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Author Topic: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR  (Read 1739 times)

Cheesy Honkers

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Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« on: January 08, 2020, 08:27:30 am »

This is an AAR (After Action Report) of a playthrough of Crusader Kings II. I will be playing as a created character in the 769 start. Updates will be mostly written from an in-character perspective. I won't go into detail about the game mechanics, but instead I shall focus on roleplaying the characters I play. There might be viewer participation later on, but things will likely start off simple. I won't be using any mods for this playthrough for the sake of simplicity.

#001 - Lothar I, count of Lyon and Forez

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Anno domini DCCLXIX. It has been scarcely a year since the king Pepin passed. His realm, once mighty and united, has been divided between his two sons, Karl of Neustria, king of the western Franks, and Karloman, king of Austrasia. The tensions between brothers are mounting and it seems that peace shall not last in the land of Christendom. In the south the feeble Visigothic kingdom of Asturias struggles for survival against the mighty Caliphs of Andalusia. It is clear that without aid from the Franks Christianity shall perish in Hispania. Meanwhile, in the east the Lombard kings dominate Italia. They have long been foes of the Franks, but the wise king Karloman brokered peace between his peoples and the Lombards and secured it by marrying a Lombard princess.

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The younger Karloman is well known throughout the land as a wise and just king, much like his father. His peace loving nature has earned him the love of both the Romans and the Germans living in his realm. In his domain diligent peasants till the fertile lands, safe from the raids of the eastern pagans. He is a learned man, knowledgeable in matters of law both canonical and secular. The sun shines with the blessings of God upon his bountiful land, as his vigilant vassals secure the land from any threats. Most importantly, his marriage has proved fruitful as his blessed wife had borne him a healthy son. Karloman is a fit successor to king Pepin, and possibly the only man fit to wipe the stain of his usurper grandfather, Karl Martel.

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The elder, Karl, is a man utterly dissimilar to his brother. He has a cruel, warlike nature that can only lead to suffering of his hopeless subjects. He rules with an iron hand and crushes all dissent with his rampaging hordes of savage raiders. Every man who dares oppose his will is swiftly put to the sword. The teachings of the Holy Mother Church are perverted with his tacit consent, and heresy flourishes. He is, aptly, named after his abhorrent grandfather who wrested the crown from the rightul king and gave it to his son, Pepin. His darkened loins have already brought upon this world two abominations of adultery, said to look like animals rather than like children. It is said that in the dark, unlit chambers of his castle plots and intrigues are common. It is obvious that he plans to wage war upon his own people, the fiend! What have the Franks done to deserve such a tormentor? How long must the servants of Christ wait 'til a rightful king returns and brings law to the lawless and peace to the warmongers?

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Near the banks of the river Rhone lies the city of Lugdunum, once centre of Gallia. It's days of glory had long since passed, and after the Burgundians fled from the Hunnic hordes the city was no more than a ruin. This was to change when the Franks had come to settle the land after subjugating the Visigoths and the Burgundians. Soon, germanic settlers arrived from the north and mingled with the Romans of the south. The land, once barren, gave fruit once more under the watchful eyes of Frankish kings. The realm was large, however, too large to be administered by one man only, and so the wise kings had bestowed land upon their loyal warriors. Sadly, after Karl Martel perverted the laws of the realm, many of the vassals had become indulgent and lazy, but nowhere as much as on the bountiful banks of the Rhone. The lords of that land had grown fond of drink and dice and the land had fallen once more into lawlessnes and despair. But he who sows wind reaps the whirlwind, for from sin rose the most awful of fiends, evil to the core. When the corrupt family feasted, one of their own had poisoned them all and seated himself upon the throne he seized from his family. This kinslayer was Lothar, count of Lyon and Forez. He reigns there now still, his heart blackened with sin, for he is an abomination prone to all kinds of vice. A bastard son of the old Count of Lyon, he outdoes the father he killed in depravity. He does not only commit each and every one of the Seven Deadly sins, but also adds several ones of his own. When he grabbed the title, he was but sixteen years of age, a child still! It was then that he acquired his infamous title, the bastard of Lyon.

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Under the indulgent reign of his now dead family the land had grown poor. Their manor of Pusignan was but a tower among lonely trees surrounded by their thugs, ready to serve their fiend lord any was he pleased.

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The county was ruled by Lothar alone. It adhered to salic law, splitting inheritance among the sons as is tradition among the Franks. Lothar was bereft of an heir, however. This meant that upon his death the land would revert to his liege, king Carloman of Middle Francia. Oh, if only the beast had died then! Perhaps the king would have reclaimed the land for Christendom and led his people towards a bright future? Alas, that was not to be.

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Lothar was not contented by absolute rule, his greedy nature always guiding his actions. Nothing could ever satisfy his ambition and he soon proclaimed that not even his own servants would be exempt from his greed. The barons and bishops and burghers would curse this day for generations to come...

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Lothar would not be satisfied with mere whores, sadly. He turned his attention to archbishop Odoacer of Valais, a most wicked priest. The two had quickly come to an understanding as the unbelieving priest sold his own daughter, Lantsuinda, to Lothar and promised to wed the two himself. The mother of the girl was a true saint, but not even her begging could have saved her daughter from the defiling touch of Lothar.

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Soon, Lothar surrounded himself with a coterie of claqueurs. First of them was Henry of the Eggplant, supposedly called so because of his darkened and oversized manhood. It is said that he had met Lothar in one of the brothels in Lyon and impressed him by spitting out profane vulgarities for as long as the bells of the city church tolled. His fast talking gob had gotten him the position of chancellor. The second was Guaifer, a dull thug whose only quality was his undying loyalty to the count. He took the dual duties of marshal and gardener. The third was Berengario, a greedy pig of a merchant, who earned his fortune by scamming the poor folk and stealing the coin of men killed by the Moors. Worst of all, he was a Visigoth! The fourth was the pious bishop Gozhelm. He was the only noble man in this congregation of filth, and his position of chaplain was likely given to him only because of the wit he displayed while giving out sermons. Lothar had also found himself a confidante in the form of Ricchar, a man not notable in any way. He became chief among servants and soon began to sniff out all those who would harm his master.

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Lothar's greed was unsatiable and he turned toward extortion to fill his coffers with gold. Marshal Guaifer had led his thugs into the countryside of Forez and Lyon and took everything of value from the poor folk in the region. When they dared speak up and elected a man to speak on their behalf, the heretic count had enthralled him with a spell. Worst of all, when the Bastard of Lyon was done robbing his own land, he elected to rob the land of his noble neighbours and proclaimed that in his demesne no man will have to pay tax for the next five years. Soon, destitute peasants flocked to Lyon and Forez, abandoning their former masters and making a new life under a lord they could not know was evil.

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The tyrant wasn't done yet, however. He had used his visigothic minion to strike a deal with peddlers in the city of Lyon. In exchange for an exorbitant sum, the merchants had bought several large plots of land in the city and established industry there. Thus Lothar sold his birthright for gold, while foreign merchants lured honest tradesmen into what could only be bondage in workshops.

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Soon, Lothar had found his wealth growing ever larger. Wise men of the realm whispered that this prosperity could only have been brought by the aid of Satan and later events have proven them right.

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As peasants flocked to Forez from all over the kingdom, the old customs of Romans were abandoned. The newcomers soon became more numerous than the locals.

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The pope was shocked by the depravity instituted by Lothar and demanded he cease his sinful ways. There was no response to the letter he sent to  Pusignan. Lothar would bow neither to man nor to God. Lothar cared not for tradition not did he care for law when they stood in his way. Sadly, no amount of gold could ever sate that despicable thirst. No, that thirst coud only be sated by one thing.

Blood.

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And he would have his fill.
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Cheesy Honkers

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Re: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2020, 08:28:12 am »

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Cheesy Honkers

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Re: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2020, 03:49:09 pm »

#002 - Lothar I, count of Lyon and Forez

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Karloman, the king of Franks, was dead by the hands of an assassin. When his loyal bannermen stumbled upon his body they saw that their sovereign had been nearly torn asunder, as if he was attacked by some wild beast, but no animal could have found it's way to his quarters. Karloman was a good king to his people, a good husband to his wife and a good father to his young son. The succession law was clear, it was young Pepin that should have seized his father's throne as his birthright, but it was not to be. When his vassals learned of their liege's demise, a great council had gathered in Dijon to discuss the future of the realm. A general consensus was soon established; the young Pepin was not fit to become king yet, and no council could possibly safely rule as regents until his majority. Instead, the nobles turned towards the brutish Karl of Neustria, and with great loathing offered him the crown of his brother. Many suspected that their new liege had partook in the slaying of his kin, but no one dared take action against the villain. Soon, Karl was crowned the king of all Franks. The family of Karloman fled the realm upon learning of Karl's ascendance, only barely avoiding capture by his henchmen.

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One man, however, was absent from the Council of Dijon. The young count Lothar stayed in his manor of Pusignan. When the messenger of the great dukes of the realm arrived at the gates of the count's castle he had seen that the court feasted and dined in the time of great mourning. When he was let into the chamber in which the count resided he had heard the count loudly proclaim "This is how I butchered that vile hog, whom I despised so dearly". The count then slashed the pig roasting over the open fire with his sword, spraying the gathering with grease and viscera. The messenger was greatly distraught at the sight and so was the count when he realised that a guest had entered the room. The messenger hastily delivered the news of King Karl's coronation and swiftly left before he would incur the wrath of a man so suspicious and dishonorable.

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King Karl was a warmonger, utterly unlike his peace loving brother. Not a day after his coronation did he vow to destroy the pagan kingdom of Saxony. His armies rode forth, into the dark and grim forests of Saxony. At the head of the army was the new king's most faithful henchman, the cunning Lothar I. Under his command the frankish armies scoured the forest and the countryside in pursuit of the great infidel army the king of Saxons was said to have mustered, to no avail.

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This was a war without battles and without sieges, for the Saxons had no great cities or castles. Instead, small groups of raiders rode into Christian land to pillage and plunder, only to escape once the local lords roused their levies against the pagans. Days turned into weeks and they turned into months, all without success for the Franks. The war turned into a stalemate that favored no one.

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Frustrated at his ineffectual commander, King Karl ordered Lothar to relinquish command and swear fealty to another royal vassal, the german duke Thuringus of Franconia. Perhaps Karl wanted to distance himself from the man suspected of killing his former sovereign, or perhaps he preferred to spirit him away far awat from the intrigues of the court to utilize later. In any case, Lothar was sworn in as the administrator of the senile duke's realm while Thuringus managed the King's court.

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Thuringus was a kind man, but his caring nature was a weakness in times of war.

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Lothar wasted no time in asserting himself as the real power behind the duke, ruling in his stead. What he failed to realize, however, was just how hated he was by the honorable nobles of Francia. They would never turn their back towards him and always kept their hands near their swords, always watching him with careful, judging eyes.

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Lothar could see that he could not foster enough influence with Thuringus' vassals to truly seize control of the duchy. His treachery had turned away all those who he could control. In fact, he suspected that he would soon be ousted from power and killed for his crimes and decided that he should spirit himself away with the vile pagans of the east.

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He left Franconia and made his way into the uncharted wastes of the Slavs, where he made various dealings with them. When he saw missionaries from the kingdom there, he did everything he could to sabotage their attempts at saving the immortal souls of the Slavs and humiliated them before the swarthy savages.

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This earned him much favour with the pagans' leader, Sejj-amir, the saracen leading the pagan tribe. The chief's hatred for Christianity was so great, that the sadness inflicted upon the missionaries convinced him that his new guest was of the same disposition and the two soon struck a deal.

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No one knows what the two discussed in the hellish wastes of Silesia, but when all was said and done, Lothar had returned to Lyon with misbegotten wealth aplenty.

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Armed with piles of gold, Lothar paid off his greedy father-in-law and bought his daughter, Lantsuinda, as his slave-wife. She was a kind woman who had always dreamt of a quiet, monastic life of a nun, but alas, that was not to be. It is said her husband found great pleasure in the pain he caused her by ridiculing God and mocking His divinity. Only her saintly demeanour let her keep her wits. It was not long after the union that the pious Lantsuinda had found herself blessed with a child, a reward from the Blessed Virgin for her dignity in face of adversity.

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The count, however, did not share in the joy his wife felt. He loudly proclaimed that his wife could not be pregnant with his child, if he only laid with her for the first time a week before. He, instead of seeking wisdom in the teachings of the Church, sought advice from his vast network of spies. They failed to bring Lothar proof of any wrongdoing, but his twisted mind could not comprehend that no other man or even woman was as vile as he was.

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Some naive folk say that when the pious Lantsuinda borne a daughter, the vile Lothar was overjoyed and that his love for his newborn daughter turned him into another man entirely. That could not possibly be true, for such sinners are incapable of loving others. Such is the nature of vice! Instead, Lothar spent the next weeks cackling with menacing glee because he had concocted a devilish plan to deceive his fellow man.

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The vile Lothar had used his misbegotten wealth to restore churches throuhout Forez and Lyon, swaying the kind-yet-naive monks. Indeed, such was their good nature that they could not see through the veil of deception!

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Lothar also began settling disputes among the smallfolk to convince them he was a just ruler. Their natural idiocy made them gullible and soon they believed that their liege cared for their matters. Some say that the vile Lothar's interest in the affairs of the smallfolk was only caused by his abhorrent carnal interest in the many barnyard animals the peasants posessed.

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It was around then that the vile Lothar had attempted to poison his wife, the pious Lantsuinda, by adding viper's venom to the monstrance she partook. Only sheer malice could have motivated the fiend, such was his sin. That day, Lantsuinda performed her first miracle by taking in this poisoned monstrance and surviving the copious amounts of poison. It is said that the words of Jesus were heard loudly throughout the stone walls of the chapel. When the shocked parishioners got back to their senses, Lansuinda was alive and beaming with virtue.
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Cheesy Honkers

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Re: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2020, 04:21:16 pm »

#003 - Lothar I, count of Lyon and Forez

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In his questionable service to Thuringus, Lothar had proven himself to be a most corrupt and awful regent. When several noble warriors asked for shelter from the Saxon raiders, Lothar let them in, likely because he intended to include them in some horrific plot of his.

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The very night that the hedge knights had arrived had proved itself to be a fateful one. After the meeting of the reigning council, the councilors, including Lothar, retreated to their quarters to rest after a particularly passionate discussion of pig breeding prospects in Franconia. When Lothar went into his quarters, he found several shadowy figures waiting for him in his chamber. A short struggle ensued. The servants reported hearing shouting and clashing of steel, but no guards investigated the scene. Lothar apparently managed to fight these villains off, though he was grievously wounded while doing so.

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Lothar remained in his room, bleeding heavily, fading in and out of consciousness, when he was found by Bishop Gozhelm, who advised Lothar on matters of faith. Gozhelm tended to the injured sinner's wounds, and when he deemed him safe he went to investigate. Gozhelm soon realised that the alleged warriors had escaped into the night. In their rooms he had found foreign coin and exotic poisons, surely meant for the Bastard of Lyon. The investigation soon proved to be fruitless save for those two clues. Meanwhile, Lothar recuperated in his room under the protection of several well paid mercenaries.

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This incident left Lothar with weeks of time and not much to do. His newfound friend, Gozhelm, suggested to him that perhaps he should spend his sick days delving into the wise words of the Bible, seeking spiritual guidance within the Book's pages. If only Lothar listened to his confessor! Instead, the fiend spent several weeks in bed scheming in plotting.

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When he returned to health, Lothar decided to dodge any more attempts at his life by pretending to go on a pilgrimage. This ruse fooled no one, as Lothar was known to be not only a worshipper of demons, but also an ardent unbeliever. Dressed in common clothing, Lothar set out for Jerusalem, the Holy City in which Jesus taught his apostles and in which he was born.

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Travel proved to be too boring for the vile Lothar, however, and he decided that the only thing that could end his boredom was banditry. It is said that Lothar slaughtered a group of peaceful pilgrims that approached him to invite him to donate to the local beggars, such was his wanton bloodlust.

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Soon after this massacre, Lothar entered the flat farmlands of Anatolia, which suffered from seasonal flooding. There he had used his considerable, misbegotten wealth to kidnap several farmers and their farm animals onto a barge, where he held them captive until their suffering amused him no longer. From there he set out for Jerusalem.

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Not much is known about Lothar's presence in the Holy City, but it is likely he consorted with the Saracens that tyranically ruled the city.

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When heresy grew too boring for the villain, the vile Lothar set sail from Jerusalem to Lyon. For some this spiritual journey is a dream they can never hope to accomplish, but Lothar cared little or nothing for faith. After the apparent assasination attempt, he became reclusive, paranoid, cruel, and inasne. When he returned to Pusignan, he decided that only torture could end the ennui his life was plagued with. And he knew a perfect target of persecution.

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He set his sights on the pious Lantsuinda, his wife. He had grown bored of her, and decided that he would have her killed.

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Jesus, however, warned his faithful sheep of the vile Lothar's plans and ordered Lantsuinda to flee. She protested, and said to the Lord that she wished a martyr's death so that she could see His light, but she bowed to His will.

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She found refuge at the court of the Lombard lord Adaloald. He was known as a pious man, and he would believe the tales of her persecution. It is important to add that they were never lovers.

((A short update for now. I've got footage for one big update, but before that I'd like some feedback. What'd you like to see more of? What do you dislike?))
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EuchreJack

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Re: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 07:49:19 pm »

I love Count Lothar!  He is my kind of man, a truly creative and inventive sort of man.
...we really must go drinking together sometime.
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I think the word you were looking for is "monster".

mightymushroom

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Re: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2020, 09:26:17 am »

It's fascinating and wonderful. I look at the screenshots, then I read your story . . . and the motivations and often actors are 180 reversed from the face value of the screens (such as who is assassinating whom). I kinda like it, it's an interesting method of story generation and it brings a real twist to events that may be familiar from playing the game. Now you've got me wondering about meta questions such as who the chronicler might be relative to this history, and I keep looking for more.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:28:41 am by mightymushroom »
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Cheesy Honkers

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Re: Bastard of Lyon - a Crusader Kings II AAR
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 04:38:08 pm »

#004 - Lothar I, count of Lyon and Forez

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It was then that Lothar's infamous madness started showing. His horrific persecution of his loyal wife combined with the recent attempt on his life and the foul kinslaying that thrust into power caused Lothar to snap out of sanity and into the waiting arms of the devil. Everywhere he looked he saw spies and assasins, each of his neighbours coveted his lands, every courtier he saw plotted his doom. If before Lothar was a fiend, now he was nothing more than a beast, a Caligula reborn in an age of blood and steel. Perhaps God saw it fit to punish the Frankish people for the ascension of the horrid Karl Karling? We shall never know.

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Lothar was unable to rule because of his insanity, but to tell him that was to earn the wrath of the most cruel of men save for the saracen dogs. Another solution was found, however, as the bishops of the lands Lothar ruled convened and agreed to silently take over most real power to save the Frankish people. To avoid Lothar's famous anger, they agreed to deceive Lothar and pretend to be friends of his. The times were hard and such two faced behaviours were common even among the men of the cloth.

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Under the reign of the ecclesiasts, the dual counties prospered. Walls were built around the fortified manors and villages were built next to these fortresses. These investments were very costly for a lowly county, but it was said that they would swell the county's coffers for years to come.

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While the county flourished from sane fiscal policy, Lothar turned his pox ridden visage to foreign affairs. Most of his neighbouring counties were integrated into the duchy of Burgundy, ruled by the central Nibelungs, or the duchy of Lower Burgundy. The only exception was the county of Bourbon, formerly ruled by a junior branch of the Capets but which now was held by a young scion of the Babenberger dynasty, a family holding land in Franconia.

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When young Lambert ascended the throne, he held only Bourbon. The rest of his inheritance was taken by his envious family, under the guise of helping young Lamber administer the demesne so far from the green fields of Bourbon. Lothar saw this as an opportunity. He brought forth documents detailing how the old Capetian count willed his land to Lothar. To cement his claim, Lothar paid the German Babenbergers off both with gold and promises that with Lambert's ousting their rule would be cemented.

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While the Frank fought the Saxon in an endless, hopeless war, Lothar waged his own. His thugs overwhelmed the Lambertian loyalists by sheer numbers and slaughtered every man, woman, child and farm animal in the Bourbonian manor. Lambert fled, hoping to find refuge in the court of duke Charivius of Anjou. The flight of the young count shocked the Angevin court and Charivius demanded that king Karl take action against the rebel Lothar. Alas, Karl was a warmonger who cared little for the affairs of his people as long as he could pillage the lands of others. This inaction combined with the long, fruitless war convinced the nobility that the problem lied not in the actions of some sinner, but in the usurper reigning over the Franks.

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When Charivius' plea reached Karl, he was planning a new raid on Saxony, an attack he thought would finally bring him glory and force the Saxons to swear fealty to him. What did he care for the affairs of some child? Besides that, Lothar had always been a staunch supporter of the crown. Their past dealings together meant that their fates were now intertwined. Lothar and Karl were like dog and master, and Karl kept his warhounds well fed with blood and bone. Karl, now called Lanius for the utter disregard with which he slaughtered Saxon warriors, ordered Charivius to cease his protests and instead rally his men for the war effort.

Charivius did just that.

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Upon learning of Karl's orders, Charivius realised that he and only he could end the madness that plagued the real for years. In an impassionate plea, he argued to the gathered nobility that Karl had failed his people and that he was unfit to be a king. His eyes glowed with anger, his voice seemed to burn! He preached that the sons of Martell were fools and madmen, their sin staining the golden crown they took from the rightful kings. Then he asked a man step out from the shadows.

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From the shadows emerged a man dressed in the simple robes of a monk, but his long flowing hair revealed that he was no mere clergyman. In his eyes there was a glint of wisdom, in his posture there was nobility and in his strong hands was a sword. His voice boomed with royal virility as he said that he was the son of Childeric, the last rightful king of the Franks. He said his name was Theoderic and that he would reclaim his inheritance. He struck the table with great force and proclaimed he would not rest until justice was brought to the realm. All lords of the realm fell to their knees, adoration in their eyes. Each whispered oaths of loyalty to Theoderic, each swore to aid him and each raised their sword in love for their lord.

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The white knights of King Theoderic rode forth from Angers to Paris. The tyrant offered peace to the Saxons and ordered his men to Paris. Brother would kill brother, father would slay son. There was war among the Franks.

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