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Thread: Three Crowns: The first Munster AAR!

  1. #181
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
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    (pacing agitatedly in his cubicle) What's the meaning of this? An AAR writer thinking to place himself and his well being above the needs of his faithful readers? What is the world coming to I ask you! Well, since we ain't got much choice in the matter I guess we'll wait.... attempting patience.

    Seriously though, put school first, it'll serve you much better... by the by, what are you studying?
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  2. #182
    Chapter 17 - You didn't really think it was going to be that easy did you?

    Cork Harbour, May, 1467

    The two years since the Queen accepted the crown of All Ireland had seen relatively little activity. It just indicated Caoimhe was publicily interested in aquiring the crown don't you know, and you King Edward IV of England, and you King Desmond IV of Connacht, and for that matter, you too Matthias 0 (or is it I?) of Hungary, should you happen to look at your map one day and correctly identify which paticular Munster it is that has produced this queen (hint: we have a coast).

    It happened on this paticular coast that a cartel of enthusiastic, wealthy and patriotic merchants presented the kingdom with no less than 5 (five!) brand new, state of the art warships!


    Above: The 1467 O'Dwyer-Van der Haal Caravel, capable of going from 0 to 8 knots in just two hours!

    The cartel presented them to one John Cusack, the head of the newly established Naval Affairs office. Cusack looked at the grinning proud merchants and rubbed his temples again. About half of him was (internally) jumping for joy at this staggering addition to the miniscule Munster navy (5 old galleys, 3 fishing boats and one barrel with a wildly optomistic and drunk volunteer inside equipped with a drill to attack enemy ships while "cunningly disguised as a barrel"), while the rest of him was doing some swift and painful mental calculations as to exactly how much this would cost a country that was getting a bit 'out of it's debt' as a colleague had noted yesterday. He laughed at the memory and suddenly realised the merchants were giving him looks.

    "Um, just thinking of our enemies - whenever we get some - faces when we sail into view with our new fleet. No more barrels for us!"

    To the accomponiment of cheers he signed the acceptence form. Presumably the boys in the treasury could find a way to pay for this - right?

    Yes they could, but unfortunatley their idea was to take out another loan. To be fair they didn't really have much choice as the country was in such dire straights that Caoilin was reduced to selling some of her shoes to keep the Royal Family in style. Now entering her autumnal years the former queen had, reluctantly begun the process of selling some of her heels - everything above 7 inches or so. Fortunatly someone calculated that at the rate the shoes were sold the Royal Family would not run out of money for another 700 years.

    Still an atmosphere of gloom pervaded the court. Until that is the Younger O'Brien had his Idea.

    It changed the course of history.

    Waterford, February, 1468

    The old town centre had recieved a burst of vitality with the arrival of a hundred jewish artisans and merchants and Art had spent a remarkably pleasant evening dining with their leaders and struggling to disguise his delight that he finally had people with brains in his city.

    In fact things had been going pretty good for Leinster as a whole, a new tax collector had been appointed and a new 3000 strong infantry division raised. Tadc O'Donnell was very keen indeed on the army, provided he was not actually required to fight with it, as it kept everyone troublesome pointed in the right direction; ie. towards the Other Guy.

    The only trouble was that he knew who the Other Guy was. He had been there a few months previously when the Younger O'Brien had suggested a way to use up the loan money - which otherwise would just gurgle away depressingly too... wherever it is money gurgled away depressingly too (drains?).

    "It's simple," he declared, "we raise an army and go to war with England."

    Silence.

    "England?" said Caoimhe.

    "England" grinned the Younger O'Brien. "I mean what better way to show who's the true Queen of Ireland than to kick them the hated Sassenach out of it?"

    "He has a point," admitted Eamon, "and lets face it we are going to go bankrupt sooner or later. I'd say go for it."

    Caoimhe had hesitated for a moment. During her fathers name England had been an ally, ok a patronising one that never remembered to send decent cards and got the country involved in wars with strange far off places with names like 'Navarre' and 'France', that no one had ever heard of. Ok things hadn't been great for the past decade. Ok they had been lousy. And in fact she was about 99% certain that England had at least partially been behind Genevieves attempt to kill her... (largely because Genevieve had in fact mentioned it in her diary)...


    Above: The difficult choice - war or shopping... er peace.

    Come to think of it, what was the rationale for peace again?

    "Ok guys, lets do it. Eamon raise an army, I figure we can easily get another 7000 infantry out of the money we have. Art break the Royal marriage we have to England. I believe that our fourth cousin Aoife is engaged to the Duke de Bathwater."

    "But what if she objects?" objected Tadc who wasn't liking the sound of this war talk.

    "That's unlikely, seeing as she's nine months old. Now get cracking, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. We'll make lettuce meat out of them! Yeah?"

    "Yeah!"

    So it was that several months later the Lord of Waterford found himself on his way to inspect his troops. Eamon was to have been given command but at the last minute decided to take charge of the navy instead, on the grounds that he could actually sail, unlike the previous admiral. Thus the next most senior noble took command: Tadc. He wasn't relishing it, since he had not actually been to war since the Battle of Kilkenny, 17 years previously, during which he had fallen off his horse twice and accidently killed a guy with a scabbard from which he had been trying to withdraw his word (luckily it turned out to be one of the enemy). He'd never even commanded troops before... still at least he had a powerful new force of arrow fodder... er... mercenaries. Huge 6 foot something Gallowglasses who seemed to drink their own weight in alchol three times a day.

    Seemed like a good deal to Tadc...


    Above: The Morrigan, tradtional Irish Goddess of War, pictured here enjoying a tender moment with her bet raven 'Joe'.

    To be continued...


    It's good to be back.

    Thank's for your patience guys, let me assure you that there is some hefty stuff coming up soon.

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  3. #183
    Chapter 18 - The High Queen's War

    Dalkey (Co. Dublin), June, 1468



    The first battle of what would soon become known as The High Queen's War was the Battle of Dalkey (19th June - 28 June) in which a force of some 6000 mercenaries attempted to capture Dublin by assault. The bloody engagement lasted 8 days before the cowardly mercenaries broke after sustaining huge losses - apparently some naive commander, whose identity remains unclear, had allowed them to drink themselves stupid before battle, which was, perhaps tactically a mistake.

    St. Georges Channel, July-September, 1468

    Munster spirits were lifted a few weeks later by the remarkable events in St. Georges Channel. The Munster-Leinster fleet had set sale in good order at the beginning of June, straight after the declaration of war, under the command of Prince Eamon O'Nolan. The five new caravels of the Munster-Leinster fleet - Morrigan, Dana, Badb, Ban Naomha and Cessair and the five galleys. (After careful thought, the barrel was rejected as being absurdly stupid).


    Above: Prince Eamon

    The Munster fleet patroled the channel meeting little opposition for more than a month until the English navy ventured a flotilla out to meet them. For two months the fleets fought a running series of engagements.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    At the end of September Prince Eamon had successfully defeated the English forces sent against him and had the run of the Channel, without losing a single ship. Munster-Leinster had become a naval power to be reckoned with.

    Blackrock (Co. Dublin), August, 1468

    Tadc having decided that his mercenaries were useless (and drunk) decided to marshall his conscript forces and launched a massive effort in August, to coincide with the Battle of the Channel. Unfortunatly for him the English had recieved reinforcements from Ulster where able to pin down the Munster force at Blackrock with their backs to the Bay. Unable to maneuvor their superior numbers, the Munster forces suffered hideous losses and Tadc was forced to retreat. Strike 2 for the Munster-Leinster troops on land...

    Booterstown - Dublin, October, 1468


    Above: The Wicklow Mountains

    Painfully the Lord of Waterford pieced together what had gone wrong last time and decided on different tactics. Previously the Munster troops had hugged the coastal route from Greystones - it was safer and quicker, but also known and much easier for the English to defend. Marching his troops through the lonely beauty of the Wicklow mountains he was able to bypasss the English defences and catch them unawares at Booterstown - 2 1/2 miles from Dublin. Between the 20th and 28th of October the fighting raged until - finally! - the English were routed, leaving Tadc to start besieging Dublin.



    Leaving the siege in the charge of a lieutenant the Lord of Cork swaggered back home delighted with himself. At the cost of a mere 2/3 of his men he had managed to partially accomplish his objective. He was therefore unprepared to discover that his castle appeared to have been ransacked. Everything was gone - the tapestries, the crystal vases, even his fan mail from his days on the stage - both letters!!

    For one delirious moment he thought he was being robbed, until a servant told him it was far more mundane. The country had merely gone bankrupt.

    Riding for Cork he found it to be true. The walls were just bare stone and the ladies had lost most of their jewels.

    "Don't fear cousin," said Caoimhe, who looked dressed down but defiant. "I still have this", she said removing the glittering from a pouch concealed in the folds of her dress. "We are still fighting the right fight for the right reasons - Right?"

    "Right." he grinned back.


    Above: Dressed down but defiant.

    St. Georges Channel, December-Janurary, 1468/69


    Above: The Second Battle of the Channel

    The last battle of the year was fought on sea when 19 English ships ambushed the Munster fleet in the waters off the Saltee Islands during heavy fog. With great skill and daring Eamon fought them off, though sadly the Ban Naomha struck a rock and foundered. Still it was a small price for continued control of Irish waters. Still, he wondered what the new year would bring...

    To be continued...


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  4. #184
    Mad Clansman Farquharson's Avatar
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    Great to have you back! Nice updates, and nice piccies - I couldn't see the Morrigan, though. And a nice cliffhanger to leave us with - what will the new year bring??
    Fide et Fortitudine
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  5. #185
    Yes nice pics, but even better updates than I could have Imagined.

  6. #186
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    We're waiting for update and we got updates.

    You better watch out. If reinforcements for England arrive, you could be in great danger because of lower morale... Eamon is doing a great job!

  7. #187
    [Thanks for the replies guys!

    Farquharson:here. . One of Fitzpatricks stylised celtic pieces. I thought it was pretty cool.

    Lord G.Q. White: Glad you enjoyed it! I actually wasn't sure were to go after the birthday update, but I think the game is deciding for me...

    Zenek. K: I'm afraid you were right about low morale... though it wasn't the English.

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  8. #188
    Chapter 19 - Indian Summer

    Why should I blame her that she filled my days
    With misery, or that she would of late
    Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
    Or hurled the little streets upon the great.
    Had they but courage equal to desire?
    What could have made her peaceful with a mind
    That nobleness made simple as a fire,
    With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
    That is not natural in an age like this,
    Being high and solitary and most stern?
    Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
    Was there another Troy for her to burn?

    ~W.B Yeats, No Second Troy



    Munster-Leinster Army Encampment, outskirts of Dublin, November-December 1469

    1469 had passed relatively slowly for the Army besieging Dublin. Morale had been weakened of course by the bankrupcy disaster and in early November the Court had passed another few laws cetralising the state which had a few of the minor nobles up in arms (not literally of course). Not that Tadc noticed. He was too busy.

    He was in love.

    Retiring home to sulk in his empty mansion for a while he had taken to visiting the social events of the city. It was at one such that in ran into Rachael, the young daughter of a prominent Jewish silversmith. The attraction was instananeous - she was very pretty, funny and clever and a smitten Tadc had shyly started courting her.

    To his delighted astonishment she had confessed she had, had a crush on him ever since she had first laid eyes on him years previously. Even better she actually liked him after meeting him, all his neuroses and hang ups melting away. To a scandalised city the middle-aged war hero and the 17 year old daughter of Spanish Jews announced their intention to marry. People cursed him and spat on his name and called him a traitor to Ireland but Tadc didn't care one jot. For the first time iin years he was truly happy.

    His young fiancee had wanted to marry straight away, but, suprisingly Tadc had refused: they would marry in Dublin after he Tadc O'Donnell had captured it.


    Above: Rachael O'Donnell

    "It's something I need to do. I want you to be proud of me, to show you I'm not just some overweight noble but a man."

    She had smiled her beautiful half-smile at him. "Of course, my beloved I understand. Take this with you though, for luck. My father made it, for me and it's always seemed to work - after all I was wearing it when I met the most handsome man I've ever seen - and he introduced me to you!"

    "Gee thanks..." he replied sarcastically as he took the silver heart shaped locket on it's pendant.

    He was still wearing it now as he sat studying battle plans when his tent flap was opened up and his cousin walked in. They embraced and she congratulated him.

    "You seem remarkably calm about it all considering the scandal," admitted Tadc.

    “Oh Tadc, considering half the things our ancestors got up too I’d be hard pressed to bat an eyelid if you married a dolphin. Besides she makes you happy, I’m sure I’ll love her when we finally meet.”

    “As soon as Dublin falls,” promised Tadc. “You know I haven’t been inside there for years…”

    “I went to school there. Dad was told he had inherited the throne 40 years ago this year here… Tadc it is important that we take Dublin this year.”

    “Tell me about. I have future in-laws who just won’t…”

    But the rest of his sentence was never uttered as the tent flap was thrown open and a purple faced lieutenant rushed in.

    “My Lord… Majesty… Dublin has fallen!”

    St.Georges Channel, December 1469 - January 1470


    Above: The 3rd Battle of the Channel

    As the Most Controversial Wedding of the decade was happening in Dublin and his wife was having an impromtue school reunion, Eamon clashed once more with the English, ambushing a force and sending them packing. Unfortunatly the Munster-Leinster fleet was attacked themselves only a few hours later. The 4th Battle of the Channel was fiercely fought, but realising his exhausted men simply could not go on, a reluctant Eamon withdrew to relative safety of Bantry Bay to rest and recoup.

    Dublin, April, 1470

    The Dublin army was reinforced at the end of March to prepare for the (eventual) attack on Ulster. Not before time too, thought Tadc as he looked pensively out his window. The Dubliners had been so sick of years of constant warfare, that they raised no objection to Queen Caiomhe's rule, but there was always the possibility of English agents plotting to rouse a mob or even assassinate the new Count of Dublin (pending the English recognition of course).


    Above: Dublin Castle, Tadc and Rachael's new home.

    There was a yawn behind him and then soft footsteps as the new Countess came over and hugged him, kissing his neck.

    "A bit early to be up fighting the wars isn't?" she said playfully.

    He laughed. In fact he felt years younger these days and felt it a good example for a commander to keep watch over his city. Still an attack was unlikely – all reports indicated the English were still camped in Ulster, and the idea of breakfast with Rachael was infinitely more enticing. “Ok just a few seconds more he promised.” She swatted him playfully and wandered off to find a servant.

    Tadc smiled and looked out over to the North. Just Ostmanstown (the Dublin suburb North of the Liffey), and what promised to be beautiful day. Idly turning his gaze Eastwords he looked towards Dublin Bay over the calm waters of the Liffey. Nothing, not even a seagull – then he saw it. Sails, dozens of them, with the English flag flying from the masts.

    “Good God - the invasion - its coming!”

    To be continued…


    *Phew*. Hope you guys like Nadine Coyle - she is the very last Irish babe available except for Samantha Mumba (who in a 15th century context will take some explaining...), so it will have to be almost entirely foreigners from now on. There are suprisingly few Irish female singers and almost no good looking actressess for some reason.

    Anyway hope you like it.

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  9. #189
    Canadian Bacon Troggle's Avatar
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    You could always use Roma Downey. Not a babe, per se, but not to hard on the eyes either.

  10. #190
    Quote Originally Posted by Troggle
    You could always use Roma Downey. Not a babe, per se, but not to hard on the eyes either.
    I'd never heard of her before you mentioned her (suprisingly, since nearly all Irish actors abroad are trumpeted pretty loudly). Then again we never got "Touched By an Angel" here...

    Anyway, any more comments?

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  11. #191
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
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    Just three, my friend, just three.

    Comment Number One: Great set of updates! Things are moving quite nicely!

    Comment Number Two: Any good looking lady can be thought to be Irish with enough imagination, know what I mean?

    Comment Number Three: When's the next update??
    Here... Here There Be Dragons!!
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    Measure for Measure, Act 5, Scene 1
    Proud Member of the enlightened The Spendid Paradoxian Monarchist Group

  12. #192
    Chapter 20, Longfall...

    The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
    This beauty that will pass;
    Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
    To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
    Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
    Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
    Lit by a slanting sun,
    Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
    Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
    And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
    Or children with bare feet upon the sands
    Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
    Of little towns in Connacht,
    Things young and happy.
    And then my heart hath told me:
    These will pass,
    Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
    Things bright and green, things young and happy;
    And I have gone upon my way
    Sorrowful.

    ~Padraic Pearse, The Wayfarer

    Dublin, April 1470



    300 years previously, Asculf Mac Torcail, King of Dublin had looked down from his walls and seen a host of Englishmen (well, Welsh-Norman, but who's counting) besieging his city. That had been at the end of one era. Was it to be the end of another now...

    But Tadc O'Donnell was not Asculf, not willing to flee into the night sea in his boat, abandoning his town. He would fight.

    “Must you do it?” begged his young wife as the middle aged man strapped on his sword and armour. "I mean do they need you right at the walls?"

    "I wouldn't be worthy of marrying you if I let someone else do my fighting for me." He kissed her and went to the walls.

    The battle raged for 11 stays as the English tried to storm the walls across the River Poddle at the cities southern flank. TIme again they struck and where driven off with massive casualties. It could not go on.

    The turning point arrived on the night of the 10th day when Tadc, whose supplies where running low came up with a desperate plan, a sneak night attack. In the dead of night 800 handpicked soldiers left the fortified Dame Street Gate and silently swam the Poddle. Creeping round to the enemy camp they successfully killed the sentries and launched their attack on the unsuspecting English. At the prearranged moment the city gates were opened and the main body of the Munster army rushed out to attack the sleepy, confused English from behind.

    It was a rout.



    Afterwards, the Lord of Waterford and his wife were quietly celebrating in his quarters when a messanger arrived carrying a letter with the Royal Seal on it. "Ah, my cousin has heard about my victory and is no doubt sending congrats..." his face turned white as he dropped the letter.

    "What is it honey?" asked Rachael, worried.

    "Yesterday Queen Nianh I of Connacht entered alliance with the English and declared war on us..."

    "..." was all Rachael could manage.

    "Well said," he nodded in agreement, "well said."


    Great, just what I needed...

    Connacht, June -July, 1170

    After the death of King Desmond of Connacht, laid low by a mysterious spring illness the very beautiful and clever and utterly souless new Queen struck hard and fast.


    Niamh I of Connacht


    Realising what she could win with the Munster-Leinster vs. England war and possessed of the largest, best trained army on the island she went into alliance with English and promptly invaded Leinster. The Munster simply had no trrops available to stop her as she started besieging Wexford.

    Desperately realising the gravity of his situation Tadc decided to do the only possible thing he could do.

    He would counter-invade Connacht.

    To be continued


    Sorry it's short (and kind of humour free), but I will try and post more tonight.

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  13. #193
    Mad Clansman Farquharson's Avatar
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    Short but gripping! I do hope that treacherous vixen gets all she deserves!
    Fide et Fortitudine
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  14. #194
    Part 21, Quandary - Warning! Character Death!

    Remember even if you loose all, keep your good name; for if you loose that you are worthless.
    ~Irish Proverb

    1470

    Galway



    The long march from Dublin to Galway sapped the already depressed spirits of the Munster-Leinster army. As they trod on through the flat landscape of central Ireland Tadc found himself wondering what was happening down in Leinster - communications had been cut. Had his mansion already been sacked (admittedly not that there was anything left inside it), his city fallen and land in ruins. He concealed the thought from his wife and men, but couldn't conceal the growing sombreness in his demeanour. He was getting too old to fighting a new Queen Mebh - this terrible blonde she-demon who had come out of nowhere and scattered their plans to the winds.


    Above: It was common of Munster scholars of the time to link Niamh with Medbh, the fearsome mythical Queen of Connacht.

    When the army reached Galway in early June they had found a suprsining piece of good fortune. The famous racetracks of Galway that the old King had lavished so much money and attention on lay fully stocked and unguarded outside the city. After indulging in a few days of gambling, which cheered the men a bit Tadc suprised everyone by shutting down the track and sending off the horses by courier towards Munster.

    For the second time Connacht had it's horses thieved by Munster.

    "It's payback for years of skipped tithes," explained Tadc bluntly. And from that position he could not be swayed.

    As it happened the Munster army would not have had a long chance to enjoy the races even if there were horses left. The Connacht rearguard arrived in July and ended the Siege of Galway by kicking the collective Munster arse. Realising nothing more could be done Tadc led his demoralised, exhausted troops South, wondering what to do next.

    Cork



    He was met by the Queen who hugged him (and her new sister in-law) tightly and kissed them on the chheks.

    "Don't despair cousin, you'll always been a hero to me." she said with genuine feeling.

    He stayed the next couple of months in Cork - where else was there to go - grimly awaiting the news of the fall of Wexford (Waterford had already been lost and resistance now centered in Wexford). At least he got to spend more time with his wife - and Caolin who had taken the young girl under her wing and had already succeeded in converting her into both a shoe lover and a vegetarian (much to Tadc's horror, as the primary reason he had spent less time at Court in the first place was so he could get a decent steak once in a while).

    Caoimhe too was pacing a bit. It was hectic enough looking after the kids, the twins running around excitedly and little Aidan starting school, and Eamon was busy patrolling off the coast. Still things just got a little weirder when a filthy, ill, tired looking old man showed up at the castle gates demanding an audience with her. Intriugued she agreed but by the time she could see him was hardly in a condition to talk - constantly coughing and shuddering from the cold and damp. She recognised him as a former aid to King Declan. He barely had time to hand her a letter with the Royal Seal of Connacht on it before collapsing.

    "Doctors! Help, help!" cried the Queen as they tried to help the old man. But it was too late and a minute later the doctor shook his head sadly. "It was his heart your majesty.."

    "Look at those marks on his wrists!" interrupted a younger doctor, "and how scawny he is. I'd guess he has spent at least three months in a dungeon!"

    Caiomhe had a fairly shrewd idea exactly who had put him in a dungeon. She asked the doctors to take the unfortunate away to be washed and dressed for a decent Christian burial, then waited to read the letter.

    It was of course from Declan and addressed to her:

    My Dear Cousin,

    I know the end can not be long now. Niamh is tired of waiting and though she feels for me she will never let that stand in the way of her reign. I have instructed my loyal servant Fionn to bring this message to you when I die.

    Forgive me Caoimhe. In my desire for the Desmonds to rule I have done the unspeakable. Before Niamh was born I made a pact with a witch. In return for beauty, success and intellect for my line I promised her Niamh's soul, which she took at the moment of her birth. My darling baby girl has lived her entire life without a soul, though she doesn't know it - she just thinks everyone else is inferior. She has no compassion, empathy or virtue - she entirely lacks a conscience. Everything she does is for her own interest, and why not, she has no guilt or remorse, just a pretty smile on her lips when she gets her way, which is always. Her crimes are too long and vile to list, but I can tell you she tried to kill you.

    Ireland cannot be ruled by this woman Caiomhe. I couldn't bring myself to kill her, because she is my daughter, but I'm sure you can do it. When Niamh dies, that is it. With no soul to go to Hell or Heaven she will truly die and cease to exist... perhaps a merciful fate for such an evil creature...

    [The next few lines were two blurred by what must have been tears, but the signature was visible]

    Your Cousin,

    Declan.
    Caiomhe's hands shook. She drew in a long sobbing breath and hurled the letter into the fire. Had poor Declan gone mad in his last days? Or was he telling the truth...

    Did it matter? Niamh was clearly evil and had to be resisted. Just if it was true...

    "Your Majesty?" Another messanger. An army one this time. Holding his helmet uncomfortably to his side.

    "Yes?"

    "The English tried to invade Mayo. A local troop of guards led by General O'Brien drove them away, but the General... he's dead your majesty."

    Caiomhe wept.

    To be continued...


    So what do you guys think? Too supernatural? I was worried about that letter, but if people like it I'll go ahead with it.

    Building up to climax...

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  15. #195
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    Struggle for power and black magic... Hmmmm, good combination.
    And I wonder, how long you can fight on two fronts with your army continuously diminished.

    About the letter... You did mention in earlier updates about those soulless things, so it fits now. You had an idea and you execute it. Good for you.

  16. #196
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    Great stuff, and an excellent explanation for why Niamh would do such a despicable thing! Declan is right - doing away with her will be a merciful act for everyone!
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  17. #197
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    Bravo! Great Updates!

    I agree, I like the idea of a soulless vixen mixing it up with our hero and heroines!

    Can't wait for the next update!!
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  18. #198
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    Dark days for Munster...

  19. #199
    Part 22, Nightfall...

    Don't see what you see,
    Don't hear what you hear,
    And if you're asked,
    Say you don't know.
    ~ Irish Proverb

    1471

    Cork

    In January a depressed Caoimhe had decided to call together the Council of State to advise her on the desperate situation.

    After meeting them she instanly regreted it.

    The Council of State had not been called at all during her reign (and only twice during her fathers day) but theoretically was there to advise the King or Queen. It consisted (on paper) of 10 nobles, 5 Bishops (including the Archbisop of Cashel, the leading clergyman in the kingdom) and 5 members of the Royal House. Unfortunatly the list had not been updated in many years and 6 surving nobles were quite elderly - 4 of them had been born in the 14th century and had actually been advisors in the court of King Bran III - who had been dead for 52 years. But this paled in comparasin to the ancient Archbishop, Liam O'Shaunessy who had been born in 1378, and could remember the turn of the century. He told Caoimhe that once, as a young boy, he had met a very old man who had been present at the crowning of Edward the Bruce as High King (1316).

    Such was the immense gap of time that seperated Caoimhe from her advisors - she had never known a time when Leinster had not been part of the kingdom, or the independence of her throne not a fact, yet these old, old men openly spoke of Leinstermen as foreigners and talked in such arcane terms as the 'Lordship of Ireland', a title that had not had real meaning for a generation.

    Still that merely made them of limited use. It was the Baron of Ardmore, Aodh O'Faolin that was the problem.



    Above: Aodh O'Faolin giving the queen some advice.

    A sprightly young man of 60 he was ambitous, greedy and sharp as a rake. Possessed of an iron will it soon became obvious that he was the one really in charge of the Council and he made life very difficult indeed. "Your Majesty," he would argue, "it is not efficent", or "it is not wise" or, most damningly, "it is not what the people need". It sometimes seemed to the queen that he opposed everything she said simply for the sake of opposition. Unfortunatly he was able to portray this to the subjects as the lone defender of their interests against an indecisive queen who got nothing done (due to his interference). He soon grew enormously popular and influential.

    There just wasn't much she could do about it though. The only good news around was that Rachael had fallen heavily pregnant - much to the joy of Tadc who had despaired of ever having children. The doctors were predicting multiple births and Caoimhe temporarily relieved him of his duties to look after his wife.

    In mid-Summer the last strongholds in Leinster where overrun and the remorseless advance of the Connacht army continued. The weary depressed Munster-Leinster soldiers reluctantly answered the call to battle and on 17 - 23 August the very last major land battle of the war took place at Cashel.



    Cashel, ancient seat of Munster kings and (since 1152) home of one of Irelands Archbishoprics was an imposing castle and it was hoped by some in the Munster-Leinster command that the Connacht wave would break against the walls. Unfortunatly the commander of the Munster-Leinster army was made of much less stern stuff and after seeing the gleaming ranks of the enemy begged a parley. Unable to believe their look the Connacht soldiers invited him into the camp to speak "personally with her Majesty Queen Niamh I". He was never seen alive again, though a head that looked suspicously like his was catapulted into the fortress the next day.

    Thus commenced the short, sharp battle of Cashel which led to the collapse of the Munster-Leinster crumbling and fleeing every which way. A 2000 strong force made it into Leinster but was too weak to besiege any fortresses, reduced to raiding in their own land.

    For all intents and purposes the kingdom was reduced to Cork city which was put in a state of siege. From her walls Caoimhe could see the golden tent of her enemy, situated impregnably amongst her army.

    Could nothing stop them?

    A message arrived delivered in Niamhs handwriting offering terms:



    Her first impulse was to tear it into shreds - Leinster had been part of her kingdom since before her birth and there was no way she would willingly give it up. She felt she had to ask her family and friends though... after all they were in this mess partly because of her.

    They all urged her to keep up the fight, as she new they would.

    But for how long, and if... or when they went Niamh would become the defacto Queen of Ireland.

    Something she couldn't allow...

    To be continued...


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  20. #200
    Disciple of Peperna CatKnight's Avatar
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    I...don't think Caoimhe has a choice here, without getting more men killed. It looks like they have 14,000 at Munster, and she can't even take Leinster back. The only good news is they can't annex her.

    The problem with their proposal is they're speaking alone though, and not for the alliance. That means the alliance leader can just finish her off. Maybe it's best just to wait 'til the bitter end, and let the leader dictate terms.
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