The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 10: The Great Reaver

Published: 2017-05-28

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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 9: The Bulwark

Images: 24, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2017-05-07

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Trials and adversity. Most nations do not last long when exposed to too much of this, however Noregr was different. It has a harsh land where the inhabitants had to struggle to get by, and only the strongest survived. So to with the rise of the newest Fylkir, a boy who would need to grow quickly to fill the title that he would later be given: The Great Reaver.
The young Fylkir was a rowdy kid, a habit that would continue into adulthood. Not having much skill in the arts of diplomacy, problems were more easily solved at the end of a blade, either sword or dagger. This aggression would be needed to keep his throne safe from the many threats, internal and external.
King Gandalfr was the younger brother of the Fylkir. Despite the small difference in age the two boys were very different. This was possibly a result of their different mothers. Where Bjorn was a son of a Hwiccian princess, a woman who only survived in a hostile court by being calculating, Gandalfr’s mother did not have to be so cautious, being the 2nd wife of the Fylkir. A shy but diplomatic boy, he would need every advantage he could get though his childhood.
When the previous Fylkir re-wrote the laws of the realm, consideration was given to the need to the need to reform the inheritance process. However, given that he was an old man and the possibility of a child seemed remote, these plans were put to the wayside. This would prove to be a poor choice. The young boy was entitled to part of the inheritance, but was granted an empty title. Poland was controlled by the Grandmaster of the Wolves of Midguard, who was sworn to fealty to the Fylkir. A small plot of land in the highlands of Skotland was granted to him.
The first act of the new rulership was to reaffirm the last act of the previous one, the defence of the Jomsvikings holdings. Although not a significant threat in of themselves, the continued and massed attacks by the Catholics over the decades had prevented the Jomsvikings ability to completely consolidate their holdings. On top of this, with their obligation to provide a fighting force available to the rulers of Norse faith, the majority of the fighters were fighting wars elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, the babe ‘King’ of Poland’s realms shortly fell to revolt. The young Fylkir upon hearing this, demanded of the council that the troops on the isle move north to assist his young brother. Although it left the Jomsvikings to fend for themselves, the army of Noregr returned to their boats and sailed north.
The problem for the regent was that, according to the laws of the realm, the Fylkir had no right to interfere on behalf of his brother. Woking quickly, the regents of the two realms quickly signed an alliance, giving the Fylkir his war. Given that the Kingdom of Poland was a small nation and it was split in half, the war was quickly won.
Quickly returning south, the army marched back to the aid of the Jomsvikings. Quickly defeating the final bands of assailants, the war was resolved for the defenders.
News from the east arrived at the court of the young Fylkir, the Muslims has launched their offensive for the joint holy city of Jerusalem. The former crusader state had dwindled to the point that the King of Jerusalem, residing in the mainland, barely had any claim to the title. Most of the surrounding lands were controlled by other Muslim rulers. Only the coastal cities of XXX and XXX were all that remained of the once grand kingdom.
The defining point of the wars was then the Wolves of Midguard smashed into the gathered army of Hwicce at the Battle of Llanelwy. Evenly numbered but catching their foe unprepared, the Wolves earned their name as they tore through their opponents. At the end of the day, almost half the opposing army was able to retreat whilst the Germanic Holy Order suffered the death of just over five hundred men. Stories of the victory would be told for years to come.
Being the head of state from a young age had been a crucible for the Fylkir. However, where some sunk under the burden, Bjorn rose above it. Attending council meetings, the boy could match wits with all in attendance and was able to keep up with what was required in the maintenance of the realm, both in peace and war. The boy grew not only in mind but in body as well, growing larger and stronger than his peers.
Eventually came the day where the boy became a man, and the regency of Noregr ended. For the length of his rulership the kingdom had been at war, and his education suited. Having a grasp of war that belied his age, the coming years boded well for the realm. As the ceremony ended and the feast began, the entertainment was brought forward to the gathered guests…
Captured shortly before the coronation and brought to the capital was the King of Hwicce, Wulfgeat. The Fylkir had ordered that his ‘guess’ be ridiculed before all those present, so the man was covered with sticky tar and chicken feathers. More than simple vengeance, the Fylkir knew that if all saw how their hated foe was just a man, then they had less to fear from the Catholic Kings that they would fight against.
As if to further that point, news came in of the defeat of the Catholics in the east. The last scraps of the lands around Jerusalem were cleared of their Catholic holdouts. Once again, the Muslims held the contested holy lands of the two religions. This was not the only front that they were losing ground on.
On the isles and the mainland, they Jomsvikings were pushing against their the Hwiccians. After several wars they had even succeeded in capturing the capital of the kingdom. Although still a formidable realm, the time of the King of the Hwiccians certainly seemed to be on the decline.
Seeing the Jomsvikings expand like this reminded the Fylkir that his ancestors had made a commitment many generations ago to see the isles conquered. For two long had the objectives of the Grand Reaving remained unfulfilled, thousands of men who had died for a dream that had not been met. This could not, and would not, be allowed to remain so. Plans were drawn up for how to finish this endeavour and alliances were made with other rulers.
Central to the plans of Fylkir Bjorn was the containment of his foes to the south. To this end did the Fylkir seek to turn the Germans against themselves, too distracted to provide a united front. For many years did the faithful chancellor conduct these mission. Unfortunately, he was discovered whilst trying to raise a minor disagreement between the boy King and a powerful vassal under him to a rebellion. Put in chains and refused to be released, the Fylkir had accidentally created a delicate and volatile situation in his southern border. One that would only take a small spark to ignite.
That spark would end up being the King of Pomerania.
Unready for a major offensive, the levies struggled to raise in an orderly fashion. Although there had been several wars, very few times had a Fylkir had to raise men from beyond his own personal holdings and the Wolves or Jomsvikings. It had become apparent that the there was an important piece of the equation missing, which Fylkir Bjorn believed was the Jews. Reversing the decision of his forbearer, the ban on those of the Jewish faith was removed from the laws of the land.
Even before the first blade had crossed the Fylkir had concerns. This war could possibly drag on for years, preventing him from finishing the Grand Reaving. He needed more time. Gathering his council before marching out with the army, he presented them with a simple question. Could a man live forever? Being a pious man, Fylkir Bjorn knew that this was both a question of the body and of the soul. He therefore tasked his Spymaster, a Godi, to find the answers he sought.
Eternal life was not the only matter that the Fylkir had to arrange. Far more mundane was the matter of a wife. As a token of gratitude to the Fylkir for answering the call to war, King Sigtrygg of Pomerania offered the hand of his sister to further cement their alliance. Marching with his army to the Pomeranian lands, the two were married in a rather simple ceremony. Giving the men a chance to relax before the coming campaign, a large feast was held for the army in celebration.
The troops were not the only ones celebrating.
Before leaving to march to battle, the realm’s Spymaster, Godi Dag, snuck into the Fylkirs tent and told him that he had a lead on the quest for immortality. He believed he had found the location of a person rumoured to be a powerful practitioner of the Seiðr. Powerful enough to imbue the body and soul with immortality. Confident in his ability, the Fylkir told him to keep investigating, but that he could not leave the camp or delay the march any more.
And so it was that two weeks later, the army had a just about reached the battlefield when Godi Dag approached him again. This time, he was not alone. Shrouded in shadows was a woman, whose looks alone suggested an extended life. When she spoke, it carried the weight of many years, too many for it to be natural. She told the Fylkir of blasphemies so foul that his skin crawled, of how she conquered daemons of other faiths and stole her knowledge from the gods themselves.
The Fylkir had heard enough, he ordered his guards to restrain the foul woman in front of him and had her burned in a pyre. Her screams sounded throughout the night, sounding unnatural as her tone changed from a woman, to a man, to some more … sinister.
The delay in getting to the target had allowed the Catholics to gather their forces. Their numbers were only half those of the oncoming Northmen however, and faithful were quick to smash through the flank of the defending Catholics.
The battle was a marvel for all the commanders, their force was superior but the complete lopsided nature of it stunned even the Fylkir. Reports of the battle were sent back to the capital to try and understand it, and to hopefully repeat it again in the future.
It turned out that although the Fylkir had promised the commander of a local bank of mercenaries, the local nobles back in Noregr had failed to organise regular payments to the Company of Rus’s paymaster. The band turned around and assaulted the armies after they had setup siege, forcing the second army to abandon their siege to come to the rescue.
Although the Rus band was defeated, the damage was done. The Catholics had regrouped and were now marching on the islands where the army was camped. It was hoped that they could dig in and defend well enough for them to fight off the Catholics.
It did not. Although at the end of the day more Catholics had fallen then Norseman, the Fylkirs army was still forced to retreat from their position. Fighting a rear-guard, they retreated back towards Pomerania.
Word of the defeat spread back to Noregr. Vassals, discontent at the centuries of rule under one family and seeing their chance, several Jarls banded together declared that one of their own would be the new King of Noregr. The kingdom went from viscous attackers to internally divided very quickly.

Next chapter:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 10: The Great Reaver (Part 2)

Images: 31, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2017-07-19, edited: 2017-07-26

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