The Reign Of
PHILIP I of FRANCE
Wednesday, January 10th, 1067
By this point, now two weeks into his own independent reign, Philippe could no longer stand sitting in his throne, taking more comfort standing on the raised floor at the head of his court, pacing as he spoke. He'd become more and more suspicious of the Duke of Aquitaine (who had made his rebellious sentiments public), and was still in search of a more secure ally if it came to that. It was his plan this time to vassalize the Duchy of Brittany, a petty realm hanging off the European continent. It wasn't what you'd call civilized, as it was inhabited mainly by Gaulish Bretons, with the exception of its two largest cities, Nantes and Rennes. The Gauls were known for their warrior tradition, however, and for being particularly fierce on the battlefield. Philippe could use this to his advantage, if he played his cards in just the right way.
He wrote upon a parchment affixed to a plank, carefully wording the entire document as to squeeze the fullest effect from it that he could achieve. He didn't want De Garlande to compose it, as in his age he'd become a mediocre writer of simplistic terms. The only advisor he had present on this occasion was his mother, who he consulted only every now and then. His calligraphy left a little to be desired, but he was able to make everything legible enough to send to a Duchess.
"Guard!" he shouted. A guard promptly appeared before him and knelt. "Ah, good, you're here. Have this message delivered to Havoise, the Duchess of Brittany. I'm hoping for a little more success this time."
"Yes, my liege." said the guard, darting out the large courtroom door to find an envoy with no prior engagement. Philippe was now alone, except for his mother, and took the opportunity bounce thoughts from the walls, thinking aloud.
"So, the Duke of Aquitaine thinks that he can oust me?" he said, to nobody in particular. The walls spoke his words back to him in the cavernous room. He'd had to get used to the echo in the first few days in here, but now he didn't mind it so much. "He thinks that he can challenge my sovereignty as King of the Franks?" Philippe was pacing vigorously, back and forth across the raised floor. "Death be had by him if he should raise his sword against the crown!"
"Do not think yourself invincible, son." said Anna. "You must be cautious in dealing with these men. They will not hesitate to kill you. Do you understand?"
"I shall not tolerate rebels, mother." said Philippe. "And, Hugh could become King if I am killed."
"Hugh is much too young, and much too reckless to succeed you" said Anna. "Preserve yourself, Philippe. Your life is not to be thrown around like some object. It cannot be replaced."
"Mother, I-" Philippe nearly raised his voice at his own mother, but he stopped himself. "I... agree. I'm sorry, I shall not put myself at risk unnecissarly." Philippe thought for a moment. He decided that he should consult the Marshal, an experienced warfighter of 47 years, on the state of the army. "You there" he called to the remaining guard. "Go forth and summon Renaud de Marly. I wish to speak with him" The guard made his way out, and before a long span of time could pass, Renaud entered the courtroom, came before the King, and knelt.
"My liege" he said. "How may I be of service?"
"What is the state of our army, Sieur de Marly? How many soldiers can we levy on command?"
"At the moment?" The marshal paused. "About thirty-five thousand."
"And, if we exclude all soldiers from Aquitaine?"
"In that case..." the marshal figured the numbers in his head. "Twenty thousand."
"Ah..." Philippe thought to himself for a moment. "Then, let us hope the Duchess of Brittany shall answer favourably."
Thursday, February 15th, 1067
The envoy knelt before Philippe, not waiting to be addressed before standing. He was obviously a Breton, from the way he was dressed and from his masterless sort of demeanour.
"Greetings, envoy." said the King. "I take it you come from Rennes?"
"Ah, yes." said the envoy. "I come with a message for thee, most esteemed King of the Franks, from her grace, the Duchess of Brittany, Havoise de Rennes"
"So you do." said Philippe. He didn't much care for formalities, preferring to get straight to the point at hand. "How does she answer my request?"
"The Duchess has sent me to inform you that she has decided to accept your request, and shall be in Paris in a fortnight to pledge her fealty to your court in person."
"Excellent" said Philippe. "I shall make arrangements to greet the esteemed Duchess accordingly." Philippe was overjoyed, but kept himself calm and collected externally. It was advantageous to keep one's emotions in check in the courtroom, as it (sometimes) kept one's enemies from exploiting them. Needless to say, he was satisfied with this news. How should he welcome the Breton duchess? Should he hold a banquet in honour of this treaty? Should he offer up some sort of gift? Ah, decisions, decisions, decisions and more decisions. He would figure it out eventually. For now, he allowed himself to smile triumphantly.
Thursday, March 1st, 1067
The feasting hall had been prepared to suit the fancy the esteemed guest, the Duchess of Brittany. Philippe awaited with several of his higher courtiers, including De Garlande and his wife, in the vestibule, until the Duchess and her husband arrived in a carriage, surrounded by several Breton household guards. They were accompanied by the Breton chancellor, Rivallon Roazhn, and by a servant girl who held in her arms an infant, the heir to the Breton crown, the duchess's son, Alain. They made their way inside, escorted by several Frankish guardsmen. Philippe's courtiers stepped back, clearing the space around their King, and the Duchess and her consort approached. The duchess performed her courtesy, and her consort his bow, and they waited for Philippe to address them. He was delighted at how polite these two were compared to their envoy.
Havoise de Rennes, Duchess of Brittany
"Ah, esteemed Duchess of Brittany. I'm delighted that you could be here on this evening." said Philippe, smiling politely.
"It is my pleasure" said the Duchess. "I shall ask you beforehand if you may excuse my husband, as he does not speak French. I hope this will not be an issue."
"Not at all" said Philippe. "I am akithed that Rivallon is a polyglot like yourself. If anything need be said to him, or if he need say anything, may I ask that one of you may translate?"
"I shall" said Havoise. She turned and said something to her husband, Hoël, in Breton. He responded to her, and she turned back to Philippe and said "My husband agrees."
"Excellent." said Philippe, smiling. "Shall we proceed to the courtroom?"
"I am ready, if you are ready to hear me." said Havoise. The two rulers proceeded into the courtroom, followed by the Breton chancellor and all the members of the Frankish court, as well as Manasses, Bishop of Reims, who'd come to oversee the ceremony. The courtiers all took to seats, and Philippe stood upon the raised floor in front of his throne. The Bishop stood beside him, and the Duchess and her consort knelt before the King.
"Havoise de Rennes, Duchess of Brittany and the Breton Peoples" began Manasses "On this day, the first of Martius, in the year of one thousand seven and sixty, you have come to swear homage and fealty before the King of the Franks by divine right, with God as witness."
"I have" replied Havoise.
"Do you, Havoise de Bretagne, swear your homage and fealty to the Crown of Francia, that it may not ever come into question without the wrath of God himself to follow?"
"I do" proclaimed Havoise. "Every man, woman, and child in Brittany is subject to the Kingdom of Francia."
"Factum est" said Manasses. "Glory be to god in the highest."