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Bullfilter

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Chapter 52: Soldiers of Fortune (5 July – 5 November 887)

Previously, on Blut und Schlacht The raiders look to continue their pillaging in the Mediterranean to find fortune there; King Dyre’s realm remains a patchwork of opportunistic occupations; the Mari-Pecheneg war is off to a slow start; and Rurik’s second son Eilif settles into married life while his father contemplates some ‘character building’ work for him – with fortune-seeking of another kind in mind.

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

July 887

July 5 of the year 887 CE saw simultaneous meetings of the raid commanders in the Mediterranean and of the twenty-first full Þing of Rurik’s reign. In the capital of Nygarðr, Rurik took note of the useful advice he had received and decided to assemble a mercenary company in Prince Eilif’s name. This group would be known as the Novgorodian Band (Novgorod being the Slavic rendering of Nygarðr, which various courtiers thought would be more recognisable around the region in which it hoped to drum up business).

i6uTQY.jpg

Rurik noted the various options he had with regard to the Band now it had been set up. The two most applicable ones at present related to improving its equipment and expanding its numbers. He would wait on these for now, to see how the band might grow in its own time through ordinary word-of-mouth recruiting and while he awaited the raiders to return with another influx of gold. Rurik had a few misgivings about Eilif’s abilities to lead, but knew he had to let him run things himself. [Comment: I hadn’t realised this would set Eilif up in the style of an independent ruler and found the next little period quite interesting, so I have noted that process down and tracked the growth of the Band for learning purposes.]

“Helgi, I would like you to track the progress of your half-brother’s venture. In the future it will be up to you to manage its growth and employment. First, let us have a look at its starting strength and how it compares to the other bands already working in the region.”

“Here it is, father, ranked against all the other mercenary bands we have information on. You can see there are a couple of other small ‘start-up’ bands of a similar nature, the rest being more established forces. Eilif starts with 230 men, mainly light infantry, some archers and a few heavy infantry.”

CmeqfM.jpg

Chief Hrolfr, in charge of the Mediterranean raiding party, had simultaneously taken the advice of his subordinate commanders and resolved to stick to the original plan of raiding the small independent realms of southern Italia, steering clear of the Byzantine hornet’s nest they had stirred up in Rhegion. They headed towards Capua – checking to make sure there were no troublesome alliances - but not heeding reports at the time of some kind of illness in that part of Italia. [:oops:]

Hwd6C1.jpg

A couple of days after the Þing, Rurik received word that yet another of Dyre’s counties in the south of Konugarðr had succumbed to foreign occupation. What horrible border gore, he thought to himself as he was presented by Gumarich der Schreiber with a map showing Dyre’s latest loss marked. Though Dyre’s vassals seemed intent on trying to fix some of that in the north-east, with Gradimir’s army still in full retreat.

4Kbllv.jpg

And then Grimr did his loyal Norse Germanic duty by marrying Ingrid, Steward Alfgeir’s daughter. An somewhat unwanted distraction for Grimr; a loss of a Court Dwarf for Rurik. A fair swap.

tSC2h7.jpg

Dyre’s vassals began besieging Mozhaysk in mid-July. It shouldn’t take them too long to reduce the small Tverian garrison left to defend it.

hIAJMN.jpg

The raiding fleet arrived off Capua on 15 July and went through its usual landing process.

Z3P2Th.jpg

Eilif meantime was gradually assembling his own small court as leader of the new Novgorodian Band. At the same time, he informed his father he had decided to embark on a religious focus, immersing himself in the mysteries of the Germanic faith.

“I approve of this Eilif: maintaining and propagating our faith is important in this hostile heathen land. And the additional learning will do you good. I wish you all luck with your pursuit of it.”

“Thank you, father. In that vein, I have also decided to try to become a paragon of Germanic virtue, for the glory of the faith!”

“Again, highly commendable, Eilif. May the Gods travel with you always.”

“I have also begun to recruit advisors in my new role. They are common men – and for some reason do not seem that well disposed towards me, despite agreeing to join my venture. But I can only take what is on offer.”

“I’m sure it will all work out fine, Eilif. Though I must say your Marshal isn’t very, well, martial! Your Chancellor would make a very good commander, though.”

“I’ll see what I can do, father.”

JqQCiA.jpg

Comment: interesting that he looks to assemble a whole council here, like a little realm without land. Not sure how much effect they have on its doings.

As the raiders made landfall and looked more closely at their surroundings, they soon realised they had made a terrible mistake. Capua and much of the surrounding land was in the grip of a smallpox epidemic! They quickly turned around and fled back to the ships, quarantining the men as best they could and hoping they could get away before becoming infected themselves.

U8BSou.jpg


5sUTtL.jpg

“Ring-a-ring o' roses; A pocket full of posies; A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down.”

They seemed to escape unscathed and by early August were heading around to the eastern side of the peninsula, which for now seemed to have avoided (or was now over) the epidemic.

IhSB0p.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

August 887

Around this time, Prince-Marshal Helgi made another update report to his father on the Novgorodian Band. They had grown somewhat (46 recruits) in the past month. Band Steward Alfr had been appointed as a commander – a good move, as he was easily the most talented warrior to so far join Eilif’s small court. He had also enacted a law to enable him to revoke titles! [Comment: not sure how much use that will be to him, but another interesting little aspect.]

wEWCNq.jpg

Helgi also brought sad news of the death of Þorsteinn’s wife Sif from the flu. Rurik did not want his commander to be lonely on his return, so arranged a new match for him. Wanting to look within the realm first, he was alerted to a courtier of Grimr’s who, despite being Russian and of somewhat difficult character, was at least of the Germanic faith and about the right age. The match was proposed.

kEosgJ.jpg

Grimr soon accepted and the arrangement was made. Þorsteinn would be informed once he returned from the raid.

WJZh6A.jpg

As August wore on, the voyage around the ‘boot’ of Italia was completed with the arrival of the raiding fleet in the Adriatic Sea. With a careful check to ensure the smallpox epidemic had not spread, the raiders began to push ashore on unsuspecting Foggia, where young Duke Astorre of Apulia reigned under a regency.

PYtj3b.jpg

Closer to home, the end of August saw the rout of Gradimir’s Tverian army finally halted in Belo Ozero, where they began heading south again. Mozhaysk had been reoccupied by Dyre’s vassals, now shifting the balance of the war very slightly in the Könugarðians' favour. His vassals next set out for Bryansk, to erase the last of Gradimir’s conquests there, no doubt.

AA9nGm.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

September-October 887

In Foggia, the usual routine of raiding recommenced. Duke Astorre’s own main personal levy was effectively blockaded in Foggia itself, but his two chief vassals could, if they wished, summon reasonably sizeable levies in Apulia and Bari. Whether they would was another matter. Although the raiders would outnumber them, the locals’ greater proportion of heavier troops and a smattering of mounted regiments was always something to make the raiders wary.

xDUWPI.jpg

As the raid progressed, Hrolfr was told of others in the region doing similar work – specifically, a group of Danes to the north of them. It was not certain, but it looked like they were hitting the Croatian county of Senj at present.

gwtW8q.jpg

Eilif made two more council appointments late in September. One of them – Egill, who had been made Spymaster – was a rival with Ferverdyn for the title of Village Idiot! Though he did seem to have a little martial ability, despite this. By early October, the Band had grown to 367 in size. Rurik hoped that the lack of talent (and of personal loyalty) in Eilif's advisers would not impact too badly on the success of the venture.

Sdi26y.jpg

Some days later, Helgi brought Rurik a comprehensive update on Dyre’s border wars. It was assessed Chief Bronislav of Peremyshl was very nearly in a position to dictate terms for his claim on Vladimir Volynsky. Chief Narvait of Latgale was also in a strong position, though still (despite the four counties he held now) had much work to do. Surprisingly, Chief Spera of Vilnius seemed to have made no real progress, despite his conquests. Helgi mused that this may be because Narvait had already occupied Minsk (which Spera was trying to claim himself) for some time, while it was unknown what battles had transpired between Spera and Dyre to affect their relative standings. Gradimir’s position was deteriorating slowly and it seemed he would never be able to muster the troops he needed to contend with Dyre’s vassals – if they stayed in the area.

DcCuqG.jpg

Once the countryside of Foggia had been thoroughly looted – Astorre’s vassals had failed to muster their own levies during this time – the raiders decided to head across country to the independent one-county realm of Benevento, after first having conducted alliance and epidemic checks!

hrxpXL.jpg

They arrived on 30 October – taking the risk that the epidemic would not spread further while they scoured the countryside for treasure. The plan, other circumstances remaining favourable, was to then head further west to Amalfi, which was also currently smallpox-free.

GCSUTl.jpg

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

November 887

Helgi and Hrörekr briefed Rurik in early November on Saksa the Monster’s war to subjugate the Pechenegs. Not many details were available, but after a slow start, word had been received that Saksa had taken Yazi’s main stronghold of Sary Su in Lower Volga. It seemed unlikely the Pechenegs would be able to hold out for too long, unfortunately.

IlQha7.jpg

Eilif’s Band had now grown to 412 men and he had recently appointed two more of his mediocre councillors as commanders.

m88FzD.jpg

Ch52 Q1: Eilif’s Band – Hiring Cost. I haven’t wanted to click on anything yet (given I’m in Ironman mode and don’t want to do anything that can’t be recovered) but was wondering regarding the designated hiring fee of 151.3 gold. If I was to hire them later, do I pay all of that? Or (as hinted at previously) either free or for a reduced fee? Similarly with the monthly fee: presume I’d get a proportion of both of these if someone else hires them, but was wondering how much of the maintenance fee we’d pay if Rurik (or later Helgi) hired them.

No other specific questions at this point, though I would of course welcome any observations or additional advice on matters raised at home or on raid in this shorter (for me, heh) chapter. A formal Þing won’t be convened this time, but general informal comment and discussion would be nice.
ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

jIuqyl.jpg

Eilif hopes he can one day rival the Varangian Guard as a mercenary outfit. This could be an unrealistic ambition, but for a budding young Norse princeling and would-be Paragon of Virtue, Rurik believes his dreams should be encouraged!
 
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stnylan

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Maybe once he has established himself Eilif will get a better crew.
 

diskoerekto

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bice little episode with all the wise advisors of eilif :)

This group would be known as the Novgorodian Band
sounds like a nice hip lo fi rock band name

oh i haven't seen the festering buttock boils of Hel coming. good stuff :D

Yazi’s main stronghold of Sary Su in Lower Volga.
means yellow creek in turkish, these nomadic tribes are all various degrees of turkic

Ch52 Q1: Eilif’s Band – Hiring Cost. I haven’t wanted to click on anything yet (given I’m in Ironman mode and don’t want to do anything that can’t be recovered) but was wondering regarding the designated hiring fee of 151.3 gold. If I was to hire them later, do I pay all of that? Or (as hinted at previously) either free or for a reduced fee? Similarly with the monthly fee: presume I’d get a proportion of both of these if someone else hires them, but was wondering how much of the maintenance fee we’d pay if Rurik (or later Helgi) hired them.
that's how i think it is, but i'm not sure at all. i guess there will be better counsel than mine about this :D
 

Arnulf Floyd

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I am looking forward for next chapter of this awesome. Ive begun playing CK2 past few days, I like as this game has good storytelling features allows us to live alongside characters and even let enjoy many generations of them. I love AARs because offers a great alternative to book literature
 

Eurasia

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So you gave Eilif soldiers and he is picking out a Council. You SURE you trust him? o_O
 

Bullfilter

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Those advisers ... Eilif the Illadvised ...
:D Nice one. Eilif 'the Unraedy' indeed!
Maybe once he has established himself Eilif will get a better crew.
One hopes so. Though I'm not sure how much it really matters for a mercenary band? I wonder (out loud) if the Marshal appointee affects the recruitment rate for the band?
bice little episode with all the wise advisors of eilif :)
Thanks! Yes, with that lot, even Eilif is not the dullest tool in the set! :rolleyes:
sounds like a nice hip lo fi rock band name
:D
oh i haven't seen the festering buttock boils of Hel
I don't think any of us want to see them! :eek::D
means yellow creek in turkish, these nomadic tribes are all various degrees of turkic
Interesting. :)
that's how i think it is, but i'm not sure at all. i guess there will be better counsel than mine about this :D
We'll see if anyone else has more specific info. If not (and Googling the wiki fails) I guess I'll just find out by experimentation! :)
I am looking forward for next chapter of this awesome. Ive begun playing CK2 past few days, I like as this game has good storytelling features allows us to live alongside characters and even let enjoy many generations of them. I love AARs because offers a great alternative to book literature
Thank you and welcome @Arnulf Floyd, wonderful to have you on the Good Ship Rurikid! :) Hope you enjoy the game (which I'm also still very much learning, of course). Maybe one day you may try an AAR yourself!
I started watching 'Norsemen' over the weekend (great and very funny show, by the way). It reminded me of this a lot.
Have watched Vikings, but not Norsemen yet. Is it a more light-hearted take than Vikings? In any case, I'm glad we have a bit of art paralleling art here! :)
So you gave Eilif soldiers and he is picking out a Council. You SURE you trust him? o_O
I trust he can be handled if he were to ever try anything - and that council of his so far resembles the Keystone Cops! It's an interesting experiment, anyway. I can always disband them if it comes to that: he may not be happy if that's done, but c'est la guerre! ;)
 

diskoerekto

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maybe if he changes gender laws a bit he can make his wife the marshal, she will be better than any of that bunch
 

GulMacet

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Norsemen is basically Vikings, but intentionally funny (and made by actual Norwegians, therefore somewhat more realistic/better researched, except when it's funnier not to adhere to history). I can recommend it wholeheartedly!
 

Ringelnatz

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Well, thanks so much for a very entertaining and instructive AAR! Rurik and his shenanigans were with me for the last couple weeks and i already dread his passing; or maybe not, he seems to be in rude health still, if scarred by his past.
 

Bullfilter

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Well, thanks so much for a very entertaining and instructive AAR! Rurik and his shenanigans were with me for the last couple weeks and i already dread his passing; or maybe not, he seems to be in rude health still, if scarred by his past.
Thanks so much to you and welcome! Really nice to have a new reader who makes themselves known. :) And thanks for the effort to read through the back story and the 'Things' (which I've organised that way so the excellent advice I've received is more organised and accessible). You and I are both dreading Rurik's passing, but it will also be interesting to see how his heir goes - and a whole new learning experience from what will no doubt be a messy and complicated gavelkind succession train crash! :eek: But, as yet, as the play is 'live', Rurik keeps going on a could be around for years yet. Or drop dead tomorrow :( - such is life and death in CK2! ;)
 
Chapter 53: A Beacon in the Darkness (21 November 887 – 28 March 888)

Bullfilter

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Chapter 53: A Beacon in the Darkness (21 November 887 – 28 March 888)

Previously, on Blut und Schlacht The Great Raid is dodging a smallpox outbreak and hostile locals to sack southern Italia; King Dyre continues to face many enemies picking at his apostate Orthodox flesh; Eilif’s Novgorodian Band continues to build as he assembles his own ‘mercenary court of commoners’; and young High Chief Yazi of Pecheneg contends with the rapacious and unrelenting Saksa 'the Monster' of Mari.

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

November-December 887

The last Councillor of Eilif’s ‘Mercenary Court’ is appointed. Seer Skuli is at least passably learned, albeit an envious coward who somewhat dislikes Eilif. Though (and this will apply to the rest of the new court) it is principally because of his ‘short reign’.

j0jcur.jpg

In mid-December, word is received that Dyre had to concede the first of his wars against the ‘border crows’, relinquishing Vladimir Volynsky to the Polish Chief Bronislav. While it gets one of the invading armies off his back, it is not a good sign for Dyre. Tough luck, thought Rurik, with a grim smile to himself.

ANfdtS.jpg

While making the report about Könugarðr’s well-deserved problems, Chancellor Hrörekr alerted his king to a claim that was available to one of Hrolfr’s vassals, which Rurik could [presumably] choose to press on her behalf, against King Charles the Bald of West Francia, no less. That recent refugee from the dwindling Swedish enclave there, Ivar Rakki, also has one on Verdun, it seems. While Rurik had no immediate interest (unlike his Scandinavian Norse colleagues) in taking lands in western Europa, he thought it at least bore noting. That and the fact he could invade and claim any coastal county he was able to take and hold. It was good to be a Viking!

6dJ0W4.jpg

A Karling! Sound the alert!

“Need I seriously consider taking any action on claims such as these, Hrörekr?”

“I think not, My Liege, but will consult the learned about them. It may be a form of war we have recourse to in the future, whether on these claims or some nearer to us. Here are some more details about the two mentioned here.”

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Chap53 Q1: Pressing Vassal Claims. I know this is a thing, though for the reasons above not a big one for Rurik at the moment. But any thoughts – especially in the context of a Russian-based Norse tribal ruler – on the utility of such claims, or more general tips (and pitfalls) for enforcing them, would be welcome.

“And finally for today, My Liege, Prince Helgi and I have collaborated in producing this update on Könugarðr’s woes.”

“Oh yes, and what is happening now?”

“The Prince-Marshal reports Chief Gradimir has made a bit of a comeback. His commander Fedot has rallied Tver's small levy and taken in back to Mozhaysk, which he is now besieging unchallenged.”

“The many is nothing if not persistent. And he still holds Bryansk? Dyre’s vassals left off its relief?”

“It seems so. Most of them were to the west in Pallteskja, apparently trying to relieve that, but two of the invading armies – both on their own much larger than their allied contingents there – are headed there. Dyre’s vassals look like they will escape by a few days. The Peremyshlian army should now be neutral and is probably just returning home after their victory against Dyre. But the army from Latgale numbers well over 3,000 and would crush the Könugarðians if it caught them.”

“Hah! His new God doesn’t seem to be very good at supporting him in his wars. A pox on Dyre and his heathen creed!”

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

Far away in southern Italia, the raiders had finished sacking Benevento on 24 December. They had suffered another 205 casualties. A recently translated note from Hrolfr, acquired by Gumarich der Schreiber after the raid and included in his records, has confirmed that these were the result of minor enemy actions, small outbreaks of disease, bandits and such like. It was just that no detailed reports were made if the king and his royal scribe were not present [see note below]. Amalfi, which was to have been the next target, had already mustered its levies. Salerno still suffered from smallpox and had also called out its levies, so neither of them was considered for the next stage of the raid. But Capua was now disease-free, looked to have reasonable pickings and had no levy mustered. The army would march overland, the fleet would need to sail around the ‘boot’ of Italia to support them.

ZpiaWp.jpg

Chap53 Note 1: Unannounced Casualties. I tested this out in another different short ‘trial game’. The same thing (ie casualties being suffered with no message, when the leader was not there in person and despite the commanders being tagged as characters of interest) happened there a few times, but in those cases the sieges were seen through and the casualties were included in the battle report, as they normally would be. In these raids, I normally leave before the sieges are resolved, so don’t get a report. I think this must be it, on the balance of probabilities. There were no attrition warnings/symbols and no disease etc in the counties. If there's some message setting I've missed (been through it a few times now) that would provide these reports anyway, I'd really appreciate a heads-up about it. A screenshot too, maybe, just to make sure. If not, I'll get let it go.

Meanwhile, the well-travelled King Rögnvaldr of Ostlandet was again looking to far coastal lands for conquest – this time in the north of Germania. He certainly believed in casting his net wide.

eiMIi2.jpg

And, to finish the year off with a flourish, Jarl Tyueykezhut of Yaroslavl – Rurik’s most powerful vassal – decided he would also have a pick at King Dyre’s living carcass. Though he chose Mozhaysk, which Gradimir already had a claim on – and was currently besieging again. The Jarl may well end up empty-handed if Gradimir beats him to it.

GcUHbQ.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

January-February 888

Rurik turned 58 on 1 January – in what was now the twenty-first year of his reign since the founding of the original Petty Kingdom of Holmgarðr. He showed no signs of either slowing down or of worsening madness.

His raiders in Italia arrived in Capua the next day. They set up their siege works and discovered the treasure available to be significantly greater than previous scout reports had suggested – it should be easily the most lucrative of the raid so far. But they would have to wait for the fleet to arrive before they could start loading the valuables.

Hbkjp8.jpg

The fleet duly sailed into the Gulf of Naples in the middle of the month and the gold again flowed. Word also came to Nygarðr that Rögnvaldr was now making no secret of his ambition to eventually become King of Norway. Ostlandet was clearly not enough for this ambitious man.

On 12 February, another 98 men fell victim to some kind of unrecorded misadventure during the siege of Capua. The wear and tear on the raiding party was starting to build up: despite not fighting any serious field battles, they had accumulated losses of some hundreds by now. Hrolfr began considering his next steps: it may soon be time to head home.

FC590C.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

March 888


Early March brought another consignment of tomes and parchments from Constantinople: Queen Ingjerðr had again delivered more secrets of the Byzantines. This led Rurik to again look at his kingdom’s research, and he discovered that he could make another advance in military technology. He chose to make it in siege equipment [now the third military tech to make it to the second level, after Light Infantry and Military Organisation]. There were some economic advances [though not all] that could be made, but he held off on that for now, preferring to ask his Steward to consult the learned at the next Þing as to the most efficient path to take. [Town Infrastructure is the only tech currently at the second level. Not a formal question, but any general thoughts again welcome.] Any new cultural achievement was still some way off.

HVX2wW.jpg

With the weather still cold, Helgi found his father warming his old but sturdy bones in front of a roaring fire. He sat on the timber bench next to him and asked if he would like some news of happenings to the south.

“Dyre in trouble again, is he?”

“That he is, father.”

“Excellent! Tell me all.”

“Here, this map explains his latest predicament. Against all the odds, Gradimir has retaken Mozhaysk and now has the upper hand in his claim for it.”

“Well, good for him, evil kin-slayer though he may be!”

“And Jarl Tyueykezhut won’t be too pleased either, given he was also after it. He has instead headed south to Kolomna. No significant force of Dyre or his vassals is in sight.”

a9ZM5z.jpg

“Thank you, Helgi. That’s warmed me up on a cold day.”
But a few days later, that warmth had turned to a chill. Word came from one of the Queen’s agents that a plot – by as yet unknown malefactors – had been hatched to kill Rurik’s youngest son, Dyre [by then around 12 years old], the heir to the Duchy of Belo Ozero. While some of the Council suggested Dyre go into hiding, Rurik would have none of it.

“We don’t run scared and jump at shadows. Let them show their hands – and we will cut them off. Along with their heads!”

uzRpKm.jpg

But while the spies’ records did not show who might be behind it (if indeed the rumours were more than just a bit of ‘fake news’), they did show a different plot had been hatched and was well-afoot, that Rurik had not previously noticed.

His daughter Asa, now married to Chief Nishkepaz Meryavid and living at Tyueykezhut’s court in Yaroslavl, had picked up some bad habits. For reasons that were not fully clear – and that Rurik did not have the patience to work out – she wanted to kill Ingrid, the former Court Dwarf and recently installed (by Rurik) spouse of Grimr of Smaleskja! Apart from the injustice of it and the obvious treachery in Grimr’s court – two of his own Council were in on it – it would upset Rurik's carefully made plan. And of course Ingrid’s father, the faithful Steward, Alfgeir. In would not stand.

“I will say nothing to Grimr of this, for your sake, though he may find out himself,” Rurik wrote in a sealed letter delivered to Asa by a trusted messenger. “But you will stop this.”

G4N1An.jpg

A reply came in mid-March which, along with Rurik’s terse response, was recently found and translated. It can now be laid before you, gentle readers. While Rurik was generally happy for Slavs in general and Slovenskys in particular to try to kill each other off (though they rarely seemed to succeed), he would not countenance the spilling of noble Norse blood in that way without good reason. And the two young women were the same age, having grown up together in Nygarðr. Shameful!

3DSzpV.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

The sacking of Capua’s rich countryside was completed on 23 March without any further loss of life (or of raiders, anyway). With over 200 gold in the coffers and no more easy or lucrative targets nearby, Hrolfr ordered the men to the ships.

rAAfRq.jpg

He gathered his raid commanders together as they considered their next move.

“I think it is time to return,” said Hrolfr. “But Þorsteinn, do you have the latest reports on Tunis and the Sheikh of Annaba? Might we hit it on the way back home?”

“Sheikh Keraja still has well over 2,000 men under arms. In our weakened state, we would risk being ambushed and badly mauled. I think we have done enough. It’s a good haul – let’s get back.”

“I agree,” said Sverker, while old Chief Svetozar 'the Holy' nodded in the background. “The king may well want his troops on hand soon too, as that five-year pledge of peace is drawing to an end. We can return with pride, prestige and treasure.”

C9yyW9.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

And back at home, momentous news was delivered to Rurik on 27 March: an event he had been hoping might happen for over 20 years. One that had almost cost his Steward his life recently.

“My King,” Alfgeir announced as grandly as he could from his very short vantage point. “I have the honour and privilege of informing you that the settlement of our new Norse tribespeople in Holmgarðr has been successful. A majority of our capital county is now of Norse culture!”

“First the Germanic faith, now our fine Norse culture – Holmgarðr is a small beacon in a dark land. May it grow brighter and prosper, in Odin’s sight! Once again, I salute you Alfgeir. You may indeed be short, but your will is strong!”

“Thank you, My King.”

MmPcvB.jpg

“In fact, you did such a good job of it here I’d like you to try the same in Ladoga. Straight away!”

“Of course, King Rurik, my pleasure.”

Gumarich noted admiringly in his journal that Alfgeir barely missed a beat – his zeal outweighing his weariness. Just.

“As you order, so it shall be. Even if it takes many a year and may need to be finished by my successor.”

After a short – very Norse – celebration that evening, he was off to Ladoga the very next day. With a hangover. A Steward’s work is never done!

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

As March drew to a close, men all aboard and treasure secured, the depleted but proud raiders began their homeward voyage on 28 March. They would return past the troubled lands of Dyre’s sorely beset heathen kingdom.

CAglMp.jpg

In Nygarðr, Rurik took stock of his current position as spring started to warm the northern lands. The kingdom's base army strength was now approaching 3,000 men. On their way back from the latest raid, he would presently find just a ‘Magnificent Seven’ remained of the old regiment of adventurers who had joined him back in January 867. The new Housecarl Regiment now numbered 58. His prestige was high and would increase again with the return of the latest raid – which would also boost the treasury.

hSAg28.jpg

As he neared the end of his ‘five years of peace’, he was well-pleased with how things stood. Most likely, he would look again to territorial acquisition closer to home – or even an intervention to put that pesky Saksa the Monster in his place. Or strike the weakened Könugarðr. Or perhaps conquer some of the small Finnish realms, as part of the gradual push into Scandinavia. So many possibilities for glory, blood and battle!

Chap53 Q2: Future Directions. Rurik wishes to make the most of the time he has left. I have some ideas of my own, but there are, as mentioned above, many possibilities. Even more raiding, though this latest one is done but not yet dusted. As always, views and suggestions are always welcome.

Prince Eilif’s Novgorodian Band also continued to grow. It remained a predominantly light force for now – but perhaps some of that gold due back from the Mediterranean might go into improving it a little. With a full Council assembled, young Eilif – still only a teenager – had also recruited a new commander at the end of December. The man was quite competent, too. And only mildly disloyal.

z7V7ub.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

Sharing a horn or two after a council meeting, Hrörekr and Helgi gave Rurik another update on events to the realm’s south. Once the raiders returned and the period of peace wound down, this information became ever more relevant to future decision-making.

“My Liege,” started the Chancellor. “We have no real specifics, but Saksa’s subjugation war on the Pechenegs proceeds slowly though with seeming inevitability. Young High Chief Yazi retook the Lower Volga region, but has lost the county of Pecheneg to his enemy.”

“He still fights on though – which I must admit I’m a little surprised at,” commented the king.

“He does, Sire, but that will be made even more difficult now by a recent Bulgarian declaration of a Holy War for Pecheneg. We can’t know yet how it proceeds – we would need to send someone down there to take a look – but it does not bode well for the Pechenegs.”

“By Freya’s Mighty Teats! That seems most unjust!”

LwermD.jpg

“Unjust perhaps, father, but alas it is the reality.” Helgi said as he prepared to deliver the next part of the report. “To happier news, The map of Könugarðr continues to resemble a pile of dog’s vomit on a sunny day!" Rurik chuckled, while the somewhat fusty old Chancellor looked somewhat askance at the Prince - but wisely said nothing.

“The latest reports show he can barely muster 30 men from his own demesne. We don’t know how many troops his vassals have left. Most of his country remains under occupation by various greedy bordering chiefs, even if he settled with Bronislav back in December. This will leave his realm weakened for years, I would think.”

“And a tempting target for us, too. If my smaller vassals can put Dyre over a barrel, we would have no trouble doing so! Food for thought.”

VJ5tgF.jpg


ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

“Hrörekr, I know we have just missed the ordained time for a Blot until later this year, but I would like to conduct at least one more before I must travel to Valhalla. If we are at peace in November, I would like to celebrate one. We can use it to get rid of those two rebel scum. It will be grand! And at that time, I will decide whether to honour Ferverdyn with the opportunity to sacrifice himself at the Blot, or to finally set him free.”

“Ah, My Liege, about the prisoners. It seems Setyamka has, uh, well ... he’s not there any more.”



“What!? Don't mince your words, man. Tell me straight.”

“We think he just died unremarked at some point in the last few months. It either wasn’t reported or it was and was lost in the midst of other events. No-one can recall what actually happened to him. Though someone would definitely have noticed if he’d escaped. Probably. We think.”

“Damnation! At least try to find out what happened, though the horse is bolted now.”

HJNSv6.jpg

Chap53 Q3: I (want to) see Dead People. I’m assuming he probably just died in prison and I didn’t notice the report. Ah well. Is there any way of searching for dead characters, other than when they're included in the profiles of other living characters? I searched for Setyamka among the living using the character finder and he didn't come up.

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

Questions & Note

Chap53 Q1: Pressing Vassal Claims. I know this is a thing, though for the reasons above not a big one for Rurik at the moment. But any thoughts – especially in the context of a Russian-based Norse tribal ruler – on the utility of such claims, or more general tips for enforcing them, would be welcome.

Chap53 Note 1: Unannounced Casualties. I tested this out in another different short ‘trial game’. The same thing (ie casualties being suffered with no message, when the leader was not there in person and despite the commanders being tagged as characters of interest) happened there a few times, but in those cases the sieges were seen through and the casualties were included in the battle report, as they normally would be. In these raids, I normally leave before the sieges are resolved, so don’t get a report. I think this must be it, on the balance of probabilities. There were no attrition warnings/symbols and no disease etc in the counties. If there's some message setting I've missed (been through it a few times now) that would provide these reports anyway, I'd really appreciate a heads-up about it. A screenshot too, maybe, just to make sure. If not, I'll get let it go.

Chap53 Q2: Future Directions. Rurik wishes to make the most of the time he has left. I have some ideas of my own, but there are, as mentioned above, many possibilities. Even more raiding, though this latest one is done but not yet dusted. As always, views and suggestions are always welcome.

Chap53 Q3: I (want to) see Dead People. I’m assuming he probably just died in prison and I didn’t notice the report. Ah well. Is there any way of searching for dead characters, other than when they're included in the profiles of other living characters? I searched for Setyamka among the living using the character finder and he didn't come up.

NB: and do remember, the quarterly ACAs are still open and the more voters the merrier, whether for this work or others you like to read. A link to the ACAs is in my signature below. All you need is an active account to be an 'enrolled voter'. ;)

ᚔ ᚱᚢᚱᛁᚲᛁᛞ ᚔ

ilOZsT.jpg

The latest Great Raid, which set sail from Ingria on 2 July 886 CE, was finally on its way back home. The men would have been away for not quite two years before they returned. Would it be the last big raid of Rurik’s reign?
 
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Arnulf Floyd

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Oct 22, 2018
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Another good start. Vikings and Germanic peoples were very interesting to play
 

stnylan

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I think profit from the disarray of one's neighbours :)

As to vassal claims, I think that is almost always situational.
 

diskoerekto

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The last Councillor of Eilif’s ‘Mercenary Court’ is appointed. Seer Skuli is at least passably learned, albeit an envious coward who somewhat dislikes Eilif. Though (and this will apply to the rest of the new court) it is principally because of his ‘short reign’.
This is not how you form a band of misfits, Eilif!

Chap53 Q1: Pressing Vassal Claims. I know this is a thing, though for the reasons above not a big one for Rurik at the moment. But any thoughts – especially in the context of a Russian-based Norse tribal ruler – on the utility of such claims, or more general tips (and pitfalls) for enforcing them, would be welcome.
Pressing (convenient and useful) claims is always a good thing, but I don't know what the specifics would be for your realm. If the claim was for a bigger title, it would be a great way to start a war since we're low on useful CBs.

Chap53 Note 1: Unannounced Casualties. I tested this out in another different short ‘trial game’. The same thing (ie casualties being suffered with no message, when the leader was not there in person and despite the commanders being tagged as characters of interest) happened there a few times, but in those cases the sieges were seen through and the casualties were included in the battle report, as they normally would be. In these raids, I normally leave before the sieges are resolved, so don’t get a report. I think this must be it, on the balance of probabilities. There were no attrition warnings/symbols and no disease etc in the counties. If there's some message setting I've missed (been through it a few times now) that would provide these reports anyway, I'd really appreciate a heads-up about it. A screenshot too, maybe, just to make sure. If not, I'll get let it go.
Now this makes sense. I very usually wait until all holdings fall so I wouldn't have had a lot of chances to see this occur.

Meanwhile, the well-travelled King Rögnvaldr of Ostlandet was again looking to far coastal lands for conquest – this time in the north of Germania. He certainly believed in casting his net wide.
I don't like this king one little bit.

Early March brought another consignment of tomes and parchments from Constantinople: Queen Ingjerðr had again delivered more secrets of the Byzantines. This led Rurik to again look at his kingdom’s research, and he discovered that he could make another advance in military technology. He chose to make it in siege equipment [now the third military tech to make it to the second level, after Light Infantry and Military Organisation]. There were some economic advances [though not all] that could be made, but he held off on that for now, preferring to ask his Steward to consult the learned at the next Þing as to the most efficient path to take. [Town Infrastructure is the only tech currently at the second level. Not a formal question, but any general thoughts again welcome.] Any new cultural achievement was still some way off.
I'm guessing castle infrastructure is what we need but I'm not sure, best to leave this to commenters who know better.

“I have the honour and privilege of informing you that the settlement of our new Norse tribespeople in Holmgarðr has been successful. A majority of our capital county is now of Norse culture!”
Hallelujah! Errm... All hail Odin!

I'm saying because it's on our way anyway, is there loot to be had in the southernmost Byzantine tip of the Crimean peninsula? Kerch I believe or Theodosia?

Chap53 Q2: Future Directions. Rurik wishes to make the most of the time he has left. I have some ideas of my own, but there are, as mentioned above, many possibilities. Even more raiding, though this latest one is done but not yet dusted. As always, views and suggestions are always welcome.
You know I always advocate for Russian Empire. Therefore 3 of the provinces of Saksa are of importance to us (Obran Osh, the one just north of it, and the one just north of that accross the river; I guess Gorodez and Galich Mersky?) and giving him a beating would also mean our son in law will inherit a better realm so that's a plan. Anything from the heathen on our south (de jure kingdom of Ruthenia) is fair game (they also have Mozhasyk, the 4th province of our kingdom that we lack, which seems to be coming our way anyway). Also to the north we have our natural territory (de jure kingdom of Perm) in the tundra but there are poor stuff. If our priority is the religious reform, then we should attack Ostlandet although the other holy sites will be out of reach for quite some time anyway. I say 1st priority would be any provinces in our de jure kingdom that we still lack (3 provinces of Mari, I don't know what kind of CB we can use for that). 2nd priority will be Ruthenia (Konugarthr) which is richer than Perm and already imploding. 3rd would be the tundra kingdom of Perm. 4th will be Ostlandet?

Chap53 Q3: I (want to) see Dead People. I’m assuming he probably just died in prison and I didn’t notice the report. Ah well. Is there any way of searching for dead characters, other than when they're included in the profiles of other living characters? I searched for Setyamka among the living using the character finder and he didn't come up.
No idea about this.
 
Last edited:

Specialist290

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Strong, prosperous, stable, peaceful -- Rurik's realm stands tall amid the chaos surrounding it :)

Chap53 Q1: Pressing Vassal Claims. I know this is a thing, though for the reasons above not a big one for Rurik at the moment. But any thoughts – especially in the context of a Russian-based Norse tribal ruler – on the utility of such claims, or more general tips (and pitfalls) for enforcing them, would be welcome.

Pressing other people's claims is a situational thing, usually most useful when the target in question would be more difficult to get at through fabricating your own claim or through other CBs. Just be aware that in order for the new land to be added to your own realm, the following conditions have to be satisfied:

  1. The claim being pressed must be of lesser rank than your highest title.
  2. At least one of the following must apply:
    a. The claimant must be of your dynasty.
    b. The claim must be part of one of your titles' de jure territory.
    c. The claimant must already be a landed vassal under you (though they don't necessarily have to be your immediate vassal; vassals of vassals count.)

Chap53 Q2: Future Directions. Rurik wishes to make the most of the time he has left. I have some ideas of my own, but there are, as mentioned above, many possibilities. Even more raiding, though this latest one is done but not yet dusted. As always, views and suggestions are always welcome.

@diskoerekto's views essentially match my own on this matter.

Chap53 Q3: I (want to) see Dead People. I’m assuming he probably just died in prison and I didn’t notice the report. Ah well. Is there any way of searching for dead characters, other than when they're included in the profiles of other living characters? I searched for Setyamka among the living using the character finder and he didn't come up.

The game does periodically and quietly cull "one-off" characters (those without titles, claims, roles, or relatives, or otherwise in special circumstances) to save on space and increase performance -- it's something P'dox implemented relatively recently in their effort to combat bloated save files and late-game slowdowns. I think while he was alive and in your dungeons Setyamka may have been exempt from the culling, but since he was a peasant leader with no other ties, once he died the game probably erased him from history.

And yes, characters dying in dungeons without their holder being notified is a bit of an annoyance :mad:
 

Idhrendur

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Q1: It's the typical tradeoff of becoming stronger against your neighbors while becoming weaker against your vassals.

Q2: No matter what, spend his prestige! It disappears once he dies, whereas money is inherited.

Q3: No way I know of except to crack open the save, which isn't useful for ironman. And I think CK2 is pretty aggressive about culling characters from the save when they lack connections to living characters.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Characters get culled when they cease to be important quite often. It's why I had to keep ennobling the Windsors.

Russian empire all the way, of course.