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Thread: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 Part 2 updated 20/08)

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    Default [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 Part 2 updated 20/08)

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    This is a campaign and AAR that I started seven years ago but never managed to post. I've recently reinstalled the mod and found old save games so now I want to share it with everyone. Denmark, M/M, don't remember active scripts. When you start a new campaign you can Y/N from about 6-8 scripts that impact the economy, recruitment, buildings, etc. It's slightly more focused on story so the timeline will be different than the actual turns in the game. Any other info you might need, ask and I'll give, provided I remember it. I will probably update during the weekend only but we'll see [as of Ch.12 I will update every two weeks]. Feel free to comment, praise, criticise, you know, the works.
    Chapters
    Prologue
    Chapter 1 - The Assembly
    Chapter 2 - The Meeting
    Chapter 3 - The Raid
    Chapter 4 - The Wedding
    Chapter 5 - The Girl
    Chapter 6 - The Fortress
    Chapter 7 - The March
    Chapter 8 - The Plunder
    Chapter 9 - The King's Death
    Intermezzo
    Chapter 10 - The Second Assembly
    Chapter 11 - The Lord
    Chapter 12 - The First
    Chapter 13 - The Run
    Chapter 14 - The Three Ladies
    Intermezzo II
    Chapter 15 - The Second
    Chapter 16 - The Third
    Chapter 17 - The Letters Part 1
    Chapter 17 - The Letters Part 2

    PROLOGUE

    The entire Kingdom of Denmark was in a frenzy and had been for the past several weeks. The king of Denmark, Valdemar, had decided it was high time to find suitable brides for his two sons, Heir Apparent Knud and Prince Magnus. Envoys were sent to all nearby courts and even to some distant ones and, lo and behold, it had happened. It was soon announced that Knud’s betrothed was none other than Princess Sophie, daughter of the mighty Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, a match many agreed was more advantageous to the Danes than to the Germans. Even so, preparations had started the moment the two Courts agreed. The wedding would be held in Arhus, officiated by Cardinal Harald, the king’s long life friend and advisor. Thus, the entire realm had started preparations and if one were to travel to Arhus, they would scarcely find an empty inn or a suitable room.

    The city’s markets saw activity like never before, with merchants from all corners of the kingdom, and beyond, who sensed a good opportunity for their wares. Fur trappers and fishermen from Skane had set up shop in the vicinity of the harbour, whereas the more refined foreign traders had established themselves closer to the palaces and noble residences. There were German traders form Saxony who even had salt in their wares and from Magdeburg, due to Harald’s good relationship with the Archbishop, those who could afford it could purchase fine wool. From Flanders, a people with a natural ability for profit, came traders peddling textiles and all manner of dyes, refined wares necessary to all the ladies for the upcoming wedding. The local populace also sensed it was a time of change, maybe for the better, as they too could be found selling everything from the abundant amber to vegetables and poultry, as well as all kinds of smoked meats.

    The Danish nobles were also busy, organising hunting parties and banquets to impress the foreign dignitaries, especially the Germans, some of which still believed this marriage was too good for the Danish House of Hen, even though Knud had not been asked his opinion on the marriage.
    The two Princes were busier than ever before, though this was nothing new for Knud, as he had been the one to administrate the Royal Lands for a long time. For Prince Magnus, however, things were different. He had finished his military education and, being the second son, younger, and the land at peace, he had little to do. Upon hearing that he too was to be married, Magnus had been more upset than his brother, though he did enjoy the thought that nothing had been established yet. The King had sent envoys to the Flemish and Pomeranian courts, as well as the distant Russian lands, to try and find a wife for Magnus. Still, no decision had been made and thus it was decided that invitations should be sent to the Princesses and Noble Daughters of these lands to attend Knud’s wedding. It would be then and there that a decision would be made, once they would meet the wonderful ladies.

    This wedding, however, had already caused a rupture at the Danish court. Several nobles had been against the betrothal, as advantageous as it was, and none was more vocal than Lord Erik Rosen, who thought that a Danish woman was more suited for the Danish throne, and not a foreigner. Of course, the Danish woman he had in mind was none other than his daughter, Lady Cecilia. As a consequence, Lord Erik and a number of lesser nobles, vassals of his, had left the capital, retreating to their southern possessions. The fact that the future Queen would have to pass through their lands on her way to Arhus, or that Lord Erik was King Valdemar’s closest friend, would not make things easier.
    Truth be told, Valdemar owed everything to Lord Erik, including his life. This is a story every noble in Denmark knows, either told by the King, Harald or Lord Erik himself. Indeed, due to this unspoken debt, some of the nobles were inclined to take Lord Erik’s side against the King regarding the Heir’s wedding, though only a handful did so openly.

    Almost four decades ago, King Eric III decided to renounce the throne, without paying heed to the consequences. “The line is strong”, he was often heard saying, though exactly this strength was the problem. King Valdemar was barely an adult then, with no ambition or even thought to the Danish throne. Civil war soon started though, as two others vied for the now vacant throne.

    The line was indeed strong, as one of the contenders was Sweyn, Valdemar’s cousin and the second one was Knud Magnussen, their second cousin. Knud was the son of Magnus the Strong, who had claimed the life of Valdemar’s father just days before the current king’s birth. At that time and since, Valdemar’s closest friends were Harald and Erik Rosen, as the three had grown up together at the estates of Harald’s father, Aser Rig, in Zealand.

    Knud Magnussen had supporters in Jutland, whereas Sweyn was supported by the nobility in Zealand and Skane, as well as by his cousin Valdemar, who had holdings in Schleswig. After initial conflicts and a lost battle by Knud Magnussen, a short period of calm followed when the three cousins decided to share power and divide the lands between them. Thus, in 1157, Sweyn organised a feast to celebrate their newly forged alliance and invited his cousins and other nobles to Roskilde.

    While preparing, Erik Rosen kept arguing against Valdemar’s departure, saying that it was a trap, and an obvious one at that, but both Valdemar and Harald persuaded him he was wrong. He hadn’t been, however, as the feast would soon be known as the Bloodfeast of Roskilde. Sweyn had planned to get rid of his contender, Knud Magnussen, but also of his closest supporter, Valdemar, as well as Harald. It was there that Erik proved his mettle, guarding and fighting to clear a path as Harald escorted a wounded Valdemar outside the city. It was there that the link between the three men had been re-forged and it was together that they fought, side by side, for many years. Knud Magnussen was killed that night in Roskilde, but later in the same year, fate would have Valdemar, Harald and Erik face Sweyn once more.

    In the north of Jutland the two armies faced each other. It hadn’t been difficult for Valdemar to gain supporters, as word of Sweyn’s treachery reached every corner of Denmark. In the end, when the battle was won and Sweyn lay among the dead, Valdemar turned to Harald and Erik and, in Harald’s own words, “told us the road had only started, as it was time to finally bring peace upon the realm”.

    The civil war had lasted the better part of ten years, though the peace that came after it now entered its third decade...when the announcement of the Heir’s betrothal to the German princess managed to divide the three friends.
    Last edited by Darkan; August 19, 2018 at 11:05 PM. Reason: added Chapters
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2] Danish House of Hen

    Chapter 1 – The Assembly

    I was having breakfast with Torben, one of my best friends, the son of Lord Ulrich Tornekrans, who had died in a hunting accident a few years prior. Our meal was not what you would call princely, even though the people at the harbour inn knew who we were. We had business in the harbour barracks, which for Torben was reason enough to not want to sleep at the palace; I am sure that if he could, he would rather sleep in the saddle or under the sky, though I never really understood why. He had been like this since I first met him, years ago.
    It was still early, before the sun, and as I was pouring us the day’s first cups of wine, the innkeeper brought us our food. I was still battling last night’s wine and I started to eat as soon as the plate was before me. It took me a good couple of minutes to notice that Torben was hardly touching his food. Usually in a good disposition, his silence told me more than words could have. He wasn’t even looking at me, as if avoiding my gaze.

    - Spit it out, I said, leaving the food aside. What is it?
    - It is bad business and I don’t understand why you’re not worried, he replied.
    - Which business are you referring to? Don’t tell me you’re against the wedding as well.
    - You know I’m not, he said, suddenly looking at me.

    His eyes were red and beads of sweat were coming down his temples, though it wasn’t hot, not even warm. His shirt was dirty and I noticed his hands were as well, as much as he was trying to hide it.

    - What happened? You didn’t sleep, did you? I asked him, knowing the answer beforehand.
    - I didn’t, not enough anyway. I’ve had word from the south. It’s true you know, there are rebel bands over there, though God knows what they want. It’s bad business.
    - Yes, you said, I replied, signalling the innkeeper for more wine. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss everything at the Assembly, the King will know what to do.
    - Will he? Torben asked. His bloodshot eyes looked away for a second.
    - What do you mean? You know you can tell me.
    - I don’t know, Magnus, but this thing between the King and the Rosen House is not good. What if the rumours are true? What if Erik has indeed gathered troops?
    - It can’t be true Torben, come on. My father and Erik have been friends since they were children.
    - Exactly, and that’s why this is bad. I know a few guys who went south with the envoys and they told me last night that Erik was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t at his estate in Schleswig. I’m telling you, he’s not coming here.
    - He has to, I said, it’s a summons. There’s to be an Assembly today and everyone will be there. EVERYONE, Torben.

    He said nothing else and I didn’t continue the conversation. I knew why he was worried. It had been cause for concern but I believed everything would be discussed and resolved at the Assembly. In the end, that’s exactly why my father had called for one, to make sure there is no dissent and ill will within the realm...not before the wedding.
    We finished eating in silence and downed a few more cups of wine. We would, of course, go to the Assembly, but we had some business in the harbour before. New troops had been ferried from Lund, to provide security, and we were to wait for Jon of Halmstath, the Admiral of the Royal Fleet.
    ***

    We reached the Palace with the first rays of sunshine. Torben, Jon and I went from the stables directly to the Assembly Hall, and we were surprised to see it was almost full. Just with a quick glance I could see that indeed everyone would arrive, as people were still outside in the courtyard and in the back gardens.

    - We’ll talk after, I told Torben and Jon, and took my leave, going towards my seat in the Royal section.

    The room was not the biggest one I had seen, though it still impressed me, and I vividly remember the first time I stepped inside, as a boy. The walls were adorned with large tapestries, hanging just below the windows, and between them hanged the heraldry of the largest noble houses in Denmark, as well as the Danish Lions. Wooden carvings adorned the assembly benches, dragons’ heads and Viking long ships, a remnant of our glorious past, as well as newer, Christian symbols.

    There were two entrances to the room, both on the wall opposite the Royal section, a design I imagined had the role of the king watching those that arrived late, or that left early. I was sitting alone in the royal section, as neither my father nor Knud had yet arrived. To the left was the Church section and I could see Harald’s representatives, Eskil of Brøns and Asbjørn Nielssen, though Harald was absent as well. No doubt he was with my father and would arrive together.

    Still not everyone was seated in their sections and many were still standing, going in and out. The mass of people shifted slightly and as I looked over, I noticed my brother Knud. He was walking slowly, stopping to greet every man and share a few words. He saw me, nodded, and went back to addressing those around him. I hadn’t seen my brother in a few days and even though I had nothing against him, I also understood why our father sometimes liked to mock him. He didn’t look like the Heir at all; he was more like one of those clerks or scribes who is always carrying some parchments with him. I couldn’t understand where his patience came from, as I knew it wasn’t from my father. It’s as if he wasn’t Danish.

    - Welcome, brother, I greeted him, after giving those that had followed him a few stern looks; they backed away. How can you talk to all these people?
    - Hello Magnus, he replied. I have to talk to them. In a way, I enjoy talking to them, though this is more my job than father’s now.
    - Yes, I know, though I have to say, you are doing a good job.
    - Better than you expected? he asked, smiling.
    - No, not than expected. Better than father, but don’t tell him I said so.

    People were starting to head to their own sections, which meant the King would soon arrive. It was something my father had wished: when he arrived, he wanted most to be in their sections, that way he could see at a glance who was there, or who wasn’t. Normally, it was the Council of Nobles he dealt with on a more regular basis, while in the Assembly everyone was in attendance. The Council positions were basically a smaller version of the Assembly, with the most important nobles from each region holding a seat, and two from Jutland.

    - Do you know everybody here, brother, I asked Knud. I only recognise a few.
    - That I do, he replied. I have to know them, though some I wish I hadn’t.

    I then asked him about those present. The left side wall had the Skane, Halland and Blekyng sections. The Skane section was full, everyone had arrived. I only recognised Lord Finn Skovsgard, the largest landowner in Skane and Baron Hemming Thorup, while the other nobles, Knud assured me, were members of smaller houses or impoverished ones. My father had given them untamed lands in Skane, as they had rallied to his side during the civil war. In the Halland section I could see Admiral Jon, also a Council Member, talking to a bear of a man, Hakon of Skara. He wasn’t the richest of nobles but he was the fiercest indeed. There was a story about how he had killed a boar with his bare hands, after it had unhorsed him on a hunt. The Blekyng section was full of wild looking men, even in their best clothes, and all were surrounding Ansgar Bundgaard, the oldest Danish noble. Old as he was, he was beloved by his people and the other Blekyng nobles, and they all looked to him for guidance. He had lived so far away that people said Lord Bundgaard was half Swedish, but he now spent most of his time in Arhus.

    On the right side wall were the three sections for the islands. Count Eskild of Gjorslev I knew well, as I had seen him at the Council meetings many times. Knud told me that the other two important nobles from Zealand were Lord Halvdan of Elmelunde and Baron Hans of Pederborg. Knud told me that Baron Hans was one of the wealthiest men in Zealand and that most of it came from trade, as he protected many a merchant who traded with Pomerania, the Teutonic Order and even had representatives as far as the Russian lands beyond Novgorod.

    In the Fyn section sat my friend Torben, who had inherited his Council position from his father, but had earned it many times over. He was the youngest member of the Council, though not the lowest. He was spiritedly conversing with Baron Tage Gustafsen, another example of nobleman looking towards trade as a means of acquiring wealth. The nobles of Lolland had also come in full, but for them it was more a matter of supporting their High Chieftain, Lord Mikkel Gedde, with every chance they got. Although a Council member as well, Lord Mikkel was more of a king in Lolland than my father. His cousin, however, Baron Uffe Tuesen, was the one who had the gift of diplomacy, and was the one who spoke when needed to. In a way, Lord Mikkel was the iron fist where Baron Uffe was the voice of reason.

    To the right of the Royal section was the place where Jutland nobles sat. Being one of the largest regions in Denmark, Jutland had two nobles in the Council, Lord Otto Falk and Lord Erik Rosen. One was present, the other was not. I had been sure Lord Erik would be present, and when mentioning my conversation with Torben, he agreed with me, but eased my mind by saying that Erik had no doubt seen the king and they would arrive together. The King, Lord Erik and Harald, the three lions of Denmark was the way Knud and I had seen these three men. The other Jutland nobles that were in the hall were Lord Glum Ingvarsen, whose domain lay west of Arhus, Lords Birger of Smollerup and Ulf of Stubbergard, who you could never know whether they were the best of friends or the bitterest of rivals and Baron Karl of Arhus, who usually helped Knud administrate the daily affairs of the capital.

    Although the Jutland sections was full, I realised Lord Erik Rosen wasn’t the only one absent. His nephew was also missing, Asmund Edmundsen, as well as other nobles from the south. Even with Knud’s assurances, I felt something was wrong. I looked over to where Torben was sitting and, as if reading my mind, he frowned and shrugged his shoulders.
    ***

    A few people were shuffling around when the herald announced the arrival of the king. Sure enough, the king was accompanied by Harald, but Lord Erik was not with them. I had known my father for a long time and I had managed to assess his mood just my looking at him, but now I was unsure of what I saw. Time was not wasted and after the usual greetings and introductions, the King was the first to speak.

    - Lords of Denmark, I summoned the Assembly here today to discuss the situation of our realm. Things have been peaceful for some time now, with minor troubles and conflicts, though the situation seems to have changed. I see everyone has come, which makes me believe we Danes want the same thing and stand together, as we should.

    His voice was trembling slightly and no doubt, the fact that one of his closest friends and advisors had chosen to not be present at the Assembly made my father doubt. Still, he had summoned us all here and now it was not the time to falter.

    - My Lords, as you know, soon there will be a great wedding for our kingdom, the union of more than just two people. Knud here, my heir, is to marry Princes Sophie of the Holy Roman Empire, daughter of the Emperor. This also means that Denmark will have a strong ally in the south and hopefully, a means to satisfy German doubts about our nation. We are proud and strong though you should all know we cannot be alone. I know this decision has angered some of you, but my hope was and is that we can overcome any difficulties together.

    It was clear that these words were meant more for those absent than anyone else. Our father knew, as did everyone, that although not present at the Assembly, Lord Erik and the others would find out what had been discussed.

    - Cardinal Harald, the king continued, you have the word.
    - Lords of the Assembly, Harald spoke; the first order of business is also the most pressing. You all know the terrible rumours that Godless brigand bands are plaguing the southern countryside. I give word to Lord Otto Falk.
    - Thank you, Cardinal, my King, Lord Otto spoke, rising from his chair. I have indeed investigated the rumours and found them to be true. Moreover, I have had word that Lord Erik Rosen of Schleswig has summoned his own vassals and, as you can see, they have chosen not to appear. The troubling part is that the envoys who went to his estate don’t know where they are, my King. Furthermore, I have in my possession documents that prove his involvement with these rebel bands. Lord Glum?

    The Assembly was in an uproar. We were all in a state of disbelief. Well, most of us, but still. I looked over at Torben. He had a troubled look on his face, as if to say that everything was worse than we had anticipated. Lord Glum produced a handful of parchment and brought them over to our section, handing them over to the King. He handed the papers to Knud and then spoke again.

    - There have also been rebel sightings in Skane and beyond, in Goteland. Lord Finn, what can you tell the assembly about these rumours? Lord Otto continued.
    - My King, Lords of the Assembly, Lord Finn Skovsgard addressed the hall, there is little information I can offer at this point, though it does seem that the people of Goteland are growing somewhat restless. The names that I have heard as ringleaders were a certain Sautes and Ditlev. They seem to vie for power in the region and there is no evidence they are a threat.
    - Thank you, Lord Finn, the king spoke. Lord Otto, is there anything else you would like to add?
    - My King, I propose we deal with the southern situation as soon as possible. We cannot let Erik do as he pleases and we certainly cannot let those lawless brigands roam free. What will we do when Princess Sophie arrives? Will she not have to pass through those lands on her way to Arhus? We must do something. I propose we gather an army and counter Lord Erik’s minions.
    - Surely this is too strong and answer, is it not, my Lords, Cardinal Harald spoke. After all, Erik Rosen is not a traitor to the Crown.
    - Then why is he not here, Lord Otto argued. We have all answered the summons, some from farther away.
    - The Assembly is sacred, my Lords, Lord Ansgar spoke. I want to remind those of you who may be too young that the Assembly has always been the most important thing for the Danes. This is where we used to choose our kings; this is where we could be heard without fear of repercussion or judgement. To ignore the Assembly, he continued with an emotional voice, is to ignore Denmark. It cannot stand.

    At this point chaos broke loose. Everyone was shouting, talking either for or against Lord Otto’s propositions. Some rose and showed their fists, saying we should leave for Erik’s lands right away, while others argued we shouldn’t be swift.

    - Look at this, Knud said while everybody was fighting, handing me a couple of parchments.
    - What am I looking for, I asked him.
    - It’s a payment ledger, he replied. Erik’s...look at the last entries.
    - … 300 gold for pelts, 300 for wood, 1200 for metalwork, I mused, but then the last entry was strange, 1500 gold for S, all paid in person. What is this? Is this what I think it is?
    - That’s what it looks like to me. But can it be? Knud asked, as if trying to disbelieve it.
    - Is Erik paying this Sautes, whoever he is? Look through the other parchments, I urged him.

    At this point we were oblivious to what was going on in the assembly. I looked over at the islands section, looking for Torben, but he was busy arguing with the others. Knud handed me half of the papers he held and we started to go through them as quickly as we could, without dismissing any of them. Then I found it.

    - Knud, a letter, I said, my voice and hands shaking. It’s for Erik. “... We agree with your proposals, Lord Erik, though keep in mind that my lord will ask for much in return for his services. I, however, am not an ambitious man. Even so, I believe a small County, maybe a Duchy would suffice, and I will forever be loyal to you.”, I read for Knud.
    - What? This is treason, he said. This is treason against King and God.
    - It’s from Ditlev. So now we know Ditlev is working for Sautes, and if this is to be believed, they are working for Erik. But why?

    My question remained unanswered, as at that very moment Knud rose to his feet and his voice boomed in the entire hall. My big brother Knud, the calmest man I had known and one of the brightest minds, he boomed like a Viking war horn and swiftly silenced everyone in the Assembly, even the King.

    - Silence, my Lords, he shouted. Silence! Lord Otto, how have you acquired these papers, he asked in an authoritative voice, raising his left hand, which held the parchments Lord Glum had produced. Where did you get them from?
    - My King, my Lords, Otto spoke, some of the parchments have been brought to me from the south, by the envoys to Schleswig, while others have been found in Lord Erik’s own mansion in Arhus. I know they hold value and proof to Erik’s financial dealings, though I’ve yet to read them all.
    - No need, Lords of the Assembly, Knud boomed still, this time facing everyone. I’ve just found the one that immediately interests us. This, he continued, placing all the other documents on his chair, holds proof of Erik’s transactions and payments for war materials, arms and armour. I can assure you I have not had knowledge of this beforehand. Father, he now turned to the King, have you had any word on this from Erik?
    - I have not, the King replied after a moment of reviewing the paper, with a puzzled look on his face.
    - These letters prove he has had contact with the ringleaders in Goteland, I also backed Knud.
    - So Erik needs to account for this in front of the Assembly, but not as a member, Knud continued. I propose we declare him treasonous and bring him forth.
    - Surely this is too severe, my Lord, Cardinal Harald intervened. I realise what you say is serious, but the Council still needs to review everything and Erik still should be given the chance to respond to this.
    - It is no longer just a matter of safety, Cardinal, Lord Finn Skovsgard now spoke, barely heard over the shouting and arguing in the Assembly. This threatens everything, the wedding, the kingdom, our King. Lord Erik has long had a strong position both in the Council and in the Assembly, he is dangerous.
    - Indeed, Baron Uffe Tuesen from Lolland agreed, he still has influence over many nobles in Schleswig and beyond.
    - Then we will crush him, the hot-tempered, iron-fisted Lord Mikkel Gedde said, rising from his seat, dwarfing those around him both in size and volume. We crush him on the battlefield, as our honour and tradition demands.

    Men continued arguing, some proposing to bring Erik to the capital for questioning and swift judgement, most agreeing with Lord Mikkel and Knud, while some, very few, simply tried to wait out the storm of words that had started in the hall. This continued for some time, until the King rose and demanded silence. He asked the Council members to convene in his study, while for the others a break was issued. We would eat and wait for the Council’s decision, but the Assembly session was far from over. As Torben rose to follow the King and Knud out, I barely had time to whisper a few words: “Temper them, if you can” I said, though I wasn’t sure what that meant. Either way, I believed we had to fight.
    ***

    The Assembly reconvened after a little over an hour. The decision had been set. The banners would be called and the army assembled, though I had no idea of the role I was going to be given in this endeavour. I was soon to find out however. The Baltic fleet would be under the direct control of Admiral Jon, who would immediately start refitting and deploying his vessels. I would be sailing to Lund and, with the help of the local nobles, as well as those from Halland and Blekyng, I would organise and strengthen the defences of the cities and fortresses. Usually this would have been a task for the local nobles, but seeing as there was little less than a month before Knud’s wedding to Princess Sophie, and with the apparent threat of the Goteland raiders, a formal army would be put under my command, albeit a small one. I would also be tasked with recruiting new banners from Skane. The larger cities throughout the kingdom would continue their building efforts, a programme that had started well before the King’s announcement. The main reason for this was that after the wedding, Knud and Sophie would travel around Denmark, for multiple reasons. The people were to see their future rulers, more importantly the future Queen, Knud would have a chance to inspect and listen to the major issues and grievances in each region, while Princess Sophie would begin knowing her new people. It had been Knud’s idea, supported by Harald. As for Erik’s situation, Torben and Admiral Jon had managed to temper the discussions. Erik hadn’t been declared a traitor, in spite of his disregard for the Assembly summons and his apparent involvement in shady affairs. Instead, word would be sent throughout Schleswig that Erik is to appear before the King. As a precaution, his papers and letters had been given to Count Eskild of Gjorslev to keep as he was the High Diplomat of the Kingdom.

    As soon as the Assembly meeting was over I realised I would have to sail for Lund as soon as possible, as my tasks were to begin before the wedding. I relished this new opportunity. Even though I was the King’s son, I wanted my own actions to speak for myself, not my birth. The meeting had lasted for a long time, until in the early hours of the following day and everybody was tired. My father and Knud rose, as we usually left the meeting first but I wanted to talk to Torben. As I said farewell to them, my father hugged me and whispered: “Go rest son, but come find me in the afternoon. We need to talk.”

    I nodded and then went looking for Torben, hoping I could convince him to sail with me to Lund.

    The Royal Family





    The Council of Nobles
    Cardinal Harald, Head of the Church in Denmark and close friend and adivsor to King Valdemar. Good friend with the Magdeburg Archbishop.
    Lord Otto Falk, one of the Jutland nobles to hold a Council seat. He holds lands in the northern half of the peninsula and is one of the most influencial Danish nobles.
    Lord Erik Rosen, the second Jutland noble to hold a Council seat. Long time friend of King Valdemar, his lands are in the south. Retreated south and ignored the Assembly call.
    Count Eskild of Gjorslev, the Zealand representative to the Council, is the High Diplomat of Denmark.
    Lord Torben Tornekrans holds lands in Fyn. The youngest member of the Council, he is a close friend to Prince Magnus, the king's second born.
    Lord Mikkel Gedde, High Chieftain of the Lolland nobles. He has more authority than the King in Lolland but he supports the Crown, therefore holds a Council seat.
    Lord Finn Skovsgard, the strongest noble in Skane, he holds large forests and many impoverished or small nobles pay fealty to him.
    Admiral Jon of Halmstath is a minor noble, if land is concerned, but his rank allows him to be the Halland representative to the Council.
    Lord Ansgar Bundgaard, the oldest noble in the Council (and in Denmark). His age made him change the wild lands of Blekyng to the calmer capital of the kingdom.
    Last edited by Darkan; February 25, 2018 at 04:46 PM. Reason: added photos
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen

    A great start to something old. I will follow this with interest. It is always great to root around and see what is archived here and now we can see what is archived on your computer as well.

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen

    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    A great start to something old. I will follow this with interest. It is always great to root around and see what is archived here and now we can see what is archived on your computer as well.
    Thank you for the kind words. Most of what I wrote is from 2011, but all this time I kept thinking back to the story and the characters. I'm just happy I've decided to post it.

    Chapter 2 – The Meeting


    The Assembly session had taken its toll on me and as soon as I finished talking to Torben, I retreated to my quarters. I still hadn’t gotten out of bed and a servant entered, telling me my father had sent for me. He told me that my brother Knud, Cardinal Harald and Admiral Jon had also been summoned.
    I got dressed as fast as I could, as my father wasn’t the kind of man to keep waiting and I had already overslept. I had neglected some of my tasks during the day but I was determined to see them done after this meeting. When I got to his study, however, he was alone. As soon as he saw me he rose from his seat and spoke:

    - Magnus, my son, come in, come in!
    - Where are the others, I asked.
    - They will be here soon, don’t worry. Let me look at you for a moment…
    - Have you slept at all?

    He was sipping on a cup of wine but he could barely raise it to his lips. He had a strange look in his eyes, the kind of look men get when they don’t seem to know where they are, though it was temporary. He just looked at me, for quite some time, without saying a word. The moment was a little awkward, to say the least. I couldn’t even remember the last time we were alone, just the two of us. Every time he was in Arhus he would be surrounded by a swarm of people, tending to military affairs, diplomatic envoys or clergymen and so on, though normally he hated such things and let Knud or Harald deal with them. More often you could find him among the soldiers, training and drinking with them when not out hunting. He wasn’t one to stay inside too much. Seeing him like this, smiling, it almost felt as if he wasn’t the king of Denmark and I a prince, in this instance we were just father and son.

    - I hear you are quite the military genius, he finally spoke, avoiding my previous question.
    - They exaggerate father, they exaggerate.
    - Perhaps not. Word is you are the young version of the king, even better, some say.
    - Now I know you are jesting. I wish I were at least half the warrior you are.
    - Now it is you who exaggerate.
    - Father, if I may ask, why did you send for me? I asked, slightly uneasy. Why are the others coming? Haven’t things been settled?
    - All in due time. Let’s wait for the others, shall we? In the meantime, I am here with my youngest son. Wine?

    I took the cup he gave me and sat down. He drank his; poured some more and then he sat there, silent, looking at me from time to time. It made me feel uneasy so I decided to break the silence…by talking about the future wedding plans.

    - We’ll have guests soon, I started. Heinrich, the Imperial Heir-Elect will bring Princess Sophie for the wedding, Knud tells me.

    Father said nothing, so I continued.

    - Also, the Flemish court is sending its own envoys to accompany Princess Otgiva.

    I had hoped that mentioning his future daughters by law I would get some reply. I didn’t. Still, he remained silent, seemingly not paying any attention to me or my words. Just as I wanted to say something else, to start some kind of conversation, he spoke, making me yet more uneasy.

    - You know I love you, do you not? I may not show it, I mean, an old man like myself, used to the sight of blood more than the sight of his family, how could I…but you know I do, don’t you?
    - Yes father, I know, I replied slowly, unsure of where this conversation would lead.
    - I remember when you were born, right here in Arhus. I had just received a Polish emissary when all of a sudden a baby started crying so loudly. I jumped up from my seat and ran through the hallways knocking down nobles and servants. Even before I saw you I knew you would be a great warrior, I mean who else cries like that. You could be heard from the other side of the castle. My son, the warrior and that’s when I knew your name would be Magnus, the Great.
    - Yes, I know the story, I said but he seemed not to hear me.
    - Unlike your brother, who from the beginning was weaker, always sick, always more inclined to stay indoors. I tried to teach him, to let him know there is more to life than sitting inside, buried in books and parchments and God knows what else.

    Yes, my father, as a true warrior, had little consideration for those that didn’t ride first in battle and that would rather administrate. He knew such things were needed, he even dealt with some issues, but mostly he would let others. Therefore, he got used to looking down upon such things, saying it’s healthier to ride into battle than “to sit on cushions all day” as he put it. This, unfortunately, meant that even great governors were not rightly appreciated by the king, among them my brother Knud, his first born, a kind and pious man. He was the one doing what a king must but somehow our father still seemed not to notice any of Knud’s abilities. Knud, however, had gotten used to this kind of treatment, he even advised my father to ride out every time he got the chance. It was a sort of unspoken pact between them, “you leave and let me manage things and I don’t have to listen to you criticizing me every day”. It seemed to work but I just didn’t find it right.

    - Why do you talk like that? Not all men can be warriors. Why do you treat Knud in a manner you surely know he doesn’t deserve?
    - To make him strong. He’s not like you or me, he sits all day in the Council chambers or the library as if that was all there was. Look around you, look at the world we live in: violence, wars, thieves and ungrateful sons of whores everywhere. He cannot fight them like us; he cannot manage everything from his chair.
    - Yes, but he has other strengths.
    - Bah, strengths you say? He will be sole king someday. A king cannot stay in his castle forever.
    - As opposed to never? I said, regretting it the moment I said it.

    He got restless; he rose from his chair and started pacing up and down the room like a caged wolf. He was agitated, I might even say angry. He walked like that for a few moments, drinking his wine until he managed to calm down a little. Footsteps in the hallway caught my attention and soon I could hear my brother’s voice. He was talking to Harald about a book he had just finished reading. I looked at my father and his expression made his thoughts clear, there was no need for him to talk. Moments later the heavy wooden door opened, the wooden screech echoing along the hallways and Knud, Harald and Jon entered. Father was calmer now.

    - Friends, son, welcome to our little clandestine meeting, he said. Sit down and help us finish the wine so I can send for some more.
    - Sire, Prince, Harald greeted us, I will only have one cup.
    - Yes, dear Cardinal, just one cup for you, else God might get upset if his representatives drink more than He does, father said laughing.

    Harald gave him a disapproving look, as did Knud, but soon resumed sipping his wine:

    - Don’t talk like that father, don’t blaspheme.
    - I will talk as I wish, but to prove I value your opinion, no more God jokes tonight, father said winking at me.

    The gesture was caught by all and Knud looked at me waiting for a silent explanation. What could I say? They saw each other for no more than a minute and already our father was provoking him. I shrugged, letting him understand it didn’t matter. We soon proceeded to the main reason why the king had summoned the four of us in his study so late at night.

    - All right, let’s get started, the king said while spreading a map of the eastern Scandinavian coastline across the table. I sent for you to discuss the issue of these Goteland scum, and I wanted to tell you…
    - But we have already discussed this issue in the Assembly, as well as with the Council of Nobles and key points were established, Knud interrupted.
    - I know that, the king said, visibly irritated by my brother’s intrusion, but I’ve changed my mind about some of them.
    - But you can’t do that, not before…
    - Silence! I am king, I decide what I want when I want and all will listen. Those who don’t can go to Hell.
    - Sire, please, the cardinal intervened. Knud has a point; there are certain aspects that we cannot change on a whim, even a king’s whim.
    - I have to agree, Sire, Jon also spoke. Representatives from all areas of importance are required present if capital decisions are to be taken, at least, if we are not to bring this to the Council.

    I was surprised. I looked at my brother puzzled, asking he made some kind of sense out of all this talk. As the Heir Apparent, he had of course been present at the Council meeting, as well as Harald and Admiral Jon, whereas I hadn’t. I had waited in the Assembly hall with the other Lords of Denmark that didn’t hold Council seats. I knew they had talked about various administrative issues as well as the apparent uprising in the south and Erik’s situation; then the king spoke:

    - Indeed, Jon, you are right. Cardinal Harald, do you not represent the Church?
    - I do, but what does this have to do with anything?
    - Admiral Jon, are you not one of the proud Danish nobles, member of the Council of Nobles as well as commander of our fleets?
    - I am, Jon replied swiftly.
    - Prince Knud, are you not an accomplished governor with deep knowledge of all administrative areas as well as the Heir to the Crown of Denmark?

    Knud remained silent against this new provocation from our father.

    - Right then, the king continued. Prince Magnus, are you not one of our most promising military commanders?
    - I hope I will be, yes.
    - You see, dear Jon, I have here with me, now what was it you said “representatives of all areas of importance”, the king said jovially. Thus, we can now proceed. Call this the King’s Small Council if it makes you feel better, he turned to Knud.

    Nobody protested as they surely knew it would have been to no avail.

    - First order of business, the king said after emptying his cup of wine, is administration. As I really do hate these matters and would rather tend to other issues, I decided that tomorrow, Knud will be invested officially as the governor of Arhus. As he already fulfils most of the tasks, I presume there are no objections.

    Again, nobody spoke against and they couldn’t have; on the contrary, Harald believed it to be deserving and a very good decision:

    - I agree and hereby offer my full support whenever needed, he addressed Knud.
    - Yes, this way you can teach him more about God and maybe show him some books he hasn’t yet read. Watch out though Cardinal, soon we might find you tending to foreign princesses and Muslim dignitaries, the king joked.
    - You are impossible, Knud burst out. I still fail to understand how you managed to remain king, though this uprising seems to explain quite a few things.
    - With Harald’s help, here present, and with Erik’s, whom you want to feed to the wolves. I am not yet dead, boy, father shouted.

    The floodgates had opened. It had been only a matter of time before that happened; still I had hoped that among his sons and his closest friends, our father would temper himself. One moment laughing, the other yelling like a mad man, his fast changing temper was well known and one of the reasons he was both loved and feared at the same time. Still, it was one thing to yell at a servant, soldier or even a noble and an entire different thing to yell at the Heir of Denmark. “To make him strong” he had said, though I failed to see how that would be accomplished.

    - You will have your turn when I die and then let’s see how you do, the king continued.
    - My Lords, please, there is no need for this. You are of noble blood so I urge you to behave in the appropriate manner, the Cardinal intervened once more.
    - Noble blood, father puffed. I’ve seen so much noble blood spilt from simple men, warrior men that fought for their homes, for their country. One is not born with noble blood; it becomes noble when you let it pour from your veins unto the very earth that feeds you, when you shed it on the battlefield. That’s noble blood!
    - You have every answer, you know everything there is, don’t you, Knud yelled.
    - Look at him, the king said without paying attention to Knud, he wouldn’t know noble blood if it covered him from head to toe.
    - Sires, Jon stepped in, may I remind you why we are here? I suggest we take a moment to calm down. My king, I do believe more wine is needed and perhaps some food, Jon said trying to change the atmosphere.
    - Well put, Jon, well put. Let’s go find some servants, unless the wretched bastards aren’t asleep already.

    With that, the king stepped out, accompanied by Jon and Harald. My brother and I remained alone, though we could still father’s voice in the hallway. Knud looked tired, he was angry so I tried to calm him down, maybe cheer him up.

    - You know how he is; you know that’s how he’s always been. Besides, he appointed you governor of Arhus; he wouldn’t have done it had he not thought you worthy.
    - Easy for you to say. Anyway, don’t worry too much, I’ve gotten used to his moods and his disliking of me, Knud replied resigned, what I can’t stand is his way of seeing things. My duty is to the kingdom, not to him.
    - I just want to know you are all right.
    - I’m your big brother, I should be worrying about you, not the other way around, he said.

    We talked for a while, like the brothers we were. We told stories from when we were children, we laughed and we talked about his daily routine, my military exercises. He told me more about Princess Sophie and her brother, the Heir-Elect. Knud had agreed with marrying Princess Sophie, tough I was yet to come round to this. To make matters worse, I knew the wedding would be when I would meet several princesses and I didn’t relish the idea. Still, I hadn’t said anything to our father.
    Soon he returned, as did Harald and Jon. The servants, no doubt scared due to his earlier outbursts, brought us food, ale and wine. We drank and ate and talked some more, amongst friends, both young and old, though Knud avoided talking to our father. Soon enough we were ready to continue.

    - The second issue I wanted to bring to your attention is of a more military nature. As previously discussed at the Assembly, we have to solve the matter of those Swedish dogs and their armies. What were their names again?
    - Sautes and Ditlev my Lord, Jon reminded him.
    - Right, the bastards. So, Jon, have you managed to get anything on them?
    - From what we know, Sautes controls the city of Kalmar and Ditlev is his vassal, and holds a castle somewhere inland, Jon added.
    - Indeed, they are to be addressed, Knud spoke, but isn’t this exactly why Magnus is going to Lund, so that he can start recruiting more troops and improve the defenses?
    - Yes, all the while Sautes will sit tight and let him gather his armies. No, we must move swiftly and deal him a decisive blow, father said.
    - And how do you propose we do that? Knud asked.
    - This is where our brave and resourceful Admiral comes in. You must prepare the fleet for a little trip, the king said winking. How soon before you are ready to set sail?
    - I have a squadron ready and able in the harbour, my Lord, though it will take longer to assembly the entire Baltic fleet. I have to oversee some minor repairs, stock up on food and drinking water, buy rum and, of course, send word to the captains and crew members in the islands who no doubt spend their time and coin in the taverns and brothels.
    - As usual then, dear Jon, as usual, the king laughed. No, the squadron will suffice.
    - Where will I be sailing to, my Lord? Jon asked.
    - You’ll like this, father said looking at me. You are to take our young Magnus here, three banners from Arhus and set sail for Goteland. My son, you have your first raiding command. Congratulations!

    This was a total surprise. I had already mentally thought of the necessary materials for the recruitment and earthworks in Skane, but to be given a raiding command, and so soon after everything had been established in the Assembly, even I couldn’t have hoped for this.

    - I…thank you father, I managed to utter, while the others looked baffled at one another.
    - Nonsense, I didn’t do this because you are my son but because it was high time to put your skills to good use. Besides, I need someone to go and probe Sautes’ defences and response times.
    - What are my orders, I said, a bit too formal and overly official.
    - You will raid the Goteland coast and countryside, but make sure you don’t get ambushed or lured into a fight. When they gather their armies and march for you, get back onto the boats and sail directly to Kalmar. Make a show of force, raid the villages if you can but be ready to leave quickly. Questions?
    - Sire, isn’t this too rash? After all, as good a warrior as he is, he lacks experience, not to mention four banners will not be enough. My prince, Harald turned to me, please understand I am only being cautious.
    - Well Magnus, is it too rash for you, too dangerous? Speak up!
    - By the Heavens, I leapt from my seat, if it is too much to fight a pack of Swedish cowards and dogs than I am not worthy of my name and ancestors.
    - You see, Cardinal, our young warrior would bring us the devil by the throat and you’d be left without a job. Besides, he doesn’t lack in experience, our Admiral will join him. As for troops, he can take more men from the Lund garrison and he can levy some peasants as well.
    - Good, good, but be careful. Jon, make sure he doesn’t get battle frenzy, or too arrogant. Raid and pillage and sail back. This way, at the wedding, you can impress Princess Otgiva by not being a battle virgin anymore, father said laughing. Anyway, after the wedding you’ll sail again, but with the entire Baltic Fleet and with more banners.
    - What’s the plan, I asked, already excited by the chance to test myself.
    - You’ll do the same thing, you’ll send raiding parties and when the enemy goes for them, you go for Kalmar and take it, father said.

    He seemed as excited as I, if not more. Whatever one would say against him, when talking military affairs you could hear his words clearly, you could envision the action. He was methodical and thought of everything. He had had this gift from an early age, if the stories were to be believed, and he had used it well during the civil war.

    - Take care of my son, Jon, he said.
    - Indeed I will Sire, Jon responded. I do have one question; won’t Sautes know we are coming? After all, we cannot exactly hide such a big fleet and so many men.
    - Well, I have some men infiltrated in Kalmar and when the time is right they will spread rumours that you approach by land. The rest is up to you.
    - One more question Sire, if I may, Jon continued. What do we do after we take Kalmar? News of the city having fallen will no doubt reach both Ditlev and Sautes, if he marches against the raiders. If they ride to retake it, we will be trapped.
    - You, dear Jon, are one in a million. Your very question brings me to the third issue I wanted to talk to you about.
    - Which is what, Harald asked expectantly.
    - Erik!

    My brother’s face suddenly changed expression, his fists clenched and he spat out:

    - Erik, the traitor! Erik, whom you still protect, even though he laughed in your face.
    - I know you take side with those damned fools, those so-called nobles that cower behind walls yet scream out for Erik’s blood.
    - I’m not taking sides, but he is missing, isn’t he? Why did he ignore the summons? Why did he run away?
    - Erik is not a traitor, the king shouted.
    - Oh, he is not? Then how do you explain his leaving the capital, with his entire family and household, how do you explain the records we read and the letters that prove he was dealing with Sautes and Ditlev? You know they are working together, you know they support him and his own ambitions.
    - I know nothing of the sort. You won’t say that when Erik and I march against Ditlev. While you stay here in Arhus, attend parties and drink and eat and , Magnus will take Kalmar and I will travel south, where Erik awaits for me to sort all this out and march against Ditlev and defeat him before he has time to strike.

    Harald managed to talk first, though only by seconds, as Knud, Jon and I all had the same question on our lips.

    - You know where Erik is? Why haven’t you told us at the Assembly...
    - ...or at the Council meeting, Knud finished the cardinal’s sentence
    - Had we known, Jon added, he would have been sent word immediately and brought here to answer to these accusations.
    - I do know where he is. He sent word to meet him and I plan to do just that. He won’t come to Arhus and rightly so, else the Assembly would have his head and there would be no way to stop it, even for me. Instead, I will go to him.
    - Well if you’re going, I’m going and you can’t stop me, Harald spoke, his words seemingly addressing one of his wards and not the King.
    - I had hoped you’d say that, old friend, father replied.

    Knud couldn’t control himself anymore so he spoke against Erik one more time.

    - I don’t see where the problem is. If you know where he is we must summon the nobles and their banners and march against him right now. However, I am sure he has already fled, probably to join those snakes, Sautes and his puppet Ditlev. How can you be so blind to the proof gathered against him, all their dealings and letters, the payments, the reports and everything else?
    - Because Erik is one of us, the king shouted. Because he and I have fought side by side countless times, ate from the same bowl, drank from the same cup and shed blood together. He has put the Crown upon my head, together with this man, he continued, pointing at Harald. That’s how I know and no amount of papers saying otherwise will change that. But I guess camaraderie is unknown to you, who would rather attend parties and keep your nose buried in piles of books and parchments. What do you know about men dying all around you? You know nothing!

    My brother raised some serious issues and I too believed our father counted too much on his past friendship with Erik, especially in light of what we had found out at the Assembly. The amount of evidence that spoke against Erik was great, though the king seemed to pay no attention to it. Thus, the meeting ended in the same manner it had begun, with tensions between the King and the Heir, between father and son. Outside the study I stopped Harald and asked him what was going on.

    - They’re old and they’re stubborn, the both of them, he replied. I know them both very well. Don’t worry, Magnus, I’ll soon make them see reason.

    I left the palace grounds with Admiral Jon, as we had a raiding party to prepare.


    Last edited by Darkan; February 25, 2018 at 05:21 PM.
    [DLV 6.2 AAR] - The Danish House of Hen - updated 20/08/18 - on hold
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  5. #5
    Axis Sunsoar's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy - updated 31/01)

    Very Interesting, I'm really liking the first-person narrative style! I'm very interested to see what happens at the meeting with Erik. Keep up the good work!

  6. #6

    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy - updated 31/01)

    'I will make them see reason '
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Its good to include such famous quotes .Gives a depth to your stories .Good updates .
    To anyone concerned. I am leaving twc. Bye and best of luck.
    And Pike, thanks for supporting me always.

    Sadly, I felt that despite making contributions, I did not get recognition of Citizenship. Hence I left. You might call me crybaby, but I was shocked to see that most people whom I had considered to be well wishers, voted against me. Yes, I needed that Citizenship.
    Nowadays, I don't know if it was the site or if I have improved, but I do find it easier to do better on other sites.
    I also help run a very successful wild west server on Discord.

  7. #7
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy - updated 31/01)

    I'm happy that you decided to post this, too! Your dialogue is well done and, like Axis, I'm enjoying your first-person narrative style.

  8. #8
    Darkan's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy - updated 31/01)

    Quote Originally Posted by Axis Sunsoar View Post
    Very Interesting, I'm really liking the first-person narrative style! I'm very interested to see what happens at the meeting with Erik. Keep up the good work!
    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I'm happy that you decided to post this, too! Your dialogue is well done and, like Axis, I'm enjoying your first-person narrative style.
    Thank you kind sirs! It is my first try at an AAR so I just figured first-person would make things easier for me, though I've since learned it's not always the case. One of the reasons why this never got on the forums was that I was always displeased about one thing or another.
    Quote Originally Posted by mad orc View Post
    Its good to include such famous quotes .Gives a depth to your stories .Good updates .
    To be honest I had no idea. Well, I'll take the compliment and the lucky coincidence.

    Next update will follow shortly.

    Chapter 3 – The Raid


    We set sail that same night. While Jon went directly to the harbour, I went looking for Torben. Not only did I want him to accompany us, but I also wanted to have a chance and discuss the news I had just heard. He was in the same inn, close to the port district. As soon as he heard the plans he got up and with a big grin on his face, stated:

    - About time, my Prince, loud enough for everybody to hear. Time to do what our ancestors have done for centuries.

    Both our retinues followed us towards the boats. We were all young men, without having tasted battle and we all eagerly wanted to test our mettle. Sure, this was to be nothing but a mere raid, but to us it was much more. We boarded the squadron’s commander vessel and went about observing the men. We had two archer banners with us and another raiding company, experienced men who usually went behind enemy lines and harassed their supply lines. Jon advised us to get some rest, as we wouldn’t reach Lund the next day. It was late now so I told Torben and Jon we would meet for breakfast and start making plans in the morning, and I went below deck.

    I couldn’t sleep very well, tossing and turning all through the night. Strange dreams didn’t let my mind rest. I couldn’t call them nightmares, for they were not. I kept seeing our small fleet riding the waves, as if dancing, when out of nowhere another fleet appeared, made of unusual ships. They were all half ships, about twenty in number, and each one had a ghostly silhouette at the oars. I lowered my gaze, as I remembered from the old tales that these men were the sea-draugar, and seeing them meant ill fortune.
    - Don’t look upon them, a melodious voice echoed in my mind. Don’t look upon the draugar, Prince, lest they make you their own.
    - Show yourself, I barely whispered, my voice trembling with fear. Who are you?
    - You’re dreaming, Prince, but this is a dangerous thing to do here. I came to warn you.

    Then I saw her. I was taken from above the fleet to the rocky shore, where upon a moss-covered rock a mermaid sat, combing her long, golden hair while the moon shone upon her face.
    - You go to war, Prince, she said, though her lips seemed not to move. You will spill much blood, and more will be spilt for you...but beware, you are in mortal danger.
    - How so, I asked, though my own words sounded as if coming from far away.
    - It matters little. You have forgotten us; your people have forgotten us. Beware, Prince, as she will try to end you.
    - Who are you talking about, I asked again.
    - My sister, Prince, the Hylda. She will come to you and you will fall to her. I warned you so that you may not.

    As soon as the last word was spoken I opened my eyes. I was back in the ship’s cabin, in bed. I could hear men going about their business, though it was still dark. I didn’t understand what the dream meant, but I was too tired to think about it. Who was the woman I had to be aware of, I had to guard against? I kept falling in an out of sleep and only fragments of ideas formed in my mind. I could see Torben and Jon, fighting each other, oblivious to my ordering them to stop. I saw three women, but their faces were hidden, as they approached me, surrounding me, dancing furiously around me. Then they changed to armed men who wanted to kill me, though their faces I did recognise: father, Lord Erik and Harald. They were cursing me. The mermaid appeared once again, though this time she had legs and she was walking towards me. She came closer, took my face in her hands and leaned in as if to kiss me. At the very last moment she stopped and whispered: “Wake up, Prince, or they will claim you”. We were on a cliff, in the middle of a maelstrom, with a host of half ships sailing towards me. I felt a hand on my forehead and I immediately jumped up, striking it away.

    - Calm down, Magnus, a familiar voice spoke. I just came to check on you. It’s me, Jon.
    - Jo... Jon, I stammered, what’s going on? Where are we?
    - We’re in Lund. We arrived last night. You’ve been in bed for the last two days. You’ve been ill.
    - Ill, I asked, bewildered. What do you mean ill?
    - I don’t know. You went to bed and then didn’t come up in the morning. When we checked on you, you were on the floor, talking, and when we tried to pull you up you fought us. It took three men to hold you down.

    I listened to Jon and Torben’s accounts over breakfast. I didn’t tell them about the dream, as it was now clear to me that it was delirium. I had probably drunk too much before we had set sail, but after a couple of days I felt better. We inspected the garrison and buildings in Lund and decided to add to our raiding force, so another banner of local militia joined us, making our total forces four banners, plus our retinues. The plan was simple. We would sail to Goteland and then split the small fleet in two. Torben would land with a raiding party before we reached Kalmar, a safe distance away and raid the villages and fields there, getting anything of value. Jon and I would continue to Kalmar and raid it, if possible or at least the nearby villages, but only if the city garrison would leave to fight Torben’s forces. If not, we would approach the harbours by night and try to set their ships on fire.
    As soon as the banners were divided and all the captains knew the plan, we set off, sailing together for about two more days. Then, Torben’s forces, consisting of an archer banner and the militia from Lund split off and headed for the coast, while we kept on going. It was now time to be on high alert. The most dangerous part was meeting enemy ships, which we didn’t. We did however run into a few fishermen, though they seemed to not mind us at all.
    Late in our third day of having sailed from Lund we reached Kalmar. We disembarked under the cover of darkness and then quickly moved into the nearby woods, while the ships sailed into hidden coves. Jon was with me, leading a company of sailors. We made a camp deep in the woods, posting lookouts in all directions and building stake palisades in case we were discovered. We sent scouting parties as well to try and find any close villages worth raiding, as well as keep an eye out for enemy troops.

    We waited for two days before anything happened. On the second night we received news that troops were marching out of the city, no doubt to counter Torben’s raid, so we prepared to strike with daybreak. We took what was left of the posted guards by surprise, not to mention the villagers. We attacked before anyone knew what was happening. There was no plan now, as we fought and killed most that stood in our way. Soon enough though, a large group of peasants faced us, carrying spears and shields. They were no match for the experienced raiders and as the two lines clashed, all I could see were limbs being cut off and men falling before me. The archers flanked the enemy militia and soon opened fire, while Jon had gathered his sailors, who had spread throughout the village and was now coming back. We didn’t need the reinforcement, but Jon later told me the reason had been different: he wanted to kill as many enemies as possible, so as they wouldn’t flee back to the city and alert the larger force.

    Magnus' Raid near Kalmar

    After the initial surprise, regrouped soldiers tried to defend the outskirts.


    As we were engaged in melee, the archers on our left ran up to flank the enemy.


    Jon called his men from the village to cut off the way to the city and prevent any stragglers to alert the forces inside.

    Not long after we left a massacre behind us and retreated back to our camp, making preparations to return to the ships. The next day, as soon as the grain and goods we had taken were aboard the ships, Jon took the archers and his sailor company and hit the harbour, managing to capture a ship and burn three more.

    We were now ready to sail back and regroup with Torben’s forces. The understanding was that if we found no sign of them or their ships, we were to assume they had been captured or killed, but it was not the case. We met Torben’s fleet waiting for us, hulls full as well, and we resumed our journey back to Arhus. He told us they had also been successful, but had been surprised at our inquiries regarding the enemy troops as they hadn’t seen any. Torben had been more successful than us, as they had raided several villages and towns. They had raided a local merchant’s warehouses and had burned whatever they couldn’t carry. In a different place they had fallen upon a local noble’s grain stores and had fought him and the peasants he had gathered to fight off our raiders. Torben had killed him in single combat and then had spared the rest of the peasants.

    Torben's Raid

    Torben's forces raid one of the smaller villages in the region.


    Whatever the soldiers couldn't carry, they burned or destroyed.


    While our troops were inside, reluctant peasants run to protect a nobleman's grain stores and mills.


    Killing the nobleman in single combat, Torben lets the villagers live.

    The journey back to Arhus went on without any more complications. The militia went back to Lund, carrying part of our bounty. As we neared the capital I remembered my strange dream and realised I would soon be less comfortable than during the raid. I was to meet my future wife, whoever that was to be, but I relished the idea less than before. It was now a little over two weeks since the Assembly meeting and the preparations for Knud’s wedding were nearing completion.
    Last edited by Darkan; February 03, 2018 at 03:49 PM.
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 3 updated 03/02)

    I liked the pics -- especially the small one of the killing of the nobleman. Back from a good raid, and now what??? Was the dream really a dream or a Shakespearian foretelling of things to come???

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 3 updated 03/02)

    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    I liked the pics -- especially the small one of the killing of the nobleman. Back from a good raid, and now what??? Was the dream really a dream or a Shakespearian foretelling of things to come???
    Thank you for your kind words. I'm still unsure of how to edit the pics but I'm getting there. Regarding the dream, we''ll just have to wait and see whether it leads somewhere or not.

    Chapter 4 – The Wedding

    We didn’t stay long in Arhus. There was still about a week before the wedding and guests had started to arrive from different kingdoms. The palace and the nobles’ residences in Arhus were teeming with foreigners. Still, there was no rest for us. Torben went to his estates in Fyn and put his affairs in order, as he was to march with me to war. Admiral Jon and I kept ferrying men and supplies to Lund in preparation for the campaign. The traffic in the harbour and the Baltic was the busiest I had seen. What with the wedding on everyone’s mind, we managed to not raise suspicions as to what we were doing. The king had asked us to secrecy that night weeks ago.

    The princesses had also arrived, though I wasn’t able to meet or even see any of them. The day of the wedding came and it was now when all preparations would bear fruit. Cardinal Harald, accompanied by the other clergymen, Eskil of Brøns and Asbjørn Nielssen, held the religious ceremony in the great cathedral in Arhus. The guests and Danish nobles were packed into it, so I preferred to stay outside, to mind those that had been less fortunate and couldn’t find a place inside. The common folk were all present, the streets of the city had been decorated and wine was flowing aplenty. The wedding party moved into the palace’s Great Hall, where tables had been set. I, Torben and Jon arrived with the first groups, an advantage of our previous position outside the cathedral. I believe it took everyone well over three hours to arrive.

    - Well, it seems no expense has been spared for the wedding, Jon said, admiring the decorations.

    Indeed no expense had been spared. The walls were covered with some of the largest and more expensive tapestries, some depicting king Harald the Third on a hunt or upon his throne or his father, king Sweyn the Second, who legends said was a half troll, due to his stature and build. Other tapestries portrayed knights jousting or armies on the march and everywhere you could see our house’s Coat of Arms. What amused me most was that to both sides of a large painting depicting the Last Supper were two tapestries showing scenes from the Norse mythology, one with Odin upon his throne in Asgard and the other one with the battle between Thor and Jormungandr. The Cardinal, who was appointed the seat in front of the three pictures, would undoubtedly feel uneasy at his portrayal of olden Gods and myths together with Jesus and His apostles. I was sure that it had been my father’s idea, but then I thought of Knud and his own disagreement towards this jest. Knud had always been a pious man, more than others, ever since he was younger. Our father’s lack of appreciation towards him made him look up to Harald, which I believe became a father figure for him.

    Tapestries
    Odin upon the Asgard throne.

    Thor battling the snake Jormungandr.


    The curtains were tinted in different colours, red and yellow, alternated with blue and purple ones and a large amount of candles had been used for lighting. The large tables were covered with silken sheets and velvet covers of different colours, numerous ribbons and furbelows and everything was more colourful than usual. Personally, I admired the long halberds, poleaxes and swords displayed on the walls, as well as the large number of shields with heraldry of all the Danish noble Houses. The Emperor’s heraldry stood next to the Danish one, to symbolise the union of the two people and their alliance. In honour of our guests, there were also Flemish, Pomeranian and Russian symbols and the Emperor’s heraldry meant to impress the princesses and their retinues, as well as Norwegian shields and banners and Polish cavalry weaponry and armour, meant to show the foreign nobles that their presence hadn’t been forgotten. In contradiction with the rich atmosphere, father’s seat was covered only with white fox furs and black wolf skins, as he really wanted everyone to know his dislike for opulence. “Shiny items and pompous clothing are for women”, he would always say, “a true man only needs a horse, a sword and wine aplenty”. I can’t say that I disagree with it, though I wouldn’t be as fast to tell everyone.

    - Princess Sophie is indeed beautiful, Jon said. Knud is a lucky man, as are we all to have a future queen like her.
    - I agree, Torben added, though the other princesses are a sight as well.
    - Tell us then about the beauty of the maidens come from all Europe, Jon asked, we’ve been so busy in Lund that we couldn’t even catch a glimpse. Could we, Prince Magnus, he turned to me, exaggerating his official tone.
    - No we could not, I replied.
    - Well, the Russian princesses are a delight, though I doubt we are a match for them, he said, laughing. As for the Pomeranian ones, you can clearly see they know their mind and speak it.
    - Oh, you’ve had a chance to converse then, Jon asked, winking at me.
    - No, Torben replied, though I wouldn’t have minded.
    - What about the Flemish princess, I inquired. I haven’t seen her yet and even at the wedding, her retinue was scarce.
    - Well, I’ve yet to see her either, Torben said, I believe she took ill a few days after arriving. The Flemish are staying in Lord Ansgar’s mansion, and I did talk to him about her. He said that her very sight almost killed him and that her visage is more blinding than the sun.
    - I’m not sure anything can kill him, Jon said, though if anything can, a fair maiden may have more chance than an axe...or is it a Gorgon?

    The three of us laughed and went to our seats. There were seven very large tables in total, each holding fifty seats. The married couple’s table had father and mother, Knud and his wife Sophie, as well as her brother, Imperial Heir-Elect Heinrich and Cardinal Harald. There were three tables meant for the Flemish, Pomeranian and Russian princesses and her retinues, and three more for the other foreign envoys and guests, while the Danish Lords were all divided among the six tables.

    I was seated with the Halland nobles, Admiral Jon of Halmstath and Hakon of Skara, my good friend Torben and a host of Polish and Norwegian nobles were assigned seats at the same table. Slowly, the guests began to arrive from the Cathedral, first the Danish nobles together with the Norwegian ones, then the Polish accompanied by Baron Karl of Arhus who, I later heard, had had the “secret” mission to establish trade agreements. The King obviously had thought that this was a good opportunity, though I cannot say how much value one can put on a signature if it was given during a feast, not to mention that it was indeed a bit rude, but my father never troubled himself with these things.

    Then the Council Members arrived, each going to one of the six tables reserved for the foreign guests, accompanied by the foreign princesses and their retinues. Soon after, the heralds solemnly announced the arrival of the Royal couple, accompanied by the King and Queen, Cardinal Harald and the Imperial Heir-Elect Heinrich, who had been the one to give his sister’s hand in marriage. When the large doors opened I was mesmerized. The princesses were indeed beautiful, but the Flemish princess, Otgiva van Vlaanderen, was astounding. I could almost feel my heart stop for an instant as indeed, my very breath was taken from my chest. It took me a few moments and a large number of cups of wine to recover my senses. As luck would have it, my seat was facing the table where the Flemish nobles were, so for a very long time I did not pay any attention neither to Jon nor Torben, not to mention the foreign nobles.

    Princesses


    Soon the food was brought, the usual roasted piglets, all manner of poultry, cooked in different ways, large almond breads, pastries made with all the known fruit and, the Royal Chef’s most impressive feat, an enormous pie that when cut open, sent hundreds of small birds flying around the Great Hall. Discussions erupted all over between the guests. As for myself, I was still taken aback by my appointment to Lund and the subsequent command it implied and I decided to discuss certain aspects with Jon, to ask for advice on how to manage an estate that large.

    - Soon we’ll set sail again, I started, but this time for longer.
    - Indeed, Prince, Jon replied. The fleet is in good shape, some banners are already in Lund and reports are good.
    - What about the Baltic, I pressed forward, any enemy activity, any sightings?
    - Not really, there have been a few minor skirmishes but nothing that would impede our crossing or our journey north.
    - Good to know, Admiral, I replied.

    I then inquired about the rest of the evidence against Erik. Both Jon and Torben told me that it was indeed great and that it went farther than just rebellion. Messages between Eric and Sautes had been intercepted where they discussed the overthrowing of the King and Erik’s ascension to the throne and in exchange for Sautes’ assistance, Erik would in turn help him become King of the Swedes, thus forming an unbreakable alliance. This, together with the financial documents that were recovered from Eric’s estate, detailing payments made to Sautes to levy troops, made it clear for most members in the Council of Nobles that Erik was a traitor. If all that wasn’t enough, there were also testimonies from various people, mostly merchants and traders. I couldn’t understand why my father insisted on going to talk to Erik instead of capturing him and I was determined to approach the subject before I left, as this was no longer a matter between two old men.
    .
    For now though, my full attention turned to the beautiful Otgiva once more. As she was sitting in front of me, albeit at the other table, I could not start a conversation with her, but I could make myself noticed at least. For a large part of the night we exchanged glances, smiles, she blushed a few times as did I. After a few hours, when the guest had had enough time to acquaint themselves, the King rose and ordered that the music be stopped, demanded silence and spoke:

    - Honoured guests, illustrious nobles, we are here to honour the union between two people and the union between two peoples as well. May this wedding bring forth a new age of peace and cooperation for both our kingdoms.
    - To the Royal Couple, someone shouted.
    - To the King and Queen, others continued.
    - Long live Prince Knud and Princess Sophie, I toasted, encouraged by Torben and the large quantity of wines.

    The entire hall was filled with cheers, wishes of health and male children; everybody stood up and raised their glasses, talking at the same time that one could hardly make sense of his own thoughts. More wine and food was ordered, though wine was preferred and an entire army of servants started to walk up and down from one end of the hall to the other, swarming like ants. Knud then rose from his seat, lifted his cup and toasted for his bride, for the King and Queen, for our guests and the princesses and then turned towards me, refilled his cup and spoke:
    - I drink this cup for you, dear brother, for your health and wellbeing.
    - I thank you, dear brother, I responded, raising my cup high, and I wish the same to you and my new sister.

    Then, without even realizing what I was doing, under the impetus of wine, I might say under Otgiva’s spell, I toasted for her:

    - I would also like to toast for Princess Otgiva van Vlaanderen, fair princess of her people and I wish to pledge my sword as well as my heart to her, if she would do me the honour of accepting them.

    Then I looked at Otgiva, and words came out as suddenly and as powerfully as an unexpected summer rain comes on a sunny day:

    - Princess, I am forever your humble servant. Call upon me and I will undoubtedly be there, to fulfil your commands. As a general commands the actions of his men, as a King commands the actions of his generals and as God commands the actions of the Kings, so shall you forever command the actions of Prince Magnus Knudsen of Denmark.

    Trembling, unable to control myself, I nearly fell back in my seat, all the while another wave of cheering and toasting taking over the great hall. I only had eyes for Otgiva however, so I could neither feel Torben’s embrace nor hear Jon’s cheers and congratulations. I was in love. I couldn’t even see the Flemish nobles next to Otgiva and their large moustaches as they disapproved the “youthful” manner in which I spoke or the total lack of consideration for their princess, not to mention the reactions of the other princesses and their retinues. It was a good thing that a large quantity of wine had been consumed, else somebody might have reacted negatively.

    Indeed I completely lost control, but what could I do when faced with an angel, when pierced by her eyes or lifted by her smile. Of course, after my declaration, one that in the heads of many promised a “future union”, yet more wine had been ordered. I got up from my seat and walked over to my father and mother, kissed her hands, all the while my father whispering “that’s my boy, that’s my son” to my ear, then I requested permission to sit next to the Flemish nobles. My goal, however, was to ultimately reach Otgiva, to hear her voice and gaze into her eyes, which of course did not happen. Instead, I was trapped for an entire hour between two nobles that introduced themselves as Lord Alwin van Vosselen and Lord Os van der Elst and then started to praise our wine and food, only to then ask me whether I wanted to know more about Flanders, about their King, their famous and deadly pikes and so on. For the time being, I only wanted to know just one thing about Flanders and she was so close that I need only rise from my seat and take three steps, yet miles away.

    Finally, when the Flemish Princess and her retinue rose to retire to their quarters I took the opportunity to accompany them. We left the hall and walked towards where their quarters were but I was unable to speak to Otgiva and besides, it would have been inappropriate. Therefore, flanked by the two nobles as I was, I turned to the older one and spoke loud enough for Otgiva to hear me:

    - Lord Alwin, in three days’ time I am forced to leave Arhus. May I have the honour of your company before then?
    - Certainly, my dear Prince, without a doubt, he replied. Seek me out when it is convenient for you. I am staying with Lord Bundgaard, he said.
    - I know, my Lord, I replied, I will come before the noon bells are rung.

    From Otgiva’s look I knew she had heard me and as I said farewell to the two nobles, I noticed she had dropped something. I waited for them to get further away and I picked up a blue ribbon with her initials embroidered. I then retired to my chambers, trying to get some rest out of the few hours that had remained until sunrise.
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    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 4 updated 10/02)

    Good chapter, I wonder if Prince Magnus will be happy with or come to regret his sudden, impulsive toast - and whether this will have implications for the relations between nations.

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 4 updated 10/02)

    You have done a great deal of effort in setting the scene of the wedding. Great descriptions and detail. The small tapestry pics were a nice addition to set the scene by illustration as well.

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 4 updated 10/02)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Good chapter, I wonder if Prince Magnus will be happy with or come to regret his sudden, impulsive toast - and whether this will have implications for the relations between nations.
    I'm sure people will see this as endearing, rather than as an insult. After all, Prince Magnus is an inexperienced young man.
    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    You have done a great deal of effort in setting the scene of the wedding. Great descriptions and detail. The small tapestry pics were a nice addition to set the scene by illustration as well.
    Much obliged. Yes, the olden mythology tapestries were the King's will, not a very pious man.
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 4 updated 10/02)

    First person can indeed prove more difficult because as an author you know things that character doesn't and struggle to find a way to share them. However, you've used it excellently here and it has really helped connect me to your characters and really make me care about them. It seems our young friend Magnus has made a rather impulsive decision, I am eager to see how it develops!

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 4 updated 10/02)

    Chapter 5 – The Girl

    The next morning I went to the docks. I was quite tired as I hadn’t had more than two hours of sleep, therefore the noises were amplified. Even though it was very early still, the docks were full of people, merchants setting up their stalls, dock workers carrying all variety of cargo to and fro, overseers barking orders, house servants trying to fulfill their various tasks, people that had just arrived and others that were looking for passage on one of the many ships that were getting ready to set sail. Passing through this swarm of men I soon reached the guarded area where the soldiers I was to take with me had gathered. Seeing me, they stood to attention and watched me with questioning eyes though none dared to speak. There were young faces that looked forward to this campaign, expecting glory and wealth, men my own age and even younger, but there were also older faces, faces of more experienced men that were probably wondering if they would return to see their families. They were worried about this new threat to their wellbeing as well as about their young general’s skill. They all knew I was the King’s second born but they also knew I hadn’t had any previous commands or any battle experience, though they did not let their concerns show. I however, being young, could only see the first men of my new army, my first command and opportunity to prove my worth. At the time I didn’t really realize these men had families that did not want to see them go to war. I passed the men with confidence, hiding whatever small doubts I had in the back of my mind. Soon I arrived at the commanding post, where Jon and Torben were present, as well as many of the navy captains and military officials.

    - My Lord, welcome, Jon greeted me smiling. I have wonderful news.
    - Good morning, I replied, what is this news you have for me?
    -
    Everything went as smooth as a ship with tail wind and we are ready to set sail at nightfall. No more waiting around.
    - Indeed, Sire, Torben added, the last of the men are waiting to board the ships.
    - Wonderful news indeed, I said. What’s the next stage then?
    - Well, Jon said, all that’s left is for the last banners to board the ships, give orders to the captains and set sail tonight.
    - Can’t they sail without us, I asked, wanting to spend another day in Arhus.
    - I wouldn’t advise it, Jon replied. I’ve already sent most of our forces to Lund, and I don’t want us to be without a guard.

    I remained with Jon and Torben, met the ship captains and the more important army officers, trying to act as confident as I could, considering we didn’t know what to expect. We consulted the sea charts, established the safest and fastest route and then I went to inspect the troops and talk to some of the men. We used information gathered from our previous raid but by now two weeks had passed so it wasn’t very reliable.

    As time passed, I remembered I had to go find Lord Alwin and thus try and have a few words with Otgiva. The very thought gave me wings as I hurried towards the palace. I arrived, changed my clothes to something more appropriate, took out the blue ribbon in order to give me strength and sent one of my servants to announce I would be arriving. Lord Bundgaard’s estate was a large one. I finally got to the wing where the Flemish Princess and her retinue were accommodated and I was soon accompanied through a large door, guarded by four very well dressed soldiers armed with the famous Flemish halberds. Sadly, as I entered I noticed that Otgiva was not there. There were though Lord Alwin van Vosselen, Lord Os van der Elst and Lord Ansgar Bundgaard, as well as others I had seen during the banquet but had not met. They were discussing about war tactics and strategic decisions and I was invited to arbitrate a dispute between two sides. They gave me the specific situation in which an army besieged a castle and while some said it was better to sit and starve the garrison, others argued that it was better to assault the castle. They discussed it for a long time, each side with its arguments and counter arguments, that if assaults were launched a large number of men would be lost, as even a handful of defenders could kill many before they would even reach the walls, while the others argued that by sitting around one was vulnerable to attack from a relieving force and then they would be surrounded. When one would propose to undermine the walls, another would counter with the presence of moats. The discussion went back and forth with nobody satisfied until finally Lord Alwin raised his hands and demanded silence:

    - Friends, please. Let’s see what the young Prince has to say.
    - Well, my Lords, I must say all of you offer great arguments, though the choice of whether to assault or starve the defenders is influenced by a large number of aspects, too many to name them. Though both sides gave magnificent examples, of which I am thankful, being able in this way to enrich my own knowledge, I must say I agree with both and none at the same time.
    - Do explain, one of the nobles demanded while the others were looking at me expectantly.
    - Well, the siege itself works towards those that prefer starvation, though the supplies the defenders would have are unknown to an attacker. Therefore, I would organize small, simultaneous assaults each night, all the while building siege equipment. Also, I added, our raiders are famed for scaling walls and ramparts. A small, elite force could infiltrate and open the gates, if time allowed.
    - Well said, Prince Magnus, well said, Lord Ansgar praised me. The Blekyng raiders are the best, as you say, he continued.
    Some congratulated me for my words, but most were not pleased and soon started to argue between themselves yet again, without paying any attention to my previous arguments. In the meantime, I used the opportunity to talk to Lord Alwin and after we withdrew a few steps, thus ensuring I couldn’t be heard, I confessed to him the true purpose of my visit.

    - My Lord, I started; I wanted to discuss a delicate matter with you. Forgive my straightforwardness, but after we talked at the banquet, I imagined I could count on you to help me.
    - Certainly, my dear Prince, I would be honoured to be of service to you.
    - I am afraid you will change your opinion, I said trying to impress him, but I haven’t been completely honest with you. You see, I actually wanted to ask if you could facilitate a meeting with fair Otgiva.
    - Young Prince, after your toast last night, I was surprised you didn’t ask sooner. Don’t forget I too was a young man once and know of such things. I am pleased to see however the youngsters these days haven’t forgotten everything about manners, which is not what I can say about myself at your age. You see…

    He then started telling me stories about the time he was young, how he had managed to woo a married noblewoman and the troubles he had gotten himself into when her husband had found out. I didn’t pay too much attention to his story, as all I wanted to do was talk to Otgiva and I had spent too much time with these nobles already. He finally told me she had gone for a walk in the palace gardens, accompanied by her maids and that he would take me there. We went outside and as we entered the gardens, my heart started to pound against my chest, I started to sweat and got very nervous at the thought I would talk to Otgiva after all. I saw her in the distance and as we approached, she recognized who I was, because she stopped and turned around, then laughter reached us from the group of girls that were with her. Lord Alwin made the official, albeit irregular, introductions:

    - Lady Otgiva, may I present Prince Magnus Knudsen of Denmark, our noble host and friend. Prince Magnus, I have the utmost pleasure of presenting you Princess Otgiva van Vlaanderen, daughter of Graaf Robert of Flanders and descendant of Baldwin the First.
    - I am your humble servant; I spoke as I bowed, completely and utterly shaken by the sight of the beautiful princess.
    - A pleasure to make your acquaintance, my Lord, she spoke with a voice of an angel, a voice I could only compare to the soothing sound of the sea, or the songs of the wind as it caressed the leaves in its way.

    We walked for a while, she at my hand, completely silent, neither daring to speak. Slowly we got accustomed to each other and started talking about her arrival in Arhus, her opinions of our capital as opposed to theirs. She asked about sites worth seeing and I told her of a few monasteries nearby she could visit, being glad I had paid attention to Harald when he spoke of them, as I usually had better things in mind. I asked what she thought of Princess Sophie of the Holy Roman Empire, though I could sense she was a bit hesitant to speak of my new sister, saying instead they hadn’t had too much time to talk to each other, except during the wedding banquet and a few other public gatherings they had both attended. We kept talking about different subjects until I summoned all the courage I could and finally said:

    - Princess, forgive my rudeness, but I must declare I haven’t seen a sight such as you in all my life.
    - You are young still Prince, perhaps you will have that opportunity yet, she said teasing me.
    - I may be young, but I assure you I am no fool, I replied, pretending to be offended.
    - Of that I have no doubt, she said, calling my bluff.

    I must confess I was a little taken aback by her words. I had asked around about her age, though I am not proud to admit it, and it was one of my mother’s maids that told me Princess Otgiva was no more than 17 years of age. I was 19 at the time, so I half expected her to be … a little less inclined to flirt, shall we say, though it proved I was mistaken.

    - You laugh at my expense Princess, but no matter. I will endure it with pride if that will convince you I speak the truth.
    - I do not mock you, kind Prince, but I was under the impression you took me for a naïve girl that would fall, swept off her feet, straight in your arms, she said.
    - You are mistaken Lady. I am a Prince of Denmark and I would not behave in a manner that would bring shame to my name or country, I said revealing the blue ribbon.
    - As I am a daughter of the Crown of Flanders, she added, getting the ribbon from my hands. Thank you for finding this for me.

    We teased one another for a little while longer, which both amused us as well as permitted us to know each other more. We stopped and sat down on a bench facing a large pond and remained silent, admiring the view. We could see the entire pond, as well as the large fountain placed at its center, with its wonderfully sculpted nymphs and dolphins. To each side of the pond were rose bushes and small trees and birds flew everywhere startled by a large black cat. We laughed at it when it tried to catch a pigeon as it flew past her, leaping as high as a man, without success. Past the pond was a large group of trees, especially planted to create the illusion you were in the woods and as the sun began to set and the warmth of the day slowly making room for the colder breeze of the night, I felt her shifting towards me. I put my coat on her shoulders, took her hands in mine but dared not look at her. We noticed a group of swans swimming graciously on the surface of the pond and two of them broke away from the group. They circled the fountain, stopped in front of us and then began touching their bills and intertwining their necks.

    - I heard that swans mate for life, Otgiva spoke slowly so as not to startle them. If one of them dies, the other sings and calls to her mate every night of its remaining days, letting it know it still waits.
    - I did not know that, I said, but I am glad it was you who told me.

    We rose in order to return to the palace but somehow we faced each other, standing, neither moving. The sun had set almost completely and the last rays of light came down on her like the gentle touches of a whisper. I wanted to kiss her and I imagined the touch of her lips, the warmth of her skin and how it would feel to caress her long, silken hair. We started walking towards the estate entrance and that is when I told her I had to leave Arhus, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do. I told her I wouldn’t be gone for long though I knew it to be a lie, and I assured her I would write her every chance I got. I urged her only two things, the first was to always write me back, as I would surely fall ill if she did not and the second was to remain in Arhus until my return. She hadn’t gotten a chance to answer, as Lord Alwin appeared before us smiling:

    - We were starting to get a little worried, why some even dared to mention that the young Prince might have kidnapped our Lady Otgiva, he said smiling and winking at me.
    - I assure you I was perfectly safe, dear uncle, Otgiva said. Prince Magnus is a perfect gentleman and host.
    I was completely surprised that Lord Alwin was Otgiva’s uncle, though this indeed helped me more than if he hadn’t been. We went inside and spent a few more minutes, and then I took my leave and asked Lord Alwin to accompany me. We stepped out into the hallway and I pleaded like never before:

    - Lord Alwin, I must give you the greatest of news. I am in love with Princess Otgiva and wish to marry her; I barely managed to contain myself.
    - This isn’t really news, Prince, he said, turning serious, I thought this ...
    - I know, my Lord, but even so I urge you to listen to me, I continued, my words coming out full of emotion and empty of rational thought.
    - My boy, he interrupted me, talk to your father first.
    - Indeed I will, I replied in a heartbeat. If it isn’t a nuisance, may we talk again tomorrow?
    - There’s no rush, Prince, Lord Alwin said smiling, but I’ll see you tomorrow if you want.

    I hadn’t any time to waste; I had to go see my father and tell him the wonderful news and arrange a meeting for the following day. Therefore I ran through the corridors like a mad man, passing the great reception hall, through the hallways, towards my father’s study. As I approached the opened door I heard voices. As soon as I entered, the King, Jon and Torben turned towards me.

    - Oh, it’s you, father said. I was wondering where you were. Jon here was telling me that everything is ready and you can set sail sooner than we thought.
    - Yes father, I know, but first I must talk to you of an important matter.
    - What is it?
    - It has to do with the Flemish Princess.
    - Ah, yes, that impressive looking girl, father said turning towards Jon and Torben.
    - Well, father, I went to see her tonight. We spoke and then I told one of the nobles with her, Lord Alwin van Vosselen, that I wanted to marry her, so you must summon him tomorrow and we will discuss the details. He told me he also had to send a messenger to his King but I guess he will do so after we talk.
    - I guess you don’t lose a minute, do you boy, father said laughing. I will have to think about it.
    - I love her, I said, sensing this wouldn’t be easy.
    - Yes, yes, I’m sure you think so, he said. Now sit down and tell us what’s what, then we can get back to our business, or have you forgotten about it already?

    I explained the situation, what I had talked with Lord Alwin and my utterly irrevocable decision. I explained the political advantages for both our kingdoms and pointed out that together with the alliance and ties to the Holy Roman Empire, we would have a solid position. Besides, the Flemish had to watch their backs against the French and the Germans… well… they didn’t exactly like them either. I urged him once more to not just consider the matter but I didn’t want to push him too much so I changed the subject.
    After leaving I went to seek out Harald and talk to him. Even though nothing had been decided yet, I wanted to marry Otgiva, and I knew this whole business was organised so that a wife would be found for me. However, I even thought about my father refusing, maybe he saw an alliance with the Russians more advantageous. It wouldn’t do. I found Harald having dinner alone and he invited me to join him.

    - Harald, I have important news. Only you can help me.
    - What happened boy, why so impatient?
    - I want to marry Otgiva. I have already told my father and Lord Alwin who, by the way, is her uncle. Why hadn’t anyone told me that? Anyway, we will meet tomorrow and I want you there to support me. In case either will refuse you have to tell both of them God wants this as much as me, though that won’t really convince my father. Just help me.
    - Now boy, calm down and don’t take God’s name in vain. I say, you are more like your father than you know.
    - I’m sorry Harald, but what do I do if they say no? Can I run with her? Isn’t this why she is here?
    - Now you’re just speaking nonsense, he scolded me. Don’t behave like such a child.You have nothing to worry about. Really, what do you think a Princess is doing at a foreign court? Or do you think she just happened to be around?
    - I don’t understand, I said. What do you mean?
    - Dear Lord, what do I do with this child? You two are to be married. Your brother married Princess Sophie and you will marry Princess Otgiva. This secures our borders and makes a mediator of Denmark between the Germans and the Flemish. These aspects have been long discussed and settled upon. That is indeed why the Princess is here, though I must say I hadn’t expected your father to change his mind and send you to Lund.
    - What about the other princesses? Did they know? I don’t understand, I said, slightly baffled but happy nonetheless.
    - Oh, stop it. You are the one that just came in screaming you want to run away with a princess if you can’t marry her and now that I tell you the wedding will take place, you’re worried about the others and about why nobody asked you, Harald continued.
    - Then why didn’t Lord Alwin inform me or my father?
    - You know how the king is. I think he just found an opportunity to make you crazy, “keep you alive” as he puts it.
    - What then, I asked.
    - Well, you can’t really be married in two days so I guess we’ll talk about the details at tomorrow’s meeting. Besides, it wouldn’t do to have another royal marriage so close to the first one.

    I didn’t know what to think of all this. As I found out later, Otgiva had known the reason for her visit to Arhus and she had assumed I did as well. The meeting the following day was just a formality. As the general points had been agreed upon beforehand, the only ones present were my father, Lord Alwin, Harald and I.

    - This is not quite an official gathering, my father said. Lord Alwin, do join me for a cup of wine.
    - With pleasure, your majesty.
    - Do we have to drink now, father, I said, still worrying.
    - Oh, relax, dear boy, there’s nothing a good wine and a fine woman can’t cure, he said laughing, spilling some wine on the floor. You’ll get married soon enough and you’ll only have the wine then, he continued, now both him and Lord Alwin laughing at my expense.
    - My King, we have to discuss when the wedding will take place, Harald intervened. With Magnus leaving tomorrow.
    - Well, I don’t think it will be long before that takes place. I imagine in two months’ time we’ll be celebrating your wedding here in the capital. What do you say?
    - Two months is a little too much, is it not, Lord Alwin spoke. How are we to impose on you, your majesty?
    - I know, but Magnus has to leave the capital and it will probably take about two months before he will be back.
    - Yes, I know, it’s about the rebels to the east, no?
    - It is, but I have faith he will manage them.
    - My boy, if I was but a few years younger I would come with you. It’s been a long time since I tested myself in real combat, Lord Alwin addressed me.
    - I thank you for the offer kind Sir, but you are guests here and I would never allow you to be placed in danger, I said. Besides, Otgiva would surely not wish to be parted from your company, I replied, more relaxed and feeling better.
    - I must say dear boy, Lord Alwin continued, your toast at the banquet was beautiful. I had to act all upset but I was barely containing myself, I would have kissed you right then and there.
    - Yes, son, you seem to hold your wine well enough but your words? Now that is a different matter, father said.

    I didn’t mind his words; I knew he meant nothing ill by them. He was actually in a good mood and it was a pleasure to have him around, though I was feeling awkward that he seemed to never treat Knud the same. In the end it was decided the wedding would take place after my return to Arhus and that the princess and her retinue would stay as guests until then. As we were about to take our leave, I asked my father if I could have a word with him. I wanted to talk to him about this affair with Erik. I didn’t know how to approach the subject so I decided I would say it directly.

    - Father, I wanted to ask why you are so decided to see Erik. Surely not even you can disregard the amount of evidence against him.
    - Magnus, these are troubled times. I have always tried to keep you and your brother out of the intrigue that normally goes on at court, though I’m not sure how well I’ve done so far. As you know, Erik and I were old friends; we’ve been fighting together since before I care to remember, we’ve shared the hardships of war and the joy of victory.
    - So why would he run, I asked, why not stay here and face the accusations?
    - That I don’t know, but I plan on finding out, that’s why I want to talk to him. I don’t want to march against him without giving him a chance to explain himself. We owe each other at least that. If it comes to war, I want to make sure there was no other way, but I don’t want to have a civil war now when the Swedish are menacing our borders. We have a treaty with the Norwegians but you know as well as I it can be broken at any time and we mustn’t be caught off guard.
    - But father, surely we are in a strong position now that we’ll have an alliance with the Germans and hopefully soon, with the Flemish as well.
    - That may be true, but you know what they say, if your house is on fire, the first to quench the flames should be you, then you can expect your neighbours to help. I need you to go to Lund and deal with this uprising. After I’ve talked to Erik and sorted this thing out I’ll come with additional forces.
    - I understand father, then I’ll leave you be. Tomorrow I have to go to Lund so I must prepare.

    With that I left my father’s study and went to see Knud. I wanted to congratulate him and also tell him the good news regarding myself and Princess Otgiva. I found him in his chambers, sitting at a table full of parchments and scrolls.

    - Well, I see you’re as busy as ever, I said walking in.
    - Hello Magnus. Yes, it’s a usual day for me, though now that I’ve been appointed governor of Arhus, I only expect things to get even busier.
    - But you’ve just gotten married. What about your planned trip?
    - Pff, we’re still going, but I believe it is to be next week. It will be shorter though.
    - I understand. Listen, tomorrow I’m going to Lund so I wanted to congratulate you on the wedding and tell you something. I too am to be wed soon, in about two months’ time.
    - Thank you brother and I know, I was the one that suggested this arrangement in the first place. Congratulations to you as well.
    - Well then, everybody seems to know I will get married except myself. Why haven’t you said anything?
    - I thought father would like to tell you, you know how he is. Besides, I wasn’t even the one to actually tell him; else he wouldn’t have even listened to me. I had to tell Lord Otto Falk and he was the one to talk to father.
    - Then remind me to thank Lord Otto properly, I said. Regarding father, I wanted to...
    - Listen Magnus, I know what you want to tell me, Knud interrupted me. But let me tell you something, he is getting old and reckless. He treats everybody with contempt and that’s when he is in a good mood. He doesn’t listen to good advice and he thinks he knows best about everything.
    - Yes, well, what can we do? I’ve asked him about this matter with Erik but he still wants to do it his way.
    - I’ve talked to Harald and he is going with father, Knud informed me. At least he’ll be there to temper him, Knud continued, and that’s still something.

    I talked to my brother more, about himself, about Princess Sophie and after we ate something I took my leave. It was already dark and I was supposed to leave the following day, but I still wanted to see Otgiva before that. As I walked towards the estate where the princess was staying, passing through the courtyard, it dawned on me that she had known about this arrangement all along, whereas I had had no idea. Well, I knew the general reason but not that it had been established well beforehand. It appeared as if she had been toying with me and I wanted to pay in kind. Instead of going through the main hallway, I went past the inner courtyard’s wall and stopped directly under her window. There was still light inside so I decided to climb the wall, but there was no way for me to reach her window. Instead I had to jump unto a small balcony belonging to one of the adjoining rooms. As I did so I heard her voice, talking to one of her servants, though I had no idea what she was saying. I waited there for a few minutes for the servants to leave. Suddenly the door to the balcony opened and Otgiva appeared, smiling.

    - I knew I would see you tonight, she said.
    - Did you know I would be here as well?
    - No, but I was waiting for you to come. My uncle told me about the meeting with your father and...
    - About the fact that I didn’t know we would be married, I continued her words.
    - Yes, he told me that as well, though I imagined as much yesterday.
    - Then why hide this, I asked her, why make the other retinues come from all over Europe with hopes of a marriage?
    - Well, you can’t just scorn everyone around you, can you now, she replied, looking intensely at me. You have to make people believe they have a chance, even if they don’t.

    We talked for a while longer but it was getting late. I told her I had to leave tomorrow but that I would be back soon. She promised she would come down to the harbour to see me off. As I was leaving, she grabbed my arm. I turned around and before I had time to say anything she kissed me. I put my arm around her waist and drew her closer. The touch of her lips, the smell of her skin, her soft breasts pressing on my chest, it was all perfect.

    - For good luck,
    she said after we stopped kissing.

    Still, I didn’t let go of her. I wanted this moment to last for all eternity, I half imagined everything else disappearing. Nothing else mattered now, only that we were here, together. After what seemed like just a fleeting moment I finally let go of her and slowly walked towards the door. I didn’t want to make this harder than it was.
    Last edited by Darkan; February 17, 2018 at 11:50 AM.
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    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 5 updated 17/02)

    Good chapter! It sounds like Princess Otgiva is perceptive and thoughtful, someone who could help Prince Magnus to navigate through dangerous political waters. I wonder if Denmark's better relations with the Germans and the Flemish in the south will mean that Denmark will go to war against one of its northern neighbours.

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 5 updated 17/02)

    I was thinking the same thing as Alwyn. Denmark is too small to make an enemy out of all of Europe -- heck even the big beasts of France and HRE cannot do that.

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 5 updated 17/02)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    It sounds like Princess Otgiva is perceptive and thoughtful, someone who could help Prince Magnus to navigate through dangerous political waters.
    It is true that what Magnus may lack, Otgiva could provide.
    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    Denmark is too small to make an enemy out of all of Europe -- heck even the big beasts of France and HRE cannot do that.
    Well, one "beast" is an ally. Certainly Denmark doesn't want to conquer everything.
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 5 updated 17/02)

    Chapter 6 – The Fortress

    The next morning I boarded Jon’s admiral ship, together with Torben. As she had promised, Otgiva had been there, as well as Knud and Princess Sophie, along with Harald. We sailed without trouble, the winds were favourable and the weather was warm. I spent most days talking to Jon and Torben, planning the campaign against Sautes, organizing future supply lines or reviewing reports and papers regarding Lund and its surrounding settlements. Early morning on our third day at sea the coastline appeared before us and we followed the trading routes to Lund, finally entering the small harbour shortly. The fleet was patrolling around the harbour and up the coast as we arrived and the troops were posted around the fortress, most of them doing some type of construction work.

    As I got to shore I left Jon to oversee the disembarking of the rest of the troops and I went directly to the keep together with Torben. Once inside I demanded wine and food to be brought and I requested that the captain of the garrison join us. I wanted to go over a few things while we ate and see what had been done over the past weeks since we had last been in Lund. Then I planned on riding around the countryside before really starting to tend to everything needed for the coming campaign.

    - Quite a different atmosphere from Arhus, is it not, Torben said.
    - Yes, it needs some getting used to.
    - I don’t know what to say. If we get too used to this place we might lose our manners, Torben said laughing, though I find it refreshing.

    The captain arrived and we sat down to eat. He was rather old to be just a captain.

    - Milord, my name is Rikard Hansen, I am a local, he said, I’ve served in the garrison ever since I was young, though I never saw any battle. Around here there is only the occasional band of thieves or the usual fights at the tavern.
    - Well, that’s about to change very soon, if it hasn’t already, Torben said.
    - Bad news started arriving days ago, the old captain said. We are all glad you’ve come, milord, this gives hope to the people.
    - We need more than hope from them if we are to succeed, Torben said.

    I was still thinking about Otgiva and hadn’t said anything to Rikard. He noticed it and stopped talking, unsure of what to do. Finally I asked him about how things were here.

    - What does milord wish to know; the old captain asked in return, looking a bit concerned.
    - Everything, I answered, but there will be time for that tomorrow morning. For now just tell me the garrison strength and the situation of the fortress in general.
    - We only have a banner of spears here, good men but inexperienced and somewhat poorly trained and equipped. As for the fortress, the walls need repairing in a few areas, though the new troops have cleared a large plot of land where a mustering hall was built.
    - This is good, I said, we’ll talk details tomorrow. Also, more men are coming ashore as we speak, please find accommodations for them and inform their officers that tomorrow morning they should assemble the men in the courtyard for an inspection. This applies to your men as well. After that you can give me all the information possible regarding the nearby settlements and forts.
    - Will do milord, will do, the captain said, excusing himself and leaving.
    - Poor sods, they will tremble in their pants tomorrow morning, Torben said, if they’re not doing it right now.
    - Well, they better, I said slightly upset. Imagine that, this is a fortress and the walls need repairing. I wonder what tomorrow will bring, though no doubt nothing pleasant.
    - I do believe we have a lot of work on our hands, Torben agreed. I will let you rest my Prince.
    - Sleep well tonight, for tomorrow we have a big day.
    - You too Sire, Torben said as he left the dining room.

    I spent the rest of the day getting set in and after that I went for a ride to get familiar with the immediate surroundings. The next morning I summoned Jon, Torben, captain Rikard and others who held key positions in Lund. The reports were not what I expected and it seemed I was getting more than I had bargained for. I ordered the repairs to be started as soon as possible, as the walls were our main defence against Sautes and his armies. For this we needed lumber and stone. Then we organised the men, established the main patrol routes and demanded more discipline. The garrison’s status was not to my liking so I demoted some of their officers for the lack of discipline and promoted others from the men I had brought from Arhus. I sent soldiers to requisition horses from nearby villages and started to stock food for the campaign against Kalmar. The days passed very fast as we had a lot of work to do. The iron ore I had brought aboard the ships was given to the smiths and new weapons and armour were ordered. Work had been done day and night without interruption and within a fortnight a new armoury had already been raised near the mustering hall, as we needed a place for new recruits to be brought and somewhere to store the extra equipment. Lord Torben was tasked with clearing even more land in order to make enough room for the fortress’ expansion in the future as well as the building of new facilities. As I said, we barely had time for ourselves.



    Then one day, as I was studying maps of the region, one of the servants came in and told me a noble had arrived by boat and had requested to see me, though he had not given his name. I told the servant to show him in, wondering who it was. The door opened and Lord Finn Skovsgard walked in smiling.

    - My Prince, I am so happy to see you, he said.
    - To what do I owe this pleasure? I asked, inviting him to take a seat.
    - I bring you message from the King and not only, he said as he handed me a stack of letters.
    - I hope you travelled well. With the Swedish uprising one can never be too careful.
    - I have, thank you for asking. I am going to my castle north of here and the King asked if I could make a detour and deliver you these letters.
    - You didn’t have to go to this much trouble, I said, though I thank you for coming.
    - No trouble at all. It was my intention to come to Lund and see how everything is going. I see you managed the place quite well, you’ve improved the defences.
    - It hasn’t been easy I assure you, I said smiling.
    - Indeed, these country folk here are a bit rough. I hope all is well.
    - It is, Lord Finn. Will you be joining the campaign then?
    - Sadly, I cannot. I am under orders from the Council of Nobles to strengthen the northern castle and to guard the approach to Lund once you leave.
    - Will you have time to stay for a few days at least? I could use your help managing things here in Lund.
    - I have to disappoint you yet again, he said. I only stopped to deliver these letters to you and will leave shortly. My retinue of bodyguards waits outside the walls as we speak. However, once I reach my destination and organize things there have no doubt in asking for whatever you need and I shall assist you to the best of my abilities.
    - What is new in Arhus? How are the King and Queen and tell me of my brother as well, I asked, curious to find out how things developed after I left.
    - Both the King and Queen are well, though we haven’t managed to change his mind about seeing the traitor Erik, Finn said. After you left Prince Knud addressed the issue within the High Council and all our efforts to persuade the King were to no avail. I do believe he is heading south as we speak, he added.
    - He was always like that, I said, I don’t see why this time would be different.
    - It is not my place to say, my Lord.
    - And how is Knud?
    - Your brother is well. A week ago he and Princess Sophie returned to Arhus from a quick trip in the islands. They send their regards and wish you health and strength for the task ahead, as do we all.
    - Thank you milord, I appreciate your words. So does that mean I am to expect the King to march against Sautes soon, am I not?
    - That I don’t know, but we started recruiting more men and when I left Arhus three spear banners and a scout company had been levied.
    - That is good news Lord Finn, good news indeed.
    - If you’ll excuse me my Prince, Finn said, I don’t want to keep you any longer as I too have a lot of work to do and the sooner we finish the better it will be. Goodbye, he said as he took his leave.

    As soon as he left I closed the door, told the guard I wasn’t to be disturbed for the next half hour and opened the letters. There were three in total: one indeed had my father’s seal on it, the second one was from Knud but the third one had no noticeable symbols or signs but I knew whom it was from. I decided to open this first and indeed, it was from Princess Otgiva. She wrote only a few words, she hoped I was in good health, prayed for my safe return to Arhus and assured me she would be waiting for me there. She also said that she missed me and she regretted not having had more time to spend together. I then proceeded to opening Knud’s letter. He talked about Sophie and their trip, writing that he had wished I had been there, a wish I, too, shared. He told me about the Council’s discussion and their attempts to convince my father not to go see Erik and informed me that he had begun recruiting as well. The last letter I opened was from father.

    My dear Magnus,

    I hope my letter finds you in good health and spirits. Your mother sends her love and pleads you take care of your health. We missed you at your brother’s banquet before they left for the islands. No matter what you heard, it was boring, as political banquets often are. Knud however seemed to understand that this is better for Denmark. That German prince made quite the impression here at court, though I think he overreacted a bit. I wanted to talk to you about Otgiva. I know you care for her but for now you have to be patient and focus on your duty and mission. You can celebrate the wedding when we come back to Arhus, after we take care of Sautes, as we spoke. Harald also sends his best wishes and he said he will pray for you, however little good that might do. Anyway, I will keep this short as I now have to depart; I’m going to talk to Erik. Take care of yourself son, make us proud. I’ll meet you in a couple of weeks. I embrace you and kiss your forehead.

    I immediately started writing letters for Otgiva and Knud and after that I sent a messenger to Arhus. Shortly after that a carrier pigeon arrived. Until that moment I hadn’t been made aware that we possessed them and was very angry at the old captain for failing to tell me. I was given the message; it contained incredible information:

    My Lord Prince Magnus, Sautes has left Kalmar and taken most of his army with him. The city is defended by five bands of raiders and four crossbow militia companies. The time to strike is now. Svend



    I never recalled a Svend. I would have to find out more about this man but for now I had more pressing matters. I gave the message to Jon to read and his words said it all:

    - The ships are ready to set sail, all that’s left is to gather the men and then board them.
    - I will summon the officers right now, Torben said and left.
    - If we leave Lund by nightfall, we can lay siege on Kalmar on the fourth day, Jon added.
    - Let’s go, I said while grasping the hilt of my sword. Swedish heads wait for our blades to fall upon them.

    The troops had boarded the ships without a moment to spare. I personally congratulated the old captain for his very first campaign. Everybody needed to understand that we all had to do our best during these times and that there were no exceptions. Still, I had decided to leave two banners of spears in Lund and the peasant levies and gave them orders to keep up the patrols and send messengers if they spotted enemy movements. I also let them know where they could reach Lord Finn and I authorized their officer to summon him to Lund should strong enemy forces be spotted. With that, we boarded the ships and set sail. We had agreed to split the fleet into three groups, two spear banners under my command, the elite archers, led by Torben and finally, the third group, comprised of the two peasant archer banners under the command of Admiral Jon.

    We sailed north along the coast. The plan was simple: reach Kalmar’s walls as soon as we disembarked. We would also remain within the reach of the fleet, should Sautes march back, so as to be able to withdraw, though I hoped my first battle would not bring shame upon me. Halfway into our trip we landed ashore and started to make camp. I and Torben had already landed but then night came and when it was Jon’s turn to land his troops, unknown sails were spotted and soon the fleet was attacked.



    We saw torches and lit arrows fly from ship to ship, shouted orders were heard everywhere and chaos ensued. We could do nothing, though the Norse archers did try to shoot arrows at the enemy. Slowly, the noises drifted further away until total silence took its place. When morning came, the sea was calm and no signs of the previous battle were seen. It was as if all had been a dream, if not for the hundreds of men that witnessed the same thing. I was at a loss what to do next. The bad news was that I only had two thirds of my army, which hadn’t been too large in the first place, Jon was missing, most likely dead, together with the two banners of peasant archers and if I decided to continue the campaign, I would have to march through thick forests nobody knew, through enemy territory and to risk an encounter with Sautes. The good news…there was none. To go back to Lund, we would have missed the opportunity to strike a decisive blow; to continue was to go blind. I talked to Torben and we decided to push on to Kalmar.
    [DLV 6.2 AAR] - The Danish House of Hen - updated 20/08/18 - on hold
    [King of Dragon Pass AAR] - The Drakkar Saga - updated 14/04/18 - on hold
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  20. #20
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (text heavy, some pics - Ch. 6 updated 24/02)

    A good update to a Danish House. Setbacks are a part of the misfortunes of war. Glad to see this in your writing.

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