Part 6: VI. Charles I 1229-1245 A.D.
(This is a link to the Crusader Kings Wiki, it may interesting to take a look at...
This is Louis and his wife. It seems likely that he will be the next king of Jerusalem. He's wise, pragmatic, and a brilliant strategist. Like his father, Gauthier, he seems quite good at cranking out the kids.
In February of 1232, King Charles becomes stressed from the labor of running the Kingdom. This gives him a -1 to all skills, -1 health, and -3 fertility. It's really no wonder he's stressed though, because almost immediately afterward, more assassins show up.
Once again, surprisingly, Charles escapes without a scratch. Or at least without a physical scratch. You see Charles decides that these assassins were not sent by his brother Jacques. Oh, no. They were sent by someone else. Someone dead. Obviously Pancrazio of Lombardia was reaching out from hell to torment him. What other explanation could there be?
Sometimes he thought he could hear Pancrazio, whispering, walking behind him, lurking in the shadows. Charles began to wear relics of several saints to protect him. He also started talking to himself.
Basically, Charles wasn't doing so hot.
Hearing of his brothers slow slide into madness, Jacques decided that the time was ripe to take the Crown for himself. In the fall of 1234 he raises the banner of revolt.
King Charles, however, is not so far gone that he can't lead a campaign. In fact he still governs reasonably alright, he just has certain… delusions about dead Italians. Jacques revolt puts stress on the realm, and the Duchy of Tripoli, north of Jerusalem also breaks away. Charles sends word for the Alexandrian troops to be raised and sailed in to attack Tripoli while he deals with his brother.
By the summer of 1235 and nearly 2000 gold later, the civil war is over. Jacques, severely wounded in his flight from the battlefield, flees to the Duchy of Upper Lorraine, near France. There he waits, trying to recover, while no doubt planning to return to Jerusalem in the future…
Menacing news reaches King Charles in the spring of 1236. A strange new people, called the Il-Khanate, have invaded the lands of Khwarizmian Persia. Tales drift westward of hordes of horsemen, burning cities, and terrible atrocities.
In October of 1237, Jacques is seen in a court of the Byzantine Empire, apparently plotting and gathering troops. But it is a short lived plot. In November of 1238, Jacques succumbs to his wound. The Byzantines return his body to the Kingdom where it is laid to rest with his father, Baldwin IV.
By 1239, the Mongols have broken through northern Khwarizmian Persia and flooded into Abassid Iraq. Baghdad falls. For a time, Charles is greatly concerned, but the Mongols do not continue west, instead turning their attention on the Persians and slowly absorbing them.
In 1240, Charles wife, Matilda finally grows sick of his schizophrenia and becomes his rival, spending most of her time as far from him as she can. Charles mother, Geneviva also dies near the end of the year, at the ripe old age of sixty-nine. She is buried with Baldwin and Jacques.
By this point the Mongols have absorbed Iraq and most of Persia, but the expected thrust into the Muslim pretender state of Egypt doesn't come. Perhaps the Mongols need time to regoranize.
Charles' eldest bastard, Guy reaches maturity and is appointed spymaster. The boy young man shows some signs of his fathers… instability. He flees the court, apparently fearing for his life, but has returned within a few weeks and is promptly made spymaster again. Boyish adventures? A secret mission? No one's quite sure and the whole escapade is quite confusing.
The Pope calls a Crusade against the city of Cordoba, the last stronghold of the Muslims in Iberia in August of 1241. It promises to be a short one. The Muslim lands left in Iberia are circled in red and Cordoba is marked with an X. Iberia has been divided between Aragon, Leon, and Portugal, although which one of them will take Cordoba is unsure.
News comes from Egypt that Duke Gauthier has died and been succeeded by his son Louis. His body too, is brought to Jerusalem and interred with his family. Charles, the eldest son, is now the only one left.
A wondrous opportunity presents itself in the summer of 1242. It appears to be possible to make Archambaut, the youngest of King Charles two bastards his legitimate heir. (If I were being all gamey I'd say no here, so the much better Louis would inherit, but that'd be no fun, would it?)
King Charles acts without hesitation, and gives his newly legitimate son some lands near Jerusalem and the title of Duke of Jerusalem, the same one his father gave to him. The added responsibility does stress Archambaut, but we can only pray he does not become schizophrenic like his father! Archambaut finds himself a wife shortly, and all seems well in the Kingdom.
If Duke Louis feels cheated by this, he keeps his opinion to quietly to himself.
Later that summer, the Duchy of Toulouse, which holds the last non-Kingdom lands in northern Egypt breaks away from the large Kingdom of Sweden. Hoping to secure these lands for his son, Charles attacks.
The province is quickly conquered and added to the Kingdom. While Charles is in the field, it becomes clear that the Islamic Caliphate that still pretends to be 'Egypt' is engaged in low-level skirmishes with the Mongols and Charles sweeps his armies into the southern part of the country. Furthermore, he advances on both the Abassid province in southern Egypt and their stronghold of Damascus.
The Emirate of Balearic, which holds Cyrancia, west of Egypt attacks Duke Louis of Alexandria and they too fall under Charles armies. While on campaign, King Charles crowns himself the King of Egypt in addition to King of Jerusalem.
When the dust clears in January 1245, Egypt looks very different.
Historians will later chalk up this last explosive burst of conquest as the final stages of King Charles' increasingly severe schizophrenia. Hounded by demons only he could hear and see, he drove his armies to exhaustion and secured, once and for all, the western borders of the Kingdom.
Just a month after the peace treaties were signed, King Charles collapsed during Mass at the High Cathedral of Jerusalem.
The fits struck again, in April, 1245, reducing the already crippled Charles to a near vegetative state.
Then end was not long in coming.
Early in the morning of the first of June, 1245 A.D., at the age of 57, Charles, King of Jerusalem and Egypt breathed his last. His body was washed and wrapped in the finest of linen. Mass was held, and then he was laid to rest beside his father Baldwin, his mother Geneviva, and his two brothers, Jacques and Gauthier.
An entire generation had passed into memory and was no more.
In the end, he had claimed to see Angels, and his madness was thought by many to be of divine origins. Some said he had been touched by God at birth. Like his father before him, a Papal delegation beatified him and began the long process of determining if he would become a Saint of the Catholic Church.
Charles' story was over, but the story of the young, ambitious Archambaut - the Bastard King was just beginning…