And now, another luke-warm entry in The Vaguely Interesting Chronicles of Count Martinos (and his Spawn)…
September 786 AD: I saw Symeon give one of his toys to the blacksmith’s son. Of course it had to be the gold-plated toy soldier I got him for his Christening. *Sigh*
October 786 AD: Our daughter, Simonis, has finally come of age. Her mother has raised her well and she’s quite astute in diplomacy. Why just the other night she talked me into taking the carriage and stay out past ten o’clock.
August 787 AD: Less than a year after her sweet sixteen, Simonis is raring to get married. She’s been pleading with me every day to find her a suitable husband. After checking my bank account, I turned to the farm yard for a dowry. Apparently, I’ve amassed quite the collection of pigs. Somehow I was able to negotiate a marriage between Basileus Konstantinos VI and my daughter, which means I’ll be the king’s father-in-law… We’re in the money! We’re in the money! We’ve got a lot of what it takes to get along!
September 787 AD: The Duke has decided to revoke the Province of Messene from it current holder and take it for himself. He has asked me if I would join him in the plot… BUT I WANT IT! I fear saying “No”, so I agree. My son shares a similar fearful trait – I saw him shriek like a little girl when he saw a spider today. I took the spider and put it down his shirt and forced him to stand still. That taught him some bravery!
October 787 AD: Most likely having found success in his plot, the Duke launched a war to revoke Messene. It’s about to get Messene-y up in Sicily.
November 787 AD: Out of the kindness of his heart and probably as payment for my support of his plot, the Duke has asked me to be his steward. Seriously? Placing me in charge of the duchy’s treasury? We’ll be bankrupt in a month. Idiot.
November 788 AD: The war for Messene has finally ended and the Duke has usurped title to the province. Let’s hope that’s as ambitious as the Duke will get.
January 789 AD: Not one to hang on to a debt for very long, I finally decided to pay back the Jewish merchants their money: 350 gold pieces. One of them called me a “mensch” – I don’t know what that means, so I had him beaten.
December 789 AD: My court seems to enjoy my limericks and raunchy poems, so I’ve decided to try my hand at becoming a published poet. Brace yourselves…
January 791 AD: Symeon floats from fancy to fancy without much thought. He never finishes anything. I lectured him on the virtue of diligence and made him finish cleaning the stable. Maybe, finally, something will get clean around here.
February 791 AD: Symeon told me the stables were spotless. I went in and sure enough, they were pristine. So I did the only appropriate thing: I took a dump on the floor and then beat him with my belt for lying to me. He now knows the value of being honest.
October 791 AD: Almost three years have gone by and the Duke is no longer satisfied with just Messene – he wants Agrigenton as well. That bastard! That’s mine. I paid good money to fabricate a claim on that province. I don’t like where this is heading.
February 792 AD: I saw Symeon emerge from the dungeon today with a bloody knife and a peculiar smile on his face. I pulled him aside and encouraged patience – there will plenty of time in his later years to rule with an iron fist. I also made sure to have an extra lock installed on my chamber door… sadist little *!#@ scares the hell out of me now.
November 792 AD: Symeon has reached adulthood and I can’t be more proud of my efforts: an unwitting dolt raised a half-wit. Like his sister, he has a way with words and should make a fine politician. To secure our line, I decided to find Symeon a bride. I looked across Sicily for a wife that Symeon couldn’t refuse, but all I found were club-footed, hunch-backed, back-stabbing trollops. So I expanded my search and found a nice Italian girl: Giuseppa. A courtier in Venice, she brings with her no title or land, but she should help Symeon rule our lands well… if he lives long enough to see it. The little *!#@ told me he wanted to duel someone who had insulted him. Like his dad, Symeon is no expert in the martial arts, so I prudently told him to simmer down. He wasn’t happy with that, but at least he’s alive. #dadsplained
January 793 AD: The Duke has invited us to a great feast. As one of the two remaining counts he has not usurped, I’m quite honored. Plus… OPEN BAR, DUDE!
December 793 AD: The treasury seems a little full – I think it’s time to invest in the capitol. Improved irrigation? Nah. Better roads? Boring! Militia training grounds to turn scared peasants into insecure thugs? You betcha!
January 794 AD: Someone has been poaching off my lands. The Count does not abide. (I have to have my morning eggs.) I sent my wife and Marshall out to find the poachers and when they did, I had the poachers’ ears cut off. No one complained. Really. I thought someone would stop me, but no. I gave them plenty of outs. They all thought it was a deserving punishment. By that time, I was too far in to back down. I’m surrounded by a bunch of psychopaths!
January 795 AD: Bishop Sergio died of depression. I suppose my confessions were not all that entertaining. Long live Bishop Anastasios! No… seriously. I need him around for a while.