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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ramidel

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The Khazars' implosion was suitably dramatic. Too bad Syrka's too distracted to personally get involved.
 
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Dunaden

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Syrka really is facing quite a few internal difficulties. These intrigues must be making for many an unrestful night
There are too many plots and intrigue. So far none of the plots driected at him have born fruit, but he is definitely angry and frustrated and has decided he needs to act decisively.


This is not good. I would hate to be on the other side of Syrka's wrath.
Syrka's rage will become manifest.


Poor Syrka, he is too good a man for the throne. I fear that mercy will not serve him well, especially now with Tutyra as heir.
I’m also confused as to why everyone has it out for him. Maybe they are angry that the puppet has lost his strings?
Having two ambitious sons is also not a great indicator of stability, I hope none of them will join in the myriad plots popping up.
Oh...oh dear. A council full of traitors and another plot on his life. Is this how Syrka snaps?
Syrka has decided mercy is no longer serving him.
The High CHief of Tver has the traits lustful, gluttonous, greedy and lazy I think, so he is just a bad seed and is mad he is no longer the frontrunner to be King. High Chief Salinder is ambitious, plus he has another reason that I have not discussed yet, because Syrka isn't aware of it, but you can see it if you look closely at some of the previous screenshots of the High Chief.
His sons haven't joined any plots yet, and they haven't had much power, but that will be changing, the power part.
Yes this is how Syrka snaps.


Whoa! Two murder plots against the king. What is King Syrka's personal intrigue? Does anyone know how plot power is determined? My theory has the target's intrigue score as one of the largest factors. (I am semi-bitter. This week, I lost a zero intrigue ruler after one week on the job, due to suspicious circumstances.) @Dunaden, thank you for writing, be safe and happy.
Syrka's intrigue is three and he hasn't had a really great spymaster since he lost Mastorava, so he isn't well protected form plots, yet so far he has survived, because his spymasters have at least detected the plots.
Plot power is definitely based upon all the plotters combined intrigue versus the target's and target's spymaster's intrigue but I don't know exactly how it is calculated.
Thank you for reading and commenting!

The Khazars' implosion was suitably dramatic. Too bad Syrka's too distracted to personally get involved.
Yeah Khazaria's fall, that escalated quickly. But yes Syrka has more presssing worries so can't take further advantage of the chaos to the south.
 
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975-977 Picking Fights and Ending Quarrels (The Tver and Nidaros Revolts)

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975-977 Picking Fights and Ending Quarrels (The Tver and Nidaros Revolts)

Syrka had let the earlier plots against him go, doing just enough to thwart them without punishing anyone, but he had had enough. High Chief Salinder was determined to move against him, joining every plot and faction, his threat needed to be dealt with. And High Chief Nuyaksha of Tver was simply too powerful to ignore. Right now, he just had High Chief Salinder working with him, but if even only a few more vassals joined him, they could rival Syrka’s strength. Syrka wasted no time and ordered the immediate arrest of High Chief Nuyaksh of Tver. High Chief Salinder would be next, but Tver was the greater threat.

He didn’t expect Nuyaksha to come quietly, but there was a small chance he might be reasonable and want to avoid bloodshed. Syrka was already putting the Merry Men on notice and raising his levys before he received word that Nuyaksha had refused the ‘invitation’ to Yaroslavl and was raising his own men in revolt. Syrka called in his vassals, five refused, four of those were ones who had plotted against Syrka and the fifth was his ward, High Chief Suni of Iceland, whose distance away was used as the excuse by his regent.






The High Chief of Tver held vast lands, but alone, he can't match Syrka when he had the support of the bulk of his vassals. There was a first skirmish in Uglich which was quickly won. Syrka ordered his army to focus on de jure Tver lands first.




Nuyaksha called on his own vassals to join the revolt. They answered their liege and would pay the price. The first vassal war band is caught in Zubtsov before it can join up with the main rebel army and is slaughtered. Zubtsov itself is soon taken in a siege, to prevent any further support being raised for the rebels.

But Zubtsov was just a side show, the main Meryan armies had marched straight to the capitol of Tver, Kashin, and put in under siege. Not long after Zubtsov is taken, Kashin falls as well. High Chief Nuyaksha's family is captured. While the prisoners are being sorted out and sent to Yaroslavl, the temple of Yesinka is also taken. All together Syrka holds eight of Nuyaksha’s immediate family members, including his heir, Shoksha, and his brother, Velmayka. Syrka opens negotiations, demanding unconditional surrender. Nuyaksha is still in shock by the speed and savagery of Syrka’s response and the capture of his family. He surrenders himself to Syrka’s men, not wanting his family to suffer for his defiance, and just like that the revolt is over. Nuyaksha is sent straight to the deepest hole of Syrka’s dungeons, but he is not forgotten. Syrka just needs to deal with the other traitor first.





With Nuyaksha in jail, Syrka looks to other plotter, War Chief Salinder of Nidaros. Salinder fled Yaroslavl before he can be arrested, starting a new revolt. Syrka had expected this and almost welcomed it. He wanted to rain destruction down on his enemy. He calls his vassals to war again, and this time everyone joins war, except Chief Pakstyan of Novogorodek, the former conspirator from the earlier abandoned plots.






Syrka doesn’t expect this war to be over nearly as quick, though High Chief Salinder lacks Nuyaksha’s man power, his lands stretch from Bjarmia in the east to Nidaros on the western coast of Norway, with his capitol almost a year’s march from Yaroslavl, it would take time to bring him to heel. The hero Pokshayka Kreuzburgid, is promoted from commander to War Chief and put in charge of hunting down his predecessor, his loyalty is unquestioned. They will first capture Salinder’s lands in Bjarmia before heading north on the long trek to Nidaros.



There is little else Syrka can do in Yaroslavl except wait for news. He regrets only that his gout ridden body will prevent him from being there when Salinder is captured. So, he turns to other tasks.

The biggest news and perhaps the next concern is that the Vladimir-Nenetsia Subjugation war is over. King Purysho 'the Monster ' of Vladimir has won his war. The former King Khaireddin is now just Chief of Votyaki and three other Chiefdoms, a vassal to King Purysho. Purysho has claimed the crowns of both Nenetsia and Novgorod to add to that of Vladimir. Will his ambitions drive him to go after the greater crown of Merya? Syrka is already thinking of ways to forestall that, but he feels he has some time. King Purysho ‘the Monster’ is, not surprisingly, not loved by his people, both his original and new vassals. He may need to spend sometime strengthing his internal rule, before taking another step to expand further.





A proposal arrives to marry Syrka’s oldest son, Tunya, matrilineally to Upurgas Kardazid , the heir to Rusa. Syrka agrees, it would give him grandchildren with the blood of Erziya 'the Bold', they wouldn’t be considered 'poor' cousins any longer.




Syrka’s longest serving commander Ovtay, dies of a natural death at 72. New commanders are promoted, starting with Syrka’s son Ozheg, as well as High Chief Vechkas of Velsk and High Chief Çortah 'the Kind', a former conspirator. Syrka also takes the opportunity to fill two open Venerable elder positions. High Chief Çortah 'the Kind' is given that honor of Venerable elder as well, along with Chief Shindyay of Smolensk.

Syrka's son Kinyak dies at 16. He was always a weak, sickly boy, but Syrka still wasn’t ready to lose him and grieves. Syrka spends a lot of time working in his garden to deal with his grief. Well not exactly working, but supervising the gardeners from his chair, watching them transform the garden. The garden is doing well, well managed.





While Syrka worked on his garden, his warriors continued the war. Kuloy and then Bjarmia fall in siege, then the Meryan armies faced the long march through Suomi north to reach the rest of High Chief Salinder’s lands, to avoid raising the ire of the neighboring King, the Meryans broke in to smaller bands to cross Suomi to avoid stretching the local resources too thin. One of these warbands in Suomi met High Chief Salinder at Viena coming south with his own army. The Battle of Viena in Suomi saw High Chief Parush of Veliky Ustug squaring off against Salinder of Nidaros and led to an overwhelming victory, th Nidaros losing 600 men, a third of their army and Merya losing less 100 men altogether. The victorious Meryans then lay siege to Nidaros’ eastern province of Kantalahti after a brief skirmish with one of Salinder’s vassals. While that army lay siege to Kantalahti, the other warbands continued west toward Westrobothnia, where they met up with the fleeing Nidaros army. The Battle of Westrobothnia was another defeat for High Chief Salinder.








While that action had been going on across Suomi, further west, High Chief Suni of Iceland’s men had gathered in his county of Nidaros and launched their attack on the High Chief Salinder’s capitol of Namudal and captured it. They then moved east to lay siege to Jämtland. When Syrka hears of Iceland’s successful efforts on his behalf, he offers his ward, High Chief Suni, the beautiful Tekay of Udine as his bride. Suni accepts the betrothal, he is almost of age and will take her with him when he returns home.





As Syrka awaits for new word from his warriors in Scandinavia, he hears some other tidbits of news he finds interesting. The first was a local story, it appears Snorri Luks a Norseman from the Meryan Chiefdom of Nordland has raised a host and leading them to press his claim on all of Sweden. He is attacking the Polish King of Sweden, King Gosciwuj 'the Hunter' Polan, one of the last Slavic Kings. Syrka doesn’t think he’ll have much luck if even half of Sweden’s allies send support.




The other bit of news seemed even more farfetched. Apparently, some former slave of the Turks had escaped to some distant city in fabled Hindustan and was said to have raised an army of some 50,000 men and defeated the local king, or Maharaja as they were called, in a brutal war. He was called Sabuktigin ‘the Conqueror’ of Multan, of the new house Ghaznavid. And the rumors or fairy tales were saying he was returning to the west for vengeance and conquest.




Syrka just shook his head in amazement, such imagination, an army of 50,000 men. News of his own war soon caught his interest again. The siege of Kantalahti and Westrobothnia had been won and the Meryan armies had converged on the last of Nidaros’ free lands. High Chief Salinder made one last attempt to drive off the Syrka’s warriors but was defeated at Nordland. Nordland itself was soon captured and Salinder had nowhere else to run. He soon surrendered; the war was over.




It took months to return him to Yaroslavl, but he then joined High Chief Nuyaksha of Tver in the dark hole of Syrka’s dungeon. During that time, High Chief Suni of Iceland came of age and immediately called in the old favor he is was owed, to become War Chief. Syrka allowed it and Pokshayka Kreuzburgid is forced to step down. And Syrka’s son Ozheg and and his wife Sbyslava give Syrka another granddaughter, Sangasa. Uzhara Uzharid has son with Tetyava 'the Merry", named Tikshayka Uzharid, and a daughter is born to Skornand and Sanl'ka, named Cherava Vidins.






Syrka’s son Tutyra was invited to become the new Chief of Peresylavl Zalesky, which he accepted, making him a vassal in the Kingdom of Vladimir. And another of Syrka’s sons comes of age, Viryas. Syrka arranges his marriage to Yikshayka Torzhokid.







Now that Syrka has his two most dangerous enemies locked away, he now has to decide what to do with them.
 
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Ramidel

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Clearly, the stress of ruling so much land has driven these lords insane, to think they can mess with King Syrka. Perhaps you should help them with that.
 
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Syrka may well marvel at 50,000 - given the relatively sparse population of Merya it no doubt seems strange. But ... if Merya holds together in a few centuries' time :D

As to our two prisoners, it is a bother that it came to this, but one things putting them in a hole in the ground would not be bad.
 
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The Icelandic Viking is one of the best rounded rulers that I have seen. Everything is good to very good (12-15), but nothing is super. It is a shame that he only received a two star education. With a four star, an Icelandic Viking might find what lies beyond the edge of the map. What is Syrka's education? Syrka's sons have excellent military minds. Hopefully, the Indian Bedouin Myth will stay to the south. Congrats on capturing the evil ones. Hopefully, time in the hole and on the rack will restore harmony to their souls and remove decadence from their lives. At the minimum, their night vision and posture will improve. Thank you for writing and please be safe.
 

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I wouldn't want to be one of the vassals who refused the call. A storm is coming now that the war is over.
Nuyaksha will not have a great time waiting for retribution and certainly an even worse time once Syrka has chosen a suitable punishment.
Such a broken Vladimir is not going to be very stable especially if one considers three kingdoms each with their own elections to run.
Çortah 'the Kind' is being treated quite well despite his conspiracy, maybe Syrka has not lost all trust.
Interesting that Tutyra would accept a title all the way in Vladimir, might some deeper plan be in the works.
 
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Clearly, the stress of ruling so much land has driven these lords insane, to think they can mess with King Syrka. Perhaps you should help them with that.
They have definitely over extended themselves and forgot their place. Syrka will provide them with a permanent retirement home, free of responsibility.


Syrka may well marvel at 50,000 - given the relatively sparse population of Merya it no doubt seems strange. But ... if Merya holds together in a few centuries' time :D

As to our two prisoners, it is a bother that it came to this, but one things putting them in a hole in the ground would not be bad.
All of Merya , Syrka's retinues and levys plus all his vassals together can muster between 10 and 20 thousand if they all cooperate, so 50,000 seems far out of reach. But in time, if they expand beyond villages and temples, they have the land and resources to support a much greater population.

The two prisoners are destined for a deep and dark hole, both for the rest of their lives and beyond.

The Icelandic Viking is one of the best rounded rulers that I have seen. Everything is good to very good (12-15), but nothing is super. It is a shame that he only received a two star education. With a four star, an Icelandic Viking might find what lies beyond the edge of the map. What is Syrka's education? Syrka's sons have excellent military minds. Hopefully, the Indian Bedouin Myth will stay to the south. Congrats on capturing the evil ones. Hopefully, time in the hole and on the rack will restore harmony to their souls and remove decadence from their lives. At the minimum, their night vision and posture will improve. Thank you for writing and please be safe.
Suni turned out well, above average in all categories, but nothing stands out as his main strength. It is a shame he is only a tough soldier, unfortunately Syrka only had him as a ward for the last few years. If he had gotten him sooner he might have gotten a better education. Syrka himself is a 4 star brilliant strategist with combat traits for cavalry and flanking, Unfortunately his body didn't match his mind, so he is no warrior, and can only send his warriors off with a plan, but not adapt it in the field.

The Ghaznavids will appear again, but how they might impact Merya and the Kardazids is still an unknown.

Nuyaksha and Salinder will be have time to go through the therapy you describe.


I wouldn't want to be one of the vassals who refused the call. A storm is coming now that the war is over.
Nuyaksha will not have a great time waiting for retribution and certainly an even worse time once Syrka has chosen a suitable punishment.
Such a broken Vladimir is not going to be very stable especially if one considers three kingdoms each with their own elections to run.
Çortah 'the Kind' is being treated quite well despite his conspiracy, maybe Syrka has not lost all trust.
Interesting that Tutyra would accept a title all the way in Vladimir, might some deeper plan be in the works.
Syrka has a temper and has recently gained paranoia, but he is still a just man and his temper has cooled down now that the immediate threats have been dealt with., but he won't forget.

Nuyaksha will have to get used to his quarters as he will never be leaving them.

Vladimir does eventually come apart on succession, but not quite along the lines you would imagine.

There is a reason Çortah 'the Kind' is not being punished, which will be discussed in the next chapter.

Tutyra is looking for any kind of power and position, and with 5 living brothers and a host of other candidates for his father's top title, he will try his luck at being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
 
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978 – 981 Retribution

Dunaden

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978 – 981 Retribution

The two internal revolts had thrown the succession into chaos resulting in the the chosen heir cycling through several different contenders, High Chief Parush of Veliky Ustug, Chief Poskshayka of Kostroma, Syrka’s son Ozheg, even the prisoner, High Chiegh Nuyaksha of Tver. Currently, it was back to Parush of Veliky Ustug, but who knew how long that would last.

Syrka only knew that High Chief Nuyaksha of Tver would not be King. He wasn’t planning on executing his kinsman, but would allow him to die of old age. Of course, old age came a lot sooner to those spending the rest of their life in the deepest hole in Yaroslavl’s dungeon. He considered revoking some of his titles, but even though he was a traitor, the rest of his vassals would frown on him taking enough titles from Nuyaksha to actually reduce his power and reach. But Nuyaksha luckily had a number of sons, and his multiple High Chiefdoms would be distributed far and wide when he died.




High Chief Salinder of Nidaros was a different case all together. Not only is he a traitor, it is discovered that he was also a follower of the Sky Gods of Tengri, rather than the Suomenusko Gods of Merya or even the Norse gods of his Scandinavian neighbors. The false belief in Tengri can explain his almost fanatical persistence in attacking Syrka in any way he could. Syrka strips him of all his land and titles in Bjarmia, the High Chiefdom itself as well as Bjarmia and Kuloy. He grants all of these titles to his son Ozheg, making him the new High Chief of Bjarmia.







After making Ozheg, High Chief of Bjarmia, Syrka offered his other sons Salinder’s other lands, but none of them wanted to be sent to the backwater of the Kingdom in distant Norway, they all wanted land closer to the heart of the Kingdom. As Syrka was already stretched thin managing his current lands, he did not strip the High Chiefdom of Nidaros and other titles from Salinder. Salinder’s brother, who was a proper Suomenusko follower, was heir to the High Chiefdom of Nidaros and Salinder’s five young sons could squabble over the remaining lands once Salinder was dead, which Syrka expected to happen soon as Salinder joined Nuyaksha permanently in the deepest of Yaroslavl’s dungeons.

With Syrka’s ire spent, an uneasy peace settled over Merya. His concubine and diviner, Are, who had started the plot, had been chastised. She was mother to (some of) his children, so he did not make public her part in the plot, and the other two conspirators were safely locked away. She continued her duties as diviner, though she was never allowed in his bed, or slept in his chambers again. She was the mother-in-law to his ally King Nalka 'Ironside' of Estonia and he did not want to upset that alliance, especially as there had recently been some tension between the allies.

King Nalka 'Ironside' of Estonia had gotten it in to his head and basically accused King Syrka and Merya of supporting, in some way, the increased pirate activity along Estonia’s coast. Syrka’s response had not been very diplomatic, calling the younger King absurd and ridiculous for even thinking such a thing, even going so far as to imply that Nalka was using this accusation as some sort of ploy against Syrka. This response may have been fueled by Syrka’s increased paranoia caused by the recent internal plots. King Nalka had not taken it well. Luckily, Queen Sochava had intervened and soothed Syrka’s temper and gotten him to formally apologize to King Nalka and assure him Merya would never plot against Estonia.




Peace would reign over Merya for the next two years during which time King Syrka dealt with issues of governance and his Council and with his family and personal growth.

First Syrka called together a conclave of all the learned men within Merya and even from aboard and asked them to present their ideas to him. He planned to implement any useful ideas in his governance of Yaroslavl and hopefully these innovations would spread from there thoughout all of Merya. He had not done this in sometime and his people were eager for new ideas and were willing to accept several innovations right away if Syrka was willing to invest in these advances. The summer of 979 saw a flurry of activity in Yaroslavl as scholars from throughout Merya arrived to present their ideas. Many of these ideas proved useless to Merya at the present, but Syrka had them collected and set aside, perhaps in the future they could be helpful. But a few key ideas were immediately adopted and put into action, these were centered on military advances related the design and construction of siege equipment that would speed up loading and reloading of siege engines in attacks as well as innovation in wall design and layout of approaches to Yaroslavl that would improve the defenses against siege equipment and siege tactics.

The more ambitious ideas that were not useful currently included advances in fortifications, which were of little use in upgrading his reinforced hillfort. But if he ever built a castle such as those seen in the feudal Kingdoms to west, they would be useful in improving the central keeps. Syrka had these designs copied down and placed in his library for use by future Kings of Meyra. These same scholars also had some ideas for city and temple improvements, talking of temple buildings and great centers of learning and local militia to the keep the peace within the cities. These ideas also went into the library for use at some future date. Other scholars presented legal treatises that discussed ways to put much more power in the King’s hands and out of his vassals’ hands. Syrka knew this legal treatise were useless presently, the tribal chiefs would never accept a King taking that much control. Finally, some shamans presented some of their ideas for improving their lot in life by amending some religious customs. This apparently had no effect on anyone other than the dozen shamans who presented the idea. But Syrka had all the ideas transcribed and sent into his library. Someday they may be of use.





Syrka’s young War Chief and former ward, Suni of Iceland had remained in Yaroslavl to work with the rest of the Council and also wait for his bride. Tekay of Udine soon came of age and the two were married. Shortly after that, Syrka helped resolve argument between Suni and the stablemaster, making Suni see that the stablemaster had been correct. Suni approves of justice and was grateful to Syrka for keeping him from treating the stablemaster unfairly. Suni was so pleased with Syrka’s mentorship, his new bride and his position on the Council as War Chief that he offered Syrka another generous donation to Syrka’s treasury. He did add that he hoped Syrka might provide him a small favor in exchange for the gift sometime in the future. Syrka liked and trusted the young man and agreed. The first favor Suni had asked had actually worked to Syrka’s advantage in providing him with a skilled War Chief, so he trusted the next one would also be mutually beneficial. On top of that, Suni also found a great warrior, named Shkay, who would serve Syrka loyally.






Chief Valto of Belo Ozero, the court healer and Steward, offered a similar donation to King Syrka in exchange for a favor of his own, but Syrka’s paranoia kept him from accepting that offer, he didn’t want to be beholden to too many people. After Syrka refused, Chief Valto came clean and confessed he was hoping he could convince King Syrka to grant his son Tommo some land. Syrka was forced to refuse, explaining he still has more sons of his own that he will need to provide land to. Syrka does give Chief Valto 20 gold work on his medicinal studies. Not what Valto was hoping for, but he accepts the coin graciously.

The coins Chief Valto received were something Syrka and he had actually devised. Freshly minted coins with Syrka’s image stamped on them. Syrka had balked at first, but Valto had insisted that coins with his image would give Syrka prestige. Many great Kings and Emperors had their image struck onto the coins of their realms.




One of those sons who would be expecting land was King Syrka’s sixth son and namesake, Syrka the Younger. Syrka had recently come of age and he was a bit of a disappointment. He was a tough soldier, stubborn, and frankly a bore. He had little to talk about, yet he always seemed to be talking. Another unlanded son, Viryas and his wife Tikshayka had a daughter, Shonzhava. Another granddaughter to bounce painfully on Syrka’s swollen knees. She is joined in less than a year by a younger sister, Liyava.





Less happy news is that his son Ozheg’s wife and mother of his children, Sbyslava Vidins, appears to have been murdered. Ozheg has no suspects in Bjarmia and is at a loss. Syrka’s spymaster had not heard of a plot. All the King can do is offer Ozheg a new bride. Ozheg accepts the new wife, Poshayka Kardazid, daughter of a Chief. Syrka also receives news from his son, Chief Tutyra of Peresyaslavl Zalesky. The boy is now heir to King Purysho ‘the Monster’ of Vladimir as well as some lands in Merya. He had little hope of receiving the crown of Merya, but the crown of Vladimir was within his grasp.






Syrka’s gout flared up again, and he found himself once again confined to a chair. He begins spending his time reading and trying his hand at composing poetry to distract himself from the constant pain. He collects his verses into a book and shares them with his family and court. They all praise him as a poet, though Syrka is not sure he deserves that title, but nevertheless, his book of verse finds it way to the growing library in Yaroslavl to be preserved for future generations.




It was during this time that High Chief Çortah 'the Kind' dies, probably with relief, after suffering from multiple amputations, infections, depression, and cancer. Syrka had been expecting him to die for the past two years, which is why he hadn’t bothered punishing for his part in the plots against him. That and the fact that he was the son of a King and many of Syrka’s vassals admired the man. Çortah’s innate strength had kept him alive through suffering that would have felled a weaker man. In someways, that had turned out to be a worse punishment than anything Syrka could have devised. Syrka ended up inheriting all of Çortah’s his lands and titles in the High Chiefdom of Latgale as Çortah’s only son has already died, leaving only his five daughters.




Çortah wasn’t the only noble to die during this period. High Chief Veckhas of Velsk died of natural causes and his kinsman Kharuchi Ngayid became the new High Chief. Other Chiefs suffered lesser misfortunes. High Chief Deryab of Vologda, is now known as 'One Eye' after obviously losing an eye, on top of the fact he was also already missing a hand. And Kubrat Yaroslavlid has usurped the High Chiefdom of Murom treating his brother Varaka 'the Usurper' in kind. But he wasn’t called ‘the Usurper’ as well, instead became known as 'the Drunkard', as he was drinking heavily to forget he is dying of great pox. He would not be High Chief for long. Meanwhile, Kubrat’s new lands were being raided by Khazars from Cheremisa, part of the Täbärid Horde.






King Syrka couldn’t do much about his various Chiefs issues and ailments, but he could deal with the raiders. So in the spring of 781, he sends some levys and the Merry Men south to drive the raiders out of Murom. But something goes horribly wrong, and Merya’s two years of peace are over. The army Syrka sent south is caught in an ambush and suffered an embarrassing defeat. 2,000 men routed by less than 800 and worse, almost 700 Meryan warriors killed, while the raiders lost only 60 men. Syrka was shocked when word reached him, he could not recall a more devastating failure. As his army flees in panic, Murom is looted and pillaged by the raiders.




Syrka decides he can not let this stand and immediately declares war on Khagan Täbär of Täbärid in the conquest of Cheremisa. He calls his vassals to war and six of them decline. Syrka and his vaunted Merry Men have shown weakness, and many of his vassals want to see if he can deal with this on his own. The disaster also influences the succession, once again his prisoner, High Chief Nuyaksha of Tver, becomes the chosen heir of Merya. Syrka is incensed, and turns all of his wrath of the Khazar raiders who had disrupted his peace.








He gathered his army, the Merry Men, who had slunk home in disgrace, as well as the vassals who supported him and sends them south again straight for Cheremisa. By June, they arrive in Cheremisa and meet up again with the Täbärid horde at Simbirsk. This time it is 4,400 versus 800. The horde again do a lot of damage to the Meryan army killing over 200 men, but the overwhelming numbers of the Meryans match that, killing 250 Khazars and force the Horde to retreat. The Meryans waste no time chasing after the fleeter Khazars, but instead descend upon the Horde’s main encampment. There is no attempt at a siege or chance of surrender offered, the Meryans fall on the encampment at Simbirsk in a brutal assault. Anyone who raised a hand against them is slaughtered and all three of Khagan Täbär’s sons are captured. The conquest of Cheremisa is over in less than 9 months after the disaster in Murom.






But before Syrka accepts the Khagan surrender, he squeezes every drop of loot that he had stolen out of him, ransoming his two younger sons back to him for 110 gold each. The Khagan doesn’t have enough gold to ransom his last son and heir, his ransom will be all of Cheremisa Then Syrka accepts the surrender of Cheremisa, leaving the Täbärid horde homeless. Täbär’s loss of a homeland means he can no longer style himself a Khagan, he is now just Khan Täbär of the Täbärid, head of a wandering band of nomads.






The Meryan loss at Murom is avenged and Syrka has demonstrated to the doubting Chiefs his fitness to rule.
 

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Messing with Syrka is being shown to be an increasingly bad idea.
 

Ramidel

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Yeah. Syrka's usually a pretty nice guy, but people seem to be thinking that that means he's weak and finding out that he's not.

Nuyaksha as King? Innnnnteresting...
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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Syrka is getting harsher as the time goes on. I almost feel bad for the next person to cross him.
 

slothinator

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Syrka's wrath was still quite measured, especially by the standard of some past rulers but at least he got some revenge.
Oh wow, Vladimir certainly has some strange inheritances, Tutyra would be a formidable force and have an interesting relationship with the new king of Merya.
If Nuyaksha wins the election, it wouldn't be the first time that Merya has a prisoner king. The rapid change of votes is quite concerning.
 
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Dunaden

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Messing with Syrka is being shown to be an increasingly bad idea.
Syrka always had a temper, but as he gets older and the gout becomes more painful, he has a shorter fuse and less tolerance for people making his life complicated.


Yeah. Syrka's usually a pretty nice guy, but people seem to be thinking that that means he's weak and finding out that he's not.

Nuyaksha as King? Innnnnteresting...
Syrka has greatly increased his domain from when he started with his single county, and the Merry Men, despite what happened at Murum, are a strong weapon to wield.

Nuyaksha, despite his current circumstances, has a strong power base and several allies. Currently 12 chiefs are supporting his election to the throne. He does share one weakness with Syrka though, neither of them carry the bloodline of Erziya 'the Bold'.


Syrka is getting harsher as the time goes on. I almost feel bad for the next person to cross him.
As mentioned above, Syrka is showing less patience and greater temper as he gets older, so people need to learn not to raise his ire.


Syrka's wrath was still quite measured, especially by the standard of some past rulers but at least he got some revenge.
Oh wow, Vladimir certainly has some strange inheritances, Tutyra would be a formidable force and have an interesting relationship with the new king of Merya.
If Nuyaksha wins the election, it wouldn't be the first time that Merya has a prisoner king. The rapid change of votes is quite concerning.
For most of his reign Syrka has been pretty forgiving, he has a temper, but it used to cool down as fast as it flared up, but it's now taking a little longer to cool down.

Tutyra found a new home, though his his position as heir stem from who is father is and the possbility of inheriting land in Merya that will end up in Vladimir . The question is will he remain heir if Syrka dies and a different branch of Kardazids rule Merya.

There have been some contentious successions in Merya. King Virdyan 'the Usurper', the banished murderer and kinslayer was called back from exile to inherit the throne from his rival, King Dergun, the man who had banished him. Syrka being chosen as King was a response by the Lettigallian faction whose purpose was to deny the previous King Nuyat, the man who had conquered them and forced them to kneel, from having one of his own sons inherit the throne after him. And now Syrka's enemy and prisoner was the leading contender for his throne.

But as you noted, the succession is still very much in flux.
 
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982 – 985 Premonitions, Preparations, and Preemptive Strikes New

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982 – 985 Premonitions, Preparations, and Preemptive Strikes

The year 982 started with the news of death. Some of it was welcome. High Chief Nuyaksha’the Wise’ of Tver was dead in his cell. His lands and titles were divided by his two sons and the elective heir to Tver, High Chief Nuyaksha II of Mochkava, High Chief Tylze of Mari, and High Chief Setyamka of Tver. Setyamka was the most powerful of these new High Chiefs, but nowhere near the strength of the previous High Chief of Tver.




There were rumors that Syrka had sped up Nuyaksha’s death, but Syrka denied he had any hand in the death other than sending the High Chief of Tver to the dungeon. Though in private Syrka did say that after public pressure prevented him from executing Nuyaksha, due to his vassals seeing such an action as tyrannical, Syrka had briefly toyed with the idea of assassinating the man, but he could find little support and quickly abandoned the plot. (Nuyaksha’s death threw the succession into another flurry of candidates, Syrka’s son Ozheg appeared shortly, and then was quickly replaced by High Chief Parush of Veliky Ustug, then Chief Tul of Kostroma, and then son Ozheg again. After that Syrka lost track as other issues took precedence, but he was aware it was still changing.)

Some of the news was heartbreaking. Syrka’s eldest son Tunya has died of cancer in Rusa, leaving behind only a daughter. He is the second son Syrka had lost, after the death of the sickly Kinyak a decade earlier. But that was soon followed by the death of another, hidden, son, High Chief Robin II of Turov. Dead of dysentery at the age of 22.




The other news of death was just disturbing. There was a new Holy Roman Emperor, Frothari Karling had been elected to the throne. The first Karling to hold the seat in 63 years. The first Karling to hold any significant titles other than the Kingdom of Croatia, now held by King Gundobad. But Frothari being Emperor was not the disturbing part. What was disturbing was that he was the third Emperor in three years. The previous two Emperors, Gundobad Chiemgaudson, and his successor the Visigoth, Pelagio Begonid, been struck down in a short span. Both had been heavily involved in the ongoing Catholic Crusade for Egypt, but they had not died in battle. Both these powerful rulers had died from complications related to gout.






When Syrka heard this news, a chill swept through his own gout ridden body. He had borne and suffered from this disease for over 30 years, was this news a sign from the Gods that his own time was almost up? He was 65 years old, he had lived a good life and achieved rank and status undreamed of in his youth. This news galvanized him, he must put his affairs in order and secure his legacy, because he feared his time left on this earth was short.

Despite the plots against him and his lack of kinship with the great Erziya ‘the Bold’, Syrka’s prestige among his people was unmatched. He began thinking that he could create his own legacy. That his desendants would be as proud as the descendents of the first King. So he began directing efforts to that aim, but would he have time to forge that legacy?




While he dreamed of his descendants, he took a more practical approach to his children. He decided to settle their futures now while he had control rather than leave them squabbling and fighting over his estate when he died. Ozheg had already received his portion of the inheritance in Bjarmia, it was time to take care of his other younger sons.

He started with his most recent acquisition from the late High Chief Çortah 'the Kind', Latgale. Syrka’s son Viryas is the current heir to the High Chiefdom of Latgale, so Syrka grants those titles to him, both the Chiefdom and High Chiefdom. This makes him High Chief Viryas of Latgale, with three vassals below him.

Then he looks to his son Syrka the Younger. He had previously arranged Syrka’s marriage to Asrava, a daughter of late High Chief Nuyaksha of Tver. Nuyaksha had raised no objections from his cell at the time. And now Asrava would have claims to most of the late High Chief’s titles. Syrka the Younger was in line to receive Minsk. So Syrka grants him the Chiefdoms of Minsk and Drutsk, and then the High Chiefdom of Minsk, where he becomes High Chief Syrka II of Minsk.





Syrka’s oldest surviving son, Chief Tutyra of Peresyaslavl Zalesky, was already looking to his own future. He was currently the heir to Valdimir and has become a fledgling in Followers of Otso. Syrka is concerned about rumors he hears that Tutyra’s appetites have grown, this is what had happened to Syrka long ago when he had risen to the Chiefdom of Syktyvkar. He had fed his gluttony which had led to the gout he had suffered from ever since. He let his son know his concerns, but there was little else he could do. His son was a man grown as well as a vassal of another Kingdom.




Syrka’s youngest son, Inzhay, would have to wait a little longer for his own inheritance, as he was still working on his martial education. He was destined to inherit the High Chiefdom of Turov. This was because with the death of High Chief Robin II of Turov, Syrka had inherited the High Chiefdom of Turov and other titles. Robin had died leaving behind a young daughter, and two sisters so his land and titles had reverted to the crown. His 4-year old daughter Setyamka Robin had come to Yaroslavl, she will be raised in humility, Syrka vowed to protect his granddaughter. Robin’s younger sister 14-year old Sernyava Robin was already betrothed. And his older sister (Syrka’s hidden daughter) Oshama Robin is married to Chief Tylze of Mochkava and has two sons. Syka also inherited Turov’s retinue of 550 men under Commander Pokshayka. This retinue had been recalled to Yaroslavl to merge with the Merry Men.

Inzhay would have to wait for his inheritance, but Syra did look to his future. He arranged a betrothal for Inzhay to Chenska Kardazid, daughter of High Chief Paksyay 'the Wise' of Estonia. Chenska is already known as 'the Heavenly'.




With his family’s future accounted for, Syrka looked to Merya’s future. Along the southern border, some the recently conquered lands taken from the different Khazars still had a strong nomad presence who were causing agitation. These lands were missing strong central communities that would resist the remaining nomad influence. These areas included Tynea in the east and Novosil and Vorotynsk in the south as well as Syrka’s newest conquest, Cheremisa. Syrka started with his own lands first, and began construction of an earth hillfort in Cheremisa. Then he expanded and started a second earth hillfort in Tynea, another center of nomad trouble. These construction efforts would take about a year to complete.

When the earth hillfort was completed in Cheremisa, a practice range was proposed next, which would take another year. An earth hillfort was also completed in Tynea, Syrka proposed a war camp there next. The population of Tynea had recently converted to Suomenusko, and had recently been raided, looted and pillaged. Unfortunately, Syrka didn’t know who was responsible for that raid. Hopefully, the newly completed hillfort and the proposed war camp would make the area more defensible. Syrka sent the crews that had constructed the hillforts in Cheremisa and Tynea, to do the same in the Novosil and Vorotynsk areas to deal with the nomad agitation in those regions.





Finally, Syrka turned to what he considered the biggest threat to Merya’s future, the ambitions of Purysho ‘the Monster’ of Vladimir. Purysho’s subjugation of Nenets had proven he was a capable general and conqueror, but now Syrka’s precipitous conquest of Cheremisa had emphasized Vladimir’s problem. By conquering Cheremisa, Merya's borders now completely surrounded the heart of Vladimir, and its other territories were separated from each other by more Meryan lands. The only way for Purysho to unify his scattered Kingdom was to conquer Merya, either piece by piece, or all at once. This is what Syrka feared in seeing his son Tutyra put forward as the heir to Vladimir, if Purysho could not complete the unification, Tutyra, as a son of a King of Merya, would have the claims to complete the task as his successor.




King Syrka had decided it was time to show Purysho ‘the Monster’ and, by example, King Nalka ‘Ironside’ of Estonia, that while all three were Kardazid Kings, the King of Merya was natural and true leader of the Kardazid clan and all the Mordvin people. He didn’t want to fight multiple wars to conquer scattered Vladimir, plus he didn’t even have claims on much of the territory, and frankly, he didn’t think he had the time, based on his premonitions. And even if he did conqueror it all and claim the crowns of Vladimir, Nenets and Novgorod, it would all be split again on his death and his sons would face the same issues.

Syrka decided to go a different route. King Purysho could keep his crowns, but he would be made to bend the knee and acknowledge Merya’s superior standing. Syrka wasn’t thinking of just making Purysho pay tribute to him for the rest of his life, but to make the Kingdom of Vladimir acknowledge Merya as it’s suzerain for all time as a permanent tributary state below the Kingdom of Merya. This would not only end the threat of Vladimir, but raise Syrka’s standing throughout Merya.

In the Spring of 983, King Syrka of Merya declared war on King Purysho ‘the Monster’ of Valdimir to make the Kingdom of Vladimir a tributary state.





Both Merya and Vladimir had the same idea, they both gathered their armies and sent them againt their respective capitols. There was a small skirmish in Toropets between some of the individual warbands making their way east, but it was insignicant when compared to what was coming. By the fall, 7,000 Meryans were laying siege to the Vladimir while 10,000 warriors from Vladimir were besieging Yaroslavl. Syrka was shocked that Vladimir had managed to raise so many warriors and felt helpless trapped in Yaroslavl, surrounded by enemies.




But he had to trust in commanders and vassals and also trust in the many improvements that he and his predecessors had made to Yaroslavl over the years. Yaroslavl’s reinforced hillfort was better suited withstand a siege than the Vladimir capitol. He was confident that his 7,000 warriors would take Vladimir and be able to send relief before he had to surrender Yaroslavl. And he knew that he had far more than the 7,000 men that had been sent to Vladimir. The more far-flung vassals were still sending their troops toward the center of the Kingdom. They would rally north of Yaroslavl and when the time was right, they would join in the assault on the siege camps outside Syrka’s home.

While the siege continued Syrka received only intermittent news from the outside world. The Catholic Crusade for Egypt was still dragging on 12 years after it began. There was word of an epidemic in the Western Protectorate, far to the east. And two more Holy Roman Emperors had died. Frothari 'Son of the Devil' Karling is dead, after ruling less than 4 years. He had been followed by Kaiser Rutger Begonid, German instead of a Visigoth like his father. Kaiser Rutger barely lasted a year before dying of natural causes. The new Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire is Arnulf 'the Butcher' de Chaumontois. Maybe he will last longer than the four previous Emperors.




Within Yaroslavl, the only good news was High Chief Salinder of Nidaros had died in the dungeons. His brother, Num Samayid, is new High Chief of Nidaros, and not a Tengri follower.




And surprisingly, two missionaries were allowed through the siege lines. One was a typical Catholic missionary, Bishop Cytelbearn of Carlisle, sent by King Thurfrith 'the Wise' of England. The second is a Kirghiz missionary named Ögüne Katun sent by Khagan Kül. He is preaching a different faith than any of the previous missionaries, Zoroastrianism. Both are imprisoned and Bishop Cytelbearn pays his ransom. Ögüne Katun remains forgotten in the dungeon.




Syrka also had time to think more about his legacy and how he would like to be remembered. He doubted nay would see him as a paragon of virtue, some holy warrior. And depite his recent actions, he had never been one, with his crippled body, to inspire fear. He must focus on emphasizing how he had helped Merya and how the Kardazid dynasty is grow and becoming more import due to his all he had done as King.




Just before the new year, Vladimir, as predicted, was surrendered to the besieging army. The Meryans immediately broke camp and headed north to Yaroslavl. Forest runners were sent further north to the allied armies encamped north of Yaroslavl to coordinate the attack. In mid January the combined armies fell upon the Vladimir siege camp, 18,000 Meryans versus the 10,000 Vladimirians in the siege camp.

The Battle of Yaroslavl lasted for 2 months, played out below the walls of the capitol. Over 5,00 men died, 2,300 Meryans versus 2,900 Vladimirians. The bloodiest battle ever fought on Meryan soil. There had been battles that had cost as many lives, but they had been fought on Merya’s borders and beyond, when they had dared to challenge the Khazars on their chosen ground and paid the price. This blood was spilled in the very heart of the Kingdom.




But Merya was victorious and the siege was broken. While the bulk of the army followed after the retreating Vladimir army, a a smaller contingent is sent back into Vladimir to gain control of more territory. By midsummer, Suzdal and Yuryev were captured, with dozens of prisoners and hostages captured.

The Vladimir army numbering 5,600 men tries to march on Yaroslavl again, but they are intercepted in Uglich by the main Meryan army, numbering 12,000 men. The survivors flee south, but the Meryans follow after, and some 2 months later another battle takes place in Galich Mersky, 12,000 Meryans versus the 4,100 survivors. The Vladimir army is savaged and scattered.

Meanwhile Gorodets has also been captured. King Purysho ‘the Monster’ sees that resistance was futile and he would have to submit to the suzerainty of Merya. In the spring of 985, King Purysho of Vladimir surrenders, and bends knee to King Syrka, pledging to provide Merya with a portion of Vladimir’s income and manpower during Merya’s wars, in exchange for Merya’s pledge to help defend Valdimir from attack. Vladimir and his other lands were now tributary states of Merya, demonstrating that the Crown of Merya stood above the other Kardazid crowns.






King Purysho's first act as a tributary state is to beg for Merya's aid in its wars against Sweden and Estonia. Syrka must pledge Merya's support or risk losing all he had just fought for.





This is Syrka’s last act as King of Merya and the tributary state will become his chief legacy. Gout, the killer of Emperors, has claimed the King above Kings.

 
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Midnite Duke

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Cliffhanger for Successor! He should have forced Syraka II to change name. Stat total below 20 does not make for a good legacy. Inzhay scored a good bride-to-be. Heavenly and bright (34 stats at 13). Do all Suomenusko women with attractive trait get "Heavenly" nickname? Love Paradox math 69-2=68 Battle Galich Mersky and .618 of a man Siege Gorodets. What body parts are you missing to be .618? Does anyone know how the war score for a given battle is determined? I would like the formula unless it is complicated to the point that headache develops from reading! Thank you for entertaining me and please be safe.
 

slothinator

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Sad to see the house of Robin fizzle out like that even if it had become Syrka's line.
It's always a good move to land one's sons especially with succession being so uncertain, we'll have to see if it did any good.
Oh my...an epidemic from the east is not good news, I'm sure we'll hear more about it soon.
Vladimir is now under control, at least until their next succession when the kingdom will split.
A shame that Syrka didn't get to form his bloodline but he did leave us with an interesting conundrum regarding succession.
 
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stnylan

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He was right - gout claimed him at the end.

Still, from rather humble beginnings he had a grand run of it.
 
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Dunaden

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Cliffhanger for Successor! He should have forced Syraka II to change name. Stat total below 20 does not make for a good legacy. Inzhay scored a good bride-to-be. Heavenly and bright (34 stats at 13). Do all Suomenusko women with attractive trait get "Heavenly" nickname? Love Paradox math 69-2=68 Battle Galich Mersky and .618 of a man Siege Gorodets. What body parts are you missing to be .618? Does anyone know how the war score for a given battle is determined? I would like the formula unless it is complicated to the point that headache develops from reading! Thank you for entertaining me and please be safe.
Not so much a cliffhanger as a proper introduction as the new King only became heir a month before Syrka died and was no one we'd seen before.
Syrka the younger was a disappointment, but maybe he'll grow into his role as High Chief of Minsk.
Heavenly does show up a lot for Suomenusko girls, does seem to be limited to daughter of rulers with the attractive trait, but I have dug into the files to see all the prerequisites.
It is strange that Paradox rounds everything to the nearest whole number in the battle and siege screens except the number of levys supporting the garrison which it takes out to the third decimal, which I guess covers everything from missing limbs to fingernail trimmings.
Not familiar with all the math for battles.

Sad to see the house of Robin fizzle out like that even if it had become Syrka's line.
It's always a good move to land one's sons especially with succession being so uncertain, we'll have to see if it did any good.
Oh my...an epidemic from the east is not good news, I'm sure we'll hear more about it soon.
Vladimir is now under control, at least until their next succession when the kingdom will split.
A shame that Syrka didn't get to form his bloodline but he did leave us with an interesting conundrum regarding succession.
There is the slim hope that Robin II's daughter could marry matrilineally and preserve the house name, if not the actual blood line.
The inheritance went smoothly and all of Syrka's surviving sons are well provided for, though there was one unexpected result due to the inheritances which you'll see.
Yes the epidemic will continue to make news.
Tributary state status stays through successions, only breaks if either party fails to live up to obligations, namely suzerain not protecting its tributary. Would love it if Novgorod and Nenetsia split under separate Kings that they also become tributary states, but don't think it works that way, think only Vladimir will remain as tributary.
Syrka only had half the war victories he needed to form a bloodline and the alternate route didn't have time to fire before he died. But he left an expanded Merya and a large tributary state to his successor.



He was right - gout claimed him at the end.

Still, from rather humble beginnings he had a grand run of it.
He read the signs from the Gods correctly. But he did well as King despite his humble beginnings and 'poor' cousin status and he left his sons well established, and his only daughter a Queen.


Valar morghulis - "all men must die"
Syrks failed only in establishing a bloodline, but achieved so much else.
 
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