A century well-spent
January 10, 1165: King Murchad betroths his heir, Prince Brian, to the young Duchess Cristina of Ulster.
This is a solution to a problem that's been hovering just under the surface for a while. The Duchy of Ulster has been fighting my other vassals almost constantly, to the point that they own more sheer territory in Ireland than I have in my personal demesne. This means, was Ulster to rebel, I would almost certainly lose the Irish crown. And not to another branch of my own house this time. This marriage will effectively fold the Duchy of Ulster into the royal house over the next couple generations. Brian and Cristina's heir will remain King of Ireland, while also inheriting all of Ulster's holdings. Problem solved.
February 18, 1165: Duke Gudbrand forms a faction to reclaim the throne of England.
Yeah, good luck with that.
April 30, 1165: King Murchad's second daughter, Princess Leigha, comes of age. She is, of course, a brilliant strategist.
February 16, 1166: King Murchad's vassal, Earl Erlend of Wiltshire, seeks to usurp the Duchy of Gloucester from Gudbrand. The king encourages this.
September 15, 1166: King Murchad awakes as early autumn breezes sweep across the countryside of Thomond. Thomond, the land of his ancestors. The land of Brian Boru, founder of his great house. The land of his namesake, Duke Murchad I, who 100 years ago to the day, sent the ultimatum to Earl Muiredach of Desmond that began the rise of his lineage to power.
It was a land of great heroes and great deeds. Of his great-grandfather, Brian I, who united Ireland and became her king. A land from whence ships had sailed full of men ready to fight and die for their blood, for their honor, and for their faith. A land to which he had gathered his loyal host and won a second crown across the sea.
Time was often unkind to even the strongest of things built by human hands. Castle stones cracked and grew moss. Steel rusted, and cloth tattered and faded. But nonetheless, King Murchad could look upon what his bloodline had forged in the flames of intrigue and war, and know that its legacy would not be forgotten in any age soon to come. Ever the name of ua Brian would be sung from Ireland to Denmark, and the Holy Land beyond. Ever would they be counted among the greatest kings of the known world. And perhaps someday, his children and his children's children would go on to do greater things still.
A bird darted past his window, awakening Queen Gormlaith from her deep slumber. As their eyes met, fire finding its like, they both knew it was time again to march for song and legend. Battle was the true fuel that stoked the storied hearts of Ireland's reigning house. And until the day they died, whether over hills, down deep valleys, or across roaring waves, it was battle they would seek...