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Thread: De Toulouse quest for glory (and France)

  1. #1

    De Toulouse quest for glory (and France)

    Long time I was thinking how to write this AAR. At first I was considering making it historical/narrative but then after reading many of others AARs (Saltborn: Crovan is my favorite) I decided to make a lighter version. This won't be a full immense narration, but rather vision of the game from a player. Of course I won't hesitate to present a tactical view of the current situation, some humorous moments that happen in Crusader Kings 2 and reasons why I'm acting this way and not the other.

    As the title says I start as Duke of Toulouse Guilhem IV in year 1066, before the battle of Stamford Bridge. My Duke is young(19 years old) and is ready for action. In the southern France there are two major players - me and Duke of Aquitaine who controls area nearly twice big as mine and is probably the most powerful ruler in realm (except the King). I won't care much about the situation in the north. For now I must improve my demesne and get some gains from the fellow Occitan from Aquitaine. The most annoying thing is that my personal demesne consist of only two counties - Toulouse and Rouergue. Rest are in possession of my noble "friends" and vassals.


    Under current law of succesion - gavelkind - my demesne will split up if I will have more than one son.

    Bastards aren't paying me anything, because of non-existing feudal tax. This hurts and my income is really small. Choosing Duke of Toulouse I thought controlling such a large duchy will give me much more. For now I concentrate on other matters. I sent my councilmen to work. Steward will collect taxes from my only county, marshal will train troops and chaplain try to improve my relations with bishop vassal. I grant honorary titles to my vassals, so they will like me more and send more troops under my command. Chancellor goes for a trip to the county of Limousin and try to fabricate a claim for it. I'm not afraid of the pitiful Duke of Aquitaine. Let's bring this on. Spymaster is sent to build spy network in the capital county of my aquitanian neighboor - maybe he get some gold or find some useful info that I can use.

    In the meantime I will do some hunting and festing. Have some fun men! My subjects need to know how decent person is their beloved Duke Guilhem! If it work maybe I will get some really good traits and prestige which I'm lacking at the very moment. My father was probably a busy man because I have plenty of siblings. It may be dangerous having so many people plotting on my life at my court, but they may prove useful. I will try to get some gains from the Duchy of Aquitaine which for now will be my primary enemy inside the realm.


    As you can see Duchy of Aquitaine is nearly twice as big as mine and he is probably the most powerful ruler in France (except the King). Notice that the lands of Aquitaine are "blocking" me from the north, separating from other lands of France and thus making more difficult to get lands of smaller dukes.


    As I said before Duke is without a wife. On the other hand the court of Aquitaine is full of worthy brides. Lets kill two birds with one stone. Guilhem IV of Toulouse marries Aines de Poitou, daughter of former Duke of Aquitaine Guilhem VII, and niece of current Duke Guilhem VIII. Everyone here calling themselves Guilhem is a bit odd. Now thanks to that, my son will get claims on Duchy of Aquitaine and Poitou, which will be enough to wage war against our neighboors. I marry one of my brothers to daughter of Count of Bourbon, and my son (after few years) is bethroted with daughter of Count of Auvergne.


    After my first son is born I name him Guillame. I refuse the suggestion to name him Pons-Guilhem. What kind of name is that?


    Soon it is obvious that Guillame will be a fine ruler. Tutored by his father he is gaining only positive traits. On the other hand his younger brother that is born later will gain the 'slow' trait.


    It appears that my steward is most succesful man. He constantly brings me a lot of cash that will help mine small budget. Of course the bad news is that he dies, but his replacement is talented too and soon he brings extra collected tax. Unfortunately my chancellor is the opposite. For a few years he is not able to get a single claim for me...


    I ordered a vote for large feudal taxes, so I'll get some more income from my vassals. The voting was a stalemate for a moment, and I needed only two more to get that law approved. Finaly I am able to install large feudal tax and then max levies having enough supporters.


    Soon our good King Philippe I Capet is grown and he immediately call to arms against infidels on Sardinia. Duke Guilhem leaves his duchy and is leading the troops against the Muslims. French King isn't a type of man who cares. When his entire army, led by Count Centolh, is defeated by enormous force of Kabylia, he orders his army to leave his loyal subject and sails on the African Coast. Duke Guilhem is a bit more clever than Centolh. When he realises that the danger is real he flees back to his castle in Toulouse and gaining a craven trait. At least he is still alive...

    made by FaceDancer

  2. #2
    I think I'll follow this aar.

  3. #3

    The French war for Sardinia is on, but Duke Guilhem "relieved" from his army duty is staying at the safety of his castle in Toulouse. Let the Philippe do dirty work against the heathens. It's not my war anyway. Archery contest it taking place in the capital and the winner was some mysterious man with a hood on his head. Robin? I order my Marshal to arrest him, just in case. Maybe I should fetch him to fellow Duke of Nottingham?


    The "tactical retreat" from Spain wasn't a good idea I suppose. Now my reputation is ruined as everyone is treating me like a coward. Hello! There were overwhelming Muslim forces there! They don't mind. So trying to kill the time I went for some hunting. Few times. When we met a huge bear on our way I took the spear from one of the soldiers. I turned around checking that all of my subject see this. Then charge the beast. Now I will show them who's craven! I managed to slain the creature, but before it dies, it fought back and hit me with his claw in the arm. I fell of my horse and suffered back in my chambers. But the goal was achieved. Now all France know about the great hunter, brave Duke Guilhem.


    My other activity (except hunting) was feasting. Every winter and summer Toulouse was Heaven on Earth. Suddenly something unexpected happened. During a regular feast one of the courtiers died. Bishop Anfos said that the food was strange and not too good. I was shocked. I spent so many gold on the best food and still there are unhappy people and someone is dying from it. Maybe poisoning on the court?


    Soon the war came to my Duchy. King was winning war for Sardinia, but a large group of infidels stormed they way to the heart of our realm. I was in the middle of organizing another feast, who would care about few hundreds of angry Muslims running to get us. The combined forces were sent to solve this problem. Ah, these Occitans! The enemy is at the gates and they still are having fun, trying not to care at their beloved Duke feast. Of course the battle was great victory. That's what I heard from my brother and Marshal Raimond.


    During my reign there were some plots. Most significant was a plot of my brother Raimond to kill my son Guillame. Raimond was a good Marshal, a good asset on my court so I gave him the second chance. He was a bit surprised that I know of his schemes and don't want to send him to the dungeon. He apologized me about dozen times before I sent him off. What a fun that was.


    During one of my Summer Fairs I approached a group of actors and ordered them to perform my favorite art 'The Crusader Kings'. Their performance was great and all of my guests were really enjoyed watching this. Especially Count Peire-Barnard was happy about it.


    There were also bad thing happening. My spymaster and friend Count Raimond of Narbonne has been murdered! I knew the foul Duke Guilhem was responsible for this. The time when I place his head on a pike on my castle gate is coming. At least I hope it will.


    In few years the things were quiet in the Toulouse. King Philippe got a smallpox, but unfortunately he survived and is in good health now. After his miracle healing he propose to raise the authority of the Crown. Which was slowly but accepted by the nobles. I ignored it, pretending that something was in my ear and I didn't hear our beloved King too good. Philippe was starting to get on my nerves as he never stopped fighting. After the war for Sardinia he attacked Tunis to get lands in Northern Africa. Most of his vassals there were infidels so I thought it was a good time to practice some intrigue. I make a few plots to kill those nobles that were hating me. It didn't prove too difficult. I usually don't try to kill everyone I see, but this few murders would help me in future, if I would like to make a plot against my liege to lower crown authority.

    Years were passing and my chancellors didn't bring me any claims. Waiting for my children to grow up and gain decent claims from their parents would take long, so I look south were the Christian Kingdoms were eradicated fast by the Muslims. The heathens were still divided so a prosperous Duke could take advantage from that fact...

    made by FaceDancer.
    Last edited by Holy.Death; 16-04-2012 at 21:59. Reason: few errors

  4. #4
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Ah, Toulouse, a long-time favourite of mine. I'll follow.
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  5. #5

    The situation in Spain in the year 1079. The Muslims are slowly progressing north. There are strong Emirates of Badajoz, Sevilla and Valencia, also Kabylia has gained a major foothold on the peninsula. They were knocking on my doorstep last time, remember? Christian kingdoms are in retreat. Barcelona has been completely annihilated by the infidels. Aragon and Navarre are weak and only the Kingdom of Castille is powerful enough to fight successfully.


    I decide to repay may last guests from Kabylia. They are at my borders, with many provinces which would be a great add to my Duchy. They are also weakened by the last war against France (and my humble self). On the other hand I'm not too strong either, but gathered some gold to get mercs just in case. Soon Duke Guilhem declares holy war for Barcelona against Emir an-Nasir banu Hammad the Cruel.


    Soon my forces seize county of Rosello. I send a fleet to scout area a bit. A army of almost 2,000 Kabylians is besieging a county in Valencia. Apparently they are at war with Valencia! There is nothing better than your enemies fighting each other and bleeding themselves out, so you could enter as a third and gain all the goodies! The reason why I attacked Kabylia was not only, because it was near my borders, but it's mainland is on the other side of the Mediterranean. Maybe their reinforcements won't get here fast enough.


    Then something really good is happening for me. Valencia is trying to recapture their holding and main army of Kabylia is trying to intercept them, completly ignoring my 4,200 men plundering their provinces. They wouldn't have any chances with my army twice as big as theirs, but they still could make my life more miserable and try to retake their lost territories I conquer earlier.


    In september 1082, 3 years after I started the war, Muslim armies meet on the field of battle. I enjoy it from a fair distance hoping it will be bloody encounter for both sides.


    Two months later Kabylia has won the war with Valencia. They lost a third part of their army in the process. Suddenly I see something strange and new province on the north is starting to glow. I realize that Kabylia has made my day great. They bleed out just to get county of Barcelona and Urgell. Now they are glowing as a part of Barcelona. Take a look at the second screen again. When I was declaring a war I could only get the provinces that Kabylia was holding. It means when I win this war I get two more provinces from them! Thank you Santa!


    Year and a half later, in march 1084 my numbers are dwindling fast. From 4,200 men I had at the start of the campaign, only 2,600 of them survived. Most of them were lost during battles against reinforcement sent by the an-Nasir from North Africa. In the meantime a horrible thing happens. Duke Guilhem IV is dead! Duke has got an illness. Everyone thought he will recover fast, he was always tough man. But he dies. His body was too severly devastaded by many injuries (about 3-4) he had during his hunts and other illnesses. He's 14 year son, Guillame is a new Duke of Toulouse. Thank goodness most of the holdings in Barcelona are conquered and secured, war with the Emir of Kabylia is almost won.


    On 29 march 1084 the peace offer is send to an-Nasir. He is totally beaten, so he accepts that all of his holdings in Spain are lost. After 5 years the war for Barcelona is over!


    Duchy of Toulouse on 5 april 1084. You can see that it is nearly twice as big than it was before the war erupted. Urgell is colored in green, but I got a barony there. It appears that Kabylia fought only for one barony there, not entire province. Seeing how many holdings I have the gains for me are enormous. In 1079 I got only two holdings in my personal demesne - castle of Toulouse and a barony also in there. Now I gained 5 more counties and a holding in Urgell. I create new vassals on all of cities and bishoprics. There is a castle and 2 baronies in Barcelona, so I'm over my demesne limit, but I'm not doing anything. Firstly I want to wait a year so Duke Guillame will mature. Maybe he will get some stewardship and a fine wife so he won't need to give away counties.

    made by FaceDancer.
    Last edited by Holy.Death; 19-04-2012 at 03:30.

  6. #6

    Soon Duke Guillame I grows up and he becomes grey eminence. Quite decent, because he has very high diplomacy. Other stats are also on good level. Guillame took the reign in his Duchy early, so I presume he will rule his lands a long time.


    French King Philippe appoints me as his spymaster. I won't say no. I wanted to lower crown authority before and as a spymaster my plot power will be on much higher level. This will be very useful in the future plots I plan against my liege.


    As soon as I can, I choose to plot to lower crown authority. I don't want my beloved king to forbid me possibility of fighting against fellow dukes inside the borders of the realm. With limited crown authority there is no harm, but after the death of Philippe another ruler could enforce medium authority. Lowering it now could be a good option, because current King could'nt lower it again. Apparently Philippe is too good to plot against him. I can't find anyone to support my plot against him. I'm also Occitan, so all the Frankish dukes don't like me as I'm foreigner to them.


    Let no joyful voice be heard! Let no man look up at the sky with hope! The King of France is dead, murdered by an assassin. Oh! As a Kings' trusted friend and spymaster of the Kingdom of France I should have foreseen this! Who am I telling this? It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield genera... It was I who set up this assassination, now the young Gilbert will have serious problems to rule his realm properly he he he...


    This is getting better and better all the time. It appears that young ruler has entrusted me to be still at his court as his spymaster. If I was at his place I would fire myself for incompetence or treachery - because I could be worthless spymaster who couldn't stop the killing or the clever one who plot it out. Fortunate that I had a high intrigue stats so the murder was successful and my name didn't came as a suspect of arranging the whole thing.


    Nice. I was telling that it is getting better? I was appointed as a Regent of the young King. He isn't too clever I must say about him. Now scheming and intriguing will be much more easy!


    Ah! My plot power is high, but I need some backers to arrange lowering of the crown authority. Duke of Orleans is eager to join me, but I find it difficult to get more backers. They like more their king than some foul Occitan. For a second I think about changing my culture but... Neva! I wont separate from my grandfathers ways! Soon these Franks will regret this and they will be foreigners in my kingdom!


    With high plot power I'm almost sure Gilbert will agree to my request of lowering the crown authority. It will be easy like taking a candy from a baby. Apparently this baby bites. Gilbert refused with anger that he won't be blackmailed. So I'm going on war with the whole France. Whole? No, there is a little villige that still fights alongside me. I mean Duke of Orleans. But his 300 non-Spartans won't be of a much help to me. I manage to defeat loyalists armies at Limousin. Than I separate my forces to two smaller armies. One of them is besieging castles of Aquitaine and the other marches north, to central France. They will conquer provinces south from Paris and help Duke of Orleans if his holdings would be attacked. Slowly, but it seems that victory will be mine.


    In september 1088, the campaign in France is going well. Suddenly I receive a war declaration from Emir of Valencia. He is trying to retake Barcelona. I must admit that he choose the right moment to do so. I'm in the middle of destructive war against my liege, my armies are weakened. Fighting against Muslims will enforce me to defend on two fronts in one time. France is to the north and Valencia to the south. There is a long way from Paris to Barcelona. To make it worse - my holdings which i took from Kabylia are still useless. With religion, culture and conquest penalties, so I can't count on any levies or money from them...

    made by FaceDancer.
    Last edited by Holy.Death; 19-04-2012 at 23:38.

  7. #7

    So I'm in the middle of two conflicts. Trying to lower crown authority and fight against France. Also Emirate of Valencia wants to acquire Duchy of Barcelona, which consist of many precious holdings. 2,000 army of Valencia is besieging my castle in Barcelona. I muster all my men and march fast to stop them. When the battle begins the French are landing with their 1,700 men in Narbonne. Probably they shipped them off from North Africa (which is in possession of King Gilbert as his personal demesne).


    After the victory of Manresa, which is a huge blow to Valencia, my main forces are marching back north, to face the French. Unfortunately enemy isn't stupid and run seeing overwhelming forces of the Toulouse. In the meantime Duke of Aquitaine, humble vassal of King Gilbert, is rallying his personal levies to recapture his lost holdings.


    French army is maneuvering well and is able to escape the pursuit. But there are also good news. My good friend and ally King Sancho of Castille is willing to join me in holy war that Valencia has declared on me. With my allies watching my flank and securing southern border I should have more time to deal with the French.


    Of course life is brutal. As I gain help of Castilla my enemy is not sleeping too. At the end of July 1090, Emir of Beja sends his regards and join the holy war against me. To make it more dramatical, the most powerful Muslim of the West, Sultan of Mauretania is sending his troops too, he joins the war in the first days of september. Now all the Muslims from Iberia and North Africa (except Emirate of Sevilla) are attacking me. God may have mercy on my lost soul!


    Everything is turning from bad to worse. Not only I must fight multiple infidels state, but also Duke of Toscana is successful in Crusade for Albarracin. Great, nothing like the Kaiser (Toscana is vassal of Holy Roman Empire) knocking to your doors and gaining land from the heathens in Spain... While the Crusade was on I lost a holding in Lleida, but managed also to recapture it fast.


    In august 1093 my army is after few battles with Aquitaine. I'm trying to siege all of their holding. The French are giving the favor back and siege Toulouse, while Muslims attack Lleida again. Now is the time when alliance with King Sancho is paying back. A solid number of Castillians is marching towards the Muslim. It means that I need only to care about a smaller army of French, which is not far enough from my main forces. King Sancho defeats Valencia in Lleida and few days after Emir Isma'il is begging me for peace. With a warscore of 80% it is a pleasant surprise. I was really lucky that Mauretania hadn't participate much in that war. Beja sent about 2,000 men but if Sultan bring some of his levies I would be toast. Huge bonus is that 300 gold tribute paid by Isma'il. My funds were depleting fast and that will keep mercenaries at my side. The warmachine of de Toulouse will not stop due to lack of gold.


    Month later everything is starting to help Toulouse. The war with the Muslims is over and vassals of King of France - Berry and Kent incite a revolt to install their favorite man on a French throne. Good for me, because now King of France can't raise their levies and they will siege holdings in northern part of the country. My army catches French besieging Toulouse by surprise and now I can return to offensive actions.


    The large part of success in surviving the war on two fronts was gold from ransom gained from capturing French and Muslim nobles. Gold was needed to maintain extra companies of hired mercenaries and these weren't cheap. Sometimes I was lucky and after the battle captured some important person like Count of Amiens or Prince Bishop. For those I could get even more gold coins.


    In next year and a half I patiently siege French holdings and capture them one by one. I split my army to two smaller again. One is able to get all the holdings in Aquitaine, while the other captures Bourges, Bourbon and Auvergne. The tide has turned on our side!


    In the year 1097 I'm close to victory. Warscore is at 94%, but then King Gilbert play one more card he has in his pocket. Duke of Gwynedd and King Sancho, my good friend and former ally, are called to arms. Sancho was helping me fight the infidels in holy war for Barcelona, which ended only four years ago. Apparently he couldn't help King Gilbert earlier because he was my ally in another conflict. Few hundreds of Welsh land in Bordeaux, but are quickly cut down by my army which capture holdings in Aquitaine. In 1097 I occupy all French counties in Gascogne, Limousin and Perigord.

    made by FaceDancer.

    PS If you have some thoughts about what I should improve in this AAR, say your suggestions in this topic. This is my first AAR on this forum, so I don't know if I'm making it interesting enough for the readers.
    Last edited by Holy.Death; 22-04-2012 at 03:37.

  8. #8
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Nice job playing the French Throne like a fiddle, its clear Toulouse is destined to lead France for some time to come. Also a good job with pushing the muslims back before they had a chance to consolidate.

    My only real comment on the format of the AAR is that the pictures are all very large in terms of screen space and amount of information conveyed so it gets a little hard to follow sometimes (not that every picture should be small, either, a mix is nice). It may also be my personal preference but I prefer centred images over ones locked to the left side of the screen, it just looks tidier and easier to read for me.
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  9. #9
    Point taken. I make rather big screens, because I thought that they show more. I will think about moving screens to the center. In the game I'm about a hundred years further than the situation presented in newest AAR post. Patch 1.05 would make a big impact in my game and many interesting things are yet to happen.

    FaceDancer.

  10. #10
    I second Saithis about the pictures but otherwise I really like this AAR, especially being from South of France.

    Keep it up!

  11. #11

    Finally, after thirteen years of struggle the war for lowering the crown authority in France has ended. King Gilbert is forced to approve the autonomous vassals right. The country is exhausted by the long, devastating conflict. But the position of Duke Guillame is strongest than ever. The holdings of Barcelona aren't fully incorporate into the Duchy yet. Duke sent court chaplain to lead inquisition and convert locals to Catholic religion, but without greater success so far. Gilbert has been humiliated by House de Toulouse. Even the help of outsiders wasn't enough to save the status quo. Now many of his vassals aren't happy about their liege and he is losing his supporters.


    After the war, Duke returns to his capital to rebuild it and make lands of his Duchy the most prosperous in the whole of France. Guillames' attention focuses on development of castle cities, militia barracks and walls. These are very important to improve income of the ruler and size of his levies. Building militia barracks and archery ranges is very fast way to get many light infantry and archers troops. Returning home has also flaws. Duchess of Toulouse is irritating the nobles, disturbing her husband in the matters of state, making his life miserable. For long Guillame has abided her insolence, he battled with himself and decided that his and his wife ways must separate. Asking Pope for a divorce was pointless, because he wouldn't allow on this. The only thing that left, was making a plot against life of the Queen Consort. Forming it wasn't too difficult, because most of the nobles and courtiers loved the King, and sincerely hated the Queen. Soon she died in a suspicious accident and Duke Guillame has married a daughter of the English King of the House de Normandie.


    As always not everything was going according to Dukes' plan. The moments of joy mingled with the time of grief. Duke was very happy after his new Queen Hadwis gave birth to a son who was named Albert. Sadly, nearly a year after this, firstborn Miquel has died in the age of 8. It was the only son he has with his former wife. There were no talks about new Queen assassinating a pretender to the throne, making her son Albert a new heir. Miquel has died from natural causes. Apparently he wasn't strong enough to survive and mature. It was a huge loss for Toulouse, but all hopes of Guillame came to new heir Albert.

    Duke of Toulouse was intently observing what was going on in his neighborhood. When Valencia declared a war against Kingdom of Navarra, he decided that he grab the chance and declared holy war for Barcelona. He already possessed most of holdings of that Duchy, but in county of Urgell there were a barony and city that has been controlled by the Muslims. King of Castille was helping his kinsman of Navarra to stop the infidels, so who would notice Toulouse grabbing a small part of Valencian territory. Month later 2,300 men were besieging two holdings of Valencia in Urgell. Emir was fighting a bloody war against Navarra and Castille, so he barely noticed this interference. When he did it was too late, and land was lost.

    Emir of Valencia however wouldn't just pass it out. He called his ally of Beja to defend his demesne. Duke Guillame had a clever plan. After his soldiers captured the objective, he order them to go back home. There was no sense in sending army south and fighting infidels. As long as Urgell was in the hands of de Toulouse, everything was good. Holding it for enough time would force Emir to surrender and let it go. If Valencia or Beja muster an army which will be heading on the Duchy of Toulouse, there will be enough time to gather an army of Occitans and stop the heathens from retaking their lost ground. It was also good in the economical and military aspects. Duke didn't need to pay his troops, the levies were replenishing faster after the war with France and vassals won't object against painless conflict.


    For long time my chaplains' efforts of converting provinces in Spain were worthless. It changed in 1101. Maybe with the little help of the troops marching from Toulouse to Urgell, but my servant has finally show useful. In may and november he managed to convert Lleida and Barcelona. Especially successful inquisition in Barcelona was a huge gain. There was a castle and two baronies in one county, and it was Dukes' personal demesne. Sending there a marshal to train troops was a good idea, because his actions would affect all three holdings. In the meantime something unheard of has happened. King Gilbert of France has gained nickname 'The Great'. When Guillame heard about it, he just couldn't stop laughing. The King who couldn't maintain his realm was seeing as a great...


    In november 1104 things were starting to change on the quiet southern front. The Valencian and Bejan armies had arrived. Combined forces of Toulouse and her enemies was about 3,500 men. But the Muslim armies were separated from each other. While 2,700 Beja army arrived at Urgell, 800 of Valencians were moving towards Tarragona. Duke Guillame make advantage of that fact and firstly crushed smaller army, than immediately turn back to defeat forces of Beja.


    Victory over Muslims was crushing. Their offensive was stopped and for few another months the military operations in Spain were paused. However in june a large army of Valencia around 2,000 invaded Tarragona. Troops were dispatched to stop the aggressors (ironically I was the attacker, because I started the war for Urgell). The reason why the activity of the infidels was rising was the end of a conflict for Navarra. Sadly, the Kingdom of Navarra has been eradicated and only Castille remained on the Iberian Peninsula as a guardian of Christendom. The battle against Valencia was victorious and Duke decided to attack approaching Bejans. It was a mistake.


    Attack on Castellon has been ordered. Soon another army of Beja emerged on the horizon. It was a trap set by the Muslims. The exhausted Toulousian army was overwhelmed and crushed on 9th december 1105 at Castello. It appears that the almost won war, was about to be prolonged and now the Muslim could invade unchecked the lands in Barcelona...

    made by FaceDancer.

  12. #12
    The battle of Castello was shocking but not to the point that it turned the tide of war. The new recruitment was ordered and Catalan Band hired. It was enough to beat Bejans who cross the southern border. Depleted Muslim armies were to weak for another large offensive. The war was won. Barony and city in Urgell were now under control of Toulouse. Now it was time for recovery. Court chaplain has reported his success in converting populace of Tarragona. Now most of the lands in Barcelona were completely incorporated to the Duchy. With all counties in personal demesne of the Duke functional, income was three times bigger. Many constructions were ordered in newly acquired counties. Castle cities improved gold output even more and building barracks enlarged personal levies of the Duke. Thanks to the long reign of Guillame all his vassals were supporting him with devotion. Suprisingly Duke Guillame has gained a nickname 'the Chaste'. It was highly unexpected because he and his wife Hadwis gave birth to five daughters and three sons. The connection between Duke and Duchess was strong, and soon castle chambers of Tououlse were full of children.


    The situation in Kingdom of France was complicated. King Gilbert started to rule with iron fist. One of his first victim was Duke of Tunis Warin. He sent a letter to Duke of Toulouse while being imprisoned in dungeons of Paris. Angry Guillame, now new steward of France, said that he won't tolerate such barbaric acts. He wrote a note to King, when he demanded that Warin should be released from prison immediately. Either it was because of high prestige of House de Toulouse or fear about another civil war, Gilbert agreed with Guillame. After five days, joyful news came from Tunis. Duke Warin was again a free man nad he happily returned to his capital. New friend has been made. Warin had now a very high opinion about Duke of Toulouse. Maybe he could be a good ally in the future.


    Four years after the war with Valencia, in June 1113, mother of Guillame, Aines has died from an old age. Now Duke had claims on Duchies of Aquitaine, Poitou and county of Armagnac. All were in possession of one man, Lois Duke of Aquitaine. The war was only the matter of time, but it was prepared with caution. Thanks to many investments in economy and military structures, Toulouse could now muster an army of almost 6,000 men. Lois didn't have a good opinion amongst his vassals, he wasn't also a piety men, so Guillame aske the Pope to excommunicate him. Holy Father has agreed on that request and ban Lois from Catholic Church. The time for invasion was right and Duke declared war, pressing all his claims. If the war was won, he would gained about 2/3 of current demesne of Lois.


    Apparently Guillame overestimated his foe. The vassals of Aquitaine didn't want to die for their liege. Duke Lois could gather only 3,000 soldiers and after he saw his opponent army, he ordered a tactical withdrawal. Toulousians were in pursuit, but Aquitaines were marching quickly enough to get away. However Guillame has outmaneuvered his rival and catch his forces in the county of Marsan. The battle was decisively won by the attackers. In January 1115 the counties of Armagnac, Agen and Limousin were occupied. The war was expected to last long, but something unheard of has happened. Duke Lois wave a white flag and offered a peace. He agreed to all terms of his enemy and gave away Duchies of Aquitaine, Poitou and county of Armagnac. He only preserved his title of Duke of Gascogne. Some were saying that Lois was realist and he didn't saw a point in prolonging the war. Others consider him a coward who was too afraid to fight. There were even few who said that he was a Occitan patriot and couldn't stand the bloodshed among his countrymen.


    Nevertheless, the war was over and now de Toulouse controled over half of France. To make it even better, newly acquired holdings were mostly inhabited by the Occitan. There were now penalties for culture and relligion. Most of them didn't go exactly to Duke Guillame, but were in possession of vassals of Duke Lois. They only changed their liege and most of them were happy about it. The provinces of Aquitaine gave immediate impact to Dukes' income and levies strength. The people stopped asking question "If" Guillame would make an attempt to gain a Kings' Crown. They started to ask "when" he will try to get it. Occitan were now united under one banner. Now it is the French who will know fear...
    Last edited by Holy.Death; 24-04-2012 at 13:37.

  13. #13

    After the peace was signed Duke of Toulouse wouldn't mind further transgressions against Duke Lois. He was now hating Guillame with all his heart. It wasn't strange after losing to him two of his Duchies. But he could prove dangerous in future and must have been dealt with. He was a cripple too, maimed in one of the battles, which was making his possible life rather short, but de Toulouse like to take their chances on their own, not wait for divine intervention. Spies were sent to the court of Gascogne to search for those unhappy about the rule of Lois. Their liege was slothful, arbitrary and cruel, so he hadn't got too many supporters. The plotters meet at the castle of Countess Alic of Auvergne, who was also one of them. Soon it appeared that most of the significant nobles of Gascogne make an accord and the fate of Duke Lois was sealed. He fell of the window from fourth floor of his castle, probably he tripped because someone sawn his cane.

    Lords of Gascogne were celebrating, but they didn't knew that they were played by Guillame like a card. Duke Lois II took the reign over his father and still had two Duchies of Gascogne and Bourbon. The county of Auvergne was also in his possession. But the Duchy of Auvergne consisted of two counties. Gevaudan was in hands of Toulouse. Now it has been usurped by southern neighbor and war was declared over county of Auvergne. Lois II finally understood why Guillame wanted his father dead. After the "accident" the peace treaty signed between them was gone and nothing stopped Occitans to invade new Dukes holdings. Their situation was dramatic, with levies depleted by the last war and low authority of a new ruler. House de Poitou was too weak to fight against most powerful man in France. They quickly agreed on all terms and Toulouse gained one more county.


    Duke Guillame after completing his masterpiece plan direct his attention on family and state matters. His young Albert was now matured and he wanted to marry him with a worthy bride. He didn't have to look far, because young Duchess of Burgundy Adelaide was also a single. The great wedding took place in the Toulouse Cathedral and there were only Occitans and Franks from House de Bourgogne celebrating. Rest of French noble houses was frightened. Especially Capets. An Alliance between de Toulouse and de Bourgogne meant that children of Albert and Adelaide will inherit Toulouse and Burgundy. In year 1115 Occitans controled half of French territories and with Burgundy they could have upper hand. Guillame noticed fear in their eyes and was having great fun on his sons' wedding.


    Few days before Christmas Eve, 22th December 1116, almost year after last war over Auvergne, Duke of Toulouse thought about making a gift for Pope Paul II. King Gilbert "The Great" was still excommunicated, so Guillame said that he won't tolerate such a unholy person ruling on the throne of France. Toulousian-French Excommunication War just began. If Occitan ruler have won, he would gain a prestige and high opinion of the Pope. Defeating Gilbert would mean also his abdication to his son Prince Gilles. Young ruler would have problems maintaining his realm and most probable he would have to fight his rebellious vassals. Weak Kingdom was a main goal Toulousian Snake wanted to acquire. Right now Occitans could muster an army of almost 9,000 men and King could answer with only 6,200. But after incorporating lands in Tunis and Tripolitania his strength would rise. The time for strike was right and heralds were sent to all parts of Toulouse to annouce the will of their lord.


    Battle of Poitiers was first major combat of the war. 8,400 Occitans faced 4,200 French. These were all of the Kings troops gathered from his holdings in Europe. Rest was probably on their way from Africa, but it needed time to get on the continent. That was another problem of Gilbert. His demesne was separated to the South (Africa) and North (France), while Guillames' lands were unified. Losing at Poitiers meant that victory for Toulouse is only a matter of time. During the battle and later in minor skirmishes many high ranking nobles have been captured by the attackers. Including Duke Balderik of Flanders, Prince-Bishop Gargamel of Reims and Count Lothaire of Bourbon. They were all ransomed for huge gold ammounts and it allowed to hire 3,750 Italians from Company of the Star to end conflict faster. 6,500 Toulouse troops, divided in three armies, was besieging castles of Anjou, Tours and Vendome, while mercenaries attack Limousin.


    1st June year 1119 King Gilbert requested peace. He surrendered early, after two and a half year of struggle. He left his throne to King Gilles I and spent rest of his days as simple courtier. During war Guillame was also active inside his realm. Count Guirard of Rouergue was plotting against him, so Duke ordered his Marshal to arrest untrustworthy Count. He was heirless and was thrown into the dungeon. But Guillame wanted Rouergue to be a part of his demesne, as it was a province de iure part of Toulouse. Waiting for Guirard to rot in prison would mean that Duke couldn't invest in that county and Guirard would'nt pay any taxes. Guillame made another scheme and his "guest" died in an "accident" while he was trying to escape from his cell. At least that was written on the report by the captain of the prison guards.


    After the peace treaty was signed, King Gilles I reign has started. But something strange occured. Winning the war against former King made Guillame independent! The best part was that he now could crown himself as a King of Aquitaine! Occitans would now regained their freedom from the foul Franks. The dreams of forging a kingdom would now be true.


    Great ceremony has taken place in Toulouse Cathedral. 5th June year 1119 the Pope Paul II, placed a Crown of Aquitaine onto the head of his friend, humble servant of the God, Duke Guillame. He was now King Guillame I. Plenty of important rulers arrived including Holy Roman Emperor Adalbert I, King Sancho III of Castille and King Tancred I of England. The Aquitaine has become a power recognizable in Christian world.

  14. #14
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