• 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

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Major notable characters within the kingdom.




Friedrich von Wettin
Title: King of Both Sicilies
Born: 1367
Religion: Catholic (Neutral)
Pedigree: Legitimate.
Heir: Duke Wilhelm von Wettin of Noto (brother).
Father: Margrave Friedrich III von Wettin of Meissen (aka Friedrich IV of Both Sicilies in Friedrich's revised list)
Mother: Katherine von Henneberg (heiress of Coburg, Neustadt, etc.)
Wife: Queen Maria I of Trinacria (Sicily until 1383)
Children: N/A
Text Color: #00FFFF
Description: The House of Wettin are very proud of their ancestry. For over a century they have named all of their primary heirs Friedrich as a testimony to their claim to the Hohenstaufen legacy. This began in 1257 when Albrecht von Wettin and his wife Margaret von Hohenstaufen gave birth to their son Friedrich I, who, upon reaching adulthood named both of his sons Friedrich. His elder son Friedrich died before he did, so the younger Friedrich became Friedrich II upon his death. Friedrich II named his first two sons Friedrich as well, to ensure he was succeeded by a Friedrich. His elder son Friedrich died in infancy, but the younger Friedrich became Friedrich III. Friedrich III also named his first two sons Friedrich, and, like with his own youth, the older Friedrich died in infancy, and his second son became Friedrich IV of Meissen in 1381 upon his (F. III's) death. As the family were the "legitimate" heirs of the Hohenstaufens, they had a few supporters throughout the old Hohenstaufen domains. In 1383, this led to an attempt by Nikolaus von Kues to get Friedrich IV to go to Sicily and attempt to take that throne. With the consent of his mother, Friedrich obliged and set out for Sicily. He was able to capture vast amounts of land and force the unmarried queen in Sicily to not only marry him, but recognize his claims. Shortly after his Sixteenth birthday, he had succeeded in doing what his family had been seeking for since the murder of Konrad V in 1268 -- To have a Wettin reclaim Hohenstaufen territories as the heir to the Hohenstaufen legacy.


King of Both Sicilies, Margrave of Meissen and Osterland.




Maria d'Aragon
Title: Queen of Trinacria
Born: 1361
Religion: Catholic (Avignon)
Pedigree: Legitimate.
Heir: Crown Prince Juan of Aragon (first cousin).
Father: Federico d'Aragon, King of Trinacria (Used title King of Sicily until 1372).
Mother: Costanza d'Aragon, Princess of Aragon.
Husband: King Friedrich V of Both Sicilies
Children: N/A
Text Color: #FFCF00
Description: Born in 1361 as the only legitimate child of the king, Maria was raised without a mother, as her mother died during her second year of infancy. Her father, when he had time for her, was her favorite person, but he too would die before she reached maturity, in her 15th year. For several years, powerful courtiers effectively ruled in her name, until recently. Her attempts at pleasing the nobility caused a search for a suitor. She chose a minor baron of questionable history, and this angered many in the nobility and caused them to ally with the powerful Nicola Cusano in bringing in a more 'suitable' suitor. This caused a Saxon invasion with the Cusano faction's support and forced Maria to agree to marry the Saxon invader, Friedrich IV von Wettin, a candidate for the throne by his own right.


Queen of Trinacria, Duchess of Athens, Countess of Palermo, Messina, Siracusa, and Athens.





Luis Fadrique d'Aragon
Title: Count of Malta
Born: 1340
Religion: Catholic (Avignon)
Pedigree: Legitimate member of an illegitimate branch of the House of Barcelona.
Heir: Maria (daughter).
Father: Jaime Fadrique d'Aragon, Count of Malta.
Mother: ???
Wife: Helene Cantakuzene (M.1361), Countess of Salona, Princess of Byzantium.
Children: Maria, born 1370.
Text Color: "Orange"
Description: His grandfather was a bastard son of King Federigo II, but was invested with the county of Malta, which continued with his descendants. His uncles were "Lord of Aegina", but their line died out with Pedro Fadrique d'Aragon in 1379, in an Aragonese prison. Luis is noted as a champion of Catalan unity, and for this reason he is looked at with contempt from many in the kingdom who are not fond of closer relations with Aragon. He was previously the Vicar of Athens, governing Sicilian territory in Greece before being revoked of that title in 1380 by the Sicilian nobility who ruled fin the name of Queen Maria. He continues to seek restoration to that position.


Count of Malta.



Minor notable characters within the kingdom.



Federico d'Altavilla-Gesualdo
Title: Baron of Bavuso
Born: 1352
Religion: Catholic (Rome)
Pedigree: Legitimate member of an illegitimate branch of both the Houses of Hauteville and Hohenstaufen.
Heir: N/A
Father: Francesco di Gesualdo d'Altavilla
Mother: Giovanna d'Antiocha von Hohenstaufen
Wife: N/A
Children: N/A
Text Color: "Skyblue"
Description: His path to Palermo was a long and complicated one. Born in the Kingdom of Naples, his mother died giving birth to him, and his father shunned him for it. He was raised by his mother's sister and her husband in Bavuso, Sicily, the latter of which adopted him and allowed him to inherit his barony. Federico planned to join the clergy as his two uncles had done, hoping to follow in their footsteps as Archbishop of Palermo, but was dissuaded from it by his aunt. It is unrealistic, but still possible to suggest that he has claim enough to Sicily to start a conflict over the throne, but such a thing would have nil support outside of a few Neapolitan relatives. After lying about an assassination plot, he was able to convince Queen Maria to marry him. Unfortunately, this angered many nobles on the island and this proposal was rebuffed. Federico was imprisoned in Trapani by supporters of the Saxons, where he remains.




Maria Fadrique d'Aragon
Title: Countess of Salona
Born: 1370
Religion: Catholic (Avignon)
Pedigree: Legitimate member of an illegitimate branch of the House of Barcelona.
Heir: Luis (Father)
Father: Luis Fadrique d'Aragon, Count of Malta.
Mother: Helene Cantakuzene (M.1361), Countess of Salona, Princess of Byzantium.
Husband: N/A
Children: N/A
Text Color: N/A
Description: Although barely a teenager, Maria has been said to be very physically advanced for her age and able to catch the eye of many married men in Malta. She is known to flirt as a game, but she wouldn't dare act on such games.




Nicola "Cardinal" Cusano
Title: Regent of Sicily
Born: ??
Religion: Catholic (Avignon)
Pedigree: Legitimate.
Heir: N/A
Father: ???
Mother: ???
Wife: N/A
Children: N/A
Text Color: "Grey"
Description: The cardinal was born "Nikolaus Krebs" in Kues, Germany and educated in Italy. Somehow, he later in life ended up a Bishop in Sicily. He became a Cardinal while the Papacy remained in Avignon, but after it returned to Rome, he lost his position. When Urban VII was crowned, he sided with Avignon and kept using the title of Cardinal, although outside of Sicily he received no support. He has always believed that the Barcelonas had no right to rule in Sicily and supported the Wettin right to claim the throne. Eventually, he acted upon this after Queen Maria announced her engagement to a minor courtier Nicola hated, who was of illegitimate descent. He brought Friedrich IV of Meissen to Sicily and was able to win Friedrich the throne. However, Friedrich agreed not to actually take the throne until after the wedding, leaving control in the hands of Nicola until then. It is easy to see why he was displaced as a Cardinal. He is not a very religious man and has no problems with Friedrich, despite the fact that Friedrich does not officially support a specific pope, and some of Friedrich's relatives are pro-Rome.




"Signore Doria"
Title: ???
Born: ????
Religion: Catholic (Rome)
Pedigree: ???
Heir: N/A
Father: ???
Mother: ???
Wife: ???
Children: ???
Text Color: "Orangered"
Description: The mysterious man who calls himself Doria claims to be an excommunicated sailor from Genoa. He has hinted at being from the future, but as such things are impossible, it is unlikely to be anything more than insinuation and rumor. He has not stated his religious beliefs, although he has basically suggested that he feels the Roman church is the true church. However, because of his fiery temper, he was imprisoned, where he remains to this day.
 
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Internal Affairs

Factions within Palermo's hierarchy.

Sicilian Faction, led by Various "Mafia" Dons.
Supporters: WIDESPREAD (46%)
Languages: Sicilian, Latin.
Dissent: LOW
Wanted Queen Maria to marry a local noble.
Differing opinions on which Pontiff to support.
Very Hostile toward Naples.
Neutral in Hundred Years War.
Neutral toward Aragon.
Neutral toward further expansion into Greece.
Support Sicilian reunification, but only a Sicily ruled from Palermo.
Ultimate Goal: Continued independence.
Description: Those whose families have lived in Sicily for centuries. The locals don't care about the Hundred Years War and don't have a united opinion on the Papacy, but they are steadfastly against losing their independence.


Imperial Faction, led by Nicola Cardinal Cusano.
Supporters: BROAD (20%)
Languages: German, Tuscan, Latin.
Dissent: MEDIUM
Wanted Queen Maria to marry a Wettin.
Differing opinions on which Pontiff to support.
Very Hostile toward Naples.
Hostile toward Aragon.
Hostile toward further expansion into Greece.
Neutral toward Sicilian reunification.
Ultimate Goal: This faction believe the House of Barcelona usurped the Sicilian crown, and believe the Wettins of Meißen are entitled by birthright to rule, thus effectively bringing Sicily back into the HRE.
Description: Germans and Ghibelline Italians, the Imperial faction are a fringe movement whose main argument is that the dynasty needs to be replaced with the "legitimate" German candidates. They have recently waged open war against the crown and captured eastern towns.


Catalan Faction, led by Luis Fadrique de Aragon, Count of Malta.
Supporters: BROAD (20%)
Languages: Catalan, Latin.
Dissent: LOW
Wanted Queen Maria to marry an Aragonese prince.
Strongly want Sicily to remain Pro-Avignon.
Neutral toward Naples.
Support France in Hundred Years War.
Very supportive of Aragon.
Support further expansion into Greece.
Hostile towards Sicilian reunification of any kind.
Ultimate Goal: Personal Union between Aragon and Sicily.
Description: In 1282 when the Sicilians threw out the French nobility, a steady influx of Catalans found their way to the estates of Sicily. They want to maintain their customs and see Sicily as a rich, Central Mediterranean extension of their homeland.


Norman/French Faction, led by Federico di Gesualdo d'Altavilla, Baron of Bavuso
Supporters: LIMITED (5%)
Languages: French, Sicilian, Latin.
Dissent: LOW
Didn't care who Queen Maria married.
Want Sicily to remain pro-Avignon.
Hostile toward Naples.
Support France in Hundred Years War.
Hostile toward Aragon.
Strongly Support of further expansion into Greece.
Neutral toward Sicilian reunification.
Ultimate Goal: Having Sicily pay tribute to Naples for assorted reasons.
Description: After the Neapolitans and French split politically, so did their supporters in Sicily. The French Faction support the King of France and his subject, the Duke of Anjou over the Angevin Alliance of the Kings of Naples and England.


Angevin Faction, Leadership unknown
Supporters: VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTANT (5%)
Languages: French, Occitan, Latin.
Dissent: HIGH
Wanted Queen Maria to marry a Neapolitan prince.
Strongly want Sicily to support the Roman pope.
Very supportive toward Naples.
Support England in Hundred Years War.
Hostile toward Aragon.
Hostile toward further expansion into Greece.
Supportive of Sicilian reunification, but a Sicily ruled from Napoli.
Ultimate Goal: Having Sicily pay tribute to Naples for assorted reasons.
Description: After the Neapolitans and French split politically, so did their supporters in Sicily. The Angevin Faction are the splinter-group that remains loyal to the Neapolitan crown after the murder of Queen Giovanna by "King" Charles III.


Roman Faction, Leadership unknown
Supporters: VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTANT (4%)
Languages: Greek, Sicilian.
Dissent: LOW
Wanted Queen Maria to marry a Palaeologus or Comnenus.
Want Sicily to support the Roman pope.
Neutral toward Naples.
Neutral toward Aragon.
Very Hostile toward further expansion into Greece.
Neutral toward Sicilian reunification.
Ultimate Goal: Assisting in supporting the Roman Empire.
Description: This faction are made up of remnants of the formerly vast Greek population in the Eastern portion of the island. Most of them remain in communion with the Orthodox rite, but as the Byzantine Emperor supports Rome, so do many of them. As they have been used to being the minority since the Saracen invasion, they are surprisingly peaceful.
 
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Timeline of events in Sicily.

1500-1000 BC - Siculi (from Greece), Sicani (from Italy), and Elymi (from Troy) people arrive in Sicily.

1000-800 BC - Phoenicians establish trading posts in north-western Sicily.

735 BC - Chalcidians of Euboea begin Greek settlement of Sicily by establishing the city of Naxos on the eastern coast.

734 BC - Syracuse is founded by Corinthian Greeks.

485 BC - Gelon, the Tyrant of Gela, centralizes control of Greek Sicily in Syracuse .

480 BC - Syracuse defeats Carthaginian invaders at the Battle of Himera.

413 BC - Syracuse annihilate Athenian invaders.

409-301 BC - Carthage, aligned with the Siculi and Phoenician cities of Sicily fight a century of wars against Syracuse, with no victories.

282 BC - Roman conquest of Sicily begins with capture of Messina.

264-241 BC - Rome and Carthage battle over control of Sicily in the First Punic War.

263 BC - Syracuse forms an alliance with Rome and becomes a Roman vassal.

241 BC - First Punic War ends, Carthage cedes their territories in Sicily to Rome.

440 AD - Vandals living in North Africa conquer Sicily

476 AD - Vandals hand Sicily over to Odoacer, Barbarian King of Italy

491 AD - Ostrogoths capture Sicily.

533-551 AD - Belisarius reconquers Sicily for the Roman Empire and Emperor Justinian.

827 AD - Arabs from Africa begin their conquest of Sicily from the Romans.

831 AD - Palermo falls to Arabs from Spain.

965 AD - Last Roman stronghold in Sicily falls to Arabs.

1060 AD - Normans under Robert and Roger of Hauteville begin invasion of Sicily, starting with Messina.

1091 AD - Normans finish conquest of Sicily.

1030 AD - Roger II is crowned as the first King of Sicily.

1194 AD - Holy Roman Emperor and King of Jerusalem Heinrich VI Hohenstaufen, husband of a Sicilian princess seizes Sicily and their possessions in Italy. He later blinds William III, the former King of Sicily as punishment for attempting a revolt.

1197 AD - Heinrich VI/I dies. He is buried at the Palermo Cathedral. His son Friedrich is later crowned King of Sicily, living most of his life in Palermo.

1198 AD - William III, Heinrich's predecessor and the last legitimate male member of the Hauteville dynasty dies.

1212 AD - Friedrich I, King of Sicily becomes Friedrich II, King of the Romans, King of Italy, King of Burgundy, King of Germany, etc. He maintains his "Magna curia" (Great court) in Palermo.

1212 AD - Friedrich I/II writes the "Bull of Sicily", recognizing the Kingdom of Bohemia as a hereditary monarchy of the Premyslid dynasty, and specifying their duties to the Holy Roman Empire.

1220 AD - Friedrich I/II is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Honorius III

1250 AD - Friedrich I/II, King of Sicily etc dies. He is buried at the Palermo Cathedral. His son, Konrad I succeeds him to his thrones.

1254 AD - Konrad I dies. He is buried at the Messina Cathedral. His infant son, Konrad II succeeds him.

1258 AD - Rumors suggest that Konrad II has died. Friedrich's son Manfred (whose legitimacy is still in question) takes the throne.

1266 AD - Pope Urbanus IV invites a junior branch of the French royal house to invade Sicily. Count Charles d'Anjou usurps the throne from King Manfred I and proclaims himself king. Manfred dies in battle at Benevento after leading a suicidal charge into the Angevin army.

1268 AD - Konrad II, still a teenager, is beheaded in Naples by Charles of Anjou, determined to exterminate the Hohenstaufens, which he virtually succeeds in doing. The Duchy of Swabia is destroyed and the crown of Jerusalem passes on to his grandmother's cousin, Mary of Antioch, who later sells her claims to Charles.

1282 AD - The Sicilians revolt from French rule and invite Manfredo's son in law Pere III of Aragon to take the island. He does. However, he is unable to take control of Naples from the French.

1296 AD - The crown of Sicily is ruled independent of Aragon.

1302 AD - The crown of Sicily is renamed to the crown of Trinacria.

1314 AD - The crown of Sicily is restored to its previous name.

1372 AD - The crown of Sicily is once again renamed to Trinacria.

1377 AD - King Federico III dies. He is buried at the Cathedral of St. Agatha in Catania. Nobles acting in the name of his daughter, Queen Maria restore the crown of Sicily to its previous name.

1383 AD - Maria, now an adult finally moves into the official royal residence at the "Palace of the Normans" in Palermo. She takes control of the court there and kicks out her "advisors".

Places to see in Sicily.

The Royal Residence since the Hauteville period.
"Palazzo dei Normanni" [Image 1, Image 2, Image 3]

One of the eldest permanant cities in Catholic Europe, and once capital of the Roman Empire.
Siracusa [Link]

The great trading city and the gateway to Sicily.
Messina [Image]

The burial place of Roger II, Henry I, Constance, and Frederick I.
The Palermo Cathedral [Image]
 
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Family Tree of the Sicilian Monarchy.

 
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-Click on portions of image for information.-

[anchorlink=coa1]
[/anchorlink][anchorlink=coa2]
[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=coa3]
[/anchorlink][anchorlink=coa4]
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[anchor=coa1]Coat of Arms of Friedrich and Maria: Greece[/anchor]

1. Principality of Achaea
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: Pope Clement VII recognized Maria as Princess of Achaea after the excommunication of Charles of Durazzo.

2. Latin Empire of Constantinople
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: Philip d'Anjou was titular Emperor of Constantinople. His sons died without heir and his eldest daughter to provide an heir was his daughter Margaret. Margaret had married Francesco del Balzo (de Baux), and her son Jacob was recognized as the rightful Latin Emperor. Jacob died without any legitimate children of his own, and so had Antonia, who had been Margaret's only other legitimate child. However, Antonia did marry King Federico III of Sicily in 1372 and adopted his young daughter, Maria. Maria knew no other mother, since her birth mother had died shortly after giving birth to Maria. Due to her sensitivity regarding her childhood, Maria would be offended if anyone challenged her claim.

5. Duchy of Athens
Claim: Very strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: Aragon conquered Athens and the surrounding areas in 1312 and it passed to the Sicilian branch and King Frederick II. His second son, Roger died in his infancy so Frederick gave the duchy to his third son, Manfred. Manfred died without heir so it went to the fourth son, William. He too died without an heir, so Athens went to the fifth son of Frederick named John. John had a son named Frederick to inherit the title when he died, but unfortunately, the younger Frederick died in 1353 without a son so the title reverted to the descendants of Peter, the firstborn son of King Frederick II, which unified the duchy with the Sicilian throne.


[anchor=coa2]Coat of Arms of Friedrich and Maria: Central Italy[/anchor]

3. Kingdom of Adria
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: Pope Clement VII recognized Maria as Queen of Adria, consisting of all lands above Naples not part of the Holy Roman Empire, and excluding only the city of Rome.

4. County of Ravenna
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: Pope Clement VII recognized Maria as Queen of Adria, consisting of all lands above Naples not part of the Holy Roman Empire, and excluding only the city of Rome.

7. Duchy of Romagna
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: Pope Clement VII recognized Maria as Queen of Adria, consisting of all lands above Naples not part of the Holy Roman Empire, and excluding only the city of Rome.


[anchor=coa3]Coat of Arms of Friedrich and Maria: Germany[/anchor]

8. Duchy of Swabia
Claim: Decent
Claimed: Yes
By: King Friedrich V
History: The House of Hohenstaufen became Dukes of Swabia in 1079. Their line continued to rule until the murder of Conrad Hohenstaufen by Charles of Anjou in 1268. The duchy was broken up by the new Anti-Hohenstaufen government in the Holy Roman Empire and split into several new domains. Legally, the lands should have passed to the Margrave of Meissen as the heir of the Hohenstaufens, but instead the duchy was vacated and the lands associated it with remained without a duke. As it stands today, there is no Duke of Swabia. However, in 1376, 14 Swabian cities have created the 'Schwäbischer Bund', led by Ulm, which seeks to keep the Swabian lands united. These cities would be happy to support the restoration of the Duchy, as it would keep local landholders like the several Duke in Bavaria, the Helvetians, the Habsburgs, or the Count of Württemberg from attempting to take their lands.

12, 13, 14, 15. Margraviate of Meissen, County Palatinate of Saxony, Margraviate of Niederlausitz, and County of Henneberg
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: King Friedrich V
History: The Wettins came to power in Niederlausitz in 1046. They gained Meissen through marriage in 1130. They became Count Palatines of Saxony in 1247. Friedrich's father married the heiress of Henneberg, Coburg, Neustadt, etc. in 1344, and Friedrich will gain her lands upon his mother's death.


[anchor=coa4]Coat of Arms of Friedrich and Maria: Southern Italy & Outremer[/anchor]

6, 9, 10. Kingdom of Sicily (aka Both Sicilies, Trinacria, Sicily and Naples, etc.)
Claim: Very strong
Claimed: Yes
By: King Friedrich V & Queen Maria I
History: The throne of Sicily was created in the early 12th century and given to Count Roger II, the Hauteville ruler of Naples and Sicily. In 1194, Roger's daughter and son-in-law Henry VI of the Holy Roman Empire took the throne and forced the other Hautevilles to relinquish their claims. This began Hohenstaufen rule in the kingdom which would last until 1266, when Charles, a junior son of the French king was invited to usurp the throne by an Anti-Hohenstaufen pope. Charles took up the offer and slaughtered the remaining Hohenstaufens on the island, including the ruling King Manfred and the rightful King Conrad. Manfred's eldest daughter had married the Crown Prince of Aragon, and was invited by the Sicilian nobles to reconquer the kingdom. He took them up on the offer and succeeded in taking the island, but failed in taking Naples. He gave the crown to his third son, Frederick, who became King of Sicily in 1299, and his line were able to secure the island for themselves.

11. Duchy of Apulia
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: In 1059, Robert "Guiscard" de Hauteville became the first Duke of Apulia and Calabria. He passed these titles to his only legal son Roger "Borsa". Roger's line died without any heirs, and Robert's only child to produce an heir was his daughter Matilda, who married Count Ramon Berenguer II of Barcelona, whose descendants became the Kings of Aragon, inherited Sicily, and gave all of their Italian lands and titles to the Sicilian branch, and therefore, Maria would be the rightful Duchess of Apulia and Calabria.

16. Kingdom of Jerusalem
Claim: Decent
Claimed: Yes
By: King Friedrich V
History: The House of Hohenstaufen became Kings of Jerusalem in 1225 when Emperor Frederick II married Yolanda of Brienne, the heiress of the kingdom. They ruled as King and Queen until Yolanda's death, when Frederick claimed to rule by his own right and retained the title. His descendants in Meissen maintained this claim after the assassination of Konrad V at the hands of Charles of Anjou.

17. Duchy of Calabria
Claim: Strong
Claimed: Yes
By: Queen Maria I
History: In 1059, Robert "Guiscard" de Hauteville became the first Duke of Apulia and Calabria. He passed these titles to his only legal son Roger "Borsa". Roger's line died without any heirs, and Robert's only child to produce an heir was his daughter Matilda, who married Count Ramon Berenguer II of Barcelona, whose descendants became the Kings of Aragon, inherited Sicily, and gave all of their Italian lands and titles to the Sicilian branch, and therefore, Maria would be the rightful Duchess of Apulia and Calabria.
 
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Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

As she was now a young adult and able to rule on her own, Queen Maria was finally free of the cruel nobles who used her for power and wealth, the men who called themselves "vicars" and effectively ruled for her. Luckily, one thing the men did not do was force her to wed early. This is an act she would be able to perform for herself. Her mother and father had both been long dead, and she had no legitimate siblings. She was, in a sense, alone. If she died without heir, the crown would most likely go to her first cousin, the Crown Prince of Aragon, through his deceased mother, her aunt.

However, Maria was young, beautiful, and intelligent. While the nobles of Palermo were busy ruling in her name, she was reading. She became fluent in many tongues, including Sicilian, Catalan, French, Greek, and Latin. Who knew which she would actually use, but it couldn't hurt to learn them. All it took to learn a language was a good teacher and some spare time, and she had both in Palermo, the jewel of the Mediterannean and one of the culturally richest cities in Europe.

Palermo had long been where East met West and the South as well. The people had Greek, Roman, Lombard, Arab, Carthaginian, Norman, and other influences, and it showed in the local artwork, language, and practices. Their queen, of Catalan, French, German, and Norman stock was not unlike her subjects in that matter.
 
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Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

On a cool Winter day, the Queen held court for the first time, inviting bitter enemies from around the Kingdom and giving them opportunities to speak their minds. Sicily was divided, and the Queen had been seen as weak. This was a true depiction, as Maria had not done a single thing to influence policy since her father's death. This was going to change, and it would start that day. Some people who weren't even interested in politics came just to see how scandalous the event would be.

Cardinal Nicola Cusano of Palermo was asked to perform the Benediction, and rumor had it he planned to make a political statement afterwards. The Queen had heard talk of this, and had plans of her own.

Just as the Cardinal was about to make the sign of the cross, several rowdy men in the packed court chanted "Go back to Meissen!", itself a political epithet. The Cardinal's supporters in turn called the queen a prostitute, and the shouting only increased. Just as things were getting out of control, Maria smiled and interrupted the angry men.

"Gentlemen, please. If you wish to scream your lungs out, at least wait your turn. You are in the presence of a lady. Good noblemen such as yourselves should know better."

And with that, she took control of the situation. The men who heckled the Cardinal had been planted there by the crown. All had gone well thus far.

"Your Majesty, I am a member of the clergy and as such have little interest in these sorts of affairs."

She smirked.

"Unless I'm mistaken, I recall yourself saying that I am descended from bastards, and as such I am a bastard."

The cardinal lowered his head and tried to keep his dignity intact.

"...Yes, I recall saying that, now. And it was true, 'King' Manfred was a bastard. His daughter married the King of Aragon, who later proclaimed himself King of Sicily and kicked out the Angevins. Both families were usurpers. I meant you no harm. I said this in my youth as a young lad with German ties."

As he finished, a young man spoke up in an angry tone and began to mock the cardinal.

"Usurpers? The Angevin house were invited by the Papacy to rid the kingdom of the devil's spawn, Manfred."

The cardinal roared back.

"Who are you to speak to me as your peer, boy? You sound as if you are accusing me of being a heretic for not supporting the Neapolitan faction. Are you willing to burn for your sinful speech? You are nothing. I sure hope I was not invited here only to be attacked in such a manner."

The young man responded.

"If you must know, your eminence, my uncle was Archbishop of Palermo.. In fact, his brother, my other uncle was as well."

Cusano was furious. He wasn't going to allow himself to be humiliated.

"You wear the clothing of a commoner. You come to a royal event and choose to speak slander in front of the representative of God and your monarch. Scum like yourself has no place here."

"Commoner? No, but you wouldn't be impressed anyway if I told you my lineage..."

The Count of Malta interrupted.

"Your Majesty, please end this senseless arguing. Your father would have never permitted this."

The Queen was amused.

"So what would you suggest? Crown Prince Juan is married. Shall I marry his one year old son? This entire process of rival factions is madness."

The young man continued.

"The House of Aragon may have no suitable man..."

Maria couldn't help but laugh.

"And the Angevins? I'm sorry to disappoint you, but King Charles and the Valois claimant to his throne are both married. Charles' son is less than ten years of age. If the people of Sicily wish for me to wait 10 years before marrying..."

The Cardinal barked.

"Again, your majesty, this fool is nothing but a commoner. I don't know who let him in here, but he evidently has nothing to spew but lies and other idiotic words with little meaning."

"My father was a knight in the Neapolitan court, and I have not lied to you once your eminence. Two of my mother's brothers were indeed Archbishop of Palermo."

"If what you say is true, I suspect your mother was a member of the bastard Antioch line of the Hohenstaufens. How ironic."

"Yes. If you must know, you are correct... and my father was a member of the bastard Gesualdo line of the Hautevilles, but in Naples my family are celebrated and welcomed at court. In fact, my cousin was in Queen Giovanna's bedchambers on the daily basis. I apologize, your majesty, for wasting your time."

He bowed and began to leave, before guards stepped into his path and had him, along with several other members of the Angevin faction locked up. The Cardinal later apologized to the Queen, as did the count of Malta. All was peaceful, for the moment, and Maria had made it very clear that neither the French, Aragonese, or German factions were going to get their respective ways any time soon.

The daring young man was abruptly awoken in his sleep by guards in the middle of the night.

"You! Signore Altavilla, You have been summoned."

"You mean I'm free to go?"

"No. You have not been pardoned. The Queen has summoned for you."

The man was brought by four armed guards to the royal apartment, where Maria stood fully clothed, although the sun had long since departed.

"So, I'm told your name is Federico, and you live in your dead Aunt's husband's court?"

Federico nodded.

"Yes, your majesty. I was named 'Federico' after my mother's eldest brother."

"It seems everything you said last week was true. Your two uncles, your descent... The only thing I couldn't get an answer on was the claim about Queen Joanna and your cousin..."

Federico's face turned red. He was normally a very outgoing and daring man, but the queen had reduced him to blushing like a teenager.

"...I assure you, I wouldn't say a word to your majesty were it not the truth. The late Queen of Naples..."

"I have two questions for you, then. I expect honest answers or I will throw you back in that cell for the rest of your natural life. You spoke out against a Queen and a Cardinal, both very strong offenses."

"I will answer any questions you may have for me, my queen."

"That's just it. Why are you here? Why were you raised in Bavuso, and not in the royal court in Napoli? Your family have held a number of posts there, and are very wealthy, especially for a bastard line."

"I am the youngest son, and my mother's entire family, who had lived in Sicily for since the birth of Federico I is now entirely gone. My mother died giving birth to me, and my father, who recently died, shunned me as an infant. I was sent to live with my maternal aunt, who had no children of her own, and her husband, a man who was like a second father to me, who willed me his small barony."

"Such an amazing tale. Your mother a Hohenstaufen, your father a Hauteville, and you're standing here and not in a book of history. My final question is this: After hearing the arguments, do you honestly think I would best serve Sicily by marrying an Angevin prince? Their country is in the midst of a civil war, and there won't be any eligible suitors unless someone dies or I wait for nearly a decade."

"It is not my place to decide who my queen marries, but I would hate to see Sicily ruled by a foreign power. Naples has re-conquered Corfu and Durazzo, lands grabbed by Robert Guiscard from the Byzantines some 300 years ago. They are a much prettier option than Aragon."

"But neither are truly an option. Charles of Durazzo is married, his son a mere boy, not even a teenager. I am already past the age of twenty and I have still not encountered a man."

She giggled.

"You rude courtiers want me to wait until I'm over thirty, so that I'll be practically out of childbearing years before I'm even married. It's ridiculous."

Federico frowned.

"Well, your majesty, I am 31 myself, and I have yet to find a wife. Such is God's will, who am I to question it?"

Maria was noticably surprised.

"31? You look little older than I, and I'm only 21. That's impossible. You disappoint me. I expected the son of a royal knight to be honest. You're no different from 'them'."

She shouted for her guards and had Federico returned to his cell, herself retiring for the night only moments later.
 
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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

On a rainy Saturday, Cardinal Cusano appeared again at the royal court, this time he was uninvited, and yet he was welcomed and received audience with the queen.

"I apologize once again, your majesty, for my words before. However, I do not apologize for the content behind the words."

Maria bit her lip.

"Oh?"

The cardinal lowered his head and tried to keep his dignity intact.

"...You yourself stated that both the House of Anjou and the House of Barcelona have no realistic candidates for you to marry, and that you do not wish to wait ten years for such a person to become available. The Margrave of Meissen is virtually an adult..."

Maria sighed and rolled her eyes at the old German.

"If you were not a man of God I would throw you in shackles and you would be sitting next to your old friend, the bastard Norman."

The cardinal laughed.

"Such a rude young woman. You ask for advice, and then when it is offered..."

Maria couldn't help but laugh.

"Advice? How would such a marriage benefit the realm? Shall I placate in order to please the one or two people who actually believe the Wettins should rule? The entire world recognizes that Manfred was king, if for no other reason, then because his father, Frederick the first recognized him as his son. The idea that Manfred's children should be bypassed is ignoring the facts. Frederick named Manfred Prince of Taranto. What titles were bestowed upon my bastard brother? None, for obvious reasons."

The cardinal grasped for things to say, but could find none. Instead, he stormed off.

Afterwards, Maria recalled the conversation and spoke to herself aloud.

"Come to think of it, I've never met this man who is claimed to be my father's son... Perhaps I'll arrange to do so. It's not as if I have anyone other family left on this island..."

She laughed.

"The other bastard has an island of his own. Who on earth would ever want to live on Malta?"
 
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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

A worried looking man dressed in funny clothes was brought before the royal court.

"This madman shows no signs of being drunk and has been making accusations which have troubled locals. We were requested by many people to bring him to you to do with what you wish, your majesty."

Maria had been reading a book while sitting on her throne. She peered out of the book to catch a glimse of the man. He reminded her of her father, so she decided to hear his case.

"Have you nothing to say for yourself?"

The man stepped forward.

"BEWARE THE ROMAN PAPACY! THEY ARE TYRANTS!"

She laughed.

"Fear not, friend. In Sicily we remain loyal to His Holiness in Avignon."

"NOW, YES, BUT IN THE FUTURE..."

He interrupted himself to gasp. He remembered something.

"AND YOU CANNOT TRUST THE ARAGONESE..."

Maria had heard enough.

"I don't know who put you up to this, old man, but I am not going to listen to any more Neapolitan-faction drivel."

The old man scoffed.

"Foolish girl. I am not from Naples, but from Genoa. Who you marry matters not to me. Marry whom your heart desires, although a nice Greek could work out very well in the future."

The queen had not been exposed to such people often.

"Are you sure this man is not intoxicated? Anyway, what business has brought you from Genoa to Sicily? Trade?"

"Let's just say I was excommunicated by a Roman pontiff. He was a fool, and my people were foolish to listen. I am here to offer you my aid, Maria. I know everything you have done and everything you will do."

"Yes, it is true that Genoa does follow the false church in Rome... Hmm, for some reason I feel I can trust you. What is your name and your trade? Are you a gypsy? We do not tolerate..."

"I am Doria. I am skilled both as a seaman and as a diplomat. I commanded the Genovese fleet in several wars."

She thought about the recent Genovese/Venetian conflict. His words impressed her. She still wasn't sure, but she felt he could be of use.

"I shall permit you to be in court on a trial basis. If you prove to be of use, then I shall find a post for you, If not, you will be handed over to whomever it is that seeks you."

"Doria" didn't seem phased by this. It was as if he had no fear of being returned to Genoa or turned over to the Romans.

"In fact, since you have arrived and I handled you in a satisfactory manner, I think I am ready to meet with other foreign emissaries. Let it be known that court is now open in Palermo."
 
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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

Doria had been in court for less than a week before disaster struck. Luis was in town, and arranged for a meeting with his cousin, the queen.

"Your Majesty, the Maltese are complaining. Surely taxes can be raised elsewhere so that my head is not lost?"

"Sadly, Luis, that is not an option. Malta's taxes will not be altered. Now that Naples no longer claims our throne, and there is peace in Greece, we have to pay our military entirely out of the royal treasury, not from plunder."

"I understand, My Queen."

Luis turned to leave, but "Doria" walked up to him and addressed him.

"You are Don Luis, Count of Malta?"

Luis grinned.

"Ah, the fortune teller. I like him, Maria. You have a good eye for jesters."

Luis then patted "Doria" on the head and began to walk away. "Doria" grabbed his arm, turned him, and punched him in the face. Luis fell on the ground and his nose was bleeding. Guards ran to the scene and apprehended "Doria".

"This man is clearly disturbed. Lock him up until the Genovese request for him."

And with that, "Doria" was chained next to Federico. For two days, the two ignored eachother, until Federico broke the proverbial ice.

"What brings you to this fine establishment?"

"Oh, me? I knocked out the Count of Malta in front of Queen Maria and all of her court."

"Really? I can't stand that bastard. Why did you do it?"

"It was nothing he said or did, but something he's going to do... Well, not exactly, but..."

"Oh? What does he have planned? An Aragonese invasion?"

"No. Although they will take over, he has nothing to do with that. He's a traitor and a heathen."

"That doesn't surprise me. What sort of affairs is he involved in?"

"Not him specifically, but he must be involved. His daughter is going to marry a Turkish sultan!"

"His daughter is too young to marry... Oh, those Mohammedans like them young, don't they?"

"She's not going to marry him just yet, but it will happen. I know everything that's going to happen."

"How? Are you a gypsy fortuneteller or something?"

"Not at all. I just know. I'm not from here."

"What in heaven are you blabbering on about?"

He looked around.

"Not so loud! The guards may hear you. Anyway, I was traveling to the court in Palermo on my horse from my estate some 44 miles away, and it only took me a half of an hour. It was a miracle."

"How on earth..."

"I'm not done! Let me finish... Anyway, I was riding my favorite mare and she queifed something wretched and I kicked her for it. She got startled and began to run like something I have never seen. Somehow, I ended up here."

"I don't know what a mile is, but the story sounds absurd."

"Ask me anything. I'll prove it."

"Fair enough. How do I, Federico di Gesualdo d'Altavilla, Baron of Bavuso, die?"

"You die poor and destitute in Naples, many years from now."

"So I get out of this prison?"

"Certainly. After the queen marries, many years from now, her husband releases you..."

"Her husband? She's the queen, it should be her decision."

"Actually, she's rather pathetic as a monarch. She allows her husband to do all of the administrating of the kingdom."

"But, why doesn't she release me herself?"

"Perhaps she's infatuated with you, or perhaps she hates you. Honestly, I don't know much about you other than that your Barony is abolished after you flee to Naples."

"What of her husband?"

"Catalan. The crowns are reunited, eventually the Catalans take Naples, too."

"This is the devil's work. Who tells you these things?'

"Books. I told you, I'm not from here."

"...Do you worship Satan? You must be one of those devil worshiping..."

"Doria" interrupted. It seemed he was good at that.

"No, but ironically the Pope excommunicated me and I've been called such a thing."

"Which Pope?"

"The Roman Pope, of course. Avignon is destined to collapse."

This led to some intense thinking on Federico's part. If this knowledgable and yet somewhat deranged man was correct, he would lose his barony, Sicily would be annexed, and even Naples as well. He despised the Catalans, and found the queen mildly attractive. If what he said was true, and that the virgin queen was attracted to him, then he could use this to his advantage... However, no one had visited him since his arrest. It was unlikely that he would get the chance to attempt to trick the queen. However, several weeks later, the opportunity came. He was once again released from the cell and escorted to the throne room. The queen made her way into the room and addressed him.

"It turns out you told the truth. You really are as old as you say you are. You're an honest man, and I am ashamed of what I did to you."

She was visibly stressed about it.

"Go now, Signore. I will tell no one of this arrest, so that it may not harm you in the future."

The Queen then left the room to stare at the stars from her balcony. As it was unguarded Federico snuck into her apartment.

An hour later, the queen entered her bedchamber and changed into her sleepwear. This obviously aroused the bachelor Federico, but he was able to keep quiet. As the queen kneeled in prayer, Federico came up behind her.

"Forgive me your majesty, but you were not correct earlier."

She was startled.

"How dare you enter my quarters uninvited!"

He covered her mouth with his hand.

"My conscience directed me to do this, Maria. Let me tell you the truth."

He removed his hand. She stood up and listened to what he had to say. He hated to lie, but he was very good at it.

"I did not venture into your court by accident. I was sent here to assassinate you by the new King of Naples. He had Queen Joanna assassinated in a similar manner."

Maria was visibly shocked.

"He did not explain his reasoning to me, but I suspect upon your death he was to seize your lands at a time of his choosing, so that he may beat the Aragonese in doing so. He knows that you do not intend to marry an Angevin, and therefore, he sees this as the only solution."

Maria tried to at least pretend to keep control of the situation.

"And... Yet... You have not killed me..."

"That is because I did not have the heart to complete my mission. I have failed my father once again... But it was not intended to be this way. I simply fell in love with you when you first had me in this room, and then again when I saw you in your undergarments. I couldn't bring myself to stab you."

"Why... would King Charles do this? They renounced their claim ten years ago."

He continued to lie, wasting no time in order to make it seem like he didn't have to think about his answers.

"Because he intends to reconquer Sicily and afterwards he intends to recreate the Latin Empire in Greece. Athens would be a good base to do that from, and if he secures your throne... He has murdered before, and he has no problem with doing so again to further his agenda. Joanna's decision to throw out the claim on Sicily was not his. He will do as he pleases."

Maria had heard enough. She saw no knife, and she had been made a fool of. First she had him imprisoned, then he was redeemed, then she had to apologize, and now it turns out her instincts were correct. She was enraged.

"GUARDS!"

She walked backwards toward the door.

"I see no weapon. You have indeed failed your father, and your kingdom... Regardless of whether that may mean Sicily or Naples."

Three armed guards rushed into the room and stood in front of the queen.

"Your Majesty, I cannot allow you to return me to that cell. My life is over if you do."

"I will not return you to your cell. You are to be held elsewhere and executed at sunrise."

The men then apprehended him and took him to a dark room. He was beaten for over an hour and a burlap sack was placed on his head by another man who joined them.

"Can you hear me, lad? I am the executioner. You are to be hung, drawn, and quartered by order of Queen Maria. A particularly grim fate, but it's very popular in Northern Europe. Very fitting for a French traitor."

He was then taken outside and a large crowd had gathered. The Sun had not yet come up, so some in the crowd had torches. This enabled him to see somewhat. He was able to notice that the queen was in attendance. He made sure to face her while this ordeal went on.

A man read his crimes, and then his punishment. A rope was put around his neck, and the queen burst out in tears. Don Luis ordered the punishment to be delayed, and he was returned to the prison, but separated from "Doria" and any other prisoners.

Hours went by, still no word from the outside... until finally, a well-armed guard came to his cell. He had been able to manipulate the sack off of his head some time before, so he saw the man. He was just standing there and looking at a door.

Finally, after ten minutes, Maria herself came over to the cell.

She couldn't look Federico in the face. Instead she turned to the guard and spoke directly to him.

"This man has been pardoned. Open the cell."

She then turned around facing the door, so as to continue to avoid Federico. As her back was turned, the guard hit Federico over the head with the blunt handle of his sword as he entered the doorway to the cell.

Maria turned back at the guard and at Federico.

"Put your weapon away. The man whom you assaulted shall soon be your king. Bow as any good subject of Sicily would."

The guard was shocked. Everyone had by now heard rumors of all sorts of treason-related crimes he may have engaged in. He clumsily fell down as he attempted to bow before Federico.

Federico himself was stunned.

"No, no. As of this moment I am but a baron, and you, sir, are a braver man than I. Rise."

Maria still wouldn't speak to him, but had a room prepared for him to stay at in one of her other palaces. It still wasn't clear why she decided to marry him, or even why she forgave him, but he didn't have time to question her motives. If he refused to trust her, she could have him killed instantly. Besides, marrying her was his intention when he broke into her room. He just didn't assume it would go the way it did. He wasn't so great at the wooing, but luckily it seemed as if he didn't have to try very hard to get her anyway. "Doria" had been right.
 
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Oct 24, 2003
732
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Arrival of Ambassador of the Ragusa at Court of Sicily


Ulfo Lukarevic

Ambassador of Ragusa to the Kingdom of Sicily looked around the land and smiled. He ultimately arrived at Palermo, once the richest city in the Europe...

His son is at Ferrara, a light occupation for him but to get the rank of one of the most important ambassador in the Ragusa is indeed a high praise. Not like that death pact if you go to Roman Empire

He then went to the guards and told them that he is Ambassador of Ragusa to the Kingdom of Sicily to discuss about trade and other issues.
 

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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

The man was brought before the queen, who seemed perplexed.

"When you say Ragusa, you mean the Respublica Ragusina, I hope? When the Sicilian town of Ragusa starts sending diplomats to Palermo, I'm going to have to worry."

She laughed. A few suck-up courtiers did the same.

"What brings our trade partner Ragusa here? Have you a shortage in grain?"
 
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Oct 24, 2003
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Audience with the Queen


Ulfo Lukarevic

Ulfo bowed creakly and smiled.

Ulfo I should have known, please accept my request for forgiveness. Well, the city warehouses are still packed with grains but sadly troubles between Kingdoms of Hungary, Naples and Sicily strained our abilities a bit.

He frowned with doubt for a short moment and smiled

Ulfo Respublica Ragusina was curiously if a formal trading treaty can be established between us and the great Kingdom of Sicily? We export silvers from the mines of Serbia as well several other basic goods. Does this sound fine proposal?

Ulfo's eyes narrowed curiously.
 

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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

Maria looked somewhat interested.

"What does Ragusa seek in return?"
 

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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

-"Reflections"-

Federico may have been born with a Hauteville surname, but he was raised by his aunt as a Hohenstaufen. Perhaps he would be the last person on this earth to have that luxury. He was not welcome in the building that housed the "Magna curia" of Frederick the First, Holy Roman Emperor, his ancestor and perhaps his namesake. That was Maria's court, and she was still not speaking with Federico.

Not knowing the city well and having been banned from the court, he chose to go to the Cathedral. It was where Roger, the first king was buried, and, more importantly to Federico, it was where Frederick I, his father Henry I, and his mother Constance were buried. They were the ones that had shaped Sicilian history. Constance was the last Hauteville ruler, even if her husband did most of the ruling. Frederick I was Sicily's greatest king and their proudest creation. He was raised and lived most of his life in Sicily, and the world feared him. The story of a thousand year reich that he and his heirs would rule did not come to pass, but his kingdom was still the envy of the Mediterranean world some 100+ years after his death.

As he walked around admiring the Cathedral, he thought of the fates of "Conradin" and of "Manfredo". Both of them slaughtered by Charles of Anjou, a man who stole their kingdoms and had the audacity to purchase a claim on Conradin's throne of Jerusalem after he murdered Corrado in cold blood, exterminating the legitimate Hohenstaufen dynasty. Sadly, the world had not become a better place in the past century, with Charles' heirs using the same violent tactics their ancestor did in order to obtain power and wealth from eachother.

He was alone, so he felt free to speak aloud to himself.

"Where is the justice? Charles d'Anjou was not punished for his murdering of Conradin and of Manfredo. He would never become King of France so he decided to steal someone else's life. He usurped Sicily's throne and lived to a ripe old age. He never even grew up an heir in his father's court, as he was born Posthumously. I bet he was a bastard, too."

He gazed into a fountain and saw his reflection. He stared at himself momentarily.

"It's eerie. I am the spitting image my ancestor Roger Borsa d'Altavilla. If memory serves me, he fought his brother Bohemund for the throne of Apulia and defeated him after some impressive battles and sieges. Perhaps this is a sign of providence. Perhaps the deity has given me this appearance to suggest something more meaningful."

He continued walking

"The man who the scholars call Charles the First of Sicily was never punished for his sins... But here I am engaged to marry the Queen of Sicily. Should I produce a child, the Hauteville dynasty, even if it's a bastard line, will be on the throne... And in the blood of my descendants will flow the blood of the Hohenstaufens. Charles the First didn't pay, and maybe I won't have the opportunity to make this murderer, his namesake, Charles the Third pay, but some Neapolitan usurper named Charles will inevitably have his head removed... And it will be done for Manfredo.. for Conradin.. and for Sicily."

He had talked himself thirsty and went to find lodging.
 
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Audience with the Queen


Ulfo Lukarevic

Ulfo frowned for the moment thoughtfully.

Ulfo For a start, freedom of trade between the Republic of Ragusa and the Kingdom of Sicily would be ideal. As the King of Naples does not seems to like us anymore.

He frowned with annoyance.

Ulfo He demand that we acknowledge him as the King of Hungary and Overlord of Ragusa. Of course, the Queen is crowned and the so called King of Hungary is sitting in Naples doing nothing.

But since the ties between the Kingdom of Sicily and the Republic of Ragusa is old and much more favourable advantages compared to the Kingdom of Naples.

The Republic of Ragusa will be happy to give discount on hides, leather, wool and wax while the Kingdom of Sicily could give discount on wines and grains. May I ask what else does the Kingdom of Sicily export?

May I also ask what is your view about the Republic of Venice? I am not sure about the extent of the knowledge you held about inner working about trade, but may I finally enquire what are the tolls and traiffs on merchants?
 

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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
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Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily

The queen smiled after hearing Naples mentioned.

"We aren't too fond of Charles. That entire family functions on cannibalizing the blood of eachother in order to further their own political desires. As for Venice, they control the island of Euboea and the surrounding lands in the Aegean, which are rightfully part of the Athenian Duchy. At this moment, we do not have any government trade agreement with Venice, nor are we in a rush to change that statistic."

Maria's look then became serious.

"Salic law is immoral, and the last King of Hungary made it very clear that Hungary was abandoning that practice. Queen Maria is the legal and rightful ruler in Hungary. No amount of violence or fist-waving will change that fact"

She then softened to speak of trade between Ragusa and Sicily.

"Sicily are proud of our vast resources. We have a variety of fruits, including a monopoly on the olive trade. We have a large surplus of honey, of cattle, of almonds, of sulphur, and a variety of other things."
 

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Man of Honour
Dec 14, 2003
63
0
Bavuso, Kingdom of Sicily

-"The Pen is Mightier..."-

Out of the proverbial loop, Federico returned to Bavuso. He began weighing his political options, which occupied a lot of his time. Would he "convert" to supporting the Avignon faith? Would he be forced to during his wedding ceremony? Would the wedding even happen? He had been told by Doria that Maria was simple, weak, and had the personality of a puppet. It seemed as if Federico had somehow reversed the roles with his trip to her bedroom.

As he sat outside admiring the sunset on a warm Saturday evening, one of his servants approached him with a letter. The date had been decided upon, and he would be soon required in Palermo, giving rather short notice.

He decided that he would leave it up to fate to see if this was his destiny. He sent a letter of his own back to Maria, moving the date back a few weeks and making changes to her plans for the ceremony. If she refused and put a price on his head, he could always flee to Naples or to Rome. If she accepted, he would know that this event was backed by the divine.

For days, he received no response, until Tuesday when a detachment of guards arrived in Bavuso. He was summoned by the leader of the guards, who told him he was to come with them.

Federico pulled out his sword.

"I will do no such thing until you tell me my answer, or at least where I am to be taken."

The guard hesitated, but begrudgingly agreed to tell him.

"Her Majesty, Queen Maria the First of Sicily has agreed to your terms. You are to be escorted to Palermo so that you may be protected from Catalan or Neapolitan elements who may wish you harm."

"Alright.", he couldn't help but to think once again about what Doria had said. Maria had ordered for him to be executed, then decided to pardon and marry him, and now she agreed to his demands to move the wedding back. Perhaps the old man was telling the truth.

After arriving in Palermo, Federico wanted to meet with Doria again, but he was still banned from the Palazzo dei Normanni. He began to have second thoughts. While it was true he was ultimately descended from great men who were brave, powerful, feared, and envied, Federico himself was but a rural noble of minor status. From his temporary residence, he penned a letter to the Avignon Pope that he would send out the night of the wedding. It felt awkward for him for many reasons.

Firstly, he was writing to a man who he saw as a heretic. He believed that the true Vicar of Christ was the Roman pontiff.

Secondly, according to the terms of his agreement with Maria, he was to change his name, seal, and signature. This was even more uncomfortable, as it made him feel as if he was losing his proverbial manhood.

And thirdly, as the Avignon Pope resided (obviously) in France, he felt that the letter should in French, a language he had not spoken or written a word of since he was a teenager.

However, those problems aside, he was able to write the letter. However, he hesitated and procrastinated before writing the final paragraph.

He looked back at Maria's "terms" stated in the letter, and read two lines of it over and over again to himself.

"As you are becoming a monarch there are certain responsibilities that are not up for debate. The monarch is the symbol of the state. Your choice of surname states to the world that you are of illegitimate descent. Future monarchs of Sicily cannot have such a mark of disgrace on them. You are to re-adopt the surname d'Altavilla, used by your line until the early 13th century."

He threw the paper down and continued to procrastinate, using Marsala wine to be his therapy. Still, he could not wait forever. Eventually, he grew too tired to hold it off. He finished the letter and signed it. He was to create his own dynasty, and if he would need to resurrect an old name to do it, so be it. The gains outweighed his losses by a very large margin.

"Frédéric IV de Hauteville
Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de Sicile"


It was done. He was not king yet, but by the time that letter was going to be read, he would be. He sealed the letter and placed it in the pocket of his overcoat, which he was no longer wearing. The actual date was still weeks away, but he wanted to get all of the bothersome "chores" related to it done with as soon as he could. God only knew who Maria would be inviting. He had no say in who was invited, and it was unlikely that any of his relatives would be in attendance. However, one person who was going to be at the wedding was completely of Federico's choosing. There would be two priests officiating, one of each Catholic church. That was a significant victory, enough to make him sleep comfortably, even though he wasn't extremely fond or loyal to Rome by any means. Maria conceded that he could keep his faith, even though he wasn't a very religious or pious man. It was mostly a symbolic victory.
 
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Meddler Supreme
Oct 24, 2003
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Audience with the Queen


Ulfo Lukarevic

Ulfo smiled thoughtfully.

Ulfo I agreed with you on the subjects on Naples, Athens and Hungary quite fully.

Ulfo's eyes alight with the mention of olives, almonds, and sulphur.

Ulfo These are nice goods, and sell well up north. Are there are goods you may require?