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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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There Will Be War

Book I: In The Balance


Introduction:

They had fought for over a thousand years, against Poles, or Spaniards, or Englishmen, or Chinese, but as the 23rd Century of the Christian Era dawned, even the Ynglings began to realise they'd lost. So they did what any self-respecting strategist would do: they changed the rules. With a time machine.

Now the year is 1066, and history itself is In The Balance, for even with the Ynglings' advantage of future knowledge and training, it is this bloody era that bore the original Ynglings, and the natives are no less fierce, nor has their violation of space-time gone unnoticed.

Chapter Index:

The reader should be aware that the posting order as one reads through the thread, and the story order (which I attempt to use in this chapter index) differs because each of our writers is subject to the constraints of real life, and also because some of our plots were recycled from the previous TWBW, and thus already written before we reached certain dates in this game. Thank you for you indulgence, and enjoy the AAR.

Prologue:

The Ynglinga Saga - 2206 - King of Men

The Ynglinga Saga - the Invaders' Plan - King of Men

The Bagratuniad - Context - fasquardon

Chapter 1: 1066-1077 AD

Ryazan - Sid Meier

The Ynglinga Saga 1 - King of Men

The Ynglinga Saga 2 - King of Men

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

The Ynglinga Saga 3 - King of Men

The Ynglinga Saga 4 - King of Men

The Ynglinga Saga 5 - King of Men

Georgia - fasquardon

Chapter 2: 1077-1088 AD

The Ynglinga Saga 6 - King of Men

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

Kiev - Sid Meier

Georgia - fasquardon

Chapter 2 Intermission:

Gameplay Report - King of Men

The Bagratuniad - The Long Death of Agsartan Bagratuni - fasquardon

The Bagratuniad - Agsartan's Angel - fasquardon

Chapter 3: 1088-1094 AD

The Bagratuniad - Winter, 1088 - fasquardon

The Ynglinga Saga 7 - King of Men

The Ynglinga Saga 8 - King of Men

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

Kiev - Sid Meier

Chapter 3 Intermission:

The Bagratuniad - Winter, 1094 - fasquardon

The Ynglinga Saga - "Freedom" - King of Men

Chapter 4: 1094-1099 AD

House of Vojislav - Lurken

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

Kiev - Sid Meier

Chapter 5: 1099-1109 AD

The Ynglinga Saga 9 - King of Men

Anja's Song - The Nefarious Pirate - fasquardon

Anja's Song - The Arrival - fasquardon

Anja's Song - Mutiny in Kutatisi - fasquardon

House of Vojislav - Lurken

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

Smolensk - Sid Meier

Chapter 5 Intermission:

How Duke Alain Learned To Forgive - ulmont

Some Notes on the Development of the Nou Brezhoneg Language - ulmont

The Saxo-Bohemian Treaty of 1109 - carillon

Chapter 6: 1109-1120 AD

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

The Ynglinga Saga 10 - King of Men

Moscovy - Sid Meier

Chapter 6 Intermission:

The Pressburg Boarder Agreement Treaty - hyme

The Treaty of Ascalon - fasquardon

Chapter 7: 1120-1128 AD

The Birth of Finland - Emperor Ike

Bohemia - hyme

The Arabs are Revolting! - ulmont

Aghmashenebeli [1] - fasquardon

Aghmashenebeli [2] - fasquardon

Aghmashenebeli [3] - fasquardon

Russia - Sid Meier

Chapter 7 Intermission:

The Treaty of Chartres - ulmont

Social Developments in Yngling-Prime - King of Men

A Lecture on the Prusso-Bohemian Treaty of 1128 - carillon

The Treaty of Nürnberg - Varyar

Chapter 8: 1128-1136 AD

How King Phillippe Accidentally Fought The Church And The Church Won - ulmont

Sicily - TheConqueror

House of Vojislav - Lurken

England - Gollevainen

Bohemia - hyme

Chapter 8 Intermission:

The Finnish Treaties of 1136 (Sweden) - Emperor Ike

The Finnish Treaties of 1136 (Lithuania) - Emperor Ike

On the Subject of Breton Mercenaries - ulmont

The Treaty of ___Pfalz___ - ulmont

The Treaty of ___Northumberland___ - ulmont

The __2nd__ Treaty of __Chartres__ - ulmont

The Treaty of Provence - ulmont

The Treaty of Anatolia - Eird

The Treaty of Anatolia - fasquardon

The Treaty of Jerusalem - fasquardon

The Treaty of Capua - Varyar

The Pan-German Treaty of 1136 - carillon

The Ynglinga Saga - Geir's Testament - King of Men

Chapter 9: 1136-1146 AD

Anja's Letter - King of Men

Arabia - TheConqueror

Byzantium - Eird

The Last King of Finland - Emperor Ike

England - Gollevainen

House of Vojislav - Lurken

Bohemia - hyme

Prussia - carillon

Brittany - ulmont

Chapter 9 Intermission:

The Treaty of ___Valencia___ - ulmont

The Serbo-Byzantine Treaty - Eird

The Italo-Byzantine Treaty - Eird

Highlights From The Crisis of the Black Letter:

A reaction by the Western powers to the immense success of Russian diplomacy which resulted in the Russo-Abghazian Union, and the apparently aggressive Russian stance during the First Finnish Crisis, the Crisis of the Black Letter would re-define the politics of the continent.​

The Black Letter - King of Men​

The Abghazian Position - fasquardon​


Chapter 10: 1146-1151 AD

Byzantium - Eird

Ireland - Emperor Ike

England - Gollevainen

Brittany - ulmont

Bohemia - hyme

House of Vojislav - Lurken

An Empire Reborn! - carillon

The Ynglinga Saga - Knives in St Olafsburg - King of Men

Chapter 10 Intermission:

Gameplay Report Mrk2 - King of Men

Regarding the Breton Guarantee - ulmont

The Treaty of Macon - ulmont

Codex Smilec Vojislav - Lurken

The Bagratuniad - Of Russians and Norwegians - fasquardon

The Treaty of Mecklenburg - King of Men

Treaty of Jerusalem Addendum - Varyar

Chapter 11: 1151-1158 AD

Arabia - TheConqueror

England - Gollevainen

Byzantium - Eird

House of Vojislav - Lurken

Brittany - ulmont

Evstati I - fasquardon

Chapter 11 Intermission:

The Weapons of 1158 - Varyar

Chapter 12: 1158-1169 AD

Gollevainen Arrives in Russia - Gollevainen

House of Vojislav - Lurken

The Ynglinga Saga - Sacrifice - King of Men

Brittany - ulmont

Chapter 12 Intermission:

Treaty of Britain - ulmont

Treaty of Pinsk - ulmont

Treaty of Tmutarakan - fasquardon

Europe in 1169 - King of Men

Chapter 13: 1169-1181 AD

Russia - Sid Meier

Byzantium - Eird

Scotland and Empire - Emperor Ike

The Heretic King Scotland - Emperor Ike

Elisabetta's Plan - Emperor Ike

Elisabetta's Plan Continues - Emperor Ike

Brittany - ulmont

Novgorod - Gollevainen

The Ynglinga Saga - The Death of Oswine - King of Men

The Bagratuniad - Until Death Do Us Part - fasquardon

Chapter 13 Intermission:

Treaty of Danzig - hyme

Scotland and the Lusignans - ulmont

Treaty of the Urals - Eird

Treaty of Lubeck - King of Men

Chapter 14: 1181-1190 AD

Byzantium - Eird

Bohemia - hyme

Novgorod - Gollevainen

Arabia - TheConqueror

The Ynglinga Saga - Wounding the Bear - King of Men

The Bagratuniad - Alliance & Commonwealth - fasquardon

Chapter 14 Intermission:

The Treaty of Valencia - ulmont

Highlights From The Crisis of the Tapestry:

Also called The Second Lithuanian Crisis and The Third Finnish Crisis, The Crisis of the Tapestry is so-named by Georgian historians for the complex and obscure diplomacy preceding the conflict. As the great Blood schemer Giorgi Bagratuni called it "it is like a Persian tapestry, with a million delicate threads, each hiding behind the other".​





The Russian Reply - Sid Meier​

The Georgian Reply - fasquardon​

The Roman Reply - Eird​



The Georgian Rebuke - fasquardon​

The Sacred War - Sid Meier​


Georgia and Byzantium prepare for war - fasquardon & Eird​


Chapter 15: 1190-1194 AD

News Comes to Scotland - Emperor Ike

King-Kaštšei - Gollevainen

Filip's Proclimation - Lurken

Byzantium - Eird

Brittany - ulmont

Siege of Novgorod part I - King of Men

Chapter 15 Intermission:

Diplomatic summary 1193 - King of Men

Diplomatic summary with corrected map - King of Men

The Treaty of Galaz - fasquardon

Chapter 16: 1194-1201 AD

Siege of Novgorod part II - King of Men

Siege of Novgorod part III - King of Men

Victory Day - Sid Meier

Giving up the Title - Emperor Ike

Old friends - Emperor Ike

Making arrangements for inheritance - Emperor Ike

Three Sons Go - ulmont

A Long Journey to Home - Gollevainen

Chapter 16 Intermission:

Request for Admission into the Roman Commonwealth - ulmont

The Red Letter - ulmont

A Letter from Georgia - fasquardon

Brittany Accepted - Eird

Chapter 17: 1201-1209 AD

A Long journey to home (Part II): Moscow nights - Gollevainen

How did the Breton Emperor get his Papal powers - Emperor Ike

Truth, and some Consequences Thereof - King of Men

Barbarian Aggression - Emperor Ike

Brittany - ulmont

Chapter 17 Intermission:

Treaty of Baltic Administration - King of Men

Chapter 18: 1209-1224 AD

War of Barbarian Aggression, Part 1 - Emperor Ike

War of Barbarian Aggression, part 2 -Emperor Ike

Trip that would change Scotland - Emperor Ike

Robert and Henry - Emperor Ike

Arasinde and King Robert - Emperor Ike

The Prophetei Enter Rome - Eird

Chapter 18 Intermission:

The Treaty of Mesembria - Eird

The Treaty of Cairo - Varyar




Appendices:

Ulmont's Rough Guide to Power:

Ulmont has made these neat comparisons of different country's power based on the wealth of their demesne and vassal provinces. It provides a nice summary of what different players are doing.

Session 1

Session 1 (Comparisons)

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8

Session 8a (showing the impact of Brittany's treaties)

Session 9

Session 10

Session 11

Session 12

Session 13

Session 14

Session 15

Session 16

Session 17

Session 18

Session 19

Session 20

Session 21

Session 22

Session 23

Session 24

Session 25

Session 26

Session 27

Session 28

Session 29

Session 30


Population Counts:

Counts of how many people are in each player dynasty.

The Great Families of 1120 - ulmont

The Great Families of 1151 - ulmont

The Great Families of 1151 With Added Dead People - ulmont

The Great Families of 1169 - ulmont

The Great Families of 1209 - ulmont

The Great Families of 1237 - ulmont

The Great Families of 1266 - ulmont

The Great Families of 1297 - ulmont

Counts of how many people are in each nation.

The Great Nations of 1151 - ulmont

The Great Nations of 1237 - ulmont

The Great Nations of 1297 - ulmont


About the AAR:

This is the collaborative MP AAR for There Will Be War - In The Balance, the first leg of what we hope to be a 900-year marathon game:

Book I - Crusader Kings: In the Balance

Book II - Europa Universalis: Tilting the Balance
Book III - Victoria: Revolutions: Upsetting the Balance
Book IV - Hearts of Iron II: Striking the Balance

fasquardon
 
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ulmont

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Brittany - 1066 to 1077

[Found on a letter attached to a stack of yearly missives]

Right high and mighty Duke, my good and gracious Lord, I recommend this missive to you as lowly as I can or may with all my poor heart, desiring to bring good and gracious tidings to your worshipful state, which I pray to almighty God as good that they be as in your gracious heart can best design to the pleasure of God and of you.

Your gracious father, now dwelling with the saints in most wondrous heaven above, commanded me many years ago to undertake to make a true and honest record of his life and deeds, especially as they are so true as to relate to the subject of the realm of which you are now high sovereign, and to deliver the same to you upon your ascension.

Signed, Yves de Rennes

December 1066-August 1077.

As the Year of Our Lord 1066 drew to a close, the most mighty Duke of Brittany, Hoël de Cournaille, was poised to launch a mighty new campaign. Hoël's friend, William (now known as the Conqueror, formerly known as the Bastard) had recently completed an ambitious campaign to successfully press his claim to the crown of England, and now set as a successful King. While Hoël was of course pleased to learn of his friend's successes, he was also dismayed at the new puissance of William's England by comparison to Hoël's Brittany.

Coincidentally, Hoël had recently received a letter from Sancho Jimenez, the King of Aragon. In the letter, Aragon had discussed the current plight of Christendom on the Iberian peninsula. The taifas were pressing heavily upon the Christian rulers of Spain, and Aragon himself had been forced back into but a single province.

In this letter, Duke Hoël saw the answer to his plight. By aiding Aragon in reconquering the Spanish lands, Hoël could raise his stature to a level that would leave his friend William in awe of Hoël's accomplishment, while aiding the Christian faith and King Sancho Jimenez of Aragon.

Accordingly, Duke Hoël mustered all of the troops at his command, declared war on the Emirate of Zaragosa, and marched south. After some negotiation, Philippe Capet of France (and, more importantly, his advisors, and, even more importantly, Guilliame d'Aquitaine, who directly controlled the lands Hoël had to pass through to reach Aragon and Zaragosa) were duly convinced that Hoël posed no threat to good Catholic France. And so Hoël marched on.

After a few years of vicious fighting, Aragon had regained some of their lost territory, annexing the province of Zaragosa from the Muslims. However, Hoël had pressed further on, taking the province of Calatayud and administering it directly. This Brittanic administration of Calatayud was to prove a sore spot between Aragon and Brittany, ultimately poisoning the relationship.

In 1071, another wrinkle appeared. Duke Hoël had adopted an idiosyncratic approach to reconquest. While it was never written down in exactly this way, the spirit was something approximating "Carpo lemma per scrotum quod suum pectus pectoris quod mens mos insisto." Accordingly, the Good Duke had accepted a pledge of fealty from Yusuf al-Mu'tamin al-Muqtabi, Sheik of Tarragona, hoping that in the fullness of time the rulers would see the superiority and correctness of the Most Holy Catholic Church and bring their families into the fold. In the meantime, their loyalty and tribute would be sufficient, and Hoël funded missionaries into the court and territory.

Naturally, the neighboring Duke of Barcelona decided to attack Sheik Yusuf, finding Muslism fealty (to someone else) less preferable than direct Catholic rule (by him). While this perfidious attack was beaten back, Hoël did not forget the lack of aid from his erstwhile ally, Sancho Jimenez. In 1075, the last straw was broken. King Jimenez, after rehashing the argument over the administration of Calatayud for what was to be the last time, suggested that perhaps Hoël's true goal was prestige and conquest of the Iberian peninsula. That, and something about goats which has been obscured and which I will not speculate about.

Accordingly, Duke Hoël declared war. A short war later - and the propitious discovery that the border of Calatayud, Hoël's by right of conquest, actually extended to cover the province of Zaragosa, Hoël had forced Aragon to retract their statements.

Not very long after that, another opportunistic King of Iberia - Alfonso Jimenez, King of León, offered Hoël an alliance, and Hoël accepted. Little did Hoël know that Alfonso was a reprobate Kinslayer, whose vassals were rising in partially justified rebellion - while breaking the laws of God and Man to rebel against their duly appointed liege, their duly appointed liege had obviously also broken those same laws first. As a result, Hoël spent the remaining years before August 1077 aiding León in controlling his rebellious vassals.

...To be continued...
 

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The story of Bohemia(Dec 26, 1066 to Aug 1, 1077)
Beginning Stats
Date: Dec 26, 1066
Leader: Vratislav Premyslid the Breeder (1032-1070)
Liege: Heinrich Von Franken
Titles: Duke of Bohemia, Count of Ched, Usti Nad Labem, Liberec, Praha, Plzen
Vassals: 3
Income: 3.4
Manpower: 4169
Martial: 13
Diplomacy: 11
Intrigue: 18
Stewardship: 9
Claims: Lower and Upper Silesia
Laws: Salic Consanguinity, Traditional Custom, Ecclesial Balance

End Stats
Date: Aug 1, 1077
Leader: Bratislava Premyslid the slow (1058-?)
Liege: Heinrich Von Franken
Titles: Duke of Bohemia, Silesia, and Moravia, Count of Praha and Plzen
Vassals: 9
Income: 13.28
Manpower: 8342
Martial: 7
Diplomacy: 23
Intrigue: 16
Stewardship: 19
Claims: Liberec, Valais
Laws: Salic Consanguinity, Traditional Custom, Ecclesial Balance


Goals:
1. Stay in HRE (yes)
2. Add lower and upper Silesia into my realm (yes)
3. And have fun (yes)

The first thing I did was declare war on the duke of Silesia, which also put me at war with Poland. Next was that I added the title of duke Moravia to my list of titles. Than I call upon all my vassals for the war with Poland and called other the troops of Praha and Plzen. I sent my vassals up to Opole and other troops to lower Silesia. After a successful siege at Opole and lower Silesia, I moved my troops to Upper Silesia siege there. After the siege at Upper Silesia I made peace with the Duke of Silesia and got upper and lower Silesia. I Usurp the Duke of Silesia title and declare war with the Duke Silesia agian. After a successful siege of Opole, I got the title of Duke of Silesia. Then I move my forces to deal with Poland which at this time most of the Polish Kings land was under Germany control. Poland sent me a peace and they lost their clam on lower Silesia. After all the warring that happened my duke had become Severely wounded and died in 1070. In all my ruler was a pretty good ruler and he had 9 children, gained the lands of Silesia and Opole. My next ruler Bratislava Premyslid the elder son of Vratislav Premyslid took the duchies at the age of 12. With my ruler intrigue at 0 and this age factor I started give my other lands to my other family members and only kept Praha and Plzen for myself. My goals with the ruler I have now are help my economy grow, which in turn will help my manpower grow.

map start

map end



Aar reward prestige please
 
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Sid Meier

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Onboard the Science station Zheng He’s Dream
August 14th, 2206


Professor Yang floated weightlessly around the machine admiring it’s complexity, its power, and most of all how just darn cool it looked, after all he was only 20 he was entitled to whimsical thoughts every once in a while, the Ministry of State Security wasn’t all knowing. Arms crossed he asked. “tongzi, Zhou status report.” Dr Zhou strapped into her seat replied “preliminary simulations are nearly complete we will be ready to move forward to the next stage of testing once Dr. Yuri arrives.” Doctor Yuri was the Russian member of the team, the main research experiment onboard the station was performed by a team of 15 scientists and engineers not including the technical staff. 8 members were leading Han Chinese scientists, all pioneers in the fields relating to quantum mechanics, the remaining 7 members were differing participating engineers from Zhonguo’s long time allies. two Spaniards, one Greek, one Indian, one Russian, one Japanese, and one American. Grand total of 15 senior researchers.

Yang pushed off from his control consol and floated to the other side of the room, checking the various feeds from the simulation, everything looks good to go he thought, he was going to be famous once this project was declassified, honored as one of China’s most brilliant engineers and would get to greet Chairman Mao Anyang of the Communist Party of China. He may even get a medal. He shook away the fantasy as trivial as Dr Yuri strode or should it be said “floated” in. “greetings tovarish Zdravstvujte oh my manners! Ni hao!” he smiled in that open Slavic smile that a lot of Russians seem to be sporting. It was kind of starting to get annoying. “ni hao tongzi Aleksandr. I hope you enjoyed your lunch break but we are nearly ready to do our first test please Doctor double check my readings and we can begin as everyone else arrives from break.”
Dr Yuri floated over to the control and read the data readings from the simulation, nodding at every page of out put until he grunted in disapproval. “Here!” He stated pointed at one of the equations “the readings here are off, I suggest adjusting the inner 3rd gyro by .03 microns to fix it.” Zhou in her seat frowned, sceptical. However Yang took a closer look, he wasn’t if Yuri was right, it looked odd, as he could have swore that the parameter Yuri was suggesting was already done last night (funny how traditional thought patterns of “day” and “night” continue to exist on a space station when neither exists) it was gut instinct it seemed but he decided that Yuri was right. “Zhou, adjust it by .03 microns as he says, it looks like the correct course to take.” Zhou looked a bit upset, she didn’t like Yuri very much but on the toher hand she could never stop talking about Yuri when he was not there, women he thought, they never ceased to confuse him. His thoughts dissipated once the others arrived, all them conversing in Mandarin poutonghua the common tongue of the world, well at least the parts controlled by the Comintern and its colonies.

Colonies! It is finally happening, colony ships have been arriving all day loading up colonists and leaving, its happening in MY generation, engineers had been working for DECADES on making Faster-Than-Light travel a reality and now, during the heyday of my career it finally is.Yang thought to himself, some 10 habitable worlds have been begun to be colonized, another 5 have been prospected and another 10 probes have deemed viable for experimental terraforming. What amused him was the sabre rattling being done by the Ynglings, oh they had their own Ming-Yamaguchi Slipspace drive, not called that but its obvious if you look at the published papers they reversed engineered their own and they were colonizing a few worlds of their own, but they lacked the resources or the manpower to make an effective effort at colonization, Yang himself was a stern believer that all of Humanity deserved a chance to spread throughout the stars, but their pretentious overcompensation of the Yngling “Hird” while amusing gets annoying after a while. They were beaten damn it, accept it! Sighing in disbelief at the most recent news broadcast he heard he went back to finishing the preparations for the test while is colleagues go into their seats.

Doctor Francisco Yatre buckled himself in and said “Dr Yang, I believe we are ready.” Zhou ever the smart mouth “If you are finally done floating around please seat yourself.” Yang debating answering with yes mother but decided against it, he didn’t want to risk his peer’s wraith. He buckled himself in and said “Once everyone is ready give me the green light on our terminals so we can proceed with the project. Zhou activate stage 2 of the powering up process of the Tachyon Accelerator. “Stage 2 complete” Said Zhou as the massive superconductive gyroscope began moving, “proceed to stage three” continued Yang. “affirmative” answered Yuri. The metal rings began turning faster, more energy was being funnelled into the rings, the energy field creating a Cherenkov Effect was clearly visible now. “Stage 4” “Yes tongzi” this is it thought Yang the final stage, Stage Four was the unlocking of the accelerators rings so that they could proceed to spin faster allowing the energy being gathered into that one microscopic point to reach a critical mass of sorts resulting in a massive controlled burst of tachyon and theta particles, the goal was to send a packet of information 5 minutes into the past directly into the mainframe, programmed as to not create a paradox to revealed itself until 1 minute after the experiments completion. A large noise was building up as the field began to get bogger and bigger until the Oroburos activated, a particle accelerator designed to send particles into the building tachyon field to contain and constrict it and it was working!

So engrossed was he and his team that they didn’t notice a visitor floating into the room. “Woah!” the visitor said, “amazing! Just amazing! You managed to stabilize the tachyon field using a brilliant design utilizing the inverse square law of thermal mechanics! Amazing to achieve this without say erm I don’;t know another 3000 years of trial and erro your all bloody brilliant!” Everyone turns around stunned that this oddly dressed new comer had floated into the room, much less got onto the station! After a moment of silence a stunned Yang stammers “Who, wha… Who are you!?” The newcomer thought for a moment and said. “Well, I’m the Doctor”, “Doctor Who?” “Just that The Doctor”. “Why are you here?”

“Well I wanted to see this fancy experiment of yours and to warn you that its just about to go completely wrong!” “WHAT!?” Yang immediately shifts his eyes to the controls as warning noises start to blare out, “Shut it down!” Cried Zhou “We don’t know what’s going to happen!” “Too late….” A pale Yuri said. “Its self sustaining, it will take too long to cut off the microwave power feed from Earth and this is about to do something any second….” All they knew next was light, a bright blue light for what seemed to be an agonizing eternity before it finally faded and all was quiet. Yang was first to recover being the youngest asking “Is everyone all right?” Slowly everyone assented. “What happened” “I don’t know” “Someone check the scanner and send a message back to FleetCom and to the Ministry of Technology….” Zhou unbuckled herself and pushed off to the communications terminal looking up the information checking the news and the date to see what happened. “Its August 14th 2206” She sighed with relief. “We didn’t get pushed into time, I do not know what has happened. A beeping sound commenced, startled Zhou checked her email and “Ayieeee! It’s the data packet! It was send 6 hours ago and only arrived now!” Her surprise turned to elultion “We did it! We sent information through the past! Everyone was relieved when Zhou screamed. “What the ****! Its gone! It is all gone! What has happened to history!” Yang was scared, scared for the first time in his life at a level he had never known, pale he tentitavely asked “whats wrong Zhou?” Zhou once she finished screaming. “Zhongguo! Its gone! Radioactivity levels abnormal, the political map and news broadcasts make no sense! And the computer is having difficulty connecting to the World Information Network!” She would’ve kept going on but Yang had reached her by then and puttinga firm hand on her shoulder calmed her down. “Lets see…..” his vice trailed off and he went pale. “Its all in Norwegian! This… This must be a timeline where the Great Struggle was won by them and not China…. How can this be? The math said nothing about sending us to a parallel time stream…”

Calmely a voice form the back said. “You didn’t. You didn’t go anywhere, it is the Universe that has changed on you, not you from them.” Yang was in shock. “How? Did we do this!?” “No.” The man, calling himself “Doctor” calmly continued. “You didn’t cause this, someone else did, and he did a very bad thing, whats going to happen is that these Norwegians will do their own time experiments soon, it will go horribly wrong and the quantum singularity formed will tear apart time and space tearing apart the universe at an exponential rate destroying everything, everywhere and the very fabric of time itself, I must stop it and you’re the only ones who can help me.” Miko, The Japanese Quantum Theorist asked “How Doctor-sama can we? Our machine is not meant to transport people through time and space just information!” You won’t have to, its not the machine I need, its you, all of you on this station, heck even the janitors, but we must hurry allons-y! We need to get everyone off of the station quickly and as much equipment we can scavenge! Yang recovering from his shock asked why. “Because your about to in 20 seconds get a warning saying that a number of hostile Norwegian orbital defence ships will be approaching our position, we can fix the timeline or at least contain the damage but I need your help.” The computer lit up and made a noise, Megan Carter, the American scientist went to it, “6 unidentified vessels are approaching to our position, according to this they are heavily armed and we have 5 hours before they are in maximum weapons ranged” her face paled and continued. “What do we do Senior Researcher? I don’t know if we can trust this Englishman but he seems to know what is happening to us” Professor Yang breathed in deeply, his moment of either fight, or flight. Such decision making was foreign to him, he never was in this deep shit before. “Alright Doctor, we’ll go with you, but first you must tell us exactly what we are going to do by helping you?” The Doctor responded. “Well first off, my space ship is a bit damaged, just a tinny weasely bit damaged and your stations equipment is the only one within range that has what it takes to help and everyone on this station are the only ones brave, and smart enough to be a help not a hindrance, what we are going to do is dissemble this machine, and all of the needed control consoles and power conduits and move them to the inside of the TARDIS- “A what?” Asked Yang. “TARDIS T-A-R-D-I-S, Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, its my time machine but in a bit of a need for spare parts if you know what I mean.” Incredulous Yang assented and technician teams once briefly briefed began moving the scavenge able equipment to what seemed to be the inside of a small blue box, it took about 5 minutes for everyone to realize that it was bigger on the inside, a good thing as apparently it usually takes an hour for humans to recover from the “culture shock”.

4 hours later with the dead line closing, everyone was and the equipment was safely aboard the “TARDIS” and the now adjusted machine was ready for use. “So how are we going to fix this Doctor?” Asked Yang. “We’ll Yangy, what we’ll do is send whomever volunteers to different points of divergence in history and try to fix it, by well, any means necessary if your up to it, there are rules though we cannot further wreck the timeline inorder to save it, so no assassinating important historical leaders directly, no introducing the natives to advanced technology and please do not kill your own grandfather!” Yang beginning to be mildly amused despite the severity of the situation, asked “so where are the point of divurgence?” The Doctor thought for a moment stroking the machine then yelled “Eureka! Isn’t it obvious, well if I remember by History of Western Civilization prior to 1500 correctly there are a few odd spots, a Mr Geir if I so believe seems to appear often enough in Early Yngling history.”

“Geir Jonsson!?” Yang spoke aloud shocked. “I knew him when I visited the University of Berlin! He was a Professor there in Quantum mechanics, a brilliant one at that, he’s responsible for this!? I geuss I am not all that surprised, he seemed to hate my guts, he hid it well.” “Hmm, good to know that, okay so we can trace the divergence to be 1066 CE, we have 2 options, we could try to take him out, but I believe it is too dangerous and it will be too late to stop the divergence by the time we can stop him so suggestions people?” Said the doctor. Yuri had the idea. “Doctor, maybe we send someone there to some neighbouring Kingdom and try to contain him? Not crush Norway or ruin the timeline further but maybe possibly contain the breech until the 1500’s when we can send these others to China? Its no good to send Chinese to Middle Ages, they’ld get killed, but once Europe is settled and starts reaching out to the world as it did, we’ll need someone in China at the ear of the Emperor to see things through…?”

The Doctor nodded solemnly. “Aye, that might be the only possible course of action, Aleksandr Yuri, you understand that you may very well die in the past if not to a violent one but to old age as we try to repair the timeline?” Yuri nodded. “I understand, there can be no turning back now.” “Alright, lets allons-y.”

On August 15th, 0100 hours, Aleksandr Yuri, naming himself Aleksandr Rurikovich taking a plausible and hard to look into family tree and travelled back in time to Kyiv to see if he can create a strong enough Russian state to ward off the Norweigians, yes Polands place in the OTL may be extinguished by this as traditionally the Russians never could unite to ward off the Poles, Yuri had some reasons of his own, he did to some degree hope to rid Mother Russia of its long history of servitude to the Norweigians and the stupid Polaks. Now he may get his chance.


Chapter I
Off in the forest in a clear patch of land a strang sound seems to come from nowhere and then within moments a strange shape is slowly materializing, blue in colour rectangular in shape, an alert observer would notice it as being a 1950-60's London Police Box.

gradually over about half a minute the box materialized and the sound stopped. The door opened and 3 men stepped out into the bright Ukrainian sub.

One man, wearing a dark brown suit and a light brown over coat stepped out, followed by another man of slavic origin, wearing clothing suited to an accomplished scholar, followed by a Chinese man wearing a double quilt oriental jacket.



Doctor: "Well Alex! Geuss its time to see you off on your adventure! Remember this, no contaminating the timeline with future trivia, secondly no killing an ancient relative, and thirdly: Do not attempt to kill Geir unless you are absolutely sure you know where he is and won't kill yourself and ruin the mission doing so. This mission Alex, is extremely dangerous.... Now that we got that stuff out of the way have a nice trip! We'll be back to pick you up before you know it!"

The Doctor shock Yuri's hand and went back in. Yang bowed to Aleksandr.

Yang: "I bid you farewell, and I hope you will not need to spend too long out here, best of luck friend."

Aleksandr Yuri returned his bow clumsily saw as Yang turned back into the TARDIS and watched as it demarterialized out of existence with that strange yet conforting metallic "whriloop" sound.

And he kept watching for quite some time even when it was apparent they were gone and would not be coming back for a very long time.

Aleksandr Rurikovich as he called himself now, would travel to the nearest "city" which to his surprise was ancient Chernigov. Capitol of what would become a shortlived Russian state before the coming of Polish domination.

And he would change that.

Traveling into the city in what was best resembling local dress he made some simple and descreet questions as to the current situation and the location of the manor of Prince Svyatoslav Rurikovich. Determining the location as being the southern edge of town in the hill fort he made his way. His first obstacle to overcome was the culture shock, once he could calmly talk to people and look around not looking like a tourist he gained much confidence in his mission, then his next challenge was getting the local dialect down pat over 1000 years of Polish domination has quite an impact on how Russian is spoken, the Russian these people spoke was definately the older mother tongue, an the root of what would become Russian, Byerus and Ukrainian and was hard to understand at first but the after affects of the TARDIS's telepathic field and his own quick mind allowed him to quickly assimilate the local slang and forms of address.

Upon finding the habitat of Prince Svyatoslav Rurikovich he walked through the gate, the guards attempted to stop him but phrases his words carefully the soldiers would either assume he was a man of God or a wiseman, one of them as he had asked escourted him across the grounds towards the man building serving as the main quarters of the Prince and his family.

Inside he greeted the man himself and they got along well enough, Aleksandr said he was a distant cousin arriving from the north from Novgorod, with raids from the pagans intensifying he felt it would be best if he offered aid to those who had the ability to make good use of it. Svyatoslav, intrigued, listened and accepted his urgings to launch a campaign to passify Kyiv to strengthen his western border against the Kingdom of Poland and to help make the path clear to contain Pereslavyl.

Maintaining stability of the realm and balancing the political pressures of the competing nobles all made Aleks head hurt, but considering how he as a living made abstrat observations of subatomic particles political intrigue didn't seem so hard.

Upon convincing Svyatoslav to attack Kyiv Chernigov launched its forces, unexpectedly however Pereslavyl counter attacked Chernigov taking away the prince of chernigov title although no lands exchanged hands and the principality of Kyiv was absorbed by Chernigov.

It is only a matter of time.
 
Last edited:

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Dovrefjell, Norway
August 14th, 2206
Great Game timeline

"It is intolerable. It shall not stand."

Geir whispered the motto to himself. It had seemed a very reasonable one ten years before,when the Secret Hird had found him. Now, sitting on ancient Dovre mountain, watching the little bright sparks of the weapon satellites sweeping over Norway, he wasn't so sure. As a teenager he'd known all the ephemerae, had been able to pick out the Chinese from the Norwegian, Greek from Spanish. But the numbers had multiplied beyond any human mind's ability to memorise, and in any case he'd been busy with the work. Always the work.

"Hi Geir. Thought I might find you out here."

He turned, half-smiling - he was always glad to see Anja, certainly, but he'd also wanted to be alone. Whether the Device worked or not, it was going to be the last time he saw the satellites. But Anja was irrepressible and impervious to hints, so he might as well resign himself to being jollied out of his mood, will he or no. She sat down beside him, taking his hand.

"Last night for satellites."

"Yes. If it works."

"Last night for us, at any rate. Though there'll be stars, I suppose."

"Not the same without you."

"No."

They sat in silence for a while, watching the trails, hundreds of them, outnumbering the fixed stars. Most were Chinese. The Norwegian Empire was not big enough to compete in every field. Space was important, certainly; but so was bio research, and grav-lasers, and suppressors. And quantum devices, of course. Especially quantum devices.

"Twelve hundred years. What do you think they'll be like?"

"You should know," Anja smiled. "You're the direct descendant."

Geir smiled back, half-hearted; he knew perfectly well that his direct descent from Olav Yngling - real blood, generation after generation, in the male line, with no single law-Yngling or jumped-up stril soldier - was half the reason Anja slept with him, and at least two-thirds the reason the Secret Hird had recruited him. There were not many left of the pure blood these days, and the distinction meant less and less - except in the Secret Hird.

"Pfft. Well, anyway, I guess we'll find out tomorrow."

"If it works."

"Yes."

They sat again in pensive silence for a while. It wasn't really possible to test the Device, after all, not on any large scale. Certainly, they'd been able to send mice, and even humans, back in time a few hours, without any apparent harm. And in theory it should scale up just fine. But that was the same theory that showed the energy requirements going up quadratically with the time distance, which they'd confirmed in experiment; and when you multiplied the already vast energy needed for just a few minutes' jump by that, the only way to power the Device was to quite literally set off antimatter bombs under the mountain, and extract the energy from them. Which did have the advantage that if the Device didn't work, they'd never know about it. Although the rest of the world would. The bombs didn't quite amount to a Doomsday device; there was enough raw energy in them to crack the Earth open, but they had to be placed just so to be useful as power sources, and that limited their explosive effect. But certainly Dovre mountain would be spread over most of Norway as radioactive dust.

"I wonder..." Anja trailed off.

"Hmm?"

"If they'll know?"

"Who will?"

"The Chinese and whatnot. They'll be wiped out by the time-change. I wonder if they'll have time to realise?"

"One final Yngling backstab? Hah. I'd love to see their faces. But no, the effect should be instant - well, spread at lightspeed. Unless the Branch Theory is the right one, of course, and then they won't notice at all."

"I suppose. Maybe we should have made it public, just to watch them stew."

"Eh. They'd hardly let us get away with that. There's a reason we have a treaty forbidding this kind of thing. They'd launch the Imperial Nightingales two seconds after 'Quantum Device' was out of your mouth."

"Come now. This is the Chinese bureaucracy we're talking about. We'd have an hour, at least."

"Mmm, maybe. They're quick enough when they've got reason to be. Anyway, not our decision."

"No."

There was another silence; then Anja turned to him and pulled him down on top of her, and for a while an older magic than that of the Device ruled on the side of Dovre mountain.

But only for a while.
 

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Mission objectives and information, 1066-1453

It is intolerable. It shall not stand.

1. Introduction.

a) In spite of recent advances in space and with computing devices, the overall parameters of the Protracted Struggle remain the same: Either side will attack as soon as it believes victory with acceptable casualties is achievable. 'Acceptable casualties' is a much higher number for the Ynglinga Hird than for the Comintern.

b) Projections made by the Overkommando Ynglinga Hird indicate that the Chinese presence in space will become self-sustaining, that is, independent of supplies from Earth, within fifty years; and that the Yngling Realm possesses insufficient resources to maintain a presence large enough to destroy or inflict unacceptable damage upon such settlement.

c) Therefore, in order to prevent the People's Republic of China from simply growing around the Yngling Realm and reducing it to irrelevance as a Power, it has been decided to create a Quantum Device in violation of the provisions of the 2176 Treaty of Byzantium.

2. Objectives

a) Become advisors to the Kings of Norway in the formative years of the Realm.

b) Guide the Realm, and the Family, in order to achieve greater dominance, at an earlier stage, than was historically the case.

c) Ensure that the political development of the Realm includes strong privileges for the Yngling caste.

d) Avoid the regrettable miscegenation with strils which was unfortunately necessary for survival in our timeline.

3. Background information

a) Agents will be sent to destinations at 25-year intervals, starting in 1066. Due to the quantum nature of the Device, arrival times and locations cannot be controlled perfectly. Agents should attempt to locate their successors and predecessors, but must be prepared to operate alone if necessary.

b) Consensus among the scientists attached to the project indicates that our timeline, and history, will be entirely destroyed by the use of the Device. Agents should therefore be aware that an awe-inspiring responsibility rests on their shoulders: Should they fail to make the Kingdom of Norway into a major Power, there will be no second chance. In essence the Project is gambling all that our ancestors have achieved over the past millennium, in the hope of gaining the still larger prize of world domination. But agents must keep in mind that there will be no divine intervention to ensure that Norway succeeds. Failure is always a possibility, and it is here entirely unacceptable.

c) Agents should keep in mind that Norway, in 1066, does not enjoy any of the advantages it does in 2206. In particular, there is no strong Ynglinga Hird with a millennium of battle experience behind it. (Indeed, the single agent who lands in 1066 will, by himself, increase the size of the Family by 50%!) Caution is therefore indicated until a strong power base can be established. Hence the decision to avoid intervention at Stamford Bridge. Although acquiring the kingship of England at an early date would be desirable, the long-term effects of the survival of Harald Hardråde are too unpredictable. In particular, it is not clear how the privileges of the Yngling caste might be affected by the success of a powerful warrior king, and the inevitable distortions involved with subjugating England. Agents should keep this in mind, and exercise a similar caution.

4. Desired overall development

a) Domestic. The Yngling population must be enlarged by all means possible. In particular, fertility drugs should be given to wives of Olaf Yngling, and these wives eliminated at the first sign of barrenness. Moreover, other noble families should be absorbed or pushed aside. The custom of duels, which is fading as Christianity is introduced, must be strengthened at every opportunity; agents should keep in mind that they are much better trained, larger, and healthier than the average warrior of the early Middle Ages. Whenever possible, raids on neighbouring countries should be arranged, in order to maintain a large, experienced warrior caste who will find it in their own economic interest to be warlike. It will probably be necessary to maintain a public charade of piety within the Christian faith for diplomatic purposes, as that superstition is rampant throughout the period. Nonetheless, wherever possible, the older pagan superstition, which is much more suitable for our purposes, should be encouraged. Further, care must be taken to ensure that no Christian priest gains the ear of any Yngling King. The provisions of the New Testament, if taken seriously, would entirely destroy the Yngling caste. Fortunately, agents will be helped here by the historical fact that there is very little evidence of any Christian ruler ever actually taking those provisions to heart.

The desired end result is a strong, pure-blooded Yngling caste, descended in the male line from Olav Yngling or his brother Magnus, holding all the great offices, titles, and estates in the land. It is not necessary to give them in law the exclusive right to speak at Ting, as this will be achieved de facto merely through there being no competing noble dynasties within the Realm. Great care should be taken to indoctrinate this caste into its destiny of world domination, and - as soon as practical - to set up an education system similar to our current one, although necessarily of somewhat more limited scope. It is not necessary to have every Yngling understand tactics, logistics, hand-to-hand fighting, and basic rifle maintenance, to mention only a few of our subjects; rather, what is desired is a tradition of formal education for Ynglings, separate from both strils and the education of other noble families, which can later be developed into such a system as we have today. Note that until the Yngling population has reached a million or so, it will be necessary to keep the attrition in this education to natural levels, even though our current 5% death rate is far more desirable from a eugenic point of view.

b) Foreign. Complete domination of the Baltic and Finland. Iceland to be acquired as an outpost for reaching the Americas at a later date. The British Isles including the Channel coast of France conquered if possible. Targets of opportunity to be snatched in Russia, but no major campaigns in this area, as subjugating the strils there would distract valuable Yngling attention from more resource-rich areas. Germany to be conquered as far south as the Rhine if possible; however, great caution must be exercised here, as this area is politically fairly united and economically far richer than the Realm, and may come to dominate it politically if its indigenous noble families are permitted to retain power; we have no wish to be the flies that conquer the flypaper. No permanent conquests are to be made outside these territories, with the possible exception of Mediterranean islands suitable for naval bases, lest Yngling attention be split; again let it be noted that the primary objective for this period is to enlarge the Yngling population and its position in the internal politics of Norway. If it becomes necessary for diplomatic purposes to undertake large-scale campaigns in the Levant, Syria, or Africa ("Crusades"), any subjugated lands should be made self-governing as soon as possible, to await re-absorption in the second phase.

c) Economic and technological. Under no circumstances are up-time technologies to be introduced before the second stage. In particular, steam engines and gunpowder are to be avoided at all costs. The reasons for this are that the economic effects of steam engines will mainly benefit regions where coal is abundant, in particular, the north of England and the region around Bohemia. Until and unless these fall under Norwegian domination, allowing such benefits to occur would be highly counter-productive. Further, steam engines allow the rise of a merchant class, with riches independent of the land-based wealth of the warrior aristocracy; although unavoidable in the long run, this must be delayed until the Family is large enough to form a large proportion of this class and to dominate it politicall. As for gunpowder, it would be still more disastrous: Since it necessarily has a democratising effect on warfare, by making it simple for even untrained peasants to be warriors (see, for example, accounts of the fighting against Chinese militia prior to the Bitter Peace), it would undermine the entire social structure we are attempting to build. Until Yngling dominance is firmly established, victory in warfare must rest on a narrow caste of highly trained professional warriors; if peasant levies can defeat such a host, it will become impossible to establish our political privileges. A further point here is that gunpowder warfare favours economic resources and numbers, neither of which is a strength of Norway in this period.

5. Conclusion.

When in doubt, kill.
 

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Dovrefjell, Norway
December, 1066

Thick clouds hid the night sky; but Geir did not need to see the naked stars, with no manmade points of light drifting among them, to know that the Device had worked after all. The utter silence and darkness of a Norwegian winter night was enough, when he had come from a summer warm enough to lie out in. He gathered his furs more closely around himself; he'd been out in worse, certainly - in years when there were no proper storms, his school had arranged outings to the Arctic so the boys could learn to deal with weather - but it had been rather more pleasant to smell the summer grasses with a woman by his side.

He settled down to the long walk to the coast. Halfway down the mountain a thought struck him and he looked back. The blackness of Dovre faded seamlessly into the blackness of the night sky; but what made cold shivers go down Geir's back was that here was a Dovre under which Halkjell Yngling did not sleep. He felt dizzy as he finally grasped the sheer magnitude of what the Secret Hird had accomplished: The complete destruction of twelve hundred years of history, including their own. Oh, he'd known, of course; he'd been working on the Project for ten years, since he was fifteen. But he hadn't believed. Neither had anyone else in the Secret Hird, apparently, or they would have realised he was going back to a time before Halkjell Yngling, and destroying Norway's sleeping king under the mountain; all his achievements and glories, wiped out as though they never existed. Indeed, if you believed the math, they never had.

His stomach churned; it took a distinct effort of will to bring the nausea under control. Then the old habits of discipline reasserted themselves. It was useless to dwell on casualties; assess your new capabilities, reprioritise objectives if necessary, continue the struggle. The King under Dovre would never wake to aid Norway in its time of need; very well, he wouldn't. The trick was to make sure that he was never needed, then. Geir stood straight, turned around, and continued his trek to the coast.

On the third day it came to him: The Device had been kept under Dovre mountain, and had been built to rescue Norway from being outgrown and overshadowed by the Chinese. Surely that was an hour of need. So Halkjell had done his work after all; and if in the doing he destroyed all his other works... Why, that was only what a great King should do for his country. A phrase teased at Geir's mind, some half-forgotten motto from a story he'd read as a child: We are the Kings, who die for our people.

Which meant that Geir was the tip of the spear that Halkjell had thrown to save the Realm. The briefing had contained the words, 'awesome responsibility'; but not until now had Geir really believed, down in the guts where it counts. Perhaps no Yngling in history - in all those twelve hundred years that he was personally destroying merely by standing here, breathing air that would otherwise go unbreathed - had had such a backbreaking task.

And if so, what of that? Are we not Ynglings? Geir squared his shoulders and resumed his march. The smell of the sea was in the air.
 

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January, 1067

It was customary for Ynglings coming to the capital of the Realm to break into song when they rounded Kvarven and the city proper came into sight for the first time; but Geir was in no mood for taking his cithar, new-tuned or not, in hand. He had expected it, of course, had consciously prepared himself not to see the vast, brooding industrial city he had grown up in, where the factories climbed far up mountainsides denuded of trees, and a population of three millions burrowed deep into the granite for space and protection against nuclear attack. But even so... it was so small! A few hundred houses, if you wanted to call them that - shacks, by any civilised standard. The west side of the bay showed occasional farms cutting into virgin forest. Even the contours of the sea were different, where a millennium of landfill had not taken place. By the time his hired fishing boat dumped him on the pitiful little wooden quay two hundred meters inland of where Bryggen should have been, Geir was deep in culture shock.

Håkon's Hall was two hundred years in the future, but a bigger-and-better log house stood in roughly the right location; Geir recognised a chief's dwelling from the briefings. There was even security, of sorts: Several heavily armed, bored-looking men stood about at the entrance to the hall. One of them challenged Geir politely: "Hail, stranger. What brings you here?" He spoke the harsh Norse with a different intonation from the fishermen, an upper-class dialect perhaps. Geir suppressed the urge to give the heart-to-fist salute and crisp "Geir Jonsson, Ynglinga Hird, reporting to Olaf Haraldson as ordered" that would have been his response to internal security in the uptime world. Instead he replied "I am Geir Jonsson. I've come to seek service with King Olaf."

The other man nodded in a not-unfriendly way. There were few other reasons for a man of the warrior class to come alone to a king's hall. "You're in luck then, the king is wintering here. You'll find him at the high table; I think he'll make a space for you." Geir blinked a little at this unexpected respect and helpfulness, then realised that he was at least half a foot taller than any of the other men, and more fit to boot. He consciously reined in his dominance projection a bit; these would be comrades-in-arms, of a sort, and it wouldn't do to offend them. Besides, he couldn't very well treat the king like a stril, to be overawed or killed. "Thank you," he nodded to the man as he passed.

The hall was dark, but with a heat that was welcome after the raw chill outside. Perhaps a hundred people, mostly men, sat on benches on either side of the long fire, drinking and talking; the thin beer wouldn't make anyone drunk at the pace they were going, but there was little else to do in winter. Or so they thought, at any rate; if Geir had anything to say about it, these lazy slugs would find themselves drilling morning and evening. But it would be some time yet before that was possible.

The king was easy enough to spot, that was the purpose of the high seat. "A stout man, well grown in limbs; and every one said a handsomer man could not be seen, nor of a nobler appearance. " Geir was not so impressed - or well-paid - as the saga writer had been, his standards being perhaps higher, and not running to scraggly, greasy beards. It didn't help that the king had clearly been hitting the beer rather more heavily than most of those around him, and was sitting a bit askew in his seat. He wasn't too drunk to sit up straight when Geir approached, though. A stranger was a novelty here, and any novelty welcome in the middle of winter.

"Ho. The gods send us tall men for guesting today," the king cried, clearly in a good mood. "Or are you a giant come down from the hills for our sheep?" This to Geir himself. "Whichever, be welcome at our hearth. What is your name?"

"I am Geir Jonsson; and I am no giant, but a man come to seek service of King Olaf."

"Hmm. These are peaceful times for Norway; but I can always use a strong man in my service. Still, you look as though you can eat for two; can you fight for as many?"

"Well, Sire King; name three men of your guards, and we shall wrestle, and see who is still standing at the end." Geir felt himself falling into the formal speech of saga in response to the King's jest, and damned the dizziness at the back of his mind. This was no time for culture shock, curse it. But this was altogether too much like being a player in a historical drama: He couldn't help but feel that nothing was quite real, that at any moment the director would scream "Cut!" and berate him for delivering such a stilted line. That was a dangerous frame of mind to get into when he was about to fight.

"That is bravely spoken," the king replied, "but come, no man shall say I am unfair. If you can fight for two, that is enough no matter how much you eat! Here : Ketil, Torvald, see if he can wrestle as well as he boasts." The two men named wasted no time, rising to their feet and charging at Geir without further ado. The rest of the hall began shouting, "Fight! Fight! Fight!" Geir could see he was going to be popular here, this was clearly the best entertainment anyone had had all day.

Ordinarily Geir would have met such clumsy attacks with crippling kicks to the kneecaps, but he had specified wrestling, and wasn't sure if such a move was allowed. Besides, these men no doubt had friends and relatives; best not to do anything too permanent, then. Anyway, the crowd clearly wanted a show, not a massacre. Instead he sprinted at the one on his left - Ketil, he decided - meeting his charge head-on - or almost. At the last moment he shifted right, grabbing the other man by the arms and using their combined angular momentum to fling them both around. Geir was the heavier, and had been expecting the move; thus he was able to keep his feet while redirecting Ketil's charge ninety degrees - straight into Torvald. They collided noisily. While they were still disoriented, Geir followed, grabbing Ketil's arm from behind, then turning and using the arm as a lever to throw the man over his back, to hit the rush-strewn floor with a resounding thud. Geir whirled to meet Torvald, but he needn't have worried - there were no Ynglings here, or such showy tactics would have seen him dead already. Torvald was still recovering from the collision with Ketil, and offered no resistance when Geir barged into him and inserted a foot behind his ankle for a trip.

Now there was silence in the room. If Geir had been fighting full force it would have taken three seconds rather than the ten it had actually lasted; but to the crowd, it was still a magically swift and deadly match. Geir turned to the king: "Nu, Sire, I did not say three for an empty boast. But you have said two will be enough. Is it well?"

The king took a moment to recover, but then he broke into a smile. "Enough, and well enough! Come forward then, Geir Jonson; you shall have service of me, and a gold ring besides. Such a fight I think I've rarely seen!"

Geir resumed his walk towards the high seat, feeling a little less disoriented with the familiar sensation of adrenaline pumping through his blood. Even so, he was rather disappointed in this man, the mythic King Olaf. Drunk already, with the sun still in the winter sky! As he came closer, he realised/remembered with a shock that the king was younger than himself. He'll be seventeen later this year, he thought, and almost fell over as the dizziness worsened. He, Geir Jonsson, was actually ten years older than King Olaf! And worse, he was about to swear fealty to the drunken little brat!

He knelt down before the king with some relief; his knees hadn't been entirely steady for the last few steps. King Olaf took Geir's hands in his own, and recited the oath of fealty in a loud clear voice, not slurred at all. Holds his beer well, at least, Geir thought, slightly contemptuous. Then he looked into the king's eyes, and froze. Nothing else about the boy was really king-like, or even Yngling-like. But the eyes... Somewhere in them, far in the back perhaps, a fire burned. Geir looked into that fire, and saw the nature of his race: The greed, the will to power, the unbridled violence. The arrogance that can brook no rival or equal. They were hidden, in Olaf; but they were there, perhaps more so than in any Yngling Geir had ever met. In most, the fire was banked, satisfied and dimmed by civilisation and the day-to-day dominance over strils that was any Yngling's birthright. But in the king, it burned furiously, raw with the untamed strength of an illiterate. It would need only a little encouragement to burst forth like a volcano, making cinders of all in its path. Geir smiled as he said the words of the oath, knowing what motto he would teach the king.

It is intolerable. It shall not stand.
 

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August 27th, 1082
Viken, Norway

Geir was in the practice field, sweating in heavy chainmail, when the summons to see the King came. He put on a show of annoyance, but in truth he wasn't too displeased; it was a hot summer day, the chainmail became heavier every year - eugenics or not, the Yngling ideal just didn't come easily to men on the wrong side of forty - and against young Torvald, all of nineteen and quick as a snake, he was getting bruises he'd feel for a week.

As he walked into the hall, though, relief gave way to a slight worry. Olaf was looking fairly angry, and sitting up straight in his chair the way he did when he anticipated a conflict with a friend. The last time he'd looked like that was - Geir had to think for a moment - two years ago, when Ragnvald Store had lost his third ship in a row and the King had to tell him he wasn't getting any more. The worry was the worse because Geir couldn't think of anything he might have done to annoy the King. The mystery was quickly cleared, though, as he came within speaking distance and the King gestured to the man standing by his side, a wealthy farmer by his Sunday go-to-court clothing.

"Geir! What's this I hear about you forcing Eirik's daughter?"

Geir blinked. Forcing? "Why, I don't know, Sire King. What do you hear?" Oops, that had come out rather more flippant than he intended. The King's frown deepened.

"Ragnhild Eiriksdottir. Midsummer festival, two months ago. Up against a tree, apparently."

Light dawned, partly. Well, all right, she had struggled maybe a little more than the girls usually did to defend their honour. Still and all, they'd been within hearing range of the rest of the party, and after all she'd gone into the woods with him; what had she expected? Or - he glanced at the father. Two months would be enough for someone to learn about an impending inconvenient birth, and perhaps take steps of a political nature. Did Eirik believe his own charge? Men could be convinced of any number of things in preference to believing that their daughters would go off into the woods with men of the king's hird.

"Well, Sire, I know the girl we're speaking of, then. But I think she was willing enough. We weren't so deep into the woods as all that - she could have shouted for help, eh?"

Olaf's frown didn't lighten, but at least he shifted it to Eirik, who changed his weight uncomfortably. "Nu, Eirik, that's a fair point. How do you answer?"

"Sire King... I would not speak ill of a man of the hird, but any woman alone in the woods with Geir Jonsson might hesitate to make him angry."

"Here! I'll not have this said of me!" Geir's indignation was quite real. "If I've ever turned my hand roughly to a free woman, then bring her to court now and let her speak. I use Man-biter on Swedes and Danes, and no others!"

Olaf was nodding, to Geir's relief. "It's true, Eirik. He's deadly in the field, but not in the home. I'll have no berserks in my household, you know. Anyway" - his frown deepened yet further - "why didn't you bring Ragnhild to court, to speak for herself? She's no child, if she went into the woods with Geir."

Eirik shifted his weight onto his right foot, ill at ease. "I see the matter is not as straight as I had thought. But this much I know: My daughter's belly swells, and she names this man the father. Do you deny it?" His glare challenged Geir, which took courage for the professional warriors he trained every day, much less a farmer who drilled with weapons maybe three weeks of the year. Geir's respect for the man rose a few notches.

"I do not deny that I slept with the girl. It could well be that I'm the father."

"Well then! We're entitled to compensation!"

Now Geir saw it; by custom strong as law, the man would indeed have compensation - but it would have been larger by a good bit if he had convinced the King of the rape charge. Olaf saw it too, if the tightening of his lips was any indication. There was nothing the King could do, though; custom was custom, even when rich farmers tried to bend it to their advantage.

"Well, Geir, he's right. You'll take my judgement in this, and be reconciled?" Eirik nodded eagerly - the alternative being a feud with the most feared warrior of the King's hird. But Geir wasn't eager for a feud either; the man would have a large following, and an arrow from behind a tree was quite an equaliser. And even if he killed the man, he'd be declared outlaw, and that would hardly be beneficial for his plans! On the other hand he was damned if he'd pay this greedy stril any compensation; if nothing else it was pretty clear that Ragnhild would see no penny of it, and she was a sweet girl and deserved better.

The thought struck him forcefully, and he smiled. "Sire King, I would make an offer for the compensation, which I think you'll be pleased to hear. Ragnhild is of good family, and I like her well. Let us be married, then, and I'll name her child as my own."

Olaf and Eirik both sat for a moment digesting this. They understood it simultaneously, and the King smiled broadly while Eirik winced. Money compensation would have gone into the farmer's pockets; an offer of marriage, if Ragnhild accepted, meant that he must part with a good bit of land or wealth as dowry, instead - and he'd be unable to make an alliance with another landowning family. Geir had land, but he was only one man, not much use in a clan feud, even if he was the best killer in the hird. It was a fitting punishment for trying to use the custom of child-compensation to enrich himself at his daughter's (and Geir's) expense.

"That is well spoken! If the girl is willing, let it be as you say. Since there seems" - the King smiled - "to be some need for haste, we'll have the wedding before the harvest. Eirik, as you accept my judgement, I trust there'll be no difficulty in arranging the feast?"

This put the farmer on the spot; repudiating the King's judgement now would get him in deep trouble. Hiding his anger, he stammered his acceptance of the terms, and departed with long strides. Geir didn't laugh until he was well out of the room - no need to rub it in - but then he broke into deep guffaws. The King joined him. "Nu, that'll teach the man to use my law for his own enrichment! Well done, Geir. But do you think the girl will marry you?"

"Oh, I should think so, yes. She was sweet enough on me to go into the woods, eh? And I'm wealthy enough, stand well at court, and my face scares no children. She could do much worse, I should think."

"True, but then who knows how women think? But we'll know soon enough. Well, I wish you every joy of her. You've been in my service long enough, it's time you had a woman and settled down! I think you've done more to enlarge Norway than any other man I could name, but you've taken very little of the good things of the land. Take this, then, with my blessing! And I'll give two large gold goblets for your household."

Geir smiled and said his thanks, touched. They were a taciturn people, these Old Norse; it was good to know oneself appreciated, especially when the man praising your deeds was Olaf Haraldsson of the sagas. And... it was curious, actually. Why hadn't he married before? Surely there were any number of young Yngling children of his blood who could have been growing up around now, even if they didn't have the name. There had been women who would have said yes, if he'd only thought to ask. But Ragnhild... He smiled again, broadly. Her gold hair, shy smile, and all that sweet softness, all to be his every night? So much youth and health and energy, the King could have given him goblets of wood and he would have felt just as rich.

It wasn't certain yet, though. As the king had said, who knew how women thought? Going into the woods was one thing, marriage another. She might have come to dislike him for getting her into trouble. Well, then, perhaps he'd better go mend his fences. There was that nice silver bracelet he'd got in Sweden last year, that he hadn't sold yet; and perhaps a good blue cloak, even a rich farmer's daughter would be impressed by that. And a bath, he was sweaty from the practice field; and perhaps a beard trim... Geir hurried off. Enough of war and the practice of war; there was courting to be done.
 

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December 27th, 1091
Dovrefjell, Norway

The night was clear, with a hint of aurora creeping down from the far north and making the heavens dance. Geir sat out in the bitter cold, waiting, as he had waited for a week now. This was the day of maximum probability, although he'd wait another two weeks before giving up. The scientists attached to the Project had been quite vague about just how sure they were of their equations at the energy levels required for the Device. And there was another thing, did he remember correctly? It took effort, now, even to dredge up the Norwegian words and concepts, so long had he thought and spoken only in Old Norse, and about ships and swords and sex, at that, none of your quantum mechanics. But if he did remember correctly, there was a small (or large, depending on which scientist you spoke to) chance that only the earliest transfer would work as planned, and the others would be left in limbo, or transfer to other histories. In a way he wasn't quite sure he didn't want that. It would be good to speak to an Yngling again - a real one, with the training and the genes, not these proto-Ynglings who had only the attitude and not much of that. But on the other hand he'd been a long time alone in this foreign country, and to him it was no longer foreign. It had taken him a week with nothing but thinking to do, to realise it; but the fact was that he had gone native. He looked at these Norse, and he saw no difference between Yngling and stril; he saw only Norse or southerner, just as they did. There was no reason his friend Torvald should be denied the right to speak at Ting; he was a brave man and wise with experience. The warriors here were Ynglings (of the sort they had around here) in all but name, and even the free farmers were fine comrades, men he had no least hesitation in fighting beside. It was not right to plot to subjugate them, to make their children nothing more than the neck-bowed strils who had served his every whim in the uptime. And besides that, he had children now, children of the Yngling blood, but without the name.

His head snapped up at the sudden crackling sound, and he turned in time to see the last of the lights fade away. Transfer! A kilometer away at most, but - he sighed - uphill of him, not down. His knees were going to hate him, but he broke into a run nonetheless. (Am I not an Yngling? he thought, with a certain degree of irony. He wasn't quite sure, anymore, what he was, inside where it counts; but at any rate he was certainly the fittest fifty-year-old in the world at the moment.) He reached the transfer point panting, but his replacement was still looking about, taking stock of things. He stopped up in shock as he saw his - no, her - face.

"Anja?"

She smiled. "Hi, Geir. Five minutes, no see."

Even through his confusion he had to smile at her joke; she could always make him smile. Five minutes, indeed, since they had gone into their separate chambers of the Device - or twenty-five years, depending on how you looked at it. But never mind that, why was Anja here and not Henrik? No women were supposed to be sent back any earlier than 1400, the planned society wouldn't be ready for it yet.

"Why you and not Henrik?"

"I hacked the config files."

"Why?"

Her smile grew into a grin. "To be with you, of course!"

He stared at her, not sure where to begin. By the time he finally collected his wits enough to speak, her grin had faded away and she was beginning to look a bit worried. "Anja... are you telling me that you buggered up the planned transfer order, all our careful training, just for the chance to sleep with me? Me twenty-five years older than last time I saw you, at that? You, you..." Words failed him; it was clearly not a good idea to call an Yngling twenty-five years younger than him an idiot bitch, but he couldn't think of any other term.

"I thought you'd be a bit more flattered than that." Definite storm clouds gathering now. This was getting out of hand; he'd forgotten what touchy bastards uptime Ynglings were, and all his skills for dealing with the constant dominance games were a quarter century rusty.

"Well, yes, of course I'm flattered, it's just that I'm fifty years old and I feel every one, and I'm married besides!"

"To who, some stril sow? Dump her, I'll bet I'm better in bed anyway. And what do I care about fifty? It's not your youthful energy I want you for."

That cut to the quick. Ragnhild of the loving smile and three strong sons, a "stril sow"? He very nearly went for Man-biter, but remembered in time that Anja could run circles around him. He couldn't keep all his feeling out of his face, though, and Anja went very still, as Ynglings do just before the attack. Still, something of his burning fury must have impressed her, for after a few seconds of locked gazes she looked away, and spoke quietly. "Oh. So that's how it is." Her shoulders slumped, just an inch. "I'm sorry, then; my words were uncalled-for."

It was a long walk back to the coast.
 

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One year Geir Jonsson travelled to Dovre in the winter; for what reason he would not say, nor does any man know what passed there. But when he returned, he brought with him Anja Sigridsdatter; and from this much else flowed, as shall presently be related.

Anja was a very tall woman, and stronger than many men. She often joined the weapons-practice sessions at Geir's field. At first this caused a few youths to stop attending, saying that sword and shield were a man's weapons; but Geir said that a warrior mother was the best way to ensure warrior sons, and Anja showed that she could fight as well as most, and so no more was said of this among Geir's followers.

Kalle was a man, who had lands in the south of Viken. He had often looked with envy on Geir's wealth and favour with the king, and said to his following that it was not right that a landless beggar, whose bloodline no-one knew, should come to such power in the land. Now he saw himself vindicated, and when Olav next held Ting, Kalle spoke against Anja, saying that she should be forbidden to bear arms as men do. And there were many who agreed with him, and said that Anja was shameless, and there were some who muttered that she used seidh, and should be burned lest she bring bad luck on the land.

When this was said to King Olav, he replied, "That is a strong accusation, but see the accused is not here to speak for herself. Let her come before us tomorrow, and we shall hear what she has to say." And with this Kalle had to be content for that day.

The next day Geir came man-strong to the Ting, with all his followers; Kalle had likewise brought many men. But the most man-strong of all was King Olav, and he reminded all present that it was unlawful to draw weapons at Ting-meet, and said that whoever drew sword first should be banished from the land. Then he asked Kalle to speak his accusation again; and Kalle replied thus: "There is among us one who brings ill-luck to the land with her impious ways. She dresses as a man, which is against godly law and old custom; she uses seidh, which offends the land-spirits; and she makes the young girls rebellious, which brings about unpeace in our households. Therefore I ask that Anja Sigridsdatter be banished, or at the least that she accept judgement and behave fittingly hereafter."

Now King Olav asked to hear Anja speak, and she said this: "I use no seidh, but honest strength and skill. And if Kalle Bonde would give his children leave to learn to fight, as all Norse should, he would have no unpeace in his household. And what is more, I will meet any man who wishes it in holmgang, and prove by right of arms whether the gods dislike my clothes."

At this the men of Geir's following said loudly that this was well spoken, and that such strong women would be needed for Norway in years to come. But Kalle replied that duelling was against the law, and for good reasons; and asked the King to judge the case. And the King spoke thus:

"I shall now give judgment in this matter. We have heard that Anja uses seidh, but we have seen no proof for this; so for false accusation, I fine Kalle Bonde 100 marks of silver. We have heard that Anja causes unrest in the households, but children are always unrestful for something; so in this matter I make no judgement against either party. We have heard that Anja wears men's clothing in breach of custom, and this we can all see is true. Therefore I fine Anja 10 marks, and she shall pay a penny for every day she wears such clothing henceforth. And lastly, we have heard Anja give challenge to holmgang, which is against the King's peace; so I fine her another 50 marks for this." And with this judgement both parties had to be content.


-------------------------------------------------​

"Anja, you idiot, what the devil was that?"

"Watch who you call an idiot, Jonsson."

"Fine! Anja, cleverest Yngling in the land, what the devil was that?"

"Well, what's this nonsense of duels being outlawed, then? This is Norway!"

"Ah. You had the briefing for 1400, didn't you. Duelling has been outlawed since 1014. We expected we'd have it back by the time you got here."

"Mmm. Do you have 50 marks?"

"I do, yes." Geir kept his tone dry. He'd have to pay the fine - Anja was penniless in her own right, but he couldn't very well have her banished - but he intended to make her squirm for it.

"I'll pay you back."

"Oh so? And how will you do that?"

"I'll get the king to give me a ship, go raiding. Some of the lads will come along."

"Hmm." Geir considered it. "That's not a bad idea. We've been too quiet lately. I'm too old for raids, these days."

"So you'll pay the fifty marks, then?"

"Yes, yes, fine. And the new tax, too. Penny a day, sheesh, that's robbery."

Anja snorted. "Takes one to know one. I think the King was hinting I should wear dresses, actually. He doesn't expect you to pay."

"Eh. He'll have to live with it - you can't very well fight in those skirt things."

"Right. Tell me about Einar."

Geir blinked, but he was used to Anja's sudden changes of subject. "What's to say? Grandson of the king, not too awful with the sword, prefers the bow and is better with that. Bit too slow for real deadliness in unarmed, but persistent. Likable sort, doesn't push himself forward. I think I intimidate him; probably you do, too. You've still got a bunch of uptime habits, you know."

"Like what?"

"All those dominance tricks - you should back off on them. These aren't strils. No need to force them to submit to our Will."

"Oh yes they are." Her mouth twisted in contempt. "Strils the lot of them. Not a real fighter in the bunch. It would serve them right if we went back uptime and fought it out with nukes."

"So why were you asking about Einar?"

"Well... he's the closest thing to a real Yngling around here. At least he's descended from Olav."

Comprehension dawned; Anja was still trying to merge her genes with the male line from King Olav. Since Geir wouldn't oblige, the king's grandson would do. Actually Geir was surprised she hadn't set her cap for the king himself. He felt a bit sorry for the lad, but then again he'd no doubt think it was all his idea, and anyway he'd certainly have a wonderful time.

"Try not to get him killed on your raid, then."

Anja grinned. "Oh, what's to worry? Brief life burns bright."
 

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The Bagratuniad:

Context:

"One cannot know a time, unless one also knows the context in which that time existed." (The Testament 5:1)

The Bagratuni:

An ancient dynasty of Armenian extraction, their true origins are shrouded in the mists of history, having tenuous genealogies drawn back as far as the 1st Century BC - the time of the Empire of Tigranes the Great - and legendary genealogies claiming even earlier origins. The dynasty had spread to Georgia in the early centuries of AD, taking up positions of minor nobility for the local kings, however, the important Bagratids, arrived in the country in the turbulent years after the Arab conquest of Armenia, in the person of Vasak, son of Ashot III the Blind.

Over the next 236 years, Vasak's descendants would climb the social ladder on the strength of wise alliances and capable princes, until in 1008 AD, Bagrat III of the Kartli branch, crowned himself King of united Georgia.

Having literally built the Kingdom of Georgia, the fate of the Bagratids would remain intertwined with that of Georgia until the Russian conquest in the 19th Century AD. Today they remain the acknowledged royal house of Georgia.

The Kings:

Bagrat IV 1027-1072:

Grandson of Bagrat III, Bagrat IV spent most of his reign either fighting the Byzantines over the legacy of his adoptive Great-Grandfather, David of Tao, or fighting his own nobles for his very throne. The indecisive push-and-shove of the Byzantine-Georgian wars were only ended by the common threat posed by the Seljuk Turks, causing Bagrat and the Emperor Constantine to make peace in 1065, sealing the alliance the next year with a marriage between his daughter Maria and Prince Michael of Byzantium. The last years of his life would be dominated by the task of fighting off successive Turkish expeditions which tried, and ultimately failed, to force Georgia to submit to the Sultan.

Giorgi II 1072-1089:

During his childhood, Giorgi was used as the tool of the rebellious noble Liparit, who crowned the boy king in 1054, subsequently making himself regent. While his father eventually prevailed, growing up as a tool of his father's enemies probably didn't do the boy any good... By the time he gained the throne in his own right, he had grown into a wavering and incompetant man, unable to give his Kingdom the leadership it so badly needed in the war against the Seljuks. For this reason, in 1089, he was deposed in a palace coup in favour of his son, whose great ability and energy secured a golden age for Georgia.

Sakartvelo:

Otherwise known as Georgia to us foreigners, in 1066 this country is still in the process of being unified (the last hold-outs would remain independent until the time of Tamar the Great r. 1184-1213, shortly before the Mongol invasions would shatter the Kingdom), and its nobles, despite mostly having the same last name, are still restive and prone to revolt. It is also one of the oldest Christian countries (Christianising only shortly after Armenia). The culture has strong Persian and Greek influences, as, like Armenia to the South, the land treads a careful path between its two larger neighbours.

However, in 1066, the Greek influence is strongest, already many of the great Princes of Georgia have been Byzantine subjects (if sometimes restive ones) and many of the titles of the Georgian Kings and Princes are in fact granted by the Emperor.

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The observant will have noticed that the preceding five posts are not new; I copied them over from the previous AAR thread. They are the parts that do not need to be retconned out of the game due to the restart. There are also two posts that now deal with events that are not going to happen no matter how I slice things; I'll link them for completeness:


Sp, that's the background; now the saga begins anew, and the only certainty is that There Will Be War.


2. Ute was a woman, who lived in the Saxon lands south of Denmark. She was the daughter of a rich farmer there, and her beauty was renowned far and wide, so that she had many suitors. One year King Olaf travelled in Saxony, and he heard men speak of Ute; and he said "Let us guest with this Konrad Jarl, and we will see what truth there is to these tales."

Thus they travelled to Thuringen, and guested there; and Olaf found that Ute was indeed as beautiful as the Saxons had boasted, and was soon smitten with her. Nor did she seem to mind his affections. But Konrad Jarl who was chief of that land thought differently in this matter; and although Ute wept and swore that she would rather die than marry Heinrich, Konrad's son, she had little choice in the matter, and the Norse soon found that they had cold cheer in Konrad's hall.

3. The next year Olaf campaigned in Saxony, and took land-tax, bread, and salt of the cities there. But men said that he brooded deeply over the loss of Ute; and as they were preparing to set sail for Norway, Olaf ordered most of the host to sail without him, and took Geir Jonsson and a few picked men with him, deep into Germany. There they came to Konrad Jarl's hall as the midwinter celebrations began; and by moonlight they stole Ute from the fire-dance. But Konrad sent men in pursuit, and a stray arrow struck Ute in the throat, and she died.

After this Olaf was much changed. He took to drinking deeply, and taking frill-wives to his bed, which he had not often done before; but there were few who slept with him a second time. In council he became short-tempered and unruly, and gave offense to powerful men.

4. Aslak was a man, who had rich farms in Rogaland in the west. One year he came man-strong to Ting, although he did little business there; but on the last day he spoke to the assembly thus: "You have all heard how it went for us in Viken this Yule, when Olaf threw his ale in my face and said he'd have no more West-pigs in his hall. Now I say that if he'll have no more of us, then we'll have no more of him; let us elect again our own king, as it was before Harald Fairhair, and have no more of these Viken rats taking our land-tax." Now in the West-land there had always been many who disliked having a King in Viken, and Aslak was well liked; so there were many who said that this was well spoken, and the end of it was that the Ting cried Aslak hail, and said they would pay no more tax to Viken.

5. Now when King Olaf heard of this, he was angry, and sent at once for a levy of ships and men. "It is intolerable", he snarled; "it shall not stand." Nor did it; for the Viken lands are rich, and the host that King Olaf mustered was twice the size of the West-men's. It came to a fight outside of Stad. In this battle many good men fell; Yngve Raude was one, Walter Tyske another. But in the end Olaf's men cleared the ships of their foes, and the West-land was again brought under Olaf's rule. But Olaf did not appoint land-stewards, lensmenn, and jarls, as his fathers had done; instead he took the richest farms for himself, and gave some to his followers, while others he ran with wardens. This was a new thing in Norway.

Well, one good thing about being small: You can survive a death spiral from the kinslayer trait just by annexing the dang vassals. Which also has the nice side effect of clearing Western Norway of all the non-Yngling nobles, in accordance with Geir's instructions. Granted my badboy is now horrible, but then again I have no vassals, so who cares? Although the 25% efficiency is pretty nasty, to be sure.
 

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The Bagratuniad:

The Bagratid Crusades:

With peace finally secured with Byzantium, Bagrat IV was able to turn his attention to the Seljuk menace. Now to understand completely the events, the student must understand that at that time, the Caucasus was home to a number of minor Muslim states, all of whom were being actively courted by the Seljuk Sultan. Thus, to secure his flank, and attack his enemies in a way that they would find it difficult to respond to, Bagrat launched what is called "The Bagratid Crusades". Though the name is a modern invention (contemporary sources were less polite), nor particularly accurate.

The Crusades actually consist of 5 separate wars:

1. The dual war against Kartli and Kasogs, which finally secured the valuable city of Tiblisti for the realm.

2. The war against the remnant Khazars - more of a personal argument than a war for strategic goals - but Bagrat did force the Khazars to pay homage to him, for which he became known as the Prince of the Khazars. Unfortunately, this war would cost Bagrat his only son and heir, and while Giorgi had provided him with a grandson before his death, the baby would not survive - one of the many casualties to the brutal Byzantine politics of the era.

3. The war against the Pechenegs - fought in support of the Prince of Alania - though to this day, the reasons why Durgulel made war upon the distant Pechenegs is unknown. Bagrat's part in the war was inconclusive, and Bagrat made peace with the tribesmen shortly before the Cumans would launch their own war against Alania.

3a. Sometimes counted as part of the Bagratid Crusades is the war between Alania and Cumania, though Georgia [FN1] did not join the war against the Cumans, their crushing victory over the weakened Alans would set the scene for the later Georgio-Cuman phase of the Bagratid Crusades.

4. The Albanio-Derbenti - by far the most destructive of the Crusades (for both sides), the war started when the Georgians declared war on the Shiek of Albania, not realising that Albania had secretly paid homage to the powerful Emir of Derbent [FN2]. While the Georgians technically had the greater manpower, much of it was controlled by restive vassals, who would often come and go as they pleased, thus Derbent at all times had a superior number of troops in the field. To the Georgian advantage was their King's skill, and Bagrat was able to harry the much larger Derbenti armies, forcing them always to run. However, to do this, Bagrat also had to move the grand Georgian army without rest, and he had little time to besiege his enemies.

5. During the Albanio-Derbenti war, the Cumans, fat from their victory against Alania, also declared war, and sent a mighty army to besiege Semender, a Derbenti fortress at that time garrisoned by a small Georgian contingent while the rest of the army pursued the Emir's army between Derbent and Kartli. The Cuman horse-men quickly surrounded the fortress, cutting off all routes of communication, so the Georgians decided to surrender Semender in exchange for free passage from those lands, and then rushed to tell their King of the new development. It was an action a younger, more impulsive King would have killed them for, but war-wise Bagrat, then in his mid-fifties, knew that the swift news they brought was worth far more than the fortress they had abandoned. Instead, he sent those men back to the Cumans, entrusting them will all the bullion that his army carried, and ordered them to buy peace with the Cuman King for any price. The treaty of Semender probably saved Georgia from paganism, for at that time she probably could only mobilise a number equal to less than a quarter of the men that rode under the banner of the Cuman King.

4a. Sending the Grand Army's entire pay-chest to buy peace at Semender was not a popular decision, and while some merely muttered against it, Isaac, Count of Itil, abandoned the cause altogether, renouncing the vows of fealty he had so recently sworn to Bagrat, denouncing Christ, and proclaiming before the entire council that his son would be brought up in the faith of his Grandfather. There was nothing Bagrat could do, without making the entire war purposeless, so nothing was what he did as the 500 men of the army of Itil left the Grand Army. By that time, the Grand Army numbered barely a thousand, and they faced more than twice that number of Derbenti fighters. But Bagrat carried on regardless, harrying the men of Derbent until they simply died from exhaustion, forcing the gates of Derbent itself, capital of the Emir's realm, and forcing the burgers to kiss his feet. But still the main army of Derbent remained in the field, and while it remained, the Emir was unwilling to make any worthy peace. The Georgian army continued to shrink, and by the end of the war, we know the number of fighting men was about 880 - for that is the number of names carved in the "Crusade Stone" outside Kutatisi cathedral. Nonetheless, Bagrat marched this, the tiniest of Grand Armies, to the plains outside Semender, where he caught the retreating Derbenti forces, and while they outnumbered his army almost three men to his one, they held the Georgians in such fear that most of the Derbenti men ran as soon as the Georgian Gorgasliani (the flag of Georgia, named after Vakhtang Gorgasali) appeared on the horizon. This time, the Georgian victory was total, trapped against the walls of Semender, the Emir's army could not escape, and was massacred to the last man. The Emir himself fled into the city, but without an army to come rescue him, the siege was a foregone conclusion, and the second treaty of Semender witnessed the surrender of the fortresses of Semender and Derbent to the Georgian King.

After 11 years of continuous warfare, Georgia was completely drained, even the church was impoverished, and had the Count of Itil decided he wanted to make war on Georgia, there were not enough fighting-men in the whole of the country to be able to stop him. And even those Counts who had remained loyal throughout Bagrat's Crusades were ill pleased at the cost of them. The country was ripe for unrest, all it needed was a leader.

Enter Kvirike Bagratuni, child-King of Kakheti, grand-nephew of Bagrat, and, according to some, the son of a saint.

fasquardon

FN1: For the remainder of Bagrat's reign, I will be writing my AARs as if he is still King of Georgia, even though as a player I'm just the humble Prince of Abghazia.

FN2: It took me ages to figure this one out - Albania was it's normal independent grey on my screen, and there was some darn funny stuff going on with the peace deals I was making - I finally figured it out when I noticed the Albanian troops flew the Derbenti colours!
 
Last edited:

Sid Meier

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Just want gold and such for my aar+ontime.
 

ulmont

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Power levels 1066

As the first session began, here were the power levels (sum of base income from province.csv for all provinces in the realm) for the player realms and for the top few realms generally:

Player Realms
Code:
		      1066
Flanders	FLAN	38
Kiev		KIEV	36
Carinthia	KARN	31
Bohemia		DBOH	30
Toulouse	TOUL	30
Apulia		APUL	28
Saxony		SAXO	28
Bavaria		BAVA	26
Ostlandet	AKER	22
Abghazia	IMER	22
Brittany	BRIT	18
Northumberland	CUMB	12
Slavonia	SLAV	11
Östergötland	OSTR	 6
Generally
Code:
GERM 470
FRAN 224
BYZA 224
SELJ 177
FATI 129
ENGL 121
LOLO 70
PERE 68
POLA 64
BORD 57
CUMA 54
HUNG 53
TOSC 51
KIEV 42
MMOS 40
FLAN 38
SUZD 36**
SWED 35
SCOT 33
CROA 33
KARN 31*
TOUL 30
DBOH 30*
SAXO 28*
BOUG 28
APUL 28
URAL 27
UPLO 27
SWAB 27
TOLE 26
*Player Realm.
**Sid Meier started out as Chernigov (SUZD) but lost that title to Pereslavl this session. He'll pick up (and switch to) the KIEV tag, but for this session look at this number and not at the 42 for KIEV.
 

ulmont

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Power levels 1077

As the first session ended and the second session began:

Player Realms:
Code:
		      1066    1077
Kiev		KIEV	36	91
Apulia		APUL	28	43
Bohemia		DBOH	30	43
Flanders	FLAN	38	38
Abghazia	IMER	22	38
Carinthia	KARN	31	34
Toulouse	TOUL	30	32
Brittany	BRIT	18	29
Saxony		SAXO	28	27
Bavaria		BAVA	26	24
Ostlandet	AKER	22	21
Slavonia	SLAV	11	17
Northumberland	CUMB	12	12
Östergötland	OSTR	 6	 6
Generally:
Code:
GERM 437
SELJ 284
FRAN 243
BYZA 182
ENGL 144
PERE 102
RYAZ 91*
CUMA 64
LOLO 60
BORD 57
POLA 51
SCOT 45
HUNG 45
SWED 44
DBOH 43*
APUL 43*
IMER 38*
FLAN 38*
SEVI 37
MURA 35
MMOS 35
KARN 34*
DENM 33
TOUL 32
FATI 30
CAST 30
NOVG 29
BRIT 29*
BOUG 28
UPLO 27
*Player realms.
 

ulmont

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Power levels 1088

As the second session ended and the third session began:

Player Realms:
Code:
		      1066    1077    1088
Kiev		KIEV	36	91     115
Brittany	BRIT	18	29	90
Abghazia	IMER	22	38	81
Bohemia		DBOH	30	43	63
Carinthia	KARN	31	34	55
Apulia		APUL	28	43	48
Flanders	FLAN	38	38	39
Toulouse	TOUL	30	32	32
Saxony		SAXO	28	27	30
Ostlandet	AKER	22	21	28
Bavaria		BAVA	26	24	25
Slavonia	SLAV	11	17	17
Northumberland	CUMB	12	12	12
Östergötland	OSTR	 6	 6	 9
Generally:
Code:
GERM 420
SELJ 293
FRAN 246
BYZA 128
PERE 120
KIEV 115*
ENGL 115
BENI 103
BRIT 90*
IMER 81*
HUNG 69
SCOT 66
BOHE 63**
BORD 57
KARN 55*
POLA 53
LOLO 51
SWED 50
APUL 48*
FATI 44
SEVI 43
MMOS 40
FLAN 39*
CAST 37
DENM 35
CROA 33
TOUL 32
SAXO 30*
BOUG 28
AKER 28*
*Player Realms
**Will be edited back to DBOH.
 
Last edited:

Sid Meier

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I added the backstory post now to my first post.
 

King of Men

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December 15th, 1075
Jotunheimen, Norway

It is no joke to fight in Norway in the winter. Geir had heard the aphorism many times, had even pronounced it himself, approvingly, in late-night discussions of strategy and old wars. He had thought he understood it, too; after all he had been out on exercise in the mountains many times; when he was 14, he'd crossed the Jotunheim on skis, alone. Two of his classmates had died in that initiation. But they had been glass-fiber skis, and he'd had uptime thermal gear, and a lightweight backpack containing all sorts of useful items like a good map! Now he was going out to hunt men on wooden skis smeared with pigfat, dressed in heavy furs dampened by sweat, with no better map than the memories of local guides. But another saying was relevant: Needs must when the devil drives.

You couldn't really blame the rebels. There was only so much grain grown in Norway; it would feed only just so many people; and when men went to war over who should be King, fields would be trampled, or untended, or burned, and ships that should be out fishing or trading would carry warriors to battle, and bring in no calories. Then there would not be enough food for all; and it is a rare man, especially in a warrior culture, who will not steal and kill to feed his children. So you got these little bands of rebel bandits, driven off their seized or burnt-out lands, hiding out in the hills, living by hunting when they could and stealing when they had to. You couldn't blame them, no. But you had to exterminate them; there was only so much grain grown in a year, and it was needed to feed the Hird, and the women who would produce the next generation of warriors. And so Geir found himself out in the cold, hunting a band who had driven off twenty head of cattle. It was irony, if you looked at it right: Here was Norway, the destined thousand-year Realm; and here was Geir, its guiding spirit, the best-trained soldier in the world, with utterly priceless skills. And the best use that the one could make of the other was to send him out in the snow to hunt a score of scraggly cows! But there it was: The rebellion had been costly, the treasury and the granaries were empty, and those cows were the difference between malnutrition and actual starvation for the children who would be warriors in twenty years. And so... needs must when the devil drives.

There was no way for the rebels to cover the tracks of twenty cows through the snow, and they had to know they'd be pursued; that meant they thought they could deal with the pursuit, which meant they'd be lying in ambush somewhere. That crag there, for example, would be a splendid place to hide some archers, to surprise the pursuers and pin their attention while a main force charged from the copse on the other side. But they'd passed a dozen ambush sites as good or better already. That was the thing about Norwegian terrain, for the defender it just kept on giving. You couldn't scout out every possible attack site, there were just too many of them and you would be lucky to advance a mile in a day. All you could do was - Geir smiled grimly as the first arrows arched out - train to recognise what the most probable enemy action was, and have an order ready to deal with it. That was what Yngling schooling did, and he was the only man in the world who had gone through a formal course in it - although learning by doing was not a bad plan, to be sure. But not good enough. Harald's and Jon's squads peeled off towards the crag to deal with the archers, while the rest turned in response to Geir's snapped order to deal with - yep, there they were - the bandits sweeping down the slope from the forest.

It was a strange sort of fight; you couldn't really maneuver on skis, but you couldn't very well fight thigh-deep in snow, either. The bandits had an initial advantage of momentum since they were coming downhill, but it wasn't like a cavalry charge that could bowl men over or make them run; when bandit crashed into hirdmann, both fell over. Then they'd both struggle to get up, or one would chop at the other awkwardly, without the strength that comes from proper leverage. In other cases the bandit would pull up, and combat became a series of duels without footwork, just slashing and thrusting until a man's shield arm grew too tired, or he was battered out of balance and fell; then he was easy prey. The hirdsmenn had all the advantage there; they had not camped out in snow and cold for months on end, and had eaten recently and well. And when one man downed his opponent, he would shuffle over to aid his friend next in line, and rapidly win that uneven match; so victory spread swiftly along the line. The bandits' only real chance had been for the hirdmenn to be distracted by the archers, so their first swift onrush would have fallen on men looking the other way; but Geir had prevented that, and the outcome was sudden and deadly.

Fighting wasn't the end of it, though. There were wounded to be bandaged and sent back, one with an arrow through his thigh, who would have to be carried. They might survive; one advantage of the cold and snow was that there were relatively few bacteria about, and no dirt had gotten in the wounds. Then there were bandits to be put out of their misery with a quick slash across the throat; there was no food for them, and that was an end to the matter. And then there were still the cows to track down.

The bandits' camp turned out to be another three hours away, where a small stream ran down from the mountains and formed a plain. There was no resistance; the bandits had put every fighting man - and not a few fighting boys - into their ambush, and it had failed. Geir watched impassively as the women were raped. Most of them didn't really resist, perhaps thinking that their captors might show mercy. Some of them did, too, coming before Geir and arguing that this or that woman was a hard worker and could be taken back; then it was his job to look them - recent widows, desperate enough to spread their legs for their husbands' killers - in the huge eyes that stared out of thin faces, and kill, instantly and without mercy. There wasn't food for them; taking them home was merely to condemn someone else to a slower, nastier death. By the time they were done, the snow ran red and brown, and Geir was sick to his stomach; but he took care to show no sign of that. Some of the men were pale and drawn around the eyes; it is not easy for a man to kill a woman he has just lain with, even though she was unwilling. But they had to be hard, and it would be easier for them if their commander showed no weakness. Perhaps next time they would not be so eager for their privileges. No way around that, either; an enemy's women were fair game, and had been even in the great wars of the uptime. Who would be an Yngling if there was no gain in war? You could place limits on what soldiers could do, but not without limiting their independence; and then you had to recruit them by other means. And the Yngling form of society absolutely required that every free man be a warrior and soldier. You could have Ynglings, truly free men; or soldiers with limits imposed from above on what loot they could take; but not both. Usually Geir thought it a reasonable trade; an Yngling is free, as a wolf or a forest fire is free, and it was worth while to have such men and women in the universe. But sometimes, as now, when he had to drive a sword through the throat of a pregnant woman pleading for mercy... sometimes he wasn't so sure.