• We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.
That might put a cat among a few pigeons.
Chapter 11


Ahma woke up under a great silver birch tree. It was the tree that stood next to his father's childhood home. He doesn't remember how he got here. He doesn't remember drinking, so that can't be it. Apparently he had just left the fort and wandered around town until he stumbled upon his family home and collapsed next to the tree, finally waking up the next afternoon. When he got up and took a few steps towards the street, he noticed two of his guards standing there. He asked them what were they doing and they replied that they were making sure the High Chief would be alright, that no harm would come to him when he slept.
"If you had found me some time ago, why didn't you wake me?" he asked the guards.
"Marshals orders. He simply told us to guard you, and let you sleep. Something about you needing the rest after last night" the other replied.
Apparently marshal Havu had noticed Ahma hacking away at the training dummies last night, and figured something was going on to make the young High Chief so upset. He decided to let him be, but he didn't expect Ahma to wander off the way he did, and after a while of searching they found him. Havu decided to let the young man rest having seen him exhaust himself so on the training dummies.

As Ahma returned to the fort with his two guards, he felt like he was stabbed every time he saw a pregnant woman or a woman with a baby, reminding him of what he had been told last night. Upon return, he immediately told to gather his forces and that he would be going raiding his neighbors. He needed to get his mind off of things and time to figure this mess out. Also, he simply didn't wish to be there when Tyyni would finally give birth. And being away raiding he would be far enough to definitely not be there.

When he returned nearly two months later, the baby was born. He went straight to his great hall, sat in his seat and told his guards to bring his wife Tyyni and her baby and tietäjä Vesa to him. He also said not to bother making it a private meeting but let in anyone who wished to enter the great hall. First came Tyyni with her baby. Vesa arrived soon after, looking proud of himself. The baby was a boy. And he had promised that his treatment would give the High Chief a son.
"I believe congratulations are in order" the tietäjä began. "Both for you as a father and for me for my successful treatment of your wife" he continued.
"Yes, you are right. So I congratulate you for the successful treatment of my wife Tyyni," Ahma replied. " And I guess I should congratulate you for something else, too."
The look of pride on Vesa's face turned into a look of confusion. "What do you mean, High Chief?"
"What do I mean? I mean that that baby is no child of mine!" Ahma shouted. "Your 'treatment', as you like to call it, was to put your own seed inside my wife!"
Tyyni remained silent with her sleeping baby in her arms. Vesa on the other hand tried to vehemently deny everything. Ahma raised his hand to silence him. Then he said: "You know full well that I didn't bed my wife on the first full Moon after the treatment due to my own illness, but on the second full Moon, some seven months ago, I did. And ANY woman here who is a mother knows that that is far too short of a time for the baby to be already born. And even if the baby is an early born, it would still be fighting for its life and not happily sleeping in his mother's arms right now!" Ahma told Vesa, barely holding his anger anymore. Vesa still continued to deny that he had bedded Tyyni. Ahma then turned to Tyyni and asked her what happened that day in her room when Vesa administered his treatment for her. She answered whilst sobbing: "He bedded me. Said it would make me more fertile and more likely to bear a son for you if we did it." She fell to her knees after that. Her servants helped her up and took her to sit on a nearby chair, holding the baby for her as she continued crying.

The commotion had drawn quite an audience to the great hall already, and the collective gasp at her confession could have even been heard just outside the building. Vesa could no longer deny having bedded her, but he still denied that the baby was his. He claimed his spells and ointments and whatnot had made it impossible for her to get pregnant from his seed. He said that such allegations were an insult to his pride and honor as tietäjä, a healer and caretaker of the community. Those were just the words Ahma had been waiting for. He grabbed a sword from one of his guards and threw it at Vesa's feet.
"If you truly feel that I've insulted your honor, then you should be willing to defend it in a duel, however insignificant that honor of yours is" he told Vesa as he went to grab his own sword from behind his seat. Vesa went pale. He took a few steps back and refused to duel the High Chief.
"If you refuse to defend what little honor you might have, then do you admit to being the father of that child?" Ahma questioned him. Vesa still refused to acknowledge the child as his, still saying his precautions made it impossible for her to get pregnant by him. Ahma had half-a-mind to just cutting the man's throat open then and there, but he stayed his hand.
"Guards!" he shouted instead. "Take this coward of a man to the dungeon so I don't send him to the afterlife on a whim. He is tietäjä for this community no more" he said. The guards took Vesa by the arms and took the shocked man outside of the great hall and to the dungeons. Ahma now turned his focus on Tyyni. She was still a sobbing mess, being comforted by one of her servants while the other held the sleeping baby. He decided to be lenient with her. After all, she had been honest about the treatment when questioned, but she still should've known better. And she hadn't said anything to him about her suspicions or about the treatment before she was questioned.
"As to you Tyyni, you shall be dismissed as my wife and High Chieftess and I offer you two choices. Stay here with no one to call family but your bastard son, or, return to Rovaniemi to your father with your baby. The choice is yours", he said in a calm, almost cold voice. "I will give you until tomorrow night to make your decision." He then stood up and walked outside. He walked and walked and walked without destination, until he noticed he was near his father's grave. He walked up to it, sat down in front of his father's grave, and began to cry. "Did I do the right thing father? Did I? Did I have to punish them for what happened? I loved her, she is young and doesn't know any better. Kind of like me. But at least I showed her leniency. I could have done that for him too if he had admitted to what he did. But no, he had to deny everything! Even after I challenged him too! I thought it would have been enough to scare him to confess. I could've just sent him with her if I wanted to. But he just made me so angry. His arrogance, his denial. All of it. And now I will be known as someone who threw a tietäjä in the dungeons. A cornerstone of a community, thrown to a dungeon." He doesn't know how long he sat there talking to his father on that warm summer night, but at some point he had fallen asleep.

When he woke up, he began walking back to the fort. It was already noon. When he got back he noticed that Tyyni was nowhere to be seen. Neither her two servants. Ahma went to the great hall and saw marshal Havu sitting by the table, eating with some of the soldiers. Ahma asked him if Tyyni had already left. Havu told him that yes, Tyyni had left on sunrise with two of her servants and her baby. He had also sent some of his most trustworthy soldiers with them to keep them safe on their way to Rovaniemi.
"Good, good," Ahma said. "It will be insult enough towards Chief Kaleva that I ended the marriage with his daughter, don't want anything else to happen to her on her way there."
"He may see it as an insult, yes, but even he cannot deny that you were full within your rights to do it given what happened", the marshal replied. "He should be glad that he is getting his daughter back unhurt, as some people are much less forgiving than you, High Chief."
Ahma nodded, not saying a word. He didn't know what to say. He felt like everything that needed to be said, had been said. It was over now. Done. He was no longer married to Tyyni and she had now left with her infant bastard. The father of the baby whom he had trusted to help with his wife's fertility was rotting in prison for his treason, though it didn't have to be that way. And now, he would have to get a new tietäjä for his community. Hopefully false rumors won't start to spread about what has occurred with Vesa. It will be difficult enough to get a new tietäjä if they hear about what happened with the previous one, let alone if rumors start to spread that Ahma imprisons tietäjäs for fun or something. Add to that the news coming from his western neighbors that the Norse to his west had been largely unified by Eirikr, son of Björn Ironside. Now calling himself King Eirikr of Sviþjod, he controls at least as much land as Ahma when you take into account the Norse holdings in southern Baltic.

Ahma felt like he needed a break from all of this. "Maybe I should go touring my lands again, see the populace and visit my sister in Karelia. I haven't been there since her husband, Taisto, died. I also haven't seen her child, now have I? I could also offer my condolences to Chief Tuure and rest of his family while there." And so, Ahma decided to start touring his country again like he did before his war with Holmgarðr.
Matters domestic do get complicated
Chapter 12

Visiting Viena

Ahma had been in Viena for couple days now. The fort in the region had been the traditional seat of power for Chief Tuure and his family for generations. It was evening, and Ahma was walking back to the guest house. He had been with his sister and niece for the whole day. Yesterday he had spent time with Chief Tuure, talking about Taisto and visiting his grave. Tomorrow there would be a feast in his honor.

On the morning Ahma decided that he would help with preparing for the feast and so joined some of the hunters who went to get meat for the feast. Most of the hunting had already been done a few days ago or the meat for the feast would be taken from the forts' stocks, but some of the hunters still wanted to go hunt for some smaller game, such as rabbits, ducks and capercaillie. When the hunting party returned shortly after noon, they were greeted by a busy fort. The hunters took the game they had caught to be prepared and Ahma was left alone now that the hunters were busy. Ahma decided that he would go spend time with his sister while they wait for the feast to begin.

The great hall was already lively when the feast officially began. A few hours in to the feast there was someone who caught Ahma's eye. It was a woman, about his age, and based on where she sat she was related to Chief Tuure. Ahma turned to his sister Ilta and asked who the woman is.
"Oh, her?" she said. "She is Taimi, the youngest daughter of Chief Tuure. Why ask?"
"Oh, nothing really. I just noticed that she seems like a nice person. The people around her are laughing and smiling, and seem genuinely interested about what she's talking about," he replied.
"Well, she is well liked and a smart girl. She is even interested in the written word that our father made, can you imagine that," Ilta told him. "And she is only a year younger than you, so no surprise you would take an interest in her. I'm just surprised you might fall for someone again so soon after what happened with Tyyni," she continued, teasingly.
"What? What would make you think something like that?" Ahma snapped back, almost shouting. Ilta had always been like that, teasing her little brother who tried to act more mature than he really is. But then again, Ahma did have to try to mature faster than others his age after their father's death. And Ahma couldn't deny that he was interested in her, even though not necessarily in the way his sister suggested. She just seemed like she would be good company.

The opportunity to talk with her came sooner than he thought, though. Taimi came to say hello to her sister-in-law and consequently also ended up talking a lot with Ahma too. The two didn't even notice when Ilta decided to drop out of the conversation, leaving just the two of them to talk with each other. As the night went on the two continued to talk and drink, and talk, and eat, and talk, and drink. Soon, they were talking about personal matters and were also somewhat drunk, too. Near the end of the conversation, Ahma said "Gods, if I wasn't such a wreck of a man, I might even consider myself worthy of you."
And what might you mean by that?" she asked.
"By what?" he replied.
"By a 'wreck of a man' and 'worthy of me'?" she said.
"Hah, gods, where do I even begin? I'm not even twenty, yet both my parents are already dead. I basically threw out my wife back to her parents for adultery and threw a tietäjä to a dungeon, both within this year. I barely care to take care of myself and also have almost as many scars as I have years lived," he said. "And then look at you. A smart young woman with a future ahead of her, free to choose who you marry since your father decided not to betroth you to anyone. Smarter than me at least, I'd dare say based on our conversations. And you even seem to take good care of yourself. Not a pimple on you and your hair looks like you even comb it every day. And heck, here I am who barely cares to comb his hair or cut his beard. If we were just common folk I'd dare say I wouldn't even hope to start speaking with someone like you who would be completely out of my league," he finally finished.
"Funny you should say that, since I was thinking almost the same myself," Taimi responded. Ahma seemed a bit confused when she continued. "I might be smarter in some things but to me it seems you are smarter in many more things. And it takes time to take good care of myself every day, and sometimes it even frustrates me. But I don't want to appear as unkempt to others, though sometimes I wish I could just care as little as you do about appearances. And I'm not as free to marry whomever I want as it first may seem. Yes, I may have a say in it, but in the end my father has to approve of him too. Whilst you on the other hand are your own man and don't have anyone to tell you who you can marry or not," she unloaded. "So I might actually consider you a little bit out of my league," she finished, a bit teasingly. Ahma couldn't help but laugh at the situation, and so did Taimi. After their short bout of laughter, Ilta said to Ahma "Since we both think that we are not worthy of the other, then perhaps we instead actually are just perfect for each other," as she slowly put her hand on top of his.

That was the moment when Ahma lost all reason. After a short moment he grabbed her with his other hand, pulled her close and kissed her. It was a short, but intense, kiss, so as few as possible would notice it happen. She didn't resist it, she actually embraced it. Soon after they broke off the kiss, she said: "Your room, I'll go first. You follow after the tietäjä is finished with the story he is telling, it shouldn't be too long anymore." With that, she left the great hall as unnoticeably as she could. Though at that point of the night it didn't take much to go unnoticed. The story didn't take all that long anymore either, just a few verses. But for Ahma it might've been a day and a half. As he was making his way out, one of the revelers asked him where he is going. Ahma simply answered that he was going to relieve himself. The other man just nodded understandingly and continued with the revelries. On his way to the guest house where he was staying Ahma did go relieve himself in the bushes and then continued on his way. On the way he thought it was good that she spoke first, because he would've suggested her room and now that he started to think about it, it wouldn't have been such a good idea. Her bedroom was in the same house as Chief Tuure's room is and so he might have caught them when he returns to his room after the feast is over.

When he got to his room, it was dimly lit by two big candles on either side of the bed. However, it was still bright enough that he could see that on the bed was laying Taimi, naked save for his wolverine hat on her head.
"I thought it might inspire you to be as ferocious tonight as you are on the battlefields," she said. Ahma gave a light hearted chuckle as he took the hat off from her, pushed her down and laid on top of her.
Aaand Chapter 12 is up. Boy, was writing that like running through mud. In the end I like how it turned out, but I was suffering from a bit of a writers block when writing it. Probably because, well, it just feels like filler. To me at least. Now that I think about it, is it weird for a writer to feel that his own texts/stories are filler?:confused: Possibly I feel that way, at least in part, because the story from the game didn't progress at all in this chapter. Nothing to go by from my notes except "late 888, married Taimi, daughter of Chief Tuure (former High Chief of Karelia)". But I didn't just want to write something like "Ahma decided to get married, since he was unmarried now" after all the drama and trauma that happened with Tyyni. It had been less than a year at that point. And so I wanted there to be a good reason as to why he would get married so soon after throwing his first wife out.
Also, in game, I was feeling a bit of a pressure to get Ahma married, as he was the frickin only male of his family and at that point I yet hadn't (still haven't if memory serves) been able to change laws so that women can also inherit.

So, been thinking of posting chapter 13 either on Sunday or Monday. It's all written already, just needs some final touch ups and typo checks. :D
Perfectly ordinary for writers to be hard on their own work. Sometimes with justification, sometimes not. The trick is determining the one from the t'other. :D
Chapter 13

Securing the Hegemony

Ahma woke with a headache. He remembered the night surprisingly well despite the amount of mead and beer and whatnot he had drunk. He looked to his left and there she still was, asleep. He looked at her for a while, thinking, and then got up. As he was dressing up, he heard a voice from behind him.
"Good morning, and where are you going already?"
He turned around, whilst putting his shirt on. Taimi was awake, barely, and sitting on the bed and covering herself with the fur blanket. "Morning. I was thinking of going to speak with your father," he replied.
"Why would you want to go speak with him?" she asked while yawning.
"To ask him if I can take you with me when I leave and make you my wife," he told her as he left. Taimi was left sitting on the bed, feeling confused at first, then amazed and maybe even a little gleeful.

Ahma had fallen for Taimi hard last night, he couldn't deny that. But it was also from a sense of responsibility too, that he decided to act. He had bedded an unmarried young woman who was also the daughter of a Chief. If he wouldn't do this he would be no better than his former wife Tyyni and the, former, tietäjä Vesa whom he threw in to a dungeon. And the thought of that struck hard.

As Ahma explained what had happened, leaving out the part that he had already bedded her last night since Chief Tuure didn't seem to know anything of the sort already happened or he wasn't just showing it, and how he thought about possibly marrying her, Chief Tuure seemed more than happy to let the two of them get married. This was seen by many as a political marriage, since it would help bring the east and west parts of the realm closer together after Ilta became a widow less than a year into her marriage with Taisto and to also help legitimize Ahma as High Chief of Karelia.

As Ahma was making his way back to Pohjanmaa the next day with his escort and soon-to-be wife, a messenger came to him. He told Ahma that High Chief Viggu 'Hundred Flagons' of Sápmi, a Hero of the Followers of Otso, had requested his help in a war to defend his lands from King Eirikr 'the Hunter' of Sviþjod. Ahma agreed to the request and told the messenger to return to Pohjanmaa and tell Marshal Havu to begin gathering the army as they would leave as soon as he comes home.

When Ahma returned home his troops were ready and waiting for his orders. Ahma said that they will leave on sunrise since it was almost evening by the time his group arrived. Later that night he apologized to Taimi for not being able to have their wedding as soon as they had planned to, but she said that there was nothing to apologize for. She said she understands that as High Chief he has his duties that need to be attended to, and that she cannot always be his number one priority.

Come morning, Ahma left with his troops to north. He would go through Oulu and have the troops there join his main army. The soldiers from Kainuu would also be waiting there. From there they would go to Kemi and then to Länsipohja to meet the army of High Chief Viggu there.

But time was not on their side. Just as his army was making their way through Kemi, a messenger arrived from High Chief Viggu. He informed Ahma that High Chief Viggu 'the Hundred Flagons' had already surrendered to King Eirikr 'the Hunter'. All his lands had already been occupied for a while and after his only son had been taken prisoner, he was left with no other choice. Ahma cursed his luck. His army equaled that what the Norse King had brought and with the near thousand that Viggu reportedly had left they could've had a good chance of driving the Norse out of Sápmi. But what is done is done, he can only head back home now. Luckily the trip wasn't completely useless, as Ahma met a tietäjä along the way named Onni, who agreed to become the tietäjä of Pohjanmaa.

A few weeks after Ahma and Taimi were officially married, Ahma was looking around in his father's old room. It wasn't his bedroom, it was what his father called a study, or a workroom. It was a rather simple room. Not all that big, it had a chair and table with various tools for writing on it. It also had a small bookshelf, though there were only a few books there. Most of them Ahma couldn't even read since they were either in Latin or some even in German. Latin his father had learned during his mercenary days and he had managed to take a few books during looting or pillaging. No way his father could've afforded to have bought them as he used to say so himself. The ones in German were pretty much all just notes left behind by Amalric, the scribe who helped his father create the written form for Finnish. And the only book in Finnish in the shelf is 'the Finnish Language' that his father and Amalric had made. Ahma was looking through the first finished copy of the book. There were also couple other copies of the book, though they were in use by the two other men that Amalric taught to read and write, as they were now in turn teaching others to learn to read and write. As Ahma was putting the book back in the shelf he noticed some parchments sticking out from underneath the bookshelf. He had to lift the bookshelf a bit to get the parchments out, but he managed it. "Probably some more notes left behind by Amalric" he thought. He looked through them and to his surprise they were in Finnish. It was his father's handwriting and they were about military tactics and army formations that he had learned during his mercenary days in the South or which he had used in his wars as a High Chief. He knew that his father had wanted to try to organize his armies better and work more like the armies of the South, but he didn't know that his father had actually made notes about the subject. "Was he planning on making another book, this time about warfare?" Ahma thought. Whatever the case may be, these notes would help Ahma to organize his troops better and also help him to better follow in his father's footsteps.

Few months later Ahma wanted to put what he had learned from his father's notes into practice. He had heard that Chief Yar 'the Mutilator' of Ääninen had declared himself the High Chief of Velsk. He also controlled much land outside of what was traditionally considered Velsk, so he was a relatively powerful High Chief now too. And having another powerful High Chief right by his eastern border, behind lake Onega, could be considered a threat to his hegemony in the region. And so, he decided to cut that threat down a notch. He would make this other High Chief pay tribute to him. Thus, he marched with around 2000 men this time, since supposedly High Chief Yar could only muster 1500 at most after his wars. The two armies soon met in Pomorye. The battle, despite being more evenly numbered than most of Ahma's battles, was a complete victory for Ahma. He lost less than a hundred men, whilst High Chief Yar lost some 700 which was over half of his forces. Ahma then marched forth towards the lands of High Chief Yar and when half of the lands of the High Chiefdom were occupied High Chief Yar finally surrendered and agreed to pay tribute to High Chief Ahma.
He did fall for her hard didn't he
Chapter 14

Allies, Banners and a Realized Dream

It was a close match, but Ahma was the one standing victorious. Deryab, a fellow member of the Followers of Otso had asked Ahma for a sparring match. On his third swing Deryab had managed to hit Ahma on the wrist, but he didn't drop his sword. Then, Deryab tried to go for another wide side swing, thinking Ahma can't block it properly with just one arm. But instead of blocking or dodging, Ahma simply ducked and then swung low at his opponent. He swung lower than he intended though, hitting Deryab on the ankle, possibly breaking it seeing how he fell down almost instantly, screaming in pain. Nevertheless, Ahma beat Deryab who was a warrior, and was also himself promoted to the rank of warrior. Then, the two combatants, one of them limping, and the crowd returned inside.

Whilst inside, Ahma used the opportunity to find possible spouses for two of his younger sisters, the twins Ilmatar and Tuulitar. His oldest younger sister, Aamu, wasn't interested in marriage quite yet. She had become a commander and was also such a good fighter that even Ahma was sometimes having problems when sparring with her, though he would never admit it. She wasn't a member of the Followers though, preferring to just being in the army. Besides, she had also been quite busy lately, as she had gotten even more excited than Ahma about their father's notes that he had found, and was now trying to put them to good use. She would have to get married eventually though, like their two youngest sisters. And by the end of the day Ahma had found just the perfect spouses for them. Ilmatar would marry High Chief Atyamas of Veps. It was a small High Chiefdom just south of Karelia, on the south side of river Svir, or Syväri as the Finns called it. Tuulitar would get married with Xëryuchi, the current heir apparent of High Chief Nyalku of Bjarmia, a northern neighbor of High Chiefdom of Velsk, a tributary state of Ahma's.

When Ahma returned home he was met with troubling news. Four years ago Ahma sent Tyyni back to her father, Chief Kaleva of Rovaniemi. Ever since then Kaleva and his sons had been holding a grudge towards Ahma, despite him having valid reason to divorce her. Trade relations had been souring over the years, with Kaleva encouraging the merchants in his lands to travel southward through Sviþjod instead of Pohjanmaa. He had also began taking higher tolls and taxes from Finnish merchants. There were also the occasional raiding parties to Oulu and Kainuu, but these groups never consisted of more than a few dozen men, hundred at most, so the damage they caused was minimal. This time however, there was a raiding party which consisted of several hundred men that were lead by Kaleva's sons Uoti, Haapa and even Ahvo who had barely come of age. This was the final straw. Ahma decided it was time to put those darn Sami back in their place. He would make them pay tribute to him, just like they paid to his father, to make up for all the lost wealth from the raids and lost trade. And so, he once again marched into war.

The war was shorter than Ahma expected though. His over 3000 strong army had managed to catch Chief Kaleva's 1000 men strong army in a favorable position. It was an open field with no hills nearby, which was relatively rare in the north that was filled with hills and fells. Ahma had a three to one advantage, so he decided he didn't need any grand strategies. He simply placed the heavy infantry and spearmen in the center with archers behind them and the lighter infantry and what cavalry he had to the flanks. And then he simply had his center advance. When the center engaged the enemy, Ahma made his cavalry flank them and cut down as many as they could before the light infantry came and finally encircled them. Seeing that they were surrounded, many of Chief Kalevas men began to run. And soon it was complete chaos. Kaleva's men began to flee and many of them were chased and killed by cavalry. Kaleva and his sons managed to get away, but all in all, Chief Kaleva lost some 600 men. An amount that would take years to recover. When Ahma also took Kaleva's home in Rovaniemi, the war was all but over. Chief Kaleva of Rovaniemi was once again forced to pay tribute to his southern neighbors.

When Ahma returned home, he celebrated the victory with his wife and soon she was pregnant again. She wouldn't get to play the role of Akka this time though, as she gave birth to a healthy son in late spring, way before the harvest festival. Ahma decided to name his son Susi. He thought it would be an auspicious name since just weeks earlier he had finally managed to hunt his first ever wolf. The next day a messenger brought good news to Ahma. His brother-in-law, High Chief Atyamas of Veps, had accepted the proposal of an official alliance between the two High Chiefs. This was great news for Ahma. His hegemony over the region was now unquestionable. Chief Kaleva to his north was his tributary as was High Chief Yar of Velsk, the largest High Chiefdom nearby, second only to his. High Chief Atyamas of Veps was now officially his ally. Though Veps was a small High Chiefdom nowadays, with what ruling only little land just south of river Svir, they were one of the oldest High Chiefdoms around and that brought some degree of prestige with it. High Chiefdom of Bjarmia would also eventually become his ally, since his brother-in-law Xëryuchi was still the heir apparent to the High Chiefdom that almost rivals its southern neighbor Velsk in size and power. The High Chiefdom of Kola was of no concern. They haven't been able to exert any control over the Chiefs of Rovaniemi in generations, and more recently their High Chiefdom has even been split in two after the common folk of Kantalahti successfully rebelled against High Chief Baeivi of Kola, leaving him with only the Kola peninsula. The Rus and Norse neighbors were also a much smaller threat than they used to be. Holmgarðr had already lost a third of its lands to its neighboring Slavic and Finnic tribes since the death of Rurik. Sviþjod to the west was more concerned in taking and keeping land in the southern Baltic, with varying success. And so, with such a secure and strong position, Ahma decided that this summer it would finally be time to realize his father's dream that he had also taken as his own.

That summer Ahma held the biggest Ukonjuhla festival that had ever been seen in the Finnish High Chiefdoms. None of his vassals dared not to attend, for they were promised that something great was going to happen during this year's festival. Well, all but one. Chief Ihala had refused, citing health issues, but Ahma suspected that it was just a bunch of lies. Ihala was a hero of the Followers of Otso, so he wouldn't be so easily bedridden. Besides, among his vassals Ihala was the one whose lands were the closest to Pohjanmaa, so the trip could easily and safely be made even with a little illness. Ahma also knew that Ihala had always despised Ahma's father Jalo for taking the High Chiefdom of Häme from him. But Ahma wasn't going to let the absence of one sour old man ruin his mood. Tonight, he and his guests would celebrate!

Ahma had been preparing for this occasion for a while before, he just needed the perfect timing for it. He had placed the traditional symbols of the High Chiefdoms to the walls of his great hall. To his right were the six ermine furs of Pohjanmaa on two rows of three with a spear between them and the lynx fur of Häme with a shield on top of it. To his left were the bear skin of Karelia holding a sword in its mouth and the moose head of Savonia with a bow in its antlers. Above all of them were rolls of cloth, but their purpose was as of yet unknown to all guests. They were mostly in the shadows, so no one really even noticed them though. Opposite to Ahma, above the main door of the great hall, was a large square cloth, dyed green with a big, white and leafless tree in the center. And on the wall behind him was also another roll of cloth all the way up near the ceiling. This one seemed to be even bigger than the ones above the symbols of the High Chiefdoms. The bonfires had burned long ago and the festivities were underway in the great hall, when Chief Tuure, who was seated close to Ahma, finally asked about the green cloth with the white tree on it just above the main door.
"Good of you to ask. I was actually thinking of making my announcement soon, before the people get too drunk to listen or even remember what I am about to tell them," he says and stands up. He clears his throat and then shouts "My good guests, hear me, for I have many a great announcements to make!"
Conversations ended rather quickly and everyone soon paid attention to their High Chief.
"As you all surely know there are many old and traditional families among the Finns. Chief Tuure's family is known as Karjalainen for how long their family has ruled as High Chiefs of Karelia. The family of Chiefs Soini and Veli is known as Savolainen after how long they have ruled in Savonia. The predecessors to my father were known as Pohjalainen after how long they ruled as High Chiefs of Pohjanmaa. And even though my father was related to them and made High Chief based on that relation, he never took that old and respected family name as his. He never thought himself worthy of such an old and respected name. But I say that my father and I have both achieved so much that the name is no longer worthy of us! So on this day I tell you, I shall finally take a family name upon myself and my descendants. After the great birch tree that has stood next my father's childhood home for many, many generations, I shall take on the family name Koivu."
The declaration was met with cheers, and many now understood what the cloth over the main door was for. It was to be the symbol for his family. Most of the time family names for the old and respected families came from where they lived or noticeable features near where they lived. But this typically happened over time and no one before ever actually proclaimed their own family name themselves like this. But Ahma was only getting started.

After the cheering and toasting quieted down, Ahma once again shouted. "Now I ask of you to look to the walls of the great hall, where you can see the symbols of the High Chiefdoms adorning them."
Everyone looked around them, some only now noticed the rolls of cloth above them, but many still didn't as they were mostly in the shadows. Many of those who noticed them guessed what to expect now after knowing what the green cloth was for.
"I have decided to renew these symbols into banners that are easier to recognize and handle when going to war." As he said that, he raised his hands to his sides, a signal for his guards to open the rolls of cloth. The rolls opened and fell in front of the old symbols. For Pohjanmaa it was six ermines, running on a blue field. For Häme it was a striding lynx on a field of red. For Savonia it was a golden bow and arrow with the arrowhead, string and tail being silvery white, all on a black field. And finally, for Karelia it was a golden field with an armored arm and a bare hand, holding an upraised sword.

Whilst everyone was marveling at these new banners, Ahma was standing there quiet and quite happy with himself. He had secretly prepared these banners some time ago, but hadn't found a good opportunity to introduce them until now. The last banner was still to be unfurled, and it was to be his greatest announcement. Ahma looked to his left and nodded at the guard, who then proceeded to release the last banner that was behind Ahma. The guests noticed the banner starting to unroll, and what they saw was something they wouldn't forget. On a field of silver was a black, crowned bear with red claws, fangs and tongue, holding an axe with one of its front paws. Before the guests could even start guessing what this new banner was, Ahma began to speak:
"On this day a new realm shall be born! A realm that unites all Finns! The ruler of which stands even above the High Chiefs! Today is the day that I declare myself the King of all Finns! The King of Finland!"
The cheers were louder than ever before. Many guards even told the news to the townsfolk that night, but even though they celebrated the news, they didn't really understand all the fuss over the matter. And truth be told, not much would change for them, they would just have to remember to address their High Chief as King in the future. But for those in positions of power, it could change much.

And so it was, that on June 6th, 893 in the Christian calendar, Ahma Koivu, son of Jalo 'the Giant' finally realized his father's dream of uniting the Finnish High Chiefdoms under a single ruler, a King.
Last edited:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one goal accomplished. Kingdom of Finland formed! And I actually managed to make myself an alternate CoA for Finland. Here it is, in all its glory.
For some reason though the background shows as almost completely white in-game instead of silver but, meh, I got it in, that's all that matters. :D


Now I didn't make this bad boy from scratch, noo. The original can be found here. And I have the artists permission for using and modifying the coat of arms. And if you're wondering what the bear is holding in the original, the bear is breaking a yoke. As in "yokes of oppression". And the original is actually based on a real coat of arms that was suggested for Finland by a man named Rudolf Ray, who was a businessman and a headconsul, and didn't consider the lion that was borrowed from Sweden to be a good choice for Finland's coat of arms. The original design can even be found on the memorial stone for the "Sprucetree of Indenpendence" in Helsinki that Rudolf Ray gave to the Parliament of Finland as a part of his will.
He's made the boast - now time to make sure it sticks :D
Back in time for Ahma's greatest day :). Finland keeps modernizing, and is now almost united under one king. And with the marriages and tributes securing the borders, it may know a period of peace and prosperity, as long as the Norse don't disturb it.
Chapter 15

Crown and Grudge

It was the day after the feast and Ahma was heading towards the great hall. He would still have some small matter to take care of before his guests would all depart. When he arrived he noticed that Chief Tuure and Chief Soini were already there. He went and sat down in his chair and addressed the two Chiefs.
"My good men, I have called you here for a special occasion."
"And what is this special occasion, my High Ch-" Soini spoke, but then cut himself off. "I mean, my King", he corrected himself.
"The occasion is that I have decided to name the two of you High Chiefs", Ahma replied. The two men's eyes grew wide, and the heads of the guests that were also in the great hall turned when they heard those words.
"Chief Tuure, you will be the High Chief of Karelia, and Chief Soini, you will be the High Chief of Savonia. You shall be the liege lords of the Chiefs whose lands are traditionally considered as part of your High Chiefdom, respectively. And you will also consider me as your King and liege lord", Ahma continued. He then handed the two of them a piece of parchment each. He explained that on the parchment was all that he already told them in written form. He then handed the two of them a small knife and a quill with ink. Unsurprisingly, Tuure took the knife and pricked his thumb and then pressed his thumb on the bottom part of the parchment. Soini, on the other hand, took the quill and wrote his name on the parchment. Soini was a few years older than Ahma and had not been taught to read and write as a boy, but he had at least learned to write his name later on in his life. Ahma then fingerprinted one of the parchments and signed the other. And with this, the two men were officially High Chiefs under King Ahma.

Ahma had also decided to get crown jewels for himself to show off both his weatlh and position, somewhat mimicking the traditions of the Southerners based on his father's tales, but unfortunately they weren't ready for his declaration. But now, two weeks after, they were finally ready. They were simple, yet impressive. The crown was made of iron, but with detailed engravings. The engravings depicted the symbols of the four High Chiefdoms, namely ermine, bear, moose and lynx. The crown's centerpiece was two swans taking flight away from each other, and both swans were made from polished milky quartz. Paired with the crown was a ceremonial axe, made completely from iron, handle and all. It was also set with some polished stones, with a round piece of milky quartz on the bottom and a similar piece of dark smoky quartz on the top, with small pieces of polished rose quartz running along the side. He was very happy with the results.

Another week later Ahma was traveling south to meet Chief Ihala, who had invited him for some carousing and feasting. Ahma had accepted the invitation, and started preparations the next day. When he arrived Ihala was there to welcome him, telling him the preparations were done and they could begin the celebrations right away that night.

Late into the night both men were rather drunk and had gotten into an argument that ended up getting physical. Ahma got away with a black eye, but Ihala lost a couple of his teeth. No one really knew why the two men argued, and both claim they don't really remember as they were both quite drunk, but many guessed it had something to do with the High Chiefdom of Häme. Ihala was the High Chief of Häme before Ahma's father took the title some 25 years ago and he was now perhaps expecting to get the title back now that Ahma had become King.

Ahma left Satakunta home in a sour mood, but had cheered somewhat the closer they got to home, but still, he was far from happy. When Ahma finally reached home, Taimi came to tell him as soon as she could that she was pregnant again. That finally put Ahma out of his sour mood, and he was actually happy for the first time since they left Satakunta. Later that same day Aamu, Ahma's little sister, came to talk to him. She said that she had finally become interested in marriage after she had met someone.
"Oh, and who might that be?" he asked.
"Well, it's Chief Veli of Häme actually. We met during the feast where you declared yourself King", she answered, somewhat embarrassed. "We got along great during the feast, and talked about the possibility and if you would allow me to marry him."
Chief Veli of Häme. The younger brother of High Chief Soini of Savonia, but not his vassal, as Häme is naturally considered a part of the High Chiefdom of Häme, and was thus Ahma's direct vassal. His first wife had died a few years ago from illness, less than a year into their marriage, and with no children.
"Alright, I'll allow it, since you finally seem interested in marriage and seem to have found someone you're willing to spend your life with", he answered.
"Thank you big brother, thank you!" she said as she hugged him. Aamu had always been a bit of a tomboy, but sometimes the girl that she is really shows through, like it did now.

Early next year, it was once again a gathering of the Followers of Otso, and Ahma heard an interesting bit of news during the revelries. Apparently, somewhat inspired by Ahma's declaration of being King of all Finns, High Chief Burmort of Perm had declared himself King of all Permians not too long ago. Ahma was a bit amused by this piece of news. "I didn't know I had such a rival and an admirer of my work in the east" he thought to himself. He snapped back from his thoughts when he heard his name mentioned. He began to listen intently, in case he had missed something important. But he hadn't missed anything, the Hero had just begun to speak. The Hero told of Ahma's exploits and feats, and how it was an honor to promote Ahma to the rank of Veteran. Ahma thanked the Hero for the promotion, but he could also see the sour face the other Hero sitting next to the man. It was Chief Ihala. Ahma had already forgotten that the man was a Hero of the Followers. No matter, it was time for celebrations. But the two of them again argued about something later that night, though this time it didn't come to blows. Something about rumors that Ihala had supposedly been spreading about Ahma during the festivities. The two men went their separate ways, but Ahma decided that this wouldn't be over yet.

Soon after returning home Ahma sent an official challenge for a duel to Chief Ihala. He had suffered enough of him, and it was time to put the old man in his place. Ihala accepted the challenge, and a week later the two men came to face each other in a duel. This was no duel or sparring match between fellow members of the Followers though. This was a proper duel, with proper weapons. To first blood, or death. After an exchange of insults, the two prepared. Ihala was the first to make a move. He charged and swung his sword, but Ahma easily parried it and stepped to the side, ready to swing. But he didn't have to. Apparently a piece of Ihala's sword had broken off from the parry and struck him in the face, possibly blinding him. Not quite the satisfactory end that Ahma had hoped for, but how a man keeps his sword tells a lot about him. And Ihala obviously didn't take good care of his sword, so his loss was eventually his own doing. And an embarrassing loss at that too.

That summer Taimi finally gave birth to a daughter. It was a very cloudy day, so Ahma had decided to name her Pilvi. Soon after, Ahma also decided to start on upgrading his fort, after he finally managed to get the resources for it. It was more difficult nowadays than what it used to be. He wasn't as familiar with his newer council members as he was with the old ones. Sometimes he really missed marshal Havu. He was almost like a father to him after his real father died. Taisto who was ever the cautious man was still an excellent steward, able to bring in more tax revenue than the current one, or probably anyone else in the near future will. And chancellor Toivo, a man of many connections and skills. He would've probably even been able to find a more peaceful solution to this whole debacle with Chief Ihala than an outright duel. But alas, all three men are gone and none of them lived long enough to even see the birth of a Kingdom they helped to build.
Might I ask the meaning of Pilvi and how it relates to a cloudy day?
Might I ask the meaning of Pilvi and how it relates to a cloudy day?

Of course you can. Pilvi is finnish for cloud. Cloudy in finnish is pilvinen.

Now I don't know if that is how people were named back in the day, meaning that you name them after what kind of day it was when they were born or what you had hunted or what kind of tree there was outside, but I like to make it that way in my story to give the names meaning in a way and to also give my readers some hints as to what those names/words mean. I can list a few examples here that have or may not have been mentioned in the story so far but meaning left unmentioned.

First, of course, Jalo. It means noble. And not in an aristocratic way but as in someone who is a noble person.
Helmi is pearl
Toivo is hope
Taisto is an old word for a fight. Sort of like a fight between two people or two opposing forces.
Havu is coniferous. As in coniferous tree but without the tree part :confused:
Vesa is sprout. Though it can sometimes be meaning something akin to offspring when referring to first generation of someones descendants, though that is really old timey.
Toivo is hope
Voitto is victory
Tyyni is calm
Taimi is seedling or sapling
Pyry means snowfall, but it is typically used when it is also really windy on top of the snowfall
Speaking of wind
Tuuli is wind. Tuuli is still a name in use but Tuulitar not really. It's kinda old timey. Oh, and when words end in -tar/-tär they are usually (sorta) feminine forms of the word. i.e actor / actress - näyttelijä / näyttelijätär
Ilma is air. Ilmatar was also actually the name of a sky spirit/goddess in Finnish mythology
Kipu is pain and Kivutar was a finnish goddess of pain and suffering
Onni is joy or luck, depending on context
Veli is brother
Sisko is sister
Urho is brave or a brave one
Marja is berry
Kukka is flower
Käpy is cone. Like pinecone kinda cone

Now I left out some like Tuure, Mielus, Soini and Ihala because I don't either know what they mean or I'm not sure and more research would be needed.
But most old finnish names have their roots in nature or in human charectaristics. More "modern" names are often foreign in origin, mostly from swedish or german or russian or even biblical.
It seems that a long feud between the lords of Häme and the Finnish kings is in the making, but one can still hope that it will die with Ihala.

Interesting insight on Finnish names :).
Thank you - that was very interesting.
Chapter 16

Stone Walls and Duels

Ahma was walking by the new stone walls that were the biggest part of his upgrades. He had also had a couple small towers added to the walls, also made out of stone. Though calling them towers was generous, as they barely reached higher than the wall itself. More like raised platforms some would call, but this far north they are the closest to a stone tower one could find, so towers they were. His wish was, that one day all of the fort would be made of stone. That all the buildings inside the walls would be merged into one grand building made out of stone. But that would take more time and resources than he could gather for a long time, perhaps in the rest of his life. As Ahma came back inside the great hall, Taimi was waiting for him there.
"I have news for you dear", she said.
"What is it?" he asked, half expecting the answer already.
"I'm pregnant again", she said as she hugged him.

Later that summer Ahma was returning from raiding the war torn lands of Holmgarðr through Karelia so that he could go meet his sister and niece on the way. Whilst in Viena Ahma also got into a conversation with his brother-in-law, Voitto, the eldest of Tuure's sons. He noticed that Voitto didn't seem to have an urge for adventure or even understand why others would have such urge. Ahma took it upon him to teach him of the old legends of warriors and of the adventures of his fellow Followers of Otso. And of course a couple of his own adventures and raids and how he wouldn't be where he is in life if he didn't have those adventures and raids. They talked all through the night, and by morning it seemed like a fire had been lit inside Voitto. He had started to feel an urge for going on an adventure of his own. He thanked Ahma for his time and for telling him all those stories, and that next time they meet he will have some of his own to tell.

When Ahma finally returned to his fort, there was a messenger waiting for him. The messenger informed Ahma that Haljas 'the Milkdrinker' had requested for a sparring match. Haljas was a Hero of the Followers, and apparently wanted to see for himself just how good of a fighter Ahma is after he defeated Chief Ihala, his fellow Hero, in a duel. The match was set to be at the next gathering, due to the fact that Haljas was employed as a marshal in Tjust in southern Sviþjod, and it could be considered provocative for a foreign King to travel through a Kingdom, with whom relations are tenuous at best, only to fight someone in a sparring match. When the gathering finally happened little over a month later, the two men decided to have their match right away. They chose to fight with staffs, and then the match began. Ahma fought aggressively, forcing Haljas to be on the defensive and wait for a chance to strike back. A chance that Ahma wouldn't give. Ahma swung from the right, but it was blocked. He then quickly stroke to his left with a quick and short jab from the staff, hitting Haljas just below the armpit. Haljas then stepped back, but had to block a high swing from Ahma. But Ahma continued it with a quick kick to the gut. Haljas had to take another step or two backwards, but was then hit to the side of his head. Haljas dropped on the ground on all fours from the last strike. Ahma was yet again victorious against another Hero of the Followers. And Ahma could see that not only was Haljas going to have a black eye for a while from the last strike, he was also red with embarrassment due to his inability to even strike back once. The rest of the gathering proceeded as usual, with the occasional sparring match and arm wrestling and insult throwing. There were also few who spoke that Ahma would one day certainly become a Hero, and that they hope to live long enough to see it, and what adventures he would have then.

On the way back from the gathering Ahma decided to go for a little hunt, since an opportunity presented itself. He happened to notice a fresh trail by the stream he was resting. "Foxes", he thought. Foxes were one of the toughest beasts you could try to hunt on your own and without traps. By no means were they big or dangerous, but they are rarely seen, quick in their movements, and also in general sly creatures, able to outwit even experienced hunters. An elusive little beast. Ahma offered a quick prayer to Tapio, the god of the forests and hunt, for good luck in his little impromptu hunt, took his hunting bow, and then began to follow the trail. He didn't have to follow for long when he noticed the animal. It was standing on a rock, sniffing the air, probably trying to find prey itself. Ahma was downwind of the creature, so it didn't notice the threat before it was too late. It heard the silent 'twang' of the bowstring, but by then the arrow had already struck. The fox fell from the rock, and was dead by the time Ahma got to it. A couple days later Ahma was back home with a new notch on his belt. His first fox that he hunted alone and without the use of traps. A few weeks later Taimi went into labor and soon another son was born to Ahma and Taimi. Ahma decided to name him Kettu, in gratitude for the fox that he hunted down.

The summer of next year Branislava, Ahma's concubine, asked if she could speak to Ahma in private. Ahma took her to his study where they could be alone. Ahma spoke first.
"What is it that you would want to speak in private, Branislava?"
"Do you remember how High Chief Soini visited for a few days not a week ago?" she asked.
"Yes, they stayed a few days and left maybe four or five days ago. What about it?"
"Well, during his visit I noticed Soini eyeing up your wife, the Queen. And I mean in a way that a man shouldn't look at a married woman", Branislava said.
"Are you sure you saw right?" he asked. "He is a married man himself too."
"Yes, I doubted myself at first too, but it happened all through the day. And the next day he was asking me about the Queen. Rather personal things too, I might add. Like do I know what she does before going to bed, if the King and Queen have a healthy nightlife, those sorts of things. And after the dinner he even asked me if I could help him sneak in to her chambers so he could arrange a surprise for her. I of course turned him down and told him that if he doesn't stop this now I will talk with the King."
The look on Ahma's face went from disbelief to anger as Branislava told him what had happened. When she was finished, it took him a moment to speak again.
"Why didn't you come to me sooner, why did you wait until Soini had left?"
"Because I wanted to speak with the Queen first, to make sure that none of his ploys had worked on her. And I can confidently say that he failed to seduce her. She said she turned him down every time he suggested something, and I even saw some of those rejections myself so I have no reason to doubt her. And I would've gladly left it at that, but..."
"But what?"
"But the way he looked at her even as he left with his escorts. It was the look of a man who hadn't yet given up. That he would continue to try again until he succeeded in seducing her. That's the kind of look he had in his eyes when he took one last look at Taimi before he left."
Ahma seemed surprisingly calm even after hearing all this. He thanked her for telling him this and told her to leave him alone for a while. She knew what was really going on inside him, though. She had known the man almost her entire life. Ahma may have seemed calm, but inside him was boiling. Boiling more fiercely than probably ever before. But if there was one thing to be thankful of, it was that Taimi apparently hadn't done anything. At least this time he wouldn't have to deal with something like he had to with Tyyni. But that didn't change the fact that he was still filled with rage, just waiting to burst out. Ahma left the study to go to his own room. There he found right away what he was looking for. His father's sword. He took it and went to the great hall. He ordered a dozen of his personal guards to accompany him, immediately. They then saddled their horses and left. Branislava knew that she would poke a hornets' nest by telling him, but better that he be told immediately than learn only after Soini might have one day succeeded in seducing and bedding Taimi.

Ahma and his guards rode straight to the home of the Savonian High Chief. Once they got there a few days later, the gates were opened, and High Chief Soini himself came to greet the King on his surprise visit.
"My King, what brings you all the way here to my humble ho-" *SMACK!*
Soini was cut off by a fist to his cheek. Soini fell on his butt from the force of the punch. He looked at Ahma, eyes wide like an owl's.
"Don't try acting all innocent, you know why I'm here. Go get yourself a sword or I'll have you dragged back to Pohjanmaa in chains and thrown to the dungeon. You know how long the last man who messed around with my wife spent in that place. I can make you spend just as long just for trying to do the same", Ahma said and then unsheathed his sword. Soini knew he had little choice right now, so he told his guards to bring his sword. Once they brought it, he just took it from its sheath and took his place in front of Ahma, both men now ready to duel.

It was slow start. Soini didn't want to charge in, knowing that Ahma was the stronger and more experienced one of the two, so he would just have to wait for an opportunity. Ahma on the other hand, didn't want to charge in blinded by rage and thus give his opponent a chance to strike back. Eventually, it was Soini who grew impatient and swung first. Ahma parries it easily and strikes back. Soini barely manages to dodge the counterattack. He then lunges in for a thrust, but again, Ahma parries it easily, lifting Soini's sword up and he barely kept it in his hands. Then Ahma goes for a strike. As he swings, Soini tries to bring his sword down in time for a block, but barely misses it. The strike connects, but to Soini's hand. His hand is cut off from just below the wrist. He falls to the ground on his knees, screaming in agony. Ahma decides that this is punishment enough and sheathes his sword. Before he leaves, he turns around to Soini and says: "I hope you've learnt your lesson today and leave my wife alone."

Afterwards Ahma begins to feel like he has rested on his laurels for too long. It had been too long since he had had a proper battle. Thus, he declares war to make High Chief Jaolemb 'the Rash' of Estonia to pay him tribute. So that he could fill his treasury and to sate the bloodlust that his anger had brought upon him.