So, hello all ye who visit this forum, lurkers and posters alike!
I am Dovahkiing, and I have come to begin my first Paradox AAR.
It is the diary of Waltheof Siward, Earl of Northampton, beginning the day after William the Conquerer's coronation, and follows his attempts to expand his territories and claim the throne from the man he was forced to recognize as his liege, William the Bastard.
Chapter 1- 1066-1067: Opening Moves
December 26, 1066
William crowned yesterday. Terrible headache. Wish he'd been crowned with a sword through his head instead of a crown on it. Well, that hope died with Harold at Hastings back in October. At least that literal bastard let me keep my lands.
Others weren't so lucky. Where once men like Alfred the Great ruled, now thieving Norman knights like Odo de Bayeux rule in vassalage to that bastard William.
However, a good man always knows to adapt to reality as it is now, so I pledged vassalage to the Norman usurper.
Actually, I'm not the only Saxon earl left.
Edwin and Morcar, the two traitors who gave the crown like a ripe fruit to William, who rewarded them by letting them keep their lands. I'll never forgive them for letting the throne pass to that usurper. Other than them, I'm all alone, surrounded by Normans like Earl Hugh de Montfort in Norfolk Robert de Beaumont in Leicester, who is incidentally is the same age as I am, both barely out of boyhood.
But no matter. That I am young means only that I have a very long future ahead of me, one which will hopefully see me restoring a Saxon to the throne. Can't write anymore, must get ready to ride home.
December 29, 1066
Home. Rode into Northampton castle today. No cheers. Looking over some letters that arrived during my stay in London, I noted something. One of them said that King Malcolm of Scotland has declared that he will inherit my earldom if I die childless. At first, I was angry. My father defeated Macbeth and won him his throne eleven years ago, and now he tries to take my land! What a royal ingrate! But then I had an idea, which may yet win me all I have dreamed of...
January 8, 1067
New year in. My plan is simple: I had realized that King Edgar and his sister Margaret had fled to Scotland after Edwin and Morcar gave London to the usurper. Now, if I managed to convince Malcolm to give me Margaret to wed, I could get a son from her, who, after assassinating Edgar would be the rightful king of England. Obviously, with my paltry force of 450 men I could never hope to beat the Bastard, but I hope to leave enough territory to my son that he could gain the throne. So I sent a messenger to Lothian today, asking for Margaret's hand. All I need is his approval, and it could be my chance to gain eternal glory for defeating the Normans and restoring the rightful kings, the house of Alfred the Great.
January 23, 1067
Oh glorious day! A messenger has come from King Malcolm's court this very hour, bearing these tidings:
Of course, I took the aid duty. I need gold, not the prestige I would gain by refusing it!
Margaret will be here in a week's time. Stage one of my plan is complete!
February 22, 1067
Stage two complete! Today Margaret, my sweet wife and spymaster, may she be blessed, gave me the glorious news:
I pray to the Lord that let me keep my earldom and convinced Malcolm to give me Margaret, that it will be a son.
But a son is worth nothing if I cannot bequeath him what he will need to claim his rightful throne. So, still in ecstasy over my future fatherhood, I considered my options. William, of course, is far too powerful to take on now, and besides, I will need him in my early stages. Malcolm, also, is too strong and starting a war with him will likely not gain me much territory, as I have not enough prestige to claim any title in his lands. Wales is the obvious option, but though unlike England or Scotland it is not united under a single king, it has two dukes and one rather powerful count in Glamorgan, so that option is discounted. Ireland, then. Which county I will decide later.
August 10, 1067
Today a noble named Aethelweard came to my castle. He asked for asylum in my land. I asked from who, but he would not reply. Grudgingly, I let him in and agreed to pay for his livelihood.
I'm glad I did.
I soon found out that he is very skilled in the art of command, and thus I granted him the position of marshal of my forces. Undoubtedly he will be a most valuable resource.
October 3, 1067
Having fabricated a claim to the title of the rather weak County of Tir Eoghain, I approached William with the idea of invading Ireland. I presented it as a crusade against the Irish heretics, and it worked like a dream. William immediately, and rather unexpectedly, dispatched riders to all of his vassals demanding they mobilize their troops for him to command. He told me that he would also send a messenger to his 'liege' the underaged king Phillipe of France, inviting him to join the 'holy crusade to bring the Irish under the rightful dominion of Rome'. I had expected him to laugh at me and tell me to fight my own battles, but apparently someone who has recently been flattered with the epithet 'the Conquerer' does not turn down an opportunity for conquest. Would I that he had turned it down when the Confessor died nigh on two years ago. On the anniversary of Hastings we shall set out for Ireland. God help in my righteous venture.