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Thread: The Great Game : MP AAR

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    The Great Game : Norway, 1066-1920

    The Great Game is an MP AAR intended to span the entire period from 1066 to 1920. There will be wars. There will be intrigues. There will be great rivalries and epic defeats. And, of course, there will be AARs! Hence this thread.

    The current players and countries :
    • Traveler, Courageous King of Italy
    • Robtimus Prime, Perfidious King of Burgundy
    • Dominus, Just-Recovered King of England
    • Sterkarm, Most Catholic King of Poland
    • King of Men, Badboy King of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Wends, and the Goths
    • Blackeye, Autocratic and Silent Emperor of Byzantium
    • Lurken, Most Serene King of Iberia
    • Earendilhe, Magyar King of Hungary and most of the Middle East
    • Cyrus Was Great, Newly Reborn King of Jerusalem

    The current game year is 1347.


    There are now two threads with AARs on this game. The reason is that we are having something of a religious schism : I (along with all right-thinking people) feel that a game of such epic scope should naturally be called the Great Game. This phrase has grandeur and gravitas, and is also associated with diplomatic skullduggery from feuding Romans to 19th-century Afghanistan. On the other hand, Traveler and his heretical band of Greatness-deniers have pulled the name "March Through Time" from, um, somewhere. A ridiculous name, and subtle Communist propaganda to boot, with its reference to Mao's Long March. Plainly, I shall have to crush these people and make them recognise the Great Game as the only proper way to refer to our game.

    At any rate, the upshot of all this is that I appear to be the only one posting in this thread. So, in an effort to win friends and influence people, I shall break with the tradition of MP AARs and invite, nay, beg for, comments from the peanut gallery.

    It also occurs to me that I should give a quick glossary of terms; while probably familiar to most reader of sagas, that is only a small subset of people.
    • Scot : Nothing to do with people who inhabit Scotland, but an Old Norse word meaning 'tax' or 'wealth'.
    • Hight : Verb meaning 'to be named'. This is the past form.
    • Nithing : Adverb meaning 'dishonourable', 'faithless'. Can also be used as a noun meaning 'dishonourable scum'.
    • Grid : Mercy, after the jotun (giant) woman who once spared Thor's life when she had him at her mercy.
    • Hird : The King's household guard.
    • Sea-king : A man of royal blood with a claim to kingship, who rules no more than a few ships, his warband, and whatever ground he happens to be standing on.
    • Frill-wives : Concubines, basically, but with some legal rights. A custom that is falling rapidly out of favour with the Christianisation of the country.
    • Bonde : Farmer who owns land. Someone who rents it is a 'leilending' or 'husmann'. Implies a reasonable amount of social standing and wealth; the closest thing to a middle class Scandinavia possesses at this time. Expected to maintain weapons and fight in the militia. Plural bønder.
    • Fylking : Army, host, the fighting men of a district, a fighting array. In modern Norwegian, the administrative division between cities and the state is called a 'fylke'.
    • Miklagard : Constantinople. Literally 'Great City' - well, even more literally, 'Great Farm', but this is 'farm' in the sense of 'the kind of place where the king lives' - an estate, in other words.
    • Gardarike : Russia, especially the lands around the great rivers navigable by viking galleys - the Don, the Dvina, the Dniepr, and the Volga. Literally 'land of farms'.
    • Hird : The King's personal guard.
    • Norns : The fates, very similar to the Greek concept - three sisters who spin a man's life, weave it into history, and snip the thread when he dies. In the Norse version, they sit at the base of Yggdrasil, the World-tree. When you get right down to it, there are an amazing number of similarities between Norse and Greek mythology; which is, I suppose, why people postulate an ancestral Indo-European culture somewhere on the steppes. At least Odin has the decency to delegate the smiting-with-lightning bit to his son; he goes more in for tricking people into dying in glorious battle so he can have more heroes for Ragnarok.
    Last edited by King of Men; 28-11-2005 at 05:26.

  2. #2
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    YNGLINGA SAGA


    1. OLAF HARALDSON YNGLING (1066)

    Olaf was king of Norway after the death of Harald Hardråde, together with his brother Magnus. Olaf was a stout man, well grown in limbs; and everyone said a handsomer man could not be seen, nor of a nobler appearance. His hair was yellow as silk, and became him well; his skin was white and fine over all his body; his eyes beautiful, and his limbs well proportioned. He was rather silent in general, and did not speak much even at Things; but he was merry in drinking parties. He loved drinking much, and was talkative enough then; but quite peaceful. He was cheerful in conversation, peacefully inclined during all his reign, and loving gentleness and moderation in all things. Stein Herdison speaks thus of him:

    "Our Trondhjem king is brave and wise,
    His love of peace our bønder prize;
    By friendly word and ready hand
    He holds good peace through every land.
    He is for all a lucky star;
    England he frightens from a war;
    The stiff-necked Danes he drives to peace;
    Troubles by his good influence cease."

    2. ON JÆMTLAND (1067)

    Austmod hight a man, and he was chief of those people who call themselves Jæmtings, and live in the valleys to the northeast of Hedmark. Now this Austmod was a very fine archer, and it happened once that as he was guesting in Ångermanland, he came upon a huge bear, which charged his party. Then Austmod took out his bow, and shot the bear through the eye, so it fell dead. For this deed he gathered much praise among his following, and also among the bønder of the district, from whom the bear had taken much livestock.

    Now, when Thormod, who was chief in those parts, came to hear of this, he said : "Shall we let this Austmod do as he pleases in our lands? Today he shoots our bears. Tomorrow will he take our boars or deer? We must teach him a lesson." Thus Thormod sent the war-arrow around his district, and the warriors came to the aid of their chief; though there were some who said that this was not an honourable deed. So his fylking was somewhat less than it had been in previous years; but still it was twice the size of what the Jæmtings could muster.

    Thus Austmod was forced to come to a peace, and pay a scot for hunting in Thormod's lands; but he was not pleased at this. So when he heard that Norway had a new king, he said, "Let us ask this Olaf for aid, for all men know that he is a just and wise king." And the Jæmtings agreed to seek Olaf's protection.

    Now when Olav received word of this, he agreed immediately that Jæmtland should be part of Norway henceforth; and he set out to punish the men who had dishonourably forced war upon his vassal. The men of Viken and Akershus mustered under the King's banner, and his brother Magnus brought many men from Nidaros. Together with the Jæmtings, they quickly brought Thormod to acknowledge Olaf's overlordship; and for his presumptousness, all his lands were given to Austmod, so that Jæmtland and Ångermanland came under one man's rule, and all lay under the King of Norway.

    Now when this was done, and a great feast was being held in Thormod's hall to celebrate the victory, it happened that Olaf asked about the lands north of Ångermanland; and Austmod told him that they were rich in furs and lumber, but inhabited by savage pagans, who killed all who entered their lands. Olaf asked : "Are they so deadly that the armies of Norway cannot overcome them?" Austmod replied : "Nay, sire King; they are brave and skilled fighters, but not numerous. Had we of Jæmtland as many warriors as you do, we would long since have brought them to Christ." So Olaf decided that he would march north, to overawe the pagans and force them to acknowledge his overlordship; and this he did, and gave Lappland to his brother, keeping Västmanland for himself and laying a heavy scot on those who worshiped in the old way; but the baptised he spared.

    3. THE MARRIAGE OF OLAF AND BOTAID (1070)

    Botaid hight a woman, and she was the daughter of Munkair av Stenkyrka, chief of Gotland. Her beauty was widely spoken of : She had ell-long golden hair, a full mouth, and eyes the colour of the sea. Now, when Olaf heard of this, he decided to see for himself; and thus he travelled to Gotland and guested for a while with Munkair. There he saw that men had spoken true, for Botaid was indeed a great beauty; and so he asked for her hand in marriage. Munkair, desiring an alliance with the powerful King of Norway, readily agreed.

    Botaid bore Olaf many daughters, and their names were Astrid, Maer, Gudrun, Ingjerd, and Gyrid. But with no sons to carry on his name and win fame in battle, Olaf became angry and disappointed, and said Munkair had cheated him, and that Botaid was a useless frill; and it is said there was little joy in their marriage.

    4. ALLIANCE WITH THE KING OF THE GERMANS (1077)

    Heinrich hight a man, and he was king of the Germans and had many other titles beside. Now it chanced that Olaf was travelling to Gotland to guest with his father-in-law as Heinrich was campaigning around Mecklemburg; and as there was little welcome in those days to be expected on Gotland, Olaf decided he would instead go and see what sort of man Heinrich was.

    Now Heinrich, being a skilled and powerful warrior, had brought Mecklemburg to submission; and thus he was in a merry mood when Olaf asked to see him. "Indeed," said he, "let us by all means welcome the King of Norway! We will show him how Germans feast their guests." And he laid out a mighty feast, stinting nothing; and as the drink flowed and men became merry, Heinrich and Olaf found each other most congenial. So the next day they swore oaths of friendship, and they campaigned together against Rostock, and after it was taken Heinrich granted Olaf the city for his own. But from then on it was said in Denmark that the King of Norway could not stand on his own, but hid behind the skirts of the mighty German Emperor; and this slander Olaf had much trouble to extinguish.

    (This was a slander event, giving me the trait Coward. Grr!)

    6. WAR WITH DENMARK (1082)

    Now when Heinrich had a dispute with King Estrid of Denmark over who should be lord of Holstein, he sent men to Olaf to ask for his aid. And this aid Olaf gave freely, saying "Ill would it be to fail our friend now, and men would say we had done a nithing deed. And also these Danes have called us coward, and that we can in no wise abide." So he sent the war-arrow to Akershus, Oppland, and Viken, and marched down the coast through Västergotland towards Halland. At this the Swedes were much alarmed, and although King Estrid had sent to them for aid, they stayed instead in their homes, preferring not to fight the King of Norway.

    Now when King Olaf reached Halland, he found that there were few men there to meet him, for King Estrid had called them to the Danework to stand against Heinrich's host. So he burned the land widely around, and forced them to acknowledge him as their Jarl; and marched south to Skåne. This land, too, he ravaged; and when emissaries came from King Estrid to ask for mercy, he said "Grid I'll grant, if Estrid will give me his lands." And to this Estrid was forced to agree, lest his people rise in revolt against him. So says Bjørn Krephende in his song on Olaf:

    Through Halland wide around
    The clang and shriek resound;
    The houses burn,
    The people mourn,
    Through Halland wide around.
    The Norse king strides in flame,
    Through Viskardal he came;
    The fire sweeps,
    The widow weeps,
    The Norse king strides in flame.

    But the Danes liked this little, and what before had been whispered, now was shouted, that Olaf was a coward who could not fight without German swords. And when this came to Olaf's ears, his mood became grim, and he would take little joy in anything. For of all things he could least abide that his good name should be besmirched.

    5. OLAV OLAFSSON YNGLING (1083)

    Now as Botaid had born Olaf no sons, he took to his bed frill-wives, according to the older custom of his fathers. And by these he had several sons; one was named Ragnar, another Stein. But as they were forbidden by the Church to inherit, Olaf gave their mothers farms to keep them, and so pass they out of the saga.

    Now, one of these frill-wives hight Ragnhild, and she was the daughter of a poor bonde named Håkon Ladir. And when she bore a son, who was baptised Olav, she refused the reward of a farm. Instead, she asked that Olav be given a place in the King's hird when he came of age. And as the child was a shapely and healthy lad, King Olaf agreed to this.

    As Olav grew, he came to resemble his father more and more. King Olaf did not fail to take note of this, and began to treat him more and more as his heir; for as he had no sons by Botaid, he needed a child of his body to carry on his line. But to this the Church could not agree. And so matters stood for a long while.

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    YNGLINGA SAGA


    7. SVEARIKE (1086)

    To the east of Norway lies a large country, filled with deep forests, vast lakes, and hills. The people of this land call themselves Svear, and so their land is called Svea-rike. These Svear were the last people in the North to abandon the old gods, and some say that even now there are held secret sacrifices to Frey in the dark forests where the Church will not see. For this reason many in Norway and Denmark say the Svear are a backwards and foolish people; but for all that they are fierce fighters.

    In King Olaf's time Erik Stenkilsson had the kingly power in Svearike, and he held rich estates around Västergotland. Erik was a handsome man, well regarded by his countrymen because he was not given to plaguing them with levies. But as time passed, he became jealous of the warlike accomplishments of King Olaf, and set out to emulate them. Thus he gathered his warriors to fall upon Poland, for Boleslaw, King of the Poles, was at that time campaigning on the Dvina.

    Now when King Olaf received word of this, he at first thought to march upon the Svear and make them swear fealty to him, for he did not think it quite honourable to make war upon a king while he was away; but when word was brought that Vastergotland was suffering from a plague that made men break out in fevers and sweats, he desisted. "Give me a sword," he said, "and there is no man I am afraid to fight; but I will not take up arms against the punishments of God." So King Erik had peace for his fight with Boleslaw; but that skilled and deadly warrior, hearing that the Svear had landed at Danzig, marched his troops swiftly south and defeated Erik in a great battle, and forced him to give Boleslaw the overlordship of Gotland. At this King Olaf was not well pleased, for he had a claim on that land through his wife; but as Boleslaw had a great reputation for victory-luck and many men besides, Olaf was forced to let the matter rest.

    (OOC : In fact, we fought a war over the issue, which I lost, but it disappeared in a crash. As did my three strong sons, bah. I'd rather have had the war and my sons back, frankly.)

    8. DEATH OF BOTAID (1088)

    Now, Botaid had borne King Olaf five daughters, and had little joy of that, for he wanted sons to carry on his line. So when her belly swelled yet again with life, there was small rejoicing in the court. Nor did Botaid herself hold out great hope for the future. "I feel my end coming upon me, and I shall die unmourned," she said. And when she was confined for the birth, the child was found to be turned in her womb, and although the midwives laboured for many hours they could not save either mother or child. King Olaf ordered three masses said for his wife, and buried her with great honour; but there were not many who thought him greatly grieved, and soon he began to look for another woman to bear him sons.

    9. MARRIAGE OF OLAF AND DAGMAR (1088)

    Dagmar was the eldest daughter of Erik, Duke of Sjælland, who had no sons. As Sjælland was a rich and prosperous country, and Dagmar was greatly renowned for her beauty besides, Olaf lost no time in sending off messengers to Duke Erik to ask for her hand. Erik, like Munkair before him, was pleased to have such a mighty warrior in his family, and forthwith agreed. Indeed there were some who whispered that such haste was unseemly, and that the meats served at the funeral of Botaid had coldly furnished the marriage table of Dagmar. But of this King Olaf took no notice. And when Dagmar presented him with a strong and well-shaped son, who was baptised Erlend, his joy knew no bounds, and he called her a paragon among women and showered rich gifts upon her. But his elder son Olav, born to a frill-wife, took little joy in this.

    10. CHILDREN OF OLAF AND DAGMAR (1090 - )

    Dagmar bore Olaf several children; Thora was one, Eystein another. But as he now had legitimate sons, Olaf did not look upon Olav - his son by the frill-wife Ragnhild with as much favour as heretofore; and not only Olav, but his friends at the court, who had hoped to gain greatly by their friendship when Olav came of age, felt this bitterly. Therefore they put about the vicious rumour that King Olaf was impotent, and that Dagmar was not a chaste wife, but had lain with others to present Olaf with sons. King Olaf paid no heed to these slanders, instead praising his wife. But Dagmar was most unpleased, and conceived a virulent hatred of Olav and his friends.

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    11. ON FINLAND (1094)

    One year Olaf decided to go in east-Viking, and set forth to Finland with a fleet of sixty ships. There he burnt widely around, and many Finns said they should acknowledge him as their overlord. But one great chief of those parts, Lemett, was skilled in casting runes; and he counselled battle. "The One-Eyed does not always give victory to the numerous," he said, "and it may be this Olaf shall find something to surprise him."

    So the Finns drew up their host and came forth to give Olaf battle; and Olaf arranged his men so that the Viken men were on the right, and the Skånings on the left, with his own household guard in the center. Seeing that the Norwegian host was twice as numerous as the Finns, everybody felt certain of victory. But as they advanced, a great wind blew in their faces with a sting of snow in it although it was summer; and many said later that they had heard the old gods howling for the blood of Christians in that wind. So when it came to blows, the Norwegians were tired, while the Finns were still fresh; and in the end Olaf's host was forced to retire. So they came to peace with the Finns, and only that part of Finland that had already sworn to obey Olaf was kept under his control.

    (OOC : Gah, pagans with 16 martial skill...)

    11. WAR WITH DENMARK (1095)

    Olaf had not forgotten how the Danes had insulted him, and so the year after he came home from Finland he once again called out the men of Viken and Akershus; but because the spring was late that year, he set the muster point to be in Jylland and not Norway, and set out with only the Akershus men.

    Now as they arrived in Denmark, they found that the Danes were roused against their coming, and had come out to meet them on sea; and that boded ill for the Norwegians, for they had only thirty ships, while the Danes had sixty. But Olaf was cheerful, saying "Now we'll show these Danes who is the coward. Let each man kill two!" And seeing their king leading the way, nobody dared object. But as the battle wore on, the Danes got the upper hand, clearing many ships.

    However, around vespers, as the Norwegians were hard pressed, more ships were sighted on the horizon; and Olaf, whose sight was sharper than any's, shouted for joy : "Here come our friends to our aid! Forward, King's men!" And his guards took new heart, while the Danes were discouraged. The Viken fleet thus won Olaf a great victory; and King Estrid was forced to flee Jylland. Thus that country was added to Olaf's domains.

    12. WAR WITH SWEDEN

    Now Erik Stenkilson, King of the Svear, had grown old and died in sickbed, and his son Inge (*) ruled in his place. This Inge was shorter than his father, but very strong; he could wrestle two men at once, and his axe was heavier than any other man's.

    Now as soon as the Svear had hailed Inge as their king, he said, "Now let us go and make a name for ourselves, and teach the Norwegians to fear us." For he had not forgotten how King Olaf had marched through Västergotland. So he sent the war-arrow around the land, and also sent to Boleslaw of Poland for aid. And he marched to Viken with a great host, almost five thousand men, and burned widely around. King Olaf did not have enough men to face him directly; instead he marched down to Västergotland and laid siege there. But as Boleslaw was now raiding Jylland, King Olaf was forced to send emissaries to him to treat for peace, swearing an oath never to press his claim-by-marriage on Gotland.

    However, the Svear would not have peace; for three years they would call up their host each spring, and ravage around Akershus and Viken, and even as far as Oppland. The bønder muttered of revolution, and the land suffered; and still the Svear would not speak of peace, though King Olaf even swallowed his pride and offered to pay tribute. Still, after so many battles the Svear, too, were growing tired. Therefore Olaf called every man in Norway to his banner for a final battle; even the men of the Isles were summoned, at ruinous cost. And so the hosts met for a great battle in Oppland; and there King Olaf had the victory, and sent the Svear running back to their forests. But as the Norway was impoverished after so many years of war, he did not pursue the victory, but instead gave the Svear peace without either side paying tribute. For this wisdom he was much lauded, but there were also some who felt that he should have made the Svear pay the price of the war they had started.

    * OOC : Actually, the Swedish king is named Olaf, but that's just one Olaf too many. He can have his brother's name.

    13. OLAV THE BASTARD

    Now Olav, the King's son by the frill-wife Ragnhild, had come of age; and the King granted him Tavastland in Finland to hold for his own. But this did not please Olav, who had hoped to become King of Norway in his own right; and he soon raised the banner of rebellion, hoping to gain support from those in Norway who were displeased with Olaf's rule. But the Jarls remained strong for the King, and Olav was soon forced to flee to Castille, where he was received with great honour and made Chancellor; for he had always been a good speaker.

    14. MARRIAGE OF ERLEND (1105)

    Now as Erlend, the King's eldest son by Dagmar, had come of age, King Olaf sent messengers far and wide to find a bride for him; and when one reported that King Sancho of Castille had a daughter who was renowned for her beauty and kindness, Olaf decided that he would seek her hand for his son. King Sancho was not displeased with this, for Olaf had a great reputation as a warrior, and the betrothal was soon arranged. But Boleslaw of Poland, who had also wished to acquire the princess of Castille for his son, was outraged. Not wishing to fight another war with Norway so soon after the last, he instead sent bribes to Rome to have Erlend banished from the Church, and in this he was successful. But Erlend made a pilgrimage to Rome to argue his case before the Pope, and at the sight of his dusty rags the Pontifex relented. Still Erlend did not forget who had conspired against him.

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    15. ON SJÆLLAND (1112)

    Now Eystein, who was the son of Olaf Haraldsson, had married a daughter of the jarl of Sjælland; and as the jarl died without sons, Helge son of Eystein was hailed chief in those parts. But Helge was very young, so a council of his father's best men ruled in his stead until he should reach a man's height.

    Now in those days the kingdom of Denmark was at war with Germany; and as the Danes were losing much ground, and Saxon raiding parties were everywhere, there was little love lost in Sjælland for the Dane-King. So when King Olaf sent Dagmar his wife as emissary, bearing rich gifts, she found Helge and his council in a mood to listen. She spoke thus : "Now it is shown that the Knytlings cannot fulfill their oath of protection for their vassals; but there is a King in the North who has many warriors, and who bears your blood besides. Will you not swear fealty to him?" And as the Sjællanders said that this was wise counsel, Sjælland became part of Norway.

    16. DEATH OF KING OLAF HARALDSSON (1113)

    In the war with the Svear, King Olaf had been much to the fore in battle, and had taken many wounds. The most of these healed well; but where an arrow had pierced his leg, the wound would not close fully, and he often had much pain of it, so that he sometimes spoke harshly in council. Now one winter the King took a fever, and the wound became inflamed. And this was the bane of Olaf Haraldsson.

    King Olaf was much mourned in the land; in his time were Jämtland, Lappland, Ångermanland, Finland, Nyland, Viborg, Tavastland, Satakunta, Rostock, Västerbotten, Österbotten, Jylland, Sjælland, and Skåne added to the Norwegian realm. For this reason he is sometimes called Olaf Finn-hammer. He also caused to be built sawmills in many places in the realm, and built the first road connecting Viken and Akershus, so that a man could ride where before he would have needed a boat. The common people had loved him well, although he was somewhat given to calling up levies.

    Here ends the saga of Olaf Haraldsson Yngling.

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    17. ACCESSION OF KING ERLEND

    Soon after King Olaf was dead, Erlend his son rode around to the Tings, making himself known to the people; and wherever he went the bønder hailed him King. Some of the chiefs grumbled; but there was no war over the succession, and this was considered an excellent omen for Erlend's rule, for it was a new thing in Norway that a King should be crowned without war. Erlend henceforth held himself to be especially blessed in his brothers.

    17. BAPTISM OF NYLAND (1117)

    As soon as he was crowned, King Erlend began to travel around his domains to hear the pleas of the people; but as the Norwegian realm at this time extended far and wide, it took much time before he reached his lands in Finland. There he heard a dispute concerning a boundary; and as one of the parties to the case was baptised, he ruled in favour of the Christian man. At this the pagan, hight Matti Perkkasson, asked "If I were baptised, would the King have ruled thus?" and King Erlend replied "No, in that case I should have ruled the other way." Upon hearing this Matti forswore his old gods, and took Christ as his saviour. At this King Erlend was most pleased, and gave Matti rich gifts to replace the land he had lost. And as Matti was a powerful chief in that land, many followed his example, and from that day the old gods were seen but little in Nyland.

    18. THE KING CAMPAIGNS IN LIVONIA (1118)

    Now when he was done hearing the grievances of the Finns, King Erlend decided that the pagan Livonians should be brought to Christ; and he therefore sent the war-arrow around Finland, and also sent for the men of Skåne to do him duty. And they crossed the Gulf of Finland to Livonia, and ravaged widely there, and forced the people to swear fealty to Erlend. And in this wise Narva and Reval were brought under the Norwegian crown.

    19. WAR WITH SWEDEN (1119)

    Now the Svear had been much impoverished by their war with King Olaf, and many of their best warriors had fallen. Still, Inge felt that his honour had been tarnished, and wished to restore it by attacking Norway once more. Thus he called his vassals to arms and marched upon Viken and Skåne.

    When King Erlend received word of this in Livonia, he was most angry, and marched instantly to his ships and took sail for Skåne. He also sent word ahead of him that the whole host of Norway should muster for battle, for he had fought with his father in the first war with the Svear and knew that they were fell and fierce fighters; overcoming them would be no easy task.

    King Erlend landed first in Skåne, and there he put to flight a large host under Andres Stenkil, King Inge's nephew. Then he marched up Finnveden and forced the people to hail him as King. Meanwhile King Inge had been burning and laying waste in Viken and Akershus, but the people there fled to the mountains and refused to acknowledge his overlordship.

    20. VLADIMIR YNGLING WINS HONOUR IN HERJEDALEN

    Vladimir hight a man, who was son of Skule, son of that Magnus who was brother to King Olaf Haraldsson. Thus Vladimir was a second cousin to King Erlend, and the two were good friends, for they had often played together as children. He held wide domains in Hedmark, and when the war-arrow passed that way, he summoned his host and led it to Herjedalen, which he soon brought into obedience to King Erlend. Then he passed into Medelpad, at which Markus who was lord of that region trembled and offered to pay scot to the King of Norway; and this Vladimir accepted. He then marched into Dalarna and added that land to his domains. For these deeds he was greatly praised by King Erlend, who said "It is well that the Ynglings have such sons; the Svear will soon learn to fear the brood of Harald Hardråde." And he sent Vladimir a good sword, and a well-made brynje, and several other gifts beside.

    (OOC : The war continues; I believe I am getting the upper hand, as long as I can keep the Swedish armies from combining. They do tend to run once their 2000-strong armies come up against my 8000, but as long as I can keep them apart, not besieging me, I'll rack up warscore enough for a really devastating peace treaty. I'm operating along interior lines on good roads, otherwise the AI would be having a much easier time getting its troops, and its act, together.)

    21. FEALTY OF FLANDERS

    Gaucher hight a man, who ruled in Flanders on the North Sea. Now this Gaucher was a very wealthy chief, and the kings in France and England both coveted his lands; but he would not swear fealty to them. So instead, when he learned of the great renown of the Kings of Norway, he sent to King Erlend for alliance and aid; and this King Erlend granted gladly, for he was pleased to have such a powerful vassal to aid him against the Svear. And Gaucher sent both gold and men, upon King Erlend's promise to gain Gaucher lands in England. (OOC : Right, RP?)
    Last edited by King of Men; 27-05-2005 at 02:41.

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    18. END OF THE WAR WITH SVEARIKE (1123)

    King Inge of the Svear was a mighty warrior, and no man could stand before his axe; but yet he could not drive the Norwegians out of his forests. King Erlend had gathered a vast host, and in battle after battle drove the Svear before him; Isle-men and Flander-volk alike fought in his ranks, and the Svear, however valorous, could not match their number or skill. So at last King Inge was forced to beg for peace; but Erlend was not minded to be as merciful as his father had been. Quoth he : "Let the Svear learn their lesson once and for all; twice they have attacked us, and a dog should get only one bite." So Västergotland, Öland and Närke were taken from the Swede-king, in addition to the lands his chiefs had already lost. For this peace King Erlend was widely praised in Norway.

    Mainland Norway and the Baltic after the peace :


    19. THE KING OF JERUSALEM ASKS FOR ADVICE (1128)

    King Erlend had great renown for his wisdom and good counsel. One day an emissary from Konrad, King of Jerusalem came to his court, asking advice on how to best make his kingdom prosperous and peaceful. King Erlend sat long with this emissary, asking how the affairs of Jerusalem were managed, and in the end he gave three redes :

    First, that the law of succession should be changed, so that not the eldest but the strongest son should inherit. For the eldest is not always the best king. At this King Erlend's brothers smiled, for Erlend was the oldest among them, and they were pleased to hear younger brothers praised.

    Second, that the Moslem sheikdoms outside Jerusalem's borders should be brought to submission and Christ, much as Harald Hårfagre and St. Olav had done for Norway. Such work would greatly strengthen the kingdom. At this the priests nodded, for King Erlend showed great modesty in not mentioning the work of himself and his father in expanding Norway's borders.

    Third, that the two elder sons of Konrad be re-baptised, for they were both named Mszczuj. And it would be unwise to expect vassals to be loyal to a chief whose name they could not pronounce. At this all the court laughed; but Erlend only smiled, for he felt it a serious matter that a King should have a name that could not be used in a battle cry.

    With these redes the King of Jerusalem's envoy pronounced himself well pleased, and he gave Erlend costly gifts of incense and oils, and they parted with many friendly words.

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    19. DENMARK (1131)

    Now the Dane-Kings had fought many wars against the German Emperor and against the King of Norway, and had little luck of that, so that the Knytlings ruled only in Halland, though they still called themselves Kings of Denmark. King Erlend felt that this brought them little honour and much mockery, and sent word to Estrid Knytling, asking if it would not be better to come under the protection of the King of Norway. But this Estrid refused. At that King Erlend shrugged, and said, "Well, if they will not hearken to kind words, they shall hearken to sharp swords." And he raised the levies of Akershus and Viken, and soon brought Halland to submission. Thus the last Knytling was forced to flee and become a sea-king, and the Ynglings ruled both Norway and Denmark. Thus King Erlend was crowned for a second time.

    20. DEATH OF KING ERLEND (1133)

    One day near the winter solstice, King Erlend rode out to hunt, and as his party were crossing a frozen lake, the ice gave way under his horse and he fell into the water. Fortunately they were close to the shore, and Hildebrand the German, chief of the hird, was able to draw the King out of the water, though his good horse Draugnir was lost. But the king took a chill from this, which soon turned to a fever; and though many prayers were said for the life of the King, this was the bane of him.

    King Erlend had been a good king, not as great in conquest as his father Olaf, but still a mighty warrior, and he had subdued the Swedes and the Danes both. Also he had built many good harbours along the Skagerrak coast, on both sides of the Sound, and had extended his father's road so a man could ride from Akershus to Skåne without getting his horse's hooves wet. While he was King there had been no bad harvests in Norway.

    Here ends the saga of Erlend Olafsson Yngling.

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    21. TORGEIR IS CROWNED KING OF NORWAY (1133)

    Because King Erlend had died unexpectedly, he had not set his affairs in order, and his sons had not yet reached a man's height. Therefore, a Ting was called to decide who should be King in Norway henceforth; and at this meeting there was much argument. For some held that Torgeir, the eldest, should inherit; but there were also many who spoke out for Håkon, his brother. For although Håkon was younger, he was swifter of tongue and a better swordsman, and many had heard King Erlend say that in a few years he would make Håkon Jarl of Akershus. And that was the office Erlend himself had held before becoming King.

    For a while it seemed that there would be civil war in Norway once more; but at length Håkon spoke out. "Ill would it be," he said, "for brother to make war on brother. And I would not have it said of me that I let greed bring Norway to such a pass. So here is my offer : Let my brother have the throne, and I shall take for my portion no more than my father promised me, the Jarldom of Akershus." And the Ting held this to be wise speech, and much to be praised in one so young. And so it was done. But still there were some who grumbled, and plotted in secret against the new King.

    (OOC : Ack, my King died too young... My incompetent eldest inherited, and he has all the wrong traits! All his vassals hate him!)

    22. THE STENKILS LOSE THE KINGDOM OF SVEARIKE (1133)

    Now it might be thought that the Svear would have taken advantage of Norway's disarray, to gain their lands back. But this they were unable to do, and that passed in this wise. Sörkver was Jarl of Uppland in those days, and he had fought in both the wars with Norway and had lost many men in the doing. So now when King Magnus called yet again for war on Norway, Sörkver refused. "Twice we have fought the Norrmen and lost," he said, "and now we should lose yet more land? For surely the Ynglings would swiftly unite against us. Better to hold what is ours and hope for better days; we cannot stand alone against Norway." And many Svear agreed that this was the best counsel for their nation; and they rose up and deposed Magnus, taking Sörkver for their new King.

    (OOC : Fortunately for me, the new Swedish King was even worse off for traits. Every remaining vassal DOWed him simultaneously... Unfortunately I was a bit too busy to take advantage.)

    23. BERGEN BECOMES AN ARCHBISHOPRIC (1137)

    Now Torgeir knew that he sat uneasy on the throne of his father, for he had never had the gift of making himself pleasant to all men, which is needful to a king. In other matters he was skilled enough, choosing honest stewards for his lands, and when he trained with the hird there were few who could stand against him. But when he spoke in council, he would often become angry if men did not agree with him, and then his tongue turned spiteful. Later he would recant his harsh words, and send gifts of gold to the man he had wronged; but in this wise he made many enemies.

    Therefore, Torgeir determined that he would do good works, to show his piety and bind his vassals closer; and so he ordered stone churches built in many places around the realm. Also he sent to Rome, asking the Pope to give Norway an archbishop; for hitherto all the Norse lands had been under the archdiocese of Hamburg, but now Norway was grown so large, there was good reason to have an archbishop of Norwegian blood to care for Norwegian souls. And this the Pope granted. To further show his friendship with the Church, King Torgeir made some of the western Counts, who had been the strongest supporters of Håkon, vassals of the new archbishopric. Thus he did not have to deal with them so often, and their tempers had time to cool.

    (OOC : Yay, prestige, piety, and my worst vassal off my hands, in one fell swoop!)

    24. MARRIAGE OF EILIF ERLENDSSON (1138)

    The third son of King Erlend was named Eilif; he was a handsome man, light of hair and mood, always with a friendly word for everyone. Now one day he came to his brother King Torgeir, saying that he wished to be married, and asking the King's help in this. And to this Torgeir gave his assent, and sent emissaries far about, seeking a suitable bride for his brother.

    Now in Scotland there was at this time a duke by the name of Eochaid, who had a daughter named Ragna. Her mother had been from Norway, and had told Ragna many tales of the dark mountains; and she had often wished to see her ancient homeland for herself. So when the emissaries came bearing word of a prince seeking a bride, Ragna was eager to go; and her father gave his assent. A child was soon born of this union, and was named Arnmod.

    Now Eochaid also had a son, named Simon; and to further cement the alliance, this boy was fostered for a while at King Torgeir's court. He was a likely lad, who soon came to be popular in the court for his winning ways; but somewhat given to bragging. One day he bragged that he could outrun the Norwegian ponies, and Hetfinn, a young man in the hird, who was very proud of his horse, challenged him to a race. This Simon accepted, and handily outraced Hetfinn's horse. "It seems to me," he then said, "that your horses here are no faster than your wits." At this Hetfinn was enraged, and the matter came to blows; and in this fight Simon took his bane-wound.

    For this deed Hetfinn was outlawed, and a price put on his head beside. And as Eochaid had no other sons, Arnmod, King Torgeir's nephew, fell heir to the Duchy of Galloway. Soon thereafter Eochaid died - most say, of grief - and thus an Yngling came to rule in Scotland; and since Torgeir appointed the regency council that was to rule Galloway until Arnmod came of age, the duchy was soon removed from the Scot-King's rule, and fell under Norway. But it was said in some places that Torgeir had no great sorrow of Simon's death, and that to take a Duchy under such circumstances was a nithing deed.

    (OOC : OK, I admit it, I brutally assassinated the boy. It was either him, or no dukedom for my nephew.)
    Last edited by King of Men; 21-06-2005 at 00:39.

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    25. THE GREAT RISING (1145-48)

    Now for some years Torgeir had campaigned in Germany, and there he won much honour and gold, and forced the German Emperor to give him rule of Wolgast. But the jarls and the lendermenn muttered among themselves, whispering that the King was becoming over-mighty; and also some said that the Duchy of Galloway had been acquired in a way that was likely to bring little luck to the land. And in this perhaps they were right, as shall now be shown.

    (OOC : Truly, I have absolutely no idea where I acquired that much badboy. The peace treaties I signed were mainly for money; only two provinces changed hands. Granted, in some cases I got a lot of money, certainly more than my warscore justified, to the point that I lost a bunch of prestige as well. But -12.9% loyalty monthly? Ye gods!)

    When the King had returned from his campaign, he called a Ting to hear the grievances of his people, that he might correct them. And Magnus Yngling, Jarl of Finland, brought up again the matter of Håkon Kings-brother's claim to the throne. "It is ill," he said, "that the crown of Norway should sit on the head of one who deals in bad faith with marriage oaths; and also it is well known that King Erlend desired Håkon to be his heir. Therefore I think Torgeir should now make way for his brother." At this Torgeir grew angry. "How is it that Norway would be better led by one who has sat in Akershus these five years, while I have led our warriors in Germany, bringing back riches for the land? I think Magnus should recall who stood firm at Nassau, and be silent." With this King Torgeir left the Ting. The men who were there attempted to elect Håkon King, but as he refused the honour, they instead parted, saying they would agree on a King later, and the important thing was to remove Torgeir before he brought disaster on the realm.

    So the jarls of Norway rose against Torgeir their King; and because there was not one who remained steadfast, men call this the Great Rising. Against so many powerful men even Torgeir could not stand, especially because many warriors of Akershus, Viken, and Skåne had fallen in the German war. And so the Realm of Norway was reduced to only those lands that Torgeir held in his own right; but they were the richest in all the north, and so Torgeir, or Gunnar his son, might hope to bring their jarls back to the fold in time. For the most of them were of the Yngling blood.

    26. THE SVEAR SUPPORT THE RISING

    Now it is said that when Störkver, who had taken the crown of the Svear, heard the news that Norway writhed in rebellion, he laughed and called praises to God. For he had long awaited the blow that would end his rule in Svearike, and now he saw his reprieve in the quarrels of the Ynglings. Swiftly, then, he sent forth the war-arrow, and the Svear mustered to his banner.

    Already ravaged by war, Torgeir could not stand against the Svear; but Störkver had little joy of his victory, for Markus Sverkerætten, who was jarl of Östergotland, took for himself the crown of Norway, and said he owed no more allegiance to the Svear, whose kings had brought him no luck. And as his lands were the richest in all Svearike, there was little Störkver could do about that; and also, the Yngling jarls who had forsworn Torgeir now began to swear allegiance to Markus, for they could not agree who should be King, and they wished to make Norway mighty once more. But Torgeir, who now was only King of Denmark, swore that he should have revenge for this.


    What's left of Norway after my badboy death-spiral (in red, since the game thinks I'm Denmark now) :


    The green bit to the north isn't Poland, but an independent Trøndelag. Note Jylland and Rostock lost to Germany. The Isles are also gone (though Iceland is now under the new King of Norway), and the Duchy of Galloway swore to Scotland again. Plainly, it'll be some time before the Ynglings can dream of dominating the Baltic.
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    27. WAR WITH GERMANY

    Now as soon as he had peace with the Svear, at ruinous cost, Torgeir called up his remaining men and brought Jylland and Rugen once more to obedience.
    But at this Bernhard, King of the Germans, grew angry, for he held Jylland to be part of his domain. And he called up his host and marched north.

    After so much fighting, there was little hope in the Yngling court of resisting the mighty German king, and emissaries were sent to hear his terms for peace. But Bernhard would not hear their words, and sent them back with their eyes put out; for he was a harsh and proud man, and wished to humble the north. His troops therefore crossed the Skagerrak, and burnt widely along the coast. But now the Pope in Rome took a hand; for he had quarrels with the Emperor of old, and saw here an opportunity to humble his foe. Therefore he called on the parties to accept the Truce of God; and this Torgeir seized upon right gladly. Thus threatened with excommunication, even proud Bernhard was forced to give way, and so the Ynglings had peace for a short while. But Bernhard was not pleased, and swore revenge on both Pope and Dane-King.

    (OOC : The Dane-King being me.)

    28. FEALTY OF BRANDENBURG

    Erdzivil hight a man, who held Brandenburg from the Polish King. He was a short man, terrible to his foes, and much given to taking blood-vengeance for insults. Once when a priest told him he would be damned, he had the man set on a stake, so that after three days it came out his mouth and he died; and for this act he was excommunicated. But he was a strong warrior and generous to his friends.

    Now it came to Torgeir's ear that Erdzivil chafed under the rule of the Piasts of Poland, and wished to be free of their tribute. Therefore he sent men and gifts to Brandenburg, suggesting that Erdzivil should swear fealty to him until he could found his own kingdom, as had occurred with Flanders. And Erdzivil, knowing well that Odon of Poland would nowise be so generous, accepted this.

    But Odon refused to accept this, and called out his host and crossed the Oder; and Bernhard of Germany, seeing an opportunity for revenge, likewise decalred war on Denmark. Against two such foes, Brandenburg could not stand long, and the city was soon returned to German suzerainty; for however much Odon snarled, Bernhard refused to acknowledge his claim to the land. And as the Piast did not care for war with the might Holy Roman Emperor, there was little he could do about that. So Bernhard was free to turn north.

    Torgeir did not have enough men to face the Germans - twenty thousand strong - directly; instead he called out his levies and hid in the hills, intending there to strike at camps and supplies, and by needle stings make the Germans so weary of war that they would leave. Also, Torgeir sent emissaries to Philip of England, Aubrey of Naples, and Antoine of Flanders, begging their aid; and the English King sent ten thousand men to drive the Germans south, while Flanders sent gold and ships. In this wise the Germans were unable completely to conquer the Yngling lands, for their armies ruled only the land they stood on, and behind them marched English and Danish levies, attacking where they were weak.

    Now the deeds of his forefathers came to Torgeir's aid, for Mzczuj of Jerusalem, recalling how Erlend, Torgeir's father, had given counsel to his own, also sent an army to punish the German King for his arrogance. Thus did Lübeck and Mecklemburg fall from Bernhard's grasp. But Germany is a mighty kingdom, and Bernhard refused to acknowledge defeat, instead calling up many more warriors from his southern domains. Torgeir therefore campaigned widely in the south, defeating many German armies sent to crush him.

    Now there were many nations arrayed against Germany; the Great King in Miklagard sent men to take land in Croatia, and the King of Naples also sought to win lands in Italy. Englishmen and Danes marched all over Germany, and Flanders sent gold to weaken his powerful neighbour, though not daring himself to take the field. So at last Bernhard was forced to acknowledge that he could not defeat all his foes; and he signed a peace with Torgeir, acknowledging that Mecklemburg and Lübeck should be Yngling possessions for all time.

    My holdings after the war with Germany and the accession of a new king :



    Twice I was within one province of being conquered, and having to give up my remaining King title, which Bernhard had a claim on. Ouch! Thanks Dom and RP.

    29. DEATH OF TORGEIR

    Now Torgeir had been fighting many years in Germany, and a fever had taken him there, so that he often shivered although the day was warm; but still he always fought in the front ranks, and for this he was much praised among his men. But with peace, the iron will that had held him up died also, and six months after the signing of the Treaty of Nassau, he took to his bed and did not rise again.

    King Torgeir had not been loved in Norway, for he had a sharp wit that he often exercised at others' expense, and also he was somewhat given to heavy taxes. For this reason, and because of the Great Rising in his reign, he is sometimes called Torgeir the Unlucky. But also he had held the Yngling lands against Germany when all seemed lost, and even won the war and gained two rich cities, and there were few who did not admire him for this. So he is also sometimes called Torgeir the Stubborn, for his iron will.

    Here ends the saga of Torgeir Erlendsson.

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    30. ACCESSION OF GUNNAR (1160)

    Gunnar was King in Denmark after the death of his father Torgeir. He was a man of middle height, brown of hair and eye. He had a sharp wit, which he often used in riddle-contests; withal he was a peaceable man, little given to warlike displays. But his foes gave him little peace, and so he was often out and about the borders of the realm, although he would liefer have stayed in the comfort of his estate.

    31. KING GUNNAR'S CHILDREN (1161 - 1170)

    The King's first wife was named Helena; but like his forefather Olaf, Gunnar was unlucky in his children, siring only daughters; one was named Jorunn, another, Rannveig. So when Queen Helena died in childbirth, King Gunnar did not grieve long, and soon began seeking another wife to bear him sons. So when he heard that Sudislav, King of the Rus, had a daughter much renowned for her beauty, he sent emissaries to see if rumour spoke true, and seek her hand if it was so. And thus Verkhoslava the daughter of Sudislav became Queen in Denmark. She was a fertile woman, and bore the King four sons in swift succession, and they were named Ulv, Bård, Eirik, and Tore. But all except Eirik died in infancy of the whooping cough; at this Gunnar and Verkhoslava were much grieved, and there was little joy at the court in those years.

    32. EXILE OF EILIF (1167)

    Now Eilif, the King's uncle, had for many years heard voices impelling him to crusade against the pagans; but as he commanded no troops, these schemes came to nothing, and few at court listened to him anymore. But now the voices began to tell him instead to rebuild the Tower of Babylon; and that Bishop Ulvig could nowise abide. So he brought a petition to King Gunnar to have Eilif tried as a heretic; but Gunnar did not wish to sentence a man of Yngling blood, and instead sent Eilif as ambassador to Iceland, which was in those days under the King of Norway. With this compromise all were pleased, except Eilif's son Åle. But Gunnar promised to find him a wife of high rank, and to give him land in Rugen; and with this Åle was satisfied.

    (OOC : Ack, madmen who become heretics. He'd been hanging about the court as 0-0-0-0 schizo forever. His son was useful, though, I married him into a line of inheritance to a Duchy. Unfortunately he got hammered by the Germans in the upcoming war, and God only knows where he ended up. Of course, with all the badboy I accumulated from grabbing German vassals, he would no doubt have rebelled against me at some point anyway.)

    33. WAR WITH GERMANY (1168)

    Now Bernhard von Calw had passed away, and in his place had been elected Johann von Thuringen, a nobleman of Nassau. This Johann was a skilled warrior and leader of men, and soon after his accession his eyes turned to the lands Denmark had taken on the Baltic coast, and the rich cities of Mecklemburg and Lubeck. Therefore he demanded that Gunnar give him those cities, and when the King refused to give up the lands his father had won, mustered his host and marched against Denmark.

    Now Denmark in those years could not stand alone against Germany, but happily for the realm, stout allies were close to hand. Philip of England sent twenty thousand men, and gold; Aubry of Flanders sent gold and ships, and Alexandre de Hauteville, King of Naples, marched on the Emperor's southern possessions in hopes of gaining land there while Johann was distracted to the north. Hence, although Lubeck and Mecklemburg fell swiftly to the German hordes, The Danes were able to keep their foes south of the Sound, and when Johann marched south to deal with Naples and Bavaria, the Danish armies mustered again and retook their cities and many more besides. Like a bear bedeviled on all sides by dogs, the Germans could defeat any one of their foes, but the manifold bites weakened them until the pack could bring them down. Thus Denmark gained more lands on the Elbe :



    Meanwhile, the treacherous Svear had been busy raiding Danish lands while the army was away in Germany; at last, in exasperation, Gunnar was forced to accede to their demands of were-gild for their old King, Inge, whom they said had died of the grief that Norwegian blades had inflicted on his kingdom. As Inge had started the war, Gunnar was not greatly in sympathy with the Svears' claim, but to protect his people he had no choice but to yield. But it is said that when the Swedish emissaries were gone, he muttered under his breath "Take then our wealth, and much joy may it bring you. Soon you'll see how much steel you have bought with that gold."

  13. #13
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Men
    ... I shall ... invite, nay, beg for, comments from the peanut gallery.
    Here's a comment from the peanut gallery...

    I love the 'saga' format... keep it up!
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    Why thank you! I am vastly encouraged. So much encouraged, in fact, that I shall reward you with an update! Here is triumph amidst tragedy, tears and shouts of joy; the Yngling line marching from strength to strength, its best men spending themselves gladly for the glory of Norway.
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  15. #15
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    YNGLINGA SAGA


    34. THE MIRACULOUS WORKS OF ST OLAF THE WARRIOR

    King Gunnar was a most pious man, and in his time were many churches built in Denmark and up along the Baltic coast. Often he would hear three masses in a single day, and he always gave generously to the poor. Nor was his piety without reward, as shall now be related.

    After the war with Germany had ended, the eyes of the Polish King fell upon Denmark; for the realm was grievously weakened by war, and sickness ravaged the new-won lands on the Elbe. Therefore Konrad Piast mustered his host for war and crossed the Oder, and the men of Anhalt and Altmark were forced to flee before his numbers. The entire Baltic coast was ravaged by his army, which advanced like locusts, burning wherever they went; and the cruel heart of the Piast was pleased by the carnage.

    Konrad Piast. See? He's not only cruel, but vengeful too!



    Now at this time there were few fighting men left in Denmark, for the war with Germany had killed many of the best; and even when King Philip of England answered the appeal for aid, there was little to stand against the Piasts. It seemed therefore that there was little choice but to ask for peace; and Bjarne of Telemark, the King's confessor, was chosen as the emissary. He was a stout man, brown of hair and eye, and well liked for his good advice that was always freely given.

    Now as Bjarne was praying for guidance on the voyage south, he heard a voice saying, "An evil spirit has taken hold of Konrad Piast; but if you follow my word, we shall be rid of it, and win much advantage for our country thereby." And he rejoiced, for it seemed to him that the voice was that of Olaf, the warrior-saint who had painted the Cross in his own blood on Norway's mountains.

    Now, when Bjarne came before the Piast King, he saw that evil had dug its claws deep into the man's soul; but also he heard Olaf whispering in his ear, and knew that no man is beyond redemption. Therefore he went forward without fear; and at this the men of Konrad's guard wondered, for they had become accustomed to their King's eye quelling even the bravest. Still Bjarne went forward, and did not kneel before the Pole-King, but instead stood straight and asked what terms Konrad desired for peace. To this Konrad replied "First, that all the men of Denmark must bow before me, and acknowledge that I am the better warrior; and you shall begin." Now Bjarne said "All men know that Konrad Piast is a great warrior; but I bow only to my own king."

    At this Konrad's brows drew together in anger, and the spirit of darkness began to swirl in his eyes; which was just as Bjarne had hoped, for St Olaf had told him that to banish the spirit it must first be drawn out of Konrad's body. Now Konrad rose from the throne and struck Bjarne a great blow, so that his teeth rattled in his skull, and he fell. "Before you gave me such a reply I would have shown mercy," roared the Piast, "but now I shall burn Denmark to the ground! No stone shall be left on stone in Skåne or Halland, and I shall sow the ground with salt! Children shall tell for a thousand years of the vengeance of Konrad Piast!"

    But now in his anger the spirit that possessed the Polish King was exposed, and Bjarne rose to his feet with gladness in his heart. Making the sign of the cross, and raising his crucifix with the other hand, he shouted words that Olaf had taught him :

    Dies irae, dies illa
    solvet saeclum in favilla,
    teste David cum Sybilla.

    Juste judex ultionis,
    donum fac remissionis
    ante diem rationis.

    Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
    Quem patronum rogaturus,
    cum vix justus sit securus?

    At this Konrad trembled like a leaf, and a great light shone forth from the priest's eyes; and in that light the darkness that had possessed the Polish King melted like snow before the summer breeze. And Konrad Piast fell to his knees and wept at the evil that he had done.

    Now there was a great mourning through the land for those who had fallen; but Konrad promised to pay were-gild for the dead. And thus the war with Poland ended by the intercession of Olaf the Saint, and Denmark was at peace once more.

    (OOC : Well, ok. It's just barely possible that the threatened intervention of Byzantium and Naples, on balance-of-power grounds, had more to do with it than St. Olaf. But it reads better my way.)

    35. OF HALKJELL KINGS-SON

    Now King Gunnar had many sons; but his favourite was Halkjell, whom he had fathered upon a German woman he had found on campaign. Halkjell was a prodigy in strength and swiftness, deadly with any weapon or none. When he was three, one of his father's guardsmen played at duelling with him; but Halkjell with his sword of wood struck through the man's guard and straight to his throat, killing him. King Gunnar paid the were-gild, but thereafter there was none who would practice with Halkjell unless they wore armour. Nor was he slow in other matters; at seven he confounded the whole court with a riddle, asking

    "Who makes it, has no need of it.
    Who buys it, has no use for it.
    Who uses it can neither see nor feel it;
    What is it?"

    to which the answer is, 'A coffin', but this was the first time that riddle had been heard in Denmark.

    Unhappily, the ill luck that had plagued King Gunnar's children fell also on Halkjell, and at nine years of age the wasting sickness came upon him. At this Gunnar was most distraught, and for many nights he would get no sleep, praying all the hours of darkness for the life of his son, and by day he fasted, until he grew as thin as Halkjell, though he was in perfect health. At last the thought struck him that he should pray to St Olaf, who has power to protect warriors. By dead of night he went to the chapel, and promised the saint three good stone churches if Halkjell was spared.

    The next day Halkjell ate a bowl of gruel; the day after, he could walk outside his bed; and in a week, he could once more race the horses of his father's guardsmen, though he had lain three months in sickbed. King Gunnar was overjoyed, and immediately set forth to fulfil his promise to the saint; in Lubeck and Skåne he ordered built great stone churches in the new style, so huge that ten men could stand on each others' heads inside them, and also in Altmark he built a church for St. Olaf. And ever after he would light a candle each day for the saint.

    You can see why I was so eager to save Halkjell's life :



    I really did build three churches, too.


    35. RESTORATION OF NORWAY

    Now while Magnus Sverkerätten had held the throne of Norway, there had been little luck in that kingdom; twice the Svear had forced Magnus to make peace, and to give them Småland, that his family had held since times immemorial. Therefore King Gunnar now decided that the time had come to retake the crown of his ancestors, and he mustered the men of Skåne, Viken, Halland, Dal, and Västergotland. It was his plan to fall upon Magnus by stealth as he celebrated the midsummer feast of St Hans; but as the host was marching through Närke a bonde of that land spied them, and roused the men of the district against them. So when they came to Östergotland where Magnus held court, they found there a large host raised against them; but still the Yngling men were twice as numerous. Therefore King Magnus challenged Gunnar to a holmgang, and said that the victor should have both crowns; and this Gunnar accepted, for he was much younger than Magnus, and felt confident of victory.

    So they went to an island in Vättern, which was not far away. Now King Magnus was old, but also cunning and skilled in battle; and he struck the first blow so shrewdly that King Gunnar's sword went flying. "Now I think Gunnar has lost, for he is weaponless," said he. But the Yngling king replied, "He is not weaponless whom God fights for", and he struck Magnus a mighty blow with his shield, so that his jaw and nose broke. But Magnus' sword pierced his brynje and went into the stomach, so the guts broke and the shit came out. Then Gunnar fell atop Magnus, and they wrestled; and St Olaf was with the Yngling, and after a while he got his teeth into Magnus' throat and ripped it out, so that he died.

    So Gunnar was crowned King of Norway, and the jarls all hailed him, for they were glad to be ruled by an Yngling once more. But the wound that Magnus had given him in the fight festered, and he died soon after. He was much mourned in the land, for he had been good to the common people, and his piety was much admired. Some called him Gunnar the Holy by reason of the many churches he had built. But most call him Gunnar the Peacemaker, for he had brought Norway and Denmark together after many years of separation, and thereby created peace in the land; and also he had gotten peace with the Piast when all seemed lost.

    Here ends the saga of Gunnar Torgeirsson Yngling.

    The Yngling lands after my highly successful war with Norway, in which - grr - my King fell before he could legitimise Halkjell and make him heir. So much for my superman king; I fear his brother Olaf is not likely to recognise him as legitimate, and anyway he's not in the direct line of succession anymore. Well, at least he'll make a crackerjack marshal, or chancellor, or indeed anything else I put him to.


  16. #16
    Althistorian das's Avatar

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    Very interesting, I've been following these AARs for some time now. Very good saga, tough luck with your king and the legitimization I guess.
    Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?

    Not less tolerable to thee shall be the forty million years to come!

  17. #17
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words. At least my king dying in battle gave me a chance to do some good repartee. I'll update tomorrow if this heat lessens a little, it's too hot to think at the moment. More wars with Germany, they never give up! Also intrigues in Russia.
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  18. #18
    Meddler Sublime RPG Leader Velasco's Avatar

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    Very nice, unique, aar. You could give Olaf the super-bastard land and change to elective, so he becomes king? But first marry him to a super-breeder, so when he becomes king you can just change back to salic primogeniture or whatever/
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  19. #19
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    Well, he's still a bastard. Doesn't that disqualify him even under elective? In any case, after some weird inheritances the Duke of Uppland (or whatever the blue shield with three gold thingies is called, I'm at work and can't check) is also Duke of Finland and Duke of Estonia, which would be hard to beat with just counties - I'm all out of Duke titles. Further, I dread the 50% loyalty loss from changing laws, since my badboy is just barely under control, with 3.5% monthly loss at the moment. Tension with Poland being what it is after the, shall we say, cunning acquisition of Brandenburg, I need loyal vassals to call on at all times. (Hey, Brandenburg is rightfully mine; after all, a vassal of mine held it for, oh, a good two months before the Germans annexed him. Not my most successful diplomatic ploy, I must admit. Gave me a bunch of claims on Germany, though.) Finally, Halkjell is actually older than Olaf, who inherited; I'd have to be lucky with an assassination, death in battle, or similar occurrence to put Halkjell on the throne. (Nor would I deliberately seek such a fate, we have a house rule against suicidal plays - bad RP. Not Done, don'tcherknow, old chap. Feels rather gamey, too.) I have found him a splendid wife in the Flandern court, and am breeding him for all he's worth.

    I've noticed that this thread now has more views than the heretical 'March Through Time' AAR; thanks to everyone who reads it, even the silent ones! I shall reward you all with an update later today. And then I'll get even more views, and power, and prestige... And I shall RULE THE WORLD! BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!
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    [QUOTE=King of Men]
    YNGLINGA SAGA


    37. KING OLAF II

    Since King Gunnar, like his grandfather Erlend, had died untimely, the succession was not clear; and therefore a Ting of all the Ynglinga jarls was held to choose who should be king in Norway. At this meeting there was much dissent, for some held that Halkjell Kongs-sønn should be crowned, as he was the greatest warrior and poet the land had seen since Egil Skallagrimsson. But others held that as he was born out of wedlock, he could not inherit; and among these bishop Bjarne was prominent, who had much renown for his exorcism of Konrad Piast. And this faction therefore held that Sigfred, the eldest son of the King's first wife, should inherit; for he was also a strong warrior, though not as splendid in strength and size as his brother Halkjell. But still others held that the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway should be divided among the living sons according to the older pagan custom of their forefathers; for they grumbled that the Yngling kings had grown over-mighty, and that a jarl could no longer rule in his own lands as he wished, but must always be taking thought for his overlord's wars. And there were also some who held out for one or another of Gunnar's younger sons, hoping thereby to win favour and influence if their candidate should take the throne.

    The other sons of Gunnar :












    Now when the Ting was in its third day, Halkjell spoke for the first time : "We have seen before what disaster the Ynglinga jarls can bring to Norway, when they would quarrel over the throne. The Great Rising started thus, and the land was brought low with war for thirty years. It was not for your quarrels that my father died to bring peace to the land! Therefore you shall now hear what the sons of Gunnar have decided. We shall draw a lot for the kingship; and because I and Eirik are not born to lawfully wedded wives, we shall each have one lot to our brothers' five. In this wise the will of God will be made clear, for if it should chance that I or Eirik win against such odds, it must be clear that the hand of God has intervened. And we shall all swear an oath to serve the winner faithfully." The jarls saw that this was wise speech, and consented thereto. Bishop Bjarne blessed the lots, and Eirik Jarl of Trøndelag drew one, which was marked with the sign of Olaf. Therefore the jarls and the Gunnar-sons all cried Olaf hail, and he was crowned king of Norway and Denmark.

    (I don't see what other criteria the game could possibly be using : I hadn't given any titles, and just going by traits he's certainly not the strongest, even of the non-bastards. Anyway, he's better than a civil war. )

    38. SUBMISSION OF BERGEN (1185)

    Now the Jarldom of Bergenhus was not held by an Yngling, but by a man hight Bjarne of Agder, except for the city itself, which belonged to the Pope in Rome. Bjarne was a mighty warrior, who in his youth had subdued the Swedish jarldom of Norrland, and held wide estates around Hälsingland as well as his ancestral domains in Agder. But in his age he had grown somewhat fat, and was therefore known as Paunch-Bjarne. As Bergen was the last part of the Kingdom of Norway which had not made submission to the new Yngling King, Olaf sent word to Paunch-Bjarne that he would have speech of him, and invited him to guest at the King's farm in Skåne for Yule-tide. And this Bjarne accepted.

    When he came to Skåne, Olaf gave to Bjarne many rich gifts : Five armrings of the red gold, four black horses, three good brynjer, two thrall women, and a sword with a jeweled hilt. At this Bjarne was much pleased; but when he picked up the sword, Olaf said : "Now you have taken a sword from my hands; and it is old custom in Norway that the one who takes a sword from a King shall be in his service thereafter. And therefore you shall do homage to me for the Jarldom of Bergen." And as Bjarne had but a single ship with him, he was forced to concede this; and when he left after the Yuletide celebrations, his son Svein stayed behind to ensure his obedience. But it is said that Olaf was careful not to lay any heavy scot on the old warrior for as long as he lived. From this we get the saying "Bjarne-gift", meaning a present with hidden conditions.

    39.WAR IN GERMANY (1189)

    Now King Olaf held wide lands, and gave his brother Sigfred rule of Brandenburg, and his other brothers who were of age he also gave lands after their deserts, except Halkjell, whom he made Chancellor. But in Germany was a new King, Hermann von Thuringen, who did not look with pleasure upon the Norse king giving out lands his kingdom had once held as Crown estates. Therefore he fell upon Sigfred with a mighty host, and drove him from Brandenburg before Olaf could come to his aid.

    But now many Norway had gained greatly in strength since last Thuringens and Ynglings clashed; and also Philip of England and Aubry de Flandre marched against the Emperor in obedience to the call of their ally. Further, Konrad Piast, King of Poland, scenting profit and also wishing to make amends for his invasion of Denmark in King Gunnar's time, mustered his host and crossed the Oder once more. Against such a coalition even the German King could not long stand, though he fought mightily and defeated many Flandern armies. After five years his cities were so emptied of men that he was forced to beg for peace; and thereby Olaf regained Anhalt and Altmark that his brother had lost, and took Brandenburg and Rugen besides in payment. But this time he was more careful, and did not give his brother a weak Duchy next to a powerful enemy, but instead granted him Rugen to hold for his own, and Rostock he gave to his brother Einar, keeping the duchy of Brandenburg for his own. But what Sigfred thought of this, the saga does not record.

    However, Konrad Piast was less lucky, for - proud warrior that he was - he was the last to make peace with the Thuringen Emperor, and so when he demanded Brandenburg, got for answer only that "No man can give what he does not own; as for Brandenburg, you must ask the Yngling." At this Konrad flew into a rage, screaming that Norway had betrayed him who came to their aid, and swearing the vengeance of the Piast line upon the Ynglings. And from that day there was little love between Norway and Poland.

    (Well, what can I say? I do feel the Oder makes an excellent border between the Norwegian and Polish spheres of influence. And I didn't straight-out promise that Sterk could have Brandenburg; my exact words were "You have a claim on it, so you can still ask for it in the peace treaty" - this after I had, shall we say, been a little slow in relieving the German siege when it was on Polish hands. And, well, I wasn't lying, by any means. Sterk could indeed have sued for Brandenburg if he hadn't been nice enough to let me peace out first. )

    Yngling domains after the (fourth? fifth?) German war :



    Note the duchy of Akershus, inherited away to (grrr) the English duke of Oxford, who - oddly enough - is a Swede of the the family "av Dal". Whom I thought I exterminated around 1120, but I guess one got away somewhere. I'll make sure to do a better job when next I invade England, which admittedly may have to wait for EU2.


    40. RUSSIAN INTRIGUES (1190-97)

    Now Konrad Piast was a cunning man, and in his youth he had married Rogneda Rurikovich, daughter of Seronis who was King of the Rus. Of this union were born several sons, but the most of them do not conern us here, and so pass out of the saga. Their eldest son was named Trojden, and when Seronis died of the hacking cough he fell heir to the entire land of Gardarike; which many held was enough land for one man, but Konrad Piast made Trojden his heir, and hoped that upon his death one man should rule both Poland and Gardarike.

    But when this came to the ear of King Olaf, he grew pale, and summoned Halkjell Kongs-sønn to give advice; for Olaf had come to rely strongly on his elder brother, who always gave wise redes. Now when Olaf had explained what concerned him, Halkjell said, "This is a cross matter, Sire Brother, and I do not know what will come of it. It may be, though, that we need not worry, for the Rus are a fractious people, and it may be Trojden will find a rival poisoning his wine-cup." But Olaf replied, "I fear that would not serve our cause, for Trojden has no sons, and Konrad Piast would fall heir to his lands. And then we should be overwhelmed as an oak overshadows a rose." At this Halkjell frowned, and said, "Then, Sire Brother, we must pray that Trojden will have strong sons, and soon. And we should send him a gift of narwhal horn and white-bear fat." These remedies are well known to make a man's member strong and capable of siring sons; and Olaf followed his brother's advice.

    Now after a few years Trojden indeed sired two strong sons; one was named Leszek, the other, Wincenty. But Trojden was still the heir of Konrad Piast. And therefore Olaf sent again for Halkjell, and asked what was to be done now, at which Halkjell said, "Sire Brother, I have not been idle. While Trojden lay with his wife, I have made inquiries in the south and among our allies; and there are many who would not see a Piast rule both Poland and Gardarike. And it may be that Trojden shall find something to surprise him one day soon. But we must take care that his sons are well advised and guarded in their minority.

    Now soon it came to pass as Halkjell had suggested, that Trojden choked on a fishbone in his soup, which was held to be a punishment from God, as the soup was made from elk-meat. In this wise the Kingdom of the Rus fell to Wincenty Piast, who at this time was two years old. Therefore, also, Konrad's younger son Ziemomysl became heir to Poland. But as Wincenty was so young, and had no son, his grandfather Konrad was still the heir to Gardarike. At this Konrad's greed awoke, and he most foully sent men of his guard to guest in Gardarike, with instructions to kill his two grandsons. For this deed God will surely judge him; but He also held His hand over Norway, for although Wincenty was murdered in this wise, his brother Leszek escaped, and the Piast guardsmen were hanged. And when he heard of this, Konrad Piast became so enraged that his heart failed him, and he died. Thus did Poland and Gardarike fall to separate lines of the Piast family, and all Norway breathed a sigh of relief.

    (And the Polish king gained a bunch of badboy with those failed assassinations, too, and likely won't be bothering anyone for a while. Truly, God watches out for fools, madmen, and the Kingdom of Norway.)

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