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Thread: 900 yeAARs of AARs.

  1. #101
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    Heh, vodka was invented around 15th century.
    Russia, a place for endless drinking and warring.

  2. #102
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    The mongols as they appear in our game would certainly have lead to many breakthroughs in hard liquor technology.
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  3. #103
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    Butchering a hog

    Kuipy (King of Leon)

    "What are we going to do with it?" one of the soldiers asked.

    The soldiers had been happy enough when they had found the pig in a farm, and taken it away. The peasant had tried to protest, as Scots are wont to do, but after a sound rustling he had just shut up and looked at them with wide, anguished eyes as they dragged the grunting hog out of the sty. Maybe if he had more sense he would have killed the pigs himself and hid their salted meat somewhere. But now the guys hesitated. Most of them, as it was, were sailors and fishermen, not used to moving and squirming pork. Roger knew better. He tugged at the crooked oak’s branch and decided it was solid enough.

    "What to do with it? I mean to kill and eat it. It's easy. Help me, brother."

    Mauger, helpful for once, help him hold the hog down. It was not a small, hairy beast, lither than the ones their father had owned, but it would do. Maybe it guessed what was to come, as he struggled and squeaked under him. With one hand he shut its mouth over its frothing tusks, with the other he brandished a long knife, sharp as knight's sword.
    "Just as an English."
    And he pushed the knife in, hard.
    "What are these soldiers doing?"

    When Roger looked up he saw the soldiers had recoiled in front of two fat, richly-clad men. One was a big-boned, stern-faced bishop, all dressed in red. The other, who had spoken, wore brown silks lined with ermine, and his hesitant, youthful complexion made a stark contrast with his friend, who obviously could wield a mace just as well as an aspergil. By the time he recognized the king’s brother Bardas, it was too late and his hand was already slashing doing the old familiar move. Quickly the blade slashed the wailing pig’s throat and a stream of hot red blood splashed over the lordling who jumped back in horror with a shriek of his own.
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  4. #104
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    “That pig is not stolen, I do hope.” the bishop said, without a flinch.
    “No, m'lord. It came with the train.”
    He frowned and stared inquisitively at the men.
    “'Came with the train, Excellency.” one of them offered “It's just as Roger said.”
    “Well let us be on our way, your Excellency” the king's brother said piteously. “They say it comes with the train.” Blood soiled his beautiful garb and dripped from the ermine lining. With one last hard look on them the bishop relented and followed him uphill. They walked away toward the tent which the king had not left for three days.

    “Mauger, you idiot! Bring the damn bucket.” Roger cursed after a few moments. Mauger hurried. “What were you thinking of?” By now the pig was still. Only a little blood bubbled and oozed from the wound into the wooden bucket, most of it spread in a smoking puddle on the cold Scottish earth.
    “Do I need to tell you everything?”
    In truth Roger too had been too surprised and frightened to think of the bucket; but now he needed to vent his anger on someone.
    “And you all, go away! It will not be ready for some time. Do something useful. The pig is no longer going to run away.”

    With the same rope that had served to drag it there he tied the animal’s hind legs, threw the other extremity over the branch and pulled.
    “Hold this” he ordered to his brother when the pig’s snout was a foot over the ground. Then he knotted the rope to the trunk and picked up the knife back from the ground. “Good.”

    The beast was too lean by half, and it was almost effortless to cut its belly apart. As he pushed the knife down bowels started to pour out, smearing his sleeve with filth and sticky gore. In Dyfed he would have kept them, as they could be washed out and be made into cheap dishes, or used to hold blood sausages together. But for once there was no real need to bother with anything but the best parts: without time to properly cure it, the meat would spoil before he and his friends could eat all of it. And he was not daft enough to share. Camp dogs could have the rest. He also discarded the skin, after tearing it out. No time to scrap it lest it spoil, or to dip it in scalding water to remove the hair, or to wash it in urine. The campaign had lasted for four month already, so if he wanted some good leather, there were dead men’s boots aplenty.
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  5. #105
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    It took him the rest of the afternoon to chop and clean the meat. As it dragged by he could see that the camp started to bustle, with knights and heralds rushing in and out of the tent where the king was dying, of the same plague who had taken his uncle three years ago before Palermo, or so a camp follower had claimed. She supposedly knew that from a soldier who had been on guard duty just outside of the tent. Roger liked it not at all. Not only plague in a camp was always bad news, not only they were stranded over that chilly Scottish hill… Nut if the King was to die his brother would also succeed him, and that was bad. Lambert was a super fighter and a good commander, whatever perfumed bishops might think of him. Roger did not like fighting and marching, or sleep on the ground, or see a comrade die from a festered wound, but Lambert he could follow ; not so much his brother, who was a coward and too clever by half, and never one to skip a mass. As far as Roger could tell he had never led a charge, never killed a man, never actually fought, which did not prevent him to give his opinion about how the fighting was to be done. Under him things would change for the worse, he knew. But what was there to do to it?

    By the time he was done he was dirty and sweaty, and the lads had come again and set up a decent fire, he had to give them that. Somehow Serlo had also pilfered a bushel of apples, so they eat them with what little blood they had, clotted over the fire in a half-helm until it became dark and clotted. Then the fire burnt low and they put meat over a grill of hard wood.

    Suddenly something was strange in the air. Men started running and shouting, horse stampeded. For a heartbeat Roger was afraid the English had attacked, but there was no blaring of trumpets, no clash of steel. It was something else.

    “Compagnie of Sirk.” A herald ordered. “Compagnie of Sirk, we are leaving.”
    “Why?” Serlo asked with visible displeasure.
    “The king is dead is why. .Come on.”
    “Hell no! I am staying with the pig!”

    That made them laugh. The man looked at the mat with envy. When it was clear that he would be neither obeyed nor invited he shrugged and grunted, then disappeared in the dusk. Soon the chops were ready. Roger made sure to take the two best one and gave one to Mauger. Slowly they ate, under the stars. Even during war there were such moments of happiness, where neither kings nor tomorrows mattered, only the pleasure of eating to your hunger, and be alive for at least a few days more.
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  6. #106
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    Fresh meat makes everyone happy, a dead king more.

  7. #107
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    Conning a ship

    Kuipy (King of Leon)
    She was a fine three-masted ship, the Saint-Jacques, light and swift as a bird, but with enough room in her holds and on her deck to carry a hundred cramped refugees. The best ship of Eu, she had left the burning harbor last, with a trail of fat Breton cogs on her tracks. But none of them could outpace her, even with her holds full and a torn brigantine. Nor had they dared follow her through the nasty gale she’d met west of Cornwal. Now a strong but stable breeze pushed her East, and she raced across the waves with insolent speed. Any Norman sailor would have been proud and joyful to conn such a beauty, if only for an hour. But Tancrède Caucher found no joy in the foamy spray bursting each time her prow hit a wave, or in the familiar barking of sea-gulls, or in the sun shining over a clear sea. He doubt he ever would again.

    “The Bitches” Jaime pointed. Another man might have offered words of sympathy, but old Jaime was a man of few words and little sympathy, and Tancrède would not have wanted any other man at his side when skirting that rocky tip of Wales. Taciturn as he was, the grizzled sailor knew every current and every shoal of English shore, and easily spot those few he did not know. The approach of Dyfed was treacherous enough that the young captain would only trust him to guide him through them.

    “Here ?” he asked and squinted. It was high tide, and only the occasional burst of foam betrayed the tip of a black rock jutting just over the sea level.
    “Aye. Can’t you feel the Horse Rock pulling us already?”

    Tancrède stroke his rusty beard. He had spent most of his life on a ship since he was twelve, but the old man’s science baffled him. Cautiously he pushed the large chestnut tiller and gave the notorious rocks a large berth. In front of him the eight towers of Castle Dyfed were steadily growing.

    Had he been right to come here? He wondered. Despite their defeat, England south of the Tyne was still in Saxon hands, and there was no calling in one of their ports for a Norman. But Dyfed? As much as the king needed to be warned, Tancrède would have preferred somebody else to do it. It was too late to back, though. The eight towers of Castle Dyfed were growing on the black crag they commanded, and he ordered most of the sails brought down.

    "We ought to hoist a Norman flag. Is there one on board?"
    "Probably in in your father's cabin"
    Tancrède frowned.
    "It is mine now."

    As they passed below the slender Queen's tower he had the flag hoisted and the last sails lowered. The water around the jetty was to shallow for the Saint-Jacques, he knew. So they anchored the boat and lowered the first chaloupe.

    "When I signal to you from the quay" he said to Jaime before climbing on board of the small boat "start shuttling the men to the shore. Don't let them rush the canots."
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  8. #108
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    Jaime nodded. As Bardas and Robert rowed and the chaloupe went away, Tancrède could see him shouting brief orders. Huddled and disheveled, the dozen refugees boarded with them cast wary looks at the old castle.
    A sergeant was waiting for them on the jetty, with a squad on men-at-arms. A short, tocky man with grey hair, he greeted their ragged lot with an unsympathetic sneer.
    "And where do you think you go?" he asked.
    Tancrède climbed on the jetty with supple strength.
    "Eu is burnt. They are refugees, seeking shelter and help from the king. Where can we disembark them."
    "You won't disembark them at all. Get back to your ship and sail away, we have no business dealing with these."
    Tancrède felt like hitting him, but that, he knew, would not help in anything.
    "Many of them are sick or hurt" he pleaded. "All of them are tired and hungry. They will die by the score during another journey at sea."
    "So?"
    This time he almost jumped at the man's throat. Only Bardas's callous hands over his shoulder prevented him to do so.
    "I want an audience with the king." he finally spat.
    The sergeant shrugged.
    "Whatever. You follow me. The others stay here."
    The outer courtyard, as far as Tancrède could see, was deserted, but the castle was bustling with valets and soldiers. They skirted the old Saint-Laud church, passed below an ancient gallery where statues had been hammered down and climbed a new, granite staircase to the second floor . Tall, haughty guards were everywhere, red cloaks wrapped around their shoulders. There was one of them on either side side of the door in front of which they stopped.
    "You wait here" the sergeant ordered, and he slipped in.

    Through the oaken panel Tancrède could hear the clatter of plates and silverware, the cheerful noise of a large party eating, heavy footsteps and a low mutter.

    "I always have time for the affairs of the realm" a high-pitched voice answered."Let him in."

    The sergeant reappeared and, without a word, dragged him by the neck as he might have done of a poacher. From the dais, Bardol I was looking down on him. After nine years of reign and war his older brother Lambert had died from the same plague as their uncle, leaving a defeated England with which the new king could negotiate a very favorable peace, adding Scotland and Northumberland to his estates. That was, by far, the biggest victory of Norman history since the first conquest, but the man did not look like a warrior but more like a deacon, pale, plump, and cold, with ashen hair and a pouting mouth. Although still a child by Tancrède's reckoning, the prince at his right was already as tall as his father.

    "Don't you kneel?" the king asked, in a curt, emotionless voice.

  9. #109
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    Suddenly the dumbfounded captain wondered how long he had remained agap and fell to his knees.

    "I bring you tidings of the war in Normandy, your Grace?"
    "What tidings?" Bardol's tone was indifferent. A tiny speck of cider-and-cream sauce from a pike had splashed over his ermine and cloth-of-gold. Dutifully Tancrède closed his eyes and tried to remember that night. It all came back to him, the clash of steel and the smell of smoke. Once again he saw blood filling the gutters and heard the screams of the dying, as moon and fire glimmered over naked steel.

    "They attacked by night" he said. "A fortnight before the Duke of Britanny had sent a letter that we had refused his protection, and that included protection from his troops. They, they climbed the walls, I guess, or swam under the jetties, or paid a traitors, but suddenly they were everywhere, burning everything, slaughtering everyone. Even women and children. Our milita fought bravely, but they were too few and too unprepared. I was, I am the captain of a ship. When it became clear that the city was lost we embarked as many as we could until they overran the docks. And then we... Then..."

    All were looking at him in uneasy silence. He raised his eyes toward them again. Those were lords and knights and ladies, dressed in all the riches of a conquered land. It was Friday, and they were eating sole and whale.

    "Then we fled."
    The prince glanced at his father, whose face remained expressionless.
    "You fled him to ask for help" he finally droned, "that I already knew. But that story is of no interest to us."
    "My family was killed." Tancrède could see the anger raising in him as his voice threatened to break. "My mother, my sister... Brefore they died... My father was last, he helped gather the militia, although he was past fifty. He died a hero."
    "From the tone of your voice I reckon your father was a rich man. Was he one of the guildmasters of Eu ? Did he vote not to obey my laws, not to pay my taxes? Then I shall rejoice. He may be a hero to you. To me, he died but a traitor."
    "My father was no traitor! They call you king of Normans. What kind of king, what kind of man are you if you let us die and starve? Will you hide behind your walls like a craven while your people die and starve?"
    "I do not mean to let the Bretons affront unpunished" the king answered.
    He sipped some wine from a golden cup.
    "But nobody speak thus to a king. Hang him."


    When he understood it was already too late. Mailed hands cuffed him and started to pull him away, while he tried to struggle back to his knees and plead for the king’s grace. Suddenly he thought of something .


    "Wait! You will need sailors to fight that war with Brittany. I'm a captain, a good one. I know how to command and conn a ship, my father taught me."

    But the king paid him no attention, and the guards dragged him out of the hall.
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  10. #110
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    Ah, European politics.
    "I'm the king, and that's a reason good enough for you to die"

  11. #111
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    Well to be fair Tancrède is an unapologetic traitor who shows up in the throne room with a thousand bums in tow and starts insulting the king. It's all a matter of perspective.

    Building a wall

    Kuipy (King of Leon)
    "That will certainly be one big castle." Serlo said "Maybe the biggest castle in the world."
    "I don't think so. It is smaller than London, you remember? When we attacked it?"
    Roger sighed in exasperation.
    "London was a fucking town, Mauger. This is a fucking castle. Of course it is smaller. But the walls are higher and stronger."

    That was true enough. The old red brick walls of Castel-Saint-Jacques, at the very top of the hills, raised twelve yards above the jutting rocks on which they rested, and the new rampart would be twice as high and five times as long, part limestone and part granite. Under Bardol's severe rule, many a breton stronghold or saxon manor had been razed lest his masters thought of shaking the Norman yoke. And the new Norman fleet was carrying them, stone after stone to the ancestral castle which the prince, passionate warrior as he was, intended to make truly impregnable. Or intended, before he had taken to dying.

    "It is the plague. Like his uncle, you remember? And his uncle's uncle."
    "Shut up, Mauger." Roger liked that talk of plague not at all, and feared it sadly true. Once an avid hunter and ever-present commander, the prince was now remaining confined in his chambers, with his jewish physicians. If he was to die, things would look grim indeed.
    "Maybe he's even already dead."
    "Then we will soon now how good these walls are." Roger glanced south, as if he already expected to see the Portugese armies marching up the large, straight road which disappeared in the southern hills.

    Even since the Second Conquest king Bardol had been kept busy by his dukes bickering over the spoils of war in Britanny and England. For that reason he had divided his spanish demesne between his old friend and cousin, Jean or Juan, Rogerin's son and erstwhile heir, who received the land south of the Minho river and now styled himself king of Portugal; and his own son and heir, Alexandre, the young prince of Galicia. That division, so far, had seemed to satisfy both parties, but if Serlo was to die, what would happen. Galicia was rich and Santiago the old capital of Norman kings. Against such a prize former friendships might not weigh much.

    Serlo had followed his gaze up the dusty trail and took a gulp from the waterskin. Sweat ran over his red-bearded face and naked chest. Work under the Spanish sun could be harassing, and untrained soldiers like them would only get the hardest of each task, unlike the stonemasons who were assembling mâchicoulis over the main gates; still it beat toiling along with the thousand of Breton prisonnier digging wells and cisterns in the gasthly sahdow. From other soldiers he knew those were dying by the score.

    "There's going to be war, you think ?" he asked.

    Roger shrugged. After all, what did he cared? In six months he would get his last pay and then sail to Eu. With its buildings in ruins and the inhabitants massacred, houses could be had for a few silvers in the new Norman capital, or just free for the taking. He had a mind to buy that old inn where his aunt had worked.

    "Maybe he’s dead. Maybe not. Saint Hugues’ bells have not tolled yet. Listen. Let us resume the work." He said "or we'll be in trouble again…"
    "Look*!"
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  12. #112
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    Below them, at the base of the walls, two knights were sparring, and a small crowd was gathering around them. One of them was duke Robert of the March, the last Cabesat, a flamboyant warrior of a man, who had led the main charge at Norwich, with a bloody axe and a thunderous swear. Tall, fat and broad-shouldered, he was a fearsome sight with even with a blunt sword, but the other one clearly had the better of him.

    Despite the heat he was wearing a mail surcoat, mail greaves, a crossed great helm and a heavy breastplate, but despite their weight still moved faster than the other man, at whom he slashed furiously. Sweating and cursing, the duke stepped back and back. One last cut at his mailed belly almost put him off balance. He shout angrily and struck back with a precipitated slash, dented the red cross on a white field of his adversary. At that the faster man marked a brief halt. But even a second blow, even stronger, did not make him give ground, and soon enough he was on the attack again, striking at the duke until he stumbled and fell at the foot of the wall, where it was taluté, widened, to prevent sapping and reflect projectiles.

    "Enough!" Robert roared "I yield. Damn you, Alexandre! You are twenty-five, why are you still growing stronger every day?"

    Cheers and applause saluted the crusaded fighter, who took some deep breath after the fight removed his helm with gauntleted hands, revealing a smiling, bearded face with a mop of dark hair and a strong jaw. Even from this distance they could recognize him.

    "Not too bad" Serlo said, "for a dead."
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  13. #113
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    Never trust your dead friends too much, for sons have nothing in common with their fathers.

  14. #114
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    True that .

    A descriptive update to alleviate the monstruous but mandatory infodumps.

    The Norman dynasties in 1299

    Kuipy (King of Leon)



    First tier :

    the Hautevilles :
    first Norman kings, forged a large empire from nothing and then... lost it. On the decline but still prestigious and quite prolific; Hauteville sare literally all over the place.

    the Normandie:
    tracing their lineage to William the Conqueror and one of his sons.
    • the Saxon Normandie :
      descended from Richard, who inherited England over his elder brother Robert Curthose. Went native a few generation laters. Depossessed and all but extermined by the Normandie-Leon after a hundred-year long struggle.

    • the Normandie-Leon.
      Descended from Robert Curthose. As a general rule, large and boisterous men, very good at fighting, getting mad and holding grudges. For a hundred years, considered themselves the true heirs of the Conqueror in exile, then finally conquered England and Bretagne under the inspired and ruthless command of their last king (to date), Bardol I. Plagued by infertility and several times verging on extinction, have heavily relied on legitimized bastards as successors to the previous kings.

    • the Normandie-Portugal
      A cadet branch of the Normandie-Leon, tracing their descent from Juan de Normandie, the legitimate son of king Rogerin I, who disowned him in favor of his bastard nephew Lambert. Were eventually appeased by Lambert's brother Bardol, who split the kingdoms into two, their part being called Portugal after its capital in Porto.

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  15. #115
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    Second tier :

    the Cabesat de Vaca :
    More or less the Spanish Hauteville ; once a bunch of upstart knaves, now the oldest and most prestigious non-royal family around. Norman soldiers of fortune turned local barons turned independant dukes in the midst of muslim spain, submitted peacefully to the kings of Leon. Only represented at the moment by its last descendant, Robert Cabesat de Vaca. Gave two queens to the Normandies.

    the Powells:
    Trace their descent from a hedge knight in King Geoffroy's employ, which they (dubiously) like to present has a son of famous marshall Castore de Seagrave. Long isolated from the rest of the kingdom, and still on its outermost fringes, have a long history of "independant thinking". The current queen is a Powell.

    the Capets:
    All that is left from the erstwhile rulers of France, refugied in the Isles after the Burgundian conquests. Keep the pretense of being king-in-exile and quite aggravated by the now long-standing policy of alliance between Leon and Burgundy.

    ( the Breteuil: )
    an extinct line who claimed descent from Robert Curthose and granted his descendants four queens. Had their lands reattached to the royal demesne, then attributed to Robert Cabesat de Vaca.
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  16. #116
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    Third tier :

    the Diaz:
    unremarkable but prodigiously fertile family of Normans squires settled in Ireland, managed to marry their way into many good fiefs and offices at court. Generally despised but omnipresent.

    the Blounts:
    former officials of Eu and Guines, became Duke of Cornwall as a compensation when the city was reattached to the royal demesne. Seen as upstarts.

    the York-Lancaster:
    new house represented by his founder, Walter of York-Lancaster, a former stewart of the Breteuils. Well-connected with the Saxons and burghers, and not a threat to anyone, managed to be appointed guardian of some of the richest English land.
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  17. #117
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    Bastards have usually better skills than real sons I believe. So continuing your lineage through bastards is just very clever.

  18. #118
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    Writing a sonnet

    Kuipy (King of the Normans, king of the Isles and Leon)

    (Suggested soundtrack)

    How much is a human life worth? Obviously it depends on which human you consider. The only person Maurice of Bayeux had even known to disagree was that was a hedge platonist who had died twenty years before of a philosophical flu. In any case, back in Guines he had found king Bardol’s gold to be well worth his own sorry hide. But as he rode and spent his way south the purse had grown more empty and the perspective of dying for lèse-majesté closer and more certain. Now, to his dismay, the coin was all spent, and he could almost feel the splintery point of a stake tickling his buttocks hardened by a lifetime of rough riding.

    Too late to back off, he supposed. A bear was dancing in the torchlight. That late in the year, the Norman king in London would be confined to his stone halls, with a blazing fire in every chimney and tapestries hung to keep the chill out. But Buzine was warm enough that the emperor and his court to dine in the open on the provençal hills. A faint breeze carried to them the smell of thyme and olive trees, reminding him of those green years spent drinking with students in Montpelier. The night was moonless and cloudy, but in the shadows beyond the second circle of torches, he thought he somehow could make out the warm sea.

    After the bear-dancing there came jugglers and acrobats, then some clowns, then a Sicilian cithar player. The court was merry and noisy, but the emperor never laughed and seldom spoke. As far as the trouveur could see he never ate any dish beyond the first mouthful, and hardly drank at all. He just that there, very dignified, with a sharp, intense look, a stark, steely man with no taste for worldly pleasures.

    Kings and emperors like to see themselves as lions, and so the poet describes thus. But to Maurice the seven sovereigns he had seen so far had seemed more like Persian snakes, cold and plump creatures devoid of joy and feelings. Their lives were hardly worth his. What would they ever know of riding and walking, of sleeping in the hay, of loving, and getting beastly drunk, and learn a smattering of each art and philosophy, always on the run from angry husbands and fathers?

    The emperor’s intendant was a fat man with long brown hair and a huge, bulging nose. When he signaled Maurice that he was next, the poet hesitated. Maybe it was still time to run.
    “What are you waiting for?” the man asked, and Maurice walked in.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 05-06-2009 at 21:30.
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  19. #119
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    His unusual garb drew laughs and jabs. Normans were rare enough that far south, and usually trouveurs would ape their southern counterparts, whose poetry was seen as more refined. But tonight that garb was all the better.

    “A sonnet” he announced. He knew lieder and lais, flemish ballads and oc stanzas, and a few breton songs although the later were no longer fashionable or even prudent. But of all forms he preferred the sonnet.

    En revenant à son repaire
    Un lion brave et fort de jadis
    Vit son enfant mort. Je le dis,
    Il rugit son courroux de père.

    "J'ignore, quoi que je le flaire
    Qui scella le sort de mon fils
    Mais quiconque en tira profits
    Est digne objet de ma colère"

    Un autre entend ce qu'il subit,
    Déplore son malheur subit
    Et n'en conçoit pas douleur moindre.

    "À bon droit", Dit, furieux et fier,
    Le père "C'est à toi de craindre
    Et ne savoir à qui te fier" [1][2]

    At first the nobles had made fun of his accent and the unusual, northern form of sonnet he was using. But by the time he was done there were no more laughs, no more talk, not so much as a straight look toward him. Apparently they had gotten the point.

    The mourning duke of Burgundy had grown livid and was staring at his emperor. Three years before Maurice had sung at the wedding of his elder daughter with the Crown Prince of the Normans, a superb match even for as rich a family as the Bourgogne. The emperor had been noticeably absent but few people had thought that he would act on this displeasure, until now. Maybe he should have slipped in a verse of two about the what parts the stone had crushed, or about the cries, or all the blood. But the sonnet, as far as he could tell, was pretty clear already.

    “An interesting piece” the emperor slowly said, his face an expressionless mask. “I suppose you have already been paid for it. Have you not?”
    “Yes, your grace.” Maurice answered, although he had spent the last of it on a whores and wine the night before.
    “Have you ever seen a real lion, sonneeter?”
    Lions? The poet blemished.
    “A stuffed one. In Arras.” With insight he would later thought that it would have been a smarter answer to answer that he was seeing one at the moment.
    “Not a real one, then? Neither has your patron, it seems. Well, ride back to him, with a message. Lions -the live ones- do not step on other lion’s territory. A model he would be wise to ponder.”

    The emperor snapped his fingers.
    “That will be all.”
    Maurice sighed of relief as they ushered him out.


    [1]I won't go in detail over the particularities of the French sonnet (Google can explain it better than me). Note, however, that all masculine rimes in this particular one are so-called (and in modern French, faulty) Norman rimes: they end in a consonne that is pronounced in one term ("fils", pronounced "fee-ss") and not in the other ("profits", pronounced "pro-fee").

    A (very) rough translation would be :

    Coming back to his lair
    A strong and bold lion from yore
    Found his cub dead. So I say,
    He roared his father's wrath.

    "I don't know (although I have strong suspicions)
    Who was responsible for my son's fate
    But whoever profited from it
    Is a worthy object of my anger"

    An other one hears what happens to him,
    Laments his sudden misfortune
    And grieves no less [than him] over it.

    "Rightly so", the father, furious and proud,
    Says "It's your turn to fear
    And be wary of everybody".

    [2]the attentive reader will notice that, at this point, only two sovereigns in Europe have lions in their arms : Leon and Burgundy.
    Last edited by Kuipy; 05-06-2009 at 21:32.
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  20. #120
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    Poetry, eh eh.
    Poetry is fine if you understand it. If not, the whole thing just sucks for you. And I can not speak French.

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