A stubborn sort is the AI, and not very bright. Note also the dangerous madman in my court; courtiers who gain the trait ‘Schizophrenic’ are prone to all kinds of dangerous behaviour, like killing people at random. Fortunately they usually die off quickly.
30. ACCESSION OF GUNNAR (1160)
Gunnar was King in Denmark after the death of his father Torgeir. He was a man of middle height, brown of hair and eye. He had a sharp wit, which he often used in riddle-contests; withal he was a peaceable man, little given to warlike displays. But his foes gave him little peace, and so he was often out and about the borders of the realm, although he would liefer have stayed in the comfort of his estate.
31. KING GUNNAR’S CHILDREN (1161 – 1170)
The King’s first wife was named Helena; but like his forefather Olaf, Gunnar was unlucky in his children, siring only daughters; one was named Jorunn, another, Rannveig. So when Queen Helena died in childbirth, King Gunnar did not grieve long, and soon began seeking another wife to bear him sons. So when he heard that Sudislav, King of the Rus, had a daughter much renowned for her beauty, he sent emissaries to see if rumour spoke true, and seek her hand if it was so. And thus Verkhoslava the daughter of Sudislav became Queen in Denmark. She was a fertile woman, and bore the King four sons in swift succession, and they were named Ulv, Bård, Eirik, and Tore. But all except Eirik died in infancy of the whooping cough; at this Gunnar and Verkhoslava were much grieved, and there was little joy at the court in those years.
32. EXILE OF EILIF (1167)
Now Eilif, the King’s uncle, had for many years heard voices impelling him to crusade against the pagans; but as he commanded no troops, these schemes came to nothing, and few at court listened to him anymore. But now the voices began to tell him instead to rebuild the Tower of Babylon; and that Bishop Ulvig could nowise abide. So he brought a petition to King Gunnar to have Eilif tried as a heretic; but Gunnar did not wish to sentence a man of Yngling blood, and instead sent Eilif as ambassador to Iceland, which was in those days under the King of Norway. With this compromise all were pleased, except Eilif’s son Åle. But Gunnar promised to find him a wife of high rank, and to give him land in Rugen; and with this Åle was satisfied.
(OOC : Ack, madmen who become heretics. He’d been hanging about the court as 0-0-0-0 schizo forever. His son was useful, though, I married him into a line of inheritance to a Duchy. Unfortunately he got hammered by the Germans in the upcoming war, and God only knows where he ended up. Of course, with all the badboy I accumulated from grabbing German vassals, he would no doubt have rebelled against me at some point anyway.)
33. WAR WITH GERMANY (1168 )
Now Bernhard von Calw had passed away, and in his place had been elected Johann von Thuringen, a nobleman of Nassau. This Johann was a skilled warrior and leader of men, and soon after his accession his eyes turned to the lands Denmark had taken on the Baltic coast, and the rich cities of Mecklemburg and Lubeck. Therefore he demanded that Gunnar give him those cities, and when the King refused to give up the lands his father had won, mustered his host and marched against Denmark.
Now Denmark in those years could not stand alone against Germany, but happily for the realm, stout allies were close to hand. Philip of England sent twenty thousand men, and gold; Aubry of Flanders sent gold and ships, and Alexandre de Hauteville, King of Naples, marched on the Emperor’s southern possessions in hopes of gaining land there while Johann was distracted to the north. Hence, although Lubeck and Mecklemburg fell swiftly to the German hordes, The Danes were able to keep their foes south of the Sound, and when Johann marched south to deal with Naples and Bavaria, the Danish armies mustered again and retook their cities and many more besides. Like a bear bedeviled on all sides by dogs, the Germans could defeat any one of their foes, but the manifold bites weakened them until the pack could bring them down. Thus Denmark gained more lands on the Elbe :
Meanwhile, the treacherous Svear had been busy raiding Danish lands while the army was away in Germany; at last, in exasperation, Gunnar was forced to accede to their demands of were-gild for their old King, Inge, whom they said had died of the grief that Norwegian blades had inflicted on his kingdom. As Inge had started the war, Gunnar was not greatly in sympathy with the Svears’ claim, but to protect his people he had no choice but to yield. But it is said that when the Swedish emissaries were gone, he muttered under his breath “Take then our wealth, and much joy may it bring you. Soon you’ll see how much steel you have bought with that gold.”