The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 1: The Instigator and the Converted.

Published: 2017-03-12, edited: 2017-03-13
The game is CK2 with Shattered Realm mod (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=243427340). Taking the focus of the Hose of Herja. This chapter is the focus of the first two lords: Jarl George, the Instigator; and King Baldar, the Converted.

Part of the campaign:

The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR

(Source: http://www.messagetoeagle.com/ragnarok-in-norse-mythology-the-doom-of-the-gods-and-apocalyptic-record-of-the-coming-comet/ )When the Great Unravelling happened in what the Christians call 867 Anno Domini, the world underwent the greatest shock it had endured since the fall of the Roman Empire. Overnight the great institutions of the world were destroyed, empires were forgotten and the petty lords of the world were suddenly its masters. So begins the story of Thane George Ericson, whom we now call 'The Instigator'.
(source: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/02/23/viking-mythology-odin/ )
As the Saga goes, after the Great Unravelling Thane George stood in the Temple of Mære, one of the few places of faith to survive. Long considered one of the holiest points of the Germanic faith, it was here that he reported to heard the voice of the Allfather himself. He ordered that the Thane unite all of the true believers and to spread and his word to those who would accept him and the sword to those who would not. Odin told him that his holy mission would not be completed by George himself, but if he had faith then Odin would raise his sons and son’s sons to heirs of all Midgard.
Once his holy mission had been revealed, Thane George took stock of his realm. He knew that before he could unite all, he would need to control those around him. He began to build up his forces and plan his conquests [Really observant viewers may notice something a little off about this, Thane George was not originally Zealous, however I thought this was rather flavourful and thus consoled it in. Also, anytime I want to talk out of context I will use square parentheses.]
Preparations for war were made throughout the realm, men were ordered up to being their training to lead the charge towards destiny. Thane George also began the study of war to be able to lead his men. Believing that Thor would strike out against all that arrayed against him, Thane George decided that he would have to emulate the Thunderer himself.
The mission Odin had bestowed upon Thane George spread out amongst the faithful, and thus the faithful gathered in Naumadal.
The Thane is alerted to the fact that nearby is rumoured to be a relic that, should it be acquired, would surely show that his mission had been blessed by those above. Thane George immediately ordered the search for said artefact.
Finally, once the men have been raised and Thane George had finished his own training, did he begin the first step of the quest given to him by Odin. The County of Halogaland to his north, part of the Jarldom of Nidaros was his first target.
As expected, the war quickly went in favour of Thane George. With the first step completed, the quest to unite the Norse people had begun.
After the conquest of Nidaros to his south, Thane George knew that the greatest threat to his realm was disunity. At this stage he had three sons and three titles. On his death his realm would be shattered. However, if he was able to unite the lands in a Jarldom, then his sons would have to swear allegiance to his firstborn, Balder.
After many years, the relic is finally found. Claiming it to be the hand of a Valkyrie, the finding of this artefact was surely a sign of Odin’s favour and the surety of the success of what was being attempted with the uniting of the Norse people.
With the land required and the wealth needed to throw the required elegant ceremony. Thane George elevates himself to the rank of Jarl. His realm now secured, he could focus on preparing his son to take his place, as he felt the call of Valhalla and knew that his time would be short…
.. which became evident when, upon leading his men at the Battle of Harmarhus, Jarl George was critically injured. To his credit he stood and defeated all who stood before him and the battle was a victory. However, with his lifeforce leaving him was able to stand long enough to accept the surrender of his foe before passing to the realm beyond, to Odin’s table.
And so, only 15 years after his holy mission had been revealed to him, Jarl George was taken to his place at Valhalla. It is claimed that only those who died a warrior’s death could be granted the highest honours in the afterlife and none could dispute that honour would be granted to the Jarl.
Jarl Balder was not the man his father was, growing up listening to his father claim a holy mandate, but seeing him cut down in battle had given him a rather cynical outlook on life. Balder believed that his father had fabricated his vision from Odin as a way to claim the lands around him. Balder continued his work, but out of desire to make himself great.
Jarl Balder was no fool however, and knew that by elevating his father, he could use his memory to his advantage. Thus Jarl Balder provided crown funds to begin works that would display the mandate that had been handed to them ….
… and the power that House Herja wielded.
The Crown of Crows became more than what Jarl Balder could have originally believed. Depicting Odin’s companions Hugin and Munin, the headpiece of the house of Herja would be seen as the divine right to govern the Norse people. When the church of the was later formalised, the crown was incorporated into the Falkir’s headpiece. The Sword of Hero’s, depicting the vision of Jarl George and other mythical scenes, would become the namesake and symbol of the, somewhat misnamed, Order of the Georgian Sword.
Balder would later go on to marry Elda of Blekinge, although would later come to regret this due to her known dalliances with the jarl’s vassals.
However, not everything was peaceful in the realm. Jarl Balders brother Erik, did not believe that Balder was pursuing the objectives set forth by their father. Using this claim, he tried to rally the other vassals into rebellion. However, no other Chief answered the call and so Erik fought Balder alone.
The war was over before it really began. Alone Erik had no chance against the army of Jarl Balder. After the capture of his castle, Jarl Balder sentenced that Erik had forfeit his title of Chief of Halogaland, violating the first victory their father had achieved. He stripped him of his lands and banished him from the lands.
(Source: https://www . mp3ringtone . info/jpgvpng-viking-warrior . html)
Erik’s rebellion had shown a weakness in Jarl Balders rule. Although he claimed his father’s mantle and had symbolically enhanced it, he was yet to increase the size of the realm. Hoping to quiet the dissenters in his realm, he proceeded to create a claim on one of his neighbours. The Jarldom of Jamaland to the east would be the perfect target. However, before the war could be declared, the ruler Jarl Falki Botulfrson died, dividing the realm. Using this as a reason to delay conquest, Jarl Balder stated that what made Nidaros different from the other realms was Jarl George’s desire for unity and internal improvement, citing the changed succession laws. The Jarl thought that he had bought himself time, but he knew that he would eventually have to expand the realm. However, he was mistaken.
Chief Sorkver, brother to Balder and Erik, was horrified at the was the former had treated the latter. Declaring that Balder should have not had the power to strip a noble of his rank, he declared rebellion to empower the members of the Jarls Council, requiring the Jarl to seek their permission before such decisions could be enacted.
However, whilst on the hunt while marching with his army Jarl Balder is said to have encountered an old man. The Jarl cannot believe his eyes; this is the man his father had described. Before he can confront him however, the man is gone. Jarl Balder finally understood, the rebellions were not motivated by greed or lust for power like he had originally thought, they were divine punishment for not following Odin’s orders.
With his newfound zeal, Jarl Balder called a Great Blot. After sacrificing prisoners for the glory of the Allfather, Jarl Balder addressed those gathered. What he laid out was simple but changed the direction of the realm for the rest of his rule. He declared that his father’s work would be continued, and that he would continue to unite the Norge. Once the fire had burned down, the muster began.
The other lords surrounding Jarl Balder had grown confident in the quiet since Jarl Georges passing. Upon hearing of Balders declarations, they scrambled to put a stop to him before he could begin.
However, none could stand before the might of Jarl Balder. His army seemed to be everywhere across what would be the Kingdom of Norge. Always at the front of his army, several times he himself broke the moral of the opposing army.
(Source: http://gerardo-the-crusader.tumblr.com/ )
Worrying news came from the south. The Christians had escalated their wars to a higher level. Calling a Crusade against the Slavic’s, whom lived between the Christians and the Germanic people, they sought to expand the realms of the corpse worshippers. To do this they created several Holy Orders, men whose sole purpose was to fight the enemies of the Pope. Balder knew then that he would have to organise the other members of his faith to defend against those that would seek to subjugate them. This would not be a task that he would be able to accomplish.
United behind one cause, the Christians overwhelmed the King of Pomerania, forming the pathetically small Kingdom of Germany. This small start however, would lead to some of the bloodies fighting of the age, inspiring the Jihads of the followers of Allah and the Great Reaving’s of the Norse.
The urgency of Jarl Balder’s desire to unite his people never let up. Finally, after many wars he had united enough of the land to legitimately claim himself King of all the Noregr. The last of the independent lords attended his coronation and swore fealty the Crown of Crows.
With the realm stabilised, King Balder looks inwards on his realm. Deciding to strengthen the defences of Castle Lade, he instigates improvements to the fortifications. The peasants’ working on the improvements name it Balder’s Gate, a name that is adopted on its completion.
Many had wondered why King Balder did not further expand the realm. It seemed to many that Balders drive had left him …
.. for he was not long left for this world. Balder fell after leading his men whilst raiding the northwest coast of the French lands. Too far to seek medical treatment, he succumbed to his wounds and passed on. [Side note: Damn that summary is rough, I only got slothful about a year ago.]
And so, almost 60 years since the Great Unravelling, the Norse of Scandinavia had rebuilt. The strong prospered and the weak fell. And none were as strong as House Herja. Yet not all was well, House Toki had almost united all of Svijod and to the south, the lords of the cross united. They would eventually look outward. The survival of the Norse faith would be put to the test, united they would prosper; divided, fall.

Next chapter:

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The Trials of the Sons of Odin: A Paradox AAR. Chapter 2: The Brothers Broken and Blessed

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