In 1342, the English, after four attempts, captured Vannes. Her husband Olivier and Hervé VII de Léon, the military commanders defending this city, were captured. Olivier was the only one released after an exchange for Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford (a prisoner of the French), and a surprisingly low sum was demanded. This led Olivier to be subsequently suspected of not having defended the city to his fullest, and he was alleged by Charles de Blois to be a traitor.
“I hear that the really fast surrender of the Duke of the Old Expanses to the Solomani during the War of the Rebellion was extremely suspicious, as well…”
On 19 January 1343, the Truce of Malestroit was signed between England and France. Under the perceived safe conditions of this truce, Olivier and fifteen other Breton lords were invited to a tournament on French soil, where he was arrested, taken to Paris, tried by his peers and on 2 August 1343, executed by beheading at Les Halles.
“Rule one of the Imperium: Nobles lie.
The higher the noble, the more ruthless and cutting the lie.”
“In the year of our Grace one thousand three hundred and forty-three, on Saturday, the second day of August, Olivier, Lord of Clisson, knight, prisoner in the Chatelet of Paris for several treasons and other crimes perpetrated by him against the king and the crown of France, and for alliances that he made with the king of England, enemy of the king and kingdom of France, as the said Olivier … has confessed, was by judgement of the king given at Orleans drawn from the Chatelet of Paris to Les Halles … and there on a scaffold had his head cut off. And then from there his corpse was drawn to the gibbet of Paris and there hanged on the highest level; and his head was sent to Nantes in Brittany to be put on a lance over the Sauvetout gate as a warning to others”.
This execution shocked the nobility as the evidence of guilt was not publicly demonstrated, and the process of exposing a body was reserved mainly for low-class criminals. This execution was judged harshly by Froissart and his contemporaries.
“The law is what I say it is.” – Standard Imperial Policy
Jeanne took her two young sons, Olivier and Guillaume, from Clisson to Nantes, to show them the head of their father at the Sauvetout gate.
Jeanne, enraged by her husband’s execution, swore retribution against the French King, Philip VI, and Charles de Blois. She considered their actions a cowardly murder.
Jeanne then sold the de Clisson estates, raised a force of loyal men and started attacking French forces in Brittany.
Jeanne is said to have attacked a castle occupied by Galois de la Heuse, one of the officers of Charles de Blois, massacring the entire garrison with the exception of one individual.
Jeanne also attacked another garrison at Château-Thébaud, about 20 km south east of Nantes and a former post under control of her husband.
With the English king’s assistance and Breton sympathizers, Jeanne outfitted three warships. These were painted black and their sails dyed red. The flagship was named “My Revenge”. The ships of this Black Fleet then patrolled the English Channel hunting down French ships, whereupon her force would kill entire crews, leaving only a few witnesses to transmit the news to the French King. This earned Jeanne the moniker “The Lioness of Brittany”. Jeanne continued her piracy in the channel for another 13 years.
“It’s always interesting to discover what a sufficiently pissed-off Noble is capable of…”
Jeanne is also said to have attacked coastal villages in Normandy and have put several to sword and fire.
Slaughtering the commoners from
the sea horseback orbit is easy. A vengeful Noble with more military experience and a pinch of extra cunning can come up with something a good deal more painful, given enough time to stew…
…and perhaps the Traveller will get to discover exactly what he has in mind.
“Watch out for sweet-minded Noble saints bearing sparrows.”