During the stress of the war, I had not been paying attention to my succession, and a random Duke was briefly the most powerful vassal in my kingdom. Under Elective law, this meant that he inherited when my king died in battle – very unfortunate! A non-Yngling on the throne! I quickly maneuvered to make an Yngling Duke his successor, but there was nothing I could do to hasten his demise – we had a rule against assassinating your own king.
December 2nd, 1245
Geirvirke farm, Viken
“I say enough’s enough. Bump him off and let one of the Family take the throne again.”
“And I say it isn’t time yet. Give it a year, maybe two.”
“You’ve been saying that for the last five years!”
Bjarte snarled. “Because I keep expecting the damn Scots to show more brains than their sheep have, and I keep being disappointed!”
“Yes, yes. When the rebellions end, you say. On the evidence, that will be right after the Second Coming. I’ve had it with having to bow and scrape to a jumped-up jarl from the Orkneys. A jumped-up jarl who’s had a drop of the yellow every month for ten years, at that; it’s a wonder he can wipe his own ass. It’d be a mercy, really. Two drops of the purple, and we can elect one of our own.”
“Look. Folke got elected because he promised he’d deliver peace, and we’ve had to smash two rebellions because those little yellow drops caused him to break his word. Then there’s the trouble in Scotland that keeps sucking up our young men; and now this with Bohemia. People are saying that it was never this bad with the Ynglings in charge. They’re forgetting just who started the war with Scotland. Let’s grind it in. If they want to elect a jumped-up jarl, let them remember the consequences. Another few years of a king who scratches his bum in public is just what we need to ensure no stril can be elected for a century.”
“Right, you’ve been saying that for years. I don’t disagree. I’m just saying I think we’ve already got the effect we want, so now we can think about putting in a real King and showing people what dynasty can clear up the mess Folke made.”
There was a pause, while Bjarte measured the wave of nods going through the assembled Ynglings. He was losing the majority; he would have to bring out his real reason, and hope he convinced them.
“Well – perhaps you’re right. But there’s another matter to consider.”
Bjarte leaned forward, speaking with passionate intensity. “There is this: Folke is not an enemy. He is one of our own, a Norseman. Not an Yngling, but not a dog, either. We have made him our puppet to fight this war, and now he drools over dinner and can’t lift his sword anymore; Folke of Sudrey, who once won the Winter Games! We’ve broken him to our yoke for our cause – a brave man whose only crime was to grow tired of the war we wanted, that killed his eldest son – and now we’ve wrung the last drop of usefulness from him, and you want to fling him aside. I say this is wrong. We have done him great harm, this man who only wanted peace for our people. Done is done, and eaten is eaten; we cannot repair the harm we’ve done. But we can cease making our puppet dance to a tune he hates, and we can let him live out his final years in peace. We are Ynglings; it is our destiny to lead the Norse. But we can choose to lead them as sheepdogs guard sheep, saving them for fleecing and slaughtering; or as men lead other free men, by example and skill. We’ve slipped a little way down the slope with the way we’ve treated Folke. Let us now climb back up, and act better in the future. Are we leaders of free men, or alphas in a pack of jackals? Choose now, and act accordingly.”
The vote was narrow, but Folke’s life was spared.
As much for my own convenience as anything else, here is a list of the uptime Ynglings who have appeared at Dovre thus far.
- 1066 Geir Jonsson
- 1091 Anja Sigridsdatter (replacing Henrik Haraldsson)
- 1116 Eyvind Dagfinson
- 1141 Aslak Finnson
- 1166 Karl Johanson
- 1191 Varg Veumson
- 1216 Harald Håkonson
- 1241 Jon Jonsson
The last three have not appeared in any segments, as I’ve been dealing with Sigurd and his doings, and now Sigurd’s son Bjarte. But you may take it that they are around in the background, leading and training armies, and supplying little yellow drops for convincing recalcitrant Kings.
To give you some idea of how bad this war has been for me, some comparative history. Here’s the Yngling who started the war:
Note the stability, the strong chin, the good education. You can’t see it in the screenie, but at this time Akershus, Småland, and Östergotland are Rich and Viken and Vestfold are Prosperous. Now for the ‘after’ version:
See the worried look in his eyes? That’s caused by the bad stability and Realm Duress. Then, the little yellow drops do have some side effects, hence stress, illness, and worms. The wound he picked up all by himself, leading a regiment against the Scots. And, of course, there’s a bunch of other bad traits. Never mind the ethics of the matter, the purple flask is looking better all the time. Akershus and Vestfold have dropped to Normal, Viken and Västergotland are Poor, Bergen, Vestfold, and Östergotland have rebels. There are also rebels all over my newly acquired demesne in England. And, of course, the counts there rebel like clockwork; the Scottish ones I’m signing over to Ike have each rebelled at least four times in the eight years I’ve had them. It’s going to be a relief to have an Yngling king again.
Edit: Oh, the screenie is out of date. By 1245 he is schizophrenic along with all the rest. Uptime Norway doesn’t have FDA regulations, especially not for interrogation drugs. 😀