The Gallic Campaign

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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:16 pm

"If I can find a Quinctius Cincinnatus-like character, I would have no qualms with raising him to Exarch, but the only men I've fought were pirates or men bannered under a petty Emir. I will look for a noble Balear native, of course, that has been my wish from the beginning. But most native tribes are isolationists. I will have my men search for such a respected man while we are away."

John finished his wine, and his food, the rest of the feast he spent listening to the people speak, and to the musicians playing in the hall, or eyeing up pretty noblewomen who may have caught his eye.

The Emperor clasped the Duke's wrist, bid him good night, and he and his group retired for the evening, to their encampment just outside of the city.

In the morning, the Emperor ate some oats, fruit, and a piece of fish. He then got Nothos ready, saddling him up, and his Scholai mounted up, all were armoured up like kataphraktoi, a very intimidating force, perhaps more than the Varangoi which they served a similar purpose to.

The supply wagons were readied for the small trip, Ioannes had thought of bringing his elephant to Auvergne to really make an impression, but decided against it, as it would prove too logistical to be worthwhile, and so it was left in Africa. "Next time" thought John.

The group rode up to Montpellier, in a splendid display, heavenly glow shone off the metal of the elite guard, and their horses. The Emperor redonned his extravagant outfit, golden lamellar, above tyrian colored robes, the red boots, and the saintly crown. Nothos was, likewise, given the best treatment; that a horse could get at least, golden tinted scale armor surrounded the beast, his palomino coat visible on his legs, his coat complimented his armor, and made him look like a statue of gold.

The banners were raised outside of the city, double headed eagles, in crimson and gold. The Emperor's banner was a tetragrammatic cross, of purple and gold. The caravan through the city, and out the main road. They made sure to flaunt through the city, bring the horses to a slow trot, and letting the people take in the beauty of the beasts and all of the colors. The road leading away from Montpellier is where the small army waited for the Duke to arrive. The rest of the army maintained their positions on the Balearics and the French coast. They did as they were told, looking for a native to lead the takeover of the Balearics.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:45 pm

The Duke arrived at the head of his hundred multicolored horsemen, their own armors shining like silver and gold under the morning sun. They took the lead, as to show the road for the Emperor and his guard.

The first few day where on dirt roads running through hills and then valleys where no wind came to refresh the soldiers, the sun free to try and make them boil. All was covered in vegetation, except the valleys inhabited by some little settlements of farmers. Some hills had wooden fortress and other fortifications throning over them, and from afar, a monastery could have been seen, with many vineyards and villages around it.

Once in the province of Gevaudan, civilization started to weakened before the un-tamed wilderness. The Duke and his men followed an invisible path throught it all. The vegetation became less and less Mediterranean and started to ressemble more what could be found around the Danube than of the country of the Helene. No human was to be seen, but many, many animals of all kind could be heard.

Finally, the mountains changed. The ground became darker, the trees even more vigorous but rarer, and the troops even had to go through a desolate, windswept, plateau where not even the beasts lived.

Sometime, the Duke and his men would change direction without any reason. There was always a few of the multicolored knights scouting the area, sometime coming back to give reports, maybe about the road to take. The Duke only gave minimal explanation about the how and the why. It wasn't clear at which point exactly they entered Auvergne, but once they did, the Duke turned to the Emperor and said :

"This is the road I told you about. We'll go through my lands faster this way. This is quite the desolate country, as you'll see, since we're far from the Allier's valley, where the cities and the fields are. I don't think there was a time it wasn't a frontier of some sort, the limit of a kingdom or of a region. Its a refuge for my people, in time of trouble, and it has been the death of many, many, fools who tried to invade by theses untamed mountains. If you ever see a lake through the trees, don't let yourself be fooled and hypnotized by its beauty. You, or one of your men, wouldn't be the first one to fall for its charms. It isn't the only threat of its kind, to be honest. This region is almost free of bandits for a reason, after all..."
And on theses omnious words, the journey continued, offering many, many beautiful, untouched by mankind, sights. The only traces of the passages of men were old stones strangely close to each other, with erroded forms over them, half burried through the trees and the dirt.

But finaly, they returned to the lowlands, in the country of Bourbon. Untamed wilderness let places to fields of crops and vineyards, with villages, cities and monasteries poping there and there. A day or two later, they finally reached the Marne, and the Duke could finaly present to the Emperor the long list of the selected castles and domains for him to chose. There wasn't much in term of inhabitants, and woods was far, far more common than rock, but the fields were numerous and the land rich and peaceful since the disparition of the Duke of Austrasia.
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:03 am

The Emperor relished in the moments where the sun was hidden by the jade canvas of the trees overhead. He had taken for granted always living on the water, and nearly always having the briny breeze blow back the burdensome broiling of the bright daylight beyond Byzantine beaches.

Commanding castles cemented themselves throughout the countryside; cartographers and composers, comparably, could not conceive a configuration quite as charming.

Patrolling on their pilgrimage, the patrician men perceive a place most pleasing, a palace most praiseworthy, a true princely paradise.

The multitudinous men and their mounts would rest there, along the Marne, meeting the masses, and mooring down after midnight.

"Chateau-Thierry." the Emperor began the next morning, looking out at the barony alongside the Duke.
"This will do. I just know it. "
"We'd be about a days ride from Paris if you will allow us to raise funds from the local lords to help build and maintain a road."
"What do you think?"
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:00 am

"Chateau Thierry, hm ? I am not surprised. You are not the first Prince to find it to your liking, the Merovingian had strong ties with the city, centuries ago. Some of them choose it to be their final resting place, but I don't think they will be neighbors too hard to support.

I'll let you visit it a bit more if you want to, then we'll return to Montpellier and on our way, we'll discuss a bit about the details of this transaction. I'll make sure your son stay free from the Count of Champagne and under my protection. I'll give him rights over the taxes and the tolls on theses lands, over which he will rule as he see fit. However, he'll have the duty to respect locals customs and traditions, and to give to charities and beggars. He'll also have to maintain himself a troops of warriors to join me if I call for him and to advise me on any problem arising, at the best of his knowledges. His presence, of him or of a legate that can speak in his name, at the annual council of my vassals in Clermont is also required.

For the road, there is a certain number of taxes he can use for it. The peoples of this land will owe him a certain number of days of free work each year. He can use it to build it. He, or his Legate, will have to discuss it with the other lords of Champagne about it, but I think a compromise good for everyone can be reached. I won't be able to be there to debate with them, otherwise they might feel like they are forced against their wills and start to have dark thoughts about both me and your son.

Since he will be the first of his Line to own the castle, his parents cannot claim or inherit it. Only his children from a recognized and lawfull marriage will have rights over the inheritance. by default, it will be shared in equal parts among them but his lasts wishes will prime over this custom if he so desire.

Do you disagree with any of theses rights and duties ?"
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:00 pm

"No disagreements, that all sounds rather standard."

"I'll send a legate, as you say, to act as count for a few years. As I said in my letters, my sons are still boys."

Ioannes would spend the morning inspecting the barony, seeing how self-sufficient it was, looking at the docks or lack thereof, and checking to see what repairs needed to be done. Ioannes would pen all of this down, and his notes about his proposed road. He would later hand off his note to the man he would choose as legate and acting-baron.

"Once my legate arrives, within a few years time, you shall have a jewel of a town here that rivals even her neighbour Paris."
"Besides, this will be good practice for a young man, before he is to take on the rank of Despot of Illyria."

"For now though, I am ready to depart for Montpellier if you are. Shall we?"
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:10 pm

"Paris is just another city among many of its kind, to be honest. Which is sad because its situation is perfect to become the main trading hub of the region, but centuries of war and abandon left this potential unexploited. But for now, Soisson, Laon, Rouen, Reims, Verdun, Bourges, even Orleans despite its actual owner, are more prestigious names. Paris was a capital, yes, but just like Toulouse, it was five centuries ago. The Last King spent a lot of time in it, but only because it was the closest loyalist bastion from the possessions of the Renegades Lords and the Last Carolingian.

What a time it was ! A time of darkness and already half mythical, half forgotten battles... not even the scholars of Aurillac can say exactly what happened and how. It was the end of an age."

"Anyway, let us return to Montpellier for now like you said. The normands are gone, your fleet victorious, the pirates vanquished and the just reward for your help is yours. It is time for us to say our goodbye. Even if I can't gather as many troops as you can, if it ever come to it, know that you can call the Auvergnats for help and we'll be glad to return the favor to the Romanoi."
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Re: The Gallic Campaign

Post by Cybelos on Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:42 am

"That's a shame to hear, I had heard many things about the city, and its ability to break sieges, it had reminded me of Constantinopolis.

Perhaps you will be able to breathe life into the embers, and create a Helioupolis of sorts, a city of light."

The group did ride back to the coast, talking some more about the Balearics and what they had discussed earlier. It was interesting speaking to a Frank that knew the Hellenic tongue, there was a certain lilt to his voice, but it was a pleasant sound. That, and he appreciated that the man had developed Greek as a diplomatic language.

The men bid one another farewell, and then went their separate ways. The majority of the navy followed suit.

The Emperor would send as acting Baron, Bardas Acacius, whose family has served as bookkeepers, historians, and stewards since before the capital of the Empire was moved to Constantinople, even providing for what little history had came out of the twenty years anarchy. A group of guards accompanied him, they were chosen as they were single men, and therefore, wouldn't be leaving anyone behind. This group would help train any locals that enlisted, and act as workers.

He was, as could be expected, a bookish man. He would prove adept at keeping the Barony running smoothly.
As a bookish man, he didn't wish to deal with certain responsibilities, mainly, the need to attend court at Clermont, as such, he would appoint an assistant to his family as Legate, Esaias, who also took the name Acacius.

Bardas would look at his letter from the Emperor, and he orded supplies from nearby towns to help fix things up.

He would also write to his neighbouring barons, and to the lords of Meaux and Paris asking what he could do to get the road built.
One letter was also sent to the lord of Reims saying that if he got funding for a road to Chateau-Thierry, he could fund a road that connects his with Paris.
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