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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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stnylan

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That was ... sudden.

An unexpected.

I cannot imagine that he will be missed by the brothers three - but this death is another unwelcome reminder of Uhtræd's own mortality.
 

Specialist290

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Part of me feels sorry for Mathilda -- her situation may not have been as dire as her sister's, but being trapped between her husband and her blood relations like she was must have been a trying experience indeed, especially given the way he's returned her kindness.

On the other hand, the pragmatic part of me wonders if this might not be a blessing in disguise, since it possibly takes one powerful vassal out of the equation if something should happen to Uhtræd in the meantime.
 

Nikolai

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Specialist speaketh the truth. A child would be less prone to revolt. Lest he is led by ill councel. But he can't join factions I think?
 

Idhrendur

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Good for the kingdom, but I feel for Mathilda. Of course, in the long term it might be bad if the boy's strength isn't tempered. By the time the King is succeeded, he'll likely be in his full strength and have the means to rebel against the new king. Better to take him down a peg now if possible. Though that's cruel to do to a nephew.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

That was ... sudden.

An unexpected.

I cannot imagine that he will be missed by the brothers three - but this death is another unwelcome reminder of Uhtræd's own mortality.
What a short strange trip Godwine took. I was rather shocked when he died at 39 and even though he dies of poor health, I decided to have a little fun with how he was dispatched. And no, not one of the brothers will mourn him too greatly.

Part of me feels sorry for Mathilda -- her situation may not have been as dire as her sister's, but being trapped between her husband and her blood relations like she was must have been a trying experience indeed, especially given the way he's returned her kindness.

On the other hand, the pragmatic part of me wonders if this might not be a blessing in disguise, since it possibly takes one powerful vassal out of the equation if something should happen to Uhtræd in the meantime.
I'll speak more on the ramifications of it below in my next answer, but as to Mathilda - indeed, this will stay with her for awhile. True, her marriage was better than Mildrith's but it was not always sunshine and roses and now she has a 12 year old son as his father's heir. Difficult times, to be sure.

Specialist speaketh the truth. A child would be less prone to revolt. Lest he is led by ill councel. But he can't join factions I think?
You and @Specialist290 are correct - this does give a little bit of breathing room should something happen with the King. There is an added bonus in that young Eadweald did not inherit a claim held by his father and grandfather. This, of course, does not mean that the Godwins are out of it now, but it does take them down a peg. And I think you are correct, a minor cannot join a plot. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Good for the kingdom, but I feel for Mathilda. Of course, in the long term it might be bad if the boy's strength isn't tempered. By the time the King is succeeded, he'll likely be in his full strength and have the means to rebel against the new king. Better to take him down a peg now if possible. Though that's cruel to do to a nephew.
That is true - the breathing room is really only about four years before he comes of age and it does not look like Uhtræd's getting any better. There wil be some twists and turns with this going forward, I assure you. ;)


To all - As mentioned above, I decided to get a little creative with Godwine's death. It seemed to fit his character and the shock of him dying young was hopefully taken up a notch to have him choke on his food. I might also mention a slight bit that was shown on the map above - the culture has continued to spread, moving from Essex into Kent. So there's some progress on that front. And as promised, this above was only scene two of the big three I had in this section. Look for the next scene to arrive tomorrow, likely early. I am very curious what everyone will say. I will be certain to give some timely feedback once it's out and some have made comment.

Once again your takes are always solid and I so appreciate them! I say this always because it is true - you are the very best readers in all of AARland! :)
 

Asantahene

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I have to say with each fresh pull of the meat I was thinking ‘uh oh I think I know where this is going’. An untimely way to go and a type of death that occurs in Way of Life dlc though not yours @coz1

Only time will tell if this is a blessing or a curse to the crown...
 

Bullfilter

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Ah well, choked on his own vitriol it seems! As others have said, the consequences for the House of Wessex remain unclear (to us anyway). But the realm is getting another of those periodic makeovers - with the biggest inexorably approaching. Let us hope it won’t become Time of Troubles in scale and nature!
 

Iwantdumplings

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To me, this is a better outcome for Mathilda than ending up with an old and bitter Godwine... He was not beyond redemption but the odds weren't in their favour. Hopefully the new Duke appreciates his mother properly.

As for your compliments to us readers, you could praise us with the wit of Eadward, but the fact is you have good readers because you deserve them as a writer! Thanks as always for your work.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

I have to say with each fresh pull of the meat I was thinking ‘uh oh I think I know where this is going’. An untimely way to go and a type of death that occurs in Way of Life dlc though not yours @coz1

Only time will tell if this is a blessing or a curse to the crown...
Indeed, I may have put it on a bit thick there but I thought it a good metaphor for how Godwine generally lived his life.

Ah well, choked on his own vitriol it seems! As others have said, the consequences for the House of Wessex remain unclear (to us anyway). But the realm is getting another of those periodic makeovers - with the biggest inexorably approaching. Let us hope it won’t become Time of Troubles in scale and nature!
There is easily an aura of a change going on right now and it does not stop. Your point may be more apt than you know. Read the next scene to find out.

To me, this is a better outcome for Mathilda than ending up with an old and bitter Godwine... He was not beyond redemption but the odds weren't in their favour. Hopefully the new Duke appreciates his mother properly.

As for your compliments to us readers, you could praise us with the wit of Eadward, but the fact is you have good readers because you deserve them as a writer! Thanks as always for your work.
It will be interesting to see where Eadweald falls into all of this when he comes of age, though having a mother that is the King's sister is better than being on the outs with the royal family.

And thank you, sir. Very much a compliment.


To all - the next scene arrives in just a moment. A moment we have all been waiting for...
 

coz1

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The Bold Prince


Gainsborough, England - April 1129


“I told you,” he heard his father say.

“But I am here!” Uhtræd shouted and then opened his eyes to the dark room around him. Cloth had been draped over the windows to shut out the light that was so painful and he would allow no candles lit even though it was dusk.

Maud sat by his bed and held at his hand, “Was it a frightful dream, my love?”

In the gloaming, he was able to make out her face, “You would send for my brother...”

“He is already here at Gainsborough,” Maud caressed his hand.

Uhtræd did his best to pull his other hand to hold at hers, “Then you must send him in at the now. I must needs see him.”

She looked to him with worry, “Do you be well?”

“Do not find concern,” he allowed another brief caress, “Your care is most wanted and I am ever thankful for it.”

“Then I will call for Prince Eadward,” Maud answered with great fear and stood slowly to leave the chamber.

Alone in his thoughts for a moment, Uhtræd saw in his mind’s eye his fine Kingdom. He saw the shape and the size and all those within. Everything was easier with a map. And then the push. Put a sword in his hand with an idea of his enemy, and he might will out. This latest, however...he could seem to find no way to conquer it.

It did not take long before Eadward knocked upon the chamber door and entered. The younger brother moved to light a candle and Uhtræd was quick to shout, “Put it out!”

“I cannot see, brother,” Eadward answered him though he complied.

Uhtræd offered a sigh, “You need not see to know.”

The Prince stumbled to find the bedside chair and reached to hold his brother’s hand with concern, “What has happened?”

“You may know well what has happened,” Uhtræd strained to grasp at the offered hand, “Brother...I believe that I am done.”


Eadward found some shock, “How can that be? You were up and about just some few days ago! Surely this is but a setback and no thing other.”

Uhtræd struggled with a laugh, “I would applaud your nature, sir. So very positive. I wish that this were so. And yet? I cannot move.”

“What mean you?” Eadward was quick to question, “Do you mean that your gait is slowed? It has been for some time and still you have moved forward!”

“No, brother...” Uhtræd held tightly to his hand, “...I truly cannot move a thing. Every action comes with it pain and I know not that this time will find a cure.”

Eadward still held to some anger at his perceived slights and what had occurred over Gwynedd and yet it all seemed to slip away as he reached out a hand to brush at his brother’s face, “We have always found the cure, brother. You will be well!”

“I do not think so,” Uhtræd took some pains to hold at his brother’s other hand, “I believe this to be the end of me. And now...I need you more than ever.”

“You are caustic when you should find cheer,” Eadward suggested, “This is but an episode as we have seen before. You are not one to look the enemy in the face and accept defeat.”

Uhtræd found his brother’s eye in the light that was left in the room and tried to smile, “I may know when I have been defeated, sir. I have spent my life at it. Many regrets do I have, but I do know when to retreat. The time is now.”

“I will not hear of this,” Eadward answered him with a slight tear in his eye, “You are King and a great man...we will see you to health!”

Even in the darkness, Uhtræd looked over his brother’s shoulder and saw their father looking over them as he smiled, “I am most happy that you do not hold me in disregard, brother. You have always been there...from the day that you were born. How blissful were we to play with our soldiers, eh?”

Eadward squeezed more tightly at his brother’s hand, “You were always better than I.”

“And yet,” Uhtræd smiled to him, “You always did think of some way to avoid the ruckus.”

“It need not always be battle,” Eadward returned the smile.

Uhtræd struggled in his bed so he may sit up slightly and pulled his brother close, “And it does not need to be now! When father passed it was you that held the fort. So too must you do it again!”

Eadward helped the King to rest comfortably again but kept his question, “What do you say?”

“You will be regent for the now,” Uhtræd found some comfort with his pillow, “I cannot do it as much as I may wish it. There be too much at stake. We remain with enemies without and within and only you may keep them at bay.”


“Brother...” Eadward tried to calm him, “...you will be well.”

Uhtræd found a laugh, “I do not know that...nor do you. As father did before us, we must look to what comes next.”

“You are not yet dead,” Eadward was certain, “Do not speak on such things!”

“And yet, I must,” Uhtræd found his brother’s hand again and held it tight, “There is a realm at stake...and our House. Father did not work so hard to find it lost because of me. I must needs see you carry on for I know that you will do your duty. It was you that suggested it to me so many years ago.”

“Your mind remains clear...” Eadward suggested, “...even if your body does give you question. I say to you again...we will find this cure.”

Uhtræd tried to smile, “I know not if there is a cure...but I do know of what I need of you...what the realm needs of you. You must send word to Oscytel at the now. He must needs know that he is required. If he is my son, then he may have the very same question that I found...but you must convince him of his own duty.”


Eadward lowered his head, “I have done it once so I be sure that I may do it again...but it is too soon.”

Uhtræd held to Eadward’s hand with some strength, “My fine brother...I have not always been kind to you but I have always loved you so. It was never my thought to treat you poorly...”

“I know,” Eadward gave a sad nod.

“But you are the rock of this family,” Uhtræd held even tighter, “As much as father ever thought of me or Beo, he counted more upon you. Mother too...I do believe that you were her favorite.”

“No, brother,” Eadward was quick to correct, “You were the favorite in every way and I hold no spite about it. You are the best person that I have ever known and so should you be. Mother and father would be proud at what you have accomplished and I do not count you out yet.”

Uhtræd reached out with some pain to grab at his brother’s neck with love, “I hope that you are correct. I would like to see your face for many years to come. You have always done me well, Eadward...”

“I do so because I love you in every way,” the Prince held up his own hand.

“So you will reach out to my son?” Uhtræd asked with a smile.

Eadward gave nod, “I will.”

“And you will help me in the meantime?”

“I do so swear,” Eadward answered with sadness.

Uhtræd fell back to the bed with some pain but kept his smile, “I have always counted upon you and I thank you for it. I never did wish this...any of it...but it is what we must needs do. I trust you in every way.”

“You would get your rest,” Eadward followed with his own smile and allowed another touch to his brother’s face, “You may trust in me...and Beo...and you will be well.”

The King found his slumber as it was clear that he was tired and still at pain. Eadward could do no other but to rise from his seat and move to the chamber door with great question. What was he to do now?


A letter to write to Meissen, and surely one to Beo. There was no need to include his sisters at the now. He’d not even had chance to discuss the new Lord of Bedford or who might replace the Steward. Robert of Normandy had made great pains to endear himself to the crown, and yet...there remained a question. The greater one was his brother’s health. How could England and the House of Wessex carry on without the strength of Uhtræd? He was known as the bold King. Could Eadward now be the bold Prince?

* * *

To be continued in...The Heavy Crown
 
Last edited:

Asantahene

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A poignant scene-no raging against the dying of the light for Uhtraed...only a slow, painful descent into obsolescence-sad to see. If anything the raging was coming from Eadward...talking of which, what price now the return of the crown prince who proves singularly unfit for the role (as @Sir Lancealot said: don't like those stats or traits) leaving the way open for a Richard III style usurpation?

A heavy crown indeed

Well done on the completion of this magnificent book @coz1 I very much look forward to the next instalment
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Oscytel looks manifestly unfit to rule. Eadwerd ... Eadwerd has his work cut out for him.

There is a measure of desperation in his pleadings with Uhtræd that there will be a cure .. I think the Chancellor understands all too well what a poisoned chalice has been thrust into his hands.

Another excellent tale but friend, and I look forward to its third installment.
 

coz1

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To all - I will answer the fb in a moment but as I always do, I wish to take this time to thank you all for how much of a support you have been such that I might reach this point. When I started The Rightful King, I really did not have any great ambition but to get back into the habit of writing. It was with your grand reception of that work that made it easy to move back into it each and every day. When it grew so very long, I decided to parcel this tale out into a second book. Yes, I hoped to gain a few more eyes, but so too tell a different story. Rightful King was Eadgar's. This one was...something other. I know that I have still not answered the central question that many have had...who is The Bold Prince? And I will not be able to for some time, though the direction that I am going may give you a very large hint.

Once again, the thankful and always helpful words of both @Director and @stnylan assisted me as I worked to move forward and while this end point might seem an oddity at the moment, there is a proper reason for it which will be made clear in time. Each story is one man's journey. I will leave it to your bright minds to determine who's story it will be in The Heavy Crown. ;)

I've not yet made a full decision yet, but my consideration is that this will be a trilogy in total and then that is the end. While I have played somewhat further than the endpoint of this next book, I'm not sure it is needed (though it may be desired by both you as the reader and myself as the writer.) While I enjoy the story and the game, I want to fully immerse myself in the full flavor of the DLC's as so many of you have done and see if there might not be another to tempt me. Whichever way I go, we are far from done with this tale.

The Bold Prince is shorter that the first book and the new one will certainly be longer. I have been working on it already for a couple of weeks and have found each scene much longer. An oddity, but perhaps for many good reasons. There is a lot of ground to cover, especially at first. And then...well, you will have to wait. :p I don't want to get in to it now so as not to spoil things, but there is some explanation coming up that I will need to offer as to how we get to a point I am driving to. For now I will only say, this is where the story needs to go.

As for the new work, look for it in the next day or two, as I did the last time. I hope to get out some few scenes before I leave on my trip and so many of them are corkers already. I am really excited to see the reception!

Now for some fb-fb:

A craven heir. That doesn't bode well.
No, it does not. This will be explained in more detail with time. After Eadgar and Uhtræd...now this?

A poignant scene-no raging against the dying of the light for Uhtraed...only a slow, painful descent into obsolescence-sad to see. If anything the raging was coming from Eadward...talking of which, what price now the return of the crown prince who proves singularly unfit for the role (as @Sir Lancealot said: don't like those stats or traits) leaving the way open for a Richard III style usurpation?

A heavy crown indeed

Well done on the completion of this magnificent book @coz1 I very much look forward to the next instalment
Thank you, sir, and very heavy to be sure. We've discussed Richard III in the past and I want you to keep that in mind as we move forward. I think you may find it interesting (I hope, at the least.)

As for Uhtræd, I went a bit against the suggestion of the event and kept him in his right mind even if his body does fail him. I've had a mind of how to do this for some time now and I really hope it works. It is sad, given what promise I had to work with, but even in his short 20 years, Uhtræd's done a fair bit, if perhaps not enough. Yet he is not yet dead and who know what he may accomplish even if diminished. ;)

Oscytel looks manifestly unfit to rule. Eadwerd ... Eadwerd has his work cut out for him.

There is a measure of desperation in his pleadings with Uhtræd that there will be a cure .. I think the Chancellor understands all too well what a poisoned chalice has been thrust into his hands.

Another excellent tale but friend, and I look forward to its third installment.
Thank you as well and to be sure, Oscytel is no one's idea of an heir. You make a very good point about Eadward (and I hope his detractors notice it) - as always, his ambition is tempered by the love and regard that he has for his brother. As @Specialist290 suggested just a bit ago, Eadward might see the crown as something to be desired, but I maintain that he would not know what to do with it should he gain it. A question to look to as we move forward. Eadward, at this time, wishes his brother well and wants to keep with where he is at. However...that may change. ;) Or not. :p I cannot say right now. :D


Finally, I wish to honor once again all of those that have given me so much support during this process. @stnylan has given me over 100 posts in this thread alone (and I feel right poorly that I have not returned the favor in quite some time.) Always fine words and a keen eye to the plot. Just past him we may see @TheButterflyComposer, @Asantahene, @JabberJock14 and @Specialist290. With over 75 posts each, these are all longstanding readers of this work and for me, a mainstay. When I do not see your words, I miss them greatly. Terrific in every way! @Nikolai, @Nuada Airgetlám, @Idhrendur, @markkur, @Bullfilter, and @volksmarschall - constant feedback when you had the chance and I love it every time! And I miss you @The Number 9 - you followed me over here and it appears that I have lost you. Shame that, as I truly love your comments.

Of course, I always love to get some word from @Director, but I know well that he has been very busy of late, and for many of the others that have left fewer words (though just as great!) - @Iwantdumplings, @Andrzej I, @Macke11, @ChaoYang, @Empocariam, @Sir Lancealot, @Silverio90, @Widowmaker94, @Z-Z-Z, @RhaegarTelcontarTargaryen, @jasondroth24, @LudoOttavio, @wave-man and @fabiolundiense - I am honored enough that you have read the work and wish to make comment. Some of you came in late, some of you have been around since the beginning but finally decided to leave some word. Some may even have had a quick question. It matters not to me as I value each and every comment as it remains the lifeblood of this community. One or a hundred - a comment lets one know that someone is reading, regardless of views. I cannot thank you enough!

All of that it is to say that I hope you will follow on to the next one (;)) - No, though I hope that you will, I truly appreciate all of the support this work and the previous one have gained and I do hope that you may consider continuing to follow as we work towards the end. Your comments remain paramount for me as they do help me so as I work through the writing. I value each and every one and thank you for your time, your eyes and most especially for your wise words.

Now...on to The Heavy Crown! :D
 

Bullfilter

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He may not have raged against it, more accepted or even demanded it, but the light certainly was dimmed! If that too was metaphor, then it was powerfully applied. Perhaps his last moments of lucidity before finally surrendering?

I will join the others so far in their comments on Oscytel: the craven trait probably has something to do with it, but that prestige is in the sub-sub basement! :eek: I’m sure that won’t play well, especially when the son is compared and found so obviously lacking to the father. And brothers. And pretty much any pretender who still has a claim.

“This craven laughing stock from Germany is no fit king for anyone, let alone for England, and certainly not for me!” One can hear the self-interested lines already forming in the minds of ambitious challengers - whether of his authority or of his very right to the crown. A heavy crown, about to be passed to one without the strength in his spine to bear it up. :oops: This should be interesting. If he can rise to it, it would make a great tale. And if not, a rollicking one. Into the breach we go ... :D
 

Asantahene

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Specialist290

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I must say I'm honored that you hold me in such high esteem, coz :) Rest assured that my occasional absences have never been due to any lapse of quality on your part.

Uhtræd's advancing infirmity and Eadward's alarmed protests really struck a chord with me because I've had to witness similar things happening to a few close members of my family in the past :( I really feel for Eadward in this scene. If there is any silver lining that can be seen here, it comes from Uhtræd's own temperament. Despite the fact that he's letting go, I don't get the impression that he's given into despair; rather, he has the air of one who has made peace with the fact that his time has finally come at last.

My thoughts on Oscytel haven't changed much. I really do get the impression of a man who is slightly uncomfortable with the outside world in general, and thus tends to cloister himself away in some bolthole where he can be alone with his own thoughts. That said, I don't think he'd be that bad a king in a time of peace, stability, and smooth successions -- which, unfortunately, is probably still a bit of a ways off.

And finally, hope you enjoy your vacation!
 

Nikolai

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It’s finished. I knew the day would come, yes even imminent, but now I feel empty. Your story is really a gem of these forums, my friend. I look forward to the third book!
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Interesting that the King didn't die at the end...
Incapability usually means three days of regency and then the PC dies. In this case, how destructive to the realm would it be if not only the heir rejects and unwillingly comes to England but also the regent and the old king linger on as well, causing chaos and confusion as to who the actual ruler of England is (even more than there would be anyway)? I suppose the king can do nothing now but die quickly and cleanly so that the problems of him lingering on half alive don't add to the already unstable situation in the realm. Hmm...

This has been a rather different story to The Rightful King. In most respects it is the darker middle chapter where nothing has been resolved and in most places gotten worse, even as time has gone on and the kingdom as a whole has grown more powerful. The weakness of the Crown atop a powerful kingdom with hands in Wales, England and France is going to be the sticking point of the next book.

For it is indeed a heavy crown that sits atop the head of a lacklustre monarch. England may be a growing power in the world but who will succeed in harnessing her towards their own ends?