Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Skald's Tale (4): The Year of 7½ Battles

It seemed to be quite suddenly,
Arrived the end of Season 3.
When so many warbands were clashing.
Seven point five battles in all were fought;
Leaving Vikings atop the leaderboard
(Though Iceland took a bashing).

Internal revolts and wounds from battle
Kept Scots, Norse and Normans home with their cattle
With no choice but to take it.
Tavish Mc T was left alone
And Sibbald chose to leave his home -
But Ubbason was not to make it.

Odin and Hugin watched over this time
(When the raven was not in Muspelheim)
Keeping one eye on the action.
While the fates (who were not so nice)
Seemed often to control the dice,
Favouring no particular faction.

Conflict opened with Conn's bold raid
Against the Norse Gaels in Strathclyde
(Not this time obsessed by cattle).
Within that land they burned and harried,
Departing soon with much gold carried;
Leif's vaults emptied after battle.

Meanwhile Gunnblasdt (Leif's oathsworn)
Sought to improve Iceland's form
By raiding in Vestfold;
And though Norwegians paid the price
Of Ubbason's blood sacrifice,
The Icelanders were repelled.

A boost to Anglo Danish pride -
It turned out luck was on their side
When Oldenburg gave up its prize.
The Anglo Danes obtained great riches,
Despite Cnut's persistent bitches
About Alfred's lucky dice.

And Cnut was once again to suffer
When the Norse Gaels proved much tougher,
Invading his homeland.
Fighting on the open plains
They rapidly saw off the Danes
And took control of Jutland.

Not long could Leif enjoy success
Ere Strathclyde was by Welshmen pressed;
Once more he faced disaster.
His cunning plan of slow retreat
Guaranteed Norse Gael defeat.
Caradog is now Strathclyde's master.

Iceland then would face the test
When Cnut met Gunnblasdt in Bulanssness -
A Springbok Viking duel.
For many turns it looked to be
The long awaited Icelandic victory,
But how the fates are cruel!

Gunnblasdt, reeling from defeat
Determined this should not repeat,
And gainst the Franks fought bravely.
Seeing the chance of a quick win
He charged at Charlemal (all in);
Missed - fell - found himself in slavery.

With their Jarl thus deported
Iceland's people now revolted
And chaos quickly followed.
Anglo Saxons under Aethelflaed
Were thus unopposed upon their raid,
So helped themselves to gold*.

*What meagre spoils of war they'd find
Were just scraps that were left behind
For Gunnblasdt had but little.
And so as Anglo Saxon might
Prevailed without a fight,
It only counts as half a battle.

Now our skald has left a space
At the end here, just in case
A new Jarl comes to reign.
A hero who would have a liking
To take charge of this band of Vikings
And make Iceland great again.

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