As the Riyahdid Invasion of Italy continues, I more or less ignore the commotion it causes. I don't even raise Lucca's special forces task force of 300 to be captained by Theodorich. Why do I simply ignore Duke Herman's pleas for my support? To be truthful I don't have a reason, I just felt like being a liar, as Mariano raised me to be.
So for now let us forget an infidel invasion is even taking place. For if they show up to Lucca I think I'd simply just convert anyway and bend my knee to the new sovereign. It isn't that big of a deal, I am a liar, and therefore it would come as no surprise should I renege on the vassal contract to my silly little Duke.
While the invasion is occurring Martino comes of age and needs to get married. The only lady I see that is of worth any note to marry him to is the Duke of Blois's daughter Mascarose de Blois, they agree and bring in a bit of a dowry to our humble home in Lucca. Sadly the marriage really brings nothing to the table, but it is nice seeing my brother married, and perhaps he can tell me the secrets of how to perform the impregnation dance.
After the celebrations my Marshal Guillame d'Ivrea, my wonderful Frankish step-dad, informs me that the Fatimids have decided to declare an unholy Jihad for Sicily. The poor Normans of Sicily, it seems they are destined to be cleansed from the Earth much like their English cousins.
The good news however is that Martino does know how to perform the impregnation dances and teaches me how to go about it, so that night I return to Lady Judita's bedchamber where she is busy kissing and making out with one of her serving lasses. I interrupt that of course, for it is time to do my duties as husband and Count. As it would turn out she gets pregnant several weeks later after a much successful dance, again I must state for the record she did not seem to enjoy this one bit!
The ritual produces an heir at least for after 9 long months of my loving wife's fat belly she poops out a son, little Bernardo, who for whatever reason seems to have an internal strength within him that may propel him to greatness someday. But then again he may only prove to be a mediocre Count of Lucca in this family of Mediocrity.
More years pass by again with little note, the Invasion of Italy continues but really no one is winning. For the armies of Toscana are busy in Sicily, and the Riyahdids are well, lost and confused really. It seems they have been drinking too much of Tuscany's grand wines and have lost their heart for true battle and are taking it rather easy at the moment. As d'Ivrea has suggested this may be a good time to release the Luccan forces, so the call goes up to the country side to muster our wondrous strength.
Meanwhile my hunchbacked brother Aldobrandino comes of age, and can now marry the Baroness Mariana di Monferrato of Tivoli. Tivoli is a small Barony to the east of Rome deep in the heart of the Papal States. I like this idea having a di Lucca's ruling a barony within the Papal States would be a definite plus, and it helps our family look a bit better than some rich wine selling family that holds one County. The marriage is accepted of course, and so the first di Luccan male to wander off outside of our lands to another castle has happened. Not only will we finally have dynasty members ruling that little barony, but it gives us a close eye upon the Pope, which is something that at this moment is probably more priceless than any other chunk of land our tiny family could manage.
Dire news occurs not long after the marriage between the Hunchback of Lucca and the Baroness of Tivoli. As Marshal Guillaume d'Ivrea was sweating profusely as he informed me of the fall of Sicily!
The Fatimids now have a strong hold upon Southern Italy, and with the fractured unity of Central Italy there is now nothing stopping them from reaching further north to Tuscany and beyond!
The future of Christendom has gone from unknown to dire with the fall of Sicily. One can only hope the Pope's first order of business will be to liberate the South, but it would seem the Holy Father has other plans.