• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    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

Fivoin

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This is the AAR-thread for the EU3 leg of the Megacampaign that started in Crusader Kings 2 under the title "God Will Know his Own" and is intended to continue until Hearts of Iron through Victoria. Europe comes out of the 14th century a continent rife with war and religious struggles as traders and explorers are sent out to discover new lands and new people. Will they be prepared to face what they discover? Time will tell as we enter the unknown and throw ourselves once more unto the breach.
 

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Reserved for Japan's AARs.
 

King of Men

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Index post for Scandinavian AARs:

1399-1411: Fire and Ice - the failed attack on Iceland.

1411-1427: As Much as he Pleases - the war with Hungary.

1427-1448: Small Beginnings - colonies in North America.

1448-1468: Savage Rites - the First Huron War.

1468-1484: The Dacian War - a conflict involving all the European powers.

1484-1497 Events of the Dacian War - plain game narrative.

1497-1516 Making Peace - conquest of the Huron.

1516-1529 De Gente Fera - Reformation, conquest of Danzig.

1529-1548 The Baltic Shore - Second Baltic War and the loss of Holstein.

1548-1565 Battle Statistics - extracted from the savefile, with graphs.

1565-1586 More Statistics - prices of goods; major wars.

1586-1604 Clan and Crown - internal Norwegian politics with the growth of the colonial empire.

1604-1614 World Diplomacy - public treaties, alliance blocs.

1614-1628 Ships of War at Sea - naval combat in the Indian Ocean Standoff.

1628-1649 October Night - aftermath of the disastrous Battle of the Cape.

1649-1671: No AAR from me - travelling.

1671-1687: Statistics since the stats website seems to be down.

1687-1693: African Campaign - savage fighting in the savage continent.

1693-1715: The Winter of the Faith - a look at the Spanish retreat from Russia.

1715-1730: House of War - more on the European Jihad.

1730-1742: Geopolitics 1742 - I consider the Powers of the world, their prospects, and their usefulness.

1742-1756: Clan and Crown: On the unusual stability of the MacRaghnall dynasty.

1756-1771: And I Alone: Explaining the disappearance of a Norwegian army. Features a cameo by original-issue, unreformed Ynglings!

1771-1808: Duels at Sea - notes on the limited naval engagements between vR and me, which led to the removal of the Spanish blockade.
 
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Index, Plus an AAR, how nice am I?


Excerpt of a Romanian childrens History Book on the chapter of “Alexandros, Icelandic Goat Herder"

Oct 15, 1399 will forever live on in the History books as the first of the Species Accords. In which the Roman Empire officially recognized certain rights, under God to Horses the have shown “unmistakable human characteristics and intelligence.” These rights included “The Right to own property, The Right to work for a wage, and The Right to Worship God.”

For the past few decades, the Horses that the Cataphracts used began showing unusual awareness in the field, the riders noticed this and over extensive testing, developed a simple form of communication with their Horses. (google Lukas smartest horse) Over time it became apparent to several People that it wasn’t just pattern recognition, the Horses They were actually responding and contributing to a Conversation. This led to Army Corps teaching battle strategy directly to the Horses themselves, with wildly successful results. The number of casualties in future wars dropped noticeably and Cataphracts became feared for their ferocity. This became especially apparent during the Final Schism War for Iceland, Where 60,000 cataphracts and a force of liege levies obliterated the combined force of the Catholic World, ending any Hope of a Catholic Resurgence in Europe.

News of this quickly reached The City of Men’s Desire and the debate raged for weeks Several of the “Miracle Horses” were welcomed into the city in true Roman style with a Triumph. They were welcomed into the Imperial palace and a few even held conversations with the Emperor Himself. Debates Raged for weeks on what to do with sentient horses, between full rights, and indentured military troops. Those who wanted indentured Military were mostly the upper nobility, while the clergy demanded that Horses be given Free Rights. In the end, a compromise was achieved

The Horse Accord did not give full citizenship in the Empire, it created a caste for them alone. It required for them to have a working knowledge of a craft for him to be able to get work there. Since the Horsekind have known nothing but war since sentience, the Accord unofficially forced a Soldier caste onto them. Horses, not knowing even the tiniest bit of freedom before this, did not even notice the difference. They only saw the Accord as a realization of something that they could only dream of. This arrangement would last for several hundred years, being content in the knowledge that Man acknowledges them as something other than a beast of burden. It wouldn't be until the Age of Industrial Revolution that any real social reform would take place. But that is another story entirely.

It is during the celebrations of the Horse Accords that a Young Goat Herder from Iceland, Alexandros would arrive in the capital city of Trebizon with nothing but some meager belongings and his favorite Goat. This is where our story begins, in a seedy bar well off the main road in Trebizon.
 
Last edited:

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Fire and Ice

March 3rd, 1407
A suite in Kronborg Castle, Sjælland
Evening

"Iceland! Iceland is the death of Norse armies, these hundred years and more."

"It's an ill-omened place, true; but luck is luck, it changes like the east wind."

Sonja shook her head. "No. Tore, you must refuse the commission - "

"Refuse!" he exclaimed. "And never get another! You can't refuse when you get the card, Sonja. It's, it's, not done. I'd be laughed at for a coward from here to Russia!"

"Nobody called Uriah a coward," she said dryly. "Don't you see, this is where the MacRaghnall jarls will send those they think could threaten them? If you succeed, splendid, they have Iceland. If not, good riddance."

He frowned in thought. "You know I'm not idealistic about the court," he said slowly. "But I think that may be a bit too cynical. It's not that easy to take credit for someone else's victory - especially if he's ready for it, and takes steps to prevent it. And eight thousand men is a large army, Sonja. I'm not saying Geirr or Skule wouldn't drown me in a lake of blood if they saw their chance, but I'm hardly their only concern. They have to have an eye to their future, too. Blaming me for losing half the fighting men in Norway is one thing, but they still need the fighting men! If nothing else, to keep the damn Swedes under control. It's not so long ago that the crowns were split, and the forest lords remember."

Sonja hesitated. "That's true... well, but that's not the only threat. Why drown you in a lake of blood, if a single dagger will do as well? If you die heroically in the conquest of Iceland, then what steps will you take to avoid their claiming the credit?"

"Ah." Tore nodded, convinced. "Yes - that's how the MacRaghnalls work, right enough. Wheels within wheels. They want the damn Greeks out of the Iceland ports that threaten all our coastline, they want a big military victory but none of them are willing to give anyone else in the family the credit of it. And, of course, they want to keep those not of the family from getting any influence or power. So, they'll give the post to someone they all hate, then they won't have to worry that one of them will renege on the inevitable dagger in the back after the victory's won. Military glory, Iceland, no shift in their internal balance of power, and an outsider rival dispensed with, all in one move. Very neat!"

"And no need to lose an enormous army, yes - I don't know why a lake of blood was my first thought when thinking of MacRaghnall plots," Sonja said dryly. "Still, the point stands: You'd better refuse. Let them find one of their own if they want glory."

"How can I? This is our chance, Sonja! All I have to do is defeat the Greek garrison, avoid the MacRaghnall assassins, and come home covered in glory! Let's see them shut us out of court then."

"They might give you the governorship of Iceland."

"Then I'll farm it out, same as every other governor does, and stay right here and use the patronage and income to promote my friends."

"MacRaghnalls can get away with that. You may be sure that if a mere Yngling does it, there'll be a great outcry about corruption - well, never mind. This is pricing the bear-skin while the beast still walks. You're determined to go, then?"

"I will lead the army to Iceland, and return victorious."

Sonja bowed her head. "So be it that you come back at all," she said, low.

--------------------------------------​

May 10th, 1408
Fitjar farm, north of Reykjavik, overlooking Kollafjordur
Afternoon

"They're coming again!"

The cry ran up and down the shield wall. It was hardly needed; the cornicens had made the Greeks' intention perfectly obvious, and anyway the wind-blown Icelandic plain was clear of any vegetation higher than a man. You couldn't miss the tight-clumped bodies of armoured men, cohorts as they called them, shaking themselves into their wedge-shaped formation for another assault. But worried men like to make noise, and who knew, perhaps there was someone half-asleep behind his shield, or dazed from a blow, who might benefit from being told; the confusion and sheer distraction of a battle, even one fought on a tabletop like this, never ceased to amaze Tore.

He squinted at the oncoming Greeks, trying to make out their banners; red-blue-red on the left, red-blue-white on the right - he had seen those colours before, so they had at least run out of fresh cohorts to throw at his line. Better still, the Spanish pikemen on the enemy left flank weren't moving; so they still hadn't sorted out their coordination problems. He could see couriers heading out at a gallop from where the Eagle banner flew, and chuckled to himself, imagining the sort of message he would send to a subordinate who didn't attack on time. It was too late now; even if the pikemen started moving right away, the Greek attack would have either succeeded or failed by the time they reached the Norse line. As for stopping the Greeks to wait for their allies, there was no surer route to demoralisation than calling off an attack that was well begun. That problem of keeping allies coordinated was what had kept the Norse army alive through the three weeks of retreat since the Spanish reinforcements landed.

For a moment Tore cursed the Spaniards uselessly, perhaps for the thousandth time; dammit, he'd had the Greeks! He'd beaten them in battle on Tingvellir itself; driven them into the mountains, where there was little water and less food; pursued and harried them and made ready to accept their surrender... and then the damn Spaniards had landed, and even numbers with the tide of victory on his side had turned into being outnumbered two-to-one. But that was water under the bridge; now what counted was to hold them off for the day, and get the army onto the ships and sail for Norway.

"Johan," he ordered. "Same drill as before. Get every third man from the left flank over here, those Spaniards won't bother us for a while. Of those, even numbers form on me ready to intervene, odd numbers get into the shield wall." Johan took off, and Tore swallowed nervousness; he'd done what he could, and the Spanish sluggishness would help, but you couldn't call it a real reserve, shifting men around like this. But - he looked critically at the oncoming Greeks - it would do; he could sense it. This attack wasn't coming on with the crisp aggression of the earlier ones. The kataphrakts were tired; they'd carried their fifty pounds of mail through one attack and bloody retreat already - and they were cavalrymen, not used to fighting on foot. Tore's lips peeled back in grim amusement; there were advantages to having an army that habitually fought on foot. Not least, having no need to feed picky cavalry horses on grain imported at vast expense from Spain; the kataphrakts weren't dismounted because they liked it.

He glanced by habit at the sun - but no, in these northern latitudes there would be no saving darkness; they could fight the summer through, so far as the light went. Still, he thought this would be the last attack; there was only so much soldiers could usefully do in a day. If they'd give him the long Arctic twilight, he could load the men on board the ships that waited in Kollafjordur, and wave Iceland goodbye. It wouldn't be as good as coming home a victorious hero, but he could spin it his way - saving the men from disaster caused by MacRaghnall mismanagement of the navy - heroic retreat from twice his numbers could be almost as useful as plain victory.

Arrows arced out from behind the shield wall; not many, they were low on that as on everything else, but a few kataphrakts fell, and that would make his men feel better. It made him feel better, for that matter; tired or not, the kataphrakts were deadly with a blade and heavily armoured, and every one of them that fell before they reached his line was one that certainly wouldn't be coming after Tore with a five-pound mace.

The cohorts drove forward, crossing the caltroped region that was the other reason they were fighting dismounted, and - stopped just short of the shield wall. Tore let out his breath. It took immense courage to actually hurl yourself into weapons' reach of a bearded Norseman, or any man, carrying a three-foot sword and wanting nothing more than to sheathe it in your guts; and just at that moment, the Greeks lacked the two or three suicidally brave men who would lead the way and carry the rest forwards with their bodies. To be sure, there weren't any Norsemen biting the edges of their shields and plunging froth-mouthed into the Greek ranks, either, but that was fine; the Norse were already on the ridge, they had no need to advance. There was a clatter of weapons as men with spears poked at the other side, trying to find a way past the shields and mail coats that didn't involve, actually, getting up close and personal with nasty edged weapons; as many as half a dozen men on either side might even have suffered wounds from it. Cornicens blew, a long stern swell, but these Romans weren't closing; they'd had enough. Shamefaced as they might be later, none of them leapt into the Norse line to make a hole; even the officers contented themselves with shouting encouragement.

At length they sullenly withdrew, seemingly from sheer embarrassment; Norse jeers and arrows followed them. Tore cordially hoped that his opposite number might take up again the good old custom of decimation for cowardice in the face of the enemy. "Decadence," he muttered experimentally under his breath. "What would Isidoros have said? I blame the parents."

He shook aside whimsy; the gods of battle had given him a respite, and he should make use of it. "Right," he said. "They'll be a while getting into order after that. We'll try for the ships. Start with the left-flank men we've mustered here, they're already out of the line - Karl, lead them down to the beach, go. Johan - " he turned to point, and stopped to stare. There were ships in Kollafjordur; not the friendly low-slung dragon ships of the home districts, but vast clumsy carracks, flying the crescent-moon flag of Islam.

Tore's mind spun rapidly through his suddenly limited options. The carracks were slow and not very maneuverable. They'd have archers aboard, but it wasn't as though they could sink ships with arrows; if he loaded down the dragons with men and just rowed for dear life, he might still save most of the army - no, his ships didn't have the supplies on board to make Norway - he could land further south on Iceland, though, and take on water at least. They'd go hungry but most would survive to reach England, if the wind held. Then he saw the chains stretched between the carracks, and snarled; no doubt the dragons could be maneuvered through the obstacle somehow if that were all the problem, but under a killing flail of Spanish arrows - and it would slow them down, give the carracks time to get into boarding range. They might be carrying three hundred men apiece, and their enormous fore-and-aft castles gave them all the advantage in a boarding action, if they did make them unwieldy; from the deck of a dragon ship it was like trying to fight a literal castle, a mobile one that spat arrows.

He felt a churning sensation in his stomach, and held back nausea by an effort of will; dammit, that wasn't fair! This was defeat, disaster - Iceland the death of a Norse army, just as Sonja had said, and he, Tore, the man in charge. But there was no use dwelling on it; he took a deep breath. What could he save? Not his glorious victory, not his heroic retreat in the face of superior numbers, not even his army - but perhaps his own life at least, and those of his personal guards. Yes, and some of the army too; never mind the politics, Norway would need every fighting man after this disaster.

"It'll be every man for himself - well, no, every ship-team for itself. Johan, go down to the beach, get our own ship ready - the first ones out can try to get between the carracks and the coast, where it's too shallow for the Saracens. That won't work for very many but it'll work for us. Harald, pass the word: Everyone to the ships, and those who get out will meet up at Eyarbakki to take water; then we'll make for England. And save himself who can." Orders given, he began walking towards the beach - not running, there would be panic and rout at some point but he didn't need to be the one to start it. His liegemen closed ranks around him.

"But, my lord, where will we go?" Eirik wanted to know. "They'll hang you in Norway after this - we can't go home."

Tore pressed his lips together; Eirik had a point. However: "Well, Eirik, at the moment we're standing on a lost battlefield, between the Greek devil and a Spanish sea. I don't know where we'll end up; but I think the question, 'where shall we go', may fairly be answered: Anywhere but here."

There were no more questions.
 
Last edited:

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Read top to bottom, top right to top left down to bottom right to bottom left where applicible/for future reference.

Very rudimentary work, I had to use Paint.net and it shows.



I hate hands, any advice on hands don't be shy.
 

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Alexandros was fuming, “How dare they kick me out of Trebizon, for such a dumb reason!” He could not believe such a stupid thing was now Law, What was the Emperor thinking? How could Horses be people? you might as well give a spear to Roxana here and tell her she is people. Roxana looked at him, chewing grass off the side of a road and bleated solemnly at him. The worst part was, with brewing war to the north, Ships were no longer sailing to Iceland, all were needed for the War Effort. Alexandros was trapped on the mainland.

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

Contrary to popular thought, Romans were deathly afraid of water, it explains why Khivan lands were constantly short on supplies from the Homeland, No Roman would dare cross the Caspian Sea. Instead they had to resort to either the Russian toll booths to the North, or suffer from desert raiders from the South. This obvious weakness of the Empire would not stand. Plans were drawn up on tactical occupations for both the north and south coast of the Caspian.

Diplomats were sent across the lands asking for support for Roman endeavors, and found a much larger groundswell of support in going after upstart Merchants rather than distant heathens. The plan for the Southern Coast would have to wait. All kataphracts were disbanded after the Horse Accords, so new ones with “dumb” Horses were commissioned, no longer would Roman cavalry be the envy of the World. The Roman Black Fleet was also doubled in size, although to debateable effect. On June 2, 1402 The War for Dominion of the Caspian Sea began.

The minor border conflict expanded with surprising speed, with Spain and Greece joining Romanian effort, and Great Britain and Scandinavia assisting the Russians. The early stages of the War was a coup for the Romanians taking large swaths of Eastern Russia in the first couple of years. Than the British reinforcements arrived, at this point it became a grinding slog of attrition and the war become a bloody stalemate. years past, with Russia slowly losing ground, but not breaking in its entirety. Rebellions broke out behind the lines in the East, angry with the Merchants inability to free them from occupation.

Over time, sensing weakness and the possibility of stealing markets from their Russian Rivals, Italy joined the war effort, sending much needed supplies to the beleaguered Romans. Hungary, not one to be left out if land was at stake, joined the war and started invading from the West. It was at this point, fearing a pincer from coalition troops did the Russians finally agree to peace talks. The world now recognized what was always meant to be. The North coast belonged to the Romans, and the eastern outposts could now safely be supplied. In the west Hungarians claimed suzerainty on Podlasi and Ruthenia, and no one could convince them that they hadn't already ruled the lands for hundreds of years.

With the North coast secured, at least for now, Rome turned its attention south to finalize its control of the Caspian, realizing that they could ill afford another ruinous war they agreed to sell a worthless piece of desert, important to their religion, for the strategic coastal lands.
 

fasquardon

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Korean Impressions

Session 2


Well, I am Korea. Not quite what I was expecting. It is a nice little corner of the world though. The AI seemed to rule well for the 12 years before I joined the game. Up to me to continue the good fight...

Korea isn't exactly rich and in the near term my income is likely to be my greatest limitation. On the plus side, my neighbours aren't much richer. A key decision needs to be made as to what direction to take Korea in - North to Siberia, South to China or East to the Americas. Alternatively I could do what I was joking about doing and build a sprawling colonial empire that would be just about impossible to defend.

So far it is looking like I will be doing a mixture of China and Siberia, in concert with my new Mongol allies. Relations with Qin (Anders) and Taira (Blayne and a coop who hasn't spoken to me yet). Are good. The Mongols and Qin have invited me into their plans to beat up on the Ming and Taira and I have agreed a NAP and spheres of influence until 1475.

However, it is early days, and the East Asians are all too busy blobbing up for any serious fractures to occur. I expect I'll have to choose sides as personality and resource conflicts erupt into open war later on.

Overseas, Britain is beating up the Southeastern Indian tribes, much to the annoyance of the Aztecs, while also supporting Russia. It looks like the Oddman-Fivoin axis is alive and well, which is cause for caution.

Baron in Spain is doing a good impression of an evil hegemon. He is however, not nearly as powerful as previous great powers post conversion. It will be interesting seeing if he chooses to focus on Africa or on the Americas. Of course, he can also choose to try for a European Empire. The last would make him very powerful come V2.

Oddman in Russia seems to be a friend of the Mongols, which means we have common interests. However, he is also colonizing Siberia, which means he in competing for that cake with myself and the Mongols. He is also the main competitor to Khan in Rome.

Khan has been keeping pretty quiet in Rome. All that can be said is that if he wins his struggle with Oddman and takes all of Russia he could become quite the headache for me.

KoM in Scandinavia seems to be another Russian ally. Also a likely colonizer of Canada.

Jason's Greeks were pretty quiet.

The Central European states of France, Hungary, Italy and Bavaria are all unlikely to interact with me directly for a couple centuries, but all of them are vulnerable to getting gobbled up, particularly Bavaria and Hungary. The survival of these states is what will decide the future of the game. If anyone blobs up in there, they are likely to win the game.

The Inca, Huron and Aztecs have likewise been quiet. Huron didn't get played for most of the session. These guys really do need to do well. If they get too weak, Britain, Spain, France and Scandinavia get a big bonanza. But like Central Europe, this is unlikely to be an area I will have much to do with for a couple centuries.

In Asia, Hindustan appears to be the main player to watch. He is aggressive and is apparently quite skilled. It isn't clear yet how many friends he has yet though.

I am also keeping an eye on Malacca - the area is very rich due to all the buffs applied to it, and extremely rich in resources. Also, Falador is pretty experienced.

Tibet and Sind were not played by their perms, so I am not sure what they will be doing. Tibet is looking quite strong though. Both of these countries could either be Hindustan's greatest friends, or his greatest enemies.

Benin is looking very impressive. He is another player who comes to us with a fearsome reputation. He also has to contend with both Greece and Spain - though at the moment, neither have made any hostile noises about him. He also has a range of choices of where to go next - he could expand solely in Africa, go colonizing in Asia and Australia or go West to South America. What he chooses is likely to decide how much direct interaction I'll be doing with him.

All in all, it is looking to be an interesting game.

fasquardon
 

Rannos

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Showing your hand a little there, eh? I suppose that's easier to do without ~400 years of politics tying you down.
Anyways, always fun to read the geopolitical assessments of former peanuts turned rotw players. Especially concerning the tumultuous mess that is this Europe :)
 

Sid Meier

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reserved.
 
Last edited:

fasquardon

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Showing your hand a little there, eh? I suppose that's easier to do without ~400 years of politics tying you down.
Anyways, always fun to read the geopolitical assessments of former peanuts turned rotw players. Especially concerning the tumultuous mess that is this Europe :)
Peanut would imply I had been following the game at all since I stopped playing in CK, which I haven't. So my observations are based purely on what I see today.

And playing with all your cards on the table can be better than hiding all your cards. In my experience, usually so.

fasquardon
 

Rannos

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Peanut would imply I had been following the game at all since I stopped playing in CK, which I haven't. So my observations are based purely on what I see today.

And playing with all your cards on the table can be better than hiding all your cards. In my experience, usually so.

fasquardon
Bah! I saw you pop by every now and then!
Not that it would matter. Politics seems to change session to session in Europe. Anders made some predictions that seemed ludicrous until the end of the first session when some of the crazier ones came true.
 

baronbowden

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tell us more about anders crazy predictions! I had tuned him out to listen to Iwanowa's polish culinary tastes...
 

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January 6th, 1414
A battlefield in Russia
Evening

"A pardon? Given in absentia, just as the court martial was?"

"Yes, General. And your estates restored, and the income for the time of your, ah, absence."

Tore gave the man his best General Of The Infantry glare, of the sort that reduced experienced sergeant-majors to stutters; but he was made of stern stuff, or perhaps just aware that officers in the service of the Grand Princes did not have powers of summary execution over those in the Norwegian army. "And just why," he asked bitingly, "will they give me this now, when I've made a new life for me and mine, here in Russia? Where was the pardon five years ago, when I needed it?"

The courier - he was an officer, which meant he had connection of some sort, and might well be noble himself, perhaps even a MacRaghnall cousin - smiled blandly. "Well, General. Officially, it has been realised that an injustice has been done; if the wheels sometimes grind slow, still, at least they turn eventually, yes?"

"Yes, yes. And unofficially?"

"Unofficially - there are new faces at court, seeking to make names for themselves. A general who wins battles - well, such a man could be a useful ally."

"Or a useful pawn," Tore sneered; the courier inclined his head, acknowledging without agreeing.

"And, candidly, nobody dares give a major command to anyone of the family. What if he were to win?"

"So they turn to the lesser noble families, and seek to maneuver them to advantage. Men who cannot inherit the Three Thrones, nor be elected Kings of Sweden, and who can be discarded at need."

The courier shrugged. "As you say. Still, that's equally true of foreign generals in the service of the Grand Princes, no? You have rank, here; but rank can be taken as well as given. A noble title, land - nothing is truly secure, when you play the game of intrigue, but are not these better than a yearly salary and the promise of a pension?"

"That's true," Tore sighed. It was tempting, he had to admit. Oh, he'd made a name for himself in Russia, yes; but the Princes' court offered no advantage over that of the MacRaghnalls - they were equally snakepits. And here he was a foreigner with no local power base - an easy target, if a scapegoat was ever needed. It would be good to see Kjukkelmarken again, the estate where he had grown up; some proper mountains, and not these endless windblown plains...

"A pardon," he said thoughtfully, "is not an acquittal."

The courier shrugged easily. "A form of words," he said. "Well within my powers."

Tore had not actually cared much for the form, himself; but it was a simple way to establish whether the courier had power to negotiate, or was merely the bearer of a take-it-or-leave-it offer. He smiled.

"Ah, well then. Let us see what else is within your power."



A man who wins victories - such a man can be forgiven much.


----------------------------------------​

October 14th, 1423
A room in Kronborg castle, Sjælland
Morning

"While we hold the Baltic, we have not lost the war."

"Easy for you to say! You have no estates in Jylland, no trading interests in Stettin."

"Indeed." Tore smiled nastily, and Geirr visibly blanched as he remembered that Tore wasn't a MacRaghnall, but an outsider brought in precisely because he wasn't a factor in the family's balance of power - in other words, because he didn't have the clout to acquire the choicest pieces of land or the best contracts. "And for that reason, I can put the needs of the state ahead of my own. I say again, we have not lost the war. That some of us here have lost some revenue is not a matter of State concern." Let them chew on that; the MacRaghnalls liked to project a great concern for all Norse subjects, as a cover for lining their pockets. Not that this was any different from any other ruling clique, but it was occasionally sweet to be able to throw their hypocrisy back in their faces.

"Be that as it may," Geirr recovered, "the Baltic is not, actually, the only path open to the horse lords. Finland -"

"Finland! Oh yes, may it please the Lord of Hosts, let them come through Finland! The mosquitoes alone will bleed them white. As for the Finn tribes - a knife behind every blade of grass - the utter lack of military roads - the certainty that such a campaign would run into a winter worse than Russia's - no, no. They are not madmen; they will order their horses to swim the Sound before they try to attack us through those forests."

Geirr sat down, pressing his lips together; he wasn't about to argue with the only man in the room who had met Hungarian armies in battle and defeated them. Tore smiled inwardly; it was one thing to plan to make a useful pawn of a man from a lesser noble house, an Yngling outsider who could not take a throne - and quite another to realise that you were trying to impose your military judgement on the man who had won the only victories in the war. It was a delicate balance of power, for Tore could not have made his judgement stick against the united opposition of the MacRaghnalls. But there were many of the Family who had their estates in Sweden or in mountainous Norway, and no love for their wealthy cousins with Danish lands; as long as there was a faction supporting continued war, Tore had the casting vote. And as long as there was war, a victorious general was a powerful man; when peace came - well, he would worry about that when it happened. The war had lasted most of his life so far, and he was no longer a young man.

"While we control the Baltic," came softly from his left, and he turned to see Harald, who rejoiced in the title High Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Like Tore, he was of the lesser nobility, a Guldvædder, given his high rank because he could not use it as a springboard to the kingdom. That, and their common interests as military men, had often made them allies in the past. And, although the navy had not fought any great battles as the army had, everyone knew that it wasn't Tore who kept the horse lords out of København; the Admiral spoke rarely but was heard when he did.

"I have certain contacts, friends you might say, in almost every port in Europe. I'm told, and I believe, that there is a gathering of ships in Venice, and another in Athens. My lords, against Hungary, against Rome, I will undertake to hold the Baltic until it should freeze over; and then we may take as much or as little of the war as we please. But against the combined fleets of the south, no. We would have to seek harbour, or give hopeless battle; and then we should see rather more of the war than we desire."

There was silence; it was one thing to argue about whether to seek peace on reasonable terms, and quite another to be told that you might have no choice.

"Perhaps we are not their target?" Tore suggested. "There are other nations in the world."

"Possible, but... the horselords have been threatening us with the wrath of their allies for three years now. I suppose it may happen that the infidel arse-lickers have chosen this moment to finally rise against the Caliph, but, my lords, I would not like to gamble my estates and the chastity of my daughters on the possibility."

"I fear he is right," Gaute said heavily; and Gaute was a MacRaghnall, and one whose word carried weight as the King's cupbearer - the more so for peace, as his estates were in Skåne; he could not be accused of personal motives. "Tore," he said. "We know the horse lords, damn them, are near the end of their tether. Naval expeditions take time to prepare. Their army stands near Narva. If we launch you across the Baltic one more time, no raid but a full expedition meant to destroy their army and force them to the table - can you do it?"

Tore looked down. "I can destroy the last army of the horse lords," he said softly, not entirely sure he was speaking truth. "But that will not force a peace, not while the kataphrakts graze their horses in Jylland. If it were only the Hungarians we should have won already. But the damn Romans... and I do not have the men to defeat them. Not if we called up every boy in Norway above fourteen years of age."

"Then we must have peace, while we yet hold the Baltic."

There were bowed heads, but no dissenters.
 

el_zilcho321

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France on the dawn of the 15th century

France was finally a respectable nation. While it was still not in any way a world power it at least had the capabilities of projecting invasions and defending itself without foreign aid, as had been precedent in the past. The northern lands lost to England had been reclaimed through both war and diplomacy, however the Iberian menace had continued to conquer its way through South France. The French people were oppressed and their lands shared between the Muslims, Germans and Italians. France held a grudge, but this offence was softened by economical and military aid and cooperation.

In recent years, France had begun to advance into central Germany, at the expense of Bohemia, in this way strengthening her position by both adding rich new land to her kingdom and by removing her most dangerous neighbour. As a result of these invasions Bohemia became preyed upon by it's neighbours and now crumbles, hardly even a shadow of what it once was. With Bohemia being the second German nation France had brought to ruin, many Germans began to consider France as Germany's reckoning and ultimate doom. This led to many people in Bavaria resenting France and fearing that it would attack their homeland next.

Soon, Bohemia would be gone. After that, there would be no more easy expansion routes for France.

To south were the Spanish. Hated by the French populace for oppressing and conquering their brothers, as well as being filthy heathens. Some of the more spphiscated citizens, as well as the government thought different of the Spanish. They recognised that Spain was a valuable ally, as they had helped them in reclaiming the French lands lost to the Germans and English as well as the fact that the Southern French were treated well under the Spaniards and allowed to keep most of their farms and not being forcefully converted to Islam. From a practical point of view Spain was a completely unviable choice of expansion, Spain was 3/4 times the power that France was and it had an extensive web of alliances.

Also to the south is Italy. Italy is often forgot by the general populace as one of the counties that bit into France in the great 13th century wars. People mainly thought about Italy as the rich merchant nation who brought their exotic luxuries and more importantly countless riches to French ports, with local merchants taking a share of the Italian wealth. Italy does not even share a border with France, is a lot richer and is allied to Spain and so would seem a very bad choice of expansion.

To the east is Bavaria. Few French people know that Bavaria exists, many thinking it to be a simple continuation of Spanish conquests. Bavaria would have been an easy option (and desirable one, due to the holding of some French land) of expansion had it not been for Bavaria's alliance to Spain.

To the west, past Bohemia, was Hungary. People in France like The Hungarians as they were their Orthodox brothers and they had shared the French aggression towards Bohemia. The French government shared this feeling however were cautious of trusting the Hungarians after they ruthlessly betrayed Bohemia. Hungary is a suitable match for France in terms of power, however it has connections with the rest of Orthodox Europe, and the priests would not want to be at war with such important Orthodox nations whole the arostrocracy would not want to go to war with such powerful nations.

To the north, above Bohemia, was Scandanavia. Scandanavia was regarded as some distant realm always absorbed in internal strife by the French people and few people cared to take notice in events and happenings of the Viking realm. Scandanavia, like Hunagry was a suitable match for France, though was protected by its alliances. Also, the king did not want the cold Scandanavian lands which were so far from France.

To the north was Britain. French people had a traditional hatred of the English, they had lurked in Northern France for hundreds of years , and even once expelled simply moved to take land on the Dutch coast. The French did not like their meddling ways.,the government however recognised that England was one of the greatest powers of the time, and could easily crush France in a war. Not to mention the fact that France had nowhere near the number of ships that England had and would thus find it hard to cross the channel.

To the west were lands rumoured by Vikings. French people dismissed these claims as mere fairytales. Many intelligent people claimed that it was possible and this led to the government considering an expedition. They did not have the capabilities to do so, but when they had advance ships would they ever sail to the west and take lands for the French? Most people think not. France has a tiny navy and would never be able to compete with the naval powers of Italy or England. And what if there are no lands and the expensive ships simply fall off the Earth into the abyss. France will in no way rush to sail west but perhaps once her European borders are secure, and the land has been discovered and scouted by other powers France would claim her stake there.
 

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Hey, Ho! Mupdate Time!

I was feeling really depressed that no one has taken up the mantle of writing out a summary of the sessions events, so I decided to take it into my own hands, and do an incredibly crap job of it until someone claims they can do it better. So here we go, World Map!



-First off we are going into the Mystical Orient, where contrary to last session’s peace and harmony, they were at war with each other almost as long as Europe was! Tibet, subbed by zmaj, and later Sind, by SilverBolt threw Asia’s plans for peaceful expansion right out the window. zmaj immediately declared Khmer to be his vassal/sphere and warred (the AI Protected Slot) to make it so. People did not like that, so people decided to war for that for awhile. Another is when Malacca Holy Wars a random AI nation clearly in its sphere. Hindustan, being defender of the Faith, joins in for free War Taxes. Once he realized that was against the rules, he began to fight the war in earnest, otherwise he would lose his Defender of Faith Bonus. Seperately from that, Sind wanted a war more than anything in the World, his ally, Hindustan, was more than willing to assist in that matter. A war on Mongol Khanate was declared by the Combined Nations of India. Most of Asia came to India’s Aid. Eventually White peace was secured and everyone agreed SilverBolt was a douche.

-Dunno what the Fuck America’s are doing, with Inca colonizing in a lazily Southward direction. Aztecs are a bit easier to read, trying to reach North American Natives before Europe does. Unfortunately they failed. On 1427, minutes before the end of the session, the English reach America and declare a Crusade on the Creek. Huron has a chronic case of noonewantsitits. By this point it is likely a lost cause, forever lost in the annals of history.

-Finally we reach the topic where I have at least some actual knowledge better than hearsay, Europe. An uneasy peace had settled over Europe by the end of ck2, power structures were clearly defined, and no one wanted to try and break the mold. Of course this only lasted until 1399. With Navies now actually meaning something, formerly 3rd tier powers became supremely potent literally overnight. Now fresh wars have taken place, to secure as much of the old paradigm of ck2 as possible.

-In this Session, Romania continues its burgeoning tradition of “Peace, wtf is that?” This time, the major war involved centered on Scotlandavia, rather than a primary participant, this time he focused on helping the little folk beat up on other little folk. Unfortunately, being the fact that both Hungary and I were Land powers, we could not secure the Baltics long enough to cross into Sweden proper. A stalemate ensued, for several years. until the end of the session actually, we will still be at war next week. A separate war occurred, with Bavaria, France, and Spain. due to miscommunication, they agreed to peace before all terms were agreed to, sneaky Northerners with backhanded diplomacy indeed. Nothing else of note really happened in Europe, was pretty chill session otherwise. I hit Land Tech 5, or was it 6, probably 6, still, nothing to write home about.
 

el_zilcho321

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Religion in France.

For over two centuries France had officially belonged to the Orthodox Church, after the Catholic pope was expelled from Rome by e Eastern Empire. For many years religious turmoil engulfed the country. Some of the kings vassals saw it wise to convert to the new faith. The majority, however, remained adamant in following the old religion. The general population took some time to convert and this was not helped by the ever changing kings of this period, a couple of whom tried to turn France back into the arms of the pope. By the early-mid 14th century, however, it looked as though the Orthodox religion had been firmly planted into the minds of the French people and was there to stay.

Small enclaves of Catholicism still remained though, and the king wanted to deal with these. He sent out his chaplain to convert these heretics. While he did not give specific orders to use violence, the chaplain seems to have used several torture techniques to persuade the Catholics. Upon realising that these methods only made them more resilient, he decided to go for a more spiritual method. This took some time but eventually the majority of people in these enclaves embraced the Eastern religion.

The only enclave that was never pressured to convert was the city of Avignon. The city was a holy place for the Catholics and the kings thought it best not to upset them by enforcing the new religion in such a sacred place. While the kings wanted to unify the country in religion, they also wanted to keep the generous church taxes coming in from such a rich province.

More Catholics entered the empire when Normandy and Flanders were conquered back from the English. In Flanders the king appointed Andalusian lords to rule these lands, in place of the old English earls. While they were Orthodox in belief, they also retained some of the characteristic aggression from their old Spanish religion. This mercilessness helped in quickly converting these lands to the new religion. Normandy, however, had a powerful French duke ruling in it, even under the English crown. This duke had remained Catholic after Rome fell since he was under the command of the Catholic English king. Therefore the French king now decided to try and convert him and his sons. This duke however had a very zealous family and most of them refused to embrace the new religion. Luckily many of his vassals became Orthodox, as did many of the peasants. One day when the duke rose up against France, along with some other vassals, wanting independance, the king banished him and seized his lands, after having defeated his armies in battle. He handed out the land to loyal French lords. Most of Normandy converted, however until this day (1420) a strong Catholic enclave remains in Caux.

When France conquered Germany and later Bohemia, all of the new people under its control were Catholic. The king had to deal with this fast as a united Catholic Germany under France could be a major problem if they grew angry. He first decided to bribe the German lords to become Orthodox. This, however, held only a small influence on the peasants. He next sent his court chaplain to spread the word of the Eastern Religion and undermine Catholicism. This proved effective and so, after Bohemia had been destroyed, the king sent missionaries across all of French Germany to spread the belief of the Orthodox Religion. This, combined with the recent failing of major Catholic nations (Bohemia, Scandanavia), led to many peasants converting. By 1420, only several areas still had a majority of Catholics.
 

fasquardon

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Korean Impressions

Session 3


A fairly eventful session this time around.

Hindustan and Taira attacked Malacca. No surprise that Qin went to the aid of Malacca. Slightly more of a surprise was when Benin - who up until then I had considered an ally of Hindustan - joined the war. I say slightly because I'd received hints of what was afoot. Completely surprising was Britain joining against Taira and helping Malacca win the naval war in fairly short order.

The land war lasted longer - most of that being time spent arguing in teamspeak. Benin landed an army in Hindustan and stackwiped all of Hindustan's army. Hindustan's player also lost his connection. What order things happened in wasn't entirely clear. What IS clear is that Hindustan has lost its player (he quit the game, furious at the Benin player's insistence on imposing a harsh peace despite what might be called an unfair advantage from the disconnect of his opponent and the GM's refusal to force Benin to accept a white peace) and a once proud empire has since completely imploded.

The Mongols, Qin and I munched on Ming some. Ming achieved a stackwipe against me and I lost half my army. Fortunately, the AI didn't press the advantage like a human player could have, and I was able to recover after a couple years. I didn't manage to get very much from the war, mainly due to messing around with the Ming fleet trying to get warscore for a better peace and losing the battles.

Korea's economic situation got a bit better over the session as I started trading more. But that income stream is now under threat as Benin and Nejd expand their trade in Asia.

The diplomatic front is rather delicate. Mostly that's because I haven't sworn any holy death-or-victory pacts like the one Irsh and I had in the last game. Also, my policy of omnidirectional friendliness means I am straddling the likely fault lines of the East. I have to be careful that one of those fault lines doesn't open up directly beneath me. That said, the delicacy is only relative. Most people probably read that paragraph and thought "but that's normal in multiplayer!"

The British intervention in the Taira-Malacca war may mean we'll be seeing a much earlier involvement of Europe in Asian politics, which would make things even more interesting.

Included below is a map of Korea's eventual borders as defined by the current agreements with the Mongols, Qin and Taira.



It is only 46 provinces and rather poor at that. I'll have to think carefully about where Korea can expand after I've secured the core lands.

fasquardon
 

el_zilcho321

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Culture in 15th century France

The majority of people in France were cosmopolitan. They lived in the mainly the North and Middle of the historical French land. These people are considered the most important culture in France and hold most high up positions.

There are some minorities in Northern France. The Normans in Normandy have their own distinct culture, a mix of French and Scandanvian, along with some influence from the English, under whom they had been ruled. The Normans were treated the same as the cosmopolitans, due to them being very similar, almost identical. The Bretons however still retained their own Celtic language and had not been ruled by France as long as Normandy and other Frankish areas. As a result of this difference Bretons are often discriminated against, resulting in less tax coming into the state from Brittany. However, as the Bretons have been under France for around 300 years they have embraced the French language and are slowly being integrated into the Franksh culture.

In the south of France are the Occitanians and Aquitanes. These groups are very similar to the northeners, however there are a lot of tensions between the Northeners and the Southeners. The Southern cultures used to have believed that they had been abandoned by the Northeners to the Spanish conquerers. However as time went on, and Spanish dominance was displayed across Europe, the Southeners grew arrogant and saw themselves as being more cultured and diverse than th Northeners being under the powerful Spanish empire. They weren't, as they thought they would be, treated badly or forced to convert by the Spanish king, and so grew quite content under the Spanish.

The Andalisians' influence in France had been slowly growing ever since The Spanish had taken land past the Pyrenees. As the Spanish empire had grown more powerful, the Andalusians became respected by the French. As such, many Andalusians bwere granted land in French territory by certain French kings, trying to please the Spanish king, and so Andalusian became a culture of the upper class in France. By the mid 15th century small enclaves of Andalusians had appeared in France.

In the 14th century, many Germans came into the nation after France conquered lands from Germany and Bohemia. These cultures were, at first, heavily persecuted by the Franks due to thir long lasting rivalry and religious differences. After time however, and as more Germans came into the country, the Franks began to settle their differences with the Germans living near the traditional French-German border, and to accept them as fellow French citizens. By the mid 15th century Germans constituted around one half of the population in France, while only the Rheinlanders and Bavarians are beginning to be accepted.
 

King of Men

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Small Beginnings

April 17th, 1439
Sankt Anton, Nybrottsland (OTL Saint Anthony, Newfoundland)
Morning

Tore squinted at the land-grant, holding it at arms' length; at fifty he was still vigorous, but he had to admit that his eyes were no longer any good for close-in work. It was a handicap for an administrator, although fortunately his township was still small enough that little had to be written down; it was with some relief that he heard the commotion outside, and decided to go look into it.

He had just buckled on his sword - more as a badge of rank than because he expected to need it - when his grandson burst into the office. "Vinlands Dame is here!"

"Good!" Tore smiled in relief. The first ship of the year was always taking a risk; this far into April, he'd been considering whether it might have been lost, and thinking of what measures to take if it were. There was enough food that nobody would starve, but by this point everyone was deathly tired of fish; the salt, honey, pepper, flour, dried fruit, and other luxuries the first trade-ship brought would avert a hundred little quarrels and frictions - the trivial little fights that could turn deadly in a community of a few hundred. And, above all, new faces: Female faces, Tore hoped. It wasn't so bad now as in the first two years, when the two dozen women in the town had gone out in public only with their husbands armed and at their sides; but there were still well over a hundred vigorous young men desperate for female companions, and prone to taking out their frustrations on each other. He'd had to hang one already this year, which with the man he'd knifed made two he couldn't really afford to lose. Perhaps this would be the year when the MacRaghnalls finally listened to him and sent him an actual majority of unmarried women - but, putting it like that, he had to admit that he wasn't holding his breath.

His thoughts had carried him to the dock, where most of his people were also gathering; by unofficial consensus, the arrival of a trade ship was a holiday. Beer barrels had been brought out, and were doing a brisk business; someone had started roasting a pig, making Tore's mouth water - even the governor did not eat much pork in this straitened land. The ship's boats were coming in, laden in this first trip with passengers rather than goods - salt and honey, no matter how eagerly awaited, did not threaten to riot if they had to stay on board for one more hour. Tore stepped forward, as eager as everyone else to see some new faces; his rank and a judicious use of elbows got him through the crowd.

The boats grounded, and cheerful settlers helped the new chums - pale and thin from their journey; nobody got fat on ship's biscuit even if it did have meat in it - out, offering beer and shouted introductions. What Tore looked for, though, were not just more settlers, welcome as those were. He hoped to see women - and to his pleasure, there were some, being assiduously courted by the quickest men, or those with the most ability in using their elbows - and important men. Wealthy men, powerful men, men with connections at court - those were the ones who could make his settlement grow by attracting wealth as well as labour; they were also the ones who could form the nucleus of factions and parties. That was why he took pains to greet them, welcome them, bring to let them know that the governor recognised their importance and was willing to work with them - and that he was keeping an eye on them.

Today it was clear who he should be welcoming: The man who even after a three months' voyage was a bit portly, who bore a sword, who was dressed in expensive dyed linen rather than wool, and who had an entourage of no less than five children in addition to his wife, varying in age from a man himself full-grown and married down to a tow-headed daughter at most six years old. Tore moved to intercept him, and stopped momentarily in surprise: He knew the man!

That was, of course, no reason to let him escape ungreeted. Rather the opposite, in fact; for while Tore and then-Admiral Guldvædder had worked together in the Baltic War, and supported each other well enough as military men and as non-MacRaghnalls at court, here in Nybrottsland they would both be large frogs in rather a small pond. Best to have it clear from the start who was the larger.

"Admiral Guldvædder," Tore greeted his new settler. "A pleasure to see you again. Would you care to join me for a meal, at the governor's residence?"

"I am honoured to accept," the Admiral nodded. "But it's Baron Guldvædder now. And do you choose to be addressed as Governor, or as Jarl?"

"Governor; my eldest son holds Kjukkelmarken now. But you were more than a Baron the last time we met, I think?" Tore gestured them towards the grandly-named Governor's Residence; in truth, it was a log cabin like every other building in the town, although it did have more rooms than was common.

"Yes. As with you: My son heads the Guldvædder family now, and has the title; but they made me a Baron before I left, in recognition of my services."

Tore kept his face calm, but inwardly he raged; the Admiral's "services" had consisted of cruising up and down the Baltic capturing a few rowboats, while he'd fought the Hungarians from the Ukraine to Finland, yes, and led raids ashore too while the naval officers remained on their ships. And had they given him a courtesy barony, when they sent him to be Governor of three log cabins and a pig? Not so much as a baronet had they made him; not even a knighthood! But it was, of course, a ploy: Keep the lesser noble families jealous of each other, so they wouldn't unite against MacRaghnall rule, that was always their way. In a backhanded fashion, it was a compliment: The court now thought, apparently, that Nybrottsland was important enough to provide it with two lesser nobles of nearly equal weight - Baron to match Governor, Guldvædder to keep Yngling in check - yes, and it would work, too, except that Tore was wise to them. So he did not break into the scream of rage that tried to build up in his stomach - after all it was hardly the Baron's fault - but smiled pleasantly and congratulated the man.

"And why did you choose to join us here?" he asked, when they were seated over fresh-caught cod and spring greens; the meal did not appeal to Tore, who had eaten fish daily for four months now, but his guests fell on it as though it were suckling pork and honey-glazed veal. "There is great potential here, but not, at the moment, much wealth or comfort." Tore's strategy depended on the Baron's answer. If he had come to be a MacRaghnall cat's-paw, if he were complicit in their ploy to keep Tore under control, that was one thing and there were ways of dealing with it. But if his reasons were similar to Tore's, then he might become an actual ally, and that would be useful indeed.

The Baron's lips drew tight in a smile-like curve, encouraging Tore. "There's not much call for veterans of the wars, these days. There's a new Admiral, some lickspittle Finn who never commanded a ship; and it was suggested - to my face, mind you! - that it might be time for younger men to take over my estates. I don't think Martin was in on it. But at any rate I saw which way the wind was blowing. So -" he shrugged. "There's not much here, true, but then there wasn't much in Iceland when the land-takers came, and their descendants are wealthy. There's something to be said for an estate, even one that needs much tree-chopping to become productive, that's well away from the capital."

Tore smiled; great minds, or in this case, the minds of lesser nobles under the MacRaghnall thumb, thought alike. "Quite so. Land grants, of course, are in my gift; I think there won't be any difficulty finding a suitable area, for a man of your prominence." And, he didn't add - and didn't need to - in return, the Baron would not jostle his elbow, but become his ally and supporter.

"I'm pleased to hear it," the Baron nodded, sealing their bargain. "But, out of curiousity now, if a MacRaghnall were to come by, what sort of land would you grant him?"

"Well, that illustrious family has, of course, many options for advancement closer to home," Tore said judiciously. And, went unspoken, may therefore be relied upon to leave us alone for a good long while. "And I'm afraid that, in the initial reports back home, the available acreages of good land were perhaps a little underestimated. So if one of them should chance by, he would no doubt have adjusted his expectations downwards a bit, in accordance with the common knowledge at court, and would be glad when I told him he could have fifty acres, instead of forty."

The Baron smiled in perfect understanding, and raised his glass - filled with Flemish wine, hoarded for just such occasions. "Then here's to MacRaghnall," he said. "Long may they rule and prosper - in Norway!"

"In Norway!"