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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Viking_Manstein

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Hello everyone!

I have been absent from the forum for quite a while due to many different factors, but I am now back and ready to work on a new AAR set in G.R.R. Martin's fantasy world of Westeros (and Essos). This is not a AAR which will show off my skills in the game, but more of a telling of a story, therefore I might use cheats to make a better story (if I do I post it as a "PS"). For those of you who are familiar with Game of Thrones I will be starting in the year 8129 (start date called "The Dance of the Dragons") and my starting character is Galbart Bolton.
In this AAR I will be playing as one of the most ruthless houses in Westeros, House Bolton. My objective of the game will be to do my utmost to ruin what you might call my antagonist, namely House Stark and the first objective will be to replace them as Warden of the North. If I should get that far I don't know what I will do after that, but that is a problem for later, maybe you guys can give me some ideas in the comments for further objectives.
If I have the time the first post will be out tonight and I will try to average 1-2 a week, might be more, might be less depending on how much time I have on hand.
Until my next post, have a good day.

 

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Great. Story intensive AARs are always my preferred favorites, especially since this will be set in Martin's fantasy world. :cool: Best of luck with this, I'll be closely watching (or reading...)!

Cheers!
 

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Glad to hear that. :)

UPDATE: I might be quite slow on updates for the next few weeks, I was just told today that I have to work every evening for the next two weeks, sorry about this rather bad start.
 

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Cregan I

The morning fog rose as it did so many a day, it felt wet on Cregan's face, he loved that feeling. The Dreadfort was a gloomy place, it had always been. To many people it seemed like nothing more than a normal castle with a simplistic build, not like Storms end or Riverrun and nothing compared to the Eyrie. Cregan knew that this was not the case. The castle was strong, it's walls could withstand enormous battering and still stand afterwards. The castle was built on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. Cregan had grown up along the Weeping water, the river that ran close. He had been nothing before lord Galbart Bolton had realized his wits at an early age and sent him to study at Oldtown. Before he went to Oldtown he had viewed himself as a genius, when he started his studies he realized that that was not the case, he was among the bottom half of his fellow novices and he had to study a lot to keep up. Through hard work he had forged his maester's chain and returned to the Dreadfort when the previous maester had died of the greyscale. When he was at Oldtown he had simply said that he was a northerner, but he had omitted to mention that he was a loyal servant of house Bolton. The Boltons had a reputation that was not good. Their sigil came from their old practice of flaying their captives while they were still alive. The Starks had made them give up this practice, but Cregan knew that this was not the case. There were chambers in the Dreadfort used especially for this purpose. It was even rumored by many in the North that the infamous Night's king, the man who had crowned himself while he was lord commander of the nights watch and married a female white walker had been a Bolton.


(The weeping water.)​

The Boltons had always loathed the Starks of Winterfell who were their liege lords. Over the last thousands of years the Boltons had started many revolts against the Starks, but none of these had been successful. It was only 59 years since lord Galbart's father lord Hother Bolton had revolted against Jon Stark, the alleged son of Bael the Bard and flayed him alive. Although the Starks had massed a large host they had not been able to take the Dreadfort or defeat the Boltons decisively, and thus a truce was made. Lord Hother had been a clever man, but he was a bit too much Bolton and the Starks kept a close eye on him after the truce was made. When he died in 8095 and he was succeeded by his son Galbart the tensions between Stark and Bolton had been relieved. Galbart was seen by most lords as being a simple man, none to witty. Even one of his own banner men had thought so and tried to claim the Dreadfort for himself. Galbart had destroyed his house root and stem and taken his holding, the place was commonly called Sheepshead hills. Even after this most people judged him to be rather simple. Cregan knew that was not the case. Galbart was a clever man, but he pretended not to be. He knew that if his father's enemies thought him to be simple they would let their guard down. He even went as far as to marry his daughter Sylene to the son of the uncle of the lord of Winterfell.

Galbart had two children, there was Sylene who was a lot like her grandfather, constantly scheming, although she was clever enough as to keep her nature to herself, her marriage had given to children of stark blood to her husband and he loved her for it. Galbart's heir was his son Eyron. Eyron was clever and he had a talent for making money and managing economical affairs, his father had appointed him to increase the production of wool, this he had been able to do to an extent that seemed impossible. It was rumored that his mother had not been the Hornwood wife of his father but rather the daughter of a Bravoosi merchant. Neither Galbart nor Eyron liked those rumors as pressing Eyron's claim for Hornwood had been in Galbart's thoughts for quite a while. Eyron had now been named master of arms, not because he was that well suited for it, but because there was a shortage of good candidates. Although Eyron was 25 he had still not been married, but Cregan knew that his father had called a counsel this very day to change that fact. Cregan realized that he been too long alone with his thoughts and he risked being late to meet with his lord, he hurried through the hallways and up the stairs to get to the meeting hall.

The meeting hall of the Dreadfort was not a very prestigious place, it was dark and gloomy, with no tapestries or anything of the sort. It was not because the Boltons could not afford to furnish their castle with that sort of things, but rather because their income was used for equipping their vast armories. When Cregan arrived he met lord Galbart and lord Eyron, he had expected more people to be there, but it seemed as though Galbart wanted few people in attendance, that could only mean that he had plans that he did not want to be shared. Lord Galbart had never been a handsome man, he was not tall, nor broad from shoulder to shoulder and the years had given him a rather fat face. Nevertheless he had a commanding look and his eyes were blue as ice, yet a touch milky. Although his voice was low and thin, whenever he spoke the room fell silent to a degree that seemed like sorcery. His son on the other hand had hair touched by fire, a large red beard covered his large jaw and his eyes were the same as the father. In stark contrast he was tall and built for combat with a thunderous voice. Although him and Cregan were friends their superficial features could not have been more different. When Cregan entered Galbart was the first to speak up.

"I see you found your way maester."
"That I did my lord. "
Eyron spoke next, "we were getting concerned that your books had swallowed you up friend."
Cregan gave him a smile back, Eyron knew quite well that Cregan was not too fond of books, it was one of the serving maids that had kept him busy and after that his own thoughts. It was known quite well that the maester did not care for celibacy but the Boltons proffered a loyal and lustful maester to one that was more correct but less loyal. Cregan had realized that most men under Bolton service who were still alive had some animal instinct that surfaced from time to time.

Galbart broke the silence again, "Well, you're here now. I do not know if you've told my son about the news the ravens brought this morning, my son the Targaryens are fighting again, a massive civil war. Rhaenyra of Dragonstone is not pleased that her younger brother became king after their father died, she has the support of House Tully, Arryn, Greyjoy and Stark, while her brother who styles himself as Aegon II has Baratheon, Lannister and Tyrell. To this purpose the wolf-pup has called his banners, he is a fine military man and he wants to show it to the world now. I will speak frankly in front of you Cregan, I will send men for his campaign, but just to fool the boy as for our real intensions. Eyron, since you are the master of arms, order 2200 men to join the Stark boy. I think Eyron that there will not be a much better time to claim Hornwood in your name than while the wolf tangles in the south."


(Lord Paramount Cregan Stark of the North.)​

There was a short silence, but in the end Eyron spoke up, "Father, do you want me to go south as well, that should prove our "loyalty" to the Starks."
"I am sure you would serve him well my son, but you are my only son and wars are risky, especially when dragons are involved." "As you say father." "Cregan, I want you to send a bird to the Withered Heath and to lord Gariss Ironsmith. He has two daughters, one is 14 and the other 20. Offer the youngest one to my son and her elder sister to me, I am sure lord Ironsmith would not object to that. He fears conflict with Cley Ryswell, the lord of the Rills and I am sure he would love our swords in support."
Cregan could not understand why he would marry into house Ironsmith, they were a weak northern house, with neither a large army or substantial amounts of money. Finally he spoke up.
"My lord Galbert, why house Ironsmith, surely there are more worthy consorts for your son?"
Galbert locked him in his icy look for a few seconds, "Cregan, the reason we've lost our revolts against the Starks is not because we've lacked cunning or courage, but because we've been outnumbered every time. House Ironsmith has two castles, Skysmeet and Saltspearkeep, these strongholds control about a third of the land in the Rills and Slatspearkeep is the second largest castle in the Rills. Lord Gariss only has one son, and his two daughters, should the son die..."
It was made clear to Cregan once again that Galbart never had an idle thought.

 
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Morra I

She had never left the Rills before, and hardly her father's keep or the surrounding countryside. All she knew so far in life was the streams and rolling hills of the Rills. The places where she had bathed in the summer or played with goats and sheep together with the daughters of the servants, eating meat fried on a fireplace and sleeping outside under a clear sky. Morra was not stupid, she had know for a while that there were wonders and many more than she could ever see if she had stayed at home forever. She also wanted something better for her and the children she would have than to nourish themselves on goats, sheep and the occasional deer. She wanted to live in a big castle with a handsome husband who would give her strong sons, but also to have something to leave to them besides 100 sheep. She wanted to see the Titan of Bravos, the Red keep and Highgarden, she wanted to drink wine from the Arbor and watch knights joust in tournaments. Her father could never have afforded any of these things, but the Boltons could.

She knew the stories some people told about them and she had been scared at first, but her sister had easily calmed her down. "Nothing better than for a man to have certain animal instincts sister, a chivalrous man might sound tempting, but he would be very boring in certain circles." Her sister had given her a wicked smile and even though Morra was just 4 and 10, she understood what she meant. Morra had been quick to develop and she had flowered when she was just 1 and 10, she was no great beauty for sure but she had certain attractions and she knew that she was clever, by far more than her sister. Her sister Leana had gotten a worse deal in her mind, she was going to marry the 50 year old Galbart Bolton, the father of Morra's husband to be, then again she would be the lady of the Dreadfort and technically her mother in law. Her sister was quite a different person, she had a pretty face, yet she was plump of body, with broad hips, however, she was also the most cruel person she knew. Morra remembered how she once had a serving boy whipped just because he did not return her smile, according to what Morra had heard about the Boltons, Leana would make a good lady of the Dreadfort. As Morra was thinking about all of this she was packing her belongings and preparing for the journey. Her thoughts were interrupted, her father came into her room. Her father Gariss Ironsmith was a plain looking man, but one who loved his family, he was one of the best fathers one could ever hope for, that she did not doubt.


"Daughter I know you must be scared, it is an entirely new setting for you to go far away from your family, but the man you're going to marry is a good man, I am told he is handsome and tall. Lord Bolton also told me that he will host a large wedding feast in our honor."
"I am not scared father, I know this is my duty and I will do it."
Her father gave her a proud smile and seemed content with her answer.
"You mother and I will also come with you, as will your brother. I will send your septa up here to help you pack, we need to get going today, it is a long ride for the Dreadfort."

The packing was soon done and a procession of 20 people set out from Skysmeet, it was Morra and her family together with 15 guards. The days went on as they travelled, through forests, across rivers and past turnip fields soon ready to be harvested. The journey was long and since Morra's sister was a poor rider they had to ride more slowly than Morra would have liked. Morra thought that it would have been best if they had a carriage, but knew that her father could not afford one. Finally they cleared the forests and started to see more fields and the villages grew bigger. In the distance they could see a big castle on a hill, at least it was big compared to her father's keep surrounded by a timber wall. Her brother rode up beside her and pointed, "The Dreadfort sister." As they rode on they could see a column of riders displaying two large flayed man banners. A large red headed man stepped down from his horse an walked towards them. "Lord Gariss, I trust the ride was not to perilous, I am Eyron Bolton, lord of the Sheepshead hills and heir to the Dreadfort. " My husband to be, Morra thought for herselves, she looked over at her sister who had started to smile in her most wicked way. No he is mine! Morra wanted to say that, but she knew better. Two other men stepped down from their horses. "Let me present two of my lord father's bannermen, Lord Donnis Overton, lord of Overton and lord Mors Burley, lord of the lonely hills." The men greeted them and their lord father presented his household retainers. "What am I thinking keeping you out here, you must be starving, let us ride for the Dreadfort, my father has prepared a feast in your honor." He is very good at courtesy at least, but he seems to be kind, Morra thought.
The group rode into the Dreadfort and stabled their horses, then they were shown up to their rooms and were given an hour to unpack. When Morra was finishing up there was a knock on the door. She opened it and outside stood her husband to be.
"My lady, I did not mean to intrude, I thought it was best that we had a few words in private. I know this must be hard for you, me being 10 years your senior, but I say this to you that I will be good to you, if you do not wish to marry me, tell me now and I will arrange it so that we are not married."
Morra was astounded, what he said was a highly unusual offer, if she did not marry him she could go back home and continue the life she had enjoyed so far, but then again it might be years before her father found her someone new, maybe he never would and in any case he would not be an heir to vast lands. Morra gave him a large smile and stretched up to give him a kiss and whispered in a low tone "I want to marry you." The two of them walked down together and entered the feast. Eyron seated himself beside her. Lord Galbart Bolton gave a short welcome and everyone started to dine on the various courses. Eyron and Morra made small talk for ages, time ran away from them and by the time they were done talking the hall was almost empty. When Eyron said it was time to get some sleep she suddenly wanted there to be 20 more hours in that day. "My lord I have had such a lovely evening, I wish it did not have to end just yet." Eyron smiled "My lady, we will be married soon and have a lot more long evenings together, I bid you good night."

The double wedding was a few days later, with a grand ceremony and a feast that dwarfed anything Morra had experienced before, when it was time for the bedding ceremony she was on top of the world.
 
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volksmarschall

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Nice start so far! Quite an eerie yet at the same time, somewhat majestic picture of the weeping water!
 

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Nice start so far! Quite an eerie yet at the same time, somewhat majestic picture of the weeping water!
Thanks, the start is always a bit boring, put the next to posts are going to be more exciting, at least I hope so :)
 

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Thanks, the start is always a bit boring, put the next to posts are going to be more exciting, at least I hope so :)
Writers are always their own worst critics! ;)
 

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That might be the case :)
As is often the case, although, concerning the fact that AARs (and the gameplay associated with it) do take up, possibly, a considerable amount of time away from one's professional work and life and other leisure activities like golf, fishing, and hiking (at least for me) a general lack of love from the author from among other things often cause AARs to die a grizzly death... :p

Although, as someone who entered the forum through many a multiplicity of wonderful narrative AARs, I naturally have a gravitation and soft spot for such AARs! ;)
 

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As is often the case, although, concerning the fact that AARs (and the gameplay associated with it) do take up, possibly, a considerable amount of time away from one's professional work and life and other leisure activities like golf, fishing, and hiking (at least for me) a general lack of love from the author from among other things often cause AARs to die a grizzly death... :p

Although, as someone who entered the forum through many a multiplicity of wonderful narrative AARs, I naturally have a gravitation and soft spot for such AARs! ;)
I agree with you, except when it comes to golf! :)
 

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Eyron I

Eyron had changed since he married. He used to be a boyish man, who enjoyed hunting and riding as well as trying himself on the jousting lists. His young wife was the one who had changed him, he cared for her deeply and especially now that she was with child, a boy he hoped, but a girl would make him happy as well; one thing he was sure of was that more would follow.

He was also more involved in politics, with an heir on the way he wanted to leave more behind than just the Dreadfort and thus going for Hornwood was more on his mind than it had ever been before. Eyron had also been given more land, his lord father had been informed that one of his bannermen, the lord of Fleischer’s keep had been plotting to install himself as the lord of the Dreadfort based on some marriage ties in older generations. Lord Galbert had not taken kindly to it and had hosted a trial to judge him. To make the trial fair he had called for the Starks to send the lord of Karhold to be the judge, the verdict had been rather swift, the accused was found guilty and his lands were forfeited and he was sent to the wall. The lands had then been given to Eyron. Eyron had seen to it that the castle was repaired and he had implemented new ways of drilling the soldiers. With new and more efficient taxation systems in place Eyron had also been able to refurnish the armory.

All this was to his father’s delight. Galbart had never seemed as happy as he was now. Few could see that his father was actually happy, as he was never truly seen to smile, but it was as if his eye color changed from frozen ice to ice melting in the summer sun. As Eyron was walking to the Maester’s tower to see his friend Cregan he was wondering what news he would have for him. Lord Galbart had decided a few months back that he would go south with the Starks to try to befriend the young lord of Winterfell and also prove his “loyalty”. His father had said that he would send word if anything of note happened. While his father was away Eyron was the regent in his place, so he had left his wife at the Sheepshead hills, because she was too late into the pregnancy that he would allow her to travel.

When Eyron entered Cregan’s room he was almost shocked, the master was actually reading a book.
“Cregan, I was afraid that someone had kidnapped you and that we had gotten a replacement master in your stead, I don’t think I’ve seen you read ever before.”

Cregan looked up from the book and laughed. “Your father told me to do an assessment of how many people live in our lands, that way our strength can be more accurately measured, so I am not really reading, but writing.”

That made Eyron laugh, “Has there been word from my father?”
“There has my lord, the war in the south has changed, rather dramatically, it is no longer about the Iron throne, that war is over.” That surprised Eyron, “What has changed?”
Aegon II triumphed over his sister before the Northern army could cross the neck. There was a large battle in Duskendale between the two sides. Several Dragons were slain and even though Aegon triumphed, this war has clearly weakened the Targaryens. Dragons gave them power, without it they have to play the game of thrones a bit more carefully.”

Eyron assessed what Cregan told him, “But if Aegon won, what kind of war is going on now?”
Cregan smiled, “The wolf has declared himself King in the North, the North bowed to the dragons and with them gone he saw his chance. The Northern host has already triumphed in several battles and they are closing in on kings landing. That is not the end of the matter though, the Ironborn have declared themselves independent as well and they are reaving all along the Reach. Aegon can’t win this war, he has almost no support in his war.”

King in the North, there had not been one of those for over 100 years, Eyron was slightly impressed with Cregan Stark. “What does my father require me to do?”
“There is bad blood between Cregan and several of his bannermen, especially the Tallharts, but also the Hornwoods. Clarisa Tallhart who is married to lord Donner Stark of Moat Cailin who is Cregan Stark’s uncle, your sister’s father in law had Cregan’s only son murdered, when the King wanted her dead for the offense, the Tallharts, Cerwyns and Hornwoods threatened to march back home. Your father has persuaded the King that due to the treacherous nature of House Hornwood you should be allowed to press your claim on their lands, this has been granted by the King, but in return you will go south with all your strength when you are done with them.”

Eyron smiled a broad smile, the wolf shows his youth and his lack of historical knowledge, he is willing to solve a personal problem by giving his House’s ancestral enemy more power.
“Cregan, call our banners, we will make our move towards Hornwood.”

 
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Everyone always says marriages changes a man! :p
 

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Everyone always says marriages changes a man! :p
According to Family Guy it kills a man :p
PS: Sorry for the lack of updates lately I am on the verge of moving.