Friday, May 31, 2013

Rurik I 901-905 (King of Gardariki/Rus) 905-927 (Jarl of Novgorod)

(Rurik is the second Rurik I, because he's the actual first Rurik to be King of Rus.)

Rurik born of Rurik's son, Rus-king and reaver
Wily and wise and cruel
The throne bore his thin frame, though heavy it was with doubt
None saw Novgorod's throne as sure

From far to the east, Muromians became foes
Seeking the sacred seat of Gardariki
Betrayal became thick, bastard Kiev did strike
The thunderous tribes of Perm followed

Rurik read tactics, ran forth with his blade
Gardariki's foes were too grievous
Parush Pauper-lord, his people loved him so
The throne of Rus became him

A bargain became Rurik's savior, Parush bore his debts
Rurik remained in Novgorod
Duke Rurik did rule wisely, years of peace to his name
But Rurik remained unsated

Red-haired Ragnarr, brother of Rurik
His home was in Tver
Til Rurik twisted a carriage wheel, sending Ragner to a canyon floor
Tver nestled next to Rurik's breast

Parush Muromid perished, poor child-king dead in his grave
Shkay his brother's brother became Rurik's lord
True truces held in Novgorod, Duke Rurik reigned well and good
Monoliths and monuments to his majesty spread far and wide

Still Rurik schemed and plotted, the throne of fair Rus so far away
With Shkay withering slowly on the throne Rurik wished for
Rurik's loins left no issue, left barren and bereft
Rurik's royal line remained fallow

Til sons sprang quite suddenly, from wife and concubine alike
Six sons in beds sleeping soundly
With succession secured, Rurik seemed pleased
But gavelkind grows ever unkind

Ivar his heir had claim to Lithuania, Rurik had reason to push
Warrior woman Malusha was unrelenting
Thrice the chieftess threw Novgorod back, til the men were broken and bleeding
To an oubliette Ivar was thrown

Jarl Rurik yelled to the heavens, yelled to Odin for his son
Yet the Jarl heard no reply
Stupid and simple Frirek stood to inherit, Rurik sank to despair
Ivar died in an oubliette alone and afraid

Rus, fair Rus, ran red with blood, young ruler Setyamka was spent
The kingdom came crashing around him
Old Rurik assumed command of Rus forces, Asgard and Valhalla in his eyes
He fell in fields of Muscovy as his father's father had before

Out of Character

Apparently it was time for a demotion. As soon as I inherited, Kiev and Perm declared war on me. More alarmingly, the Finnish tribe just south of me, a big one, decided to subjugate Rus. This meant that I was going to be demoted right back down to Jarl of Novgorod if I lost. And I lost. Badly. My vassals hated me, so I had fewer troops to begin with, and it just snowballed from there.

Weirdly, I had really good relations with the Muromid dynasty which took over. They never tried to strip any titles or shove me around, despite my Norse paganism (there was one offer of conversion, but screw that), and generally supported me.

Just as last time, I set up a plot to kill my brother and retrieve the Duchy of Tver. This was a double-edged sword, as I ended up with two civil wars trying over the title with other families. I held out, but they really put me in bad positions elsewhere.

As mentioned in the last entry, Rurik came to the throne at 33 with no wife and no kids. This freaked me out, particularly when I hit age 40 and still had no kids. Toss in a dead brother and a sister (who could inherit) with no husband and I was staring at the end of the Rurikovich line.

So I, of course, freaked out. In addition to my wife, I took three concubines. Must have sons. Well, they started popping up left and right. I suddenly had a problem in the opposite direction: six sons and gavelkind coming up.

This was really not good. To make it worse, the only one worth a damn (Ivar) died in a dungeon after his claim on Lithuania was denied by some vicious defense. We're talking me outnumbering the defenders 3:1 and losing repeatedly. I still have no idea what triggered this.

So Ivar's dead and I'm trying to shunt as many inept sons off to the priesthood as possible to narrow things down. It's going fine until all hell breaks loose for my liege. In my reign, I had lost Rus to a six year old, seen the six year old murdered by his uncle, and had the uncle die, leaving his son. That's four kings of Rus in 26 years, if you're keeping score. This was all too much for the kingdom and basically everyone but me rebels.

I half considered it, too. Instead, like an idiot, I decided that the Muromids had been good to me and it was better than the Tengri kingdom which had invaded on top of everything else. So I sallied forth in support of my king, where I promptly died in battle, leaving my worse son, Frirek, on the throne at age 17. There are honestly seven year olds with better stats than him.


The world. Denmark is a little bit OP.

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