Events of the third session:
- Hornet’s Nest: In search of moral authority, money, and priests to sacrifice to Odin, I raided into Vaniver’s lands. Apparently this reduced his utility function below a satisficing threshold, for he raised a really immense amount of men for such a small incursion; really, I think it might have been cheaper just to let me loot the place. I retreated my raiders into Sweden, and Vaniver besieged Holstein for a month, until he realised that he was only hostile with my army, not my provinces – and also he was taking 20% attrition.
- Years of Wolf and Raven: Like me in earlier campaigns, Clonefusion has found that it’s one thing to conquer Scandinavia, and quite another to keep the fractious Norse united. We had two savage civil wars ripping through the peninsula, in addition to the wars of conquest all across the Baltic; the wolves and ravens have no cause to complain.
- Conquest of Pommerania: With much levying of tribal armies, I was finally able to bring Pommerania to heel.
- Schrödinger’s Courage: King Arni, leading his army in battles against Pommeranians, Saxons, Norsemen, Poles, and Bavarians, had much opportunity to meditate on what happens to a human body when sharp metal is stuck through it; twice, in the heat of battle, he found his courage fading and gained the Craven trait. But, through focus on war and prayers to Odin, he also lost the trait twice, and was again leading the army in the epic Relief of Holstein and the ensuing Baltic March.
- Gå Fjæra Hjem: There is a joke, which is in Norwegian and relies on cultural knowledge; it is probably not very funny to people who didn’t grow up in Norway in the second half of the twentieth century. In truth, even I, born a generation and a half later than its originator, and in a different area of the country, don’t find it that amusing. But although I don’t expect anyone to laugh, it may give some freshness to my tired old slogan about jokes and winter in Norway; so I’m translating it anyway as context. The story goes that, during the war (incidentally, even after two generations and much fighting, there is still exactly one “the war” in Norway, and I think in most of Europe as well), some men are sitting in a boat-hut in northern Norway, sharing a bottle and cursing the occupying Germans, as one does. Buoyed by liquid courage and camaraderie, each one details the vengeance they’ll take when the war is over, each one more dreadful than the last. At last the word comes around to Fridtjof, who has been quiet, and his friends egg him on to see what awful fate he can come up with to top Vegard’s blood eagle. Fridtjof moves his chaw around in his mouth, spits thoughtfully, and slowly drawls, “Waal, ah don’t care so all-fired mich about it. But ah do think, when the war is over, Jerry should kindly hafta walk the beach home”.From this we can infer, presumably, that it’s no joke to walk a Norwegian beach, filled as it is with treacherous sinkholes, flotsam, jetsam, laggan, and derelict, hardy little thornbush scrubs that clutch at your ankles and tear up your shins, and vicious seabirds that will defend their nests to the death. And, of course, the fiords make the trip vastly longer than it would be if you could just take a damn boat. In actual fact, the Wehrmacht garrison went home by train and then took ship across the Kattegat. In this respect they were luckier than my army. After my glorious victory in the Relief of Holstein, where each side mustered more than five thousand men, the shattered remnants of the army of the false “Kingdom of Saxony” retreated north across the Sound, with my tribal levies in hot pursuit. Unfortunately I had overestimated the stopping power of the defenses in the core of my overlord’s kingdom – Clone was, at this time, engaged in some fairly serious fighting against the wild Finns and against his own rebellious vassals – and the Saxons walked right through, crossed the Baltic at Åland, and got home to their Estonian capital unharmed. My own army was, of course, still in hot pursuit, and by now considerably bigger; so the Saxons, not particularly wanting to fight, marched south – towards Holstein. And that’s how my tribal levies came to complete a walking tour of the Baltic beaches.
Player map, 849. Note James and Hadogei both moved to Anatolia, and Hoonter quit from Catalonia, leaving a much less colourful western Europe; Vaniver and Dragoon have both released kingdoms in accordance with our realm-size limit, so that in terms of dynasties the coverage is more complete than it looks. Note also Clonefusion not in control of Norway, whose fractious lords are on their third revolt of the session.