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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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stnylan

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How very frustrating for the young King to be denied a proper battle, especially after his former discoveries.
 
The Grand Emirate who Can’t Pick a Name

hjarg

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The Grand Emirate who Can’t Pick a Name

Royal Matters

In June 1151, Drogo created Duchy of Sevilla and granted it to Count Anselm of Moura. Only to discover that the current Duke had a bit of an angry peasant infestation, so Drogo kindly dealt with that as well. Something to compensate for the battles denied in the previous war, Drogo enjoyed at least a simple and easy victory against the peasants.

1605650621932.png

At least some glory against the peasants

In December 1152, Robert II of Algiers created his very own House, Hauteville-Tadallis. “Truth and Devotion” was their motto and for a change, Robert II was not a deceitful man and was indeed quite devout.

1605650661329.png

New House for the man with a wonderful moustace!

At the same time, Gerbert of Sardinia, Drogo’s brother, died. Some say some hunters accidentally mistook the poor Duke riding through the woods as a centaur and wanted the trophy, but instead, filled the Duke with arrows. This story created some suspicions, though nothing was proven. His eldest son, Gerbert II took over. Just 16, he was a new fancy Duke, with the ability to make good money.

1605650686283.png

Tragedy in Sardinia. Also, Gerbert is down to one county

Grieving Drogo went hunting. He was not mistaken for a centaur.

In January 1152, Aubrey de Hauteville finally became 16. Joyous King entered his second marriage. It was for the first time the people of Sicily had seen a proper royal marriage, where the King himself gets married. After all, both Bohemond and Robert Guiscard got married before they became Kings. There were not even many complaints about the special tax the King asked for the marriage, for everyone wanted to see the new couple walking down the aisle and the following celebrations. Let us say they were regal indeed.

1605650713237.png

First Regal marriage since the start of the Kingdom

At the time, the reputation of Drogo grew as well. The King was now known as an Illustrious King and Paragon of Virtue in the divine matters. This also meant steadily growing skills of the King.

1605650555626.png

In other words, +4 to diplomacy, martial and learning

By July 1153, Drogo had captured the heart of Aubrey. It seemed that this marriage was blessed indeed. Much more then the one with Yefemia.

1605650785091.png

Beloved Aubrey

In January 1154, Guy of Amman, yet another brother of Drogo, created his own house. Hauteville-Azraq. “Christ Protect Us”, was the motto. Or as Drogo put it: “Christ protect all of us when his Mandean Sons inherit”

1605650806212.png

Christ protect us from your Mandean sons...

In May, there was joy and celebration in Palermo as Aubrey gave birth to her first child. A young girl, named Mernissa after her grandmother. If she were a boy, then it would have been even better, for the young girl was almost perfect.

1605650894726.png

Marriage of Aubrey and Drogo bearing a wonderful fruit

In August 1154, Prince Frery, the firstborn of Drogo, became of age. He became a deceitful snake, and a brilliant schemer. Also, quite the knight. Already he was a Count of Jaen and Calatrava, though with no Duchy title. He was betrothed to Giselle de Hauteville. Overall, not bad for the first one. His lack of martial abilities made him not quite the right one for the throne. Though no-one informed Frery of this. Yet.

1605650921785.png

Meanwhile, Frery the Snake growing up

In November, Drogo decided that enough of the martial advances. Time to try something different- like scholarship. Something every Norman king should do- at least, become proficient in pedagogy and dabble a bit in scientific areas. He also sent his steward Agafay to develop Palermo.

1605650980639.png

Time to dabble in more scholarly things

In February 1155, Duke Roger II of Tunis, the Lollard Duke, died in the most common way Hauteville Dukes die- due to wounds received on the battlefield. His 4-year old son took over as Duke Arnald I of Tunis. Being the sole son of Roger II, the lands were not divided, meaning Arnald will be one of the most powerful Dukes when he grows up.

1605651039431.png

Good-bye, Lollard Duke!

Now, though- Drogo patiently explained to the young boy why Lolling about is not good and why Jesus Christ, our lord and saviour, is supreme. Arnald listened and took the lesson to heart.

1605651056654.png

Drogo convincing the 4-year old boy the to abandon his lollardly ways

Also in February 1155, Drogo adopted bounteous loins for the Hauteville dynasty. Somehow making all the Hautevilles more fertile. Let us leave the exact details to your imagination.

1605651093716.png

What the world needs is even more Hautevilles

In May 1155, Bohemond II of Granada, yet another brother of Drogo, created his very own house as well. Named Hauteville-Granada is a rare quest for clarity, so everyone knows what lands Bohemond holds. “Salvation Over Perseverance” made kind of sense too. And Bohemond was one of the finest knights in the realm, only surpassed by Drogo.

1605651114071.png

Bohemond of Granada, from the House Hauteville-Granada. Makes sense

The Grand Emirate who Can’t Pick a Name

In 1131, Ilyas Almoravid forced young prince Yugerten out of the throne of Maghreb Kingdom and installed himself as the Amir al-Umara, restoring the Almoravids back to their rightful throne. He also re-named the country as Almoravid Grand Emirate. 20 years later, Yugerten, now aged 31, returned the favour. He was much more thorough then Ilyas though, for he also took all the lands of the former al-Umara and forced Ilyas into exile. Seeing that he has cancer, it is unlikely that the Albino a-Umara will enjoy the throne for much longer.

1605650503636.png

Title of Amir al-Umara of Whatever the Grand Emirate is called just doesn't seem to stick...

Drogo welcomed the opportunity to cross pikes with Tadlids, or the Maghreb, as they renamed the country for now, once again. In July 1153, he declared war over the Duchy of Tahert. Half of the Duchy was already in Normans hands, now Drogo wanted the other half.

1605650761450.png

Here we go again...

By October, Yalala fell to Norman troops. In the meanwhile, the Tadlids had sneaked an army up to Cadiz and happily besieged the city and looted the countryside. So, Drogo put his men on a boat and sailed across to Iberia. Landing in Granada,

In February 1154, Norman troops relieved Cadiz. In a glorious battle, the Normans once again annihilated the enemy enemy troops. It was becoming more and more obvious that the Normans were an unstoppable force. Not only due to the military skills of Drogo, though these helped as well. Mostly, it was due to the Norman army becoming less and less reliant on levies over time. Drogo commanded nearly 6 500 soldiers in the battle. Of these 6 500, only 2800 were levies. Meanwhile, of the 3500 soldiers of the Maghrebs, nearly 3000 were peasants armed with pitchforks and scythes. It was no wonder the Normans were as successful. Twice in numbers, but oh how much in quality...

1605650840214.png

It is not only superiority in generalship and numbers. It is also a very definite superiority in quality

After the Battle of Cadiz, Normans took a small detour to Granda, where the local peasants thought it would be a fine time to be revolting. This matter was dealt with quickly and once again, the Normans sailed across the Mediterranean to Africa.

1605650956293.png

Hello there, more peasants!

In January 1155, Tahert fell to Norman troops. Meanwhile, the enemy had landed their forces in Yalala, trying to take back the Duchy. Or, seeing from the Noman perspective, conveniently placed a smaller army near the Normans. Once again, as is becoming more and more of a tradition, the Normans slaughtered the enemy, killing one Tadlid Emir in the process.

1605651005078.png

One more enemy army killed, including one Emir this time

Meanwhile, al-Umara Yugerten had indeed succumbed to cancer in December 1154. His son, Laweye, only 13 at the time, took over. Things were not quite looking up for the Tadlids.

Amongst the first things new al-Umara had to do was to sign a humiliating peace treaty with the Normans, granting the upstarts from the North one more Duchy of the Maghreb lands in May 1155 Now, the Normans were coming dangerously close to the core lands of the original Almoravid territory. And the young al-Umara, controlling only the county of Marrakesh and Mosque of Aghmat, was weak against both the internal and external enemies.

1605651150826.png

New Amir al-Umara, Laweye, giving up.

Since Amri of Kroumerie already controlled half of Tahert, the King was kind enough to grant the Duke the other half as well, along with the Duchy title. Making Amri the staunchest supporter of Drogo. Granting duchies go a long way when making friends. Quietly, Drogo hoped that Amri would get at least two male heirs.

1605651194880.png

Amri, the new most powerful Duke in the realm. And a good-good friend now.
 

Attachments

hjarg

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As the realm grows and Normans rely less and less on levies, i'm personally finding the offensive war penalty more and more offending. I'm losing minimal amount of troops, winning glorious victories, not using even half of the levies and staying very positive financially during the wars. Nothing peasants and vassals should be upset about. But there we go... Delaying the conquests of Drogo with some arbitrary negative modifier.

At least, the King got hitched. And Mernissa looks like a good choice for the heir. I mean, that Queen would rock!

A young Pope... you'll be getting money from him for a long time.
This is an excellent point. :D
You know, I can milk the Pope for a long time. Sure. But old Popes, changing quickly in succession, would allow me to milk the Papacy even more, for the already asked for gold gets reset after the death of the Pope :D
So, instead of one young un, dozen or so old farts would be preferrable.

At like they have anything better to do with their money... then to grant it to Normans, who single-handedly turned the Muslim threat around. :p

Two popes in 60 years in my game. They seem to last a bit longer.
I blame medicine focus for that. Too healty

How very frustrating for the young King to be denied a proper battle, especially after his former discoveries.
Oh yes, nothing like a skewered Seljuk to take your mind off your cheating ex-wife :D
Well, there is always the next time.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I blame medicine focus for that. Too healthy
I agree. My experiments into medicine reveal that you can add ten or so years onto a chap with rather poor dynasty health just by investing in this medicine around the time they turn 60. Ridiculous. But makes sense as well, I guess.
 

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Once Laweye is inevitably dethroned, you'll have your excuse to take another Duchy.
 

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Quietly, Drogo hoped that Amri would get at least two male heirs.
That, or the son becoming really, really treasonous? ;)
 
Back to Baghdad

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Back to Baghdad

Royal Matters

Drogo celebrated his victory over the Maghreb with a grand feast. Once again, all his vassals were invited and once again, it was a joyous occasion. Much to the credit of Aubrey’s organisational skills, it was a stunning success, with Dukes drinking each other under the table and brawling and boasting. True Norman style. The parties of Drogo were slowly becoming a stuff of legends.

1605725647428.png

Hey, we better get this party started!

In December 1155, something unprecedented happened. A good, proper priest was found. You know, pious, religious, not trying to copulate with half of his congregation. Price-Bishop Iago of Erbach became a legend, with people from far and wide coming to Erbach to see the virtuous priest. Though, seeing as he was known for being deceitful, Drogo suspected he was just good at hiding his sins.

1605725667720.png

Something ultra-rare. A virtuous bishop... Well, a virtuous and deceitful Bishop. Suspicious.

In May 1156, Aubrey gave birth to another daughter, named also Aubrey. It was the second child of Aubrey and Drogo and sixth child of Drogo.

1605725720792.png

Yet another little one

In June 1156, Drogo arranged betrothal of Princess Hermione and Prince Radolf of Valencia, re-creating an alliance between two of the most powerful Norman Kingdoms. Bohemond of Valencia was joyous of the news. The Kingdom of Valencia was powerful, but still plagued by rebels and revolts, so some extra help from the Sicilian cousins was always welcome.

1605726034893.png

Another alliance with Valencian Hautevilles

King Anquetil of Scotland was doing well, despite all worries of the opposite happening. In fact, in 1157, he created his own House, called Hauteville-Clackmannan, with a motto of “By trust and fortune”. The King, known for his diplomacy, managed to keep his unruly vassals in line through a kind word. Not as effective as cold steel, but works too.

Not only that, Anquetil’s lands now encompassed most of Normandy. Not through military matters though. The title was lost to Queen Mabel of England when the neighboring Britton Konan took the Duchy in 1099. Since then, the lands have been steadily under house Rennes. Now, it happened that Berselueau Rennes first inherited the Duchy of the Isles and then also Duchy of Normandy. Making Normandy Norman again in a roundabout way involving Bretons.

1605726242154.png

The Scottish Hautevilles, the masters of Normandy. Through Bretons, but details, details.

August 1157 saw the birth of Tancred. First son of Audrey and Drogo, the prince was also something special. A genius, sure, but also easy on the eyes and quite strongish.

1605726336232.png

When it's raining, it's pouring

Count Turstin of Awjila, owner of a single county of Cyrenaica, vassal of Duke of Syrte, was next one feeling the pressing need for a house of his very own. Called Nantes for some reason, “Learning through the sword” as his motto.

1605726381490.png

Nantes is hell of a distance from Awjila

April 1158 saw Frery getting married. Giselle de Hauteville, granddaughter of Queen Giselle of Scotland, was a wanderer, travelling the courts of Europe with her parents until she landed in Jaen and settled with Frery.

1605726569867.png

Welcome to the family, Giselle. Oh, wait...

In October 1158, Drogo enchanted the education chances of the young Hautevilles. How, you ask? Corporeal punishment, of course. Any young Hauteville who slacked school had trouble sitting the next day. The motivation to study hard increased tenfold.

In November 1158, Aubrey gave birth to yet another child. A girl called Eleanor. Also, of a good Hauteville breed.

Back to Baghdad

This time, Sultan al-Muazzam Alp II Arslan Aslolgu was not at war with anyone else. He was a bit low on money though, but still had plenty of troops at his disposal.

In January 1157, Drogo went to seek another battle with the Sultan of the East, hoping for more success this time. The target was Duchy of Kufa, an entranceway to Mesopotamia.

1605726062749.png

Hey, can we have some attention this time, please?

As usual, Drogo recruited a small army of about 7000 men. Only to discover his son, Ildebrando, had some rebel issues that needed to be taken care of. So, Drogo turned his army around and the first battle was a slaughter of peasants.

1605726208872.png

Bad timing for peasants

Then, it was time to break once again through to the fertile lands between two rivers. Fortunately, this time, the Syrian desert was behind and Drogo just had to break final defenses- this time, the county of Waquisa. This fell in June 1157 and Normans were through, marching on to Quadisiya, already on the edge of the fertile plain. Drogo brought another army through the desert as well, making the Norman numbers in Mesopotamia about 12 000.

1605723362703.png

Flooding the floodplains

Then, it was all fun and sieges until the spring of 1158. By that time, Drogo managed to take most of Kufa, with one desert province of Satafa unoccupied. Mostly because no Norman wanted to go to the desert again, enjoying the lush lands near the shores of Euphrates so much more.

Then, an enemy was spotted. Two armies, one 10 000 strong, the other 5 000. “Finally,” said Drogo. “Took them some time!” and combined his two armies into one, securely under his leadership and marched them to battle.

In April 1158, the two armies met at Al-Akhadid. It was an open county, full of fields and devoid of any major natural obstacles. Perfect for Seljuks, who brought some horse archers, camel riders and light horsemen. Just, they brought a bit too little. Again, most of their little over 14 000 soldiers were levies. Norman 13 000 soldiers were also mostly levies, but 3000 of them were regular soldiers, so Normans had an advantage. In addition, the coffers of Alp II were still empty and men not paid and their supplies were running low after a long march to Mesopotamia.

Drogo had all the advantages and he did not hesitate to use them one bit. In this battle, the Norman light horsemen were the stars. A dream territory for the horses- flat, stable, no obstacles. They rode around the battlefield, harassing enemy troops, then pulling back, then striking again at another place. The confusion they created helped the Norman main forces to break through without question and break the enemy- and then, it was again time for the light horsemen to shine, as they pursued the fleeing enemy.

By the end of the day, nearly half of the enemy troops were left behind in the battlefield as Seljuks turned their tail and ran across the Euphrates.

1605726448772.png

A marvelous victory

Bohemond went and took the last county of Kufa. Meanwhile, the Seljuks had recovered enough and once again, crossed the Euphrates river. This time, 10 000 of them. Normans marched happily to meet them and in September 1158, two parties met at Al-Ubulla.

It was a total defeat for the Seljuks. Normans broke the demoralized enemy ranks and slaughtered the enemy like there was no tomorrow. Well, there was no tomorrow if you happened to be a peasant in the Seljuk army.

By the end of the day, the results were as follows- 10 000 enemy soldiers, dead. Of 15 enemy knights, 3 dead and 4 imprisoned. Seljuks at their knees and the war won.

1605726597257.png

Followed by even more marvelous one

Most famous of the prisoners was Jahan ibn Hamdan, Caliph of the Sunni Caliphate. Once, the Abbasids were the most powerful rulers in Levant. Now, Jahan, claiming to be a direct descendant of the Prophet, bows to some Seljuk sultan. - and is a prisoner of Drogo. The decline of Abbasids is ugly indeed.

1605726818258.png

How low have the Abbasids fallen...

With the battle of Ubulla, the war was won without a doubt. Seljuks had no more armies left, no more money left and all the counties of Kufa were occupied by Drogo. Alp II had more than met his match and begrudgingly, the Sultan signed peace, giving Normans the entire 7 county Duchy.

The kingdom of Sicily now stretches from Gibraltar to Mesopotamia, hugging mostly the southern coast of Mediterranean. A strange formation by all counts, but as long as Normans can make it work, it will be fine. As for Seljuks, their lands are still massive and their might powerful. In reality, the loss of Kufa did not even make a dent to the lands of Alp II Arslan.

1605726927739.png

I think i'm playing wide, not tall

Drogo gave Kufa to Lambert Hauteville. Another grandchild of Queen Giselle of Scotland and a brother to Giselle, Countess of Jaen and husband of Frery. Known for his beauty and intelligence, Lambert had also a way with the money. Here’s to hoping that the most distant Duke of the realm will be able to control the local populace.

1605726992235.png

The new Duke and his very wide (and very old) wife
 

hjarg

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Hmmm, is it just me or am i getting a tiny bit overpowering. Seeing that i wipe Seljuks while losing few hundred men...
Well, not that i'm complaining too much...

I agree. My experiments into medicine reveal that you can add ten or so years onto a chap with rather poor dynasty health just by investing in this medicine around the time they turn 60. Ridiculous. But makes sense as well, I guess.
Kinda too late if you start doing it by 60 and have neglected it before, i'd say :D
But out of all of "interesting" things CK3 does, the survival of the elderly is... well, not really significant

Once Laweye is inevitably dethroned, you'll have your excuse to take another Duchy.
Oh yes. The main question is- what is that I shall be attacking this time :D

That, or the son becoming really, really treasonous? ;)
Nah. To be fair, even with several duchy titles, they are no threat. Rather, i shall be starting giving out kingdom ones in half a decade or so.
 

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The Scottish Hautevilles have done much better than I was expecting, given they're too far to be allies. Now if they could just conquer Britannia, then I'll be really impressed.

Looking at Tancred, I do believe I know who Drogo will select as his heir.
 
Again!

hjarg

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Again!

Poor Laweye

In May 1159, King Bohemond of Valencia decided it was time to expand his territories- at the expense of the Magrebs. And he asked Drogo to join. Being a good cousin, Drogo happily joined.

1606067179292.png

All Normans seem to enjoy kicking an enemy when they're down.

In July, Drogo and his army intercepted a whopping 1000-man strong army in Mertola. There is no need to spell out the results. Apart from one tiny little detail- Laweye himself was leading the army. And after the battle, he was brought to Drogo in chains. Who quickly sent the man, now calling himself a Sultan instead of Amir al-Umara, to his cousin, who in turn forced the Sultan to sign a peace treaty.

1606067211489.png

One fateful battle deciding the course of the war

By August, the war was over and Valencia’s lands almost extended to the Atlantic, making it by far the biggest landowner in Iberia. Griselda and her heirs have done well.

1606067242876.png

Valencia, almost stretching across the peninsula

Then, in May 1160, it was Drogo’s turn to kick the poor Sultan. This time, the Normans attacked the Sultan over the Duchy of Tlemcen. Drogo was not alone in that venture. Duchess Adelheid of Murcia, vassal of King Bohemond, was trying to conquer one county of the same Duchy, Hunyan. This was also mostly the reason why Drogo went to war right now. One part of Tlemcen, county of Oran, was already conquered by another vassal of Bohemond and Drogo really wanted to discourage Valencian rush to Africa.

1606067305736.png

It is Drogo's time

In July 1160, Normans and the enemy clashed in Hunyan. The enemy being armies of Murcia. “My Africa,” said Drogo, sending a clear message to Adelheid and other Christian rulers. Unfortunately, Adelheid failed to understand that.

1606067373094.png

Africa is for Normans only. Get it, Adelheid?

The following year saw small battles with mostly Adelheid, sieges, some small rebel peasants that Drogo was kind enough to crush for Laweye and nothing special. Normans were winning, slowly, but surely.

1606067336968.png

Adelheid, the main adversary in this war.

Royal Matters

In September 1159, Drogo took up interest in herbalism. To everyone’s surprise, the warrior- King enjoyed his little herb-garden in Palermo. It gave him peace of mind, as Drogo himself put it, when he was working there, weeding herbs, mixing potions and doing other scholarly stuff. The only regret of the King was that he could not attend to it as often as he would have liked.

1606067276275.png

Drogo, having a herb garden

In December, after dabbling with Scholarly a bit, the King turned his attention back to warfare. Now, he is a bit of a scientist and a bit of a pedagogue, but his true calling was on the battlefield.

Drogo also made some changes to the council. He appointed Lambert of Kufa as his new steward- and Lambert was really good at it too. Most importantly though, his son Frery was now a new spymaster. Loyal to his father and with skills beyond compare, Drogo was certain that any shady action in Sicily will be found out and dealt with properly.

1606067972045.png

Anfroi and Frery are true masters of their craft

In July 1160, Duchess Richenda of Kairouan created her house. House Richendid, modestly named after herself. “Virtue Through the Sword”, their motto, seemed Norman enough to the general audience.

1606067406947.png

Richenda of Richendid

In January 1161, grief befell on Palermo. Mernissa, mother of Drogo, died. At the age of 82. Her longevity was stuff of legends. Not only did she witness grandchildren, she also held great-grandchildren in her arms. Mother of 9, beloved wife of Bohemond and a legendary queen. None could foresee it when she was born, out of wedlock, to lowly parents. She was laid to rest next to Bohemond

1606067459352.png

Mernissa, living to amazing 82 years

In March 1161, a new life was again born. Drogo, named so after the request of Aubrey, entered this world. Though not a king-material, Drogo the elder was still happy. It was his eighth child, fourth one with Aubrey and also, a fourth boy.

1606067488964.png

Newest addition to Drogo's family

In 1162, Normans discovered Chronicle Writing. Without Drogo being fascinated about it. One, final discovery was left in Early Medieval areas. Of course, one of the important ones- Burghs. But the Normans will get there eventually. In about 13 years or so.

1606067512770.png

Almost done with the early medieval one

Count Adelbert of Satif, who just inherited county of Satif from his late father, Duke Walter of Bejaia, made his own house, called Albertitid. His motto, “Unicorn Falls Before the Sword”, made everyone wonder what he was smoking and where they could get some.

1606067581606.png

Aldebert and his unicorns

Again!

Sense of foreboding and dread filled Drogo, as his hand reached the door of the tent. The Norman army was camped outside of Hunyan, resting from yet another pointless small battle. The Queen’s handmaidens were brushed aside by a murderous look in King’s eyes. The noises coming from the tent made it clear to King what he would find inside.

Drogo steeled his heart and pushed the door aside. And there she was. Queen Aubrey. Naked. And on top of him, Duke Godfrey of Alexandria. Also naked. The two were happily in the middle of fornnicating, in the middle of the Royal camp.

“You hussy,” said Drogo, clenching his teeth. As is already becoming a habit, he pulled Godfrey from the Queen and threw the naked Duke outside, causing another “Private parade” as the Duke hastily retreated to his tent.

1606067542196.png

Oh god, not again!

Again, the King called his guards and let his second Queen to be put in chains, deaf to the pleas of the fallen Queen. This was not a good day for Drogo. Or to Aubrey, come to think of it.

1606067560296.png

Off to the jail with you, hussy!

Again, he sent a letter to the Pope, asking for divorce. Gregorios VII, sympathetic to the poor King, agreed.

1606067617813.png

Again, it is time for divorce

Again, the King was without a wife. And again, the choices were limited. The King, 42 years old at the time, finally decided upon Sibyl Hauteville-Granada, granddaughter of Duke Bohemond of Granada, daughter of Count Oswyn of Alcaniz, vassal of King Bohemond of Valencia. From her father’s side, she traced her lineage back to Queen Griselda, the great Queen being her great-grandmother. From her mother’s side, her great-grandfather was King Bohemond. Even better demonstration of the weirdness in Hauteville lineages was the fact that her older sister, Valdrade, 13 years old, was betrothed to Drogo’s son Ildebrando, meaning that when Sibyl wold grow up, she would also be step-mother to her sister.

1606067641467.png

Again, a child-queen

1606067086143.png

Good pedigree. Sibyl's father, descendant of Queen Griselda. Mother, descendant of King Bohemond. And elder sister, soon to be Sibyl's daughter-in-law

In public, no-one said anything. But in private, when there were no hostile ears listening, Drogo had earned the nickname “The Cuckold King”. All military victories, all riches and all the power of the Norman king failed to cover the fact that not once, but twice, the King’s wives had cheated on him. Of course, no-one even dared to think that near Drogo.

End of War

The Sultan Laweye was a busy man. Besides Drogo and Adelise fighting over Tlemcen, he also had Duke Pierre III of Piedmonte (who somehow had conquered Duchy of Beja and Duchy of Galicia in Iberia), fighting him over County of Porto, currently owned by King Ramon of Castile, whose grandmother Urraca read the situation in Iberia very wrong and went Muslim and consequently lost most of Castilian lands, making Porto the last county of Castile. Laweye was an ally of Ramon and now, together, they fight a losing war over the last independent Muslim Kingdom in Iberia. And losing it. Badly.

1606066901519.png

Wars of Laweye and his sole ally, King Ramon. King of one county, that is.

Most importantly, Laweye was also fighting a civil war. Against his own cousin, Emir Yahya II Tadlid. Owner of two Duchies, Marrakesh and Fes, while Laweye himself only controlled the County of Marrakesh. Immensely more powerful than the Sultan, Laweye would have struggled with this one alone- but the three Christian Kingdoms would be final nails to his coffin.

1606066863688.png

Meet the future Sultan or Amir al-Umara of whatever the nation shall be called

For Drogo, this meant that no battles with the main enemy would be fought, for Laweye had very little troops, gold and other resources left. Meaning, the war would be decided by sieges. ‘

Drogo pushed onwards. Taking Melilla and sacking it. Then, moving to the territory of Yahya II, besieging Taza and finally, taking the county of Fes.

1606067666171.png

Normans pushing deep into enemy lands

Finally, after the fall of Fes, Laweye was forced to give up. Normans had gained yet another Duchy in Africa. Drogo kicked out the current Emir, usurped the Duchy and gave it to Drogo, his youngest son.

1606067692493.png

Young Drogo, the Duke of Tlemcen

Once again, King returned from war, victorious. Once again, bringing with him a chained ex-wife. Drogo contemplated long and hard about what to do with her former Queen- and finally decided to put her in the same cell as Yefimia.

“I’m sure these two will have a lot to talk about,” he said, with a sinister tone.
 

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hjarg

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Poor Drogo. Lucky in warfare and affairs of the state, but definitely unlucky in love. I really hope he does not get a new hobby of imprisoning faithless ex-wives.

And poor Laweye. His days as a Sultan are numbered for sure. As are the days of Kingdom of Castile.

The Scottish Hautevilles have done much better than I was expecting, given they're too far to be allies. Now if they could just conquer Britannia, then I'll be really impressed.

Looking at Tancred, I do believe I know who Drogo will select as his heir.

Yeah, i was expecting the collapse of the Kingdom after Giselle died, but sometimes life surprises you.
Though the conquest of Britannia.. i'd be happy if they just could keep the throne. :p

And you know, you might be right on the heir part. ;)
 

Nikolai

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Nah. To be fair, even with several duchy titles, they are no threat. Rather, i shall be starting giving out kingdom ones in half a decade or so.
Speaking of which, you do not get the kingdom title when you invade for a kingdom, only the lands belonging to it. Why don't Drogo invade Maghreb or Seljuks and take an entire kingdom then, I wonder? You can do it I see in the screenshots. Making it harder/slower for yourself? :)
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Dang, another ex-wife. I think if it happens a third time then Drogo should just consider staying single.
 
Jewel of the Two Rivers

hjarg

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Jewel of the Two Rivers

The Most Awkward Party

The doors of the grand hall of Reggio Calabria were opened by a pair of servants. Drogo marched in, jovially starting to speak:

“Dear Roger, I really appreciate the invitati...”

Then, the King’s voice trailed off as his brain processed Roger, sitting in a seat of honour. As he was born. Fortunately, the table covered some of the more private parts, but Drogo was pretty certain that the Duke had not bothered with pants.

Quick gaze over the other guests made Drogo realize that he was actually the only one with the pants. Or any other form of clothing. Duchess Brunisseda, sitting next to Roger, naked as a baby. Well, a baby with an ample bosom. Rest of the vassals, also naked.

Roger then stood up. Unfortunately, confirming Drogo’s pants theory. He made a bow and beckoned Drogo to a seat next to him.

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What in the name of all that is holy?

The King, feeling like there was no other way, agreed, walked across the grand hall full of people and very lacking of any clothing, showing utmost interest in the ceiling in progress. Then, he carefully sat on the edge of the seat, as far away from Roger as possible. Only to realize that this brings him uncomfortably close to Countess Constance, also naked as a baby, but very wrinkled baby. Drogo moved him to the center of the seat.

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The only person in the room wearing any clothes is Drogo

Then, the King thought “Fuck it,” and decided to ignore the situation and try to act normally.

Instead, he turned to Roger: “So, how was your pilgrimage?”

Roger looked surprised. “How did you know, my liege?”

“And you met a naked lady with very convincing... arguments,” Drogo ignored the question and continued.

“Why, yes,” Roger beamed. Brunisseda looked a bit more reserved.

The night continued under light theological debate of benefits of Adamite fate versus the Catholic one and heavy drinking, for Drogo had developed a theory that if he drank himself to stupor, he would not remember anything from this night. He was wrong, of course. No amount of booze could get the dong of Roger out of his head.

In the end, he won the debate though. As he half-drunkenly described to Brunisseda the fine silken fabric she had bought for Sibyl and what fine dress it would make, he made the Duchess realize that being naked kind of excluded all the fashion. Suddenly, the woman stood up, still naked and told Roger:

“This is enough! I shall go on and put on my dress and you will put on some pants and tomorrow, you shall go to the marketplace and find me a similar fabric!”

It was obvious who wore the pants in this household. Would have worn pants if they were not Adamites, that is. Shocked Duke, knowing full well when to argue and when not, just nodded and went to change.

Rest of the guests followed suit. Some with relief, some with disappointment. But the rest of the evening went much less awkwardly for Drogo, who had successfully found the weak link in Roger’s fortification and assaulted it successfully. The King still continued to test the theory that drinking enough will make him forget the night. He got a major hangover and a vivid memory he carried through his life instead.

Royal Matters

In March 1163, Drogo held yet another grand feast in Palermo. Again, the entire Kingdom arrived, and again, it was a resounding success. Most importantly, Drogo and Duke Lambert of Kufa found several common points after several pints and became good friends. It is always good for your steward to also be your friend.

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Much better feast

In June 1163, Drogo went on a pilgrimage again. This time, the target was Santiago. There is just a certain amount of times one can walk to Jerusalem- and Drogo wanted to see how the Italian-owned Santiago was doing. Not bad, it turned out. No grand cathedral or anything like that, but plenty of people who would rob every last penny of the pilgrim on relics and booze and other stuff. Same as everywhere. Nothing much else happened.

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Visiting the Italian Santiago

After that, Drogo became a paragon of virtue, known for his dedication to faith. Also meaning that his martial skills increased a bit.

September 1163 saw Drogo’s fascination in divine right finally pay off. It turned out that his right is really divine and that pleased the King immensely. Next fascination- hoardings.

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Drogo, ruling by divine right!

The end of the year saw the civil war of Taldlids finally coming to an end. Yahya IV became the new Sultan, khm, Amir al-Umara of the land, still called Tadlid grand emirate. The new al-Umara did not like half-measures though. Few years later, he had stripped Laweye of his holdings in Marrakesh, imprisoned him and in 1167, executed the former Sultan, making certain Laweye could not press his claim again.

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In July 1164, Alison became of age. Second child of Yefemia and Drogo, the princess had grown up well, known for her beauty (but not for her brains) far and wide. Drogo married him to Gegel Darod, an intelligent Coptic noble from the south.

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They grow up so fast...

Mikulas, the husband of Muriella, Drogo’s sister, died in October. Not that good choice of marriage, he was a count in Bohemia, then, he was a landless adventurer, adopting Mandean faith and fighting against Bohemond in Scottish crusade and finally, he was King of Bohemia for the last 4 years of his life. At least, in the end, he died a King. Unfortunately, since the succession of Bohemia means the throne goes to the eldest, his sons did not become Kings.

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Mikulas, the Mandean adventurer, finally a King

In May 1165, Anselm of Seville died due to schemings of Duke Robert II of Algiers. His son, Anselm II took over- and this was one good Hauteville. Proficient in both diplomacy and intrigue, he would certainly make a fine councillor one day.

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Oh dear, oh dear

In January 1166, Ildebrando and Hermine, twins, became of age. Both were just fine, but nothing special. Both got married to another Hauteville.

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The twins, growing up

Royal Marriage

In July 1166, Sibyl became of age. She had turned into a fine woman indeed. Mostly known for her diplomatic skills, but she was competent elsewhere as well. Her beauty was the stuff of legends. Her wit was sharp. Her ability in warfare was without question as well. As was her appetite.

A fine bride indeed. She was shipped to Palermo and married to King Drogo. The King abandoned his campaign and travelled back to Sicily in order to make it happen- and this resulted in the grandest of celebrations Palermo had seen.

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Sibyl, the new Queen

Jewel of the Two Rivers

In July 1165, Drogo went to war again. This time, the target was something special- the Duchy of Bagdad. Including the city of Bagdad, one of the most finest cities in the world. Known as a center of learning and a hub of trade and commerce, it was the center of the Islamic world for centuries, until Abbasids managed to get them vassalized by Seljuks. The city was still magnificent.

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Let the conquest begin!

The war was not. Sieges, minor battles, mostly with rebels deciding it is a fine time to rebel against Lambert of Kufa. Until a year into the war, in August 1166, finally Seljuks troops were spotted. Quite a number of them as well, reaching to almost 20 000.

Drogo was away for the wedding though. The honor of leading Normans to battle fell on Duke Anfoi of Gabes, the trusted marshal of Drogo. And to be honest, a bit better general then Drogo- and one who has a knack for fighting the infidels. A more suitable man for the battle.

The Seljuks had split their troops into two. Smaller army, 7000 attacked the Normans first. Confident in their supremacy, they came without holding back. Only to find out that numerical superiority means a lot less then they thought.

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Anfroi, leading the Norman armies, bearing the blunt of the initial charge

Normans almost culled the 7000 of the first army when the other arrived. Then, for the measure, they culled this one too. In the end, this was the bloodiest battle Normans fought in. Almost 2000 soldiers died and also, Geraud d’Audley, one of the knights of Drogo. On the other hand, 9000 of enemy, half their army, lie dead on the battlefield.

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When reinforcements stepped in, not much was left of the first wave

It was the levies, true, that bore the blunt of it. But it was the knights that made the difference. Though the enemy actually had 17 and Normans only 14, the Norman knights were responsible for murdering over 2000 enemies, as opposed to measly 300 Seljuk ones managed to kill.

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Geraud, a causality of the war. And Norman knights, showing off.

A glorious victory for the Normans indeed.

The war continued. In February 1167, Drogo became a strategist, meaning being even better at warfare- and again, better leader then Anfoi.

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The King, also a Strategist

By the spring, the war was won. If Drogo pressed his claims, the Seljuk sultan would see no choice but to accept. But the Seljuk army was approaching and Drogo wanted just one more glorious victory.

In May 1167, the King, once again personally controlling his armies, attacked the Seljuks, who had pulled back to mountains in the province of Tazar and held a defensive position there. Just, with their supplies getting low and the same fate happening to treasury of Alp II, while the Normans were fully supplied and the money of Drogo seemed to be limitless.

Drogo pushed on, breaking the enemy ranks, forcing them to pull back and in the end, won the day once again. 1000 Normans perished that day, including two knights. But the Normans came out on top, with the enemy army in retreat, and another 6000 killed.

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Drogo, leading the charge

Seljuks were given two lessons and that was enough.

The next day, Drogo signed the peace. Drogo now had control over the richest Duchy in the land between two rivers. The first thing he did was robbed Caliph of his title- and granted it to his son, Tancred. Already 9 years old- what best time to give a freshly conquered Duchy to your son, right?

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Tancred, the new Duke of Baghdad*

Tancred did not get all of it though. Just 4 counties and a title of the Duke. The best part, Drogo kept to himself. The city of Baghdad and it’s famous House of Wisdom. A library encompassing all knowledge of mankind. The thing that made Bagdad legendary amongst the scholars. Works of Muslim scientist and ancient texts of Greeks and Romans- all there. Even Drogo was amazed as he walked through the library, seeing thousands and thousands of books.

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*Actual county of Baghdad not included

The knowledge and the scientists, who were not pushed out, but welcomed to stay and continue the work, really helped the King to become more knowledgeable and wise.

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The most learned King

After the war, Drogo finished the wooing of his fresh wife. Sybil and the King found each other, despite the age difference. Here’s to hoping the marriage will be happier then the past two.

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Hope this one lasts till death does them apart
 

hjarg

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The conquest of Baghdad is a nice boon to the King. Most learned King because of Cairo and Baghdad. This will help the Normans stay ahead of tech race and get primogeniture as soon as possible.

Speaking of which, you do not get the kingdom title when you invade for a kingdom, only the lands belonging to it. Why don't Drogo invade Maghreb or Seljuks and take an entire kingdom then, I wonder? You can do it I see in the screenshots. Making it harder/slower for yourself? :)
Because you can use it only once per ruler's lifetime. And since you can use it only once, I've kept it for special occasion. Or by other words, kind of even forgot that it is there. Thanks for the reminder! :D

I could have gotten Baghdad at least a war earlier... Drat!

Dang, another ex-wife. I think if it happens a third time then Drogo should just consider staying single.
I truly hope that Sibyl can keep away from the lecherous Dukes. This is getting ridiculous.

Not gonna lie, I am upset at the phrase 'step-mother to her own sister.'
Well, that is CK for you.
I'm not a fan of it either, but neither am i going to ignore a good match just because Drogo's future wife's sister is already promised to Drogo's son.
Hmm, and not like i found out about it not while playing, but when writing this chapter :D
 

Nikolai

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I could have gotten Baghdad at least a war earlier... Drat!
Well, then. Kingdom of Persia next? ;) Or Maghreb, to finish off the West first? ;)
 

Cora Giantkiller

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It's true, CK3 has turned the Kingdom of Sicily into a psychosexual nightmare.

Are you going for the Empire of the Outremer?
 

TheAnguishedOne

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I'm sure Tancred won't mind the constant reminder that he does not control Baghdad whenever his title is brought up.