After the Fimbulvetr, there was a lot of problems that came up for the Forsamling. Not only was the threat from without by the Skaerslinger, the threat now came from within! Get ready for a lot of new terms, for there are a lot of things that must be established. This is a dense setting and now more than ever able to chart its own course.
1274-1302AD (6AS – 34AS) : Aettirkrigen (War of the Families)
The Isolation was finally being accepted as fact by the Forsamling and caused a societal breakdown on what had become known as the “Old Nobility” because their attachment to the power of the Old World, which had held some in check, suppressing their desires to seize control. The old lines of control were now threatened or completely fell apart.
Originally, the Forsamling were governed by the Union of Nine. These were the 9 families or “Aettir” who had the power, backed by the old world. Four came from kings, called the Gamleverdenaettir, traced their lineage to the vassals of Sveinn Forkbeard and Knut the Great, and 4 were of the families of the sea captains who had been given control of all travel to and from the old world. With the inability to travel across the ocean the Kapteinaettir waned in power, while the Gamleverdenaettir suffered less of a decline. With the decline of real power and control, new aettir rose to power and became strong enough to rival the Visekonge’s Sveinnaettir, or Royal Dynasty as it was called.
A power struggle began when Visekonge Mikko Sveinnson became ill from an unknown disease and his eldest son died. Although Visekonge Mikko survived, his power to control others was weakened, and his only surviving son, Halmar was considered not strong enough to lead and rally the Aettir to his crown. With the talk of rebellion and open war now spoken openly in the streets, Mikko devised a strategy.
On March of 1280ad (10AS), he abdicated his throne to his eldest remaining son, Halmar Mikkosson. This was unheard of and many claimed he could not do this, for his shadow would be cast over his son’s reign as long as he was alive. He went into hiding. By the summer of that year, it was declared he was dead of the disease that had laid him low the year previous and Halmar’s reign was no longer in question. Yet Mikko remained close to Halmar and advised him constantly from secret.
Sensing the end of the Sviennaettir dynasty, Halmar became a lightning rod, drawing many enemies out into the open hoping to kill him and seize power. They did not think of the hidden threat of his father, who acted as his Chamberlain in disguise and rose up in secret against those enemies. Halmar was gifted at drawing in the power hungry self made nobles, while Mikko guided his military forces to crush the militarily inexperienced “new Jarls”.
The risky gamble worked. With many of the individual rabblerousers dead, many of the “New Jarldoms” were easy to subvert and bring to Halmar’s side. The Gamleverdenaettir were not so easily brought to heel as they saw their opportunity to supplant the Sviennaetta’s control grow when the careless were struck down. This helped them concentrate the discontent into their camp.
Mikko and Halmar now worked more as co-equals as he learned under his father’s tutelage. They used their rising power to divest the formerly loyalist Royal Aettir. Without the backing of the former royal houses of the old world, the Gamleverdenaettir were also weakening. For years they had relied more on tradition than merit to keep control over their holdings. With deft manipulations these weaknesses were exposed and exploited. Mikko rolled out his most cunning plan yet. With power passed from father to eldest surviving son or daughter, the Sviennaettir began a campaign that captured and executed the offspring of those families. Mikko saw it as fitting revenge for those who had hoped to do the same to him.
With the death of their lineage, the heads of the remaining rebellious Gamleverdenaettir sought a diplomatic resolution to the war. They were forced to fall back into line with Halmar. The Aettirkriegen ended displaying that he was both ruthless and now popular with the New Jarldom’s Aettir.
To address the problem of the rising power of what became known as the Nyrjarlaettir, or “New Jarl Clans”, Visekonge Halmar Mikkosson gave six of them the same rights and peerage as the Old World Aettir, while the Gamleverdenaettir and Kapteinaettir were reduced to three each.
Mikko, who had been in poor health lingered till 1306ad till he finally passed and was given a secret burial and his death was not announced until after the last of the Aettir came under fealty to the now well established Visekonge Halmar Mikkosson.
Next up… the Halmarpakt and Second Royal Census! (1307-1310AD / 39-42AS)
Edit: Caught a critical error on the number of Royal Aettir.