Charlemagne, Arthur and the Coming of the Fae

AD 747. Philippa the Short, a Frankish queen, defeats the Merovingian line and becomes ruler of France. The Merovingians call upon the Old Gods for support and only by allying herself with the Pope in Rome does Philippa achieve her victory.

AD 748 In return for the Pope's aid, Philippa signs a pact promising that she, and the rulers after her, will defend the Pope's control of Rome should it ever be challenged. In return she is crowned Holy Roman Emperor and King of Kings, the leader of all monarchs in the western world, and so the Holy Roman Empire is born.

At this time, the monarch is viewed as sole owner of the land, which they are then free to divide as they see fit between their children and allies, who become barons over these lands, with freemen and serfs beneath them. In practice, the barons each individually controlled more land than Philippa does, and as she grows poorer, the barons increase their military and economic strength. The constant battles and warfare slow commerce. Neighbours are more likely to be threats than allies. A new social class is created: the knight, or military vassal, a person with enough money to afford a horse and armour, who swears allegiance to a baron in return for payment in the form of a portion of land.

AD 768 Philippa dies and names her son Charlemagne as heir. Charlemagne sees that his barons wield more power and wealth than he does, and vows that he will change this for his children.

AD 768-771: Charlemagne makes war on his Frankish neighbours and conquers Aquitaine, Brittany and Bavaria. He bans the worship of the Celtic Gods.

AD 774 Charlemagne conquers Lombardy when called upon to do so by the Pope, to protect Rome from invasion by Ravenna. He holds a State Banquet in Ravenna to celebrate his conquests. He gets into a furious row with Queen Guinevere of England, who claims that Charlemagne's role was to protect Christianity from the Old Gods, not the Pope from dissenting Christian opinions. Guinevere is banished from the Holy Roman Empire.

AD 776 Charlemagne takes his forces into the Germanic territories and conquers the Alvar and Saxon lands. He bans the worship of the Saxon Gods.

AD 777 Charlemagne and his forces conquer Normandy and prepare to invade England.

AD 777 Mount Etna on Sicily erupts and the Fae pour out. Thousands of humans are slaughtered as the Fae move into Lombary and set off North towards Munich.

AD 777 Charlemagne faces the Fae in battle on the banks of the Rhine.

AD 778 Charlemagne faces the Fae in battle in the Aquitaine.

AD 780 Charlemagne faces the Fae and their human allies in battle on the slopes of the Alps, in the middle of winter. The Fae are finally defeated in the early hours of 19 December. They are given the choice to submit or die and given five days to decide.

AD 780 On Christmas Eve, the Fae agree to submit to Charlemagne, and on Christmas Day they sign the Pact of Charlemagne, binding them never again to make war on humanity. Ravenna and Venice lead the opposition to the Pact, furious with Charlemagne for not killing every last Fae invader.

At this time three copies of the Pact are made: one is sent back with Charlemagne to Francia, one returns to Rome with Pope Lucia I, and one is taken to Sicily. A secretive Council is held in Venice; it is after this Council that the first signs of the organisation which will become The Holy Inquisition start to appear.

AD 781 Charlemagne dies en route to Calais; his copy of the Pact is lost.

AD 783 Pope Lucia is deposed following allegations of corruption; her copy of the Pact is lost.

AD 784 The Byzantime Empire requsisition the last copy of the Pact as tribute from Sicily. The Sicilians claim they send it; the Byzantines claim they never receive it. The third and last copy of the Pact is lost.

From this time onwards the Fae refuse to reveal, even under torture, the conditions under which they serve humanity.

AD 784 The armies of England, commanded by King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, land in Calais and conquer Normandy, Anjou, Brittany and the Aquitaine.

AD 785 The heirs of Charlemagne try to rally the Germanic forces to defeat Arthur and Guinevere: the English are victorious.

AD 786-8 Lombardy and Spain prepare for wars: the English seem preoccupied and spend a lot of time in the Rhineland. There are rumours of English knights riding out alone, or in small groups. It is said that they reach Tunis, Jerusalem, and Constantinople.

AD 788 The Vikings sweep down from Scandinavia, through the Slavic territories. The Holy Roman Empire now faces wars on two fronts: the Viking raiders and the English.

AD 789 The Almorovids sail up from Africa and attack Lombardy. Desperate, Pope Joannna appeals to the Fae for aid. The Fae leaders and the Pope sign the Pact of Joanna, which binds the Church to protect any Fae who chooses to sign.

AD 791 Allied with the Fae, the Holy Roman Empire, led by Pope Joanna, pushes the Almorovid and Viking advances back.

AD 792 Arthur and Guinevere, and most of their vassals, are killed in internecine battles. Neither of their bodies is recovered. The throne of England is taken by Arthur's sister, Anna, who pulls the English forces from the Continent.

AD 795 Having repelled all invaders, the Holy Roman Empire once again starts to fall into disarray. King Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, dies without an heir and the barons fight each other to claim the land.

Henry, Matilda, and the Church

AD 1076

Allied with the Fae, the Empire withstood attacks from the Fatimids in North Africa and increasing hostility from the Baltic region.

Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV installed a Fae lord as bishop of Paris. This was a step too far for Pope Gregory; while the Pact of Joanna encouraged the Fae to become Christian the Pope claimed it did not give them the right to hold holy office. Henry refused to back down in his appointment; neither did Gregory. Blows were exchanged by their supporters. Cities standing for the Emperor refused to pay tribute to Rome and similarly cities loyal to the Pope refused to recognise the Emperor. Visiting his lover Matilda of Tuscany, Pope Gregory used the warm summer evening to sit on the balcony, drink the local wines, and to excommunicate the Emperor and call upon all loyal Christians to look for a new leader. It is said - because it is always said, that the Old Gods saw this as a chance to take back their lands and to work with Henry against Gregory. Henry is known to have agreed to work with them in the short term: what they asked for is not clear, but by Christmas Henry walked barefoot to Canossa, site of his excommunication, and dressed only in a hair shirt knelt in the snow for three days begging Gregory's forgiveness and asking to accepted back into the Church once again. Forgiveness granted, the two were touchingly reconciled and shared communion together in the castle; from then on they were rarely parted. The offending Fae bishop was driven out of France and fled to safety in England.

The Norman Conquest and recent English history

Since the Norman Conquest of England since 1066 noone has successfully challenged the rule of the lineage of William the Conqueror, though Hereward the Wake and his descendants attempted to do so many times. The main political issues have revolved around which member of that line should be the next ruler. When Prince William, the named heir to Henry I, drowned in the sinking of the White Ship in 1120, his sisters Matilda and Adela fought over who was to take the throne. Eventually Adela's son Stephen poisoned his mother and took the throne for himself, buying off Matilda by promising that her son Henry could become the next King. Had Stephen lived to have children, he would most likely have had Henry killed so the throne could pass to them, but Stephen died mysteriously the next year of a surfeit of axes and Henry took the throne.

Henry II met Eleanor of Aquitaine when she was wife of the King of France; her marriage was annulled and two months later she married Henry. They have children: William, Henry, Richard, Matilda, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joanna and John. The marriage is tempestuous: Eleanor revolts against Henry at least six times in attempts to take the throne, sometimes on behalf of whichever child she is favouring this month, sometimes to take it for herself. Henry's refusal to have her executed infuriates his nobles: he keeps her prisoner for much of his reign in the Tower of London, in the apartment next to his. Interestingly, during her captivity she foils at least three assassination attempts on his life, at least one of which was committed by one of her followers.

Henry II was granted Normandy by his father, and Anjou from his mother. Eleanor brought with her the Aquitaine. The English crown therefore holds large swathes of French lands. Technically, Henry and Eleanor are vassals of King Louis and owe him tribute and loyalty. Given that they control twice as much land as he does and have the strongest military force in Western Christendom, Louis only occasionally makes a show of military force against the English, and retreats before any real damage can be done to his forces. He is powerless to control his vassal and bitter about the loss of his first wife. His son, Philip, watches, and notices these slights.

Philip is now king.

The Crusade of Eleanor and the death of Henry

Concerned by Salah-ad-Din's successes and the resulting growth in power of the Ayyubid Dynasty, Eleanor of Aquitaine sent messengers to all the Western kingdoms, inviting the best among them to prove themselves in a Crusade, to start in Dover and to cross Europe, gaining knights, nobles, and their followers along the way, with the intention of reaching Venice, where they would avoid the mountainous lands beyond by travelling by sea to Constantinople and from there march down to Jerusalem to do battle. Eleanor didn't even attempt to sell this as a religious crusade - she is solely concerned with a land grab, and while her fellow monarchs may be ambivalent (at best) towards Christian morality, they are certainly very fond of land and the monies that accompany them. Through charm, persuasiveness and outright bribery, Eleanor has persuaded almost all the nobles and knights of England to accompany her, and many of the European nobility besides.

England remained in the steady hand of Henry II, now growing grizzled and old, but still sharp-witted and still governing by means of his justices and the use of his personal vassals to subdue any unruly barons. Henry was in good health when Eleanor set of, but shortly after his sight began to fail and he complained of chills and fever. He lay in bed for a good two weeks, growing steadily worse. Seeing the need to name his successor if the worst should happen, he called those nobles and justices who remained to join him in London for the official declaration. The night before he was due to name his heir he died.

history.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/08 16:02 by gm_cecily
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