Well, the game's not Sit Around At Home Kings
October 28, 1100: A holy crusade is called to take Jerusalem from the Shiite Fatmid Caliphate. After a long discussion with his council, Duke Brian sends word that he will be bringing his personal host to the Holy Land.
Pope Boniface VII has never been my biggest fan, and I'm going to need to pay a lot of piety to create the title King of Ireland. This is, in the long run, a fairly low-risk way to do that.
November 1, 1100: A roaring crowd stands on the shores as Duke Brian and 331 men who will be the first Irish crusaders board their ships to begin the long journey, down the Spanish coast and across the Mediterranean to Jerusalem. Even at 52 and known for his streak of cowardice, Duke Brian is eager to lead the host himself.
February 2, 1101: Duke Brian's crusaders come ashore in the Holy Land, sending outriders to look for vulnerable enemy formations that could be attacked before joining with the main host.
Just for showing up, I've gained the Crusader trait, which will give me lots of street cred both among those who value honor and bravery, and those who cleave closely to the church.
April 21, 1101: After cutting down 50 Fatmid skirmishers at the Battle of Nazareth, Duke Brian confronts the 228 men of Wáli Hashmaddin of Pella.
May 19, 1101: The Wáli is routed at the Battle of Sahab. Duke Brian has lost over 100 crusaders since landing already, but has also managed to cut down almost twice that number. As tales of their liege lord's crusading exploits make their way back to Ireland, the Cathar heretics lose their footing in Ormond.
July 2, 1101: Duke Brian's men join the main crusader host at last, at the siege of Tiberias. Duke Brian is given the command of the center by the Pope himself, having seen more battles than any other soldier present.
I've let my realm sag in other areas by focusing so heavily on breeding and training excellent military commanders, but it really pays off in times like this. I have the command of some 5300 crusaders, a fact that is not likely to be forgotten by history.
September 21, 1101: With the threat of Muslim reinforcements from the South constantly looming, Duke Brian orders the crusaders to storm the castle. Stones from catapults whistle through the air overhead as siege towers and ladders grab the walls of Tiberias in their clutches. 40 brave Munsterians die in a single day, as do many other bold crusaders, but the hold is taken. Sheik Musa of Tiberias surrenders at swordpoint, and the first great victory of the crusade is won. After a day of rest, the crusaders begin a march to Nazareth, where Duke Brian won his first minor engagement.
As they prepare to depart, a message arrives that King Erik of Denmark, while fighting the Orthodox King Vsevolod of Rus, was captured and imprisoned. Denmark is now ruled by his regent, Baron Frode of Kallundborg.
I've got one word for you, Erik: karma. This has also created an interesting scenario. As long as Erik is imprisoned, my wife Sigrid actually has a stronger claim on Denmark than the current regent. Technically, I could go to war to make her queen. I have no way of knowing how many Danes would support her over the Lord Regent though, so I've deemed it a little bit too risky.
November 11, 1101: The crusaders lose only three men taking Nazareth, but word arrives that Duke Brian's third son, Earl Fáelbe of Breifne, has died in a freak accident at 22. He is survived by his widow, countess Máire, and their son and daughter, two-year-old Máel-Sechnaill, and newborn Áine. Duke Brian punches the messenger out, burns the letter, and tells his men they will march on nearby Tabor immediately.