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    Stories from the Land's End

    Hey there! This is my 2nd AAR. I never planned this to be an AAR but this game got me interested that I decidedly share this to you. I hope you also find it interesting. This is going to be a narrative one, since this AAR is unplanned, I don't have screenshots prior to the ending. So I'm sorry if you're expecting a gameplay AAR. I'm also expecting this to be a short AAR. However, if readers wants it to continue and I'd like to continue it then it will be a full one.

    Wait! What about your A Collective Regime of Peace and Love AAR? Don't worry, the AAR is still on going (but it'll go on hiatus because I want to create a gap on the story). The final update is nearly done so don't worry.

    Anyway, on with the show!

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    Stories from the Land's End - A House of Wessex AAR


    Last edited by Zzzzz...; 19-02-2012 at 03:15.
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    A short intro.

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    “The Marshall is a queer man but a great friend of mine and the Lady Gytha. He trains the boys and men of Cornwall only to be called up to fight for the false king. That's all he does. Train train train. Even when he was the regent. Train train.”
    - The Lord Chaplain
    ------------------------------------------------

    The Marshall

    I am the Marshall that served the House of Wessex for all my life as the marshall and regent for the Lady Gytha. My name is not important for no one will remember me but hear me, at least. I am the Marshall and this is my story.

    “That bloody fool!” I was in my office, good thing I didn't spoke too loud for the messenger to hear me. I reread the message again, to be sure that I didn't misread it. The Earl is dead.

    Eadgar the Aetheling was granted the lands of Cornwall and Devon as the earl of these lands.[1] In exchange, the Earl shall marry the King's eldest daughter, Princess Gytha. The Usurper King is indeed very wise. He removed our true king from his court onto the farthest corner of the kingdom, marry him into the family to strengthen the ties between the two families, and Eadgar shall not rise up to Harold. All that for a pieces of land that he couldn't manage anyway.

    I was a hedge knight back then. When I heard that his new county was granted, I immediately rode to Cornwall to seek employment and employed I was! Even better, I distinguished myself among the other participants and exceeded His Lordship's expectations that I was posted as his marshall. The Marshall of Cornwall, I prided myself, until the end of my days.

    I nodded at the messenger and gave him his leave. I sat on my chair and covered my face in grief. My lord is dead and the child is just a babe. Two years of age, and worse, female. Her name was Gytha, named after her mother. She was the last of the Wessex line.

    I was in the training grounds when they called me, training the men as usual. I knew what it was. The decision to choose the regent. I walk fasted to the council room. The usual exchange of courtesies and small talk and compliments were given and taken until the chancellor opened the issue. I'll cut out all the unnecessary details so the council ultimately decides on a vote. I won with the shadow master and the chaplain's support. God help me.

    I have placed guards on the new countess, hand picked them myself. I must not take any chances. There are people who wants her dead. If only her lord father is still alive. I wouldn't be in this mess. Now that he's gone, I started to resent him. The man that I took as my lord and whom I served loyally. Now I hated him. After all the today's affairs have been done, I went back to the training grounds to calm myself. And there I was, seeing the boys grow up and strong only to be killed in the war of the three usurpers.

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    [1] Need to give him land to play as him. Obviously.
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  3. #3
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    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “They say he took down three sergeants and two knights before they unhorsed him. Dismounted, he killed two more footmen and another knight before he was knocked out.”
    - Earl Eadgar's last stand
    ------------------------------------------------

    I still couldn't believe he died. It has been five years since my late lord's death and me being regent.

    “Aldwulf! He stabbed you again! You always make yourself open when you slash. Use your bloody shield.” The two fighters went on with their mock battle. I was just staring at the dance of steels and suddenly, I found myself at the woods of Cornwall.

    “My lord, the dogs are restless.”

    “It seems so. I have a feeling that this is going to be a good hunt, gentlemen.”

    I trotted the horse and later into full gallop. The entire party rushes with the dogs over the grass fields and into the woods. It has been several minutes, I couldn't count exactly, and there we saw what we are looking for. A thunderous boar filled with fury. I asked my liege to struck it down for him but he politely decline and asked for the spear. To be honest, I have doubts about his martial prowess. Yet all I could do is watch as His Lordship dismounts and took the spear to his hands. The battle soon erupted between man and beast. After a few moments, he vanquished the boar and also my doubts. The men cheered at his bravery and prowess. They took the boar, soon to become the main platter for the feast, as His Lordship commanded.

    After many lesser preys and attempts of finding more, we have encountered a great stag. Not a white stag, unfortunately, yet this one is significantly larger than the usual ones we see. The Earl took the spear and slew the mighty stag with a single blow, astonishing everyone in the hunting party including me. Yet the boar and the great stag would become insignificant when one of the hunters have spotted a white stag. A white stag. How bloody lucky we are. Two great kills and a white stag in one hunt. How lucky we are indeed. Without surprises, Earl Eadgar took the spear again. Charged at the hunted and the stag took a swing. Gasps were heard and relieve took over when His Lordship avoided the swing of its claw-like antlers. He then made a thrust as revenge and pierced the white stag on the head. The great and mighty beast fell. No words can describe that hunt.

    Yet it was that very hunt that convinced him to take the armour and fight for the false king. He had no love for Harold, yes, but he told me it was to show his prowess to the entire realm. He needed to do that to win England, he said.

    He set off with a new band of men to meet up with the king. They fell on the broken Norwegians in Worcester and this time, the enemy was completely vanquished. The King Harald Hardrada offered a white peace with Harold. The latter reluctantly accepts, he wanted Harald to give up the claim but William the Bastard is still a threat to him and time is running out. The King's army rode to Bedford where the two armies met. William outnumbered Harold's men and defeated us. Our true king, Eadgar the Aetheling fought valiantly in that battle, incapacitated, captured, and later died of his wounds at the age of twenty-four. Throughout the whole time, I was here in Cornwall, training the men as commanded. I should have been there. I could have protected him. I could have saved him. That fool! He killed a boar and a couple of stags and now he thinks he can take on a bloody army. I woke up and found myself again in the training grounds. The dance of steels still rings in the yard just where I left them. “Alright, that's enough! Well fought.”

    Before then, my lord lost England against Harold Godwinson. Now he lost his life for him. It was the Year of Our Lord, 1075. Nine years after he received the Counties of Cornwall and Devon.



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    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “Now he conquered England, then he got nothing else to do, so he died."
    - A jest about William the Conqueror
    ------------------------------------------------

    He may be out of his throne but the game is not over yet.

    William the Bastard, now styled himself as “the Conqueror”. Slicing a huge mass of land from Middlesex and spread through the midlands. There, he placed his Norman slugs to some of the lands and the rest to himself. Harold's excommunication was the last blow that removed him from his throne. His Holiness was poison with the Bastard's filthy words. Even though Harold deserved it, I'm sure William has something to do with this. Nonetheless, Countess Gytha swore fealty to the new king and I, her regent, will ride to London to represent her, she was just seven. Harold died before he was dethroned to be replaced by his second son, Edmund I, he was a tough soldier yet he is a craven. He bend to William and is now the Duke of Bedford and Somerset.




    “I am greatly pleased that the Countess recognises me as the true and rightful King of England.” the Bastard said. “I'm also pleased to hear of your proposal to betroth Her Ladyship to my third son, William.”

    I still don't know why I did that. Was it safety? Reassurance? Or defeatism?

    “It is a great honour to unite the two great houses, Your Majesty.”

    “It is. I also mourn at the late Earl Eadgar, he fought on the other side yet still fought bravely and I assure you he was taken excellent attention when he was under our care.”

    I suddenly noticed that I'm clenching his jaw but tried not to show it to the man on the throne. It seems that he didn't noticed it. The audience went on for a while until I was invited for the night's feast. When the sun crept back again from the east, I left London and back to Cornwall where I belong.

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

    Two years later after I met King William, he died from his wound he had gathered from the war. “Good riddance” I said. I was in the training ground when I received the news. Where would I be if not the training grounds or my office? He was succeeded by his son, Robert. A short reign of two years won't end good. It did not end good indeed.

    The Duke Morcar “the Unready” from the north, Duke of Nothumberland, York, Hereford, and Lancaster, and Lord of a bunch of Welsh lands. An almighty vassal who absorbed his brother's lands a decade ago. His nephew, Estmond died in April 1067 and his brother, Eadwin, then died three months later. It sounds suspicious yet what can we do? What can the new king, King Robert I, do anything about the giant of the north? Now that he spits on the new king and declared that he won't kneel to any Norman bastard. There's nothing he can do. He could try to fight Morcar but he'll just fail.


    Duke Morcar's lands before William's victory.


    Duke Edmund Haroldson, the former king, exploited the events and proclaims himself king again. The second most powerful vassal, Duke of Bedford and Somerset, now at war with the king. His Godwinson relatives also proclaim him as king. Both Duke of Norfolk and Duke of Surrey. All the nobles are at arms against the de Normandie, except for us. Wessex did nothing but send more men when the king demanded to. We didn't proclaim My Lady as the Queen of England, no, I do not want war. I want peace in Cornwall for Lady Gytha to grow up, become stronger, and hopefully, have children. She is a girl yet she is the last of the Wessex nonetheless and I mean to protect and serve her. Despite the opposition from the council and some people from the court, thankfully, the Lord Chaplain understood my intention of not going to war. He was a good friend of me and M'Lady. I trust him completely. I don't give a bugger about the others.

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    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “I never had a name for Marshall simply because I forgot his name in the game.”
    - Author
    ------------------------------------------------

    “No. We shall not raise our arms against the king.”

    “The false king, you mean. It is King Eadgar who was the rightful king and now, her daughter, Queen Gytha. Have you forgotten that, m'lord, or are you starting to like these Norman pigs?”

    “I have not forgotten that m'lord chancellor.”

    “Claim England now, and you will be the one who will lead our forces. You will be the one will kill the usurpers, you will be the one who will captured London, and it will be you who will give the crown the our true and rightful Queen. What more could you ask?”

    And let you worms take control of Cornwall and Our Lady while I'm gone?, I thought to myself.

    The steward spoke. “Was it you who bend the knee to that Norman bastard and betrothed Milady to one of his sons? The fool is in love with them lot!” He then laughed that makes you want to kill him.

    “I believe the good marshall spoke sense.” Ceolwulf, the chaplain continues to objects to my accusers until we are left with no conclusion to the matter. Cornwall is still not going to war for our true enemies are not Robert or Morcar the Unready or Edmund Haroldson but the nobles within Cornwall and Devon who wants to use milady for their own schemes. I already send Lady Gytha's mother away to some bloody faraway place in the east to be wed. Well, the widow asked me to find someone for her. I only did my duty.

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

    After many years of fighting, the Godwinsons losts. Again. It seems to Robert that the war against Morcar the Unready is more important. A white peace was settled between Robert I and Duke Edmund. The duke still calls himself 'king' except when Robert is around.

    Afterwards, the war against the traitor, Morcar, went on for a while until Robert I died, to be succeeded by a boy named William. The regency made the kingdom very weak. A boy king under control by nobles who were fighting against each other instead of Morcar. Morcar the Unready took more castles easily until the king's regent accepted the peace and the mighty duchy in the north is now independent.

    At that time, I'm already getting weaker. I had a spar with a knight. A young one but still have a lot to learn before he goes to any battle. Yet I can't carry myself properly, I feel heavy. I perspire even with the Autumn wind blowing in the yard. I noticed that he managed to bypass my shield but it was too late, he slam his blunt sword on my face, thankfully, I wore my helmet. I collapsed to the ground. I woke up and the physician immediately attends to me. He said that I'm having a high fever. That explains why I feel so heavy. The boy knight visited me before I went back to sleep. Poor boy keeps apologising to me.

    The days went on and on. The physician insists that I remain on my bed. Who is going to train the troops, I asked but the words didn't came out. I just feel so tired. Days became weeks and weeks become months. The Lady Gytha now visits me, not the other way around. I can see her worries on her face. Edhilda was beside her. She looks worried as well. We talked but the conversations were short as it is a struggle to reply, I just can't help going back to sleep. They kept bleeding me since the start but my conditions didn't improved. The situation became hopeless.

    That night, she was there sitting on my deathbed beside me. Thirteen years of age and very beautiful. I remember whenever I have time outside training the soldiers, I always visit Her Ladyship and have a little chat. It seems that this will be the last chat we will have. Behind her, I saw Edhilda. She was always with her wherever she goes. That's good. I appointed her to be the Countess's guardian myself. Lowborn but very good with words and being a teacher, I found. Edhilda is perfect as her guardian.

    “Take care of her.” I said. “Times will be tough when I'm gone. So I need you beside Her Ladyship more than before.” She nodded in response, then I turned to milady. “Child. Be strong. Be brave. Like your father. You are the Queen of England and the last of the your house.”

    I told her everything I need to tell her. All that she needs to know. Lastly, I told her I love her. She was still holding my hand tight, trying not to cry. So brave, I thought. I'm already dying but there is still three years of regency. There are still numerous of enemies I have to fight, both inside and outside Cornwall. All the claimants to the throne: the Godwinson, the de Normandies, the Ylvings, and even the bloody Capets, I don't know how they got the claim. How come I couldn't be strong enough to last for three more years or five or ten? I remember her when her lord father showed her to me when she was born. I remember when visited her when she was just two in her crib when her father died. I watched her grew up with smiles and joy. To grew up to become a lady. It's like she is my own daughter. I smiled to her one last time.

    As I slowly close my eyes and breathe my last air, all I could do now is to trust her.

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  6. #6
    Very interesting story. I feel for the marshal who just wants to train his troops and educate the young lady to be a good ruler but has to deal with all the outside warmongering.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnisanT View Post
    Very interesting story. I feel for the marshal who just wants to train his troops and educate the young lady to be a good ruler but has to deal with all the outside warmongering.
    Now comes the lady herself.

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    “Lady Gytha is quite young. She has a lot to learn before she leads us.”
    - Aldred. Spymaster.

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

    The Lady Gytha

    My name is Gytha. Daughter of Earl Eadgar, the rightful King of England. I was named after my mother, and I am the rightful Queen of England, to succeed my father. I am Gytha of Cornwall and this is my story.

    Marshall said my father died in the Battle of Bedford when I was two. He died bravely fighting the usurper. He was also a great hunter, Marshall said. He told me how my father killed the boar and the white stag! Marshall is very nice to me. When he's not visiting me, he is always in the training ground, teaching the boys how to fight. Marshall made my mother go away when I was four. He said that she's not good for me, for she is the daughter of the usurper. I still hate him for doing that because she's still my mother. I don't understand why he has to send her away. I grew up as a toddler among the wet-nurses and maids who take care of me and love me so but I still wonder what it's like to have a mother and a father.

    When I was seven, Marshall visited me as usual but this time, with a girl. He introduce her to me. Her name is Edhilda and he said, from now on, she is to be my guardian. It is a bit weird that he chose a lowborn as my guardian, I am the Queen of England, after all! But this was nothing when I found out that I was betrothed to of the usurper's sons. I asked him about this when he next visited but he didn't answered my question. Not wanting to go empty handed, I asked the others. All I got was from Father Ceolwulf saying that Marshall is just thinking about my safety and my future and chancellor said that he was selling me to the Normans. Then, Edhilda told Marshall about what happened, Marshall got furious, he went to the chancellor and started shouted at him. I cried in my room after that, I never seen Marshall so angry. Edhilda was beside me as always, she's hugging me while I cried. It made me feel a lot better. I'm starting to like her. Until this day, I still don't know why he betrothed me to one of the Bastard's son.

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

    For five years, things were very similar everyday. Marshall was very busy in the training ground. It's scary that the men who left Cornwall to the war never returned yet he said that the war will end soon and he will raise me an army that will give me my crown. Thank God, I have Marshall on my side. For five years, Father Ceolwulf was my tutor, he teaches me a lot of things. He taught me to write and read and do my sums. For five year, Edhilda was my guardian, always on my side if she's not looking after her children. People don't like her because she was lowborn but I really like her.

    For five years, things were the same until Marshall collapsed on the training ground. It wasn't the knight's fault for knocking him down. Marshall is too strong for that. The physician said he was having a high fever. I kept hoping that he'll be well tomorrow or the next day after it or next week or the fortnight but he was still sick. I prayed in the chapel every single day hoping that Our Lord would show mercy and cure him. Father Ceolwulf was occasionally there to give comfort to me.

    Then, the moment I have dreaded came. It was late afternoon, Marshall is on his deathbed. I sat on his side and held his hand. I feel like crying but I try not to. I must be brave for Marshall.

    “Child. Be strong. Be brave. Like your father. You are the Queen of England and the last of the your house.” he said to me “When you have come of age, you will have to fight your enemies, here in Cornwall and outside. They will not rest until you are gone”

    Then he said, “Lady Gytha, child, I love you...” my hands gripped tight on his as I try not to shed a tear. He looked at me for the last time and smiled. I looked at his eyes and I saw he was at peace. He was ready.

    He slowly closed his eyes and gave his last breathe. I broke into a sob and felt Edhilda's hand on my shoulder. I never saw how my father looks like, how he talks, and what he his personality but every time I try to imagine him, I see Marshall instead. I always wondered what it's like to have a father but, until that moment, I never realised that I already have one.

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    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “They shall pay.”
    - Lady Gytha
    ------------------------------------------------

    It was dark when I left Marshall's room. I was shocked in surprised, there's a man in a cloak standing in the hallway. Edhilda told me he was Aldred, my shadow master.

    “What is your business here?”

    “Milady, I am sorry for your loss. It saddens me greatly when I heard of his ailing health.”

    “You?” he is my servant, indeed, but as I stand there, It was difficult to trust the shadow master.

    “I am the one who nominated the late marshall as the regent. I have served him throughout his regency, as a humble servant would do.”

    He asked for his leave and I granted it. He left my sight without a noise. That man frightens me.

    The next day, a council meeting was made. A replacement for the regent was needed. With my mother in the East, a parent as the regent is no longer an option. But then they never trusted her in the first place, for she is of Godwin. The chancellor became the regent, he was some mayor in Cornwall, I believe. Marshall never trusted him, now he has power over Cornwall for 3 years.

    The following days was the start of the rough tides Marshall has told me. Father Ceolwulf was sent to Rome 'to improve relations between the Queen and the Holy Father', under the command of the regent. We all know that this is exile. My poor chaplain has no choice, he instead looked at this in a positive way, telling me he'll do his best to gain His Holiness's support on my quest to regain my kingdom.

    “You don't need me any more, child. You still have Edhilda” he said.

    Father Ceolwulf's exit broke me even more. Both of them are now gone. How can I regain what was mine? Perhaps... I wouldn't never have what's suppose to be mine. Back in my room, I cried again just like when Marshall had an argument with the chancellor. But this time, I feel hopelessness instead of fear. Edhilda followed me as usual. I told her I gave up on pursuing my ambition. I don't want to be queen any more, I said. I'm content on being Countess Gytha. Suddenly, I felt this strong tug. She lift me off my bed, made me stand, and she shook me. She scolded me badly. I wasn't suppose to be weak, that's what she kept telling me. She told me to be brave. For my father, Marshall, and Father Ceolwulf.

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

    One afternoon, my shadow master visited me. Strange how his visit was a cruel but unintentional reminder of Marshall. “I'm grievous news, milady. Your chancellor and your steward are... using your coffers to finance...” he swallowed “themselves.”

    “Is there anything you could do?”

    “I'm afraid, not, milady. The council is simply too powerful for simple little Aldred to manage alone.” he added “What's worse is that the steward have bestowed large taxes on your common folk. That is not good, milady.”

    Three years of regency went on, my shadow master constantly feeds me with words of my nobles' theft of my treasury, of events happening throughout the realm. He helped me find friends who are true and loyal to my father and to me. He advises me, along with Edhilda. Throughout the three years of darkness, he is the one who provided me with light, not bad for someone who dwells in the shadows.

    Three years went on, and three years have passed. The regency is finally over. It is time. They shall pay. They shall pay dearly. All of them.

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    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “Want I need is more gold and less enemies.”
    - Lady Gytha
    ------------------------------------------------

    Aethelstan, son of Edhilda, prepared the troops for the act to be done. I'm fortunate, I have a good commander who is loyal to me. He shall round up all the leeches in Cornwall, which was easily done thanks to my shadow master's handy list of all the culprits. Aethelstan is now my new marshall and my husband. Everyone was displeased when I broke my betrothal to the Bastard's son and wedded some courtier but they don't have the right to question me for I am fit to rule now. And Aethelstan is my prince.

    The treasury has collected a huge amount of gold, confiscating the leeches' lands, properties, and incomes. The peasants were all in cheers when my lord husband arrives announce the arrest of the traitors and the abolishment of the taxes bestowed by the chancellor. The peasants went into arms and marched with my army. The barons, mayors and such won't put much resistance against me. My old chancellor and steward were soon arrest put to the death for treason.

    Marshall was cautious with the money (and everything), yes, but only because he wants me to be safe. Now, I'm no longer a little girl. I am a full-grown queen. Now it's time to put the collected gold into good use. I created the title, Duchess of Cornwall, to elevate my status among the nobles of the realm. Then, to show everyone my new title and my coming-of-age. A grand feast would be appropriate.

    The grand feast was set-up with invitations, not just among my nobles, but throughout the realm. I even invited the traitor, Morcar the Unready, from the independent North and that whelp king in London. I need them to see that I'm here. I am not to be ignored. I am the daughter of the rightful king, and I shall have what I want.

    I have hired acrobats, singers, a couple of dancing bears for the feast. My hunters scourge the forest to find good game to be served on our tables. Finally, the feast starts and my guests have all arrived. The Godwinsons and the de Normandies weren't there. I'm not surprised. But a king's envoy was sent and gave me a message, apologising that the king and the regent cannot attend the feast but the king granted me the title, “Keeper of the Swans” as a gift. I graciously invited the envoy to join us. Still, many nobles came to Cornwall to see the rightful queen. Most importantly, Morcar was there. He was old than I imagined. Time is catching up to him but that doesn’t stop him from attending as he is delighted to talk to me. I summoned him privately, away from the songs and chatter of the feast in the hall.

    “I have received your message, Your Grace.” he bowed as he approached me.

    “And?”

    “I will support your claim against the usurper boy, William II. To demand his crown, and, if need be, a war to take it from his bloody head.”

    That gave me a smile in my face. “I am pleased. Better to have a queen than a child king. Hm?” The crown is mine, at last.

    “Better to have a Saxon queen than a Norman king, I'd say. I believe you have heard that the French have grabbed the Duchy of Normandy from them the de Normandies?”

    “Yes. That made our plans easier to achieve.” I reached out my hand “Would you swear your fealty to the true Queen of England then?”

    He chuckled “Not so fast, Your Grace. I didn't fought a war just to kiss the ring again. Pardon me.”

    I gave him the leave to return to the feast. As he left, I began to understand why he refused. He is the most powerful noble here in England. More powerful than the king himself. However, the traitor is making it difficult for me. I need him against the Godwinsons, de Normandies, and especially Capets, in case they press their claims. All I have is a duchy in a corner of the kingdom.

    Still, a great feast, well received by everyone, and a powerful backer for my throne. This night went well.

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

    In the fortnight, a band, lead by my husband, of knights and their squires and men-at-arms from Morcar and mine rode together to London. My marshall then demanded the crown from William. He told me, I should have seen the face of the whelp. The regent stood defiant but the threat of war then made him melt in fear.

    The realm was ravaged by warfare and rebellions that it would be folly to stand against Morcar and the might of Lancaster. The South have too few troops to fight the slightly damaged North. King William II and his regent surrendered the crown to me.

    Now, I am truly the ruler of England. I am Queen Gytha first of her name. Daughter of Eadgar “the Aetheling” Eadwardson, and grand daughter of Harold Godwinson. No one is more suitable ruler than me. It was 18th day of October. The Year of Our Lord, 1089. I wore the crown at the age of 16.



    My quest is complete but I'm not done yet.


    Map of England, Ireland, the Welsh lands, and a part of Scotland.


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    Now the fun starts.
    The list of all my AARs: INKWELL

    Current AAR: Golden Sun - A KR Kurdistan AAR - Darkest Hour
    The Policies of Grandeur - Coming Soon!

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