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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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volksmarschall

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This is just a bunch of Norman über alles propaganda! :p
 

stnylan

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In another time a latter day Aeschylus would be writing the Normandia about the cycle of hatred and revenge of the House of Normandy. Perhaps one will.

And thus the child remained enchained
His oaths of fealty all feigned
His father's hand the master still
The Duke obeys for worse and ill
 

TheButterflyComposer

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finally brought some literature study into the forum! The other side of the coin of history.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

Ah, a tragic villain! Interesting stuff and sure to bring about commentary from historians and play writes alike. Because Normandy could leave England and be free from it very easily at this point I think. There may or may not be a war over it but I think many saxons wouldn't be too disappointed with that lost land to fight for it (and Robert doesn't know of course that the king needs it to remain so England is prominent in Europe). But if the duke could simply leave well enough alone and be satisfied on the content, he could form his own powerful realm in France and Brittany, or take the emperor's oath and become the most powerful vassal in the HRE. All sorts of great and good possibilities, yet he will never take them because his father wanted England, was killed by the English and now he wants revenge.

There's a Shakespeare play in it, whether he wins or not I think!
Play or no, I think you have a novel idea there Butterfly! I must admit that I did not intend for Robert to be a "tragic" villain, but villain he most certainly is. And your reasoning of such cannot be disputed. That was intended because he has a.) the power and b.) the memory of what happened to his father...which those of you that read the previous work may know, he was not especially fond of. ;) Yet...it remains, in his mind, his destiny. We shall see.

A lot of blood would go under the bridges if the Norman duke wants to leave the Saxon crown.
Welcome and thanks for the comment! I'm not certain the break would be so easy, but it may be the best thing to happen in many ways. Will it? Hmm...there is a reason this work is titled as it is. :D

This is just a bunch of Norman über alles propaganda! :p
:D:p:D

Very good, volksmarschall! Very good. Just don't let Robert hear you say that. ;)

In another time a latter day Aeschylus would be writing the Normandia about the cycle of hatred and revenge of the House of Normandy. Perhaps one will.

And thus the child remained enchained
His oaths of fealty all feigned
His father's hand the master still
The Duke obeys for worse and ill
More verse from Brother Nylan. One must ask...why is he not better known? :D

The Cycle...yes. It remains and continues. I don't think I am giving anything away by saying that this will happen. Every post pretty much suggests it. The question is - who wins??

finally brought some literature study into the forum! The other side of the coin of history.
As I always say, sir...you will need to wait until the end to see if Brother Nylan's words ring true. ;) We have had plenty of literary study here on these boards but there is always room for more. Keep it coming, I say. :)

I'm getting the sense that the houses of Wessex and Normandy are on the cusp of a long, slow-burning generational feud like the Capetians and the Habsburgs -- or the Hatfields and McCoys.
Your spidey sense is not wrong, sir. I don't know that it is generational over time (because I have not played that long) but history does repeat itself. Just wait. I know I am giving away what happens but I don't think I have been too shy to foreshadow such an event. Robert IS coming. :eek:


To all - the next update arrives tomorrow. We will finally get a chance to see how Morcar takes to the council. That is your preview. ;)

Thank you so much for your excellent comments! Every one is special!
 

Idhrendur

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I had to read both updates at once. Good move with the council, but despite the theatrics I suspect those removed will be somewhat unhappy about it (if only because the game mechanics make it so). Fortunately, all the pretenders are disunited, but as you showed, the Normans have the means to continue building their strength by taking French lands.
 

JabberJock14

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Those Normans are going to be a tricky lot. There's no easy way to remove them, short of granting them independence, but there's no way Uthraed can let that happen. The best he can hope for is to keep them isolated, but even if Robert himself can never be king, his descendants could well end up king-makers.
 

The Number 9

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Hi coz ! :)

I read it all at once and it was really interesting (as always).

I really like the relationship with the two brothers. There is respect (and even love) between them two, but something unspoken let them a bit distant toward each other (whether it is ambition, defiance or simply misunderstanding, we'll see).
They can be a really powerful duo. For the moment, I still think Eadward is loyal. He has to find his place too.

The young lady from Mercia has definitely the potential to be my favorite. :)
I wait to see more of the Duke of York to have a clear opinion of him.

And we end with another plot from Normandy. History is an eternal cycle.
Robert has not the charisma of his father, but he should not be underrated. He is one of the strongest vassals (maybe the strongest) and can be a real nuisance. Interesting times upon us.


Thank you once again for this story.
I may post a bit more frequently the next few weeks (at least, I hope so).
 

Asantahene

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Well well well this was a rather interesting foray into the heart of darkness that is Rouen where sits the febrile plotting of a scorned Norman. I like it!
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

I had to read both updates at once. Good move with the council, but despite the theatrics I suspect those removed will be somewhat unhappy about it (if only because the game mechanics make it so). Fortunately, all the pretenders are disunited, but as you showed, the Normans have the means to continue building their strength by taking French lands.
Time will tell if the decision was ultimately smart or not, but it was time for Uhtræd to make things in his own way. And indeed, the pretenders are disunited...for now.

Those Normans are going to be a tricky lot. There's no easy way to remove them, short of granting them independence, but there's no way Uthraed can let that happen. The best he can hope for is to keep them isolated, but even if Robert himself can never be king, his descendants could well end up king-makers.
In many ways, Normandy is a pickle of my own making. I might have done something about them many years ago but did not. I have appreciated how they have expanded within France, but it does come at some coast as it continues to make them stronger along with the realm.

Hi coz ! :)

I read it all at once and it was really interesting (as always).

I really like the relationship with the two brothers. There is respect (and even love) between them two, but something unspoken let them a bit distant toward each other (whether it is ambition, defiance or simply misunderstanding, we'll see).
They can be a really powerful duo. For the moment, I still think Eadward is loyal. He has to find his place too.

The young lady from Mercia has definitely the potential to be my favorite. :)
I wait to see more of the Duke of York to have a clear opinion of him.

And we end with another plot from Normandy. History is an eternal cycle.
Robert has not the charisma of his father, but he should not be underrated. He is one of the strongest vassals (maybe the strongest) and can be a real nuisance. Interesting times upon us.


Thank you once again for this story.
I may post a bit more frequently the next few weeks (at least, I hope so).
Good to see you back from vacation. Hope you had a great time! As for the brothers, so far they are feeling each other out. But when the time comes, they will need to be a powerful duo. Glad Lady Wulfrun is coming into her own. I hope to do more with her as move forward. Morcar will come sooner than that. As for Robert, he is by far the most powerful vassal in that he rules a mini-Kingdom really. Mercia is second. But you are correct - history remains a cycle.

Well well well this was a rather interesting foray into the heart of darkness that is Rouen where sits the febrile plotting of a scorned Norman. I like it!
Heart of darkness indeed. We all had to know that once William lost his bid, that Normandy would remain a thorn in our side. Either independent or as part of the realm, they will always have their ambition.


To all - the next scene follows and gives us an idea of the new council. Some interesting things coming up so stay tuned. Great comments as always!!
 

coz1

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The Bold Prince


Gainsborough, England - March 1111


The Bishop finished his prayer and the members of the council looked to King Uhtræd and waited for his command to take their seats. Uhtræd did so immediately as he held up a letter from his sister in Orleans.

“Barely on the throne and it did not take us but a year, my Lords…here we already find ourselves called to action. I hold here a missive from my sister, the Duchess of Orleans. She tells me that her husband, the Duke Prince Roubaud, has declared for France against Queen Adelheid. My sister includes words within from my brother by law and he requests our assistance. I would ask for your words on the matter.”


Duke Morcar took the lead in answering as he found his chair, “It would seem your moral duty, Your Grace.”

“Would it?” Prince Eadward was quick to ask.

The Duke of York looked to the Prince before returning his gaze to the King, “I may be new to this role as your Lord Marshal, Your Grace, but I would counsel you to keep faith with your brother by law in all ways.”

The master of spies nodded his head, “I believe our Lord of York is correct, Your Grace. Should the Duke win his challenge, the realm of France may prove a powerful ally against Lord Robert in Normandy.”

The King looked to his brother, “Does Prince Roubaud hold a valid claim?”

Eadward gave nod, “He does. It was very much why our father matched him with our dear sister Mildrith. There is not a soul other than this Queen of France that thinks she has any right to that throne. She already wars with her cousin in Burgundy over the matter. And Prince Roubaud is far closer to the proper line. His claim is very good.”

Uhtræd raised his brow, “I must admit that I know not the full lineage of any of these Frankish pretenders.”

“He is a true Capetian, Your Grace,” Eadward followed, “His father was King before him as Hugues II and was foully murdered by this current Queen’s husband. And the Prince is a young nephew to the great King Philippe. We both know how true our father considered that man.”

“He always did speak highly of King Philippe…tis true,” Uhtræd nodded. He looked to Duke Morcar and Mayor Brice before returning a questioning face to his brother, “Do you agree with these men that we should honor this charge?”

The Prince shook his head, “On that, I cannot agree. While it may be the noble move to assist our sister and her husband’s claim, I fear that it may put us at great risk should Lord Robert make his own claim for your crown.”

Morcar looked to the Prince with some shock, “You cannot see the benefit of a strong ally to Lord Robert’s south? You are no martial man, my Lord Chancellor, but you may look to our King and he would tell you how valuable such a thing may be.”

Uhtræd did not say a word but rather sat back as he wished to gain the full measure of his new Marshal. Prince Eadward allowed the King a moment to respond and when he did not, turned his gaze back to Morcar, “No, my Lord…I am not a martial man. True value there may be in a powerful ally to Normandy’s south, but there be no power that strong in the area unless you mean the soldiers of the Empire.”

Mayor Brice leaned in, “The King’s good wife may be a most useful help there, my Lords.”

The King only looked to Brice for a moment as he responded, “I would not look in that direction, my Lord. Keep your eyes upon France.”

Brice bowed his head with apology, “Of course, Your Grace. However, I remain at faith with Lord Morcar. I do not see the harm in assisting this Prince of France reclaim his proper holding.”

Uhtræd looked to Eadward once more, “I must tell you…they do make a persuasive case. I value your opinion in all things, dear brother, but I am not swayed away from action.”

Eadward gave nod to all in the room, “I must tell you that the pretext to this struggle has great cause. I would not disagree. As I understand it, this Queen held Prince Roubaud’s older brother in her dungeons for years where he finally starved to death. A most gruesome way to find the Lord. There are none who love her. And yet…we face our own factions in this realm.”

Duke Morcar squirmed in his chair as Eadward shot him a fierce look, but the Prince continued, “That we must be at the ready at any time should Lord Robert make move, I cannot see taking the risk of men or gold to fight a battle that is not yours, Your Grace.”

King Uhtræd looked to the Mayor of Boston, “What does my Lord Steward say on the matter? You have been silent, sir.”

Mayor Eanberht sat forward, “We would have limited gold to put a great force in the field across the channel, Your Grace. It is there if surely required, but I must tell you that I agree with the Lord Chancellor on this. While my task is to keep true your treasury, Your Grace, I have seen my share of battle. I am well aware of Lord Robert’s push into Artois and by all accounts, he is winning there decisively. I would not put past him the chance to quickly swing his force north when victory is his.”

Morcar looked to the King quickly, “Your Grace…I have assisted in training up over a thousand men in Cumberland over these last months. Combined with those at the ready here in Lincoln, your aid may be the decisive factor in seeing your brother by law as King in France. Even if Lord Robert makes move, and even with a weakened France as it is, this Prince remains a valuable ally.”

The King turned to his master of spies, “Lord Brice…have you more words?”

Brice simply nodded his head, “I remain in agreement with the Lord Duke, Your Grace. Robert may come but when he does he will do so with powerful enemies. The Emperor will not like his taking of Artois. And neither will Prince Roubaud. You need not put great armies onto the field but rather merely support him in his claim. That may go a long way, Your Grace.”

“Lord Eanberht?” the King looked to his Steward.

The Mayor offered a tepid nod, “Lord Brice makes a fair point, Your Grace. Should you honor the spirit, he may do you the same kindness when such a day may come.”

“And it will,” Uhtræd nodded with certainty before looking to his brother, “I am close to my decision but I shall offer you another chance to speak your mind.”

If Eadward was put out that he was outvoted on the council, he did not let it show. He simply looked to all with seriousness before returning his brother’s gaze, “You are most correct in your certainty that Lord Robert will move against this crown, Your Grace. I can only give you counsel to prepare for it. We must needs have all safeguards for when that day may come. Lord Brice knows better than I of what happens in Rouen these days as I work furiously in Dyfed for your prerogative there, but I would remain in my counsel to suggest that France is not the battlefield of the coming years.”

Uhtræd smiled with a nod of his head and then looked to the rest, “My brother is correct. France is not our battlefield. But I would support Prince Roubaud in his quest. You have all made fine points. My Lord Marshal…you would keep our troops at the ready for the day when they are needed. Lord Eanberht…you will make sure that our gold is sound for this same moment. Lord Brice…you will keep your eyes on that rascal in Normandy. I must needs know the moment he makes his turn.”

“And you, brother…my Lord Chancellor,” the King turned to Eadward, “You will keep at your task which is all important for the days to come. Be not sore if you feel a loss here today for your counsel remains the most desired by me. I trust it in all ways.”

 
Last edited:

stnylan

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It is very important to keep focused.

I must say I am impressed by the young Duke here - clear and forthright, and giving reasonable counsel. He has an eagerness to him, of course, the mark of youth, but if Brice backs him it is clearly not out of sort. I do think as well by refusing this call Uhtræd may have begun, in small certain ways, the same moral slide that he so loathed in his father. Let us home his descent does not lead to the same decision.
 

Nikolai

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Brittanny is ripe for the taking, and a good staging ground - as well as counter - to the bad Lord Duke Robert.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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France isn't dead, long live the empire from the looks of things. Or it would be so if the emperor was not old and tired apparently. And I'm not sure allying with France is a good thing now. Normandy looks stronger than them and far more unified. France is more two duchies and Paris than a kingdom now. The German emperor, the Bretons, the Normans and the Saxons have more stake in France now. I think that this area is going to be a melting pot of contention and war for the next few centuries if things aren't fixed very soon, much like how Germany was OTL. An interesting twist on the two medieval power in Europe there.

England has to tread carefully, because for france to be of any use it must be put back together again, which makes it stronger than England by default. Also o do that, one must fight the empire and all the micro kingdoms that yet are as large as the remnent French realm. More and more Normandy seems to be England's way into France, rather than relations with the French king. But regardless of what the king decides, for the moment, the German empeor holds the power in France right now.
 

Specialist290

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I think the apparent splintering of France is somewhat deceptive -- if I recall correctly, since coz isn't using Legacy of Rome, his game still has the old faction revolt mechanics where every rebel lord temporarily goes independent until the war ends, rather than getting lumped together under a single "revolt leader." That said, even taking that into account France does look rather anemic here compared to the massive grey blob that is the Holy Roman Empire.

Honestly, I'm of the opinion that if Uhtræd is going to commit to propping up an ally on the French throne, he's better off going all-out. Even France and England combined might not be able to hold off the Emperor all by themselves, but they might have just enough strength to make the Emperor think twice about getting aggressive if he has other threats prowling his borders (which he almost certainly will). Otherwise, he's better off leaving France to its own devices.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

It is very important to keep focused.

I must say I am impressed by the young Duke here - clear and forthright, and giving reasonable counsel. He has an eagerness to him, of course, the mark of youth, but if Brice backs him it is clearly not out of sort. I do think as well by refusing this call Uhtræd may have begun, in small certain ways, the same moral slide that he so loathed in his father. Let us home his descent does not lead to the same decision.
Ahh...but Uhtræd does take the call and honor it. He may not work hard at it, but he accepts his duty.

And I am playing around with Morcar. He is not his grandfather nor his great uncle, but he is not a simpleton. He does have some talent.

Brittanny is ripe for the taking, and a good staging ground - as well as counter - to the bad Lord Duke Robert.
Not bad advice. Where were you when I was playing this bit? ;) Lord Robert is indeed very bad!

Uohoh! Look at that France...oh, wait there isn't any France around.:D
There is still some slight France, but they have been is shambles for years. Between Normandy and the HRE, they are but a mere snack at this point.

France isn't dead, long live the empire from the looks of things. Or it would be so if the emperor was not old and tired apparently. And I'm not sure allying with France is a good thing now. Normandy looks stronger than them and far more unified. France is more two duchies and Paris than a kingdom now. The German emperor, the Bretons, the Normans and the Saxons have more stake in France now. I think that this area is going to be a melting pot of contention and war for the next few centuries if things aren't fixed very soon, much like how Germany was OTL. An interesting twist on the two medieval power in Europe there.

England has to tread carefully, because for france to be of any use it must be put back together again, which makes it stronger than England by default. Also o do that, one must fight the empire and all the micro kingdoms that yet are as large as the remnent French realm. More and more Normandy seems to be England's way into France, rather than relations with the French king. But regardless of what the king decides, for the moment, the German empeor holds the power in France right now.
Interesting how the readers are taking sides in the council. Eadward was outvoted, but most of you are on his side in the argument. While I suggested in the post that France was not the battleground, you may very well be right that in the very near future, it will be. The HRE has certainly made great gains there as has England (though Normandy.) Ther future is interesting, no doubt.

I think the apparent splintering of France is somewhat deceptive -- if I recall correctly, since coz isn't using Legacy of Rome, his game still has the old faction revolt mechanics where every rebel lord temporarily goes independent until the war ends, rather than getting lumped together under a single "revolt leader." That said, even taking that into account France does look rather anemic here compared to the massive grey blob that is the Holy Roman Empire.

Honestly, I'm of the opinion that if Uhtræd is going to commit to propping up an ally on the French throne, he's better off going all-out. Even France and England combined might not be able to hold off the Emperor all by themselves, but they might have just enough strength to make the Emperor think twice about getting aggressive if he has other threats prowling his borders (which he almost certainly will). Otherwise, he's better off leaving France to its own devices.
You are correct, France may not be totally out of it. I happen to like this version of the game that breaks them into their own independent realms while a revolt occurs. The maps look better to me. But if this Queen (or another) can get her bits together, they still prove a presence in Western Europe. And your advice to the King is not bad at all. He does not take it, of course, but he would do well to listen. In retrospect, I agree with you. Except for this little niggling thing called...Normandy. ;) More on that in a bit. :D


To all - the next update arrives tomorrow. We are moving closer to the inevitable and no one will be surprised when it occurs. I truly enjoyed the looks at how the council answered to the King. Most of you are on Eadward's side. And yet, he lost the argument. :rolleyes: Interesting times ahead, ladies and gentlemen. And your words remain excellent! Thank you!
 

Idhrendur

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Though there are many ways this could go badly, I agree with Uhtræd's choice here. Containing the Normans is necessary in the short-term, even if it proves costly in the long term.
 

JabberJock14

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Having lost Potiou and part of Aquitaine, France is a mess. Granted, it's not all that different from what happened in OTL with the HRE standing in for the Angevins, but this HRE looks much stronger than Angevin England, and there doesn't appear to be a Philipp II just yet. Though maybe Roubaud can pull something together if he gains the throne.

It is a tough choice for Uhtræd though. There are merits to keeping France afloat, since the HRE is going to end up fighting over the Norman holdings in Flanders. But.. weakening the army in any way could speed up Robert's actions against him. I think his choice here of nominally offering support is the right one.

But judging by your response, it seems as though war is coming. I suspect Uhtræd will finally feel right at home and perhaps cement his rule with success on the battlefield.