Here follows Chapter 2 of Local Boy Makes Emperor, A United the Kingdoms Steam Achievement playthrough for Crusader Kings 2.
At the end of Chapter 1 of Local Boy the mad old King Gwriad of Brythoniad had killed himself after a particularly depressing poetry reading.
Thus the kingdom he forged out of the patchwork of independent clans passes to his daughter Rhiannon, now Queen Rhiannon of Brythoniad. So also the task of getting the United the Kingdoms ck2 Steam achievement passes to her.
So follows the Chronicle of Rhiannon Crusader King.. ahem ..Crusader Queen.
With the death of King Gwriad, I the immortal player, incarnate into his beloved and highly capable daughter Rhiannon. I am, as Rhiannon, a legitimised bastard, an ambitious genius, a devout Christian woman and Queen over all the welsh people and lands.
I have two sons born in wedlock to two different husbands. The eldest Uthyr has the famous Karling bloodline through his late father Prince Grifo. Uthyr is heir to my kingdom and also it seems to the kingdom of Bavaria through his father. Uthyr is married to a kinswoman with the blood of Caradog.
My second son is heir to the petty kingdom of Wessex through his father the current King of Wessex.
I have inherited into a very secure position within my kingdom. King Gwriad has not just left me a titular kingdom. I am the direct title holder of the vast majority of the realm. My few vassals are weak in comparison.
However I am a new ruler and a woman so it will do well to cement my authority as soon as possible through a prompt coronation. King Gwriad has also left a substantial treasury so I am fairly confident in requesting the pope himself to crown me.
I have taken the war chest ambition because with the funds I have I am pretty close to achieving it already. And I take the theology focus because not only am I good Christian woman I am keen to secure the approval of the many bishop vassals in the realm. For their blessing and their tithes.
I have granted the county of Perfeddwlad to my son Uthyr for his support as he is yet landless.
Externally there are no obvious threats, the neighbouring Anglo-Saxons do not look my way nor do the Irish from across the sea.
My aim for now is to pursue peace and stability and see my sons produce sons of their own.
My husband Eafa rules in Wessex despite my father’s many attempts to assassinate him. I am not overly fond of him either as he is a smelly drunk but I would not see him killed.
The pope is pleased to crown me Queen and the pope’s fee is 175gc which is well within my means.
I opt for the most extravagant ceremony sinking 250gc into it. I will impress upon all my vassals my peerless majesty!
My coronation is complete, let none doubt who rules Brythoniaid. Now for a watchful peace as I watch my sons grow up and await grandchildren.
King Eafa of Wessex wars upon Essex. I will not take part but it would not be a bad thing if Wessex absorbs Essex. All the more for my son to inherit.
Two years pass uneventfully, peacefully. Then an epidemic of camp fever spreads across Wessex and into my capital Gloucester. I go into quarantine with my court to avoid the contagion.
Camp fever has spread across the whole of the south of England and has hit my capital Gloucester particularly hard. The corpses are piling up in the streets. Secluded in my castle, me and mine are fine though.
The peasants are blaming the Jews for the epidemic. This is silly and paranoid I suppose, but try telling them that. There is a marked increase in civil unrest.
The pope has sent me a letter asking me to ensure the protection of the jews from those that are blaming them for the outbreak. What a sensible fellow! Of course I will do what I can.
There are rumours that peasant mobs are massing to carry out a massacre of the jewish minority in the City of Cirencester. I send in the troops to prevent it.
My husband the king of Wessex has died of the camp fever. My son Idnerth becomes king after him. Idnerth is no longer my vassal but an independent ruler in his own right. We make an alliance.
As a widow for the second time I could perhaps remarry but at 39 years of age I am all but past having more children. I could do without the earthly complications so instead of remarrying I join the Benedictines and dedicate my life to God.
My son Uthyr is still without children though he has been married for four years now. His bride ugly Alys really must be too ugly for him to bear.
My alliance with my other son king Idnerth has broken down due to his belief that I have been sponsoring pirates to ravage his coasts. An absurd suggestion.
The epidemic has subsided in Wessex and Gloucester and life begins to returns to normal. My court is once again open for business.
I achieved my ambition to save up a war chest. Now I will aim to be a Paragon of Virtue.
I believe the Earl of Chester to be a wicked ruler who is not fit to govern good Christian folk. So I ask the pope to grant me a claim on his title so that I may root him out of his den of iniquity and return Chester to Christian rule.
Graciously the pope obliges me. The Earl is in revolt against his liege the King of Mercia so I press my claim upon the leader of the revolt. We are at war.
Chester and Derby are occupied after a series of sieges with no sign of any active resistance. Whatever forces remain to the Earl are presumably away fighting with the main revolt against the Mercian King.
To increase our war score further we engage an army of the revolt laying siege in Leicester. The advantage is ours and the day is won. I even personally dueled and wounded an enemy commander. Not bad for a middle aged woman.
With this battle the leader of the revolt concedes Chester to us and war is over.
Incidentally the revolt leader is the same Count of Bedford and Oxford whose daughter my father betrothed to my second son, Idnerth. The count has had a couple of sons since then so the likelyhood of my house gaining from the match are much reduced. Especially if his revolt fails.. Though by his war score he may yet win.
I can see why the menfolk love war so much. It is quite a bit more exciting than embroidery. I am still splashed in the blood of the battle, I don’t want to ever wash it off! I think I would like to do this warring more often, for the glory of God of course and to rid the world of evil.
Perhaps it is time I had some professional soldiers like mercenaries except on permanent retainer like levies.. Yes I will raise a retinue of famous welsh longbowmen for my personal honour guard.
At long last my son Uthyr’s wife ugly Alys is pregnant. It has been a nerve wracking eight years waiting for their union to bear some sort of fruit. Now I can only hope the heir of my heir will not be some kind of mutant. At least the child will carry two legendary bloodlines.
I need to change the succession laws for Brythoniad or else gavelkind will deliver many of my counties to my second son, Idnerth, who already has his own kingdom. I’ll have to wait another three years before I can do that though.
Idnerth appears to have inherited more than Wessex from his father, his father was a drunk and so is he. Idnerth “the Drunkard” they call him.
Oh dear. Uthyr has a son, sort of. It seems father was sailing a bit too close to the wind by agreeing to the match between his grandson and his cousin. The boy is inbred. Having two legendary bloodlines doesn’t even begin to compensate for that. Oh well better luck next time.
Good news! Well sort of. It seems my son’s inbred son is not in fact his son. Ugly Alys has cucked him, the inbred boy is a bastard.. Wait what? Alys has been sleeping with someone else in the family? Oh dear god. I wonder who it is.
So that is the good news, the inbred is disqualified from inheriting Brythoniaid after my son because he is a bastard. Don’t you wish you had good news like that?
Looking at the family tree it seems to me that since the bastard has the inbred trait then Alys’s brother may be the real father. The other living adult males in the dynasty are not closely related enough to cause the inbred trait I would think. How disgusting!
Alys’s brother is a vassal of mine, he is the Count of Anglesey. A sneaky fellow he is indeed. He is currently running the Intrigue focus and trying to fabricate a claim on one of my titles, the Duchy of Gwynedd. Quite possibly he was running the seduction focus earlier and using it to get in his sister’s knickers.
I have no proof yet he is the father of the inbred but the attempt to fabricate a claim is reason enough by itself for me to put the filthy creep under lock and key. So that is what I do.
Events just got weirder. The Count of Anglesey, slipped away from my attempt to arrest him and has gone into rebellion. My troops have him under siege when my son joins in the rebellion.
My son, Uthyr, the one cucked by the very man I am attempting to bring to justice has come out against me for that man. He may not believe it I suppose. Alys may have put him up to it, I don’t know.
The rebellion is soon put down and so I have the incestuous count under lock and key. I strip him of his title of course but I stay my hand from executing him since he is family whatever else he may be. I order him to join a monastery instead, that should keep him out of trouble.
It has come to my attention that the Earl of Westmorland is quite a wicked man. His liege the King of Northumbria should have done more to give his vassals proper guidance. The earl is quite unfit to rule over Christian folk and my good friend the pope agrees. As it is I fear it falls to myself to bring Westmorland under good Christian governance.
My marshal is recruiting and I will do penance to purify myself for the wars to come. While in penance my thoughts keep turning to Alys who is falling from one iniquity to another. It seems that following her suspected affair with her brother she has taken to unseemly intimacy with those of her own sex.
Between her poor eating habits, frail constitution, hideous appearance and deviant sexual habits it seems very unlikely she will ever give my son a legitimate heir.
I have come out of penance the better person for it. During my penance I have gained the Erudite trait from study and Diligent from tests of discipline. Moreover I have also resolved in my mind what to do about the uncertain line of succession.
I can leverage the flexibility of tanistry to groom some alternative kinsman to serve as heirs. I have taken two young boys from distant branches of my dynasty as wards. These boys I will personally craft into true Christian knights and alternative heirs.
The older boy Gwrfawr has the blood of Vortigern and with his left-handedness promises to be a great warrior. The younger Cadwap has the blood of Caradog.
Once I have changed the succession laws to tanistry then I can nominate whoever is best suited to rule after me. Gwrfawr and Cadwap will provide insurance of a quality successor being available should Alys continue to fail my son.
Tanistry is now the law for Brythoniaid. As a result I lose the demesne bonus from gavelkind which puts me over the demesne limit. To offload some responsibilities I grant my son Uthyr the Duchy of Gwynedd and the County of Anglesey.
Also I entice to my court a respectable and talented kinsman named Iorwerth from his employ as a commander on the Isle of Man. He has the blood of Vortigern. I arrange for him to marry a good Christian woman with a talent for stewardry. Then I make him the Count of Ceredigion and Duke of Seisyllwg.
My realm is now solidly under the governance of myself and two dukes who are loyal, respectable and capable kinsman.
With this solid base it is time press against the iniquity beyond our realm. I ask the pope for his blessing to liberate the County of Amounderness from the misrule of the Count of Westmorland. A blessing he duly grants.
War is then declared upon King Osulf II of Northumbria to claim Amounderness. My ally and son King Idnerth of Wessex honours my call to war and our combined forces muster in Chester across the border from Amounderness. I will personally lead the right flank with my retinue.
There is no sign of an opposing army in Amounderness but then King Osulf is beset by revolts. We cross the border to begin occupying Amounderness.
It is then the Count of Dafydd himself revolts against my son Uthyr his duke. I demand the Count makes peace and he does. I do not need disunity at this time, or any time.
We are laying siege in Amounderness when scouts report that a host of King Osulf has been sighted in the next county. It is substantially smaller than ours, 1.5k vs 4.6k, and headed for a county in revolt against him. We will finish up the siege and go in pursuit.
Our force has secured the castle in Amounderness and then crossed into Yoredale to engage King Osulf at the battle of Settle. Our forces are comparably composed except I have substantially more heavy infantry, more light cavalry and overall twice the numbers.
The flank opposing mine is very small, I predict it will rout quickly freeing me up to double up on the enemy centre. The centre however is lead by a very capable Cornish ally, King Hopkin, who has adeptly used the terrain to prevent easy approach on his flanks.
As predicted the flank opposing me rapidly crumbles and my archers begin harassing the enemy centre. King Hopkin is putting up an inspired defence.
The left flank is still trading volleys with its opposite when the centres close as King Hopkin charges forward. My commander holding the centre forms up to force back the charge while my heavy infantry advances into King Hopkin’s forces.
King Hopkin forces in the centre only numbered 1000 at this point while the combined weight of my flank and my centre numbers over 3000. Hopkin’s centre can not hold and is rapidly crushed as my heavy infantry engage. I lead my cavalry in pursuit of Hopkin’s rout while my centre turns to double on the enemy’s wilting remaining flank. Victory is in sight.
The enemy’s remaining flank is rapidly put to rout for the win. Our forces then return to Amounderness to bring the rest of the county under occupation.
Amounderness is completely occupied while a reformed force is once again laying siege to the rebel province of Yoredale. So again we march to engage them there.
This time we outnumber them nearly six to one and trounce them easily. Osulf’s only son and heir Eardwulf is captured in the battle. When Osulf is informed of this he caves in to our demands. Amounderness is mine! Or rather Lancaster, as the county is now named.
I was checking in with my spymaster to see that Eardwulf has been released to Osulf when he tells me of a plot on my son’s life. The Duke of Chamavia is the plotter. It seems that through his father’s Karling ancestry Uthyr has become second in line to the Duchy of Chamavia. Uthyr seems to have humiliated the Duke of Chamavia too.
I have written to the Duke to warn him off but he is undeterred. So I write to my friend the pope asking for the Duke’s excommunication. The pope is happy to oblige. Let us see how well he can find co-conspirators with that on him.
I have determined to press a de jure claim upon the Duchy of Cornwall. First I would see that the King of Cornwall’s ally the king of Northumbria is too preoccupied to help. I have set my chancellor the task of undermining King Osulf’s authority. The next time he must endure a revolt I will press my claim on Cornwall.
Idnerth is asking for help with a very small revolt in his Wessex. Of course I oblige him and lead my demesne troops to his aid.
The revolt in Wessex is crushed and my son Idnerth is grateful. On meeting him again I am concerned to see his gloomy wife has still given him no children. As it stands Wessex will pass to a lost son of the previous ruling dynasty if Idnerth does not get a son. Even a girl will not do because Wessex has Agnatic-Primogeniture. Troubling.
I will admit Idnerth is not the best example of a Christian ruler. He is always drunk and stuffing his face with food. If he were not my son I would drag him off that throne.
Both my sons are still without heirs, so I am beginning to fear God is punishing me. I will go an a pilgrimage to Rome perhaps I will earn God’s favour. At least I can visit the pope.
I have returned from my pilgrimage. My sons are still without heirs but I am feeling less stressed about it. The Lord will provide and I still have my wards.
The mother of ugly Alys is discovered to be an apostate. Given how her daughter turned out I am not surprised. Of course I ordered her execution but now they call me kinslayer. Do they expect me to tolerate apostasy?
My eldest ward is nearly of age. He is turning out well. He is brawny, gregarious and ambitious. I have invited a supreme military mind and famous duelist in from France to take care of his final months of training before coming of age.
Gwrfawr my eldest ward as come of age. He turned out quite well although he could have worked harder at his studies. He doesn’t like me much though. I have given him and his erstwhile guardian from France jobs as commanders for now.
I will soon have some work for them because I tire of waiting for my chancellor to sow unrest in Northumbria. My intention is to press my claim on Cornwall regardless of whether Northumbria will support them. Time waits for no woman and I am not getting any younger.
I have waited a few months for more levies to be recruited. There is still many more that might be recruited as I have 3k ready for duty from my demesne out of a potential of 4.5k. With my vassals and Wessex I expect to add another 2k or more. That will probably be more than enough and if not I have plenty of cash for mercenaries and loans I can take.
War declared. The plan is to muster in Gloucester then march through Wessex to Cornwall. In Cornwall we will use our probably overwhelming force to get the two counties there under control as rapidly as may be. We will ignore whatever Northumbria does in the north until Cornwall is secured. Then march north to deal with Northumbria. What could go wrong?
At 50 I feel too old to take the field. I will send Gwrfawr in my place. It will be a good experience for him.
The Cornish Army has boldly moved into Somerset before my forces and those of Wessex have fully assembled. They don’t have the numbers to win this, just 1.2k. I do not know yet what Northumbria will be throwing at us in the north.
About a 3k vanguard of my troops goes on ahead into Somerset to engage the Cornish Army before the full number have assembled.
The Cornish army is caught at the battle of Glastonbury and routed easily. My forces pursue, the stragglers of my muster will soon catch up once siege lines are laid.
A Northumbrian force has begun laying siege in Lancaster. It is not substantial force at all, just 700 with 380 moving to reinforce them. Perhaps there will be more still to appear.
My forces have pressed into Cornwall bringing two holdings under control and defeating a reformed Cornish force in the field. In the meantime the Northumbrian allies captured a holding in Lancaster then marched south to liberate a captured holding in Devon. My forces intercept them there. We outnumber them six to one and they are soon defeated.
After the Northumbrians are defeated my forces aggressively storm two more holdings in Cornwall. It is then King Hopkins II of Cornwall realises the war is lost and concedes defeat.
I don’t quite know what to do with Hopkins now he is my vassal. He is quite a capable man but he resents me bitterly. It might be safest just to be rid of him. Or I could win him over to my cause. With his talents he would make for a good field commander or marshal. I will give him a chance.
To win him over I transfer his former vassal the Count of Devon back to him, give him a modest gift of gold and a job on my council as Marshal. That does the trick, he is quite satisfied now.
He only has a single legitimate baby daughter to follow him so far. Perhaps I will find a Morgannwg boy for her to wed, though she is an ugly child. Regardless I will take her on as a ward to see that he remains loyal.
The pope will grant me absolution for the one little mark on my character. I became loathed as a kinslayer from that time I ordered my great, great aunt burned alive for apostasy. Thanks pope!
Gwrfawr has proven himself worthy enough for more responsibility. So I grant him the County of Lancaster, the County Chester and raise him up as the Duke of De Rhegad. His Vortigern bloodline may come in handy ruling over Anglo-Saxons.
Consequent to the creation of his Duchy title the new duke has gained a de jure claim on Derby held my Mercia. Perhaps I will press it for him some time.
Now may be a good time to press my duke’s claim on Derby. The Earl of Derby has the protection of the King of Mercia however the king already has a peasant revolt and war with Pictland to deal with. War for Derby declared.
I will admit I did not care to oversee this war directly. I left the prosecution of the war to my faithful vassals. Occasionally some reports were brought in to me but I rarely bothered to read them.
I am busy in my study writing a book because I would like to be known for more than just warring and ruling. And so I am writing a book on how to rule and wage war.
Anyway I gather that the war is won about now. My Duke of De Rhegad has gained Derby.
My son and named heir Uthyr is still without a heir of his own. He is now 36 years old and his freakshow wife Alys is 38. I have lost hope that any legitimate children will come of that match. So although he is my favorite son I am no longer backing him for heir to Brythoniaid.
The good news is that other son Idnerth has now a son born to him, my first legitimate grandchild. His wife even has another on the way. So I will name him Tanist for Bythoniaid.
Idnerth also represents an opportunity to peacefully unite Wessex and Brythoniad should he inherit Brythoniaid. That day may come soon for I am 54 years old now. I just hope I finish my book in time.
Sadly my electors do not see the wisdom of passing Brythoniaid to Idnerth. For though they love me they see Idnerth as a foreigner. So instead I choose for Tanist my former ward Duke Gwrfawr of De Rheged.
Gwrfawr and his strong wife are without children but they are young yet. They are a clean capable couple who would make better rulers than drunken Idnerth and his depressing wife. Gwrfawr has the blood of Vortigern which will help him to rule over Anglo-Saxons. He is a good choice and there may yet be another way to unite Wessex with Brythoniaid.
Uthyr is a very popular lord, more so than Gwrfawr, so it may be that Uthyr inherits even without my backing. I must work on making Gwrfawr more attractive to the other electors.
Duke Gwrfawr has cancer. Sigh. I switch my vote to Duke Iorwerth, he has leprosy but at least he has a bunch of children. Iorwerth is now the favourite thanks to my backing.
It seems the Duke of De Reged is not only unpopular with my electors he is unpopular with his many anglo-saxon subjects. A massive rebellion of anglo-saxons has arisen in the duke’s county of Lancaster under the leadership of one Godwine, a very capable if unpleasant military leader.
Godwine lays siege to Lancaster Castle while I raise the kingdom and my ally in Wessex.
The bulk of my army have assembled in Chester when news comes that the Anglo-Saxons have split their forces. With one force staying to siege Lancaster the other force has marched for Derby through neutral Yoredale.
This was a blunder because my single strong force can now take them on one at time. Godwine seems to realise this and has ordered his second force to return to Yoredale. Likely he intends them to rejoin the main force in Lancaster. We march for Yoredale to catch the second force there.
The second force is engaged in Yoredale taking significant loses. Godwine’s main force abandons its siege of Lancaster to reinforce the second force in Yoredale. It is not enough to turn the tide for the rebels and they are crushed and with it their rebellion. I have Godwine executed.
My thoughts turn to Northumbria. The little kingdom in the north of England is now ruled by the son of the old, now dead, King Osulf. The new king is Osulf’s son Eardwulf, the same Eardwulf who spent a brief time as a prisoner of war in my dungeon at the end of the war for Amounderness.
Eardwulf is, I’ll admit, a fine Christian man and a worthy ruler but I would see Northumbria united with my kingdom as a vassal nonetheless. He will refuse an offer of vassalisation but there are two ways I may force the issue.
The first way is to ask my friend the pope for a claim on the petty kingdom of Northumbria. This the pope will do for me even though Eardwulf is a worthy ruler. It will cost me some piety though which I would rather save for making the Become Paragon ambition.
The other option is just to directly force vassalisation for a cost of 1000 prestige. This is more expensive that pressing a claim, even one bought from the pope, but I have surplus prestige and a desire to save my piety.
So I will force vassalistion.
The war is going well, warscore at 80%, when I die of old age. Sad that I did not get to live long enough to see Northumbria brought into the fold. Northumbria would bring me quite a bit closer to the ultimate goal of the United the Kingdoms achievement.
Or indeed it is sad I can not see my favourite son Uthyr produce any heirs. Though at least Idnerth has two sons to his name. Neither did I finish my book.
Although I was backing my kinsman Duke Iorwerth to inherit from me, my electors have chosen my son Uthyr after all. So that is who I shall be in the next Chapter of Local Boy Makes Emperor, A United the Kingdoms run for ck2.