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Thread: The Great Game : Part II, Europe's Revenge

  1. #21
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    Oh, sorry. It's a lot simpler now, with several vassals annexed; but in the map I posted, Norway is in green, owning large swathes of northern Germany. My vassals Sweden and Finland are both blue. The orange in Jylland is Denmark. The orange over most of Russia is Poland. The three or four nations east of Finland are my vassals, as is the grey in Magdeburg.

    England owns the western half of France, and Burgundy the eastern half. Modern Holland is all Burgundian vassals - there are a lot of tags in that area, hence the complexity. Dark green is Italy, with some vassals around it; it converted kind of badly, though, as several vassals went haring off before it could absorb them. (Denmark tried a similar trick on me today, but enough is enough. I annexed the scum. Land connection to Germany, yay!) Finally, the bluish green in Hungary and Persia is Hungary. At some point we will drive them out of there. Remind me to do so when Poland has paid for its insolence.
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  2. #22
    yeah, once i deal with the eygptians, i would love to help you deal with the hungarians in persia.

  3. #23
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    Hey, what about the Golden Yellow country in Western Europe? The mighty Spain that aided you in your time of greatest need? We feel insulted!
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  4. #24
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    Oh, Polly, love, oh Polly,
    the rout has now begun,
    and we must go a-marching,
    to the beating of the drum.
    Go dress yourself all in your best
    and come along with me;
    I'll take you to the wars,
    my love, in High Germany.

    Oh, Willie, dear, oh Willie,
    come list while I do say,
    my feet, they are so tender,
    I cannot march away.
    And besides, my dearest Willie,
    I am with child by thee;
    not fitted for the wars,
    my love, in High Germany.

    I'll buy for you a horse, my love,
    and on it you shall ride;
    and all my delight shall be in
    riding by your side.
    We'll stop at every ale-house
    and drink when we are dry;
    we'll be true to one another,
    get married by and by.

    Oh, cursed be these cruel wars
    that ever they should rise.
    For now has lordly Norway
    pressed many a man likewise.
    They pressed my true love from me,
    likewise my brothers three,
    and sent them to the wars,
    my love, in High Germany.

    My friends I do not value,
    nor my foes I do not fear.
    Now my love has left me,
    I wonder far and near.
    And when my baby it is born
    and smiling on my knee,
    I'll think of lovely Willie,
    in high Germany.


    ------------------------------------------------------


    91. THE KING CAMPAIGNS IN POLAND (1437-39)

    Svein was king in Norway after the death of his father Ottar; he was a short man, but of very regular features, and well formed in all his limbs. He was very fond of stories of distant lands, and richly rewarded men who could tell such. He drank little, but when in his cups, he was somewhat given to anger.

    Now as has been told several times already, the Piasts are a greedy and rapacious dynasty, always seeking to gain what is not lawfully theirs. So when King Svein received an embassy from Odon of Poland, he was not surprised to hear their business; namely, that Odon desired Svein to give over the rule of Samara, and offered gold in return. "For," said the the envoy, "my master says that these lands in ancient times belonged to his fathers, and only guile allowed the Ynglings to spread their rule there. But as he is a just and generous man, he will offer some compensation." Then Svein grew angry, and answered "Odon offers us gold, to requite what our fathers bought with blood. Does he think me less than my ancestors? He'll find that the blood of kings flows yet in the Ynglings! Go tell your master that he may have Samara, if he pay for it in good Polish blood. And we shall see who spreads their rule in what lands." At this speech all the King's men shouted approval.

    At this time the old customs of Norway had been somewhat weakened; for the King's hird, which in former days had never numbered more than sixty men, now stood at ten thousand. And also King Svein had given to a few Ynglings the right to take war-scot from some districts even in times of peace, and in exchange, required that they should hold men in readiness at all times to march for war. Thus the host of Norway was much enlarged, and also the men were very well trained, because they had no farms to tend and could therefore practice sword-play all the day long. In addition to this, King Svein called up the leidangs of all the districts south of Stad; and thereby his host was swelled to forty thousand men. Such an army had not been seen in Norway before.

    With this host King Svein went by ship south to Brandenburg; there he learned that the Polish host had crossed the Oder and was ravaging the lands about. "We'll soon put a stop to that", he said. He then sent strong parties of men south, and whenever these came upon a band of Poles, they would fall upon them and scatter them; in this way the Poles were forced to come together, and the harrying ceased. Then the King advanced with his main host to meet Odon; they came together near the ford of Torgau. Now King Svein had drawn up his host so that the hirdsmen were at the fore, and therefore the Norwegian army glinted very bright with mail and swords; the bønder he put at the rear, so that their gray wool did not show. In this wise he hoped to impress the Poles with the wealth of Norway. But in this he was not successful, for the Poles made no parley, but attacked grimly, sparing no breath for battle cries.

    Now when these foes met, there was much sharp fighting, and many men fell; later, it was said, you could see where the Norwegian shield-wall had stood by the line of bodies that lay there. Neither Norwegian nor Pole would give an inch, by reason of the long strife between their countries. But at length the Polish left began to give, for it was there that Svein himself fought, and he had around him the largest and strongest Ynglings, armed with the best steel; against this few could stand, though the Poles fought very bravely. Now seeing that his flank would give way, Odon ordered that the Poles should retreat, intending that they should come back in good order; for it is often better that an army go back of its own accord and in its own time, than that they should be forced back by their foes. But in this design he was foiled; for though his men had stood very firmly against the Norwegian advance, and died bravely, the order to retreat unmanned them, and they fled in disorder. In this rout many Polish men of good name died, and even the King was barely saved across the Oder.

    Now with this victory King Svein was able to cross the Oder, and there he gave the Poles back some of what they had given to his German subjects; for he was always a generous man, and did not think it necessary to keep such things only on one side of the border. But now word came that Odon had levied more men, and sought again to try swords with the Norse-king. In this battle the Poles sought to counter the strategy by which Svein had defeated them, by placing on their left wing the King's standard and the strongest warriors in all of Poland. So when the armies met, as may be imagined, there was much slaughter here, where the best fighters in each nation stood. But now the Poles had the advantage, for they fought on their own land, and the Norwegians had many of them taken blows and scrapes in the earlier battle; and also the Poles were very numerous. So it happened with the Norwegians as it had with the Poles, that they were forced to give ground, and then fled in disorder; and very many were killed. And also there happened what was worse, namely that the Poles came between them and the Oder, so that they were forced to retreat northwards, further into the Polish realm.

    Now this was a very hard retreat, for winter was near to hand, and the crops had been gathered and hidden so that there was very little to eat. King Svein shared every hardship, and worked harder than any; for he went back and forth in the column, talking to a man here, encouraging another there; so that it always seemed he was where he was most needed. In this way he rode three miles whenever his men rode one; for this he was much admired. Often and again small bands of Poles would raid the flanks of the army, and then Svein was ever to the fore in driving them off. In this march the King lost two fingers on his left hand to frostbite.

    Now Odon was not willing that the Norwegians should escape into Finland, and therefore he sent messengers ahead, bidding his levies block their path north, while he himself pursued with his host from the south. But the Poles had no easier a march than the Norwegians, for as we have set out, the season drew very late for campaigning; and besides, the Norse host had stripped the land of all the food there was to be found, and also had ground the roads into deep mud with their passing. So, although King Svein was forced to march into Prussia, and turn there at bay to face his hunters, the final attack was much delayed. And therefore Svein's brother Bjørn, who had been left behind to command the fleet at Mecklenburg, was able to gather the ships and sail north to meet with the King. And as the Norwegian fleet was very large, while no Pole dared set sail during winter, the entire host was able to gain the ships, and sail away south to winter in Mecklenburg. In this wise Odon was cheated of his prey.

    When spring came again, the Poles once more crossed the Oder, and King Svein rode out to meet them. Now there is not room to tell of all the battles that were fought in this campaign, for although Odon's war-luck deserted him, and on every field the Norwegians stood victorious, still the Poles called up un-ending streams of men from their vast lands. Meanwhile half the strength of the Norwegian realm was wasted by the Swede-Ynglings and Finn-Ynglings, who could make no headway against the walls of Novgorod, yet refused to send their men south where King Svein might have made use of them. So in the end it came clear to Svein that he must make peace with the Poles. And as Odon was also tired of the long war, in which he had gained little glory for his house, they agreed that Poland should have the rule of Samara. But no gold changed hands, for Odon said that "We have bought the land with blood, as you demanded we do; and we will not cheapen that price with mere yellow metal." And King Svein did not disagree with these words, but remarked that was was bought with blood could be lost for blood; and he wished Odon much joy of his new lands. In this wise the Samarian War was ended.

    92. THE KING'S DEALING WITH THE SWEDE-YNGLINGS (1440-41)

    Now from the time when the Ynglings first united the Three Crowns, it had been the custom in the Norwegian Realm that the Ynglings who held Swedish land of the King should be free to do with their own as they wished, excepting only that they pay a yearly scot and answer the war-arrow speedily when it went through the land. But now King Svein was not satisfied with this; for he held that the Swede-Ynglings had done but little in the war over Samara, and thought that they should come in war-time under the command of the King's appointed captains, and not go each his own way. "For," he said, "it was well enough in the old days for each to fight the Pole where he found him; but now they have built so strong a realm that we shall all need to work together to pull him down. It is in war as on dugnad : The man who works alone, taking no heed of where others stand, is of little help to his kinsmen." The Svea-Ynglings did not take well to this argument; but many of their best men had fallen in the campaigns in Finland. The ones who remained called a Ting to discuss Svein's command; hearing of this, Svein made haste to attend, taking a fast ship and bringing only a few of his guardsmen. In this wise he arrived before the Swede-Ynglings had finished their talk, and demanded his right as an Yngling to be heard. And this the Svear could not deny. So Svein spoke at some length, laying out the argument as has been said; and some of the Svear were swayed by his words, for it is often better to hear an idea from the man who thought of it, than from a messenger. But others said "The rights of the Ynglings are hallowed by ancient usage; they were won in war by our fore-fathers, given as rightful reward for valour in battle. It is not right that they should be taken away, and landless men command those who have held Jarldoms for many years." So there was no decision made for some days. But in the end a compromise was reached : The Svea-Ynglings should continue to hold their lands as before, and pay the scot; but in times of war, a man of the King's choice should command as he directed. And in exchange for this privilege of war-command, the King agreed to pay out a thousand marks of silver, to be divided among the heads of the Yngling households; and also it was agreed that the captain of the Swedes should always be chosen from their number. With this all were satisfied, and Svein was given much praise for his wisdom.



    93. THE KING'S DEALING WITH THE DANE-YNGLINGS (1445)

    Now the King was most satisfied with the Ting he had held with the Svear, and therefore he called a Ting in Denmark and proposed to the Danes that the same arrangement should hold for them. But the Danes were more stubborn, and demanded not only that Svein should cease his demands for command in wartime, but also that he should lessen the size of the hird, down to the sixty men that the Kings had had of old, and in war call upon the leidang as in former times. And they threatened that if the King would not give way in this, they would cease paying the tribute, and go their own way in peace as well as war.

    But now Svein grew annoyed, and said "Well, if they wish me to call the leidang, then that is what I shall do"; and he ordered the men of Skåne and Slesvig to march upon the Dane-Ynglings. Then he held a Ting, and whenever he suggested a law, the army all shouted "Aye! Hail! Aye! Hail!" so loud that no dissenting voice could be heard. Thus the Danes gave Svein the same privileges as the Swedes had, but he paid them no money for it. And those men who had been the leaders in demanding the disbanding of the hird had their eldest sons fostered in Bergen, as hostages for their good behaviour.

    (OOC : No less than three 'nobles demand old rights' events this session. I ignored them the first time. But enough is enough. And then when the Danes insisted on breaking their vassalisation, well, that was the last straw. I actually shouted "EXECUTE THE TRAITORS" out loud, to the considerable amusement of my girlfriend.)

    94. THE CONDITION OF THE HIRD

    Now as has been told, it was the King's intention that the hird should always be training for war, since they were free of the need to work the land. But as time passed, the captains of the hird grew somewhat lax in enforcing this; and many took to dicing and drinking in their barracks all day, and became softer than the farmers Svein had meant them to replace. To deal with this King Svein appointed many of his kinsmen as Guests; and the task of these men was to go around the land visiting the barracks, and reporting on whose men were well trained and ready for war. This was the first time that Guests had been appointed in Norway for a hundred years; but King Svein had good use of them, and many lax captains were lashed to a mast for a flogging, before they were dismissed. For the three worst offenders, the King ordered blood eagles carved on their backs. This was an ancient custom, long fallen out of use; but as it had been in old times the punishment for treason, Svein thought it good to revive it for such laxness as threatened the safety of the Realm.

    (OOC : The game engine must have been watching me - I got a drill instructor and an Army Reform in quick succession, just after my defeat at the hands of the Poles. Break the incompetent swine back to the ranks!)

    ------------------------------------------------------


    So. Somewhat to my surprise, this session of EU2 actually did yield up some suitable material for a saga installment, hence I'm going back to that format at least for this week. However, some things don't make it into the saga, so let me tell you about the session in plain prose. The main development is, to my complete and utter lack of surprise, renewed Polish aggression. To wit, he demanded I hand over Samara, the gold-producing province over in Russia; though he did offer to pay.

    Well, I wasn't having any of that; Sterk's stated motive was access to Siberia, and any such access would be the death of me. Besides, I need the gold myself, thank you kindly. BurningEgo, playing Castille, very kindly subsidised me to the tune of about five hundred ducats; a rapid callup of thirty thousand cavalry, and I was ready to defend the Oder. Crossing a river into the forest province of Brandenburg, his armies were rather hampered, and I was briefly able to make a counterattack. Unfortunately he had a second wave waiting; my army by this time was all cavalry, and escaped north, burning as they went, until they were trapped in Prussia. At this point, sea power made its only appearance in the war; I was able to evacuate my twenty thousand cavalry by sea. Sterk was livid, he had expected to smash them and destroy any prospect of further resistance. Dunkirk in the Baltic!

    So far, then, honours were even - we had each taken about the same casualties, no cities had fallen, no armies had been destroyed, and our leaders were about equally good; if anything, the advantage was slightly mine, since I had been able to burn a considerable swathe of Poland in my fighting retreat. Unfortunately, by this stage, I was running out of manpower. Had there been a military-control mechanism in EU2, I might have been able to make something of the Swedish and Finnish attacks around the Gulf of Bothnia; as it was, naturally, Sterk just waited for winter to do its work and then went in with a few thousand men and finished them off. Thus he was able to put sixty thousand men in the field in a renewed attack across the Oder, to face my forty thousand battered soldiers. Battered but unbroken - they stood him off twice more. But he was building new armies, while my manpower reserves stood at 7. Further resistance being plainly futile, I offered peace on the annexation of Samara; this Sterk accepted.

    I next turned my attention to the internal affairs of the Realm. Plainly, I was going to need more manpower; thus I began bribing the Swedes. They accepted their rightful status as my direct subjects in January of 1442. The Danes proved more stubborn. Since they were rather important, occupying Jylland, which prevented me from having land access to my holdings in Germany, I eventually just kicked them out of my alliance and force-annexed. With this example in mind, the Brandenburgers soon accepted direct rule. That leaves only Finland, Novgorod, and two Russian minors for my vassals; they'll be annexed as soon as I have the money for bribes.

    Here is the Baltic as it satnds now :



    As you can see, Poland is huge and centralised, but with these annexations, the Norwegian Realm is beginning to look a bit better. Next stop, Helsinki. Meanwhile, the Western European situation is worrying me to the point of considering an alliance with Burgundy and Poland, the hereditary foes :



    I don't think an England this dominant in France is really in anyone's interest, though I suppose it does mean Burgundy will have to watch its back. Still, I'd like to see some kind of viable, if not strong, France; clearly, it's not going to happen of its own accord. Not that I like seeing Burgundy stretch to the Med, either, but one problem at a time.

  5. #25
    Althistorian das's Avatar

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    there he gave the Poles back some of what they had given to his German subjects; for he was always a generous man, and did not think it necessary to keep such things only on one side of the border.
    Priceless! I see that you have returned to the old saga style we all know and love.

    As for France, I suspect that it will be quite a battleground as everybody gathers together to stop the English. England: the Poland of the West!
    Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?

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

  6. #26
    I think I'll write an AAR for China next, you don't mind if I post it here right KoM?

    As an aside your gf watches you play?

  7. #27
    Althistorian das's Avatar

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    Was wondering about that too... Sid, I think there was a separate thread for everybody who is not KoM to post their AARs in (probably to avoid them being dwarfed by the Great Game AARs j/k ).
    Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?

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

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by das
    Priceless! I see that you have returned to the old saga style we all know and love.

    As for France, I suspect that it will be quite a battleground as everybody gathers together to stop the English. England: the Poland of the West!
    Ya, I've been hearing this evil England thing and am kind of confused. I took 4 total provinces from France, Castile took 3 and Burgandy took 6 or 7. I guess its just because I'm better centralized that it looks more dangerous.
    You know. I post so seldom it seems my signatures become old before I even use them.

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  9. #29
    Althistorian das's Avatar

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    'Tis true, you really should conquer more of France before you could qualify as the Poland of the West.
    Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?

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

  10. #30
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    Well, she doesn't watch me play, exactly, but the apartment is only so large. And yes, I'm certainly concerned about Burgundian expansion too - in fact, looking again at the map, you could have a point about who was the worst expander. It's possible that a viable France is a lost cause, but I don't quite know what we should so with it, if so. Having it split between Burgundy, England and Castile is really not ideal.

    Edit : Oh, and Blayne, post whatever you like. Maybe you could run it by Hatrack for Grammar Communist criticism first, though?
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  11. #31
    on a similar note, can i post my occasional (horrible) update in this thread?

  12. #32
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    Sure, the more the merrier.
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  13. #33
    Grammar Communist criticism first
    rofl, awright ill begin writing.

  14. #34
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    Once upon a time there was a King, and the King had three sons. One day he called them all three to his throne room, and said "My sons, I grow old. We must settle the question of who is to succeed me; and for this purpose I will set you a task. To the east lies the land of a thousand lakes, whose king sends me each year a gift of lumber. Now you will each travel to that land, and ask the King there to give over his crown to me; and whoever succeeds in this task shall be King after me. And because Håkon is the eldest, he shall have the first attempt."

    So Håkon set out east, and walked both long and well. When he came to the King's-garth he entered boldly, and asked to see the King. Then when Håkon came before the King, he said, "Is it not a pity that such a great man as yourself should rule such a poor kingdom? I have rich gifts for you : I have silk and gold, jewels and myrrh, incense and ivory; all these things can be yours, if only you will give me your crown, and you can live in luxury for the reest of your days." But the King answered "Better to be poor in one's own house, than rich from the charity of foreigners; and as for my crown, it was given me by my father, and I will not sell it for a stranger's gift." And he had Håkon whipped to the border of the kingdom, and salt strewn on his back.

    So the second son Harald now set out; but he did not go east. Instead he went south, and he walked both long and well; and at last he came to the garth of the King of the Hungarians. There he spoke thus to the King : "All men know how many soldiers you have. I have heard that if they stood shield to shield, a man could not walk the length of their line from sunup to sunset; is this true? "Yes," replied the King of the Hungarians, "that is true. But why do you come asking of the size of my armies?" Then Harald said, "Why, only because I wish to help you. Is it not expensive to feed so many men?" "Indeed that is true," said the Hungarian king, "my army are so many, that each year they eat all the calves that are born in the land, and half the grain, and all the pigs; and still they complain that they are hungry. And they have drunk three streams dry this year, and I am at my wits' end, for I don't know where I shall get more water for them."

    "Well then", said Harald, "I know just the thing! Far to the north lies the land of a thousand lakes; and the king there has a magic horn, which is always filled with meat and apples and good things to eat. If you had that horn, your soldiers would never be hungry again. So here is what I propose : I will show you the way north, and we will take the Finn-king's land from him; you can have the horn, and I will have his crown." And this was very fair, so the Hungarian King agreed.

    Now Harald led the Hungarian army north, and they walked both long and well; and so they came at last to the Finn-land. Then Harald went ahead to talk to the Finn-king; and he said "There is a vast host at the border of your kingdom. They are far too many for you to fight; but I know a way to make them go, if you will only agree to give me your crown in exchange." But the King said, "I think perhaps you know somewhat more of this army than you tell." And he had Harald put in chains, and himself went to speak with the Hungarian King; but because he was a careful King, he took his army with him, and they were all mounted on great bears - some brown, some black, and the largest all white and very terrible to look at. Then when the Hungarian King saw this, he said to himself "It seems our foes come man-strong to meet us; perhaps I had best speak to them and learn what has happened to Harald." So it happened that the two kings spoke together, and they reasoned out what trick Harald had meant to play on them. Therefore they agreed that there should instead be peace between them, and the Finn-king would each year send a thousand reindeer south to feed the Hungarian army, and in exchange the Finns should receive a hundredweight of costly spices. And when all this was agreed to, Harald was stripped naked, and whipped to the border of the kingdom; and then he had salt rubbed in the wounds and his ears sliced off.

    So now the youngest Kings-son, Espen, was to try his hand; but the old King did not want to see him, too, whipped to the border of the kingdom, so he held him back at first. But Espen pleaded so piteously to be allowed to go, from morning till night, that at last on the third day the King agreed. So Espen set off, and he walked east both long and well. And when he came to Finn-land, he smeared ashes in his blond hair, and on his face, so the King would not see that he looked like his brothers. Then when he came to the king's-garth, he did not ask to see the King, but instead he went to the kitchens and asked for a place there. And this he got; but because his face was so dark with ashes, and because his job was to turn the meat over the fire, so all the smoke went in his face and made it darker still, they called him the Soot-boy.

    Now the Finn-king had one daughter, and she was as pretty as the day is long. One day she saw the Soot-boy sitting close to the fire, turning the meat; and she felt sorry for him and went to ask if there was anything she could do to help. "Well," said the Soot-boy, "many times at night the kitchen help tells old stories. But I am not so clever at that, so it is always bedtime before my story is finished. If you would sit and listen, I could practice my stories and learn to tell them faster; and then they wouldn't laugh at me." And this was quite agreeable, so the princess sat and listened. And this is the story he told her.

    Once upon a time there was a King; and the King had three daughters. And as well might be, the two eldest were ugly and evil; but the third was as pure and clean as the light of day, and all loved her. Now, once she dreamed of a golden circlet, which was so lovely that she could not live without it. But as she could not have it, she became so sad she could not speak for sorrow. When the king heard that it was the circlet she grieved for, he sent word to all the goldsmiths in the land, that they should make her such a circlet as she had dreamt of. But some of their efforts she threw in the fire, and the rest she would not even look at. But now once when she was out in the forest crying, she saw a great white bear, which had that circlet she had dreamt of, and played with it. So at once she wanted to buy it.

    Well, the circlet was not to be had for money, but only if the bear could have she herself. Well, it was not worth living without it, and she cared not where she went or who she married if only she could have the circlet, so they agreed that he should fetch her in three days, which was the Thursday.

    So when she got home, everybody was glad that she was happy again, and the king said that it could not be so much of a much, to stop a white bear. So the third day the whole army went out to meet it. But there was none could stand against the white bear, for neither steel or silver would bite him; he beat them down to all sides, so they lay in heaps. And this the king could not abide, so he sent out his eldest daughter, and the white bear took her on his back and ran away with her. So when they had gone far, and further than far, the bear said, "Have you seen further? Have you sat softer?" "Aye," said the girl, "at my father's garth I saw farther, my mother's lap was softer." "Then you are not the one," said the bear, and chased her back home.

    So the next Thursday he came back, and it went likewise. The army was out to meet him, but neither iron nor bronze would bite him, and he beat them down like grass. So the king had to ask him to stop, and sent out his second daughter, and the bear put her on his back and rushed off with her. And when they had gone far, and further than far, the bear said, "Have you seen further? Have you sat softer?" "Aye," said the girl, "my mother's lap was softer, at my father's garth I saw farther." "Then you are not the one," said the bear, and chased her back home.

    The third Thursday he came again, and fought even better than the other times; so the king thought he could not let him kill the whole army, and sent out his youngest daughter. So the bear took her on his back and set out for the woods; and when they had gone far, and further than far, he asked her as he had the others : "Have you seen further? Have you sat softer?" And the princess replied, "Nay, never sat I softer, never saw I further!" "Well then, you are the one," said the bear.


    Now here the Soot-boy ceased in his tale; and the Finn-princess said, "And what happened then?" "Well," said the Soot-boy, "you can learn that for the price of a kiss." And the princess thought that he might be dirty, but a kiss was not so much, so this was well worth while. And so the Soot-boy continued his story.

    Now they came to a palace, and it was so fine, that her father's looked like the poorest tenant-farmer's home. There she was to be and live well, and have nothing to do except watch that the fire did not go out. The bear was gone during the day; but at night in the dark he was with her, and then he had the shape of a man. So all went well for three years; but each year, she bore a child, and the bear took away the child, as soon as it saw the world. So she became more and more sad, and asked if she could visit her parents. Well, there was nothing against that, but she must promise that she should follow her father's advice, and not do as her mother said. So she came home, and when they were alone, she told how it was with her. And her mother wanted to give her a light, so she might see what her man looked like. But her father said, "No, you should not do this; it is for woe and not for weal."

    But however it was with that, when she went back she had a candle in her pocket. The first thing she did when he had fallen asleep, was to light the candle and look at him; and he was so lovely that she thought she could never look enough. But as she was lighting, a drop of wax fell to his brow, and he woke. "What have you done?" he said. Now you have made us both unhappy; there was not more than a month left, and had you only bided that, I had been saved. For it is a witch who has spellbound me, so I am a white bear in the day. But now it is done with us, for I must go to her and have her to wife."


    Here again the Soot-boy stopped his tale, and would not go on until the princess had given him a kiss, and her slip. So the princess said to herself, "Kisses are cheap, and slips I have many of; it is not so bad a bargain." So he got his wish, and went on telling his tale.

    The princess wept and pled piteously; but he was bound to go and meant to go. So she asked if she could not go with him. That could not be done, he said, but when he went away in his bear-shape, she took a grip on his tail and held on. So they went away over log and stone, over mountain and hill, through forest and marsh, until the clothes were ripped from her back; and she was so deathly tired that she lost her grip and knew nothing more. When she woke, she was in a great forest, so she set out again; but she knew not where the journey went. After long and long she came to a hut, and in the hut were two womenfolk, an old wife and a beautiful girl-child. The princess asked if they had seen anything of the White-bear, King Valemon. "Were you his intended, perhaps?" they asked. Well, so she was. "Yes, he was here this morning, but he went so fast, you'll never catch him up."

    The little girl was running about playing with a pair of golden scissors, which were so well made that she had only to snip in the air with them, and silk and velvet would fly about her. Where they were, there was never a shortage of clothes. "But this good woman who has so far to go on such an evil road, she has a hard lot," said the girl; "she could use the scissors, she more than I, to cut herself clothes." And she asked if she could not give her scissors to the princess. And this was allowed.

    So the king's-daughter travelled on through the forest, which there was never an end to, both day and night; and next morning she came to another hut. And this one also had two womenfolk, an old wife and a young girl. "Good day," said the princess, "have you seen the White-bear, King Valemon?" "Were you perhaps his intended?" asked the old wife. Well, so she was. "Yes, he was here yesterday; but he went so fast you'll never catch him up."

    The little girl was sitting on the floor playing with a bottle, which was so made that it would pour anything you wanted, and where it was, there was always to drink. "But this good woman who has so far to go on such an evil road, she might be plagued by thirst and suffer much else that is evil," said the girl; "she could use the bottle, she more than I." And she asked if she could not give her bottle to the princess. And this was allowed.

    So the princess got the bottle, and thanked the girl kindly and went again though the same forest, day and night both. So the third morning she came to another hut, and there also there was an old wife and a girl. "Good day," said the princess. "Good day again," said the wife. "Have you seen the White-bear, King Valemon?" asked the princess. "Were you maybe his intended?" replied the wife. Well, so she was. "Yes, he was here two days ago; but he went so fast, you'll never catch him up."

    The girl was playing on the floor with a cloth that was so made, that if you said to it "Cloth, spread yourself and dish out all good food!" it would do so, and where it was, there was never a lack of fine meats. "But this good woman who has so far to go on such an evil road, she might be both hungry and suffer much else that is evil," said the girl; "she could use the cloth, she more than I." And she asked if she could not give her cloth to the princess. And this was allowed.

    So the king's-daughter took the cloth, and thanked the girl kindly; and went out both far and further than far, through the same dark forest, the whole day and the night through. And in the morning she came to a cliff, steep as a wall, and so high and wide that she could see no end to it. Here too there was a hut, and when she entered, she said right away : "Good day; have you seen the White-bear, King Valemon, come this way?" "Good day again," said the wife, "perhaps you were his intended?" Well, so she was. "Yes, he went up the cliff three days ago; but nothing land-bound can follow that way."


    Now once again Espen Soot-boy stopped his tale, and this time nothing would do to continue but that the Finn-king's daughter should give him her dress. Now she thought this was a hard thing, that he should see her naked; but he held to his, and she was so eager to hear how the White-bear's wife should manage that at last she gave in, and gave him another kiss with the deal, for encouragement. So he went on :

    Now this hut was full of little children, and every last one hung in their mother's skirts and cried for bread. The goodwife had a pot full of round stones on the fire, and the princess asked what this was good for. They were so poor, said the wife, that they had neither food nor clothes, and it hurt to hear the children cry for bread; but when she put the pot on the fire and said : "The apples will soon be cooked", then the hunger was abated, and they could live a while longer. Now you may know that the while was not long before the princess got out her bottle and her cloth, and when the children were fed and happy, she cut them clothes with her golden shears.

    "Well," said the goodwife, "since you have been so kind to me and mine, it was a shame if I did not do what I could, to help you. My husband is a master smith. Now sit you here until he comes home, and I will ask him to forge you claws for hands and feet, so you can crawl up the wall."

    When the smith came home, he started on the claws right away, and the second morning they were done. The princess had not time to sit, but thanked her hosts, and made herself fast and crawled and climbed all day, and all night. And when she was so tired, so tired that she thought she could not lift another hand, but wanted to let go and fall, that was when she reached the top. It was a plain, with fields and pastures so large and wide that she had never imagined anything so far and even; and close by was a castle, filled with workers of all trades, all busy as ants in a hill.

    "Now what is going on here," asked the princess. Well, this was the place where the witch lived who had enchanted the White-Bear King Valemon, and in three days they would be wed. So the princess asked if she might speak with the witch. No, what would you, that was impossible. So she sat below a window, and took to snipping her golden shears, so silk and velvet flew about her like snow. As soon as the troll-woman saw this, she wanted to buy the shears; "for all my tailors sew, it's no good," she said, "there are too many to be clothed."

    For money it could not be had, said the princess; but she might have it, if she could but sleep a night with her beloved. Well, that was all right, but the troll-woman would herself sleep him and wake him. So she made him a sleeping draught, and he never woke all the night, however much the princess wept and shouted.

    So the next day the king's-daughter again went outside the window, and sat down to pour from her flask; and a river of beer and wine poured forth. When the witch saw this, nothing would do but that she would buy it, for "all they strive to brew and burn, it's no good; there are too many who want their drink." Well, it wasn't for sale for money, but a night with her beloved, that was the price. Yes, that was fine, said the witch; but she herself would sleep him and wake him. So she gave him another draught, and it was no better this night, than before; he wasn't to be woken, whatever the weeping and shouts. But this night one of the workers was in the room beside, and he heard the weeping. He understood how it was with the princess, and the next day he said to the white bear that she had come, the king's-daughter who was to free him.


    One more time the Soot-boy ceased his tale, and for all the princess wept and pleaded, nothing would make him continue except that she should sleep with him. So at last she agreed; "but first," she said, "you must take a bath, for I don't want the others to see that I've given the Soot-boy my favours." Well, that was well wnough; but when he had bathed the soot away, she saw that his hair shone like gold and that his face was kingly-handsome; and she thought she had not made such a bad bargain of it at all.

    That day it went with the cloth as it had with the shears and the bottle; around dinnertime, the princess went outside the castle, and said "Cloth, spread yourself, and dish out all good foods!" So dinner was served, enough for a hundred men, but the princess sat to eat alone. When the witch saw this, nothing would do but that she should buy the cloth; for "all that they cook and fry, it's no good, there are too many mouths to feed." Well, no money could buy such a cloth, but a night with the white bear, that was the price. That was a reasonable price, said the troll-woman; but she herself would sleep him and wake him. Again she gave the bear a draught; but now he watched for it and did not swallow it. The witch did not trust him more than a finger'sbreadth; she took a pin and stuck it through his arm, to see if he slept well enough. But whatever the pain he did not move a muscle. So the princess was allowed in to him.

    Now all was good and well, and if only they could be rid of the witch, he would be freed. So he told the carpenters to make a trapdoor in the bridge the bridal train would pass over; for they ahd the custom there, that the bride rode first. When she came onto the bridge, the trapdoor swiveled, and down they went, both the troll-woman and all the witches who were her bridesmaids. But the White-bear, King Valemon, and the princess, and all the guests, went back to the castle, and took what they could carry of the witch's gold and money, and went back to his country to hold the true wedding. But on the way Valemon fetched the three little girls along, and now the princess saw why he had taken them away : It was so that they could help her on her way to him. So they drank the wedding both stiff and strong; and if they aren't all dead, why, they must still be living.


    Here the Soot-boy's tale ended, and he took his price from the princess; and that did not displease her too much, as you must understand. So he went to the Finn-king, and told him what had occurred, and asked for his daughter's hand. At first the King was angry that anyone should have taken his daughter's favour, and would have whipped Espen to the border of his land. But she wept for him, and pleaded; and he was a tall and handsome lad after all, and so at last the King agreed. So they held a wedding on the seventh day, and the King gave Espen half the country for a dowry, and the promise of the rest when the King should die. And snip, snap, snail, here ends the tale.

    -----------------------------------------------------------


    Whew! White-Bear-King-Valemon is rather longer to translate than it looks at first glance. Still, I needed a story where the teller could stop at several points - after all, one could hardly expect a princess to lie down in the straw on the first asking. It makes one hell of a writing just for diplo-annexing Finland, though; but as that was basically all that happened this session, well, I thought I might make a story from it. The bit with the Hungarians was inspired by the real events, as follows. The Finns have owned, by some weird CK inheritance, Azerbaijan for a while. Thus they've been at war with various small nations in that area off and on during the game. And since neither party has been able to get at the other, well, the Finns had quite an army by the time I'd bribed them up to 200 relations. They turned me down flat, several times in fact.

    So when Ear asked me if I would sell Azerbaijan, why, I was quite willing, provided he smacked the Finns around a bit for me. A mil-access later, Hungarian troops were marching into Finland by way of Bohemia, Skagerrak, and Sweden. As it turned out, it was the winter and the splendid Finnish troops that did the smacking around; but after the third wave of reinforcements, Ear was able to get Azerbaijan, for which he paid me 150 gold. So we were both happy, because the Finns were now far enough down that they accepted my next annexation offer.


    Norway after the annexation of Finland :

    Come to think of it, there was a quick war with the Livonian Order at some point, too. Well, really, when a former vassal is dumb enough to send you a diplomatic insult, they deserve what they get.
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  15. #35
    Field Marshal BurningEGO's Avatar
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    Well, your AAr is quite nice if i may say... there is just one thing that is cracking me up...

    This is Norway : A realm stretching from Iceland to the Urals, from the arctic North to the plains of Germany. It is a kingdom forged in battle, its borders uncertain lands of raid and counter-raid. The long shadow of the dragon ships is woven into the cloth of its banners, and the terror of Norse fury goes before its armies.
    Sorry? I know that this was before Mighty Castille conquered Iceland, but even so...

    The Castillian King just added the King of Iceland title to his many, many others King titles. And soon, the King of Canaries title shall belong to him as well... Hear my words!
    "If a man does not strike first, he will be the first struck" - Athenogoras of Syracuse
    "Force is the most effective and efficient means to do something and the virtuous prince will employ its leverage." - Machiavelli
    "Men should either be treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injures - for heavy ones they cannot" - Machiavelli
    "It is best to be both feared and loved, however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved." - Machiavelli
    "A prince must be a lion, but he must also know how to play the fox." - Machiavelli
    "I'm the lord of lords, not the server of servants." - João II of Portugal


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  16. #36
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    Well, Ego, I see that the AI colonised Greenland for me, so Norway now stretches even further west than that.

    I've eaten something that really, really disagreed with me - probably that meatloaf was made from a fundamentalist cow - so the day I'd planned to write flavour went into groaning and feeling sorry for myself, instead. So, no saga this week, sorry, just the unadorned facts. I may come back to the flavour at a later time.

    So, this was not such a great session for me. First, I set my alarm clock for 1755 instead of 0555. (Damn all American clocks, anyway! AM, PM, who can possibly keep track?) Anyway, I was an hour late to the session, and discovered that the AI had wasted the 2000 ducats I had carefully saved towards building a bunch of manufactories. It does seem that I got some fortresses, a large navy, and the annexation of Novgorod in exchange, but bah. I'd rather have had the money, and four refineries in 1480.

    Well, that was my own silly fault, so I annexed my remaining Russian vassals without grumbling too much. Then I started building towards those manus again. Meanwhile, Ego down in Castile was being aggressive towards Trav's poor Italy, demanding the handing over of the Canaries. Trav refused; Castile DOWed; England and Burgundy joined Castile. Ouch! Well, that was a clear and present danger to the balance of power. I and Sterk had the same thought simultaneously : Our messages quite literally crossed - "Should we intervene?" "Sterk, you want to intervene in that?" with about two seconds between.

    However, Trav was apparently getting the worst not only of the war but also of Ego's personality. When I asked him to invite me to his alliance, he said "Thanks, but I'm going to quit after this session." So then I didn't feel so much like intervening after all. Why bother if he was going to quit? But then it occurred to me that there would be a different Italy player. So I agreed with Sterk and Ear that we would all DOW Burgundy. But because I do not quite trust Sterk, and he does not quite trust me, after that long history of sparring for the Baltic, it was a bit of an issue who would DOW first. The compromise was that Sterk would ask me for mil-access, I would DOW, and then he would DOW. And if he betrayed me, why, he'd at least lose some stab. So I DOWed Burgundy. Ear, my ally, joined. Sterk, the evil, evil bastard, DOWed Hungary. I'm not sure why, but I was not invited to this war. So there I was, fighting Burgundy and England (Castile had sep-peaced an Italian vassal earlier) all on my ownsome.

    Nonetheless, most of Burgundy's armies were burning up Italy, so I crossed the border with 60k and began some sieges. Next I knew, 'our army in Wurzburg has been destroyed', and I crashed. Yep, lag had gotten me. I had about 10k cav left when we rehosted. Bit of a disaster, that. I offered Burgundy a WP, but he refused, holding out for Anhalt.




    Futile assaults on Magdeburg. In the second screenie, note the 40k men who will receive LT9 in just a few months, and sweep down into Germany crushing all who stand in their way!

    Now, a word on techs. At this time Burgundy was at LT 6, and was the most advanced in the Western Alliance. I and Hungary were both closing in on 9. Sterk had already crossed that line, and consequently got quite a bit over-confident, losing some armies to overwhelming cavalry attacks by Ear. Of course, Ear didn't have anything to spare for the German front, nor can I say I blame him. So what I did was refuse peace, build huge infantry armies behind the cover of my vast AI-built fleet (thank you, AI, you're a moron but you get things right once in a blue moon) and wait for LT 9. I got it just before we ended the session. And now with the arquebuses, why, we'll see just who annexes whose German cities, thank you kindly.

    Norway with the Russian annexations :


    The Western Alliance :

    Last edited by King of Men; 12-05-2006 at 03:02.
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  17. #37
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    Good update as usual. It looks like you may have posted the wrong pic for the "Norway with the Russian annexations" caption, as Novgorod et al can still be seen in that one (unless the caption was meant to read "Norway before the Russian annexations" ). Hope you get well in time to crush the "western menace" on Saturday!

  18. #38
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    Hmm, you're right. Wurzburg is still visible, too, when it should be annexed to Bugundy. (Well, it should be annexed to Norway, but you know what I mean.) I'll fix the screenie when I get home.

    About the verb 'should' : I was looking over these maps today and thinking, "Hmm, the Rhine should plainly be the border between Norway and Bugundy." But then I thought, "There again, maybe the Seine should be the border between Norway and England." And as I was thinking further, it came to me that a better statement of the idea would be "The Loire should be the border between Norway and Spain, or better yet, France." Then I had to go to work, so I didn't get as far as thinking about the Pyrenees. Say, does anyone know the name of that river in Spain? Is it the Guadalquivir?
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  19. #39
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    I didnt invite you, because, i didnt realized that timu allied poland...of course i was quite unsure about sterks possible behaviour, i didnt see the alternative of an timu-poland alliance. i knew that the timu player isnt experienced in mp, and that he could overestmate his abilities...timu dowed me, not poland...

    on the other side i could lie a bit and say that i didnt invite you, because i knew that you had no army after the losses in germany...but thats wrong...i hope you realize that im the best partner you can think of!!

    ill win this war btw, at least a white peace should be concluded...cu tomorrow
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  20. #40
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    Ah, I see. I wasn't complaining, you understand, that is a war I was very happy not to be invited to. I wish you all possible luck in punishing the perfidious Piasts of Poland, but right now I really don't feel like fighting a two-front war. With the CRT advantage I can just barely muster up enough forces to feel moderately confident in a one-front one.
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