The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 14: The Warrior-Scholar (Part 2)

Published: 2018-01-29

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The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR

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Game: Crusader Kings II

The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 14: The Warrior-Scholar (Part 1)

Images: 35, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2017-12-30

War has come to the Kingdom of Norway. It had been generations since the home of the Norse faith had been threatened in such a way, yet between inheritance, traitors and rebels the proud nation had been torn asunder. Yet the men of the north are a stubborn breed, and they would not surrender their homeland no matter the foe. Thus continues the story of Fylkir Amaneus, the Warrior-Scholar.
Across the kingdom levied men marched to mustering grounds to prepare to fight back the multitude of forces that arrayed against them. However such was the division within the realm that central authority was completely absent in many areas, and loyalist dukes were forced to raise personal levies to repel their wayward brethren.
Although there was a civil war going on, news from the outside world still arrive at the court at Castle Lade. From the south came news that the Catholics had finished their Crusade in Greece. Finally the great city of Athens was reclaimed by its fore-bearers, the Greeks. Despite this though, much of the kingdom was divided, and the city of world’s desire, Constantinople, was in Muslim hands.
For two years the civil war dragged on, and cost the realm it did. Towns and cities that had not felt the fear of invasion for generations were sacked and burned and a people who had only known prosperity suddenly grew fearful. Many had believed that Ragnarok had come, for if even the lands of the Fylkir can see such havoc then the end of the world must be close.
Yet in the end, the loyalists prevailed. With the defeat of the rebellious army after the Fylkir lead a landing on the island of Orkney. With no more forces between himself and justice, the son of the Duke was at last captured. Having lost his father in the war, a young boy now sits on a mans throne. Forced to surrender, he was bound and chained and sent back to Castle Lade. He would never reach land again.
With the civil war ended, the Fylkir sought to restore both the nations pride as well as the royal treasury. Leading the Félagi Auðr from the front, Fylkir Amaneus developed a fierce reputation as a Viking. Although each ruler had to earn his place amongst the Companions of Gold, there were few who had shown the affinity for the task like that of the Fylkir.
Although the raiding of Catholics was satisfying, the Fylkir knew that this would not be enough to keep the hounds from the door. The nation was weak and the nobles smelt blood, if they did not have an external enemy to focus on then they were likely to push for more privileges and control. On the border stood the most exposed lands of the Kingdom of Bavaria, although the Catholic kings claim to that title was ludicrous given that those lands were under control of the Norse King of Great Moldavia. The remaining shell of a nation should pose no threat to the armies of Norway.
However the foe was more deadly than originally thought, for they had summoned the help of the Knights Templar to assist with fighting of the invaders. Not only were they well armed, but well informed for instead of marching north towards the wargoal, they marched east to the the raiders and the Fylkir.

The Catholics fell upon the raiders, who were unprepared for an assault of such magnitude. At the front of both armies stood their respective monarchs, determined to lead their troops through the day. This would prove to be the Bavarian kings downfall, as he was slain leading a charge against the northmen.
Despite the death of the king, the Félagi Auðr were forced to retreat. Never before had such losses been inflicted upon these elite troops. As they sailed back to the capital, the Fylkir was forced to examine how he could had lead so many to their death. Yet despite this, worse news awaited on his return.
Yet despite these attempts to rebuild, other forces sought to take advantage at Norways weakness. The High Priest of Skotland claimed that the Duke of Dublin, and by extension the Fylkir, controlled lands that were by right his. Facing a war on two fronts, armies from Irland, Middlesex and Norway marched upon the traitorous priests whilst Firisian and Pomeranians marched south against that Catholics. To the surprise of many, the Félagi Auðr marched with this second force, determined to get their revenge against these foes that had slain so many of their brethren.
With reinforcements landing, amongst their number the Fylkir himself, the army musted from the isles marched north to relieve the siege of Glasgow. Leading the charge, Fylkir Amaneus and his men routed the army raised by the priesthood, slaughtering all that stood in their way. As the foe fell back, first in an organised retreat then a full rout, the battlefield was left with many dead, with one of every three Skots fallen as their brethren abandoned the field.
Regrouping, the Fylkir ordered half the force to march north after the shattered remnants of the fleeing Skots. The other half marched on the capital to prepare for a siege. Although a risk to divide his forces, Fylkir Amaneus knew that he commanded a hardened force of veterans and was confident in their ability to defeat a demoralised, if numerically superior, foe.
With the complete destruction of their forces after a second battle in the north and the capture of their forces, the priesthood of Skotland knew that they were doomed to defeat. However, many strong castles stood, well provisioned and garrisoned. Envoys from Norway arrived at the priests temporary capital, offering the return of captured lands and prisoners in return for a cessation of hostilities. With White Peace signed between Skotland and Norway, the men returned to the boats, for the war against the Bavarian king awaited them.
Originally outnumbered, the men had been confined to raiding Bavarians forces that strayed from the main host. Guided by the members of the Félagi Auðr in their ranks, they had slowed the advance of the foe, but the armies of Norway were still on the backfoot. This is why the Fylkir had sought a quick resolution to the battles in Skotland, a victory or a defeat against the priests would have had caused more problems than benefits, but a white peace meant that both sides could maintain their honour and he could focus on the Bavarians.

With the second force arriving, the Northmen laid a trap. Marching the first army into Bavarian lands, the first time since their initial losses, they setup a siege and waited for their foe. Unaware of the reinforcements from the isles, the Catholics chaged straight into the trap, as the defenders from the castle salied forth to support their brothers. Yet the Fylkir and his commanders were waiting for this, and once the Bavarians had overcommitted, the second army sprung forward.
With the arrival of forces tied up in the war in Skotland, the battles in Frisia quickly turned. With the Bavarian army reeling from their sudden turn in fortune and the siege of Oldenburg lost due to the defenders charging onto the field, the Catholic quickly lost confidence. The greatest losses were taken by the Knights Templar, and without these elite shock troops the Bavarians lacked the skills and the moral to effectively wage war. Eventually, after 6 months of continued resistance, the Bavarian king agreed to peace terms .
[Note: this image is from a Youtuber called KnowledgeHub, check out his videos when you have a chance]
Yet if the Fylkir had hoped to inspire loyalty amongst his vassals, the news swiftly came of his failure. Not one year after the end of the Bavarian War, several counts and dukes had banded together to demand independence from Norway, and the crown of the Fylkir. Already weakened by the secession of the southern lands and access to the Baltic sea, the kingdom could not afford to lose a single province. Once more the armies of the Fylkir were mustered.
Norway was not the only country to suffer from social upheaval, reports arrived from the Welsh republic that the peasants had started to suffer from a deadly plague. As was the norm, blame quickly fell on a group that could not well defend itself: the Jews. This was a practice that was heavily influenced by the Catholic heritage of the isles, and as such was looked down upon by the rest of the Norse nations.
Launching a rebellion when the one sides has assembled is not a very smart strategic decision. Whilst the rebel forces still gathered, the Fylkirs armies fell upon them. Unprepared for the war so soon, the leaders of the rebellion were quickly surrounded and captured. In one defining battle, the heart of the opponents of the crown was ripped out and the whole thing fell apart.
To celebrate the great victories won by the Fylkir, the realms Steward proposed a building of a great monument. The need to reinforce the power of the crown was Fylkir Amaneus’s primary concern, as the realm was still in a fragile state.
Fylkir Amaneus’s plans to strengthen the realm were not just restricted war and monuments. To secure the succession, Prince Valdemar was brought before court to prepare him for his own time to rule. Although not yet a man, the young prince impressed many vassals and courtiers with his knowledge and skill.
With all the wars that had been fought, the Fylkir commissioned a grand suit of armour to replace his well worn existing armour. In order to demonstrate the power and majesty of his rule, the construction of a suit of armour was spared no expense.
However, the blacksmith betrayed Fylkir Amaneus and fled to the court of the Prince Ubald. What inspired this act of deception is unknown, but what is knows ….
… it did not end well.
Once more, news from the south came that the Muslims were attempting to retake Mauretana … again. Why they thought that this would be possible to retake this Crusader Kingdom this time, when they had failed so many times before confused many at court.
Despite all the distractions and delays, the Fylkir had never forgotten his fury at the loss of so much Norwegian lands to the Swedish crown. He had sent the realms Chancellor to seek our a reason to reclaim these lands. Finally, the duke came before his monarch with what he sought, a legal reason for war. Without delay the army was mustered and marched east.
Just as war was declared, news of a great host making it way to Norway reached the court. A distant kinsman of the Fylkir had declared his claim on the Kingdom of Norway, and had raised a sizeable force to push that claim. The weakness of the claim was matched by Starkadr’s grasp on reality.
The power of the Swedish kingdom had long since diminished since the division of the Swedish and Finnish crowns. This was best exemplified by the Battle of Hog, where numerically superior and better equipped attackers slaughtered the defending army, with four or five falling per attacker who perished.
News of crushing victories from the frontline took a jarring reversal of fortune when a messenger brought news that Crown Prince Valdemar, who had been leading troops in the war against Sweden, was ambushed and captured. Although taken prisoner, he was severely wounded and passed in the dungeons of the Queen.
Despite the setback of the princes death, the war against both the the Swedish and the ambitious kinsman were both finished quickly after. Although many celebrated these victories, Fylkir Amaneus knew that the nation had lost much in these wars and that now his second son would be elevated to power now. Prince Klas, now Crown Prince Klas, was no where near his brothers equal.
An outlandish tale arrived at court from a Catholic merchant from the small and rather unimportant Duchy of Venice. He wrote of a land to the far east, much further than the Muslim lands that were the furthest that the Norse courts were aware of. A wild and fantastical story, he spoke of travels to many foreign courts and encounters with larger than life monarchs.
Another unexpected story, from the south this time, came from the south. After several years of harsh battles, the Muslims had pushed the Catholic all the way back to the Gibraltar Strait. The resulting peace treaty split the Mauretanian kingdom in half, with the African holdings being succeeded to a pious warrior-noble.
The loss of the African coast was alleviated by the Catholics dividing the Norse realm of Great Moravia. For many years, the northern lords had expected some sort of retaliation for the invasion of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the separation of the western and eastern Catholics. Whilst not as decisive as many had thought, the Catholics were slowly pushing back.
Such was the failure of the Mauretanian realm that shortly after its defeat against the Muslims, an independence war was fought by the Duke of Grenada. As the lord of the lands where, if they were to attack, the next great war would be fought between the Catholics and the Muslims, the Duke had lost faith his king’s ability to defend him. After losing so much of the army on the coast of Africa, there was little the King of Mauretania could do to resist this powerful vassal, and the lands were once again divided in two. Instability had once again returned to Iberia.
With the numerous wars that had been fought over the years, the army had naturally needed expanding. Across the realm, the crown had commissioned the upgrading of barracks that held the housecarls that were in service of Fylkir Amaneus. This would allow for better defence of the crownlands, as well as showing that the Fylkir still commanded a powerful army and had the gold for expensive construction.
This was none to soon, for once more the wardrums beat, and Norwegians marched into the lands of the Swedes. With the final piece of land claimed, one more war would mean the lands that had been lost in the Swedish succession decades ago would finally be reclaimed.
To the north, in the frozen wastes that laid between Norway and Finland, the warring tribes had put aside their near centuries of conflict and finally united under the Kingdom on Sapmi. What the presence of another power on the peninsula would mean was unknown to all, but suddenly the Fylkir and his council had to prepare for a possible attack where one had never existed before.
(Souce: https://s-media-cache-ak0 . pinimg . com/564x/10/e0/4a/10e04ae99c038454b41eeff2e455ff30 . jpg)
Once more, the Sweedish levies were no match for the superior Norwegian army. Primarily the Norwegian forces were made up of Housecarls, a heavily armed and armoured warrior covered in armour and armed with a heavy axe. In comparison, the Swedish levies were lightly armoured, preferring hit and run tactics in the face of their neighbour as when the two did meet in open combat, the Swedes did not last long. Again this happened, and finally Norway was rebuilt.
With his lands finally reclaimed, Fylkir Amaneus was able to look upon the world and have its options available to him. Where once he was downtrodden with constant betrayal and war, resigned to the fact that no matter what he did would not be enough. Yet as the last piece of Norway was reclaimed, hope returned to the old ruler. No longer saddled with the responsibility of reclamation, he could not expand as he dreamed and lead the kingdom to its glorious future.
A future that he would never see. When a servant came to check on the Fylkir one morning, she found him unmoving in his bed. By his side was a copy of his manuscript ‘Sentrum av alt’, perhaps to remind the old man of his true passion of discovery in the natural world in his final moments.

Next chapter:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 15: The Tainted

Images: 46, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2018-03-26

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