Part 24: XXIV. Baldwin XV, Archambaut II 1788-1802 A.D.
Early in 1788, Orleans offered Baldwin XV both a military alliance and a royal marriage, which he accepted. A strong Catholic alliance in Europe would act as a counterweight to the Orthodox superpowers. King Baldwin XV also put a lot of time and effort into trying to convince Italy to join them, but was unsuccessful. His diplomatic skills were simply too poor.
In Nicholia, the United Provinces of Central Nicholia broke away from Ireland.
Meanwhile, Bohemia lost another war against Rum, and came up with a desperate plan to preserve their independence.
An emissary arrived in Jerusalem, begging Baldwin XV to take the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. There was no love lost between Reformed Bohemia and Catholic Jerusalem, but as a piece of political theater it seemed very effective. It would give Rum and the Byzantines pause before taking any more land in central Germany.
Unfortunately, it didn't work. The Byzantine Emperor declared war on Italy and Bohemia in 1792, dragging Rum along with them. After some reflection, King Baldwin XV responded with his own declaration of war and was joined by Orleans. The Orthodox powers had to be stopped before they threatened the Catholic faithful of western Europe.
The effects of the war promptly made themselves felt in Jerusalem, as several local powers in India strived to break free of the Kingdom's central government. The stability of Jerusalem suffered badly during King Baldwin's campaign to repress the rebels.
Baldwin XV hoped to force the Byzantines and Rum to release some of their conquered territories. To this end his armies moved across Anatolia and the Mediterranean moved to within sight of Constantinople to ferry troops over.
Unfortunately, Jerusalem's fleet met with disaster. A swarm of Byzantine galleys devastated the Kingdom's fleet. There would be no crossing to Constantinople.
By this point, both Rum and the Byzantines had made peace with Bohemia and Italy. Baldwin XV accepted the Byzantine Emperor's peace offer into order to focus more fully on Rum.
Whatever problems that Jerusalem was having with independence movements, Rum was having many times worse. The countryside was in chaos and disorder. Baldwin XV took advantage of Rum's precarious position to force them to release Prussia as an independent nation. The medieval pagan Lithuanian realm had long since converted to Orthodox Christianity, but the locals resented the rule of Greek kings of Rum. King Baldwin installed August Wilhelm I, a Catholic as King over Prussia.
Over the next two years, Rum's problems grew worse and worse. Like a cancer, the revolutionary ideas of the Nicholian colonies had taken root in the north and were tearing the northern nation apart. On the 22nd of November, in 1798, the Provisional Democratic Republic of the Russian People executed King Nikomedes IV of the Russian Rum.
Central authority collapsed and local independence movements sprung up. The Byzantines attacked in a desperate attempt to preserve their allies. When the dust settled the Empire of Rum was no more. The blood of the Greek nobles ran in the streets.
In the spring of 1797, Baldwin XV died and was succeeded by Archambaut II.
Archambaut II was widely regarded as having bad taste. His sponsorship of a series of epic operas based on the fall of the late King Nikomedes IV met with laughter and disdain across the Kingdom, when it turned out they were written by a revolutionary sympasizer . Even the grand ball he threw wasn't able to counteract his humiliation.
In the north, the Confederate States of Nicholia had carried their war against Bohemia's colonial possessions into mainland Europe, invading Bohemian Scandinavia, much to everyone's great surprise.
Although they were forced to make a white peace with the Russians, the Byzantines did manage to seize and hold large swaths of territory in Poland and Georgia.
Many in Jerusalem were terrified that the revolts in north would spread to the Kingdom. There was a general feeling that the nation now had more in common with the Byzantines, even if they shared a different religion. The revolutionary nationalism of the former Rum realms threatened all Europe. In response, Archambaut II worked hard on reforming the army.
The Byzantines weren't the only one's picking on Poland, however. In 1802, there was good humor in Jerusalem at the news that the Italian King had forced the Revolutionary Council of Poland to cede a broad swathe of Hungarian lands, liberating the people there from the bloody yoke of the revolutionaries.
But the age of terror and revolution in Europe was only beginning…