• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Velasco

Meddler Sublime
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Apr 9, 2005
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Welcome! Feel free to come inside, and peer at the wonders, of the royal court of Naples...



The arms of Naples and Jerusalem



Realm: Naples
Head of State: Interregnum
Player: Velasco
Religion: Catholic - Rome
Culture: Italian
Stats: 3/2/8/10/4 --> [3/2/8/10/4]
Provinces: 8
Ports: 3
Owned: Napoli(4), Abruzzi(3), Achaea(2), Apulia(2), Calabria(3), Corfu(0), Durazzo(2), Salerno(3).
 
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Velasco

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RPG Leader
Apr 9, 2005
395
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History
The kingdom of Naples comprised the Italian boot south of the Papal States. In its ruler, King Charles III, there existed a personal union with the principalities of Durazzo and Achaea.

In the early 11th century, Norman mercenaries, lead by the Hauteville brothers, defeated the Lombards and Byzantines, and carved out for themselves a sizeable feudatory. The Hautevilles conquered the island of Sicily, and received that crown from Pope Innocent II. The eventual heiress of the Hautevilles, Constance, married the Emperor Henry VI, and the kingdom was thereafter ruled by the Hohenstaufen house. That is, until 1266, when the Pope Clement IV took the French prince Charles of Anjou and gave him the crown instead. The Angevins (the heirs of Charles of Anjou) failed to conquer the island of Sicily, which passed from the Hohenstaufens to the royal house of Barcelona-Aragon. Nevertheless, the Angevins were a large house, and intermarried with many noble and royal houses (thus, a cadet branch inherited the crowns of Hungary and Poland), becoming dispersed throughout the royal courts and kingdoms of Europe. The four main branches of the house were: the Kings of Hungary, the dukes of Anjou (a junior branch of the French royal house), the Durazzo (of which King Charles III was the sole survivor), and the princes of Taranto, who were largely ignored.

In 1382, Queen Joan I of Naples died, leaving no surviving children. She herself had nominated Louis of Anjou as her heir, and he succeeded her in Provence (Marseille, Nice, and Toulon). However, Joan had a sister, Marie, whose daughter, Margherita married Charles, duke of Durazzo, the last surviving heir in the male line. Thus, when Queen Joan died, Charles of Durazzo inherited the kingdom of Naples, whilst the duchy of Provence was usurped by Louis of Anjou. Charles III died in 1384, and was succeeded by his son Ladislas, who died days later. The succession is currently disputed by:

Dramatis Personae

Charles III of Durazzo, King of Naples
Born 1345, he died in 1384, either by suicide or murder. A strong and forceful king, he was a hardened warrior and diplomat. Tall and handsome, his looks were somewhat responsible for his preference by Queen Joan, and consequently his ascension to the throne. His royal style was:"Charles III d'Anjou, By the grace of God, King of Naples, Jerusalem, Albania, Transylvania, Slavonia, Croatia, and Dalmatia, Prince of Durazzo, Achaia, Zara, and Split, Duke of Anjou and Provence, Lord of Corfu, et cetera."


Margherita of Durazzo, niece and heiress of Queen Joan I.
Born 1347, she died in 1384 after giving birth to twins at the royal court of Hungary. Weak and submissive, she was desperately in love with Charles, and did anything to keep him in power. She was the mother of:


Ladislaus I . Born in 1377, heir to the royal throne. Educated in Naples, he was shy and retiring, and had little aptitude for the life of a king. Sickly and ill, he went into a coma, and only ruled in name for four days.

Joanna of Naples , also called Giovanna. Born in 1371, she was betrothed to Edward d'Anjou, nephew of King Richard of England. Upon learning of her father's death, she left the English court, and went to Castille, where she is now the captive of King Juan. Her claims are not recognised neither by Rome or Avignon. She will be delivered to the Pope of Avignon by Castille, sometime soon.

Clemence and Marguerite. Twin girls, both born in Hungary in 1384. They remain under the custody of the Queen Dowager Erzsebet. Following Joanna, they are the co-heiresses of the Kingdom of Naples.

John I, King of Naples, formerly Duke of Gravina and Sorreto (born 1350), he is the late King's illegitimate brother, who waslegitimised and (most importantly) restored to the succession. He is married to Jeanne de Baux, duchess of Andria and Lecce, princess of Taranto, now Queen Joanna II, and great-granddaughter of King Charles II (through his second son, thus she has the best claim of all to the throne). He was previously married to Margherita d'Altavilla, by whom he has four daughters: -

Beatrice, Crown Princess of Naples, Duchess of Calabria and Apulia (born 1370), a tall and beautiful girl, she is witty and quick, and was a firm friend of the princess Joanna (her cousin). She has since married Rainald, son of Duke William II of Julich, who is Duke of Calabria and Apulia.

Marie (born 1371), Eleanor (born 1372) and Blanche (born 1374) are all young, rather dull, girls.

Marguerite d'Altavilla (born circa 1350), ex-wife of John of Gravina. Following the death of her patron, Queen Margherita, she retired from the court, and took up the veil. In this manner, her marriage to John was effectively annulled.

Luigi d'Altavilla, Seigneur of Calitri and Caggiano, chief advisor of King Charles, in his capacity as Mayor of the Palace. His daughter, Maria, has recently been offered as a wife for Toqtamish, Khan of the Golden Horde. His other daughter, Isabella, is a famed beauty, currently serving King John as his envoy in Bosnia-Serbia.

Queen Joanna II, formerly Jeanne de Baux, Duchess of Lecce and Andria, Princess of Taranto is a wealthy noblewoman, headstrong, and obstinate, second wife of Duke John of Gravina. She was the only child of Francois de Baux, duke of Andria, and Margareta, daughter of Philip I of Taranto and his first wife Thamar Komnene Dukaina. She exchanged her rights to the despotates of Epirus and Romania with the late King, in return for the duchy of Lecce and principality of Taranto.

The most recent addition to the court is Elizabeth of Slavonia, niece of the late King Lajos of Hungary, and second wife of King Charles. In her early thirties, she is tall and graceful, and has the full command of several languages. A keen diplomat, she is also pious, and has often considered taking up the veil. Despite this, she was a former mistress of King Charles, before he ascended to the throne, and has born him two sons. Serving for a short time as regent of Naples, she withdrew after King John's acession to Spoleto, where she holds her own court. She hopes to contract an advantageous marriage, either with the Elector Palatine or the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and make good her claim to Poland. She has renounced her rights, and those of her sons, to Naples to King John, and to Transylvania-Slavonia-Croatia-Dalmatia to her eldest son, Stephen.

Her eldest son, Stephen Pietro, was born in 1370, before his mother's marriage to Philip of Taranto. Raised in a monastery near Bari, he met his mother for the first time sometime after her widowment in 1374, when she was pregnant with his younger brother. Tall, athletic, and handsome, Stephen's legitimacy was the only bar to his eventual succession to the royal throne. Although his parents were married, this marriage was not recognised by Rome, due to the interdict on the kingdom of Naples, and thus his legitimacy will forever be tainted, and his place in the succession secondary to the heirs of Margherita of Durazzo. He styles himself "Stephen Pietro, By the grace of God, King of Poland, Translyvania, Slavonia, Croatia, Dalmatia, and Thessalonica, Prince of Salerno, Despot of Epirus, Romania, and Morea" although the only of these yet within his possession is the principality of Salerno in Naples, which he holds as a fief of King John.

His younger brother is the boy Jean Tristan, born in 1375. Still a child, he had befriended his shy half-brother Ladislaus, before the latter's death.
 
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Velasco

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Treaties, Alliances, Pacts, and Royal Marriages

Pact of Brindisi-Sarai
Alliance between the Kingdom of Naples and the Golden Horde​

With the growing ties of friendship between the Golden Horde and Naples, the rulers of both Kingdoms have in their wisdom decided to set this friendship down in writing, in honour of their common goals and objectives.


Article I: In the event of an attack on either Naples or the Golden Horde, the other kingdom pledges to send either military or economic aid to help repel the invader.

Article II:
i) If either Kingdom declares war on a third party, the other Kingdom pledges to send support, either in men or in funds.
ii) Before war is declared, the ally must be given warning.
iii) The only exception to i) is an attack on a third party which is a known ally of either kingdom, by the other kingdom; in that instance the attacking Kingdom releases the other from their obligations.

Article III: An attack on either kingdom is to be considered a direct attack on the other.

Article IV: Both kingdoms pledge not to sign a separate peace in a common war.

Article V: Both kingdoms pledge not to send aid to the foe of the other, in times of war, in the occasion that either of the kingdoms undertake a war in which the other cannot be bound to join (by the terms of Article II, iii).

Article VI: The treaty will be confirmed by a royal marriage, at a later date.

[x] Charles, King of Naples, Jerusalem, and Albania, et cetera.
[x] Toqtamish, Great Khan of the Golden Horde,etc.
The Pact of Brindisi-Sarai, April 1384. Nullified, thank you very much, by Rome in May 1384.

Marriage treaty between Beatrice of Naples and Rainald of Julich, 1384
Marriage treaty between Blanche of Naples and Edward d´Anjou of England, Military Alliance, and Treaty of Recognition, 1385

Envoys
Antonio d'Altavilla - originally in England, went to Castille, now sent to Avignon
Isabella d'Altavilla - Serbia/Bosnia
Matteo Orsini - Golden Horde
Abelardo d'Altavilla - Ragusa
Guglielmo di Taranto - Lorraine
 
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Velasco

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Apr 9, 2005
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The Claims of King Charles

"King of Naples" - This is Charles' primary title. He claims it jure uxoris, by right of his wife, Marguerite, who is the niece of the last Queen Joanna I (who was childless). He himself is a great-grandson of Charles II, and the last remaining male member of the House of Anjou (aside from his own sons).

"King of Jerusalem"
- This title was purchased by Charles I, founder of the royal house, from Mary of Antioch. It is passed along with the crown of Naples.

"King of Albania" - This kingdom was first founded by Charles I, in 1271, from territory wrested from the despot of Epirus, comprising mainly the principality of Durazzo. It passed to his son Charles II, who then gave it to one of his younger sons, Philip I of Taranto, who obtained Epirus, Achaea, and Corfu. He was succeeded by his sons, Robert, and then Philip II, whereafter the title was claimed by Charles of Durazzo.

"King of Hungary" - This kingdom is claimed, as Charles III is the closest remaining male relative of the last king, Lajos I (Louis/Ladislaus). Charles is now to marry Lajos' niece Elizabeth, to strengthen his claim to the throne. Currently, Charles does not use this tyle in his royal style, although he has never formally renounced the title.Charles himself is the great-granson of the princess Maria, the eventual heiress of the native Hungarian house.

"King of Sicily" - This kingdom was given by the Pope to Charles I. Charles III's own ancestors, being a cadet branch of the royal house, maintained their claim to the island (whilst other branches renounced their rights tot he Aragonese).

"Duke of Provence" - This formed part of the kingdom of Joanna I, and belongs to Charles III by right of his first wife Margherita.

"Duke of Anjou" - This belongs to Charles as the primary heir of Charles I, King of Naples, who was also Duke of Anjou (and Provence, by right of his wife).

"Prince of Durazzo" - Was obtained by Charles I in 1268. It passed to his grandson, John, as an independent principality. Thereafter, it was held for some time by Philip of Taranto, and then John's son Charles (who married Philip's daughter-in-law, Marie, sister of Queen Joanna I). This Charles had a younger brother, Louis, father of King Charles III; Queen Margherita was the daughter of the first Charles of Durazzo and his wife, Marie of Naples.

"Prince of Achaea" - Achaea was part of the kingdom of Thessalonica, and then the despotate of Epirus. The Latin Emperor Baldwin II granted the overlordship of Achaia to Charles II of Naples. However, the previous rulers, the Villehardouin family, maintained the claims, and the principality passed back and forth. It was held by Philip I of Taranto, son of Charles II, but it was claimed by Louis, titular King of Thessalonica (who had married Mafalda, heiress of Isabella de Villehardouin), and James of Majorca (grandson of Margaret de Villehardouin). James of Majorca was executed by Louis of Thessalonia in 1316, but when Louis himself died in 1318 the principality was seized by King Robert of Naples (son of Charles II), who gave it to his brother John. John transferred his rights to Catherine de Valois, wife of his brother Philip I of Taranto, who then gave them to her stepson Robert. From Robert it passed to his half-brother Philip II, son of Catherine de Valois, who then passed them on to Queen Joanna I, who had married James IV of Majorca. Thereafter she was the undisputed princess of the principality, which passed (along with Naples) to her nephew-in-law and cousin, Charles III.

The Claims of Stephen Pietro, son of Charles III

"King of Poland" - This kingdom was held by King Lajos, who was elected to the throne. As the closest surviving male kinsman of the last King, Charles of Durazzo pressed his own claim to the throne; this claim has since devolved upon his son Stephen. Stephen's main claim, however, is through his mother Elizabeth, who is the granddaughter of Elzbieta Piast, sister of Casimir III, the last native King of Poland.

"King of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia and Transylvania" - These by right of primogeniture through his mother Elizabeth, the only child of Stephen (brother of Lajos I) who ruled those kingdoms.

"King of Thessalonica" - A short lived Crusader state in Greece. The title was claimed by Philip, a son of King Charles II. Charles III claimed it as his heir; it is now used by his son Stephen Pietro.

"Despot of Morea" - Morea is basically the same as the principality of Achaea. The title was held by several members of the Angevin house, being interchangeable with that of Achaia.

"Despot of Epirus and Romania" - The despotate of Epirus was ruled by Philip I of Taranto, who married the heiress Thamar Angela Komnene Dukaina. Their two sons held the title; one styled himself Vicar of Romania, whilst the other called himself Despot of Romania. These two being childless, their claims passed to their sister Margareta, who married Francois de Baux, duke of Andria, and had a daughter, Jeanne. This Jeanne sold her rights to Epirus and Romania to Stephen; in return she received the duchy of Lecce in Naples (which made her one of the leading noblewomen of that kingdom, as she was already duchess of Andria).
 
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Velasco

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Apr 9, 2005
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The doors to the royal court of Naples are now open...
 
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A letter arrived for Charles of Durazzo.




Onto Charles of Durazzo,

It is with mixed feelings that we write this letter as we have both good and bad news to tell. Some time ago your wife gave birth to healthy twin girls. Sadly she herself passed away shortly after the birth. While both her private physicians and hungarians did what they could to save her it was too late. The babies themselves are well, and arrangements can be made to have them transported to Naples when it is convenient.

As far as the claims you mentioned in your letter is concerned, we simply can not renounce our claim on the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It is our privilege, duty and right to reclaim these lands in the name of christianity. The thrones of Naples, Anjou and Provence concerns us little.

Pope Urban himself gave our daughter his support and confirmed her as the rightfull Queen of Hungary. Such a confirmation from yourself would off course be for the best. We also intend to pursue a course of action that will see one of our daughters on the throne of Poland.

We hope steps can be taken to remove this hostility between us.

Erzsébet Angevin
Dowager Queen and Regent of Hungary
 

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Another letter arrived for Charles of Durazzo.




Onto Charles of Durazzo,

We see that nothing has changed and that your proposal for peace between us is nothing but a charade. The crowns of Croatia, Dalmatia etc rightfully belongs to our daughter. Our daughters right to inherit was in fact confirmed by the late Pope Urban.

Unless you recognize this we have nothing further to confer about.

Erzsébet Angevin
Dowager Queen and Regent of Hungary
 

Velasco

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Apr 9, 2005
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The death of Queen Margherita was a great shock to the royal court. Yet it was nothing compared to the arrival of Elizabeth of Slavonia, and her two sons. Charming and graceful, Elizabeth acted like a true Queen, in stark contrast with Margherita, a quiet, retiring woman. Beside her at all times could be found her handsome and eloquent son, Stephen, of fourteen years, and the young boy, Jean Tristan. Refusing to abide by the set goals and aims of the existing court factions, she quickly recruited the former Queens maids, and (by default) their husbands, to her own faction, which soon dominated government, working closely with those closely allied to the desires of her husband, the pro-Angevins (the chief difference being her own preference for a Sicilian alliance, and the succession of her own son Stephen, over the prince Ladislas). Her followers were drawn mainly from the Greeks and the remaing Italians, who did not support either the vastly unpopular Imperial and Catalan factions, led by Gerhard the Bavarian and Sancho Garces, who sometimes cooperated to [attempt to] bring about their own goals; chiefly, ridding Naples of Charles of Durazzo, and installing some other foreign ruler. The French were even more despised, although somewhat more influential, drawing from the closest adherents of the late Queen Joanna, and the supporters of Louis of Anjou. The factions were thus:

Angevin Faction, led by Luigi d’Altavilla
Influence: 40%
Support the Roman Pope.
Hostile to Aragon.
Hostile towards Hungary.
Hostile towards France.
Hostile to Sicily.
Neutral towards Holy Roman Empire.
Friendly towards England.
Friendly towards the Golden Horde.
Friendly towards Venice.
Support Charles III as King of Hungary.
Support Ladislas as the heir to Naples.
Support John of Gravina as King of Poland.
Support further expansion into Greece.
Support the conquest of Sicily.
Support the re-establishment of the Latin Empire.
Support the reconquest of Cyprus and the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Goal: Reconquest rightful Angevin domains, especially Hungary.

The Greek and Italian Faction, led by Elizabeth of Slavonia
Influence: 35%
Support the Roman Pope.
Hostile towards Aragon.
Hostile towards Hungary.
Hostile towards France.
Hostile towards Holy Roman Empire (due to alliance with Hungary).
Neutral towards Byzantine Empire.
Friendly towards England.
Friendly towards the Golden Horde.
Friendly towards Venice.
Friendly towards Sicily.
Supports Charles III and Elizabeth of Slavonia as sovereigns of Hungary.
Support Stephen Pietro as heir to Naples.
Support Jean Tristan as King of Poland.
Support further expansion into Greece.
Oppose the conquest of Sicily/Support the rule of Friedrich of Meissen.
Oppose the reconquest of Cyprus and the kingdom of Jerusalem.
Goal: Create a strong Angevin empire on both sides of the Adriatic, for Stephen Pietro.

French Faction, led by Gautier de St-Etiene.
Influence: 10%
Support the Avignon Pope.
Very Hostile towards England
Very Hostile towards Holy Roman Empire
Hostile toward Sicily.
Neutral toward Aragon.
Neutral towards Hungary.
Very Friendly towards France.
Oppose Charles III as King of Hungary.
Indifferent as to who succeeds Charles.
Support Louis d'Anjou as King of Naples.
Support further expansion into Greece.
Support Sicilian reconquest, a Sicily ruled from Naples.
Support the re-establishment of the Latin Empire.
Goal: Unite Angevin domains under Louis I Duke of Anjou.

Catalan Faction, led by Sancho Garces, a Spaniard.
Influence: 10%
Support the Avingon Pope.
Hostile towards France.
Neutral towards Holy Roman Empire.
Neutral towards Hungary.
Neutral towards England
Friendly towards Aragon.
Very friendly towards Sicily.
Oppose Louis d'Anjou as King of Naples
Support Charles III as King of Hungary (to get him out of Italy)
Support Joanna as Charles’ heir (to marry her to Spanish prince).
Oppose further expansion into Greece.
Support Sicilian reconquest, a Sicily ruled from Palermo.
Oppose the re-establishment of the Latin Empire.
Oppose the reconquest of Cyprus and the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Goal: To unite Sicily under an Aragonese ruler.

Imperial faction, led by Gerhard the Bavarian.
Influence: 5%
Neutral to either Pope.
Hostile towards Aragon.
Hostile towards Sicily.
Neutral towards England,
Friendly towards Hungary.
Very friendly towards Holy Roman Empire.
Oppose Louis of Anjou as King of Naples.
Oppose Charles III as King of Hungary,
Oppose Stephen Pietro and Ladislas as heirs of Naples (unless they are to marry a German princess).
Oppose further expansion into Greece.
Oppose the conquest of Sicily, a Sicily ruled from Naples.
Support the re-establishment of the Latin Empire.
Support the reconquest of Cyprus and the kingdom of Jerusalem.
Goal: To bring Naples under Imperial, or German, rule.
 
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Velasco

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Apr 9, 2005
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Charles sat on his throne, the crown uneasy on his head. He closed his deep blue eyes, and began to slip into a deep slip, when he was awaken by the loud entrance of his brother John, the duke of Gravina and Sorrento.

“What do you want?” The King was in a foul mood.

“Good morning to you too, dear brother! What is it that troubles you?”
When the King did not reply, the duke went on. “Have you heard of the Queen Erzsébet yet? And of my marriage to Jadwiga?”

“I have not yet received another letter from Erzsébet. Jadwiga was long ago betrothed to William of Austria, but I do not know how the marriage negotiations stand. I doubt that the Poles would want William of Austria as King, just as much as I doubt Erzsébet would bestow her daughter in marriage to an Angevin prince.”

“Indeed. Without Jadwiga, what of my own claims to Poland?” The duke was eager for a crown.

“Brother…I confess I know little of the Polish princes, yet I believe that they will most likely elect one of their own, from the Piast house, to the throne. For you…and indeed, Jadwiga and William of Austria…to be able to sit easy on the throne, there will likely be much bloodshed.”

The duke looked dejected. ”And is not a crown for your own brother not worth such bloodshed?”

At this, the King paused, and looked his brother straight in the eye. “Brother forgive me, but I do not consider it so. At least, not at present. You will be most surprised to learn that I have also sent an envoy…Matteo Rossi…to the Khan of the Golden Horde, who as you know is a firm ally of the Turks, and a sworn enemy of Hungary.”

The duke gasped. “And…what is the meaning of this?”

Here the King laughed, before continuing. “I have asked Erzsébet for the crowns of Transylvania, Slavonia, Croatia, and Dalmatia. For one whose regency is so highly unstable, and who rules only with the assent of foreign power, she is greatly confident in herself, and has so far refused to restore the princess Elizabeth to those lands, claiming the Pope himself confirmed her daughter in them. Indeed he did, yet only at a time when the princess Elizabeth was considered dead. Erzsébet has a lot to gain by my friendship, even at the cost of such vast lands. Even if she would offer us only Dalmatia and Croatia, we would perhaps work to spare her from the oncoming wrath of the Horde, and Ottoman Turks. Or if she would marry Jadwiga to you, my brother, or to my son, Jean Tristan...ah yes! Then I would be happy to leave her in Hungary. But no…unfortunately I doubt she would do any of these things. I confess that in my youth, whilst I still lived at King Lajos’ court…in my youth, even I was enchanted by the almost legendary Queen of the Huns, Erzsébet.”

“My brother, do you mean to kill me by fright? You surely do not mean to tell that you were enamoured by the wife of your lord? Good heavens!”

“Brother, I tire of this. I have decided…you are to marry Jeanne de Baux. Do not argue or fight against it. I will await Erzsébet’s response, if there will be one, that is.”

The duke sighed. “Fine. Do you intend to invade Hungary?”

“No, not as of yet. I will allow time for Erzsébet’s letter; perhaps a friendship can still, somehow, be salvaged, although I doubt it very much. I will only go to war if I have to, and if I am certain of the support of Venice and the Khan. Do not forget that Erzsébet has the support of the Emperor, and his Bohemians, and the Serbs, and the Ragusans, and the Byzants…I will not be the aggressor in this war. I shall leave that to Erzsébet.”

“A wise choice. What of Sicily?”

“I have received no reply. I believe that sometime before my letter arrived, King Friedrich was away to Avignon. He may take it with indignation, or he may see a great many opportunities within it. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no? The same goes for alliances and treaties”

“Indeed. Your own claims to Sicily…it is said that the Angevins have no claim on that crown.”

“Ah, but we do! Moreover, by Papal decree. They say that the three eldest sons of Charles II renounced their claims…which is just as well, as we trace our descent from the fourth. Queen Giovanna did likewise, which means the Angevin claims to Sicily have been renounced by all other branches of the family, except ours.”

“Others say that King Charles II renounced his rights.”
“If he renounced his rights, why would his sons have had to do so years after? Either way, his sister Beatrice, did not renounce her rights. And as you may know, she married Charles de Valois, et cetera et cetera and from whom descends the lady Katharina Helene, who is to marry my son Stephen. Thus, I can claim Sicily.”

The duke was confused, and so he did not say anything other than, “Will you?”

“No, I will not. I am pleased with the rule of the Wettins in Sicily, so long as they reciprocate our offer of friendship. As you will remember in my letter to Friedrich, I have doubts over whether Ladislas will ever inherit, whereupon Joanna will become Queen. Of course, the choice of her husband is a very important one…hence why I have decided to bestow your daughter Beatrice to Edward d’Anjou, in her stead. When the time comes for war against Louis of Anjou, and his kinsman of France, we hope to make this English prince duke in Anjou. Until then, we have promised him the duchy of Gravina, or some other dukedom. Perhaps the island of Corfu…” The King sighed, and walked off to his chambers. The duke was left standing alone in the centre of the hall, alone. He sighed. He would have his crown yet. He walked over to the throne, and sat down on it. It felt good to be a King. In fact, he thought it quite suited him.
 
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Another letter arrived for Charles of Durazzo.




Onto Charles of Durazzo,

Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Transylvania are all integral parts of Hungary, whose nobles have votes in the hungarian Diet. These areas are therefore inseperable, and indeed, the nobles have sworn fealthy to our daughter.

This should not be your main concern however. We have heard of your alliance with the servants of Satan themselves. To save your immortal soul we therefore recommend you prostrate yourself before the Holy Father in Rome and beg forgiveness for your sins.

Continue down this path and ruination and damnation will surely follow.

Erzsébet Angevin
Dowager Queen and Regent of Hungary
 

Velasco

Meddler Sublime
RPG Leader
Apr 9, 2005
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The actions of Duke Leopold of Styria had caught Charles by surprise. His increasing paranoia made him fear of an attempt upon his life, and thus he sought to provide for those dear to him. Some day in May, although we do not know the exact date or place, he discreetly married Elizabeth of Slavonia, and issue several charters legitimising her sons, placing them in the succession after his children Ladislas, Joanna, Marguerite and Clemence (the twins born in Hungary), and before his brother John and the latter's daughters.

He considered his few options. The Venetians, the English, they had disappeared. The English might well be offended be his change of mind about his daughter's marriage, although he did not mean them any offence. Of the Venetians he could be more certain, they certainly would not pass up the chance to receive Dalmatia and Ragusa. Meissen...ah Meissen. King Friedrich had not replied to his letter - he did not know what to make of it. His proposal had been a just one. Did not Friedrich wish to unite the Two Sicilies under his control? What did he think the marriage of his brother to the Queen of Naples mean; would Naples not become as Sicily, a pawn in his hands? He had offered him [Friedrich] the chance to further strengthen his [Friedrich's] position in the Med, yet he had received an ominous silence. The there was Anjou, Aragon, Styria, Ragusa...He sighed. He thought of the succession to the throne. His heir, Ladislas, had grown sickly and weak, and his health had steadily deteriorated over the last few months. Which left the princess Joanna - she needed a husband. A powerful one. And then there were the princes Stephen and Jean...and their mother, Elizabeth. He knew her well enough to know that she would not seize the throne, or murder her step-children, or attempt some coup d'etat, and content herself with being the power behind the throne, and conquering crowns elsewhere for her children.

He picked up his pen, and began to write.
 
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Another letter arrived for Charles of Durazzo.




Onto Charles of Durazzo,

Your letters keep growing more amusing. Comparing the Byzantines with the Horde is like comparing apples and oranges. It is quite true that a panic frenzy broke out among certain moslems on the mere rumour that Hungary had allied the Byzantines. It warms our hearts to know the heathen fear us so.

Yet the fact remains that Hungary has made no agreements with Byzantium. Not a single piece of parchment regarding an alliance between Hungary and Byzantium has our signature graced. Quite unlike the very real alliance that you yourself have signed with the Mongol Horde.

Needless to say such an action has not gone unnotticed among hungarian nobles. The invasion of the Horde will never be forgotten. Off course, a man living in Naples will never fully appreciate what the Horde did as they never got as far as Italy and Naples.

By all means, continue to build your web. And watch as you yourself become entangled in it.

Erzsébet Angevin
Dowager Queen and Regent of Hungary
 

Velasco

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John of Gravina was growing impatient. His brother had become so engrossed in his negotiations with the Horde and elsewhere, that he had forgotten to assist his own brother become King, in Poland. Without his brother's consent or knowledge, he eloped with the lady Jeanne de Baux, and went at once (under cover of night) to her rich lands in Lecce and Andria, to claim them. His brother had long delayed his marriage to her, although he did not know why: personally, he believed it was his Charles' attempt to keep him dependent upon Charles, and this he would not tolerate. By marriage to Jeanne, he made himself a rich and powerful prince, capable of fielding his own army, and second only to the King in power within Naples. Anyways, rumours had for some weeks been circulating amongst the ladies of the court that the duchess Jeanne was with child.
 

Hawkeye1489

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GREGORIUS DUODECIMUS, EPISCOPUS, SERVUS SERVORIUM DEI, PRAVUS PACTUM

UNTO CHARLES, THE THIRD THEREOF, KING OF NAPLES, ALBANIA, PRINCE OF DURAZZO​

FOR LONG YOU HAVE UPSET THE KINGDOMS OF CHRISTENDOM; CLAIMING MANY CROWNS FROM DISTANT RELATIVES.

FOR SEEKING ALLIANCES, THERE IS NO SIN, BUT ALLIGNING WITH THE INFIDELS OF THE HORDE, YOU HAVE COMMITTED A GREVIOUS SIN.

I, AS SUPREME PONTIFF OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH AND VICAR OF THE ONE TRUE CHIRST, DECLARE YOU, CHARLES OF DURAZZO, IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF SIN, AND HEREBY ISSUE AN INTERDICT IN YOUR NAME.

AS A DIRECT RESULT, YOUR MARRIAGE WILL NOT BE CONFIRMED UNTIL THE INTERDICT IS LIFTED, AND ALL TITLES ARE FORFIETED, AS THEY WERE BESTOWED BY THE ONE TRUE GOD.

IN ORDER TO REMOVE THE INTERDICT, OH SINNER, FOR CASTING YOUR LOT WITH SATAN'S MINIONS, YOU MUST NULLIFY YOUR ''AGREEMENT'' WITH THE INFIDEL AND COME TO ROME TO BEGE FORGIVENESS FROM EITHER ME OR THE ARCHBISHOP OF OSTIA. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL.

INDICIUM ROMAE, ANNO DOMINI MCCCLXXXIV, PRIMUS ANNUS SUUS GLORIFICUS PONTIFICATE
 

Velasco

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Charles of Durazzo, King of Naples, branded an usurper, heretic, and kinslayer, lay uneasily upon his bed in his chamber. Rome had forsaken him, heeding the word of that whore Erzsebet over his own, Venice and England had vanished in his house of need, and his enemies grew in strength and number by the hour. His only dependable ally, the Khan - what could he do? Could be bring back the favour of Rome? Could he rid Naples of the pestilence that went by the name Erzsebet? No, his only potential use lay in the now oh-so-distant off-chance of a successful invasion of Hungary. There was little chance of that now.

His thoughts turned to his family. His loyal wife, she upon whom he could always depend, Margherita, was dead. Their infant twin daughters, still at the couty of that accursed Erzsebet. His heir, Ladislas, was sick once more, bedridden, unable to move his legs or the entire right side of his body. His favourite child, his beloved daughter, Joanna, was in far-off England. His wife, or betrothed, or mistress, or concubine, or whatever she currently was legally, Elizabeth of Slavonia, preoccupied herself with court intrigues and gossip. Of her sons, the younger was a quiet shy, somewhat dull child, the elder a fervent and vigorous young man with a fiery temperament in the mold of both his parents. Indeed, this boy possessed all the finest qualities of a ruler - save that of a legitimate birth. Yet even he did not have any time for his ageing father. Then their was John, his own brother, who had grown so obssessed with getting for himself a crown that he'd married, without Charles' permission (all members of the Royal House needed the King's permission to marry), acting with great dishonesty and treachery, to secure for himself the rich lands and vast resources held by his new wife. Ah, such was the life of the Angevins - devoid of any of the proper familial sentiments, whether paternal, maternal, fraternal, or sororal. Yet it did not seem to bother any of them, save Charles himself. Indeed, it was very alone at the top. What use was a crown, a kingdom, a grand palace - and none to enjoy it with? None whom one could trust to bequeath it to after one's death? He had nothing to live for. The thought flashed across his mind, and in that cold, dark room, in that bleak, uninviting castle, that flash remained, and grew into a great devouring and consuming fire.
 
Last edited:

Velasco

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" The King is dead ! Long live the King!"

Sometime in late noon, May 22nd, 1384, King Charles of Naples was found lying dead in a pool of his own blood, with a small sword lodged inbetween his ribs, which had seemingly ripped open his right lung. Nevertheless, inexplicable rumours that he had been pushed down stairs, and broke his neck, and only then dragged to his bedroom, and murdered in cold blood, persisted. Either way, foul play was suspected.

The heralds raced up and down the streets of Naples. "The King is dead! Long live the King!" The populace were soon awakened, and quickly assembled along the streets to watch the King's funerary proccession, and so that they might catch a glimpse of their new sovereign, the child King Ladislas. During the King's burial nothing extra-ordinary was noted, except the expected absence of Ladislas (the new King traditionally did not attend the burial of his predeccessor). Yet when the time came for him to be presented to them, the young King did not emerge; no, in his stead his stepmother, the King's mistress, Elizabeth of Slavonia, whom many blamed for the great calamities now encroaching upon their kingdom, and for the death of Charles.

"People of Naples, your King is dead! In his place, reigns his son Ladislas, who is yet a child! Therefore, under such a time as he reaches maturity, by the law of our people, Naples will be ruled by a joint regency, lead by me and the King's uncle, the Duke of Gravina and Sorrento," She had already written to Duke John, ordering him to come back at once to Naples, and assist her in the government; whilst neither might be fully accepted as regent alone, together their rule would be much more indisputable. "Unfortunately, the young King is currently away, at one of the royal residences in Abruzzi. He had been recalled, and will be crowned in the due honour, glory, splendour, pomp, and ceremony, as befits the King of such a beautiful people!" And with that she returned to the castle, so that she might be beside the young King's bedside. She had grown to like him, somewhat, for he reminded her very much of her own young son, Jean Tristan.

Over the next few days the young King's health did not improve; by the third he had lost control over the left-side of his body also. On the fourth day, an hour after day-break, he slipped from this world into the next. Thus ended the ignominous reign of Ladislas, the second of that name to reign as King of Naples.
 
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Avernite

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A letter from the Duchy of Jülich is delivered by one of the few traders from the Rhine that reach the south of Italy.


Onto John d'Angevin, Duke of Gravina and Sorreto,

It is my pleasure to write to you regarding a matter that is of the utmost importance to any father in Christendom, who is blessed by an inheritance to pass on to his children.

The subject is, offcourse, marriage. My son, Rainald von Jülich-Gelre, the current heir to the Duchy of Gelre in the Holy Roman Empire, has reached the ripe old age of 19 years, and is as yet without a wife. It has also come to my attention that your daughter, the heiress to Gravina and Sorreto, is as yet unmarried. And while indeed she is a few years younger than my son, I do not believe such would be a true problem.


Now, offcourse the schism in the Holy mother Church would likely raise some problems, indeed, but I believe it is not the trouble of discussing that before considering whether or not you would agree to the idea.


Written by his own hand in Jülich, Anno Domini 1384,
Wilhelm of Jülich-Heimbach, the second of that name, Duke of Jülich
 

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Heinrich the sly, as he was known by the various other traders in his not very legal branch of business, really liked his new job. Spying for his Duke was interesting, offcourse, and at times he had spied for others too, but being paid to deliver messages to the place where he was anyway didn't seem like a truely bad idea. Besides, these letters gave him something to do during his travels from the Rhine to here. Getting a letter opened was easy, getting it shut again AND finding someone who could read and explain it to him was hard.

Luckily, the schism created whole hordes of priests and other holy men who had no idea what else to do, and he had managed to find a particularly corrupt one to read the messages to him. Too bad the man got more expensive every time, and he really was hardly interested in marriage, so he had skipped reading this message.

It really was a shame for him, because the message clearly had a certain effect when he delivered it, far more than he had expected from the earlier message he had read. He WOULD read the next one, so much was sure.


Onto John, Duke of Gravina and Sorrento

It is a pleasure to once again write to you on the matters previously mentioned. I have now spoken to my son, and he does not seem to particularly abhorr the idea either, which certainly is a great boon, even if it was not necessary.

Now, as to your requests, I can promise the resources of Jülich and Gelre that could be used to further your bid to the crown, and perhaps I could acquire some resources from the Wittelsbach houses, as we were afterall on their side in the conflicts in Sicily that unfortunately had an unfavourable result by our standards.
However, I am afraid that I should make certain reservations. My son could travel to Napoli with any resources we could acquire, but we can only offer our money for you to hire men. No man from Jülich who is no mercenary will engage in fighting, as my son would not be half as safe as your daughter if we engaged any forces. I do have my parental duties, afterall, and I can't send him with the intention of fighting.

Offcourse, if he is married he will no longer be entirely under my wing, and if the situation develops in such a way that it could prove profitable for him to directly aid you, he has full permission to do so. However, if by some devilish plot your position is threatened and the life of you or your daughters threatened, I can offer you the hospitability of Jülich untill they are safe again.

As to the actual marriage, you have obviously known that the Pope of Rome is more powerfull in Naples than the Avignonese, and it would seem politically wise for my son to marry under a priest of Rome, as anything else would likely threaten your own position in Napoli. We are officially neutral in the conflict, and allthough in Jülich we could likely arrange a marriage under a neutral priest aswell, such seems less politically expedient.

Should the situation in Napoli remain stable, I will offcourse travel to Naples for the ceremony, but the journey is long and harsh and if the situation in Naples also worsens any further, I would prefer to stay in Jülich. In any case, if the idea seems acceptable, you can pass a letter through a man called Heinrich who is currently in the city of Napoli. My son will then travel to Napoli and he can then arrange the specific details.

I duly hope that the blessings of God may be with you.

Written by his own hand in Jülich, Anno Domini 1384,
Wilhelm of Jülich-Heimbach, the second of that name, Duke of Jülich
 

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Heinrich really was getting angry now. Every message he chose to buy a reader for was useless, and any he didn't proved worthwhile. This was just another marriage discussion that could bore even the most dimwitted noble, with time. At least he got payed more than opening a letter cost, but after his business as a messenger he'd go back to simple smuggling again. Even it was more dangerous, it was also much more profitable.

For now, he just delivered his message.


Onto John, Duke of Gravina and Sorrento

I am happy to have received the news of your proposal, and indeed I see the wisdom of your words. If it is expedient, your daughter could travel to any of the cities in the realms of the House of Jülich, and from there she will be escorted by men from my own bodyguard. If you could inform us via a messenger who passes swiftly, your daughter could leave Napoli at the same time and by the time she arrives her escort would be ready.

Your official contract looks agreeable, and I have returned a duly signed copy.

I hope to meet your daughter soon, and may God bless your daughter and any endeavour you engage in.

Written by his own hand in Jülich, Anno Domini 1384,
Wilhelm of Jülich-Heimbach, the second of that name, Duke of Jülich
 

Hawkeye1489

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The Archbishop of Corfu, Giovanni de Amelia, came walking into the Royal Palace of the Kingdom of Naples. He was unaccostumed to playing diplomatical roles, but he could manage. His role was not completely diplomatic, but was here to also absolve the Duchess of Translyvania and perform the funeral ceremonies. He walked up to the Duchess of Transylvania and the Duke of Gravina, acting as Regents of the King. He could tell there was alot of tension in the room, as there were many factions vying for the crown. He bowed before the Regents and said,

I and Giovanni de Amelia, the Archbishop of Corfu. I come at the behest of His Holiness, Gregory XII. I am here to advise you, as he is currently attempting to end the schism with a conference with the Avignonese Antipope in Barcelona. I will also perfor all actions which deal with the contents of this letter from His Holiness.



GREGORIUS DUODECIMUS, EPISCOPUS, SERVUS SERVORIUM DEI, PRAVUS PACTUM

UNTO ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF TRANSYLVANIA, PRINCESS OF NAPLES​

IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS THAT WE LEARN OF TEH DEATH OF YOUR HUSBAND, THE KING OF NAPLES. WE REALIZE THAT, LIKE ALL MEN, HE COMMITTED A GREVIOUS SIN IN THE EYES OF GOD. WE RECOGNIZE, AS WELL, THAT HE WAS A GREAT CHAMPION OF THE CHURCH, AND LIKEWISE, LIFT THE SHORT-STANDING INTERDICT ON THE LATE KING CHARLES, THE THIRD THEREOF, OF NAPLES. HE MAY BE GIVEN LAST RITES AND BURIED LIKE A TRUE BELIEVER OF THE HOLY FAITH.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT A SUCCESSION CRISIS IS BREWING IN THE MIDST OF THE DEATHS OF NAPLES' TWO RECENT KINGS, BUT OUR CURRENT SITUATION DOES NOT ALLOW US TO BE ABLE TO ATTEND. I HAVE DISPATCHED THE ARCHBISHOP OF CORFU, WHOM ACCOMPANIES THIS LETTER, TO DEAL WITH YOUR UTMOST PROBLEMS.

INDICIUM SARDINIA, ANNO DOMINI MCCCLXXXIV, PRIMUS ANNUS SUUS GLORIFICUS PONTIFICATE