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Jul 8, 2014
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The Tale of Repwoc, First King of Wales (RIP Demman)

I am King Demman, third king of Ireland, second who matters.

My father dieda bit over five years ago, leaving me the Duchy of Ulster. His father, the first true King of Ireland, died seven months later, leaving me King of Ireland. It's been an interesting time, but before that, there's a few people I want to introduce to you.


My mother, Duchess of the Isles. When she dies, I'll inherit part of Scotland. I'm not sure what to think about this.


My grandmother, Countess of Gwyd--Gwin--somewhere in Wales. Gwyden? Something like that? Anyways, when she dies, I'll inherit part of Wales. I'm not sure what to think about this, either.


This is Denis Jr, my...half-aunt, I think? She's a good friend. She tells me that it's good that I'll be inheriting bits of Wales and Scotland, because it means Ireland will be more powerful.


This is Tagd the Second, the king of Connacht, the last of Ireland's little kingdoms. My grandfather already got all the rest to agree that they were the true King of Ireland. (His father helped a little.) I tried to conquer them a while ago, but two things stood in my way:



They're small realms, but they have deceptively large armies. That's the deceptively that means they were larger than you'd think, not the deceptively that means you think they're larger than they were. Each had a couple thousand troops to call on, while Ireland only has about 2500.
And yes, the Queen of Galloway is my aunt.

Let's finish this off with a few other monarchs like me.


This is Queen Gruoch the Wise. Another of my aunts (my father had four legitimate daughters, one bastard daughter, my father, and a bastard who was born after he died) was her heir's wife, but then she died. My grandfather helped keep her husband from taking the throne, after letting him stay a while at the Irish court.


This is King Sancho of Castille and Galica. He's married to my eldest aunt and pulled my grandfather into a bunch of wars on the continent, which my grandfather didn't like even when he "forgot" to send the galleys. Which was usually. He regretted sending her to him for years, up until he died, ill and infirm. He (Sancho, not my grandfather) is a cruel coward who got excommunicated at some point. I don't remember hearing about it, but I'm sure that if my grandfather heard of it, he thought it was overdue.


This is King Eadgar of England, an interesting old man. They say that he married his mistress when his first wife died, then got a new mistress within the month. Such accusations aside, he's a good man, an old soldier with the wounds and scars to prove it. He's a virtuous man, and most importantly to my grandfather, a hunter like he was. But for me, the most important thing is his third child.


I have just turned of age, and will get to marry Ealdgyth as soon as the old king gets back to me, which is supposed to take a week and a half. By luck or the grace of God, we're perfect for each other! Denis Jr points out another benefit of the marriage: If the English Prince and Ealdgyth's elder sisters die, my heir will be king of England and Ireland! I asked her why she felt the need to bring this up, but she didn't explain.

I believe that's everyone you need to know. Let's see, what happened in my reign...

There was an outbreak of slow-fever which spread through most of Ireland, and that killed a lot of people--even some I knew. We tried to conquer Connacht. A couple months ago, the Pope declared a Crusade. Everyone knew it was coming sooner or later. Deus Vult, whatever that means. I don't speak Italian.

I don't think I'll be joining. Denis Jr. agrees with my decision, as do most people in the court. The reason is simple:

Instead, we'll focus on matters nearer to home. Denis agrees with this, suggesting a few possible ways to go. We could reclaim my honor and conquer Connacht for good. We could try to take Gywend the kingdom; my grandfather was rather angry when he realized that he had secured for his heir only the county rather than the duchy. Or--and she seems to like this idea most--we could...work to put my beloved on the throne of England. I'm not currently sure what to do.


I've been playing this particular save of CKII for a good while; it's the only game of it I've really played. This is my fourth character, though the first two didn't do much. As suggested, the third became King of Almost All of Ireland, married three of his four daughters out to various people, and in return had various people marry into his kingdom. Perhaps parts of it would have made a good narrative if I had thought to record them; I can certainly remember some interesting turns.
Anyways, I've decided to do an AAR of this Irish king, now that he is of age. This is my first Paradox AAR, so I'd appreciate advice and such on how to improve it. But for now...

1. Is there anything more you'd like to know about Ireland or the rest of Europe?
2. What direction should Demman take Ireland?
3. How much control over decisions like this should I give the community?
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Almost certainly! Moving immediately!
(Alright, hopefully that counts as all my newbie mistakes for AARing.)

EDIT: Goshdang it, a mod solved it before I could do so on my own, and I didn't notice before I reposted.
Well...I suppose we can have a couple plans at once. I'll start with preparations to put my fiancee on the English throne. Three of the people in the line of succession are her elder twin sisters, Eadhild and Ecgwyn, and the former's young son. Perhaps by removing the sisters, the child will be out of succession? Likely not, but...Sadly (or perhaps not), though, not many wish to see her dead, and fewer still wish to see the prince dead. So, onto conquering, as my father did.


The levees of my realm are fully recovered from the war with Connacht. However, while Enna mac Murchad, the first Prince-Archbishop of Tara, was my grand-uncle (I think? He was my grandfather's uncle), he suspiciously died shortly before the new century dawned. His replacement was one Faelbe Mac Murchada, who died less than a year ago of the slow fever and was replaced by the lowborn priest Magnus of Tara, who seems to like the Holy Roman Emperor's "pope" more than he likes me.

"Like," in this case, appears to have more to do with the size of armies than anything. Clearly, he isn't accountingfor the proximity of my army.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I could take the Archbishop in a war if--wait, I have 3,000 potential troops? But--

No, I remember correctly. I am not a mathematical genius, but there seem to be about 400 troops that are unaccounted for. Why is it counting the number of troops that the Archbishop would give me, if he will not give me them?

Curious. I must have my marshal sort this out. In any case, I should consider implementing Free Investure like my grandfather considered doing.

Speaking of martial matters, I feel that this could be a good time to strike. The petty kings of Gywind and Connacht are both involved in the Crusade, as are the queens of Debeuharth and Scotland. And the king of France and an assortment of dukes and lower nobles. While they've sent the bulk of their armies away, the garrisons and allies, Galloway for Connacht and the independent Count of Asturias for Gwnydd, will be easily crushed by the combined forces of England, Ireland, and part of Scotland if Mother somehow comes to help. This brilliant plan has a slight flaw in it, however...

Said armies have not departed to the Holy Land. I mean, there's nothing WRONG with that (I, for one, certainly can't complain), but it's certainly inconvenient. Perhaps I should teach the Connachters how to use those galleys; my grandfather found them helpful for shipping troops across the Channel when warring in Wales, so they should be good enough to cross the admittadly larger English channel.
Maybe I should just give them time. Until then, my chancellor, the elderly Bishop Fergal, should continue working in Gyrwannd to fabricate claims on their land. I could try claiming Ulster, but Galloway has more troops than I do at the moment, so it might be unwise.

In the meantime, I will relax with my beautiful wife and invest in a training ground for my father's old capital, Aileach. Leighlin already has one, so why not? It's supposed to increase the size of my retinue, but I still haven't seen any. Maybe the second time's the try.


Huh. I was just complaining about the Archbishop of Tara, and here we go.
27-year-old Archbishop Magnus Lore died of illness and was replaced by one Seoan, a lowborn bishop. But then, that's what they said of Magnus, or so I had thought. Anyways, that position seems to have a decent mortality rate. Since Seoan, like Magnus, has the highest Learning in my realm, he becomes my chaplain and is sent to Rome, with the specific mission of explaining the whole not-crossing-all-of-increasingly-bloody-Europe-to-kill-infidels thing.

Strangely, he's more annoyed by that than by my chaplain following the Antipope. Now, I'm not the most religious of men, but I'm pretty sure that it's supposed to be God that works in mysterious ways, not the Pope.

In other news, some random lady in one of my earls' courts wants to kill some other random lady in said earl's court.


I'm still not sure why. Certainly, no one else backed this plot. Shockingly, this powerless Irishwoman listens when the king of Ireland tells her to stop trying to kill someone else. I considered exorcisms and imprisonment, but this worked well enough.


Well, he certainly has a point. He is slightly better than Earl Aed, and shows opportunity for improvement. Besides, my current steward tends to be content. Sure, why not? I guess the Earl is a bit annoyed now, but he still likes me well enough.


Perhaps, since each soldier in Connacht could be on a galley with a hammock to sleep on and a hammock to store their gear in, the King of Connact will begin crusading? Shockingly, no.

Fascinating. Aed's daughter-in-law is the granddaughter of Kings of Navarra and Brittany and the sister of two bishops and chaplains in Brittany, and she wound up with a weak claim on the petty Kingdom of Brittany. If I pressed said claim, Aed's grandchild, still (I believe) an Isish vassal, would become the duke of Brittany, under the king of Ireland. Let's see his arm--

Oh. Even if we had enough galleys to transport my army (I think we do), we'd be outnumbered about three to two once they get back to full strength (and it's pretty close right now). Maybe if we got England to join and actually, you know, fight.

I note Norwegian galleys disgorging Norse troops at the Isle of Man and decide to check what's going on between these two lands.

The King of Galloway is excommunicated, you say? Well, once the Norsemen finish their war, I'll attack the weakened kingdom and claim Ulster! Sorry, Aunt Aybinn.
(I also note that King Colin apparently wants to become King of the Scots. If I have my way, that's all you'll be king of...)

The Connachters' galleys vanished, pulled back into port. Phooey.

Dear all vassals,
Merry Christmas, Ireland! My gift to all my vassals is simple.

P.S. Archbishop Seoan of Tara, tell the Pope we're really sorry.

Dear all vassals,
Happy New Year, Ireland! Why does no one like my Christmas gift?

P.S. Archbishop Seoan of Tara, please give my best wishes to any representative of the Knights of St. John you happen to meet.
P.P.S. What does the King of Navarra have to do with those knights?

Dear Uncle Colin and "King" Tagd II,

Why are you even voting on this? You're not my vassals. Why do you care about my crown laws? Because you have Irish land and think you'll be subject to it? I can see that for Tagd, but you, Uncle Colin? You're Scottish!
If you don't want to be my vassals, please don't interfere with my laws.
P.S. You may consider that an invitation to become my vassal.
P.P.S. Sorry for the quotation marks around King. If I had some kind of erasable pen, I would have erased them.

Dear vassals,

We are now under Free Investure law, despite none of you except Earl Aed publicly backing it. Please begin deciding how to invest your bishops freely immediately. If the Archbishop of Tara is anything to go by, they won't be in this world for long.
P.S. Galloway and Connacht did not accept our proposal that they could vote if they became part of Ireland.
P.P.S. I'm not threatening Seoan, I'm just saying that previous Archbishops of Tara had short reigns, often ending suddenly.
P.P.S. I'm also not accusing Seoan of murdering previous archbishops.

Dear vassals,
Why did my chancellor, the Bishop of Derry, die right after we approved that law? Sure, he was 82 and in a kingdom we want to conquer, but still...
In other news, Tagd mac Mael has been appointed Chancellor despite having the same name as the petty King of Connacht and a family name which is sinister.
P.S. When did Connacht's fleets leave port and why did no one tell me?


Tagd the Second of Connacht has at last left to Crusade! His main fleet entered the Celtic Sea on the 26th of January. I believe that this is the perfect time to conquer the Connachters, correctly this time. Then we will retake Ulster from Galloway. I will complete the unification of Ireland that my grandfather started!
(I noticed the guidelines on number of screenshots per post/page of AARs, so I'll be cutting back on them.)

Come March, I notice the fleet of Gwyvern out at sea. I wonder if this means the Gywervians are going on their crusade at last. Regardless, I can't claim their kingdom yet; I'll need to settle for Connacht. A month and a bit has passed since they vanished beyond the range of our people squinting really hard from the top of a lighthouse, so their army likely won't return in time.
Then, I remember that we have a truce. Huh.

I prepare to sieze Ulster, but Denis stops me from just declaring war on them.
"But Denis, I'm the king of Ireland and they have part of Ireland. Isn't that enough?"
"Well, yes, but you could easily take all of Galloway if you wanted."
"Why would I want that? Most of it's Scottish."
"So's your mother."
"...Point taken, but still, why would I want that?"
"Because it's more troops and gold."
"Look, just trust me, it's good for you."
"...Alright, I'll trust you, Denis. But I don't see how."
"It's simple, really."

"People other than the petty King of Galloway want to rule Galloway. Some of them have claims on it, one way or another."
"Like how you and Aunt Eua have claims on the Kingdom of Ireland?"
"Exactly. The Steward of Clydesdale is the grandson of a king of Galloway, and he would be willing to come to your court so you can press his claim. But first, you need to give him land."
"...so that he's my loyal vassal, and stays loyal once he gets to be the crown?"
"Alright. Sounds good."
"And this is the perfect time to strike. Colin only has a couple hundred troops available."
"Alright, I'll do it."

"Yes, Gilla-Coluim?"
"I have two important pieces of news. First, Angus of Strathclyde, former steward of Clydesdale, has arrived. So have his wife and two daughters."
"Excellent. What's the other?"
"The woman tutoring your little brother and some random guy in court got married!"
"They didn't get anyone's permission first."
"If you let them stay married, people won't look on you as well. And, well...you lack the prestige of your grandfather."
"That's hardly fair. My grandfather conquered half of Ireland! I've barely been out of regency."
"Regardless, if we don't charge them--"
"Charge them? What do you mean?"
"By right, they should be imprisoned, with a 25% chance of banishment for the woman."
"Odd law. How do they figure the 25% chance?"
"By a legal device known as a tet red hadron, I believe."
"What does that mean?"
"I don't know, sir; I don't speak Latin."
"Sounds more Italian. I see no reason to bother them."
"Are you sure, sir?"
"Does this at least make me more virtuous?"
"No, sir."

I send Angus to Tyrone to be the Earl, noting that I, as my grandfather before me, now directly hold only the castle at Leighlin, a policy which is quite the opposite of the King of Galloway's, who kept all the count titles for himself until recently. The Isle of Man is now slightly self-governing. Preparing to draft the declaration of war, I can't help but notice a couple things from the drafted declaration of war. I call for my schemer.
"Denis? Could you explain what this fine print means?"
"Hold on, let me read it..."

"Um, this can't be right...he has a claim on the crown of Galloway, weak as it may be, in addition to that strong claim on the county...and, um, I may have miscalculated what would happen, should he--"
"You're saying I should just take Ulster?"
"Essentially? Yes."
In other news, Angus's wife is my mother's sister.

I raise my levie and that of the Archbishop of Tara, leaving the others untouched because their opinions of me are lower. We wait to actually enter Ulster until morale among the Archbishop's troops is higher; it seems he forgets to pay them when they aren't at war. As I plan the invasion of Galloway, Archbishop Seoan interrupts me.
"Sir? I have important business with you, as Chaplain."
"At the moment, I don't care what effect this has on my--"
"Ealdgyth is pregnant."
This is, actually, more important than the war. I take a moment to rejoice before grudgingly returning to the task of planning a quick, straight path into Ulster.

Alright, Pythagoras, let's see you draw a straighter line!

As April closes, Colin calls in King Tadg II of Connacht. Unimpressed, I decide that I kight as well call in my father-in-law, who I'm sure Tagd will be pleased to recall is the King of England.

Alright, not my father-in-law, but he's still the King of England. I wonder if this is the best time to tell Ealdgyth.

Denis's mother has another bastard baby boy, named Richard. I wonder if Grandfather co tinues to love her even after death. Of course, that's silly; ghosts cannot father babies. You need physical equipment to...
Maybe I should make sure no one has desecrated Grandfather's grave. It's a long shot, but that would be unbecoming of the King of Ireland, would it not?

"Um, sir?"
"Yes, Seoan?"
"I have...distressing news."
"Something relating to your duties as Archbishop, or something relating to your duties as Chaplain?"
"The latter."
"Oh God, is Ealdgyth okay?"
"Thank God. I can hardly imagine anything worse--"

"--except excommunication, maybe."
"Then I'm afraid you won't like the answer very well."
"But how...who...TAGD!"
"Perhaps you should have gone on the Crusade."
"Dammit, I'm zealous and Tagd isn't!"
"Then why is he on a crusade and you aren't?"
"I really hate God some days."
"Since you didn't go on a Crusade, he hates you too."
"I'm fine with the tradeoff if it means I'm not sending fine Irish warriors to die in the holiest of deserts."
"Free investure didn't help either."
"...Just go away."

September, 1113. I am excommunicated by the Kaiser's pope, the one nearly all priests I've met consider the true Pope. I am at war with my enemies Connacht and Galloway, who hold the last bits of Irish soil not under my control. Between England, myself, and Norway (who is attacking Galloway for reasons unrelated to Ulster), over twenty thousand are besieging the castles and cities of Galloway. One hundred and fifty-seven of the Gallowayan king's troops are in Tyrconnel, allegedly besieging Gartan but mostly playing practical jokes on the guards in an attempt to pretend they're doing something in this war. I decide to raise the last five hundred thirty-odd troops of my non-Tyrconnellian vassals to drive the out. They finally arrange themselves in late October and scramble with the enemy, who keeps jumping between Tyrone and Tyrconnel.

Plans for this skirmish are interrupted by my firstborn son's birth.

I still don't understand the look on my wife's face when I named him.

Selbach, a knight from Connacht, asks for permanent hospitality. My chaplain states that our duty to God will be fulfilled if we let him stay the night. Hm...pay gold to allow a random noble-soldier from my enemy's court to stick around and mooch off of me, or gain piety in an attempt to get the Pope to hate me less?
I hardly think you need me to tell you which I choose. Sorry, Selbach; try heading to Jerusalem. Try not to hit your head on the way out.

My army of two thousand, with help from England's of eleven thousand, captures Downpatrick by the middle of Advent. Come New Years, my army of five hundred thirty-odd has still not caught up with the Scottish tricksters. Curse you, Colin! Well, I'll be conquering you shortly anyway.
We attempt a different approach mid-January and finally catch him. His center flank, personally lead by him, breaks within days; sadly, my outer flanks follow suit. The battle does not end well.

Huh. No one was leading those troops. That explains a lot.
The good news is, they lost half of their army almost exactly. The bad news is, we lost half of our...little half-regiment of troops. The good news is, if we just wait a bit and appoint a freaking general or three, we should rout them next time. The bad news is, we lost 1% "warscore," which Maeshal Constantin insists is an important thing.
In other news, during the battle, my brother's guardian had a baby. They named him Bran.
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We capture the chapel at Connor, meaning we have occupied half of Ulster's important places. Six hundred more English troops are coming. Somehow, I don't see Galloway doing very well...

My half-uncle grows to the age where he must be sent off somewhere to be tutored. I send him to Gilla-Coluim mac Donchad, my steward, who has been Midas-touched. He is currently leading the tiny army of troops meant to take out Galloway's tinier-still army, a task he takes to gratefully, as it so happens that his sister died in the dungeons of King Colin's father. Fascinating how our realms are all so interconnected...

By May Day, the Norse finish occupying Clydesdale and march on Carrick. Once we finish Ulster, we'll move onto the neighboring county of Galloway. I hope our troops can bond over how much they hate the Scots, or at least how much they hate fighting the Scots.

At least, that's the plan. What actually happens is that the Norwegians won, so our war on Galloway for Ulster is...no longer valid...wait, what? Oh, I see; now Galloway is part of Scotland.
This was a colossal waste of time, and now part of Ulster is under the control of the mightier-than-ever Queen of the Scots. I no longer like you, Norway!

I begin figuring out how to lift my excommunication. The answer turns out to be "Make the Pope hate you a lot less". I contemplate methods by which I may assuage my guilt in shirking the traditions and duties of Christian and make amends. I decide to go by a method as old as the Papacy itself, if not older:

Best two-hundred ducats I ever spent; now everyone hates me less!

Come the end of July, I get an odd letter.

"...Denis? Could you explain this?"

"Madness. And who all did you get to join this plot?"
"Let's see...Prince Eadmund the Cruel of England, the Dukes of Mercia and Kent, three bishops, the baroness of Tottenham, the mayor of Hertford, and four random English courtiers."
"And you arranged this, how?"
"My business, not yours. But suffice it to say that you are not the only one who would profit from Aethelwulf not making it to the throne..."
"Is this more of your mad plan to kill my sisters-in-law to put my line on the English throne?"
"Don't have to. Knock off Aethelwulf and his nephew Aelfgar, and little Repwoc will be the heir for the English throne."
"You are terrifying. But why do you want me to rule England? Why should I want to rule England?"
"More land. More vassals. More soldiers. More power. Besides...it means that you will certainly be able to call England against Scotland, to reclaim Ulster and reunite Ireland."
"...I suppose I might as well finish this, since it's underway..."
"That's the spirit! And trust me, everything will be alright..."

Everything went wrong.

I don't think I need to explain more. The entire English royal family has another reason to dislike me.

I hear of King Tagd's exploits in the Holy Land. He captured some Mayor of Fustat, a Fatmid city. Good for him.
Shortly after this prisoner was taken, the Pope declared the Crusade successful, a coincidence which Tagd is sure to imply means more than it does. In any case, the King of France is declared to have done the most, which is hardly surprising. I suppose the Emperor has a shot, but...eh. In any case, King Hugues II, the Able, is now king of France, Aquataine, and Jerusalem. He is also count of a bajillion places and mayor, baron, and bishop of several others. Good for the big blue blob.

The son of theBishop of Llandaff and Steward of Gwent is in my court somehow. He claims that he would be a better spymaster than my current one, which is true. However, Denis points out that this is because both are mediocre.
"What you need," she says, "is a master of intrigue."
"We don't have any in Ireland."
"Then look elsewhere. The Swede Henrik af Furuby is twice the spymaster any in your court are, and he hates his liege enough that he's willing to go practically anywhere."
"And we can trust him?"
"He's as zealous as you are, and if you bring him here and give him what he wants..."
"...Very well. We have our new Spymaster."

I hear of a castle in the County Safed in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Castle of Belvoir, which has been given to the Knights of St. John. The Infidels should tremble, but I am no infidel, so why should I care?
In other news, the Saracens have declared a "jee-hod"--a sort of Islam-Crusade--against the French king and all Christianity to reclaim their holy city, which is somehow also Jerusalem. I thought it was Mechanical. Get out of Jerusalem, you infidels--it was our holy city first!

A new year. Another of Denis's plotters has found a maid willing to off the prince. Though it troubles my heart...I allow it, overlook it. Before January ends, the life of Aethelwulf does. This world is, indeed, too cruel for children, and if this is how one accomplishes such minor and righteous goals as uniting Ireland...perhaps it is too cruel for me.
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Another Sultan declared a geehod on the kingdoms of France and Jerusalem. Apparently, there are six of them. Get your act together, Saracens. ...By which I mean, "fight amongst yourselves", not "unite into a giant megablob that destroys us all".

Early in March, the King of England calls us into a war against Scotland, trying to retake Cumberland. I can commit over three thousand troops; why not? The Scots have something of everyone's (except the Welsh's, of course).By the end of April, my troops are ready to march for Scotland. By mid-May, over three thousand and three hundred Irish soldiers march on and attack less than thirteen hundred Scots. In Cumberland, nearly ten thousand English will soon be joined by nearly four thousand more. I'm not sure where the Scottish army is; I hope we can outrun it if it numbers, say, five thousand and decides that the Irish lands look like a better way to pretend to win this war.
I remembered to appoint generals this time! Within a week of skirmishing, their left flank breaks, followed quickly by the right, with the middle collapsing by the start of June. We slew every one of them with a cost of less than two hundred Irish soldiers, an acceptable cost. However, it looked like my victory would be short-lived...

...until I reread the English troop movements which good king Eadward shared.

No one defeats the Irish and English armies! They say there may only be one, but it will not be you, Scotland!
The Scots won the battle in Galloway, but with many of their troops dead. The more important battle in Argyll, however, was a decisive win by the English. Just over two thousand broken-spirited Scots ran towards Ulster, trapped between over three thousand entrenched Irish warriors and nearly ten thousand pursuing English troops. They break within a week of our ambush; over two hundred fifty of theirs dead, at a cost of sixteen Irish. They broke and fled for Tyrone; I decided I would allow the much larger English force to deal with them and maintain my post at the siege.

My brother, Domnall, comes of age. He is a master of diplomacy and statesmanship, enough to make any teacher--or brother--proud. His ambition clouds his judgement, however; he dislikes me slightly for it and for his claim on the Kingdom of Ireland.

The English make it to Ulster, then...turn for Galloway? Okay, first off, it's not terribly nice to just leave my besieged county to its fate. Second, why did you take a detour to Ireland to reach somewhere on the same island?
I leave the levees of Tara and Wexford to continue the siege and send the other twenty-seven-odd-thousand troops to deal with the Scots. Much to my surprise, King Eadward joins me! Less than six hundred fifty survived long enough to flee. I hunted them down while England returned to deal with the remaining Scots in Scotland.
Apparently, the Pope liked this, because Seoan reported success with convincing him to like me more as this battle was ocurring.
Sadly, a hundred and twenty Scots survived. Cursed Scots, always surviving when I try to kill them (except the ones I kill). I kill a handful of infantry on my way back to the siege; the rest are going south to harass the chapel at Kells, held by Seoan. On the bright side, I got some officer named Malise Mac Aeda. Wait, Mac Aeda...he's...mother of God, I captured the heir to the Scottish throne!

During this time, I check up on some old mail in my In-Box. My spymaster discovers that the Earl of Ossory was plotting to fabricate a claim on the Duchy of Munster, ruled by his liege, Duchess Finnguala the Twin. I tell him to stop. My spymaster dies. Huh. Maybe I should watch out for this Earl of Ossory...
I find a Mogens Svendsen, a cynical but virtuous Dane. Son of a count who was the son of a king, neither of whom Mogens was born in time to see, Mogens serves in the court of Count Rolf of Blekinge, a twin who was clearly the evil one, as he is slothful, wrathful, deceitful, and charitible. Well, not all bad, but he rubs Mogens the wrong way. Moreover, a shocking number of the court (including the count, Mogens, and his wife) are elusive shadows or otherwise highly skilled at intrigue. I can hardly blame Mogens for a little madness--he is possessed, but because he saw a holy comet the night he first started showing symptoms of possession, he's convinced that the voices he hears are Jesus's! Despite this, he refuses to truly believe! What a poor man. Clearly, I should make him my Spymaster. I mean, he is very good at spymastery, and if he should die too suddenly, his wife is also a cynical shadow (and a poet!).

My brother points out that he would be a far superior chancellor to my current one, who is well on in years and without high birth to boot. I agree!

I feel terrible for treating people so cruelly as I have been, so I stop. I feel much better now! I can focus my cruelty on the Scots. And the Connachtians. I'm Kind now!
...Wait...wasn't I already Kind? What a strange event to happen in my life.

Christmas Day, 1115. We take the castle at Downpatrick and begin besieging the cathedral at Connor. I feel more than a little smug at having managed to sieze both Queen Gruoch's son and the capital of Ulster before England did more than slaughter Scottish troops (though evidently he slaughtered enough that our marshals agree that he did just over three-quarters of the work).

The New Year comes. A few hundred English troops get ambushed by several hundred Scots. I continue to feel slightly smug. More stray English troops get ambushed by them.


Mogens gets me in contact with one of his old assassin contacts, some Italian from Firenze, for some training in not getting killed.
"Make sure monks are monks. Don't trust anyone giving you a four-fingered handshake, or a six-fingered one, or an inn that smells like manure."
"Why would someone give me a smelly inn?"
"No, I mean don't trust inns that smell like manure. Go to the next town, travel through the night if you must. If it smells like manure, there's probably manure--"
"--which is reason enough to pass by the inn--"
"--which tends to be explosive under the right conditions, which are probably there, because no inn needs that much manure unless someone's trying to kill someone else."
Huh. Well, I am no longer terrible at intrigue! I, like my wife, now have a basic understanding of Intrigue! I suddenly feel an urge to make sure Mogens likes me.

My grandmother dies. She is basically all the family I have left on my father's side. It's a sad day. I now have some of Wales, which makes things...well...not sure if it's better or worse, really.

Connor is besieged. England's still only managed to kill Scots. King Sancho of Castille, my uncle-by-law and Eadward's brother-in-law, somehow got invited. The Pope likes this, because Seoan reports still more success in making him like me. Now, the Pope likes me a ton, likely as much as anyone can. Not a bad turnaround, since I was excommunicated a couple years ago! It's amazing what a good Chaplain (and a bucket of gold) can do.

Sancho deposits 2,700 troops in Cumberland. England finally takes Burgh. I casually remind him that, despite needing to take care of rogue Scots, I'm well underway with taking a third holding. Eadward glares.

July comes, and with it...victory. Now, since Scotland has under a thousand troops, and technically that was England's war, I send my soldiers home long enough to have a few nights at home before declaring war on Queen Gruoch. I, of course, check with the Pope to make sure it's okay to do something so daring.
"Go for it," he writes. "Seoan is such a friendly fellow."
Ulster will be mine. Or, well, my aunt's, but she'll be my vassal.
By the time September closes, the army is readied in Breifne. Whilst there, I decide I will treat the army to some new uniforms, and discover an...interesting individual. I'm warned to stay away from one Kol, since he's a shady former Spymaster.


Until I can find him, though, it's time to return to my army. The general is a bastard, his right-hand man is a sadistic, ancient bishop, and his left-hand man is a fat scholar, but I know it's enough to defeat the dirty Scots.

October begins. I hear that King Tagd the Second of Connacht has executed his wife! I investigate his past, and note that he is paranoid, cruel, lustful, and dabbles in the occult. Somehow, despite this long list of crimes, the Pope likes him! Shame there's no option for one who protests these practices of the Pope to choose...

I find the tailor. He acts ignorant and offers me tea. I'm half-convinced I have the wrong man, until he grabs my wrist, drags me down to his level, and sticks a knife at my throat.
"Who sent you?"
"Where did the knife come from?"
"I'm asking the questions here! Who sent you? Was it Tagd? Gruoch? Denis? Hugues? That old basard Torgil? Eadward? Paschal?"
I try to say, "I am King Demman of Ireland, and wish to learn your secrets!" Judging by his reaction, what he heard was "King Dem of Ireland, learn your rats!" Thankfully, half of his reaction was to move the knife farther from my throat.
"I am King Demman of Ireland, and wish to learn your secrets."
"Oh, you are, now are you?"
We talk a bit, and he agrees to train me. Before I leave, I ask him one question.
"You know who I am, and I do not know who you are."
"I am Kol Sverker of Sweden."
"What, Duke Sven's father?"
"The same."
"I'd heard you died in Nasborg's dungeons twenty years ago, imprisoned by your son!"
"Funny how these rumors get started, eh?"
"But you must be getting close to a hundred, then?"
"Eighty-six, eighty-seven this next January, and that I've survived so long should show how much I can teach, no?"
I decided not to bring up how he was supposed to be paranoid, possessed by demons, and cynical.

I relax with minor realm matters.
The King of Gywend allows one Nest to marry King Tagd II the Mad. I'm trying to figure out how this happened; Nest's parents and younger sister are all in my court, although her elder brother is Grywind's semi-competent spymaster.
One of Munster's courtiers wants to kill another. I tell him to stop.

Before All Hallow's Eve, I discover Ealdgyth is once more pregnant! Fate smiles upon us again.
Days later, my troops cross to Scotland. By mid-November, almost 1500 troops have landed in Tyrone, unexpectedly. Somehow, Gruoch has found about 800 troops since the last war. Speaking of war, apparently another Caliph is geehodding against Jerusalem.
As I slaughter a few hundred Scots in the south of Scotland (getting zero "war-score," strangely), I get word of disease breaking out in Tyrone's camps. The Scots are no longer able to continue the siege, although they're more capable than some sieges that have graces northern Ireland in recent years.

Measels have broken out in Tyrconnel. I can only hope that, rather than infect all of Ireland, it restricts itself to Connacht and the parts of Tyrone that the Scots are hanging out in.

My little brother, who hates me, asks for a fief. I decide to see why he hates me.

I've got it. I'll give him the County of Gywrad. It's far away, he'll be able to wage war agains the rest of the kingdom, and it's something he wants! Sure enough, his opinion shoots up massively in the positive, since he likes that I gave him a title and doesn't want as many of mine. Sadly, I'm down to almost no demense again, and he can't be my Chancellor anymore, despite being the best. On the bright side, I notice several hundred troops in Wales. Don't you hate when you forget a regiment?

I discover that England's treaty with the Scots has ended, probably because the old Queen finally died. I decide not to call him in unless I need to.

As the end of April draws near, two things occur. One, my Spymaster sends word of new technology from Paris. Two, on the same day, Kol finishes my training, which seems twice as effective as that Mogens's friend taught me. I still have a long way to go, of course...

My six-hundred-fifty soldiers kill a couple hundred Scots on their way from Wales to Ulster. Still no war-score or recorded battles.

On the last day of May, my daughter is born. I can't decide if I should name her Haldora after my mother or Heilwiva after Ealdgyth's, so I decide on Halwiva. I still don't get these looks Eadlgyth gives me...

The Earl of Tyrconnel dies, apparently not from measles.

My troops are attacked in Galloway, by a smaller force of Scots, fighting in terrain suitable for defense. We somehow lose.

Towards the end of another October, we finally take Cownpatrick and some war-score. I consider calling in my brother-in-law, but he's busy in the Holy Land.

My steward reports issues with collecting taxes. I also realize why the new Earl of Tyrconnel sounded familiar for no apparent reason--he has the same name as my steward!

The one thousand, one hundred, and eighteenth Year of Our Lord comes. The Knights Templar are officially formed, lead by some German named Arnold living in Orleans. Basically, they're halfway between mercenaries and crusaders. While I'd be fine with them taking on the Saracens, I can't imagine they'll amount to much; they've already gotten ire with the hashashin, and there's no way they'll come out on top there.

Near the end of February, we occupy Connor again. We're like regulars at the temple. Bishop Alan remembers how I like my tea! He likes me a lot, not minding that I've repeatedly sieged his home at all, focusing instead on my piety.

Another Welshman, from the Kingdom of Debeuharth this time, marries someone to the court of King Tagd the Mad-naminous. I've also discovered that he wants to improve his Intrigue.

A few things happen within a few days of each other. We occupy Carrickfergus; more knowledge flows from Paris; and Aelfgar Guthfrithson died in a hunting accident.

As August fades to September, we assault Dunlee and finish occupying Ulster. I am informed that we're only a couple of years from being able to reclaim Connacht. Perfect, though I need to wait for my manpower to recover before attacking them.
We wipe out the Scots "besieging" Tyrone and capture Gruoch's second husband, King Malise's stepfather. The remaining troops flee for Ulster, to join an unsieging force of...wait, five troops? Seriously? That's so hilariously pathetic. We wipe them out nearly to a man without really trying; the rest flee for Galloway, to join a few hundred more troops. Four hundred Scots, almost a quarter of which are broken-hearted and soggy? I still have over two thousand Irish troops! You are doomed, Scots. Even more doomed, since the folks in Galloway decided to flee before we could get there. Once we annihilated those ninety-nine, the Scots surrendered, the troops returned home, and I prepared to finish the unification of Ireland. But, not now; my vassalsare strongly disliking how long the levees have been raised, and they are somewhat depleted.

As a closing note, the Knights Templar have a castle built for them in a region occupied by the Persian Shah, Toghan the Great. I'm sure they appreciate the gift!
Thanks for the support. I wouldn't do this if I didn't think people were reading it.

And Denis is supposed to be a bit scary. If I knew how, once Demman united the kingdom of Ireland I'd have Denis start plotting to take the throne. She's Ambitious, by luck (since I can't get the Add Trait command to work on other characters, which is a shame because she got a crap education), and hates me more than anyone else in my court (she's the only one with a negative opinion, though Henrik's younger daughter has a perfectly neutral opinion of me since she's a Swede follower of Norse Paganism.)

I could probably conquer the Kingdom of Connacht immediately, since their allies in Galloway and Deheubarth are respectively a Scottish vassal and a glorified countess. It would be close, but I could take them. However, my vassals are angered at how long I've held their levees out; I'll wait for now.

Domnall, my chancellor, tells me he got a claim on the county title the King of Gywden holds. Well, it's a start. I use it and make a note to take it once I finish unifying Ireland.

1119 comes. Within days of the new year, my brother starts a faction which seeks to put Denis on my throne (I am not kidding)! At the moment, he is the only member of the faction, but he holds a quarter as many troops as I. She comes of legal age a month after the faction is founded; I wonder if there is a connection.

March comes, and I am falconing with my wife. I accidentally let her favorite buzzard go free; she's not happy.

Late July comes. I am reminded about the dead Queen of Scotland's husband being in my dungeons when he wails for better accomadations. Being a good king, I consent, then ransom him to his stepson for a paltry 10 ducats. I note that he has strong, inheritable claims on Debeuharth, Gywedn, and Scotland; I invite him to my court immediately, and he accepts.

Late September. I have six hundred ducats in gold and other liquid assets.

(The next part is fluff I've been meaning to start for a while.)
There are three duchies in Ireland. Munster occupies roughly the southwestern third of the isle and is rules by Finnguala the Twin. The Archbishopric of Tara is of similar size, on the east coast and in the center, and is ruled by the Bishop of Tara, currently Seoan. Ulster is the northern tip of Ireland, and is held by the Irish king (me), along with Leinster. Then there's the County of Gywwend. In any case, Seoan and Finnguala (along with nearly everyone in Ireland save Tagd) knows that I will unite Ireland sooner or later, likely sooner, and have therefore started debating who should hold the terrotory currently held by Tagd II. Seoan argues that, since he holds Breifne, part of the region of Connacht, it should be his; Finnguala argues that she rules the west of Ireland and Seoan the east, so it is hers. I should probably just make Tagd's successor independent of other nobles, save of course me.

Repwoc comes of age where he needs a guardian. I send him to the court of Duchess Finnguala to learn from her, a master of statesmanship and diplomacy. Hopefully, his illness will not come to haunt me.

I raise my voice at a servant who breaks a vase. This is the third outburst this week! I reconsider things, for the second time. I become kind again. Perhaps I should name myself Demmon the Thrice-Kind. Denis looks like she can't decide if she sould burst out laughing or just give me one of those absolutely terrifying stares God gave women to compensate for being second-class citizens at best.

June of 1120 comes. I decide that it is time to finish reuniting Ireland. I declare war on Connacht.

(Sorry about the lack of pictures; I was basically burning off the levees-raised penalty, and besides, my internet connection was wonky. But I've declared war, so next episode should be good.)

War was declared as June dawned. In a few weeks, Connachtian troops tried to ambush my troops as they marched towards Kildare. A month after that, we engage them; their army is routed by the start of August and crushed again a couple weeks later. Then, the army settles down for a siege...

I discover that the second daughter of the Earl of Tryconnel seeks to kill the first. This is unacceptable! I demand she end the plot; she accepts.

Come the Winter Solstice, supplies are discovered to be smuggled into Roscommon, the capital of Connacht. We delay one shipment four days and then terminate the efforts.

I am starting to think that Ben-Ulad de Leinster, younger bastard half-sister of the Queen of Connacht and member of my court, fancies me. I resist my urges...

Late March. More supplies smuggled in. I knew my Christmas spirit would come to haunt me. Only a matter of time until the Christmas spirits of my grandfather and descendants do so as well...

Early April. A barracks has been built in Leinster. Next, a stable. We've built a decent bit there.

Late April. Ealdgyth is pregnant once more! A couple days later, we get word that Jerusalem fell. The rest of its Kingdom is likely to follow. It's what one could expect, really, with the new king--Geraud, son of Hugues, ascended to the throne a couple of years ago, while those Saracens were reclaiming our holy land. Such a simpleton.

Mid-May. Seoan convinced the Pope that I'm not such a bad guy.

I note that Gywend is at war with the Duke of Mercia, the second-most powerful man in England and probably the third in Britain.

Ninteenth of September, 1121. A year and four months after this war started, we have taken the capital and claimed victory and Ireland for ourselves, somehow ending up with Princess Eva of Scotland and Ruaidri, my cousin, in my dungeons. The Duchess of Munster doesn't want Ruaidri back, so I release him anyways. She is, however, interested in the Princess of Scotland, so there we go.

With Ireland united, it is time for something I have planned for many, many years. Even as a child, Denis and I dreamed of what could happen on that fateful year. Some of our ideas, like asking Merlin to bless the Crown of Ireland, turned out o be infeasible for one reason or another, but some should still work. For instance, inviting all knights of Europe to participate in a Grand Tournament. Sadly, only the Irish knights, a few Welsh (mostly my brother's), a token few from England, and a Gallowayan knight who I suspect came here by accident showed up, but it's still an excellent showing--at least one man from every kingdom in Britain, much better than I expected.

Denis's mother is discovered to have remarried before the festivities can really get underway. If I sieze them, there's a 25% chance the husband, one Magnus with no living family, will be banished, otherwise he will be imprisoned alongside Lucia. I feel like I've mocked this before.

November 20th, 1121. A Sunday, the beginning of the Tournament. For the next two months, let all show their martial brilliance! The next day, my second daughter is born. I name her Stuyvestant, despite my wife's continued odd looks. Regardless, it occurs to me that Thursday that I have many reasons to be giving thanks. Perhaps we should have some national holy-day every fourth week of November?

The Winter Solstice of the Tournament has a tragedy. Padern, a squire from Debeuharth, was maimed and left infirm in my court.

The victor was Donncuan mac Ruaidri, grandons of a Duke of Connacht and elder brother of the imprisoned Queen of Gywennd. My marshal came in second place, and he complained about being bested by such an amateur for days. Ruaidri, my cousin, took third place.

The tournament passes; spring leaves; and I grow restless. I look around; the other nations look weak, compared to the might of Ireland and England.


(Short update, but it's late and that seemed like the perfect place to end the update.)
(A week and already I've got Ireland. Not bad for Demman.)
I note that my mother is evidently participating in a sizeable revolt, which has seized over a third of Scotland (mostly the north, south of the Norse holdings that is--though those holdings are currently held by a rebel as well). Good for her!

June begins. The Duke of Mercia ends his war with Gywend, taking their capital...which is kinda what we wanted. Not wanting to get completely shut out of that prize, I have my chancellor work on fabricating claims in...in...it starts with a "P" and is all that's left of Gerwynd.

September. My aunt, Countess of Ulster and husband of the Earl of Tyrone, inherited a barony. One in Ulster, at least.

November. As the first anniversary of the Great Tourney comes along, I consider the possibility that my spymaster's daughter fancies me. I force myself to resist, but feel asth ough I have overcome some great barrier. Seoan assures me that this is because i "passed 600 piety," which makes as much sense as talk of scoring wars.

I decide to go through with the Festival of Giving Thanks in memory of uniting Ireland and of the Tourney. It's quite a party.

Old Tagd says he's seen the error of his ways and wants to become a man of the cloth. Specifically, someone's chaplain. I don't think he'll have much success, especially if I can get him excommunicated. I hope I can...

Just after the new year, former king Colin died, leaving my aunt devastated.

March. Seoan reports that the Pope likes me even more.

June. Halwiva is old enough to be sent somewhere for teaching. She's already a deceptive little girl...

...who Denis and I suspect would do well to develop that talent. Who better than my Spymaster? I can think of no one. He's got some odd religious ideas--something about poverty, the worthlessness of relics and pilgrimage, and how preachers shouldn't hold office--and he seems possessed, and claims to hear Jesus, and speaks in what sound like tongues (I think I've heard some Italian), and he's a cynic, but he follows all the Virtues save Caritas, and he says he can teach Halwiva Latin, which sounds impressive.

Scotland is having another internal issue--they're trying to revoke the title of the Count of Clydesdale.

September, 1123. I have secured a claim on the P place. P-wald. I declare war on them and raise the levees of vassals who do not particularly remember the last wars.

Let Ireland grow strong as Scotland collapses.
It appears that soon the Welsh will join the Irish under Demman's rule. Definitely great to see that Scotland isn't really in any condition to interfere at the moment.

Also, it appears that England has inherited Burgundy, from what I can see of the map. What caused that, I wonder?
Whatever did the poor girl, Demman's second daughter, do to get stuck with that name!? :p

That spymaster - possessed, heretic, a cynic - sounds like an awesome dude to have mentoring your children and keeping your back safe from any knife being planted in it...

Ireland looks impressive. I wonder how long Demman will get to enjoy it before Denis acts up. ;)
Also, it appears that England has inherited Burgundy, from what I can see of the map. What caused that, I wonder?
The current Duke of Upper Burgundy, Kano the Third, is the Marshal and Seneschal of England. His grandfather was the Duke but his father was not. England must have pressed his claim and somehow vassalized him (perhaps high Relations and/or hating the French king helped?). The current Duke of Burgundy is also a brilliant strategist, but a hedonist and full of wrath. Fascinating.
Good catch, by the way. How often do AAR readers notice something the AARer didn't?

Ireland looks impressive. I wonder how long Demman will get to enjoy it before Denis acts up. ;)
As I mentioned a while back, Demman's brother started a faction to put Denis on the throne. As of yet, no one else has joined. I'm not sure why he decided to do that--putting himself, or at least a non-bastard son, on the throne makes more sense. Ah, AI.

My aunt got married to the widower of Scotland without asking anyone. I allow it. On second thought, maybe I should have forced them to get a matrilinial marriage, so their kids would be of my dynasty AND have a claim on Scotland...I'm thinking like Denis now, aren't I?

One of the Caliphs who declared a geehod on France realized that the Kingdom of Jerusalem is controlled by that other Caliph. He calls it off.

Gywwenid's fleet puts out to sea. Three hundred troops land in Ulster, not enough to siege anything. I send fifteen hundred to greet them. They take it pretty well--a bit over a hundred even survive. Sadly, this delays our invasion; our army doesn't even set sail until after Christmas, though we reach my brother's port come the New Year. January of 1124 is halfway through by the time we start the siege.

As the month closes, the Bishop of Ferns gives me a sternly-worded letter about my Spymaster, decrying him as a heretic. I spend an evening contemplating what it means about our church that that is the only issue he has with a mad, cynical, Danish master of deception.

March comes. My bastard half-uncle Murchad came of age, and showed a fair bit of talent with finance.

April ends. An unremarkable, elderly war-scholar leading some of my troops dies in his sleep. It's sad.

Third of December, 1124. The defenders of Rhuddlan are very near defeat.

I feel annoyed for some reason. Regardless, it falls shortly thereafter. The Siege of Denbigh starts, but come the New Year, the King of Gwynedd surrenders, spelling the end of his kingdom.

Scotland has, by then, resolved its problems, in the sense that Albany, ruled by the Petty King Murdoch Dunkeld, brother of King Edgar, split away. Of course, if the old king dies, Scotland would be reunited.
This must not happen. I should consider sending some bodyguards to them...
(Incidentally, King Edgar of Scotland is married to a woman named Denis, daughter of the Debeuharthian queen.)

Someone from Leon shows up at my court. Her husband's grandfather is my great-grandfather, which makes her my...second cousin, once removed, in law? Dunno. She's here, anyways.

Mid-July, 1125. The Duke of Mercia conquers Debeuharth and makes himself the Duke of Deheubarth as well as Northumberland, Lancaster, York, and of course Mercia. Duke Guthfrith of Hwicce is probably the second-most-powerful man in England; he rules over most of its lands either directly or through vassals, and if he had one more Welsh province...he could call himself King of Wales and break free of his obligations to England. Hm. Luckily, half of the rest of Welsh land is mine and the other half is Cornwall, also under England.

Worth worrying about.


(That one brown province is the county owned by Domnall, brother of the king. It's Irish.)
(Quick update today, I'm in a bit of a rush.)

August comes. My wife is pregnant once more!

Mid-September. My brother-in-law's wife, the Queen of England, died. A month later, after failing to convince the King of France to let him marry his daughter, he marries the eldest Holy Roman Princess.

Around then, it occurs to me that running my kingdom of Ireland and a bit of Wales is a lot of work. I decide to put to it and rest in Heaven.

All Hallow's Eve. Mogens the Dane discovers that my wife is plotting to kill my nephew!
"Ealdgyth? How are things between you and my brother?"
"Domnall? Alright, why do you ask?"
"How about Ruaidri? All right there?"
"...What's the purpose of this inquiry?"
"Mogens told me that you're planning to kill Ruaidri."
"...Alright, it's true. I was."
"Why? Why do you want to kill him?"
"I don't know. It...it would bring his land closer to being held by the King."
"It made sense at the time. I don't know what came over me..."
"I understand; I've been there too. Just..."
"I know, I'll stop."
I have a feeling I know who is responsible.

My brother stops trying to put Denis on the throne. He's clearly gotten my letters.

The day after Christmas, a lowborn Welsh courtier named Padern died, too much partying the previous night having finally driven him over the edge into a fatal coma.

March, 1126. A daughter is born. My wife insists on naming her, Derbail. I don't see what's wrong with Specialist...

June. Maredudd ap Gruffyd, widower of the late Queen of Scotland and my aunt's husband, died.

November, just a week or so before the Week of Thanks-Giving. The King of England has a new heir. I suppose that Repwoc won't be the King of England, barring one of Denis's schemes.

(As good a place as any to finish up. Come on, Domnall--my-chancellor, fabricate that claim!)