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phargle

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Solomon of Itil


ScreenSave0.jpg


Dec. 30th, 1066

It would not be sufficient to describe the story of my life as strange. For a man of humble birth dwelling as a stranger in a strange land, my experiences may be more forcefully called impossible or perhaps miraculous. I favor miraculous; God has caused many wonderful and terrible things to happen to me, and I can look back upon what I have done and know that I shined with a unique light. I have been blessed with wisdom and a full life, and few men could hope for more than that. I am not such a man. I am Solomon of Itil. It has been my lot these many years to serve as a physician in the villa Perpinyá. Gausfred d'Empuries was the count of Rosselló and was a good man; for him, my ability as a courtier transcended whatever problems might stem from my religion. It was Gausfred's patronage that led to my introduction to Ramon Berenguer, the powerful Duke of Catalan. We traveled together to Barcelona, where Gausfred offered his leige my services as a healer for his son, who was feverish after having been bitten by a snake. I served my lord well that day, but the second time I met the duke I was alone, and I regret the failures that made such a meeting necessary. It is perhaps out of guilt that I feel compelled to write my story now.

- - - - - - - - - -​

In which Solomon settles in. (Dec. 30th, 1066 to Mar. 27th, 1067)
In which war with Zaragoza begins. (Sep. 25th, 1067 to Jun. 2nd, 1068)
In which Miraglia and Solomon argue. (Sep. 1st, 1068 to Dec. 29th, 1068)
In which Solomon realizes his true feelings. (Feb. 8th, 1069 to Sep. 11th, 1070)
In which Solomon and Miraglia miss an opportunity. (Sep. 13th, 1070 to Nov. 3rd, 1070)
In which Solomon and Miraglia reconcile. (Dec. 8th, 1070 to Jan. 9th, 1071)
In which Solomon fathers a child. (Mar. 25th, 1071 to Nov. 1st, 1072)
In which Miraglia's disease is confronted. (Jan. 20th, 1073 to Jan. 1st, 1074)
In which Solomon meets Philippe Capet. (Feb. 17th, 1074 to Aug. 1st, 1074)
In which Solomon darkens and war threatens. (Nov. 11th, 1074 to Jan. 1st, 1076)
In which Solomon raises a family and avoids the war. (Jan. 10th, 1076 to Oct. 24th, 1077)
In which Solomon errs. (Jul. 28th, 1077 to Feb. 9th, 1079)
In which Miraglia asks Solomon to stay. (Mar. 5th, 1079 to Jul. 12th, 1079)
In which Solomon reasons with darkness. (Jul. 22nd, 1079 to Sep. 10th, 1079)
In which Solomon makes a fateful decision. (Sep. 26th, 1079 to Dec. 25th, 1079)
In which Solomon leaves Miraglia in Rosselló. (Jan. 19th, 1080 to Jul. 31st, 1081)
In which Solomon distances himself from despair. (Aug. 6th, 1081 to Aug. 5th, 1082)
In which loneliness fosters despair. (Sep. 21st, 1082 to Dec. 24th, 1083)
In which Solomon forsakes something. (Jul. 12th, 1084 to Nov. 21st, 1084)
In which a seed of Solomon's dissent is laid. (Dec. 11th, 1084 to Jan. 21st, 1085)
In which Solomon casts out the priests. (Jan. 30th, 1085 to Mar. 2nd, 1086)
In which Solomon drifts further away from Rosseló. (Apr. 4th, 1086 to Nov. 22nd, 1086)
In which Solomon is left with nothing. (Dec. 17th, 1086 to Jun. 26th, 1087)
In which Huddan comes of age. (Dec. 1st, 1087 to Sep. 15th, 1088)
In which Solomon is a witness to portents. (Oct. 6th, 1088 to Feb. 15th, 1089)
In which Solomon has visions of the future. (Oct. 15th, 1089 to Oct. 19th, 1090)
In which Solomon prepares for Sancho's war. (Jun. 25th, 1091 to Jun. 14th, 1093)
 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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A new AAR, already.

A jewish courtier in Rosello, that should be interesting
 

Murmurandus

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That guy can join my court anytime. Look at his stats... :eek:
 

unmerged(51253)

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I'm definitely going to follow this, and you could say that's something, because I don't leave my HOI2 that much at all. Was a big fan--even though I was a bit too late--of the Fall of the Kingdom of Poland. Definitely interested in how this one will turn out.
 

phargle

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In which Solomon settles in.

Solomon of Itil


ScreenSave2.jpg


Dec. 30th, 1066 (cont.)

I am unsure who will read these words, or of why I feel compelled to write. All I can say is that, should this journal be found and read, know that I am not looking back upon my life from afar. This is a journal rather than a history. The moment of quiet that has given me an opportunity to record my thoughts is the first pause I've enjoyed in the past several weeks. Indeed, it is the first pause for many in Rosselló. The winter of 1066 tested us dearly and many of us are still mourning. I suppose I should explain. It began with Guislabert d'Empuries, the eldest son of the count. I still do not know what illness he contracted while riding in Urgell, but it was indiscriminate, swift, and merciless. Guislabert was already dying when he came to me. Within days, the entire court had been wiped out. This is why I do not feel that I earned the praise lavished upon my by the lord duke. I saved several of Count Gausfred's cousins and prevented the plague from spreading, but I should have done more. I excused myself early from the feast, which felt more like a funeral than a noble investiture. That is why I am in my quarters. In the quiet.

ScreenSave00.jpg

I was not surprised when Ramon Berenguer took me aside and informed me of his plans. He said the plague in Rosselló left him without capable administrators for the region, and it was too important to leave to a child's regent. He said I showed resourcefulness and skill when I helped stop the plague from leaving the villa Perpinyá. And he said he wanted me to assume the role of count. I asked all the right questions; would my religion hurt his position; what did he expect of me financially and militarily; what were my obligations regarding marriage. Ramon assured me that my faith would be respected and that I could rule as I see fit provided that I sent taxes and soldiers to Barcelona. But enough. I am tired of writing and have no talent for it. I said yes, and now I must find advisors. But first I must sleep, for without sleep a man can go mad. S.

ScreenSave4.jpg


Jan. 8th, 1067

What a week it has been! Things go well in the villa Perpinyá. A middle-aged lady of the court named Raimunda de Durban agreed to be my steward, and we immediately got to the business of running the county. I must keep an eye on Raimunda, for I believe she has a greedy streak. Nonetheless, she has a splendid eye for ability. She suggested Peronella Despuig, a young girl with a surprising talent for penmanship and writing, to assist with diplomatic correspondences. Peronella is young, but she will grow into the post. I have hopes that her strong Christianity will keep her unwed so that she can serve for many years. Raimunda's other selection gave me pause, however.

ScreenSave5.jpg

Miraglia, a woman from the province of Urgell. She is very young, more so than Peronella, and she has a strong temper. I sense a vengeful streak in this girl. Raimunda thinks that Miraglia would be an excellent source of information since the girl knows so many people and has a talent for getting them to divulge secrets. All I know is that I feel a little unsettled around Miraglia, and am uncomfortable with her being in the court. However, I trust Raimunda's judgement and have appointed Miraglia as she requested. Hopefully, our tasks will keep us apart. We should both be very busy, since Miraglia must visit the barons and ascertain their loyalties, and I must work with Raimunda to recover the forests that were lost when we burned out the plague. We also have the task of raising the Barcelona-Urgell lads. Ramon placed them in my custody when the plague killed their father. Ermengol and Ramon, the two eldest, are already lost causes at the ages of 11 and 10. They are proud, vengeful, and cruel. Perhaps I can see to Ermengol's club foot, which may do some good, but I will focus my attentions on the younger two, Guillem and young Berenguer. There is hope that they will grow up into fine young men. S.

ScreenSave8.jpg


Mar. 9, 1067

Peronella left the court a week ago. My sense of her religious nature was off, although I do congratulate her on her marriage to Ermengol d'Empuries. He's the duke's cousin and a fine match for the girl. It's just that it will be difficult to find a replacement. Raimunda is recommending a Jewish woman named Ruth who she says has a talent for making sense of the confusing alliances of Catalan. She was right about Peronella and that blonde girl, so I think I'll trust her judgement once again. Speaking of that blonde girl, Miraglia came by my quarters today to announce that Fruela de Leon had asked for her hand of marriage. He's the second son of the Count of Asturias de Oviedo, but he's also a deformed, sinful man with no sense of moderation. And he suffers from a wasting disease. I began to slowly explain that Miraglia could marry the man if that was what she wanted, and then she laughed at me and said she wanted no such thing, and merely wanted to see the expression on my face when she told me about it. That girl vexes me. I wrote a nice letter to the count expressing my desire to keep Miraglia in my service, and spent the rest of the afternoon wondering how I ever came to develop a reputation for wisdom. S.

Mar. 23, 1067

Ruth de Corbera accepted and is now my new chancellor. She's impeccably honest and trusting, and a capable diplomat. Raimunda made another excellent choice. And although she's nearly thirty, she's attractive and in good health. And she shares the faith of my mother. Could God have put this woman in my path for another purpose? I was asking Raimunda of the wisdom of marrying Ruth, but Miraglia overheard us and interrupted. The girl said that Ruth was too old, and the barons would question the legitimacy of any child we produced because it would not be believable for Ruth to bear a child at such an age. She also said that I should seek a Catholic bride, and then made a disparaging comment about me that I will not repeat here. Suffice to say that it was a flippant remark that only an impetuous child could make, and I was not offended. Ruth can still bear children, I informed her of that much, but perhaps she is correct on how it will be perceived. I also ordered her to apologize, and she did. In any case, it was the counsel of Raimunda that any thoughts of marriage are premature, and I agree. S.

ScreenSave13.jpg


Mar. 27, 1067

I sketched this drawing of Ruth. My skills as a quick artist are developing. It's apparent that Ruth is a fine woman, but I cannot get what Miraglia said out of my mind. I have tried to find distraction in work. There is much to be done with the forest project, and Raimunda and I must meet with the burghers of Urgall when winter comes. S.

 
Last edited:

Veldmaarschalk

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Ruth is indeed a bit old for Solomon
 

Specialist290

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Hmm... Guess I was wrong about the "courtier" part. Well, interesting nevertheless.

I'm tempted to ask, though, if you're using some sort of mod that allows you to play as a non-Christian dynasty, or if you've just managed by editing the save or scenario files a little.
 

phargle

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Fiftypence - I wanted a guy who was wise and with enough martial skill that he'd inherit after I made the realm elective and F-12 died the count.

Burke - I'm humbled to have dragged you out of HOI2, and hope to finish the Poland saga. It'll get updated sometime in the next few weeks, even even though I don't get what people see in it, I'm glad you like it! In the meantime, hopefully you enjoy this.

Murmurandus - You sound like you're posting in a metrosexual Knud thread!

Specialist290 - Not from a courtier, but from an unlikely count. But . . that's a good idea, and I'll try that next. "Today I demanded a better job." "Today I gained prestige." "Today I commanded an army even though I am just a steward." "Today, I went insane and proclaimed myself the messiah." I'll be a saga for the ages. Oh, and I am using the mod that lets you play as non-Christian characters.

Veldmaarschalk - I hope it's still interesting, because I finished the screenshots and now I just need to do a few dozen posts. And have no fear. Solomon finds a wife.
 

phargle

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In which war with Zaragoza begins.

Solomon of Itil


ScreenSave14.jpg


Sept. 25th, 1067

The summer in the villa Perpinyá passed quickly. We were fortunate in that the weather was mild and kind; God sent us rain in sufficient measure to restore the forests and let us reclaim the wastelands around Rosselló! My hands seem permanently cracked with dirt, but it is Raimunda's remarkable stewardship that cannot be credited enough for the recovery of our land's greenery. The site of young trees clinging to the earth has put me in a good mood for the first time since winter. I am even able to deal with the capricious and incalculable Miraglia. For certain, she has proven to be a far more capable spy master than I first thought possible, once again vindicating Raimunda and her judge of ability. But the girl says the most impossible things! A week or more ago, I was in my study late at night when the girl came to me to report on happenings in the south. Her presence at such a late hour alarmed me, for it was improper and furthermore I did not expect anyone else to still be awake. Even so, I allowed her to give her report. It seems the looming war has unsettled the burghers and we must hold a meeting before Christmas. Her information was impeccable and startling in its accuracy, but then she inquired if there were other courtly positions to which she could be assigned. An innocent question, but I sent her away with no answer. I am still searching for a suitable groom to whom I can marry her away. S.

Nov. 21st, 1067

Council meeting at La Seu d'Urgell went well. Miraglia correct in assessment. Counseled Ruth to negotiate settlement. Two burghers appointed to council. S.

ScreenSave22.jpg


Jan. 11th, 1068

A Jew from Thous fled to my court today. His name is Kuddana and he was the victim of some persecution by a French nobleman. I welcomed him, and ordered Ruth to present the Frechman with a gift of sixteen gold ducats to settle the affair. It turns out his arrival was fortuitious, for he brought news that verified that of which Miraglia had already warned me; war in the south is coming and may even be days away. The nobles in France have been urging the pope himself to call a crusade against the Moors. It is my estimation that it will come to that, but not until the Spanish lords prove themselves. I fear my lord Ramon knows this as well. S.

ScreenSave27.jpg


Jan. 15th, 1068

The king of Castile declared war against the Emirate of Zaragoza days ago, and Duke Ramon announced that Catolonia would assemble its armies as well. A rider came to my court just yesterday with news that the duke wished Rosselló to raise a levy of a thousand men. I aim to surpass that expectation; we are not lacking for enthusiastic men. There is, however, a shortage of generals. I reluctantly permitted Kuddana to oversee the levy at La Seu d'Urgell. The man has no head for military matters and is much better suited to feasts and banquets, but he is of high birth and has a talent for logistics. News reached me this afternoon that he raised over four hundred soldiers, an impressive feat in the sparsely-populated hills of Urgell. Preparations to leave begin tomorrow and will continue throughout the next two weeks. Miraglia begged me not to go. It is her belief that Ramon will keep our conquests for himself and that we will die for nothing. I told her that my fealty would prove the loyalty of Spain's Jews. I suspect she is correct, but is there not honor in obeying one's liege? S.

Jan. 28th, 1068

I am still in Rosselló, although we are a day ahead of schedule and will be marching south by mid-morning. However, something happened today that bears recording. A messenger with a strange accent was introduced into my quarters as a servant was assisting me with my armor. I ordered the page to continue and invited the foreigner to speak. He was a Welshmen and claimed to be an emissary of Bleddyn Duke of Gwynedd. Imagine the will I had to exert to maintain my calm when I was told that the duke was inquiring about the availability of one Miraglia! Of course, I am a diplomat by nature and by training, so I declined tactfully and instructed the messenger to convey my sincere regrets to the duke. Wales is so remote and backward even compared to the isolation of the villa Perpinyá, and the duke is a selfish man besides. It would be an unkindness to send Miraglia there. The difficult part in all of this is I am certain that the girl overheard my conversation with the messenger. I witnessed a blend of smugness and distance in her face when I rode past my advisors to take charge of my army. S.

ScreenSave31.jpg


May 14th, 1068

War is filthy business. The last few months have been spent miles from home in the soggy hills of Zaragoza. The Muslims in the fortress refuse to surrender, and I do not begrudge them this decision. Atrocities are common on both sides. My men know I will not tolerate such things, but the Muslims do not yet know my name. In the meantime, we must endure the mud and the muck. My arm has not swung a sword, nor my voice commanded an assault; for us, war is waiting. This has cursed us all with hours during which our only company remains our own wandering minds. Discipline in the camp has been difficult, but I sympathize, for my own mind keeps drifting back to Rosselló. Surely Raimunda is doing well? Surely she would send a messenger if she needed counsel? And yet the only letter was two months ago, notifying me that a French count had met Miraglia at a banquet and wished to make her his bride. Depending on how much time passes between my writing of these words and your reading of it, you may not have heard of Adhémar of Limousin, but know that in my time his reputation for cruelty is the stuff of peasant bogeymen. And he is twice Miraglia's age! The thought of wedding the poor girl to that French monster chilled me more than dampness of the siege, and I wasted no time in dispatching a messenger back to the villa Perpinyá to convey my refusal to Raimunda. No doubt she already knows my mind, but I felt compelled to be doubly sure. I had hoped that putting two hundred miles between me and Rosselló would set my mind at ease regarding Miraglia, but such a distance appears to be nothing but a minor obstruction to her ability to vex me. S.

Jun. 2nd, 1068

A Moorish rider entered my camp under a banner of truce to convey a message from his emir. It seems that the king of Castile road home a week ago after accepting tribute from Zaragoza. The messenger told me that my armies were ordered to disperse and return to Rosselló, and that any refusal would be met with war not merely upon my men as servants of the Christian duke, but upon my own county as well. I could not accept, and the messenger apologized, for he and I were now at war. His grace was impressive, so I permitted him to stay and dine with me as we discussed things of interest to men of learning. We broke bread and spoke of God, politics, war, and women - topics of conflict among lesser men. I have no doubt that my camp, as Spartan as it is, was for him a welcome escape from the besieged city. S.

 
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Estonianzulu

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This is a most interesting tale, quiet an enjoyable read so far. Keep it up, I am curious to see how far this lowly courtier/count will climb
 

phargle

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In which Miraglia and Solomon argue.

Solomon of Itil


ScreenSave38.jpg


Sep. 1st, 1068

I write this entry in the Aljaferia palace in Zaragoza. The emir fled days ago, and the fighting within the city walls was mercifully brief. My command of the siege gave me authority to spare the palace itself, and my decision appears to have been correct. Such architecture! Such magnificance! The Moors of Spain have bequeathed great beauty to us, if only we have the eyes to see it and the wisdom to not destroy it. Ramon, who assumed control of Zaragoza from me via an emissary, will no doubt be pleased with my decision to leave the buildings intact. He and I see eye to eye on the issue of how warfare should be conducted. It is one of the reasons I respect the man as much as I do. Unfortunately, my stay in Zaragoza will be short as we must head east before winter settles into the mountains. If we march swiftly and do not encounter any problems, we should reach La Seu d'Urgell before November. I plan to winter there, and hopefully see many people I have missed. I even wish to see Miraglia, even if I must admit to her that she was right about Ramon. S.

ScreenSave39.jpg


Sep. 19th, 1068

The Moors intercepted our caravan in Lleida. After months of nothing but marching and sieging with only a short battle to satisfy them, the men were eager to fight. Even Kuddana showed great bravery in rallying the weary soldiers to drive off the enemy raiders. We were blessed in that we did not meet the main Muslim army, so the raid should only delay us a day or two. It is a day or two I pray I do not miss when I reach the end of my life. S.

Oct. 29, 1068

Although I arrived in La Seu d'Urgell two days past, things have been very busy and there has not been time to indulge in my journals. The armies needed to be quartered for the winter, messages needed to be sent to my lord Ramon, and all of us needed rest. For some of us, rest was not so forthcoming. I am speaking, of course, of the problems inflicted upon me by Miraglia. It seems five months ago the woman received yet another request for her hand in marriage, this time from a Castillian count named Pedro. I have met Pedro and know him as a simple and kind man, and found myself stammering when informing Miraglia that I needed her to remain in Rosselló. That was when she handed me a second scroll. This one was ornately decorated with gold and jewels, and the scroll it contained was penned by a talented hand. It was a message from the brother of the King of Sweden! Prince Halsten wrote that he heard tales of my troublesome spy master's beauty and wished to court her with my permission and blessing. Of course, I would not give it, and I had to urge Miraglia to be quiet when I tried to explain that Halsten only wanted to use her as an excuse to send soldiers to the crusade in Spain. She shouted that she did not want to marry Halsten, and I asked her what she was so angry about if she didn't want to marry the man. I still have the scroll because she threw it at me and stormed away. What is wrong with the girl? Can she not see that even men like Halsten are unsuitable and would only use her? S.

Oct. 29, 1068 (cont)

I note that I refered to Miraglia as a woman in my previous entry. I have only done this once before, and that was before I met the troublesome, irritating, constantly vexing, brilliant young girl. S.

ScreenSave41.jpg


Dec. 29th. 1068

As I pick up my quill to write about the day's events, I note that my last entry was not so dissimilar from what I intend to write today. Raimunda and I met last night to discuss the county's finances, and we found that our coffers totalled over one hundred gold ducats. This princely sum is enough to begin rebuilding Rosselló's forests in earnest, a quest on which my heart has been set for two years. We were both up quite late discussing the possibilities, planning the expenditure, plotting how we would make it work, when Miraglia walked in. I do not think she expected me to have company at such a late hour because she fixed an unpleasant look upon my loyal steward. Raimunda handled the situation with delicate grace and politely excused herself. Once she was gone, Miraglia did not hold back. She angrily demanded to know why I was wasting my time on forests when I could use the funds to send a delegation to Rome. As usual, I flustered and asked what she meant, but I knew to what she was refering; for such a sum of gold, the pope would not think twice about granting me the old title Charlemagne created. Duke of the Spanish Marche, it was. My usual explanations about responsibility and humility were cut short even faster than I expected. Miraglia said I was afraid and that I was wasting my talents, and that I should be so much more than a mere servant of a minor Spanish duke, and asked for what I was saving myself when opportunity was staring me right in the face. When I mentioned loyalty to Ramon, she struck me several times and started crying, and that's when she fled my chamber. I apologized to her the next day, and she to me, but there is a tenseness between us now that cannot be ignored. S.

Dec. 29th. 1068 (cont.)

The new year arrived early. A messenger from Barcelona informs me that Duke Ramon is already in Calatayud and urgently needs men. In truth, I should like to get away from La Seu d'Urgell. It is not home. S.

 
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Murmurandus

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phargle said:
...

Murmurandus - You sound like you're posting in a metrosexual Knud thread!

...

Just reread my post... You're right... Thanks for robbing it in... :D

... Just when someone's trying to post something useful... :mad: :D

... As I can't do any better, I shall refrain, no ... just continue as usual... :p
 

Snake IV

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You start a new AAR without telling? Oh you little :p
 

phargle

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In which Solomon realizes his true feelings.

Solomon of Itil


ScreenSave44.jpg


Feb. 8th, 1069

Our arrival in Catalayud two days ago didn't bring any surprises. We found the duke's armies arrayed around the city on the hill, and they were just as tired and dirty as we had been back in Zaragoza. The men, already experts at this sort of thing, got to work immediately. At first, it seemed like both armies would remain separate, but Ramon insisted that I take command of the combined forces. My relationship with the duke has strengthened over the past few months; I was able to insist on conditions. If it is victory that God has destined for us at Catalayud, it is my strictest order that the soldiers conduct themselves as liberators, not as barbarians. I think Ramon is pleased, both with my request and with my general conduct. It seems I have a talent for warfare. Would that opportunity for such a talent to develop never have occured, for I would sleep easier at night not knowing the things of which I am capable. The events at Lleida have never left my mind, except on the occasions when I have time to myself. It is then that I can think of home. I miss the villa Perpinyá and the wise counsel of Raimunda. I even miss Miraglia, and find myself thinking that I would trade a day in the hills of Catalayud for a week of her tempests. More than a week, I should say. S.

Sep. 25st, 1069

It took seven months for the Moors to surrender the city, but we are now on the road to Albarracin. With winter ruining many roads and blocking the trails through the mountains, it may take as long as three months to get there. We will not be returning home this winter, not even to the house in Urgell. Of the siege itself, I will not speak, except to say that there has been no news from Rosselló. I would have given much to hear even one message. S.

ScreenSave48.jpg


Jan. 16th, 1070

We crested the steep hills in Albarracin to the sight of Ramon and his riders assaulting a small band of Moorish warriors. Kuddana and I were not needed, but I felt compelled to do what I could to end the fight swiftly, and I ordered an attack. I mercifully did not need to draw my sword except to initiate the charge. Ramon and I greeted one another at the point where the hills crossed one another, and he was of good cheer after his victory. He also announced that he had news for me, and that he would see me that evening. I was then given charge of the army and commanded to lead them to the city, and Ramon and I discussed military matters as we rode. My thoughts, however, were of what news the duke had for me. Could it be what I hope it is? I managed to lose myself in the work of setting up camp for awhile, but there is only so much a man of my position can do before the men, seeking to show respect and prove themselves, insist on me leaving so they can do the work themselves. Everyone is now settling in for the siege of Albarracin, and I have retired to my tent -

Jan. 16th, 1070 (cont)

It is late. My previous journal entry was interrupted by the arrival of Ramon. He spoke of the war and the good news in the west, telling me that many more Spanish lords had joined the crusade against the Moors. It is with some guilt that I admit that I found his relish for this thing to be distasteful, but I conducted myself as a good host and spoke as a vassal ought. Then Ramon presented me with scrolls. Messages from Rosselló! Surely he sensed my eagerness to read them, for he left quickly after we dined on a light supper of olives, bread and wine. To my surprise, there was not one message but many. I forced myself to read Raimunda's first, and carefully focused on each deliberately-scribed word as she described the completion of our forestry project. Completed in time for the new year! We have accomplished so much in Rosselló in such a short time. I then cast the scroll aside and looked at the other messages, and my heart lept when I saw the airy script. Miraglia! Although her letters were of mundane affairs, the light line of the pen conveyed her mercurial nature and energy perfectly. I read each letter twice, not finishing until near dawn. It was then that I noticed that I had read the scrolls with more eagerness than I had eaten, for there was nearly a whole meal remaining on my plate. But food has lost its hold over me. Perhaps I shall give it to whomever must guard my tent this morning. S.

ScreenSave51.jpg


Jun. 10th, 1070

Little to say. Townships and villages of Albarracin surrendered. The war is over. We are heading home. S.

Jul. 17th, 1070

Albarracin was unpleasant business and I did not wish to write about it until now. The high-topped hills hid many towns, and our army marched through each of them to enforce Ramon's will. I see now why I have no wish to elevate my station. Even in calmness, the fury displayed in Ramon's eyes shone like metal, like the holy anger of an angel. A certain lack of humanity is necessary to be a good ruler, and I would rather be a good man. Such thoughts made me remember my fight with Miraglia, and I found myself reliving it in my mind but with new words on my lips. My friend Ramon once again ended my daydream and asked for my counsel. It seems the war between Sancho of Navarra and Sancho of Aragon has come to an end, and that end meant defeat for Aragon. The two crowns are once again united, and Ramon wished to know my thoughts on Catalonia's place in the new order. It was a difficult thing to offer advice to the monster my friend had become, but I gave him my honest assessment: Sancho's naiveity makes him a poor king who falls prey to his advisors. The way Ramon's face lit up when I said those things frightened me. The transformation was temporary and now when I look at him I see only Ramon, but I cannot forget the monster. S.

ScreenSave53.jpg


Aug. 2nd, 1070

King Sancho of Navarra met us at the Moorish fortress in Lleida, where I witnessed Ramon kneel before our new liege. Sancho spoke of peace in the wake of the defeat we inflicted upon the Muslims. He spoke plainly and honestly. We have all sworn fealty to the Castillian. I pray that he will be a good king. S.

ScreenSave59.jpg


Aug. 2nd, 1070 (cont)

Sketch of S. king. Took dur'g court. Incl. assess. of his talents. S.

ScreenSave54.jpg


Sep. 11th, 1070

There are many things I wish to say about my return to the villa Perpinyá, but there is no spirit in what I have tried to write. I scraped away the ink three times already, and I am not so wealthy that I can continue to be wasteful. The interruption is, as it has always been, Miraglia. My arrival at my home should have been a happy occasion. Indeed, we feasted and celebrated, and I wasted no time in returning to the work of administering the county. There were some scrolls on my desk, but I sent them to the scribes for clearing without reading them; from the looks of them, they were all marriage proposals. And then she came to me. At first, she would not say why she was in my doorway, but after lingering in silence for awhile, she asked for my thoughts. I was determined not to let her ruin my good mood, so I skipped the coy part of our act, noted that I hadn't even read the scrolls, and kept on reviewing my ledgers, all without even looking up at her. She would not be ignored and approached my desk, telling me as she walked of the men who sought her hand in marriage. Eventually, she described an old Irish duke, violent and bedridden from injury; incompetent in every way, yet even in his injured state possessed of an undimmed desire for the pleasures of the flesh. Clearly, she was trying to get under my skin, so I set aside my papers and asked her why she was saying these things. My gut told me that she would snap, but she calmly explained that she wished to marry the man. Resisting a chuckle, I told her that she could not. Again, she didn't rage or throw things or shout. Instead, she asked for my reasons. Her calmness pushed me off balance, but I managed to say that he was unsuitable and besides, I needed her in Rosselló.

That was when the shouting began, for both of us. Miraglia demanded to know why I needed her when I could do all the things she was doing. She said I was wise and observant, at least in most areas. Instead of answering or responding to her backhanded praise, I asked why she wanted to marry Murchaid, an appaling monster of a man seeking only one thing before he dies. She surprised me by shouting that she didn't want to marry him, and then she accused me of always infusing everything I do with an excess of drama. If I was off balance before, this left me speechless, and I could only mumble that she should not say things she does not mean. This did not stop the storm, and Miraglia shook as she leveled the charges against me. She accused me of expecting others to say what they mean when I would not do the same, even now; she told me that I am just a man, not a cursed character in the tragedy I imagine my life to be; and she demanded to know, if her suitors aren't worthy of her hand in marriage, then who is? These final words she repeated a second time, quieter than before but just as full of anger. She was a heartbreaking union of beauty and fury and I could not look away. Neither of us spoke until I tore free of her gaze, telling nobody in particular that I didn't know. Almost too quietly to hear, she said she did, but when I looked up to see if the change I heard in her voice was reflected in her face, she was already walked out the door, and I had already decided not to follow. S.
 
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Snake IV

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Great update. Too bad that the king has less good stats.
 

Estonianzulu

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Ah, the tension that was building up between them finally comes to head, well done.
 

phargle

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Feedback.

Estonianzulu - All the screenshots for the story are complete, so we should all get to see how far Solomon can go. I did have a few blind alleys and reloaded the game three times to undo some decision that wasn't playing out well, but I am satisfied with the ending and hope you will be too. And I'm glad you noticed the tension. I'm not terribly good at this sort of writing, but wanted to do something dramatic after all the Knudding. Also, it nicely explains why I kept refusing to marry the girl off. Thank you for reading!

Specialist290 - Miraglia's a damn fine spy master, which is the game reason for keeping her around. And don't you like Miraglia? One thing that's interesting about writing her is that this is all from Solomon's point of view, so it's all filtered through the way he sees the world.

Murmurandus - Hey, I'm here to help. And you can post whatever you like, because comments are always useful! Thanks for reading.

Snake IV - Yeah, another AAR. I hope it's worth reading. And yeah, the king of Navarra is kind of lame, but it's pretty amazing to see how strong he gets. I've never seen Navarra do so well in a game. Solomon plays a minor but critical role in that, as we'll see.