Last time, things were going pretty well in Northumbria, with my Viking enemies crippled and the realm greatly expanded.
But! No rest for the wicked. It’s time to work on the succession.
First of all, that means having a male heir, ideally a single male heir. I’ve got an illegitimate son, Brynjólfr, so I’m probably okay on that front. But even better would be to have a single kingdom-level title, so that at least my secondary heirs would end up as vassals of my primary heir.
Unfortunately, I’m unlikely to be able to seize the nearby de jure kingdoms in Hlothere’s lifetime. Scotland is firmly controlled by the Gaelic Albans, while England is just too big to claim all the land I need. So we have to look at founding our own kingdom! On the plus side, this requires control of several duchies, which I already have, so the only hurdles are a bunch of money and piety. We can work with that!
I also need a bunch of new vassals to hold the territory around York, so I find my most competent courtiers and promote them to counts. Another benefit of holding a kingdom will be the ability to have dukes as vassals.
My daughter may be a thief, but she’s an honest thief. Or at least a humble one.
Another priority is to pick off more territory held by minor rulers, especially those in between the two halves of my realm. The Norse counties are easy, since I can get them via holy war, but it does drain piety I need for later.
Drifa, my not-very-secret lover, has had another daughter. No real harm in acknowledging her now since everyone knows about our affair.
Okay, have we considered the possibility that the girl is just a kleptomaniac?
Also, the most important lesson here is don’t steal from Conan. You’re lucky to be alive!
One primary lesson of Crusader Kings is that you should always debase the currency. It’s particularly a no-brainer here, because Hlothere’s stewardship is so high that he will absolutely get away with it.
Westmorland falls easily. Who’s laughing now, Jarl Tyke the Humorless?
I send my bastard son to be educated by Bishop Brice, making sure to turn him properly Scots in the process.
Thanks to currency manipulation, I have the money I need to found my kingdom, but I’m still missing piety. To fix that, it’s time to visit the holy sites!
Just to Cologne, though, let’s not go crazy with it. A bunch of dad’s friends tried going to the Holy Land and look how that worked out for THEM.
Apparently a ranting doomsayer reduces my stress?
But shouting him down gives me enough piety to found the kingdom! Unfortunately I can’t turn around and go home yet. Surely nothing bad will happen though …?
GATHER THE REALM! Yes the whole thing.
Henceforth, instead of merely King of Northumbria, I shall be King of Northumbria!
This helps a lot though. Now my older daughter is heir to the Kingdom of Northumbria, while my younger daughter will inherit the Petty Kingdom of Northumbria and thus be her sister’s vassal.
Okay, this is confusing. I change the title of the overall kingdom to Great Northumbria to help tell them apart.
Also, I can now let other people have Duke-level titles instead of holding them all for myself, which makes them dislike me. My first choice for the Duke of Regular Northumbria is, of course, Conan.
In the de jure view, Northumbria now sits neatly between England and Alba. Unfortunately this doesn’t help me claim territory, because the Scots have yet to master the cultural art of claiming that land belongs to you by some kind of historical imperative.
Since my wife is getting old, I probably won’t have any more children. Time to legitimize Brynjólfr — as the only male heir, he’ll inherit all my titles, which is perfect.
Why yes, my loyal Duke Conan, I do think I will press your claim.
Uh … hrm. At 43, eh? That’s unexpected.
Well, another girl wouldn’t make things complicated …
Well. Now I have two male heirs who will split my available titles. Hooray.
I am really starting to wonder at some of Hlothere’s parenting choices. The girls are thieves and murderers, basically, though I choose not to make this one a sadist.
Victory! My realm is contiguous once again.
Unfortunately, that weird exclave is held by Alba, and they’re too strong for me to take it easily.
I’ve spent a lot of prestige lately, so I call a hunt to get some back and lose some stress.
Leave him, the hunt must go on.
Rejoice, peasants, for your king has murdered a pig!
I put out a call for knights, and this guy turns up. First of all, just look at him. Dude’s crazy. Second of all, his prowess is nuts. Third of all, his name is Mungo. Definitely someone we want on the team. I hire him and betroth him to my youngest daughter for good measure.
In addition to his martial prowess, Mungo is the founder and head of the Abernathy dynasty, of which he is the only member. And the motto of this dynasty is “Remember the Death of Mungo,” referring to himself. I can only assume he had some sort of psychic vision of his own death, and has now devoted his life to establishing a dynasty so it will be remembered forever.
Slightly terrified by this, I give him the barony of Bolton to rule. It seems appropriate.
Impotent, am I?
That’s what I thought.
All right, visitors are just going to have to start locking their doors in my castle, new rule.
Speaking of my children. Brynjólfr has developed into the jock bully from a midde-grade movie, and his stats aren’t particularly great.
His half-brother Indulf is a better steward, and he’s five.
I continue scooping up the divided counties to the south. Meanwhile, my wife Agnes murders my lover Drifa. Honestly I’m just glad they worked it out somehow, but it stresses me the heck out.
Brynjólfr is no better at stewardship two years on, but he has decided that he’s into boys.
That’s … not great. It’s fine in general, obviously, but not great from a “continuing the royal line” sort of perspective.
Also he’s now the bully from a young adult movie.
Meanwhile we’re trying this again, huh. Things are reasonably peaceful in Northumbria, so I guess I can help.
Come on, guys! We’re going on a journey!
Crap crap crap. Turn the boat around, guys!
Year: 922 AD