The realm is at peace, and we can’t have that! Emperor Luder-Udo, now undisputed ruler of the Scandinavian Empire, searches for someone to fight.
It’s 1042, twenty-four years before the scheduled defeat of the King of England by William the Conqueror. That’s not going to happen in this timeline, though, because a) there’s no Normandy, only a gigantic France, and b) there’s no King of England. England is badly divided into a bunch of very small realms, many of them single-county, with the six-county realm of Essex being the largest outside Scotland. All in all, a good place to take over!
Essex is ruled by Queen Sithmaith the Dragon, who sounds awesome. I could call a holy war against her, but that has a strong chance of drawing in other Catholic powers — certainly the rest of England, and possibly France. Instead, I decide to do a single-county conquest, using my Norse pagan conquest powers, attacking Essex itself. Hopefully if I grab the capital of the biggest realm right off the bat, the rest will fall without much trouble.
Essex mobilizes its scanty forces as a fleet full of Vikings descends on them, this time to stay instead of just to raid.
Meanwhile, Duchess Saga, the Sword of Odin, has attempted to escape my dungeon using her “female charms”.
Essex doesn’t put up much of a fight, and soon I’m laying siege to their castles.
Victory! We have our first toehold in England.
On the political side, steady work has stripped the council of most of its powers, and I’m finally ready to declare absolute rule. A few quick bribes get the majority of the supine councilors on my side. L’etat, c’est moi. Now I can change laws without worry about pesky “voting” or “other people’s opinions”.
Luder-Udo himself is surprisingly marginal, stats-wise. At 36, he’s attractive (check out those hollow cheeks!) kind, charitable, and humble, as well as deceitful and shy. His diplomacy is at least above zero now, but it’s still not great.
Most of the vassals are miffed, so further conquest needs to wait a while.
Saga the Sword of Odin finally meets her end, appropriately, as a sacrifice to the gods.
Luder-Udo decides to raise a monument to his own awesomeness.
Specifically to his own beauty. Oh yeah, people of future generations. You know you want some of this.
Future scholars will definitely have their work cut out for them attempting to glean wisdom from those words.
While I wait for my vassals to unrustle their jimmies, I pass the time by burning Venice down again. They’ve managed to get themselves an army, this time, but not enough of one to stop me.
Luder-Udo follows in the footsteps of his ancestors!
Essex has already given up on Jesus and converted to worshiping Odin and Thor.
Luder-Udo is now known as ‘the Pious’, for some reason. He also has seven children, so the future of the dynasty is pretty set.
And even grandchildren!
Oh. Hmm. Turns out I might have married my son to his first cousin? Oops.
That was a mighty vike indeed. And everyone’s chill again, so it’s time to grab some more territory.
I’m actually well-suited to conquering England in its current state. I can conquer any county adjacent to one of mine, or to the sea, and it only raises threat minimally. One by one is the slow way to take a place, but it’s the only option when the place is badly divided. Also, since each conquest leaves me with a ten-year truce afterward, I can switch from one target to the next to avoid waiting.
All that said, I go after Suffolk, ruled by Glaschu of East Anglia, also called the Dragon.
As expected, he can’t put up much of a fight.
Next up, Northhampton from Lachtnene the Fat!
The only tedious part of this process is having to regather the army in Scandinavia each time and sail it down to England.
Tormod has caught syphilis from his wife/first-cousin. He’s having a rough life.
Fortunately, he’s not heir. My heir Þora (“thora”) is looking pretty great, actually, with high stewardship and martial. She’s lesbian, diligent, ambitious, lustful, wroth, and zealous, all positive traits in my book!
Tormod, meanwhile, ends his brief career.
Þora is actually the next-best commander in the empire, but I keep her off the front lines for obvious reasons.
Warwick falls to the advancing Vikings. Look at all those tiny, delicious little realms…
Hooray for the people of Suffolk!
With my truce with them expired, I snag Bedford from Essex.
My daughter, presumably knowing on which side the imperial bread is buttered, surprises me with a statue of my handsome self. Well played!
Oxford falls. Since no one in England has stepped up to be king, I’m going to have to do it. I’m at 6/13 required counties so far.
Þora has a serious beef with my doctor, for some reason.
Worcester is next. Wales is a separate kingdom so I don’t want to go too far west yet.
I briefly pause when I discover one of my dukes has become a Catholic! That obviously can’t be allowed to stand, and another minor purge commences.
Skulking, as I often do. I mean. Who doesn’t?
Poor inbred Ylva has not turned out super well.
Luder-Udo’s beloved empress has died. He tries to drown his sorrows in lustful wenches.
While I fight the war for Westrogothia, another Catholic has married my daughter! I fear for the children’s souls.
Capturing the arch-heretic brings the revolt to a close. Plenty of land to redistribute, since I can strip Catholic vassals completely.
Unexpected, one of my vassals inherits what’s left of the Kingdom of Austrasia! It looks a little lonely there in the midst of Francia, but more land is always welcome. Other vassals are starting to nibble at the small German states on the northern coast.
Another revolt breaks out as I strip more titles from the Catholics, which includes a fair number of the new vassals in Austrasia. Should have thought of that before you were forcibly joined to the team by the death of your liege, suckers!
Some of my grandchildren who were led astray are willing to return to the correct path.
Others continually propose horribly incestuous marriages. No marrying your first cousins, guys!
France is still powerful, but continuous castle-building and English conquests have gotten me close to 17k myself, so they’re no longer completely out of my league.
Luder-Udo is 62, but he’s still got the touch.
What did I just say about cousin-marriage?
One of my daughters, unfortunately, refuses to give up her Catholicism. I don’t want kinslayer, so she can just stay in the dungeon.
Enough with the incest, you scandalous wenches!
Screw those guys.
Back to conquest! Lincoln falls. Unfortunately, I’m now big enough to generate threat each time I do this, so I have to space them out a little more.
I have to subdue a couple of unruly barons, too. Meanwhile, France has two simultaneous revolts. It’d be a good time to attack them, but I’m not really prepared for that yet.
The realm is growing nicely, though Scotland is still biting my style.
At 66, three of Luder-Udo’s children are in prison, two are dead, and one is a duchess. He’s somehow even less diplomatic, but his success is undeniable in spite of his mediocre stat-line.
Þora is doing nicely, and has two children in spite of being a lesbian.
The counties of England continue to fall like dominoes.
Oh dear. This is especially bad since Luder-Udo can’t last that much longer. Good luck, doc!
A new son makes things even worse, since if she dies he’ll have a long regency to contend with. Ugh.
After a long reign, Luder-Udo is finally succumbing to the ravages of old age.
York falls. Why is York so large anyway?
One of my more troublesome vassals has recreated the Kingdom of Denmark. So far it’s been held by Tyke the Evil, Freyja the Unfaithful, and Sturla the Evil. Not a great record there guys.
Luder-Udo has picked up the “Brawny” trait at 72.
Derby falls! I need one more county to make myself King of England. Will Luder-Udo live to see the fruits of his victory?
I read Luder-Udo’s response in the voice of Sean Connery from SNL Celebrity Jeopardy.
Yrsa! Just because I have a new grandson doesn’t mean you get to marry him! If you need to get laid, go out hunting, that usually does the trick.
Lancaster provides county number thirteen!
I hurry around looking for stones with swords sticking out of them. All hail Luder-Udo, King of the Britons!
“I’m king of the what, now?”
Counting from his majority, Luder-Udo ruled for 59 years, a spectacular example of what I meant by the benefits of ultimogeniture. He never wanted anyone to make a fuss over his accomplishments, which is why he proclaimed himself King of England and raised runestones dedicated to his own beauty. His reign was short on drama and bizarre stories compared to someone like Ottarr, but much more successful in terms of taking over England.
Þora, for her part, just needs to live long enough that I don’t have to worry about a regency for her children. And there’s the continuing conquest of England to attend to…
Current Year: 1083 AD. Current Status: King of the Autonomous Collective!