• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Ofeig is a young man, with the fire of youth. It may be that fire will never leave him, but it may also be that in time he will mellow. And - I feel this is important - he does listen to those he trusts. Also, if his regency has shown anything it is that he can "play along" when needed. I don't doubt he will never want to do so again, but he can, if it is required.

Meanwhile he gets right to the centre of the issue at hand with the audacity of youth. The conspirators best indeed beware.
Ofeig is reaching the end of his patience with Padern and company and it shows at times.
 
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Chapter 9.51 1041 – September - Jorvik

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Chapter 9.51

1041 – September - Jorvik


Ofeig sat in his private dining chamber finishing his midday meal. He saw Sigeberht and Count Yngvar of Lincoln approaching, as he chewed on the last piece of stew-soaked bread. His gaze fell on Yngvar, who had become Stewart in the wake of Þegn Vagn’s death. Ofeig held reservations about Yngvar. After all, Yngvar counted Þegn Vagn as a close friend. Ofeig expressed his concerns to Sigeberht. His uncle did not deny them and only stated Yngvar was the best choice given who was available.

Ofeig drove those thoughts from his mind. The young man had more pressing matters. He had been avoiding Sigeberht and Yngvar for most of the week. He swallowed his bread and rose hastily and headed for the rear door. To his disappointment the way was blocked. Froði, the Court Chaplin stood there. He smiled and said, “Good to finally see you, Your Grace.”

“Yes, it has been quite a contest to speak with you.” Ofeig’s heart sank as his uncle’s voice came from behind him.

Ofeig turned. They had caught him.

Sigeberht indicated to the table Ofeig just left, “Come sit. There is much to discuss. Do we not?”

Reluctant Ofeig walked back and took his seat. Yngvar and Froði grabbed seats next to him while Sigeberht remained standing. Ofeig found himself cornered.

Froði smiled, “You have had the time you requested to think about your choice.”

Yngvar chuckled, “And two more days.”

Froði continued, “Have you thought about it?”

Ofeig put on a fake smile, “Yes, yes I have.”

Froði clapped, “That is good. So, which lucky lass will be your queen?”

Ofeig looked around the room like a trapped animal. “Uh, I, uh…”

Sigeberht laughed, “He cannot even recall his choices?”

Hurt Ofeig replied, “I can.”

Sigeberht folded his arms and said, “Then recite them.”

Ofeig scrambled. He truly did not remember them. He had no wish to marry but one look at his uncle he realized there was no escape, but he would try.

“Why must I get married.”

Sigeberht looked at Ofeig, “You are king, and you require a queen. You need a heir on the quick. This kingdom cannot survive another long regency.”

Still protesting, Ofeig replied, “Why now? I can marry after a year or two of being king on my own.”

Sigeberht shook his head, “You are yet under the regency and the Council can decide for you.”

Ofeig said, “When I am king, I terminate any betrothal.”

Growing weary of Ofeig’s delays Sigeberht leaned into Ofeig, “Do so at your own peril. You will destroy any legitimacy with the other kingdoms of Europe.” Sigeberht stood straight. “You are lucky we are allowing you a say in the matter.”

Sigeberht relaxed, “Having a good wife can be a great asset. Trust me I speak from experience.”

Ofeig looked at Sigeberht and smiled. The marriage of Sigeberht and Richenza, their love, and devotion to one another was the stuff of legend. Many whispered their love matched the love of King Sigfrið and Queen Emma, tale which many bards sang.

Froði broke the magic moment, “Do you remember the choices?”

Ofeig was not sure he did. After a a minute of struggling, he answered, “There was an Italian.”

Annoyed Ofeig did not recall her name or get her nationality correct Froði said, “Venetian. Paolo Tribuno, daughter of the late Serene Doge Bartolomeo of Venice.”

Sigeberht looked at Ofeig, “Who else?”

Ofeig scratched the back of neck, “I think her name was Ingrid. Her father was the King of Damark.”

Happier this time, Froði responded, “Yes, Ingrid, daughter of the late King Torgils. Her mother is Birgitta, bastard daughter of King Eilif. She is your first cousin once removed. I foresee no problems since Birgitta is a bastard.”

Ofeig did not realize the family connection, or perhaps he just forgotten it.

He knew there was another. He struggled to remember anything about her. After enduring a few moments of Sigeberht’s intense glaring, Ofeig recalled something, “The last one was from Bohemia and her name was Jita.”

Froði shook his head, “Her name is Jitka Slavnikovci. Her father was the late Duke Herman of Bohemia.”

Ofeig was proud of himself for remembering. He was shocked back to reality when Sigeberht asked, “Which do you choose?”

Sweating Ofeig knew he had to choose now. Delaying the decision was no longer practical. He regretted not looking at the information they had given him in more detail. He stalled.

“I-I don’t know. It is a hard choice. I need more time.”

Sigeberht glared at him, “You have had two weeks.”

I did? Ofeig realized he was in deep trouble. He was going to make a life altering decision off the hip.

Sigeberht shook his head, “We thought since you are almost sixteen, we would allow to choose. I now see that was foolish. Council will choose for you.”

Ofeig’s mouth felt like it was a desert. He could not let Council decide for him. Now was the time to decide. He could only remember one name, so there must be something special about her.

“Ingrid of Damark.”

Oddly Ofeig felt someone had lifted a burden.

Both Sigeberht, Yngvar, and Froði nodded and smiled.

Froði responded, “Good choice.”

Sigeberht said, “We will enter into final negotiations with King Olav of Damark.”

The counselors left. Ofeig thought, well that is finally over. However, he could not understand why suddenly he felt trapped.
 
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Kings don't get much chance to be children, if any chance at all.

The Danish connection ... I think that could play interestingly into those who wish a more English future.
 
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Kings don't get much chance to be children, if any chance at all.

The Danish connection ... I think that could play interestingly into those who wish a more English future.
Ofeig never really has had a chance to be a child. He has existed in a world of conspiracies most of his life.

There will be a Danish connection.
 
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Chapter 9.52 1042 – March – Jorvik

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Chapter 9.52

1042 – March – Jorvik


On his sixteenth birthday King Ofeig sat upon his throne. The throne no longer shared the dais with the Regent’s Chair. His uncles flanked the king. On the king’s right stood Prince Sigeberht. On his left, Prince Eilif was situated. The subtle placing announced to all whom Ofeig considered his closest and most trusted advisors.

At the foot of the dais the remaining council members assumed their places. Padern and Ealhswith positioned to the right. Yngvar and Froði placed on the left. Archbishop Eastmund of St Peters, Mayor Folki of Skardaborg, Jarl Hlothere of Man, and the new Count of Hereford, Snorri were part of the invited guests. In a corner alone stood Rígán. Representing Scotland was Prince Robert, King Gilchrist’s brother.

Ofeig saw everyone was gathered and in a low voice to Sigeberht he asked, “What is first?”

Sigeberht leaned over and replied, “The regent business.”

Ofeig nodded and called out, “Bring Arngrimr forward.”

Arngrimr walked to the dais and took a knee. Ofeig took his time directing Arngrimr to stand.

Arngrimr looked at Ofeig, “You summoned me, your highness.”

Ofeig looked back at Arngrimr, “I did.” Ofeig paused, “Your time as regent is no longer required. You are hereby dismissed from said office and from my presence. However, you may not leave the keep.”

Confused Arngrimr asked, “Why am I not permitted to leave?”

Ofeig glared at Arngrimr, “An accounting must be done.”

Arngrimr replied, “I have done nothing wrong.”

Ofeig smirked, “That remains to be seen.” Pointing to the rear Ofeig, “Your presence is no longer required here. You are dismissed.”

Arngrimr started to protest. The hand of a guard on his upper arm convinced him otherwise. Confused and dejected, Arngrimr departed.

Ofeig looked to see Rígán smiling from ear to ear.

Ofeig called out, “Lord Rígán.”

Surprised Rígán hesitated but eventually came forward. At the foot of the dais he took a knee and stood when Ofeig gestured he should.

Rígán said, “I stand before you as requested, milord.”

Ofeig smiled, “Lord Rígán I am prepared to grant you the title of Count of Ossory.”

There were several gasps in the room and some murmuring. Even Rígán was surprised. Something he had long wished for was now within his grasps.

Rígán shook his head, “I think such an offer is unwise.”

Surprised Ofeig asked, “Why do you say so?”

Rígán grinned, “I am old and worn out. I have no wife and no prospects. Who would be my heir? The crown?” Rígán paused and looked at Ofeig, “No being a count is a younger man’s job.”

Disappointed, Ofeig replied, “I understand.”

Rígán smiled, “Thank you, Sire.”

Ofeig nodded, “You may go if you wish.”

Rígán nodded. He turned to leave the room, but he stopped. Instead, he retreated into the shadowy corner he had been standing.

It was Sigeberht who spoke next, “Count Snorri of Hereford come forth.”

Count Snorri came forward. At the foot of dais, the count took a knee and rose when instructed.

Ofeig looked at Snorri and said, “We are sorry for the death of your mother. The Countess Katarina was a formidable person and will be greatly missed. We will say a prayer for her.”

Snorri nodded, “I thank you, Sire. My mother was a great woman who gave her life bestowing life to my sister Hafrid.”

Sigeberht spoke again, “Count Snorri what is your purpose here?”

Snorri bowed his head, “To swear my fidelity and devotion to my king.”

Sigeberht nodded, “Then you may do so.”

Snorri took a knee and bowed his head. As his mother, her father, and a line back to his great grandfather Prince Totil, brother of King Sigfrið he swore his fidelity and loyalty to the King of Jorvik. When he was finished, he looked up at the king.

Ofeig smiled and said, “Rise Count Snorri of Hereford. I accept your oaths and allegiance.”

Snorri stood and nodded. He returned to his place with the audience.

After addressing several minor issues the first court of King Ofeig was adjourned.

As they were leaving Ofeig spoke with Sigeberht, “I do not understand Rígán. He has desired the County of Ossory for many long years but when offered he refused.”

Sigeberht looked solemn, “Since his disposition as regent he has become a changed man. He has turned from earthly things and now looks to God.”

Ofeig nodded, “Then perhaps a bishopric would be more appropriate.”

Sigeberht agreed, “At the right time it would be.”

*****

In the evening, Ealhswith met with Padern in his office. They sipped wine and made small talk. After which Ealhswith spoke the reason for her visit.

“After court the king requested I undertake an inquiry about what happened to Countess Maud’s and Count Hereweald’s oaths.”

Padern finished his sip of wine and played with his mustache, “So he asked. Did not take long. He had been king what a few hours? What did you tell him?”

Ealhswith chuckled, “He is the king. What else I could I tell him but, yes.”

Padern smiled, “Good, very good.”

Ealhswith requested, “What should I do?”

Padern grinned, “You will find them. Of course, not at first. It must look like they were well hidden, and your agents struggled to discover them somewhere in amongst Arngrimr’s possessions.”

Ealhswith sipped more wine and nodded, “Will Arngrimr not try to reveal the truth? He took them and gave them to you on your orders.”

Padern smirked, “If he did then why were they found among his belongings? Did he not benefit from their disappearance and become regent? You see in Ofeig’s eyes he is already guilty. Ofeig will only see the found oaths as proof of Arngrimr’s sinister plan.”

Worried Ealhswith, “What if he blames you?”

Padern leered, “I have worked very hard for the last year to convince Ofeig and even Sigeberht I had a change of heart and now only want to be a loyal and obedient servant of the king. If Arngrimr accuses me I will call it the desperate rantings of a guilty man trying every way to hide his guilt. Who do you think Ofeig will believe?”

Ealhswith chuckled, “And here I thought you had grown soft and the change of heart was genuine.”

Padern chuckled. He took a sip of wine and stared into the goblet. What was in his heart? At one time he thought he knew. After the death of his wife and son days apart he was unsure. He believed his past actions had brought about the terrible wraith of God to punish him with the deaths of his loved ones. He tried to repent through his recent good deeds. However, all would be undone if the truth about the oaths was revealed. He needed to protect the trust he gained with the king at all costs. Surely God would understand.

*****

A sense of excitement and anticipation filled the strategy hall for Ofeig’s first strategy session as king in his own right. Ofeig had made some changes even before the meeting occurred. No longer was the strategy hall shared with the library. Ofeig had an unused room converted into his strategy hall. At the moment it was bare bones. A table and some chairs dominated the room. Some banners hung along one wall of the room. A large map of the kingdom was hung on another. Maps were tossed about the table.

This day Ofeig sat at the head of the table. Sigeberht and Eilif shared seats with the king at table. Padern stood at the table going through maps and papers. His fingers traced the routes taken by the armies over the last seven months.

After their defeat at Aberffraw the Rebel army tried first to retreat into Gwynedd but found their way block. Turning south they attempted to reach the County of Shrewsbury, but again Fer-Fugaill had maneuvered to prevent them. With no other option open, they retreated north through Chester and Lancaster finally reaching Westmorland.

In Westmorland near Lowther, Fer-Fugail trapped the Rebels. After a short but decisive battle Fer-Fugaill destroyed half the rebel army and sent the rest fleeing south. Prevented from reaching Wales the rebel army’s only option was to flee to Bedford.

Once in Bedford their generals created a defensive position near the city. Knowing a siege was coming they needed to allow the city and its garrison time to prepare. When Fer-Fugaill came to Bedford, he found a well-prepared army waiting. Despite be outnumbered twelve thousand to five hundred the Rebels chose to fight. Using the terrain to their advantage the defenders forced Fer-Fugaill to attack them piecemeal. However, in such a battle of attrition Fer-Fugaill knew it was only a matter of time before he won. Victory came when the size of the Rebel losses prevented them from properly defending their positions. Fer-Feguaill’s troops poured into the gaps. This time with nowhere to run the Rebel army was destroyed.

Not long after the battle it was decided to dismiss the Company of the Rose. With no Rebel army to fight and given the number of Scottish troops present the feeling was the expense of the mercenary company was no longer justified.

However, the Rebels accomplished their goal. The garrison of Bedford was at full strength. The defenses had been repaired and improved. As the defenders hoped the siege would be a long tough one. The Rebels placed their hopes in the long siege allowing them to rebuild their army. They knew they could not face Fer-Fugaill and the army at full strength, but they could attack and raid areas and create chaos throughout Jorvik.

To that end a small army was raised in Westmorland with the intention of attacking into the County of Jorvik. The hope was some of the army around Bedford would be dispatched to deal with the Rebel threat. The Rebels hoped to lure this army into a trap and rout it.

However, just as the Rebel army prepared to launch their assault, a French army landed in Lancaster. Hearing of the Rebel army the French hastily marched into Westmorland. Surprised to find an enemy coming from Lancaster the Rebels were trapped and routed near Lowther.

“Jarl Padern,” called Ofeig, “we are waiting.”

Startled Padern looked up from the maps and documents, “Sire?”

Ofeig looked at Padern, “Do you have anything?”

Padern nodded and then fumbled with some papers. Finding the one he wanted, he quickly looked over it and replied, “Yes.”

Growing a little impatient, Ofeig responded, “And you are going to tell us?”

Padern smiled, “The Rebel army that fled Westmorland after its defeat at the hands of the French were found in Chester. Near the Bishopric of Halton, the French encircled them and destroyed the Rebel army.”

Ofeig smiled and nodded, “What of the Siege of Bedford?”

Padern’s face changed from one of joy to one of frustrations. “The siege still goes onward.”

Slightly annoyed, Ofeig said, “why has the city not fallen? It has been almost six months.”

Padern took a deep breath, “It is an old city. Long has it sat near the border with England. Past kings have furnished assistance in bolstering the city’s defense against possible attacks from the English. In addition, Jarl Ealdmund has provided funds and craftsmen to continually repair and improve the defenses.”

Ofeig asked, “How much longer?”

Padern looked at a piece of parchment and replied, “From Fer-Fugaill’s latest dispatch he feels Bedford will be captured by the mid-summer.”

Ofeig nodded, “The sooner the better. I tire of this war.”

Padern nodded in agreement, “We all do.”

A discussion about supplies for the army arose.

Padern left the room a short time afterwards leaving Ofeig, Sigeberht, and Eilif. After Padern was gone Ofeig turned to Sigeberht and asked, “Can we trust him?”

Sigeberht thought for a few moments, “His change of heart appears to be true.”

Eilif scoffed, “He has only changed so that he can save his own neck. Even in Northumberland we have heard tales of his deeds.”

Sigeberht glared at Eilif and then turned to Ofeig, “The deaths of his son and wife seem to have a profound effect on him. I think we can trust him.”

Ofeig nodded, “I feel the same and for our sakes I hope we are right.”

Ofeig’s page appeared in the doorway. His appearance reminded Ofeig he was late for a meeting. He smiled at his uncles as he stood saying, “Now I must be on my way. I have delayed my meeting with the Archbishop long enough apparently. He has sent my page to fetch me.”

Both Sigeberht and Eilif stood and bowed as Ofeig left the room.

As Ofeig disappeared out of the room Eilif said, “You always play the fool.” Eilif sat back in his chair.

Sigeberht turned and leaned on the table, “You nothing of what you speak.”

Eilif shook his head, “If I were in your position, I would be king now.”

Sigeberht glared at his younger brother, “Now who is the fool?”

Eilif chuckled, “You had the golden opportunity. You are Court Physician. What a perfect position to be in to seize the crown. You could say he died of anything.”

Sigeberht backed away from Eilif, “Do you hear yourself. Do you think I could kill our nephew, our own flesh and blood?”

Eilif shrugged his shoulders, “Why not? Others have done it for less.”

Sigeberht shook his head, “You have no idea of what such an action would have done to the kingdom. Factions would rise and splinter the kingdom. Civil wars would be common. Our enemies would attack us.”

Eilif chuckled, “We are strong we would have defeated them all.”

Sigeberht clenched his fist, “I should have never allowed Eadweard to appoint you Jarl of Northumberland.”

Eilif smiled, “Another bad decision perhaps. Unlike you, however, I would pursue my claims.”

Sigeberht leaned in close to Eilif, “Are you threatening me?”

Eilif glared back at Sigeberht, “I have said nothing, but if you feel threatened by my strong claim for the Jarldom of Dyflinn that is not my fault. Fault father from whom it came.”

Eilif stood up and walked away from his brother. Filled with rage Sigeberht wanted to attack and beat some sense into his brother. Knowing it would not accomplish anything Sigeberht backed down. He needed to find a way to warn Ofeig about Eilif before his brother became a problem for the king and the kingdom.
 
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Midnite Duke

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I am finally in the correct decade thus I feel free to leave my first comment. How blah is the king going to be? Age 11, he has zero traits and stat total of 7 while the 9 yo English king totals 20. Thank you for entertaining us and may you be safe and happy.
 

stnylan

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Ofeig is now his own King ... but is surrounded by snakes.
 
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I am finally caught up! Thank you for the enjoyment that I have received reading the history of the Isles. If it is not too much trouble could we get Ofeig's stats, education and traits. Stats total less than 25? Homosexual? Slothful? My condolences on the death of your father-in-law. Thank you for reading and may you and your family be healthy and happy.
 

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Ofeig is now his own King ... but is surrounded by snakes.
Truer words have never been spoken. He survived the regency now he must survive adulthood and the kingship.

I am finally caught up! Thank you for the enjoyment that I have received reading the history of the Isles. If it is not too much trouble could we get Ofeig's stats, education and traits. Stats total less than 25? Homosexual? Slothful? My condolences on the death of your father-in-law. Thank you for reading and may you and your family be healthy and happy.
Thank you for reading. I am glad you enjoyed. Stick with the story as there is still much to tell. Thank you for your thoughts regarding my father-in-law.

The file that contained the screenshots got deleted somehow. Many of them I cannot recreate. In the interest of moving the story forward I have not added screenshots. I am hoping to start adding them again.

Right now it is taking me about a week to get a chapter posted. The story is written but I need to edit the chapters before posting. I hope to post the next chapter by next weekend.
 
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Chapter 9.53 1042 – April – Jorvik New

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Chapter 9.53

1042 – April – Jorvik


The Great Hall was filled with onlookers this day for the first public court of King Ofeig. Many had come from far and wide to see the boy king who was now king in his own right. Many had not expected him to survive to this day.

The Crier pounded his staff on the floor bring the hall to a quiet. Once he was satisfied, he exclaimed, “All hail King Ofeig of Jorvik.”

The procession began from the back of the hall. First to enter were the heralds. The first two carried the banners of the Kingdom of Jorvik, and the House of Hvitserk. The following heralds each bore the banner of each title Ofeig held. First were the jarldoms; Jorvik, Lancaster, Mercia, Hwicce, and Dyflinn. Next came the counties; Jorvik, Dunholm, Lancaster, Chester, Djuraby, Worcester, Warwick, Gloucester, and Ossory. Last was the Barony of Richmond. The heralds proceeded to the dais placing their banners behind and along the top and side of dais. The banners of the King of Jorvik and House of Hvitserk were placed behind the throne.

Behind the banners came the Council. Sigeberht and Padern were in the first row. They were followed by Yngvar and Ealhswith, and then Froði and Eilif. At the dais they took up their positions. Once the Council members were in their places King Ofeig entered. He wore a simple royal robe and worn a plain crown. He carried his own sword. Since the coronation ceremony had not been conducted, he did not carry the state sword or wear the formal crown.

As he entered the audience took to one knee and bowed. Ofeig walked slowly and steadily to the throne. He knew this a formal court and a certain image was expected. He had to maintain a slower pace than he normally walked. At the dais he ascended the steps. He turned and stood for a moment looking out over the audience. He sat slowly onto the throne. Once he was seated the audience stood.

After a moment or two of silence Ofeig spoke, “Archbishop Eastmund.”

Eastmund stepped out from his place in the front of audience. He raised his arms to God and began to pray. He prayed for God to bless the king and guide him. At the conclusion he lowered his arms and returned to his place.

The first to approach the king was Chief Andrew of Dunollie, the Scottish representative to Jorvik. Andrew bowed at the foot of dais.

Ofeig said, “Chief Andrew is good to see you.”

Andrew smiled, “Thank you, Your Highness. I bring congratulations and wishes for a long and prosper reign from King Gilchrist.”

Ofeig smiled, “I thank King Gilchrist. I also wish to convey my gratitude to him for aiding us in our current war with the traitors lead by Westmorland.”

Next came the French representative, followed by the representatives from Aquitaine, Connachta, Cornwall, and Damark. All wished Ofeig well from their sovereigns.

Once the greeting of the representatives was done Sigeberht and Yngvar stepped up to the throne and took positions on each side of the throne.

Sigeberht unrolled a scroll he held. He looked at the scroll and called out, “Prince Eilif, Jarl of Northumberland, and Aflgeir Öysteinnsson Jute. Eilif and the fourteen-year-old Aflgeir stepped to the bottom of the dais.

Ofeig said, “Aflgeir Öysteinnsson Jute in recognition for the service your father the Lord General Öysteinnsson Sumarliðisson Jute gave to the kingdom and the love that was bore for him I hereby grant you the title of Count of Dunholm. Do you accept?”

Aflgeir’s face lit up. He had not been expecting anything like this. He nodded and replied, “Yes, Sire.”

Ofeig looked at Eilif and said, “Prince Eilif since Dunholm is a de jure county of the Jarldom of Northumberland I hereby transfer the vassalage of Count Alfgeir of Dunholm to you. Do you accept?”

Eilif nodded, “I accept.”

Ofeig nodded to Yngvar. The Stewart gave Eilif and Alfgeir each a scroll. Eilif and Alfgeir bowed and returned to their places.

Sigeberht handed the scroll he held to Yngvar. Yngvar then called out “Prince Sigeberht and Alfr af Warwick.”

Prince Sigeberht descend from the dais and took a place at the foot. Twelve-year-old Alfr walked nervously to dais. Once there they both bowed.

Ofeig looked at Alfr and smiled, “Alfr af Warwick, I once told you when the time came, I would reward you for your friendship and kindness and to give you what had been denied to you. I hereby grant you the title of Count of Ossory. Do you accept?”

Alfr could not believe what had just happened to him. Years of being bullied and demeaned by his brothers because he was a bastard were suddenly pushed aside. He now had something they did not. “Yes, Sire, I accept.”

Ofeig nodded and then looked at Sigeberht.

“Prince Sigeberht, for all your aid and assistance you have given me I hereby grant you the title of Jarl of Dyflinn. Do you accept?”

Sigeberht stood tall and replied, “Yes, Sire, I accept.”

Ofeig continued, “I also hereby transfer the vassalage of Count Alfr of Ossory to Prince Sigeberht, Jarl of Dyflinn. Do you accept.”

Sigeberht nodded, “I accept.”

Sigeberht and Alfr were handed scrolls by Yngvar. They bowed and returned to their places.

Next came the swearing of the fidelity oaths by all of King Ofeig’s vassals that were present this day. First to swear their oaths were the jarls. They were followed by the counts, and lastly by the barons. The swearing of the oaths took a couple of hours.

Once the oaths were completed the king heard several petitions from his subjects. Hearing the petitions took another hour and a half. At this point Ofeig was on the verge of collapse. Seeing this Sigeberht motioned for the court session to be brought to a close which it was.

A tired and hungry Ofeig left the Great Hall quicker than he had entered. The first court of King Ofeig had now concluded.

*****

Ofeig stood nervously in the solar waiting. As he waited, he was tempted to quench his dry mouth and throat with the wine on the table next to him. His watched the doorway in anticipation and fear for his guest. It had been nearly seven years since he had seen his mother. He tried to image what she looked like and wondered what she would think of him.

A moment later Sarrazine, once Queen Mother of Jorvik, now Queen of Damark appeared in the doorway. She bore a smile from ear to ear as he crossed the distance between her and her son. When she was close enough, she extended her arms and the two embraced. They stood holding one another for a good long time.

Finally, they broke their embrace and stepped back away from each other. Sarrazine kept her hands on Ofeig’s upper arms at the shoulders and said, “Let me take a look at you.”

Her eyes moved over his body and returned to his face. She let his go and said, “Look at how big you have grown and now you are king in your own right.”

Ofeig smiled and blushed and could only manage to say, “Yes.”

Sarrazine smiled and continued, “What has happened to Rígán?”

Ofeig replied, “He is here at court. He is a changed man since being removed as regent. He is no longer the arrogant and demanding person. Now is more withdrawn into a life of prayer and solitude.”

Sarrazine nodded, “I have forgiven him many years ago. King Olav has proven to be a good husband and king. My only regret is I have not yet born him a son.”

Ofeig asked, “Where is King Olav?”

Sarrazine frowned, “He is fighting the Lotharingians in Baden.”

Ofeig replied, “I see.”

Sarrazine said, “You are not with your soldiers.”

Ofeig replied, “I will be leaving for Bedford a few days after the wedding.”

Sarrazine seemed far away for a moment, “I was deeply saddened to learn Jarl Ealdmund of Powys had joined with the Rebels. He once was one of the greatest and most trusted men in the kingdom. Your father and grandfather relied on him.”

Ofeig frowned as he remembered the stories his mother told of the days of King Rædwald. Many of them had Ealdmund as one of the heroes.

“He is now a bitter man full of rage and burning hatred. His one purpose now is vengeance against the Council and me.”

Sarrazine could only shake her head, her heart full of sadness for an old friend. Ofeig and his mother discussed many topics over the next hour. When they were done, they hugged one another. As Ofeig watched Sarrazine leave he realized he no longer knew her. They had grown far apart, and they would never be close again.

*****

Ofeig sat in the solar with his closest friends Bertil Kolbjörnsson Lade and his brother Vagn. The two brothers were the closest teenagers to Ofeig in age. Since arriving at court, a little over three years ago the three had become somewhat inseparable. Ofeig knew Bertil and Vagn had fled their homeland of Hålogaland in the Kingdom of Norway with their mother Karin Skulisdottir. They left after their father Kolbjörn Bertilsson died in the dungeons of King Þorgil of Norðreyjar. Kolbjörn Bertilsson was on a mission to Norðreyjar for their grandfather the Chief of Hålogaland and since the mission failed their father’s lands were seized. Fearing for her safety and her children’s Karin fled to Jorvik. She was granddaughter of the great Marshal of Jorvik Count Þorgil of Gwent and the granddaughter of Count Ragnarr the Seducer of Westmorland. Given her pedigree she was granted asylum in the court at Jorvik.

Bertil handed Ofeig another ale. Ofeig took the ale and drank about half of it in one swallow. Laughing Berit said, “Be careful you are to be married tomorrow. You don’t want to throw up on your new bride or worse yet the Archbishop’s shoes.”

Ofeig laughed, “If I did it would make for quite a tale.”

Vagn, Bertil’s younger brother laughed, “I can image the look on the faces of the Council.”

After the laughter had subsided Bertil asked, “Have you seen your bride?”

Ofeig wiped some froth from his beard, “Only from afar. I caught a glimpse when she arrived. My mother has been very insistent I do not see her before the wedding.”

Vagn leaned over, “Is that because she is ugly with a face that would curdle fresh milk?”

The three men burst into laughter. With some concern on his face Ofeig said, “I hope not.”

Bertil smiled, “I am sure she is beautiful. Your Uncle Sigeberht would not give you an ugly wife.”

Ofeig looked at his friends and said, “Three days after the wedding we three leave for the siege lines around Bedford.” Ofeig took a drink. “I have never been in battle.”

Bertil became very serious. Both he and Vagn had been with Fer-Fugaill and the army. He had witnessed the Battle of Lowther but did participate. The knight he was a squire for had taken a fall from a horse a few days before breaking his leg and unable to fight. Bertil along with Vagn was left with the troops guarding the baggage train.

“It is loud. That is the thing I remember most.”

He looked at Vagn. After the battle they had walked through the carnage left on the field aiding the wounded. At first Bertil felt he was going to be sick but after a time he became numb and performed his duties. Vagn on the other hand, was ghostly white through the experience. By the end of the day he was shaken and distant.

Ofeig laughed, “What is there to worry about it is a siege and according to Fer-Fugaill it will be over soon.”

Bertil and Vagn nodded but did not speak. Each was battling their own memories of war.

Just then Sigeberht entered the room and announced, “You all need your rest. It will be a long day tomorrow.”

Ofeig nodded. The three men rose and left. Each heading to their chambers to catch some sleep.

The morning came quickly. To Ofeig’s horror Sigeberht knocked on this bedroom door exceedingly hard. The knocks echoed in Ofeig’s head. Sigeberht stood and chuckled at Ofeig knowing the king was suffering the effects from his last night as a bachelor.

Once he was dressed and ready Ofeig was taken to the Cathedral of St Jourdain. There he was escorted to the place he would wait for his bride. Much to Ofeig’s annoyance Archbishop Eastmund was waiting in the same area. Eastmund took advantage of the time and proceeded to lecture Ofeig on how to be a good husband. Sigeberht would occasionally check with Ofeig to see how he was holding up.

After what seemed to be an eternity Ofeig was led to the altar of the cathedral. He was stunned at the display before him in the cathedral. Here was the lords and ladies of the Kingdom of Jorvik dressed in their finest and packed into the cathedral. A large contingent from Damark lead by his mother was in the forefront. Sigeberht with his wife Richenza, and Prince Eilif along with his new wife Princess Sigrid of Norway were in the front on the opposite aisle. Ofeig was told that representatives from Scotland, France, Aquitaine, Connachta, Cornwall, Norway, Germany, and Burgundy were present. To his surprise there were several form Galicia.

A few moments after Ofeig arrived at the altar his bride entered from the back of the church. Since Ingrid’s father King Torgils of Damark was dead she was escorted by Þorgil Alfrsson, heir to the throne of Damark. At the foot of the altar Ingrid stopped and her veil was pulled back. To Ofeig’s relief she was pretty in the face and body.

For the next hour of so Ofeig and Ingrid endured the ceremony of matrimony. Eastmund seemed to be in his glory conducting the wedding and made a point to elongate the ceremony. When the ceremony was mercifully complete and the bride and groom kissed, they were escorted out of the cathedral. Following the tradition of the House of Hvitserk the king with his new queen walked from the cathedral to the palace. Along the way they gave coins to the people who lined the boulevard connecting the cathedral and the palace.

Once they arrived at the palace, they were taken to their individual chambers to change for the wedding feast.

*****

The feast went on for hours. Much of it was a blur to the royal couple. There was food and entertainment with plenty of drink. A constant flow of well-wishers. Many of them Ofeig could not recall. However, there a few that stuck out in Ofeig’s mind.

First among these was Ingrid’s mother Birgitta Eilifsdottir. She was the daughter of King Eilif and the Lady Ingrid af Chester, one of Eilif’s lovers. Given how Lady Ingrid had been treated by King Rædwald Ofeig was surprised Birgitta attended the wedding.

Ingrid led Birgitta to Ofeig and introduced them. Smiling Ofeig said, “It is a pleasure to meet you Queen Birgitta and an honor to have you here.”

Birgitta blushed some as she replied, “I am no longer queen since my husband’s death.”

Ofeig continued to smile, “Here in Jorvik, once a queen always a queen.”

Birgitta looked around the hall and said, “It is many years since I have walked these corridors and stood in these rooms. Much has changed and yet so much remains the same.”

Ofeig nodded, “Ingrid informed me your mother the Lady Ingrid af Chester died. Through our ignorance here we did not know. I would like to pass my deepest sympathies to you. I will say a prayer for her at the mass on Sunday.”

Birgitta looked at Ofeig trying to size him up, “I thank you, Sire.”

She smiled and looked at her daughter and said, “Your grandmother would be proud. There is finally an Ingrid on the throne of Jorvik.”

Ofeig said, “It is good we have united our families and brought those who were wronged back home.” He looked at Birgitta and offered, “You are welcome to stay here.”

Birgitta took Ofeig’s hand and patted it, “I thank you for the offer, but I shall return to Sjælland. In Ringsted is where my husband and mother are buried. When it is my time, I will join them.”

Ofeig wished Birgitta well and returned to his other guests.

Sometime later Ofeig met with the most surprising guests. After many years of war and suspicion brought on by their alliance with England the representatives from the Kingdom of Galicia were unexpected.

Ofeig and Ingrid were introduced to Count Nuno of Santigo and his wife Ermengadis. Nuno was the Chancellor for King Diogo III of Galicia.

After exchanging greetings Nuno said, “Your aunt the Princess Wulfwaru sends her blessings and congratulations to you and your wife, Sire.”

Ofeig nodded, “Please tell my aunt we are greatly honored.”

Nuno smiled, “My wife and I would also like to offer our blessing and congratulations.”

Ofeig smiled, “I thank you.”

Nuno grinned, “It is a shame our two kingdoms have been on the opposite sides of disagreements for so many years. We had previously been led astray in our alliance with King Ælfgar of England. We received very few benefits from our years of cooperation with England. Their help shall we say was underwhelming while their demands were overwhelming.”

Ofeig nodded, “So I have been told.”

Nuno nodded himself and continued, “At the urging of the Princess Wulfwaru we have reexamined who is truly our friend and who is not. In time I believe our two kingdoms can find in their hearts to forgive one another and perhaps be close friends.”

Ofeig smiled, “It is something to think about and wish for. You are always welcome to discuss it with us at any time.”

Ofeig then inquired about the health of Wulfwaru and found she was doing well. She had birthed three children. After some more small talk Nuno and his wife excused themselves.

After they were gone Ingrid turned to Ofeig and said, “That seemed strange. I have been taught Jorvik and Galicia have not gotten along for many years.”

Ofeig looked at Ingrid impressed by her knowledge. Someone had done a good job preparing her.

“You are right, and I do not fully trust them. Their current queen, Anna, is the daughter of Countess Maria of Hereford. The Countess who lead the revolt against King Rædwald. Long has she preached about how she and her family were wronged by Rædwald.”

Ingrid replied, “I see.”

Ofeig continued, “My aunt was married to Anna and Diogo’s second son Ingemar in hopes a solution to our differences could be found.”

Ingrid smiled, “Perhaps based on today one can be found.”

Ofeig frowned some, “Perhaps, but there is another problem.”

Curious Ingrid asked, “What is it?”

Ofeig sighed, “Ingólfr, their first son, and heir is currently in the Jarldom of Powys. He is Court Chaplin to Jarl Ealdmund.”

Surprised Ingrid said, “The Jarl Ealdmund who is rebelling against you?’

Ofeig nodded, “Yes, the very one.”

Ingrid frowned, “I can see how that is a problem.”

The night and the festivities went on forever in the minds of newlyweds. Finally, Sigeberht announced the King and Queen would be retiring for the evening. Ofeig and Ingrid stood and thanked their guests. With the enthusiasm of youth, the royal couple departed the hall.
 
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Well it seems like things are starting ok at least - rewards handed out, marriage sorted. Simple steps, but important ones. Now to see if he can get a first victory in war. Though it is perhaps sensible that this first martial test be a smaller one.
 
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Are the royal couple distant cousins? Has Jorvik allied Damark? Be safe and thank you for updating.
Yes they are distant cousins but far enough removed there are no issues with the Church and the wedding. Jorvik and Damark are not allies.

Well it seems like things are starting ok at least - rewards handed out, marriage sorted. Simple steps, but important ones. Now to see if he can get a first victory in war. Though it is perhaps sensible that this first martial test be a smaller one.
Things have gotten off to a sort of normal start for Ofeig. Now as you stated onto the war.

*****

Real life has interfered with my ability to get to editing the next chapters and the story as a whole. I am hoping by this weekend to get something posted. The story will be coming to its conclusion possibly with the next chapter. I have to see how the editing goes.
 
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