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Thread: Song of Eire :: a Dublin AAR

  1. #21
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    01.05 Peace of the High King

    1081



    In the peace that followed, Donnchad came of age, becoming a Crafty Merchant. The prince was a competent administrator, though not greatly skilled in any field.


    1082



    Donal O'Brien, son of courtier Malachy O'Brien, came of age was a Master Theologian. While his training was to be a Bishop, his inherent skills at subterfuge lent himself better as the new Spymaster for Ireland.




    Marshal Gruffydd's mental condition continue to decline, to the point that he could no longer perform his duties well. The Marshal seemed haunted by voices, and claimed to be beset by assassins at every corner of the castle.

    Murchaid reluctantly appointed Prince Donnchad as the new Marshal until Gruffydd would recover, if ever.




    The ensuing peace did not lull Murchaid into complacency, as works started on a new Training Grounds in Dublin. The new facility would train and equip men faster in times of war - a necessary precaution against any foreign invasion.


    1083



    More than a year after Gruffydd's unexpected departure, the High King would lose another advisor at Court - Scathach Bruce died from her a quick fever. Donnchad was granted the position as Steward. Malachy O'Brien, Murchaid's old marshal since the County days, would retake his position as Marshal of the High King's forces.




    Conditions in Ireland stabilized much since the war with Munster, and courtiers had time to chase other hobbies. The scribes recounted that Spy Master Donal encountered a white stag in one such distraction, where the Spy Master chose to let the magnificent creature go unharmed. Donal was a man of God, and considered this the correct respect paid to the beauty of God's creation.




    The encroaching winter saw Murchaid turning his attentions to his family. The High King had spent many seasons seeking a good bride for Donnchad. The King was clear in his mind that his son is not greatly skilled and would need all the help he could get from his wife-consort to rule Ireland. Eventually, news came of one Alis d'Auvergne, a daughter of the Count of Auvergne who was as skilled at court as she was beautiful. And a paragon of justice and modesty besides.

    A marriage proposal was quickly aceded to by the Count of Auvergne. Alis and Donnchad were to wed in time for Christmas, much to the court's jubilation and Murchaid's relief. Alis was also appointed as Chancellor of the Irish Court.


    1084



    Donnchad found that he was of like mind to his father-in-law and the two became fast friends. This was a first of many friendships - and enemies - Donnchad would make amongst the nobles of France.




    Meanwhile, Hereford returned to England's fold. Another breakaway of the English kingdom - the Duchy of Normandy - sought alliance with Murchaid. Considering the poor position of Normandy, sandwiched between England and France, any alliance may drag Ireland into war with her powerful neighbors before she was ready. Murchaid declined. Chancellor Alis was tasked to find a suitable ally.




    Darkness overcast Dublin in August, as bards sing of the loss of Tailltiu, Queen of Ireland. While there is little love between the High King and his queen, she was nonetheless dutiful and loyal to him, and so Murchaid wept.




    Matters of state required attention, however. An alliance proposal came from the Kingdom of Sweden, and Murchaid to agree to it.




    In order to fund more investments into the land, Murchaid ordered a quick tax on the populace. The tax would prove detrimental to the stability of the realm.


    1085



    Good news came with the spring as Trian, Donnchad's firstborn, was delivered safely. The birth of his first grandson brought a smile to the grieving High King, for besides becoming a grandfather, his line was more assured than ever.




    More good news came in summer as the Pope announced the Crusades at an end. Jerusalem was in the hands of the Duchy of Burgundy, which was part of the mighty Kingdom of France.




    This period also saw the first Mines of the Kingdom being built in Dublin.




    After a year of mourning, Murchaid decided to marry another wife - Imag O'Neill was the daughter of the Duke of Ulster - who had ever been loyal to the crown. The marriage was speculated to bring both houses closer. The proposal was sent to Mide, where Imag served the Count there as steward.




    A modest Marriage Duty was levied to fund the Kingdom's continued investments in infrastructure. Imag's shrewd control of money made her an excellent Steward, replacing Donnchad.




    Knowing that his son would balk at losing his position of responsibility in court, Murchaid granted his son rulership County of Mann. It was time to test the prince's skills at ruling his own demesne.

    Years of unity and peace will not last for ever. While Murchaid cherished the opportunity to improve his homeland, he constantly cast wary eyes across the Irish Sea, for there were hostile powers greater than Ireland in those none-too-distant shores.
    Last edited by Rivus; 29-11-2010 at 11:07.

  2. #22
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    01.06 Interlude

    The dingy inn wasn't the best kept in this part of Dublin, but it was well enough for the purposes it served - for men to forget their troubles for a time, and for deals to be made in private. It was half empty at this time of the night, and the barkeep only had half an eye on the door when a cloaked man entered.

    As he gestured his escorts to stay outside by the doorway, a glint of steel caught the moonlight. Rich enough for bodyguards and weilding a sword. That's all the barkeep needed to know. He turned away, cleaning some invisible sport off his tankard - he's been in the business long enough to know that it's best not to poke his nose into the business of nobles.

    The man tarried a while, letting his eyes adjust to the room. He scanned the bar before sauntering towards his companion, seated in the shadows by the corner.

    "Gruffydd," Murchaid breathed as he sat. "You're a sight for sore eyes." The ex-Marshal looked as he was before. Well, except he was a bit leaner now, and sporting more scars - some looked deep, and just healed. The younger man also sat favouring his side. It would not be worth comment except that Gruffydd was the surest swordsman Murchaid had known in his entire life. It would take significant effort to even nick this man.

    Gruffydd shurgged. "There were five of them. Besides, I needed their leader alive..." he pushed a parchment across the table. "turns out, it was worth it."

    Murchaid studied the document. The dim light made reading difficult, but he made out enough.

    "This is real, then?"

    "I see no reason why my attackers would mislead me otherwise," said Gruffydd, vindication rich in his voice, "In fact, this pretty much explains why I was hunted in the first place. You see, the assassins - they are real."

    Murchaid pondered the implications. The parchment clearly stated instructions to assassinate Gruffydd. More importantly, it also stated the reasons why - Gruffydd was a scion of House Aberffraw, and someone in Wales - someone important, judging by the effort made - wanted to prevent him from returning, at all cost.

    It also meant that his ex-Marshal had a claim to the Duchy of Gwynedd, the Aberffraw holdings of old.

    "Give me your men, my liege, that I may reclaim my birthright..."

    "I will not risk the blood of Irishmen for Welsh soil, Gruffydd."

    "Not even if Gwynedd were to swear fealty to the High King?"

    "You would sacrifice-"

    Years of combat training with the man had taught the High King enough to recognise that look.

    Incoming.

    It was obvious from the start that the attackers were after Gruffydd, and paid scant heed to Murchaid. And it would cost them - the first man past the High King - a bald man - was so intent on the ex-Marshal that he failed to see Murchaid reaching for his sword. With a swift upstroke from his hand-and-a-halfer, baldy lost a leg and crashed onto the floor screaming.

    With practiced precision the king brought down his sword in a defensive downward slant-slash as he turned to face his next opponent. The next attacker - a small man armed with daggers - stopped short of the sword's reach, but the split second was all Murchaid needed to kick the man away. His daggers falling, the man backed into a pillar. Murchaid followed in with a charge, not giving the enemy a chance to recover. With a sickening crunch of bone, Murchaid had pinned the small man with his sword through the chest.

    In his death rictus the small man grinned evilly as he held onto the sword and pulled it inwards. Realising what the dying man meant to do, Murchaid pulled his sword away, but it was already stuck. From his right, another attacker shouted as he lifted his dane axe, aiming to cut the King down. Leaving the sword, Murchaid fumbled and found one of the small man's daggers on the belt. He pulled back just in time to avoid the downward axe by the hair's breadth, and sent the dagger flying for the axe man's chest.

    The off-handed shot missed the gut but cut the attacker's side deep enough to set the assailant down on his knees in pain. Murchaid righted his steps and entered a contest with the heavy man for his axe. Suddenly, Gruffydd's blade appeared the big man's chest, cutting upwards so that the point speared through near the collar. As abruptly as it started, Murchaid's assailant shuddered his last and the fight was over.

    Letting go of the axe haft, Murchaid surveyed the situation. Gruffyd had killed three of the assassins. Two were dead on the table and one clutched his belly by the wall as the last of his life blood spilled on to the floor. The inn was empty by now, of course.

    Gruffydd was starring at the table. Both men had enough experience in combat to know that the blood from the corpses had utterly ruined the letter.

    "Well there goes your proof."

    "They were after me."

    "Pretty obvious."

    "About just now- ... I would sacrifice my freedom and more, if it meant that my House would be restored."

    Muchaid checked the small man to make sure he's dead, then retrieved his sword with some effort. He turned to the barkeep hiding behind the counter. Do barkeeps always do that?

    "For the trouble, barkeep. And I'll appreciate if you can keep this quiet," the High King flipped a gold coin to the man. Making sure the man understood his meaning, Murchaid then turned to his ex-Marshal. "Well I guess that's that. Nobody's going to believe you had a claim, now. But seeing that my guards are probably dead, why don't you accompany an old friend back home, at least. And we can talk about how many men you need along the way, anyway."

    (Historical: Gruffydd of Dublin, courtier in the Dublin, was probably Gruffydd ap Cynan)
    Last edited by Rivus; 02-12-2010 at 09:11.

  3. #23
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    01.07 The new dawn of House Abberfraw

    1086


    Gruffydd recovered from his apparent madness. The High king vouched for his sanity and restored the man as Marshal of the kingdom's forces.

    1087

    Ailleann was born to Murchaid and Imag. The high king would dote on his daughter, the first child for many years since Donnchad was born.


    The Irish economy grew as Fisheries became an alternative source of income alongside land-bound industries.


    In the continuing peace Murchaid (with the help of Marshal Gruffydd) concieved a plan to secure the Kingdom that would impact the history of Ireland for years (and generations) to come. To protect the realm from the aggression of Normans and other kingdoms, the High King would set up "Enclaves" - areas along the west coast of the British Isle that would come under the royal demesne. The aim of the Enclaves were to:

    1. Deny invaders easy access to the isle of Ireland.

    2. Spread the royal demesne across the region to make it difficult for invaders to capture all the royal provinces quickly (and hence forcing the High King into a default in the war).

    3. Create bases on the British Isle so that any invasion from the Normans would have to contend with either facing a significant delaying force on their own island, or sail directly for Ireland knowing that they had left a siezable counter force behind them.

    Towards these ends, four provinces were identified to have sea route connections with Ireland - Perfeddwlad in Wales, Carrick in Scotland, and Bristol and Devon in England. Of these, Perfeddwlad was the first target since the other 3 were under the protection from the Kings of Scotland and England respectively.

    1088


    In the fall of this year, Moenach is born to Murchaid and Imag. The second prince was so young he would likely not pose any changes to the succession.


    In the deep of winter, news came to Dublin that the King of Sweden had declared war on the Kingdom of Denmark. The fight between two norse powers did not concern the Irish, so Murchaid decided not to declare for Sweden. Moreover, the High King was in the midst of preparing for his own invasion of Gwynedd - declaring war with the Danes would only serve as a distraction.

    1089

    Spring brought the completion of the King's Roads in Dublin. The island was never settled by the imperial Romans of old, so there were no good roads inherited from the past. Murchaid hoped that these essential connections between towns and cities will pull his kingdom closer together like a string unto a quilt.


    By summer, Murchaid was ready. War was declared on the Duchy of Gwynedd. An army was mustered and landed in Perfeddwlad. The fight on the landing beaches was hard and bloody, but the levies from Ireland finally fought off the Breton defenders. Murchaid quickly took charge of the invasion force and set forth inland.


    Within the month, Murchaid's men had secured the countryside and a siege was laid on the fort where the Seisyll Count of Perfeddwlad was holed up.


    Ill news reached Murchaid at camp - Imag had died in Dublin fom childbirth. The child did not survive. Grieving from his lost, Murchaid nonetheless ordered that the war continue with vigor - there was now more reason than ever to wrap this campaign up quickly.


    Sensing his urgency, the king's troops stormed Perfeddwlad and the fort was liberated in a month. Seisyll Cynfyn the Count of Perfeddwlad was seen escaping the fort with a handful of men, heading for Gwynedd. The army of Ireland would chase them, closely behind.


    In another two months, the High King's forces would overcome the defenders in Gwynedd, and Meredudd Duke of Gwynedd was forced into peace terms. Perfeddwlad would become an Irish enclave, while the Duke would swear allegiance to the High King of Ireland.


    Returning to court at the start of winter, Murchaid sought a worthy replacement for Imag, who was his steward. The High King bade his courtiers find the best there was, for the kingdom was once again in debt from the recent war with Gwynedd.

    The search came to Patrizia Obertenghi of Pisa. To invite the skilled steward to Ireland, an arrangement was made for Patrizia to marry Congalach, son of Loigsech and Ingeborg Sparre. The proposal was quickly accepted.


    Winter also saw the birth of Feradach, born to Donnchad Crown Prince and Count of Mide, further securing the Ui Mordha royal branch.


    Christmas also saw news of the rebellion of the Duke of Aquitaine, the ancient kingdom of France was torn in twain by civil war.

    1090

    After a mere handful of years of loyalty, the faithless Duke of Munster attempted a rebellion. Murchaid was quick to respond this threat to his reign.


    The rebellion was quickly ended as royal forces raced to Desmumu and captured the fort there. The High King, eager for peace, accepted the Duke of Munster's surrender, but in his heart he knew that this was not the last of Munster's discord.


    Seeing that Gruffydd was yet to be married, Murchaid arranged a wife for the man. Ailleann, a daughter of Loigsech Ui Mordha, was matched to the skill marshal.


    Ireland was not the only realm with rebellion. This summer, in England, a number of lords along the Devon-Somerset region rebelled against their King.

    (OOC: They all use the same colors, but are actually 3 individual rebellions - County of Devon, Duchy of Somerset, and Count of Bristol)


    Seeing this as an opportunity to create an enclave in Devon and Bristol - two of the four identified locations, Murchaid mustered his men to sail for Devon immeidately. The plan was to capture Devon first - and if Bristol was still independent after that, to capture Bristol as well.


    1090 would prove to be a year of many wars, as Roma once again called for a Crusade - this time against the ancient port-city of Alexandria this time.


    In the Norselands, the winds of war raged on. Sweden (Ireland's ally) declared war with Norway and it's ally Scotland. Concerned that this would pull Ireland into war with her Gaelic cousin Scotland, and mindful of the fact that his most experienced troops were still on their way to annex Devon, Murchaid wisely chose not to enter the war.


    In September, the force that departed from Laigin finally reached Devon. Landing with in the dark hours before dawn, Murchaid caught the Devonians by surprise and the defenders were quickly dealt with. Seige began.


    Scarcely 2 weeks into the siege the Count of Devon gave up the fight and surrendered all claims to Devon to the High King. With Devon made an enclave and Bristol already back in England's control, Murchaid declared the campaign over.

    Plans were immediately made to re-settle Devon with Irish households in the hopes of rekindling the Celtic ways there.

    1092


    Disturbing news opened the year as rumors spread that the neighboring Count of Glamorgan held the power behind the Pope.


    1094


    Curious news arrived at court that the French are now in Jerusalem


    ... as the situation in Francia deteriorated further.

    At home, Ireland sits in peace. In these years the king was bothered by minor rebellions - one by Munster and another by Sligo; and a Thief problem in Laigin.


    Mathgamain was born to Donnchad - the 3rd son of the crown prince Donnchad.


    And in winter, news came that the Crusades had ebbed out. Alexandria remained firmly in the hands of the moslems as no apparent attempts were made by the Christian kingdoms to invade Egypt.


    It was also in this period that Gwgon is born to Marshal Gruffydd. The marshal immediately sought the High King for his birthright, revealing himself to be a scion of House Abberfraw, the kings of Gywnedd of old.

    The High King recognised Gruffydd's claims and forced the Cynfyns of Gwynedd to give up their claims on the province of Gwynedd and the Duchy of the same name.


    On Christmas day, these titles were granted to Gruffydd, now recognised as the leader of House Abberfraw. Loigsech Ui Mordha was installed as the new Marshal.

    1095


    Spring saw the High King took ill - the first time for many years...
    Last edited by Rivus; 06-12-2010 at 03:55.

  4. #24
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    Nice! You've got a MacMurrough Ard Ri! Well done. Now I'd like to see you go for Man and the other Isles. It'd be nice to see a High King of Ireland who was also King of the Isles... They also make a good staging area for a later invasion of Great Britain itself, if you want to go for Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, etc.

  5. #25
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    I've been following this for a while, good stuff! Wales was a good acquisition - it serves the extra bonus of being something of a buffer against England should things go terribly awry somewhere down the road. What are Donnchad's stats? Murchaid doesn't look to have much more in him.

  6. #26
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    That's silly. France doesn't have a coastal province in the Holy Lands, Jerusalem was its capital and they're surrounded by Muslims.
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  7. #27
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    AlexanderPrimus - I would love to go island hopping! but sadly you'll see in the next update things aren't going to be smooth sailing... although actually the MacMurroughs did claim the isles during Diarmait's time.

    Serek000 - Donnchad's stats hasn't changed much since he became Count of Mann...I'll provide one in an update soon. Better than Murchaid but that really isn't saying much (urgh... Murchaid's 1pt Intrigue really, really hurts)

    Zzzzz... - The French actually led the 1st Crusade to liberate Jerusalem, but I guess they lost all their acquisitions except Jerusalem itself in the years after that. Still, it's a rather odd thing to see the king lose all his demesne except Jerusalem, so I took a screenshot.

  8. #28
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    01.08 Interlude

    The High King of Ireland sat on this throne, as he was wont to do these days, recalling the past in the early hours, awaiting dawn. The sight of sunrise often lifted the old king's heart, as did the memories - hunting trips with Enna, Donnchad's birth, sparring with Gruffydd, marriage with Imag, and many others - each memory Murchaid knew like a long-time friend, keeping him company all these years. It won't be long now - the hall was aligned such that the morning sun would break over the throne, illuminating the entire hall- truely a sight to see.

    The change was slight, and perhaps even subtle, yet Murchaid smiled when he saw the rolling mist gathering in his halls.

    "I knew you would come, at the end," he spoke, not particularly looking for her.

    She was as he remembered - so young and beautiful. She never aged a day, it seemed, though Murchaid was not surprised.

    An end, or the beginning of a different journey, Murchaid? She lifted her hand, gesturing him to come to her.

    "Perhaps both - you would know better than me in such matters," he stood, slowly, remembering the strength in his legs, and walked towards her. Every step seem to bring more energy. In the glow of the mist, Murchaid's features eased somewhat, seemingly turned back by time itself as his grey hair found their sandy blond color again, and wrinkles fade to younger skin, ruddy and taut. Even the crown seemed to glisten more.

    You are ready to go, then?

    "I survived my two wives, bless their souls. I am ready." He tarried awhile, "Would Donnchad be alright?"

    He will make his own decisions, Murchaid, as you did.

    "I had guidance." he casted a sly glance at her.

    There... will be another.

    "Truely? " he turned to look at his throne. "Then perhaps he will not stray."

    An old man slept on the throne of the High King of Ireland, wrinkled and greyed by age but body still bearing memory of years of warrior training - upright, proud, and strong. He held onto his sword as if sentinel to the coming dawn.

    "Hmm. I looked terrible." Murchaid remarked.

    This is the dreaming, High King. Things are as you think them to be.

    "Well then, I'm ready to go," said the man. He consider the statement a bit. His crown started to fade as he turned, held the lady's lifted hand, and walked with her into the mist.



    -


    Click.

    The sound was soft but sure. Donnchad opened his eyes. It was a dream, though he didn't know how he knew...

    This is the great hall. He approached his father's throne - no, his throne, now. It seemed a mere day ago that he was crowned at Tara Hill. But he reminded himself that his father had died almost a month ago.

    So you're the heir, then. A sultry voice made him turn.

    Shadow darkened the room where she stood. A lady with short, deep-red hair, seemingly matted to her scalp. She wore a black cloak. The occasional clink from her gait suggested armor beneath.

    "And you are-?"

    She circled him. Who I am is not important, Donnchad son of Murchaid. If you bear the wisdom, you may eventually know. I bear warning and trouble, and the less you see of me, the better.

    "Do you mean that my reign would be... troubled?" There are stories of women with the art. Could she be one?

    Yes it would be, although that doesn't really need me to be here. She shrugged. I'll not mince words - I'm here to warn you, Donnchad son of Murchaid son of Dairmait, and to tell you to take heart for not all will abandon you in the dark times. Take heed and protect your kingdom.

    The shadow around the woman deepened, and somehow, black feathers cascade over her, and she disappeared.

    Eerie. A dire warning then. Donnchad inspected the ground she stood - some feathers remained. As he knelt to pick one up, the world started to twist as he was pulled to consciousness...

    Donnchad sat up in his bed. He awoke immediately, the dream fresh in his head. A strange dream. Wasn't there something father said about dreams before?

    There was a knock on the door.

    "Enter."

    A page poked his head through the opened door, timidly, as if fearing to wake the new High King despite having already done it.

    "I'm already awake. What is it?"

    "M- m- my lord, pardon the interruption- er that is, an urgent missive, millord, from the Bishop-"

    He snatched the preoffered letter and sent the man away. In the dim light by the fireplace, he inspected the document. The seal comes from the bishop Trian, though the man seldom writes:


    My Lord,

    Dark tidings from Roma. A trusted man from the holy city informed me that the pope intends to excommunicate your royal highness! No doubt some sinister plot is behind this! I would deliver the news myself, but I must leave to convince the bishops of the land to continue their support of your royal house. Gather your marshals and your best courtiers, my lord - I fear rebellions would come sooner than you would expect. A storm gathers. May God protect us all.


    - Trian
    Donnchad dropped the letter. His legs could barely hold him. Dark times indeed. The army must be mustered. In his left hand, a raven feather nested.
    Last edited by Rivus; 15-12-2010 at 03:24.

  9. #29
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    Map a. The World in 1095AD

    And... since everyone love maps, here's the world situation in 1095:



    The item of note here is probably the Balkans, where the Tribe of Pomerania whooped Croatia's posterior some. And in Hispania, the Taifas had pretty much conquered the entire Peninsula except for the Kingdom of Barcelona, which survived as a one-province minor in the Pyrenees.


    Updates in the weekend
    Last edited by Rivus; 08-12-2010 at 07:01.

  10. #30
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    This looks interesting - Don't see too many Irish AARs. Look forward to seeing what you can do with it!
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    Excommunicated. This is gonna be interesting.

    HRE is not broken. Nice
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    AllmyJames - Welcome!
    Thank You AllmyJames -
    Haiku AAR, is
    Interesting, too!
    Zzzzz... - On hindsight Glamorgan becoming the Papal Controller should be warning enough for me...

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    02.01 Eire Discordant

    1095

    Murchaid passed away peacefully on 27th day of March, in the 1095 year of our Lord. Court pages found the king sitting on his throne facing the rising sun, smiling, as if welcoming the dawn. The crown was inherited by his eldest son, Donnchad, Count of Mann.


    The reign of Donnchad would forever be remembered as beginning with an inauspicious start - the High King of Eire was Excommunicated within a month of his investiture. Many suspected the dark hand of the Count of Glamorgan behind this, for the Welsh county feared annexation by another power, and the inexperienced High King was an easy target. Nonetheless no reprimand could be made against the Count of Glamorgan as the kingdom was quickly embroiled in rebellion.

    Beset so quickly with ill fortune, the new King prepared as best as he could for the troubles that undoubtedly laid ahead.


    News of Donnchad's excommunication spread like wildfire. Local lords siezed on this opportunity to challenge the untested High King for power. The Duke of Ulster, once close confidante to old King Murchaid, rebelled scarcely a month after the news.


    With the realm under duress, Donnchad's attentions were severely taxed and could spare little attention to the affairs of the state.


    Donnchad quickly levied the men from the capitol at Dublin against the rebellious Duke of Ulster.


    Less than a month into the march northward to subdue Ulster, news reached Donnchad as the rebellious Duke of Munster also took the opportunity to declare his independence. No doubt the Duke of Munster had thought that the High King would be too distracted to act. Unperturbed by this turn of events, Donnchad concentrated on bringing Ulster back in line first.


    As if rebellions by the two most prominent dukes of his realm weren't enough, rumors started spreading of Donnchad's infidelity to his wife. Thankfully, a quick missive from the High King in the field back to court helped nip it in the bud, and nothing came of it. The courtier responsible for the slander - Benilde Obertenghi, sister to Patrizia - was unceremoniously exiled, at the behest of Queen Alis.


    Summer saw the first battle in the rebellions. Donnchad broke Ulster's forces at high cost of his own, and pressed his advantage with a siege at the capitol in Tir Eoghain.


    By September, the fort at Tir Eoghain fell and Donnchad Duke of Ulster (ironically, same name as the High King) was made to give up the Ducal title for peace. Many would contest that the confiscation of the ducal title to be overharsh, but Donnchad was adamant that this would prevent future rebellions from pulling entire duchies against him.


    With the north subdued. There was no time to waste as Donnchad marched to meet the rebels to the south. As the Dublin levies were decimated by the battle with Ulster, and Donnchad began to call for reinforcements from other lords of the land.


    Siobhan Ui Mordha - Marshal Loigsech's daughter - came of age and was assigned as Chancellor at this time. While she was only slightly better than the previous Chancellor, Donnchad recognised that he needed every shred of diplomacy to hold the realm together in such dire times.


    By October, to the shame of the House Ui Mordha, Laigin was lost to the seige by Munster - the first time the southern rebels could go so far unchecked.

    Thankfully the royal capitol had been moved to Dublin; yet the repreive would be temporary as the rebels now march towards that city. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Osraige was persuaded to mobilise his men to support his king.


    As Dublin laid besieged, Donnchad's forces scored a victory in Desmumu. The race is now on to bring down Desmumu before the rebels do the same to Dublin. While Donnchad had the advantage of men, the rebels had the advantage of having started the seige of Dublin earlier...

    1096


    A siege through the winter finally pushed the defenders in Desmumu to surrender. As in Ulster, Donnchad siezed the ducal title from Muirtedach duke of Munster in return for peace.


    The title would be granted to Columb, Muirtedach's second son, who seemed more loyal than Muirtedach or his heir apparent. With Ulster and Munster tempered, the kingdom will know peace again, if only for a short while.


    Eager to find friends at this time of need, Donnchad agreed to the alliance with the Duchy of Normandy. Where his father would had scoffed at the idea of binding the kingdom to such a small duchy, the excommunicated High King could find few likely allies in these times.




    Summer brought more bad news as Steward Patrizia died in labor. Queen Alis would take up the position as Eire's treasurer - she was not as good as Patrizia, but was the best Ireland had at the moment. A newcommer to court, Forannan, would take the queen's position as Spymaster.


    In winter, Donnchad Count of TirEoghian (the dispossessed Duke of Ulster) asked for a return of his ducal title. After seeing that the Count was sincere in his oaths of loyalty, the High King restored the title to him.

    1097


    Having dealt with the problems at home (for now), the High King turned his attentions to his borders. Donnchad suspected that Cadwgan Count of Glamorgan was behind his excommunication, but his family was well entrenched in the Glamorgan-Gwent region and the High King simply did not have the diplomatic clout to bring them to task.


    Instead, Donnchad devised a plan - Cadwgan Meriadoc was allied to his neighbor, the Duke of Deheubarth. If Donnchad attacks the Duke of Deheubarth at his capitol Dyfed, Cadwgan would come to the duke's aid and Donnchad would be able to annex the holdings of both lords.

    An army was sent across the Irish Sea, bound for Dyfed. War was declared on the Duke of Deheaubarth, but Count Cadwgan was cunning and saw through Donnchad's plan - he dishonored the alliance and left the Duke of Deheubarth to fend for himself instead.


    Deheubarth's defenders were too few to contest against Donnchad at Dyfed. After a brief battle, the duke's forces were scattered and a siege was mounted against the fort.


    By summer, Dyfed was captured and the Duke of Deheubarth agreed to swear fealty to the High King. This also set the path for the unification of Wales.


    In Autumn, messengers came from Normandy with the news that England had invaded the Duchy, and pleading for the High King to honor his alliance. Fearing to agitate England - especially not in his current state of excommunication, Donnchad opted caution and reneged his alliance with Normandy. The duke of Normandy would condemn Donnchad for his treachery in his dying breath, but Donnchad was realistic to the situation.


    In a twist of events, Donnchad's fears that another kingdom would prey on him were eased somewhat by the source of his excommunication - the pope called for a Third Crusade to free Jerusalem, which was once again in the hands of the Moslems. Donnchad hoped that the eyes of the powerful kingdoms in the region would be averted to the Holy Lands for a time.

    The High King, of course, saw no good reason to join the crusade.

    1099


    Not helping the Duke of Normandy proved to pay unexpected dividends when King Robert of England saw this the inaction as a sign that Ireland was a friendly neighbor. It may also be that King Robert considered Eire too weak to be an enemy, but expansive enough to make a good watchdog while the English do God's work abroad on Crusade. In any case, the English king proposed an alliance with Eire, and Donnchad eagerly accepted. With the realm in greater need of a strong friend than ever, Donnchad decided that sleeping with wolves may be better than sleeping alone...


    Peace in Ireland would not last, of course - Gruffydd of House Abberfraw, fustrated by the excommunication of his liege, finally chose rebellion. The ungrateful Duke of Gwynedd broke his oaths to House Ui Mordha, who had restored his House to Gwynedd in the first place. The High King met news of this betrayal with much chagrin, and swore to destroy the duke and his House.


    Not taking the duke for granted - for his was a famous campaigner in Murchaid's time - Donnchad sailed to Gwynedd with numerous soldiers, including levies from Desmumu and Urmumu, with the sole aim to annihilate House Abberfraw.


    Barely a month after Donnchad sailed for Gwynedd, the Bishop of Osraige joined in Gwynedd's rebellion and turned on the High King.


    Men from Tuadmumu and Mide - over a thousand men - were mobilised to deal with the errant bishop.


    The bishop's troops could not deny the loyalists and a siege was started in Osraige.

    Meanwhile, in the cold of deep winter, Donnchad landed on the shore of Gwynedd. The countryside was undefended as Gruffydd had led his army to siege the royal enclave at Perfeddwlad. A siege was started in Gywnedd to capture the province before Duke Gruffydd could return in time.


    Donnchad's excommunication had also turned away many from his court, and the latest deserter was Chancellor Siobhan, who departed for Ulaid, leaving Donnchad without a proper chancellor. Queen Alis had spymaster Faronnan quickly appointed to fill in as Chancellor, and Donal O'Brien would take up his old spymaster position for now.


    Meanwhile, Donnchad's campaign in Gwynedd was going as well as can be expected when he awoke one pre-dawn to find that half of his army was missing...

    Last edited by Rivus; 15-12-2010 at 03:29.

  14. #34
    Slacker Extraordinaire Zzzzz...'s Avatar
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    Unsurprisingly, it's a bumpy ride on his early reign. Can you create the title, King of Wales now?
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  15. #35
    Field Marshal phargle's Avatar
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    Delightful and light, and without losing in anything by being so. Civil wars and the like are the most fun times in my mind, because that's when everything might get weewee'd up. Ireland's troubles are doubly enjoyable to me because I have walked this path as well: Dublin by way of ui Mordha's child, then Ireland itself, and then getting destoyed by England. You're lucky this is the deus vult mod and William was so much less dangerous, and you're clever to have taken advantage of the instability in his realm to gulp up the provinces in Cornwall and Wales. Good job on the English alliance, too. Here's hoping you can prevail after all this excommunication and realm duress. Or not, because even that is entertaining and your son will presumably not share your troubles.

  16. #36
    Always annoying when you get excommunicated. Especially when it's because of some nobody count. I'm surprised his Holiness even knows where Gwent is.
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  17. #37
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    Zzzzz... - With 4/6 Welsh counties under Donnchad, I can create King of Wales. The main problem is funds... I can't even keep coffers out of red most times. 250 pounds is a luxury.

    phargle - Welcome and Thank You! Invasion from England (and even Scotland and France) was always a problem with playing Ireland. I finally hit a good stride with this current game for the AAR, and so chose to stick with it. Really hope Eire survives this! I'm not confident I can handle England at this stage - even Scotland may be a problem.

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  18. #38
    Second Lieutenant Rivus's Avatar
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    02.02 Eire Impoverished

    Siege Encampment, Gwynedd, Winter 1099

    The dawning sun had parted some the mist, revealing the abandoned field before the High King of Eire. Doused campfires still smoked briefly, silent testament to where the men of Munster camped just a night before. Far behind him, the hillfort of Gwynedd stood, unchanged in the days since the seige first started barely a week ago.

    Donnchad considered his options. The Duke of Munster had rebelled, and recalled his men from the field. This effectively halved the men he had here in Gwynedd. He couldn't imagine that the forces beseiging Osraige would fair any better - with the Taudmumu regiment no doubt gone, the Count of Mide would only have a few hundred dismal souls besieging the rebellious bishop of Osraige. But at least the Count didn't have to contend with an large army that is on its way back to defend the fort - Duke Gruffydd had captured the royal position at Perfeddwlad, re-grouped with men coming from Powys, and is now on a quick march to confront Donnchad here at Gwynedd.

    In his hand, the High King thumbed the raven feather he found on his bedside. Strange to see that there. But then again...

    He shook his head to clear his mind. Speculation can wait.

    "Marshal," he called to his uncle. "Instruct the captains that we break camp in an hour. We cannot hold this position."

    "As you command, my liege," the grizzled Loigsech Ui Mordha bowed. "But to where should I tell them we are going?"

    "South. We march for Dyfed. Send the injured away. Burn what you cannot take. We leave nothing behind for the enemy."

    -



    On the 18th day of December, barely a week into the siege of Gwynedd, Donnchad awoke from his field tent to find more than half of his army had quit the field. Munster had rebelled.

    1100


    Faced with a rebellion in Munster, the High King mobilised the troops of Ulster to retake the duchy. In his heart, the High King hoped that the Duke of Ulster would prove more faithful to his King than his peers.



    In Wales, Gruffydd's army caught up to Donnchad and battle ensued. The duke's prowess in the battlefield proved the greater and Donnchad's army - already halved from Munster's treachery, could only sustain a fighting-retreat into Dyfed. Justice was done, however, when Gruffydd died in the battle, felled by a stray arrow in one of the sorties.



    After arriving at Dyfed, Donnchad regrouped his army and mobilised the Duke of Deheubarth, intent to march once more for Gwynedd.



    By April, Donnchad was ready for a rematch in Gwynedd. The absence of a competent commander really hurt the rebels, as Donnchad caught the Gwynedd rebels divided and easy pickings.



    Meanwhile, the action in Ireland turned in favour of the loyalists as the Duke of Ulster captured the fort at Tuadmumu. The ducal title of Munster was once again confiscated in the name of the crown. Encouraged by the quick victory, the Duke of Ulster was sent to take over the seige on Osraige.


    A month later, the Bishop of Osraige was captured. The county, which was initially part of Ui Mordha territory in the king's grandfather's (Duke Diarmait's) time, was re-absorbed into the royal demense.


    With the rebellions in the Irish homelands coming to a close, Donnchad's campaign in Wales also saw success. Without the brilliant Gruffydd at their head, the rebels proved meek as the fort at Gwynedd fell to Donnchad's siege.

    Much angered by Gruffydd's betrayal, the King denied House Abberfraw the rulership of Gwynedd - the house was stripped of its claims, and it's members placed as captive "courtiers" in Dublin. To ensure that the rich province of Gwynedd would not become a base for rebels in the future, Donnchad absorbed the province into his royal demense as an expansion of the royal enclave in Wales.

    The move was unpopular, but Donnchad saw this as small price to keep his kingdom intact.


    With all rebellions put down, the High King's predicament came to an end when the Pope allowed Donnchad the chance to return to the Church's good graces... for a price. This was opportunity was seized upon, even if would beggar the kingdom's coffers.



    To restore the goodwill of his peers, the High King reinstalled the confiscated duchies to various parties. The Duchy of Munster was reinstated; and the Duchy of Gwynedd was awarded to the Cynfyns of Powys, who were the Dukes of Gwynedd before Murchaid's invasion of that land.



    Fretful that Donnchad's standing with the church had recovered, and fearful that the High King would visit his vengeance upon them, the Count of Glamorgan offered to vassalise under the High King. Donnchad agreed to the vassalage, but secretly planned to revoke the Meriadocs of all their possessions for their temerity. For now, the High King merely desired peace.



    Even as affairs in Eire settled, news came from abroad with the death of King Robert of England died. At the encouragement of several lords in France - some of whom were Donnchad's friends - the King of France agreed to explore an alliance with Eire. Donnchad hastily agreed to the proposal. With a newly unified France as an ally, Eire felt the safest in years.


    1101

    The price for lifting his excommunication was quickly felt, as Donnchad was forced to sell properties to stave off debtors.


    The end of excommunication also brought some peace in the realm. High King found time to indulge in Hunting to rebuild his ties with his nobles.


    The High King also made attepts to pressure the Church to improve the stability of the kingdom, but nothing came of it. This would set the tone of many attempts by the High King to improve the realm, all to no avail.


    In May, a there was a call for an Estates General to ease the debts of the kingdom. Donnchad saw little to lose in this, and agreed to the proposal.


    Amazingly, a month after the Estates General, another one was called. Donnchad once again aceded to the plan.


    In matters at home, Donnchad deemed that his first son, Trian, was old enough for marriage. A list of potential brides was drafted at the High King's behest.The High King had a hard time choosing, as there were few talented women of age who temparement would suit his son, and finally settled on Jana Premyslid, a princess of presitigous House Premyslid in Bohemia. A proposal of marriage was sent and accepted by the Duke of Silesia.


    In Mann, years of Ui Mordha administration converted the norse on the island to the ways of their liege. Irish culture became predominant there. The cultural conversion of the island would be one of the few bright sparks in Donnchad's otherwise overcast reign.

    1102

    In Spring, Prince Trian matured and grew into his role as heir apparent - a veritible spiritual leader of his people. He was appointed as the new Bishop of the realm.



    Meanwhile, a rebellion at Galloway in Scotland provided a chance for Donnchad to follow his father's policies of creating Royal Enclaves abroad. A moderate sized army was mustered to sail for Carrick.

    1103

    Anxious to fight the King of Scotland's troops from the mainland, the defenders in Carrick did not expect an Irish invasion from the coast - the defenders were caught completely by surprise and out of position. Predictably, they were quickly routed and a seige began at Carrick.


    Spring saw scandal in court, as it was revealed that Donnchad had an affair with DubEssa, daughter of the Count of Sligo. Word was that DubEssa offered the High King succour in the field during the worse days of his Excommunication, but the rumour only angered the Queen further for she had endured much hardship to hold the High King's court together in those trying times as well.

    The bastard Cormac was the result of the affair, and when the child was brought before the Court, Queen Alis reluctantly took charge of the infant as she awaited Donnchad's return from Galloway.


    With the Duke of Galloway caught up in battle against the Scottish King, Carrick quickly fell to Donnchad. Plans were immediately drafted to administer Carrick as a Royal Enclave. The High King intended to push his men deeper into Galloway, but the Scottish king had already made great advancement in the duchy. Seeing that there was no chance to capture the provinces of Galloway and Cumberland, the High King returned to Dublin, steeling himself for a different kind of confrontation at home with his wife over the matter of Cormac.


    Abroad, news reached Dublin that there was some success in the crusade to liberate the Holy Lands. The Swedes had established control in Acre, and granted authority of that land to the Hospitaliers.

    The trials of High King Donnchad was not yet over, as another crisis loomed across the skies...
    Last edited by Rivus; 22-12-2010 at 01:56.

  19. #39
    Field Marshal phargle's Avatar
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    Rding out the excommunication and realm duress is pretty impressive. I didn't see that you lost the realm duress trait - did you?

    It's also wonderful narratively when some important guy dies and his cause crumbles. That Welsh duke eating it was a coup.

  20. #40
    Slacker Extraordinaire Zzzzz...'s Avatar
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    Hope you get a foothold on Scotland. Celtic kingdom ftw
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