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How Do I Vike, Part Three

Part One and Part Two.

This time I’m going Viking for real, dammit!

When we left Gloð, she was a Danish subject, and was attempting to build up her money and power by sending troops off into Europe to steal whatever they could find.

While they’re on their way, Gloð conspires to try and kill her aunt Þordis, who is heir to a dangerous number of titles.

The raiders stop off in Ireland first, which is an easy place to raid due to being divided into a dozen feuding countries.  Note the army standing next to my raiders and not helping.  However, there’s not all that much to steal there.

Although we do manage to find … something?  Huh.

Gloð has only the one son so far.  I’d actually love it if she had a few bastard children — they can be legitimized if needed, but otherwise don’t clog up the inheritance.  And besides, we don’t suppress our worldly urges in this family!

At some point in 816 or 817 AD, Gloð acquired a puppy, which she named Faithful.  Faithful almost immediately turned out to be kind of a mean dog, though Gloð loved him dearly.  What I didn’t realize at first was that he was possibly a hellhound spawned by Satan himself.

Literally everyone in Þordis’ court is in on the conspiracy to try to kill her.

I mean, look at him!  Who could resist?

Þordis, last surviving child of Ormr, still has Gloð as her official heir.  So it would be really nice if we could kill her.

God damn it.

There we go.  I inherit one of her counties and claims on some of the others, and her threat to inherit some of my counties on my death is removed.  So much for the seven children of Ormr.

Apparently I’m having Snorri’s baby.

Fortunately my husband is very stupid.  Although in retrospect I should have just admitted it and had fewer legitimate children…

I launch a war for the ever-troublesome eastern counties with the claim I inherited from Þordis.  It goes quite badly at first.

Gloð takes comfort in Snorri’s arms, aided again by the stupidity of her husband.

Eventually I’m forced to give up the war against High Chief Bijás the Repulsive.  This is a good example of why it’s hard to judge strength among tribal leaders — he looked weak, but was strong on prestige and allies.  Gloð’s prestige is back in the negatives again, sigh.

New plan.  Gloð pursues a healthy hunting lifestyle in an effort to live as long as possible, while building up money and prestige via raiding until I reach the point where I can expand again.

“Eh, honestly doc, I have enough kids.”

To help with the prestige problem, I decide to hold a Great Blot, which is the Norse version of a feast.

Although, possibly with more human sacrifice then in other places.

Praise Odin!  Importantly, while executing prisoners for no reason gives you tyranny penalties, offering them up for sacrifice to the gods does not.  So it’s a great way of clearing out the dungeons.

I feel more pious already.

With the favor of the gods assured, I gather my raiders.  The Queen of Denmark choose this moment, irritatingly, to revoke one of my titles!  I briefly consider fighting it out with her, but ultimately I’m just not strong enough yet.  She’ll get hers one of these days.

I decide to stop messing around in Ireland — if you want to make money, you have to go where the money is.  To Rome!  Rome is rich and as a single-county realm has no real way of fighting back against this.  You’d think the Christians would get pissed off about a bunch of vikings burning down their holy city, but apparently not.

I’m not strong enough to take the castles of Rome, so once it’s well looted I head to my next target: Venice.  Also a single-county realm, also rich.  And since it has a city as county capital, its defenses are weak enough that I can lay siege to it!  That is some good looting.

Back home, Faithful is still causing problems at court, in the sense of trying to eat people.  He’s, what, ten years old now?  I’ll let him live out his days in peace.  (Not that I have a choice, there’s no Old Yeller button.  You can execute your children, but not your dog.)

After pausing to drop off the loot, my raiders next hit the island of Sardinia, which — dammit Faithful would you stop that!

The death of a petty king has split up a few of the non-Danish provinces into separate realms, so I take the opportunity to gobble some of them up.

Faithful, at 13, continues his reign of terror.

“Once again, doc, a few kids more or less, who would even notice the difference around here?”

The Queen of Denmark is attacking someone called “Mstislav the Gentle”.  I gather another raiding party in the meantime.  My prestige and treasury are both growing, and I’m starting to think about breaking away from Denmark.  Ideally, I’d start an “Independence” faction and get some other nobles to help me, but someone else has already started it, so I’d be beholden to their timing.  Instead, I wait and build up, hoping Gloð lives a bit longer.

In spite of her advancing age, Gloð is still churning out the babies with depressing regularity.

Unfortunately, she’s getting a little sickly, which means dealing with doctors.  Isn’t this the same guy who cut off Ingrid’s leg?

O…kay.  I’m cautiously on board.

I mean, that’s not measles, but all right.

Sow urine is definitely the answer to food poisoning.

The flu too, eh?

That’s a new one.  Anselm must be on the cutting edge of medical research.

Everyone’s always down on Faithful, just because he’s always trying to eat them.  They don’t see his cuddly side?  He’s like 16 now, I’m sure he’s settled down a bit.

I let this stupid priest hang around my court because he said he’d be cool about it.  Who’s cool now, eh?

(Not him.  Because I lit him on fire.)

Gloð is 100% down for any sort of amorous adventure, especially with craggy dudes with soup-strainer beards.

Still such a comfort to have Faithful around.  He’s … 18?  That’s pretty old for a dog.

While looting Brittany, someone dropped this sweet purple!  

My husband vanished without a trace, for some reason?  Possibly Faithful ate him.

Now I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of viking, and the money and prestige are rolling in.  I’m keeping a careful eye on the Independence faction and Danish strength.

First, though, my chancellor has forged me a claim to Hedmark, so I grab it before someone else does.  Small realms are more or less going extinct.

Faithful, still at it after … twenty-one years?  Also, apparently he broke into the dungeon to attack one of my prisoners.

I hold another Great Blot, which my stupid heir Ragnarr just ruins, ugh.  Ragnarr, in this family, we keep our tireless promiscuity behind closed doors, no one wants to see that.

Finally, I get the moment I’ve been waiting for!  Denmark is weak after several wars, and I’ve claimed the leadership of the Independence faction.  I use my accumulated favors to pull several other vassals into it with me, and then deliver the ultimatum to the queen.  Is it going to be freedom or war?

I mean, war, obviously.  It’s always war.

Fortunately, my prep work has paid off.  The revolt includes many of the most powerful vassals in Denmark, and I’ve got prestige for tribal armies and money for mercenaries.  Bring it on.

Allied armies flock to my banner.

Sweden takes advantage of the chaos to launch a war of their own against Denmark.  This is a little awkward, because it makes us mutually hostile, but I’m able to dodge them and let my enemies batter each other.  (Some of my allies are too stupid for that though.)

If after twenty-five years Faithful hasn’t learned to heal, Gloð, I don’t think he’s gonna.

Cousin Asa is tragically cut down leading her troops as the war continues.

Hafrid, the Queen of Denmark, dies just as I fight my way to the capital.  Another revolt has broken out, and Denmark is generally falling to pieces.

Finally!  Our time in Danish bondage is over!  

The Duchy of Nidaros is back, but not for long.  As before, I need a kingdom-level title to make sure that gavelkind doesn’t split my realm into pieces.

Fortunately, this time there’s plenty of money in the mercenary fund to create the necessary titles and declare myself Queen of Lapland!

Queen at last.  And Denmark is a mess, too.

The County of Finnmark, now called Suomi, was the one revoked from me by the Queen of Denmark and is now conveniently independent.  I still have a claim on it, so a quick war restores them to their rightful place.

Heir-wise, my son Ragnarr is looking pretty good, in spite of his somewhat problematic taste in leisure activities.  While physically weak, he’s Just, Ambitious, Diligent, Cruel, Lustful, and Cynical, with good stats.  Unfortunately, with five siblings, gavelkind will leave him with a weakened inheritance.

Also, seriously, what is up with the heraldry of Lappland, on the left?  “Guy with club wearing green underwear, rampant”?

Just as I’m beating Suomi, they swear loyalty to Estonia, which cancels the war and forces me to start over.  That’s super annoying, dammit.

Hey, man, not cool!  

Gloð becomes friends with her own son.  At least they didn’t drunkenly tumble into bed together, I wouldn’t have put it past either of them.

Faithful, still comforting his mistress in his twenty-eighth year.  I mean … that’s probably normal, right?  

The queen’s hunting dog has become a dark legend at court, stalking the corridors at night with slaver dripping from its jaws.  Courtiers whisper nervously that it cannot be killed.

What should have been a quick little war drags on as the Estonians refuse to give up.  I sail over to their country and burn down their tribes until they get sick of it.

Finally!  Irritatingly, Kola is now controlled by Ruthenia, a large kingdom in the south.  But my former allies who broke away from Denmark are looking tasty.

For some reason, there’s an outpost of Orthodox Christianity in the middle of Scandinavia.  Conveniently, this means I can declare a pagan conquest against them without a claim.

Getting there.  Hoping to absorb as many of these small states as possible while they’re disunited, but I need to fabricate some claims to fight fellow Germanic worshippers.  Instead, I decide to try to fight Ruthenia for Kola, which I still have an ancestral claim to.

At age thirty-six, Faithful is a dark specter that haunts the nightmares of the court.  When he attacks a courtier, others simply hurry past, leaving his chosen prey to her suffering.

I’m still fighting the Ruthenians when this shows up.  What the … what?  What the heck is going on here?

Damned if a largish army doesn’t show up to try and fight, though.  I end up making a white peace with Ruthenia, once again thwarted in my attempts to regain the counties that Þordis took with her when she broke away. 

My treasury and prestige have been depleted by the unexpectedly long wars.  Unfortunately the independent states created by the breakup of Denmark have been snapped up by Sweden and Norway, so good targets are also lacking.  Once again, it’s time to look overseas for loot and glory!

As my raiders approach Cornwall, Faithful celebrates his upcoming fortieth birthday by making a snack of someone’s poodle.  They say his paws leave burnt impressions on the flagstones.

Cornwall makes for good raiding, now that I’m strong enough to lay siege to their castles.  It takes a while, but there’s good money to be had.

Oh good!  It’s these guys again!  With that thing they do!

Finally, after dedicating most of her life to pillaging, Gloð gets the one thing she’s always wanted: official Viking status.  (Is there like a union that hands out cards or something?)  Mothers warn their children about the terrible Gloð, her undead warriors, and her hellhound Faithful.

Current Year: 857 AD.  Current Status: Finally A Real Viking!