Monday, August 5, 2013

The Surtr Saga - Part 4

Crusader Kings II - The Surtr Saga

Chapter 4
The Life & Legacy of King Tyrsormr I.

  • Year 957 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 40) 
The new King is unconcerned with threats to his throne and invades Ulster in March.

  • Year 958 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 41)
Ulster is conquered in May and renamed Strangfjordr. In July, Grimr's faction rears up to thrust Norway into war over the throne, despite Grimr no longer holding any landed titles. In September, Jarl Sigurd, the King's brother, also raised a banner against the crown. 

  • Year 959 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 42)
In April, an upstart in Ireland declares a War of Liberation on Norway. King Tyrsormr I has his hands tied with challenges to his crown and cannot rush back to Ireland. In October, the Spymaster of Norway discovers a plot on the King's life with his own daughter, Bodil, behind it. Once exposed, Bodil gives up her attempt to assassinate the king. No further action is taken. 

  • Year 960 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 43)
August of 960, Jarl Sigurd I of Iceland is defeated.

  • Year 961 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 44)
In June, the Chief of Trondelag begins a plot to name someone other than the King as Jarl of Trondelag. King Tyrsormr I sends men to arrest the traitor, but he raises his men in open rebellion. 

  • Year 962 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 45) 
There can be only one!
Chief Sigtrygg's rebellion in Trondelag is quelled and Sigtrygg is stripped of his title, strengthening the King's holdings in the Jarldom of Trondelag. In October, the King grows quite ill, unfortunately. It's December when he receives word that Ireland has liberated itself from Norway, including all its territory in Skotland. Norway will take this loss and deal with it later. 

  • Year 963 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 46)
In March of 963, Kettil of Shetland sues for White Peace thus ending Grimr's move for the throne. King Tyrsormr I hopes to take time to stabilize the nation now that all rebellions have ended. In October, his eldest daughter who previously made held a plot against the King's life, is married to her cousin, Haesteinn, the Chief of Vestfold and heir to the Jarldom of Iceland. Bodil is named Seer of Vestfold that same month. 

  • Year 964 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 47) 
In March, Princess Sigrid comes of age and is betrothed to Bo, Prince of Skotland. In October, Prince Skuli is appointed Steward of Norway. King Tyrsormr I feels his dynasty is growing strong. 

  • Year 965 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 48)
King Tyrsormr I decides in April that the time has come to reclaim some of what was lost in the colonies to the upstart in Ireland. Norway's army marches to Caithness. In November, Prince Bo and Princess Sigrid are wed, but King Tyrsormr I finds out too late that Prince Bo is more interested in men than women. Hopefully, this doesn't interfere with plans to put a Surtr on the throne of Skotland. 

  • Year 966 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 49) 
Liberate This, Ireland
New allegiances in Skotland bring about a call to arms to aid Skotland with civil unrest, and King Tyrsormr I realizes why the King of Skotland was so eager to marry off his brother to Princess Sigrid. Before the end of January, Norway finds itself alongside Skotland in a war against the Kingdom of Wales. In March, Prince Skuli dies in battle at age 19, putting the future of the Kingdom of Norway into jeopardy. Princess Bodil becomes heir to the crown, but she will have to split the kingdom with her sisters. Because of his wife's age, King Tyrsormr I decides to take a concubine to help him gain another son before it's too late and the kingdom is divided. Thyra Bosdottir is taken to court as concubine. She is the daughter of the imprisoned Chief of Halogaland

In July, Earl Fingen the Liberator of Ireland is captured and the conquest of Caithness comes to an end. That following September, Princess Alvor comes of age and is betrothed to another Prince of Skotland, Falki, in case things don't work out with Princess Sigrid and Prince Bo. 

  • Year 967 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 50)
In February, another daughter is born with Thyra and is named Asta. In July, the issue of succession is becoming so troublesome that Holmfrid of Skotland is taken as an additional concubine. In August, High Chieftess Asa I of Jamtaland declares war on the crown to support Grimr's claim on Norway. Apparently, the entire kingdom thinks Grimr will make a grand king, but King Tyrsormr I doesn't think so.

  • Year 968 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 51)
In January, King Tyrsorm realizes that he's fallen in love with a courtier named Asa. He decides to make her a concubine later that month, upsetting his wife deeply. September of 968, Princess Alvor and Prince Falki are married. In October, High Chieftess Asa sues for White Peace. She is imprisoned and stripped of her title. Prince Bo is named Jarl of Jamtaland in her place. He quickly names Sigrid Surtr spymaster of Jamtaland. 

  • Year 969 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 52)
At the start of the year, Norway is stable and Skotland is torn apart by war so King Tyrsormr I decides to take advantage of the confusion and march into the territory of Ross

  • Year 970 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 53) 
Unification or Bust!
The Queen of Norway, devastated by the number of concubines and affair with courtier Asa, is uncovered plotting against the King's life. After a talk, she gives up her scheming and is forgiven by the crown. Meanwhile, by February, the conquest of Ross is won! King Tyrsormr I marches onward to Buchan. In September, another daughter is born and named Bjorg. The more daughters he has without a son, the more divided the nation will become and so the King's stress increases every passing month. 

  • Year 971 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 54)
In March, King Tyrsormr I gets word that the people of Trondelag no longer consider themselves Norse, but are calling themselves Norwegian. He isn't sure what to make of this new development. In April, conquest of Buchan is complete. In May, the King's retinue marches into the territory of Moray itself to unify the Jarldom. In November of 971, another daughter, Bothildr, is born. 

  • Year 972 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 55)
It's March and a son is born! Toki Tyrsormrsson is the new heir to the Kingdom of Norway. In June, Norway wins victory over the territory of Moray and the Jarldom of Moray is formed. Now unified in northern Skotland, King Tyrsormr I turns his attention to the fractured nation of Sweden, the giant to the east. King Tyrsormr I has watched the spread of Catholicism and Islam and decided that in order to compete with the southern religions, reformation is necessary. He sets his sights on the holy site of Uppsala in Uppland, Sweden. 

In December, Princess Edla of Norway marries Frirek Budlisson, heir to the Jarldom of Novgorod. 

  • Year 973 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 56)
The Queen's plot to kill Prince Toki is uncovered and King Tyrsormr is outraged. All of his work to produce a male heir could be undone by his own wife! Queen Bjorg is imprisoned in March and dies alone in prison by July. King Tyrsormr I is burdened by her death, but he feels no remorse due to her treachery. 

  • Year 974 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 57) 
In March, the territory of Agder joins Trondelag in declaring itself Norwegian. In July, the civil wars in Sweden come to an end which causes serious problems for King Tyrsormr's ambitions to claim Uppland. 

  • Year 975 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 58) 
Back to Ireland!
In March, the Queen of Sweden actually sues for peace and the Jarldom of Svithjod falls into the hands of Norway. King Tyrsormr I now has access to two of the Norse holy sites and spends many months deliberating over whether or not to liberate Hleidra from the Catholic Kingdom of Denmark. He ultimately decides its overdue time to revisit Fingen the Liberator of Ireland and retake Argyll from the Irish. 

  • Year 977 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 60)
In April, Fingen the Liberator is defeated and Argyll is welcomed back into the Kingdom of Norway. In October, Princess Sigrid Surtr dies of Great Pox. Despite her husband being the Gay Prince of Skotland, they have two children which is welcomed news to King Tyrsormr I. 

  • Year 978 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 61) 
In October, King Tyrsormr I finally feels confident enough to move on Hleidra in Sjaelland against Denmark. 

  • Year 979 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 62)
After a year of war, King Fredrik I of Denmark surrenders the island of Sjaelland to Norway in October.

  • Year 980 AD (King Tyrsormr I, Age 63)
In January of 980, King Tyrsormr I reforms the Norse faith into an organized religion. He becomes the first Fylkir of the Fylkirate and turns all his attentions to matters of faith. He converts all his vassals to this new faith and begins to spread reformed Norse throughout the kingdom. Jarl Faste of Uppland is his first convert, and becomes a great ally in the expansion of the Norse faith. 

In July, the lords of Norway approve Medium Crown Authority.

  • Year 981 AD (Fylkir Tyrsormr I, Age 64)
In September, Prince Sigurd, the King's biggest political rival, dies of severe stress. The King's nephew and son-in-law, Haesteinn, becomes Jarl of Iceland.

In April of 982, Tyrsormr I, King of Norway, Fylkir of the Norse, dies at the age of 64 of natural causes.
He is succeeded by the young prince, Toki I. Long live King Toki!

Tyrsormr Falkisson of the House of Surtr will always be remembered!
First Fylkir of the Norse, King of Norway!
Jarl of Trondelag and Vestalet!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Surtr Saga - Part 3

Crusader Kings II - The Surtr Saga

Chapter 3
The Life and Legacy of Rognhildr II.

  • Year 913 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 21) 
Toki II's sister, Rognhildr, unexpectedly thrust into the position of High Chieftess of Nordreyjar. She inherits not only all of Toki II's titles and responsibilities, but also some unfinished wars in Norway to defend her cousin's claim to the throne from those who would see him deposed. 

  • Year 914 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 22) 
In May, during the confusion of the civil war, High Chieftess Rognhildr usurps the territory of Naumandal from Jarl Suni in the name of one of her vassals with claims to the title, strengthening her own position on the mainland. 

  • Year 915 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 23) 
While her armies continue to fight in the Norwegian Civil War, High Chieftess Rognhildr gives birth to her first child and heir, Toki early in June. 

  • Year 916 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 24) 
In September of 916, the Civil War rages on, the weakened state of Norway gives the High Chieftess the idea to put her mother on the throne instead of her cousin. After discussing it briefly with her mother, Princess Rognhildr, daughter of King Haraldr Fairhair, the High Chieftess puts her plan into motion. 

  • Year 917 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 25) 
Some Day All This Will Be Yours
During the successful siege of Bergenhus in Hordaland in May, High Chieftess Rognhildr's army manages to capture Prince Faste, King Inge's heir, which swiftly turns Princess Rognhildr's claim to the throne in her favor. That same month, High Chieftess Rognhildr gives birth to her second son, Tyrsormr. 

  • Year 919 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 27) 
High Chieftess Rognhildr discovers a plot to kill her son, Toki, in November. The plot originates from the King of Jylland, Oddr the Pious, but due to his position there is little the High Chieftess can do to end the plot. She can only remain vigilant against any action taken against her young heir. 

  • Year 920 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 28) 
In July of the following year there is a peasant revolt in Caithness due to Chieftess Rognhildr's long-standing attempts to convert the local populous from Catholicism to belief in the Old Gods of Norse. This is an annoying road bump in her attempts to push her mother's claim on the throne of Norway. Through all this turmoil, High Chieftess Rognhildr is pregnant with her third son, Sigurd, born in December. 

  • Year 921 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 29) 
Rebels in the Colonies!
In July, after pushing the rebels out of Caithness, King Inge is finally ready to abdicate the throne of Norway to the High Chieftess's mother, also named Rognhildr. Long live Queen Rognhildr I! This effectively makes Chieftess Rognhildr the new heir to the Kingdom of Norway. In November, the High Chieftess declares her intent to hold a great blot in honor of their successes. Not long after her the conclusion of the blot does High Chieftess Rognhildr receive word that Prince Inge is making a move for the throne in December. 

  • Year 922 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 30) 
In December, young Toki dies in a suspicious accident. Grief stricken, High Chieftess Rognhildr suspects the King of Jylland because of his plot three years earlier, but without sufficient evidence is powerless to act against him. She vows to look into the matter, but no evidence is ever found. 

  • Year 924 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 32) 
A new rebellion arises in December led by Jarl Suni to put Prince Edmund on the throne. 

  • Year 925 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 33)
In January, word reaches Norway that lands west of Iceland have been discovered when Norse ships were blown off course. Curiousity clutches the nation, but Chieftess Rognhildr is bound to protect her inheritance and keeps her attention focused on the uprising. In February, the Chancellor of Nordreyjar reports he has managed to fabricate a claim on the territory of Nordland. High Chieftess Rognhildr decides to press that claim during the confusion of the war and turns her military attention to Nordland. 

  • Year 926 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 34) 
In October of 926, High Chieftess Rognhildr gives birth to her first daughter, Rognhildr. 

  • Year 927 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 35) 
In October, Prince Edmund and his forces admit defeat, but Prince Inge continues the war in his name. 

  • Year 929 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 37) 
Don't Mind if I Do!
Prince Inge agrees to White Peace in August. The decision frustrates the High Chieftess, and she vents her frustration that September by continuing her efforts in Nordland, mounting a full invasion while they are weakened from the civil war. 

  • Year 930 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 38)
Unfortunately, High Chieftess Rognhildr's claim on Nordland is lost when the territory falls to another in May. Her efforts were in vain and she is further frustrated with her situation. 

  • Year 931 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 39) 
In January of 931, the Kingdom of Skotland is plunged into civil war and Chieftess Rognhildr sets sail for conquest during the upheaval. Though she is only a Norse woman, she has the thirst for glory of a Norse man. 

  • Year 932 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 40) 
The Queen of Norway releases the Duchy of Trondelag to be an independent state. This is another one of mother's messes High Chieftess Rognhildr will have to clean up once she is Queen. In the meantime, she conquers both Argyll and Lothian from Skotland by July of 932. 

  • Year 933 AD (High Chieftess Rognhildr, Age 41) 
Long Live the Queen!
In January, the Queen of Norway declares a War of Subjugation on the independent state of Trondelag from her deathbed. High Chieftess Rognhildr ascends the throne as Queen Rognhildr II and inherits this war with the crown of Norway. By February, Jarl Grimr of Akershus decides to press a claim to the crown and Norway finds itself divided by civil war again. 

  • Year 934 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 42) 
In June, the Subjugation of Norway against Trondelag ends in victory, strengthening Norway's position against Jarl Grimr. All of Queen Rognhildr II's attention now turns to the rebellion and solidifying Norway.

  • Year 937 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 45)
The Civil War has raged on for three long years and taken its toll on Queen Rognhildr II's family. In December, her husband, King Falki Naddodr, dies and she is deeply wounded by the loss. She recently reaffirmed her love of the man through the trials of the war. 

  • Year 939 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 47)
The Skots Don't Know When to Quit
In February, The King of Skotland declares war on Norway for the contested territory in Skotland. Fortunately, by August, Queen Rognhildr II is finally able to quell the civil war that has raged for five years. She strips Chief Hjalmar of his title for his role in the war. Norway then turns its attention to the holdings in Skotland. The defense of Norway rages on. 

  • Year 941 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 49) 
The Queen discovers a plot against her life backed by her own daughter-in-law, Sigurd's wife. It is quickly dissolved, but the Queen has residual trust issues toward her son and his wife. 

  • Year 942 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 50)
In December, Skotland surrenders and the Kingdom of Norway is at peace finally. 

  • Year 943 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 51) 
The Kingdom of Skotland is thrust into political upheavals, no doubt in part due to the loss of the war with Norway a year earlier. Ever ambitious, Queen Rognhildr II decides its time to push farther into Skotland and declares a War of Conquest that July. 

Year 944 AD - The Situation in Skotland

  • Year 948 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 56) 
Queen Rognhildr II has enjoyed moderate stability in Norway and success in her conquest of Skotland, but her efforts abroad are disturbed by Jarl Grirm once again longing for the Kingdom of Norway. Queen Rognhildr II is forced to fight a war abroad and at home. 

  • Year 952 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 60) 
Although the war in Skotland turned out to last far too long and ultimately be a bad idea, Queen Rognhildr II finally saw some success in both wars, but a new faction promoting Faste Yngling, a descendant of Haraldr Fairhair, as the King of Norway arises to complicate matters. 

  • Year 953 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 61) 
In December, after five years of struggling, Jarl Grimr the Merry surrenders and is stripped of his title. Queen Rognhildr II now turns her attention primarily to Faste Yngling in an attempt to stabilize Norway. 

  • Year 954 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 62)
With her sons both grown men and landed nobles, Queen Rognhildr requests her grandson, Skuli Tyrsormrsson, come live with her and be educated by her. She has a chance to groom her son's heir in her old age and it fills her with great joy. 

  • Year 955 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 63)
The War in Skotland that has raged for over a decade comes to an abrupt end when Queen Rognhildr loses her Casus Belli. Although it means the twelve years of fighting were for naught, it now means the hardened troops of Skotland can return home and crush Chief Faste. 

  • Year 956 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 64)
In January, there is a peasant revolt in Argyll and the provinces in Skotland seem more trouble than they're worth to Queen Rognhildr. Instead she redoubles her efforts against Chief Faste and by August forces him to surrender the war and his title to the crown. By September, however, Queen Rognhildr II grows weak and infirm and is forced to rule a country from her bed. 

  • Year 957 AD (Queen Rognhildr II, Age 65)
The Armies of Norway finally subdue the rebels in Argyll and Norway is at peace. 

Perhaps due to her Kingdom finally being unified and at peace, Queen Rognhildr II passes on, after being bedridden for four long months. She is succeeded by her son, King Tyrsormr I. The title of Jarl of Ostlandet and Chief of Telemark fall to her other surviving son, Jarl Sigurd. 

Long live the King!

Remember Queen Rognhildr II of Norway! 
She was Jarl of Nordreyjar, Ostlandet, Trondelag, and Vestlandet!
Her reign was won of war-torn Norway, but she solidified the nation and her birthright. 

May the Skalds sing her glory!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Surtr Saga - Part 2

Crusader Kings II - The Surtr Saga

Chapter 2
The Very Short Reign of Toki II

  • Year 911 AD (Jarl Toki II, Age 16) 
Although he is distraught by the death of his grandfather and mentor, Toki I, the new Jarl is wise to the problems of succession and strengthens himself for any challenges to his birthright. Fortunately, Nordreyjar remains secure and Jarl Toki II focuses his attention outward. 

  • Year 912 AD (Jarl Toki II, Age 17)
In June of 912, Toki II uncovers a plot to see the title of Jarl of Iceland be granted to another, but swift action sees this plot disbanded before it can take any ground among the people. In October, news spread quickly that King Faste the Great had died in an accident just after a glorious conquest in Britain. Jarl Toki II's cousin, Inge, is crowned King of Norway.

  • Year 913 AD (Jarl Toki II, Age 18) 
Early in January, Jarl Toki II sees an opportunity to conquer parts of Ireland, but his efforts are cut short when Jarl Suni revolts against King Inge to put Prince Edmund on the throne. Jarl Toki II decides to abandon his campaign in Ireland and return to Norway to defend his cousin. Unfortunately, August of that year Jarl Toki II died in battle against Jarl Suni. 

Jarl Toki II is succeeded by his sister, High Chieftess Rognhildr. 

Battles are Dangerous!

Jarl Toki II did not accomplish much in his short time as Jarl.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Surtr Saga - Part 1

Crusader Kings II - The Surtr Saga

Chapter 1
The Life & Legacy of Toki Surtr

  • Year 867 AD (Chief Toki, Age 16) 
Humble Beginnings
In the early days of January, a young man by the name of Toki Surtr claims the islands of Orkno (Orkney) as his new territory and base of operations. He enjoys his independent rule there briefly. He marries a young cleric named Vala Rognhildr of the temple at Palo. He battles with an illness early in that year, but is well by the time he received news that Haraldr "Fairhair," the self-proclaimed King, was coming to make war with the young chief. The men of Orkno put up a valliant fight in defense of their new home, but in the end Toki is forced to surrender to King Haraldr by the month of September and swear allegiance to his new king. This young man was incensed and swore he would have revenge, but those turned out to be simply the foolish dreams of the young. 

  • Year 868 AD (Chief Toki, Age 17)
King Haraldr's conquest continues the following July with the War of Subjugation declared on the territory of Agder. Nearly a year has passed since Toki's defeat and while his pride and prestige are still wounded, he is eager to prove himself on the battlefield alongside his peers, the chiefs under King Haraldr. Toki personally leads his troops to join the siege of Iveland, joining up with the Army of Mats in October. 

  • Year 869 AD (Chief Toki, Age 18) 
It isn't until May the following year that Agder surrenders to Haraldr and is incorporated into the petty kingdom of Ostlandet. Toki and his troops return home as war heroes. That September, Toki and Rognhildr welcome their first child, Sigrid, into the world. In December, Toki is invited back to Ostlandet to enjoy a great blot as King Haraldr's guest. Despite a resurgence of illness, Toki is able to attend and bore witness to an old enemy and war prisoner, Chieftess Gurli, as she was sacrificed to Odin. 

  • Year 870 AD (Chief Toki, Age 19) 
3rd Subjugation War
After the finale of the blot, King Haraldr declares the 3rd Subjugation War on Hordaland in the early days of January. Completely recovered from his illnesses, Toki summons his troops from Orkno to join King Haraldr in battle once more. In October, during the siege of Bjorgvin, Toki receives word that the Byzantine Emperor was hiring Norse warriors to aid him against his enemies due to their legendary prowess in battle. 

  • Year 871 AD (Chief Toki, Age 20) 
The following January, King Haraldr wins the 3rd War of Subjugation with Toki's help. Toki leads his weary troops homeward once more, but dreams of conquest in the south with the Byzantine armies. Unfortunately, his dreams are interrupted in June by King Haraldr's march against Telemark in the 4th War of Subjugation. They had only just returned home, but ever thirsty for glory, Toki leads his men once more across the sea to join up with the Army of Knut in September. Together they win the battle of Fredriksten and begin to lay siege to the city itself. During the siege, Toki is informed his second daughter, Ingrid, had been born back in Orkno. Rognhildr is left to arrange a betrothal between Ingrid and Valdemar, heir to the islands of Shetland, north of the Orkno Islands, for political purposes. 

  • Year 872 AD (Chief Toki, Age 21) 
The 4th War of Subjugation came to an end in May. Toki's forces suffered nearly 66% losses during the campaign, but they still return victorious and acclaimed for their participation. The 5th War of Subjugation began in July, but Toki decides that the lands of Herjadal are too far away, and he and his troops are in much need of rest. King Haraldr nevertheless is able to win decisive victory by December. 

  • Year 873 AD (Chief Toki, Age 22)
In April, the 6th War of Subjugation is declared against High Chief of Kola Sami to the far north. Although far from the islands of Orkno, Toki camnot ignore the most ambitious campaign of King Haraldr. It's not until September that Toki and his loyal 200 meet up with the Army of Knut in Herjadal where they await King Haraldr to give the orders for their long march north. 

  • Year 874 AD (Chief Toki, Age 23)
The armies of Haraldr arrive in the hills of Finnmark in May of the following year and clash with High Chief Baeivi I, though the war had been declared over a year prior. During the siege of Varghoeya, Toki receives word that his first son, Tyrsormr, rightful heir to the islands of Orko, has been born in his absence. 

  • Year 875 AD (Chief Toki, Age 24)
In February, the 6th War of Subjugation comes to an end and Finnmark becomes part of the not-so petty kingdom of Ostlandet. Toki's ambition to free himself from King Haraldr's yoke has long since dwindled and the two have become close friends during their various campaigns together. Toki's fealty has been earned, rather than demanded. By April, Toki and his remaining 70 men arrive on the shores of Orkno to recuperate. Toki meets his son, Tyrsormr, for the first time. In May, King Haraldr begins the War of Subjugation against Sweden itself, but Toki and his men have earned a respite from the battlefield. Toki turns his attention to domestic politics and by November, his daughter, Sigrid, is betrothed to Tolir Sigurdsson, the heir to the islands of Faereyar

  • Year 876 AD (Chief Toki, Age 25)
In June, Toki received word that King Haraldr had been victorious in his War of Subjugation in Sweden when he captured the son of his enemy and all his demands were promptly met. Chief Toki grew restless waiting for the political arrangements of his daughters and saw an opportunity to subjugate Faereyar while its army was away raiding southern coasts. The Chief of Orkno launches his invasion into the islands of Faereyar in December of 876. 

  • Year 877 AD (Chief Toki, Age 26) 
During his invasion of Faereyar, Wessex declares a Holy War against the King of Jylland, King Haraldr rushes to his aid. It is February when Toki decimates the returning army of Faereyar on the shores of their own islands. Chief Sigurd is utterly defeated at the battle of Skansin

  • Year 879 AD (Chief Toki, Age 28) 
Two years of harsh battles over the Faereyar islands and finally Toki musters enough strength to seize victory of Skansin and put an end to the bloodshed. Just as the siege came to an end, Toki receives word that his wife, Vala Rognhildr, died of an illness. Just days after receiving this news, the siege broke and Toki is able to end the war and return home to grieve. Toki is proclaimed Chief of Faereyar, but the victory was spoiled by the upsetting death. Toki Surtr would never take another wife. 

  • Year 880 AD (Chief Toki, Age 29) 
Finnmark declares its independence from Oslandet, interrupting negotiations between Chief Toki and King Haraldr to wed Haraldr's eldest daughter to Tyrsormr Tokisson. Bound by the promise of this new alliance, Toki sails 340 of his finest men to the shores of Finnmark to help quell the rebellion.

  • Year 881 AD (Chief Toki, Age 30)
Finnmark is ultimately defeated in August. Finnmark's Chief is imprisoned and his position is revoked by King Haraldr the following September. Finnmark belongs to King Haraldr once and for all. 

  • Year 882 AD (Chief Toki, Age 31)
King Haraldr joins King Oddr I of Jylland to defend the honor of their Norse brothers in a Holy War declared by the Catholic King Anarawd I of Gwynedd

  • Year 885 AD (Chief Toki, Age 34) 
Vikings Pillage Caithness (Twice)
In May, Chief Toki sacks Thurso, Caithness, allied with the King Anarawd I. In December, he returns to claim Thurso in the name of King Haraldr during this so-called Holy War. The tide of the war begins to shift in the Norse Kings' favor. 

  • Year 886 AD (Chief Toki, Age 35) 
Chief Toki begins the siege of Tain, Ross, in February. The city falls to the Norse in September. By November, Toki's army had marched to Scone, Gowrie and begun its final siege during the war. 

  • Year 887 AD (Chief Toki, Age 36)
In February, King Haraldr declares himself King of Norway, no longer the king of the petty kingdom of Oslandet. Due to this political shift, Chief Toki is able to establish himself as Jarl of Nordreyjar, overseeing the Orkno and Faereyar islands. The title also gave him claim to the Shetland islands where his daughter Ingrid was still betrothed to the Chief, Valdemar. Jarl Toki feels that particular political arrangement no longer holds any worth and so the betrothal is broken. By December of 887, Ingrid instead marries Prince Faste, Haraldr's eldest son, heir to the Kingdom of Norway. It is a big step up over the Chief of Shetland. 

  • Year 888 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 37) 
In March, King Oddr I of Jylland finally wins his victory over Gwynedd, ending the proclaimed Holy War against the Norse. This 6 year war solidifies Norse presence in the Anglo-Saxon lands of Britain. September of that same year, Jarl Toki turns his attention to Shetland and declares war on the young Chief Valdemar, bitter about his broken engagement to Ingrid Tokisdottir. 

  • Year 889 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 38) 
In June, the Army of Jarl Toki I captures the capital of Shetland and rush home to break the siege of Toki's capital city of Birgishaerad. Before they arrive, Chief Valdemar sues for peace and Jarl Toki takes Shetland into his Jarldom of Nordreyjar. Chief Valdemar becomes his vassal. After this success, Jarl Toki had no fear breaking the betrothal of his eldest daughter Sigrid to the former heir of Faereyar and instead arranges her marriage to the King of Jylland, Oddr I. 

  • 890 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 39) 
In September, Tyrsormr comes of age and is granted the position of Chancellor to Jarl Toki. Later that month, Tyrsormr and Princess Rognhildr of Norway are married. Toki sets sail for Akershus where rebels have begun their plans to overthrow King Haraldr. 

  • 891 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 40)
Chancellor Tyrsormr is able to fabricate a claim to the territory of Caithness to the south. Jarl Toki isn't in a great position to act on it that year. By September, Toki has managed to liberate the territory of Akershus from the rebels threatening King Haraldr's reign. King Haraldr has made no effort to halt the advancing armies, so Jarl Toki decides to leave him to his fate. He would not tolerate this weakness of the King, nor being used by him to defend his own holdings. Jarl Toki abandons pursuit of the rebels and returns to the Orkno Islands. 

  • Year 892 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 41)
Become Jarl of Iceland: Phase 1
Chancellor Tyrsormr is able to fabricate a claim to the territory of Austisland in the area known as Iceland in March of 892. The following October, Tyrsormr's first daughter, Rognhildr is born. To celebrate her birth, Jarl Toki decides to press his new claim on Austisland and sets sail for Iceland.

  • Year 893 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 42)
In February, Sigrid Tokisdottir leaves court to join her husband, King Oddr I of Jylland. Then in August, Jarl Toki defeats the Chief of Austisland and Chancellor Tyrsormr is named the new Chief. Jarl Toki I realizes he has a greater ambition to see himself on the throne of Norway as his friendship and respect for King Haraldr has grown cold over the last few years. 

  • Year 894 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 43)
The following February, Jarl Toki pursues his ambitions by declaring the First Orknian War of Subjugation against Vestisland in western Iceland, hoping to unify the island. 

  • Year 895 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 44)
Chief Ingolfr of Vestisland is forced to become the vassal of Jarl Toki I in May of 895. At some point during the year, Toki II was born to Tyrsormr and Rognhildr, but no one mentioned it to the Jarl. That December, Toki I is declared Jarl of both Nordreyjar and Iceland. 

  • Year 896 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 44)
Chief Tyrsormr dies at the age of 21 of natural causes in April of 896. The Jarl goes into mourning. 

  • Year 898 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 46)
Return to Caithness!
In September, Jarl Toki I finally pushed forward into Cathness to honor his fallen son, Tyrsormr, who managed to win that claim in the territory years prior to his death. In November, Toki's spymaster uncovered a plot whereupon King Oddr I planned to kill Toki's granddaughter, Rognhildr Tyrsormrsdottir. Jarl Toki I contacted him immediately demanding he cease his scheming against the House of Surtr and King Oddr I agreed to stand down. The fact that King Oddr I would scheme to kill Tyrsormr's 6-year-old daughter was more than enough to cast dark shadows of doubt over Jarl Toki's heart about the true nature of Tyrsormr's own death. Perhaps it was not natural causes after all. 

  • Year 899 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 47) 
August of the following year, Jarl Toki I conquers Caithness and is proclaimed its Chief. That same month, King Haraldr manages to lose his crown to the King Asbjorn I of Norway - the upstarts that Jarl Toki had flushed out of Akershus in 891. Jarl Toki is enraged by this turn of events because it meant his grandson, the son of Prince Faste and Ingrid, is no longer in line of succession to the throne of Norway. Despite how Jarl Toki currently felt about former King Haraldr's incompetence, he couldn't allow his hard work to be undone by this false king from the south. Jarl Toki began a faction to gather allies to see King Haraldr back on the throne and by October of that same year all of King Haraldr and Jarl Toki's allies had assembled for all out war against False King Asbjorn to decide the fate of the Kingdom of Norway. In December, Jarl Toki I's daughter, Sigrid, was named spymaster of Haraldr's forces. 

  • Year 900 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 48) 
June of the following year, False King Asbjorn had managed to conquer Birgishaerad, the capital of the Jarldom of Nordreyjar, but by November it made no difference as Jarl Toki had conquered all of Asbjorn's holds on the mainland of Norway. Haraldr was proclaimed the rightful King of Norway and restored to his throne. In December, Jarl Toki received a 2nd summons to King Haraldr's blot - as the guest of honor. 

  • Year 901 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 49) 
Jarl Toki I launches the Second Orknian War of Subjugation against the independent territory of Trondelag

  • Year 902 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 50)
Orknian Subjugation Continues
In January, King Haraldr of Norway dies of an illness at the age of 52. In the end, Jarl Toki truly thought of Haraldr "Fairhair" as his own brother and his death pains Jarl Toki greatly. Toki's son-in-law, Prince Faste, is crowned the new King of Norway. By March, King Faste of Norway names Jarl Toki I his trusted Hirdman for his many services to the kingdom. In April, he added to this honor by naming Jarl Toki I the Chancellor of Norway.

  • Year 903 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 51)
Now under the leadership of the Marshal of Orkno, the 2nd Orknian Subjugation War against Trondelag is won in January. King Faste and King Oddr I unite to defend against a Holy War started by the Countess of Hereford. Jarl Toki I orders his troops to join the battles with his two son-in-laws. 

  • Year 906 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 54)
The forces in Britain are at a stalemate and pretenders to the throne of Norway are popping up all around the countryside, so Jarl Toki I, Chancellor of Norway, orders his Marshal to return the troops to Norway in order to dispatch these new threats to his son-in-law's reign as King. 

  • Year 907 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 55)
April of the following year, King Oddr I manages to win the Holy War and comes to King Faste's aid in Norway. By October, Jarl Toki's forces manage to capture Ragnarr, the faction leader backing Prince Oddr (King Faste's brother). 

  • Year 908 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 56) 
A year later, Toki's forces capture Prince Oddr himself. Though his forces fight on in his name, they finally surrender in July. Prince Edmund continue to fight on, but by December even Prince Edmund's forces are subdued by King Faste and his allies. Peace returns to Norway and Faste is proclaimed Great King.

  • Year 909 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 57)
Jarl Toki I has his Marshal march troops against Halogaland in the 3rd Orknian War of Subjugation. 

  • Year 910 AD (Jarl Toki, Age 58)
In June, Ingrid joins her father on the Norwegian Council as Seer of Norway. That October, Jarl Toki I won victory over Halogaland and Norway, but particularly House Surtr, is strengthened. 

In February of 911 AD, Jarl Toki I of Nordreyjar dies of natural causes shortly after his 60th birthday. 
He is succeeded by his grandson, Jarl Toki II. 

Long live the Jarl!

Remember Jarl Toki I, Jarl of Nordreyjar, Jarl of Iceland!
Father of Sigrid, Queen of Norway!
Father of Ingrid, Queen of Jylland!
Father of Tyrsormr, the late Count of Austisland!
Mentor to Toki Tyrsomrsson, Jarl Toki II!

May the Skalds sing of his glory!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Week in Review - 6/21/2013

Back in April, I was picked up by GameStop as a part-time employee. I've wanted to work there for a while, but I never really gave it much effort until last fall when I tried (and succeeded) to get hired for the holidays. It honestly seems like the perfect job for me - I'm not much of a salesman and I don't like talking to people very much, but if there's one thing I can talk about endlessly, and talk up, and convince others to try it's video games. That's why I started this blog on the topic that I did, because I knew I could write about video games all day, every day if I had the time to sit down and do it.

Anyway, with the announcements of Playstation 4 and XBox One, my job basically exploded with activity. The buzz and the conversations happening daily down there is awesome, and I picked up a bunch of extra hours which I'm sure wasn't unrelated, also. It's been a complete blast to go in every time and do something I actually feel passionate about - I know it's a low-level retail job, but seriously, I'm having so much fun. I hope the novelty doesn't wear off anytime soon.


This is my actual house!
I hoped to put this up as a Bunker Hill Bros. entry this week, but perhaps next week. Deez and I did get a little bit of in-game time together but it was to briefly exchange Friend Codes, set up our Best Friend status, and exchange our native fruit. My town has peaches; his has pears; my wife has cherries. That really worked out in our favor. We're still hunting oranges and apples if anyone out there wants to trade! This week, I built a bench just to get the feel for public projects. This weekend I will build a new bridge! 

Playstation 3
This week, my trusty pawn Lyn and I decided to venture into Bitterblack Isle. Together with my friend's pawn, Val, we journeyed into the unknown. We defeated a giant, chained up, Gorecyclops, a few Cockatrice and some strange beholder-type monster. None of them were too challenging, but I did find a room with two Gorecyclops that was best left undisturbed. I'll save that challenge for another day. I feel my interest in this game starting to wane, though, as The Last of Us and Animal Crossing completely take over my free time. I really hope I can power through the Bitterblack Isle content. 

This game is oddly beautiful. 
I'm not sure what to say about this game. It got so many good reviews that it was difficult for me to ignore. I haven't beaten the main story, nor have I gotten into the multi-player games. I really have no excuse since it's been an entire week. I do struggle to find time (when my children are away) to play. Your story and characters thus far are incredible, and your infected, mushroom-zombies are terrifying late at night in the dark. I reserve a full judgment on the game until I've actually completed the entire story-mode.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Week in Review - 6/14/2013

I haven't done a week in review since March. They don't take very long, especially when I'm only playing one game or so a week because of my busy university schedule. The real reservation I have, however, is that I didn't want this blog to simply become a "Week in Review" blog. Without some feature articles, just hearing about what I'm playing seemed boring. I'm trying to use the freedom of summer to get this blog back on schedule, though. My next semester will be even busier than the last, so hopefully I can queue up a few thoughts to post more regularly over the school year. I really appreciate the attention the blog got during Music May and I want to keep you wonderful people of the internet entertained with my thoughts, ideas and reviews of gaming more consistently. Without further ado, here are the games that I've been playing this week!


Not my character sadly. Soon!
My wife bought me my own 3DS for Father's Day with a copy of Animal Crossing that was recently released and I'm really excited about it. I played every Animal Crossing game so far, but I really haven't enjoyed one as much as the very first one for GameCube (N64 in Japan). My brother (@Deezer509) and my wife both have a copy as well and we're looking forward to playing together a lot. I'm also trying to just explore the content and unlockables and collectibles on my own. to enhance the surprise factor of the game. 

Before I got Animal Crossing and whenever my PS3 was in use by another member of the family (Netflix) I would pop on Waking Mars which is an interesting little game I have on Steam. You play an explorer/scientist delving into the depths of Mars caverns where unique life does exist. It's both a platform and puzzle game as you meet challenges to balance the ecosystem to allow you access to deeper areas. There is also a hint of mystery as you uncover more clues as to the origin of life on Mars. My daughter is my co-pilot on this one. She often sits beside me to watch me explore Mars. 

Playstation 3
Not my Arisen sadly. Soon!
I got the original version of Dragon's Dogma close to its original release, but because of Dark Souls I never really gave it a fair shake. A couple weeks ago, my best friend picked up Dark Arisen so I upgraded my old copy to the newer expansion and set off on a whirlwind adventure. I only use my own Pawn and his Pawn, and we set each other up for success and keep our levels similar. Although it's not as good as playing together, the level of cooperation between us still keeps it fun and interesting. 


PS:  I'm really excited to be picking up a copy of The Last of Us tonight!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Music May - Closing Ceremony!

I did not plan this, but this is my 100th post on TOP Gaming!

Music May has been the most ambitious project both my brother and I have worked on for TOP Gaming. We started talking about this at the beginning of the year. We started working on it in February by compiling as much music as we could. Then we would periodically rate the music listed on a scale of 1 to 5. Eventually many of the scores were too close because my brother and I have similar taste in games and game music. I brought in my wife to start giving contrast - and as she hasn't played a majority of these games, I felt her opinions were more neutral and unbiased. Finally we managed to select 31 songs to represent during Music May, but over fifteen songs got perfect scores from our judges. This kicked off two tournaments to categorize the TOP 15 songs, a single-elimination and a round-robin. That's how we came to bring you the following list of songs.

Click on any of the following banners to see the actual, individual pages with music and commentary!



Doing TOP Tracks last month was a blast. I had a lot of fun finding songs, ranking them, and writing blurbs. Examining songs that you know by heart with an analytic eye makes you truly appreciate the effort and soul that the composers put into each piece. I'm grateful that TOP asked me to contribute text as well as images to this project. That being said, it was also a pain.

- Deez


I think the two tournaments were the most fun part of this project because all fifteen songs are amazing and it truly was a surprise on where songs were going to fall when going head to head like that. Initially, I started with the single-elimination, but the results felt awkward.

Deez suggested  we do a round robin to get more accurate results about which songs were better than others. I agreed, even though we were almost half-way into May. The results turned out similar, but it did help organize songs in a more accurate light. "Battle with Magus" won the single-elimination, but tied the win with "Hikari (Instrumental)" in the round robin.



Determining the final ranks of the songs and the order in which they would appear on the blog was an arduous process. Having to pick and choose between songs that are a part of who I am felt like I was betraying my childhood.

How can I choose between "Storm Eagle Stage" and "Corneria" or between "Battle with Magus" and "Frog's Theme!?" At some points, pitting my favorites against each other was more than my little heart could handle. In the end, however, it was all worth it.

I'm glad we could compile this full list of 31 tracks on one page. I'm sure there are some songs that we've missed, but to be honest, I don't think that any new additions would be able to crack the TOP 31 we've compiled here.

- Deez


 I thought the eternal rivalry between Frog and Magus continuing into our TOP Track Tournaments was quite awesome. I remember when the two songs went head to head and thinking just how difficult it is to choose between the two. I felt like I was making a bigger statement than I really was - making a statement about my character, or theirs, rather than simply judging the music on its own merit.

I'm not surprised that Magus won the day (character or music) but I enjoyed the two characters bringing their fight to a new venue for me.



This experience proved to me that I could do a full project just ranking the tracks from Chrono Trigger and be just as happy to do it. I could probably stretch it out just as long as Music May, as well.

- Deez


I love both of these guys, but I really expected more songs from Uematsu Nobuo to make the final cut, but instead Mitsuda Yasunori is on this list quite a bit more. I can't stress enough that I love what both composers bring to the table, but it might be safe to say (based on these results) that I value Mitsuda's style just a bit more.

As of right now Mitsuda may be my favorite composer!



It was difficult to find the time to create all these images. It was difficult to find the time to write all these blurbs. Perhaps the most difficult challenge of all, however, was trying to describe this music without over-excessive use of the phrases "raging music boner" and "feel like I'm going Super Saiyan" within each of the blurbs. It's been a rough month because of that challenge.

- Deez


I noticed there are quite a few things that are unique to video game music over the course of this project. I may do a larger, follow-up article about it in the future, but for now I'll give a brief gist.

A game player has the unique ability to grow extremely attached to a character in a game because they are by extension that character. Of course it depends on the game and what the developers hope to bring to the player, but the potential for a really deep, meaningful connection exists in a much stronger capacity than book or film.

When this is complimented by an incredibly powerful soundtrack that fits the themes and environment set by the game and its characters, it has a very strong potential to really influence the player and really connect them to the experience in a unique way.

Another thing unique to gaming, due to incredibly long history of certain franchises is the continuation of musical motifs and themes. Video game music typically has to play on an indefinite loop while you work your way through the game at your own pace, so the music should cater to that and as a result the music is often catchy, or at the very least, un-intrusive. So being reminded of older songs you heard so much, or meant a lot to you, is common in gaming. It's a very unique medium.



I was surprised throughout the ranking process. Tracks like "Liberi Fatali" and "Clash on the Big Bridge" stood out to me beacause I never played the games that featured them. Despite this, they stood out as really amazing songs that were so good I didn't need the nostalgia to bolster my appreciation of them.

- Deez


I know that like most opinions this list will probably offend most of the internet, but I'm always open to constructive discussions about games and game music. Please feel free to leave any of your ideas or comments or opinions in the comments. You can also find us on Twitter or Tumblr if you prefer.

When I look at this list half a dozen songs pop into my head that I know many might argue should be here, but overall I am quite pleased with how this turned out. Whenever I think of a new song that I'd forgotten about, I think which of these 31 would I bump to put it on and really can't justify it.

Music May was a really large project, but I'm extremely happy with the results and had a lot of fun talking about games and music with my wife and brother over the last eight weeks or more.



Yasunori Mitsuda, David Wise, Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, and all the others who have appeared on this list are all like gods to me. Music is a special thing. It connects people, and certain songs can drive straight to the core of your soul.

In my youth, video games were th new kid on the block in terms of media formats. I can't state how happy I am tha tmusic played a large part in their evolution. These tracks are a way for me to relive the moments that shaped my childhood.

- Deez


Thank you for reading!


These are some of the songs that we love that didn't make the final cut. These honorable mentions appear in no particular order, but are all songs we each hold dear that aren't already on the list. I hope everyone enjoyed our presentation of TOP Tracks during Music May as much as we enjoyed presenting them!

Deez Honorable Mention: "02" from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

0² (Zero Two by 石川淳 on GroovesharkWho knew the Kirby franchise had such good music? Ever since Kirby's Dreamland 2, I've been a fan of the series.

TOP Honorable Mention: "Brinstar Overgrown with Vegetation" from Super Metroid

Brinstar Overgrown with Vegetation Area by Super Metroid on GroovesharkThis is an all-time favorite, from an all-time favorite game. I think my favorite thing is how this song loops into itself which this version captures perfectly.

Deez Honorable Mention: "To the Distant Sky" from Sky Gunner

TOP Honorable Mention: "Memories of You" from Persona 3

Memories of You by Video Game Music on GroovesharkThis song was actually ranked #32 but unfortunately May only has 31 days. I'll probably write up a full article on this song soon, but be warned it will be a tear-jerker.

Deez Honorable Mention: "Sewer Surfin'" from TMNT: Turtles in Time

Turtles in Time - Sewer Surfin' by TMNT IV on GroovesharkWas there a kid growing up who didn't love this game? This is the best song in the whole game, which is directly proportional to how frustrating the stage is in the whole game.

TOP Honorable Mention: "Into the Wilderness" from Wild Arms

Into the Wilderness by Michika Naruke on GroovesharkI forgot to put this up for judgment originally. I think it might have made the TOP 31 if I hadn't. At any rate, it's one of the greatest songs. My kids have a toy that plays it for some reason.

Deez Honorable Mention: "Credits" from Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64-Credits by Nintendo on GroovesharkMy first foray into the realm of 3D gaming was Mario 64. I can't tell you how relieved and accomplished I felt upon beating this game. The song is so uplifting! I get goosebumps.

TOP Honorable Mention: "One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII

One-Winged Angel by 植松伸夫 on GroovesharkIt was odd to me this didn't make it into our finals because both Deez and I treasure this song and many of its derivatives. It received solid 4s across the board and really needed a 5.

Deez Honorable Mention: "This Shore" from Way of the Samurai

TOP Honorable Mention: "Baba Yetu" from Civilization IV

Baba Yetu by Christopher Tin on GroovesharkThis song is amazing on all levels. I was really disappointed with the opening of Civilization V because this song set such a high bar that could probably never be met again. Thanks, Chris Tin.

That's it! If you made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS!
Have a great summer everyone!

- TOP & Deez
@TOPGamingBlog & @Deezer509