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Thread: "Per Audaciam, Ad Victoriam" - The County of Frisia

  1. #21
    Transnational Progressive AKjeldsen's Avatar
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    Veldmaarschalk: One thing's certain, the count isn't making things easy for himself.

    stnylan: Absolutely, and we're not finished with them yet. BTW, if you're interested, most of the legal quotes are from Dobozy, Maria (tr.): The Saxon Mirror. A Sachsenspiegel of the Fourteenth Century (Philadelphia, 1999). It's highly recommended.

    prussiablue: The count's fate will be revealed in the next update. Stay tuned...
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

  2. #22
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    I will have to remember it!

    What is going on now is interesting. There is a sort of power vacuum, and lots of interesting things can happen there.
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  3. #23
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    I wonder what she is talking to the count's son about...
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  4. #24
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    Chapter 5

    In which Lady Ida takes charge


    (Monastery of Saint Boniface, April 9, 1074)

    KROOONNSCH!

    The heavy granite slab slid in place above the count's tomb, accompanied by the monk choir singing the Requiem. According to Ekbert's wishes, he had been buried in the monastery church, by the high altar. An appropriate resting place, considering his many generous donations to the monastery through the years. Too many and too generous, some had felt.

    The entire court had assembled in the church. Now that the mass had finished, they split up into smaller groups. Ida amused herself by trying to predict who would go where. The death of a ruler always meant a very fluid situation. The court would need some time to regain its equilibrium, and new factions would form according to the disposition of the new man on the throne. Ida didn't bother with such petty diversions. Her position had been secured a long time ago.

    The count's son – or rather the new count, she corrected herself – was talking quietly with abbot Lambrecht. Considering he was now an orphan, he did take the whole situation with a quite composed manner, she thought. But maybe that wasn't so surprising. In many ways, that abbot had been more of a father to young Ekbert than his real one, anyway.

    She noticed the count's widow, Wulfthryth, walking towards her on the way out of the church. "This is all your fault," she whispered to Ida as she passed by. "You should have had that woman sent away while you had the chance."

    "Or maybe you should have been a better wife to him," Ida thought. It could be true that Wulfhilde's death had been the final blow that had killed the count. Or it could have been something else. It didn't matter now. What mattered was salvaging the pieces and making sure that the succession of the younger Ekbert went smoothly and that the circumstances would cause as little damage as possible.


    (Braunschweig Manor, April 13)

    A few days after the burial, Lady Ida was sitting in the manor parlour with the new count, explaining what he needed to know about his new position and the political situation – and not more than he needed to know at the time.

    It had taken a little effort, but in the end, she had managed to keep him away from everyone else at court while she was explaining things to him the right way. Marshal Johann and his guards had been a great assistance in that isolation. That man was so delightfully naïve.

    "Yes, Ekbert, when your father died, you inherited all his lands, claims and titles. As for the titles, you will need to go to the duke to receive them from him as vassal, but that's mostly a formality."

    "So I'm the count now?"

    "Partly. You have the titles, but since you're too young, the duke has appointed me your regent until you turn sixteen."

    "That's not fair. I'm fourteen. I could easily rule now. I can both read and write and do the numbers and everything."

    Ida laughed. "It takes more than that to rule a county, child. Old Brother Emmo at the monastery can do all that better than you, but you wouldn't put him in charge, would you? No, just like the marshal is training you to fight and lead soldiers, I'll teach you how to negotiate and conduct politics, and to recognize both threats and opportunities and to deal with them properly. You do understand why you need to know this, don't you?"

    "I guess so."

    "Good. We'll do it in a very simple way: You will accompany me to the council meetings and listen to what's going on. I'll be making the decisions. After each meeting, I'll explain what happened and why. Understood?"

    "That sounds boring."

    "Trust me, it isn't. And now, it's time for your sword lessons."

    "Do I have to? They make me ache everywhere."

    "Now, Ekbert."

    The young count made a sour face. "Yes, Aunt Ida."


    Count Ekbert II van Braunschweig.
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

  5. #25
    Transnational Progressive AKjeldsen's Avatar
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    stnylan: Quite. It remains to bee seen whether the court has anyone else that can match Ida's political skills.

    east_emnet: Let's just say that Lady Ida is both perceptive and a long-term planner.
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

  6. #26
    The Closer Supermoderator Veldmaarschalk's Avatar
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    Sounds like a real teenager our young Ekbert

  7. #27
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    Very good, I like your style. Give us more.

  8. #28
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    Chapter 6

    In which a letter is received


    (Braunschweig Manor, February 1076)

    Otto, by divine grace and imperial favour duke of Meissen, to our noble brother Ekbert count of Frisia and Ostrofrisia, greetings and wishes of good health and fortune.

    We wish to congratulate your lordship on your recent sixteenth birthday. We remain certain that your county will see much progress and prosperity under your guidance. We also need to inform you that we have recently discovered certain documents in our keeping that were issued at the court that was held by his Imperial Majesty Otto in our lands of Meissen in the year of Our Lord 946. These documents show that the county of Brabant were granted in fief by his Imperial Majesty to your illustrious ancestor Ludolf from his Majesty's hand. It gives us great pain to see your family suffer the injustice of not having been able to take these lands in your rightful possession, and so we do herewith forward said documents to your keeping. Given in our castle of Albrechtsburg on the day of Saint John the Baptist, in the year of Our Lord 1076. Under our ducal seal.
    Young count Ekbert read through the letter again. It took him some time. The monks had taught him reading and a bit of Latin, but some of these words he'd never seen before.

    "I don't understand this, Aunt Ida."

    "Really? It seems clear enough, doesn't it? The Latin's not that difficult."

    "Well, I understand what it says, and it's nice of him to write and all, but I don't understand why he does it. Why would he care if we have some claim we didn't know about?"

    Chancellor Ida smiled. "It's quite simple, really. You see, duke Otto's wife is the aunt of the young count of Brabant."

    "And?"

    "And that means that duke Otto was the brother-in-law of the former count, who died about seven years ago, and so knew him well. Now, I happen to know that that they had rather a large conflict some years before the count's death, because…" – she looked at Ekbert for a moment – "…well, it's not really important why, but in any case, they got very angry with one another, and have been enemies since then. Apparently, he's going after his old enemy's son as well."

    "So this is simply a way of taking revenge? But why us?"

    "One possibility is that that the claim is genuine. Just because something is unlikely doesn't mean it's necessarily false. But if it is something he made up, I'd guess he's using us because there's no particular risk or loss for him if we fail. Doesn't really matter either way."

    "I see. So we have a claim now. What are we going to do with it?"

    "Use it when the right opportunity arises, of course. We're going to take the county of Brabant and legitimise it with this."

    "But, Aunt?" The young count frowned. "Is it right to just take the count's lands from him? I mean, wouldn't that be a rather un-Christian thing to do."

    Ida van Braunschweig sighed mentally. The boy showed promise, but by God, there were so many obstacles. "Yes, of course it would be wrong if we were just going to take it from him. But what if the claim is genuine? Then it would be Brabant who's holding lands that rightfully belongs to our family. Wouldn't it be even more un-Christian to allow him to get away with that?"

    Ekbert mulled that over for a moment. "I guess."

    "Good. Isn't it about time you should be out practicing with the marshal, by the way?"

    "I am sixteen now, Aunt Ida."

    "So you are, but that doesn't mean you don't need to practice your combat skills. Quite the contrary, in fact. You'll be expected to lead your own troops now. So off with you."

    "Yes, Aunt Ida."

    After the annoyed Ekbert had left, Ida picked up the claims documents. Smiling, she carefully hugged them to her chest like a favourite puppet. She had never felt better in her life as she thought about the possibilities. Yes, Brabant would be a rare jewel to add to the Braunschweig treasury. Now, it was just to be patient and wait for the right opportunity.


    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

  9. #29
    Transnational Progressive AKjeldsen's Avatar
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    Veldmaarschalk: Indeed, although tempered by a rather zealous faith, courtesy of the good monks at Sait Boniface's.

    Ganso: Thanks. No worry, plenty of things to come.
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

  10. #30
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Now that is a very useful claim. Ida seems really very competent.
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  11. #31
    Major prussiablue's Avatar
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    Always a great event to have in the game. But who's the count of Brabant now and who is his liege?
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  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by prussiablue
    Always a great event to have in the game. But who's the count of Brabant now and who is his liege?
    '

    Problably someone from the van Leuven dynastie and he has the same liege as young Ekbert, the duke of Lower Lorraine

  13. #33
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    Hmm... I think that young Ekbert (Wait, why am I calling him that? He's practically my age!) has the makings of a potential crusader, at least from his zealous trait and martial education.
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  14. #34
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    I love that event giving you a claim. To get it twice in ten years is very lucky, especially for a count with little prestige. Now its just a case of finding an opportunity to press it.

    Also, interesting to see that England seems to be holding together.

  15. #35
    Transnational Progressive AKjeldsen's Avatar
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    Apologies for lack of posting recently - work and a local heat wave draining the creative energies.

    Update coming up shortly.
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

  16. #36
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    Chapter 7

    In which the count's pride is injured


    [Braunschweig Manor, October 20th, 1077]

    Lady Ida, without question the most powerful person in Frisia (for what that was worth), strode briskly down the hall towards the chambers of her nephew, count Ekbert. The count had recently participated in the Emperor's war against the pagan Obodrites, volunteering to march against the chief that held Holstein. He had returned recently, however, and had mostly stayed in his quarters, refusing to talk to anyone. Ida didn't know exactly what was going on, but she was quite determined to make it stop.

    "Ekbert," she said, entering the chambers resolutely. "We need to talk about this."

    Her nephew was sitting in a chair by the fireplace, staring morosely into the fire. "I don't feel like talking right now, Aunt."

    Ida shook her head. "This has got to stop, Ekbert. Ever since you got back from that campaign to Holstein, you've been sitting in here brooding over something. You have more important things to do with your time. So tell me what happened up there."

    Ekbert looked away. "I really don't want to talk about it, Aunt Ida."

    "Very well. I'll just have to guess, then. My guess is that you all went merrily on your way to Holstein, arriving there with no problems and in the best of spirits. Right?"

    "Mhm."

    "And once in Holstein, you defeated the pagan forces in a glorious and thoroughly one-sided battle. Still right?"

    "Yes."

    "And proceeded to lay siege to a hill fortress that would fall within months, luring you all in with the promise of plunder and conquest."

    "Do get on with it, Aunt."



    The hill fort at Itzehoe, power base for the pagan chief of Holstein.


    "Of course. And then, some duke or other arrived with his army and decided to pull rank on you, and took over command of the siege."

    Ekbert made a wry face. "More or less. So that's when we decided to just take some of the chief's money in return for peace and go home."

    Lady Ida nodded in approval. "And that was a very clever thing to do, Ekbert. You got a lot of the money that you spent on the campaign back, and you got experience leading your troops in the field. So what exactly is the problem?"

    Ekbert jumped up from his seat. "The problem is they didn't even know who I was! That duke just marched right up to our camp and took charge, and he didn't care at all about who I was or where Frisia was located, or anything! He just… Argh!" He threw his hands in the air and paced over to the window.

    Lady Ida shook her head. "Don't be silly, nephew. Of course he didn't know who you were."

    "What?"

    "You're a new count from an obscure province in one of the most remote parts of the Empire. Why do you think a duke would know of you?"

    "But…"

    "As a matter of fact, it is much better this way. When the magnates play their great games, small pawns like us always lose out in the end. Under these conditions, to be unknown is to be safe. We must work slowly and in the shadows, unnoticed by anyone who might consider us a threat if they knew of what we are doing. Do you understand?"

    "I…"

    "And most importantly, we must conserve our strength – conserve it and quietly build it up, until the time is right for us to strike. I'm sure this little Holstein thing of yours was very exciting at first, and I admit that it wasn't as bad a loss as it could have been, but in the end, it brought us nothing but a lot of wasted resources. There will be no further adventures of this kind, unless we have a reasonable chance of coming through with a profit. Is that clear?"

    Ekbert sighed. "Yes, Aunt Ida."
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

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    Transnational Progressive AKjeldsen's Avatar
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    stnylan: Indeed, but she will not live forever. So it remains to be seen how Ekbert will fare without her, ahem, firm guidance.

    prussiablue: As Veldmaarschalk says - the county of Brabant is currently held by Gofried van Leuven, who, just like myself, is an entirely loyal vassal of His Grace the duke of Lower Lorraine. Circumstances being as they are, this is unlikely to change anytime soon, I'm sorr... erm, happy to say. :nods:

    Specialist290: Absolutely, but of course, Auntie Ida would accept no such foolishness.

    Fiftypence: Yes, King William seems to be doing an excellent job keeping things together, despite having been excommunicated for years now.
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

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    I sympathize w/ Ekbert there.
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  19. #39
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    Interlude

    (Exerpt from The Audacious County: A Brief History of Frisia, by John Paul Wilkinson)

    By comparison with the preceding period, the years during which Ida van Braunschweig controlled the court of Frisia were quiet and prosperous times for the county. Except for a brief and ultimately abortive expedition against the Obodrite-controlled Holstein, the county seems not to have engaged in foreign affairs, preferring instead to focus on internal development and progress. The count married twice; first to a Scottish noblewoman named only Juliana, who died in childbirth after only a few years of marriage, then to Lady Giovanna of Liege. Countess Giovanna was an excellent steward, and the county prospered economically under her guiding hand.


    Countess Giovanna, the count's second wife.

    In the broader world, however, events were taking place that would have a considerable impact on Frisia in the long run. On November 12, 1077, Pope Alexander II preached the First Crusade, urging all Christian noblemen to set out for Jerusalem and liberate it from the Fatimid rule. Scotland was the first kingdom to respond, in September the following year. Despite his well-known religious zeal, count Ekbert seems not to have been tempted by this call, on the other hand. One is surely not wrong in seeing the firm hand of Lady Ida behind this reticence.

    Also of some note is the death in 1079 of King William 'the Conqueror' of England, who, despite his excommunication in the late 1060'es, managed to keep his newly-won kingdom together long enough to bequeath it to his eldest son and heir, Robert Curthose.

    Of more immediate concern for Frisia was the unexplained and subsequent suppression of the bishopric of Sticht in 1082. For reasons that are still a mystery for historians, the bishop and citizen of Sticht on April 13th of that year took up arms and closed the town gates against their lord, the Duke of Lower Lorraine. What they hoped to accomplish by this will probably never be known, since the Emperor was quick to besiege and occupy the town, suppressing the bishopric and adding the province to his personal demesne. One can only imagine the impression that these events must have had on the rulers of nearby Frisia.

    The most remarkable event of these years, however, was the complete conquest of the kingdom of Denmark by the Obodrites and the Pomeranians. Due to ill-advised Danish military adventures in the Baltic, Sweden engaged in the crusades, and the Empire's campaigns being ineffectual, the pagans had been able to slowly wear down Denmark one province at a time, until by the summer of 1085 that kingdom had ceased to exist. This represented a considerable blow against Christianity, and there were many that worried about this growing threat in the north.


    The former realm of Denmark, by June 10, 1085.

    Another four years passed by in Frisia until an era ended when, on December 22 1089, Lady Ida van Braunschweig died at the age of 69. With her death, count Ekbert II could finally assume his place as the true ruler of Frisia, and this was to mean momentous changes for the county…

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Specialist290
    I sympathize w/ Ekbert there.
    Absolutely, but he'll step into his rightful place soon enough.
    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”"
    -C. S. Lewis: On Three Ways of Writing for Children

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