The Great Game X: The German War

Truly, this was not a happy period for me. Germany (an AI country), seeing a chance at some cheap lands, invaded me in force. This war ended, luckily for me, in an event; the Pope will sometimes intervene in wars between Christians, forcing a white peace (that is, no territorial changes) on pain of excommunication. And then I quite by accident gave the Polish player a reason to attack me – Brandenburg was to be a bone of contention between us for the next four hundred years – and the Germans joined in again.

Here I was saved by player solidarity; as far as humans are concerned, the AI is only there as a speed bump, to give some buffer space for the initial maneuvering. Germany begins as the largest and most powerful kingdom on the map (which is why we didn’t give it a human player, for balance reasons); but against this, the AI isn’t very bright. So now everyone and his grandmother saw an opportunity to grab some of that player-less central European plain, and attacked like a pack of dogs bringing down a bear.

Dom and RP are the players of England and Flanders respectively; their full nicks are Dominus and Robtimus Prime.

YNGLINGA SAGA

27. WAR WITH GERMANY

Now as soon as he had peace with the Svear, at ruinous cost, Torgeir called up his remaining men and brought Jylland and Rugen once more to obedience. But at this Bernhard, King of the Germans, grew angry, for he held Jylland to be part of his domain. And he called up his host and marched north.

After so much fighting, there was little hope in the Yngling court of resisting the mighty German king, and emissaries were sent to hear his terms for peace. But Bernhard would not hear their words, and sent them back with their eyes put out; for he was a harsh and proud man, and wished to humble the north. His troops therefore crossed the Skagerrak, and burnt widely along the coast. But now the Pope in Rome took a hand; for he had quarrels with the Emperor of old, and saw here an opportunity to humble his foe. Therefore he called on the parties to accept the Truce of God; and this Torgeir seized upon right gladly. Thus threatened with excommunication, even proud Bernhard was forced to give way, and so the Ynglings had peace for a short while. But Bernhard was not pleased, and swore revenge on both Pope and Dane-King.

(OOC : The Dane-King being me.)

28. FEALTY OF BRANDENBURG

Erdzivil hight a man, who held Brandenburg from the Polish King. He was a short man, terrible to his foes, and much given to taking blood-vengeance for insults. Once when a priest told him he would be damned, he had the man set on a stake, so that after three days it came out his mouth and he died; and for this act he was excommunicated. But he was a strong warrior and generous to his friends.

Now it came to Torgeir’s ear that Erdzivil chafed under the rule of the Piasts of Poland, and wished to be free of their tribute. Therefore he sent men and gifts to Brandenburg, suggesting that Erdzivil should swear fealty to him until he could found his own kingdom, as had occurred with Flanders. And Erdzivil, knowing well that Odon of Poland would nowise be so generous, accepted this.

But Odon refused to accept this, and called out his host and crossed the Oder; and Bernhard of Germany, seeing an opportunity for revenge, likewise declared war on Denmark. Against two such foes, Brandenburg could not stand long, and the city was soon returned to German suzerainty; for however much Odon snarled, Bernhard refused to acknowledge his claim to the land. And as the Piast did not care for war with the mighty Holy Roman Emperor, there was little he could do about that. So Bernhard was free to turn north.

Torgeir did not have enough men to face the Germans – twenty thousand strong – directly; instead he called out his levies and hid in the hills, intending there to strike at camps and supplies, and by needle stings make the Germans so weary of war that they would leave. Also, Torgeir sent emissaries to Philip of England, Aubrey of Naples, and Antoine of Flanders, begging their aid; and the English King sent ten thousand men to drive the Germans south, while Flanders sent gold and ships. In this wise the Germans were unable completely to conquer the Yngling lands, for their armies ruled only the land they stood on, and behind them marched English and Danish levies, attacking where they were weak.

Now the deeds of his forefathers came to Torgeir’s aid, for Mzczuj of Jerusalem, recalling how Erlend, Torgeir’s father, had given counsel to his own, also sent an army to punish the German King for his arrogance. Thus did Lübeck and Mecklemburg fall from Bernhard’s grasp. But Germany is a mighty kingdom, and Bernhard refused to acknowledge defeat, instead calling up many more warriors from his southern domains. Torgeir therefore campaigned widely in the south, defeating many German armies sent to crush him.

Now there were many nations arrayed against Germany; the Great King in Miklagard sent men to take land in Croatia, and the King of Naples also sought to win lands in Italy. Englishmen and Danes marched all over Germany, and Flanders sent gold to weaken his powerful neighbour, though not daring himself to take the field. So at last Bernhard was forced to acknowledge that he could not defeat all his foes; and he signed a peace with Torgeir, acknowledging that Mecklemburg and Lübeck should be Yngling possessions for all time.

My holdings after the war with Germany and the accession of a new king :

Norway1160

Twice I was within one province of being conquered, and having to give up my remaining King title, which Bernhard had a claim on. Ouch! Thanks Dom and RP.

29. DEATH OF TORGEIR

Now Torgeir had been fighting many years in Germany, and a fever had taken him there, so that he often shivered although the day was warm; but still he always fought in the front ranks, and for this he was much praised among his men. But with peace, the iron will that had held him up died also, and six months after the signing of the Treaty of Nassau, he took to his bed and did not rise again.

King Torgeir had not been loved in Norway, for he had a sharp wit that he often exercised at others’ expense, and also he was somewhat given to heavy taxes. For this reason, and because of the Great Rising in his reign, he is sometimes called Torgeir the Unlucky. But also he had held the Yngling lands against Germany when all seemed lost, and even won the war and gained two rich cities, and there were few who did not admire him for this. So he is also sometimes called Torgeir the Stubborn, for his iron will.

Here ends the saga of Torgeir Erlendsson Yngling.

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