Crusader Kings Chronicle, part 2: 1076 - 1086 A.D.

Union and division

July 22, 1085: Bishop Crimthann of Killaloe dies unexpectedly at 30. The newly-minted Earl Tadg of Desmond becomes Munster's new court chaplain, and Killaloe is succeeded by a lowborn bishop named Bróen. He is a theological mastermind, charitable and content... though also slothful and short-tempered.

Bróen is the most capable bishop my realm has ever seen, but I can't revoke the title of court chaplain from Earl Tadg without losing the support of many of the troops he could bring me. I elect to allow my religious affairs to be conducted by the less skilled of the two, for now.

July 28, 1085: Duke Brian's half-brother Amalgaid comes of age, and arrangements are made for his long-awaited wedding with Duchess Der-Lugdach of Connacht.

Amalgaid has grown to be a skilled tactician, brave and zealous like our father. He is also deceitful, gluttonous, and slothful, however. In battle, he is said to be his teacher Marshal Tadg's equal: the first man in Munster to be able to boast it in my lifetime.

August 6, 1085: The Rebel Wedding. Amalgaid ua Brian and Duchess Der-Lugdach are wed. However, the duchess makes two things very clear at the wedding feast: She will rule in Connacht, not her new husband, and she has no intention of bowing to Duke Brian of Munster. The Munsterians storm off in a huff when Amalgaid supports his wife over them, and begin planning to show the duchess her place.

This, unfortunately, means war. Of the many possibilities that could have come of this marriage, this is one of the worst for me. Luckily, I doubt Breifne can hold off against the armed levies of four counties unless they have some secret ally up their sleeves.

September 15, 1085: Duke Brian's son and heir, Murchad, comes of age. He was also tutored by Marshal Tadg macDiarmait, and has surpassed both his teacher and his uncle Amalgaid. A brilliant strategist the likes of which Ireland has never seen outside of lore and legend, he is honest, shy, zealous, and chaste. His father immediately makes him Marshal of Munster.

My son has the makings of a legendary warrior, and it will be he who leads my armies against Breifne. Sure, this will hurt my relations with Tadg, who has been Marshal for some 19 years now, but he already likes me enough to let the insult slide.

Shortly after, word comes that the Norman Duke Nigel I has split off Cornwall as the seventh splinter kingdom of England.

September 27, 1085: The 16-year-old Murchad, heir to Munster, is betrothed to the 12-year-old Princess Joan of Scotland. She is the only daughter of King Malcolm the Cruel, who is delighted to promise his girl to such a powerful heir and peerless fighter.

The Scots would make fine allies, and as fellow Gaelic Celts, won't cause as much cultural friction as marrying into the Norse lines did. They're also rather close by, and frankly, kicking all kinds of ass fighting the squabbling hedge lords of what was once England.

October 19, 1085: Duke Brian II of Munster proclaims himself Duke of Connacht and Earl of Breifne, declaring war on his sister-in-law, Duchess Der-Lugdach to secure his claim. Word is sent to King Erik of Denmark, who swore Brian's father's contributions in the Zemigallian war would never be forgotten, for aid.

Nearly 900 men from across Munster and Connacht answer Brian's call to arms, though Lord Mayor Skofte of Ormond notably sends only eight. Der-Lugdach manages to raise just over 300 in response.