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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Introduction

A Yorks

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hvar baris standiþ.png


This AAR is the spiritual successor to the original Ƕar Baris Standiþ, which ran from 5 September to 3 December, 2017.

—————||—————

"Baris standiþ bairht uf sunnon;
Augona meina audags luka;
Miduhwagja mik maurginis winda.
Ufarmunno nu, unmundonds nu."

Edmund Fairfax — Baris Standiþ


—————|TABLE OF CONTENTS|—————
=====================================
—————|INTRODUCTION|—————
(this post)

—————|BOOK I — THE REIGN OF WAGNAS|—————
wagnas render.png

—————| 867—(???) |—————

- CHAPTER I -
Episode I
Episode II

—————||—————
=====================================
—————|INTRODUCTION|—————
Since time immemorial, these lands have seen countless itinerant nations move to and fro across their wide expanses in search of greener pastures — both figurative and literal. From the peaks of the eastern Carpathians, which reach up and rake the very sky with their summits, to the sun-bright barley fields on either side of that great spine rising from the back of the European continent, tribe after tribe has found great bounty in the form of rich pastures and fertile black soil. These lands, however, afford little mercy to those nations who are unwilling or unable to fight for their very right to exist. As quickly as one nation arises, it is swept away as if by a divine easterly wind upon which new arrivals sail in from afar.

One such people to build a home in this land were the Goths, a people from the far north of Europe in the mythical land of Scandza. In this land they flourished, building a mighty kingdom which stretched its mighty hand from the Baltic to the Caspian Steppes. Like many others, however, they were driven on westward by the incursions of the Huns. Most were resettled in the Roman Empire, founding great empires and dynasties in Italia and Hispania, but in the process losing the very tongue and culture that made them what they were. Those who remained under the cover of the Carpathians took a very different route — the Bastarnae would emerge after the passing of the Hunnish menace, though they were much fewer than the previous rulers of the land.

The legends of the Bastarnae don't say a great deal about their origins — the departure of the Goths and the upheavals of the migration era leave a gap lasting up to the 7th century, when the first inarguably Bastarneian runestones emerge. By the 8th century, the Rus', the Varangians, and the Byzantines all note the presence of a people in the eastern Carpathian mountains who spoke a tongue that was neither Turkic, Scythian, or Slavic — rather, their language was somewhat recognisable as similar to the Varangians coming from the north, though obviously twisted by time and separation. During these early contacts, these people were ruled by a singular chieftain named Theuda — and Theuda is considered to be the first King of the Bastarnae.


—————|Theuda, King of the Bastarnae|—————

Very little is known of the Bastarnae under the rule of Theuda, other than their residence in the Carpathian mountains and foothills, surrounded by Slavic peoples. According to his legend, Theuda had three sons: Amal, who married the Varangian Halfdan's daughter Thora; Haginreiks, who departed for Imeretia with a host of soldiers (whose existence is dubiously confirmed by the existence of the Imereti Runestone); and Sigisward, who settled in the basin of Pannonia with part of his father's tribe.

—————|Amal the Left-Handed|—————

Amal "the Left-Handed" was the first of the semi-legendary Sons of Theuda. He came to rule over those Bastarneians who resided east of the Carpathian summits after the death of his father. Amal was married to Thora, who was either the daughter or sister of Halfdan the Varangian. He fought three waves of invasions from the steppes, but was ultimately ousted from power by his younger brother Haginreiks.

—————|Sigisward|—————

Sigisward was the second of Theuda's three sons and led a minor migration into Pannonia. His host came to be ruled by the White Croats, and this would still be the case in 867 AD.

—————|Haginreiks|—————

Haginreiks was the youngest of Theuda's sons, who came to rule in the lands east of the Carpathian summits after returning from the lands of Old Iberia, where he purportedly raised a standing stone in memory of his mother Aelia. Notably, the diminutive form of Theuda appears on the stone.

::IMERETI RUNESTONE::
"ᚦᚨᚾᚨ ᛊᛏᚨᛁᚾ ᚱᚨᛁᛊᛁᛞᚨ ᚻᚨᚷᛁᚾᚱᛖᛁᚲ ᛊᚢᚾᚨᚢ ᚦᛁᚢᛞᛁᛚᛟᛊ
ᚠᚨᚢᚱ ᚷᚨᛗᛁᚾᚦᛁ ᚨᛁᚦᛖᛁᚾᛊ ᛊᛖᛁᚾᚨᛁᛉᛟᛊ ᚦᛟᛖᛁ ᚻᚨᛁᚻᚨᛁᛏᚢᚾ ᚨᚷᛁᛚᛁᛃᚨ
ᚲᚹᛖᚾᛊ ᚦᛁᚢᛞᛁᛚᛟᛊ ᚱᛖᛁᚲᛊ ᛒᚨᛊᛏᛃᚨᚾᚨᚦᛁᚢᛞᛟ"

(þana stain raisida haginreik sunau þiudilos
faur gaminþi aiþeins seinaizos þoei haihaitun agilija
kwens þiudilos reiks bastjanaþiudo)

"Haginric, son of Theudila, raised this stone
For the memory of his mother, who was called Aelia,
Wife of Theudila, King of the Bastarneians"
::IMERETI RUNESTONE::

Haginreiks married a Lithuanian woman named Radvile. He is known to have introduced Manicheism to the Bastarnae, which he encountered in his travels in the East.

—————|Ansila|—————
Ansila was the son of Haginreiks and the grandson of Theuda, and the last of the semi-legendary Kings of the Bastarnae. By his death, the Bastarnae were quite decentralised, and many had fallen under the rule of neighbouring Slavic tribes.

—————|The Bastarnae|—————
culture area.jpg

Bastarneian cultural spread by 867 AD

"[The Bastarnae] are of Germanic stock."
— Strabo

"The Peucini, however, who are sometimes called Bastarnae, are like the Germans in their language, way of life, and types of dwelling."
— Tacitus

Although they are most certainly Germanic in tongue, the origins of the Bastarnae are much more mixed than one might be led to assume. Even their name, Bastarnae, lends itself to the interpretation of bastard or mongrel — to the support of their legends. Whereas the Goths were the legitimate children of their god Gaut, whereas the Bastarnae were conceived from an illegitimate union between Gaut and a Celtic woman. The Bastarnae, then, may have been a confederation of many tribes that were Germanicised by the influence of the more powerful Gothic state that once reigned over the East. They have since reconciled their traditions and religion to the Slavic peoples which neighbour them on nearly all sides; notably, their particular brand of paganism differs from that of the Anglo-Saxons, Frisians, and Varangians.

Whereas the Germanic peoples of northern and western Europe worshipped Odin or Woden as their primary god, the Bastarneians devote themselves to a God of Thunder and Lightning which in their tongue is called Fiergunii, which the Slavs call Perun and the Prussians call Perkunas. This God, they believe, is the son of Gapț and the Danube, which they call Donău. Also worthy of note is their conception of Mars, which they call Tiv; this is one of their purer Germanic deities. Whether or not this blending of the Slavic and the Germanic mythos helped the Bastarnae survive as a culturally distinct people remains to be speculated.

The Bastarnae of today inhabit the lands along the northeastern Carpathians, easily bisected by the mountain's primary ridges: the Galician Bastarnae to the east, and the Pannonian Bastarnae to the west, who are under the rule of the White Croats. The Eastern Bastarnae fall into three polities: those under the rule of the Lendians, of the Volhynians, and those who are ruled by the last independent Bastarneian polity. On all sides, the Bastarnae are surrounded by foreign powers, and to the southeast, the Magyars advance westward in their search for new lands.

The Ruler of the independent Bastarnae is a young man named Wagnas — a spirited young warrior, adept hunter and avid poet, though perhaps a bit high on his own glories. His sword has tasted blood, but has not yet been met with the wrath of nations on the field of battle. A devotee of the Slavic god Jarilo, who wields his arms in such a way that even Perun would tremble to meet him, and gifted with a steady voice and stern countenance. Wagnas claims descent from the great Gothic Kings of ancient days, the Amali — descendents of Airmanareiks and indeed of Gapt himself.

king.jpg

The winds of fate blow wildly across this land yet. The Bastarnae are here among us today — in an instant, they can just as easily join the droves of nations who have been swept into the oblivion of history. Will they survive? Will they perish?

All that is certain — her standiþ baris, bairht uf sunnon.
 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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And here they will stand. :D
 
Chapter 1 — Episode 1

A Yorks

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—————‡CHAPTER I‡—————
—————|EPISODE I|—————


—————|Late January, 867 AD|—————

council.jpg

The Bastarneian court at the employ of Wagnas
"I want you to fully realise, chancellor, that you have asked me to sell the dignity of my position for some sense of insecure security," said Wagnas, reclining in his wooden throne, head rested upon his fist. "Has that occurred to you, chancellor?"

"I don't mean it disrespectfully, my liege," explained Basileius, "and it is not without consideration that I make this proposal to you. The Magyar Gyula is a force to be reckoned with, and I don't expect that we'll forever be spared the arrows of his hordes."

"I won't be coerced into bending knee under any circumstance," said Wagnas firmly.

"My liege," reasoned Basileius, his strong voice filling the hall; "Your bravery in the face of this foe is commendable, but it is ill informed at best. We live in the shadows of the great Bastarneian kings, but we can no longer follow in their footsteps on might alone."

"Do you question the might of our warriors?" asked Wagnas, leaning forward. "Their spirit on the field of battle rivals that of the very Thundering God himself, and I should think every one of them would slay ten Magyar soldiers in a pitched fight."

"I don't question their might — I have fought side-by-side with Bastarneia's finest and seen the quality of their martial prowess," said Basileius. He addressed the statement more to the room as a formal boast — not of his own glory, but to the glory of his liege's warriors. The man was a talented orator and a skilled negotiator, well recognised for his reason and wit. "But if each of our fighting men were to slay ten Magyars before he were to fall, we would still be overrun by their sheer numbers. And I fear, my liege, that you underestimate them, for they are much like us in that their people have an insatiable zest for glory and battle. Their horsemen are the most skilled, and their archers the quickest to find their mark. Their bravery is as unwavering as the eastern wind upon which they ride."

"I appreciate that you esteem my fighting men," said Wagnas, acknowledging the complimentary boast. He lifted a wooden cup of bitter wine to his lips and took a swallow. "But that you also recognise the might of the Magyars so readily intrigues me. Have you seen for yourself this purported prowess by which you swear?"

"I have only hearsay to go upon, liege," admitted Basileius, turning towards the members of the court about the hall. "But I have heard of great struggles between the Magyars and the Khazars. I have heard from Slav, Magyar, and Khazar firsthand that the Kabars were so impressed with the deeds of the Magyars that they broke their oath to the Khazar Khan, becoming loyal servants of the Magyar Gyula."

"It is true!" shouted Wagnas's steward, the Turk Kordil, stepping forward from among the members of court. "I have seen firsthand that the Kabars fight alongside the Magyars in these days. I have seen their unbreakable spirit in battle against my Pecheneg masters."

Basileius turned back to face Wagnas, holding out his hand and pointing with an open palm towards Kordil. "You see, my liege? You hear it now from one who was on the very field of battle."

"Your testimony is noted, Kordil," said Wagnas. "But I will not bend knee to this Gyula."

"Your pride suits your station, but it will be your downfall should you ignore all reason," said Basileius.

"Your station is poorly suited to your great ambition," said Wagnas. "Surely you can find another solution?"

"If you will not bend knee to the Gyula," said Basileius, standing firm, "then I suggest you find a friend who will stand by your side when the Magyars inevitably continue their westward lurch."

sway.jpg
 

Lord Decobius

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Sometimes the best friend is the one you can shove in the way of an enemy. "I'll never forget you, Whateveryournamewas!"

I too missed the original, but from what I've read here it must have been quite good. Looking forward to more!
 

stnylan

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Great scene, with some very deft politicking.
 
Chapter 1 — Episode 2

A Yorks

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—————‡CHAPTER I‡—————

—————|EPISODE II|—————


—————|Early April, 867 AD|—————

The sound of the last of winter's dying snow crunched under Wagnas's feet, with patches of yellow grass meeting the sun every few paces where the spring's touch had come to rest upon the earth. Circling around to the right, he eyed his opponent up as their shields faced one another. The other man lurched forward with his shield, pushing back against Wagnas, who wheeled to the left, sending him stumbling. Wagnas lifted his weapon and brought it down hard on the other man's backside — the flat face of a wooden sword. The man yelped as he tumbled to the ground, faceplanting directly into the snow.

"Ah-hah!" shouted Wagnas. "I've got you now, Audwakrs!"

Audwakrs rolled on his back and sprung up in a single rocking motion, raising his shield at Wagnas once more. "Try that again, old fellow! I'll knock your bloody hose from your feet!" He slapped the wooden sword against the rim of his shield and beat his chest.

Wagnas feigned a charge and Audwakrs wheeled to the side, not realising his mistake until it was far too late — with another loud sound, Wagnas slapped the flat side of the wooden blade against the back of his thigh. "Agh!"

"You'll have to do better than that, you old toad!"

"That bloody hurt, man!" Audwakrs protested, shielding himself. Wagnas let out a loud chuckle, twirling the wooden sword in his hand. The weapon slipped from his grip, tumbling end over end into the snow. Wagnas turned to retrieve it, but in the moment his attention was turned, his opponent kicked him squarely on the bottom, knocking him into the snow.

Wagnas scrambled to his feet as Audwakrs laughed — a laugh joined by another, more feminine giggle from the sidelines. He turned to see one of his favoured girls, Aleksandrina, who had arrived on the scene at just the right moment to witness the unfortunate tumble.

concubine.jpg

Aleksandrina — a Bulgarian by birth — had come into his possession as something of a peace offering at first; her previous master had offered her up as a guarantee that the Bastarnae would not raid into the lands of the Bulgarian Empire. Talented and affectionate in a manner of which Wagnas was most appreciative, she quickly found her way to a position close to his own household.

"Možeši li mę učiti?" she asked with a crooked smile. Can you teach me?

"Mogoxъ," he answered with a nod. I may.

Audwakrs looked over at Aleksandrina, and said, "Have you come to watch me soundly beat your master, then?"

Aleksandrina looked at Audwakrs, then back to Wagnas, cocked her head, and said, "Čьto onъ kažetь?" What is he saying?

"Onъ kažetь," explained Wagnas, scratching his head, "čьto mę vъ simь bìtvojǫ bǫdetь biti." He's saying that he will beat me in this fight.

"Ãzъ tę pomogǫ!" said Aleksandrina, puffing out her chest with her hands upon her hips and beaming. I shall help!

Wagnas offered up the wooden sword to her with a nod, and she stepped over and took hold of it. "You're in big trouble now, Audwakrs!" he shouted.

"You're going to have me fight a girl?" laughed Audwakrs in a feigned outrage. "Where is the honour in that, old fellow?"

A horn sounded in the distance, and the three turned to investigate what had occurred. Their eyes first landed upon the hill fort, but then followed the horizon eastward until they saw it: a large caravan of peasants coming in from the lands of the Drevlyans.

—————||—————

They staked tents outside of the hill fort's eastern gate as Wagnas and several warriors rode out to meet them. They were obviously either Drevlyans or some people related to them: their language was similar if not the same as the one his favoured concubine spoke. Approaching a man who looked to be a venerated elder of sorts, he halted his horse and greeted them.

"Hail to you, foreigners! You have come uninvited to this land, and have pegged a camp in front of my city; please, by the Gods, help me to understand why you've done this."

"We mean you no harm," said the Drevlyan elder. "But there is war in the East, and we have been driven from our very homes by the Varangian menace."

drevlyans attacked.jpg

"We beg of you, do not turn us back, nor turn your warriors upon us. We only wish to have refuge until the spears of the northmen threaten our lives no more."
 

stnylan

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I wouldn't trust them
 

Nikolai

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  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
Mean no harm indeed. ;)