As noted, I’m not writing an AAR. These are just some things that happened during the session, given names and described in, I hope, moderately amusing language.
- The Oak Breaks: Wrestling the giantess Eld, old age, even mighty Thor had to bend the knee – or so the Elder Edda claims; it is not clear whether the pre-Christian Norse told this tale. Be that as it may, Harald finally died in 923, at the ripe old age of 73. While leading his troops in the field.
- The Brothers’ Quarrel: In accordance with immemorial custom, Harald’s estate was split evenly between his sons; in particular, Tyke called “the Holy” gained the fertile valleys of eastern Norway and the title of King, and Valdemar “the Just” was given the bleak north, which is still, however, rich in fish and furs and fighting men. So when Valdemar gathered the great men of Norway to his cause, and demanded that the King title should be his, Tyke swallowed his pride and agreed. (I had a look at the two brothers, and Valdemar was way better.) But Tyke did not forget. (We had a rehost somewhere in here and I switched to playing Valdemar).
- The Brothers’ War: Tyke did as his brother had done: He gathered the chief men of Norway to his cause, one by one; after a year or two there were many who forgot why they had supported Valdemar’s claim to the throne, and remembered that he had not given them land or gifts or women. Or perhaps they thought that men who made a king had a right to unmake one as well, and wished to establish for time to come that the kings of Norway – a title that had not existed before Harald made it – ruled only with the consent of their chiefs. In any case Tyke demanded, after a year or two of Valdemar’s rule, that the crown be given back to him. But Valdemar did not do as his brother had done; he called out the levies of the north – for all the south had risen against his rule – and sailed to restore his father’s kingdom to obedience.
- King of Rags And Patches: At about this time the Ladejarls, the dukes of Trondhjem, succeeded in their long war to subdue Denmark. (Which had become independent of Sweden due to the same immemorial custom that split Norway in two.) Splendid, we all cheered – but it took a major source of manpower out of the realm when every man was needed. With the out-islands joining Tyke’s cause, and the Christian Orkneys in revolt against pagan rule, this left Valdemar as king only of the North – Lappland and Finnmark, in effect. Now ‘Lapp’ is actually an insult; it means ‘patch’ – presumably in reference to ragged clothes; which is why nowadays the people who were formerly called so are referred to as ‘Sami’, their own name for themselves. Hence the rebels’ mocking name for Valdemar, the King of Rags. But his ragged fighting men, who patched the holes in their clothes with strips of birch bark, drove the southerners back and back, from Dovre to the mouth of the Mjøsa. Let them call what names they like, if they obey.
- King in the North: Valdemar died, like his father, at the head of his troops; his son Anund inherited the throne of Norway – or at any rate, as much of Norway as the birch-leg fighting men happened to be standing on – at the age of eight. His father had never ruled the whole kingdom at peace; so when the time came to write of his memory, those who were loyal to him called him the King in the North. For that was indisputable. To be “King of Norway” is, in this year of wolf and raven, a form of words which many men lay claim to. But Valdemar had gained the hearts of the northmen, and led them through thick and thin (“and Loki be my witness, there was more thin than thick on the Dovre front”), and that is the essence of kingship.
There was a Council revolt in there somewhere as well, which I mention only so I can increment the counter:
- Norwegian Council Revolts for More Power: 2.