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Old July 1st, 2009, 06:02 PM
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A/N: Good news! This is one of 3 posts that will finish the war! I didn't mean to get bogged down as much as I have and apologize, things will move a bit more quickly after it's over cuz after that, it's back to Spain we go.

SOMEWHERE NORTH EAST OF DIJON, 810 AD

ALDRIC scanned the landscape in front of him, keeping a tight hold on his reins. Nothing, the only sound was of the mail mesh hanging from his leather cap brushing over this hauberk. Even now he smiled a little when he thought about it: mail with scales, he'd come up in the world.

"Keep moving!" he said waving his lance* and advancing his horse at a trot. On either side of him a score of riders did the same, and behind them came the footmen and archers. "They are out of allies! It's time to take revenge on these rebel scum!"

The raids in the west had gone well, and he'd distinguished himself several times. In addition to being able to make a name for himself as a lord who always had some largess to divide among his men, he'd come to the notice of the king and so here he was in the east as part of the grand counter-attack so carefully planned. With the latest rebels thrusts into Spania beaten back at what they were calling the Second Battle of Albaraccin and with their Lombard allies now fully embroiled with the Greeks and Arabs, the rebels were once again back on their heels and the counter-attack had been more successful than anticipated and so Aldric had been sent south.

"Terrorize them," the Duke of Brittany had said to them, "Make yourself a thorn in their side."

Now, a score of burned out village later, Aldric spotted another. It was a smallish place, twenty houses if that. But he had a job to do. Giving the required orders he saw the torches get passed around and a handful of fires blossomed in the the thatch roofs. As the fires began to spread people began to leave the houses where they'd tried to take refuge instead of flee. The few men were felled almost immediately but the woman were seized by his men and dragged away. Aldric was a bit surprised that none of them tried to have their fun right there but the flames were probably too risky for that. With those men who remained he advanced on the small church. Breaking the doors down he had the priest brought to him while the rest of his men searched through it for any hidden valuables or men.

The priest was not happy, cursing him but Aldric let it roll off him. When the old man had run down he merely said, "You won't be harmed, nor will the scriptures, nor any other helpers you may have but you will be taken north to await judgment by your peers."

"And this house of God?"

"It is a sin to support rebellion, you should have fled. As this village no longer exists there's no longer any need for it."

As he ordered his men to drag the shocked priest away he himself took up the torch to set fire to the wooden benches. A small part of him twinged at burning a church to the ground when it was not a refuge of armed men but he had been ordered to wreak havoc and so he would. It was only fortunate that Pope John was dead and there was no successor to lower an interdict on the Franks.

GREAT PALACE, CONSTANTINOPLE, 810 AD

Alexander the Bulgar studied his wife. Theophano was praying as she was wont to do in the mornings but thankfully she did limit her piety and could do without it--something she shared with the senior Empress. Though perhaps fortunately for him Theophano did not have the ruthlessness that had propelled the empress to her throne. Still as that ambition had placed him where he was today he did not complain. He was not quite sure how Theophano was related to Irene but that she'd agreed to break off her wedding to marry him she had an eye for the main chance. Combined with her obvious attractiveness (though cute rather than beautiful owing to her small nose) meant that he had to get her on his side. She both served devotedly and loathed the empress and still remained a cipher to him except perhaps for flashes of contempt for his slavic heritage.

"Husband," she said quietly as she finished her prayers and rose from the mat in their bedroom. A nice mat, high quality carpet another sign that while she was pious she was not insensible to worldy advantages. "Thank you for waiting. I am prepared to speak with you now."

"Then relax," he said settling into a chair while she took one of the couches stretching out her sleek body in a way that was calculated to distract him. It would have worked better had he not been expecting it. "You spent much time with Marozia before she fled, almost the only one as she was prohibited from regular contact with anyone," he said at last. He'd thought about how to approach it but had in the end decided on a direct approach. "Why did she feel the need to go to the Armenians?"

Theophano thought for a moment, but then said nothing.

"Dammit woman, you are my wife. It's you neck on the line too, answer me." They locked eyes and Alexander say a little of the same spirit that animated the old empress for perhaps the first time in a year of marriage. His hand clenched and she noticed that.

"You set me to befriend her and defang her but I did neither," she said a little breathlessly, for his hand was strong. "Is it any wonder I hesitate?"

"Say your say," Alexander replied. "Forcing the information out of you would be the fastest way to poison it and we need answers. Now. Why did she go to Musel Amatuni?"

"Marozia saw herself being cut out. My aunt** named your father ceaser and then the war against the Caliphate ending well enough for him. Returning to the City as a defenderof the faith if not a victor. The succession clearly focus on you, our marriage."

"That can't be all."

"Why not? Do you think Marozia concerns herself with the iconography debate that my aunt engages whenever she can get the chance? If anything she is of a mind with her on that. But the Anatolians are not and we have had Armenian emperors before."

Alexander chewed on that for a while. "You are likely to be right. And our powerbase is in the west. It will be a slog in Anatolia again."

"The choice is not a good one," Theophano volunteered. "Sicily and Italy, or Anatolia? A loss of prestige or territory."

"Um, well put," he said eyeing her. "You know I'll go on campaign soon to face that and earn my way to the throne."

"I do," she said. And then she rose and took a parchment from one of the trays on the table. "I prepared this for you."

He looked at it, it appeared to be a list of monasteries in Anatolia.

"What is the meaning of this?" he asked contemptuously.

"I studied my aunt," Theophano said. "And I studied you. There was a reason I agreed to be taken from my betrothed and enter the bride show. Information is the key husband. These are monasteries that are sympathetic to our side in the iconography debate and more than that, preparing reports on the situation in their areas to give to you."

"A spy network?" he was stunned. "You created a spy network?"

"I merely used the resources at hand," she smiled with very white teeth.

"But why...?"

"As you said husband, it's my neck too."

For the first time since their marriage he felt in accord with his wife.

_____________________________________

*More like a long cavalry spear than a lance
**General term, Irene is more like her great aunt
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Old July 8th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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Consulate War, VIII

MELILLA SPAIN, AD 810

Garcia Maura climbed to the top of one of the citadel‘s towers to look at the great ships arriving in port. They were easy to spot as each bore the kingdom’s flag, a sign King Salamon had created and formed in opposition to the old symbol of Asturias used by the rebels, a Star of Tartessos in a Cross on a field of gold with a purple stripe. Had he been arriving the second ship would have carried the Cloak and Spear banner, but only the King could fly that and Ramiro did not qualify. Even from this distance the sun shone brightly on the mail of the men who disembarked those ships, streams trickling together to form a bright river of steel as the Prince of Spania arrived with his personal levies. Giving the orders necessary to greet his guest in style he returned to his office to set a few things right while a servant entered to help him refresh himself for his meeting with the Prince.

The meeting started as Garcia had expected, pleasantries, discovery that though this was the first time they’d met in person each got along well enough with the other and as always a discussion of the situation. Frustratingly unchanged for much of the past two years: naval raids and skirmishes all across the sea with the small Idrisid and Lombard navies. Neither side could gain full control and so the war on the sea reached the equilibrium of the land war, where Lucas and Idris II fought endless skirmishes. Garcia had spoken well of Lucas there, he had adapted to the desert well and his men were just as effective in the region as the Idrisids.

After the events in the north, King Salamon had finally been able to send reinforcements south to aid Lucas and with them came the Crown Prince with his own personal arms men and those sworn to him. Together it was hoped, they would push Idris back beyond his own borders.

But to Garcia, Ramiro looked restless and distracted. He’d had no luck with the prince at their initial meeting but as the preparations to move out continued he had kept at it patiently dropping a hint here or there, subtly trying to push the prince into showing up the cause of his concerns and finally Ramiro admitted it on the way to Taza.

“Marriage?” Garcia echoed.

“We’ve been at war for almost have my life!” Ramiro had responded defensively. “There have been pressing matters of state.”

“Ensuring an orderly succession is also a pressing matter of state, my prince,” Garcia had responded.

But the question of Ramiro’s wife had no easy answer. Idris and the Lombards were enemies as obviously were the rebels. It was pointless to throw away Ramiro’s wife on some Celtic or Saxon polity that could have been set down in a corner of Spania and swallowed up and the Greek Empire was consumed in a dynastic struggle in an issue that Spania had no desire to become involved with. All signs pointed to the Franks but cooperating with the Franks was difficult at best with the great massive of rebellion between their nations and the only way a suitable Frankish girl could be found now was to divorce her from her husband and so Ramiro grew older and spent himself on concubines but had been careful enough to avoid any bastards. Considering the situation King Salamon was in now that would have been the height of idiocy.

However thoughts of this were hardly on Garcia’s mind for when they reached Taza they found no army waiting for them and only confusion when they tried to find out why. Ramiro was angry to say the least, and this was not assuaged when a messenger arrived from Luz with an urgent request for Ramiro’s presence and the message did not say, but it was signed by Ramiro’s commander, Isidro of Cadiz.

Leaving the prince’s personal levies to catch up, Ramiro and Garcia hastened to the great city of Luz only to be informed that Isidro had already left to the south and surrounding the city was a large encampment of tents of the Emir of Sijilmasa, Ziri. It was not a siege but aid, sent in response to the assistance Lucas had rendered previously in throwing back Idris II when he tried to take the city.

Garcia and the Prince were ushered into the berber lord’s tent where he noted a rather attractive though modestly dressed young women helping to serve them whom Ziri introduced as his daughter, Samira who was not modest enough not smile at them as she made sure they were refreshed. Well the Sijilmasans were a little unorthodox anyway being a mixture of religions and cultures. He noticed Ramiro following the girl with his eyes as she left, gracefully it seemed.

The usual pleasantries were exchanged rapidly and then Ziri got to the point with little prompting.

“Prince Ramiro, Lord Governor Maura, let your wondering end here: Your commander Isidiro has gone south with your army.”

“South? What is to the south?” Garcia wondered. He thought, Selas and Anafas on the coast but nothing much inland except near the rivers.

“What has happened?”Ramiro demanded.

“My Prince, Idris happened.”

“What? Did he invade?” Garcia blinked stunned. Both Ramiro and the Emir looked at him and he was abruptly reminded just why his talents lay in administration.

“He has induced the Barghawata to rise up against you Spaniards.”

Ramiro swore loudly then visibly mastered himself. “They have been peaceful clients for decades why would they attack us?”

“I couldn’t know,” Ziri shook his head. “They proclaim the ill-treatment of Muslims will end with their rule though.”

“How do we oppress them? They have their masjids, their quarters, we do not tax them more than Christian or Jewish subjects and we value their contributions. Many of them work in our apparatus of state!" Ramiro snapped.

"When has reason ever blunted ambition, Prince Ramiro?" Ziri asked.

"A chance at peace is illusory isn’t it?” the prince answered.

“It always was Prince Ramiro,” Garica answered and the Prince could only nod.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 10:39 PM
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Consulate War IX

Note: Wrote this very quickly, might have a few spelling errors.

------------------------------

“To me to me!” Garcia shouted waving a sword above his head. Ridiculous that he should be in a battle but it had come to this. A handful of Jinetes saw it and rode over to him. Every one of them was covered by dust and blood and several were almost out of javelins. “Our lord the Prince?” he asked one who was marked as a member of Ramiro’s household.

“We were separated during the last charge,” the soldier answered, pausing to hack blood onto the ground. He seemed hale enough after that. “He and the Sardinians were surrounded by the enemy camel archers but we were pushed out of the canyons and have not heard anything since.”

“Damn that Camelry!” Garcia snarled. “And the Banu Ifran?*”

“Unknown,“ the royal arms man answered. “I heard something of Commander Isidro and a flanking maneuver but that was some time ago.”

“But that would mean…”

“….command us Lord Governor.”

He took a few gulping breaths of sun-blasted air and sand. The day seemed even hotter, the azure sky even more fierce. “But you know where the other battles** are?” He waited for the nods. “Then disperse to them, tell them to form up around that pillar--” he pointed to the rock formation that looked like it was balanced precariously on a rock, like an upside down triangle--”and make sure that the flanks are not overcome, wait for the flanks to move back before the center does!”

As they rode to do his bidding he and his own guard rode toward the rock, careful on the uneven ground and Garcia reflected that it had not begun like this, their foray south….

--------------------------------

The Barghawata had lone been un-easy clients of the Spaniards. Uneasy because of the encroaching central authority that had pushed south year after year. Already their original homelands to the north were gone, replaced by Anafas and Sela with irrigation techniques slowly making the land between the rivers and the coasts fertile and thus their resentment proved all too easy to stir up, based on promises of Islamic rule and Islamic justice and no little measure of self-rule as their own sovereign group.

After crossing the Tensipa*** in force (no hard task in the dry season) they had descended on the farms and larger taxable estates that the Spaniard had set up, the Villa network of self-sufficient agricultural manors. The refugees had once again fled north and west, clustering the cities as the Barghawata swarmed into their old homelands looking for revenge. It was the scale of the looting that had drawn Isidro south to halt their advance and halt them he did though it cost him over half his command. By the time Ramiro and Garcia arrived with the Banu Ifran lord, the Spanish army was demoralized and on the defensive waiting for an assault on the cities they new would come when the Barghawata regained their strength.

Ramiro had been horrified and with their berber allies, they’d marched south driving away the skirmishers across the Tensipa and launched a punitive expedition south to destroy them. Ramiro had been fierce, no quarter asked or given and it soon became clear that either the Barghawata would destroy the Spaniards or they would destroy the Barghawata. The campaign through the mountains had been difficult and costly for both sides but the Barghawata knew that if the Spaniard got out into the open country they were beaten and so this battle at the edge of the mountains.

-----------------------------------------

But things were not looking well for them as their forces, so small now formed around Garcia and the Barghawata were closing in, their forces a shield for their archers. As the arrows began to fall like rain among the Spaniards Garcia began to prepare the men for a charge, a last try to break the enemy line. Most of the men knew as well as he did that the attempt would be hopeless but it had to be made and so he gave the order and they charged forward.

The Barghawata drew back some maximizing the time their archers could fire into the enemy but soon it was their turn to charge the weakening Spaniards. The clash was still great as the Spanish were all equipped with the long cavalry spears that made their attacks more effective. They trust them up and over the enemy defenses as best they could but Garcia could feel the army being pushed back….

…and then it was the Barghawata who were broken for the national banner appeared behind them and leading the Spaniards and the Banu Ifran was Prince Ramiro who crushed them against Garcia’s men in a bloody battle of annihilation.

--------------------------------

*Banu Ifran have taken Sijilmasa as their capital ITTL
**Battles meaning “battle group” here.
***OTL Tensift
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Old July 9th, 2009, 08:31 PM
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Consulate War X

ARRAMAN, AD 811

“There, try it out now,” she told him. Ramiro Arraman de Cordoba winced and she tested the dressing one last time to make sure of it before settling back on her heels and looking at the prince. “I don’t believe it can be any better absent time.”

“Well I thank you Samira,” the prince replied. “It’s funny actually. I avoided injury throughout the campaign and now I get hacked at in a last stand skirmish.”

“Last stands do that to men,” Samira said daring a little smile at him.

“But it’s not the last stand for Spaña thankfully.”

“So the Emir Idris, he has conceded?” she asked hopefully. Perhaps at last the killing would end and he skills could be put to better use.

“The destruction of the Barghawata forced him to the table, with their fall it is a stalemate--”

“--and no profit to either side, and so a truce,” Samira finished. Ramiro nodded pleased at her wit then cast a glance at the tent‘s entrance--a silk tent--then looked at her as if he was weighing her.

“It does not sit well with me to exterminate an entire people like that. The survivors will be dispersed throughout the kingdom, their women will be taken by the Sardino-Corsicans, and within a few generations their name will be forgotten, almost as if they’d never been.”

“But had you failed it may be that Spaniards would be the ones forgotten. Idris would have hoped as much.”

“Of course it was them or me. But even animals fight then, and that doesn’t make it much better.”

“Those decisions are what makes a King though,” she said to him. She was compassionate as well but she’d seen time and again that a king could not always afford to act as a just man. He nodded troubled but did not add what she’d hoped, so she added it for him. “But a the king should remain a just man when not making those decisions.” He cast her a grateful look and she involuntarily lowered her gaze to her knees letting her straight black hair cover her face.

“Samira, Garcia and Isidro are staying behind to oversee the treaty. But will your father come north with us? With the news out of the Frankish realm we may be able to finally end this rebellion once and for all and I’m eager to meet this Count Aldric. I swear Eder Abbaran’s head will go up on a pike for me to waive it.”

“See, you are doing it already,” she observed and he had the grace to look abashed. “I… can’t say for certain. But I think he will. This war has seen us tied even more tightly to your kingdom. It is not the most pleasant thing but Idris would have been worse for us.” She meant her family not necessarily her people but he did not need to know that.

“I have…. enjoyed talking to you during this campaign,” Ramiro told her. “Your advice--and your father’s of course--has proved well in securing our hold on the country side. And you suggested Arraman. You have no attachment to the power games that the Spanish lords play and your own agenda with your family is clear enough. I will not forget the lords of Sijilmasa.”

Samira didn’t move but watched his face carefully for clues. Was it clear? She rather thought not and he had not revealed it just now. But for her watchfulness she was still surprised with what he came out with next.

“I would … value your speech in the north.”

Interesting. When flustered he grew more stiltedly formal. She blushed--prettily she hoped, but gave the only answer she could. “It would be up to my father to determine that. But we must remain in Arraman for the time being.”

“Of course, to set it up. Well Garcia and his architects will help with that, he has men eager to try out all the techniques that have wanted. And a central location in the region is the best place as any. Perhaps it‘s arrogance to name it after our family.”

“Spaña is yours and your family’s, why would it be? Don’t let it change you and it will be well Prince Ramiro. Besides it didn‘t even occur to you until Garcia brought up his own family‘s experience so how worried should you really be--you certainly thought you earned it.” He was a good man she thought, but his doubts needed to be discussed and then quietly and efficiently dealt with. But he was not a fool and had shown before he could detect overt manipulation. He would need someone subtle.

“I’ll try not to. Your presence to stick pins into me at times has certainly helped with that. I’d hope that continues in the north.”

“Well, maybe it will,” she conceded.

“I suppose that is all I can expect,” he shrugged. “But mark me Samira, this will be the end. Either Eder Abbaran and the rebels are broken or we will be and we won’t be broken. I hope you hear about it if you can‘t see it.” He smiled, a broad happy thing that should have looked out of place on his normally serious face but just struck her as enjoyable and she liked that he directed it at her.

“I am sure I will,” she demurred.

But she’d already decided, and her father would not need any convincing. So when Ramiro crossed the Strait, a strong contingent of the Banu Ifran went with them, and among them was the Emir’s daughter.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 11:16 PM
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Consulate War X

SOMEWHERE IN NORTHEASTERN SPAIN AD 812

Samira felt a shiver run through her and pulled her shawl closer around her head as she hurried to his cream colored tent, still silk. Her heard was beating so quickly she could feel the pounding in her ears but outside his tent she forced herself to calm not caring that it was in front of the guards. After all this time they were looking at her, waiting as they’d got used to her ways and did not attempt to insult her. Finally she nodded and one stepped in to announce her briefly before turning back to his post. She took a step forward but to her surprise he stopped her.

“Bring him out, Lady,” was all the man said. She nodded, but hated him a little for piling more pressure on her.

It was dark inside the tent, the inside lined with darker weavings to block out muffle the outside world. It was a large tent, but not of a size fit for a king, that would have to change.

“My prince, are you here? Ramiro…” She saw him sprawled on the floor at the back amid the cushions, still dressed in the under-clothes he’d worn that morning under his armor. The armor itself lay in a careless pile except for a pair of studded leather gauntlets that were thrown against an opposite wall. He was still blood and dirt all over except for the tracks the tears made on his cheeks. Her heart ached for him. “….Oh, beloved.”

Samira knelt beside him, and gently maneuvered his head into her lap. She stroked the hair back from his brow and then he finally opened his eyes to look up at her.

“In my arms. He was in my arms. All because of me.”

Was he ready to talk? He had to be.

“Tell me.” He looked up at her bleakly. “Please habibi,” she whispered. “You’ve let me stay by your side on the way north, and through the meetings with the Franks, and through your campaign. Don’t shut me out, not now.” He needed her, that much was clear.

“You were there when my forces set out from Alcazar Corazon to meet my father’s from Valencia. There had been heavy fighting before I came north but we saw our chance with Frankish successes at Metz and points south.”

“That man, that Aldric.”

“Right, the victor at Dijon and Bourges. He’d been pressing the rebels so hard they had little to throw against us. But we had to face Idris. But now… It was just a skirmish Samira.” He turned his head into her lap and spoke to the tent wall. “It didn’t matter at all, Teruel would not have changed hands no matter what happened. But I am alone….”

“Not alone,” she whispered to him at the same moment as he said

“…but for you. What do I do? Everyone knows I failed in the north before going south and they don‘t trust me enough to follow me. There are rumors that I should be deposed and Amir Peres put in my place.”

“They are only that, we can have them investigated.”

“No, Amir himself is loyal he wants only to return home and he himself has hanged several men. But I will watch him. It will do no harm and I cannot face rebellion as father did. I am… I am Consul of Rome now, or will be if I can ever get to Rome to be anointed.”

“A victory would cement them to you.”

“But we are exhausted. A decade. I was still a boy when this began. The Franks are exhausted as well. We hear rumors of famine up north and I can only hope they are false. We do not have much in us…. But neither do the rebels.”

He sat up now facing her. He was starting to get that look in his eye, ideas running through his mind too fast for her own to keep up with for long. She’d learned his moods well in the last year while he’d learned about her. Still she knew what was called for.

“Then make this the final blow. If neither the Spaniards, Franks or Rebels can strike many more than you can break them here and now. End this as your father didn’t. As your father could not.”

He stared at her. “Zaragoza.” It wasn’t a question. She only nodded.

“It would keep them into the mountains, deprive them of land in our Kingdom to mount a serious attack. We can strengthen ourselves and strike later.”

She smiled at him, one she made wide and bright. Carefully, she thought, he can do this but he has to come to it himself. But she judged, now was time to push.

“It doesn’t matter, your consulate,“ she said to him. Leaning toward him so that her hair fell around his face she looked into his eyes. “You are the King of the Spaniards, beloved, do not le me be discouraged.” He kissed her, and she luxuriated in it for a moment before she broke away. He nodded and as he left the tent he was already shouting for his captains.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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Last edited by MNP; July 14th, 2009 at 06:31 AM..
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Old July 11th, 2009, 12:27 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is online now
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Can we have something written as pure timeline please? I find it difficult to read and understand when it's all done as a story.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 05:43 AM
Tarchon Tarchon is offline
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I love this timeline, but I'll second the sentiments of our last poster... A TL-style recap would be nice once you finish this round of wars, just for those of us who don't have the time to read every word of your (generally quite well crafted) prose.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:47 AM
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Consulate War XI

A/N: Thank you for sticking with me.

In a war marked by defensive victories and difficulties for both Consuls, the Zaragoza Campaign of 812 stands out. For once both the Franks and the Spaniards were able to work together against the rebels, largely due to the naval control the Spaniards’ navy obtained after the treaty with Idris II. The coordinated attack south by the Franks under Duke Owain of Brittany began shortly before the Spanian Zaragoza Campaign led by Prince Ramiro, disdaining the Kingship until the end of the war. Pressed on both sides the rebels had to choose who to face and in the end King Pepin’s forces were led by Eder Abbaran against the Franks. The Battle of Limoges was one of the bloodiest battles of the war with an astonishing number of men falling on both sides. In the end, one of Duke Owain’s field commanders, Count Aldric was instrumental in securing the defeat of Eder Abbarran.

In the south, the Spaniards conquered much of the regions around Zaragoza and the campaign culminated in the storming of the city before any rebel troops could arrive to reinforce it. Most of the city was put the sword as the heart of the disloyalty that began the war and was considered conquered instead of regained. Zaragoza itself became the capital of the Military March of Aragon created by King Ramiro I of Spania, for it was in Zaragoza that Ramiro was crowned after his victory there.

The Battle of Limoges and Conquest of Zaragoza occurring within a week of each other also signaled the end of the Consulate War. Both the Franks and Spaniards were exhausted and King Pepin’s allies were near collapse. The three Kings met in Narbonne where Martinus and Ramiro recognized Pepin as King of Pirenus, the realm that the rebel lands constituted.

Timeline during the Consulate War

801:
--Salamon and Charles are anointed Consuls of Rome
--Harun al-Rashid invades Byzantine Empire
802:
--Siege of Toledo by rebels under Prince Jon
--Charles wins the Battle of Pavia but is ill in Augsburg, Martinus takes control of the Franks
803:
--Fall of Metz
--Charles emerges and defeats Bavarians
--Defeat of Spanish rebels at Guardiana R.
--Siege of Valencia by rebels
804:
--Sack of Iconium by Caliphate
--Battle of Rheims won by Charles
--Lombard Italy defends the Alpine passes from Frankish invasion
--Siege of Toledo ends, Toledo burned to the ground.
805:
--Fall of Dijon to Charles (and other cities) as he heads west
--Battle of Salamanca results in reduced rebel raids
806:
--Fall of Borges and Poitiers to Charles
--Galician Campaign fails for Salamon
--Second Battle of Iconium
--Saxons complete the conquest of the Welsh some sail to Brettony but most are ruled by the Saxons
807:
--Fall of Ravenna to Lombards
--Idris II invades Maghreb conquering Tafna, Tlemcen, and Maura killing the Maghreb governor
--Siege of Taza begins
--Eder Abbaran draws Charles at the battle of Bordeux
--Viking attacks begin in earnest in north Francia
808:
--Charles I dies from illness, Martinus I becomes King of the Franks (but not Consul)
--Krum and Harun al-Rashid agree on a truce
--Lucas of Lisbon arrives in the Maghreb and Idris withdraws from Taza
--Idris and Lucas clash several times around Sijilmasa the capital of the Banu Ifran
--Aldric of Beauvais leaves his wife Gisella and is sent on raids south of Poitiers
809:
--Aldric turns east in his raids and rises in status
--Martinus I concerns himself with beating back Viking attacks in the north
--Idris and Lucas continue their battles in the south
--Aleksander (son of Krum and a Greek Isaurian noblewoman) marries Theophano a niece of Irene I.
--Siege of Mersa is broken
--Siege of Melilla is broken
--Rebellions in Syria and Egypt occupy Harun al-Rashid
810:
--Empress Marozia and Musel Amatuni rebel against Krum and Irene
--Ramiro arrives in Melilla, when he arrives in Taza he meets Samira the daughter of the Emir of Sijilmasa
--Barghawata attack the Spaniards due to Idrisid overtures
--In return for greater autonomy, the Duke of Brittany aids the Franks more
--Second Battle of Metz
811:
--Ramiro crushes the Barghawata ending them as a people at the Battle of Tensipa R.
--Aldric of Beauvais, distinguishes himself recapturing parts of Frankish territory
--Idris II signs a treaty with the Spaniards
--Ramiro heads north to assist his father with his Banu Ifran allies and Samira
812:
--King Salamon of Spania is killed in a small skirmish near Teruel
--Ramiro disdains the crown and instead leads all the Spaniard forces against the rebels in the Zaragoza Campaign, with him are Amir Peres and Lucas of Lisbon.
--Eder Abbaran and the Spaniard Rebels swear to Peppin the Frank creating the Kingdom of Pirenus
--Conquest of Zaragoza and adjacent lands from the rebels
--During the fall of Zaragoza, Eder Abbarran battles Duke Owain of Brittany and Aldric of Beauvais at the Battle of Limoges it is the first time he has lost a battle but the Franks are exhausted due to the pyrrhic victory that Aldric helped them win
--Treaty of Narbonne (812) ends the consulate war
--Ramiro crowned King of Spania (but not Consul)
--Pope Paul II raised in Rome

WESTERN WORLD 812 AD
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Old July 12th, 2009, 08:24 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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where did the name 'Pirenus' come from? Is that a latinate '-us' ending, and if so, why?
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Old July 12th, 2009, 08:29 PM
8Deer 8Deer is offline
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Great map. I've only read the beginning of this TL so I'm going to have to catch up so I know whats going on.
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  #71  
Old July 12th, 2009, 10:01 PM
Milarqui Milarqui is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dathi THorfinnsson View Post
where did the name 'Pirenus' come from? Is that a latinate '-us' ending, and if so, why?
The Pyrenees, in Spanish, are called "Los Pirineos".

As for the timeline, I find it a very interesting approach to the Reconquista, and hope that it goes on till a very forward point in the future. (The Discovery of America by 1400?)
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  #72  
Old July 13th, 2009, 12:12 AM
Hecatee Hecatee is online now
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I discovered this timeline a few hours ago and have been reading it since with great delight for it is a well cafted and very nice tale that you give us here. There are quite a lot of typing mistakes but it's not that much of a problem, the story can still be read without too much troubles.
I was quite interested to see the new innovations suggested by the engineers of governor Garcia, i'm curious to learn what the mills will be used for, especially metalurgy-wise (but also for the various other uses of the technology).
Could you also give some more details on what parts of the ancient litterature greco-roman are being saved that were lost in our reality ?
In any case thank you for this pleasant reading !
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Old July 13th, 2009, 09:29 AM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is online now
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I am enjoying the current narration style and would put my vote for occasional time lines rather than a change to time line style
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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WBtW

After the Consulate War Part I: The East 810-830

The Emperor Alexander (b. 793) was not by nature a narrow-minded man. From the letters exchanged between himself and his young empress, Theophano, it was clear the son of Krum the Bulgar was no barbarian and a thoughtful man even for a Greek. When Irene of Athens died in AD 813, there were no objections to his acension even if there was some grumbling about his official stance as an iconodule. While Krum himself could never ascend the throne he remained as Alexander's Caesar and while he lived Alexander was under his father's thumb. This Theophano resented and it was suspected that she had something to do with the death of the old Caesar 2 years after Irene. But there was no time for investigation for once more the Empire was engulfed in civil war.

Thus for the first part of his reign Alexander was occupied in the eastern reaches of Anatolia battling the widowed empress Marozia and her chosen champion, Musel Amatuni from Armenia. After the third Armenian uprising (not joined by the Bagration family) was crushed by the Caliphate, many Armenian nobles had fled to the border regions with the Byzantine Empire to seek safety. Musel was the leader of these at the time and the only force Marozia could turn to, her own people and the entire west being exhausted from the decade of the Consulate War. For a few years the rebels in the east had free reign supported some said by Caliph Harun. Regardless it had taken some time for Alexander to bring his forces to bear and when he did they were not as effective as he'd hoped.

In Italy things were deteriorating for the empire. In Apulia, the Greek presence had been forcably expunded by the Lombards at the point of a sword during the war with the caliph. Ravenna (and Venice) had fallen a short while later at the opening of the civil war. Sicily was being conquered by the Ahmarids of Tunisia.

The civil war itself was brutal beyond all measure as in addition to those who sided with the daugher of Constantine VI, were ranged the forces of iconoclasm. Alexander was not as good a general as his father and he made up for it in brutality to the populace. By the time the civil war ended with the rebel leaders' heads on pikes (including Marozia AND her daughter's) above Caeserea, vast stretches of eastern Anatolia were depopulated. Wilderness, banditry and fallow land were the order of the day there. He was saved from further troubles by the death of Harun in 822. After pacifying the whole of the western realm he had settled in Baghdad in 811 and spent his remaining years building up his realm into magnificant splendor as was shoen in the gifts had sent to King Ramiro of Spania after his ascension, including a baby white elephant named Abul Abbas II. While his armies were tired from the long war against the Empire and the rebellions he'd put down, Harun used his reserves to fund the rebels and still had more than enough left over to enrich Baghdad and by the time the rebels were dealt with Harun's empire was once again growing strong.

That was the situation when Alexander was faced with the problem of Italy but in this his background proved decisive. While Emperor of Byzantium he was not as Greek as his outward appearance and had inherited a practical mind constantly strengthened by his wife Theophano who after Irene's death, showed she cared nothing for legacy and everything for practical results. This combination led him to make a difficult decision: he cared little for the Italian ancestoral lands, though many of his subjects might believe otherwise for themselves. The had proved themselves far more trouble than they were worth, compared to Anatolia which fully manned could produce many soldiers and much produce to tax.

So in 821 there began a very unpopular movement of people initiated by Alexander in concert with King Bernardo of Italy*. Greeks were forcibly removed from all parts of Italy and settled in eastern Anatolia with government stipends to assist them in making the land productive. The only exception was Sicily which Alexander fortified and intended to fully invest as a western naval base. Even greeks from Thessaly and the surrounding environs were taken. This as may be assumed, did not go over well. The emperor had to take extreme measures to make sure the new settlers simply did not flee back west or turn to banditry themselves and it proved a drain on his resources. That he did not face open revolt was a testament to what the war against the Caliphate and then the revolt itself had cost the empire: the armies were simply to exhausted to revolt again, not with the brutal example he had set. So too, the Bulgars and other slavs that Krum had added to the empire were solidly behind them and they formed over half of the European armies of the Empire. Slowly and at the cost of mainland Italy and the goodwill of his subjects, Alexander began to solidify Imperial control of eastern Anatolia.

This he had time to do for after Harun's death the Caliphate was split. Harun's son Abd Ar-Rahim (partially named for Abd Ar-Rahman, or Araman of Spania) proved to be a weak ruler. For after he came to power, one of his generals, a Persian, became prominent in supressing revolts led by Ar-Rahim's brothers when he rose to the position of Caliph. For this the general recieved lands in the east (a mistake on Ar-Rahim's part) and from the east he challenged the power of the Caliph. In 829, he declared himself Reza Azad and proclaimed that he was to restore to the Persians the glory that was righfully theirs and the correct form of Islam (a form of Shi'ism) and launched a war against Abd Ar-Rahim.

Among the grievances Reza Azad cited was the close relationship of Harun al-Rashid and his family with Spania, the royal line of which had come from Abd Ar-Rahman the traitor.**

______________________________

*the Lombard system of governance eventually settled on a Senate of various dukes that elected one of their number king, I've worked out the system in torturous detail in my notes but I won't dwell on it in the TL
**And so, another butterfly from Abd Ar-Rahman becoming a Christian flutters by

A/N: Don't worry the timeline was to summarize the war after all that prose! We're sticking with narrative. The next post should take us back to Spania to find out how Ramiro is ruling... unless of course people would rather see what happens with Persia, the Caliphate and the Byzantines.
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  #75  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:36 PM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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I can't see the peace in the west lasting very long, that's a lot of valuable land, including the Spaniard "heartland" (Asturias) and the entire Frankish Mediterranean coast, which they spent several years (decades?) conquering. The best I could see happening for Pirenus is being reduced to the territory that was co-ruled around Zaragoza again.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 07:37 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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A/N: Warning this post has a lot of “social” type stuff. The next post will be a Garcia Maura POV that will be a little less dry I hope, and deal with the more technological changes (and there are a few... just a few so far).

After the Consulate War Part II: Iberian Spaña Under Ramiro I

King Ramiro’s reign brought increasing changes to Spaña. During the war most of the trade and political connections with the east had been severed, but after Idris II made peace re-establishing those links was a priority of Ramiro. Harun al-Rashid was not reluctant to help after all, being in some measure pleased that his benefactor’s son had managed to secure his throne even if in reduced form and so encouraged and allowed more interaction with the Kingdom de Spaña than he would have with anyone else. The routes actually traveled more by land as the Byzantine Emperor while not unfriendly to Spaña, was becoming a competitor.

The links with the Caliph might have been a priority for the king but he was unable to personally enjoy the fruits of the trade, except for one thing: books. Works both from the Greeks and Romans and original Arab works were sent to Spaña, about as much as Ramiro could get his hands on with his personal wealth. It didn’t matter the subject, Ramiro ordered as many as could be had aiming to bring up his library to the standards set by Constantinople and Baghdad. While the focus was more on practical works (military and agricultural manuals and the like) a not inconsiderable number of philosophic and artistic works were also sent to the King and as he and his beloved Samira read through them (and this was her particular task) they began to change the composition of the kingdom.

Large parts of the kingdom were devastated and many of the larger cities near the border with King Pepin saw an exodus back to the country side as they were unable to be supplied due to the local devastation. Ramiro mitigated this some by repairing the Roman roads in the region (a relatively minor undertaking) and creating new arteries from those roads (a much more difficult prospect). Ramiro’s building program in general was expansive and extensive--the central projects of the program were the rebuilding of Toledo and Zaragoza, the fortification of the Ebro, and the continuation of the structure north and east of Toledo, Alcazar de Corazon located on the Manzanares River where the Toledans had set up their refugee camp during the war. Of a lesser priority was the city of Araman in the southern Maghreb. As Luz was for the northern regions, Araman would be for the south and would serve as the heart of expansion south of the mountains--when they had the time and money for it.

Ramiro was a very different kind of king, and under him the country took the first steps on a program that would end with it in a very different place than most of the other kingdoms of Europe. Ramiro is remembered chiefly for 2 major reforms: the land, and the military.

The military performance of the Spaniards had embarrassed Ramiro. He was no general himself but being beaten or tricked again and again by the admittedly brilliant Eder Abbaran had in large part resulted in the success of the rebels in the south. Thus he slowly proceeded to reorganize the way the Spaniards raised and led armies inspired both by the military methods of the past, the philosophic arguments and his own experiences. For now on that score let it be said that Alcazar de Corazon was more than fortress, it became a school for military officers and designated as the heart of the military of the kingdom, the center for organization, training and planning for the land forces.

The creation of a trained officer corps was only made possible due to the land reforms implemented. The war had been harsh, devastating and the aristocracy had suffered accordingly. Many of the old nobles had sided with King Pepin, others had fallen in the early days before King Salamon could organize the war properly. Other officials were created more in the Arab style, not necessarily noblemen but men of power or ability designated as urban governors in a system of cities as hubs. Neither system was ideal but the deaths of so many of them presented Ramiro with an opportunity.

It took all of his reign and some of his son’s to implement, but the end result was something rather unique: land was assessed based on its potential productivity both in military terms and financial. It was also re-distributed in a way that incensed many of the nobility, a limited of size was imposed. It was not a strict limit and could vary but it’s primary goal was to ensure that the plots of land owned were enough to support the tenants, and to provide for extra-subsistence income. In this Ramiro followed a more Arab model in that he focused on providing incentives* for the small holders to work their own land. By the end of Ramiro’s reign, exports of produce were the norm and Spaña was supplying much of Western Europe with Citrus, olive oil and wine, often in direct competition with Italy. While the individuals were permitted to reap the benefits of this trade, the state in return for it’s own expenses levied duties progressively on the exports. Grain continued to be a problem as some of the more productive grain regions (around Salamanca) were in the disputed areas between Spaña and the Pirenus.**

The disputes arose because despite the treaty of Narbonne, the border between the kingdoms was affected through migration and defection, though this was almost always one-way with Pireneon (aka Pepinid) nobles defecting to the Spaniards. Some of these defected back because of the further reductions in their actual power but others found the new tasks Ramiro designated for the nobility*** more to their liking.

------------------------------

*This was achieved by means of an extensive irrigation system created by the Crown, and crop rotation based on systemic observation (what crops grew best when and where), limited amounts of free seeds, and historical records as well as a system of loans primarily administered through the Jewish population. A system was also put into place to establish a record of the weather to try and discern patterns but was only marginally successful at this time.

**The accepted name of this kingdom in Spanian or Spañan (but that looks odd), TTL’s version of Spanish--similar but with more French and Beber words and a few extra twists (mostly when I think a slight change in a word sounds cooler than the Spanish/Arabic/Berber/French word for it).

***He made them more administrations than warriors, it goes along with the military reforms, nobles don’t lead armies anymore, they simply help finance them. At least, that’s Ramiro’s goal though it doesn’t always quite work out that way

------------------------------

@minifidel: You are right. It turned out to be an inherently unstable situation when I plotted out past 812.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:19 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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Still trying out different Narrative Styles

Note: Words with * after them are noted in the second post that immediately follows this one.

After the Consulate War Part III: Scenes from Two Lives

Araman, AD 814

Garcia Maura carefully pushed his seal into the wax and was pleased with the impression it made. Getting it just right was not the easiest thing in the world. The order itself was approving the construction of a new smelting mill on one of the few rivers that were constant down in the southern Maghreb. While more prevalent across the Strait, they were even more valuable here and he’d kept them busy turning out scythes (based on Roman designs in imported documents) as well as other metal farming and landscaping implements, particularly those for fashioning stone and for digging. The Arab inventors were as good as their word, they’d hooked the waterwheel into a regulated bellows whose steady process had enabled the smiths in their mill to be able to turn out much more uniform metal, in fact blades that were steel (instead of iron wrapped in steel) were now much more common though still quite rare. Looking through the set of summary of requests he saw that an update on the irrigation project was in the offing for the after noon and reminded himself to see to viability of growing more cereals in the south once that project was more advanced.

As he got up to go get something to eat (he could have had had a tray delivered to him but preferred not to spend every second working) he reminded himself to draft a letter to the King detailing the request for the opening of several quarries in the mountains to the south and east, and if he was lucky he would be able to deliver a positive answer to the pretty daughter Maryem of the Berber who’d made the request….

Alcazar Corazon, AD 815

Samira bint Ziri carefully studied the ground in front of her, and was pleased. The date palms there seemed to have taken firm root and she was more than pleased that having proven themselves in the drier lands near her home, they would also flourish here with proper care. Date wine was somewhat more sweet than the grapes but there were many tastes in the world.

Some of the soldiers not on duty were glancing at her after coming back from their training. She wondered if they were thinking negative thoughts about her. Ramiro had not married, she did not believe he would marry, not while she lived. She even understood why, a legitimate wife could provide a legitimate heir, and he was not interested in an heir that was not also her son.

It was always a delicate balancing act to go out to examine the kingdom she had more or less come to be responsible for since she’d fallen in love. Too much and people would talk, too little and she felt stultified even with the vast amounts of books Ramiro ordered for her from the east. Most were on paper, which meant they were expensive. She’d have to remember to ask him to found a paper making enterprise in the kingdom to produce copies of the works for more widespread consumption. She hoped she remembered, she was becoming absent minded of late thanks to the slowly growing bulge below her waistline. It seemed so much bigger than other women’s….

Sela, AD 817


Garcia surveyed the damage grimly, the burning docks and wreckage of several dromon in the harbor as well as the bodies bobbing facedown gently in the waves. The Maritime Watch had fought well and sold themselves dearly. They’d bought time for the town proper to organize their defense and saved lives and property--the raiders had only gotten away with some limited cargoes, though unfortunately citrus, which meant they could sail for God-knew-how-long attacking where they would. The reports he’d heard had been that they were the same light-colored men with shields and axes and swords that had plagued Pirenus and Francia in the proceeding years. So far they’d only dared a few raids in Spaña proper but now these Northmen had seized several much of north Britain and their attacks had only intensified. The wide-spread nature of the assaults was stunning, the entire northern cost line could be struck at any time. The one good thing was that King Ogier of Denmark had managed to bring his own unruly vassals under control after being threatened with war by King Martinus and some petty princes in Britain and had even sent a few expeditions to some of those nearer him to cool their ardor.

Still it seemed that the Northmen would trouble them sometime but perhaps they could still get the situation under control before the reign of Ramiro’s son. Or if he died, the man whom his daughter wed.

Sijilmasa, AD 820


Samira was settled comfortable on the cushions but rose quickly and smoothly when her father Ziri entered the room after being announced by one of the slaves. She went to him, and they embraced warmly.

“Father! I am so glad to see you again,” she gushed. It was true, she was eager.

“As am I,” Ziri responded. “If only you’d brought little Rolando or Aiza with you.”

“Aiza has come with me,” Samira responded. “When she heard I was coming she declared she wanted to see the terraces and we could not dissuade her. Ramiro says maybe she should be the one to succeed him.”

Ziri laughed. “Yes they have worked out rather well for us, once the irrigation was in place. Our yields have increased quite bit. I hear they are talking of beginning to plant wheat up north?”

He meant north of the mountains, not on Iberia itself. She nodded, “There is water enough for us to do it in a rotation. The test fields seemed very indicative of that.” That idea had been hard for her and Ramiro to push on the farmers who had volunteered (thanks to generous subsidies) to test the crops but there was talk of applying it to other things, like medicine which sounded rather exciting…. Lost in thought momentarily (even before becoming a mother she had occasionally drifted off in thought on some idea) she realized her father was talking.

“Bah, but why should I take up your time in boring implements of state?”

“It’s not boring father,” Samira smiled. “A woman should concern herself with the feeding and health of all those she is responsible for.”

“Well, let’s go outside and find Aiza shall we? And I can show you the terraces myself. I am rather proud of them after all!”

Melilla, AD 824

Garcia carefully slid an arm around Maryem to steady her against the wind. It was sharp today and since she’d started to show, he found himself being more cautious about what she experienced though it annoyed her. She would constantly chide him that he’d never been that way with their daughters but perhaps that was why they had ended up daughters? Well no matter.

While he was not scheduled to take over in rotation in Melilla until the next year when the news had come that Pope Paul II was sending envoys to examine the state of religion in Spaña, Ramiro had wanted his most trusted subordinate in Africa to be the one to greet him. Garcia privately suspected that it was Pirenus that had cast aspersions on the religious practices of Spaña but it could not be helped and their efforts at blending the Arab and Islamic culture with that of the Christian regions and the Roman Rite would have been examined regardless.

The progress on that front had been pleasing to the King. Ramiro himself had no ill-will to either the Arabs, Berbers (Samira was a Berber obviously) or Islam and he continued to strengthen his friendship with Harun until both the Greek Emperor and King Pepin (more likely Eder Abbaran) had complained to the Pope, though in the Emperor’s case it was more like command to investigate. Still the Sardinian and Corsican settlers in the south had largely done what they had been intended to do and were busily making the newly conquered lands thoroughly theirs--the infrastructure for Islam in the region had been lacking and made the Christianization relatively rapid compared the lands east of Taza.

Surely the Pope would not condemn them? King Alboin had assured them he would use his influence. While a competitor in certain trade items, he had begun to use their connections to the Caliphate to bypass the Greek Emperor Alexander in their quiet struggle over the islands in the Adriatic, a struggle that King Alboin was winning only due to the civil war the Emperor was engaged in against Alboin’s aunt, Marozia.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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And now, Part III:B

Luz, AD 827

At the annual meeting that year at Luz that Garcia idly wondered how the quarries were doing. Last he’d heard they’d found an abundance of several types of icestone* which was pretty but not intensely useful though it provided some intricate artifacts for the markets. His ears perked up like his eldest son Manzor’s when hearing a story from Greek or Roman legend when the messenger from the King appeared in the hall. He’d spent the last few days acquainting himself with the situation in Mersa from the governor there and felt he had a fairly good grasp of what was occurring. The Spanian naval forces had really begun to shape well it appeared, and they were making good progress against continuing Northmen raids east of the strait.

As the King’s messenger began to read the King’s orders Garcia smiled. His suggestion had been taken: as the old empires and the Caliph had done, Ramiro was taking his increasingly literate population and hoping to cement the knowledge by creating an institution of higher learning in Cordoba. The price of this was relatively minor, all discoveries could be monopolized by the Crown for a set number of years after discovery but would be administered by the inventor and he would receive a part of the profits. Samira had really come through for him since he’d discussed it with her. Ramiro was beginning to balk at the expense and was worried about seditious writings, but when they’d pointed out that copying was done by hand and thus so labor intensive it would be difficult to spread, he’d been more open to it. Samira it appeared, had convinced him. The birth or her second son might have also had something to do with it.

It was when he was leaving the meeting that the word finally came from the Pope that the Mozarabic Rite had been approved in all the particulars dealing a blow to Pirenus. To make things even more acute for the rebels (as Garcia often thought of them) the message had been delivered on the paper marked as being made in Granada at the mill set up there in imitation of the one that the Caliph had established in Baghdad recently. That had been something Ramiro had been very eager to have and the King had curtailed his personal expenses mightily to make that come more quickly. It was said that even meals had been ordered to be made more cheaply. Samira would have been angry, Garcia believed, had she not been as desiring of a steady supply of paper as her lover. She was a great one for literacy and that meant a great many books were propagating around the kingdom right now, including basic grammar primers.

Garcia reminded himself to look into establishing one at Anafas which was his next posting for several of the materials that served to make paper were in ready supply there.

Seville, AD 830

Samira studied the threads of her hair in the mirror with consternation. She could not deny it, several gray threads were prominent in a streak. Ramiro said it swirled back from her temple “like a stream of starlight” but that was poetic bombast to hide a simple fact, she was getting older. And then there was the mirror. It was glass backed with metal and so tremendously heavy. But the metallurgists in Taza were not about to take time off from improving the quality of their scythes to deal with it. No, she might have better luck if she tried here at Seville with the mathematicians. Standing up she examined the shelf and noted the titles pulling out one labeled Calculation by Transposition and Reduction by some Persian bright light.

No! she thought angrily. She was drifting into knowledge again. It was fascinating but focus! You are getting older, Ramiro needs to remember why he loves you and not take a mistress! She refused to add “another” to that qualifier. She was his wife in all but name, prevented only by her religion. She studied herself in the mirror and had to admit that while she was not the woman Ramiro had met some 20 years ago she was not wizened like someone who had spent their lives out in the sandstorms. After four children she her waist was noticeably thicker than back then, but she still possessed a sleek figure, accented and shaped well by her clothing. Skin still soft, supple and healthy. She calmed. It would not be today that he would seek another.

So to work, even after she had asked the Seville mathematicians her question she still had to examine the rest of the school, one of several that had begun in the Kingdom. The system was young, but in the 3 years since he’d began it, Ramiro had put much resources behind it: the University of Grammar** in Cordoba was already well known throughout the west, the University of Luz focused on Metallurgy, Seville of Mathematics and the University of Araman (built to entice further migration to the newer lands) Agriculture. She was fairly sure it was Ramiro and not herself who had suggested that the Universities (from a latin word found in the imported Greek and Roman texts from the east) be organized by subject matter. They had been a tremendous drain on the kingdom’s resources but at least most of the population was literate now* and she had hopes that they would start making discoveries equal to Baghdad soon.

As she glided down the halls she would have to talk to Ramiro about trying to entice more Arab and Persian scholars to come to the realm. Muslims were not persecuted here the way they occasionally were in other Christian lands so perhaps they would consent….

Fentiside, AD 833

Garcia put the book he was reading, a fascinating annotated work of Julius Caeser’s campaigns in Gaul and rubbed his eyes by the olive oil lamp. He carefully took the lens he was using to assist his reading of the work and wrapped it in the scrap of silk it had come packaged in so that it would not scratch. The inventor, Fernando Abbas*** had been very clear in his note that scratching was one of the easier and most thorough ways to ruin the glass. Despite the arrogance this showed in a man far from 30, Garcia knew enough to obey the note and made sure the lens was stowed away carefully.

Leaning back in his chair he contemplated whether this was the year he would finally ask Ramiro to let him retire to his villa up the coast from Sela to enjoy a quite life by the ocean. The meeting coming up next year in Luz was looming and he was dreading it. The journey would not be too hard, not on the new road linking one of the usual crossing points of the Strait with the chief city of the Spanian Maghreb, but it was not easy.

But perhaps the King had hinted as much. He’d said he had a project for Garcia in his old age, one that would take him north of the Strait but not provide undue hardship. He’d thought, hoped anyway, that it was to become the first master of the new University of State Service. That would suit him well, telling young would-be administrators how to do the job he had done for so long. With more scholars fleeing the battles in the east each year, a surprising number of Muslims (almost all Sunni) were choosing to settle in Spana instead of Idris’s realm to the east with it’s rather austere under-pinings. Though Garcia had to admit, Idris was building a fine state and the niceties would come later, for he knew the history of Spaña.

Still they would provide a welcome staff for Spaña University**** and he was particularly pleased with another rather young man newly arrived from the east and willing to try his luck in a kingdom now long at peace and one that offered places of respect and power to Muslims despite being Christian overlords. He tried to remembered his name what was it now… Arkin? Abu Yusuf? Ar-Alkus? Well whatever his name was, the man was already making a name for himself only a few years past 30.

Garcia chuckled, perhaps he would end up feuding with Fernando Abbas.

Toledo, AD 835

Samira sat very still and pushed her hands against her belly. Tiny colors surrounded her vision through the tears, the light breaking up in the liquid. Silly to think of that now. She studied his face, lined and strong to her, though he had not been a warrior. It was peaceful now, not worried or upset as she’d often seen him these last yeas as Rolando grew to manhood. They’d chosen a name of a famous Frank to help make him more acceptable to the people but those worries lingered even now a generation after the war.

She knew what was happening, her mind was groping trying to skitter away from the knowledge in front of her and knifing through her. Behind her she could hear footsteps, the servants gone to fetch their family’s private physician Mosha but it was already too late and Mosha with his knowing eyes and calming voice would say as much.

But Samira was wrong, it was not the physician but their son Rolando who had come first.

“Mother I saw Fatima running in this heat and with such a look on her face and--” he stopped. He could see it now himself. He staggered next to her leaning heavily on her chair. Strange, she felt nothing. She could not comfort even her son, not yet. For in this moment he had to seize it alone, to make the decisions himself for in this his first moment, he had to be the King. And because he was the King, it was time for to let go and give up some of her responsibility and so it was that when Mosha and the others came to the room they found Samira bint Ziri weeping brokenly over the body of her lover.

August 20, AD 835: Ramiro I of Spaña died.

_____________________________

*Quartz
**I was struck in my research by the Arab passion for grammar and language studies (to better preserve and study the Koran in Arabic apparently) and this has passed on to the Semi-Mozarabic Spaña
***Abbas Ibn Fernas (but named a more “Spanian” name ITTL, just random luck he still appears)
****The entire system is called Spaña University and each town has the name tacked on to it, so Cordoba’s would be officially titled “Spaña University of Cordoba” for example
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
"The greatest tool for narrative is the world you create for it to exist in."

Last edited by MNP; July 17th, 2009 at 10:42 AM..
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:24 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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So, what do you think of the narrative style? I'll go back to more sweeping "history book" style stuff and more first person POV stuff (Rolando is not a POV character but others will be) in the future but after agonizing over this part for a while I decided the best way to tell it all and not have it be colossally dull was to do it this way.

Now it's just really dull.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
"The greatest tool for narrative is the world you create for it to exist in."
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Old July 18th, 2009, 08:21 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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A/N: Dull indeed.

Southwest of Magdeburg, AD 842

ALDRIC* tugged his sword free from the body of the leather-armored man and looked around. All around him similar scenes were playing out and he nodded, satisfied. Screams (female) and shouts (male) rang out near one of the buildings as several of his men appeared dragging some women out from where they’d been hiding. They were dressed in the shawls and brightly colored garments of any of the other Sorb girls around these parts and he dismissed them from his thoughts a moment later as one of his captains came up and gave him the report he wanted to hear--none escaped, all the men over 14 killed.

“Well then,” he said with a sigh “I will be in my tent while you commence the standard pacification operations.”

“You are allowing me my lord Duke?”

“You’ve proved yourself well Carloman. Now you can prove yourself some more.” A minor noble he had some talent. Besides it would assure him of someone friendly to him between two of his lands.

“Thank you gracious lord!” Carloman beamed. Aldric sighed. Talent, but did he have to be so damn eager? And young?

As he rode back to his camp outside the village he scanned the surroundings himself to make sure nothing had escaped his attention. Everything looked done properly and the time tested methods developed by King Charles on how to pacify a region were working here as well. It was hard to force himself to concentrate as his body ached from the morning's fighting.

After the Consulate War ended Aldric found himself in high esteem and several rebel lands he'd recovered had been added to his own. With his growing wealth had come new responsibilities to dispense largess befitting his new station--especially after Limoges. That battle still haunted his dreams sometimes and Gisella knew why he'd wake up sweating and shaking those nights. He knew now from his war experience as he had not then that Eder Abbaran had planned that battle so that any Frankish victory would be Pyrrhic. The butchery had been intentional. That experience had been gained a few years after the war. At first he'd been kept busy riding his new lands and bringing them under his protection. A few plots he'd sold off, a few others he'd gotten permission and agreement to trade so as to make his domains more contiguous for ease of administration and defense. Returning home to his rather attractive wife had been pleasant but other than his family he grew bored.

He need not have worried. King Martinus was not a bad man or a bad king, but the outcome of the civil war had not made him a trusted monarch and once the plunder from the rebels had been exhausted the nobility had needed constant reminders of who was in charge. Aldric had been one o the few who had stuck by the king throughout and he had profitted from it indeed enlarging his domains yet again. He'd also made a few enemies but several of those had been killed by the damned Vikings. Their raids had grown more severe with time and their assaults so quick that it was often too late to respond. But during the time he spent on the coast he'd managed to encounter three of their assaults in progress. The last not even on the coast 4 years ago. The Count of Paris had been in rebellion then and Aldric had just destroyed his forces and executed him when the Vikings attacked the town. That had been the biggest battle he'd fought in since Limoges and he'd prevented the sack of the city only just. In the end, the Viking leader Ragnar something or other had to settle for pillaging the surrounding countryside and retreated up river short several boats and boatloads of men.

Due to his service he'd been given Paris to add to the rest of his lands. They'd taken well to the man who saved their city of course, and that he was from Beauvais originally meant they felt some connection to him. In honor of that event he'd been named a Duke and had made Paris the seat of the dukedom. Gisella had needed no prompting to take to her new role with ease, and she had set about the monumental task of making Paris an attractive town.

With rebellion and Viking raids in Francia since the end of the war against the traitor Pepin, the kingdom was beginning to show the scars. Neither as populous or wealthy as it had been 50 years before, the Franks were somewhat put out as their Spanian allies grew in power. King Rolando was building a great cathedral in Cordoba, in the Arab style and made of all red stone. It was to celebrate his control of Galicia, obtained via dynastic manuevering and intrigue backed by the threat of force.

That evening as he sat down to make the final dispositions he was pleased at his recent actions. He'd been sent east under forces mostly not his own to conquer and pacify the Sorbs and he'd managed to do it when his predecessors had failed. The booty was nothing extravagant but his vassals would be reminded once again why they served him. After making sure all was in readiness he relaxed at last, calling for a young but all-too-willing girl who had a talent for massage. She probably hoped she could snare an old man's attention (for he was old, his body felt like it had been beaten with sticks after a fight) and perhaps he'd send her something pretty but desire fell off some with age.

He wondered again if it was time for him to pass on his lands to his sons and enter a monastery or even make a trip to the Holy City. He had 3 strong sons to follow him and all were capable. He would have to be careful when dividing up his lands so as not to tempt any of them to fight the others. Just because he had gained by being faithful did not mean his sons' paths would be the same. At least I have sons, he thought. He did not envy King Martinus whose sons and brothers were dead or a traitor as Pepin was. Pepin, who had outlived three kings and might even outlive his brother.

___________________________


A few days later just as he was beginning to feel himself again on his way back home a messenger reached him and handed him a sealed envelope. Unusually it was sealed by the other Dukes of the realm and the Cardinals** of Metz and Trier (normally fierce rivals). Opening it he found the missive in it on the finest Spanian paper. But then he read it. The sounds around him faded away, his entire world consisted of the words on the page and the himself. He read it through then again, carefully slowly.

“My Lord? Duke Aldric?” the messenger was waiting and he had to respond.

“I… will draft a reply and return directly. But don't wait for me, tell them, tell them I humbly acknowledge their decision. They will know what it means.”

That very hour he dispatched another messenger to his wife, hoping she was in Paris and not one of their other lands because she would be needed for this no matter her age. Their sons too, should be there but that would come later. Still he had to reach Metz and then Aachen and his hands trembled a little at the crown that awaited him there.

___________________________

*Sorry, ret-conning Aldric’s age to 23 in 808. His current age is now 57, an old man but still spry enough.
**At this time Cardinal usually means “priest attached to a very important church”
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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