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Introduction

TheButterflyComposer

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From the distant past, the muses grip my tongue and make me sing,
Of great men and warriors and kings!
The hour grows late yet the fire burns bright,

Let my great history warm you all in this place tonight!



Long ago, before the coming of the Lord, these isles were the home of savage men and beasts. Then the Empire with all its might rendered them quiet for a time. But these isles are old, and full of noise, not easily pacified. The invaders were thrown back into the sea by warring tribes. And in their place, why, we came, from across a different sea. From a land of cold to a land of green. Ah! The many kingdoms the Angles and Saxons built! None greater than the Northumbrians. But with the return of Christ to these lands, the power of the land changed, gripped by the fury of one man, whom we call Offa.

Great was his host. Powerful was Mercia! The great overking and his generals raised these lands, and whilst many kings were made to kneel, others merely nodded their submission. For whom could withstand such a power? Offa returned home, victorious, as did his earls, to rule Mercia, the greatest kingdom thus far seen on these shores.

But none but God could know, that this was not the triumph of his story, but the beginning of another’s…

THE KING IN THE NORTH

-/…/-
TBC here for another (potentially) doomed to fail AAR. This time, we're going to be doing something a little different as I try (somehow) to break out as an independent Lancaster in the 769AD start date. All the rules are set to default (yes, even defence coalitions) except for the Aztec Invasion, because who knows, I might want to play this in EUIV too... if I survive.
As an extra special treat/penalty for the readers of this AAR, you will be able to vote sporadically on things. Things like what kind of hat my guy gets to wear (i.e. when should I become king. If I get that far). And who do I attempt to bully next? You decide! Or rather, I decide, and then give you a few choices and maybe some strategy discussion because this is a dictatorship not a democracy. Enjoy, for I am not sure how long I will last. But this should be fun regardless. Happy Reading!
-/…/-
The prologue begins below at
Chapter 1.

The story begins twenty three chapters later, at
Chapter 1.

Minor interactivity approved by Mr.C
 
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Nikolai

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In for the ride!
 

TheButterflyComposer

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stnylan

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Kings in the North don't always have the best of luck :D
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Kings in the North don't always have the best of luck :D
That's cause they literally exist to lose. In history, there are so many anglosaxon and later english nobles who built massive powerhouses for themsevles in the north. In fact, @coz1 England in his House of Wessex series simulated this quite well. The south was constantly getting invaded and fought over because it was valuable and had the capital city there. The north just slowly and surely builds into massive blocs. Likewise the south in OTL is much better farmland but absolutely stuffed full of independant states whereas Mercia only had to push west to push out the welsh. And Northumbria was unassailable unless someone convicned the welsh and some saxon kings to work together. Offa did, but his welsh alliance broke down quickly, so he doesn't have it in game.

In this start, the most powerful kingdom by itself is Northumbria, by over 500 men and they'll stay dominant for a while at least, I think. Mercia is strong because it has a ton of tributary kings backing it up. If Offa were to die...there's Wessex and three other kingdoms waiting for their moment. And the welsh.

There'll be a breakdown of my many powerful neighbours in chapter 2. Chapter 1 will be out tonight.
 

Bullfilter

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So you took the plunge! Good luck with the Lannisters, er Lancasters. ;)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Looks interesting, subbed!
Thanks!

So you took the plunge! Good luck with the Lannisters, er Lancasters. ;)
Eh, no gold in these parts. Lots of coal though. Lots of coal. Terrible coal, but lots of it. Wales has lots of coal though. I imagine if I survived to Vicky II this would be some kind of advantage. As it is, just going to put it into flavour text about how great our forging is.

Yes, I'm into this now! Um...possibly for quite a short time because I'm already on ruler three...
 
Chapter One: We find these islands blessed

TheButterflyComposer

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Chapter One: We find these islands blessed


In those days Offa of Mercia made his seat within Leicester. His loyal and victorious earls were scattered around him, two lands for each.


Oxford to the south was married into the family, for he would be tempted by the wealthy yet lesser powers of the southern lands.


To the east, Lindsey kept a watchful eye on York, and also upon Offa’s own throne.


And the west went to his most trusted bloodkin, the cousins Worchester and Chester. The savage Britons of yesteryear did once ally with Offa against the encroaching Northumbrians, but those days were gone. In place, Offa planned a great earthen defence to establish his power over the Welsh.


In that, and in old Roman Chester, he entrusted to Wigheard of Derby, the wisest of his council and his chancellor of the realm. That name, to us, resonates louder than a war drum but for his part, and his time, he was a most respected man of the mind and field.


Beloved was he to his new subjects, and he made good peace with the Britons on his doorstep. He made his own council of local holy men and city merchants, for even in those days, he recognised the power of gold even over strength of arms. Very soon he made his seat in Chester and henceforth took its name as his own.


He went not alone, for his household was blessed with son Wigferth and grandson Wigberht, but alas, a wife gone to her rest. After war and many years, he spoke little of her, so the gracious woman is lost to history but beloved by God and by us for siring the line that is so dear to our hearts.


But sadness and pain do not last forever, dear listeners. Chester and his son, both bereaved, married again with the promise of Offa’s peace strong in their hearts. A worthy match was found in the beautiful princess of Italia, in those days Lombardy. She brought with her another maid for Wigfreth to make the family whole once more.


Chester did not live in a wholly civilised land nor did he rule over a notably pious people. Legend tells that when he sought out a medical man for his home and hearth, a wildling appeared and did many mystical magics in his time. Such things were commonplace in those lands, and by far from the strangest occurrences that I shall recount to you. Far from it! Why, a dragon appeared that very year and was smote down by Chester and Wigfreth’s arms.


So Chester made his seat, and ruled well, casting off his shadows of war, cleansing his body of many years of battle, dirt and blood. Offa’s peace was a great and noble promise, one desired by his generals, for had they all not fought long and hard for such things? And yet, the reality of ruling had struck at their great leader, and he soon demanded they give more men to his banner every year. Loyal, yet disquieted, they agreed. All seemed calm and good within the land of Mercia.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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This looks like it'll be interesting. Consider me a follower :)
Just in time. Hope everyone enjoys.

For those unaware, CKII uses a vassal system and a tributary system. Mercia is the green section of the map, with the palest two counties under Offa's personal control. Those purple counties are independent realms but under his thumb, they have to pay money to him and he can essentially force them into any war offensive or defensive. Basically this is for minor realms on your doorstep who you really don't want to conquer (yet) but don't want to ally or fight with either. So you enslave them instead. However, you do have to be an independent ruler before you can do it, so no building a sneaky support base in Wales before splitting using their armies. Not yet...

At this point in history, this actually fits very well with the idea of 'over-kingship', which Offa aimed to be, which was getting everyone, independent or not, to acknowledge you as the ultimate authority around. Over-kingship is of debatable historical accuracy but for the purposes of this playthrough, we shall treat it as legit (because I suspect that if I can't tribute all of Wales most of the time, those Saxon kings are going to kill me).
 

Bullfilter

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All calm, promises of peace, etc ... oh dear! It won’t last. :eek:
 

TheButterflyComposer

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All calm, promises of peace, etc ... oh dear! It won’t last. :eek:
A realm built on war and conquest, and offa staying alive to keep it all going? Naturally everything is golden for many years...

By the way, how is everyone finding the Homeric/beowulf style oral narrator? Little Dux and Albion have narrative and history book styles so wanted to try something a little different.
 

Bullfilter

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By the way, how is everyone finding the Homeric/beowulf style oral narrator? Little Dux and Albion have narrative and history book styles so wanted to try something a little different.
I like it :)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Right so for those who don't know, I have basically two ways of getting out of vassalge. I can war for my independance (usually but not always the prefered option because you are either more powerful than your liege or better connected with allies). I can inherit my way out with some manoeuvring either by gaining the liege title or a title bigger or the same as him.

As you've probably guessed, we're going for armed rebellion. With 200 men to Offa's 800+ other vassals and tributes, we aren't doing that anytime soon. But if i make myself the money making captial of mercia, make some foreign friends and hire mercs, we should be ok.

We need an opening though...
 
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streaker77

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The Kings peace holds, but I doubt that Offas decision to increase his levy is solely for defensive purposes......
 

coz1

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That's an interesting starting position and had I not started my ill fated Saxony AAR, I might have picked that. Alas, I was hoping to move away from the Isles a bit as I learned the new game structure. Good luck certainly and great to see a new and fresh challenge. If you manage to keep it all Anglo-Saxon, then Eadgar of Wessex will be proud even if that means that he and his many descendants will never exist. ;)
 

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All seems good, I note :)
 

Nikolai

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Right so for those who don't know, I have basically two ways of getting out of vassalge. I can war for my independance (usually but not always the prefered option because you are either more powerful than your liege or better connected with allies). I can inherit my way out with some manoeuvring either by gaining the liege title or a title bigger or the same as him.

As you've probably guessed, we're going for armes rebellion. With 200 men to Offa's 800+ other vassals and tributes, we aren't doing that anytime soon. But if i make myself the money making captial of mercia, make some foreign friends and hire mercs, we should be ok.

We need an opening though...
Patience...
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The Kings peace holds, but I doubt that Offas decision to increase his levy is solely for defensive purposes......
It is not. Remember, because the land is so evenly distrubted in Mercia, two vassals working together are as strong as offa is. But the more tributes he has to force into war and pay for things, the less he needs us. This doesn't end well.

That's an interesting starting position and had I not started my ill fated Saxony AAR, I might have picked that. Alas, I was hoping to move away from the Isles a bit as I learned the new game structure. Good luck certainly and great to see a new and fresh challenge. If you manage to keep it all Anglo-Saxon, then Eadgar of Wessex will be proud even if that means that he and his many descendants will never exist. ;)
Funnily enough, culture is a bit interesting here. For various reasons, I've opened my court to all kinds of foreign experts, some of whom end up holding bishoprics to make them importsnt enough to be on the council. However, due to matrilineal marriage, a very major part of Europe is currently being ruled by an Anglo-Saxon...

All seems good, I note :)
Yeah...that raised levy law gave me a sinking feeling as soon as I saw it. Quickly tried to correct this council authority as you'll see in next update, but it was too late to stop this. I don't think I'll be getting years of peace to build my economy...

Patience...
See above;)

But yes, my time will come. A bard said so.:D
 
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