All hail me - Canute II, King of Aquitaine and England. Europe is dominated by the Holy Roman Empire, presently in dispute with the Pope, and ruled by an emperor known as Otto von Pommen the Bewitched, an excommunicated supporter of an Antipope who believes Christ speaks to him in his head. However, though my grandfather Canute the Cruel was a strong leader in France and Europe, beyond that he did allow the crusading to be done by others - and to be a failure. Jerusalem is Mohammedan once more, alas. Jerusalem, and the title of Holy Roman Emperor, I set my sights on, God willing. More reassuring is the continued unity of the Christian faith - only Russia rejects the Pope's authority, and the schism with the Byzantines has been healed now for generations.
My chief challenge at the beginning was overcoming all the bugs
mysterious inconsistencies in our troops that come from different versions
reigns. After that, the business of winning the war for Forez could begin - with the forces of the Holy Roman Empire and France being arrayed against us, the war my grandfather had launched caused no end of trouble due to disloyal courtiers seeking to take advantage of a new king. Thanks to the shameless use of bribes, all but the most committed pretenders and enemies of the king are placated, and the war itself can commence.
The King of France is first to be fought, after a little housekeeping sees my old title of Franconia passed to be son, Cenfus. After an initial game of cat and mouse with the French forces, they are eventually cornered and destroyed. More testing are the German forces who march westwards eventually, led by the Emperor himself. Thanks to superior leadership and a united force of levies and retinues outside Macon, we beat them and take the province after the Emperor's son is captured. Despite my wounds from battles during my grandfather's reign, I lead the troops myself.
The following years are spent dealing with rebellion in Lancaster, Carcassone and Nantes - disunited, the rebels who had plotted my assassination are dealt with easily, though Lancaster takes time. But, by 1158, we're ready to try and chip away at the authority of the de Blois king of France.
Once a valiant crusading king, King Foulques the Drunkard remains king of Jerusalem in name only, and of France only Champagne, Normandy and west Orleans swear fealty to him. Despite his Spanish and Italian allies, it doesn't take long for Auxerre to swear fealty to the King in Toulouse, not Troyes. Soon, the title King of France shall be ours, in addition to Aquitaine and England.
The crown of England is contested by a Spanish prince, who - again, despite Spanish support - is beaten by our armies. I merely banish him, both to avoid insulting his father the Spanish king, and out of respect for why he chose to invade. His grandfather, King Leofwine the Gentle, was murdered by my own...
The year 1159 is the most secure I have felt on the throne since coming to power. The de Blois throne is contested by a Norman cousin of our house, and scattered Frankish noblemen. Taking advantage of the chaos, I seize what I hope to be the last province required to recognised as king of all France, and which would allow me to usurp the de Blois crown. As I wait for the civil war between the French to end, the pain in my missing foot returns again, much worse than before...