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Thread: 900 yeAARs of AARs.

  1. #1
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    900 yeAARs of AARs.

    Let's Play 900 years

    A CKDV-EU3:IN-Ricky-HoI? multiplayer megacampaign
    Episode 1 : Crusader kings, patch 1.3beta, modded
    (next episode)
    (game thread)


    Here comes the first episode of the collaborative AAR of our ongoing multiplayer Megacampaign.

    No introduction because I'm lazy, instead we proceed directly to the


    TABLE OF CONTENTS


    The game at a glance

    First session : 1066-1075

    No AARs

    Second session : 1075-1085
    Third session : 1085-1098
    Fourth session : 1098-1104
    Fifth session : 1104-1117
    Sixth session : 1117-1127
    Seventh session : 1127-1135
    Random
    Eigth session : 1135-1144
    Ninth session : 1144-1155
    Tenth session : 1155-1167
    Eleventh session : 1167-1178
    Twelfth session : 1178-1188
    Thirteenth session : 1188-1199
    Fourteenth session : 1199-1212
    Fourteenth session : 1212-1221
    Fifteenth session : 1221-1242

    Sixteenth session : 1242-1251
    Eighteenth session : 1251-1264
    Nineteenth session : 1264-1276
    Twentieth session : 1276-1299 (23 years, holly damn.)
    Twenty-first session : 1299-1310
    Twenty-second session : 1310-1326
    Twenty-third session : 1326-1338
    Twenty-fourth session : 1338-1344
    Twenty-fifth session : 1344-1365
    Twenty-sixth session : 1365-1379
    Twenty-seventh session : 1379-1392
    Twenty-eighth session : 1392-1399
    Appendixes


    Last edited by Kuipy; 01-07-2009 at 02:12.

  2. #2
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    THE GAME AT A GLANCE


    A map of Europe in 1066 :


    It looks nice.

    A map of Europe in 1399 :


    Honestly it looks much worse.

    And an animated GIF of the game :

    (yes I know it's ugly)

    (maps made with Subterranean tools)
    Last edited by Kuipy; 05-06-2009 at 03:09.

  3. #3
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    It Always Begins with a Meal

    Kuipy (Duchy of Normandy)



    They say that in Normandy every story begin with a meal. But this was not Normandy, for God’s sake ! The Couesnon river was there, a narrow band of calm grey water surrounded by high reeds, the clear, unmistakable border between Britanny and Normandy. So what was Robert and a dozen warriors doing there, feasting on the wrong side of it, right where it was a clear, unmistakable provocation of their allies ? Should’nt he be on the other side of his duchy, fighting the war he had dragged them all in ?

    On his right William could see the breton herald frothing with rage. With a rapid gest he bode him stop.
    “I will go alone” he muttered. His brother be cursed.
    Reluctantly, the eight riders stayed on top of the hill, without dismounting, the banner of Britanny flying high up their lances.

    Robert’s men had put a few planks and a considerable amount of dishes on top of two trestles, and they were now eating with much appetite, noise, and alcohol. Yet as he came further he could spot an uneasy feeling in the men ; their laughs rang hollow and half of them were openly staring at him and his escort. Only Robert seemed oblivious to the situation, half a lamb leg up his big dirty mouth and a cup of strong cider in his hand.

    “ Rufus, he eventually quirped.
    - Curthose. What are you doing here ?
    - Having a meal. And who are these fine companions of yours ? Bretons ?
    - Yes. This is their duchy, you know.
    - Fine allies you got there.
    - Dependable allies, unlike you. They answered our father’s call to arms and fought with him in Scotland. You were not here.
    - While you were, is that it ? Is that why he plans to give you the throne of England ?
    - I am not privy to our...
    - What do you both think I am ? A bastard, like him ?”

    He rose ponderously to his feet, knife in hand, his fat red lips trembling with anger in the middle of his bloated, beardless face. The horse grew restless.
    “ I know you call me a bastard. And I know of your plan to disown me.”

    William gauged him. From his swaddling it was obvious his brother was past drunk. If it came to the worst his moves would be slower and clumsier, his judgement rash and cloudy. But Robert had never been swift or deft, nor very smart for that matter. He was a strong, heavy, half-mad warrior of a man. A true Norman of old, short but portly, with a powerful built and a skull so thick it left hardly any place for brains. Alcohol would make him more dangerous, not less.
    “ Robert. Listen to me.
    - You listen to me, brat, or I gore you with this knife.
    - Have you lost all your sense, Curthose ? You are my brother !
    - Your ELDER brother ! The crown is MINE !
    - The crown is our father’s, to dispose of it as he wish. You have no say in this matter.
    - That we shall see.”

    For a moment William remembered his big brother, the tall, dumb and quarrelsome boy he had taunted so many times. Too many times, maybe. But the past was past.
    “ Face the fact, Robert. Even if you obtain the crown our father’s vassals will not follow. They see you a fool and brute, unfit to rule. Nobody loves you, nobody respects you, nobody trusts you.”

    Robert dropped his knife and clenched his huge fists.
    “ You can trust me to get this crown, whatever it takes.
    - You never will, Robert. You can keep Normandy, of course… Whatever we manage to keep of it after this war. What madness has possessed you, to attack the king of France ? Father sent me to warn you he can not cross the Channel with backup before another month, and rumour has it the French armies have already stormed Alençon ? How… How do you think you can hold ?
    - Don’t you worry about that.” Robert’s fat, ugly, lips gave an hideous smile.

    There was something in his tone and his smile which William immediately disliked.
    “ What do you mean ?
    - The king of France can read a map, and he immediately understood what I was up to. Half a dozen ports on the Loire have already fallen in my hands. Four more will fall before the end of the month. That means longships taking control of both the Loire and the Seine Rivers, threatening half his cities and most of his wealth, blocking all reinforcement from the South. He cannot have that, nor fight that. So I made an arrangement with him, just like our ancestor Rollo. I took his side against you in the conflict I had previously engineered between both realms.”

    It was all William could do to gasp for words.
    “ And you think we have been calling you a bastard so far.
    - I have been called a bastard all my life. But from now on sensible people will have the delicacy to only do this behind my back.
    - You will regret this day, Robert.
    - Yes. Because I am sparing you. Run back to your great self-styled Conqueror of a father, Rufus. Kiss his arse and tell him he’s not mine anymore.
    - So be it.” William reined his horse away. “ I trust you do not intend to go further in Breton territory now that your little show is over.
    - Not today.
    - Then my escort will not run you down, I guess. It looks like we will both regret this day.”

    And that was was the last they saw of each other.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 08-05-2009 at 19:09.

  4. #4
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    ooh, that is evil from brothers. Allying with the former enemy, well, that is how you can survive.

  5. #5
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    The black bastard

    Kuipy (Earldom of Northampton, former Duchy of Normandy)

    They say that in Normandy every story begins with a meal. Normandy was lost but the custom was kept, and sure enough, that story had to begin thus, if it was to begin at all, for which, to be frank, Robert de Beaumont saw absolutely no reason.

    Nevertheless he could not help being impressed by his host. The Black Bastard, as he now styled himself, was a fat and vulgar man, with a big, foul mouth, unkept hair, a turgescent nose and smallpox scars on his red cheeks. Yet there was something in his eyes and his voice who fascinated men, a disturbing and uncanny mixture of madness and cunning, of evil and panache. To hear him laugh and boast you would never have guessed he had lost a war and narrowly escaped with nothing but his dirty hide less than three years before. Truly that Robert Curthose had a gift for surviving.

    “ I told you.” he said. “If the duke of Flanders had moved his army to Paris and chased the French army on time, I would have been able to sign a separate peace with France. And then all it would have taken me was to beat Bretagne.
    - And England.
    - And England. If only everything had gone according to plan. Hopefully it it is not too late for revenge though. ”

    In 1098, when a coalition of England, France and Britanny had finally put an end to his aspirations of an independent great duchy of Normandy, France annexing all it bar a few ports in Cotentin, everybody had given him for lost or dead, thrown in a nameless grave among thousands of the brave soldiers he had drawn in a hopeless fight. At any right nobody had expected him bold enough to parade in either of the countries he had betrayed, in the realm of the family he had forsaken, or at the courts of the lords whose homeland he had doomed.

    That was because nobody really knew him. Certainly he dared not come to London to face his royal father's wrath. But only a few weeks after the fall of Eu he reappeared in Cornwall and started to travel the land from castles to castles, picking up fights, despoiling nobles'daughters, voicing his complains about the way he had been treated and stirring all sorts of troubles. So much that William, who at first had tried to ignore contemptuously his behaviour, grow weary of his turning his vassals against him and finally granted his prodigal son some estate in the Northampton, with the express interdiction to ever leave it.

    In his somewhat characteristic fashion Robert grudgingly respected the letter of the interdiction but interpreted it as an actual license to invite in his new home malcontents and heretics, gallow birds, libellers, whores and witches, the scum of all England. After being chastised one last time by his father in a particularly acerb letter he eventually announced his intention to go on a pilgrimage to Rome in order to atone for his sins and pray God that he would bring his father to more considerate feelings toward him and give him back his duchy of Normandy, of which he had been unfairly deprived.

    What small relief William felt him by learning that he had crossed the Channel soon vanished as the first news came to him of his son's acts on the continent. There, in addition to his ordinary behaviour, Robert fathered several bastards of his own and contracted huge debts, on the implicit promise that the Crown would repay them. Even now hardly a week passed without some querulous usurer showing up at William's court, little expecting the exact way his demands would be met. On arriving in Rome he did not waste the occasion to protest to both his brother-in-law Bohemond de Hauteville and the Pope about the misteatment of which he considered himself victim at the hand of his father and brothers. On his way back he tried to recruit mercenaries in the war-torn Germany, and himself allegedly sold his sword and military experience to various sponsors.

    Eventually he reached Bruges and take a boat to Scotland, on the pretense that it was the only-one large enough to accommodate his luggage, and from there was taking advantage of his trip south to visit pretty much every lord in northern England, bar his detested brother William Rufus who was now earl of Inverness.

    As it happened the last step of this trip was Leicester and Robert de Beaumont’s blood sausages and bourdelots which he gulped ravenously. Duke Robert could not helped to be amused.

    “ Revenge ?
    - Of course !” count Robert barked, and a black flame danced in his heart. “I do not intend to wait in exile waiting for my brother to have me poisoned. You know he’s been plotting that.
    - No doubt.
    - But I will strike first, and so should you.
    - Me ? Strike who ?
    - William of Breteuil, for instance.
    - Why ?
    - I just say you should.”

    Despite him Beaumont had to bite this bait. William Fitzorbern had been a comrade of his father, true and loyal. But his son had something eerie in him. He had to know.

    “ What do you mean ? he asked
    - Just that as soon as my father die William will succeed him and, at that point, it might be too late to do anything about Breteuil’s plans for you. If he has any. And if William favors him, as he might.
    - That is just nonsense.” Beaumont protested ; and yet something in him knew it was true. “How would you know it, anyway ?”
    - Why, Fitzobern was a great Norman. I felt compelled to attend his funeral when he died, disguised as an errand knight. Then I had a talk with his heir, and I guarantee you that the man I left did not speak of you in very favorable terms.”
    He was manipulating them, Robert knew. He was manipulating them all and yet…
    “ What if you are manipulating us ?
    - Well… Do you have so much to lose ?”
    The disgraced earl rose ponderously and gave a rotten smile.
    “ Just think of it, Beaumont. Think of it and let me know when you reach a decision.”
    Paint it white : a Skleroi AAR (intermittent)

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  6. #6
    Compulsive lurker nette001's Avatar
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    The intrigue so far, and the way this is brought, makes this a fine read.
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  7. #7
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    Hehe, a nice son the king has.

  8. #8
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the commentaries. I really hoped for a collaborative AAR but apparently I am the only one interested.

    A Toast to the worst Scoundrel in the whole of Europe

    Kuipy (Earldom of Northampton, future [?] Duchy of Normandy)

    They say in Normandy every story begins with a meal, yet Roger de Breteuil, duke of the March, presently saw now sign of one. The heavy oaken table was covered with maps, charts, and candles ; and at a sign serving men would fill the cups wine, cider, or calvados, that rabidly strong Norman apple brandy with enough kick to kill a Welsh. But since he had arrived to Curthose’s estate in the dead of the night, a dark cloak wrapped over his shoulder, his notorious host had not bothered to offer any them food.

    Roger was not surprised though, for he knew why : this story had begun several years ago, and with a proper meal assuredly. The old man would not have have wanted his burial to go without a feast, so a proper feast there was, sad and gloomy as their foggy lands of the March, but a feast nevertheless. At a place of honor the new duke was bitterly contemplating his plate of baked apples when a fat claw of a hand dug in his arm and a croaking voice whispered in his ear.

    “My, Roger de Breteuil. We have to talk.”
    Roger had turned to chastise the insolent guest and recognized the man he had never seen before, the man old William Fitzosbern had hated to the last day, the knave who had lost Normandy to his treacherous ambition.
    “ How dare you come here ?” he barked. “My father would have had no business with people like you.”
    “ I came partly to talk with you, and partly to pay my last respects to William Fitzosbern de Breteuil. A man who never backed down and never gave up a fight, much like me”
    “ He was nothing like you, Curthose. My father was a noble and courageous knight. And I will not have his memory defiled by scoundrels likeyou now that he is dead.”
    The songs and music covered their voices. Even so Robert had bent so close that Roger smelled his foul breath as he murmured the rest.
    “ Your father is a noble and courageous knight, Roger. But he is not dead – just deprived of his righteous lands, places and titles.”
    “ What… What do you mean ?”
    “ I knew your mother before you were born, and we were more than friends. In a better world she might have been my wife. Even so… You are mine, Roger. And Breteuil knew it.”
    “ Me ?”

    That day Robert had hit the mark. Roger’s relations with the old man had always been strained, and the further he refused to admit Robert’s claim the more he could feel it true inside him.

    “ Your brother William looks so much like him you could confuse them. But you… You have none of this features, but you have my eyes, my smile, something in your frown. And be wary, my child, for people notice it and talk. Of those who court you today there are few who would not sell you for thirty pieces of silver. Your brother has to much to gain by challenging your succesion. And Robert de Beaumont has been asking questions.”
    “Beaumont ?”
    “ Wether you want it or not, my child, there is nobody you can trust… Nobody but me.”

    Yet, tonight, it was that very Robert de Beaumont that sat at the left of his father, lean and sinewy. Robert of Normandy himself had aged and fattened. At nearly fifty he was an ugly and tired man, with sagging cheeks and greying hair, but there was nothing weak or tired in his small fierce eyes which scoured the lords covertly gathered.

    Hardly a great man of England was missing. Nervous hands sported rings of gold orned with antiquated seals and huge amethysts. Roger could recognize the four greatest dukes of England and Robert’s five sons, or were they six including him ? The youngest, Warin, was seated just beside him, a strong and tall man with a scrawny beard and dark, cold eyes. By looking at him he could see there was no love lost between him and Robert. The young duke of March could not help to envy this ability to know wether he loved or hated their father.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 03-10-2008 at 02:31.

  9. #9
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    On the other side of the table Beaumont gave him a hard stare. What was he doing there ? Between the thirty lords at the table he could see many others who could exchanging looks of hatred. Yet somehow his father had managed to gather them all.

    After some hours of awkward talks, as the earl of Chesterfield eventually took the last vacant seat, it was Beaumont who talked.
    “ So we are all gathered, and you all know why. The Conqueror is dead. William Rufus is dead as well, and his sons too young to rule.”
    “ Richard has proclaimed himself king in London”, the archbishop of Evreux prudently recalled.
    “ And who else here calls him king ?” Beaumont asked “ Is there anybody among you who wants him for a king ? None of you is a great friend of his, I know.”
    “ Maybe none of you is a great friend of me either.” Robert of Normandy finally said. “But I am the elder son. And… Moreover… If we win will show you the gratitude you can not expect from my brother. To the victors, the spoils.”
    Many nobles nodded in approbation, and Beaumont carried on.
    “ Tonight there is no more discussing and hesitating. Before any practical consideration let us all assure ourselves that we are all comitted to our cause.”

    He grabbed a goblet of strong cider.
    “ A toast to King Robert of England ! ”
    “ A toast to King Robert ! ” William immediately answered.
    “ A toast to King Robert ! ” someone else bellowed.
    At his right side Warin left his cup and muttered something. One after the others the men picked up the exclamation with more or less reluctance. All but the Duke, who remained silent, stroking his hairy chins with his fat fingers.

    “ Robert ? ” Beaumont asked, with a wince.
    “ Well…” the fat man slowly answered, “ as it happens I prefer a toast to Duke Robert of Normandy.”
    “ Hear you are my dear brother”, his cupbearer offered unctuously.
    “ Why, thank you, my good king.”

    Before they knew it they first hear the hard clang of boots and the gentle whisper of steel, and then the soldiers were all around them, swords drawn. Unarmed and outnumbered they did not stand a chance ; the few of them who had jumped to their feet slowly sat again when they saw that the soldiers stood still. The cupbearer ! Now he recognised him.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 03-10-2008 at 02:32.

  10. #10
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    Slowly King Richard circled around the table and looked one plotter after an other in the eye, a severe smile on his lips.

    “ Such loyal vassals. No sooner have you pledged allegiance to me than you start conspiring against your righteous king to replace him with the lowest of the low ! A man who betrayed his brothers and father, his kingdom, his other kingdom, and his first kingdom a second time. Well, does it really surprise you that as his ultimate betrayal would be to betray you all ?
    - Oh, not quite the ultimate one.” Robert chuckled. Richard looked amused
    “ Thanks to Beaumont and my brother I now know what your word is worth. I will not forget this night, nor any of your faces, but for now I need friends, not enemies. I shall pardon you all…”

    Those lords who had avoided his gaze sighed out of relief, and even the braver ones breathed more easily. Henry was now one step away from Roger.

    “Except one.” He added, and put his hands on the back of Warin’s seat.
    “ What ? ” As Warin rose two soldiers stepped closer. “Father, you can’t…”
    “ I cannot forgive what you were intending to do, indeed. Nor will I.”
    “ The man before you”, Henry announced “is the son-in-law of Philippe II Capet, whose daughter he secretly married.”
    “ No, it’s false !”
    “ Do you think us so naïve ?” Robert asked. “I will not have you harmed but we can easily whip the confession out of her now that she is in our hands.” Warin blemished. “My poor daft son. Philippe never saw anything in you but a pawn to use against me against us. But not so soon, I guess. Otherwise. He would have taken so many men with him to the Holy Land.”

    On a sign from Robert the guards seized his son. As they dragged him away, stooped and distraught, William wondered if he would ever see him again. Nobody but him seemed to give a second look. All jugs had disappeared from the table, and King Roger was unrolling a vast map of Normandy. Normandy ! William’s heart skipped a beat.

    “ You all witnessed the Capets’ involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow your legitimate overlord. Now it is time for vengence, and reconquests of our homeland, which is to be granted again, as a reward, to my faithful brother. Now listen : my plan involves two main fleets, one from Dover and an other from the Devonshire…”

    As he surprised the look between the two Roberts over the king’s shoulders William understood how they had all been played. Loyal ? Without the two them the conspiration that they betrayed would never have existed in the first place. But then he realized that wretched Beaumont knew too much now, and his anger turned into a bitter satisfaction.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 03-10-2008 at 02:33.
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  11. #11
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Hehe, that was a nice plot.
    Were all the dukes there?

  12. #12
    Colonel Kuipy's Avatar
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    I suppose that for the sake of credibility Robert neglected to invite Richard's sons.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 03-10-2008 at 02:38.
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    Autumn in Hereford

    Kuipy (???)
    They said that in Normandy every story begins with a meal, and William de Breteuil, 1st baron of Kington, certainly had lived through many an interesting story. That went some way toward explaining why he had become so fat over the years. Not that it mattered too much now that his fighting days were gone, and even in his youth there had been something to say for being the biggest and heaviest fighter in the lists, a hulking brawny viking brute if there was still one left more than one century after Count Rollo and Sigrid the Dane. Those were the days, he thought, those were the days.

    Now, as he breathed heavily on his nephew's steps he could not help thinking of his turbulent youth when he would effortlessly run up that very stairway and burst in his father's solar. Yes, those were the days.

    " Good day to you, m'lord" the gard said. " Shall I tell the Duke you wish to see him ?"
    " Yes, Robert. Please do tell him."

    William struggled to recovered his breath. Decidedly he was getting old. Short breath was one thing ; and at least the gout was not too bad, compared to his father's. A triple chin and balding temples he could live with. But then, there were his aching teeth, and his failing sights, and sometimes the shake in his hands. Yet if God wanted it, he hoped he would live to know another autumn.

    Autumn had always been, his favorite of all season. The hunts, the harvests, the crisp fresh apples, the smell of damp leaves as he rode his gentle roncey to Hereford, all that had gone so fast this year.

    " Let him in"
    With a thin smile he walked past Robert, and entered the confined study. From behind a bare table Duke Gervas raised cold and weary eyes at him, the gaunt, pale shadow of his late father. The poor child had never got over Richard's death, and his grief made him bitter and unfair, but William would always remember his brother's infant son in his arms : no matter how he mistreated him he would love him like the child he never had. He forced a weak smile on his lips.

    " It his good to see you at this table, your lordship. You look very much like my brother Roger when he sat at this table."
    " They say so." Although it was actually quite warm, Gervas turned to held his hand to the fireplace, flames reflecting on his pale complexion.
    " How about Fitzobern ? Do you remember him ?"
    " Your grandfather ? I remember him very well, and fondly. Maybe I can tell you some stories about him. He was a great lord if there was ever one ; forged this duchy with his own hands."
    " Indeed. You must I never knew him... Tell me, do you have a portrait of his at Kington ?"
    " Yes... Yes, your lordship. He had two made for his two surviving son, one for me and one for Roger, which must still be..."
    " Unfortunately my father's copy burnt." Gervas remarked bluntly. " I would very much like you to give me yours."
    " Why... Certainly" William answered, surprised by his nephew's tone.

    The duke relaxed briefly and asked, unconcerned : " How are things in Kington ?"
    " Quite good. The harvest was plentiful. Do you want their details ?"
    " No. Just increase the taxes. As much as you can take from the serfs. Anything else ?"
    " No. No, your lordship. Oh, yes, just one thing : had you heard that Robert Curthose is dead ?"
    " Dead ?" Gervas shivered strangely and stared at him pointedly. " Are you sure ?"
    " Quite sure ? As you now after all his plots failed here and the king exiled him for treason he fled to Venice and managed to have himself elected king there, by bribery and fraud. He planed to hire mercenaries with the merchants' gold to wage war on France and Sicily. But in truth he only wore his stolen crown for a fortnight : one night he fell to his death in the latrines and drowned in crud. Some whisper it was the Capets who arranged the fall, of the Zährigens. Methinks it was God's hand for all the harm he did to England in his vain schemes."
    " God's ways are mysterious. How about his sons'fates ?"
    " Even more mysterious. From a troubadours I learn they managed to escape from Venice and dipersed to various course of Europe. All but the elder, who disappeared after swearing to obtain back his father's lands in England."
    " A William, I remember. He was the son-in-law of Holland's duke." Gervas mused. " No doubt he will look there for support."
    William's lip curled dubiously.
    " I thought the power in Holland had passed to another branch of the dynasty ? Whatever. He might come to England and we will see his head off his shoulders. On my honour I hope every single descendant of Curthose the traitor dies ! Only at this condition can we hope for civil peace in England."
    Gervas stared at him intently, but quickly fell back in a sullen torpor.
    " We shall see."
    After minutes of awkward silence he added : " You can leave."

    Robert hesitated. His brother's son, he thought. He had to.
    " Gervas..." The boy lifted his head toward him. " Gervas, I cannot bear to see you like this. I think you need to take heart. Did your father left you any letter with a message ?"
    " Absolutely not" Gervas answered, very fast. "As you know the manner of his death was... Sudden and unexpected."
    " Yes. Anyhow, I think he would have liked you to pursue your fortune. Damn it, Gervas, you are one of the most powerful dukes of the realm ! your father was the Conqueror's son-in-law and he had King Richard's ear after he denounced the Beaumonts for traitors. You should curry King Walter's favor now."
    Gervas shook his head.
    " I have to stay here lest I lose my Duchy... The Welsh are stirring", he added.
    " Yes. But now the harvests are over and the trees felled, and once the first snows come there will be no question of war. Nothing should prevent you from going to London a couple of monts. You could entrust the what few decisions that will have to be made to one of your sons. Or I could take car of it."
    Once again Gervas gave him that look.
    " I shall think of what you told me today. I give you leave."

    On his way down William had to pay attention. The limestone stairs were no older than the conquest, as the rest of the castle, but already worn and slippery. Worse than all his joints were aching again, and he thought his was old and his time nearly come. Yet if God wanted it he would live to see another autumn, another harvest, another seasons of hunts and balls and feasts. Autumn had always be his favorite season.


    Note : by verifying the save it appears that actually William was supposed to be dead in 1103 and had 3 sons. Oh well.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 03-10-2008 at 04:19.
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  14. #14
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    odd.

    Ah well, what shall happen in Londinium?

  15. #15
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    Deadly weapons

    Kuipy (Duke of Deheubart)

    (Suggested soundtrack)

    They say in Normandy every story begins with a meal, and for his third wedding Aechte's husband had thrown a lavish feast. there were salmon and cod, roasted fowl and boiled tripe, splendidly foul cheeses, scallops with whipped cream and garlic, black honeyed apple pies and weird fruits bought at great expense from sicilian merchants. By the duke's command a servant served her the choicest servings of all dishes, but a knot in her throat prevented her from swallowing anything. Courtiers talked and cheered and yelled, minstrels strove to sing louder, plates and cups rang, dogs barked under the table and occasionally jump on them. But in the midst of all this turmoil she only had eyes for the man she'd married.

    She had never imagined him so big. Her father and brothers had all been tall, brawny men, fit for men's fights and men's games, a family of warriors, and even the new duke of Holland, her nephew, already towered over some of this subjects at twelve. But William could easily have outweighed, outdrunk and outburped them all. Not as tall as some of his warriors, but heavily built and superbly fat, he had thick limbs and huge hairy hands between which his silver-lined cup looked but a toy, as she would, maybe. Desite her resolutions she could not help but wonder and fear how it would be with him... How it would be later, that night. As if he read in her thought he turned to her with a wine-dripping smile. She blushed and lowered her eyes, to some courtiers' laughs, but he pretended not to notice and bellowed a servant for any drink but water.

    " Look over there, m'lord" a small bearded man at his left remarked. " That Duke of March, Gervas de Breteuil. They said he never leaves his lands and hardly ever his castle, sulking and avoiding everybody. But he came to this feast, aye."
    " You heard what they say happened to his uncle ? a tall, hoary knights whispered louder than she had heard some people shout. This guy is creepy."
    " Good for us. He stands right between us and my rascal of a cousin, King Walter. Let him keep that the english on their toes and they will not interfere with our plans."
    " You know what, m'lord ? He does seem to have stared at you during the whole dinner."
    " So what ? He's welcome at it."
    " I mean, maybe he wanted you to marry him instead. Come to think of it, you have the same eyes."
    " Bugger off."

    She guessed she must have managed to sizzle some sweet cider eventually, and drifted into unconsciousness. For when she woke she caught a glimpse of wind-swept heaths and storm-beaten cliffs, a shimmer of mood over it and a scent of sea and man. Two large arms were curled around her and William was carrying her up an exterior stair to the ducal chamber. The noise of the feast decreased below her and, eventually, she understood they were alone.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 09-10-2008 at 21:51.
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  16. #16
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    " I can... walk, my lord." she strenuously articulated as they entered the room.
    " Good. Can you do something else ?"

    She did not know what he meant. Not... really. When he unlaced his tunic she gasped.
    " What is it ? Oh, that..."
    From his throat to the middle of his chest ran a dark purple scar, old but gaping. He sat near her on the bed as she could not remove her eye from it.
    " It was the first blood I shed, my lady. A great many years ago, as a squire for my father in the fields of Falaise, fighting the French. A gigantic knight of theirs gashed my chest open just as I plunged my sword in his guts."
    " Did you kill him ?"
    " No ! Not that day. By the time we were both healed it happened that we were now allies, my father having turned his cloak and kissed the Capet's foot. So we became friends of a sort, and he let me squire for him against the Breton and in the following campaign we each received a blow meant for the other. Him, a slash in the shoulder. Me, a mace wound in the skull. Here."

    Bending toward his captivated wife he ran his fingers through his long and coarse hair, which he finally revealed a bald, wrinkled spot of torn flesh, two inches wide.

    " Yet five years after he had taped me on the shoulder with a dented blade we met again, in Norman fields that the French outriders had set to flames, after my father's desastrous second treason. Men were shrieking, fleeing, dying, and we abruptly ran into each other. I cried "Yield !" and he answered "Die !", but through the smoke he did not see my sword until it was to late and impaled himself on him. As I saw him fall on the ground, gore and bowels dripping from the wounds, two arrows pierced me in the back and that was the last I knew of that battle. Here.”
    He lifted his shirt over his fat, white shoulders, uncovering two black spots behind the left one.
    “ The burns on my loins I got when my father and I fought with a free company in the sack of Nuremberg. And it was about the same time I lost a finger in a dutch tournament. First time I met your father.”


    When he turned to face her and stopped talking she held her breath. Ugly as he was she did not resist when he kissed her. Could she have ?
    As he recoiled she noticed a old wound on his forearm, and he smiled sadly.

    " A dagger cut by my first wife, Muriella. She had a temper, and an attitude, well, like all the Toenys of old. But I loved her… And I still do, to tell the truth."

    He bent back to put his rude hands on her clasps, and she gaped at the size and laceration of his lower belly. He chuckled.

    “ Should I list them all to you ? The last ten years have been busy, I fear. This big black one was the mark of a Saracen sword at the hands of a welsh brigand, as my father and I campaigned to subjugate the southern coast of Wales and finally had that holdfast erected. Having found the swords, and many of them, we finally understood that the emirs of Tripoli was arming the Welsh through the Moors of Spain as a bid to weaken England and make it withdraw from the current Crusade.
    So off we sail, but our longships were no use for such a long journey, and the Spanish galleys we commandeered were sunk near Crete by Tripolitan corsairs, which is where my father lost his army and I gained this big shark bite.”
    Ever as he spoke he slowly untied the knots of her dress, until it slid down to the bear skin on the floor, leaving her white, shivering flesh exposed to his daring looks. Despite the fire burning in the chimneyplace she found herself shivering and modestly retreated under the heavy woolen blankets as he jokingly carried on his enumeration.

    “ There I was captured by these vile heathens and spent the next six months rowing on their galleys and getting enough whip to explain those marks you certainly saw on my back” he said. “Eventually their cruelty was their unmaking : they starved me enough that one night I managed to slip out of shackles fit for a much heavier man, and freed my companions of captivity after breaking the sentry’s neck. We stormed the upper deck and, after I confronted the captain with a scimitar in each hand an yet a third in the gut we sailed to Napoli, where I had the pleasure to be reunited with my father.”
    “ It turned out that on his side he had triple-crossed the heathen with a trick on his own and sworn himself to the king of Sicily, but something had gone wrong in Normandy and now we were at war with both France and England over an argument he had with their kings.”

    “ And North I rode, to organize the Duchy’s defense while he tried to gather Lombard mercenaries. At my arrival only the city of Caen was still holding, and as I commanded its defenses against another onslaught, about two years ago, I met my old friend the Frenchman. Surprisingly he was not dead after all, but he had grown old and slow so all he could do while I beheaded him was to scratch my navel. To make a long story short, the city fell and I fled to the relative safety of your natal Holland where I supposed my wife ___, your poor aunt, had rejoined her brother’s court. There word reached me that she was dead while giving birth to my worthless Dirk, and that my father had betrayed the Sicilian…”
    For the first time he seemed to notice the bewildered look on her face.
    “ Well, that was my father. If you’d known him… Anyway, his letter said he had managed to get himself proclaimed king in Venice and summoned me to assist him in the current war. Well, south I rode, but when I arrived he had just been killed after arranging a separate peace with France and England which were now bickering over our former duchy. That very night a venetian dagger (here) convinced me to try my luck elsewhere and, my father being dead and me now duke of Deheubarth, I rode further south to surrender to the Sicilians. Which I why I am their man now, despite ruling over a few dozen leagues of rocky welsh coast.”

    “ Their man ?”
    “ Or should I say yours”
    Word after word timidity replaced fear, esteem replaced loathing for the boorish and brutish sweetheart, a warrior and conqueror, her husband .As he removed his breeches and gently lied near to her, she felt her fear and dismay give ground to strange, new feelings of timid surprise. She had never thought her husband would be so big.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 18-10-2008 at 00:54.
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  17. #17
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    GEOPOLITICAL INTERLUDE (1127)



    A brief overview of what happened during the first sixty years of the game.

    The kingdoms
    When gazing over a map of Europe the casual observators would notice the largest if not the richest political entities in the East, where the Russian plains are divided somewhat equally between the princes of Novogorod and Peyereslav and the hordes of Cumans. Byzantium, on the opposite, faced with the military might of Turks and plagued by incompetent administrators, has collapsed to a shadow of its former might.

    Further to the West but not too much, the three kingdoms of Bohemia, Poland and Hungary have managed to retain their power and integrity, while Norway begins to take the upper-hand in its rivalry with Sweden.

    Germany has collapsed, uncapable to survive the conflicting ambitions of its components. Former vassals scramble for bits of the Empire, while the Franken manage to retain sovereignty over a declining Burgundy.

    In Italy three generations of Hautevilles have forged themselves an Empire such that the whole of Europe is starting to be wary of them. Especially now that they start to expand in Eastern Mediterranean.

    In the West France holds barely, after decades of perpetual war and muslim raids up to the Loire. England remains mostly intact for now, but its new king face dynastic troubles and the consequences of his controversial decision to adopt the saxon ways.


    a very rough map of the significant kingdoms.


    Between these big powers, smaller powers await avidly the opportunity to take their place, notably...


    Our players

    Prince Boris Rurikovich (Grashopa), of Novgorod (& his distinguished ancestors) has taken advantage from his good starting position to carve himself a respectable demesne at the expense of pagans and his less fortunate cousins. Rumors from the East speak of hundred of pagans burnt at the stake every day on fires that never ends, and the smell do lend some credibility to them ! King in all but title, he has few immediate ennemies and will be hard to keep in check.

    King Gerbert de Hauteville (Brian Boruma), bashing muslims and burgundians left and right, entertains limitless ambitions and imposes himself as the first lord of Christendom, while in the British Isles his unlucky vassal, Geoffroy de Normandie (Kuipy), Duke of Deheubart, earl of Northampton, lord of Wales, bane of the Irish, toys with a regal crown, pondering if he will dare take it.

    The latter's relative, Damaes van Holland (TCPilot), owns rich and populous estates, but finds it hard to spread south at the expense of France, weakened as it is. And so, in the South, does Duke Pèire de Provence (Blacmist), currently vassal of the Burgundy crown.

    And I am sure I'm forgetting somebody...



    a more accurate map of the players.




    Hint hint hint : I think everybody agrees that we NEED more players. Intersting choices would be Byzantium (at this point no stronger that the most successful of us, and with the potential for interesting development ; and Bohemia (nearby Hungary and Poland may or may not be deemed too strong by my fellow players. My opinion is that they are not). One Nordic country could also be an interesting option.
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  18. #18
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    Oi, odd.
    So the big french knight is finally dead?

  19. #19
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    Who knows ?
    Not much time for writing AARs this week...

    Crusading rhymes with King

    Kuipy (Duke of Deheubart)

    They say in Normandy every story begins with a meal, but these days the meal they ate seemed as sour as the stories they lived. And there was little doubt, furthermore, that Geoffroy de Normandie would not share his meal with an upjump errand knight, meager as it was, a bowl of withered apples, bland broth and stale bread.

    For the first time of his life he beheld his liege. For years of course he had heard rumours about his character ; for weeks now he had seen the darkened ruins where Geoffroy had burnt his way through the hills of Morocco to the adobe walls of Fes. But now he saw it for real, and truly he was quite similar to the man he imagined, with a tall, robust body, a strong jaw and the brow under which sparkled the madness of his blood. There was truly more in him of his great-grandfather, the Conqueror, than his his father and grandfather. And a cruel irony of fate that ressemblance was.

    " Sir Castore. You are late" the Duke slowly said. "The town is fallen, without your help."
    " I bring you the levies of Man, my lord, and w travelled as fast as we could."
    " I did not accuse you of being a traitor."
    He stared at him and Castore began to think old Gustav had been right.
    " Gustav sent you ?" the king asked
    " My lord... there are terrible news from Wales. Marshall Gustav av Munsö..."
    " So he deserted. Failing me as he had failed the Swedes." The king stood and walked sullenly to a window, gazing beyond the Atlas mounts and the white roofs of the casbah. " Where did he fled to ?"
    " To Norway, my lord."
    " I see. Who else ?"
    It was all he could hope that his highness would not have him killed for the news.
    " Your sister, the countess of Ulster. And your brother Dirk."
    " I have no brother Dirk." With a barely contained rage the duke walked back to his chair, wriggling his hands. The poor knight gulped and carried on.
    " Whatever his relations or... lack thereof with your highness he styles himself bishop of Northampton, and joined his forces to the Moors. As for the Sicilian... The Sicilian..."
    " What of them ?" Geoffroy curtly asked.
    " In the absence of any answers or reinforcements from the Sicilian King the whole of Wales had fallen into the hands of the three emirs, my lord."
    Slowly the man in front of him removed his heavy crown and contemplated it.
    " Yet he dared call himself king of the Welsh after my father's conquests. Ireland ?"
    " Ireland still holds. But, it is my duty to inform you that fishermen talk of norwegian longships gathering in the Isles. It is possible that Gustav av Munso spread the tale of our weakness."
    The hint of a bitter smile curled Geoffroy's pale lips.
    " Prisoner" he ordered.

    As they marched some frightened Arab in Castore remembered what the conquest of Ireland had been. Some say it is better to be loved than feared, but who had ever been loved by so many people as feared Geoffroy ?
    " Sword." The word was as sharp as the weapon Castore offered him, from his scabbard.

    " Mercy ! My lord, mercy !"
    One of the captive had flung himself to his feet. As the guards pulled him away he revealed a dark, moustachioed face, a balding forehead, frightened physionomy. Tears were running down his fat cheeks.
    " I will make myself christian !" he swore and slobbered " And make my father surrender what keeps he took from you. Even if he does not he is old and I will give them back to you when he dies. And Fes, I will give you Fes. Mercy ! I swear, I will serve you forever and make everybody here obey you. I know the other emirs and all the fortresses in the Rif, I can show you their weak spots. Just don't hurt me. I swear ! I will do anything you want, convert me, tell you anything you want to know."
    Geoffroy's expression was of disgust.
    " So such are the men Gustav feared more that my wrath."
    He lifted the sword and Castore dared to talk.
    " My lord, he surrendered, you cannot..."
    As he spoke he felt his legs grow weak under him.
    " It is not fit for a king."
    The word stayed the hand and he sighed of relief. On the marble floor the captive's pleas turned to inarticulate wails to violent weeps. The conqueror's greatgrandson recoiled.

    " So be it. Guards, take this craven out of my sight until such time as I require his presence. Marshall de Seagrave."
    He gave him back his sword.
    " Gather your bunch of stragglers. We march North at first light."

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  20. #20
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    Hmm... Wales is a place not usually under muslim rule.

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