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Thread: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

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    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Eagle
    Chapter 1: The Invocation

    The year is 1000 AD and I am Holmkell, the author and chronicler of these works which will be my legacy. My birthright, my destiny has been stripped from me and I am made a prisoner in the confines of "paradise." I stand as merely one of the countless souls which will fall to ruin and obscurity if left to the whims and designs of hateful gods and indifferent Kings. I serve under Haakon of House Kettil, King of The Norse-Gaelic Sea and ruler of northern Britannia. For the past 122 years, House Kettil has fought tirelessly to build their own legend and that of the Kingdom of Sudreyar. While I despise House Kettil and almost all who have borne it's name, they have inexorably shifted a minor nation clutching to the northwestern reaches of Britannia into the superpower I find myself trapped in today. Their value...to the common people at least is worthy of recording and will be the bedrock of my revenge. I am a noble destined for greatness, yet the few pursuits worthy of my family are all denied me. I am forbidden to lead armies, the subsequent glory of battle, and perhaps one day finding myself in The Halls of Valhalla. To feast, to fight, and to look after loved ones at hearth and home...is this not the intrinsic desire of every man? This is a future I will never see if left to my king's supposed "wisdom." If not battle, perhaps prudent leadership and bettering the lot of the people would be befitting of my station I then supposed. But not one single governor has been appointed in The Kingdom of The Norse Gealic Sea for decades. House Kettil rules over it all in an inglorious mess of couriers and direct leadership that stymies the whole Kingdom from ruling over all of Britannia proper. Dejected and broken I surmised at least I could provide for my family, rule over an estate perhaps, and forge a legacy of stone and wood for my children and their children forever to possess and live in. My name would be forgotten, but the hall of my family would live on I mused. But even this...EVEN THIS HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM ME!!! Each and every estate belongs to House Kettil while noble houses like my own are all forced to live in the filthy shacks and ramshackle lodgings the common people call "home." But I will not be hounded away so easily. No...I will not fade quietly into the darkness of the next world without struggle or protest as outside forces attempt to deride my family's name. For I have traveled to distance lands aboard the longships of our ancestry and seen distant lands...Francia, Portugal, even the distant tundras of The Rus. I have learned to read and write while my people and their leadership remain stagnant and unlearned. One day House Kettil will be ash, The Kingdom of The Norse Gaelic Sea will diminish, but MY WORK will live on. The words I bear on these pages will become immortal, and proudly fly over the corpses of House Kettil and all who spurned me until time ends itself and Ragnarok claims this world.

    Hear me Odin...let me bear wisdom and knowledge such as you, to know never to trust you again. Thank you for the wisdom to know that glory and significance must be taken, not prayed for.
    Hear me Thor...let me bear courage and rage as I never have before, to know the fury of battle and to be spoken of in sagas such as you. But unlike you, I will not be defined merely by powers or gear but legitimate skill.
    Hear me Loki...Let every barb, every insult, and every grating word haunt the dead of House Kettil and their sycophants forever. May they know I have exceeded them not in this lifetime and not many lifetimes after, but in time immemorial. May they skulk and hang their heads in Valhalla, knowing I have defeated them and their Kingdom in the end.
    Hear me Baldr...may you bring justice and comeuppance before me and my family, may your light shine through and unveil the injustices cruelly heaped upon my family and their name. And should you fail in this, may it be made clear why the simple arrowhead of mistletoe brought you low and sent you to Hel.
    Hear me Hodr...We are kindred souls you and I, cruelly cheated by powers beyond our control. May we meet in The Halls of Valhalla and delightfully discuss vengeance and the malign cruelty of this world.
    Hear me Vali...You and I are forged with singular purpose, and deliberately cheated of all other pursuits and pleasures in life. Grant me the singular focus to be unerring in my task as you were.

    So gather you haughty descendants of Alfred The Great, followers of The Christ God. Gather you noble savages and sons of Anaraut. Gather you twisted and proud Irishmen, the bold sons of Flann Sinna. And of course our distant kin to the south, the bloodthirsty sons of Ragnar Lodbrok himself. Gather young and old, healthy and sick, witty and dull. All are free to learn of our people and will do so for generations now and forevermore. Gather...the hearth is crude but warm and the tale of Sudreyar, House Kettil, and my people begins in earnest...

  2. #2
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    It's good to see a new AAR from you, Mercenary2479!

    The idea of someone's legacy being the words he has written is one you've used before, I think - it's an effective one, particularly when, as here, the character will have no other legacy because he feels it's been taken away from him.

    I'm interested to hear the tale he has to tell.






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    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    I like the premise of a voice from 'paradise' speaking about what he knows to be true. Of course you will be free to have his version of 'truth' be different from other characters and their views of what has happened and also what will still happen. I will need to do a search now on where you used this before since I am somewhat curious like a black and white cat that I knew.

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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Will folow this, let the tale of vengeance begin. May the eagles feast on your enemies' hearts. Let the Blood Eagle soar!!!
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    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    A great beginning! I agree with Caillagh, NorseThing and Darkan.

    Like NorseThing, I'm interested in your narrator's perspective and how other characters would describe the same situation. Your main character clearly feels unjustly treated and denied the opportunities which they deserve. The line about being 'forbidden to lead armies' makes me wonder if your main character is a woman. (I haven't played Thrones of Britannia yet, because I don't have a powerful enough computer; I noticed in Rome II that women characters in some factions, such as Rome and Carthage, have a trait which means that they can't lead armies - that's what got me wondering about this). On the other hand, perhaps this character is forbidden to lead armies because he did something which caused others to doubt his bravery or judgement, or because of politics between rival noble families. The line about the 'intrinsic desire of every man' suggests that this character is a man, however people used to use 'man' to mean 'person'. You have got me interested in Holmkell, and the history behind your character's anger and bitterness, and what will happen next in your tale.

    I'm looking forward to more!
    Last edited by Alwyn; May 30, 2018 at 02:14 AM.

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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Yess, a tale of revenge. Surely, only blood can quench the bitterness within Holmkell! I like the narrative style, as if it was written down by him - definietly adds to the story.

    Looking forward to reading what comes next!

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    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Eagle
    Chapter 2: The Second Great Viking War

    And now in a calmer tongue, I hope and endeavor in earnest to tell you the tale of our people. While the rage still kindles and burns slowly in my blood, it will not profit me here to make an entire epic of profanities and curses. The full account must be given, and a clear mind is necessary to give such an account. The year was 878 AD, and while I was not alive at the time of House Kettil's founding, thanks to skalds and stories passed on from the time frame I can glean a rough idea of what House Kettil's founder was like. His habits, successes, failures, and ultimately what defined the founder of House Kettil I can at least roughly glean from those who came before me. Bear in mind, skalds are storytellers who maintain traditions, cultural expectations, and first and foremost stories and pass them from generation to generation. Thanks to the existence of skalds, the people of Sudreyar are almost universally illiterate as storytelling and historical archiving is achieved in an oral tradition rather than a written one. The use of paper for historical record or story as I do now is extremely rare amongst my people, and has only begun to come into prominence thanks to the influence of scholars and scribes further south from our borders with largely Christian origins. Unfortunately, skalds also ensure that tales naturally strive further and further from truth the more they are told, as they are twisted and retold over and over again with each passing generation. While skalds are unrivaled in ensuring our peoples ways are consistently honored and remembered, they tend to be terrible at giving factual accounts of even the most tedious and straightforward of tales. This helps to placate and raise our children with grandiose tales and accounts in almost all things with their heads filled with heroic stories and epics of great kings, remarkable shieldmaidens, Valkyries, warriors, and even the fickle but powerful influences of the gods themselves. Even I loved these tales as I grew up in adolescence, but it also means that certain things about Eiric Kettil, first of his house and name are truly lost to history and lost in obscure and ridiculous myth. Nonetheless, more grounded accounts exist as well from the southern scribes and writers as well as from tribal elders and ancient nobility. There will never be a truly perfect account of our first king but as the gods are my witness, I will come damned close.

    By some of the less fanciful accounts that don't attribute Eiric Kettil as some descendant of the gods, hybrid between bird and man, or personally blessed by heroes and Valkyries past Eiric Kettil was indeed an unusual Viking leader. It is at this point forever unclear HOW exactly he came to power, who he usurped, or what nobility had ruled prior to him but he was consistently described as a whimsical or even na´ve man. He eternally believed to the day of his death that good things happened more often than bad, and that with legitimate willpower and effort ANYTHING could be achieved. His warriors and followers reaped the rewards of it too and generally despite his odd mannerisms were happy and honored to follow him into battle. He was already married and with two sons and a daughter at the time of his coronation, and there was little fear or doubt that dynastically speaking House Kettil seemed secure for the foreseeable future. With a few island holdings on the western stretches of modern day Scotland, and two armies to command Eiric Kettil was now called upon to decide his people's future. A small rebellion of Scottish malcontents welcomed his coronation and threatened to raid and kill along his lands until he abdicated. Eiric Kettil promptly gave the order to disband the army watching over his capital, and instead emphasized and personally took command of the army already stationed on the mainland. When asked what had prompted such madness, Eiric simply responded "We love and cherish the sea as a part of ourselves more so than any other people in Britannia. The day our neighbors actually learn how to sail without puking and themselves is the day I'll actually be concerned about our island home." Such odd sayings and mindsets were commonplace for Eiric which amused his allies and close friends, and infuriated his enemies. Eiric busied himself with his personal army, which he had fondly named "The Eagles of Eiric" while the Scottish rebels plotted how to defeat his army and raid his lands. Eiric quickly showed a fondness for axe men and archers more so than any other army unit, and lumber workers as well as hunters were recruited far and wide to swell the ranks of his army. Well, at least they would have been had the Scottish rebels not seized the initiative and attacked.

    The battle apparently was more of a lopsided affair than a pitched battle, as the light spearmen that made the bulk of the Scottish rebel army were largely useless against Eiric's army (which didn't emphasize cavalry at all) and the rebel's only cavalry unit was not equipped with the gear or training necessary for protracted battle. Eiric's axe men made short work of the enemy spears, and at range Eiric's archers gave a good account of themselves. The only time Eiric's line was threatened was when the aforementioned cavalry pressed hard on the left flank and seemingly was about to overwhelm a unit of axe men. Eiric and his hearth guard committed a decisive counterattack as battle hardened household guards unmercifully tore men off their horses and made short work of their lives with one crushing ax blow after the other. The battle was decided shortly thereafter, the rebel leader had been killed, and the survivors were forcibly recruited into the army. With his eastern flank now secure, Eiric now looked further afield to Scotland or as it was called at the time...Circenn.

    Eiric had a neighbor to his northeast called the Kingdom of Orkneyar and at first glance the two nations had many striking similarities. Both cultures would have been described as "Sea King cultures'" or nations of Vikings that had settled the northernmost stretches of Britannia rather than following The Great Viking Army further to the south. Both nations had a legitimate love as well as unnatural talent for seafaring, and could comfortably manage even long distance voyages usually avoiding the pitfalls of logistical issues or seasickness. They didn't outright conquer where they sailed, but often demanded tribute instead. For this reason the ocean and port cities were their natural preference to settlements further inland, and peace seemed perfectly plausible to Eiric. Eiric even offered his daughter in marriage before the King of Orkneyar, who happily accepted. This would cement an alliance and spell disaster for their neighbors that would last decades, as Sudreyar and Orkneyar from this point forward would now work furiously to dividing all of northern Britannia between themselves. Circenn (or as it is more commonly called Scotland) quickly fell under attack from Orkneyar, and Sudreyar wasted little time joining in and tipping the scales with their own forces.

    With Circenn humbled and their allies also quickly falling to ruin or disrepair a good deal of Eiric's reign from that point forward was going forward with his original plan of building his personal army to the specifications he wanted. Also, many governors and nobility would gain appointments and their own homesteads to rule as Eiric's trusting nature saw to it that a great deal of power was spread to many different lesser families. The gentry seemed calm and happy, but this was far from the truth. Many nobles within Sudreyar's ruling class hated Eiric, even if they weren't able to say it to his face or in public. Some say that Eiric legitimately didn't care about malcontents and felt confident he could consistently keep them in line. others say that Eiric legitimately wasn't capable of perceiving such a threat, and that so trusting and na´ve was his nature that the very thought of internal dissent would have never occurred to him. Regardless of the actual truth of the matter, the odd tension continued between ruler and his nobility but for now nothing had come of it. That is until it was given a catalyst named Haakon...Eiric's very own son.

    With his daughter now married to the King of Orkneyar, the two remaining children of Eiric were his sons Kettil and Haakon. Kettil seems to have adopted most of the qualities of his father, but unlike his father seemed to lack any legitimate charisma or inspiration to command. Nonetheless, he was the firstborn and the declared heir...much to the chagrin of the second born son Haakon. Haakon was a natural leader and VERY aggressive by nature and quickly demanded reparations from his father. He demanded of Eiric that HE be made the heir instead of Kettil, but was refused and his resentment of his father grew. While a few nobles gathered to Haakon immediately, most advised caution and stated that while they did support Haakon's claim to the throne, more time and preparation would be needed to ensure a smooth transition. True to his nature, Haakon did not heed such a cautionary strategy and Sudreyar was changed forever.

    Appeasement from Eiric had failed, and Haakon immediately declared civil war upon his father with the few nobles radical enough to support him in spite of the inopportune timing. The majority of the nobility stayed at the side of their original King, confident that Haakon had overplayed his hand. Nonetheless, The civil war of Sudreyar would rage on for years in a sort of stalemate. Eiric and his personal army could only be in one place at a time despite their immense combat capabilities at this point. Haakon's few supporters took a radically different approach and since they didn't have many resources on hand instead appointed several generals with household guard and formed these as the basis for "armies." While not strong enough to take on cities or their garrisons, they WERE quick enough to evade Eric's efforts to intercept them and generally did a good job of raiding and gathering funds and experience for Haakon's relatively small and inexperienced soldiery. Eiric was also quite committed to still fighting Circenn and their allies, and could rarely leave the front for long, especially to try to chase down a nimble opponent that refused to fight in open battle.

    At long last, Eiric would fall to old age and died peacefully in his slumber. Rebels had been put down, an army had been built, an alliance had been forged, and alongside his allies he had helped launch the invasion of Circenn. While not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, he had competently ruled over his land even in spite of Haakon's Rebellion which was still taking place. When asked about his son or what would happen to his sons upon his death Eiric just smiled and replied in the same manner as he always had "The eagle need not forgive the serpent, for the serpent does nothing an eagle would need to forgive." These were Eiric's last words and he died with a smile on his face despite an uncertain future facing Sudreyar. The civil war had to this point been a minor nuisance. As Eiric had wished despite Haakon's protests Kettil assumed the throne and it was upon that coronation that the civil war would break down into a furious conflict unlike anything Sudreyar had ever seen before...

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    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Worm
    Chapter 3: The War of the Two Kings

    And now our tale turns from strangeness to despair. I was not there myself, but I feel the impact of that damned war even now. My family feels the impact of that damned war even now. When lesser families were stripped of their responsibilities, brother fought against brother, and the nation tore itself asunder. It seemed that by the time Eiric's corpse turned cold, the pieces were moving in Sudreyar. Countless families and members of the nobility revealed their true nature. Their loyalty to Eiric and his heir quickly proved hollow once Eiric himself was dead and no longer able to personally keep their ambitions in line. Where once Haakon and his rebellion were a minor nuisance, in a matter of days his ranks swelled with support and a huge swathe of the Kingdom fell into Haakon's lap without a drop of blood shed and or real effort committed on his part. Even the capital of Bornais and it's governing family swore fealty to Haakon and for a time for all intents and purposes...Haakon truly was King. A coronation ceremony took place with a replica of the family crown reforged and placed upon Haakon's head at the ancestral capital of Bornais. He didn't spend long there though and returned to raiding and campaigning back on the mainland in short order.

    A sad few still remained loyal to "King" Kettil however...my family included. To this day I do not understand why they didn't make the more obvious choice, why they didn't join what seemed like the better choice both for Sudreyar and for the Norse in general. Kettil was a weak shadow and mockery of his father, Haakon burned with fury and passion and was ready to lead his people to a golden age. And yet...my family seemingly embraced madness. Time after time I have inquired of my relations why such a choice was made...what could have possessed them to endanger our family line so. Normally drivel about the gods granting visions or warning against joining Haakon surface first. I tend to dismiss such things, for surely the gods are not THAT interested in the affairs of mortals, and if they were they are most certainly interested in beings of greater significance than the likes of me or my family. Some say that my ancestry was simply of unsound mind, and simply could not see the obviously better choice of falling in line with Haakon. Finally, some say that my familial forbearers simply valued loyalty...perhaps too much in this case. I will never be sure EXACTLY what happened, but my ancestry simply choosing to be loyal to the point of blindness...it seems plausible and it's the story I choose to believe.

    Nonetheless, the stage was set and "King" Kettil and King Haakon begun their civil war for their father's crown in earnest. While King Haakon began the war with considerably more land and resources, his armies were still diminutive and small and his generals did not wish to abandon the style of warfare that had worked for them to that point...even when Eiric was alive. "King" Kettil had lost most of his territory but he still had some good farmland to feed his considerable army and The Eagles of Eiric, Eric's personal army that had raided and conquered in Circenn still answered to Kettil. Kettil wasted little time making it clear to Orkneyar that their continued involvement in invading Circenn was now over. Kettil would have to focus his army and whatever resources he had left to fighting Haakon. Kettil and his army were encamped in a small farming estate called Dun Domnaill...the farming estates partially run by my family and a few other noble houses. Kettil was quickly running out of wealth to pay his army and the reserves built by his father would only last so long. Kettil knew he had to move north and take the substantial city just north of him...Guvan. Meanwhile Haakon was advised by his bevy of new allies to build a comparable army to The Eagles of Eiric and take his brother head on. But he went against the advice of these nobles stating that internal dissent would crush his father's once great army, bankruptcy would cripple and erode Kettil's campaign before it even began, and ultimately building large armies might challenge or make nervous other sovereign neighbors...Orkneyar in particular. So for now Haakon's plan was just to stay the course and hope his predictions about his brother's efforts came true. The nobles following him eventually fell in line with the plan, unwilling to challenge their new sovereign.

    Kettil and The Eagles of Eiric attempted to push north but Haakon's first prediction indeed would prove to be true. It was not only the nobility that railed and rebelled against Kettil, but dissenters within the army and the common folk began to whisper and curse Kettil's name as well. As Kettil attempted to move north, a rogue captain took roughly half the army with him and promptly attacked Kettil's position. The forces were nearly identical in composition, so naturally the victor would be whomever had a better strategy and fought harder. Kettil took up a defensive position on a hillside and formed a shield wall in the front with his hearth guard and archers behind. The rogue captain formed a general block of infantry and pushed forward hard with the archers in front to skirmish. The dissenting force pushed hard, but what Kettil lacked as a statesman and as a King he surprised all by showing that he was a competent general and a formidable warrior. He defeated the dissenters and those his army did not kill they pressed back into service as if nothing had happened...it was better than the alternative of execution.

    Kettil continued up north and was just outside the walls of Guvan when it occurred a second time...his army splintered and he was once again forced to fight a rogue captain who took about half his forces with him. Kettil was now proven in combat and concluded that simply using the same tactics he had used at Dun Domnaill would be sufficient so long as his opponent didn't attempt any complicated or inspired maneuvers. Fortunately for Kettil, his opponent did not and The Battle of Guvan ended in an almost identical fashion to The Battle of Dun Domnaill. At long last, Kettil had silenced and in a sense brought his father's army to heel and under his command. Whether it was showing poise and the potential to command under the threat of attack, or his personal prowess with blade and shield Kettil now was indeed the undisputed general of The Eagles of Eiric. Haakon began to face pressure from his advisors and council. They began to demand that an army be raised but even now Haakon refused. Kettil may have won unexpected victories, but he was still no more likely to be able to pay for his soldiers for much longer. Guvan's defenses would surely hold Haakon reasoned and what was left of Kettil's resistance would fall apart shortly thereafter. One again, Kettil managed to surprise his brother and took Guvan in a hastily prepared but well conducted assault on the city. Despite the odds against him, Kettil finally had the food as well as the coin to keep paying his army so long as Guvan remained in his control, and for now Haakon had managed no effective answer. Beyond Guvan and it's territories however, Haakon still ruled indisputably. Every settlement or territory Kettil managed to retake was quickly brought back to the fold by the raiding parties and mobile armies of Haakon who moved swiftly behind Kettil's. This cycle would continue uninterrupted however, until Haakon made one critical error...

    While Haakon was personally campaigning and raiding territory left behind by The Eagles of Eiric, he made a blunder and pinned himself and his bodyguard in a mountain pass. The opportunity to attack Haakon directly was too tempting for Kettil who gathered his entire host in pursuit of his brother. They caught him in that mountain pass and forced pitched battle. No glorious conflict with swords, no duel between brothers, or anything resembling honor followed. Kettil just watched coldly as his archers tore his brother and his guards apart no matter how desperately they tried to defend against the storm of arrows. Kettil then walked over the mangled corpses and broke the replica crown adorned on the head of his now dead brother to pieces. Kettil and his men rejoiced heartily for the better part of two days. The usurper King was dead. Sadly, it would make no difference as Kettil had hoped and the civil war would rage on.

    Upon Haakon's death, he was promptly replaced and a new coronation in Bornais was held for a noble whom had advised Haakon prior to his death. And with this ceremony it became clear, this was no matter a feud between brothers. This was a feud between the still living brother and ALL of the nobility and Houses that had backed the now dead other brother. No matter how many Kettil killed, another would eagerly line up at the chance to become royalty and elevate their house to previously unimaginable heights. Kettil would need a new strategy, and simply killing the rulers of Haakon's rebellion would never end it. Kettil managed to surprise his opposition yet again.

    From this point forward Kettil made a critical choice that would forever change the dynamic of northern Britannia. As the war was in a stalemate of sorts, Kettil went to outside help...namely the alliance his father forged with Orkneyar. He begged and asked Orkneyar's King to join him in the struggle and much to Kettil's elation, Orkneyar's King happily agreed. However, I and many of my kin do not find it hard to imagine the true reason that Orkneyar was so eager to join the struggle. It was not as Kettil likely believed it to be out of fealty, loyalty, or oaths between allies. For Orkneyar, this was a chance to claim HUGE swathes of territory that had formerly belonged to Sudreyar, and to do it with a perfectly legitimate pretense. It was not taking territory from an ally, it was "liberating" it from the clutches of evil dissenters and rebels. Kettil happily accepted such "aid," most likely unaware of it's true intention. As na´ve as his father it would seem...

    Orkneyar's introduction to the civil war did make a notable difference regardless of it's intentions. Haakon's Rebellion it was still called could harass and disrupt the efforts of one sovereign nation...not two. Orkneyar swept hard from the north and claimed huge swathes of territory and laid to waste many of the small raiding parties and armies that Kettil himself could not reach. Kettil was gaining territory back as well, and noble houses...mine included began to ask who would govern and rule over the slowly rebuilding Sudreyar. Much to our horror and frustration Kettil's answer was simple. He would rule, and he would rule undisputed and alone. He established what would later be called Kettil's Law, an edict that the very concept of a governor or lesser rule was outright disbanded. And so it has been in Sudreyar for hundreds of years now. The civil war at it's height was now calming and it was only a matter of time before Kettil and Orkneyar's combined efforts would end the rebellion. For many noble houses...this was a terrifying concept. The bulk of Sudreyar's nobility had backed Haakon...not Kettil and now they repeatedly begged for clemency and mercy. None would be given. So for the rebels even if it was a losing fight at this point, they were required to stay the course. Kettil died of old age before he could realize his ambition of reunifying Sudreyar. But one of his sons would take up the cause and the crown...and bring in an era of bloodshed hitherto unforeseen in Sudreyar.

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    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    It's great to see you return to this, Mercenary2479.

    Ah, yes, "liberating" territory. Kettil does seem a bit naive, doesn't he? He also seems a bit power-mad not allowing governors or lesser rulers. From the sound of it, the son who takes over is just as bad, too...






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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Wolf
    Chapter 4: A Bloody Ascension for King and Country

    And so began the reign of Anund. Haakon's Rebellion was in it's death throes, and I suppose in truth we all expected more of the same. More naivete, more civil war, more survival but not particular success for Sudreyar. We couldn't have been more wrong. I can't vouch personally for what the late king was like, but I have certainly heard stories. I often wonder what caused it? Was it simply the presence of the rebels, being deprived of a palace he heard about growing up, perhaps rage at his father or grandfather? Perhaps he was one of those rare souls simply forged of anger from Valhalla until he returns to those fabled halls for all eternity? I suppose in the end it matters not, whatever the reason it almost seemed as if Anund was practically born to inflict violence. It did not take long for us to understand what he was capable of and what his reign would bring for us all.

    While his father had laid the groundwork, Anund was poised to finally finish off Haakon's Rebellion. The Eagles of Eiric promptly reconquered the few remaining territories Haakon's Rebellion held in the mainland. Guvan remained Anund's base of operations as it had been for his father, and now was the time. The time had come to sail for Bornais and the ancestral capital of Sudreyar.

    What occurred there is now the stuff of legend amongst my people. It started simply enough. A siege took place as Anund and The Eagles of Eiric arrived and they awaited to starve out their enemy. The process took time, but Anund managed to demonstrate just barely enough patience not to rush an assault. Reportedly, it took significant intervention from many of his advisors and close lieutenants to keep Anund from ordering an all out attack on Bornais. And when denied the opportunity to do that he had to be kept from attacking his own soldiers. Eventually, the defenders of Bornais began to starve and Anund did not have to wait any longer. Anund ordered the attack and the ancient capital had finally fallen. A thunderous cry emerged from The Eagles of Eiric. The civil war was finally over, the capital was restored, and Sudreyar seemingly had a bright future ahead of it once more. But one voice did not celebrate at all. Anund just stared coldly at the throngs of citizens still in the city limits. No matter who talked or tried to console him, The King's attitude did not change and only seemed to worsen with attempts at further encouragement. "They are guilty. They are all guilty." He simply repeated to himself over and over.

    The celebration died down substantially as King Anund simply retired to the encampment outside the city limits. Most of The Eagles of Eric followed suite now determined to see what was ailing their King so much. The remaining drifters still in the city limits eventually retired to the battlements as well. An unsettling and dark mood permeated and filled the air of the capital and the surrounding countryside. King Anund stared coldly at his now slowly reassembling army and proceeded to speak in more than just mutterings to himself:

    "For years our people have suffered and dwindled, for years Sudreyar has been spit on and mocked, and for years my now dead uncle has dragged my family's name in the mud. While he and his supporters currently rot in Hel, there is one last element that now must be dealt with."

    King Anund now stared back at the city and pointed his blade towards the city walls.

    "THEY...allowed our capital to be taken by usurpers. THEY just stood idly by and did nothing while our capital was stolen from us and THEY actually have the audacity to welcome us as heroes as if they are not directly responsible for our nation's suffering in recent years. Make no mistake you Eagles, today is the day we rectify that mistake. Today Bornais will be cleansed, cleansed in the blood of traitors. WHO IS WITH ME?"

    Most just stood in dumbfounded silence. A few uneasily shuffled and looked with fear in their eyes back to their home and their family members. A select few even stared at their King with weapons drawn, unmistakable hatred in their eyes. King Anund did not miss a beat and promptly drew his weapon and started slaughtering those who had weapons drawn against him. Many hesitated and struggled with the information being presented to their senses, and while they deliberated Anund furiously cut his way through many of his own soldiers. Only two or three actually managed to keep their wits about them and fight back, but unfortunately Anund had little difficulty showing why he was a Viking King and still managed to kill them easily. Eventually, the bloodlust passed momentarily from the King, and a few dozen warriors lay dead strewn about the fields. King Anund took the silence of those who remained as a chance to clarify his intention:

    "And now these men lay dead and will soon join the traitors we will soon send to Valhalla. Do not despair, for the work we are about today will pave a new future for Sudreyar. Is there anyone else among you who wishes to pass from this world as well? No? Good. Then harden your hearts, think of what Sudreyar must become and eliminate every living thing within those walls."

    There was no raucous celebration, no war cries as the army silently marched and set about it's grim task. A new manner of noise arose as those that remained gave in to fear and did exactly as their King demanded. The cries, wails, and pleas of mercies began to arise as a tremendous slaughter took place within Bornais. A few soldiers defected as they watched women and children began to fall to the blade. In turn they joined the very souls they were trying to protect. Group euphoria claimed The Eagles of Eiric and most stayed the course with the wishes and whims of their King. The slaughter took place in the early morning and persisted for a day straight. Eventually, the streets ran red with streams of blood and an overwhelming stench permeated the air. many of the soldiers retched and wept for the miserable state of affairs they were now in. It is then recorded that only in this instance did King Anund visibly smile...

    Many purges of the army followed as King Anund worked hard to ensure that the solders that followed him were of...a like mind. But with Sudreyar united once more, it was now possible to look further afield. King Anund concluded that another war with the nations in the mainland of northern Britannia would be difficult if not impossible without agitating and losing their alliance with Orkneyar. While this state of affairs was the work of his father, King Anund concluded there was still a way to gain territory while not fighting a war with Orkneyar that Sudreyar potentially wasn't ready for. With this in mind, King Anund prepared The Eagles of Eiric for a great invasion of Ireland, a territory not quite united under one banner yet.

    Our bloody King Anund then proceeded to greedily isolate and identify nations not under the major confederations and nations of Ireland. The second he identified them, King Anund wasted little time occupying the territory and slaughtering the inhabitants. A great swathe of the northern coast of Ireland now fell under Sudreyar's jurisdiction, and his initial foray into Ireland was quite successful. Eventually though, Anund ran out of territory to easily conquer without offending major powers, and was in the planning phase of exactly who to subjugate next. I cannot say where he would have gone next, because at that time he was called back to Valhalla and had already left an indelible legacy. A bloodied and reformed capital, a rebellion put down, a successful invasion of the northern coast of Ireland, and a Sudreyar on the rise would be King Anund's legacy...a legacy indisputably forged in blood. This legacy would be picked up by his son, only of the only members of House Kettil that even I would come to respect....

  11. #11
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Just catching up after my month of 'down time'. You do much better writing in the third person than have. I am intrigued on how Ireland will proceed to become united though. I might even steel borrow a bit for my [LTC] The Papers of King Alfonso AAR since things are not quite working out....

  12. #12
    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Sea King
    Chapter 5: The Calm Before The Storm...

    When Anund finally was taken back to Valhalla, truthfully most of us were relieved. Sure he had ended the rebellion, sure he had taken back the capital, sure he had ensured that the power of Sudreyar had grown, but some say the soul and honor of our nation paid the price as a result. The massacre of Bornais still hung heavily on the minds of many of us, and his declared heir Mimir was now poised to take the crown. Of all the Kings and rulers of House Kettil, Mimir was the first one for which I was actually alive. I remember my father speaking to me in a somber and heavy manner anytime he spoke of the now dead Anund, and with dread for what he expected Mimir would inevitably be like. With time, I would see his deeds and the content of his character revealed with my waking eyes. I was just a boy when he came of age and the crown was placed upon his adolescent brow.

    It was common knowledge and frequently gossiped among the common people how severely Anund tortured and abused his young son while he was still alive. He beat him, berated him, even paraded him and humiliated him before the commoners in unprecedented ways. It was also common gossip that such behavior must have clearly broken or at least changed Mimir, the jovial days of na´ve or upbeat Kings was surely dead they all declared. I was gathered with others watching as Mimir was crowned King of Sudreyar. His speech seemed deliberately short and his words felt hollow and uninspired, like his mind was elsewhere. Still...He gave the overall impression of being friendly enough, he certainly didn't inherit the biting or harsh dialect his father had always spoken with. The ceremony was over rather quickly and Mimir returned to his hold alongside many of the experienced captains of the old army. This was my first impression of the nascent King. "At least my family would be safe from such a tepid ruler." I thought to myself. It was hard to imagine him achieving much in the ways of conquest however.

    I and most of Sudreyar could not have been more mistaken. Shortly after his coronation, Mimir declared his intentions and made them quite plain. He would gather The Eagles of Eiric, sail across the channel, make landfall in Wales, and take the fight to West Seaxe, indisputably the most powerful nation in ALL of Britannia. Most of the common people and the nobility which included my family were utterly dumbfounded. This plan wasn't bold or clever, it seemed downright insane. While our collective situation at home had settled, to challenge the descendants of Alfred The Great to direct combat and fight them on their turf defied all logic. Most warring in Britannia had ceased. Ireland was a huge confederation of lesser nations united in the intention to fight alongside one another if anyone attempted to invade them, particularly West Seaxe. The Welsh and Scottish cultures had largely been subjugated, but whatever was left formed coalitions of their own. West Seaxe had no real allies, quite frankly it didn't need them. Whoever they tried to entreaty with promises of fidelity or unity were too scared of such an awesome and imposing nation. They were the sort of neighbor everyone else feared rather than trusted. The whole of Britannia seemed poised with bated breath...Patiently waiting for the madman who would bring the storm and end the calm with war. King Mimir proved to be that madman.

    With the eyes and wonder of a young boy I just stared dumbfounded at the spectacle as The Eagles of Eiric sailed away. Most of the men barely spoke or said a word, and the gods themselves apparently saw fit to mock the occasion by permeating the whole dockyard with a heavy fog. I had head the stories of the sort of warriors they would be facing. Formidable with the bow, armor clad, riding horses as armored and ill tempered as their masters. Zealots in armored fury, fanatics dedicated to spreading the Kingdom of the southern "carpenter God." The very same warriors that had been made famous under Alfred The Great. The same warriors that had defeated The Great Viking Army led by the sons of Ragnarr Lodbrok all those years ago...If they felt fear at the prospect of facing such warriors, our own soldiers at least had the fortitude not to display it openly. The Eagles of Eiric were swallowed whole by that fog, and in my mind, it seemed likely it would be the last I would ever see of them.

    Years had passed since that ominous day, and I for the most part banished it from my mind. Instead, I busied myself with the politics of trying to expand the influence and overall power of my family. Countless briberies, dull meetings with listless politicians and couriers, and back alley meetings occupied most of my time. Sadly, all of this effort came to little thanks to Kettil's Law and I certainly wasn't the only young noble scrounging and trying to improve my families prospects. I grew quite familiar with the other noble families and their younger members who were now destitute and lived in squalor just as we did. It seemed at this point in my life, if you weren't of House Kettil, quite frankly calling yourself a "noble" still was a laughable idea. You certainly weren't going to be living like one. Since the efforts proved fruitless, and despite my father's objections I took instead to fishing and hunting with what free time I could manage. It was more lucrative to feed my family rather than try to elevate their status in vain. Then in the distance I saw it...A sight I would NEVER forget as a young man and would be etched into my memory forever.

    A slow moving but formidable thunderstorm was rolling in from the southern coasts with rains to match that day. Most of the locals grumbled at the inevitable repairs and maintenance to their homes that would soon prove necessary, but truthfully I smiled and enjoyed the prospect. I enjoyed such things, as fishing under such conditions proved...calming for me and meant that at least for one night my family would eat well. There are few better times to fish than during a storm. But my minor elation was dashed when I saw the bows and sails of those vessels roll out of the fog and rain, a harbinger of war and death. The ships almost reached out of the storm like craws outstretched, threatening to rend our home asunder. Their sails were jet black and apparently had been fastened together rather hastily and with poor workmanship. The others saw it too and in short order the city bells rang feverishly, the peasantry and "noble" alike began to furiously scramble to gather up belongings and family, and a collective effort to make for the safety of the settlement walls began. I have always been rather fleet of foot and my family was already nestled within the walls, the priority now was to get through the gate quickly...any gear I lost could be replaced later. I ran as hard as my feet would allow me and was just shy of my family's shack when I heard the reverberating boom of the settlement walls close. In horror I realized that a great deal of our people had never even made it through the gate, and whoever these encroaching war vessels belonged to, they must have traveled at almost impossible speeds to merit the gate closing already. I was safe and I already knew my family was as well, it was time to discern who the hell these invaders were. I hastily gathered a shield and ax as they were handed out en masse to willing volunteers and made my way to the walls. Our garrison was made mostly of young men and elderly warriors past their prime, but nonetheless we took to preparing the walls as fast as we could. Out of every three of our people that had tried to make it inside, two out of three had failed to make it to safety as I had. Then again, whoever sailed these vessels had already shown unnatural aptitude for sailing, akin to what I would have normally expected of OUR people. "Slavers from Dyflinn perhaps? Maybe another rebellion?" Most of our ragtag militia took to the bow rather than ax, and were now positioned to my left and right. The screams of those below now reached a fever pitch as the ships...seemingly numbering in the hundreds efficiently and almost gracefully glided onto the sands, efficiently disgorging their cargo of warriors in short order. The enemy warriors finally began to came into view, wearing heavy chainmail, axes, and wearing an excessive amount of gaudy and pretentious baubles of gold. Were it not for the amount of ridiculous ornaments adorning them, they resembled a battle formation similar to what we would use on a battlefield. Whoever they were, they had raided or conquered some other area already, and by the look of these fellows had been quite successful at it. Finally, a towering force of a man raised his arm and his soldiers spontaneously halted just as they were about to enter melee range of the refugees still trapped outside. He easily stood well over six feet tall, and had an ornate silver crown on his head, apparently of southern origin. The beach at his feet not only moved but seemed to almost shift and shudder at his every step. I hardened my heart for what was to come, I could hear the clattering of teeth and the shaking knees of my fellow "warriors," and then I heard a voice that to me was slightly familiar but not identifiable begin to roar in a thunderous voice:

    "FORGIVE THE CONFUSION MY COUNTRYMEN! OUR BANNERS WERE LOST AT SEA AND WE HAD NO TIME TO REPLACE THEM! I APPRECIATE YOUR DILIGENCE, BUT NONE OF YOU ARE IN DANGER TODAY! WOULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO OPEN THE GATES FOR YOUR KING...?"

  13. #13
    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Sea King
    Invasion of "England"

    For weeks our people did feast and our King joyously retold the tales of his exploits and the exploits of his men over and over again. According to our Majesty's account, he had sailed south without incident, and then proceeded with his invasion of West Seaxe proper. What he anticipated was a battle for the ages, a cataclysmic war that might very well have delivered all of them to Valhalla. Instead...they found rich farmlands, workshops, and national landmarks undefended and largely unprepared for the arrival of The Eagles of Eiric. The garrisons fought valiantly to try to save the townsfolk and buy time for the unlucky souls trapped inside. But time and time again Mimir and his army proved too powerful, cunning, and even in some some instances both for the forces arrayed against them. At one point Mimir even speculated that perhaps West Seaxe had simply been bluffing about it's power and military abilities after all these years. Perhaps Sudreyar would now possess the vast and rich holdings in southern Britannia. It took time, but Mimir was eventually proven wrong.

    After despoiling and conquering a good portion of the country's northwestern fringes, Mimir was beginning to threaten the capital and the heartlands of West Seaxe proper. Now the armies and fyrds that Mimir had heard so much about growing up as a child stood arrayed before him. It was not that West Seaxe did not possess armies capable fending off Sudreyar, it had merely taken substantial time to assemble and properly prepare them. But NOW they were ready. Mimir couldn't help but notice there was no style of battle whether it was the bow, the horse, the axe, the sword, or the spear that these "English" did not display at least some competence in. Mimir outwitted some of the more inexperienced and haughty of their generals, witting tight victories in pitched combat using defensive positions to his advantage where possible. But the fyrds kept coming, and West Seaxe was now sending force after force against Mimir poised and ready to fight. While Mimir did everything he could to keep his army one step ahead of The English, this had become a war of attrition, one that West Seaxe was going to win at the rate the conflict was going. Mimir discussed options with his advisors, and despite his initial successes he feared destruction and counterattack from one of Britannia's most powerful sovereign entities if peace talks fell through. So our King swallowed his pride, and attempted to open peace talks with the now battered yet growing warriors of West Seaxe. Much to Mimir's delight, West Seaxe agreed to peace and the conflict ended right then and there. It seemed that West Seaxe had panicked from it's previous losses. Although they had battered down Mimir's army and seemed poised to finish it off, they were fearful of further incursions and were more interested in regrouping and saving face than immediate revenge or gratification. Reportedly, they also feared Mimir had additional armies of ours coming to reinforce even though this was certainly not the case. Our King had seemingly bluffed his way out of certain defeat and turned a war he probably shouldn't have won at all into a rousing success for our people. I listened in the hearth with my kin in bewilderment and awe, contemplating the sheer SCALE of war our liege had waged and lived to talk about. It wasn't even the greatest conflict Mimir would find himself in throughout his lifetime...THAT conflict would be at hand shortly thereafter.
    Last edited by Mercenary2479; April 28, 2020 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Posted an incomplete Chapter

  14. #14
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    I like the contrast between the easy successes early on in Mimir's campaign against the West Seaxe, and the powerful forces which the West Seaxe can eventually bring to the field when they have summoned their full strength against an invader. It's a nice twist that Mimir suspected that the West Seaxe had been bluffing, and then it's a bluff which the Sudreyar King uses to avoid defeat.

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    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Saga of The Sea King
    Chapter 7: The Great War, The Ascension, and The Fall

    But a few weeks later, Mimir proved even more energetic than usual. A meeting of the war council was called and not only veterans and captains were invited to attend but most members of the city were given the chance to at least hear and be a part of the proceedings. it took a considerable portion of the day but some crude "expansions" began to fit the many eager participants in the great hall. However, our King Mimir certainly had the resources to spare and the market went into a fever pitch that day moving and trading wares up and down the main street to make such visions reality. Mimir practically had to shout at the top of the lungs just to make sure this rabble could even hear what he was saying. He didn't seem to mind though. Conquering swathes of land of an opponent that by right you should have never even defeated has a way of bolstering confidence. Even if you're a King.

    That is when our illustrious King Mimir made his declaration. War was in the blood of his warriors, but the rest of Britannia would no longer fall piecemeal. West Seaxe was no longer considered a viable target. They were privy to how Sudreyar waged their wars now, and surprising the fyrds of England twice in a row was unlikely. But a minor nuisance that had bothered Sudreyar geographically for some time now seemed TOO enticing to ignore anymore. The nation in question was a small, diminutive, and ailing one by the name of Aothlochla. This particular nation held the most southern stretches of Scotland (or Circenn if you prefer to call it by it's more ancestral title) and had been slowly bleeding to it's end for some time. Aothlochla had halted their complete demise however not with the sword but with the pen. Convincing their southern and western neighbors of their worth in diplomacy, trade, information, ideal marriages, and finally being a buffer state that would warn and protect against the Sea King nations of Sudreyar and Orkneyar. After all, the recent incursion into West Seaxe was still fresh in the minds of many. For Mimir the logic behind attacking such an incredibly small and insignificant nation seemed simple. Surely Aothlochla's vast list of allies surely wouldn't endanger their own Kingdoms just to save one that was almost on the verge of extinction anyway. The Christian Kings broke alliances all the time Mimir mused, surely their oaths of fealty would be as worthless as the paper they had been written on. And even if they did the unthinkable, Sudreyar was surely up to the task of repelling ANY foe our King reasoned.

    Much to my surprise and certainly to the surprise of the multitudes attending, not ALL of his captains and soldiers immediately joined in cheering and hailing the decision as a good one. A select few barely moved, and stared at Mimir with genuine urgency. Mimir didn't miss a beat. He just smiled, raised his arms to calm and silence the crowd, and gestured to those who did not join in the revelry.

    "My friends, we have and WILL accomplish incredible things, but we have always done so as a family and with one mind. Some among my soldiers have doubts to our great enterprise in Aothlochla. Let them speak freely and without repercussion, all opinions on this great undertaking will be heard and considered."

    His dissenting soldiers spoke briefly amongst themselves, pointed out on of their own, and a captain by the name of Ubbe stepped forward. It was clear amongst the soldiery not onside, that THIS particular Viking would speak as their representative. It made sense to the rest of us and was readily accepted, one man could speak for the group more quickly and efficiently than The King hearing the mind and opinion of EVERYONE in town. He was of small stature for a Viking, but stocky to the extreme and his demeanor made it clear he had fought and survived multiple forays. Then Ubbe spoke:

    "My King, your skill is not doubted, nor is the skill of your warriors amongst The Eagles of Eiric. However, some of us fear you do not grasp the potential dangers Aothlochla poses. They nest in a deep and tangled web, even Orkneyar is technically aligned to them as WELL as us. To strike at them is to endanger our own alliances, and potentially give the whole of Britannia an excuse to rise up and destroy us. It is possible no one will come to Aothlochla's aid, but it is ALSO possible many will, perhaps ALL of them will and only the gods would be able to save us at that point. IF we raise our arms against Aothlochla truly we dive into the unknown."

    Mimir's smile vanished. And he looked with a calm but receptive expression at Ubbe. The crowds chanting and overall eagerness now turned to murmuring and side conversations. Ubbe had raised decent points. For a moment that uneasiness lingered for a considerable span of time. Finally, Mimir broke this stalemate and drew his blade, cutting open the palm of his hand with it. The blood trickled steadily out of our King and onto the table and the entire assembly now just stared with rapt attention. The King spoke once more and for the briefest of moments an entire nation held it's breath and gave pause to hear:

    "My countrymen...as the old gods are my witness, as the blood of my family now attests and is drawn before you, and by the witnessing of each and every one of you here we DO dive into the unknown. For that is and always has been our way. For the way to Valhalla is not found on a feather bed trying to guess at the schemes and machinations of our southern and western neighbors. It is not found in the quiet and peaceful life ending in old age. The way to Valhalla is found by the brave, and by those willing to dare. The quiet anxiousness and unease that has recently choked this continent WILL end. And it shall end by our hand. Hated neighbors will fall, worthy opponents if any rise to the occasion will be sung in our sagas, they will be destroyed and offered up to our pantheon, and one day soon all of the north in Britannia will answer and hail to Sudreyar...now and forevermore. No matter what happens, I accept full responsibility for whatever may come. To safeguard our people against future threats as well as to secure our country's future. THAT is the path we have chosen. And that path leads to Aothlochla. In West Seaxe they said they could never be beaten, that NONE would ever dare to challenge them and that they ruled Britannia. And yet we proved them false. And yet we are even now adorned in the riches and baubles we TOOK from their lands. And it will be so in Aothlochla, and with any nation foolish enough to answer their call to aid. WHO IS WITH ME?"

    Needless to say you can imagine just how raucous and rowdy the response was by those assembled. The screaming and shouting in support of our King was so deafening at one point I feared the roof of The King's Longhouse might very well collapse. Fortunately such a cruel and inglorious fate did not await those assembled and would have so rudely interrupted my story, as well as the incredible conflict that was to come. I would not put such a twisted trick past Loki or some other denizen of Hel but the gods for at least a day were on our side. We were now committed to yet another great and seemingly insane undertaking. This is roughly how it went...

    A declaration of war was made against Aothlochla, and The Eagles of Eiric marched swiftly to eradicate their target. As expected Aothlochla itself had feeble and unimpressive armies, and certainly not the wealth necessary to correct this. But that had never been the question, the question wasn't whether Aothlochla could survive on it's own. The question posed by Ubbe and others had always been WHO and HOW MANY would answer the call to war on Aothlochla's behalf. Much to our horror, it didn't take long to receive our answer. As Mimir and his army were despoiling Aothlochla, one diplomatic envoy after another came with formal declarations of war. Scots, Englishmen, Welsh, Irish, and raiments and banners I couldn't even recognize flooded the Longhouse and delivered the same message over and over. Aothlochla was the last straw. Even Orkneyar, our most trusted and ancient ally, took the opportunity to end our alliance and fell in line with "the great coalition." In one swift stroke, some insignificant footnote in history had sparked a conflict that now embroiled the WHOLE of Britannia. Sudreyar was now out of allies and officially at war with EVERY nation in Albion.

    Sudreyar at this point DID possess ridiculous wealth, but was now at war with everyone. The coffers began to be run at a deficit with Mimir personally bankrolling and funding his armies and even raising new ones. Even with all of Britannia declaring their aid and assistance, Aothlochla fell in short order, and the genuine war began. While Mimir scrambled to react to Orkneyar in the north, West Seaxe made the first move and began aggressively reclaiming territories lost to them in the previous war. Unopposed by any meaningful army in the field, their fyrds were steadily choking out Sudreyar's holdings and were closing on the Welsh heartlands. Ulaidh...a powerful Irish nation in the north started surging through the northern coastlines, avenging losses to Anund in generations past. Meanwhile Orkneyar fought tooth and nail for their sovereignty and for the chance to be the true power of the far north. However, Sudreyar was proving to be the stronger of The Sea King nations and were steadily driving their former ally back into the sea.

    "The great coalition" as they called it was more so in title than in reality, and had that not been the case it is unlikely you would even be reading this story and I would be facedown in a ditch someplace. Whilst West Seaxe, Ulaidh, and Orkneyar were VERY involved in the fighting the remaining plethora of nations were not willing to endanger their lands by emptying them, or at least felt economically sending their forces so far from home was not worthwhile. Perhaps they waited to see how the fighting would go, maybe they still didn't trust each other, maybe they were just being opportunistic. It can be hard to tell with the Christian Kingdoms. This proved to be a boon to our King and to Sudreyar. We were still hemorrhaging money, still had to fight three nations on multiple fronts tooth and nail, but at least it was still possible. The enemy was more clearly defined, and victory or at least survival was still a possibility. The same envoys that had seemingly seemed a portent of doom came once again, this time with entreaties of peace. Some had to be convinced to turn aside with a gold coin, but that was an option still in Mimir's power for now. It crept forward like a slowly escalating tide. The more that came to the table to parlay with Sudreyar, the more other nations were encouraged to follow suit. Of the major players, West Seaxe was the first convinced to stand down. Other than modern day Wales, it's territories were restored and it's objectives completed. Although Mimir would have to swallow his pride on the matter, his previous conquests in West Seaxe had localized the conflict to THEIR lands and had the reverse been true it is entirely possible the great war could have gone very differently. With neutral parties emerging again undistracted and a threat to West Seaxe's ambitions, it's focus again shifted to deterring it's Irish neighbors in particular. Ulaidh and Orkneyar were NOT so easily convinced however.

    Ulaidh managed to drive Sudreyar out of Ireland completely, but didn't stop there. The series of battles that followed are legends amongst my people even today. Ulaidh chose a narrow inlet to use as their amphibious landing site. Tactically, the maneuver made little sense except to give their soldiers a quick and short route from the ocean to land. Perhaps their lack of comfort and affinity with open sea travel was more exaggerated than we imagined. Beyond the inlet laid rough and almost impassable terrain due to rough mountains. It served as an ideal choke point, and King Mimir himself led his finest warriors to defend the pass whilst his more novice commanders (one being his son Haakon) fought Orkneyar further to the north. Ulaidh pressed furiously time and time again, and the battles were bloody to the extreme. Countless sagas and instances herald heroes and acts of valor as men furiously cut into one another...refusing to yield even a single inch. Battles followed one another in quick succession, and no matter how many men or even armies were laid low Ulaidh kept pressing their attack into this same inlet over and over again. Irish Kings, princes, and whole armies were buried in the muddy and unforgiving confines of that inlet, and Mimir's chosen army The Eagles of Eiric were reduced to a pitiful shadow of their former glory. King Mimir, a few of his bodyguard, and maybe a few dozen soldiers were denied the opportunity to feast in Valhalla. Still...Ulaidh had proven their worth in sheer determination and bloody mindedness. Even if Sudreyar's heartlands remained out of reach, Ulaidh was content with Ireland freed of Viking influence and sued for peace. Sudreyar was content that they had fought tooth and nail with what they now considered an honorable foe, and were relieved to finally only be fighting a war on only one front. Sudreyar and Ireland as a whole enjoyed an uneasy peace from that point forward, a begrudging respect forged out of that bloody and horrific campaign. Indeed, specific runic tattoos or tribal markings became a sort of annointing...a way to remember and honor the select few veterans who survived on both sides.

    King Mimir was forced to halt and more or less rebuild his prized army The Eagles of Eiric from the ground up. He had lost ground in West Seaxe as well as Ireland. But whatever failings he had endured in those theatres were more than made up for in the sweeping victories his lesser commanders were winning all over Scotland. Orkneyar suffered one crushing blow after the other, and was in no shape to fight Sudreyar by themselves as they now had to do. Orkneyar pleaded for peace over and over again, Mimir offered none. This great war and the sacrifices made to this point HAD to mean something for his people, and indeed it would. By war's end, there was only ONE Sea King power remaining and it was Sudreyar, or as it was now hailed The Kingdom of The Norse Gealic Sea. The initial losses in wealth were addressed as vast new tracts of land now offered coin and levy to their new overlords. The new armies fielded were no longer out of desperation but permanent institutions that could be trusted to fight and be fielded consistently forevermore. Truly it was a golden age for our people, or at least for those who ruled over us...

    ...and here at the end of the great war, is where my sad story comes to a close. For all of their feats House Kettil is not excused from what they have done to the nobility of this country. I and countless others lay broken and destitute when we have fought, bled, and died for the betterment of this nation. Our only reward given in return is to wallow like we are rabble and peasantry in the dirt. A world where only one family has absolute power, no matter how noble their intention is not a world I wish to live in or tolerate, ESPECIALLY when that family prospers at my family's expense. And my family is far from the only one. As much as I loved King Mimir, those that came before him and inevitably those that come after will more often disappoint me than impress. I have gathered this great work, labored intensely to have it spread, copied, and disseminated amongst the southern scholars. They will be eager to copy and spread it's contents I'm sure, to learn how us "horrible Vikings" ever bested them in the first place. Let them muse, I have greater work to be about. I have heard tell of a colossal fleet of warriors, hailing from our ORIGINAL homelands in Scandinavia. THEY will be the answer to my current misery and the key to my revenge. It is rumored that they cover the sea like a swarm of locusts, and that their is no counting the amount of ships they bring...much less the warriors within them. They will need a guide, and they will need warriors. I can provide both in abundance with that same nobility and distinguished blood that House Kettil so casually dismisses. We sail in the thousands, to relive the glories and feats of Ragnar Lodbrok's children, that Great Heathen Army of so many years past...

    It is at this point that the writing and account of Holmkell himself comes to an abrupt close. The remaining information is gleaned from mostly southern and Christian scribes which as Holmkell predicted took intense interest in his work, and the potential intelligence it could offer to them and to their masters concerning the study of Vikings in general. It took considerable time, but enough rakes and spies eventually discovered that Holmkell and the reported "refugees" he describes at the end of his Saga fell in with The Fleet of The Denes. This fleet historically invaded and tried to occupy land off the eastern coast of Scotland, declaring war on The Kingdom of The Norse Gaelic Sea in the process. Despite some initial victories, The Denes are eventually overwhelmed and destroyed while led by King Haakon (a son of King Mimir only briefly mentioned in Holmkell's Saga.) If Holmkell is killed or his exact fate is never determined despite thorough investigations. Ultimately his work however is copied and frequently distributed throughout West Seaxe and eventually Ireland (although admittedly only the Irish nation of Ulaidh demonstrates any meaningful or consistent interest in the publication) While The Kingdom of The Norse Gaelic Sea does eventually crumble and The Viking Age comes to a close in 1066 AD, Holmkell's odd and poignant work endured. It persisted long after his nation, his family, and his way of life had all perished...just as he had initially hoped.

  16. #16
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    There's a nicely drawn contrast between the image of a golden age for the one remaining Sea King, and the men of that Sea King who are broken and destitute after fighting for the nation. I like the way that this concluding chapter (if this is the ending) looks both back to the time of the Great Heathen Army, and forward to the arrival of a great fleet of the Danes, and to events afterwards.

  17. #17
    Mercenary2479's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: The Holmkell Sagas-A Sudreyar Narrative AAR

    Indeed this is the ending of The Holmkell Sagas. Hope you all enjoyed the read and if you have any suggestions or ideas for the future, please do not hesitate to let me know. For now, the focus is to actually put in the time and finally work on Chief In The North until it is finished in earnest.

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