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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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stnylan

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Surprisingly merciful.
 
Chapter 7

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Chapter 7: Introducing Ivar

When Sigfroþ's armies returned home, declaring that the whole of Strathclyde was now under Irland's rule, he turned to the task of introducing Ivar, heir apparent, to the realm.

upload_2018-11-18_4-3-57.png


This was going to be important, because with the death of Olafr, his three sons took his place as vassals in Irland, and they all wanted council spots.
upload_2018-11-18_15-58-13.png
upload_2018-11-18_15-59-0.png
upload_2018-11-18_15-59-58.png


With Þorsteinn as Chancellor, Öysteinn as Steward, and Karl as Advisor, he kept the Sons of Olafr content for the time being, but the threat of losing lands to Viken lingered.

Although the introduction went well, something was going awry. Godi Vagn of Crossraguel offered to tutor Ivar in ritual, which Sigfroþ agreed to. Within the week, the Godi stormed into Sigfroþ's chambers, claiming that teaching the child was horrendous. Ivar happened to sabotage and prank the holy man at every turn, using the knowledge of the Sagas against him. Ivar was always playful.

Many people at court started comparing little Ivar unfavorably to Ivar the Boneless, his grandfather. This would never do. Why focus on Ivar's grandfather, when his great-grandfather was who set the whole family on this path? Sigfroþ rejoindered court by proclaiming that it was Ragnarr Loðbrok's cruelty and guile that they should see in little Ivar.

upload_2018-11-18_4-8-39.png


And yet, Ivar's pranks, hidden jibes, and haphazard behavior continued during the introduction. Eventually, Sigfroþ saw signs of a darker, more chaotic side to Ivar's games. There was a risk that Ivar would be called a lunatic. He would have to learn the trapper's methods.

Sigfroþ asked his son to meet him in a private family longhouse. When he retired there, Ivar greeted him at the door.

"Welcome, father. I know you wanted to speak with me, and I couldn't dream of keeping you waiting. Please, come inside, get comfortable."

Sigfroþ smiled and entered. "Good of you to wait for me, son. I need to speak with you about your behavior. Your jokes. Your tricks."

Ivar grinned. "Nothing that an observant man couldn't avoid. It's all in good fun."

Sigfroþ looked the longhouse over. The table lay set with meats and mead, the fire burning in the hearth. The boy really planned this out, he thought. With a nod, the king replied, "No doubt. But remember that Loki lies trapped in the center of the earth, bound in the entrails of his son, a serpent dripping poison into his eyes. You're going to be king someday. And then, nothing will be a game. Everything is a weapon."

Sigfroþ reached across the table for a leg of lamb. As he picked it up, the weight of the table shifted, knocking breads and drinks to the floor. Yet unsurprised, the Trapper King used this chance to kick a tumbling pitcher into his hand, and thankful that the multitude of constitutionals his hunting hobby gave him had improved his physique, snatched the pitcher out of the air and brought it down on his son's head. Ivar fell, shocked, his ears ringing.

"Remember when Linda snared you and left you dangling? She almost killed you. Remember how Ofeig took over Sjælland despite there being multiple heirs in the way? Funny how Sigurdr's family died all at once. Your japes and capers are a good story around the fire, but remember, son, this is no game."

Ivar scrambled to his knees. "I'm sorry, father. I won't do this again."

Sigfroþ laughed. "That's not what I want at all, son. You're free to keep up your tricks and ruses and ploys. Just make sure you always have your goal in mind. Know what people want, so that they can reach for your lure. People will die from your games. Make sure it's the right people." He picked up the pitcher and took a swig of the dregs remaining in its belly. "A toast, to the future king." He knocked Ivar's face into a muddy puddle of mead on the ground. "Drink when your king offers it."

* * *

The introduction did not go well, though. His vassals, satisfied that Ivar's antics were not the result of lunacy, could only conclude they belied a cruel heart. Electors started mentioning loudly that perhaps Ivar is unfit to rule, and that Barid's son Uathmarán should be next in line instead. Sigfroþ paid this no mind. The main difference, instead of Ivar's cruelty, was simply a matter of his age.

upload_2018-11-18_20-44-41.png


But still, with the festivities over, the next order of business was to arrange marriage. Brekšta, widow of Guðfrið, was available again, apparently, having become widowed of yet another high chief. No, not an option. People were calling her Poison-Tooth, these days. Let her curse another man.

While considering worthy wives, Sigfroþ learned that his sister Wieslawa had come of age and needed a husband. He learned of one oddly intriguing candidate: Rögnvaldr af Munsö, Petty King of Svijþod. Apparently, he was the last male af Munsö, meaning that Ofeig stood ready to inherit should something happen to him.

upload_2018-11-18_20-54-53.png


He offered Rögnvaldr the hand of Wieslawa. She was kind, full of life.

upload_2018-11-18_20-56-21.png


A perfect way to keep Rögnvaldr unsuspecting of his impending demise. Which... was quite simply accomplished.

upload_2018-11-18_21-21-48.png


Ivar was betrothed to a genius girl named Yelizaveta from Kiev, only two years his junior.

Votes started going back and forth, and suddenly the heir was Ivar again, then Sigfroþ's child brother Skuli, son of Ivar the Boneless and Witch-Queen Eufemia, back from after the Great Heathen Army. He was proving to be rowdy and a genius, so he might become the leader. So, that gave Sigfroþ the opportunity to grant Ivar the High Chiefdom of Galloway, and then immediately set about to see Ofeig dead. And then, Sjælland moved its heir to Sigfroþ's other son, Valdemar. Linda would be pleased, he scowled.

And so, Ivar came of age, and became once again Heir to Irland.

upload_2018-11-18_21-41-18.png
 
Intermission 2

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Intermission: Finishing Ofeig

Watching how quickly the vassals of Sjælland moved from son to son in their votes, it was clear that he had to time his killing of Ofeig before the vassals understood what happened. First it was to Valdemar. Then to Ketill. They were choosing a boy of 3 to lead them, solely because he was an unlanded male of the dynasty. But Sigfroþ needed to let nature take its course, arrange for Ofeig to perish and the heir be already a High Chief swearing fealty to Irland.

Then he was told of plans on a hunting trip in Iona. This was his chance. He rushed a fleet of loot from raiders back home, and used the funds to create the High Chiefdom of Connachta, and grant it to his son Ketill. The vassals of Sjælland learned about this, and started switching votes to Valdemar. Out of time and funds, Sigfroþ granted Valdemar the High Chiefdom of Strangfjorðr. The vassals, confused, looked for someone else to grant votes to, some even choosing the newborn Faste.

But Sigfroþ knew the hunt and the trap.

Valdemar now held the expanse of Sjælland.

upload_2018-11-18_22-4-56.png
 

stnylan

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Getting rather disconnected
 

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The thing is that I realize I should have made Ofeig the High Chief of Suðreyjar way back when he was going to inherit Sjælland to avoid this mess now, but it is what it is. Killing Ofeig afterward would have made Sigfroþ the next in line to inherit Sviþjod.
 

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One more thing we'll need to cover: With the acquisition of Sjælland, I'm in position to reform the Germanic faith. Any thoughts about how it should be reformed?

Right now, Warmongering and Sons of Ragnarok are obvious choices. Part of me thinks Bloodthirsty Gods would be fun as well. As for leadership? I'm leaning toward Hierocratic. It will NOT be Temporal. I'd never be able to reform Bön if I'm Fylkir.
 

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I have a plan to reform the Germanic faith into Peaceful Stability Equality at some point. I would advice that for the laughs, but given your goals ... :D
 

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Hmm... I'd go with Sons of Ragnarok and Bloodthirsty Gods, myself.
 
Chapter 8

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Chapter 8: A New Faith

upload_2018-11-20_23-8-11.png


Sigfroþ traveled the new lands, wondering what to make of them. He had changed his focus to religious matters of late, and he understood that the Catholic ways in most of Irland had their strength in their structure. However, Odin would never treat his people like Jehovah. No, his way must be different.

So he gathered the priests in Sjælland, and spoke to them about the gods.

upload_2018-11-20_23-7-29.png


A Godi named Freyr was chosen to lead everyone, and it was his insights that helped pen the Sagas into an immutable form. The fights they had in deciding how the stories were to be interpreted were fierce, and blood was spilled many a time.

upload_2018-11-20_23-12-4.png


Despite the squabbles, the New Path was quickly adopted in most places, by nearly everyone in the realm and beyond. Only Småland remained steadfast in the old ways.

upload_2018-11-20_23-20-5.png


This was not acceptable. Sigfroþ vowed to subjugate the realm.

upload_2018-11-20_23-20-57.png


Before starting battle, he tried to ensure Viken would be on his side. This was thwarted by the gods.

upload_2018-11-20_23-26-31.png


And so, Sigfroþ noted, the lines of his brothers Sigtrygg and Barid had perished.

upload_2018-11-20_23-28-57.png


And so, with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Sigfroþ declared war on Rikulfr the Cruel.
 

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I get the feeling they will make even more uncomfortable neighbours than they have hitherto.
 
Chapter 9

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Chapter 9: The Blood of Gods

The invasion of Mumu went well, as expected. They called in their allies Scotland, whom the Irish Vikings overwhelmed. In the ensuing battles, Linda captured Bishop Peter of Dunkeld, who was taken back to the Irminsul Tree on Skye. Fylkir Freyr suspended the bishop from the branches, and plucked out his heart for Odin. His sacrifice was the first for the new faith.

upload_2018-11-21_0-0-35.png
upload_2018-11-21_0-1-28.png


More would follow.

Camp Fever taking Britain and threatening to spread to Ireland, Sigfroþ arranged to travel to Skåne in preparation of Irland's holy war against Smáland. Christians were found to have infiltrated Rikulfr's court, and they were sacrificed as they were captured.

Upon winning the holy war, Sigfroþ looked at the new shores and considered his next move. Of importance was his new, powerful neighbor.

upload_2018-11-21_20-2-17.png


He had also converted with the new faith, but his son and heir had grown close to a different faith, one from further east: the Slavic faith. Rurik's second son remained faithful to Viking ways, and he proposed his eldest daughter marry him.

upload_2018-11-21_20-7-38.png


Sigfroþ returned home for a rest, but once again, Camp Fever had reared its fearsome head. Prematurely, he called to move everyone to the newly captured lands in Smáland, but it was too late. Sigfroþ had Camp Fever.

Still, he did not let this stop him. He dispatched his retinues to learn more about this Slavic faith, and thought the best place to do so would be the fabled city of Prague.

upload_2018-11-21_20-22-49.png


Freyr's treatment proved to be the cure he needed.

upload_2018-11-21_20-25-25.png


Wieslawa's earlier wedding to

upload_2018-11-21_20-34-7.png


As the years went on, and the Ivaring children came of age, votes shifted, and the youngest brother of Ivar the Boneless, a good man named Skuli, rose to become the new Heir of Irland.

upload_2018-11-21_21-15-38.png


In 894, a strange man came up to the gates of Irland, in the newly named village of Kalmar. He was a merchant, but carried wares the likes Sigfroþ had never seen. The merchant explained that he was from the far-off land of Hindustan, and that he has gathered tools from across the earth. In the end, for Sigfroþ's hospitality, he offered a eunuch of his, as well as an intricately carved metal bowl. He explained that the bowl came from Tibet. Sigfroþ decided then, that he, or his descendants, would have to visit this land someday. And furthermore, that he would point his kingdom east, far from Irish shores.

upload_2018-11-21_21-38-39.png


Very far indeed.

upload_2018-11-21_22-5-36.png
 

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Well now the aim is fixed - but some way to go still.

I wonder how many hearts will be torn out on the journey
 

Arnulf Floyd

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Oct 22, 2018
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Ivarings in this story were a bit more bloody like Aztecs:rolleyes: and have ambition and blessing of Odin to achieve dream of Ragnar to conquer all of Europe:)
 
Chapter 10

WJS

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Chapter 10: Blood Games

Sigfroþ looked back on his life's accomplishments, and recognized he did not have much time left. His body was growing weak.

upload_2018-11-28_6-27-3.png


He decided it was time to show the world, the kingdom, and the gods his dedication to this new path, and designed an elaborate set of gladiatorial games.

upload_2018-11-28_6-30-9.png


He turned to a companion that had followed him from Irland back to Scandinavia, a commander named Guðröðr. "You have served me well, and although you may be dying of cancer, I want you to represent me in these games. Either you will fall in battle, or you will emerge victorious. In either case, your entry into Valhalla is secured, and I want you to have this."

Guðröðr stood strong. "I will gladly honor you and your family."

upload_2018-11-28_6-33-20.png


The battles waged in Kalmar, with warriors and raiders arriving from all over the Norse lands. They battled each other, faced fearsome beasts acquired from near and far, and in the end, Guðröðr emerged victorious, having lost an eye, but gaining the respect of the realm.

upload_2018-11-28_6-36-23.png


That finished, Sigfroþ turned to the question of succession. Skuli was the kingdom's favorite. He was the youngest son of Ivar the Boneless, born after the Great Heathen Army, and a particularly quick mind. Sigfroþ, thinking of ways to keep his realm together, had considered letting his second son Valdemar rule next, but Valdemar was always sickly, his muscles flaccid. He had asked his sister and Valdemar's aunt Ylva to marry him and try to breed some vitality back into his line, but the curse remained too strong and their daughter needed constant care. Valdemar himself died soon afterward, never able to support himself, despite the size of his lands.

upload_2018-11-28_7-1-51.png


Valdemar's youngest brother Gorm, the only unlanded one of Sigfroþ's sons, inherited all Valdemar's lands. And with that, everyone in the realm decided that Sigfroþ's first son Ivar should inherit Sviþjod.

Sigfroþ had five sons: Ivar, the late Valdemar, Kettil, Faste, and Gorm.

Ylva returned to court in Kalmar, married a nomad from the steppes who would be a strong commander, and promptly had a child by Hrolfr Red-Cheeks.
 

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stnylan

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Plenty of blood