The Oriflamme of Orleans

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The Oriflamme of Orleans

Post by Grand Auvergne on Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:59 pm

It is the year of the Lord 1017. Two winters have passed since the end of the revolt that had shaken Francia, when numerous lords between the Loire and the Somme rose against the rule of the Duke of Auvergne, Berenger Longcrin, of the House of Armand. His victory against the rebels at the Battle of Meaux secured his position and title as Rex Francorum.

However, not all of the Gauls are under the grasp of what some chroniclers already call the “Fourth race of kings”. Despite their vassal in Rouen, Normandy as a whole still escape the influence of Berenger. The Count of Vermandois just recently finished to pay his ransom for his capture at the battle of Meaux, and isn’t yet ready to plot against his royal neighbor. But the most important of these independent lords was Mercade, the Rogue Lord of Orleans.

Mercade was but a knight when the war between Charles, the Last of the Carolingian, and Hugh Capet, the elected king of the Franks, took place. He was a partisan of Hugh but as time passed, he started to hunger for more. As money started to become scarce, Mercade looked for another way to gain in wealth. He became the captain of his own band of mercenaries, switching allegiances depending on the pay.

In 991, at the start of the period known as the “Anarchy”, when both Charles and Hugh died and no pretender was strong enough to take the throne, Mercade rode to the old fief of the king, Orleans, an important and wealthy city on the Loire, and occupied it, stealing it from its rightful owners.

Now, Mercade is known as the “Rogue Lord of Orleans”, a city of wonder he turned into a place of villainy to the service of his greed. His rivalry with Michel the Just, Lord of Bourges and Constable of Auvergne, is legendary. But even the greatest knight of the Gauls never could deal a fatal defeat to the Rogue Lord, only stop him from pushing too deep into the rest of the Gauls his cavalcades.

But during the revolt of the franks lords, Mercade managed to took over the direction of the rebels armies. He transformed what was at first a fight for independence into a war of plunders and sacks, just a perfect occasion to fill his coffers. Now, the Rogue Lord managed to flee at the battle of Meaux, and escaped justice once again. And with him, everything he stole during the war.

And among these was an artefact retaken from the Abbey of Saint-Denis : the Oriflamme.

The battle banner of Charlemagne, used by the Franks Lords as symbol of their claims as true successors of the kings of old, and not servants of a petty Duke of the south, was now in possession of the last Rogue Lord of the Gauls.

Once it became known that such a despicable character was in possession of such artefact, many knights, out of true concern for such symbol or because of less honorables reasons, presented themselves to Berenger I, to lend their weapons and their arms in the quest to reclaim the precious banner and, yes maybe, to finally bring the Rogue Lord to justice.

Characters :

  • Thomas Aulenos : Captain of Chateau-Thierry's guard (Cybelos)
  • Bertrans de Narbonnes : Knight Errant (Judah)
  • Sigismund the Tall, Knight of Bourges (Aegyptus)
  • "A Friend in Need", Auvergnat contact in Orleans (NPC)

-Characters to be added-
Grand Auvergne

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Re: The Oriflamme of Orleans

Post by Cybelos [ERE] on Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:15 pm

It had been sometime since they served their purpose, but the walls of Chateau-Thierry were complete, the wooden palisades being fully replaced with bricks of quarried stone.

A true marvel amongst its fellow baronies, Chateau-Thierry had become quite the sight once the heir to the throne, Caesar, and Doux, Prince Philip had taken an interest in the small Imperial enclave in Francia.

Street lights illuminated the Barony at night.
Which was an expensive endeavour, but a rather simple task given the small size of the Barony in all.

It was rumoured that the young Prince was to style himself as a warrior-philosopher Emperor, with many projects to increase the quality of life in his own Duchy of Paristrion, likewise, it seemed the young man wished to end the schism between east and west, by promoting Latin and Greek Christians within his Duchy. It was thought that this mentality of Prince Philip was coming to Chateau-Thierry as the young man had instructed his loyal servant, the Vice-Baron Bardas, to accept King Berenger's offer of more lands. More than that, some of the forests were to be cleared and a foundation was in the process of being built.

What this project aimed to do was unclear to the citizenry, but, so long as their taxes didn't go towards this 'vanity project' of the Prince, they were happy enough to help build, and get their pay for doing so.

Thomas Aulenos

The gates of Chateau-Thierry swung open at the command of Captain Thomas, long since repaired from the days of Bertou, and a new secondary gate was installed, a lot of precaution, Thomas thought. What were the odds that... Actually, he supposed it was better to be safe than sorry.

Alongside the Captain and his group of men, rode Armand, trusted confidant of Thomas, second-in-command of Chateau-Thierry's guard, and aide-de-camp to Thomas for this mission.

The two men had become fast friends during the uprising of Sigebert, the prospect of death seems to do that amongst men who likely would have never have become friends otherwise.

It was a few days ride to reach Clermont.
If only Berenger had a similar mind as the Merovingians, he'd only have to ride for one day.

The captain sighed lightly to himself, at least this land wasn't as mountainous as back home.

Once the great black cathedral of Clermont was in sight, the men could finally get some good rest, at least for a day, well, maybe half of a day. Then it was off to Orleans, Thomas supposed.

As for this group he was to meet up with, rather unremarkable appearance-wise, except for this one name: Sigismund the Tall.
As if Sigismund wasn't enough of an intimidating name.

That would be the person to keep an eye out for, to find the rest of the expedition, Thomas thought.
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Re: The Oriflamme of Orleans

Post by Aegyptus on Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:10 pm

Sigismund the Tall, Knight of Bourges, rode on his horse, surrounded by his allies and friends. They were off to Orleans, to defend the honour of the Oriflamme, and indeed, Orleans itself, from the undeserving hands of the Rogue Lord. It would be a day, maybe two until they would get there.

The knight was accompanied by his faithful friends, Theodore and Paschal. They had fought many battles together, and understood each other like they did themselves. Upon his request, they had accepted to accompany him on the expedition, without hesitation.

Sigismund had no idea what to expect from the group they were to meet. For the most part, the names were unknown and strange. Only a few names stood out, like Thomas Aulenos and Bertrans de Narbonnes. He had heard tales of these people in passing.

It would certainly be interesting. For the moment, however, he and his group all required some rest.

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Re: The Oriflamme of Orleans

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:04 pm

Clermont was there, black pearl of the kingdom, seated under the Puy de Dome, the sleeping volcano. Its walls were made out of this black rock that characterized the city, the same rock that was used for the pavements. But of course, towering over the dark city, was the Clarus Mons, the Castle who’s pale stones were seemingly made out of light when compared to the rest of the city.

It was the middle of June and as such, the city was thriving with activities. The Limagne, the plain between the mountains, the ancestral home of the Arvenii and of the Armandians, was ripe for the harvests and it was a good year, even if there has been better. Cereals were brought in, controlled, bought and sold. The royal inspectors were taking their cut of all transactions, ten percents, that would then be transported to the reserves inside the guards towers and the Clarus Mons. These reserves and their strict control were here in case of poor harvests or of a siege. The odds for the latter had drastically fallen since Berenger inherited the duchy, but a few years ago it was still an harsh reality.

Not only grains of all kind were sold, but also fruits and vegetables. cattles were brought to the butchers, as their keepers came down from the mountains to sell them and then disappear right back into their mountains, not to be seen for another full year. Soon, it would be time to harvest the raisin and prepare a new year worth of wine, but for now the merchants were still selling what was left of last year’s production.

Of course, it was not all that was sold in Clermont and many merchants had taken refuge in the relative peace the Duke offered, and imported resources from far away. Salt from the Mediterranean Sea, greek wines, spices from all around the world but especially the delicate saffron produced not far away, in the Quercy and the Gatinais. Lavender from Provence could be found too, among many other flowers. It was not yet the fair, but there was always something to be bought in the new capital of the Kingdom, as well as bankers and lenders that despite the amorality of their professions, still gathered around the minting factory, one of the few places allowed to produce its own money.

But of course, none of the knights came to enjoy the city’s life nor to buy bread, spices, or to ask for a loan. So they gathered to the Bright Halls of the Clarus Mons were the guards allowed them to enter armed. For the first time, the men who refused the abomination of the Rogue Lord being in possession of the Oriflamme were together in one room. A fire had been prepared for them, in a gigantic chimney, as well as a good meal : a beef broth, with white bread, and some wine. The cooks were worthy of a royal castle and the food both satisfied the pallets and gave back some energy after the long travel some had to accomplish.

The knights were then left free to discuss and to take some time to know each other. After all, they were going on an almost holy mission to protect the honor of the kings of old, to save a symbol of the Realm. They wouldn’t be able to do much without knowing who they were. But after maybe an hour or so, a man entered the Hall, followed by some guard. It was the Archbishop of Clermont, the Secretary of the kings and their arch-chancellor as well. “From the Kings of the Franks and the Duke of Auvergne, Salutations, dear knights and proud servants of the crown. Be sure that you have all the respect and considerations of your lords and that the dangerous mission you’ll soon undergo will not be without rewards.

Now, you know why you’re here for. The Oriflamme. And Mercade, the Rogue Lord. Obviously and despite your bravery, you can’t take him all by yourself. Despite his criminal nature, he has more than a thousand of good and loyal men at his services, mercenaries and knights veterans of many wars and plunders entirely won to his cause and who have served with him almost from the start. Those that do not fit this description are children of men who did. And you are a few dozen. Subtlety and discretion will be required.

We have informations about what’s happening inside Orleans’ walls, but none that tell us exactly were the Oriflamme is. They could be in the Ducal Castle, or in the St-Etienne cathedral. We don’t know yet. You will have to investigate once you’re in.

Of course getting in is a problem but we have a plan. As we said we have agents inside the city. One of them can help you get in. You will have to go to a village near the city, called Ardon. There, one of you will make it know that he’s in search of “A Friend In Need”, we count on you to be discreet while doing so. He will then make contact with you and explain you his plan to get you inside the city, despite the security.

Now, We invite you to enjoy the rest of the day and to rest well. Servants will show you your room, and tomorrow, you’ll be going north, to Orleans.
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