Emperor Julien II
28th of August, 1360
After a wonderful dinner I went over to pray with my wife and courtiers. It had been a long day as I used my old cane to help me get back up. My gout has been gone for a few years now though I’ve still had to rely on my cane as my older weaker body struggled at times to move about. As I walked down the halls I took a gander at each of the portraits, tapestries, and sculptures of my predecessors. The Karling Kings and Emperors of France. I wonder how my actions will stack to theirs. My time Crusading against the Holy Roman Emperors, the land reforms and the amount of French blood spilled in all those civil wars and uprisings. It feels like truly ages ago. I’ve tried to make this Empire a better place, something more akin to the time of Augustus, something Charlemagne could be proud of. Will my legacy be the legendary warrior king I wanted to be in my youth? Or will it be that of a man who brought war, destruction, and despair to France? Or perhaps I will simply be remembered for my long reign. I have patronized chroniclers to record the reigns of me and my father, it is to be hoped that future generations will look on us kindly and I pray to not be forgotten to the ashes of time. I returned to my room tired and needing to rest. I laid in my bed taking a deep breath. Brandimena, my dear, I hope I haven’t made you too sad. Our son is alive and well, our grandchildren are healthy and doing well. I wish you could see all I’ve done while you were away. I close my eyes feeling a sinking feeling in my chest. I must rest. Tomorrow is another busy day.
Emperor Baudouin III
5th of September, 1360
I was working as a Chancellor for the Duke of Alsace when the news arrived of my fathers death. I was escorted quickly to Paris to attend the funeral in Notre Dame. The bells rang loudly before his body was taken to the catacombs below. I’d been crown prince for so many years now ever since my older brother Julien joined the priesthood. Why he wanted to give up the most powerful throne in the world is beyond me. Finally in a position of power able to live in lavish display. The first matter at hand was that of my coronation, I will write to Pope Sergius VI to come and crown me as Emperor. Then I must take care of the nobility with lavish gifts and gestures. Hopefully be able to buy their continued loyalty during this transition of power.
7th of November, 1360
During the month long celebrations I looked about the halls of feasting nobility including Kings from across Europe. I decided this was a good chance to make an impression “If I could have everyone’s attention…” as the room quieted I began delivering a speech thanking them all for coming. “It is a great honor and privilege to be able to serve France as her Emperor. As I accept this crown I wish to bring prosperity to my subjects and to this Empire.” as the speech went on I think I won over the audiences. Shortly afterwards was the ceremony itself. Pope Sergius VI held up the crown as he began a prayer in Latin. I approached before kneeling before him. “I name you Emperor Baudouin III of France, King of Navarra, of Brittany, of Arles, of Lotharingia. Protector of Christendom and Emperor of the Romans.” as I felt the crown upon my brow I rose up and turned to the crowd of subjects as they cheered and applauded. I smiled to them all scepter and crossed orb in hand before handing them back to his Holiness and sitting upon my throne. The party resumed as I watched over them with joy and honor.
5th of May, 1361
After some revelry and enjoying the celebrations surrounding my coronation it is time to get to work. The Aftasids ruling Andalusia have been caught up in a massive civil war for a number of years now and its resulted in some territorial split in their lands. Either way the infidels are weak. I want to secure domination over the western Mediterranean and Atlantic trade. The best way to do this is by collecting my rightful tribute from them. After all as infidels they would be honored and lucky to be spared, its a miracle that my forefathers haven’t invaded them yet. Ruling territory beyond the Pyrenees and Navarra would be difficult to maintain, but tribute and recognition of me as their suzerain and sovereign, that would suffice. Not to mention it will keep the Italians and Germans out of the region and keep it firmly under our influence. I send out the ultimatum and call for the levies to be raised. As my horse is saddled I prepare to lead the charge into war.
27th of August, 1361
As we arrive in Zaragoza we recruit some local Christians to help guide us during the war. In many ways this is my own crusade. If the Aftasid Sultan is sworn under me as a tributary then he will have knelt to Christendom itself. I will ensure the advancement of Christian influence in the region. As we set up for the siege we’ve received no reports of their own armies, and that is concerning. Though word did arrive that Pope Sergius VI has announced support for this war and has decided to beatify my father thus naming him as ‘Blessed’ Julien II. Only the second French monarch to have that honor bestowed onto them since Blessed Charles the Apostle who founded the French Empire. Truly a great honor to be his son and surely this will convinced the Lord to grant me his blessing in judgement.
31st of January, 1362
After only a few months Zaragoza had fallen and reports were coming in of Barcelona and much of the eastern Coast falling to sieges a well as lands just west of Navarra. With sieges succeeding in every regard the Andalusian army appears to be, based on my scouts, only 8 thousand in size. Pathetic. That is until a letter arrived from the Sultan as one of my translators spoke up to me “It seems Sultan Raf is willing to surrender without any battles. The sieges and show of force was enough, your grace.” I accepted the surrender and dictated the terms be sent to the Sultan. He will pay me my tribute and effectively be my vassal for as long as I am alive. We march home back to Paris. A military success with almost no bloodshed whatsoever. Truly a glorious way to kick off my reign.
4th of August, 1363
After intense efforts and the death of Pope Sergius VI, the Papacy is under French influence. A French Pope and the College is dominated by French Bishops. It’s without surprise when the newly appointed Pope Marinus III made his announcement to all of Christendom. My father was announced to be canonized as a Saint. Sergius VI had Blessed my fathers name and now Marinus III has agreed that the tales of my father speaking with angels to council with them, his work in the crusades, and all of his leadership to the rest of Christendom has shown that he was truly chosen to be a virtuous person worthy of praise and reverence. I saw pilgrims approaching Notre Dame to visit his tomb in the catacombs. A 45 year reign of prosperity and virtue celebrated across Europe. I’ve decided to decree this coming Sunday, the 6th of August, as St. Julien’s Day, a day to celebrated just as my father had lived by donating to the poor, to the church, and by showing love to one another and end the day with a feast in his honor. It seems father will be going down in history after all as one of the great Kings of France along with Charlemagne, Eudes II, and Blessed Charles I.
23rd of May, 1366
What started off as a mild cough eventually turned into constant tiredness. My body ached and was constantly feeling drained. My Court physician saw me and declared that I had tumors growing along and inside my body draining my very life from me. Cancer. Such a horrible disease and cursed for a lifetime. My life will slowly drain from me and I doubt I will live much longer at all. I am just glad I got to meet my grandchildren and know that succession is safe between my sons and grandson not to mention my brothers. Though that doesn’t change how this hampers my ambitions, my goals and dreams. I wanted to go down like my father did in history as a great Emperor. My own chance to make my mark and enjoy the lavish lifestyle and immense power that came with it. Seems father died too old and didn’t leave enough time for me to enjoy my reign.
25th of January, 1375
I’m amazed I have survived the past several years. My reign has been peaceful and prosperous. I’ve spent most of it remaining informed of the comings and goings across the world. The Andalusians, my tributaries, have had a rough succession it seems but the news and rumors buzzing are about this ‘Iron Khan’. Some sort of horselord out far in the eastern reaches of Persia bringing havoc and conquerings swaths of land from the Arabian Empire and Al-Jazirra. To defeat the Arabian Empire though, one of the largest Empires in the world, it is impressive. Though I just received word that apparently there was a peasant revolt on the island of Malta that succeeded and the islands are now free of Sicilian rule. With the islands in anarchy and chaos, I’ve decided to perhaps send in my own armies to seize Malta and restore order. I called the Imperial Marshal, Duke Antoinne of Berry, to the court. I demanded he raise my personal levies and gather up a fleet of ships in Arles. From there my army would set sail to Malta and seize the little island from the angry peasants occupying it. At that point my Chancellor Bernard chimed in “Your grace, as a word of caution don’t you think taking the island of Malta from these peasants would anger the King of Sicily? After all they were his subjects.” I shook my head “What did you say the current state of Sicily was?” Bernard cleared his throats “According to my reports? Sicily is caught in a civil war between the King and his great uncle over the throne.” I pointed to him “Exactly, Sicily can’t even decide who it’s king shall be. Their petty squabbles will keep them so busy by the time they notice what we’ve done it’ll be too late to bring up grievances about it.”
4th of October, 1375
Not generally ideal to sail in the colder months of the year and yet we’ve landed on the shores of Malta to find the isles mostly abandoned. It seems the bulk of their armies had ailed away months ago to travel up the Seine and siege Paris. I’ve sent my ships to return back to Provence and let my armies know. We were only able to get enough ships to take about 9000 men so 9000 more remained back at Arles awaiting transport. Hopefully they will be enough to deal with the Maltese peasants. I doubt they will be able to do much. The important thing is to seize control of these islands and the peasant army will have no home to return to.
23rd of May, 1376
When I was told of my cancer I never would have guessed I’d have lived this long. Nor would have I guessed that I’d get the chance to lead an army during a war. Even if I didn’t see any battles reports came in of the peasants being crushed and routed in Paris. Malta fell to siege and is effectively mine now. French control of the Mediterranean is expanded once again, just as the Romans did long before me. In honest truth I have no interest in the business of warfare or putting myself in danger. Yet knowing my life is being drained from me I want to push myself and see things I’d never had the chance to see. This was actually my first time ever seeing the ocean, nonetheless on a ship. Exciting.
25th of July, 1376
I had returned from my misadventures tired and distraught. I could barely walk and asked my physician to treat me for my ailments. When I sat down he returned with a jar of some kind buzzing. “What in the world is-” but before I could finish my sentence he smashed the ground as bees burst out he closed the door as I screamed the stingers stabbing into my flesh causing swelling and horrible pain. How was this meant to resolve my illness?! I’ll have him executed! Though for the past couple days as my swelling did go down I felt more and more ill. I laid in bed unable to move barely able to breath. “The color has drained from your face” my brother Louis said to me as my son Julien held his breath. I turned to my son, smiling “Take my hand, boy.” Julien chuckled some “Father I’m a man now you know.” I laughed with him no matter how weak “And you will always be my boy. Don’t let the anger or grief cloud you.” He tried to interrupt “Father please don’t speak like that” but then I raised a hand “It is very difficult to talk so I’d rather you listen rather than answer. I was only Emperor for a short time but I know you will have your opportunity and a chance to prove your worth, son. I can feel the winds of change coming and it will soon be your turn to take the helm.” Julien shook his head though remaining quiet. I could feel my eyes becoming heavy “I love you son.” my eyes shifted to my wife “And Belleasez you’ve been a wonderful wife, and the greatest mother the worlds ever known. You’ve raised a good Emperor.” I saw the tears streaming her face though her expression remained hard. Black began to leek over my vision as my arm felt as though it was weighed down by stones. My entire body felt so heavy. I took a breath. It was time, I am ready.
Emperor Julien III
6th of August, 1376
It hadn’t been two weeks since father’s death when Rafiqa went into labor. I didn’t attend the birth of my daughter Sophie as I was still in mourning. It has been so much to deal with. Organizing his funeral, taking in his final words to me, and of course having the responsibilities of rulership shoved to me. Of course I’d been prepared for this since I was a child and yet it doesn’t make it any easier. So many reports to sift through and more information to make out. It seems one of the main issues they want me to address is that of Andalusia. My father had managed to force the Andalusians into becoming a tributary of France and naturally many are wondering what I will do. I see no reason to push French territory into only a sliver of Iberia when I can have the entire peninsula pay tribute and tax to me. Infidels or not. Though perhaps unlike my father I won’t be settling for just forcing Andalusia into a tributary status. As Emperor of Rome the Empire is rightfully subservient to me.
6th of October, 1376
The celebrations were unfurling around with people drinking, dancing and cheering, the streets of Paris were in celebration. I remember my fathers coronation almost 20 years ago. It was always a grand celebration among the people when a new Emperor was crowned. A servant approached “Your grace, his Holiness Pope Hadrianus V has requested to you take your place for the ceremony.” I took a sip from my wine setting it down “Is it that time int he evening already? Well then let us get started.” To signify the type of ruler I plan to be I strapped a shield onto my back and kept the family sword at my hip approaching the Pope as all watched I knelt before him as he chanted in Latin offering his blessings “And so by the grace of God I name you Emperor Julien III of France, King of Brittany, of Navarra, of Arles, of Lotharingia and Emperor of all Romans, Defender of Christendom!” the crown was then placed on my head as the coed began to cheer. I rose taking the orb and scepter with my arms still in display, the regalia in my hands, and the crown upon my head the symbolism is clear. I will be ruling by strength and I will be the warrior that my people deserve.
14th of October, 1376
Most of the dignitaries still haven’t left though celebrations are winding down. I sat upon my throne as I called on the Imperial Marshal. “Any word from the Andalusian Sultan about accepting my offer?” He shook his head “I’m afraid not your grace. Seems the Regent Prince Amr has refused to reinstate tributary status.” I nodded “Get the horses ready and fire up the forges. We will begin arming the levies and march as soon as possible. Hopefully we can arrive by spring. War it is.” the Marshal nodded before excusing himself. I turned to my Empress Rafiqa “And do you have any input my dear?” She shook her head “You assume because I am Andalusian that I feel love for the Sultan? My family are the Christians who live beneath their cruel rulership. Frankly tributary status is too kind for them. I think you should be liberating the Christians of Iberia instead.” I sighed “Darling you know I can’t do that. The infidels are too fortified in I’d spend decades fighting and for what? Some petty Christian Kings who will squabble and lose their kingdoms in a few decades?” She shrugged “You asked for my input.” I waved her off before rising up “I am going to get something to eat.” She sipped some wine from a goblet without an answer.
20th of October, 1376
I was riding my horse preparing for the coming war when I saw my Imperial Marshal Duke Antoine approach “Your grace! We finally got word back from the Andalusian Regent. He’s stated that the Sultanate will happily submit to pay tribute in exchange for sparring their people.” I smiled, tucking a lock of my hair away behind my ear “Well that is good. Though preparations for war are still in order. Summon Chancellor Barnard to the court I will meet him there. I will be drafting a letter demanding tribute from Italy next. These are rightful lands of mine as Emperor of the Romans.
13th of March, 1377
The March across the Alps was quite the experience. Cold and brutal we’d almost been trapped numerous times. Luckily though we’ve since arrived in the Italian lands just in time for the dawn of spring. Unlike the Andalusian Regent, King Gastone of Italy was much less receptive towards my demands for tribute. Either way I now stand outside Genoa as they finally surrendered to the siege. As my armies dig down preparing for sieges through the year we expect a full surrender by the end of the year. Especially considering that King Gastone is currently occupied with a war to put his mother as the Queen of Sicily and set up for Italian inheritance.
22nd of October, 1377
As predicted, with sieges across the western marches of Italy, King Gastone sent in a surrender agreeing to pay tribute if I retreated my armies. With the war over and proper tribute now flowing in payment to my soldiers will go out. Yet I’ve not seen any real battles in these two wars. I thirst for battle and for a challenge yet they cowardly run. It is not surprising considering the might of the French Imperial Army. But nonetheless, how am I to be a great warrior king without a single battle under my name?
20th of December, 1377
After returning home to Paris I immediately have to deal with a scandal at court. My older daughter, Belleasez, at only 15 years old gave birth to a young girl. Apparently she was secretly sleeping with a Simon de Bourges almost two years her senior. Having a child at such a young age was one thing, but a bastard and combined with her worsening rash. It all paints a foul image. “How dare you do something like this?!” I shouted to her as the newborn girl began to cry the nursemaids took them out of the room. Belleasez turned her cheek to me “I owe you no explanation.” “I leave home to perform m duties as Emperor, and yet you remain here whoring yourself?! You are a princess! A child of the Emperor. Did you take for a moment to consider how this will affect me? Your family? Our reputation!” “Since when does my actions matter to you? I can’t be Empress, my children will never inherit anything from you. All you want is to send me to marry some far away noble so you don’t have to look at me!” she shouted back as I took a deep breath before punching a wall pounding it with my fists in anger “You will remember who you speak to young woman. If you won’t respect me as your father-” she then dared to interrupt “You’re hardly one at that!” I felt as though a vein popped in my head as I walked over and struck her with my hand “You will respect me as your Emperor. That child of yours? That bastard girl? I will send her out to be married by some old filthy tribal warlord and make sure she will be miserable in her existence.” I saw the color drain from her face “As for your lover? Simon? Your brother has told me plenty about how he’s an entitled child. I will make sure he ends up in the ground and it will be your fault.” “Wait, father please-” “No, your words were I’m hardly a father at all. This is no longer a matter of family, this is a matter of protecting my honor and prestige as Emperor. You want to surrender your place in this family whore? Fine.” I stormed out of the room. She will learn her lesson soon.
3rd of January, 1378
As the new year came by I’ve refused to see Belleasez since our fight. I’ve already begun making arrangements for Simons assassination. I was hosting court when a tall man, with a thick black mustache and a peg leg entered the court. His face marked with a terrible scar he knelt upon entering as the herald announced him “The honorable Feodor Trifonovich, of the House of Rurik, brother of the late King Roman I of Carpathia.” I raised my hand in acknowledgement “You may rise. What brings you to my court all the way in Paris Feodor?” his french was brutish and poor, everything about him screamed that of an uncivilized brute. “Your grace, I come with a request. After my brother died his grandson, King Roman II, has held the throne as a puppet. The Orthodox elite hold control of Carpathia and the Tsar of Russia has been assassinated.” I shook my head “I hardly see what the Tsars murder has to do with this?” He then specified “Carpathia and Russia are ruled by the House of Rurik, should the young Tsarina also die, the next in line is the betrothed to King Roman II.” I nodded understanding now. Carpathia and Russia could form a union, that would be dangerous. “I have converted to the Catholic faith and I am willing to help restore catholic rule in Carpathia. More importantly, I can make sure Russia and Carpathia remain separate. All I ask is your help and support.” I nodded “So you want for France to step into your personal politics, overthrow your great nephew and establish you as King?” He nodded as I thought it over. Perhaps this will be the great war I was looking for. The glorious battle to prove my mettle. More so it gets me away from this current scandal in court. Any distraction at this point is welcome. “France will help you Feodor. I will have my Marshal raise the levies and we will march on to Pest immediately. Just in case we have additional trouble I will also have my Chancellor demand the tributaries of Andalusia and Italy offer their men in our service as well.
Kingdom of Carpathia c.1378
10th of April, 1378
We have been travelling through German lands on our way to Carpathia when we set up a campsite to rest. When I awoke though in the mourning I noticed blood at my hands and feet, and a sharp pain on my side that hurt immensely. I quickly realized this was the Stigmata! The marks of Christ at his Crucifixion. This must have been a sign from God of his approval. Proof that I am chosen by him to succeed Caesar.
16th of July, 1378
We’ve finally arrived in the capital regions of Carpathia mostly along central Hungary. It is here we will begin our sieges and hopefully this war will end with little bloodshed. Hopefully once Feodor is King he’ll be friendly enough with France to enable secure and peaceful relations. Though as we set up our siege equipment I ended up hiding in my tent a terrible throbbing headache forming behind my eyes. I call for my physician to come see me and try and offer me treatment. I need to be able to focus on the war at hand.
31st of October, 1378
The headache is still there though now ugly sores and lesions have formed especially around my groin. My physician says its the great pox. An ugly disease and unknown where it could have emerged from. I had always been faithful to my wife above all else. Perhaps this disgusting disease is Gods way of warning me against my hubris? Perhaps I misinterpreted his first message? No this mission is just.
20th of September, 1378
Everything feels like a fog. We’ve arrived in Carpathia and begun our sieges and yet my condition worsens. I can hear the shouting of men as a catapult fired into Pest. My Physician came in as I struggled to really focus on anything he said. “Your grace, can you hear me?” I finally made out nodding. He touched my forehead realizing I had a terrible fever, my head felt like it was about to split open it hurt so much. “Emperor Julien, I need you to focus please.” When I looked to him with a smile I saw father, he stood over touching my cheek. “I hope I’ve made you happy.” I said taking his hand his mouth didn’t move and it sounded as though I was underwater “I will start performing your bloodletting.” I raised a brow “How did you do that father?” “Your grace?” “Talking, speaking without…without moving your….mouth.”