And Rumours of War: Occupation and Diaspora

One of the problems of writing this sort of fiction is what TvTropes refers to as Separation of Gameplay and Story. Within the story, the Ynglings are dreadful warriors, armed with foreknowledge and advanced technology; they ought to sweep all before them. (Indeed, at one point someone asked rather pointedly why they didn’t carry a few miniaturised nukes each, to destroy cities and break the hearts of enemies. There is of course some difficulty with delivery systems, but still. I had to resort to handwaved limitations of the Quantum Device on carrying radioactives.) In the game, however, I’m just another player, and not the most skilled one around, at that. (And a starting position in barren Norway does me no favours in CK.) So I’m constantly having to explain how these uptime-guided people have managed to get defeated yet again. Still, it makes for more interesting writing than the average tech-insert fanfic – the resistance that makes for conflict is, as it were, organic rather than artificially inserted.

The Yngling intervention has failed.

The men of Dovre are discredited, their advice no longer sought at the highest levels of government. Worse, their loss of influence has led to an emphasis on trade at the expense of defense, and the Ynglinga Hird has been permitted to decay. The resulting weakness has culminated in the German alliance sweeping unstoppably across the Kattegat. King and Ting have fled pell-mell to England, and now govern from the anciently Norse city of York. In the disorder of a losing war, none thought to send a mission to Dovre to fetch the 1466 transfer – and now Dovre lies in enemy territory, groaning under the German yoke.

Life, nevertheless, goes on. The disaster of the Occupation was a generation ago, and the young men rising to power in York do not necessarily look to the barren mountains of Norway for their territorial ambitions; nor do they refer to themselves as a government in exile. There is a pesky French presence in the south of England, Wales and the city-state of London clinging to a precarious independence, and across the sea an entire continent to subdue. Some even whisper that the Germans did them a favour in freeing Norway – such is still the formal title of the realm – from the mountains and the forests.

The old guard resist this, clinging to the title deeds of their lost estates and farms, fishing and forestry rights now given to German occupiers. But the shift is inevitable; wealth now comes from the wool trade and overseas plantations, and with wealth comes power. The younger generation speak of transatlantic dominion, not rule of the narrow Baltic; fighting Italy for the Mississippi, not Germany for Mjøsa. Even in occupied Norway men begin to look across the sea, not for deliverance, but for land. A great Diaspora has begun, and the virgin forests of the Americas are being cleared by Norwegian axes.

And what of the uptimers? Henrik Taraldsson, the last Dovreman to give advice to the government, died at the age of 73 in 1491, at York. But his predecessor Einar was not evacuated with the rest of the administration, having faked his own death before the war and disappeared into the mountains. There he built a temple at Dovre, which still stands. Within its walls people are cured… if they are found worthy. The religion taught there is a mish-mash, superficially Christian to satisfy the orthodoxy of the German rulers, but with both Odin and Thor venerated as saints. The people of the valley are not subtle theologians. They are happy with a priesthood that makes no objection to their little wooden idols that watch over hearth and field in exchange for some beer now and then. And the gods of the Dovre Church demand no incomprehensible turning of the other cheek or giving of all one’s worldly goods; rather they teach that each must bear his own burden, and that skill and strength are the measure of a man.

The intervention has failed; the dream of building the Yngling Realm from the top, by advice to kings and nobles, is dead. At Dovre, the agents strive to reforge an Yngling race from the bottom up, through centuries of eugenics. Their success cannot yet be forecast; time is the enemy that all plans eventually meet, and entropy is master of us all. But the end is not yet.

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