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


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

BlackBishop

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Thank you for stopping by and reading my AAR. I am a big fan of Crusader Kings and thought it was about time to add my own stories to all the great AARs here. It is my hope that you will enjoy reading the tales spun here as much as I enjoyed watching them play out on my computer screen...

Note: for added awesomness, please imagine this AAR being narrated by Sean Connery... Patrick Stewart is also acceptable.

Introduction


Ahh... Greetings fellow travellar. Come, why not warm yourself by my fire. It is a cold cheerless night, and this old man could do with some company. Come and share this flagon of spice wine with me, it will chase away the cold as even this fire never could...

fire-flame.jpg
source: http://www.public-domain-image.com/miscellaneous/fire-flame/slides/fire-flame.html

Thats it...

So who might you be, a man of noble birth? A peasant perhaps? A man of peace or war? Or a man seeking fame and fortune on the long road to the crusades? Ah to be young once more... I could add my sword to yours and cast my heart once more into the spirit of adventure, where it belongs. Alas I am too old now for such things, barely able to lift a sword anymore. No, the end of my journey is not one of fame or fortune but of a long awaited death. I yearn only to return to the land of my fathers so that I may rest in peace.

Who are my fathers, you ask? Hmmmph? I am of noble birth, if you can believe that. I can trace my lineage back through the years to the kings of saxon britain. Yes, I know what you are thinking... Those poor doomed men, conquered by the Bastard and made to live under his harsh rule. My House is the house of Hwicce. Our history is not one of childrens tales but of hardship, glory and loss. For my tale is the tale of the Saxons. My people settled England long ago, built a mighty kingdom after the fall of Rome. I have no doubt that some may have come to think that we would build a new Rome, though that wasn't the case, was it? Hmmm? After all how could we ordain ourselves the inheriters of an empire that thought of us as nothing but pirates and raiders? My ancestors saw an opportunity to fill a void of power and for a time they succeeded, before the Bastard that is.

Come, give an old man your ear and hear my tale.. perhaps you may learn something. And pass me back the wine...
 

BlackBishop

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Chapter One: The Brothers Hwicce

My story begins after the Battle of Hastings. King Harold the Lion is dead and a norman takes up his crown. It is in times such as these that my kin were concerned with only one thing; survival. At this time my house was ruled by two rival brothers. Duke Eadwin of Lancaster, and his younger brother, Duke Morcar of Northumberland. Eadwin was jealous of his younger brother, for Morcar held more land and titles including the dutchie of York, but both were united in their fear of what the Bastard had in store for them. They would have to put their differences aside and unite if they hoped to survive this new England.



Morcar immediatly sent his chancellor to persuade his brother to unite against the Bastard and set about looking for allies. He found one such ally in Spain, the King of Navarra, their alliance sealed in a marriage pact. With the unrest of the moors in southern spain, it would be doubtful that the king could lend any troops if it came to open conflict, however it was hoped that perhaps the bastard would hesitate to pursue such a conflict with a powerful ally in the duke's corner. With the new year quickly approaching, the rest of Morcar's council was occupied with filling the coffers and training troops.

Though the marriage was born out of survival for Morcar, he soon grew fond of his princess. As a lad, my sires spoke often of the love they bore for each other and virtues she taught her husband, above all patience. With her guidance, Morcar bid his time, waiting for an opportune time to strike at the usurper.



While Morcar practiced caution and patience, his brother immediatly began rallying support for a saxon claim on the throne



And yet hope for my kin remained as a sibling rivalry between the Bastard and his kin ensued...



It isn't long before the Bastard began to press claims in Gaul, sending both Eadwin and Morcar to fight in his war on the King of France. Can you imagine? Being obligated to risk your life and limb in a war for a power hungry mad man? Many saxons were sent to their death in this pointless fight... perhaps such a fate is what the Bastard King wanted for his saxon subjects. And so the saxon lords march off to war with heavy hearts... heavier still since Morcar may not see his child be born to this world.



Bearing witness to the gruesome deaths of many of their fellow saxons, the resolve of Eadwin is hardened and he rallys more supporters for his cause, while Morcar continues playing the part of loyal subject, even going so far as to offer his services as gaurdian to the usurper's son, which of course was promptly denied by the Bastard, however the appearence of a loyal vassel was being forged in the mind of the crowned thief.



As the war in France raged on and the saxons bled for their norman king, the Bastard further cemented his power within England, building castles and creating duchies for himself. And finally, after two years of fighting, King Philippe of France signed a peace with the usurper. An opportunity to strike at the king was looking more and more remote.

Morcar and Eadwin returned home to their families. Eadwin put the war behind him and took solace with his wife, until she was heavy with child. Morcar was beginning to question his wife's plan. That is until an envoy from the Bastard arrived to tell him of his appointment as Master of the Horse. Indeed it seemed his liege was beginning to place some faith upon the man. Only time would tell if it would pay off.



The peasentry will never understand what happens in the halls of their lords. They see their ruler, a saxon, be appointed the Master of Horse for the vile normans, they can only think one thing... grab your pitchforks and burn, burn, burn! And they did just that in the Northumberland uprising of the winter of 1069. Saxon peasants, calling their leaders traitors revolted and set the city of Bamburgh to the torch. To the dismay of Morcar, William dispatched an army to crush the peasant uprising.



My father spoke often of the uprising... that was a turning point for Morcar. As my da told it, Morcar and his army were marching north to Bamburgh, intent on reasoning with the peasant leaders, when they were overtaken by a retinue of a thousand of William's soliders. The Noman troops were intent on crushing the peasants to every last man, woman and child. Morcar was faced with no choice but to watch in horror as the french troops slaughtered the peasants, men, womean and children all, leaving Morcar to deal with the fires. He could no longer sit idley by. Upon returning to his castle, Morcar sent an envoy to his brother... He would join his plot to overthrow the Bastard and install a saxon king.

Times grew dark indeed as northern england descended to into chaos. The bastard king declared war on scottish duke Gospatrick for the rule of the county of Cumberland, a county that by de jure rights belonged to the duchie of Northumberland and my house. Meanwhile, the noble Halden killed his brother and claimed the county of Northumberland for his own. Like Morcar, he bore witness to the slaughter of saxons by the french soldiers, only he spied Morcar standing among the butchers and resolved to avenge the slaughter of Bamburgh and install a new saxon duke in Westmorland. Halden pushed a claim of a Godswin saxon on Morcar of Hwicce and raised his levies in rebellion. Eadwin, still jealous of his brother refused the call to arms and sat back and watched as his brother struggled to put down the rival count.

As if the realm of my kin being torn apart wasn't enough, Morcar and Eadwin soon learned that the Bastard has set his envious eyes upon the house of Hwicce, in particular the capital of the duchie of Northumberland...



But before I go on with this tale, I believe we need more wood on the fire. I trust you are handy with an axe...?

To be Continued....
 
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BlackBishop

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Chapter One The Brothers Hwicce Part Two

Hmmph? Oh... You have chopped more wood already? I must have dozed off. Well than, get that wood on the fire. I fear that another minute and it would have gone out. Now then, where was I? Ah yes... Duke Eadwin of Lancaster was quite content to watch his brother's realm tear itself apart. You see, both men did what they could to carry favour with the usurper. Eadwin sat on the Bastards council as Marshal while Morcar enjoyed the position of Master of the Horse, but don't think they were decieved. The saxon brothers were the last of the saxon dukes, and William was just biding his time, creating duchies for his loyal norman vassals. He was a patient man, you see. With the saxon brothers now outnumbered, they would need to focus on recruiting strong allies for the coming war that was on their doorstep.

First of all though, Morcar had to stop this rebellion...



An army of 200 men marched south from Northumberland, intent on laying siege to the capital, Westmorland. However, Morcar's levies outnumbered the rebels, and dispatched his army to meet the rebels on the plains of Lowther.



A kinswoman of mine used to sing of the battle, here let me fetch my lute...

The arrows did sing, in the fields o'Lowther
The men ran and they died, they bled to the earth
And the traitor did call, told 'em ne'er to cower
Even 'fore he passed, for a new saxon birth...


Ahem... anyway...

The traitor count, Halden, took a grievous wound in the battle and died shortly after. A death, that no doubt pained my kin. After all, Halden was doing what he thought was right. In his eyes Morcar of Hwicce was a traitor to saxons, and a lacky of the usurpur. With the rebel army defeated, Morcar's forces marched for Northumberland and laid siege to the county capital. With the traitor count dead, and the threat of the Bastard looming, a prolonged siege is the last thing the duke wanted. Before the crumbling walls of Bamburgh, Morcar negotiated a white peace with the regent of the county, taking the daughter of Halden as his ward to ensure peace. He was now free to focus on the threat to the south.



Seven years had now passed since the usurpur stole the crown from Harold the Lion. The saxon lords had been systematically robbed of their duchies and loyal normans were put in their place. Only the Hwicce brothers remained, the saxon counts and barons to weak with fear to openly defy the crowned thief. Allies had to be found. And it was so that Morcar himself mounted his steed and rode north to Scotland, to the court of King Malcom the Third, to seal an alliance with the dukes son and heir with the Kings daughter. Malcom accepted and Morcar rode home, no doubt feeling a glimmer of hope. It would be more than ten years until the children came of age, until than there were no guarentees as to whether or not the King of Scotland would come to his aid. With his chancellor in Essex to sow dissent between the bastard and his vassals, Morcar looks to an other ally... his brother. With the clutches of the usurpur tightening around Westmorland, Morcar decides the time is nigh to reconcile with his brother, and relinquish the county to its rightful de jure liege. When the bastard comes for the county, and come he shall, better it is in the hands of Eadwin, afterall Eadwin enjoyed a prestigous tenure as the Marshal of the crown's army, and it was to be hoped, had more clout with the other saxon lords than Morcar and could bring more allies to defy the king.

And so at long last, the two brothers reconciled. They would need to stand together if there was any hope of hanging on to their holdings in the Bastard's England. But alas, mine eyes grow weary... let us continue this tale in the morning.
 
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BlackBishop

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Chapter One: The Brothers Hwicce Part III

Fear not traveller, it is only thunder we hear. Look to the sky... a storm is upon us. We must forgo sleep for now and find shelter. A ridge to the southwest, you say? good, good. That should keep us dry, lead on and I shall follow, with more of my tale in your ear. Do you mind if I follow with my hand upon your shoulder? My eyes are not what they use to be, and one fall could mean the end for a man of my age. My thanks...

And so peace finally returned to northern England. Duke Godswin was defeated and the land of Cumberland was now in the hands of the Bastard. Meanwhile Odo, brother to the usurpur had dissolved all ambition of lowering crown authority, leaving his brother free to tighten his grip upon the nobles. But hope remained, as Eadwin and Morcar had finally put aside their old rivalry and were now united. The brother's faction gained a new member, the count of Cumberland, a good saxon man. There was still a lot of work to be done, and the day they challanged the usurper was still far off.



With the saxon count now apart of their plot to reclaim the throne for saxony, and a new war in France, Morcar decides it is time to press upon the King of thieves his rightful claim upon Cumberland, which was met by vague promises from the usurpur. Such a golden tongue he had, that Morcar actually believed the usurpur was the rightful lord of that county... that is until Eadwin cuffed his younger brother upon the head and made him see reason.



As the tenth year of the Bastard's conquest came and went, England continued down the dark road of Dutchie's being created and given over to Norman foreigners. Saxon lords that protested were sent to the stocks, and the saxon brothers could do nothing but wait. The coffers of Morcar were beginning to replenish, his only hope was to hire a band of mercanaries when the Bastard finally moved openly against them. Meanwhile, to the south, in the county of Chester another saxon uprising sprang up, and was quickly crushed.



Followed by another in Suffolk. If only the saxon counts had a fraction of the bravery of the peasentry... Eadwin was now the Chancellor on the Bastard's council. No doubt my kinsman was relieved that he no longer had to facilitate the army in these revolts, though I imagine it was hard for him to sit on the council as they openly discussed the killing of saxons, peasants or not.

Where the Bastard created a dutchie, my kin saw an opportunity. Queer folk though the Bretons may be, after having thier rightful claim usurped, it was hoped they would see reason to deposing the norman from the throne.



Ah.. we finally made it to the ridge, and not a moment too soon. By god, that rain soaked me too the bone. Come, i believe these brambles and sticks are dry enough for kindling. Let us get another fire going before I continue...
 
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BlackBishop

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The Brothers Hwicce Part IV

Ahh yes... the fire feels good on these old bones. Curse this rain. Pray it ends by morning. Ah, so you wish to hear more of my tale? Ah, you are good to humour this old man.

Peace had returned to England. The saxon revolts to the south were put down and the war in France had ended inconclusivly. William the Bastard was getting on in years, now over fifty years old. Eadwin and Morcar, in their mid-thirties were now faced with the possibility of being able to outlast the Norman King. Although England was at peace, the same could not be said for Scotland to the north. Count Dolfin, the ruler of Cumberland, inherited the duchie of Lothian from Gospatrick. Of course this means that Cumberland is taken from the Bastard. A bittersweet victory since the former ally of my kinsmen no longer plots against William. Instead the new saxon duke wages a war to despose of the King of Scotland.



The brothers Hwicce were now faced with a dilemma. The son, and heir of Morcar was betrothed to the daughter of King Malcom of Scotland, and yet, the scots son and heir was married to the daughter of William. It was clear to Eadwin and Morcar that if it came to war with the usurper, King Malcom would cast his lot with the stronger side; The Bastard. If there was to be any hope of securing an ally in Scotland, it laid with Duke Dolfin. Eadwin steered Williams attention to France, while Morcar raised his levies and rode north, to build an alliance at swordpoint, with the Duke of Lothian.



Morcar takes over five hundred men on the march north to place a saxon on the throne of Scotland. Morcar was no stranger to war. He lead troops in France for Willaim the Bastard, and for King Harold the Lion before that, but this was different. These five hundred men were not for the glory of a leige, but rather for the survival of our house. There was much at stake if the fight went ill. Morcar found Lothian under siege by an army of over a thousand strong. Taking a wide berth, Morcar lead his army west, to avoid the scot's army and link up with Dolfin's host to the north. In Strathearn they were ambushed by the army of King Malcom, apparantly ending the siege of Lothain and racing to cut them off from reinforcing Dolfin's forces. Faced with a hopless battle, Morcar and his men cut a swath through the attacking army and linked up with Dolfin, laying siege to Fife. But not before the scottish army cut down many saxons...



Linking up with Dolfin's army, Morcar's forces aided in the siege of Kentigren, and won another victory at Auchterarder.. but the losses were taking its toll. Over half of his army wounded or dead, Morcar decided it was time to pull up camp and return home, to replenish his levies, and return if the war turned against Dolfin.





After being home for a month, The Bastard declared a de jure war on Cumberland... now more than ever Dolfin would need the aid of the saxon brothers. The bastard lead a great army north to take Cumberland, while Eadwin and Morcar urged Dolfin to relinquish Cumberland, for the prize of the scottish throne was at stake.



Alas, the prospect of power will make a man do queer things. After a series of victories and the throne so close to his grasp, Dolfin would not listen to reason and threw away the lives of his men in a pointless fight against the bastard he could not win. Only after his entire army was decimated, did Duke Dolfin finally give victory to William of Normandy. His levies replenished, Morcar once again marched north, to see a saxon on the throne of Scotland, though now it may be a lost cause.



Morcar, and what remained of Dolfin's forces fought side by side once again at Auchterarder. Though the battle was won, with Dolfin's army crushed by the bastard, the war was looking like a lost cause. Desperate to end the war quickly, Morcar marched to Scone, the capital of Scotland, and laid siege to the castle.



Unlike the sieges of France, Morcar was in command. Dolfin licked his wounds to the south while Morcar took command of the war. The saxon crushed sallies from the castle, but faced a prolonged siege with food being snuck into the capital.



Finally, after months of waiting out King Malcom, he finally fled the castle and relinquised victory to Morcar.



Duke Dolfin was all but out of his own war, his army lost to the Bastard. However, with the capital in the hands of Morcar, victory now seemed attainable.

Now the hour grows late, indeed. Weariness has once again come upon me. Let me continue this tale in the light of dawn...
 

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Thanks for your input, DumBman, Newbieone and Dovahkiing. I didn't realize how much work these AARs are, and its nice to get some feedback. Thanks for reading!
 

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The Brothers Hwicce Part V

Good morrow, my friend. God is good, the rain has stopped. It is a shame we must part ways, with so much left untold. Tell me young man, in which way do you travel? East, you say? How fortunate, I too go east. Will you suffer an old frail man on the road with you? These are dangerous times, my friend and I could use the company...

Very kind of you, I may not have any gold, but I can pay you in kind with more of my tale. Come, have a look at this...

[The old man pulls a dusty old tomb from his bag. Its pages nearly falling out, the decrepit book seems to be ready to fall apart with the slightest touch.]

This is an account of my house, starting with Eadwin and Morcar. Here are some pages of Morcars journal, of his telling of Dolfin's war to take Scotland. You might find it of interest... You do know your letters, right?

August 11, 1084

Damn em! I curse em, with all my breath I curse em. I could be home by now, in my warm bed with Maior by my side. If only he listened to Eadwin. He would have his throne and I would be with Maior. A pox on em, saxon or no. Had I been ten years younger... I'd run a blade into his belly and enjoy it. Alas, Maior would never forgive me. So many dead in this war, he better be true and not forget what I and Eadwin have done for em. I can't help but be plagued with a nagging feeling that he will forget. The way he hides behind his army, I swear there are cobwebs on his sword hilt. Now I must face Scone on me own, nay not alone... Seven soldiers he sent me. Seven! At least one of em is a saxon, not like the oter Galoway brutes. If i never see another scotsmen it will be too soon! [the rest of the passage is unreadable... bloodstain maybe?]

December 17, 1084

We've done it! Scone is ours. This is my victory! My own! Malcolm escaped us, but his capital is mine. Seems the craven fled the castle before we arrived. I've sent word to Eadwin this morning. This war will be won, I swear it, and saxony will have a throne once more, and our holdings will finally be safe from the basterd.

I was up on the hill, watching the castle as the flags went up, the scots sick with disease, courtesy of their dead I threw behind their walls... A lesson learned in France, and by God it works. I believe I will have a hunt when i return home, after a good rodgering from Maior. But that may yet still be far off... Dolfin is a coward, Eadwin is warm at his hearth and Im standing in mud and blood. There is still much to do.


December 26, 1084

Maior has written me, she asks for Wulfthryth's release. She has been my ward for some years now, and has assured the peace with Halden's people. She looks just like him... I still find it hard to look at her, for I always see his face, screaming as they take his leg. I'll be glad to ave her out o my sight. I shall send word for her to be sent home. Maybe ave her for one of my sons. That should keep her in line if she gets uppity. This mundane court business is a nice distraction from the ugly business at hand, but I must get back to work.



February 12, 1085

Dunkfeld for Saxony was my cry as I marched my men victorious in the church square. An affront on God was the answer of one borish monk. The back of my gaunlet silenced em well enough. We are on our way to winning this war, I can't wait to see Eadwin, to laugh in his face. He will be so jealous of my victory here. I shall be home by summer. I shall...



February 25, 1085

I have begun my assault on Perth. It isn't much of a city really, but they have a strong wall to keep us out, and they rain arrows down on us every morning and than again around supper. My plan is to wait them out, just like at Scone and Dundfeld. I don;t have the men to attack the city, just enough to surround it, and keep food from getting inside. We've taken what we could salvage from the farmlands and set their crops to the torch. My men are itching to get inside, lots o women to be had in there, ugly as sin, im sure. But four years of fighting will make a wild pig look like a fair maiden. I hate this cursed country. I urn to be back in York, back to civilisation. Dolphin can have this forsaken place.

March 28 1085

These scotsmen should know when they have been defeated! I grow weary of this game of theirs. Every morning, like clockwork they send a volley of arrows over the walls. In precisley one minute, they will shoot a barrage at us, we're s'pose to be afraid, cower in our boots and wait till supper so we can do it again. Strange... the volley never came. Was that a horn?!



Damn them! Stigand is dead, or near it. My faithful courtier has taken a terrible head wound, I am sending him home at once. Damn these brigands to hell!

May 26, 1085

Oh praise the lord above, his holiness, the royal King of Scotland, Dolphin has graced us with his royal presence. We are all in awe of his majestic presence and rusty sword. At least he brought 400 good saxon men with em.

June 17 1085

The siege of Perth is over, and my men have earned some well deserved pillaging. Too bad they have to share with this Lancaster lot.



August 17 1085

So much for being home for the summer. But I swear I will be home for hunting in the fall. We have caught up with a small troop of Malcolm's men but our arrows made short work of them. We pretty much have things won in this country. Small bands of Malcolms men run around, no real direction to them. I wonder if the King o Scots is even still alive. I'm not seeing any signs of real leadership here. I've made a friend of sorts in Dolphins camp. Count Waltheof of house Dunbar. A good saxon man. And a fine candidate for my daughter. I shall make the arrangments..




Sorry to interrupt your reading sonny, it can be hard to walk and read at the same time, I know, but you should have a look here. You see? Boar tracks! Fancy a stuck pig to break your fast? .....
 

BlackBishop

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I like the story-teller format better, but this is still awesome!
Dunkfeld for Saxony!!
Thank you Dovahkiing! I wanted to add a little bit of Morcar's personality into the AAR, and show his cruel streak coming out in the war. Rest assured the old man's story will be the main narrative in this AAR. Stay tuned, things are going to take an unexpected twist in the next update.
 

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The Brothers Hwicce Part VI

That storm last night was a blessing, otherwise we may not have seen these tracks. A heavy sow by the look of these tracks. Look! They go off into the brush over there. Let us go on the hunt...

Eadwin and Morcar were accomplished hunters, you know. All of northern England was their playground. They brought the skills they learned on the hunt to the battlefield, and became competant military commanders. Eadwin put his skills to use on the Bastard's council, while Morcar made the scot loyalists of King Malcolm his quarry. The war in Scotland was going well, the Isles joined Dolfins war and sent an army to join his.



While Dolfin and Morcar were winning the war in Scotland, trouble was brewing at home. The war in Scotland was approaching its fith year, and for nearly two years Morcar had heard nothing from Eadwin. Confidant that the war was won in Scotland, Morcar marched his army home, anxious of news from his brother. His levies disbanded, The duke of Northumberland rode to his brothers castle in Lancaster, only to find that his brother had not been home for over two years. It was not unusual for his brother to stay in London for months at a time since he sat on the council, but two years?! With a sinking feeling in his gut, Morcar rode to London. Morcar found Eadwin had moved his family to London and grew content in his service to the usurper, even having love for the man. A war ensued then and there, in Chancellor Eadwins lavish London apartment, brothers throwing fists down upon each other, and with a split lip Morcar returned home, fuming that his brother would forsake their cause.



Utterly alone now, Morcar began building fortifications in York, waiting for the day when all of England, including his brother and the traiterous saxon counts, drew swords against him for the Bastard. As the months past, Morcar used threats against his brother, compelling him to return to their cause. The nature of those threats I do not know, but whatever they were, whatever dark secret Morcar had on his brother, it was enough for Eadwin to forsake his now beloved liege.



Look over there... see that hollow trunk? I believe we found the den of our catch...
 

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The Brothers Hwicce Part VII

Patience, young man. Patience. If we charge the den of the beast, we risk losing our quarry. What we need is a strategy... Let me circle around, I'll flush the beast out to you. Be ready...

[the old man makes his way to the far side of the trunk, in surprising silence. Suddenly the old stranger begins shouting followed by a deafening squeal from inside the trunk. In a flash of flying wood, the trunk bursts into splinters. The great wild pig runs out in a flash, its horns gleaming in the early morning sun. However, instead of running toward you in fear of the shouting, the beast charges the old man. It is all over in the blink of an eye. The old man is sitting on the forest floor and the beast has disappeared into the thick trees.]

I'm okay... I'm fine. Come, help me up. Well not everything goes as planned, as Morcar of Hwicce had found out. For the war of Scotland was over...



However, instead of the throne of Scotland passing to Dolfin, it went to the son of Malcolm...



With the cowardly Dolfin rescinding his throne to the kin of Malcolm, who was married to the Bastards daughter, Morcar was right back where he started. Without allies, and the threat of the Normans growing.

[OOC: This was my mistake, a war to despose a liege gives the throne to the next claimant in the line of succession... Always read the fine print, Bishop!]

As you can imagine, Morcar no doubt wished that he could turn back time to a point before the Scottish war and begin things anew. Unfortunatley Morcar posessed no godly powers of the sort and had no choice but to move on. The Duke of Northumberland had to continue building allies, and he did just that. He married his daughter to the heir to the Scottish throne, determined to build an alliance with the northern kingdom, and he married another daughter to the saxon counts, the Earl of Clysdale, further strengthening ties to the saxon dutchie of Lothian, which now is ruled by Dolfin's brother, Waltheof, who usurped his brother's title. Fine by Morcar, for Waltheof was his son-in-law.



Trouble was brewing with the House of Normandie. The offspring of the Bastard, Richard was actively plotting to usurp the Dutchie of Northumberland from Morcar. Like father, like son. However Richard was not particularily liked in his father's court, so Morcar set his own plan in motion of thwarting the bastard prince.



Richard was appointed the count of Cumberland for a reason.. No doubt the Bastard had sent him with the purpose of usurping the dutchie of Northumberland. But Richard was out of his element. Northern England was the last stronghold of the saxons. Richard's vassals, neighbours and subjects were all saxon. In a show of strength, Morcar and Eadwin marched into Burgh, the capital of Cumberland, along with the Waltheof, the Duke of Lothian and were greeted by the cheers and adulation of the saxon peasants and vassals of Richards. After little prodding, Richard absolved himself of his plot.



In the spring of '89 Eadwin of Hwicce, Duke of Lancaster fell ill and passed.



Morcar was set with the grim task of burying his brother.

[The old man looked off in the distance, a face steeped in memory, a curious glint in his eyes]

In the county of Westmorland, there is a rolling meadow. A vast field that smells of sweet dew in the mornings, and lavander flowers in the evenings. Along the meadow is a great hill, crowned with golden grass and a great oak. It was on this hill that the old kings of Hwicce could look out upon their kingdom, and it was here, upon this hill that Morcar buried his brother. There were times of hate between them, but love also. And it was on this hill that Morcar, in a last show of love for Eadwin, buried his brother.



[The old man's face returns from his deep memory, he wipes a tear and turns to you]

Come now, let us get back on the road...
 
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Dovahkiing

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I got really nostalgic when I saw that picture from AoE III..
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BlackBishop

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Chapter Two The Reclamation War


Where is that bloody road?! We should be able to follow our tracks from the trunk but they appear to have been washed away. Curse that boar. Let us sit for a moment, catch our bearings. Besides that sow took a lot out of me. Ah you wish to hear more of my tale? You yearn to learn what happened to the House of Hwicce after the passing of Eadwin, their patriarch? I am happy to oblige.

Yes, Eadwin was dead. An illness ravaged his body and sent him to join the heavenly Father, leaving the rule of my house upon Morcar alone. For the first time, the man was utterly alone. Sure, there was his wife and family, his fellow saxon advisors, but Eadwin had always been there for him. Whether it was as a friend and sympathetic ear, or a rival to spurn him on. Morcar could not allow himself be consumed with doubts and regrets of the past. Afterall, the final months of Eadwin's life were not truly indicative of who the man really was. In his youth, Eadwin was a strong, ambitious man. A saxon patriot, who defeated the norwegian horde that landed on the shores of Northumberland, only to be made to kneel before the norman bastard. After seeing so much war, can you not understand why Eadwin, proud as he was, would decide that comfort and peace were preferable to another bloody conflict within his homeland. Morcar on the other hand could not abide a foreignor on the throne of England... and he was intent on making his displeasure heard.

The pope in Rome had called a crusade on the saracen heathens. The bastard raised his levies and sailed to fight for the holy land. With the levies of the usurper tapped to fight in the crusades, the time of Saxony was at hand.

While Morcar planned his final move against the Bastard, good news reached his ear...



The bastard was dead. A natural death in the winter of '91. The saxon peasants across England celebrated, while the Normans, whom ruled in utter arrogance felt doubt for the first time in their rule. The crown passed to the grandson of William, Robert, a lad of 14 years. There is not a more dangerous time in a kingdom, as when a strong ruler dies, and lesser men take up the crown. Yes, I will not deny that William was a strong man, a man of conviction. After all, he did conquer England, a feat that no weak man could accomplish. Robert, however, could make no such glorious claim. And there were many within the royal court, many whom fought alongside William and now looked on with envy and doubt as the boy king took up the crown.



With Eadwin dead, Morcar looked toward his nephew, Leofric to be his chief ally in the plot to return the throne to saxony. Though a bit relunctant Leofric joined his uncle to overthrow Robert. For much of Leofric's youth was spent in London. No doubt the majestic awe of the house of Normandie was instilled in the young man. It was up to Morcar to tear down that facade and show Leofric just how weak the house had become.



In the summer of 1091, with his troops trained, his nephew by his side, and the succession of Robert still shaky, Duke Morcar of Northumberland sent a letter to London, demanding Eadger of Wessex, descendent of King Eadmond Ironside, be given his rightful throne from the pretender Robert of Normandie. There was no turning back now. Those few days were spent drilling his officers by day and looking atop his wall for messengers, while his nephew Leofric wailed on about the mistake they have made. Finally they recieved a message from Robert...



"Rather die fighting..." I'm sure my Kinsman would was more than happy to give the lad his wish. Morcar and Leofric raised their levies, a thousand strong. A sizeable force, yet not enough to take all of England. Yet, Morcar's plan didn't rely on strength of numbers. What he relied on was the deep seeded treachery that was in the blood of all normans. The call went far and wide, "the dukes of the north were in rebellion against the crown, a weakling who lacks the strength to sit upon the throne. Morcar was allied with the King of Scotland, and his Saxon duke, with their armies are marching south to join the war. Join Eadger, the rightful King of England or perish!" Morcar let his message sing out all across England, creating the illusion that his side was the stronger, but would the norman lords listen?

The answer was a resonate yes! Count William of Essex was the first to answer his call. His father was given lordship of the county of Essex and to show his appreciation, named his firstborn son after the Bastard... a kindness forgotten by Count William as he raised his levies in rebellion againt the grandson of his namesake.



Next came Count William of Winchester, the brilliant strategist who suffered a great insult upon his honour as his brothers were given dutchies by his father while he was shunned. William of House Normandie, youngest son to William the Bastard took up arms against his father's heir. Not even kinship will stay the treacherous lust of the normans!



Next to swear allegiance to Morcar was the Count of Bedford, Count William of house Giffard, another son of a norman conqueror named after the Bastard by his father. A son who is so readily willing to forsake the honour of his dead father's memory and the his own namesake to undo their work if it means his own survival.



Soon Morcar recieved word from Count Gerard of Derby, house of Kent. A misguided man raised to lordship by the Bastard. A traiterous saxon whom converted to the norman culture, now backstabbing the very house that gave him his power. He has adopted the norman tenants well indeed.



Next came Duke Robert of Oxford. The first norman duke to swear allegiance to the saxon cause. A powerful ally to the south that Morcar would need if he were to win this war. As much as he needed these traitorous normans now, he swore he would not forget their crimes when the rule of the saxons once again reigned supreme in England.



And so the line in the sand had been drawn. The alliance of saxons and norman traitors raised their levies and set out to throw Robert from the throne and see the rightful saxon King, Eadger of Wessex, in rule of England.

The War of Reclaimation has begun!
 
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