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Thread: Eagle and Lion - The House of Habsburg AAR

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    Eagle and Lion - The House of Habsburg AAR

    Eagle and Lion

    The House of Habsburg AAR


    Welcome to my first AAR as the counts of Aargau. This AAR will be made in a narrative style and I will always try to play in character. This means that there are no real goals set for the whole dynasty as each character will define their own.

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    Second Lieutenant Makesin's Avatar
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    Prelude


    A tall man, age of forty or so, walked along a dark corridor. He was in no hurry really, so he stopped by a small window and looked out. 'The sun is setting', he said to himself, 'he's probably waiting for me already'. He never really looked forward to dealing with strangers, but this one was important, as he brought a message from Ulm, the seat of duke Rudolf. 'I hope Siegmund's there, he's so much better at talking than me', he thought as he continued his internal conversation. But he doubted it. He sent his chaplain back to Basel. Yet another wrong decision he made in the last few months. He hoped that the one concerning Swabia wasn't wrong as well. Only a half of the glowing ball was now visible behind the tall mountains. 'It's time,' he thought and continued forth.

    'His Grace, Werner the count of Aargau!" The herold announced his entry as he walked trough the doors of the great hall of castle Habsburg. His wife Regenlinde was already sitting on her seat, as was Siegmund! Why didn't anyone tell him that his chaplain was in the castle? Everybody stood up as he went past them and greeted him.
    He stopped by his chaplain and asked: 'Siegmund, what are you doing here?'
    'I am sorry that I couldn't inform Your Grace. I just arrived to the castle with the messanger.'
    'With the messanger?'
    'He arrived to Basel 3 days ago and I promissed him to accompany him.'
    'Good, good. I am glad you did.' With that he went to his seat.

    As he sat, a man came before him and kneeled. 'Your Grace. I come from Swabia with both good and sorrow news,' he begun.
    'Do you bring answer from duke Rudolf?', he asked, starting to fear the messanger's answer.
    'I do, Your Grace, and more than that I am afraid.' He wanted to say something more, but was stopped by Werner.
    'What is the duke's answer?'
    'His higness agreed to the bethrothal of his oldest daugher, Adelaide, and Your Grace's son, Otto. But I have to announce that His Higness, duke Rudolf, has passed away three weeks ago.'
    These news caused an uproar in the hall. Werner was stunned and didn't know what to do. Luckily, his wife knew him enough to save the situation. 'We are sorry to hear those news about our dear friend, duke Rudolf. I presume his son Berthold rules now?'
    'Indeed, my lady.'
    'And will duke Berthold honour his father's agreement?'
    'I do not know His Higness' will concerning this, my lady, as I was already on my route here when this happened. But knowing the nature of my young duke, I believe he will, my lady.'
    'I thank you, dear mister. As you can see, His Grace my husband is not feeling well, this sorrow news was a terrible shock for him. With your approval, gentlemen, I will accompany him to his rooms.

    Their bedroom was full of child's cry as their youngest daughter, Serhilda, who was born las autumn, showed her hunger. Reginlind sent for a nurse and set next to her husband. 'You know what this means, my dear?'
    'What, Reginlind?' Werner answered, fearing how will this conversation end.
    'Adelaide is Bertohld's heiress. Should he died, our son will be betrothed to a duchess of Swabia.'
    'Berthold is healthy and strong, at least Siegmund says that.'
    'You shouldn't always listen to that boy, my dear. He cares more about the afterlife than our miserable existence here.'
    'As do I,' he responded angrily. He loved Siegmund as a brother and hated when his wife tried to turn them against each other. 'This world is just a trial for our souls, nothing more.'
    'Whatever you say, my dear. But should Berthold die...'
    'Should Berthold die?' he repeated without any understanding. She didn't say anything else and left him with his thougts.

    The year went by, spring turned into summer, summer into autumn and suddenly a new year was there, a year born under the sign of war. In January the emperor called for war and marched northwards to purge the pagans of Pommerania and Pommeralia. As a dutiful vassal, Werner marched with him. With her husband gone, Reginlind started to plan a great future for her son. She travelled with him to Ulm to see his future bride, as she said, but also to spy on Berthold and spot his weaknesses. As it turned out, Otto and Adelaide understood each other quite well and so Reginlind remained in Ulm for the whole summer. Unfortunately, she realised that that bloody Siegmund was right: Berthold was healthy and full of strength and it was very unlikely that he would die from an illness. In september, she decided to return back to Aargau. There was nothing she could do with Berthold now and planning was better done at home.

    Heinrich, ruler of the Roman Empire, stood in a tent that stinked of death. And indeed, on a bed there lied a man, age of forty or so, with a terrible wound on his chest. 'My liege,' the man said painfully, 'you shouldn't have come'.
    'I always visit my loyal vassals, dear Werner. Even though they are about to meet our Lord sooner than anticipated.'
    'I am sorry that I have failed you, my liege.' As he said that, a strong cough overcame him.
    'Oh no, it is me who is sorry. But do not worry, Werner, I will take care of your wife and son. I have decided to grant him Stettin which you so valiantly helped to conquer.'
    'I... I am very grateful for that, my liege.' Another strong coughing. And, as it turned out, his last as well. The emperor stood there and watched as his comrade-in-arms so abruptly, after forty six years of life, stopped breathing.

  3. #3
    Field Marshal James The 1st's Avatar
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    Nice, I will be following. Be sure to post pictures.
    Last edited by James The 1st; 16-02-2012 at 21:45.

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    Second Lieutenant Makesin's Avatar
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    Thank, James.
    Yes, I will post pictures in the future, I totally forgot to take any during the beginning (luckily, Werner died soon, so not much time was lost).

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    Part I : Otto I.
    Chapter 1 : The Reigning Countess


    Immediately after Werner's death, Emperor Heinrich did as promised and bestowed the title of Count of Stettin upon Werner's son, Otto. The young boy very soon noticed, that after his father's demise, a lot of things changed.



    All of these changes were somehow tied to his mother, the countess widow Reginlind, who swiftly took the position of a regent silenced with threats anyone who dared to oppose that. The only one who remained a danger to her was her late husband's friend and chaplain, the oh-so-righteous Siegmund, bishop of Basel.

    During April that the steward of Soldin, the seat of the county of Stettin, was staying in Aargau to plead for soldiers. After an audience, he engaged into conversation with Reginlind, even though she wasn't exactly happy with another problems.
    'My lady,' he started, 'surely you understand that those Pagans are a danger to your son's rule up there. Should they start a full rebellion, I am afraid that only the Emperor will be able to stop them.'
    'Then bother him! Or do you think I have time for your nonsenses about some old-god-lovers?'
    'My lady, surely those problems aren't worse that a direct threat to your rule?'
    'They are, because it's a threat right here, in Aargau. That cursed Siegmund is gathering support for his opposition and there is nothing I can do to stop him!'
    'I am very sorry to hear that, my lady.' Here, the steward stopped talking for a while. Then, with a devilish smile appearing on his face, he continued: 'My lady, surely it is every priest's duty to spread the Word of our Lord.'
    'I believe so, yes. And what do you think he does? He gets most of sympathizers during masses.'
    'Well, my lady, such a pious and noble servant of God could never refuse to turn Pagans to the Light.'
    'To the light? What do you... I see. That, my dear Hesso, is a great idea. I am only afraid that some of those Pagans may be quite angry if a priest comes amongst them.'



    The years went by and nothing could threaten Reginlind's rule. In September of the year of our Lord 1074 a message came from Stettin that poor Siegmund was tortured to death by Pommeranians somewhere near Wollin. That same year the emperor showed that Werner probably really was his friend, as he raised Otto to a duke by giving him the duchy of Mecklemburg (alas, without any titles tied to it) and betrothing his oldest son Ludwig to Werner's younger daughter Serhilda. But slowly, Reginlind's rule was coming to an end as Otto was almost and adult.

    In January of the year of our Lord 1076 the castle of Ulm was quite lively. A wedding of duke Otto of Mecklemburg and duke Berthold's sister Adelaida was being celebrated and almost every important noble of the Empire was present, including the Emperor. And yet everybody could see that Otto's poor mother, widow of the late count Werner, was bothered by something. But only Hesso von Solothurn, steward of Soldin, knew why.

    'You understand, dear Hesso, don't you?' she asked him while holding a cup of wine. She didn't even wait for an answer and emtpied it.
    'Of course, my dear lady. But I cannot make the decision for you.'
    'Yes, yes, I know. Years of planning, years of plotting, and everything to vain because I can't do it now.' She took another cup from a servant an drank it all just like the one before. 'I am old, you know? I hold power for five long years, in a constant fear of revolt, in a fear that Siegmund will take it all. Then Siegmund died and suddenly, everything was quiet. And now this.'
    'I understand, my dear lady. And please, stop drinking the wine, it's not good for you,' he added as Reginlind ordered another cup.
    'Yes, thank you, Hesso, you are right. As always. Do it.'

    The news spreaded troughout the Empire like a forest fire. The young boy, duke Berthold of Swabia, drank too much wine during his sister's wedding and then fell of stairs in the castle's tower. He was dead on the spot and his poor sister inherited the duchy. Quite some luck for that Habsburg's boy, some added. First a duke of Mecklemburg, now a duke consort of Swabia too! And yet, no one, ever, suspected foul play. And finally, for the first time of her life, Reginlind was content.


  6. #6
    Captain Warspite_TW's Avatar
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    I like your style. I will follow this.

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    Having just started a game as the Count of Aargau myself, I am looking forward to seeing how high you can rise.
    Past AARs
    Göttdämmerung-(1944)-A-Canadian-AAR - Abandoned due to corrupted save game
    Glory-Honour-or-Death-An-Australia-36-AAR - Abandoned due to apathy

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    Warspite : Thank you.

    Prussian_King : Well, I am not deliberately aiming that high, so we'll both see.

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    Chapter 2 : Of Tournaments and Feasts


    'Sweetie, I just don't understand, what you mean,' countess widow replied to another of Otto's bursts of anger.
    'Don't call me that, mother! I know you had something to do with that poor Berthold's death, so don't deny it!'
    'I don't deny that I welcomed it, terrible though it had been, of course, swee- my duke,' she corrected herself quickly to not give her son another excuse for shouting.
    'I am tired of this, mother. You should know that your dear friend Hesso confessed.'
    'He did what?'
    'I didn't even had to torture him, what a shame, really. Seemed he was proud of his deed.'
    'Where is- did you execute him?' A hint of fear appeared on her face, but Otto didn't notice it.
    'Of course not! I could just publicly confess Berthold's murder then, I am not that stupid. No, I sent him back to Soldin, but, oh, what a shame,' his lisps formed a terrible smile, 'seems some pagans killed him on his way there. Just like they did with poor Siegmund.' He liked his father's late chaplain and always blamed his mother for his death.
    'What will you do with me?'
    'I thought about sending you with Hesso,' that terrible smile appeared again. Reginlind frowned when she realised he wanted to kill her. 'But despite what you did, all those evils, you are still my mother. I will send you to a monastery, so you can repent for your sins there or whatever people do when closed in such places.'
    She wasn't even angry, nor sad. In fact, her beloved son's distance and obvious hate broke her. She accepted her fate and left Aargau the next day, destined to never see her familly again.

    In August of the year of our lord 1079 the Emperor Heinrich held a grand tournament at his castle Babenberg. All his vassals were invated and even more of landed knights and rich adventurers took part. And of course, no grand tournament can be held without the presence of lovely ladies, each of whom desires to be the tournament's queen.
    No one could say anything bad about Otto's skills. He bested some knights (duke Heinrich of Bavaria amongst them, and what a fight that was!) and later was bested by count Renaud of Bourgogne, the mightiest knight of the whole empire. Everybody (even Otto) agreed that Renaud indeed proved worthy of the winner's wreath. And so no one understood why Renaud missed all the loveliest maids and stopped by Adelaide, duchess of Swabia, a lady not really considered to be a beauty, and presented her the circlet of tournament's queen. And to crown this mockery of poor Otto, he commented it with 'My fair lady, I hope that you will accept the circlet from this humble knight, when your incompetent husband couldn't do it himself.' Otto immediately stood up and demanded compensation, but Renaud just laughed in his face and rode away.
    When later that evening, during a feast, Renaud continued in his insults, Otto couldn't bear it anymore. Bested and insulted, knowing that he can't win over Renaud in a duel, he was preparing for exit, when the Emperor stopped him.
    'Dear Otto,' he said to him. 'I have tried everything to stop Renaud, but you know that I am not exactly popular among those Franks. But know this: if you are to avenge on this scum of a nobleman, I would not protest if Besancon was to be held in a more responsible and loyal man.' With that, he left Otto to ride home.

    With the Emperor's blessing, duchy of Mecklenburg prepared for war, which started in April of the next year. Otto triumphally rode in front of his host towards the city of Vessoul where Renaud' assembled his much smaller army. He awaited a quick victory over this insolent man. And so the battle began on the morning of the 26th of April. Otto fought valiantly and everything seemed to be in his favour when, unexpected by both Otto and Renaud, army of Hildebert of Beaucourt arrived, turning the tide of battle fully in Renaud,s favour. The rest was a terrible bloodbath.



    But Otto wasn't without reserves either. A month later armies of countesses Agnes of Fürstenberg and Bertha of Württemberg, his sisters-in-law, arrived to Besancon. Joined by remnants of Otto's host, Renaud was quickly defeated and with the official approval of the Emperor, Otto took the title of Count of Bourgogne for himself.



    Otto's triumph was then crowned on the eve of 11th of December of the year of our Lord 1180, when his dear wife, Adelaide, gave birth to Werner, their first-born.



    Years went by. Werner grew older as he was joined by two more sisters, Adelheid and Sofie. But Otto himself grew more and more bitter every day, feeling that even though the Emperor protects him, he is still treating him unjustly. 'I am the duke of Mecklenburg!' he once screamed on the whole castle, fearing that the title will remain titular all his life, as the Emperor didn't seem to want to surrender his holdings on the north. His hatred escalated on a traditional Christmass feast in Nassau.
    'My liege and friend,' Otto started as he stood up against the Emperor. 'I always admired how justly and kindly you rule our glorious empire. And yet I could not have unnoticed, that you hold lands that should rightfully be mine.'
    The lords in the hall thought of this as insolence. The title was after all given to Otto by the Emperor without any claims and so Otto was now behaving very ungratefuly. And so it was to everyone's surprise when the Emperor nodded.
    'I am aware of that, my dear Otto, and altough I know it is not fair to you, I cannot comply. But, to try to compensate you, I have decided to grant you the county of Wolgast which I have recently conquered.'
    That was unexpected. Otto's enemies hoped that his little performance would grant him a seat in prison, his friends hoped that he will not anger the Emperor. But no one, not even Otto in his deepest wishes, could imagine that he would really gain a new territory.

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