Part 19: A Worthwhile Distraction 1299 - 1309
We have a truce with the King of England for another five years, so until then we'll need to bide our time on other matters.
King Brian II debates with his councilors how best to handle a matter of state. While his councilors urge him to take a more conservative stance, his wife Queen Gyda encourages him to be a bit more ambitious instead.
Brian takes his wife's advice to heart and learns to aim a bit higher in all of his endeavors.
The Duchy of Navarra remains a trouble spot, rebelling once again. This direct line of the prior King of France has managed to be a thorn in our side for decades.
Our men land in the county of Viscaya and defeat the small army positioned there before moving on to assault its holdings.
The Duke of Mallorca believe that this is his opportunity to strike as well, declaring war in an attempt to recover the isle of Mallorca.
Another Irish army lands on the isles to pacify this rebellion.
And yet more troops land in northwestern Iberia to defeat the Navarran Duke's main force.
Remaining completely under Irish control for 100 years causes the Duchy of Somerset to become a de jure part of the Kingdom of Ireland. This feature is known as 'de jure drift'. If you control a duchy in its entirety but don't hold its de jure kingdom, that duchy will eventually become a de jure part of its direct liege's kingdom title. In this case, since the Duke of Somerset was a direct vassal to us as King of Ireland, it has become a de jure part of Ireland. This has an upside and a downside. The good part is that we no longer get a 'Not My De Jure Liege' opinion penalty with the Duke of Somerset. The bad part is that we now control a lower total percentage of English counties, so we'll need to acquire one more county than we did prior to this event in order to usurp the Kingdom of England.
The Mallorcan rebellion is put down and we revoke his ducal title.
This title is passed to our nephew, Fingen. My goal for Fingen is to eventually grant him control of the islands of Mallorca and the Duchy of Navarra, then grant him the title to the Kingdom of Galicia. That will get all of these Iberian holdings out of our hair.
As our victory nears in the fight against Navarra, the Pope calls yet another crusade against Jerusalem. I hate to keep getting sidetracked from advancing against England, but this is a good opportunity for us. First, we need to wrap up our fighting against the Navarran duke.
There are big things happening in Norway, too. The old King of Norway dies, and his heir is hated by all. A distant relative of ours with a claim on Norway is willing to come to our court. Perhaps we'll be able to press his claim for him at a later date?
Another Norwegian family member rebels against the King of Norway and seeks to depose him. He asks for our help. Blood is blood, so we join him in his war.
The Duke of Navarra is imprisoned and his rebellion ends.
The title to the county of Viscaya is revoked from the Duke of Navarra and granted to our nephew, Duke Fingen of Mallorca.
King Brian II's eldest son comes of age. Murchad is a bright and talented man, but he lacks the virtuous nature of his predecessors.
We announce our intention to join the Crusade for Jerusalem and the Pope gladly accepts our offer.
Our forces are not at full capacity, but they should be more than enough to make a large contribution towards the war effort.
Our men gather and prepare to launch for the holy lands.
King Brian II's army arrives along with the other Irish crusading forces.
A massive assault on the county of Jaffa puts its holdings under our control, after which our forces split up to siege multiple holdings simultaneously.
The Caliph's forces arrive and move against our southern forces, but we reinforce them with fresh nearby troops to swing the battle in our favor.
Another of the Caliph's armies attacks our northern forces in Jerusalem as well.
The battle at Darum is a technical victory for the crusading forces, but both sides take tremendous losses.
Similar battles play out in the north. Our forces claim victory, but only at the cost of many dead Irishmen.
Even in a weakened state, the Caliph can call large numbers of men to war.
King Brian shows no fear in the many battles he takes place in.
After many hard fought battles and the capture of several fortified holdings, the Irish forces fight their way back to their ships.
Our forces leave the The Levant and return to Ireland for reinforcements, leaving behind garrisons to defend our captured holdings.
Our contribution has proven to be by far the most significant in the total war effort so far.
King Fergus of France dies, and his heir requests our aid to pacify his rebellious vassals. Good relations with Ua Briain France is always a good thing, so we pledge our support.
After taking time to recover, our forces are called up to join the crusade once more. This time they are joined by a Holy Order of several thousand heavy troops.
There was no need to actually send aid to our French kinsman. By the time he had asked us for assistance, he was already on the verge of victory.
The first of our returning forces arrive, backed by the heavy cavalry of a holy order. They crash into the Caliph's army which was attempting to retake Jaffa and scatter the enemy force.
King Brian becomes a zealous man during these crusades.
The bulk of our remaining forces arrive in Ascalon and seize every holding in the county with a string of quick assaults.
This scene repeats itself in Acre, where our holy order troops are mixed with the bulk of our main armies.
Once Acre is firmly in our control, our forces split up once more to siege multiple locations simultaneously.
This second wave of Irish crusaders mixed with the other crusading armies is too much for the Caliph to bear, this time. It doesn't help that he is now dealing with internal strife - rebellious vassals and peasant revolts.
A short time later, victory is claimed in the crusade and Pope Victor III grants control of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to King Brian II.
Ireland now possesses a large presence in The Levant. The Kingdom of Jerusalem is an Irish stronghold in the middle of the Shia Caliphate. As much as I'd love to hand this title off to a brother or cousin right away, we can't really do so. We'll need to hold onto the Kingdom of Jerusalem for around 30 years at least to bring it under some level of control, otherwise any independent kingdom we create here will just be instantly re-conquered.