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Thread: Blarney: The Mac Carthaighs of Desmond

  1. #1
    Sergeant Zebediah's Avatar
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    Blarney: The Mac Carthaighs of Desmond

    I'm trying something completely different this time, since my all-narrative AAR didn't go over so well. I'm starting in 1066 as the Earl of Desmond, and I'll see how far it goes, be it five years or four hundred. And so we begin:


    Something strange happened today...

    Well now, isn't this interesting? A book that wants to be read? Well, who am I to question the will of a mysterious book?

    Muiredach Mac Carthaigh of Desmond, that's who.

    Well, let's get on with it then. No title on the outside. What about the inside?

    Aha! The thing does have a title after all!

    Now, this is a puzzle. 'Tis an awfully long book, this history of my family since 1066, being that this is nought but the year 1067 right now. So what tale does it tell?

    Ah. Here's a familiar face:

    Muiredach Mac Carthaigh, King of Desmond is my name. Though outside of Ireland nobody will grant that I'm more than an Earl. As if their opinions matter!

    What's this? This bloody book reads as though I'd written the thing myself! How can this be?

    I have four sons. Not a one of them appears to have a mother. But then, I seem to lack one myself. Curious, that.

    I have a half-brother also, for what he's worth.

    This is my kingdom. It's small, as kingdoms go, but it's mine. And I have two hundred and thirty-six men who will follow me to the gates of Hell itself, if I lead them there.

    And eight ships, ye daft imposter.

    And eight ships to carry them across the seas to my enemies!

    That's more like it.

    This is my eldest son and heir, Tadg. He likes to dress up like a priest. Maybe I shouldn't have encouraged that by making him my court chaplain, but I did.

    It's not like I had a lot of qualified candidates to choose from. The wonder of it is that I have some halfway decent councilors.

    I also have someone who would love to be my liege:

    Murchad Ua Briain, who fancies himself lord of all Munster. Have to keep an eye on that one. His coat of arms is suspiciously similar to my own. He just had his herald paint the crowns bigger. Sounds to me like he's compensating for something.

    And if anyone points out that both of our arms look suspiciously Swedish, I shall ignore them.

    Now, to business. I'm unmarried, and so is Tadg. Time to fix both of those problems. Fortunately, I subscribe to the Catalogue o' Brides. It's just a matter of finding a likely lass...

    Lots of Navarran princesses there, but I like the looks of that Ermesinda. Yes, she'll do nicely.

    For Tadg, a nice Saxon girl. I hear her father is a Duke. That could come in handy down the road - those German dukes have a habit of becoming emperors the minute you turn your back on them.

    And because I'm in a generous mood, I order a Breton bride for my half-brother Donnchad.

    Not to bore you with the details, but they all say yes, and the next thing I know, I have three young ladies speaking incomprehensible languages in my court. At least my ambition to get married has been fulfilled. So it's time for a new ambition:

    "Become Exalted Among Men". I like the sound of that. I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish it, but a man needs something to strive towards.

    I also tend to some housekeeping with my succession laws. Rather than split this already-small kingdom into four even smaller ones, I decide to change the law so that Tadg will inherit the lot.

    My steward, Ainmere de Cloyne, warns me that this will somehow lessen the number of castles I am able to manage effectively from six to four. As I only have one at the moment, I decide it's not worth worrying about it.

    The year 1066 comes to an end, and we greet 1067. And then, one day, something strange happens...

    Hey, isn't this where I came in?

  2. #2
    Fourth wall jokes? I LOVE fourth wall jokes!

  3. #3
    Having spent enough time grumbling at Irish lords (Do they really have to declare on my former vassals EVERY time one of them declares independance or seeks to take away my crown authority or hold hissy fits between each other over territory?) it'll be fun to see someone on their side, and I smell potential here!

  4. #4
    Field Marshal tnick0225's Avatar
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    Completely off topic but whenever I see the county Desmond I always think Bishop Desmond Tutu is going to jump out of some bush and say one of those goofy philosophical comments he's prone to make.

  5. #5
    Field Marshal Tapscott's Avatar
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    this aar looks great! i will be following.
    Voltaire - "I would rather be ruled by one lion than by one hundred rats."

    My Inkwell

  6. #6
    Sergeant Zebediah's Avatar
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    Thanks, all! I had hoped to have the next update posted by now, but illness (my own and my son's) got in the way, so it will be a couple more days.

    As for the fourth wall jokes, they get better. Or worse, depending on your point of view. But there will be plenty more of them.

  7. #7
    Sergeant Zebediah's Avatar
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    So, I have this book...

    If I'm to believe it, it's my own diary, but I don't remember writing it. It's even in my own handwriting.

    And, for certain, it's a wee bit unsettling to have one's own thoughts being echoed back from the pages of a book.

    The mysterious book claims to tell the tale of my family in the months and years and decades ahead, in my own words. That's a bit unsettling.

    This could get old very quickly.

    It also gets old very quickly.

    Like I said.

    I try to read it through, but as it's obviously written by a madman, I can make neither heads nor tails of it.

    What's this? I've become a bookworm?

    I wouldn't have believed it even a few weeks ago, but the book has awakened a love of scholarship in me.

    Time passes, and I put the book out of my mind. Instead, I celebrate the birth of my first grandson.

    Ah, that's good news! And I approve of the name Tadg gave the wee lad, too.

    Muiredach MacTadg Mac Carthaigh. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

    My brother's wife has a child as well.

    Turning to more practical matters, I note that our fortress isn't terribly fortified. A wooden palisade is a good beginning.

    Aye. I've been meaning to see to that.

    Then my poor half-brother Donnchad dies of a fever, leaving me without a chancellor.

    Or any good prospects for one. Aren't the folk of this land supposed to be possessed of silver tongues? You wouldn't know it from my court. More like cast iron.

    We'll just have to look elsewhere for a chancellor, then.

    I find one in Gwynedd, one Iorwerth Mathrafall. Now, why do Welshmen have to have such bloody tongue-twisters for names? Why can't they have ones that roll off the tongue like Muiredach or Donnchad? Ah well, he's got the gift of gab for certain, so I invite him to my court.

    He uses flowery Welsh words like "forthwith", but he's not bad. Really, he's not.

    My second son, Cormac, comes of age. Seems he's quite the sly devil. Time to find him a bride.

    Well now, would you look at that Bertha Gerulfing? Heir to the County of Westfriesland, she is. Never mind that she's a stuttering hunchback - she's an heiress!

    Aha! Huge tracts of land!

    She's also spoken for by the time Iorwerth's letter reaches her father. Such is life. I marry Cormac to Judith d'Avranches instead.

    My wife has some happy news.

    And who is that supposed to be a picture of, I wonder?

    My court painter uses the news as an excuse to paint a semi-naughty portrait of my wife. Or of somebody whom he imagines to look like my wife.

    If that looked the least bit like Ermesinda, I'd strangle the man with my bare hands.

    Since that's clearly not Ermesinda he used for his model, I decide I don't have much cause to be angry with him. I hang the painting in my private study, where I can look at it whenever I want.

    Not all the news is as happy:

    What? My daughter-in-law is trying to kill me?

    Oh, Ida, lass, where did we go wrong? There's no need to hurry me into my grave - you'll be queen of Desmond in good time. Maybe things work differently in Germany, and people murder each other on a whim, but this is Ireland. We do things by our own rules. For one thing, if we're going to stab a man in the back, we do it to his face. Do you understand, girl?

    I'll say it was misdirected! It was directed against me!

    With that unpleasant business out of the way, I can return to contemplating happy thoughts.

    Madness, all of it! A book that claims to tell the tale of days to come - it's obviously a forgery, right? Right?

    Or... Is it?

    A man can't be too sure. I'd best keep studying it.

  8. #8
    Great so far. I also started a game as the Earl of Desmond, currently I'm in the early 1200's, but I have created the kingdom of Ireland and united the realm at around 1192. Makes for an interesting start, best of luck!

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