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AON

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-"Everyone agrees that he's an idiot, right?" The speaker wore a chain mail and a helmet but both were rusty from disuse. His name was Fredrik Zetterman and he was the marshal at the newly forged county of Öland. Until recently it had been just Öland, no county, no dukedom, nothing official. Just an island in the Baltic, with some trade, a chief and small stone fort. More of a large house really. I didn't have any forests and it's greatest claim to fame was the weird rock and earth that made up the soil. But now...
-”Yeah, a total idiot. His mother and father was probably related.” This speaker was blond and wore stylish red cloths. His name was Jedvard af Hulterstad. He was the closest thing to a religious authority on the island, meaning the unofficial priest. Most where actually catholic but the rulers had been pagans for as long as any can remember. And since the only place with more than a dozen people in it was Bornholm, then what the ruler wanted, the ruler got.
-”He's big though. And the King's man.” That was Peder af Mykleby, Christian and Spymaster. By the King he meant Stenkil af Stenkil, king of Sweden. By big he meant well... big. But really big, you see?
-”We answer to the Jarl of Uppland, not some West-Geatish usurper.” Zetterman again. The Jarl of Uppland was the son Emund af Munsö, the former king. Erik he was called, Erik the Heathen. And he was pissed that his father had made Stenkil, a Christian and someone who favored the south, not the north, king instead of him. The former chief had been a good friend of Erik.
-”Have you seen his wife? A hunchback and a inbred knight! How does the king expect us to suffer him?”
-”He is big though...”

He was really big. Maybe the largest man in Europe. And yes, his mother and father had been related. He wasn't very bright, or very handsome. In fact he was about as smart as a rock and about as good-looking as one too. But he was very big. And he had killed that man who tried to stab King Stenkil in a skirmish near the Scanian border. And that man at battle of Närke, when the peasants revolted against Duke Sven of Östergötaland. And that time is Blekinge, with the fisherman. After being saved three times King Stenkil had knighted him. He had got to choose his own house name. He choose Jätte, meaning Giant. Everyone thought it was appropriate.

Two weeks ago Stenkil had fell sick. His insides where burning. If he died Erik the Heathen might rise up against his sons. Stenkil didn't want that. He wanted to make Erik as weak as possible. So he had sent for his biggest, meanest knight and told him to go to Borgholm. He was told that he had a claim to Öland, and that anyone who stood in his way was a traitor. So the knight had taken his weapons, his armor, his dogs and his wife to Borgholm. The old chief, Tyke Slatte, had listened to his claim and then thought it over. Then he had left on a boat going north. It was a good move.

His name was Anund Jätte, count of Öland. And things are about to change.
 

DensleyBlair

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Good to see another one so soon!

A really nice beginning - you've certainly set an interesting premise. I'll be watching closely.
 

AON

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An introduction

Let's set the scene. It's been a day since Anund arrived. There's a meeting in the courtyard. Anund stand there is all his might. Maybe seven feet tall, slim for his size. Shaven, scared and blue-eyed.
ck21.jpg

He's petting and playing with his dogs. He doesn't care that the most important men in Bornholm is standing around him. Maybe he doesn't understand. His wife is there too. Her name is Karin. She's a prostitute that followed the army. She has a hunchback and large red cheeks. She's not exactly pretty.
ck22.jpg


There are others of course. They number six. Technically they are the count's council, though he doesn't seem to have been informed of that.
-"Excuse me, sire?" That's Johan Lerström. He's a bit odd, but a more brilliant mind is not found in this piece of dirt. He's the former right-hand man to the chief but despite this, he's Christian. "What are you're orders".
-"What's you're name?" Anund's voice isn't as dark as you might imagine but deeper than most. He turns from his dog-petting and gives a big, yellow smile.
-"My name is Johan Lerström, you're chancellor."
-"Good. Karin, what should he do?"
-"We'll need the support of the King or his sons if we're to challenge the Heathen. He should go to the royal court." When she speaks the others looks uncomfortable. Challenge the Jarl?
-"Yes... You should go to the King. Do so."
-"And we need taxes, and training for the men, and we should investigate any weakness among the Jarl's court."
-"We need all that? Get it done. I'm going hunting." He turns to go walk away.
-"Husband, don't you think there's something you are forgetting?"
-"Oh yeah..."
He halts himself. He turns around. Fire's in his eye. When he draws his sword the circle all take a few steps back.
-"Don't you little bastards think about betraying me. I'll have you strung from the highest tower I can find. If I can't find one high enough, I'll built one. Get it?"
The council all stammer agreements and nods. The count leaves and his dozen of hounds follow in his step.
ck23c.jpg


One might ask oneself "What does the Count want from life?" The answer is that he doesn't really know. He ain't all that smart you know. But he knows he wants to be remembered. Because no-one remembered his father. Because no-one cared. Now people will care.
ck24l.jpg


-"We should just kill the wife, right? She's the one making decisions..." That's Zetterman again. Poor fellow.
-"And then what will he do? Burn Bornholm down, put our heads on spikes and find himself a new women to rape. I've heard his reputation." Peder is slightly smarter than his council-fellow.
"-I think the Giant will be a great addition to our court." That's Lerström.
-"Johan, no offence, but you're mad"
-"You're quite right!"
-"Look, let's just wait for a better chance. Erik will send someone, I'm sure."

In October the Count returns from the hunt. He's killed everything from bears to hearts, going as far as across the straits to Småland. When he arrives the castle is sleeping. It's the middle of the night. He climbs the stairs, bent over almost, because of the narrow passages, and swings the door open to his chamber. Inside Karin awakes. He nods. That's all the greeting she's getting.
-"Things happened while you where away. Peder told me that he found dirt on some noblemen at the Jarl's court. I told him to blackmail him. A message from the King declaring you're rule and asking you to increase his authority in the land also arrived. I sent a letter back telling him that we support the move."
-"You can read?"
-"No, silly, I had a monk do it for me".
-"Good. Otherwise I might feel dumb."
-"You are dumb."
She stops, and thinks about what she just said. It wasn't very smart. She can see the rage burning within him. The glimpse in his eye.
"-Husband... I... I'm sorry! I didn't meant to..."
He doesn't speak. He simply turns around and leave. A bit later she hears the hounds and the horses and the quiet mumbling of the hunt master. Guess he wants to kill something.
 

AON

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Interlude: At the Jarl's court

-"He killed Tyke?!" The Jarl doesn't look as much angry as frightened. He's not a tall man nor a very brave man. Sometimes it's not hard to see why Stenkil is king and not him.
-"No. He simply told him to leave." The speaker is Peder af Mykleby.
-"And he did?"
-"Yes, Jarl. See, if he didn't leave, he said he would feed his...private parts... to the hounds and then impale every man in the castle and rape every women. Personally."
-"Did he bring any men?"
-"Not which we saw. He said he had, and I quote, "A fucking royal army behind me"".
-"But he didn't bring any men?"
-"I don't think so, Jarl"
-"And you didn't kill him? Why?"
-"He had a royal message Jarl. And he's really big."
-"How big?"
-"About seven feet."
-"..."
-"I know, Jarl"
-"What's he doing now?"
-"Killing everything on four legs throughout Öland and Småland. Seems he's already causing a dent in the bear-population."
-"Very well. Make him Master of the Hunt and send him an offer to lead my army. Let's see if we can't use him against my uncle".
-"But my jarl, he's an idiot!"
-"He's smart enough to become the new lord of Öland".
-"He's smart enough to kill a man in a hundred different ways, but he couldn't find his backside with both hands!"
-"If he can kill a man, that's good enough for me."
-"Let's just hope he kills the right man."
 

AON

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Hi people! Welcome to my new AAR. I'm still finding everyone's voices, so hopefully the writing will improve shortly. Before we continue I'm going to show you some of the fun/important characters that'll the Count will interact with:

First of is Johan Lerström; the Mad Councillor of Öland. He's literary a mad genius.
ck217.jpg


Then there's the Jarl himself: Prince Erik the Heathen:
ck218.jpg


And of course his brother-in-law or something, the King. He has made a full recovery from his sickness in the two months I've played so far.
ck220.jpg


I could show you the rest of my councillors, but they're pretty standard. They are mostly Christian and the are all quite skilled at diplomacy. The only real problem is Zetterman, who has 16 in diplomacy but only 4 in martial. He's still my marshal for the meantime.

This AAR will be a bit different from my last one. First of all: It won't be as emotional, not right away at least. The count is a bit of an uncomplicated man, but there is much room for improvement. In my last AAR I described pretty much every action. With this one however I fear it will become a bit droll since he'll go hunting most every autumn and party whenever possible. There's also the difference that while it was a major step for André to kill a bear, bear-slaying happens once a year for Amund, so it won't be as fun to write.

So yeah, like I said, the story will pick up speed as I get better at writing the characters (and aren't as tired). Hope you will enjoy it and if you haven't yet, take a glance at my last AAR.

With lots of regards

André Nyhammar
 

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Just finished reading the Nyhammar tales and I enjoyed it quite a bit. You write nice and believable narrative, while keeping it simple enough for it to stay interesting and easy to read. Count Anund seems like an interesting character, and I can't wait to see where you'll take him. Lycka till!
 

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This looks rather good! Big old stupid Anund. Dunno why, but my first thought was "he's like a big aggressive puppy". Strange bloody thought.
 

AON

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Thanks ya'll! Next time I predict war and civil strife, but no promises (I haven't played further ahead yet). I consider this so far a lesser product than Nyhammar-tales, but I think it has lot's of potential. Eventually it will surpass it's bretheren (with a bit of luck). Both will be heavily character driven but Anund is of a very, very different cloth than Mikael or André (that's me by the way). I'm working a bit on his backstory, should add a little depth. This one will hopefully be a bit more comedic than the first one and we'll be shifting perspective a lot more. It will be more scenes and dialogs and less long descriptions, but we'll have plenty of both. I'm really intressed to see how this one turns out.

Some things about Anumd: He's more clever than people belive, even than he himself belives. But he has a really hard time learning new things and is severally dyslextic (to the point that telling left from right is a problem for him). He also has problem with his memory. Notice that he isn't brave, he simply hasn't had any reason to be afraid in combat. Other things still scare him though. On his hunts' he gain dilligent, so he'll be hard at work implaining thoose peasents and undermining the Jarl. And to answer Tapscott: Yes, he's like a aggresive puppy, though most puppies don't impale the unfiendly socks. Let's call him an "sociopatic aggresive puppy"

A question: Does the style of writing work? I'm specifically worried about writing dialog for one character and then adding despiction and narrative between the next piece of dialog. An example of this is the first part of the introduction; when the council are talking. Does this work?

As always, any feedback is appriciated.
 

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I reckon the style works well, but if you don't like it; change it!
 

AON

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An offer

-"Amund, you have arrived. Hope the trip went well". The red-haired prince looked like a child in comparison with the count.
-"Of course I came, Jarl. Nothing to hunt during the winter"
-"You like hunting don't you? Well so do I. We should go hunting together next autumn. In fact, let's make it official. I'm naming you Master of the Hunt."
-"I already know that I'm a master of hunting, jarl."
-"No... It's a position. A title. Comes with a small stipend. You are charged with taking care of the official hunts at Uppland. You get the right to second kill, after me of course. Very prestigious. And... It's "My jarl". Or "My Prince". Not just "Jarl"."
-"..."
-"I...have a s-s-sugestion t-t-t-to you."
-"Don't you me "for you"."
The Jarl was visibly surprised, but the Count looked almost as shocked himself. No-one in Uppsala had thought Amund smart enough to correct grammar. The Jarl's eyes tightened.
-"I know what my brother-in-law is doing. I want you on my side. I want you as my marshal."
-"Do I have to do anything?"
-"Lead my men, train them. Serve as my command. Follow orders. Become rich when I'm king and gain untold glory."
-"No."
-"What?!" The Jarl's face was red and he half flew from his seat. That is, until he realized that he was staring a fully armed seven feet beast in the face. The count simple stared without comprehension. Then his brow became unwrinkled and he smiled a big, yellow smile.
-"No, my jarl!" Happy with his great performance he turned and walked out of court. His dogs needed caring and he was sure he had smelled good eating on the way in.
 
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AON

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In the winter Amund returned from Uppland. There wasn't a war going on or anything more important to do, so he spent some time getting to know Öland better. Frankly, there wasn't much to be seen. Near the straights to the mainland there was a market and a small port, controlled by the Gotlandish Guldsmed-family. There was Borgholm. There was a couple of villages and a few old ruins, even some half decayed old forts. He didn't exactly care. He was more upset about the lack of big animals. There was some boars, and stags, and deer and even a wolf or too, but nothing like the great hunting he was used to back i Västergötaland. He tried to remember his first hunt, but it was fuzzy. He generally didn't remember much. It all turned into a haze after a while. He remembers a church, he thinks. Hiding. Soldiers. Norweigians and Swedish. The cold and the hunger. Some-one telling him that everything will be all-right if he just had said his prayers. But he had forgotten the words. And everything didn't become all-right.

He had follow the army after the looted the village, as a hanger-on and a camp-boy at first. Then, after one defeat or another, they needed more men and he was big. He was also eleven. They didn't care. He had survived. He had met the King. But he had forgotten much. He didn't remember his father. He think his name was Harald. He didn't remember his mother. He had asked Karin about where he might be from. She had said Dal. He had asked where that was. She had said that it was a small place between Sweden and Norway, now part of Sweden, but often in the middle of the frequent skirmishes between the two Kings. He tried to remember but there was just the grey fog of memory. He wished there was something to kill.

It's just a few days before Christmas, or Jul it's called in Sweden. Two people are meeting in Borgholm. On is blond and bearded, the other a hunchback women in red. They are both well known but they meet secretly.
-"How has things gone, Peder?"
-"My lady, the priest paid up. I sworn that his secret is safe. I hope you will honour my deal?"
-"Yeah, the sodomite can go on in secrecy. Now, how much?"
-"A hundred gold-coins, most bearing the face of the King, but some of other royalties. He must have dug deep and far for these."
-"I don't care about the face on them and he can dig until he reaches hell itself for all I care. My husband must be told. Ready the men and start gathering supplies in the castle."
-"Gather suppl...What's happening? What are you doing? My lady!"

-"Husband, stop playing with your dogs! I got great news"
-"What is it, women?" Amund emerges from the pile of dogs where he has been laying.
-"I got us money. Lot's of it. It's time."
-"But I thought you said we didn't have enough men. That we had to wait."
-"But now we can buy more men. Make the King proud!"
An evil smile spread across Karin's face as she watched her husband spring forth and start shouting at the men. She knew that he had been a good choice. Some-one which she could make a real leader off. Someone, she could make rich.

-"Letström, where are you! Get out her you mangy piece of shit!"
-"My lord?"
-"There you are. Write me a message."
-"To whom, my lord?"
-"To Captain Lothaire, the Swiss mercenary. Write exactly as I say!"

To the Good Captain Lothaire of Genève
from his Lordship the Count of Öland, Amund Jätte

Lothaire, We, that means I, are going to war. We need bloody good soldiers. I remember you having some pretty good spear-men at Blekinge. Shame about some of killing them and saying that I was going to rape your wife. It was just buis...buis...buisss...a job. But I got gold now and some half-wit of a Jarl to crush. What do you say?

Sincerely from the hand of Good Count Amund Jätte of Öland, Master of the Hunt and witnessed by Johan Lerström and God.


By early spring the answer arrived when sixteen-hundred men arrived at the small Island. That night a small feast was held and the next day another message was sent to Uppland.

My Jarl.
I'm not your subject. Only the King gets to command me. You're not the King and I have twothousand swords here agreeing with me.
Count Amund of Öland


ck221.jpg
 
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AON

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I'm actually going to a regular update thing on this one. For now I'll update once each weekday and with the possibility of extra updates if I feel like it, and sometimes a extra one on weekends. I'll probably miss a few days at times but I'll try to let you know in advance.
 

AON

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A battle and three commanders

-"Karin! I'm off to fight the Jarl!"
-"You're going? But we're on an island, we outnumber him and out soldier are better trained for defence. You don't need to go!"
-"Bah, you don't understand war. He's divided, he needs to gather his strength. We don't have enough gold to pay these men forever, that means we need to loot something."
-"But... Who's going to defend us? Me?"
-"I'll leave some men. You, stable boy, bring me my horse."
-"But, husband, I'm pregnant!"
-"Good! Wish me luck!" The last phrase was screamed on the way to horses. Amund had a big smile on his face. He was getting a son and someone to fight. Things would finally be easy.

His men was almost exclusively infantry. Hundreds of pikemen, a good amount of archers and a strong base of men-at-arms. He could divide them trough many flanks but he didn't. The Swiss wouldn't understand, or for that matter, take orders from some-one not from their ranks. That meant he needed them together. And his own men numbered only a few hundred and would easily be broken if separated from the Swiss. So he kept them together, all 1700 of them. The army didn't sparkle in the sunlight. The swords weren't newly forged and the armour wasn't polished to perfection. Instead there were blades worn by fighting, sensible armour that could take a punch, long pikes and common bows. Through more mundane than a army of legend, it's ordinariness made it all the more frightening. Here was not some monster from legend or heroic knights, but people, ordinary people, who for one reason or another, had decided that killing their fellow men was the best course of action in their life. And these ones were the ones that survived.

And the front rode Amund and Lothaire. The hare-lipped veteran and the giant knight. They where talking about the battle of Blekinge and about the man who almost killed the King. The man that had secured Amund's knighthood.
ck222.jpg

Lothaire wasn't a brilliant mind himself exactly, but years of fighting had given him an animal-like cunning. It had also given him an unhealthy fascination for death, which had led to a fascination of alchemy, which had led him on a quest for eternal life.

There was a few stops before they would get close to Uppland. First, there was Småland, with it's many small hamlets and stony fields, where farmers tried to carve out a living in the shadow of dark forests. Occasionally wolves or bears would come out and take a sheep or maybe even a shepherd. Less these days though. They had heard about Amund. Even animals gossip.

Then there was Östergötaland. Here they where greeted by a message from Duke Sven af Sverker.
-"My lord!" The rider wore chain-mail and looked ready for battle, but brought no men. He was skinny." I'm Kol af Sverker and this is the lands of my son, Sven af Sverker, Duke of Östergötaland. Why do you trespass here?"
-"We're off to kill heathens." The count knew who he was talking to. Kol had been Jarl once upon a time, but the King had made him step down in favour of his son, a ten-year old. There had been a brief struggle and a small war. It had been Amund's first.
-"You won't find any heathens here, not any-more. And I carry the King's pardon."
-"I'm not talking about you, Kol Once-Jarl. We're going north."
-"To face the Prince?"
-"Yeah"
-"But why?"
-"'Cause someone told me to."
-"That's it? You don't know why?"
-"If I needed to know why I would do something, nothing would get done."

They spurred the army on. They had one last stop before they would face the Jarl.

-"Erik, you idiot, if I named you heir half the kingdom would revolt before my body was cold. Think, you nim-wit!"
-"But I've earned it! What have Inge ever done? Huh? Talked bed-room talk with a few diplomats? I've led armies!"
-"You've stood behind armies while better men led them! Inge might be the youngest but he's married to the daughter of Sven Estridsson. You married a wench that you fancied! Understand the difference? One marries some-one he liked when he was drunk and the other one a princess and the daughter of what could become our most powerful ally. One is fit to rule, the other is not!"
There was a fight in the throne-room. There was always a fight in the Stenkil family. Erik and Stenkil both had tremendous tempers and didn't get along. Erik was understandably pissed that his "rightful" throne was going to his youngest brother, while Stenkil was pissed that Erik wasn't the man he had hoped he would be. Then there was Halsten, who also wanted the throne when his father died, though he was prepared to wait a bit. He was a bit angry that he hadn't got the Danish princess though, so he often took Eriks side. And then there was Håkan, the bastard, though luckily he spent most of his time in the dungeon "working". He was the spy-master after all, and he should be well informed. And lastly, there was Inge himself, who quite liked being the heir-apparent and wished that everyone would stop arguing so much, if the would be so kind.
-"Dad, give me chance! Let me prove myself!"
-"Shut up, runt. We have guests." The looked at his visitor. Now that the sickness didn't burn him from within, he was quite regal. Bearded, muscular if a bit fat. On his silver throne and wearing his crown, he quite looked the part of God's steward on Earth.
-"King." Amund was the complete opposite. He didn't look like God's steward, not even God's janitor. At the most he was God's garbage-man, though one wonders what kind of thrash angels produce. Maybe discarded halos. He was dirty and his armour was growing rusty from the rain. It had rained non-stop the last week and mud had gotten in everywhere. He wasn't very happy about it.
-"It's "my King". Or "My Liege". Possibility "My Lord", but then you would be standing on rather thin ice. But it doesn't matter. You've come about the Jarl, correct." Strange, Stenkil thought. Once there had been many Jarls. Hell, he had been a Jarl. But now there was only the Jarl.
-"Yeah. I'm taking my men to fight him."
-"He has gathered his in Gästrikland. You outnumber them with about five-hundred, but they won't stand a chance once the battle starts. He's not with them though. He'll be at home, planing an scheming, like the little rat that he is. Beat his men and burn his castle. I hope you can do that."
-"Yeah."
-"You smell like a wet dog." That was Erik who had grown brave when his father was talking. Stenkil quickly began to rise and gestured to his guard. But Amund didn't flare up or smash the young prince face, or do anything especially barbaric. He simply looked a bit tired and said:
-"Yeah."
Then he walked out.
ck223.jpg


It was a month later. The mercenary army had caught heathens men in Västermanland. The next they would be a battle. The Heathens men where scared. They had heard about Amund and they had heard about the Swiss. Neither had a particularity good reputation, at least not to their enemies.
-"Look, I know that he's an idiot but I promise you that he can fight. Seen it myself." Dan Lind was the most senior of commanders. Not in age but in experience. He had gone all the way to the Levant in his youth and there he had found a new faith. He was feared as a mighty warrior, a great duellist and as a cunning and cruel opponent. Yes, a impressive man, if you don't count the fact that he had a beard like a sheep and a tendency to sneeze at inappropriate moments. Strangely enough, he wasn't married.
-"I know he can fight, but he's a brute. He's dumb as a rock. Let's just set a trap and surround his men." The man speaking had a puny moustache and a less puny wound stretching over his forehead, the result of the last incident when someone mentioned said moustache. You should have seen the other man, but only if you like funerals. He was chieftain of the glorified woodland called Hälsingland, and he himself was called Björn, after his homelands most populous subjects.*
-"Yeah, what he said". The less said about the third speaker, the better. Let's just say that the Mayor of Enköping was a great mayor who worked tirelessly for his subjects happiness and welfare, if by subjects you mean the brothels-owners and wine-makers.
-"He doesn't just fight well, he's an able commander. He has talent for violence. And a talent for making others violent. It won't be solved that easy."
-"You sure? He seems pretty stupid to me."
-"Trust me, he is. But an arrow don't have to think to find it's mark". Which, admittedly wasn't a very smart line, but you don't become a major power player in Swedish politics by being clever.

In the other camp two men also discuss the upcoming battle.
-"Okay, what do you think they'll do? Try to outrun us? Trap us? Surely they know if they retreat now, we can just force our march and strike them in the back?" That's Lothaire.
-"They will charge at dawn. We'll make a shield-wall before first light, repel them and smash the centre, then fan out and attack their sides."
-"What? How can you be so sure?"
-"Because dawn is what charging is for. They'll think us stupid, not stupid enough to fall in a simple trap, but stupid enough to not prepare properly. They hope to gain the advantage by attacking us before out pikes and archers can crush them."
-"Surely not!"
-"Just watch"

-"I was right!"
-"Fine, but I still say that charging at dawn is a silly idea. Okay, archers, let 'em fly! Form a wall! Pikes at the centre! Let's show them bastard what it means to be Swiss!"
ck224.jpg



*Björn is Swedish for bear.
 

BogMod

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"But, husband, I'm pregnant!"
-"Good! Wish me luck!" The last phrase was screamed on the way to horses. Amund had a big smile on his face. He was getting a son and someone to fight. Things would finally be easy.

Fantastic. *chuckles*
 

AON

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Deus Vult, Suetico viam

-"That's a silly moustache. Why do you have a silly moustache?" Amund where towering over the poor man, who lay bound before him.
-"It's NOT silly! It's dignified!" It looked like a broom had decided that it had enough of dirty floors and moved somewhere safer and more clean, like a upper lip. It looked like a small rodent that had been in a unfortunate cart-accident. It look looked like the world hairiest caterpillar.
-"It's ugly, little man. Now who are you and why aren't your head on a spike with the rest of the prisoners?"
-"Because I can pay. I have surrendered. This is the fourth time you've beaten us in a week. We can hardly run anymore. Dan and the Mayor can fight their bloody war, I want to go home. I'll pay you good if you let me go."
-"How much?"
-"Enough so that you can fight this bloody war for a couple of years. 70 coin."
-"That's a lot?"
-"Yeah it is."
-"Good. Get me the money and you can go. Try to betray me and I'll rape your wife"
-"Deal!"
ck226.jpg


It should be said that most offers to rape people wives where just threats nothing more. Amund hadn't done a lot of raping during the his time with the king. It got in the way of the killing and looting. And now he had a son on the way, and it didn't feel right. But he shouldn't get to thinking. There was still work to be done. It's been more than a month since the first battle, where Amund had crushed the Heathens men. But they didn't have the horses to score a complete victory and many had gotten away, leading to more battles. This last month they had faces down four times, each a victory for Amund. The Jarl was down to 300 men while Amund had more then 1500. And now, with the ransom from Björn, things where looking even brighter.

We're back in Bornholm. It's the 16th of September. There screaming from the main bed-chamber. Karin is giving birth. She grunts and screams. Outside the council is pacing. They are only three here. Jedvard died in the spring, but the count and countess hasn't bothered to replace him, and Knut was out getting taxes.
-"It will be a son. At least if our luck keeps up. A bloody idiot too, but strong like his father, and he'll challenge the Jarl as well. Bloody giant and bloody wife!" Zetterman was pissed. Here they where, listing to the child of their arch-enemy being born and not taking their chance to end his legacy...
-"Calm yourself. He might be unexpectedly healthy but that don't mean the boy will be. There isn't even a guarantee that it will be a boy." Peder didn't look all that confident.
-"Maybe it's Jesus reborn?"
-"That's what you say every time, Johan."
-"That doesn't mean it won't happen this time."
-"Yes, yes it does."
-"No it doesn't. Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."
-"But absence of sense means that you're a bloody loonie!" Lerström had been getting on Zettermans nerves lately.
-"The insolence! Wait until the Moon hears about this! Then there will be trouble, let me tell you that! Frogs everywhere! EVERYWHERE, I say. Good day, gentlemen!"
-"Good, the fool is gone. Just you wait. It will be a girl, and we will still have time to set stop to his plans."
A loud wail is heard from the bedroom and then the midwives scream:
-"It's a boy!"
Both of the men's faces turned to iron masks. All hope was gone and they could see their future crumble before their eyes. But miracles aren't always so miraculous and doesn't always happen to the "right side", if there is such a thing as a right side. We'll obviously there is a right side, how could their otherwise be a left side, but I'm speaking morality-wise. Anyway, there was a question from the tired countess.
-"Is he healthy?"
And when the midwife didn't answer Peder started to smile and Zetterman straightened his back and inside that room Karin asked again, now with visible fright in her voice:
-"Is he healthy?!"

He was ugly and large, but not as firmly built as his father. He's mouth had trouble breathing and he hadn't cried when he was born. The left eye was quite a bit larger than the other. The named him Asbjörn*, meaning "Godbear" but carried with it a hint of cadaver and corpses. They didn't write the father. Who knew if he had anyone who could read with him. Let him meet his son when he gets back, if there is a son to get back to.
ck227.jpg


In October Amund decided to change tactics. They had been hunting the survivors for two months now. It was going good, but every time they struck most of the lightly armoured pagan got away, no matter how cunning a trap. He decided instead to ignore the two-hundred survivors and besiege the castles and holdings of the Jarl themselves. In truth there wasn't all that many. His chiefs held most of the land, with him ruling only Uppland directly. He kept court at the well-defended mansion at Håtuna. They would settle in there during the winter and starve the bastards out. Meanwhile, within Håtuna itself:
-"How did that inbred bastard get so many men?!" The Jarl was angry but not furious. He knew that loosing his temper wasn't good for ruling and he didn't want to be know as a angry man like his brother-in-law. Still, it's hard not be angry when there's a thousand Swiss camping out in your backyard, making rude faces and eating cheese."And how the hell did they get here? I thought Dan was supposed to stop them!"
-"My Prince, the Muslim has clearly failed. He has less than two-hundred men left and there is no sign of reinforcements in sight. As for why this happened... It's your fault. Odin doesn't favour the foolish, nor does Tyr help those who can't help themselves. You had held the Ting and you have sacrificed at my temple but you haven't been a strong leader. Your' father was a half-Christian and a worthless brute, rightfully called Slemme and you have lived up to his legacy. You should have struck while he was weak but instead you trusted your wit and your Muslim cohort, and now you lie in the mess you've made."
If it where anyone else, they would be dead by now. No matter how great a warrior, how fierce a berserk, how valiant a knight. Not even the German Emperor would have been spared Erik's mercy. If it had been anybody else. But it wasn't. It was Karl af Uppsala. He was the priest meaning he had the gods on his side. He also had the biggest town in Uppland, the riches trade, the most men and a considerable skill with a blade on his side. He knew exactly what he could and could not get away with, and lambasting the Jarl for putting his trust in a Muslim was a fairly easy one.
ck228.jpg

-"Make peace with the man. Let him go back home. Prepare yourself for your true enemy."
-"And loose Öland and my only way to split Stenkil's forces? No, not yet. I'll deal with this idiot, I just go to find a way." And with that the argument was done.

Meanwhile; In Södermanland:
-"The Giant's war is going well. He's besieging the Jarl. But he won't weaken him permanently. That means we got to be strong". The King looked regal, even when addressing only his sons. Like a proper king."Remember the time when people of the Batlic feared the Swedes? Before Emund Slemme's reign of lazy deeds, before Olof Skötkonnung and his useless wars against Norway? Remember the time of Erik Sägersäl, who drove Denmark from our land and taxed the Finns and Wends, and ruled in Denmark?"
-"Of course we don't father, and neither do you." Inge always had a way of putting his father in his place. Maybe that's why he was considered the most competent of the three.
-"My point, boy, is that we have sat idle to long. Now, your my heir, but your brothers need land too. So let's grab some. I've written the pope himself and he's given us his blessing."
-"To do what?"
-"To prove ourself against God's enemies. To force the infidels into god's open embrace. And of course, to strike the Prussians while they are away fighting to keep the Germans out of Pommeria. Send out the riders. Summon every able men you can find. Erik, you'll be my second in this. Let's see if you're as good as you say, boy. The rest of you are coming to."
-"But why? Why the Prussians?"
-"Because God Wills It!"

*Björn is word for bear in Swedish and As is in this case short for Asar, meaning the æsir (gods of pre-Christian belief), but the word As used separately meant Cadaver or Carrion.
 

BogMod

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I do worry that this story will end shortly due to a lack of heirs...
 

DensleyBlair

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Another interesting couple of updates. And good luck with Asbjörn - I'd be working on getting a spare just in case he dies too soon.