius, and Erik are sitting on their thrones. Julius looked especially infuriated, as if he was going to have them executed on the spot.
“Your highnesses, I am here representing Doge Emilio VII.” They bow and they resume their introduction.
“The Doge wishes to apologize for any damages caused by this ultimatum that has plagued our respective territories.”
Julius slams his hand on the table, causing everything on it to shake, “Your colony has gotten completely out of control. They are hiring bandit raiders to pillage our trade routes because they know they would be annihilated if they tried to attack our villages. They leave our roads a desolate wasteland.”
“That is why we are here today, your highness.” The man places a scroll charter onto the table and Erik takes it.
He reads, “Lords of Marytolia, as Doge of the serene Republic of Venice, I am absolving any involvement with the old colony of Nuovo Venezia and the new Kingdom of Piansylvania in cases of war, trade, and relief.”
Julius looks at them and asks, “Does this mean the republic will not get involved in any wars in the defense of this new kingdom?”
The diplomat responds, “Yes, the Martino family has fallen heavily out of favor since their self proclaimed independence. The republic has lost a tremendous amount of income and resources due to this unforeseen situation. It also seems to be coming at the cost of the republic’s rivals as well.”
Erik says, “Why does the republic care about the well being of its rivals?”
“It is bad for business to have no competition. So what will it be, your highnesses?”
Erik and Codimius both look at Julius. Julius stands up.
“We are going to war.”