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Thread: Imperium AARlandium Sacrum - Succession Game (AAR thread)

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    Imperium AARlandium Sacrum - Succession Game (AAR thread)

    Imperium AARlandium Sacrum - Succession Game
    AAR Thread



    Welcome to the Imperium AARlandium Sacrum, otherwise known as the Holy AARland Empire! This is going to be a Succession Game with a twist. Each of the Imperial electors is represented by one of the illustrious characters of AARland, and when the Emperor dies, one of you will be elected to play as the next ruler and post an AAR about your reign. The order of play is determined by CK electoral law. You can find out more about the concept and rules on the comment thread, where you can also sign up to be a prince yourself. If you don't want to play the game, but would like to be featured, ask about becoming a count.

    Please do not post comments here, this thread is for the AARs only. (See the above link for the comment thread).





    The Imperial Houses:

    House D'Allmy (AllmyJames)
    James I, Duke of Franconia, Emperor 1066 - 1092
    Laurence I, Duke of Franconia, 1085 -

    House D'Oraz (Vesimir)
    Gabriel I, Duke of Lower Lorraine, 1066 - 1101 , Emperor 1092 -1101

    House von Morningsider (MorningSIDER)
    Shaun I, Duke of Swabia, 1066 - 1091
    Werner I, Duke of Swabia, 1091 -

    House Muffin (Kaiser Muffin)
    Magnus I, Duke of Saxony, 1066 -

    House Morrell (Morrell8)
    Ben I, Duke of Bavaria, 1066-67
    Robert I, 1067 -

    House de Bretagne (Kadvael56)
    Kadvael I, Duke of Upper Lorraine, 1066-

    House Kendall (Mr Capitalist)
    Nicholas I, Duke of Provence, 1066 - , Emperor, 1101 -

    House Bogmilen (Rabid Bogling)
    Stefan I, Duke of Thuringia, 1066 -

    House Sejanus (Lucius Sejanus)
    Lucius I, Duke of Austria, 1066 -

    House van der Aarlander (Iain Wilson)
    Iain I, Duke of Meissen, 1066 -

    House van Holland-Lotharigen (Flying Dutchie)
    Willem I, Count of Holland, 1066 - 1087
    Jan I, Duke of Lombardia, 1087 -

    House di Savoie (Splendid Tuesday)
    Fausto I, Count of Savoie, 1066 - , Duke of Savoie 1078 -

    House von Galien (The_Shepherd)
    Karl I, Count of St Gallen, 1066 - , Duke of Tyrol, 1074 -

    House Murmurandus (Murmurandus)
    Guilliaume I, Count of Besancon, 1066 - 1073
    Philippe I, 1073 -

    House von Wikinger (Sebeck)
    Guttrom I, Count of Kleve, 1066 -

    House der Eifer (Serek)
    Serek I, Count of Steirmark, 1077 -

    House El Even (Johann11)
    Juan I, Duke of Bohemia, 1077 -

    House von Awesome (Mayorqw)
    Mayorqw I, Duke of Brandenburg, 1087 -c.1096
    Joao I, c.1096 -

    House de Senzich (Metgyre)
    Metgyre I, Count of Ravenna and Bologna, 1092 - 2096
    Leopold I, 1096 -
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 08-08-2010 at 21:33.
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  2. #2
    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    The Reign of James I D'Allmy
    Part I - Meet the Gang
    (1066)


    Greetings! I am James, King of the Germans, King of Italy, King of Burgundy and Holy Roman Emperor! Well, alright, I’m not technically Emperor yet (that’s why I haven’t got a little crown on my lifelike, handsome, official portrait), but that’s only because the Pope and I don’t quite see eye-to-eye. It’s a mere formality really.



    Why are you looking at me like that, Brother Heinrich? Just keep scribbling, you snivelling worm.

    Monks. I don’t know why anyone bothers with them. Sanctimonious do-gooders. I could write this myself you know, I’m actually pretty smart.
    So you probably want to know how I, an Englishman, got to be Emperor of a bunch of Germans, Italians, Dutchmen and Franks. Well, it’s a long story, and it’s not important. Unlike me. Because I am the most powerful man in Europe.

    Yes, Brother Heinrich, more powerful than your Pope. He only has two vassals. I have dozens.

    Of course, that’s not necessarily an advantage. Not when most of your vassals are snot-nosed teenagers who want your job.

    Let me tell you about some of them.

    This is Shaun. He’s the Duke of Swabia and my neighbour. We had a little disagreement a couple of years ago when he married my sister and she mysteriously died, so I’m keeping an eye on him. His new wife is a hunchback. She’s also my wife’s sister, so Christmases at their place are always a bit awkward.



    To my north, I have the cooly-named Magnus Muffin as a neighbour. He’s much more friendly. He’s always sending me baked goods to the castle. He’s not married yet, but all the girls love a good cook, so it won’t be long.



    My most powerful vassal (and therefore my most dangerous rival) is the improbably named Pole, Gabriel D’Oraz. His wife, Magarit, is a Hungarian.



    Ben here is the Duke of Bavaria. He’s lucky enough to be married to an older woman, the niece of William, the King of England. We’ll see what comes of that.



    Now, across the river is this guy. Kadvael got a first class degree at Bologna University, but he has some weird ideas. I’m no fan of priests, but even I’m smart enough to put a few reichsmarks in the collection plate every Sunday. Not Kadvael. I stick to talking about the weather when I’m with him. His wife’s name is Hedwig (like it matters).



    Duke Nicholas here has a cushy spot in the south of France. He’s also got a great beard, which he must have used to bag the peasant girl he married, Mathilde.



    Thuringia is ruled by someone named Stefan. I don’t know him that well, but he seems like a decent enough guy.



    Lucius Sejanus (a suspicious name if ever I heard one) is a Greek. God only knows how he ended up in Austria, but he doesn’t know who his mother was, so I should take it easy on him. His wife is called Adelheim.



    And lastly we have Duke Iain Van Der Aarlander of Meisen. He’s a little young to be that bald, and a little Scottish to have that name. His wife, Adela, is Dutch. I bet her parents were disappointed when they found out.



    There are a few more kids hanging around, though I’m not so worried about them taking my job. Still, you can never be too careful.

    The Count of Holland is called Willem. His family is as large as his surname, since he has seven brothers and sisters. He’s just married a German called Hedwiga.



    Shaun has to put up with this guy as a vassal. He has the squarest head I’ve ever seen. No wonder he’s still single.



    This is Fausto, Shaun’s brother-in-law. Despite his club foot, he’s managed to get his wife pregnant already. Nice.



    Guilliame here is count of Besancon. I only gave him the job recently, but already he’s complaining that he’d asked to be in Belgium than Alsace. I’ve told him to take it up with the royal cartographer. No pleasing some people.



    And I don’t know what to make of this dude. Guttrom is, apparently a Viking. He can’t prove who his dad is, so I’m not sure whether to believe him, but he does get a weird look in his eye sometimes that just screams ‘bezerker’.



    Oh, and this is my wife, Berta. She’s also Faulco’s sister. Remember, Like Shaun’s wife? It’s a small, inbred, incestuous world, sometimes, isn’t it? She’s pretty hot, no? There are some perks to being the Emperor, after all.


    Last edited by AllmyJames; 23-06-2010 at 21:23.
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    Rebellion! Treachery! War! Marriage! And You! It's all in the Imperium AARlandium Sacrum, a CK succession game with a twist! Read it here.
    Favourite CK Gameplay Q2 2010

  3. #3
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    II - "I speak Latin to God, English to men, German to women, and Italian to my horse."
    Charles V, Emperor of the Romans 1519 - 1558
    (1066 - 1071)



    Now that you’ve met my loyal vassals (for want of a better phrase), let me tell you about the last five years. Despite my innate ability, things didn’t go so well. A lesser man would have had serious trouble handling this lot....
    In order to keep my unruly princelings in line, I have a lot of duchies to hand out as carrots, as well as a lot of armies to use as sticks. In the hands of a skilled ruler like myself, that combination is invaluable. Of course, I prefer to use the sticks, since that way, I can keep the carrots for myself.



    Being so mighty, both the King of France and the King of England wanted an alliance. But I could only accept one offer. Seeing that King William was a conquering hero who’d just kicked a lot of ass and captured a throne, while King Phillipe was a whiny 15-year-old who couldn’t leave Paris for fear of being mugged, it was a tough choice.



    Word soon gets around that I’m a financial wizard. I told you I was smart, but now it’s official.



    Yes, Brother Heinrich, I’m aware that it didn’t do King Midas much good in the end, but that’s only because he was too stupid to get his servants to feed him and to sell his golden daughter at the market! You’re not the only one with a fancy education, you know.

    Of course, it wasn’t long before the trouble began. And where did it begin? Where trouble always beings – in Italy. And in a republic no less. Run by banker. Nothing good ever comes of elections. Or of bankers.

    Never fear, I thought to myself, I’ll just ask my loyal minions to send some armed men down there and show those impertinent merchants the error of their ways. But the snivelling cowards (with the small exception of my brother-in-law) made some lame excuses, and I had to show them how it was done in person.





    Then the Archbishop of Ferrara got upset because I forgot him on my Christmas card list this year, and I had that mess to deal with as well. I probably got confused because he’s an Italian bishop with a suspiciously English-sounding name. This time the dukes were more compliant, probably because of the stern words I had with them after the last time. That is, with one notable exception.





    My wife gave birth to a daughter while I was away. I shouldn’t have let her name it. She swears Mahaut is a traditional English name, but I think she just did it for a bet.

    I confiscated the lands of both Ferrara and Bologna (I hear the Adriatic coast is lovely at this time of year), and things were quiet for a year or so. Until my nemesis (well, one of them) struck. Someone (maybe my senile fool of a father) thought it was a good idea to let a woman rule half of Italy. And now, when she’s throwing a hissy fit about something or other, I have to deal with the consequences.



    Then again, it might have been more than just feminine pique. In a suspicious coincidence, our friend Duke Shaun von Morningsider decided that this would be a good time to leave the Empire forever. Nice try, Shaun, but that’s not going to work.



    While I deal with the Duchess of Tuscany in person, loyal Duke Morrell of Bavaria takes to the field against the perfidious Shaun. Things don’t go too well, however, and the good Duke is slain. His inheritance is claimed by a distant cousin, Robert.





    Despite this, my forces continued to close in on Swabia, with Duke Kadvael of Lorraine attacking from the West. Duke Morningsider is sent into retreat, but Kadvael, muttering something about my enslavement to the false bishop of Rome, refuses to have anything more to do with the war, and the Empire as a whole.






    Luckily, this doesn’t stop me breaking down the doors of Wurtemburg castle and giving Duke Shaun a piece of my mind. He grovels on the floor for mercy, and I decide (in my infinite clemency) to let him off with a warning.



    In Italy, Nicholas Kendall, Duke of Provence, is making slow but steady progress against the Duchess’s forces, and he’s joined by reinforcements from the Low Countries led by Duke D’Oraz.



    While I’m commanding the siege of Bologna to recapture it from the Tuscans, I get news that my first son has been born. My wife chose the name Laurence. It’s a bit girly, but at least I can pronounce it.

    Just as I’m getting ready to celebrate Christmas Eve in the Duchess’s castle in Modena, I got some very unwelcome news. Perhaps it was a copy of his own execution order that I sent Shaun as a present (in the spirit of a friendly reminder), but he’s up in arms against me again. This time, it seems even his own vassals are annoyed at him though, so the campaign’s over pretty quickly, and it’s not long before he’s crying like a girl again.



    Talking of weeping lasses, I made an example of Mathilda and confiscate all her castles and send her into exile. That should keep my enemies quiet. Plus, I’m coming to like my holidays in the Tuscan countryside. Aachen castle is so damp at this time of year.



    The ever loyal Gabriel meets the ever troublesome Shaun on the battlefield in July, 1070. It is, of course, a crushing victory for my forces, and I’m able to show how merciful I am once more by pardoning Morningsider’s treachery for a second time.



    My second son is born in November, and there’s no mistaking it this time. Joceyln is definitely a girl’s name. My wife and I need to have a talk.

    To round of a year’s campaigning, I sent Gabriel D’Oraz into Upper Lorraine, to ask Kadvael why he’s being so difficult. It seems that thousands of swords can make a good theological argument, because he’s soon back in the fold, and has renounced his heretical ways for good.



    The final bit of business for 1071 was to kill or abduct a few more Italian counts. The county of Saluces I decided to confiscate and grant to my loyal servant Nicholas, Duke of Provence, for his faithful service and excellent work in this field. Call it an ‘Employee of the Month’ bonus.

    So after four years of constant warfare, the scenic tour of the Empire resulted in the death of a Duke and much aggravation, but I had peace once more. Too bad it was just the start of my troubles.
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 02-07-2010 at 18:00.
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    Rebellion! Treachery! War! Marriage! And You! It's all in the Imperium AARlandium Sacrum, a CK succession game with a twist! Read it here.
    Favourite CK Gameplay Q2 2010

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    Part III – Infamy, Infamy, They’ve All Got It In For Me!

    III – "Infamy, Infamy, They’ve All Got It In For Me!"
    Gaius Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome 46-44 BC, As Misquoted by Kenneth Williams, Carry On Cleo, 1954

    (1071-77)


    As the tenth year of my reign approached, I decreed that my memoires be compiled into a chronicle to preserve for the ages the record of these tumultuous years. For despite my generosity, mercy, and obvious ability, this era of my glorious reign was characterised by civil war, and many (less optimistic than myself) feared for the continuation of my enlightened rule. It was a sign of the seriousness of the situation that even the usually-impertinent Brother Heinrich had fallen silent.

    Following my suppression of the insolence that had sprung up in the early years of my reign, most noteably among the Dukes of Swabia and Upper Lorraine, as well as the ever-troublesome Italians, the year 1071 began optimistically enough. Word had reached the Imperial court that the city of Rome was besieged by Muslim pirates. I was most amused to imagine the mitred hat of His Holiness peaking over the battlements of the Castle Saint Angelo to find his city aflame and infidels at his gates. Alas, this was not to be, for in fact, Papal armies outflanked the Sicilians, and seized the city of Palermo and its sheik before Rome fell.



    Barely a year later [1072], I was interrupted in the composition of a note of hearty congratulations to the Pontiff by the news that the incredibly powerful and also incredibly odd-looking Duke of Carinthia, Herman von Zaringen seemed to feel that he no longer needed to send his scutage payments to the Imperial treasury. Accordingly, I sent the chancellor of the exchequer to Kärnten to explain to him the cost-benefit analysis behind remaining in the Empire.



    That didn’t quite seem to convince him, however, so it was just as well that there were 20,000 men-at-arms on hand to make the point more clearly. As a punishment for his insolence, I confiscated his duchies [Verona and Carinthia] and all his castles [Kärnten and Verona].
    Duke Lucius of Austria proved to be most helpful in this campaign, and in my immense generosity, I rewarded him with the Duchy of Carinthia. His unending sycophancy and declared loyalty to my cause [loyalist] convinced me that he would be a better steward of these lands.



    The Queen has always appreciated my authoritative nature and strong hand (if you know what I mean), and accordingly my third son, Geoffrey, was born in the same year (this time, I Christened him myself).

    Since it had been at least three years since his last rebellion [June 1073], this should have come as no surprise, but I was nonetheless taken aback (some might say apoplectic with rage) when I heard that the Duke von Morningsider had convened an unauthorised meeting of the Reichstag and attempted to have himself elected Emperor in my place! Clearly such treason deserved to be punished with death, but the full extent of the treachery would soon become clear.



    Within a month [July 1073] Duke Bogmiligen of Thuringia had become the first Prince to declare his support for the usurper.



    My scheming brother in law, Count Fausto of Savoie, had not the courage to throw his lot in with the pretender von Morningsider, but nonetheless refused to obey my call to arms nor respond to my missives.



    The campaign in Thuringia began poorly. Iain, Duke of Meissen attempted to lay siege to Duke Stefan’s castles, but was thwarted by the arrival of a relief force. However, the arrival of the men-at-arms under the command of Duke Muffin of Saxony drove away the rebellious army.



    Meantime, in Swabia, Duke von Morningsider’s armies were dispersed by loyalist soldiers under the command of Robert, Duke of Bavaria, and by October, the pretender himself was captured.



    Though I had him publicly renounce his ambitions to the crown, and cede to me all his ducal titles, I once again showed great mercy by allowing him to live, and remain lord of Swabia. Of course, I invited him to spend some time in the Imperial castle under armed guard, to assure his own safety from those loyal to me who were demanding his execution. I could not have forgiven myself if an accident were to have befallen him.
    Such clemency, I had hoped, would persuade the other conspirators to reveal themselves This trust in the loyalty of my vassals, and the effectiveness of my mercy would prove to be my greatest mistake.

    Duke Stefan was similarly pardoned and allowed to retain his estates. The outlying regions of Swabia I then proceeded to grant to more worthy vassals. Baden was given to Herman von Zaringen, son of the previous Duke of Carinthia, while Tyrol I granted to Graf Karl von Galien, who had steadfastly refused to join his liege in base treachery.



    Many good men had now perished as a result of this internal turmoil, including Guillaume, count of Besancon, who had fallen in a valiant attempt to slay Duke von Morningsider in a duel. His lands were inherited by his son, Philippe.



    The upheaval in Germany only served to encourage the naturally rebellious tendencies of the Italian republics, whose lack of breeding naturally made them arrogant and unwilling to serve any master, no matter how magnanimous, and of the bishops who held great tracts of land on the peninsula, and who would no doubt rather be serving the Pope in Rome than the Emepror in Aachen.

    When therefore, in the year 1074, a new Holy Father was elected to St Peter’s throne, I dispatched to him a carefully worded letter, congratulating him on his appointment, and offering my sincerest wishes that we could continue to relationship I had with his predecessor – that is, that he would keep his pointy hat out of my business, and I would refrain from marching to the gates of Rome at the head of an army. It appeared to make my point nicely.



    However, no sooner had I travelled to Italy, to bring to heel the many princelings, merchants and bishops than another of the plotters revealed himself by taking up arms against me. None other than the one-time heretic, Kadvael of Upper Lorraine, had declared his intention to release Duke von Morningsider from the dungeons in Aachen.



    Barely had there been time to arrange for the Queen and my children to travel southwards to Ravenna for their own safety, than news also reached me that the over-mighty Duke Gabriel of Lower Lorraine, Kadvael’s neighbour, was also mustering his armies for war.



    In amongst the turmoil, I received the startling request that the count of Lübeck begged admittance to the Empire and my protection. My written reply stated that any man who wished to join at this moment was either insane, incredibly brave, or both. Either was fine by me and, I welcomed him with open arms, and granted that he might call himself Duke of Holstein henceforth.



    In quashing the rebellions in the Low Countries, Duke Magnus of Saxony and Duke Iain of Meissen proved invaluable, as did Duke Nicholas of Provence, whose armsmen helped suppress a revolt by the count of Forez. I thereafter granted Duke Nicholas lordship over this county as reward for his service.



    Shortly before Christmas of 1074, my forces captured Duke Kadvael and brought him grovelling to me, begging for forgiveness, which I begrudgingly granted – having no-one ready to replace him with whom I could trust a duchy. With luck, the debt of gratitude he owes me will ensure his loyalty.



    However, it was not long (January 1075) before Duke Iain also revealed himself to be in league with the imprisoned Duke Morningsider. Lucius Sejanus, my most trusted vassal, was despatched to bring him to order, and attempt to extract the other plotters’ names from him.



    The efforts of those few loyal vassals, and my own strategic skill were sufficient to bring to justice Duke D’Oraz (June 1075), Duke Iain of Meissen (July 1075) and even my recalcitrant brother-in-law (August 1075) over the next few months, and these successes even prompted embassies from the counts of Corsica and Sardinia, who sought my protection from the Saracen pirates of Sicily, and no less a figure than the Doge of Venice.



    My New Year’s resolution for 1076 was to enlist the power of local knights and burghers to bring order to the countyside, bypassing the authority of the Imperial Princes. I therefore granted many charters to free cities and local counties in exchange for their undying loyalty. It was my fervent wish that this might help bring an end to the cycles of rebellion and civil war.



    Last edited by AllmyJames; 21-07-2010 at 17:46.
    Extra! Extra! Read All About It! The Star of New Orleans - A V2 AAR for an Independent Louisiana, told in Newspapers!

    CK AAR - The Atheling Chronicle - A King Without A Crown
    Follow the descendants of Edgar Atheling as they seek to regain their throne.

    Winner of the WritAAR of the week award, 30/11/2009 | 05/07/2010 ~ Character Writer of the Week 09/05/2010 ~ Favourite CK History Book Q1 2010 | Q2 2010 | Q3 2010

    Rebellion! Treachery! War! Marriage! And You! It's all in the Imperium AARlandium Sacrum, a CK succession game with a twist! Read it here.
    Favourite CK Gameplay Q2 2010

  5. #5
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    Dynasty Watch – 1077

    Dynasty Watch – 1077


    Given the slight lull in the constant series of rebellions and glorious victories by my loyal forces, the year 1077 seemed an appropriate one in which to gather together the reports of my informants, and take a closer look at the wicked and treacherous men over whom God has given me dominion.
    But first, here’s how I’m holding up:



    Well, obviously age has not dulled my incredibly handsome good looks. And my wife, who’s only 26, is holding up well too. I have a nice string of children, 4 sons (even if two of them have girly names) – Laurence [7], Jocelyn [6], Geoffrey [4] and William [1] – and 3 girls; Mahaut [9], Emma [5], and Joanna [3].

    As you will remember, I’m well-known as a financial genius [Midas touched], but unfortunately, word has also got around that I’m having some trouble with my minions [Realm duress]. I’m as strong-willed [arbitrary] and I distrust the Pope as much as ever [sceptical], but through a careful public relations campaign, I now have a reputation both for vengeance and mercy at the same time. What do you mean I’m suspicious? Who told you that? And where do they live?


    First on the list of troublemakers is the infamous Shaun von Morningsider:



    It wasn’t hard to get information on him, as he’s still in the guest accommodation down in the dungeons. In my infinite mercy (see above) I have decided to allow him to keep his lands in Swabia, though I have given the duchies of Tyrol and Baden to other more worthy men. As a result he’s now way down the succession order. You will notice that his prestige among his peers is also somewhat diminished, while mine remains high.
    He still has his hunchbacked wife, Adelaide di Savoie, and they have five living children together – Werner [9] (who is apparently a ‘guest’ in the Duchy of Bavaria), Wilhelm [8], Laura [7], Otto [6] and Ermengard [5]
    Shaun’s education as a diplomat didn’t get him very far [Gruff diplomat], as might be obvious by now. He’s also very stubborn, and vengeful, other traits you may already have noticed. Oddly, he’s very faithful to his hideous wife [chaste], and for some reason regarded as both honest and trusting. I suppose he has been bluntly honest in his ambitions so far.

    Enough of traitors. Let us turn to Magnus Muffin, the faithful Duke of Saxony:



    He’s second in line to succeed me. Except there’s not much to tell. Apart from also flunking his exam for the diplomatic corps [Gruff diplomat], Magnus is thoroughly unremarkable. He married a lass named Brunhilde, and they have 5 children – Sigfried [9], Klara [8], Alberade [7], Otto [4], and Lutigard [1].
    He and Duke Stefan of Thuringia are pretty close these days. Rubbing shoulders with traitors (even traitors I’ve officially forgiven) is not a good sign.

    Talking of which, this is Gabriel D’Oraz, the Duke of Lower Lorraine:



    His recent defeat hasn’t stopped him being the most likely to succeed me when I die, despite his low standing [prestige]. It was a little hard to track down any reliable information on him, as he’s a slippery customer [elusive shadow]. Word of his deceitfulness is now common knowledge, but despite that, he’s also thought of as a bit of a clever clogs [wise]. He seems to have had second thoughts about his previous treachery [loyalist], because he now goes around singing my praises, and waxing lyrical about what a model of mercy and chivalry I am [romantic].
    His luck may have run out there though, because his wife, Margrit, has taken a vow of celibacy. Maybe it’s their family of 4 boys that drove her to it. Their names are Zbigniew [7], Bolko [6], Strasz [1] and Kazimierz [0]. Gabriel also has a bastard, Mieszko [8].

    This is Robert Morrell, cousin of the ill-fated Ben, who was Duke of Bavaria for around 5 minutes:



    He’s not much of a strategist [misguided warrior], probably because he’s too naive [trusting], and doesn’t think things through [arbitrary]. Good job he’s only 5th in line for the throne.
    That didn’t put his wife, Medania off though, because they have three children – Godfrey [7], Sybilla [5] and Marie [2]. Plus there’s another one on the way.

    Another of the recently-forgiven-turned –faithful-minions is Kadvael de Bretagne, the Duke of Upper Lorraine:



    Like his neighbour Gabriel, he’s seen the wisdom of following my rule. Just as well, since he’s not a man to cross [vengeful], despite his affinity for biblical quotations [scholarly theologian]. I’m glad he’s got over that heretic phase too.
    He and his wife Hedwig have four children – Oda [9], Gertrude [7], Rudolf [4], and Wenzel [2].

    The bushily-bearded Nicholas Kendall has been newly-promoted to Duke of Provence and Dauphine, to keep an eye on the rebellious Count of Forez:



    Like me, he’s none-too-keen on the church [sceptical], but unlike me, he’s rubbish with money [hopeless spender], probably because he’s always giving it away [generous], to anyone with a convincing sob-story [trusting].
    Sadly, he and Mathilde only have one son, Waltheof [1]. Their daughter Ramonda died recently.

    This is the recently-forgiven Duke Stefan von Boglingen of Thuringia I mentioned earlier:



    His treachery [deceitful] is well-known, as is his opportunism [pragmatic]. He’s too easily led astray by others, however [trusting], and his financial know-how [silver-tongued] is offset by his propensity to give it all away again [generous].
    Until very recently, he was married to a woman named Jutte, but he just remarried to an Anglo-Welsh lady with the unlikely name of Medania ap Maredudd. He has one son, Bruno [9], and two daughters, Katharina [8] and Amalberga [6].

    And this, by contrast, is the recently-rewarded and always-forgiven Duke Sejanus of Austria and Carinthia:



    The man’s got a great way with words [romantic], and doesn’t have the guts to move against me [weak-willed], so he makes an ideal follower [loyalist]. He’s also got a healthy dose of mistrust for the church [sceptical] and a mind for skulduggery [deceitful]. I wish all my vassals were like him. He even pays his taxes on time [silver-tongued].
    His wife, Adelheid, died recently, but she left him with four children – Romanos [8], Albrecht [6], Johann [5], and Gertrude [1].

    Here we have the incomprehensible Duke Iain van der Aarlander, Duke of Meissen:



    As you can see, he’s a bit of a bruiser, and he’s always trying to fight someone over his honour [romantic, vengeful, proud]. Still, he doesn’t even like drinking [temperate], and he’s been faithful to both his wives [chaste]. He even knows his Bible backwards [master theologian] (but he never says it backwards because that would be asking for trouble).
    His first wife, Adela, died a couple of years ago, and now he’s found himself a Polish lady, Swinislawa. They have five children, all with remarkably easy-to-pronounce names – Irmgard [9] (alright, not her’s so much), Alyse [7] , William [6], Edward [5], and Neil [0].

    I’d like to introduce you to this guy. He’s new. This is Juan El Even, the Duke of Bohemia:



    His face correctly indicates that he’s not very nice [selfish, arbitrary], but he’s a genius [prodigy]. His bad temper probably comes from his unfortunate appearance [hunchback]. With his wife Sibylla, he has two little girls – Olga [2], and Eliska [0].

    And this chap’s also new. Serek der Eifer is the Count of Steirmark:



    To be honest, he’s a bit of a nutter [cruel, arbitrary], always going on about God’s mission to smite people [zealous]. If he weren’t such an able administrator [silver-tongued], I’d probably have had him removed by now.
    His wife, Bertha and he have three kids – Gisela [3], Ernst [1], and Ida [1].

    Now Bertha is the sister of this guy – Willem van Holland-Lotharingen:



    He’s a tough soldier, and brave with it [valourous], but even I think he’s on a losing streak if he’s going to rebel against Duke Gabriel, his liege [rebellious]. He’ll probably just wait until the right opportunity [pragmatic]. Despite all this, he’s well liked, as an honest, generous, and trusting person.
    He has had three sons with his wife Hedwiga – Jan [6], Simon [5], and Kristof [4], and one without her – Werner [8].

    Unlike Willem, Karl here is destined for greatness:



    he one-time Count of St Gallien is now Duke of Tyrol, for loyally rebelling against the tyranny of Duke Shaun of Swabia. This was one of the few times his crazy schemes came off well, however [naive puppet master], and his suspicious nature tends to conflict with his desire to do the ‘right thing’ [just], whatever that means.
    With his wife Margaret, he has had five children – Eanhere [9], Elgiva [8], Ealdgyth [7], Klementia [5] and Eadgyth [3].

    Meanwhile, Fausto, the Count of Savoie, merely dreams of grandeur:



    He’s always up to something [intricate webweaver], and he has no problem stabbing people in the back [deceitful], as I know well. My brother-in-law, however, is too reckless and lazy to ever amount to much. He also spends an inordinate amount of time chasing girls when he should be ruling his estates [lustful].
    With his wife Aogostina, he has three living children – Alfonsina [8], Fortunata [7] and Abbonido [5].

    This young scamp, Phillipe, is the son of Guillame Murmurandus, the Count of Besancon who fell in battle against the rebellious Morningsider:



    This seems to have made him hungry for vengeance. You’ll notice that he is also Dutch, since the Imperial Ethnographers noticed his affinity for tulips and wooden shoes.

    And finally, everyone’s favourite moustachioed Viking, Guttrom von Wiking, is still Count of Kleves:



    He’s something of a goody-two-shoes though [just], since he doesn’t even drink [temperate] and spends all his time talking about God [master theologian].
    That’s probably why his wife Beautriu dislikes him so much. Nonetheless, they have five kids – Almerich [9], Magnus [7], Klara [6], Tore [3] and Gyrid [0].

    And if you’re thoroughly confused as to where all these people live, you’re not alone. The Imperial Cartographer has provided this map for your perusal:



    Last edited by AllmyJames; 28-06-2010 at 20:06.
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  6. #6
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    IV – "I Want My Sheep Shorn, Not Flayed"
    Tiberius, Emperor of the Romans AD 14-37

    (1077-80)


    In the years following the tenth anniversary of my glorious accession to the throne, the situation within the Empire began to improve greatly, due to my own foresight and generosity.

    Ironically, it is Brother Heinrich’s disbelieving face which confirms this to me. His usual insubordination has returned to its full force of late. I suspect he is bitter that he has not yet been promoted beyond the post of chancellor.

    Ah. Touché brother. He has, in fact, pointed out that I have also failed to be promoted to Emperor in my fifteen years on the imperial throne. That small technicality continues to irk me. But then again, I’ve had other things to worry about of late.


    As Eastertide of the year 1077 approached, there remained some small matters to attend to in Italy. The Duke of Lombardy had taken up arms against me, and my treacherous brother-in-law, the count of Savoy was likewise refusing to recognise my authority. Such treason was punished appropriately, and my men-at-arms were able to persuade both princes to return to the Empire.



    Meanwhile, Iain, the Duke of Meissen, had been suffering problems of his own. Apparently the count of Lausitz had declared his liege to be a bawbag, a nugget and a rocket, none of which makes any sense to me, but the result was a big bust-up resulting in Iain stealing all the counts castles and killing his family. That’s the kind of authoritarianism I like to see from my vassals!



    However, no sooner than I had had a friendly meeting with my brother-in-law, accompanied by the Lord High Executioner and the Chief Torturer, than I was informed of some surprising news. The King of the French had decided to take advantage of the Empire’s chaos. Unbeknownst to me, Phillipe had got over his angsty teenage phase, and was now (in his twenties) planning a gap year backpacking around Provence with 15,000 of his closest friends.



    In a normal Kingdom, this would no doubt have drawn the nobility to rally around the Imperial Banner, and work together to defeat the invading Frenchmen. Of course, this being my kingdom:



    Foreseeing that this was no time for half-measures, I decided that perhaps it was time to make it clear that I valued loyalty as much as I punished treason. So, as the first step in this program, and at the Queen’s insistence, I recognised her brother as Duke of Savoy. I could only hope the responsibility would straighten him out.



    Noticing that Duke Kadvael de Bretagne was suddenly receiving large shipments of chocolate éclairs from an unknown benefactor, I decided I’d best recognise his service in keeping order along the Rhine, and granted him the confiscated county of Pflaz.



    As the year 1078 began, my forces were engaged in battles both against the forces of Duke of Alsace and the King of France in the Burgundian countryside. Nicholas Kendall proved an able general in vanquishing the French armies, while Duke Kadvael and Count Murmurandus did likewise against the rebels.



    Despite this, both Duke Nicholas and his vassal, the Count of Forcalquier, sued the French king for peace, and surrendered the city of Forcalquier to the Franks.



    But nonetheless, my armies captured Orleans in February and Paris itself in March.



    In May, the Duke of Alsace was captured in the castle at Sundgau, and in punishment for his disloyalty, I made him swear allegiance to Duke Kadvael, whom I appointed as Duke of Alsace in his place.



    Finally, in August, having led the siege of Forcalquier personally, I was able to bring Philippe to terms. The city was turned back over to Duke Nicholas, and the French King paid an indemnity of 500 marks.



    However, as the saying goes, “God smites one enemy only to plague you with another.” And in this case, the newest plague proved to be the new Pope. Apparently, my sceptical attitude was of concern to the Pontiff and he felt compelled to excommunicate me. Of course, his concerns could be allayed by a payment of considerable magnitude to the Vatcian. I replied (on gold-leaf paper with ink made from unicorn’s blood) that this compelling argument had caused my scepticism in the established church to completely melt away.



    At this point, I perceived that my enemies were, despite my best efforts, multiplying rather than reducing in number. Thus, I resorted to the time-honoured tactic of bribery, and reduced the level of scutage required of the Imperial princes.

    Either this new tactic, or my proscribed prayers to the almighty must have had an effect, for almost immediately, my harpy of a mother came and asked my permission to retire from courtly life. I responded by suggesting that the monasteries in Western Ireland are very nice at this time of year.
    (Of course, this is a lie – there is no time of the year in which Western Ireland has nice weather. Unless you are partial to howling gales and driving rain).



    And in September, when the Count of Trevisio sent me a rather rude letter denying that I had any right to call myself his master, I improved my newfound saintly image by announcing to all present that he had the right to do so if he wished, and that I would not seek to stop him.
    (Another lie, but I had been observing Brother Heinrich long enough to know how to look obnoxiously pious, and it seems to have the right effect on my bishops).



    But there’s always someone who pushes their luck. The Italian peasants sent a representative to me in November 1078, and asked that their children not automatically be born into serfdom. But, as I reasonably pointed out to them, then there might be a shortage of serfs, and no-one to feed the knights, God’s appointed soldiers. Moreover, what would the peasants do if they weren’t serfs? Become merchants? If there’s one thing I don’t need more of, it’s Italian bankers.



    Perhaps, however, I had been too generous in my treatment of the Church, for His Holiness again sent me a message demanding that I give further ‘indulgences’, to atone for a long list of trumped-up ‘sins’.



    Since it was Easter, and I was in a generous mood, I didn’t throw the unfortunate messenger-monk into the castle well, but I agreed to send the Pope half he was asking for (despite already being broke), along with a self-composed sermon on the misfortunes of those who greedily ask for more than they rightly deserve. Perhaps that would do the trick.
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  7. #7
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    V – “Together We Shall Rule The Empire As Father And Son”
    Anakin Skywalker, Supreme Commander, Galactic Empire (A long time ago)

    (1080 – 1086)


    The suspicious period of relative peace and stability continued throughout the Empire for many years following the sticky incidents with the man in the pointy hat in Rome. My display of piety and humility had had the desired effect.

    Of course, it was only relatively peaceful and stable from my point of view – I heard that my vassals, newly cowed by fear of me, were taking some of their own medicine from the lowly counts in their employ. I took the view that since they had all so recently opposed my interference in their affairs, it was only fair that I should keep out of these provincial disputes, and let them settle the matters themselves:



    Alas, the one exception to this universal period of goodwill (towards me), was, inevitably, the Italians. Once more the treacherous Duke of Lombardy, not learning from the mistakes of his father, again rose up in rebellion against my authority.



    Imperial armies were – almost – as gloriously victorious as ever, under my magnificent leadership.



    Nonetheless, the admonished Duke was soon brought to his knees and returned to the fold.

    And, as an added bonus for the year 1082, the interfering Italian Pope died, and was replaced by a more modest German bishop. In fact, the new Holy Father was a good friend of the Duke of Austria, Lucius Sejanus. The incredibly ugly former Bishop of Prague and he used to be neighbours. With any luck, Sejanus will have taught him a few things about groveling that his predecessor never seemed to have learnt.



    Satisfied that God had rewarded my leniency towards the Duke of Lombardy with the appointment of a less interventionist Pope, it was at this point that I decided to spend more time with my family. But as God gives with one hand, he takes away with another, and it turned out that my fears about my sons’ names were well-founded:



    Such is the danger of allowing your wife to choose your children’s names, however. I was soon cheered up by some better news when God, it seemed, had made a mistake in choosing Jan of Prague to be Pope, because the old devil dropped dead after only six months in St Peter’s chair, and was replaced by a good friend of mine.



    You may have noticed that Brother Heinrich’s usual comments are absent from this portion of the manuscript and that is because, in my mercy, I gave him the bishopric he’d so been craving all these years and then, with a few well-placed monetary ‘suggestions’ to the cardinals, God’s will was made manifest, and he was elevated to the Holy See.

    Well, actually no. Ha! Of course that’s not what happened! Brother Heinrich may dream of such things, but they’re about as likely to happen as me becoming Emperor in Constantinople. I don’t think Heinrich would make a good candidate for Pope. He knows too much.
    Now, don't look so upset, Brother. It's for the best. If you think working for me is difficult, imagine what a demanding master God must be. You're better off with me as your benevolent Emperor, trust me.

    In fact, this particular Heinrich von Formbach just happens to be my good friend and neighbour. Since he both appreciates my skill and has nothing but contempt for Duke von Morningsider, he is obviously also a man of great moral judgement, which is more than can be said of most.

    In the autumn of 1083, Lombardy once again attempted to throw off my rightful rule of the Empire. I cannot recall whether this was the third or the fourth occasion. I was however, determined that it should be the last.



    While I pondered which exquisite torture method should be applied to the Duke of Lombardy, Duke Nicholas of Provence and the new Duke Fausto of Savoy were having similar problems enforcing authority in their own lands:



    In the spring of 1084, my daughter Mahaut returned from the monastery looking, if I do say so myself, rather beautiful if, unfortunately, also proving to be too clever by half. Not trusting any of my own vassals to take care of my eldest daughter, I found her a husband far away, in the person of the Prince of Novgorod.



    Throughout the rest of that year, Duke Nicholas continued to struggle with rebels in Vienne, and Duke Gabriel had his own problems in Frisia. Even distant Sardinia was not immune to unrest. I, meanwhile, was busy deciding how to spend my daughter’s dowry.



    My third son, Geoffrey, at last began to show some spirit. However much the bishops might disapprove of his behaviour, at least he has backbone. I was beginning to fear that he would turn out like his wishy-washy brothers.



    1085 was characterised by further troubles for my vassals, and further confirmation that my children were destined to disappoint me. Young Jocelyn even threatened to take sick with a cold.



    Nonetheless, my eldest son is my eldest son and I was determined to make a strong ruler of him. He proved himself to be something of a chip off the old block when he showed himself to be somewhat financially astute (though no-one compares him to proverbially rich Greek Kings).



    As he reached his sixteenth year, I prepared him for manhood by finding him a wife - the daughter of Duke Kadvael, who is prettier than her name, Gertrude, would imply – and by granting him dominion over the family estates in Franconia.



    Neither really makes him Emperor material, but at least this way I might be able to stop him completely destroying the glory of my Imperial dynasty forever.

    Last edited by AllmyJames; 21-07-2010 at 17:47.
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  8. #8
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    Dynasty Watch - 1087


    I expect that posterity is now curious to know what my personal and family life looked like in the year 1087, as I celebrated my 20th year on the throne. Perhaps the affairs of my vassals might also be of some small passing curiosity to my future generations.

    As I neared my 50th birthday, my new-found resolution to appear more accommodating was paying off. My reputation for scepticism had disappeared, thanks to my large gifts to the church, and I was now perceived as forgiving rather than vengeful.



    My children were now reaching adulthood, but my wife was kept out of trouble by the addition of another son, Dietmar [5], and two more girls, Berta [2] and Mathilda [1]. I let her pick the names to keep her happy, but she’s still suffering from rather too much stress.

    ***


    As is traditional, I’ll start with the worst of the blaggards under my rule first.
    Shaun von Morningsider is, alas, very much alive, and we’re still very much rivals . And that’s despite my allowing him to go home after his extended visit to the castle guest accommodations. Still, I’m in good company, as he’s also enemies with Duke Robert Morrell of Bavaria, and His Holiness the Pope.



    He’s still married to that hunchbacked wife of his, and she must have quite some personality, because they have a baby girl, Dorothea, aged 4, to add to their collection. Werner and Wilhelm, his two eldest sons, are both counts (yes, I said counts) in their own right, but appartantly hate each other with a passion [rivals]. That could be useful in the future.

    ***


    Magnus Muffin, the Duke of Saxony, remains as unremarkable as ever. Well, you’ll notice that he refused to tell the inquisitors whence his alliegence lies. More on this later in the tale. Apart from that, he has no distinguishing characteristics.



    He’s still married to Brunhilde, and their family, too, has grown. The eldest son, Siegfried Muffin [18], is the new Count of Celle, his middle son, Otto [14], is struggling as an acolyte to the Bishop of Köln, and a new Muffin has been born recently, Hermann [1]. His eldest daughter, Klara [17], is married to an Alsatian (a man, not a dog), while Alberade [16], is to schizophrenic to get a husband, and Lutigard [11] is too young. Duke Muffin’s father, Ordulf, died five years ago, but not before he presented Mangus with a gaggle of brothers and sisters – Gottfried [12], Kunigunde [11] (that’s a girl, if you can’t tell),Klara [9], Rudolf [8], and Arnulf [5].

    ***


    And now to the Low Countries. Duke Gabriel is suffering from a bout of loyalism , or, as I like to call it, ‘knowing what’s good for you’. This could be because he’s too lazy to rebel against me, but given his tendency to hold grudges [vengeful], I’m not just going to take his word for it.



    Perhaps I should be a little more sympathic to the good duke. After all, his wife has just died. Still, she left him with a fine brood of children, even if there weren’t enough vowels to share between all of them. Mieszko [18], is Count of Westfriesland, but there are rumours that he’s not Margarit’s son [bastard]. This has led to his rivalry with the next eldest son, Zbigniew [16], who’s Count of Ostfriedland. I couldn’t have planned a bloody dynastic civil war better myself. We’ll have to see what happens once Bolko [15], Strasz [11], Kazimierz [10] and Zygmunt [8] grow up.

    ***


    Robert Morell, the second Duke of Bavaria, seems to be settling in to his new job nicely. Not only is he also a loyalist, but he also has friends in high places (me and the Pope), and picks his enemies well (Shaun the treacherous). And he sticks by his friends, too [stubborn]. He’s obviously no fool, but his habit of running away from any battle that’s not going his way has led to some nasty accusations of cowardice.



    His eldest son, Godfrey [16], has just been appointed Count of Oberbayern, and Robert and Medania have two new sons, Alphonse [9], and Geoffrey [7].

    ***


    Duke Kadvael de Bretagne, despite a large family and Imperial favour (note the gift of the Duchy of Alsace), is nonetheless depressed. There’s no pleasing some people. It may be due to the fact that his wife hates him [rivals]. But at least he has a friend in Philippe Murmurandus, Count of Besancon. As long as he remains loyal, I don’t really care.



    His eldest daughter, Oda [18], is married to some nobody, but at least I allowed Gertrude [16], to marry Crown Prince Laurence. His youngest daughter, Binhilde [8], could only dream of being so lucky. His two sons, Rudolf [13], and Wenzel [12], are both too young to be of any real importance.

    ***


    Like me, Duke Nicholas of Provence has embraced the ways of the cloth, and renounced his scepticism, however, unlike me, he doesn’t seem to have grasped the merciful part of the message, and remains as vengeful as ever.



    He and his wife’s (Mathilde) bad luck with children continues. Waltheof died many years ago, and his only surviving child is a son, Alfred [1]. Sadly, it’s not hers, so something will have to be done about that, lest the duchy fall into the hands of the Duke of Toulouse’s relatives.

    ***


    Duke Stefan Boglingen is another of those vassals who seems to have lost his wife. But this is his second. That really is just carelessness. I know for a fact that he still hates me [rivals], but he claims to be a loyalist. This may just be because he’s too cowardly to do anything about it, or perhaps he’s pragmatic enough to see that he’s never going to beat me.



    His eldest son, Bruno [18], is count of Weimar, while Tancred [7] and Konrad [5], are still waiting to grow up. Katharina [17] is married to the brother of Mayorqw, Duke of Brandenburg, while Amalberga [16], is waiting for a husband. Likewise Ermengard [8], is still too young to be betrothed.

    ***


    Lucius Sejanus, Duke of Austria, has still not remarried after the death of his first wife, poor chap. His friendship with my brother-in-law, Fausto, is somewhat suspect, but I’m sure he has his reasons. He also seems to be attempting to teach Duke Iain a few rudiments of refined speech.



    Nonetheless, he has two strapping sons, Romanus [17], who’s now Count of Krain, and Albrecht [16], who’s count of Morava. Albrecht has also married Alyse, Iain’s lovely young daughter. His other children are Johann [14] and Gertrude [11].

    ***


    The friendship between Lucius and Iain must have achieved something, since Iain has also come down firmly on the side of loyalism, after that previous unpleasant episode. His tendency to offer everyone he meets a ‘righ’ goin’ over’, however, seems to have made him a few enemies [rivals], including both his neighbours, Stefan Boglingen, and Juan el Even.



    His oldest son, William [16], has not yet returned from the University of Prague, and we already know that his daughter Alyse [17] is married to Lucius’ son. But what’s surprising is that her elder sister Irmgard [18], is married to a distant cousin of Lucius’, who happens to be Count of Nurnberg.

    ***


    If you don’t recognised Juan, Duke of Bohemia, that’s because he’s had a new official portrait made. It does make him look less terrifyingly angry all the time, for which, at least, I’m grateful. Despite his assertions that he’s a prodigy, he’s turned out to be something of a loud-mouth know-it-all [amateurish pettifogger].



    So it’s probably just as well that he’s been busy at home instead. He now has two sons and a third daughter, and what’s more, they’re not Bohemian. In some not-very original variations, Juan’s sons are Joan [7] (don’t I have a daughter by that name?) and Jaume [4]. Juan, Joan and Juame – try saying that three times quickly with a Spanish accent! Oh, and the girl’s called Isabel [3]. Whatever.

    ***


    Serek der Eifer remains Count of Steirmark, much to the chagrin of Duke Sejanus, who seems to be under the misguided impression that Steirmark belongs to him. It’s not really a problem though, as Sejanus is too weak-willed to press the point, and Serek is too cowardly to stand up to him. All-in-all, Serek’s a bit of a wuss – he’s too willing to trust others, and he’s even faithful to his wife [chaste].



    He and Bertha now have four children; in addition to Gisela [12], Ernst [11] and Ida [10], the most recent bairn in the nest is young Waldemar [6].

    ***


    Bertha’s brother is our old friend Wilhelm van Holland-Lotharingen. You’ll notice that he is no longer the Count of Holland. It appears that his truculence was appropriately rewarded by his overlord, Duke Gabriel D’Oraz. Recently, therefore, he’s come grovelling to the Imperial court, asking for some sort of help. I can’t have him and his extensive family mooching around here forever, so I’ll have to do something about this state of affairs.



    His first wife, Hedwiga, died a few years ago [1080], so he’s remarrie another of Lucius Sejanus’ cousins, Brunhilde. His five sons by his first marriage still survive, and two of them, Werner [18, a bastard], and Jan [16] are old enough to be a further burden to my court, while the others, Simon [15], Kristof [13] and Maertyn [8] are still young enough to be palmed off to a minor count as fosterlings.

    ***


    Karl von Galien continues to perform well as Duke of Tyrol, and has proven immune to the plottings of his one-time master, Duke von Morningsider. He has a good head on his shoulders, that one [pragmatic]. Even if it is too square.



    In addition to his gaggle of daughters (Elgiva [17], Klementia [14], Ealdgyth [12], and Eadhild [8]), Karl has two strapping sons, Eanhere [18], who is Count of Trent, and Aethelric [5].

    ***


    I’ve also been presently surprised by Duke Fausto di Savoie. The new responsibilities as Duke appear to have given him a new dose of common sense [pragmatic] and made him less disloyal. You’ll notice, however, that he’s taken the kill-all-my-vassals-and-confiscate-their-lands approach to rulership. If it works for him, I’ve got no problem.



    His daughters, Alfonsina [17] and Fortuna [16] remain unmarried, while his son, Abbondio [15], is nearing manhood (well as manly as any Italian can be, anyway).

    ***


    Phillipe Murmurandus, the French-Dutch-Flemish Count of Besancon has already reached manhood. He’s continued to nurse his vengeances, but is too cowardly to actually do anything about them, and spends all his time flamboyantly scheming against his neighbouring counts instead.



    One of those rivals is the Count of Nordgau, his father-in-law. Phillipe’s wife Hildegard is expecting their first child.

    ***


    The impeccably-groomed Count of Kleve, Guttrom von Wikinger, is a suave and debonair as ever. No-one doubts his zealotry, but he’s pragmatic enough to realise that crusader isn’t really all that important. Of course, that may just be because, like all priests, he’s a snivelling coward at heart, whoever his Norse ancestors might have been.



    He has the misfortune to be friendly with Duke Muffin, whom, you will remember, has some divided loyalties, and also to have been father to two prematurely bald sons (Almerich [18], Magnus [17]). They share their father’s dress sense, but neither his lustrous hair nor pointed beard. What a disappointment. Only Tore [12] has any hope of producing a good family portrait now.

    ***


    And finally, someone new. Yet another nationality joins my polyglot empire, with the unlikely addition of a Portuguese Duke of Brandenburg. Duke Mayorqw (I can’t even pronounce that name. It sounds Polish. Perhaps the Imperial Ethnographers made a mistake?) von Awesome, despite his surname, is unlikely to be much of a worry for the Imperial Inquisitors. Despite being prodigiously intelligent, he over-thinks things [pragmatic], and is either too lazy or too weak-willed to ever put those thoughts into action. On the plus side, his stuttering lisp (not to mention his haircut) makes for an entertaining conversation with His Grace. He once tried to discuss with me the 'inate twuthfulneth of the mythtewy of tranthubthtanthiation.'



    With his wife, Uta (a German), he has three children – Aldonca [2], Catarina [1], and João [0].

    ***


    Well, now that you’ve seen the alternatives, I expect you’re glad that I’m the one in charge. Here’s how things would shape up should (heaven forefend) I be called on to greater things:

    I. Gabriel D’Oraz, Duke of Lower Lorraine, Brabant, Gelre and Holland [Vesimir]
    II. Juan de El Even, Duke of Bohemia [Johan11]
    III. Robert Morrell, Duke of Bavaria [Morrell8]
    IV. Nicholas Kendall, Duke of Provence and Dauphine [Mr. Capitalist]
    V. Lucius Sejanus, Duke of Austria and Carinthia [Lucius Sejanus]
    VI. Kadvael de Bretange, Duke of Upper Lorraine and Alsace [Kadvael]
    VII. Laurence d’Allmy, Duke of Franconia [AllmyJames]
    VIII. Fausto di Savoie, Duke of Savoy [Splendid Tuesday]
    IX. Mayorqw von Awesome, Duke of Brandenburg [Mayorqw]
    X. Stefan Boglingen, Duke of Thuringia [RabidBogling]


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  9. #9
    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    VI – “Et Tu Brute?"
    Gaius Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome 46-44 BC
    (1086 – 1089)


    The year 1087, my twenty-first on the throne, brought yet another unpleasant surprise in a long string of unpleasant surprises. Having spent the past few years graciously watching my vassals deal with their own rebellious counts, I suddenly found myself once more on the defensive. All my mercy, forgiveness and outright bribery was not enough to prevent two more princes from nearly simultaneously striking out against me.
    One was the ever-troublesome Duke of Lombardy and the other was a great shock. Perhaps I should have realised from his friendship with Duke Stefan of Thuringia, but I was nonetheless taken aback when news reached me that Duke Muffin of Saxony, my usually unremarkable neighbour, was gathering his armies to march against me.
    This was serious for two reasons – one, Saxony is uncomfortably close to Ansbach (try right across the river), and, two, Duke Muffin commands many thousands of troops.
    Thankfully, I was able to attack his forces from three directions, using my own armies, as well as those of my loyal princes. The Dukes of Brandenburg, Meissen and Thuringia attacked from the west, I led my own forces from the south, and the Duke of Lower Lorraine attacked from the East. Victory was assured.



    There was a slight hiccough when the resourceful Muffin was able to sow treachery and desertion within our armies, in a desperate underhand attempt to stave off his execution.



    Nonetheless, I dealt with the adversity like a man, and struck the final blow against Duke Muffin myself.



    As a punishment for his crimes, I told Duke Muffin that he probably didn’t really need two duchies, and that he should probably be less greedy. After all, some people would think that he was lucky to escape with his life. I took his trouser-wetting and weeping for agreement, and offered the Duchy of Brunswick to a loyal Lieutenant, Duke Iain of Meissen.



    Now, I had brought my son Jocelyn along on campaign to try and infuse him with some manliness, but he spent the whole time visiting Duke Boglingen’s camp, mooning over his daughter, writing her bad poetry, and goodness knows what else.
    Seeing an opportunity, I wrote to Duke Boglingen, suggesting that perhaps he wouldn’t want anyone to think that his beloved daughter had been doing anything improper, and that a marriage between our children would be best. As much as it pained me to be related to such a worm as he, I hoped that his daughter would act as a hostage for his future good behaviour.



    And as a wedding present, I gave my son the Duchy of Baden for his own. He still seems like a cowardly girl to me, but even he can manage a two-province duchy. I hope.



    After this, it was time to deal with the Duke of Lombardy. I had no intention of giving him the modicum of mercy I had shown to Duke Muffin. My loyal minion Wilhelm, the erstwhile Count of Holland, led the campaign, to varying degrees of success.



    In fact, while the wicked Duke of Lombardy was captured and his rebellion put to rest, Wilhelm himself was slain in the service of the Empire.



    In an attempt to avenge his death, Imperial armies went on to storm the castles of several rebellious Italian princes, and bring them back to the fold.



    And to recognise his faithful service, I granted the newly-vacant Duchy of Lombardy to Wilhelm’s son, Jan. With luck, this would be far enough from the vengeance of Duke Gabriel d’Oraz. And as a final sign of my favour, I gave him my daughter’s hand in marriage. So not only did I get all of Wilhelm’s mooching children out of my court, but I was able to ship off one of my kids as well. A good day’s work.




    But my travails were not yet over. Duke Stefan, having had time to think over my wedding proposal, was now having second thoughts. He claimed that my son was having some difficulty performing his duties as a husband, and thus the marriage should be annulled. While I could easily believe this of Joceyln, I wasn’t going to admit that to Stefan, and I wasn't going to give any of the dowry back. And so I marched to war once more.



    After some stunning victories, I was able to convince my new in-laws to stay out of the family business once and for all.



    With the defeat of Duke Stefan, things grew quiet once more, and I was able to spend some time plotting the future of those children who remained at home. Given how well my last marriage plot worked, I decided to pull the same trick again. I married my third son, Geoffrey, to Duke von Morningsider’s eldest daughter, Laura.



    I then invested Geoffrey with the Duchy of Verona. Ruling Italians takes a firm hand, and so far, Geoffrey was the first of my children not to be a disappointment.



    1089 was a busy year for weddings, because just a few months later, I arranged for my daughter Joanna to marry the widowered Duke Gabriel of Lower Lorraine. My new son-in-law barely made it to the wedding himself, however, since he was confined to his bed with consumption. It must be all the marshes in Holland. I told my daughter to nurse him to health herself, and not to bother him with any doctors or apothecaries. Lots of cold, damp air is what he needs now.


    [IMG][/IMG]


    However, despite that, the wedding was a great success. Nothing brings a nation together like a royal wedding (except perhaps a royal funeral, but I prefer weddings). Lots of feasting, jousting and drinking of ale. Surprisingly, no-one duelled anyone else, and everybody seemed pleasantly respectful towards me. It was a surreal experience. Nonetheless, I began to feel that things were, at last, finally looking up.


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  10. #10
    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    VII – “What an Artist Dies With Me”
    Nero, Emperor of the Romans (54-68)
    (1090-1092)


    My instincts were right. Things did indeed look better in the years following my daughter’s wedding. Taxes came in on time, no-one tried to kill me. That’s all I’d ever asked for, and it felt strange to be able to go to bed not wearing plate armour any more. I got a lot more sleep too, which was nice. Several other events confirmed that I had won the Almighty’s favour:

    Firstly, my vassals continued to have trouble, which made me feel all the more smug.



    Incidentally, in my 25th year as Emperor, 1091, Duke Morrell of Bavaria was experiencing some of the aforementioned ‘trouble’, persuading the Count of Nurnberg to hand over his yearly tithe. It turned out that the Count of Nurnberg was a relative of Duke Sejanus, but I was nonetheless compelled to get involved, because Duke Morrell had somehow managed to allow the count to collect more men-at-arms than he, a rather foolish oversight on his part.




    I enlisted the help of Duke von Morningsider who (grudgingly) agreed to help his neighbour. Now, what happened next is somewhat confused, but it seems that Duke von Morningsider was found lying face-down in the dirt with several arrows in his back, dead, following the rout of his forces. Duke Morrell then happily turned up just after the Swabians had fled the field, and won a stunning victory. I asked Duke Morrell about this happy coincidence but he couldn’t enlighten me any further. In any case, one more enemy had been removed from my realm. God was truly smiling on me.






    Oh, and the Count of Nurnberg was utterly crushed.



    When my wife’s birthday came around that year, I was somewhat anxious, for I had forgotten to buy her a present, and she’s always been very particular about that. But as it turns out, there was good news there as well - the castellan informed me that she had been found a month earlier in her room hanging from the rafters. I had wondered why the castle had been so quiet of late.



    Not one to waste time, I decided that it was my duty to find my children a stepmother. Preferably a young beautiful stepmother with a wealthy father prepared to pay a handsome dowry. My new father-in-law turned out to be Juan El Even, Duke of Bohemia. His daughter was perhaps less beautiful than I would have liked, but thankfully the royal bedchamber is awfully dark at night.



    At Christmas, 1091, I held a great feast to celebrate my Silver Jubilee. For twenty-five years I had been King of the Romans, and that was something worth celebrating. I did notice, however, the absence of several Italian counts. When I consulted the Royal Geographers, it turned out that the Republic of Pisa and the Bishoprics of Ancona and Lucca still considered themselves outside the Empire. This could not be allowed. I decided to take a trip south in the New Year, and check to see if they had lost their invitations. That, I thought, might also be a good opportunity to visit the Pope and ask if he’d got around to scheduling my coronation yet.



    Surely, given my great level of popularity with my princes and the church, it would only be a matter of crossing a few I’s, dotting a few T’s. Having paid a visit to the Bishop of Lucca, I set out for Pisa. My ever-victorious armies marched onwards...



    I knew I hated Italians for a reason.




    So that’s the story of my reign. King of the Romans for twenty-five years and forty-six days. I think it was a tale worth telling, and who better to relay it than me? No doubt posterity will judge me harshly, but I look forward to seeing if any of my successors manage any better. At least I saved the Empire from my cowardly sons. Though my son-in-law Gabriel is a sick man with a wickedly pointy beard. I’m not sure if I feel sorrier for him or for my one-time subjects. They probably deserve each other.



    Now, at last, I may rest my spirit, and you may rest your body, Brother. Your service will be rewarded in the hereafter. Once St Peter finally gets around to letting me into the celestial kingdom, I’ll have a word with someone up there for you. I hope I don’t have to wait as long as I did for my coronation.




    ~~~~~


    I, Brother Heinrich of Bologna, deacon in the Abbey of St Benedict at Vallombrosa, swear by Almighty God that the preceding account is a true and accurate telling of the revelation given to me by the shade of the Late Emperor James d’Allmy, in the Year of Our Lord 1092.

    ~~~~~~


    This manuscript confiscated by order of the Holy Father Alexander VII and the Emperor Gabriel D’Oraz, by virtue of its innate heresy. All other copies have been consigned to the flames; its author convicted of witchcraft and his soul cleansed through trial by fire. Duplication or distribution of this document prohibited on pain of excommunication and trial for heresy.
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  11. #11
    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    VIII – “You have failed. The world of Men shall fall.”
    The Witch-King of Angmar (???-3019 TA)
    (1092-1096)


    When the crown of the Holy Roman Empire was placed upon the head of Gabriel d'Oraz the sky turned black and great was the despair of the simple folk. The first years of the Dark Emperors reign would be spent on consolidation, and rooting out every rebel and men brave or stupid enough to defy the Emperor.

    ***


    And here I am. The Holy Roman Emperor. The first thing I've done was the basics. Look around and see what's what. First, I looked at the Laws. Needless to say, things had to be changed. Traditional Custom was in place. I guess my predecessor simply didn't notice and thought the rebels were Gods punishment. They weren't. Feudal Contract was established.

    Then I looked around the world. Things were pretty normal. Pagans in the Baltic, normans in England, castillians in Denmark... Wait, what? Yeah, another thing our late Emperor hid away from us was the fact that the Iberian peninsula is completely overrun by muslims. And France is next on their list.



    I guess we have different opinions of what's important.

    ***


    After seeing what's what, I've tried myself at every Emperors favourite passtime, Whack-a-Rebel! We had enough of that already so I'll just skip that.





    This happened a lot, I don't think vassal of mine stayed loyal throughout the whole thing. Anyways, things are well. The Netherlands have been consolidated under my rule, Venezia is now mine, Italy has been subdued and redistributed among poles and germans and the Empire is pretty much at peace in four years from the start of my reign. Even though some still think I have realm durres, there are only four vassals that have loyalty below 50. And what happened in the meantime, you ask? Well, between the rebel killing a few interesting things happened. Mayorqw got offed in a battle, I took my revenge upon the Holland-Lotharingens by killing off all three wifes duke Jan had, I got healed at the very start of my reign and after I got healthy I promptly jumped back into the bed. This time with my new wife.





    ***



    This is the state of the empire at the current moment. I think that pretty much sums up the first four years of my reign so I guess that's it. Hopefully I'll be able to put my plans of world domination into action when we meet again.

  12. #12
    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    IX – “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am!”
    Stealers Wheels (1972–1975, 2008–present)
    (1096)



    Emperor of the Holy Gabrieline Empire, Handsome devil


    Duke of Provence, First in line of the Imperial succesion, Hopeless spender


    Duke of Austria-Carinthia, Second in line of the Imperial succesion, Loyal AND deceitful


    Duke of Bohemia, Third in line of the Imperial succesion, Hunchbacked spaniard


    Duke of Bavaria, Fourth in line of the Imperial succesion, Lazy coward


    Duke of Lombardia, Fifth in line of the Imperial succesion, Vile and treacherous


    Duke of Saxony, Sixth in line of the Imperial succesion, Uninteresting


    Duke of Upper-Lorraine, Seventh in line of the Imperial succesion, Breton priest


    Duke of Meissen, Eighth in line of the Imperial succesion, Fat scott


    Duke of Swabia, Ninth in line of the Imperial succesion, Pragmatic german


    Duke of Verona, Tenth in line of the Imperial succesion, Son of the late emperor


    Duke of Branderburg, son of the late Mayorqw


    Duke of Thuringia, still alive


    Duke of Savoie, lustful Italian


    Count of Steirmark, Cheesy name


    Count of Besancon, Dutch or Flemish?


    The late count Mertgyre who died while valiantly fighting for the right cause


    And his son
    Last edited by Vesimir; 25-07-2010 at 17:29.

  13. #13
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    X – “Oh, damn!”
    Me, after seeing the CK version of me die (Confidential information)
    (1096-1101)


    The steward slowly approached the Overlord of all that is on earth. The Emperor was resting, but they couldn't wait any longer. He coughed so that the Emperor would turn his godly gaze upon him.

    "Yes? What is it, minion?" The master of the Holy Gabrieline Empire was clearly annoyed.

    "I have a question to ask of you, sir. What shall we do tonight?"

    "The same thing we try to do every night, steward. We try to take over the World!" As the emperor bursted in maniacal laughter, thunders cracked the sky open, and rain fell upon the earth. This was a time of war. One realm, hundreds of lords, Total War!

    ***


    Over ten thousand soldiers marched eastward, the emperor at the helm. The pagans of Mecklemburg fell quickly, as did the pommeranians. But this was were things got complicated. Poland controlled lands that the emperor looked upon. And everything the emperor saw was his. This led to the Great Eastern War that towered over the other events of the nineties.

    ***


    The Emperor slowly made his way through the burnt polish village. But suddenly, he stopped. His eyes fixed on a single object.

    "Well, that's a funny looking child, isn't it?" He turned and gained the attention of his marshal.

    "Where, sire?" The marshal squinted his eyes trying to figure out what the Emperor was talking about. "Wait, you mean... That?" The marshal pointed at a shape covered in brown fur.

    "Yes, of course! What else would I be talking about?"

    "Ekhm... Sire, I believe that is a dog."

    "A dog? Really?" The Emperor looked at the furry shape closely. "Hmm... Well, it would explain the tail... Very well, I shall trust your words."

    ***


    The rest of the stay in Poland was uneventful. The german armies won every battle they wanted to, and there was much rejoicing. After the Polish king reluctantly gave up 1/3 of his country and the Emperor returned to his throne in Sticht, all was well and there was much rejoicing. Until the Emperor ordered all the peasants flogged.

    And then, a tragedy befall upon the people of Europe...

    "What? Well... I guess you do have a point... But you're sure it's true, right? Well, OK then."

    The old tosser finally buggered off. If there was ever much rejoicing, it was now because that crazy ol' bastard is ten feet under. Anyways, I guess this means I don't have a job anymore. Well, maybe the new king will employ me. Would be nice of him...

    As the narrators words slowly died down, the clouds parted, and for the first time since 1096, the sun could be seen in the lands of Europe.

    ***


    The Holy Roman Empire
    Anno Domini 1101


    The late Overlord of Germany


    The new Holy Roman Emperor



  14. #14
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    XI – “It's no country for old men"
    Cormac McArthy (2005)
    (1101)


    When the clouds cleared, a new man sat on the throne of the Holy Roman Empire. Well, we say "new", but the Emperor himself felt old and worn. He was not an optimist, nor one of those people who lighten the room. No, Emperor Nicholas was definitely grumpy.

    He had good reason. He was old and of uncertain health. He only had one surviving son. He was estranged from his wife. His council of advisors were so mediocre they made him look bright, and he wasn't. He had spent decades looking forward and working to inherit the throne, and when it finally happened... He found it most unfair. And he said so.

    The Empire itself was restless after the succession. Many of the major duchies rattled sabres, and many of the minors made unpleasant scratching noises with their daggers. Nicholas' first Court audiences were rather awkward until he forced everyone to leave their weapons at the door. He also spent a fortune buying off potential rebels.

    "One of these people will stab my back", he used to say to his Spy Master. "But this old dog can still teach them a few tricks before they get me".

    Start moving before they notice

    And so he did. His first positive acts were to change the laws of the realm to reflect his prejudices: he changed the internal tolls and the the scutage tax; he also restablished the imperial prerogative to designate bishops.

    The second act caught most of his vassals unawares (although, being technically on Crusade, they could not claim lack of forewarning). He declared war on the Emirate of Mallorca. He sent his domain troops across the sea in March 1101.



    The third was to mobilize the eastern dukes, which he did in June. In Meissen, where the Duke wasn't enthusiastic, he raised the troops directly. He sent the regiments to the borders of the Tribe of Prussia,



    This display of activity and missionary zeal was rewarded by the adhesion, in July, of the Duchy of Sardinia.



    And by mid-August, the cooped Emir of Mallorca had become a vassal, thus carrying the Holy Roman Empire to the cape of Finis Terrae (and 13 provinces into the Roman Empire). This was to have lasting consequences, since the (now Duke) of Mallorca instantly became the Emperor's most powerful subject.



    Looking around and taking stock

    So some six months into his reign, the Emperor had the first (and almost last) moment of quiet to look around the Empire and at his subjects. This is what he saw: a quiltwork of independent states battling in the East, a fractured Outremer, a fragmented Ireland, and a consolidating Iberia. The rest were fairly solid countries, and the Byzantine Empire was doing rather well.







    Inside the Empire, the main players were few. Nicholas himself was at the time still reasonably healthy.



    The leading family in the land, after the Majorcans, were the heirs of the late emperor. The young D'Oraz had married his spy master and seemed content to build his empire on the northeast.



    The D'Oraz family seemed bound to disappear, though, as the Duke had only sired girls, and all his potential heirs bore a different surname.

    The van Aarlander family in Meissen was doing well, with several sons already sporting Count titles.



    The Sejanus in Austria were also well established, with the next generation well poised to take over when the time came.



    The van Holland in Lombardy were currently young and looking dangerous, although here Duke Jan had married his steward.



    The current Duke of el Even in Bohemia was complex. He was a prodigy but, being also a hunchback, his martial prowess was nil. He had married a rather common girl with no special traits.



    The Morrells in Bavaria made the Emperor uneasy. The Duke was rebellious enough, but his steward wife was also deceitful and vengeful.



    The Muffins at Saxony were also of the Emperor's generation, and seemed to have some prestige problem besides a very small domain in proportion to their vassals. Probably a consequence of an extended, healthy family.



    Uprising as a parlor game

    In September, while the Imperial troops were concentrating on the Prussian borders and the Emperor himself was descending on the unsuspecting vassals of the Emirate of Toledo, the Duchy of Swabia decided it was a good time to throw in the gauntlet. Loyal duchies like Tyrol promptly jumped to the imperial banner.



    The Emperor initially ignored the rebellion and went on declaring war on Prussia.



    But both the situation and the character of the von Morningsider rebel (right by the dangerous Morrells, too) forced him to pay attention.





    And things promptly became interesting. Thus the reign of Nicholas I really started in earnest, and thus he began to earn his title of Nicholas the Short-Tempered.



    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
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    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  15. #15
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    XII – “Hey, I'm making this up as I go!"
    Indiana Jones (1981)
    (1101-1103)



    The Emperor Nicholas believed in giving people a chance. A single chance. So when a vassal rebelled, he usually took most of his vassals and at least one domain province, thus debilitating them for "the next time". Surprisingly, this worked rather well: some vassals even lost their rebelliousness after the treatment. If they didn't learn, and they were Electors to the Empire, they got off with a scolding and an occasional spanking. On the other hand, if they were not Electors, they just ceased to be.

    Every variant of this treatment was meted out quite frequently. Indeed, it changed the map of the Empire almost as much as Nicholas' expansion policy.

    When asked about those invasions by the local representative of an international troubadour chain, he is quoted as grumbling:

    "Can't leave those godamned heathen in the dark forever, can I. And besides, I'm sure if I keep searching I'll eventually find myself some loyal vassals".

    Therefore, historians believe it was the unrest in the core of the Empire that led it into expansion in the early XII Century.

    In 1101-1102 we find an example in the combined rebellion of Swabia and Bavaria. The following sequence captures the start, development, and end of the rebellion.



    The concerted efforts led Geoffroy D'Allmy, who headed the Imperial armies, caused the fall of Wurtemberg and Furstemberg in early 1102, but the Emperor didn't just want to force a peace. He took the Duke of Swabia's capital for himself and vassalized his largest vassal. In Bavaria, he vassalized Nurnberg, Tirol, Salzburg and Innsbruck directly before signing the peace.

    This kept rebellions down... until December 1102, when Arborea decided to run free (Count Eriprando was dragged back in 1103, until the next time). But none were as significant as those mentioned above. At that time, the Imperial response to rebellions was to swear punishment, and to support his vassals against rebel counts; he also doled out small subsidies to rebellious-minded Dukes.

    The many D'Allmy dukes were mainly loyal vassals during those times, and several of them in fact were raised as fosterlings in the new capital, where it is said they were safest from bullying. Arnold son of Jocelyn, for instance, grew into a man at the Imperial Court. The D'Oraz family was loyal well into the next decade.



    While the Empire was racked by the rebellions at its core, the Emperor strove to gain new and (as he hoped) more peaceful vassals. In the East, the war agains the Prussians was the first of many attacks on pagan realms, some of which almost welcomed Germany rather than fall into the grasping hands of Byzantion. He attacked and conquered Yatviags, vassalizing them in July 1102 and thus firmly putting the Empire over the Danube. This brought them into contact with the Lithuanians, and soon border disputes degenerated into war with them, and their masters the Tribe of Cuman. While the Lithuanians were conquered before 1103 (and the Crusade carried on to the heathen Pruthenians), their masters refused a peace for years. After the Pruthenians (which fell in May 1103, giving their capital, Sambia, into the Imperial real), further direct expansion northwards was blocked by Byzantion and the Teutonic Order, but the Emperor sent his troops against the Lettigalians in an effort to jump the barrier. Those were the last conquests in the North, for after that, the Emperor's interest in the East was turned South.





    In the West, the Emperor himself led an expeditionary force into the Emirate of Toledo which fast turned into an international embarrassment when the King of France joined battle and actually snatched the province of Castellón in late 1103, which had already been vassalized by the Emperor. His comments at the time were of a most venomous type. Not to mention when the Pope called the Peace of God in the middle of the Crusade and caused the loss of a key regiment. The worst result of the mess, however, happened earlier: the Emperor's severe wound when defeated in battle in June 1102. He never recovered, not even when visited by Athanasia, the famous miracle-worker, in early 1103. This phase of the Iberian war gave Germany some further land, and put Valencia into the domain of the Emperor in November 1103.





    Still, the Emperor was peeved, and by the end of 1103 the German involvement in the Peninsula was growing serious beyond expectations. Especially beyond the expectations of the Muslim taifa kingdoms.

    But probably the most unusual war of his early periods was that caused by the unprovoked aggression of a Scottish bishop.



    The Emperor ignored the matter, hoping they'd just become bored and go away, until a Scot expeditionary force appeared in Lyon in July 1103 and attempted to besiege the city with less than 300 lances. This ended the Emperor's patience, and in turn led to the return invasion led by the Duke Zygmunt D'Oraz, where almost 20.000 soldiers were loosed into the Celtic lands.





    The end of 1103 saw also the start of a war provoked by vassals of Poland.





    Thus the Empire ended 1103 involved in foreign wars on almost every quarter, if reasonably peaceful and prosperous inside its borders. That, of course, couldn't last. The Emperor was stretching his management ability and his health, for one thing.
    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 05-02-2011 at 17:43.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  16. #16
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    XIII – "Things are not what they seem... they're worse!"
    K Kataline (2008)
    (1104-1105)



    Historians usually get confusing when dealing with the year of 1104. The Emperor himself seems to have been at least a bit confused himself, but that didn't stop him making the mess ever greater. In short, during 1104 the Emperor almost doubled the territory of the Holy Roman Empire, wrecked its stability, and sowed the seeds of so much trouble that it's almost painful to recount it.

    Or, as the monarch wrote in his diaries: "Whew!".

    The War in France

    The previous year saw the Empire engaged in war against Cuman, Scotland and Poland, and some skirmishes on the Iberian Peninsula. In 1104, several new theaters would open.

    In January, the Duchy of Flanders declared independence from France and war on it. Due to its population and closeness to the royal demesne, they were able to stand their ground. But Nicholas intervened. He offered vassalization to the Flemish, and when it was rejected, he simply invaded.



    In April, having occupied Brugge, he forced the vassalization.



    Flanders controlled two provinces of the French realm, and Castellon, the third (and on which Nicholas had a claim), was very close to the German armies in Iberia. Nicholas declared war before the end of the month, and marched on the three of them.



    He proceeded to invest his prestige in fabricating claims agains most of the French dukes and several counts. Then, with the royal French family in his hands (the Flemish eventually were bought off) he negotiated vassalizations with one after the other until, in early June, practically all of France was in his hands.



    Once Ile de France was in his hands as well, he extorted from the Capet king the province of Castellon as the price of peace.



    The Scottish war

    The invasion commenced a year earlier took until the end of April to fructify, and then Nicholas was generous: he allowed the ex king of the Scots to walk away with his duchies and counties, but not his crown.





    The Polish and Baltic wars

    At the start of the year, the imperial armies were trundling into the Western half of Poland. They kept trundling all through the year.



    All the Polish vassals were occupied and subjugated. Eventually, the Emperor remembered to send troops to the Eastern half of the country, and squashed it too.





    Which led to the substantial reduction of Poland. Say by four fifths.

    Very shortly after, the newly-acquiered Prussians rebelled and declared war, and the same armies were sent in to enlighten their ways.



    Italian campaigns

    The Italian peninsula saw its share of action. First, when the Count of Ravenna refused a vassalization offer, and was in turn invaded. That part ended in June with a full annexation.



    The second was far nastier. The Duchy of Ancona broke off the Empire in a very public row, thus sparking a general lowering of stability and prestige, and (also) another war.



    Which, again, led to annexation and lenient terms.



    This worked wonders for Imperial prestige, which in turn lent wings to the Emperor's reckless expansion policy.

    The Iberian mess

    In parallel to all these actions, the Imperial armies had waged a very intensive and rather chaotic war in Iberia. They fought not only different taifa kingdoms but also French troops and eventually Prussian rebels (Castellón had been handed to them). To cap it up, the Emperor insisted on supporting his Dukes against upstart vassals, which often ended with the duchies absorbing the counties and the Imperials bearing the losses.



    All in all, it was an outrageously complex war, waged mainly with French levies and local muslim troops.

    Realm duress

    Sadly, the result of all those hardly-absorbed provinces and unfit dukes was an increase in uprising, and eventually a general state of realm duress. The Empire was clearly overexpanding, and the periphery's problems were stating to affect the rich, civilized provinces of the core. The fragile flow that kept Trantor alive was... I mean, the Emperor's grip was slipping.



    Not among the least of those problems was the succession. The Electors of the Empire were overshadowed by very powerful Dukes from France, Iberia, and even the Baltic.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  17. #17
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    XIV- “Bloody, but unbowed”
    "Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.
    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid."
    William E. Henley, 1875

    (1105)


    March 1105 inaugurated a time of consolidation, in which the declining physical and mental strength of the Emperor combined with the highest tide of his power.

    The Emperor’s armies mostly steamrollered their foes in the East and slowly ground the opposition in the West; for good measure, they also made mincemeat of the frequent smaller rebels and uprisings in the Imperial heartland (not that it kept them from trying). Knowing when he had a good thing going, the Emperor lost no time in taking his efficient Marshall into the family.

    Indeed, things seemed so under control that this year the Duchy of Galloway joined the Empire in April of its own volition.

    By June 1105, Sevilla had fallen and the balance of the battle for Iberia was becoming clearly favourable, although the Taifa of Almería resisted (and the continuous rebellions of Counts against the Dukes furthered chaos). The Prussians, after putting up a gritty resistance, were also subdued: the Emperor punished their rebellion by stripping the Duke of every title and, once a commoner, by immuring him.

    After helping in the dismemberment of the Prussian duchy, the Imperial troops were sent to a new target: the Principality of Kiev, whose rich lands and trade routes had tempted the Emperor for years. The war started on June 25th, and the province of Kiev was occupied on September 10th. The Prince became yet another vassal.

    The war against the taifa of Almería lasted until December 1105, when, deprived of vassals and with its domain occupied, it finally submitted to vassalization. That still left the East of the Peninsula in muslim hands, which would bring renewed hostilities in the future.

    Of note also was the end of the formal war with the Kingdom of Cuman in August 1105. Although the two had never exchanged a direct blow, it had troubled Imperial counsels for years.

    Therefore, the end of 1105 saw the Empire standing unrivalled among the nations, although none too stable, and with a succession problem getting more serious with every passing year.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  18. #18
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    XV- “Half a league, half a league, half a league onward”
    " Was there a man dismay'd ?
    Not tho' the soldier knew
    Some one had blunder'd:
    Their's not to make reply,
    Their's not to reason why,
    Their's but to do and die."
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1854

    (1106-1108)


    1106 started with a military bang with the attack on the Emirate of Badajoz, the largest remaining taifa in Eastern Iberia. It covered, approximately, the modern-day lands of Portugal.

    By March, the Imperials had subdued the region without further difficulty, reaching separate peaces with most Sheiks and eventually vassalizing the Emir. This enabled them to launch an equally successful offensive on the remaining lands of Toledo. It was at this time that the famous poem of “The disgraced king” was written, recreating the historical event at which the Emir’s mother bid him “cry as a woman what you could not defend like a man”.



    But the tide finally turned in May 1106. A revolt that had started in the court of the child-count of Innsbruck was discovered to have been instigated by the neighbouring Count of Tyrol, Alphonse Morrell, a brother of the Duke of Baviera. When confronted, he publicly rejected the sovereignty of the Emperor and attempted to lead a general uprising of southern Germany. Fortunately for the Empire, the uprising was badly coordinated and late, and loyal troops were able to quell it at Innsbruck and later at Tyrol. The Emperor eventually stripped Alphonse Morrell of his titles and gave Tyrol to the newly-loyal Count of Innsbruck.

    But the effect of that brief rebellion was profound. It shook the confidence of the nobility and started a period of progressive realm duress, when rebellions had a definitely harder edge and civil strife seemed perpetually around the corner. Texts from the time mention a general unrest of the lower nobility, and it is easy to deduce that the most powerful noblemen were not happy at the influx of new duchies without any redistribution of land or titles.

    The result was a slow drip of independences (soon quelled with iron means) and uprisings, mainly by counts against dukes, but in which Emperor Nicholas still usually intervened.

    The result was violent confusion. In August, the Countess of Albret asked to become a vassal. But later in the same month, the whole Duchy of Upper Lorraine rebelled in arms. Duke Cadvael de Bretagne was deprived of vassals in a campaign that lasted until next year.

    In October, it was the turn of Toscana. Later went Menorca (whose vassals spanned the north of the Peninsula). In February 1107, the County of Ferrara. That month, too, started the military recovery of Toscana from Archbishop Geoffroi. In March, Burgundy broke away (to be retaken finally in July). In April, the count of Donnchad asked to become a subject.

    That was the rule during all of 1107, and indeed the rest of the reign of Emperor Nicholas: minor to mid-size rebellions, followed by systematic reannexations of the land in which the offender lost most (or all) vassals before being reincorporated.

    Of note was the war with that started in May 1107 between the Duchy of Tyrol and the Kingdom of Sicily. The Emperor chose not to join. It has been debated whether he refused to be drawn into a disproportionate war for some irrelevant quarrel, or if he already felt overextended. It may also have been a rare sign of foresight, as the King of Sicily dominated the Papacy at the time and good relations seemed essential.

    Indeed the first expansionary war in this period was the invasion of Valois in March 1108 when it broke off from France.

    A view of the Electors

    During the second half of 1107 there was a Diet at Wurms, and the surviving documentation allows us to depict some of the leading characters of the day.

    Zygmunt D’Oraz was Duke of Lower Lorraine. Apparently an outstanding warrior, he had no opportunity to prove it in war and therefore had a reputation more of saintliness than of greatness. His marriage was especially close, but their descendency was all female, and very short lived. His branch of the family looked likely to lose the Duchy.

    Lucius Sejanus was duke of Austria, Carinthia, Moravia and Pomerania (although with actually less land than the Duchy of Lower Lorraine). Like the aforementioned, he had more recognized piety than prestige. A widower and getting on in years, he led a rather retiring life centered in fostering the prosperity of his realm.

    Juan de El Even was Duke of Bohemia. While shorter in lands and titles than the previous two, and despite being a crippled hunchback, he had more prestige among the lower nobility. It was noteworthy that the Duchy was elective, and the current candidate to succeed the Duke was a van der Aarlander and (despite three sons holding countships) not a descendant.

    Godfrey Morrell was Duke of Bavaria, and besides that generally undistinguished. He was generally esteemed by his subjects, though, and (after his previous experience) usually avoided quarrels and rebellions.

    Gottfried van Holland-Lotharingen was the child-Duke of Lombardia. Although only 13 years old, he was completely on top of his realm both in terms of competency and of will to rule; indeed, he was at the time the richest of the high noblemen of the Empire.

    Magnus Muffin was the Duke of Saxony. He was the least respected of the Electors due to several embarrassing events in previous years, but he still led a more than respectable gaggle of Counts. And he was also effective enough to have guaranteed his first-born son the heritage of the Duchy in time: the Duke was over 50.

    William van der Aarlander was the Duke of Meissen, Brunswick and Greater Poland. He was also one of the few that had managed to put their eldest sons in a position to inherit. A born intriguer, good administrator and respected commander, he was perpetually clashing with the El Elven family.

    Albrecht von Morningsider was duke of Swabia. Even younger than the van der Aarlander, after his recent clash with the Imperial troops, he ran a well-kept if reduced duchy with a single vassal and a clear family succession.

    Geoffrey d’Allmy was Duke of Verona, and one of the leaders in the rebel cabals, where his energy and industry were costing the Empire dear. His rebellion from July to October 1107 was neither the first nor the last, although it meant the loss of most of his vassals.

    Laurence d’Allmy was Duke of Franconia, on the other hand, and a veritable pillar of the Empire.

    Joao von Awesome was Duke of Brandenburg. His early religious education and cruel tendencies were fertile ground for one of the most successful and early Inquisitions in history.

    Eberhard Boglingen was Duke of Thuringia. Contrary to the previous example, Duke Eberhard’s religious education fostered only learned debate and a lively research community in his court.

    Of the minor noblemen present, Ernst der Eiffer of Steiermark and Steffen Murmurandus of Angouleme were the most outspoken at the Diet.
    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 08-03-2011 at 11:42.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  19. #19
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    “XVI - The End of the Watch”
    “The oath resounds, on rolls the wave,
    The banners fly high, proud, and brave,
    The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine
    We all shall stand to hold the line!”
    Max Schneckenburger, 1840


    (1107-1109)


    As commented in earlier chapters, the Holy Roman Empire was mainly concerned with internal matters in this period, and it is arguable that the conflict with France was a Frankish internal issue waiting for resolution.



    The Diet of Wurms, as a means of reinforcing Imperial cohesion, was a failure. Rebellions continued. Duke Geoffroy D’Allmy rose at Verona at the end of the year. In November, his vassals at Treviso and Padua were torn from the Duchy and the Duke swore fealty anew. But Verona remained a hotbed of conspiracy for the Papal party for the following years, although much less dangerous thereafter. It is suspected that Geoffroy had a hand in the independence of his neighbor the Count of Ravenna in December 1107, for example.

    December brought another turning point in the reign of Emperor Nicholas: his skin lesions were diagnosed as leprosy, at the time a very stigmatizing illness. This was perceived as a sign of divine disfavor and encouraged rebellion and enemies across the map, while Imperial apologists strove to present it as a divine trial and sign of preferment.

    Still, leper or not, Nicholas in his old age does not seem to have lost faith in his ability to retain control of the Empire until it crumbled around his ears. The Northern Italian uprisings were bloodily crushed in January 1108, and the Count of Ravenna exemplarily executed in the battlefield.

    He also started a policy of rewarding loyal Dukes. For instance, in early 1108 he gave the province of Sambia and the Duchy of Prussia to Alfred Kendall, Duke of Genoa and, at the time, a stalwart defender of Imperial authority whose forces had been actively involved in Italy.

    He seems to have been fooled by the attitude of his wife into thinking that their long-running rivalry was over, for he also gave her the rich provinces of Castellón and Valencia, with the Duchy of Valencia, thus ensuring himself a thorn in the side for many years.

    In March 1108, as has been commented, the Empire was sufficiently calm to entertain limited territorial ambitions, and jumped on the Duchy of Valois as soon as it split off from the remains of France. The Duke promply returned to the French fold and the Empire found itself holding French royal domain land.

    The Emperor’s reaction was characteristically impulsive: he declared war on France and invaded Ile de France, occupying it in September 1108. Instead of signing a peace treaty, he vindictively tried to destroy the French throne by forcing its vassals to switch allegiance, starting with Urgell and Bourges. The French King desperately fled the Imperials to Nevers, renouncing his capital and Vermandois into the hands of his Dolphin, also called Philippe, who was soon vassalized by the Emperor. This ploy could have worked, as Philippe could have inherited the French throne and eventually recovered the lands, but Nicholas was too vengeful of the repeated interference of the French, as he perceived it. Nevers fell in Christmas Day of 1108. The Duke of Orleans, the last defender of the King, switched sides in January 1109. Before the end of the month, Nicholas, now permanently hidden from public view behind a veil, stated his claims to the throne of Charlemagne in Western Frankia, and usurped the French crown with the forced acquiescence of its last holder. A coronation ceremony was held in private, at which the Archbishop of Reims was said to have performed the rites under armed coercion.

    Peace lasted very little. The powerful Duke of Bohemia, Juan of El Even, who had long made plain his reluctance to admit Imperial expansionistic policies and was known to entertain designs for his own throne, finally rebelled openly in February 1109, declaring war and throwing the already restive East of the Empire into disarray.

    At the same time that Nicholas was doggedly pursuing France, he started a policy of “generosity” towards vassals who attempted a peaceful secession. This policy eventually was recognized as simply waiting for the right time to establish hostilies, but initially was perceived as a real change of tack. It wasn’t. While the Bohemian war provided a distraction, some of the rebels were tolerated, but that didn’t last long.

    From a cultural perspective, this was also a time of convulsions. The Pope introduced letters of indulgence, which enabled him to buy partisans with divine pardon, and also to fill the Papal coffers in spite of the Imperial policy of limiting Church tithes and benefits. Bishops loyal to the Empire would attempt to stem both the flow and the demand of these Letters from Rome, to little effect.
    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 08-03-2011 at 11:39.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  20. #20
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    XVII- “It has to be born from within the people”
    “I am sensing that deepest solidarity with you requires
    the courage of reckless rebellion.
    An ultimate "Yes," demands the bloodiest risk of a snarling "No!"
    Acknowledging you requires fighting you.
    Loving you makes us sometimes hate you. In fact,
    How can we love you without periodically disagreeing
    with you?”
    Phil Streeter, 2000



    (1109-1110)


    The war in Bohemia was pursued mainly with troops from neighboring Prussia, Brandenburg, Franconia, Upper Silesia and northern Genoa. The invasions were carried out also against the rebel counts of Usti nad Laben and neighbors. As was the usual procedure under Nicholas, the Imperial troops attempted to seize the core Ducal domain and then prise off the vassal counts, thus neutering the rebel for further uprisings. Therefore, the Empire declared war on most of Bohemia and not just the Duke.

    The largest battle was fought by Imperial troops under William van der Aarlander of Meissen against the Bohemians led by Duke Juan in May 21st 1109, when the second sought to relieve the siege at Plzen. While the total forces involved were under 20.000 soldiers and the Imperials lost less than 500 men, the Bohemians sustained over 2.000 losses, nearly a third of their home regiments, and were broken as a military force. This soon led to the occupation of Praga. Once the western half of its vassals had been pruned off, the Emperor pressed a very lenient peace and vassalization offer on the Duke and had it accepted in July 1109.

    The other relevant outcome of this first Bohemian war was that the already powerful Duke of Meissen was awarded the Duchy of Burgundy. This made him the leading candidate to the Imperial Sucession, which (with Emperor Nicholas 58 years old and a leper) increased his influence even further.

    The death of Alfred Kendall, the last surviving son of Nicholas, during the Bohemian wars, had put the whole succession matter onto every table of the Empire and shaped internal politics until the end of his reign. The death of the Duke of Genoa and likeliest successor left his son Aethelric Kendall, a boy of six, as leading contender for the crown within the Imperial family. Jockeying for position among Dukes, and grumblings among the losers, were a constant thereafter.

    After the close of the first Bohemian war, Nicholas didn’t release the regiments but instead turned them to the East, against the Duchy of Mazovia to attempt to reconnect his lands. This led to a long series of sieges until, in June 1110, Duke Jowieslaw Piast swore fealty to the Emperor.

    In October 1109, while the Imperials where still fighting in Mazovia, the Duke of Bohemia broke away again. This time, the Emperor tried diplomacy, and convinced Duke Juan to rejoin the Empire in exchange for renouncing several claims on his titles. An agreement was only reached in May 1110.

    The following months saw a rare lull, and the birth of hope in the stabilization of the Empire. The Imperial Court, run at the time by the De Lusignan brothers, Esclarmonda and Aymer (respectively Chancellor and Marshall), managed to quell further large uprisings during the period, but the coming and going of Counts was continuous, and corruption charges were repeatedly aimed at the Imperial Steward. Their largest success was the achievement of an alliance with the Empire of Byzantium in October 1110.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

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