The Border Princes

OOC: This first post was originally posted in Tales from Asendavia

Stromharad, Asendavia
0800 Hours, March 16th, 2897 AA (1160 AD)

King Hjalmar X sat on his throne as he awaited the representatives of many of the Princedoms along Asendavia’s western border. A few weeks ago he had letters sent out requesting that the Princedoms send representatives to Stromharad to discuss political matters that would surely interest them. He expected that some of the Princedoms that were more friendly towards Asendavia would send their rulers, while some of the ones that had less than favorable relations with Asendavia wouldn’t attend at all. That didn’t concern him though. What he was wondering was how they would react to his proposal.

Some of them might be fine with his proposal, but he expected the majority of them, even the ones friendly with Asendavia, to respond negatively. They were also expected to arrive very soon. Hjalmar had sent soldiers to escort the representatives once they crossed the Ademars. That was one of the reasons that the Princedoms hadn’t been conquered much earlier by Asendavia. While there were passes that could let armies go through them, it wasn’t worth the trouble. Another reason was Asendavia’s instability. For the last few centuries, Asendavia had been plagued with rebellions lead by nobles, revolts led by peasants, and outside raids from the north, south, and even from the west sometimes.

However, much of Asendavia’s previous instability from centuries before had disappeared in the current century, which Hjalmar was grateful for. Hjalmar was snapped back to the present when Archmagister Terje, Hjalmar’s youngest brother, tapped him on the arm. “What is it Terje?” Hjalmar asked, slightly annoyed. It was a rainy day and he hated rainy days.

Terje, ignoring Hjalmar’s annoyance, said “The first group of representatives have arrived in the city and will be here soon.”

“Good, good. Who specifically?” Hjalmar asked.

“The Prince of Ibrintis, Adelar, the Prince of Khekantis, Hauksteinn, and representatives from Khesal, Krimaesha, Ikelon, Galomakor, amd Halitha. I expect that more will also be arriving soon.”

"Good, see to it that they won’t want for food or drink when they arrive, and make sure that their chambers are ready. I don’t want anything going wrong.

Terje nodded and quickly scurried off. After he scurried off, Hjalmar sighed. “This is going to be a long couple of weeks.”

Stromharad, Asendavia
1200 Hours, April 3rd, 2897 AA (1160 AD)

Tensions were high in the meeting hall. While a few representatives were clearly calm, many others were agitated, as they were seated in the same room as representatives from nations that they despised. As soon as the last representative, a man from Agriandra, entered the hall and took his seat, King Hjalmar X of Asendavia called for everyone to be quiet. While a few people glared at him, they stayed quiet, and soon enough the room was completely devoid of noise. Hjalmar looked at each group of representatives before he began.

“As you all know, I requested that representatives from all of the Princedoms who’s populations are of Gliat Shean descent come here to discuss a proposal that I have. You did not have to send representatives, but it seems that each Princedom has indeed sent at least one representative, and for that, I am grateful. Now, what I am going to propose here may upset some of you, so if you think it would be best for you to leave, go now,” Hjalmar paused and waited for someone to get up and leave. No one did, and he was grateful for that. Maybe they would be willing to listen to his proposal. Hjalmar began speaking again. “I see that all of you have decided to stay. It is not for me to decide whether that is a blessing or a curse, but I will take it as a good sign. As I have mentioned before, my proposal could be seen as controversial. It most likely will upset some of you. What is my proposal though, you may ask? Well, it is quite simple, really. I propose that the Princedoms you represent swear fealty to me.”

After Hjalmar finished, the room was silent for only a heartbeat before it erupted into a cacophony of noise. Many men had stood up so swiftly in their rage that they had knocked their chairs over. Those men were the loudest in their yelling, but Hjalmar also saw quite a few people who were yelling from their seats. He also observed a handful of people who were calmly sitting down amidst the violent sea of sound. Hjalmar allowed himself a small smile. He quite enjoyed seeing so many people yelling and arguing. Next to him was his brother Terje, who was looking quite worried. This amused Hjalmar further, and he allowed himself to smile for a few more moments before making his face blank and signalling to his head of guards to make the hall quiet.

The head guard, immediately seeing the signal, began to beat the butt of his spear upon the ground, and the other guards followed his example. It took a while for the room to fully quiet down, but when the last of the representatives finally became quiet, the head guard beat the butt of his spear against the floor one final time before stopping. With the room now completely quiet again, Hjalmar began to speak once more. “Now that you have heard my proposal, you may go, go inform your princes of my proposal… Unless,” Hjalmar paused once again for effect. “Unless those of you of the princely persuasion would like to swear fealty to me right now.”

The room once again exploded into a cacophony of noise, and Hjalmar noticed that a few representatives were starting to leave the hall. The trickle of representatives soon became a stream. Hjalmar had expected that this would happen, so he had given the castle guard and the city guard orders to let them leave unmolested. After a few minutes had passed, the hall had emptied of people, except for three princes and their delegations. The Prince of Ibrintis, the Prince of Khekantis, and the Prince of Melathiel had decided to stay and swear fealty. Hjalmar was glad to see that these three had stayed. Ibrintis and Khekantis both bordered Asendavia across the Ademarites. That meant that he would be able to safely cross the mountains without a fear of being ambushed. Melathiel didn’t border Asendavia, Ibrintis, or Khekantis directly, but it bordered the Bay of Ademar to the west. That meant that he would be able to move troops quite quickly to the west by ship. While it would be a long trip to get to Melathiel by sea, it would be better than crossing the Ademarites and trudging all the way to Melathiel by land, not to mention that he would not own the majority of the land he would be marching across to get to Melathiel, yet.

Getting out of his thoughts and back into reality, Hjalmar smiled and signaled for the men to kneel and swear fealty to him, which they quickly did. With the deed done, he rose from his throne and walked to the three men. “I would like to thank you three for staying and swearing fealty to me. Now, I have many plans that I would like to discuss all of you, privately. We will house your delegations somewhere within the castle. If you don’t mind, follow me please, we’ll be going somewhere more private so that we may speak,” Hjalmar turned without waiting for an answer and began to walk. This was it, his plans were finally coming to fruition. He allowed himself a rather large smile. It wouldn’t be too much longer until his plans would be complete. Twenty years at the most, but it likely wouldn’t take that long. Finally, the door to his solar was in sight. Upon seeing the King and his guests, the servant at the door opened it. The same servant got a bottle of akevitt and poured it for the four men as they sat down. After the akevitt was poured, Hjalmar dismissed the servant. As soon as the servant left the room, Hjalmar leaned forward, and with a smile, said “Now, let me tell you my plans.”

Geilo, Kurith
1738 Hours, July 15th, 2897 AA (1160 AD)

The siege had been going on for six days before King Hjalmar X of Asendavia arrived at Geilo, the capital city of the Principality of Kurith. The main part of the city was surrounded by two large walls, one 40 feet high, the other 60 feet high. Beyond the two walls there was a moat, filled with water from the river, that could only be crossed via drawbridge. The aforementioned river flowed through the city and supplied it and the moat with water. The Duke of Ibrintis’ siege camp was based in front of the main entrance to the city, while the Duke of Khekantis’ siege camp was split into two, one guarding the entrance that let the river into the city, and the other guarding the exit that let the river out of the city. Hjalmar also saw both Duke’s vassals siege camps at other parts of the city walls. Trebuchets also dotted the landscape around the city, occasionally throwing stones over the walls and into the city, most likely hitting people’s homes.

The King nodded in approval as he saw his own siege camp. He had sent scouts out several days before he had arrived in order to have a siege camp ready for when he arrived. His own tent caught his eye, and he smiled. His tent was the largest by far, and at the top it sported the coat of arms of house Harstad waving proudly in the wind. He urged his destrier into a trot and made his way to his siege camp, followed by his army. Arriving at his tent, Hjalmar dismounted and handed his horse to one of his squires before entering the tent.

Inside the tent was the Duke of Ibrintis, Hauksteinn, and the Duke of Khekantis, Adelar. The two of them were talking quietly to each other while looking at a map of Kurith that was set out on a table. The Duke of Ibrintis happened to look up and see Hjalmar. “Your Majesty, it is good to see that you have arrived. The Duke of Khekantis and I were just discussing something. I would like you to hear this,” he said.

“Very well,” Hjalmar stated as he made his way over to the map.

As he approached, he noticed several markings on the map, with arrows pointing towards dots on it. The dots seemed to be the locations of towns and villages within Kurith. Probably places that they’re planning to raid, Hjalmar thought, but he didn’t mention anything about it.

When the King reached Hauksteinn’s side, Hauksteinn began to speak again. "As you can see from the markings on this map, we’ve planned to raid a few places. Smal towns and villages for the most part. Other than that, we’ve also marked the locations of some castles that we believe can be easily taken. If we just sit here and wait for them to slowly run out of food, we’ll most likely be here for a few months at the very least. The food we brought should last us for the duration of the siege, but if it somehow doesn’t, we can forage the countryside and raid villages for food.

“However, I believe that we should assault the city to hasten its fall. Of course, I don’t believe that we should assault it right away, we need to weaken its defences first. The trebuchets that you have most likely seen will help with that quite a bit. It also doesn’t help that a moat and two walls surround the city. In my opinion, we should build more trebuchets so that we can hit the walls harder. However, our current trebuchets don’t seem to be doing too much damage, so I believe that we should build a giant tebuchet!” Hauksteinn got excited as he mentioned the giant trebuchet.

Hjalmar raised any eyebrow. “That is certainly a very interesting idea. What do you think, Adelar?”

“I support Hauksteinn’s idea, Your Majesty, albeit maybe not with such fervor as his,” Adelar responded.

Hjalmar nodded. “Well, I suppose that we don’t really have anything to lose by building it. Now, I say that we should send some of our forces to take some of the weaker castles that both of you have marked on this map. While we might not have as many troops here for the siege, I believe that it would be advantageous for us to take some other castles as well.”

Adelar and Hauksteinn both nodded. “That sounds quite alright,” Adelar said. “What should we do if they wish to surrender?” he continued.

“If they surrender, do not harm them unless they plan treachery. I also want the weapons and armor taken from those who surrender. Now, I believe that we are done here for today,” Hjalmar ordered.

The two Dukes nodded and left the King’s tent. After the two left, Hjalmar sat down and called in his squire, who had been waiting outside after having taken care of the King’s destrier. The lad came in quickly and poured the King some akevitt before leaving, knowing that the King preferred to drink by himself. After his squire left, Hjalmar sighed and began to drink his akevitt. The next few weeks would be rough, and he knew it.

Geilo, Kurith
0532 Hours, September 30th, 2897 AA (1160 AD)

Two months, two weeks, and one day after the King’s arrival at the siege of Geilo, construction finally finished on the Warwolf. The Warwolf stood at an impressive 374 feet tall, and it took 10 master carpenters and 60 other skilled laborers two and a half months to build it. Beside it stood King Hjalmar X, Duke Hauksteinn of Ibrintis, and Duke Adelar of Khekantis. Hauksteinn looked at his creation with pride while Hjalmar and Adelar stood next to him quietly discussing their next steps. After a few minutes of quiet conversation, Hjalmar and Adelar ended their conversation.

Smiling, King Hjalmar X put his hand on Hauksteinn’s shoulder. “I think it’s time that we give it a test run.”

Hauksteinn nodded eagerly and replied. “That sounds splendid, Your Majesty. Shall I give the orders now?”

Hjalmar nodded. “You may.”

Turning away, Hauksteinn shouted for the trebuchet to be loaded. After a long wait mostly due to a large enough stone being difficult to find and then easily transport, the Warwolf was ready. A large group of commanders had gathered around the King and the Dukes to come watch the display. Everyone was quiet. Finally, Hjalmar X spoke. “Let them see the true power of Asendavia. Fire!”

As Hjalmar uttered his command, the ropes were cut and the trebuchet’s arm swung upward. As the arm rushed upward, the sling on the end came up even further, and at its peak, the stone was released and hurtled towards Geilo’s double walls. In a show of brute strength, the stone ball utterly decimated the outer wall, causing the portion that was hit to collapse. However, the ball still kept going. Upon being hit by both the rubble from the outer wall and the large stone ball, the inner wall also collapsed.

Upon this glorious sight, many men began to cheer. Shortly thereafter, the drawbridge to the city was lowered, and out came a group of unarmed nobles carrying a peace banner. Seeing this, Hjalmar called for his squires to fetch him his destrier. After mounting up, the King, Duke Adelar, and Duke Hauksteinn made their way towards the envoys.

Reining up before the envoys, Hjalmar X noticed the Prince of Kurith at the head of the group. The Pricne of Kurith waited for the rest of Hjalmar’s party to arrive before he began to speak.

“I, Prince Terje III of Kurith wish to surrender the city of Geilo and the Princedom of Kurith to King Hjalmar X of Asendavia, rightful lord of all Gliat Sheans,” Terje added in the last part begrudgingly.

“I, King Hjalmar X of Asendavia, King of Stromharad, King of Tungrad, King of Zhelelovka, Protector of the Eest, Rightful Liege of the Western Princes, Descendant of Ademar, Protector of the Churches of the God-on-Urth, and Lord of the Asendavians, hereby accept your surrender. I also declare that you shall keep your land and your vassals, but not your title. No longer will you be a Prince, but now a Landgrave.”

Prince Terje III of Kurith, now Landgrave Terje III of the Landgraviate of Kurith, nodded stiffly. “I thank you for your mercy, Your Majesty.”

Hjalmar X also nodded. “I shall require you and some of your forces to join me in my campaign, we have a long road ahead of us.”

Not waiting for a reply, Hjalmar turned his horse around and rode back to camp.