Gesta Filii Cunerici - The Deeds of the Sons of Cyneric

  • Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

guillec87

Field Marshal
60 Badges
Dec 25, 2009
5.329
532
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • 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: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • 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
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
with that death, the problems will arise
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

DensleyBlair

Outside Agitator (they/them)
39 Badges
Jul 29, 2012
10.542
1.638
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Semper Fi
  • March of the Eagles
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Cities: Skylines
Masterful stuff, but damn that Lothian is a nasty piece of work. Some deep troubles to be overcome within the kingdom before Griogair can get on with the business of ruling in peace.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

castlera

Sergeant
78 Badges
Aug 22, 2013
93
51
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 -  Back to Hell
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • War of the Vikings
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Rome Gold
Masterful stuff, but damn that Lothian is a nasty piece of work. Some deep troubles to be overcome within the kingdom before Griogair can get on with the business of ruling in peace.

There are indeed many internal and external challenges facing young Griogair. And without his trusted advisors this may prove even more difficult!!
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
123 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.954
3.572
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • 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
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
A true tragedy, making a most bittersweet homecoming for the valiant King.
 
Chapter IV - Part 6 - the Scheming of Lothian

castlera

Sergeant
78 Badges
Aug 22, 2013
93
51
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 -  Back to Hell
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • War of the Vikings
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Rome Gold
Chapter IV
Part 7
Scheming of Lothian.png

971-973.png


lothian.png

The Standard of Lothian

Coelub funeral final.jpg

The Funeral of Cóelub of Moray

King Griogair sent riders to all corners of his realm to announce the death of great Cóelub of Moray. All the High Earls of the realm were ordered to come to Scuin to hold court with the King and to attend the burial of the murdered Regent. Cóelub was laid to rest in a place of honour near to his friend and master, King Alasdair I, at the Royal Abbey of Scuin.

Young Cóelub, his only son, rode to Scuin at once, and there grieved bitterly with his sister, the Queen and his childhood friend and companion, King Griogair. Soon afterwards, Eochu, Lord of the Isles arrived at Scuin followed only days later by Earl Fearghas II and young Malcolm III of Eoforwic, his ward. But Earl Eochaid III of Northumbria and the Earl of Lothian did not come….


Coelub II, Mormaer of Moray c. 972.png

Cóelub II MacCóelub, Mormaer of Moray (c.972)

When the word of Cóelub’s death reached Prince Cyneric One-Eye, he was at Bebbanburg. He clapped his hands together with joy, but in his heart, there yet burned a wroth, for he now saw that the old Mormaer had outmanoeuvred him once again. He had hidden his mortal wound, and so Cyneric, thinking that Cóelub of Moray was unharmed, had delayed. And now, King Griogair has returned, and was gathering the great lords to him.

“So, the dog is dead at last”, Prince Cyneric had laughed. “Obstinate till the last, that rogue has stood in my way, and the way of my House, for too long. Yet even in death, he could not go quickly enough for me to make my move before young Griogair’s return. At least I know now how he suffered for it!”

“Now that Cóelub is dead, we must waste no time!” exclaimed Cerdic of Rucestre, Prince Cyneric’s most trusted retainer. “We must march on Dun Cyneric and Scuin at once and drive the Albanite pup from these shores forever.”

“We must act indeed”, replied Cyneric cautiously, “but I will not risk so blatant a rising until I know the mettle of my foe. All of us have heard of Griogair’s victories against the Saracens. Therefore, let us see how he responds, before we risk all. Long has Cóelub protected Earl Eochaid III of Northumbria, and his lands in Cumbria. But I perceive that young Griogair will not come to Eochaid’s aid. Mark how the boy swore never to aid Earl Eochaid when the Earl of Northumbria failed to support his audacious rebellion against my noble father. Now is the time to seize Cumbria. Then we shall control land from coast to coast and split the realm in two. Whatever happens, I will not be summoned by that usurping child. And in Lothian, that boy cannot touch me.”

And so, in late October 971, several weeks after the burial of Mormaer Cóelub, a herald bearing the standard of Lothian, arrived at Scuin, and asked to be brought before the King. He entered the great hall, where the King sat deep in conversation with Eochu of the Isles and young Cóelub MacCóelub. Earl Fearghas and Earl Malcom had already returned south, desiring to be present in their lands should there be war in the Scots Kingdom.

“Welcome, herald of Lothian. What words do you bring from my fair cousin?” demanded Griogair, anger and irritation behind his polite remarks. “I do fear for his health, for he did not attend my court nor the burial of great Cóelub”.

“Noble Cyneric, Earl of Lothian, bids greetings to his honourable cousin Griogair, King of Scots and Earl of Albany, lovingly and with friendship. Let it be known that the Lord Cyneric, inflamed with righteous anger for the deceit of Eochaid III, so-called Earl of Northumbria, is in arms for the seizure of that land that is known as Cumbria. The worthy Earl Cyneric means no harm to admirable Griogair, well-beloved kinsman, and begs that the King will not interfere with his just designs on Cumbria and the Earldom of Northumbria. The Lord Cyneric reminds the King of his sacred oath that he would not aid Earl Eochaid III should any man seek his overthrow. May you, most illustrious king, ever rejoice and flourish in Christ the Lord of lords.”

Griogair’s fists tightened as he sat. So, Lothian has risen indeed, he thought. “My cousin speaks with fair words, trusty herald. You shall have my answer in due time, but first, leave us””, Griogair had risen from his chair as he spoke to the herald. As the herald bowed his head and departed the hall, the King turned to Eochu and young Cóelub. “And so, this is the move of Prince Cyneric. What think you, my Lords?”

“My King, there are none of us who love the Earl Eochaid”, replied Eochu II MacDonncuan, Lord of the Isles, but I warn you, we should not embolden Prince Cyneric One-Eye”.

“My Lord”, said Cóelub MacCóelub, emotion overcoming him, “that villain murdered my Father. My father that made you King. You cannot stand by whilst be builds his power so flagrantly!”

“Be silent!”, Griogair’s blue eyes narrowed as he looked at young Cóelub with distaste, “I beg you to control yourself for you are now the Mormaer of Moray. And I warn you, take not that tone with a King, such as I am. A King does not take orders from the likes of you!”

“I apologise, my Liege”, young Cóelub grovelled, fear and surprise in his eyes.

“Indeed?”, replied King Griogair dismissively. “For Eochaid’s treachery in the struggle for my crown, I did indeed swear, and upon Holy Relics, that I would not aid him against any man. I see now how unwise that was. Your father, my Lord of Moray, told me at the time of this folly – and I see now that the words of wise Cóelub were true indeed. But nonetheless, so did I swear and so shall my word stand…”

“But my Lord, I must protest…”, interrupted the Lord of the Isles.

“My word shall stand! A Prince is nothing without his word. I shall discuss this no further”. With that Griogair left the hall and retired to his chamber, leaving Eochu and young Cóelub greatly disturbed.

That evening, the Queen, Caitilin NicCóelub, came to Griogair in his chamber. “Husband, my brother, young Cóelub, has informed me that Lothian has risen against Northumbria and that you are resolved not to interfere. Can this be true?”

“Curse that boy!”, muttered Griogair, “Speak no more of this, for it is no business of a woman. I swore before God. My decision is made!”

“Griogair. That man will stop at nothing to see you and your House in ruins. He has murdered my Father and now, fearing to attack you directly before he is ready, he is growing his power and testing your resolve. If Lothian takes Cumbria, your Kingdom will be split in half, with the lands of Lothian spanning from coast to coast across your realm. You must not allow this!”

“Woman! You are too free with your words. I cannot know that Prince Cyneric was responsible for the craven attack on beloved Cóelub. Indeed, I have heard that there are those who say Eochaid III himself was the villain, attempting to incriminate Prince Cyneric so that I would move against Lothian before Lothian could attack Northumbria. And I saw not the Earl Eochaid at the burial of your father. How can I protect such a man? Moreover, when I became King, I confirmed Prince Cyneric in his lands and titles in return for his peaceful submission - which he gave. Therefore, I will not attack him without a certain cause. I desire peace in my realm and amongst my kin – not a never-ending feud between Albany and Lothian! And so, I warn you, speak to me no more of this and never again tell me what I ‘must’ do. I am your husband and your King. You will do as I say! Now be gone at once.”

Queen Caitilin stared coldly at the King. “My Father loved you well, but I fear that he was deceived in seeing greatness in you. Look at you now – a scared little boy. You may excel in war, but I tell you truly – you are a fool if you believe the words you have just uttered! I perceive that you fear the Earl of the Lothian and hide behind your so-called oath to escape your duty; your duty to avenge my Father, who so loved you, to his cost. And your duty to defend your subjects, who will not follow a coward.”, with these bitter remarks, the Queen lifted her robes and stormed out of the chamber. Griogair rose with fury, hurling his wooden chair into the corner of the room. Her words had cut him deeply, but she was gone.

Queen Caitlin 972.png

Caitilin, Queen of Scots (c.972)

He was scared. He was terrified. Without Cóelub to guide him, he had no idea how to rule a kingdom. He felt utterly alone. Soldier that he was, he knew that his forces were not ready to face the might of Lothian in battle. And so, as he had done regularly since the death of Cóelub, he called once again for the company of the beautiful Etain Donchaidd, to comfort him.

In November 971, Prince Cyneric One-Eye, Earl of Lothian, invaded Cumbria and what remained of the Eardlom of Northumbria. No other Earls came to the aid of Earl Eochaid III, but he rode out to face the armies of Lothian, nonetheless. As he left Carleole on the morning of 14th November, he bade farewell to his children, to his young sons, the 10-year-old Eochaid and 9-year-old Eadric. He gave orders that they be escorted to Dun Cyneric in Galloway, to the court of King Griogair, lest they fall into the hands of the vengeful Earl of Lothian. Then he donned his helm and rode to war for the last time.

Eochaid III, Earl of Northumbria (971).png

Eochaid III, Earl of Northumbria

His army comprised fewer than 1500 men, whilst he knew well that Prince Cyneric’s forces numbered well over 5,000. On the banks of the River Ituna, near the hamlet of Wetherhala, Eochaid III met the one-eyed Prince in battle. The forces of Earl Eochaid III were scattered and destroyed, whilst men floundered and drowned in the river. The Earl himself was captured and brought back to the Lothianite stronghold at Dunholm, in chains. He would never see his children again and died soon after in the dungeons of Prince Cyneric. He was 59 years old. Whether Eochaid III succumbed to illness or grief, or whether he was slain, is not known.

Battle of wetherhala.jpg

The Battle of Wetherhala (14 November 971) - Earl Eochaid III makes his stand

Prince Cyneric marched into Carleole, raised his banners upon the walls and declared himself Earl of Lothian and Northumbria. King Griogiar had done nothing to prevent it, and now the Scots Kingdom was riven in two by the lands of Prince Cyneric.

On 18th November 971, young Eochaid MacEochaid of Cumbria, and his younger brother Eadric arrived at Dun Cyneric in Galloway. And when King Griogair saw them, tired, hungry and terrified, a great shame came over him. He therefore ordered that the boys be given food and water, chambers and clothes. When he learned of the pitiful death of Earl Eochaid, he privately wept. Not for love of Eochaid, but for his own shame.

“These boys shall be to me as sons. They shall have every facility and my love. But even this shall not wash away the stain of my disgrace”, Griogair was said to have declared. And indeed, from then on, young Eochaid and Eadric were brought up with great honour and respect amongst Griogair’s own children and enjoyed high favour with the King.

Nevertheless, Griogair still refused to move against Lothian. He had sworn not to interfere in any attack on Earl Eochaid III and therefore had no just reason. He also feared Prince Cyneric’s military strength. The Lands of Lothian were far more populous than the lands of Albany, Moray and the Isles. Griogair’s armies were also still depleted from the Third Crusade, and his greatest commanders, Cóelub of Moray and Donncuan IV were dead. Griogair was simply not certain that he would triumph in such a struggle, and even if he did, what would be the cost? The losses caused by such civil strife would weaken the kingdom, perhaps irreparably, and how then would the prowling Norse sea-wolves be kept at bay? Norse raids were common, and large forces of Norsemen always stood ready to strike from their nearby lands in Ireland.

For the next year, therefore, Griogair and Prince Cyneric, Lothian and Albany, each waited for the other to make the first move. Neither felt confident enough to strike, and each looked to strengthen itself for the inevitable confrontation.

To this end, in the Summer of 972, Griogair sent secret envoys by sea to the Kingdom of Wessex. There they met with Aethelraed King and his wife, the Lady of Hwicce. It was agreed that Griogair and Aethelraed would enter into a solemn covenant and alliance, by which each would aid the other in times of war. Negotiations were short and friendly, due to the preliminary diplomacy carried out previously by the late Cóelub of Moray. The alliance was secured on the betrothal of Princess Caitilin NicGriogair to King Aethelraed’s infant son and heir, Aelfraed Atheling. Aetheraed and Griogair did not meet but warms word of amity and friendship were exchanged by means of many letters.

Aethelraed, King of Wessex (c.972).png

Aethelraed, King of Wessex


At the court of the Scots Kingdom there was much unease. There were whispers now that Griogair was not only weak and indecisive, but that he was a coward. It was clear to all that Prince Cyneric was now an independent King in all but name – and that Griogair had done nothing to establish his authority. Increasinlgy, there were those who credited King David II of Jerusalem with all the victories and glories of the Third Crusade, for how could such a feeble boy have done the things that were said of him?

Queen Caitilin, enraged by her husband’s refusal to avenge the death of her father, and infuriated by his taking of a mistress, herself gathered a court faction to push the King into taking action. She wrote to Earl Fearghas II of Westoraland, begging him to come to court to convince King Griogair to move against Lothian. On 6 November 972, the Queen was further incensed to learn that her husband had publicly acknowledged the birth of a daughter by his mistress, Etain Donchaidd, named Muirgel of Dunblane.

There was peace in the Kingdom, but the pressure of the increasing tensions must eventually be released. The unsteady peace of the stalemate seemed to be shattering in the Spring of 973. In Dun Cyneric, Griogair received word that Prince Cyneric had again called his banners and was marching northwards from Dunholm towards Lanark, intent on invading the Earldom of Lennox; the lands of Earl Eadwin. It was Earl Fearghas II who first brought this word to the King, having learned of Cyneric‘s preparations from his own agents. He had then made the perilous sea voyage from Lonceastre to Dun Cyneric, avoiding the Norse ships that dominated the Irish Sea.

“My Lord,” Earl Fearghas had said, “I humbly advise that you should not allow Lothian to march unmolested on Lennox. Your inaction over Cumbria has emboldened him and his arrogance is greater now than ever. Should he take Lennox, the royal lands of Galloway will be cut off from all but the lands of Lothian. This is a prelude to war for the kingdom. I know I am not as wise as noble Cóelub, whose death weighs heavy on my soul, but I beg you to hear me. If we do not stop wicked Cyneric, accursed childkiller and villain, – he will have your crown.”

Shortly after Earl Fearghas had said these words, a herald arrived from Prince Cyneric declaring that Lennox was rightfully a possession of the House of Lothian, and that Prince Cyneric intended to seize it for himself by right.

King Griogair narrowed his eyes at the Herald and rose from his seat, towering proudly above the small man. “Know you that Eadwin, Earl of Lennox is not only my true subject and friend, but he is also my mother’s husband? Does the Earl of Lothian dare to oppose my stepfather with such unruly force? Does the noble Earl now doubt that I shall defend my own stepfather? If he does so, I say to you that he is deceived indeed. Tell Lothian that he is not to enter into Lennox under arms, by command of the King. Tell him that if he does so, he will be a traitor to my crown and his lands will be forfeit”.

“But my Lord, you have no such authority to so command my master, the valiant Earl of Lothian. The King has not the power to prevent the Lords of Scotland from settling their own disputes”, protested the herald.

King Griogair seemed taller now as he stepped menacingly towards the herald. “Were I your master, or your master’s father, I would have your tongue for such words. Yet I am merciful. The King’s power lies in what he can do, not in what he may do. Therefore, return to your master at once and tell him that if he does not stand down, I shall meet him in Lennox – on the field!”

Once the herald had departed, Griogair turned to Earl Fearghas, saying, “My Lord of Westoraland, I will not abandon Lennox, nor allow Lothian to amass more power. I beg you, return to Westoraland and from there send riders west to Malcolm of Eoforwic, and south to King Aethelraed. Inform the King of Wessex that I am in need of his aid at once. Do not do this secretly, however. Once you are safely in Westoraland, ensure that the news reaches Prince Cyneric that Westoraland, Eoforwic and Wessex are amassing at his rear. I believe that he will not attack Lennox with such forces arrayed against him. He has not reckoned on our friendship with the West Saxons”.

At Lanark at the end of May 973, Prince Cyneric prepared to march on Lennox. Once he had seized these lands, the royal lands in Galloway, and the treasury, would be easily within his grasp. And more than that, once Cyneric had seized Lennox, one way or another, Griogair and the House of Albany would be finished. It was well that Griogair had declared to Cyneric’s herald that he would fight to defend Lennox. For the young King was now in an impossible situation. Either he could break his word, displaying unforgivable weakness and lose all his already wavering political support. Or he could give battle – where he would be crushed by the superior forces of Lothian. Moray and the Isles, led now by young and inexperienced lords, could not possibly muster in time. Eoforwic and Westoralnd would be dealt with by the forces Cyneric had left in Dunholm under the command of Cerdic of Rucestre. Once Prince Cyneric had defeated young Griogair, his father’s crown would be his at last, and any resistance would surely melt away.

But Prince Cyneric had not considered the Angelcyn. On 2 June 973, even as Prince Cyneric approached the borders of Lennox, a rider rushed up to him, exhausted and gasping.

“My prince. I have most urgent news from Cerdic of Rucestre. The King of Wessex has raised his dragon banner, and with Earl Fearghas II, is even now encamped at Eoforwic in force. Aethelraed King has proclaimed that he stands firmly with his beloved brother, Griogair, King of Scots. He has given word that he will march on Dunholm at once, should you, my Lord, enter the lands of Earl Eadwin. My Prince, lord Cerdic begs you to know that he has not the strength to oppose the united forces of Wessex, Eoforwic and Westoraland. If you march into Lennox, Lothian itself may be lost.”

Prince Cyneric stared at the boy for a moment, shock engraved on his face. “What is this devilry?”, he bellowed, fury overcoming him as he shook with rage. “By what means has my cousin of Albany ensnared the Lords of Wessex? This struggle is not theirs, and ever they strain under the strength of the marauding Norsemen in their lands.”

“My Lord, it is said that Cóelub the Kingmaker befriended the King of Wessex and aided him in his negotiations to wed the lady of Hwicce….”, the rider began.

“Speak not of that Gael to me”, Prince Cyneric nearly screamed with fury and bitterness. “Even now that dog interferes with my plans, long after his death. I tell you I will have my revenge! I swear it by my father and by my immortal soul. But for now, I must wait, for I will not lose Lothian to gain meagre Lennox”.

With that, the armies of Lothian withdrew and Lennox was safe, for now.

NEXT TIME: The Norsemen and the West Saxon Wars (974-977)
 
Last edited:
  • 1Like
Reactions:

DensleyBlair

Outside Agitator (they/them)
39 Badges
Jul 29, 2012
10.542
1.638
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sengoku
  • Semper Fi
  • March of the Eagles
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Cities: Skylines
Griogair learnt his lesson fast – as he needed to. Appeasing Lothian is a dangerous game indeed.

Great stuff, as ever.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

Dunaden

Major
45 Badges
Mar 3, 2012
754
772
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Knights of Honor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
Even two years after his death, Cóelub of Moray still has King Griogair's back. But Wessex was Cóelub's last gift, Griogair is on his own now.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
123 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.954
3.572
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • 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
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Yes, a man bereft of his great tutor, in an untimely way.

But war ... war he does know.

He will need to learn the game of politics quickly however.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.074
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
Syria is reclaimed for Christianity - good.

The conflict with Lothian continues...
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

alscon

Magister Inquisitiones
74 Badges
Feb 28, 2013
3.099
1.113
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
Having this one on my to-read-list was definitely not a waste. Great stuff, from the political intrigues over the battle coverages, graphics and paintings :) .

There's an uneasy balance in the realm between north and south, thanks to Wessex. But there's no telling what will happen should one element of that triangle be weakened, or the call of the cross send Scotland's finest far away once again.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

AnthraxDaveUK

Sergeant
41 Badges
Aug 21, 2013
80
13
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
This is so amazingly written. Bravo.
Up there with the best Paradox AAR's I've ever seen - Probably tied with the original "A never ending struggle" from Stellaris.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:
chapter IV - Part 7 - The Norse Invasion

castlera

Sergeant
78 Badges
Aug 22, 2013
93
51
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 -  Back to Hell
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • War of the Vikings
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Rome Gold
Chapter IV
Part Eight

Tje Wrath.png

inv of 974.png

Basengas 1.jpg

The Battle Of Basengas, 16 July 974

At Christmas 973, all finally seemed calm. Lothian was no longer in arms and civil war no longer seemed imminent. But nothing had been resolved. Nothing had been decided. There were few who doubted that Lothian would not remain quiet for long.

Yet even as Griogair held Christmas court at Scuin, the King was receiving troubling tidings. On the East coast of Hibernia, there was an unusual level of activity amongst the Norse settlers, and Griogair had also received word from the distant lands of the Norsemen, beyond the eastern sea, that large numbers of longships were being built throughout the winter for raids into the Isles of Brittania. Therefore, Griogair had given orders throughout Albany, Galloway, Moray and the Isles that all men were to be in readiness for war.

The Spring of 974 passed peacefully, and Griogair began to hope that all would be well. But he did not lower his guard, for he knew well the danger of the Norsemen. His two elder brothers, Alasdair and Raibeart, and all five of his uncles, had fallen to the fury of the Northmen.

_________________

On 2nd May, a man sprung from the prow of a great longship and his feet landed heavily on the sandy shore. His black braided beard blew in the sea-breeze, and his bright mail gleamed. His seemed to glisten, wet from the spray of the water and his great-head axe shone. This was Alfgeir Alfgeirson, son of the High Chieftain Alfgeir II Bjornson of Jamtaland, and he came here, to the beaches of Brittania, for loot, power and war. At 30 years old he was inured to battle, and proud of his scar that cleft half his face, leaving one eye clouded and useless. In Norway, songs heralded him as a mad adventurer and voracious sea-wolf, and his father was proud.

Alfgeir Alfgeirson 974.png

Alfgeir Alfgeirson, famed Beserker (c.974)
Alfgeir II Bjornson, a man of 50 years, now joined his son on the beach, clapped his great hand on his son’s back and smiled.

Behind them, 11,000 Norse warriors, from all over Scandinavia, descended upon Britain.

They had landed in East Anglia, for this was still Norse-held territory, ruled over by Hildolf, Jarl of Estengle. Hildolf received Alfgeir’s forces enthusiastically, gave them food, mead and song at his capital in Rendelshaem. But Alfgeir and his men would not stay long. They would move swift as falcons fall upon their prey, before their prey had any chance to react.

Alfgeir Bjornson 974.png

Alfgeir Bjornson, High Chieftain of Jamtaland (c.974)

In this way, on 9 May, with the fury of famished lions Alfgier’s 11,000 men stormed the settlement of Lunden, killing all who stood in their way. Here Alfgeir set up a permanent forward base of operations on the River Tames, easily navigable to his longships. From here he sent 2,000 men northwards to raid and seize undefended towns and villages, and 1,000 men south to seize Cantwaraburg.

With the bulk of their forces, 8,000 men, Alfgeir Bjornson and Alfgeir Alfgeirson, marched towards the West Saxon capital at Witanceastre, having heard of the great riches of the Saxon Kings.

When he learned of the arrival of Alfgeir and his son, Aethelraed King of Wessex was at Witanceastre in discussion with the Witan. He was already too late to save Lunden, and learning of the size of the Norse army, he knew also that he could not raise enough men, nor rally the Fyrd, to defeat the Norsemen before they reached his capital. Immediately he ordered the treasury and his family to be removed west to Sceaftesbyrig, and for armies to be raised and gathered there. At the same time he sent word with all haste to the King of Scots - for desperately needed aid.

Knowing that time was short and that evacuating the treasury and gathering his forces would take much time, Aethelraed resolved to face the Norse army before it could reach Witanceastre. He raised his dragon banner and with 2,000 men gathered from near the capital, he hastened to face Alfgeir Bjornson and Alfgeir Alfgeirson.

Near the royal estate at Basengas, on 16 June 974, Aethelraed’s 2,000 men met the 8,000 of the Norsemen, under Alfgeir and his son. When Alfgeir Alfgeirson saw the pitifull band accompanying the West Saxon King, he laughed and said, ‘Look my friends, we need not do battle today. Let us feast and drink for the women can clean this rabble for us whilst we make merry’.

But despite his jest, he donned his helm and attacked the beleaguered shield-wall of Aethelraed King with merciless fury, but the Saxon Huscarls were doughty men and held for many hours, inflicting unexpected loss on the Norse forces.

But then suddenly, in an instant, the resistance of the Saxons seemed to break and the Huscarls began to melt away, fleeing with their King to the north west.

Just as Aethelraed had hoped and expected, the Norsemen did not give chase. Instead, driven by greed and love of plunder, they instead hastened Southwards towards Witanceastre, eager for the riches they had heard were kept there. This had been the Saxon King’s gamble. He had slowed the Norsemen long enough for Witanceastre to be evacuated and he had given the Norsemen cause to feel over-confident and dismissive of the weakness of the Saxon forces.

Giving battle so close to the lure of Witanceastre, he had also given his small army the chance of escape after their inevitable defeat. The Norsemen would spend days looting and feasting at Witanceastre, and this was just the time that Aethelraed needed.

It was humiliating to lose the royal capital of his House, but Aethelraed King was not finished yet.

4C4D77C7-444C-4438-AC2B-739BC0D20E27.jpeg

The Saxons hold the line at Basengas, 16 July 974
___________


In early June, as Griogair, King of Scots, readied to go hunting in the forests of Galloway, he received word of this Norse invasion from Aethelraed King, shattering his hopes of peace. But he was already prepared for war with the Norsemen. Immediately, he sent riders to young Cóelub MacCóelub, Mormaer of Moray, and to Eochu, Lord of the Isles, asking them to rally what forces they may and march at once to Dun Cyneric in Galloway.

These forces had gathered by the end of June and as soon as was possible, Griogair, and young Cóelub set out southwards, sending riders ahead to inform Prince Cyneric One-Eye, Earl of Lothian, that the King’s army would shortly be marching through his newly won lands in Cumbria. Before he left, Griogair appointed his wife, Queen Caitlin NicCóelub, and Eochu, Lord of the Isles, as his Regents.

Prince Cyneric One-Eye welcomed the King into his lands with warm words and made no attempt to hinder or harry him. The one-eyed Prince had no love for the Norsemen, and moreover it grieved him not to watch the armies of Albany, Moray and the Isles march southwards towards bloody conflict. When and if they returned, the balance of power in Scotland would be changed indeed. Cyneric himself refused to accompany the King, saying “It would be unwise for all the lands of Scotland to be emptied of our warriors. I shall remain and guard our shores whilst you give aid to the Angelcyn”.

Griogair had foreseen these actions of Prince Cyneric, and had therefore felt it necessary to leave ample forces behind in Galloway and Albany, under loyal captains, such as Lord Eochu. Yet this meant that we went to war with an army that was much smaller than he might have hoped.

On 10 July, Griogair’s army of 3,000 men arrived at Lonceastre in the lands of is loyal councillor, Fearghas II, Earl of Westoraland. Earl Fearghas greeted the King warmly and ensured that the royal army was resupplied and well-fed. Earl Fearghas informed Griogair that he had received ill news from the Angelcyn; that Witanceastre had fallen, the Saxons had been defeated in battle and had now retreated to Sceaftesbyrig.

Fearghas, Earl of Westorlans c. 971.png

Earl Fearghas II of Westoraland

“My dear lord of Westoraland” spoke the King to Earl Fearghas, “I thank you dearly for your tidings, though they be evil indeed, and for your generous aid. Have you news of the King?”

“Aye, my Lord. Aethelraed King lives and awaits our aid at Sceaftesbyrig”.

“God be praised for that at least. I beg you and young Earl Malcolm III (of Eoforwic), to keep your forces raised….”

“Are we not to march southwards to the aid of noble Aethelraed?”, questioned the Earl.

“Aye, my friend”, replied the King, “I shall do so indeed. But you and young Earl Malcolm must remain here, lest the Northmen attack our lands in my absence,” he paused and looked downwards painfully, “….or treacherous Lothian…. Oh, how it grieves me, my friend, that my own kin so hinder our struggle against these heathens.”

Malcolm II of Eofrowic 974.png

Malcolm III, Earl of Eorfowic (c.974)
On 14 July, Griogair’s 3,000 men set out towards Sceaftesbyrig, resupplied. Griogair pushed them on with great haste, for he was greatly afeared that the West Saxons would be overwhelmed before he could arrive. The army marched around 15 miles a day, slowed only by the frequent downpours and harassment from Cameron-Norse raiders from the Welsh Marches.

griogair's standard arty.jpg

The Standard of Griogair I, King of Scots -
The Rampant Fox Gules on an Escutcheon Or (of House McCyneric), over the Cross of the Scots Kingdom, flanked by the Ancient Triskell of Albany (derived from the symbol of the former Kingdom of Alba). The Crown of the Scots Kingdom and the Triskell of Alba was added to the Royal Standard by Griogair I during his reign.

At last, on the 16th day after the Scots departed Lonceastre, on 30 July, Aethelraed King looked on with joy, as the Fox standard of Griogair, King of Scots, appeared in the distance. From the high hill on which the royal Burgh of Sceaftesbyrig sat, the Saxon King had daily gazed desperately northwards for just such a sign. When King Griogair and Aethelrad met in person for the first time that evening, they embraced one another as lifelong friends and feasted for many hours.

Aethelraed, King of Wessex (c.972).png

Aethelraed, King of Wessex
“I give thanks to God, for you are just in time. I see the hand of providence in this, my brother”, spoke Aethelraed. He was a shorter and slighter man than Griogair, with medium length brown hair and a ruddy complexion, over which grew a moustache, typical of the Saxon nobility. “The cursed Norsemen have set Witanceastre ablaze. I have this day learned that they departed my beloved city yesterday and are now marching here with 8,000 men. What is your strength?”

“I say to you, the Lord is with us indeed and I have an invincible faith that together, you and I, shall triumph. One fine and glorious day, these Isles shall be rid of the Norsemen forever. Many great deeds shall we both perform before that day shall come to pass – but I know that it shall come to pass. I have 3,000 men, largely my most excellent Huscarls and Gaelic warriors. With me also is young Cóelub, son of famous Cóelub the Spearmaster whom I understand you knew well”.

“I am honoured to meet the son of such an excellent man”, replied the King of Wessex. “Often do I grieve for illustrious Cóelub, the most noble and honoured – whose deeds of love and friendship brought us together. If not for him, these Norsemen should already have overcome me. I have raised around 3,000 men also. But even together, we shall be dangerously outnumbered when the enemy arrives. They cannot be more than three days march away. And Alfgeir Alfgeirson is a renowned warrior indeed, and under his command are the most fearsome Vikings and adventurers of the northern seas!”

Norse invasion 974 1.png

The Norse Invasion of 974 - Showing the Movements of the Norse and Christian armies and the Battles of Basengas and Sceaftesbyrig
The following morning, 31 July, Griogair and young Cóelub, rode around the Burgh of Sceaftesbyrig. It was a goodly fortified town, located on top of an imposing area of high ground. This natural defensiveness was exaggerated by 9 feet tall palisade walls around the perimeter, in front of which was dug a wide ditch, at least 6 feet deep and 20 feet wide.

The town was roughly in the shape of a rectangle, running from East to West, with four wooden gatehouses on each face. A main road passed from the eastern to the western gatehouses and split the town into northern and southern halves. There were few towers however, and in any case, neither Griogair, nor Aethelraed had with them enough archers to make use of such defences.

At the south-eastern corner of the Burgh was the great Abbey Church, founded nearly a hundred years ago by Aethelraed’s ancestors. It was the only stone building in the town, and its compound was bordered on the western and northern sides by 6 feet tall stone walls. It was a tall edifice with many narrow windows. It was in this building that the King of Wessex had now stored the contents of his treasury.

shaftesbyrig.png

As Griogair walked through the Abbey compound and observed the wooden palisades and stone walls which hemmed it in from all sides, he smiled. He saw now how he might defeat the forces of Alfgeir and his son. But it was a desperate strategy...

That evening, in Aethelraed King’s hall, Griogair feasted with the King and his wife the noble Aelflaedda,royal lady of Hwicce. He also looked with approval on the King’s young son, Aelfraed Atheling. He ruffled the boy’s golden hair and said “this boy shall make a goodly Prince. I shall be proud to call him ‘son’ when he and my daughter wed. But my brother, we have made merry and now we must share serious words of War”. Then Griogair took the West Saxon King to one side and both men retreated into a side room.

“Aethelraed King, I have carefully surveyed the Burgh and the lands around it, and believe I have a plan to defeat the enemy”, said Griogair.

“Noble Griogair, famous in arms, I beg you to let me hear it, for your reputation as a great warrior is well known”, replied Aethelraed anxiously.

“I fear you will not like it, for, I must tell you now that it is a most dangerous gamble; it risks the Abbey. And it risks all the gold of your Kingdom which now resides within its stone walls.”

“Indeed?”, Aethelraed looked worried, but he steeled himself and fixed Griogair’s blue eyes in his, “I understand well that risk is the very of stuff of War, my brother and it is said that you are mighty in the ways of battle”.

“Firstly”, said Griogair slowly and carefully, watching for any small reaction, “we must ensure that the Norsemen know that the Abbey now houses all the treasure of the House of Wessex. For theirs is an army of opportunists and adventurers, here only for booty and spoils, not for duty. Alfgeir Bjornson has been robbed of necessary plunder at Witanceastre and will need to pay his impatient soldiers soon, lest he lose control of his heathen multitude. Therefore, he will not lay siege if he believes such essential riches are within his grasp. He will assault if he feels he can. We must make him, for we will not survive such a siege. Secondly, we must weaken the north-eastern palisade and ensure the Norsemen notice…”

NEXT TIME: The Battle of Sceaftesbyrig - 2 August 974
 
Last edited:

Dunaden

Major
45 Badges
Mar 3, 2012
754
772
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Knights of Honor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
The Battle of Scaftstt... Sceaaafe... the Battle of the Abbey coming up next.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

alscon

Magister Inquisitiones
74 Badges
Feb 28, 2013
3.099
1.113
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
They may feel like it's the last Norse invasion. But as long as they aren't Christianized, I feel like it's more hope speaking than fact. Wessex can't be allowed to be overrun, else the Scots would be (nearly) the last bastion of Christendom in the Isles.

Griogair's plan must be bold to have any chance of overcoming these odds.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
75 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.428
2.498
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
Some excellent chapters I’ve missed, but no longer. :D
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:
Chapter iv - Part 9 - Sceaftesbyrig

castlera

Sergeant
78 Badges
Aug 22, 2013
93
51
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 -  Back to Hell
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • War of the Vikings
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Rome Gold
Chapter IV
Part Nine
Battle of Shaftesburytitle.png

Battle of Shaftesburydate.png

imageedit_2_7166300314.png

Griogair I and his Retainers at the Battle of Sceaftesbyrig, 2 August 974



Summer rains fell unrelentingly from the evening of the 31 July until the night of 1 August 974. The ground was now sodden and slippery, and the march of the Norsemen had been slowed. But even as dawn came on the morning of 2 August, a deep rumble could be felt in the earth, and the sound of marching feet and chinking mail reverberated. In the distance helmets now glanced in the sunrise, and the heathen banners billowed above thousands of dazzling mail shirts shimmering. Before them strode Alfgeir Alfgeirson and his grey-haired father. Alfgeir Alfgeirson’s eyes gleamed as he saw the tower of the Abbey Church. Soon he would be able to pay his men more than they had ever imagined in their wildest dreams.

Aethelraed King stood at the south-eastern corner of the town, sword and shield in hand, fully armoured, his golden helm shining. With him were arrayed the cream of Wessex and of the Angelcyn. Beside him, flew the dragon banner of his House. The Norsemen had taken his capital, but they would get no further.

As Griogair had hoped, the Norsemen gathered at the north-eastern corner of the Burgh, their avarice for the riches of the Abbey, guiding their hopes and devices of war.

Horns rang out and, like the unstoppable tide, Alfgeir’s army fell upon the south-eastern corner of the palisade of Sceaftesbyrig, pouring into the wide ditch at its base. They clambered out of the dell, hacking with their great Daneaxes at the wooden walls. Soon, the palisade buckled, and the Norsemen darted through, screaming wildly with their terrifying voices. The Saxons met them at the breach, but they were no match for the Viking veterans who forced them back. More Norsemen surged through, filling up the Abbey compound which now seemed utterly doomed. The hallowed graves of Saxon dead heaved under the boots of the heathens, and the cruciform tombstones were dashed to the ground. Arrows now flew from the windows and towers of the abbey, but it was not enough the slow the unrelenting enemy. The Vikings roared with delight. These effeminate Saxons were no warriors. The wealth and lands of the Angelcyn would soon be theirs.

They turned now to the Abbey where riches untold awaited. But the great oaken doors would not break. Many were the axe blows that fell upon those doors, and inside the young Prince Aelfraed covered in the arms of his mother, the Lady of Hwicce, who stared coldly and defiantly at the heaving doors, a jewelled dagger in her hands.

Battle of Shaftesbury 1 small.png

The Battle of Sceaftesbyrig - The Norse army breaches the palisades and storms into the Abbey compound, forcing the Saxon defenders back.

But then a new horn sounded a higher pitch than any before. It was free and pure and hopeful. Then suddenly, from behind the stone walls of the Abbey compound, the Dragon Banner arose. A Kingly figure wielding a great jewelled sword, and bearing a red shield emblazoned with the image of a great golden Wyvern, leaped over the stone wall, his golden dragon masked helm glistening. Behind him, a great roar resounded, and a thousand Huscarls surged.

As they crashed into the Norsemen in the Abbey compound, the Vikings were forced back in disarray, their backs to the palisade. Panic erupted amongst them as they realised they were trapped. The breach in the palisade was too small for them to escape from the compound to gain aid from their forces yet outside the city. And it was too small for those outside to pass through to reinforce, for it was now blocked up with men scrambling to escape.

Aethelraed King at Shaftesbury.png

Aethelraed, King of Wessex, at the Battle of Sceaftesbyrig - 2 August 974

Battle of Shaftesbury 2 small.png

The Battle of Sceaftesbyrig - Aethelraed King counter attacks from behind the stone walls of the Abbey compound, taking the Norse invaders by surprise and pressing those Norsemen already in the compound up against the palisade. Young Coelub and his horsemen demonstrate from the North, drawing off the forces of Alfgeir Bjornson.

As King Griogair heard the bright horn-call of Aethelraed King, and harkened to the furious counter attack of the Saxon Huscarls at the Abbey, he turned to young Cóelub. “That is the sign, my lord of Moray. Now take your horsemen forwards at once and make your noble father proud. For I tell you, he looks down upon us both this day from paradise!”

Young Cóelub, rolled in his stirrups, called to his hundred horsemen and rode forward towards the northern gate of the Burgh. Griogair had ordered him to ride northwards, before swinging back towards the Norse army from the north, threatening their flank.

Coelub II, Mormaer of Moray c. 972.png

Young Coelub, Mormaer of Moray and son of the famous Coelub the Kingmaker

Grey-haired Alfgeir Bjornson, High Cheiftain of Jamtaland, cried out as he saw the Scots banners flying proudly before the horsemen of young Cóelub, now approaching rapidly from the North. “The Scots are flanking us! With me in haste!”. Immediately, he raised his axe and led 2,000 of his Norsemen northwards to counter the new threat. Young Cóelub and his hundred horsemen charged towards Bjornson’s men. But at the last second, they wheeled and retreated. The Norsemen had tasted blood and continued to march towards the horsemen.

This was the moment for which Griogair had been waiting. The enemy army was now split into three parts. One pressed hopelessly, their backs to the palisade in the Abbey compound, beset by Aethelraed’s furious Huscarls. Another marching fruitlessly northwards towards young Cóelub’s diversion. The last pressed up against the palisade walls from the outside, massed together in the ditches before the walls. Now their superior numbers meant nothing, dispersed as they were, and hemmed in.

Now rose the banner of the King of Scots, and a cry the like of which none present had ever heard went up as the Fox banner unfurled in fury. “Buaidh no Bàs”, King Griogair bellowed in the Gaelic tongue, “Victory or Death!” he cried as he raised his father’s sword once more and sallied from the southern gate, all 3,000 of his men at his back.

keyframed waving flag.png

Alfgeir Alfgeirson encouraged his men forwards as they hacked at the wooden palisades of Sceaftesbyrig from within the wide ditches of the Saxon King. He knew he must break through soon, or else the Norse forces now trapped within the Abbey compound would be slaughtered to a man. He was shocked but impressed, that the Christians had used an Abbey of their God as little more than bait. Never would he have expected such action. But he would not underestimate the cunning of the Christians again.

And then there was such a cry! The sound of it hammered fear into even the heart of so fearsome a man as Alfgeir Aflgeirson. And then he saw the Fox Standard flying from the Burgh, and the men of Scotland racing from the east towards his exposed flank, where his own men now floundered in the ditch. A groan went out from the Norsemen who now scrambled to escape the trench, pushing past and over each other in disarray. Alfgeir raised his shield and called forcefully to any man to form a shield wall upon his position. But it was too late. Griogair’s heavy Huscarls crashed into Alfgeir’s shields in a storm of axe blows, driving all before them back into the ditch. Scots spearman now hurled spears and javelins and anything else that could be found down into the dell where the Vikings swarmed and crawled over each other like a hive of insects. At the top of the earthworks, Griogair’s heavy infantry now formed an impenetrable shield wall, making it nearly impossible for any to escape the ditch. Almost defenceless, the Norsemen were slaughtered, man by man, for many hours, with almost no loss to the Scots.

But even the great shield wall of the Scots King was not strong enough to withstand the arms of Alfgeir Bjornson, Berserker and Reaver. With a mad fury, he and his closest champions cleft a hole in the Scots ranks and clambered, slashing like tigers, from the bloody dell. The Scots started to give chase, breaking their shield wall atop the earthworks. Griogair roared with rage and alarm. He sheathed his sword and tore his Fox banner from the hands of his standard bearer. Then he ran, banner in hand, to where the line was breaking. He cast off his helm, so all could see his face and the fire red of his kingly hair. “Stand firm, soldiers of Christ, and proud men of Scotland! Let not the devil distract you from your solemn purpose. Chase not the few, whilst the many are in our grasp. If we break now, the enemy will be saved!”. Now King Griogair himself, called these men back and formed up with them in the reformed shield wall. With him standing amongst them, tall and strong, their resolve was immovable. No more Norsemen passed the King of Scots that day.

Alfgeir Alfgeirson may have escaped, but his army would not!

Grey-haired Alfgeir Bjornson, and his men who had marched northwards, lured away by young Cóelub, now returned, tired and frustrated. Every time thay had come close to the Scots horsemen, they had disengaged and moved off, before coming back around to harry them. Now, in horror Bjornson looked upon the great slaughter of his countrymen and heard the indescribable shrieks of pain and terror from the ditch of death, as he approached. He saw the banners of the Scots King and recalled the songs of the might of Alasdair, the father of this red boy-King, and the tales of the bitter struggle of the Great Highlands War. He could see now his army was destroyed, and that no victory could be had this day. Withdrawal was now the only option. But where was his son?

“Father!”, cried Alfgeir Alfgeirson, his face covered in blood and his great axe shattered in his bearlike hands, his few remaining champions at his side, similarity stained with death. “Foolish dog I name you, Father”, he shouted as he approached. “For your rashness and stupidity has lost us an army. We must withdraw, but I mark well that your axe has not tasted flesh this day. I tell you, such shame shall not be allowed to pollute the Halls of Valhalla!”

With that, the Norsemen retreated, harried and harassed by the horsemen of young Coelub.

Battle of Shaftesbury 3 small.png

The Battle of Sceaftesbyrig - Griogair, King of Scots sallies forth from the southern gate and pins the forces of Alfgeir Alfgeirson in the ditches outside the palisade, whilst inside the abbey compound, Aethelraed King drives the desperate Norsemen against the palisade from within. In the North, young Coelub distracts and draws away the forces of Alfgeir Bjornson by a series of feigned retreats.
In the Abbey compound, Aethelraed King removed his bright helm as a mighty cheer overcame his exhausted warriors. This had been a day of blood indeed. He called to those in the Abbey towers, and the great oaken doors swung open. He ran to the doors, and as he ran, from the great church rushed his boy, the Prince Aelfraed. The King took him in his arms and raised him to his breast, tightly embracing him, tears of joy in his eyes.

“My son! Oh my son”, he whispered, “I thought all was lost indeed.”

Shortly thereafter, the approach of the King of Scots was sounded and red-haired Griogair came to the Abbey, his sword notched and his shield rent. Aethelraed approached him, admiration and wonder in his eyes. “Noble brother of Scotland”, he called “Truly this day you have saved my Kingdom, my people and my family. Ever shall I be in your debt. Mighty is your prowess in War, cunning is your spirit, and terrible is the ferocity of your deadly arms. I know well that there is much to be done, and a long struggle lies before me and my people, but none can fail to find hope when they see you, my friend!”


“Praise me not so highly, dear brother, for powerful too was the dragon helm of Wessex, and the almighty horn-call of Aethelraed King. Speak not of debt, for you and I are engaged in a mutual struggle, and only as brothers in arms shall we endure. Promise me only that you shall always stand with me in the fight against the heathens, so that together we might render these sacred Islands free.”

The remnants of the 8,000 man Norse army which had assaulted Sceaftesbyrig, now little more than 2,500 strong, limped back, past Witanceastre, to the stronghold at Lunden, from whence they sent word for reinforcements at once.

On 14 August 974, Aethelraed King re-entered Witanceastre, Griogair, King of Scots, at his side. It was a joyful yet bitter moment, as the city had been razed and despoiled and the Abbey there had been plundered and destroyed, the bones of St. Swithun scattered and lost. Yet there was much joy for the astounding victory of the Christians at Sceaftesbyrig and the reclamation of the West Saxon heartlands. However, there was much work still to be done. 3,000 Norsemen of Alfgeir’s invasion had not been present at Sceaftesbyrig and had already seized and fortified Snotingahame, Northamtune, Sancte Albanes and Cantwaraburg. Fresh longships brought new opportunistic adventurers from across the sea to swell the enemy numbers, and now much of the East of Aethelraed’s Kingdom was overrun, even if the core of Wessex had been saved.

Moreover, on 20 August, King Griogair received word at Witanceastre that chilled his heart once more. Norse allies from the Norse settlements in Hibernia had raided Westoraland in force, and burned Lonceastre. The Viking Lords of the Sjaellander settlements in Ulster, led by Jarl Asbjörn Aslaugson, the Swiorician Norsemen of Meath and the Rus Norsemen of Connacht had descended upon the south east of Griogair’s kingdom, pillaging the lands of Earl Fearghas II.

Earl Fearghas had not been there to defend his lands, for he had marched to the aid of his former ward, the young Earl Malcolm III of Eoforwic. For, in secret, Alfgeir Alfgeirson had sent forces up the River Ouse towards the Burgh of Eoforwic where they had laid siege, drawing Earl Fearghas away from Westoraland.

What had become of Earl Fearghas and Earl Malcolm was not yet known. But the latest word which Griogair received from Earl Fearghas was that five days ago, the 14 August, brave Fearghas II and Earl Malcolm III were marching to engage the Norse forces outside Eoforwic…


There was, as yet, no news of Prince Cyneric, Earl of Lothian...

Norse invasion 974 2.png

The Norse Invasion of Brittannia of 974 A.D. - Showing the retreat of the army of Alfgeir Bjornson and his son after the Battle of Sceaftesbyrig, the Norse attacks on Westoraland and Eoforwic, and the lands (in black) occupied by the Norse invaders by the Winter of 974.

NEXT TIME – THE WAR CONTINUES…
 

Attachments

  • Battle of Shaftesbury 1.png
    8,8 MB · Views: 0
  • Battle of Shaftesbury 2.png
    8,9 MB · Views: 0
  • Battle of Shaftesbury 3.png
    8,9 MB · Views: 0
Last edited: