The town was in a fearful state ... with many families half starved. We were received as heroes... - Torben Jansson, Captain of the Danish ship Margarethe at the relief of Fjallasay.
The ranks of Alengsk knights with their polished armour and bright banners [was] blinding to the eye. The [Algonquin] prince near surrendered on the spot without fighting. - Penob Kennebec, Abernaki historian.
The Great Northern War put an end to the century of relative peace that had held in North-Eastern Leifia from the end of the Vinlandic Civil War. Primarily a conflict over trade rights in the Breiduras estuary it became a struggle to reaffirm Norse dominance over Northern Leifia.
Though many contemporaries, and apologists for the war afterwards, liked to portray the 15th century as a period of peace which the Great Northern War shattered it was not the utopian paradise they made out. Vinland pursued various campaigns against its western neighbours and indeed out onto the plains, the Aniyunwiyans established their Second Empire in the 1450s driving wars on its western edges and fuelling conflict with Álengiamark, Álengiamark and Kanienmark indulged in repeated wars, while the Erie, although they themselves termed the 1400s as 'the breath' i.e. the calm before the storm, spent the entire century at war pushing their borders westwards.
Compared to these great upheavals the small gains of Algonquinland which provided the war's cause seem inconsequential. After Vinland took Fjallasay in 1208 a certain degree of settlement amongst the various tribes occurred dividing up the Breiduras lands. By tradition Passamaquoddia owned the 'southern shore' though their own civil wars and divided authority allowed much room for manoeuvre. The Kings of Quebec on the Northern shore ruled over the most land but other statelets thrived, often well thanks to trade links. The cities of Taimagny and Odanaky boasted fine docks and fortifications thanks to their links between Fjallasay, Abernakriga and Quebec and during the winter when ice shut much of the river down they provided safe ports and warm beds. They were certainly strong enough to see off the advances of the Six Nations, but disunited enough so that during the Vinlandic Civil War almost all of the real battles were fought on this strip on the southern shore.
The civil war weakened both Vinland and the various Algonquin statelets as trade dropped off out of Fjallasay and relocated to Quebec. Meanwhile the kings in Quebec had convinced many of their fellow chiefs that unity could keep them out of the larger neighbours' sphere and maintain their trading links. So Quebec began a slow accumulation of new land. The seizure of the neutral ports reduced the scope for Fjallasay merchants who suddenly found their landings taxed by the new authorities. Without safe neutral ports to offload only those with the best or fastest ships could make the trip from Fjallasay to Isafjordhur or Hvilirábey in 'one leap' meant inevitably the ocean-going Danes captured a large proportion of trade. Receipts and taxes dropped off throughout Jakobina II's reign.
Quebec and its able rulers had no doubt that to keep its new wealth and influence it would have to defend it militarily and so to that end funnelled money into military projects. Well endowed forts were built up, not only at Quebec itself but at numerous strategic points through its new kingdom. Italian engineers and armourers were employed and by the 1470s when the last Algonquin statelet fell it had an impressive army equipped with the latest European weapons. All this came at considerable cost however and its own merchants were squeezed for revenue with the promise it would only be a temporary. This in turn made the merchants more forceful in seeking out new opportunities, or rather muscling their way into old markets with little concern who they angered, knowing a capable army backed their actions.
By 1480 both sides of Breiduras coast almost from Karantóborg to Quebec were under Algonquin control. Fjallasay formed an increasingly isolated city in the middle. Vinlandic lords had been pushing for their queen and Althing to confront Quebec to attempt to regain declining glories but afraid of the potential consequences the government had so far urged caution. However the continued strong arm tactics of the Algonquins forged a common ground for co-operation amongst their neighbours, a rare moment of agreement.
In August 1493 at Ottawa where Vinlandic fur traders gathered before the end of the season, the Algonquin army camping on the opposite shore had bought several cows from the traders for their full moon feast. However this friendly exchange soon dissolved into a massacre after the traders were accused of stealing from the camp. Not sated by this the army soon moved eastwards to inflict massacres on outlying Vinlandic settlements and to potentially threaten Fjallasay. In response the Vinlandic forts at the mouth of Ontario Vatn fired on Algonquin vessels. The small Vinlandic possession of Konunglegursaey on Quebec's doorstep was soon blockaded with a massive siege force planted on the island to reduce it and sever Vinland's access to the Breiduras. The islanders suffered a horrific winter before surrendering. Those who weren't killed outright by were enslaved and taken northwards to toil in the mines. Of the thousand or so islanders before the war only three would survive and return to Vinland in 1501.
Fjallasay was surrounded and cut off, and its inhabitants feared a similar fate. That the city did not fall was down to inspired leadership from the queen's brother; Ísak Kristiansson and the Archbishop of Fjallasay, Gudmundur Johannesson, the impressive fortifications built up over the years and more than a bit of luck. In 1496 twenty Algonquin cannon were lost as they fell through the ice severely retarding their ability to force the siege. Meanwhile Abernaki and Álengsk supplies managed to get through occasionally. Even so, by the war's end the population was starving and had been much weakened by repeated outbreaks of Black Death.
At first however the Algonquin lands on the southern side of the Breiduras came under threat. As soon as the forest roads thawed out in 1494 The Passamaquoddy army gathered and marched towards Quebec only to be rounded defeated at the Battle of Pohenegamook. The death of their king three months later effectively took them out of the war. To the west Abernakriga and Six Nations made better headway, occupying Taimagny and besieging Odanaky (which would, like Fjallasay, hold out the war) but any attempts to cross to the northern shore were defeated and they were constantly holding off invasions from the Fjallasay area.
Karantóborg and the Vinlandic Hafsvaedaland lay open to attack. Karantóborg, with its new impressively extended fortress walls, was generally avoided but most of the rest of the land was thoroughly ravaged. The army there under the earls of St. Katrins and Karantóborg struggled to vainly contain the enemy but with no control over the river or lakes could not prevent the Algonquin armies from entering or exiting at will.
Pleas to Europe fell on deaf ears. Denmark and the Kalmar states were now deep in conflict with Luxembourg over Anglia and unable to spare troops. What little assistance came, came from mercenary ship owners. The great hope of the beleaguered allies was that Álengiamark and its large, capable army could be brought to bear. However it was at war with Aniyunwiya. It was only in late 1499 when Elin V's government could finally redirect the army northwards, largely by selling the idea they could finally crush Kanienmark in the process. They duly marched through Kanienmark once the Kanien'gehuga River had thawed, capturing their king and burning the capital. Then remembering they had also promised to assist Vinland continued north to the Breiduras where they caught and savaged the main Algonquin army with Abernaki assistance.
At the same time the Vinlandic navy, with a large complement of Danish merchant ships broke through the Algonquin cordon around Konunglegursaey and recaptured its fortress. Quebec was burnt and then the navy travelled upstream to relieve starved and plague-ridden Fjallasay. With the Breiduras blocked the Algonquin armies were now isolated and could be caught and defeated by the allies. Their capital in flames and armies now in fighting retreat the Algonquin king sued for peace.
Over the winter of 1500-01 the allies picked over the bones of their victory. The outcome of the 'Second Congress of Fjallasay' was praised as restraining the Algonquin but effectively dismembered their kingdom.
The whole of their holdings south of the Breduras were divided up between Six Nations and Abernakriga who would use the new trading links on the river to help build impressive merchant led economies in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Both Atikamekwia and Vinland gorged themselves on western Algonquinland, confiscating almost half of its old territory. By this Fjallasay was finally linked up to the rest of Nor-Hafsvaedaland by a land route. Finally Quebec itself was occupied by Atikamekwia and Vinland while the Algonquins abandoned their fortresses to their new owners. Eventually the Algonquins bought back a large part of their kingdom in the mid-1600s thanks to the proceeds of mining ventures.
Although all powerful now on the Kanien'gehaga River the Álengsk Althing balked at annexing Kanienmark outright, for much the same reason it could not absorb any Powhatan or Dasamongueponk territory either; the severe political divisions generally stopped any earldom getting too powerful and it was said even another acre of land for any earl would start a new civil war. Therefore a pro-Álengsk puppet king was merely installed on the throne and various harsh laws imposed upon the people. This crushing of Kanienmark's independence would spread the Kainen'gehaga people out across North-East Leifia. They formed a significant minority in Vinland helping to develop the new lands of Nor-Hafsvaedaland. This diaspora would eagerly absorb Lutheranism, as much as a reaction to the Catholicism of the Álengsk as a genuine calling, and by the time of the Leifian War of Religion the Kanien'gehuga were ready and willing to violently reassert their independence.