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A Yorks

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THE HOUSE OF
CAPET



Table of Contents
Book I - Reign of PHILIP I
Introduction - This Post
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X

INTRODUCTION

He'd watched for six long years as his kingdom fell apart before his very eyes. Since he was only eight years old, Philippe's mother had held regency after the death of his father, Henri. Within the past six months, it was finally decided that Philippe himself could bear the crown as sole ruler of all the Frankish kingdom. The Kingdom his father had left him was in sorry shape, as the royal domains were heavily diminished compared to the other ruling houses of Europe. Even the Duke of Normandy, Guillaume, had held more power than his liege, enough to assert himself as King of the English.

It was on this day, Christmas Day, 1066 Anno Domini, that Philippe was allowed full control over his own domain, independently from his mother, Anna Yaroslavna. It was also on this day that he would set his goals in motion, preparing to rebuild the glorious kingdom of his forefathers. He was nearly powerless compared to other Kings, having very little personal land, and being an equal rather than a superior to his powerful vassals, namely Guillaume VIII, Duke of Aquitaine, Guillaume IV, Count of Toulouse, and even his own uncle, Robert, Duke of Burgundy. If he could rally these men under his banner, he could assert himself as a true king among his peers, and perhaps even expand the influence of the Frankish kingdom. Only time shall have us know what God has in store for the house of Hugh Capet!
 
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A Yorks

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The Reign Of
PHILIP I of FRANCE
CHAPTER I
Tuesday, December 26th, 1066


In only one day, being King of France had gone from dreams of glory to constant headaches. Philippe had not anticipated the constant 'advice' his courtiers would attempt to shove down his throat, and of course the fact that they all seemed to be screaming over each other to be heard. He'd only a few minutes ago become fed up with them, and had everyone removed from court, only to be heard one at a time from that point onward. It was time to bring somebody in. Enter, Louis de Garlande, who had supposedly studied diplomacy under Henry III of Germany. He made his way up to the throne, and knelt before the King (with some difficulty, as his aged knees antagonized him as he bent).

"Rise, Chancellor. What news do you bring me?" said Philippe, trying to sound as imposing and adult as he could. It was hard to command respect, as young as he was.

"My liege, the Duke of Normandy, Guillaume, wishes to strike up an alliance between the Frankish and English kingdoms." said De Garlande, rising. "I think it to be advantageous, sire. If we can continue to exert influence over the wayward Duke, we can bring him back under our wing as we rightfully should, and have sway in English politics as well. What say you?"

"I... very well, sign off on the alliance." said Philippe. He wasn't sure if that was the best course of action, but De Garlande was trustworthy, at least he thought so. "Is that all, Chancellor?"



"Yes, my liege." said De Garlande. "I shall take my leave. Good day" he said, and turned towards the door. "Oh, wait, wait. My age is claiming my memory, I almost forgot. The new Duke of Valois thanks you for your generous promotion, and will be present in court within the week to renew his pledge of fealty under the new title. That is all." He made his way out the big doors, and the guards allowed the next person in. Etiennette de Nesle, the stateholdress, entered the courtroom, and knelt before the throne. Philippe had heard things about her, apparently she'd been thrown out of a previous court for beating a suspected heretic with a heavy stick. France, however, wasn't known for heresy, so hopefully there'd be no further incidents.

"Arise, stateholdress." said Philippe. "How is our financial situation?"

"Our income is much higher than our expenses." said the stateholdress. "The majority of which is levied from vassals. In our current situation, we could certainly afford to donate more to the church."


"That will be all." said Philippe. He didn't wish to donate anything more to the church, as the gold could be put to much better use building things for the betterment of the realm. "You are dismissed."

"Yes, my liege." said the stateholdress, making her way out. The guard closed the door behind her.

"Guard, don't let anyone else in here. I need some time to think." said Philippe, rubbing his aching forehead. How did Kings endure this constantly? Ah, he'd figure it out eventually...
 

Saithis

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He needs to send his problems to the Church!

Seriously though, a nice looking start, I'll be reading. Let's hope young Philippe can handle the stress of ruling the mightiest (and most fickle) Kingdom in Europe.
 

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Ah yes, Capetian France. If you're not going to have troubles expanding when you're sandwiched between England and the HRE, you're going to have problems keeping your, at times, wayward vassals at your side. Keep an eye on that Duke of the Aquitaine. Sadly, because of his numerous titles, if he goes then nearly half of your Kingdom goes with him.

Good luck to both you and dear King Philippe.
 

Alfredian

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A good start and a very nice map of France.

Philippe needs a nice aquitanian heiress, Henry II-style.
 

A Yorks

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The Reign Of
PHILIP I of FRANCE
CHAPTER II

Tuesday, January 2nd, 1067

"My liege" said Chancellor Louis, holding up a parchment. "Count Brient of Cornwall has proposed a marriage between himself and Jeanne de Voisons."

"Hmmm..." Philippe considered. "Sign off on it."

"Sir, is that really enough time to consider a diplomatic-"

"I said sign off on it. Jeanne de Voisons is of no advantage to us." said Philippe, asserting his authority as best he could.

"Sir, are you-"

"Sign off on it, I said." repeated Philippe, growing annoyed. "There are many an able man that desire your position as Chancellor, should I begin consulting with them?"

"No, sire" said Chancellor de Garlande, kneeling. "My loyalty is not in question."

"Arise, chancellor. You are dismissed." said Philippe, pointing to the door. De Garlande made his way out, leaving Philippe once more alone in the courtroom. In one week, he'd exerted more authority than his father had in his entire reign, and, quite frankly, it was making the nobility of Francia a little bit nervous. The change from the system of primogeniture to an older elective system between brothers would have been a welcome change, or so he thought, but it just served to alarm his vassals, who were unfamiliar with the concept of a King actively ruling over them. It was the curse of the Capets to be marginalized as figureheads and weak rulers, if they could be called rulers at all. In the event that the nobility did wish to depose him, the Duke of Aquitaine, Guillaume VIII would be a very real threat, as he had control over nearly a quarter of all France. The Count of Toulouse would most likely support Guillaume, due to a common interest in sovereignty. Treachery could be expected from the Duke of Burgundy, Philippe's own uncle Robert, who had is own claim to the throne. If his loyalty came into question, he could easily align himself with a rebellion, and be made their King to cater to them. Those three alone made up more than half of France; if all of them were to rebel at once, they could easily overrun the more loyal Northern territories.

Ah, but he almost forgot! Normandy was still a friend of the crown, and their new English dominion had been pledged to come to the aid of the King... but, could Guillaume the Bastard really be trusted? Philippe needed someone he could rely upon. Where could he find a trustworthy ally?

"Guard" called Philippe. The guard at the door turned and knelt towards the throne.

"Yes, my liege?"

"Send for De Garlande again. I have a diplomatic mission for him."

"Yes sir, right away sir." said the guard, darting out the door with inhuman speed. De Garlande reappeared before too long, and knelt again as he always did, his knees continuing to antagonize him.

"You sent for me, my liege?" he groaned as he got back up, obviously his knees were causing him great pain. His age had become quite apparent in recent times, due to this constant kneeling.

"I'd like you to send an envoy to Ramond Berenger, the Count of Barcelona, offering him protection from the Moors if he will swear his fealty to the Crown of Francia as a vassal, however temporary." said Philippe. "In the event that the Duke of Aquitaine should rebel against the sovereignty of the crown, we shall call upon his military assistance to help quell the rebellions. He will recieve monetary compensation for every Catalan life lost."


"Sire, the odds that the count will accept this offer are slim at best." said De Garlande.

"It's only an offer, Chancellor. And I'm sure that if he declines, he will reconsider when the Moors overrun Barcelona." said Philippe. De Garlande was slightly alarmed that Philippe, as young as he was, was willing to use the threat of the Moors in order to coerce Ramond into pledging himself as a vassal. At the same time, he was somewhat impressed at the underhanded diplomatic tactics at play from such an inexperienced ruler. De Garlande questioned him no further, and set about scribbling down the negotiations on a blank parchment. With another vassal, there came new problems, that he could be just as treacherous as the Duke of Aquitaine, but such a risk must be taken. It was time for Philippe to exert his dominance over the Kingdom...

Sunday, January 7th, 1067 A.D.

Although he'd had his issues with the church, it could not be said that Philippe did not admire some of the ceremony that came along with it. He found the Gregorian chants to be particularly beautiful, although he'd no idea what they meant, as he'd disregarded his lessons in Latin. It was not in the dictations of corrupt bishops, but in the sweetness of the voices of the choirs that Philippe found the proof of God's grace. He dare not say it, or risk excommunication from the church, which would only be fuel for the fires of rebellion which he suspected burned in secret. The missive services continued, but Philippe did not follow them closely. At last, the priest uttered, "Benedicamus domino." All the faithful responded, "Deo Gratias" and Philippe spared no effort in removing himself from the chapel, eager to return to his courtroom.

It was upon his arrival that he found a parchment rolled up on his throne. He unrolled it, and read its contents, somewhat unsurprised...

 

Alfredian

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He probebly needs a bit more forceful persuasion.

That being said, maybe Philippe does not need more powerful vassals.
 

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Bringing the Catalans into your fold would probably be a good strategic move, as you'd be putting an early buffer in place against the Taifa States, I think it's a strong move, especially since more vassals = more % of the country not ruled by the very dangerous Aquitanian Duke and his ally.

That said, it seems the Duke of Barcelona isn't interested for now...perhaps he needs to be enticed into it with delicious gold...
 

A Yorks

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The Reign Of
PHILIP I of FRANCE
CHAPTER III

Wednesday, January 10th, 1067

By this point, now two weeks into his own independent reign, Philippe could no longer stand sitting in his throne, taking more comfort standing on the raised floor at the head of his court, pacing as he spoke. He'd become more and more suspicious of the Duke of Aquitaine (who had made his rebellious sentiments public), and was still in search of a more secure ally if it came to that. It was his plan this time to vassalize the Duchy of Brittany, a petty realm hanging off the European continent. It wasn't what you'd call civilized, as it was inhabited mainly by Gaulish Bretons, with the exception of its two largest cities, Nantes and Rennes. The Gauls were known for their warrior tradition, however, and for being particularly fierce on the battlefield. Philippe could use this to his advantage, if he played his cards in just the right way.

He wrote upon a parchment affixed to a plank, carefully wording the entire document as to squeeze the fullest effect from it that he could achieve. He didn't want De Garlande to compose it, as in his age he'd become a mediocre writer of simplistic terms. The only advisor he had present on this occasion was his mother, who he consulted only every now and then. His calligraphy left a little to be desired, but he was able to make everything legible enough to send to a Duchess.

"Guard!" he shouted. A guard promptly appeared before him and knelt. "Ah, good, you're here. Have this message delivered to Havoise, the Duchess of Brittany. I'm hoping for a little more success this time."

"Yes, my liege." said the guard, darting out the large courtroom door to find an envoy with no prior engagement. Philippe was now alone, except for his mother, and took the opportunity bounce thoughts from the walls, thinking aloud.

"So, the Duke of Aquitaine thinks that he can oust me?" he said, to nobody in particular. The walls spoke his words back to him in the cavernous room. He'd had to get used to the echo in the first few days in here, but now he didn't mind it so much. "He thinks that he can challenge my sovereignty as King of the Franks?" Philippe was pacing vigorously, back and forth across the raised floor. "Death be had by him if he should raise his sword against the crown!"

"Do not think yourself invincible, son." said Anna. "You must be cautious in dealing with these men. They will not hesitate to kill you. Do you understand?"

"I shall not tolerate rebels, mother." said Philippe. "And, Hugh could become King if I am killed."

"Hugh is much too young, and much too reckless to succeed you" said Anna. "Preserve yourself, Philippe. Your life is not to be thrown around like some object. It cannot be replaced."

"Mother, I-" Philippe nearly raised his voice at his own mother, but he stopped himself. "I... agree. I'm sorry, I shall not put myself at risk unnecissarly." Philippe thought for a moment. He decided that he should consult the Marshal, an experienced warfighter of 47 years, on the state of the army. "You there" he called to the remaining guard. "Go forth and summon Renaud de Marly. I wish to speak with him" The guard made his way out, and before a long span of time could pass, Renaud entered the courtroom, came before the King, and knelt.

"My liege" he said. "How may I be of service?"

"What is the state of our army, Sieur de Marly? How many soldiers can we levy on command?"

"At the moment?" The marshal paused. "About thirty-five thousand."

"And, if we exclude all soldiers from Aquitaine?"

"In that case..." the marshal figured the numbers in his head. "Twenty thousand."

"Ah..." Philippe thought to himself for a moment. "Then, let us hope the Duchess of Brittany shall answer favourably."

Thursday, February 15th, 1067

The envoy knelt before Philippe, not waiting to be addressed before standing. He was obviously a Breton, from the way he was dressed and from his masterless sort of demeanour.

"Greetings, envoy." said the King. "I take it you come from Rennes?"

"Ah, yes." said the envoy. "I come with a message for thee, most esteemed King of the Franks, from her grace, the Duchess of Brittany, Havoise de Rennes"

"So you do." said Philippe. He didn't much care for formalities, preferring to get straight to the point at hand. "How does she answer my request?"

"The Duchess has sent me to inform you that she has decided to accept your request, and shall be in Paris in a fortnight to pledge her fealty to your court in person."

"Excellent" said Philippe. "I shall make arrangements to greet the esteemed Duchess accordingly." Philippe was overjoyed, but kept himself calm and collected externally. It was advantageous to keep one's emotions in check in the courtroom, as it (sometimes) kept one's enemies from exploiting them. Needless to say, he was satisfied with this news. How should he welcome the Breton duchess? Should he hold a banquet in honour of this treaty? Should he offer up some sort of gift? Ah, decisions, decisions, decisions and more decisions. He would figure it out eventually. For now, he allowed himself to smile triumphantly.

Thursday, March 1st, 1067

The feasting hall had been prepared to suit the fancy the esteemed guest, the Duchess of Brittany. Philippe awaited with several of his higher courtiers, including De Garlande and his wife, in the vestibule, until the Duchess and her husband arrived in a carriage, surrounded by several Breton household guards. They were accompanied by the Breton chancellor, Rivallon Roazhn, and by a servant girl who held in her arms an infant, the heir to the Breton crown, the duchess's son, Alain. They made their way inside, escorted by several Frankish guardsmen. Philippe's courtiers stepped back, clearing the space around their King, and the Duchess and her consort approached. The duchess performed her courtesy, and her consort his bow, and they waited for Philippe to address them. He was delighted at how polite these two were compared to their envoy.


Havoise de Rennes, Duchess of Brittany

"Ah, esteemed Duchess of Brittany. I'm delighted that you could be here on this evening." said Philippe, smiling politely.

"It is my pleasure" said the Duchess. "I shall ask you beforehand if you may excuse my husband, as he does not speak French. I hope this will not be an issue."

"Not at all" said Philippe. "I am akithed that Rivallon is a polyglot like yourself. If anything need be said to him, or if he need say anything, may I ask that one of you may translate?"

"I shall" said Havoise. She turned and said something to her husband, Hoël, in Breton. He responded to her, and she turned back to Philippe and said "My husband agrees."

"Excellent." said Philippe, smiling. "Shall we proceed to the courtroom?"

"I am ready, if you are ready to hear me." said Havoise. The two rulers proceeded into the courtroom, followed by the Breton chancellor and all the members of the Frankish court, as well as Manasses, Bishop of Reims, who'd come to oversee the ceremony. The courtiers all took to seats, and Philippe stood upon the raised floor in front of his throne. The Bishop stood beside him, and the Duchess and her consort knelt before the King.

"Havoise de Rennes, Duchess of Brittany and the Breton Peoples" began Manasses "On this day, the first of Martius, in the year of one thousand seven and sixty, you have come to swear homage and fealty before the King of the Franks by divine right, with God as witness."

"I have" replied Havoise.

"Do you, Havoise de Bretagne, swear your homage and fealty to the Crown of Francia, that it may not ever come into question without the wrath of God himself to follow?"

"I do" proclaimed Havoise. "Every man, woman, and child in Brittany is subject to the Kingdom of Francia."

"Factum est" said Manasses. "Glory be to god in the highest."

 

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A wife would definitely be a good idea, the Capetian line needs to be secured. Getting the Duchess of Brittany into your realm is definitely a good call, keeps the Aquitanians from holding too much power over the Kingdom.
 

Ruwaard

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First of all your AAR looks great and I enjoy reading it.

Just read through all the posts thus far. Perhaps it is time to find Philippe a bride?

I agree, what about Agnes d'Aquitaine? Some would call it an exploit, but it is the most favorable domestic marriage Phillipe can arrange for himself (potentially any successor born out of this marriage could unite the Capetian Lands with the the Poitevin Lands (Aquitaine, Gascogne, (Guyenne), Poitou etc.). It could help the relationship between the king of France and the duke of Aquitaine (and a daughter of the most powerful duke in France IMHO is a suitable match for the king of France).

Then there also is the issue, what to do when his brother Hugues matures, obviously find a good bride for him first (for instance Gerberge de Provence). Personally when I play 1066 French campaign and all vassals are loyal and there wasn't an opportunity for expansion; I tend to revoke the title of the bishop of Bourges and grant Bourges to Hugues and at the same time create him duke of Berry. Especially since the royal demesne only consists of Ile de France and Orléans (I tend to give the duchy and county of Orléans to the heir). But that's just me;).
 

A Yorks

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The Reign Of
PHILIP I of FRANCE
CHAPTER IV

Saturday, March 10th, 1067


"Shall I pour you another cup?" said Thomas, one of Philippe's many servants. Philippe was closer to Thomas than almost all of the other servants around his household, likely because they were fairly the same age. Although it remained that Thomas was indeed a servant, the barrier was breached on almost every occasion.

"Yes, please" said Philippe, holding out his cup. Thomas poured some watery wine from a pitcher, and sat back down across the table from his liege. Servants usually weren't permitted to sit at the table, but Philippe would make an exception for his friend. "It's a lot more stress than I'd anticipated..." began Philippe. "Being the King... it's a difficult job indeed."

"You are the first servant of your crown and your country" said Thomas. "I'd imagine that is indeed stressful"

"It is" said Philippe. "It's frightening to think that everyone is out to get you. Surprisingly, though, it's a little easier when they actually come out and say it."

"You talking about the Duke of Aquitaine?" said Thomas. For a servant, he was very bright, and well informed on current affairs. "I'm sure he'll settle before too long. If you can keep everything together for a few years, just long enough to produce an heir."

"Ah, but to produce an heir, I need a wife." said Philippe.

"The Duke has one daughter" began Thomas. "If you were to... ah, no, nevermind."

"Are you suggesting I ask for the hand of Agnes d'Aquitaine?" said Philippe, chuckling a bit. "If the Duke wants to kill me now, how do you think he'll react once I have his daughter as far as the altar?"

"Ah, but it'd be a strategic move" said Thomas. "You see, Agnes is the only child of Guillaume, which means there is no other route of succession to the Aquitainian realm. If you could somehow negotiate with him, it'd be the ultimate power grab for the Demesne Royale."

"The problem is convincing him." said Philippe. "Ah, look. All this political talk, and we've forgotten to eat." He indicated the black bread and cheese still on the table. "Shall we?"

"Let us partake." said Thomas, cutting off a piece of bread, and taking a lump of the cheese. Philippe did the same, and they ate. Cheese wasn't usually a noble food, and in fact most of the courtiers would not dream of eating such peasant dishes, but Philippe had acquired a taste for it, especially cheeses with sharp flavour. "Come to think of it, I don't really think we should be eating cheese today."

"Oh?" said Philippe. "Ah, you're right, it's Saturday." Cheese, being the product of an animal, couldn't be eaten on Wednesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays. Those days of the week had come to be known as 'Fish days.' Philippe took another bite of the cheese, swallowed it, and said, "But, who shall know?" and the two continued. They were interrupted by a knocking at the chamber door. They looked over, and Philippe stood to answer. "Throw a cloth over the cheese" he said, before walking over to the door and opening it to find another one of his servants, Sibylle. She wasn't a Frank, but rather a Thüringer by birth. She usually spoke French to Philippe, but often the two would speak in German as well. She was, like Thomas, very close in age to Philippe, only one year younger, and a bond also existed between the two.

"Ah, Philippe! I've brought you something" she said, smiling brightly. There was no formality between Sibylle and Philippe, whereas Thomas would still refer to him politely as 'My Liege' every once in a while.

"Oh have you?" Philippe responded, smiling back at her. She motioned for him to come closer, and slipped him a folded parchment.

"Don't open it until you're alone" she whispered in his ear. She giggled and threw her arms around him, in an embrace that warmed his heart. He returned her embrace fully. "I should go before too long, somebody may suspect something if I'm too long at your chamber."

"If you must" said Philippe, slightly disappointed. "Good evening, Sibylle" he said, hugging her once more. She smiled at him, turned and made her way out of the narrow corridor back towards the servant's quarters, and Philippe watched her until she rounded the corner. He glanced down at the parchment, wondering what it contained. It was oddly humorous; as wise as Thomas was, he'd never been able to read, let alone write. Much to the contrary, Sibylle was quite literate, which was quite a feat for a girl, and the two often exchanged letters in secret. He slipped the parchment into his sleeve, and made his way back into his chamber. "You can uncover the cheese now, Thomas." he said, sitting back down at the table.

"Ah, good. I was worried for a moment the Bishop had come to confiscate it!" Thomas joked, and Philippe chuckled. "So, who was at the door anyway?"

"Sibylle" said Philippe.

"Ah" said Thomas. "I think she rather fancies you, if you, em... if you know what I mean." He chuckled just a bit, and continued "Ah, you are lucky, my liege, she's a pretty one indeed! It's only too bad that you can't take her as a wife instead of some duchess"

"Indeed" said Philippe. It bothered him that such was the case. The feelings between himself and Sibylle were mutual, and they were overwhelmingly real to him. Ah... to be young, I suppose...

Monday, March 12th, 1067

"My liege, the Duke of Aquitaine's loyalty is still in question" said Amèdèe de Roucy, Philippe's appointed officer of intelligence. The other courtiers commonly referred to him as 'the King of Rats' or 'the Office of the Peeping Tom.' Subterfuge was not a very noble thing at all in their eyes, but he was nonetheless important to ensuring Philippe knew exactly what was going on in courts beyond his ear's reach.

"Why don't we send our Duke a little monetary trinket, then?" said Philippe. "Do you think that will hold him over for just a bit?"

"It might keep him sitting still until he spends through it, perhaps" said De Roucy. "I am no expert on chancellory, however."

"You have done well. You are dismissed." said Philippe. De Roucy made his way out of the courtroom. "Guard, fetch me Stateholdress Tyrel, I wish to make a transaction." said Philippe.

"Yes, my liege" said the guard, setting off to find the Stateholdress.


156 pounds of Frankish gold should keep the Duke occupied for a little while
 

Saithis

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Eh, its hardly exploitative in my eyes as it could have happened IRL. The Capetians are making a good move by trying to marry into the Aquitanian line, it could end their internal issues forever.
 

Saithis

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WelshDude

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Subscribed.
 

A Yorks

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The Reign Of
PHILIP I of FRANCE
CHAPTER V

Friday, April 6th, 1067

"My liege" began Chancellor de Garlande. "We've just recieved word that Sancho, the King of Castile, has died under mysterious circumstances. His brother is now ruler of both Castile and León. Hopefully this development will keep a strong barrier between Francia and the Moors."

"Hmmm..." said Philippe, thinking. "I won't question the circumstances, it isn't my place. Better not to have the Spains fighting amongst themselves, and keep their borders stark against the invaders."

"With such a powerful entity locally, I doubt the Count of Barcelona will reconsider his answer to our request now. I'm sorry, sir, but we must look realistically at this."

"Oh, there is no need to look at it at all. The need for Ramond Berenger has passed."

"Oh?" asked De Garlande, somewhat confused.

"Indeed. Did you not think that was why I called upon the Duchess of Brittany?"

"Oh" said De Garlande. For a moment, he had upon his face a look of confusion, before he realized what Philippe was talking about. "I, erm... I suspected such, but I can not be sure."

"Ah..." Philippe uttered. Perhaps it was time to find a new chancellor? De Garlande's mind was beginning to succumb to his age. "You are dismissed, Chancellor"

"My liege" said De Garlande, kneeling before Philippe. He attempted to rise, but his knees would not lift him, and he winced in pain as they antagonized him.

"Guard, help the Chancellor up." said Philippe. The guard present took the Chancellor by the arm and gently raised him up off the floor, and De Garlande made his way out of the room. Philippe considered the others who might be able to fill his office were he convinced to retire. There was Stateholdress Tyrel, who could be raised up to the Chancellory if the newly arrived Geoffroy de Sémur could fill her position. Cécilie was a proven diplomat, a good choice overall for a suitable replacement. Ah, but while it was that she was more than qualified, the dilemma remained over appointing a woman to a position of power. She was already the stateholdress, however, so it may not make much a difference if she were promoted. "Guard, do you think you can go find me the Stateholdress? I must speak with her."

"Certainly, my liege." said the Guard, who made his way out, sending in another guard to the courtroom from outside the door. A few moments later, the first guard returned with Cécilie Tyrel. She came forth and knelt before the throne as custom.

"Arise, stateholdress." said Philippe. "Guards, please exit the courtroom for a moment. This meeting is to be private."

"Yes, liege." said the guards, leaving the room.

"What business do we conduct on this day?" asked Cécilie.

"As you know, Chancellor de Garlande is well into his years. His mind has begun to slip, and I believe the time has come that he should retire from court life." began Philippe. "And, as you and I both know, the Kingdom needs a chancellor if he is to retire."

"Indeed" replied Cécilie, listening intently.

"If he can be convinced to retire..." Philippe paused for a moment, then continued, "Since you are best qualified for it, you are the first person I am offering his position to."

"Why, my liege! Of course, I would be honoured to serve as the Chancellor in your court, without a second thought!" exclaimed Cécilie, suddenly more expressive than Philippe had ever seen her.

"Excellent." said Philippe. "You are dismissed." Cécilie turned towards the door, and in her excited state nearly tripped over her own dress on her way out. "Guard, close the doors. I'll not hear anyone more at the moment"

"Yes, liege" said the guard, closing the courtroom doors, and barring them shut. Philippe stood up and stretched his limbs, which had stiffened from sitting so long, and exited the courtroom through the rear entryway, making his way through the complex of halls, down to the servants quarters. One could only guess who he'd gone there to see.

"My liege." said the Master of the Corridor, Charles Janvier. He was a gristly man, with a gaunt face and unkempt beard.

"Is Sibylle von Meiningen in her quarter?" asked Philippe.

"Von Meiningen?" Janvier thought for a moment. He opened up his big book, in which he kept a record of where every servant was at any given moment. "Pantry since twenty minutes ago. Anything else?"

"No, that'll be all." said Philippe, already on his way. In all honesty, he didn't much care for Janvier. Nobody did, including Thomas and Sibylle. Philippe continued his search, making his way to the pantry. He arrived at the pantry door, where he was met with the smell of plentiful bread dough. He knocked on the door, waited, and was surprised to find Thomas answering.

"Ah, my liege. I can probably guess who you've come looking for" said Thomas.

"I didn't expect you at the door" said Philippe. "Has the butler died or something?" he joked.

"Ah, very funny, but no. He's fallen ill, and I'm in charge until he's fit again." said Thomas. "Shall I call Sibylle out here?"

"Yes, please." said Philippe. "If you could tell Janvier that I have her with me, that'd be excellent."

"I will" said Thomas, before disappearing into the pantry behind the heavy door. A few seconds later, Sibylle emerged, smiled, wiped the flour from her hands on her apron, and threw her arms around Philippe. He returned her embrace, and they stood there in each other's arms for a few moments, unmoving. It was a feeling of warmth every time they embraced, and Philippe could not get enough of it. The embrace did, unfortunately, end, but they both knew that more would follow.

"So" said Sibylle, smiling, "Where are we off to today?"

"I was thinking the gardens, perhaps?" said Philippe.

"That sounds wonderful" she said, and they left, hand in hand towards the gardens. Ah, to be young and in love!
 

Alfredian

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Eh, its hardly exploitative in my eyes as it could have happened IRL. The Capetians are making a good move by trying to marry into the Aquitanian line, it could end their internal issues forever.

It is not a bad deal for the Duke of Aquitaine. He would see his grandson on the throne, ruling the whole of France (rather than just the Duchy of Aquitaine).