Main Title

AxolotlKnight

Second Lieutenant
Mar 16, 2019
134
79

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The Ordeals of the Orsini - A Narrative CKIII AAR
Hello and welcome to a new CKIII AAR detailing the life and times of the Italian Orsini family from 1066 onwards. After having a play around with the game I came to the conclusion that CKIII is, much like its predecessor, a perfect vehicle for creating stories. For this AAR I have decided to write it in the narrative style and chose a family from a region I rarely played in CKII. I hope you all enjoy it and thank you for reading!



Chapters
Prologue
 
Last edited:
Prologue

AxolotlKnight

Second Lieutenant
Mar 16, 2019
134
79
Prologue


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The unmistakable smell of damp woodland had been present for half an hour before Giacopo and Simonetto had finally reached the small forest that had appeared in front of them. It had been raining for nearly two days straight, and by now many of the mud, footpaths had been turned into small surging streams. Luckily for Giacopo, he was on a horse, who simply proceeded unobstructed, as if the rain meant nothing to him. Giacopo couldn't say the same, his thin wool hood and cape having done little keep him dry or warm. To make matters worse, his sodden cape had begun to weigh down on him, making the ride even more uncomfortable.

“Fucking rain...” Giacopo mumbled as a fresh gust blew the rain straight into his face.

“What was that, my lord?” shouted Simonetto, who though only a few yards ahead, could barely hear Giacopo over the sound of rainfall.

The weary Count raised his head and shouted back “nothing Simonetto, nothing.”

Giacopo knew complaining about something as trivial as rainfall to a commoner was bound to make him look soft, which was something he could ill afford to have against his name. Though he had been a count for nearly ten years, he still remembered well the life of the lower nobility. The constant prostrations in front of pompous lords and ladies, the endless intrigues in courts filled with vacuous knights and corrupt priests, and the four-score battles that nearly cost him his life. When he was granted the title of Count of Orvieto by the Holy Roman Emperor, he was adamant that he would never return to his former life.



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As the two riders entered the forest, they were shielded from most of the rainfall and so both of them lowered their hoods. “We are not much further, my lord,” said Simonetto as he wiped some of the water from his brow “on the other side of this grove and then we are there.”

Giacopo ran his fingers through his soaked hair in an attempt to make himself look a little bit more presentable, though he knew it was a lost cause. “I hope this trip is worth it, I feel like I'm going to catch a chill with all this rain.”

His companion chuckled “don't worry my lord, it has to be colder than this to catch such a thing. We a barely out of summer.”

“If you say so” replied Giacopo “to me it feels like endless autumn.”

This time Simonetto let out a proper laugh “you nobles, always sounding dramatic. This is no autumn.”

“And I suppose you would know?”

Simonetto produced a curt smile before answering “in my younger days I travelled as a mercenary all around Christendom. I fought from Constantinople to York, and all that time we stopped for nothing, not even for the weather. The year before you brought me into your service, the mercenary band I was with were hired by the Emperor to help stop the raiding Pomeranian tribes on his eastern border. We ended up fighting through the winter, during heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. I lost three toes to the cold, and most of my battle brothers died. Compared to that, Italia is a paradise.”

“Is that why you stopped?” asked a slightly more subdued Giacopo.

His companion turned slightly on his horse to look back at the Count, a smile wide across his face “no, it was because I found out I could get paid far more sitting on my arse, being a 'steward' for some lord.”




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Ha ha” Giacopo said sarcastically “I should punish you for that.”

“Will you?” Simonetto asked with an impish grin.

The Count sighed “no”.

An hour later and the woodland finally gave way to open fields once again. By this point, the rain had subsided and the bright mid-morning sun beamed across the valleys of Umbria, revealing the startling natural beauty.

“I don't get to see this enough” commented Giacopo as he surveyed the landscape.

His steward chuckled “no, I suppose you don't. You're too busy trying to stop farmers from killing each other to do that.”

The reference to their work did not go unnoticed by Giacopo “okay I get your point, let's continue.”

When they finally reached the farmstead in question they were greeted by a small horde of peasant well-wishers, with two burly men at the front of them. Once they dismounted, Giacopo and Simonetto approached the two men.

“Welcome, my lords” shouted one of them, who had a faint scar across his cheek and no hair. “When we heard you were coming to settle our little dispute, we were both shocked.”

“Surprised” the other one quickly interjected, his pug nose and thin mouth almost sneering with contempt “my 'friend' means surprised”

The bald man turned with a similar loathing for his compatriot “I knew what I meant, Friso.”

“Friends,” Giacopo said as he held his arms open in an attempt at seeming hospitable “it is good to meet you both, especially after such a long journey. Seeing welcoming souls at the end of a journey is always a welcome sight.”

“Indeed” added Simonetto, his voice noticeably monotone.

The bald man, who so far had seemed to be the most amicable of the two, clasped his hands together and said “well my lords, shall we enter the hall and discuss-”

“Yes” answered Simonetto “we shall”.

To say that calling the building they were in a 'hall' was an overstatement was itself an understatement. It was barely the size of the pantry in Orvieto Castle, and it leaked constantly. The idea of staying overnight in the hovel, half of which contains a puddle, was too much for Giacopo. He wanted the matter done and dusted on that day.

“So, shall we get down to business?” Giacopo asked impatiently.

Simonetto pulled up a chair next to his Count, while the two farmers sat in front of them, with just enough distance between them so they couldn't lunge at each other.

After rummaging in his satchel for his ledger, Simonetto laid out his papers on a small wooded table “Can the plaintiff please name himself and occupation.”

The bald man spoke up “Gian, farmer”

“Can the defendant please name himself and occupation”

The pug-nosed man parted his thin lips and said “Friso, farmer”

Simonetto quickly scrawled their names on a piece of parchment. “Now, we are here today to investigate the allegations made by the plaintiff that his neighbouring farmer, named Friso, did knowingly allow three oxen to walk into his field and then did not return them upon demand. What say you, Friso?”

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The cries of peasant women filled the air as the bodies of Friso and Gian were carried out by their sons. Both had cut each other deep, and neither had survived their brawl. What had been a small trial about an attempted cattle rustling had turned into a bloodbath after Friso accused Gian of raping his daughter. The bald farmer did not take the accusation well and named Friso's son as an apostate. By the time Friso pulled a knife out from under his tunic, it was too late. Both Giacopo and Simonetto had attempted to stop it but to no avail.

“That could have gone better” admitted Simonetto as he dabbed a cloth on his cheek, nursing a wound he took whilst trying to break up the fight. “Still the problem is gone.”

“Has it?” questioned Giacopo as he watched the families of the two farmers grieve over their bodies “or has it started something else? Something that will claim the lives of all of those in front of us.”

The steward chuckled “don't get too hung up on it, my lord. The peasants love their feuds. It gives them something to do besides tilling the fields and ploughing their wives.” Simonetto's disdain of the smallfolk was one of the many reasons why Giacopo never liked being around him. Whilst he had never been a peasant, Giacopo admired their tenacity and drive to do things that would seem below the station of a noble. Besides, Giacopo knew full well the feuds between the noble families of Italia, they would make the knife brawl between Friso and Gian seem like child's play. And to his shame, he knew that he too would have to delve into that world if he wanted his son, Bobone, to thrive and spread the Orsini name onwards to greatness.




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stnylan

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Not precisely the most successful legal hearing :)
 

Brisingr

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I like the writing style. It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Do you have any long-term plans for this?
 

AxolotlKnight

Second Lieutenant
Mar 16, 2019
134
79
Not precisely the most successful legal hearing :)

It might set the tone for things to come...

I like the writing style. It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Do you have any long-term plans for this?

My main plan is to become King of Italy, after that, I will see where the wind takes me.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Ambitious to go from one county in the HRE to king if Italy, but doable, of course. Let's see...
 

Henry v. Keiper

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Love the writing style! I will definitely subscribe.