Part 7: Worth It
the most horrible war
"All that work, for nothing. All that time and effort and investment and war - good men died! - war for nothing! We're no closer than we were when we started! Still the barons of bumfuck, nowhere doing nothing! Still bowing knee to a heretic, despised by all, because of the cruel whims of a distant king!"
"Ah, why not just give up? Embrace heresy? It killed my grandmother and will probably kill me too.
"No, I thought. No, I can't just throw my faith aside like that! I mean, it is my soul...
"Pah! How naive was I?"
"Though I looked at the heretical revolts in the north sometimes and wonder....
"Independence... freedom... an army of ten thousand men!"
"How deep does this corruption go? How far does the blasphemy in Denmark descend? Is Catholicism a mere gauze over Norse heresy, destined to die out and be forgotten?"
"The old monster died before he could frame me again, and the new monster spent all his time drinking. He's hated by everyone. He has to go, he has to."
"I threw my support to any faction that'd take me. I had to kill them before they killed me."
"Do you know what it's like to discover that Jesus is plotting to murder you?
"I do. Goddamn Jesus, speaking through that elderly wretch who my grandmother was so enamoured with, was plotting to poison my food.
"Something is indeed rotten in the state of Denmark."
"The entire court loved her and saw her as a symbol of Christina's reign, so what was I to do? I let her go, and took instead to preparing all my own food. Even God was against me now."
"Finally, though, I manage it. Through bribes and flattery I've finally managed to convince the dukes, bishops and, aye, even the King to recognise my claim to the Duchy over Duke Gregors' the Heretic. It wouldn't come easily; I had to fight the bloodiest war of my lifetime to claim it."
"And I had to fight it twice. Once, on the behalf of the court faction to depose Duke Gregors..."
"A brutal and purposeless struggle that left his treasury drained, fields fallow, and people slaughtered. It went on for five damn years."
"Five years of war. Five years to break that drunken Ylving bastard! Five years leading tiny, pissant groups of peasants against fortified locations and being beaten back! Five years the Heretic held out! Five damn years!"
"... it was done. A child sat on the throne. Alone. Unsupported. Defenceless."
"And I started another god-damn war, which lasted for ten.
"We've fought until all the men were dead. We've gathered their weapons up and put them on children and women and fought until they were all dead. I've bankrupted the country with loans to support mercenaries required to break the castles that we were too few to besiege. There is nothing left in this place, only the barren ruins of a country.
"Years of peace and prosperity, all gone. Now dust, ash, and debt.
"Listen to me, son. I know you can hear me. I'm dying here. I did all this for you. I fought this endless, god-damn fucking war of attrition so that our family would no longer chafe under the yoke of heretics and the blasted Ylving tyrants. My last order to you as a father is to follow through with it. This blood, ash and death means nothing unless you take it all the way. Wipe out their bloodline. Sack their cities. Burn their temples. Root out every last power in Denmark that isn't yours because it's all ancient, bloodthirsty and corrupt. Don't trust any of it for a second."
"Don't... fuck it up..."
And with that, the leader of Denmark's bloodiest two civil wars finally closed his eyes and died.
And elsewhere, in the safe castle walls of Fyn, a young man is drinking with his bawdy friends. He has a weak chin, a foppish smile, and is wearing all the latest fashions.
"My liege!" shouts the messenger, still so young he seems almost to swim in his armour. He trips and falls to his knees in front of the dandy, who takes it as a sign of obedience and smiles delightedly.
"What, what, what, I don't have all day."
"A message, sire!"
"Your father is dead, but the war is won! You are now Duke of Slesvig!"
"Did you hear that?" said the new Duke. "We won! How awesome is that!" His friends hoot and holler and slap each other on the back
"What are you going to do now, boss-man?" asked a fat man, pressing a beer into his hand.
"Just you wait and see. But it's going to be, like, totally amazing."
Proud, envious, deceitful, diligent, chaste
Our new territory
- Fucking ruin and bankruptcy.
- Three Counties
- Two Duchies
- 1 Jesus
- A Long Life Ahead Of You (Not like any member of our family has ever hit 50)