Part 27: Hand over That Crown and Nobody Gets Hurt 1405 - 1424
An aging brother of the former Byzantine Emperor is restless at home, so we invite him into our court. Once here, we marry him to a noblewoman of our dynasty matrilineally. He has never produced any children from his prior marriage, so any son he fathers now will be both an heir to his titles and a member of our family.
Rather than waiting to see if he produces an heir, I opt to press his claim immediately. Our levies are in a strong enough state to contend with what the Empire can currently field.
Our kinsman in Portugal comes to our aid as well, when asked. Any help against such a large foe is appreciated.
The first of our forces move north from Beirut and split into more manageable sizes to begin sieges.
Additional levies are organized into larger armies at Jaffa and Acre to be used against the Byzantine counterattack.
The forces of Mauretania and Africa gather in Tunis where they await transport to the battle.
While our smaller forces siege provinces, the larger ones are landed by transports to intercept any approaching Byzantine armies of a threatening size.
Being the attacker and fighting in unfavorable conditions means that we lose significant numbers even with a larger force, but we prevent them from attacking our siege forces.
This, on the other hand, is a battle where we were the defender. We actually had fewer numbers than our enemy, but the defensive battle conditions in this county were so extreme that we were able to claim a more significant field victory here. I still say that a pure numbers advantage will guarantee victory, but in situations where you have relatively equal forces it seems like extreme terrain effects can turn what would have been a slug-fest into a more polarized result.
Our sieges along the Egyptian-Byzantine border begin to bear fruit. Without keeping a large force on hand to intercept counterattacks, we'd be forced to launch costly assaults.
The war goes well, but progress is slow.
In order to divide their attention, we land our men from Mauretania and Africa near Constantinople.
Another detachment of men from overseas holdings are landed in Byzantine Italy.
Our dungeons fill with enemy commanders after successful field battles. We ransom the freedom of these men and use the proceeds to build infrastructure and continue funding our war.
After over a year of war, both sides are significantly weakened.
Our sieges have progressed well, but our men need to disband, rest, and reform with fresh levies before making another strong push.
After doing so, we reform the armies of Jerusalem, Syria, and Egypt into a single large force to launch assaults on enemy strongholds. It will be costly, but the war is nearing a point where a few more successful sieges will ensure our victory.
Nearly 60,000 men land on Byzantine soil. This large army assaults holding after holding to in a final push to end the war.
The successful occupations finally push us to 100% war score, and we claim victory.
Evangelos I now sits on the Byzantine throne. He is old though, and it's hard to guess whether he'll succeed in producing an heir before his demise. There is a potential here for an Ua Briain to appear on the throne of the Empire, but no guarantee.
The remainder of our prisoners from the war are ransomed, and we allow our levies and vassals a long period of peace and recovery.
King Brian passes away within a few years of the victory over the Byzantines. King Malcolm ascends to become King of Egypt, Jerusalem, Syria, Africa, and Mauretania.
Most of our vassals are happy with Malcolm's succession. The only true dissenter is an Italian count in North Africa.
I also notice that we have a warning for a possible title loss on our next succession. The Kingdom of Syria will pass out of our control upon our death, unless something changes.
Somehow, Syria was using gavelkind succession laws all this time, and I hadn't noticed. I make a note to change this to primogeniture as soon as I can, to match all of our other kingdom succession laws.
King Malcolm is a lustful man, and his affairs produce as bastard child named Muiredach.
A son is a son. Much to his wife's dismay, Malcolm accepts Muiredach as a member of his family.
We begin receiving requests to join plots against the Holy Roman Empire. The kings and queens of Iberia are scheming against the Emperor and are likely to stir up another round of civil war, it seems. We don't join this plot, but we do take advantage of it.
When rebellions start to plague the Empire once more, we move to press our claims on more North African holdings. The Duchess of Tangiers rebels against the Holy Roman Empire, and we press our claim on her county. We also take the opportunity to declare war against the Empire for their county of Fes.
We receive some shocking news. The Pope calls for a crusade against our old homeland of Ireland. It seems that the Queen of Ireland has embraced the Waldensian heresy, making her - and Ireland - a target for all of Catholicism.
Infa falls quickly to a series of assaults and the Duchess of Tangiers is forced to cede her land.
With Infa in our possession, we're able to focus all of our attention against the forces of the Holy Roman Empire.
The crusade against Ireland comes to an abrupt ending when Queen Annabla dies. Her heir is a proper Catholic, and there is no justification for the crusade to continue.
We receive indirect aid in our war against the Empire in the form of rebellious vassals. The King of Castille and the Dukes of Aragon and Barcelona all raise up their arms against the Emperor.
The King of Leon joins as well, providing significant distraction from the full forces of the Emperor.
While the Emperor focuses on his rebellious Iberian vassals, we make slow and steady progress against his distant holdings in Africa.
King Malcolm is wounded in battle, but he is quick to bounce back and is left only with a scar as a reminder.
The war for Fes is a success. Only two counties of Mauretania lie outside of our control. Immediately after this victory, the count of Cebta rises up to join the rebellion against the Emperor, but we quickly seize his land as well.
In order to reduce the amount of attention we need to focus on this region, we grant the title to the Kingdom of Mauretania to a close relative. Queen Ailbhe will rule the Kingdom for our family. I would have liked to acquire that final county before handing the Kingdom away, but that's okay. We can leave that as a project for Queen Ailbhe to pursue.
There are problems in the Byzantine Empire. It turns out that Evangelos Doukas did have a son, and when he died, he left a young Ua Briain baby on the throne of the Empire. The vassals of the Empire will have no part of this, and practically all of them rise up in arms and fight for their independence. I think I may have just destroyed the Byzantine Empire.
Egypt in 1424. The next immediate goal on my agenda is to acquire the last two counties separating Egypt from Tunisia. After that, it's hard to say. One other thing we can surely do is claim the remaining de jure lands of Syria from independent Byzantine dukes.