Of blood and valor
December 1, 1101: A few more men are lost, but Tabor is captured. The Tiberias province now belongs wholly to the crusaders.
April 4, 1012: After storming the fortress of Scandalon in Tyrus, defeating the boy Sheik Ali, only 130 of Duke Brian's original 330 crusaders remain among the larger host. He discusses with his captains the possibility of returning home.
I would lose out on further prestige, but things seem to be going well, and I risk being wiped out or captured the longer I stay.
April 10, 1102: At the Battle of Sarafand, Duke Brian sees several of his men in danger when one of the flanks collapses and they are about to be set upon by a large group of enemies. Mustering his love for his countrymen and the lingering outrage of losing two sons so young, he charges into the thick of the fray and sends the Fatmid advance fleeing nearly single-handedly, drenching the sand in blood. Those who have heard the stories of Brian's father Murchad, and his Baltic Company, see much of the old duke in their liege that day.
My bravery in battle has removed my Craven trait! Huzzah! That particular quirk has been plaguing me all my reign, lowering the opinion of me among any who value valor. Now at last, after having been through dozens of battles from the Baltic Sea to Ireland to Jerusalem, I have proven to myself that there is nothing to fear that can't be dealt with at the point of my blade.
June 1, 1102 With a battle cry that can be heard all the way to Jerusalem, the newly-emboldened, 54-year-old Duke Brian is the first over the wall the day Sarafand falls. Only the Great Mosque of Tyrus remains before another province is secured by the crusaders.
June 19, 1102: The Great Mosque falls in 17 days, and the crusaders march for the nearby Madaba province, home to the scholarly Sheik Sirhan.
August 25, 1102: the crusading army is joined by 700 fresh men from Venice, swelling their depleted numbers back to almost 5000. The reinforcements come just in time, as they are set upon by 3800 Muslim warriors from the East at Umm ar-Rasas. The Papal and Venetian forces make up the right flank, with Duke Brian leading the center and Bishop Crimthann of Tyrconnel, a fellow Irishman, leading the left.
September 25, 1102: 4200 men lie dead at Umm ar-Rasas: 1400 crusaders and 2800 Muslims. It is the bloodiest battle anyone involved has ever witnessed. Less than 20 of the casualties are Duke Brian's men. It is nonetheless a victory. While the main host takes up the siege, Duke Brian's remaining 107 men, the "Holy Hundred," seek to repeat the tactic of Duke Murchad's Baltic Company and pursue the fleeing enemy surivors
There are nearly 2000 Muslim survivors of Umm ar-Rasas, but their morale is currently zero and ours is still fairly high. Now is the time to attack and whittle them down, and earn tons of glory for winning such a numerically lopsided battle.
October 30, 1102: The fleeing Fatmids manage to rally, turn, and crush Duke Brian's pursuit. They only manage to slay 62 of the enemy, before they are surrounded and cut down. Duke Brian's personal guard spirit him away from the battlefield against his immediate wishes, barely evading capture by the enemy.
I guess, "Did not go as planned" is an apt description. Note to self: even having zero morale will not stop an army 20 times larger from stomping you into the dirt. Tuck that one away in the ol' satchel of wisdom. At least I didn't get imprisoned, though. Since my armies no longer exist, I kind of just "teleport" back to Ireland after a period of time.