|John Haveland (phony_king) wrote in nevermore_logs,|
@ 2012-07-25 00:50:00
|Entry tags:||prince john, richard the lionheart|
Who: Richard and John
What: John was send to take over Aquitaine. Richard does not approve
When: 1183, a few weeks after Henry the Young King dies
Warnings: Mentions of war, mentions of violence, mentions of death, possible language, Plantagenets
As if it hadn't been enough that when Henry and Geoffrey had invaded his land, now he had to deal with his younger brother. In the last conflict, he'd spared no prisoners and the barons were already a bit nervous about that. But now Henry had died, and despite the fact that Richard had refused to kneel to him and continued to fight against their father, Henry had still been his elder brother and when they weren't fighting he'd been alright.
Richard had already seen a lot of death. He wasn't inclined to see another brother die. Both Geoffrey and Henry had known war before. John was the youngest of them all, and Richard didn't think he knew anything. John just had his Father at his back, and their father's 'advice'. All in all, to Richard John was just a kid. So he'd send out a message to meet him. There was no neutral ground here, but he'd picked a spot where he knew the local populace wasn't going to join John any time. He didn't think his father had given John much more then an army and the command to take Aquitaine. Richard would at least try to offer some logic.
He rode to the meeting place with only a few other men. He didn't believe in a large personal escort. He dismounted his horse and looked around, subtly trying to gage the forces their father had given John. He set his hand on the pommel of his sword out of habit as he waited for John to approach. He didn't think John would try anything, but he didn't know the people John traveled with so he wouldn't trust them.
John rode with his head held high, a feeling of rightness in his veins. His father had trusted him with a task on his own, and he fully intended to go through with it, going above and beyond what his father expected. After all, Richard was heir to the throne now, what did he need their mother's duchy for? He had all of England! Father had told John that Aquitaine was now rightfully his, and that's all John needed.
He saw Richard ahead and straightened in the saddle, trying to look as tall and imposing on his warhorse as his short stature and youthful visage would afford him. He had all his generals and advisors follow him, determined to have the appearance of a stronger force at his back.
"Ah, Richard, so nice to see you," John said in as lofty and adult a manner as he could, aping his father's way of speaking. He rode forward to meet Richard, staying on his horse for as long as possible before dismounting. "Come to negotiate a surrender?"
He didn't see anyone he immediately recognized and he couldn't yet tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing. He didn't know how the men thought though and he had an idea that John was just the banner, not the actual head.
"Hardly," despite having an army that was used to him, knew him and he knew them he also had the lay of the land on his side. He knew where to go to draw them into traps, knew which castles were defensible and which were not. John didn't have that advantage. Nor did John have the experience Richard did, so he felt confident he could take on his brother. He just didn't want to.
"I've come to talk some sense into you John." If John wasn't using titles, neither was Richard. "This is pointless. This is my land. I don't want to fight you John. After our brother went to God I feel reluctant to see that happen again. Go home. Tell His Majesty," he was only minorly sarcastic when referring to their father, "that I intend to keep both inheritances from both parents."
John smiled and shook his head condescendingly. "You don't understand. You're heir to the throne, so all of this is mine now. It's just the order of things." He glanced around at his men, looking for their approval. They nodded and smiled too. "Don't lets make a war out of this, dear brother. Our father the King has ordered it so." John felt so certain in his course, and equally as determined not to lose this one.
He sighed, "well no. It isn't. Mother installed me as Duke here so the rights she had to this land were transferred to me. Not father. He cannot give it to you. And I have not spend the last few years earning the ire of my people just to be deposed while father tempts me with the promise of the crown." He'd seen how his father had played with Henry. Always the force behind the throne and Richard intended to rule alone. "I don't want war either, but then father should keep his hands of my property." Sighing he ran his hand through his hair, "John, you're just a child. Have you even swung that sword of yours? Led troops into battle?"
"Of course I have! I am not a child! I am a prince!" John snapped, face folding into a frown. "Father married Mother and therefore owns all her old titles and lands too. He has every right to pass these lands to me. He wouldn't trust me to do this if it wasn't right." Though, he remembered when his father had taken lands and castles from his brothers and put them into John's name. Henry had not been happy about that, but he was dead now, so they were rightfully John's.
He crossed his arms, "in earnest? To actually kill someone? Have you had to make those decisions John, or do they," he nodded to the advisers," make them for you?" He shook his head, "these lands are mine. I'll defend them until my last breath. And Father is doing this so you can have land. Too many sons and not enough to go around. And he's too greedy himself. There's always the chance he'll just give them to someone else later."
John clenched his jaw. The very idea that he didn't make his own decisions! His advisors and generals were just that. Sure, he listened to what they had to say, he'd be a poor leader if he didn't. They had good ideas. "There is one less son now," John said boldly, "and you are now the Crown Prince, despite your past insurrection. You will have all of England, whatever Geoffrey doesn't get anyway, and he has enough land to keep him happy. Why won't you let me have this? Father said!" He stamped his foot, once, petulantly. He hadn't expected this to be easy, but he'd seen battle before. He'd ridden with his father when his brothers were revolting against him. He hadn't been allowed to fight, but he'd wanted to.
Part of him wanted to smack John for that but he retrained his temper. Barely. He stepped closer, using his height to try and intimidate John, "you'd best take that back. We may have disagreed but he was our brother. We should respect that, and not speak so casually of his death."
He shook his head, "an Empire divided can not stand. I will never take away any of my brother's titles, but I won't give up what's rightfully mine either." He frowned to the tantrum and stepped back. "Father say's a lot of things and he hasn't confirmed me as heir. I won't be a puppet. You want this land, you can try and take it."
John glanced over his shoulder at his men, and noticed an amused glance pass between two of them. He turned back to Richard with a short sigh and caught his sleeve, pulling him aside out of earshot. "You know you will be king after him. You are older and better than Geoffrey. And, I hardly knew Henry. I do not disrespect his death, but the fact is that he is gone and redistribution of lands must happen. Please don't make me do this," he entreated. "I don't want to fight you." Not just because of their familial ties, but because he knew of Richard's reputation on the field and he knew he wouldn't stand a chance one-on-one. "But I cannot go back to the King empty-handed. I just cannot."
He went with John, knowing his own men would keep back. Maybe it'd be easier to talk to John this way. "I know that within the line of succession I am technically heir. But this is father we're talking about. You've always been closer to him, and he favored you. Chances could be he'll talk about you taking it all." He studied his little brother, who he barely knew himself, "I can understand that but I don't want to end up like Henry did. He barely had any power, even with the crown. Father did all the decision making. I won't have that." He frowned, "I do not want to have to fight you John but I can't give you Aquitaine. This place, these lands, this is my home. Let Father give you other lands." He paused for a moment, glancing to the men before lowering his voice. "So join me then. Father toys with us all with promises. I intend to actually make mine happen."
"What??" John hissed, hoping that nobody heard that treason. "Yes Father favours me, but that is because the rest of his sons turned against him." He really doubted if his father would consider bequeathing the crown to him. Richard was far superior at leadership, and older, and more experienced, and his men would follow him. John was untried. "It's not a matter of letting Father give me other lands. He gave me these lands, I did not request it. How dare you speak of treason! I will not turn against Father, after all he has done for me."
It wasn't the first time he spoke so treasonously. His entire actions right now were probably treason as well. But he believed in his cause, and he'd see if it was right or wrong afterward. He shrugged, "father is quick to turn, maybe you do not yet realize this. And I am not fighting father because I think myself wrong. He is too greedy and needs to retire. And that's besides the fact he keeps mother locked up like some common criminal."
He shook his head, "then again I defy him. I will not surrender these lands." but this was still his brother, "even with most of the barons still against me, I'll hold them." He motioned in the distance, "there is a castle a bit south of here. Defensible, and with a good supply and it keeps during winter." He could at least be a good host and allow his brother the use of one of the castles. He could take it in weeks if he had to, but he had no plans for it.
"It is Father's right to lock Mother up after she incited you three against him. I couldn't trust her again either. Why are you telling me this?" John shook his head. He felt cross that Richard wasn't doing what he wanted him to. "You can't just give me a castle. I have to win it. You would give my generals something to disrespect me for behind my back." How he wanted to explain everything to Richard, have him understand like Father never would. Father just laughed at him, but kept him close. He tried so hard to make his father see how much he wanted to please him. He implored Richard with his eyes, the words kept tightly back. He'd never say any of that out loud, not after his manservant had spilled all his secrets to his father last time. "Just give me Aquitaine, why can't you!"
He shrugged, "I wanted to see if you could see it from my side. That I could convince you to go home." He sighed, "I'm trying to be brotherly here." He didn't say that the generals would disrespect him either way. He was only little, and few elder warriors liked taking orders from someone who they could have fathered. "Look it's there alright. It has some minor defenses already. You don't have to tel anyone I told you it was there, and the forces there can be overcome." Especially if he send word that they were to retreat after giving John his scuffle.
"Same reason you won't take the offered castle John. This is my home. You want it, you win it."
"I'm not going home!" John folded his arms. "You will be heir and you will have all of England, what difference does Aquitaine make? You have a lot more land than I do already! Father gave me this land for being loyal, a concept you seem to be fairly unfamiliar with." He chewed a nail, annoyed. He really wanted to throw a tantrum but he was holding back for now. "I'm not going back to Father. How would that look? Oh hello Father, I'm back. Back so soon, John? Did you win Aquitaine so easily? No Father, I'm sorry, I gave up the duchy you generously appointed to me because Richard asked nicely, when he wasn't plotting against you, again. No!!"
He managed not to smile at John's comments, mainly for John's sake. If Richard was perceived to be mocking his little brother his generals would respect him even less then they may already do. "And this is my home so we have a stalemate going on here. I'm not leaving nor handing it over to you because you're asking me." He sighed, "John, he didn't give you Aquitaine because you're loyal. He gave you it because he can put pressure on you like he did with Henry. And this duchy is one of the richest he has, and right now I'm putting a stop to some of that income. That's why you're here John. Not because you earned it, but because he wants the money. And through you, he can. Why do you think no one's marrying Alice? Same reasoning. Father likes the money she brings him, and the fact she shares his bed."
John screwed up his nose at that, but he understood the desire for income. He was rather fiscally-minded himself. He'd much rather be back with his Father helping with taxation and justice than out here fighting a miserable war. On the other hand, he'd get to prove himself in battle, and that was important. He did want to fight and show them all that he could. "No, he respects me. He trusts me. He wants me to prove myself to him," John demurred, all the more adamant for somehow feeling that Richard was in some way right. Henry kept John close because his brothers were rebellious. Perhaps though, one day John would earn enough favour to be king instead of Richard... The thought of keeping some of the Aquitaine riches to himself was what was keeping him going. He narrowed his eyes slightly. "Perhaps, then, if you give me this castle and the land and income that goes with it..." he said, trying to appear casual, while glancing up at Richard slyly, "I could be persuaded to delay my attack on you until Spring..."
He smirked and shook his head, "you're awfully demanding for someone who's at the disadvantage." Then he rolled his eyes. "Father trusts one person. Himself. Don't delude yourself he trusts you. He favors you, so he can keep you close and keep an eye on you. After all, he needs it. I'm all the way over here and he can't control me. It's the same with Geoffrey. It only leaves you."
"I can only give you the income and land if you become a baron of the duchy here John," it was a way to make sure none of it would filter through to their father. The castle was at a spot that if another army approached, he could intercede it. "Which means giving me homage, and I don't think you're inclined to do that. You get a roof, provisions, and servants."
John tsked and rolled his eyes. "It's called a bribe, idiot. It's either that or I just take it. I have soldiers to feed and house, and I'm not staying out the winter in a tent." He paced a couple of steps. "I'm not swearing fealty to you. I'm here to depose you. It's a little bit counterproductive to the whole campaign, don't you think?"