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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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May 7, 2005
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I decided to give my second stab at an AAR. Some comments on this AAR:
I decided to pick the Count of Labourd because it was a relatively prosperous county near potentially available muslim lands in Spain, but less vulnerable than Christian Spain in the early going because of being part of the Kingdom of France. I decided to place certain strictures on my play. The most important one is that I’m going to roleplay my rulers strictly. In any decision where their personality traits would tend to make them choose a particular option, they will choose that option. I’m also picking my childhood event decisions at random, so I don’t have control of the base personalities of my courtiers. I recognize the dangers in this—if I have a skeptical ruler, he’s likely to wind up excommunicated or heretical unless he’s deceitful, or perhaps modest. Oh, well—excommunication usually leads to exciting times! The role-playing will affect other choices as well—for example, the modesty of my first count prevents him from staking claims on any titles. I haven’t tried this before, so I’m interested to see how it goes.

The first count’s a little dull, unfortunately. But last time I abandoned an AAR because the first two reigns were boring, all hell broke loose later on, so I’ll persist.

Diary of Eudes de Lomagne, Count of Labourd (1046-1105)

January 7, 1067 – I received delightful news today. The King of Denmark has agreed to my proposal of marriage to his daughter, Ingrid. In fact, they arrived after a long sea voyage in our port this morning and preparations for the marriage begin immediately. Perhaps they were eager to get out of the northern winter for a while. Ingrid is just as lovely and charming as I had been informed. In fact, I have decided to make her my chancellor. It may be a little difficult for her at first, being so far from home and having to learn a foreign tongue, but Occitan shouldn’t be too hard for her with her, as she speaks and writes excellent Latin. She may be homesick for a time, but I am sure that she will soon learn to love my beautiful fertile land with the dramatic Pyrenees looming, particularly after growing up in cold, flat, dreary Denmark. I made a noblewoman of my court Petronela de Montesquieu my steward and her cousin Adela my spymaster. The Count of Auvergne wishes to marry Adela, but I feel I need her skills at court. Perhaps I can find a suitable young local nobleman for her in time.

September 20, 1067 – Ingrid told me today that she is expecting a child. While I have one son, Eudes, already, it never hurts to ensure the succession line with more heirs.

November 7, 1067 – Tierri de Montesquieu arrived at the court today with a message from the pope requesting that I take him on as diocese bishop. Well, I agree to, but with some misgivings. I don’t doubt Tierri’s faith or knowledge of scripture, but I must say he has quite the eye for the ladies for a man of God.

June 25, 1068 – It was an eventful day. Ingrid gave birth to a daughter today, whom we name Bodil. Also, Bertrand to Montesquieu, a cousin of Tierri’s has arrived seeking a place at my court. He seems to have some experience in leading men, and I do need a marshal, so I decide to bring him in.

September 25, 1068 – Poor Ingrid. Her newborn daughter died this afternoon. It had been a sickly child. I try to console her, telling her how young she is, and how many more children she will have.

December 3, 1068 – As a result of an inheritance of some fiefs in Ile de France through a distant cousin, it appears that I may have a legitimate claim on the throne of France. I do not wish to antagonize the powerful Capet family, however, so I choose to remain quiet.

December 2, 1070. Ingrid has given birth to a son, Godafres. I assured her that it wouldn’t take long for a healthy girl like her. I feel so much more comfortable now that I have a second male heir.

September 28, 1071. I have now lost 27 chess matches in a row to Bishop Tierri. It is becoming very frustrating. I keep trying to convince myself that I’m learning more of his tricks every day and soon will be able to beat him, but sometimes I think the only lesson I’m getting is one in Christian humility.

September 7, 1072. Ingrid gave birth to another son, Basajaun. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with a wife both talented and fertile.

October 3, 1074. A small pox epidemic has struck! The peasantry are panicking and it’s impossible to get anything done in the province.

March 24, 1075. As if life wasn’t difficult enough with all the disease, there is now an organized band of thieves preying on the populace. I must do something about this.

May 20, 1076. Bishop Tieri received a breathless messenger from the papacy yesterday, and today gave a thundering speech from the pulpit on how the people of the holy land suffer under the yoke of the infidel. A crusade has been called to free Jerusalem and all good Christians are urged to muster their forces to fight the Fatimids. I fear I can do little as the ruler of one little county, though if my liege, Guillaume d’Aquitaine feels we should go to war, I will naturally rally to his banner.
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February 22, 1078. Ingrid gave birth to another daughter. I know that after losing her first daughter, she is very happy to have a girl this time.

September 20, 1078. Bishop Tierri reported that there have been no funerals for victims of the pox in over a month. It appears things are back to normal at last, though I still have to deal with that band of thieves.

March 25, 1079. My eldest son Eudes has come of age, and he is a fine young man. Indeed, in many ways he is an example of outstanding Christian virtue, magnaminous and even-handed, but perhaps too filled with pride. Indeed he was quite aggressive this morning in suggesting that Petronela was an inadequate and dishonest steward and that he would do a far superior job. His speech was very convincing, and I have heard some disturbing stories that suggest some corruption on Petronela’s part, so I have agreed to make him my new steward. A dangerous precedent to set, to be sure, but he is my son, and I do wish to see what he can do with a little responsibility. Come to think of it, he was so persuasive I think he might be even better as a chancellor than Ingrid. I shall have to find a wife for him. However, Adela has told me that a number of important rulers in Christian Spain—the King of Navarra, the King of Castille and the Duke of Catalonia—have been having trouble getting male heirs. I may see if I can marry him to one of their daughters.

December 29, 1079. Ever since the visit of my liege, the Duke of Poitou, and his wife last year, Ingrid has been pestering me to get her more fashionable clothes. Perhaps it’s a drawback of marrying a woman used to a royal court, rather than a backwater county. I chided her on her sinful vanity, and suggest that she confess to Bishop Tierri. Afterward, she was more subdued, and appears to have reconciled herself to our bucolic lifestyle here.

April 7, 1080. I unveiled our new court of justice in town today. I hope it will help to bring and end to all our troubles with ruffians and outlaws.

February 7, 1081. Now that my eldest daughter, Azivelle, is sixteen, I decide that it is time for her to marry. I’m quite fond of her, and she’s a clever girl, as well. In fact, I think I’ll make her my spymaster and marry her to Tierri, just to keep him out of trouble.
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November 26, 1083. I ask if my son, Eudes may marry Ingiberga de Barcelona eldest daughter of the Duke of Catalonia. The Duke of Catalonia has no sons, so his daughter's children could inherit huge tracts of land.

December 7, 1083. Alas, much to my disappointment, the Duke has turned down my request. It isn’t because he’s received a better one either—it appears Ingiberga will remain single, at least for the time being. I was discussing this with my courtiers, and Azivelle says that she believes the Duke’s brother, the Count of Empuries has persuaded him not to marry her so that the ducal title should pass to his sons, thereby keeping the family name. At this, my youngest son, Basajaun snickered, and said, “the Duke had better watch his back.” Sometimes I wonder what they’re teaching at the monastic schools these day. Basajaun is already so cynical and he’s only eleven. I immediately send Ingrid to the court of the King of Navarra, so that she can propose that Eudes marry his older sister, Mafalda.

December 10, 1083. My middle son Godafres, who has been ill all year, grew much worse this morning, coughing and sputtering constantly.

December 22, 1083. Such a strange day. Godafres passed away this morning, coughing up blood for the last time. In the midst of this sorrowful day, Ingrid arrived with the young King of Navarra and his older sister. Though she knew Godafres was ill, she had no idea it had gotten so severe, leaving her in tears on a day which should have been a triumph for her. Mafalda seems a wise and cautious girl, a good match for my son.

August 14, 1086. Eudes and Azivelle have dug up evidence that we may be entitled to the county of Bearn. However, the Count is my friend, and in any event, it would be immodest to stake such a claim.

June 1, 1087. Eudes was furious at the news that Alfonso, the young King of Navarra died last week, allowing his brother, the Count of Rioja, to take the throne. Had either of Mafalda’s two children been boys, they would have inherited the throne of Navarra. Azivelle noted that the timing of the death was suspicious, as Alfonso’s wife was pregnant at the time, though the King had been ill. In any event, I’m not so sure inheriting the Kingdom of Navarra would be such a great asset for our family any more. The Christian realms in Spain are falling rapidly to the onslaught of the Kingdom of the al-Murabitids and the Emirate of Granada. In the past fifteen years, Castille, Leon, Galicia and Braganza have all been swept away by the Moorish tide. Personally, I’m happy to be the vassal in a strong realm like France right now.

July 2, 1087. I got into a bit of a tiff with the King of Aragon at a tournament last weekend. Eudes urged me not to allow him to insult me like that and that I should claim his title in retaliation. I admonish Eudes about excessive pride.

September 11, 1088. Now that my youngest son, Basajaun has come of age, I have decided to rearrange my court. I gently ask Ingrid to retire as chancellor in favor of Eudes—his smooth talk has always been his greatest strength anyway. My daughter Azivelle, I move to steward in his place and Basajaun will be my spymaster. Despite his ecclesiastical schooling, I fear Basajaun is not a righteous man, but his devious ways may prove useful in his new post.

September 20, 1088. I have arranged a marriage between Basajaun and Elise, a daughter of the countess of Exeter. She seems a strong and spirited girl. I am concerned that my son Eudes has not any sons, though, of course, Mafalda is still very young.

November 11, 1088. The pope has excommunicated Philippe Capet, King of France. I’m not certain of the details. Certainly, in the pillaging of the Duchy of Normandy a few years ago, he showed a certain degree of cruelty, but he is not a heretic to my knowledge. There was rumor of some insult to the honor of Mathilda of Canossa, the Duchess of Florence, who is said to have the pope’s ear. Or perhaps it’s his failure to support the pope’s crusade on Jerusalem. My own liege Guillaume d’Aquitaine remains loyal, but some of the northern duchies are getting restive. The Duke of Flanders has declared independence, as has the Count of Vermandois. There has been a lot of unrest in Europe in recent years. Germany has largely disintegrated. I worry that the powerful alliance between the Kingdom of the al-Murabitids and Emirate of Granada, having already captured most of the Iberian peninsula may threaten the heart of Europe if all this squabbling continues.

October 6, 1089. My liege Guillaume has died from wounds sustained in the war with the Duke of Flanders. As he had no sons, his lands have passed to a grandson, Gualtiero Obertenghi, who is only 2 years old. I imagine Guillaume’s longtime chancellor, Rainers de Quatrebarbes, will largely run the show, especially as the new Duke’s parents apparently remain in Corsica.

May 23, 1090. Basajaun arranges for me to meet with some of the major figures in the Duchy in a secret meeting in the County of Perigord. Apparently, Elise of Poitiers, steward of the duchy, and Emmanuel de Montreuil, the marshal, are concerned about the direction in which Rainers’ leadership is taking us. Rainers is notoriously irreligious, scoffing openly at the Pope’s call for a crusade some years ago, and Elise and Emmanuel are worried that he may lead the Duchy into a more active role in France’s civil strife, in support of Philippe. In other words, he may call up the forces of the various counts, including myself, in support of the King. A spirited, if inconclusive discussion followed:

GEOFFROY D’ANJOULEME: Outrageous! You think he’ll really ask us to bring up our forces to help an excommunicated King?
ELISE OF POITIERS: I do think he might.
EMMANUEL DE MONTREUIL: I know he’s considering it. He keeps inquiring as to how many men the various counts could muster.
GEOFFROY D’ANJOULEME: But Philippe has been excommunicated. Increasing his support for the king could lead to sanctions against us as well.
AMANIEU D’ALBRET: If anything, we should be rising up against this impious King!
I: I’m sure we all agree that we don’t wish to be dragged into this civil war. The question is how best to reduce the chancellor’s influence, so that this does not happen.
AMANIEU D’ALBRET: Well, I am friendly with the Count of Corsica. I might persuade him to release Gualtiero’s father Cristoforo from his duties as diocese bishop. He and his wife could then travel to Poitiers and rule in their son’s stead until he becomes old enough to seize the reins of power. Cristoforo is a godly man, and surely would not ask us to mobilize our forces for an excommunicated King.
RAOUL DE THOUARS: Listen, if we want Bishop Cristoforo as our liege, we can achieve that far more efficiently. Get rid of Gualtieri and Cristoforo becomes Duke.
ARCHAMBAUD DE BOURBON: Excellent idea! Eudes, your son, Basajaun, seems to have good sources of information. Do you think he might have an agent in Poitiers who might be able to arrange an accident for our little Dukelet?
AIMERIC GALEN OF PERIGORD: I’m not sure I like this idea. I’d like to know a bit more about this Bishop. He might drag us all into this mess on the other side, or ship us off to the Holy Land.
AMANIEU D’ALBRET: Are you afraid to fight? Or maybe you hold the same opinions as that heretic chancellor? It may have been a mistake bringing to trust you with our counsels.
I: Please, gentlemen. Aside from the fact that I find the suggestion of eliminating a mere babe to be rather distasteful, there is another possible wrinkle in that scheme. My son informs me that Cristoforo’s wife is pregnant again…if she has a son before Gualtieri’s “accident”, the newborn babe would be Duke, and we’d be right back where we started.
ELISE OF POITIERS: Why not assassinate the chancellor, instead? That would get to the root of the problem. Or are you too scrupulous for that, as well?
EMMANUEL DE MONTREUIL: I wonder if he’d accept a challenge to a duel.
ARCHAMBAUD DE BOURBON: I think I see where this is going. Get rid of the chancellor so you and Elise can control the duchy.

And so it went. The meeting was certainly interesting, but it seemed as if there were too many conflicting agendas for any agreement to be reached. I don’t think any action will be taken, unless somebody decides to act on their own.

December 8, 1092. I am becoming concerned by the increasingly strange and irrational behavior of Marshal Bertrand. He introduced me to a suit of armor yesterday, asking if I thought he should make it his new lieutenant. I briefly consider replacing him with Bishop Tierri, but he is extremely ill these days. My sons are really in capacities that suit their skills better. I really hope we don’t need to go to war at the moment.

November 1, 1093. Everyone seems to be losing their grip lately. Bishop Tierri rose from his sickbed last week long enough to give an incoherent rant on the evils of cannibalism from the pulpit—as if this were a serious problem in Labourd. His acolyte, who has been handling most of the services in recent weeks, was so embarrassed.

March 15, 1094. My daughter Dagmar is now of age. She really should marry, but I’m not quite sure what to do with her. I hesitate to marry her outside my demesne, because her forthrightness, energy, and courage might make her a valuable advisor to my son after I am gone. However, the only single man in my court of acceptable lineage is Marshal Bertrand. He might be a fair enough match if he were in his right mind, but under the circumstances, I can hardly trust my daughter to him. Perhaps someone appropriate will appear.

October 17, 1094. Tierri, my diocese bishop, has died. My poor daughter Azivelle has now lost her husband as well as four of her five children. Though, of course, he was quite a trial toward the end.

December 2, 1094. The pope has sent me Loup de Labourd, suggesting him as a candidate for bishop, now that Tierri has passed away. After a lot of discussion with my advisors, I have decided he may be a better candidate for marshal, allowing me to retire Bertrand. Perhaps relieving the elderly man of the burden of responsibility will help alleviate his distress. As Dagmar is in need of a husband, I suggest that she marry Loup. He’s a bit old, but otherwise not too unsuitable.

September 15, 1096. The Pope has sent me another man intended as a bishop. Why is he so intent on bringing in someone from outside, I wonder…I don’t really feel like spending the money for a new estate right now.

Sptember 16, 1097. Bertrand is now convinced that angels are speaking to him, calling him to the crusade to the Holy Land. All I can say is, I’m glad I relieved him of his duties as marshal.

October 5, 1097. Poor Azivelle has fallen sick with pneumonia. She hasn’t been feeling well since the spring and the change in weather has brought on intense coughing fits. Life has been hard on her in recent years. I shall ask Eude’s wife Mafalda to take over as steward for the time being. A bit more responsibility may bring Mafalda out a bit, as she has seemed unhappy of late. Her failure to produce a male heir may be weighing on her. She has three daughers now, and she hasn’t been able to become pregnant in five years. Or perhaps it is the fall of her father’s realm to the King of Aragon.

December 5, 1097. Excellent news. Azivelle came to see me this morning and said she felt fully recovered from her illness and is ready to resume duties as steward. This is a great relief, for while Mafalda is competent, her listlessness and despondent attitude were really getting on my nerves.

January 6, 1098. After a lengthy war that left us in the southwest essentially untouched, France has succumbed and we are now part of the Kingdom of Germany. At least the German king isn’t excommunicated. After a rocky start to his reign as a child nearly twenty years ago, young Peter Von Franken has proven an impressive ruler, successfully quelching most of the rebellions. While Provence, the Rhone and much of northern Italy are made up of independent duchies, otherwise, he’s largely reconstituted Charlemagne’s empire. That should help Europe resist the powerful muslim states in Spain. Jerusalem remains in infidel hands, despite over twenty years of war by various states against the Fatimids. The English have established a considerable power base in Egypt, however.

April 16, 1099. I have received word that the clergy of Labourd now feel that priest’s should be celibate. Old Tierri sure wouldn’t have liked that much!

November 2, 1099. My poor daughter Dagmar has died, attempting to bear her fifth child in six years. I guess some women are too fertile for their own good.

July 25, 1100. The Kingdom of Bohemia has successfully captured Jerusalem, bringing the holy crusade to an end after over 20 years of struggle.

June 9, 1101. The pope has sent me yet another prospective bishop—this one names Ebles of Labourd. Basajaun makes inquiries and it seems as though he’s not especially devout in private, and certainly not celibate, but if it will please his Holiness, I may as well invite this one to court.

June 21, 1101. The pope calls for another crusade, this one to free Burgos. This is quite a bit closer to home and I am tempted to join up. In addition, Burgos belongs to a vassal of the Kingdom of the al-Muratibids. Admittedly, they are powerful, but their capital is far away in Africa, and rumor has it that their young ruler is not on as friendly terms with the Emir of Granada as the old one. I consider testing the waters with Von Franken to see if he’s interested. He’s reputedly a zealous man and spoke often of his support for the Jerusalem crusade. I worry, however, that my little county is at the front line and the al-Murabitids might lay waste to us before von Franken could muster his forces. I decide to wait and see what other powers make a move.

July 12, 1102. Germany declares war on the Al-Murabitids and begins to mobilize. I will soon follow. I think it is time.

August 11, 1102. As the forces of the Duke of Poitou appear in Albret, I declare war on the sheikhdom of Masat, which controls most of the al-Murabitid’s Iberian posessions, and begin the march over the Pyrenees.

September 1, 1102. Well, my new bishop sure didn’t last long, passing away last night. I suppose the Pope will be sending me a new one soon enough.

October 23, 1102. Our army marches into Viscaya. The Sheikhdom of Masat has left it curiously undefended. There is word of widespread discontent and uprisings among the peasants, but no doubt they will be pleased to return to Christian rule. We lay siege to a small hill fort.

December 17, 1102. I triumphantly lead my troops into the fort. We have lost a little over 100 men during the siege, but Viscaya is ours. About 3000 troops from the Duchy of Poitou are expected to arrive in the next few days. As I still have a fair force, and I learn that the Duke is planning to continue westward to Asturias de Santillana, I decide that my troops will move on to Burgos itself, where a revolt is in progress. 600 rebel troops are besieging the castle there. Perhaps they will view us as liberators and assist us?

December 23, 1102. A small army of the al-Murabitids with about 300 men is reputedly moving northward through Burgos.

January 14, 1103. Our spies report 300 more men moving westward through Asturias de Santillana. I decide to halt our movement in case of an attack on our newly acquired territory at Viscaya.

January 30, 1103. The Duke of Poitou has successfully defeated the Murabitid troops and is laying siege to Asturias de Santillana. I cautiously order my troops to advance on Burgos again.

February 20, 1103. An emissary from the al-Murabitids has contacted me offering a white peace. I am tempted by the opportunity to consolidate my gains, but how can I make peace with the objective of the crusade so near. Meanwhile, the Duchy of Poitou has already captured Asturias de Santillana and is continuing to move westward. A clash with more troops in Asturias de Oviedo is anticipated, but the Duke would appear to have the upper hand.

March 20, 1103. Parlay with the rebels in Burgos has failed. Despite being outnumbered by more than 3:1 by my forces, they attack. Meanwhile word of nearly 500 more enemy troops entering Burgos has arrived. Still, more troops are still pouring in from the Kingdom of Germany.

April 15, 1103. No sooner had we routed the rebels than we were set upon by approximately 750 enemy troops approaching from the west. Although we outnumbered them, they hoped to catch us in disarray after the previous battle. Our troops rallied, however, and a fierce battle ensued. I anxiously watch for news of other troops—friend or foe—entering the area.

May 12, 1103. We had pushed the remaining enemy troops back into the hills north of the town. The terrain was difficult, and despite our advantage in numbers, victory was uncertain. However, one of my nobles Uq de Montesquieu led an uphill charge of 300 knights and cavalry directly into the onslaught of archers. Though reckless and costly, this charge won the day for us. I have a little more than 1000 men left ready to begin besieging the castle. About 800 men from the County of Maine are expected to arrive soon, to help. The Count of Maine is Alphonse Capet, Philippe’s son, but for some reason he is not leading the troops. The al-Murabitids, however are regrouping in Leon. I do hope this siege can be finished quickly.
Meanwhile, I have decided that any further negotiations with the enemy will be handled by Eudes’ second daughter, Cecilia. Eudes has been feeling unwell for the past few months, and the girl is brilliant, an artist in tact and diplomacy. She may be even more persuasive than her father, and her less trusting and generous nature may make her a little more alert to dishonest negotiations, though she seems forthright enough herself. Her elder sister Patricia has been highly sought after on the marriage market, but I had been hoping to allow her health to improve before sending her away. Once word gets out about this one, I will be deluged with offers, but I’d rather keep her near at hand. I shall look into an appropriate match when the war is over.

May 22, 1103. Alas, my son Eudes died in his sleep last night. While he had been ill for some time, I had not thought him close to death. Since Mafalda never did have a son, the family titles must fall now to Basajaun and his sons. It is a sad thing for a man to outlive his children. Eudes was my first, and in many ways, the one most like me of all my children.

June 1, 1103. The Sheikh of Massat has sent a rather odd peace proposal to my mind, offering to surrender his claim to sheikh of Viscaya, as if lack of a reputable claim would stop him from invading if he chose. I am still determined to bring this Burgos crusade to a close.

June 17, 1103. The troops from the count of Maine have arrived now, as well as a tiny force of enemy infantry. I’m not sure what they intend to accomplish as they are ounumbered by more than 10:1.

June 26, 1103. The remnants of that small force have been driven out of Burgos, so the siege resumes in earnest.

July 11, 1103. About eleven hundred troops from Agen have joined our siege, which will greatly increase the rapidity with which it proceeds. Or so I thought. Instead, it appears that after a short stay, during which they helped to eliminate the nuisance troops, they and the troops from Maine will pursue the enemy into Leon, leaving about 900 of my men to complete the siege. I do hope it is enough.

September 3, 1103. The pope is once again harassing me with my need for a bishop. His timing is impeccable. A confusing battle has erupted with allies and enemies entering the province from all directions, and he’s distracting me with this trivia. Ah, well, let him have the bishop and be done with it.

October 4, 1103. For reasons unknown to me, our King has signed a white [eace with the Al-Murabitids, before I was able to take posession of Burgos. Now everyone’s troops are going home. I thought of simply declaring war again, but there are too many troops coming from Africa for me to handle on my own. I guess I shall have to accept it. Anyway, the crusade was not a total failure. I expanded my demesne significantly with the Viscaya lands. I tell the troops to return to Labourd. Unfortunately, Eudes’ eldest son, Patricia, whom I had intended to find a husband for as soon as she recovered from her illness has passed away. I am troubled by this apparent poor health in our family. It’s strange—Ingrid and I are both well into our fifties and vigorous still.

October 21, 1103. In honour of Uc’s winning move in the battle of Burgos, I grant him my grand-daughter Patricia’s hand in marriage. Basajaun, ever alert to the possibility of treachery, suggests that there could be potential arguments over the succession, if Patricia has sons. Seeing his point of view, I inform our court that henceforth we will follow the salic consanguinity succession law. As I have only one son, the consanguinity is moot at the moment, but given the ill health many in our family have experienced, it might be necessary to skip over a sickly first son in favor of a healthy second.

December 21, 1103. I make a change of steward, requesting that Azivelle retire in favor of her only surviving child, Borel.

March 10, 1104. That Burgos crusade may have been too much for Marshal Loup, as he has passed away. I replace him with Uc.

August 15, 1105. Each day seems to pass more swiftly than the last…perhaps because I am too weak to spend much time out of bed these days. The bishop administered last rites to me yesterday. I fear the end is near, but I had a good life here. Some of my children might have thought me unambitious, but I never wanted one of those busy courts with dozens of scheming courtiers vying for attention. I’m happy with my quiet little corner of the world. I like drinking our local wines, aged in the oak cut from the forests of the Landes, out of pretty, delicate glasses they make in our onwn little town. I like to walk the road that leads northward toward Poitiers through the verdant fields, past the tile factory, and spend time studying the old Greek and Roman texts in the library. Of course, I wish I could have freed Burgos from the Moors, but at least I was able to return Christianity to Viscaya. I only wish Eudes had lived longer. I love Basjaun dearly, but I fear the choices he may make in the coming years. His love of subterfuge and ruthlessness worry me. Indeed, I agreed to change the succession law in part because I feared he was capable of killing his niece to prevent her bearing children who might have ambitions on what he thought was his. Perhaps Cecilia will be a positive influence. She shares enough of his cynicism about the motives of others that he won’t dismiss her views out of hand, but shows candor and compassion.
 

Koson

First Lieutenant
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Jul 25, 2005
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Really nice! What will Basjaun's reign be like (what are his traits)?
 

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lazy, deceitful, arbitrary, cruel, suspicious, coward, martial cleric

He becomes zealous as a result of a heretic courtier event...how could he resist an opportunity to be arbitrary and cruel?
 

Koson

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Well, with such an assortment of traits I'd say lots of things can (and probably will) happen with him as ruler. :p
 

stnylan

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Well that was a very interesting life. And indeed it sounds like Basjaun is set up to have an equally interesting career.
 

Dhimmi

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Lovely a RP AAR youve got my complete attention pls continue :)

*subscribe* :D
 

unmerged(44072)

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May 7, 2005
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Thanks for the encouragement. I wasn't sure how much interest there would be in an AAR that reads more like a game log than a historical novel, but I will now give you the next installment and the long and frustrating reign of Basajaun.

Diary of Basajaun de Lomagne (1072-1145), Count of Labourd and Viscaya

August 16, 1105. Well, my father passed away quietly last night, leaving the realm in my hands. My father and I disagreed on many things—more often on methods than on goals—but he accomplished a fair amount during his reign. Because I was his spymaster for over fifteen years, I am very familiar with his court—indeed, in some ways more than he was—and I see no reason to make major changes. In some ways, being a spymaster suited me better than being a count, as there seems far too much tedious busywork and ceremony in the position, but my brother who liked such things is gone, so I guess it falls to me to uphold the family name. I will no longer have enough time to gather enough information myself, so I have asked my half-sister Azivelle to take over the post of spymaster.

March 7, 1106. My diocese bishop Laurenc of Labourd visited me late last night in a state of some excitement. At first, I supposed he had come to bore me with his latest reconsidering of St. Augustine’s writings, but in fact he had more serious matters in mind. Gerard de Castelbon, a noble at court here has apparently been sheltering Cathars on his lands. Although I have not studied the details of this heretical sect that has been gaining strength in the lands to the east of us, I know enough to recognize that the unity of our domain cannot survive rival creeds. There can only be one solution: put him to the stake, and make an example of him for all those who follow heresies or aid heretics.

March 26, 1106. We have finally broken the back of the band of rogues that has plagued the province.after more than thirty years. Perhaps it was my swift justice earlier in the month that helped to bring out the informants which have enabled us to capture and hang the last of the villains. Viscaya still suffers from a similar group, but we need to put down the revolt there first.

June 8, 1106. The stress of rooting out those heretics earlier in the year was too much for poor Laurenc, I fear, for he expired this afternoon. I have appointed a young man, Rogier de Labourd, who shares my beliefs in a strong, vigilant, and militant Christianity to occupy his post.

August 12, 1106. It has been an excellent year for my demesne, as the revolt in Viscaya has finally ended, though I had to make some minor concessions to the rabble there. The lands confiscated from the former muslim rulers in the area made that painless enough to do. It will be nice to finally have Viscaya as a productive part of the realm, rather than a nuisance.

December 25, 1106. My eldest daughter, Youlene, discovered out a major mistake in Azivelle’s report on toll evasion on the part of some of our merchants. It turned out Azivelle had been relying excessively for her reports on a corrupt captain of the guard. Youlene caught him shaking down merchants for bribes to keep their smuggling under wraps. Perhaps Azivelle is a little too honest to understand the devious machinations that can go on both here and abroad. I must say some of Youlene’s ideas for gaining information seem a little…extravagant. Still, Youlene has inherited my own perspicacity and I replace Azivelle as spymaster. I think I’ll suggest to Borel de Montesquieu, my steward, that he marry her—it’s time for that.

October 20, 1108. Youlene tells me that most of the forces of the Al’Murabitids and their vassals have been shipped off to Africa to fight a rebellion against the Sheik of Tangiers. This might be a good time to reignite the Burgos crusade.

December 11, 1108. The main drawback of marrying skillful women courtiers came back to haunt me. My daughter, Youlene, died in labor this morning. I shall have to go back to Azivelle. It’s a bit embarrassing, but there’s no one better suited for the position, and she does have experience. No doubt she felt humiliated by her removal from office last year. I still have a few casks of that deep red wine they make in the northeastern part of the province that I’ve been keeping in the cellar since the capture of Viscaya. Perhaps one of those will help her come around.

January 12, 1109. I declare war on the Sheikhdom of Massat, beginning another crusade for Burgos. The Duke of Poitou and the King of Germany follow suit.

March 25, 1109. We arrived in Burgos about two weeks ago. As Youlene has said, the Iberian posessions are larely undefended, but we were engaged in battle by several hundred rebels. There was a rather embarrassing occurrence the other day as I was charging a group of peasant spearmen with the other knights. Most of their front had broken, but the spearmen directly in front of me had held their ground. I naturally guided my horse to the left, thinking that I would avoid impaling my horse on the spear and have an opportunity to swing a sword at the flank of the peasant troop. Unfortunately, in the excitement I must have given the horse too vigorous an inducement and it turned around and began to gallop in the other direction. This gave rise to the vile rumor that I turned and fled from battle. Oh, well, it matters little as we have won the battle, and once I am acknowledged by the pope for a successful crusade, no doubt everyone will forget about this incident.

June 1, 1109. Our siege of the castle at Burgos has been briefly interrupted by a few dozen men of the sheikhdom of Massat. Unfortunately, the land has been badly pillaged, and I’m finding it difficult to support the troops. Many are deserting.

June 9, 1109. I am so impressed by Lucen de Montesquieu’s skill in battle that I decide to make him my new marshal.

August 20, 1109. Cristoforo, the Count of Agen has added about 1000 men to our forces besieging Burgos. I believe he is the duke’s father, who was bishop of Corsica all those years ago when we were still part of the Kingdom of France.

September 12, 1109. Burgos fell, at last. The province is in horrible shape, plagued by rebels, bandits and smugglers, however. Most of the peasantry has fled from the wars, and the fields of those who remained were scorched. Rebuilding will be a considerable process. I decide to send my remaining forces to Asturias de Oviedo. There are no fortifications there, so the province should fall very quickly.

February 12, 1110. It was not as easy as I expected due to surprising resistance from bands of brigands but we now have posession of Asturias de Oviedo. It is in much the same conditon as Burgos—perhaps worse, as the only notable structure left standing is a hideout for thieves.

April 18, 1110. The pope has recognized the success of the crusade, and I make peace with the King of the al’Murabitids and his vassals. I have nearly bled my demesne completely of money and manpower, but I think it is worth it, despite the horrendous state of the Burgos and Asturias de Oviedo. I believe I shall soon be able to revive the old title Duke of Asturias now. Come to think of it, I have heard that Galeazzo of Poitiers, the Count of Asturias de Santillana is an excommunicated heretic who has rebelled against the lawful authority of my liege. I think I’ll lay claim to his title while I’m at it. I’m sure with the recognition I’ve earned for this successful crusade, I should have no difficulty in persuading people that I should hold all the old Asturias lands.

August 4, 1110. There have been many things to consider during this war. Both my eldest son Lope, and my middle son, Estebe are old enough to marry and hold positions. Actually, they both showed remarkable military prowess—I’d like to claim they inherited it from me, but more likely from my wife’s side of the family. Unfortunately, Lope is as clumsy with words as he is skilled with a sword, so I think Estebe is a superior heir. As soon as I make myself Duke, I will grant them both count titles—in fact, I shall have three count titles to hand out—one for each son, though my youngest is still unready.

October 1, 1110. Burgos is revolting again. I send Estebe and about 700 men from Viscaya to put it down.

December 4, 1111. The al-Murabitids have been successfully driven out of Iberia. It’s hard to believe that when I was a child, the muslims controlled almost all of the peninsula. Now, muslim control is mostly limited to south and southwest, while Germany and its vassals control the northeast, and Aragon and Croatia much of the remainder. However, revolts in Burgos are an ongoing headache.

May 6, 1112. My steward, Borel, has died. My half-sister, Azivelle will take over—I greatly admire her versatility. In the meantime, my nephew Guigue of Labourd will become spymaster.

September 5, 1112. I become Duke of Asturias. The expense of restoring the old ducal seat in Burgos, the ceremony, preparing to entertain the King and his entourage, and the rest is crippling my treasury, but I think it’s a worthwhile expense. Perhaps once people see the familiar banners flying over the town, they will recognize that the lawlessness and strife that has plagued the region will come to an end, and the prosperity of the yars before the fall of Castille and Leon will return. I was disappointed that Von Franken will not be able to attend and his chancellor is coming in his stead. He is occupied with a revolt in Holland…or that’s the official explanation. I have heard rumors that he’s been behaving bizarrely, of late. However, I was really hoping Cecilia would have an opportunity to discuss a possible match of Estebe with his daughter, Margarete, who will turn 16 soon. I am aiming awfully high, but I feel that initiating the crusade and capturing Burgos have given me a certain fame in Europe, and Estebe himself cut quite a dashing figure at the battle of Asturias de Oviedo.

November 13, 1112. The King of Germany agrees to my proposal to marry his eldest daughter Margarete to my son Estebe. She has only one older brother, Otto, the Duke of Hainaut—and he is only 17, and does not yet have an heir. Otto is said to be a bit dim, so it should not be too difficult to ensure that he does not get one, or at least not one that lives very long. It would be most efficient, of course, to have Otto himself taken out of the picture, but I can’t do that until Margarete has produced a male heir to the Kingdom of Germany…actually the Kingdoms of Burgundy, France and Italy, as well. Peter Von Franken is likely the most powerful man in Europe. Byzantium is gone, now. The only other really large kingdom is the Kingdom of the Bolgar off in the east. I decide to make Estebe Count of Burgos as a wedding present. There’s a lot of potential here, and I want to see what my son can make of it. Meanwhile, I must see about a wife for Lope. I have heard good things about the Duke of Brittany’s 18-year-old sister, Alix. He definitely needs a wife with grace and tact, since lord knows he’s lacking in those areas. In the meantime, he can take over as marshal.

December 3, 1112. The Duke of Brittany has agreed to the match. Excellent. Now that he’s married, I shall grant him the county of Asturias de Oviedo, and return to Labourd. I’ve spent the last few weeks in the area trying to get things in order, but it looks as though the people who remained here through the Moorish occupation were either bandits or too terrified to be productive. It actually was possible to harvest some crops this year, unlike in Burgos, so things really should improve. I’m not sure at this time whether I will give Godafrey a title. He has never enjoyed the vigorous strength and energy of his brothers. In the meantime, Luken will return as marshal.

June 17, 1113. As I feared, Godafrey’s illness has gotten the better of him this morning. Fortunately, both Lope and Estebe’s wives are expecting children, so the family name seems secure.

December 3, 1113. Damn! Estebe’s child is a daughter. And I’ve heard that the Duke of Hainaut’s wife is also pregnant now. I consider eliminating her, but he’d get a new wife quickly enough. Well, perhaps she’ll have a daughter as well.

May 4, 1114. I had paid one of the Duchess of Hainaut’s ladies in waiting to smother the newborn boy with a pillow in the night. It seemed like a good plan—no blood, no bruises—babies die in the night all the time, right? Unfortunately, the foolish girl was caught leaving the child’s room after successfully suffocating the child. She’s dead now, of course, but apparently revealed the connection to the Duchy of Asturias, under torture I suppose. I’m not terribly worried about reprisals from the Duke himself, but his father’s another story. Happily, it’s unlikely that news of this will penetrate Peter von Franken’s feeble grip on reality. Still, a reputation for smothering babies isn’t really an asset, but at least it was successful. If you’re going to get a reputation for assassination, you’re better off getting one for some degree of competence.

September 8, 1114. Azivelle is not going to be pleased about this, but I’ve replaced her as steward. It seems the Jimenez family has returned to the region, now that the Moors have been kicked out, and young Felipe, grandson of Sancho, the late King of Castille, has a talent for figures and investment. He demonstrated to the court this morning how much more we could get by adjusting our tolls to encourage certain types of mercantile activity, and Azivelle, red-faced, had to admit that there were possibilities she had overlooked.

March 29, 1116. The King of Germany wishes me to mobilize my forces to help him fight off rebellions in Italy and northern Germany. It makes no sense. My forces would take months to get there, and I have periodic peasant uprisings in Asturias to worry about. He must have vassals nearer the scene who can assist him with this problem.

July 16, 1116. I accepted an invitation to a clandestine meeting with a number of the King’s vassals in Pisa. In a sense, it was a rather surprising group of would-be conspirators—Siegfried Billung, the Duke of Saxony, meek enough to give my late father competition; the hopelessly naïve Henri de Blois, Duke of Champagne; and Ruggiero Mancini himself, noted for his fair and compassionate rule in Pisa. It was well known to me, however, that all three of them were extremely disloyal to the crown. Many vassals were now, owing to his increasing unpredictability. I decided to ask them, point blank, what it was that they wanted. I indicated that I was confident I could erase their problem for them, but it would cost them 400 ducats each. They were rather taken aback and began to stammer unprepared responses. Apparently, they had in mind a more military sort of treachery. No, not a simple declaration of war, but perhaps they could appear to join the German forces and then make a surprise attack. I rolled my eyes at this. “Really, Henri, do you actually suppose anyone in Europe would believe you were bringing forces to assist King Peter with quelching a rebellion? Why, just last month you were telling half of Reims that the King had less sense than a decapitated chicken.” Believe it or not, he turned white with fear that I had been ‘spying’ on him. Of course, I have a young lady in Reims who keeps me abreast of doings in the court—doesn’t everybody? Frankly, if I’m going to risk my neck with open rebellion, I’ll do it with more competent fellows.

July 22, 1116. I can’t say I really blame Azivelle for leaving, as I have treated her poorly, but I am disappointed she chose to go to the Duke of Navarra’s court. Either Lope or Estebe could certainly have used her at their courts.

February 25, 1117. I decide to punish the heretic in Asturias de Santillana, declaring war. He has only about 500 men, so my Viscaya regiment should be sufficient to handle it. There seems no need for me to put in a personal appearance, as I’m sure Luken can manage this without me. The Kingdom of Germany has joined the war, in theory, but I don’t expect to see any actual troops. At least a dozen of his vassals have taken up arms against him. Perhaps I should have aided him, as I wonder now if there will be anything left to inherit when all this blows over.

April 13, 1117. We have defeated the forces of the Cathar count and begin the siege.

June 20, 1117. The wicked man is forced to recognize me as the rightful count of Asturias de Santillana. Though I would like to send him to the stake for his sins against God, my advisors prevail on me to allow him to flee with his life. Though there is no open rebellion, there is a great deal of passive resistance from the populace. My spymaster has been doing a good job keeping me abreast of happenings in Germany. I decide to reward him with my daughter Constance’s hand.

October 6, 1117. Peter von Franken again wants me to mobilize my forces. This time there is a more immediate enemy to fight, as the son of my former liege, the Duke of Poitou and Bordeaux has broken away. However, enough of my old loyalties remain that I will not mobilize. I know I may pay for this at some later date, but nonestly, I expect King Peter has a long list of people to wreak vengeance on before he’d get down to me. He’s been wildly unpredictable, so I suppose he could declare war, but I think all his forces are far away.

November 18, 1117. My daughter Erregina has come to the curious conclusion that she should be chancellor instead of the brilliant Cecilia. Her pregnancy has not been going well—perhaps it’s affecting her mind? I’d be more likely to make her marshal than chancellor.

January 5, 1120. Some of my advisors are pushing me to declare war on the King, but I still have hopes of a grandson inheriting, so I’m reluctant to make a move. Cecilia assists me in writing placatory letters to von Franken, explaining away my inability to muster forces for him. Cecilia has been crafting wonderfully beautiful excuses—I almost believe them myself. Such trials and tribulations we have been enduring in Asturias without my notice!

October 15, 1120. After much thought, and repeated requests to mobilize my forces, I have declared independence. I doubt the King will dare to attack me under his current circumstances. I am losing all hope of a grandson to inherit the kingdom. The Duke of Hainaut has another newborn son now, while Margareta has produced three daughters, none of whom have lasted the year. Lope has no heir either, although at least his two daughters have lived. I am worried for the future of our house.

May 18, 1121. Guigues has fallen ill. He had better recover quickly, as I do not have a good replacement for him at the moment, and if Margarete ever has a son, we will need to act quickly.

October 23, 1121. The pope has called a crusade to liberate Antiochea, currently held by the Emirate of El Aresh. If my financial position were stronger, I’d go for it, because the Emirate is at war with the Fatimids right now. I don’t think I can afford to ship a significant force that far at the moment, unfortunately

April 6, 1122. I asked Steward Felipe to crunch some numbers on what it would cost to ship two or three regiments to the Levant and was taken aback when he began to cry. The cost would be exorbitant, but really. He kept wailing about the disloyalty of the peasants in Asturias de Santillana and how we couldn’t squeeze them for any more money. It was all so hopeless. His actual work is still very good, but his emotional state is becoming a distraction for the whole court.

January 5, 1123. It is as I feared. Following his father’s death, the Duke of Hainaut was forced to relinquish the title King of Germany to Friedrich Staden, the Duke of Brandenburg. He’s still nominally King of Burgundy, France and Italy, but in reality, the Bishop of Piombino is his only remaining vassal and I don’t think he’s strong enough to bring it back together. Within the year, I expect he will lose his remaining titles and the Von Franken dynasty will come to an end. I advise Estebe to get rid of Margarete. She carries the family curse and will never produce him a healthy son, much less bring in the glorious inheritance I hoped for.

May 29, 1123. At the pope’s request, I gave a thundering speech today on the necessity of freeing Antiochea from the grip of the infidels However, my spies have informed me that Antiochea has already been captured by the Prince of Sinope. Perhaps this has escaped the Holy Father’s attention?

August 3, 1123. Spymaster Guigues is very sick. I shall have to replace him. Fortunately, Felipe’s sister in law, Agnes de Blois appears to have nice combination of caution and subtlety.

December 4, 1123. The Holy Father finally calls off the crusade with the Prince of Sinope’s vassal still in control of Antiochea. Better than the muslims anyway.

May 4, 1124. I managed to squeeze a large contribution out of the Estates General. There’s a lot of infrastructure to be built in the demesnes, especially in Asturias de Santillana which was badly neglected by the Moors.

November 25, 1124. As my Marshal Luken is now deceased, I ask Nizam, Agnes’ husband to take over. He will definitely bring strict and forceful discipline, as he seems to particularly enjoy punishing impiety and insubordination. He and his brother are quite talented fellows and I’m pleased to have them in their court. It’s really rather surprising Castille was unable to fight off the al’Murabitids. I am concerned about their loyalty, as they may well regard my title as rightfully theirs, but I have plenty of informants in the army and among the royal clerks.

December 14, 1124. These are frustrating and difficult times. All my plans seem to go awry. After 12 years, neither of my son’s wives has produced an heir. Marriages that seemed so profitable at the time seem catastrophic. I’m beginning to think I may need to get rid of Elise and marry again, if the Lomagne name is to be preserved. And the new lands I’ve acquired have been more headache than asset thus far. I still have problems with thieves here in Asturias de Santillana, and Lope’s lands in Asturias de Oviedo are far worse. It all makes me very edgy.

June 2, 1126. My daughter Erregina came to court today to demand that I replace my spymaster with her. I hadn’t seen her in weeks, as she and her husband have both been suffering from intense respiratory problems. She could hardly get through two sentences without coughing—rather difficult to imagine her spying on anyone under the circumstances. I was barely able to suppress a fit of giggles. I wish she would stop persisting in the erroneous belief that she can outperform any of my principal advisors. She’s really embarrassing herself, more than anything.

September 2, 1126. Bernard Jimenez, Nizam’s son has finally come of age. I have been watching his military training closely, as I’ve been told he’s the best swordsman and rider the demesne has seen since my son Estebe…and supposedly a tactical genius. I showed him some maps and had him set up attack plans for different castles in Iberia, given different force compositions and opposition and was impressed with his creativity. I will have to make him marshal, despite his youth. I hope that the fact that it is his son will ease the sting of being replaced for Nizam.

Bernard has persuaded me that we should make an attack on the County of Braganza, which has a mere child ruler in rebellion against Otto, the King of Burgundy, Italy and France. I haven’t seen much sign of military force from them, and Braganza apparently has problem with some sort of fever, so their land is weakly defended. I throw down the gauntlet with a claim and give Bernard the green light to march on Braganza. It’s not as though its ruler has any real historic roots there—the child is just the offspring of random German courtier that a madman plunked down there during the Burgos crusade.

October 3, 1126. Unfortunately, Nizam is unhappy with his unemployment. He wants his brother Felipe’s job. Really, Nizam would make a fine steward, but Felipe continues to do a great job for me, despite his dreary outlook—or maybe because of it. An excessively optimistic steward might be less effective.

December 18, 1126. I receive word that there are only seventy men defending Braganza. It should be childsplay to take it out.

April 2, 1127. Bernard forced the tiny tot out of his little estate. I’ve added another property—admittedly, it’s a rather primitive province, but I can see some potential there. I was worried about the fever, but fortunately it seems to have abated.

August 18, 1128. Now that Guigues has finally recovered from his long illness. I restore him to his post as spymaster. He’ll have a little bit of a learning curve after five years off the job, but I’m sure he’ll find his feet soon enough. He better.

February 5, 1129. All of these disconetented courtiers are getting on my nerves. Abdul-Wahim, one of Nizam’s son challenged the ability of Cecilia, of all people today. I’m getting fed up with the pride of this bloody Jimenez family. Yes, some of them are rather talented and the heritage is a rich one, but the fact is that they got crushed by the Moors and are a minor family today. I was so furious I told the callow boy I would have him drawn and quartered in the morning if he didn’t get out of my demesne. Maybe that will dissuade further distractions of this sort. My advisors and I have enough problems to deal with as it is.

June 6, 1130. I suppose this is rather inconsistent of me, but after complaints about his lack of true faith, I agreed to replace my diocese bishop with the more scholarly arrival from a foreign court, Raoul de Macon. I gather he’s a refugee from the wars in Burgundy. I was skeptical that Otto von Franken would amount to anything, but he has been able to carve a little kingdom for himself in Burgundy. If only that damned Margarete would have produced a son—or really any healthy children at all. She’s 33 for God’s sake. I don’t understand why Estebe hasn’t gotten rid of her by now. Otto still has only one son, but it scarcely matters.

September 23, 1130. Nizam finally fled. Actually, I’m rather pleased that he went to Burgos, since Estebe may have more use for him than I do. Lope is still struggling with rebels in Asturias de Oviedo. I knew dealing with people was not his strength, but really.

October 4, 1132. Jerusalem has fallen to the emirate of Mazandaran, a vassal of the Seljuk Turks, a vast empire in the East. While I would dearly love to go to the Holy Land, I greatly fear the reports I have had from my agents in the east about the Seljuk might. I am getting too old for this, in any event.

July 26, 1134. I caught Bernard and the Bishop’s brother Baudoin plotting something after the banquet last night. Oh, sure, it sounded like they were talking about the recent tournament, but they kept mentioning that lady’s token…surely a code word. When I stared at them, they looked visibly embarrassed and uncomfortable—clearly they have guilty consciences. I bet Bernard is trying to make himself Duke of Asturias. Probably the bishop is in on it, too…I’ll have to watch them all carefully. I should have them executed, but if I leave them be, perhaps they won’t realize I’m onto them. They may reveal their plans and co-conspirators, that way. I will replace Bernard at marshal with Libero de Castilla—he’s one of the few people at court I can still trust.

September 20, 1134. Someone has poisoned the water supply. People are falling sick all over Asturias de Santillana. Who can it be?

October 2, 1135. I lay claim to the Kingdom of Aragon. The manuscripts Cecilia found in the library at Labourd clearly prove that Aragon is mine! Everyone at court seemed a bit surprised by my vehemence, but I was cheated out of my birthright!

December 20, 1136. My daughter Erregina had another stillborn child yesterday. That evil witch Esperanza Jimenez cast a spell on her. But I showed her. A little arsenic in her wine finished her off nicely. Ha! That’s what happens to those who harm my family.

May 4, 1137. Lately, I’ve noticed the local peasants dividing their land into three plots instead of two, as they’ve always done. Is it to honor the trinity?

June 22, 1137. That young man Folcaud of Labourd has recovered from leprosy. It’s a miracle. What can it mean? He must have been divinely sent to be my chancellor.

February 14, 1138. I gave a stirring speech in court today, explaining how we haven’t invested enough money in key improvements. We’re wasting far too much time and energy on military training, foreign relations and information gathering. None of this really matters. It’s the economy, stupid! If we don’t concentrate on the economy, we won’t be able to buy the luxuries we need to maintain our station in the world. I elaborated for several hours, itemizing all the things we could buy for the court if we only generated enough income. Everyone in court was so stunned by my brilliant oratory that they were too overwhelmed even to applaud.

May 7, 1138. I’m still convinced the diocese bishop is plotting against me. I saw him peaking through the shrubbery at me last week. He was disguised as a cat, but I knew it was him. I wanted to reinstate Rogier as my diocese bishop, but Folcaud claimed he was dead. Could they be hiding him somewhere?

August 7, 1138. They told me my eldest son, Lope died after a long illness last week. His seat in Asturias de Oviedo was inherited by some grandson named Joan de Barcelona-Urgell. It sounds very suspicious to me.

June 22, 1139. The papacy has fallen. The crusade has failed utterly and the Emirate of Jerusalem controls Rome. I’ll bet they’re in league with that Joan de Barcelona-Urgell.

October 22, 1139. I finally found someone else at court who understands what’s going on. If only they’d let Annelie von Wassenberg lead the troops, I know we could recapture Rome. She knows the hidden weaknesses of the infidel.

January 5, 1140. Esclarmonda von Montesquieu is now my chancellor. She showed me the error of my ways. I thought Folcaud was divinely inspired, but I was confused.

October 4, 1141. My wife Elise died today. I guess I will find a new one. I was going to marry Annelie, but my chancellor tells me she’s too old.

October 21, 1141. Esclarmonda brought in Aurelia von Lenzburg of Ancona, a 16-year old girl. I’m supposed to marry her. I guess somebody needs to produce some children in this family. She seemed bright enough, but timid, almost as if she were frightened of me.

December 6, 1141. There seems to be much less sickness in the town of late. Could Elise have been the poisoner?

September 23, 1142. Aurelia gave birth today, but it was another daughter, Emazteona. Damn! Damn! Why has our house been so cursed? I am filled with despair at the future of our house.

November 4, 1144. I invite moneylenders to Viscaya. I’ve seen the results in some of the Italian towns. They make lots of money. Money, money, money! Perhaps it will be enough to pull us from this downward economic spiral.

November 28, 1144. Esclarmonda and I were talking today about what dark times these are. Epidemics! The pope in exile! Peasant revolts! Daughters! Sometimes I feel like jumping out of the tower. She understands perfectly. She says she struggles to make it past those open windows each day.

January 7, 1145. My daughter Erregina has finally pushed me too far. She claimed that Esclarmonda’s well-grounded pessimism was bad for the Duchy and that she should be chancellor. I slapped her, cursed her, spat on her, and drove her from the court. Good riddance to her and her endless whining.

April 11, 1145. I feel so weak; I can hardly get out of bed. They say it’s just old age, but I think somebody is poisoning me.
 

stnylan

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Now this is one of the reasons why I love this format, at times over and beyond the narrative format. That was a wonderful way to protray a worsening trait situation in the last years, a true joy to read.
 

Koson

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Wow! Really nice!
Who will inherit if Basajaun's sons had only daughters? Or will you switch to Salic Primo and hope for a good country cousin?
 

unmerged(44072)

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I actually switched to salic consanguinity toward the end of Eudes' reign...good thing, too, because otherwise the House of Lomagne would be in serious danger of ending. If I were back in semisalic primogeniture, the Joan de Barcelona-Urgell would be the heir. Unfortunately, I'm very unlikely to get a country cousin with the kind of base stats Basajaun had--even with all his unappealing personality traits, he still had a diplomacy rating of 9 until he went nuts.

Thanks again for the kind remarks. I'm glad people are enjoying it.
 

AesirKnight

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I must say, this has been a great read so far!

I vastly prefer this style of writing as compared to the "historical narrative" perspective; it really does lend a more personal touch, and I felt as if I could feel the traits of the narrator instead of being told what they were.

I think that this AAR alone may bring me back into the CK fold. I haven't played in so long, but I troll the forums enough, and I'm definitely glad to have stumbled upon your writing.

Keep up the good work, really!
 

unmerged(44072)

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May 7, 2005
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Diary of Estebe de Lomagne (1094-1149) – Duke of Asturias, Count of Viscaya, Labourd, Asturias de Santillana, Braganza and Burgos

April 12, 1145. My father finally died last night. I had not seen very much of him in the past ten years. He had become increasingly irrational and difficult, and it was simply easier to avoid visiting Asturias de Santillana. He himself never travelled any more. His courtiers liked to pass it off as his age, but I suspect he had become too fearful to leave the protective confines of his estate. He had always been a cautious and distrustful man and it seemed his madness accentuated his inherent traits. Despite his decline, there is still a good deal of talent in the court, and impressive progress has been made in building roads, harbors and sawmills. With reasonable care and careful choice of courtiers, I’m sure I can get the Duchy onto a firm footing. I’ve met Felipe Jimenez before, and despite his generally low spirits, I know he is a competent steward, and see no reason to replace him. I am astonished by the swordsmanship, charisma and strategic genius of my nephew, Erregina’s son, Ebles of Labourd. With his unmatched courage and vigor, he shall be the new marshal. Despite Erregina’s attack on her a few months ago, Esclarmonda is a credible chancellor, but I don’t know if I can tolerate two office-holders as moody as her and Felipe. I think I’ll replace her with my brother’s widow, Alix.

The most critical problem facing the duchy is the succession issue. Simply put, Margarete has not borne even one surviving child, and even if she were still of childbearing age, I can scarcely bear to see her, let alone touch her, now that she’s developed leprosy. My brother also had no sons. We may be reaching the end of the line. The trouble is that Margarete is all too conscious of the fact that I need to get rid of her, and is extremely careful. I was discussing the problem with father’s widow, Aurelia, last night. I have, of course, a lot of information that I’ve gathered about Margarete’s routine. Aurelia came up with a plan to use multiple attacks. If the arrow ambush fails, she will likely want some wine to calm herself, so we poison the wine. If she doesn’t drink a sufficient quantity of the poisoned wine to kill her, Aurelia (who is apparently an excellent lockpick) will sneak into her room and slit her throat herself, trusting that she will be sleeping soundly enough due to the poison. I promise Aurelia the position of spymaster, if she succeeds in this task.

April 14, 1145. The poison in the wine got her. Unfortunately, Margarete anticipated the arrow ambush and called the guard. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure that the person most likely to want to kill her is me. People are whispering about me now, but who can truly blame me for wishing to get rid of a leprous wife?

April 15, 1145. Since a fair number of lords had arrived for my father’s funeral, I took the opportunity to float some marriage proposals. I suppose it is unseemly to do so the day after my wife’s death, but the situation is desperate, and everybody assumes I killed her anyway. Why bother feigning grief? Unfortunately, von Lenzburg turned me down flatly. The bishop tells me that the pope has given the word that my father is to be beatified. I nearly collapsed with laughter. Oh, before his mind went, he was an effective enough ruler, but an exemplary life? Somehow I suspect that Otto von Franken, whose son he had murdered, would not agree. I suppose it’s because of his leadership (such as it was) in the Burgos crusade.

July 12, 1145. I was finally able to arrange a marriage to Amalberga von Chiemgau, the daughter of the Duke of Steiermark’s eldest son. She has three older brothers, so inheritance is unlikely, but she’s just turned 16, and is astute, and healthy. I may not have many more years left to sire a son.

September 12, 1145. Good news! Rome has been freed from the muslims by the King of Naples. The crusade is over.

February 23, 1146. No sooner has one crusade ended than another has begun. A crusade is called to free Tunis, in the domain of the Kingdom of Zirid. However, my first priority right now is getting a son—a long campaign would get in the way.

September 15, 1146. Amalberga is pregnant with her first child. I pray for a boy.

June 12, 1147. Nine months of prayer are in vain. Another daughter. I try to pretend not to be too disappointed, but Amalberga knows how dire the situation is.

October 11, 1148. Disease ravages our realm. Small pox in Braganza, dysentery in Burgos, malaria here in Asturias de Santillana. Am I being punished for having Margarete killed? Or is it a punishment for my father arranging the marriage with the intention of killing to bring the Kingdom of Germany into the Lomagne family? I shall pray on this.

December 11, 1148. Great news. Amalberga is pregnant again. This may be my last chance, as I feel weaker by the day.

April 3, 1149. The end is near. I fear I will not last until my child is born. It will be a bitter irony if it proves to be a son. While I had thought the line entirely extinguished, Raoul de Macon has been poring over the old parish records in Labourd, and believes he has located a distant cousin, a seventeen year old boy named Nuno de Lomagne. He is the owner of a tiny estate in the northeastern part of Labourd, and little is known about him. However, it appears the fate of our family is in his hands now, as I have no more time.
 

stnylan

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Damned poor timing if it is a son, still it may well be worth it if you thereby avoid a long and possibly nasty regency.
 

AesirKnight

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How sad, that Estebe and his brother both could not produce an heir. It's good glad that you have a country cousin, however, and that the duchy didn't fall under the control of another line. I like how your writing style is changing with each character, whether intentional or not; it does feel like a different person is narrating each little part of the story.
 

coz1

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Though log-style, there is none of the dryness that can be found in that. I really enjoy the RP aspects you have introduced here and the small touches in the writing in explaining events and traits is truly enjoyable!

I think my favorite line thus far was a simple one, but had me laughing out loud:
April 14, 1145. The poison in the wine got her.
:rofl:

Too bad things have not been going as I assume you planned, what with all the daughters and such, but at least the family name will live on. Looking forward to where you go next.

And might we get some screenshots? I'd love to see how your lands are looking at present.
 

unmerged(44072)

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May 7, 2005
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There is a logical place to put a screenshot in the next installment, as I refer to looking at a map. I'm going to have to go back and look at how to do it; I think I read something about it and thought it sounded like a bit of a nuisance.

In a way, I'm just as glad that Basajaun's scheme to land Charlemagne's Empire failed, because I don't really feel like writing centuries of AAR about a huge empire. But when I saw the opportunity, I didn't feel like it was something a character like Basajaun could pass up.
 

coz1

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There are some great references in the main area to assist in screenshot usage, if you are interested. Not that you need them, per se, but they do add some to the "look" of an AAR. Basically, you just need a host - try photoshop (for free.) After that, it's just a cut and paste job. :)
 

unmerged(36747)

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A good screenshot explains more and better that a long text (even if your text is interesting... it is slightly off-putting) ;)
 

unmerged(44072)

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OK, I'm going to give part of the next rulers reign, with a screenshot accessible via link. The insert image icon gave me a prompt that was completely meaningless to me, so I just put the URL in. Let me know if you can see it, as I can't remember the UNIX file attribute codes, so I don't know if everyone can read files I post on my webpage. It probably would have been better to have the screenshot before the war with the Archbishop of Galicia and Sheikhdom of Santiago, but 1154 is when I mentioned the map, and I had a saved game from late in 1153 to pull up.

Diary of Nuno de Lomagne, Duke of Asturias, Count of Viscaya, Labourd, Asturias de Santillana, Braganza and Burgos (1132-1196) Part I

April 4, 1149. It is most extraordinary. A few weeks ago, as I was inspecting the vineyards to see if we had lost any vines over the winter, a small company of men under the banner of the Duke of Asturias unexpectedly appeared at my little chateau. At first, I feared that my land was to be seized or I was accused of some crime, but instead the duke’s chaplain introduced himself and knelt before me. He explained, much to my astonishment, that the Duke was near death and I appeared to be the sole surviving member of the House of Lomagne. Of course, I knew that I shared a name with the Duke’s family, and assumed I was a distant cousin, but I had never imagined such a vast inheritance. He insisted that I ride with him immediately to Asturias de Santillana. I had never been across the Pyrenees before and had no idea how long the ride would take. In fact, I had never been any farther than the nearby market where we sell our wine. On the way, I saw marvels like the new church with the beautifully colored glass windows in Viscaya and the construction of a huge structure I am told will be a castle.

The past few days have been a whirlwind of faces and places. The late Duke’s advisors have been training me in statesmanship. It is a blessing that I received some instruction in stewardship from my father, so that I could keep track of our little estate’s sales and expenses, and can read and write. Marshal Ebles has been summarizing the size and composition of the forces the various provinces maintain, detailing his military strategies, and provided some instruction in fighting. I thought I was pretty handy with a sword until I began fencing with Marshal Ebles. It is somewhat of a balm to my ego that I have heard him compared to El Cid. Chancellor Alix has been explaining court etiquette, our relations with the various realms around us, and potential brides. Given the circumstances of the realm, she is emphatic that finding a wife and siring sons is the most important task ahead of me. My Spymaster, Aurelia, is a young woman, scarcely older than myself. It seemed odd to hear her talk casually of assassination techniques and how to anticipate an ambush, but the other courtiers hold her in high regard. Finally, steward Felipe has been going over the duchy’s economy and finances with me. I am impressed by the vast sums of gold the realm generates. No wonder the duchess has been able to build so many fine new buildings and roads in recent decades. How Felipe can be so gloomy, I simply don’t understand.

April 29, 1149. I arrange a marriage to the youngest sister of the Count of Nevers, Agnes de Bourgogne. She seems a sensible young girl, although very guarded and clearly nervous about moving to a strange new land for an unknown husband. I try to make her feel comfortable by explaining how this is all new to me as well. Alix tells me Agnes comes from a large family, so she is optimistic that she will be fertile.

July 4, 1149. The wicked archbishop of Galicia has been excommunicated. Ebles urges me to claim Galicia, so as to bring his unfortunate people back to proper Christian rule. I wish to lead the forces, but Alix tells me I’m not permitted to go to war until Agnes has a son. Ebles begins to gather our regiments from Viscaya and Labourd.

November 4, 1149. I admire Ebles’ forces as he leads them through Asturias de Santillana. Over 5000 men, and 1000 of them on horseback. I have never seen such a vast force assembled. How the archbishop will quake before our mighty army!

November 9, 1149. The King of Aragon has requested an alliance. Although the Lomagne family has claims on their crown, Aragon is a powerful kingdom and it seems a good idea. There are greater powers than ours with ambitions in Iberia, particularly Germany and Burgundy, and a strong ally nearby could be a great asset.

January 21, 1150. Terrible tidings from Galicia. While battling the forces of the heretical archbrishop, a contingent of our archers became separated from the remainder of the forces. Marshal Ebles had spearheaded a cavalry charge intended to drive off the infantry that were encroaching on the archers’ position and reunite them with our forces. While he cut a swath of death through the Galician ranks, he was felled by an arrow and has died tragically. For the present, Felipe’s older brother Nizam will be leading the troops in battle in Compostela. Inquiring of the other courtiers, I learn that Nizam’s son, Bernard, has experience in the marshal position and will appoint him to replace Ebles.

February 3, 1150. The Archbishop’s forces in Compostela were driven into a gorge and massacred. Their casualties were more than four times greater than ours, though one of our losses was extremely painful. We besiege the castle at Compostela.

April 5, 1150. Compostela has fallen to our forces. As my demesne is getting large and difficult to control now, Alix suggests that I grant a county title to one of my courtiers. I end up choosing Amalberga’s daughter to be countess of Braganza. She’s only seven years old, so naturally Amalberga will choose courtiers to be the de facto rulership of the county until she comes of age.

July 1, 1150. Joyous news! I had noticed that Agnes had been frequently ill in the mornings lately, and worried that she was unwell, but it turns out that she is with child.

March 3, 1151. My son Gergori is born! He seems a strong and healthy child. The Lomagne dynasty will continue.

August 30, 1151. Pope Ludwig of Marienburg has taken up residence in Santiago, bordering our posessions in Compostela.

September 22, 1151. The malaria finally passes in Asturias de Santillana. Burgos still struggles, but the rest of the demesne is healthy.

October 20, 1151. That crazy old woman Annelie von Wassenberg finally retires from the court. It’s scary to think, but Amalberga tells me she was actually a trusted advisor of Duke Badajaun toward the end of his life.

October 27, 1151. Guigues of Labourd, the spymaster of old Duke Basajaun has died. Somewhat surprisingly to me, though I didn’t know the old man well, he is beatified. You wouldn’t expect spymasters to be noted for holiness.

May 7, 1152. The Duke of Lothian has brought the Tunis crusade to a successful conclusion.

September 5, 1152. Having brought one crusade to an end, the pope is now urging all Christians to liberate Rome. Rome is some distance from here and while our financial resources seem vast to me, they are apparently insufficient for a campaign in Italy, at this time.

October 8, 1152. Perhaps the pope should have been focused closer to home. The Papal State in Santiago has fallen to the sheikhdom of Tripolitania. With one son and a second child on the way, I decide I should mobilize my forces and attack and bring the unfortunate people of Santiago back under Christian rule.

November 4, 1152. Bernard and I gather about 4000 troops in Asturias de Santillana and set out for Santiago.

February 4, 1153. We arrive in Compostela and declare war on the Sheikhdom of Tripolitania. They retaliate declaring war upon our vassals in Braganza and Asturias de Oviedo.

March 3, 1153. We march into Santiago. The enemy is nowhere to be seen, so we begin the siege, joined by a regiment from Braganza.

March 12, 1153. Victory. Santiago falls to our glorious forces. Tripolitania has holdings in Bourges, France, as well. I think I will quickly return to Asturias de Santillana and call up troops there and in Labourd and make for Bourges. If need be, a regiment can be called up from Compostela to defend Santiago, should ships bearing Tripolitanian troops appear. In the meantime, I offer a white peace…I doubt he will accept, but the remainder of his holdings are distant from my demesne, so if he’s willing to call it quits at Santiago, I am content.

March 24, 1153. As Alix warned me to expect, the sheikh has declined our proposal.

May 30, 1153. Ships from Tripolitania carrying nearly 1000 men have been sighted in the Bay of Biscay. I call up Ebles’ regiment in Viscaya and order him to respond to any attacks, while I continue to march through the Pyrenees.

June 12, 1153. As I arrive in Labourd, a messenger bears word that Agnes has had a second son, Xabier. Wonderful! I mobilize the troops in Labourd, and lead 3500 men northward toward Bourges.

June 25, 1153. It appears the ships are headed for northwest Spain. I send word to mobilize the forces in Compostela.

July 8, 1153. The King of Aragon has declared war on the King of Hammadid and his vassals in southern Italy. I am too troubled with my own war to help them.

July 21, 1153. I have received disturbing news from Asturias de Santillana. A headstrong young cleric is apparently preaching against me for squandering the peasant’s taxes on war while the people suffer. How dare he question me for fighting the infidels? Though some have been stirred up, surely he cannot drum up serious rebellion against my rule.

August 27, 1153. Raoul de Macon, my diocese bishop is reportedly engaging enemy troops in Santiago. I am now besieging Bourges.

September 21, 1153. Raoul is victorious. He still has 1500 troops, so our posessions in Iberia appear secure.

October 1, 1153. The sheikh now offers white peace, but I feel I am close to capturing Bourges. I decline.

November 1, 1153. Bourges is mine. Now I offer white peace. About 200 of his men still harass Raoul in Santiago.

November 5, 1153. We are at peace. I will not be able to control all these far flung lands easily. That fiery preacher in Asturias de Santillana has made it unruly, so I decide to give up the rebellious province of Asturias de Santillana, though it has been my home for four years, and newly acquired Bourges to vassals. Erregina de Lomagna, daughter of the Basajaun, will be Countess of Asturias de Santillana—our seat will be moved inland to the safety of the high country around Burgos.. My wife Agnes will be Countess of Bourges. I like to keep the titles in the family. I also declare myself Duke of Galicia. To think that 5 years ago I was minor country landholder, not even a baron, and now I am a duke twice over.

December 1, 1154. In studying the map of Iberia, I note that much of the territory of western region north of the Tagus belongs to petty counts. It is the destiny of Asturias to dominate this region, I think, but Alix warns me I must go slowly so as not to infuriate my neighbors. I lay claim to the county of Valladolid to the south. My advisors keep telling me that I need to save money before I declare war. It’s so hard to do. There are so many things to buy and so little money coming in.

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stnylan

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Well western Europe is something of a mess and no mistake - thought it is quite heartening to see the Christians crusading somewhat effectively. Clearly our country cousin still has a fair amount to learn, but he does show signs of great promise.