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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Teutonic King

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A pre AAR note, I have tried AAR's before, and the story was never good enough for me, mostly because I have very critical opinions of my own writing. Anyway, I am going to attempt to do this and make it a good story along the way. In the immortal words of Heath Ledger, And here we... go.


The Last Saxon

Immigration towards new lands has always been a draw, for those seeking to escape and old trouble, or current threats. Yet what is rare to occur is for an entire civilization to literally pick up from their homes and move to a new land. However this is the exact thing that occurred with the last king of Saxony; the tribal Germanic kingdom on the borders of Charlemagne's empire. In a shocking move, the entirety of the Saxon people picked up and moved from northern Germany, across the sea to the British Isles, under the rule of one who is now called "The Wise". Although there are not many historical records, traditional sagas prove this king to be less of a scholar and more of a warrior.

Before we being, it should be known that most, if not all, of the tales of Wichimann Theodricing, that do not paint him a some great hero, come from the now deceased Anglo-Saxons. With that in mind, we being our tale of the last Saxon. The year is 769 A.D. by the Christian calendar. For just over three centuries the whole of western Europe has been controlled by petty kings all vying for power. Each of these kings seek to restore the glory that was Rome. While these kings fought, one sat on his throne in his hall, mulling over the state of his kingdom. Theodric, as the sagas tell it, had ruled the kingdom of Saxony in an unprecedented time of peace. While raiding and looting other nations still occurred, the kingdom itself was stable and content. Living in willful ignorance of the outside world had worked out well. However nothing stays the same, and things were forced to take a drastic turn with the untimely, and unfortunate death of "Emperor" Peppin III (The Short) of the Frankish Kingdom. He left his two sons to rise to power, dividing the kingdom between them.

The northern half of the Frankish Kingdom came under the control of Karl, King of West Francia. Although Karl was not the most learned of men, he was a master of military pursuits. Forged in the fires of combat with the Umayyad Caliphate, now the Sultanate of Al-Andalus, he quickly learned the ways of war. While he had the desire for power, he controlled little soldiers, a blessing in disguise if there ever was one. It was too the south where all of the military power truly lay.



Much of the divided military power was in the fertile southern lands of the Frankish Empire. On the throne of
Austrasia was the kind, but feeble, Karloman. Unlike his older brother, Karloman never sought to expand the borders of his kingdom, perferring instead to grow the wealth of knowledge in his personal library in Paris. Today the division between the two brothers, in the way it was, whether purposeful planning by Peppin, or merely a happy coincidence, cannot be one-hundred percent certified. However, whether Peppin wanted to curtail Karl's ambitions, or keep Karloman safe from his brother's desires, it matters not, for fate had other plans in store.

King Karloman had always been feeble, ever since childhood. Some of his courtiers blamed it on his bookish nature, while others merely believed he was born weak. What ever the cause, health was never of Karloman's side. Although being frail, Karloman did sire an heir before Karl. Unlike his father, Peppin, named after his late grandfather, was and active and playful boy. It is known that Karloman was not concerned with his dynasty's continued existence, knowing that his son would continue to rule in his death. Yet, as men try to write their own destiny, it is often that the fates weave a different tale for all men.

As time passed the hatred between the two brothers grew. Karl hated Karloman because, being that he was the oldest son, the entire Frankish Empire should have gone to him. On the other hand, Karloman hated Karl because he feared his ambition and what he would do with the full might of the Frankish Kingdom at his back. This hatred came to a boiling point when their mother, who is said to have favored Karloman for his tempered behavior, in contrast to Karl's mannerisms, demanded that Karl hand over the crown of West Francia to his younger brother. It was at this point that Karl severed all ties with his brother, creating one of the worst family feuds in all of history.

Then, in the year 771 it seemed the dice of fate landed on sixes for Karl, as his brother passed away. At the time many believed that Karl had murdered his brother, although looking back it was unlikely since Karl was an extremely pious man. Upon usual succession, the Kingdom of Austrasia should have gone to Karloman's son Peppin. However Peppin's mother, believing the rumors that Karl had murdered her husband, fled to the kingdom of Lombardy, seeking protection with the Alachislings. Without an heir present, the title of King of Austrasia fell to Karl. Then everything he had worked for, suddenly came into being. He was now the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. Seeking to expand his domain, he immediately declared war for the Kingdom of Saxony.

Theodric had not been resting on his laurels. While the Karling brothers feuded, he carefully built up his power. On the day that war was declared, Theodric was drinking mead in his hall with a large host of warriors. While the revelry was occurring a messenger from the court of Karl entered into the hall.

"Great Chief Theodric, I come bearing word from my king. He declares that our great nations are now in a state of open war. Prepare your armies, for we shall meet on the field of battle." Once the messenger stopped Theodric nodded slowly.

"I see, do you bring any other news?" Theodric looked at the messenger, who shook his head slowly. "Very well." Faster than anyone in the Mead Hall could have imagined a man in his fifties to do, Theodric picked up his battle axe and threw it with all his might. Before the messenger could even react, the axe buried itself deep in the man's skull.

"Someone cut off that man's head, and sent it back to Karl of West Francia in a box with a note." Theodric returned to his mead horn. While he sat drinking one of his housecarl's spoke up.

"What should the message say?" Theodric looked at the housecarl for a moment before responding.

"It shall say this, 'Come then, face Saxon Steel!'." With that every man in the mead hall cheered and left to go call all men to war.

When Karl arrived on the borders of Saxony, he was shocked to find nearly ten thousand angry Saxons ready to face him. However this did not daunt him, pushing his army forward, he fought the ten thousand and pushed them back. While the Saxons lost the first battle their moral was far fro shattered. Coming back even stronger than before the Saxon force broke the Frankish battle line and thoroughly routed the entire army. After that the battle quickly turned in Theodric's favor. Castle after castle fell to the Saxon onslaught. By the end of it, the Saxons had sieged most of the German territory in Francia. As the last castle fell another Frankish messenger came riding up to Theodric.

"I bring word from my king. He declares defeat. You have bested his armies on the field of battle and he wishes for peace to reign between our two kingdoms." Theodric only stood there for a moment. As he stood there his breath became more and more shallow until he burst into full on laughter.

"Bwahahaha! The great Karl of the Frankish Empire admits defeat to Theodric of Saxony! Do you hear that men? We are victorious, Victory! We have victory!" Theodric shouted at the top of his lungs to the nine thousand men at his back.

"Go back and tell your king we accept his peace." Theodric waved the messenger off, and with a curt nod, the messenger rode off, back to Paris.



The war took just over a year, and at the end Theodric called his son Wichimann into his personal study.

"Son, I am old, I may not look it but I feel far older than I am. My bones ache, my eyes are sore, and my heart falters. I am not long for this world. I have had a great vision of our future. Our people, will be lead from this place, to a new land. There we will forge a kingdom that will last over a thousand years, and our dynasty will go on to rule in ages yet unseen. I beseech you, lead our people West, to the Isles of Britain. Conquer them, and forge our new destiny!" As he finished speaking, Theodric passed away.



Thus began the rise of the Saxon kingdom, and a dynasty that would shape the world.
 
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stnylan

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I find I must smile. Somehow I feel there shall be blood aplenty.
 

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coz1

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An excellent beginning. You set the stage for an epic. And I would not be too much of a perfectionist were I you in your writing. Just put it out there and the story will always come. If I have advice, it is one I have learned the very hard way...proofread as much as possible. Typos are the devil and no matter how many times one re-reads their own work, there is bound to be one more. Every pass helps. :)

Good luck on this adventure! I'll be reading.
 

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Saxons Rise!

His father's words echoed endlessly in his mind. Lead our people to a new land, to a new future! Wichimann mulled over this endlessly. How, how could he, a king of a minor kingdom, ever hope to muster the men and boats required to carry their entire civilization across the waves to a new land. While brooding on his throne a group of Saxons walked buy. Each man was smiling broadly and joking with one another about how much loot they had gotten in their last raid.

"Oh please Wulfgar, finding one small chest of gold is hardly anything to laugh at." One of the men jested, while the other two laughed along with him. The one named Wulfgar did not seem perturbed by this, and only smirked.

"One chest of gold sure, but when that chest of gold is stashed away in the house of a pretty young maiden who preferred to please me than stay where she was is certainly a bonus." As Wulfgar spoke his smile broadened. The other men in the party laughed wildly at learning that Wulfgar had taken a woman as his concubine. Hearing the men talk Wichimann smiled slightly. It was not a common sight to see Saxon men so happy, but to know that something in this world made his men happy made Wichimann happy. Then it struck him, he need not declare open war for the lands, he merely needed to proclaim that it was to be a 'Grand Raid'. Surely then all the peoples from every corner of the Saxon kingdom would flock to his banner. Thus Wichimann set about planning and preparing.

Preparing for, and planning out, such an invasion was not an easy task. For fifteen years Wichimann slowly built up the size of the German Saxon kingdom. With each passing month Wichimann's plans became more and more achievable. The apex of his designs came into being when, on the 7th of November 787 A.D., by Christian accounts, Wichimann declared himself as the Dual King of Saxony and Pomerania. While most in his kingdom did not see the importance, Wichimann knew better, he knew he would need both titles to accomplish his true goals. Yet, even in such prosperous times, Wichimann could not rest.

Finally, on the 6th of January in the year 793 A.D. every thing he had prepared for came into being. Marching defiantly onto the platform in the center of the city of Anhalt. Looking out upon the gathering crowd of onlookers, Wichimann could do nothing but smile.

"Listen, listen one and all. I, King Wichimann, declare a Great Raid against the Kingdom of Mercia. Send word to every corner of the kingdom, let all great Saxon men, and Saxon Shield Maidens, march with me! For conquest! For Glory!" The whole city of Anhalt cheered in excitement. Without waiting for any other word, every person ran with the fleetest of foot to every person they knew, and every corner of the kingdom. A great invasion was called.

For just over a year men, and women, from every part of the kingdom met up in Anhalt. Merchants offered their long boats, and a few legendary warriors even appeared to join in this great raid. Notable families that joined Wichimann on this raid were the Ludolfingers and Billungs, both of which already held prominent lands within the kingdom. However, at the behest of their king, they granted all of their landed titles to him in order to gain new lands at the end of this invasion. So it was, on the 9th of March 794 A.D. a host of nearly forty thousand raiders, and families, boarded nearly three hundred boats, and set sail for the Kingdom of Mercia.

Invasion and Escape!.png


From this point forward, until the end of the major invasion, we will be looking at things from the point of view of the Anglo-Saxon kings who were under threat from this eastern menace.

Queen Ælfflæd of Mercia was a busy woman. From running a small kingdom, to fighting in a war against the Petty Kingdom of Wessex, peace was something that she had not seen in many years. Unfortunately for her ill news was on the horizon. While sieging back the castle in Oxford a messenger from Lincoln arrived at the battle field.

"My queen! Queen Ælfflæd!" Turning to see who was calling her, the Anglo-Saxon queen saw a man, ragged from exhaustion, and a horse which looked that it was about to drop dead. "Queen Ælfflæd, a great host has arrived off the coast of Lincoln. We sent diplomats to them to ask what they desired. They said that they wanted two thousand pounds of sliver and gold." The messenger paused for a moment to catch his breath. In annoyance Ælfflæd eye twiched slightly.

"And? Continue speaking, or find yourself in shackles soon." Queen Ælfflæd's voice was strangely deep for a woman so slim as she. She was a battle hardened woman, who had seen too much of combat in her few years.

"Apologies madam, we payed the hosts leader, a man by the name of Wichimann, all the gold he desired. They took the gold back to their ships, but instead of leaving they butchered the diplomatic delegation and sent their heads back in boxes with a note. They declare war for the Kingdom of Mercia." The messenger's voice went shallow for a moment after saying the words declare war. Queen Ælfflæd's nostrils flared in rage at hearing these words.

"What?!" She bellowed so loudly even the siege garrison of Wessexian men behind the walls heard her. "Withdraw the troops, send word to King Ceridic of Wessex. We can settle our feud later. Now we must call all of the seven kings to aid. War is upon us!"

According to Anglo-Saxon accounts, all seven of the petty kings joined Queen Ælfflæd in the defense of her home. What is surprising is that more than just the Seven Kingdoms fought against the invading Saxons. Archaeological evidence proves that the battles that took place were between the invading Saxons and an unprecedented unified force of Anglo-Saxons, Picts, Welsh, and Irish Chiefs. In total the armies that each side mustered was roughly forty thousand for the Saxons, and nearly twenty-five thousand for the United Force. From this stage on, all battles between the Saxons and the Anglo-Breton alliance will refer to the allied armies as the UF.

The first wave came into the county of Lincoln on the 12th of March 794 A.D.; the first ones on Mercian soil, now called the Vanguard by Saxon historians, quickly lay waste to the county. Sacking and pillaging was in Saxon blood, and it was something that they did incredibly well. One Anglo-Saxon historian recounts the tales as such.

"The air was brisk that day in March. While the air was brisk, a heavy fog lay across the whole of Lincoln. It was out of this fog, like coming from the depths of hell itself, that the Saxons came. On massive ships black as night, with blood red sails. It was a sight to behold, even if they were heathens from hell. With out so much as a warning, the Saxon Longbows unleashed a rain of arrows unlike any seen before. So thick were they that the sky turned momentarily dark. The port town of Humber was the first to fall. The hale of flaming arrows quickly turned the town to ash under their blaze. Surely, under such reckless hate, we men of the Heptarchy can only fight."

While the writings of monks, such as this, are uncommon, it does glean some light on the situation at hand. The Anglo-Saxon peoples saw this invasion by the Tribal Saxon kingdom as the next great threat, and perhaps apocalypse, like the one that brought down the Western Roman Empire. A few weeks after the invasion of Humber the rest of the Saxon army arrived on the shores of Mercia. According to historical records, before the introduction of the Arian-Saxon script, the great heathen host went from city to city, castle to castle, and monastery to monastery, sacking and looting. Finally everything came to a head with the final, great battle. In the capital of Mercia the great heathen host, whos numbers still counted in the tens of thousands, faced down a UF army of nearly twenty thousand. The UF army had one major thing on their side, numbers. However Wichimann was no fool. Numbers were only as good as the terrain they stood on. At the start of the battle the UF charged head long towards the Saxon line. It was at this time that Wichimann sprung the trap he had lay.

According the historical records, the night before the battle, Wichimann set up several hundred hidden stakes. While these stakes were not extremely large, they were numerous. As the UF army charged forth a couple hundred light longbows burst out of trenches just behind the stakes and pulled them from the grass covering them. While some of the men of the UF army colided with the stakes, most of the others went around and between. From what military historians can tell, although military was never Wichimann's forte, he knew enough that the tighter the space the easier it is to defend. Rushing forward his heavy Saxon Spears, Wichimann's soldiers created a perfect U shape, while still keeping their shields interlocked.

It was at this point that Wichimann's true plan could be implemented. As stated before he was no fool, and placed the hidden stakes right between a narrow section of dense forest. It was from this forest that thousands of Saxon raiders came charging out. The raiders crashed into the exposed flanks of the UF constricting their movement even more. While this was annoying for the UF, their numbers were just so large that even this would not stop them, and Wichimann knew this. While the battle raged a detachment of, from what records and archaeology can tell us, roughly five to six hundred Saxon Heavy Cavalry came charging out of a thicket behind enemy lines. With that rear charge the battle lines of the UF began to quickly collapse. Using what he could, Wichimann had recreated the famous double envelopment with just about half of the UF army size.

According to Anglo-Saxon records it was after the battle, now called the Battle of Mercia, that Queen Ælfflæd walked the fields of dead. Seeing her armies shattered had broken something in her. Her will to fight was lost and she no longer had the desire to continue. Walking up to Wichimann, who was sitting on his travel throne, she knelt before the king and offered him her sword. The monks wrote about the occurrence as such, "Queen Ælfflæd, having been thoroughly routed and defeated, knelt before the victorious Wichimann and held out her ancestral family sword. She spoke these words 'I, Queen Ælfflæd, concede defeat to you, King Wichimann. You have bested my armies, and my allies. You have laid low my keeps, and burned my fields. I surrender everything I hold claim over to you.' ."

While it cannot be certain that these are the exact words that she said, likely not as this seems to be propaganda about her from a later date, it cannot be said that she simply faded into obscurity. While yes King Wichimann came into power and held dominion over much of modern day Saxony, it cannot be said that he was cruel. Although defeated, many of the Anglo-Saxon nobles were allowed to keep the lands within their respective kingdoms, only handing over land that was personally demanded by King Wichimann.

The Saxons Rise!.png


Thus it was, the first Saxon Kingdom arose. In keeping with his original plan, High King Wichimann abandoned the lands of northern Germany and granted them to a High Chief of the, now independent, High Chiefdom of Pomerania. It should be noted that this Saxon kingdom is actually the first iteration of many. This era of Saxon rule was actually called the Twin Faiths period. This is predominately due to the fact that the Anglo-Saxon petty kings still ruled much of the land, but they shared power with the Saxon High Chiefs; all of whom served underneath the Saxon High King. For the next thirty years there isn't much change. Gradual expansion by High King Wichimann into neighboring lands, and raids across the sea. However there is one thing of note, according to Saxon runes, and the later development of what we now call the Arian-Saxon language, the raiding of High King Wichimann took him, and his loyal followers through many major rivers into the region of the world that we today call Iran. Coming back from a raid there brought with them not only riches but also strange books that spoke of a philosophy that would, in later kings, find a sympathetic ear.

Interest in Zoroaster.png


For the next thirty-eight years High King Wichimann ruled over the Anglo-Saxons and Pure Saxons with a benevolent hand, and kind heart. This lead to one of the most stable time periods in all of the Isles history. Even though his rule was not absolute across the entire isles, the long arm of Saxony had only just begun to flex its muscles. Only time would tell how powerful they would truly become. However High King Wichimann was not immortal, and all men must die some day. Thus it was, on the 1st of April 813 A.D., or 38 N.S. (New Saxony Calendar), High King Wichimann passed from the mortal world, leaving behind his capable son Henneke in charge.


Wichimann's Death.png


Here is the current state of the Saxon Kingdom.
ck2_1.png
 
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Brings a new meaning to the phrase "Saxon England" :D
 

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The Lion of the North

The death of Wichimann left the young King Henneke in charge. While Henneke was young, he was far from inexperienced. Having been on multiple raids and being educated under the best tutors, he had proven himself a truly brilliant strategist. However his prowess on the field of battle was matched, in some ways exceeded, by his skill with words. Some sources say that even at a young age, he was using words more than fists to win against his opponents. While this cannot be verified, it is known that he was well loved; from what we can tell, he was able to sway a crowd with little more than a few words. Although there aren't many texts dealing with his diplomatic skill, his wife wrote much. His wife, Adelheid, was only 14 when she met Henneke, but she was more of a scholar than her future husband. Although Henneke did not have much written about him by contemporary scholars, Adelheid was a prolific writer, and wrote many books about both herself and her husband.

Adelheid was the daughter of the first foreigner to set foot on West Saxon soil. Adelheid's mother was a prisoner captured by High King Wichimann during a raid into the region of modern day Iran. Many great and grand things were brought back from this raid, from ornate gold carvings, to multiple philosophical books on every topic from Science and Medicine to the Metaphysical. The greatest prize however, was a beautiful, and intelligent woman, who claimed to be a member of the Karen dynasty. The validity of this statement cannot be verified, as not even Adelheid knew if it was true that she was the member of a great Persian dynasty.

From what we can dig up on this elusive woman, named Safa according to some texts, was a quick study and, although little more than a Thrall under High King Wichimann, swiftly worked her way up to the personal adviser to the High King. So enthralling was she, that she drew the eye of the king's younger brother. In little under a year the two of them were married. It was out of this union that the future High Queen of the West Saxon Kingdom would be born.

Although Adelheid was Saxon blood, through and through, her education came not from her father, who was too often out in the wilderness speaking in tongues to himself, but rather her diligent mother. It was through her mother's education that Adelheid learned both Saxon and Persian tongues, studied the philosophical texts of the east, and fell in love with, eventually converting too, Zoroastrianism. Although many of her Saxon comrades were staunch believers in the pantheon of Wodan, the All Father, they had little care for what everyone else practiced. It was a cultural belief, that religion was the prospect of each person, not the state. Adilheid could see this, but aside from children who could be educated otherwise, it was difficult to talk to anyone about her faith, until she met her cousin, and future High King, Henneke.

According to scholars and monks of the day, Henneke was considered both attractive and intelligent for his time. Due to his superior intellect, he would often seclude himself in his personal room studying dusty old Saxon tomes on different topics. According to tales about him the books he loved the most were the ones brought back from Iran. From the stories written about him, and how both he and Adilheid met went as such:

'He (High King Henneke) could not read the elegant script, in spite of this it always enthralled him to simply look at the pages endlessly day after day. On his 18th birthday, while looking at one of the Persian tomes, he was approached by someone he did not expect. I, Adelheid, had noticed that he was staring at the book sitting in his lap.
Walking up to him, I softly spoke up, so as not to startle him. "Ah, one of the Andarz texts. A book of wisdom written by the ancient Persians. It is a good read, it talks much of the fate of man." I paused momentarily, looking up from the book and at Henneke, I saw, what I can only described as, stars in his eyes.

This is a slight break in the story as, although we cannot be one hundred percent verify the truth of these stories, Adilheid seemed genuinely interested in her cousins academic pursuits. Now back to the tale.

Henneke was, for lack of a better word, enthralled with my knowledge. I offered to teach him all about the language of my mother's people. He gleefully accepted and the next day we began intensive study of the language. I was impressed with how quickly he picked up the language, and within a few months he was speaking like a native Persian. It was during this time that I began to notice other things about him, his physique, his intellect, and his handsome features. I could not help myself but fall completely and utterly in love with him. I know that he must have fallen in love with me as well, since, on the 11th of May he requested my hand in marriage.

Teachings of Zoroaster.png


The story of how these two met is cut off here, for what reason is not known. What is likely though is that the book, having been made over twelve hundred years ago, simply lost pages to time before modern historians could save it. This union between Henneke and Adelheid would be one of the most historic unions in all of Saxon history. This one marriage not only altered the entire course of history for the West Saxon nation, it also helped to alter the course of European history. A few days after the marriage High King Henneke did something completely unheard of in all of Saxon history; he willingly changed his faith.

Embraceing the Light.png


After this conversion things began to drastically shift for the whole of the West Saxon kingdom. Everyone within the Kingdom, both the Anglo-Saxon Kings, and the Pure Saxon High Chiefs, quickly followed suite to their king. One after another would convert to Zoroastrianism, either out of dedication to their High King, or out of true, and deep love of this new faith. What cannot be said is that every one of them converted willingly. Although Henneke never forced anything on anyone, he did have some trouble converting some of the Anglo-Saxons, who had been staunch Christians since before the Saxon invasion, to this new, enlightened, faith. What is known though, through surviving letters sent between High King Henneke, and his vassals, is that if one of his vassals didn't convert, he would invite them to a feast. He had a special feast for each individual who came to his Great Hall. The impressive feats that High King Henneke was able pull off with only his words was put on full display at these parties. We are fortunate to have a single transcript of one of the conversations Henneke had with a particularly unruly vassal, Queen Æfentid.

'
"So, Queen Æfentid, what about Christ has you so beholden to his laws?" High King Henneke looked at Æfentid with a pleasant smile. Although High King Henneke attempted to woo her with his charm, Queen Æfentid seemed unfazed.

"High King Henneke, I have no desire to damn my soul to hell because my faith in God lapsed for even a moment. It is through him, and only him, that we can seek salvation." Queen Æfentid held her head high in defiance to Henneke's command of the room.

"I see, well I do not ask you to abandon your faith, I merely ask that you consider that, perhaps, you are not abandoning God and his teachings. If you look, much of the rules laid out by Jesus is nearly identical to the Prophet Zarathustra. Like this one, 'If you meet someone on the street you are to treat him as your brother and offer him what you can.' The prophet Zarathustra said a very similar thing, 'The wisdom of Ahura Mazda teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters, that none should be looked at as enemy.' "

Their conversation continues on like this for a few hours. At the end of their little soirée, Queen Æfentid left the Great Hall convinced that Zoroastrianism, and the teachings of Zarathustra, were the right choice and happily converted. Although this new faith was embraced by the rulers, they were still Saxons. From what we can understand, Henneke took a party of about seven thousand men on some boats and began raiding the Frankish coast. Although it was not common practice, it seems that Henneke did this as a celebration of his marriage, and to prove that a change in faith would not mean a change in Saxon blood.

Saxon Blood Runs Strong.png


It was shortly after this that Henneke remembered his late, and dear, father. Unsure of what to do with the former High King's body, Henneke had the body wrapped in a thick death cloth, and placed in a coffin full of vinegar to preserve the corpse. However, now knowing about, and being a devoted follower of the teachings of Zarathustra, Henneke knew just what to do with his fathers body. Placing the body on a cart drawn by a pure white horse, Henneke, along with his wife Adelheid, and a small entourage of warriors, and marched across the entirety of the kingdom until they reached the Welsh mountains.

Proper Funerary Rights.png


The Welsh mountains were shockingly beautiful. Setting up camp near a small lake within the mountains, Henneke and his entourage surveyed each mountain peak before deciding on which one to place the former High King upon.

Burial Moutains.jpg


To the Moutains in Wales.png


According to Adelheid, while walking away from the moutain, Henneke let a small tear fall from his eye. She later goes on to say that 'He (Henneke) and his father had a great relationship, and knowing that he was finally laying his father to rest was simply too much'. What is an interesting thing though is that, from what Adelheid says, 'His (Henneke's) sadness was so great that he drew the attention of a beautiful Bearded Vulture. This bird followed us for some miles before Henneke decided to accept its company, and bring it back to the Great Hall of Havering.'

Pet Bearded Vulture.png


Bearded Vulture.jpg


For the next twenty three years High King Henneke ruled over the ever expanding kingdom of Saxony. Due to his rapid expansion into the entirety of the island of Ireland, he was given the nickname 'The Lion'. It seemed nothing could stop the tenacious, and powerful, Saxon ruler Henneke. For the longest time they were right, nothing could stop the expanse of the Saxon kingdom. That was until a fateful night. From what records show, High King Henneke was found dead in his room, with a knife through the heart. According to his faithful wife Adelheid, a few days prior to his death an Italian monk, by the name of Augusto, arrived in Saxony on a pilgrimage to the holy site of Cambridge. Stopping for a few days in the city of London, he just so happened to run into High King Henneke. After talking for a few hours the two returned to the Great Hall. It was two days after that fateful meeting, on April 10th 836 that High King Henneke was found dead. From what Adelheid says, the guards who discovered his body didn't see any sign of anyone else in the room. The only other thing out of place was a finished game of chess. White had won, and going off of the report, the monk Augusto vanished that very same night.

A Challenge of Chess.png


Although the death of the Lion of the North was unfortunate, the laws he passed in his life kept the whole of the Saxon kingdom united under his heir and son Wlencing. Although not as great as his father, he was still skilled in many fields, and had a very respectable education. Only time would tell if he could bring the Saxon Kingdom to even greater heights.

The Lion Falls.png


The Saxon Kingdom at the death of Henneke the Lion.
Saxon Kingdom 11 April 836.png

 

stnylan

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A Zoroastrian Britain is quite fun.
 

Teutonic King

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A Zoroastrian Britain is quite fun.
I only wish Zoroastrianism in CK2 had more flavor events. I had to go in a mod the game to make it less boring. Because a Zoroastrian Britain, with Saxon Culture, than can't raid.... that is just dull.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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An intriguing twist on an already intriguing twist. ;)
 

The Number 9

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Interesting, I can't say a Saxon Zoroastrian Britain is common. :)
I read all parts in a row, and surely you'll see me from time to time here.
 

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With Saxon Blood

It is said that 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned', well that saying is just that, there is no basis for it. What is true though is another saying, 'Foolish be the man who draws Saxon blood'. This was especially true for the assassin, or rather his employer, that killed High King Henneke. Wlencing, Henneke's son, and new High King to the West Saxons, was a clever man. He, unlike many of his predecessors, was not nearly as interested in raiding and conquest. What interested him the most was information. Wlencing was trained in espionage, not war, and in that field he was an exceptional student. Wlencing did many things as High King of Saxony, but something that cannot be understated was his impact on the language, and writing system, of the West Saxons.

Being trained in espionage, Wlencing was aware that letters could be intercepted so, to keep any secret missives safe, he created a brand new language. Teaching this language to a select few, they would arrived a couple of days after the letter to read it to the intended recipient. This new, created, language was in fact a form of Proto Arian-Saxon tongue. It was out of this language that our modern Arian-Saxon, now just called West Saxon, would be created. Too few of these letters sent by High King Wlencing remain, as it was protocol to burn the letters after reading, but we are fortunate that a few remain. The most important of these letters was a back and forth between High King Wlencing and, strangely enough, the Umayyad ruler of Hispania. The letter reads a follows:

From High King Wlencing "Hale, and good tidings Jalil, Ruler of Spain and Morroco, lord of Western Muslims. I am writing to you in the hopes that this letter finds you in good spirits. My father, High King Henneke, has been murdered. As of yet, we have been unable to locate any solid evidence as to who might have had him killed. However we suspect an Italian hand. My sources tell me that you had a recent sibling who was murdered in a mysterious way, is that accurate?"

From Jalil Ibin Muhammad of the Umayyad Empire "Greetings High King Wlencing, yes, your sources have informed you correctly, my older brother was murdered by an Italian assassin..."

Some of these letters are only partials, as time has worn much of the writing and paper away. That being said, these letters went on for a while, about three months in fact. In that time the two had come to a similar conclusion, the one who ordered the murder of both people was none other than Pope Anastasius III, so called 'The Holy'. From what records Wlencing kept, it appears that both High King Henneke and Jalil's older brother were threats made by this Pope. The commonly held belief was that Pope Anastasius III called for the death of both High King Henneke and the Umayyad son out of payment for the constant wars declared on the good Catholics. At hearing this, it is said, that High King Wlencing became infuriated. From what records we have, Wlencing kept his anger well hidden, only revealing it on the journey to the Welsh mountains, now a common burial place for all Saxon Zoroastrians.

The Burial of Henneke.png


We know that along the way to the mountains there was a horrid storm. A perfect combination of warm waters coming up from the south, and cold winds falling down from the north, bred this powerful storm. We know this storm occurred because the monk traveling with Wlencing wrote down everything that happened on their routine journey.

Wlencing Expalins Henneke's Death.png


'My High King had been troubled for some time, although about what no one really knew, until that fateful day in the tents near the foot hills of the Welsh mountains.' The monk goes on to explain how, as Wlencing tells it, out of revenge for the constant conquest, and subsequent conversion of the good Catholics of Pechtland and Iraland, that the highest religious authority of Christendom, the Pope, sent out an assassin to kill High King Henneke. This, from what records we have, sent every Saxon from the furthest reaches of Orkney, and to the most western territories of Connacht, into an unimaginable rage.

Harnessing this rage, High King Wlencing called for a raid to capture and place Pope Anastasius III on trial in Saxon court. Wlencing had expected to get a mere five to six thousand solders. Much to his surprise, the numbers were far greater. By modern archaeological evidence, the total number of troops was somewhere between thirteen to seventeen thousand. Boarding the hundreds of boats, remnants of the great Saxon Migration, they sailed head long towards the Italian peninsula, head long towards Rome.

We do have very good records of the raid, in what is called 'The Year of Punishment', by Italian historians. Within that year the papal lands were not only stricken with small pox, which were devastating in of itself, but they were invaded by, what some contemporaries called, A great "Saxon Sea". It must have been a terrifying sight, to see nearly three hundred Saxon transport ships, carrying almost seventeen thousand angry Saxons, beach upon the shores just outside of the grand city of Rome.

Vengance!.png


Fearing for his safety, the Pope fled Rome. Looking at records, the Pope had apparently hoped to muster enough men to slay the Saxon raiders. With the Pope, and his papal armies gone, Wlencing and his men quickly invaded occupying the city of Rome and the Holy See. From what Italian sources say, after expelling the college of cardinals from the Holy See, Wlencing sat upon the pope's throne awaiting his return. On the third day, an emissary of the Holy Pontiff went to meet with Wlencing. The emissaries account of the meeting is as follows:

"The High King of the Saxons sat upon the Papal Throne with an air of nobility that few men could muster. Unlike many, who relax in thrones or chairs, this man had perfect, upright posture. This only helped to increase the stature of his already imposing frame. Clothed in Saxon garb, with a regal White Bear Skin cloak draped around his shoulders, he looked more at home on a throne than any man I had ever seen. I approached him with extreme trepidation, for within the halls of the Holy See, were hundreds of Saxon guards, each more terrifying than the last. While some feasted at the tables, others merely stood at Wlencing's sides, ever ready, ever on guard. 'Hail, I am an emissary to His Excellency, the Pope. I bring word, and good tidings. The Pontiff requests that you depart from the City of Rome at once, and in exchange he will grant you ten thousand pounds of gold from the Papal treasury.'

I had hoped that the promise of gold and good will would bring these Barbarous men of the North to leave, but it only made the High King laugh. His response was short, but important. 'I do not care for your damned gold, I want the one who had my father murdered. I want Pope Anastasius III, he will be brought back to Saxon Lands to face judgement in our courts.'

After hearing his words I was perplexed, to come so far for someone who is no longer among the living is strange. Thus I told him as much. 'My great lord, you must be mistaken, I serve Pope Augustus II. Pope Anastasius III passed away due to the affliction some weeks ago.'

A stolen Prize.png


Having said those words I immediately regretted it, as the High King's face went from light and jovial to dark, and full of rage.

'What?!' The High King bellowed. 'He has died? Fine then, if your god seeks to protect his voice on earth from Saxon justice, then all of Christendom shall pay, starting with your fabled city. Go back and tell your master that the Saxons are here, and we are going to burn it all to the ground!' With that I bolted out of the hall, only to see an ax thrown past my head and lodging itself in the wall in front of me.

That is the end of letter written by the Papal diplomat, however it is true that shortly after the date of this letter, the city of Rome was put to sword by the Saxons. Although the numbers cannot be confirmed, it is believed that somewhere between ten to fifteen thousand people were either massacred or put onto boats to be used as Thralls in the two days following. True to his word, High King Wlencing went on the most bloody and violent conquests across christian lands that had not been seen since the Barbarian Germanic tribes invaded the dying Western Roman Empire. From heavy raids deep into Christian territory, to the conquest, and subsequent establishment of the Kingdoms of Brittany and Friesland, huge swaths of land along the coast were carved away and turned into Zoroastrian strongholds. In fact many famous castles were constructed by High King Wlencing, to be used as fortresses in the event of an attempted christian reconquest.

Wlencing's pre-planning had payed off, for the Christians did come back, and with an intent to fully occupy, and retake both kingdoms of Brittany and Friesland for themselves. However High King Wlencing was not one to abandon those he had made a promise to, and quickly brought his armies to bare against any enemies of the Zoroastrian faithful. In good time too, as before the Saxon armies arrived, the Zoroastrian nation of Friesland was quickly being overrun by enemies from all sides.

Aid for the Zoroastrian Kin.png


Battle after battle was lost to the Frankish kings, and I do mean Frankish. The kings of France had not yet adopted the growing popularity of French, instead preferring their native tongue. With overwhelming numbers, and superior soldiers, High King Wlencing utterly crushed his enemies and, almost single-handedly crushed the Frankish will to fight. However not everything was going as smoothly as one might hope. For within the Saxon realm trouble was brewing, and dissent was slowly growing within the Saxon isles.

The last Anglo-Saxon rulers, though few in number, had been gradually building support for their cause. So great, and far reaching was their support that even pure blooded saxons, such as the Billungs, a family who had come across the sea with High King Wichimann, joined in with the Anglo-Saxon cause. Then, on the 20th of May, 861 they declared that they, along with their allies, were now in open revolt.

Revolts against Saxon Rule.png


A letter sent to High King Wlencing, who was busy sieging a Frankish owned castle in the province of Amiens Francia, reads as follows:
"High King Wlencing, for too long we, the Anglo-Saxons, have chaffed under restrictive laws. For too long, our way of life has been put under stress by your Pro Saxon, Anti Anglo-Saxon laws. I, Cissa, lead this rebellion, so come and muster your armies."

This conflict of ideals, a conflict of law, was a direct response to Wlencing's ever growing power. Many of the Petty Kings and Petty Chiefs were concerned with the power that High King Wlencing was now accumulating. Some felt that, as High King, he was allowed such power, but not so much as to usurp their own lands at a whim. We alive today require such centralized power and, even if you don't think we need it, centralized power helps to keep nations alive. The same could not be said for the Early and Late middle ages, in fact it was not uncommon for many dukes to do as they please within their own domain. So living in such an era, where the entirety of laws and judgement was centralized out of the Great Hall of Havering, must have felt like an extreme infringement on the personal freedoms of the Petty Kings and Chiefs.

Needless to say the war took place like any other, and to the High Kings banner, tens of thousands flocked. After mustering a force of nearly twelve thousand men, High King Wlencing lead the army himself to the lands of Lothain, to confront Cissa. With a swiftness and brutality that had become synonymous with Saxon, the forts and cities of Lothain were sieged and the defenders put to death. Either by sword, fire, or rope, any who revolted against Saxon rule was severely punished, be they Pure or Anglo. This rebellion, now called the 'Rebellion of Tears' was to be swiftly completed, but not before many a great Saxon Heroes would lay dead on Saxon soil. Chief among these heroes would be High King Wlencing himself.

According to later scholars who wrote about the battle, and Wlencing's sacrifice, they state that, although with superior numbers, High King Wlencing was too impatient, a striking comment considering Wlencing was known to be a very patient man. Apparently, in his wish to end the war quickly, and spare more Saxon blood, he charged head long with a contingent of Huscarl's straight into enemy lines, straight for Petty King Cissa. With the ferocity of a bear, he tore through the enemy lines only to find out too late that it was a trap. While he had broken through, the rest of his Huscarl bodyguard were pushed back, and he was left alone to face Cissa. Surrounded on all sides by those loyal to Cissa, Wlencing knew he only had one option, to fight. Although much of what is told to us should be taken with a grain of salt, considering the historian who wrote about it was born nearly three hundred years after the battle. It is known that, on the 14th of November 862, a day that will always be celebrated as the martyrdom of one of the greatest rulers in all of Saxon history, that High King Wlencing was laid low by Petty King Cissa of the field of battle.

A Good Death.png


Although High King Wlencing was killed, this only strengthen the resolve of Wlencing's army. In spite of their High King's death, a crushing victory was won by the royal army that day. Fortunately the Kingdom was well secured by the ascension of one of our more famous king, High King Theoden I. The story of Theoden is one that is well known and will be told to all who are born under the Saxon flag as long as Saxony shall remain.
 

stnylan

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I am not quite sure the chronicle as it right when it says he never lost his temper :D

A bloody business, and the situation of the son is not easy. Not easy at all.
 

volksmarschall

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Wonderful, truly wonderful! Great work. Fantastic. Nice layout, blending of styles, and narrative twists! :cool:

Keep it up. Will be definitely have to keep up as you run with this.
Cheers!
 

The Number 9

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A really nice update. :)

The situation could be hard (a regency during a war), but it seems this young king will become very famous. I'm eager to see how !