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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Janus Rook

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The castle hall was a cacaphony of voices, some angry, some calm but all in arguement. Off in the distance Magnus could hear some men cry for honor duels. He sat in his ancient oaken chair and put his face into his palms. Didn't these people know what was going on, didn't they understand the importance of the situation.

Magnus' mother placed her hand on his shoulder, as he looked up he saw her still dressed in all black, her face looked far older than her years would suggest but her eyes were full of youth and cunning. They smiled at each other for a moment, when suddenly Magnus' brother Olaf spoke out.

"Men! My father's body is still warm in it's crypt and yet you bicker over petty squabbles and ancient feuds. You would tear down this kingdom that he built up. You should be ashamed. Now I don't know which of us has right to be lord but, at least for the moment we must stop fighting and choose a man to lead this kingdom."

From the bback of the hall the normally quiet Orm Eilifson, count of Hdemark raised his voice, "For his wise words, I nominate Olaf son of Harald as king."

Another voice sounded, "Agreed, I would serve under Olaf."

Magnus, sat uncomfortably in his chair, he had to speak but couldn't think of the words, then he heard his mother's voice. Surely she would handle this. "I too believe my son Olaf would make a good king, though he is young in body he is old in mind. Therefore, as I have heard the final wishes of the late king Harald, I would have Olaf as king."

The floor began erupting again, this time all present seemed to be in agreement. Until one dissenting voice spoke over the rest, this one being Skofte Ogmundson, count of Giske. "What of Harald's other son? Does Magnus cast his vote too for Olaf?"

Everyone turned to Magnus and he began to feel ill. His mother's gaze met his and he became paralyzed with a fear he hadn't known for years. He struggled with himself to speak but finally muttered a wavering, "Aye."

"Then, Giske too, shall support Olaf."

Everyone erupted in cheering and rose to crown Olaf. Magnus took this chaotic oppurtunity to get up and leave the hall, he felt his knees wobble and he grabbed onto a wall with his left hand. His stomach lurched forward and he vomited in the corridor. Wiping his mouth he continued to his bedroom.

As he lay in bed his thoughts turned to the coronation and his mother. How could she lie to the nobles like that? He was there with her when his father breathed his last. His father had named him heir, because Harald had wished for an Yngling to rule after him and as Magnus was eldest it was his right. Now Olaf had stolen that right from him, but what could Magnus do, the nobles assembled had selected Olaf; nothing could be done now, but later.....

Magnus would entertain these thoughts tommorow, he needed rest now.

-------------------------------------------------

When Magnus awoke he saw his brother standing over him.

"Wake up you old fool, it's past breakfast." Olaf had a friendly smirk on his face, normally Magnus would find his brother playful and full of life, now all he saw was contempt and sarcasm.

"Where's your crown, your majesty?" Magnus said rubbing his eyes, intentionally drawing attention to the majesty part.

"You know that all that noble stuff isn't for me, I always had more fun just being myself."

"Well you should have stayed yourself and not become someone you shouldn't be."

"What's your problem Magnus have gnomes been eating at your insides?" Olaf said jokingly, that same smile draped on his face.

"My problem," Magnus said as he stood up, "is that I should be king instead of you!" There was malice in Magnus' voice as he pointed his finger at Olaf's chest, he kept his finger on his brother as he continued. "Father spoke it to me on his deathbed, and our witch of a mother took that title from me without cause!" He stamped his foot at the utterance of 'cause' and made his disgust of the situation known to an unfortunate servant who was cleaning the chamberpots.

"Brother, your words offend me and I am compelled to draw my sword, do you truly mean these spiteful words that you say?"

Magnus calmed down for a moment, as he let out a breath he spoke in softer words, "Olaf, you know that I have never lied to you, and I can assure you that as I stand here I am not lying to you now."

Olaf stood there confused, thought for a moment and then spoke, "I don't see why our mother would lie to us, but I will believe you. Now Magnus, I don't wish you to feel slighted. Up north we have just liberated vast tracts of the mountain lands and I as such I have sent some nobles to guard these lands from heathens. However I need someone to guard the land from the nobles, who would have their own realms, and I need someone I can trust to guard Norway's interests. Can I trust you Magnus?"

Magnus looked down at the floor as a scolded child and let out a weak, "Aye."

"Then I shall make you Duke of Trøndelag."
 

Janus Rook

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Hey all this is actually my second go at an AAR, I lost the notes to my first one and I didn't bother to get any pictures that you all so love, but I have some for this one, so it should by default be better. :D

Now for this AAR, I've decided to play the duchy of Trondelag (how do you make that slashy o thing on an american keyboard?) The only rules that I have decided are that the characters must match their traits and that the flow of the story must make sense, so nothing like Trondelag conquers the canaries, although the all-year whipping boy Finland is. ;)

The main character is of course the 17 year old Duke himself, I figure that since he is selfish and older than Olaf, he would feel that he should be rightfully heir to the throne, but since him and his brother are only a year apart they'd have to be pretty close. Also seeing is how he's honest he wouldn't lie to his beloved younger brother.

My reasoning behind Olaf gaining kingship is the fact that he's far more charasmatic and likeable than Magnus, which would lead the nobles to select him over Magnus.

Right now Magnus' goal is to become King of Norway through whatever means his character deems fit, and thats how I'm going to play the scenario.

I've decided that I'm going to save the game every 10 yrs. so my screenshots will reflect that, some minor characters might not be shown if they die within that ten year period for instance.

Also, I began the game with no mods, then added some mods, to my game later, then after those mods destroyed my .exe I switched back to 1.05 after a reload from disk.

Currently I'm 100 years ahead of the AAR I'm writing (how far ahead to you guys normally play?) so the history up till then is pretty much made out, although if someone makes an interesting comment I can just reload at any 10 year interval and continue from there. Anyway I'm always open for questions/comments and I just hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing this.
 

Janus Rook

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Here's the pictures that I promised you guys:

First is the main character Magnus Yngling, notice how he's stressed, gee I wonder why? ;)

magnusharaldssonynglingbg5.jpg


Next we have his lovable? yet overbearing (and cruel) mother Thora:

thorathorbergsdottirss9.jpg


Also we have the one who started this whole mess Orm, little does he know what he's getting himself into:

ormeilifssonofhdemarkhz1.jpg


Finally we have Skofte of Giske, he's actually going to turn out to be a huge ally to Magnus.

skofteogmundsonofgiskebj5.jpg
 
Last edited:

Janus Rook

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The snow fell slowly about the wooden pallisade. Magnus could see smoke rising out of a small hut. This place wouldn't be fit for a peasant in the south, as it was though, it served as the count's homestead. Coming outside came a thin short man, Magnus would have called him half-starved, but not to his face. This man wore traditional robes of the people of the mountains as well as an ornate knife carved from an antler and as he walked to Magnus' horse Magnus could make out the only jewelry he wore, a gaudy gold crucifix.

"Hello, I am Finn, head man...no sorry, Count of Herjedalen. Welcome to my home, you may stay as long as you wish. Allow me to get some slaves to stable your horses." With that, this man Finn walked to a shack at the edge of the wooden barrier.

Magnus looked over to his courtier and mentor Skule Bolt, a one time anchorite monk, now he served as Magnus' wartime advisor. "So what do you think of him?" Magnus asked.

"It doesn't really matter what I think." Skule perceptive as always said.

"It matters to me Skule, please."

"Well from what I gather this man betrayed his people to Skofte Ogmundsson in exchange for that jeweled curcifix."

"So your saying when one man betrays a master, he may betray another one."

"I'm just saying of all your lords, this one has yet to swear allegiance to you, and remember he was a heathen until we came to this land, perhaps still is."

Just then Finn returned with two grinning slaves, Magnus felt compelled to check his baggage after he handed over his horses but thought better of it. "Come with me gentlemen, the nights come quicker up here, and the snowfall deceptively fast."

As Magnus walked into the hut he was surprised at how warm it was kept. So warm in fact he took off his heavy cloak. "Let me take that for you," Magnus heard a woman say. Looking over he was astounded by her beauty. Looking again to Skule he could see he wasn't alone in that perception.

Finn then spoke up, "That my friends is my beautiful wife Ashild. Let her collect your cloaks, we will enjoy some of her delicious local stew in just a moment."

Magnus sat down on a stool, as Ashild handed him a bowl, he could swear she was smiling at him. Magnus looked at this hut, this count's homestead and thought that some peasants live better than this. It was basically a wooden building with two rooms, mind you at least this room was royally furnished but it still madee Magnus feel a bit cramped.

"You two may share my own bedroom tonight. My wife and I will sleep out here." Magnus replied to Finn, "No that is quite all right, we'll be fine out here."

"Are you sure my lord?"

"Yes, I don't wish to take a man's bed."


"You are most generous my lord," Finn replied with a now huge smile on his face.

-----------------------------------------------------

Later that evening, Finn said his goodnights and he and his wife retired to bed. Skule took that oppurtunity to go up to Magnus.

"Why did you do that?" he queried.

"If this man is a traitor, I want to be able to escape if need be, and if he is indeed loyal now he'll remain so."

"Normally, I'd say wise but oh, my poor back on stone floors."

"You slept on stone floors for eight years when you were in that monastery."

"Yes, there's a reason I stopped."

------------------------------------------

Magnus' dreams that night were haunted by visions of trolls and witches. In it the two grinning slaves of finn carved him up with bloody blackened long-knives. He woke with a start and rubbed his head. Perhaps his brother Olaf's suggestions of gnomes playing tricks on him was correct. Stretching he noticed that it was early morning and that he was all alone. As he stood up he also saw that Finn's door was open.

He needed to satiate his curiousity so he walked inside of Finn's room, everything looked completely ordinary when suddenly a glint of gold caught his eye. Turning around he spotted the golden crucifix that Finn had been wearing when they first met. It appeared to be hanging off of a small branch bolted to a flat board. Tracing the branch down he was suddenly horrified by what he saw.

Laying on that board were four red candles arranged on either corner of the square base. Inside of that was a necklace set out in a ring made up of human finger bones, more troublesome was inside of the necklace was placed a bleached bear skull.

Taking the situation in Magnus suddenly felt as though someone was watching him. He turned quickly but saw no on there. Although as he left the room he swore he could smell Ashild's perfume. He turned his eyes to the door outside when unexpectantly it opened and a chill wind spread through the room. Skule, a bit out of breath motioned for the young Duke to folow him. A sense of dread entered Magnus' body.
 

Janus Rook

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So the plot thickens......

Anyway not too many pics for this one as we don't have too many characters yet, plus I don't want to spoil anything. So, all you guys get to see today is Magnus' warrior-priest Skule. Notice how he's lustful, that may end up getting this man of God in trouble fairly soon.

edit: Erk, he's my chancellor in this pic, I just noticed but trust me he's the marshal when it matters, I think I was shy on courtiers at the time, :p . And what a crappy chancellor he made too. :(

skuleboltsb6.jpg


I'm really getting into these character backgrounds so technically it isn't an AAR yet as all i've basically been writing is the game loading up. :rofl: But I really don't see this as a concern as I think a good story needs to have fleshed out characters.
 
Last edited:

Janus Rook

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Interesting scene there between Magnus and his brother. I wonder if Magnus would even stoop so low as to actually assassinate his brother to get the title...

He might have to wait for a while on that, I mean the nobles thought highly of Olav but not so much Magnus, his modesty is really hampering his ability to force himself on the nobles. Once the nobles have Olav's full trust though, perhaps they'd be more open to another Yngling ruler Norway. Magnus is just biding his time right now.
 

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Looks good. I like the way you're fleshing out the characters. :)

Interesting last scene there, too. Seems like the Northlands still have a great deal of paganism that hasn't been rooted out yet.
 

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Magnus raced after a surprisingly quiet Skule for about two miles through thick forest when Skule stopped them behind a large fallen log and spoke, "I heard Finn speak to his slaves in some babbling tongue and so I followed them here and saw this."

Magnus looked over the log and saw a most distressing thing. He could see Finn and his slaves talking to an old crone, who was clutching a child with a noose around his neck.

"I fear him and that witch are going to sacrifice the child." Skule said almost nonchalantly.

Magnus paid no attention to Skule's comments for anger was boiling in his blood. Normally he wasn't a very pious man, sure he was a believer but he never thought of himself as the person who'd condemn another's faith. However the circumstances as they presented themselves were different, this was a child and he knew he had to protect him.

Drawing his sword he jumped over the log and charged Finn and his foul company. Everything was in focus for Magnus, he saw the old woman turn her head and she tightened the noose around the boys neck. The child tried to let out a scream but found he couldn't make a sound. Magnus saw the witch turn her head to him and noticed she only had one eye, that eye was full of malice and hate though. Hate was good, Magnus thought; he hated her as well.

With a quick chop he sliced off the witch's head. Then he turned to face Finn. Both of the slaves drew their long-knives and charged Magnus. He raised his sword in both hands above his head but found he was too slow. One of the slaves elbowed him in the stomach forcing his sword out of his hands and him to his knees. Suddenly he felt a large stick swing above his head from behind him and craning his neck saw the second slave stab the one-eyed woman in the neck. Falling from her wound he watched as the slaves hacked her to death.

As he stood up he thought, but I had removed her head. Then he looked down to see two nearly identical old woman, both with one eye. The child scared out of his wits had managed to remove the noose and now ran for his life back to his village. Magnus took this chance to turn to Finn, who had not moved this whole time and rushed him.

Grabbing onto his collar he shouted, "What is going on!"

Finn's expression was blank, but his fists certainly were not. After the first blow Magnus knew he'd have a headache later but he wanted answers now.

"I saw your heathen shrine, you were going to kill this child to make another one weren't you?!"

That being said Finn landed a blow right on Magnus' nose. For such a scrawny guy he sure packed a punch, the smell of blood running down his nose was something Magnus couldn't ignore.

Finn's face went from expressionless to that of righteous anger, "You want to know what this is about. I was trying to save this child's life. Those crones wished to sacrifice him to the old gods, to banish YOU from this realm. I can assure you sir, that I am a true christian!"

"But the shrine? And the rumors?" Magnus spoke meekly, somehow this Duke had been put in his place by a mere country-count.

"That shrine is to the first martyr of Herjedalen St. Bjorn! As for the rumors, I supposed you mean..." Finn's voice began to soften, it was almost pleasant to hear, "...the one where I sold my people to Skofte for an expensive cross, well to tell you the truth it's not all false, but to understand it better let me tell you how I came to be here......."
 

Janus Rook

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Coming in my next post the origins and travels of Finn of Herjedalen. Wherein you'll learn of the martyrdom of St. Bjorn, how a simple man such as Finn came to be count and why was a bear skull placed in a christian shrine.

Hope you'll enjoy it. :D
 
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I didn't expect that twist in the end there, with Finn claiming he is an upstanding kind of guy. Looking forward to the next update...
 

Veldmaarschalk

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A very promising AAR with some interesting twists
 

Janus Rook

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Finn's Tale

I was originally born in a land far to the east, I was captured as a slave and this realm became my adopted homeland. Now in my 14th year a monk by the name of Bjorn came to my village and bought me to be his camp-aide. The first thing I noticed about him was his golden crucifix, he said one of his forefathers had captured it from a place called Lindisfarne, and that object was always dear to his heart.

Now it came during this time he taught me the true faith, but this land wasn't as safe for christians back then as it is now. One day we both were captured by devilish tribesman. Under threat of torture, I renounced my faith, so they just shaved my head and pissed on my face, but Bjorn, he wouldn't so they slowly cut off his fingers one-by-one. Even with that going on he found time to forgive me for my denial, for he said even Peter denied Christ. After they had finished with his fingers they slit his throat and burned his body to deny him resurrection.

What they forgot though was his fingers, and later that night I was able to sneak into their camp and collect them. However I was discovered and seeing me return they threatened to kill me. I thought I too would die when suddenly a rabid bear charged out of the woods, this bear then mauled all of these evil men to death, all but one, a simple slave boy who ran off with Bjorn's cross. For a moment I thought the bear would kill me too, but it looked into my eyes and instantly fell dead. I knew this to be a sign from Bjorn, so I took this bear's skull to honor in place of his own.

For days I traveled without eating or drinking carrying the skull and fingers until I finally wandered into the village of Ashild's father, he too wished to kill me but I told him my story. He thought for a moment and told me that a neighboring warband was holding his village for hostage and extorting the winters rations. He said that he would convert to the true faith and give me his only daughter if I could use Bjorn's power and make them go away.

I agreed to this condition and wandered into the woods to pray. Now I did not know this region and had no knowledge of the peoples but as I prayed before St. Bjorn I caught a whisp of smoke in the distance. I followed this smoke to a small clearing which happened to be the warbands camp. But instead of pagan warriors I saw a mass pyre of bodies and nearly a dozen christian knights at camp. Normally I would have left but something caught my gaze. It was Bjorn's crucifix!

Later I would learn the man that was holding it was Skofte of Giske, but I did not care at that time. All I wanted was my master's relic back to cement his legacy. So I did the unthinkable, I walked clearly out of the woods right up to the man, I thought I would have been killed at any moment but Skofte was a wise man and saw my importance in things. We spoke at length about our situations and I was to learn that Skofte had no desire to rule Herjedalen, he just wished to end the ceaseless raids on his lands. He was about to call in more men to slaughter Ashild's village when I arrived.

We being civilized men though came to an arangement. If I made these people christian and swore fealty to King Harald then Skofte would spare them and as a token of friendship he returned my master's crucifix to me, saying it would be unchristian of him to keep it. I agreed to these conditions and returned to the village. Ashild's father upheld his promise and in time I became their leader. Soon after I became ruler, I declared Bjorn the first martyr of Herjedalen, since without his sacrifice and miracles all of my people would be dead.

And now that brings us to where we are now. I hold no malice towards you, since we are both brothers in God's eyes.
 

Janus Rook

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I wasn't going to post that so soon, but today I just went on a writing frenzy and I'm much further ahead in my writing than I thought I'd be. If you liked Finn's tale, just wait till you see the conclusion to this encounter.

Anyway more pics, because you people love them so much.

Finally I can show you Finn of Herjedelan, didn't want it to be so easy for you to figure out whose side he was on ;) :

finnofherjedelandn2.jpg


Next we have the fictional patron saint of Herjedelan Bjorn, notice how you can't see his fingers in the picture.... :rolleyes: :

stbjorntwomm4.jpg


And Finally through my extensive research, I have discovered the medieval tapestry that details the mauling of the devilish tribesman spoken of in Finn's tale:

beareatingmanreducedrc5.jpg


As a side note, am I posting too frequently? Should I hold off and wait for others to catch up? Am I using a good amount of pictures? Is there anything else you'd like to add? Do you like chocolate or caramel better?
 

Veldmaarschalk

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How many updates you post per day is all up to you of course, but for me, making just one update a day is enough.
 
Aug 26, 2006
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Janus Rook said:
Next we have the fictional patron saint of Herjedelan Bjorn, notice how you can't see his fingers in the picture.... :rolleyes: :

:rofl:

edit: I like when there's lots of updates, but pick a pace you can stick with in the long run! It's not good to spoil us with 5 updates in one day, and then not post another one for a week.
 

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Magnus was stunned, this man who just minutes ago he thought a pagan murderer was truly more faithful than he. As he got up he clutched Finn as a brother, "I am sorry. Forgive me." As he embraced him he felt Finn tense up, and speak with urgency. "I forgive you brother but it seems our work is not yet done."

Finn turned Magnus around to see the two slaves nipping at the knees of a third woman. This woman had to be at least eight feet tall and she was hideous beyond belief. She wore no clothes even with the snow so high and had a large growth that wound from he back into her face. Fending off the slaves with a branch, Magnus could see his comrade Skule lying at her feet his face covered in some bright orange powder. As Magnus looked he saw the giantess have the same powder on her hands. "You may have keelt mine sisters but I have keelt yine man." She then swung her club and one of the slaves received the injustice of a broken jaw.

Enraged, Magnus went for his sword. However instead of charging he walked calmly to the monster. The second slave went and attented to his friend. Which left the giantess and Magnus alone. She swung at Magnus but this time he was the quicker of the two. Ducking under her swing he jammed his sword under her ribcage and pinned her to the tree behind her. She vainly reached out to Magnus with her powdered hands but he quickly stepped back and spoke.

"With your blood ends your wicked reign witch, your kind shall no longer hold sway over these people."

Looking down at Magnus the she-troll let out a gurgling laugh, "If yine shall curse mine then I'll curse yine in return. As the last of mine shall go so to will thine kingdom fall." With that she choked and died.

Magnus then turned to Finn who was hovering over Skule. Finn looked up and spoke, "This Skule still lives but barely, he has been poisoned by the crushed firecap mushroom. I know of a cure but it is at my homestead. We'll have to hurry back."

"No time," Magnus said as he picked up his old friend, luckily he was an aesthetic monk and didn't weigh much for his frame. "Let's hurry!" Magnus shouted as he ran for the house.

----------------------------------------------

Skule awoke with a start and quickly vomited on the floor. His lungs felt like burning and his throat was so swollen and sore he found it difficult to breathe let alone speak.

Magnus went to him, "Don't try, Finn said, it'll be hard to breathe for a week. You were poisoned but he saved you with an elixer of ash bark and wolves' blood. He said ten more minutes and you would've choked on your own humours. Now just lay there and rest some more everything is all right." Skule looked up at his friend and knowingly laid back down and shut his eyes.

As Magnus got up he couldn't believe that the elixer had worked. It was a secret concoction of the witches Finn had learned about it in his youth, most likely he was one of the only ones to know of the cure. As it was though, Skule had been comatose for nearly a week now, so close to death in such a short time, Magnus knew of very few things outside a stab wound that quick.

During the week Magnus had Finn show him the offending plant. Surprisingly to Magnus the mushroom itself was all black. It was only under the cap that the orange powder could be found. Magnus remembered what Finn said, "Even the mushroom itself isn't immune to the poisons, it turns itself black and withered as the powder sucks the life straight out of it." Then they left the area to go attend to Skule, who at that time was having horrible convulsions.

What Finn didn't know was that Magnus had returned under the cover of night to that same spot. Carefully he plucked the caps and placed them inside a small coin purse. It is fitting because in time Magnus thought, these would be worth more to him than their weight in gold.
 

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I like when there's lots of updates, but pick a pace you can stick with in the long run! It's not good to spoil us with 5 updates in one day, and then not post another one for a week.

I think I'll just stick to one a day for right now, I'm also trying to keep my writing ahead of my posting so right now I have the next three updates written all ready, as a fail-safe in case I get lazy.

Also my next post, will officially start this as an AAR since I'm actually going to write about an in-game event, the first one in fact, Magnus' marriage. ;)
 

stnylan

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One a day is a good pace. And a very interesting start so far. Nice characterisation, and the lovely possibility of brotherly strife at the heart of a kingdom. Excellent.
 

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Very good storyline, is the AAR based on some of the old Norge Saga's ?