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

Published: 2017-12-30, edited: 2017-12-30

Part of the campaign:

The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR

Previous part:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 13: The Reborn

Images: 39, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2017-12-16

The demands of a ruler are heavy, to be both a leader on the battlefield and a learned man. Too much of the former and you become a butcher and tyrant, too much of the latter and you become disconnected from those you rule, and soon lose the ability to do so at all. Thus begins the rule of Amaneus Baldewinson, the Warrior-Scholar.
The young man that ascended to the throne in Castle Lade was not what would normally be considered a Fylkir. Shy and cruel in nature, the new Fylkir Amaneus cast a different light than some of his forbearers. His redeeming quality of patience that was instilled in him by his father’s actions, were used for ill as much as good.
One of the first actions of the regency was to establish treaties with the kingdoms of the east. As the realm was still unstable after the succession, securing one of the kingdoms flanks from two of the more powerful Norse nations was a vital security measure.
News reached the regency council of a large catholic rebellion in Irland, the young Fylkir ordered that men be raised to fight these upstarts. Despite the other council members saying that they had no alliance or cause to join the priesthood in battle, the young boy pointed to reports that the Catholic rebels had crossed the border for foraging. Although a flimsy excuse, the lords seized upon it and the order for men to be raised was given.
(Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0 . pinimg . com/originals/30/56/14/305614f03357e96312fb564d899c0dd2 . jpg)
Answering their lieges call, men embarked upon boats across the kingdom to meet locally raised levies in the town of Dublin. Marching together, they fell upon the catholic peasants to the south with righteous fervour. The men knew that the armies of the church had been thoroughly crushed previously and there was no other force that stood between the rebels and the holy city of Lothian. If they did not hold them here, then nothing would prevent the sacking of the seat of the priesthood. The foe was motivated, hoping to throw off the yolk of foreign and pagan rule, but the armies of Norway were well trained and the rebels were scattered from the field.
When the boats of the Félagi Auðr next returned to port, they brought an interesting piece of loot amongst the mounds of gold and treasure. The crown of the Duke of Portucale, a resplendent headpiece engraved with the images of lilies was presented to the young ruler, where it would be placed on display along with other captured relics from the realms enemies.
A grand ceremony was held in Castle Lade on the birthday of the Fylkir, for now by law he was able to rule the realm by his own hand. The minor stiffness of the joints that had affected the monarch the last few days had been a concern, but the physicians had said that they expected him to make a full recovery. The boy that was now a man was an accomplished diplomat, able to navigate the complexities of life at court. That a boy who would try and avoid people if possible have such a grasp on conversation and people was a surprise to many, although they also noted he did not have the same fire that was required to be a truly great ruler, not that any said this to the monarch.
Even though he now had a realm to rule, Fylkir Amaneus still preferred the company of his books like he had in his youth. He would spend great amounts of time in the library, as he was a veracious reader. It was even said that he had ordered the Félagi Auðr to bring back as many books as they could in their raiding and looting. Although an unusual request there was no questioning of this request, in not for any other reason than it meant that there would be more gold to share amongst the men.
Although he did spend time dedicated to study, the Fylkir was not neglectful of the realm. And of vital importance to the realm was an heir. To this end, a marriage was organised with the daughter of the King of Sweden. Not only would this mean the continuance of the line of House Herja, it meant that the entire eastern flank of the kingdom was now secure.
To continue his studies, the Fylkir ordered the construction of a great observatory. The mountains surrounding Castle Lade were soon filled with the sounds of construction as a building was built, with a great open rooms that allowed the deployment of telescopic devices. Alongside this was built a library, to be filled with great works. Many treasured items were removed from the royal library in Castle Lade, although those relating to history and religion were left behind. Where the castle would store works related to the realm, the observatory would be dedicated to this idea that had spread north from the Catholics and Muslims, science.
Despite his dedication to this new field of thought, the Fylkir was also a man of the gods, leader of the church of his people. Therefore, when the appointed time came, invitations were sent to a great feast to honour the gods and sacrifice the unbelievers. These events had become more than a simple act of worship, as the gathering of the lords of the realm was a time for political intrigue and manoeuvring.
Finally, the news came that the observatory was completed. With the great building standing high in the mountains, it cut an impressive figure against the skyline. However not all were happy with its construction, with the priesthood unimpressed that this building stood higher than the churches and castles of the capital. None dared raise their complaints with the Fylkir though, for this was his pride and joy.
The realms steward, Ale, brought the Fylkir plans for an improvement to the road network in Bremen. Originally the steward of his father, Ale had stayed on as part of the regency council and then at the insistence of his former ruler’s son. The plans had once been the project of his father, the order still bearing the spot where the Fylkir had been about to sign before his untimely death. The project was immediately authorised.
Finally, the time for the marriage between Fylkir Amaneus and Princess Linda of Sweden had arrived. A lavish ceremony was prepared and rulers and dignitaries form far over were in attendance. Great feasts were also held by the peasantry as well and for two days and nights the celebrations continued for nobility and lowborn alike.
When, having been absent for days at a time in the observatory, the standard of work around the castle had started to become lax. Surprising many one day, the Fylkir returned a few days earlier than expected. Furious at what he had learned what was happening at the capital, Fylkir Amaneus attacked as what he saw as the cause of this infection, the realms Chancellor Duke Ingjald. The berating that was delivered by his liege had left the man filled with fury, not at least because the castle had become silent and the Fylkirs voice carried throughout the halls.
With matters of state dealt with, the young astronomer returned to his observatory. Before he had left he had observed that the celestial bodies seemed to follow a certain pattern, but these patterns did not hold true to the common thought of the day that Midgard was at the centre of it all, being the halfway point between fire and ice. If the earth was not at the centre, what could it be?
Whilst Fylkir Amaneus sat contemplating the meaning on his discoveries, a herald from the capital had arrived at the complex. Approaching the Fylkir, he brought news from the south of a civil war had gripped the Wolves of Midgard. Although it had been speculated that the rift between the Polish and Bohemian subjects of the militaristic order would eventually erupt, that the Bohemians had been the ones to rebel had shocked many. Not only that but that they had managed to push back the order shocked many more. Concerns at the southern border were suddenly thrown into sharp relief, if the southern anchorpoint was so weak, what would stop the Catholics from marching an army through, to Denmark or even Norway.
Across the realm, construction efforts quickly sprang up as castles were improved and surrounding infrastructure expanded. Great amounts of the royal treasury left Castle Lade under guard, as the caravans of coins were a sight to behold.
Not all the gold leaving the treasury were bound for builders and materials, as a small portion was sent to traders and merchants. The reason for this was that the Fylkir desired to further expand the capabilities of the observatory.
Although the Fylkir did spend great amounts of time in his experiments and discoveries, he was not neglectful of the realm and would return to Castle Lade for the administration of his realm. During one of these visits he had laid with his wife, and news came that she was with child. Joyous at the news, the Fylkir quickly abandoned his solitary confinement in the mountains and returned to be with his wife.
Yet it seemed that fate strove to keep them apart for a little longer, for news arrived just as the Fylkir arrived in the castle that peasants had revolted in Norwegian Skotland. Ordering the levies raised, Fylkir Amaneus prepared for the first combat of his reign. As the rebellion was only a small force the only levies raised were from the crownlands, the Fylkir would handle these upstart peasants himself.
Before the levies could even gather though, the Duke of Dublin had taken a host north to defend his lands. Grateful that the local lord had taken care of the of the issue, it did present an odd situation. The realm was aware of the Fylkir mustering forces to attack this force and that a duke had gone and mustered his levies suggested that he did not have faith that his lord would provide.
Because he was away leading troops, Fylkir Amaneus was not present for the birth of his first child. Rather than entering the world loudly, the young girl barely made a noise much to the concern of the attending women. A sickly babe, there were many present that did not believe that she was long for the world.
News came from the south that the newly crowned King of Great Moravia was attacking a bordering Catholic kingdom. Rather than seeking to take a bordering duchy, King Zdik sought nothing less than the crown of Bavaria. What was more shocking was that that the reports coming back suggested that Catholics were being pushed back. If successful, it would shatter the current balance of power between the Catholics and the Norse.
Once more peasants rose up against their local lord and their Fylkir. Apparently not learning the lesson from their predecessors, men from a neighbouring province rallied together to march against the Duke of Dublin again.
And once again the local forces met them in battle. The constant rebellions in the Duke of Dublin’s domain had caused many in the royal court, including the Fylkir himself, to question either the competency or loyalty of this most remote of vassals.
In an attempt to reinforce the western border of the kingdom Fylkir Amaneus, in his capacity as King of Frisia, created a duchy of Holland. Rather than giving it to a local noble, the title was presented to the priesthood. The Archpriest of Holland would be responsible for the defence of the realm from any Catholic approach from the east.
As the Fylkir sought further understanding of what he had first discovered all those years ago, he wrestled with an inescapable truth. Not only was he a man of faith, he was also a man of the faith, the head of the faith of his forefathers who had rallied the dispersed fragments and unified the church. This faith was also the source of a Fylkir’ power, for the faith and the crown were intertwined and irrespirable.
Yet a man has to do what he knows is right, and yet Amaneus knew what saw. Midgard was not the centre of the cosmos as the godi’s had taught, rather it moved around the sun. But what was the sun compared to the earth? Perhaps it was Asgard, the mighty abode of the Allfather himself?
After the release of his manuscript ‘Sentrum av alt’, The Centre of Everything, it became apparent that all attempts to present the findings as religious discussion had failed. Across the realm, and further, priests decried the works as inspired by Loki. Some even claimed that the Fylkir had no right to be the head of the church. The publication of this work would continue to haunt the Herja line many generations after its publication.
In the midst of this great theological debate, news from the south was met with both great joy and great concern. The King of Great Moravia had proven how great his newly minted kingdom was with the complete and utter collapse of the Bavarian kingdom. Whilst a great victory for the followers of the Old Gods, this would undoubtable bring Catholic attention back north. Across the realm, preparations were made and fortifications repaired for the inevitable retaliation.
Yet amongst all the turmoil and fear, a glimmer of light, for entering the world that night was Fylkir Amaneus first son and heir. So taken was the Fylkir with the birth of his son that he names him Valdemar, or great ruler.
One evening during a council meeting, the members of the council presented papers to the Fylkir, explaining that the submission had been submitted with the support of several Dukes. The proposed laws increased the power of the royal council, so that they had a say in the laws of the land. Further to this it created an addition seat at the council for a royal adviser, to ‘assist the king in the direction to bring greater benefit to the realm’. Although part of him simmered in rage at the disloyalty of his vassals, Fylkir Amaneus signed it into law.
One of the Dukes who had pushed for this change in law was the Duke of Orkney. A proud and vain man, several members of court heard great boasts coming from the man when he thought that he did not have so much company, saying how he was so powerful that even the Fylkir caved to his will. Furious, an order was placed for his arrest, however the man had allies at court and was able to escape before the guards were able to capture him. Claiming that the Fylkir had breached the newly signed law, he moved south to rally his forces.
To make matters worse, the King of Sweden had passed away and the heir was a Duke within Norway. In the blink of an eye, the kingdom had lost its southern lands, its ports in the Baltic sea and faced a civil war within the remaining lands. The only good news of this was that the Finnish lands had broken away as well and were led by a member of a cadet branch of the Herja line.
With all this conflict, the lands of the Fylkir had not faced this much turmoil in many generations. Yet rather than collapse, Fylkir Amaneus resolved to not only reunite his lands but to make it greater than ever before. There would be only one focus in his rule now: war.

Next chapter:

Game: Crusader Kings II

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

Images: 39, author: RandomHero1992, published: 2018-01-29

Check out another AAR:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The Tree of Liberty (Part I): Patriot Blood

Images: 38, author: Malafides, published: 2017-07-29