Perhaps it was his lonely childhood. Perhaps it was the fact that his wife had dared to ask him to surrender his beloved cat, driving him to seek solace in the arms of other women. Perhaps it was the constant warfare that had divided the empire since he was a child. But even as an adult, Kuno Karling always seemed to live in his own world, just ever so slightly out of step with what was going on around him.
He was 20 years old when he was forced to hand the title of emperor to his cousin Bertha. He remained King of East Frankia during this time, which gave him control of a sizeable army and protection against any attempts his cousin might have made to imprison him or rescind his lands.
Life as a vassal did not provide much stimulation to Kuno. He whiled away the hours playing with his cat and trying to seduce every woman who crossed his path, much to his wife's chagrin.
He did not pay much attention to the empire in those days. Technically he was serving on the Empress's council as her chancellor, but he wasn't actually any good at diplomacy, so it was a poor fit for his skills.
Then one day he received an invitation to join the Empress's council, and he said to himself, "But Kuno, aren't you already on the Empress's council?" And that's when he realized his cousin Bertha had died and there was a new Empress, and she was not a Karling at all. She was from Ireland, and she was a heretic. Kuno smelled opportunity.
He immediately formed a faction to put himself on the throne and readied his troops for a war. The war never came: by the time he issued his demand, the Empire's forces were so depleted, the Empress immediately capitulated. Kuno was Emperor once again.
Now an adult, Kuno had a much easier time keeping his vassals in line than he did the first time he became emperor. He threw a big party, and well, it's hard to say that anyone likes him, but I guess they think he's fine as Emperors go. When he's not seducing your wife.
The only significant faction that formed against him in that time was led by the empress he'd just deposed. So he seduced her as well.
Life was going well. He had a bunch of kids, which meant he could set up a bunch of betrothals. The borders of the Empire had shrunk a bit since his dad's day, but he was building alliances, plotting to pick up low-hanging duchy there, a neglected county there. Business as usual.
One day, one of his most important allies, King Louis of West Frankia, called him to help defend against the Umayyad caliphate, who were laying claim to Aquitaine. "Sure," Kuno thought, "I'll march on over just as soon as I clean up this little war of conquest I have going on in Anhalt."
A few years later, Kuno received another message: the war for Aquitaine had been lost. For the first time he looked up from his petty wars, and this is what he saw:
Emperor Kuno was now the last of the Karlings to rule an independent realm and the gaping maw of the Umayyad caliphate was at his borders. Everything was going to be just fine, probably.