Prince of Peace (edited) by Faeelin

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by G.Bone, May 7, 2004.

  1. G.Bone lurks

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    Due to the massive editing and the black-out we had for 3 weeks, I am going to post the (edited) version of Prince of Peace that has appeared on SWIF. Faeelin has given permission to post these installments. Without further ado...
     
  2. G.Bone lurks

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    Prince of Peace #1

    His premature death should be mourned by the German people and by all men
    throughout the empire. For he increased their glory by the wealth of foreign
    countries, struck terror into the surrounding nations by his bravery and
    proved that they (the Germans) would certainly have surpassed all other
    nations had not death cut him short."-St. Blasien's Chronicle.

    "Will thou hold and guard by all proper means the sacred faith as handed
    down to Catholic men?"

    "Will thou be the faithful shield and protector of Holy Church and her
    servants?"

    "Will though uphold and recover those rights of the realm and possessions of
    the Empire which have been unlawfully usurped"

    "Wilt thou protect the poor, the fatherless, and the widowed?" [1]-Questions
    to the Emperor at his coronation



    October 1196, Efurt

    The Diet was, at long last, coming to a close. The princes were finally
    coming around to agreeing to Henry's proposal. Succession in the head of the
    empire would now be hereditary in the Hohenstaufen lineage.
    Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia, was still complaining. "This is not the
    foundation upon which the Empire is based! This is a grave disservice to the
    Empire!" Henry sighed. Hermann had been complaining throughout. It was a
    perfectly fair arrangement, really. The vassals of the Emperor could pass
    land through their female lines as well, and their estates were hereditary,
    yet so was the crown.

    "Why not? The Empire of Augustus passed down dynastic lines, and are we not
    his heirs? "[2].
    Hermann sighed, and nodded. If only the Archbishop of Cologne hadn't passed
    away before the Emperor had proposed this in Wurzburg. He would've supported
    this. Now he and the Welfs were the only opponents, and everyone knew the
    Welfs would put themselves above the Empire. These men did not see it. Many
    of them were awed by Henry's might; but did they realize that he could be
    even mightier? If he could subdue the Lion of England, if he could conquer
    Sicily, how much more could he do? But Hermann was isolated. To many men
    were swayed by Henry. As the debate concluded, Hermann sighed. He had no
    choice; to act alone would earn him the grave disfavor of the Emperor.

    Frederick II would be the first king to inherit the throne of the Empire in
    hundreds of years.

    Anagni, Italy, March, 1197
    Celestine sighed. Couldn't they let an old man rest? So the Germans had
    declared Frederick II to be the heir to Henry. Was that so surprising? If
    Henry died, it wouldn't last; and if he didn't, well, they would deal with
    it [3]. He would give support to the revived Lombard League.

    But there was more to it than that. Henry had taken the cross in 1195, and
    was coming south with an army. He was using his new possession as territory
    to free Jerusalem. How could a just Pope punish an Emperor devoted to
    freeing Christendom for preparing for his son's future?

    But the two kingdoms could not be kept together. He nodded. "Send the
    message to Henry. Frederick II can only inherit the Empire or Sicily, not
    both. "

    August, Italy, 1197

    Henry looked off in the distance, and picked his son up. "Those ships are
    setting off for the Holy Land, to free Jerusalem." Frederick nodded. A very
    quiet child, thought Henry. Must take after his father.

    "Are you going with them?" asked Frederick. Already Henry could tell his
    child was going to do marvelous things.

    "Perhaps, Frederick. The rebellion by the Saracens in Sicily has been
    suppressed, and Markwood and your mother are in charge." Well, Markwood was
    also going to keep an eye on Constance, but no sense worrying the boy. He
    would worry enough, when he grew up.


    [1] There's also a fifth question, asking if the Emperor will pay due
    submission to the Roman pontiff, which I felt didn't quite fit.

    [2 Well, often enough to suit Henry's purposes anyway.

    [3 I'm in the camp that leans towards senility in Celestine more than the
    moderating voice. Of course, any successive popes will _not_ be amused.
     
  3. G.Bone lurks

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    Prince of Peace 2

    Egypt, November, 1197.

    "The Franks are back," said one of the servants. Al-Adel nodded. With his
    brother's empire falling apart, it wasn't surprising that they'd try to
    restore their Kingdom. And already Beirut and Sidon had fallen. They'd even
    sent a message.

    "I, Henry VI, Emperor of the Romans, King of Sicily, and ruler of
    Christendom, come thee now with a warning. You have taken from us the most
    Holy City of Jerusalem, and parts of the sacred true cross. Return to us the
    Kingdom and the Cross, and we shall leave in peace. If you do not, then pray
    to your idols, for you shall meet them shortly."

    And on and on. He was almost as bad as Malik Ric had been. Then again, his
    army was just as large.

    Tibnine, January, 1198

    The defeated Saracens walked out of the gates, defeated and forlorn. The
    Saracens were weary and demoralized, he could tell; there'd apparently been
    a civil war in their lands when Saladin died. He thanked God that nothing
    like that would happen when his son took the throne. In fact, it was
    beginning to look like hi son would be the king of Jerusalem. Princess Maria
    was a few years older than Frederick, but what of it? He wasn't the same age
    as Constance, and that had worked out well enough.

    Jaffa, March, 1198

    With the fall of Tibnine (Tiberias), the Imperial army garrisoned the city
    and prepared to march south. Although the casualties were great, there was
    little opposition. God had smiled upon them, weakening the infidel in his
    civil wars. True, they had suffered; there had been dysentery, and there had
    been little water, but that was in the past.

    Henry, at this point, decided that, having the Sicilian navy in tow, he may
    as well get some use out of it, and they advanced down the coast towards
    Jaffa, from which point they would head east to Jaffa, a key Saracen
    seaport. Taking it, as the local magnates told Henry, would mean that
    Al-Adel would not be able to communicate properly with his lands in the
    Kingdom. It was, however, a mighty city, with two walls, fifty-three towers,
    and strong ramparts.

    On the other hand, taking the city would mean that Al-Adel would be cut off
    from his base of support in Egypt, and his entire position in the Holy Land
    would be unviable.

    Al-Adel, meanwhile, facing opposition in his own ranks, decided that he had
    to defeat the Franks quickly. The Battle of Ascalon would be the largest
    battle of what would be known as the Imperial Crusade.

    At the battle of Ascalon, with the sea protecting the rear of the
    Christians,Al-Adel decided to use his numerical superiority to smash them
    from all sides. The army was gradually pushed closer and closer together,
    and the Archbishop of Mainz wrote that "Our people, so few in numbers, were
    hemmed in by the hordes of the Arabs. They were shut in, like a flock of
    sheep in the jaws of wolves."

    Word was sent to Henry that the lines could not hold, and they implored for
    a breakout. Henry refused. His left flank bore the brunt of the attack,
    compressing towards the center. Finally, in the battle that would earn him
    the name "The Hammerer of the Pagans" . Henry's army, compressed towards the
    center, launched a charge[1].

    Al-Adel would, according to chronicles, realize what was going on, but too
    late. The spark came from Frederick of Austria, who rushed through the
    infantry and at the attackers. Instantly, so did the rest of the army. As if
    on cue, the infantry line parted in the center, and the cavalry charge
    became general.

    The Muslim ranks collapsed in general confusion and terror. Many of the
    Muslim attackers had dismounted to press their advantage, and were cut down.
    Henry, declaring "Adjuva nos, Deus!" [2] joined the fray. As the Muslim
    retreat turned into a rout, Al-Adel attempted to berate and stop his
    soldiers from fleeing, only to be knocked off his horse by a stone thrown by
    his soldiers.

    By nightfall, the rout was complete. Al-Adel lost over seven thousand dead
    and two dozen emirs, and Henry had lost only a few more than five hundred.
    No one stood between the crusaders adn the liberation of the Holy Land.


    [1] Regrettably, many of Al-Adel's men were dismounting to close ranks when
    this happened.

    [2] God Preserve us, the typical cry when they went off to fight and die.

    Prince of Peace 3

    At Rome I heard lying
    and the betrayal of two kings.
    From that arose the greatest strife
    that ever was or will be.-Walter Von Vogelweide, poet for Phillip of Swabia.


    Rome, July, 1198

    As usual, the Cardinals were arguing. Some thought that Henry wasn't a
    threat; others thought that it would make the church look like a farce if it
    lost. Innocent III was getting rather tired of this, and it was important to
    focus on the crux of the matter.

    "Henry VI is a threat to the Church. Bad enough dealing with an Emperor,
    when we could play off the Normans against him, and vice versa. Now we have
    an Emperor who's also the king of Sicily. And in the Holy Land, where he's
    been given the title "Defender of Jerusalem" by the Queen. And who has
    gotten the German nobles to declare the Hohenstaufens the dynastic rulers of
    the Empire."

    Innocent's nephew, the count of Segni [1 picked up a letter. "It's been
    clear for some time that a few of the German nobles have begun to realize
    that they are now landlords for the Emperor and are, quite frankly, not
    happy."

    "Now, it's quite obvious that it should be possible to incite the Welfs to
    revolt against their Emperor. But the rest of Germany might prove more
    difficult, especially as Frederick II has already been crowned King of the
    Romans."

    "If, on the other hand, rumors began to spread that Henry was dead."[2].

    Gregory nodded. "We should also consider the obvious. Alexander III clearly
    pointed out that the Empire could be transferred from one power to another.
    Succession and the Empire are matters for the Pope, since Leo III
    transferred the office to the west. It may very well be possible to transfer
    the Empire back to the Greeks if they return to the fold; or even to another
    monarch entirely[3]".

    Brunswick, July, 1198

    "We all acknowledged Henry as our Emperor, true enough, and we all
    acknowledged his father's wishes." The minnesingers were recording this, so
    that this could become a heroic epic for the princes of Germany.

    "But word has reached our ears that the Emperor has died upon the crusade.
    Should we place a child above our heads? Should a mere child become our
    Emperor?" Otto of Brunswick smiled. He knew he had the support of his Uncle
    Richard, who had just defeated Phillip Augustus in Normandy again. He knew
    he could count on Ottokar's support as well. The Pope was encouraging him;
    Innocent was the one who had sent word of Henry's death, and why would a
    Pope lie?


    Jerusalem, November 1198

    The entrance of a Crusader army into Jerusalem, almost ten years after the
    city fell, was not to be a sack. It could not be, for, after all, Henry had
    taken the city without a struggle.

    With the fall of Ascalon, Al-Adel was trapped in the Levant, away from his
    lands in Egypt. His lands to the east, Henry had heard, were ruined and
    trampled underfoot. Al-Adel's reinforcements came from Egypt, as did most of
    his supplies. Therefore, as Henry had guessed, Al-Adel had given up. In
    return for the Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Jordan River, Ascalon would be an
    unfortified city in Christian hands. A tough bargain, to be sure, but when
    the alternative was losing your throne and having rebels take what belonged
    to you, there wasn't much of a choice.

    Pondering on that, Henry felt sympathy for Adel, something that he would
    have never thought would happen. He too, had troubles at home. But the sight
    of the Holy City repaid it all.

    [1] Dear readers may know him as Gregory IX.

    [2] This is closely based on Gregory IX's strategy in the 1220's, when
    Frederick went to save Jerusalem.

    [3] Note that Innocent III did propose this in 1199, 1200, and 1203. I can
    imagine he's rather less pleased with a hereditary empire than he was with
    Otto and Frederick II in OTL, and his reaction is consequently more
    inflammatory.

    Prince of Peace 4

    What happens when you try typing with one hand broken? Somethin rather like
    this.

    December, Palermo, 1198.

    "This other radiance that shows itself
    to you at my right hand, a brightness kindled
    by all the light that fills our heaven.
    This is the splendor of the great Costanza,
    who from the Swabians' second gust engendered
    the one who was their third and final power."- Dante's Paradise

    Constance was dying. Oh, the doctors, even the Jewish ones, still thought
    she might live, but she could tell. Her time was drawing nigh.

    In her lucid moments, she wondered what would happen to her kingdom.
    Constantine (Frederick would always be Constantine to her) was now the King
    of the Romans. Sicily was swarming with Germans, and her husband was away in
    Jerusalem. What could the future hold for her son?

    It was then that Constance had her vision of her son's future. She would
    die, as the legends say, with a smile, and uttering the word, "Constantine,
    Imperium, Rome."

    March, Ascalon, 1199.

    Henry stood on a galley off of Ascalon, at long last ready to return to
    Germany. He had much to deal with; maintaining order in Sicily, removing the
    Welfs, and ensuring the defense of Jerusalem. He should really discuss that
    with the pope. Surely innocent would agree that it was just to take a
    portion of the Church's imperial revenues to defend the Holy Sepulchre?

    And, had not the Pope promised to defend the lands of crusaders? Surely he
    would no doubt condemn. Otto's action, and excommunicate the rebels against
    the emperor[9]. By the time Frederick was Emperor, Germany would be as
    centralized as England, hopefully.

    As he waited for the ship to leave, Henry looked across the water, his
    thoughts turned to other plans.Ascalon would be a new thing. It would not
    have a Pisan quarter, or a Genoese, but an imperial one. Venice, which
    boasted of being independent, was not permitted, but the great maritime
    cities would find access to the greatest port in the east contingent upon
    loyalty to their Emperor.

    How long Henry gazed at the port he could not say, for he was startled when
    Isabella came up behind him. He really had to treat her with more respect,
    for she was the Empress, and mourned too. Her husband had died recently as
    well.

    "Do no worry, my Empress. Together we shall make a new beginning." Henry
    looked to the northwest, where Byzantium still lay, spiting his rightful
    claim to the title of Emperor.

    "For all of Christendom."

    [8] A more cynical generation would say sickness inspired delusion, but hers
    will regard it as a vision from God.

    [9] Henry suspects papal support for Otto, but can't prove it.

    Prince of Peace 5

    "The Lord Jesus Christ has set up one ruler over all things as his universal
    vicar, and as all things in heaven, earth and hell bow the knee to Christ,
    so should all obey Christ's vicar, that there be one flock and one
    shepherd"-Innocent III.

    Romagna, March, 1199

    Markward von Anweiler laughed at the two legates. "The Pope feels that I am
    on Papal lands? Since when has he had been the lord of Spoleto or Romagna? I
    hold these lands as a servant of the Emperor! Perhaps you wish to dispute
    this with the Defender of Jerusalem?"

    "If he will agree, then I will of course obey the Emperor. But until then, I
    shall defend these lands with my life."

    Messina, March, 1199

    Henry was not normally a nervous man. After all, you couldn't defend
    Christendom if you were a coward! He was no Greek, to run from danger.

    But Joachim of Fiore was in many ways more scary than all the armies of the
    Infidel. He had be en summoned before the Emperor to explain the fate of the
    world.

    "They say you are a prophet," said Henry.

    Joachim bowed before the Emperor. "In no way. I merely see what God wishes
    to show me. I am just a messenger. He has given me the insight to understand
    the revelations."

    "And what does he tell you?"

    Joachim gestured. "The Holy Virgin, basking in the glow of the faith,
    supported by the Church, stands against the seven-headed dragon, Satan. The
    seven heads represent the persecutors of the faith, from Herod to Saladin.
    Six of the seven persecutors are dead, but one, the antichrist, still
    lives."

    Henry shuddered. "Where?"

    "In Rome. He is about twenty-five. He will seduce the church, focusing it
    upon worldly matters over its true calling. It will be corrupted by avarice
    and ambition, and its greed will cause many to lose the faith, seduced by
    heresies that ensure their damnation."

    "And the Empire?"

    "That," said Joachim, "depends on you. But I can tell you this. The
    Antichrist shall face an Emperor who rules Jerusalem [10]."

    Assisi, April, 1199

    The city of Assisi had never been a bastion of Imperial support, despite its
    German overlords. Which, thought Innocent, made its celebration rather
    disturbing.

    Throughout his procession through Italy, the Emperor had been treated to
    tournaments, prayers of thanks, offers of homage, and feasts. Palermo had
    been festooned with silken banners with the Hohenstaufen heraldry, and that
    was a city the Hohenstaufens had conquered! Assisi had declared forty days
    of rejoicing for the victory, and the fact that the Emperor had returned
    with a piece of the True Cross made it all the more remarkable [11]. Even
    Alessandria, built to oppose the Emperors, was sending him offers of praise.
    What was next? Would Milan ask for a German podesta?

    Innocent noticed a change in the crowd. Even where he was sitting, on a
    stand above the street, he could feel the ripple of excitement. The parade
    was finally finishing up, and Henry was stepping off of his horse.

    The crowd went wild for the Emperor of Rome.

    Two days later, after the inevitable prayers of thanks, in which Innocent
    stressed God's part in the salvation of the Holy Sepulcher, he and Henry
    finally met [12].

    It was Henry who began the talks. "Ironic, is it not, that when the Kings of
    France and England crusade, the infidel keeps Jerusalem, yet when the
    emperor does so, he succeeds? Would you not agree that it is a sign of God's
    favor for the Empire?"

    "I think," said Innocent, "that it is a sign of his favor towards all of
    Christendom. Which is led by the Pope, who guards the souls of man."

    "But is not the Empire necessary? Who can defend the Church but the
    Emperor?"

    "The church, of course. The emperor only derives his power from the
    splendor and dignity of the Pope, just as the moon derives its light from
    the sun. The church made the Empire." And, thought Innocent, could break
    it, if it came to hat.

    Henry nodded. "So you would agree, then, that the salvation of men's souls
    is of great important to the church?"

    Innocent began to suspect a trap." Of course, mankind's salvation is of
    immense importance, as any village priest will tell you."

    Henry banged a fist on the table. "Then do the obvious! Renounce Rome and
    control of Central Italy. The revenues of the Imperial churches will more
    than make up for it. The church will be freed from worldly concerns to focus
    on what you view as more important, the salvation of our souls."

    "Consider, Innocent, the dangers to Christendom. The Greeks are still
    schismatic, the Saracens ravage Spain, and heresy spreads throughout Europe.
    In Toulouse, men openly boast that the Earth is the realm of Satan. And yet
    we quarrel over a few cities, over the rights of the Empire and of the Pope.
    I beseech you, accept this offer, for the sake of our immortal souls [13]."

    Innocent shook his head. "It cannot be. Constantine's Donation was made for
    a reason. It is a demonstration that the Papacy possesses temporal as well
    as spiritual concerns, establishing that the Church is of this world as well
    as the next. You, however, are only of this world. Spiritual matters are
    beyond your grasp. Moreover, it would make the pope dependent upon the
    Emperor's good will, and the church will never whore itself for money. The
    Papal lands cannot be given up."

    Henry nodded. "Fair enough. I hope that, with time, you shall understand and
    repent of your decision. But I do have one other favor to ask. As you are
    well aware, the Church will grant lords the revenues of churches on their
    lands if they are on the crusade. As Emperor, and the King of Jerusalem, it
    is my duty to defend the Holy Sepulcher."

    Henry raised his voice higher so all could hear. " I therefore ask that, as
    Emperor, you acknowledge me as an eternal crusader, for by my very nature, I
    must always defend the Holy Land. Therefore, I ask that I receive the
    revenues of the Imperial church, so that I might end the grave threats to
    Christendom. As you have refused, it would only be fair to use that money to
    defend the Faith."

    Innocent was taken aback momentarily. This he had not expected. "You have
    made a mistake in your theology. Although crusading is, by its nature
    voluntary, there is a moral imperative to do so. Those who refuse to take
    the Cross will have to answer on judgment day."

    "Then is it not necessary for the Church to help Crusaders? Even a tithe of
    the church's imperial revenues will suffice."

    Innocent was caught in a trap. If he said no, he could not raise money for
    the Crusade he was planning. If he said yes. well, he didn't really have a
    choice. "We shall consider it."

    Henry bowed, and made to leave. "There is one more thing I ask of you. I
    regret to inform you that princes, led by Ottokar, who claims to be the king
    of Bohemia, of Bohemia and Otto, the Welf have risen against me. And," said
    Henry, " now that you are aware of this tragic fact, and their assault upon
    the lands and rights of a Crusader, breaking the Truce of God, I ask you to
    excommunicate them and their followers."'

    Innocent, by this point, was getting angry. Who was he, to tell the Pope
    whom to excommunicate? "We must give them time to reconsider, the forty days
    that custom demands."

    "If they had forty years they would not reconsider!" Henry and his retinue
    left the room in which the negotiations were conducted.

    Before walking out, Henry called out one last sentence. "You may have qualms
    about unleashing the Sword of St. Peters, but I have no qualms about using
    the Sword of Christ. We shall see which proves its mettle."

    [10] Most of this is based on Joachim's OTL works, with one difference. OTL
    he was fairly ambivalent about the Empire. In TTL, in the aftermath of the
    liberation of Jerusalem, he's picked up more of the pro-Imperial
    apoctolyptic view that was going around.

    [11] Or so the Saracens say. Given that the Saracens don't believe that
    Jesus was killed on the Cross, future historians will wonder if it's a
    forgery.

    [12] Note that Innocent is in a rather weak position. It wasn't until Henry
    died that Innocent received homage from the Prefect of Rome and the Senate.
    Much of Central Italy is still under Imperial control as well.

    Henry's legal argument is also rather sound, thanks to help from the lawyers
    of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. (Although the fact that he brings those
    attorneys to Europe does imply that he is the AntiChrist, as will later be
    claimed).

    [13] An Emperor asking the Pope to give up on Italy in exchange for money?
    Sound farfetched? Henry proposed that to Celestine in 1194.
     
  4. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
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    Prince of Peace 6

    Nuremberg, July, 1199

    "princeps legibus solutus"

    "The Leader is not bound by law"-Bolognese Jurists to Frederick I

    Henry stared, Who was this child before him? Frederick was not yet five, but
    already he seemed, to his father who had not seen him for two years, to be
    the wonder of the world [14].

    Frederick, for his part, was unsure how to react. He knew who this was, but
    to him Phillip had played a bigger role. "Hello, father," said Frederick.
    "Did you bring me anything back from the Crusade?"

    For the first time in months, Henry laughed.

    "Yes, I have."

    Isabelle entered the room, and Frederick stared at her and her child. "This
    is your new mother, Empress Isabelle, and your brother, Constantine."

    *********

    Upon returning from the East, Henry's first necessity was to call a Diet, to
    establish who were loyal to the Emperor. The result was better than
    expected. The lords from the Crusade, including the bishops of Mainz and
    Bremen, were there. Oddly, the towns were his enthusiastic supporters [15],
    which was a welcome change from Italy.

    It was more noticeable, really, who was not there, really. Richard had not
    sent a delegate, nor had the Wittelsbachs. Henry of the Palatinate was
    supporting his brother, but just as well. Let them know he meant business.
    Henry raised his voice and began to speak.

    "I must admit, when I hear the false claims of the Welfs and their allies, I
    wonder if they have me confused with someone else. They call me a tyrant who has taken over the Empire; yet was I not elected? Did you not decide to make my son, and his sons, the heirs of the Empire? Of course, then, their claim is a lie by deceitful wretches. They claim that I am unholy, and mock God. One would think I am a Commeni."

    "Let me tell you who I am, then. And let the traitors to God know as well. I
    am the August Emperor of Rome, the Defender of the Faith. I am the King of
    Germany, of Burgundy, of Italy, of Sicily, and of Jerusalem. I am the Sword
    of Christ, used against heretics and traitors. It was used on Saphadin, and
    shall soon be used on you."

    The assembled nobles cheered. "Sieg un Heil! Sieg und Heil!"

    The next day was a tournament, to celebrate the Emperor's success on the
    crusade. It was also a day for Henry to plan his strategy. According to
    Phillip, the rebels were hemmed in the north and in Bohemia.

    "How do you think we should deal with them?" asked Phillip, as they walked
    through the fields where the tournament was being held.

    Henry laughed, and drew his sword. "Like this." With a swipe, he cut the
    grass in half.

    Eisenach, August, 1199

    Otto dodged the blade and killed the knight attacking him with one blow.
    Despite the fact that he had just avoided a rather unpleasant death, he
    swore. Where were his reinforcements? Where were the other princes Innocent
    had promised?

    The battle had been a disaster. Otto's supporters had been defeated or
    joined the Emperor. No one could stand against the Defender of Jerusalem,
    and so no one would. He had tried, but Henry's cavalry had been too much.
    There was still a chance, though. If he could escape to England..

    He heard a great cry behind him, as the Imperial forces cut off the rebels.
    He was trapped, and now all hope was lost.


    Fulda, March, 1200

    "Lord Emperor, are you sure you wish to see this?" asked Henry's guard.

    "I want to be there for it." The guard nodded and led Henry down into the
    dungeon. There lay one of the most pitiable sights he had ever seen. The
    wretch, bloodied and bruised, moaned. It was hard to tell that this man had
    once aspired to be Emperor.

    Otto was broken, that much was plain. "To think you once led armies against
    me," said Henry, looking down.

    Otto turned and looked up. "it was not me! The Pope-"

    Henry cut him off. "Yes, Innocent is not quite innocent here. But, I do not
    have him. " Yet, thought Henry.

    "Otto will merely suffer a fine and lose Prague. He is ambitious, and
    ambition can be useful. But you have tried to usurp the Empire while I was
    on the holy crusade. If you wish to wear a crown that much, so be it."

    Otto looked up. What could Henry possibly mean? It took Otto, deprived of
    food and sleep, a few seconds to realize what was about to happen. It was
    not until he felt the pain that he realized what was going on. A red-hot
    crown of iron, Henry's favorite way of dealing with rebels, was placed upon
    his head.

    The screams, it would be said, were heard in Augsburg.

    March, Nuremberg, 1200

    Ottokar stood kneeling before the Emperor, begging forgiveness. Behind the
    Emperor, the True Cross was mounted. A nice touch, that.

    "Ottokar, I forgive you for what you have done. You were led astray by the
    traitor against God, Otto of Saxony. He has been judged by a higher power
    than even I, but you have time to amend your errors."

    Henry smiled. Now Germany was his at last! In the aftermath of victory, he
    had expanded his rights over Germany. He had inherited the fiefs of the
    Welfs, with the death of their line; he had declared that his main court in
    Germany would be in Nuremberg; he had confirmed his taxation of the
    peasantry; and he had showered the towns with privileges. The Hohenstaufen Demesne now covered much of Western Germany, and who would dare argue with the Prince of Peace, the King of Jerusalem, the Augustus, about what was his?

    "Know that I have never set out for personal ambition. I merely hope to
    restore the grandeur of the Roman Empire. There is but one step before us,
    and that task will be complete. I ask you, Ottokar, to join me in this noble
    endeavour."

    Rome, April, 1200

    The messengers had crossed the Alps as quick as they could. Innocent was
    rather amused by the Emperor's actions. He was altering the Empire's
    structure without the Pope's consent. And wasn't he aware that Saxony was
    actually a Papal fief going back to Charlemagne [16]? And to torture and
    kill a vassal of the Pope without his consent. well, those were not the
    actions of a true Emperor. Which meant, of course, that a new one would have to be found.

    --=-=-=-================================
    [14] Frederick was taken to Germany to be coronated as King of the Romans in
    1197 by Phillip.

    [15] Frederick II missed an opportunity to make a strong ally for the
    Hohenstaufens when he handed control over the cities to various princes.
    Henry will be in Germany more often, and will not make the same mistake.
    (Which could be interesting; his proclamation of 1220 makes reference to the
    cities taking their hinterland like in Italy. I wonder how muc h farther
    that could go.

    [16] The Church did claim this, based upon donations to the Church done in
    Saxony. Apparently donating land, if you believe the church, means your
    duchy is theirs.

    Prince of Peace 7

    "He has committed very grave offences, which cannot be covered up by any
    subterfuge...he has abjured God on many occasions; he has wantonly broken
    the peace which had been established between the Church and the Empire.he is
    also accused of heresy..."- Innocent's Letter to the Archbishops of Germany.

    Vezeley, March, 1200

    The rolling fields of Burgundy were, yet again, covered with a sea of tents
    and arms. Despite meeting together during a peace treaty which was inspired
    by the Pope, neither Philip nor Richard trusted each other enough to be near
    each other without a small army. But despite having met for only a few days,
    Richard was already tired of this.

    He and Philip had met in a central tent, donated by the Pope himself,
    because there had been an argument over royal precedence. Phillip had
    suggested he was superior because his Kingdom was not a fief of the Emperor; Richard responded by suggesting his because his was bigger, which, he had said, was something Philip already knew.

    Richard had been tempted to leave, but the Legates had convinced him that it
    would be to his best interest, and Henry's worst, to stay. Therefore, two
    days after their first meeting, they met.

    "The Pope, I hear, wishes for a marriage," said Phillip.

    Richard looked towards the door. "Oh, is Alais finding her bed lonely? [17]"

    Philip Augustus, King of France, silently wished he hadn't agreed to this to
    have the Pope end his interdict. Why should the Pope be able to tell him who
    to wed? There were times, really, when Philip wished that he could send
    troops to kidnap the Pope.

    But who could ever imagine a French King doing that? Therefore, he had
    little choice but to go along with this.

    "What do you think of a marriage between Eleanor and Louis?" [18]

    Richard pretended to think about it. "On one condition. You must give
    support to John. He will march to rally the Welf allies in northern Germany,
    to support him as the new Emperor."

    Phillip nearly spat out his wine. A Plantagenet Emperor? Brilliant. How long
    would it take before they all marched on Paris? On the other hand, he knew
    John. The poor fool couldn't even rule England! He would distract Henry from
    doing something foolish, surely? He could then gain influence in Flanders,
    and then turn the tables on Richard.

    "Well, now, it depends. Perhaps a campaign in 1202 might be doable.."

    Richard laughed. "Yes, yes. We must wait until after the crusade! The Pope
    has called for his own crusade to free Egypt! Of course we will be under his
    leadership, to avoid, ah the difficulties of the last Crusade of ours, but
    it will prove that no Germans can upstage the Kings of England and France!"

    Phillip glared at the Legate. Yes, he definitely could sympathize with
    Henry.

    Nuremberg, May, 1200

    Irene looked out the window of the castle, as she was wont to do at night.
    Far to the south and east, beyond what she could ever hope of seeing, lay
    her home She had been here in Germany for years. Oh, she loved her husband, and the Germans had their endearing qualities. But how could a castle compare to the City? How could she be happy knowing her poor father was blinded and rotting in some dungeon?

    Her husband Phillip came up behind her, and held her. He smiled. "I know
    you miss your home, dear. But I promise you you'll return, and this time,
    you'll stay."

    Palermo, June, 1200

    Markward paced back and forth. The Emperor's orders were tiresome. He had
    made him build an ever fleet before traveling back across the Alps, and for
    what? He'd only made some vague comments about Egypt or the Almohads. But a fleet wasn't cheap, and he'd been able to make depressingly little money off of the island.

    What use did the Emperor have for this massive fleet, and why was he in
    negotiations with Pisa? Really, thought Markward, as he listened to the Jews
    going over the state of the Kingdom, it made no sense.

    Just then, a messenger ran into the throne room. Clearly the poor man was
    tired; it was a long journey from Germany, and he wore the Hohenstaufen
    livery. Henry must not have trusted anyone else with it.

    "My Duke! There is a message from the Lord Emperor, for your eyes only!"
    Henry grabbed the letter, and tore it open. After a few lines, he started
    laughing. "That does explain it all!"

    November, Nuremberg, 1200

    German halls were interesting places. A lord's duties included making sure
    that everyone had plenty to drink. A German lord's duties involved making
    sure everyone was drunk. Which, combined with Papal delegates and the fact
    that many of those men were armed, could be a problem. For they had made the
    mistake of announcing their superior's policy during one of the feasts to
    celebrate the Empire's triumphs.

    It was really their fault, thought Henry. They shouldn't have declared an
    interdiction. "Put the swords down. These are men of the cloth, and they
    have come here in peace."

    "I will say this, though. I pray for the soul of their lord. He claims
    suddenly that Saxony is a papal fief. But when did we hear of this? Was it
    when Henry the Lion ruled Saxony? Was it during the reign of Lothar?" He
    waited for the German nobles to realize where this was going.

    "No! He says this now that I have taken Saxony from a rebel against God!
    After I have taken lands from a man who attacked me while I was on the
    Crusade, who, indeed, threatened my son [19]." The Papal delegates, still
    somewhat stunned, listened to the roar which echoed in the castle as the
    Germans yelled their support.

    "What does it mean if Saxony is suddenly a Papal fief? Will Austria be? Or
    Bohemia? Or perhaps he will decide the entire world is a fief of the Papacy,
    and threaten us with damnation if we do not jump when he says. Is that
    becoming of Imperial subjects?"

    Henry turned back to the delegates. "Return to Innocent, and tell him that I
    protest. I demand an ecumenical council to discover the truth of the matter
    at hand, and I spurn his protest. I shall call a Diet to discover the intent
    of the Empire, and we shall see what my loyal subjects think."

    Henry sighed. No matter what, it would all be decided by March.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    [17] Alais is Philip's half sister, who was, at various times, to be wed to
    Richard and John, and was bedded by Henry II. She was also imprisoned by
    Eleanor She's married by this point, but Richard just feels like giving
    Philip a hard time.

    [18] Eleanor of Brittany, not Eleanor, Richard's mother. Louis is Philip's
    son.

    [19] Or so he claims. It's true that Frederick II was in danger in 1198,
    but there was never any definite connection to Otto.

    Prince of Peace 8
    "Behold, an ape is crowned!"- Nicholas of Thessalonica

    April, Palermo, 1201

    Phillip looked at the receding shoreline. The Pisan fleet had rendezvoused
    with the Sicilian fleet off of Palermo, and all was set for the expedition.
    The island itself was covered in a security blockade, with no ships allowed
    to set sail for a month. Now, at long last, the men could know their true
    target. He looked across the decks, which were crowded with the men of
    Germany and Sicily, still getting used to the sea. His wife was looking on,
    finally happy. At long last she would have what she deserved.

    "We are not going to Egypt. We are off to Byzantium!"

    Constantinople, May 4, 1201

    The ramparts of the queen of cities towered above the Imperial fleet. The
    sight of the high walls and strong towers which encircled the splendid
    palaces ands oaring churches, in numbers beyond count, was enough to take a man's breath away. There was not, Phillip knew, a place as rich and powerful on Earth, nor a place so beautiful. Phillip's gaze hardened. All the more incentive to take it.

    Phillip had landed his army near the palace of Chalcedon to replenish their
    strength. Even the land was rich; it was a dark, rich earth that smelled of
    vitality. A man could do great things, here. Great and wonderful things.
    They had already repulsed a charge of Byzantine cavalry, and now they were
    awaiting a delegate from Alexius.

    The delegate arrived shortly. To insult the Imperial army, the Byzantines
    sent a delegate who did not even speak Latin fluently, and proceeded to
    insult Phillip. "You don't frighten us, German pig-dog! Go and soil your
    bottom, son of a baboon. I blow my nose on you, so-called Phillip-king, you
    and your silly German kinglets. I don't want to talk to you, no more, you
    empty-headed animal, food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction!"

    Phillip looked at the delegate, and, in perfect Greek, said, "Let me explain
    this to you. Tell your king that if he will surrender now, I shall be
    merciful to him. If not, tell him to send no more emissaries, but look to
    his defense. And know that I will remember your face." The Byzantine
    emissary then decided that it was time to leave, and fled as quickly as he
    could.

    The next day, on the morning of May 8, the army crossed the Bosphorus and
    landed below Galata. Galata was unwalled, but its tower contained the
    windlass that raised and lowered the chain that could block the Golden Horn.
    The Byzantines had drawn up a considerable force, but Phillip was ready.

    "To me, men of Germany!" roared Phillip, leading the charge against the
    Byzantines. "Sieg und Heil!"

    "Sieg und Heil! Sieg und Heil!"

    Venice, May 24, 1201

    Enrico Dandolo wished, at this particular moment, that he wasn't blind. He
    needed to gauge the crowd before he called for them to sail to save
    Constantinople, and it was rather hard to do that when he couldn't see their
    faces. He didn't like the Byzantines, but Venice did excellent business
    with the Emperor. A German King would not be their ally; Byzantine trade
    would go to cities loyal to Henry. But so many Venetians didn't see past the
    war they had had with Byzantium! Which was why it was necessary that he give a speech to the people of Venice. In the Cathedral of St. Mark, Dandolo
    would try to convince Venice to save Byzantium.

    "Our ships have seen Pisans and Sicilians under the banner of Henry sailing
    to the East. What is in the East? Constantinople. Now, I am not fond of that
    city; but it has been our ally before, and has always been our partner in
    trade. Now a German seeks to subdue it, and tie it by blood to the Western
    Emperor. We will find ourselves between the Devil and the Sea, in that
    case."

    "Signors, I myself am old and feeble, I need rest. My body is infirm. But I
    know, and you know, that no man can lead you and govern you as I, your Lord, can do. If you will allow me to direct and defend you by sailing to
    Constantinople while my son remains in my place, I am ready to live and die
    with you, as the Doge of the free city of Venice."

    Constantinople, May 10, 1201

    Galata had fallen; the Byzantine navy, such as it was, was destroyed; but
    Constantinople still did not surrender. Awakened now to the threat, the
    city was going to resist.

    To that end, Phillip had directed his assault against the sea wall in front
    of the Palace of Blachernae. Pisan ships, low in the water from the weight
    of siege engine, bombarded the wall, while the Sicilians and Germans
    attacked via the land. The Varangians were trying to hold the Germans back, but they could do no more than stem the tide.

    Before many hours had passed, almost thirty towers were in Imperial hands.
    Men were pouring through the ramparts into the city itself. Which was,
    actually, a problem.

    This was his city. It wasn't some infidel's city, or a Lombard town that
    needed to be razed. It was now the property of the King of the Greeks [20],
    Phillip I. His brother wanted tribute and signs of triumph, but burning down
    the city wouldn't do. Looters would have to be brought into line.
    Remembering that, Henry thought of his wife's comments on the horses at the hippodrome. Those would look nice in Nuremberg, and should satisfy Henry. But he was not about to carve apart his Kingdom to make some former Welfs happy.

    "Scire te volumnus quod in spiritualibus et temporalibus nobis subes"

    "We wish thee to know that thou are our subject in all spiritual and
    temporal matters"-Innocent III.

    Nuremberg, May, 1201

    Yet again, the nobles and representatives of the towns of Germany arrived in
    Nuremberg. Many of them were no doubt tired of this, and were getting rather annoyed at the Pope for keeping up this sham. A representative of Frankfurt stood up.

    "We forbid the export of precious metals; we forbid the export of weapons;
    we expel foreign merchants [21]; we stand against his claims to be our
    overlords. We shall shed our blood so that we remain free of Roman tyranny.
    We support you, Lord Emperor!"

    Henry smiled. It was nice to know that despite the Pope's lies, the People
    of the Empire remained loyal to him. Perhaps he could persuade the Pope
    after all.

    Constantinople, May 28, 1201

    Philip sighed. He could get used to the Bucoleon, the Imperial palace. Silk
    sheets, incense, marble, gold, silver. the Greek kings certainly knew how to
    live. Of course, maybe they had too much. He couldn't imagine a German
    Emperor fleeing the fall of his empire, the way Alexius had. Thinking of
    what Alexius's attitude had brought him was enough to inspire Phillip to get
    up and get to work.

    The spoils of the city had already been arranged. In addition to tribute,
    the horses, and an acknowledgement of Henry as the true Emperor, Henry had had one more odd demand. Books, and lots of them.

    Henry had come to realize that England had a university, France had
    universities, and even the Spaniards had a university. But there was no
    German university; only south of the Alps were there such places of
    learning. How could the Emperor claim to be the ruler of the world if a
    single Italian city had more knowledge?

    Therefore, the great libraries of Constantinople were to be examined by
    Germans and Italians, translated, and used to form the nucleus of the
    University of Frankfurt. Books were already being carted off, and some of it
    seemed interesting. The Cynics, in particular, seemed to have a decent code
    of living, for pagans.

    The Imperial armies were spreading throughout the Empire, promising a return
    to the good days of yore under the daughter of Isaac. There were pretenders in Asia Minor, under a Lascaris, but he should prove easy to deal with.

    Even the Patriarch was accepting the new situation. He'd finally left his
    refuge in Dydmotichum and had attended the coronation, once Philip made it
    perfectly clear he would accept the Greek rites, while making some vague
    noises about a council. The Byzantine theory of the Emperor was rather
    appropriate, actually, to what Hohenstaufens thought.

    Phillip was finally getting down to writing orders to the army in Thrace
    when a messenger ran in. Apparently the Venetians wanted to take the city
    now, and their fleet had been spotted in the Aegean.

    Some one really had to do something about them. Henry smiled as he
    dispatched the orders to send the fleets back to sea.

    Venice, July, 1201

    Pietro Ziani, Doge of Venice, looked across the lagoon. Why, he thought,
    could he have not been Doge in a happier time. The mighty armada that
    Dandolo had set sail with was reduced to flotsam and jetsam in the Aegean;
    the old windbag himself was on the bottom of the Marmara. What had
    possessed the old fool to think that the Venetians would have a chance of
    taking Constantinople? Why hadn't he sailed to Anatolia? [23]

    Pietro had been elected with surprising speed, perhaps because the Venetians were aware that they would need new leadership. For the capture of Constantinople left a very difficult problem. Venice had always been,
    nominally, a vassal of Constantinople; it had used that to play itself off
    against the Western Emperors. With Constantinople and Germany under the
    same rulers, though.

    Pietro crossed himself. If he did not do something, the day might very well
    come when an Imperial armada was in the lagoon itself. Already he knew that
    Venice's privileges were going to be given to Pisa, and the city would face
    perhaps its greatest challenge.

    The question was, what could he do?
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    [21] This really hurts the Pope, since the collectors of ecclesiastical
    revenue, and those who transport it to Rome, fall into this category.

    These actions are designed to show the unity of the Empire behind Henry,
    however, as much as anything else.

    [22] Pietro isn't really being fair to Dandolo. Dandolo, (who died in a
    naval battle I'm not going into the exact details of because I know I can't
    do it without being horribly dull) reasoned that with its walls weakened
    and the new administration settling in, Venice would have a reasonable
    chance of freeing the city, and then turning it over to whoever offered
    Venice the best deal.

    What Dandolo failed to take into account was the size of the Pisan and
    Sicilian fleets, as well as that the Sea of Marmara would constrict the
    room to operate for the Venetians, who were already outnumbered (not having, after all, a year to build a fleet).

    The battle of Constantinople will prove be a heavy blow for Venice, which
    has lost many of its most able sailors. As a result, Venice's place in the
    Mediterranean trade will be weaker, with slack being picked up by Genoa and
    Pisa.
     
  5. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    -> Apologies if the format is wrong.

    Prince of Peace 9

    "The fateful moment is at hand when the tunic of Christ shall be rent again,
    when the bonds of Saint Peter shall be broken, the catholic unity
    dissolved"-Archbishop of Worms.

    Adrianople, November, 1201

    God, thought Theodore Lascaris, could work in mysterious ways. After the
    installation of the Hohenstaufens in the City, he had tried to set up a
    state in Nicaea from which to oppose the Germans. It had, it would seem,
    turned out to be futile.

    For one thing, the Emperor's pledge to restore the Empire's finances by
    confiscating the estates of nobles in Anatolia and Thrace, and cutting down
    on imperial expenditures, had won him favor in the city. But even while
    doing that, he had dispatched an army to Asia Minor, to subdue Theodore's
    "band of rebels". Not even pausing to sop, Phillip's army had continued to
    Nicaea, and Theodore's hopes were dashed.

    It was then that Phillip had offered him an interesting position. He could
    be the sebastocrator of Thessalonica; away from his center of power,
    Theodore would serve the Emperor by defeating the Bulgar hordes, who had
    been sent by Kalojan against the Empire. Theodore looked over his Sicilian
    and Greek troops. Good men. Better than the Bulgars, for certain. And if he
    won, well, who knew what the future held for a victorious general of
    Byzantium?

    It would be said, after the battle, that the Pope called Kalojan King of the
    Bulgars. After the battle of Adrianople, Kalojan would be known as King of
    the dead[ 23].

    Damietta, May, 1202

    Richard laughed. "Henry thinks he can upstage me, can he? He may claim
    Byzantium and Jerusalem, but I shall lead the Christian armies against the
    capital of the Saracens, and sack their idolatrous cities of Mecca and
    Medina."

    Blondel, Richard's favorite minstrel since his youth, refrained from rolling
    his eyes. Richard's obsession was getting to be a bit much. Granted, Henry'
    s conquest of the Holy Land and Constantinople, and Sicily, was due in part
    to Richard's ransom, but if he didn't start paying more attention to things,
    he would end up with an arrow through his chest and a grave in desert.

    Phillip also agreed. "I'll grant you that Damietta seems ripe to fall within
    five months [24], but what then? Who will rule Egypt?"

    Richard paused. That was, actually, a very good question. He'd be damned if
    he gave it to Henry. Quite literally, given the Pope's new edicts.


    Cremona, September, 1202

    As usual with Henry, everything had come together rather nicely. The Council
    had not met in Rome or Constantinople, but rather in the Ghilbelline city of
    Cremona. It's goals were nothing short of world shaking; the removal of
    Innocent and the reunion of Faith.

    Unfortunately for Henry, they wouldn't shut up about the Filioque. It wasn't
    a question of whether or no the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son as whether or not its use was legitimate. The Greeks cited the Council of Ephesus which said that no one could compose a face other than that defined at Nicaea, but the Latins held it was a clarification, and that the
    Greeks had already changed the doctrine.

    It had taken three months and the placement of troops outside their chambers to have them agree that the Latin formula meant the same thing as the Greek where it was now agreed to proceed from the Father through the Son.

    Then the issue of the Pope had come up. Henry, this time, had favored the
    Greek position. The Pope was first among equals in the patriarch's ranks,
    and the Emperor was above them all. The Greeks would recognize Latin liturgy in the west; the Latins would recognize Greek liturgy in the Holy Land, but there Latin Liturgy would be used by the Kingdom. It was, thought Henry, a rather effective solution. The Council also considered the Donation of Constantine to be a sham, and declared that Sicily was part of the Kingdom of Italy.

    The other issue was that of Innocent. The problem was that there was no
    procedure for ousting a Pope for unfitness; the ground used, then, was that
    Innocent had been found guilty of blasphemy, murder , simony, sorcery,
    failure to fats on fast days, heresy, and collusion with the infidel in
    supporting revolts in Sicily and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Some of those
    charges were even true.

    The Council, then, decreed that the Pope was deposed. The new Pope was to be chosen within a year; Henry was hoping for a French candidate, so as to woo Phillip to his side. Phillip, actually, was the only serious king who
    had sent delegates outside the Empire, although as observers only.

    Not everyone agreed, of course. One of the French ones, from Paris, was
    especially annoying.*But what," said the Bishop, "will you do with with
    Innocent?"

    Henry smiled. "I leave it to men of God to decide what must be done in the
    service of God." Henry thought of the Byzantine practice of eye gouging.
    Yes, that would do it.

    The Lombards might prove difficult, but they could wait. He would offer them
    concessions to make them at least remain neutral, and deal with them when
    the time was ripe. Rome was not built in a day, after all. Rebuilding it
    would be Henry's task until the day he died.


    [23] Okay, a brief digression. Three powers thought they had the right to
    create kings. The Pope, the Emperor, and the Baesilus. The Baesilus and the
    Emperor are now the same dynasty, and the Pope was hoping that Kalojan would
    be able to defeat Phillip and unseat him, but Phillip, aware of the Pope's
    negotiations (for, after all, Henry had considered giving Kalojan a crown)
    is able to sic Theodore on him. Demetrios is probably ecstatic that the
    Lascarids are in the game, but hey.

    [24] Damietta is weaker than in the Fifth Crusade due in part to the fact
    that the Aiyubids haven't had time to prepare for war, consolidate their
    holdings, and fortify the Nile. Having said that, the city is still no
    walkover.
     
  6. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 10

    Rome, August, 1202

    "Octavian, by what aberration,
    Do you seek to bring Rome to damnation?
    How were you ever enticed
    So to sever the tunic of Christ?"

    The words of a Roman propagandist were running through Innocent's mind. What could he do? Henry's excommunication had failed; he'd merely joined the Greeks to his new Church under its Pope.

    It was all Celestine's fault, clearly. If he hadn't sat by while Henry had
    surrounded Rome, there might have been a way out. As things were, Innocent could only pray that God would show him a way.. He knew that there were those who whispered for accommodation with Henry, but there could be none.

    Henry would not be satisfied until the entire world was his. And the damned
    Romans didn't care; they knew that Henry had promised to ensure their
    liberties and essentially give them free sway. How could they be so foolish?
    Did they not see why he would want them strong against the Pope? Innocent
    knew that he would not be safe in Italy.

    There was, however, one place where he might find sanctuary. It was better, after all, to be the Pope in Rouen than Bishop in Nuremberg.

    Rome, July, 1203

    Henry laughed. "Pope Honorius III [25} should be pleased. The city of God
    shall soon be returned to the Empire."

    Henry's army, massing in Sicily and Lombardy for much of 1202, had finally
    set out in 1203. He had relived his father's triumph at Tusculum,
    shattering a force of twenty thousand. Rome itself lay exposed, and it had
    already been besieged by a Sicilian force in March. Now the Emperor had come for the final blow against the Antichrist. He'd even brought Frederick with him. A boy needed to learn how to campaign, even if he was a bit young, and these Italians should get used to seeing their future Emperor.

    To the Imperial war cry, German troops had smashed the gates of the Leonine City, only to find that St. Peter's basilica itself was ringed with strong points. It had held out for two weeks, but had finally fallen, and Henry VI walked unopposed towards St. Peter's throne. The Pope had fled, true, but who would believe him? Henry was angry that a Venetian galley had spirited him away, but to a man who had traveled from Hamburg to Jerusalem, nowhere was too far.

    The altar of the basilica was charred and stained; the marble floors were
    sticky from the blood of the dying. He walked through the Basilica, and
    smiled. It would be said by chroniclers that, as he walked through the
    Basilica, Henry could be heard saying, softly, "Omnes possessions mundi mei
    mee sunt".

    All the possessions in the world are mine.

    August, Alexandria, 1203.

    William of Norfolk looked around, shaking. He was, after all, only
    seventeen, a young age to be going on the crusades. He was on the top of the walls of Alexandria, and so far the Saracens didn't realize that this part
    was undefended. But if they caught on, he would die a painful death, far
    from home, in an unmarked grave.

    William silently scolded himself. It was not fitting for a warrior of Christ
    to be afraid at such a time as this. He ran towards the tower, while behind
    him more crusaders scaled up the wall. It was fortunate that the sentries
    had noticed that this part of the wall was undefended, but that was, William
    supposed, another sign of God's favor.

    He unsheathed his blade, and led his men forward. The conquest of Alexandria had begun.

    June, Cairo, 1204

    Philip thanked God that the crusade was over. He would build a Cathedral
    when he got home to celebrate the fact that he could now leave. And, he
    supposed, that Egypt was freed.

    They had even decided who would rule it. Amaury, the King of Cyprus, seemed to be the man for the job [26]. They'd been negotiating it for a while now, and it was merely a question of finding some one to give him a crown.

    Even Richard was happy, although he had to be dissuaded from trying to sail
    into the red sea against Mecca. He and Blondel were celebrating in their
    tent. The King of France was more annoyed than anything else. Didn't Richard have something better to do than to carouse? There was the issue of the Papacy to deal with.

    Phillip coughed. Damn it all, anyway. He'd been having headaches and chills
    for the past few days. It was this unhealthy climate, and as far as he was
    concerned, the damned Saracens were welcome to it. A few days of rest, and he would be fine.

    Jerusalem, July, 1204

    Hermann of Thuringia, Viceroy for Henry, King of Jerusalem, wondered, on his
    bad days, if the Lord Emperor hadn't been punishing him by making Hermann
    his viceroy in Jerusalem. An unholy thought, but he was far from the only
    person to have such thoughts.

    First there had been the issue of Antioch. Both Raymond Roupen, an Armenian who was the son of Raymond III. The merchants of Antioch had wanted to be ruled by Bohemond of Tripoli. It had taken all of his efforts to make them acknowledge Raymond Roupen as their lawful sovereign, and that in turn had angered Bohemond of Tripoli, who called in az-Zahir of Aleppo and Suleiman of Rum to join him in attacking Cilicia. It wasn't until 1202 that he had gotten that mess under control.

    And now this mess in Egypt. Ah, God. Who would've thought that it would be
    Philip who would die of plague? Why couldn't it have been Richard? And now
    this mess with the Amaury. He hadn't accepted Egypt yet, but he was King in
    all but name. He was slapping his overlord, the Lord Emperor, in the face,
    and something would have to be done [27]. Eventually.

    --------------------------------------------------
    [26] In part because everyone else is a vassal of Henry's or one of his
    deputies.

    [27] Cyprus received its crown, and hence its claim to a kingdom, from
    Henry. In return, Henry received the island of Cyprus as a vassal of the
    Empire; by supporting Innocent and grabbing what Henry feels should be the
    King of Jerusalem's, he is slapping Henry in the face.
     
  7. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
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    Prince of Peace 11

    London, July 4, 1204

    Richard knelt before Innocent. He did not show it on the outside, but this
    was the happiest day of his life. His brother was King of England, was he?

    Innocent finally concluded. "In these times of crisis, there are great and
    perilous threats to Christendom. The Holy See has been usurped; the Emperor
    is a tyrant; and Jerusalem has fallen under the banner of the Antichrist. .
    The false one has made an alliance with the Saracens, he has called upon
    their help to war against Christians, and his existence is an offense to
    God."

    A rather nice bit to hear, John thought. But he knew the script. " Who would
    not rise up against him who joins the enemies of the cross?"

    Innocent looked upon John, and nodded. "To John, gracious and most beloved
    by God, great and peace-loving Emperor, life and victory!"

    There was a great cry outside the cathedral. The people were being treated
    to a sight that they had never seen; an elephant which Richard had sent home
    from the Crusade. One of many of the signs of the King and Emperor's
    largesse, it would surely help win the people over to his new taxes.

    He imagined their reaction to finding out they'd just witnessed the
    coronation of an Emperor.

    Paris, October, 1204

    Louis VIII was starting to hate the Church. What kind of God would let the
    Pope make John an Emperor? That was bad enough, but now the news from
    Egypt. How convenient for Richard that his father had died in Egypt, just
    after (amazingly) the crusade had finished. Richard could pretend all he
    wanted that he was innocent, but did he take Louis for a fool?

    Well, let him. It would take more than a king and some pretender to the
    Imperial throne to frighten him. He would declare Richard a felon, and take
    his lands. The Plantagenets would pay for what they had done. As for the
    Pope.. Honorius would be most interested in Louis's letter about rejoining
    the True Church.

    Rouen, February, 1205

    Gaillard was Richard's pride and joy. The greatest castle of his age, it
    towered above the Seine river, defending Normandy, and rendering Louis's
    claims impotent. It was also rather convenient for Richard to meet John,
    because if his temper did get the better of him, there would be fewer
    witnesses.

    "How could you be so stupid? By Jesus's balls [28], did you have to go and
    get into a pissing match with Henry? The title of Emperor?" Richard roared
    at John, who, for once in his life, was showing backbone.

    "You're the one who killed the King of France!"

    "It was plague! It was the delta in Egypt! He wasn't the only one!"

    "That's not what the French are saying!"

    Richard resisted the urge to cut John's head off with his sword. Control of
    one's self was, according to the priests, important, and he would listen.
    Insufferable little brat, he thought. Maybe he should send John off to
    Ireland again.

    "Honestly! What did you expect! Now we are in a war with Louis VIII and
    Henry!" Richard, by this point, was calming down. He was far from happy
    about it, but he wouldn't mind seeing Henry beneath his horse's hooves.

    John looked at the Papal legate. "Don't you think I realize that? But, as it
    turns out," John said, glancing at the Papal delegate, "the Pope can dispose
    of kingdoms as well as Empires, and there are many barons who are
    dissatisfied with Louis and Henry. And apparently, at one point there was a
    Roman Empire spanning France and England. Why could not those two realms be
    equal to the an Empire in Germany? The Pope is free to do as he wishes with
    the Empire, after all."

    Richard was beginning to see. He looked at the Pope's delegate. Innocent
    could be cunning, indeed.

    Flanders, April, 1205

    There was a saying in Flanders, perhaps due to their awareness of the sea's
    dangers, about being caught between the devil and the sea. It could
    certainly apply to Baldwin, the count of Flanders.

    Flanders had been suctioned into Richard's anti-Capetian League of the
    Common Weal through simple blackmail. England provided the wool that
    Flanders needed, and Richard had threatened, as he had only a few years ago,
    to embargo Flanders. With that kind of choice, how could he not obey? At
    least Henry wasn't involved yet. What the devil was he up to, anyway?

    Venice, June, 1205

    The Great Council was divided amongst it self. By God, thought Pietro, were
    they Genoese, ready to start spilling blood over this issue? Granted, it was
    important.

    One of the sestieri [29] stood up. "We would rather die than give ourselves
    to Henry. We did not fight for a millennium against barbarians to surrender
    to this new one."

    At this point he was almost punched by one of the other members. "That's
    easy for you to say, with your fortune at home. But our ships are sunk or
    harassed; only Egypt remains open to our fleet. Acre, Byzantium,
    Thessalonica, Palermo; we cannot trade in any of those as it stands. If we
    do not agree to Henry's terms, we shall find ourselves forced to agree to
    Pisa's!"

    Pietro had to take action. He was a Ziani, and he would not sit by and be
    known as the Doge who lost Venice. "War we can always have if we want; peace
    we should seek if we can find it. Our enemies, Genoa and Pisa, are under the
    Emperor's rule. The longer we wait, the harsher his terms will be. We might
    end up with a German podesta, or perhaps with the destruction of our city."

    He inhaled, and took off his ducal corno. "If we were Byzantines once,
    surely we can pretend to be Italians."

    Paris, February, 1205

    Richard I, King of France, King of England, and Imperial Seneschal of the
    Provinces of Gaul and England, called for more wine. He was entitled to
    celebrate.

    John was down in the south, with a royal army. He was driving on the Loire
    Valley, and had met Louis's main army there. What Louis had not counted on
    was the other army, drawn from Flanders and Bolougne and England. While John
    was besieging La Roche, Richard and the Counts had marched on Paris [30].

    Louis's army had been trapped near Bouvines. The fool had tried crossing the
    Marque River with his baggage and infantry on one side and cavalry on the
    other. A quick charge had destroyed the bridge, and Louis's cavalry had been
    trapped by the Emperor's forces.

    If only Louis hadn't gotten away. Paris should fall any day now; the true
    Pope would be restored to France; and then it would be Henry's turn.
    Granted, there was still much of France to mop up, but it wasn't as if a
    French king could rule from Bourges. He looked up at the ramparts, and felt
    his spirits soar. The banner of the Plantagenets was flying from the walls
    of Paris.

    Aachen, March, 1206

    It had come to this, then. Louis was angry. Betrayed by his own nobles. They
    'd sold themselves for England's silver, the lot of them. Baldwin.... he
    might as well be Judas. Paris, his Paris, under the heel of Richard.

    They would pay. All of them. Henry, at least, knew how to deal with rebels.
    Henry was speaking now; they were in the Great Cathedral of Aachen, and he
    was solidifying his alliance.

    Louis took a deep breath and spoke. "In the name of the Lord, I, Louis, King
    of France, in the presence of the nobles of the Empire, acknowledge to
    Henry, Augustus of Rome, honor and fealty for my castles, my lands, and the
    possessions of my kingdom. Let the world know that I hold him as my
    sovereign, and he is my superior upon this Earth."

    [28] More proof that medieval curses are weird.

    [29] One of the twelve officials of state who checked the Doge.

    [30] Basically the Bouvines campaign's strategy, however, England has more
    money to throw around, and Richard can gain more support from the French
    barons than Richard. Many of the French barons support Innocent in the
    schism as well, all of which combines to make the French a bit weaker than
    OTL and the English much stronger.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  8. G.Bone lurks

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    Prince of Peace 12

    "I will bring evil from the north and great destruction"-Jeremiah 4:6

    Lombardy, September, 1206

    (This part is more of a narrative than the rest)

    The cities of Lombardy were, in every way, a paradox to the Emperors.
    Chaotic, destructive, constructive, as alien to the Emperor, in some ways,
    as the Saracens, with their curious notions of republican government.

    The Emperors, quite frankly, would never understand the supposed virtues of
    Republicanism. How was Milan's petty bullying of its neighbors superior to
    the Pax Romana? The Lombards wrapped themselves in the banner of liberty,
    but their liberty involved petty feuds that tore their cities apart.

    The Lombards, for their part, resented the Emperor's promises to suppress
    heresy, resented he promise to suppress heresy. Catharism in particular was
    growing rapidly in Tuscany, and they many feared that the Emperor's troops
    would follow his priests [34].

    Their other, very real fear was that urban liberties were to dismantled.
    Henry had already weakened those in Southern Italy, which were in any case
    much more limited than those of the Lombards. (Of course they may have also
    looked at the cities in Germany, but Sicily was closer).

    Even Henry's support of Cremona's rights did not assuage them. Of course he
    would support Cremona. It was always his puppet in Lombardy. But he had
    already declared his effort to restore imperial rights; and coming from the
    King of Jerusalem, and the man who had had conquered Rome and Byzantium,
    this was no empty threat.

    Thus, the conquest of Rome had set in chain the events that led to the
    formation of the Lombard League in March of 1205. Milan, Brescia, Mantua,
    Padua, Treviso, Vicenza and Bologna had met, and had decided to reform the
    Lombard League. The cities promised to hold together in resistance for
    twenty-five years, until the threat to their liberty had been dismantled.
    Smaller towns were there as well; Lodi, Vercelli, Faenza, and the new city
    of Turin. The Lombards had blocked the Alpine passes, and Cremona had feared
    that it would soon be joined to the empire of Milan. They had gone so far as
    to recognize Innocent and John as Emperor.

    However, not all the cities were there. Cremona, Milan's inveterate foe,
    rallied to the Emperor; as did Pisa and Venice, although Venice preferred to
    remain neutral. Parma, Modena, Ferrara, and Emilia, the towns between
    Piacenza and Bologna, were unhappy about the League's revival by their
    enemies. Verona also stood with the Emperor.

    To Henry, this was an act of treason against God. Bad enough that the
    Lombards had rebelled against his father. But to rebel against him now meant
    that they could cut him off from Sicily, Jerusalem, and Byzantium. They were
    putting Jerusalem in a perilous position, and Honorius willingly obliged to
    excommunicate the rebels.

    Henry had even proved willing to negotiate. He had demaned a 30,000 mark
    fine, and the acknowledgement of him as their Lord Emperor. He had more
    important tasks, but the Lombards had refused throughout 1205.

    Thus Henry had left Germany in the late Spring of 1206, with an army of a
    mere 5,000 knights and a few thousand foot soldiers.

    Quickly traveling through the Alps, he arrived outside of Vicenza in August
    of 1236. The Lombards had pitched camp by the Adige, waiting for the
    Imperial army. There, the Lombards did not wait to see what would happen;
    they ran away, leaving Henry free to take Vicenza, which he promptly did in
    September. Azzo D'este, one of Henry's supporters in Italy, was given the
    role of being the German podesta.

    Henry had proven confident enough to return to Austria temporarily, where he
    had reestablished contact with the German princes, and consolidated support
    for the war in the west and south. Then, he prepared again for the campaign
    of 1207.

    November, Cortenuova, 1207

    Henry looked over the battlefield, and nodded in satisfaction. Milan was
    paying the proper price for its betrayal.

    Henry had spent much of the year maneuvering with the Lombard armies,
    careful to avoid battle, and reestablishing contact with his brother and his
    viceroys in Sicily and Jerusalem. He had had his funds replenished by the
    Byzantine tribute, and reinforcements had arrived from Sicily. Tired of
    this, Henry had decided to try something new.

    He had pretended that his army was withdrawing towards Cremona for the
    winter. The Lombards had withdrawn at Pontevico and moved northward,
    believing that there would be no battles this year. While the Lombards moved
    north along the eastern bank of the Oglio, the imperial troops moved through
    Soncino to Cortenuova. On the 14th of November, the Imperial army had surged
    forward and collided with the Lombards. Thus had begun the battle of
    Cortenuova.

    Henry's main force had arrived to discover that the Lombards stood around
    the carroccio [35] of Milan, defiant and stubborn. The battle was fierce,
    but it was almost over.

    The knights of Swabia attacked the carroccio from behind while the Emperor's
    other forces attacked it from the front, like iron on an anvil. And like
    iron, the Lombards were crushed, their ranks were thinning. He looked for
    the moment, and saw it.

    The Lombards broke, and those that could escape ran like the wind. The
    humiliating defeat cost the Lombards ten thousand men, Milan's podesta would
    be in chains, and Henry would lead the carroccio of Milan through Cremona
    and send it to Nuremberg, where it might join the other relics of the
    Empire. In Lombardy, the predictable occurred. The League began to dissolve.
    Lodi was taken in December, and one by one, the other cities sued for peace.

    November 14th would be known in Italian History as the Day of Disaster, and
    Italians, centuries later, would say, "At least it's not Cortenuova."

    Assisi, Italy, 1207

    Francis was a troubled man. He had lived, on the whole, a good life [36].
    But he had seen many horrors. How could Christ's church exist in such shame?
    The pope was the puppet of Kings and Emperors; Crusades were called against
    fellow Christians; and excommunication was used as freely as leaves to wipe
    one's ass.

    Why did Christendom need a Pope, anyway? True power belonged to God, not to
    some German warlord who the Emperor placed in Rome, or to some coward who
    fled to Rouen. Why could not men judge their own view of God? The horned
    fiends of the hierarchy lived like princes while the people starved. Jesus
    had not been an Emperor or a courtier in Rome, and if it was good enough for
    Christ's son, it should be good enough for man.

    Wasn't the Church already making a mockery of the faith? Judas sold his
    savior for thirty pieces of silver; now the priests did it daily for a
    penny. It could not be that man needed such people's help to ensure
    salvation.

    It would not be, it was said, until he received a message from Christ that
    he would know what to do.

    Prince of Peace 13

    "He is imprudent, not to say foolishly so, in thrusting himself so
    frequently into danger. He shows too great a recklessness of his own life.
    "-Saladin on Richard of England.

    Lescure, the County of Toulouse, March, 1207

    Languedoc was known throughout Christendom for its wealth. Its verdant
    fields, its enormous cities, and its burgeoning trade should have combined
    to make the Count a major power. The fact that it did not could largely be
    placed on the counts, and Peter II, King of Aragon, intended to exploit that
    to the utmost.

    Unlike the Catalans of Aragon, Toulouse had never truly faced war. No
    Vikings had raided here, and the Moors had not raided this far north in
    hundreds of years. Without lands to conquer, as in Spain, and not practicing
    primogeniture, as in France, the territories were incessantly divided. Why,
    they even divided castles amongst knights! Whoever heard of thirty knights
    sharing a castle?

    The Kings of Aragon already held much land north of the Pyrenees. They ruled
    the County of Provence, Montpellier, Roussilion, the Viscounty of Narbonne,
    and had vassals as far west as Comminges. But Peter had greater plans.

    It was not enough to conquer the Moors. The Almohads were still too strong,
    and he was not yet ready to fight them. To do that he would need men and
    money, and Toulouse, lying on the borders of his kingdom, rich and impotent,
    was all he needed to free Spain.

    It wasn't, after all, as if Raymond deserved to hold those lands. He was a
    heretic, pure and simple, and an offense against God, and a heretic from the
    cradle. He even traveled around with a Cathar prefect! And this was the man
    that the supposed John, Innocent, and Richard would support.

    No, Honorius made more sense, and he agreed with Henry. Louis of France had
    already announced that he had transferred the County from the "heretic and
    rebel" Raymond to Peter; now all he had to do was claim it. Raymond had let
    heresy fester and spread in his lands, like an infected arm, and he would be
    the one to amputate it from the body of Christendom.

    Ardenne, April, 1207

    Richard's army was encamped outside the castle of Ecry, where the Count of
    Champagne was holding court.

    Richard's herald was outside, demanding his surrender. "We shall tear down
    your walls and take your lands, unless you surrender to your lawful king! I
    Shall have Champagne before this year is out; France will soon be mine.
    Surrender now and I shall show mercy upon you."

    Thibaud, Count of Champagne, spat, and shouted over the walls. "I could
    defend these walls against you if they were made of butter. You shall not
    see me betraying the King by giving a bastard of Henry homage. "

    Richard raised his fist in anger. "I shall take your lands or die trying!"

    Thibaud stared. Richard was standing outside of his castle, within range,
    with no armor of note on. He looked over to his crossbowmen, and nodded.

    The arrow pierced through Richard's stomach. Thibaud shouted over the wall,
    restraining the urge to laugh.

    "Then I suppose you shall, King of England. I suppose you shall."

    Richard was quickly escorted back to Paris, where the best doctors in the
    land tried to treat him. He would linger near death for a week, as gangrene
    spread, giving him time to settle affairs. John was to be his successor.
    His heart would go to Rouen, a gift to its citizens who had always shown him
    loyalty. His body would be buried at the feet of his father, Henry II, as an
    act of penance. His pride was to go to the Templars.

    And to the County of Champagne he left his entrails, so that they would
    stink up the region that had treacherously resisted his rule.

    Rouen, August, 1207

    Arthur paced back and forth along the castle's walls, cursing John. He may
    have been the son of a whore and a bastard, but he was no fool. He'd
    imprisoned Arthur in a castle, lest he escape [37] and revolt. The bastard.

    Arthur should be the ruler of those lands. He was the rightful Duke of
    Brittany, not John. If John was the King, it would only be a few weeks
    before the Emperor sacked London and Louis was in Bordeaux. Arthur thought
    for a moment. No, that wasn't fair. It would take a few months.

    John was walking up the steps himself, with the clang of men in armor behind
    him. Arthur looked down below. So this was what God had planned for Arthur,
    did he?

    John motioned at the men. "I'm sorry, Arthur, but you are clearly a rebel
    against God's Lord Emperor and his Pope." Smiling, he pointed at the swords.
    "You must be disposed of."

    The men hesitated. "Go on, then," said John. "I haven't got all day."

    Arthur licked his lips. This was his only chance. "John, as the defender of
    the church, I beg of you a few days to do penance before God for my sins.
    Surely you, as Defender of the Faithful, will accept that. If not for me, do
    it for yours brothers. I am their blood as well. "

    John looked at his men. They wouldn't kill him now. He sighed. Some things
    you just had to do yourself. He began to draw his sword.

    Sometimes, the fate of nations depends on a historical fluke. This was one
    such moment, as John stumbled on a loose footing. Arthur saw his chance, and
    kicked John, who stumbled back, almost falling. His courtiers rushed to help
    him, and Arthur ran. He managed to grab one of the horses below, and rode
    out. Knights were dispatched to chase him, but, in truth, their heart was
    not in it. It was, after all, unchivalrous.

    Arthur turned behind himself to shout, and yelled. "You shall regret this, John! Your sons shall pay the price of your
    deeds!"

    Nuremburg, September, 1207

    Nuremberg was, thought Arthur, beginning to rival Paris.. The Emperor's new
    Cathedral, it was said by some, was almost a Roman temple, and Arthur could
    see it. It was rising above the city towards heaven, and this in its 5th
    year of construction! Merchants and pilgrims thronged the streets, while
    Frederick ruled in his father's stead, while he was on the campaign in
    Lombardy.

    Frederick's court was open, for some time each day, for courtiers and those
    seeking his help. A few gold coins (but too few; he hadn't exactly had time
    to plan his escape). Arthur had had to wait in line, but he knew he had to
    make this count. He could not tip anyone off too soon.

    He walked in, and prostrated himself before the Emperor, who spoke.

    "What is your name?" asked Frederick.

    Arthur, still on his knees, raised his head. "I am Arthur, Duke of the
    Bretons!"

    [37] Arthur is John's nephew by Geoffrey, son of Henry and Eleanor. He is
    the rightful Duke of Brittany, incidentally.
     
  9. G.Bone lurks

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    Prince of Peace 14

    "We make plain the triumphs of the Caesar"-Transcription before the Horses
    of Nuremberg.

    Milan, April, 1209

    The city was subdued. Not just physically, thought Henry, but mentally. They
    had tried to rebel, and were now paying the price. Once again, a
    Hohenstaufen had conquered Milan. They had refused his terms; they had
    spurned his title; they had made common cause with John. Now they were
    paying the price. The sack had lasted three days, and the city was
    devastated. Ironically, some of the greatest devastation was caused by the
    levy from Cremona. No love was lost between those two cities.

    Milan would submit to an imperial governor of his choosing. He considered
    Frederick for a second; the child was still too young, sadly. Perhaps one
    of the Sicilians could handle it. He shrugged. It didn't matter. All that
    mattered was that Lombardy was his. Oh, the cities would still have some
    power, but he could handle that. Christ knew that if he could handle the
    German nobles, he could handle a few over pretentious towns. With Lombardy's
    wealth, he could turn his sights on one of the richest lands in Christendom
    that still remained outside his control. It would take a while, but by
    then, surely, Frederick would be old enough to govern a realm properly

    Henry got off of his horse and went inside the cathedral, which, although a
    bit damaged in the sack, was still a holy place. He knelt down and prayed.
    The Empire was so close, and he would restore to Christendom the Roman
    Peace. That was all he had ever wanted. Just to restore the world to the
    glories of Rome. One without upstart kings who laid waste to their lands by
    bleeding it white, or arrogant Popes who thought they had the right to deny
    entrance into heaven to an Emperor for being successful, or his subjects for
    being loyal. One in which commerce would flow unhindered, in which his
    subjects could sleep soundly, unafraid of attack. He honestly thought he was
    almost as close as Charlemagne had been to restoring the Empire to its
    height.

    "Today, Lombardy," he prayed, "Tomorrow. the world." [35]

    Bordeaux, (Aquitane) , April, 1208

    Arthur felt his spirits lift. It had been a long, difficult journey to reach
    Aquitane. He had had to avoid the County of Toulouse, where Raymond and
    Peter were battling it out. To the north John was fighting with the Counts
    of Flanders and Brabant against Louis, and to the east, Henry was besieging
    Milan. Arthur shook his head. So much bloodshed, all because of one man.
    There were times when he wondered why there needed to be a Pope and an
    Emperor at all. Jesus and his disciples had had no need for them to spread
    the faith, and now that issue was suffering and devastation across Europe.

    Arthur smirked. Maybe the Cathars were right, and they did live in a world
    ruled by darkness. Not that he would ever tell the priests that, of course.

    Arthur had ridden with over a thousand knights from Germany, supplied by the
    King of the Romans. Frederick II had offered him more support, but Arthur
    did not want to be reliant upon the swords of the Empire. If it was anyone
    else, Arthur would have thought he was trying to be made a pawn of
    Frederick. But he was too young to do that. Wasn't he?

    Arthur's men continued to race towards Bordeaux, knowing that John's men
    were after him. William Da Braose [39] himself was on his way, and his
    cooks were already at the city, preparing a great reception. There was not
    much time.

    Naturally, the charge of several hundred armed men towards the city caused
    concern in the city, which closed its gates. Arthur rode his horse up to the
    wall. There was a cry from the wall.

    "Who are you?"

    Arthur shouted, "Your lawful sovereign, Arthur, King of England and Duke of
    Aquitane and Brittany! I have come to reclaim my lands and take vengeance
    upon my treacherous uncle!"

    There was a silence while the news was digested. Arthur yelled again . "Open
    this gate I say! Do you wish to be known as the city that supports murderers
    and heretics?"

    He heard the sound of swords clanging, and a body fell over the side. The
    gates of the city of Bordeaux opened.

    William's men would arrive at the city a mere two hours later; the
    Chronicler Guillelmus Armoricus, writing in Brittany, wrote that had Arthur
    been delayed by a mere two hours, William would have beaten him to Bordeaux.

    As the barons of Brittany, Anjou, Poitou, and Maine flocked to Arthur's
    banner, ending his efforts to subdue Champagne, and as Peter II began his
    slow advance in Toulouse, John would come to realize that sometimes, two
    hours is all it takes to destroy what it takes a century to build.

    Rouen, March, 1209

    John was angry. It was bad enough that Arthur had escaped from his
    imprisonment the first time (and he still couldn't believe that none of his
    men would raise their swords against him at the time), but to have William
    not capture him a second time was inexcusable.

    Oh, sure, William would try to blame him for not giving him enough men, or
    for making the barons hate him by imprisoning John and not producing
    evidence of Richard's support for his claim to the thrones, but what of it?
    Didn't he understand? He was the Emperor!

    God had chosen him to be his instrument in the world. It was his duty, not
    Richard's, to defeat the antichrist in Italy. If God could understand that
    John was Richard's better, why not him?

    His train of thought was interrupted by William. "My lord, if you had just
    let me raise more men for Aquitane."

    John cut him off. "Then we would have fewer men for Champagne, wouldn't we?
    Our knights have raided to Bourges; by the time Henry returns to Flanders,
    Louis will be a beggar in Nuremberg. Despite," he glared at William, "your
    many failures."

    William sighed. If only Richard hadn't died.. "But my Lord Emperor, if that
    is the case, will you not lower taxes? Paris is being bled white, and I fear
    the consequences."

    "I know what is best, William. I am the Emperor."

    William bowed and left the room. John may be the Emperor, but the Emperor of
    what?

    Paris, April, 1209

    Joan was a simple woman, of simple means. Her father had been a tailor; her
    husband was a tailor; her children, unless they were mercenaries, would be
    tailors. She was a pious woman, and she attended mass every Sunday, as did
    her daughter.

    Which was why Joan was worried. Her daughter had gone to the mass for the
    Vespers of Easter hours before, and she had not yet found her. It was
    getting late, but she went out to look for her. A dangerous thing to do, in
    a city at night.

    She walked in to see the soldiers of the King of England and Emperor of the
    World, John, raping her daughter. She screamed, in a cry, it was said, which
    could be heard throughout Paris.

    "My daughter! My daughter!"

    Men rushed from their houses to see what was the matter. (Joan was, after
    all, a well known woman who only complained when something serious
    happened). They rushed upon the English [40], who, unarmed, were quickly
    dispatched.

    What began as a simple outcry against one incident spread across Paris.
    Paris was not a glorified village like the cities in England. It All
    across the city, a single cry could be heard. "Vive Louis!"

    The Parisian Vespers had begun.


    (Okay, yes, it's been done. But I feel that something of this sort was in
    store for John, and any Timeline without its vespers uprising is a poor one
    indeed.

    And I do hope no one would dare think that either Frederick, Henry, or Louis
    had anything to do with the city's revolt).

    [38] Okay, a brief discussion on why Lombardy's falling rather easily. (If
    by easily you accept a year long siege, massive battles, and the culmination
    of years of consolidation in Central and Southern Italy.

    First of all, Henry has control of Germany, unlike Frederick, who only ruled
    it. This is weakened somewhat by the fact that Henry has to deal with
    revolts in the Low countries, but is still a factor. Henry has a stronger
    position in Italy as well, and the (Roman) Papacy's excommunications,
    followed up by the loss of Milan's relics, convinces many that God is on the
    Emperor's sides. Henry also has an awesome reputation; he's the Savior of
    Jerusalem, Defender of the Faithful, Emperor of the Romans, King of Sicily,
    Unifier of the Churches, and a whole host of other impressive titles. (To
    his enemies he's the Antichrist, but every bad Emperor is).

    Secondly, Milan is not liked. It's essentially been grabbing everything it
    can, forming a small empire in Northern Italy. Henry actually tried to save
    the city from much damage, on the basis that the city would pay more if it
    was intact, but many levies from Italy couldn't be restrained.

    The third factor is the strife within the cities. Old patricians favored the
    Pope and John; the rising middle class favored the Empire, and there was
    actually fighting between pro-Hohenstaufen factions and anti-Hohenstaufen in
    1221, once Frederick II was actually in power.

    [39] William is an excellent servant to Johnat this point, and holds
    substantial lands in Wales and Sussex. He is currently running things in
    Aquitane, and will shortly find that that is a rather hard task with a boss
    such as John.

    [40] Well, Normans, technically. But Plantagenet men, which is all that
    matters.

    Prince of Peace 15
    Poster's Note: By this time, Henry has kicked the bucket.
    It is on mathematics all rational explanation of the universe depends"-
    Roger Bacon


    March, Frankfurt, 1210

    Wilhelm (or William of Holland, as he would be known) listened to their
    professor, Grossteste [31], drone on. "Christianity," he was saying, "looks
    back upon an evil, less perfect past. This implies that we are heading
    towards a perfect future under God. But it also implies," he said, looking
    at his class, "what?"

    Some arrogant nobleman's son had decided to see what the university was
    like, and was attending a few lectures. Wilhelm wasn't sure who the brat
    was; he was a Hollander, and wasn't up to date on who was begetting who
    amongst the imperial nobility. He said, "That our actions as servants of
    Christ are supposed to be dedicated to improving the world, so that we might
    build Christ's Kingdom on this earth."

    Grossteste smiled. "Ah, but how?"

    The nobleman thought for a second. "Prayer, of course, and piety. But also
    through the use of science, surely? We are told, in the Secretum Secretorum
    [32], that natural science is important for military problems and affairs of
    state. But if God created the world, then is not learning all we can a sign
    of worship?"

    Grossteste smiled. "Ah, but how do you learn this knowledge?"

    William stood up. "We know from Aristotle's dialogues that the key to
    understanding is through observation and contemplating what we know [33].
    But it seems to me that Aristotle focused too much on contemplation. We can
    only observe what we see; we cannot start making up solutions, or focus on
    dialectic works. Aristotle saw that we should focus on analysis, and precise
    observation. That is the key to understanding how the world works. "

    One of the other students stood up. "And how do you combine that with the
    theory that God is omnipotent?"

    The nobleman, surprisingly, grasped it. "Oh, don't be a fool. God can send
    another flood, or block the sun, but that doesn't mean that he will. As far
    as you and I know, he normally governs the universe with a set of laws that
    we can study, to determine how he is operating the universe. And those
    actions we can study, for they help us learn how to improve the world, and
    to understand the majesty of God's creation."

    The student grabbed onto the stool, as if ready to throw it. "I don't need
    to hear this from some stuck up nobleman's brat. Who do you think you are,
    anyway?"

    The prince ignored him for a second, and bowed to William. "You appear to
    have a promising future ahead of you, sir. Perhaps you should pay a call
    upon my family when you finish your studies; we always seek to learn more
    about the world."

    The nobleman turned on the first student. "I am Frederick of Hohenstaufen,
    King of the Romans. And who, pray tell, are you?"

    Thus began a friendship that would be one for the ages. Frederick was a
    different sort of Emperor. At the age of thirteen he was capable of running
    Germany, and restless. He would often wander through the markets of
    Nuremberg, or ride from Vienna to Aachen, where he would pray before
    Charlemagne's tomb [40].




    Frederick adored the Romans. He learned Greek, it was said, simply so he
    could read the Byzantine works before they were translated. He preferred the
    city of Nuremberg to the hunting lodges of Swabia. He was among the first to
    read the works of Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa, and bought booksfrom as far
    away as Egypt or Toledo. His patronage of William of Holland is, perhaps,
    as important an event of his reign as his wars against the infidels.

    What follows are not so much all that happened, but the snippets that best
    describe their relationship.


    July, Frankfurt, 1219

    The Lord Emperor was an impatient man. Little could keep him waiting. He
    would ride through storms to reach his destination; he would brave the
    storms of the North Sea or the Mediterranean; and he would even, it was
    said, forsake Mass if it would give him more time to read.

    The one thing he would wait through was one of William's lectures. The
    class, which left rather quickly after realizing who was waiting to see
    their Magister, stared in wonderment as God's Anointed Ruler, Frederick II,
    strode up to greet William as if he was an old friend.

    "So you feel that Alhazen is wrong, do you?" [42]

    "I do, my Lord Emperor. All he had shown was that the light did not depend
    on the eye alone. I am certain that the eye changes the medium and ennobles
    it, and renders it analogous to vision, preparing the passage of light
    rays." William said, gesturing.

    "I believe that light propagate itself. " Frederick raised his eyebrows, and
    William continued. "Something is continuously pouring from all living
    things, flowing out in the direction of the Earth. I call them species."

    "The species are tiny packets of light, reproduce and spread everywhere. I
    also believe that we can condense and focus the species onto certain points,
    giving us a greater view of faraway sights." William sighed. "I have
    little time to test my theories, sadly."

    Frederick laughed. "That's actually what I wish to talk with you about. Now
    that I am Emperor, things shall be done as I please."

    March, Frankfurt, 1222

    Frederick stared through his invention at the moon. "My God," he whispered.
    It was still blurry, but Frederick could see the hills of the moon. "You are
    sure this is not magic?"

    William shook his head. "This is merely a marvel wrought through the agency
    of Art and of Nature. There is no magic in what I do, merely the exploration
    of the wonders of God's world. "

    Frederick put down the device, awestruck. By God, the moon looked like it
    had seas and hills! It was as if it was an entire world! He had felt as if
    he could reach out and pluck it. He whispered a prayer. "God, we are not
    worthy of the majesty of your creation."

    William heard it, and shook his head. "Perhaps, when Christ had not yet
    arrived, or when our forefathers were still pagans, we were not worthy.
    But," he said, "I believe that, over time, we are making ourselves worthy.
    As we learn and improve ourselves, we understand more of the glory that has
    been given to us." William gestured. "How, my Lord Emperor, can we not
    believe that in a world where light can be bent to show us such marvels,
    that there is not a God protecting us."

    Frederick was still awestruck. If William was right, then they were
    learning. Slowly, perhaps, but mankind was gradually learning. William
    always said that what was discovered today would be common knowledge
    tomorrow. And that was known tomorrow would be impossible today. Would his
    descendents sail amongst the stars? That was a disturbing thought.

    Frederick wondered, for a moment. If lenses could make things far away seem
    larger, what would they do to things close up?

    William was looking rather smug, which meant there was something else going
    on. Frederick turned to him, and asked, "What else is there?"

    William lifted up the telescope, and pointed it at Saturn. "Look carefully,
    my Emperor. Saturn is encircled by spheres of its own."

    Frederick saw them, and was impressed, and a little frightened. What could
    they be? And if other spheres could circle Saturn, what did that mean for
    Earth?

    "My Lord Emperor, I believe those are the moons of Saturn. I humbly propose,
    that I, as their discoverer, may name them."

    Frederick nodded. How could he refuse?

    William bowed. "I propose that we name them after the great Emperors of
    Rome: Augustus, Constantine, Charlemagne, and Henry."

    Frederick stared in awe. His father had built Nuremberg as a monument and
    legacy for the Hohenstaufens. But how could that compare to this? "My
    friend," he said, looking at the telescope, "you have built the Empire a
    monument that shall last until the end of time. For that I can never repay
    you."

    Nuremberg, October, 1223

    The Germans had a long and distinguished tradition. Among this was the
    tradition of, at every feast, getting drunk. It was a sign of one's strength
    as a ruler to be capable of this, and Frederick's inclinations to drink only
    watered wine, unless at a feast, caused some to question his heritage. If
    his mother had been a German, the reasoning went, he wouldn't have had that
    problem.

    So to did his habit of bringing William, a Magister of the Arts, to his
    tables. And their discussions..

    Which, as it happened, were going on now.

    "Be serious, William," said the Emperor. "How can you believe that the stars
    reflect light from the sun? The moon gets dark when the Earth gets in the
    way of the sun, but the stars only get brighter without the light of the
    sun! How can that happen if the light is reflected?"

    William took a sip of the wine and thought. " The earth's shadow only
    extends, essentially, as far as Mercury [42]. By the time the shadow reaches
    the stars, there would be no effect because it is too small."

    "Ah, but if that is so, then should not the stars eclipse one another? The
    fact that they do not must mean that they are casting off light of their
    own. It follows, then, that the stars are like our sun, but far away. If a
    bonfire can look like a candle from far away, might not the same apply to
    the heavens?"

    William took another sip of wine, and bowed. "Yet again, My Lord Emperor,
    you astound me."



    Nuremberg, December, 1225

    "Now I shall explain why the atomic theory of Democritus is wrong", said
    William. His class looked on with interest. After all, if the Emperor liked
    it, it had to be good.

    "Let us use a simple piece of reasoning."

    "Take a square made of atoms, like so:

    XXXXX
    XXXXX
    XXXXX
    XXXXX
    XXXXX

    It is 5 atoms high by 5 atoms wide. This means that the diagonal is not a
    real number, and how can you possibly have a fraction of an atom?"

    The class digested this. "You are saying that this is absolutely true?"

    William shook his head. "Of course not. How can a mere man be sure of
    anything in the world? I can merely say that based on my ability to look and
    reason, I can disprove this theory. That is all any man can do." He looked
    at hi class, and said, with words that would echo through the ages, "that is
    what you shall do."



    [31] Grossteste has been wooed to Frankfurt by gold and the books from
    Byzantium. The presence of an invading Plantagenet army has also made his
    stay there rather unadvisable.

    [32] A medieval work which held that natural science had practical value.

    [42] Alhazen was a natural philosopher who held that eyes only received
    light, and set about proving it with a determination that should be admired.

    [43] In a geocentric universe, of course. Although Geocentrism should get
    interesting rather quickly.

    Prince of Peace
     
  10. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 16

    "John, We come for you! We come for you! Long live the true Plantagenets!"-
    Arthur of Brittany, standing on the English Channel, in 1211.

    "Behold his condition and the ruin of his kingdom, the malice of the times,
    and the cruelty of the tyrant who out of the furnace of his avarice is ever
    forging weapons against the true King"- Chronicles of John of Norfolk

    La Rochelle, March, 1210

    Arthur looked around him and laughed. "By God, said Arthur, "John must be
    furious". La Rochelle was the latest city to open its gates before him, and
    Brittany, according to reports from merchants, had already thrown out its
    John's garrisons. Evidently they had all decided that it was better to be
    under Arthur than Louis or Henry. It was, Arthur decided, a good day.

    His wife, Maria, came up beside him. She was a good enough wife, the
    daughter of the Empress [44]. To be sure, she was supposed to have been wed
    to Frederick, but that was years ago.

    "Husband," she said, " I have news. I believe," she said, slowly, as if she
    could hardly believe it, "that I am with child."

    Yes, thought Arthur, it was a very good day.

    Paris, June, 1210

    "Hail King Louis! Hail King Louis!" the people of Paris cheered, with some
    of them weeping openly.

    Louis had acted quickly with news of the Parisian Rising. Despite the
    urgings of some of his advisors, Louis had realized that his time had come.
    Word of the risings had spread, and inspired the other cities of France.
    There had been risings as far away as Orleans, and while not all of them
    were successful, it was enough to make Louis weep.

    Oh, true, he had been forced to make compromises. Flanders, damn it, had
    been persuaded to come over with promises of amnesty and forgiveness, and
    the great Dukes and Counts had confirmed their rights and expanded them.
    That would be trouble, for later. But Louis was focused on the present
    moment.

    "Citizens of Paris," he called to the mob. "You have saved the kingdom. When
    the traitors amongst the nobility made cause with the Antichrist and his
    lackey Innocent, you were there. It was not some mighty army of nobles, not
    some heroic knight, who saved the Kingdom. It was the people of Paris, and
    for that," he said, taking off his hat," I can never repay you."

    He gestured, and a cloth was taken off. "To that end, I have changed the
    heraldry of my house. I hope that this banner will remind all of to whom we
    owe the salvation of the Kingdom."

    It was a simple banner, really. The colors of Paris flanked the white of the
    Capetian dynasty; a red, white, and blue tricolor.

    The people bowed before their king. "Hail Louis!"

    "No," whispered Louis, "it is I who should bow." That moment, with the
    adoration and praise of the people who had truly saved France, made it all
    worthwhile [46].

    Milan, October, 1210,

    Henry nodded in satisfaction as he looked behind him towards the city. The
    plunder and tribute of Lombardy had already gone north to Nuremberg. They
    would be yoked to the Empire now, with the garrisons of the Emperor in Milan
    and Cremona ascendant. It would take time, but, as they said, Rome wasn't
    built in a day.

    Markward had ridden north; he would be the overall viceroy for Italy; the
    man was greedy and ambitious, but not so ambitious as to think he could
    oppose the Emperor.

    "My Lord Emperor," he asked, "What now?"

    Henry looked north. "Arthur's rebellion has spread like wildfire; John has
    been reduced to Normandy and England. The King of Aragon continues his
    advance. All that is left is the final blow."

    Markward coughed. "Where, my lord?"

    Henry pulled a coin out of his pocket. One could tell, if one looked
    closely, where it was printed.

    Nottingham.

    Markward stared at Henry, who continued, "Oh, don't be a fool. I can't take
    it. But Arthur can, and he will confirm that England is a vassal of the
    Empire. By then, all the great houses of Europe will be fiefs of the
    Empire," he said, looking off, "and my sons can reap my harvest."


    London, March, 1211

    "And for obtaining the common counsel of the kingdom anent the assessing of
    an aid (except in the three cases aforesaid) or of a scutage, we will cause
    to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons,
    severally by our letters; and we will moveover cause to be summoned
    generally, through our sheriffs and bailiffs, and others who hold of us in
    chief, for a fixed date, namely, after the expiry of at least forty days,
    and at a fixed place; and in all letters of such summons we will specify the
    reason of the summons. And when the summons has thus been made, the business
    shall proceed on the day appointed, according to the counsel of such as are
    present, although not all who were summoned have come."

    The Emperor of Christendom, John I, could feel his teeth grating as he
    listened. The bastards, they'd betrayed him. Every last one. To stop them
    from defecting to Arthur, he'd been forced to grant the very things that
    made him king!

    John forced himself to remain calm. Being impetuous was what had killed his
    brother. He would not make the same mistake. He would deal with Arthur, the
    son of a whore, and then deal with the barons.

    John forced himself to smile. "This is a great day for the kingdom. With
    your help, we can ensure the peace and prosperity of the realm."

    The barons cheered. Let them, thought John. Their time would come.

    Rouen, May, 1211

    Eleanor was crying again. She had a habit of doing that, really. Arthur
    smiled. In a way, that made the child much like her namesake. Fortunately
    she didn't bother him much; that was what servants were for, after all.

    Maria came up to him. "You leave tomorrow," she said. It was not a question,
    but a statement.

    Arthur nodded. "I don't have a choice. I don't trust Henry or Frederick. If
    we are to avoid the fate of Milan, we must hold Henri II's domains
    together."

    Maria stared at him in shock. "You do not trust the man who was like a
    father to me? Or the boy who is like my brother?"

    Arthur scowled. "Don't be a fool, woman. I like them both; Frederick is a
    bright lad, and he will do the Empire justice. But Byzantium, Sicily,
    Jerusalem, Lombardy." Arthur ticked them off on his fingers. "He holds the
    greatest lands in Christendom. How long will it be, you think, before we see
    Frederick's army before Paris? Or before Bordeaux, perhaps?"

    Maria shook her head. "They would never do that! They only seek to restore
    unity to Christendom!"

    Arthur snorted. "By restoring the glory of Rome. Rome, at its heyday,
    stretched from Egypt to Scotland. I do not doubt that they would like to see
    it again."

    He paused for a moment, and said, "And I am afraid that with Frederick in
    charge, it just might."

    "That," he said, looking at Eleanor," is why we need England. If I can take
    it over, and convince Louis of the threat of Frederick and Henry, we may
    have a chance. If not." he said, looking into the fire, "I fear we shall all
    be subjects of the Emperor."

    Arthur was aware of what needed to be done. But sometimes, as all historians
    know, what must be done is not.

    Hastings, July, 1211

    For the second time in two centuries, the hills Hastings saw the fate of
    England decided. John had managed to secure the hills above the
    battlefield, and with the momentum from the charge, had broken the center of
    Arthur's army

    Arthur would be remembered as the tragic prince by future generations;
    fighting against all in the hopes of saving England from what lay ahead. He
    would be considered the last flower of chivalry in a dying era, betrayed,
    like the first Arthur, by those he had once cared about.

    This would be cold comfort to Arthur, whose men fled past him. Arthur ran,
    and fled.

    He ran across the green hills of England, trying to reach the ships; but he
    was caught, after only a few hours, by knights of the barons.

    The men advanced towards him. He was trapped, he realized, as he saw men
    behind him. His horse was exhausted; he could not escape. He wondered, in
    his last moments, how long it would take before they realized who he was.

    Not long. "He's Arthur! John will pay ten thousand marks if we catch him
    alive!" cried one of the men.

    Arthur looked around him. There was no choice, really. He wondered, in his
    last moments, what would happen to Eleanor.

    He lifted a dagger to his breast, and called out one thing before he plunged
    it into his chest.

    "It would have been best for us all if I had won. May God protect you from
    what lies ahead."


    Bordeaux, August, 1211

    Maria wept. She must be strong, she knew. Louis would be seeking a chance to
    take the lands of her Eleanor; he'd already proposed a marriage between his
    son, Philip, and her daughter. She needed a protector. The barons of
    Aquitane were as selfish and greedy as the ones she remembered in Jerusalem;
    and she knew what had happened to Jerusalem's queens.

    She was a stranger in these lands, with only a few nobles she could trust.
    There was only one person in her family who could help her now.

    Plymouth, October, 1211

    It was, thought Robert Fitzwalter, the Lord of Dunmow, unfair. He had joined
    the King against Arthur, defended the realm, and now the king had betrayed
    him. He was fighting the barons, had broken their covenant, and had
    confiscated lands across England.

    He was not the only one leaving. William de Mandeville and William de
    Huntingfield had joined him [45]. They would make their proposal, and then
    break the back of the king.

    He shivered, as a wind blew across the North Sea. He wished it had not come
    to this. The Emperor's Eagle, flying over London. it was not to be wished
    for.

    But with a King who would take your lands and call you a traitor, who would
    drag you into wars for a Pope and his delusions of grandeur, what else could
    you do? Let John be hanged, as far as he was concerned. Robert's duty was to
    his family, not to some King who rewarded loyalty with betrayal.

    Hamburg, June, 1213

    "The bark is ready, the wind at help, and all things bend, for England,"
    said Frederick. He was impatient for the fleet to set sail. From all across
    the ports of the Empire, men were departing for England. This would be their
    finest hour; he would establish the base for the Empire to last a thousand
    years.

    And he would prove, once and for all, that he was not just his father's son.

    "For England?" said William of Holland.

    "Aye, William. The barons are still in revolt in Anglia. England is a fief
    of the Empire, as even their King Richard acknowledged." He laughed.
    "Richard gave us the money to conquer Sicily, and now he gives me a pretext
    to take England. They trust that we shall leave them alone, and let them
    rule in our stead." Frederick smirked. "We shall see."

    William wasn't sure what to say, so took the opportunity to drink some wine.

    Frederick continued, "The Plantagenets call themselves Lions. They boast of
    their strength and majesty." He looked at the ships, which were finally
    setting sail.

    "We here in Germany have our own lions, amongst the merchants who sail the
    seas in trade, and amongst the warriors who defend the land. Men, as you
    prepare to bring the Eagle of the Empire to England, know this."

    "Today is the day of the Imperial Eagle. Today is Aldertag!"

    [44] Frederick II's marriage to her was annulled when Constantine was born,
    since Henry already had an heir of his own to rule Jerusalem. With a male
    heir of his blood to rule the kingdom, Frederick's marriage is irrelevant.

    [45] All barons who supported Magna Carta and invited the Dauphin over.
    Here, the Dauphin is much weaker; and the Emperor has promised them great
    concessions in England. They are also reassured, ironically, by looking at
    Germany, where the Emperor has not trampled on the rights of the barons;
    only of the cities of Lombardy.

    It's not the best option, but it's the only one they have.

    (Well, their best option would have been to let Arthur win, but I didn't
    think that was that probable)

    [46] Yes, this is out of order; I added this comment at the last minute.
    The notion of white being the color of the monarchy is fuzzy; some sources
    trace it back to Joan of Arc, others do not.

    So let me explain how the white arose for the monarchy in TTL. When Richard
    took Paris, he adopted the red flag of St. George, which was traditionally
    the color of the monarchy, and placed it in his heraldry.

    Louis adopted a simple banner of white (in part because it was cheap to
    produce) mainly because it represented his call to purify the kingdom and
    the church from the corrupt, despotic practices of Innocent, and to purify
    the realm of traitors.

    Red and blue were, as much as I can tell, were the colors on Paris's
    heraldry from before this time.

    Prince of Peace 17

    "And the Germans came across the sea like lions, pursuing all before them;
    and they harried the land, and laid waste to the fields.- John of Norfolk

    St. Paul's Cathedral, April, 1214

    "The throne of England is vacant, since John has been condemned in our
    court!" cried Robert Fitz Walter.

    "Let the will of God be done," intoned Frederick. He looked as the crown was
    placed before him. But rather than let them place the crown upon his head,
    Frederick took it out of their hands and placed it upon himself. This crown
    was his because he was emperor, not thanks to the barons.

    Outside the cathedral, the people of London cheered. The Prince of Peace had
    come amongst them at last, to drive away the bad times of the Plantagenet
    kings, with their heavy taxes and confiscations. No more endless wars in
    France, just the Imperial Peace, in which they would all prosper.

    They would be disillusioned within two years.

    Frederick, meanwhile, listened to the rest of the ceremony halfheartedly,
    while he considered his options. Demand homage from Scotland [46] and
    Ireland, as well as the princelings in Wales, of course. But the real threat
    was John. He had been driven to the north, and the only pockets of
    resistance to the south were in Windsor and Dover. He clenched his fist.
    They would be dealt with soon enough.

    Riding out of the cathedral, he called to the crowd. "London, you have been
    brought back into the fold of the Empire! May the glories of the Pax Romana
    bring you prosperity in the years to come."

    All across the city were signs of the Emperor's might. At the city's tower,
    the banner of the Empire was visible from St. Paul's, rumored, it was said,
    to have scared away the ravens. Frederick nodded. The eagle, from the
    tower, looked upon all of England. Soon, so would he.


    Newark Castle, July, 1214

    John screamed at William de Broase. "You incompetent fool! This is your
    entire fault again! You let Arthur escape, you left London fall, and now you
    have not stopped Frederick from capturing Dover."

    William remained calm. The King was drunk, he knew. Innocent was dead,
    France had fallen, and even now Frederick was preparing to march north. "My
    Lord, if you had just given me more men, I could have done better."

    John advanced on William, drawing his sword. "From where? Thanks to you, I
    have no more men. I have nothing!" He staggered forward. "And neither shall
    you!"

    William drew his own blade, quickly. He knocked the king's blade out of his
    hand, and regretfully walked out, smirking. He couldn't kill John, although
    that would have been for the best. But that was no surprise, really. If he
    couldn't kill a pretender, how could he kill the king?

    Lincoln, August, 1214

    Frederick wrinkled his nose at the odor. Lincoln had not fallen without
    heavy fighting, and the castle had cost him many men. But he had men to
    spend, and John did not.

    There was, however, one man that he wished to see. He looked in contempt at
    the wretch before him. "Your brother, at least, would have gone down with a
    sword in his hand."

    John moaned. Dirty, bruised, bloodied, and battered, he resisted the urge to
    weep. He must be strong, he knew. He may very well be the last king of
    England. The people must have something to remember. "What will happen now?"

    Frederic looked around. " I will be the viceroy in England, until my father
    goes to God. England will be brought into line; a hard task, but if my
    family could manage it with Sicily, we can manage it with England. I am also
    the protector of my niece's lands in Aquitane, Normandy, and Gascony. We
    have received homage from Alexander of Scotland. "

    Frederick looked at John. "Ah, but you meant yourself, of course. You will
    go to see my father in Nuremberg, and stand trial there for your crimes
    against God and the Empire." He paused for a moment, grinning at John. "May
    God have mercy on your soul, for he shall have none."

    John coughed up blood, and groped for the dagger in his boot. If he could
    just reach it, he would make amends. Let the people know he had not died on
    his knees.

    Frederick kicked him, cracking ribs. "No, you fool, you will not die a hero'
    s death. You are a heretic, a threat to God's established order, and you
    will die as one." John was dragged away, moaning, towards his fate in
    Nuremberg.


    Runnymede, March, 1215

    Frederick looked at the barons. The fools. Did they really think he could
    trust them, or would, once he had won?

    "No, no, and again, no. I will not be bound by some treaty you made with the
    false king John."

    The barons stared at him. How could he have done this to him? Robert of Fitz
    Walter spoke. "My Lord, we did not protest when you gave lands to your
    soldiers form the Empire. We did not protest when you raised taxes as a
    penalty for supporting John. The pope himself supported this."

    "But," said Robert, "this goes too far. You said that you would support our
    rights!"

    Frederick nodded. "I did, and I do. The rights you claim to have gotten in
    your "Magna Carta" [47] are not the rights of barons in England. You wrung
    those from John as the price for supporting him against Arthur. I am your
    King and your Lord Emperor."

    "But, my lord," protested Robert, "the Magna Carta."

    Frederick roared. "The Magna Carta, you say?" Frederick walked over to the
    treaty, which lay on a table. He picked it up and ripped it in two.

    "That for your Magna Carta. And, by God," said Frederick, "you will meet the
    fate of John if you rebel."

    Robert and the other barons rode off the next day. They were, Frederick
    knew, preparing rebellion. Let them.

    He had an army, paid for by the plunder of England and Lombardy. He would
    defeat them, and establish his superiority. There was no one to help them
    now.

    "I the court of the most honoured king that ever was of any king. This was
    the good King of Aragon, father of worth, son of liberality and lord of
    happiness, of kindly and loyal nature who loves, fears and believes in God
    and maintains loyalty and faith, peace and justice; wherefore God loves him
    for such is his conduct with his subjects that he is God's foremost knight
    and the warrior against His enemies. Never did God find in him defect;
    indeed the chiefest of battles was wrought by him and he has conquered those
    by whom God was scorned. "-Troubadour on Peter IIof Aragon.

    Toulouse, December, 1215

    "How can I give Louis homage for Toulouse? Kings can only receive homage,
    and may only give it to the Emperor. He is your master's lord, and mine. Why
    should I pay homage for Toulouse to Louis when I already pay homage for my
    lands to Henry?" Peter, King of Aragon, Count of Toulouse, said, watching
    for the reaction of the French King's delegates.

    "But you would not be giving homage for Aragon, merely for Toulouse."

    Peter cut him short. "It matters not. I only owe homage to Henry, to whom I
    freely give it. I greet your lord with affection, but I will never bend my
    knee before him."

    Peter laughed as they left the court. He was a busy man, and had other
    things to do than knock down Louis's claims. If it came to war. so be it. He
    had the support of Frederick in the west, Henry in the east, and Louis ruled
    a land wracked by war.

    Peter leaned back as he listened to the troubadours, relaxing. By God, he
    was entitled to some relaxation, after all he had been through. He ran
    through his achievements, proud of what he had left behind.

    He had taken Toulouse by strength and guile, walking the delicate line
    between supporting the Cathars and wiping them out. They were heretics, and
    as such, an offense to God, but, frankly, if he could rule Muslims, he could
    rule Cathars.

    For now.

    He had fought with the Christian Kings of Spain against the Almohads, had
    stood firm against the wave of Saracens who had crashed upon his lines. The
    men of Aragon had stood firm, and the Almohads had been broken forever.

    Peter II smiled contentedly. God, really, had been kind to him. He had a
    good run of luck, to this point. He would not mind some more.

    The troubadour's music stopped, reminding him of what was going on. Peter
    clapped, and called for more.

    Paris, July, 1216

    Eleanor of Brittany was, by and large, a peaceful woman. But there were
    times when her husband infuriated her.

    Right now, when he was drunk, was one of those times. He was furious that
    Peter II had betrayed him, and Henry had supported it.

    Eleanor was furious too, actually. Those lands should have been hers and her
    children's. But there was no use in crying over spilled wine.

    Eleanor knew she had to calm Louis down. "Think, my King, why we supported
    Peter. It was either him or Raymond, who could have caught us in a pincer
    grip between himself and Richard."

    Louis gestured with his wine cup, which fell out of his hands onto the
    floor. "We could have won. With assistance, we would have driven them both
    back without Aragon."

    Eleanor laughed. Louis was always a fool when he was drunk. "With who, pray
    tell? Frederick? Oh, there's a brilliant idea," she said sarcastically. "And
    do you think that maybe it would have been a bad idea to have imperial
    troops garrisoning our castles? Would you rather see Frederick in London or
    in Paris?"

    Louis shivered. The Caesar in Paris. it didn't bear thinking about. "We
    could have taken Toulouse for ourselves, or won him over."

    "Blood is thicker than the ties of fealty, Louis, which, in any case, he
    owed to Richard. You know that as well as I do; he wouldn't have joined us.
    Peter was the only way to remove Raymond."

    Louis put down the wine, which was a good sign. "So what should we do?"

    "We wait, and watch. We rebuild. We prepare for the time when our son
    Charles can strike." She looked north, towards England, where Frederick's
    German troops had crushed the barons.

    "There will be a time, Louis. Of that, I am sure."

    Soublaeum, Asia Minor 1215

    "Baesilus, the Turks have been spotted," said one of the commanders in
    Phillip's army.

    John smiled, baring his teeth. The Sultan Kaikosru of the Seljuks had
    thought that he could take the cities of the Meander. He would prove to be
    mistaken.

    Philip was known as the Spartan King by his subjects, for two reasons, with
    the first being his cheapness [48]. With the tribute that his brother
    demanded, and the defense of the Empire, he found himself forced to cut back
    on the lavish luxuries of the Empire. He also had to confiscate land, which
    had, to put it mildly, made him less than popular with the nobles of the
    empire.

    But the other reason he was called the Spartan King was the reason they
    would never refuse. Philip had reformed the Empire. His stratioitai [49] had
    been praised even by Henry, who he had sent some to for help against the
    Lombards. He had redistributed land to his soldiers, tying them to help
    defend the borders in Anatolia. He had fought the nobles, and won.

    His son, Alexander, came up beside him. "Father, are we going to win today?"

    Phillip beamed at his son, Alexander. He was, he thought, the best of his
    father and his mother. Alexander had his mother's charm and wit, and his
    father's skill at war. Even at his young age, Phillip could see a bright
    future for Alexander. Who knew what he could accomplish?

    "Yes, my son, we are. We are going to fight the Turks and beat them so hard
    they won't stop running until they reach China."

    Alexander laughed. "And then we'll beat them there!"

    Phillip nodded. "Well, no." He looked at his son, smiling. "You will, or
    else!"

    The battle proved to be harder than Phillip had anticipated. The Seljuks
    were wily fighters, and there were many of them. So many arrows fell that it
    seemed as if they darkened the sky, and then the unthinkable happened.

    The center of the army broke. The soldiers of the Emperor began to flee, and
    it looked as if it would be another loss against the Turks.

    Which, of course, Alexander would have none of. He kicked his horse and rode
    out into the battlefield.

    "To me, Romans! To me!" Alexander, without any guard, rode out towards the
    fleeing men. The soldiers, seeing a mere boy rush to face the Turks, took
    heart, and turned around, crashing into the Turks, who were not expecting
    the event.

    The battle of .Soublaeum would last for several more hours, during which
    both sides would suffer heavy losses. But at the end of the day, Kaikosru
    would be dead and the Byzantines victorious, all thanks to the young
    Alexander.

    Thus began the saga of one of the greatest Emperors in Byzantine history,
    Alexander the Great.


    Cairo, March, 1212

    Hugh I, King of Egypt, [50] bit into the melon. By God, he thought, the
    Easterners always seemed to know how to live. In Cyprus and Egypt, they had
    possessed comforts that the Emperor himself would be amazed at. Egypt was
    the richest land along Outremer, and as its ruler, he enjoyed the fruits of
    the labor of his serfs.

    That wealth was what had brought the Pisan ambassador to Cairo. Apparently,
    they had come upon an interesting idea. The Saracens controlled the routes
    east? Fine! Let them take them! But the Romans had traded via the Red Sea,
    and now Christians would trade there again. Already Ethiopia was being drawn
    back into the Light of Christendom, and trade, it was hoped, would blossom.

    The Pisan ambassador, however, had bigger plans. "It is possible," he said,
    slowly, " to build a canal to link the Nile to the Red Sea. We can thence
    sail to the East, and cut the Muslims off."

    The king smiled. "And of course, Egypt, as the center of this canal, would
    prosper."

    The Pisan nodded. "There is but one flaw; the Emperor's attitude towards the
    Kingdom of Egypt."

    Hugh gave the Pisan an odd look. Why hadn't he heard the news? "Oh, well
    now, once I made amends for my dear father's rash actions and swore fealty
    to the King of Jerusalem, he accepted me here. Henry has greater dreams than
    taking Egypt, and doubts that it would be worth it."

    The Pisan positively beamed. "A toast! May we soon find ourselves with more
    wealth that the emperor finds worthless!"

    "Hear hear!"



    Nuremberg, July, 1217

    Henry coughed again, causing his son to look on in horror. Henry looked at
    the boy. No, man. Where had the time gone? Where was the child who had
    looked on in awe at his brother Constantine? Who he had held in his arms?
    Instead, he saw a battle hardened soldier, who had already won campaigns in
    England.

    "Is there nothing I can do?" asked Frederick.

    Henry inhaled, coughed some more, and talked again. "Of course there is
    something you can do." Henry rasped for breath. "Finish it."

    Frederick nodded, and touched his father's hands. Henry closed his eyes, and
    whispered, so quietly that only Frederick could hear it, "Constance."

    Frederick, closed his eyes, prayed, and whispered, "I will not fail you,
    parents. In my time, I will ensure that there is peace." [51].


    Nuremberg, September, 1217

    The Emperor of Christendom's coronation was ready. From England to
    Jerusalem, from Aragon to Sicily, men were in attendance to pay fealty to
    their new Lord Emperor. As such, Frederick wanted to make sure the event was
    one they would remember.

    On the great day of the coronation, the procession left the cathedral,
    flanked by a thousand knights from across the Empire. Twelve hundred
    burghers lined the avenue, in gowns of gold and gowns of crimson. Houses
    along the avenue were hung with silks and tapestry, and the street
    themselves were covered with fine fabrics.

    Entering Nuremberg, the procession passed under a heavenly sky of cloth
    stretched over the the gate, filled with stars, beneath which children
    dressed as angels sang glories to God and the Emperor. Next the procession
    passed a fountain which ran with red and white wine, served free to people
    from gold or silver cups, depending upon one's rank. A grand banquet with
    over ten courses, each with five plates, was held, and even elephants from
    Africa traversed the city.

    It was, truly, a coronation to remember; the arrival of the Prince of Peace.
    Such wealth, such glory, it was said, had not been seen since the days of
    Rome. It was a magnificent beginning to the reign or the greatest Emperor.
    Rome had been restored; from the Orkneys to Red Sea, all of Christendom paid
    homage to its Lord Emperor.

    Yet there were those who were opposed to the Emperor. A new generation, one
    raised in a world with the Emperors ascendant, was beginning to come of age.
    A generation of Lombards, of Englishmen, of Greeks, who had no need of an
    Emperor. Conquering the Empire was one thing; keeping it would tax even The
    Wonder of the World.



    [46] Alexander II giving homage to the invader merely because he controlled
    London? Hey, it happened in OTL, when Louis invaded England in 1216.

    [47] Okay, this Magna Carta is roughly similar to OTL's agreement between
    John and the barons, but favors the barons. Barons had a say in official
    appointments on their lands, for instance, and it cannot be done without
    their consent.

    [48] Cheap being a relative term in Constantinople. Plates of silver rather
    than gold.

    [49] Essentially heavy cavalry.

    [50] Technically Hugues, but that's rather awkward for an English reader.

    [51] Incidentally, Frederick rather handily crushed the baron's revolt in
    England. The lesson here is that don't expect a foreign invader to respect
    your rights.
     
  11. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 18

    The Pope may be German but Jesus is Italian!"-Lombard saying, 13th century

    Pisa, July, 1213

    "What need do we need for a Pope or an emperor?" thundered Francis of
    Assisi. "The Emperors were never friends of the early church, and it was not
    the Popes who converted the people of the Empire."

    "It was the good and simple men, the poor followers of the Great King in
    Heaven, who led the way. It was not some rich Emperor, who spends our money
    on fountains of wine, who converted the people. It was the poor of Christ."

    The people were murmuring amongst themselves, impressed. "And, by God, what
    need do we have of an Emperor? What has ever brought to us? Only armies bent
    on conquest and destruction. I was there when Constantinople was taken, and
    I can tell you this. It was not done by some pious Emperor. It was done by
    an ambitious lord seeking on extending the rule of his family!"

    "I call upon you, people of Pisa, to return to the fold. Together, we will
    build a clergy of all believers."

    The above represents one of the typical sermons given by Francis and the
    followers of the Franciscan heresy. The heresy had its roots in many
    different problems with the Church. The sack of Rome, and the puppet Pope of
    Honorius, had caused many to lose faith in the Church. How could it just
    passively sit by while it was in schism?

    This was not the only problem, however. Many of the clergy were simply using
    the church as a way to make money; communion could be denied to members of
    the church who could not afford to pay, making the entire service a mockery.

    There was also another, political factor. With the Emperor as the Sword of
    Christ, any effort to oppose him also meant they were opposing the Church.
    And conversely, those who sought to oppose the Emperor found comfort in
    heresy.

    The Franciscan beliefs were simple, actually, drawing on much of the
    Waldensian heresy. The bible was to be translated into local dialects, so
    that the laity could understand and interpret it. The church was to return
    to the poverty of Christ; purgatory's existence was denied, as was the use
    of indulgences. The bible contained the whole of Christ's beliefs; this
    essentially meant that almost all traditional rite and liturgy was
    unnecessary.

    Where the Franciscans really differed was in their belief that there was no
    need for an Emperor. An Emperor had only been necessary for the Romans
    because they were pagan, and needed an autocrat to keep them in line.

    But Christians were different. All Christians were equal under God, as all
    were descended from Adam and Eve. Christians could only be ruled by a king
    if he would acknowledge their rights and privileges; if he did not, he could
    be overthrown [52].

    But the ideal method of governance, according to the Franciscans, was the
    Respublica Christiana; the Christian Republic. It could only be applied to
    those who truly understood the teachings of Christ (Read: Franciscans and
    hence Italians). But in the Respublica, Christians appointed their own
    rulers by election. The Respublica would be a loose governing body, in
    which each city chose their own rulers. Christians, having learned of the
    teachings of God, could create laws by common consenesus, and did not
    necessarily need some higher (mortal) power to order them As heirs to the
    true heritage of Rome, they would bring forth the Last Age of mankind by
    creating the Republic of God.
    ---
    "And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England's mountains green?
    And was the Holy Lamb of God
    On England's pleasant pastures seen?
    And did that countenance divine
    Shine forth upon those clouded hills
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    In this land now full of ills?

    Bring me my bow of burning gold:
    Bring me my arrows of desire:
    Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
    Bring me my chariot of fire.

    I will not cease from dear fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England's green and pleasant land.
    "-Joseph of Southampton [55]

    Canterbury, July, 1219


    Joseph of Southampton had been a monk for years, and in that time he had
    done research into the history of England. He was but a simple monk, and it
    was felt, by some at least, that one such as he could not oppose the
    Emperor. Joseph knew that was absurd. The Empire had no claim to England.

    The true history of England must be told, thought Joseph, one day in 1217,
    and he set about writing it. Joseph's work would not be completed until
    1223, but the work, The History of Britannia, struck at the very notion of
    Imperial supremacy.

    First, Joseph attacked the notions of Roman superiority. Britain had been
    settled by Brutus, the heir of Aeneas of Troy, the man was supposed to be
    the founder of Rome. There, Brutus had founded the city of Troia Nova, which was corrupted, over time, into London [53].

    England was not a Roman province; they were the heirs of Troy, and thus
    Rome's equals!

    England, according to Joseph, had then been ruled by the mighty king Llud,
    who had actually built London before the Romans came. And England had
    prospered and grown rich under the heirs of Troy, even defeating and
    throwing out Caesar himself. [54]

    Which led towards the next part of his heresy. It holds that England was
    the first place in the world where Jesus's word was truly heard, and that
    England was the first Christian state. Douglas claimed that Joseph of
    Aramathea traveled to England around 38 AD. Indeed, Jesus himself had told
    Joseph to travel to Britain, saying that the British were one of the tribes
    of Israel. Joseph had taken the Holy Grail with him to England, and Arthur
    had found it on his quests. When he was almost killed by his treacherous
    nephew, he had drunk from the cup. He did not die, but was asleep until
    England would need him again, when "the tyrant's heel lies on the shore".

    In England, while the proud Britons fought a decades long war against the
    Roman tyranny, and while the Romans turned their back on the teachings of
    the Saviour, the Britons stepped into God's grace. It was in England, not
    in Nuremberg, or Rome, or even Jerusalem, where Christ's word was heard.

    Thus, the book also attacks the notion of Roman supremacy, for why should
    the first Christian nation pay homage to the home of Christ's persecutors?
    According to Joseph, there was no reason that England must obey the
    teachings or orders of the Emperor or Pope.

    Joseph would devote his life to teaching the people of England about their
    proud heritage, traveling the country, and preaching about the glories of
    lost Britannia. His words would help inspire rebels and bandits, such as
    Robin of Nottingham, in the struggle to come.

    Nuremberg, March, 1220

    The expedition east was finally ready. Frederick was sending two
    expeditions; one by sea, through Egypt, and one by land. Expensive, but it
    may prove beneficial.

    Frederick looked at William, oddly. "Do you truly think that they will find
    Prester John's Kingdom?"

    William shrugged. "Truthfully, I cannot say. We are dispatching these monks
    East to learn as much as we can about the knowledge of East, and see what we
    can bring back to the Empire."

    Frederick wondered. "What do you think they have in the East that we could
    use?"

    William gestured at the Emperor's silken clothes. "My lord, it was you who
    read how Justinian stole the secret of silk 600 years ago, when it was an
    ancient art in China. Who knows what they have today?"

    Hangchow, 1225

    Excerpts from Mark "Millionmen" of Munich's There and Back Again: From
    Cathay to the Empire:

    "Amongst the People of Cathay there is great wealth. The people are
    Idolaters; and they use paper-money. Both men and women are fair and comely,
    and for the most part clothe themselves in silk, so vast is the supply of
    that material, both from the whole district of Kinsay, and from the imports
    by traders from other provinces. And you must know they eat every kind of
    flesh, even that of dogs and other unclean beasts, which nothing would
    induce a Christian to eat. They use two small sticks to hold the food, and
    lift it into their mouths between the spears. "

    "All the streets of the city are paved with stone or brick, as indeed are
    all the highways throughout realm, so that you ride and travel in every
    direction without inconvenience. Were it not for this pavement you could not
    do so, for the country is very low and flat, and after rain 'tis deep in
    mire and water. But as the Emperor Cathay's couriers could not gallop their
    horses over the pavement, the side of the road is left unpaved for their
    convenience. The pavement of the main street of the city also is laid out in
    two parallel ways of ten paces in width on either side, leaving a space in
    the middle laid with fine gravel, under which are vaulted drains which
    convey the rain water into the canals; and thus the road is kept ever dry."

    " Both in their commercial dealings and in their manufactures they are
    thoroughly honest and truthful, and there is such a degree of good will and
    neighbourly attachment among both men and women that you would take the
    people who live in the same street to be all one family."

    ". . . Of this place [the city of Tin-gui] there is nothing further to be
    observed, than that of cups or bowls and dishes of porcelain ware are there
    manufactured. The process was explained to be as follows. They collect a
    certain kind of earth, as it were, from a mine, and laying it in a great
    heap, suffer it to be exposed to the wind, the rain, and the sun, for thirty
    or forty years, during which time it is never disturbed. By this it becomes
    refined and fit for being wrought into the vessels above mentioned. Such
    colors as may be thought proper are then laid on, and the ware is afterwards
    baked in ovens or furnaces."

    "And amongst the people of Cathay, they have the ability to make copies of
    manuscripts by an artificial conveyance. They have a way to manufacture such
    copies, so that each of their words can be cast into clay and pressed upon
    paper; and it is thus repeated, allowing for many copies to be made. With
    their cumbersome writing it is most effective, but it will work with ours.
    The letters are moved around, and the work is complete [56]"

    "And amongst the people of Cathay there is a way to propel great arrows at
    their enemies, who are powered by burning a compound of saltpeter, charcoal,
    and sulfur, and they are hurled against the walls of the enemies of the
    Emperor of Cathay."

    "The plows of the Chinese are curved, unlike our own. Unlike our plows, it
    turns itself with a minimum of drag, and eases the burden upon the peasant.
    So efficient is their plow that a single animal can pull it, whereas the
    plows of the Empire require eight animals."

    "And Cathay also possesses a manner in which to plant seeds which is
    superior to our own. This device consisted of small plows that cut small
    furroughs in the ground, a tool that releases the seeds, evenly places into
    these furrows, and a brush or roller that covers the seeds with dirt. The
    seed drill can be adjusted for different types of soil and seeds. This
    method of planting is so superior that it could increase productivity
    tenfold".

    "In metallurgy, the Chinese know of a process to make such iron as we have
    never seen. When heated in the presence of charcoal, iron will melt; and
    this is run off, into molds. it is so advanced that they can cast the iron."

    Frankfurt, May, 1223

    The University of Frankfurt was divided, like most universities, amongst the
    "nations" of those who attended. There was the nation of the Germans, which
    included Poles, Bohemians, Hungarians, and Danes; the nation of the
    Italians, which included the citizens of the Kingdom of Sicily; the nation
    of France, which were the students of France; the nation of Greece, which
    included Outremer as well as Byzantium; and the nation of England, which
    included Scotland. A university is a university, whatever the era, and
    students had their own lodgings, which they shared with other students.

    Douglas of Hoff, because he had arrived late at the university, had been
    forced to rent a room together with Rafi of Armenia. The unlikely paring of
    an Armenian and an Englishman would have drastic consequences, although, as
    is the way of things, neither knew so at the time.

    "Similarly it is possible to construct a small-sized instrument for
    elevating and depressing great weights, which is useful in certain
    exigencies, said William, who used a series of pulleys to pull a heavy rock
    with one hand, "like so." The class was impressed.

    Douglas looked on, stroking his beard. "Could it be possible to use this
    instrument on a weapon?" He was trying to picture it, and gestured. "Perhaps
    if we used a wheel on the end of the bow. could it multiply the strength of
    the archer?"

    William stared at Douglas. " Perhaps. But the Emperor would not want such
    weapons to be used, for they are unpious. If he only allows the use of
    crossbows against heretics and the infidel, why would he allow such a weapon
    to be used?"[57]

    Rafi had an idea, but kept silent. Later that evening, at a tavern near
    their lodgings [58], he raised the idea to Douglas.

    "So have you considered where your weapon would be useful?" said Rafi, as he
    leaned across the table.

    Douglas shrugged. "Perhaps in Nuremberg. The Emperor does like such
    novelties. Who else would buy it?"

    Rafi laughed. "Oh, how about the King of the Greeks? I highly doubt Philip's
    son will be content to sent tribute to Nuremberg." Rafi looked around, and
    then leaned even closer.

    "Or perhaps in your land, England. Are there not men there who long to free
    themselves from the garrisons of the Emperor?"

    By the end of 1227, the bow would be crafted in two different realms, with
    rather different results.


    Constantinople, November, 1224

    Alexander looked through his... seeing glass, a gift from his cousin in
    Nuremberg, at the target. "You did not lie." An Armenian who had claimed to
    study in Nuremberg, one Rafi, had come to court claiming to have developed a
    new bow for the Emperor.

    As an amusement, Alexander had given him the funds to develop it. He had
    done it surprisingly quickly, once he had received help from men in
    Constantinople who knew how to make proper bows. The test had finally gone
    off, and Rafi's bow had sent an arrow farther than Alexander had ever seen.

    The arrow had flown straight, not even arcing; and it was a heavier arrow
    than normal as well, fired at a longer range. Superior to a composite bow
    in every way, the bow even let you hold the arrow back; because once you
    pulled back past a certain point, it was actually easier to pull!

    "With bows such as these," thought Alexander, "we can defeat any number of
    Turks, and any other foes of the Empire." Alexander looked at the arrow
    thoughtfully. Could it punch through the armor of one of the Emperor's
    knights?

    Rafi seemed to have picked up on the Emperor's thoughts. "I am convinced it
    will go through even the heaviest armor known to the world."

    Alexander smiled, and clasped his fingers together. "Excellent."




    [52] Yes, bringing Jerusalem's lawyers and their legal theory back to the
    Empire was a mistake. For if the Holy Kingdom of Jerusalem can view the
    kingdom as belonging to the people and to god, why should other kingdoms not
    follow suit?

    [53] There's actually a book on this theory, called The Holy Kingdom. It's
    all psuedohistory, but it draws upon English/Welsh mythology, and is the
    kind of thing that a chronicler seeking to justify England's proud legacy
    would use, and the English did believe they were Troy's descendents.

    [54] There's a not so subtle hint here for present generations, of course.

    [55] Suitably modified from William Blake.

    [56] One of history's great ironies is that the monks see removable type in
    China, not movable. Yet because of what they describe, Europe will have
    think that it is movable type, with metal block letters. And, of course,
    much of this is based on Marco Polo.

    [57] Inspired partly by Doug [Hoff- author of Empty America on SHWIF , who has given me his blessing, but also on
    Bacon's OTL comments on how such a system could let a man have the force of a thousand men. (His words, incidentally, are pretty much what William says).

    Incidentally, Hoff is a real town in Cumbria.

    [58] Bars were a frequent hangout for medieval students as well, thus
    proving that little has changed over the last 800 years.

    Prince of Peace 19

    Loxley, December, 1219

    Robin Fitz Odo [59] stared at the most beautiful sight in all creation.

    It was Marion, daughter of one of the more prosperous burghers of
    Birmingham. He thought to himself of what he could say to her, that would
    impress her. Something along the lines of "Now I know when Emperor Henry
    prayed in Jerusalem to God, celebrating the wonders of creation."

    What came out was the, essentially, "Goo-ood afternoon." Marion laughed, but
    failed to come up with a better response. It was, truly, love at first
    sight.

    Robert's family was amongst the more prosperous in England at the time.
    Descendents of the Norman conquerors, the family had prospered, and had made
    a prosperous living selling sheep. Robert's parents had passed away before
    then, but he knew what to do. His family's estate had managed to come out
    well during the Emperor's war in 1214, and now Robert was old enough to
    marry.

    It was one of those rare instances when the family's interests meshed with
    the relationship between the two to be wed. For Robert and Marion, it was
    true love, something more often spoke of than truly seen.

    They would be wed near Easter of 1220, and she would be carrying Robert's
    child when the unthinkable happened.

    Loxley, August, 1220

    Ludwig of Mainz coughed and cursed the fates. By God, what he done to be
    sent to such a place as this? Why was he the sheriff here and not in a
    decent town?

    Oh, sure, Eberhard of Waldburg, Frederick's Imperial viceroy, was angry at
    him for his attitude towards the people of Plymouth in his brief reign
    there. But wasn't he entitled to make a little money? He was only trying to
    benefit a little from service to the Emperor, and it was hardly his fault
    that the merchants had refused to pay him to defend their property. But no,
    Eberhard hadn't seen it that way; he'd almost imprisoned Ludwig, for doing
    nothing but doing a little bit of business.

    Ludwig took another sip of the beer. God, even the beer was like horsepiss
    compared to the stuff back home. He took another swig.

    About a dozen swigs later, he saw a fine girl walking down the street. The
    English women, say what you would about them, were better than nothing. "How
    about a try with a real man?"

    The woman raised her head and walked on. That, thought Ludwig, was no way to
    behave to the King and Emperor's sheriff. "Oh, come on, if you'll go for any
    one of the men here for a pence you shouldn't mind going with me!" He
    gestured to his guards, who followed behind him.

    Marion started picking up her pace. She shouldn't have left home without the
    servants, but she had merely gone to the church. She walked faster, and
    felt a hand press down on her shoulder.

    "Oh, come here now," said the German, who smacked her onto the ground. She
    kicked him, hard.

    Wheezing, he ordered a command to one of the Emperor's men in German. The
    blade cut through her belly, slicing her in two.

    When Robin heard of the news, he galloped towards the town. He passed
    through the gates, and looked upon his wife. Her stomach was cut open, and
    she was barely breathing. Robin got off his horse, and cradled her in his
    harms. Marion, with her last breath, whispered something to Robin.

    What it was no one would ever know, and the only other person who may have
    known, the town's priest, took that secret with him to his grave.

    Robin, infuriated, rode out of the town. Men were sent by his lands the next
    day, but not even the serfs had known what had happened to him.

    A week later, the sheriff also disappeared. A bandit rode up to the walls of
    the town with his head the day after that. He tossed up to the men on the
    wall.

    "This," he cried, "is but the beginning. When I am done, the heads of the
    Emperor's servants will litter England from Northumberland to Plymouth."

    One of the men on the wall called out to the brigand. "Who are you to dare
    insult the King and Emperor in such a manner? We wish to know who we will
    slay."

    The bandit called out from behind the hood he wore. "I am Robin of Loxley,
    and for slaying my maid Marion, you will all die."



    Stratford Forest, July, 1222

    Northumberland was one of the few places in England to not welcome the new
    king; its barons were too restless, it's people, trained to defend the
    marches against the Welsh and Scots, were too independent. But now a convoy
    had been sighted moving between Birmingham and Stratford. To that end, the
    heaviest deployment of German troops were in those areas, and movements of
    weapons and supplies were always guarded.

    Robin had been hiding in the forest for two years now, stealing from the tax
    collectors and using the money to fund his rebels and the villagers who
    supported him. Robin had fifty men with him now [60], against the one
    hundred and eighty that escorted the convoy.

    To block them, Robin had constructed a wall of timber constructed across the
    track, as if the trees had fallen in a storm, leaving just enough room for
    one rider at a time. As the Germans tried to pass through, Robin's men leapt
    from cover and attacked in close order.

    Robin had realized that in the forests of the north, knights were not the
    effective weapon. Spears, knives, swords and bows could prove devastating to
    trapped men on horseback; and they were again here.

    Robin, as always, wore the hood that he wore when he first tossed up the
    Sheriff's head upon the walls of Loxley. It had, he was told, earned him the
    name Robin of the Hood. Robin didn't care. He would wear it until the
    Emperor's troops were gone from England, or until he was dead. He raised
    his hand, and gave the signal.

    Robin Fitz Odo's men fell upon the Germans on horse, slaying over a hundred
    of them. The remainder fled back to Birmingham, riding so fast that in local
    legend it is said that the men's horses did not stop running until they hit
    the Irish sea.

    Robin's men cheered as the knights rode away. The men began rummaging
    through the wagons, finding wine, arrows, armor, and swords. A good haul,
    thought Robin, as he opened a cask of wine for the men.

    "Let's hear it for Robin of the Hood!" cried out John of Warwick, another
    man disaffected with Eberhard's and the Emperor's hold on England.

    "Robin Hood! Robin Hood!"



    Stratford Forest, October, 1223

    Joseph of Southampton looked at the stream and yet again wondered why no one
    had bothered to repair the bridge. It had evidently decayed some time ago.
    He shrugged and started walking along the river. If God had wanted him to
    cross there, he would have.

    As he trudged along, he heard a sound in the bushes. Joseph called out, "Oh,
    don't worry. I'm merely a monk spreading the word of our Father in heaven,
    and have little worth stealing."

    Out of the woods stepped a man in a cloak, armor, and with a rather large
    bow with an arrow notched.

    "Ah," said the figure," that's not quite what I need. I'm trying to get
    across the river in a hurry, and have no desire to get my armor soaking wet.
    So," he said, drawing the bow, if you don't mind taking me across."

    Joseph sighed. "Oh, very well. Get on my shoulders." The bandit did, and
    Joseph carried him across the river.

    When they reached the other side, the bandit put his equipment down, and
    bowed. "I thank you for your help." He turned to walk off.

    Joseph drew his sword. "Alright," he said, "Now you will carry me back
    across." The smug look on the bandit's face quickly disappeared.

    "But I am in a hurry. The Sheriff's men are on the other side, and they are
    hunting for me," said the man, who took off his hood.

    "I do not care," said John. "You probably deserve it for your thefts from
    the people of this land. Shame on you for stealing like this, when Robin of
    the Hood is fighting against the Emperor's lackeys." He took another look at
    the man in the hood, and prostrated himself before him.

    "My lord! It is you! You are Robin Hood! It is a miracle!"

    Robin Hood looked at Joseph again, perplexed. "I think you had best come
    with me." Robin led Joseph back to his camp.

    While they walked, Robin apologized to Joseph. "Forgive me, I thought you
    were one of the clergy from the Empire, brought over to suck the wealth out
    of England's churches." He stared in awe at Joseph. "You are truly the
    Joseph? The one who proved that England is superior to the Empire, and that
    the Emperorb has no right to be here?"

    Joseph bowed his head. "Well, yes. But it is men such as you who will make
    that happen."

    It was, frankly, a rather large camp; there were almost fifty men there, and
    Robin told Joseph that there were another hundred men scattered across the
    north of England, fighting the Emperor's men.

    Joseph stared. "My Lord, is it as I hoped. You are our Aeneas, to help us
    restore the glories of Troy and Britannia."

    Robin stared at Joseph. "I am just a knight. Why would the barons follow
    me?"

    Joseph looked around. "They will not. Oh, aye, maybe some of them will; the
    northern ones, perhaps. But you do not need them." Joseph pointed about the
    camp. "The men do not care that you are a knight. They follow you because
    you are one of the few who will not do homage to Frederick."

    "But who will I fight for?" Robin asked asked. "The King's heir is in
    Nuremberg, being encouraged by Frederick to live a reckless life of drinking
    and hunting. Eleanor is but a child. Who can we fight for?"

    "Fight," said Joseph, "for Arthur, and for England."

    By end of 1223, the banner of the red dragon of Arthur (the true Arthur, not
    Arthur Plantagenet) would once again be seen in England, ready to do battle
    with the Imperial Eagle.



    Birmingham, October, 1223

    When Frederick had invaded England, he had set up a series of fortifications
    and towers, so that he could control the roads of the country. Frederick's
    men used their towers to enforce the king's peace, keep a watch on the
    nobles, and ensure that the tribute continued to flow.

    One such tower had been built a ere five miles east of Birmingham. Robin's
    decision to attack it was a bold one, for Birmingham was heavily garrisoned,
    and the moment news of the attack reached the city, a chase was inevitable.

    Robin had therefore sent men to scout out the land. His men returned to
    report that the gates were open, and that a number of laborers were freely
    passing in and out [61]. So secure did Frederick's men feel that the guard
    was asleep at his post.

    Robin Hood advanced at once with sixty men. The commander of the garrison
    stumbled out with his men, and the thirty of them were killed in the ensuing
    fight. Their wives and children were allowed to leave unharmed, but plunder,
    including the taxes on merchants, were carried off.

    Word of the attack spread across the countryside. A young knight who had
    sworn revenge against the Emperor for an attack on his loved one had taken
    one of the king's fortifications! How could word not spread?

    Meanwhile, Robin continued his progress, crossing northern England and
    killing the King's troops without mercy, as well as some of the soldiers of
    the king's collaborators.

    Near Nottingham, he came upon the train of the Earl of Hungtingdon, who was
    returning home with gifts he had received from the Emperor when he had
    visited Nuremberg. Robin's men concealed themselves in the woods and waited
    for the Earl to pass by. They dispatched the guards on the train, and the
    Earl's men fled to his castle. But so close behind were Robin's men that
    they entered the earl's castle, and killed the defenders. The Earl of
    Huntingdon galloped away for reinforcements while his castle burned.

    By this point the news of the attack had reached the other garrisons nearby,
    and the Earl was confident that he would overtake them. Dividing his
    soldiers into six companies, he ordered five of them to surround the woods
    where Robin had fled with his men. The sixth company advanced with the Earl
    into the woods.

    Robin meanwhile had set up a strong position, with three walls consisting of
    trees laid crosswise, with one side open to escape. It was during the battle
    with the Earl that Robin was shot in leg by an English arrow. Robin's men
    beat the Earl's men back, but they were forced to scatter. By evening, Robin
    had escaped, but he was in great pain and suffering from loss of blood.


    Yet again fate intervened. Wallace knocked on the door of a cottage for
    help, and was greeted by a widow. The widow stared at the man at her door.
    He was clearly an outlaw who had fought the Emperor's men. Had she turned
    him in, she would have ended her days in comfort and wealth.

    Instead she tended his wounds, fed him, and helped him hide. History does
    not record her name, but had this woman acted differently, England may have
    never rebelled against the Emperor.

    Meanwhile, Robin and two of his men, John of Warwick and William of Beford,
    fled towards Birmingham, where they wee hidden by Robin's relatives. There
    he hid, and gathered enough supporters to raise more than a band. He began
    to raise an army. By May he had a thousand men under his banner.



    May, Nottingham, 1224

    It was Robin's intention to attack the castle of Nottingham. Nottingham was
    a strategically important site; it was part of Frederick's demesne in
    England, and was a regional arsenal and treasury. Lacking siege equipment,
    Robin needed a plan. He decided to go to mass near the castle to receive
    inspiration from God.

    While Robin was praying, some of the Emperor's troops arrived at the church,
    and decided to play a joke. They cut the tails off of the horses of Robin,
    John, and William. Robin heard the noise and he and his friends rushed out
    and put the Emperor's troops to the sword.

    The Imperial troops chased after them, but Robin led them to the encampment
    of his army, where they were all killed. He then ran back and boasted,
    before the walls of the castle, that a mere ten Englishmen had killed thirty
    Germans.

    The castle's commander was infuriated. He sent his entire garrison out after
    Robin and his men, and yet again Robin was chased. Yet again Robin's men
    slew the entire garrison, including its commander.

    Robin then took some of the Imperial heraldry, and he and several other men
    wore it, and raced to the castle. Calling for the castle to open the gates,
    they rushed in, and then slew the few men who had not gone out to chase him
    down, who realized, too late, that they were not dealing with their comrades
    in arms. By the end of the day, the pennants of Arthur Pendragon flew from
    the walls of the castle.

    The revolt of Robin of Loxley began.


    London, June, 1224

    "I have had enough!" cried Eberhard, the Imperial viceroy in England. "This
    has gone beyond outlaws ravaging the countryside. An assault on the Emperor'
    s castle is an assault on the Emperor, and an assault on the Emperor is an
    assault against God."

    "But, my Lord," said one of the English servants, "surely you are
    overreacting? He is only one man."

    "He must have the support of the barons of the north and the people of the
    north if he can take Nottingham. They will be fined for this, and heavily."

    Eberhard got up from the table. "Assemble the troops, and call out the
    levies. We march on Nottingham."



    Nottingham, July, 1224

    Hubert de Brugh had seen much. He had fought beside Richard the Great
    (Despite what the Emperor said) in Egypt, where he had seen the majesty of
    the pyramids. He had desperately tried to save England and France from
    Arthur and Frederick, and had seen how the king had failed them all. He had
    done homage to Frederick, but wondered how he could. The man had conquered
    England, and too many barons had gone along with it.

    Now he rode to meet Robin of Loxley. He was but a knight, but he fought the
    Germans. Hubert would rather not have gone to war with a lowly knight, but
    over the years he had done many things he would rather not have done.

    If it would let him defeat the Germans, Hubert would invite the Saracens
    into England.

    Nottingham had surprised him. He had expected a mere bandit, but Robin was
    wielding a force together. They were training with bows, and the use of long
    spears. They probably wouldn't be able to defeat heavy cavalry dead on, but
    Robin's men could certainly cause a good deal of trouble.

    "I must know," said Robin, "why you are joining us."

    Hubert's eyes looked off into the distance. He thought of young Henry, a
    prisoner in Nuremberg. Of John, who had been kicked into the ground by
    Frederick. He thought of all that had happened over the past few years.

    "Let's just say that you're not the only one in England who owes Frederick a
    thing or two."

    Robin looked about. "But who else will join us?"

    Robert thought about it. "The Earl of Albemarle is tied to me by blood, and
    he's angry at the viceroy's attitude as well. So are many of the northern
    city's, who are supposed to be fined for supporting outlaws and traitors."

    Robin was rather taken aback. "If so many are angry at the Emperor, why did
    none act before now?"

    Robert shook his head. "Oh, lad, you're still too young to understand. Men
    only fight when they think they can win, or they think it's fight or die.
    How could they hope to oppose the Lord Emperor, ruler from Jerusalem to
    Ireland? Don't forget too that he can give them lands in Aquitane in
    exchange for being loyal; his stepdaughter is the official ruler there, and
    he is her regent."

    "And who will rule England when we are done? You can wave the flag of Arthur
    all you like, but you have to admit you don't know how to rule a country,
    and you can't set yourself up as king. I'm afraid we'll have to figure that
    out, as well."

    Robin took the words in, and thought about it Could they have a kingdom
    without a king?

    "You know," said Robin, "Eberhard will march north this year. He's probably
    playing this down to Frederick, just treating it as another revolt in the
    north. That means if we move quickly, we can defeat him and rally the rest
    of the country. Frederick will be faced with invading England again. "

    "Ah, now", said Robert. "First you have to figure out how to defeat
    Eberhard."



    Statford, October, 1224

    The army of Eberhard was stupendous. The Imperial knights' armor glittered
    in the sun, and their banners were like a forest. Against that Robin had a
    much smaller force of horse, some archers [63], and his men armed with the
    pikes they had used. In according with custom, Eberhard had sent priests to
    induce Robin and Burgh to yield.

    The men were rattling off offers of land and remission for past offenses.
    Robin interrupted them. "Take this back for your answer. We are not here to
    sue for peace, but are ready to fight for the freedom of our country. Let
    your men come on when they please."


    Eberhard, for his part, wanted to be home. He was fed up with England. You
    give them a bit of leeway and they rise up in revolt against you. Sometimes
    he thought the Emperor shouldn't just settle good German families here. He
    looked at the bridge, and nodded. Once they crossed that, they could defeat
    this Robin's rabble.

    Robin's men waited for the German to begin crossing the bridge, and, when
    enough of the Germans and their allies in England had crossed, a horn was
    heard.

    "On them! On them!" cried Robin, who led a force towards the bridge. His
    force managed to seize the bridge, cutting off Eberhard and the advance
    forces.

    "Do not do this! You will merely cause the Emperor to subdue you again"
    cried Eberhard, as he swung his blade. "We know you must be aware of what
    this will lead to. We have trust in your wisdom."

    Robin looked at him, burning with hatred. It was a man like this who had
    killed Marion. He swung his sword and cut off Eberhard's head.

    "So do I."

    At this point, the English barons who were with the Emperor's troops on the
    other side of the river began to attack them. The Imperial forces broke, and
    fled. They were chased so far that the entire garrison in Northampton fled,
    and by the end of the year, all of the north was in the hands of Robin and
    the "English" barons.



    Coventry, November, 1224

    Robin sighed as he read the reports. The nobles were restless, and were
    beginning to act as if their only king was chaos. Something had to be done.

    He heard a knock at the door, and a man stepped in. "My name," he said, "is
    Hoff. Douglas of Hoff. I have come with a weapon to help you defeat the
    Emperor."


    [59] Robin Fitz Odo is based on a rather questionable character in English
    history, Robert Fitz Odo, a knight from Loxley. He may have died in 1196,
    but shows up gain in 1203 in documents, so consider this his son.

    [60] These fifty men would be remembered in the chronicles of Joseph of
    Southampton, whose biography of Robin of Fitz Odo would give future
    historians a look at the growth of the rebellion.

    [61] A tower at this point is not the same thing as a tower of our time; it'
    s more like the tower of London, a poor man's fort.

    [63] Not longbowmen, unfortunately. Those will not be in England until after
    the Welsh wars.
     
  12. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 20

    Loxley, December, 1219

    Robin Fitz Odo [59] stared at the most beautiful sight in all creation.

    It was Marion, daughter of one of the more prosperous burghers of
    Birmingham. He thought to himself of what he could say to her, that would
    impress her. Something along the lines of "Now I know when Emperor Henry
    prayed in Jerusalem to God, celebrating the wonders of creation."

    What came out was the, essentially, "Goo-ood afternoon." Marion laughed, but
    failed to come up with a better response. It was, truly, love at first
    sight.

    Robert's family was amongst the more prosperous in England at the time.
    Descendents of the Norman conquerors, the family had prospered, and had made
    a prosperous living selling sheep. Robert's parents had passed away before
    then, but he knew what to do. His family's estate had managed to come out
    well during the Emperor's war in 1214, and now Robert was old enough to
    marry.

    It was one of those rare instances when the family's interests meshed with
    the relationship between the two to be wed. For Robert and Marion, it was
    true love, something more often spoke of than truly seen.

    They would be wed near Easter of 1220, and she would be carrying Robert's
    child when the unthinkable happened.

    Loxley, August, 1220

    Ludwig of Mainz coughed and cursed the fates. By God, what he done to be
    sent to such a place as this? Why was he the sheriff here and not in a
    decent town?

    Oh, sure, Eberhard of Waldburg, Frederick's Imperial viceroy, was angry at
    him for his attitude towards the people of Plymouth in his brief reign
    there. But wasn't he entitled to make a little money? He was only trying to
    benefit a little from service to the Emperor, and it was hardly his fault
    that the merchants had refused to pay him to defend their property. But no,
    Eberhard hadn't seen it that way; he'd almost imprisoned Ludwig, for doing
    nothing but doing a little bit of business.

    Ludwig took another sip of the beer. God, even the beer was like horsepiss
    compared to the stuff back home. He took another swig.

    About a dozen swigs later, he saw a fine girl walking down the street. The
    English women, say what you would about them, were better than nothing. "How
    about a try with a real man?"

    The woman raised her head and walked on. That, thought Ludwig, was no way to
    behave to the King and Emperor's sheriff. "Oh, come on, if you'll go for any
    one of the men here for a pence you shouldn't mind going with me!" He
    gestured to his guards, who followed behind him.

    Marion started picking up her pace. She shouldn't have left home without the
    servants, but she had merely gone to the church. She walked faster, and
    felt a hand press down on her shoulder.

    "Oh, come here now," said the German, who smacked her onto the ground. She
    kicked him, hard.

    Wheezing, he ordered a command to one of the Emperor's men in German. The
    blade cut through her belly, slicing her in two.

    When Robin heard of the news, he galloped towards the town. He passed
    through the gates, and looked upon his wife. Her stomach was cut open, and
    she was barely breathing. Robin got off his horse, and cradled her in his
    harms. Marion, with her last breath, whispered something to Robin.

    What it was no one would ever know, and the only other person who may have
    known, the town's priest, took that secret with him to his grave.

    Robin, infuriated, rode out of the town. Men were sent by his lands the next
    day, but not even the serfs had known what had happened to him.

    A week later, the sheriff also disappeared. A bandit rode up to the walls of
    the town with his head the day after that. He tossed up to the men on the
    wall.

    "This," he cried, "is but the beginning. When I am done, the heads of the
    Emperor's servants will litter England from Northumberland to Plymouth."

    One of the men on the wall called out to the brigand. "Who are you to dare
    insult the King and Emperor in such a manner? We wish to know who we will
    slay."

    The bandit called out from behind the hood he wore. "I am Robin of Loxley,
    and for slaying my maid Marion, you will all die."



    Stratford Forest, July, 1222

    Northumberland was one of the few places in England to not welcome the new
    king; its barons were too restless, it's people, trained to defend the
    marches against the Welsh and Scots, were too independent. But now a convoy
    had been sighted moving between Birmingham and Stratford. To that end, the
    heaviest deployment of German troops were in those areas, and movements of
    weapons and supplies were always guarded.

    Robin had been hiding in the forest for two years now, stealing from the tax
    collectors and using the money to fund his rebels and the villagers who
    supported him. Robin had fifty men with him now [60], against the one
    hundred and eighty that escorted the convoy.

    To block them, Robin had constructed a wall of timber constructed across the
    track, as if the trees had fallen in a storm, leaving just enough room for
    one rider at a time. As the Germans tried to pass through, Robin's men leapt
    from cover and attacked in close order.

    Robin had realized that in the forests of the north, knights were not the
    effective weapon. Spears, knives, swords and bows could prove devastating to
    trapped men on horseback; and they were again here.

    Robin, as always, wore the hood that he wore when he first tossed up the
    Sheriff's head upon the walls of Loxley. It had, he was told, earned him the
    name Robin of the Hood. Robin didn't care. He would wear it until the
    Emperor's troops were gone from England, or until he was dead. He raised
    his hand, and gave the signal.

    Robin Fitz Odo's men fell upon the Germans on horse, slaying over a hundred
    of them. The remainder fled back to Birmingham, riding so fast that in local
    legend it is said that the men's horses did not stop running until they hit
    the Irish sea.

    Robin's men cheered as the knights rode away. The men began rummaging
    through the wagons, finding wine, arrows, armor, and swords. A good haul,
    thought Robin, as he opened a cask of wine for the men.

    "Let's hear it for Robin of the Hood!" cried out John of Warwick, another
    man disaffected with Eberhard's and the Emperor's hold on England.

    "Robin Hood! Robin Hood!"



    Stratford Forest, October, 1223

    Joseph of Southampton looked at the stream and yet again wondered why no one
    had bothered to repair the bridge. It had evidently decayed some time ago.
    He shrugged and started walking along the river. If God had wanted him to
    cross there, he would have.

    As he trudged along, he heard a sound in the bushes. Joseph called out, "Oh,
    don't worry. I'm merely a monk spreading the word of our Father in heaven,
    and have little worth stealing."

    Out of the woods stepped a man in a cloak, armor, and with a rather large
    bow with an arrow notched.

    "Ah," said the figure," that's not quite what I need. I'm trying to get
    across the river in a hurry, and have no desire to get my armor soaking wet.
    So," he said, drawing the bow, if you don't mind taking me across."

    Joseph sighed. "Oh, very well. Get on my shoulders." The bandit did, and
    Joseph carried him across the river.

    When they reached the other side, the bandit put his equipment down, and
    bowed. "I thank you for your help." He turned to walk off.

    Joseph drew his sword. "Alright," he said, "Now you will carry me back
    across." The smug look on the bandit's face quickly disappeared.

    "But I am in a hurry. The Sheriff's men are on the other side, and they are
    hunting for me," said the man, who took off his hood.

    "I do not care," said John. "You probably deserve it for your thefts from
    the people of this land. Shame on you for stealing like this, when Robin of
    the Hood is fighting against the Emperor's lackeys." He took another look at
    the man in the hood, and prostrated himself before him.

    "My lord! It is you! You are Robin Hood! It is a miracle!"

    Robin Hood looked at Joseph again, perplexed. "I think you had best come
    with me." Robin led Joseph back to his camp.

    While they walked, Robin apologized to Joseph. "Forgive me, I thought you
    were one of the clergy from the Empire, brought over to suck the wealth out
    of England's churches." He stared in awe at Joseph. "You are truly the
    Joseph? The one who proved that England is superior to the Empire, and that
    the Emperorb has no right to be here?"

    Joseph bowed his head. "Well, yes. But it is men such as you who will make
    that happen."

    It was, frankly, a rather large camp; there were almost fifty men there, and
    Robin told Joseph that there were another hundred men scattered across the
    north of England, fighting the Emperor's men.

    Joseph stared. "My Lord, is it as I hoped. You are our Aeneas, to help us
    restore the glories of Troy and Britannia."

    Robin stared at Joseph. "I am just a knight. Why would the barons follow
    me?"

    Joseph looked around. "They will not. Oh, aye, maybe some of them will; the
    northern ones, perhaps. But you do not need them." Joseph pointed about the
    camp. "The men do not care that you are a knight. They follow you because
    you are one of the few who will not do homage to Frederick."

    "But who will I fight for?" Robin asked asked. "The King's heir is in
    Nuremberg, being encouraged by Frederick to live a reckless life of drinking
    and hunting. Eleanor is but a child. Who can we fight for?"

    "Fight," said Joseph, "for Arthur, and for England."

    By end of 1223, the banner of the red dragon of Arthur (the true Arthur, not
    Arthur Plantagenet) would once again be seen in England, ready to do battle
    with the Imperial Eagle.



    Birmingham, October, 1223

    When Frederick had invaded England, he had set up a series of fortifications
    and towers, so that he could control the roads of the country. Frederick's
    men used their towers to enforce the king's peace, keep a watch on the
    nobles, and ensure that the tribute continued to flow.

    One such tower had been built a ere five miles east of Birmingham. Robin's
    decision to attack it was a bold one, for Birmingham was heavily garrisoned,
    and the moment news of the attack reached the city, a chase was inevitable.

    Robin had therefore sent men to scout out the land. His men returned to
    report that the gates were open, and that a number of laborers were freely
    passing in and out [61]. So secure did Frederick's men feel that the guard
    was asleep at his post.

    Robin Hood advanced at once with sixty men. The commander of the garrison
    stumbled out with his men, and the thirty of them were killed in the ensuing
    fight. Their wives and children were allowed to leave unharmed, but plunder,
    including the taxes on merchants, were carried off.

    Word of the attack spread across the countryside. A young knight who had
    sworn revenge against the Emperor for an attack on his loved one had taken
    one of the king's fortifications! How could word not spread?

    Meanwhile, Robin continued his progress, crossing northern England and
    killing the King's troops without mercy, as well as some of the soldiers of
    the king's collaborators.

    Near Nottingham, he came upon the train of the Earl of Hungtingdon, who was
    returning home with gifts he had received from the Emperor when he had
    visited Nuremberg. Robin's men concealed themselves in the woods and waited
    for the Earl to pass by. They dispatched the guards on the train, and the
    Earl's men fled to his castle. But so close behind were Robin's men that
    they entered the earl's castle, and killed the defenders. The Earl of
    Huntingdon galloped away for reinforcements while his castle burned.

    By this point the news of the attack had reached the other garrisons nearby,
    and the Earl was confident that he would overtake them. Dividing his
    soldiers into six companies, he ordered five of them to surround the woods
    where Robin had fled with his men. The sixth company advanced with the Earl
    into the woods.

    Robin meanwhile had set up a strong position, with three walls consisting of
    trees laid crosswise, with one side open to escape. It was during the battle
    with the Earl that Robin was shot in leg by an English arrow. Robin's men
    beat the Earl's men back, but they were forced to scatter. By evening, Robin
    had escaped, but he was in great pain and suffering from loss of blood.


    Yet again fate intervened. Wallace knocked on the door of a cottage for
    help, and was greeted by a widow. The widow stared at the man at her door.
    He was clearly an outlaw who had fought the Emperor's men. Had she turned
    him in, she would have ended her days in comfort and wealth.

    Instead she tended his wounds, fed him, and helped him hide. History does
    not record her name, but had this woman acted differently, England may have
    never rebelled against the Emperor.

    Meanwhile, Robin and two of his men, John of Warwick and William of Beford,
    fled towards Birmingham, where they wee hidden by Robin's relatives. There
    he hid, and gathered enough supporters to raise more than a band. He began
    to raise an army. By May he had a thousand men under his banner.



    May, Nottingham, 1224

    It was Robin's intention to attack the castle of Nottingham. Nottingham was
    a strategically important site; it was part of Frederick's demesne in
    England, and was a regional arsenal and treasury. Lacking siege equipment,
    Robin needed a plan. He decided to go to mass near the castle to receive
    inspiration from God.

    While Robin was praying, some of the Emperor's troops arrived at the church,
    and decided to play a joke. They cut the tails off of the horses of Robin,
    John, and William. Robin heard the noise and he and his friends rushed out
    and put the Emperor's troops to the sword.

    The Imperial troops chased after them, but Robin led them to the encampment
    of his army, where they were all killed. He then ran back and boasted,
    before the walls of the castle, that a mere ten Englishmen had killed thirty
    Germans.

    The castle's commander was infuriated. He sent his entire garrison out after
    Robin and his men, and yet again Robin was chased. Yet again Robin's men
    slew the entire garrison, including its commander.

    Robin then took some of the Imperial heraldry, and he and several other men
    wore it, and raced to the castle. Calling for the castle to open the gates,
    they rushed in, and then slew the few men who had not gone out to chase him
    down, who realized, too late, that they were not dealing with their comrades
    in arms. By the end of the day, the pennants of Arthur Pendragon flew from
    the walls of the castle.

    The revolt of Robin of Loxley began.


    London, June, 1224

    "I have had enough!" cried Eberhard, the Imperial viceroy in England. "This
    has gone beyond outlaws ravaging the countryside. An assault on the Emperor'
    s castle is an assault on the Emperor, and an assault on the Emperor is an
    assault against God."

    "But, my Lord," said one of the English servants, "surely you are
    overreacting? He is only one man."

    "He must have the support of the barons of the north and the people of the
    north if he can take Nottingham. They will be fined for this, and heavily."

    Eberhard got up from the table. "Assemble the troops, and call out the
    levies. We march on Nottingham."

    Nottingham, July, 1224

    Hubert de Brugh had seen much. He had fought beside Richard the Great
    (Despite what the Emperor said) in Egypt, where he had seen the majesty of
    the pyramids. He had desperately tried to save England and France from
    Arthur and Frederick, and had seen how the king had failed them all. He had
    done homage to Frederick, but wondered how he could. The man had conquered
    England, and too many barons had gone along with it.

    Now he rode to meet Robin of Loxley. He was but a knight, but he fought the
    Germans. Hubert would rather not have gone to war with a lowly knight, but
    over the years he had done many things he would rather not have done.

    If it would let him defeat the Germans, Hubert would invite the Saracens
    into England.

    Nottingham had surprised him. He had expected a mere bandit, but Robin was
    wielding a force together. They were training with bows, and the use of long
    spears. They probably wouldn't be able to defeat heavy cavalry dead on, but
    Robin's men could certainly cause a good deal of trouble.

    "I must know," said Robin, "why you are joining us."

    Hubert's eyes looked off into the distance. He thought of young Henry, a
    prisoner in Nuremberg. Of John, who had been kicked into the ground by
    Frederick. He thought of all that had happened over the past few years.

    "Let's just say that you're not the only one in England who owes Frederick a
    thing or two."

    Robin looked about. "But who else will join us?"

    Robert thought about it. "The Earl of Albemarle is tied to me by blood, and
    he's angry at the viceroy's attitude as well. So are many of the northern
    city's, who are supposed to be fined for supporting outlaws and traitors."

    Robin was rather taken aback. "If so many are angry at the Emperor, why did
    none act before now?"

    Robert shook his head. "Oh, lad, you're still too young to understand. Men
    only fight when they think they can win, or they think it's fight or die.
    How could they hope to oppose the Lord Emperor, ruler from Jerusalem to
    Ireland? Don't forget too that he can give them lands in Aquitane in
    exchange for being loyal; his stepdaughter is the official ruler there, and
    he is her regent."

    "And who will rule England when we are done? You can wave the flag of Arthur
    all you like, but you have to admit you don't know how to rule a country,
    and you can't set yourself up as king. I'm afraid we'll have to figure that
    out, as well."

    Robin took the words in, and thought about it Could they have a kingdom
    without a king?

    "You know," said Robin, "Eberhard will march north this year. He's probably
    playing this down to Frederick, just treating it as another revolt in the
    north. That means if we move quickly, we can defeat him and rally the rest
    of the country. Frederick will be faced with invading England again. "

    "Ah, now", said Robert. "First you have to figure out how to defeat
    Eberhard."



    Statford, October, 1224

    The army of Eberhard was stupendous. The Imperial knights' armor glittered
    in the sun, and their banners were like a forest. Against that Robin had a
    much smaller force of horse, some archers [63], and his men armed with the
    pikes they had used. In according with custom, Eberhard had sent priests to
    induce Robin and Burgh to yield.

    The men were rattling off offers of land and remission for past offenses.
    Robin interrupted them. "Take this back for your answer. We are not here to
    sue for peace, but are ready to fight for the freedom of our country. Let
    your men come on when they please."


    Eberhard, for his part, wanted to be home. He was fed up with England. You
    give them a bit of leeway and they rise up in revolt against you. Sometimes
    he thought the Emperor shouldn't just settle good German families here. He
    looked at the bridge, and nodded. Once they crossed that, they could defeat
    this Robin's rabble.

    Robin's men waited for the German to begin crossing the bridge, and, when
    enough of the Germans and their allies in England had crossed, a horn was
    heard.

    "On them! On them!" cried Robin, who led a force towards the bridge. His
    force managed to seize the bridge, cutting off Eberhard and the advance
    forces.

    "Do not do this! You will merely cause the Emperor to subdue you again"
    cried Eberhard, as he swung his blade. "We know you must be aware of what
    this will lead to. We have trust in your wisdom."

    Robin looked at him, burning with hatred. It was a man like this who had
    killed Marion. He swung his sword and cut off Eberhard's head.

    "So do I."

    At this point, the English barons who were with the Emperor's troops on the
    other side of the river began to attack them. The Imperial forces broke, and
    fled. They were chased so far that the entire garrison in Northampton fled,
    and by the end of the year, all of the north was in the hands of Robin and
    the "English" barons.



    Coventry, November, 1224

    Robin sighed as he read the reports. The nobles were restless, and were
    beginning to act as if their only king was chaos. Something had to be done.

    He heard a knock at the door, and a man stepped in. "My name," he said, "is
    Hoff. Douglas of Hoff. I have come with a weapon to help you defeat the
    Emperor."


    [59] Robin Fitz Odo is based on a rather questionable character in English
    history, Robert Fitz Odo, a knight from Loxley. He may have died in 1196,
    but shows up gain in 1203 in documents, so consider this his son.

    [60] These fifty men would be remembered in the chronicles of Joseph of
    Southampton, whose biography of Robin of Fitz Odo would give future
    historians a look at the growth of the rebellion.

    [61] A tower at this point is not the same thing as a tower of our time; it'
    s more like the tower of London, a poor man's fort.

    [63] Not longbowmen, unfortunately. Those will not be in England until after
    the Welsh wars.

    Prince of Peace 21

    "It is more honorable to be raised to a throne than to be born to one.
    Fortune bestows the one, merit obtains the other."- Francesco Petrarca

    Jerusalem, May, 1224


    Constantine sighed as he walked through his palace in Jerusalem. For the
    Kingdom of God, Jerusalem was certainly a decadent place. They lived in the
    land which Jesus had walked, and yet they would gladly sell their wives for
    a few ducats. It was as if they were Greek!

    And Egypt. by God, it was a vassal of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but it was
    like, like, "the tail wagging the dog."

    "What, my lord?" said John, his royal chamberlain.

    Constantine grunted. "Egypt. Their damn canal of theirs is completed, isn't
    it?"

    John nodded. "Aye. The Pisans have sent out a squadron to the East." He
    spoke with awe in his voice. "Perhaps they will find Prester John's
    Kingdom."

    Constantine shook his head. Didn't anyone else realize that the kingdom kept
    on shifting east? God, there was no way there could be a Christian ruler
    beyond the Muslims.


    " I believe it was God's will that we should come back, so that men might
    know the things that are in the world, since, as we have said in the first
    chapter of this book, no other man, Christian or Saracen, Mongol or pagan,
    has explored so much of the world as Ludovico Terelli, son of Messer Marco
    Terelli, great and noble citizen of the city of Pisa ."

    Ethiopia, October, 1224

    Ludovico inhaled the air. To think that he was the first Pisan to ever
    travel to this distant land!

    He was the commander of the Pisan fleet, which had been sent out from the
    city in 1224. He had sailed through the red sea, which was slow going, but
    could be rowed, and the currents could favor one.

    They were sailing to Ethiopia, with which the Kingdom of Egypt had had
    contacts, to open up trade. Who knew what this distant land held?

    They approached the shore slowly, and cautiously. It was unfortunate that
    they had not brought some one who knew the language of the Ethiopes, but it
    could not be helped. He could only assume that they knew Arabic.

    He began speaking in Arabic. "Greetings, friends. We, citizens of the
    Chrisitan city of Pisa, come to you from north of Egypt! The mighty King and
    our city have joined together to build a canal, and we come to trade and
    offer gifts to your king, who is?"

    There was a bit of commotion on the part of the Ethiopians, who were a bit
    perplexed. Slowly, one of them spoke. "Greetings. Our king is called Yodit,
    and he will rejoice to hear of Christian traders in our lands." Ludovico,
    however, heard the king's name as Yoda, and it was as Yoda that the King
    would be known to the west.

    "Excellent," said Ludovico. "Let us go to meet Yoda." The Pisans set off
    through the land of Ethiopia, under the Zagwe dynasty, to the capital at
    Adafa (Lalibela). [72]

    Adafa was a city of marvels. So mighty were the kings of Ethiopia that the
    churches themselves were carved of stone. They were testaments to the glory
    of God, and would, thought Ludovico, be there until judgment.

    Finally they were taken to see Yoda himself. They prostrated themselves
    before him as they would before the Emperor or the king of the Greeks. Yoda
    gestured to them to sit before him.

    "Greetings to you. Traders from the north you are?" he said, smiling. "Latin
    I learned from traders. Speak it well I do?" Ludovico was a bit unsure of
    how to act. For a mighty king, Yoda was. well, short.

    "Yes, your majesty. I am from the city of Pisa, and we hope to trade with
    you and with others to the east. We seek a port, as well."

    Yoda smiled at them. "Talk of commerce later. Gifts from myself you must
    have!" Yoda clapped, and out came gifts of stunning majesty. Ivory from the
    south; gold from the kingdom; horns from an animal that was like an
    elephant, but different, with a long horn.

    And two crops, both of which would become fairly popular in Europe. The
    first was qat.

    "Try it you must," said Yoda, as he ate some. "Let it flow through you."
    Ludovico bit a piece, and chewed. A bit unpleasant, he thought. After a few
    minutes, he felt oddly. at piece.

    "You know," said Ludovico, "I could see people buying this."

    Yoda grinned. "Ah, enjoy it you do. Happy that makes me." Yoda clapped, and
    servants brought in cups containing a strange, dark fluid.

    "Drink! Drink!" said Yoda, smiling. "We make it from berries which grow high
    in the mountains. Dangerous to reach they are." Yoda took another sip.
    "Enjoy this also?"

    Ludovico sipped it. It was very. stimulating, which caused an odd effect
    with qat. He thought. It would be useful to people who sought to be kept
    awake, and they could always say it had medicinal properties.

    "Your excellency," said Ludovico, "I believe we will have a great deal of
    business to do." [73]

    Ludovico's men eventually set up a trading station which they christen
    Ranieri [74], and he sets forth to the east.


    Ceylon, July, 1225

    Kalinga Magga was a rather nervous man. Ceylon was not an easy island to
    rule, after all. It was under threat from the Tamils to the north, and his
    people were in trouble. The Pandyans of southern India were always licking
    their lips, thinking about invading. As a Buddhist, he was considered
    something of an outsider by the rulers of southern India, and by the Tamils.

    Now these foreigners had come to his kingdom, saying they were from a realm
    almost larger than Ceylon itself. To trade, they said. Their weapons were
    very fine, although their clothes were not that impressive, and they seemed
    to suffer in the heat. But what of it? They brought gold, and they sought
    cinnamon, as if it was the rarest thing on Earth.

    Kalinga wondered, for a second, just what the traders told people to the
    west. No matter. He shrugged. First he would impress the foreigners, and
    then he would get down to business.

    Ludovico was waiting in the courtyard, with some of his men. They were
    conversing in Arabic, which, given the fact that the hoped to break the Arab
    monopoly, was an irony. He heard a sound like a horn, and looked up to see a
    white elephant, studded with rubies, tramp in, bearing the king of Taprobane
    on top of it.

    Ludovico stared in awe. Taprobane was a place of majesty and marvels. The
    men and women wore only clothes to cover themselves, due to the heat. The
    people here fished for pearls, diving deep into the sea to take them. The
    king of Taprobane [75] was stupendously wealthy, obviously. Even a common
    peasant wore rubies!

    Ludovico bowed before the king. "My heart rejoices that we have met a people
    whose king is as wise and farsighted as you. Your kingdom is truly a
    marvel."

    The king made a great ceremony of getting off of the elephant, and sat down
    before Ludovico. He called for his servants, and a saucer made of ruby, as
    large as the king's palm, was brought in. He then daubed himself in aloe,
    and when he saw Ludovico's stare, he smiled and said, "Is something the
    matter?"

    Now, Ludovico was a merchant. He knew not to be impressed by any parlor
    trick of some pagan, so he merely said, calmly, "that is a rather large
    ruby."

    "Oh," said Kalinga. "We have rubies larger than this." The king clapped, and
    a large ruby was brought in. "Take this as a gift for yourself."

    Ludovico knew how the game was played. "Oh, my king," he said, "let me
    present you with gifts from my land. Fine weapons," he said, displaying
    blades from Damascus and Milan. "Gold from the mines of my country," he
    said, giving him crosses made of gold. "And finally," he said, "robes of
    purple silk from Constantinople, a city whose majesty is heard of even in
    this land."

    Kalinga was suitably impressed. "I do believe you will enjoy our fair land,"
    he said.

    Months later, Ludovico had finished establishing a factory for Pisa in
    Colombo. His ships, burdened with pearls, cinnamon, ivory, and coffee beans,
    set off towards home.

    He had roasted some of the beans from Ethiopia to preserve them, and took a
    sip of a drink containing the fluid from them, ice, and cinnamon. Not bad,
    he thought. Looking East, towards lands of which he could only dream beyond
    Taprobane, he smiled.

    Not bad at all.

    Egypt, July, 1225

    Hugh sighed as his female servants bathed him in hot water. This was, he
    thought, the life. Gold, comforts, and more gold. It was good to be the
    king.

    He only had a few problems. First of all, men. Oh, he could run Egypt well
    enough, but soldiers were a problem. If only he could find some way to get
    more men.

    As one of the girls rubbed his back, Hugh had a thought. Like all of his
    staff, she spoke French, so he knew she understood her. "You were bought by
    my household, were you not?"

    The girl nodded. "Yes, my king." She looked away as she continued to rub the
    king's back.

    He wondered. Could he buy slaves and turn them into soldiers? Something to
    look into, tomorrow, he decided, as he focused on matters at hand.

    The next day, he checked with the head of his household, a Copt named Aziz.
    "Of course we could buy children who were slaves," said Aziz. "But my king,
    you cannot enslave Christians!"

    Hugh shrugged. "So buy pagans or Mohammedans. Or maybe some Ethiopes. Plenty
    of them, eh?"

    Aziz bowed. "Let it be as you say." The first slave warriors of the Kingdom
    of Egypt would fight in 1230.


    [72] Thanks to the weakening of the Muslims by the Crusade to take Egypt,
    Ethiopians have been able to gain control of some stretches of the coast
    again.

    [73] Unfortunately, in Europe, the drink will be named after the city which
    discovered it. Pisa will gradually be corrupted to the point that in London,
    the drink will be known as Pizza.

    [74] Located near OTL's Djibouti, actually.

    [75] Roughly, it's a corruption of Sanskrit for "copper leaves", or
    cinnamon.

    Prince of Peace 22

    "Two houses, both alike in dignity..."-Romeo and Juliet


    Nuremberg, July, 1225

    Charles was only sixteen years old, and the prince of a considerably reduced
    France. He had been told since he could crawl that he was the new
    Charlemagne, the heir to the glory of France, who would bring the Capetian
    realm back into the center of Christendom, and end its vassalage to the
    King of Germany [76].

    To do that, he was told, he would destroy the Duchy of Aquitaine, and break
    the Duchess Eleanor. He had been raised in the belief that she was a witch,
    who, if she did not drink the blood of her peasants, came close enough.

    Which is why, as Charles sat down next to her at a feast held in honor of
    the Emperor's receipt of homage from the king of Hungary, it was so striking
    to Charles that Eleanor was, without a doubt, stunning. She sat clad in a
    rode of Lucca silk, with a mantle of Indian silk lined with ermine,
    radiating beauty.

    Charles had come to Nuremberg on behalf of his father, to apologize for the
    fact that the tribute was late. He had hoped to see the marvels of the city
    as well, glories that even Paris had nothing to compare with it.

    Looking at Eleanor, he could see that Paris did indeed have nothing to
    compare with Nuremberg. He leaned over to her, and said, "If God creates a
    set of rules to order the universe by, can he create a set of rules that he
    cannot break?"[77]
    Eleanor looked up from her part of the suckling pig and stared at him. "That
    depends on if he wants to break them, doesn't it? So the question is, does
    God wish to create a set of rules that he cannot break, bearing in mind that
    if he wished to, he could break them at any time? God is truth, so it
    follows that he cannot contradict himself, but does this not set restraints
    upon him?"

    Eleanor sipped from some more wine. "Not at all, we know from our studies
    that as God is perfect he cannot change, he will not change, and this is
    part of His Divine Nature, and so since God is truth it follows that he has
    sworn to abide by the laws of logic, since logic is truth. So yes, if God
    has created a set of rules, and because he is the one that made the rules he
    cannot, will not, break them or violate them."

    "What?" said Charles.

    Eleanor took a sip of her wine. "Exactly." She paused for a moment, and
    stared. "you're Charles, the prince of France, aren't you?"

    He nodded. "I would say something to praise your beauty, but the sight of
    you has made me forget what I was going to say."

    Eleanor smirked. "It may work on your wenches, but that won't work on me."

    Charles blinked. "I can assure you, I have no such interest!"

    Eleanor smiled. "Pity. I was hoping that you weren't like one of the Greek
    princes, in that respect." Eleanor thought that perhaps she had gone a bit
    too far, which had always been her problem. She just could not stand the
    idea that she was supposed to marry whoever the Emperor told her. Just
    because she was a woman, and he was her stepfather, was no reason that she
    should listen to him.

    Frederick wanted Eleanor to marry some local lord in Aquitaine, or one of
    the German lords, to cement his rule there. Eleanor, however, had no
    intention of listening to him unless she agreed. She was furious at
    Frederick for parceling out her inheritance to loyalists in England or to
    vassals in the Empire, like it was his. Of course, she acknowledged, she may
    have been biased. She could never stand men telling her what to do.

    Much like her namesake, in that respect.

    There was a bit of a silence, and then Charles laughed. "My lady, I would
    gladly take Jerusalem for you, or recover the True Cross, but since both
    have been accomplished, know that you have only to ask, and I will do as you
    command."

    Bolougne, May, 1226

    Louis cheered. "By God!" he cried. "At last, our time has come! England lies
    in chaos, awaiting a king. " He inhaled deeply, smelling the sea air.
    Across this lay England, his land. It had cost him much, but he had finally
    built ships to cross. He had supporters across the channel, he knew. If he
    could just cross, he would have England. Frederick could not be expecting
    this.

    Just then, he heard a messenger galloping towards him. As he was about to
    find out, Frederick had been expecting it. Indeed, some would wonder if this
    had been his plan all along.

    Frederick had an army (conveniently, according to him) preparing to invade
    England deployed in Hainault. Declaring Louis to be a traitor to the Empire
    and to God, his army had marched through the county of Champagne, gaining
    support from the Count, who transferred his allegiance directly to the
    Empire. The Count, Thibaud, who had been hiring large numbers of mercenaries
    before Frederick invaded, joined Frederick in a march on Paris.

    Thibaud, promised in return for his support a land connection between Blois
    and Champagne and to be the Imperial viceroy in France, joined the army of
    Frederick, which swept towards Paris. Frederick easily defeated the army of
    Louis, killing the king, in Ile de France in November, and settled down for
    a winter siege of Paris.

    Charles, son of Louis, King of France, excommunicated by the Pope, a rebel
    against the Emperor, fled west, where a different person, with her own
    reasons, also defied the Emperor.

    Bordeaux, March, 1226

    "No," said Eleanor.

    "What was that?" replied the Emperor's delegate. Eleanor wondered if he was
    going deaf or simply could not believe some one would say no.

    "No. I will not marry Thibaud. He is old enough to marry my mother, and he
    would only seek to use me for my lands. I will not bind myself to my Lord
    Emperor's latest puppet."

    "You risk the wrath of the Emperor. He will be gravely displeased with you,"
    the emissary said.

    "Good," replied Eleanor, as she folded her arms. "I am rather displeased
    with him right now."

    "We could tangle spiders in the webs he weaves."-Eleanor of Aquitaine on
    Frederick II

    Paris, June, 1226

    "People of Paris!" cried a herald. "Behold, your Lord Emperor has come!"

    Frederick inhaled. He knew that he had to make a good first impression. "Peo
    ple of Paris! Your former King Louis had led you astray from the path of
    God. I, your Lord Emperor, shall take you under my wing." There was a
    muttering in the crowd. "Fear not. I will respect the rights of your city
    and people. I will even give Paris a charter that grants it the rights it
    has long sought."

    There was more muttering in the crowd. "What of our King Charles?" cried a
    voice.

    Frederick shrugged. "Although of course he can not be king of France after
    his treacherous act, I will show mercy on him. I seek only peace for
    Christendom."

    "What of the king?" the woman cried again. "What of the king?" Soon the mob
    took it up as a chant, and then took up a better cry.

    "We want the King! We want the King!" One of the members of the mob pelted
    the Emperor with something that looked like mud but wasn't.

    "I order you to disperse!" he demanded. The mob then threw a stone, which
    almost hit the Emperor's head. He dropped his hand, and the Imperial and
    French knights loyal to the Emperor ran through the crowd. Armored, on
    horseback, they cut through the crowd, trampling them, crushing skulls, and
    forcing the rest away. The knights did not end until they were exhausted
    from the slaughter.

    Several days later, a woman was brought before Frederick, the one who had
    supposedly started the riot. She was an old woman, from a family of tailors.

    Frederick stared at her in a mix of disgust and surprise. "What made you
    attack your Emperor?" he demanded.

    The woman spat. "What made me attack you? Better, what made you attack us?
    My daughter was raped by English soldiers in a church when they took the
    city. My husband was killed in the Vesper rising. I may be a simple woman
    from Burgundy, but I know what is right. I knew what was right when my
    daughter was raped, and I know what is right now."

    Frederick walked out. "Put her back on the streets," he told the guards.
    "She's just an old, beaten woman."

    Orleans, July, 1226

    Charles looked at the reports. Frederick had transferred the County of
    Toulouse to the Kingdom of Aragon, not just to the king; now it was,
    according to him, part of Aragon. The Emperor had left Thibaud in charge as
    his regent, to digest the conquests.

    The one odd thing, really, was that there were no forces from Aquitaine,
    Brittany, or even Normandy attacking his realm. He wondered why.

    Bordeaux, September, 1226

    "No, mother," said Eleanor. "I will not send my armies against Charles."

    Maria stared at her, almost imploring. "But my dear," she said. "Think of
    what that means. You would be in rebellion against the Emperor. Already many
    think you are a traitor because of your unwillingness to marry the man that
    the Emperor has ordered you to."

    Eleanor tossed her hair back. "Why should I? What harm has Charles, or even
    Louis, done to me? They new that they could not make me submit to them, and
    I never hoped to rule Paris. This is merely Frederick's hope to reunite the
    realms of Charlemagne. I say no."

    Maria looked as if she was about to weep. "My child, please. Do you wish for
    Frederick to send the Inquisition after you? No one escapes the Holy
    Inquisition! They will claim you are a heretic, and find some one who says
    you are, and your rebellion against Frederick confirms it. Your lands will
    be forfeit."

    Eleanor laughed. "The Italians escaped. If I have to resort to the same
    means that they did, I will."

    Maria looked at her one last time, and left. She would never see her
    daughter again.

    Bordeaux, December, 1226

    Eleanor was still lying in bed when she heard the commotion below her
    castle. One of her handmaidens came running in.

    "My lady," she said. "The Inquisition has arrived, on behalf of the Pope.
    They wish to deport you to Nuremberg."

    Eleanor shot up. "WHAT?" she roared. "How dare they?"

    The handmaiden blinked. "Yes, well, umm, they dare. The Emperor has
    supported it as well, and apparently they seek to get you to a nunnery."

    "Fornicate the Emperor, and the Pope." Eleanor grimaced. "On second thought,
    I'd rather not. I suspect Peter de Rivaux is with them?" [78] The handmaiden
    shrugged as Eleanor changed into proper riding clothes.

    "No matter, then." The inquisition had doubtless brought soldiers; she would
    only have one chance, but she had been preparing for such an eventuality.
    She tossed a rope over the side, out the window of her room in the castle,
    and climbed down.

    While her guards stalled the inquisition, warning them that Eleanor was
    still indecent, she rode off. If Frederick wanted to play games, she could
    play too. She said something out loud.

    "Kings, queens, knights, and bishops everywhere you look, and I'm the only
    pawn." Eleanor smiled. "That's what makes me dangerous.

    Auvergne, March, 1227

    Charles felt the blade cut through the flesh of the dismounted knight he
    fought, then turned to face another. He had managed to find followers, yes,
    but there were so many men willing to work with the Emperor.

    He heard a trumpet behind him, and swore. If Frederick's men had gotten
    behind him, he was going to die on this field.

    He wheeled about, looked, and laughed. "Oh, you sons of whores are doomed!"
    he cried. "Doomed!"

    The knights who were charging towards him rode past, and crashed into the
    Imperial lines. And an unusually small knight carried the banner of the
    Queen of the Amazons, Eleanor of Aquitaine, rebel, heretic, and the woman
    who saved Charles's life. Charles wheeled about and rejoined the fray.

    After the battle, he rode up to the knight carrying. "you couldn't stay off
    the field, could you, my lady?"

    Eleanor lifted up her helmet. "And leave the fighting to you?" she said,
    grinning. "You aren't the only one who has a quarrel with Frederick."

    Charles stepped off of his horse, and in the muddy, bloodstained field,
    knelt before Eleanor. "There is," he said slowly, "something I have wanted
    to ask you for so long." Eleanor gave him an odd look, and he continued, "I
    know that I would not be happier with anyone else in the world beside me.
    Will you be my queen?"

    Eleanor took his hand in hers, and looked over the battlefield, littered
    with corpses from both sides. They had a long and difficult road ahead of
    them; Frederick would probably try to incite revolts in her lands, and
    Thibaud was still in Paris. The Emperor was fighting across Europe, aye, but
    he could very well win.

    Right now, none of that mattered to her. "Only," she said, "if you will be
    my king."

    [76] It's rather striking that no French king would ever refer to the Holy
    Roman Emperor as such; he was King of Germany, or of Italy, etc.

    [77] Theological debate based on logic. I am sorry to say this is replacing
    discussions on chivalry at medieval tables.

    [78] Peter Des Roches son. Peter himself is in England, and will feature in
    the next post.
     
  13. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 23
    -> "NEW"

    "Hurrah for the voice of our nation;
    Our chieftain so brave and so true.
    We'll go for the great reformation,
    For England and Liberty too."

    Northumberland, May, 1225

    Alexander II, King of Scotland, was not a foolish man. Just because God had
    given him Scotland to rule did not mean he meant for him to remain King of
    only Scotland, did it? Or so he had once thought, anyway.

    The revolt in England, then, was wonderful news. The kingdom must be weak
    and divided, the perfect time to reclaim the lands in Northumbeland which
    rightfully belonged to Scotland. Who knew? Perhaps if he did well enough,
    Frederick would appoint him as the viceroy of England. That had been his
    reasoning, anyway.

    Thus he had led an army south into the northern counties. How could a mere
    knight, a rebel, oppose the King of Scotland?

    The English, however, had other plans. Robin led a force northward against
    Alexander, which, being a force to defend England against the Scots, soon
    outnumbered his quite heavily.

    Robin's men also used the new longbow in battle for the first time, and with
    devastating success. It was even better than the bows of the Welsh, which
    were known to be devastating against knights. When combined with the English
    numerical superiority, the victory turned into a rout.

    "We'll go for the son of fair Loxley
    The hero of Nottingham through,
    The pride of the Commons so lucky,
    For England and Liberty, too!"

    When Alexander's men had melted like snow before the English onslaught, he
    had tried to join the flight. But his horse was wounded by an arrow, and he
    ended up as an English prisoner.

    "Then up with the banner so glorious,
    The banner of Britannia so true,
    We'll fight till our banner's victorious,
    For England and Liberty, too"


    "So," said Robin, "what shall we do with you?"

    Alexander remained silent.

    "Answer me I say!" demanded Robin.

    "I do not speak to rebels and usurpers," replied Alexander.

    "But you spoke to Frederick? What did he offer you? Northumberland?
    Yorkshire? Perhaps he offered to make you his viceroy in exchange for
    conquering us," said Robin.

    "Well, God has shown how he approved of your little venture," said Robin. "A
    ransom of, oh, seventy thousand marks will do nicely. When we receive half
    of that, you will be returned to Scotland, and we will receive hostages."

    "How dare you do this?" said Alexander. "I am a king!"

    "Well now," said Robin, as he walked out, "that may be, but you are not my
    king."


    "Our David's good sling is unerring,
    The Emperor's tyrant he slew,
    Then shout for the freedom preferring,
    For England and Liberty, too."



    The Weald, July, 1226

    Robin Fitz Odo looked out across the field. "Well," he said to Burgh, "it
    looks like the Emperor's finally sent his forces."

    "Our camp-fires shone bright on the mountains
    That frowned on the river below,
    While we stood by our swords in the morning,
    And eagerly watched for the foe;
    When a rider came out of the darkness
    That hung over mountain and tree,
    And shouted: "Boys, up and be ready!
    For Robin will march to the sea!""


    In front of Robins' army was a force as large as that which Frederick had
    sailed over with in the last decade, to conquer and plunder England. They
    had arrived at a critical point, for the only cities still in Imperial hands
    were London and the Cinque ports[66].

    Against them Robin had raised an army from across England. Yeomen had been
    trained in using the wheelbow, which was expensive, but it was necessary to
    defeat the horse of Germany and Aquitane.

    Burgh sighed. "The men are scared. We're outnumbered two to one, or worse,"
    he said, looking out in front of them. He looked out across them. "I fear
    they will break."

    "They'll hold." Robin rode out in front of him, to give the speech that
    would be known, forever after in English history, as the Speech of the
    Weald.

    "Sons of England, of Britannia. My brothers. I see in your eyes the same
    fear that would take the heart of me!" he cried, as he rode up in front of
    the main line. "But remember, a day may come, when the courage of men fails,
    when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not
    this day!

    " An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the kingdom of England comes
    crashing down," said Robin, who then tore off his hood and threw it to the
    wind. "But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear
    on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of England!"

    The line cheered, in one great cry. "Robin! Robin!"

    Needless to say, any offer of parley was turned down.

    In Medieval times, the weald was a dense strip of forest, which ran from
    western Kent across Sussex.. The soil was made of clay, sand, and chalk, and
    it was without a doubt one of the most desolate place in England, and rather
    muddy after a series of downpours over the past several days. Robin had
    drawn up his men between two woods, so that they could not be outflanked by
    the superior German force. The Men of arms were stationed in the center,
    with the archers on their flanks, like so: \______/. Behind them were
    knights, who were to pass through the center of the men of arms after the
    German charge was broken.


    The Germans lines were, to be blunt, not so carefully arranged. Every
    nobleman wanted to be in the front rank, and be seen with his banner flying
    high, that any attempt to organize a planned attack failed, and the Germans
    essentially would marched forward in one huge mass.

    The two sides faced off for several hours, when suddenly, many of the
    English knights left the field.

    On the other side of the field, Peter Des Roches, the former Bishop of
    Winchester, who had defected to the Lord Emperor during the revolt, looked
    at the Imperial commander, Conrad.

    Peter Des Roches looked at the imperial commander. "The Earl of Chester? How
    did you convince him?" he said.

    "I promised him estates in Poitou worth far more than he has here. Richard
    Fitz John turned for much less."

    Robin, meanwhile, was looking on in disgust. "Oh, shit," he said.

    Burgh galloped over. "We must sound a retreat. There's no way these men can
    stand against a charge of Imperial cavalry!"

    "Retreat to where?" demanded Robin. "You know that there is nowhere to
    hide."

    Burgh looked at the Imperial lines and grunted. "A certainty of death, a
    small chance of success.. Well, let's get it over with." He gave the signal,
    and a volley of arrows soared into the Imperial knights.


    Still onward we pressed till our banners
    Swept out from Stratford's grim walls,
    And the blood of the patriot dampened
    The soil where the traitor flag falls.
    We paused not to weep for the fallen,
    Who sleep by each river and tree,
    But we twined them a wreath of the laurel,
    And Robin marched on to the sea.


    Peter looked on in horror. "How in God's name did they do this? We should be
    outside the range of arrows!" Furious, Conrad directed the charge. No
    English trick would stop a servant of the Emperor.

    It took them about forty seconds to cross the field, which was time enough
    for three more volleys. So engraged were the Germans that they neglected to
    see one of Robin's precautions. Robin's men had placed long sharpened pikes
    into the ground in front of them, to break up an Imperial cavalry charge.
    Thus, the knights who attempted to run down the archers found their way
    blocked, and their horses crashed into the pikes.

    The second wave consisted of dismounted men at arms, which took three
    minutes to cross the muddy field now churned up by the cavalry. They
    advanced upon the center of Robin's line, but found themselves attacked on
    all sides. Many archers simply put down their bows and picked up axes,
    swords, or even long knives, and, with the English men at arms, overwhelmed
    the infantry of Frederick.

    Then, finally, the remaining cavalry who remained loyal to Robin began their
    charge. The Germans retreated, as fast as they could, back to the channel.


    Oh, proud was our army that morning,
    That stood where the pine darkly towers,
    When Robin said, "Boys, you are weary,
    But to-day fair Britannia is ours."
    Then sang we a song for our chieftain,
    That echoed o'er river and lea,
    And the eyes on the dragon shone brighter
    When Robin marched down to the sea.

    London, August, 1226

    "Look," said Burgh, "I think we have to realize that there are many people
    with claims to the throne of England. Llewelyn in Wales, Louis's wife in
    France, Eleanor in Aquitane, even Frederick, if only by those traitors to
    the realm." Burgh glared around the room.

    Robin Fit z Odo, Guardian of England, stepped forward. "We must decide how
    England is ruled."

    Richard De Percy spoke up. "Now see here! We have already given you too much
    say. Bad enough that you raised a national levy without the consent of all
    the barons [69]. What gives you the right to say who is our ruler?"

    Robin stared at Richard until Percy sat down. "What gives me the right?" He
    walked over to a window and pointed below to archers and men at arms
    training. "They give me the right. They fought and died for it at the Weald
    and I will not let you sit by and offer the crown to some Frenchman." Robin
    slammed his fist on the table. Unspoken was the fact that the strongest army
    in England was loyal to him.

    "If I were you," said Robin, "I would not stick my neck out for the foreign
    yoke."

    "So how would you choose a ruler?" said Mortimer, a baron from the Welsh
    marshlands. "I say Llewelyn. He's a tough bastard; I know, I've fought him.
    His wife is of John's blood."

    "No!" said Percy. "We must hold a regency until Eleanor is older."

    Robin thought for a moment how nice it would be to kill the barons who were
    assembled right now. But no, Joseph was right in counseling humility and
    negotiation. "We have already called a parlement," [70] he said. "What if
    we had a continuous parlement to rule the land?"

    "What?" said Simon. "How would attend? Who would rule in its absence?"

    Robin looked up. "I have thought much about this. The ancient Romans had a
    tradition of appointing consuls. What if we chose two consuls to rule
    England, one from the burgesses and knights, and one from the great barons?
    He would be like a king constrained by Magna Carta. He would meet three
    times a year with a parlement, who would control his power to tax the land.
    The royal demesne, and the lands of the Church in England [71], would be
    administered by this consul, but he could not tax us without the consent of
    parlement."

    Joseph, who was also present, nodded. "Let each consul serve six years, so
    that in the seventh year they might take a sabbatical, and the realm can
    decide who should replace them. To ensure that we are never leaderless, let
    the first consul of the burgesses, of the commons," said Joseph, "be
    appointed for ten years. The consul of the barons shall be appointed for
    seven."

    Burgh nodded, for, of course, they had planned this. "Let us agree that they
    must wait a full term between their time in office, unless there is
    agreement by everyone in their rank that they must remain."

    "But who would attend this parlement?" demanded Percy.

    Burgh spoke up. "We believe that two burghers from each borough and four
    knights from each shire would be sufficient. Above them would be a house for
    the greater lords, so that each side may be equal within our realm. Any laws
    must be passed by the consul, and both of the houses of parlement."

    The Earl of Abermerle laughed. "That's just crazy enough to work, you know."

    Mortimer remained silent.


    Gwynedd, May, 1227

    The hawk chased after the hare, and caught him in his grip. Llywelyn ap
    Iorweth, Prince of Gwynedd, laughed. "A fine bird, is she not?"

    Mortimer nodded gravely. "Yes," he said, "but are we here to discuss
    hunting?"

    Llywelyn laughed, and said, loudly in Welsh, "of course we are hunting. It's
    a fine day to do so." Lower, in French, he said, "I am sure some of your
    retainers are in Robin's pay. Do not speak loudly of why you are here."

    Mortimer nodded, slowly. "I see," he said. "So you will march on London?"

    Llywelyn looked at Mortimer's hawk, which just missed catching a rabbit.
    "Ah, a close one." Lower, he said, "Yes. With my wife Joan as Queen, and the
    support of the barons, I shall be king by Christmas." Llywelyn stroked his
    horse. "That depends on who will support me, of course."

    "Percy will, I think. I have discussed it with him, and he does not like the
    thought of being ruled by Robin. We must destroy him, lest the notion of
    individual rights destroy the rule of the barons!"

    Llywelyn nodded. "Still, thought, we had best march on London quickly. The
    more time Robin has, the more money he can collect from the cities and
    merchants. The more time he has, the harder it will be to unseat him."

    Mortimer extended his hand. "We ride in June, then."


    October, Stamford, 1227

    The arrows rained across the sky, as Welsh longbowmen and English archers
    dueled for superiority. The Baronial and consular armies clashed, with waves
    of knights sweeping across the field. Stamford would be no slaughter, like
    the ones with the Germans. Stamford would be the battle where the last man
    standing won.

    There would be no ballads of glory and triumph for the victors of Stamford.
    There was too much blood soaked into the ground, too many friends and family
    trampled beneath the horses.

    Robin would finally win the battle of Stamford, at the cost of three
    thousand dead. But for the barons of England, the casualties would be far
    direr. For Robin's men could be replaced.

    Percy, dead from an English arrow, could not be. The Earl of Norfolk, slain
    by one of those loyal to Robin and Burgh, was irreplaceable. Four earls,
    forty knights, and eleven barons would be found dead on the fields of
    Stamford. And yet, when a memorial was built at Stamford, three centuries
    later, they would not be mentioned. England had gone beyond the need for
    monuments to dead nobles.

    "No! those days are gone away,
    And their hours are old and gray,
    And their minutes buried all
    Under the down-trodden pall
    Ofthe leaves of many years:
    Many times have winter's shears,
    Frozen North, and chilling East,
    Sounded tempests to the feast
    Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
    Since men knew nor rent nor leases.

    No, the bugle sounds no more,
    And the twanging bow no more;
    Silent is the ivory shrill
    Past the heath and up the hill;
    There is no mid-forest laugh,
    Where lone Echo gives the half
    To some wight, amaz'd to hear
    Jesting, deep in forest drear.

    So it is; yet let us sing
    Honour to the old bow-string!
    Honour to the bugle-horn!
    Honour to the woods unshorn!
    Honour to the Lincoln green!
    Honour to the archer keen!
    Dishonor to the traitor John
    And damn the horse he rode upon!
    Honour to bold Robin Hood,
    Sleeping in the underwood!
    Honour to maid Marian,
    And to all the Loxley clan!
    Though their days have hurried by
    Let us few a burden try."



    London, March, 1229

    Frederick took a sip of mulled wine and nodded. He looked at the letters
    from the treasurer. Thank God for the wool trade. The counts of Flanders and
    Brabant were willing to ignore Frederick's embargo on English wool; they
    didn't have a choice, really, with their economy dependent upon it.

    Still, there was a problem. England was dependent upon lords who were,
    however nominally, vassals of the Emperor. Should that become more than
    nominal..

    Robin took another sip, and thought. Why couldn't England have its own banks
    and cloth industry, or its own ships for trade? Troy had been a mighty,
    seafaring nation founded on trade. Couldn't its children do likewise?

    Robin looked into the fire thoughtfully. England had been a refugee for the
    Trojans, then a Roman province, then a pagan land. It had changed time and
    time again, until it had been turned from a Norman state into an Imperial
    province.

    Now, he supposed, it would have to become something else.



    [68] A series of coastal cities which received privileges in return for
    providing the King a navy.

    [69] Like Simon De Montfort in England, and William Wallace in Scotland,
    Robin Fitz Odo divided the countries into districts, and can call levies
    from each territory.

    [70] Literally, a discussion.

    [71] A lot of the bishops in England had been replaced with pro-Honorius and
    imperial bishops, so the land may as well be used. Pro England bishops will,
    of course, be put in.
     
  14. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 24
    "New"

    "O but to rest, like Robin Hood, beneath some forest-green,
    Where the wild-flowers of the coming spring on my mouldering heart may lean;
    Where heaven is seen,
    And the smile serene
    Of heavenliest liberty."-W. J. Linton, An Hour of Robin Hood

    Norfolk, July, 1230

    Alexander paced about the walls of the castle. He was being treated well by
    Robin, but, by God, this was getting absurd. Robin Fitz Odo, he had been
    told, was coming to see him, but for what?

    He saw Robin approach through the gates, followed by men in armor. He
    clenched his fists, and briefly was afraid that he was going to suffer the
    same fate as Arthur almost had.

    Arthur came up behind him, with the banner of England. He walked up on the
    wall, and, amazingly calm, said, "How would you like to be the King of
    England?"

    Alexander raised an eyebrow. "What?"

    It turned out that it was quite simple, actually. The notion of a Republic
    was less than popular, among many of the nobles. After all, the Trojans had
    had kings, not Consuls; and there were many who feared it was but an attempt
    by Robin to take power. Alexander had a claim, going back to a king before
    the Plantagenets; he would do nicely.

    Robin, however, still commanded a great following, and in an effort to avoid
    another round of civil war, Robin had arrived here.

    Alexander could not help gloating a little. "So your Republic has failed,
    has it? I wonder why you ever expected it to succeed. You could not make up
    your mind on how to rule? Too many people trying to sway you, until you bent
    in the wind like a blade of grass?"

    Robin rubbed his temple. "I am as constant as the north star. I know what
    must be done. It is everyone else who cannot decide how to govern." He
    motioned for a parchment to be brought over.

    "These are the Provisions by which you shall rule, if you are the King of
    England."

    Alexander read the document; a council of fourteen, with six nobles, three
    minor knights, three burghers, and the two consuls. Parliament was to meet
    three times a year, and would control the vast majority of taxation. The two
    houses would each be led by he consuls, and unlike in the Empire, "law rules
    the royal dignity, for law is right and rules the world."

    Alexander put it down, and thought. Finally, he said, "Well, what choice do
    I have? Of course I'll be the King."

    London, January, 1231

    London was decked in color and finery once more. They had not seen, it was
    said, an English king crowned here in a generation. Alexander's goal was to
    make up for the lack of gaity. And yet, despite it all, he could see Robin
    vying for prestige as well.

    Alexander had paraded with knights through the city; Robin had men carry
    banners captured from the Germans. Robin gave wine to the people; Alexander
    gave wine in gold cups. It went on like this throughout the day, and to much
    of the populace, who was blissfully unaware of the tension between the two
    men, it seemed as if it was a magnificent spectacle.

    But it would all be worth it. As Alexander knelt before the English bishop,
    in Westminster.

    "Grant thou all rightful laws and customs to behold and that thou wilt
    defend and strengthen them to the worship if God to his might and powers
    which shall choos, " said the Bishop.

    Alexander answered, carefully, "I grant it."

    The bishop placed the crown upon his head, and turned to the people. "Do you
    call this prince the rightful heir of the realm, and swear to obey his
    commandments?"

    The people who had packed the church, and the streets around it, cheered.
    "We grant it! We grant it!" [82]

    The bishop placed the crown upon the head of Alexander, and declared, "By
    the Grace of God, I anoint thee, Alexander, Imperator totus Britannia."

    Robin Fitz Odo stepped forth. "Long may he reign!"

    Nuremberg, October, 1232

    Robin ran a hand through his hair and sighed. God, in Nuremberg. There was a
    time, once, when he would have rejoiced at being here, of seeing the glories
    of Rome. That time had long since past.

    He had come here to make peace; the news from France meant that Frederick
    could focus on England and Italy, and the Emperor of the Hellenes was busy
    elsewhere. Alexander had chosen him as the best example of England's
    capacity to resist another invasion.

    He walked into the Emperor's court, and bowed. He did not, however,
    prostrate himself, which, to some, was a mistake.

    Frederick glared. "You dare not prostate yourself before your Emperor?"
    demanded Frederick?

    Robin made a pretense of looking around. "I do not see my Emperor, and I do
    not prostrate before him."

    Frederick sighed. He would savor this, very much. "We shall see. From the
    rebels of England we demand your surrender, and your submission to the
    Emperor."

    "Submission?" cried Robin. "Robin smiled at him. "Submission, Frederick, tis
    a mere German word. We English warriors know not what it means!" Robin
    smiled. "As your soldiers found out."

    Frederick leaned back. "Is that so? We shall see." He clapped his hands, and
    the guards came down upon Robin.

    Robin, wearing no armor, could not resist. "You promised me safe conduct,"
    he said.

    The Emperor laughed. "I can promise many things. I've schemed and plotted
    all my life. There's no other way to be an Emperor, forty, and alive all at
    once."

    Robin was brought before the Emperor. "Kneel," commanded a chamberlain.
    Robin did so, and as he did, went for a knife in his boot. He tried to stab
    Frederick, but the guards caught him.

    Some one screamed. "He has a knife!"

    Robin laughed, bitterly. "Of course I have a knife. It's 1232 in the year of
    our Lord and you're all barbarians. Did you think I would trust you?"

    Frederick pretended to sigh, upset. "This is yet another offense against
    your Emperor. Regicide, after all, is a crime against the Emperor and God."

    "For that you shall die."

    Robin was schedule to die on December 26. He wondered, in his time of
    confinement, if he would receive any visitors before then. He did, and,
    frankly, it was the one he had expected.

    Frederick was in a rather jovial mood. "So this is Robin Fitz Odo, the
    terror of England." He looked Robin over, who was half starved. "I would
    have expected better from the hero of England." He paused for a moment, and
    said, "Do you know that your Alexander sent you here knowing you would die?"

    Robin shrugged. "I doubt it. I know you would say that, you know that I know
    you would say that, and you know that I knew that you would say that.
    Alexander probably knows that I know that you know that I know that you
    would say that." He laughed. "We're quite a knowledgeable set of
    Christians."

    Frederick laughed. "It's a pity, you know, that I have to kill you."

    "It's a pity that I can't kill you."

    Frederick's gaze grew cold once more. "If you acknowledge that you have been
    in error, if you acknowledge that I am the Emperor, then you will be spared.
    If you do not, you will be torn apart, and your limbs scattered to the
    corners of the Empire. You will be drawn and quartered.

    December 26, the Emperor's birthday, came, and, in due course, Robin was
    tortured. He was burned, as was proper.

    But as the flames roared higher, Robin screamed over them. "Frederick, you
    will meet me in judgement before the decade is out! A curse on the Staufens,
    a curse on the Empire! For England!"

    Robin's last thought, as he descended into a world of pain, was that he
    hoped he had lived a good enough life to meet Marion in heaven. He thought
    he could glimpse her, with her strawberry hair, in the crowd, but he knew
    that God would not be so kind as to give him one last view of her.

    To the north, across a cold sea, Hubert de Burgh looked up from the letter
    from Nuremberg of Robin's imprisonment. He could have sworn he had heard
    something off the wind, blowing south. Something strange and wonderful.

    When Robin's body has finished burning, and all that was left were charred
    remains, some one, it was recorded, a young woman, perhaps almost twenty,
    with hair the color of strawberries, picked up what was left of his heart,
    and placed it in her silk handkerchief. She would return the heart to
    England, saving some small piece of Robin.


    London, April, 1233

    Alexander spoke before Parliament, his voice deep and sorrowful. He had not
    liked the man much; so why did he miss Robin so?

    "Gentle men of England," he cried. "I come not to bury Robin, but to praise
    him. Robin was not just a man; he was a hero. He could have supped with
    Aeneas or Arthur and been their equals. He fought against the tyranny of the
    Antichrist when no one else would. When," said Alexander," even I would
    not."

    The speech continued, it was said, for an hour. "This is why Robin Fitz Odo,
    a knight of Loxley, shall be buried with the Kings of England." He ordered
    the artisans to pull the cloth off of the tomb. It was made of green marble,
    and showed Marion and Robin, together in death, as they could not be in
    life.


    "Here," said Alexander, as a tomb was unveiled, "is the glory of Robin. He
    fought for Maid Marion, and for England," said Alexander. "The Emperor
    sought to keep him from both by burning his body in Germany, but by the
    Grace of God we have recovered his heart."

    "It will be buried here with his Marion, in the soil of Westminster, so that
    he can be with both of his loves for all eternity."



    [82] For those who are going to say that this is too farfetched, I'd like to
    state that this is exactly what happened in Late Middle Ages coronations in
    England.

    And Imperator is such a nice way to say "Expletive you" to the Emperor, isn'
    t t? Granted there's no papal consent, but in a world where this era is
    referred to as his "captivity in babylon", this isn't as great a deal.
    Actually, given that the old pope died in 1228, I have to flesh out what's
    going on with the Imperial church, as well as the ideology of the concept of
    empire.

    I will say that just like Clement V, the new pope is afraid to travel to
    Italy.
     
  15. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 25
    "New"

    "You say the moon is strewn with seas;
    The nightingale is singing.
    I'd rather lie with wine at ease,
    And hear the goblets ringing.

    You say the earth dances round the sun;
    That the Pisans have reached Cathay.
    I'd rather dance and have some fun,
    And while away the day.

    They cut up Cathars in Languedoc;
    Heretics exile the Pope.
    The Emperor is hard as rock,
    In the name of God how does one cope?"-Poem attributed to Simon, Troubadour
    in the Kingdom of Aragon


    Ibiza, July, 1222

    James, Prince of Aragon, listened carefully, straining to hear the call to
    prayer from the Muslim city echo out across the lines. Ibiza was the last
    city in the Balearics to oppose him, and with it gone, he would have taken
    the last islands in the Mediterranean from the Muslims.

    The city, some said, was unconquerable. Its walls were massive, and who knew
    how long it could hold out?

    But for the son of the man who took Toulouse and defeated the Almohads,
    nothing was impossible. Indeed, it appeared that God had given him a way to
    enter the city.

    The Muslim lord of Ibiza had a brother, Ibrahim, with whom he often
    fought.Ibrahim and his brother often fought over one of the woman in the
    harem, who Ibrahim considered his own. When his brother took her, Ibrahim
    attempted to kill him. The Emir had triumphed, and attempted to imprison his
    brother.

    Now Ibrahim stood before him, clothed in the armor of his people. "I will
    show you a way into the city," said Ibrahim, but on two conditions.

    James nodded. "Go on."

    "First," said Ibrahim, "you will let the people of the city keep their
    faith." Peter nodded; that was the way you did things, provided the city did
    not resist.

    "Secondly," said Ibrahim, "you will kill my brother."

    James smiled. "I would be happy to oblige you."

    The next night, Ibrahim led the army of Aragon into the city. The Muslim
    lord would wake up the next morning to find the armies of the prince
    encamped in his courtyard; and the city of Ibiza passed into the hands of
    the King of Aragon [83].

    And yet, the victory of James would prove to be a depressing one, for, a
    mere week later, he would receive word of the death of his father, Peter the
    Conqueror.

    James grew up in the rich and cosmopolitan culture of The Kingdom of Aragon
    and the County of Toulouse. Aragon had been, for the last fifty years,
    undergoing an explosion of commerce and culture. Jewish funds and slave
    trading with the Moors had funded the growth of Barcelona, establishing a
    patrician class loyal to the king.

    Moreover, the conquest of Valencia had changed the Muslims from becoming the
    king's enemies to his valued subjects. Not because James or his father were
    fond of infidels, but they had turned Valencia into a garden. They had
    turned, over the centuries, a barren wasteland into a paradise of figs,
    olives, flax, and wine.

    James had also been raised in Languedoc, the hotbed of the Cathar heresy,
    which for some reason Peter II had never quite gotten around to rooting out,
    especially in towns that paid their taxes. This trend was continued by
    James the Wise, who was known for saying that if the Muslim were expelled,
    there would be no one to farm the land.

    James's relationship with the Emperor was. ambiguous. He and his father had
    acknowledged the Emperor as his overlord, but the Emperor, to them, had no
    real political power over them. He was their lord, but did that not mean he
    had obligations to James?

    It is in this light that James's actions, as he fought from Corsica to
    Tunis, over the next several decades, must be seen.

    August, Corsica, 1226

    When Frederick had "summoned the hosts of the world", as Francis had called
    it, to subdue Italy, it was only natural for him to call on the Kingdom of
    Aragon.

    Aragon, by this point, had built up a mighty navy, so strong that King James
    could boast that "there was not a fish in the sea who did not know of the
    banner of Aragon." It was believed by many that, if pressed, Aragon was
    easily a match for the city of Pisa, especially with support of the navy
    from Sicily. In return Arago would gain Corsica and Sardinia, expanding its
    naval supremacy across the entire Mediterranean. Roger de Lluria, from
    Barcelona, had been sent by James to command the fleet.

    Roger looked out across the sea, and nodded grimly. He stood on the bow of
    the flagship of Aragon, the Braulio [84]. Behind him were seventy galleys
    and escorts, and before him were fifty galleys of Pisa. In addition, there
    were thirty Sicilian galleys swimming towards the Pisans as well.

    "Forward!" urged Roger. "We are here to conquer or die!"

    The Pisans, for their part, viewed the war as a crusade to defend their
    homeland. Each Pisan ship was adorned with a crucifix and the banner of the
    League of Italy, as well as that of Pisa. [85]

    The battle was soon joined, with Roger himself, branding a broad sword,
    leading the charge against the crew of a galley. Once engaged, the
    formations quickly broke down into a melee of individual battles on the
    decks of the galleys. They were scenes of chaos, with blood spilling across
    the decks, turning the water into a sea of blood.


    Meanwhile, Giacomo Tiepolo, citizen of Venice, looked off of the brow of his
    ship, the Fortuna, and gave a look that would not look out of place on one
    of the crocodiles of the Kingdom of Egypt. Frederick had called for them to
    join the war in Italy. The Doge had promised to send his fleet to meet up
    with the navy of Aragon, if only they knew where they were to be.

    Giacomo inhaled, taking in the scents of sea and war. Today they would pay
    back the enemies who had tried to destroy the republic. Today was the day to
    repay the bastard whose father had made their proud republic his pawn. "Once
    more to war," yelled Giacomo. "For God, for Venice, and for San Marco!"
    With a swift cut, he knocked off the banners of the Emperor, and watched as
    the banner of Italy replaced it, side by side with the Lion of Saint. Mark.

    The Venetian fleet swept into the battle, tearing into the Sicilian galleys.
    Caught by surprise, Roger had no choice but to withdraw, leaving half of his
    fleet behind him as wreckage.

    "O, Fickle Fortuna," thought Roger, as he looked at the Venetian galleys
    which were chasing him. "How could you betray us so?"



    Montpellier, November, 1228

    There were times, thought Geoffrey, as he cut into the corpse's chest, when
    he thanked God that the Cathars were all doomed to hell.

    "Within the body, it appears that it is divided into several cavities. There
    is the skull, which contains the brain. Within it nerves connect it to the
    rest of the body. However, the nerves appear to move across the body, and as
    Galen said, control it."

    "Who are you talking to, sir?" said his servant, Ibrahim of Valencia. Damned
    Moor, but useful.

    "You," said Geoffrey. "Aren't you getting all this?" He sighed and resumed
    speaking. "The center of the body, however, is the heart. Upon opening it
    up, it appears that there are four chambers; two on the right side and two
    on the left. It is my belief that the one on the left, having thicker walls,
    must be the one that pumps blood throughout the body, for it has the
    inevitably more difficult task."

    "This means," he said, "that the right chambers pump blood to the lungs,
    where the imbalance of humors is restored. For it is clear to me that air,
    corresponding to the humor of blood, is exchanged in the lungs and replaces
    the impurities of black bile that reside in blood after it has gone through
    the body."

    Ibrahim spoke up. "Are you sure it is a humor, sir? Perhaps it is something
    else?"

    Geoffrey shook his head. "Nonsense! What else could it be?" He looked
    contemptibly at his servant. "You consistently come up with absurd notions,
    such as the idea that the humors might not exist. If you keep believing
    that, you'll never be a scholar." Geoffrey bent back over the body, and
    continued lecturing. "Based on these observations, it is the mind which
    makes the body rich; for it controls the body, like a king over his kingdom.
    The heart is like his merchants, spreading throughout the body to keep it
    healthy, and the muscles are like his peasants, weak individually, but
    together crucial for the well being of the realm."

    Geoffrey looked at the body in amazement. So much waited to be done!


    While Frankfurt might boast of its discovery of classics, and its scholars
    who seemed to discover new things each day, or Constantinople of its
    development of weapons for war, the Kingdom of Aragon would acquire fame for
    something rather different.

    For centuries, the Church had forbidden dissection. After all, if the body
    was to be eventually resurrected, then dissecting it into pieces was the
    ultimate crime, for it denied them immortality. The Church's policy against
    dissection also dated back to the Crusading practice of sending the bodies
    of Crusaders home in pieces, to save on the cost of shipping. This is not to
    say that the church opposed all surgeries; it actually supported attempts at
    Caesarean sections, to save the unborn babies. But it did make things rather
    difficult.

    For the Cathars, however, this was not a problem. The Cathar heresy, with
    its nihilistic belief in the ultimate evil of the mortal world, merely saw
    the human body as a vessel for the soul, to be discarded like worn out
    clothing. For them, what happened to their bodies was irrelevant.

    And for Catholics, well, the Cathars were all going to hell anyway, so it
    hardly mattered what happened to their bodies, did it? Thus had begun, with
    consent from the Emperor and King, dissection of bodies at the medical
    school of Montpellier.

    Thus, Langeudoc and Aragon play their own role in the explosion of science
    and learning in the 13th century, the era known as the Rinascere by the
    Imperial propagandist Pierro della Vigna.



    Barcelona, May, 1227

    Pedro Fernandez, Lord of Albaraccin, stood before the cortes. "Why," he
    said, "should we support the war against the Lombards? What have they done
    to us to cause us to war with them?"

    James stood up. "They are heretics, who are spreading like a plague. If we
    do not cure it now, how long will it be before it overwhelms the body of
    Christendom?"

    "So?" demanded Pedro. "That is the Emperor's duty, not ours!" His response
    was greeted with cheers.

    The Kingdom of Aragon was, in many ways, a kingdom divided. The cities of
    Languedoc and Provence allied with Barcelona, in favor of a policy of
    maritime expansion. With the defeat of the Almohads in Iberia, and the
    victories of the Kings of Egypt and Jerusalem to the East, there was a
    feeling that the time was ripe to roll up the Muslim states of North Africa
    and turn the western Mediterranean into an Aragonese lake.

    On the other hand, the nobles of Aragon were in favor of landward expansion,
    towards Seville and Murcia. This had actually caused great difficulties for
    James's father, who had wisely decided to pursue both goals, with the
    knights of Aragon invading Valencia while the Catalans and sailors of
    Marseilles took the Baleares.

    Unfortunately, this meant that both sides were somewhat dissatisfied with
    the defeat off of Corsica.
    "My duty," said James, "is to ensure the strength of Aragon endures. If we
    but try again, we will triumph. God has defended us; our cause is just, and
    our spirit willing. We will succeed."

    "Would it not be better," said Pedro, "to bring the heathens the sword of
    God? If you truly believe in the Emperor," said Pedro, "then there is no
    reason to doubt his success. If you do doubt his success, then you doubt the
    Emperor, and hence God."

    "Therefore," said Pedro, "I put it before you, men of Aragon. Let us put
    away our quarrel with the Lombards, and focus on the infidel.Let us take the
    city from which we can command the entire Mediterranean."

    "To Tunis!"

    [83] It really helps when your king doesn't die supporting heretics in
    Languedoc, as Peter II did in 1213. This, as well as the gold of Toulouse,
    have moved up the conquest of Valencia and the Balearic Islands.

    [84] Braulio is one of the patron saints of Aragon, who opposed heresy in
    Spain and converted the Visigoths to the true faith.

    [85] The banner of Italy, incidentally, is much like the one of the
    Florentine coalition against the Pope in the late 14th century: A red banner
    with the word Libertas in gold.
     
  16. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 26,27

    Prince of Peace 26

    "The first question, then, is whether Temporal Monarchy is necessary for the
    welfare of the world; and that it is necessary can, I think, be shown by the
    strongest and most manifest arguments; for nothing, either of reason or of
    authority, opposes me."-Dante, De Monarchia

    It is impossible, of course, to bring up the Renascere without mentioning
    the book by Piero Della Vigna, Foundations of Empire. In it, Piero, a
    Sicilian, argues emphatically in favor of the empire.

    He argues that the emperor is necessary to promote justitia. This does not
    mean merely justice. Rather, it means that law-making should be conducted
    according to the principles enshrined in God's teachings; indeed, justitia,
    in this context, means the very ordering of the world.

    Man, holds Piero, is inherently wicked and sinful, since his fall from the
    Garden of Eden. Rulers are the flagellum, the scourge, appointed by God to
    cleanse the world and restore justitia. The Emperor, as the basis of good
    government, is the source of the world's ordering, and without a strong
    emperor, there can only be chaos. Piero points out in the historical record
    the fate of the chaotic kingdoms of the Germanic tribes, leading to
    weakness, heresy, and ultimately conquest by pagans. "For who today," he is
    famous for saying, "can imagine the Empire of Rome falling to Muslims as the
    Visigoths did?"

    More, mankind, it is argued, perennially seeks conquest after conquest,
    leading to war between various kingdoms. "Such things are the tribulations
    of kingdoms, of cities, and of households, so that happiness is hindered."
    Thus, the only logical action, according to Piero, is to appoint the Emperor
    above.

    "Consequently, in order to do away with these wars and their causes, it is
    necessary that the whole earth, and all that is given to the human race to
    possess, should be a Monarchy--that is, a single principality, having one
    prince who, possessing all things and being unable to desire anything else,
    would keep the kings content within the boundaries of their kingdoms and
    preserve among them the peace in which the cities might rest. Through this
    peace the communities would come to love one another, and by this love all
    households would provide for their needs, which when provided would bring
    man happiness, for this is the end for which he is born." [86]

    It is, actually, Vigna who coins the term Renascere, or rebirth, for the
    Empire's recovery of extensive power. He holds that only when the Empire has
    been restored to its true splendor can the third Age of Man, the Age of the
    Spirit, truly begin. Ironically, this term will be used rather more by the
    Empire's enemies than by the Empire itself.


    Frankfurt, March, 1228

    Frederick looked at the contraption. Strange that it worked so well, but he
    could hardly be surprised. If Cathay could discover silk, surely they could
    invent this. The man pressed down on a bar, and a box containing letters
    were pressed down on a page. The man raised the bar, and Frederick picked up
    the paper. He read it. "By the order of the Lord Emperor, Frederick
    Augustus, I hereby decree." Frederick paused. "Again."The man pressed down
    again, and the same words appeared on a different sheet of paper [87].

    "Again," ordered Frederick, who stared. "My God," he thought. "With a
    machine such as this, I can send copies of proclamations and orders to every
    one of my servants in the Empire!"

    Meanwhile, outside, Frederick could hear the sound of the ball of stone
    smashing into the wall.

    In the days before the Empire, when Rome was but a republic, there had been,
    Frederick had read, a wise man known as Archimedes. He had defended the city
    of Syracuse against the Romans, and had invented many clever inventions.

    He reminded Frederick, actually, of William and the other scholars of
    Frankfurt.

    In any case, Archimedes had discovered how to use steam to launch rocks at
    the Roman fleet. Realizing the potential, some of the scholars at the
    University had developed it. The Architronito, as it was called, was deadly.
    It could smash the walls of Milan as God had smote the walls of Sodom [88]

    "Nothing, nothing. I was merely thinking about how the heretics will soon
    face the wrath of God."

    William nodded. He took the opportunity to speak up, which was risky, around
    the Emperor, but necessary. "My Lord Emperor, have you considered that some
    of the rebel complaints are justified?"

    "Careful, William," said Frederick. "You tread too far. They are heretics
    and rebels in the eye's of God."

    William licked his lips, and spoke again. "Oh, surely, many of them are
    wrong. But some of their complaints," he hesitated as Frederick looked up,
    and continued, "have some justification. The war in France, for instance."

    Frederick's almost growled. "Enough. You may be a friend, but you are not my
    advisor." Frederick visibly calmed himself, and resumed speaking. "Show me
    that device you wrote of."

    William took them out, and spoke. "The wonders of refracted vision are still
    greater, for it is easily shown that large objects can appear small, and the
    reverse. We know that distant objects will seem very close at hand, and
    thus, I realized that we could shape glasses in such a manner that they bent
    light to let one see better."[89]

    Frederick took these.. glasses, he decided. "Excellent!" he said. "They will
    be most useful when I hunt."

    William felt queasy, despite his loyalty to the Emperor. Just what was the
    man going to hunt?


    May, Trent, 1229

    The cannons boomed yet again, for the third time that day. Frederick looked
    through the spyglass at the wall, and nodded. The cannons were proving to be
    effective. They weren't knocking down the walls as quickly as he'd hoped,
    but the job was going, slowly but surely.

    Frederick had attacked Trent because the city could threaten the passes
    through the Alps, and it was too weak to oppose him, as the other cities
    could.

    The cities of the League of Italy had sent one of their leaders, a Ludovico
    of Milan, to parley. The man entered, and bowed. He did not, however,
    prostrate himself before the Emperor, as he should have. Frederick glared
    but remained calm.

    "Here are our terms," said Frederick. "First, disband the League. Second,
    you will pay an indemnity of not less than-"

    Ludovico cut him off. "Here are our terms, now. You will leave Italy. You
    will call your Sicilians back, and leave Rome. You will acknowledge that
    Italy is not subject to the Empire."

    Frederick almost ran the man through, here and now, but that would be, to
    put it mildly, undiplomatic. "So it's to be war, then?" Frederick tried to
    look amused. "No matter. Italy will soon quarrel with itself, and the cities
    that are loyal will return to the fold. Francis will burn yet."

    Ludovico gave a wry grin. "I think you are mistaken, King of Germany. The
    cities of Italy are united against you, this time."

    Frederick laughed. "Italians will be united when pigs get wings."

    Ludovico looked up at the sky. "There'll be pork on the treetops come
    morning, I suppose."

    Frederick reached for his sword. "Know this, Ludovico of Milan. I will take
    this city. I will take Milan. I will take Italy. And there is nothing that
    any one of you can do to stop me."

    Trent would fall by the end of the month, leaving the way open for Frederick
    to march into Lombardy itself in 1230. Around that time, actually, he would
    receive an interesting letter from William.


    Frankfurt, April, 1229

    William looked over the information. There had to be, somewhere, a mistake.
    His observations must be off, surely. According to what he had seen, Venus
    would occasionally become a crescent. It had phases of its own, but that
    could only be explained if it rotated about the Venus changed size! And that
    could only mean it was moving farther away and closer at different times!

    The ancient Greek writer Aristarchus had written that the sun was the center
    of the universe, but who would have believed him? But. William thought. If
    bodies could circle Saturn, could not the Earth circle the sun? And what did
    that mean?

    They lived in a world in which the sun had spots, the moon seas, men
    crossed between the Mediterranean and the seas of the east, and the Milky
    Way was a band of stars beyond count. If Earth was not the center of the
    universe, what did God intend for them?

    It was a warm night, in Frankfurt. Despite that, William shivered. He had
    never felt quite so small.


    July, Nuremberg, 1230

    "This is madness!" yelled Frederick.

    William stood firm against Frederick, for perhaps the first time in their
    long friendship. "It may be madness, but there is method in it! Think,
    Frederick. I have always admired you for that. What is wrong with it being a
    theory?"


    "You may pull that shit with your students, William, but I'm the Emperor.
    You can't fool me," roared Frederick. "What is wrong? I'm at war with
    heretics in England and Italy, and schismatics in Constantinople. I'm the
    defender of the church, and you expect me to let you teach this? By God, we'
    ve only had a university for thirty years and it's being used for heresy."
    Frederick ran his hands through his thinning hair and sighed. "I wish we had
    never built it, but it's too late [81]."

    William shook his head. "It is the truth, Emperor. You know it. Does it not
    explain things in a much simpler fashion? You cannot deny that. To do so
    would be monstrous."

    Frederick laughed. "Who are you to call what I say monstrous. I'm the
    Emperor. What I say is just is just."

    William paced around the room. Frederick was acting very odd. "Let us say,"
    said William , "that this is merely a set of observations. It is not the
    truth, but what we are seeing. If some one can disprove it, good for them;
    but until then, we shall treat it as the most likely rationale."

    Frederick thought about it. He could silence William now. This idea would
    never be spoken of; his role as defender of the orthodoxy would be
    sustained, and this would never, surely, be considered again. People would
    continue to be secure in their knowledge that they were the center of God's
    creation.

    And yet, in some ways, there was never a chance of that. This was the
    Emperor who sought knowledge in China, who was the patron of scholars, the
    man who had had moons named after his father.

    Frederick would be called many things by future generations. He could be a
    despot, or a tyrant. He would be called the man who burned heretics and
    ambassadors for amusement, who held himself to be God's viceregent on Earth,
    full of pompous and terrible pride.

    But he was more than that. He was a man beloved by his subjects in Germany,
    devoted to their wellbeing. He was a patron of arts and the sciences, of
    commerce and cities.

    It was that man, the one who burned rebels while building telescopes, who
    ran his hands through his hair and nodded. "Well," he said, "God knows that
    if I had been around at Creation, I would have set up the universe like
    that. You may teach it, as a theory."


    London, November, 1228

    Robin looked over the map carefully. England, to be blunt, had a problem.

    So long as Normandy was under the rule of England, England had had no need
    for a navy, as the channel was under one monarch. Transportation had been
    provided by the Cinque ports, who had provided transportation. But the
    Cinque ports had not proved capable of providing a fleet to defend the
    island from the Germans. Why could that not happen again? England, bereft of
    its continental holdings, would need a way to defend itself. Castles of
    stone would not be enough against the Emperor.

    "No," said Robin Fitz Odo, "England's best walls will be walls of wood."

    Thus began the formation of the British navy. It was, compared to the
    standards of Pisa or Aragon, quite small. Robin's plan involved, in due
    course, the formation of the Admiralty, commanded by Richard of Kent,, a
    merchantmen from said region. Robin also took care to provide a dockyard in
    Portsmouth, and ordered a strong wall built around them for stores and
    tackle. The navy was small, true, but it was designed to be so.

    It was merely the nucleus for a larger fleet, which would be built of
    English merchantmen. He would even hire several Genoese captains, to help
    train the crews of the English ships. This, combined with efforts to
    encourage shipbuilding, would transform England, within a mere generation,
    into a major naval power.

    The beast that the Germans faced in 1232 was rather different from that of
    John's era.


    Nuremberg, December, 1232

    Frederick, as he looked at Robin as he burned, from the balcony of his
    palace, was in a rather pleasant mood. Of course, his wife, Maria came in,
    looking rather upset. "Husband, are you sure that you will not reconsider
    what is to be done with Eleanor?"

    Frederick groaned. "I can't get away with one day without you complaining
    about it. No, I will not. That whore spread her legs for the wrong man."

    Maria raised her voice. "She was no whore! She did what she thought was
    right."

    "Oh, don't give me that. She's like a democratic drawbridge, going down for
    everyone. Everyone who testified before the Inquisition acknowledged that.
    At least my son by you knows what's right."

    Maria walked away in a huff. She said one last thing to Frederick. "He may
    be your son, but he is of my blood as well."

    Frederick's son, Henry, stood by him. "Are you sure this is necessary
    father?" Henry looked almost disgusted. "He was an ambassador."

    "From who?" asked Frederick. "From rebels and heretics in England, nothing
    more."

    Henry looked unconvinced. "Perhaps they have a point, father. We have been a
    bit harsh."

    Frederick shook his head. What a foolish child. "Oh, nonsense. People said
    that about France, you know. I expect that a quick show of force will settle
    them. They sail in August, you know."

    Robin, the flames rising up around him, screamed something about some woman
    named Marion. Frederick took a sip from his cup of Pisa and smiled. "Oh, but
    I do love being Emperor!"


    The North Sea, August, 1233

    Cecil Forest peered through his telescope across the sea, standing on the
    deck of his ship the Hotspur. Out there, somewhere, lay the German armada,
    ready to invade England. He still remembered when they had marched through
    his hometown of Plymouth, when they had broken into his family's house, and
    stolen his father's gold. He remembered when they had walked through the
    streets as if they owned the entire world, confident that the English were
    inferior to them.

    His grip tightened. It would not happen again.

    "Let the tyrants of the Empire fear!" he called. "They are the enemies of
    God, of our kingdom, of our people. They were the ones who burned Robin
    alive. We do this," he cried, "for Robin!"

    The German fleet was led by Eustace the Monk, a rich pirate from Flanders.
    Confident of victory, he had loaded his ships down so heavily that water
    washed over the gunwales, and had placed a trebuchet on board his flagship,
    as well as a dozen horses. There were twelve other warships, so loaded with
    knights and men at arms that they swerved erratically in the wind. Following
    behind them were seventy smaller craft carrying supplies and men..

    Cecil's plan was really quite simple. They did not sortie out until after
    the French armada had passed Sandwich, where they had moored. Eustace,
    standing on his deck, smiled, as he saw the English sailing towards
    Flanders. As if they could take a Flemish port. His smile turned into a look
    of horror when he realized what was happening.

    The English were not heading towards Flanders. They were swinging about, and
    going after the French transports! Moreover, the English had gained the
    windward position and were chasing after the Germans with a brisk breeze
    filling his sails.

    Eustace swore. "Good god," he said. Satan himself must be blowing wind into
    the sails of the English, for they pounded after his fleet.

    "My lord," said one of the sailors, "perhaps we should try to withdraw? They
    will be on us if we keep heading for England."

    "Withdraw? And run back to the Emperor, telling him how we were beaten by
    English sailors?" said Eustace. "English! It's like losing to toddlers!"

    "But sir, there's no shame in withdrawing to preserve the fleet. The
    greatest part of valor is discretion. Would you rather be known as the man
    who fled from the English, or the man who was slain by them?"

    Eustace punched the Captain. God, but that felt good. He turned to the men.
    "We will keep on sailing. When will we reach England?"

    The captain, staggering from the blow, looked at the coast. "Soon enough, I
    think."

    "That's not soon enough! Row faster!"

    Meanwhile, Cecil nodded to the archers. "Fire!"

    Eustace cursed as the arrows knocked into his fleet. The wind must be
    helping them with their range, for they easily reached the ships. "Turn
    about," he said. "We'll face the English and dispose of them.

    Cecil smiled as the Germans turned about to engage. As they came abreast,
    English sailors opened pots of powdered lime and let the wind carry it into
    the eyes of the Emperor's army, blinding them.

    "Have at them!" yelled Cecil, as he clambered onto Eustace's ship. The
    struggle was short and the slaughter tremendous, for the Germans, harried by
    arrows, their eyes stinging from he lime, could not put up a strong front.

    Eustace, wisely, fled below, and did the only reasonable thing. He hid in
    the ballast sand and bilge water of the hold.

    Unfortunately, his hiding place was safe for only a short while, for
    eventually, he was found by an archer looking for plunder. The archer
    noticed something moving in the sand.

    "Get out of there," he said. He didn't get a response, as Eustace thought he
    was safe. The archer, reasonably, walked over and kicked Eustace. The moan
    convinced him that something was indeed there, and he drew a short sword.

    "Pax, Pax!" cried Eustace. "Take me to your leader. I seek ransom."

    He was brought back over to the English flagship, where Cecil was waiting.
    He looked Eustace over, and nodded. "Are you the commander of what was the
    invasion fleet?"

    "Was?" replied Eustace. He looked around, and noticed that the victory was
    essentially complete. He cursed a few times in German, and then resumed
    speaking in French. "Yes, I suppose I was."

    "Then," said Cecil, "you are Eustace, the pirate who Frederick hired to
    command his fleet."

    "Well, I'm really more of a merchant adventurer," replied Eustace, looking
    at the blades. "I can afford a hefty ransom."

    "Oh, I have no doubt you could," replied Cecil. "I daresay you could pay ten
    thousand marks. However, you see, Britons don't approve of having their
    leaders kidnapped and burned alive by Germans."

    "That wasn't my doing!" replied Eustace, as he realized just how many blades
    were drawn by people standing around him.

    "You gave that man your services freely," said Cecil. "Besides, we could
    hang you as a pirate even if you were not serving the Emperor." He gestured
    to two of the men at arms, who carried him below.

    "You will hang in London. But cheer up," said Cecil, as Eustace was dragged
    into the bowels of the ship. "If the Emperor is right, and this is a
    crusade, then you will go to heaven. If it is not," called Cecil, as Eustace
    vanished, "then you already have much to answer for when you meet God."

    August 24, St. Bartholemew's Day, was the beginning of a proud tradition for
    The British Empire. A tradition based on the walls of wood, which were, as a
    playwright in the 16th century, "all that stood between the Emperor and
    dominion of the world."


    London, December, 1233

    Douglas Hoff stood before the Emperor's council, explaining to them why it
    was important for England to be able to build whatever Frederick built. As
    they finished their discussion, something crossed his mind. Douglas said,
    "My Emperor, I have a question for you and for the Admiral."

    Alexander's looked up from what he was reading. Reports from Germany,
    judging by the way he hid them from Douglas. "We are always happy to hear
    from the scholar who discovered the wheel bow. What is it?"

    "Well, this was actually brought to my attention by a student of mine, at
    Oxford. Baccen, his name is."

    "And?" said Alexander.

    "Well, it's just that, as we know, the world is round. And the Italians are
    traveling east via their canal to reach the Orient. But," said Douglas,
    "Baccen proposed that if the Earth is round, you could travel around it the
    other way to reach the same point."

    Cecil nodded. "Oh, I see where you're going. That's clever, actually. But it
    wouldn't work."

    Douglas gave Cecil a look. "Why not?"

    Cecil gestured, vaguely. "Oh, lots of reasons. There must be thousands of
    miles of oceans. How would you ever cross it? And how would you know where
    you're going. You'd be out of sight from land. And how would you find your
    way back? Who's to say you wouldn't end up stranded on some Godforsaken
    shore?"

    Douglas sighed. "I suppose you're right," he said. "Men shall never cross
    the ocean to reach the Orient."

    "Still," said Cecil, "best to keep an eye on that lad."




    Kakorum, May, 1235

    Odegei, Ruler of all the world, Khan of Khans, looked at the impudent Greek.
    "Who are you," he said, "to defy me?"

    Basily Arygos bowed before the khan, speaking fluent Arabic. "I am a servant
    of Emperor Alexander of Hellas. And I come to you warning you not to invade
    the Empire."

    Odegei laughed. "You will pay tribute then? How much gold will you give?"

    Basil spoke, slowly and carefully, so that Odegei would understand them. "We
    will give you no gold, only iron from our blades. Come to us in peace, and
    we welcome you as comrades. Come to us for war, and I promise you a warm
    welcome."

    Odegei replied, in perfect Greek, "And I assure you a cold greeting." [90]



    [86] Of course everyone can recognize the words of a certain Italian writer,
    I hope.

    [87] Paper entered earlier use in Southern Germany as this was what the
    books from Constantinople were copied on.

    [88] It's as powerful as a trebuchet, but on a flatter trajectory. Credit
    goes to Demetrios for pointing out what an enterprising tinkerer might find
    in records of in Constantinople.

    [89] I'm paraphrasing Bacon himself here, actually.

    [90] The Mongol intelligence system is good. Very, very, good. So good that
    they were negotiating with Venice two decades before taking Kiev.

    But, we should remember that they are facing the people who gave the name tointrigue and backstabbing.

    Prince of Peace 27

    People have asked, worriedly, what has happened to Eleanor and Charles. I
    shall tell them, for there was never a tale of more woe, than this of
    Eleanor and her Romeo.


    Tours, April, 1228

    Charles looked at Eleanor, who was, as always, riding behind him in full
    hunting gear. He stared, marveling at her beauty. "The April's in her eyes,"
    he said. "She rejoices in spring as much as any flower."

    "Sir?" said his follower, Robert de Sobron.

    "Oh, nothing," said Charles. "I was merely admiring my wife."

    Said wife rode up beside her husband. "And, why, pray tell, are we doing
    this?"

    "Because," said Charles. "It's a distraction. While we're hunting, we'll
    also be meeting some one."

    Eleanor raised her eyebrow. "Who, pray tell?"

    Charles smiled. "You shall see," he said, as they rode off into the woods.

    Sure enough, they soon came upon a wagon, much like that used by some
    merchants, with a cross painted on the side of it.

    Charles called out. "I have heard that you are a purveyor of fish sauce. How
    much is it for three barrels?"

    Basil Arygos stepped out of the wagon. "A ducat per barrel, of course."
    Basil eyed the two of them. "So you are the Kings and Queens of France?"

    Eleanor tried calming herself down, and gave up after about five seconds.
    "Will somebody," she said, "tell me why in God's name we are here in the
    woods haggling over the price of fish sauce with a Greek!"

    Basil looked somewhat surprised. "You mean you did not tell her?"

    "No, he didn't," replied Eleanor. "So why don't you?" She placed her hand on
    her knife. "Now."

    Basil smirked. "Milady, you protest too much, methinks." He bowed. "I am
    Basil Arygos, of Constantinople, servant of the Emperor of Hellas,
    Alexandrus. He does not wish for his activities to be known by the Emperor."
    He whistled, and another man began carrying sacks of gold out of the wagon.
    "These are gifts from the Emperor, who hopes that you will enjoy using them
    in the quest to reclaim your throne."

    Eleanor pursed her lips. "I don't know," she whispered to Charles. "Isn't
    there a saying about Greeks bearing gifts?"

    "Nonsense," said her husband. "The Emperor merely seeks to help us in our
    fight so that we keep Frederick busy. He uses us, we use him, and Frederick,
    if he wins, will use everyone."

    Eleanor glanced at Basil again. "I dislike him. He has a lean and hungry
    look, and thinks too much. He's a spy, for God's sake. Such men are
    dangerous."

    "Oh, absolutely," said Charles, nodding as the sacks were laid down. "But to
    whom?"

    Before Basil rode away, he came over to Charles. "I must warn you of one
    thing more." Basil leaned in close, and said, "Beware of March."

    "Why?" said Charles. "What's going to happen?"

    "I cannot say more, for we do not know more. But Frederick is up to
    something." He bowed. "And now, I must be off. I have more garum to sell in
    London."

    Charles shivered. He would have to talk with Eleanor, and make sure certain
    precautions were taken for their son.

    God alone knew what Frederick was capable of.


    Dreux, November, 1229

    Pierre Mauclerc, count of Dreux, read her niece's letter [89]. Charles
    wished to bring him over to their side, did he? He could see why. His
    county was in the center of France, and he could very well turn the tide of
    the war to Charles. But, there was no doubt about it, it was risky.
    Frederick had promised him much, already.

    Pierre smiled. Yes, there was risk in this. But, sometimes, the prize made
    the risk worth taking.


    Dreux, March, 1230

    Charles shivered inside the great church. "God, but it's cold."

    Pierre stepped in through the door. "indeed. The Ides always are, this far
    north. It's not like sunny Gascony."

    Charles stepped forward and clasped his hand. "You are willing to discuss an
    alliance?"

    Pierre nodded. "This has gone on too long. Fields lie fallow, cities are
    burned, land is ruined."

    Charles heard the pounding of boots behind him. "Yes," said Pierre, "this
    has gone on far enough indeed."

    Men wearing the Imperial livery stormed into the church, brandishing swords.

    "What!" said Charles. "What is this?"

    "This," said Pierre, "Is justice. You are a rebel against the Emperor. As
    such, you are to be put on trial in Nuremberg."

    "But. why?" asked Charles. "What did he promise you?"

    "Normandy, Brittany, perhaps. I shall be," said Pierre, his eyes almost
    glowing, "a duke!"

    Charles snarled. "How now? I will be dead, you rat? Dead for your dukedom?
    Dead!"

    Pierre, the future Duke of Brittany, nodded. "Yes, you will be." He turned
    to the Imperial guards. "You may take him away, now."

    Charles drew a knife, and slashed at Pierre. The blade cut against the chain
    he was wearing under his clothes, and the Imperial troops cut Charles down.

    "No you fools!" said Pierre. "He was to be taken alive! He's worth more that
    way!"

    One of the guards shrugged. "Dead is dead," he said, in slow, careful
    French. "Better than going to Nuremberg, ja?"


    Morhiban, August, 1230

    Eleanor kissed her little Phillip on the head. She tried not to cry. She
    must be strong, she knew. "Remember, be a good boy, mind your tutors, and
    make sure you study what the English are doing to run their kingdom. And
    what are you going to be when you grow up?"

    Phillip waved his small sword. "The King of France!"

    Eleanor held her child, one last time. "That's a good boy."

    Philip grew uncertain. "I will see you again, won't I, mother?"

    Eleanor smiled. "Of course you will. I will meet you in Paris." She looked
    at her son, and walked away. The boat vanished behind her, carrying Phillip
    to a land where he would not die riding a horse, as so many other
    inconvenient princes had done.


    Morhiban, May, 1231

    Theodore of Waldburg, Imperial master of the Household, smiled as he saw the
    prisoner approaching through the rain.

    "Well now," said Theodore . "Are you prepared to come beg for your uncle's
    mercy?"

    Eleanor, wearing black of mourning, held her head up high. "I have nothing
    to be sorry for."

    "The pope feels differently," said Theodore.

    "The pope knows my opinion of him, I'm sure."

    "Is that so?" said Theodore. He pushed Eleanor down into the mud, and placed
    his boot on top of her. She lay there, covered in mud and rain, as the wind
    howled around them.

    "Let the world know the fate that awaits all rebels against God! This witch
    had seduced the king of France, and let her now pay the price."

    Eleanor spat at Theodore. "If I was a witch, I can assure you, I'd have
    turned the Emperor into a pile of horse droppings." She looked at Eberhard.
    "I can tell I need no such spell for you."

    Theodore laughed. "We shall see. No wonder the nobles didn't support you,
    with an attitude like that.'

    "They did not support us," said Eleanor, "because they were fools. The
    Emperor seduced them like Satan with sweet sounding lies. Coinage! Tax
    breaks! As if they will keep those."

    Theodore kicked her. "Get up, you."

    "Oh," said Eleanor, holding her side. "Is it to be death, then?"

    "No," said Theodore. "We'll get you to a nunnery. It wouldn't do to have one
    of the Emperor's kin die."

    As the men rode, Theodore heard strange, chilly music, coming from taverns
    and houses.

    Had Theodore or his men known Breton, he would have understood the
    melancholy words that were floating from the towns.

    "On a rock by the shores of the sea,
    Little Eleanor wept bitterly..

    The darkest hour, the king returns,
    He will have his day!"

    Eleanor, however, did understand it. "You know," she said. "There's one
    thing Frederick doesn't understand."

    "My family has a way of coming back."


    Paris, August, 1232

    Pierre knelt before the Emperor in the cathedral of Notre Dame. Assembled
    here from across France were the great nobles of Burgundy, Flanders,
    Champagne, and Guyenne.

    "By the grace of God, I, Frederick Augustus, do appoint you," Frederick said
    in Latin, "Duke of Brittany and Normandy."

    "Let it be so!" cried the nobles. "We will it!" [90].

    Frederick looked over the crowd of nobles, and at Thibaud, the imperial
    provost of Paris. Let them think he had made them princes in the Kingdom of
    France. To be sure, he had. The King would no longer have any real power.

    But what mattered princes against an Emperor?

    "For too long," said Frederick, "France and Germany have fought. Jealous of
    one another, with envy of the other's happiness, we quarreled over who was
    the heir of Rome."

    "But," said Frederick in French, "was not Charlemagne French and German?
    Look at what he, the product of the two peoples, accomplished. At this dear
    conjunction, let us plant neighborhood and Christian-like accord, so that
    war never advance between Germany and France."

    "Amen!" cried the nobles.

    "Thibaud has been a dear friend of Christendom. He opposed the tyrannical
    ways of Phillip and Charles, and attempted to save France. He is the heir of
    King Louis, before the throne was taken by the vile brood of Philip
    Augustus."

    "Do you," said Frederick, "wish him to be your king?"


    London, May, 1233

    Phillip's sword clanged against that of the warrior. He dodged a blow, and
    slashed again, hitting the man on his chest.

    The warrior took off his helmet. "Well done, King Phillip."

    Phillip bowed. "Thank you, Alexander. You have done me a favor I can never
    repay, by providing me with sanctuary until I am old enough."

    Alexander looked a bit uncomfortable. To be honest, he sometimes regretted
    it, because it could prove to complicate matters. A weak France would be
    beneficial But then again.

    "It was nothing. I just hope you can avenge your father. He was a good man,"
    said Alexander.

    "Do not worry," said Phillip. "If I feed nothing else, I will feed my
    revenge. The Empire must be destroyed."



    [89] Pierre is married to Alix, the half sister of the dead Plantagenet
    Arthur. Therefore, he's actually Eleanor's uncle.

    [90] This is new, and represents the. evolution of Frederick's policies. He'
    s much more willing to use the carrot than the stick to win over those who
    are disaffected. Let the nobles of France receive rights over their cities.
    Let them receive the right to print coinage, even for the counts.

    If France is divided and under his way, why, well, then his presence is
    overwhelming. Anything that Frederick cares strongly about will be so, so
    let the lords of France think they are great lords.

    His web, as Eleanor would have said, will entangle them soon enough.

    Initially I thought about having Frederick go for an elective French
    monarchy, as the Capetians once claimed it was, but why bother? This suits
    his purposes just as well, doesn't it?
     
  17. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 28, 29,30

    Prince of Peace 28

    Dusseldorf, July, 1232

    Mark Schmidt of Hamburg looked around him at the bustle, and nodded. He had
    made a wise decision, years ago, not to return to his home.

    Mark had returned from campaigns with loot and plunder, having been a
    captain of mercenaries for the Emperor. Some men attempted to buy land, but
    not Mark. No, let them squat on their holdings, worried about the next
    harvest. Mark had turned to producing one item that the Empire needed.
    Paper.

    With plunder from capturing John's treasury, he had set up a paper mill in
    Dusseldorf. Demand for paper had grown, and he had prospered.

    Now the Emperor had sold, for a nominal fee, the right for his subjects to
    build a press to print books. Mark had bought the rights, and then, in
    turn, bought the rights from William of Holland to print his notes on
    science. His Opus was a bestseller, and he was sending merchants to the
    fair of Champagne to sell it there.

    He sat in his chair, smiling. Perhaps, just perhaps, he could see about
    printing the works by the Emperor's expedition to China.

    Frederick, after all, always liked to encourage his former ministeriales.



    Ministeriales are a uniquely German tradition. Ministeriales are mostly of
    servile origin, and carried out the routine and not so routine tasks of
    government. They administered castles, served as estate managers, acted as
    judged, or tutored noble children.

    Other ministeriales were captains of military forces, knights in all but
    name, and, indeed, commanded actual knights. All the powers of Germany were
    dependent upon them.

    There had been problems, of course. Outside of the Empire, they had
    traditionally been looked down upon as peasants or other people of a common
    sort. However, since the reign of Henry VI, this has changed [91]

    Ministeriales served in his forces from Jerusalem to London. And, indeed,
    they often performed better than the nobles, who were less willing to adapt
    to the conditions in which they were fighting. This was noticed, and has
    resulted in kings who are increasingly willing to encourage such men to
    serve in their ranks. They are rewarded with lands and titles, and more
    than one noble in England, briefly, had a last name such as Babenberg.

    The other effect of the wars of conquest abroad has been the strengthening
    of the Emperor in Germany. Imperial nobles were promised lands and titles
    elsewhere, such as in the Levant. And when, like Hermann of Thuringia, they
    died, their estates were confiscated by the Emperor. By 1230, the Imperial
    demesne includes the remnants of the old Welf lands, Thuringia, and the
    original Hohenstaufen estates. Conquest also helped the Kaiser acquire
    wealth and power independent of the nobles. Sicily, it was said, was the
    treasury of the Empire [92]. The net result is that by 1250, The Kingdom of
    Germany is increasingly looking like a proper centralized kingdom.




    Nuremberg, July, 1227

    Frederick issued his decree. "It is clear to me," he said, "that the title
    to the mill of Alfred of Erfurt belongs to his daughter, Katherine and not
    to his brother Joseph."

    Joseph spoke up. "How can you possibly say that?"

    Frederick stared down Joseph. "Because I am your Emperor. I can see that you
    lied to her, promising her a fair share of the mill. You tricked her into
    signing a document in Latin, which she did not knew, which said that you
    would gain control of it."

    "And," said Frederick, cutting Joseph off, "if you press this matter further
    I will give your property to her. I do not deal with liars who steal from
    maidens."

    The next women came before the Emperor and knelt. She came closer, and
    attempted to stab the Emperor, who caught her weak arm in his hand.

    His guards came running up, looking rather embarrassed and afraid. "Forgive
    us, Lord Emperor," said one. "We did not think that she would be an
    assassin. We will have her executed at once."

    Frederick eyed the woman. Probably from a poor peasant family, she looked as
    if she was ill. "No, do not harm her," he said. "The poor dear is merely
    mad. See that she is sent to a nunnery, so that she can be assured a better
    place to recover than the roads of the Empire."



    Emperor Frederick also devotes his time toward justitia, which, as Emperor,
    is his natural duty. The Landfriede of 1220 (Or in Latin, Cosntitutio Pacis)
    is an attempt to bring order and peace to the Empire. The Emperor removed
    unjust tolls throughout Germany, ending the reign of the bandits along the
    Rhine, and eliminated all tolls along the river, save for those in Flanders.
    Towns had their rights confirmed, and the Emperor set up a grand justiciar
    to oversee crimes within the Empire as the final court of appeal.

    The Emperor also appoints traveling justiciars to hear the cases, so that
    all could receive justice. Invariably, they trusted the poor more than the
    rich, women and widows more than husbands, children and orphans more than
    their guardians. Little wonder, then, that Frederick was sometimes referred
    to as Vater by his subjects [93]. The Emperor himself would sometimes hear
    petitions for redress, and would devote time each Sunday to hear appeals
    from the lower folk of the Empire.

    The infusion of gold from the rest of Europe, the removal of the
    interregnum, and strong Imperial authority have contributed to something
    else which also explains the success of the Emperor: the explosion of the
    German cities. As the Emperor lowered and removed tolls and abolished
    banditry, he also encouraged efforts to promote trade north of the Alps,
    helping to found glass industries in Nuremberg, for instance.

    By itself, that would merely help the cities grow, but not expand. No, the
    rise of the cities of the Kingdom of Germany is due in a large part to the
    ministeriales. Returning home from the campaigns with wealth and plunder,
    many of them find themselves with wealth but no land. Some use their money
    and conquer estates along the Baltic; some acquire land in Germany, and
    eventually become knights. But many more ministeriales do something else.
    They settle in the cities.

    After all, in a city, money is what matters, and none challenge their
    origins. Ministeriales use their money to set up as papermakers, investors
    in mines, and other mercantile activities. With their "new money", they
    rapidly become important in the running of the town, and in turn give the
    Emperor a strong group who supports him. The lowering of tolls on the Rhine
    leads towards an explosion of trade, which knits the town together, as the
    Rhine becomes the highway of Germany, and the Rhineland becomes one of the
    most prosperous parts of Europe.

    One of the other developments in Germany in this era is the water powered
    blast furnace. It is not known how it originated. Some trace its origins to
    China, others to Sweden, where they had been in operation for decades. One
    of the more interesting arguments is that it simply arose to meet the demand
    for iron in Germany.

    The final development that was important for the Empire was the growth of
    the Reichstag. When Henry began calling for Reichstags, and allowed towns to
    sit in them, he set a standard. Whenever there was an important issue (and
    the emperor was fairly certain that it would have support) he would call
    the Reichstag. Divided into the first estate of churchmen, the second of
    nobles, and the third of the towns, it helped the Emperor run Germany.

    However, as the towns paid the most taxes [94], which leads to some
    grumbling.


    Rouen, August, 1233

    Pierre stood before the gates of the city. "Open, I say! I shall be merciful
    to you if you pay your taxes."

    "Never!" came the cry from the city. "We will fight for the liberty of our
    city!"

    Pierre swore. This was exactly what he didn't want. He might be able to take
    the city, but unless he razed it, he would still have problems ruling it.

    "Damn all communards, anyway," he muttered. "The towns only claim these
    rights because they hate me."

    "Remember this, Rouen!" he yelled, as his trebuchets began firing. "Asses
    were made to bear their lords, and so are you!" The rocks crashed into the
    walls of Rouen.

    "You will pay your taxes to me!"


    Alas, France is a much darker place. It has been warred over incessantly
    since 1197, with only minor breaks. Plantagenets, Capetians, and Staufens
    all fought one another for the Empire. The lose, as always, is the peasant.
    France's commercial growth is curtailed as highwaymen and mercenaries
    plunder at will and vineyards are covered with the bodies of the dead. The
    political authority of the Capetians slipped away, until finally, at
    Frederick's instigation, it vanished to nothingness. The King of France,
    Thibaud, is considered to be a foolish man trying to make the best of a bad
    situation, or a schemer who had stabbed the patria in the back.

    Pierre in particular bleeds his duchies white for his own gain, but all
    across the countryside opposition to the lords takes shape, in the form of
    peasant risings in the 1230's. A popular song from this era, "The King
    Across the Water", promises that "when the king returns, we will string them
    up, we will string them up, yes we will."



    Barcelona, April, 1232

    Pere looked at the clothing that the Genoese had brought to sell. It was.
    odd. It looked like some kind of fustian. He fingered it, and gave it a
    tug. It seemed rather durable. Probably useful for laborers. "What do you
    call it again?" he asked. Pere looked at the other ships. It was important
    not to appear that interested in what you were being sold.

    "We call it Gian, after our native city," said the Genose merchant.

    "Jean?" Pere rubbed his chin thoughtfully. It looked like a fustian of
    cotton, linen, and wool. Probably quite comfortable, actually. And if you
    died them with that blue ink from Pisa..

    "I think I could arrange to buy a few bolts of it. Out of pity for you, you
    understand."




    And now we turn to Italy. Italy has prospered, actually. While it is true
    the Emperor collected a great deal in taxes, the Imperial peace prevented
    the outbreak of petty wars. There are winners and losers, as always. Pisa is
    a winner; Venice, having not sacked Constantinople to carve out its own
    empire, is a loser.

    And, of course, there is Egypt. If Valencia is the garden of Spain, then
    Egypt is the granary of the Mediterranean. Egypt produces sugar and cotton
    for the growing markets of Italy, who turn the cotton into cloth. Sugar is
    increasingly used by the rich as a confectionary and not as a medicine. It
    also tastes quite well in Pisa.

    This is not necessarily good, of course, for sugar and cotton production are
    not conducive to good working conditions, even by medieval standards. But,
    as all the serfs are Muslims anyway, few are concerned.

    The other crop that has just been introduced, as of 1230, is indigo. Brought
    back by Pisans from India, it is increasingly being grown all across the
    delta. Consumers love the color, and it is a sign of pride for Pisans to
    wear clothing made from it. Let the Emperor boast of the Imperial purple.
    Pisans wear the color of the sea, which not even the Emperor can claim of
    ruling.


    The North Sea, May, 1235

    Roger Baccen looked through his telescope, over the waters, oblivious to the
    chill. He saw nothing, which was a pity. Capturing ships from the cities of
    the Empire were full of plunder. He had taken a ship carrying Eastern goods
    to Norway the year before, and he had done quite well off of it.

    Well, he thought, one more look couldn't hurt, before they headed back to
    port. He turned the telescope, and almost dropped it in amazement. "Oh, what
    men dare do," he said. "What men do daily, not knowing what they do."

    He had spotted an Imperial warship. But it was. different. It had three
    masts, not just one. It was a large, heavy ship with a big spread of canvas,
    with massive skeletal ribs framing his hull, and it had two decks. A castle
    rose aloft off of the mast, with other castles off of the front of the boat.
    [95]

    Roger stared at it for a moment, and then realized something. That ship
    could give the seas to the Germans! England would be prostrate before them,
    unless they captured it. And the ship was heading towards him.

    He turned to the crew on deck. "Gentlemen of England, you have been
    observing this as I have. The German ship is faster than ours. It can carry
    our men. It can," he said, observing the ship turning about, "apparently
    sail across the wind."

    "We must take that ship. England expects every man to do his duty." The
    archers knocked their arrows, and waited for the German ship to close.

    They waited until the German ship, actually, was capable of firing arrows at
    them. Then the English responded. Arrows cut across the deck, killing the
    German captain. There were more Germans, but more English archers on board
    Roger's ship.

    Unfortunately, this only caused the Germans to sail away as fast as they
    could. "By Christ," said Roger. "They cannot get away!" He knelt down on the
    deck and prayed.

    "Robert, I know that you are watching us. We fight to avenge your death and
    keep England safe. The German ship is superior to ours in every way. There
    will be more of them. We must capture it if we are to survive."

    The German ship's sail, meanwhile, became slack. The wind had shifted,
    blowing Roger's warship towards it, and Robin Fitz Odo had acquired his
    first miracle.

    [91] Up to this point, the ministeriales are as OTL. They're really quite
    interesting.

    [92] Of course, this upsets the people of Sicily, for some strange reason.

    [93] Needless to say, stating your opinion of Frederick at academic debates
    in later times is the equivalent of stating you love Bonaparte.

    [94] Of course, the church pays a tithe.

    [95] This is of course inspired by the ideas from China.

    Pisa, incidentally, will probably meet Chinese merchantmen in Indonesia.
    That could be quite interesting. Both Europe and China are rather more open
    to new ideas than they would be later on at this point.

    Prince of Peace 29
    London, February, 1215

    Maria clenched her teeth. Even for a future empress, birth was not an easy
    task. She pushed again, and her child came out. The newborn was immediately
    taken by the midwife and swaddled in sheets of silk. The midwife looked at
    the child and nodded. "My Emperor," called the midwife, "your son is born."

    Frederick burst into the room. "Give him to me," he ordered. He held it in
    his arms, oblivious to his wife, who was still finishing her delivery.

    "Dear Henry," he said, cradling his child, "you will be the greatest of us
    all."

    Nuremberg, July, 1225

    Henry and his tutor, William, stood on top of a hill near Nuremberg, were
    they were staying at one of the Imperial castles so that Henry could
    concentrate on his studies, while Frederick traveled across the Empire.

    Henry looked through his telescope at the seas of the moon. "This is
    wondrous strange," he said. "And to think that only a few generations ago no
    one would have imagined this."

    William nodded. Henry was a good pupil, actually. He had been tutoring him
    for years now, and he could tell that Henry was definitely his father's son.

    "Do you think that animals live on the moon?" said Henry. "I mean, if there
    are seas, then surely there are fish and fowl there as on Earth.

    William thought about that for a second. That was a new thought. "But how
    did they get there, then? Was that what the tower of Babel was for?" he
    said, jokingly.

    Henry, on the other hand, took it seriously. "I doubt it, for how could
    pagans have come up with such a clever idea? And such a tower would be
    enormous. No, I find that hard to believe."

    "I wonder, though," said Henry. "With telescopes, we can see light that is
    far away." Henry pointed at a fire from shepherds. "And mirrors bounce back
    light that is emitted from the eyes?"

    William put his telescope down. A clever idea, but what else could one
    expect from Frederick's son? "Perhaps, but it would be expensive. Why would
    you use it?"

    "To warn against raids, or invasions?" said Henry. "Although I guess you're
    right. Who could invade Germany?"

    Henry looked through his telescope again, and finally said something that
    had been bothering him for a while. "William, what do you think of the wars
    in Italy and England?"

    "I think that that is best left for the Emperor to decide. And he has
    precedent. Augustine himself said that the church should use force to compel
    the wayward to return to the fold," said William. William hesitated.
    "Myself, I am not so sure. In necesariis unitas in non-necessariis libertas,
    in utrisque charitas. "

    Henry translated it, briefly taking a moment to think about it. "In certain
    things, unity, in uncertain things, liberty, and in both, charity?" He
    smiled. "I like that motto."

    William smiled, a bit relieved. He had been afraid that Henry would have
    been horrified by such a view. "Remember that Augustine himself flirted with
    the Mani heresy. Had we listened to him, he would have burned."

    "But if we are wrong," said Henry, "will we not call down the wrath of God?"

    William thought about this. "Is that necessarily the case? The Greeks are
    still almost schismatic, the Cathars are clearly heretics, and the English
    are following some absurd heresy that makes them the equal of the Empire.
    Yet God has not called his wrath down upon them. They prosper"

    William sighed. "Henry, you are a bright child. I ask you this. If we are
    the righteous ones, why do the heretics prosper?"



    Constance, May, 1229

    Adolf, returning from Italy, was a changed man. He was still filled with the
    fire that had brought him to Italy, but oh, it was different. He had studied
    under Francis, and he had come to realize that he was quite right. There was
    no justification for much of the Catholic doctrine. So he stood on a wagon
    in Constance, bringing the word to the people.

    "Were there a hundred popes and a hundred Emperors," he said to the crowd,
    "their words would not matter unless they were founded upon scripture."

    "The priests would have you buy indulgences, as if they could gain one
    entrance into heaven. Yet why would God, who is already the lord of all
    creation, care for money on Earth? Do they think that God cares for your
    earthly wealth?"

    The mob began grumbling. "That sounds like the talk of the Franciscans!"
    shouted one person. "Are you going to try to destroy the Empire as well?"

    Adolf shook his head vigorously. "Of course not. The Emperor is necessary
    for ordering the Empire. But," he said, "the Emperor is not the absolute
    ruler of the Earth. Perhaps the Muslims, who do not know the glory of
    Christ, need a despot to rule them, but Christians can live by laws. In the
    eyes of God, an Emperor equals a peasant, for both are the children of Adam.
    The Emperor is above us to ensure that we do not sway from the path of God,
    but he, as a human, could be in error. Why should an Emperor not be bound by
    the laws of God, then?"

    The Inquisitor Francois listened to Adolf speaking. He had been tracking
    Adolf for months now, but he had always been one step behind him. He turned
    to the guards, and ordered them to attack Adolf. The Mother church needed
    warriors, after all. They rushed up and drew their swords on Adolf, who
    stood there, continuing to speak.

    "Now there are those who would silence me. They would claim that any dissent
    is heresy, that only the Bishops and Pope know the truth. But I have been to
    Italy, and I have seen these "heretics" who are supposedly in league with
    Satan living righteous lives. Something is wrong, people of Constance, when
    the heretics are the ones who are leading upright lives."

    Francois lifted up his sword. "Well, then," said Francois, "you would not
    mind letting me explain where the flaws in your theory are." [96]

    "First, you argue that indulgences are merely a sham. This is not true.
    Indulgences are not about giving money to god. Indulgences are a sign of
    penance, which, by giving money to the Church, it is used to help the poor.
    The money is not spent to buy your way into heaven; it is spent by the
    church to make amends for your transgressions on Earth."

    "Next, your argument about the Emperor is also false. For as there is one
    Lord in Heaven, should there not be one on Earth?"

    Adolf called to the crowd. "Oh, do you hear this? Because there is only one
    God, supreme over all creation, we on Earth should have one human as our
    ruler. Does this mean that the Church holds that, like God, the Emperor is
    divine and infallible?"

    Francois was getting rather nervous now. He couldn't very well stand up here
    and decree that the Emperor was wrong, yet he couldn't' stand up there and
    say he was infallible. The obvious answer was to arrest him. "We shall hear
    no more of your heresy!"

    A voice arose from the crowd. "Let the man speak!"

    Francois stared at the crowd. "Do you hear that voice? Listen to the words
    of another heretic."

    "It is not heresy to hear a man who sees wrongs and wishes to correct him!"

    Francois gestured to the guards. "Arrest that man too."

    One of the guards looked at him. "But sir.."

    "Do it!" ordered Francois.

    Henry VII, King of the Romans, rode his horse through the crowd up to the
    stage. "I highly doubt you have the authority to arrest me." [96]

    Francois stared at Henry, and audibly gulped. "My King, I did not know."

    "Well, now you do," said Henry, somewhat amused. "And release this man."
    Henry's voice rose to carry over the crowd. 'I am most disappointed in the
    servant of Christ, who died for our sins. Jesus opens his arms to redemption
    and salvation for all who accept him, yet you instantly seek to arrest him.
    Do you not know that mercy is twiced blessed? It blessed him that gives and
    he that takes."

    Francois appeared furious. "I know the Bible, my King. I have studied it
    from when I joined the church, and---"

    Henry cut him off. "I do not care how well you know the Bible. The Devil can
    cite scriptures for his purpose, and so can you."

    "Your father and the Pope will hear of this. You are," said Francois,
    "making me wonder how much you love them."

    Henry hit Francois with the blunt edge of his sword. "Know this. It is not
    that I love them less, but that I love the truth more. And if you challenge
    my faith again, you will die before nightfall!!. Henry knocked Francois into
    a pile of mud. "Begone from here!"

    The People of Constance, like most decent folk in the Empire, disliked the
    inquisitors. They loved their Emperors, and some may have acknowledged that
    the inquisition was necessary, but the inquisitors were despised. Seeking
    heresy everywhere, always choosing smaller targets instead of some great
    noble..

    It was no wonder, then, that the people of Constance cried out "Long Live
    the King!" [98].

    Rome, December, 1229

    Honorius III, Pope of the Catholic Church, lay dying. He had been here in a
    nest of vipers for too long, he thought. He missed Worms, with its simple
    matters. Nothing of great import had ever happened there.

    But Rome was different. If it wasn't the Emperor it was the citizens of
    Rome, or the towns of North Italy, or problems abroad. The Roman families,
    perhaps, might have supported him at one point. But no, Frederick's decision
    that his successor would be German meant that they all suddenly felt that
    the Franciscan beliefs were justified.

    And, of course, the damned Franciscans were marching on Rome. They had heard
    he was ill, and were going to try to take advantage of it. Honorius lay on
    his bed, exhausted. Maybe he would talk with this Francis. He had a point,
    certainly. There had been talk of a council since Innocent's day. Maybe they
    were due.

    Honorius drifted off to sleep, confident that he would take care of it the
    next day. Unfortunately for posterity, he did not live out the night.

    Nuremberg, June, 1230

    Frederick read the reports from Rome and, in the privacy of his chambers,
    smiled. It was all going quite splendidly. The Conclave could not agree on a
    successor, and the Fransicans were marching on the city. He would gladly
    have sent Sicilians to defend the city, but, alas, they were needed lest the
    King of Tunisia try to take Sicily [99].

    "Perhaps," he said, "the Conclave should be moved to safety. All Imperial
    delegates, at least, will meet in the safety of the Empire. Mainz, perhaps."
    He looked over at his wife. "What do you think, Maria?"

    Maria refrained from glaring at him. It wouldn't do to let him realize how
    much she loathed him. "I think it would be best to move it to somewhere safe
    and neutral. In southern France, perhaps. Avignon is church property, isn't
    it?"

    "Yes," said Frederick, "but it's all mine anyway."

    "By what authority?" asked Maria.

    "I have troops across Europe. That makes it mine."

    "Yes, we're all aware of that," she said. "Armies, garrisons, castles, what
    a wonderful Pax you've brought to us."

    "You go too far, Empress," said Frederick. "I think you had best attend to
    your knitting."

    Maria walked out once again. "Women," muttered Frederick. "I could have
    conquered all of Europe, but I had women in my life."

    "My Lord Emperor," said one of his attendants, "you did conquer all of
    Europe."

    Frederick barked a laugh. "A point, a distinct point." He poured himself a
    glass of that wine from Champagne.


    Rome, August, 1230

    Francis of Assisi walked into the chambers of the Vatican. Rome. At long
    last, the heart of the Empire that had spanned Europe, the seat of the
    church, was in the hands of the League of Italy. Frederick had withdrawn his
    troops, and the College of Cardinals had fled across the Alps. [100]

    Taking the city should not have mattered, what with Frederick's army in
    Trent and no hope of recovering the city this year. But oh, it did.

    Rome had once been the capital of an Empire that had spanned the continent.
    Yet there could be no Empires, now.

    Ludovico stood beside him. "It is as you say, Father. Start by doing what's
    necessary, then what's possible, and you will find yourself doing the
    impossible."

    Francis smiled. "Well, I suppose that could be applied here. But I do not
    know what to do with Rome. We do not need a Pope, after all. But Rome's
    prosperity was built around the church. What else can we place in Rome?"

    Ludovico put his arm around Francis. "You are undoubtedly blessed with the
    wisdom of God, but I do not think you understand how to run a city. What are
    you asking," said Ludovico, "is for something ostentatious, expensive, and
    useless to occupy Rome."

    Francis would die in 1231, but he would live long enough to see the first
    meeting of the Senate of Italy, with Ludovico of Milan as the First Consul.
    [100].


    The Franciscan Heresy

    The Band of Brothers that Ludovico spoke of has prospered in the time since
    the beginning of the revolt against the Emperor. Venice became home to Italy
    's first printing presses in 1232 when it captured a shipment of them bound
    for Palermo from Marseilles, and soon set about printing the Bible. However,
    Franciscans do not believe that Christians need a pope to mediate and
    interpret the bible for them; they are capable of doing it themselves. The
    bibles, then, are printed in Venice's peculiar dialect of Italian.

    One of the key differences between the Franciscans and the nihilistic
    Cathars is that the Franciscans are inherently more hopeful and optimistic.
    Man has fallen, yes, but God's salvation is assured for all who earnestly
    seek it. For as Francis said when he addressed the citizens of Bologna, "I
    have been all things that are unholy. If God can redeem me, then he can
    redeem anyone." It is by doing good works that one enters heaven, not by
    buying indulgences.

    Purgatory, not mentioned in the scriptures, is, of course, a foolish idea to
    all Franciscans. Franciscans also reject the notion of the Pope, believing
    that matters of faith should be decided by a council of peers. Franciscans
    are firm believers in the notion of the Age of Spirit, in which "there will
    be no Emperors, or tyrants, and the only government will be of Christian
    men." They view Frederick II as one of the precursors to the Antichrist, and
    predict that he will only be defeated by the Respublica Christiana


    The Renascere in Italy
    "But those who by force or fraud had seized sovereign power soon found that
    their lives were exposed to the vengeance of their rivals, and were
    compelled for their own safety to employ foreigners as a bodyguard, and to
    build great fortresses as a refuge. Their upkeep then compelled them to levy
    heavy taxes and imposts. Discovering nevertheless that their friends were
    weak and their enemies powerful, they were prompted to put to death or to
    banish the latter to enrich the former. The most abandoned ravished not only
    goods, but also women and children. The consequence was that tyrants became
    loathed and detested."[102]

    If there are those who rush to defend the Empire, then there are those who
    oppose it. Alighiero di Bellincioni, of Florence, is one such man. Drawing
    upon the history of the Roman Empire, he argues that bestowing absolute
    authority on one man can lead to tyranny, for even if the first tyrant means
    well, if you give a tyrant absolute power, what is to stop his successors if
    they do not?

    Alighiero points out that most of Rome's conquests took place under the
    Republic; "for the Senate of Rome conquered from Jerusalem to Brittany, and
    the Emperors could not defeat unclean barbarians from Germany. If the
    Emperors had faced the Muslims, we would all today be damned and pray
    towards Mecca."

    No, argues Alighiero, the ideal government is one in which those with a
    vested stake in affairs, the merchants and nobles, reign over the land. For
    such men have a vested interest in peace, and if no one man can usurp
    power, such a system would ensure that "peace puts forth her olive
    everywhere".

    Alighiero is not a democrat in the sense that we would use it, however. "For
    the true nature of a people is to seek unbridled liberty without restraint.
    They would make all equal in goods, honours, punishments, and rewards,
    without any respect whatsoever for noble birth, education, or virtue. As
    Plutarch said in his Symposia, they want everything decided by lot or by
    divination, without respect of persons. If the nobles or the wealthy show
    any signs of wishing to make their influence felt, they hasten to massacre
    or banish them, and divide their confiscated property among the poor."

    Alighiero, however, is a believer in Respublica Christiana as the
    replacement for the Empire. The hereditary monarchies: Aragon, Castille,
    England, France, the Kingdom of Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden would
    be joined by the Republics of Flanders, the Rhineland, and Italy. Byzantium
    would be kept out, but the Crusader states would join as well[103]. United
    by their love of Christ, the states of Europe would defeat the infidel,
    reclaim the Mediterranean, and usher in the age of spirit [104]. A court
    would arbitrate all differences, and

    It is a noble dream, this Respublica Christiana, and like most of them is
    ignored by many in positions of power, although it sells thousands of
    copies. However, Alighiero's idea does end up taking shape, partly as a
    league against the power of the Emperor.
    Alighiero also includes a warning to the people of Germany in his work,
    Respublica. "This tyrant, whole sole name blisters our tongues, was once
    thought honest; you have loved him well; He hath not touched you yet. But
    beware, for his demands spring not from honest love, but from deceit, bred
    by necessity. "


    Nuremberg, December, 1234

    Henry took a deep breath, and stepped into the chamber. He wished,
    momentarily, that he had stayed back in Brunswick, where he wouldn't have to
    deal with this, but the Emperor's son had to be with him for Christmas. He
    stepped into the Imperial chambers.

    Maria embraced her son. "Henry, it is so good to see you."

    Henry smiled and sat down, pouring two cups of wine. "I hope you are well
    this Christmas. How have you been?"

    "Oh, fine," she said. "As well as I can be, given the circumstances." She
    frowned.

    Henry drained his wine cup without bothering to taste it. This was always a
    difficult subject. "How often do you see the Emperor?"

    "Oh, rare enough. He's always off with some whore or another in his bed."

    Henry felt his face flush. "Should I talk with him about that?"

    Maria laughed. "Frederick's bed is Frederick's province, and he may people
    it with sheep if he wishes. Which, upon occasion, he has done."

    Henry wondered if his mother had ever loved the Emperor. Maria, as if to
    answer his question, talked about her feelings for him. . "There was a time,
    you know, when I loved him. He had a mind like Aristotle and a form like
    mortal sin. "His legs bestrode the world, and his voice was like sweet
    music. But when he meant to shake the world, he was as rattling thunder. I
    did love him, then."

    "But that was before he became a fat balding tyrant."

    Henry looked at his mother. She didn't seem drunk. "Indeed," he said. "How
    is my half sister Eleanor?"

    "Oh, well enough, well enough," Maria said. "Your sister Elizabeth visits
    her, often." Maria hesitated before continuing, and said, "Some one tried to
    assassinate her son in England, you know."

    Henry almost gulped down his wine. "Surely you don't think the Emperor did
    that?"

    Maria held her wine and looked into the fire. "No, I don't think. I know."

    Henry took another gulp of wine, and then put his cup down. "Maybe that
    Florentine, Alighiero or whatever his name was, was right," he muttered.

    Frederick came in soon enough, in a jovial mood. "Pope Innocent IV has
    finally agreed that the war against the heretics is a crusade." He poured
    himself some wine. "Not that he had a choice, being in Mainz, eh?"

    Henry decided to interject before Maria started attacking him again. "Have
    you given any thought towards calling a council?"

    Frederick paused to order a servant to bring him some spiced wine before he
    responded. "Oh, you've been talking to that priest Adolf again, haven't you?
    No, I'm not pushing for a council, and neither should you." Frederick paused
    to collect his thoughts.

    "Councils are dangerous because they get out of hand. It's far too hard to
    control them," said Frederick. "I mean, imagine if we called one now.
    Instead of discussing whether or not priests can have concubines, they'd get
    muddled up in minor matters like the relationship between the Emperor and
    the Pope, or whether or not the Emperor can call for Crusades."

    "Or whether or not the Emperor can assassinate his own family?" demanded
    Maria.

    Frederick looked down, as if ashamed. "I do what is necessary. I am sure the
    child has done no harm, but he will in the future. Or do you doubt that he
    won't sail to Bordeaux or Amiens or Morhiban one day, with a rebel army with
    him?"

    Henry almost dropped his cup. "So you did order him assassinated."

    "I did what I had to do," said Frederick. "I wish it had not come to that,
    but I will not hesitate to try again."

    Henry stared at his father. "He is a child! That is murder, murder most
    foul!"

    Frederick stood up. "It has to be done. And you will not oppose me on this,
    Henry. I am the Emperor."

    "You imprison my daughter and try to kill my grandson," said Maria. "I could
    carve you like a pear and God himself would call it justice."

    "Oh, give me a little peace," said Frederick.

    "A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? There's a thought,"
    replied Maria.

    "If you are that upset," said Frederick, clenching his teeth, "I will glady
    send you to a nunnery with her."

    "That's fine with me," said Maria. "I will go pack." She stormed off to her
    own, seperate chambers.

    "Please do," said Frederick. "And I am going to bed. But," he said
    pointedly, "not to sleep."

    As both of his parents stormed out of the room, Henry leaned back in his
    chair and drained a glass of wine.

    "I hate the holidays."




    [96] Normally a simple arrest would be better, but to carry him off as he's
    arguing persuasively implies that he must be silenced. And the Church does
    teach that heretics must be given a chance to repent before being killed.

    [97] The King of the Romans is the title given to the Emperor's successor.
    Much like Prince of Wales would have been.

    [98] Lang lebe der Konig, if you want to get technical.

    [99] Not for nothing did Nietzsche call him "that magical, intangible fathom
    of a man predestined for victory and betrayal."

    [100] Yes, OTL Francis of Assisi died in 1226. I think that it's plausible
    that without quite so much wandering around barefoot across Europe, he
    survives a bit longer.

    [101] The title, I daresay, makes sense in Italy, which had a tradition of
    using it. First Consul is more appropriate, because Consul refers to the
    rulers of cities.

    [102] Who doesn't like Bodin?

    [103] Italians, looking at the growth and unrest in Flanders, and the
    explosion of the Rhineland, can't help but wonder why those places aren't
    revolting against the Emperor.

    [104] The Age of Spirit is a complex issue relating to Joachim of Calabria,
    who foresaw an era starting around 1260 in which mankind would bring forth a new age of prosperity and peace. Monks would become the ruling power, Jews would be converted, and the gospels would be the only law.

    Writers, naturally, drop references to monks as the ruling power.
     
  18. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Prince of Peace 30

    Prince of Peace 30

    Nuremberg, 1235

    The one good thing about Christmas in Nuremberg, for Henry, were the passion
    plays. Every year after Christmas, the Emperor's actors performed the Play
    of the Antichrist. The scenery was so large that it was performed outside,
    and it was attended by people from across the Emperor.

    In the play, two towers, one in the east, and one in the west, flanked one
    another. On the west side was the Emperor, with the Papacy as his vassal and
    flanked by the Kings of France and the Greeks. To the east lay the King of
    Babylon, and the Jews. The Emperor led his armies to the east, to do battle
    with the hosts of hell, but was betrayed by the kings of France and Greece,
    who support the King of Babylon and do homage. Amidst a stunning spectacle
    in which men appear to do battle, and blood spurts from bodies, the King of
    Babylon triumphs. The Emperor withdraws, and the king of Babylon holds the
    field.

    "And then I stole all courtesy from heaven, and dressed myself in such
    humility that I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts, loud shouts and
    salutations from their mouths, even in the presence of the crowned emperor,"
    cried the King of Babylon, in his most famous line. "Now is the time of the
    beast!."

    Then the scene switches to a church, where hypocrites prepare the way for
    the antichrist. They claim that God has no love for a wealthy clergy, but
    dress themselves in silk. This is complete when the Emperor lays down his
    crown and scepter, and the King of France submits to the Antichrist and
    accepts his gifts. The only resistance to the Antichrist comes from the
    German people, who raise their swords against him. The German King (so
    called because he is no longer emperor) sings the hymn of "Fatherland",
    which treats of blood and honor and of the cunning and deceit of the enemy.

    And, at the last battle, as the trumpets sound, the resurrected prophets
    Enoch and Elijah, are slain by the antichrist. He stands before the King,
    who is forced to witness the Antichrist's coronation as ruler of the world.

    And then, as the King of Germany prays to God, being crucified like the
    Savior, the Antichrist is smote by God. The King of Germany dies before
    seeing the Second coming, not knowing what happens to Germany.

    Henry fought to remain impassive. That scene was always so moving. To
    imagine Germany in such straits.....

    Henry looked to the East, and a chill came over him.


    Karakorum, 1235

    Ogadai, Khan of Khans, ruler of the world, loved nothing more than hunting.
    Rounding up game, chasing them into a pen, and then slaughtering them. Could
    there be anything better? Well, perhaps conquest. But he could have both.
    For as Genghis Khan had once said, they were appointed to rule all nations.

    That was why he had called together a meeting of the Mongol lords. There was
    Batu, the Khan of what we would consider Turkestan and Siberia. Ogadai ruled
    China and western Mongolia. Tului, the youngest, was Khan of the homeland of
    the Mongols. Chagatai ruled Central Asia.

    There had been days of drinking and hunting and of boasting. They had
    recounted the tales of the great ruler Chingis, who had first united the
    Mongols. But now it was time to get down to business.

    "Let us go west!" said Batu. "The cities there are rich, the armies weak,
    and the women comely."

    "No!" said Chagatai. "The rich lands of the Arabs are there for the taking."

    Tulu belched and stood up. "We must retake Korea!"

    Ogadai thought about it. "Let us conquer it all. We will take the Song, we
    will take the lands of the Arabs, we will take the west. We will take it
    all."

    "We will follow through with the wishes of the great Khan. Will rob them of
    their wealth, and see their families bathed in tears, we will ride their
    horses, and we will take their wives and daughters," said Ogadai. "And when
    we are done, when there is not a man alive who does not pay us homage, only
    then can we rest."

    Batu pointed his sword upward. "I will lead us. I will march on the
    Greeks!"[105]

    (This, as Doug has put it, is bad).


    Constantinople, May, 1236

    Alexander looked over the crowd. He had called for the great princes of the
    Rus, Suzdal, Kiev, Muscovy, to send men, and even for the Cuman. He had
    showered them with gold and presents to bring them here.

    "The thousand years have ended," he said. "For the hosts of hell advance.
    Gog and Magog have been loosed, and their number is like the sand of the
    sea". [106]

    The Prince of Vladimir, laughed. [107]. "They will never invade my land. Why
    should we help you? We have been comrades in the past, but this is your
    quarrel, not mine. And I will be damned if I help the Prince of Galicia."

    "Perhaps," said Alexander, "but you will be dead if you do not."

    The meeting continued like that for days. In the end, though, no one
    listened to Alexander. They would only realize the wisdom of his words when
    it was too late.

    For by March of 1238 , the banners of the Host of Hell flew over the ruins
    of Sivas.


    Armenia, August, 1237

    Batu stroked his horse, and smiled. His family to the east had given him the
    smallest part of the lands of the empire. They had taken the best parts of
    the Empire that had been conquered for themselves, leaving him only the
    lands in the west.

    He laughed. So be it. He had raised an army of a hundred and twenty thousand
    men, to sweep west. The lands of the Franks, of their Emperor in
    Constantinople, and the other in Nuremberg, were rich. Cities with gates of
    gold lay for the taking, if only he reached out and grabbed them. [90]

    The Mongols swept westward, like the tide of the sea, irresistable. Behind
    them they left a charred wasteland of death. Villages burned, women and
    children were raped, cities burned, and the Turks fled west.

    For some, it was the end of the world. For others, it was the apocalypse.

    For a man in Constantinople, who had been training since Kalka to raise an
    army
    that could defeat the Turks and all other barbarians from the steppes, it
    was the turning
    point of his life.


    Constantinople, January, 1239

    Alexander refrained from wrinkling his nose at the stench of the Turks. God,
    but they made Franks seem clean. Still, thought Alexander, better the
    infidel you know than the devil you don't.

    The Sultan of Rum stepped forward. "Why should we listen to you! You speak
    of victories against the Tatars, but what have your men done but retreat?
    Where are your armies? Why do you not fight, but run like the cowards that
    all Greeks are? You hole up in cities and hide. Why should we trust you?"


    Alexander thought to himself, and smiled. Heaven surely had a hand in these
    events, for this was all coming together as he had hoped. "Your doubts are
    traitors, Sultan. They will make us lose where we might win, by fearing to
    do battle." Alexander had a map brought in, and placed on a table made of
    wood from Taprobane.

    "The Tatars live on what they take, and their horses require much fodder. We
    have withdrawn into the walled cities along the coast, hiding all food, and
    burning grass and corn. The Tatars grow hungry, and are heading west towards
    Dorylaium."

    Alexander pointed at the map. "There, we will cut them off at the pass."



    (This, however, is good)

    Dorylaium, August, 1239

    The Mongol army had at last reached the pass. Thousands of soldiers,
    equipped with the compound bows that had conquered Asia, were ready to
    fight; for if they did not, they would starve, or be forced to withdraw.

    The battle that followed was one of the greatest clashes in the history of
    the Roman Empire.

    Dorylaium, you see, is located near a depression. To travel westward, you
    must travel out of it via a pass. The Emperor, by feint and quick
    maneuvering, had managed to convince the Mongols attempt to travel through
    the pass.

    He looked at the battlefield through a telescope. "Now, Basil, our hopes are
    answered. You said the enemy would not come down, but keep the hills and
    upper regions. It proves not so, for their battles are at hand."

    Alexander looked over his men. Grim, determined, and ready to fight, and
    die. They were afraid, he knew. The Tatars had swept across the Empire like
    vultures. They had not taken the coast, only ravishing the lands of the
    Turks, but that could change. They had siege equipment, and could use it.
    The Italians might even ferry them across the Hellespont to Constantinople.
    If they failed here..

    "Be thou my witness that, against my will, as Leo the Isaurian was, am I
    compelled to set upon one battle all our liberties," he cried. "Coming from
    Hell, in these troubled times, the hosts of Satan fell, and there they lie
    perched, gorging and feeding on our dear lands."

    Alexander's men were fanning out, and sighting their arrows. The priests
    were leading symbols and icons in front of the men, to shore up there
    spirit. The dust from the Mongol army could be seen, like the cloud of the
    four horsemen. "In peace there's nothing so becomes a man," said Alexander,
    "as modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our
    ears, then imitate the action of the tiger." Alexander looked over his men,
    and nodded. I see you stand like hounds in the slips, straining upon the
    start. The game's afoot! Follow your spirit; and upon this charge, cry, "For
    God, Hellas, and for Saint Mamas!"

    The Mongol army could be seen now, fanning out in its traditional formation.
    The trebuchets were ready, and there was nothing to do now but pray and
    battle. "God today stand friendly that we may, lovers of peace, live on our
    days and age. But, since the affairs of men rest still uncertain, let's
    reason with the worst that may befall. If we do lose this battle, then is
    this, the very last time we shall speak together. What are you then
    determined to do? What, then, Romans, are you determined to do!"

    And, in unison, across the Byzantine army, the men cried, "Fight, for God,
    for Hellas, and for Saint Mamas!"

    The battle of Dorylaium was joined.


    Mongol armies were deadly killing machines. There were two types of
    horsemen, light cavalry, who carried a double recurve bow, and heavier
    cavalry, who used a lance. If an army had a great deal of light cavalry or
    infantry, then charge it. If it had a great deal of heavy cavalry, let the a
    rchers pick them off. It was an unbeatable combination. Unfortunately for
    the Mongols, the Byzantine army had learned this tactic centuries ago.

    The Mongol discipline was, to westerners, stunning. They obeyed orders, and
    did as their commanders ordered. When all worked perfectly, they could move
    like the fingers of hand, working in unison to entrap their enemy.
    Unfortunately, this too the Byzantines had learned, centuries ago.

    The Mongol horses were faster than those of the cataphracts, true, but the
    Byzantines had better bows and telescopes for scouting. To engage the
    Byzantines, the Mongols had to advance under fire.

    Alexander had once sworn that there would be no more Manzikerts, and on that
    bloody day, as the hosts of hell advanced on Europe while Christendom
    slumbered, as thousands of arrows flew through the air, blocking out the
    sun, as Turk, Mongol, Greek, and Armenian fell by the thousands, he kept his
    oath.

    The Mongols, true to form, advanced against the Byzantines, firing three
    volleys. Unfortunately, the Byzantines fired five volleys, and the Mongols
    withdrew, hoping that the Byzantines would follow.

    Alexander refused to budge. The Mongols could not withdraw and try to attack
    again, for they had already tried that earlier. The only option left was to
    attack.

    The Mongol line was arrayed like the horns of a bull, with the vassal tribes
    in the center. The best troops were kept out on the wings, but they were
    spotted by Alexander's scouts, who could see farther than the Mongols.
    Alexander's position was impossible to flank, leaving the Mongols with no
    option but attack. They bore down upon othe Byzantines, the very earth
    shaking beneath their feet.

    It was then that all hell broke loose, in the most literal sense of the
    term. It had been a hot, dry summer on the plains. If a fire broke out, it
    would spread rapidly.

    The trebuchets of the Byzantines fired casks containing gunpowder with and
    Greek fire all along the line. Some exploded too soon, scalding the Emperor'
    s men; some did not burn until they hit the ground. But enough exploded in
    the air over the Mongols, spreading flame across their army and the grasses
    beneath it.

    The fire spread through the Mongol army, causing the horses to panic. Men
    caught on fire, and rolled screaming off of their horses to be trampled by
    the horses following them. Some fled away, but many continued charging
    towards the Byzantines. In the bloody battles there, the line buckled. But
    it held. Trapped between the fire and the Byzantines, the Mongols died. And
    died. And continued dying, indeed, until there were none left, two hours
    later.

    Much of the Mongol army lay unbeaten, of course. The Byzantines advanced,
    cautiously, as did the Mongols. There, amidst the charred ashes grass, men,
    and horses, the world's greatest military machines fought. Horses charged
    and darted away as Mongol lancers attempted to break the Byzantine infantry.
    Byzantine cavalry smashed into the Mongol horsemen, and the roar of battle
    was horrific. Again the Mongols tried to flank, but Alexander prevented
    them.

    And then, as the Mongols withdrew, the Seljuks, seeking vengeance for the
    rape and plunder of their lands by the Mongols, fell upon them. Trapped
    between the two forces, the Mongols were devastated.

    On the fields of Dorylaium, of the 130,000 men of the Empire, 20,000 died.
    Thousands of Turks lay dead as well, the cream of their forces destroyed.
    The center of Asia Minor was ravaged, and it would take years to recover.
    But for Batu, it was far worse. Of the eighty thousand men he had gathered
    there, more than half were dead. His dream of taking Constantinople was at
    an end.

    Alexander, at a stroke, had restored the Empire's position in Asia Minor in
    1070. The Turks were broken in the initial conquests of the Khan and in the
    battle of Dorylaium. The Sultanate was ravaged, its capital sacked. The
    Emperor's overlordship, with his promises of respect for their faith, was
    the best they could hope for.

    Ever since Manzikert, Byzantium had been beset by invasion. Turks, Bulgars,
    Sicilians, Germans (although that one wasn't talked about as much), and
    Venetians. But now the long dark night was over. Byzantium, under the wise
    reign of Alexander, entered into the Renascere.

    [105] Why Constantinople and not Russia? Because Constantinople makes Kiev look like a peasant's hamlet.

    [106] Revelations 20:6-10

    [107] Vladimir was always a Byzantine ally amongst the Rus, and without the
    sack of 1204, trade was greater. Vsevolod is able, with the support of the
    merchants and commoners, to oppose the church and nobles and make
    Vladimir-Suzdal hereditary in his line in TTL. There's also the handy
    example of the Empire, of course.
     
  19. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Titles of Installments

    Descending Order

    PP30=> The Hosts of Hell
    PP29=> The Father, The Franciscans, and the Son
    PP28=> The Renascere II
    PP27=> The Fall of France
    PP26=> The Renascere
    PP25=> Kingdom in the Sun
    PP24=> Betrayal
    PP23=> For England & Liberty Too
    PP22=> The Two Houses
    PP21=> Off to the East
    PP20-> The Prince of War
    PP19=> Robin Hood
    PP18=> Heresy, Hangchow, and Hoff
    PP17-> The Glory of Rome
    PP16=> The Ruin of the Kingdom
    PP15=> Into the Light
    PP 14=> The Triumphs of Caeser
    PP 13=> The King of Fools
    PP 12=> The Rebel, The Emporer, & the Heretic
    PP 11=> A Different Sort of an Emporer
    PP 10=> The Road to Rouen
    PP 9-> Breaking Peter's Bonds
    PP 8-> The City and the Crown
    PP 7-> The Grave Offenses
    PP 6-> A Legal Matter
    PP 5=> One Flock and One Shepherd
    PP 4-> New Beginnings
    PP 3-> The Betrayal of the King
    PP 2-> The Hammer of the Pagans
    PP 1-> The Heir of Caeser
     
  20. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Thanks, G. Bone. Here's something for people to mull over.

    “Real prayer needs no words, no gesture, no thoughts.
    A real prayer only comes from the Lord.â€
    -Maravaraman Kulasekaran, founder of the faith of Vipashyana


    Madurai, July, 1240

    In the year 1223, the Pandyans retook their ancient capital, Madurai, the city of Nectar, from the Cholans, thus restoring the Tamil to their rightful place in southern India. It is a proud and prosperous city, capital of an empire built on trade that looks out onto the Indian Ocean. Ships from as far as China and Italy are at the docks, and the wise king Maravarman Kulasekaran reigns over a prosperous kingdom. The docks are loaded with tea, ginger, cotton, and pepper, and the Pandyan Kingdom prospers. [108]

    Maravarman is a troubled lord, in truth. He is a lover of learning, and converses with all, seeking knowledge. He is in love with new toys, and loves to read the books of Europe. He is a just king, promoting trade, and willing to try new ideas. For the Pisans, it is clear, are bringing a new age with them.

    But it is a question of faith, for him. He was a Hindu of the south; and a follower of Bhakti [109]. But perhaps there was more to it than just his faith.

    The Christians from the west brought tales of the miracles of Jesus, which of course was already known, for Christians had been living in India since time immemorial. But they rejected caste, and they held that there was only one God. These might be signs of a weak and barbaric people, and in some ways they were. But unlike Many of the Hindus of India, they had no problem defeating the Muslims.

    The implications were… disturbing.

    What role did Jesus, the son of God according to the Pisans, play in the ordering of the cosmos? What of Buddha? What did it all mean?

    Carrying a Bible, translated into Tamil, a copy of the Tipitaka, and the Vedas, [110], Maravarman, King of the Pandyans, went into the jungle to pray. When he emerged, he would bring to India the faith of Vipashyana, the faith of Insight [112].

    Vipashnyana holds that there is but one true God, who is the creator, the destroyer, and the sustainer. God does not take human form, but he can give his words to messengers, who do his bidding upon the Earth. Jesus, Rama, and Buddha were both such messengers, as was Maravarman. The goal of life is to break the cycle of life and death and merge with God. Or as he says, “ the soul shall merge in the Lord like the water in the sea and the wave in the stream. The soul will merge in God and like air I shall look upon all alike. Then why shall I come again? The coming and going is under the Will of the Lord and Realising This Will, I shall merge in the Lordâ€

    There are five cardinal vices: Pride, Lust, Anger, Avaraice, and excessive attachment to worldly affairs. It rejects fasting, religious vegetarianism, and superstitions. Celibacy is not necessary to achieve salvation, to do so, according to Maravarman, one must be “a soldier, a saint, and a scholar.†There is no caste, for all men are created from the seed of God [112]. Honest labor, and not meditation and contemplation, are necessary for salvation. Women were to be respected as well, for if they can give birth to the messengers of God, then it is wrong to speak poorly of his messengers.

    Maravarman would return to Madurai in 1241as a different man. So different, in fact, that his own servants did not recognize him, initially, when he walked up to greet them. He would soon spread his insight throughout the subcontinent.

    [108] South India’s economic decline is tied into the rise of Muslim hegemony in the waters off of the shore. In TTL, with the addition of Christian pira… I mean, merchants, things are much more even.

    [109] Bhakti was a belief that held that Brahmin sacrifices, and, indeed, the Brahmins, were not necessary, and frowned upon caste. Had a lot of fans amongst the poor. Bhakti also encouraged humility and encouraged women to participate. In OTL there were upper class devotees.

    [110] Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu holy books. And in case anyone’s wondering, Hindus do have a history of hermits in the woods.

    [111] So it’s Sanskrit. It’s still a prestigious tongue in his day and age.

    [112] Any and all similarities between this and Sikhs is purely coincidental. *
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2004