Chapter 3 of Marriage and Daggers, a Lombard Ten Thrones Run

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Following the beheading of Countess Ansia I have become her cousin and executioner King Ilderic “The Purifier” of Lombardy.

See Chapter 2 for the story of Countess Ansia and how she came to be beheaded.

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King Ilderic of Lombardy

King Ilderic of Lombardy

At the time I become him Ilderic is not the most pleasant of characters: he is a smelly drunk, he has been excommunicated and he is a kin slayer following the execution of Ansia his cousin. His diplomacy skill is 0. Though by realm size he has the 5th biggest kingdom in the known world.

Lombardy Realm Size

795 AD – Orientation

Ilderic is severely injured with an amputated leg so he might not even last that long. Also the mother of Ansia, now Queen of Bavaria by marriage, is plotting to kill him in revenge for beheading her daughter. Him? I should say “me” since I am him now.

Plot to Kill

There is a kind of opportunity in this plot to kill me. Gisela is outside my kingdom so it will have no plot power without collaborators inside the kingdom. If she gets anyone to collaborate then they may be discovered by my spymaster which will then allow me to arrest them as traitors. Then I can either ransom them for cash or revoke them for titles.

I, as Ilderic, have two sons for heirs but they are only babies with the eldest being just 2 years old. Somehow I should try to survive at least another 14 years until the eldest comes of age or I’ll have another decade long stint as a child.

Target Titles

Given the resources at my disposal as King of Lombardy I should be able to start making more progress towards acquiring more thrones for my dynasty. I have all the provinces of Carinthia so that is one king title I could make now if I had the money for it.

Carinthia

Another king title within reach is the Papal States. This title already exists but is held by the pope. I have 80% of the de jure territories so I could usurp it if I had the cash.

Papal States

The other two to plan for are Bavaria and Sicily. I have about half the territories of each so I’ll need to get some more counties in each before making or taking the titles.

Bavaria
Sicily

After that there is the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica but I only have a few titles in each there.

Corsica And Sardinia
Bohemia

Marriage Opportunities

House Gausian

There are four marriageable Gausians now: my two baby sons, my sister Sichelgaita and my baby boy cousin born to Aunt Adelperga and the Karling bastard. The boys are all babies so there is no great rush to organise anything for them I guess. Sichelgaita will come of age in less than a year so I will focus on getting her a good match first.

Sichelgaita

Topping the list of Catholic candidates for a matri-lineal marriage to Sichelgaita is Prince Adelfonso of Asturias. He has no titles he is only a prince because his father was King of Asturias. He is no relation to the current King of Asturias and is not in the line to succeed. Well Asturias is currently an elective monarchy, so maybe he could get it through election.

He does have a strong claim to the title, presumably one I could press for him after he marries my sister matri-linealy. I am not sure if it is worth the trouble though. Unless the kingdom’s succession rules change then my sister’s children may very well not inherit it after him.

The next best Catholic matri-lineal candidate is a Serbian commander with no titles but a strong claim on four counties deep in the Byzantine Empire. I don’t particularly fancy war with Byzantine to press those claims though.

I consider just marrying her to someone with good genes so that she can get to work breeding up better quality people for our dynasty but I am not seeing any great options there either. The Croatian hunk who was betrothed to Ansia is still around and unattached but he is no longer interested in a matri-lineal match.

The other potential breeder is a 14 year old Burgundian with the strong trait. He has no titles or claims but he is first in line to a county in Frankia. He may also be in line for the Duchy of Burgundy if a lot of people die before him. I might help that along… This is the one I get for her then.

Sitchelgaita’s marriage option

Realm Policing

I plot to revoke the Count of Milano’s title since his loyalties are suspect. Now he is rebelling with the support of the Duke of Modena. Also a small peasant revolt chooses this time to erupt. My forces are more than sufficient to crush both so I only call up a few vassals to minimise the opinion penalty.

Milano Rebellion

Infection, time slips away…

Oh dear, my wound is infected. I’ll probably die soon.

I said earlier that there was no rush to marry off the boys but my infection changes my perspective. I think I will try to arrange some nice marriages now for the second son and Adelperga’s son before I die, which could be any moment.

I’ll start with Ardoin, Adelperga’s son, the one with the Karling bloodline. If I can I want him to get a kingdom somewhere down the line. I get him a girl with the Quick genes. Her father is only a Baron in Germany though.

For my second son Albion I get a bastard Burgundian girl with the strong trait.

For the eldest son Alahis I get a another girl with the quick trait who is also the only heir to the Duchy Malorca. Malorca is currently vassal to Byzantine.

Betrothal to Heir to Malorca

796 AD – Plotting

After I finally get this title revocation plot on Milano complete I want to ensure the Duke of Malorca has an accident to prevent him producing any more heirs beyond the daughter betrothed to my eldest son. Then I want to start thinning the herd of heirs to the Duchies of Burgundy and Normandy.

Milano and the peasants are now crushed but my plot power in Malorca is pretty weak. It will take some work to get it up. I reshuffle my council for a more competent spymaster and get the same Irish lowborn whom Ansia had before I beheaded her.

I notice another faction forms for Adelperga to take over from me, this time lead by the Duke of Corsica. Given what happened last time Adelperga inspired a faction I’ll aim to squash this early before it picks up too much force.

Another Adelperga Faction

I’ll send my chancellor to work on the Duke of Corsica because I want my spymaster in Malorca.

Something went wrong with my sister Sitchelgaita’s betrothal but I am not sure what exactly. The first I know about it is she has just given birth to a bastard girl and the betrothal is over. I’ll have to arrange something else for her.

Betrothal Broken Bastard Born

The dispossessed Prince of Asturias is still available for a matri-lineal so I pass her off onto him. I won’t do any support work for her but with her new prince husband in an elective monarchy she may get the kingdom anyway. Then again she may even get a succession change to seal it in. She is a seed I cast to the wind.

I just ransomed off my prisoners and gained enough to cash to usurp the Papal States. I hold off for now from doing that although it is no less than the papacy deserves for excommunicating me. I’ll probably die soon and gavelkind will just split the two kingdoms between my sons. For now I want to keep Lombardy big and united.

I have switched to the Intrigue focus to help my plot against the Duke of Malorca. The extra spying ability that the focus gives me I now use to get something on the Duke of Corsica who leads the faction. The faction for Adelperga is getting dangerously strong.

I have switched away from trying to sway the Duke of Corsica. I am now trying to sway the Duchess of Malorca, the wife of the man I want to kill. She does not like me but she does not like her husband much either which makes her a potential collaborator.

I’d like to seed his court with agents but so far I am not having any luck attracting anyone. Nobody likes the sight or smell of my rotting leg stump I guess.

The Duke of Malorca’s wife turns out to be cheap to buy due to his philandering, so I bribe her and the court chaplain into joining the plot. I switch to swaying the spymaster instead.

797 AD – The Stench Thickens

The faction for Adelperga is waning in strength. One reason for that is that I had stroke of luck with the Duke of Corsica. A big force of Norse adventurers were crawling up the country raiding. I was inclined to ignore them rather than fight them but I attempted to negotiate instead. As luck would have it the county that the leader wanted was one of the Duke’s counties. So I let the Norse have it. They pay me and now the Duke is a bit weaker. He seems to have lost interest in the faction as a result. That’ll teach him.

Damn I just contracted leprosy. Between that and the infection death is surely not far off.

Byzantine is enduring a big revolt. I take advantage by pressing my ducal claim on Brendesion on the heel of Sicily. It is a rebel territory far from the main rebel areas. So I should be able to take it with little opposition and without annoying the Byzantine Emperor too much. Even the Duke of Malorca, vassal to the Emperor is helping me to take it.

War for Brendison

My infection heals but I still have the leprosy hanging over me.

Infection Healed

798 AD – The Mask

I have taken to wearing a mask to hide my rotting face. Between being excommunicated, a kinslayer and disfigured the penalties to my diplomacy skills are -15. Good thing skills can’t go lower than 0.

Oh and my wife is pregnant which given her revulsion for me at this point is almost certainly going to be a bastard. Indeed very shortly my spies report that the father is the Count of Ferrara. I attempt to arrest my wife but she escapes out the country.


Cucked

799 AD – Not the Only One Revolting

A Cathar revolt flares up and the faction for Adelperga with new support is demanding I step down for her. This is while I am still warring the Byzantine rebels for Brendesion. I actually would like her son to be king eventually but I still have a plot going on the Duke of Malorca and I want to finish this war first. I expect to die soon anyway. I tell them to go to hell. I have money for mercs if need be.

I will not be blackmailed

The faction revolts and I hire The Great Company to smash into them while they are still dispersed mustering.

The Great Company delivers a series of victories against the Adelperga faction while my own army finishes the job of taking Brendesion. I send my forces to join The Great Company.

Brendesion Won

Before my forces join up with The Great Company the mercs lose a close battle with a reformed rebel group. It is a setback but with Brendesion won the rebels won’t be able to stand against the combined forces my army and the rallied remnants of The Great Company.

I may have miscalculated a bit. I thought I still had the option to take out a jew loan to sustain merc pay but it turns out I already have an unrepaid loan from them so I can’t do it. There is no chance of a loan from the pope either. I may have to disband the Great Company soon, funds are running low. My own army should be enough though.

800 AD – Temporarily Embarrassed

The Great Company quits when not paid. My own forces win the battle to relieve the garrison at Milano. The reduced expenditures and some ransoms put me back in the black.

801 AD – Unrequited Victory

I pursue the fleeing rebels into the east. They take defeat after defeat then ask for white peace. Denied. I’ll have them in gibbets. Meanwhile the Cathar uprising which I have been ignoring while I focused on the Adelperga faction has become considerably stronger.

I now have 100% warscore against the Adelperga faction but can’t enforce demands because some of their territory is being occupied by another army or something, which is annoying. I take a break to renew my demesne troops then go off to smash the Cathars.

The Cathars are smashed in a single engagement.

802 AD – Sichelgaita Again

Dead Prince

My sister’s husband the Asturian Prince has died. I marry her off for the third time, this time to the Croatian “hunk” to whom my cousin Ansia was betrothed before I chopped her head off.

Besar

Sichelgaita is getting fat, it would be nice if could get fat with some legitimate children for a change.

The plot to kill the Duke of Malorca grinds on without any obvious progress. He has fathered three more children but luckily they are all girls but for one boy who is a bastard. Fingers crossed he does not legitimise him.

803 AD – The Mustering

Sichelgaita and Besar have a daughter but the daughter does not inherit Besar’s Quick trait.

I have to liberate the lands of the rebels from third party occupiers if I want to end the rebellion. In the meantime I am using my active duty troops to assist in arresting some traitors. I start with the Duke of Modena who has been uncovered fabricating a claim on the kingdom.

Arrest the Duke of Modena

He rebels of course but I have troops already there ready for him. Another Cathar uprising takes advantage of the moment.

Another Cathar Uprising

I raise all my vassal’s levies to take on all these remaining challenges in the field. I have around 7k mustered.

804 AD – The Rebel’s Rebels Rebel

Finally something is happening in the plot on the Duke of Malorca…

Finally the Plot Thickens

… The Duke is dead! And I was not implicated. His daughter who is betrothed to my eldest son inherits. At this time she is 8 and my son is 11 there is still a few years yet before they can start breeding up Gausian heirs to the Duchy. The duchy is not in the bag yet.

Duke Dead

After crushing the Cathars I send the army up into Carinthia to liberate the rebel lands from a slavic uprising. How convoluted is that?! Let me try to get it straight. The rebels against me have rebels of their own whom I must put down before the rebels against me will admit defeat. Yeah, that’s it.

The Duke of Modena is defeated, imprisoned and stripped of all his titles. Now I’ll go after the Cathars and then liberate the rebel’s land before turning back to finally enforce my demands on them.

I should get another plot going while I am chasing rebels all over the country. I am struggling to think of anyone who really needs to discover the afterlife when I remember my dear unfaithful wife. She managed to escape the country when I tried to arrest her but my assassins can follow where my sheriffs can’t. There is no chance of a divorce while I am excommunicated so an assassination it will have to be.

805 AD – The Peace Dividend

Finally peace. The rebels of the rebels are crushed so now the rebels who had rebels will give up rebelling and go to prison where they belong. Hopefully I can have a few years of peace while I plot my wife’s murder.

It seems a new kingdom called Swabia has arisen in the north which has eaten up much of what territory remains to the King of Bavaria. The consequence for me is that can now usurp his title as I have more de jure Bavarian titles than he does.

Shriveled Bavaria

In contrast to the usurpation of the Papal States this is an usupation that will not weaken Lombardy very much when gavelkind spins it off as an independent kingdom. So I go for it, since I have the cash.

Bavaria Usurped

What with usurping the kingdom of Bavaria and another round of revocations of all the rebels and rebels of revels crowding my dungeons I am weighed down with titles. I ought to get rid of some Duchy level titles at a least, if only to lose the opinion penalty for having too many duchies.

I am thinking about which ones to give and to whom when another Slavic uprising happens in the tribal areas of the north east. A short lived peace it is then. There is not that many of them so only raise my demesne troops to put it down.

I give the Duchy of Corsica which I revoked from the rebel duke to the Norse adventurer that I settled there. Well he is Norse no more having converted to both Catholicism and the Lombard culture. It turns out he has a baby daughter with the precious Genius trait. I’ll have to try to find a way to get that girl married into my dynasty.

I give the Duchy of Moravia to my brother Count Grimoald of Salerno. In return for that he kindly calls off his plot to murder my second son.

The County of Parna and the Duchy of Modena I give to the husband of Aunt Adelperga. It is a matri-lineal marriage so it should come back to the Gausian line eventually, probably to Ardoin, the boy with the Karling bloodline.

Mighty Lombardy

Somebody leaves a book about Slavic legends on my pillow. I trash its filthy heresies, of course.

The Duchy of Carinthia I grant to my marshal. And that is it for granting titles.

Randomly a kitty wants attention. I’m feeling grumpy so I kick it and in reprisal scratches one of my runny eyes out. Along with my stump of a leg, the missing eye puts me only one mutilation short of the Scarrred for Life Steam Achievement.

806 AD – Counter Plot

Annoyingly the child Duchess of Malorca who was in the fullness of time to marry my eldest son and so deliver the Duchy and her Quick genes to House Gausian has been murdered.

A Most Misfortunate Murder

The next daughter has inherited the Duchy after her and I arrange for her to marry my son to salvage the situation. I’d rather have had the eldest though because of the better genes and to get the breeding of heirs going sooner. Oh well.

The murderer was her vassal the Count of Menorca. He is an exceedingly nasty and dangerous character too. Due to the rest of the late Duke’s children being bastards the Count is the next to inherit after the second daughter so that is the likely motive. He is possessed as well so he that might be why. I hope he doesn’t repeat the trick on the second daughter but it seems likely he will.

The Devil of Menorca

Oh and just for fun he is also the regent of the new Duchess and his wife is possessed too. I am wracking my brain for how to save the girl and more importantly her titles but the options just are not there. My plot power is weak against him. I call off the plot on my wife anyway and put it on the dastardly Count. I have no expectation it will succeed.

807 AD – Faction Fractionated

Oh good another traitor. The Countess Marozia has formed a faction for making the former King of Bavaria, whose title I usurped, the King of Lombardy. The faction is still small but it is best to nip these things in the bud. I send some spies to dig up some dirt on her. They come back very quickly with evidence that she is a filthy heretic. Good, I use this to blackmail her into dropping her support for the former king.

Countess Caught

The Grand Mayor of Genoa replaces her as the faction leader so I switch to spying on him. For extra fun and to wound his prestige I make him Court Jester.

Duke of Genoa

808 AD – Jinxed It

I was just marveling how long I have lasted given that I have leprosy when I suddenly die of that leprosy. Oh well, I did get quite a few years out of Ilderic, enough to see his heir inherit less than a year before coming of age. So now I am King Alahis II of Lombardy. Long live the King!

Ilderic Dies

For Chapter 4, the next chapter of Marriage and Daggers, click here

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