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Avindian

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Really good stuff! I really liked your first chapter; very vivid. I look forward to more conquests/marriages!
 

esemesas

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That streak of luck saved you some hefty coin. Having to pay mercenaries is always draining on the treasury.

What are your plans after Sicily?
 

Firefly21

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Great stroke of luck to capture the Sheik, though hardly suprising given the d'Hautville's military prowess.

With the major power of Sicily removed it should be easy to take the remainder of the island, provided there are no other untimely muslim invasions!
 

Nikolai

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Now is the time to strike the rest of the duchies!:) Don't dismiss the mercenaries,Chou don't need to do that, you can still Dow.
 

hjarg

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The End of Duke Robert
Chronicles of Sicily, 15th Century, by monk Abelardo

Summer
Duke Robert, in his infinite wisdom, rode to Palermo in July 1068. During the way, he accepted oath of fealty from minor lords and peasants who had suffered under Muslim yoke. There was much celebration as he and his troops passed the countryside. When arriving to Palermo, people greeted Duke Robert as liberator showered his entourage with flowers. As a true Christian knight, Robert ordered the reconstruction of Churches and ordered to spread the Faith in all province of Palermo.

In order to stray strong and be able to resist against Muslim attacks, the main change was made by Duke Robert- he justly changed the succession laws so that the realm would stay strong and fight for Christian faith as an unified body and not to be split up into small bickering countries after the death of the ruler as had happen under the rule of the Muslims in the Island of Sicily.

Autumn

Great tragedy befell on the Dukedom when Duchess Siegelgaita, loving wife of Duke Robert, took her final breath. Though the rumors to this day insist that Duke had something to do with it, it is certain that the Christian and kind spirit of Duke would keep him from such an unjust and despicable deed.

Late in October, Duke Roger married with Ainés de Poitou, sister of the duke of Aquitane, a 16-year old charming girl.

Muhammad al-Kalbi, former Sheikh of Palermo, was released from prison by mercy of Duke Roger. Muhammad moved to court of Kabylia and was not heard from since.

July 1069

Great joy befell on the realm as Duke declared that his wife Ainés is carrying a child. Finally, in January, a son named Odo was born and the realm was jubilant

January 1070

Eldest child of Duke Robert became of age. She was married to Prince David of Hungary, heir to the Kingdom of Hungary. The celebrations lasted for a week.

March 1071
Consumption broke out in Sicily, spreading like wildfire, killing Muslim and Christian alike.

January 1073

Duke Robert moved his capital officially to Palermo. Few days later, the Catholic faith had become the major faith in the province.

July 1073

Duchess Ainés was pregnant once again. In January, yet another child was born to Robert, a daughter named Selova. She was the 7th child of the Duke.

January 1074

Bohemond de Hauteville, the first son of Duke Robert, became 16 today. He had grown to be a shining example of a man, loved by everyone. His brilliance in both military and economic matters was already legendary. That kind of person goes hardly unnoticed and Duke Robert declared him to be a lawful son and thus, the heir of Apulia.

The same time, wedding preparations were made and Bohemond was married to Clemencia de Poitou, the sister of Duke of Aquitane and the sister of current Duchess of Apulia.

sicily011.jpg

Bohemond all grown up

June 1074
In the beginning of the month, Duke Robert fell ill. His health was quickly deteriorating, so he called his family, vassals and friends to his chambers. There, he gave away his worldly possessions, his jewelry, his clothes, his weapons. He entrusted Duchy into hands of Bohemond and told him to always be just, take care of the poor and weak and also never forget that as a new head of the family, it is his duty to take care of his brothers and sisters.


Then, leaving all his worldly claims aside, he took up the robe of Benedictines. With 3 other monks, he retired into his chambers and prayed for 2 days and nights. Finally, he gathered his family and close ones again, said his last good-byes and died.

Outside the castle, armies of poor had been waiting patiently. Now, with the death of Duke, celebrations finally begun- it is certain that Defender of Christians and Defeater of Heathens will get a high position in Heaven.

Thus ends the story of Duke Robert and another one begins- the one of Duke Bohemond I.

sicily0011.jpg

Death of Duke Robert

Death%2520and%2520Medieval%2520King.jpg

Death takes Dukes and commoners alike. Contemporary drawing
 

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hjarg

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morningSIDEr- well, if they do come, they have a nice suprise!
TonyJoe- oh yes- good position, rich provinces, nice technological advances. Sicily is one of the best duchies to have!
Avindian- thanks and welcome aboard. I promise plenty of both!
esemesas- Oh yes, sometimes you get just lucky. There is still much of Sicily left to conquer- both of island and whole kingdom. And since there is this blaster religon/culture difference, i don't expand too rapidly. As for future plans- Africa, Italy, Holy Land. Order may vary.
Firefly21-Muslim invasions will come. Untimely too!
Nikolai- i decided to save the prestige to Bohemond. Plus, the rest cannot offer much of resistance, so instead of paying quite nice upkeep costs to these mercenaries, i better use forces of the realm.

Anyways, thanks for following, all!
Tomorrow i'll be leaving snow and polar bears behind and go for a week where the sun shines and sea is warm! I'll take my files and notes with me, but the chances of an update are slim- so expect to hear first part of Bohemond I next Sunday or even Monday!
 

morningSIDEr

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Thus Robert passes away, leaving his realm far stronger and well positioned for further conquest. Bohemond will have to prove a great ruler to surpass his father.

Tomorrow i'll be leaving snow and polar bears behind and go for a week where the sun shines and sea is warm! I'll take my files and notes with me, but the chances of an update are slim- so expect to hear first part of Bohemond I next Sunday or even Monday!

Enjoy your trip and consider me very envious, the weather in Scotland remains rather cold and miserable at present!
 

naggy

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Dying of natural causes? You're not trying hard enough! :)
 

hjarg

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Early Years of Bohemond
From the “History of Hautevilles” by John Smith

Beginning

Bohemond, coming to power at age of 16, showed great promise as a Duke. His military and economic skills were one of the greatest at the time and he was the one who built the foundation
of saying: rich as a Sicilian. Yet, in his early age, things were not so simple. Newly conquered lands in Sicily produced almost no income at all, not to mention hard times Bohemond had rising some troops in there. Despite conquering one of the most prosperous provinces in the world, the plundered and sorry state Normans had left the province after a quick but thorough looting meant that no income would come any time soon. At least by time of Bohemond, Palermo was a catholic province and priests were busy converting Siracusa. Still, that meant that Robert had to rely on money gained from his holdings in mainland- and let’s face it, it was not much.

sicily012.jpg

The young Duke

War for Salerno

One of the first things Duke Bohemond did was to use the freshly pressed claims on Salerno and declare war on Duke of Salerono. Some historians today think it was a pure war of conquest, but others point out that Bohemond, the freshly re-legitimized bastard had still 2 brothers of almost full age and some might think had more right to sit on the throne- actually the annals show that quite a few people were gathering behind the back of Roger de Hauteville. Duke of Salerono being the brother of Roger’s mother and thus, uncle of Roger, was amongst the first supporters of Roger.

Bohemond solved the first crises of his rule with pragmatic brutality- in September 1074, the war was declared on Salerno. By December, all 1400 soldiers the realm was able to muster at the time were gathered in Taranto and from there, they marched to Salerno, beating the 400 soldiers of the Duke of Salerno and sieging the province. The quality and number of Norman troops meant that Salerno was easily not a strong opponent and by June 1075, the cities and castles were at the hands of the Normans and Duke of Salerno was beaten- losing both his county and duchy. Meaning as well that Roger lost his most powerful backer and other people behind Roger were given a not so subtle hint of what will become when they decide to act.

sicily013.jpg

The Battle of Melfi, also know as Overkill of Melfi

Holy War for Trapani

The motive behind war for Trapani is much simpler than the one for Salerono- conquest. Bohemond needed to secure his foothold in Sicily and consolidate the whole Island under his control. And that he did- starting with Sheikdom of Trapani in 2nd July 1075, soon after the end of War for Salerono. As again, the one province Sheikdom was no match for Norman forces and after a quick battle and a bit longer siege, the province well and in November 1076, a peace was signed. With Bohemond gaining the province of Trapani, the majority of Island was under Norman command, leaving only Girgenti and Malta under the Muslim rule. As we can see, they were not able to resist the might of Normans as well, but that’s another story.

sicily014.jpg

The Norman push into Sicily continues


Personal life

During that time, wife of Bohemond give birth to 2 children- both of them daughters. In the coming years, lack of male heir was becoming quite a problem. Relations between Clemencia and Bohemond got more strained as time progressed.

Also, Bohemond took upon himself an ambition to become the greatest Duke of Apulia ever. It would not be as hard- after all, he was the second one.
 

hjarg

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TimeJoe- let's drink to that! :)
naggy, high enough spymaster and less enough claimants and well... playing for about 10 years makes assassinations not likely :p
 

hjarg

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Interlude- The Story of Bohemond and Maud

The chilling winds of December had forced the court into the castle. Bohemond was passing along the hallway when his eyes met with Maud’s. They looked at each other a bit longer then needed. Then she made a proper bow for her Duke and they passed along- their hands touching a bit in the hallway. Neither of them looked back- but both felt the gazes for other and felt the thoughts of others.

Bohemond sighed to himself. As if he needed more troubles then he had already. But Maud... was well worth all the troubles. Beautiful, smart, kind and... Bohemond grinned at the thought- damn good in bed. All that was good- but name of wife of Bohemond was Clemencia de Poitou, but not Maud d’Avarances. And her husband’s name is Thomas of Kent, a courtier.

It was during a hunt about a month ago. Maud’s horse had gone wild and Bohemond, known for his bravery, charged right after her. Before they realized what had happened, the rest of hunting party was left behind. Bohemond galloped valiantly to Maud’s horse, grabbed the reigns and pacified the horse. Then, he looked into her crying eyes that slowly turned dry and saw the sea in them. He looked at her smile and saw the world in them. He listened to her voice, thanking him, and it felt like heaven had opened and the voice of angels was pouring out of her mouth. As for Maud, Bohemond was like a knight in shining armor. Literally- though the armor could have used a bit more shining. By the time they reached back to the rest of the party, they were already in love.

A week later, during night, Bohemond did not go to sleep. Instead, he beckoned his most trustworty servant to pick up a torch and headed towards Maud’s chambers. Of course, there had been contacts through week- a word here, a glace there, but both of them realizied that the only way they can spend some time together is like this. So, when they reached Maud’s chambers, her most loyal maid was waiting for them. Let us stay with servant and maid outside the door and let them have their privacy.

After a month, all of castle knew that Bohemond and Maud had a thing going on. Everyone except the Duchess and the husband, of course. Rest of the court, the servants, the maids, the guest and everyone else who had something to do with the castle spent good time watching the two lovers trying to hide it and snickered and gossiped when they failed to do it.

The gossip became even more widespread when Maud’s stomach started to grow. It was obvious that she was pregnant, but who the father was? And if it was Bohemond, how would the father react? And the Duchess After all, the Duke has ruled for 6 years, but hadn’t managed to produce a male heir, only 1 daughter.

It was in September 1080 when Robert was born. To anyone who gazed at the child, it was obvious that mother’s husband had nothing to do with it, but the signs of Hauteville interference were everywhere. Bohemond was joyous, but did not declare the child as his heir- he only acknowledged him as his. And when need would come, he would do the same as his father did to him- legitimize.

But by that action, two last persons in the court or even the realm who knew nothing about Bohemond and Maud found out about it. Even worse- they found out the most unpleasant way- kicking and screaming blue-eyed toddler being presented to them. Clemence started hating Bohemond even more- though she still was forced to let Bohemond in his bedroom in a desperate attempt to produce a heir. And Thomas of Kent spent a little too much time thinking of his Duke shagging his wife- and if a recent promotion to Court Chaplain was something like a “thanks, was a good shag” gift from Duke.

Bohemond and Maud, oblivious to all this, were happy together. And now, with a little need for secrecy, they spent even more time together. Love was in the air, sun was shining, sea was blue and male inheritance was just a decision away.

bohemondsmooch.jpg

Bohemond smooching up to Maud
 

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The Final Conquest of Sicily

The War with Girgenti

Only 2 Muslim provinces in Dukedom of Sicily remain: Girgenti and Malta. Rest have been picked by either Roger or Bohemond. Christian armies are more numerous than the Arab ones, Norman power
is dominant in the island. So, it was no wonder Bohemond thought that the war with Girgenti would me more formalization then serious fighting.

In the beginning, it was all true. When the war was declared on 27th June, Muslims took their small force to Palermo, started looting and pillaging while Normans gathered their forces from all over the realm to start siege and battles. By November, Normans had 1200 men under their command and marched to Palermo- the following battle there against 400 Muslims was an easy one. Then the siege- though this time, Arabs really put up a resistance. Knowing that if they fall now, they would be dead anyways. Siege is slow business and losing a man here, man there would melt down all but the mightiest force- the force Normans still didn’t have.

Tunesian intervention

The was had been going on for a bit more than a year when something happened- Emir of Tunesia decided to intervene. In 20th September, 1082, Emir sent declaration of war- and not for Italy, but for Apulia. In current time, it meant all the provinces in Italy but the Calabrian ones.

sicily015.jpg

This looks like trouble

Few weeks later, a Muslim force with over 1200 forces had landed in Palermo, starting their usual looting, plundering and sieging. The main problem was that forces of Bohemond were a bit over 800 men and still sieging the Muslims in Girgenti.

sicily016.jpg

Normals quite outnumbered- the siege is taking it's toll

Bohemond entered quick negotiations with Pere de Barcelona, leader of the Catalan Band. Coming out 75 gold poorer, but 1500 men richer, the deal was good. Pere was given orders to wait in Sicaruse and gather strength while Bohemond keeps sieging Girgenti and Tunesian forces siege Palermo. Finally, in the end of December, Girgenti fell and with the peace treaty, all mainland Sicily was under the rule of Normans.

sicily014.jpg

Last Sheikdom in Sicily Island becomes Norman

Then, Bohemond marched to Siracuse, joined forces with Pere de Barcelona and together they marched to Palermo.

Battle of Cefalu

In March 1083, Muslims were forced to abandon siege of Palermo in order to counter the Norman troops that entered the province. Two hostile armies met near the church city of Cefalu. Normans outnumbered the Muslims for nearly 2-1. Norman cavalry charged to the middle with all 376 knights, led by Bohemond end Pere themselves. Though just light cavalry with chainmail and occasional leather armor, their pikes were strong, their swords were sharp and their shields were gleaming in the sun. Earth trembled as they started to gallop and Muslim hearts sunk when they saw them coming. If they could have held the ground, then things might have been different, but the sight was too much of them- before even reaching the enemy, Normans had won and the enemy was fleeing. They charged anyway, cutting down Muslims as they went and infantry poured into the huge gaping hole in Muslim defenses.

hastings03.jpg

Normans charge in Cefalu

Soon, the battle had turned into a massacre. The remaining Muslims were caught and killed. Only a small fraction of enemy managed to flee to their ships, rest were left behind in the battlefield, where the crows picked their eyes and wild beasts tore their bodies apart.

Total 1226 Muslims were killed that day, with only 250 Christians meeting their sorry end. It was a grand battle and a battle that decided the war.

sicily018.jpg

And the result of Battle

The End of War

After the battle of Cefalu, Bohemond dismissed all his levies, leaving the defense of the island into capable hands of Pere de Barcelona. Emir of Tunesia had changed his tactics- instead of sending another huge army to conquer, they sent small pillaging bands that raided, burned and killed and then pulled back. No doubt hoping that this way, they will destroy the economic potential and force Bohemond into submission.

Pere and Bohemond decided that the smartest thing to do is stay on defensive, hit the raiding parties and wait for enemy to wear down- invasion to Africa would be too risky. So, an early warning system was developed consisting of messengers with fast horses and warning fires/smokes.

In the end, that tactic became so successful that all the Muslim raiding parties were killed before they could do any real damage.

The other Christians took notice of the Norman fight against Muslims. Even the pope opened his coffers and sent 200 gold to support the fight. Bohemond took that money and used it to crown himself as a Duke of Sicily under a grand ceremony.

Despite of having to pay for the mercenaries, Duke Bohemond managed to keep a positive income and started several construction projects in Sicily- mostly in the castles of Palermo. A few years later, Duchy of Benevento was created by him. Also during that time, Bohemond had yet another daughter.

Finally, in 1087, the Emir of Tunesia was exhausted, tired, had a serious lack of men and no hope for victory. On the other hand, Duke Bohemond had let his levies to rest, his coffers were full, his troops more numerous than before. So, the peace was signed, granting Duke Bohemond 72 gold and 100 prestige- and showing the Muslims that Normans are not to be toyed with.

sicily019.jpg

Muslims forced into submission

The Last Sheihk

Tunis was defeated, but Bohemond was unwilling to let the Catalan band go just yet- for there was the last target that needed conquering. Malta, an isolated island, place amongst the trade routes and part of Kingdom of Sicily. Ruled over my Sheik Muhammad, this county had good natural defenses and the sea had kept them safe- but not anymore. In May 1087, war was declared and Catalan band made a Catalan invasion to the island. Meeting with little resistance, they kept the siege on for almost a year- and then the province was under Norman hands.

sicily020.jpg

Final Sheikdom falls

Treaty was signed a few days later and Duke Bohemond became the sole ruler of Sicily.

The liberation of Sicily from Arab heathens was a feat that was thought to be impossible just a few decades ago- but the Normans had pulled them off. Word of Bohemond’s greatness circulated amongst the world and soon, he was commonly known as Bohemond the Great, Duke of Sicily, Apulia, Calabria and Benevento.

sicily021.jpg

All heil Duke Bohemond the Great!
 

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Sir Humphrey

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That's an impressive series of victories on the battlefield. Lets hope the dynasty is just as potent. :)
 

naggy

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I suspect there are at least two people who aren't using "great" to describe Bohemond...
 

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Interlude- The story of Thomas of Kent

The Idea

It’s not easy being a husband. Taking care of your wife and your children, keeping them happy and all that. But... in Thomas’s case, being a husband is an absolute nightmare. When he married Maud, she seemed like a nice girl, good-looking, quiet, gave her 3 lovely daughters. But... but then. Thomas shuddered- he is now married to the official lover of the Duke. And that boy running around the house is definitely not his own. And Maud hasn’t let him inside her bedchambers for 3 years now.

Thomas glanced outside castle window and clenched his fist. There he was, the blasted duke! Playing with his son, with Maud by her side, shining. Her belly showing her carrying another child. He felt the hilt of his dagger, and then pulled his hand slowly back.

Not like this, he thought. He needed revenge, but he also wanted to live. He was unsure that he would even reach the Duke, but his own life would be over anyways. Still, the decision was made- Duke Bohemond must die!

Being a court chaplain has its benefits. One of them is being a confessor of the Duchess Clemencia. And there is something that is totally certain- she hates the Duke, despises Maud and doesn’t like the sight of the bastard. Next confessional did indeed take a bit more time then normal. Duchess, not being the most loving and meek person on the planet easily agreed that it would be a terrible tragedy if something would happen to poor Duke and his son. But she would, with heavy heart of course, accept the burden of regency until her oldest daughter becomes of age. Of course, the marriage of Thomas and Maud would be annulled, and the woman thrown into nunnery. Adultery is a serious matter and she would have the rest of her life to regret the sins she had committed. And if she tried anything, the rest of her life wouldn’t be a very long one. As for her yet unborn child, it would also be a monastery or a nunnery.

sicily022.jpg

The Plot is formed

The Plot

Plan of this side would need more allies- more courtiers who really don’t like the duke, or a mayor whose taxes have been raised, or a bishop who didn’t like Duke’s decision not to raise church taxes. When you are the Duke, you are bound to step on some toes. In this case, Thomas did find some allies, but not much. And none as important as the Duchess herself.

If you throw some gold in here and some in there, you will get to know people who know people who might arrange the meeting with the right person in the right place. On this case, it was a shady tavern near the port of Palermo. The guests there liked their privacy and respected the other guest’s need for that as well. Meaning that the worst thing you could to is to look around or listen more carefully. “Virgin’s Mercy” was really an ironically correct name for the establishment.

Thomas had ordered a tankard of tavern’s finest wine and looked at the hooded figure sitting opposite to him. He could make out that it was a man. In his 30-ies maybe, and a muscular sort. But the face was covered with hood and the dim lights of the tavern did not reveal any more details.

“The target is extremely hard,” said the hooded man with an unrecognizable voice. Carefully changed to protect his privacy. Still giving the tiniest hints of Arab accent that the owner of the voice so desperately tried to hide “He has an elite guard duty with him all the time; he has people, who taste his food for poison; it is next to impossible to find a perfect opportunity to do the deed- and to get worker out alive.” The man grinned a bit “And we value the life of our workers”

Thomas nodded a bit nervously- the figure was making him uneasy. “Yes, it is understandable that people of this statue would be hard to get unaware. We understand it as well- but let me assure you, the pay is more then enough for this extremely dangerous task.” He took a bag of coins and put them on the table “For your starting expenses,” he continued. “You get three times more after the deed.”

Stranger weighed the purse in his hands. “Gold, about 50 or so?” he asked. Thomas nodded again.

“There is one place where our friend likes his privacy,” Thomas added. “He prefers to spend his nights elsewhere then his bedchamber. The other target is usually nearby as well. As for the woman- we would prefer that no harm would come to her, but that is entirely optional”

“I need to get my worker inside the castle,” the voice of the stranger sounded with most of the doubt lost.

“Just show him to us and we can arrange a job in the castle- servant or maid or cook or stable boy or whomever you need.”

Man nodded. His hand took the purse from the table. Then he stood up and said: “You’ll be hearing from me by tomorrow” and left, leaving Thomas a bit puzzled. It seems like the man had took the job and the final obstacle of his revenge was gone- they now had a hired knife.

The End

Duke Bohemond was in his chambers. He had dined, rested and was just about to move out when there was this special knock on his door. He knew who that would be, so he screamed “Enter” and ordered servants to leave.

An imposing figure, still wearing the hood, entered. He took the purse from his belt and threw it casually on the table. Eyebrows of Duke raised a bit higher when the man said, with much more normal voice this time: “It’s not every day one gets to know his value, my dear Bohemond. You should consider yourself lucky on that occasion- 50 now and 150 after you are a corpse”. The man started to laugh and unable to resist, Bohemond joined him.

“I gather you are hired to kill me then, my dear Ranulf?” Bohemond asked.

“As you can see. It is a surprise how incompetent people can be when they try to kill someone.” Hood was pushed back, showing the fair, if a bit weathered face of a Norman, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Ranulf, as the man was apparently called, poured himself a cup of wine, took a sip and continued

“It’s strange that neither Thomas or Duchess thought of the fact that they were watched all the time. From the beginning we knew what they were planning, but I never thought they would be so stupid to openly walk into my little trap,” he was talking with cheery, open voice.

“Arrest Thomas tomorrow and throw him into jail,” said Bohemond after a small though-break. Then he sighed, “I cannot do anything to Clemencia right now- she is pregnant again and I really need a male heir”

“But I think that after the childbirth, I may have to look for a new wife,” he continued thoughtfully.

“Childbirth is dangerous,” Ranulf agreed. He took another sip of the wine, then stood up, waved good-bye to Bohemond and went on doing his normal job.

As walking through the castle, Ranulf de Briquessart, the Spymaster of Sicily, chuckled to himself. “Dream job,” he thought to himself. Then he felt the purse in his belt, snatched from under eyes of Duke himself and went back to town- this time, to get drunk and spend some quality time with ladies of doubtful morality.

Afterword

Thomas woke up to a pike showed under his face. He was screaming as he was being dragged to jail and he screamed even more then they questioned him. In the end, he confessed and was left to rot there until he died.

sicily023.jpg

The End of Thomas

In 21st October, 1088, a second son was born to Maud and Duke Bohemond. Nine days later, in 30th October, the Duchess had finally managed to produce a male heir, named Robert after his grandfather. Unfortunately, the pains of childbirth were too much for Clemencia and she passed away on 1st November.

sicily024.jpg

And the tragic end of the queen

sicily025.jpg

And my skill in taking screenshots. Bohemond is de Hauteville and Asclettin, the new heir for Sicily, is actually named Robert after is grandfather
 

hjarg

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Sir Humphrey- it's not the victories that are impressive, it is the enemies that are weak :p
naggy- oh, but they do! But they'd be more like "Great, that bloody Bohemond is at it again!"
 

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That'll show Thomas! :D
 

Nikolai

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  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles