The Lords of the Marne

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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Rorukheim on Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:46 pm

Athelstan nods.
[Athelstan] "Then its settled. You'll receive one thousand mercenaries, in exchange you'll pay us and we'll keep any spoils of war."
He holds out his hand.
(OCC: sorry this took a bit. I got three different RPs I'm dealing with)
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:22 pm

Ceneric :

"Then it is settled !" And the lord shaked the hand of the strange priest of the north and made so his clercs produced an official contract for the deal that was made.

Far away from there, the city of Meaux was waiting. Guards patroled its walls, the gates had been closed, but the patrols seemed few in numbers and it seemed the siege of Sigebert sealed itself from the rest of the world.

But while Bertou was looking for ways to avoid the city, a man came announced himself to the troop. He was wearing the habits of a vagabonds, but around his hips, a belt of black hemp, symbol of the benedictins monks, and a crucifix rolled around his wrist.

"Are you the Badas Acacius ? You look like the description I got. I was sent to find you after you leaved Melun but I was set back by the climate. I had to run from there to your castle then from there to here...anyway, I have a message for you."

And the strange man got a letter out of his habits, sealed with the blason of Berenger.

It read as follow :

"To Bardas Acacius, Vice-Baron of Chateau-Thierry,

A new oportunity arised that need to be exploited as soon as possible. We received confirmations that our agents inside Meaux are able to steal the keys of the city. But we're afraid they won't be free to do so forever -or a second time-. As you are currently among the closest lord still loyal from Meaux, We need you there at soon as possible and light three torchs ,after the vepres, from the forest in front of the eastern gate. It is the signal. From there, and if God is with them, our men will be able to open the doors for you and your soldiers to get through.

Be swift, prudent and stay safe. The fall of Meaux is not important in the greater scheme of things but it is something we wish to be done since we do not know when such an occasion will present itself again.

May the Living God be upon you,

Berenger, Dux Arvenii, Rex Francorum."
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:26 am

It would be quite nice to pay back Sigebert in kind, Bardas thought.

Hopefully fortune was with Bardas and he wouldn't end up in Bertou's position, locked away, to become a gift of good faith.

It seemed, from the outside, that Meaux was in a similar position that Chateau-Thierry was in when it was attacked, gates shut, waiting for the end.

Oh, how Bardas would love to make demands of Sigebert, just as he'd done to him.
Perhaps he'd have that chance, he could imagine how this would go, in a good scenario:

The gates would be opened, if they were undetected, they might be able to get the garrison to surrender easily, and then hold the walls, and the town, but not the castle. That's where Sigebert would lodge himself, he could imagine. Probably until reinforcements arrived, in one way, or another.

Or, perhaps, they would be spotted, and have to fight the garrison. If that became true then hopefully the army of Chateau-Thierry now outnumbered that of Meaux. Bardas should think so, Berenger wouldn't tell him to go in alone otherwise, would he?

Well, maybe he would.

Now or never.
Bardas couldn't show up to Paris, and they couldn't ride back to Chateau-Thierry.
So, it seemed that they would have to take this city by themselves instead, just another day.

If something went wrong, they could still run back to the forest, he supposed.
Three torches were lit, why not two?
One torch could be mistaken, Bardas got that, but what was the chances of someone lighting two torches, and outside the eastern gates of Meaux, of all places?

Nevertheless, the three torches were lit, Bardas and the army waited for the gates to open.
Swift, prudent, and safe, the letter said.
Bardas could be sure of one of those things, maybe.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Rorukheim on Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:06 am

On the coastline 1,000 Vikings land, they head for Athelstan, still with Ceneric.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:00 pm

A long time passed without any movement from the gates. But suddenly, something cracked and slowly, the wooden doors started to move and to free the way to the city.

No one seemed to have been alerted, as the patrols were distant enough to no hear the mecanism. Bardas men could enter without problem, meeting their strange allies : one wearing the habit of a guard, the other of a priest. The sword of the guard was still a bit red, giving away the reason why no one saw the conspiracy unfold.

It was now for Bardas to choose what to do now : to take over the walls and fight the patrols ? Or immediatly go to the dungeon while the surprise was still on his side ?

Far away in distance -and in time-, Ceneric gave to Athelstan an almanac of all the blasons of the lords part of the rebellion, an order signed by his hand and indication to meet Siegebert the Boarhunter and the Rogue Lord of Orleans that, from what he heard, were somewhere around Paris, or to just go on a rampage through loyalist lands if they wanted but they shouldn't expect much, as everything worthwhile must have already been plundered or hidden inside dungeons.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:29 pm

Bardas would choose to get this over with quickly. Hopefully. He would choose to go for the donjon rather than the dungeon.

The effect of surprise was still with him, this was going a lot better than Bertou's attack on Chateau-Thierry, at least.

Why not attempt to start with the hardest part first? Berenger obviously thought that this could be done by Bardas' group, hopefully stories of the fight against Bertou hadn't fogged his mind, telling him that Chateau-Thierry's men were near invincible despite the odds.

The keep would have to fall, a castle was unable to hold for long without its keep to fall back to.

The group ducked around the bailey, moving from building to building, hiding in the quieter parts of town, moving past food stores and warehouses, eventually making their way to the keep.

There stood the keep's gatehouse, a tough area to break through should the group get caught.

The men had tried their best so far to dampen the sounds of their armor, weapons, and boots, but if fighting broke out here, they had better be quick, that could be heard distinctively in this otherwise peaceful night. From here, the idea was to kill the guard stationed at the gatehouse, kill the guard stationed at the postern, move inside, capture Sigebert, and have him tell the garrison to surrender. That was the idea, at least.

The garrison of Chateau-Thierry was still better armored than that of Meaux, so if fighting did begin they could likely defeat an army of a similar size.

But, if they were outnumbered, they would need to find somewhere to defend, something they didn't have, perhaps slipping out of the postern, one by one would be best if things were dire.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Rorukheim on Tue May 09, 2017 1:11 am

Afters days of traveling, the one thousand Viking mercanaries arrive at Cenerics camp. The leader of the war party approaches Cenerics tent, Athelstan follows closely behind.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sun May 21, 2017 11:01 am

There was but a minimal guard at the castle of Meaux. In fact, it was surprising how understaffed the whole city was. The gate didn't pose much of a problem and by the time the alarm had been given, some fifteen minutes later, the whole party was already inside the castle.

But there was no trace of Sigebert. Room after room, they found only servants and surprised guards on patrol or in their sleep. Soon, Bardas had many time more prisonners than soldiers.

Finaly, they found something. It was not Sigebert but close enough. The Bishop of Meaux, brother of the Count, had cleverly hide himself to the point the soldiers first didn't saw him, until he tried to get out by the window of his room, using a cord made of clothes tied together.

He was brought out before Bardas, who was now free to do what he wanted to the Renegade Bishop.

Meanwhile, some Normands guided the new norses mercenaries to the main Rebel Army, who was busy stealing the last few things of values left in the Vexin. Here, Athelstan and the Northerner Leader met the Rogue Lord of Orleans. Sigebert was by his side, but not as an equal but more like an exotic animal kept in leash.

"Ah ! Ceneric warned me of your coming ! Just in time, I must say." The Warlord was smiling. Obviously, everything was going as planned. Sigebert was not smiling, nor was he saying much. He had to give away to much for the new plan designed by the Rogue Lord.

"Berenger his coming with his armies." The Orleanais said. "We are gathering our troops as well. Soon, there will be a battle of the like not seen since the Lost of the Crown. You can rest in our camp for now, if you desire. You will need to be in good shape for the coming weeks."
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Mon May 29, 2017 9:47 pm

Bardas would have to be careful here, he knew. The Bishop was a rebel, and therefore, a criminal of the lands loyal to Berenger. Still, he was a Bishop, a Catholic. This schism had complicated foreign business all over, now it would reach here in force if Bardas wasn't delicate.

Bardas was in the homes of Franks, living off their lands, now occupying a city of theirs with foreign faces patroling their streets.

For now, the Bishop would be imprisoned in his normal quarters, now under guard of course, but still a fairly comfortable bondage.

Now, Berenger couldn't still be expecting Bardas to march with him, with two settlements right on the rebels doorstep that needed to be watched over.

A letter would be sent to Berenger telling of Bardas' success, of Sigebert's absence, and the "deference to His Majesty on the matter of the fate of the Bishop of Meaux."

Meanwhile, while Bardas waited for the King's response, he pondered whether or not he should take down Sigebert's banners. If Sigebert wasn't in Meaux because he was dealing with business elsewhere, then there was a chance that he may not yet realise the fate of his city.

Scouts would be dispatched to locate Sigebert or any traces of him, if the man hadn't realised what has happened, he may be able to lure him back, perhaps using a letter with the captured Bishop's seal. That would be dishonorable, but for a man who attempted to pillage his way to the throne, honor obviously didn't mean much to him.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:08 pm

"The Vice-Baron of Chateau-Thierry is successfull it seems." commented one of King's advisor, while the latter was reading the letter sent by the greek.

"Yes, indeed." Replied Berenger. "He proved to be useful and reliable, and we know where his loyalty lies."

"Not with you." Added a general.

The other advisors waited in silence, while Berenger just glared at his general.

"No indeed. But who can blame him ? He is neither a Frank nor an Auvergnat, we cannot ask for his complete loyalty. But he defended our land when needed and obeyed when we gave the order. We put him on the frontline, without any support. And he was victorious. No, we don't have his loyalty, but it's close enough for us."

The other men at the table nodded. What was close enough for their Liege was close enough for them too. But the general still speaked out :

"But your Majesty ! A conflict of interest... ?"

"Is out of question." Coldly cuted the king. "...for now, at least. Bardas has been a good agent and need to be rewarded...in due time."


The general sat down. Not conviced but he could feel that the King was already annoyed, and to keep going would just anger him. Berenger was a bit sad for this general. He raised good questions despite the risks. The fact he stoped just in time proved he was concerned, and not just completely stupid. He will have to meet him later, just to be sure.

"For now there are more important things to discuss." Said Berenger while looking at the map of the Gauls. "Paris is near and we are entering a crucial step of our plan. From now on, failure will not be tolerated."

***

A letter arrived for Bardas, bearing the seal of Berenger. The King of the Franks signaled his great joy when hearing of Bardas's success, and approved of the Baron's decision to keep the Bishop in custody. "Despite his crimes, we may be able to save faces once this matter is over. Bishops support each others, no matter what, and prefer to handle justice themselves when one of their own is concerned. Us, simple Laic, cannot do much in the meantime. It is a very peticular problem that we let to our lawyers, but be sure neither the Pope, the archbishop, or any other man in the Church will show much mercy on this case."

The rest of the letter are formalities, and also some orders to hold Meaux as long as possible, but to not hesitate to flee the city if the situation ask for it.

"Siegebert is in no position to retake his city." wrote the King. "It is sad for him, but he's loosing direction of his little enterprise to much more dangerous men. But you and your men should stay ready for the next days. We might have some plans involving you in the futur. By the way, get rid of all Siegebert's heralds if you can. The Francs-seigneurs will know of to fall of the city days before any trickery we could come up with could work. We aren't the only one with agents in most cities of the Gauls."

Meaux seems to not have even noticed the change of direction that happened in the night. What little buisness the war left were still going as if nothing was wrong and the population seemed neutral to the men of Chateau-Thierry, or at least kept their hostility to themselves. The scouts slowly came back one after the other, all saying the same thing : Siegebert and his troops were with the bulk of the rebel army, near Mantes.

In the following days, other news arrived : Berenger arrived in Paris and laid siege to the city. This forced the Francs-seigneurs armies to move, and it appeared that soon, the armies will meet, to decide of the Francia's fate.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:08 am

Bardas did as the letter asked, and removed all signs of Sigebert from public view, perhaps he could be allowed to ship these back home? There must be historians in the city who would love to have these heraldic banners, shields, and various pieces of armor. Bardas would like to keep one banner for his personal estate back home though, it was a strange story he was currently a part of, it would be nice to have something in case anyone doubted him, or if Bardas ever began to doubt the story himself.

Bardas wouldn't dare to fly his own banners in place of Sigebert's, instead new cloth was cut and dyed, and Berenger's heraldry was put in Sigebert's place. Bardas knew that Berenger had taken a political hit for even granting him Chateau-Thierry, there was no way he would grant him Meaux as well, hopefully Berenger would appreciate the gesture on some small level. Presuming, of course, that Sigebert doesn't change direction, and march on Meaux in frustration.

Bored in his fortress, Bardas knew that he was missing the main fighting. Bardas' letter to the Emperor would be quite the tale, and Sigebert's heraldry may prove an interesting gift for His Majesty, or even the young prince, when he is of an age where he can appreciate it, come to think of it.

What would this story be without an account of the final days of rebellion?

Esaias, Bardas' trusted servant and friend, had found himself taking a more proactive role in affairs ever since he was congratulated by nearly everyone for his assistance in breaking the siege on Chateau-Thierry, Bardas thought.

Who better to send to the front, to act as a historian-warrior? Someone who could provide an account for the histories, and someone Berenger could use as a good servant in the meantime, if he needed to.

Bardas would have to wait, wait to see whether or not Berenger accepts Esaias or not, and if so, wait for Esaias' letters throughout the conflict. Bardas could do nothing but wait in his current state, he was spread too thin to be of use anywhere else.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:03 pm

Esaias must have been very surprised when he saw the columns of Auvergnats soldiers on the road, going in the direction opposite to his own. Paris was to the northwest of Meaux yet theses thousands of men were going to the south-east. The banners were not misleading, neither were the colors of some blasons, shields and clothings. This was the army of his Majesty Berenger.

Soon, a lone rider came to meet Esaias and invited the greek to follow him, to the king and his generals, currently riding along the bulk of the troops. The pale king with his long raven hairs seemed happy with the whole event and saluted Esaias with a smile and in an excellent greek once the proper etiquette has been respected.

"Ah ! You must be the assistant of the Vice Baron, are you not ?" an aide -a monk on a donkey- came to the King's level and said something in latin. "Esaias, isn't it ? Anyway, good thing you are here, we hope Meaux wasn't too wrecked during your "assault" because we'll need the city for a little while. See, half the battle is chosing it's location and Paris wasn't a good location. Meaux, however, should do the trick, if i dare say so."

"The Rogue Lord should be on our tail by now, no way he didn't took such beautiful bait : you realise, the royal army on the run ! But we are a few days ahead of him so it should give us all the time we need to lay our trap."
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:28 pm

"I-Yes, of course, Your Majesty. These are your lands after all. It would be my great honor to ride ahead to inform the city of your coming, and to personally open the gates of the city for you, Your Majesty.

Your friend and true ally amongst the Romans, Lord Bardas has already taken great efforts to repair any damages the city suffered, and to defend the great city of Meaux and the Barony of Chateau-Thierry, all while nursing his own wounds. Your Majesty's honor is of course to be defended at all costs.

Might I, before I retire from Your Majesty's audience, on the behalf of Lord Bardas, humbly commend Your Majesty's  intellect and martial prowess.
We're bound to see the end of the cur Sigebert, and of this whole rebellion very soon.

As Esaias made his farewell, and rode off towards Meaux, he sighed, letting the role of servant fade away, at least for a few minutes, as he pushed his horse onwards.

It was good that Esaias did ride back, with the defense of Meaux and Chateau-Thierry, soldiers were thinned out so much that all scouts were recalled for the moment to help train locals and to boost defenses.

Bardas made his way to the main gates along with his best soldiers, he wore his finest armor, despite it digging into his badly bruised shoulder.

Esaias must have seen the King's army coming, because soon the gates were opened in front of the Vice Baron, and the servant soon rushed along to take his place next to Bardas.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:27 pm

The Occitan army soon arrived and established its camp in front of the city. Preparations were made to ameliorate the fortifications for the battle to come. Berenger was the first to enter the city and had the keys given to him, as symbol of the city's obedience.

"Vice-Baron, it is a pleasure to meet you again. We see you have done well with the mission we gave you. Pleasant, trully pleasant.

For the moment we wish to see the prisoners you have made, the brother of Sigebert. We will have all the time to judge him once this little matter is dealt with but we want to have a little conversation with him.

As for you, we want you at our table tonight, with the Lords of Soissons, and of Provins. Alliances are a strange thing, aren't they ? The ennemies of yesterday are the allies of today."

Then he whispered in greek : "You should start to think about a...list. Of names. You see, once all is said is done, we will have to redistributes some possessions to more loyal subjects and we are open to suggestions. By the way, you have played your role wonderfully. Did you know one way to stop a fire, is a blast ?"
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:00 am

The party of Bardas, Esaias, and the group of soldiers escorted Berenger and his entourage to the room of the archbishop.

"The savage Bertou is currently held at the dungeon of Château-Thierry, if Your Majesty requires him, please let me know and I shall have some men fetch him for you." Bardas spoke along the walk.

"This is the Archbishop's room here, Your Majesty."

The guard at the door pulled it open for the group, bowing to his King as he did so.

The Archbishop stood over his desk covered with neatly arranged documents and reference books, he was engrossed with the commotion of the courtyard below his window, turning on his heel in a startled shock at the door's opening, dumbfounded with his bedchambers guests.

"I shall leave you and your men to your conversation, Your Majesty.
If you'll excuse me gentlemen. Bardas said, giving a light bow as he exited.


Bardas meanwhile, prepared himself for the evening meeting, wearing a sagum over his shoulder to cover the bulge of the bandage over his wound.
The wound was healing fine, but no need to risk it coming undone for fashions sake, Bardas thought.
Besides, the maroon over the white robes looked pretty fetching if Bardas had anything to say about it.

The Vice-Baron had his ideas for names that Berenger had asked for, mainly Theodoric of Soissons, then Jean of Provins.
Besides that, a handful of Barons and other minor nobles that neighbored Château-Thierry who had been agreeable with Bardas' positions.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:59 pm

Berenger noded in direction of Bardas but look coldly in the eyes of the bishop. When Bardas leaved, so did the guards who then watched over the corridor. The king would leave only an hour later, seemingly satisfied with the conversation he had.

When Bardas met again with Berenger in the evening, he was not alone. Theodoric of Soissons in his grey coat and Jean of Provins as gloomy as always where already there. Other men where there, all Captains in the army of Auvergne. The good thing was that Bardas wasn't the last arrived, two other men joined the table after him. The last man arrived was already wearing his riding clothes and had a tired look on his face. This didn't stop him to come salute King Berenger and whispering something in his ears. Berenger listened, visibly concerned, then nodded and invited the man to sit.

"Friends, allies, companions, the rebels have acted as we thought they would. They seek battle, for until now, the war of attrition we fought against each other ended in a draw : the fields and the ressources of both sides have been depleted in the region to feed our troops. We lost strongholds in the Vexin, and Rouen is our last bastion far behind the ennemy lines. However, everything east of Paris is ours and not even the help the "Franc Seigneurs" received from Verdun helped them to get through the brave defense of our soldiers.

Theodoric, Bardas, I had the occasion to tell how we were proud of you and of your friends of Laon and Reims who can't be here today, occupied they are on other fronts, but we wish to do it once again here. Such results wouldn't have been possible if you hadn't take in your own hands the defense of the Kingdom when threatened by forces from the inside and from the outside as well.

We must also raise our cup to Jean of Provins. He who was my ennemy so long ago, today came to my help against one of thoses who supported me. He always was a brave and honorable man and it is our great shame that it is through trickery and overwhelming numbers that we defeated him. We have to thanks God for such a man is by our side today.

All of this to say, the ennemy as no choice left. It must defeat us on the battlefield to prove they are credible in their wish to chase us out of our lands. Once they saw our troops take the road to Paris, they made their move to meet us there. From the informations we've gathered, they truly believe that we came back to Meaux because we were scared of their army. They should be here tomorrow afternoon, thinking they managed to caught us. Whay they do not know, is that it was part of our plan.

The ground is on our favor, even if they think the contrary, and we have the knowledge that we defend a just cause while all they have is greed and envy. By tomorrow night, this rebellion will be over."
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:28 pm

Bardas walked along the walls, choosing to do so in what was very likely the final moments of peace in this civil war.
The Vice-Baron grabbed onto the battlement on his left, as he looked out over the crenel and towards the direction of Chateau-Thierry.

His men had bled for Berenger, a few had died in Bertou's assault. Bardas thought. Officially, that was their duty, but, well, hopefully Berenger appreciated their acts. That's all Bardas could hope, his people were kind enough to respect the Orthodox customs of burial, Berenger was a classic King, as far as Bardas could tell, kindly and fair, maybe he had the same attitude as his subjects for these strangers.

The men were not pleased to fight for a Frank in the first few days of their new assignment, but over the months, everyone, including Bardas began to tolerate and beyond that, love Chateau-Thierry, and all of Grand Auvergne.

The citizens of Chateau-Thierry likewise, had similar reservations about their new lord and his men, but tensions eased as the citizens began to see the genuine compassion of Bardas and Esaias, of course Bardas wanted to create the proudest hold in Auvergne if it were to have the identity of the Empire attached to it, it helped that these improvements aided the people as well. New walls, excess food storage, and promises of more once peace was regained.
New schools, improved homes, stone walls. The people believed Bardas' promises because it was obvious that Bardas believed in it himself.

Bardas closed his eyes for a moment, and laughed to himself, wondering if Sigebert knew that it was Bardas who had stolen his city away.
Sigebert would be here soon if the scouting reports were correct.
The scouts did, after all, report to Berenger now, not Bardas, so he was receiving the secondhand report.

Bardas filled his lungs with the refreshingly cool air, and retired for the night, preparing his armour personally. He was ready to lead his similarly armoured detachment come tomorrow, that armour had done them all well earlier, it was time to test the craftsmanship of the smiths who had forged the pieces again.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:22 am

There was the war, and there was the battle. The war was chaos, it was destruction, it was the devil’s time. It was the land desacralized by the blood, the iron and the fire.

The battle however, was not the war. It was the end of it. The ordeal by which the conflict will be resolved. God watch over the battle and is the only judge that day. He will choose his champion, and his champion will win. Thus, good will triumph, as evil will be revealed and cast away in the oblivion. It was a ritual, a ceremony, for the end of war and the return to peace.

That day, both sides choosed the battles.

There has been masses, there has been confession for the lords and the knights who will fight. There’s been oaths and speech about the justice of one’s goals. The fighters have been purified and now, it is as pure men, champions of the divine justice, that they march toward the battlefield.

Berenger was at the center of his army, with his personal guard of Multicolored knights by his side. They weren’t the only ones with him : most of his generals and most high ranked compagnons, such as Michel the Just, Thierry of Mendes, Baldwin of Limoge, Albert of Tournai and Jacques of Aubusson were here too, with their own retinues of knights and vassals. Forming the first line however, were the commoners, the levies of farmers led either by veterans of previous battles or by the priests of their villages and cities. To serve as more professionals and reliable forces were the mercenaries paid for the occasion, with their armors, their spears, longswords, daggers and hooks. They were the damned of this battle, the necessary evil that both side had to use. But the victorious will have the privilege to have this stain on their honor washed away in the records.

On the flanks, other vassals of the king and their team of knights. The Lord of Soissons had taken the lead of the right flank, while the Duke of Burgundy lead the left one. It was in the left flank that the count of Provins, the lord of Laon, the nephew of the Archbishop of Reims, sent in place of his uncle the Archbishop who couldn’t spill blood because of his oaths, and Bardas were located. All the party of the Soissonais and the Champagnais and their retinues were here, once again with their escorts of levies and mercenaries.

Coming from the south-west was the army of the Lord of Orleans. Siegbert was still the official leader of the army and of his party, the Frank Lords, but in reality it was to the Rogue Lord -and to his money- that the troops gathered answered. The two “leaders” were at the center, with their guards, their vassals, and their knights. But contrary to the King of the Franks, they didn’t had much levies left with them but compensated this weakness with an important number of mercenaries. On their right side, facing the Duke of Burgundy, was the Party of Normandy, the allies of the Francs Lords. Themselves had a great number of levies but they also displayed northmen heathen in their ranks. Trully, the army of the rebels designed itself as the side of Satan. On their left side, facing the Soissoniens, was the Count of Vermandois and his troops. God seems to want a final face-to-face between the lords of Soissons and Amiens.

Berenger and his men had Meaux behind them. If it came to it, they could always take refuge in the city.

Every knight had his own reasons to be present that day on the battlefield. But the most important of all was that, hidden under a thin veil of bravery and honor, was greed. Like in a tournament, making prisoners and receiving ransoms was the best way a young blue blood had to add a few coins to his name. On the battlefield, only two men of the aristocracy were allowed to die : the leaders of the armies. Exceptionally, it will be three.

The rebels had gambled more than their rivals in this duel. If they lost and where to be captured, the only thing that could save them would be the mercy of the king. But if they win, they would obtain wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

The two armies faced each other on this vast field, multiple farms that the battle will destroy, but such was not the concern of the day. Around them, important forests that symbolized the limits of the battlefield. God won’t watch beyond them until tonight.

Once everyone got close enough, the banner of Saint-Geralt was raised high by the champion of Berenger, Lord of Bourges, eternal rival of the Rogue Lord, and considered most pious and honorable knight in the realm, Michel the Just. On the other side of the field, the rebels had taken for themselves the banner of Charlemagne, or at least a copy of it, the famous “Oriflamme”, as their own standard. With the raised banners, the men started to shout their warcry : “Charlemagne ! Charlemagne !” singed the rebels. “Saint Geralt ! Saint Geralt !” answered the knights of Midi.

The men seemed content to shout, until the first action of the battle was taken. It was the Count of Vermandois who rode with his knights surrounding and protecting him, right in front of the Soissonais. “It is time to joust our grievances away. Let us fight for our honor !” And then they returned in front of their infantry, waiting for the knights of Francia to present themselves.

The knights of Theodoric turned to their leaders with hopeful eyes. Will they get to prove once and for all their superiority over the Picards ? Will they be able to cover themselves in the glory and the spoils of victory. Theodoric laugthed and had his champion raise high his banner. “Come, Friends ! Let it never be said that the Franks fear the duel ! For Our Lady !”

The knights repeated together the cry of their master :”Nostre Dame !” “Our Lady !” and followed him to confront the count of Vermandois which charged back, visibly happy with what will be the first fight of the day. Be they victorious or not, these warriors will win there twice the honor they might have otherwise.

To support their team, archers on each side started to fire and the pikemen moved forward. The arrows wounded some, but killed none, as every soldier was protected by his broigne, helmet and shield. Soon, the two mobs of tissues and metals met, and there was chaos. A chaos that easily engulfed the rest of the battlefield.

But something was wrong. The Auvergnats knights refused the fight, enraging the Francs Lords that wanted their duels and refused to charge the cohorts of mounted sergeants and other commoners thrown at them. Some groups even left their positions to go seek an honorable combat somewhere else. Others charged straight into the mobs of soldiers to force the nobles of the Midi into battle. But the sheer quantity of men-at-arms slowed them too much and hooks of metal jumped out of this human sea to grab them and throw them down their horses. Only the quick reactions of some knights concerned by their honors and the gains they could lose saved them, as otherwise the uneducated blob could have killed them with their daggers.

But even then, there wasn’t as many soldiers as there could be in the Auvergnat army, especially in its center, which as been slowly push back by the rebels despite the inaction of their heavy cavalry. It seemed the Auvergnats would soon break and flee. The battle was almost over when suddenly…

From the woods behind the rebels, the disappeared soldiers emerged. All of them sergeants, and by the time the rebels realized the trickery at hand, the horsemen already met their rearguard. The center of the auvergnat army took position, and now the cohesion of the rebel troops was broken.

The first to flee were the normands who never wanted to die or pay a ransom for their franks allies. Once they saw their leaders leaving the battle, their troops soon followed them in panic, and the real butchery could start.

While the Burgunds pursued the normands in the hope of capturing enough to obtain a good ransom, some Auvergnats knights came to lead the companies of soldiers to encircle the rest of the rebels. The deroute was complete, but it was too late.

After an hour spent finishing the rest of the rebels, the battle was over.

God’s champions stood triumphants in the middle of the defeated tools of the devil.

This long and bloody ritual over, each knight was able to finally make the count of the prisoners he made, and how many each could expect for the ransom. Some minor duel took place for some prisoners, as sometime more than one warrior claimed to have captured the same individual. But in the end the company of monks that never left Berenger’s sides managed to write down the complete list of the prisoners made, the ransoms negotiated and to who. It was a great catch : 28 names among which the Count of Vermandois claimed by Theodoric, and Siegebert who was caught by none other than Jean of Provins. Every knights old enough to remember the day Sigebert presented the Count of Provins before Berenger, who was still Duke of Auvergne and not a king, appreciated the irony in the exact same scene being played again 15 years later, but with the roles reversed.

Only three knights died on the side of the Auvergnats. One Burgund fell from his horse at the high of the battle, another vassal from Burgundy was killed by the pagans from the north which prompted their extermination by the hand of the Duke of Burgundy and his men during the debacle of the rebels. And the last one, a “Soissonais” was wounded by the spear of one of the rebels lords. He managed to continue to fight until the very end of the battle, when he finally died.

Of course, those weren’t the only death that took place in that day, but nobody took the time to record the end of hundreds of men of lesser birth. Only the common graves that their fellow brothers in arms made for them would mark that they indeed existed, for no book will.

However, the Rogue Lord of Orleans was unaccounted for. He managed to escape the trap of the Auvergnats and was now probably miles away from the battleground, with his escorts of fellow excommunicated knights. And more important, he managed to take with him the Oriflamme that he had stolen from the Abbey of Saint-Denis. Some of the frankish knights already swore to do everything they could to return it to its rightful owner, but for now Berenger had other business in minds.

The battle was over, now to finish the pacification of Francia.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Cybelos on Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:36 pm

Bardas rode along the nearly empty, arrow covered farmland battlefield.
Most of the bodies had been carried off, and now all that remained was the blood and the accompanying smell of iron that the rain would have to wash away.

The Vice-Baron couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible, seeing himself as a catalyst for this war, or at least, a good excuse for Sigebert to make his claim to the throne.

There, away from the crimson stained earth, atop a nearby hill stood the tent of King Berenger.
The standards flowing in the wind provided a reassuring music to Bardas' ears, offsetting the otherwise eerie quiet of the now-empty fields and farms.

Bardas rode to the top of the hill and hitched his mount off where the King's captains had left their own.

To the guard outside, Bardas said that he wished to congratulate His Majesty on his victory, and he did, but there was something else he wanted to speak of.

When Berenger's first audience cleared out, Bardas was allowed inside the tent, eyed by the King, his advisors, and his guards. Bardas dropped to one knee and rose once he was instructed to do so. The Vice-Baron offered his congratulations, and complimented the King's martial prowess. It was when Bardas was about to dismissed that he spoke up.

"I do apologise for speaking out of turn, Your Majesty."

Bardas again lowered to one knee.

"I cannot help but feel at least partially responsible for Sigebert's vy for power and the loss of life caused by it."

"Now, I have heard talking among the men that Sigebert has not been counted among the dead or captured, and that your rightful battle standard remains stolen by the rebel Sigebert."

"Your Majesty, I have spoken to my Captain of the Chateau-Thierry guard, a man by the name of Thomas Aulenos, and when I told him of my plan to offer myself in service to Your Majesty, he asked to be my champion and to fight in my stead, in a quest to retrieve the legendary Oriflamme for Your Majesty's honor."

"I will, of course provide weaponry, armour, and food to the Captain, and his retinue."
"That is, if Your Majesty approves?"
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:23 pm

Berenger smiled to the vice-baron. "Rise up, baron. You have done well and you don't have to feel any guilt for the inconsidered actions of a few."

As for the Oriflamme, yes, it is indeed a terrible thing that it has fallen in the hands of the Lord of Orleans. We never desired to use it again, it is now but a symbol of ages almost forgotten... but a symbol still.

Fine, your champion may seek in your name the Oriflamme. But he won't be alone. Other knights have already asked us to allow them to pursue the same task. It would be a good thing if you worked together.

Now, let us rest for the time being, then we will march again on the last bastions of the rebels. We have already sent ambassadors to their castles, to see the terms of their surrender. We have reasons to believe none will refuse."


And it was done as the king of the franks said. First the army returned to Paris, where the news of the king's victory had already calmed the rioters. A council of some of the most influents, honored and wealthiest men in the bourg came to meet the Royal army and to present to Berenger the main leaders of the riots and partisans of the rebels. Some of which of their own clans and families. The mayor himself offered the key of the gates to the king, which accepted them and then returned them to Robert. The lord of Paris who had to flee his city, finally returned triumphant.

The same ceremonial repeated itself in each city visited by the army. In their castles, the rebels who hadn't been captured in the battle of Meaux either waited that the king forget about them or by themselves came to him to surrender.

Finally, when the representatives of the Normands lords arrived, a council was held in Senlis where Berenger exposed his terms and conditions. They were harsh. The normands would have to abandon the siege of Rouen and pay a tribute to the Auvergnat. Manys of the franks lords had their titles revoked and their lands taken from them. Some managed to keep some castles and farms here and there, but even then Berenger made sure to take their childs back to Clermont as hostages, along with other war prizes.

Once the traitors had been punished, it was time for the loyals to be rewarded. Entire villages changed hands, new taxes and ransoms were to be payed, and so on and so on.

Of the persons of interest for Bardas, Theodoric of Soissons took the greatest share. He was rewarded with the title of "Duke of Francia", while smaller counties were made at his discretion. Surprisingly, Jean, the Count of Provins, was definitively rehabilitated by Berenger who gave him the title of "Duke of Champagne". The division of Francia between the two duchies was complete.

Bardas did not received much in comparaison. Meaux returned to a cousin of Siegbert, but the Vice-Baron received one year worth of Meaux revenues. He was also offered some lands, mostly savages forests for now and some villages around them, in his own name. But he was free to refuse them, if he felt like there would be a conflict of interest between his role as Vice-Baron and as knight of Francia. He also received from both Theodoric and Berenger some gift in silver coins, horses, and weapons. All of these gifts were worth maybe half a year of revenue from Chateau-thierry. Probably enough to pay all of Bardas creditors after his work on Chateau-Thierry.

But the most special gift was one from Berenger. A simple wooden chest, but with inside it there was a few more coins...

...and a book of Tibullus poetry.
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Re: The Lords of the Marne

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