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Thread: Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi

  1. #41
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, I'm back from DC, had a great time in the capitol. Update should follow either today or tomorrow, now that I'm back.

    English Patriot : The siege was unfortunate. Thanks.

    EightDeer : That might've been the best advice. But Alberto's stubborn.

    Thrashing Mad : Thanks for the recommend on the software, I'll give it a shot for the next update with pictures. Expansion won't come quickly for our Island lords though.

    Emperor Coopinius : Silly Torcotore, I know. Corsica needs another island!

    Edit: The update is up now. A narrative companion piece to the previous update.
    Last edited by JimboIX; 03-08-2007 at 01:36.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
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  2. #42
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    Margherita at Home

    Margherita’s gaze shifted anxiously away from the woman before her. How could she meet her gaze? Bedraggled and clad in the simple raiment of the villagers, a peasant’s frock, her tears appeared all the more genuine for it, without pretension. No wonder they had chosen her for their ambassador, Margherita thought, she is absolutely guileless, her heart wavered as the woman began to sob, the words tumbling from her mouth. “My Lady…our men are gone over a year…my daughter, only three, can not remember her fathers face..we ask only that the war end, that you beg of your noble husband to return to us our sons…husbands…and fathers..to us..”

    In Corsica, spirits ran high no more. The winter past took a heavy toll upon the island, taxing its strength and its resources even as Margherita entreated to the Islanders to please endure just a few more months, always a few more months, to contribute all that they could of their gold, their time, and their resources to the cause. In the beginning, the people of Corsica flocked to the banner of course, jubilant about war, an event Corsica had not witnessed in nearly two generations, since Obert liberated the Island from the Moor. Even then, few native Corsicans participated in the limited engagements of the affair, in modern times the only echoes of the conflict which lingered were those grandfathers told in fond whispers of remembrance; a tale of Obert’s brilliant siege of the Citadel and swift glorious explusion of the infidel, the blooded corpses of both sides whitewashed from the memories of old men. No more. The distant war in Cagliari occupied the minds of all on the Island, consuming their thoughts and a frequent topic for debate between classes. “Why do we invade our Christian brethren while the Kings of France and England toil in Tunisia to free it from the Moor?” inveighed the priests, and in retort the burgeoning merchants of Ajaccio replied “Cagliari shall give us a staging point to dominate trade in the Mediterranean, the Moors will not perhaps journey to Paris or London to divest those Lords of their title, but Corsica is not so long a voyage..” Margherita heard rumblings like this in the hushed tones of her companions at dinner, the murmurings of her servants. Tidings from Cagliari were infrequent and ambiguous, the second hand reports of merchants and harlots dismissed from the camp. Letters passed infrequently, lost to the vagaries of the sea, couriers often languished in Arborea to the north, unable to acquire passage between the Islands due to Arborea’s recent imposition of an egregious toll, instituted solely to profit from its two neighbor’s wars. Still, some families knew that peace would not bring their loved ones return, by all reports nearly half the men who sailed with Alberto lay dead and buried in distant Cagliari. Enthusiasm ebbed.

    Indeed, like the rest of them, little else came to Margherita’s mind. Alberto’s features, once vivid, now shadows in her mind, his portrait a faint resemblance, an echo at best. Why, she wondered, did she insist so? She and Azzo had desired the war. Alberto himself, ever apparently lacking in ambition to improve his station, approached the matter with a more measured reserve, always wondering if the time might be more appropriate in a few months. And so Margherita campaigned for expansion, she wanted more, for them, for their children…a grander stage. She often wondered why, and in the darkest vaults of her heart suspected she knew why. Denied in her youth the ambition of her heart, she resolved to fulfill other ambitions…she would not again resign herself to living for the whims of another; she would take a hand in her fate. And so she did, pleading with Alberto in hushed and tenders tones in the quiet of their bedroom, even, she cursed herself, in the moments following their lovemaking when he looked upon her with a certain wondrous awe in his eye, his fingers gently tucking the tendrils of her hair behind her ears, tracing the lines of her form. She sensed a quickening in him in the months after her arrival, which Azzo confirmed. He took a more active hand in affairs of state, consenting in principal to expansion and to the pledging of fealty to the Pisans. Azzo told her he suspected Alberto wished to please her, to be worthy. Margherita longed to confess to Alberto no such improvement was necessary on her account, that she loved him without any such reservations, yet she refrained, and so she thought, damned herself. Alberto declared war a mere month after she announced her pregnancy, the prospect of a child, an heir, spurring him to action.

    She realized her thoughts wandered too far, and the woman before her remained weeping, she struggled to form a reply “I understand your dilemma..as you know, my own son, Chiano, has never met his father. We all sacrifice. To desist now would render all of our fathers, our husbands, and our sons sacrifice for naught. We must urge them to perservere, to make us proud.” The words felt like jagged lies upon her lips, tearing at the fabric of her heart. In truth, this reality devastated her, shattered her resolve at weaker moments even, it was with difficulty that she resisted the urge to pen a brief missive begging Alberto to return, to meet his son, to hold her. Yet how could she ask when it was she who asked him to go?

    Chiano! Her son. Her beloved son. Thoughts of him sliced through the clutter of her mind, rising to the fore. She adored him. She remembered the moment of his birth with absolute clarity, his plaintive cries and the fierce love that filled her heart, a love pure and without reservation. His tiny form in her arms, begging for her protection and guidance. In his brown eyes and the patch of red hair resolutely planted on his head, she saw her husband. In the slender line of her nose, she fancied she saw herself. The servants, she suspected, also whispered that she spoiled him, spending hours alone with him and nursing him herself, refusing a wet nurse. She marveled at the way his hands clasped at her fingers, delighted in his smile, so without innocence. If she knew any peace in this last year, she found it in him. Above all, she wished Alberto to return so that he might share that ecstasy with her.

    The peasant woman’s sobs continued unabated by her words, and Margherita, suddenly and irrevocably conscious of her son’s absent father, aching with sympathy for the woman whose heart seemed to break before her, felt tears gathering in her eyes, the long months alone overwhelming her. She spoke suddenly and in soft tones, as though begging forgiveness from the people’s ambassador. “Soon…I promise you..we shall know peace..we must have peace..” Now Margherita began to weep as well, at a loss for words or condolences.

    “Now what’s all this fuss about?” a broad, confident voice carried across the great room, a touch of playfulness in its tones.

    Margherita’s eyes rose to the sound, and through the tears, she saw him. Alberto. He stood in the entryway in his soldier’s garb, his mail more battered than when she sent him off, his beard grown out. She recognized him in an instant, the fading picture in her mind suddenly revived and brought to life again with incredible clarity. The wry grin spreading across his face, his dark, auburn hair…it was Alberto. Without knowing or words, she went to him.

    “My Lady..the news that you are now the Countess of Corsica and Cagliari will perhaps alleviate some of your dist-“ the last word was smothered in his mouth as her arms enveloped him, taking an almost desperate hold on him, her lips suddenly upon his. He felt the fatigue of the war; the long siege and the memory of Cagliari’s soil fade away, lost in her embrace. Alberto knew that at last, he was home.

    Elsewhere, the people’s ambassador's sobs transformed into a cheer.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

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  3. #43
    Captain aussieboy's Avatar
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    Victory! Victory! Victory! Hooray! Hooo....ray?

    *shuts up when he realizes no-one else is cheering*
    Sieur de Dole

  4. #44
    Major EmprorCoopinius's Avatar
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    Hip hip hooray!

    Good for Alberto, the first step down a long and winding road. Here's hoping there's many more.

  5. #45
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    aussieboy: I was pretty excited when the siege ended. Don't worry, I'm at least cheering with you. Glad you found it..cheerable..?

    EmperorCoopinius: It's a long road in any direction from Corsica. With any luck, it won't be the last stop.

    The next update is below, a narrative. A little less uplifting. After today, the next update will probably be on either Monday or Tuesday, and will probably be another segment of Pandulf, discussing the next part of Alberto's reign.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
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  6. #46
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    Chiano

    The crisp night air stung at Alberto as he gazed out from the battlements of his keep, the stars and half moon provided the only illumination of the scene below, mountains shrouded in the darkness vague shadows, the bay darker than the sky, obsidian waves lapping at the shore. He waited patiently for the sound of the bells to shatter the stillness of the evening. Soon, Alberto knew, the church bells across Corsica would ring, announcing in their uniform and numbingly same tones that a newsworthy event had occurred. Always the same; save for the number. A dirge sounded the same in substance as the call to mass of the faithful, or a wedding’s celebration. The pragmatism stunned Alberto, and an old nursery rhyme rang in his ears.

    Men's death I tell by doleful knell;
    Lightning and thunder I break asunder;
    On Sabbath all to church I call;
    The sleepy head I rouse from bed;
    The tempest's rage I do assuage;
    When cometh harm, I sound alarm


    So spoke the bell. So it spoke on the day of his wedding. Upon his victorious return to Corsica after the fall of Cagliari. On the Birth of his son and heir, Chiano. The bells marked chapters in his life, punctuation, as it were, for his deeds. Now, Alberto knew, the bells proclaimed his son’s death, in the same singsong, mockingly uniform tones that rejoiced in his birth. To Alberto, this seemed a great travesty, that they should lack the proper expression to convey accurately the grief which threatened to overwhelm him. Yet it was so, and could not be otherwise. Chiano lay dead. Already, Alberto assumed, being dressed for his burial, his tiny form lovingly dressed and cleaned by Alberto’s servants, diligent in this as in all their tasks. The better to rot, Alberto thought bitterly. To rot as the lord he would never be.

    The sickness took him suddenly, he awoke one morning with a fever, his cries of distress piercing the calm morning air and reverberating throughout the keep. Doctors were summoned who anxiously gave advice, suggestions on treatments, midwives providing the same wisdom in less learned terms. Alberto suspected neither knew the cause of the ailment or its cure. Yet he allowed them to do their work, and various liquids were sent down his son’s throat, a variety of techniques applied. Palliative at best, Alberto thought in retrospect. Throughout the day the child’s strength waned, his cries growing more infrequent and more tortured, his flesh growing slick with sweat and warm as the fever consumed him. Finally, his breathing ceased entirely and he grew cool to the touch. The bishop assured Alberto that now Chiano soared with angels, spared the cruelties of life in this world as well as purgatory. Yet the words were little comfort to Alberto, who merely nodded, assigning the man to prepare the funeral rites for the child.

    Alberto rejoiced in Chiano from the moment he saw him, marveling at the product of he and Margherita’s union. A curious amalgation of their features, with peculiarly dark red hair remniscent of Alberto’s and Margherita’s slender nose, as well as scores of individual features, from the birthmark splashed across his shoulder that made him to freckles dotting his face that made him gloriously unique. A masterful being, truly, surpassing in beauty any child that Alberto had ever seen or dreamt of.. Immediately, dreams of the child’s life came to him in his mind’s eye, teaching the boy to ride, to rule, to lead, to fish, and a thousand other quaint scenes now impossible. In Chiano, Alberto saw the justification for the long sacrifice at Cagliari, for his kneeling before the Governor of Pisa and pledging his fealty, and so many of his actions in the last few years. He adored the way Margherita doted upon him, proud and honored again that in addition to being a spectacular wife, she made for an excellent mother. He knew the peasants whispered amongst themselves that she doted upon the boy, especially one so young, yet personally the intensity of her affection for the boy pleased him. Alberto knew he would count himself proud if even a fraction of Margherita’s personality surfaced in the boy. They made playful wagers on what words he would say first, and Margherita won when Chiano said Mama, Papa following a few days after. Alberto had been obliged to commission Margherita a tiara for their upcoming coronation as the Duke and Duchess and Sardinia in reply. The memories refused to perish with Chiano, the infant dead scarcely two months before his second birthday. The situation struck Alberto as strangely surreal, bizarre even, yet irrevocably true.

    Alberto felt the grief rising in him, threatening to overwhelm him again. He refused to shed tears, as though to weep would confirm Chiano’s death above and beyond the still form in the crib. No, I must be strong he said. I can not succumb to this grief, or allow Corsica to succumb with me…I must be strong for Margherita. Margherita…Alberto shuddered at the thought of her wailing cries when she learned of Chiano’s death, the frenzied madness which consumed her. She sprinted to Chiano’s room, taking the corpse in her arm and rocking it at her breast, as though to revive it, weeping inconsolably and lashing out at anyone who tried to part them. Eventually, he succeeded only by physically taking Chiano from her, prying his lifeless body from her arms. The memory filled him with revulsion, and he struggled to keep the bile down. He gave three men the task of guarding her, to ensure that a repeat performance would not occur. Occasionally, even this far away from their chambers, he could hear her cries even now. He had thought perhaps the distance and the stone walls between them might prove a sufficient barrier. Evidently, he had been wrong. He knew no words to console her, no elixir to cure her suffering. Indeed, only the constancy of action kept him from reflecting long enough to grieve. He should go to Margherita, he knew, hold her in his arms and assure her that in the end, they would endure this tragedy, as they endured others. Yet he lacked the strength, and fled here, to the same precipice where he eagerly awaited her ship’s arrival in the bay that morning which now seemed a lifetime ago. Yet he did not go to her, he remained here, shivering silently in the night air, waiting for the bells to announce his son’s death to Corsica. He did not know that he could endure another confrontation with her.

    Just a week before, Margherita informed him, without any of the madness that seemed evident in her voice now, that they would soon be parents to yet another a child, a brother or sister for Chiano. With Chiano gone, Alberto wondered if that child should look the same. He wondered aimlessly if he could take it into his heart with the same unguarded affection he showed Chiano, without reservations or fear of its mortality. Would Margherita, he thought, be as open to this newborn, as welcoming? He knew that only time would tell. As a certainty, he knew only that whatever child his wife bore him, it would not be Chiano. Chiano would never be again. Perhaps, he thought, I should send for Germano. Yes, Germano, his bastard. Perhaps another child’s presence in the castle would remove some of the sting of Chiano’s absence, indeed, Alberto hardly knew Germano. Certainly he never once held him in his arms, nor whispered dreams of a bright future in his ear as he did with Chiano. Germano he remembered only briefly, the infrequent missives from his foster parents and the occasional payment to his mother, now married. Sons were not a commodity he now felt he could afford to neglect in any form.

    Suddenly, the night’s calm and Margherita’s wailing, her aggrieved moans drowned out by the peeling of bells, echoing crisp and clear through the night. The same mind-numbingly same tones. Alberto closed his eyes and let the sound fill him, taking scarce solace in the fact that soon the entire Island would join its Lord and Lady in mourning. Indeed, the motions of grief, the offerings of the burghers and the various courtiers seemed odious to him, hollow and effusive declarations of sympathy from individuals who never once delighted in Chiano’s bright blue eyes. Yet he would welcome them. Alberto would go through the motions. He would do his duty, as he was born to do. For Corsica and for the unborn child in Margherita’s womb, no doubt confused by her distress. At last, he felt a tear form in the corner of his eye, the bells even now ringing more insistently. Alberto wept, for all that could not be and never would.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

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  7. #47
    Major EmprorCoopinius's Avatar
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    Wow. Excellently written, very moving.

  8. #48
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmprorCoopinius
    Wow. Excellently written, very moving.
    Thanks. Hopefully you like the next bit just as much.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
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  9. #49
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    I've been Canonized!



    I've Been Canonized!: JimboIX


    I've been canonized by canonized. It sounds redundant, I know, but it's not. He's the author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? which you should really check out if you haven't already because it's one of the best AARs on the forums currently. In our interview we discuss this AAR, his AAR, and the community in general, read it if you get a chance. The interview is here, and it's not a bad read. Thanks again to canonized for the interview, I had a lot of fun.
    Last edited by JimboIX; 05-08-2007 at 16:12.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
    Fellow in the Tempus Society

  10. #50
    Untrustworthy poo EvilSanta's Avatar
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    First update looked awesome, I need to give myself time to catch up this thing before it advances too far.
    Was würde Brian Boitano tun?

  11. #51
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilSanta
    First update looked awesome, I need to give myself time to catch up this thing before it advances too far.
    Glad to have you along for the ride, feel free to leave any comments you think relevant.

    Update should follow later today, another lives segment on Alberto.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
    Fellow in the Tempus Society

  12. #52
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    Alberto's Reign Part II


    The Sardinian Flag


    Upon his arrival at Cagliari, Alberto discovered that his liege, the Governor of Pisa had arrived several days prior, easily scattering the forces of the enemy. Alberto, rejoicing at what initially would appear to be a simple conquest, placed his men at the disposal of the Governor. What follows is shrouded in the mists of history. The Pisan Governor, evidently fond as those in corrupted democracies tend to be of flesh and wine, expired as a result of either one or the two or a combination of the two merely one week after investing the fortress of Cagliari, a scant motte and bailey which posed little difficulties for the well-equipped and numerous Pisan host. In the wake of the Governor’s sudden death, his successor, a Marshal who stood an excellent chance in the elections to follow, opted to depart with the Pisan forces, upon his return he subsequently made good use of the army in securing his accession.


    A rendering of the fortress at Cagliari


    Alberto, distraught at the loss of his allies considerable contributions to their enterprise here slipped into a dolorous and woeful state, left to siege Cagliari with the small force he mustered from Corsica, perhaps a thousand men. Many foolish assaults upon the castle were attempted in order to bring the siege to a quick conclusion, an early demonstration of the Obertenghis’ famous impatience. The Corsican army grew malcontent and troublesome, fragments of letters which survive suggest a displeasure in the leadership of the army with Alberto’s sometimes impetuous and erratic actions. Alberto, long well-regarded for his earnest judgment, stood in danger of being condemned as both irregular and perhaps more condemningly, made weak by his well-known admiration of his wife, considered a demonstration of weakness by some his peers, whose wives often had no comparable influence. A petition to the Pope by the Archbishop of Francia, a noted crusader who liberated Medjerda from the heathen, sought his intervention to bring an end to the war, as he insisted it drew resources in the area from the ongoing back and forth struggle with the Zirid kingdom, who were recently joined in their fight by the Emir of Mallorca. The Pope, under influence by the inconstant but perhaps guilty new Governor of Pisa, denied the petition to declare a peace of God.


    The Conquering Archbishop


    Ultimately, after Alberto ordered a battering ram assault upon the Castle which failed to dislodge the enemy of their position, Torcotore, the Count of Cagliari, his men starving and gaunt after a year spent defending their walls with little nourishment, succumbed to Alberto’s demands and capitulated. He surrendered the Lordship of Cagliari to Alberto, rendering him count of both Sardinia and Corsica. Alberto, after deputizing his marshal to remain in Cagliari as his deputy, returned to Corsica, where Margherita and Azzo Terzi had acted as regents in his absence, succeeding in maintaining Corsica’s income, although the war left the Island in a tremendous amount of debt, the sum assumed to be roughly equivalent to a century of Corsica and Cagliari’s combined income.

    Shortly after Alberto’s departure, Margherita gave birth to their first son, whom she named Chiano. Initially a healthy young man, Margherita’s treatment of Chiano has long been the subject of debate. Perhaps succumbing to the weaknesses and optimism of a young first tiem mother, she permitted herself to both nurse the boy and cared for him herself, a practice often discouraged, and rightly so, by both noblewomen now and then as one which creates both indulgent children and threatens too firm an attachment to a young child whose survival to adult years is by no means certain. Nevertheless, Alberto upon his return from Cagliari condoned Margherita in this, as in all things, a testament to his faith in her or her dominion over him. Detractors of Alberto, most notably the his cousin Sebastiano Obertenghi, who in the years following his death attempted to portray his own cadet line of Obertenghi as the dominant branch, although he himself descended from the great lord Obert’s younger brother, often put this forward as an excuse for challenging the legitimacy of the Obertenghi, claiming it demonstrated their lack of internal fortitude, made manifest in Alberto’s indulgence of Margherita as in his father’s indulgence of wine. None of these criticism would have survived to us no doubt, had Chiano not perished shortly before his second birthday, the victim of an unknown ailment.



    Chiano's Funeral


    After Chiano’s death, Margherita evidently retreated from public life for a time, devastated and pregnant with the couple’s second child, a son, Demetrio, born early the year following Chiano’s death. Around this time Alberto sent for his bastard son Germano, known to history as Germano the Mad or the Apostate, whose story we shall revisit, to live at court with him in Ajaccio, removing him from his previous foster parents.



    Germano Obertenghi


    Margherita did not care for Demetrio as she did for Chiano, indeed, it is said that following his birth she insisted that he be sent immediately to the nurses, refusing to look upon him saying “It is better than he be loved by another, my own love is much diminished and my heart yet breaks for his brother.” Her influence on affairs of state remained present, although Alberto more often appeared to act with an eye to pleasing her rather than at her direction, though this remains speculative given the vagaries of any relationship and the woman’s individual dynamism. However, the weakness of her sex can not be dismissed in arriving at the conclusion that she suffered disproportionately as a result of Chiano’s death.

    Alberto now spent much more time with Azzo, seeking to find a method to further expand his dominion and refusing to be born down by the death of his son as his wife was, the fire of his ambition stoked by the by his recent taste of conquest. The two came together again most famously upon Alberto’s coronation as Duke of Sardinia, a bold title without precedent he seized for himself previously as he proclaimed by right of conquest. Proper donations to the Papacy were made for the appearance of legitimacy, as well as to secure his support for Alberto’s subsequent withdrawal of fealty from the Governor of Pisa, as he somewhat audaciously declared the two peers, and thus unfit to remain lord and vassal. Alberto declared to Azzo that “Upon thy sweat my Kingdom’s foundation lies.” The Governor of Pisa, embroiled in the ever expanding crusade against the Zirid kingdom, who tenaciously held Tunisia even in the face of the combined armies of France, England, and the newly declared Kingdom of Naples, ruled by the Hauteville family, could do little to protest. The coronation elevated Alberto to a rank above and beyond that of Marques, the title he sometimes claimed as a descendent of Obert, into a grander station as dux Sardinia. In Genoa and Pisa the courtiers derisively proclaimed the accession of the Pauper Count into his more appropriate but no less laughable station, that of Pauper Duke, as the lands now ruled by Alberto remained amongst the poorest in the Mediterranean. Indeed, Alberto overcame his debt only through the then novel practice of summoning an assembly of the people, burghers, and clergy, whom he requested to vote him a tax. The estates, still glowing from the conquest of Cagliari and Corsica’s triumphant victory, had readily agreed.


    The Duchy of Sardinia


    Some however, saw Alberto’s succession as impressive. The most noteworthy of these was Mariano Torchitorio, the Count of Arborea, that part of Sardinia which stood to the north of Cagliari. Impressed by the fact that Alberto’s demesne now bordered his upon all sides, he journeyed to Corsica and pledged his fealty to Alberto as Duke of Sardinia, himself a vassal for the County of Arborea. In this manner without a drop of blood Alberto’s reign extended to a third county.



    Alberto's Vassal


    Shortly after this submission, Alberto, heeding Azzo’s council that a direct war against Zirid would yet be suicide for his young and still quite impoverished duchy, sought to aid the crusade somewhat opportunistically but still plausibly righteously by declaring war upon the Emirate of Mallorca, insisting that the Moor’s armies which had so recently seized parts of the South of France could not have succeeded in their brash invasion of the Continent without the way stations provided by the Emir. Famously upon hearing this declaration the Duke of Tuscany lamented that “The Obertenghi’s avid collection of desolate Islands will soon render them a power second to none in its collection of beaches,” The Archbishop of Francia however, encouraged by the addition of a new state to the Crusade such that he forgave Alberto his previous war, marched on the mainland Iberia possessions of the Emir in a bid to support the effort. Alberto thus clamored again to his fleet and summoned the armies of Corsica, Cagliari, and Arborea to support the conquest of Mallorca and Menorca.


    The Emir of Mallorca


    Alberto went to war upon this occassion with a force far greater than any he previously mustered, befitting his newfound rank. Even Mariano, his vassal, heeded the call to war and set sail, with all ordered to converge first upon the Island of Mallorca.

    Commentary by Harun Obertenghi

    Clearly, Pandulf’s almost casual condemnation of Margherita’s parenting of Chiano as over-sensitive and indulgent, extending so far as to imply the same accusation against Alberto by virtue of his refusal to act firmly to end this attachment, is roundly condemned by scholars and his famous, almost offhand statement regarding the “weakness of her sex” has infuriated many over the past century. While clearly in reading the source it is important for us to interpret it through the lens of the author’s eye, a jaundiced eye is perhaps best pointed at these parts of the narrative. In considering Pandulf’s statements regarding Margherita it is important to remember that he himself was a monastic scribe of the early 15th century, with little experience with women, none with childrearing, and very little with an event as traumatic as the loss of a child. Thus, rather than condemning the source, as some of his detractors do, I advocate a view to the source which considers it within the context of its author- whose statements as such must be taken with a grain of salt. While Pandulf may seem to pass a harsh judgment on loving parents, it is important to remember that we read him not for parenting advice, but for history, and the judgment of Margherita’s near-contemporaries on her actions remains relevant.

    Aside from this passage, Pandulf’s declaration of Alberto’s poor military judgment has drawn criticism from his heirs, who would like to resist the notion that the founder of their dynasty was at all lacking in martial quality. Indeed, when it was written, this passage garnered a great deal more attention at Court than any parental discussions. In determining the truth of these accusations, few records remain to us to compare with those Pandulf had access to in the library at Tangiers, or in the visit we know he took to Ajaccio in authoring this. However, in recent archeological digs near the site of the castle at Cagliari, remains of a long siege are present, longer than might be expected for such a relatively small castle,a s well as evidence of multiple assaults. Thus, it would appear that Alberto took the keep only with difficulty, no doubt longer than his contemporaries de Vivar and Guiscard would have taken. Yet rather than viewing this apparently mediocre ability as an insult, a descendent of Alberto myself I do not think it a great failing. Empires are built upon foresight and discretion, and only by necessity on battlefields. In his reign, Alberto exhibited a great deal of both, the benefits of which I believe were far more important than any qualities he lacked as a general.
    Last edited by JimboIX; 06-08-2007 at 21:22.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

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  13. #53
    Field Marshal phargle's Avatar
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    Interesting shifts. Some updates seem very detached, as if in a history book. Others seem strictly narrative. Good work.

  14. #54
    Father of the Nation Woody Man's Avatar
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    Brilliant, I love the History book parts, especially the Epilogues by Harun
    'What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

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  15. #55
    Major EmprorCoopinius's Avatar
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    Very nice update, I like the alternation in styles as well. Good luck on your island hopping campaign.

  16. #56
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    The next update will follow immediately. It's a narrative. Tell me what you think, as I struggled a bit with this one.

    phargle: It's vaguely schizephrenic, I know, but I'm hoping it comes together in the end. Thanks for the praise.

    English Patriot: Glad you enjoyed it. Harun will be with us until the end.

    EmprorCoopinius: I just realized I've been mispelling your name in every feedback post, my apologies. I was autocorrectign and adding an e. The Island hopping continues!
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
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  17. #57
    General JimboIX's Avatar

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    Enter Demetrio

    Azzo glared intently at the boy standing before him. The boy, perhaps eight or nine, stood still and abject before Azzo; his eyes downcast, seeking refuge in the intricate cracks and lines of the stone floor and diligently avoiding Azzo’s accusing glare. The perfect picture of contrition, Azzo thought. Yet his demeanor seemed too poised to Azzo, almost rehearsed even, as though rather than only recently being caught in his crime he knew before he committed them that his conviction was a foregone conclusion, and had conconcted a plan to mitigate his sentence. Azzo felt himself vaguely reminded of the supplicant diplomat, all too apologetic for his country’s declaration of war, but quite insincerely unable to rectify the situation. Finally, furious with boy Azzo spoke “What were you thinking! Have you any idea the consequences of your actions? What your father would say? Your mother? Look at me!”

    Summoned from his chambers in the dead of night, the guards hurried him to the castle’s kitchen. There he found none other than Demetrio Obertenghi, heir to the Duchy of Sardinia, known by his courtesy title as Lord Cagliari in official correspondence, and affectionately called Demi by his parents. According to the narrative relayed to him on his way to the kitchen, Demetrio had enjoyed quite the eventful evening. Evidently he and a friend, his nurse’s son, snuck out of their bedrooms in the dead of night and went to the kitchen. Here, without any supervision Demetrio lit a fire, put some water on to boil, and when the water arrived at it’s proper temperature, the steam rising and the water simmering inside the cauldron, casually placed a dog in the water. The animal’s yelps of pain woke the servants whose chambers were near, who discovered Demetrio and his accomplice when they rushed to the source of the noise. The other boy, the servants reported, wept openly upon their arrival, ashamed of himself. Demetrio spoke not a word. The dog, boiled alive, died shortly after.

    Azzo fumed, waiting for the boy’s response, furious that he, of all people, found himself thrust into the situation. It should not be so, he knew, Alberto should be here. Alberto should discipline his son; teach him to be a man and to be a worthy heir. Alberto, however, in the last few years often excused himself from court. It began with the war for Cagliari, followed shortly by the war for Mallorca, another victory accomplished with less heartache than Cagliari, for Alberto sailed against Mallorca with the strength of a duchy behind him. Corsica, no longer the sole island over which his rule extended, had for rivals in his affections Sardinia, Mallorca, and Menorca. And so Alberto traveled, frequently at sea, shuttling between the islands as he strove to complete a number of tasks, from negotiating a tense truce with the Moors on Manorca, to negotiating with Mariano Torchitorio over the scutage due from Arborea. Indeed, while Corsica remained the center of his demesne, with the addition of Mallorca it no longer represented the center of the Duchy’s wealth, as the new county brought in nearly twice the revenue of all of Corsica. Yet Azzo suspected another reason for his friend’s long sojourns, one which mocked Azzo daily in the flesh. Margherita. Her daily, distant presence a vivid reminder to Azzo of the bright, electric girl who stepped off the boat from Genoa. Since Chiano, Azzo felt her withdraw from the life of the court and even Alberto. A spark once omnipresent in her azure orbs flickered now only fitfully, a touching reminder of the woman she once was. Azzo knew Alberto must notice it also, and mourn it with him. Though Alberto never once mentioned any such sentiment to Azzo, his compulsive, almost obsessive drive to expand and improve upon the Duchy since Chiano’s death marked just as abrupt a departure from his previous lassitude as Margherita’s own malaise. Her interest in Demetrio was as inconsistent as her mood, she delegated his upbringing to various nurses and servants.

    Of course, Alberto doted on Demetrio when he arrived in Corsica, gathering the boy up in his arms, his face slightly more weathered each time from another few months at sea, regaling Demetrio, his brother Germano, and their young sister Adelasia with tales of his adventures abroad. Yet Azzo often felt he left the boy’s hungry for more. To Margherita he remained affectionate as ever, indeed, the sparks of her vigor corresponded directly with his presence. Occasionally, Azzo thought the old days were in danger of coming back, when his young Lord, ever eager to avoid another day of reports, would convince him that their best interests were really at the beach, swimming and basking in Corsica’s bright son. Yet Alberto’s drive never slackened long enough for a trip to the beach now, even during his visits home. He sequestered himself and Alberto together, plotting expansion and improvement. Corsica prospered in these years, construction projects abounding there and in Cagliari, the product of the bounty of war and the increased trade flowing between the lands of the Kingdom. Did you not desire this, Azzo thought? Push for it? Plot? Indeed, though his beloved Corsica prospered, he often wondered if the price exacted upon Alberto and his family justified his actions. Without his pressing Alberto to marry, for the conquest of Cagliari…but Azzo refused to entertain these thoughts further, redirecting his attention to the boy’s belated reply.

    “It was only an experiment, Azzo…Marco and I were curious…we didn’t think it would hurt Basso for good...” the boy’s words trailed off, and Azzo, trained to draw the significant facts out of any statement, seized upon the dog’s name. Basso? Whose dog is Basso…a sickening realization abruptly seized him. Germano’s. The dog is Germano’s. Demetrio tried to slip that in, Azzo noted, almost as if it were of no significance at all.

    If Demetrio felt neglected at court, the attentions of his mother inconstant and his father often absent, Germano felt oppressed at court. Removed from the comfort of an unassuming life with foster parents in the south of the island following Chiano’s death, where his fate seemed equally unassuming, to follow in his foster father’s footsteps to become a tailor, perhaps. He found himself adrift in the Corsican court, his father often absent, shunned as a bastard by the slowly coalescing nobility and the clergy, and ignored entirely by his father’s wife who took no solace in the addition of another son to the court, particularly one who like Chiano possessed the brilliant red hair of the Obertenghi. Alberto saw to it that he received an education befitting the son of a Duke, yet with no provisions made for his future and excluded from succession, his education only enabled him to see with perfect clarity the impossibility of his station, he largely withdrew from the life of the court, secluding himself in his chambers where he delighted in the works of pagan authors, rejoicing in the triumph of his fellow bastards in their pages, from Hercules to Romulus and Remus. His chief pleasure the runt dog he brought with him to court, whom he called Basso which meant “low,” a constant companion.

    If Germano found his own presence at court inconvenient, Demetrio found it enraging. Starved for affection already, it infuriated him that Germano sat on his father’s knee with him, that they shared the same stories. Like his father, Demetrio took pride in his heritage, and his father’s indulgence of this bastard offended his nascent pride. Though Azzo suspected he thought few noticed, he slighted Germano casually often, asserting his rights to have the first pick of gifts, to be served at dinner first. Germano, for his part, rarely took notice of his brother as he drew ever more inward.

    As Azzo realized the depths of the boy’s cruelty, he angrily replied to him “You killed your brother’s dog. You can not expect me to believe this was an accident. A vile, cruel act Demetrio. Your father will know of it.”

    Demetrio’s eyes rose from the ground suddenly, the pretense of contrition evaporating, his eyes meeting Azzo’s with a fierce intensity. “So what if I did? It’s my dog anyway. It’s all mine. Corsica, Sardinia, Mallorca and Menorca. They and everything on them are my birthright. I can do whatever I pleas-“ Azzo struck him, a sudden slap across the boy’s face which brought wincing tears to his eyes.

    The presumption, Alberto seethed, the incredible presumption of the boy. Say what you will about his father, he rules to serve those under his dominion, not to be served by them. “You will never, ever, utter those words again Demetrio. You have nothing but what god grants you. Never forget it. Mark my words, if I catch you acting in such a cruel manner again you will rue the day you were born, regardless of any supposed birthright. Never believe anything is yours in such a way. Your father would be ashamed to hear you speak so.” Azzo’s spoke with a snarl.

    He thought of the many hours he spent with Demetrio, who, unlike Germano, delighted in the lessons he offered, welcomed the opportunity to intently observe his reception of guests to the court and often seemed to admire his interactions with them. How many times had he sat quietly in Azzo’s chamber as he dictated a letter, or listened with rapt attention as Azzo explained the geography, political and physical, or their Mediterranean home? More than he could count, and Alberto complimented Azzo on it when Demetrio told him of it, telling his friend he hoped his tutelage might result in a more disciplined man than himself. Indeed, save for the streak of devious cruelty on display tonight, Azzo believed Demetrio possessed the potential to become a great lord, to expand upon the firm foundation of his father’s successes and achieve heights of glory for his dynasty unrivaled by any of his predecessors. Yet Azzo above all served Corsica, and he wondered if he could unleash this boy upon his beloved home. He thought of why he admired Azzo so, recognizing yet again that he took comfort in the man’s earnestness, his honesty, irregardless of his relative lack of brilliance.

    “Go to your chambers. Now. Your father will be informed of this when he returns next week, and your mother in the morning. There will be consequences” Azzo dismissed him summarily and the boy did not linger, stalking off, his hand still clutching the place where Azzo slapped him.

    As Azzo returned to his chambers he considered the night’s events. He would write to Alberto in the morning, he thought, and tell him that he must return home to see to his family. Azzo could act as a surrogate no longer, the boys needed their father. He would speak to Margherita as well, he hoped this event would rouse her from her torpor. If neither heeded his warnings…well, he would not dwell on that thought yet. The boy was still young. Time could set all things right.
    Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi
    My CK AAR. Ever wonder what Corsica was like in 1066? No? Well now you can find out! Includes a healthy dose of bastards, saints, romance, and war. It's been called "beautiful" and "moving," though these are definitely overstatements.
    (Dead by lightning strike, but feel free to read)

    Fan of the Week: 11/26/06
    I was Canonized on 8/4/2007 in Timelines
    Fellow in the Tempus Society

  18. #58
    Father of the Nation Woody Man's Avatar
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    Hmm, an interesting turn, Demetrio had such promise, but if he treats dogs thus as a child, how will he act if he rules as Duke!?

    And poor Germano, Basso killed and pretty much excluded from court. Can't wait to see how Alberto reacts.

    Great reading JimboIX!
    'What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

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  19. #59
    Major EmprorCoopinius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimboIX
    The next update will follow immediately. It's a narrative. Tell me what you think, as I struggled a bit with this one.

    phargle: It's vaguely schizephrenic, I know, but I'm hoping it comes together in the end. Thanks for the praise.

    English Patriot: Glad you enjoyed it. Harun will be with us until the end.

    EmprorCoopinius: I just realized I've been mispelling your name in every feedback post, my apologies. I was autocorrectign and adding an e. The Island hopping continues!
    It's ok, I tried to spell it the right way but I hit the character limit. Just one more!

    Those are disturbing trends especially in one so young, and in such a violent manner. Hopefully this can be tempered as he grows up. Sad to see that life hasn't gone so well for Alberto and Margherita as we would've hoped, but...such is life I suppose. Excellent update as always.

  20. #60
    Very well written, you are adept at conjuring images from text. I also like the interplay of narrative and the occasional historical overview. Can't wait for more!

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