This seems to belong before what I posted last week, going into more detail about the restoration of the Republic which was a given in the previous post.
The geopolitical situation continues to deteriorate; my Agnatic Seniority succession law enabled Oddman and Fimconte to keep snapping up duchies without breaking truce, since I had a new character every five years or so. Thus I have lost Jutland, another bit of Ireland, my last remaining county in England, and Skåne. The last, however, may backfire; Khan had signed a treaty with oddman guaranteeing Scandinavia beyond the Sound as being in my sphere of interest. Skåne was seized by Fimconte, who had not signed any such treaty; but while the letter of the law is thus upheld, Khan may wish to enforce the spirit. In addition to these gradual losses, Yahmik (playing Finland) has apparently decided that I will inevitably lose this struggle – and I have to admit that I can understand this point of view – and briefly seized Uppland, after Fimconte had destroyed my retinue and levies, as the initial stroke of a campaign to get his share of the loot. However, with African support I was able to reconquer the duchy, getting Åland as a bonus – my first territorial gain for some time.
Turning from external to internal affairs, my Cunning Plan to restore the republic has met with qualified success. I created a republic with its capital in Bergen by giving the city there to a Dreki kinsman; I then made him a Duke, and slowly fed all my vassals into the republic. The plan, obviously, was to make the feudal structure of my empire into a broad-based pyramid with a very thin spire spire on top; the Emperor of Denmark and his two-county demesne would have as his sole direct vassal the Republic of Hordaland (later this became the Grand Republic of Ireland, when I’d transferred enough vassals for the AI to create the King title), and all of Scandinavia and Ireland would be vassals of the republic. Then I’d switch to playing the Dreki patricians, and voila – Republic restored!
The problem with this excellent plan was speed: I could not transfer my Duke-level vassals (even, for some reason, after the republic became the Grand Republic of Ireland); so I had to break up the power of the various jarls – which, naturally, they did not like. The Republic, of course, loved me to bits for transferring every Count in the realm to their rule, so there was no danger of a country-wide rebellion; still, I had some sharpish wars to reduce the powerful Dukes of Sjaelland and Skåne to a level where I could move them across, and Oddman of course took advantage of this to snip off pieces of the rebels as he could. Then, at some point my Dreki Doge died and his heir, naturally, lost the election; upon consideration this should not have stopped me, but in the heat of the session I was momentarily reluctant to transfer power to someone not of my dynasty. (Also, I was preoccupied with the wars against various rebels and against Suomi for Uppland.) I therefore did not transfer the Fylkirate, and delayed the breaking of the final couple of jarls. Then the Republic of Ireland sued for independence, and since I would clearly have lost the ensuing civil war – by then the Republic was about 70% of my land area, and my few remaining vassals hated me – I let them go. I will switch to the Dreki patrician, and hope that the next election comes fairly quickly; but the transfer of power was not as clean as I had intended.
Even if it had been, it is not clear that I could have done anything with it; the perfidious Frisians still rule from the Bay of Biscay to, now, the tip of Jutland, and there is no sign of an international coalition against them. Becoming a king-level republic, at least, opens up the tactical option of swearing fealty to a powerful player, and gaining some protection that way; but if nothing else, the Dreki will die with their principles intact, as a republic and not a dictatorship. It is true that we have not done well at resisting the Christmen and the Mohammedans; successively, Holy War has failed, alliance has failed, treaty has failed, and dictatorship has failed. If we go down, then, let us do so with our backs straight.