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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

TomZGen

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orangebanner_zps6dfa9d8a.jpg

Introduction

Welcome to the Fly the orange banner: a House d'Orange AAR. This AAR will be played as the House d'Orange to claim their rightful place on the Frisian throne as a Dutch royal house. My inspiration for this was the fact that the Dutch royal house Van Oranje (Dutch for d'Orange) actually holds the throne in our time. Thus trying to recreate this situation with House d'Orange sounds fun to me, especially as they start as lowly counts of Venaissin in Provence.

I'd like to try and tell this House's story through a third person view centered on the current ruler I am playing. The first instalment will be Rainaut d'Orange of Venaissin. Future instalments will be his heirs. Now please bear with me, this will be my first AAR, so all critism is welcome. I will do my best on my part as well.

The format will be a narrative, supported by ingame screenshots. Maybe a bit opportune for my first AAR, but I feel familiar with the format, so I want to try it out. Each chapter will start with a short overview of the current situation. This will mostly be feudal relations on who is in power where that is important to where we are in the story.

As this is my first AAR, I will probably be missing important screenshots from time to time. Next to that I wont be telling the stories of the brothers, sisters and their ofspring. I will be solely focussing on the main line of the House. All that said, it is time to get cracking. Nations aren't formed standing around doing nothing.

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Rainaut d'Orange, count of Venaissin 15 september 1066 - 16 october 1106
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Chapter 2: Reinoud Reinoudszoon d'Orange, 2nd duke of Provence 16 october - ?
Prelude
Part 1

Notes:

I have left out most names, and have taken to refering to those characters as a mayor, or the chansellor. This to prevent the introduction of names that will only be named once. For more important characters such as kings I did include the name, even though they only appear once.

Further more I decided to include House names into titles to show wether a dynasty has taken over a realm. Examples are Heinrich IV Salian of the HRE and Bertrand II Bosonid of Provence.

Mods and DLC:

I use no mods in this game. In terms of DLC I use all mayor ones except the Sunset Invasion (which I dont got) and I am missing the last two batches of minor cosmetical DLC, the Russian and Mediterranian.

Choices:

The choices are make per character are RP choices. They are not the ones which I would personally make, but based on what the character would do.
 
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TomZGen

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Chapter 1: Rainaut d'Orange, count of Venaissin
15 september 1066 - 16 october 1106 Part 1


====================================
Situation:

House d'Orange:
At this point the House d'Orange is composed out of 2 persons: Rainaut (21) and his new born son with the same name: Rainaut. Alas, his mother died during childbirth, so Rainaut Sr is unmarried as we start the game.

In terms of feudal links: Rainaut is the Vassal of Duke Bertrand II Bosonid of Provence, who in turn is the vassal of Heinrich IV Salian of the HRE. Rainaut's vassals are Mayor Arnulf of Carpentras and Bishop Jaufret of Avignon. Rainaut's own demesne is the castle of Orange (surprise!).
====================================

It was a rainy day in September when Rainaut stood looking out the window from his castle Orange. Situated between the Alps in the east and the forrested plains of southern France in the west, every vista was a vision of natural beauty. In this panaroma one could just make out the bell tower of the church of Avignon, with the low roofs of the small town of Carpentras close to it.

The weather suited Rainaut's mood well. His wife died earlier that year giving birth to his son Rainaut and his thoughts keep drifting back to her. Even though it was merely weeks ago that she passed away, his council was already pushing him to marry again. He only had one son, which was too little. A heir and a spare, as the saying goes, was needed.

r1getmarried_zpsacfc0d0d.jpg


And so the search for a suitable wife started. A wife with connections, yet the personality to do the House d'Orange pride. After a short search the perfect candidate was readily found: Mathilde Scarponnais. She is the 24 year old daughter of count Louis Scarponnais of Sundgau and countess Sophia Wigeriche of Verdun. Those connections could prove useful in the future. And as a bonus, her talents weren't that bad either. A letter was send to her father, count Louis, for her hand in marriage.

Just as the future should be secured through more sons, so should the future of the already present son be secured through betrothal. Stories of the wealth of the Dutch regions to the north were already known in the Provence, therefor a Dutch lady with good connections would be the prefered match. Agnes Boudewijnsdochter van Vlaanderen was the prefect candidate. Her father was the heir to the rich duchy of Flanders and her mother was countess Righilde Reginar of Hainaut. 8 years the older of Rainaut, she was just old enough to be firtile when Rainaut would come of age. A letter was send to her mother for
a confirmation of the betrothal, accompanied by a hefty bag of gold to improve relations.

While count Rainaut was waiting for the replies, work was waiting for him. The council needed orders and laws had to be drafted. The councilor was already heading north to Hainaut with the letter. He would stay there to improve relations with the local nobility. The Court Bishop was send to Rome to improve relations with the Pope. The rest staid at home, collecting taxes, training troops and protecting the royal family against insidious plots. As a final touch, the city tax was increased massively to provide funds for all kinds of operations.

At one point during these many preparations, the spymaster entered the study of Rainaut. The conversation that followed would have mayor impact on the future of the House d'Orange.
"My Lord, isn't it time we start thinking about expanding our family holds? The lands to our east and south are held by brothers, and to our west is a bishopric. It would be very hard to expand either way. But if the betrothal between your son Rainaut and Agnes is confirmed..."
Rainaut looked askance at his spymaster, who stood as if waiting for permission to continue. "Yes, but?..."
"Well, Agnes has two older brothers, Arnulf and Boudewijn. If both could be taken care of, she could inherite the county of Hainaut from her mother Richilde." Again a pause from the spymaster, as if he was unreluctant to continue.
"Well, out with it," snapped Rainaut.
"You see, my Lord, they are both underaged. If we were to take care of them, we would be committing child murder."
Rainaut leaned back in his chair and locked his eyes on his spymaster. Expanding his lands to the north would provide a solid base for future generations, but was the price worth it? His ambition kicked in. Yes, it would be worth it. So he told his spymaster "When the betrothal is confirmed, make plans with the nobility there to take out the sons of Richilde. I am sure there will be nobles or courtiers who are willing to partake for a bribe or even out of hatred." His spymaster nodded briefly and left to make preparations.

r1marrymath_zps300dfe09.jpg
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Merely a week later two letters arrived. Mathilde Scarponnois was to be married to Rainaut sr. and Richilde acquisced to a betrothal between Agnes and Rainaut jr. Not long after a messenger was dispatched with letters bearing promises and bags of gold coins. More potent lubricants are hard to imagine. The bribes were dealt out, and nobles started to warm for the plans of the Venaissinian plans. In december that same year the first victim fell. It was Boudewijn, Agnes' youngest brother, who died at a hunting accident. Two months later her eldest brother Arnulf died in a similar hunting accident. Both deaths were regarded as accident with no one being blamed. Hainaut was shrouded in grief for the loss of the two lordlings.

killboudewijn_zps7dca3204.jpg


Ofcourse, this news was also recieved in castle Orange. Rainaut felt a little uncomfortable with killing children, but this did mean that his future daughter-in-law was the sole heir to the county of Hainaut. Her mother Richilde also reached the ripe ago of 46, so her child bearing days were over, leaving Agnes in undisputed role as heir.

And so spring arrived in the land. Mathilde and Rainaut were getting used to each other and something was blossoming between them when dire news arrived. Count Jaufret Bosonid of Forcalquier in the east, brother of duke Bertrand Bosonid of Provence, had enough of his brother's rule and wanted to install himself in Arles. Being the brother of the duke, he had a strong claim to do so. After several skirmished between bands of the duke and the count, a small levie of Forcalquier troops ended up in the vicinity of the town of Carpentras, where they started to pillige the surrounding land, raiding at will as they were with to few to besiege the castle.
 
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TomZGen

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Chapter 1: Rainaut d'Orange, count of Venaissin
15 september 1066 - 16 october 1106 Part 2


To disperse them, count Rainaut called his levies. A total of 328 men reported in castle Orange for duty. After a short inspection the count set out to disperse the raiding troops. On the 24th september of the year 1067 the battle, more like a skirmish, unfolded on a field near Carpentras. The enemy was a mixed bunch, numbering 45 in total, but they were hardened by the country life they had been living of late. This showed, as they put up a hefty resistance. Although they were whiped out, 87 Orangien men wouldn't be returning to their homes either. A hefty toll.

battlecarpentras1_328vs45_zps51b65369.jpg


More then a year passed with little happening in the war. The brothers seem to be chasing ghosts instead of each other. But in the spring of 1069 a new Forcalquien warband was sighted entering the Venaissin county. This time they numbered 178, clearly better organised then last time. Once again count Rainaut mustered his levies to repel the threat. His numbers hadn't completely replenished since last fight: 324 men reported for duty. The battle that followed took again place on a field near Carpentras, almost the same as the first. The count's men had been practicing in arms and combat techniques and it clearly showed. Even though they lost 88, 10 more then the last fight, the enemy was shattered. 145 men would never raise their sword in anger anymore.

battlecarpentras2_324vs178_zps91a75453.jpg


As Rainaut surveyed the carnage of that battle, he could feel his rage building in him. This would not do! His lands and the people upon it would be safe from this manace! He would march east and wreck havok upon the rebels.

gainwroth_zps04a55d8e.jpg


But disaster struck. As he was preparing an expedition, he was felled by a sickness. This would last untill early winter, a time in which no army should start a campaign. There was good news at the end of the year though. In recognition of his work against rebel forces, the duke appointed him chancelor of Provence.

In this function he learned of the League forming for Independence, lead by the Italian city of Bologna. A lot of Italian states were fed up with the German yoke from Bamburg and wanted to be free of it. Duchies such as Tuscany, Lombardy and Savoy amongst others were clamoring for war. And to Rainaut's dismay, so did duke Bertrand.
"But my Lord Duke, this is foolhardy! We are not ready to face the might of the Reich, they will trample us. Besides, your brother supports Kaiser Heinrich, which means that if we persevere in this, we will lose all control over the county. And they will have the protection of the Kaiser himself, meaning the war is de facto over."

Alas, all Rainaut's pleas for patience were unheeded and on 1 july 1070, the Bolognian League declared their independence. The first months nothing much happened. Imperial troops were kept busy in central Italy, so the duchy of Provence was relatively quiet. The first hostilities were in the Imperial controlled county of Forcalquier in march 1071. Here a provencal force of 412 troops, combined of Venaissin and Provencal troops, were attacked by a token force sent to scout in
the area. They nontheless numbered 532 and bolstered by their numerical superiority they attacked the smaller Provencal force. This was a mistake, as the defenders had knowledge of the local terrain. The Imperial troops were dealt a stinging defeat. They lost 361 men, while the southeners only lost 143.

b_forcal1_432vs532_zpsf2acaa9d.jpg


The euforia of the Provencals didn't last long. Soon enough reports of the main force of the Kaiser's troops was sighted moving into the area. There was no escape. On the 7th of april that year the Imperials attacked. They numbered 3179, heavily outnumbering the southeners. The freedomfighters were annihalated. Only the duke, his council (including count Rainaut) and some personal retinue managed to escape, the rest of the army was lost. The aggressors only lost 42 men.

Beaten and bloodied the Provencal nobility went their own separate ways. It was high summer by now and a fair was in town. Many people flocked to it and even Rainaut himself went to enjoy the many sounds, smells and tastes of the fair. In all the commotion, a stranger accosted the count. He grabbed Rainaut by the wirsts and pushed a bound book into his hands. Without a word he fled the scene, to quick for Rainaut to react. A strange compulsion made him keep the book. It was as if it wanted him to read it. Yet, after many months of studying the text in the book, he wasn't getting closer to solving the riddles in the book. What he did learn gave him more insight into the occult, which would serve him well while plotting and scheming.

r1_acq_book_zpsa747f7fc.jpg
r1_gain_mystic_zps6bab3b47.jpg


In the dark days of dead winter, joyful news was announced all through the county. Countess Mathilde was pregnant with her first child. Mere days later, on the first day of 1072, Rainaut jr turned 6, thus making him elligible for training. The first plan was to tutor him in the ways of the northern lowlands, but this plan was foiled due to the war. Therefor Rainaut took it upon himself to teach his son, until such a time arose that the little boy could indeed be send north, to the court of his morther-in-law-to-be.

The year wore on, uneventful. This changed midsummer, as Rainaut's second son and mathilde's first, Gaultier was born.

gautier_born_zps55f25762.jpg


Amidst the festivities dire news came down from the north. In response to the threat that the rebels in Burgundy and Italy formed, the northern German lords instituted Limited Crown Authority in the Reich. This gave the Kaiser more troops to quell the rebellion in the south.

hre_lmca_zpsd802059a.jpg


And so the fight dragged on, neither side taking the upper hand. Life in castle Orange also went on and the count spend his days tutoring his son. Amidst this relative bliss a weird coincidence happend. Youngster from Carpentras announced themselve to the castle in a flurry of activity. When Rainaut investigated what all the commotion was about, it took him a while to comprehend. The youngsters were shouting something about a dragon. Itching for some action, he vowed that he would kill the horrendous beast with his own two hands, much to the pleasure of Bishop Jaufret from Avignon. Alas, after intensive search of every wood in the vicinity, no dragon was found.

r1_dragon_zps4fbde1a6.jpg


Tutoring his son was a pleasure as well. At one point his nurse Isabèla ran crying to the count, telling him that his son was calling her all kinds of synonyms for portly person. To which Rainaut answered full glee: "But, my dear lady, you ARE fat." Honesty was clearly a strong suite of young Rainaut. Not his only one, as soon after it would also become apparent that he was an ambitious little child. This was all to the great pleasure of his father.

r2_amb_zps8b924b24.jpg


The next summer the Provence was rocked once again. The king of France, Philippe I Capet had deemed it the right time to reclaim lands the were rightfully his. And with the duchy rebelling, they couldnt bank on the help of the Empire. They were very vulnerable and the French knew it. On the 21st of june 1075 the French declared the de jure war over Vivarais. 6500 troops were marching on the territories of duke Bertrand.

Over the course of that year Vivarais and its surrounding territories fell to repeated attacks from the French. In may 1076 they arrived at the next logical target: Venaissin. The army consisted out of 3601 men, and in mere days the army grew to 6974. On the 6th of june the French stormed castle Orange. The defenders never stood a chance. On the 17th of the same month the entire county was already under French control.

Duke Bertrand recognised that he was severely outclassed and surrendered on august 15th. The prince-bishopric of Vivarais went into the hands of the French.

france_prov_peace_zpsf0d44e09.jpg


While the whole of Provence was stunned by the defeat and loss of land, Mathilde announced that she was pregnant for the second time. The duke himself even came to visit to congratulate the happy couple. Count Rainaut agreed to accompany the duke back to castle Arles, but disaster struck. The duke was kidnapped by a group of bandits.

r1_kidnap_zps015028b6.jpg


Rainaut and the rest of the retinue went in hot pursuit of the bandits, but it took 4 whole days to track them down. All this time they didnt know wether the duke was alive or not. Luckily he was. In his rage over the indignancy done to his liege lord, Rainaut threw the bandits in the jail, earning him a reputation of cruelty.

r1_cruel_zps094d6ae4.jpg


In the spring of 1077 the war with the Empire was still raging. Northern Italy was becoming a wasteland, as was northern Burgundy. Southern Burgundy, including the Provence was largely untouched so far. Amidst this chaos Rainauts third son and Mathilde's second was born: Odon. The war would rage on until 31 januari 1078, when the the war ended inconclusively. After 7,5 years of fighting and thousands of lives lost, the Empire was whole again. Legend goes that the count of Bologna spoke these fabouled words at the end of the ceremony: "Heed my words: the south shall rise again!"

This also meant that Rainaut jr could finally head to Hainaut, where he were to be tutored by Thetburga. She was a Dutch woman who had a way with numbers. She was a pleasant woman to be around, despite her ugly appearance.

therburga_zps17134a4f.jpg


But Rainaut sr did feel like he was missing something. Tutoring his son had been a great pleasure. Luckily, on the 12th of july 1078 that same year, Gautier became of age. Rainaut decided to tutor him himself.

That winter duke Bertrand held his first feast, which would turn into a semi-annual event. Another feast would soon be upon castle Orange. At the end of the winter, on the 14th of februari 1079 a group of hedge knights announced themselve to the keep, where the count welcomed them with a lavish feast. The festivities reached almost bachannalian levels, earning the count a reputation of gregariousness.

therburga_zps17134a4f.jpg


In honour of his guests a minor tournament was held a couple of days later. Unfortunately, one of the knights was wounded, but Rainaut paid for the medical expenses.

The next year, 1080, saw the rise of a figure who would come to prominence in Venaissin. Günther von Mondragon, by all acounts a genius, was appointed steward because the previous one was killed by a mob whilst collecting taxes. Günther was very proficient as a steward, but his martial skills were unmatched within the county as well, making him a useful asset to Rainaut.

On the 1st of januari 1081 Richilde died, felled by severe stress. This meant her daughter Agnes was now countess of Hainaut, which in turn meant that the ofspring of Agnes and Rainaut would rule those lands.

agnes_inh_zps5272e4c0.jpg


More good news that year, as on the 26st of may count Rainaut was named Cupbearer of Provence. The year rest of the year was spent in peace. The castle was being upgraded, sons were growing up, and the only the quiet graves near the churches testimoned to the harsher times of the past. It was a happy time.

r1_cupbearer_zps7e5f1554.jpg


On new years day the next year Rainaut jr finally came of ages and he was wed to Agnes on the 6th of januari. Rainaut had grown into a proud, ambitious man with great math skills. A great wedding feast was held in Hainaut and all the nobility was invited. The journey back to Venaissin was a hard one, as count Rainaut understood that he wouldn't see his son for a long time. Things wouldnt stay quiet after this, as in may wolves would become a great nuisence, Rainaut united the villagers, and together they hunted the wolves and drove them of.

r2_marry_zps86c58522.jpg


The next year Odon came of age, and he was sent to the mayor of Carpentras for education. This would increase the relation between the mayor and the count, which ever since the increased taxes was kind of frosty. Mathilde came into his chambers a couple of days later with the news that she was once again with child. On the 14th november she would give birth to Rainaut's 4th and their 3rd son: André.

In april of 1084 Gautier came of age and was send to the city of Carpentras to study with his brother Odon. This improved relations even further with the burgher enclave. 11 months later great news came from the north. Agnes father, Duke Boudewijn of Flanders died while Agnes was his only legitimate heir, thus she became not only countess of Hainaut, but also the duchess of Flanders. This meant she fell under the jurisdiction of the French king though. She was outside Rainaut's range to help her...

agnes_inh_2_zps607ef02c.jpg


 
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TomZGen

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Chapter 1: Rainaut d'Orange, count of Venaissin
15 september 1066 - 16 october 1106 Part 3


Again 11 months later Mathilde became pregnant for the 4th time. More good news, as Rainaut was made steward of Provence after a leave of absence of the court. He was sent to the county of Provence to improve economical technologie there. Merely a couple days later joyous news from the north. A daughter was born to Reinoud and Agnes: Agaete. Rainaut feels pride, he is a grandad. His family name is secure for the future. His legacy lives on. Talking about legacy, his 5th son is born in september that year: Jacme.

And so the flies by. Agaete gets a little sister, named Clara. Then suddenly things start to heat up. The chancellor stormed into the study in a flurry of fluttering robes and parchment. "My Lord, look at this! According to these ancient documents we have a claim on Forcalquier!"
Rainaut looks up from the book he was reading on mathemathics to improve his stewardship, and asks tentavily, as if he is unable to believe what he is hearing "really? Are you sure? Give me those!" He grabs the papers from the chancellor and studies them intently. "By the Lord, you may be right! We have a claim of that county!"

claim_forcal_zps3d56d84b.jpg


Alas, the claim was not pressable yet, as they werent yet a liege of my liege or independant. Patience is a virtue here. That summer was happily spend in the garden, working his green fingers in an attempt to increase his stewardship even further. In those happy times his second son Gautier comes of age and Rainaut calls him into his study. "My son, now that you have become a man, it is time to find you a woman. And this is not negotiable, I have found a bride for you." This woman was no other then Ida von Nordheim, 28 and sister to duke Heinrich IX von Nordheim of Bavaria. The two get married on the 29th of july 1088, and thus is a powerful ally secured.

gautier_ida_marry_zps23eac4fc.jpg


The year would prove even more eventful. Not long after the wedding duke Bertrand of Provence declares war on his brother, count Jaufret of Forcalquier to bring him back under the dukes jurisdiction, which he has evaded ever since the Independence war.

prov_for_dejure_zpsdf2e7d84.jpg


Not long after this a messenger arrives from Bavaria: duke Heinrich calls count Rainaut to arms in the war against the count of Nürnberg. Because Rainaut is busy in Provence, Günther von Mondragon is sent to Bavaria with 389 men.

bav_nuumlr_claim_zps2260204e.jpg
amry_north_zpsca1c50a3.jpg


As Rainaut awaits word how the war in Bavaria proceeds, his family grows once more. Reinoud Reinoudszoon is born, a grandson, a firstborn son's firstborn son. Not long after that André is send to bishop Jaufret of Avignon for education. Although the relationship between the bishop and the count was never bad, a better relation could never hurt. All this happened while the war raged in the neighbour county, where the war was settled quickly and count Jaufret admitted defeat and was returned to the fold.

prov_for_peace_zps4159c650.jpg


16 days after the peace, news came from the north: on 27th januari 1090 Nürnberg fell. 13 days later that war was over too and the troops returned home. Under Günther von Mondragon's skilled leadership very few men were lost. But this was not the time to sit idle. Forcalquier was weakened in the war with Provence, so this was the time to press Rainaut's claim. On the 5th of may 1090 war is declared and Günther is dispatched with the army.

ven_for_war_zpsc44e36ea.jpg


395 men march east and take on the few defenders on the 28th of june that year: in the battle of Forcalquier the Venaissin lose 31 men and all 43 defenders are whiped out.

In augustus a messenger appears from Bavaria to ask him to join in the Bavarian-Swabian excommunication war, which ends a mere couple of days later as the count of Swabia is reconciled. But the trouble doesnt end there. That october Duchess Agnes of Flanders declares here independence war from France.

agnes_decl_ind_zps2f0b0d56.jpg


Luckily, their king Henri II Capet is already embroiled in a war against the Champagnians over some obscure claims of theirs on the throne. She is relatively safe.

france_wars_zpsabb39f7e.jpg


On 28 februari the main castle Forcalquier falls. In the siege 21 brave men fell, and another 24 are left behind as garrison.

siege_forcal_zps7b0ecee3.jpg


Apt and Embrun fall in june and october, ending the war decisively for Rainaut.

r1_get_forcal_zps2dbdbe41.jpg


102 brave men were killed in this war, but now Rainaut is count of Venaissin and Forcalquier. But a gnawing feeling creeps up on count Rainaut. I came this far, why not more? And so the plotting for the duchy of Provence starts.

Duke Bertrand and count Rainaut are discussing economical issues when a messenger bursts into the room. He wears the Papal coat of arms and has a bearing of importance. "His Holiness the Pope commands all good Christians to take the Holy Land! We fight for Jerusalem." This is something Rainaut wanted to do all his life, going to the levant. That he would get to fight infidels was a nice thing to boot. But his dreams were dashed, as Duke Bertrand needed him in Provence to oversee the financial works. Their relation never recovered from this blow.

As Rainaut watched all those men moving to the Holy Land on to glory, he got the news that he was a grandad for the 4th time, again a son: Waelram Reinoudszoon. That same summer the Kaiser holds a tournament, and although he doesn't win any prizes Rainaut gained a lot of prestige. At the end of the summer Jacme is sent to the mayor of Apt for tutoring and better relations.

r1_grandtour_zps6d0afc20.jpg


In the summer of 1093 a years worth of planning comes to fruition. In cooperation with Duke Heinrich IX von Nordheim of Bavaria, Duke Konrad I Salian of Dauphiné and Mayor Simon of 's-Hertogenbosch, Rainaut manages to fabricate a claim on the duchy of Provence.

r1_claim_prov_zps1dcd6c6c.jpg


On the 12th of march 1093 war erupted.

r1_claimprov_war_zpse980ab9e.jpg


Messengers are send to Duke Heinrich and he answers positively: the Bavarians will come to their aid. 17 april, two armies clash near Aix in Provence. Men who fought together now fought against eachother. Everybody recognised someone on the other side, and sword arms weakened in anticipation of inflicting pain and agony on those familiar forms. 551 Venaissins were attacking 414 Provencals so odds were in the attackers favour.

But nothing was less true. The duckal troops, fighting for their home land, put up a tough resistance. So tough that the count's troops were routed with heavy losses. The Venaissins lost 267 troops against 122 Provencals.

battle_aix_551vs414_zps442c9b26.jpg


While retreating news came that reïnforcements from Vienne were incoming, and Rainaut ordered his troops to disperse and make their own way home. Things were looking bleak for the count. Not long afterwards enemy forces were besieging Forcalquier. Very bleak indeed.

But Duke Heinrich kept his word. At the beginning of winter 1891 Bavarians showed up and the war was completely turned around. The besieging forces were defeated, and so were the rest of the Provencal forces in a string of skirmishes through Vienne and Venaissin. The combined forces of the count and the duke started the siege of Provence and Arles fell on 21 november 1093, followed by Marseille on 17 februari the next year.
 
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Chapter 1: Rainaut d'Orange, count of Venaissin
15 september 1066 - 16 october 1106 Part 4



But Fortune is fickle. The Bavarians receive word that on 3 june 1094 the count of Tirol a brother of the duke in his stead on the throne wants. Their forces are to be recalled immediatly and depart for Bavaria. The Provencals, bolstered by this event, get reïnforcerd by Savoiard troops. Once again the Venaissins are outnumbered and once again the outcome of the war looks bleak.

But all was not lost. The count had saved some money for emergencies, and now was the time to use it. The Irish Band mercenaries were hired. After the fee the count only had 50 gold left, with a monthly deficit of -4. This means that the money would round out quickly. Plunder was the way to save the treasury. The mercenaries marched south and immediatly attacked the last remaining settlement in Provence, Grimaud. The mercenaries lose a lot of men, but the place get taken. The plunder is enough for another 3 months, as the mercenaries ask less because of the losses. They are send north against the Vienne and Savoiard forces.

With the war going good, Rainaut is assigned an army to lead in the crusade against the Fatimids. At age of 51 he becomes known as a great crusader, know for his zealotry against the infidel. Other news from the north reaches him as well: Agnes finally wins the war for her independence against King Henri II. In a stunning turn of events she swears fealty to Kaiser Heinrich IV and some days later comes to the aid of Rainaut.

The Holy Roman Empire is rocked on 15 augustus 1096. Kaiser Heinrich IV Salian dies and is succeeded by his son Reinhard I Salian. Weeks later another surprise awaits count Rainaut: count Raimond-Berenguié of Vienne, untill now loyal to duke Bertrand, declares his war to install his wife in Provence. Because of this Bertrand now only rules one county, which is completely occupied by Rainaut. On 2 september 1096 count Rainaut becomes duke Rainaut I d'Orange of Provence.

ven_win_prov_zps2afbf687.jpg


Now the only contender in this war is count Raimond of Vienne. With the defeat of Bertrand the Savoiards are out of the war. Rainaut deems the Irish Band redundant and dismisses them, favoring his replenished levies over them. In one battle in Vienne all of count Raimond's forces are defeated and on 22 october he sues for peace: unconditional surrender. Not even one siege was needed.

But peace wasnt meant to be. In 1097 Duchess Anges declares war on the duke of Holland for her claim on the county of Holland and Rainaut joins that war. 762 under the count himself march north and arrive in may. In the fall of that year Rainaut contemplates his ageing wife Mathilde. He loves her dearly, even though she is getting older and more saggier. He vows he wont love anyone but her and becomes know as a chaste man.

After several months Holland is under control of Agnes. A battle in Zeeland seals the fate of the Dutch duke: he loses Holland. But tragedy strikes the House d'Orange for the first time on april 16th: Ida von Nordheim passes out of this world. Not only did the House lost a beloved daughter, they also lost a valuable ally.

In the summer of that year, 1098, duke Rainaut gets an army of 6808 assigned in the aid of the Norwegians in their holy war for Finland. The cold bites in the far north, the surroundings more inhospitable then he would ever see. He didnt really udnerstand why the Norwegians want this particular bit of land, but he would go where the Kaiser would command him. In augustus count Raimond-Berenguié of Vienne dies and is succeeded by his son with the same name. And in december his old liege Bertrand dies a natural death. His son Carles now holds the county of Provence.

Once more a lot of Italian and Burgundian rise to fight for their independence, led this time by the Forezian. Duke Rainaut is appointed 5562 men in 1099 to fight the rebels. But while he is leading his troops south from Lünebourg, horrible news arrives: his son, Jacme, passed away of pneumonia, not even reaching manhood.

jacme_dead_zpse37f441e.jpg


In his grief he blames count Carles of Provence, convinced that Jacme was poisoned to avenge the deposing of his father. Feverishly he plots against Carles and with the support of two mayors he has enough support to pressure the count. But stubbornly Carles refuses and war ensues.

carles_refuse_war_zps128eb20e.jpg


The two forces meat at Grimaud on august 28th, and the duckal forces led by Günther von Mondragon smash the forces of Carles.

b_grimaud_616vs241_zps90d7f2b4.jpg


After two years of sieging the count surrenders and duke Rainaut now holds three counties. For strategic purposes the ancient capital of Orange is abandoned for Arles.

Events now unfold slower. In april 1102 the crusade finally comes to an end and Jerusalem is granted to Kaiser Reinhard, henceforth known as 'The Blessed'. The crusade lasted 11 years. Right after the Kaiser declares the second Venetian embargo war and once more Rainault is appointed to lead 3202 men. But age is beginning to tell. Joints stiffen, vision dims, and in november duke Rainault is bedridden and infirm.

r1_infirm_zps6cd91f49.jpg


Months fly by, and sometimes he doesnt even know what he is doing. He joined a plot for a new ruler of the Duchy of Köln, but have little recollection of doing so. Perhaps his sons did to break up the powerful duchy of Lower Lorraine. And in july 1106 this get worse. Rainaut becomes incapable, not being able to bathe, to shower or even to talk properly.

r1_incap_zpsae213818.jpg


At the beginning of october 1106 he attracts camp fever as well. His body can't take it anymore and on october 16th the duchy of Provence is shrouded in grief: Rainaut has passed away. Having commanded over great parts of Europe, respected general of the Empire and loving father. He will be missed.

r1_death_zps77548286.jpg


r1_char_zpsb8c28927.jpg


r1_famtree_zpsf891422a.jpg


 
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The end of Rainaut

Now that the first chapter in the House d'Orange is over, I would like to express some feeling how I personally felt this has gone.

First of all, I made the mistake of playing the entire character's life. This has given me too much information at once, leading to a condensed form of writing more akin to a narrating history book then a proper narrative.

Second, the screenshots could have been better. I now see that I could've taken more screenshot of the status of the lands of Rainaut and the territories of the Kaiser.

Third, my writing should improve, but that is mostly the same as number 1.


My improvements for next time will be this: more and better screenshot, coupled with tinier lifespans of the rulers. This will make for a better narrative, where I was too engrossed in playing this time. And to be honest I was watching some tv at the end of the story, so I missed some screenshots of me leading troops in Finland and the Holy Land. Which was actually hard as I didnt start those wars nor drafted the soldiers. I watched the status of my ruler from time to time and found him leading troops again and again. But I will improve on this.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this first attempt at an AAR so far, more incoming.
 
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TomZGen

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This looks cool, but yes, it would be better to play at a slower pace so we can have a proper narrative, and leave us some room between updates to comment! :cool:
Following!

Thanks for following! Comments from your wealth of experience are most welcome!

I will also change the setup of my chapters a bit. For clarification purposes I will be adding preludes before going into the real narrative. In those preludes I will be outlining the situation for each character. So my next post will be the prelude to duke Rainaut II d'Orange of Provence.
 

TomZGen

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Chapter 2: Reinoud Reinoudszoon d'Orange
2nd duke of Provence, 16 october 1106 - ? Prelude

After the death of duke Rainaut I d'Orange of Provence, his son Reinoud takes over. A man already, aged 40 with his first son Reinoud already of age.

ck2_1_zps9c4e6b75.png

He rules the duchy of Provence in the south of Burgundy, an area known for its Occitan culture. Being of Dutch culture himself, things could get quite hairy soon.

He has 4 brothers, or rather had 4 brothers, as his youngest brother Jacme died on the age of 12 of Pneumonia, sparking the Revocation of Provence war as Rainaut I believed this was the doing of the former count of Provence, Carles. Two of his remaining brothers, Gaultier and Otto, inherited the counties of Forcalquier and Venaissin respectively.

gautier_zps9fd8fd92.jpg
otto_zpsa90f0c7c.jpg

The house was further split because of cultural differences. Reinoud accepted the Dutch culture, Otto became German while Gaultier and the landless fourth André remained Occitan. For now relations were good, but this could change fast.

r1_famtree_zpsf891422a.jpg

The duke's last vassal is the count of Vienne: Raimond-Berenguié. The relation with him is slightly better then cordial, as Raimond is also of Occitan culture.

raimond_zps74625078.jpg

Reinoud is married to duchess Agnes I van Vlaanderen of Flanders (on a side note, her House name translates to of Flanders, so in English she would be Agnes I of Flanders of Flanders). She rules a slightly expanded duchy of Flanders. The counties of Holland and Vermandois were taken into the fold.

ck2_4_zps36c8ab1c.png

They have 4 children: Agaete, Clara, Reinoud and Waelram. Reinoud already came of age and was granted the county of Hainaut, where he ruled with his wife Adelheid Lupoldinger, sister to the duke of Tyrol.

ck2_6_zpsef3c3d54.png

Duke Reinoud's liege was Kaiser Reinhard I 'the Blessed' Salian of the Holy Roman Empire, son of Kaiser Heinrich IV Salian whom Rainaut I served faithfully. His realm was slightly fragmented, as his father had to let go some vassals as independant, noteably Tuscany, Bohemia and Brandenburg.

ck2_7_zpsf30b6d43.png

The only war that he was fighting at this time was the war he joined: the Almoravid invasion of the rebelling Toulousians for a bid to capture Rosello, also known as the Almoravid Holy War for Barcelona.
 

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Chapter 2: Reinoud Reinoudszoon d'Orange
2nd duke of Provence, 16 october 1106 - ? Part 1

With his father dead, Reinoud II d'Orange became the duke of Provence. He and his 3 half-brothers celebrated Rainaut's life with a lavish feast, lasting long into the night. But as the days wore on, the duchy had to be gouverned. Orders were given to the council, a new vassal tax law was drafted. But Reinoud's ambition was burning. It was not enough to rule this one duchy and so his eyes turned to the north where the Savoiards and the Dauphinians managed to get themselves independent from the Reich were easy targets, but the duke had no claim on them. Even further to the north, in Swabia the old duke died, leaving a young son on the throne. And as it so happened, Reinoud's youngest brother André was married to Barbara von Rheinfelden, who now had a claim on the weak rule of the young Swabian. Perfect.

There was only one slight problem. The Kaiser was strong enough in position that no vassal dared to fight eachother. Not so perfect. This would have to be remedied. Luckily, there were likeminded spirits in the Reich, and the duke readily joined their faction.

Closer to home there was justice to dispend. Some robbers had captured a local baron and were now waiting for justice. Being a honest and kind man, he dealt with them according to the law, giving him a reputation of being just.

This didnt went unnoticed by the Kaiser, who promptly made him steward and send him to research economical technology in Brabant, where the Kaiser resided.

steward_zps7beed98e.jpg

Reinoud was thrilled with this opportunity, but he would soon learn the downside of working at the court. Swanhildis, a courtier started to make advances of a less reputable nature, but found them spurned by the duke. He was interested in no one but Agnes.

On the 4th of september 1108 the Kaiser acknowledged that his vassals should be allowed more liberty in their own decisions. His troops, weary after fighting Muslims in Toulouse and Jerusalem, were incapable of supporting the Kaiser. The faction had chosen the right time to pressure Reinhard.

faction_zpscfc99551.jpg

This ofcourse was good news to Reinoud, who still had his eye on Swabia. He declared war on the 5th, the day after Reinhard folded to the faction demands. The duke called on his allies, and a mighty alliance formed against the young yet powerful duke Leopold I von Babenberg of Swabia:

Duke Otto II von Habsburg of Austria, father to a sister in law
Duke Otto I von Rheinfelden of Alsace, Barbara's father
Count Reinoud and count Waelram, Reinoud's own sons
Baroness Christine Welf of Altdorf, sister of another sister in law

startwar_zpsc6c7e519.jpg

The first battle was fought in december at Murbach, Sundgau. Initially, the troops of Reinoud and Otto I were outnumbered by a couple of hundred.

battle_zpsa1b5e46a.jpg

This became obviously clear on the grassy plains, where the skirmishes were being rapidly lost by the attacking Provencals. But help was on the way in the form of 400 Franconians coming from the south, outflanking the battle line of the Swabians. Panic ensued, resulting into a chaotic retreat and a victory for Reinoud. Almost 2000 men lost their lives in that place, but two thirds of those were Swabians.

murbach_zps1968174f.jpg

Duke Leopold I had up until then always believed in the superiority of his troops, but was now rudely marred from this dream. Therefor he went in search of allies, and allies he found. The dukes of Thüringia/Meissen and Austria answered his call to arms, sending over 2100 men to aid their beleaguered fellow duke. The attackers were now outnumbered.

On 7 july 1110 Reinout's wife Agnes I of Flanders declared her war for independence on the Kaiser. Reinoud decided not to join in, as his sense of ambition was matched by his sense of survival. Only the duke of Lombardy decided to join her. Not that many nobility wanted independence at that point. This would probably not end well.

Just like the war in Swabia wasn't going well. The Swabian alliance was putting the heat on the Provencals, culminating in the battle of Ulm. Reinoud, on the defensive in this battle, was outnumbered by 500 men, although he did have the advantage of the mountainous terrain. The fight started auspicious for the defenders, as the attackers were losing men fast on all wings. But then the men-at-arms of the Swabians broke through on the left flank, sending them routing in chaos. After this the battle was lost for Reinoud and his men: a victory for Leopold. 1172 Provencals lost their lives, the Swabians merely half.

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After this defeat, Reinoud's troops were badly outnumbered. He dismissed his levies so they could recover and turned his way to his treasury, which was bountifully stocked. The Navarrese Company under Condottiere Anso was hired and sent north, accompanied by just over 500 fresh levies. The alliance gathered their troops in Sundgau, numbering an impressive 4092 and marched west to take revenge on the men who killed so many of their brothers.

The battle took place on june 1110 in the mountains of Teck. The troops of Leopold numbered only 1565 and never stood a chance. In a fierce battle where the mercenaries commanded the Allied centre, the Swabians lost four out of five of their men.

But the good news was quickly followed by very bad tidings. Agnes lost her war and was immediatly imprisoned by the Kaiser, and so was the duke of Lombardy. In a fit of rage Reinhard revoked Pavia and Yperen. Reinoud begged and pleaded with the Kaiser to release his wife from prison, but Reinhard was deaf to it. "She is a traitor and part of a rebel alliance!" was the invariable answer. Oddly enough, he could not say this without lowering his voice and storming of with a fluttering cape.

Not long after that Mathilde, his stepmother, died. His three brothers were veiled in grief for their beloved birthgiver. They vented their anger in a battle in Nordgau and whiped out the enemy troops there, besieging an allied fortress. And so the war raged on. Minor skirmishes were fought, walls were taken, treasuries looted and bad jokes about Swabians in bars were written.

Tragedy befell the family once more. On 15 april 1113 Gaultier breathed his last breath. The whole duchy mourns his passing. His county is taken over by his son Raolf. And Reinoud could not even find solace in the arms of his wife Agnes, who was still in the dungeon of the Kaiser. To the duke's great horror, she dies there on 26 september of the same year. Now Reinoud I Reinoudszoon d'Orange rules Flanders. To forget his beloved wife, the duke decided to find a new one. He is only 47 and still spry of limbs. After a short search his eyes fall on Klementia Billung, daughter of duke Thomas I Billung of Brunswick. The wedding has to be postponed as Klementia is only 14.

With his son Reinoud on the throne of Flanders, their entire might now comes to his aid in the Swabian conflict which still rages on. Over 2000 Flemish troops march west, so the Provencal Reinoud decides to dismiss the mercs, who were putting too much pressure on the treasury. The combined Allied troops now numbered almost 3000 men.

But trouble was brewing on the home front. With all this fighting going on, count Raimond-Berenguié saw his chance to install a proper Occitan on the Provencal throne. His candidate is André, who's wife the duke was fighting for in Swabia.

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The army was far to the north, so again duke Reinoud had to hire mercs for his problems: the Briton Band was send from Arles to Vienne, where they whiped out the 356 troops Raimond had mustered.

As they were only mercs, Reinoud ordered the attack Albon, where they substantial losses before taking the keep. The duke was not troubled by this, as they were only sellswords. This ruthless act told of the determination of Reinoud, and Raimond saw he couldn't win. 6 months after his ultimation he was already sueing for peace and order was restored. Both André and Raimond were imprisoned, but Reinoud was lenient to his brother because it was not his choice to rebel.

Not long after that duke Otto II was ousted out of office, costing Reinoud an ally in the war. But as of 15 februari 1115 the Brunswickians joined in when Klementia married Reinoud. They agreed only after a hefty bag of gold, but they came to the duke's aid with 2465 men. With these reïnforcements the last vestiges of the Swabians fell to assault and on 1 januari 1116 Barbara was put into office in Swabia. Married to André, her children would be of the House d'Orange, making powerful future allies.

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