Crusader Kings Chronicle, part 2: 1076 - 1086 A.D.
A fateful voyage
1081: Aside from something about a Jihad taking place a world away, nothing notable transpires.
Let me get my kingdom in order. Then maybe, just maybe, I'll start caring about these massive holy wars going on in the Middle East.
Spring, 1082: A horrible outbreak of typhus strikes Ireland. Earl Muiredach of Desmond, Duke Murchad's half-brother, Conchobar, and Conchobar's son Cennétig, are among those to come down with the affliction. By some grace, they all eventually pull through.
September 15, 1083: On the day that marks the end of the 17th year of Duke Murchad's reign, a letter arrives from King Erik I of Denmark. Erik is the son of King Svend II, who died in a suspicious accident earlier in the year. He is also the brother of Princess Sigrid, wife of Brian mac Murchad. He seeks Munster's aid against the Baltic Zemigallian tribesmen. Having never sailed the seas or seen the lands of his Norse kinsmen by marriage before, the aging Duke Murchad gladly accepts. He calls upon his personal retinue of 225 excellent warriors, and sets out on three galleys from Bunratty, Thomond.
This will give me the opportunity to win some prestige without risking my own lands. I'm sending only my own levies so that I won't upset my bannermen by sending their troops across the sea, which will also leave me plenty of strength to defend my lands if anything unexpected happens while I'm gone. Erik's army is over 4000 strong, with reinforcements from allied Norway also on the move. But I'll still win proportional prestige for my contributions.
November 15, 1083: After a long row and inland march, the Munsterians join the battle at Bauska. King Erik's host numbers some 4400 with the arrival of the Irishmen, against roughly 1100 Zemigallians. As a decorated warrior, Duke Murchad is given the honor of leading the center column. King Erik himself takes up the left flank, and the right is commanded by a Saxon mercenary commander, Captain Æthelbald.
Wow, I had no idea the Danes had that much reverence for my skill in battle. Leading the center column of over 1000 men is a huge responsibility, and a huge honor. If the center falls, the flanks usually don't fare well. Though a mere fifth of the men under me are my own, in a way, the entire battle could hinge on my skill as a commander. The Zemigallian leader is High Chief Kurlemuše the Lion, though, known to be a brilliant strategist. We will make a formidable match for each other.
November 27, 1083: The day is won at Bauska. 109 men are dead on King Erik's side, including 27 Irishmen, but so are 726 of the foe - well over half of their strength.
December 10, 1083: Unbidden by King Erik, Duke Murchad leads the remaining 200 of his men after the broken and fleeing Zemigallians into the Zhmud province while the main host besieges their holdings. Though they are outnumbered, the Munsterians are fresh and fiery in the face of the routing, disorganized tribesmen.
January 9, 1084: While fighting the Zemigallians across the fields of Jurbarkas, the aged Duke Murchad charges once again into the thick of battle, and takes a fierce blow to the head. His men rush to surround him and pull him out of the fighting, but once he is brought to a healer, he is found to be barely conscious and robbed of his wits. A sorrow falls over the camp as the healers proclaim their fear that the brave duke's mind will never heal from the injury, and while he remains alive, will never again be fit for rule or battle, or even speech.
I guess that's what I get for sending a 56-year-old man into battle against a numerically-superior foe. I've gained the "Incapable" trait, which basically condemns me to being a vegetable until I die. Lord Mayor Skofte of Ormond has taken over as my regent until then. I didn't get to pick, and I'm not exactly sure how that works. I would have assumed my heir would be first in line for that duty. Skofte is a genius, though, so he should do a fine job.
January 22, 1084: Despite the loss of their liege and commander, along with 84 more men, the Irishmen send the Zemigallians fleeing further into the wilds. The ferocity and skill of Duke Murchad's legendary Baltic Company has won great victory, but at great cost. The remaining captains decide unanimously that it is time to take what remains of their host and their lord, and sail for home.