House of Jefe Ch VII, Breda
Upon being elected to the throne of Germany, King Baldewin turned to a threat that had troubled him since his time as a mere count. His uncle Loup, prince of Germany and count of Meissen, wanted to see Baldewin dead. Not even rising to kingship would dissuade him. Baldewin tried to arrest his uncle but clumsy soldiers allowed him to escape and declare independence. The war between the two was over in the next year and Loup began a stay of over two decades in the royal dungeon. All of Germany was being reorganized in this time. The county of Breda, from which Baldewin’s splinter house drew its name, was gifted to his uncle Lothar, while Ostfriesland came under the control of his cousin Gunther. The birth in March 880 of a daughter Baby seemed to herald great things for the coming years.
If that omen was good whatever it portented was some time in coming. In 882, shocking news reached Nassau: König Sigismond des Mittelfranken verlangte Regel der Grafschaft von Köln. Though no longer the undisputed superiors of their Frankish peers, Middle Francia still reigned solid and formidable. Baldewin summoned all the strength at his disposal and hired the Italian band called the Company of the Hat. This force met the great Middle Frankish host at the Battle of Berg. Baldewin was there himself, lending his unsurpassed military skill to command of the left flank. At the end of the great struggle the Germans flew their banners in victory. The next year, the Middle Franks again marched upon Germany and were defeated at the Battle of Koln. Broken in spirit, Sigismond’s people limped on for another year until, in December of 884, he delivered nearly 300 pounds of gold to Nassau to cement a peace between the two kingdoms.
Born into history a warrior, it seemed that there was little else for Baldewin but to fight throughout his life. The autumn and winter of 885 were spent defeating the Viking raider Barid’s attempt to seize the duchy of Gelre. The Finnish Band were hired as usual, but their vaunted strength of command was gone; with their old leaders dead, it was to Count Henri of Leningen that the onus of overall command fell. Barid was dispatched easily and seized to prevent further trouble. Queen Diedke gave birth to another daughter in January of 887, named Heidi. It would seem that daughters proved instead a curse for Baldewin: not six months later, a liberation revolt broke out in the duchy of Brabant. Frisians disgruntled at ‘foreign’ rule now wished to take their counties by force. Again the Finnish Band were hired and, confidently, crossed the Elbe River with the Germans to face the Frisian forces in Breda. This they did but the result was a violent defeat and the repulsion of royal power. In February of 888 Baldewin sent another army to be dashed to pieces by the Frisian patriots. Only now did he heed the advice of certain voices of court which told him to ignore possible Middle Frankish objections and march through their lands rather than hoping for a safe crossing of the Elbe. Now the German/mercenary army was able to succeed and scatter the liberationists in six directions. By July of that year the threat was declared officially over.
The Frisian Rebellion drove a deep wound into Germany. It also drove the crown into the debt of Jewish moneylenders, but not deeply so. In fact, King Baldewin barely waited before declaring a holy war against the Bohemian free-count of Praha & Pilsen. In December of 892 he considered these pagan lands conquered, and by the beginning of the next year he had paid the moneylenders back. During this time Middle Francia seemed to be in a state of utter crisis, pummeled by the comparatively tiny county of Savoy in a bid to make Middle Francia a tributary as well as set upon by an adventurer called Guadulf. Then in August of 894, incredible news reached Nassau: eine Fraktion von Adligen unter der Krone von Frankreich had elected a forgotten prisoner in a German dungeon to be their king. The absurd reign of King Pepin most likely represented nothing more than the nobility rejecting the old line, though not monarchy entirely as Pepin’s son would eventually succeed him as king. This is confirmed by the fact that we have no record of France moving to secure their king. Pepin would ultimately die in German custody. It’s said that Baldewin was too baffled by the anonymity of this prisoner king to act; more probable is that he could find no sufficient leverage aganist France but, as the man was king of a powerful realm, keeping him hostage was safer than letting him go.
Whatever the truth of Baldewin’s ambitions in France, it was again eastward that his attention turned. Heiligen Krieg gegen das Königtum der Poland wurde im Januar 895 erklärt. Poland, like Praha, paid homage to the Slavic gods. Unlike Praha, Poland’s ties to the rest of the Slavic world were deep and strong. Soon nearly all the Slavic powers were on the march to Poland’s aid, especially the high chiefdom of Kiev and the great kingdom of Serbia. The Bohemian War, also called the Six Years’ War, was extremely costly for all sides, both in coin and in blood. The Germans would suffer a massive defeat at Wroclaw early in the war and were often on the maneuvering defensive against the Slavic alliance. With gold and determination the Germans managed to cut down the eastern regiments man by man. In 901 the war came to its final close, the king of Poland surrendering the duchy of Bohemia to King Baldewin. The effects of the Six Years’ War were far reaching. In the Slavic countries, the severe depletion in power led to a series of internal wars that ripped Serbia to pieces and overturned a number of smaller realms. In Germany it allowed for the eruption of a great feud and the return of western pursuits.
In the year 902, Duke Razmataz of Brabant submitted a petition for the royal authority of Germany to be reduced, for the nobility to be given a freer hand. The demand was refused. Razmataz von Jefe, son of King Flimflam and chief of that direct line, raised his flag in anger. Yet the conflict between the two great branches of the von Jefe family was not pronounced. The might of Flimflam and his predecessors had been built in Nassau and extended through the kingdom. Razmataz’s claims to legitimacy rang hollow over the direct endorsement of the late king and his armies could never challenge Baldewin at the latter’s full strength. Following the war with the Slavic alliance the German crown was weakened but not fatally so. Within a year the revolt had been crushed, quickly followed by the defeat of an adventurer host. Three years later King Baldewin by force revoked the county of Holland, reorganizing his lands in what seemed a positioning for wars against his Frankish cousins. Whatever these plans were, they never materialized. On June 19th of the year 908 King Baldewin was found dead in his sleep.
Baldewin’s oldest son Karl was elected to succeed him upon his death, proving nothing more than the ascendancy of the House of Breda over its mother lineage. Though some historians call him Karl II because the German line descended from the united Frankish crown, it is important to distinguish him from Karl the Holy Roman Emperor otherwise known as Charlemagne; aside from name the two had no connection. Karl von Jefe was 31 at the time of his election and seemed to have many great deeds ahead of him. His wife was called Uta, a princess of Lombardy who currently served as his master of spies. He had three children, daughter Hedwig and sons Baldewin & Poppo. He had inherited numerous lands from his father and they would need much reorganizing once he was firmly in his position. With so many vassals of his greater house there seemed to be little worry over Karl losing the throne to internal strife. As it gained position alongside the kingdoms of France and Middle Francia, its power coming to rival even an old state such as Lombardy, it would doubtless find itself victim of many outside threats.