• Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
So I tried to update the save to the latest version. That didn't work out so well. Some weird stuff in the save particularly around the new Steppes provinces. I think I'll stay with 2.3.6 until the end of the CK2 section and sort out any weirdness during conversion to EU4.
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Oh dear. How infuriating after all Giselbert's efforts the bloody Duke drops dead! What next I wonder?

A great update as always theos!
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
0x0PJTr.png

Helene von Wittelsbach, Duchess of Swabia
KJRCnd0.png


June 1420

The carriage's ride was finally smooth again; a telling sign that they had reach the more well-worn roads of Tübingen. Helene von Wittelsbach shifted around in her seat, trying to make herself more comfortable. It had been two long days on the road and she was not used to any kind of travelling. In fact, other than her journey from Brandenburg to Swabia for her wedding, she hadn't gone further than a couple hours ride in one trip.

Since her marriage to Duke Albrecht of Swabia she hadn't left Stuttgart castle much at all. And why should she when her every need was catered for in the castle? She'd have been content to stay there, relaxing in the beautiful summer castle gardens, if her husband hadn't insisted she come see this new project he was working on. And that's how she found herself in a carriage on the road to the Spitzberg.

987ffvb.png


The carriage came to an abrupt halt and Helene spotted the approach of the head of her military escort, Nikolaus von Fürstenberg, the Marshal of Swabia.

"My Lady Helene, I know this journey must have been most tiring for you, but we are nearing the end. We are approaching the foot of the climb. It will be a little steep for a few minutes, but we'll be there before you know it."

She nodded politely. His concern for her was touching, though totally unnecessary, she thought as the carriage resumed its progress. She imagined that the normally gruff knight just wanted a last word with her before their arrival and she was reunited with her husband.

ApE12U8.png


He'd been like that the whole trip, finding every excuse to spend any amount of time with her. In their overnight stop at Dettenhausen, he had opted to rough it with the new recruits making up the rest of the escort, but had hinted to her that he would accept an invitation to dine with her in her room. Despite his obvious uncouthness, he had a certain masculine ruggedness and confidence, and so she was sorely tempted. But of course it would be wildly inappropriate and so she had dined alone last night while Nikolaus had spent the evening overseeing the recruits setting up camp.

HzosNTO.png


And so here she was on the road up the Spitzberg spur, rapidly approaching her lord husband, the Duke of Swabia, the man who should be giving her babies. When they had been newly wed, instead of spending his evenings with her, he had buried himself in the books of the castle's growing library.

8iZgk7n.png


But of late he was spending more and more time away from Stuttgart Castle on his Spitzberg project. And here it was coming into view ... the great Spitzberg Observatory she'd heard so much about. Even half constructed it looked singularly impressive. Helene wasn't surprised that so much of the Duchy's treasury had been needed to fund its construction, and yet with it only half-complete, she wondered if the Duke would run out of silver before it was done.

lfHh9Vo.png


As the carriage came to a stop, she could see Duke Albrecht was not looking happy. He was probably furious at another delay by the builders at the site - that's all he seemed to talk about when he was staying in Stuttgart.

She hesitated before disembarking the carriage. As unhappy as he was now, he'd be in an even worse mood when he heard the news Helene had brought with her from Stuttgart: Albrecht's lack of support for the Kaiser's adventure to the Holy Land had him branded as un-Christian and a traitor to the Empire. She knew that was tricky ground to be on, and much like her mother had lost almost all her lands, she doubted her husband had the diplomatic wherewithal to manage this overbearing Emperor they had.

As she approached her husband, she decided the news could wait a day or two.

LvITXat.png


December 1420

It was supposed to be a solemn day. Helene even wore black though she was not related to the deceased; it was just respectful. She wanted a quiet day of contemplation, but even as she walked Stuttgart castle's normally quiet corridors, she could hear the buzz of excitement. A few days ago news had reached them of the battles in the Holy Land where the Holy Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (that is the Byzantines) were defending the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem from the Mohammedans of the Bahri Sultanate. A battle on the Jordan river had seen as many as 80,000 combatants with Kaiser Sieghard himself supposedly leading a brilliant flanking manoeuvre to secure a Christian victory.

DlVyH0s.png


The Kaiser was even being called 'the Apostle' by commoners and nobles alike for his valiant defence of Christiandom. Even now she could hear cheers from the dining hall - no doubt it was the Duke's court drinking their mulled wine and toasting their esteemed Emperor.

sPdd3Yt.png


She couldn't bring herself to join them in their revelry. The brave Nikolaus von Fürstenberg, Marshal of Swabia, had been laid low by the freezing winter and was eventually taken last night by illness. She truly mourned his death for in the last six months her husband had rarely return to his own castle and Nikolaus had been a wonderful companion for her. Who knows what more might have happened if this man in the prime of his life had not been so cruelly taken from her?

ANMJAs4.png


And her husband was back now, dutifully celebrating with the rest of his court. She knew Albrecht couldn't care less for his own Marshal's death or even the Kaiser's grand escapades; he was back in Stuttgart celebrating the completion of his observatory to which he would no doubt return when the weather was improved. For now she didn't want to see him; if he wanted an heir at all, tonight he'd have to come visit her chambers.

jJSAoLO.png
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Ah good stuff. Yes this declaration by the sainted new Kaiser may well bode ill for the Duke

Nice update sir!
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
ZW0V2eQ.png

Duke Albrecht of Swabia
9FD34yS.png


August 1423

As the sun set, five travellers started preparing for another hard night's travel through the unforgiving Arabian Desert. It had been two weeks since Duke Albrecht's party had left the relative safety of the English-held Kingdom of Jerusalem and were steadily growing accustomed to the uncomfortable climate - a stifling heat that persisted even at night - but had to remain ever watchful for the Arab armies. Fortunately what armies they had encountered seemed more concerned with each other rather than their small band. They had heard the new Bahris Sultan was just a young boy and reputedly not mentally capable, and the great Bahris Empire was already starting to descend into civil war. The Mohammedan threat to the Holy Land was all but over.

a68IEDv.png


As they set forth, the party quickly assumed their familiar positions: one bodyguard ahead of the Duke, one behind, a scout further ahead, and the manservant leading the two horses which carried their supplies. As always Duke Albrecht settled into an easy rhythm following the bodyguard in front of him, giving him plenty of time to think about the events that led him here.

It had been just over a year now since Albrecht's life had been irrevocably changed. He'd been watching the skies on a warm summer night from his Spitzberg observatory as he was wont to do when there were no affairs of the Duchy keeping him at Stuttgart.

kKKXkYz.png


All the texts he'd read as well as his own observations agreed that stars (besides the wandering asteres planetai) should follow regular, reliable patterns, slowly rotating with the firmament of the sky. But on that night he'd observed stars appearing seemingly from nowhere, moving faster through the sky than any star had a right to do, and then disappearing just as quickly.

XjbbvcJ.png


At first he'd thought these might be comets, bright omens in the sky of which he'd read but never seen. But no, the descriptions didn't match; no one could mistake a comet for these mysterious stars. He hadn't see the phenomenon again after that night, but ever eager to understand, he'd immersed himself in the books and scrolls that he'd amassed in the library at Stuttgart Castle. As the weeks and months passed, he'd despaired of unlocking their secrets by himself. It would seem the men of knowledge in the Christian world didn't care to look further than their own noses, taking received wisdom from the Latins and the Greeks and never questioning it. To know more he would have to look beyond Europe, to the scholars and mystics of the East whose knowledge in these matters seemed far superior.

And so he finally found himself now, in the Arabian desert, approaching a squalid-looking hovel, just a well and a tethered goat beside it. Albrecht motioned to the rest of his party to remain behind as he approached the man within.

yi6Tw0r.png


This was certainly Ibrahim, the scholar Albrecht was seeking. He was surprisingly well-kept despite his rude surroundings. He also didn't seem particularly startled by the Duke's intrusion. After a few awkward exchanges the two settled on Greek as a common language which they could use to communicate.

Ibrahim was fascinated to see that a European had come so far to see him. "Some of the local peoples come visit poor Ibrahim. Some bring food; some bring gifts in exchange for wisdom. Sometimes Arabs, sometimes Persians, sometimes even from as far as the Empire of the Greeks. But you ... you obviously have something driving you further than anyone else."

And at this Albrecht had a chance to share all he'd observed with someone who seemed to be geniunely fascinated with his observations. Ibrahim insisted on writing down everything Albrecht said in his strange script, and whenever Albrecht paused, Ibrahim prompted him further, teasing details of his observations that Albrecht had all but forgotten.

When it was done, Ibrahim meditated for a short moment before explaining, "My European friend, you are both blessed and cursed. Blessed because unlike most mortal men, you have been gifted with a brief glimpse into a world which is beyond our understanding. Cursed because you will not rest before you understand that which cannot be understood."

Albrecht persisted - indeed he would not let this matter go before Ibrahim told him of what he knew about his experiences. When Albrecht's manservant brought in some freshly prepared broth for the two of them, Ibrahim finally relented.

"For sure, my European friend, further research will open your eyes, but your mind might not cope with the truths you will learn. But it would seem your course is set and it is clear that my humble self cannot steer you from it. I have one text here written by the only man who truly understood it all - a man gone mad and who had pushed through and past that madness, and that what we consider impossibly strange was simply crystal clear for him.

"I will make a copy of this text, but be warned that my cost is steep: a handful of silver coins for every page I copy. My new friend, are you willing to pay the price, both in silver and possibly in sanity?"

L5Qylmi.png


That was no question at all. Albrecht simply had to have a copy of this book. Even if it cost him all the silver they carried, it would make the journey worthwhile.

October 1423

Riding a carriage back into Stuttgart was not a particularly noble way for Duck Albrecht to return to his castle. Other Dukes would have returned on horseback flanked by bannermen, but Albrecht wanted to spend as much time as possible studying the Mad Arab's book that he'd acquired off Ibrahim, and although the carriage ride wasn't the smoothest, it still gave him some time to read.

Greek, Latin and Arabic were all used within the text, and although Albrecht could read the Greek and Latin easily enough, his understanding of the work was frustrated by the Arabic sections. He'd long since resolved to organize a translator to be brought to Stuttgart as soon as possible. In truth though, his understanding was probably hampered more by the fact that the ideas contained within were so alien that it was hard for him to accept them. But with almost constant study after weeks at sea and on the road, he was starting to understand the true nature of things beyond the physical senses - and it wasn't that described by the Bible; it was something a lot darker. Albrecht considered his recent nightmares just another small price to pay for greater understanding.

aqICtuv.png


Albrecht looked up from the book. His travelling companion, Talbot, the Jewish banker financing Albrecht's return trip, took this as an opportunity for conversation. "I heard some news in Ulm that might interest you." When Albrecht didn't immediately cut him off, Talbot continued, "Your noble wife, Helene - her mother, the Countess of Brandenburg has had a son off her new husband."

Albrecht tried to dismiss Talbot with a few acknowledging words, trying to give the impression that he didn't care what might happen in distant Brandenburg. But that son meant that Helene would no longer inherit Brandenburg upon her mother's death. And he cared because of the feeling constantly growing within him that the universe was conspiring against him.

fooZJ8S.png


"And speaking of Helene, I believe your wife is pregnant?"

Talbot seemed to be prodding all of Albrecht's weak spots. If he hadn't been in debt to the man, he'd have kicked him out of the carriage long ago. His wife had indeed been pregnant when he'd left. Their first child before then had been a girl and he'd remained hopeful for a son and heir, but he'd been so long in his studies that he couldn't recall more than a few perfunctory visits to his wife's chambers. And so when he'd learned of her pregnancy, he'd immediately suspected that the baby might be another man's. He'd had servants investigate the matter, but nothing incriminating was found. At the time, he'd thought nothing more of it, but with the child surely due any day now and the growing fears in his mind, he was no longer complacent.

sa7YnYm.png


Albrecht resumed his reading to quieten Talbot for the last few hours to Castle Stuttgart. He knew better than to look for any words of comfort from the Mad Arab, but it was better than dwelling on domestic problems. But with the difficulty of the text, Albrecht's thoughts constantly returned to his wife, the unborn baby and perhaps some lover that he could only envision as a formless darkness as described in his reading.

And so when they finally reached Stuttgart, Albrecht's mood had soured further. He stepped off the carriage to see Helene waiting for him, a baby boy in her arms. A potent mix of emotions rushed through him as he took the boy from his wife: joy, suspicion, relief, fear...

ppgfrJw.png


"His name is Eberhard, after your wise father..." began Helene. He cut her off, giving the boy back to her as quickly as he was able.

"It's been a trying few months ... I will head to the chapel for I must pray at once." In truth Albrecht didn't feel like praying - he was no longer sure prayer could help matters - he just wanted the quiet sanctity of the chapel, away from everybody, otherwise he feared he might choke the life out of his son.

Zide5dJ.png
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Oh dear. The Duke's thirst for knowledge has led to severe consequences. Be careful for you wish for!

Great update
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
Oh dear. The Duke's thirst for knowledge has led to severe consequences. Be careful for you wish for!

Great update

Ah good stuff. Yes this declaration by the sainted new Kaiser may well bode ill for the Duke

Nice update sir!

Thanks Asantahene for the comments. My turn with Albrecht is turning out to be quite interesting. Don't play as much CK2 as EU4 so haven't seen this particular event chain before, and it's really made it fun to play and write up. We'll be dealing with some of the consequences in the next chapter.
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
u0mHISu.png

Giselbert Niklotid, Chancellor of Swabia
OiUBjCb.png


October 1428

All eyes were on Giselbert as he entered the council chamber, no doubt judging him for his rude appearance - barefoot with simple attire. At 63 he was the eldest on the council, the last man left who also served the previous Duke, and he'd have expected a bit more respect. Though perhaps it was that respect that kept their tongues in check.

A few seconds later and attention turned to another arrival, the newest member of the council and certainly the most controversial. During the summer a merchant traveller returning from the East had been granted the hospitality of the Duke, and in exchange the merchant had gifted him a Bedouin warrior, the eunuch Alim. Duke Albrecht had been quite taken with his new servant, quickly making him head of his bodyguard, and then recently placing him on his council as Marshal. Although Alim professed the Christian faith, there was little trust here for a foreigner from Arab lands, and this overshadowed Giselbert's own eccentric views.

MgHZ3pc.png


The appointment of Alim to the council wasn't the first dubious act the Duke had performed. In truth Duke Albrecht hadn't been quite the same since returning from his voyage to the Arabian desert. His decisions since then had been ... erratic (to put it kindly). The death of his daughter, Margarete, aged just 3 years old, had pushed Albrecht over the edge. Now no-one, least of all Giselbert, knew what their noble lord would do next.

smiqTbs.png


Mostly Albrecht saw conspiracies against him at all time - from his subjects, his councillors, his Emperor, and even his wife. When Helene fell pregnant again, no one else suspected anything, but then everyone heard the Duke confronting his wife, accusing her of infidelity. The poor woman, as agreeable as she was, attracted a lot of attention from the Stuttgart men, but certainly no one would be so foolish as to risk the wrath of Duke Albrecht.

OCzR0vY.png


The Duke's scholarly pursuits, his thirst for knowledge and regular visits to his observatory were now a thing of the past. When he could pull himself away from that accursed book of his, he was plotting against his enemies, both real and imagined.

4Vko20Q.png


Just one crazy example was that incident with his mother-in-law, his wife's mother, the Countess Beatrix of Brandenburg. Called 'the Rash' for her habit of wandering among the common folk with little to no protection, Duke Albrecht took it upon himself to order her capture, and then to keep her here in Stuttgart "for her own protection". No one believed this excuse - the Duke had had an irrational obsession with Beatrix for years and the guards were under strict orders to not allow her to leave the south tower.

OYISgJi.png


Nobody wanted to say what everyone was feeling - their lord was mad. However Giselbert was hardly one to judge; he'd thought he was going mad when he first started hearing the voices in his head. It had been nearly ten years ago, shortly after losing his manservant, Hugo, and just before the onset of one of his fits. At the time the voices had scared him, but now he knew better - the three voices he heard were those of God, the Holy Trinity, with him to help guide him on a path of righteousness.

It had certainly been a difficult time since then for the path was not clear, even for one receiving guidance like he was. Finally he had found out about Peter Waldo, the 12th century founder of the Poor Men of Lyons whose teachings had long been supressed by the Church and whose followers were often persecuted. Giselbert had given up all his valuables to those who needed them more than he did (and certainly not to the corrupt Church).

He didn't fear persecution; he sought only to inspire others to follow his example - to live a clean, hard-working, righteous life. And in the end, the voices told him, if he proves worthy, the curse of his violent episodes would be lifted.

bENMaiY.png


The minutes dragged on, and Duke Albrecht was not usually late to his own council meetings. Giselbert started to grow worried about what it could mean when finally the Duke arrived, awkwardly leading a horse through the chamber's door. Just another sign of their Duke's madness - thought Giselbert - and a perfectly harmless one at that.

Albrecht scanned the councillors until his eyes settled on Giselbert. He looked his Cnacellor up and down, his disapproval clear from his demeanour.

"Giselbert," he said. "My horse has more nobility in one hoof than you in your whole wardrobe. You are a disgrace to this council and this Duchy. The horse will take your place on the council; I'm sure my Chamberlain will find a more appropriate job to keep you occupied."

A01iIvk.png


September 1430

"We've won!", "The army's back", "They're bringing in noble prisoners!" The victory cries echoed through the castle, and Giselbert, his back hurting, dutifully trudged behind the women and children to welcome back the triumphant Duke.

Giselbert couldn't help but feel apprehensive. It had been two years since he'd been kicked off the Duke's council. That should have simplified his life. Although still part of the Duke's court, he was no longer beholden to him. He was a free man. And then the Emperor's son had been assassinated and everything had changed.

kGwOktE.png


Gautselin was the Duke's nephew and a shoo-in to succeed Kaiser Sieghard as Emperor. While the Kaiser had mourned for the loss of his only son, Duke Albrecht had believed it was part of the general conspiracy aginst his faimly, the von Württembergs. No one dared contradict the Duke though it would not have surprised Giselbert if Albrecht's paranoia actually helped fuel plots against him.

Count Engelbert of Fürstenberg was accused of trying to usurp the Duchy from Albrecht. Whether it was true or not hardly mattered; there was going to be war one way or the other. Defeat for Duke Albrecht would likely see the façade of his rule crumble, while victory would see the madness continue.

naxSkcv.png


And by the cheering sounds he could hear, victory had been secured. That had hardly seemed likely a few months ago. The Duke since removing Giselbert as Chancellor had been making more enemies than friends and the war saw him taking on the Duchies of Baden and Mecklenburg in addition to the County of Fürstenberg.

Giselbert reached the courtyard, joining the fringes of the cheering crowd in time to see the arrival of the nobles and Bulgarian mercenaries leading in the captured high-ranking prisoners. Giselbert couldn't imagine how much it had cost the Duchy to pay for the mercenary army, but it seemed to have done it's job.

ivEBhIs.png


Then Giselbert caught sight of the prisoners. He should have been prepared for this - after all the Duchy of Mecklenburg was his family's and they were on the other side of this war. He recognized Lambert Niklotid, his great-grand-newphew, barely more than a boy, among other nobles from Mecklenburg that he knew only by reputation.

wD0CBlJ.png


The Niklotids would ransom their own to be sure, defraying the expense of the war for Duke Albrecht, but Giselbert had come to a final realization. Stuttgart was no place for him. And he couldn't return to Mecklenburg; it had been far too long. He needed a simple life, away from the dangers of court and the madness in the Empire, away from those who would judge him.

Stepping away from the crowd, he'd made up his mind. He would head for the forests and become a hermit. Live out the rest of his life in peace.
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Bloody hell! Poor Giselbert and how hilarious re the horse! I ve never had that event happen to me in CK2 but thought you played and wrote it very well

For what it's worth I've voted for you for WritAAR of the year 2015-good luck!
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
Bloody hell! Poor Giselbert and how hilarious re the horse! I ve never had that event happen to me in CK2 but thought you played and wrote it very well

For what it's worth I've voted for you for WritAAR of the year 2015-good luck!

Thanks Asantahene. I appreciate your continued support for this AAR :)

The "Horse replaces a council member" is one of a whole bunch of Lunatic events. I did get hit with quite a few different ones; I've just limited the narrative to a couple of the more interesting ones. I'll say this though, for an insane guy, Albrecht's managed to stay alive and in power for a long time - it's like that old saying: "You don't have to be insane to rule in the HRE, but it sure helps."
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
ksYhw5M.png

Eberhard von Württemberg, Heir to the Duchy of Swabia
j5R2mnV.png


November 1435

Twelve years old now - almost a man by his reckoning - and his father's feasts made him as nervous as ever. He paused for a moment at the entrance to Stuttgart Castle's feasting hall, absorbing the scene within. Not so many people this night despite his father's call for celebration. His siblings and mother sat at the high table, and a few barons and the Duke's council on the other tables. It had been a few years since the ignomonious end to Fürstenberg's rebellion. Count Engelbert had died in the siege and his heir, his daughter, Countess Anna, had been exiled - her lands seized by his father.

HjVf41X.png


Since then fewer and fewer of his Duke's vassals made the trip to Stuttgart, and when they did they were clearly fearful that they might be the target of his father's accusations and meet the same fate as Fürstenberg. Only Count Konrad of Ulm, Chancellor of Swabia and Master of the Hunt, seemed immune to this atmosphere of paranoia. He was gaily moving about the feast hall, chatting to each noble in turn, a smile always on his face. Eberhard wished he could be more like Konrad, instead of the awkward, shy boy he knew himself to be.

He felt a hand land on his shoulder, the strong hand of his father, Duke Albrecht of Swabia. "What are you waiting for my lad? Let's enter and begin this feast!"

"I, er, I'm not feeling so well. Perhaps I'll give tonight a miss..." He knew his excuse was weak and his father had a nose for smelling out lies from a hundred paces.

"Nonsense! There are at least 3 noble daughters here who'd love to make your acquaintance, include the daughter of our special guest, Christopher, the Duke of Skåne. Now all women can be won over with a display of confidence and bravado - so back straight; show now fear!" And his father marched him into the hall and up to the high table.

3Qxlsq2.png


There were quite a few empty seats still at the high table. His two surviving sisters, Beatrix and Hildeburg, sat next to his mother. Adelheid was his favourite sister - he'd always sat next to her at the high table, but she had died of pneumonia last winter. His father sat down in the central seat and he motioned for Eberhard to sit beside him.

g0UewqD.png


It wasn't long before the arrival of Duke Christopher and his family. Eberhard spotted the Duke's young daughter, Luitgard, hiding in her father's shadow, her eyes downcast and trying to be inconspicuous. She's probably more shy and intimidated by the event than I am, thought Eberhard, maybe there is some hope for me.

Once everyone was seated, Duke Albrecht stood for his speech - to welcome them all and remind them of the occassion of this feast: "It is with regret that I announce the death of my mother, Hildeburg, the Countess of Baden; though I imagine no one who knew her will feel great sadness at her passing."

His father's bluntness about Hildeburg was uncouth and unexpected. Eberhard hadn't known his grandmother but from what he'd heard, her death had been quite terrible - a skin disease that left her a pariah.

Albrecht continued, "With Hildeburg having no other male heirs, the responsibility for the County of Baden falls to me and my family. With the Emperor's blessing the County shall henceforth be considered an indivisible part of the Duchy of Swabia."

2WO0WPa.png


For Eberhard this announcement wasn't unexpected as his father always kept him abreast him of the affairs of the Duchy in an attempt to groom him as the future Duke. Now with the acquisition of Fürstenberg and Baden as Ducal provinces, the Duchy of Swabia was one of the most powerful Duchies in the Empire.

SNGUwsp.png


The toasts and celebrations continued, Duke Albrecht seemingly very pleased with himself, and the sycophantic nobles tripping over themselves to congratulate the Duke. But for Eberhard, this growth in the status of the Duchy really scared him. He wasn't like his father - in fact despite his father's best efforts, he was as dissimilar to him as he could be. And he could not imagine himself as a Duke.

When the Duke finally had a quieter moment, Eberhard was able to engage him in conversation, steering it towards discussing his future.

"Why, as my only male heir the whole Duchy will be yours! Unless your mother's got it in her to give you a brother..."

"That's just it though," interrupted Eberhard. "I don't want to rule the whole Duchy. I don't think I'd like to even rule just Stuttgart. I've been speaking to our Steward, my namesake, the Bishop Eberhard of Heilbronn, and he said they'd be happy to see me don the vestments of the Church..."

"What utter nonsense! Fortune finally smiles on our family and you'd spit in Her face? No, that will not be. If I've failed to instruct you on the management of the realm, we'll redouble our efforts. Besides, I'm hale and hearty and unlikely to die for decades yet - plenty of time to acquire the skills you need."

l7ES6Gf.png


Eberhard wanted to tell him that it wasn't a lack of skills deterring him from rule. It was - well - he didn't really know; but clearly now wasn't the time to be arguing this with his father.

Just then a messenger arrived in the hall, a man in the Imperial colours. None but the Kaiser's messenger would be allowed to intrude on the gathering. The feasters soon quietened, eager to hear what such important news had arrived for the Duke.

Albrecht, obviously annoyed by the interruption, eventually indicated that the messenger should speak.

"To the gathered Lords and Nobles," the messenger began, "Kaiser Sieghard von Habsburg, son of Kaiser Lothar II and brother by marriage to Albrecht, the Duke of Swabia, regrets that this fearful news must reach your ears and hearts. The enemies of Christendom have amassed on the border of the Holy Land, intent on defiling it with their foreign prophets. For now only Walter, King of England, France and Jerusalem, stands in their way. We surely can't stand idly by while our brethren are slaughtered and their lands stolen from them.

"The Kaiser will lead the first armies east immediately after Christmas. The Princes of the Empire are all instructed to raise their levies to lead them to glory against the infidels."

L7OzQD5.png


The messenger's pronouncement actually got some cheers from the assembled nobles who no doubt thirsted for some military action against heathens. But Eberhard could see the worry on the Duke's face. He couldn't ask his father about it - not while everyone was watching them, expecting a response - so he tried to work out what he must be thinking.

Although the two were tied together through the Emperor's marriage to Trude, Albrecht's sister and Eberhard's aunt, the relationship between the two of them had been frosty at best (at least for as long as Eberhard could recall). Kaiser Sieghard had also recently claimed the Duchy of Schleswig as an Imperial fief, the former Duke of Schleswig now no more than a pitiful Baron, and all for no just cause that Eberhard could discern.

NAw4XlA.png


Nobody had protested though. What Kaiser Sieghard wanted, he got. If Albrecht denied him the Duchy's support in the war, ... well, who knew what the Emperor might be willing to do? Eberhard saw no other option - his father must accept the Emperor's call. In truth he felt somewhat excited. He had been too young to be involved in the battles against the rebels from Fürstenberg, but surely his father would not deny him the chance to accompany him in this Holy War?

Awkward seconds passed without anyone saying anything; and then when it became apparent that the Duke wasn't going to respond immediately, conversations started up again. Eberhard recognized Alim, the gelded Arab in charge of the Ducal levies, approaching the high table.

"My Lord?" he asked. Albrecht nodded for him to continue. "By Christmas we can have nearly 5,000 men ready for the Emperor's army. Should I make the necessary arrangements? Will you be leading them?"

ZAMenoo.png


Finally a question that Duke Albrecht could not refuse to answer. "Why?" he shouted. "Why does the universe hate me so?" Then quieter, "Yes, Alim, plan away. I'll be joining my dear brother-in-law with as many men as you can muster. Alim, you'll stay here to defend my home.

"And you, my son," he said, turning to Eberhard. "It looks like I won't be here for a while to instruct you. Your mother, Helene, will be in charge of your education. Take care not to grow too soft under her care."

Eberhard wanted to respond with indignation - he wanted to join his father and the Emperor - but the Duke's mind was clearly made up as he stormed angrily out of his own feast.

I4nnQGH.png
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
What's got the puissant Duke so riled then?

Great update as always TheosZA :)
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
What's got the puissant Duke so riled then?

Great update as always TheosZA :)

Well, update from the Duke's POV should be up in the next chapter and should hopefully give some more insight into his perspective.
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Well, update from the Duke's POV should be up in the next chapter and should hopefully give some more insight into his perspective.
Cool. Looking forward to that
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
BsGckSV.png

Duke Albrecht of Swabia
ror5pno.png


January 1438

Duke Albrecht stood pensively in front of what remained of his levies raised for the Kaiser in defence of Jerusalem. Since the illness and death of Trude, his sister and the wife of the Kaiser, Albrecht was the last surviving sibling. Her son and heir presumptive to the Empire had been assassinated; two of his own children were dead; one could not deny that his family was cursed. Surely that was why he now found himself here, in the desert near Damascus, facing almost certain death against the overwhelming numbers gathered for Jihad.

Las7So1.png


Albrecht was not one for making big speeches in front of his troops, or working with the other nobles on battle plans; so in the hours waiting for the battle he'd had a lot of time to think. He recalled a moment from last summer's Stuttgart fair: a probable madman clad in monk's robes, standing in the centre of the square, proclaiming the end of the world. No one seemed to be taking his words too seriously, but when Albrecht had seen the man for himself he thought he discenred something about this prophet of doom - this man had seen things; things which defied description; things which had driven him mad; things of which Albrecht had only read and half-glimpsed.

Albrecht knew that others in his court considered him somewhat unhinged from his insight into the true nature of the universe, so surely a man who had seen behind the veil - who had seen the cosmic entities that pervaded our natural realm - would be considered a lunatic by the mundane men of their time.

vGuka6Y.png


So had there been truth in the mad monk's words? Right at this moment it seemed like the truth. Despite the fracturing of the Bahris Empire, the factions had united behind their Caliph in attempt to seize Jerusalem from Christian hands. Unending swarms of Saracen warriors had crushed local opposition.

And the death of Walter the Lame, King of England and Jerusalem, had thrown the defence into further disarray. His two sons were both still boys, leading to the typical noble squabbles of a regency. Few of them would risk their necks in this hell-hole.

wcvaaRN.png


But here they were - a great army of the Holy Roman Empire, twenty thousand strong, under Kaiser Sieghard von Habsburg who was ever eager for glory and whose tight grip on power meant no noble, not even the recalcitrant Albrecht, could refuse his call to defend the Holy Land.

Albrecht spotted the scout returning, heading directly for Sieghard. Fortunately that wasn't far from Albrecht's levies and he wandered over to the Kaiser. He arrived in time to hear the report: 7 000 enemy men just an hour away; and another 12 000 following behind them.

HB7cITg.png


They might win this yet, though Albrecht. Sieghard was ordering the advance to ensure the two enemy armies didn't have the opportunity to co-ordinate an attack with each other. Of course, even if they won this one battle, the enemy numbers were endless, weren't they? There would surely just be battle after battle until the war ended.

July 1441

The two Dukes stood side by side atop the walls of Jerusalem awaiting the return of the English army, their own levies encamped beneath the walls and anxiously waiting for the latest news. During the four years in the Holy Land the two had developed an odd friendship. As always it was the younger man, Johann von Habsburg, Duke of Austria, leading the conversation, regaling Albrecht von Württemberg, Duke of Swabia, with dubious tales of his bedroom conquests, those both at home and also here in Jerusalem with supposedly many a local noble's wife falling to his charms.

Albrecht enjoyed the man's satisfaction, pleased that someone could take delight in the simple pleasures of life. Not even a serious wound which had cost Johann his right hand seemed to keep the man down. While he was now useless as a fighting man, the women seemed to swoon over this evidence of his courage. Albrecht secretly hoped that his own son, who he had not seen for years and was now of age, would be able to live such a carefree life.

yQKRvd0.png


Though for Duke Johann, who knew how much longer he might be able to continue his scandalous ways? As the descendant of Kaiser Albrecht, Johann was a distant cousin of Kaiser Sieghard, and with his charm capturing the favour of many a prince-elector, he was likely to be chosen as the next to rule the Holy Roman Empire.

Johann let out a cry as he spotted the arrival of the English army. The dust kicked up by sixteen thousand men was evident on the horizon, but closer to them Albrecht spied the King and his royal entourage. Clearly there was not going to be a battle in defence of the city else the King would have stayed with his army and instead despatched a messenger. Johann, the astute noble politico that he was, was already heading for the stairs down to be ready to greet the King.

Reluctantly Albrecht followed. In his estimation Lionel, the young King of England, Jerusalem, France and Ireland, got more credit than his worth. He was now known as 'the Hammer' for the crushing defeats he'd inflicted on the Saracen armies, and it was true that he'd somehow managed to rally the nobles of his various kingdoms to the defence of the Holy Land, but he was barely more than a boy and not the fulcrum upon which this war had turned.

zja8qyT.png


No, that was Kaiser Sieghard - a man in his late fifties now and the veteran of numerous wars and countless battles. He was a strategic and tactial genius who had marshalled what men could be brought to these lands into a legendary force.

In hindsight Albrecht realized that it had all begun in that battle near Damascus three and a half years ago. The reinforcing enemy army had arrived too late and the Empire's army had been able to scatter both of their opponents. After that Sieghard had been relentless, pushing the army from battle to battle and from victory to victory. And yet with the arrival of the boy King, Sieghard had been humble enough to give him all the credit.

vhlLl9y.png


Albrecht was still fifty yards away when King Lionel entered through Jerusalem's East Gate. Kaiser Sieghard was already there to greet him and though Albrecht was still too far away to hear their talk, the cheers that erupted from those nearby told him everything he needed to know. Another victory and the war had been won! Finally he'd be leaving behind the heat and death of this land, returning home to the cool valleys of the Upper Rhine and his family.

2LmnhrD.png


Duke Johann turned round to him, pure joy evident on his face. Albrecht gave a weak smile back while his resolve stengthened. I will protect my family against the darkness in this world, vowed Albrecht, that they might be able to experience such happiness as this.
 

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Deus vult! Never mind Lionel the Hammer-Sieghard the Hammer more like. Magnificent!
 

theosZA

Captain
84 Badges
Dec 23, 2013
375
30
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
2wZymlh.png

Baron Lambert of Hohenberg
krucJX1.png


January 1444

Lambert approached the majestic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Brandenburg's Old Town with the hood of his cloak up to keep his face in shadows. Although he was over 300 miles away from his barony he could not afford for anyone of importance to recognize him. The sun had already set and with Vespers complete the parisioners were departing the cathedral.

He watched them all leave, carefully keeping an eye out for any of his contacts. No sign of them, and when the last of the crowd had gone he waited for another ten minutes. There was no rush and every reason to be as careful as possible.

5Eb74rb.png


The square was completely empty by the time he entered the cathedral. Two men remained inside, seated in a pew towards the apse. He cautiously approached until he could confirm that these were indeed his contacts. The tall, bald Pawel of Ruppin, Regent for the absent Countess Beatrix, seemed calm and collected. Meanwhile his portly companion, Laudolf, the Baron of Jüterbog, was nervously praying at his side, mouthing the words of the Act of Contrition if Lambert guessed right.

Lambert lowered his hood and Pawel just raised a quizzical eyebrow and tapped Laudolf on the shoulder. The poor Baron almost jumped out of his skin. A disposition too nervous for such clandestine activities, thought Lambert, but his options were hardly plentiful at this point.

"Where's the Bishop?" asked Lambert, his voice, out of habit, kept to little more than a whisper.

Pawel responded, "Bishop Gotzelo has an unfortunate prediliction for this city's vices, and confessed his part after overindulgence. Fortunately it's confined to rumour for the moment, but while we use his cathedral, he doesn't get to know the intricate details of our plot."

Damn, though Lambert, all that care and it's been pissed away by our priest.

WGOUAfU.png


"What of our target?" asked Lambert.

"Who? Hermann?" piped up Laudolf. "He's still an ass as always; no care in the world for anyone around him."

"And with Brandenburg's treasury available to him, he's now more plump than our Laudolf here. But I don't think that's what our esteemed Swabian friend meant, dear Laudolf." Pawel stood up as if he was about to launch into a speech but then Laudolf interrupted.

HjH2TBf.png


"Hermann's been excommunicated, right? It wouldn't be right if we do this to a fellow Christian."

Lambert almost laughed, and he looked at Pawel to see a smirk on that man's face too. Now he knew Duke Albrecht had tried to have Hermann excommunicated. Chests of silver had made their way to the Vatican's treasure vaults on vague promises of support from Pope Celestine VI, but ultimately the Pope had declined the request. Fortunately he hadn't been around when that news had been delivered to the Duke, but in reality it made little difference to their task here today.

cwGvSOa.png


Fortunately Pawel stepped in. "While we await the Pope's divine judgement, Bishop Gotzelo has already agreed to grant us remission for our sins." Laudolf seemed somwhat mollified so Pawel continued. "For this evening, we're meeting a Polish friend of ours who has obtained a snake that he assures us has a lethal bite. I will be able to get us access to Hermann's bedchamber and Laudolf will handle the snake."

Laudolf looked absolutely terrified at the thought and Lambert cringed. Surely they saw how incredibly risky this was? he thought. But it was too late. Duke Albrecht had given him specific instructions. This was to be his last trip to Brandenburg - he had to succeed tonight else he'd lose everything.

"It's a ... bold plan," Lambert eventually responded. "But sometimes we have to act boldly if we want the world to change for the better. I would only be a hindrance to you in the castle so I will wait here and pray for your success."

Pawel grabbed Laudolf and half-dragged him out of the cathedral. Lambert watched them leave and then settled in for the anxious wait.

Rg1LOa1.png


It was three hours later when the pair returned, Laudolf practically skipping in ahead of Pawel.

Lambert rose from the pew, putting his hood back up and headed outside. As he passed Pawel he got the confirmation he needed. "It is done. The castle is in chaos. Leave the city quickly now before the guards gather their wits."

Lambert had every intention of doing just that - his horse was tethered in the cathedral square ready for a swift departure.

27inh5E.png


February 1444

Lambert's caution meant his return to Stuttgart had taken longer than necessary and as he approached the castle he suspected that news of Hermann's death might have preceded him. There was certainly a large crowd gathered around the castle gates and Lambert's curiosity was piqued. He would have had to see what all the fuss was about even if he wasn't under orders to report directly to Duke Albrecht.

As he got closer he spotted Eberhard, the 20-year old heir to the Duchy, standing apart from the other nobles, just two bodyguards at his side. Of all the friendly faces to see, this was possibly the best. Despite his meagre years, Eberhard was eminently likeable and had justifiably been granted the position of Chancellor on the Duke's Council. But his instructions were very clear - no one else, especially not the Duke's son - were to know the details of the events in Brandenburg.

o4g5T3K.png


As Lambert dismounted he saw that Eberhard's face had a dark aspect to it. Anger, and maybe sadness, if Lambert read him right. Eberhard had hardly noticed Lambert's arrival at his side - his attention was focused on the carriage making its way through the castle gates and the splendid rider trotting his stallion beside the carriage. It took Lambert a few seconds to realize the rider was Duke Albrecht - Lambert hadn't seen him like this since his departure for the Holy Land eight years ago.

"Your father's leaving Stuttgart?" he asked Eberhard. He had to report to the Duke; surely he couldn't be going away now?

"It's my whole family." It sounded like Eberhard was choking back tears. A bit emotional for seeing the family off, Lambert thought and then wondered if there wasn't more to it than that.

As the carriage passed he spotted Albrecht's wife, Helene and their two surviving daughters, Beatrix and Hildeburg. Hildeburg was still a girl while Beatrix had blossomed into a beautiful, charismatic young woman. "So where are they going then," Lambert asked.

"England. My sister's to marry the King."

That gave Lambert pause. Beatrix was marrying Lionel Plantagenet? Lionel the Hammer? King of England, Ireland, France and Jerusalem? Eberhard would likely never see Beatrix again; perhaps that was the source of his distress.

LYzI5hD.png


Albrecht spotted them then and looked for a moment like he might ride over, but then gave barely a nod in their direction before continuing on. Lambert could now see the fury in Eberhard, barely restrained, and clearly directed toward his father. Lambert dared to ask, "What's the matter?" but before the words were even past his lips he realized what must have happened.

"That whoreson had my grandmother executed!" - just a touch too loud and it drew stares from the nearby spectators.

The Duke's plan had already fallen into place. Beatrix the Rash, Countess of Brandenburg, had been held as a prisoner here (in an unofficial capacity) for 16 years. Now she'd finally been done away with. Lambert briefly wondered what pretext the Duke had used - did he even need a pretext nowadays? But then he realized that it didn't matter anyway; Eberhard blamed his father regardless.

WZgij9m.png


Lambert tried to find something to say, something to comfort him, but there was nothing he was allowed to share. No doubt Eberhard would find out about Hermann's tragic death in time and possibly he'd be able to put the pieces together. When his mother's acknowledged as Countess of Brandenburg, he'd see that one day he'd inherit Brandenburg in addition to the Duchy of Swabia. Maybe he'd forgive his father then?

qQzHrDb.png
 
Last edited:

Asantahene

Field Marshal
23 Badges
Nov 13, 2013
2.854
265
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Yet more internecine plots eh? More intricate and devious than the hByzantine Court

Good update