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Rhoth

War and Beer - Tales of the Sithrigi Dynasty (CK2 AAR)

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Sláinte! Go mbeannaí Dia duit!

 

Or for you English bastards: "Cheers. May God bless you."

 

Greetings. My name is Cú Uladh, Earl of Ulster in Ireland. It is my pleasure to start you on your journey through the history of the Sithrigi Dynasty. We began, very humbly, with yours truly. I'm a plainspoken man, not given to the flatteries of the diplomats, but as it was me that truly started the Sithrigi line and not my somewhat better known descendants it falls upon me to start you out. First though, a little about me so you can understand just how humbly the Sithrigi dynasty began. Compare this to where we are today and you will be truly amazed, I'm sure.

 

It is the year 1066 and I'm already 42 years old. My parents are long dead and I was an only child. Worse, I have no wife, and no children. Times being what they were I could die tomorrow, and my only heir is a distant cousin. Truly, things were not looking good for the future of the dynasty. Being honest with myself, I know that I am the cause. Early on in life I realized that I should devote myself to spiritual needs and limit the pleasures of the flesh. While this has certainly improved my standing with the church, I've never been with a woman before. It is difficult to conceive an heir if you have never been with a woman in 42 years of life.

 

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My court is a mix of wonderful to merely competent. I am blessed with the help of a truly gifted steward and my chaplain, the Bishop of Connor is a man of great faith. My chancellor, Dun Sléíbe MacEochald, is also my kinsman and my heir until I can manage to produce one of my own.

 

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My county itself, while a thing of great pastoral beauty, was not known as a place where the important people converge. We had little wealth, and little prestige, though my belief in God did inspire the people a little. I take solace in that. But it was time for change...

Bail ó Dhia ort

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Sláinte

 

The Year 1066

 

September.

 

While the thought of marriage...and being with a woman...nearly brought tears to my eyes, I knew that I must do my duty for the Sithrigi line before it dies out. And if that happens there would be no one to blame but me. I search long and hard for a wife, until I met Ainés of Aquitaine. Not only beautiful, but she shared with me a love of God. I knew that I had to have her for my wife so I went to my knee and asked for her hand in marriage. Her eyes filled with moisture and she agreed at once. Of course her father had some say in this and he promised to get back to me.

 

Gura slán an scéalai

 

[player note] I was leery of marrying a chaste wife to a chaste earl, but Ainés had the best overall stats and good traits, plus she was the best alliance match I could find. [/player note]

 

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One month later in October I had my answer. Ainés of Aquitaine would be my wife! Joyous day!

 

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While all this was going on I made certain that my only heir Dun Sléibe, found a wife as well, one Vivili Hermigues. If I wasn't able to, uhmm, perform after all these years, it might fall upon Dun Sléibe's heirs to continue our line, diluted though his portion of the line may be.

 

 

The Year 1067

 

During the first portion of the year I toyed around with reducing the size of levies that the city burghers would owe me. Of course that made them happy, but it was my intention to slowly build toward increasing the taxes they owe me. Ulster is poor. There is little we can accomplish without money. The months continued to pass and some rebels rose up in the county of Ormond on the other side of Ireland, but that wasn't very interesting.

 

Of more pressing concern was the continued lack of child. I discovered that I really, really enjoyed relations with my wife, though she wasn't necessarily so sanguine about it. She still clung to her beliefs, perhaps even harder than before. Meanwhile I went off carousing a bit. Maybe if she sees how much fun it can be she will join me

 

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In July my heir Dun Sléibe was blessed with a son. Lucky bastard. Counting back the months this child must have been conceived on their wedding night. And here I can barely enter my own wife's chambers before she shoos me out. Well, at least my heir's succession line is well, even if my own is not.

 

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Slán leat

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Sláinte

 

The Year 1069

 

The years have passed slowly. My wife continues to get more beautiful as she ages, yet she still rarely lets me into her bedchamber. Until one day she tells me that I've been absent too much. Ah, so now it's my fault. I just don't understand women. They are fun, but...well, you know. I buy her a pair of ruby earrings as recompense and says she loves me. I suddenly realize that in 3 years of marriage she has never once said that before. She loves me! Now maybe her bedchamber door will be propped open a bit more often, hmmm?

 

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I realize that my sex life isn't necessarily what people want to hear about, but it is the most pressing of matters for me. I need an heir. The years continue to pass us by and despite my greater frequency of spending the night in my wife's bedchamber we still do not have a direct heir. I begin to frequent a few pubs to quench my sorrows. It seems to work. Beer...good!

 

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The Year 1071

 

The Pope passed away last year, but where once that would have saddened me and driven me into a malaise I shrug it off and spend the night in my wife's bedchamber again. On the plus side, my trusted chaplain Bishop Mathgamain doesn't trust the new Pope too much. I think he might be a little under the weather from drinking me under the table at the pub last night though, and that's why he doesn't trust the new Pope.

 

Another son is born to Dun Sléibe, the little ****er! Titim gan éirí ort! And double that on your wife for being so fertile! Well, maybe not. He is still my heir after all.

 

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Sigh! Maybe a feast would help my wife in whatever is blocking her from conceiving. It can't hurt. It is kind of costly, but nothing matters to me more than my heir now. My body is slowing down. I find myself winded walking up to my wife's bedchamber now, and even moreso when I leave. I have just the thing though. I'm going to hunt the boar for the feast myself. That will show all those young pups how it's done. I'm a man and I'm virile. Fear me!

 

Unfortunately my wife decides that she has a headache and doesn't even attend the feast. I know that isn't the real reason. She is mad at me for hunting the boar myself. She refuses to let me into her bedchamber during the entirety of the feast. I'm so depressed I find myself drinking more and more beer, though it doesn't really seem to affect me. What a waste of a perfectly good feast.

 

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The Year 1072

 

Another year has passed. I've finally managed to finagle more tax money out of the city burghers. You'd think they'd be happy that they haven't had to pay for my troops these past five years, but no, they are unhappy about the new taxes and can't even remember the times they had to pay for my troops.

 

Something seems to be wrong with me though. After years of carousing I'm starting to get a few of the old urges again. Maybe it is because I'm nearing 50 and am far closer to my death than to my birth, but I'm starting to feel like I should become closer to God again. Maybe I should just give up on the whole notion of having a child and let Dun Sléibe inherit. He has two fine sons of his own, and they both show promise. I have a long talk with my chaplain Mathgamain about the possibility of abdicating, declaring a vow of celibacy and becoming a monk, but he convinces me that I need to think about it more. He tells me that no matter what my decision he will still love me, then he hands me a beer.

 

I start to think about what it would be like to never visit my wife's bedchamber again, and I finally make my decision. I turn my back on celibacy and fully embrace fun. I go up to my wife's chambers and give her a good tumble or three.

 

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It's ALL gooooood!

 

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The Year 1074

 

Two more years have passed and I'm starting to give up hope. I visit my wife's chambers daily and nightly and sometime in between, and still nothing. And then...

 

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Wondrous!!

 

Slán agat

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Success! :D I hope it's a son!

 

Great start. I definitely enjoyed the fact that once you got a taste for the fun and wild of life you went all in.

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Sláinte

 

The Year 1075

 

My life was finally worth living again. Two years ago I had taken on Dun Sléibe's heir as my ward. I wanted to see to his education in case I was never able to have a child. But really, my heart wasn't in it. I wanted to teach my own child the ways of the world and how to rule. I wanted to show my son how to bet on a joust and win (don't tell Ainés, but really I haven't been winning very often). In any case, even though I was to have my own heir I rededicated myself to teaching young Máel-Mórda and he learned how to be a kind, loving soul.

 

In April, the event I had been waiting for finally happened. On the backdrop of a vicious rebellion in the county of Dublin to the south, I have...a daughter? Uhhm, damn...I mean, well, wonderful. Mauda Nic Cú is a beautiful baby who is sure to take after her mother. And now that I know that Ainés can in fact get pregnant I'm sure we'll have many more years to beget sons.

 

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My initial misgivings aside, Mauda was a treasure. I was mired in something of a depression about my lack of an heir, but since Mauda was born I've opened up a lot. I started talking to everyone about my daughter and my beautiful wife (see her in the background there)

 

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A month or two later I realized I'm starting to become a true leader rather than just someone who takes life as it happens. The Earl of Argyll sent his chancellor around to try to see about taking over my lands. In the past I might have just let him go, or even tried to bribe him, but now? Yeah, he's a dead man!

 

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The Year 1076

 

The new year dawns bright and I look forward to the future, both for me and for Mauda. I still visit my wife's bedchamber day and night to beget a son. Our previous lives of religious contemplation seem years away now from the abandon with which we enjoy each other. After a night of wild passion I feel a twinge near my shoulder. Suddenly it feels like the whole left side of my body is on fire with pain. My vision gets blurry and as I start to slip into unconsciousness I hear Ainés screaming for help. I know it won't get here in time. My last thoughts are of my daughter Mauda, not even a year old yet, and I find myself wondering if perhaps it was a bad idea to have a child after all. I have one, single, girl child as my heir...in a male dominated world. How will she possibly succeed? I just can't fathom. I wonder if it would have been better if Dun Sléibe had inherited since he has two strong young sons to carry on his junior branch of the line.

 

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I feel myself slipping away. Regrets fill my head in my last moments. I regret that I slipped away from God. I regret that I didn't sire a strong male heir at a younger age when I could guide my heir's growth. Most of all I regret leaving Ainés. She has been truly a delight the last few years and I found myself completely and totally in love with her. But that's all gone now. There is no longer any pain and I start to wonder if I'm feeling better, when suddenly I...

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Success! :D I hope it's a son!

 

Great start. I definitely enjoyed the fact that once you got a taste for the fun and wild of life you went all in.

 

Nope. :p

 

And yeah I found it funny that my character started as chaste and started getting multiple chances at hedonism. I took all of them in an effort to counterbalance the melding of two chaste people and beget an heir. And then...boom. Dead. Dying of sexual pleasure was something I added in though, since it only said natural causes for his death, not something specific. :D

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May your craven, dwarf daughter be well, you drunken sot. ;)

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The Year 1076

 

Welcome, sniff. I am Ainés, widow of the late Cú Uladh, Earl of Ulster. Sniff.

 

Though I'm not a member of the Sithrigi Dynasty I believe that my late husband would want me to continue his story following his death. After all, our daughter Mauda can not even talk yet, how could she be expected to discourse on the history of her clan. Please do not expect too much of me, for I am still in mourning for my beloved husband.

 

Luckily, my husband had set up his county to basically run itself. Everyone knew what to do and where to be, which greatly defused my fears on the succession. Mauda is a girl, and has not even seen her first birthday yet. I feared the worst? Would her vassals revolt? And what of Dun Sléíbe MacEochald, the chancellor and Mauda's heir? Would he attempt to do away with her to press his claim and that of his sons? All of this was worrisome, but truly I needn't have worried overmuch. Dun Sléíbe became regent for Mauda, and never once showed any inclination of pressing any claims or trying to do away with her before she reached the age of majority.

 

 

The Year 1078

 

It has been nearly three years since the death of my husband. I miss him, but I begin to wonder if what I truly miss is excitement. In my early days I always had my nose in books, but I learned to love his nightly visits to my bedchamber. I miss being visited. I need someone to come to my bedchamber again. Luckily the chancellor promised to find someone for me. Good man.

 

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The Year 1078

 

The chancellor decides to hold a summer fair in Mauda's name. She is still only 3, but she charms the pants off everyone, except for the bishop who is a bit drunk. He seems to be such a stick-in-the-mud. I'm almost glad my late husband showed me how to have fun, because he certainly looks like he isn't having any fun.

 

During the fair I get a good look at the chancellor's two sons now that they are nearly of age. I had hoped they would be impressive considering the chancellor's abilities and the fact that they are in the line of succession should something dreadful happen to Mauda before she comes of age and produces an heir of her own body. Alas, one of them is slothful and gluttonous, while the other is deceitful and craven. Both appear to be headed for the priesthood as well. I'm certainly not impressed and, as if I didn't have enough motivation to see my daughter take her title, this is yet more.

 

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The Year 1081

 

The years continue to roll by and Mauda grows more and more each day. She is a bright child, possessed of energy, though I despair of her overly developed love of food. Another Pope dies, and the new one is very charismatic. The Bishop is quite taken with him and begins to send his taxes to the Pope instead of my daughter. The nerve!

 

The chancellor has been in and out of Oriel to the south for 15 years, attempting to manufacture documents that would allow my former husband to declare war. But all without success. Suddenly he shows up at court with a huge grin on his face. Success. He immediately informs the court, and though my daughter is but 6 we collectively decide to press her claim. No reason she shouldn't control two counties. She can do anything she wants.

 

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Levies are raised, but the earl of Oriel holds a slight advantage in troops. This could be bad, until I look over and see the chancellor smiling again with a plan to explain. How could he have raised such nincompoops for sons when he is so intelligent? During the chancellor's wanderings he acquired the friendship of one Cuthbert of York, the leader of a large band of mercenaries. We had more than enough gold in the coffers to pay for them. The earl of Oriel wouldn't stand a chance.

 

[author's note] I need to remember to take more screenshots of the wars in progress. I usually take screenshots before and after, but rarely during. From now on I will try to remember [/author's note]

 

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Within a few short months of campaigning the earl of Oriel was not only defeated, but captured. The title of Oriel now belonged to my beloved daughter.

 

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Edited by Rhoth

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May your craven, dwarf daughter be well, you drunken sot. ;)

 

Guess again. ;) She's the daughter of a ruler, not conmcb25. :cute:

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Died in the sack! How appropriate! :p

 

Go little Mauda, show Daddy how it's done. He'll be looking down at you from the great pub in the sky! :D

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The Year 1081, continued

 

The chancellor immediately offers up a plan for Mauda to become not only the Countess of Ulster, but the Duchess of Ulster as well. With the acquisition of Oriel we can now press a claim for the long unused title. I could almost kiss him, if we weren't already both married. Alas, we lack the funds right now, having used some of that to pay off Cuthbert of York. Money well spent in my opinion. Soon...

 

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The Year 1082

 

Soon after hatching his plan for acquiring the duchy of Ulster, the chancellor headed off to Dublin to begin pressing claims there. Why own just one duchy when Mauda could have two? Unfortunately his absence in his duties as chancellor has been noted by the regency council and he is ousted as regent, though he still continues his duties as chancellor. I'm sorry to see him ousted, but there was nothing I could do. As merely the mother of the Countess I don't even get a vote on what happens. At least his pride wasn't so stung that he left in disgust. We need him still.

 

[author's note] What is up with the court intrigue stuff that ousts a regent? It appeared to have absolutely no effect, but it happened I believe three times[/author's note]

 

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The Duke of Galloway, otherwise known as the ***** Who Picks On Little Girls, decides to press a claim on Ulster. Our spymaster is sent out to survey the situation in Scotland and it appears that Mauda should be fine. Scotland is a war-torn mess right now and the Duke of Galloway is already at war with the King of Scotland. Not much chance of him deciding to up and use his false claim.

 

Later in the year, as Mauda is learning how to deal with strangers, Brittany is sacked and we have a sudden influx of de Rohan courtiers flood our court. We barely have enough room for them and some of them have to sleep two to a room (amidst complaints), but Mauda is determined not to turn them away, strangers though they be.

 

[author's note] Honestly not sure how I came to acquire a boatload of new courtiers. I can't remember if they were related to my first ruler's wife or the chancellor's wife, or some other relation. Whatever the cause they proved semi-useful later on as a couple of them served me as spymasters. [/author's note]

 

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The Year 1083

 

Oh how I wish that Dun Sléíbe were still Mauda's regent. The new regent pressed her claim as Duchess of Ulster before we were really ready. Sure, she was now a Duchess, but the coffers were completely empty after he sent out all the banns and pomp proclaiming her new title. What if we're attacked? We are still a small realm and now we no longer have the coin necessary to hire Dun Sléíbe's friend Cuthbert of York. I can't tell you how scared I was. But...Mauda was now a Duchess!!

 

Long live Duchess Mauda! Or as Cú Uladh might say, "Saol fada chugat Bandiúc Mauda"

 

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Died in the sack! How appropriate! :p

 

Go little Mauda, show Daddy how it's done. He'll be looking down at you from the great pub in the sky! :D

 

I'll just say "Damn, you go girl!" as a teaser for what comes later. ;) She is only 7 years into her reign at this point (at the age of 8). Still have a lot to go.

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The Years 1084-1086

 

Perhaps I should digress a little here and talk about my daughter's growth as a little girl. When my former husband died, while I was not able to choose her regent, I was able to choose her tutor. I thought about the chancellor Dun Sléíbe, but seeing how his two children have turned out I was very reluctant to choose him. I eventually chose our brilliant steward Fáelán. Not only is he extremely competent at his job, he is deeply devoted to Mauda and sees her as the daughter he never had. While he was never quite able to curb her occasionally prodigious appetite, he was able to quickly curb her of some of her more annoying traits.

 

1083%2520-%25202.jpg A few days later: 1083%2520-%25203.jpg

 

 

The next year he once again proved his worth as her tutor:

 

1084%2520-%25201.jpg And again just days later: 1084%2520-%25202.jpg

 

 

Mauda was starting to become a young woman of promise, more than living up to the wishes I know her father must have had.

 

[author's note] I wouldn't have really minded either one of those traits since they aren't really all that bad (especially proud), but since I can't control the tutoring of myself I didn't have much choice. It was kind of amusing to see myself receive the traits, go in to check on their exact parameters, and then lose them right away (I have the speed set to 4 or 5 most of the time) [/author's note]

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[author's note] What is up with the court intrigue stuff that ousts a regent? It appeared to have absolutely no effect, but it happened I believe three times[/author's note]

I've only been under regency a few times but never experienced a switch in regents myself. Could be that they upped the chance of it happening with one of the patches or you were just that lucky.

 

 

[author's note] Honestly not sure how I came to acquire a boatload of new courtiers. I can't remember if they were related to my first ruler's wife or the chancellor's wife, or some other relation. Whatever the cause they proved semi-useful later on as a couple of them served me as spymasters. [/author's note]

I'm not 100% sure but I think when someone is banished they randomly go to another court. Also from time to time you will just get new courtiers appear in your court who come out of nowhere. To the point where they don't even have mothers or fathers. ;)

 

I'm a fan of the deceitful train. That's never one I beat out of any of the kids I'm educating. Looks like Ireland is slowly coming together nicely for you. Once you start rolling with a few counties the crown of Ireland comes quickly.

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May the first monarch of all of Ireland be a Queen!:)

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Greetings once again. I am Ainés, mother to Mauda, the young Duchess of Ulster. You already know me so I'll just pick up where I left off.

 

Back to The Year 1084

 

Following the hasty plan for declaring Mauda as the Duchess of Ulster, the regent was ousted just like Dun Sléíbe. He was incompetent in my opinion. There was no reason to declare Mauda duchess and then spend every drop of the treasury to flaunt that fact. If we are attacked right now then he can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully this new regent, one of the de Rohans that Mauda welcomed recently, will prove to be a competent regent until Mauda is of age.

 

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Mauda continues to grow, both in age and, uhmm, size. I truly wish I could stop her from overeating but I have no say in her tutoring anymore. At least she is being kind to all the other children. The mark of a good ruler is someone who treats the servants as people and not cattle.

 

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The Year 1087

 

As the years continue to roll on the war in Scotland intensifies. The ***** Who Picks On Little Girls (the Duke of Galloway) continues to lose his land and according to our spymaster he soon loses his head. His claim on Ulster is proven to be false and his descendants and his legacy is tainted to the point that his descendants are forced to give up the claim.

 

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Later in the year our treasury has finally recovered from the former regent's rash declaration for Mauda's duchess title. Eudon de Rohan, at the urging of our marshal, the bishop of Oriel, sends a declaration to Earl Aedán of Tyrone that he must become Mauda's vassal or suffer the consequences. I'm not surprised when he declines and de Rohan raises our levies to attack Tyrone. The summer passes in conflict and Mauda starts to take a great interest in the war. Before she almost never attended any council meetings if she could find a way out, but now she is the first into the council room every day. I can tell she hangs on every bit of news, which is a little disturbing. She is still only 12, but she seems to be very excited by the war. I've tried to speak with her about what she is feeling right now, but she has unfortunately rebuffed me. I'm not sure what to do.

 

A few months into the war our marshal, the bishop of Oriel is killed in battle. It is a shame as he had proved to be a good marshal. Mauda seems distressed at the loss of the marshal, but she immediately starts talking about replacements with the regent. She seems very excited by the fact that she has some say in how the war is progressing.

 

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The Year 1088

 

The war continues on into the new year and with the loss of the bishop our forces are a little demoralized. The new marshal realizes that his forces are just not quite enough to effectively siege Tyrone's holdings after the battle against his armies. Dun Sléíbe's old friend Cuthbert of York has already taken a commission somewhere else and he is visibly agitated that he can't hire Cuthbert. Eudon de Rohan, though not a warrior himself, apparently befriended some of a mercenary company known as the Swiss Band, known for their large knives, and he casually interjects that they are not only available, but more experienced than Cuthbert of York. I think there may be some animosity going on between Dun Sléíbe and Eudon de Rohan; after all Eudon holds the regency title that Dun Sléíbe used to hold.

 

Eudon's promises proved true though. The Swiss Band shows up to reinforce our siege of Tyrone and quickly turns the tide. Tyrone is ours, and Earl Aedán becomes Mauda's first vassal. Success!

 

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[author's note] I was originally going to try to take the county without the use of mercenaries so I didn't have to use up my treasury again, but after defeating Tyrone's mobile armies I didn't really have enough forces left to effectively siege his holdings. I didn't want to have the war rage on for years so I bit the bullet and hired a merc band to speed up the siege [/author's note]

 

 

The Year 1090

 

The Earl of Tyrone has grudgingly worked with the council to start repairing the battered armies of both Ulster and Tyrone. He is visibly unhappy about his new role as vassal to Mauda, but he no longer has the army to challenge her. Mauda is so close to coming of age she can almost taste it. She is very anxious to set aside her regency and start flexing her own political muscles. She will be a great leader, I know! She may be a woman, but she is going to show all those men how politics and war really works in Ireland. And soon!

 

A few months pass and oh my! Typhoid fever has passed through Ulster and Mauda catches it. I spend a few tense weeks at her bedside, worried that she might not survive, and then just as she starts feeling better, it strikes her down once more. I am despondent. Ever since she started proving her mettle during the battle with Tyrone I've been looking forward to her reign. It would destroy me if my only daughter were to die on the eve of coming of age.

 

Luckily she is able to shake it off once more and comes out from under the sickness stronger than ever and ready to eat a horse. And she does.

 

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Dun Sléíbe, the chancellor, has been sulking ever since his rival Eudon de Rohan successfully contacted the Swiss Band to turn the tide of the war with Tyrone. He disappeared during the war with only a note that he would return soon. And return he did, with word that he had been poring over the records in Dublin and came upon a document proving that Mauda was the heir to county of Dublin. Wonderful. Mauda was so excited that she started planning on how to best take advantage of this. Dun Sléíbe was back in the good graces of the council and now it was Eudon de Rohan who was sulking, not in the least because he knew his job would be ending in a few months.

 

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The Year 1091

 

And after a few more months Mauda reaches the age of majority. I am so happy for her I can't tell you. With this last message I will let Mauda take over her rightful place and tell you the continuing history of the Sithrigi Dynasty. Long live Duchess Mauda. The world will tremble at your footsteps!

 

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The Reign of Duchess Mauda I of Ulster

 

Welcome to me! My name is Duchess Mauda I, scion of the Sithrigi Dynasty begun by my father. It has been 16 long years, but I am finally the Duchess in truth as well as name. I'd like to start by introducing myself a bit.

 

Growing up with a steward as my tutor I naturally developed a good sense for how to bring money into the coffers, something that will serve me well. I also developed a good sense of what to say and what not to say to everyone, this from my mother. People tend to like me, which is good because as a woman it is sometimes difficult to be taken seriously. I don't remember my father. He died when I was too young to remember, but I've been told I don't really take after my father much at all, except for one way which only I know about at the moment. I'll be happy to tell you about it soon. During the past few years, specifically the war with Tyrone I developed an intense liking of war. I'll tell you about that in a bit. I'm not really a great strategist, that's more of a job for my marshal, but I truly love war. It makes me...well, I'll tell you in a bit. A woman can't give out too many secrets so soon right?

 

It's tough being a woman in a male dominated world. Add on to that the fact that I really enjoy food, perhaps a bit too much if I have to be truly honest, and the odds were stacked against me. My story is about how I fought the odds. Did I beat them? Well, you'll have to judge for yourself when my tale is finished. I hope you are looking forward to hearing my story as much as I relish the chance to tell you.

 

[author's note] I wish I'd been able to control Mauda's upbringing myself, but that was obviously off the table when my previous ruler died early in her life. She turned out with okay stats, one good stat, three average, and one below average stat. She did have one trait that I truly wished that she hadn't gained. Gluttonous is not a fun trait to have. I already was dealing with a -10 reputation penalty for being a female ruler. Pretty much every other ruler is a male and she has a flat -15 reputation penalty for sex appeal with men. So straight out I have a -25 reputation hit with most people On top of that I have another -10 reputation with the church members, again because of gluttonous. I spent most all of her reign using my chaplain to keep my bishops happy, especially the various bishops of Oriel for some reason. [/author's note]

 

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The Year 1091, continued

 

As my first declaration for my official reign I declare that I am going to find a husband and get to work on producing an heir. I don't want to go through what my father did: 42 years old before he gets married, 10 years of no child, and then he dies when he has one. I intend to have many children, and early in my life. I send out my ministers to bring back word of good matches. It has to be a match with someone who will move to court with me. I'm a duchess. I can't be expected to live in someone else's court while I try to run my own. One minister brings back word that the prince of Abyssinia is my best match. I will NOT marry a gluttonous imbecile! That minister was immediately fired from his post!

 

What I really want is an intelligent mate. Maybe I'm being a bit too clinical about this but I want smart, capable heirs. Ultimately I decide to approach Murchad, the third son of the Duke of Munster in Ireland. It might not bring me a powerful ally, but he is a close ally. More important, Murchad is intelligent and he knows how to charm the socks of one, or the undergarments in my case. Hee hee.

 

[author's note] I probably could have waited a year to see if Filip the Prince of Croatia ended up with good stats. He was already pretty good at 15 without getting his "of age" trait, but if I remember correctly he had some trait that I really didn't like. I wasn't too concerned about the alliances at this point, and as I mentioned above at least with Murchad I got a close ally. Croatia would have to travel a very long way if I ever called them for aid. Murchad also had the added benefit of quickly becoming my best chancellor option with a 19 (compared to the 12 I was living with at the time) [/author's note]

 

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Within a few days the Duke of Munster proved only too happy to send off a third son for an alliance with a duchess. As it should be.

 

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And a quick look at my loving husband:

 

[author's note] Note that this shot was taken after an event that occurred right after the marriage that negatively effected Mauda for a little while [/author's note]

 

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Not one month into my reign when disaster struck. In retaliation for my chancellor finding that I should really be the countess of Dublin, the Duke of Meath had me excommunicated! Disaster indeed! How was I going to deal with this at the tender age of 16?

 

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The Year 1091, continued

 

My immediate thought was that Duke Domnall of Meath was going to die a slow, horrible death! How dare he? After a few days of stewing, my better judgment overrode my natural instinct and I decided to wait until I could get this excommunication lifted. One of my former regents made what could have been a huge mistake by emptying the coffers to promote my title as Duchess of Ulster. If we had been attacked by a superior force at that time I wouldn't be here right now. With an excommunication anyone can attack me and I'm sure there is no shortage of men out there who want to prove that a woman can't handle higher political issues. I will prove them wrong!

 

A few months into our excommunication my beloved chancellor Dun Sléíbe, returned from Breifne with word that he had discovered that I have a claim on that county along with Dublin. Wonderful news if I could act on it. I pushed my claim, but the actual dirty business of claiming my territory would have to wait.

 

[author's note] I have a hunch it was very easy for the duke to talk the Pope into excommunicating me. I do have the -35 penalty to all religious people from being a gluttonous woman. Plus I was also running a penalty from not becoming involved in a crusade the Pope was in the process of losing badly. [/author's note]

 

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Sadly I think that all of the travel and poring over succession documents over the past 25 years has caught up with Dun Sléíbe as right after he delivered the news he keeled over in my arms and died. He will be missed. I rewarded his long term of service with a spot in the Sithrigi Sepulcher, even though he came from a junior branch. My thoughts immediately turned back to my husband and I took a page from my mother by inviting him to my bedchamber every night, not just a few nights a week. With Dun Sléíbe's death it became all the more important for me to secure an heir. His eldest son was now my heir and that son was a slovenly, craven monk squirreled away in some monastery somewhere. Completely unsuited to the pressures of rulership.

 

One night while in my bed Murchad mentioned that he had been tutored by his father's chancellor and would make an excellent replacement for the dear, departed Dun Sléíbe. All the sweet nothings he whispered in my ear helped as well. How could I resist elevating such a sweet talker to a position where it was important he be good at talking to others?

 

[author's note] I had already intended to promote Murchad as my chancellor, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. Dun Sléíbe returned with more good news so I was just about to send him back out when he died, making my choice easy. [/author's note]

 

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The Year 1092

 

After much thinking and many fruitless late night bedchamber invites I decided to send my husband off to Rome to sweet-talk the Pope into letting me back into his good graces. This excommunication was seriously cramping my ability to relate to all of my vassals. None of them wanted to be anywhere near someone who had an official reprimand from the church. Murchad still returned for a few days each month. I think his absence truly made our hearts grow fonder as I soon found out that I was expecting. One year after marriage and I'm going to have a child. Take that daddy!

 

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The next nine months passed quickly. My fears of being attacked by those trying to profit from my excommunication began to wane and I started thinking more and more about how to decorate the baby's chambers Maybe I ate a little too much too, but an expectant woman has to keep her strength up for the baby right? Six days before the accepted birth of our Lord, Condal came into our lives. What a blessing she was. Beautiful like her grandmother. Murchad was hoping for a son, but I reminded him that women can be effective rulers too. He grumbled about that a bit and I heard him talking about my excommunication as he left the room. Hmm, time to pack him back off for Rome again. I saw him eyeing my milk-enlarged breasts and those are for Condal now. No need for a man to be underfoot for a few months. Goodbye!

 

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Throughout my pregnancy I had managed to banish all my fears about being attacked by those who wished to profit from my excommunication, but one day after the birth of our Lord the Duke of Gwynnedd declared war on me. My blood started boiling in anticipation. Finally! I had so much fun during the war with Tyrone and I'd repressed my urges to attack Dublin. Now? Now I could do something about those urges. Time for WAR!

 

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The Year 1093

 

Ulster was a madhouse of action. Levies were being raised and continually trained. Lookouts were posted to see when the Duke of Gwynnedd would attack. I felt stirrings in my, still somewhat ample, gut (baby weight of course, haven't been able to shed that yet). This...this was what I was made for. I couldn't wait to show the world that a female ruler could beat a man at the game of war! And then...

 

****ing hell! Murchad , you damn ass! Not now! Without my consent he told the Pope that I would be willing to join his crusade if he lifted my excommunication. The Pope was proving to be an incompetent military leader and wanted all the help he could get and easily lifted my excommunication, stopping the coming war with Gwynnedd. Sure, that's great, but why did it have to be now? Couldn't it have waited until after I smashed Gwynnedd? Oh well. Errm...thanks...I guess...Murchad. At least I still had Dublin to smash. And I started looking forward to ending Domnall' reign. After all he was the one responsible for my excommunication in the first place. My blood started to boil again. Soon!

 

[author's note] Roleplaying in the AAR notwithstanding I had no desire to go to war with Gwynnedd. If I was going to go to war I wanted it to be on my terms and with a clear reward. I didn't know that I could offer to join the Pope's crusade (I had thought all Catholic nations were already invited to it), but when I was attempting to send him a gift to appease him I spotted that. It was enough to get him to lift the excommunication and I could go back to plotting an expansion war in Ireland rather than defending my territory. [/author's note]

 

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Nice work getting that excommunication lifted! :b:

 

I'm thinking more and more that a breeding marriage is the way to go in the beginning. Get some decent bloodstock in and then marry off excess children to get the alliances! I'm also thinking that close allies is the way to go too. Better a weaker ally that turns up quickly than a string ally that never turns up.....

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This is still only my first game (well technically second because the first ended so quickly when I was called up to give my levies by the king of Scotland about 2 years into the game), but my thinking was definitely to get good heirs first. Once your line is a little stronger and you have a few more titles available then it will be possible to secure strong alliances. And, as you will see eventually, that's exactly what I did (think empire alliance :D)

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The Year 1093, continued

 

Murchad came back from Rome and I cooled off a bit. I wasn't really all that mad at him since it meant that I could get started on teaching Duke Domnall a lesson for having me excommunicated. Another plus...make-up sex.

 

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I decided to have my spymaster go check on our old friend the Duke of Galloway, but he apparently died with no issue a while back. I never figured out whether his claim was true, like the ones I have for Dublin and Breifne, or falsified, but I'm guess the latter. Scotland as a whole is a mess right now. Multiple duchies, multiple wars. At least they are leaving me alone so I can concentrate on my own affairs.

 

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My plans are proceeding apace, but I'm starting to get very antsy. Maybe it's the pregnancy, but I can really feel my blood boiling in anticipation again. It's time...time to take what is rightfully mine and teach the coward Duke Domnall a lesson. I call in favors from my allies, but Murchad's father declines to help. Luckily Cuthbert of York is still around to lend his aid.

 

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The Year 1094

 

My troops marched out toward Dublin in perfect lockstep. I couldn't be prouder of my fine Ulster levies. Within weeks my marshal notified me that the main force of Duke Domnall had been smashed and they were laying siege to Dublin. I was so excited that my son Fiachnae practically popped right out. Murchad would be well pleased to have a son, and I certainly was too, though I can't help wondering if it might be better to pass the succession on to my eldest child Condal, even though she's female. After all, I'm female and I'm certainly doing pretty well for myself.

 

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Domnall proved a coward, as I knew he would when faced with the might of Ulster. Dublin was now mine. My duchy has grown considerably since I came to power, but there is more work to do. At night I start to dream about becoming the ruler over all of Ireland, not just Ulster. The thought is greatly satisfying.

 

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The Year 1095

 

The earl of Breifne is trying to usurp my new title in Dublin. I heard a story from one of the older courtier about what happened when someone tried to do the same thing to my father. No one ever heard from the offending person after that, and no one else ever tried it again. I'm almost surprised they waited this long to try me, but I pull a trick from my father and somehow he just "goes away".

 

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It has only been a year since Fiachnae was born, but I can feel my blood boiling once more. Murchad is a nightly visitor and the result is soon paid out. That's three in four years dad.

 

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My pregnancy continues apace for the requisite nine months, but there must be something about my pregnancies. Every time I'm pregnant I feel a powerful urge to go to war with someone. I wonder if that is some medical condition, not that I'm going to ask the local leeches. In any case it is time to teach the earl of Breifne a lesson for trying to usurp my title. Ulster heads to war once more and amidst news of stunning victories my son Fingen is born. Now I wonder if there is some correlation between being at war and the gender of my children. Condal wasn't born during a war, but both of my boys were. Perhaps I'm on to something here.

 

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The Year 1096

 

The news from the Pope is not good. He lost his crusade against the infidels somewhere not near Ireland. I suppose I should have actually sent some men, but really I had no intention of ever sending men to die for someone other than me.

 

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Months have passed since the beginning of the war with Breifne and the war is well in hand. Breifne called in the Duke of Dehubarth to help him, but that duke's aid proved to be nothing in the face of Cuthbert of York. Breifne's armies have been utterly crushed and our forces are banging on the gates.

 

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The Year 1097

 

A few days into the new year and Breifne is mine. My men fought valiantly and they deserve a great reward for their efforts.

 

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One quick look at my lands now. Hard to believe that just a few short years ago I only had one backward county to my name. Now I'm a duchess and my holdings include four counties and one vassal who calls me liege. I kind of like that title, but I have my eyes on another one...a greater one.

 

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Pop, pop, pop...... keep popping those brats out mi lady! :cute:

 

With luck you could be the Queen of Ireland, with one brat for each county!

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Good job Rhoth. Of course your Duchess seems to have some daddy issues. ;)

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The Year 1098

 

Early in the year I finally decide that I can't abide the fact that my daughter Condal will not have the same opportunity to rule Ulster as I have. Just because she is female she will be passed over in favor of my sons. I don't have anything against my sons of course, but why shouldn't she rule when I'm gone? I set about changing the laws of succession so that from now on I and any of my descendants can choose their own successor. I hand out a couple of meaningless titles to some of my recalcitrant vassals and manage to persuade them all to accept an elective republic.

 

I also take a personal hand in Condal's education. If she is going to succeed me as ruler of Ulster I want her to be as prepared as possible.

 

A few months pass when my chancellor brings back excellent news. He has been poring over the documents in Leinster and came across an old document that proves that the county should be mine instead of Gilla-Iosa, the rat bastard. My chancellor has certainly performed his duties well and I send him off to

 

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The Year 1099

 

As the new century approaches I decide to hold off on attacking the Rat Bastard of Meath and instead do some housecleaning in my backyard. The earl of Tyrconnell has been a minor thorn in my side and it is time that his county is brought into the Ulster fold. I decide that Earl Aedan has been a decent vassal for all that he was once a ruler and not a vassal, and he deserves more territory. Unfortunately the good earl has made an alliance that I didn't know he had...one that could easily prove to be my downfall if I'm not careful. How in the world did a minor earl of nowhere make an alliance with the mighty King of England anyway?

[author's note] I probably should have hung on to Tyrconnell myself, but I was still very new to the game and saw a way to bring Tyrconnell up to 100 in liking me. Now...I'd probably do it differently, especially so early in the game. I can always hand it back out later if I don't want it, but I was still three counties away from my stewardship limit at the time so I had room to keep it for a while. [/author's note]

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The Year 1100

 

The war with Tyrconnell proceeds apace. No sign of the King of England yet, which is good. I take time from the war to continue teaching Condal about the positive aspects of rulership. Even heathens have a place in this world.

 

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I am able to spend a bit of time with my husband while back in Ulster to teach Condal. As usual my enjoyment of war sets my blood boiling and I soon find myself pregnant yet again. There is definitely something about the bloody conquest of others that makes me randy.

 

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The Year 1101

 

WAR! It is what I live for. As my pregnancy progresses I urge my armies on to greater heights and they prove themselves by successfully sieging Tyrconnell's castle. I can just taste the sweet aroma of victory on the horizon. I still remain wary of England though and keep a reserve of cash in hand to quickly hire trusty Cuthbert. I may love war, but I'm not stupid.

 

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A couple months more and my forces continue to siege Tyrconnell. My husband and I welcome our newest addition to the family, Una.

 

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And finally the siege is complete. Earl Aed of Tyrconnell agrees to hand over his county to me...just as the King of England drops over 4,000 men on the doorstep of Ulster. Thankfully I was able to intercept the King's message that he finally made it to Ireland, before the earl could read it and decide to continue the fight. Even Cuthbert wouldn't have been much use against that many men.

 

Better late than never for the King of England I guess, but I'm glad he was late rather than early.

 

[author's note] Holy crap that was close. ;) [/author's note]

 

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Earl Aedan is very happy with me now. The English levies have left Ireland and all is well once more.

 

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