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HistoryDude

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The Holy Roman Empire is created... is it elective yet? Or primogeniture?
 
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Die Männer von Frankonia
The Men of Franconia
Friendship and Ambition
Castle Magdeburg

May 15, 949 AD

Magdeburg -- as the primary residence of Kaiser Otto Liudolfinger, the Saxon castle had become the de facto imperial capital when the Holy Roman Empire had been proclaimed two years ago on Christmas Day. With the coronation of Otto as Emperor, the region had gone from the center of the government of the German kingdom to one of the most politically significant places in all of Europe. From Weinsberg, it was over a month's journey away, and it had seemed so far away that Rupert barely paid it any mind. Until, that is, he was invited there by the Kaiser himself.

The invitation had come as quite a shock to Rupert. In February of that year, he had received a messenger from the Kaiser bearing a letter requesting that Rupert and his liege, Duke Baldarich of Franconia, join Otto as his guests in Magdeburg later that spring. In April, as the weather began to warm from the winter, the two men set out with their bodyguards to make the month-long journey northward into the empire's heart. The trip was long, but the two men made the most of it by sharing stories of their families, battles they'd fought in, and discussing their own thoughts and hopes as to the future of Otto's new empire. They completed the journey in just under a month and a half's time, and spent several days resting in a small estate not far from Magdeburg proper. After taking several days to rest, they had finally fulfilled the invitation by joining the Kaiser for dinner.

The food had been richer than anything served in Weinsberg, and even put the hospitality of Duke Baldarich to shame. Rupert was certain that more spices had been used to season tonight's dinner than he would see in a year, and the meats had come from game hunted from the Kaiser's personal grounds. Rupert had eaten his fill and enjoyed a short rest following the meal, and was finally ready to join the Kaiser personally. Dinner had been a large affair, with dozens of noble officials, courtiers, and other attendants present; this evening meeting would include only Otto, Baldarich, and Rupert.




As Rupert arrived, Baldarich was already seated at a heavy circular wooden table, a silver chalice in front of him already drained of half its wine. A full chalice of similar make was already laid out the seat next to him for Rupert, and the Count of Weinsberg and Worms bowed graciously to both men before taking his seat.

"Good of you to join us, my friend," Baldarich greeted him with a wide grin, "I was worried that such a large meal had knocked you out for the night."

His tone was jovial and his expression inviting as he welcomed Rupert to the table. Baldarich was Rupert's feudal liege, but the two men had grown close over the past several years. The friendship began as a strategic move on Rupert's part; having upset his fellow vassals by expanding his personal demesne with the conquest of Worms, he hoped to secure himself by staying in the good graces of his Duke. They had hunted together, participated in contests of swordsmanship, and met several times to discuss theology and politics, until what began as a pragmatic political move had developed into a proper friendship. Thanks to their newfound bond, the trip to Magdeburg occasionally felt more like a recreational outing among two friends rather than a trek to answer the summons from the Kaiser.

Rupert took his seat and tasted the wine -- like the food, it caused anything served at home to pale in comparison. Across the table from the two men sat the Kaiser, whose place was set with his own rich golden chalice and a plate of fruit that he occasionally picked away at. With the grand business of the evening concluded, Otto had traded the heavy imperial crown and his best robes for more casual attire, though he still looked much more richly appointed than either man sitting across from him.

"It's a pleasure to finally receive you," he said once both men had settled in, "I had hoped I might pay a visit myself on my return journey from Rome, but other affairs took me in the opposite direction, I'm afraid. Still, I'm pleased to have this opportunity. Both of you have made your mark, in your own ways, and I wished to bring you here to assure you of my confidence and to discuss the future of the realm."

The Kaiser's confidence. That much was enough to make Rupert swell with pride, but he couldn't avoid a hint of tension at whatever Otto might have meant by "the future of the realm." Baldarich seemed far less concerned; but Baldarich had also had twice as much wine.

"Baldarich," the Kaiser continued, turning his eyes toward the Duke, "You have shown yourself a capable leader of your realm -- and a loyal one, unlike your father."

Baldarich seemed to recoil slightly at the words. He had become the Duke of Franconia after his father, Eberhard, succumbed to Smallpox while rotting away in Otto's dungeon for his support of Thankmar's rebellion. He remained silent at this, and Otto continued to speak.

"You do, however, show yourself to be a man of ambition. I understand that you came against Munster recently, and compelled the Prince-Bishop to pledge his loyalty to you. Franconia stretches its reach to the north and grows larger. And Rupert, I have heard some reports of your own ambition, as well. You defeated Count Werner, and took Worms for yourself. A decisive battle, and one that has caused many to take note of you, for a variety of reasons."

Ordinarily, Rupert might have been flattered for the Holy Roman Emperor to speak to him directly of his victory. But Otto was proving incredibly hard to read -- Rupert couldn't be certain if he was saying all of this to praise them for successfully consolidating their power, or if he was scolding them for stepping out of line. He maintained an uneasy smile and did his best to look confident, exchanging a brief glance with Baldarich as the two men reassured one another. If the Kaiser was going to come down on them, at least they could take it together.

"Your campaigns of expansion say much of your character, Baldarich," Otto continued on, rising to his feet with his chalice in hand. "As does your ability to develop fine men underneath you. Rupert's success is a reflection of your own, isn't it? Bishop Wenzel was a vile heretic, and he deserved his fate. Werner protected him, and made himself an enemy of the Church... And I assure you, no enemy of Holy Mother Church is fit to rule in this holy empire. Your vassal did a service to God, to His Holiness, and to the realm by removing the stain of those heretics from their land. I believe such exemplary service to church and crown deserves to be recognized and rewarded."

Now, both men relaxed. Rupert released his breath in a quiet sigh of relief, and Baldarich was quick to follow Otto's lead. If Rupert's success was seen as a positive reflection on Baldarich, then the Duke seemed eager to praise his friend and elevate his own ego all at once.

"Your words are exceedingly kind, my Kaiser," he said as he joined Otto in standing, wine chalice in hand. He raised the cup up just slightly, looking to Rupert with a wider smile. "The men of Franconia are loyal sons of Germany, and faithful sons of Rome. I fully support His Majesty's commendation of Count Rupert."

Just that quickly, the tone of the room had shifted. Tension had given way to relief, and where the two had feared for the emperor's punishment, now they stood poised to receive his blessing and reward. Otto looked back to Rupert, gesturing for him to rise as well.

"Rupert von Zahren, Count of Weinsberg and Worms," he greeted him as he stood, "You have proven yourself a loyal man with a courageous heart and a zealous spirit; precisely the sort of man that this great new empire demands. Accordingly, I believe your role in this Holy Roman Empire ought to be elevated in recognition of your service. But your liege, Duke Baldarich, has indeed raised a fine vassal in you, and seeing as his own leadership has helped to lead us to this point, it would be inappropriate for me to reward you entirely of my own accord. I won't deny the Duke this honor, and so you will be rewarded from both our hands."

Rupert's pulse quickened at the lavishness of the Kaiser's speech. He had no idea what was about to come his way, but he was certain it was going to be fantastic. Otto looked once more to Baldarich, and then turned to an ornate wooden chest set on a stand next to him. From within the chest, he produced a crown of the same plain, circular style as Duke Baldarich's.



"Prince-Bishop Giselbert serves Duke Baldarich as the administrator of Mainz and Frankfurt, at the base of the Rhine. From this day onward, in recognition of your service, he will instead be sworn to you as his new liege. It is my wish to elevate you so that you may stand alongside Baldarich as a fellow Herzog -- you will, henceforth, be called Duke of the Rhine, and will serve me as my direct vassal."




Immediately, the color drained from Baldarich's face. In an instant, Kaiser Otto had cut his realm nearly in half. Two of the six counties under his sway had just been taken from him and handed to Rupert. Was this a move to strengthen Rupert, or to weaken Baldarich? Had Otto's praise been a cleverly veiled criticism of Baldarich's move against Munster this whole time? Had Rupert just been exalted as an example of German virtue in order to subtly criticize Baldarich's own character? As Rupert lowered his head to receive the crown, that same head buzzed with rapid thoughts. How on earth would Baldarich respond to watching almost half of his land be handed to his friend and former vassal? How would the other German Dukes look on this incident -- would he become a pariah among them? Was that Otto's goal? The Kaiser was all smiles, but his true purpose was difficult to grasp.

"I am greatly honored, my Kaiser," he managed to choke out through his nervousness, "I promise you I will do my best to serve you well, as I served Herr Baldarich."

"Good," the Kaiser replied, stepping back after setting the crown on Rupert's head, "Now please, enjoy the hospitality of my castle for a few more days before you depart. I have other matters to attend to now, but you are free to remain here until you are prepared for the journey home. Be safe, and go with God, my friends."

Baldarich and Rupert both offered humble bows to the Holy Roman Emperor, and both men left to return to their chambers in stunned silence.
 
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Outsmarted I feel. I bet the Kaiser enjoyed that.
 
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Outsmarted I feel. I bet the Kaiser enjoyed that.
The event itself was a surprising twist for me that I ended up turning into a bit of a story. I think this is the first time in any of my CK2 playthroughs that I've been just handed a Duchy title while being a vassal of an existing Duke.
 
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HistoryDude

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Rupert is a Duke now, but I fear that this will drive a wedge between him and Baldarich...

Otto is indeed very wise. Divida et impera is a good strategy...
 
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Seems Otto wasn't quite as ready to forgive and forget Baldarich's father supporting Thankmar as he first seemed to indicate.
 
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A nice upgrade. Well, perhaps. With more opportunity comes more risk.
 
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Der Metzger und der Bär
The Butcher and the Bear

The Butcher's Commander
Arborea, Sardinia

April 27, 953 AD

Rupert had come to appreciate the Mediterranean. The sun was bright, the weather was pleasant, and the scent of salty sea air was refreshing to his senses. The scenery, while it lacked the familiarity and comfort of his homeland in Germany, was nevertheless beautiful to behold, and Italy's many churches spoke to him of the rich history of the Catholic Church in that region. He wished, however, that he didn't have to spend so much of his time there on the battlefield.

Shortly after naming Rupert the Duke of the Rhine, Kaiser Otto had also elected to appoint him as one of his commanders, in charge of leading formations of men in the imperial army. This was a high honor that had further elevated Rupert's stature among the imperial vassals, and his ferocity on the battlefield quickly made it apparent that Otto had chosen wisely. But it also meant that Rupert spent less time at home in Weinsberg and more time abroad fighting with Otto's army -- something that kept him extremely busy given the Kaiser's penchant for campaigning. Some had taken to referring to the German Emperor as "Otto the Butcher," and his empire's body count testified to the name.

Prior to his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor, Otto had waged war across Europe to extract tribute from many of his neighbors, gaining such notable tributaries as the large realms of Arles and Bohemia. This ambition to collect payment from other rulers did not end with his elevation to emperor, and Otto spent several years campaigning against the so-called "four kingdoms" of Sardinia to bring them under imperial suzerainty.




So as Rupert breathed in the salt of the Mediterranean air that afternoon, the scent of the sea was mingled with the stench of death. While Otto was engaged with repelling viking raiders in northern Germany, Rupert had been dispatched with a two thousand-strong force to demand tribute from Gajetanu de Lacon, the Giudice of Arborea on the island of Sardinia. Gajetanu had sent a modest force of a thousand men to defy Otto's demands, but his soldiers were outnumbered nearly two-to-one by Rupert's army. The battle had been short and decisive. While small bands of infantry had skirmished with the Sardinian fighters, Rupert led a crushing charge spearheaded by hundreds of light and heavy cavalry that had broken the defense almost instantly. His lance had broken after the second charge, but Rupert had dismounted and rushed into the fray with his heavy battleaxe, cleaving a bloody path through to the Sardinian commander, who he promptly beheaded in an intense personal duel.

Now, with his army broken and his castle besieged, the Giudice had finally agreed to meet Rupert. Flanked by heavily armored bodyguards on either side, Rupert set down his weapons and strode out to meet the Sardinian ruler in a small clearing just a short ride from the castle. The Giudice wasn't anything impressive; he was badly scarred, carried himself with a timid gait, and seemed ready to turn and run as if he expected an archer to shoot him down at any moment. As he approached, Rupert did his best to hide the disdain from his face. The Giudice was nearly twenty years younger than Rupert, but even as he neared his fortieth year the German Duke's muscular, sturdy frame cut a sharp contrast to the frail Sardinian before him. Rupert was put off by the weakness in Gajetanu's appearance; not to mention that ridiculous hat.

Gajetanu was one of the "Giudici", or Judges, who ruled over the four "kingdoms" of Sardinia: Cagliari, Torres, Gallura, and Arborea. Sardinia had at one point been subject to the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople, but as the borders of that once-great empire receded, the island had come under independent rule. It was divided between the four judicates, each one led by a Judge and ruled in concert with a small council of elders and clergy. Gajetanu would meet Rupert as a representative of the government, but he was not free to act unilaterally without the rest of the council's approval.

"So, our day has finally come," the Sardinian said as he came within earshot, his voice low, "The dogs of the German Emperor and the Bishop of Rome have come for Arborea."

Rupert's eye twitched at the man's words, referring to the Pope as merely "Bishop of Rome." Clearly, the taint of Constantinople's eastern theology still had firm roots in Sardinia. Still, it was clear from the man's tone that he was well aware that his fate was already sealed. Arborea would be forced to bow to Otto, just as the other judicates had. Rupert did not directly acknowledge Gajetanu's greeting, but instead simply spoke to him to declare his demands.

"Otto, King of the Germans and Roman Emperor, crowned by God, demands that you pay him a proper tribute in recognition of his divine authority and Godsent mission. Your neighbors, the Judges of Cagliari, Torres, and Gallura have all stood against the Emperor's army and fallen, just as you have now. I call on you to show prudence by acknowledging the Emperor's superiority and accepting his demands. Do so, and your people will be left to live in peace."

Gajetanu remained silent for a few moments, but eventually he sighed and lowered his gaze.

"As you say, sir," he said plainly, "Our army is defeated, and the other Judges have all pledged their tribute to Otto. Though it makes my blood boil within me, I recognize that we do not have the strength of arms to resist you. I will speak to the council, and urge them to accept your demands."

In a gesture of symbolic surrender, Gajetanu undid the leather cord holding a small sheathed dagger at his waist and threw it on the ground at Rupert's feet. He then turned and walked back into his estate, where he would meet with the Judicate's ruling council.




With his business concluded, Rupert picked up the Judge's discarded dagger and unsheathed it, looking it over before replacing it and tucking it into his belt. It would make a fine gift for Emelrich, his eldest son. He was eight years old now, old enough to learn to handle a weapon properly. The boy needed to toughen up a little, after all; he was a quiet and affectionate boy, more prone to snuggling and napping in silence than standing up for himself or leading others. If he was going to succeed his father as Duke one day, he would need to learn to be more assertive and resilient. After all, he would not only rule over the Duchy of the Rhine, but he had a younger sister and an ill brother to take care of. Leopold was just three years old, younger than his brother by a half a decade, and had been weak and sickly since his birth. Emelrich had been, as well, but while he had grown out of it, Leopold was still nagged by illness and required constant attention. Behind him was little one-year-old Helene, who had been born just before Rupert had left for Arborea. He had barely held the tiny girl before he'd left the empire, and he yearned to see her again when he returned home.

Just a few days later, after the surrender of Arborea, Rupert got his wish. All of Sardinia was now under Otto's suzerainty, and Rupert could finally go back to his wife and children and a hero's welcome.


The Bear's Cubs
Castle Weinsberg

September 15, 953 AD

Rupert's return from Arborea had been one of the most joyous occasions of his life. After sailing back from the island, he rode with his army in a victorious march back to the imperial capital, where he was personally recognized by Otto and his court to the roaring cheers of his soldiers. Some called him "Rupert the Bear" for his loud roars and relentless assaults on the battlefield; others referred to him as "Rupert, Conqueror of Sardinia" for his work in forcing all four of the island's Judges to pay tribute to the empire. Emperor Otto had simply called him "Marshal," naming him the highest ranking military official of the empire and granting Rupert a seat on the Emperor's council where he would advise Otto on military affairs.

After being recognized in the capital, Rupert had returned home to Weinsberg where Klara awaited him with their three children. Emelrich had been a bit bashful in taking his gift, but he was eager to please his father and so he took to learning how to handle it quickly. Leopold, sick though he was, managed to climb out of his cradle and toddle into his father's embrace. Tiny little Helene babbled in her mother's arms as Klara was finally held by her husband for the first time in over a year. Otto had given Rupert a reprieve to spend some time at home, and for several months life was peaceful and blissful.

Until that dreadful morning in September.

Rupert had been out in the castle courtyard with Emelrich, playfully practicing the boy's swordsmanship with wooden weapons. It was almost time to stop for the day and return for dinner when one of Klara's handmaidens came dashing into the courtyard in tears, screaming for Rupert to come at once. When he burst into his wife's chamber he found her clutching little Leopold, whose tiny body was shaking violently in Klara's desperate embrace, coughing blood onto her apron. His cancer had grown beyond control, and the three year old would be gone before the night ended.




That was five days ago. Now, Rupert held his wife's hand in stunned silence as Giselbert of Mainz presided over the funeral Mass. The Prince-Bishop of Mainz and Frankfurt had recently been named a Cardinal of the Church by Pope Martin II, but had taken time away from his curial duties to bury his liege's second son.

"Ite, missa est," Giselbert chanted solemnly.

"Deo gratias," the choir responded. Thanks be to God, in Latin. Rupert had a difficult time feeling thankful for anything as he watched the embellished wooden casket containing the body of his three-year-old son being carried off as the Cardinal processed out of the church. Not long after, Leopold was let down into his grave and covered. As Giselbert recited the prayers of burial, Emelrich clung to his father's leg almost painfully, while an oblivious Helene cooed contentedly as Klara rocked her in between sobs. As they kept a brief vigil by the gravesite, Rupert dropped to both knees to pray. A lifetime of studied Latin prayers escaped his grieving mind, and he simply whispered out a prayer in German.

"Lord, care for my beloved Leopold," he whispered as he fought back tears, "And I beg you to grant me another son, that my line would be secure. May the von Zahren serve you faithfully forever, but please, grant me to see one more boy."

Rupert was now 40, and Klara was 33 - he knew that they were soon approaching the end of her childbearing years, if they hadn't been reached already. To hope for another son was ambitious, but he prayed he would see Emelrich have a brother once again. The tragic loss of Leopold led Rupert to place a higher priority than ever before on raising Emelrich properly. The boy had turned nine that summer, and it would only be a few more years before he would begin a proper education to enter into court life. Emelrich resolved to commit himself fully to ensuring that his son overcame his soft demeanor and was raised as a proper heir to the von Zahren name and to the realm.

No matter what it cost Rupert, Emelrich would become a fine man worthy of his crown.
 
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Life never gives us a break , tosses us from peak to the bottom of emotions.Lets hope Emelrich grows up to be a worthy successor
 
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Life never gives us a break , tosses us from peak to the bottom of emotions.Lets hope Emelrich grows up to be a worthy successor
Losing Leopold was a blow, for sure. Not just for Rupert's feels, but for me hoping to have a solid number of heirs. Who knows what could happen to Emelrich and Helene before they come of age and Rupert dies?
 
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Hopefully nothing untoward will happen to Emelrich.
 
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HistoryDude

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Well, that was sad...

Still, congrats on subjugating Sardinia for Otto...
 
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Das Vermächtnis des Metzgers
The Butcher's Legacy

A Legend's Passing
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May 6, 965 AD

As Rupert gazed up from his knees at the crucifix mounted to the wall above him, he reflected on the accomplishments of his late liege.

On Christmas Day in 947 AD, Otto Liudolfinger was crowned by Pope Martin II in Rome, invoking the right of succession to Charlemagne and taking the title of Holy Roman Emperor. His armies had subdued the Kings of Arles and Bohemia, the Four Judges of Sardinia, and other local rulers to force them to pay financial tribute to the German crown. Under his rule, the German people had stood tall over Europe, with their King and Emperor wearing a crown that placed him on equal footing with the Eastern Roman Emperors of Constantinople. But while the emperors of the east fought to cling to the remains of a withering empire, Otto's realm grew by leaps and bounds. None had dared wage an offensive war against the empire throughout all of Otto's time on the throne, and the realm had prospered.

But death came for every man eventually, and Otto succumbed to the Great Pox in February of 965. He left behind five children, including two sons: Princes Wilhelm and Liudolf. The two princes, both in their mid-30's, had buried their father and hosted the lords of the realm for a great funeral Mass and wake at the family estate in Magdeburg. The event was well attended, and the grief of the German nobility was profound. Otto had been heavy-handed in his dealings at times -- he was known as "Otto the Butcher," after all -- but he had single-handedly changed the history of Europe by the formation of the empire, and his memory was cherished by many. He had certainly changed Rupert's life forever by granting him a new title of nobility.

As he fondly recalled the day on which Otto had named him Duke of the Rhine, Rupert's reflection was interrupted by the voice of his eldest son, Emelrich, calling for him.




"My Lord Father," the 20-year-old called from the doorway of the side chapel, "It is time."

Was it time for Mass to begin already? Rupert had gotten so lost in his prayerful reflection that he'd been entirely unmindful of the time. Heeding his son's words, he got up from his knees and adjusted his garments before turning back to Emelrich with a broad grin. Losing Leopold so many years ago as a child had been a crushing loss, but it warmed Rupert's heart to see Emelrich growing into a proper man. He was married to a beautiful woman just a few years younger than himself, Beatrix Chatenois -- a member of the noble house that had once ruled the Duchy of Lorraine and still held the County of Saarbrucken. Although his rigorous study of theology and Church law occasionally led him to act in seemingly strict and arbitrary ways, he had nevertheless matured into a proper leader of men, and Rupert planned to entrust him with ruling the County of Worms soon so that he could learn to reign in his own right.

With his son a few steps ahead of him, Rupert entered the crowded church and marveled at its majestic beauty. He had never been to Rome before, and to see where the Holy Father lived and celebrated Mass was the sight of a lifetime. He had often visited the Italian mainland between his campaigns in Sardinia, but he had never managed to come to the holy city or see the great St. Peter's Basilica. As he walked toward his place for Mass, he caught the sour gaze of Prince Wilhelm.




Wilhelm, Otto's eldest son who inherited his father's hereditary titles as Duke of Saxony and Count of Magdeburg and Luneburg, was Otto's preferred candidate to succeed him as Emperor. Wilhelm, however, was unpopular among the German nobility and especially so among the Electors. Wilhelm had been born out of wedlock to Otto by way of a captive Wendish noblewoman during a military campaign, and he was known to have a cowardly demeanor. Furthermore, while no one could yet prove it, more than a few whispered rumors suggested that his lack of interest in marriage was indicative of his sinful predilections for the same sex. Ultimately, all of these concerns had led the Electors to pass him over, and his bitterness over the decision was well known.

Once everyone was present, the Pope processed in with his assisting clergy and Mass began. Rupert prayed fervently, with more passion and zeal than at any time in his life. He was so consumed with his petitions to God that he almost failed to notice when the Holy Father turned away from the altar and beckoned him forward. Rising from his place, Rupert stepped into the aisle and approached the Pope, falling down to one knee before him. Once he had lowered himself in a gesture of obedience, he looked up to the familiar face as the Pope began to pray: "Look, almighty God, with a serene gaze on this, Your glorious servant Rupert."



Once, the man chanting a solemn prayer over him was known as Giselbert, the Prince-Bishop of Mainz and Frankfurt. He had been made Rupert's vassal when Otto proclaimed him Duke of the Rhine, and had served as his court chaplain for years. He had baptized Rupert's first three children, and had been there to perform the funeral rites at Leopold's death. Now, he was known by a new name: Clement II, after he was chosen to succeed Pope Martin II in 956. Clement was the first German Pope in the history of the Church, a milestone that had been widely celebrated within the Holy Roman Empire. Now, as Rupert knelt before his vassal-turned-Pope, things seemed to come full circle as Clement chanted the final words of the prayer.

"Through whom honor and glory are yours unto the ages of ages, amen."

As Rupert knelt with his head inclined forward, Clement lowered the Reichskrone -- the Imperial Crown -- onto his head.




Making the Sign of the Cross, Rupert rose to his feet and looked out over the congregation gathered in prayer. Many notable foreign dignitaries were among them, but most of the men and women filling the Basilica were Germans. They were the nobles of the empire, counts and dukes, Kings and Prince-Bishops. They were friends and enemies, allies and rivals.

But now, all of them were his subjects.
 
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And once again, the game throws me for a loop! First, it hands me a Duchy out of nowhere, and then I end up being named Otto's successor! I'm guessing it's because I tend to like to create dynasty founders with several positive traits to make sure I have a good "forefather figure" -- though I'll be shocked if I end up keeping the title for more than one generation.
 
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Idhrendur

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That was a fast rise. But as you say, we'll see how long it lasts.
 
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They were the nobles of the empire, counts and dukes, Kings and Prince-Bishops. They were friends and enemies, allies and rivals.

But now, all of them were his subjects.
I loved this little couplet
 
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HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
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Yes, the Emperor was elected. He probably won't be able to "pull a Habsburg" and make the Empire hereditary.
 
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guillec87

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long live the Kaiser!
 
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