Last time, Emperor Gorm was riding high after his conquest of France, in spite of constant Catholic revolts.
While I wait for threat to go down, I raid Brittany again. This time, though, when the Aslamid army comes to try and kick me out, I raise the levies of France and smash them. How dare you try to stop me from burning down your cities, sir?
This exploit earns Gorm official Viking status! Though honestly he’s more a conqueror than a raider.
There, everything nicely aflame, as is right and proper.
My vassals are so content that hardly any of them are plotting treason!
It’s now been thirty years since the last Great Holy War, so we can have another one. I don’t mean to pick on the French, but they’re looking increasingly weak. My threat is still high enough that other Christians will join them, even if they are Orthodox, but I think I can handle it.
Germanic War For Germany! Christendom lines up on one side, Pagandom on the other.
The main French army turns out to be over here in Nantes.
I finally run them to ground and take an early lead in the war.
Wars with lots of allies are difficult to keep track of, and hard for me to fight in my usual meticulous style. I don’t like losing troops to attrition, for example, but it’s hard to avoid when ally stacks you don’t have control over are eating all the food. You just have to make the best of it and try to do damage as quickly as you can.
Not a great time, guys.
France and Germany are a total mess of marching armies.
For the most part, though, I’m getting the upper hand.
The army of Jerusalem has decided that their contribution to the war will be laying siege to Dyfed.
Victory is ours! Praise Thor indeed.
Once-mighty Francia is now crippled enough that hopefully my vassals will start grabbing bits of it.
Oh, don’t worry guys. I haven’t forgotten about you.
Gorm’s mother finally passes away at 71. No one commanded a bloodthirsty legion quite like her.
My threat is now sky-high of course. I decide to try for five years of peace to let things cool down a bit.
In spite of Catholic treachery, the true faith is spreading nicely once again.
Side story: this young Muslim woman I’d captured, Ide de Bissy, was a) pretty awesome at stewardship and b) reasonably friendly, so I recruited her from the dungeons. A bag of gold encouraged her to give up her faith and join the winning team, and I married her to one of my sons.
Though almost immediately thereafter, Gorm decided he wanted her for himself. This feels like a novel, right?
I continue to raid Cyrenaica, though it gets a little dicier now that it’s part of a big Muslim empire.
And the Pope has finally gotten smart enough to keep a big mercenary army standing around. Hard times.
Instead, we move on to Antioch, which is also rich and inexplicably independent! Perfect.
Thankfully, these don’t count as breaches of the peace, or I’d never get to five years.
Build a bridge out of him!
The commander of the Varangian Guard is preparing an attack against me. Hmm.
I need help fan-casting the role of Duke Guillaume II, Son of Lucifer. Look at that craggy face!
Dogs: good for what ails ya.
Antioch also proves to be nicely flammable.
Made it! Five years and not a single war. Maybe I’ve kicked the habit!
I was waiting to see if the Catholics would come back at me with a Crusade, but instead they’ve decided the most pressing issue is freeing the island of Corsica from its oppressors. Have at it, guys.
My adventurer friend finds himself trapped like a rat.
More in the story of Ide de Bissy — now happily married to Prince Styrbjorn, with two children. But she has to watch as her sister Almodis, who refused to give up her faith, is sacrificed to the gods. This thing writes itself!
I am the cynicest!
You have to zoom out quite far to see the whole empire now.
Threat’s still above 50%, though, which means any war would face both Christians and Muslims. I raid Corsica to pass the time, forgetting that there’s a war going on there, which makes things a little inconvenient.
Oh good, here comes the next event on the doomsday calendar.
My heir, Rikulfr, has turned out … so-so. He’s got okay stewardship, but his martial is terrible. He’s stubborn, ambitious, just, and craven. Not ideal.
I marry him to a martial lady in hopes of making up for his deficiencies.
Only one guy is plotting against me! Can you really have a conspiracy of one?
While I wasn’t paying attention, my vassals have actually made good progress taking over the Baltic coast. However, we now share a border with the Mongols in the far east.
All in all, Gorm has been a pretty awesome emperor! And, he thinks, why shouldn’t that reign continue forever?
I send Buðli, my general, out to look for eternal life. His awesome martial ability will clearly be of great help.
Gorm is prepared to spend the whole treasury, if that’s what it takes. And it turns out that’s pretty much what it takes.
Huh. He … actually found something?
Wow. Forget eternal life, I’m making her a general!
What’s a little blasphemy in the pursuit of eternal life?
Rikulfr has questions.
Shockingly, Djeneba seems to have all the answers!
All right! Eternal life, here we come.
This may be the world’s most expensive antelope. Scandinavia is now officially bankrupt.
And it ate my fingers. And now Djeneba’s gone. Well, that was the entire GDP of my country well spent!
Maybe I should have been less worried about eternal life and more about this guy.
“Not especially blessed” is code for “fingers were eaten by a sacrificial antelope.”
Rikulfr immediately sets out to raid the Pope, since Dad spent literally the entire national treasury on trying to live forever. It’s a time for penny-pinching in Scandinavia.
“Sorry, Bernard. You are indeed wise, but I literally can’t afford you.”
Once I get a little money coming in, I’d like to have a holy war with the Aslamids, who are now my biggest threat. Unfortunately, I’m not pious enough.
The Jomsvikings can solve that! For a donation, of course.
Now I’m broke again, but the holy war can proceed.
Oh, don’t you guys start!
Fortunately the revolt is conveniently placed like a speed bump on the way to the war.
The main problem turns out not to be the Aslamids, but keeping my guys alive in disease-ridden southern France.
In a familiar story, I have a daughter, but my wife dies in childbirth.
I lure another high-stewardship young woman to my court with a sack of gold, then forcibly marry her to the Emperor.
“Wait, I have to marry who?”
“Because you are the greatest accountant in the land!”
The main Aslamid army is duly crushed, and the holy war ends in victory.
Once again, I’m super threatening, but the Aslamid territory in France is now cut off from their main base.
Meanwhile Genghis Khan is rampaging across Asia. He’s almost as good a general as Ottarr the Brute. Keep at it, Genghis, you’ll get there!
With some money in his pocket, Rikulfr can finally afford a doctor, and settles on this creepy blind guy.
Just in time, too, because he has syphilis. Okay, Ale, work your magic!
That … kind of worked. I’ll call it a win!
Maybe not. Is it time to fight Cthulhu again?
Rome at least is burning nicely.
Plus it’s way easier to get home now! Unfortunately, the vassals are conspiring against the now-mad Emperor.
The young king of England was plotting against me. Everyone is plotting against me!
I head over to England for a quick showdown.
With that resolved, the remaining factions are weakened, and I set my spymaster to work digging up dirt on my vassal kings.
On the plus side, Scandinavia proper is once again purged of Catholics, and England is getting close!
And the empire has a satisfactorily large font. My vassals continue to pick away at the remains of Francia.
…why does encouraging my dog to kill my courtiers give me prestige?
The King of England meet his end at the Great Blot, like so many kings before him.
Unfortunately, the new queen also hates me, mostly because I am a drunken, syphilitic lunatic. And because she wants a seat on my council.
As a result of increasingly dubious mystical/medical experiments with Ale, Rikulfr puts himself out of everyone’s misery. His youngest daughter, Grima, is only 7, so once again we’re in for a regency.
Grima’s looking so-so, but it’s hard to tell at this age. Will she survive to become empress?
Current Year: 1233 AD. Current Status: Growing up.