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dresdor

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Kingdoms in Chaos - A Normandy AAR
Index:
  1. Kingdoms in Chaos
  2. Duke Richard II of Normandy
    1. Rejected Regency
    2. Father's Mercy
    3. Blood Sport
  3. Duke William III of Normandy


Father had gathered his generals on the beaches near Caen. They had all stood there as he announced his ambitious plan to sail across the channel, and reclaim the title of his forefathers. He would become King of England and Normandy, if God was with him. As his men cheered him, a dark man slipped between them. As he toasted with them to victory, the man slipped a curved blade between his ribs. Robert looked on in horror as his father's lifeblood leaked out onto the sand, even as his assassin was laid low. He spent the next week in a daze as he was anointed Duke in his father's place, and his father was buried. Several of his new vassals broke away, claiming their loyalty was to the ideals embodied by the now dead William the Bastard.

Messengers soon came from all over Europe. William the Bastard had not been the only casualty of the dark men. Catholic rulers all over Europe had been killed like vermin, and every time the assassin had been brought low immediately. Only one had been captured alive, though he died at the hands of Scottish Clansmen after a week of brutal torture. Each man carried on his person coins of strange metals, a further oddity, as if their presence so far from the Arab lands was not enough.



Europe was in disarray. Dukes and Counts argued and battled for control of any land. Every kingdom had three or four nobles clamoring that they had the right to the crown. It was Chaos. The world had dealt a cruel hand to many men, and it had not cared to soften the blow for young Duke Robert II.



NOTE1: I did a lot of command line work to blow up every big kingdom and empire in western Europe. I'm going to be playing through as "Normandy" though obviously I will be growing into France or England and then Britain or France as an Empire. I feel like there's going to be a lot of wars going on, and it will be great fun.

NOTE2: At some point after I get the Old Gods and Charlemagne DLC (probably after the next sale) I will do another version of this AAR from the earliest start dates.
 
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dresdor

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Rejected Regency

(Realized that I had forgotten to shed my own liege, so that is take care of. Also, waiting 10 years for a truce to end, and being in Regency at the start of the game sucks a lot. I also used console commands to reduce my prestige to 0 and cash to 0 from their pre-game totals shown in the first post)

Winter 1070 AD:

Robert was used to being ignored as he sat in his father's chair at court in Rouen. His supposed advisors chattered around him and his aunt made all the real decisions 'in his best interest and the interest of the Duchy.' It was his sixteenth birthday today, and not a one of them was paying them any attention. He briefly overheard his aunt talking about marrying him off to some cousin of his to keep the duchy firmly within the family. Six years of being ignored boiled up inside him. He vaulted to his feet, and stormed over to where his Aunt was in discussion with his Chancellor.

"You wwwwwwwwwwwwon't decccccccccccide who I mmmmmmmmmarry. Get out of mmmmmy ssssssssssight." He bellowed. Taken aback by his abrupt approach, she curtseyed before leaving the room. Robert's glare made the Chancellor start a quick exit as well. Glancing down at the table he saw a pair of sketches of pretty young women. One, of a dark haired woman. The line of her cheeks and shape of her eyes moved something inside of him, and he stopped his Chancellor before he could escape. "Hhhher. Shshshshe will be mmmmmmmmy wifffe."

Spring 1070 AD:



Robert paid little attention during his wedding, performing his duties as Duke and Husband to the best of his abilities. The woman he married and who would carry his children, though, was not the woman he fantasized about when he was performing his husbandly duties. The dark haired woman he was wed to was close in appearance to the dark haired woman who had been sketched for him, but her father had denied his demands, though the Duchess's father had had no such compulsions. True, his new Duchess was at least a Baron's daughter, while his heart's desire was a handmaid's daughter. He could not get her out of his mind.

He and his Duchess barely spoke to one another, owing partly to his lisp, which had worsened since seeing his father murdered in front of him, and partly to the cold and mechanical nature of their relationship. He was relieved when he got her with child, which happened quite quickly, though not quickly enough for his tastes, and moreso when her ladies in waiting insisted that he withhold from partaking in his marital rights for the safety of his future heir. He spent most of his time now in his study. There he scribed endless lines of words that would never be able to pass smoothly through his lips. He lamented and pined over his dark lady, the love that never would be, while his Duchess grew great with his heir.

Winter 1070 AD:



A daughter. His Duchess had birthed him, not a male heir to secure his line, but a daughter. He wanted to rage at her. Call her a whore. Curse her name. Tell her how when he impregnated her, he had been thinking of another woman. How every touch of hers only filled his heart with regret. If he told her a tenth part of what he felt, it would take hours for the words to pass his lips through his faltering speech. Instead, he looked at the child he had help create, and was captivated by her eyes. This tiny creature's eyes glinted with promise, and she smiled at him. That smile pierced Robert's cold heart. Instead of a stuttered rant, he kissed that baby on the forehead, and his Duchess on the cheek, more affection than he had showed her the entire year of their marriage, before retreating back to his study.

For once, he penned lines not dedicated to his dark lady, but instead to his daughter.

My Rosalind, with eyes blue and bright....
 
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stnylan

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An intriguing portrait of Robert.
 

volksmarschall

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The future of Normandy shall rise! Looking forward to you playing as the great Duchy of Normandy. And thanks for the heads-up concerning other plans with new DLC acquisitions planned.

Cheers!
 

dresdor

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Yes. I wish I had all the xpacs so I could do a fun run from 800-whatever AD through to the end of CK 2, then convert that into a EU3/4 game, then convert that into a vic2 game, and finish it up in HOI 3. That'd be a fun multi-year (real time) AAR.

As for Robert, I did not do any research on him as a historic person prior to starting this. I am trying to represent what a young, insignificant heir with a speech impediment would become after the trauma of his father's murder and subsequent chaos around him. The whole 'loving another woman' thing was inspired by a marriage proposal being rejected by the AI. Not sure if the AI's opinion changed between me sending and them rejecting it or if it wasn't likely when I sent the request.
 

dresdor

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Father's Mercy

Summer 1071 AD:

Robert stoically presided over the service as a priest reminded him, and the court that had gathered, that all were of dust and to dust they shall return. That God had seen fit to call his sister, Cecilia, back to him in the prime of her maidenhood. The Duke was not comforted by those words, nor the prayers in Latin as the coffin was interred and dirt laid upon it. Cecilia had always been kind to him, unleashing her fiery temper on those that would make fun of his speech. He turned from the gravesite, and marched off towards the keep.



Her death made his depression far worse than it had been. Even the words he penned by secret would not flow as they would have....he had developed a stutter there too, it seemed. Often he thought of joining his sister and father in the cold embrace of death. In truth, the only thing that kept him from it was curiosity. Here, in his library where he wasted long hours in seclusion, he had gathered books from as far away as he could convince merchants to travel. He had the written guild secrets of Muslim metalworkers, the collected discoveries of relic hunters in the Holy Lands, and even the tales of the nomad tribes that roamed the deserts of the East. In none of these texts was anything described like the mystery he hid in his library. Barring the door, he upended the writing desk he used, and pulled a piece of cork from the bottom of one of the legs. With it came two small coins, one looked of silver, and the other of copper. The silver coin was lighter than any metal should be, and the copper harder than any copper he knew of. The color was wrong for bronzework. The coins were a mystery, as mysterious as their former owner, the assassin who had killed his father. Returning the coins to their hiding place, and righting his desk, he retrieved a new tome that had recently arrived. It was a translation from a text recovered from the Greek ruins. It mentioned many marvels....a weapon that could burn ships with the power of the sun.....fire that burned hotter than any other and could float upon the water.....liquid rock harder than any plaster....perhaps these strange coins were of a similar fashion....foreign metals that were completely mundane in their native lands. It was this mystery that kept him from ending everything....and a desire to find his father's killer.

As he replaced the book, he noticed a parchment knocked aside when he had upturned his table. Reading it he smiled. He would not have the troops to act upon it now, but in the future, once his rebellious vassals were taken care of, he could expand his kingdom.



July 1072 AD:

Braziers burned hot in his throneroom, despite the hot summer weather. The man kneeling before him was sweating hard, though the heat had little to do with it. His hands were bound behind him in irons. Robert had dismissed his guardsmen after they had delivered the man. This was a matter between them.

"You tttttttried ttttto kill mmmmmmy ddddddaughter." The man would not meet his gaze. "Kkkkill hhhhher sssssso you ccccccccccould ttttttttake mmmmmmmmy throne."



"Brother, I..." He started before Robert knocked him onto his side with a hard backhand with his gauntletted fist. At least one bloody tooth went flying when he did. "Please.....have mercy......father would"

"Ffffather wwwwwwwould have kkkkkkkkilled you alrrrrrrready." He spat at his brother. "Inssssssstead your wwwwwwwwill rot in the ddddddungeon."

"Thank you......your are merciful...." His brother grovelled at his feet. With a grim smile, Robert pulled a burning brand from the brazier and plunged the white-hot tip into his brother's cheek. The searing sound of flesh burning was soon drowned out by screams. Tossing the brand into a bucket of water, where it hissed, Robert smiled as the guards took his brother away.

 
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He may lisp, but not someone to underestimate
 

dresdor

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Lisp and depression. Sounds like wonderful life. :(
 

dresdor

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dresdor

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Blood Sport

A crimson mist burst from the mouth of the pox-scarred peasant as Robert slammed his mace into the man's cheek. He crumpled, howling in pain. With a grin, Robert stepped on the man's throat, before blocking the thrust of a pike with his shield. One of his soldiers stabbed the pikeman in the throat. Robert's blood ran hot, a smile of childlike glee on his lips. He lost count of how many arms he broke, how many skulls he crushed. The enemy broke and fled. His cavalry raced after them, running them into the ground as they scattered. Fifty feet away, surrounded by Robert's soldiers, stood Count William of Evreux, his weapons at his feet. His face had several bleeding cuts on it, and his left arm help limply at his side.



That reminded him of his own scarred-over wounds. William had fought his armies hard, and his soldiers were good. Robert had barely survived the battle that had opened up his arm from bicep to elbow. He felt some enjoyment that his foe suffered a similar wound. William was one of the soundest military minds in France, and a suicidally brave man as well.




Returning home, Robert still rode high on the sweet fruits of victory. He drank deeply of wine and gorged himself on meat during the feast. Looking at his Duchess...he felt a desire. A desire he had not felt for her...a desire reserved for another woman. He stayed late into the night, drinking til the last of his courtiers stumbled off. He stumbled himself, through the dim corridors of his castle. He ducked into a back passageway. As a child, he had explored and found every side passageway...they had been perfect for escaping the teasing of his siblings, and now they served to give him quiet access to Ausenda's chambers.

He crept out from behind a hanging tapestry, seeing her form lying under a thin blanket. His drunk lurching steps resounded on the stones, and before he made it halfway to her bed, Ausenda's eyes opened sleepily. Seeing him, she sat upright, gathering the blanket around her.

"Husband, you frightened me." He said nothing, merely continued toward the bed. She shied away from him, against the carved headboard. "It is late, Robert.....whatever you want, certainly it can wait until morning?"

He felt the heat return to his blood. His wife was supposed to be obedient to him. The God whose name he cursed with his broken words demanded it. In a fury, he backhanded her, knocking her aside. She started to shout and scream at him, but he pressed her face into the matress, stiffling her. The violence excited him, and he forced her shift up before roughly entering her. Her muffled shouts slowly turned to muffled sobs. When he finally finished, he righted his own clothes before stumbling back to the tapestry and taking another passageway to his own room where he collapsed into a dreamless sleep.

The thrill and rush of adrenaline he felt in taking Ausenda by force was like a drug to him. Some nights she wouldn't resist, but that didn't excite him, so he'd beat her whether she resisted or not. She quickly learned that a little resistance resulted in her being backhanded or choked, but trying to resist him wholly led to hours of torment. He only stopped his nightly terrors when she told him she was suredly pregnant. After bearing him a son, named William in his father's lineage, she became pregnant in rapid succession, bearing two more children. It was an effective deterrant, as Robert spent his frustrations instead battering a succession of whores, several of which ended up dumped in the river.






Another war was fought and won, bringing another rebellious count that had fled his realm after his father's death to heel. Young William would inherit a complete Duchy, a springboard from which he could conquer the rest of France and England, like his grandfather had planned. It was all planned out. Robert rode off to war again, frustrated. The night before Ausenda had insisted....pleaded...that she was pregnant yet again, and he had not had time to pursue another conquest.



He led the troops from the front, as always, all but frothing at the mouth from the violence he was dipensing. He didn't notice one of the enemy Barons break through his vanguard. He barely felt the blow that cracked his skull. His world darkened.



Ausenda tried to be a dutiful wife. She had born her wretched husband four children, enduring his cruel invocation of marital rights. They had returned him to the castle from the battlefield. His chest rose, his heart beat, but there was nothing behind his eyes, and no noise could stir him. He had decreed when they first married that she would be Duchess Regent should anything happen to him, protecting their children until they were ready to rule. She smiled for the first time in years. She was free to do as she wished....free from this monster.



After a year of ruling in he husband's stead, and giving away large quantities of his wealth to the poor, Ausenda had finally healed many of the wounds he had inflicted on her, both body and soul. She dismissed the attendant that was cleaning Robert. He had not had control over his bowels since the battle that had made him an invalid.

"I am torn, husband. I want you to suffer forever, after all you've done to make me suffer. That isn't very righteous of me, but I pray for forgiveness. It would be merciful to end your suffering. You were never merciful to me." She removed a pullow from behind Robert's head. "However, I do not want our children to have many memories of you. You do not deserve to be remembered by them." She held the pillow over his face. His body spasmed with great strength, and it took her whole body to keep the pillow in place. She left it there for several minutes after he stopped moving, to ensure he was truly dead. "I pray that there is no room in heaven for a vile man like you."

 

stnylan

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Head wound couldn't have happened to a nicer man.
 

dresdor

it must be nice....it must be nice....
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This is an interesting premise, like a less extreme form of the Shattered World mod.

Robert comes across as getting increasingly frustrated with ills and taking increasing pleasure in inflicting them on others.

How is the rest of the world doing?
Still very fragmented. Scotland is doing the best so far, almost reformed. Iberia in general is falling to Islam (though I didn't touch them). HRE is a wreck.