The Reign of Holmger the First
The year is 867. The Great Heathen Army continues to rampage around England, while the Magyars come in from the east to conquer all in their wake. The Christian world is weak and divided, and the strong take what they can. And it is in this climate, that I, Holmger of Burgundaholmr, have taken power in my own land after the old lord died tragically
on a raid. My line shall bed known as that of the Hammers of Bornholm, so we took a white axe on red as our emblem. Obviously. Rumours of hammers and axes in the succession from the old king have been grossly exaggerated. Some of his kinsmen thought to continue his line, yet, well, they've been... dealt with.
The isle of Bornholm is in a rather unusual situation, but weak and has very little manpower. From our fortress of Hammerhus, opportunities are everywhere. To the south, the Slavs compete with the Christians, while in the east, the Baltic is a mish-mash of lordships. Our kin rule many of the Slavs further east still, and make war on other tribes.
Our liege, Sigurd Snake in the Eye, rules all Sjaelland, though many expect him to join his brothers in their wars across Britain.
I get to sending my trusty band of advisors across the realm. Most notably, old Anlaufr gets to looking for some songs with the words "Hammer" and "rightful ruler of Jylland" in them.
Just as I'm about to think of how to expand my realm in the immediate term, I get a messenger.
Unhappy at being called wretched, and having other things in mind, I resign my post as regent and spymaster of the realm. That grubby little wretch is less important than spending my time plotting to become a King.
And plotting to have more Kings after me.
A little raiding later, and our treasury is looking better. Though my first wife dying puts a bit of a damper on it, I decide a crown will help that along. Since Denmark is divided between my liege lord (whose deposition would result only in another son of Ragnar getting the throne) and Jylland (too powerful), I look northwards, to Smáland. Since our own levy is too small, I hire some Lapps. Definitely not because they're the cheapest mercenaries out there.
The war goes well, but as King Bagsecg the Fowler of Jylland invades Sjaelland, time is of the essence, as his uniting Denmark would be sub-optimal. So I decide to gather together a few fellows to kill him.
Victory is pretty quickly mine, as their armies were caught unawares by the Lappish mercenaries.
This leaves us independent of Sjaelland, and right on cue with our victory, I have a son named Gorm. While it's a shame he has no brothers to play with, they'd only fight over everything when I'm gone. Speaking of, er, going...
"King" Bagsecg finds himself being tested out as a pincushion. It's a roaring success, and his young son Frirek takes the throne of Jylland. This leaves Sjaelland open to our own war, having been weakened by the armies of Bagsecg - far larger than any I could muster. Mercenaries - funded once more by a looting of German and English lands - set off, and the war should be easily won.
What could possibly go wro-
Unbidden and very unneighbourly, King Bjorn Ironside - de facto King of Sweden - decides now is the time to take Bláland, after I've weakened myself assaulting Sjealland's holdings. With Sjaelland's armies defeated, and a far larger Swedish army soon to arrive, I decide that offence is the best form of defence. If we can get his armies before he can muster them into one great host, we might just stand a chance. As it stands, he wouldn't even accept my surrender, so I get the feeling he wants blood. Which isn't ideal. I board the ships, leaving the siege of Sjaelland's capital for another day.
A few scattered battles see the Swedes on the run - just, but at a heavy cost. Our Bulgar mercenaries, despite being rather vulgar even compared to the Swedes, prove their mettle in battle.
We have them on the run by later in the year, after a hard summer's campaign. I suffer a severe maiming in battle, but soldier on regardless. My lost hand gives me some pain, but it's probably nothing.
Finally, events turn against the Swedes when Bjorn Ironside is murdered by his rival, the King of Jorvik. Several months later, their army crushed and driven to Oland, a white peace between Smáland and his son, Eirikr, is signed, and we can turn our attention - at last
- to once more taking Sjaelland. I personally lead the troops back south, destroying some ragtag Sjaelland opposition, and by August 875, we are at the head of a promising siege of Ringsted, where the young Knud's court hides behind his walls. It's then I realise that my hand hasn't actually stopped hurting since last summer, and beneath my armour, the pain spreads...
Edit: Savefile here: http://www.speedyshare.com/Xz8vT/Succession-Game.rar