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Thread: Three Crowns: The first Munster AAR!

  1. #201
    Mad Clansman Farquharson's Avatar
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    Ah, these are dark days indeed! Sob... But out of such trials comes that indomitable Irish character that will stand once more and triumph one day! (Well, let's hope so!) A great story anyway.
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  2. #202
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    It'll be tough, but don't give up!!

  3. #203
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    Oh, I hate cliffhangers! Maybe everyone will have to move to that other Munster.

    Your writing is excellent. I'm glad we still have (hopefully) 350 years to go.

  4. #204
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
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    Well,this bodes ill for the future of our fair queen, does it not?

    I agree, you really need to hang on until the alliance leader offers terms, otherwise you could lose the whole country... these are the times that not only try men's (and women's, gotta be PC!) souls, as well as creating a longing to reload and start over again, eh?
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  5. #205
    Part 23 The Connacht Prisoner (Warning, character death!)

    Ireland is where strange tales begin... and happy endings are possible.

    ~ Charles Haughey, Taoiseach


    1472

    Cork

    As the long siege of Cork dragged on through the Spring and Summer Niamh began to grow restless. Her offers of peace went unaswered and while it wasn't like she had anywhere else to be it was most vexing. The uncrowned Empress of Ireland (a title she had privately granted herself, and intended to make a reality of once she took the crown from Caoimhe's safely decapitated head) should not be made to wait in a grubby army camp for months on end waiting for the ineviteble to happen. She spent her time idly plotting the horrible deaths she would inflict on every member of the O'Donnel line so no member could challenge her, and also what combination of dress and tiara she would wear on the day.

    After careful though she decided to dye her hair black, to give herself a more serious, tradtional image. A queen with blonde hair was probably too much of a shock for the average peasant in the field to handle anyway.


    Above: Niamh I of Ireland as painted by an official admirer (note, dark hair dating this as a portrait from either 1472 or 1473.)

    Cheerful news came in late May with the news that the Munster fleet had returned to their old waters off Kildare and dropped off none other than Tadc O'Donnell to regain command of the scattered remnants of the old Munster-Leinster army currently at large in Leinster.

    The reason Niamh considered this cheerful was twofold: 1) there were not nearly enough Munster soldiers to do anything useful, so this would just bring them together rather than leave them cluttered all over the place and 2) it would be an extremely useful thing to capture Tadc.

    Niamh had a problem that she had only just started to realise: she needed an heir. Obviously she needed to marry - but whom? It would not do to marry one of the non-Irish princes; to Niamh's view foreigners were by defention inferior, non-sentient lackeys to be used and discarded at will. She could no more marry an Englishman or a Frenchman than marry a dog.


    Above: Niamh's hypothetical dog/husband

    Which left the Royal Houses of Ireland. Who were, alas, sadly depleted. As far as anyone could tell the Ulster line was entirely extinct, the Meath line were English puppets and the Leinster line had been defunct for 40 years and were now represented solely by a woman (that Una who had been Countess of Wicklow). Obviously the Connacht line was out of the question.

    Which left the Leinster line...

    Of course he would protest that he couldn't marry her, but Niamh was fairly certain she could get his marriage anulled, especially since he was married to a Jew and a foreigner. It was only a shame that this 'Rachael' wasn't in Leinster with him - according to her spies the wife was at home heavily pregnant (the doctors were hinting at multiple births). Whatever, Niamh was utterly confident of her powers of seduction. He'd fall easy.

    She only had to wait another two weeks. Her soldiers captured the Lord of Waterford in the middle of the night and dragged him to Niamh's presence.

    It was a poignant moment: the beautful (and now raven haired) young would-be Empress and the paunchy, exhausted noblemen in late middle age. He looked like he'd been drinking too, as Niamh noted neutrally. Tadc fixed a blootshot eye on her.

    "Sorry about the appearance but I've just recieved some pretty awful news... though probably not for you. Queen Caolin is dead...." here Tadc broke down and sobbed.

    "I'm sorry," lied Niamh who was internally overjoyed, "was it peaceful?"

    "Caoimhe's letter says it was, she died in her sleep... ," a dark look of guilt and anger passing through his face, "I should have been there for my family."

    Niamh nodded in faux sympathy and departed allowing the prisoner to get some rest. Over the next week he recovered somewhat and Niamh subtly began her seductions. To her amazement Tadc remained defiant.

    "Don't you get it Niamh?" he yelled at her after her third unsuccessful attempt. "I despise you with every breath in my body, but even if I didn't, I still could never cheat on my wife."

    In a towering rage Niamh stormed out of the prison cell. How dare he reject her?! Her the Empress of Ireland! She could have any man she wanted! Angrily she read the latest battle reports on her desk. Apparently the English had - at last! - recaptured Meath and were putting pressure on Munster to give up.



    Welcome news, but she couldn't concentrate.

    Frustrated she paced her room, looking around for some ideas. And found one.

    She had in her possessions certain herbs, bought of a witch that could apparently cause a person to hallucinate wildly, which, with careful guidance could be used to effectively mind control someone. Niamh had originally purchased them for use in her own... recreation, and subsequently forgotten about them...

    Perhaps if she gave them to Tadc, he might be a little more open...

    To be continued...


    Man this is tough going, I'm shattered! Anyway enjoy!

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  6. #206
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    I assume you won't get better peace offer? And Tadc - don't give up!

  7. #207
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    Wow, looks tough for the Empress, but don't give up hope!

    Have a traditional Irish poem (not really) to cheer you up:

    There once was a lady from Cork,
    who tried to catch mice with a spoon.
    She cried: "If I don't get
    that rodent, I wager,
    I'll walk to the Cathedral of Canterbury."


    Now, reinvigorated by these lines, the armies of Munster will surely crush Niamh's foes!
    Another hero, another mindless crime,
    behind the curtain in the pantomime.

  8. #208
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
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    ARRGGHH!! Cliffhanger! So what's next?
    Here... Here There Be Dragons!!
    Women, knights, arms, loves
    Courtesies, bold deeds I sing
    For King and Country - An evil Empire or a benevolent monarchy? You decide!
    Official Byzantine Courtier - as certified by Judas Maccabeus
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    They say the best men are moulded out of faults And, for the most, become more better for being a little bad.
    Measure for Measure, Act 5, Scene 1
    Proud Member of the enlightened The Spendid Paradoxian Monarchist Group

  9. #209
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    We're all reading, so you just keep on writing

  10. #210
    Quote Originally Posted by Troggle
    We're all reading, so you just keep on writing
    Indeed

  11. #211
    Thank's for the good responses guys!

    We are getting into the sad part. Prepare your hankies, hug your girlfriends and pet your dogs... there is tragedy ahead.

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  12. #212
    Part 24 The Closing Gate

    When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.

    ~Edna O'Brien

    1473

    Cork City


    Above: Queen Caolin I (1413 - 1473, Q. of Munster 1430 -1451, Q. of Leinster 1432 -1451)

    The funeral of the late Queen Mother, Queen Caolin O'Donnell (nee Desmond) was a neccesarily simple affair. With the enemy (literally) at the gate and the Royal Family reduced to drinking rainwater and eating cress there simply wasn't the energy or ability to hold the sort of impressive funeral games there had been for Art 22 years previously. Nevertheless the citizenry lined the streets to see their former ruler being carried in state down the city streets to the small Royal Cemetery in the the island in the Lee, to lie beside her husband. The weeping crowd - for Caolin had been very popular with the common people, especially since in her will she left her magnificent wardrobe to the women of Cork - noted how beautiful and young she looked, and the peaceful smile on her face.

    "Off to join her beloved husband." said one old man, a veteran of the Scots wars to his neighbour a seamstress.

    "Totally... but did you see the Queen? She looked shattered!"

    "Aye. Don't know how long she can keep up this brave front...."

    Similar thoughts were being asked in the Court. With Tadc vanished (thought dead), Caolin and the Younger O'Brien passed on and Eamonn (literally) at sea, there was no one to talk to or get support from from the Queen, who was feeling depressed and lonely and racked with guilt.

    It was Una who finally told her that there were whispers being spread about getting her impeached on some trumped up charge. Aodh O'Faolin at their head.

    Caoimhe looked at her once friend sadly. The Queen had aged badly in the last couple of year and looked every one of her 40 years, her legendary beauty fading like moonlight trapped in a gobblet. Guilt and grief are a harsh combination to swallow in one gulp.

    "Then there is only one thing for it. Accept the English terms." She sighed and walked to the castle window where the banners and campfires of the Connacht army lay. "I won't allow Niamh inside my walls, won't give her the satisfaction. At least I can cheat her Munster... that might be enough. And then..."

    "And then?" asked Una gently.

    "I'll abdicate. I can't remain Queen after this... this disaster. Let the people elect someone new. Someone good."

    After Una had gone she looked at the wall where a portrait of her father lay. She gently removed her delicate crystal crown and placed it softly on the empty throne before leaving to summon the English ambassoder.

    After a while, a stray beam of sunlight came through the open window and fell upon the crown. It glimmered like a faery dream of what could be.

    Then a cloud passed and it glimmered no more.


    Above: The Bitter Peace

    To be continued...
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  13. #213
    Mad Clansman Farquharson's Avatar
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    Ach, tis a sad day indeed - sniff... Mind you, when you started talking about hankies and girlfriends I thought it was going to be The End But this - well, just a temporary setback really. Surely the indomitable Munster spirit lives on and will make a comeback? Otherwise you can always keep playing on as Münster instead I suppose...
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  14. #214
    Quote Originally Posted by Farquharson
    Ach, tis a sad day indeed - sniff... Mind you, when you started talking about hankies and girlfriends I thought it was going to be The End But this - well, just a temporary setback really. Surely the indomitable Munster spirit lives on and will make a comeback? Otherwise you can always keep playing on as Münster instead I suppose...
    As Münster?! Blasphemy!

    Yeah I was uncertain whether to end it or not after this roll of the die, but I thought I may aswell keep it going for a bit, try and restore some lustre to the Three Crowns. The O'Donnells are out for the moment but all's change in Irish politics and they'll be back one day. At least, unlike some Royal families, they get to keep their heads!

    Next up: Election and aftermath.

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  15. #215
    Part 25 Healing the Wounds

    Hang the bard, and cut the punster,
    Fling all rhyming to the deuce,
    Take a business tour through Munster,
    Shoot a landlord — be of use.

    ~Richard D'Alton Williams - Advice to a Young Poet


    Above: Cashel

    The Long Goodbye: 1473

    After the signing of the peace treaty (and the reluctant departure of Niamh's army) Munster began to settle down a bit. A melancholy, but oddly relieved Caoimhe publically announced her abdication in late Janurary.

    "My people... the recent war we have gone through has been a devestating one, and having lost so badly I feel I can no longer in good conscience lead you. I pray that my successor can rule over a realm as strong and rich and healthy as it was in my fathers day. I do this out of love for you, my loyal, generous heroic subjects. The test has been made and I have been found unworthy of remaining Queen. So sláinte!"

    She broke down weeping from the balcony and had to be led away by the strong comforting arm of Eamonn. The former Royals after some discussion decided to take ship for Brittany and exile. There was no question of attacks against them - the average Munsterman still loved and honoured Caoimhe - but it was too painful remaining in Munster after what had happened and Eamonn had lost his extensive lands in Leinster. So they left early one dawn in a chartered ship to avoid the crowds.

    But the crowds found out and pushed around the departing Royals. At first fearing attack Eamonn made to draw his sword, but Caoimhe stayed his hand. The commoners merely pressed gifts - food, a small pouch of coins representing hard one savings, clothing and simp[le wishes of good luck. They stood long on the docks watching the ship as it left harbour and slowly sailed away until it vanished over the horizon.

    Then, each to his own, they went home. It was Winter and they were very cold.


    Above: Queen Caoimhe I (1432 - 14--, Q of Leinster-Munster 1451-1473)

    Election

    Tradtionally Irish Kings had been elected by a small pool of nobles related (however distantly) to the Royal Family , though this system had largely become a formality by the 15th century. Still an abdication demanded an election, which was were the Interim Council ran into a difficulty: there were no obvious candidates.

    A candidate was only qualified if he/she was the great grandchild of a previous monarch. Normally the 'legitimate' line (represented here by Art O'Nolan, the 9 year old son of Caoimhe and Eamonn) would walk it, but in these exceptional circumstances, coupled with the extreme youth of the Prince everything was in shadow. There were four other serious candidates:

    Paul McHugh



    The grandson of Bran II, McHugh was a 57 year old lord from Limerick. He had a dependable, if unexciting, record as a nobleman and a staffer during the various wars of Art I and Caiomhe I. Widely supported by the nobles, but seen as too old and dreary by just about everyone else.

    Francis Kennedy



    A greatgrandson of Bran II, 38 year old Francis was a wealthy, energetic and charismatic merchant from Cork city. He had the firm support of the well off merchants, but the absolute disdain of the tradtional nobles and clergy.

    Donnal Coleman



    Nicknamed "Saint Donnal", Coleman (43 years old) was an illigetimatie grandson of Bran III who had spent the last 20 years in a monastery. Despised by the nobles (for his illigetimacy) and the merchants (for his pious espousl of poverty and abstinence).

    Elizabeth De Bohen



    The grandaughter of that Aine who had been cousin to Art and married to an english nobleman, Lady De Bohen was 16 years old and had been raised her entire life in England. She spoke no Irish, and when asked (through interpretators) if she wanted to become queen of Munster she apologised politely, revealing that she did not in fact speak German. Still she was young and beautiful and the most closely related to the O'Donnells so she was the peoples (ie. the peasants) choice.

    With Munster in the grip of the coldest winter in months, the 500 electors met to cast their votes...



    Above: Munster in Winter.

    To be continued...
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  16. #216
    Canadian Bacon Troggle's Avatar
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    I petted my cat instead. Is that ok?

    I vote for Keira... I mean Elizabeth de Bohen


    btw, your abortive Victoria AAR has resurfaced...

  17. #217
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
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    Well, I know my vote is for Lady De Bohen, just to keep the lineage of beautiful monarchs going.

    If not her, I say go for a Regency until Art O'Nolan comes of age.
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    Measure for Measure, Act 5, Scene 1
    Proud Member of the enlightened The Spendid Paradoxian Monarchist Group

  18. #218
    Part 26 Interregnum


    "...even as a partitioned small nation, we shall go on and strive to play our part in the world, continuing unswervingly to work for the cause of true freedom and for peace and understanding between all nations."
    ~ Eamon De Valera



    Above: The disputed Kingdom

    When the 500 or so electors reconvened to count their votes and the Tanists and Brehons attended to determine whop would wear the crown of Munster is was discovered that things were... well banjaxed.

    Paul McHugh: 153 votes
    Francis Kennedy: 148 votes
    Donnal Coleman: 49 votes
    Elizabeth De Bohen: 38 votes
    Art the Younger O'Nolan: 32 votes

    Caoimhe O'Nolan (former Queen): 15 votes
    Minor candidates: 12 votes
    Abstentions: 53 votes

    None of the candidates had the required 251 votes to be elected and crowned. The meeting rapidly descended into an unseemly brawl between the factions as each loudly proclaimed they were the rightful candidate. Things got so tense that the Bishop of Cork (who was adjudicating) threatened to call in the guard to disperse the mobs.

    After a sullen peace descended a second vote was taken and the results turned out much the same. Angrily the Bishop shut down the meeting and summoned the Council of State to attempt to deliberate the matter.

    In the two years since Caiomhe had convened the council much had changed. Three nobles and two clergy (including the ancient Archbishop of Cashel) had gone to the great Council in the Sky and the replacements were much younger men, all born in the 15th century. The tradtional 5 seats left for the Royal family were of course empty - the remaining Royals were minors and/or candidates themselves. So after much agonising and dispute their positions were filled by two nobles, two clergy and (for the first time ever) the Guildmaster of the Merchant's Guild of Cork. Sign of the times indeed...

    Of course the Council was still being run by Aodh O'Faolin, whose arrogance rose to ever grander heights with the departure of Caiomhe. He saw himself as a man of destiny, who had been placed in control of Munster by God himself - and who was therefore not keen to find a solution too swiftly.

    At this he found himself at odds with a new member of the Council, the young (37), energetic and scruplous Bishop of Cork, Hugh McAuliffe.


    Above: Coat of arms of the McAuliffes


    Above: Hugh McAuliffe, Bishop of Cork

    McAuliffe was a strong, principled religous man of considerable patriotism. Disregarding the feelings of his clerical peers and superior who had decided on Coleman for King he openly backed the Younger Art, feeling him to be the legitimate and true King of Munster. Tirelessly he went around canvasing support only to find many ears blocked to him - it was too soon after Caoimhe to propose putting an O'Donnell on the throne. So reluctantly, he decided on a compromise candidate - for the good of Munster.

    "My Lords," he began his stetorian rumble echoing off the fine room in Cashel where the meeting was being held (passions were too inflamed in Cork), "though it pains me to admit it the country is unwilling - yet! - to have Art on the throne and have the Council appoint a regent. Therefore after much thought and prayer I have decided to swing my support behind a compromise candidate. I think we can all agree that the last thing Munster needs is another decade of bitter division."

    Many noddidings of heads in agreement. O'Faolin was looking at him thoughtfully. The Bishop continued. "I humbly suggest that the Council endorse McHugh as a comprise votes. He recieved the largest number of votes (albeit by a very small margin), is moderately virtuous, pious and above all safe. Stolid he may be, but at least we can count on stability, which is something we all need."

    The others nodded their heads in agreement. Then O'Faolin cleared his throat. "I'm afraid I'll have to take issue with you, your grace. I mean I'm sure that Sean here," he clapped his hand on Sean O'Keefe, Lord of Tralee, "is upset that Coleman is out of the running just on your say so..."

    O'Keefe who had not had idea of his own in 40 years blustered into life: "Yes, thats right! Coleman for King!"

    To the Bishops horror O'Faolin went around to each lord, bishop and and merchent, reminding them of their loyalties. And the sheep went for it! Voices clamoured for Coleman, for Kennedy, for De Bohen and, yes McHugh, disrupting the fragile consensus. With the idea of compromise thrown out the window there could be no hope of getting a possible candidate. In vain McAuliffe argued for reasonableness and patriotism but it was too late and when O'Faolin cynically put the issue to vote it predictably went every which way. Munster remained without a monarch.

    "But why?!" gasped McAuliffe angrily after the meeting. "McHugh is on the same side as you nobles."

    "It's simple, your grace," said O'Faolin giving his best shark smile, "with no King or Queen, the Council rules Munster, and I rule Munster. I regret to say the Council may be in disagreement for some time..."

    **********

    O'Faolin was right. The rest of 1473 passed without agreement nearing. Some mild good news was the slight thawing of relations with the Scots, thanks to a clever diplomatic move by McAuliffe. Otherwise things continued in a state of deadlock. Although there was one incident in December. McAuliffe heard that the despised Niamh had given birth to twin sons.

    "Who is the father?" he asked a passing curate who had been stationed in (Connacht owned) Wexford. "I wasn't aware she was married."

    "Oh some nobleman, no one knows who." The curate leant in and whispered conspiratorially, "He is never seen in public, but I have heard rumours that she keeps him locked in a dungeon and that he is really Lord Tadc of Waterford!"

    McAuliffe snorted and gave the young curate a clip around the ear. "I know Lord Tadc's wife well and I can assure you that he would never willingly engage in any sort of sordidness with the she-devil of Connacht. Now say 10 Hail Mary's ands stop talking in idle rumour and gossip against good men now dead."


    Above: The castle in which, rumour has it, Niamh of Connacht imprisons her husband.

    1474 passed without incident. The Council had decided to rule until decision was reached, and since O'Faolin was chief that meant no decision, so rule continued. At the beginning of 1475 there was a minor debate about coinage: the previous years coins had been minted with Caoimhe's head on them, but that was obviously no longer possible nor politic. But whose head? McAuliffe sarcastically suggested putting Aodh O'Faolin on the coins, but in the end it was settled that they should have the Three Crowns of Munster on one side and Saint Patrick on the other. This was the highlight of the councils meetings during the entire year.

    1476 came and with it the third year of what was now being called the 'Interegnum' after that period in 12th century Ireland when there had been no real High King. Munster remained a Kingdom and continued to function - indeed Munster merchants were becoming a very familiar sight on the Continent and overall the Kingdm functioned well, yet it was run by Council. Still their reputation was recovering as evident by the sensentational diplomatic coup O'Faolin pulled off in Janurary of that year in which he married off the daughters of Irish nobles to the crowns of France, Poland, Austria, Burgundy, Aragon and Naples.

    Even McAuliffe had to admit he was impressed. The descendants of the noblewomen of Munster would sit on many a mighty throne:


    Above: The Royal Families of Europe connected to Meath.

    It seemed that Munster was managing it's way under O'Faolin quite nicely...

    To be continued
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  19. #219
    Hmm, how did I know Lady De Bohen would prove popular?

    Well the Interegnum is in full swing but don't worry Munster will get a proper King and/or Queen soon enough.

    Oh and Troggle, cats are fine ( ) and I've written a reply in the Victorian AAR.

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  20. #220
    Canadian Bacon Troggle's Avatar
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    How will an english noblewoman rise to the throne of Munster? How will she communicate with her subjects? Where will she get the money for her (eventually) large shoe collection?

    All these questions will be answered in the next installment of "The Crowns: The first Munster AAR!"

    Sorry, I couldn't resist

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