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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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"Requesting an audience with the king, are you? I'm afraid you'll have to wait for some while before that can be arranged. Unless you have found a place to stay, I can recommend an inn nearby. Peder here can show you the way."

"If that is Their Majesty's wishes, I am bound to obey." Inge said, and with that the captain left.

"Should I show you to Valdemars Hvile, sir?"

Inge nodded, and followed the man out of the courtyard. Followed by a pressing and somewhat embarrassing quietness they walked down the narrow streets until they reached the inn. The quietness probably due to the fact that both of them considered themselves being of lower rank than the other and thus not allowed to entitle him directly. After a short goodbye to the stranger foreigner Inge hired a room asked to be led up to it immediately. He was lucky the inn-keeper knew German as well, he thought, Denmark perhaps wasn't that different from Sweden after all. The inn-keeper, a very short and thin man whose age was hard to determine due to his heigth left after having assured himself that Inge didn't need anything and Inge took up ink, paper and the goose feather from his bag with all kinds of useful stuff that he had got from Bo. With those tools in front of him on the desk he sat down and began writing a letter to Bo, telling he had arrived and was now waiting for an audience with her royal highness.
 

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Inge had only stayed two days in the inn before a letter received from the Danish court. It informed him that His Royal Majesty, Oluf of Denmark and Norway, had granted him an audience in four days.

And thus, six days after Inge had arrived, he once again walked through the gates to Vordingborg Slot, but this time he was expected. Four guards, among them Peder who had seen the emissary before, waited at the gates, and one of them stepped forward as Peder pointed out the Swede.

In passable Swedish, the guard asked Inge to follow, and lead him to the Royal study. However, in there, only Margrethe waited. Two of the guards stayed behind, and Margrethe nodded her thanks to them before she spoke.

"Herr Inge, welcome to Denmark. I am sorry that my son is unable to be here, but pressing matters have him occupied. However, I assure you that I can speak on his behalf. So, herr Inge, what can I do for Sweden?"
 

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"The question is not what you can do for Sweden, but what Sweden can do for you, your royal highness." Inge answered politely. "My name is Inge, son of Greger, and I represent his Grace lord Bo Jonsson, and I believe letters wearing your seal has arrived at his court, requesting his or his representative's presence here. It is those letters that made me begin my voyage and it's with the protection of God that I have come here without any obstacles during the way. Not as a spy, but rather as a messenger bringing my lord's words to your court as you requested and forwarding yours to him."

"Herr Jonsson wishes to know if there is anything he can do to please your royal highness"
 

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Vordingborg, audience with Inge Gregerson​

The kingmother nodded as Inge introduced himself, and answered in slow Norwegian. Being queen of Norway, she mastered that language, and it was closer and more understandable to a Swede than Danish.

"I trust that Sweden has enough spies here allready, and thus that your task is indeed as messenger. You are welcome at the court of the Danish and Norwegian king. My son will have his servants find a suitable room for you by tomorrow.

What my son have to discuss with Bo is best discussed directly with him. By this I do not in any way imply that I, or my son, doesn't trust your ability to fullfill your task, but rather that the subject is a delicate one. It is no coincidence that my letter was adressed to a Swedish nobleman, and not to Albrecht of Mecklemburg. By these words, I have hinted at my sons intent, and what else there is to say is best discussed with Swedish landowners. Unless the regency of Sweden have brought topics of discussion to my sons court, I have nothing futher to add."
 

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"But I am..." he started but stopped himself in time. The audience was apparently over already. Confused, he wondered if he had done anything wrong. He hadn't read the letter, but hadn't Bo said that a representative was sufficient? He would've done no such thing if it hadn't been in the letter. Anyway, Inge nodded. A royalty was always right.

"Of course, I shall report to His Grace immediately" he said, slightly less enthusiastic and with a pinch of downheartedness in his voice. He was worried about what herr Jonsson would say, if he would be mad with him for failing his mission. He hoped the queen would explain her behaviour to

He studied the king's mother a last time with his eyes, careful not to be as staring he let his eyes travel across the body of the king's mother. King's mother was an unfair title, he thought, as it implied she was an old lady. This woman was merely 30 years old, much younger than himself, but yet a widow after her husband. The king of Sweden and Norway, Håkan Magnusson died when he was merely 40 years old after having been deposed from the Swedish throne. Rightfully, of course. Inge was proud to serve one of the noble men who had saved the realm from the kings misrule. Not that the current one was much better, but as long as he kept his hands off the country...

The queen's dress was coloured with deep purple silk. The discrete pattern was made up of gothic palmettes, pomegranates and roses. Its threads were golden and went well with her hair. Although he didn't find her attractive he had to admit to himself that she was good-looking. A last bow and he left the room, still worried about what herr Jonssons reaction would be
 

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With hands shaking of fear of what his master would say, Inge broke the seal and brought up the letter he just had recieved. He read it with the help of the dim light that the lone candle provided him this dark night in December. The room was quiet and nothing could be heard apart from Inge's nervous heartbeats and anxious breaths.

Anno Domini 1383

Unto Inge Gregersson,

Her Majesty's conserns are unfortunate and to me ununderstandable. I promise I shall address them when I am done with his majesty's council here in Stockholm.

What I want you to do now, Inge, is to leave Vordingborg and travel to Halland, where my friend Abraham Brodersen should be dwelling. He is a fine man, equal to me in rank in the Danish kingdom and you shall address him accordingly. I trust you shall notify him that I will visit him on my way down to the Danish crown. You shall also tell him that I have finished my will and see if he is willing to be one of the men who will take responsibility that it'll be as is written in it. You could also talk with him about what I discussed with you in preparation for the trip to Vordingborg.

Don't let me down, I trust you'll represent me properly

Signed on behalf of
Bo Jonsson Grip, Viceroy of Sweden, Officialis Generalis, Duke of Sudermannia and of Finland, Lord of Viborg and of Gripsholm, head of the Grip dynasty.

Hendrik Balke, Writer and Advisor at Tre Kronor.
Inge read the letter many times, at least five. He tried to find something that implied bitterness, but if his lord was bitter he hid it well. Perhaps apart from the last words the letter was quite positive and Inge felt a huge burden lift from his heart. The next day he was out of Vordingborg, destined for Købmannehavn or Helsingør at the east coast of Sjælland. He arrived in Halland at herr Brodersens estate one week later.
 

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The letter which arrived at Lund seemed untidily written, as if the writer had been in a hurry. It was written in latin, but the appearance was simple and poor and hardly proper as a letter addressed for the archbishop of Lund. Nor was it filled with bible quotes and flattering descriptions. However, the emissary carrying it staggered into the cathedral of Lund and collapsed on the floor, confirming its urgency and importance.

Anno Domini 1384
Unto Jacobus Georgius, in the name of our Lord Prima Daniae and Archbishop of Lund,

Gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis,

Father, I have had visions. Like He has talked to all the holy saints and the persons in the Holy Book before me He has now also given me visions about His will.

Father, I cannot tell you what I saw, for seals are too easily broken and letters too easily ending up in the wrong hands. I pray every night and every day that this letter shall find you, and that you shall be in good health when it does. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated, the emissary who hopefully has carried it to you is called Jens. He is unable to talk, God has sealed his lips with his sins so that he cannot be tempted to tell anyone about my words.

Father, I need you here. It is urgent, what I saw worries me greatly. Dark clouds are amassing above the sky of Scandinavia. I will go to Falköping and pray that I shall meet you there. Enter the city alone, do not bring any company. I need your words and holy guiding, it is urgent. I have to tell you about what I have seen, for it might determine the religious future of Scandinavia.

Pax Vobiscum,

Your brother in faith,

Petrus Xtianus, bishop of Skara.
 
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Pleased that the Grandmaster had at last sent his letter, von Cronberg journeyed to the palace to pass over the letter for the King and more importantly, his mother to read.

zum Ihrer Hocheit, Margrethe, Mother of Seine Majestät, Olav III of Denmark

The increasingly friendly relations between our two states is pleasing to the Order as it provides mutual benefit to both the Teutonic Knights and to Denmark. Your envoy Hansen has been hard at work, my sources tell me, and he has become an asset to the naval security of the eastern Baltic. I am most impressed with his diligence to duty. You have my thanks for granting the Order permission to build a Chapter House in your territory. While we hope this will be a future source of recruitment for our holy mission in the Baltic lands, I believe it will also serve as a reminder of our commitment of support for your position. That being said, though I am loathe to continue to part with the services of a fine soldier as von Cronberg, I acede to your request and hereby appoint him to head up the House and its garrison. Knowing of his regard for your person and Seine Majestät, I am sure he will be useful.

May you continue to find peace in Our Lord,


Konrad III Zollner von Rothstein
Hochmeister, Der Deutscher Orden
 

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Flame of Udûn said:
Inge read the letter many times, at least five. He tried to find something that implied bitterness, but if his lord was bitter he hid it well. Perhaps apart from the last words the letter was quite positive and Inge felt a huge burden lift from his heart. The next day he was out of Vordingborg, destined for Købmannehavn or Helsingør at the east coast of Sjælland. He arrived in Halland at herr Brodersens estate one week later.

Halland, Abraham Brodensen Baads castle

Abraham Brodersen was a very wealthy man. He owned large areas of lands in Halland and Skåne, and counted himself as the wealthiest nobleman in Denmark. He was nowhewere near the power of Bo Grip of Sweden, but almost rivalled him in ambition.
During the interregnum, under the Holsteiner counts, the Baads had cooperated with the foreign rulers, thus saving their lands the worst of the pillaging. But allthough that had saved the familys fortunes, it had allmost costed them their reputation. Abraham,and his father Broder, had managed to regain much lost prestige, and king Atterdags amnesty had meant they hold on to the wealth.

Abraham envied the Swedes their distant king. The weaker the monarchy, the more powerfull the nobility, and wealth and power had a tendency to bring respect, the respect the Baads had lost after the interregnum.
Given this position, and the proximity of his holdings in Halland to Sweden, it was unavoidable that Abraham Brodersen Baad preferred the compagny of Swedish nobility to that of his fellows Danes, and Abraham spoke Swedish almost as a native. When he heard that a servant of Bo Jonsson Grip had arrived, Inge was welcomed with open arms and immediatly greeted by the nobleman himself.
 

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Abraham Brodersen's Estate, Halland


Compared to the rather chilly and hasty rejection of the Danish royal family, despite writing in the letter that a representative was sufficient, the welcome he got at Abraham Broderssen's estate in Halland was unexpected to say the least. As far as Inge knew he was unannounced, although Bo could've sent a letter to Abraham when he sent one to Inge as well, but he was immediately welcomed almost like if he was Bo Jonsson himself. They exchanged greeting phrases and then they entered the estate and spoke about Bo, Abraham knew he was old and had problem with his back and he was obivously curious how his Swedish mighty friend was doing.

"He has finished his will a few months ago, I think it was this February. In fact, he wanted me to speak to you about it, herr Broderssen", Inge said. "He wants you to be included in the group he intends to create who will be responsible that his will is followed. He doesn't trust the king, you know. Of course you will get your part if you stand by, I believe quite a large part of his fortune is dedicated to the group."
 
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Mettermrck said:

With a determined pace, Lothar von Cronberg marches into the Danish court and requests an urgent audience with King Olav and the Lady Margethe.
Lothar only had to wait for about two hours before he was granted an audience. The servant showing him the familiar route to the queens study tried to sneak quick looks at him, proparbly because the speed in getting the audience marked him as an important person in the court intrigues, should he decide to play that game.

In the study was only Lady Margrethe, and she didn't even wait for Lothar to speak before explaining her sons absence.
"Welcome, herr von Cronberg. I must excuse my son, but he is currently in Viborg, visiting the bishop there. Herr Henning Podebusk escorts him, so I hope your urgent business can be solved without the kings direct involvment."... as usual, Margrethe kept up the appearence that her son was vital in making decisions in the kingdom.
 

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Abraham Brodersen's Estate, Halland

The opening mood of the dinner Abraham hosted for Inge was warm and friendly. Gossip from Sweden was exchanged, and then the talk drifted to the topic of Bo Jonsson. Inges reply calmed Abrahams obvious joy of entertaining a guest from Sweden, but the Danish noble knew better than to blame the messenger for bad news.

"I had feared that was to come, but I had also hoped the Lord would grant my friend more time on Earth before calling him to Heaven." Abraham Brodersen said with honesty in his voice. Not even Inges mention of a reward for assisting in supervising the fullfillment of the will had lifted the clouds that the mere mention of the will brought.
"Bo is right not to trust the king, of course. German, Swedish, Danish, Norweigan, royalty is all the same. Eager to get their hands on the wealth others have gathered, thus stealing from allready bereaved relatives. I'm honoured that my old friends trusts my enough to let me be part of the group entrusted to carry out his final will, allthough I do hope that it will be a long time before my service is needed."
 

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Lothar raised an eyebrow at the unexpected honor, or perhaps circumstance of the King's absence. Olav appeared to be a non-factor anyhow, and it was quite easier to conduct business with she who really held the reins in Denmark. He bowed politely and with respect as he was coming to be impressed with the Lady Margethe's decisive hand in court affairs.

"I trust all is well with Seine Majestät and his business." He paused for a moment before continuing. "And milady? You have been a most generous benefactor. If there's any capacity in which I might serve..." he said, and left it at that. He had a sense that his access to audiences and his elevated position in Denmark was part of a quid pro quo. She had done much for him, and naturally he felt the expectations on his part.

Then he adjusted himself and proceeded to business. "The situation is indeed urgent, Ihrer Hochheit. As you probably know by now, the Lith pagans rejected the Grandmaster's most generous offer of compensation and non-aggression for the lands in Samogitia. As the Liths have rudely refused, the Order is going to war for possession of these lands. We cannot tolerate pagan access to the Baltic and there are the souls of its inhabitants to consider. And most importantly, Samogitia is the link between we and our brethren in Livonia."

He paused to collect his thoughts. "Now then, of course the Danish kingdom is under no obligation in this war as respects our agreements. We understand they are recently signed and do not wish to put your kingdom in an awkward position. In that respect, the Grandmaster merely instructs me to make you aware of the situation. I am prepared to brief in full respects to events in the Baltic at this point. Consider me your eyes and ears in Prussia," he said with a small smile. "Also, though our chapter house in Aarhus is still very much in the beginnings, any permissions for Danish volunteers to accompany our army into battle would not only be accepted, but greatly appreciated." It vaguely registered with Lothar that he had dropped the references to the King, and was addressing Lady Margethe in the singular 'you' which could apply to her or Denmark, or both.
 

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[/center]Lothar von Cronbers audience with Lady Margrethe[/center]

Margrethe did not react to Lothars choice of words in adressing her, but knowing her, it was far more likely that she pretended not to notice, than she did in fact not notice. However, she could not reveal a small smile as Lothar offered his services, and she transformed that small betraying gesture into a rewarding smile.

"Herr von Conberg, your kind offer is welcomed, but between the service you provide to my sons kingdom in serving as the Orders ambassador, and to myself and my eternal soul in giving me a chance to grant land to a crusading Order, and thus avoiding years in the Purgatory, I have no further desires... at the moment.

Kindly inform your Grandmaster that should the situation change, and naval support be required, for instance to transport your Brethen from the north to join in defense of the Orders lands, do not hesitate to ask. For now, I shall instruct herr Hansen to intercept any ships bound for Samogitia and inspect them, ensuring they do not bring supplies which can be used by Christianitys enemies. Such inspections is only part of the duties laid on us in the treaty signed, and thus do not require the Councils permission. And should Hanseatic cogs be bound for Lithuanian lands, I am certain they will understand why they wil be redirected to Danzig or other Teutonic harbours. After all, we cannot trust the heathens to tell one christian from another, and thus spare those not of your Order.
Given the extra burdens this protection can put on herr Hansen, I will send a few additional ships to assist. Said ships can carry any volunteers from Denmark that should enlist.

I recommend you speak to Jakob Gertsen, archbishop of Lund and primate of Denmark. He can direct all priests in the lands to preach about the crusade. I am certain that will spur several volunteers to action. Shall I write you a letter of introduction to him?"
 

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Lady Margethe seemed to smile so rarely beyond her polite facade that Lothar was pleased to receive a genuine smile of approval and he knew he must have pleased her in some respect. He bowed respectfully. "I am most honored at your continued indulgence, milady. I shall certainly pass on your words to the Grandmaster and I am certain he will be pleased."

For a moment, he shed his typical diplomatic language, enthused at her offer of assistance with the crusade. "Do you truly think the priests will have the desired effect? I'm very happy to hear of your offer. Yes, I would love to have a letter of introduction. The priests can do a lot for our cause here. Again, I am in your debt, milady."
 

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Margrethe replied, but did not repeat the smile that had betrayed her selfcontrol earlier in the conversation. However, her words were kind.
"Do not mention debts, von Cronberg. The Teutonic Order fights a pagan nation, and with your victory, the Baltic seas will be a safer place.
My son, unfortunately, commands few men of his own, and we're forced to rely on the nobility to send volunteers to aid your cause. To that effect, spreading the word through the Church is necessary.

I shall have a letter of introduction ready for you tomorrow. Then, I will also have a letter of credit prepared, that you may board any ship bound for Skåne and have the captain compensated by the Royal Treasury.
Servant will have your old room prepared, you can spend the night there.
Have a safe journey."
 

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His letter of introduction from Lady Margethe in hand, Von Cronberg made his way to the residency of Archbishop Jakob Gertsen of Lund, to whom she had recommended he take himself to seek support of Denmark's religious establishment. Anything to bolster the strength of the Teutonic cause, he knew. He waited for the prelate or one of his servants to notice him, to whom he then handed his letter and awaited an audience.
 

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It didn't take long for von Cronberg to be summoned into the mansion of Jakob Gertsen, but to his surprise, he was not greeted by the archbishop. Instead, an elderly monk received him.

"Mein Herr," the monk started, using German and a Germanic mode of adress, "I beg your apology, but herr Jakob Gertsen is currently away from Lund. He has travelled to Falköping in Sweden, there to meet with the bishop of Skarpa to discuss matters of faith.
However, I am Birger Nielsson, and have been appointed to deal with any situations requiring his attention while he is away. I have thus taken the liberty to read the letter you brought for the archbishop, and I am perfectly willing to help the Order fullfill their mission of Christ in the heathen lands.
I will gladly write letters in the arcbishops name to the bishoprics of Denmark, instructing the clergy of Denmark to both pray for your troops, and to preach that any man taking up service with the Order does God a great favour and shall be rewarded in Heaven. Is your Order interested only in nobility, or should the sermons also be directed at peasantry?"
 

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Somewhere in the Baltic


In the name of his Royal Majesty, Oluf, By Gods grace KIng of Denmark and Norway.
Onto his loyal vassal, holder of the landless fief of Marienburg Harbour, commanding five ships of war in the Baltic, emissary to the Teutonic Order, Hans Hansen.

Due to recent outbreak of open warfare between our catholic brethen in the Teutonic and Livonian Orders and their pagan foe, Lithuania, and additional 3 ships of war will arrive to support those ships allready under control. These ships will serve under their own captains, but will be subject to your orders. Any tax colected or other income generated by these ships will be divided per the old traditions of the ledung.

With these reinforcements, your task will be threefold.
You will continue to uphold your obligations as holder of the landless fief Marienburg Harbour.
In addition, you will prevent such supplies as necessary for warfare to reach Lithuania through sea. Ships bound for Samogotia will be intercepted, their cargo inspected, and should it, by the best judgement of the captain commanding the intercepting ship, be supplies for warfare, the cargo shall be redirected to Danzig.
In addition, you will protect Christian shipping. We cannot trust Lithuanian pagans to respect that only the brothers of the Crusading Orders wage war upon them, and not to show their frustration on other non-warring christians in their lands. Therefore, should ships commanded by christian captains, mainly from the Hanseatic League, attempt to conduct business in materials not needed for war with Samogotia, said ships are, for the safety of their crew, to be redirected to Danzig or other harbours under command of Christian nations. Ships not obeying such orders or actively resisting such orders are to be treated as hostile.

In the name of her son
Margrethe Valdemarsdatter, Guardian of Oluf.



Hans Hansen had read that order several times, and each time he praised himself lucky. It was almost as good as an direct order to prey on Hanseatic merchants, and all knew that it was in preying on the Hansa the real profit lay. The landless fief, and with it the right to tax merchants a protective tax, had been paying nicely, but the chance to capture ships was the real reason he'd come here, and now it was about to pay of.

So far, the ship he personally commanded had not been overly succesfull. He had inspected two Swedish ships, but they had not been carrying supplies for war, and he dared not anger the Swedes by redirecting them to Danzig, not without direct orders to do so. He had followed one Hanseatic ship, but it had eluded him before he boarded, and he had not had the chance to test his orders.

So the slow Hanseatic cog he had his eyes in now came as sent from Heaven. As low as it lay in the water, it had to be fully loaded, and that also meant it would have great difficulties outrunning him. Whether or not it was bound for Samogotia was debatable, but Hans Hansen could claim he had inspected it just to be certain, and once he and his armed men got aboard, he could easily construct an excuse to seize it.
His men was almost as eager as he were. Allthough he as captain and owner would claim the greatest part of the bounty, they knew that the ledung rules for dividing plunder ensured them a nice profit as well. So his orders to raise sail and navigate closer to the cog were quickly followed.
The Hanseatic vessel, her captain knowing full well that he was chanceless to outrun the Danish ship, did not even try to run, and Hans Hansen smiled to himself as his ship came alongside and threw boarding lines over. The Hanseatic sailors even helped secure the lines, and those of them who carried weapond had not drawn them. Obviously, they did not expect a Danish ship to behave like a common pirate, and puzzlement was clear on the Hanseatic captains face as he greeted the Danish boarders.

"What is the meaning of this?", the merchant asked, but without any real anger. "My ship and goods are under the protection of the Hanseatic League." He invoked the Leagues protection more from habit than any real fear, but was allready reaching for his purse. Even the Germans respected the Danish fleets right to demand protection tax in these water, mainly because the protection tax was pretty low, and because the Danish ships did keep the waters almost safe.

This time, however, Hans Hansen was not about to be feed of with a few coins. His orders gave him far greater authority.
"In the name of the Danish king, to support the Crusading Orders of the Teutons and Livonia, I demand to see your goods."
The German captain actually smiled when hearing this, as he mistakenly believed that placed him outside danger.
"If you like. As you'll see, I'm transporting salted fish from Skåne to Stettin. Nothing to worry about for the crusaders.""
Hans decided he was not about to let any price slip through his fingers. Never mind that salted fish was obviously not meant for warfare, and never mind that Stettin was obviously not under the command of the Lithuanian pagans. He could allways claim the German had lied to him, or refused to cooperate.
"I don't trust you. I don't care what you're selling, but for your own safety, I refuse to let you land in Samogotia. The Lithuanian pagans will surely kill both you and your crew. You are to let a small group of my men come aboard, and sail to Danzig. It is for your own good."
Now the German realized that this was no ordinary Danish taxation. However, his voice betrayed more anger than fear.
"I shall do no such thing. I have no business in Danzig, but plenty in Stettin. And I am not even about to land in Samogotia. Did you not hear what I said?"

That was what Hans had waited for. A pure refusal to cooperate, thus allowing him to treat the captain and his outnumbered crew as hostiles. Hans drew his sword and stepped closer to the German, and across the ship, his men, who had been prepared for such an eventuality, had their weapons drawn before the German sailors had the chance to react.
With his weapon posed to strike, Hans once again spoke to the German captain, this time in a voice so loud that most of those aboard heard it.
"Your refusal to cooperate with my reasonable requests proves that you are working for the pagans, upon which true christians are waging a crusade. Your ownership of this ship is forfeit as a result. This ships now belongs to me. Do you surrender?"
The Hanseatic captain was no fool. A fight would be lost within seconds, as all the Danes were armed, and only a handfull of his own men even carried undrawn weapons. Still with more anger than fear, he responded.
"Have it your way, pirate. I surrender. My family in Lübeck will pay for my safe return, and then I shall have Hanseatic ships hunt you down."

Ignoring the theath, Hans spoke again, this time directed to the sailors: "An armed party will take this ship to Danzig, there to sell the cargo. Those of you who so desire can be transferred to my vessel and serve as sailors to replace them. Those not willing to take service with me will be kept in chains and released in Danzig. Climb aboard my ship if you accept my offer, stay here and lay down your weapons if you prefer captivity and a trip to Danzig."

Of the 11 Hanseatic sailors, 5 choose to serve on Hans' ship. In their reasoning, one master was almost as good as the other, and they could make their way back to whatever port they came from in time. The remaining six were chained, as was the captain who had just lost his ship without bloodsheed, and Hans transferred 8 of his men to take his price to Danzig.

Back aboard his own ship, Hans smiled as he saw the cog sail onwards. The cargo would fetch a nice price, and so would the ship itself once he found a buyer for it. In the meantime, he would see if he could find a merchantman or two more. The crusaders would soon have their foes subdued, and thus his fragile excuse for capturing ships would be lost. He had to make the best of it while it lasted...