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

  1. #81
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.16 updated 07/07)

    Nicely done, I enjoyed Lord Erik's tale of the days when he and the previous king were young men, his comment about the 'two sides' of Magnus is a thoughtful one. Svend is an interesting character and I found his answer to the question about what he needed to be surprising, too. I hope we'll see more of Erik and Svend as well as Magnus, Otgiva and Lady Sophie.

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.16 updated 07/07)

    Lord Erik is becoming a great asset for Magnus and the Kingdom of Denmark. A wise and noble man. As Alwyn stated I also find Svend a very interesting character and I hope to see more of him in the future. +rep

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.16 updated 07/07)

    Thank you all for your comments and support. I haven't forgotten about Magnus, I'm having some difficulty writing a bunch of letters but I'll have more free time in August so hopefully next weekend at the latest I'll post the next update. Thank you for your patience.

    @ Swaeft - Yes, Sautes' demise will surely bring some peace to the kingdom, if only in these remote areas.
    @ Alwyn - Lord Erik is a father figure for Magnus and can surely "show" the king other aspects of his father's life that he may not have known very well. Regarding the other characters, rest assured, they're still very much a part of Magnus' and Denmark's tale.
    @Turkafinwe - Lord Erik's experience is there for the king to rely on and he, as well as Svend, fully support Magnus in his endeavours.

    I'm also a bit behind on reading, so that's what I'm planning on doing once august starts, catching up and writing some more.
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.16 updated 07/07)

    Chapter 17 – The Letters, Part 1

    Once the battle was over I found myself staring at Sautes’ corpse for a very long time. Around me, the men were busy burying the dead, both friend and foe, looting their bodies indiscriminately. Life was happening around me, after death had been in the center of our actions, good, bad and everything in between: friends congratulated each other for having survived yet another day, others mourned their fallen comrades, a few dealt with the battlefield horror by drowning in kegs of wine and mead; the mercenaries tallied their numbers, this fight increasing the survivors’ share of both plunder and coin.

    I couldn’t be a part of anything that was going on around me, I only stared at my foe, this terrible and bloodthirsty man who seemed so strangely at peace in death. Here was I, the victor, still harbouring strange thoughts and struggling with worrisome events, while Sautes lay at peace. I suspect this is the only advantage the dead enjoy, to have left all worry and concern behind.

    Lord Erik approached with his nephew and brought me back to the realities of duty and command.

    - King Magnus, he said, time to decide our next steps. I’ve already issued command to set up camp, but we cannot remain here more than a couple of days.
    - Indeed, Lord Erik, we cannot, I replied and rose slowly, suddenly feeling the effects of battle. We’ll rest and early tomorrow we’ll see how to proceed. Even so, the men should be ready to go in two day’s time.

    Erik left but Asmund remained, he too glancing over Sautes’ body.

    - He spoke to me, Asmund murmured, almost too quietly for anyone to hear.
    - What of? I asked, not really wanting to pry, but Asmund paid no mind to me.

    He knelt by Sautes’ side and started arranging his deathly posture, giving it a more dignifying look. He worked slowly, yet precisely, cleaning the blood spatters from Sautes’ armour and helm, wiping his face clean before lowering the visor.

    - He wasn’t a bad man, in the end, he continued, though speaking to no one in particular. As I plunged my sword into his body, he grabbed my arm with an iron grip and then...”Thank you for a worthy end, my friend” he said.

    I said nothing. Whether Asmund had indeed spoken to me or himself mattered little, the words had been uttered. I called a couple of men that were nearby and told them to find or makeshift a boat.

    - We’ll give him a Viking burial, I told Asmund, though he seemed not to hear.

    As the men scurried away, I realised we knew nothing of Sautes. He had been a ghost, a symbol of the treachery committed by Lord Otto, but nothing more had been revealed. We knew nothing of the gods he believed in, of his ambitions and desires, whether he had done everything for coin alone or for a higher purpose. He had collaborated with Otto and Finn, which had doubtlessly put him opposite me and my own. “Enemies by Fate”, I thought and walked away, not wanting to be haunted by this man’s presence any longer.

    That night, my sleep was restless, though even a temporary moment of respite was better than none. I woke up still feeling tired, struggling, but I started with the day’s tasks. Throughout all the long marches and after most battles, I found that it’s better to keep oneself busy, especially if no chance for rest exists, so as to not let fatigue bring you down completely.

    Lord Erik and Asmund were already waiting in Erik’s tent, as were the mercenary commanders and the Danish nobles commanding various banners. Conversations were light and even laughter was present. Now that the battle had been won and the enemy had suffered a great loss, the commanders were all calmer and more relaxed. The meeting was as efficient as was brief: messengers would be sent to Lund and on to Arhus, to announce the battle outcome and our general plans. Lord Erik would take half the forces, including the mercenaries, and would march back to Finn’s castle, then to Lund and, after raising more men, back to Arhus. A scout squadron would ride ahead to Kalmar, to hopefully catch Lord Torben and Harald before their leaving for the capital. They were also instructed to tell Admiral Jon, should he be present in Kalmar, to wait for my arrival. The parties going to Lund and Arhus had similar orders: Jon was to sail to Kalmar.

    The sense of urgency somewhat lessened, I looked forward to marching to Kalmar. I would have a chance to get to know this wild part of the kingdom, as well as its people, and also give them a chance to know me, however secluded and suspicious of outsiders some may be. There were still those in Blekyng and in the newly conquered Småland that followed olden rituals and gave prayers and sacrifices to the Gods of Asgård.

    The men marched without hurry; we al needed rest, as much as can be had when marching through heavily forested areas and wild, untamed land, with only the occasional village sprouting from behind rocky hills. We sometimes headed towards the coast but even so, the pace was not exactly slow and we were in constant contact with Kalmar, as messengers rode to and fro every few days. I had thus learnt that Torben and Harald were still in Kalmar, due to some issues with a local chieftain, and that they would await my arrival. On one of these return trips from Kalmar, the messengers brought me a heavy satchel full of parchments, letters and reports. While we marched through Småland’s forests, news of our victory had reached all corners of the kingdom and everybody had written me, sending the letters to Kalmar. Torben had sent it further my way and had contributed a letter of his own and even Lord Erik had had time to reach Lund and send his own report.

    Letter from Lord Erik Rosen

    To Lord Magnus, by God’s Grace King of Denmark and Ruler of the Swedish Dominions, Erik sends greetings and wishes of good health.

    May God smile upon Your gracious heart and Your brave spirit and grant You strength for the forthcoming trials and steady mind and sword arm, as surely, in His wise love for You, He will deny it to Your enemies.

    All goes well at Lund, as your subjects work tirelessly for the Kingdom and the King, Your Majesty, in building new defences and growing the fortress. As per Your wise instructions, the road network has been repaired and extended, allowing the garrison more easily to patrol Your Grace’s province of Skane. New quarters for the men have also been completed, and as instructed, I have managed to recruit for Your army several spear banners and lightly armed cavalry squadrons.

    We are sailing to Arhus, where we all shall await Your Majesty’s timely return, crowned with the glory of vanquishing your foes.

    Ever Your loyal vassal and advisor, Erik Rosen, by Your Majesty’s will, Lord of the Realm and Council Member.





    Letter from Count Eskild of Gjorslev

    To the glorious and virtuous Lord Magnus, King of the Danes and Swedes, from his most humble diplomat, Eskild of Gjorslev, a missive and all respect and honour, along with wishes of health and clear skies before You, our most benevolent and gracious Ruler.

    I urge Your Highness to look favourably upon Your servant, who has fulfilled Your command, for “an apple is better when given than when eaten”. Envoys bearing gifts have been sent on Your Grace’s behalf to Your illustrious father-in-law, Graaf Robert van Vlaanderen, informing his Majesty of Your recent victories on the field of battle and God sent favour. To the Imperial Court Your Majesty’s agents were sent as well, to inform the glorious Kaiser Friedrich the Champion of Your wise decision to have fair Lady Sophie remarry with a notable and worthy Danish Lord. News of Your Grace vanquishing the despicable Sautes in battle, action sanctioned by the Almighty God above, has also been forwarded to all European Courts, so that Your prestige and standing may rise, and ours, poor servants of Your majesty, as well.

    Once more, Your vassal and servant wishes You good health and God’s Grace upon You, may You return to us in good time and sound health, so that we may welcome You properly and thank You for rightly protecting us and the kingdom.

    Evermore Your obedient servant and loyal vassal, Eskild, by Your Grace’s will, Count of Gjorslev.
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 updated 04/08)

    Good chapter, the contrast between the troubled victor and the peaceful vanquished foe is well done. The letters provide interesting windows into developments elsewhere such as what has happened to Lady Sophie. I'm looking forward to Part 2!

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 updated 04/08)

    It's good to see Sautes was, altough an antagonist in the story, a honourable man in his own regard. What intentions led him to choose the "other" side of the conflict is (yet) unknown. Good to see Magnus honour the dead in a respectful way even though they were his enemies. The letters are, as Alwyn says, a nice window into developments throughout the kingdom. It also gives a nice window into the personalities of the wiriters of said letters. Lord Erik we know as a loyal and direct man, as is reinforced in his short but to the point letter. In comparison to the more grovely Count Eskild, at least that's how I see it. +rep

  7. #87

    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 updated 04/08)

    Great update! Loved the stark contrast between life and death, and it is rather interesting for our protagonist to think retrospectively about Sautes only after his death. Kind of a sudden realization that he isn't all that bad. But he's definitely the enemy, though. Some serious bootlicking there from the Councillors, but I guess that is to be expected. Keep it up!

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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 updated 04/08)

    Thank you all for your comments and, especially, your patience. One of the reasons why it took so long to have Ch.17 up is that I researched formal letter writing in the medieval world, just to test things out. Thank you for the kind words regarding Magnus and Asmund's perception of Sautes. Although vanquished and dead, 'tis mayhaps the case his story be far from over. Part 2 is to follow shortly!
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 updated 04/08)

    Chapter 17 – The Letters Part 2

    Letter from Lord Torben Tornekrans, Steward of Småland

    To King Magnus of Denmark, Protector of the Realm and Ruler of Sweden, Your most loyal vassal and friend, Torben, sends greetings and good will.

    My King, the news You are approaching Kalmar gladdens my heart, as too long it has been since I have had the pleasure of Your presence. I am happy beyond measure You deem it important enough to come here, and may God send good weather and a voyage without troubles.

    Your victory over the renegade Sautes has brought joy to all our hearts here and peace to the region. I trust this letter finds You well, as I need to recount to Your Majesty what has transpired in these faraway lands that You now grace with Your presence.

    Although Sautes lies defeated, his vassal and follower Ditlev still remains in full possession of an armed force and castle. He has raided several villages and I have sent countless patrols to counter him. No sooner had one of these patrols left Kalmar that its captain, Ejsten, decided to join Ditlev, upon promise of coin and plunder. Rest assured my King that I have not sat idly by: the traitor has been dealt with, as has Ditlev’s location been found.

    A third matter of importance is the disappearance of a local noble from Svealand, Christian by name but not by demeanour or character, as he openly spoke against You and the Kingdom. What troubles me, Milord, is that he was much respected by the free-willed people in the region, and they now suspect Your vassal of wrongdoing, though I assure Your Majesty it is far from the truth.

    I therefore plead and request, twofold, my King, You believe I had no hand in this nefarious action. I urge and beseech You to look favourably upon me, Your most loyal of friends. As proof of my loyalty, I ask Your Majesty to consider marching against Ditlev, myself at Your side, or let me do so, on Your behalf and command.

    Here I must end this letter, begging Your Grace not to ignore my pleas, as foes still roam this land, both seen and unseen.

    Your most loyal friend and vassal, Regent of Småland by Your design and order, Torben Tornekrans, ever Your brother in arms.



    Letter from Lady Sophie

    To King Magnus, King of Denmark and Sweden, Defender of the Kingdom and God’s gift to all Danes, Sophie, Your sister, sends good will and loving thoughts.

    Your Majesty, I beg You look kindly upon Your forsaken sister and her words, whom God has deemed in need of suffering. As God looks kindly upon the sinner, so Your Majesty should let Your heart open to my pleas.

    I have taken counsel with Your beloved wife, Queen Otgiva of Denmark, as well as Your Majesty’s revered Mother, Queen Adela, and both have spoken wise and comforting words.

    Your Grace’s decision to find a suitable husband for me brings joy to Your poor sister’s life, as proof You have not forsaken or abandoned my fate. If it please Your Majesty, I have but one humble request, to let me travel to my father’s house before the wedding, so that I may once more see my mother and father, as well as my two brothers.

    Should You agree, and I hope and trust You shall, I will be ever in Your debt, though how to repay such kindness and attention I know not.
    Forgive my words, kind brother Magnus, and do not be angry with me. Should You forbid my visiting my parents I shall accept and bear no ill will towards You or Your House, though my heart hopes You will allow such modest a request.

    Eternally your loving and devout sister, Lady Sophie Salian.

    Letter from Queen Otgiva of Denmark

    To her Lord, nay, King, to her master, nay, husband, his handmaid, nay, wife, to Magnus, Otgiva. King of my heart, I pray these words find you healthy and steadfast, as ever I know you. With how very much sincere affection I love and cherish you, be tranquil in knowing my feelings have changed not, and will continue to be so, much more, until the day you return to my arms. I so very miss your mesmeric presence and strongly need and want you be here.

    My Love, the reason for my missive is threefold. Embraces and prayers shower you from us, your wife, sister and mother, upon hearing of your clash with the enemy, and praise be that you are victorious, as undoubtedly we knew, and unharmed. Your Mother fares better, sister Sophie and myself see her often, and she started telling stories of your childhood and of the many mischievous frolics of youth. She also tells us much of King Knud, your brother, and Lady Sophie bears them well enough.

    The second reason for my writing you, my Love, is to give you great news. After many conversations with Count Eskild and Lady Sophie, we have agreed on a list of possible candidates for her hand. The first one, proposed by Count Eskild, is Lord Egil of Mariager. Though quite old, he is highly esteemed and can provide a carefree life for Sophie. The second candidate is a young lord, Sigmund Hanssen, whose Lordship is south of Arhus. The third candidate, though by no means last, is, perhaps unsurprising to you, Lord Torben Tornekrans himself, a man whose worth and loyalty to you I need not mention.


    My Lord, I urge you to consider them carefully, to accept counsel from your friends and allies, should you deem it worthy to listen, and upon reaching a decision, I beg you let us know, so that we may start the necessary preparations. I again urge you to consider Lady Sophie’s petition to you, as no doubt a change in scenery, air and society will do her God’s good, and seeing her family will no doubt be beneficial both to her health and to their opinion of your magnanimous heart.


    My Magnus, be well and healthy, as I am, and know that I fiercely await your return. I need you, and though matters of the Realm keep you away for now, know that our love grows daily and will someday bear fruit. We love and miss you. No more to you at this time, but know I think long about being in your arms.


    Your ever loving wife and Queen, Otgiva.


    ***

    News came to me all over the kingdom, and I was honestly surprised to see most of it was good. Things were going as planned, according to both Lord Erik and Count Eskild, within as well as without. New troops were available for the coming campaigns against Otto, once we found out where he had gone. Relations seemed to be improving with our two most important allies, the County of Flanders and the Roman Empire. This made me think of Lady Sophie’s words more closely. I had no real reason to forbid her visit her parents, though her father was the Emperor himself. In truth, everybody knew Kaiser Friedrich was tied up in the Italian Peninsula, trying to counter the Pope and the Italian cities and struggling to maintain the Empire’s position there. Thus, Lady Sophie would no doubt have direct contact with her brothers, König Heinrich, the Heir Elect, and Conrad, his right hand. I would have to consider this closely. I missed not having Lord Erik or Admiral Jon with me, where they might have given counsel on the matter, but I knew once I reached Kalmar I could rely on Harald’s advice.

    Torben’s letter worried me a bit more. I had been so focused on Lord Otto and Sautes that I had completely neglected the existence of his vassal. Now here he was, causing trouble within the Danish ranks. I summoned Asmund and the captains and told them of the letter’s content. I had Asmund gather a party and ride before us, with orders for Torben. We would indeed march against Ditlev, provided his location was known without doubt. I was of a mind to rest the troops that had participated in the battle against Sautes and take Torben’s forces, but the captains of the King’s Arrows, the two Norse archer banners that had been with me since the very beginning, vehemently opposed this, saying that the men would never accept abandoning their king during wartime.
    This is their pride, my King, one of the captains had said, that they are favoured by You and trusted to guard Your well being.” I relented, though I needed little convincing, and it was decided they would march as well. That same day Asmund and his party left, as we weren’t long to reach Kalmar. He would work with Torben to have quarters ready for the men and the garrison forces ready to march. The matter with the local lord was not as important. Of course, it didn’t do to have nobility speak against the Kingdom, even if they weren’t Danish, but I trusted Torben and knew his character well to not suspect him of improper or thoughtless behaviour.

    I have to admit I was surprised to have Otgiva say he was one of the candidates for Lady Sophie’s hand. Not because he was unworthy, but I never expected to be in the position of marrying my best friend off, especially to my brother’s widow. Truly Fate, if such a thing exists, scoffs at men’s trials and ordeals. Still, this matter had to be considered closely. Lord Egil of Mariager was a trusted Lord, albeit a minor one, very much so beneath Lady Sophie’s standing. Even if she were to accept him, this would probably not sit well with her family. They were one of the oldest houses in Europe, and have the Emperor’s daughter marry an older, lower noble? There would be unforeseen consequences. Lord Sigmund Hanssen was loyal as well; else he would not have been chosen, but still too brash. I realised I had been as brash as he, and perhaps even today I might have continued to be, were it not for the burden of being King. Still, although noble and of a very good family, marrying Lady Sophie would increase his influence far more than I expected was necessary. Bah, here I was turning into my father, seeing shadows everywhere and thinking about politics. Well, the decision made itself, in a way, and even though Otgiva hadn’t said it directly, I knew her well enough to understand from her letter that Torben was the best, and safest, choice.

    Oh, my dear Otgiva, how I missed her. I knew her feeling were the same, but I was happy beyond measure to read her words, to smell her scent on the parchment and to know that her hands held the same object I now held. Our love does grow daily, she is right, and though we are apart, we are always together. She had called me King of her heart, when in truth she was the Queen of mine. She had endured many solitary moments, but she had done so with strength and character, and she had always known when to lift my spirits. Indeed, our love grew and continues to grow, as I felt with each passing day more strongly, and I longed to see her and become lost in her embrace.

    I spent the remainder of the march thinking of home, my mother and Otgiva, thinking of family, of olden days when everything was peaceful and I was carefree. Having received word from Torben that most everything was set, I allowed myself a few days of contemplation.

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  10. #90

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

    I've read your AAR and love it. The style of your letters has been very good. I can't think of much that could be improved.
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    Please stop using politics as an excuse for bad writing.
    That being said: A deep philosophical take about god, Nietzsche, Marx & faith.
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  11. #91
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 Part 2 updated 20/08)

    @ Cookiegod: Thank you very much for your kind words, glad you've enjoyed the story so far.

    I have, however, a bit of bad news. Due to some RL stuff I'll have to put this AAR on hold for some time. It shouldn't be very long, hopefully only a couple of months at the most, but during this time I'll have little to no time to be on the forums either (has to due with uncertain internet conditions for the near future as well). However, I can and do promise you I'll use this time to prepare the next update/s, so, to quote a well known character, "I'll be back!".

    In the meantime, there are a host of other AARs you can delight yourselves with, as well as the writing competitions. You'll find the TotW link in my signature!

    Once more, thank you everyone for the comments and constant encouragement. "Catch you on the flippity flip!"
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  12. #92
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 Part 2 updated 20/08)

    Like Cookiegod said, the quality of these letters are very good. All very interesting developments. The love between Magnus and Otgiva really seems like a fairy tale come to life. Let's hope it lasts shall we. A pity you have to put it on hold for some time. I'll be eagerly awaiting its and your return to the forum. Have a good'un!

  13. #93

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

    I've finally had some time to sit down and read this update, and it is quite a lovely one. The formatting that you use for the letters gives it a rather authentic feel, and it seems that your kingdom has another problem to deal with in Ejsten and Ditlev. Don't fret about RL issues, we'll be here awaiting your return. Have a good break!

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  14. #94
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    Default Re: [DLV 6.2 AAR] The Danish House of Hen (Ch.17 Part 2 updated 20/08)

    Good chapter, the focus on issues of social standing and character sounds authentic for someone making the decision which is being made about Lady Sophie here. I wonder who she would have preferred. I couldn't find any hints in Lady Sophie's own letter. It sounds like Queen Otgiva favours Torben (at least, that's what Magnus thought). When you are able to continue this, I'll look forward to seeing what happens next!

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