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Thread: The Atheling Chronicle - A King without a Crown

  1. #1
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    The Atheling Chronicle - A King without a Crown

    Table of Contents

    Introduction - The Conquest of England - 1066


    Book 1 - The Uncrowned King

    Edgar II, The King in Exile, 1067-82


    Chapter 1 - Scotland - 1067-70
    Chapter 2 - Northumbria - 1070
    Chapter 3 - Flanders - 1071-74
    Chapter 4 - Normandy - 1072-80
    Chapter 5 - Constantinople - 1081-2

    Edgar II, the Uncrowned, Prince of Tripoli, 1082-1106

    Chapter 6 - Tripoli - 1082-84
    Chapter 7 - Tripoli - 1084-93
    Chapter 8 - Tripoli - 1093-1100
    Chapter 9 - Tripoli - 1101-1106
    Chapter 10 - Extracts from The Life of Edgar the Atheling

    Book II - The Transplanted Dynasty

    Aethelred III, the Tyrant, 1106-1130


    Chapter 11 - A Map of the World at the Death of Edgar - 1106
    Chapter 12 - The Troubled Years - 1106-08
    Chapter 13 - An Audacious Gamble - 1108-11
    Chapter 14 - The Regal Supremacy - 1112-15
    Chapter 15 - The Coronation of Aethelred III - 1115
    Chapter 16 - The Start of the New Era - 1115-18
    Chapter 17 - The Realm of England - 1118
    Chapter 18 - The King is Reconciled with the Earls - 1118-20
    Chapter 19 - The Growing Autocracy of the King - 1120-25
    Chapter 20 - The Downfall of the King - 1125-30

    St Baldred, the Peaceable, 1130-1148

    Chapter 21 - The Realm and Its Neighbours - 1130
    Chapter 22 - On Succession - 1130-32
    Chapter 23 - On Family - 1132-34
    Chapter 24 - On Crusades - 1135-37
    Chapter 25 - On Warfare and the Heathen - 1134-41
    Chapter 26 - On Marriage and the Family II - 1141-46
    Chapter 27 - The Final Years of Baldred the Great - 1146-48

    Saelred the Conqueror, 1148-1157

    Chapter 28 - The Witangemot and Coronation - 1148
    Chapter 29 - The Conquest of Mecca - 1148-51
    Chapter 30 - The Visit of Henry the Norman - 1152-53
    Chapter 31 - The Syrian Campaign - 1153-55
    Chapter 32 - Divisions Within the Kingdom- 1155-57

    Theodorus, the Fisher King, 1157-1181

    Chapter 33 - The Witangemot of 1157, part 1
    Chapter 34 - The Witangemot of 1157, part 2
    Chapter 35 - The Family of the English Kings
    Chapter 36 - The Kingdom Descends into Turmoil - 1157-58
    Chapter 37 - Civil War in the Kingdom - 1158-9
    Chapter 38 - Duke Morcar Crushes the Traitors - 1159-61

    Chapter 39 - The Second Regency - 1161-64
    Chapter 40 - Duke Morcar Against the King 1164-66
    Chapter 41 - The King's Majority - 1166-68
    Chapter 42 - The King's Authority Continues to Wane - 1168-70
    Chapter 43 - The King Preaches Peace and Unity - 1170-73
    Chapter 44 - The Funeral of St Swaefred, Patriarch of Jerusalem - 1173
    Chapter 45 - The Rebuilding Begins - 1173-74
    Chapter 46 - The War Against Egypt - 1174-75
    Chapter 47 - The King's Long Illness - 1176-80
    Chapter 48 - The Christmas Witan of 1180 is Called
    Chapter 49 - The First Day of the Christmas Witan, St Stephen's Day (December 26th)
    Chapter 50 - The Second Day of the Christmas Witan, the Feast of St John the Evangelist (December 27th)
    Chapter 51 - The Third Day of the Christmas Witan, the Feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28th)

    Book III - The Tripartite Kingdom

    John, the Lion-Hearted, King of the English, 1181 - 1206
    David, King of the English in Arabia, 1181-
    Romanus, King of the English in Syria,1181

    Chapter 52 - The Kingdom in Jerusalem, 1181 - 1184
    Chapter 53 - The Kingdom in Arabia, 1185 - 1188
    Chapter 54 - The Kingdom in Syria, 1189 - 1194
    Chapter 55 - King John's Expedition - 1194
    The Invasion of England - 1195
    Chapter 57 - The Family of the English Kings
    Chapter 58 - The Consolidation of the Invasion - 1195-1196
    Chapter 59 - The Southern Shires - 1196-1199
    Chapter 60 - The Conquest of Mosul - 1195-1200
    Chapter 61 - The Tomb of King Arthur - 1199-1200
    Chapter 62 - The Second Settlement - 1201
    Chapter 63 - The King's First Vassals - 1200-1203
    Chapter 64 - The Book of Judgements - 1203
    Chapter 65 - The War Against the Greeks - 1201-1205
    Chapter 66 - Prince Wulfnoth's Voyage to Rome - 1205
    Chapter 67 - Scipio Reborn - 1205
    Chapter 68 - The Battle of Carthage - 1205
    Chapter 69 - The Burgundian Alliance - 1205-6
    Chapter 70 - The Passing of King John - 1206
    *****






    Introduction - The Conquest of England, 1066


    From The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1065-6

    About midwinter King Edward came to Westminster, and had the minster there consecrated, which he had himself built to the honour of God, and St. Peter, and all God's saints. This church-hallowing was on Childermas-day. He died on the eve of twelfth-day; and he was buried on twelfth-day in the same minster...



    The next year came King Harold from York to Westminster, on the Easter succeeding the midwinter when the king (Edward) died. Then was over all England such a token seen as no man ever saw before. Some men said that it was the comet-star, which others denominate the long-hair'd star.



    Then came Harald, King of Norway, north into the Tine, unawares, with a very great sea-force -- no small one; that might be, with three hundred ships or more; and they both then went up with all the fleet along the Ouse toward York. In the midst of this came Harold, king of the English, with all his army, on the Sunday, to Tadcaster; where he collected his fleet. Thence he proceeded on Monday throughout York. But Harald, King of Norway, and Earl Tosty, with their forces, were gone from their ships beyond York to Stanfordbridge; for that it was given them to understand, that hostages would be brought to them there from all the shire. Thither came Harold, king of the English, unawares against them beyond the bridge; and they closed together there, and continued long in the day fighting very severely. There was slain Harald the Fair-hair'd, King of Norway, and Earl Tosty, and a multitude of people with them, both of Normans and English; and the Normans that were left fled from the English, who slew them hotly behind; until some came to their ships, some were drowned, some burned to death, and thus variously destroyed; so that there was little left: and the English gained possession of the field.

    Meantime Earl William came up from Normandy into Pevensey on the eve of St. Michael's mass; and soon after his landing was effected, they constructed a castle at the port of Hastings. This was then told to King Harold; and he gathered a large force, and came to meet him at the estuary of Appledore. William, however, came against him unawares, ere his army was
    collected; but the king, nevertheless, very hardly encountered him with the men that would support him: and there was a great slaughter made on either side. There was slain King Harold, and Leofwin his brother, and Earl Girth his brother, with many good men: and the Frenchmen gained the field of battle, as God granted them for the sins of the nation.



    Archbishop Aldred [of York] and the corporation of London were then desirous of having child Edgar to king, as he was quite natural to them; and Edwin and Morkar promised them that they would fight with them. But the more prompt the business should ever be, so was it from day to day the
    later and worse; as in the end it all fared. This battle was fought on the day of Pope Calixtus: and Earl William returned to Hastings, and waited there to know whether the people wouldsubmit to him. But when he found that they would not come to him, he went up with all his force that was left and that came since to him from over sea, and ravaged all the country that he overran, until he came to Berkhampstead; where Archbishop Aldred came to meet him, with child Edgar, and Earls Edwin and Morkar, and all the best men from London; who submitted then for need, when the most harm was done.

    Then on midwinter's day Archbishop Aldred hallowed him to king at Westminster, and gave him possession with the books of Christ, and also swore him, ere that he would set the crown on his head, that he would so well govern this nation as any before him best did, if they would be faithful to him. Nevertheless he laid very heavy tribute on men, and in Lent went over sea to Normandy, taking with him Archbishop Stigand, and Abbot Aylnoth of Glastonbury, and the child Edgar, and the Earls Edwin, Morkar,
    and Waltheof, and many other good men of England. Bishop Odo and Earl William lived here afterwards, and wrought castles widely through this country, and harassed the miserable people; and eversince has evil increased very much.

    *****


    This is a tale of the King of England. Not the man who wore the crown, but the true King of England. After the death of Harold Godwinson at Hastings, one man was proclaimed by the Coroporation of the City of London and the Archbishop of York as the next King of the English. His name was Edgar, known to history as Edgar the ‘Atheling’, uncrowned heir to the throne of England. Yet the dallying and hesitation of the remaining Saxon nobility of England allowed the armies of William, Duke of Normandy, to increase their hold on Southern England, so that when he marched on London in December, the nobles of the realm had no choice but to submit to William as their King.


    William the Bastard, King of England


    Edgar was 13 at the time of the Norman Conquest. With his throne usurped, and deprived of support by the nobles of England, he departed with his mother and sisters to Scotland, under the protection of King Malcolm III. Edgar was the grandson of Edmund Ironside, King of England before the coming of the Danes, and grand-nephew of Edward the Confessor, who had passed away the year previously. Edgar was now the only male descendant of the Saxon house of Cedric, which had ruled the Kingdoms of the Saxons since their arrival in England.


    Edgar the 'Atheling', Uncrowned heir to the Kingdom of the English


    Edward the 'Atheling', Edgar's father. Edward spent most of his life in exile, in Kiev, Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire. He was nominated as Atheling, or heir to the English throne in 1057, but died soon after his return to England.


    Edward's father, Edmund 'Ironside', who died fighting the Danes in 1016


    Edward the Confessor, Great-Uncle to Edgar, who died with his succession in doubt in early January 1066


    Harold Godwinson, who took the throne after King Edward’s death, on account of Edgar’s young age, perished at Hastings, and was survived by his mother, Gytha, who brought Harold’s widow and children away with her to Ireland, and thence to the Kingdom of the Danes. They too lived in exile abroad, seeking their chance to return.


    Harold II Godwinson, who valiently fought to protect the realm of England from invasions by Normans and Northmen alike.


    Within the realm of England, King William had replaced nearly all the Saxon earls with counts and Dukes from his own realm of Normandy. Only the northern lands of Northumbria and Lancashire retained their Saxon rulers.


    Morcar Leofricson, Earl of Northumbria


    Edwin Leofricson, Earl of Lancashire


    With England so firmly in the grip of William and his Norman nobility, it seemed that only the intervention of the Holy Father himself would restore Edgar's family to the throne of England, and save them from historical obscurity.

    *****


    AAR note – This AAR will follow the fortunes of Edgar Atheling and his descendants as they struggle to regain their kingdom and to find a suitable place for their family. For the first decades, I will attempt to recreate the historical path of Edgar’s (mis)fortunes, but I have a twist in mind, which I hope will allow his luck to change. Because of the nature of the Crusader Kings universe, the account of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, of which I have included an edited version, will not match exactly with our hero’s encounters, but should provide an informative backdrop to the story.

    This is my first AAR, so I’ll welcome any suggestions as to what you’d like to see included or omitted. I’m playing a few years ahead of the story, but not very many, so I’ll mostly be as surprised as you are at the turn of events.
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 20-12-2010 at 16:27.

  2. #2
    Second Lieutenant Christian V's Avatar
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    A very interesting concept for a story. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter.

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    Who am I? Cecasander's Avatar
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    Yeah, another Saxon England AAR!

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    Like the concept, Edgar has always been an interesting character. You gonna make him the count of some back water and play as Scotland until Edgar reaches 16 ?

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    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    I'm in. Best of luck to the Atheling.

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    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    Thanks to you all for the interest. The next update should be along shortly.

    The plan is to play as 'in character' as possible, and using the historical reality as a guide. Edgar won't be settling for a mere county in the Highlands any time soon. He has royal ambitions!

    Nevertheless, this could take some time. As a small spoiler, prepare yourselves for a tour of European courts...

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    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    Travelling to the far east would present some nice possibilities like a Saxon/Russian dynasty tracing back to both Athelings brave ancestors and Rurik.

  8. #8
    Who am I? Cecasander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesimir View Post
    Travelling to the far east would present some nice possibilities like a Saxon/Russian dynasty tracing back to both Athelings brave ancestors and Rurik.
    Well, I remember that either Edgar's sister or his aunt married one of the kings of Kievan Rus.

  9. #9
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    Chapter 1 - Scotland

    Chapter 1 - Scotland
    1067-1070




    From the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


    This year came the king back again to England on St. Nicholas's day; This summer the child Edgar departed, with his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and Merle-Sweyne, and many good men with them; and came to Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm, who entertained them all. Then began King Malcolm to yearn after the child's sister, Margaret, to wife; but he and all his men long refused; and she also herself was averse, and said that she would neither have him nor any one else, if the Supreme Power would grant, that she in her maidenhood might please the mighty Lord with a carnal heart, in this short life, in pure continence. The king, however, earnestly urged her brother, until he answered Yea. And indeed he durst not otherwise; for they were come into
    his kingdom. This queen aforesaid performed afterwards many useful deeds in this land to the glory of God, and also in her royal estate she well conducted herself, as her nature was.

    Of a faithful and noble kin was she sprung. Her father was Edward Etheling, son of King Edmund. Edmund was the son of Ethelred; Ethelred the son of Edgar; Edgar the son of Edred; and so forth in that royal line: and her maternal kindred goeth to the Emperor Henry, who had the sovereignty over Rome. This year went out Githa, Harold's mother, and the wives of many good men with her, to the Flat-Holm, and there abode some time; and so departed thence over sea to St. Omer's.


    *****


    In early 1067, Edgar, uncrowned King of the English, found himself a guest in the court of Malcolm III, King of the Scots. He was accompanied in his exile by his mother Agatha, and sister Margaret, with a few loyal household retainers. And exile it most certainly was, for the Atheling was more Malcolm’s hostage than his ‘guest’. While Edgar could use this time to plan to regain his rightful inheritance, the patronising courtesy afforded him by the Scots nobles taught him early that the only ally he would have was himself.


    Edgar’s personality matures


    So much was Edgar in Malcolm’s debt that when the King’s brother Donald became desirous of the lady Margaret, Edgar was unable to protect his sister’s dignity. Despite her desire to live her life in quiet monastic contemplation, Donald’s offer for the lady Margaret’s hand was but an empty formality.


    The Marriage of Margaret to Donald


    Donald Dunkeld, Brother to King Malcolm, Chancellor of the Realm


    The marriage of Margaret to Donald, though hardly Edgar’s choice, did, however, serve to tie the two royal families together. Having witnessed the chaotic events of Edward the Confessor’s death and the Norman Conquest, many of the Scottish Lowland nobility saw the opportunity to take advantage of the instability in England. The Earls of Northumbria and Lancashire, the Leofricson brothers, seemed to be natural allies for the Scots and Edgar alike.


    Edwin Leofricson, Earl of Lancaster



    Morcar Leofricson, Earl of Northumbria


    King Malcolm was reluctant to move recklessly, despite Edgar’s protests, and the incitations of his lairds, citing the lack of loyalty from some of his own Highland nobility, most notably the disgruntled Loarn clan of Moray. An expedition into Northern England would surely present ample opportunity for Malcolm’s enemies to cause trouble for him at home.


    Maelsnechten Loarn, Laird of Moray


    And so the debates continued. Malcolm was unwilling to act without firm declarations of support from the Northern Earls of England, while Edgar was unable to persuade the Leofricson brothers of his sincerity without the written support of the King of Scots. Even as Edgar grew into his manhood, he quietly fumed at his enforced state of inaction.


    Edgar Atheling at 16


    His sister Margaret, meanwhile, charmed the court with her knowledge of continental culture, acquired during the family’s exile in Hungary. Both her husband Donald and brother-in-law King Malcolm appeared entranced by her tales of the court of the Holy Roman Emperor and the customs of King Edward’s England. She fiercely lobbied the King and her husband the Chancellor for the introduction of the Benedictine order to Scotland. In February 1069, she bore her first child, Edgar’s niece, a daughter by the name of Aufrica.


    Aufrica Dunkeld


    In September, political events to the south took a dramatic turn. Edwin Leofricson, Earl of Lancaster, refused to attend the a gathering of notables organised by King William on the of St Michael the Archangel. As a result, his lands were declared forfeit by his Norman master. Despite his attempt at armed resistance, the fyrd of Lancashire was soon crushed, and the county laid open to the Norman armies. As the wails of good Saxon ladies were heard across the realm, the fate of the Lancastrians prompted Edwin’s younger brother Morcar to formally approach Malcom with an offer of alliance.



    The Fall of Lancashire



    An Alliance is Formed


    At Edgar’s insistant urging, and sensing an opportunity, Malcolm agreed, proclaiming his friendship for the Northumbrian people, and Edwin’s god-given right to rule over them.

    In Decmeber, another neice of Edgar’s was born to Margaret and Donald, by the name of Dublemna. With his own marital bed as yet unfilled, rumours began to circulate that Edgar himself was becoming too close to the Scots Queen.


    Another niece for Edgar.

    And a new relationship begins to blossom.


    It did not take Morcar long to act in defence of his realm. Hoisting the ancient banner of the Northumbrian kings, he sent out messengers in June, 1070, to proclaim the rule of William the Bastard as illegitimate, and announce his support for Edgar as King of the English.
    William’s invasion of England, had however, been given the blessing of the Pope himself, and Phillipe, the young King of France, offered his wholehearted support to his Norman neighbour. The Scots and Northumbrians would have a difficult struggle ahead of them.




    AAR Note – While in reality Margaret was taken as a wife by Malcolm, and became a celebrated Queen of the Scots, in the CK universe, Malcolm is firmly wedded to his Norwegian wife. So it was his unmarried brother (Donald) who took Margaret to his bed. The ‘real-life’ Margaret became one of the celebrated Queens of early Medieval Scotland, and was later canonized as a saint. The rebellion in Northumbria is overdue compared to the chronicler’s accounts, and in this period there were also aborted attempts by the Godwinsons to land in the North, with the help of Irish or Danish armies. The King of Denmark, however, despite having claims to much of Northern England, appears uninterested in an invasion.
    Edgar’s affair with Malcolm’s Queen was an unexpected turn of events, and one that I suspect might land him in some trouble if he’s not careful...
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 04-11-2009 at 23:24.

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    Chapter 2 - Northumbria

    Chapter 2 - Northumbria
    1070




    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:

    This year King William gave Earl Robert the earldom over Northumberland; but the landsmen attacked him in the town of Durham, and slew him, and nine hundred men with him. Soon afterwards Edgar Etheling came with all the Northumbrians to York; and the townsmen made a treaty with him…


    *****


    With the realm at a state of war with England, it was imperative that King Malcolm muster as many forces as he could. Unfortunately, as he had feared they would, the Loarn clans of Moray refused his call to arms.


    The Duke of Moray commits treachery by refusing to answer the King's call to arms


    The lowland clansmen and the burghers of the city of Berwick arrived early in August to support Earl Morcar’s defense of the City of York. Gospatrick, Mayor of Berwick, was, however, unable to prevent the Normans crossing the Ouse.



    The Battle of York



    At the news of the initial Scottish defeat, and with King Malcolm and the leading nobles of the realm embarked and sailing south to Northumbria, Maelsnechten Loarn chose this time to strike at the heart of the realm and make his bid for the crown. The Duke of Albany’s men were dispatched to bring Moray to heel, but their efforts diverted important forces from the southern war.




    Maelsnechten Loarn's backstabbing strikes a crucial blow against the Scots-Saxon effort


    *****


    ASC:
    King William came from the South unawares on them with a large army, and put them to flight, and slew on the spot those who could not escape; which were many hundred men; and plundered the town. St. Peter's minster he made a profanation, and all other places also he despoiled and trampled upon

    *****



    With York in the hands of the Norman armies, and St Peter’s minster despoiled, the Army of the Scots, led by King Malcolm himself, made landfall in County Durham, and was greeted by the bishop and people of the city with much ceremony. There Morcar himself knelt to Edgar and pledged to serve him as his liege.
    Within days however, a Norman army of several thousand arrived at the city, and lay siege to it. In the battle that followed, the Scots-Saxon forces were outnumbered two-to-one, and while the battle raged bitterly, the defeat for the Scots was swift and bloody. Edgar himself, leading the fyrd of Strathclyde, found himself trapped by a flanking cavalry charge, and barley extricated his household troops from the encirclement.


    The Battle of Durham



    The defeat at Durham not only meant the loss of the city, but the destruction of nearly the entire Scots and Northumbrian armies. In this battle was captured Ethelwin, Bishop of Durham. He was imprisoned by King William and left to die in his cell. The see remained vacant for many years. Malcolm was only able to ensure his own return to the north by promising King William a tribute tribute of several hundred pounds, and to hand over to him several hostages. Chief among them was Edgar himself.



    The day is lost.

    *****


    ASC:

    In the next year, King William led a naval force and a land force to Scotland, and beset that land on the sea-side with ships, whilst he led his land-force in at the Tweed; but he found nothing there of any value. King Malcolm, however, came, and made peace with King William, and gave hostages, and became his man; whereupon the king returned home with all his force.

    *****


    AAR note - a surprisingly short and bloody war in Northumbria. Morcar’s Saxons and Malcolm’s Scots were always going to be outnumbered by the Norman forces, and William’s marshal skill is higher than either of theirs. Of course, the defection of the Duke of Moray put a real spanner in the works, and made the job even harder. After the Battle of Durham, the Scots and Northumbrian armies were utterly destroyed and I had nothing left to fight with. (The Bishop of Durham’s fate in the Chronicle was also more or less as I described it). With the rebellion in Moray ongoing, the northern army would probably not arrive before Northumbria wall fully conquered. Suing for peace was the logical thing to do in-game, and, as you can see, it was depressingly close to the historical narrative. Now that Edgar is a ‘guest’ of King William, his dreams of regal glory have certainly hit a setback.
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 04-11-2009 at 23:26.

  11. #11
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    Chapter 3 - Flanders

    Chapter 3 - Flanders
    1071-4




    King William treated Edgar well, and showed him great courtesy, as would befit a Duke of the Realm. Yet, as the Atheling accompanied King William, Norman soldiers continued to harry the northern shires. It pained the young heir’s heart to see his people beaten, their women raped and villages burnt by the Norman and French soldiery. It was not until late February 1071 that William and his counts were satiated, and the king withdrew his troops. The great Earldom of Northumbria was no more; divided into numerous counties under cruel and self-serving Norman barons.





    In a vain effort to protest these actions, the Earl of Oxford, the last Saxon nobleman of any standing in England, renounced the authority of the King. Needless to say, his revolt was a futile effort.




    Meanwhile, in Scotland, King Malcolm was able to re-instate his authority over the highland clans, and the Duke of Moray was captured and forced to surrender his titles in November. His replacement was none other than Donald, brother to the King and wife of Edgar’s sister.




    King Malcolm continued to suspect his wife of infidelity, and felt confident enough to confront her. Despite the young prince’s protests of innocence, he confidently pronounced the sentence of exile upon Gregory Arpad, brother to the King of Hungary.




    As Summer turned into Autumn, Edgar accompanied King William as he returned southwards, and celebrated the Feast of St Michael with him at the Royal court in Westminster. At the onset of Autumn, the King travelled across the sea to Normandy, to look to his affairs there. It was becoming clear to William that Edgar’s presence in the royal court was proving troublesome. The young Atheling was becoming a magnet for the disaffected Saxon minor nobility of the land, and while there was no open talk of rebellion, the risk was one he could do without. Edgar could not be permitted to return to Scotland; nor could he remain in the King’s retinue. Accordingly, while meeting with the counts of Normandy and William’s French neighbours, the King decided to have Edgar ‘accommodated’ by Balwin, Duke of Flanders. Baldwin was a good friend of William’s, and in addition, was his father-in-law. Baldwin would ensure that William’s interests were looked-after, and Flanders was sufficiently far from England that the young pretender’s plotting would come to naught.



    The Court at Flanders


    Edgar arrived in Bruges in early October in the Year of Our Lord 1071. He was met by the Duke’s councillors, as Baldwin himself was in service to the King of France, fighting against the Kingdom of Navarre in the far-off Pyrennes.




    Upon Baldwin’s return, he was pleased to find such a capable and noble addition to his court. Once Edgar had sworn fealty to the Duke, pledging to support him as his liege till the end of his days, Baldwin was happy to appoint Edgar to the position of Constable of Flanders.


    The New Constable of Flanders


    But soon, the young Atheling received mixed news from Scotland. His sister reported that she had given birth to a son, whom she and Donald had named Gillemichael. At present, he was the only heir to both the Duchy of Moray, and to Edgar’s birthright.


    Gillemichael Dunkeld, Nephew of Edgar Atheling


    There was also news from the royal court at Perth. While King Malcolm sent his commiseration’s at Edgar’s enforced stay in Bruges, the note that arrived from the Queen was not what the young bachelor had expected. It was short and perfunctory; while courteous, the expected warmth was lacking. It seemed that she now had no time for the man she had once been so close to.




    In Bruges, Edgar found a court much more cosmopolitan and developed that at Perth, or even London. For Bruges was a trading centre, and many merchants and pilgrims passed through the city on their way to and from distant lands. The talk of Edgar’s first months was that the Eastern Emperor was under assault from Mohammadean Turks, who appeared ever closer to taking the city of Constantinople itself.



    News closer to home shook the court in 1074. William, King of England, had passed away.



    ***

    ASC:

    In the same year also, King William returned to Normandy, fell sick, and it dreadfully ailed him. What shall I say? Sharp death, that passes by neither rich men nor poor, seized him also. He died in Normandy, on the next day after the Nativity of St. Mary, and he was buried at Caen in St. Stephen's minster, which he had formerly reared, and afterwards endowed with manifold
    gifts. Alas! how false and how uncertain is this world's weal! He that was before a rich king, and lord of many lands, had not then of all his land more than a space of seven feet! and he that was whilom enshrouded in gold and gems, lay there covered with mould!


    ***

    AAR Note - Edgar's position in the Court of Flanders was actually chosen by the AI when I loaded up the save, as he has the best martial skill of all the courtiers. It should provide him with more opportunities than he had in Scotland. Of course, he is also part of a bigger kingdom now, and should Philipe choose to intervene on his behalf, France would have a better chance in a war against the Normans that Scotland did. On the whole, despite one failed attempt at the throne, things are looking up!
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 04-11-2009 at 23:26.

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    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    Nice. My strategy as a saxon was always this -

    Conquer Wales and Ireland. Then attack England and change your titles in the savegame so that you show up as King of England.

    But I'm curious what you'll come up with.

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    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    That sounds like a pretty solid plan. I've never tried it myself, but it makes a lot of sense.

    For now, I'm trying to work with the motives of the various rulers Edgar finds himself the 'guest' of; and that means not giving him a county of his own. I now have Edgar's route to glory planned out, and I think it should prove entertaining. We'll need a couple more updates to get there.

    Playing as a character without a court certainly helps me feel his frustration at living in exile though! I think I want Edgar to succeed as much as he would have done.

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    Chapter 4 - Normandy

    Chapter 4 – Normandy
    1072 - 1080




    William nominated his son Robert, known as ‘Curthose’, to the throne of England after his death. He was then but a youth, of a similar age to the Atheling, hotheaded and rash. While he was happy to receive the nobles of England and have them swear their fealty, he refused to do the same to Philipe, King of France for the territory of Normandy, as his father had done. Indeed, one of the new King’s first acts was to assign the Duchy of Normandy unto William de Vassey. To Philipe, this was a clear affront to his feudal rights as overlord of Normandy, and he appealed to the Pope. Alexander II, though he had supported Duke William’s bid for the English throne, agreed with Philipe’s assessment of his feudal rights, and demanded that William de Vassey swear fealty to Philipe as his liege, on pain of excommunication.


    Robert I, Curthose, King of England


    William de Vassey, the new Duke of Normandy


    When the new duke told of his refusal, the Holy Father’s judgement was swift. Edgar saw this as an opportunity to weaken Robert’s hold on his newly-inherited throne, and perhaps a chance to have the new king unseated in preference to Edgar himself. He therefore encouraged both Baldwin and Philipe to seize the Duchy by force. Baldwin, as William’s father-in-law, and Robert’s grandfather, had some claim to Normandy, and Philipe would rather see the territory ruled by a loyal vassal than become part of the Kingdom of England. Accordingly, war was declared, and the men of France were called to arms.




    As Constable of Flanders, it fell to Edgar to make the preparations for the muster of the men. The Duchy was wealthy enough, and able to muster several thousand men-at-arms. Normandy, by contrast, was disorganised, and many of de Vassey’s counts refused to follow their excommunicated leader into Hell. Soon Caen itself was under siege by Baldwin’s army.


    The Seige of Caen


    In November 1074, on the feast day of St Clement, Caen fell, and Duke William was captured by Baldwin’s men. He was made to hand over all rights to the Duchy of Normandy to the French Crown, and Philipe promptly transferred control of Normandy to Baldwin.



    Philipe and Baldwin then set about taking those castles still held by Robert within Maine and Normandy. At Arques, King Robert himself even attempted a landing to defend his lands, but his forces were badly outnumbered by the armies of Flanders.



    The Battle of Arques


    As Winter became spring, the French armies were in control of all the major castles of Normandy. Talk began of a seaborne invasion of England. While many of the French nobility were against such a move, Edgar spoke passionately and eloquently on behalf of an invasion, arguing that the minor Saxon nobles of England would surely support a French force if he accompanied it. His hope was that Philipe would see the wisdom of having a friendly neighbour to the North, and thus support himself as King over the now-discredited Robert. In May of 1075, a fleet of several hundred small craft set sail for the south coast of England.



    The Invasion begins


    But the objections of the French Dukes, particularly the semi-autonomous duchies of Aquitaine and Burgundy, meant that the invasion occurred piecemeal and haphazardly. Baldwin and Edgar’s men landed in the Thames estuary close to London, but found themselves without support, and their two thousand men unable to lay siege to the city effectively. The siege was broken by a sortie from the city led by the King himself.




    The Battle of London


    With the greater part of his army vanquished at the walls of London, Baldwin found himself willing to accept the promise of several hundred pounds from Robert as an indemnity for his ancestral castles in Normandy. Baldwin would be the titular Duke of Normandy, while Maine and Arques would remain in English hands.




    King Philipe, however, was less satisfied, and had prepared his own invasion force of several thousand men-at-arms. It too lay siege to the city of London, and while it repulsed several sorties from the garrison, after several weeks, its numbers were too depleted by lack of foodstuffs and enemy raids to pose a threat to the city. The second siege of London ended in failure, just as the first had.




    The Second Battle of London


    Edgar continued to press for further attacks on England, but the knights and nobles of France were growing less convinced by the day. Though the efforts made Edgar frantic with stress, it availed to naught, and Philpe also accepted the agreement offered by Robert to Baldwin.





    To make matters worse, Edgar’s constant lobbying for attacks on English lands led to his replacement as Constable by André de Bruges. The decision left him without influence in the Duke’s court, and he grew more resentful and withdrawn in each passing week.



    Edgar's fortunes take a turn for the worse


    The following year, 1078, Pope Alexander, tired of the infighting among Christians, and motivated by pleas from the Eastern Emperor, called for a holy war, or ‘Crusade’, to liberate the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Infidels.



    The effect was perhaps not what the Holy Father had envisioned. Some Kings, such as Malcolm of Scotland, believed the endeavour to be a lost cause, and their scepticism was rewarded by expulsion from the church.



    The Holy Roman Empire was wracked with internal divisions, and the Emperor Henry unable to commit any men-at-arms to the struggle:




    The King of Poland took the indulgences granted for Crusade against the infidels, but directed his energy northwards against the Baltic tribes. He was joined in this struggle, perplexingly, by the Doge of Venice



    The Baltic Crusades


    The King of Hungary, likewise, chose to repent for his sins by expanding his realm eastwards to the Danube at the cost of the pagan Pechengs living there.


    The Danubian Crusade


    While Harald, King of Norway, had committed himself to the struggle for the Holy Land, his troops, and those of the Danish King, were soon distracted into attacks on Ireland.




    The Irish Crusades?


    In fact, the only repsondant’s to the Bishop of Rome’s call were the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, whose efforts were blunted by the threat from the Moors on their own borders.




    The Iberian Crusades


    The Eastern Emperor had taken matters into his own hands, requesting help from the Christianised peoples of the Rus, and accepting their oaths of loyalty if they would but help him defend his lands from the Turks. However, this at the same time left his lands dangerously over-stretched and facing several threats at once.




    In the meantime, Edgar had written to his sister Margaret, enquiring about the chance to return to the North, but her news from Scotland was not encouraging. Her husband, Donald, no longer listened to her advice, and her life in the Highlands was proving to be difficult. Moreover, Donald had made a bid for his brother’s throne, and was in open rebellion against the crown. Edgar’s name would not be welcome in Malcolm’s court any time soon.




    It appeared that the Atheling’s options were at an end: King Robert of England, his sworn enemy still sat on the throne in London; his brother-in-law had tarnished his family’s name in the Scots court; the Duke of Flanders was aging an uninterested in helping his cause; and the French King was content to maintain his hold over Normandy. The only source of comfort in Edgar’s world was his faith, and it was to the church that he turned in his desperation. He decided to take up the cross and travel to Jerusalem.
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 04-11-2009 at 23:29.

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    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    Chapter 5 - Constantinople

    Chapter 5 – Constantinople
    1081-2




    Edgar Atheling’s fortunes were at an all-time low. His ambitions had been thwarted on successive occasions, and he had few allies in either the Scottish, English or French courts. While some Saxon thanes had attached themselves to his cause, he attracted only the landless and unimportant men; much like himself. Thus it was in the autumn of 1080 that Edgar made the decision to seek the help of the Almighty. By following the Holy Father’s instructions and taking the Cross to Jerusalem, he could atone for his sins and seek divine intervention in regaining his throne.

    Many Saxon warriors had already made the voyage to Constantinople, to take up work in the Emperor’s employ as members of the Varangian Guard. The Guard contained men of all races, and was known as a means of advancement for skilled warriors of any origin. Moreover, the Emperor, Alexios Kommenos, was known to be keen on recovering the Holy Land from the Arabs.

    Duke Baldwin passed from this world on the 23rd day of October, in the Year of Our Lord 1080, and the Atheling was relieved of his oath. Giving his leave to the new duke, Arnolph, he and his household retinue prepared to set out for Constantinople. They travelled southwards through the lands of Philipe, King of France, wearing tunics embroidered with a simple cross, and bearing a banner blessed by the Abbot of Saint Denis himself. The procession made its way through the lands of Anjou, Burgundy and Provence, attracting many pilgrims and lordless warriors as they went. The Saxons took ship from the Marseilles and entered Rome in time to celebrate Twelfth Night.


    *****

    Orderic Vitalis, Church History, X.12

    At that time there were great movements in the west, and the same and disgrace of the deserters from the crusade was publicly exposed. For the Pope, by his supreme authority, and by his apostolic power demanded the rigid application throughout the Latin Church of the rule that all who had taken the cross of Christ and had failed in their resolution to complete the crusade to Jerusalem should either set out once again, or be stuck with anathema, and suffer the penalty of exclusion from the Church.


    *****



    In an audience with the Holy Father, Pope Alexander II, Prince Edgar received his blessing. The Pontiff reportedly embraced him personally; as the Atheling was the highest-ranking Christian yet to set out for the Holy Land. Were the Saxons to deliver Jerusalem from the Mohamaddeans, Pope Alexander even promised to support Edgar’s claim to the throne of England. So it was with a strengthened heart that Edgar and his huscarls took ship from Rome and sailed for Constantinople.

    As their ships sailed into the Bosphorus, their sails bore the holy cross of their mission, and the dragon standard of Wessex. They were met in the harbour by Osric Haroldson and a contingent of the Varangian guard. The great city of Constantinople held all the visitors in awe; even Edgar, who had been raised in the court of the King of Hungary, and had witnessed the Western Emperor’s authority, was astounded by the architecture and magnificence of the city. While Rome was a city of the past, Constantinople was truly the seat of the Emperor.


    Alexios Kommenos, Roman Emperor


    Emperor Alexios, when he was finally able to grant Edgar an audience, after several days’ waiting, was polite, engaging and undoubtedly pleased to receive the Saxon’s support. With his own personal guard, added to those landless Saxon thanes and pilgrims who had joined him on his pilgrimage, Edgar could deliver several hundred men to the Emperor’s cause. Moreover, the Atheling could secure the loyalty of the Varangian guard, which was, by this point, largely composed of Saxons and Scandinavian peoples. Alexios appointed Edgar Commander of the Guard, and instructed him to prepare an expedition to the Holy Land.


    Edgar Atheling in 1081

    The Emperor’s position had changed somewhat since he had first called for help from the Bishop of Rome and the Western Christians. It had strengthened in that the Christian Rus to the north had pledged their help, and enabled the Byzantines to drive back the Turks. But that same help had brought with it demands from the new northern vassals of the Empire. While the Greek and southern nobility say the Rus as useful but unimportant tools of the Empire, the Rus themselves demanded a greater voice in imperial affairs. Alexios hoped that with his borders secured from the Turk, a war to liberate the Holy Land would unite his squabbling nobility behind him.

    Jerusalem and the surrounding regions had recently broken free of the Fatamid Caliphate in Cairo, and were ripe for the taking. The war should have been an easy one.



    The Holy Land in 1081, at the start of the First Crusade


    By February 1081, the plans were in place, and the Emperor’s forces mobilised. To reduce the strain on his princes, the Emperor had called for only negligible support from them, and was relying on those soldiers from his personal lands.



    To secure his position while Alexios personally led the invasion, the Emperor put into place a feudal contract between himself and his vassals. The ‘Alexian Code’ stated clearly the obligations and responsibilities of both the Emperor and the Princes of the Empire.



    Meanwhile, it had become clear that the King of Norway, the only Christian Prince who had yet announced his intention to make the pilgrimage, had no longer any thought of making the journey to Jerusalem.



    By June, the Emperor’s forces were gathered in Antioch, and prepared to begin their invasion. The first target was the city of Tripoli.


    The Battle of Tripoli


    While Tripoli and the surrounding fortresses fell with little difficulty, it became clear that far from uniting the Empire, Alexios’ absence had merely served to embolden to rebellious princes of Anatolia and Macedonia.




    In February 1082, the Emirate of Tripoli was formally absorbed by the Empire of Byzantium.



    and attention turned to the Emirate of Jerusalem and the Holy City itself.



    The lands around Jerusalem collapsed as easily as those of Tripoli had, and each city submitted to the authority of the Emperor. In May, the Battle of Jerusalem itself resulted in a victory for Alexios and Edgar.



    And on the 24th day of June 1082, the Holy City was once more in the hands of true believing Christians.




    Rather than continue farther south, Alexios was forced to return northwards to deal with the many rebellions in his lands. Several major princes had declared themselves independent of his authority and the Empire teetered on the brink of civil war.











    Moreover, the lands around Tripoli and Jerusalem were themselves resistant to their new situation.




    To safeguard his new possessions he needed a prince apart from imperial politics, whose loyalty could be assured. He approached Edgar with an offer. The Atheling would be granted the title ‘Prince of Tripoli’, and responsible for all the lands south of that city, to protect in the name of the Emperor. He and his Saxons would finally have a place to call home.
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 04-11-2009 at 23:31.

  16. #16
    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    Notes:

    So we have our final destination - Jerusalem. The Atheling and his followers had found a land to call their own, but as we shall see, it won't be easy.

    When I originally played this game out a year or so ago, I wanted to play as the Kingdom of Jerusalem, as it seemed too rare that players actually went on crusade in Crusader Kings. Starting completely from scratch with the Atheling made the idea all the more appealing. I later discovered that Edgar did, in fact, go on Crusade, as the testimony of the chronicler Orderic Vitalis indicates, which is what led me to restart the game, playing more 'true to life', and I took the opportunity to post my first AAR. I had planned, like Edgar himself, to go crusading with Robert Curthose, but that proved unlikely once he became King of England a few years ahead of schedule.
    For that matter, the pope called the Crusade early, and so the whole series of events ended up shunted forward into the 1080's.

    The Varangian Guard of the Emperor did contain many Saxons in the late 11th century, most of whom had arrived in the years following the Battle of Hastings, so the Emperor made a natural ally. The AI made my job difficult, as Alexios had the worst reputation imaginable, and so I held off destroying the Empire for the sake of Edgar's ambitions, and contented myself with the lands between Tripoli and Jerusalem. It will be up to the Atheling and his descendants to conquer the rest.

    And who knows, perhaps England will be next!

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    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    Nicely done. I wonder what kind of a culture will evolve from Saxons and Arabians.

  18. #18
    Second Lieutenant Christian V's Avatar
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    This is awesome! Finally Edgar has a proper platform to work from. Can't wait to the next chapter

  19. #19
    Jerusalem is a long way from home. Will you fight for your benefactor in the civil war or stab him in the back. Depression is really bad on fertility, hopefully Edgar recovers or you're in for a short game.

    Did the game send Edgar from cour to court or did you edit the savegame?
    Last edited by Devin Perry; 11-10-2009 at 07:53.
    Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
    - Shakespeare

    My first AAR Rise of AARussian Prince

  20. #20
    Editor-in-Chief AllmyJames's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments, guys! Things should start getting a bit more exciting now that Edgar has his own demesne to rule, and I'll try to bang out the next few updates, because I've played quite a way ahead by now.

    Vesimir - I'm looking forward to finding out, too. At the moment, there are very few Saxons in the Principality of Tripoli, and they're not in much of a position to impose their culture on the Arab inhabitants, so I think it could be some time before there is intermingling. I think there could also be an interesting addition of Greek elements into the mix, given Edgar's good relations with the Emperor.

    Christian V - I agree, things should become a little more conventional now that Edgar is in charge of his own lands. The next updates should be along quickly.

    Devin Perry - I'm yet to see how Edgar will react towards the Emperor's problems. He owes his new success to Alexios personally, but then again, his traits suggest that he is a ruthless opportunist, not to mention a 'flamboyant schemer' (he's one of the few children to begin the game with an education), so he could realistically do something foolish if given the chance.
    I think depression actually makes a character completely infertile. So I edited the trait out once Edgar got himself a title of his own. It seemed appropriate. In a previous game, it seemed that the Athelings were particularly averse to reproducing, so I was particularly nervous about this.
    I had to edit the savegame to move Edgar around. I guess I could have waited for it to happen naturally, but I wanted to follow history more closely.

    Glad to see you all still reading!

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