The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 12: The First Norwegian

Published: 2017-08-14

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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 11: The Hunchback

Images: 31, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2017-07-30

Many battles are won by the axes of the most vicious or cunning warriors, who are able to through the might bend the world to their image. Fewer are the battles won by the quill, yet the battlefield that they are wielded across is no less dangerous. Yet just like the axe, the quill can be used to create as well as destroy. Great buildings and great poems are lasting tributes to the ability of these tools to better the world. Thus was the rule of the First Norwegian.
Fylkir Bjorn had already been leading the realm for several years before the crown was placed upon his head. Acting almost as a regent for his father had introduced the young ruler to the harsh nature of court life, making him cynical and paranoid. Yet despite this, the new Fylkir was a patient and diligent worker, always striving to better the realm. With an education in the matters of state and coin, he would need every advantage he could to hold the realm together.
Commissioned shortly before his father’s death, Fylkir Bjorn has ordered the creation of a group of cartographers, spies and messengers to supply the ruler with up to date information of what was occurring in the realms around Noregr. A general should not attack without knowing the positions of his foes and a Fylkir could not rule without the knowledge of the other realms power. The Varðmaðr Heimdallr, the Watchers of Heimdall were responsible for making sure that the Fylkir would always have all the information he would need to make any decision needed. The Gjallarhorn was the symbol of this order, nor in their duty was the ability to warn of any imminent threat.
[In my last post, /u/voidrex suggested that I include some wider shots. Whilst a brilliant idea, I had unfortunately already played this character to his death, so that will not be happening this time. I was however able to go back to the save and capture this map. Thanks again to him or her for this suggestion, and if anyone else has any pointers please feel free to let me know]
The orders work resulted in the first though map of the surrounding lands since the great survey that took place before the First Council of the Great Reaving. Since then, many allies had expanded and new foes had risen to replace old ones. Germany, once a laughing stock, now stood as one the preeminent powers of continent. To their side, was Pannonia, with lands that stretched all the way to the coast.
That is not to say that there were no forces that stood beside the Kingdom of Noregr, the Kingdoms of Lithuania and Rus stood as evidence of a more expansionist mission of the faith. Never before had the followers of Odin stretched further. To the south stood the Warband of the Wolves of Midgard and to the west the Republic of Brythoniaid, the Theocracy of Skotland and the Warband of the Jomsvikings held most of the isles under their control.
To further the prestige of the realm, and more importantly himself, the new Fylkir orders the forging of the crown of the Kingdom of Frisia. This area would be the vanguard of the fight against the Catholics and the order to forge the crown was also sent with an order to create a defence that would hold the Catholic zealots at bay.
The Fylkir also ordered the production of a weapon that would help him defeat the Catholics, something that would win him the upcoming wars against his foe. Rumours from the Far East was of a weapon that left a fiery streak across the sky and him with the force of Mjolnir. Attempts to create a replica of this weapon were, less than successful however.
To assist with the management of several vassals, the crown of Pomerania was destroyed (figuratively, the actual crown was displayed in the great library in Castle Lade along with other treasures) and the Jarls were summoned to renew their oaths of loyalty, this time to the crown of Noregr.
Having seen the reaction of the Jarls during the reign of his father, Fylkir Bjorn made it a focus of his Chancellor to make sure that he had and retained the loyalty of his subjects. Despite what his father had told him as a child, the Fylkir knew that the survival of the realm depended on the loyalty of the Jarls.
The legitimacy of any Fylkir was tied to the strength of the of the Félagi Auðr, the companions of treasure. Now a well-established band of warriors, the retinue of raiders were some of the best armed and armoured and had developed a tradition after over a century of looting and pillaging. Riches from across the mainland flooded back into the ports of Noregr.
It was not enough for the Fylkir to just order his men to the longboats, at least to begin with it was expected that he lead the men on expeditions south. In one such expedition, the Félagi Auðr had laid siege to a small castle in the northern lands of the Franks. Whilst there a larger force of Catholics had assembled to relieve the siege. Perhaps their leader did not realise who these invaders were, or perhaps he believed that he would be able to overcome his foe with superior numbers. Both illusions were quickly dispelled.
Any realm that did not grow would become irrelevant and a nation that did not have the funds would not last long enough to become irrelevant. In an effort to better the tax collection methods of the realm, the Fylkir invested in an office of record keeping to monitor for improvements. If the tax collectors shared their knowledge rather than competed, there would be an increase in the wealth generated.
Knowing that many things could happen to himself and his son could be forced to take on responsibility before taking the crown, Fylkir Bjorn arranged for lessons with the young Baldwein in the matter of statecraft. The most important trait for a ruler, the Fylkir said, was attention to detail, to always see an act through to its complete end.
[I have to stop landing my heirs before their first son is born, they have got to come up with some different names, this will now be the 2nd ruler called Baldewin Bjornson]
As his son did not have much longer before reaching maturity, the Fylkir dedicated his time to his family. The realm was going through a peaceful period and Fylkir Bjorn knew from his own childhood that it was possible to not see a father for many years. While he could, he would strengthen the bonds that united House Herja.
And so it was that Prince Baldewin soon reached maturity, and had completed his training under the generals and marshals in the realm. It was perhaps a perceived lack in the Fylkirs own skills that his heir was instructed in the way of war. The Fylkir would later reflect on whether he had prepared his son for the conflicts to come, or if he had been condemned to an earlier death on the battlefield.
For many years, there had been cracks in the unity of the men of the north. It had started within the realm of Svitjod, which had embraced a natural identity separate from their brethren in the west and south. This division was widened further as the men of Noregr began adopting their own identity. Formally brothers, the men of these realms were finding their future drifting further and further apart. Yet still they were family, and the bond of alliance between them were strong.
News came in from the east of the death of the King of Lithuania. Curiously, the message of his death was unusually worded and many suspected that the ruler had met his end by some nefarious means, however nothing ever came to light in this regard.
Although he was never a masterful general or brilliant warrior, the Norse way was the way of combat. As a leader of men in both the material and spiritual world, a Fylkir was expected to live up to these ideals. During a small battle, a band of enemy soldiers broke through the front line of the flank Fylkir Bjorn was leading and his personal guard were forced to step in to defend their ruler. Whilst lesser men would have fallen back, the Fylkir knew his duty and stepped forward with his battleaxe. Although wounded, the men knew that their ruler had the heart of a warrior.
Scandal struck the kingdom when it was revealed that the Queen of Noregr had been treated by a physician for syphilis. The implications were clear, the Fylkir’s wife had been unfaithful to her liege and husband. Whilst his fury was great, the womans life was protected by the need to maintain the alliance to the Swedish. Whilst angering her relatives, Fylkir Bjorn decided to imprison his Queen, although she remained unharmed.
The wound inflicted on the Fylkir in an earlier battle, although severe at the time, healed quickly. The resulting scar ran across Fylkir Bjorns nose, a little higher and the blade may have blinded him.
Ever since the success of the Great Reaving of the isles, the welsh republic had more and more started to flex its strength. Although the rise of a strong nation that followed the ways of Odin did much to strengthen the faith, the emergence of a power that could compete with Noregr did threaten its homogony. In an escalation of this power projection a campaign for Brittany was launched, bringing the majority of the Catholic world. Despite this, an alliance spanning generations stood between the two, and so the Fylkir ordered the armies raised.
An advance party from the Wolves of Midgard were sent to Brittany to support the republics troops, but the Catholics had the same idea. Two armies of four thousand men were forced to defend against eleven thousand Catholics. Although it was a hard fight, the Catholics were sent back after being routed outside the castle of the Duke of Valois. Having failed to gain the initiative, the Catholics would remain on the back foot for the rest of the war until the Duke was forced to cede the land to the Republic of Brythoniaid.
With the Catholics advancing along the coast of Africa, the Caliph of the Muslims rallied a unified push against their foe to establish their control of Mauretania. If the Catholics could be pushed back here, the Muslims would be able to hold the highly defensible Straits of Gibraltar. If the fortunes of the Muslims did not change however, there would be nothing stopping the advance into the heartlands of Egypt and Arabia.
The ever opportunist Republic of Brythoniaid knew that Catholic forces would be marching south, and so advanced upon the unprotected flank. The welsh Grand Mayor was not just attacking a random count or duke however, but the King of Serbia. Although not the most pious or honourable decision, the Fylkir did not raise his armies this time. The welsh would fight alone.
Around this time the realms spies found evidence that there may be a threat against the Fylkir’s life. Although never proven, theories were that the threat originated from the rulers of Brythoniad.
With their efforts to expand on the mainland foiled, the Welsh ambitions turned eastward. Claiming that because Fylkir Bjorn the First had claimed great wars of the isles complete, the rulings of the Council of The First Great Reaving were now void. With this reasoning, the republic marched on the remaining Catholic holdings. Now with Noregr and Brythoniaid in direct competition, Fylkir Bjorn too sought to expand his holdings. Using the same reasoning as the Welsh, the armies of Noregr were summoned to finally expel the Catholics.
(Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0 . pinimg . com/736x/b5/6b/6f/b56b6f7ca7a09ef4c31fe2f97bea24c9--anglo-saxon-the-army . jpg)
The war was a race against time as both sides sought to gain and control enough land to win their own wars and deny any advantage against their foe. The Catholics were almost a non-factor in the war, their armies quickly routed. Although racing against each other, neither side was willing to be the first to attack the other, so the war remained a competition the two rather that a conflict. This time the Norwegians would beat the Welsh to the prize, but his was only the beginning of a rivalry between the two preeminent Norse powers.
Towards the end of his life, Fylkir Bjorn began to dedicate much of his time to the arts, in particular poetry. The examples that survive shows a distinction from older, more Norse, works. Here, a distinction is able to be discerned from Swedish works from the same time. To many, Fylkir Bjorn is one of the earliest examples of Norwegian language.
That is not to say that the Fylkirs works did not draw inspiration from the past. Much of the Fylkirs time was spent in the library, reading through Sagas and old tomes. Although not much of a religious man, the legends of the Norse people were a great source of inspiration, and the basis of some of the epics written by the Fylkir.
However, the pressures of ruling a great power eventually got to Fylkir Bjorn. He was discovered by a serving woman one evening after not coming for the evening meal. Bent over a table with a quill in hand, he had passed from this world whilst writing. The Unfinished Works of Bjorn Baldewinson, despite not being complete, remains a prominent piece of work.

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