Erik IV Dagmarsson Crovan
Emperor of the Crovan Empire, King of the Western Isles, King of the East and West Vikings, King of Germania and King of Vinland and the Skraelingias. Lord of Foppingtonia, Slavelandia and Zanzibar, High Admiral of Gibralter, Life-President of the Sino Trade Company and the Rightful King of All Poland.
In Which More People Commit Treason
(31 March 1651 – 28 February 1665)
We join the Imperial Council already in session. Colonel Gustavus, commander of the 8th Akershus Rifle Regiment, is making a presentation about military tactics.
“…and so, Your Imperial Majesty, while these smaller and shallower formations require greater drill and precision to succeed, it is plainly obvious that the increase in firepower will more than offset the risks. Especially when you consider the size of our standing army.”
“He has a point, sire. And when you think about it, giving the men more work to do should drastically cut down on the high volume of violent crime near army bases.”
Skofte “Hough” Crovan, Kennet Haraldson’s replacement, spoke next. “I don’t know cousin, I think…
“Silence Ham-Hocks. You are only here because I find that my faith in non-family ministers has plummeted of late.”
“And as for you, Gustavus, when I am done railing at you for wasting my valuable time with this gibberish about articulated infantry and Roman-esque drill, you will be hanged from the neck until dead, if you are lucky!
. Why Harald and I could have been fishing, or reading poetry, hunting. Anything! But waste my valuable family time with this…this…”
“If you please, father, allow me a thought here. I think that this man may be right. These shallow formations will be weaker, but the increase in drill and their smaller unit sizes will allow a shocking speed on the battlefield while allowing us to maintain a cohesive force.”
Erik’s face broke into a wide grin. “Ah, son…so clever and wise. Very well, this new Haraldian Infantry formation shall be implemented throughout the Armies of Crovania at once.”
“If it please you, father, could we call it Gustavian, after the good Colonel here? And perhaps reward his clever insights?”
“Such modesty! Of course my pious son. Colonel, you are now a full General. The Army of Norway is now your command. Report to it at once.”
The General bowed deeply. “Of course. Thank you Your Imperial Majesty.”
“Alright, that’s settled. C’mon son, lets go fishing.”
“Wait, father, shouldn’t we hear what the other ministers have to say?”
Erik regarded them thoughtfully. “No. They never have anything useful for me. Its just a bunch of crap designed to keep me from my boy. Let’s go.
Harald shook his head as they left.
Erlend waited until they were long gone before he spoke. “Well, gentlemen, do you now agree? He has lost it. Erik could have been a great Emperor, but he has just lost it.”
Hough sighed. “Yes, cousin, but what are we to do? Kill Erik? Then our family loses the throne.”
“Well, and if we don’t act, then what? Some crisis will come up and we’ll all wind up swinging like Kennet. Or sent to the salt mines like Egilsson and his sons. I don’t even want to think about what happened to Amundsson after he questioned Erik’s fitness to rule. We are the Imperial Cabinet. It is our duty to act in a way that protects our own necks…and also the Empire. And really, would Harald be so bad?”
“True. And we could always kill him if he has any heirs.”
“Or get him to marry into the family. That will just redirect the throne back to the Clan. Still, we are agreed. Erik must die.”
The conspirators shook hands and slipped from the Imperial Conference Room.
Meanwhile, on a small fishing boat.
“Harald, it is impossible! You are far too young to get married! Why that would cut into our father-son time!”
Harald regarded his father with some confusion. “Father, we are in love. Plus, I am twenty years old!” His eyes narrowed. “I thought you’d be excited for me.”