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Thread: Lotharingia -- A tale of resurrection

  1. #61
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capibara
    Very nice writing, great AAR!
    Thank you, glad to have another reader!


    Fellers,

    Pardon the time taken since last update. I've had quite a bit of schoolwork, as well as some time that needed spending with my girlfriend. The future sees more homework acoming, but luckily I have the 2-3 next chapters outlined in my head. I aim at having you at least one update before the week is over.

    'Til then, thanks for your patience!
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    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snugglie
    Thank you, glad to have another reader!


    Fellers,

    Pardon the time taken since last update. I've had quite a bit of schoolwork, as well as some time that needed spending with my girlfriend. The future sees more homework acoming, but luckily I have the 2-3 next chapters outlined in my head. I aim at having you at least one update before the week is over.

    'Til then, thanks for your patience!
    No worries. School is important. We can wait. (Besides, the longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it. )
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  3. #63
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    Chapter X



    Godfried read the Imperial decree over and over again, feeling marvellously content. The civil war was over and peace once again ruled the realm – together with Emperor Henrik – and he hoped that so it would remain during the remainder of his life. The acquisition of the duchy of Holland and the county of Zeeland had taken him a step closer to a grand Lower Lorraine, a unified and strong Lotharingia that would be able to claim the lost crown of Charlemagne’s empire, but during the war he had also seen sights that he nor wanted to see himself once more, neither wished anyone dear to him to experience; the thunder of battle and the horrible sound of steel against flesh, the despairing cry of the wounded and the sight of a thousand crows feasting on the mutilated bodies crowning the fields of death. He shivered slightly at the thought, and forced it out of his mind. At least his supremacy of the lands was now guaranteed by the Emperor himself.

    He and the small group of knights that served as his escort – among them were both Eckhard and Arnulf – were on their way back to the castle at Andernach from the conference that had been held in Franken castle, where the decree had been issued in the presence of the vassals of the realm.

    Emperor Henrik had all through the congregation looked very content and had generously rewarded those who had supported him during the Rebellion of the Four Dukes, for that was the name under which it now passed. What seldom was mentioned, however, was that the fourth duke, Vratislav of Bohemia, had not been defeated and now ruled Bohemia as a sovereign nation. But in the peace treaty duke – or king, depending on where your sympathies laid – Vratislav had been persuaded to drop the claims he held on the Imperial throne, and thus the court was satisfied with neglecting the existence of the mountainous kingdom by their Eastern border.

    There had been more than a banquet and a rain of gold, lands and knighthoods during the evening – among the knighted were Eckhard, as a reward for the success of his army against the “Flemish Lion”, Thiedric Gerulfing – however, as the main event of the evening was to be the execution of the chief plotter, likewise the only one that had not in some way escaped the Imperial clutches; Ludwig von Thüringen.

    ---


    Despite it being covered in soil, the worm was long and thick – for a worm that is – and thus it now served as the last meal of Ludwig, ex-duke of Thuringia.

    His appearance had changed over the course of the last few months; the blonde hair had lost its shine and lay colourless and dirty on his scalp, his eyes were bloodshot from weeks of inconsistent sleeping habits and he had lost so much weight that he doubted that his wife would have recognized him. He avoided thinking of her though – the first nights in the dungeon, before the torture, he had felt such despair that he had screamed, banged his fists into the wall and eventually gotten severely beaten by the drunk guards for disturbing their rest. When an official prisoner of the Emperor, no one was there to help you and no one felt any pity for you.

    He had lost count on how long he had been underground, with only one small window with bars at the top of the room letting in any light, but judging from the difference in temperature, he guessed that it was sometime in December. It had gotten colder, and he had not gotten anything to cover himself with at night. He coughed continuously, and felt that if the Emperor did not take his life soon, winter would.

    When the rebellion had been initiated, he had had a feeling from the start that it would not work as intended. The failed assassination-attempt on the Emperor had been a leg stretched out, threatening to trip them all to the ground but had also had the effect that the coup had had to get started quicker. The Emperor would eventually know who hired the assassin, and then his revenge would be unstoppable. The one chance for the conspirators was to take him by surprise when he was still regaining his balance, and try to seize the Franken heartlands swiftly.

    Of course, it had all failed miserably. The Emperor had managed to mobilize the vast armies of his vassals, including the mighty dukes of Schwabia, Bavaria and the two dukes of Lorraine, and Ludwig’s lands in Thuringia had been first on the list. After only half a year of fighting, the land was seized and Ludwig captured. The one thing that made him feel relief was that his wife and children already had been shipped away to friends in Denmark; the boys would grow up as fatherless sons of a rich merchant – for Ludwig had sent the whole ducal treasury with them as soon as he had realized that he would not last long – instead of the sons of a duke, and the girls in the same way, but it would do them good. The world of privileges was also the world of intrigue, and after having tasted the bitter beaker of defeat Ludwig wanted to keep his children as far away from it as possible.

    After the defeat of Thuringia, the Emperor had mobilized the whole realm and marched at both Saxony and Bohemia. Duke Vratislav, the not-so-intelligent man that the three conspirators had planned to use as an element of diversion had been the only one able to stand against the Imperial hordes, and thus he was now the only sovereign ruler. Ludwig was not sure when Saxony fell, but he knew that Magnus Billung had fled the country long before that. Where he was now, Ludwig had no idea of.

    And then there was Thiedric. The great warrior, the Flemish Lion, the man who would command the army of the conspirators against the demented Emperor, the man who had gotten stopped by a duke with a hump on his back and no sense at all for war. If it was not for duke Godfried, Thiedric would have been able to get to Franken and storm the Imperial castle, and who knows what would have happened then? Ludwig did not know, he did however know that Thiedric had gotten deposed and now served as count of Holland and Westfriesland under Godfried d’Ardennes. Ludwig could not decide whether he was happy for Thiedric’s sake, or if he actually just wanted him to die a horrible death for his treachery.

    Stuck in thoughts, he barely noticed the guards that unlocked the door to his cell. When they entered, he noticed that it was dark in the cell. It was evening.
    “Your time has come, Ludwig.” one of the prison-guards said in a neutral voice. Not all were brutes, but they were all indifferent to the suffering of the prisoners. One way or the other, they reasoned, they deserved to be there. “Say farewell to your cell, it’s the last time you’ll see it.”

    Ludwig did not even make any illusions that they were releasing him. His time on Earth was counted, and it was the hour of judgement. Soon, he would be dead. At the thought of his death closing in on his steps, Ludwig felt strangely relieved. Finally, he thought. Finally it will all be over. He rose and let the guards tie his hands. Then they went out of the cells, and up the stairs, out into the fresh air.

    On the courtyard a large group of people had gathered. They were loud and cheerful, and it was obvious that they were guests of the Emperor. Ludwig had heard whispers about a grand banquet for all the lords of the Empire, but he did not know that it was this night. As he was lead towards the group that stood huddled by fires in thick coats and with feather-decorated hats Ludwig noticed the large scaffold on the middle of the courtyard. On it stood a huge man with a black hood and a shiny weapon; a two-hand battleaxe. Ludwig’s mind started to spin as he realized that within minutes, he would be dead. The feeling of indifference was gone, and some small part deep within him screamed in angst, but he realized that it was not worth trying to escape. He would not get anywhere, and the only result it would have would be that he ridiculed himself. He made an effort to straighten his aching back and keep his head up.

    As they walked on to the platform the jeer of the crowd got louder. To his great discomfort he recognized many of the people, dukes and counts that he only two years earlier had counted as friends and peers. He let his gaze drop, robbed of all courage. He felt cold and hoped that it all would be over soon. He was the only conspirator that had gotten caught; Magnus Billung had fled the kingdom, duke Vratislav led his own kingdom, and Thiedric had been taken under the protective wings of duke Godfried of Lower Lorraine.

    And left was Ludwig, the scapegoat.

    As the two guards forced him down on his knees he held his hands together in prayer. His last thought before the sword separated his head from his body was that he hoped that his children would get a good upbringing, even with the damage he now had caused them. And somewhere deep within, albeit suppressed, he hoped that one of them would take revenge on his enemies one day.

    ---


    When Godfried arrived in Andernach, he made two fast decisions with the same intent; to boost the income of the realm. He had gotten to know from experience, that it was impossible for him to acquire time and patience to manage the large personal demesne he had gathered. Thus he gave the stewardess, Ida van Glymes, the county of Breda to take care of and his old foe Theodor the county of Oldenburg, far from Andernach where Godfried feared that his plotting and scheming one day could take an unpleasant turn.

    It did however result in the inconvenience that the realm all of a sudden were without both steward and spy master. A new stewardess was quickly acquired in the courtier Richwara von Sponheim, one of the prominent nobles of Andernach. But as for spy master, Godfried yet lacked a suitable candidate.

    During the early spring a man on a horse approached Andernach. Snow lay on the ground and the mustang left a cloud of smoke behind it. As it approached the ducal castle – that, as time passed by, was in a continuously growing need of renovation or even rebuilding – the warning horns were routinely sounding, a clear signs that the guards were alert. Reinhardt felt slightly impressed at this; it was a noticeable difference from his and Bernard’s escapades by the royal castle in Franken.

    The winter had been harsh on Reinhardt, and he had not eaten for four days. The horse that he rode was stolen from a small encampment; he had told himself that God would overlook his sin, since the owner of the horse was a particularly fat and well-living noble-man that could barely ride the majestic animal. And even worse than the lack of food, word was quietly spreading in Franken about connections between the executed Ludwig von Thüringen and mercenaries in the city. Reinhardt saw that as the call for leave; the last thing he wanted was a skirmish with the Imperial troops, and then end his days as his formerly unknown employer had.

    He pulled up a white handkerchief from the pocket of his tunic and held it high enough for the guards to see as he closed in, and gradually he slowed down the pace. He did not want any exaggerated fuss over his arrival. As he rode in on the courtyard he sat off and left his horse for a young stable-boy that looked as if he had been standing still in the cold for far longer than was deemed healthy, and walked towards the main building that towered in the far end of the courtyard; the house was made by stone on the two lower floors, and wood on the upper two. No doubt it was well insulated, and from a large chimney in the middle of the roof came a thick trickle of smoke. In all four corners stood wide, although not very high towers completely made in stone, a characteristic that the fortress always had had.

    He walked in and humbly requested an audience with the duke, and was led up the stairs to the third floor. The guard searched his pockets before knocking the door – Highly impressing that the security is tighter here than at the Imperial court – and letting Reinhardt in.

    The room was small, and for a man with fewer troubles than Reinhardt it would have been deemed cosy enough to remain in for a longer while. A large fire spread warmth, light and a soothing sound and the walls were covered with shelves filled with books. The Lotharingian Library, as it was called, was famed all over Germany. Behind a large desk sat a man huddled in thick blankets, slowly and carefully writing with black ink in a huge book. By a quick glance Reinhardt guessed that it was a book about the finances of the duchy; this was simply since he saw numbers in it. He himself could not read very well.

    After having finished the sentence he was writing, the figure spread a little sand over the ink and put it to the side so that it could dry, and then addressed Reinhardt.
    “And what then can I help you with?”
    “Milord,” Reinhardt kneeled in front of the desk. “I come here seeking refuge. I am short of food and without a home, and would like to request a place at your court.”

    Silence followed his short monologue. The duke, for it was truly the mighty duke Godfried on the other side of the desk, waved for him to stand up again.
    “Friend, I have no lands to offer you, nor do you look like a warrior. I can offer you a place to stay and food to eat, but not without anything in return. That is the course of the world.”
    “But sire, I beg you.” Reinhardt kneeled again, but the duke irritated waved him up again. “I have no gold to pay with, nor do I have a sword with which I can serve you. Tell me, does not your faith tell you to take a Christian brother into your house?” Reinhardt began to feel despair, followed by panic. He was well-known in many courts over the kingdom and could not risk going to any of them; anything linking him to the plot against the Emperor could have him, if not killed, imprisoned for life.
    “I am not a very religious man, a characteristic that most probably have travelled fast on the wings of rumour.” the duke said, although with a concerned expression. Reinhardt swallowed. The duke was no fool, he knew there was something more than bad luck behind Reinhardt’s urge to find a place of living. But then, as clearly as ever, he got an idea. An idea that, if put forward well, could get him in the favour of the duke.
    “Milord, I understand your carefulness. However, I need to persist. A bird whispered in my ear that you recently have lost a few well-qualified courtiers?”
    “The bird is correct.” Godfried said, hiding a small face with his hand. “So with what intention do you tell me this?”
    “I want to become your new spy master.”

    ---


    Thus endeth the tenth chapter.

    ---

    Last edited by Snugglie; 26-06-2008 at 23:02.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  4. #64

  5. #65
    Crazy Reactionary crusaderknight's Avatar
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    Yes, Ludwig's end was indeed well written. And now Reinhardt is in the service of Godfried. Does this bode well or ill?

    A great update, by the way. Very enjoyable.
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  6. #66
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    Nice writing, it's good to see Godfried's gamble pay off, and the Emperor giving him more power and protection. That should pay dividends when he's ready to strike out on his own.

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  7. #67
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    I guess I owe you an explanation to my absence.

    I've taken a slight break from Crusader Kings -- you know, one of those stints of lack of inspiration -- but observe, I have NOT put this one on hold yet. For we all know that putting something on hold is to kill it prematurely.

    I do intend on continuing the story, and I'll try to have you an update before the end of next week. On my word.

    Edit: Sorry, meant next week. I promise, I haven't forgotten about you!
    Last edited by Snugglie; 14-03-2008 at 22:02.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  8. #68
    Crazy Reactionary crusaderknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snugglie
    I guess I owe you an explanation to my absence.

    I've taken a slight break from Crusader Kings -- you know, one of those stints of lack of inspiration -- but observe, I have NOT put this one on hold yet. For we all know that putting something on hold is to kill it prematurely.

    I do intend on continuing the story, and I'll try to have you an update before the end of the week. On my word.
    We can wait. I know what it is like to have writer's block. Don't force out a story if you can't find the inspiration. Sometimes it is better to wait a bit longer, and come up with something good, then to force a deadline and have something that is only okay. But I have faith that you will come up with something great to continue this story. It is definitely one of the best written Narrative AARs that I have read.
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  9. #69
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    Well, I promised you an update for around now, and as you can notice I don't have one. Well, I tried. However, I also made the horrible mistake of installing Deus Vult; just getting it playable at all took time, and even after that my savefile(s) kept crashing.

    Now, it does not hold enough good things to motivate me to dump away all my old games, and especially this one. I have thus embarked on the crusade of recreating my old CK, and I just hope that will work.

    Also, I'll be in London almost all week (Yeees!) and won't be able to update anyway. So we'll see when, but sooner or later, Lotharingia will prevail, I promise.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  10. #70
    Crazy Reactionary crusaderknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snugglie
    Well, I promised you an update for around now, and as you can notice I don't have one. Well, I tried. However, I also made the horrible mistake of installing Deus Vult; just getting it playable at all took time, and even after that my savefile(s) kept crashing.

    Now, it does not hold enough good things to motivate me to dump away all my old games, and especially this one. I have thus embarked on the crusade of recreating my old CK, and I just hope that will work.

    Also, I'll be in London almost all week (Yeees!) and won't be able to update anyway. So we'll see when, but sooner or later, Lotharingia will prevail, I promise.
    Dang it. I hate when I install an expansion and lose the ability to play my old games.

    Have fun in London! We'll still be here when you get back!

    P.S. Be sure to have some fish and chips!
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  11. #71
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    Chapter XI

    Hähä, and here, finally, as promised for weeks, an update! I hope I have not lost everyone's interest by now -- I know you're lurking here though, crusaderknight -- and if I have, I will make an honest effort to win it back.

    I also have two other news for you. Primarily, and least important; I've grown tired of the headers I use for every new update. I tried a new one in this one -- better or worse? No matter which, got any good ideas?

    And secondly, and of much more importance; A good friend of mine, let's call her Meng, have now joined in my little project here by making illustrations, and I tell you, she's great at it. She'll mainly do portraits of every new ruler of the realm, but who knows -- there might be an extra treat thrown in now and then. This far, we've now got portraits of Godfried and Camila, published in Chapter I.

    Now I'm finished rambling, I hope you'll enjoy your read. I'm happy to be back.

    ---



    Reinhardt turned out to be perfectly suited for the role of spy master. He was intelligent, persuasive and made people respect him, if not by virtue then by force. Godfried admitted to himself that he liked the odd stranger, despite being cautious by instinct in his presence. In the same way that there was something about Reinhardt’s ways that brought forward feelings of respect and trust in Godfried, there was also something else, elusively lying under the surface. And Reinhardt clearly had the intention of keeping it hidden there, for he seldom talked about himself or where he came from.

    ---



    ---


    Apart from Reinhardt’s arrival and the departure of Ida van Glymes and Theodor, few things happened during the following two years, and the life at Andernach followed the same patterns as it had done for as long as any living man could remember. The two sons of Godfried and Camila, Guntram and Folkhard, grew by the day and already seemed to develop into two very different persons.

    Guntram, the older, was a little younger than ten years and was as boys were expected to be at that age, especially if they were the oldest sons of a duke; interested in a little of everything – even though he appeared completely oblivious of the existence of mathematics – and a tendency to dominate and put himself in the first place. In a few ways, he was a disappointment to Godfried. He much preferred to wrestle with the other boys of the court out on the yard rather than read books and teach himself how to manage a realm.

    Folkhard, however, had been taken under Godfried’s protective wings from birth. He held more of an interest for the written word than his older brother, and was far brighter than his brother had been at his age. Her was not weak, but did not feel any need to express his physique; even though he could outrun many boys his age, he did not like running. He was more interested in the tales Godfried told him, tales of Charlemagne and his sons, of heroes and kings and brave knights. It was, for Godfried at least, clear that his youngest son had inherited his imagination and fascination for a good story; however, he showed a bigger potential for writing on his own than Godfried ever had. The boy was talented, and Godfried felt somewhere within that it was Folkhard, not Guntram, that would carry on his ambition for a united Lotharingia as an heir to Charlemagne’s empire. He felt a sting of mixed sadness and guilt; sadness over that Folkhard would not inherit the throne unless something happened to Guntram and guilt over him secretly holding Folkhard as to having far more potential to be a wise ruler than his brother.

    More than once he had played with the thought of decreeing a change in the inheritance-laws of the realm, but in the end he always came to the conclusion that doing so would not comply with his silent and rather peaceful war with the clergy; the old noble traditions were to be upheld at all cost. And even though Guntram might prove to be a disappointment as a scholar, he was still able to excel as a warrior. Godfried made a promise to himself that sometime before his death he would have a long talk with Folkhard in his quarters and initiate him into the dream of recreating the empire, and at the same time explain why it would be so, that Folkhard never would be granted any land by his father; he was needed at the court, to keep on dripping the non-lethal poison into his brother’s ears.

    Godfried snapped out of his thoughts once again.
    “I'm not dead yet though”, he muttered. “And so I might just as well save at least some of my energy for more important matters until the reaper
    starts showing his face around the castle.”

    He was interrupted in his thoughts by horns signalling from afar. He left his room and walked towards the courtyard, meanwhile reflecting on the mould that had gathered where the wall met the ceiling. The ducal residence was not in a miserable condition, but was more of a fort rather than a castle. An unchallenged romantic, this bothered Godfried. He knew however that there simply were not any money for renovating or, God forbid, re-build Andernach. Thus it would remain like this.

    The riders had not reached Andernach by the time Godfried entered the courtyard. He knew that what now was expected of him as a duke was to walk up the rampart and watch the strangers as they would ride towards the gate, and from atop he would greet them and determine whether they were to be counted as friend or foe. Putting his pride aside he felt a sting in his back at the mere thought of climbing the rampart and then climbing down again, and decided to remain on the ground. A young guard with flaxen hair had already enlightened him that the riders flew the Papal banner, and Godfried knew that no matter what he thought of the church and the power the Holy Father held over people, it would not make anything easier to deny his messengers hospitality.

    There were nine riders, and of them six were light cavalry, armed with swords and armoured with steel-clad leather. They rode with two in the front and as many in the rear, and with one horseman on each flank. In between them rode three men, all in robes of the clergy although it was obvious that one of them, seemingly the youngest, also held the lowest status in the group. Godfried sighed and prepared himself for yet another encounter with
    men of the institution that he had such a hard time dealing with.

    The rider on the left flank was little more than a boy, with a soft face and curly hair, and it was him that held the banner. When the small group had entered the courtyard he dismounted and drove the lance atop which the banner was fastened into the ground and then proceeded to help one of the two high clergymen from his horse. The rider on the other flank helped the other bishop, whilst the young priest had to fend for himself. The elder of the two bishops walked towards Godfried and raised his hand in greeting.
    “Greetings, Godfried d’Ardennes, duke of Lorraine.” he said, his voice deep and his German tainted by his Italian heritage. It was easy to imagine him in a preacher’s chair, booming out the decrees of the Pope. “It has been long since I last saw you.”
    “Greetings, bishop Adone, and no, I am afraid that it has been a long time since I visited the cathedral in Mainz.” Godfried answered and bowed, uncomfortably. He did not like bowing, not because he refused to pay respect but because he simply was not made to bow ergonomically. When he rose again, he met the bishop’s gaze. “I welcome You to my home, and will offer You food and quarters for the night. What is Your errand here in Andernach?”
    “Oh, we would love to stay over both this and forthcoming nights, but we are on a mission from God indirectly, and the Holy Father directly.” answered bishop Adone, a glint in his eye when mentioning his two superiors. The other bishop, notably younger than Adone, and the even younger priest came forward. “Before stating my main errand, we have a smaller matter to conclude. You have met bishop Maginulf ...” Godfried and Maginulf nodded in recognition of each other. “… and this here is young Albrecht, Albrecht von Schoenecken.” The young priest licked his seemingly very dry lips and stepped forward, bowing to Godfried. Godfried could not help but a feel a tinge of curiosity at what was to come next.
    “It has become known to the Church that you lack a chaplain at your court, duke Godfried.” bishop Adone continued. “Why, we are not here to blame you. This is however the reason that we have brought Albrecht along; to now offer his services at your court, and thus make it a more Godlike place.” Adone chuckled. “Of course you do not need to install him as your diocese, but for your own worth in the afterlife it might be good to have a holy man around.”

    Albrecht looked nervously from man to man. Poor lad, Godfried thought. He could impossibly be older than twenty, and his tonsure and monk’s robe made him look even younger.
    “Very well,” Godfried said, trying to straighten his back a little; the bishop was a head taller than him. “What more errands do You have here at Andernach?”

    Bishop Adone took a deep breath, and when he once again spoke his voice was raised a few octaves. “The Holy Father, our Lord here on Earth, on behalf of God Father and Jesus Christ, calls all Christian lords in union; for a long time has the Holy Land of God suffered under the heathen yoke –” Godfried started getting a headache. As soon as priest and bishops started delivering the words of the Pope they always sounded as if they were about to burst into song, not to mention tears. Suddenly, he noticed that he ageing bishop eyed him with a curious expression, as if waiting for an answer.
    “Pardon me Father, I did not catch that last part.”
    “The Holy Father, Our Lord –”
    “No Father, I got that part.”
    “Ah, very well then! The Holy Father wonders if he will be able to count on Lorraine’s armies in the impending conquest of Jerusalem.”

    ---


    Thus endeth the eleventh chapter.

    ---


    Last edited by Snugglie; 26-06-2008 at 23:02.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
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    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  12. #72
    Crazy Reactionary crusaderknight's Avatar
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    Glad to see another chapter of the story!

    I like the new header much better, Snugglie. Good move, there.

    Tell your friend Meng that she is a great artist. Godfried looks exactly like I pictured him. And Camila is very beautiful.

    So the Pope has called for the liberation of Jerusalem. If Godfried says "yes" to the call to arms, there could be some very exciting chapters ahead, however, it would bankrupt the realm. If he says, "no", it could cause friction with the Pope, which could also produce some very exciting chapters. So either way, we have excitement on the horizon!
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  13. #73
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusaderknight
    Glad to see another chapter of the story!

    I like the new header much better, Snugglie. Good move, there.

    Tell your friend Meng that she is a great artist. Godfried looks exactly like I pictured him. And Camila is very beautiful.

    So the Pope has called for the liberation of Jerusalem. If Godfried says "yes" to the call to arms, there could be some very exciting chapters ahead, however, it would bankrupt the realm. If he says, "no", it could cause friction with the Pope, which could also produce some very exciting chapters. So either way, we have excitement on the horizon!
    Thank you! In that case I'll keep the header like this now. And yes, I'll tell Meng. As it seems, there are many more illustrations to await for the future.

    And yes, crusades tend to be... troubling. As will these, I am sure.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  14. #74
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    Chapter XII



    At the head of the table sat Godfried, and in front of him six people with three on each side of the table. On Godfried’s left sat Camila, his wife and chancellor; Judith, Godfried’s four year older second cousin that recently had wed Reinhardt and now served as stewardess of the realm and Reinhardt
    himself, as the spy master of the duchy. On Godfried’s right sat the marshal, Eckhard; the newly-arrived priest, Albrecht and finally young Guntram, the heir to the ducal throne. Also present, on the opposite head of the table, was the Bishop of Liege, Dietrich, and the count of Jülich, Gerhard. Since Liege and Jülich were the closest counties to Andernach, inconveniently places in the south-eastern end of Godfried’s domains, they were the only ones that were able to get to Andernach the day after they had been called.

    Godfried felt a throbbing sensation in his head, the sign of an upcoming headache. The matter of the crusades, that bishop Adone – according to Godfried – rather violently had thrown at him was weighing heavily on his shoulders, and now was the time to decide what to do. Despite his unwillingness to cooperate with the church, which he silently and carefully was plotting to take the power from, he could not blankly refuse the crusade. Likewise, sending the armies of Andernach all the way to the other side of the inner sea would cost a fortune and likely bankrupt the realm.
    “Friends and advisors, peers.” he started, thus catching everyone’s attention; the room had been dead silent whilst they waited for everyone to arrive, and even nine-year-old Guntram had felt the grim atmosphere of the council and thus kept quiet, far from his ordinary attention-seeking personality. “You all know why we are gathered here today; the Holy Father has called for the liberation of the Holy City and we must decide whether or not to send the men of Lorraine to aid him in this quest…”

    Godfried only gathered his breath, but Bishop Dietrich interpreted it as that he was finished talking and thus took the opportunity to say his opinion. “Why, this is hardly a matter of discussion or even conversation, is it!” he said, a wide smile plastered on his lips. “Of course we… Ah! This is an extraordinary opportunity! Primo, we have the opportunity to show to the Holy Father as well as to our glorious king that we are faithful believers and loyal servants to crown and God, and segundo, all will reach salvation through this holy mission!”

    Godfried had to try hard not to shake his head in disbelief. But then again, an aging bishop, eternally faithful to both a Christian king and to the Pope was hardly to be considered as a serious opinion-maker.
    “To a certain degree, I agree with the bishop.” said Eckhard, the marshal as well as the most militarily experienced of the gathered council. “We can show the emperor our loyalty – if he, as Bishop Adone said when he gave you the message, is joining in on the crusade – and we can get goodwill from the pope. But there is an economic factor in it as well –”
    “Ah, lappri! What are riches and coins when you stand in front of God –”
    “Ask yourself that Bishop, and move out of your castle at the same time.” said Reinhardt sourly.
    “Why you –” answered the bishop, attempting to find a disarming comment for the spy master with the bad taste to talk against a servant of God.
    “ORDER.” It did not sound as if he shouted, but yet Gerhard, count of Jülich managed to reach a good volume and immediately silenced the bickering bunch that was the council of Lower Lorraine. The count’s eyes flickered from person to person, almost radiating menace. The bishop flinched at his glance, and Reinhardt discreetly looked away. Eckhard sat straight though, looking at the count with mildly disguised distaste. The count did not have a good reputation among military leaders of the school Eckhard was raised in, as the count all too often proclaimed brutality instead of tactics.
    “Thank you, Gerhard.” said Godfried, eager to move on from the grave-like feeling that now lay in the room. “Judith, would we be able to afford a war?”
    “It depends. We can afford it if we gain something from it.” she answered. Godfried had a brief flashback to his childhood; Judith was eighteen and he was fourteen, and he was looking at her in secret as she walked in the corridors of the castle. She was a beautiful woman, her beauty and sexuality amplified by the hormones raging in his body. Something within him shamed him though, since even if it was not closely, they were related, and thus he stopped. He pushed the memories aside, hoping that he was not blushing.
    “Eckhard?”
    “Even if we are one of the bigger duchies in all of Europe, we cannot just enter this ourselves. We do not have the resources to fight that far away, least we are aided by someone.”
    “What about the king?” asked Camila, uttering her voice for the first time. She spoke German fluently by now, and had developed a rather odd accent. In essence, anyone could hear that she was French.
    “The king seems to be ambivalent in the question, torn between his own eagerness to wage a war that will glorify himself and competent advisors that say that he does not have time nor gold for it.” said Reinhardt, his contempt at the king clear in his voice.
    “That is the emperor you are talking about,” said bishop Dietrich in a threatening voice, “and if anyone was to ask me – which I note no-one ever does – language like that sounds like treachery!”
    “It’s German, and I’ve never been that fond of it either.”
    “Enough! Stop bickering like a bunch of women!” Eckhard said sharply, even though the bishop was ahead of him both in age and prestige. His face-expression softened and he blushed slightly as he turned to Camila and Judith. “Miladies, no disrespect intended.” They both smiled, Camila remarking that she always had preferred French as well.
    “So, as it seems we are as ambivalent as our liege.” Godfried stated. The headache had arrived by now. “So, to spare our backs, I say that we wait with a decision. Bishop Adone has visited far from every king, duke and count yet, and our answer will not yet be crucial. So I say that unless a clear sign is sent, be it from God or the… emperor, let us stay away from this.”

    ---


    The rest of the Christian world remained surprisingly silent the days, weeks and months after the crusade-council at Andernach, and it was rumoured that the Emperor had been threatened by more than one all too high-standing vassal with rebellion if he would join in on the crusades at a time when the Imperial treasury was far from what it should be. Godfried could thereby breathe out and relax, for at least a little while. For even if every Christian lord would try to stall it, sooner or later they would either have to oblige the Holy Father, alternatively face his wrath.

    ---


    “Albrecht, relax now, little man.” Reinhardt said, absurdly slyly and reassuringly at the same time. “Here, ‘ave a pint.”

    Albrecht twisted to and fro a little, and then nervously met Reinhardt’s gaze. “But sir mister spymaster, I… it goes against… I should not be here!” A barmaid walked by, and at Reinhardt’s request she bent over to fill his wooden, ornate pint with more brown ale. Albrecht almost squeaked in fright as her breasts almost threatened to come out of her generous cleavage. She grinned at him and gave him a wink over her shoulder as she walked away. Albrecht was not sweating openly. “You have got some explaining to do! Why have you taken me here?” he wheezed to Reinhardt who calmly kept on drinking.
    “To soften you up a little of course,” he said when he finally put the pint down. “Ever since you arrived you’ve been stiff, a typical choir-boy. And that is not good for you, believe my word.”
    “But why…” Albrecht gulped as the barmaid walked past again, smiling at him. “But why does that make you take me to this… this… hole of loose women and drinking, why?!” The young priest now started to sound despairing, and constantly threw glances around to avoid seeing the barmaid, or any other of the women with equally generous cleavages that inhabited the tavern.
    “Well, just a small demonstration of what life is like outside of the monastery. You can leave now if you want, lad.” Reinhardt said, and watched the young chaplain walk away, still looking terrified and with both hands covering his crotch. “Good gracious, that’s what happens when you’ve been locked into a monastery – by free will! – half your life…”

    ---



    ---


    As Lorraine saw the dawn of the new year of 1080 Anno Domini, they looked back at a year of deaths; two concrete ones, one almost only occurring, and one merely metaphorical.

    To start with, Godfried’s one year older sister Wiltrude, married to the count of Baden – a sly, cowardly and severely overweight little man – died in her sleep. Godfried had not met her for fourteen years, but had many good memories of her from his childhood when she in the role of his second oldest sister – Ide was as much as ten years older than Godfried, whereas Wiltrude as stated only was one year older – took care of him and shooed away a variety of people that for one reason or the other teased him. She was taken home to Andernach, and put to rest in the same family chapel as their parents.

    Secondly, Bishop Dietrich of Liege died from what was assumed to be a heart-attack on his way back to Liege from a convent in Cologne. The rather impulsive old man simply seemed to have worn himself out, and was missed by many. This excluded Reinhardt however, that did not like people of the clergy on pure principle.

    Reinhardt suffered through the semi-death. While on the tavern one night, having his usual sitting with a few pints and a few pretty women – despite him having a fully functioning wife at home – he suddenly started screaming, clutching desperately at his chest as if trying to scratch an inner organ out. As he fell on the floor he was lucky enough to have one of the more tragic regulars of the tavern – a farmer, smelling as a combination of manure and something dead – press his fingers down Reinhardt’s throat, causing him to vomit. After this, he was taken to the infirmary at Andernach, where he lay for almost a month. His wife, Judith, sat by his side all the time and when Reinhardt had recovered enough to return to his quarters, people noted a change I character; he stopped going to the tavern, there were never rumours of him spending the night with any other woman than his wife and he never drank anything that he had not supplied himself. Neither Godfried or Judith nor anyone else knew about his secret, but Reinhardt knew very clearly that Henrik von Franken was on his tracks and that he would have to watch out in the future.

    The last death, that only was a death in a lyrical and poetic sense, was the death of Guntram. Surely, he was alive and well, but the not very innocent, but still rather kind boy that his parents remembered and had nursed had turned into something else. He had grown taller and stronger, and somehow his temper and mind seemed to have changed as well. Together with a band of comrades he drifted around the castle, ignoring his studies, causing whatever mischief they were able to. Godfried, and especially Camila, were devastated but did not know what to do. For what could they do? Was it their fault that Guntram had turned out the way he did? Was it due to nature or nurture? Regardless of what the answer was, Folkhard was now even more tied to his father, being the seemingly complete opposite to his brother. He was more intelligent than Guntram, far more educated and superior in every aspect except for the physical one. In 1080 A.D., Godfried took personal responsibility for his youngest son’s education, wanting to ensure that at least one of his sons turned out as wished and needed.

    ---


    Thus endeth the twelth chapter.

    ---

    Last edited by Snugglie; 26-06-2008 at 23:03.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  15. #75
    Crazy Reactionary crusaderknight's Avatar
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    So the Crusade shall wait. That is probably the better choice, it saves the coffers and the manpower. A shame about Guntrum. It seems that our next Duke will be quite the villain.
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  16. #76
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusaderknight
    So the Crusade shall wait. That is probably the better choice, it saves the coffers and the manpower. A shame about Guntrum. It seems that our next Duke will be quite the villain.
    crusaderknight! My reader!

    Yes, I actually smiled a lot when Guntram got the "mischievous blackguard"-personality. It opens up for a wonderful continuation, story-wise at least.
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  17. #77
    Off Again Alfred Packer's Avatar
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    I'm still here too Still enjoying the story (and glad its back)...I'm also still sucked into an EUIII game, but its in the 1740s now, so I'll be posting more soon!

  18. #78
    Zealous Firebrand Snugglie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Packer
    I'm still here too Still enjoying the story (and glad its back)...I'm also still sucked into an EUIII game, but its in the 1740s now, so I'll be posting more soon!
    Ah! My two most faithful readers are gathered. To celebrate that, I'll try to get another chapter up tonight.

    EUIII, ey? Eagerly awaiting an AAR from you using that game then
    Stand up, all victims of oppression,
    For the tyrants fear your might!
    Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
    For you have nothing if you have no rights!
    Let racist ignorance be ended,
    For respect makes the empires fall!
    Freedom is merely privilege extended,
    Unless enjoyed by one and all.

  19. #79
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    This faithful yet silent reader is glad you're going on as well I played with the thought of making a Lotharingia-reborn AAR myself, but decided it would never be as good :

  20. #80
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    Still here, I just need to catch up. I will.
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