The Robertian Crisis

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The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:04 am


The Robertian, Counts of Paris and Dux Francorum, were one of the great houses of the Kingdom of France, having offered three kings to the country, Eudes I and Robert I in between Carolingian rulers and Hugues Capet, who's election put an end to the dominion of Charlemagne's inheritors over France. In reality, the Robertians where renamed Capetian and became one, if not the, most important royal dynasty in Europe.

But here, none of this happened. Hugues died before he could achieve anything and so did his son. The title of "King of Franks" was lost, and now the few Robertian left stay in their desmene of the Parisian region, looking at the past with nostalgia and thinking about what could have been.




The Paris of the 11th century is in dark red.



Paris itself is but a mere shadow of the city it once was. The left bank was abandoned during the vikings raids on the city and only scarcely repopulated since. The right bank is were merchants are and what make the city thrive, but its core is still "l'île de la cité", "the city's island", where most of the political and religious buildings can be found and where the fortifications are the most denses. It is all that is left of Clovis' capital and one of France's greatest towns, now left in a form of stagnation and decay, only protected by the pact of non-agression between the Dukes of Auvergne and Austrasia that hold Paris, Reims and Vichy as neutral states, ensuring the two rulers can't take the throne and the crown for themselves.

But the tragedy of the Robertian and their city does not stop there, for it is merely the prologue to events far more terribles. The current head of the family, Hugues II, is an old but caring man and, with the help and advices of the Archbishop of Paris, Renaud, is the one keeping the now official neutrality of his Realm intact.

But Hugues II has two sons, whom he love dearly, Robert and Henry, but they could never do anything but hate each other. Their father tried to stop their feud by making sure each would recieved one half of his landing, but it did nothing of the sort, only making this family feud even worse.

With each passing day the tension grew in the city, to the point the air became heavy and all awaited and feared the moment it would explose and Paris would be thrown in civil war. And the moment seems now to have come.

Since a few weeks, Hugues II has caught a terrible illness and nothing is less certain than the old count's survival. Immediatly, the brothers made their moves, seeking helps and allies within and without their father's realm. Robert successed in forming a "cabal" of partisans within the Church in Paris, while Henry has made enough promises and gifts to secure the support of the city's traders. In the same way, Robert is actively trying to befriend the Duke of Auvergne, while Henry covered the Duke of Austrasia of gifts, compliments and promises.

But the brothers' plans were discovered by Renaud the Archbishop, who alone is left keeping Paris peace and neutrality. The Archbishop, in a last try to stop what he see to be a madness, conviced the brothers to try to find an agreement of their own, under his watch. They accepted and for the meantime, Henry accepted to hold in his mansion a feast, where all the parties where invited, even an Austrasian and  an Auvergnian delegations, all to show that peace can be a possibility...



Eudes of Aubenas

The Auvergnian ambassador, Eudes, looked around him. Henry's manor was indeed a great and beautiful, one of the last proof of the Robertian's old power. Many where in theses halls, merchants, aristocrats, clergymen, knights... even Robert and some of his men were here, maybe for the first time since the two brothers never shared a roof since they left their father's castle. The guests could enjoy a good chimney fire and a bard's songs, while waiting for the dinner to be ready. Eudes also saw his counterpart from Austrasia, but decided against saluting him too quickly. it could have been misinterpreted and it was the last thing he wanted now.

When Robert came to him with presents and offers of partnership, Eudes was dubious, but the orders he recieved were clear : he had to roll with it and go with the flow. When all the "clever" plots of the brothers had been discovered and Renaud "conviced" Henry to throw a feast and invite everyone, Eudes' orders didn't change : he had to roll with it. He was there to observe and wait for a good opportunity, not to provoke anything.

Anyway, he started throwing discussions with other guests left and right, smiling and laugthing. To test the water. The atmosphere was good enough but the tensions where reals, especially among the merchants. Eudes was suspecting Henry to have made such promises to the guilds that now the traders wants the war and are dissapointed by the peaceful negociations. The Ambassador had no idea what Henry offered them, but he already knew it was foolish to put so much on the table when his father isn't even dead yet. Alas, he couldn't say Robert had been particulary bright either, the few Eudes heard about the second brother's plotting with the priests was concerning, to put it mildly, and it was no surprise that the Archbishop came to know about it. For what Eudes as managed to understand of the situation, if the civil war came to be, it would be a bloodbath, as his opinion of both brothers was that they were brutish thugs at best, with Henry being the brigthest one of the two, if nothing else. No one can say how much they are ready to sacrifice for their inheritance, which is not a good sign.

Eudes sighted and kept and saluting and talking with peoples. They all have been disarmed at the entrance and no guard where in the hall, even if it meant nothing. Eudes was not at peace, for hiding a dagger or a shank was so easy. He knew it, it was part of his training. But this night he took away his trusty knife, and now he felt nude and in danger. One of his "advisor" was with him, ready to help him if things did go sour, but he knew it wouldn't be enough against a quick and surprising enough attack. Speaking of wich...

"Tell Simon to keep an eye on the Austrasian and his peoples." he ordered to his advisor in a whisper and in the tongue of the Auvergian peasants. "Just to be safe. And if someone is already watching us, don't bother call him out. Tonight, we have nothing to hide."


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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Austrasia on Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:03 pm

Pierre de Verdun

Pierre de Verdun, the Austrasian ambassador, gazed nervously over at the group of men huddled together in the corner of the great hall. Their hushed voices and guarded postures gave him the distinct impression that the peace that had been promised to him by his host was not as solid as he had been told by his various sources in the Old City.

There were no more than three of them. All merchants, by the look of their clothes, Pierre surmised, yet to him they looked more as jackals than men. That Henry was secretly bribing Paris' merchant guilds was no secret and even despite the Archbishop's tactful diversion, the Austrasian delegation was dreadfully afraid that the thin wire of peace would not hold. War was, after-all, a merchants' quickest rise to wealth these days and Paris was in no short supply of demand for weapons, cloth, precious ore, wood, and horses. It was discomforting to see so many powerful men with no stake to gain from peace, yet apparently so eager to see it achieved.

Pierre watched the three men so intently he barely noticed the tap on his shoulder. The sudden break from his thoughts startled him slightly and he placed a worried hand on the nape of his back and clutched what he had hidden so expertly there - a two-and-half inch dirk. When he regained his composure and saw who it was that touched him he relaxed.

"My God, Ambassador, don't look so startled," Henry spoke with a grin. "It is only me."

Pierre smiled nervously, "Yes, indeed. H-how fairs your father, the Count?"

"My lord father is most unwell, I'm afraid," Henry replied with the slightest vestiges of remorse. "Did you know that my whoreson of a brother hasn't even visited him today?" Henry smiled across the table to Robert and waved falsely.

Pierre nodded, but his attention was once again fixated on the huddled merchants talking away in the corner. When he noticed where the ambassador's gaze shifted, Henry chuckled.

"Do not pay them any mind, My Lord," he stated reassuringly. "I have given up on my scheming with the guilds; Renaud has seen to that. Besides, we are here to celebrate a lasting peace after-all." Henry smiled at the Austrasian before sauntering off to the front of the large table with the rest of his bannermen.

Pierre sighed deeply, but not loud enough for anyone in the vicinity to hear him. He had been reminded time and time and again by the Duke to present an air of strength and confidence. Henry was Duke Charles' man inside Paris afterall. His interests were inline with the Duke's, was the message he had been told to memorize by the Austrasian Chancellor back in Metz. Pierre could still not reconcile his dislike for the man; Henry was just as ruthless as his brother. No matter, his orders were sound: Do his best to keep the peace, but Austrasia would back Henry if it came to war.

The thought of war made Pierre uneasy and his gaze shifted this time to the Auvergnian delegation across the table. That they had refused to salute him or even address him since their arrival was regarded as a huge insult. That there was a shaky non-aggression pact between Austrasia and Auvergne was significant, but Pierre had hoped that at least a minimum level of courtesy would be shown. Yet, no matter his reservations, he would still try his best to work with his counterpart to avert war. The same could not be said for his partner William "the Hammer" Martel - the Austrasian military adviser to Henry's troops.

"Look at those bastards," William stated angrily at the Auvergnians. "They have the gall to sit in at this feast. We all know they're the reason we can't have peace here in Paris."

"Which is a thought you would do well to keep quiet for now," Pierre replied tersely. "We are not here to instigate, only to reassure Henry that he has our support. If you wish to brood on your hatred for our rivals you would do wise to watch them, as well as our merchant guests. Inform me of any fowl play."

William grunted and moved away to relay the order to his men. A few more guests were still do to arrive and before long everyone would need to sit down together and toast to peace. As he clutched the dirk once more, Pierre hoped he would be able to survive the night.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:55 pm

Eudes of Aubenas

Eudes kept on talking and smiling with peoples , but after each little talk, one of his advisor came and whispered n his hear. Mostly to say nothing was strange. But sometime, one or two interessing details was signaled. Such as the little talk between Henry and Pierre, the Austrasian ambassador. Then, the fact that the famous William "Martel" leaved him alone, seemingly to transmit orders. Maybe to watch over someone.

"Then let us make sure we do not lost to much time spying each other." He whispered through its teeth in this tongue, so close to French yet so far, that they speak in Ardenne. He then make sure to walk through the Hall in a seemingly chaotic way, once again saluting left and right, enjoying the music, but each time closer to the Austrasian. Once he was closed enough he saluted him and signaled to his partner to leave them, who did so but in a way to not make it seem too much unnatural and suspicious.

"Your Excellency. May you transmit the salutation of His Grace Berenger the Duke of Auvergne, to your master, His Grace Charles, Duke of Austrasia. We are truly overjoyed to see you tonight. It is a shame that we do not have much more moments to talk, but we must do with it."

Eudes got a little bit closer to the Austrasian, trying to not look too intimidating despite his appearance of an old but still fit man seemingly less flesh than bones. "Your protegee do have a long list of friends and guests. Some look very excited about this event, we think you noticed. We understand them, to see the two Robertian Brothers in the same room is indeed a rare sight. But it doesn't require to be so restless about it, don't you think ? Maybe your protegee has prepared some sort of surprise and his friends are trying to guess which it is, but we do not know how the Archbishop would react. It is well known that he do not like surprises."

Shortly after, one servant of Henry came in the Hall and announced the diner was ready and invited everyone to enter the Dining room, where their seats are ready. Eudes then inclined himself before Pierre.

"Then It seems we have to leave each other for tonight. It was a pleasure to discuss with you. We should continue another day, if possible."

He then abandoned the Ambassador and took direction, with the other guests, towards the feast, quickly joined by his advisor and by another figure he didn't really wanted to see : Robert, the second brother of the count.

He seems angry. Noted Eudes, not really unphased. Robert was always angry or displeased, one way or another.

"Why where you talking to this Austrasian ? He's our ennemy !" Robert whispered through his teeth, his eyes burning with anger.

"Because being ennemy do not stop us from being polite." Calmly answered the diplomat. "And tonight, we're here for peace, not for war, remember that."

"My brother, this whoreson, is obviously planning something. There will be war, it was never a question. No matter what this priest think."

"Sire, for tonight, we would trully appreciate if you could keep your figthing spirit ready for another day."

You littles schemed being discovered is why we're in this mess to start with. Mentaly added Eudes.

Richard grumbled something and joined his seat between two of his "friends", without another word. Eudes disliked Richard. He was nothing more than a thug and was as big as he was lacking in finess. But it was the only real ally of Auvergne in Paris, even if this alliance was as unstable as the peace with Austrasia.

A mad dog and a vixen. How low can a familly fall ? Mentally lamented the ambassador whil taking his seat. How this night would go he didn't knew. Uneventful, he prayed. But deep down, he knew, this kind of events never go smoothly.


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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Austrasia on Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:00 pm

Pierre de Verdun & William Martel

What a peculiar man, Pierre thought of the Auvergnian Ambassador.

Although, he was now pleased that the man finally saluted him and acknowledged him as an equal. It was interesting, he thought, that Eudes had also noticed the merchants scheming in the corner, and for that he was unsure if he should be put at ease or at greater distress. Were the Auvergnians behind it and trying to lull him into a false sense of security? Were they possibly as unaware as he was? By God, what were those blasted merchants whispering!?

Pierre was just about to call William over to tell him to put extra attention on the merchants when Henry's chamberlain addressed the room that the feast was too begin. Pierre smiled at Henry and then at William as they sat to either side of him. The guests had all arrived and the large rectangular table was full; its seating arrangement even more indicative of the power-play present in Paris.

At either head of the table sat the two rival brothers - Henry and Robert. To their left sides sat their foreign backers in the form of the Austrasian and Auvergnian delegations. Alternatively, to their rights sat either the Merchant Guild leaders or members of the Parisian clergy. Lastly, the middle of the table was balanced by the members of the local nobility who tenuously watched to see which brother deserved their coffers and levies. The bulwark of this neutral faction was the Archbishop Renaud, who also watched eagerly awaiting any signs that his hard-brokered peace would hold.

As the guests talked among themselves amidst servants bringing wine, ale, and bread, Henry and Robert brooded in their seats. Their gazes very rarely shifted from one another and only if addressed by one of the ambassadors. Eventually, it was Henry who cut the tension. Clanging his knife against a goblet, he rose to address the feast with an apparent toast.

"Friends, country-men, esteemed clergymen, and foreign guests, please allow me to welcome you to my humble hall for this wonderful night of peace," Henry began, his eloquent voice echoing throughout the hall. "Now Archbishop, you can stop constantly nagging at us all!" A joke to which all let out a light chuckle.

"I understand that this was not an easy conclusion to come too. We are all aware that their has been a vile air of deception, corruption, and wrath seeping into the very soul of this great city. The brutish shadow of this hidden demon lingers over us and threatens to drag us all back into the abyss and chaos of a horrendous war."

"We must not allow that demon to succeed and allow bad blood to cloud our judgement. Every man here knows that my brother Robert and I are not the best of friends; however, we must put aside our differences for the well-being of our father. Isn't that right, brother? Our father told me this just this morning when you were off wandering the city streets doing God knows what. But all is well! Robert has never been much of a family man, yet our father never expected that of him anyway. Robert was always the tough brutish one and father always trusted me to be the smart one."

"A strong kingdom needs the two though, don't you think? So, without further words, I toast to you Robert! May we find the strength to work together as our father wishes. To peace!"

Henry finished with a wry smile. Everyone watched in eager anticipation of what Robert would do. Would he raise a glass, pour it out, curse his brother, try to stab him, or simply walk out?

Pierre sat in his seat silent and motionless. Henry had just insulted his brother while still barely praising peace. Robert was not known for his patience or understanding, yet Pierre prayed to God that Robert would simply let the slight go.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:34 pm

Eudes of Aubenas

Henry, what are you doing ? Thought the Auvergnian Ambassador. And he was not the only one at the table. Even among Henry's allies, only his closest circle was smirking or unphased by their de-facto leader's speech. At the middle of the table, Renaud was shoked, to say the least. The Archibishop tried to remain calm and composed, but the way he was placing his hands to stop them from shaking and how he looked at Renaud, anxiously waiting for the brother's reaction, betrayed his own way of thought. But Eudes was mainly able to deduce all of this because that exactly what he was feeling, confused, somewhat angry and in fear for the very near futur.

Because, even if an angry Archbishop was not a pretty sight, Robert's face was even more frigthning to watch, completely red with veins throbbing and even an eye twitching. And in the silence that befell on the table, neither Eudes or Richard's friends and advisors could help him without making it look like, or rather reveal, that Renaud wasn't the one in charge. Which would have made him look all credibility in the eyes of thoses that are still watching the brewing conflict for the right side to join.

And speaking of his "friends", thoses were too much like him for Eudes' liking. If Robert was still doing his best to not explode, they were ready to jump and start a fight for what they saw as an insult to their friend and master's honor. In fact, Eudes saw one of them sliding his hand under the table, obviously reaching for some concealed weapon.

Finaly, after a very short time that appeared to be an eternity, Robert reached for his glass an raised it. He spoke, his words trembling with anger and murderous intent.

"A toast to you too, brother. And to your talent with words. Your tongue move so freely, we could think you can't control it anymore. To peace !"

Never one heard a call for peace less believable. Thought Eudes. Still, he profited of the discussions starting again around the table to whisper to his ally : "You did well, Sire". Immediatly followed by one of Robert's friend comment : "This is an outrage ! We should leave now and kill all his servants in sight from now on !" Robert added nothing for a moment, visibly trying to calm himself which is more self-control than Eudes ever thought he was able to do. But frankly, more than none is not a compliment.

"I will kill this bastard." He finally whispered through his teeth. "He won't love watching himself in the glass so much once I've turn his face inside-out."

"Well, Sire, at least wait for the Archbishop to be pleased with this diner before doing so." Added Eudes. It is hard to say when Robert think what he is saying or not. Especially when his friends are encouraging him to go with his ideas. But this time he didn't respond, only sending a death glare in his brother's direction while waiting for his meal to be served.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Austrasia on Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:56 pm

Pierre de Verdun

Well, that was tense, Pierre thought to himself as the situation stabilized. The seasoned ambassador almost lost his composure until Robert surprisingly let his brother's blow glance his cheek without an impassioned rebuke.  The ogre's sudden temperance came as a surprise to all, especially Henry who visibly appeared...disappointed.

"That was unnecessary to say the least," Pierre whispered to Henry as he sat. "Didn't you father ever teach not to provoke wild beasts?"

Henry shrugged, "Its normally a joy to poke fun at my brother's temper. His sudden composure is bizarre and dare i say..worrying."

"Perhaps, its best to proceed with caution then, eh?" Pierre snapped back. Henry shook his head in frustration as he began to question the possibility that his brother was developing some tact.

It wasn't much longer before plates of all types of food graced the long table. Silver platters under large slabs of boar, venison, and assorted poultry were shuffled about and handed to the hungry guests. To these men of wealth and prestige, such dishes were certainly not rare persay, but even they had to marvel at the sheer quantity of the wondrous bounty before them. To the peasants within and around Paris, such a feast would evoke feelings of rage and despair as their lords ate lavishly as their family's starved.

Accompanying the food also came a host of entertainers, minstrels, and other performers. Even Henry's famed and beloved court jester was in attendance and began his normal routine of regaling his master with interesting stories while he ate. Pierre couldn't help but smile at all of the entertainment. For a moment, he was even enchanted by the gaze of a beautiful young servant girl who poorly hid some stolen glances at him from across the table.

For a moment, all was well in the world. For but a moment.

Down the table, a merchant laughed heartily with the Archbishop as a servant poured the man another glass of wine. Renaud grasped it instantly and gulped it back without a thought. For a brief moment he paused and slowly moved his hand up to his throat. Not mere seconds after his hands touched the soft skin there, he began choking loudly and violently tearing at his throat in a desperate attempt to halt the burning sensation he felt. As the merchants near him clamored for help, the Archbishop floundered about in his chair grasping for anything to save his life, but it was too late. Renaud perished suddenly upon the table and a trickle of blood flowed from his open mouth.

Pierre jumped up to offer his help when a sudden pain in his chest brought him tumbling back into his chair. In horror his gaze fell to his own goblet - his empty goblet. In a haunting repeat of moments past, the Austrasian Ambassador began choking and grasping at his throat. As his brain was robbed of precious air, Pierre reached for his companion William and begged for any help. William screamed and attempted to force water down his friend's throat, but it was also too late.  

A single tear dropped from his eye, as Pierre fell to the floor dead. What happened after was a maelstrom of fear, wrath, and pandemonium.

"POISON!" William Martel roared in a rage. "They've been poisoned!"
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:08 pm

Eudes of Aubenas

The moment Renaud started choking, the Auvergnat knew what would come next. Strangely, he didn't felt horrified or was under the shock of the event. A great man dying such a death was painfully common. Under his time as an ambassador and agent of his Duke, he had seen this scene repeat itself over and over again. No, he was not even surprised. He was just sad, and resigned.

But then, amidst the panicked guests, something caught his eye. Pierre, the Austrasian's envoy, falling back in his chair and grasping at his throat, at the opposite end of the table. This...was odd. Eudes thought. His first hypothesis was that the Austrasian or Henry did so. But it was now painfully obvious that it was not the case. Was it Henry's doing alone ? Was it another faction ? This thought gave Eudes a shiver down his spine, something he hasn't felt in years.

It was too late, however, to stop what would follow. In a last attempt, the ambassador tried to reach for Robert's shoulder, to show him Pierre, to tell him it wasn't a treason, but a set up. But it was impossible.

The moment Renaud had fallen on the ground, one of Robert's henchmen had already rose from his chair and pointed at Henry, screaming "Traitor !" Immediatly, Robert and all of his friends unsheathed their weapons : hidden daggers for thoses who smuggled them or just bread knife from the table. All their hate and rage exploded with the death of the Archbishop. Robert himself had already jumped on the table and was running, with a meat knife, to his brother, his eyes burning with this hate only a familly feud can create. "Brother ! You traitor ! I will take out all theses teeth from this lying mouth !"

Some guest tried to stop them. But they where pushed or kicked aside. Henry's men responded by taking their own concealed weaponry and the chaos was complete. Peoples where screaming, fighting, fleeing, calling for help. And all of this happened in mere seconds...

"Quickly !" said one of Eudes' advisor to him. "We must get out !"

Eudes noded and followed his two compagnons, his advisor and his bodyguard to the exit but his head overtaken by grave thoughts. Was his gobelet poisoned ? He hadn't drink at all, and eaten the bare minimum to not look impolite, less because he didn't trusted Henry and more because of old reflexes. But even so, he doubted someone would have poisoned his drink.

They needed only to kill Renaud to start the war. He thought. Killing an ambassador was to make sure at least one of the duke had a reason to act, forcing the other to join too to protect his interests. it was Pierre or I, both would have been counter-productive.

And now he fled, Auvergne looked more guilty than ever of this crime. But better to look guilty and to be alive, than to look innocent and being dead.

Once the three Auvergnats where out of the mansion, Eudes again saw something in the corner of his eyes.A group Merchants, among the guests who had fled, but who looked far less panicked like the other and more...pleased by the whole situation. Eudes couldn't say more about them, has they dissapeared in the night, in the opposite direction of Eudes, who's priority was now to join the Auvergnat Ambassy, take a horse and go to Clermont, to alert Berenger I of what happened.

"Antoine." he said to his advisor. "In my absence, you're the representant of Auvergne in Paris. Leave the ambassy, join the hiding places we prepared for such a day. Be discreet and do not let Richard do everything he want, he would burn down this whole city if not kept in check. I'm sure he'll survive, he know the meaning of "living to fight another day", even if his friends don't but send some men as soon as possible to be sure."

Antoine noded and the three men started walking faster. A waste. Thought Eudes. He knew it was not Auvergne, nor Austrasia obviously, that was behind thoses deaths. But for now he was the only one who knew. But who was the real culprit ? Who could want to see Paris be consumed by the war ?

We need to follow the money. He mentally noted. Money, as allways, is the solution.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Austrasia on Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:06 pm

William Martel

William had barely a second to react before one of Robert's men was charging into him from the left. The man grabbed at his torso and tackled him to the ground with a hard crash. His armor had luckily broken some of the fall, but William had little time to thank his leather grieves before a dinner knife was being brandished and thrust in his direction - aimed directly for his jugular.

He caught the man's arms just as they had placed the knife point a mere inch away from his neck. The ensuring struggle was intense, but for a seasoned warrior like "the Hammer" it was just another brawl. With his left knee, he kicked the man's kidneys twice hard enough that he spat blood across the floor and dropped his guard. It was all William needed. With a skilled maneuver he threw the man off of him and re-positioned himself over top for the kill.

As he stood up and surveyed the new battlefield, he watched on as Robert rushed his brother across the dinner table. The sight would have been comical had it not been so crucial for Austrasia that Henry survive. Without thinking, William rushed for Henry himself and grabbed him just before his brother was within range.

"We need to leave!" William yelled, "Pierre is dead!" He said pointing to the Ambassador's body.

Henry nodded in a fashion that indicated he was at least semi-cognizant that the final battle was not here in his great hall. Together both men made a dash for the exit that two of Henry's guards had held open. As they fought their way to the doorway, it was apparent that Robert's men could not win the night; with more and more of Henry's guards rushing into the fray equipped with full chain-mail armor and heavy weapons, staying would be a slaughter.

"Kill them all!" Henry called as William dragged him back into the passage. William looked back just quick enough to see the Auvergnian envoy and much of his delegation slip away. Soon, ill kill you too, he thought biting his lip. Better late than never.

Metz was only a few days away and with luck he could get the news back to Duke Charles before the Auvergian's did to their lord. These next few days, hours, would be crucial. In his rage, William quickly forgot the suspicions of his friend and his focus shifted exclusively to the Auvergnians.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:01 am

And so ended the Bloddy Diner, as the chroniclers and trobadors would call it. Six peoples died during that night but both Henry and Robert managed to get out alive, ensuring that there was no way to escape the war.

Neither the Archbishop nor the Austrasian Ambassador had the ceremony they deserved. Renaud was buried under his church, with only his closest friends and partisans present as the rest of the population was trying to survive the two brothers 's wrath. Pierre's body was recovered at the end of the night by his companions and send somewhere else, where he would be given a decent ceremony. Of the four other deads, nobody care enough to write down what happened to them.

Robert, against his friends advices, didn't flee Paris to join his partisans in Gatinais, his desmene. He stayed in the city, leading his troops from the house of one of his friend, supervizing the resistance against his brother. But he did send letters to all the barons in the county and was waiting for the help they might provide. He was also hoping the Duke of Auvergne woud respect his words and send the promised reinforcement.

The plan of Robert was somewhat simple, he had to take over the walls and the gates and control who entered or not. it was the only way to, at the very least, forces the Austrasian in a siege once their army came by.


The problem was, while the situation in Paris was far from being over, Henry managed to get a hold of the Island and its defenses, while Robert was in control of most of the right bank. It meant that Henry was cut from his possessions in Vexin and his allies in Valois and Beauvasis. It also meaned that only way out of the city would be through Hurepoix, which already sided with Robert.

But Robert was in no better position, as the "Pays de France" as it was called, completely surrounded him, meaning he was also traped in the city. What's more, while Gatinais, Hurepoix, Brie and Mantois were loyal to him, the rest of what should have been his inheritance, Soisson, the Noyonnais and Laonnois, had yet to decide to accept to join their master, since thoses territories where encircled by Henry's partisans in Valois, Beauvasis, the Vexin and in the "Pays de France" from one side, and by the Austrasian on the other side.

Meanwhile, it took three days to Eudes to travel to Clermont. As soon he asked for an audience with the Duke, he was sent to the gardens, where Berenger was fencing with some courtisans. One of the servants whispered something to the ear of his master and, with a simple gesture of his hand, all were gone but the Duke, the Archbishop of Auvergne that was always by his side and Eudes, who saluted his Master as the etiquette asked. He explain thouroughly the situation to them and, once he finished, waited for their questions and decisions.

"Charles is already on the move." Announced Berenger. "They cannot let such an insult go by. But neither can we let our allies alone. Etienne, I let Clermont in your good hands. Send letters to our vassals in the Marche, Champagne, Berry and Nivernais, I call the Ban and the arrière-Ban by my side and we will be marching on Paris. We will not make it in time to stop the Austrasian, but at the very least we can manage to take them by surprise...or reclame the city from them."

Etienne the Archbishop saluted his Duke and left, leaving the Duke and Eudes alone.

"As for you." Berenger said to his ambassador. "Find me thoses merchants you suspect. We want them alive, so they can tell of their crime to Charles. We will let no one throw dirt to our name. no one."

"It will be done as you wish, my Liege." Saluted Eudes before leaving his Duke to prepare for the incoming battles.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Austrasia on Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:33 pm

The Bloody Dinner, as it was so dubbed, had ended about as expected by the Austrasian court. While some of the lesser courtiers who were often out of the loop were shocked by the news, the Duke and his closest advisers simply nodded their heads in a somber realization. In fact, for the Duke is almost came as a sign of relief - he was growing more and more tired of the cat and mouse game with his rival in the first place.

Yet, no matter the relief of the conflict being out in the open, it was still no small feat to undertake. The Duchy was now at war it would seam, but this time it was not with just a tiny barony or county, but possible with another experienced and well equipped army. The results of such a clash would inevitably cause the deaths of thousands and whittle down the forces of both Duchies. Charles knew this, but he was also aware of how to size the advantage.

While the Auvergnian's were busy transferring the news down their chain of command, the Austrasians became aware much sooner from their carefully planted network of informants and outposts along the road from Paris to Metz. This was a truth that William Martel was surprised to witness as he galloped into the courtyard of the ducal palace only to learn that the war council had already met and reacted.

"What is the meaning of this?" He called out to a passing knight.

"The Duke has called us to arms," he replied in the rush. "Gather your effects, we are to join with the main army traveling toward Laonnois"

William's face went red, "You fool, I command the army!"

The knight looked flustered. "Not today, sire. His Grace has taken command." He then shrugged and mounted his horse and joined the stream of men marching from the Keep.

William shook his head. The main army must have marched into the Paris basin mere hours after he had left. He kicked himself for rushing to return to Metz through neutral territory. All he could do now was rush to join his countrymen. He mounted his horse and galloped after the knight.

Miles away, the Austrasians had launched a preliminary incursion into Laonnois almost immediately. Charles had anticipated conflict ever since the "peace" was reached, and therefore left a sizable portion of his men armed and ready by the border. Approximately 2000 men entered the region and promptly delivered an ultimatum to the local lord - they were to join with Henry or forfeit their lands indefinably. With 2000 men breathing down their necks, and the rest of the Austrasian army to follow in a few days time, the lords of the neutral reasons were in dire straights.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:32 pm

Under such threat, most of the neutral nobles in the north switched sides to join Henry and its Austrasian allies. Only a tiny minority refused and fled to the neighborhood Champagne, where the vassals of Auvergne were not iddle by any mean. All fortress where ready since long ago for war, and thoses loyals to their Duke in Auvergne did not wait to receive the call-to-arm to start gathering their knights and soldiers. A thousand men were ready to defend the Meuse against the possible invaders or, if the Duke so wanted, to help their allies in Paris, but only once the threat of the Austrasian was not so immediate.

Meanwhile, it took a week for the troops of Berenger to rally in the country of Fleury. Thoses men came from everywhere in the Duchy. The first to arrive were the knights of Berry, Nevers, Auxerre, all the Frankish region under Auvergne's rules. Their lords were excellent knights and their commoners were polyvalents and disciplined footmen. Thoses 4000 men had at their head heroes such has the 'Thunder brothers" from Tonnerre, Pierre, Jean and Jacques. Or the Lord of Bourges, Michel The Just, who has always managed to put an end to the schemes of his rival, the Renegade Lord of Orleans.

Then, they where joined by the rest of the army, led by Berenger himself, riding before them with his guard, the elite of his army, the Hundred "Cavalièr de Color" whom took their name from the way they painted their shields and armors to the colors of their blason and the heralds of their master. They were known to be frigthening warriors, on a horse as well as on foot and never hesitated to dismount to form shieldwalls that had nothing to envy to thoses of the normands and saxons.



Behind them, there was the rest of the Auvergnian levy, good and pious men from the mountains, who had lost nothing of the fury and bravery of their celtic ancestors. They were 900, with Berenger himself as their commander.



Behind the Auvergniat where they cousins from the Limousins and Gevaudan. Good men as well, loyals and obedient soldiers. Good with bow and spears, they were led by great lords, such as Thierry of Mendes, Baudouin of Limoge and Albert of Tournay. All theses names ringed of the virtues and greatness of theses men, none of them was a stranger to adventure, danger and war. All of theses soldiers numbered to 3000 men ready for war.



Once all the Osts of Auvergne had gathered, for a total of 8000 men, Berenger blew his Olifant and led his army to the north, to join Paris. Words of the Austrasian assault had already reached the ears of Berenger. He sent orders to his vassals in Champagne to hold their position and defend their castles, until they arrived, as any attack before could only end in a failure. You needed to be many times more numerous to start an assaut than to defend a position and Berenger's plan was to let the Austrasian charge first. For he knew the Seine and its rivers, he knew which castle was worth defending or not, or which place was perfect for a trap. While one week can seem to be a lot of delay, making any attempt to create a good defense impossible, it was actually not that much and Berenger hadn't even hoped for his armies to gather and travel so quickly, even with all the precaution and preparations he tooked to make such an exploit possible. Two weeks would have already been far less than it could have been if the Duke hadn't gave his instructions to his vassals about how to react to a war with Austrasia months before the bloody dinner happened. With hope that God was on his side, The Duke and his army marched, chanting songs and prayers to God, to the north, to Paris.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Austrasia on Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:04 pm

While the Auvergnians were amassing their forces in the south, Charles was doing the same in the North, but with a slight advantage in logistics and speed. The Austrasians had been preparing for a war in the Paris Basin since the inception of their great duchy; a fact that was blatantly clear to their enemies in Auvergne. Despite Berenger's planning, he would nonetheless be slower to gather his army in its fullest potential from insurmountable geographic limitations - the bulk of Austrasia's force was simply closer to the contested region.

The Austrasians had successfully secured much of the northern provinces with their surprise invasion with practically all of the lords of Laonnois, Soissonnais, and Noyonnais joining their banners with Charles. This boon in manpower would net the Austrasians another 500 men to join their current 2000 already camped in Laonnois. Led by the "Three Barons:" John de Laonnois, Tomas de Soissonnais, and Luis de Noyonnais, the primarily footman based army was fairly green and had yet to see combat in recent memory.

Their inexperience was largely inconsequential however, as most of Austrasia's military was well equipped and battle hardened from Charles recent campaigns in the Lorraine Civil War and the Austrasian-Upper Lorraine Border War. Secured in their numbers and content with the position of the Auvergnians to the south, the now 2500 men in Laonnois made a dash for the outskirts of Paris. Their mission, delivered to them by raven, was to relieve and hopefully secure the passage to Paris until the main bulk of Charle's army could reach them. There, Henry and his small garrison was desperately trying the hold the city from raids by Robert's men from all directions.

Meanwhile, inside Austrasia's western counties, the levies were being called up and Charle's vassals were marching their retinues towards Laonnois. In only a few days, a substantial army was gathered in the region made up of competent and eager soldiers from across the Duchy. 2000 men from the counties of Liege, Trier, and Luxembourg - strong Flemish knights and men-at-arms who provided the Austrasian military with its most effective light infantry. They were joined by 1000 more of their countrymen from the recently incorporated counties of Barbrant, Loon, and Breda whose lords were still recuperating from the recent conflict with Charles. Nonetheless, their warriors would now find a welcome home in their former enemies' army.



To the East, the German lords gathered their forces in the counties of Julich, Mainz, and Phalz and raised the Austrasian banner. Commanded by the battle-tested counts: Clothar von Prum, Ulrich von Stahleck, and Andre de Murat - the latter being Charle's own brother. They provided Charles with another 2000 men; fearless warriors who had on more than one occasion protected the Austrasian borders from their pagan brethren.



Last, Charles himself called up his retinues in Metz and those of his brother, Bishop Rene, in Verdun totaling 1000 men. Among them were the elite knights of Charle's personal guard - the Scola Guard. Taking inspiration from the historic Frankish knights of yore, the 100 Scola Guard dressed in heavy mail armor and adorned their horses in a similar fashion. At the head of their procession was the Duke himself.



As the 6000 men marched into Laonnois from all directions, they left behind a sizable holding force to defend the Duchy from external threats. The bulk of the garrisons were cloistered on the Austrasian-Champagne border naturally, but another large portion was stationed in Austrasian possessions in Alsace and Lorraine. This left much of East and Northeast counties under-guarded, but Charles was confident that the war could be concluded quickly enough that such "skeleton" garrisons would not exist for long.

Charles was anxious in secret about sending 2500 men alone to secure Paris, but he was also confident that he could reach Paris around the same time as Berenger. Once both armies could meet around Paris, Charles would deliver an ultimatum to his rival - leave the Paris basin to Henry and forfeit claim to the throne of France or there would be war.
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Re: The Robertian Crisis

Post by Grand Auvergne on Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:22 pm

"My liege, the Three Barons have yet to answer your call, but their actions speak for themselves." started one of the closest friends of Robert. The would-be-count raise his eyes fom his map, waiting. "And...?"

"They've been seen leading their troops toward Paris...with the Austrasian."

Robert's fist hitted the table, while his mouth started to curse thoses that should have been his vassals. On the other side of the room, Antoine the Barber, the de facto ambassador of Auvergne while Eudes was gone, was looking at, through the window, the streets of Paris. The situation had calmed, even if you could still see some smoke here and there, sign that the fires that destroyed most of the city weren't yet completely gone. Whole blocks had been levered and the few buildings left had been fought over without mercy, until it was clear who controlled which area of the ruins. The population, caught in the crossfire, was "evacuated" by Roberts who forced the few who hadn't picked a side to choose his or to leave everything behind. He then closed the gates of the city behind them, and he had his flag raised on every towers of the walls. He and his men, when not fighting, had spend their weeks collecting ressources and foods from the rubbles and the environing countryside and he wanted no useless mouth to feed for the upcoming siege.

"And where is Berenger and his army ?!" Screamed Robert, to no one in peticular.

"Not far." Calmly answered Antoine, who was starting to get used to Robert constant shouting. He did not even lift his gaze from Paris. "Last news, they were leaving Fleury with an army of 8000 men strong. Berenger did not forget nor abandoned you."

"If only my own vassals could have done so as well !" Lamented Richard.

"Sad but it is not completely unexpected. Forget about them, they don't matter in the long run. What matter is that now everyone has picked a side. What's more important is that your vassals in the south did not forget you and came immediatly to lay siege to your brother's hold on the Island. And that you managed to take right bank for yourselves and, more importantly, the walls. There is only now one bridge and the gates to hold and we are just enough to do so quite easily and, with our reserves, we have months to go before we starve."

"Yes and my brother as well ! The Island is a fortress within a fortress, getting him out of here will be next to impossible !"

"It was your plan to do so. You could have fled when it was still the time, to join with your troops outside the city, in friendly gound but no, you wanted to stay. Now all the bridges have been destroyed from Aubergenville to Creteil. It was your plan, now go through it until the end."

Richard mumbled something about how he couldn't let what was him alone and returned to his maps and reports. The numbers, while equals on the papers, weren't in the favor of the Auvergnats. Such distance, so many mountains, and the Austrasian were so close...

Then, Antoine had an idea while looking at the towers of the city.

"You honor ! Quick ! We must get theses flags out of the walls and open the gate !"

"What ?"

"Don't we have a flag from your brother too ? Raise it ! And keep the gate open !"

Richard looked at the ambassador, not sure about what he was saying and if it was treason. Then one of Richard's advisors had the illumination too.

"A trap."

"Exactly !" Said Antoine. "if our men at the gate are quick enough, we might dent the Austrasian army without losing a single men !"

Richard slowly noded at first, then a smile appeared on his face and his eyes started burning with passion.

"Then what are you waiting ?" he said to another of his advisors. "Do like he said !"
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