So, each of the three big factions in the game has their own special questline. I didn’t do the Cossack Hetmanate one, The Secret of the Black Mace, on my main character because, well, it requires starting a rebellion within the Commonwealth at one point and I had already sworn my oath to Hmelnitski. I wasn’t willing to ask him to release me from his service. BUT … I have that other character Ani, my ‘let’s play as a woman’ project. She had started the questline as well, and despite gaining much favour with the Cossacks they had not allowed her to join them. So since she was still neutral I decided to work on it with her. She had to go find Janusz Radziwill, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania, and help him overthrow King Jan Kasimir.
So, the first quest he gives me is to capture a city or fortress, so that we have a capital to work out of. Obviously, I cannot accomplish this alone. So I go talk to various Poles, hoping they like me or Janusz enough to join us. Those that agree who hold fiefs, well, those holdings automatically switch sides to Polish Commonwealth (rebels). Those who don’t, we have to fight (if I approached them in the field to ask them). And yes, Janusz does fight by my side.
I was able to gain Berestye Fortress and Lida Castle this way when Jerzy Halecki and Jan Sobieski agreed to aid us. Jan Zamojski also came along for the ride, but he had no holdings. Ok, so, those castles don’t count since they already have lords. We still need to capture one. We rode around to the Pole-owned fortresses, asking for more joiners and looking for one that had a low enough number of defenders that we could take it. The only one that had low defense at the moment was Myadzelsk Castle, owned by Andrejz (Andrezj? Andrzej. Silly Polish spellings. Can we just settle on calling him Andrei?) Kmicic. I didn’t really want to take his castle without first asking Pan Andrei to join us, but he wasn’t home and I didn’t know where to find him. So after a couple of circles around all of the other options, I just took it.
Once Janusz was settled in, he sent us to capture Kiev, which turns into a Polish town automatically at that point in the questline. I was a bit upset about that, I mean, they put Anton out of his city just like that with no warning or battle or anything! So we rode over and found that the city defenses were about equal to our numbers. Hm, doable but it wasn’t going to be easy. So we set about besieging it and after the first battle, as we were laying explosives for the second assault, Oginsky went to Myadzelsk. Oh. Yeah. We probably should defend that eh? But we’ve almost got this … I made the fateful decision to stick with my siege. It didn’t succeed, but Oginsky sure did. With the defeat of Radziwill, the rebellion was ended in its infancy. Jerzy, Jan, and Jan went back to serving King Jan and I was left neutral. Lesson learned, defend your new fief first! And maybe try to take something closer to Kiev as your capital so that you are nearby if needed.
Alone and in despair, I rode up to Lavrin Sinonos to vent my frustration. He offered me a mercenary contract with the Cossacks (finally). So that attempt ended in failure and that character is now just another Cossack. I made a new character to have another attempt at the questline. I also helped my new Cossack brothers take back Kiev, which was then given back to Anton, thank God. I would have really felt awful if I had inadvertently caused him to permanently lose his city.
Oh, a funny thing happened before all of this. I happened to be visiting Kiev on business and noticed that Jan Skrzetuski was being held in the prison there. So I took a walk around to see if the guards would let me in to talk to him. They did, so I wandered around and then chatted with him a bit. One of the options that always comes up when talking to another lord is “What are you and your men doing here?” So I figured I had to see what he would say.
Easy there, Jan! Geez, someone woke up on the wrong side of the cell this morning, eh? hehe