Part 4: IV. Charles I 1217-1229 A.D.
Some quick notes: Now that it's Catholic, I tweaked the save to change Jerusalem's culture to Frankish. Otherwise, due to the event logic, it's impossible to spread any new culture in our lands. Culture has no real effect in CK, but it does in EUIII. I'll have to tweak again on conversion, but I want to get a sense of how far the culture spreads in CK for when I'm making the EUIII setup.
Also, I tweaked the name files a bit. Annoyingly you can't name your own characters in CK, and I felt that the Frankish name file was a bit too, well, French. Tons of Charles and Louis and such. So I tweaked our name file so we'll draw from a slightly more Crusaderish pool of names. I also anglicized them a bit, so no more Baudouin, but Baldwin and so forth.
Ahem, on with the game!
King Charles is not, perhaps, as clement a man as his father. Shortly after he takes the throne the Papal Inquisitors show up, asking to reeducate his Muslim spymaster Usama. Even though Charles doesn't know that Usama was encouraging old King Baldwin to have him killed, Charles sends the spymaster off with the Inquisitors anyway. Usama dies. But he also apparently converts to Catholicism first. In fact, anytime the Inquisitors show up complaining about heretics in the royal court, Charles cheerfully gives them leeway to 'convince' the Muslims of the error of their ways.
The first item King Charles hopes to take care of is the claims his father made on Cyprus. Charles doesn't have any great interest in the island itself, but after all the fuss his father made asserting the Kingdoms claim to place, he feels he really ought to make a show of force, to demonstrate that he's just as great a leader as Baldwin was.
Unfortunately for Charles, his first attempt to play politics doesn't go so well. As he's drawing plans and preparing to raise troops news comes that Cyprus has begged to become a vassal of the Byzantines. The plans for the invasion are scrapped. Another time perhaps. A quarrel between the only two Christian powers holding back the Muslim tide would be foolish.
The scotched invasion puts King Charles in a foul mood. A mood that is not improved when he walks in on his wife blatantly flirting with a young Italian courtier.
Sixteen, fat, and ugly. Poor King Charles couldn't help but feel a bit unmanned by this. Hadn't he done his best to get her with child? Sometimes he imposed himself on her bed once, even twice a month. This was how she repaid him? The bastard had to go.
Queen Zoe did not take kindly to her little pet being sent back to Italy with a broken nose.
King Charles was at the end of his rope. The stupid woman was useless. She hadn't given him an heir and now she spent all her time moping about, crying over her poor, poor Pancrazio. It was a disgrace.
About a month later, Queen Zoe slipped and fell. Down a flight of stairs. Twice. It seemed she bounced at the bottom. Out a window. What King Charles lacks in subtly, he makes up for with efficiency.
The fact that he had so obviously murdered his wife greatly upset many of his vassals, but none enough to actually revolt. Just a few weeks later Charles luck took a turn for the better.
He atoned, spending 400 gold for a 10% chance of losing the Kinslayer trait and, God be praised, it worked. The Bishop of Jerusalem made it plain to the people that Zoe was a loose woman and her fall down the stairs had been the Judgement of the Lord. That night Charles went to bed delighted, he couldn't believe the stigma had been lifted from his head so quickly. The Bishop, meanwhile, filled a bathtub with the gold the King had given him and rolled around in it laughing.
Feeling much better about life, Charles drew plans to invade the Emirate of Aleppo, which had broken away from Egypt. Also in the area was the Emirate of the Assassins and their formidable fortress, which would be taken out at the same time.
The Assassins are in brown here, and the orange is the war target, the Emirate of Aleppo. The red belongs to the Abassid, who Charles doesn't want to mess with quite yet.
Unfortunately, King Charles underestimated just how tough a nut the Assassin's fortress was. The siege grinds on for over six months. The treasury drops into the negative and the Kingdom's stability drops another point to -3. A peace treaty is signed with Aleppo and the Assassin's are destroyed and annexed.
Charles decides to lay low for a while and try to build the Kingdom's stability back up a bit while refilling the treasury. In January of 1220, he marries Matilda Torelli, from Salerno, Italy. A bride selected for her lusty personality. Perhaps she will give the Kingdom an heir!
Not long after that, his brother Jacques becomes his rival. Now Jacques detests both his brothers, but fortunately he seems to stay loyal to the crown, surprisingly enough, as he is next in line for the inheritance. Perhaps his ambition is tempered by the fact that he, too, lacks any children of his own. Only Gauthier, in Egypt, seems to be able to have kids.
In 1221 the Kingdom loses the province of Negev to France without any announcement or fuss. The only conclusion I could come to was that the count of the province died and was inherited by the Duke of Toulouse.
Very annoying. King Charles spends most of his prestige buying claims on Negev and all the French holdings in Egypt. He also beings to save more money for the inevitable war to take them.
When the war comes though, it is not, oddly enough, against France. In 1224 the French Bishopric of Manpure (north of Cairo) becomes independent. The Kingdom of Jerusalem has a claim on it and swings in to pick it up. As soon as Kingdom troops surround the fortress and are beginning the siege, the Bishop of Manpure begs for surrender and offers up the province.
The troops are instantly sent home. Alexandria has a twelve thousand man garrison which can be raised to deal with issues in Egypt. It's much closer to the action then gathering troops from Jerusalem. In fact, as many troops can be raised from Alexandria as can be raised from the remainder of King Charles demesne. Alexandria is a great province. But keeping so many troops in the field is very expensive. Activating the Alexandrian troops costs the kingdom around 170 gold a month. When our monthly income is only around 40, that's quite the difference. Raise any more troops and then we really start bleeding money, especially as it can take quite some time to march places and siege them.
In June, just after the troops from the Manpure campaign have been disbanded and sent home the French province of Sarquibya changes hand to the Republic of Bologna, a vassal of the Republic of Verona. King Charles might not have wanted to launch a war against France quite yet, but a little Italian Republic? Charles has enough of in the war purse to afford another short campaign. The order is sent for the troops to march.
King Charles does not like Italians.
The war seems to get the Kings dander up. On campaign he encounters a beautiful young maiden who changes his world. For the first time he does willingly, eagerly, what he was always so reluctant to do with his wife. He gains the lustful trait.
He also gains a bastard. Young Guy.
A son at last. Illegitimate, to be sure, but a son.
Bologna cedes Sarquibya quite promptly, again before the siege can even truly get under way. Their liege though, the Republic of Verona does not give up so easily. In March of 1225 they land nearly ten thousand troops in northern Egypt. In April they meet eight thousand Kingdom troops in battle and soundly defeat them, killing nearly three thousand men.
King Charles is shocked at the news. He hadn't expected such aggression from the little Republic and mobilizes the armies of the heartland of Jerusalem. Furthermore the Kingdoms finances drop back into negative numbers again. The war was supposed to be over months ago. It looks like the Kingdom of Christ is headed for serious debt again. But in May news comes that Verona is willing to accept peace with the Kingdom, and their troops sail off for home. Apparently they didn't really want to try to manage any land in Egypt, and having defeated a Kingdom army felt their honor was satisfied.
Kings Charles is content with this.
All in all, things are looking up. The Kingdoms stability is slowly rising, and several provinces have been gained in Egypt. There is other good news too. His brother, Duke Gauthier has been busy. He has seven children now, four of which are boys. Louis, the elder, and also Henry, Guy, and Martin. The future of the dynasty looks to be secure.
Jacques is not impressed by all this, and his loyalty keeps dropping low before slowly climbing back up.
The only sour note is his wife remains without child. She's lustful, King Charles is lustful, but they produce no issue. He has a bastard, but apparently in the marital bed his little Love Crusaders just don't swim.
Outside the bedroom is another story. In the spring of 1226, King Charles has another bastard off a scullery maid. This one named Archambaut. After some consideration, Charles decides to raise the two boys himself. There is always a slim chance that one of them can be legitimized and inherit his throne. The eldest bastard Guy will be raised in the court and Archambaut as a soldier and warrior.
Also in 1226 comes the news that the Tunisian Crusade has ended in victory. Sicily has conquered the Islamic stronghold and now large stretches of northern Africa are under the control of Christian Kingdoms. It is a good day and worth celebrating.
In 1227 unknown assassins enter the city of Jerusalem. They are well trained and move quickly towards King Charles' palace.
Faced with poor odds, King Charles makes a bold show in defending himself, killing both the assassins himself. He remains unharmed! The paymaster of the assassin remains unknown, but Charles suspects his brother Jacques. Had he died, Jacques would promptly have become King of Jerusalem. But King Charles has no evidence and so can really do nothing. He does have rivals and enemies in several Islamic courts after all.
In September of 1228, a Papal commission convenes to determine if his father, Baldwin IV, should become a Catholic saint. King Charles decides to send financial support, despite his own disagreements with his father. It would be a coup for the family and the Kingdom to have a saint in their number.
Sadly however, the commission does not give Baldwin sainthood. Privately, King Charles can't help but agree with them.
PAN-FUCKING-CRAZIO IS BACK AND HITTING ON OUR NEW WIFE.
YOU ARE FUCKING KIDDING ME.
PANCRAZIO MUST DIE!
Charles exiles him again, and plans to hunt down his new court and send assassins. This cannot and will not go unpunished. Luckily, Matilda doesn't seem to mind his exile, and Charles decides she can continue to breathe.
Not everyone will be so lucky.