The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 8: The Ironborn

Published: 2017-04-17

Part of the campaign:

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 7: The Eldest King-Brother

Images: 23, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2017-04-14

(Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0 . pinimg . com/736x/4a/a3/7f/4aa37fbaa1617b2d440fb9473c9f3161 . jpg)
The young man that inherited the Kingdom would have no idea the horrors that would await him. His reign would see some of the greatest heights achieved since the Great Unravelling, whilst also seeing some of the darkest moments in the nation’s history. The tragedies would not be limited to the realm, and hence has Fylkir Starkadr Arnbjornson known as the Ironborn.
Fylkir Starkadr was a young man when he first sat on the throne in Castle Lade. Dutiful and diligent to the realm, he knew that he would have to move people in accordance to his goals even at the expense of their own.
The first act of the new Fylkir was to raise his levies to ride to his uncle’s aid. Across the realm men marched to their rally points and prepared to board ships to come to the aid of Skotland.
Before they could get there though the King was captured as his men marched to the rally point. Locked in the dungeon of a Catholic duke, he was forced to sign a peace treaty with steep reparations.
With his uncle freed, Fylkir Starkadr unveiled the runestone commissioned for his father. Describing the great deeds of the previous ruler, of the sacking of Rome and the repelling of the Pomeranian Crusade. His deeds would stand the test of time, and through his son, future generations would know how the great deeds that his son were started.
As per the plans of his father, Fylkir Starkadr proceeded with the marriage arrangements to the Romuvan princess of Lithuania. Despite the religious differences, it was hoped the marriage would provide a strong alliance between the two nations.
The Fylkir ordered his Marshall to run the army through drills in preparation for further campaigns. The following years would be one of expansion and conquest and the men of Noregr would have to be prepared for long wars and bloody battles.
The first target of these wars was the Count of Norfolk. Ordering his army to advance, they caught the defenders at the city of Spalding. Charging through, the city and castle was put to the torch. With nothing left to hide behind, the lands were surrendered to Fylkir Starkadr.
News reached the realm of the death of the Fylkir’s uncle, the final Starkadrson King, who fell in battle. His death means that the Kingdom of Skotland was reincorporated into the realm and the whole of the Skot lands were under the protection of the Fylkir.
The wars that the Fylkir was waging had one end goal, the completion of one of the promises of the original council prior to the first Reaving, a state for the Jomsvikings. With the lands that were designated for them finally all acquired, the Fylkir granted their independence to the Warchief to govern. Only one state was left, the rebirth of the Germanic Welsh Republic.
Yet all thoughts of expansion were put on hold with reports coming to the Fylkir of a great plague approaching from the east. Tales of such horror that those that spread them must have conjured them from some vile realm of Hel, rather than what was possible on this earth.
[Turning to how the plague arrived in Norway in the reality, check out the source link. This defiantly has to get the award for one of the creepiest stories I’ve heard in a while.]
Upon hearing the stories, the Fylkir ordered the expansion of the hospital constructed by the Jomsvikings. Thinking that this would be enough to see his realm through the approaching horror, Fylkir Starkadr would pay dearly for this hubris.
Obviously either not believing the tales of plague victims or choosing now as a good time to strike, the King of Pomerania ordered his armies to invade the lands of Carinthia. The surrounding Catholics, and even the Pope himself, rode to the aid of the Duke. Hoping to try and hurry along the conflict so that it would be finished before the plague arrived, the Fylkir joined the invasion.
It would be upon the fields of battle that the first Northerners would begin to see the horrors that awaited them. Amongst their number was the Fylkir, who started to show symptoms. Abandoning the fields of battle, the Fylkir ordered his men home.
In the westernmost point of the mainland provinces was the county of Oldenburg. The southernmost point of the Kingdom of Norger, it was the main trading hub before traders reached the Republic of Danmark. On the many ships that arrived everyday were the refugees that had escaped the plague in the south. The Fylkir ordered the guards to gather as many stories from those that were deemed to not have been overly traumatised by what they had seen; not many met the Fylkirs requirements.
Returning back from the war in Pomerania and Bavaria the physicians and healers brought the Fylkir grim news, he was amongst the infected. Now, rather than being safe from the plague, the court was now trapped with it.
The Fylkir summoned the Court Physician and commanded that he be cured. There had been no reports of a successful treatment but the Kingdom of Noregr had a rather renown healer in its employ, Porsteinn of Naumadal. One of the leaders of medicine at the time, he had published several books on infectious diseases.
It is unknown what had inspired the medic to choose the treatment course that he did, for not many men would have the gall to remove the privates of their King. The fury of the Fylkir was said to be like the Thunderer himself, and many courtiers wondered if they would ever see the old physician again.
His work, however, appeared to have worked. The abscesses receded and the Fylkir’s skin returned to a healthy shade. Where others around him had fallen victim to the horrors around them, the Fylkir stood tall. A high price had been paid for this miracle though.
As the realm started to fall apart, due to the inability for any of the nobles to administer their lands, more and more rumours were spread of the fate of those that fell victim to the plagues influence. The few caravans that made it through the countryside brought with them takes of the dead whose souls had not departed and instead still remained within their withered and diseased frames. Some whispered that Ragnarok was upon them, and that the end of the world had come.
Within Castle Lade, the trials of the Fylkir were still underway. Having survived the dreaded plague, Porsteinn of Naumadal returned to his lord with more bad news: a diagnosis of Cancer.
The Chief Physician had determined that the cause was a growth behind the eye. The Fylkir was once again put to sleep and once again woke to find the medic had removed another ball from his body. The physician was running out of body parts to remove from the ruler. The Fylkir was heard to comment that he was worried that if the pestilence was not ended soon, that the peasants of Noregr would find only half of him left.
One of the few messengers to survive the trip reports of the fall of Pomerania’s armies with the Christians swarming over the land. The numbers of the Catholic forces would at one time have been easily crushed, but with most men occupying graves rather than battlements, the invasion has all but failed.
A Catholic priest in the plague ravaged Skotland rose from the hidden community of Catholics claiming that the plague was their Gods vengeance at the Germanic invaders and punishment for the weak Catholic lords to the south who were unable to stop them. Claiming to be immune to the plague and able to protect any true believer that rose with him, his rebellion would die down as his claims were proven false.
Many traders that travelled by land and sea through Noregr were Jewish merchants. Often bringing vital supplies, there was a significant level of distrust at this small knit community of travellers. More and more rumours rose that the Jews were to blame for the outbreak, to the point that the Fylkir had to act. By royal proclamation, all Jews were barred from the realm.
Noregr was not the only realm to suspect the Jews, with news arriving from the south that the Republic of Danmark having taken the same steps. Whether they were trying to eliminate the plague that ran rampart through their trading empire, or were simply trying to remove the competition for Norse traders was irrelevant and any Jew that was travelling south halted their plans and instead went east.
Later came the report that shocked the court only for the fact that it had taken so long to accomplish, the King of Pomerania officially surrendered to the Catholic coalition that opposed his invasion. In another time this could have been a glorious expansion of the faith, now however no army could the greatest invader of all.
Good news did arrive from Skotland with the news that the plague was in retreat there. This was tempered with the news that the Catholics there had launched an invasion of the Jomviking lands. Raising the levies of Skotland, he ordered them to march south and assist their brethren.
Despite not having been raised for a few years, the armies of the Fylkir were born for warfare as is the Norse way. Together with the Jomavikings and the Svitjod they broke the Catholic army at Richmond. Broken from this battle, the war was quickly rapped up after this.
After a few years at the mercy of cruel gods, the plague was at last banished from the realm. Overall, almost a third of the population were either dying or dead. Amongst these were three of Fylkir Starkadr’s four children. The inheritance of the realm now rested on his shoulders alone. The might gates of Castle Lade were finally reopened.
Seeing the signs of deliverance from the plague, Fylkir knew that he would have to act quickly to unite his people to move beyond the horrors that they had experienced. It is said that Odin approached the Fylkir and told him to eliminate the false faith of the Slavics, they who perverted the true faith in their practices. Therefore, the last remaining independent kingdom, Poland, must fall.
The Pope of the Catholics apparently had a similar idea. Calling upon all of the lords of the mainland to gather forces, their destination was the city of Jerusalem and the holy lands of the Catholics, Christians, Muslims and Jews. With the Bosporus Straights still contested, the success of this venture will depend on control of the Mediterranean Sea.
Whilst preparations for the departure from Castle Lade were underway, a childhood prank had some very serious consequences when Prince Sæmundr accidentally blinded his father the Fylkir. Throwing a small stone at him, it appeared to all that his father would catch the thrown projectile, however it became apparent that he had not become as use to the use of only one eye. The Fylkirs smile soon disappeared, as did his vision.
Preparing to depart for Poland, the Fylkir was interrupted by news of rebellious Jarls. Forming a pact, they called for the Fylkir to be elected by the Jarls of Noregr. Surprisingly, not one of the rebels would actually benefit from this increased power if successful.
(Source: #p698395">#p698395">http://www . elgrancapitan . org/foro/viewtopic . php?f=87&t=16834&p=698395&hilit=hospitalario#p698395)
The Catholics had heard of the plans of the Fylkir for Poland and the Pope commanded the King of Germany to seize the lands of the Duchy of Brunswik. Once completed they would march north and prevent the Fylkirs army from crossing.
Luckily, as the army Noregr was already assembled and it was quickly sent to Skotland to capture the rogue Jarl of Mann. Shattering his armies, the rebels were forced to surrender and marched to the dungeons below Castle Lade.
(Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0 . pinimg . com/originals/f5/33/aa/f533aa2290b4d087320091623cf039f4 . jpg)
The German army quickly completed their first objective of capturing the Norse parts of the Duchy of Brunswick. They then advanced to Holstein and repaired to prevent meet their foe. Defences were prepaired for their foe, expecting an attack from Danmark. They were however unaware of the problems in Skotland, and therefore being transported in the fleet. Landing on their western flank, the Noregr army charged forth and hit their flank and bypassed their prepared defences.
The defeat at Holstein completely broke the moral of the German levies and knights. Instead of pushing further the Fylkir offered the German King a choice. They could either return home and prepare to march on their holy lands in the desert or the Northman would descend upon every castle and town of and burn them to the ground. The Catholic forces quickly left the Republics lands and their forces removed themselves from captured castles.
In the end, the war was quick and brutal. Falling upon the Polish unbelievers with the fury of the Thunderer. Their defeat was inevitable and the Polish King was relieved of his crow, the Fylkir added it to those that he already had, of Noregr and Skotland. The land however, was given to someone else.
(Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0 . pinimg . com/originals/be/8e/20/be8e20631716239e7b1e342c22489dc2 . jpg)
Made up of Polish that renounced their old gods, the more battle hardened Godi’s, and members of the Fylkir own mounted guard, the Wolves of Midguard was Fylkirs answer to the mounted Holy Orders of the Catholics. Given the lands of the Polish, their job was to convert those that would follow Odin and his chosen representative in Midgard and to defend these lands from those that would not.
The Fylkir did not escape his campaign without a scratch, losing his hand when ambushed by a Polish warband. Many drew comparisons to the story of Tyr and Fenrir, the god of war and the monstrous wolf offspring of Loki. Tyr was able to bind his foe, at the cost of his hand, lost to the beasts terrible bite. To replace this a golden hand was commissioned, depicting this mighty battle.
Preparing to return to Castle Lade after the establishment of the , the news that the Catholics too had completed their task surprised the Fylkir. Apparently the Pope had granted the lands to the Duke of Bavaria for his contributions to the war effort. For the first time since XXX, the followers of Christ controlled their holiest city.
Marching through Pomerania, the host is greeted with grim news. The Teutonic Knights had succeeded where the Germans had failed and took the Duchy of Holstein from the Republic. It was now not possible to travel by land between the northern Kings and the mainland without passing through Catholic lands. This could not remain. Gathering his tired troops, the Fylkir ordered the castles sieged and returned to the Prince Mayor of Danmark. The small forces were no match for the war host and the castles were captured before the orders allies could arrive.
Arriving back at Castle Lade, a grand feast was prepared to celebrate the victory. At the peak of the celebration, the Fylkir was brought low. Rushed to the Court Physician, it was determined that the cause was poison. Luckily the Fylkir had not injected much, as he was fairly drunk at this stage and had dropped the contaminated drink. An investigation revealed that the Fylkir’s own wife was the culprit, and she was quickly confined to the dungeons.
The march back home had not been kind to the old Fylkir, and the poison was racing through his system. Barely conscious, the Court Physician ordered that his body be brought to a cave where Fylkir Sæmundr had written the Asatru. Inside the cave was a small lake that Pordr had Fylkir Starkadr submerged in. Plunging his lords head beneath the water, it is said that Thor himself spoke to the Fylkir and told him where to find an artefact that would rally the faithful.
And so the Fylkir alone travelled deeper into the cavern, having been cured of the terrible effects of his traitorous wife’s poison. Returning to his party a few hours later, over his shoulder was a very large battle horn.
The location of the mythical Gjallarhorn was not the only thing revealed to him. The Germans had pushed through the lightly defended area around Braunschweig. There needed to be a united front to protect the enterance to the northern lands. It was revealed to Fylkir Starkadr that eventually the faithful would push south and take these lands. For now though, the King of Pomerania was granted land taken from the King of Germany and lands traditionally held by the Fylkir himself. As a token of goodwill, Braunschweig and holy Irminsul was granted along with the title ‘Warden of the Gateway’.
To the east the King of Svitjod had supported many artists and commissioned many great works of art and monuments. His conquest of most of the Lithuanian lands had seen his realm grow larger than it had ever been before. The purpose of this was for the development of a culture separate from their Norse brothers. For many years the three nations of Noregr, Svitjod and Danmark had been growing more and more separate. To highlight this drift, the King of Svitjod renamed his nation, now the Kingdom of Svea Rike.
After many years of leading campains and great wars, they Fylkir was a tired man. Having seen more than sixty winters, he knew that his time was not long left for this world. To help prepare for the transition of power, he spent his last years developing the realm. This however cost money and while Noregr was a rich land, this was not enough. The Fylkir then sent out an order for a force to be sent along the coast to loot and plunder. Unlike in times past where a lord would raise warriors for an expedition, a band was commissioned that would be under the employ of the crown. Their lives would be wholly dedicated to this task. [This was the raising of a retinue, to put some restrictions on myself the sole purpose of these troops will be raiding.]
As gold flowed back from the raids, the Fylkir commissioned a massive improvement to infrastructure in the kingdom. Along the coast, the towns that grew around castles were expanded. Further inland, existing villages were expanded to small towns [new city holdings]. Slowly the damages of the plague were reversed and the population rebuilt [I also completed the ambition for realm prosperity, whatever it is called].
But peace does not last. The Jomsviking sent word that the ancient enemy of the Noregr, the lords of Hwicce, had gathered an army and launched an invasion. Now styling himself ‘King of Hwicce’ [Custom kingdom created by the AI], he had gathered the men from across his holding in the Isles and the mainland and sought to divide the lands of the Jomsvikings in half [Holy war for the duchy of York].
The strains of war proved too much for the old man, and Fylkir Starkadr was found dead one morning whilst on the march. His one surviving son now inherited a nation at war, and as an older man himself with no heir so far, his ascension would result in more challengers than from those across the battlefield.

Next chapter:

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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