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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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coz1

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I don't know. Despite his uncertainty, I feel Uhtræd has the makings of a great warrior-king. Obviously, that is not everything, but history tends to look at those more favorably if they are conquering or defeating their rivals in battle. (See Richard I or even, to a degree, Edward I) I can easily see him dealing with unruly vassals and then using that as a springboard to expand within the Isles thus creating a fine legacy for himself.

Also, thanks to your mystery on who the Bold Prince is, I'm left looking at a line about Beorhtmaer being described as such and wondering "IS THAT A SUBTLE HINT?". So well done.
I definitely agree with you that Uhtræd looks to be the very thing of a warrior-king. Let us hope he ends more like Edward I than Richard I or Henry V, however (at least in longevity.)

As for the hint...hmmm. ;) I don't plan on letting that question go anytime soon so look for more subtle hints in the days to come. :D


To all - the next update follows after a typo pass.
 

coz1

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The Bold Prince


Gainsborough, England - June 1110


King Uhtræd walked with purpose down the halls of the keep and offered a brief smile to each person that bowed to him. He had been home since March and yet, he still did not grow accustomed to the trappings of his great office. He had watched his father before him, so he knew how he should act, but it did not come as second nature. He was a soldier, not a monarch. Yet he trudged along to his first proper privy council meeting and was very surprised when he entered the chamber to find only his brother sitting there.

Prince Eadward was swift to rise and offer his brother a bow, but Uhtræd quickly raised his hand, “Please, sir…there is no need. Where be our men?”

“They scatter to the winds in your service,” the Prince answered with a large smile.

“We were to have a meeting this day, Eadward,” Uhtræd was rather put out. “Did they have this knowledge? Where be Lord Skuli?”

“I have sent him to Cumberland, Your Grace,” Eadward sat with some reticence.

Uhtræd continued in his confusion, “Whatever for?”

Eadward gave a brief bow, “So that he may see to your accession without hardship, Your Grace.”

King Uhtræd waived his hand as he too sat, “None of that. Speak plain to me, brother.”

The Prince offered a slight smile, “We would need all of your crown lands to be true in the days ahead. Lord Skuli has spent much time there in these last years and knows the people well. He would be sure to bring them good news and them to you.”

“Very well…” Uhtræd looked around the room, “Then where be Lord Æthelmær? I had some question for him.”

“Hmm…” Eadward offered a frown, “…there has been a raid by northmen in his lands of Kent and the Duke has moved to protect his home and send them off.”

Uhtræd offered his own frown, “That is most unfortunate. Should we move to his aid?”

“I think it unnecessary,” Eadward answered quickly, “These raiders come ashore from time to time but can only loot so much before they are run off. Our Lord of Kent has strong holds in his lands. He would see to it.”

“Then Lord Brice?” Uhtræd looked to his brother with question. “Or our Lord Bishop? Where be they?”

Eadward leaned forward, “Your Lord Bishop has gone to Flanders, Your Grace…brother. He is looking to secure your favor there as the master of spies returns to Rouen to continue his work and secure you Normandy.”

Uhtræd furrowed his brow, “Brother…how may I have a meeting with my council if there is naught but you in my presence?”

“Brother…” Eadward leaned back, slightly peeved, “…you did tell me when you arrived home to see about your business while you found your legs. I have done so. I have been doing so for these many months since the great passing of our father. You need only speak of your wish and I will see it true.”

He was irritated, but Uhtræd tried not to show it, “Fair enough, Eadward. At the least you may be here.”

“At the least,” Eadward did not offer a smile in response.

“Come now,” Uhtræd suggested, “You know of what I speak. I do have some desire, in truth. I would have wished to take the measure of this council.”

Eadward gave nod of his head, “It is good to know that you now find strong legs. I would see to it that your Lords are all here for our next gathering.”

Uhtræd now offered a grin, “That is just it…I have desire for a fresh gathering in Lincoln. What think you of a fine summer fair?”


“Brother…” the Prince offered a questioning look, “…we have just seen to the expense of the great feast so that you may welcome your Lords. Well on you and a fine suggestion…I think it was a magnificent gesture. But more expense? And at this time? We have your coronation ahead of us.”

The King sat back and kept his smile, “That is quite the point. In very good time, there may be reason for some members of our realm to find some fear in me. I would at least continue to show them my great love while I have chance. What better way to be an inviting and welcoming King than to offer them the great fun of a fair? And it would do well for the people of Lincoln, would it not?”

“I think I see,” Eadward answered with a sigh, “Your feast was for your Lords. You would wish this summer fair for your people. Is that it?”

“That is precisely it,” Uhtræd put a finger to the table.

Eadward shrugged, “Then very well. I be certain that Lord Æthelmær would see to it once he returns to us. I would warn you to take great care in expenses. We know not the future. You would do well to keep as much on hand as may be needed in the days to come.”

Uhtræd laughed with good nature, “I have kept mine own books for many a year, brother. I know well when to save and when to spend. Now is the time to use our funds for the betterment of our cause. And beside this…our young brother is to be married soon. What more festive atmosphere could there be than the playful and joyous event of a fine summer fair? I would wish this to be a most jubilant occasion after these last few months. Our mother needs it. Beorhtmaer needs it. I dare say that you and I would both do well with some great cheer.”


The Prince offered a raised brow, “I have told you that our great concern lies to the north in the Duke of York and to the south in the Duke of Normandy. Neither of these men finds any great cheer these days.”

“Let us not forget the Lord Cearl,” Uhtræd kept a grin, “And yet, he did join us for the feast.”

“And the other two did not,” Eadward was quick to answer.

“Precisely…the Godwin knows he is beat. That is our start.”

“Uhtræd…Your Grace…” Eadward leaned forward again, “I would have you know that Lord Morcar seeks some claim to this very ground in Lincoln. He would not respect the lawful granting of it to our father by King Morcar so many years ago when he was still but Duke. He seeks this crown. The Lord Duke may be craven, but he has powerful people about his court. You would do well to consider that worry.”

The King nodded his head, “As I do with our Lord in Normandy. Do not forget the man I am, brother. I have looked at our maps and I be ready if either wishes to tarry at war with us.”

“They would be slyer than that,” Eadward was quick to respond.

“So let them,” Uhtræd answered just as quickly. “They may use their wits, should they have any, and we would use ours.”

“Be certain that they will,” Eadward looked to his brother with great seriousness.

King Uhtræd stood and moved to the window to look out over the green grass surrounding the keep, “I hold no question of that. And we shall be at the ready when they do. If our father taught us anything, Eadward, it was that the statement matters more than the act itself. I wished the feast to honor our father, but so too to invite these Lords into our home and let them know that we are his true sons and that the realm will be sound. I wish this summer fair to honor those great people of England who care not for our petty squabbles and only wish to go about their daily lives in peace and harmony.”

He turned back to Eadward with a very serious gaze of his own, “Our Lord Morcar may never forgive me for slaying his father. And Lord Robert may never move himself to forget what might have been for his family. I care not a whit for their heavy concerns. My concern is with the people of England. For too long they have been held prey to the whims of our great Lords and I would answer for that in every way. I would wish this fair, brother…and when it is done, we may then hold the coronation and see who comes and who does not. I will call for them all. When they do not show for that…then I will know our true enemy.”

The Prince nodded with some appreciation, “It is a brave plan. I know not if it may work, but it is worth the trying.”

“That is all we may do, sir,” Uhtræd looked again to Eadward with a smile. “The man in Normandy is the true risk, but if our Lord of York wishes to make his play, then let him do so. Either way, they must needs do so by force. I am fully prepared for such an event, and you know it true. Until such time…let us have some cheer, brother.”

 

Nikolai

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Uthræd has at least one thing for himself: He has a plan. Hopefully it doesn't get down to a long civil war again.
 

stnylan

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Uthræd has at least one thing for himself: He has a plan. Hopefully it doesn't get down to a long civil war again.
Or perhaps he seeks to force the war at a time of his own chosing, thinking it inevitable.

To be sure both Lord Robert and Lord Morcar might not fully appreciate that Uhtræd was forged in war.
 

Specialist290

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Hmm... You know, I can't help but get the feeling that, while Uthræd may hold the throne and the title, Eadward has found the taste of power to be sweet and is altogether too reluctant to give it up even to his own brother.

Eadgar did wish for a second Eadwin in the younger son...
 

Asantahene

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I'm with @Specialist290 here in finding Eadward's machinations somewhat unsettling. I have sense of foreboding that he's taken upon himself certain duties he should have cleared with his older brother.

As for Morcar of York I note his opinion is +24? Will you play him as such or you have your own ideas how that will play out?

As usual your dialogue is masterfully written @coz1. I know you compliment mine but I am constantly referencing you when I write mine ;)
 

Macke11

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The brother has more powers than what are healthy for the kingdom, for the King should control his own council. I can only agree with @Asantahene and @Specialist290 in this sense.
 

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I think we see how different the brothers are in this bit. There's a rather frank, blunt but honest bit with Uthræd, who seems to have the utmost confidence he'll be able to hold the realm together by force and military prowess - which I suspect he may be right about. Whereas Eadward is clearly more of the plotter, working behind the scenes. This isn't new of course - both brothers displayed such personality before. But it is made even clearer here as they play off one another.

Duke Morcar's positive relationship was a bit of a surprise, yet I can see how he might not dislike the king, despite all that happened, but also may not have any qualms deposing him either, especially if it means he ends up on the throne himself.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

Uthræd has at least one thing for himself: He has a plan. Hopefully it doesn't get down to a long civil war again.
The King does have a plan. Whether it will work or not is an entirely different thing.

Or perhaps he seeks to force the war at a time of his own chosing, thinking it inevitable.

To be sure both Lord Robert and Lord Morcar might not fully appreciate that Uhtræd was forged in war.
This is an excellent point. Neither Robert and especially the younger Morcar recall too terribly much of Uhtræd from his early years. Robert has more institutional knowledge, but may overlook him. We shall see.

Ahh a sequel. Took me some time to realise. Awesome.
Great to see you follow over, Rhaegar! Hope the new ones keeps with the feel and level of the original. I've linked this one to the final post of The Rightful King and gave out a notice when I started, but not everyone sees these things. Glad you found it!

Hmm... You know, I can't help but get the feeling that, while Uthræd may hold the throne and the title, Eadward has found the taste of power to be sweet and is altogether too reluctant to give it up even to his own brother.

Eadgar did wish for a second Eadwin in the younger son...
There may be something of that there, though I did mention in the post that Eadward had been told when Uhtræd first arrived to take care of things for a time. Between his first steps after Eadgar's death and that time while Uhtræd got his legs under him, it might have grown on him a bit. Good observation, but you know Eadward - his motives are not entirely clear (at least to the reader.) In that way, he may be more like Eadwin than ever.

I'm with @Specialist290 here in finding Eadward's machinations somewhat unsettling. I have sense of foreboding that he's taken upon himself certain duties he should have cleared with his older brother.

As for Morcar of York I note his opinion is +24? Will you play him as such or you have your own ideas how that will play out?

As usual your dialogue is masterfully written @coz1. I know you compliment mine but I am constantly referencing you when I write mine ;)
Again, as above, Eadward was asked to take care of certain things but this was perhaps more than was needed. As for Morcar, it is a positive score but not by much. I'm playing him as very much either/or at this time, though an eagle eye in the screenshots and a bit at the end show you where he is at - trying to create a claim on Lincoln is not something a truly friendly Duke would do. Check the next few scenes for more there.

The brother has more powers than what are healthy for the kingdom, for the King should control his own council. I can only agree with @Asantahene and @Specialist290 in this sense.
I would agree, though I might posit that Uhtræd had as much to do with that than Eadward by not firmly checking them right at the start. That will change, and quickly.

I think we see how different the brothers are in this bit. There's a rather frank, blunt but honest bit with Uthræd, who seems to have the utmost confidence he'll be able to hold the realm together by force and military prowess - which I suspect he may be right about. Whereas Eadward is clearly more of the plotter, working behind the scenes. This isn't new of course - both brothers displayed such personality before. But it is made even clearer here as they play off one another.

Duke Morcar's positive relationship was a bit of a surprise, yet I can see how he might not dislike the king, despite all that happened, but also may not have any qualms deposing him either, especially if it means he ends up on the throne himself.
Glad those differences between brothers is coming across. They are different men. Both talented, but in very different ways. To a point,t hey are feeling each other out here in the early part of Uhtræd's reign. There is trust there, but also a sense of each letting the other know where things are at. As for Morcar - spot on. Again, look ahead. Morcar has a large part to play in the days ahead.


To all - the next scene will follow. Sorry if some of my feedback above was a tad quicker than usual but it is yet another long weekend of work and I need to get the post out and get some dinner in me. Let me check for typos and it will be up. As always, thank you so much for your excellent and insightful comments. It remains the biggest help in writing this work.
 

coz1

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The Bold Prince


Westminster, England - August 1110


The day had already been a long one as King Uhtræd was fully invested with his crown and his head anointed by the Holy oil that proved him as King to all. The ceremony had been slightly more lavish than his father’s before him, but in keeping with his sense of probity and humility, Uhtræd had no desire to overdo what to him was nothing but a formality. It was the statement that mattered for there was little joy in it.

The great feast had begun his process and had been a success. The summer fair was even more welcoming as people from all over traveled to Lincoln and Gainsborough to sell their wares and join in the great fun the King had provided them. Prince Beorhtmaer’s marriage to the Lady Æthelgifu was the highlight of the season, and her father Lord Duke Harold had been effusive in his praise for the event. Now, it was time for the King’s last phase to woo the Lords and people to his side with his coronation.

There could be no doubt that the people of England had already taken to their new King. Between the happy summer fair and the renewed sense of safety brought on by the end of the war between Lords Skuli and Robert, London especially was overjoyed. The crowds outside the Abbey were flowing over into all streets surrounding the great church and cheers rang out alongside the bells once the thing was done.

And Uhtræd had even scored a slight coup in that nearly all of his great Lords had attended the ceremony, including Duke Morcar of York. Only the Duke of Normandy sat it out as he stewed in his castle in Rouen. The King was sure to mention this to his brother Eadward when they moved to the anti-chamber and there he stood as servants assisted him in taking off the great heavy robes of his coronation.

A short knock on the door took Uhtræd from his untangling as he offered a smile to those that entered. In quick order, all of those that served in his privy council moved into the room and each one bent the knee and waited for the King to respond.

The King kept his smile as he looked on them, “You may all rise, my Lords.”

Yet they did not. Each one held their position and only Eadward looked up to the King, “Your Grace…we who serve you come to swear all fealty. You are the rightly anointed King of this realm of England and Wales and to you all service shall be true.”

“I thank you, sirs…” Uhtræd offered a slight laugh, “…but please rise.”

The five men did as suggested but kept their heads bowed as Eadward continued, “Your Grace…on this auspicious day, it comes to us that we must seek your pardon and ask of you your sure desire. We few have discussed it amongst ourselves and are, to a man, in agreement. This great crown is yours for us to serve in all ways and we would have you with your own council in every manner that you may wish it.”

The King was somewhat confused as he raised a brow at them all, “Are you good Lords resigning? It sounds very much like it to me.”

The Prince bowed his head in answer, “There be no resignations, Your Grace. We would only offer to you our positions to fill as you see fit. We have all served the previous King but you are now his successor. You should have the council of your choosing and any one of us would be grateful to have served and see to it that your reign is sound in all ways.”

Uhtræd seemed slightly wounded as he looked to the rest of them, “Is this your desire, Lord Æthelmær?”

The Duke of Kent answered quickly, “I would serve you in every way, Your Grace.”

“And you, my Lord Mayor?” Uhtræd turned to his master of spies.

Brice raised his head only long enough to answer, “I am your servant in any way you may find fit, Your Grace.”

The King looked to the Bishop Cearl and he nodded his head as well, “We would have you choose us, Your Grace. It is not our place to serve but rather our pleasure that you may give over to us.”

Uhtræd finally turned to Lord Skuli with more pain in his eyes, “And you, my great friend?”

The Lord Marshal stood tall, “I am an old man, Your Grace. I have served this realm for many years. I served your father before you and would serve you until my death. But you will most certainly require a younger man in this day. It is our resolved intent to give you this opportunity should you wish it.”

“Your Grace,” Eadward was quick to follow, “We all are holdovers from the reign of King Eadgar. But these positions are yours to fill as it is now fully your crown and most assuredly your prerogative. Every one of us is agreed…”

“Be still, brother,” Uhtræd looked to the Prince first and then back to the rest, “I would have continuity between these reigns and I need every one of you for the days ahead.”

Lord Skuli took chance to answer, “And in my case, Your Grace…I say again, you will require a younger man. I would always do my part, but you know well my infirmity that does not allow all that you will need. I will always be your man and make no mistake.”

Uhtræd looked to the Marshal with sad eyes, “My Lord…you are the hero of this realm.”

“I may have been in the past, Your Grace, and I thank you to say so,” Skuli bowed, “But the time has come perchance to offer that role to another with more ability.”

“And you, Lord Brice?” the King looked to his master of spies, “You are not a young man, I see. I know you not well, but do you find these same emotions?”

The Mayor bowed his head, “Tis true that I am of old age, but I would serve you in every way, Your Grace. As has been said here…I would leave it you for it is surely your decision and naught for any other if any of us be placed within your household.”

“My Lord Bishop?” Uhtræd turned to the Court Chaplain.

Bishop Cearl offered a pleasant smile, “It has been my great honor to serve your father, Your Grace. I would be true to you in every way, but the Prince is most correct. You should have your own wise council and not the one gifted to you by another. We all agree.”

The King looked first to Eadward as his brother nodded his head and then to Lord Æthelmær, “Are you certain, my Lord?”

The Duke smiled, “It has been my happy occasion that your father…King Eadgar raised me to this great position, but I agree with all that has been said. In truth, Your Grace, I have had some trying times of late as I see northmen raiding our shores in Kent. It takes me from you too often so I may protect these lands. While I have found great honor and good pleasure to keep this realm sound in any way I might, you would be in every way bound to find a man more capable than I at this time. I remain steadfast in my love for you, Your Grace. Please never doubt this.”

“This was to be a fine day, my Lords,” Uhtræd looked to all of them with a slight shock. “As you remain my council for the now, I may ask of you…what am I to do?”

Eadward raised his head, “You would choose men suited to your position and beliefs, Your Grace. As Chancellor, I could only say thus…”

“Brother…” Uhtræd answered quickly, “…I could no more choose another than you any more than I might choose another right arm.”

“Then it is your choice,” Eadward replied as quickly as he bowed his head once more. “As it should be.”

The King looked to his Marshal, “I have the same thought on you, my Lord. Is this truly your wish?”

Skuli tried to smile, “It is not my wish, Your Grace. Not for myself. It is my wish for you.”

“But who may replace you?” Uhtræd asked with sure question.

Duke Æthelmær answered with some reticence, “It may be…if you still wish our counsel…you may wish to consider the young Duke in York, Your Grace.”

The King turned to him with surprise at the suggestion, “He loves me not!”

“That is quite the point, Your Grace,” Eadward replied. “The Duke’s raising to Marshal may cause him to find some favor where it did not exist in the past. After all, your work already has moved great mountains to bring him here this day. He is young, no doubt. And there are those that would call him craven. But surely a position with you would cause him to find some love.”

“The Prince is sure,” Skuli followed, “I would forever be in your service, Your Grace. But mayhap it time to bring in this new blood. Find some peace between you and the young Duke. This may go some long way to bring that to your Houses.”


Uhtræd kept his shock as he looked to the men gathered, “I would wish not to replace a one of you. Bishop Cearl…you are a young and vibrant man of God that brings all of our hearts great joy when you speak. And you, my Lord Mayor…there can be no doubt that your service to my father was sound. I would wish that for myself.”

Bishop Cearl and Mayor Brice both bowed their heads in thanks as Uhtræd looked to Æthelmær, “And you my Lord Duke…is it my great spending?”

Duke Æthelmær moved to a knee as he answered, “It is no thing, Your Grace. I would serve at your pleasure.”

“And yet, you have your troubles,” Uhtræd gave nod as he bid the man rise.

“I do, Your Grace,” Æthelmær stood but kept his head low.

Uhtræd offered question, “Who then might you suggest?”

Æthelmær slowly raised his head to answer the King, “Your Mayor of Boston is a fine administrator, Your Grace. The Lord Mayor Eanberht has served ably for many years both in his role for the town in Boston and even in many battles for your father. I would surely be at your call at any time whenever you may wish it…but this man would serve you well, Your Grace.”


King Uhtræd gave over a great sigh as he responded, “My Lords…this all saddens me more than you may know. But I shall respect these wishes. I know that Lord Skuli would desire some time at his home with his wife after so many years and I would wish that for him. And you, my Lord of Kent…I understand your sure worry at what occurs close to your own home. All you need do is ask and we should come to your rescue in quick time.”

Both Skuli and Æthelmær bowed in thanks as Uhtræd continued, “For the rest of you…I would not replace a single jot. I wish you all to be my men. Mine…not my father’s. I thank you all for your service in every way. Keep at that, I beg of you.”

Eadward raised his head, “We all thank you, Your Grace.”

The King dropped his last robe and nodded to them all to give them their leave. Only Eadward remained as the rest filed out of the chamber. Uhtræd moved to find a cover for his bare skin and looked to his brother.

“Are we sure that this is right?”

The Prince turned to make sure all were out of the room before looking back to the King, “I think it works, brother. You had your desire to see the Godwin claim snuffed out. We both know that Lords Skuli and Æthelmær served the crown in all ways…but they remain Godwins.”

Uhtræd sighed, “I hate to lose that great service in Skuli. The man will always be a hero.”

“As he himself said…” Eadward answered with certainty, “…it is time for new blood.”

“The blood of York?” Uhtræd found a chair and looked back to his brother, “Mayhap a bridge too far.”

Eadward offered a slight smile, “We shall see.”

King Uhtræd looked to Prince Eadward for some few moments before allowing a grin, “We shall see. I would tell you that Lord Brice has given me some information that does cause some issue for me. Would you wish to hear it?”

The Prince shrugged his shoulders with a pensive face, “I should likely know it already. What does the man say?”

“He tells me that you look to Wales…brother.”

Eadward considered trying to tell some lie but answered with the truth, “I have been overwhelmed, Your Grace.”

Uhtræd looked to him with some sadness, “I may now be truly King, Eadward…but you will always be my brother. And I am yours. I have no desire for the titles….only the respect.”

“I respect you…brother,” Eadward answered, “But I would not show our familiarity to any other. You require your titles to show your strength. You are a King…now anointed by God.”

“That is fair,” Uhtræd looked to his brother with a serious face, “So then mayhap you will end your thoughts on Wales as a place for you?”

The Prince was slow to answer so Uhtræd stepped in, “Our mother has told me of your desire there. I’ve not met the woman. I would not tell you how to live your own life, Eadward. All I may say…ask…have you considered it in full?”

Eadward nodded his head, “I wish to serve you, brother…Your Grace.”

 

stnylan

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Yes he is now anointed ... set apart from other men. Before it was just words, now it us something more. I wonder just how much this will grate at Uhtræd as time goes by. That it will scour his soul I have no doubt, just not how deeply or how often.

Morcar is a bold play, and a worthy one. The young man himself is so far unblemished.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Looking at that map at the end reminds me of how little has changed even though the men grow old. York and Mercia still have ridiculous amounts of land compared to what they should have, and Wessex/Cornwall is nothing to snuff at either. When even East Anglia is doing better than the royal family you have to wonder whether the king of England is ever going to be a powerful duke as well as a strong king.
Normandy remains a worry though, especially with the duke not playing ball with the new king. Trouble is certinaly going to hit there soon, whether as a rebellion or as a foreign invasion.
Eadward is still probably the man you would want as king of Wales if you had to choose for some reason, but there's no reason for it yet and the king recognises it. He didn't exactly shoot him down hard though, so he has either some skill at diplomacy or trying to keep his options open regarding giving that crown to someone else.
 

Nikolai

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So did I get that right? Uthræd and Eadward conspired to get all the others to offer their resignations if so needed? That's some intrigue for you.:)
 

Asantahene

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Well some necessary repositioning of the Council for sure and bringing the Duke of York is no bad thing but I do worry about Eadward and his ambition. It is good that the king has called him out on it and directly. No subterfuge there. Let's see how this web plays out
 

JabberJock14

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The council is improved and Eadward talked down (for now). Seems as though Uhtræd is off to a fine start.

I do not have the same worry some others have over Eadward, at the moment anyway. He simply lacks the power base necessary to make a suitable challenge. Even if he had Madrun's backing, their power is negligible and I think he will be happy enough to be an important man, maybe the most important man, on the king's council. I think the greater danger lay from his line in the future, when they have more power (though inheriting his wife's claim) and the other pretender lines lose their claims on England, thus making it possible for dissatisfied dukes to unite under a single alternative, rather than the three or four splitting their support. Especially since Uhtræd's son does not appear to be cut from the same cloth as his father.
 

Specialist290

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A carefully calculated bit of pageantry there. I have to admit that I suspected it was a bit less spontaneous than it seemed while I was reading, but finding that Uhtræd was "in on it" from the beginning was a pleasant surprise, and hopefully that and Eadward's (temporary?) abeyance of his own royal ambitions point to continued good relations between the two.

It will be interesting to see if Uhtræd and Morcar are able to reconcile their differences on some level, given their history.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

Yes he is now anointed ... set apart from other men. Before it was just words, now it us something more. I wonder just how much this will grate at Uhtræd as time goes by. That it will scour his soul I have no doubt, just not how deeply or how often.

Morcar is a bold play, and a worthy one. The young man himself is so far unblemished.
Indeed, there is no going back now. Whether the crown will clean him or pain him is another matter. Only time will tell that tale.

And let us hope the play with Morcar works with what is coming next. The King needed to do something, though every action has a reaction. We shall also see what that may be here.

Looking at that map at the end reminds me of how little has changed even though the men grow old. York and Mercia still have ridiculous amounts of land compared to what they should have, and Wessex/Cornwall is nothing to snuff at either. When even East Anglia is doing better than the royal family you have to wonder whether the king of England is ever going to be a powerful duke as well as a strong king.
Normandy remains a worry though, especially with the duke not playing ball with the new king. Trouble is certinaly going to hit there soon, whether as a rebellion or as a foreign invasion.
Eadward is still probably the man you would want as king of Wales if you had to choose for some reason, but there's no reason for it yet and the king recognises it. He didn't exactly shoot him down hard though, so he has either some skill at diplomacy or trying to keep his options open regarding giving that crown to someone else.
As the young in Mercia and York continue to grow, they indeed become more powerful. And there is no doubt that relatively, the King remains in a defensive position compared to all others. Keeping the throne will be no easy task for Uhtræd.

So did I get that right? Uthræd and Eadward conspired to get all the others to offer their resignations if so needed? That's some intrigue for you.:)
You did indeed read that correctly. I played it as more of Eadward's idea and planning, but it was from Uhtræd's desire, hard as it may have been for him. As mentioned, we shall see if the plan was a wise one.

Well some necessary repositioning of the Council for sure and bringing the Duke of York is no bad thing but I do worry about Eadward and his ambition. It is good that the king has called him out on it and directly. No subterfuge there. Let's see how this web plays out
I felt I had to have that last bit with Eadward and Wales in there to both explain why Eadward stopped his faction but to show too that Uhtræd is aware of his extra-curricular activities with Madrun. And indeed, I did need to reshuffle the council. In game terms, I wanted higher stats in those positions. This scene was an attempt to explain that away in story terms. Hopefully it works though it may have had some unintended consequences.

The council is improved and Eadward talked down (for now). Seems as though Uhtræd is off to a fine start.

I do not have the same worry some others have over Eadward, at the moment anyway. He simply lacks the power base necessary to make a suitable challenge. Even if he had Madrun's backing, their power is negligible and I think he will be happy enough to be an important man, maybe the most important man, on the king's council. I think the greater danger lay from his line in the future, when they have more power (though inheriting his wife's claim) and the other pretender lines lose their claims on England, thus making it possible for dissatisfied dukes to unite under a single alternative, rather than the three or four splitting their support. Especially since Uhtræd's son does not appear to be cut from the same cloth as his father.
This is an excellent look at the "board" as it were. While Eadward may harbor some ambition, he can surely see how weak his powerbase is should have have real desire to move on his ambition. But down the road...many things may change. For now, I am playing it very much like Eadward wishes to be top dog in Uhtræd's camp. There will be more setting up of their relationship in the posts ahead.

A carefully calculated bit of pageantry there. I have to admit that I suspected it was a bit less spontaneous than it seemed while I was reading, but finding that Uhtræd was "in on it" from the beginning was a pleasant surprise, and hopefully that and Eadward's (temporary?) abeyance of his own royal ambitions point to continued good relations between the two.

It will be interesting to see if Uhtræd and Morcar are able to reconcile their differences on some level, given their history.
I'm glad Uhtræd's involvement was not quite apparent readily at the start of the scene as that was entirely my intention. In truth, he still has some uncertainty if it was the best plan but he was willing to give Eadward the chance to go about and speak with the other council members. Once he got Skuli on board, Æthelmær was sure to follow and neither ends up angered at the King or feeling as if they were fired (though in game terms, there will be a negative qualifier for them now because they were essentially fired.) Hopefully this does not come back to bite the King in his ass.


To all - the next scene follows. Wanted to get it out this morning as yet one more long day of work follows. Thankfully I get a later start so the next scene will follow in just a moment. We will finally see some reaction from our long lost Duke of Normandy and what his plans may be. They will likely not surprise a soul. ;)

As always, thank you for your excellent words! You remain the best readers in all of AARland and I am blessed to have you! :)
 

coz1

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The Bold Prince


Rouen, Normandy - October 1110


Duke Robert of Normandy sat at the map table in his chambers. Next to him sat his Chancellor, Drogo de Brevere and his Marshal, Earl William of Évreux. Both men remained silent as the aged Duke looked over the drawings with great irritation. When a servant came to the room to bring wine, the Duke had ushered him off in quick order and neither man wished to take the ire of their Lord as the poor servant had. Finally, the Duke looked to Earl William.

“Do you think it can be done without raising the spirit of the Emperor?”

William of Évreux nodded, “Heinrich IV is more than tired these days, my liege. With his war for Poitou done and that victory, I think him able to sit quiet as you move on Artois. There be no doubt that he may wish the land to connect his holdings in Flanders, but I believe his force to be spent for the now.”

Robert looked to his Chancellor, “And you, Lord Drogo…what may we expect from our new King to the north?”

Drogo de Brevere considered the question for a moment before answering, “It may be difficult to say, my Lord Duke. There is much that remains unknown about this Uhtræd from Meissen. Does he hold the Emperor’s ear? I cannot say. I believe his wife to be not close with Heinrich, and yet…Meissen did thrive while this new King was their Marshal. Now that he be King of England…”

“He was a warrior then and remains one now, methinks,” Robert finished his Chancellor’s thought. “The boy bested mine own father in battle when he was naught but sixteen summers.”

“No easy task,” Earl William suggested.

Robert gave nod, “No. And now he is a man in full. My nephew Richard tells me of the coronation and that this King be not pleased that I did not show myself. If we are to move on Artois, then I must needs know that we would remain at the ready when the time comes.”

The Chancellor pulled some notes to him and looked over the words, “I have here what your nephew has written, my Lord. It is said that this King has now replaced his Marshal and Steward…both of House Godwin. He has given these positions to other men less known to us, but surely he can find no great favor from the Duke in York.”

“That craven fool would not soon forget what this King did to his father,” Robert gave nod, “And good on him for it. For I would not.”

Drogo continued, “And yet, Earl Richard does say that Morcar of York traveled to this King’s holding and took the position as Marshal to the realm with great cheer.”

“Surely ceremonial, my Lord,” William suggested as he too kept his eyes on the maps in front of them.

Robert turned to both, “While the Duke in York may be a cipher, there are strong men that reside there. I believe this King knows that. I would not look past this Uhtræd of Wessex, nor his brother Eadward. Our plans require every bit of knowledge and if we are to see this throne, as my father always wished and did hold for a time…we will need all the support there that we may gather.”

“There is still Lord Cearl in Cornwall,” Drogo suggested. “He continues to try and find favor with you, my Lord. The Duke of Essex has shown all fealty to this King, but he remains sore at his position. He cannot appreciate the loss of a Godwin voice in this King’s council.”

“He is a desperate man,” Robert moved to pull a cup of wine to him, “He has no love for his cousins nor they to him. The only Godwin claim that matters to the man is his own. Yet he will remain useful. We have naught else on the Isle at this time. My wife can have no contact with her daughter in Mercia, for the young Duchess will not take it. And we all know that Skuli of East Anglia is this King’s man in every way, even if not on council. He remains a formidable soldier and burns that our war was finished when this new King took power.”

Earl William nodded, “Of that, there may be no doubt. The man does love this King in every way, I am told. They have served together in the past and the bonds of soldiers are a thing unbroken. Further, I would tell you that your own brother has been raised to be this Duke’s Marshal.”

Robert offered a brief laugh, “My brother William may do as he can. I have little fear from him. I have taken the Vexin from him once and I may do it again should he force my hand.”

“And he will, my Lord,” the Earl of Évreux answered with certainty. “As I look at this map before me, I may tell you that I see little worry in the lands of England for the now, but if we are to move on Artois, both William and Skuli will raise their force once more in a defensive mind and may give us trouble if it takes too long.”

Robert smiled at his Marshal, “Then do not let it take too long, sir. Artois is not our true goal and you know it well.”

Earl William nodded and Chancellor Drogo followed, “Indeed it is not, my Lord Duke. But it is of a piece that you will need in the days to come. France remains in turmoil. The Emperor in Germany is known as ‘The Wise’ these days which may tell us that he is done with his martial ambitions. It is this new King of England that remains our worry and we know him not enough.”

“My nephew Richard is a poor master of spies,” Robert suggested to them both, “Yet he remains our eyes and ears in England. I would keep you on him, my Lord Chancellor.”

Drogo gave nod of his head with certainty.

Robert looked to his Marshal, “And I would repeat…take Artois and do so quickly. I need not a drawn out war. We have us all…larger ambitions.”

“I would see to your command, my Lord,” Earl William gave quick nod as well.

The Duke of Normandy looked to his councilors, “Sirs…I have no love for that Isle or its people, but this was my father’s desire. It was promised to him and thus it is to me. I am the rightful King of that realm. My father died in his attempt to take it back for himself and I will not see that happen to us.”

Both men knew well what had truly occurred there so many years ago, but bowed their heads in agreement. The Marshal sat tall in his chair, “We will bring you Artois, my Lord. This I promise.”

The Chancellor followed quickly, “And the throne of England will be yours as well, my Lord. This Uhtræd is but a pretender and is no thing. Your great might in Normandy will see to that.”

 

TheButterflyComposer

The Dark Lord Kelebek
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Ah, a tragic villain! Interesting stuff and sure to bring about commentary from historians and play writes alike. Because Normandy could leave England and be free from it very easily at this point I think. There may or may not be a war over it but I think many saxons wouldn't be too disappointed with that lost land to fight for it (and Robert doesn't know of course that the king needs it to remain so England is prominent in Europe). But if the duke could simply leave well enough alone and be satisfied on the content, he could form his own powerful realm in France and Brittany, or take the emperor's oath and become the most powerful vassal in the HRE. All sorts of great and good possibilities, yet he will never take them because his father wanted England, was killed by the English and now he wants revenge.

There's a Shakespeare play in it, whether he wins or not I think!