Brother battled brother for years
Weakling Frirek was determined, with respect on his mind
Brother Hrodalfr began war anew
Black Suzdal became new brother to Hrodalfr, Yarsolavl joined
Finally Borkvard fought Frirek, too
Frirek jarl again, jarl removed again
To Novgorod and Torzhok, Frirek retired
Love bloomed late for Frirek, lust-cunning Pora captured his heart
Frirek's senses fled him and he took her name
Af Odense as their children were called, a curse on Rurikovich
But Frirek believed naught but his heart
Brother Borkvard remembered Rurik, the promise of Rus anewed
To Setyamka to Rus a demand
"Restore Rurik's throne to me, Rus by right is mine!"
The Muromids met Rurikovich in battle
Blood proved bonding for brothers, thicker than Muromid oaths
Save for Frirek and Pora
Remained in Novgorod rutting, replacing Rurikovich blood with af Odense
Barid died in battle while Borkvard was cast in a pit
Rus-king reigned ruinously, Frirek did not care
His eyes halted upon Pora
Rich as he remained, richer still he became
Lagoda left to Frirek with Narva not far behind
Finally an heir, finally a Rurikovich son!
Eleven years of life altogether, young Rikulfr yearned for a throne
But Pora believed only in the others and had him killed
Years and years wore on, young af Odenses swarmed Novgorod
Frirek was fraught with terror at what he'd wrought
His love halted years prior, hatred consumed his heart
Too late his loins had stirred
Peace turned pillage again, past foes invaded once more
Sweden came swimming from the west
A Norseman on the throne again, no rejoicing aloud
With Denmark came danger not six years later
Frirek's fate was not happy, rebellions followed again
Damned Frirek's dungeon was not pleasing
Pora's face turned from Frirek, he fainted from stress
Never to stir to awakening again
So the Sons of Rurik were no more
Out of Character
So this is the first game of CK2 I've ever lost. I've played counts, dukes, kings, republics, everything.
Some of it has to do with a possible bug. Frirek got married and it was apparently matrilineal. I'm not discounting the possibility that I might have clicked on matrilineal marriage at all, but this is the second time this has happened with the expansion pack, though the first one was with my female heir in a different game trying to have a matrilineal marriage which just didn't get recognized.
I decided to work it into my story. Frirek was so entranced by his prospective bride that he rashly took her name, meaning no Rurikovich babies. From a game standpoint, once I realized that all of the kids were from the af Odense dynasty, I went nuts trying to get some concubine kids going. And I did! Twins! A boy and a girl. Except Frirek's wife promptly murdered the only Rurikovich son and that was it. My fate was sealed.
The brothers might have hung in there, but they all died in a dumb rebellion after Borkvard took the Novgorod ducal title from me. Two in prison, one in battle. That left just me. I had tons of land, since I inherited all of their titles save the ducal one (the king stripped that one from Borkvard and wouldn't give it back). I decided to wait things out, hopefully overthrowing the new king once the rapidly aging Setyamka kicked the bucket.
Well, Sweden put a stop to that. They invaded in force to subjugate Rus, which they did. That left me with only Narva to my name Then the Swedish king died and gavelkind kicked in, leaving his six year old on an unstable throne. Then the Danes invaded to subjugate the Finnish portions of the kingdom (ie me) and that was basically it.
I ended up in prison in 961, where I died in 962. An af Odense took the throne. There were other Rurikovich folks out there, but none of them had land, meaning they weren't playable. So that was it for the game.
I like this expansion, but it's hectic. The Norse, as I mentioned, can be incredibly powerful. By default, they are. All the pagans are. But the gavelkind inheritance and the massive cliff to climb to get out from underneath it can really, really screw you over. Wars are nearly constant. The more or less permanent casus belli from your other pagan neighbors means that they can swoop in for the leftovers after whatever dynastic struggle du jour wraps up. There's a real sense of chaos to things, particularly when you're over in Russia, which makes for an active game.