Great Game XXXIII: Family Intrigues

As we neared the end of the CK period, things quietened down. We were all getting a bit tired of the CK mechanics and wanted to get on to the next game, and wars tend to be slow, so nobody wanted to rock the boat. I occupied myself with internal politics.



We have told how the Yngling clan had come to rule much of the north-lands, through war, marriage, and luck; and always the kings of Norway had been of that blood, and encouraged the gain of the ætt, as their best support. But in the time of King Håkon some of the Ynglings felt that this old custom was not to their advantage. For they held that an Yngling who had been given land held it of God-given right, and not on the sufferance of the head of the clan; and therefore they wanted the kings of Norway to govern in accordance with the southland custom, that a man should always inherit his father’s land, instead of the King assigning his lendmenn as he saw fit.

(OOC : This is my interpretation of the constant requests for ‘Feudal Contract’, as opposed to my old ‘Traditional Custom’ that I’ve had all through the game. Håkon’s reign saw five of the cursed things.)

Boy King
Not the best king Norway’s had, by any means, but not bad at all.

King Håkon had always denied these requests, saying “Our fathers gained rule through all the East-sea under the old law; why should we change what has always served us well?” But on his death there were many Ynglings who said they would not vote for a man who held to the old law. And as the election was closely contested, for there were many strong men who had fought well in Poland and had good claims, soon every candidate promised to change the law upon his election. In the end, the Ting elected Erling Yngling king of Norway; and as he had promised, he changed the law so that all men should be guaranteed their father’s possessions.

(OOC : Well, I got two more of that cursed event, two months into the reign… There’s a limit to how much badboy I can handle, and I could see I was going to be getting the damn thing every few months until I gave in. Too many direct vassals, alas. And with a lad sitting rather shakily on the throne, well.)

85. DEATH OF SKOFTE (1390)

It has been told how Skofte Yngling, who had gained King Håkon the walls of Krakow, was given wide lands to rule in Silesia. Now Mieszko Piast, who held the kingly power in Poland after the death from heart-break of Sieciech, said with his courtiers, “Here we have a man swearing allegiance to the Norse king, and sitting in our ancestral halls. Surely my namesakes turn in their graves over this insult to our honour.” Hearing this, a band of young Piast ættlings and their friends took to horse, and rode apace to Silesia where Skofte ruled. There they ambushed him as he was at his riding lessons. In this wise Krakow was avenged.

Now on hearing this King Erling sent to the Piast, protesting the death of his kinsman. But Mieszko said that he had had no part in the quarrel of Skofte with the young Piasts who had killed him, and offered to pay were-gild for his death. And as Skofte had been ill-liked in Norway – for he was much given to boasting how he had brought the death of Krakow, and that was a deed few Norwegians remembered gladly – and also his lands had gone to his Yngling uncle, who swore allegiance to the king of Spain, and not to Poland; and also because Erling held that Mieszko had a right to rule in his own back yard, the weregild was accepted.

(Well, another war right then would be a little inconvenient. Anyway, that is rather plainly Sterk’s sphere of interest, and we agreed on some border adjustments elsewhere, as compensation.)

Europe 1393
Europe in 1393. Note the three yellow counties over the Oder; held by some Yngling Duke in Spain, thanks to Sterk’s treacherous and evil little assassins.


Now the kingdom of Bohemia had after many struggles been restored to its ancient lands; but still there were some who were dissatisfied. Vok von Nordheim hight a man, who wished to be king of Bohemia; thus he raised his standard in rebellion. But the dukes of that land did not follow him, and soon the armies of Bohemia were on his doorstep; then in desperation he turned to King Erling, begging for his life. King Erling agreed, on condition that Vok should become his vassal, and think no further of the throne of Bohemia; then he marched the men of Brandenburg south, and swiftly dispersed the Bohemian armies; in this way peace was restored. But the king of Flanders took displeased note of this, for he held that Norway, as much as Poland, should leave Bohemia alone; of this there will be more to tell later.

Vok Nordheim
Not very bright, these AI counts. On the other hand, another vassal is always a good thing, even if it did come fairly close to war with England and Burgundy. On the gripping hand, just how did this guy become Papal Controller? I do think something is seriously out of whack with that algorithm, it appears to be selecting almost at random. As an experiment I tried loading up the save in SP and killing the guy off; it went to a random count in Hungary with 23 piety. When I killed that one, it goes back to the count of Usti nad Labem, a 12-year-old with a big fat zero for piety! Seriously weird, really.


Now it happened that as Erling was coming of an age to marry, many of the most powerful lords in Norway and the outlands brought their daughters to his court, hoping to catch his eye. In this way the young King had much sport; but as he did not marry any of the young women, finding some fatal flaw in each (OOC : Low stewardship, low intrigue, low martial…) he left many broken hearts in his wake.

There was a woman called Deaghaidh, and she was the daughter of an Irish lordling; for a while King Erling believed that he might marry her, for she was very comely and also clever; but at last he found that her laughter was somewhat too loud and horse-like for his tastes, and he threw her over. Now Deaghaidh had the red hair and fiery temper of the true Irish, and when Erling told her that he would not be marrying her, she flew into a fine rage, and threw pots and pans at the young King, which he laughingly warded off with his hands; for he had the speed of a fine warrior. But at this Deaghaidh’s rage grew cold and bitter; that evening as the King slept, she came to his chambers. There she said to the guard that she wished to try one more time to change the King’s mind; and as she was well-liked at court for her merry temper and kind words, the guard let her in. Then she killed Erling with her dagger, and then herself.

Because he never married, people called Erling the Boy King. Some say that in death the two lovers were reconciled, and that this love brought Deaghaidh a place in Heaven; others say that Erling regretted the evil that he had done her, and for his sake Hell was cheated of its victim. But the Church is inflexible in its doom, and Deaghaidh was not buried with the king, but outside the graveyard, in an unconsecrated space.

Here ends the saga of Erling Eysteinsson Yngling.

(Damn these assassination events you get under Feudal… That guy was going to be my king for the conversion, curse it!)


After the death of Erling, Inge duke of Karelen was elected King. He had in his youth been consecrated a priest; but because he impressed King Håkon with his skill at hnefatafl, he was given a lend in Finland, and left the church. He had tended his lendship well, and been given a Jarldom; he was known far and wide for his wisdom and piety, and for this reason the Ynglings elected him; and also because they wanted an elder man to hold the kingdom together after Erling’s youth had nearly brought war with England.

Priest King
My short-lived king.

Of Inge’s kingship there is little to say; he was a peace-loving man, who began no great wars, nor did he chase after women, preferring to cleave to his wife. But God gathers such men soon to his bosom; Sigurd Yngling, who had got the third largest number of votes in the election, soon picked a quarrel with his king, and they fought; and in this fight Sigurd was victorious. But the Ynglings held this a nithing deed, and when next Sigurd stood to be elected King of Norway, even his son placed his vote elsewhere.

Here ends the saga of Inge Vigleiksson Yngling, whom men called the Priest-King.

(Damn those assassination events! And damn this Feudal Contract law!)

Sigurd Yngling
Ladies and gentlemen, for your amazement and awe : A traitorous Yngling who thought he could get the throne by assassination! (Well, not really, I’m just picking him out for a scapegoat.)


Now Folke Yngling was elected King; he was a stout and handsome fellow, skilled with a sword, but also very clever with words and watchful for danger; it is said that he never drank more than seven cups of mead at a feast, lest he become drunk and careless. Still there were some who were not satisfied; Harald count of Weimar raised his banner in revolt, but as none followed him he was soon in despair. Then he sent to Robert de Flandre, asking to become his vassal, and Robert agreed; but when King Folke nonetheless marched his armies upon Weimar, Robert went back on his sworn word, and sent no men to succour his vassal. Still there were many who felt that Folke had taken a great risk, for Flanders was a powerful kingdom.

Another year, another king. I have no strong feelings about this one, one way or the other. Competent without being dazzling.

Weimar Count
The traitorous scum who thought he could escape my wrath by becoming RP’s vassal.


Now it happened that Guillaume de Flandre, who held Osnabruck of Robert, was dis-satisfied with the scot Robert demanded; therefore he rebelled, in the hope that others would join him. But it went with him as with Berenguie and Vok before him : None else felt his grievance sharply enough to rebel, and he was soon compelled to seek protection elsewhere. This King Folke gladly gave. But when Robert heard of this, he merely snorted, and said, “He would not respect Our protection of Weimar; yet now he desires that We shall not make war on Osnabruck, for his sake? Truly, the mind of an Yngling is not easy to fathom.” And he continued his march as before. But then Folke hit on a new device : He stripped Guillaume of his lands, and took Osnabruck to be a crown-land of Norway; thus Robert could not lawfully seize it, for he was at peace with its owner.

Osnabruck Count
The splendid young man whose excellent plan of escaping RP’s wrath by becoming my vassal was only spoiled by RP’s greed.

But at this Robert grew enraged beyond measure, and shouted : “Now it is enough! These Ynglings have pushed us too far; we shall teach them a sharp lesson in courtesy!” And he mustered his armies for war and marched on the Weser-land. Then Folke sent out the war-arrow also, and for a while it seemed that it would come to heavy blows between the two kingdoms; and in that struggle Norway might have had somewhat the worse of it, for Flanders is a rich and mighty land, more powerful even than Poland, which Håkon had had such a struggle to subdue.

Not to mention that wonderful, glorious king of his. Ye gods, the guy is as good as Olaf Halkjellson, and he isn’t even a bastard!

But now as the first armies of each king met before Bremen, king Folke sent to Robert, that he wished to speak of peace before a river of blood was shed; and as Folke had somewhat more men on that field, and also Robert was a peace-loving man, he agreed. And as neither king wished to see men die in their thousands and tens of thousands, they agreed that there would be peace between their two kingdoms, if Robert gave back the city of Hamburg, and Folke returned Osnabruck to Robert. In this wise war was averted; and both kings gained a great name among their people, for saving those thousands who would have died in a war between the kingdoms.


Europe on the brink of the fifteenth century. Some minor border adjustments on the Weser, a few inheritances in Polish Russia, Hungary grabbing up a few disloyal vassals from Poland (who was AI this session), but nothing really major. Really, as threats to dominate the continent go, Poland is beginning to disappoint. Burgundy and Hungary are looking like much better bets.


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