The House Under God, Part 1: Papal Vassals

Author: Jimli_
Published: 2017-02-08
Hey everyone, welcome to my AAR. I'll be starting an ironman game as the count of Orvieto in 1145. The start is unique, as they are the only vassals the Papacy has the entire game.

I'll mostly avoid a lot of technical talk, instead focusing on the story elements and some mild historic flavor. There are times where I make an attempt to hide things in screenshots, as I have to do some things that are out of character for the sake of clean and realistic borders. Don't worry though, I try and keep this to a minimum.

Without further adieu, let the story begin!

Part of the campaign:

The House Under God

Our story starts here, with count Orso d'Orvieto. An ambitious man and a skilled diplomat, Orso's motivations lie with helping his house achieve greatness, through any means possible.
Giorgia di Cagliari, the springboard that Orso used to catapult house d'Orvieto to success.
The first order of business is to eliminate the count of Cagliari, married to the current countess.
Its not long before the word is given. Little to Gonorrhea's knowledge, the balcony would give in to his weight and send him to his death.
"To the great count Orso, despite your high position within the court of Pope Ioannes XIX and your generous offer, I have no choice but to decline." - Excerpt from diplomatic letters regarding the marriage of countess Mariam
Her sister however was available and willing to marry. Aren't I forgetting something though?
Oh right, the murder part.
With countess Mariam dead in a mysterious killing, her sister (coincidentally married to Orso's son) inherits the county. Only problem is her sons from other marriages.
Orso had always held a high seat among the Pope's court, however much to his surprise Ioannes XIX offered a position as Chancellor of the realm, overseeing foreign affairs. This gave Orso the pretext to travel to Cagliari personally on a diplomatic mission.
A portrait of Pope Ioannes XIX
While in Cagliari, the death of the countess' son was a tragic event. Although at the time the killer was unknown, it would soon be revealed
Orso reaches word from the mainland of a plague spreading through Italy, as members of his council lock themselves away.
The smallpox outbreak would ravage almost all Italy at its worst, however its impact on the nobles was negligible.
Giorgia is pregnant with Giancinto's second child. This bodes well for the succession.
The killer is revealed. It seems that Orso was the one orchestrating the house Cagliari's downfall. Guglielmo di Cagliari was murdered on orders of count Orso, ambushed and mutilated by men under his employ. Although a despicable act which lost Orso and his family much of the respect they had gained, there was not much that others could do besides scold. After countess Giorgia was dead, the only remaining legitimate heirs to Cagliari would be Orso's grandchildren.
A painting from the period depicting the murder of Guglielmo, and the subsequent brawl between his retainers and count Orso's men.
Wracked with regret over his decision and the alienation from the rest of the family, Orso goes slightly mad. Convinced that it was all God's plan, he announces how he has been cleansed of his sins in an effort to justify his actions. No one buys it, of course.
It is not long before his death, as he succumbs to the stress and his age. Despite his actions, Giancinto is still sad over the death of his father. Now he must take up the mantle.
Giancinto is content to watch the realm prosper from his balcony and sleep with his loving wife.
A look at Nicola d'Orvieto, Giancinto's heir.
The Hansa rise in the north. Not that Giancinto cares.
The problems and stress left from his father's reign weigh down on Giancinto. The peasants are upset with taxes, the minor lords are at his throat for crimes he didn't commit, and the clergy chastise him for his lack of faith (despite his devotion to the church). All these factors wear on the count's health...
...and inevitable lead to his death. Already taking the seat of his father in old age, it seems death was eager to greet him. The fate of the county is left to Nicola.
Nicola was raised reading old tomes and studying scripture. Although a coward, he eager to further explore the spiritual side of existence. His mother is ambivalent, as long he can avoid dying and leaving her heir-less.
Many pilgrims pass through Orvieto, as its on path to Rome. As Nicola watches them, he can only think of a journey of his own.
It is decided with counselors, and his things are packed. Despite his mother's insistence on the opposite, Nicola has departed on his own in order to truly experience the journey. To Jerusalem!

Stay tuned for the next part. This is my first time writing an AAR, so I apologize if it seems sloppy. Thanks for reading!

Next chapter:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The House Under God, Part 2: The Plague

Images: 31, author: Jimli_, published: 2017-02-16

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