The Gallic Campaign

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The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:02 pm

[OCC]This thread is for everything related to the current vikings raids, so it can be easier to know what is happening.[/OCC]


In the year 1018, the concept of "France" didn't exist. Some declared themselves "King of the Franks", but the idea of a King who took its power from the land and not from its peoples seemed off. And so, the region from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, from the English Channel to the Mediterranea and the Pyrennees was still known by its old roman name : the Gauls.

The Gauls has been under attack from the "normands", or "vikings", since centuries. Since the fall of the Carolingian Empire and the start of the perpetual wars between his children to be exact. But they themselves had their own troubles at home. None could muster a real force to invade the Gauls, to reap its wealth from its core. But now it has changed.

An alliance has been signed between the greater kings of Scandinavia and Rus' : Ragnar of Rorukheim, from the halls of Jorrvaskr and Bjorn The Bold of Drangavik, Ingvald the Uniter of the Russian tribes to raise the greatest fleet never seen and to plunder the rest of Europe in a move that would forever set in stone their power and their place among the heroes of the north.

The omnious drakkar of the so-called "Frostborn Pact" are now seen all around the Gauls, be it in Mediterranea or in the Atlantic. Tha Aquitaine, Britain, Flanders and Normandy are reap for the taking, but there is one region that have managed to unite itself enough to resist: The Duke of Auvergne, Berenger Longcrin, and its allies in the Paris Bassin and around the Loire have started to raise their armies to protect their peoples from the oncoming human storm.


Blue, 1 : Count Robert of Paris
Light Blue, 2 : Ebles of Reims
Ligther Blue, 3 : Ithier of Vitry
Purple, 4 : The Rogue Count of Orleans
Gold 5 : The Count of Anjou
Pink 6 : The Count of Maine
Red 7 : The Warring Lords of Normandy
White 8 : The Kingdoms of Brittany
Burgundy 9 : The Duchy of Aquitaine


With the coming of the invaders, numbering by the thousands, the Duke of Auvergne tried to unite its peers and to make them forget their squabbles, especially the lords of Normandy, Maine and Anjou. Robert and Ebles are both already, since the Robertian Crisis, allies of Berenger and the counts of Anjou and Maine have parents who died protecting Francia from the vikings. But the Normands, who where supposed to protect the Seine from their ex-brethen, are now themselves in a race for the title of Duke between its children.

None can say what will happen, if the Gauls will be able to unite against a common ennemy, or if it is too late for this once proud region to be saved.


Last edited by Grand Auvergne on Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:58 pm

Outside of Bourges, where the Auvergnats had set camp for the time, the Duke and his lords were discussing the strategy for the next days in the ducal tent.

"Any answer from the Count of Anjou or Of Nevers ?" Asked Berenger, looking at the map layed before his and his councellors' eyes.

"None my liege." Answered Michel the Just, Lord of Bourges. "And the first reports from the situation in Normandy is as we thought : there's no defense to speak of until the Vexin.

"Any movement in the south, or north ?" Continued the Duke.

"The Marquis Baldwin finished assembling his troops and his now waiting for an assault. But for now, nothing yet." Pierre of Tonnerre.

"The same thing cannot be said about the north." claimed the Count-Bishop Augier. "One of our spies in Normandy say the sentinels of the count of Cherbourg managed to see at least an hundred boats, all filled with men. By their flag, from Rorukheim he said. They'll either attack the Normands, or follow the Seine, like always."

"How receptive would the Normands if we offered them our protection ?"

"Not much so we're afraid my lord." added the Count-Bishop. "The Normands never really bowed before the Rex Francorum. Most of them would take such offer from a Duke so far south as a joke, at best, or wouldn't mind forgetting about their promises once the threat over."

"The best would be to join Robert in Paris to recomfirm our mutual friendship, then to move our troops in the Vexin, to defend the Seine. The northerner will be forced to take Rouen if they want to go anywhere further. We can wait for them to show there and then to strike once they are regrouped."

The Duke nodded and all waited in silence for him to speak. "Fine" he finally decided. "We'll take once again the road to Paris. Send letter to the lords of Champagne and of Burgundy to meet us there. In about a week, we should be twelve thousands men strong, enough to meet the Vikings, equally."

"What about the south, sir ?" Timidly asked Thierry of Mendes. "An attack is still possible from there."

"Baudouin has enough fortification and experience to defend himself if needed. But tell the lords of Lyonnais and Sapaudia to be ready to help him. I have already sent a letter to our ambassador in Constantinople, to see what would be the price of the Emperor to see his navy help us against the normands. It should arrive in less than a week, the answer might come a week after, with luck."

All noded. It was tricky to ask for the Emperor help. A false step and it would be the return of the Roman in the region, for it could be seen as a sign of weakness and submission to Constantinople. Exactly what none of the lord at the table wanted. But none could deny the fact that the northerner horde seemed endless.

"A messenger arrived sooner today." Added the Duke. "He claimed my son as given his agreement to a defensive pact with the Kingdom of Cantabrio. I do not know what this ally would be worth against the normands, but they seemed honest, if nothing else, or so my son claim. But I respect this decision and I fully intend on summoning them, or to answer their call, if the situation worsened."

This time, the lords stood silent and grave. While they liked the idea of not being completely alone, if Cantabrio was to need their help that meant a march through Aquitaine and the Pyrenee. Two region respectively hostile and neutral to the Auvergnats. And so far away. While defending their realm and honoring their promises was important, being home and not in mortal danger was also something they were interested in. But for now they could only follow their Master.

"We declare this meeting over." Finally declared Berenger. "Sirs, sleep well tonight, for we take the road of Paris tomorow before sunset. May God be with you."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Rorukheim on Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:09 pm

Psssst you forgot two of us. It's Drangavik, Tribes of Rus, Slavic Russian Empire, and of course moi. But don't worry you'll get it next time
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:11 am

A pair of red leather boots stepped out onto the main road of Constantinople, they belonged to the Emperor, Ióannés, a strong young man, who still carried himself like a soldier would, the Emperor, in his red boots, was surrounded by his elite guard, the Scholae Palatinae, the Varangians weren't the correct choice for this mission the young man had set himself upon, and so they would stay in Constantinople to protect the acting Emperor, Alexander, the Father of the Emperor, they would also be protecting the newly named Co-Emperor, Philip, the son of Ióannés.

Ióannés was very humbled by the respect he was shown in his city, even the otherwise noisy merchantmen near the docks were hushed to only slight murmurs, perhaps they were taken aback by the sheer wealth the position of Emperor granted a man, golden chestplate, tyrian purple robes that would impress even the King of Midian, a crown of gold, with inlaid images of saints, adorned by pearls, and, of course, the red leather boots, which made a distinctive clicking sound on the pavement that gathered attention by itself. All part of the Imperial costume, Ióannés thought it a bit much, but it was meant to make an impression, and that it did, in spades.

Many military men lined the docks, all bowed their head, almost in unison, again, a bit much, Ióannés thought again, this time in a whisper to himself, he looked like average soldier, in his mind, light brown eyes and hair, a dark, full beard, and a stiff posture. If one of these sailors were put into an acrobats outfit, would he be obligated to bend himself forward out of respect for the gall of the man to wear something so ridiculous?

"Please raise your heads, I'm trying to draw attention away from the boots." Ióannés said, easing the nerves of the men, putting a smirk on some of their faces.

The Megas Doux, Nikandros was an admiral of Crete back when Ióannés was merely a soldier, the Emperor had appointed him as a stalwart man, more reliability, someone that could be trusted to not sell a portion of the fleet, and then flee. Ióannés and Nikandros clasped each others wrists, and then got on board their respective ships.

The fleet departing from Constantinople was about 60 ships strong, they were to sail to Athens where the rest of the fleet, some 150 ships waited for them, after gathering everything together, they together were off towards western Europe, they signalled Rome, no use attempting to hide a fleet of this size, anyway, intentions were just.

The fleet dominated Mare Nostrum, every trader and fisherman gave them a wide, wide berth, the fleet sailed past Corsica and hugged the coast, until they made it to Auvergne, the fleet sat in the Gulf of Lion, raised their flags, and waited to be welcomed ashore.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:35 pm

The Septimanian coast seemed void of life. Most of the villages of fishermen and other coastal instalations had been abandoned, except for the few towers, most of them in wood and not in stone or brick, who sometimes light fires to welcome the greek fleet. A millitary ship could have been seen once, before disapearing behind the horizon, to inform the cities of the coming of the Emperor.

Finally, once they reached Aigue-Morte, the greeks saw a lcity on the warpath. Two battleship leaved the port, to start a patrol of the coast. The port itself was full of merchants boats, who found refuge here. Some of them had been "offered" by the traders to the city's lord and waited to serve as gate, when the sun goes down, to block the path to the port.

The city itself was not really worth calling it such. It looked much more like a camp than anything else. Most of the habitations, shops and depots where around a stone tower on a mound. Except for some trenches, the swamps and a few barricades blocking the entries, the tower seemed to be the only protection of the whole settlement, which, when looked closer at, appeared desert with the exception of the port.

Finally, a single ship also leaved of the docks and reached for the ship bearing the heralds of the Emperor. At its board, a few men in arms but also one of the greek serving as instructors for the Duke's fleet. As the only man with a decent greek and latin in miles, he served as an interpreter for what appeared to be the chief of the little troops.

"Your Majesty, my men and I have been given orders by the Marquis Baldwin, lord of Septimania, to escort your delegation to him. We excuse ourselves for his absence, but he was until very recently in Lodge, to planify our defence. His escort are traveling as fast as they can and should be present in Montpellier by the time we arrives."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:52 pm

The admiral, previously stationed at Pérols, Constans Semnos, stood at the helm of the welcoming party's ship, he bowed deeply, and then began to translate.

"Very well" Ióannés began "I am excited to meet this Marquis Baldwin, let us set off."
Constans then translated.

When the group docked up in Aigues-Mortes, the Emperor, flanked by his Scholae Palatinae, took the commune in, it was a far cry from the luxury of Constantinople, but, it was similar to his former village on Crete, Rethymno, there were obvious differences, but the feeling of community was familiar.

The group began to ride along the road towards Montpellier that had the Mediterranean out on the groups left and a great pond on their right. It was saddening to see lands that reminded Ióannés of home under attack. He quickened his pace, moving up to the rear of the Auvergnat welcoming party, hoping to move things along.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:15 pm

The group was in view of Montpellier when the sun started to settle down in the west. They followed a road of dirt, first longing the swamp but little by little, the ground dried up and the number of farm multiplied. In the distance, hills and mountains could be seen. All lands that weren't used for farming where covered in dry grass and bushes, with trees being a rarity, even if, to the north, forests were seeable. Around the evacuated villages, their inhabitants fled in the cities or north when words of the normans arrived, there was numerous farm animals, who had been left behind. Which was not a problem, as most of the livestocks were semi-feral and could survive without the farmer if needed.

And so they reached Montpellier. The city was, in fact, two settlements, each on a little hill, of about forty meters, and linked together by a series of houses of dirt and wood built in the litlle pass by thoses who came to try their luck and profit of the interest the Duke has in the city and of the Septimanian Traders Guild whom made it their headquarter. This "low-district" was defenseless.
The two hills, however, each had their own walls, mostly made of woods if it wasn't for their bases made of stone. The western bourg was where the traders and the church where, while on the eastern hill was the castle proper, ressembling a fortified mansion but at the very least made of stone.

It is to the eastern hill that the Emperor was guided to, under the watch of the inhabitants, left out of the walls for now, since there wasn't any raiding party to be seen. On one of the tower, there was the flag of the Marquis and of the Knight-Mayor of the city, announcing that the chief of the escort didn't lie : the Marquis indeed arrived during the day.

There was no parade for the Emperor, no one really had their mind to oganize such greeting. But the Marquis Baldwin and sire Guilhem were waiting for the greeks at the door of the castle. Once again, they spoke in latin and the admiral Constans Semnos, was charged with the translation.

"Your Highness, it is a joy to see you." saluted the Marquis. "We are pleased to be the first to greet you here, in Septimania, even if we would have preferred it to be in better times. Our Master, Duke Berenger, is too far north, defending the Seine, to salute you as an host should and he deeply regret it and as charged it in his place. The young master, Richard, his son, is also busy in Clermont making sure all currents matters are not left unattended and won't be able to come or be here before weeks.

We tried to arrange for your fleet well being and have sent messengers to your captains and admirals, to guide them to the ports and creeks that can lodge so many ships. Not an easy task we must say, to find enough places but it was done.

Please, follow me inside. We have prepared a diner for you and your delegation. Nothing like the imperials diners of Constantinople we're afraid, but we hope it will do well enough. After what, once you had your rest for theses days of navigation, we'll discuss the manners at our disposal to defeat the northerners."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:39 am

Ióannés thanked Baldwin and Guilhem, and sat down to eat with the group.

The Emperor wanted to appear respectable, but many days on the sea, with basic supplies, was nothing compared to the seasoned meats and spiced wine that he was served. He wished he could eat quickly, but he had to remember to appreciate the chefs work and to appear stately.

After the meal, but before retiring, Ióannés would take his elite guardsmen and inspect around town, he entered the church and spoke to the priest in town for a time, then he would walk the walls, and privately inspect the garrison, looking at the quality of their weapons and armour.

Ióannés, and his party retired for the night, and when they woke the next morning, after a small breakfast, Ióannés went out to the middle of the village, to meet with the traders, and with the help of Constans, he spoke to the man with the most 'exotic' looking stock about the piracy. He would then go to the area outside the town where a portion of his navy was stationed, inspecting his men, it is there where Ióannés would wait for the Marquis to arrive and begin their discussions.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:38 pm

The church was under Deacon Pons who was pleased to talk to the Emperor, or at least was excellent at pretending to be, since it became obvious he was fully aware of the schism. The church in itsef wasn't impressive but shined by a certain sense of humility and by the fact it was made more of stone than wood. Pons revealed it was thanks to the donations of the Guild. The Deacon was also proud of the Bible in possession of the church. A complete bible in latin, when most churches had to do with incomplete versions. He was also in possession of tablets and pen on which he taught the children of the city how to read and write in french and latin. It seemed to be his great pride to be able to offer for the poorest children, once a week, a free lesson.

He also talked a bit about the new Bishop of Maguelone, a certain Vincent, whom was an Auvergnat freshly out of Aurillac and appointed by the Archbishop Etienne to replace the precedent Bishop whom had "chosen the wrong side" during the Cities Revolt against Narbonne. He seemed to distrust the Auvergnats, even if he recognized they had done a lot for Montepllier and Septimania as a whole, but refused to say why, saying he shouldn't have started gossiping. From then, the discussion became uninteressing and boring.

On the walls, the guards were watching the horizon for signs of northerners. Most of them were freemen, payed by the Guild or the lord Guilhem, and veteran of the "Cities revolt" or the "League's war" as it was called. The guards had for protection a gambison, a helmet and a great shield. They were armed with a spear, a sword and a bow, for which arrows were stockpilled in the towers. Some of them didn't had a sword, whom were payed by the lord and so there was a shortage of them, or just traded it for a club and sometime broad axes. Very little of them had chainmails and just didn't wore them until the fight, so they could be seen waiting in the armories.

The trader with the most exotic stock was called Pierre, nicknamed "the traveller" by his clients. He was a respected member of the Guild and proposed pearls, silks, spices, books and other treasures from the East. he was capable of speaking in greek and hebrew but prefered to stick to latin so he could be certain he made no mistake. He managed to return to Montpellier before the normands arrived. Most of his goods, such as the books and the silks, were commands so he had almost finished his stocks and would have preferred to be able to take the sea as soon as possible, but it was the lot of the adventurers to be at the mercy of such events. Of the pirats themselves, he couldn't say much . "Northerner in beast skins, outstanding because of their numbers, if nothing else.
If the Emperor wanted, Pierre The Traveller offered him a great discount on any good in his shop, obviously to be able to boast about the Emperor buying from him later.

Once he had returned to his fleet and finished inspecting the men, Baldwin would announce himself and with a little team of scholars and advisors, explained the situation to the Emperor.

"We estimate the numbers of northerners to about an hundred ships able to fight on the sea, and the rest are for troops transports. It is hard to say, but there may be nine thousands of them in the Middle Sea, waiting for the orders to attack. Iberia, Africa and the islands have already been hit by raids, but mostly to villages, ports and undefended Abbeys. They didn't attack us yet, but we have reports from Clermont saying they sent one of their Jarl, or Shaman, I didn't really understood they kept speaking of one then the other, to negociate our redition. He is currently held for ransom by the young master. They also have sent such ambassy to the Kings of Varasd and Cantabrio but we don't know the results yet. Cantabrio as already reached us for an alliance against the normands so I'll say they didn't kneeled.

Meanwhile, I have already three thousands men waiting in the inlands to break any siege or stop any raiders army. And another three hundreds can join in about a week if the situation call for it.

So that for the situation here. In the north, I don't have much to say, except there's currently an ennemy fleet of one hundred and twenty ships in the Northern Sea, transporting about twelve thousands men if the reports are exacts, hard to say. The Duke seems to think they'll go for the Seine, but there isn't anything sure right now.

The plan until now was to wait for them to attack and to react to it. With a bit of luck, they would have tried to siege a city and we would have taken them by behind. But with your presence and your fleet your Highness, we can actually chase them in the sea. What do you think we should do ? It is your men, after all, that will do most of the works : we have but a tenth of your numbers, which was enough to keep the pirats at bay until now, but wasn't sufficient to chase them."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:27 pm

The Emperor appreciated the piety and charity of the Deacon, he made evident his wish to mend the schism and restore the Christian faith.

From the trader, Pierre, the Emperor would take him up on his offer, he would look buy some books that he may not have seen in the Imperial library or in his personal collection, he would also look to buy some blank paper, lastly, he looked for some texts that might prove useful to the Deacon Pons, and if he found any he would gift them to the man personally.

At the encampment, with the help of Constans, the Emperor listened to the Marquis speak.

"These men of north, if we can call them men at all, are the worst that humanity has to offer." the Emperor began, trying to play to the crowd, as he had been taught he must do.

"God has determined to let loose a punishing disaster like you've never seen. We shall bring the judgement of the Lord upon these savages."

"They will suffer the lake of fire in the next life, but I plan to bring it to them in this life as well." Ióannés then walked towards one of the docked ships, and put his hand over a mounted nozzle on the front of the ship.

"You may have heard stories about this from traders, but this will bring the metaphorical fire of Hades to life."
"I stress the importance of this, even when the Empire was in a weakened state, this fire was able to break sieges on Constantinople without losing any ground."

"This famed weapon is most effective on Mare Nostrum, I can fend nearly any navy off with this.
Now, the Pillars of Heracles would be the most effective, but I know that might be impossible, and so the port of Palma will do, as I discused with His Majesty, Berenger. That will keep any navy out of your waters."

"As for the Seine, I could send some men with the incendiary up to meet with His Majesty. The barbarians would have to sail upstream, and so this fire may be a good idea. Though, I'll let you decide if I'm to send my men inland to do so. "
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:27 pm

At first, the Marquis and the lord seemed unimpressed by the little speech of the Emperor. They expected a more to-the-ground and pragmatic discussion. But once the Basileus started to talk about bringing the fire of hell to this plan, then they raised their ears. And when he showed the strange nozzle, they immediatly connected the dots.

"The Greek Fire..." whispered Guilhem in frankish, while the Marquis looked dubiously at the cannon. Now he started to understand some of the more stranges orders he recieved.

"Your Highness is to good. And we are proud to see you take the question so seriously.

As for your offer to see some of your weapon deployed on the Seine, we're forced to decline. Paris is weeks, even months if the climate isn't on our side and while the Duke as done its best, the road isn't yet completely secured. Your men might arrive too late, if not at all. Besides, the defenses on the river aren't what they where a century ago and you would be surprise, and the northerners too, about the efforts deployed by the independent lords of Neustria to protect their lands. One of maybe the very few good thing to come with war : walls tend to be rebuilt faster.

As for Palma, yes, my master as already thought of a plan. We couldn't really give it a go before, since we needed all our ships patrolling the coasts. But now, in a day or two, I can say it without too much problem : Palma will be yours. From there, you'll certainly be able to use it as a base for longer operations.

Your Majesty, I must say, I had doubt to be able to fend the northerners before you arrived. I was ready to sacrify many, many cities to stop them in the hills. But know ? We might be able to vanquish them without much christian blood shed."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Renaplauza on Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:04 pm

Letter from Russia,

On the Tsar's orders, all troops and fleets under the command of Russian Authorities, are to return to Saint Petersburg and not engage in any military conflict in France.


Letters' arriving jn Constantinople and The Courts of Auvergne,

From the Tsar, the Tsar wishes to create hood relations wth your countries, there for, in any military conflict that is going on or going to happen between Russia and Auvergne and its allies, we have sent you a peace treaty for our country to yours, not from the other member of the Frostborn pact, just between Russia, Auvergne, and Auvergne's allies.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Renaplauza on Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:08 pm

So basically, we are formaly withdrawing any nilitary actions agaisnt Auvergne and it allies. So, we withdraw from this war or any war that should take place.

PS. This is the Slavic russian empire, but i use my brothers rp account because he is renanplauza, incase ur confused
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:26 am

"It's an investment in my son's future, if this problem is not dealt with, it will be inherited by him, or his future son.

As for the Seine, I understand, I wish I could have given my regards to His Majesty before he set off, but, that is the nature of war, I suppose. I also suppose that it wouldn't be good for stability to have my men march through Auvergne.

I do hope however, to observe your invasion in action. Perhaps the brigands there have spread the word of my fleets arrival in the area and they will surrender the islands to you quickly.

Their surrender is my wish because, I too, wish to see as little Christian blood spilt as possible. Though, I can protect an invasion from the south, not the north.
God willing, His Majesty, Berenger, will dispatch his enemies hastily and with ease."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:41 am

"Oh your Highness, your men are free to come and see. But I fear they won't have much view to enjoy, as we expect to go at night."

Then, the Marquis started to explain the plan to the Emperor. Meanwhile, a messenger departed Montpellier by some secrets roads, to join an inlet far from any roads. There, far away from the rest of the world, protected from the wind and the view of passerby by caverns and natural galleries, awaited three hundreds men in arm. What was so surprising about theses men, more than their strange location, was their clothes : all black or in this dark blue that's more close to the color of the night sky. Even their shields and swords had been covered in black paint and their chainmails and helmets packed in black tissues.

"The Master just send its confirmation : the boats are coming at dawn. Be ready." Announced the messenger.

"Oh young boy" said one of the oldest men. "It will soon be three days that we've been here and there hasn't be a single time we haven't been ready !" The other agreed to the remark with laugther and shouting.

So they returned to their waiting, until indeed, once the sun was coming down in the west, a ship engaged itself at the enter of the inlet, then another one and a last one. Three boats, completely painted black, with sails of the same color.

"Here you go ! an hundred men each !" Screamed the captain of the first vessels.

Once the boats were loaded, some of the sailors got out and started to drag the boats out of the creek, as it was far more complex to get out than get in. But they managed to do it and the three dark boats sailed into the night.

Finally, Palma was in sight. None said a word, not even the sailors. They left the port on their left and came closer to the island only when a little was in view. There, the black-cladded men disembarked and quickly dissapeared in the forest behind, while the boats fled. The soliders moved swiftly through the trees, on uneven soils but their feets didn't betrayed them. They weren't new to this kind of exercise, as all of them came from the mountains, be it from Aurillac or the "Chaine des Puys". They were hunters, guards, sentinels and so on, whom lived and thrived in this kind of land and new how to not be seen, even when they were so many of them.

Finally, they came in view again of the city, but from the other side. They knew what they had to do. The City of Pirats was still unconscious of what was to come when the men charged, reaching the streets before the guards could set the alarm. When they did, it was too late, the Auvergnats had already took over the defenses and most of the building. A dozen of them besieged and entered the house of the local chief and managed to capture him. Other took the port and even some of the boats there, killing the unprepared sailors sleeping in the brothels around.

Soon, the house closest to the sea was set aflame, shining through the night, and a horn was blown. It was the signal. If the Marquis had done his job and told the Emperor of the plan and what was expected of him, greeks ship soon would appear in the horizon, reaching for the now defenseless city, while the black-cladded warriors took over the chief houses and the building around it to establish their camp, count their loss, their gains, gather the prisoners and enjoy the rest of the night after a work well done.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:17 am

The Imperial navy landed at Palma, securing the garrisons of the city.
The navy would circle the main island, landing at the small villages upon the coasts, wiping out the small resistance.
Many, being greatly outnumbered, surrendered. Those who didn't were cut down without mercy, or captured and then blinded.

Minorica was next. The cities of Ciutadella and Mahon, stood as a modern Sodom and Gomorrah and were in the way of the island being conquered.
The ruins of an ancient city outside of Mahon, Trepucó, or as Ióannés had named it, Zoar, would become the base of the Imperial army.

Luckily the city of Mahon was small enough to not be a walled one, and so, the army was able to march upon the sleeping city.
The navy quickly swept into the natural harbour, and easily secured it and what ships were docked there.

Many men of Mahon were slaughtered, no quarter given. Perhaps some were innocent, but any man that could grab a sword was a seen as a threat.
The numbers of the pirates dwindled quickly because of these tactics. Messages would soon come from the last holds of the brigands, offering their terms of surrender.

Ióannés told his messenger to stall them while he had  some of the captured pirate ships coated in a thin sap like substance on the sides.
Greek ships would then leave the harbour, hiding just beyond it.

The pirates surrender was accepted with some conditions, all weapons must be relinquished, and all pirates must allow their hands to be tied behind their backs, except for a group of their oarsmen who would guide their ships out of the city.
The pirates agreed, humiliation more agreeable to them then death.

The two ships were released of their anchorage, and let loose.  
The coast of Africa was the destination, thought the defeated pirates.
They were wrong, and it was over so quickly that only a few would ever know that Hades would be their true destination.

The Greek ships released the pressurized nozzles of their cannons, and the mouth of the inlet was an inferno upon the sea.
The Greek fire, painted on the sides of the defeated pirates ships was the literal nail in the coffin, securing their fate.
The Emperor watched from the harbour, his men cheered around him, giving them momentum to move to Ciutadella, assisting the navy already there in the capture of the city.

Ibiza and Formentera were barely guarded at all, mostly serving as naval outposts and grain supplies, and so, resistance was demolished with ease.

The City of Palma would be renamed to Palmaria, taking its original name, and Mahon would take the name Caecilia, after Quintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus, a proconsul, and the man who undertook the campaign against the Balearic pirates some 1100 years ago.

The men would be allowed to rest for some time, the sailors that didn't take part in the attacks would take control of the patrols until all were rested.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:40 pm

The Auvergnats played a very minor role in the following campaign. They took upon them to explore the inland of the island, defeating the little pockets of resistance that started to form with the news of the fall of Palma. When they arrived in a village, they let the folks surrender, sending the sons of the local elders as hostages to guarantee their honesty and left for the next one. If they refused to bow, they did as if they were leaving, but returned like shadows and attacked them by surprise less than an hour after. And so on, they took all the useful lands, but couldn't immediatly take over the mountains and had to return to Palma with their hostages and the meager treasures they managed loot.

Meanwhile, far, far away from the Balearics, Berenger stood before the walls of Rouen, whom refused to let the Auvergnian army enter. The reason why the Duke advanced so carelessly in Normandy, leaving the much more secure lands of Vexin, was because reports from a great tempest over the Northern Sea came, blocking the Northerners in their ports for an untold number of days.

The new had been well received by everyone but Berenger, whom had to call and pay for his levies and did not want them to just return home now. Because if he did, when the northerners would come back once the storm gone, then he would have to recall an assembly of all his vassals and re-negociate their participation to another campaign but this time in a weaker position, because by the law, his vassals would have already gave him all the time he was due for his wars.

So, to avoid such an end, he decided to keep his army and march west, to Rouen. Obviously, the city refused the auto-proclamed "Rex"'s army to enter, which would have been like claiming they recognized him as their master, and leaved him out. Feigning being insulted, the Duke then besieged the city.

His troops started to raise engine of siege for a possible assault that was not desired by the Duke. That and the double layer of defense, meant to stop any army coming from the city and from behind, were just shows of strengh while he secretly plotted with open-minded inhabitants, to see if another far less bloody way inside the city was possible.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:32 am

The Hellenes, living in areas dominated by mountains, knew them from experience. When civil wars failed, it was known that insurgents would usually flee to the mountains, and the first areas they would shelter themselves, before they could regroup, were caves.

The small villages in the mountain areas were the first place to start, the Imperial soldiers asked for help from local farmers to help find cave entrances.
A few were standoffish, some were ignorant, some feigned idiocy, but some did have leads.
Some even were able to say that they saw broken pirates swifty moving to the mountains, and that some pushed off the island and fled completely.

These leads were followed, and a few encampments were found in the mountains, consisting of two or three men at a time.
Most surrendered, some attempted to flee, those that fled were pierced with arrows, until they died or at least until they regained their common sense and surrendered.  

Caves had been found by following the leads, they were mostly isolated, but they had to be made examples of, lest other fleeing pirates come across it, and think the Empire was going soft.

The army would scout out the caves, mark them down, and wait for night, allowing the Imperial soldiers to rest for a time.
Once night fell, the Imperial army would strike throughout the mountains, killing pirates in their sleep, and taking their supplies.

Any pirates with better supplies and better sleeping arrangements, were presumed captains or respected crewmen, and as such were prioritized for capture. One captain was hanged by his feet by a makeshift gallows, one was blinded, tied up, and left to suffer until he died or was found, and one was burned alive with his men.

This was meant to discourage pirates from retaliating to the initial invasion. Most pirates, or bandits were killed at the initial invasion, or the cleanup sweep of the island. Reports had come in, telling of small boats setting off, like rats from their sinking ship, and so, it was assumed that there must be less than 100 pirates left on the islands in total, perhaps less than 50. With this knowledge, the islands were garrisoned with confidence of being able to repel attacks from within.


Last edited by Hellas on Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:03 pm

Once again, the bands of Auvergnats assisted the greek in the mountains operations. They mostly operated at night, using the informations the romans managed to obtain and kidnapped many chiefs and seemingly importants tribemen. Sir Guilhem, who came to the archipelago as the representative of his duke, sometime got into arguments with the other greek captains. Notably on who to execute, who to keep as prisonner and who to ransom. It seemed the Auvergnats feared that the Emperor, by keeping making so many example of the pirats, there wouldn't be anyone left to negociate a real reddition of the tribes, leaving the island in a permanent state of low civil war.

Meanwhile, at Rouen, the local lord seemed to have realized the auvergnat army, twelve time the size of its own, was too much to handle. Not blind to the obvious schemes of some of his less trustworthy courtiers, he decided to reach himself the Duke for an agreement. Berenger and him signed many agreement, notably on the guilds of the city, the status of the count, of the bishop, of the tribute... and soon, of the oaths to be taken, the taxes, the Ducal obligations and so on. When Berenger and his troops leaved, it was with 4000 Livres in their pockets, a signed oath of fidelity from the newly titled Marquis of Reims and his last son as an hostage to be raised and teached in the Abbey of Aurillac as an insurance of the new vassal well meaning.

With the northern border of the Duchy now secured, Berenger returned to the south, letting his followers returning home with their troops, now un-needed. With his "Cavaliers de Color", his personal guard, he first returned to Clermont, met with his son and both then took the direction of Septimania, to finally meet with the Emperor.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:18 am

A garrison was maintained in the Balearics, and the Emperor, his Scholai, and a group of the soldiers sailed back to the Auvergnat coastal cities.

The horses were unloaded from the transport ships, the Emperor sat atop of his unique horse, a Nisean, which he had named Nothos.

The Byzantine envoy set up a makeshift court on Auvergne's coast, in Perols.
A pirate captain who had been captured, and had led skirmishes against Imperial ships and some of his men were brought ashore.

The Emperor, after reading out the man's crimes, sentenced the captain to blinding.
But, he wanted to humiliate the pirates, and strike some fear into both the pirates and the defeatist Auvergnats who didn't believe in what he was doing, as he was sure some word would spread.

The Emperor gestured for the man who would carry out the blinding, bringing him forth, and whispering something to him before letting him leave.

The pirate captain wasn't tied up like his men, rather, he was held down by soldiers.
The soldier the Emperor had spoken to heated up a poker, until it was bright red, almost orange.
He then brought the poker towards the pirate captain, hovering the molten steel rod above his face, aiming at his eyes, antagonising, until the captain, in a fright went limp in the arms of the soldiers holding him, falling unconscious.

The Emperor himself brought a piece of cloth over to the pirate captain's limp body, and tied it around his eyes, and would leave it there for the remainder of time he was a prisoner.
Hoping to trick the captain into thinking he was permanently blinded, only if it worked momentarily, it would be a permanent memory for the captured man.

Ióannés then ordered the pirate captain to be tied up, and for his men to be gagged.
The Emperor was sure that news would spread of this, holding court in Perols, and the humiliation of the pirates. He wanted the disparagement of his tactics coming from soldiers of the Duke to cease, without being childish about it, and tattling on them to Baldwin and asking him to tell his men to stop.

"A wild punishment for a wild beast." Ióannés said before saddling up on Nothos, and riding for Montpellier to meet with Baldwin to discuss the mission so far and to see if he had any intel to share.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:43 pm

The banner of Baldwin still floated over the towers of Montpellier. But it wasn't alone anymore. A new flag, red and green, was throning over it. It was the Gonfanon, the battle banner, first of the Abbey of Aurillac, and now of the Duke of Auvergne.

Finally, the Emperor and the Duke met. Berenger was a tall man, a surprise when the Auvergnats, like all people of the mountains, weren't known for their great size. His Celtic blood, stronger in his veins than in most, gave him a pale skin not unlike marble, and long brown, almost dark, hair, falling on his shoulders and on his back, a reminder of the old tradition of the Merovingian kings of never cutting their hairs. It didn't stop him from being cleanly shaved, in opposition of his more mediterranean vassals. His clothes were far more humbler than thoses of the Emperor, mainly a dark green coat over a chainmail. He looked more like an adventurer, a rich horseman ready for battle, than like a politician. He also looked far more younger than he really was, and only traces of silver in his long hairs and some wrinkles around his green eyes gave clues about how old he really was. Few were the men in the West, and indeed in Europe, to reach half a century and still be in such healthy, muscular and fresh body.

Berenger met the Emperor with a large smile and open arms. "Ah ! My eyes !" He exclaimed in a perfect greek. "Finally do they see the famous Basileus of Constantinople in his flesh ! I hope you've spent a fine time in my Septimania despite the roughs events !"

He then turned to the crowed gathered to see Emperor and the Duke. "Peoples of Septimania ! Rejoice ! God has heard your pleas ! He saw the justice in our action and the how brave your hearts were ! He himself sent his angels to support us and our allies who so selflessly came to us in our time of need ! Yes ! The miracles have been numerous ! The Lord brought fear in the hearts of the heathen and they fled the Middle Sea ! The Ocean rised and blocked the path of the north to the servants of the demons ! Do you hear ? The angels are singing over the islands : Hallelujah, Hallelujah, the Pirats, the godless, the tyrants of the sea are defeated !" And in the north, the Seine is secured ! Yes, sing, peoples of Montpellier ! Sing ! Let the joy flow ! Our ennemies are down ! The Braves and Faithfuls have triumphed ! So sing, peoples of Montpellier ! Sing the Hallelujah !"

And so the crowd started to shout "Hallelujah ! Hallelujah !" and Berenger turned back to the Emperor, still smiling. "Ah ! Brave among the brave, let us return to the peace of the castle now. Let us sing of our exploits ! How you and Marquis Baldwin conqured the Balearic and how my men took Rouen, closing the road to Champagne !"

And so Guilhem guided both his Duke and the Emperor to the dining Hall, where the basileus already ate once, but it was a feast much more lively and Berenger, Baldwin and the Emperor, all shared the stories of the campaign.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:01 am

At the Duke's speech to his crowd, Ioannes remembered the Marquis' and the Lord of Montpellier's reaction to his earlier speech where he introduced the Greek fire, and raised his eyebrows in a slight huff. Surely, they must be used to posturing... the Emperor thought to himself.

The Emperor wasn't one for the crowds of nobles, not growing up in that society, he just wished to discuss the campaigns, and forget the feast. He put it so when there was a free moment, speaking in Greek, assuming he knew the language well.

"Your Majesty, I congratulate you on your victory in the north, and I thank you for inviting me into your keep."
"Your men seem to.. have some reservations about our ways of dealing with those who molest our sea." Ioannes said frankly "So, I hope, if your men report to you of our tactics, that you will listen with an ear of understanding in regards to why we must be so.. dire. It is our duty."

Ioannes enjoyed his wine, but he a definite feeling of being  both a sojourner and a foreigner here even if the southern coast reminded him of home. Perhaps it was the schism that made him feel this way, or maybe it was him missing his new family. He was not a man for politicking, he thought. Just aim him at the problem, and let him loose, was more of his style.

"I do hope to ride out to the Gaulic countryside and inspect your available baronies soon, our horses have been confined to the transport ships for too long. Hopefully you've got an area near a river, and hopefully that narrows down some, my selection."

Ioannes added that onto his previous statement, not wanting to make things more awkward than they should be. The Emperor sipped his wine, trying to place its familiar taste, waiting for the Duke's response.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:01 pm

Beranger listened to the Emperor and noded. "Ah yes. I have heard of some of my men doubts. You see, I have heard the ways you Romanoï deal with revolts and ennemies. But you see, we have differents methods here. We consider there can be too much punishment and there can be a way to give a thirst for vengeance to an ennemy that could have otherwise been stopped. We prefer to take hostages and prisoners than to maim or kill them, as it give us the highground to negociate a favorable peace. If too many of them are killed, or worse, if there's no commander left, there would be no one with enough autority to sign the redition of his faction. The men left would keep figthing and in such a manner it would become harder and harder to catch them. A long, bloody, pointless fight that only bring misery and resentment.

For now, I'd say you haven't reach the critical point, but I strongly advise you to reach what is left of the tribes and other local pirats leaders to make them recognize their defeat and make your base in the Balearics more stable. My men have made some hostages among their ranks as I heard, in the villages and others minor settlement. I think it should be a good start for you to get their loyalty. Not by fear if possible, because the moment your fleet will be gone, they will revolt and return to their old activities. Recognize one of them, the most greedy and heartless of them, as master of theses lands, let a garnison to defend Palma, and a legate to "advise" him. Take one of his children to be raise in your court, to be your next delegate. Finish your current operations and then reach them once they're down. Otherwise theses islands will never be a real part of your empire, just a hole in your treasury.

That was the fear of my men, that you wouldn't stop in time. Do not take it too much at heart, they are not in your head, they cannot know what your full plan is.

As for the question of your -or your children- baronny, I had the time to think about it. We will take a short road only a minor army can take to go through the mountains, and we will live away from the fasts of the courts. it will take us a week if we keep a good rythm to reach the Marne if we do so. Then, you will see some of the castles and domains that I think will be worthy enough of someone of your blood."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:56 pm

"I'm not sure what you've heard about us, as this is an unusual case. If these were civilised men in any way, I might agree with your analysis, but pirates are different to the noble tribes of times past. This is not a conquest and subjugation, but a service. I am just not willing to give a Moor control over the Balearics.

I would rather give control over to a native Balear who cares for his lands, and regards them higher than just a strategic port.
To give control over to a Saracen would be to castrate myself. They will not have a chance for vengeance.

This is not a usual enemy, usually you can devastate an enemy like the battle of Palma and the remnants will sue for peace. But, they fled for the mountains, I haven't seen them field an army under commanders, they are broken men, and they will not accept the elevation of one of their own. Even if they would, do they deserve it? These are not Franks nor are they Spaniards, not even are they of the noble amongst Berbers.
They are a disease that needs to be cut out before it spreads. You do not give control over to the plague that takes you, you fight it.

I am sorry for not agreeing with you during your feast, but would you rather not see a Hellene or a Frank in control of those islands? Christendom may be divided but both sides can agree to that, right?

I believe so. I'll let you enjoy your celebration without strife. We can discuss it moreover on our week of travel.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:53 pm

"Oh yes, if they had been moore or saracen, neither my men or I would have raised an eyebrow. But the Balearics have never really been colonized by either, they just agreed to join them. They may have had an emir over them or however they call their leaders, but the tribes left after the departure of the roman empire stayed in place. Forget the leaders in the city, talk to the real powers, talk to the tribes. Offer them a more lucrative, more secure, alternative to piracy, and they will follow you."

"Anyway, let us keep it there for now. Tomorrow, a long journey await us, but I hope you'll appreciate it. The road we'll take only recognize the blood of the mountains and will kill any foreigner trying to take it, if they can find it at all. Even the franks couldn't. And the goths before them too. And the romans eons before. But do not worry, stay close to me and my troops, and you will be safe from the mountains' wrath."
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