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Thread: The Kingdom of Aarquitania- Alternate History with DVIP

  1. #161
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Kurt Steiner- I am very impressed at the Breton handling of themselves in fighting so far from their homelands. Sorry that I didn't get to Barcelona before them to liberate you haha! Perhaps a nice extended vacation in Urgell would be acceptable?

    Thanks for the comment and for reading!

  2. #162
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Domestic Indiscretions part 1

    Even with the cessation of hostilities, Zavie was soon pressed to return to the weighty matters requiring his attention back at home. After sending a formal letter thanking the Governor of Genoa for his assistance in the war, the Aquitanian army in Navarre marched itself once again down the mountains and back towards their homes. The other regiments had been dismissed as well and a great exodus of soldiers and the assorted clingers on of any army were soon on their way back to Aquitania. Most would even return in time to take part in the harvest.

    The Genoans would pursue their campaign against Badajoz independently. Specifically, the island of Minorca in the Balearic Islands was a tempting target for their fleets. The leader of the Genoan troops thanked Zavie repeatedly for the help he had provided in securing Navarre. A siege was still in place for the main citadel, but it would be a matter of time only before the province was exclusively theirs. Zavie assured them of his continued hope for their success and promised their armies open access to his lands for their maneuvers against the Badajozians.

    Toulouse, ancestral home of Zavie’s family and one of the great cities of the south had been used as a depot for supplies being sent to the campaigning forces in Spain. As a result, several merchant houses had moved in to take advantage of the trade and most had decided to stay after the war’s end. Towns and hamlets around the city were now reaping the benefits of the move, with employment returning to normal levels after the hardships of years past.



    In Rioja, a group of Cistercian monks from the east of Aquitania established plans to create a great monastery to serve as a shining light of example to the Christians of that territory. Their arrival prompted the small monasteries already in the area to quickly take after the new order.



    Arriving back at his capital of Bordeaux to reserved acclaim in the streets, Zavie made his way through several broad avenues towards his residence castle on the outskirts of the city. An encounter from the previous day still hung with him even as he approached the gates.

    While passing through a market town on their way to an earl’s manor to sleep for the night, the King’s party of horsemen was accosted by a wretched looking woman who screamed curses at the King and even attempted to rush the men and their mounts. Two of his bodyguards had quickly dismounted and tackled the crazed woman while others in the group closed in around the King to prevent any further attack.

    Calming down after a second, the woman started to wail hysterically while a group of villagers started towards her in trepidation. One of the men in the gathering crowd approached and tried to explain the situation. The woman had lost all three of her sons and her husband to the wars of previous years and had been living a beggarly existence for the past months.

    It became apparent after the bodyguards lifted themselves that in her fall she had broken an arm. Saddened by the story and the circumstances that had seen her injured, Zavie offered the man who had spoken a small purse of coin to see her to a bonesetter and to look after her welfare during the next winter. The townsman took it from one of the aids in the King’s party and left with the woman after taking a bow towards his liege.

    It was not often that Zavie was able to witness such scenes, and it struck a certain tone in his soul to know that his orders as King had destroyed the lives of some of his subjects hundreds of miles from the battlefields. The explanations that had seen him through similar questions of war’s morality in the past, that it was for the good of the kingdom, that he had tried diplomacy and failed, seemed to be empty and hollow when confronted with evidence like the pain he saw in the eyes of that woman.

    Zavie’s reunion with both Rosa and Guitard was warm, helping to wash his mind of the troubling thoughts he had encountered recently. His son was now six and very precocious, asking a hundred questions about the war and going into great detail of his own adventures during Zavie’s absence. He and some of the other courtiers sons had trapped a bird in a cage they had asked one of the castle carpenters to build for them. He had kept it in his room, but one night the latch wasn’t secure and it had flown out a window. Rosa leaned over during one of the breaks in conversation to tell him that she had set the thing free, since its incessant calls had been very annoying to the house staff.

    His daughter Azalais turned out to meet him as well, speaking of the happiness she felt knowing her father was returned safe from the war. Her enthusiasm seemed only a little too sincere, as the father and daughter had only been on plain speaking terms before. Her social behavior was impeccable but some of the members of the court suspected her of being very manipulative, easily bewildering more naïve types to play their parts in the petty schemes she weaved. She was nearly of age to marry and many joked of the pity they would have for her husband.



    The period of rest and relaxation was fleeting for Zavie, as matters of state drew on most of his time. Frances Count of Poitiers arrived at court to seek audience with the King. There had been a standing unease between the two men growing from the refusal of Frances to pay a certain duty on the lumber sold in his Poitiers fief. The Count had challenged that the law was applicable only in sales directly to the crown, other vassals or their agents while Zavie insisted that the tax attached to every sale.

    The Count had finally come around to Zavie’s way of thinking and had brought his back dues with him to the meeting. Zavie was only to happy to forgive the man over the trivial squabble and hosted a night of entertainment for the visiting Count.



    The months passed quickly for Zavie, caught up in the process of ruling his domain. In many ways, it was more difficult than commanding in the field. Every day brought a new crisis, a new question that none of his advisors could answer. One of the most important topics of debate was his daughter’s upcoming sixteenth birthday, an age when she might be properly paired off with a suitor.



    Several candidates emerged as potential partners for Azalais. Some in the council wished to improve relations with the Capets and brought several cousins to the current French King into the running. Others suggested someone within the realm, the Duke of Gascony’s heir had just come of age and was in the market for a wife. Perhaps the most prestigious possibility was the new King of Sweden, fresh from working through a regency council.

    Zavie promised to give all of the offers good consideration while he settled other matters brought before him. He felt attachment to Azalais but she had been a difficult child and adolescent, prone to excess in many things. Aquitania’s monarch considered carefully how he would proceed with the arrangement of her wedding.

    Among other problems brought before Zavie was his wife’s report on the Duke of Auvergne. She had been moved to replace his aging chancellor and had served ably for the past months as issues rose to her attention. Her agents, leftover from her years as spymistress, had reported the presence of French spies at the court of the Duke. With the Bourbon rebellion still fresh on his mind, Zavie called for decisive action immediately. Rosa was quick to oblige.

    It was not long before a servant of the Duke’s household found papers implicating the French spy in a plot against the Duke haphazardly disposed of in a latrine ditch at the castle. Confronted with the evidence, the spy had been taken aback and professed his innocence in the matter through almost a week of torture. The Duke had sent word of his find directly to Bordeaux, with promises that he was and forever would be a loyal vassal to the Aquitanian crown. Zavie replied that he understood entirely.



    It was at night a week later, one of the first days of the new year, that Zavie’s serving man rapped gently on the door to the King’s chamber. Rising to his feet and demanding an explanation, he was told that his daughter urgently wished to see him. Cursing beneath his breath at the hour and speculating as to the wild reason his daughter might have called him, Zavie made his way to a side chamber where she waited.

    Azalais seemed on the edge of tears when he closed the door behind him. Perfect, he thought, it must be something completely foolish that she’s done. Perhaps she needed a large sum of money, perhaps one of her friends needed out of the local constable office. He moved towards her with what he imagined was a stern grimace. It was then that the crying began.



    Last edited by Count Lake; 21-10-2008 at 16:26.

  3. #163
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    http://www.99polls.com/poll_26525

    So what will happen to Azalais and her little mistake? I take a promise to try and include the child in any plans should it be allowed to live. I will consider it a strong claimant to the throne should both Guitard and Guiges meet with misfortune.

    Otherwise, the choice has everything to do with how Zavie would react to the situation. I will have this poll open for 24 hours or so, so vote early and vote often!
    Last edited by Count Lake; 08-09-2008 at 00:43. Reason: trying to get link to work

  4. #164
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    Hehe, eveyrone loves teen pregnancies.

    Peace is an odd word.

  5. #165
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    I am so worthless, I can't get this dang thing to link to my poll. I will try to pm performer to see what the trick is. I will get back to everyone tommorow. Sorry for the inconvienience...

  6. #166
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Haha! I win technology! Take that internet gods! Anyways I got the poll to work so stop by, no registration on the site and give it a go. I await your instructions o loyal readers.

    Thanks for the patience while I got this thing up!

  7. #167
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Well well, we seem to have a tie. Both the first and second options have three votes. I will leave the poll open for another day. We can see what happens then!

    I have a hefty load of classes on Wednesday, so after the poll is closed you can expect to have something by Thursday!

    In other news, I recently upgraded my map making skills with the use of Microsoft Paint and Gimp. I have an example here and promise to try and get the text tags in the right place next time. Special thanks to Snugglie for his tutorial in the July issue of the Aarlander e-magazine!



    Note that this isn't accurate, I just didn't feel like adding in Brittany's colors to the north of Aquitania.

  8. #168
    Nice little map, and a nice little realm. Somehow, its extent has a very realistic and historical feel to it, even though there never was an realm with borders similiar to this one.

    But what are you going to do next? The Catalans in and around Barcelona are very close kin to the Occitanians; in the 12th century, their languages are still virtually identical. Any plans for this region? Intermarriage (with Azalais?) and alliance, or maybe conquest?

  9. #169
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the compliments Guiscard. I am enjoying this game for for pretty much the reason you mentioned, it has a really decent historical feel to it.

    In my next world update (after this next game year), you will see that things are actually still staying fairly reasonable across Europe. There are a lot of Muslims in the Balkans, but no Sheikdom of Praha or Emir of Wales yet!

    The Catalan areas are certainly next on my list of possible conquests, again for the reasons you mentioned. Historically they were my cultural cousins and they deserve my wise and fair rule. My allies, the Bretons, actually already managed to get the former capital of Barcelona in a peace deal which slightly dissapointed me.

    I will soon set my sights on dealing with the minor sheikdoms that inhabit the area, it will be a cakewalk. No major powers and nobody with strong allies. Right now though, Zavie seems to be inclined to peace, but we shall see where the next years will take us.

    Thanks very much for the continued interest you have shown here Guiscard. Having commnents and compliments is what makes this hobby worth getting in to!

  10. #170
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    Ah, a map!
    How nice!

  11. #171
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Thanks Enewald! It really was pretty simple when it came down to it, just a little bit of texturing in Gimp that was the hardest part. Snugglie explained it very well and it turns out a very nice looking map I think.

    Thanks for your support and compliment!

  12. #172
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Alright, its been two days and we are still in a deadlock. I will give it a few hours more. If we still have a tie, I will make the final choice. Get your vote in if you haven't yet!

  13. #173

    Tie Break

    I voted option 2. Its too bad you can't raise the child AND send the little tart to the convent.

    Great updates. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of realm events and economic/technical developments.

    So, what's your plan for the near-term? I gather from the last update that you plan to do some economic development now. I noticed several hammer icons in your kingdom. I hope your vassals are better at choosing province upgrades than mine.

    Regards,
    Eikinskjaldi

  14. #174
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    OK folks, voting is over. Azalais will insist on keeping her misbegotten progeny. What will be the fallout from this choice? We shall soon see!

    Update tommorow as I play this little scenario out for the next game year.

    Eikinskjaldi-Thank you very much for stopping by!

    Your eyes were not lying when they saw several little construction hammers going to work on some province improvments. Another of my gameplay quirks is my insistence on providing my loyal vassals with extra cash I have lying around. I consider it a long term investment, since the roads and tax producing buildings they construct end up helping me greatly in the end. Happy vassals means a happy kingdom!

    My plans for the near future include going after some minor sheikdoms in Catalonia, continuing to reap the rewards of peace and reacting to events as they happen around me. After playing through this next year (to 1115), I intend on publishing a comprehensive look at the world as it stands in religion, political, and maybe economic senses. Certainly I will look at Aquitania's economy and technological progress.

    Thank you once again to everyone who voted, commented and read this aar!

  15. #175
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Report from the front line. I am currently working on putting the next update together. Unfortunately, the world situation/economic report has been pushed back just a little. Most likely you will have it by the weekend. My most recent session saw a rash of unintended warfare, so the situation will be taken from the start of 1116. That is all.

  16. #176
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Domestic Indiscretions part 2

    The late night meeting between the King and his daughter had quickly degenerated into a shouting match that set several night owl courtiers speculating as to the girl’s future. None were able to make out the exact cause of the argument and they were far too circumspect to broach the subject directly but suspicions generally ran to the girl rejecting a marriage proposal her father had decided on.

    It had been impossible to keep the secret of Azalais’ pregnancy secret for long. Her rounding figure and the cessation of her moonblood soon had even the skeptics of the court convinced. Scandalous rumor ran through the court, gossips seeking candidates for the father and contemplating the girl’s fate. Azalais sequestered herself, breaking from the raucous teenage crowd that formed her normal cohort. In late march, she was sent to one of the royal townhouses on the outskirts of Bordeaux with an entourage of caretakers.

    She delivered a healthy baby boy in early April. She still refused to give up the name of the father, whether she wished to protect the man or honestly didn’t know the answer was a favorite debate topic among the courtiers. All reports from the servants looking after the new mother indicated that she would be keeping the child at court with her, a mark nearly unheard of in noble circles and one that struck many of the Aquitania nobles as supremely distasteful. Aymer was the name given to the child.



    King Zavie could hardly bear the embarrassment his daughter had brought about to the family. Positively he had fostered bastards himself as his father had before him, but his actions could not be compared with Azalais’. She had ignored his furious calls to leave the court for a remote location immediately to have the child in secret. He might then have had time to plan for the infant’s future, discover suitable foster parents to raise the child incognito. Her life was over as far as marriage was concerned. She who might have been Queen of Sweden would now be the object of derision at her own father’s court.

    He barely keep his mind focused at council meetings. Never had he expected to be put in this situation and yet it had been sprung on him like a snare. Azalais would be back at court soon, a constant reminder of his failure as a parent. Her child, despite its parentage, might attract dissident factions ambitious for the throne should he and his sons perish. The thought was forbidding to contemplate.

    Among the items presented to the despondent monarch was a proposal to fund a group of highwaymen in the heartland of France. Aquitanian agents had made contact with a cabal of the thieves earlier in the year and his spymaster felt that the potential disruption to overland trade worth a modest investment. Zavie had hardly forgotten the actions of Capetian agents in helping to instigate Bourbon’s rebellion and the disasters of his last Spanish campaign. He heartily approved the measure to supply the bandits with weapons and supplies.



    The education of his sons was another critical point to be decided. Guitard was of age to begin formal education and different options were certainly open to the bright child. Zavie eventually decided that the experience of court school would benefit the heir apparent more than a martial or religious based curriculum. Guitard would have to move through court circles for the rest of his life and he might as well start early.



    Guiges was a different matter. His limp from a fall years earlier prevented the knightly education Zavie had planned for him and his impairment would likely make him a target of derision at the court. The monks of the monastery he was fostered at wrote that the child was very interested in the scriptures and had already proven a quick learner of the catechism. Presented with no other suitable option, Zavie replied that the child would be staying with the monks for his formal education.



    While at his study one day after an exhausting round of meetings, the King was paid a visit by his oldest son. Guitard de Toulouse was nearly seven years old and Zavie could hardly recall spending time talking to the child at all. His lessons had ended early for the day and he was curious about his future. Guitard asked his father directly whether he would rule Aquitania one day. Slightly taken aback by the candor of the child, Zavie replied in the positive by explaining how the whole realm would one day be his to govern and protect and how proud he should be of his future stature.



    Building projects throughout the land neared completion at nearly the same time. Monasteries were established in the newly won territories of Rioja and Zaragoza, the latter to be a center for evangelical missions in the Muslim dominated province. Bordeaux city saw the completion of a church designed to replace the structurally unsound one that had recently begun to sink in its foundation. Toulouse itself refurbished the library that had been nearly abandoned after its rare collections had been sold off to help finance Zavie’s first crusade.





    The summer of 1114 bore witness to a great tournament organized by the King to keep his nobles in fighting shape despite the peace that had settled over the land. A great tourney ground was prepared on the outside of Bordeaux with plenty of room for all the festivities and competitions. While the expense was daunting, the chance to restore some of his prestige lost in Azalais’ affair was a driving force for Zavie.

    A week of joviality followed the start of the event. The melee and jousting fields were the most popular attractions as always, with noble knights and barons from across the realm competing for glory and prizes. King Zavie’s marshal Enrique de Lara, a man many considered too old to participate, was nearly a casualty when he fell awkwardly in a joust but managed to walk off the pitch under his own power. A champion from the southern fief of Narbonne was presented with a promise from the monarch to have a fine suit of armor crafted to his dimensions.



    As fall approached, King Zavie looked to the southeast border of his realm. The various independent sheikdoms that had sprouted in the midst of Christian power’s collapse in the region were isolated and vulnerable. Two in particular, Rosello and Lleida were only allied to one another and presented a perfect target for expansion in the area. For too long, the Catalan peoples of the region had been subject to infidel overlordship. It was a situation Zavie intended to rectify.

    Last edited by Count Lake; 21-10-2008 at 16:27.

  17. #177
    I liked it how you dwelled - rightly so - on Zavie's shame. His daughter made the great king a laughing stock, and he has probably aggravted the situation by letting her have her whorish ways.

  18. #178
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    A Catalan Campaign

    The campaign against Rosello and Lleida would be executed with overwhelming speed and force. At its head stood the capable Rainers Trencavel, former marshal to King Zavie and count of Carcassonne and Antioch. He would march his levies directly into the territory of Rosello, sweep away their army, and capture any strongpoint that resisted. Enrique de Lara would lead regiments from the King’s Zaragoza demesne to counter any threat from Rosello’s allies in Lleida.



    Messages flew from the castle of Bordeaux, managing the routes each army would take, the laying in of supplies and, later, the declarations of war. The gathered levies of Rainers found themselves marching through Rosello as August turned to September.

    Massively outnumbered, the forces of the Rosello Sheik were easily seen as no match for their Aquitanian opposition. The wide plains of the province had given the invaders plenty of room to flank the pitiable force gathered against them. The only field battle of the campaign quickly turned to rout as Rainers directed his corps to envelop the exposed defenders. Rounding up prisoners and continuing with his march against the region’s citadels, Rainers wished every battle was as easy.





    To the south, Enrique de Lara stood firm with the advance of Lleida’s army into Zaragoza. Facing equal numbers, the veteran campaigner drew on his experience to force the Muslim foe to attack up a gentle sloop. Arrows, bolts and javelins rained down on Lleida’s host causing it to break its formation. A clash of the two front lines saw the Aquitanian strength prevail and the retreating Muslims harried and scattered.





    No stronghold was keen to resist Rainer’s advancing force and it was not long before the entire province of Rosello was secured. The population had turned out in their hundreds to see and cheer the conquering force. Religion had not been oppressed under the Islamic regime and many attired priests emerged from their churches to offer prayers on the soldiers safety. Leaving a small holding force, the Count maneuvered his army towards Lleida, exposed after its army’s defeat.



    Back in Bordeaux, King Zavie listened with rapt attention to the messengers reporting from the front. Indeed, things did seem to be going well. News of Rosello’s capture was greeted with intense pleasure by Sanc al-Somadhi, a Catalan nobleman who had come to Zavie’s court the year before. He had once been a baron within that province and had persuaded the Aquitanian monarch to grant him the land as a fief when it was occupied. He left Bordeaux with the King’s blessing and a group of retainers to set up his governance of Rosello.





    In Lleida, Rainers had rendezvoused with Enrique’s force and begun to lay siege to that province’s central castle. Even with the closing in of winter, the supplies from neighboring Aquitanian territory and the raiding of several grain barns saw the army suffering little on campaign. No difficulty was presented from the stronghold either, the garrison inside was expected to surrender any day in the face of their impossible situation.



    The elderly Enrique did not live to see the keep’s submission, his breath giving out while he slept one night. Nonetheless, Rainers oversaw the last days of the siege and proudly announced its capitulation to Zavie by rider. The King, saddened at the lost of a close friend and colleague but pleased at the capture of further territory, announced that a state funeral would be held for the noble marshal and his body ensconced in the new church completed at Bordeaux.





    Both Rosello and Lleida had weathered the brief conflict well and it seemed likely that each would be productive additions to Aquitanian hegemony. The Catalan peoples of the region praised their liberation and many of the major towns sent delegations bearing gifts and thanks to the King’s court. Zavie received them in state, accepting the praise each diplomat heaped on him with remarkable grace and promising to rule their lands with restraint and wisdom.

    Winter settled on Aquitania, with little to distinguish one day from the last. King Zavie took part in endless meetings and councils, greeted and entertained various emissaries important enough to warrant distinction and looked to other matters of state that cropped up from time to time.

    Somehow, Zavie managed to find space in his day to spend with Rosa and Guitard. Azalais was still sequestered for the most part and he hardly saw her except for a rare passing in the hall. He had moved her to a separate wing of apartments away from the family proper and it seemed she had gotten the message. It was difficult enough to know that she lived under the same roof as him.

    Zavie would sometimes look in on the court lessons Guitard was going through, trying to remember back to a time when he had been instructed in the same fashion. The child was a natural learner, taking any bit of information the instructors doled out and promptly seeking to understand it at a more basic level. The King could think of nothing more pleasing than watching his son grow, thinking of what the future would bring to his kingdom and family.

    Another year turned, and war came with it.
    Last edited by Count Lake; 21-10-2008 at 16:28. Reason: word choice

  19. #179
    Game Over Man! Count Lake's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the reply Guiscard!

    I did try to bring out a deal of shame and dissapointment from Zavie's perspective. Azalais' actions truly put a damper on what was shaping to be a peaceful and unstressful year. We shall see where these actions and their antecedants take us!

    Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

    One more update today if I'm lucky.

  20. #180
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    Oooh, building an nation with the shapes of the tolosian Empire of visigoths?

    Nice!

    Conquer Iberia!
    Keep Toulouse and Tolede!

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