Geoffrey de Lusignan
Geoffrey de Lusignan was born on the 23rd May in the year of our Lord 1149, one of many sons to his parents Hugh VIII de Lusignan and his wife Bourgogne de Rançon. Spending his youth at the Château de Lusignan in the province of Poitu, Geoffrey received an education in reading and writing, not only in his mother tongue but in Latin as well, like his brothers. He actually became quite fluent in Latin which had his father pondering about intending him for the Church for a while. However, his skills in spears and swordmanship quickly convinced Hugh VIII that Geoffrey's talents would be wasted if he'd become a priest. Additionally, his upbringing included learning about chivalry and stewardship, some basics of law and politics, dancing and hunting with both hawks and a bow.
Having squired for his father Hugh VIII until his father left for a pilgrimage and a crusade to the Holy Land in 1164, Geoffrey went on to complete his training with a trusted household knight of the Lusignans, Seigneur Adalbert de Recamier. Geoffrey was knighted on the 12th of February in the year 1169. His father Hugh VIII fought in the Holy Land and died eventually, leaving his sons who had stayed behind the responsibility for their lands and their heritage, especially regarding their claim on the region called La Marche.
Alliances with Consequences
Geoffrey and his brothers were involved in a revolt against Henry II of England, siding with his three sons and his wife, until it was quashed (civil war 1173-74). His brothers Guy and Amalric were then banished from Poitou by noone less than Richard Lionheart, then Duke of Aquitaine, as a sentence for murdering Patrick of Salisbury on March 27th, 1168. With Amalric arriving in 1174 in the Holy Land, and Guy some time in 1179 with french crusaders.
Geoffrey meanwhile took part in the great joust at Lagny-sur-Marne on the 1st of November 1179, held by King Louis VII of France, celebrating the coronation of Philippe II of France, were over 3000 knights were attending, among them Henry the Younger and 500 knights of his.
Eager to gain more lands and helped perhaps by the fact that one of their own was brother-in-law to the the current King of Jerusalem, the Lusignans engaged in marriage negotiations with the Chabots. So eventually Geoffrey was married to Eustacia de Chabot, Dame de Vouvent et Mervent, a girl of 12 years on their wedding day on the 8th of September in 1182. The wedding was not consummated due to her very young age, and would not be for many years to come. Geoffrey showed little interest in his wife during those first months and was put off a little by her giggling and childish ways.
Allying himself with the younger King Henry, his cousin Geoffrey II de Rançon, and Viscount Adémar de Limoges in 1183 for a short campaign against Richard Plantagenet and King Henry II, Geoffrey found himself on the losing side after Henry's untimely death of the flux (7th June 1183), surrendered to Richard and was banished like his brothers before him. And so he left, with his wife staying behind at the Lusignan Keep, after swearing that he would have her follow him as soon as he would have achieved a position at some other land's court.
The Holy Land
Intending to sooner or later head for the Holy Land as well, Geoffrey travelled from France to Italy, staying for a bit at Pisa and then later at the court of the King of Sicily, where he left, after the news of the desastrous Battle of Hattin caused a new wave of crusaders to be sent to the Holy Land in the spring of 1188. Geoffrey seized the opportunity and joined a fleet carrying 200 Sicilian knights, hoping to aid in liberating his brothers that had been taken hostage.
After Guy's release and taking up residence in Tripoli, Geoffrey arrived with the next wave of crusaders in May of 1188, took a vital part in persuading the 200 Sicilian knights to join his brother Guy instead of Conrad of Montferrat. Reunited with both his brothers he followed them to Acre, for the subsequent siege of the town. On the 4th of October 1189 Geoffrey was left in charge of the camp while the main force was launching an attack on Saracen lines. When Saladin ordered a counter attack of the crusader camp, he was able to hold up its defenses. And yes, he experienced the hunger and illness all around him, which claimed the life of his two nieces and their mother, Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem, in the autumn of 1190. With Guy's claim to the throne now on rather shaky grounds, they departed for Cyprus in May 1191 to meet with the Lionheart there, and for their help in claiming the island for Richard they earned his gratitude and support for Guy. And back to Acre they went, with Richard bringing a new spark to the already tiring siege.
When Acre was reclaimed on 28th July 1191 Geoffrey was awarded the nominal title of Count of Ascalon, despite Ascalon still being in Saladin's hands at that time but it would be reconquered by Richard Lionheart in December 1191 - the same who had banished Geoffrey from his lands years ago, ironically enough. The city of Ascalon is in ruins though at the moment, a shadow of its own former splendour. And not to be rebuilt, according to the sanctions of the latest treaty with Saladin.
Geoffrey's ambition has been always been to further the political influence of the Lusignans. His alliance with Henry the younger of England ended in disgrace, when the young King died. So when he followed his brothers to the Holy Land it was to recover, regroup and rise, more powerful than before. The Siege and Battle of Acre proved a splendid opportunity, as he was awarded the title of Count of Ascalon. Reflecting his new status is his personality which clearly shows his pride, both in his own accomplishments and those of his family. With one brother the King of Cyprus and former King of Jerusalem, and the other Count of Jaffa, he almost understands himself as part of Royalty.
His pompous façade might be deceiving, he has actually proven himself as capable fighter and leader of men. Most notably during the Siege of Acre, the conquest of Cyprus and the Battle of Arsuf.
Being apart from his wife whom he hasn't seen in for almost ten years, Geoffrey seems now most eager to be reunited with her. With Saladin's peace treaty signed and finally some sort of peace settling in, he has sent word to Eustacia that now might be the perfect time for her to travel to the Holy Land to reunite with her husband. He expects her to arrive within the next couple of months.
From his approximately five years in Italy, Geoffrey, although far from being fluent, has learned a few bits of the Pisan and Sicilian dialects, which might come in handy when overhearing some secretive communication of Pisan or Sicilian emissaries.
Carrying oneself with the grandeur of a powerful family can be tiring sometimes, so Geoffrey sometimes retreats into a less crowded area and plays on his lute, as it helps him to relax, calm down when angered, or even just bring some order into his thoughts. He acquired some basic knowledge of the instrument back at home from a wandering minstrel and improved his playing during his time in Sicily.
Geoffrey used to live in the Constable's Palace as a guest of his brother Amalric. But now that Geoffrey has asked his wife Eustacia to come to Acre, he was forced to find himself a new habitat. He found it, a nice courtyard house at St. George's Place in the Royal Quarter, far enough from the Ibelins to engage in any trouble.
Geoffrey has claimed two knights assigned to his family for his own company and protection,... well probably more the former, as there are enough guards to look after him.
Gervais de Montmorillon
A young knight hailing from the Poitou area, third son of a local noble, slim, black haired, with piercing dark eyes. There is a cruel streak about his bony face. Swift and skilled with his sword, he was able to prove himself during the Battle of Arsuf, where he fought at Geoffrey's side. Seldom a laugh escapes him, as he mostly keeps to background, observing with attentive eyes. But when he makes a remark it is of surprising perspicacity.
Florestan de Sanxay
A cheerful fellow, of about 40 years of age. Second cousin to the baron of Sanxay which lies somewhere in the vicinity to the Lusignan county; and aware of it. A haughty fellow, but most submissive when he speaks to the Lusignan. Lightbrown locks fall about his face, from which a hawklike nose protrudes beneath a pair of light blue eyes. His carefully shaved face is of a rosy complexion, possibly from a cup wine now and then - and we know the wine supplies of Geoffrey are quite impressive. Not as swift a fighter as he has been probably during the siege of Acre and the subsequent battles of Jaffa, Ascalon, and Arsuf, Sir Florestan has gained a bit of weight lately. Not the cleverest companion, certainly, but diverting enough to be tolerated around the Count of Ascalon.
When a sick Joscelin III de Courtenay challenged him for a duel in the year 1190: "Come back when your health has returned and you have lost 20 years of age."