When we left off, we had just gotten news of another vassal revolt against Queen Rodelinda, as she fights her council to work towards being an absolute monarch.
As my raiders sigh and hurry back to Lapland, the Catholics decide to join in the fun, as they are wont to do.
My husband is paranoid and keeps popping in and out of his blanket fort.
I mean, that actually seems kind of arbitrary.
Actually kind of surprised this worked out for them.
Hmm. Christian kingdom of Jerusalem in the midst of all those Muslim empires? Good luck.
Once my troops get back, the revolt is easily crushed.
Robin Hood! I let you live, and now you betray me like this? </Corleone>
God damn he’s a good general, though. But apparently he turned to drink after coming out of the forest.
Way too many of my important vassals are Catholics, which means they encourage the people in their territory to follow suit. ODIN IS DISPLEASED.
Just … slow down a minute guys. Take a number and you’ll be served in the order you arrived.
The host invasion is easily dealt with, but this revolt is stronger then the last one.
Much stronger. They’ve got mercenaries or Christian holy orders or both backing them, and once again I’m reduced to using my fleet to dodge around their much superior army.
To break the stalemate, I try to assassinate the guy whose claim they’re backing, but so far no dice.
Another faction of my vassals has declared war on the rebels, though, and things take a turn for the better as they fight it out and a harsh winter takes its toll. I continue sniping unprotected rebel holdings.
I’m finally getting the upper hand there when here comes the Queen of Austrasia with another claim on my territory. Bring it on!
Fortunately, the rebels give in before any Austrasian armies actually turn up, which gives me a chance to catch my breath.
I would very much like to bring in the Jomsvikings to help me against these Christian invaders, but apparently they’re “busy”. I’m forced to hire mercenaries instead.
We corner the Austrasian army on a small island and fight a desperate battle across the straits.
While the war is still ongoing, and yet another adventurer is targeting my territory, Rodelinda decides this is a great time to try and figure out how to live forever.
“Come on, guys. Someone must have some ideas? Anybody?”
“Anybody? Bueller? Eh, screw it, it’s only eternal life.”
Austrasia (which is this weird blob in the middle of France) finally comes to terms, and pays me a healthy indemnity.
I consider declaring war back at them, now that they’re weakened. As Fylkja, I can call a pagan crusade and take over a whole kingdom! The problem is that France would no doubt stand by their fellow Catholics, and they’re far too large and powerful for me to poke at this point.
Instead, I work on getting the authority to revoke the titles from Catholics and other heathens. I’ve placed one of my supporters on the council, and I’m more popular now, so it’s closer. Distributing some bribes helps.
Ultimately, rather than simple improve his attitude, I’m forced to buy Duke Niklas the Repulsive’s vote outright, which costs quite a bit more. Fortunately, he’s amenable to the arrangement.
Hooray! Let the reign of terror begin.
I start demanding every Catholic noble turn in gun and badge. Surprisingly, for the most part they go along with it rather than fight. Since I previously got the council to sign over sole authority for revoking titles to me, I don’t need their approval for any of this. Without the Religious Control Mandate law, every vassal would be furious whenever I revoke a title for no reason; with it, only Catholic vassals are horrified, and since I’m getting rid of all of those I don’t care.
As a side effect, stripping so many nobles of their titles lets me stock the council with loyalists!
Once I’ve stripped enough titles, it’s easy to recognize the Catholics, because they’re the ones who are super pissed-off.
Duke Jon is in prison for being a rebel, so I just offer him to the gods at the next Great Blot.
After quite a while at this, the number of titles I’m holding personally is causing even Germanic vassals to be pissed off at me. (As seen in the giant list of titles on the right, including the proud castle of UI Missing Text.) I redistribute the seized land, keeping a swathe of the best levy-producing castles for myself and farming out the rest to family members and zealous Germanic followers.
The king poked his head out again! Does that mean we get six more weeks of winter? Because we already live in Lapland, so that would mean just like, all winter.
The great purge is complete! (For now.) We’re all one big family of happy vassals again. Happy, happy vassals.
(You would think the fate of previous Catholic vassals would discourage others from converting. You would be wrong.)
They’re so happy, in fact, that I could even change succession law! And since I’ve got Late Feudal Administration, I can use primogeniture even. Which would be great, except…
…Rodelinda married non-matrilineally, so her children don’t count as part of her dynasty. This is fine under seniority, since it means her heir is just the next most senior dynasty member, but if I change to primogeniture I’d lose the game. So I’m going to have to wait until I get a ruler with dynastic children, and then try to make the switch. Sigh.
My last real doctor died, and this one is just some idiot I tapped for the post. He doesn’t seem too certain of his diagnosis.
With good reason, as it turns out.
Valdemar’s potions prove ineffective, and Rodelinda dies, happy in the knowledge that at least she rid the realm of heresy.
In a blessedly straightforward succession, Bithild is simply Rodelinda’s next-youngest sister.
She’s only two years younger, and solidly mediocre in terms of ability. Annoyingly, she too is married non-matrilineally, so I still can’t contemplate switching succession to primogeniture.
She’s also a secret Catholic! Fortunately, now that I control her, she renounces her faith at once.
Apparently she was also a secret member of the Society of Jesus, which exists to defend … the Shia religion? Pretty sure that’s a misprint.
The Queen of Austrasia (currently in my dungeon) forms an alliance with Queen Sorcha of Mercia, who sounds like she ought to be fighting Captain Planet.
Bithild’s reign looks to be as exciting as her sister’s. First a revolt breaks out, which honestly is about part for the course. Then the Finns of Kola decide they want Ostrogothia back.
Then one of the little island countries decides they want to kick me while I’m down! Läckö turns out to be a county and not an IKEA bedroom set.
And then — no, wait, I don’t care about those anymore.
I race around with my army, trying to keep all the plates spinning. Visby is that island I’m laying siege to.
Uhoh. Somebody doesn’t like me.
Visby caves, and the rebels are crumbling, but the Kolans are running rampant.
Geez, Valdemar, I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing yet.
Valdemar, you’re fired.
In the background, though, I retrieved the war against the Kolans. So things are looking up! For the first time in ages, I have the strength to expand a little.
Once of my courtiers has a claim on Scania, the reddish duchy down at the tip of the peninsula. However, since she’s not my vassal, installing her as Duke of Scania wouldn’t really help me. So what to do? Three easy steps!
Step one: grant courtier a county, making them your vassal.
Step two: grant the new count a duchy, making them your vassal duke. This is important! If a count from inside your realm becomes a duke outside it, they will switch to the duchy as their primary title and the county they control becomes independent. But if they’re already a duke inside the realm, they’ll remain your vassal if they get a second duchy. Fortunately, I have a lot of spare titles lying around.
Step three: go to war to press the claims of your new loyal duke.
Ta-da! Another three counties added to the kingdom. This is a very useful trick when dealing with territory that is nearby or used to be part of the realm, as there will probably be all kinds of claimants hanging around.
Hesitantly, I start to glance at the empire again. I’m back up to 40 counties of the 55 I need.
Somewhat belatedly, I recall that I have the Queen of Austrasia in the dungeons, so I send her back and collect a queen’s ransom.
Another stray county, down next to Scania, is easily subdued.
And another vassal has turned Catholic and needs to be subdued. I though Rodelinda got rid of all of those…
Men! Always going off and doing their own things without consulting anyone.
Maybe he could tell that he wouldn’t have the position for long.
Geneologically, we’re getting complicated again. While we’re still in Gurli’s line, while Bithild was a direct descendant of Gloð, Wulfhild comes down through her sister Bothildr, then through Ottarr the Brute, Rögnfrið, and Ingjald, plus Ingjald’s son Hrörekr. Got all that?
The important part is that Wulfhild the Rash definitely takes after her great-great-grandfather Ottarr. She’s a good intriguer with otherwise middling stats, a lesbian, a secret Catholic, and ambitious, charitable, deceitful, wroth, paranoid, and insane. She also has syphilis and is betrothed to a little kid. So my expectation is that she’s not going to last all that long?
Nevertheless, she’s ready to pick up where her predecessor left off. (After renouncing her secret religion, of course.) I have a bunch of claimants on Uppland, one of the duchies lost to the Saxons. I make one of them a duke and launch the war!
Which is cancelled almost immediately. Turns out this guy only had a weak claim, which only worked as long as Saxony was in civil war. Well then. I’m sure he’ll make a good duke?
I find another guy, who definitely has a strong claim, make him a duke, and try again.
Greenland? Sounds charming! I’m sure it’s not cold and horrible.
I told you she took after Ottarr.
Guess who’s back! Fortunately, Wulfhild is as good at god-slaying as her great-great-grandfather.
While these multiverse-shaking events were going on, I was wresting Uppland away from the Saxons.
Vinland? It’ll never amount to anything.
Once again, the king is off to the races! Have fun storming the castle, honey!
The Saxons fight back hard, and I have to hire mercenaries for the final battle. But we get the upper hand at last.
48/55 counties! Is the empire in sight at last?
Wulfhild is kept healthy in spite of her illness by regular bloodletting.
You mean that guy who wandered off on his own to start a war? Shocking.
Next up is to finally settle accounts with my old foes the Karelians. This time I’m well-prepared — I’ve got a duke with a claim on their territory, I’ve got mercenaries and Jomsvikings. I send a small force into their territory to build a fort, which negates the supply penalty I take in tribal lands and keeps my army from starving. This time we’re here to stay.
It’s possible I drunkenly befriended my husband?
Victory! The old bogeyman is finally vanquished.
One of my vassals appears to have secured the other half of Iceland while I wasn’t looking.
51/55! So close. And this time I’m not screwed if my ruler dies, either.
Also, Wulfhild married matrilineally, so the two children she managed to have (in spite of being a lesbian) are of my dynasty. So if I can swing it, changing succession is possible too.
Meanwhile, there’s an adventurer coming for me. Assassins!
Unfortunately, I’m threatening enough that I have to back off conquest for a little while anyway. And that means …
Time for some viking! It’s been a while.
The adventurous claimant falls to my assassins.
Unfortunately, that just means her brother immediately comes after me. The life of a queen is a neverending trial, I tell you…
Current Year: 1006 AD. Current Status: In Sight of Empire.