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Thread: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

  1. #1

    Default The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    I'm so excited to share an AAR I've been working on. It's for a very recent game of Britannia that I've been playing as Norway. I hope you like it!

  2. #2

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    Prologue: King of the Isles
    Rain and winds lashed against the walls of Castletown, ensconced as it was among the Isle of Mann. Inside its great halls a roaring fire warmed the inside, as the banners of House Crovan marked the castle’s owner. The young Magnus was sat by a great table, cluttered with papers and maps. Though he had read and contemplated much, he was in a reflective mood, sitting quietly. He was dressed simply, in his wool shirt and dark trousers, nothing like the nobles and monarchs on the continent who peacocked themselves with jewels and finery. Though young, he ha
    d already proved himself a warrior, conquering the Isle of Mann by force of arms and establishing himself as a major power in Britain. But now, his mind was far from the glories of past victories.

    His solitude was broken by the footsteps of his steward. Arthur was an elderly man, who may have made a great monk in another life. His years of service and experience had filled him with advice and counsel to dispense when needed.
    “Surely you’ve heard the news from the Hebrides, your Grace.”

    “Yes, Arthur. Such an insult cannot go unanswered.” He responded.

    The elder nodded.

    “Agreed. The island of Islay must be brought back into the fold.”

    “I will then sail forth with the garrison of Castletown and reclaim it. These proud Scots will learn who to kneel to. They will be punished severely for their insolence. I will lay waste to their hovels.” He said coldly.

    “Your Grace, such actions would be well within your rights and could set a fine example. However, putting the town to the sword may also inflame anger at your rule. How would the other Scottish subjects react if they learned of such force? I may suggest another way.”

    “What do you propose? We bribe the rebel lords back into our fold with some promise of land?”

    “No, you must still defeat their armies by force of arms. The lords who betrayed you must die. But the common people of Islay should be spared your wrath. Only those who take up arms against you need die. You are young and have a reputation to build. Why not build a reputation of chivalry and grace rather than one of fear and hatred?” Arthur spoke carefully.

    “I will take your words into consideration, but the final decision will be made when we reach the isle.” He responded. “There is also the matter of Skye.”

    “Yes, Skye is defended by a powerful army. I’m afraid we lack the forces or the coin to contend with it. But it is important to seize it if you wish to reunify the Hebrides under your realm. It is a far trickier proposition. Clan MacLeod of Skye openly defies the rule of House Crovan.”

    “So how do you propose handling the situation there?” Magnus asked.

    “For now, we don’t. You govern a poor realm and cannot afford to raise such a large host. The only way to reclaim Skye would be with reinforcements from Norway, and with the war occurring, there is no way to predict when those may come. For now, you must focus on Islay. With that secured perhaps you could take your army and fleet north to Skye.”

    “A long, drawn-out campaign, all while the Scottish king gazes at our lands like a festering boil to lance.” Magnus rued.

    “King Alexander is young himself. And he no doubt wishes to reclaim the Hebrides into his kingdom. You are wise to be wary of his intentions.”

    “Then we cannot be seen as weak! Have the men set to work on building longships at once. We will begin this war for the isles.” Magnus declared.

    “I will begin the preparations for war at once. I suggest you seek the company of Ingrid for the time you remain at the castle. Long days at sea and the front tend to make men lonely.” Arthur counselled.

    “I shall. Leave me for now.” He commanded.

    And Magnus did go on to heed Arthur’s advice for his wife Ingrid was with child when he sailed to war.
    Last edited by TalesOfConquest; December 04, 2022 at 11:23 AM. Reason: Improving photo size

  3. #3

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The War of the Isles Begins

    Lost in the many accounts of heroism, bloodshed, intrigue, and battles that fill this period in Britain’s history was the short span of time leading up to the more famous events. The Norseman Magnus ruled over a small island kingdom in the name of his father in Norway, Haakon. The Hebrides, the Isle of Mann, the Orkney Islands, and the castle of Wick were all pledged to the mighty House of Crovan. However, these territories were sparse and rugged, filled with unruly Scots who refused to bow to the will of foreign Norwegian lords.

    The isles of Skye and Islay rose in rebellion against the Norsemen. Unwilling to tolerate such an act of betrayal, Magnus set out from Castletown with a fleet and a powerful host to reclaim these territories, beginning the War of the Isles. While poor and short of both coin and men, Magnus was still confident he could quickly defeat the rebels at Islay. However, the lords in the north could scarcely raise up enough troops to defend their own territories, let alone lay siege to the powerful castle on Skye.

    The fear was for a long and drawn-out conflict, with a need to defeat the rebellion island by island. Such a bloody war would no doubt leave the fledgling kingdom vulnerable to an invasion by the Scottish king Alexander III, who was already massing forces on the border.

    Magnus was at sea when he learned that reinforcements were arriving from Norway. A fierce warlord named Gellir Hvass approached with his own fleet and warbands. Known as a cruel and vicious raider in Scandinavia, he set his sights on the Isle of Skye, quickly landing his longships there and beginning a siege.

    The news of Gellir’s arrival brought relief but also new challenges of its own. With a new army in his service, the coffers of the kingdom would be stretched thin, likely to cause a major debt. Lords had to raise taxes in their territories and disband troops that they had only just hired to support the war effort.

    Magnus knew that he would have to resolve and win this war quickly to end the financial strain and prepare for the Scottish onslaught that he feared from King Alexander. He quickly granted the lands of Skye to Gellir, pending its conquest, and set out to secure the Isle of Islay himself. Even with the army that had conquered Castletown he knew that his task would be difficult. And so, the twin sieges and battles that defined the War of the Isles would commence.

    Last edited by TalesOfConquest; December 04, 2022 at 11:24 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The rebellion sounds like an opportunity for Magnus, but it sounds like there are major threats from Norway and Scotland. I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen in the sieges and what this will mean for the War of the Isles.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The Siege of Skye

    The writings of a huscarl named Ragnar are well-known to those who study this period of history. A young warrior, he had joined the fleet of Gellir Hvass, setting sail for the British Isles, where he went on many adventures. Eventually, he returned to Norway and settled down on a farm in Kattegat, where he married a shieldmaiden and raised a family. During his travels with Gellir, he fought in the War of the Isles, joining the bloody campaign on Skye. He tells a horrifying tale of the final assault.

    His account of Skye’s Fall

    Gellir Hvass spoke much of God but fighting alongside him was often the work of the Devil. I saw dreadful things during the War of the Isles, the first horrors of which I saw on Skye. After the long voyage at sea, we made landfall on the isle of Skye. We were quickly greeted by several hundred more Norsemen, reinforcements from sent from the Earl of Stornoway, they said. We welcomed them into our army. Almost as soon as we made camp, Gellir ordered the construction of siege equipment, for a large wooden castle guarded the island. A seasoned raider back in Norway, he was eager to cross his blade against the Scots, having heard that they were a savage and bloodthirsty people.

    I myself was new to war. Though well trained and familiar with axe and shield, I was raring to fight in my first battle. The wait would not be long. The castle flew the banners of Clan MacLeod, and their chief was a man named Leod. While pledged to serve Magnus, he had instead led his clan into a state of open rebellion. We suspected that he sought to take Castletown himself, for he had quite a large host of nearly a thousand men.

    While one could consider the insults that Gellir and Leod shouted at each other over the walls of the castle a “parley”, it was clear that neither man had any interest in negotiating a peaceful solution. War was the only solution. We’d received word that Magnus had set sail from the Isle of Mann on a fleet of longships. We received further word from him that granted the Isle of Skye to Gellir, naming him the Earl of Skye.

    By then, the siegeworks included a complete ladder, siege tower, and a ram. Perhaps it would have been wiser to wait to build yet more equipment, but Gellir did not want to wait. He chose to strike on a rainy day, the sky was a shade that almost appeared red, an omen for the bloody day ahead. The less that can be said about that day the better, at least that is how I thought of it. But even now, all these years later, I am compelled to remember the horrid events of that day. I wake up safe and peaceful in my bed in Kattegat filled with memories that haunt me to my dying day. I know that it is my duty to recount what happened.

    Rain lashed defender and attacker alike, we left our camp and gathered in the forests outside the castle. I could see the defenders all along the walls, howling and screaming like mad men. With a wave of his hand, Gellir ordered the attack, having companies of raiders man the ladders and ram, but granting the protection of the siege tower to the fearsome axmen from Sami.

    Flaming arrows flew from both sides as the ladders, ram, and siege tower approached the walls. The men carrying ladders ran to avoid the enemy fire, while the siege tower and ram approached at a leisurely pace. Eventually all reached the wall and the fighting began. The axemen manning the tower needed longer to rise up and reach the walls, enduring enemy arrow fire all the while.

    Every now and then a flaming arrow would strike an unlucky man, in many cases setting him ablaze. The screams were horrifying and piercing to the soul of anyone unfortunate enough to listen. I heard many such screams. The smell was even worse, that pervaded the whole battlefield. Held in reserve alongside Gellir himself, we could only watch as the carnage unfolded. The men on the ladders were already making short work of the highlanders, slaughtering archers and peasant rabble alike. Then a horrible calamity struck.

    The men from Sami were at the walls, and about twenty of them had begun rising through the siege tower. By some stroke of misfortune, the defenders had managed to set the tower ablaze. There was a mad scramble to escape from the structure. Unfortunately, few would make it out in time. The fire spread rapidly, and soon the tower collapsed, trapping any men inside to be crushed and burned. The rest of the axe company ran to the ladders and rose to avenge their fallen comrades.

    Our men cut savagely through the men on the walls, quickly sending them to flight. Meanwhile, the ram was battering away at the castle gate.

    Eventually the gate was broken through, and the rest of the army was committed to the fight. The rest of the companies of raiders were sent in first, battling the highlanders and peasants guarding the narrow gateway. Their lord Leod was encouraging the to fight hard, hurling out curses that would make a sailor blush. This seemed to rouse Gellir to great anger.

    There are many criticisms one could rightfully make about Gellir Hvass, but cowardice was not one of them. He was a brave and talented warrior, almost barbaric in his bloodlust. He repeatedly flung himself into the fray under the gateway, seeking out Leod to slay him, but there was far too much confusion in the bedlam of battle. Finally, our company of Huscarls were ordered into the fray, joining the second wave as men were starting to falter and flee. I remembered my training as we approached the gateway.

    I will never forget the first man I ever killed. He was a Scottish peasant armed with a club, hurling curses in his native tongue. Bearded with red hair, he was stinking from drink and mad with a blood frenzy. Even in the narrow confines of the gateway, I was able to smash my axe into his head, chopping through his skull like my brothers would chop wood. His head cave and his skull cracked under the force of the blow, and he collapsed away. Before I could react to my action, another highlander attacked me with an axe. Almost by instinct, I caught the blow on my shield and struck back, separating his head from his body.

    I would slay three other men that day, fighting through the gateway as we pushed into the castle. I heard a man say that Leod had slain by a Sami axe, causing the defenders to lose their will to fight and begin fleeing in terror. By then, the walls must have been cleared out as we were reinforced by yet more Norsemen from the walls.

    I turned to see Leod slip from his horse, bleeding heavily from his armor. The body clattered to the ground as our men pushed the Scots back away from the walls. We advanced towards the town square where the Scots planned to make their stand, leaving a horrific pile of men and horses behind. Mangled corpses, limbs, and weapons were strewn about the castle grounds.

    We’d already suffered heavy losses to take the gates, but the last remaining survivors of the castle were gathered in the town square for a final stand. With a mighty charge we fought our way into the square. Gellir fought like a madman, coming close to death several times himself. Most of his bodyguards fell by his side as he slashed and hacked like a madman. Eventually, the Scots were reduced to just a few men. Despite knowing the battle was all but lost, they refused to surrender.

    We reduced them down to the last man. The final highlander hacked wildly at the Norsemen, taking down several men with him before the back of his neck was finally pierced by a lance from one of Gellir’s surviving bodyguards. We’d heard tales of the savagery of the Scots but it was quite another thing to experience for ourselves.

    The battle was finally over. The garrison of Skye had fought to the last man, and the air of death ruled over the place. In total, we’d lost more than five hundred and fifty men to take the castle, more than a third of our number. Before we could even bury our dead, Gellir ordered us to sack the castle. The shocked smallfolk simply came out with what little coin, valuables, and food they had. Some old defiant men were killed on the spot as we carried out our orders. It took several days to bury all the dead.

    The Aftermath of Skye’s Fall

    Gellir’s body remained covered in bruises. It had only been days since he had claimed his seat. The fledgling kingdoms coffers were replenished with the meager pickings he had received from the sack and the tax revenue from the cowed people of Skye would end the financial crisis. Now matters turned towards winning the rest of the war. The Isle of Islay remained under the rebellion’s control, and Magnus sailed with his own fleet to reclaim it for his crown.

    He'd never owned a castle before. He felt a strong sense of satisfaction at his accomplishment. As it had during the siege, rain lashed the island. Instead of having to hide in tents, he and his men were now able to weather it in the comfort of the castle.

    All the better to wash the blood away. He thought to himself.

    The act of cleaning up and burying the dead was a surprisingly arduous task. The battle had left a significant amount of destruction and was taking a long time to repair. He was working to establish his force in the castle, restore order, collect taxes, make improvements to the keep, and replenish his losses. With the time for fighting over for now, he could focus on governance. He’d always dreamed of lordship, craving land to rule over, and now he had achieved his dream.

    Content to sit in the great hall by a roaring hearth fire, he sipped at mead when a huscarl approached.

    “My Lord, a boat is arriving!” the man said.

    Rising quickly to his feet, he gathered some of his guards and Huscarls and made haste to the battlements. He could see it just moving in the distance, a small rowboat.

    What is the meaning of this? He thought.

    “Fetch me my horse!” He ordered.

    As Gellir rode to the docks with a dozen armed men in his retinue, he spied the man rowing. He was dressed in simple clothes, with a rough wool cloak and only a small axe hung along his belt. He was clearly exhausted and out of breath, he may well have been rowing through the night.

    “Speak.” Gellir barked to him.

    “I bring news from the fleet of Magnus!” The man responded. Gellir was relieved to hear the Norse tongue and the words it bore.

    “What is it?” He asked.

    “It is King Alexander of Scotland! He has sent an army to invade the Isle of Arran!”

    “So, it is war then.” Gellir said. “It has come sooner than expected.”

    “A host of almost nine hundred men marches on the village as we speak!” The lands and terrains of Scotland were still unfamiliar to Gellir, but the man’s urgency suggested that the situation was dire.

    “Thank you.” Gellir turned to his men. “Ensure that this man is given rest, food, and water. Then fetch me a map so that I can see where this island is!”

    Last edited by TalesOfConquest; December 04, 2022 at 11:27 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    Scotland Joins the War of the Isles
    King Alexander III was a young ruler, but hungry for land and power to consolidate his rule. The castles of Dunstaffnage and Inverlochy had risen in rebellion against the crown, and the Hebrides, Orkneys, and Isle of Mann remained under Norse rule. Always concerned by the border with England, Alexander believed that if he consolidated his rule, he could strengthen his position by claiming all this land. As the English were battling rebellions in Ireland and Wales, he believed that this was an opportune time to strike.

    As the War of the Isles began, Alexander decided to intervene on the side of the rebel lords. He landed an army upon the Isle of Arran, which was pledged to Magnus. Before ordering his army to attack, he made a famous declaration of war before the Royal Court. His words are recorded in history.

    “The time has come to drive these invaders back to their frozen lands in the east. From Aberdeen to Mann, and Edinburgh to Kirkwall, these lands will kneel before a Scottish king! With the might of God, I will drive these barbarians back to the sea.”

    To thunderous applause from the court and the gathered nobles, King Alexander declared war on Magnus and the Norse, calling his banners. The clans of Scotland began to mobilize their armies and the invasion force of almost nine hundred men marched upon the village of Arran. Magnus was still at sea when he learned of this and was within striking distance of Islay. When he learned of the attack on Arran, however, he decided to land his forces and camp upon a peninsula near the rebel castle of Dunstaffnage. He sent word for his new ally Gellir, Earl of Skye, to launch the attack on Islay. Magnus prepared to sail east to Arran instead.

    The Scots however, had moved rapidly, and before any reinforcements could arrive, they were able to attack the village. The battle should have been an easy victory as they possessed nearly three times the number of defenders, who numbered less than three hundred common men with rudimentary bows and axes. Expecting either a quick surrender or easy slaughter, they were surprised to find such a dogged resistance in the village’s narrow streets. The young chieftain commanding the Scottish force, a man named Gawain was slain in the fighting. For every Norseman lost, at Arran, a Scotsman was slain.

    Just like the rebels at Skye, the Norsemen at Arran fought to the last man, putting up a fierce final stand. With their sacrifice, the invasion force was reduced to just over 600 men. When Magnus learned of this, he is said to have mourned their sacrifice and resolved himself to reclaim the village from the now weakened Scots.

    The Scots did not expect his army to be so close by, as they thought he was fighting on Islay. The sight of longships carrying the Norse banners shocked the men who had thought they would be able to reinforce their position. After the army departed and landed, the fleet then attacked the nearby Scottish fleet, defeating them in a battle off the coast of Arran. Now with his forces gathered, Magnus prepared to drive off the invaders and reclaim Arran from the Scots.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The Battle of Arran

    Snow had fallen on the island. Magnus thought it was a shame, as the beauty of the snow would be stained by blood. The army gathered quickly upon departing the longships, and soon enough the village was in sight. As the weather cleared, Magnus knew his plans would work. As they had sailed to battle, he had made sure to study a map of the village. The sacrifice of the defenders would make their work far easier.

    He had hoped some of these peaceful villages would be spared the trials and hardships of war, but such a hope was too naïve.

    Lord, let this be the last battle fought on this Isle. At least give these villagers some peace. He quickly prayed during the short march from the shore to the village.

    The host of Castletown was mighty, nearly twelve hundred men strong. They boasted crossbows and archers, powerful Sami axemen, huscarls trained to fight both mounted and dismounted, and deadly catapults. With the spirited defense of Arran, the Scots had been reduced to just half of the Norse host. During the hastily assembled war council, much debate had been had on how to best use the catapults. As the village had no walls, a direct assault was viable, but potentially at a high cost.

    As his army gathered before the village, he spoke to his men.

    “In an act of treachery, King Alexander has declared war on us. The men inside savagely slaughtered your fellow warriors. Your comrades. Your brothers! Today we avenge them. Let not a single Scotsman in that village escape alive, for we will send a message to Alexander today. We have the blood of warriors! We will not yield to him! We will fight!” He rang out, letting the anger seep into his voice.

    The army before him let out a mighty roar of approval, one so loud it might well have shaken the trees. The defenders inside the village heard it. From his mount, Magnus could see flurries of activity in the village. They must have been taken completely by surprise, for the men were scrambling to hastily arm and armor themselves. He made no intention to give them more time to prepare.

    “Catapults!” He ordered.

    With a mighty groan the devices were brought forward, creaking on their wooden wheels. His army was arrayed to repulse an assault should the defenders of the village be foolish enough to sally out. The plan they’d discussed at the war council was to wear down the defenders with missiles, arrows, and crossbow bolts before descending on them. The catapults allowed for a safe range. When they were finally prepared, he barked out his next order.


    With a loud twang, they loosed large stones towards the village. He heard a loud crash inside as they reached the targets. A rock grazed the steeple of church and crashed into a building. The crews fired barrage after barrage at the village, striking buildings, and wrecking houses. The counsel given to him by Arthur back on Castletown suddenly rang through his mind, and he felt guilt and regret grow.

    “Halt! Cease fire! Cease fire!” He yelled out.

    The crews immediately dropped the stones they were loading the catapult with, confused.

    “Our war is with Alexander, not the people of Arran, we will not destroy their houses and rule over ruins. I will reclaim this village, not destroy it! Crossbows, archers! Advance!”

    The catapults retreated to safety as the missile units advanced. Soon they were in range of the defenders, arrayed as they were in the village’s narrow streets. The volleys began in earnest, pelting the defenders inside. Meanwhile, Magnus ordered the cavalry to flank around to the western side of the village.

    He rode around with his bodyguards, leaving the infantry and archers to hold the southern road into the village. He quickly spied a force of highlanders that had marched out of the village to oppose him. He sent a company of mounted Huscarls yet further out to prepare a flanking attack and drew his sword.

    “Charge!” He yelled, riding into the thick of battle himself.

    He crashed into the formation of highlanders, swinging his sword at the first man he saw. A quick cut separated the man’s head from body. The lances of his guard made short work of the formation’s front ranks. He rode his horse yet deeper into the enemy formation, slashing wildly with his sword. He slew three more men before the Huscarls smashed into the highlanders’ flanks. The men panicked and routed but could not escape the swords and axes of the horsemen.

    Spying a company of spearmen approaching from inside the village, he quickly ordered the cavalry to retreat away from the spears, slaying as many highlanders as they could on the way out. Meanwhile, he could hear the clashing of steel from the south side of the village. The Scots had charged into the Norse lines, but they were running into a wall of steel and experienced warriors.

    The poorly trained and armed Scots were no match. In moments they were driven back, cut down by axes and arrows. The Scots found themselves in the same position that they had once placed the defenders of Arran. Only a small group of survivors gathered in the village square. Magnus gazed upon them and felt rage fill his heart yet again. He spoke to the horsemen gathered around him.

    “I spoke of mercy for the villagers before, but do not forget what I said earlier about the invaders. Leave no man alive.” He ordered coldly.

    Rivers of men entered the village; the Scots surely knew they were doomed by then. Arrows flew overhead on both sides as the Norse footmen charged the final dregs of their ranks.

    Finally, Magnus gathered the horsemen when he saw the final survivors engaged. He led them from the front of the formation and yelled out a mighty battle cry.


    The beleaguered Scots must have heard the thundering of hooves from the western side of their village before them as some gazed towards the sound, even while battling the Norse footmen. The narrow paths through the village revealed dozens of horsemen, all charging full-bore into the formation. Magnus slew yet another man when their forces finally collided.

    In minutes the final survivors were killed, and the village returned to the Norse once again. The men cheered as the villagers slowly streamed out of the village to greet the victors. Magnus spoke to them from the town square, amidst the carnage and destruction wrought.

    "I hope the Scots did not mistreat you in the brief time they held this village. I pledge to you today, as soon as we have the coin, that walls will be raised, so that you may never experience such horrors as this again.” He announced, to the sound of applause. “For now, we must rest and bury the dead, for the war must continue on.”

    While the Scots were slain to a man, nearly one hundred and seventy Norsemen were killed in the reclaiming of Arran.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The War Council

    Magnus resolved to leave Arran quickly, leaving behind only a small garrison. But the question of where to go next was an urgent one to discuss. He called up a war council of his men, who gathered in the village’s tavern to plan their next moves. They knew that Gellir was now sailing south towards Islay to reclaim it, and Knut, the Earl of Wick, had gathered a large host in the north. He would march south into the realm of King Alexander while Gellir dealt with the Islay rebellion.

    Arrayed across a simple wooden table was a map of the British Isles, with the forces of both sides represented by painted stones. The Norse controlled three larger armies, the northern army from Wick, Gellir’s army near Islay, and Magnus’s army on Arran. The Norse spies were well-informed of Alexander’s forces, which were still in disarray. The Scottish king was likely still calling up his banners.

    The question of how to move forward was an interesting one. Magnus could reinforce Gellir at Islay, return to Castletown to regroup, or strike out and face Alexander on the field in the Scottish mainland. It is written that a seasoned thane suggested another option.

    “We look to the path of our ancestors, and we raid as Vikings.” He suggested. “With our armies we could raid the undefended coastal settlements, sack them, then return to the sea with plunder. The Scots are so disarrayed that they cannot hope to respond in time. With Knut’s army in the north, they will be distracted from our efforts.”

    His suggestion caused a minor uproar as the nobles argued. Was such barbarity needed? Did they not convert from the pagan ways of their ancestors? How could Magnus himself take part in such actions? A raised hand from Magnus silenced them.

    “We need the coin.” He said simply. “Even with our finances stabilized, we simply cannot fight a long war against the Scots. They have more men and resources; they could wear us down battle by battle until we our ground to the bone.”

    “But yet more reinforcements from Norway could arrive!” A young captain protested.

    “The King in Norway is embroiled in his own conflicts; it may be a long time before he can send any more help. And even if they did arrive sooner, we would struggle to pay them as surely as we struggled to pay Gellir’s army. The plan will suffice, and we will launch our raids. To the longships!” He ordered.

    And so, the village of Arran was left by the army almost as soon as it had been taken. A small garrison of archers was left behind to defend it as the village began to build wooden walls. Soon, they were at sea again. In a matter of days, the relatively undefended city of Glasgow found Norse banners outside its walls. The host of Gellir had begun a siege on the rebel island of Islay, and the army of Knut was marching on the northern castle of Inverness. Alexander’s hastily declared war would lead to a deadly storm upon his realm’s shores.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The Battle of Inverness
    he opposing formations of Scottish pikemen crashed into each other by the trees. All around them was chaos. The forests outside of Inverness were littered with corpses, ruled by the dead and the dying. Knut Haakonsson heard the din of battle and the shouts of men. Watching the formations clash, he finally rallied his horsemen to outflank and destroy the last enemy formation.

    “Charge!” he ordered with his sword raised.

    Several contingents of cavalry slammed into the vulnerable rear and flanks of the highland pikemen. Within seconds the men were dead or fleeing. The attack had been a resounding success. As he’d lead the march on Inverness castle, he’d learned that half of the castle’s garrison were camped outside of its walls, perhaps foraging, or gathering supplies from the woods. It had been too good a chance to pass over.

    The castle’s owner, a man named Alexander Steward, was caught completely unaware by Knut’s attack. He had no doubt been hastily assembling the other half of his forces to respond. In the meantime, Knut’s army had almost completely shattered the enemy with his surprise attack. As he secured his position, he spied Alexander’s reinforcements approaching from atop a hill.

    “Horsemen! To the flank!” A man shouted.

    Knut looked to see a small group of Scottish cavalrymen attempting a rearguard for the fleeing remnants of the ambushed force.

    “I will see to that myself.” He muttered, gathering his personal bodyguards.

    He charged at them, ordering his men to lower their lances.

    They made short work of the enemy. Almost as soon as Knut had cut down the first man off his horse, the light horses began to flee from the onslaught. In seconds the few survivors were fleeing into the woods. Knut turned his attention towards Alexander Steward’s army. By the time Knut returned to his own lines, his forces were formed up against the enemy force that was only half their size.

    “March forward to meet them.” He ordered.

    The two armies advanced towards each other, and both commanders ordered a final charge.

    The lines met, and quickly Alexander’s men were overwhelmed, with the flanks turning on both sides. Knut himself led a large cavalry contingent around to encircle Alexander’s bodyguards. Now locked in combat, the infantry and cavalry began to push the rest of the army away until Alexander’s force was surrounded by cavalry on one side and infantry on the other side.

    Alexander himself fought bravely, fighting madly against the Norsemen. His own bodyguards were becoming overwhelmed and many of the Scotsmen trapped in the encirclement chose to simply surrender and lay down arms. Eventually, a pikeman was able to pull the Scottish lord off his horse, allowing several men to pin him down. The battle was over, and the remaining Scots were either fleeing towards the castle or in captivity. Knut himself had lost just over 100 men in the battle, a resounding victory, as nearly 500 Scots were killed, with hundreds more taken prisoner, Alexander Steward among their number.

    In the camps outside the castle, Knut rested, eating a hearty stew and broth made from captured enemy provisions. A huscarl approached his tent.

    “Earl Knut, we have the prisoner Alexander Stewart for your.” He spoke.

    “Bring him in.” Knut commanded.

    Knut was an older warrior, at two and fifty, and he could see the Scotsman before him was just a few years younger than him. He’d heard that Alexander Stewart had been a great warrior in his youth, fighting in the crusades. Now he was bound in chains. The proud Scottish lord was dragged into the tent by two other huscarls and made to kneel before the Earl.

    “Please, let him stand.” Knut ordered the huscarls.

    When he stood, Knut could see that his prisoner was a tall man. His fair hair and face were stained with blood, and he suspected the man would be limping from the wounds he received.

    “You fought bravely today.” Knut said in the Scottish tongue, he’d learned it well over his years governing Wick. “But also, quite foolishly.”

    “Yet here I am in chains, a prisoner to the invaders.” Alexander spat. “Just lop off my head and be done with it.”

    “Ah you may well have your chance to die by the blade in the coming war, but I don’t expect that to be today. How much do you think your life is worth to your king in Perth?”

    Alexander simply glared back silently.

    “Unchain him!” Knut shouted to the huscarls, who scrambled to comply with his order. “Your king has sent us much gold for your release.”

    “But the dishonor! I should have died on the battlefield!” Alexander protested.

    “Oh, I’m sure you will get the chance. My men our constructing siege towers as we speak. You could just surrender the castle to us and pledge your loyalty and avoid any further bloodshed. Magnus could use a warrior as brave as you.” Knut offered.

    “Never! I will always remain loyal to the true king!”

    “Very well, return to your castle. Die with honor when we claim it.”

    “You’ll never get away with this, we will win this war and drive you barbarians away!” The defiant prisoner stated. Knut could only laugh in response.

    “We will bleed you of gold. Even now, our forces are raiding Glasgow and Dumfries. Your kingdom will be bled dry of gold. Nowhere on the coast will be safe. Your king has unleashed a hell he cannot survive. Enjoy your castle while you still have it.”

    With that, he sent Alexander and the prisoners on their way.

  10. #10
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    Good updates! The decision by King Alexander III to join the war sounds like an exciting moment, and it looks like Norway's raids and ransoms will be very profitable.

  11. #11

    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    The War Escalates Beyond the Isles

    The settlements of Glasgow and Dumfries were relatively undefended and poor. The army of Magnus sacked each settlement, seizing what little treasure there was, and destroying many of the buildings. With the raids completed, he boarded his longships and set sail for his home in Castletown, where his wife Ingrid awaited him.

    The Scottish forces were scattered all about, some wanting to march on the rebel castles of Inverlochy and Dunstaffnage, while others marched south to try to chase down Magnus. Prince Nevin of Scotland led a large army north, where he would be well positioned to either relieve the siege of Inverness or march on Iverlochy. His indecision would cost vital time in the war effort.

    In the meanwhile, Knut Haakonsson, the Earl of Wick, had defeated a divided army in the forests outside Inverness.

    “Is this still the War of the Isles?” The Earl is said to have joked upon beginning the siege of Inverness.

    On the Hebrides, only the rebel island of Islay remained, and Gellir Hvass was laying siege to its main city. Not wanting a repeat of the bloody assault on Skye, he chose caution, reinforcing his army with a catapult from Castletown. He also decided to attempt to starve out the defenders. With the victories on the Scottish mainland, he reasoned that he would have the luxury of time. And so, he devoted many months to his siege.

    The Scottish court was said to be full of disarray and confusion following news of the defeats at Arran and Inverness. Alexander III was angered at the cost of the ransom for prisoners at Inverness and for the vulnerability of his coastal settlements.
    “Do we not hold advantage in numbers and gold? Are we to leave our people to the mercy of pirates from the sea?” He asked his nobles at a council.

    At this point in my account, I feel that it is time to devote some attention to the war at sea, for I have focused on land battles, though the war at sea does merit some mentions. The Norse fleet was simply superior to the Scots. A large Scottish ship attempted to blockade the ports of Wick, only to be defeated and sunk by a Norse longship. At every engagement between the small Scottish and Norse fleets, the Scots were outmatched. This allowed for the Norsemen to adapt to their new strategy of raiding and melting back into the sea.

    Magnus had much to contemplate as he returned to his home and seat in Castletown. With victories at Arran and Skye, the War for the Isles was all but won. But this new war with the Scots was new. This was a war for the survival of his fledgling kingdom. He sent envoys to begin peace negotiations with the Scots, but they were rebuffed. Although the first phase of the war had gone disastrously for them, they were still confident in their ability to win. Despite the defeat, the castle of Inverness still stood, under the command of the chastened Alexander Stewart. The Scots also still controlled many armies and were eager to press their might against the hosts of Norway, where they were convinced that they could bleed their enemies white in a war of attrition.

    All the while, the war on Islay continued, as the defenders’ supplies dwindled down and they prepared to sally out in a final, mad charge.

  12. #12
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The King of the Isles (Britannia AAR - Norway)

    It's interesting that the Scots remained confidence and rebuffed the offer of peace. You've got me interested in how Norway will handle the war of attrition, and how well they'll use their superior fleet. Good update!

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