NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
Things are improving again, but no one can know for how long given the record set by the campaign so far.
 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
Things are improving again, but no one can know for how long given the record set by the campaign so far.

History has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself...



Chapter 21, Offa II “The Ill-Ruler” (715-721)


As the year of 715 Anno Domini dawned the young and recently crowned Offa II Nedalskip sat on the throne of Mercia. Being descended to Eadric I through first sons Offa II knew he had to secure the future of his line, even against his many younger brothers (past experience showed that the brothers of Nedalskip kings tended to cause trouble).

The young king sent out emissaries to find a wife from the other Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, though only the King of Wessex, Ceolweald Aberbridge had a daughter of suitable age. Ceolweald rejected Offa’s marriage proposal however, possibly due to his desire to acquire our territory or stay out of the inevitable wars that frequently consumed the English midlands.

With no eligible women of high rank Offa was forced to look closer to home. In the end Offa wed Leofcwen of Lundenwic, a distant relation that could trace her ancestry to Hrodbhert Nedalskip, brother of Eadweald I “the Weak” and Freamund I the usurper.



Despite being a relation Leofcwen was a very intelligent and relatively attractive young woman. Diligent, hard working and fiercely proud of her Nedalskip heritage she would breed fine Kings and Offa wed his distant cousin from Lundenwic on the 25th of January 715.



Though initially well liked it soon became apparent that the young King Offa II had learnt little from his education in how to govern a Kingdom. As the post-coronation honeymoon died down the Mercians lords soon began to notice taxation inefficiencies and other minor slights that were attributed to Offa’s young age and lack of experience. The young king began to notice the opinions of his vassals turn against him and attempted to learn as much as possible from his elderly chancellor. These lessons did not go to plan however and Offa sought other ways to please his vassals.

After his father’s conquest of Cumbria Mercia now bordered the Brythonic power of Rheged. The Cumbrian Jarldom had been drawn up to cover land held by Rheged and thus establish later de-jure claims upon the coastal areas of the North-West. The province of Carvetia (now known as the Furness Peninsula on the north shore of Morecambe Bay) was part of this territory and Offa would be able (assuming he could defeat Rheged) to seize the land for the lord of Cumbria thereby increasing his standing among his vassals and weakening his powerful northern neighbour.

Thus in June 715 Offa II declared war on Rheged and mustered his army to march north. During this time Rhegedian forces marched south and laid siege to Portus Setantiorium (the modern town of Morecambe) before the Mercian armies could meet them.

It took until early July before Offa had raised his troops and reached Setantia. The young King had took command of the Mercian army personally, rejecting the demands of his more experienced vassals (including his old tutor, Ealdorman Ecgbhert of Leicester) to lead the army in this important conflict. By taking personal command Offa II believed he would win the battle himself and gain more prestige and respect. Though Offa thought he was a master strategist in actual fact he was an average commander, and this was proved by the battle at Morecambe.



The King of Rheged, Brychan I Gul, was an old and experienced commander and had allowed the Mercians to come to his forces in Setantia. The terrain of the area was perfect for a defensive battle and Brychan set his archer heavy troops up at the top of a hilly area, forcing the Anglo-Saxons to march up to meet them. Offa II dismissed Rheged’s army as too lightly equipped and fond of skirmishing to match his troops in a melee and on the 3rd of July, with a force of roughly the same troops the Nedalskip king attacked Brychan’s position.

Offa could have waited another week to receive another thousand man army from the southern reaches of Mercia, but if the odds were more even the boy-king reckoned he could win more favour if he was victorious. The battle of Morecambe was a disaster. Offa’s army was thinned by withering missle fire as it slogged up the hill, only to be held in place by light troops while the Brythonic skirmishes went round the flanks and threw javelins at point blank range into the heavily armoured Saxon troops. A thousand Mercians died that day to less than 400 Britons.

Offa fled the field but neglected to inform the rest of his army marching up from south Mercia of the Rhegedian victory. Rhegedian reinforcements arrived in the region and they pressed on, destroying the second Mercian army and putting paid to any hope of Mercian expansion futher north for the moment.



With both his armies destroyed Offa II was forced to admit defeat and on the 11th of September signed a peace-deal with Rheged whereby Offa promised to refrain from aggression against the northern Britons for the remainder of his reign.

The loss of the Carvetian War was a major blow to Offa’s popularity and the King sank into depression.

With Mercian reeling from the losses suffered against Rheged King Cyneweald of Wessex saw a moment of opportunity. The rich and powerful trading city of Lundenwic on the Wessex-Mercian border was Ceolweald’s target as in December 715 House Aberbridge and House Nedalskip went to war.

With Mercia’s body of manpower depleted from the losses in the north there was no way that Offa II could meet Wessex’s armies on the battlefield that winter. Though Mercia could raise around 4,800 troops the southern host was some 8,200 men strong.

In a rare moment of strategic brilliance King Offa II opted NOT to meet the armies of Wessex in direct battle and instead focused on disrupting their supply lines and starving the enemy into submission. This tactic worked well and Cyneweald’s armies lost nearly 2,000 men that winter to attrition and desertion.



Despite this the strong walls of Lundenwic could only hold off the besieging enemy for so long and after an 8 month siege the city reeve finally threw open the gates and surrendered to Wessex in July 716. Still Offa decided to wait the enemy out and allowed them to beseige the smaller garrisons of the region while mustering his forces. This tactic made Cyneweald of Wessex believe that the Mercian king had forsaken Lundenwic and the area was held by independent petty rulers. The Wessexian army grew complacent in this belief.

Offa II did receive some good news on the 23rd of August 716 however as Leofcwen gave birth to his heir and the heir of House Nedalskip, little Eadbeald. The young prince had clearly inherited Offa’s good looks and Leofcwen’s intelligence.



By late September the armies of Wessex had taken Lundenwic and the minor holdings around it. In order to solidify their claim to the region the southern armies marched into the Chiltern Hills, terrorising the local Mercian peasantry. The winter of 716 came quickly and harshly however and the lack of forage in the region soon became a problem. The Wessexian army began to desert and crumble, worn down by almost a year of campaigning. It was then that Offa chose to strike with his fresh army.
Reinforcing and waiting for the perfect time to strike the Mercian force was now larger. The Battle of Durocobrivis (modern Dunstable, Bedfordshire) resulted in a decisive Mercian victory and the breaking of Wessex’s army.



Not only was Wessex’s demoralised and starving army crushed at the Battle of Durocobrivis but young King Offa II himself carried on the family tradition of direct confrontation with its enemies. King Cyneweald I of Wessex was slain by Offa’s hand towards the end of the battle as his forces routed around him. Cyneweald’s successor, his stuttering and incompetent brother Æthelhere lacked the backbone for continued war against Mercia and although minor skirmishes continued throughout 717 the conflict had been won at Durocobrivis. This victory against the strongest Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of the age is regarded as King Offa II’s only real success as a monarch.
The rest of 717 passed relatively uneventfully to the average Mercian. The Kingdom recovered from the war with Wessex and the King’s wife Leofcwen gave birth to a second son by the name of Wigberht.



The year of 718 opened with a shock deceleration of rebellious intent by one of Offa’s more powerful vassals – Ecgberht of Pegansaete. After asking repeatedly for Offa II to free Ealdorman Coenwulf (the rebellious lord who had rose against Offa I back in 702 with Lady Ralla) in what Ecgberht percieved as an excess of the monarch’s right to hold his vassals imprisoned – especially when Coenwulf was still de-jure Earl of Lundenwic.

Seeking to avert another divisive civil war Offa appealed to his other vassals, but due to his poor leadership and reputation many of them backed Ecgberht. With war getting closer every day Offa II decided to publicly execute Coenwulf for his past crime of treason against House Nedalskip. This act of defiance and decisiveness shocked the would be rebels, who disarmed with the death of their “objective” to placate the tensions of his vassals Offa II released Jarl Æscwine of Magonsaete (who had led a pathetic rising against Offa I back in 713) from the Tamworth dungeons in early 719 though it cost the noble much of his personal fortune.



This act had the effect of lowering people’s opinions on King Offa II even further, for now the King could be called a kinslayer as Coenwulf was the first son of Hrodberht Nedalskip and therefore his wife Leofcwen’s Great Uncle. By now Offa II was widely hated and began to acquire the nickname “Ill-Ruler”

That April Offa plotted against his own younger brother Ælfræd, Jarl of Lancaster, who had been one of the lords backing the plot to free Ealdorman Coenwulf. The 15 year old Ælfræd died from a mysterious fall that year and a “tearful” Offa II inherited his brother’s Jarldom.



Meanwhile in East-Anglia the civil war that had been raging since 716 ended as King Freamund I (grandson of Freamund I of Mercia, the usurper) was thrown from power by King Osgar I of House Anglia, a distant relative of the Anglian Kings of the first half of the 7th Century. With Mercia’s eastern neighbour once again unified the people of the Kingdom feared another war, especially as the new Anglian King had no ties to House Nedalskip.

As Mercia remained in a fragile peace it was Wessex’s turn for a civil war as King Æthelhere “the Stuttering King” struggled to hold onto power against his powerful and popular cousin Aelle, Jarl of Hampscir. Offa opted to stay out of the conflict in Wessex and hoped that it would go on for as long as possible, weakening the southern superpower.



720 seemed a quiet year at first. Eadbeald’s younger sister Ælfthryth was born on the 20th of April, sharing her brother’s good looks and innate intelligence. In secret however the peace of the realm was about to be shattered. Jarl Seaxræd “red beard” of Essex and of the cadet branch “of Avon” plotted with other nobles to put himself on the Mercian throne and sweep away the order of Offa II and House Nedalskip. Seaxræd was the son of Seaxbald Nedalskip, brother of Sæwæld II “the Returned King” and lord over Avon, Lundenwic and the Chiltern Hills.

With this power base Seaxræd was capable of levying a sizable force and with support from many of Offa’s vassals he declared war on the King on the 20th of June 720, making his bid for the crown.



The Jarl of Cumbria was the first to throw his support behind Seaxræd’s rebellion and was soon followed by Ecgberht of Pegansaete. With two major Jarls backing Seaxræd the country soon found itself firmly divided between those supporting Offa II and House Nedalskip and those on the side of Seaxræd and the cadet House Avon.
The war went well at first, with loyalist forces winning a moderately impressive victory at Leicester, killing 750 Pegansaete soldiers for less than half that number. The rebels struck back ten days later however, defeating the King’s small garrison force and pillaging his palace and surrounding village at Dorn Manor. Jarl Aescwine of Magonsæte led the depredation of the settlement, proving his dishonourable ways once more.



Despite this setback the loyalist armies were achieving success in Pegansaete to the north. On the 9th of October Jarl Ecgberht was captured and imprisoned by King Offa II.

It was a case of too little too late however as disaster struck at the Battle of Bonaventum (modern Tewkesbury) on the 20th October. The loyalist army was utterly crushed by forces loyal to Seaxræd. Hundreds of Offa’s men were killed and many more fled from the battlefield, breaking the will of the Nedalskip loyalists to continue the fight.

In November the remnants of Offa’s loyal forces were mopped up and his holdings taken. For the second time in Mercian and Nedalskip history the ruling true-born Nedalskip King had been usurped from his throne and replaced with another relative. Offa II was forced to finally relinquish the throne on the 24th of December 720 and Seaxræd became King Seaxræd I of Mercia, the first of House Avon. Though Offa was imprisoned he kept control of the Jarldom of Hwicce de-jure and this would pass on to his successor and the true-born Nedalskip line. Though Seaxræd may have won the war he failed to completely snuff out the Nedalskip family, allowing them to continue through the Jarldom of Hwicce in a unnerving parallel to the Mercian Brother's Wars of the last century.



Offa II died in Seaxræd’s dungeons by mid 721, a broken man in mind and body after the loss of his crown at the young age of 22. His 4 year old son inherited the massive responsibility and position of the trueborn Nedalskip line, becoming the Jarl of Hwicce and officially subservient to King Seaxræd “red beard”. As the year of 721 got under way House Nedalskip existed purely within this 4 year old boy and its future looked bleaker than ever…

 

NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
Get yourself out of that one!
 

NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
At least you kept the kingdom together, albeit under a different family.
 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
Will you turn it around, or will you be forced to switch to a more powerful Nedalskip? Your situation looks precarious to say the least. This story keeps getting better :)

At least you kept the kingdom together, albeit under a different family.

The Avons are a cadet branch of House Nedalskip, the game calls them Nedalskips but three generations seperate them from the King's line so they aren't really :p I'm calling them the Avons since the province of Avon is there power base.

This time however I decided to stick with the 4 year old successor rather than playing as the Avons in an attempt to regain the throne for the true heir!

Next update, bit short and boring this one but not much went on these years really :p




Chapter 22, Avon Mercia (721-732)


The tragic demise of King Offa II had left the true branch of House Nedalskip brought low. 4 year old Eadbeald, Offa’s first son, younger brother Wigberht and sister Ælfthryth held the future of our noble house in their hands in this most turbulent period. The usurping King Seaxræd “Red Beard” may have defeated Offa II and killed the man but his son lived on – and he also remained in control of the Jarldom of Hwicce, the heartland of the Mercian Kingdom. The situation in 721 bared shocking similarities to the rise of old King Sæwæld II, who had also been stripped of his birthright and confined to Hwicce.



In June 721 the head of House Nedalskip was 4 year old Jarl Eadbeald III of Hwicce. An intelligent and good looking youth the boy had great potential and the overwhelming desire to regain the crown that should be rightfully his, usurped by Seaxræd “Red Beard” of Avon. Seaxræd was popular in Mercia however, as those in positions of power had for the most part supported his coup against Offa II the “Ill-Ruler”.

Eadbeald’s regency was led by Reeve Elystan of Henley-in-Arden, a Briton lord and a man of great scholarship. Together with the grieving Leofcwen (Eadbeald’s mother and Offa II’s wife) the two tutored little Eadbeald, grooming him for leadership and reminding him of the glories of his ancestors as well as the villainous nature of the Avons (a cadet branch of House Nedalskip). The ruling Avons suffered a blow as on the 4th August 722 Seaxræd “Red Beard” died of a sudden heart attack aged 49 after being king for little over a year. He was succeeded by his sickly and depressed son Eormenræd I who was not as well liked by the Mercian lords that had supported his father.



The new king sought to remedy this by declaring war on Anglia to regain Cæster Forest and the Fens region, extending Mercian territory east once more. Though opposed to Eormenræd Reeve Elystan did support the enlargement of the Kingdom – many levies from Hwicce fought under the Avon banner against East-Anglia in the next few years to gain territory in the East.

During this time and as young Eadbeald matured the Jarl began to understand his past more and his self-importance to the Nedalskip name. The boy became immensely proud and would suffer no slight towards his dynasty or self.



As the years rolled by 724 was eventful as a great summer fair was hosted in Arden Forest. Given the lack of conflict within the Kingdom traders took advantage of the peace, many trade fairs dotted the land and that summer many children were conceived. Leofcwen also discovered that Reeve Elystan was actually stealing money from Hwicce’s treasury and Eadbeald’s tutor was removed from his position of responsibility and told to repay his debt. That December the realm also witnessed the death of one Ealdorman Ecgberht of Leicester, legendary military commander since the late 680s and tutor to King Offa II. The old marshal died of an infected wound sustained from a recent hunting trip at a reasonable age 67. He was succeeded by his son Seaxræd who became Eadbeald’s new marshal and tutor.

Seaxræd was not quite as great a man as his father, but he was still a highly capable warrior and he taught young Eadbeald well. By the age of 9 the young Jarl could hold his own in a mock swordfight even if he currently lacked the strength to wield his weapon to its full effect.



As the Mercian-Anglian wars in the East dragged on a force of about 500 enemy troops defeated the Lord of Leicester’s army and began to besiege his holdings. Worried that this would prolong the conflict and the the East-Anglians would even attack Hwicce itself. Seaxræd led the Huscarls of Hwicce to do battle with the enemy, though the result of the battle at Venonae was a rather embarrassing defeat for Mercia with over 300 men lost to just over 100 Anglians.

Despite this by the start of 728 the East-Anglians had lost the war and the Fens came (mostly) back under Mercian rule and into the demesne of King Eormenræd Avon.
Adolescent Eadbeald’s development took a rather troubling turn during late 729 as the 13 year old boy began to get rather too intimate with some of his peers. His mother strongly opposed this and reminded him of his duties to the house. As long as he fathered an heir and wore a crown Leofcwen told him he could indulge any desire he wished, even if the church and common folk disapproved of homosexuality.



The next few years were quiet in Mercia, though in the north great upheaval was shifting borders. A violent and prolonged civil war in Rheged had weakened the Cumbric Kingdom so much that now all of its Anglo-Saxon neighbours (including Mercia!) had declared war upon it, determined to gain more land in the Hen Ogledd (Old North). The Northumbrian Jarldoms of Deira and Bernicia expanded rapidly into lands they had previously owned and new areas that fell for the first time under Saxon rule. The Mercian Jarldom of Cumbria saw this as a perfect time to press the de-jure Cumbrian claim to Carvetia and with support of King Eormenræd I Avon declared war. By the end of 731 Rheged was in tatters, the once mighty Brythonic Kingdom in Cumbria now confined to Galloway and Teviotdale. Eventually the name Rheged fell out of fashion with this rump Kingdom which became known as Ystrad Clud.



The 11 years between the death of Offa II and 732 had been relatively uneventful for House Nedalskip and Mercia (excluding the wars with East-Anglia of course) however with the coming of age of Eadbeald, Jarl of Hwicce and heir to the legacy of Eadric a new Chapter was surely starting. Arising from his tutorage a proud man capable in matters of war and state a new struggle for the crown was about to begin…

 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
Chapter 23, The Reclamation (732-737)


On the 20th of August 732 (Eadbeald III’s 16th birthday) the heir of house Nedalskip, Eadbeald III took over from his regent and became the ruling Jarl of Hwicce. Aged just 16 and already a highly capable and ambitious young man Eadbeald despised the ruling King Eormenræd I of Avon, whose father had usurped his own for the crown back in 720.



Young Eadbeald had been groomed all his life by his widowed mother Leofcwen to avenge the death of his father and reclaim the Kingdom from the Avons, a cadet branch of House Nedalskip. Much like the Mercian Brother’s Wars of the 7th Century it appeared as though history would repeat itself and the Avons had made a grave mistake in allowing Eadbeald’s survival.

Of utmost importance to the future of our house was to continue the line of succession and produce a male heir. Thus a suitable wife was found in the 16 year old Lady of Thunreslea (part of Osgar’s Anglian Kingdom) a kind and attractive young woman.



That September Mercia’s borders expanded further north as civil war struck Ystrad Clud lost the province of Carvetia (which Offa II had famously failed to conquer back in 715) to the Jarldom of Cumbria. The ambitious Jarl of Cumbria sought to expand his de-facto boundaries to represent those that were de-jure part of his Jarldom, designed to replace old Rheged with new Anglo-Saxon rule.

With a wife gained and now as good a time as any Eadbeald declared to those close to him his plan to make a bid for the Mercian throne, to retake his Nedalskip birthright. The army of Hwicce trained more regularly and old Huscarls were called from retirement as the Jarl prepared for war.



King Eormenræd could not raise as many levies as his father, he was not as popular and many Mercians had died fighting to gain Carvetia, the rough terrain and harsh winter killing many. Despite this Eadbeald reckoned that the war would be long and many would perish. Thus December was a month of feasting and celebration in his court before the men went off to war.

As it turned out however Eadbeald’s spymaster reported that Eormenræd’s levies would be much smaller than expected so that in December 732 Eabeald could actually call upon twice the number of soldiers as his king! Knowing that the longer he waited the quicker Eormenræd would discover his plot and replenish his forces Eadbeald decided to act immediately, sending a ultimatum to the King to surrender his title or civil war would ensue. Unsurprisingly Eormenræd rejected Eabdeald’s demands and on the 27th January 733 war broke out in Mercia.




Eormenræd’s first act was to march on Eadbeald’s capital in Arden Forest, via the village of Henley-in-Arden. The dense terrain was great defensively however and Eadbeald’s loyalists inflicted many casualties on the King’s men for months, cutting off his supplies and bogging his army down in the woods. By the time Eadbeald’s main army was ready to engage that April Eormenræd had lost some 800 men to attrition.

When the battle did come the men of Hwicce were ready and on the 27th of April Eormenræd’s army was decisively beaten, giving Jarl Eadbeald the initiative.
The King’s forces were no pushover however and on that day over 5000 men died fighting for both sides. Fears that the conflict would be long and drawn out were decisively ended however when attempting to flee the bloodbath King Eormenræd was captured by Eadbeald’s men, giving the Jarl of Hwicce an easy victory – if you call the loss of 5000 countrymen “easy”.



Men still remained loyal to the Avon king however and late April-early March was spent solidifying Eadbeald’s position. On the 11th the last loyalists were defeated near Tamworth and Eadbeald III crowned himself King of Mercia.

In celebration of this great and quick victory Eadbeald declared a week off for all of his subjects and the hosting of a great summer fair in August 733. Eormenræd Avon never left his jail cell and remained there right up until 748, going insane in his cramped accommodation and dieing an inglorious death.

As the new year dawned Eadbeald III faced the first serious challenge to his rule from the north in the Jarl of Cumbria. Jarl Seaxræd demanded his independence from Mercia claiming that Cumbria would do better expanding north if it were free from Mercian restraints. Not wanting to fight another war and realising that Cumbria could be a useful buffer state in the north Eadbeald surrendered Seaxræd’s Jarldom without a fight in May 734.



In late June some surprising news came to King Eadbeald, his wife Wilflæd was pregnant with his child. Though this was good news for House Nedalskip Eadbeald was worried about the legitimacy of the child for he rarely visited his Wilflæd’s chamber, preferring the presence of young men to his poor wife. Still her pregnancy at least ensured that Eadbeald’s duty of continuing the family line had been met. The child was born on the 24th of January 735 and was unfortunately a girl, named Leofcwen.
Taking advantage of his popularity within Mercia Eadbeald took the opportunity to raise the crown authority of Mercia to pre-Avon levels, re-establishing the same level of authority as King Offa II. The vassals of Mercia still had a large degree of autonomy however and were able to wage personal conflicts within the realm.

As 736 came to a close Eadbeald III hosted another great hunt. The young king began to gain a good reputation as a diligent and skillful hunter, increasing his efficiency as a ruler and his popularity with lord and peasant alike.



With the dawn of 737 a Nedalskip king sat securely on the throne of Mercia. King Eadbeald III had reclaimed the crown for his dynasty and re-asserted crown authority. Despite the loss of Cumbria the Mercian Kingdom appeared to be in a very strong position as Eadbeald’s reign got truly under way…
 

NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
The dissolution of the Mercian kingdom continues as the sins of the fathers are visited viciously upon the sons. Here's hoping things turn around for you soon!

Nice job winning that war. You've inspired me to try this mod out. I've taken up the mantle of Sygiarus, King of the Domain of Soissons, to try to rebuild what little remains of the Roman Empire.
 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
The dissolution of the Mercian kingdom continues as the sins of the fathers are visited viciously upon the sons. Here's hoping things turn around for you soon!

Nice job winning that war. You've inspired me to try this mod out. I've taken up the mantle of Sygiarus, King of the Domain of Soissons, to try to rebuild what little remains of the Roman Empire.

Things have been going in circles in Mercia for years, I'm looking forward to the viking age and the Old Gods expansion - a new and interesting threat and a much larger map to play with :) Lets just hope I can get the Nedalskip Kingdom to that point in a better position than real-life Mercia!

also thats good to hear, it really is a fantastic mod :D the Soissons are the only other country I've tried for any length of time, I had fun reconquering Gaul.

NEXT UPDATE!



Chapter 24, Eadbeald III (737-750)


Following Eadbeald III’s reclamation of the Mercian throne in 733 and his steps to ensure his continued rule life continued on much the same as before for the average Mercian peasant. 737 was a quiet year and Eadbeald spent it attempting to increase his knowledge of the world. An interesting episode of this was his famous trip into Arden Forest to seek out the wisdom of an old hermit who appeared to be not so wise as being very capable with the words he used so that he appeared so.



In the north Christianity began to make inroads into the ruling classes of the Northumbrian Jarldoms as Jarl Æthelweald of Bernicia embraced the one true faith. This conversion was most likely caused by his marriage to High Lady Æthelthryth of Lindsey, a distant relation to Mercian King Freamund I and a zealous Christian.

Though Mercia was calm to the east the former Kingdom of Anglia had split into no less than 5 independent and competing polities, with the Jarldom of the Saxon Shore the most powerful and the true East-Anglian Kingdom. Lindsey and the Saxon Shore were ruled by House Freamundsson, a cadet branch of House Nedalskip whereas the “true” Anglian Kingdom (which now consisted of a narrow strip of land in central England and Thunreslea) was ruled by King Osgar’s of Anglia’s son Eoforwine I. The minor states in East-Anglia were ruled by petty noblemen attempting to usurp the rule of the Saxon Shore. For the moment Eadbeald III chose to simply observe the chaos to the east, deciding to take advantage of the situation in a few years.



Meanwhile Mercia remained at peace and prospered under the good rule of Eadbeald III. In 740 Eadbeald spent some of his time training with his huscarls, to keep their military skills fresh in the current time of peace. During this time he developed a close friendship with veteran huscarl Swithelm, despite his pagan beliefs. Rumours spread that the two were closer than friends, but true or not their “friendship” ended abruptly when Eadbeald tried to force his religion on Swithelm.



Bored of peace Eadbeald decided to enrich Mercia by attacking his neighbours. Pagan, Celtic Wales was the easiest target and in January 741 Mercia went to war in order to plunder the lands of Powys and steal their meager wealth. The raids would also ensure that the Mercian military would remain a decent fighting force and in practice given the current age of relative peace in England.

Early in the year Mercian raiders burnt Welsh fields and stole away plunder, livestock and women from the border regions. King Alwynn II of Powys would not stand for this however and soon raised a large army to the border region, determined to halt the Mercians.

Eadbeald III had hoped that the Powysian king would react however and soon a much larger Mercian force descended on the Welsh, meeting them at the Battle of Brynfford. Here the Mercian huscarls that had been so well drilled by Eadbeald fought like giants, tipping the battle most favourably in Mercia’s direction. With the main Powysian army defeated Mercian raiders had free reign over the countryside of Powys.



Back home Eadbeald received news that his wife had finally bore him the son and heir that he had so hoped for to continue the dynasty legacy. On the 1st October 741 Eadbeald Nedalskip (future King Eadbeald IV) was born. Blessed with his father’s good looks and quick intellect the boy looked to be a good prospect.

Back in Wales the northern Duchy of Gwynedd decided to throw its lot in with Powys and declared war on Mercia. Though their army was beaten at Ariconium (15 miles from Hereford) they inflicted heavy casualties on Eadbeald’s armies, fighting mostly as skirmishing troops and refusing to give battle to the Mercian huscarls.

The war dragged on through 742 and 743 but was mainly fought as minor skirmishes. In the end the Mercian forces were unable to gain much from the raids in Powys and the conflict ended indecisively.



Following this conflict Alwynn II took the opportunity to press for the re-unification of Wales and annexed the small independent lordship of Moridunum (Pembrokeshire) in summer 744. Though Mercia had gained little in the conflict Eadbeald III had learnt much while on campaign and looked for another chance to test his skills.

In mid 8th Century England Mercia was perhaps the second most powerful state – second to the mighty Aberbridge Wessex to the south. The demise of Cantia had allowed Wessex to grow from a humble start until it eventually overtook civil war prone Mercia. The power and respect of the Aberbridge dynasty which ruled Wessex was similar to House Nedalskip and if Eadbeald III wanted to face a worthy opponent the rulers of the south were more than suitable.



The province of Corinium in Somerset had been lost to Wessex since 679 when it had declared independence from Mercia following the poor reign of King Sæwæld II. Sigehelm I of Wessex was no strategist and Eadbeald III was confident that under his command the slightly smaller Mercian forces would be victorious.

In late December 744 Mercia declared war and the armies of Wessex marched north into modern Berkshire (near the White Horse Vale) a relatively hilly region where they could be easily cut off from their supplies and support. This is just what Eadbeald did and some 2000 Wessexians deserted the army of Sigehelm before a larger Mercian force met them in battle on the 17th February 745.

Wessex’s army was crushed that day, losing some 2800 men for 1000 Mercians and conceding the initiative to Eadbeald III.

The following months saw numerous large battles between the two Kingdoms as Mercia advanced into Somerset. By the middle of May however it was clear that Wessex was on the run however and Mercian armies began to lay siege to enemy holdings in the region of Corinium.



The first major bastion captured by Eadbeald was the “castle” at Corinium which fell on the 9th of April. The Mercian king spared the inhabitants and the local lord the pillaging of his soldiers opting to leave the people as a gesture of his fairness in rule and war.

As the year turned to 746 Wessex attempted to turn the tide of the war, moving a new army from their Cantian territories. It was met at White Horse Vale and defeated however, confirming a decisive Mercian victory in the conflict. By that August King Sigehelm I had to swallow his pride and admit his defeat against the slightly less powerful Mercia. Eadbeald’s prestige increased greatly after the victory and although the costly war had only gained the small border province of Corinium the defeat of Wessex proved that Mercia was a force to be reckoned with in Britain and a powerful contender for the realm of future England.

In the north Cumbria had expanded its borders rapidly against a collapsing Kingdom of Ystrad Clud (former Rheged). By now (early 747) the Northern Jarldoms had mostly pushed the Britons back to the region of Galloway. By October 747 Prince Eadbeald had reached the age when he could be tutored. A petition from the highly religious Reeve Appius of Verulcio in Corinium to tutor the boy came to Eadbeald III’s attention. Appius was a devout and zealous christian and although his old Briton culture was a concern the man was well learned and the king judged he would be a good ward for his heir.



By the beginning of 748 the remnants of King Eoforwine I’s “Anglian” Kingdom (and the Jarldom of Lindsey) were being overran by the Saxon-Shore. The provinces of Margidunum and Meden Vale were still ruled by Eoforwine, but they had traditionally been part of Mercia. In May 748 Eadbeald III decided to rectify this situation and invaded the remnants of “Anglia”.



The small army of Eoforwine’s stood no chance against the 6000 Mercian levies that invaded and after a long series of sieges that lasted most of the year Eoforwine I was forced to concede the northern province of Meden Vale. Though Eadbeald III had gone to war with Anglia his wife (who was officially a vassal of King Eoforwine due to being Lady of Thunreslea) opted to remain neutral in the conflict, effectively severing ties with the Anglian king. By the start of 749 the Anglian “Kingdom” was confined to the tiny landlocked province of Margidunum.



As the year approached 750 King Eadbeald III had proved to be one of Mercia’s best rulers, retaking land lost over the years and humiliating the arguably stronger Kingdom of Wessex in a war. Talk began to circulate of Eadbeald’s desire to unify all Anglo-Saxons under his rule, could this Nedalskip crown himself Bretwalda of all England?
 

NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
He will as long as he doesn't die in battle, get assassinated, die of disease, die of old age (at 22), die "in an accident" (AKA get assassinated) get depressed and die by his own hand, or... die of depression before he gets the chance to die by his own hand. (?)
 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
Very good update as always ;) I am just wondering how is the political situation in scotland ?

Thankyou :)

The north is pretty much the same as it has been, Northumbria and Scotland are divided and fighting amongst themselves. Something interesting does happen up there around 780 however...

He will as long as he doesn't die in battle, get assassinated, die of disease, die of old age (at 22), die "in an accident" (AKA get assassinated) get depressed and die by his own hand, or... die of depression before he gets the chance to die by his own hand. (?)

Lol the Nedalskip kings haven't got a reputation for longevity :p

Next update and this one's a pretty long one...



Chapter 25, The Magonsæte Expansion (750-763)



By the year of 750AD King Eadbeald III ruled over a very strong Mercian Kingdom. With the Jarldom of Lindsey firmly in his sights Eoforwine I official “King” of East Anglia ruled one tiny province and was unable to resist powerful Mercia.

The odds shifted further to Eadbeald’s favour after on the 22nd January 750 his wife Lady Wilflæd of Thunreslea officially renounced her support of “King” Eoforwine and swore vassalisation to Eadbeald III. With Thunreslea under Mercian rule once more Eadbeald controlled the location of Eadric’s landing, his oldest ancestor.



Simultaneously in the north Eadweald (Eadbeald’s younger brother) conquered the Scir of Duntoning (in modern West Yorkshire) from High Lady Æthelfryth Freamundsson of Lindsey. The Anglians were being pushed back on all fronts and by that December King Eoforwine lost the province of Margidunum (near Lincoln) to the Mercians. The Kingdom of Anglia ceased to exist and the eastern territories of the former Kingdom divided into the Jarldoms of Lindsey and the Saxon Shore (even though they had been independent from Eoforwine for some time).



Eoforwine fled to Lindsey and from there plotted with his supporters to usurp the Jarldom from High Lady Æthelfryth Freamundsson and regain his former high position.
As the year turned to 751 Mercia was in a much stronger position in Britannia. Anglo-Saxon culture was also finally turning the more resilient areas of Brythonic tradition. Around this time the old town of Corinium (recently fought over between Wessex and Mercia from 744-746) began to become known as Cirencester.



That February Eadbeald’s eldest daughter Leofcwen came of age. Mercian suitors were all turned away as Eadbeald had a plan for her. Relations with Wessex were strained and the two most powerful Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms were still fresh from the war over Cirencester 5 years previously. Eadbeald therefore opted to wed young Leofcwen to Prince Eormenraed Aberbridge of Wessex in the hope of forging a lasting alliance between the two kingdoms.

The balance of life was restored to Eadbeald III that March however as tragedy struck House Nedalskip. On the 1st Queen Wilflæd died at the age of 35 due to the scourge of pneumonia. Eadbeald was struck greatly by this loss, though he often preferred the company of men Wilflæd had been a loyal companion and she had ensured the longevity of House Nedalskip due to the birth of Prince Eadbeald. By this stage though Eadbeald III could be considered “bisexual” in modern terms.



The head of House Nedalskip and the King of Mercia could hardly be seen without a wife however and within a few months he had wed Ceolwynn of Wicford, a petty noblewoman from Mercia.

As all seemed well within the Kingdom a rather bloody shock came in November 751 as Jarl Cyneheard of Essex declared his intention to secede from Mercia and do so by force if necessary. Thus the first civil war since Eadbeald III’s reclamation of the throne some 15 years previous began. Cyneheard was motivated by his power and the fact that Essex (including the powerful city of Lundenwic) were not de-Jure part of Mercia. Cyneheard was also the 33 year old son of old King Eormenræd I (of Avon) of Mercia, the King who Eadbeald III had usurped during the Reclamation.



Essex was strong and ruled the cities of Deva and Lundenwic due to it being the seat of the Avon cadet branch which had acquired those areas during their reign. Thus Cyneheard’s rebellion could muster a serious challenge to Eadbeald III. To make matters worse large numbers of opportunists and rebels from recently acquired Anglian provinces sided with the rebel so that by the end of 751 the two sides were roughly well matched.

The seriousness of the war hit Eadbeald III hard when on Christmas Day 751 his army was defeated for the first time on the field near Towcester, losing nearly 3000 men to a mere 900 rebels. With Eadbeald on the back-foot but still with more men the result of Cyneheard’s rebellion was in the balance as the new year of 752 began. The year got off to a good start for the loyalists as another battle at Towcester routed a larger force of rebels, this time Eadbeald III used his heavy cavalry far more effectively, turning the tide of battle.



The war had not been won in a single battle however and Cyneheard still had many troops and holdings, enough to still seriously push for the independence of Essex from Mercia. Minor victories near Lundenwic and Cirencester that spring pushed the initiative back into Eadbeald’s hands and this time the King received unexpected reinforcement from volunteers and retired soldiers swelling the loyalist ranks. By March the tide had clearly turned and it would take some luck or skill on Jarl Cyneheard’s part to retake the initiative. In early June another decisive victory near Tamworth pretty much decided the fate of the war and the rebellion began to waver.



Events beyond Mercia were also in progress that were changing the political landscape. In Wales the Kingdom of Powys had fallen apart into civil war. King Alwynn II “the Careless” was an unpopular ruler, his Kingdom having suffered greatly against the Mercian raids in the early 740s. The civil war seemed to be going well for the rebels who were determined to split Powys into many smaller lordships. In the North the Jarldom of Deira began to conquer Cumbrian territory, changing the balance of the 3 Northumbrian Jarldoms. With much of Cumbria under Deiran rule by 760 Mercia began to recognise the powerful Eburacum based Jarldom as heir to the Kingdom of Northumbria.



After a series of victories against Cyneheard’s rebels peace was bought with the sword in Mercia by November 752. Cyneheard was thrown in jail and some of his less fortunate supporters executed. The revolt had shaken Eadbeald III’s Mercia to the core, the popular king had never had to deal with insurrection before, but then for Cyneheard it was personal. A great feast was held that Christmas to celebrate the loyalist victory and the end of the civil war, it was during this time that Eadbeald’s 2nd wife Ceolwynn contracted the disease of consumption (TB).

Over the next few weeks Ceolwynn’s health worsened and Eadbeald began to fear for the life of his unborn child that she was pregnant with. On the 9th of January 753 Ceolwynn gave birth and with surprise Eadmund and Offa entered this world as twins. Eadbeald III had mixed feeling on this as although he was happy to see new life in the world he worried for the future where the twin half brothers of his heir Eadbeald could become serious pretenders to the Mercian throne. Ceolwynn died during the twin’s childbirth and King Eadbeald III was once again without a wife. A few months later the King’s mother, Leofcwen died a natural death at age 55.



Though deeply saddened by these personal deaths the King decided to give only a few months mourning before pushing on in life. That July Eadbeald III undertook the pastime of falconry with great vigor and from then on it became one of his foremost passions.



In August 754 Cyneheard of Essex finally died in Eadbeald’s jail and was succeeded by his son, young Eormenræd of Essex. Eormenræd blamed the king for his father’s inglorious death and tensions once again began to raise over the region. By the end of the year events in Lindsey also reached the ears of Eadbeald. His distant relative, High Lady Æthelfryth Freamundsson of Lindsey was usurped as the ruler of Lincoln by former King of Anglia Eoforwine I, who now styled himself the “King in Lincoln”. It may have been in his better interests to remain low however as Eadbeald III was favourable to Lady Æthelfryth and would have allowed Lindsey independence, but not under the pretender Anglian King Eoforwine, now the prospect of easy land to the east was very tempting to the King of Mercia.

755 at least was a year of peace in the Kingdom as Eadbeald allowed his people to recover from the civil war before making any serious expansion moves. That summer a great fair was held in Lundenwic, bringing much commerce into the Kingdom. Also the 12 year old heir Prince Eadbeald began to have more of a say in the governance of his Scirdom, Thunreslea, which he had inherited from his mother Wilflæd back in 751. Even at this age the heir to the throne was considered a just and kind boy as well as being born with a sharp mind for governance.



By March 755 Eadbeald III finally heeded the calls of his vassals and decided to wed for a third time. This time the king chose his wife due to her skills as a statesperson and potential partner in governance over any other factor. Argante nic Aedan of Ulaid (Northern Ireland), the older unmarried sister of Lord Fogartach I of Ulaid was chosen as the King’s new wife, her skill proven by her advisory rule alongside her brother for many years.

The month of March 755 proved to be rather eventful as the peasants of Arden Forest rose up against the King, determined to ease the burden of taxation upon them. The King saw the peasant rabble as a mere “angry mob” who would take what they wanted through force unless they were crushed.

The peasants even ambushed the royal procession as it came back from one of Eadbeald’s falconry trips, during the skirmish the 2 year old Half-Brother Prince Eadmund was wounded by a stray arrow that cut across his cheek, narrowly missing the boy. Eadbeald III would not stand for this and after this skirmish he ordered his Marshall, Seaxræd of Leicester to come down hard on the rebels.



It didn’t take to long to track down and kill the indiscreet ringleaders of the revolt and within a month the peasant revolt had been subdued without major loss of life.
With the peasants subdued for the moment Eadbeald III once again cast his eyes to the Jarldom of Lindsey ruled by Jarl Eoforwine of Anglia. From Summer 755 until September 757 a series of small battles and sieges saw Mercia reconquer Lindsey from Eoforwine I. Eoforwine of Anglia was forced to flee to Bath (Aquae Sulis) and although he still had claims to the various regions of Anglia he would find no support in Wessex and would die there in obscurity during the 770s.




With Lindsey brought back into Eadbeald’s fold Mercia’s borders reached their greatest extent in 757 since the “Mercian Golden Decade” of King Sæwæld I over a century earlier.

With all Anglia reconquered save the Saxon Shore (increasingly called the “Kingdom” of East-Anglia) Eadbeald III turned his eyes West for expansion. East-Anglia was ruled by House Camulodunum, the relatives of his first wife Wilflæd who he was still very fond of.

In recent years the spread of Chrisitianity into the border provinces of Wales had coincided with Jarl Osmund of Magonsaete claiming those provinces that were once the central part of Powys as de-jure part of his Jarldom.

King Alwynn of Powys had lost the civil war and his Kingdom was now divided into 2 larger states and the tiny lordship of Dinnewrac on the Mercian border. Wales was more vulnerable than ever to Eadbeald’s strong and expansionist Mercia so when English priests were prevented from preaching the faith in Powys in 758 the tensions raised to boiling point and both nations prepared for war.

Osmund’s claims on the Welsh border provinces would see three new lordships brought into Mercia, though Eadbeald III did not want his vassal gaining too much power from the coming conflict and decided to claim the first province, the Christian region of Buelt for himself, declaring war on Powys on the 28th March 759.

A Mercian force of some 6,500 levies was raised and marched south to attack Alwynn’s capital at Isca Siluria. April 11th saw the first major battle as King Eadbeald III and Prince Eadbeald (who had recently reached the age of 16) commanded the Mercian army to a decisive victory at Penarth, killing nearly 2,000 Welshmen for the loss of 674 Mercians.



This initial victory was setback when the following week a Mercian force of 1,000 besieging the Powysian holding of Masemwyr was completely destroyed by a Welsh army. This second Powysian army was defeated itself however when Eadbeald III marched north to meet it in battle, winning at Cicunium in late June.

Though the Welsh field armies had been defeated winter was fast approaching and in the hilly regions of central Wales large Mercian armies would be put in a hard position as available forage in the region was limited. The Mercian armies lost hundreds, maybe thousands of men that winter but still the sieges continued and the Powysian garrisons on the border got ever closer to surrender.

On the 23rd of February 760 King Alwynn’s capital at Cair Dunad in Isca Siluria fell to Eadbeald’s besieging force. The settlement was looted with everything of worth stolen, an unusually callous act for King Eadbeald “the Merry”. A few more battles and seiges were concluded before on the 20th May 760 Alwynn II surrendered Buelt to Eadbeald III, enlarging the Jarldom of Magonsæte and claiming Mercian territory in the heart of pagan Wales.



Following this war Alwynn’s land was confined to three disjointed lordships across Wales. He lost the title King of Powys and became the new King of Pembroke-Siluria. Gerlyd I, former lord of Western Powys and now the most powerful lord in Wales usurped the title King of Powys and his reign was recognised by King Eadbeald III.
After the victory over King Alwynn Eadbeald III seemed in a good position with his vassals and subjects, but the troublesome Jarl of Essex Eormenræd started to ferment and plot another bid for independence in late 760. Eadbeald responded by inviting the Jarl to a feast during which the two men got along famously well, creating a lasting friendship between the former rivals.



As the new year dawned Eadbeald III looked to increase the size of Magonsæte in central Wales further. In late May 761 Mercia declared war on the tiny lordship of Dinnewrac, a former vassal of Powys. The tiny lordship never stood a chance on its own against the might of Mercia and the battle fought there on the 7th June 761 ended with an inevitable Mercian victory.



The defenders of Dinnewrac held the fort for several months before they were starved into submission by December 761.

By the start of 762 all of the new de-jure provinces of Magonsæte had been incorporated into the Jarldom, save the region of Caer Swys under the rule of King Alwynn “the Careless” of Pembroke-Siluria. With a few thousand men already in Wales King Eadbeald III wasted little time in pressing Magonsæte’s claims and declared war on Alwynn Coeling on the 23rd December 761. The following January the Silurian field armies were decisively beaten at Llandow (Isca Siluria) and Caer Dolforwyn (Caer Swys) giving Eadbeald III the temporary upper hand as Mercian troops began to besiege Alwynn’s capital.

The fight was not completely out of the Silurians however as on the 26th of July 762 a Mercian army in central Wales was ambushed and nearly slaughtered to a man at the Massacre at Cicunium.



Rather than abandoning the siege of Isca Siluria Eadbeald III ordered the recruitment of mercenaries and more levies to replace the losses at Cicunium and counter-attack the Silurian army in the region.

This proved a bad judgement however as on the 10th October the second Mercian army was also defeated (though not as badly as at Cicunium) during the Battle of Buelt.

Despite these defeats in the hilly country of central Wales Eadbeald’s forces surrounding the fort of Isca Siluria succeeded in starving out the garrison on the 5th December 762 (which included King Alwynn) and the Silurians were forced to negotiate peace terms. In exchange for King Alwynn’s life Siluria gave up the border province of Caer Swys.

By the start of 763AD a strained peace returned to the Western border of Mercia. During the course of Eadbeald’s wars with the Welsh the Anglo-Saxon borders had expanded futher into old Briton territory. The enlargement of the Jarldom of Magonsæte had a lasting effect on the region of central Wales which was now firmly held by the Kingdom of Mercia.

 

NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
There's not much left of your rivals in the east and west. May as well crush them outright so they never trouble you again.

The Vikings will be along soon. I hope you've been upgrading your holdings.
 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
There's not much left of your rivals in the east and west. May as well crush them outright so they never trouble you again.

The Vikings will be along soon. I hope you've been upgrading your holdings.

Hmm, I'm faced with a difficult choice of where to expand now I've reached 781. Think I might have a vote on it, the first Witenagemot!

Bring them on!

This update is a short one.



Chapter 26, 4 Wives, 7 Kids… (763-768)


Following the enlargement of Magonsæte at the expense of the Welsh lords Mercia was at its most powerful for many years. The year of 763 began peacefully in Mercia and its first event of note was the wedding of Prince Eadbeald Nedalskip (heir to the throne) and Leofrun of Oak’s Cross, a young cousin to Jarl Osmund of Magonsæte. The coupling was unusual as it was said that Eadbeald (Junior) felt genuine love for his 16 year old wife, despite her relatively lowly position. Regardless Eadbeald III supported his son’s decision, reminding him of the importance of continuing the family line.



Meanwhile to the north the Jarldom of Deira had a succession crisis as elderly Jarl Cynebeald I of House Sullon Hill (the last of the dynasty that had ruled Deira since 568) died in battle against the forces of Ystrad Clud. With no direct heirs the various Ealdormen of Deira attempted to seize the Jarldom in a short civil war. In the end however a distant relative of the old Jarl and of House Anglia, Sæbert I gained control of the Jarldom. Sæbert centred his power on Peveril castle and became the founding member of House Peveril.

In 764 Eadbeald III pushed to incorporate the newly won province of Caer Swys more into Mercia. Missionaries were sent to convert the pagan Welsh and a minor nobleman from Eadbeald’s court (Ecgberht of Longovicum) became an earl and wed the king’s youngest daughter, 16 year old princess Wærthryth to cement his loyalty to the crown rather than Magonsæte’s Jarl.

Meanwhile the rebellious Jarl of Essex petitioned the king about the de-jure boundaries of his Jarldom. By tradition the Scir of Thunreslea was part of Essex but at the time it was ruled by Eadbeald (IV) Nedalskip, the heir to the Mercian throne.

Rather than making his son Eormenræd’s underling King Eadbeald III gave his son a strong claim on the Jarldom, in effect putting him above the Essexian Jarl which greatly annoyed Eormenræd.



To further increase the power of his heir and to prevent Jarl Eormenræd from attempting to vassalise him Eadbeald III granted his son the Jarldom of Hwicce in April 764, massively increasing the size of his territory and giving him control over the heart of Mercia.

During this time of peace the King decided to focus on the domestic aspects of his rule. After moving his court to Lincoln (as his son had taken residence of Tamworth to govern Hwicce) Eadbeald III invested his own money into the construction of a larger peasant living area within the city, an investment for the future of the province. The good stewardship of Eadbeald decreased the build cost of the project however.



As the year 765 dawned news came from Hwicce that Prince Eadbeald’s wife Leofrun had given birth to a child, a baby girl by the name of Wilflæd. Though a female could not inherit the throne the birth did prove the fertility of the couple so the event was celebrated as a great feast was hosted later that year.

In Magonsæte Mercian efforts at conversion met with great success as the court theologist Æscwine managed to sway the majority of the Welsh population in the new province of Caer Swys. This “destruction” of traditional Welsh culture and religion enraged the Welsh Ealdorman Cerwain of Buelt (one of the few Welsh rulers in Magonsæte) who soon plotted to break from Mercia in revolt and re-join the Kingdom of Powys. Eadbeald III conspired with supporters in Magonsæte to arrange an “accidental” death for the rebellious lord. Lord Cerwain was dead by the end of August, ambushed by mercenaries loyal to Eadbeald III who had taken of the guise of common bandits. With the main agitator of rebellion in newly conquered Magonsæte now gone Mercia seemed relatively secure as the year of 767 dawned.



The king’s age was beginning to show however as Eadbeald turned 50. His 3rd wife Argante of Ulster showed her signs of aging rather more dramatically, dropping dead suddenly in October at the age of 48. The ageing Eadbeald III did not mourn her death however and arranged a new marriage to the 16 year old and lustful Cyneswith of Brayford (a minor noblehouse) to satisfy the king’s appetite. Cyneswith was King Eadbeald III’s 4th wife and would be his last.

The year of 767 saw Eadbeald III destroy the remnants of Anglian rule in Lindsey. A few holds were still considered part of the Saxon Shore Jarldom rather than Mercia. Rather than keep the counties divided the King opted to wage small scale county wars with the East-Anglians throughout the year. Casualties were low and the conflicts were primarily small sieges. Regardless the victory was complete and with foreign rule pushed completely from Lindsey Eadbeald III re-instated the title “Jarl of Lindsey”.
The Jarldom was given to a minor noble in order to ensure his loyalty, Sigeræd of Ednaston Manor was granted the title.



Amazing news came from the court when in early (11 February) 768 Eadbeald’s wife Cyneswith gave birth to a child, a boy the King named Wilfrith. Apparently the King’s advanced age had not yet prevented him from breeding and Wilfrith was his 7th child and 4th boy – not bad for a man that once identified as gay!



King Eadbeald III was 51 in 768, an old age for Mercian Kings indeed! However his age soon caught up with him as during one of his loved falconry trips the king of Mercia suddenly collapsed and died from “old age” (probably a heart attack).



He was succeeded by his eldest son and Jarl of Hwicce, Eadbeald IV Nedalskip.
 

NapoleonComple

Never permit evil to prosper
10 Badges
Nov 26, 2011
2.001
2.186
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • March of the Eagles
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
Hopefully this one won't end in perfidious Anglia rearing its ugly head.
 

BanterCaliph

Banter Caliph
74 Badges
Nov 25, 2011
121
5
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
Hopefully this one won't end in perfidious Anglia rearing its ugly head.

Not exactly Anglia... but Essex.

Anyways, next update and at the end of this one something new! I'm going to be asking you all to vote and help me decide on the next course of action for Mercia.



Chapter 27, A New King in the North (768-781)


Eadbeald IV came to the throne of Mercia on the 19th June 768 after his father, the great King Eadbeald III died on a falconry trip. Eadbeald IV inherited a very strong Kingdom in central Britannia and being an intelligent and “attractive” man at the age of 26 great things were expected of the new monarch.



Eadbeald’s first action as king was to give up the province of Caistor north of Lincoln to the Jarl of Lindsey Sigeraed of Ednaston Manor in order to ease potential rebellious feelings over the king’s ownership of a province rightfully in Lindsey.

Otherwise the year of 768 passed without event in Eadbeald’s reign as the new king settled down to rule Mercia.

As the year 769 got underway rebellion broke out as Jarl Eormenræd of Essex (who had led a failed rebellion against Eadbeald III) attempted to cast off Mercian rule. Eadbeald IV saw this rebellion as a good opportunity to act on his claim to the Jarldom of Essex given to him by his father and therefore get rid of the frequent bids for independence by its Jarls, so the war was actually welcomed by both sides.

Eormenræd‘s first move was to strike at Arden Forest, the centre of Eadbeald’s power with an army of over 4000. The king met the rebellious Jarl on the field at Henley-in-Arden with a slightly larger force and a pitched battle was fought in the dense woodland on the 30th March 769.



Eadbeald’s focus on his heavy infantry and the sheer weight of numbers doomed Eormenræd’s army and the day was won. Some 5000 Mercians were killed that day on both sides, however the rebellion was put at a serious disadvantage after the loss of so much of its manpower on a single battle.

Jarl Eormenræd attempted to flee the field of battle but was allegedly separated from his retinue and forced to seek help from a local traveling merchant. The merchant then alerted King Eadbeald’s men and gave the rebellious Jarl up. Whatever the truth of the matter Eormenræd was captured following his decisive defeat at Henley-in-Arden a few days later. The rebellion was crushed after losing its figurehead and Eadbeald IV increased his reputation as a strong leader and son of his great father.



With the rebellion crushed support from Eadbeald’s vassals came gushing as the Ealdorman of Leicester, Hrodbhert, even made a speech about King Eadbeald IV and the glories of the Nedalskip line (Hrodbhert himself was partially related to House Nedalskip) which polarised the Mercian lords, though most had their opinion of the new king increased. The Jarl of Magonsæte (Osmund of Oak’s Cross) still barely favoured the king however and Eadbeald IV sought to rectify this by giving up the rule of Caer Swys and Burrium – whose lords had answered directly to the king – to Osmund’s rule, as they were de-jure part of his Jarldom. When Osmund’s son Wilheard succeeded him in May 769 the Jarl of Magonsæte was one of Eadbeald IV’s most loyal vassals.

The year of 770 was one of celebration and peace in Mercia after the bloodshed of the previous year. A summer fair and a major feast were hosted by the king with the expenses coming from his own treasury.



With the thoughts of 770 still in people’s minds Eadbeald IV moved to increase the authority of his office in July 771. The increase of crown authority would no longer allow Mercian vassals to wage wars within the realm against one another and more importantly would allow the king to revoke titles of rebelling lords.

Taking advantage of this Eadbeald IV came down harshly on Jarl Eormenræd and revoked the Jarldom of Essex, enforcing the claim on the region given to him by his father back in 764. Eormenræd remained in the dungeons of Tamworth, though he remained the de-jure Ealdorman of Cæster Forest north of Lundenwic.



The times of peace and security in Mercia came to an abrupt end in October 771 however as from nowhere King Sigehelm I “the Great” of Wessex declared war upon Eadbeald IV with the aim of fulfilling Wessex’s de-jure claim to the province of White Horse Vale.

That November thousands of Wessexian troops crossed the border into southern Mercia and began to lay siege to Eadbeald’s holdings. The huscarls of Lady Gunhilda of Gloucester were the only forces to give battle to the invaders, holding out for a while against a force ten times their size and stalling the Wessexian advance giving Eadbeald IV time to raise his armies and prepare for war.



The Mercian army marched quickly south to confront Sigehelm’s force and engaged them at the Battle of White Horse Vale. The harsh winter took a toll on the attackers who had to bring their supplies from Wessex, this dropped their morale considerably so that a Mercian victory seemed inevitable to the average soldier from Wessex. The Battle of White Horse Vale ended with a decisive win for Mercia and the loss of just under 1,000 men for 3,000 Wessexians. The broken army of Wessex was pursued over the border and beaten decisively again at Caer Ambra. By early December the initiative in the war was firmly in Eadbeald IV’s hands.

The turning fortunes in the war and visit of his wife to Eadbeald’s camp in early December must have sparked some old passion between the two and the Mercian Queen was announced pregnant for the first time in years, hopefully with a son and heir this time.



In early 772 the rump Kingdom of Cantia declared war on Wessex with the aim of re-conquering the region around Dover that had been lost some years ago. Wessex was now fighting a war on two fronts. King Sigehelm decided to gather his forces once more and knock Mercia out of the war first before taking on tiny Cantia. The Battle of Mildenhall on the 17th February 772 was a disaster for Wessex however and another decisive victory for Eadbeald IV.

As the war continued life went on in Mercia. Over the years the province of Arden Forest (current seat of Nedalskip kings since the Avon Reclamation) had began to assimilate to Anglo-Saxon culture and by 772 it would be innacurate to describe the region as a Brythonic area. By now the only areas in Mercia that were still old Brythonic in culture were in the north in the hilly Southern Pennines. Further north the regions of Cumbria that had been under Saxon rule for much less time still retained their own unique Cumbric culture and some areas even remained pagan. For the most part though the land of England was homogeneously Anglo-Saxon and Christian by 772.



By late June 772 Queen Leofrun gave birth to Eadbeald IV’s second child, a boy by the name of Coenræd who would one day inherit the massive honour and perhaps burden of House Nedalskip. Coenræd’s birth lifted a great metaphorical weight from King Eadbeald IV who became much less stressed and thus a better ruler after his line was secured.



The war in the south dragged on and by October the important Wessexian town of Aquae Sulis (Bath) had fallen to Mercian forces as they tightened their grip on Sigehelm’s kingdom. Eadbeald IV would only make peace if Wessex was to recognise White Horse Vale as rightfully Mercian and after the payment of a considerable tribute, two things that Sigehelm of Wessex would have to be pushed into doing by force.

In early 773 Cantia was knocked out of the war after losing the battle of Rutupiæ, the battle was a Pyrrhic victory for Wessex however, who lost a great number of soldiers to force a ceasefire. Cantia agreed to cease hostilities for at least a year and a half though its king remained committed to reclaiming Dover in his lifetime. 773 saw Mercian forces capturing many Wessexian holdings in the north of their country and defeating them in many small battles. Still Sigehelm refused to give in and pay the reparations demanded by Eadbeald IV despite Mercian forces roaming at will in Wessex. During this time the tiny Brythonic Kingdom of Kernow took the opportunity to reclaim some of its land taken by Wessex in the last century.



In 774 Eadbeald IV left the command of his armies in Wessex under his marshal Ealdwine of Leicester and returned back to his wife and home in Tamworth. That year Ealdwine invaded Wessexian Somerset and Devon defeating a major enemy army at the battle of Lindinis. That November Queen Leofrun of Mercia gave birth to Eadbeald’s third child, a girl named Eadburh. In the north the tiny remnants of Cumbria were finally absorbed into Deira which grew ever stronger under Jarl Sæbert Peveril I.

In the south the war with Wessex dragged into its 4th year as Cantia declared a renewed bid to reconquer Dover in January 775. Mercian forces moved further south than ever before, fighting the Battle of Caradon Hill north of modern day Portsmouth. With a Mercian victory and Eadbeald’s forces not far from Wessex’s capital King Sigehelm of Wessex finally agreed to peace terms on the 25th of March 775, surrendering his claims to White Horse Vale, giving Dover back to Cantia and paying large gold reprarations back to Mercia. With this victory Mercia regained its position as England’s (and Britannia’s) most powerful state.



With Mercia now at peace and the most dominant nation in Britannia Eadbeald IV decided to re-establish trade ties with the Byzantines and the new Arab caliphates in Iberia. The ports of Thunreslea and Lundenwic once again thrived as foreign merchants visited.

With this influx of foreign money and ideas Eadbeald IV began to study philosophy with his theologians. Though the study of philosophy had declined somewhat after the fall of Rome it did help Eadbeald’s stewardship and administration of the realm somewhat.



776 and 777 were quiet years in Mercia, but to the north Deira was slowly but surely absorbing the lands of Ystrad Clud, pushing the borders of England further north than ever before. Eadbeald IV spent the time studying, administrating and with his family, guiding his son and heir Coenræd to be a better and more diligent future ruler by confronting his fear of the dark.



In mid 777 East-Anglia was torn by civil war, which affected the eastern Mercian border with war refugees and occasional spillover. The son of the ex-King of Anglia, (Eoforwine I who had been deposed by King Eadbeald III back in 757) Eadmund, claimed East-Anglia and had gained the support of several lords against ruling Jarl Eadwig Camulodunum. With the war in apparent stalemate Eadbeald IV chose to intervene and declared war against the rebels, propping Eadwig up as his ally in the east. The rebels were defeated in short order and Mercia had won a new friend in East-Anglia.

To cement this new alliance Eadbeald’s daughter Wilflæd was betrothed to Eadwig’s son and heir also called Eadwig to cement friendship between the two states for years to come. With East-Anglia now an allied state to Mercia the rebirth of Greater Mercia was announced, for now Eadbeald IV ruled over the most powerful Kingdom on the Isles.



In 778 Eadbeald IV began to stir up another war with Wessex in order to solidify Mercia’s dominance over its southern neighbour. It took until summer 779 to falsify a claim to the Downs, part of the Jarldom of Hampscir that had once (back in 627) been under Mercian rule. In early August 779 Lady Sigeburh of Hampsicr’s personal troops were crushed to a man as Mercian forces pushed south. Sigeburh appealed to King Sigehelm of Wessex but the King’s armies were fighting dissent from the Briton populace in their Kernish borderlands. Eadbeald IV pressed hard on the offensive, spreading his forces throughout the south.



Unexpected and worrying news arrived from the north in late October however as Jarl Sæbert Peveril declared himself the King of Strathclyde. Deira had been expanding in the north for the last century but many observers in Mercia believed that the Jarldom would one day aim to reconquer the Kingdom of Northumbria (Jarldom of Bernicia). Sæbert was something of a one off however and had founded a new dynasty and put an end to the last independent Britons outside of Scotland, Wales and Kernow. The north was now home to two Kingdoms, though Northumbria was (and had been for many years) a fractured realm in civil war. The new Strathclydian Kingdom was a worry for Eadbeald IV, for if it unified the entire North Mercia would have a new great rival.



Despite this troublesome news the war in the south went on. After taking several lightly defended garrisons in east-Wessex Eadbeald marched his armies west towards Kernow to engage the Wessexian armies on the field. This tactic worked well and the Battle of Lefeard Castle in early 780 was a decisive Mercian victory, even if it was only a small clash.

Wessex held off until early September 780 when old King Sigehelm finally passed away, succeeded by his son Eormenræd I. Eormenræd made an immediate peace with Mercia and ceded the Downs, not wanting to lose any more lives and worrying for the security of his realm against resurgent Cantia and Kernow.

As the year 781 dawned Mercia was left at a crossroads. Wessex had been reduced to a shadow of its former power, beset by the minor powers of Cantia and Kernow chewing at its weakened borders and highly vulnerable to a Mercian invasion of its heartlands and re-conquest of Hampscir. To the West the Welsh nations are also highly fractured and weak, warring with each other as Christianity finally begins to make inroads into the pagan country. Having always been part of Greater Mercia it was tempting for many in Mercia to call for the re-conquest of East-Anglia into the realm. However its use as a future ally and the tendencacy of the region to revolt in the past are negatives to traditional Mercian expansion. In the North the newly proclaimed King of Strathclyde, Sæbert I is a rising power. The new king may seek to unite all the north under his banner and could very soon present a real threat to Mercian interests who had long seen the divided north as not presenting a threat to the Kingdom.



In this most crucial of decisions King Eadbeald IV has decided to do something unprecedented and gathered all his noblemen to a “Witenagemot”, a kind of early parliament, to his court at Tamworth to vote on the Kingdom’s path to English unification…



The five options that lay before the Witenagemot were:

1. Mercia expands east to reclaim East-Anglia and re-establish Greater Mercia
2. Mercia expands North into Deira and Cumbria in order to curb the growing power of Strathclyde and begin English unification.
3. Mercia expands south into Wessex and Cantia in order to prove our dominance of the English people and begin the unification of the country.
4. Mercia expands west into Wales, conquering more land from the ancient Britons and converting them to Christianity.
5. Mercia does not attempt aggressive expansion and instead focuses on internal development


(WHEN YOUR DECISION HAS BEEN MADE SEND ME A PERSONAL MESSAGE*)

* unless someone can tell me how to add a poll to a post??
 

Malurous

Field Marshal
97 Badges
Jun 24, 2007
3.645
1
  • 200k Club
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Sengoku
  • Sword of the Stars
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • War of the Roses
  • Leviathan: Warships
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • East India Company
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas
  • Deus Vult
  • Dungeonland
  • Cities in Motion
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition
The image limit of 20 per update (where any posts made within an hour count as one update) includes emoticons. Please make sure you stay within the limit, the thread is very slow to load anyway.
 

Luca0312

Major
2 Badges
Aug 6, 2012
716
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 500k Club
Oestado, I am somewhat sorry that you started your great AAR 'so early' in the mod development. I see you are still using an old version, but of course you had no choice if you wanted to continue your saved game.

The current version has many features that would have been great to see in your story... the Kingdoms of East Seaxe and South Seaxe, the building of a great Dyke leading to the formation of Cymru, dynastic branches for the Anglo-Saxons, an event-based system to claim the title of Bretwalda of Aenglaland, the cumbric High Kingdom of Hen Ogledd, cultural renaming of every province and many settlements, and much more.

Not to mention the upcoming update... which will include something your AAR would really benefit from at the current stage: Vikings!

Anyway... thanks again for your great story! Keep it coming!

L.