• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

iain_a_wilson

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One of the most fun aspects of CK is its "modability" (real word? You decide!). I've done this a couple of times before - namely gone into the game files and hacked around to replace existing medieval types with the names of friends and family members (and then had my wife come over, stare at the screen with horrified eyes and say "What does this message mean when it says I've died in childbirth?").

Recently I was speaking with some friends and we agreed that it would be "fun" to put all of our names into CK, let it run and see what happens. So, we duely have and it's been amusing.

Being the AAR whore that I am I also thought "Why not turn it into an AAR?" So - I have.

The setting is the Hastings scenario playing as England, but instead of all the usual startup characters I've been burdened with myself as King and some friends as my (dis)loyal minions. Otherwise, it'll run as a fairly standard (normal/aggressive) CK game. You'll just probably see some odd, non-medieval names on screen shots.

The first few updates will be written as kind of history book type entries, but after that I'm going to go more narrative ('cos I'm a contrary-mary that way) but, as should become apparent, this is a comedy AAR - not serious in the slightest.

So, if you're still reading this, welcome to chapter 1.

---

Chapter 1
Wherein the King realises that he has no aptitude for diplomacy and Hereford and Northumberland have a falling out​

In 1066 the realm of England was in turmoil following the death of King Harold.

He instituted a system of inheirtance that his advisors dubbed semisalic consanguinity - a complicated way of stating that the strongest male heir (including those through the female line) would inherit a title upon the current holder's death. Officially this policy was enacted in the interests of fairness, but in private the King was often heard to concede that it ensured that "no brain dead moron would end up on the throne and undo all my good work".

The final tier of legal authority within the kingdom was known as "regal supremacy" - a polite way of daring the Papacy to try and dictate policy.


Ye Lawes of Angleland (TM)

When the grumbling Saxons had calmed down and they had ceased daubing "death to the usurpers!" on every available flat surface, the King turned his attention away from law-making and back to two more pressing matters, namely finding a worthy bride and depopulating the countryside of indigenious wildlife (which was called "poaching" if you were a peasant or "sport" if you were a noble).


Have at ye piggy!

The boar hunts proved to be remarkably successfull affairs and soon the King had established a strong friendship with the Duke of Canterbury (who, it seemed, also possessed a similar cavalier attitude to animal welfare).

The other hunt - this time for a bride - also went well, and soon all the nobility were invited to a ceremony in London where the King was grandly wed to some random, young, virile French wench that he had met on his travels.


She may not look like much but she's got it where it counts...

As the guests filed through the castle the only thing more impressive than the extensive collection of animal heads mounted on the palace walls (none of which looked too happy to be there) was the bridal dowry (which was presently being unloaded from several carts and which probably in part contributed to the King's attraction to his bride to be).

By 1068 the realm itself was surprisingly stable but a falling out between the Count of Northumberland and the Duke of Hereford was to call this peace into jeporday. By all accounts the new Duke of Hereford was a pure, chaste and honourable man. The Count of Northumberland on the other hand was famed as a wenching drunk with the moral fibre of baboon. A set-to at the royal tournament resulted in a fierce rivarly between the two nobles and although the King remained impartial on the matter Hereford perceived this neutrality as a lack of character.




Thankfully the King's advisors suggested a diplomatic solution, one that was guarenteed to make all parties see that this unfortunate misunderstanding was a silly little affair that could be consigned to the annals of history.


Tacit diplomacy or crass bribery?

Historians have agreed that this particular King would best be remembered as a pious King; although he wished to firmly hold the reigns of power within his realm he was devout in his dedication to the Catholic faith and its offices. Less noble scholars have wryly remarked that this is called "wanting to have your cake and eat it".

Therefore, the subjects of the realm were frequently dissapointed when petitioning the crown against the Church. For all his talk of "Regal Supremacy" the King was all too willing to curry favour with the Pope.


Of course I'll ignore them Your Holiness!

Eventually the Pope acknowledged such piety and, in 1068, sent a Bishop to the King's court.



The King was delighted to meet his new bishop but soon began to understand why the Holy Father had sent Donald from Rome to these shores.



As well as being flat-broke the new bishop was a lustful sceptic who's real passion (apart from whoring) was putting heretics, witches, Muslims, Pagans and everyone else who wasn't Catholic (and a few who were) to the stake. Conversations with Donald often gravitated towards the women of the court and tended to follow the same, staid format.

"Is she single?"
"No."
"Oh - is she a candidate for excommunication?"
"No."
"Oh... What about her? Is she single?"
"No."
"Oh - is she a witch?"


Despairing of having to house such a potentially scandalous (not to mention immolation-happy) moron in his demense the King had his advisors come up with a way to get rid of him that wouldn't offend the Holy Father. The solution was both simple and elegant.


An elegant solution

Duncan was made Bishop of Eu - a paltry little Norman province that the King hadn't even realise he possessed. None the less, the Duke of Normandy was entrusted with keeping an eye on this firebrand in case he should prove too zealous in burning his French subjects (the reasoning "They're French - they'll have done SOMETHING deviant!" was not legally sound).

As the years rolled by the King was made aware of a potential threat brewing to the West. The Duke of Hereford had it on "reliable authority" that the Counts of Wales were planning a union - a union that could potentially threaten the stability of the Kingdom of England. Heralds were therefore dispatched to see if the Welsh lords could be brought into the fold peacefully.




That'll be a resounding "no!" then...

In response to this rebuttle by the Welsh, the Duke of Cornwall was reputed to be openly preaching distain for the King's strength, and to further complicate matters further north the Countess of Lancaster had "miraculously" found a "mouldy old partchment" that proved her family's claim to the Count of Durham's land (this was in addition to the document that she had manufa...er...FOUND proving her right to Northumberland's land).


Mouldy old documents are powerful things

Neither the count of Northumberland or Durham were believed to be particularly impressed by such sabre rattling but decided that the best course of action would be to call her names and act as if they weren't bothered. Durham's famous "Attention Hungry Diva" speech is often cited as one of the earliest examples of popularist rabble rousing. It is widely recorded that Lancaster retired to her ancestral home to sulk. It is less frequently recorded that she is believed to have thrown a screaming fit, beaten a serving girl to within an inch of her life and demanded a bath of asses' milk as "therapy".

At roughly the same time as all of this was taking place a minor rebellion had occured north of the border, when the count of Berwick declared his independance.



The King of England, anxious to do something to make himself feel less nervous about the various threats assailing his realm offered the rebel Lord an alliance. Under the terms of such alliance the King of Scotland would be forced to cancel his agression against Berwick or declare war on the Kingdom of England. The English soverign was reported as saying in private "Yeah it's risky but I need something to distract those squabbling bastards back home. The only thing rebellious lords like more than treason is the random slaughter of foreigners!"

It all came to naught though when the Count of Berwick declared his intent on facing his aggressors on his own.


All by my sellllllllf!

"On his own" the Scottish crown massacred his troops and he was hung drawn and quartered in Edinburgh several weeks later.

With it becoming increasingly apparent that he had all the diplomatic clout of a haddock, the King's mood was blackened further when he returned home and discovered large portions of the capital ablaze and thugs dressed in bright clothes and gold chains capering through the streets like rather destructive gibbons.


Dat iz well bad, innit?

While some historians would argue that such an open display of public unrest was the catalyst for later social change, most are pretty clear on the fact that the King uttered "Sod this - someone else sort it!" before making off for another round of bloodsports with the Duke of Canterbury.

Whilst on this trip Canterbury is reported to have planted the seed in the King's mind of a more agressive way of subduing the Welsh Lords.




A cunning plan

Will the King attack Wales? Will the Northern hate triangle burst into civil war? Will the Duke of Cornwell have the stones to rebel? Will the Countess of Lancaster pluck any more 'valid and legal' claims out from the family vaults? Find out in the next exciting chapter!
 

Murmurandus

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One can only applaud silly AARs!:D

Go King Iain the Silly!
 

iain_a_wilson

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@Murmurandus - one day I will try a serious AAR - promise!
@Eron12 - I've got a two month old son. That involves a lot of sitting up late at night ;) And when you include my stuttering mega-campaign it's THREE AARs... Yup - insanity.
 
Last edited:

iain_a_wilson

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Chapter 2
Wherein the King makes war on the Welsh and Hereford, York and Leicester behave like hooligans​

Following a successful hunting trip with the Duke of Canterbury, the King made his was back to the capital (which was now under control after the previous month's riots) and started to draw up plans for an invasion of Gwynedd. Taking a leaf out of the Countess of Lancaster's book (literally!) he had had his scholars devise a series of tenuous claims to the land currently held by Bleddyn Cynfyn. At least one historical source has attributed the King as having said "I can't trust anyone who's not man enough to have any vowels in his surname."


Them's some good odds!

Although the realm's top tacticians worked on it, the plan was deceiptively simple...


Strategy at its finest

Not everyone was happy with the King's new found aggressive streak. The King's young French bride was reported to have wept openly and proclaimed "'oo weel 'ear an' answer ze cries of ze Welsh now?" Although not all sources agree, some state that the King responded with "And who will hear your cries when you're locked in the Tower, you interfering, garlic-munching, cheese-eating tramp?"


Women!

Some scholars also cite the King as reminding us all that "...the best kind of sex is 'angry make-up sex'..."


Yeah baby!

With a spring in his step the proud monarch led his army out into the mountains of Powys, intent on humbling Duke Bleddyn's forces. Unfortunately, the King's military prowess appeared to be second only to his diplomatic ability in terms of utter mediocrity and, despite his valient forces slaying many Welsh soldiers, the English army was routed.


Why did I think this was a good idea?

Sadly for Duke Bleddyn his victory was only a temporary reprieve. The English forces were numerically far superior to those of the Welsh, and although the Duke still held Powys the battle there had cost him almost a fifth of his available forces. The news that another English army was headed towards his Duchy did nothing to inspire confidence amongst his men.


"There me be trouble ahead..."

As summer moved into autumn the King's forces commenced another assault on Powys. Duke Bledynn had moved his armies back to defend his capital and the force left behind to hold Powys was quickly put to flight.


The flower of Welsh nobility being put to the sword

The battle was over quickly with the English suffering almost negligible losses while the Duke's son failed to Cynfynwyn the day.


Byeeeeee!

Duke Bleddyn, seeing Powys under seige attempted to break it. Unfortunately for him the English forces had by this point been reinforced by another regiment and the Duke's small army was driven from his province just as the fortress fell to the English.




Duke Bleddyn, seeing the writing on the wall, then rather unusually sent a messenger to the English court, apparently offering to sell the county of Powys to King Iain.


I give YOU money?

A contemporary chronicler cites that "And lo ye kynge did throwe thee messynger frum thee court, thus saying 'What dost thou takest me for, foule ursurer?'" More recent accounts have speculated that what the King probably said was more along the lines of "Bugger that - I'll take his provinces AND his gold!"

Although the majority of the court showed favour for the King's decision not everyone was so approving. It seemed that one Lord in particular believed that Iain should be showing a more merciful hand to the Welsh.



Filing Northumberland's treasonous leanings away in a little box marked "For later use" the King led his forces into the heart of Bledynn's territory. With the losses suffered recently the Duke's forces were in disarray and instead of being led by a competant general they instead took the field under the command of Bledynn's effeminate younger son who was rumoured to be more interested in (a career in) the clergy than military matters.


Clean sheet!

As Gwynedd fell the Duke was dragged to the negotiating table and it was made quite clear that a career in agriculture or mining was lurking just over the horizon.


Cheerio boyo!

In a vauge attempt at diplomacy on the world stage (something that we have already determined that the King was mightly inept at) the invasion was justified in terms of "providing the people of Gwynedd with capable and dynamic leadership".



Nobody was too convinced by this spin when the King's five year old son assumed the mantle of Duke, especially not the Welsh Lords who, despite English agression, remained staunchly independant.



But we just steamrollered your mate!

Thus as the years rolled by the realm took on the following shape:


The ever expanding orange blob...

It is often said that rulers are meant to set a good example to their subjects. The King, with his agression against Wales, was not proving to be a model ruler, and his reputation amongst his peers reflected this.


How can you hate me with a face like that?

The other tragic side-effect of rulers behaving badly is that their thuggish behaviour is often aped by their subjects. After all, if it is ok for Kings and Queens to attack smaller neighbours on legally dubious and ethically questionable points surely it is ok for their vassals to act in this way too?

Unfortunately for the King of England a group of his subjects got together and decided to play a game of "usurp thy neighbour". It was therefore with some surprise and a little trepidation that the King discovered, at breakfast one summer morning in 1073 that his Kingdom was now at war...


Anyone car to explain?

A meeting of the Dukes and Counts was called and it became immediatly apparent after some akward silence and nervous shifting in seating position that a quiet word was required with the Dukes of Hereford and York along with the Countess of Leicester. Hereford's explaination that he could no longer suffer the barbs and insults of the godless pagans of Glamorgan was slightly more approriate (if no more convincing) than Leicester's "Well, I was talking to Lancaster and she showed me these moudly old texts..." excuse. York simply shrugged and indicated that as Leicester's leige he was honour and duty bound to come to her aid - no doubt secretly rubbing his hands with glee at the fact that he had been secretly hoarding claims to Irish lands for years without letting anyone know. Later, when this came to light many were heard to remark "Typical tight Yorkshireman..."

Crap excuses in place the Kingdom of England prepared to go to war.

Will the Irish and the Welsh be overrun? Will the King ever find something that he's good at? Will people stop turning to Lancaster for mysterious books of dubious genelogical worth? Find out in the next exciting chapter!
 

Nodscouterr

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Enewald

Enewald Enewald Enewald
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Such a silly AAR. :p
What about making the characters in the game look like your friends irl? :p
 

iain_a_wilson

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@Nodscouterr - Yeah, you're probably right!
@Enewald - I've tried to do that, although CK doesn't really allow for nice, flattering piccies!

Right, now follows a not-so-funny update. Promise the next one will be more amusing!

---

Chapter 3
Wherein York and Leicester have great fun putting the Irish to the sword whilst Hereford butchers some Welshies, and a new King arises​

Despite not necessarily agreeing with his subjects rash actions the King believed it would have been hypocritical in the extreme not to support them. Therefore he mobilised his host and marched to war.



Two regiments - led by the King himself - set sail for Leinster, whilst a third - under the command of the viscious Hugues do Semtr set off for the valleys of Wales. A tough Norman lord ,Hugues was a vetran of the King's previous Welsh campaign and had developed a hatred for that "cold, barren land of leek-eating, daffodil-loving, sheep-bothering deviants" (his words). So great was his reputation that when his army met that of the Welsh in combat the erstwhile Count of Glamorgan ordered his men to turn tail and run!



However, as his troops were besieging the province fortress Hugues had to be regined in.



It was pointed out that orphanges were not considered valid wartime targets and Hugues' argument of "but they will be breeding grounds for later generations of rebels" was ignored.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, the King had made contact with the Duke of Leinster.



Once again, the King showed that his years of military education were not wasted.



As the King's forces retreated north towards Dublin some news reached him that he wasn't entirely comfortable with.



Students with a basic grasp of geography will appreciate the difficulty of the King being involved in the child's conception...

Meanwhile, back in Wales, the Duke of Hereford's forces had met with those of Hugues and were merrily indulging in wanton slaughter of all things Welsh.



To cheer himself up (and to help pay for his vassals' imperial ambitions) the King then indulged in a "fine old tradition" which like most English traditions generally found their origin with the ascent of King Iain, and called the estates general - and demanded a bucketful of cash from his subjects. They complied but with much grumbling.



In Leinster the King's retreat had taken him straight into one of the Duke's cities. With the countess of Leicester tying the Duke down in the south (so to speak) it was a simple task to wrest the city from the grasp of the Irish.



The beleagured Irish Duke was forced to move his troops north, and as he did so he was confronted by the Duke of York's forces, freshly arrived from the mainland.



It was too much for the plucky Irishman, and when Leicester's forces swooped to take Laigin the Duke capitulated and rescinded his titles to York.



The Duke of York now had almost as many vassals as the King...

At the same time the last resisters in Glamorgan were put down and Hereford assumed the mantle of the Count of Glamorgan.



The Duke of Norfolk then started to show the world what a caring and considerate chap he was by sending a succession of his children to the King as alleged "fosterlings". Historians have suggested that the Duke was intending to broaden his children's minds by providing them the valuable experience of growing up in a foreign court. Others believe he simply wanted some peace and quiet from the noisey little brats...




As the realm was settling back down into a semblance of peace York decided to take a detour on his way home to Yorkshire via the Isle of Man and conquer it. Just because it was there.



At a meeting of the King's council, and after much assurances from Hereford, Leicester and York (now resplendant in a robe almost as grand as the King's own) that no more random acts of war were on the cards, the King announced his inention to hold another coronation in the capital. In answer to the puzzled looks he was observing the King pointed out that with recent activites he was no longer simply the King of England, he was the King of England and Wales.



It has been suggested that later on, in private, the King was heard to remark "That soon wiped the smug grin off of that warmongering Yorkshire monkey's face!"

Next up - the Crusades! Sand! Sea! Sex (maybe)! And religiously intolerant bloodshed! What's not to like?
 

Murmurandus

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Sand, sea & sex... you got me tempted for next update already...:D
 

iain_a_wilson

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So I lied about the sex...

Chapter 4
Wherein the Lords and Ladies of England realise that they are not as good at crusading as they first might have thought​

The origins of the Crusades lie in developments in Western Europe earlier in the Middle Ages, as well as the deteriorating situation of the Byzantine Empire in the east caused by a new wave of Turkish Muslim attacks. The breakdown of the Carolingian Empire in the late 9th century, combined with the relative stabilization of local European borders after the Christianization of the Vikings, Slavs, and Magyars, had produced a large class of armed warriors who were now largely confused and frustrated by the fact that their new Christianity prevented them from readily slaughtering the people that they had previously enjoyed putting to the sword (Christians).

A the same time bona-fide Christians seemed to spend most of their time thinking up convulated excuses to attack each other (reference: countess of Lancaster) rather than directing that energy towards worshiping the One True God (and lining the Holy Father's coffers in the process).

Therefore, to prevent the disgruntled, heavily armed, ex-pagan psycopaths from chucking in Christianity and going back to worshipping horned gods who seemed to demand the wholesale massacring of Christians, and to convince non-pagan types to stop coveting their neighbour's land, the Catholic Church came up with the idea of The Crusade.


Pope Urban, you're a genius!

When the vexillum sancti Petri was raised rulers all over Europe hurridly opened the letters from the Holy Father, eager to see who it was that had earned the ire of the One True Church.



Although the expectations in the Christian world for English involvment in the Crusades was practically zero (hardly surprising given the fact that the realm hadn't exactly been the model of piety in recent years) the King decreed that "something must be done". Stuck with an idea for what that "something" might be (this was the First crusade after all) he decided to play it safe and go with "putting Muslims to the sword".

However, some of his advisors had more creative ideas of how to show their displeasure at the heathen-occupied Holy City.



While the gesture of the good people of Bedford was appreciated the King decided none the less to press on with his campaign of mass slaughter. It proved to be a popular idea and very soon the first mighty host of many was raised, with troops from four different counties forming the King's own army. Clearly the thought of fighting exotic people was appealing to the English psyche!


Who is that masked man leading the Essex regiment?

One ruler who wasn't too happy at the thought of the crusades was the Duke of Oxford. At a tournament held to mark the occasion he accused the King of being "A tyrannical war-monger with delusions of granduear." The King allegedly replied with "Oooh. Get her!"



As armies were raised all across the realm, another bedraggled looking child of Norfolk turned up at the royal palace craving an education. Historians still like to debate whether he ever wanted children in the first place or whether the marriage was some kind of sham...



It is a historical curiosity that the first battle of the Crusades involving English troops took place not in the burning sands of the Middle East, but on the beaches of Normandy. Some anonymous Egyptian commander sailed his men across the med, up round Iberia and landed in the county of Eu to make war with the Bishopric of Eu. To this day scholars are uncertain as to whether this was intentional or the result of someone being blown wildly off course.



Just as it looked like the Bishopric would be overwhelmed, Bishop Donald's forces were reinforced by a regiment from the Duke of Normandy. The hardy Norman troops caught the Egyptians by surprise, and as they turned to flee the Normans drove deep into their rear. In the resultant, inneundo-ridden confusion the Egyptian host was broken.



Several months passed and the King's host arrived in the Holy Land. Not wanting to be beaten to it by any other European Prince, the army headed straight for Jerusalem and the city was besieged!



As this was all going on some people who had clearly been in deep hibernation for the last decade or so came to speak with the King.


On which planet is "fucking your neighbours' shit up for no good reason" non-confrontational???

...and back in England Norfolk has another child and decides what's good for the goose is good for the gander.


Unfortunante choice of name...

A few months later the Holy City was in English hands. Not content with resting on their laurels the English forces wanted more glory, and pushed north to Damascus, sending an Egyptian army fleeing in their wake!




As the host settled in around the city news came to them from the south that the main Egyptian force had arrived and had retaken Jerusalem with ease.



A hasty war council was formed. Northumberland voiced the opinion that he thought they'd seen off the main Egyptian force, Hereford and Normandy suggested meeting it in glorious combat, Canterbury really, really wanted to go home right now and not die in a God-forsaken desert (not appreciating the irony of this being the Holy Land), Cornwall wanted to know what an Egyptian was (he'd really just been caught up in the whole Crusade fever and had woken up in a boat with a hangover not sure where he was heading) and Norfolk mused whether the King of Egypt would be interested in any fosterling children. Durham remarked that that was called grooming, was disgusting and was against the law.

The King broke the deadlock (and potential for bloodshed) by deciding that the best plan was that of taking a route south to the coast and fighting bravely against any heathen hordes that they might encounter along the way (with an added caveat that everyone should wish really, really hard for no heathen hordes to show up).

This seemed to suit everyone (apart from Cornwall who just wanted to lie down and have lots of fluids).

Unfortunately they DID encounter some heathen hordes...


...lots of them!


Being outnumbered five to one is never healthy

Many brave Englishmen met their end that day...


Massacre!

...but "thankfully" (for our narrative anyway) the not-so-brave nobles managed to skip the country and make their way back home, tails between their legs.

Some good news came out of it all though. The Duke of Deheubarth (the last resisting Welsh province) was so impressed by the King's daring-do that he agreed to becoming one with the Kingdom of England.




More cynical scholars have voiced the opinion that this "appreciation of English bravery" was more down to the fact that several disgruntled and heavily armed English knights were on their way back to their green and pleasant lands fuming at being defeated by the Egyptians and probably wanting to vent their anger on someone less heavily armed.

Soon afterwards an Egyptian envoy arrived, thanked the King for visiting and suggested no more vacations in the Middle East for a while. Reluctantly the King agreed.


An honourable peace, right?

York was rumoured to be very unhappy with this decision. Lancaster and Derby/Leicester were also rumoured to be very amused at the fact that the "boys playing at soldiers" had netted nothing of worth.

The realm then settled down for some peaceful rebuilding...

Next up - narrative!
 

Murmurandus

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That was a holiday in hell, especially due to the lack of sex...:D
 

iain_a_wilson

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...and now a change in style...

Chapter 6
Wherein various people plot against other people​

York - May, 1079​

The Archbishop of York's sermon was beautiful, commenting as it did on how often the Good Lord chose to bring great joy out of great saddness. All of those present in the cathedral nodded and agreed, but none more than the happy couple being wed - the Duke of York and Countess of Leicester, for only weeks previously both had been struck (curiously and coincidentaly) by the self-same tradegy of losing a spouse.

Great had been the mourning in Leciester when it was made known that the husband of the countess had slipped from the battlements of the fort and plummeted to his death in the moat. If only he hadn't been wearing his chainmail at the time somebody might have saved him! Only days later the good people of York awakened to find their Lord in mourning - during the night his fair wife and mother to his six children had accidently fallen and stabbed herself in the face. A week of mourning was declared and mothers everywhere used this as an object lesson in "not running with sharp objects".

A few weeks later it was decided that the Duke of York and Countess of Leicester, united in grief, should marry. No-one was quite sure who decreed this, but it was noted at the wedding that amongst the attendant guests Leicester's spymaster was wearing clothes of a particularly rich cut and sporting many fine pieces of jewelry. Other unkind souls were heard to whisper that, whilst most brides were seen to "glow" on their wedding day, the countess of Leicester bucked this trend and instead of "glowing" opted to "smile like a hungry pirhana"...


Lancaster - May, 1079​

The chancellor at the court of Lancaster nervously pushed open the door to the great hall and popped his head around. Ever since the Countess had "come out" about the fact that she was actually a pagan things had become a little...odd around here. For one, the countess no longer reffered to herself as the countess of the county of Lancaster. No - now she was the chieftess of the chiefdom of Lancaster. This puzzled the chancellor greatly, a fact he was always careful to voice quite openly and vocally, just in case any papal inquisitors should decide to come calling and indulge in a round of excommunications and burnings...

Inside the hall was dark and empty. A couple of black candles were burning in tall, metal stands on either side of the throne but they managed to cast only a dim light, which left the rest of the chamber as black as Hades itself.

"Hello?" stuttered the chancellor. In response a figure swathed entirely in black with a green face and an odd pointed hat wobbled out of the shadows towards him. Unsure of the best response in a situation like this he opted to clutch at the side of his face with both hands and shriek like a girl. The figure stopped, raised its hands and, in a voice very much like that of the count - sorry CHIEFtess - said

"What's the matter?"

The chancellor stopped squealing, lowered his hands, shuffled his feet and cocked his head to one side.

"Is that you, your grace?"

The green figure nodded, stretched and reached round to rub its back.

"Yeah. Oooh. You're lucky to be a man, do you know that? Being pregnant is rubbish. The things it does to you..."

She broke off into another round of "oohs" and the chancellor's puzzlement deepened. Certainly his wife had behaved oddly when prgenant, but she had never turned green. Perhaps it was consorting with idolators and heretics that did that to you? After a few moments the chieftess had placed her palms on her knees whilst looking at the floor and taking deep breaths. The chancellor coughed slightly.

"Your grace. I was wondering. Er...the face? And the clothes?"

She looked up and gave him a half-smile.

"Pretty good, huh?"

His expression was one of feigned approval.

"Very. However, may I ask what it is in aid of?"

She nodded between breaths.

"Well, I've had this idea. Since the King seems to be cool with my evil heretical ways", here she laughed lightly, "I thought 'Why not bring some of the more fun traditions to the masses?' After all, you Catholics have got your witch burnings - why should you hold the monopoly on relgion-based public entertainment, right?"

He nodded, having little or no idea what she was on about. Clearly not acknowledging (or caring) about his indifference she steamed onwards, pausing only to stretch or take an especially deep breath.

"Well, my people have this tradition. On the 31st of October every year the walls between our world and the worlds of spirit thin, and all sorts of evil things walk the earth. Having only one day a year on earth they obviously want to make the most of it, so bloodshed and evil on a seriously massive scale tends to be pretty high on their agenda."

The chancellor raised a hand.

"Er...why should we celebrate this?"

The chieftess shook her head.

"No, no, no! We're not celebrating all the ghoulish craziness."

"We're not?"

"No - instead what we do is we dress all our people up like evil witches, demons, ghosts and imps and wander the countryside making 'Oooooooh!' noises and waving our hands threatingly. That way, any bonafide extradimensional nastys out there will think we're one of the gang and not tear us apart and feast on our tender, still-warm bodies."

Never one to shrug and walk away in the face of pagan craziness the chancellor interjected.

"While I fully support your grace expressing her beliefs in whatever way she sees fit, I can see a slight problem."

"Oh?"

"Well, what if, on the night in question, there are members of Our Lord's One True Church wandering the countryside, intent on protecting us from evil? What then?"

The chieftess smiled evilly.

"Given that we're masquerading as evil beings intent on slaughtering humanity and feasting on its very soul, don't you think we should simply remain in character?"

The chancellor worked his jaw a couple of times but no sound came out. She laughed and slapped him on the back.

"I'm messing with you. We'd obviously run to the hills and sick the REAL monsters on 'em. Don't want blood on our hands now, do we? Anyway, did you come here to tell me something?"

Regaining his composure the chancellor nodded and cleared his throat.

"Your grace, I bring grave tidings..."

"Aren't they always."

"...I have received news that the King has chosen to bestow upon the Count of Northumberland the title of DUKE of Northumberland..."

The chieftess shrugged.

"So?"

"Well - it shows the King clearly favours the Duke of Northumberland. Such favour might lead the Duke to believe that he could make war upon you without interferance."

"I wouldn't worry - the King won't side with him."

"Really, your grace? Was it not the King that reffered to you as an 'evil, lesbian witch given to her baser passions?'"

"It was indeed, and I think you'll find that it is for that very reason that the King will not want to see me put to the sword."

"Why so?"

"Tell me, chancellor, have you ever seen what evil, lesbian witches get up to when they're dancing round the monoliths at the full moon?"

The chancellor shook his head vigorously to which the chieftess smiled.

"Well, the King has."

She winked.

"Don't worry, I'm going nowhere."


Northumberland - June, 1079​

The three conspirators sat and shivered in the wine cellar beneath Northumberland castle. Occasionally one of them would raise their feet to allow a rat to scuttle past, or curse as a drop of ice-cold water dripped onto their head. The cellar was made all the colder by the fact that it was largely empty. Northumberland was a great believer in the philosophy of "Why keep perfectly good wine and ale stored away underground when I can be drinking it?" and as such, unless he was off campaigning somewhere, the housekeeping staff had to work pretty hard to keep this place looking even half full. Because of this, the great, empty wine racks made fantastic homes for an entire tribe of spiders, many of whom stood and stared at the three figures who sat there whsipering furtively.

You wouldn't think of it by looking at them, but the three bodies huddled together in peasants' rags were the Duke of Cornwall, the Countess of Leceister and the Count of Durham. They'd been here for over an hour, which probably explained why tempers were getting rather frayed.

"It's taken me the best part of a week to ride here," grumbled Cornwall, "You think he'd have the decency to be on time!"

Leicester nodded and examined the massive ring on her left hand, turning it this way and that so that what little light was cast by the candles blazed of its many facets.

"Is this not the most beautiful ring you've ever seen? It cost My Husband" here she capitalised the letters so nobody was in any doubt "a small fortune."

Durham scowled at Leicester and turned to Cornwall.

"He'll have his reasons for being late. It can't be easy arranging something like this. We're in his house, remember? If he's gone for too long people will ask questions. He can't just swan downstairs - these things have to be handled delicately and tactfully."

Cornwall lookked thoughtfull.

"You're right, I suppose. After all, we don't want this whole scheme to be undone because of someone's brash indiscretion, do we?"

Before anyone could answer there was a loud trumpet fanfare from behind the cellar door, which promptly flew open with great flourish. Cornwall and Durham threw themselves behind some empty barrells, hands on swords, while Leiecester, still focused on her ring, squeaked and fell off her chair in surprise as the light from the hallway hit the obscene, bulbous stone on her hand causing it to flare like a supernova and almost blind her.

From outwith a voice boomed "All rise for the Duke of Northumberland!" and in strode the Duke, grandly dressed in his finest clothes and adorned with a shiny new ducal cloak. Cornwall turned to Durham and growled.

"Delicate? Tactful? Your words - remember?"

Durham had the good grace to merely cringe. Northumberland let his eyes adjust to the light before helping Leicester up and gesturing at the other two to come up from out of their hiding place. He held his arms open wide.

"Guys! Great to see you! I've got to ask though - why are you sitting down here in the dark, and what's with the duds?"

Durham went to speak but Cornwall pushed in front of him.

"We're here, wearing these FILTHY clothes because YOU suggested it, that's why."

Northumberland looked puzzled.

"I did? Boy - what a shit idea. Any idea why?"

Leicester folded her arms crossly.

"Probably because we're plotting treason and didn't want to attract attention to ourselves? Maybe something about the King not being very happy about what we're talking about, hmm?"

A light of realisation dawned on Northumberland's face.

"Oh. That."

He turned and made a "shoo" gesture to the herald in the doorway and smiled apologetically to the others. As the herald's footsteps retreated down the hallway Northumberland grinned stupidly.

"Now, let's not have any more silly talk of treason ok. Take a look at me. Go on. Take a look. Notice anything different about me?"

He turned his head and offered them a profile view.

"Anything? Anything at all?"

The others, arms crossed, faces sullen, regarded him with contempt. He sagged visibly.

"You guys are no fun. But hey, I don't think we're going to get any trouble from the King. Want to know why? Because he only went and made me a Duke, that's why!"

Durham clapped frantically, Leicester stared jealously and Cornwall, if he was impressed, didn't show it at all. Northumberland sagged further, looking like a very expensively dressed balloon that was slowly deflating.

"Look. Me being made a Duke is good for several reasons. One, it means that me and the King..."

"'The King and I'..." interjected Leicester. Northumberland stopped.

"What?"

"'The King and I'. You said 'Me and the King'. That's not correct. The correct way of speaking - as befits one of your standing - is 'The King and I'?"

Northumberland glowered at her.

"Listen, who's the bloody Duke here anyway, COUNTESS."

"MY Husband is a Duke and his realm is FAR bigger than yours!"

Suddenly Northumberland jabbed a finger in the air.

"Oooh! Oooh! That's another thing!"

"That My Husband has a large realm?"

"What? No - nothing to do with you and your man. No, today I received confirmation of MORE brilliant news. Yeah! MORE! Guess what it is?"

Cornwall raised an eyebrow archly.

"That the Duke of York is letting you play with his Realm whenever you feel envious?"

Northumberland's smile faded.

"No - nothing to do with bloody York. Instead, you know how my last wife carked it a few months back? Well, I received a letter this morning from, guess who? Only the Holy Roman Emperor, saying that he thought I'd make a great husband for one of the fine ladies of his court!"


Happy tidings!

Leicester actually looked impressed.

"You're marrying a German Princess?"

Northumberland spread his hands.

"Not a princess, per se, but she's at the Emperor's court!"

Cornwall sniggered.

"So, basically, you could be marrying some German cleaner of latrines, is that what you're saying?"

Before Northumberland could reply Cornwall raised a hand.

"Don't bother replying. I'm jesting. I'm sure she's lovely. Important tip though, be sure to stock up on sausages."


The blushing bride

He winked. Northumberland looked puzzled and then leered lecherously.

"Ho, ho! Are you telling me that these European girls like a bit of..."

Cornwall threw his hands up hurridly.

"Dear God, no. It's nothing like that. She's German. They like to munch on sausages, that's all."

Durham sniggered.

"That's what I heard."

Cornwall scowled before turning back to Northumberland.

"Now, before we talk any more about your new, saur-kraut munching wife, can I ask if she has anything to do with your proposed plan, and if not can we forget about her at the moment and move onto the subject at hand?"

Northumberland seemed to consider this, saw the look on Cornwall's face and continued.

"Ok - where was I? Oh yeah - now that I'm a Duke me and the King are tight. This means that if we decide to pay the broomstick rider over in Lancaster a visit I doubt he's going to be that bothered. He'd probably just be 'Yo. Northumberland! My man. Bring them some death, yeah?'"

Cornwall looked dubious.

"I hardly thin..."

Northumberland held up a finger.

"Being a Duke also means that I have more respect amongst the other Dukes..."

"Ha!"

"Something funny Cornwall?"

"No - just my throat. Must be all the dust and spiders down here getting to me."

"Riiight. Anyway, with my new found respect I don't think that the Dukes will move against me. I also think we're in a position of numerical superiority. Assuming we all join in, we should swiftly be able to overwhelm Lancaster. That means that even if the King decides to get involved we should be able to get him to the bargaining table before it all gets too messy."

Leicester had taken a few moments to look up from the obscence piece of jewelry that was eclipsing her hand and looked slightly perturbed.

"Technically I now have to ask my husband's permission before going to war. Don't worry, I will be able to get around him, it just might take a little bit longer than first thought."

Cornwall nodded.

"I'm also in the sticky position of being right down the other hand of the sodding country. That leaves me in the akward position that if I mobilize for war too early people will ask akward questions and if I mobilize once the shouting begins I'll probably be too late in arriving."

Durham went to speak but Northumberland held up his hand.

"Don't worry, I know I can rely on you."

"Well, yeah - of course. However, there may be delays in..."

Northumberland shook his head.

"No delays. You see, part of the whole El Duke-o package was that I get given some vassals."

The worried look on Durham's face spoke volumes and Northumberland laughed and slapped him on the back.

"That's right, me old mucker. You're my bitch now. By royal command."

As the other two gave Durham pitying looks, Northumberland unrolled a large military map.

"So - to planning. Let's give that cauldron-stirring bitch a summer she's not going to forget.

---

Next up: Normandy versus the Belgians! Civil war in England! Treason, death and bloodshed! And one of our cast dies!
 

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Chapter 7
Wherin various people get involved in treachery, war, death and marriage​

Normandy - June, 1079

The Duke of Normandy reclined on his throne, idly playing with the dagger that he held in his left hand and looking very pleased with himself. His chancellor, a waspish looking woman in her late forties, looked on with a barely concealed look of contempt creasing her face, a look that became positively viscious when the Duke flashed her his best smile.

"Come on - admit it. I'm the most brilliant statesman that has ever lived."

The chancellor sneered.

"Oh why of course, your excellency. The way you convinced the countess of Frisia to accept your offer of vassalization was simply profound. You truly are a master of the shadowy arts of subtle diplomacy."

"Are you being sarcastic by any chance? Because I think I can feel - yes, I definately can feel - the sarcasm dripping off your tongue, and I can see it begining to poison your already shrew-like features."

"Sticks and stones, your excellency. I merely think that your treating statecraft like some sort of protection racket is not the best way to further your reputation as a great man."

The Duke stuck out his tongue.

"Look, the Countess of Frisia is my vassal now, and that's all that matters."



He threw both of his hands into the air, cackled maniacally and wiggled his fingers.

"POW-ERRRRRR! POW-ERRRRRR! IT'S MINE I SAY! ALL MIN..."

Suddenly he yelped. The chancellor raised an eyebrow and glanced knowingly at the floor.

"Drop something?"

The Duke nodded slowly and made a weak squeaking sound through clenched teeth. His chancellor reached down and placed her hand on the hilt of the dagger which had fallen from the Duke's left hand mid-gesture and impaled itself quite nicely in his foot.

"Would his excellency like me to remove this?"

He whimpered and nodded.

"And does he promises not to shriek like a woman when I do so?"

Another nod but accompanied with a look that cast doubts upon the nod's sincerity.

"Ok - here goes."

There was silence for a few seconds before a very un-Ducal scream tore its way through the castle.


Normandy - July, 1079

The chancellor of Normandy enter her Lord's chamber and bowed deeply.

"How's the foot my lord?"

He simply raised an eyebrow in response and she smiled.

"Why have you summoned me here, your Excellency? The missive merely said you wished to discuss your 'genius plan'."

The Duke brightened.

"What do you know of the countess of Lancaster?"

For such a small woman then chancellor was able to let out a deep, sonorous sigh.

"Tell me, that this conversation is not going to end up involving musty books and tenuous claims to other people's land?"



The Duke, for all his aristocratic poise and dignity looked like a scolded schoolboy. He glanced at his feet and played with a button on his tunic.

"Look, just hear me out! I had the scribes do what Lancaster recommended and they managed to dig up...well, see for yourself - what do you know of the county of Ostfriesland?"

He handed a scroll bearing spidery script that outlined the genology of the Duke's house and that of Ostfriesland.

"My lord, this ancient and cracked scroll..."

"Yeah - it's an old 'un isn't it? Dusty as hell!"

"Yes... Tell me, has this dust been recently applied - because I did notice that this chamber is looking remarkably clean? And has the aged effect been produced by cooking the partchment in an oven?"

"No... Ye... Look! It doesn't matter! That scroll is A1 legit! Everyone will accept it as binding and legal!"

The chancellor handed it back.

"If you say so. But tell me, what do you know of the County of Ostfriesland?"

The Duke sighed.

"That's what I pay you for, isn't it chancellor?"

At the mention of this the little woman smiled nastily.

"Oh indeed. However, were I in your position, your Excellency, I would have asked me my advice before discovering ancient scrolls..."

The Duke twitched nervously.

"I don't like where this is going..."

"Well, if you'd come to me beforehand I'd have been able to tell you that the Count of Ostfriesland had recently sceded from the Holy Roman Empire..."

With a look of profound irritation the Duke waved his hand dismissively.

"Yes, yes, yes. I know all that."

"...and you will then also know that the count's former liege has taken umbrage to this and vowed to take him back into the fold, by force if necessary."

"You say 'if necessary'..."

"Come, my lord. We both know that it's always necessary to use force."

"But the Holy Roman Empire is right next door to Ostfriesland!"

"Uh huh..."

"So you mean..."

"If you raise your standard now you might be able to catch the tide."

The Duke leaped off his throne, winced and half-hobbled, half ran to the door yelling "To arms! To arms!"


Gloucester - July, 1079

The atmosphere in the church was sombre and respectful. The pews were crammed with the local nobility, all seeking to pay their respects. A large contingent of young local knights stood vigil in one corner, looks of crushing loss etched deeply into their features. On the other side of the hall some of the young men from the court were united in their grief, putting aside a tradition of stoic courage and instead weepingly openly. Outside, Gloucester's young, male peasant population had gathered, almost to a man, to scatter beautiful flowers that they had grown themselves across the church steps. Elsewhere, the young male aritsans of the city had combined their efforts to raise a massive stone effigy of the deceased. Those priests not gathered in the Church were doing their bit too, and a small group could be seen grimly burning a witch in tribute to the noble whose loss had so traumatised the duchy. Some of them were seen to cross themselves and mutter a prayer for forgiveness from temptation, whatever that meant.

In the aftermath of the funeral and the huge outpourings of grief from Gloucester's (male) population, a small group of nobles met to discuss what honourific they should bestow upon their deceased ruler. All around the table agreed that, although certain traits had been (very popular) defining facets of her character, that the words "lustful", "energetic" and "indulgent" should not be used in any way to honour the memory of Rose, Duchess of Gloucester.

Near Ostfriesland Castle, July 1079

As the Count of Ostfriesland's militia fled the field the Duke of Normandy turned to his marshal, his eyes wild with excitment.



"Cor - this is bloody marvellous isn't it!"

His marshal, a formidable looking man by the name of Matteo de Morra, nodded.

"Sir, yes sir!"

"I mean, all this while the rest of them were busy rampaging across Wales and Ireland and I'm thinking 'Yeah - whatever, how good can it be?' and now look at me! This is amazing!"

"Sir, yes sir!"

The Duke placed his mailed fists on his hips, watched as the remainder of the enemy disappeared over the hill, closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

"Do you smell that Mattaeo? That's the smell of victory."

Near Ostfriesland Castle, August 1079

As the another rock from the massive German trebuchet crashed against Castle Ostfriesland's wall the Duke of Normandy turned to his marshal, his eyes dull with misery.

"Cor - this is bloody shit isn't it?"

Mattaeo, who lived for this sort of situation, shook his head.

"Embrace the suck, sir!"

The Duke turned up his hood against the driving rain and stamped his feet - although whether this was to keep them warm or out of petulance was a matter of speculation.

"It's just not fair, is it? I mean, why should he get all the glory?" here he jabbed his finger in the direction of the figure dressed in the gold armour who was sitting astride a palanquin held aloft by a dozen sturdy knights.

"Hooah!"

"Mr 'Oh I'm the Holy Roman Emperor' - does he think that means he can just steam in here with his army and take command?"

Mattaeo turned and took in the thousands of soldiers garbed in the Emperor's livery, all standing in rigid, patient formation, watching the walls of Castle Ostfriesland slowly crumble under their relentless assault. Standing off to the side were the Duke's forces - a few hundred, miserable-looking, rain-soaked individuals who lounged around their tents listlessly. Occasionally a couple of them would summon up the energy to raise as a cheer as the Germans launched another massive rock into the side of the castle. Mattaeo turned back to the Duke and smiled sheepishly.

"Affirmatory on that sir!"

The Duke sighed.

"Do you reckon we could just gee the lads up and rush in their when the wall comes down, raise the standard and claim the castle for our own?"

"Above my pay grade, sir!"

"What?"

"Negatory on previous dictate, sir!"

"You mean it's not the done thing?"

"Roger, sir!"

"Roger? Who's roger? Is he one of those Norman knights lounging about over there?"

"Negative, sir!"

"Do you know that I very rarely understand what you say?"

"Hooah!"

The Duke turned towards the battlefield and threw his arms up into the air.

"Bugger this for a game of soldiers. Tell the men we're going home. Let's leave this craphole to the Krauts."



Northumberland - November, 1079
It was not a good time to be in the main audience chamber in Northumberland castle. Advisors cowered behind furniture and those inclined towards stealthy and silent movement edged towards the exits. Strewn around the floor were several dented wall decorations and a long tapestry depicting "The Glory of Northumbria" (proof that hyperbole is possible through the medium of stiching) dangled pathetically from the wall. Over next to the Duke's throne sat the Count of Durham, looking on pensively as Northumberland himself paced up and down the room, voicing expletives and occasionally hurling something onto the ground in a fit of petty rage. Durham gave a sympathetic smile to the object of the Duke's ire - a messenger from the Duchy of Cornwall. Northumberland turned to the young man, his eyes blazing.

"You can tell your filthy, pasty-loving leige that the people of Northumbria do not require his support in our up and coming campaign. We will march against the heathen without him! My display of anger here," he banged his chest with a first, "was not because I feared my crusade would come to naught without his aid, but rather because I am feeling the harsh sting that can only come from being betrayed by someone I once called friend. But I am strong! Go! Tell your master that although he has wronged me and you have seen me lose face, that there is nothing further he could do to hurt me. The damage has been done, but I have borne it like a man."

The messenger shifted nervously.

The Duke raised an eyebrow.

The messenger handed the Duke a sealed letter.



Nobody in Northumbria had ever seen a volcano before, much less one errupting, but if any of them ever did they would have a remarkable point of reference from which to use to describe nature's fury to their friends back home.

Northumberland - March, 1080

The Duke of Northumberland threw open the doors to his court with great flourish and ablomb. A couple of trumpeteers who had been lounging by the entrance hurridly got to their feet and blew a tinny fanfare, while the herald cleared his throat and shrilly intoned "All rise for his Excellency the Duke of Northumbria." There was a shuffling of feet as the great and the good of Northumbria got to their feet and made a great show of bowing and scraping.

The Duke stopped suddenly and everyone became aware of a short swarthy man with a great bushy beard standing beside him. The Duke put his arm around the other man and gestured with his arm at the assembled courtiers.

"Here we are, Fulco me old mucker. This is my court!"

Fulco nodded and smiled expansively.

"Is very good senor. But please be telling - why are they all in a black?"

The Duke paused.

"Oh that. Yeah, my wife carked it last month - bloody women and their childbirth 'difficulties' - and they were all showing their respect I think."

He turned to his assembled subjects.

"Hey guys! This dude's Fulco, Duke of...where did you say you were from Fulco?"

"Lombardia, excellency!"

"Yeah. He's from there. Anyway, he's convinced me that it would be a good idea for me to marry...what was her name?"

Fulco smiled toothily.

"Clemence, senor. One of the greatest beauties in a all of..."



Northumberland waved his hand.

"Yeah, yeah. She's gorgeous apparently. And her dad is loaded."



He rubbed his hands together, smiled and clapped Fulco on the back again.

"So - no need for anyone to be sad anymore! We're getting a new duchess. And some of her old man's gold. So let's just kid on Sybille wasn't here, ok?"

A shocked silence settled over the court. Northumberland smiled at Fulco.

"What did I tell you? They're speechless with delight."

He turned to the trumpeteers.

"You two! Play something merry. I feel like dancing!"

Northumberland - April, 1080

"I'll say it again, this ain't right!"

Northumberland marched up and down furiously, gesturing at the woman standing in front of him with a look of dumb indifference written across her face. The Duke prodded her chaperone, an old woman in the livery of the Duke of Lombardia, on the shoulder.

"Clemence was meant to be the most radiant beauty in all of Lombardia!"

The old woman bowed and nodded.

"Si senor!"

Northumberland threw his arms in the air.

"If she's the most beautiful woman your realm has to offer I dread to think what the rest of them are like! I mean, look at her! Her eyes are squinty! She's got buck teeth! Her hair's an odd shade of white!"

Clemence's mouth contorted into a sinister looking rictus that was probably meant to be a smile and she let out a deep braying laugh, a long, sliver of drool dripping from the corner of her mouth. The Duke actually flinched and pointed at her.

"Look at that! She's not right! Her laugh sounds like a donkey being fiste..."



The old woman held up a hand and smiled.

"Everything is just right, senor."

The Duke shook his head.

"No it bloody isn't! I won't have it. I shan't marry her! There. I said it!"

He pouted and folded his arms, but the old woman waved her finger in a tsking motion before producing an official looking scroll. The Duke's eyes widened.

"Woah. You've not been talking to the witch across the border have you?"

She shook her head and his brow furrowed.

"What then? What is it?"

"A contract, senor. A marriage contract signed by you, Fulco and senor d'Aquitaine."

"Contract?"

She nodded.

"A legally binding marriage contract."

"But... I mean... What if..."

He paused and stamped his foot before punching his fists into the air.

"I...don't...want...to!"

"Of course, this is your decision senor. But if you renage now then the dowry is forfeit and the Holy Father - well, he would have to excommunicate you."

The Duke wailed.

"But she's horrid!"

The old woman shuffled close to the Duke and whispered in his ear.

"But her dowry is expansive in the extreme."

Northumberland snorted and turned his head away.

"Well. Ok. I suppose. I'll find a way out of this though. Maybe I'll form my own church and then I'll be able to get a divorce and not have to worry about excommunication!"
 

Murmurandus

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Very good and all that, but you're updating too fast... I can't follow anymore... ;)
 
Jul 16, 2007
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Bah! I've done a mod of this exact same idea but I unfortunately didn't make the AAR first. I'll be following :D.
 

Murmurandus

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*engadges brakes*

Ok - I'll slow down :)
Great for me, but be sure not to lose your muse in the mean time...

If you're a guy with bursts of energy and then goes on hiatus, please have your bursts and I'll catch up when you're on hiatus... ;)