Duke Acfred of Provence 1102 – 1106
I am Duke Acfred of Provence. Through my wife the Duchess Berchte I am also Duke of Dauphiné.
I have just been named as duke because father has now returned to god. I pray that he is well received above, in spite of his flawed character he did his best to raise me in a fitting manner.
I was not given time to grieve before our family’s power is being transitioned to me. I do not relish my father’s death but it would be dishonest of me to claim that I was not in great anticipation of this chance at forwarding the family legacy. There is a great deal of sickness in this world that a devout and strong ruler can cure. After all, my children, Acfred (my eldest and heir), Beneset and Ana (not even three months old) are all I have to leave behind in this world once I move in like my father.
As a new duke, people are eager to know what kind of ruler I will be. And after the lax approach of my father they will want to pay attention as I set out the new rule. Everything we do is in service of the lord and I am on earth as chosen by him. I will accept no less than he would. As an early show of my rule I make an example of one of my vassals. Count Renaut of Venaissin was found to be plotting by my spymaster (named Blasi, he is of my own blood). I entertained the notion of merely ordering the Count to end his plot. But I was advised that he wouldn’t listen to me as I lacked power? He will stew in the prison until he recognises his folly of judgement.
Soon afterward, I get word from the Holy Roman Emperor. He suggests that one of his own vassals, some underhanded rogue I’ve never met, should educate my brother Jaufret. The Emperor claims that it would allow him to become a proper German Catholic? I am a loyal man to my liege but this ignorance cannot be accepted and I have a duty to my brother to raise him correctly. I politely refused and pray the Emperor does not insist more as I turn to have Jaufret educated within my council instead.
In response, my Emperor chose to offer me the position as his Chancellor! This is a most gracious apology and certainly a post I have desired for a long time. I feel I can better serve my emperor in his closest council.
This news turned sour when I discovered that my vassals were voting in my sister as heir, and not a single vote was given to my son, the true successor. I was already agast at this when news came in that even my sister was beaten in votes by Countess Elisa of Forcalquier. A countess!? This will not stand, once my position is cemented I must change the laws of succession to be more sensible rather than this unstable voting system where my heir can change in a moment.
My Emperor beat down a war as I took my new title and now, not even half a year later, the king of France challenges him in a holy war. This war is folly and I wont stand by idly when a war of madness is fought so close to me. The French king is truly a fool, he barely has the men to match my own let alone my liege’s. I gather all the men I can muster and charged into his territory, winning an early battle where I trounce them.
But… it seems I did not have a full report on the king’s army. A company of soldiers, 10,000 strong, bears down on my gaggle of soldiers and routes us thoroughly. In response I retreated to lay siege in a county just outside my own borders as I tried to recover. Once my soldiers had regained confidence and occupied a city I returned to the fray, this time sure to stick with the Emperor’s impressively sized army.
And then Pope Théodore III took his place in heaven. It was a solemn time, and made me reassess my contribution to the church. Not wishing to allow myself to fall out of a favour I sent Pope John Paul a gift to welcome him to office. As I would soon need a blessing to take my rightful kingdoms quite soon no doubt. Though naturally I do try to do my part for the church at all times.
Then even more glorious news, Emperor seeks the hand of my sister! Truly he favours my dynasty and thinks highly of us, especially if he can look beyond my sister’s envious nature and take her as his beloved. Naturally I said yes, glad for our ties to get so tight. I can’t help but think of perhaps being given new titles from the Emperor himself, however I must not pester him. He will give me my right as the time comes.
My wife was with child as I was busy with the war, but on Christmas day she blessed us with a pair of healthy twins! I name them Beatriz and Guilhém, bringing me to 5 children. I am truly blessed, but suddenly I am taken ill. I fear I have let my piety slip with prideful thoughts and dwelling on my entitlements.
I seek the pope’s blessing. He offers me blessing for the right price. I oblige him instantly, but I feel that is not quite enough. There is more for me to do than just buying indulgences…