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The Eleventh of the After Action Reports (AAR) following my direction of the Irish Empire, tracing the dynasty of the Briain dynasty through the Middle Ages. The previous AARs can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10.

In the previous AAR, we followed the second half of the reign of Empress Brigid of Alba. History will record her as one of the MOST influential rulers of this era, elevating Ireland from a dominant force on the Isles to a European Empire that twice broke the might of the Catholic Pope. However, all things must come to an end, and she died peacefully after an incredibly long and fulfilling life.

The Twelfth of the After Action Reports (AAR) following my direction of the Irish Empire, tracing the dynasty of the Briain dynasty through the Middle Ages. The previous AARs can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods DLC. OS: Windows 7 Processor: Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+ Memory: 4 GB RAM Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon® X1900, 512mb graphics memory required. DirectX: 9.0c Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Additional: 3 button mouse and keyboard. OS: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2 Ghz or better). Humble Indie Bundle 4 2 Humble Indie Bundle #3: Humble Indie Bundle 4 3 Humble Indie Bundle #4: Humble Indie Bundle 9: A Virus Named TOM: Humble Indie Bundle 9: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken: Humble Indie Bundle 9: Trine 2 (Complete Story) Humble Jackbox Party Bundle 2019: YOU DON'T KNOW JACK HEADRUSH: Humble Jackbox Party Bundle 2019.

Very near the time of her death, her designated heir Princess Finneach died suddenly. So, the Crown of the Alban Empire falls to her Grand-daughter, the Empress Rachel.

The former Empress Brigid was well known for her quiet demeanor and scholarly interests, backed by a steely resolve to win. The current Empress Rachel is perhaps better known for her talents in the bedroom..

.. however, as the throne and the governing of the Empire now fall upon her shoulders, she switches away from the very well developed Seductress lifestyle to the Schemer life focus, a pursuit that will better suit the Empress of the growing Irish superpower.

Her first challenge comes in the form of a Holy War against the Alban Empire. The target of the War are the rich and wealthy lowlands around Flanders (what would become later known as The Netherlands and Belgium). With the alliances already formed in the previous era and the native internal strength of the Alban armies, this war is just a small test of Empress Rachel's early hold on power.

In a battlefield that is mostly confined to a very small geographical area, the attackers in the holy war are quickly overmatched in terms of numbers and technology. They are left with very few places to retreat to, and are quickly routed and dispelled.

However, a Holy War declared from a Cathar sect is a strange thing. The Alban Empire is the leading country of the Cathar faith.. so, perhaps something is a little bit off. Something that is also reflected in the HUGE amount of distaste in the general population for their new ruler. All new rulers have to reassert their authority.. but this level of unquiet and distrust is quite unusual.

.. and we find the problem. During her short hedonistic life, the Empress Rachel decided to forgo the Cathar faith of her House and converted to Gnosticism. Whilst it isn't a sect of Christianity that the Cathars have any direct quarrel with, it still makes for an awkward stance when the leader of the mostly Catharian Alban Empire is not of the same faith as the rest of the court and population.

Easily fixed, a public renunciation of the old faith and an embrace of the Cathar faith will serve to settle troubled waters. Well.. msot of it at least.

With the larger prize of an Empire at stake, there are now more claimants to the throne. Even more problematic was the fact that the designated and direct heir had died just before the transition. So, an Uncle of Empress Rachel has decided to try his luck with the new ruler. Unfortunately, many of the most powerful nobles and vassals have thrown their lot behind his insipid claim to the throne. The treasury is too empty to grant some gifts to them.. and likewise, there is no money to create little noble titles that can be granted to appease them.

This is the biggest of the timebombs for the new Empress. There are Independence factions and Populists in France that are also agitating, but for the moment, they are without enough support to cause much of a problem. This Claim on the Throne is much more pressing.. about 4 months before they will demand a resolution.. and the Empress can't see any other resolution short of abdication of the Throne for the pretender will be sufficient to calm the nobles.

Sadly for the treacherous Uncle, he did have a dark past which allowed the young Empress Rachel to imprison him. A risky move, but one that allowed for a bit more leverage over the outcome of this brewing rebellion.

An execution would likely be the easiest way to resolve this.. beheading sounds like a worthy public show of strength. However, it would likely result in a complete revolt by the already disgruntled Vassalage and Court. Without these powerful rulers on side, the Empire of Alba is a gutted shell.. with only a skeleton army, and most of the wealth generation gone completely.

So, satisfying.. but unproductive.

A better options then.. it appears that the traitor prefers the comfort of freedom to the dungeons of Alba. An offer to renounce his claims completely in exchange for his freedom would remove the figurehead that binds the Rebellion.. meaning that they would have to rally behind a different cause, hopefully splintering their cause.

.. and the gambit pays off! The faction to install the traitor Uncle is disbanded, only to be replaced by a much weaker faction behind an even weaker claimant. This gives Empress Rachel more than enough breathing space to assert her authority without the looming deadline of a rebellion ultimatum. She also now knows who her least trusted vassals are.. those who quickly joined onto the new claimant faction.

One Crisis averted, and the internal dissent is replaced by an external crisis. The lowly Kingdom of Syria had passed gently into the embrace of the Alban Empire by marriage during the previous reign of Empress Brigid. However, it is a part of the world that is hotly contested by many religions. The Catholic Popes are especially interested in occupying and controlling this region.. and despite the fact that the Alban Empire had previous defeated two Catholic Crusades into the Isles, the Pope is willing to try his luck against a new fledgling Empress.

This will be a more difficult Crusade to defend against, as the lands under contention will be far from the Alban homelands. Previously, the Catholic hordes were repelled on the Alban Isles.. this time, our armies will be far from home. There will be about a year to prepare.

Meanwhile, the Empress Rachel was able to reconstruct the Empire of Francia. The Empress is now the bearer of the Crowns of Alba AND Francia, the first ruler in the West to hold title to two Empire thrones. This will also give her de jure claims over many lands that aren't currently under the Alban banner.

.. the Crusade for Syria begins. This will be the major test of Empress Rachel's hold on power. If the Catholics can be defeated, it will prove her to be as strong as her grandmother. The vassals will fall in line, and the external powers will think twice before challenging her again.

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The Kingdom of Syria is just too far away to properly defend against the freshly landed hordes of the Catholic Church. The armies are relatively evenly matched, with the Albans having the edge in technology but the Catholics the advantage in numbers. With both armies landing from the sea, but the Albans needing to travel further, the Alban armies will be at a severe disadvantage as they will be landing after the Catholics. So the Catholics will be properly rested and on the defence.

So, a risky strategy was born. Empress Rachel would leave the defence of the Kingdom of Syria to the Cathar allies, but the Alban army would strike directly at the Vatican in an attempt to decapitate the Crusade. It is a risky gamble, if the Kingdom of Syria falls before the high walls of the Vatican, all will be lost.

.. and this is the tiny sliver of land that is causing all the fuss.

Pursing a darker form of diplomacy requires some experimentation on loyal subjects. All in the name of a greater good.. the previous Empress studied alchemy as a means to part the curtain that hides physical knowledge from the inquiring mind. Empress Rachel harnesses the same arts to wreak havoc amongst her mortal foes.

The Vatican falls, and the Kingdom of Syria holds. Following in the footsteps of her Grandmother, Empress Rachel forces the Pope to kneel and acknowledge the ascendancy of the Cathar faith. From this day forth, the aggression of the Catholics will not be tolerated. It will be the mission of the Alba to bear the Cathar banner and break the corrupt Catholic sect.

Over the next few years, minor wars are a constant. Most of these wars are against minor kingdoms that are gradually absorbed in to the Cathar and Alban way of life.

These kingdoms can never muster enough strength to effectively counter the might of the Alban Empire, and they always result in a wealth of new titles and kingdoms to bolster the strength of the Empress Rachel's hold on her Court and Vassalage. Every new title comes with the Forced Partition condition, to further fragment the ability of power and titles in a single person.. apart from the Empire level Crowns of the House Briann.

News comes from the far corners of the Empire.. the former claimant, the treacherous Uncle has passed away. Lucky for him.. there were plans to exact a proper revenge for his lacklustre rebellion and claim against the throne of the Empress, and that would have been much more painful for the terrible Uncle. But nature got to him first.. or did someone else?

An interesting Claimant landed in the throne soon afterwards. A claimant with the claim against the WHOLE of the mighty Holy Roman Empire. This would be an incredibly title to hold.. but persecuting this war and claim would grant the throne and title to another. Not worth the prestige of humiliating the former great power.. but tempting! After all that effort, the Empress Rachel would want the Empire title.. not to have it fall in the hands of some stranger who just happened to land at the Court.

Meanwhile, the de jure claims against the lands of Francia are bearing fruit. With kingdoms in the South of modern day France..

.. and the northern areas of modern France being annexed by force into the Alban Empire. These wars were wars against the Holy Roman Empire. So, a chance to still humiliate the former great empire, whilst holding the titles within the Alban Empire. More piecemeal, but better in the longer term.

The key to winning against the Holy Roman Empire was to attack the capital instead of trying to match the still great Empire on the main battlefield. Capturing their capital would often result in a quite a number of valuable prisoners which would sway the tide of the war towards a favourable result. Plus, the conversions, recruitment and ransoms wouldn't hurt after the war either!

Unfortunately, poking a still strong Empire meant that other little provocations would have to be conceded. A tiny Kingdom in the North declaring war for a petty few counties could be appeased with a complete surrender of the counties. The Alban army was strong, but it couldn't split to fight both the Holy Roman Empire AND another war at the same time. It's entire strength was required just to hold against the Holy Roman Empire!

Plus, there would be ample time to rectify this problem in the future.. Php 7.

After a number of decidedly successful wars against the Holy Roman Empire, the Empress Rachel has managed to snatch several valuable tracts of land and kingdoms away. The Alban Empire now stretches over most of Europe, all of Western Europe and with small tracts in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Powerful, but very spread out and thin on the defence.

Empress Rachel had turned her back early in her reign on the Seductress lifestyle.. instead choosing to settle into a stronger relationship with her husband. By the end, it was a relationship that grew to be as strong as the any in the previous House Brainn leaders. House Briann was well known for it's star crossed lovers in the leadership.. with the exception of one particular ruler who had to try and kill her husband..

A very minor rebellion was quite unexpected in the Mediterranean kingdom of Sardina and Corsica. Strange, given the general acceptance of the Empress Rachel by most of the Empire Lords. Given that the Albans were distracted by the larger wars with the Holy Roman Empire, the rebellion gained some early wins.

.. but this was not a war that the Empress Rachel could afford to casually surrender to. The full might of the Irish Alban army was diverted to the small islands and the rebellions was quickly and brutally crushed. Executions were definitely in order.

.. of the ENTIRE royal house. Bar none.

In the late stages of her life, the Empress saw a quick opportunity to lay claim to the throne of the Byzantine Empire. This would be an incredible prize if it could be seized, and the throne and title would be born by the Empress herself! Truly, this was an opportunity that couldn't be passed upon.

War was declared..

.. but as the Irish armies were en route to the battlefields of Constantinople, the universe decided that the Empress Rachel's time on Earth was at an end. What an unlucky turn of fate..

The Empress would be succeeded by her son, the Basilus Eogan. A difficult succesion was in the works, with a earth-shattering Empire level war just begun.. and the attendant disarray and jockeying of power that accompanies any transition of power. The new Emperor would face internal dissent and chaos at a time of maximum external threat. Could this spell the end of the Alban Empire.. and the House of Briann?

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The Ninth of the After Action Reports (AAR) following my direction of the Irish Empire, tracing the dynasty of the Briain dynasty through the Middle Ages. The previous AARs can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.

The untimely death of the previous High Queen Fortunata leads to the her daughter, the High Queen Brigid, taking to the throne in a time of strife and war. It will be a tumultuous initiation for the new Queen as she deals with both an ongoing war and the usual restlessness of nobles and vassals whenever a new heir takes to the throne.

She is a trusting and bookish sort of person, and expectations are relatively low for the new High Queen Brigid. Her vassals and council see her as a simple pushover and an opportunity to seize power from the Briann dynasty back into their own hands. Little do they realise that modern historians will record the humble Brigid to be the most influential character in the whole of Western European history!

Brigid inherits an Ireland that has most of it's power centred around the ancestral homes of Britannia. Much of the British Isles has been incorporated into the Cathar Irish Kingdom, and there ancestral enemy of the Catholic Danelaw are with their backs to the seas. Every reign has pushed the heretic Catholics further into the water, and it is likely with a few more generations, Ireland will reunite the Isles.

Oddly enough, there are some Irish holdings from past wars in North Africa and Sardinia. These were never intended to be part of the Irish Kingdom, but they have managed to find their way into the Cathar fold. All are welcome in the Green Kingdom!

As mentioned before, the lords and ladies of the court find the High Queen Brigid to be an easy target to reassert their power against the throne. Vassals that were in quiet submission to the previous Queen now find the time to plot a rebellion against the High Queen Brigid. These vassals will have to be accommodated or removed. At any rate, there will be a reckoning, now or later..

The easiest option would be to imprison some of the traitors who have already committed known crimes. However, despite the fact that their guilt is as plain as day and known to all in the court, it remains a difficult endeavor to round them up. Attempting the arrest will likely result in a full blown revolt by the vassals and court.. not a good risk-reward balance there!

It appears that at this stage of her reign, the High Queen Brigid will have to relinquish some of her Crown Authority to keep the unruly court and vassals in line. This is the price of staying in power at a fragile time in her reign, and it can be made up later.. the memories of a monarch can be long!

It turns out that one of the plotters (Duke Emrys) ends up being in debt to the High Queen after she saves his life in a medical emergency. Being bookish does have it's perks.. and as a bonus, the friendship that is formed leads to him abandoning the plotting, giving the High Queen additional breathing space against a continuation of the vassal unrest. In return, she appoints him Spymaster as a reward for his loyalty.

With the immediate danger averted, the High Queen can now pause to re-examine her goals in life. With an inherited trait that finds her blessed with high Intelligence, she has led a relatively cloistered life in among her books which has led to her developing an incredibly trusting temperament. Hopefully, her new friend Spymaster will be able to keep her safe from plots against the naive Queen.

True to her nature, the High Queen Brigid start to focus upon the goals of Scholarship. A Kingdom blessed with an intelligent and learned leader should be able to prosper in both peace and war. Preferably peace, but you take what you get..

Sadly, the King and soulmate of Brigid soon passes away. If she thought that she was going to live out her reign in love and bliss with her lifemate.. well, fate always has a different opinion!

However, the High Queen Brigid has no time to mourn. The vassals pacifed, and the inherited war resolved and the death of her husband.. and now, the Catholic Pope has decided to back the Danelaw against the virtuous Cathar faith who are ably led by the Irish Kingdom. This will be a bloody Crusade when it begins, pitting the two dominant Christian faiths against each other. The corrupt and male dominated Catholic European mainland against the forgiving and inclusive Cathar of the North. It is likely that this will determine the outcome of Christianity in the coming centuries. Will the Vatican be broken and Europe freed from it's corrupt influence.. or will a new religious dark age beckon?

It will be a busy year before the Crusade takes place, as the two faiths muster their forces and commitments from their various believers. The High Queen Brigid spends her time completing a translation of the Regula Pastoralis, an achievement that will long outlast her.

In addition, there are a few small quarrels with the Danelaw to be wrapped up. Enforcing claims on the Catholics, she is able to expand her hold upon the British Isles before the Crusade begins. Hopefully, the additional manpower and gold income will help tip the favour to the Cathar.

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Soon enough, the Irish will be able to reunite the Isles.. although, there is the question of the neutral Norwegians having a small piece of land in the middle.

The Crusade will likely be fought on the isles of Britannia or in the Scandinavian East. There is no benefit in attacking the Danelaw in the icy wastes of the East, so the armies of Ireland will try to defend the Isles from incoming Catholic heretics. They will have to cross the water to reach the Isles, which should make them weaker and easier pickings for the Cathar forces. Meanwhile, the allied Cathar of Scandinavia will be able to take the fight to the icy lands.

The Crusade is declared by the Vatican Pope. At first blush, it will be an interesting few years. The Catholics muster a slightly larger numerical advantage.. however, the Cathar and Irish have the better defensible position. With careful outmaneuvering, it should be possible to pick off the enemy forces as they land and before they can muster into a significant force.

.. and if the Cathar are victorious, the Pope will pay.

As predicted, the Scandinavian Cathar distract in the north with attacks on the Danelaw capital in the icy wastes. Meanwhile, the main Irish army and the Cathar religious orders muster on the Isles to prepare to repel the Catholic heretics.

The Catholics try to make landfall in various areas of the Isles, but they constantly find themselves exhausted by the long ship journey and their troops are in enemy territory and running out of supplies. They are easily picked off and then forced to retreat back to the European mainland to try the process over again. Meanwhile, the Danelaw holdings on the Isles are easy pickings for the Irish army and they soon fall!

The Crusade is a failure and the Catholic Cross is broken. The Pope escapes with his life.. but there will be revenge for the declaration of war. The Vatican must be broken and the scourge of the Catholics must be erased and replaced with the benevolent ideals of the Cathar.

.. to that end, a small outpost, the Kingdom of Pisa, on the doorsteps of the Vatican is claimed in the name of Ireland. Should the Pope ever wish to misbehave, he will quickly find his own personal palace under siege. And executions would surely follow soon after..

With the Catholic world beaten to a pulp, the Danelaw are exposed and without allies. The time is ripe to carve out large chunks of the Danelaw kingdom to redistribute to the rightful Irish vassalage. The Isles are ready to be united.. unfortunately, the Danelaw King refuses to see the inevitability of this and is willing to put his subjects lives before his pride.

In the background, the Irish army is being upgraded from a conscripted army into an army of men-at-arms and professional mercenaries. These trained professionals will form the backbone of the Empire when it is formed, and their technology and skill far outmatches anything that the Catholics will be able to muster. The Catholics will regret their incursion into the idyllic Isles of Ireland.

With all this warring, you would have thought that the High Queen Brigid would have lost sight of her true calling. However, in between the direction of the grand defeat of the Catholic world, she has found the time to found the world's first University in Oxford. Coincidentally, it is the realm of her Spymaster and friend who benefits!

.. and the Duke Emrys is proving to be both an effective Spymaster and loyal friend. Uncovering all sorts of malfeasance within the nobility. Cannibalism?

In her second husband, the High Queen Brigid has found her second soulmate. Interesting that there were more than one in the world, but that is a question for the philosophers.. perhaps the University could be put towards investigating that question. It turns out that the High King Dietrich is absolutely smitten with his wife, and it appears that the High Queen Brigid might end up achieving bliss in her love life as well!

Every few years, another portion of the Danelaw Kingdom is subsumed by force into the Irish Empire. However, not all of it is by force now.. there are some vassals of the Danelaw King who see the writing on the wall, and ask to be vassalised by the High Queen.

The professional Irish army makes short work of the underdeveloped Danelaw in every single battle. Every time, it is a slaughter and the wars are quickly resolved in the favour of the Irish.

.. and with every passing year, there is more green on the Isles of Brittania.

.. until the Empire of Alba finally is declared under the enlightened leadership of Empress Brigid of Alba, heir to all the High Kingdoms of Britannia. It is a momentous day for the Empress, she began her reign with the disdain of the courts and the nobles, beset from all sides with plots and wars. It turns out that she was stronger than any of her foes had ever thought was possible and she now takes her place in history as the unifier of Britannia.

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.. and she is still young!

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Crusader Kings 3 Free Download

  1. A 100+ USD bundle of games delivered direct to you each month, redeemable on Steam, Uplay or direct download (depending on the game). This includes recent Triple A games!
  2. Access to the Humble Bundle 'Trove', a list of 60 games (and growing..) which are free to play as long as you remain a subscriber!
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