God's Kingdom Part 18 - Quality Time With the Family
The Crusade is over and Jerusalem won it. In recognition for the fact that the Christians would have lost if we hadn't joined the war the Pope reluctantly awards control of Mauretania to me. Sweet revenge. If it wasn't for Queen Wilmot getting me excommunicated I never would have gone Crusading. The look on her and the Pope's faces was priceless!
Since I'd already taken most of Yahya's land I figured I might as well take his crown as well. Official ceremonies are going to start being painful... these crowns are getting heavy. All hail Amaury the Great, King of Jerusalem, Cyprus, Egypt, and Mauretania!
After Philippe died my grandson Gaucelin became my heir. That meant that God willing his son would someday be king as well. I took it upon myself to begin teaching Robin all the things he'd someday need to know to survive as leader of Jerusalem. One of the most important things was to be ambitious. To be a successful king Robin would need to always want more and push himself and those around him to greatness. That was the key to Jerusalem's current success and it's future.
After years of not writing and telling his parents how he was fairing or even mentioning the 6 grandchildren he gave us Orson finally makes contact. Of course it was just to brag that he'd been chosen by Anthe to be her chancellor. I was glad to hear of his success but wrote back telling him that his mother was going to beat him if he doesn't write more often... chancellor or not.
Things got a little testy around the castle after Orson wrote. Isabel just couldn't let go of the fact that she had six grandchildren she'd never even heard of. Needing a break from the constant complaining and ranting I decided to lead an expedition to my lands in Mauretania to put down a rebellion. I much preferred facing 1600 angry, pitchfork wielding peasants to my queen.
Upon returning to Jerusalem I learned of things getting a bit wild in Egypt. My grandson imprisoned and killed his brother in order to gain his lands. I was so shocked at the blatant disregard for laws, common decency, and Christian teachings that I did nothing. Vermudo apparently took me doing nothing as permission to continue to act like a little bastard.
Two months after murdering his brother Vermudo is caught plotting to lower crown authority. No doubt it was so he can begin waging war on his neighbors. The boy was clearly sick in the head. That is the only explanation I could come up with. I did nothing before though I clearly had reason to. Murdering his brother was bad enough but then he was plotting against me. Vermudo had to be stopped.
I refused to leave a traitorous, kinslaying monster as duke in my kingdom. I ordered my elite squad of gaolers to Damietta to arrest Vermudo. For all his bold actions and plotting against the crown he ended up going along meekly in the end. Perhaps he thought that by not resisting I would take mercy on him. He was sorely mistaken. He was destined to never leave the dungeon again.
Queen Isabel, already distraught over her no-good son was shaken further by the murder of one grandson at the hands of another. I tried to tell her it was the Russian influence and if they had been good Frankish boys it never would have happened. She smiled slightly and continued to brood and rant and generally make my life Hell. In her better moments she kept going on about needing new dresses. Since there weren't any revolts to take me away from the castle for a while I decided that if some dresses would buy me some peace and quiet it was a small price to pay. Ahh... silence.
The silence is shattered by news from the East that the Mongols have arrived and burnt down Baghdad, killing most of the citizens, and destroying everything they could. I'm not moved at all by the plight of the infidels but I do have worries about what could happen if the Mongols were to move towards Jerusalem. I needed to make the kingdom stronger. Strong enough to withstand any threat, even the Mongol hordes.
Mongols besieging Baghdad
In order to be stronger we needed more lands to give us more gold and more levies. My Shia neighbors changed names at one point in an attempt to hide the shame of continually being beaten by my armies. Whether they called themselves the Shia Caliphate or the Fatimid Empire didn't change the fact that they were about to lose Cyrenaica and suffer another crushing defeat.
Mongols? Ha! More like... Mon... uhh...
Yeah, I got nothing.
"And no, we don't endorse genocide." ~ Captain Gars
God's Kingdom Part 19 - Muslim Magic
As Grandfather was returning from a meeting to invite the Hospitallers along on another campaign of slaughter he succumbed to his sickness. No one asked him how he contracted syphilis and no one was ever going to tell Grandmother that's what killed him. We'd never hear the end of it. Instead we told her he caught a sudden cold. Everyone knew how ferocious those summer colds could be. I refused to give it any more thought. I had a kingdom to keep together and a war to fight.
Word reached Jerusalem that Duke Bernard was unhappy with me coming to power. He felt that he only owed allegiance to my grandfather but now that he's gone he didn't have to be ruled by me. I tried to buy his support with some gold and even named him Cupbearer. There was no way I would actually trust him to not poison me but it was the thought that counted. Even after all that he was still considering declaring his independence. Probably the only thing keeping him in check was the fact that his newly conquered lands were filled with unhappy Muslims who refused to fight for him.
Sometime along the way Grandfather threw a mercenary captain in the dungeon for fighting against him. He was a bit absentminded in the end and probably forgot Fadil was down there. I didn't want the extra mouth to feed and he didn't have the gold for ransom so I just let him go.
Buying off nobles and freeing unwanted prisoners apparently went a long way to improving your reputation. But considering some of the names people were starting to call me I'll not complain that they began to see me as charitable.
One last thing I wanted to do before going off to fight the Shia was to ensure the Pope wouldn't come in while I wasn't looking and excommunicate me. Apparently the Pope learned his lesson by letting Grandfather get off for only 20 gold. Demanding over 2000 gold in order to secure my place in the Church was an insult. I decided to take my chances being labeled a heretic. And if the bastard did excommunicate me I'd march my armies to Rome and burn the city down around him.
With matters of state taken care if it was time to make my way to Cyrenaica. I opted to only bring my personal levies and the Hospitallers to war. Most of the nobles were still unsure of me and I didn't feel like upsetting them by demanding they give me levies as well. That decision seemed to be a sound one since the Shia seemed to not have much in the way of opposition.
As I focused on capturing territory in Cyrenaica I sent the Hospitallers south to screen my army and kill any Muslims marching north. It was a job they had done before and excelled at. Hospitallers tended to get bored and cranky when they were besieging castles. Not enough killing for their liking.
Vile sorcery!!! As the Hospitallers and the infidel army charged at each suddenly all of the heavy knights of the Hospitallers fell over dead. Somehow the Muslims found a way to bespell the knights as they charged and wipe them out in the blink of an eye. Without their heavy cavalry the Hospitallers were hard pressed. It was only the superior training of their footmen coupled with the skill of the Grandmaster that carried the day. However the losses were horrific.
The Knights Hospitaller holding out against the infidels
The Knights Hospitaller didn't have long to rest. As the battle against the infidels ended and they buried their dead a second, larger Shia army was spotted marching south. Without his heavy cavalry the Grandmaster knew he didn't stand a chance and instead retreated as fast as he could.
With the Hospitallers neutralized by Muslim magic I had no choice but to raise the levies of my vassals. I refused to lose to the Fatimids. Grandfather defeated them time and again. I would look weak and vulnerable if I went on to lose to them.
I called up the levies none too soon. More infidels keep coming in from the south. Perhaps the Muslims have more magic. Not only can they make all the heavy cavalry die during their charge but they are also creating soldiers from thin air as well. God protect us!
The Grandmaster gathered an army up around his Hospitallers and the levies fresh from Jerusalem. In Gizeh the two armies came together. Prior to battle the Christians all prayed to be protected from Muslim magic but to no luck. As the battle began the cavalry falls over dead. In the end my army is victorious but again at great cost. For over a century the Hospitallers were the dominant force on the battlefield. Wherever they went they easily smashed the infidels. I feared for my success knowing that they have been blunted.
The Grandmaster gave chase after the battle in Gizeh. With 2 to 1 odds he felt confident in finishing off the Muslim army. As the battle began things started to go wrong. The infidels fought as if they were possessed. For perhaps the first time in their history the Hospitallers broke and fled the field. With the Hospitallers in rout the Duke of Tripoli on his flank couldn't hold out for long.
Defeat. Jerusalem has lost battles before but this defeat had many underlying issues. I was unsure if we could win against the Muslim's new found magical abilities. For some reason they suddenly could rendering all cavalry useless. I began to pray.
Fantastic aar so far, definitely will be reading!
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." -Winston Churchill
Arethe Fatimids enjoying a tech advantage that wipes out Hospitaller cavalry? Guess that's infantry heavy armies for you coiupled with hiring any mercenary companies of English/Welsh longbows.
known bug killing cavalry at the beginning of battles. It got fixed in the latest patch but I had no clue at the time. I'm hoping the Hospitallers are back to their bad-ass, Muslim slaying selves now.
Thank you all for reading. I love seeing all the views and really appreciate everyone who's taken the time to comment.
I had some life stuff crop up and have to go out of town for a week. I'm looking forward to coming back to Jerusalem. The story continues next week.
Good luck. I look forward to reading what happens next, whenever that is.
Last edited by ChristesII; 10-07-2012 at 07:05.
God's Kingdom Part 20 - Squabbles and Incompetence
After the defeat in Siwa my army was again pressed by the infidels and things were looking bad. I ordered a small force left behind in Tobruk to continue the siege and had the rest of the men hurry as fast as possible to provide relief. Unfortunately they were too late and found nothing but the mangled bodies of their Christian brothers.
All of the sacrifice my fallen soldiers made was not vain. While the Muslims were busy unleashing their magic on my forces and engaging my armies in battle other forces were busy besieging the Muslim holdings. While it seemed like things were going against me apparently Sabah thought otherwise and offered surrender far earlier than I expected. Prior to accepting his surrender I spent an hour praying and giving thanks to God for this victory.
Before returning to my castle in Jerusalem I wanted to pay a visit to my son Robin who was at his mother's court in Crete. What I saw caused me some concern. I felt like he was not getting the proper education the heir to the kingdom deserved and voiced my concerns to my wife. She assured me that he was in good hands and would be a capable man some day. I hoped she would be correct.
God continued to be with me. As I returned to my court my spymaster told me of a plot my sister was behind to kill Robin. I thought that perhaps if I hadn't visited Robin he would not have discovered her plotting. I sent her a strongly worded message telling her to stop plotting her nephew's death or she would become intimately familiar with my dungeon.
Being back in court always made me long for my campaign tent. There were far fewer things to deal with when at war. At some point a mysterious courtier showed up at court. No one knew who he was but he was quiet and kept to himself. I certainly had never heard of him before he approached me asking to duel. If he's eager to fight he should have gone to war with me. I ordered Adalbert banished from my lands. I figured I'd let the Portuguese deal with him.
The intrigues continued when it was discovered my vassal the Duke of Cairo was plotting to lower crown authority. No doubt it was so that he could wage war on his neighbors and increase his own power. I refused to let this go unpunished with a simple warning. I wanted nothing less than Jasper spending his few final years wasting away in my dungeon.
All the petty squabbles and incompetent plottings were irking me. I felt like I needed some stress relief and nothing relieved my stress more than killing infidels. I thought about fighting another war against my Muslim neighbors when I noticed an infidel within my midst. Count Geoffroy had converted to the Lollard heresy! I refused to let heretics gain a hold within my kingdom. I ordered the levies raised and went for my sword. Time to stab away some stress.
God's Kingdom Part 20 - Ready to Rumble
As predicted by just about everyone the Heretic Geoffroy refused to sit back and let his title be revoked. Even as he cursed my name and damned me to Hell Geoffroy must have realized that his days were numbered. Already my levies were marching on his county and there was nothing he could do to stop them.
Duke Ebbon had been up in Edessa complaining about this or that for a while. I didn't actually think he would revolt however. After all had been given a ducal title and our ancestral lands to call his own. I was sorely mistaken though. If the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem showed nothing else it was that our family got along very poorly.
With my personal levies already committed in Kerak I raised my vassal levies in the northern part of the kingdom and sent them towards Edessa. Reports came back showing we weren't the only kingdom campaigning around Edessa. The Holy Romans were present with around 60,000 soldiers. I wasn't sure what they were doing in this neck of the world but I was leery. I did not want the Holy Roman Empire to suddenly start making a claim on lands in my neighborhood. These were my lands to liberate from the infidels.
Duke Philippe showed some intelligence by waiting to declare war after I was already busy with two other revolting vassals. He showed a total lack of intelligence however since his lands are still recently conquered and he can't raise any levies. Ebbon and Philippe were proving to me that family just could not be trusted. Perhaps it would be better to send family far, far away.
With many of my other troops committed in Kerak and Edessa I turned to the Company of the Rose to add some extra swords to what I could muster. The army I sent to North-west Africa would have to suffice in besieging Philippe's counties.
Good news for me and bad news for Philippe and Geoffroy arrived when Ebbon decided to die ending his rebellion. The only thing that distressed me about Ebbon passing away was that old age robbed me of the triumph of seeing Ebbon locked in my dungeon.
Ebbon's young son Agostino succeeded him as Duke of Edessa. Not wanting a repeat of the problems I had with Ebbon I decided to take Agostino under my wing and raise him right. It was my hope he would grow up to see me as a father figure and mentor. Someone he loved and respected. Someone he wouldn't rebel against.
Geoffroy had built his castle walls high and had stockpiled plenty of supplies so the war for Kerak took far longer than I had hoped. But eventually it was over and the Heretic of Kerak was in my dungeon. From there I stripped him of his title. Since it was part of the duchy I controlled I decided to keep the title for myself. I did take exception to what the historians were dubbing this war... "The War against the Tyranny of King Gaucelin I". That may be how heretic Lollards may see it but any true Christian better recognize it for the liberation and removal of infidels that it was.
God's Kingdom Part 21 - North African Adventures
Foul murder! Poor Agostino never got a chance to grow to be the man I was creating him to be. While Bishop Ademar was easily discovered to be behind the murder it didn't take a genius to figure out that it was his eldest sister who wanted the boy dead. With him out of the way she became Duchess of Edessa.
It would prove to be a short reign for Ippolita. As much as I hated having stupid vassal to rule, murderous, stupid vassals were far worse. The once mighty de Boulogne name was becoming more and more tarnished with each of my kinsmen acting with such dishonor. The only way to bring honor back to the family was to remove the bad apples even if it meant burning down the whole orchard.
My gaolers acted swiftly and Ippolita didn't see a one-way trip to the dungeon coming. I did make a visit out of family courtesy. I let her know that she'd never see the sunshine again but because we did share ancestors and I am a God-fearing man I promised to at least provide her with meals.
I thought Rorgon was playing a birthday joke on me when his declaration of war arrived. I figured maybe it was his way of saying "Hey! I'm an adult now." But no, he was actually serious. What was it with these vassals? I've got an army in the neighboring counties putting down a revolt and Rorgon couldn't raise any levies of his own. I think he just didn't want to be in charge and couldn't find a way to abdicate.
Rorgon wasn't the only one celebrating becoming an adult. Robin came of age and was quite the capable young man. I think I could have done a better job if I had educated him myself but he I was proud to call him my son. My wife obviously thought highly of him since she quickly named him Chancellor of Cyprus. Eventually I would need to find him a county somewhere to run but for now I'd leave him be in his mother's court.
When I received word of a cease fire from Philippe I assumed he had had enough. Instead Philippe chose to insult me with an offer of white peace. I was at a loss for words. How brazen and idiotic. More reason to show him the dungeon.
"Where did these Muslims come from?" That was the question I was asking any and all of my advisers. "Why were there two hostile armies of infidels traipsing across my lands?" I demanded answers. Eventually I got my answers. The damned infidels had declared a holy war for Tlemcen. I ordered the sieges sped up so that we could finish ending Philippe's useless war before having to tangle with the Muslims.
The men were ordered to break camp and form up for the assault. All across Tlemcen, cities and castles that had seen months of boring sieges were suddenly turned into bloody battles as my men stormed the walls looking to end the war for good. The loss of life was far greater but in the end, Philippe was defeated
A noble encouraging the Jerusalemite soldiers as they took the walls of a castle
I didn't like that Philippe controlled the entirety of Tlemcen, the duchy and all counties. Revoking Orania was a start. Over time I would find a way to break up more of the control that the Duke of Tlemcen had gathered for himself.
After many difficulties with with different nobles I ruled I decided to go back to the policy of granting children titles. They were just so much easier to rule. They did what they were told, only complained if they missed nap time, and if they got out of line it only took a spanking to set them right.
Great AAR, while following the great fate of the Tesfaye dynasty in Sennar this is what i need for a relief. Thank God for his mercy to rid the muslims of their magic.
Hopefully this far stretched Kingdom of Jerusalem with hopefully soon loyal vassals wont distract the royal family from finally crushing the Syrians.
A truly great and fun read.
I love how you add characterization and tradition to the kingdom of heaven.
God's Kingdom Part 22 - Marriage and Murder
I departed from North Africa to pay a visit to my family in Cyprus. It had been many months since I had last seen my wife and children. This was more than just a random get together. I was off to oversee Robin's wedding. Margarete had come of age and it was time to wed her to my heir. From all reports she turned out to be a fine woman and would someday make a wonderful queen.
In my absence from Jerusalem security grew lax at the dungeon. Dungeon guards weren't what you would consider the best of the best. Usually they were lazy, maimed, and generally unfit for duty in the regular army. After I found out Vermudo was still plotting and scheming and communicating with the outside world from behind bars I vowed to change that. I also swore that if I found out who allowed Vermudo to conduct business when he was supposed to be suffering a slow death, that guard would join him in the oubliette.
My armies were veteran and lead by fine men. My presence wasn't required to put down the rebellion in Lemdiyya. I ordered the count stripped of his title and thrown in the dungeon far from Vermudo. I didn't need Vermudo building a power base from inside my dungeon as well.
Now that Robin was married my wife nagged me to give him a county of his own to rule. She kept going on about how needed experience at governing so he could continue preparing for becoming king. I think she just got tired of seeing the two newlyweds around her court. But since I had an extra county to give away the timing worked out quite well.
I think Robin had somewhere a bit more developed in mind when he heard I was giving him a title of his own. As soon as I named him Count of Lemdiyya he started complaining and talking about how he'd show me. I didn't like his tone and didn't want to deal with his attitude. So instead I let Duke Philippe deal with him.
I had let Philippe out of the dungeon soon after his unsuccessful revolt. I felt that the Duke of Tlemcen had too much power and I hoped to slowly strip titles away from him if he revolted again.
Bored nobles were always trouble. If they didn't have a war to focus on they would find ways to plot. Dukes were always the worst to deal with. Duke Robin turned to murder to try and grow his power. He had more freedom than many of my vassals because he served me well as Royal Steward. Many plots were forgiven and so was the first assassination attempt. But it became clear to me that Duke Robin was obsessed with murder and nothing short of a permanent stay in the dungeon would stop him.
Kids are fun...
Beware of the enemy within and dont forget fighting the infidels !
Dont worry, your wife will be your best allie..... muhahaha